A warm welcome to author Damon Suede joining us today here at Love Bytes. Damon talks about circuit, shares an excerpt and there is a double giveaway! At the end you will find a rafflecopter giveaway BUT Damon also is generously giving away a ecopy of Lickety Split to one lucky commentor on this post!
FULL CIRCUIT: from house music to barn dances
by Damon Suede
Thanks so much to the Love Bytes team for inviting me to stop by during my Lickety Split release tour. Today they asked me to talk about some of my behind-the-scenes writing process and this seemed like a great moment to talk about circuit parties’ role in the book and the way the Circuit has evolved over the course of my life.
I’m a child of disco. I mean that quite literally. When most gay guys say that disco is the music of their childhood they mean that metaphorically: during their coming out process they bought some Donna Summer albums and maybe romanticized mirror balls and platform shoes. I actually own the original 12 inch LP of macho man by the Village People which was given to me when I was seven years old by one of my mom’s fabulous friends.
Growing up, all of my mom’s friends were out, proud gay men who had exploded from the closet post-Stonewall and embraced the sexual revolution of the 1970s me generation. As fate would have it, my mother had done the incorporation for every major gay disco in our region and I grew up around happy, hunky gay men who knew how to shake a tail feather. That’s not such a surprise actually because my mother love to dance and raised me to be the same way. I’ve always been physically expressive and the idea of getting down with a bunch of friends in sweaty, sparkly shenanigans is pretty much heaven to me.
AIDS killed disco. Again that’s not a metaphor. As the plague started claiming thousands of audacious LGBT lives, the crazy, candid glitter of the discotheque morphed into something sympathetic, cold and corporate: New Romantics and synthpop… Still sexy in its way, but less raw and unfettered.
Discos mutated as well, gradually perfecting themselves into exclusive, idealized playgrounds for the wealthy, gorgeous, and unashamed that came to be known as the Circuit. Now, by the time I got to NYC at 16 years old, the Saint (…a famous superclub on the Lower East side) had already begun to die and by my sophomore year in college had ceased to be a literal physical location and become another fabulous stopping point on the Circuit. Ironically, I had met the Saints owner and founder, Bruce Mailman, when I was 14 years old through my mom… And though I’m not certain it was totally legal I had a Saint membership before I could vote. In other words I learned from the best.
The mid-1980s were a great time to be in New York City and the Circuit seemed to have burst into full flower around me. Before I graduated college, I had begun to travel to these destination parties in Palm Springs, Sydney, Whistler, Vienna, and more. The White Party, Black party, Blue Ball, Altitude, Folsom, and even Southern Decadence. If it was hot, I was there getting sweaty! Automagically, I was able to sample the best in rarefied gay nightlife at little to no cost and to my great pleasure. The most beautiful men, the most brilliant musicians, the most gifted artists all gathering under one roof for up to three days at a time all over the world. Heady shit for a kid from Texas who still shopped at Walmart.
Before I even started drafting Lickety Split I knew that Patch wanted to live in the fast lane; after all that’s what had drawn me to Manhattan when I was a teenager. And what could be faster than living in the heart of the Circuit all the time. And so patch naturally became a model and a DJ who traveled the world with the bright lights of nightlife. I wanted him to have tasted the most exclusive forbidden fruit so that his trip back to Texas would feel all the more impossible and impassable.
The funny thing is the Circuit today is nothing like it was in 1984. It used to be that fashion, art, music, style all sit at the explosive cocktail of talent and vision that came out of people on the Circuit. Straight people didn’t realize it, but almost every trend for a 25 year period was a direct borrow of ideas, moments, and juxtapositions dreamed up for the jaded Circuit boys who were always in search of something more fabulous. A bunch of brilliant,m funny, gorgeous dudes getting together to prove that paradise is possible if enough people believe… like hot gay Tinkerbell-party. Clap your hands and it came to life.
At a certain point that changed; the 90s transformed the explicit borrowing of gay culture by straight media. As artists and trendsetters came out personally, their work began to hit public consciousness without any filter or digression. Nightlife change to, has gender and sexuality began to leak across cultural and geographic lines. Pop stars unwilling to be boxed in by labels or boundaries started smearing elements of the circuit into the real world: drag, performance art, public sexuality, cosplay, voguing, genderfuck, body culture, and other LGBT notions got injected directly into the pop-culture bloodstream by music videos and mass media spectacle less and less afraid to let people love as they wished.
