Ever heard of a ‘twofer’? Well that’s what you’re getting tonight – two for the price of one and worth every penny. My guests tonight are Tristram LaRoche and Daniel DeLoite. I first got to know Tristram through his historical novel The Hun and the General, which pairs Attila the Hun with a Roman general. With my passion for the horse archer cultures the book was a must read and I was impressed with the edgy prose. Tristram introduced me to Daniel’s work, which is of a far more robust nature than I would normally choose to read, but I gave it a go anyway because – hey, British authors need to stick together. All I can say is that I was pleasantly surprised.
They are here to celebrate their first joint venture – a self published volume both in Kindle format and paperback, comprising one of Tristram’s stories and several of Daniel’s – and it is called Manthology. So read on for a chat with the guys and an excerpt of my favourite of Daniel’s books, Dead Gorgeous.
Tris: I never thought it would happen. The first time I came across Daniel deLoite (Shut up, Dan! Behave.) I thought he was a right jerk-
Dan: Oh,hark at you!
Tris: But I was going to say how wrong I turned out to be, if you’ll give me chance.
Dan: Ok, be my guest. I’ll play with myself a bit while you finish boring everyone.
Tris: Thanks. Go do it in the fast lane of the M1 if you like. Now, I never thought it would happen-
Dan: You said that-
Tris: Ssh! Never thought I would write a book with anyone, let alone the uber tricky Daniel.
Dan: Well, we haven’t exactly written one together, have we?
Tris: Oh, how picky! OK, we’ve collaborated on an anthology. Is that better?
Dan: Yes. Spot on. Actually, some spot off would come in handy at my place.
Tris: Good grief. Will I live to regret it, I wonder? Anyway, Dan persuaded me to stick my novella On My Knees between the same covers as five of his short stories.
Dan: Much better! You’re getting the hang of it – at last.
Tris: And we called it MANTHOLOGY. It’s only available from Amazon because we wanted to put it on their Prime programme so that you can borrow it for FREE if you want to. And-
Dan: *buzz* Repetition of ‘and’.
Dan: We’ve also whacked out a paperback version at a really interesting price, again from Amazon or the Createspace store.
Tris: Say “thank you” to Elin for even entertaining your presence.
Tris: You heard me. You’ve said some pretty biting things about female writers of gay fiction and she hasn’t banned you from her website.
Tris: Don’t! Just say “thank you Elin”.
Dan: Thank you Elin. I didn’t mean anything personal, like
Tris: And thanks from me, too, Elin. You’re a star. I’ve persuaded the tight-fisted Dan to let you have an excerpt.
Dan: Nothing wrong with tight fisting.
Tris: Ssh! Go away.
MANTHOLOGY in paperback and eBook from Amazon
and the Createspace store
An excerpt from Daniel deLoite’s short chiller, Dead Gorgeous which is part of the Manthology
Max knew me too well. After half an hour he’d found his place on the dance floor – a clear area near the old baptismal font that had been turned into a bar for the evening – and he partied with anyone and everyone. I’d picked up a can of lager and found my way up the steps to the organ loft, trying to escape the infernal racket of the so-called music. I leaned on the balustrade and looked down into what was left of the church. Many of the pews had gone, whether to a good home or at the hands of vandals I couldn’t tell, and mounds of rubbish had been swept into shapes resembling giant molehills on the cracked floor. My eyesight couldn’t penetrate the gloom to the far corners, and the strobe lighting that flashed somewhere beneath me tormented my vision. No sooner did I think I’d worked out the carvings and statues than the frantic light would pummel my senses and something completely different would be staring back at me. What the fuck? I shook my head and looked at the can of lager. Not even Special Brew.
As the music changed track, I thought I heard a sound behind me. I turned on my heel, my eyes automatically searching the floor in expectation of a rat. They say that wherever you are in London you’re never more than six feet from one of the effing creatures. Anyway, it was far too dark down on the floor to see, even if there had been a family of vermin. When I raised my eyes the organ caught my attention. Everything in the church had a look of decay and dilapidation, dust had gathered everywhere – the Goths downstairs didn’t seem at all bothered by it but I did think it must really fuck with their black clothes. But the organ stood there untarnished, its pipes as bright as the day they’d been fitted, the glorious carvings oozing with the rich warmth of tropical hardwoods as if they’d been waxed and polished only that morning. I breathed in and the smell could not have been more remote from the staleness I’d expected, all beeswax and honey and vinegar.
By now my eyes had become better accustomed to the dim light, my back to the nave and the incessant strobing. Yet, as the swatch of light flashed on behind me, the face of an angel appeared and disappeared, appeared and disappeared. I stepped closer and put out my hand to feel it, like a blind man acquainting himself with a stranger. The angel stood too high for me to reach and I was glad to find the organist’s stool nearby. I dragged it across the floor and climbed up, grabbing hold of the angel’s arm with my free hand to steady myself. My own body cast an intermittent shadow now, and I traced the intricate carving that gave life to this creature of Heaven. I never could tell the gender of angels and often joked that when you’d seen one, you’d seen them all, yet something about this androgynous face attracted me. I felt the square jaw, the full lips, cheeks so gently formed they felt soft despite being made of wood. High cheek bones and a subtly prominent brow reminded me of the chiselled features so often seen on male models and I smiled to myself. Dare I? My hand made its way downwards, running through the folds of the robe.
“Do you like angels?” The voice seemed to come from the wooden lips and I flinched, grabbing the rich folds of the rigid garment to prevent myself falling from the stool. I peered at the face, trying to make it out. “Do you like angels, Rick?” The lips didn’t move. What the fuck? Of course they didn’t move, it was a fucking statue!
The sound I’d heard before, the rustling that made me think of rats, came louder now from behind. I turned, still clinging to the angel’s robe with one hand, can of lager in the other.
“Hello, Rick.” Even in the gloom I could see the source of the voice. The strobe had no effect on the face, its luminescence cold and constant, as if not really there.
My senses told me this was the same face as the carved angel, but how? I held up the can of lager, turned my eyes on it even though I could barely see it, and threw it to the floor. “Jesus.”
“Not quite.” The voice had an ethereal quality that rose above the clatter and fizz of the discarded can, light but smothering the rhythmic sounds below. It sounded male and female all at the same time.
A tremble ran through my body and when I opened my mouth to speak my teeth chattered. The apparition moved toward me and I heard the rustle again. Fear pinned me to the spot, even as I felt hands on my crotch and heard the zip of my flies being pulled down. My entire body stiffened instantly.
You can find Tris here: http://tristramlaroche.com/
And Dan here: http://danieldeloite.blogspot.co.uk/