“Where Do Stories Come From?” or “It All Started With This Really Cute Guy at Church”
In all honesty, my new novel “Hound Dog & Bean” really didn’t start with a guy. But he certainly was the water that started the seeds to germinating!
Ever heard of the author Connie Willis? I hope so. She is amazing, and if I’m correct, she still holds the record for being the most awarded writer ever. She’s won eleven Hugo Awards and seven Nebula Awards.
Several years ago I was extremely fortunate to be her liaison when she was Guest of Honor at ConQuest, Kansas City’s big SF&F convention. That meant I got to spend a ton of quality time with my idol over those three days and I will never be the same. I owe so much to Ms Willis. She not only encouraged me to pursue writing, but she gave me tons of advice that helped shape me into the writer I have become. She used to teach the Clarion Workshop, so believe you me, I received extraordinary guidance! And I didn’t even have to take the six week class!
One thing she taught me was that sometimes a writer will get an idea for a story and then discover it’s just not quite idea enough to be a story. But then sometimes they are lucky enough to have two such ideas that can be married together to create a truly great story.
Such was the happenstance with her multi-award winning novella, “The Last of the Winnebagos.”
Ms Willis is a Colorado resident and that can mean mountainous roads. And if you’re driving in the mountains and you get trapped behind a motorhome, it’s a frustrating situation indeed. You might be in a rush, but believe me, you’re not going anywhere fast with that thing lumbering in front of you. You’ll be lucky if you’re going thirty-five miles an hour.
So she got an idea for story about a not too distant future where such slow-moving gas-guzzling vehicles have been made all but illegal. Sadly though, it wasn’t enough to be its own story.
Sometime later with an idea about another near-distant future where all the dogs in the world had died and the laws against hurting an animal are frighteningly severe. Don’t even get caught hitting at animal if it runs out in front of your car or who knows what the punishment might be.
And suddenly she saw that both ideas went perfectly together and thus was born “The Last of the Winnebagos.” I won’t tell you how the two ideas fit together or I’ll ruin it the story. So read it. Just read it. You’ll be glad you did.
It is Ms Willis’ advice that brought “Hound Dog & Bean,” my new novel, into existence.
My husband and I adopted a sweet little dog from the Great Plains SPCA. We named her Sarah Jane and she has become the light of my life. As I began to talk to the people who work and volunteer their time for no-kill animal shelters, I came to realize I wanted to write a book about these heroes.
I also fell in love with coffee. I used to hate it. Then I got an education from coffee connoisseurs and discovered that Maxwell House and Folgers are hardly what coffee lovers would ever call coffee in the first place. I learned about the difference between Arabica beans and Robusta beans. About the First Wave, Second Wave and Finally the Third Wave of coffee. The small cafés that often roast their own coffee in small batches and purchase their beans from tiny farms are a part of the “Third Wave.” They pay the farmers a good earning wage to grow high quality beans and get them to harvest over days instead of all at once to insure more of the crop is ripe.
People who really love coffee will pay more for a cup because they know what has gone into the process of bringing them the best drinking experience possible. I have gotten to know Gregory Kolsto, the man who owns Oddly Correct in Kansas City and he fell head over heels in love with coffee and I soon knew that it was something I wanted to write about.
Since in the MM Romance field we obviously need to have two men to fall in love with each other, I suddenly realized that I had an opportunity to take the advice of Ms Willis. My new novel would be about both a man who runs a no-kill animal shelter and a man who owns a coffee roasterie and café.
And here’s the blurb!:
There’s been little love in H.D. “Hound Dog” Fisher’s life since the death of his beloved mom when he was a boy. Bounced around the foster care system, he ran away as soon as he could… and took the foster dog with him. As far as he’s concerned, only dogs have no ulterior motive, never hold a grudge, and offer unconditional love. Now he helps run a no-kill shelter and leaves relationships where they belong: in the back room.
“Bean” Alexander settled in Kansas City to open his coffee shop after years of traveling. He never expected to open his heart too. When a man with a grudge takes a swing at H.D. while in line at Bean’s shop, Bean jumps to intervene.