At a certain point in my life, I got bored with the Circuit. I didn’t want to party for four days at a stretch. I didn’t want to spend six days a week in the gym or worry that my swim trunks were last season’s Raymond Dragon when I was packing for the foam party. I mean…I love to dance, but the drugs and douchebaggery had started to poison what I loved abotu the party scene.
By coincidence a good friend took me to stepping, and after a lifetime of loathing country music I discovered I loved it. I started going to rodeos every chance I could get spending entire weekends twostepping with handsome cowboys that knew their way around the floor. The first rodeo I ever went to, a lean, gay bullrider from Arizona said something about the “rodeo circuit” and I said, “It is like a circuit party.” He laughed and shrugged. “Yeah but without waxed torsos or drug overdoses.” I nodded. “A kinder, gentler Circuit party then.” For me at least the dancing hadn’t stopped it only changed. The Circuit was unbroken.
In a funny way Patch and Tucker represent the two extremes of my life on the Circuit: dancing in rubber shorts and body glitter in a cage… and doing a slow, sweaty shadow with my husband under the stars. Lickety Split let me visit the outer edges of that feeling… the sweet, sweaty craziness of men who could build a paradise you could come share with them. Like any great circuit, the only thing that mattered (or matters) is connection which makes for great memories and greater romance. 🙂
Release: Dreamspinner Press, 13 March 2017
Length: 100,000 words (novel)
Lickety Split: love won’t wait.
Patch Hastle grew up in a hurry, ditching East Texas for NYC to make his name as a DJ and model without ever looking back. When his parents die unexpectedly, he heads home to unload the family farm ASAP and skedaddle. Except the will left Patch’s worst enemy in charge: his father’s handsome best friend who made his high school years hell.
Tucker Biggs is going nowhere. Twenty years past his rodeo days, he’s put down roots as the caretaker of the Hastle farm. He knows his buddy’s smartass son still hates his guts, but when Patch shows up growed-up, looking like sin in tight denim, Tucker turns his homecoming into a lesson about old dogs and new kinks.
Patch and Tucker fool around, but they can’t fool themselves. Once the farm’s sold, they mean to call it quits and head off to separate sunsets. With the clock ticking, the city slicker and his down-home hick get roped into each other’s life. If they’re gonna last longer than spit on a griddle, they better figure out what matters—fast.
Patch spies on Tucker naked
In this excerpt from Chapter Two, Patch Hastle considers going out to hook up in Beaumont, but instead sneaks over one last time to spy on Tucker Biggs, his second night back at the family farm.
Wasting no time, Patch dug jeans and a V-neck out of his bag and toed into old sneakers from high school. He ducked outside in happy anticipation. For once he’d show the locals how—
He stalled on the steps. Why would he let just any old small-town queer to know him and blow him? No. He didn’t want none of them. Blushing, he stopped dead in the front yard. Pathetic.
No. He wanted a cowboy, a greaser, a jock, some rough sumbuck who’d toss him around and make him crazy. He wanted—
“Tucker,” he whispered. So help me.
The sky churned overhead like a storm with no clouds, no rain.
Patch looked out toward the trailer, hidden across the property behind a small break and a cowshed. He thought of Tucker kneeling in front of his zipper to love on that goofy dog and again wondered what the hell he and the other cowboys and convicts got up to out there when nobody was looking. Maybe…. Surely….
A half mile away, Tucker Biggs sat lonely in his shorts. Or not lonely, humping some waitress. Or his own hand. Or some rodeo clown, even. Not like he’d ever had any modesty, but living out here alone? No chance. He probably put on a show every night.
For a full five minutes Patch fought the impulse to just go see for himself. He’d never unsee it, and yet if he didn’t, he’d never have the chance again. In a week he’d be back in New York and he’d never see Tucker Biggs again. Thank fuck.
Before he could second-guess himself, Patch walked up the drive and turned onto the dark shoulder headed the right direction, even though he knew it was the wrong way.
Out here the county didn’t even have lights, leaving it truly pitch dark. His eyes adjusted as he walked the half mile to the pond, the trailer, and Tucker.
Like I’m thirteen.
