A very warm welcome to author Stephen Del Mar joining us today here @ Love Bytes to talk about new upcomming release
Stephen not only talks about his new release , shares a short excerpt but also brought a FANTASTIC Giveaway !
Book is Published by LMW Books
Cover Artist: DS Harvey
Length: ~204K words
I want to thank the folks here at Love Bytes for the opportunity to talk about my upcoming book, Return to Cooter Crossing. It’s available now for pre-order from Amazon and will be released at the end of July. We will also be giving away several copies, so look for directions on how to enter.
The first thing folks ask me about is the title. “What the heck is a cooter?” they want to know. A cooter is a water turtle living in the southeastern United States, especially in Florida. They are sociable critters piling up on logs to bask the day away, a very Florida thing to do. Cooter Crossing is a small town, village really, built where Cooter Creek runs into the Big Cypress River.
Cooter Crossing started out as a lumber camp during Florida’s lumber and railroad boom after the War Between the States. They had a ferry crossing and a backwoods tavern selling Irish stew, gator tail stakes, and homemade whiskey. As the tents were replaced with laid out streets and proper homes, a general store was added, and a Congregational Church for the Protestants as well as Saint Bart’s for the Roman Catholic and mostly Irish immigrants.
The railroad and lumber boom died out, but Cooter Crossing held on, like an old cooter clinging to its log. Today it’s a sleepy four-block town, with a grocery store (Quinn’s Country Market), an Irish pub built out over the river (the Gator Tale), the churches, a few other small businesses, and a Big Cypress County Sheriff sub-station. Back in the 1930s, the PWA built County Road 513, running north to south in the eastern part of the county. It included a bridge over the Big Cypress River ending the need for the ferry.
Return to Cooter Crossing is a southern family drama about Aidan Quinn returning to the town and his family. He left to go to college in Arizona and then ended up in Dublin, Ireland working on his PhD. He didn’t mean to stay away for ten years, but life, school, and love kept him busy and distracted. Then he found his lover and mentor in bed with another man. As the life he built for himself comes crashing down around him, he gets on a plane and heads home. He hopes to find solace in the midst of his family as he tries to regroup. However, he’s been away too long. He’s forgotten that being in the middle of a large family in a very small town is rarely peaceful. Then, there is the matter of people getting shot.
Return to Cooter Crossing is set among my wider Bennett Bay collection of stories. I call Bennett Bay and Big Cypress County my concentrated Florida. I wanted a place that was part laid-back, arty tourist town like Key West, part a historic colonial town like Saint Augustine, and then some good old fashion backwater swamp. The old part of Florida that hasn’t been completely Yankeefied. Staying in the southern literary tradition, I wanted a strong setting that acted as a character in the story, a setting that lends weight to the story and grounds the characters even if they are in the midst of fantastical situations.
I liked the idea of building up a collection of stories that were held together by the location and the people that lived there. The intent is to weave the lives of these characters through a number of stories and genres to build up a rich tapestry of life in the Florida backwoods or the little city by the Bay. Some of the Bennett Bay stories are good old fashion ghost stories; the Live Oak Tales are paranormal stories with shifters, witches and faeries. Even though Return to Cooter Crossing is pretty much straightforward contemporary fiction, many of the characters may be more that what they appear at first glance. I hope this will be fun for folk who read my other stories. You don’t need to know that the proprietor of a mysterious shop in the Spanish Quarter might be more than she appears, but it’s kind of fun if you do.
One of the fun things about writing this story was weaving in characters and storylines from some of my other stories. We met Max and Marcus in the Live Oak Tales and we find out what they’ve been up to. Zach, Stan, Lissa, Bear, Cob and Boz from The Broken Heart all have important roles in this story. Of course, Innes, the co-owner of the Gator Tale, is in this story, as is Deputy Sheriff JJ Jackson.
I had a lot of fun spinning this tale. I hope you’ll give it a look. Remember to enter the giveaway and if you sign-up for my newsletter on my website, I’ll give you any one of my ebooks for free.
One last thing, I’ll be at RainbowCon here in Tampa July 16 – 19. I’ll be at the Queer Sci-Fi and Fantasy table on Saturday at 11 am selling print books and signing things. If you’re at the Con, please stop by and say, “Hi.”
Return to Cooter Crossing
Aidan Quinn is having a good day, possibly the best day of his life, at least since moving to Dublin. He just received word that his degree committee approved his PhD and he’s on his way home, with lamb chops, chard, and a bottle of wine. Time to celebrate in the little cottage he shares with his mentor and lover, Dr. David Stokes. But, something is wrong when he gets home. Dr. Stokes has found a new student to “mentor.”