So taking a hit for H.D. gets Bean noticed, and H.D. feels obligated to pay a debt. But then the unexpected happens. A series of misadventures causes H.D. to open up—but falling in love makes him turn tail and run. Trust is a tough road to travel. Will good friends, a dog named Sarah Jane, and a bit of folk magic be enough to bring Hound Dog and Bean a happy ending?
I hope I have done justice to both the wondrous people who run no-kill animal shelters and to fine coffee.
Oh. Gregory, who owns the café Oddly Correct, is heterosexual. Sad for us gay guys. Good news for all the straight ladies! He really does make what is known in the trade as “God in a cup.” His beans are extraordinary. You must try his coffee if you can. I am even going to give you the opportunity—for free!
But lastly I should probably tell you about the cute guy I began this whole thing with, right?
So there I was at church when—Cowabunga! I saw the sexiest and cutest guy I’d seen in a long time. What’s funny is that he wasn’t my usual type, which is bearded and broad and hairy-chested. No. This guy was actually shorter than me (!), slight, and had blond dreadlocks. I’d never thought the hairstyle was particularly sexy, but on this guy? WOOF!
I quite suddenly knew he was my Hound Dog! So over the next several weeks I built up the courage to ask him if he would consider posing for the cover of the book. I am learning the art of photography and dreamed of having one of my photographs serving as a cover for one of my books. What’s more, with this dude, I could have him hold my own sweet dog—Sarah Jane—and she would be on the cover too!
I asked…and he agreed!
And then weirdly vanished. Into thin air. It’s been months and months and months and I have never seen him again.
Luckily the incomparable Paul Richmond came to the rescue and created a cover and a Hound Dog that out-hound-dogged the original inspiration! Needless to say I am a very happy camper even if I never got to drool…I mean, photograph that cute guy.
Okay! That’s it folks. I hope you will buy my new book. I think you will love it, I really do, and not just because I wrote it. Find it right here!: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=Hound+Dog+%26+Bean&osCsid=bfqvecgkr8opvdmaerpdv7s4f6&x=0&y=0
And here’s the promotions! There will be three—count them—three prizes…
One, an ecopy of Hound Dog & Bean. Comment to qualify.
And Two!—a bag of premium roasted coffee beans donated by Oddly Correct! This is from Finca Sinai – Alfredo Boas. It is a “Best of Huila Winner,” with bright raspberry & lime tones, along with savory cocoa and herb character and a silkier “mouthfeel.” It is not flavored. The description is coffee-language, and you will be amazed at the taste!
For this one you must email me at BGThomaswriter@aol.com, and sorry—you must be in the continental United States for this one. I don’t want to have to take out a second mortgage on my house to pay for mailing this outside the country!
Thank you for taking the time to read me today, Thank you so much to Eli Easton for having me as a guest.
Please (!) check out Oddly Correct’s website! You’ll be glad that you did. http://oddlycorrect.com/index.html
And finally!! Please—if you are thinking about getting a dog or cat, please consider adoption. They make the best pets and companions. They really do know somehow that you rescued them. I didn’t believe it until I got my own Sarah Jane.
Love and Light to you All.
And Remember! Leap and the Net Will Appear!
About BG Thomas
B.G. loves romance, comedies, fantasy, science fiction and even horror—as far as he is concerned, as long as the stories are character driven and entertaining, it doesn’t matter the genre. He has gone to literature conventions his entire adult life where he’s been lucky enough to meet many of his favorite writers. He has made up stories since he was child; it is where he finds his joy.
In the nineties, he wrote for gay magazines but stopped because the editors wanted all sex without plot. “The sex is never as important as the characters,” he says. “Who cares what they are doing if we don’t care about them?” Excited about the growing male/male romance market, he began writing again. Gay men are what he knows best, after all—since he grew out of being a “practicing” homosexual long ago. He submitted a story and was thrilled when it was accepted in four days.
“Leap, and the net will appear” is his personal philosophy and his message to all. “It is never too late,” he states. “Pursue your dreams. They will come true!”
Visit his website and blog at http://bthomaswriter.wordpress.com/ or contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.