Back then, Patch had snuck over to spy on this trailer plenty. Duh. Hot cowboy next door. He remembered hanging around the locker room for a glimpse of Coach Biggs’s perfect bare chest. Going camping and washing in the creek as slow as he dared. Or that one night he’d spotted his dad’s best friend under the barn shower, the flash of his perfect pale butt. He’d been too afraid to sneak closer. Too petrified of getting busted, but now, here, he was grown and it was just the two of them.
The trailer sat bright and still. Tinny voices, from the TV, sounded like, but nothing alive. Someone was home.
He padded along surefooted as a fox. He crossed the ditch and ducked through the split-rail fence like he was still a kid. He circled the yard slowly, coming no closer to the trailer just yet. His gaze strayed to the lit windows, ready to catch Tucker and his local skank or maybe his sleazy buddy doing something raunchy and embarrassing.
The windows spilled amber light onto the patchy front yard and its clutter. Inside, television voices rose and fell, but no overt cock show. Duh.
Patch walked on, disappointed and also somehow relieved. At this point, the notion of Tucker as a closet case would’ve been even more humiliating. Bix had gone to Kerrville. Now he remembered and felt foolish.
He walked on, keeping to the road’s unlit shoulder, ready to be inside. Then, just as he passed out of sight, a phone’s ring and movement drew his eye back to the trailer.
Tucker walked naked past both open windows. The angle hid most of his body, but the root of his fat slab of cock was visible under the dark pubes that led up a trail to fan out over his chest. Jesus, his body. His arms, his back—even with the farmer tan he looked like a statue. Tucker passed from sight, but Patch stood frozen, waiting for another chance.
Television laughter echoed. The rise and fall of Tucker’s raw, drawling bass wove through it, wordless and seductive. Why didn’t any of the small-town dumbasses in New York sound like that, look like that, feel like that?
Patch’s hands squeezed into powerless fists.
He refused to creep closer, but he stepped sideways into a stand of live oak and wiped sweat from his face. Not like he’d ever have the chance again. Minutes ticked by until he started to feel ridiculous squinting at empty windows on a double-wide. And then….
Tucker drifted back. Smiling at something and talking on the phone notched against his shoulder. He paused, and for a crazy moment, stood exposed face to knees, shadowed and splendid, in the rectangle of the window. He rubbed at his armpit, raised the hand to his face and frowned skeptically at the smell. Absently, he tugged at one tiny nipple and dropped his hand.
If possible, Tucker looked even sexier, even stronger than he had seven years ago. He wore that wear and tear like a prize buckle.
Patch crouched lower, wincing at the crack of a stick under his foot. From somewhere inside, Botchy ruffed lazily. He saw her nosing at the window screen. Shit. She’d come right to him if she got out. His heart galloped.
Tucker leaned to look out over his yard and said something to the dog. As he leaned closer, his chiseled bare body blocked the lamp glow, silhouetting him, but if anything, that made it worse. Alpha male, ready for trouble.
Patch held his breath, aware of his pulse in his ears. His cock rose into an impatient ridge inside his stupid pants. He’d never wanted anyone so much in his life.
I can’t stand him. But he knew that for a bluff. Patch refused to move.
Turning, Tucker laughed at something and rubbed the tight abdomen over the lazy thick swing. Hold your horses.
Light-headed, Patch swallowed and exhaled. Fourteen again. He knew he couldn’t be seen in the dark, but no way was he gonna get caught spying.
Tucker cracked his neck and nodded.
That ridiculous impulse to stay and spy warned him how much he needed to leave this place, like yesterday, split before he did something stupid or got himself beat. He’d seen what he wanted. He couldn’t have it. The end.
In the trailer, Tucker turned away, muscle playing across his back and shoulders, then the tight swell of his haunch before he sat, vanishing from sight.
The end. Run.
Excerpted from Lickety Split by Damon Suede
published by Dreamspinner Press
Copyright 2016. Damon Suede. All Rights Reserved
Damon Suede grew up out-n-proud deep in the anus of right-wing America, and escaped as soon as it was legal. Though new to romance fiction, Damon has been writing for print, stage, and screen for two decades. He’s won some awards, but counts his blessings more often: his amazing friends, his demented family, his beautiful husband, his loyal fans, and his silly, stern, seductive Muse who keeps whispering in his ear, year after year. Get in touch with him at DamonSuede.com