Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: Your novel's title is shown as a "current working title." Why, and what significance is there, if any?
Authors frequently use a "working title" for their books. When I started this novel, the working title was simply "Phoenix Rising," but as I got into the story I saw that there were six individuals in the group, plus extra characters besides, so there were chances of extra books beyond this one - if you readers want. So, the working title became "Phoenix Rising Book 1." For a while I gave it the rather unwieldy title of "The (Un)Official Carica-Tour" because of things that happen in the story, but I wanted something with more punch and more connection to the group and the story. The current working title delivers on that! And, no, Sean, I won't tell you any more just yet....

Q: Is the novel strictly fiction, or historically accurate, or what?
That's a GREAT question. Settings are, for the most part, absolutely historically accurate, as far as I can or could research. In some cases (for instance, hotel rooms), some "artistic license" is taken. And some places may not be quite as close together, or as far apart, as in real life, so it's DEFINITELY not Rick Steves' walking tour of wherever. Also, remember the time setting is the year 1968. The actual attitudes towards homosexuality were nowhere near as lenient as they are, even today, so the story of this book presents a "what-if" alternative to the history of the era. On another side note, this was also a time before HIV and AIDS. Homosexual sex simply didn't include the conversation about condoms or prevention of disease. Finally, this is a romantic comedy hiding under a "first world tour" by a hot new rock group. So, expect some chuckles, expect some laughs, and hopefully some serious outbursts of laughter. Benji, Ravynn, Sean, Clay, Wil, and Todd - along with Greg, DC, and Davey and his crew - are ready to entertain you, very soon.

Q: Where do you get your inspiration for your character's names?
A: In many cases, the characters themselves give me their names; when Ravynn "stepped into" my life, he introduced himself, and eventually gave me the first names of the other guys in the group. The last names for some came from the character themselves, but in a few cases, the name got assigned. Ravynn, who was born Robin Smith, picked his last name St. John because Paul McCartney had a home in St. John's Wood in London; Sean became Sean Alexander because of a cat named Alexander. Other characters were given names based in part on their role in the story - Davey, the road manager, became Davey Rhodes, because I love wordplay and puns (and "Dusty Rhodes" was already taken by a real human).

Q: What do you mean by "inclusive"?
I write stories about primarily gay men, with "happily ever afters." I don't buy into the old ideas that homosexuality means sadness or bitterness, and my stories will mostly reflect that. True, there won't be all "peaches and cream" happiness - I don't want to give you diabetes or an overabundance of unbelievable sweetness - but almost everyone will get at least a "happy for now" in my books. In my books, you're going to meet people from all walks of life - from across the spectrum of the LGBTQIA+ rainbow - as well as heterosexuals, asexuals, and even some who are totally opposed to anything to do with LGBTQIA+. That last group of folks, I can't guarantee that they'll get happy anything. Which is all a great lead-in to the next question....

Q: Why do you use the term "homosexual" rather than "gay"?
Okay, a brief (but sorta long) history lesson: The prequel is set in 1967, the novel in 1968. The Stonewall riots, which marked the beginning of the Gay Rights Movement, occurred in June of 1969. So the book is historically accurate in using "homosexual" rather than "gay" because the use of gay to describe homosexuals, men or women, did not start until around 1970 or 1971. Though Ravynn and Benji may use the word "gay" a few times in the prequel and novel, the main term in use at the time was "homosexual," though there were quite a few slurs and insults in use which I will not include here.

Q: How do you choose settings for the scenes in the prequel and the novel?
The prequel all but wrote itself, once I decided there needed to be something out before the novel. Given that New Orleans has been a favorite place for me to visit (I've been there at least 5 times over the years), Benji has a huge family from the area, AND the Southern Crescent train runs from Atlanta to New Orleans (now the Amtrak Crescent), the opening chapter was pretty much written before my mind had settled on the idea. As a side note, if you've never ridden Amtrak from Atlanta to New Orleans, you're missing out. The trip described in the prequel is a hazy-at-best recollection, but the real deal was incredible. I should demand a cut of ticket sales from Amtrak just for suggesting it! Anyway, the scenes in and around New Orleans are all basically from memory, with some "artistic license" applied; Benji's maternal grandparents may or may not have had a plantation home to live in, but it fits the story. Virtually every other location mentioned - the restaurants and sights around the French Quarter - were there in 1968, survived Katrina, and are there today. I highly recommend starting your 65th birthday with cafe au lait and beignets at the Cafe du Monde at the river front; I did, and it was grand.
For the novel, the international stops Paris, Rome, and London were easy to pick, since I visited them in 1968; the American cities of Boston and Nashville also were selected for that reason (Atlanta is home), so Montreal, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle were researched and double-checked so that my story historically fit the 1968 "vibe" of the place.

Q: You have mentioned older writings. Any plans to re-publish them?
Right now, no; I may put some together for "freebies" over the next few months, or I may later on decide to compile something. Stay tuned to this site for details and updates!