Like any good Irish-American lad, he gets drunk and heads home to his mother. He hopes to find himself and make plans for a new future in the quiet backwater town of Cooter Crossing. But, he forgot what it’s like being part of a large family in an extremely small town. He gets off the plane in Tampa and finds his little sister is pregnant and won’t tell anyone who the father is. His next two older brothers, Danny and Dillon, are keeping secrets, and the oldest, Rory, shows up with his son, Sean, expecting Aidan to help him navigate Sean’s coming out.
Just as Aidan thinks he’s finally getting ahead of the family drama, and settling back into life in a small Florida village, someone shoots him. And people start dying. Will he find a way to put all the pieces back together? Will he find a new direction for his life? And, what really happened to Mrs. DeWitt’s prize rooster?
“Return to Cooter Crossing” is a contemporary southern family drama with strong characterization and set in Stephen del Mar’s rich world of Bennett Bay and Big Cypress County, Florida. Although not a part of the paranormal series “The Live Oak Tales,” this story takes place after the events in “Hunter Moon and the Red Wolf” and includes a few familiar characters from that series, such as Innes Callahan and his sister Fi, Allen Clark, Deputy JJ Jackson, Max Crawford and Marcus Murphy, among others.
Aidan swayed in the aisle of the plane. His life hung from his shoulders. A laptop case and a duffel bag full of clothes. Not much to show for twenty-eight years. The line of passengers moved. He looked at the row with his seat number. A plump, older woman in a dark blue and white nun’s habit smiled at him. He told his face to smile back. He wasn’t sure it worked. He was pissed. Pissed in the Irish way of being drunk off his ass and pissed in the American way, because he came home last night and found the man he loved shagging a pretty blond boy in their bed.
David calmly explained, as he pounded the boy’s butt, that now that Aidan had his doctorate, it was time for him to move on. He needed to find his own way. He said, “There’s a ticket back to Florida on the table with your bags. I’ll have Ian here pack up the rest of your belongings and have them shipped to your parents house.” Each word was punctuated by the slapping of flesh and the grunts of joy from the boy. The kid, Ian, looked over at him and smiled.
Aidan felt his face grow hot. He knew he was glowing red as he turned and walked back into the cottage’s little kitchen. He clenched his hands into fists to keep them from shaking. He wanted to vomit. He stood next to their kitchen table. He loved that table. They’d bought it one afternoon when they went for a drive.
They’d only been in Ireland a few weeks and wanted to explore the countryside beyond Dublin and they found it in a small village shop. The green stained wood caught his attention and then he saw the inlaid tiles glazed with Celtic patterns. He unclenched his right hand and traced a never ending knot with his finger. In his excitement to tell David the decision of his degree committee, he’d missed the ticket on the table, along with his passport, and his bags on the floor. He picked up his passport. A young man full of love and promise looked back at him. That kid was off to Ireland to work with his lover and earn his PhD.
Aidan clenched his jaw. He took a deep breath. The mad urge to rip that photo up coursed through him. He wanted to destroy something. He could still hear them fucking in the bedroom. He should have closed the door.
He took a deep breath, trying to clear the smells of man-sex from his nose. It didn’t work. He looked around the kitchen. Tomorrow he would not stand at that stove making David his favorite omelet. Would the kid cook him breakfast? He looked at the wooden block bristling with knives next to the stove. Then jerked his gaze back to the table. He didn’t like the thoughts whispering to him from some dark place. He took another deep breath and picked up the ticket, one-way, Dublin to Tampa for tomorrow night. He glanced back at the knives.
“Fuck me harder, Dr. Stokes,” drifted from the bedroom. His bedroom.
Ten years ago he’d been the freshman in David’s bed. Twenty-four hours. He had twenty-four hours. He looked at the knives longer this time. His hands were sweaty—itchy. They wanted to grab something— to crush something. Would anyone miss them for a day? He shook his head. Fuck them. He put the ticket and his passport in the outer flap of his computer bag, picked up his duffel bag, and left his home.
Stephen del Mar is a fresh voice in Southern Gay Fiction. His Bennett Bay collection of books and stories explore life in that unique corner of the American South known as Florida. He also writes fantasy and science-fiction. Del Mar lives in the Tampa Bay region of Florida and enjoys Key Lime Pie and mango margaritas, but not at the same time.
Link “Return to Cooter Crossing”: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00YQNI0RC
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stephen.delmar.5 or https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stephen-del-Mar-Author-Page/341075372641816
Stephen brought with him 7!! copies of his new release
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