Ancient Rome & LGBTQ
To Forestall the Darkness, AD 589
To Abandon Rome, AD 593
Sometimes Lovin' is Hurtful, 1980
Ancient Rome & LGBTQ

I'd love to hear from you. Write and you'll hear back.
-- Vann

Author’s remark:
All my work would be classified as "literary fiction". This does not mean it is high-brow, dry or difficult to understand. It’s not. It's gripping. What the classification as "literary" means is it is not a genre work and does not follow a familiar storyline. More on "literary fiction":

On this page:
The Tribonian Trilogy


The Bobby Stories



Tribonian Trilogy 1. A dystopian tale of an idealist in a brutal world.

Italy, AD 589. Italy moans, barely breathing. Industry, agriculture and city life had stopped, all of it erased by decades of war and the plague. The Romans are hangdog, defeated, and Titus moves among them.

But what can he do under such brutal overlords? An educated man, he publishes books in his scriptorium for sale to the Eastern Empire. He observes what has been lost and laments it.

The King, having given him the responsibility for his Roman subjects, reserves to himself any authority to act. Titus reports abuses, the King takes no action and the people taunt Titus for being in cahoots with their oppressors. But what can he do?

But then his friend is publicly castrated on the cathedral steps. The question becomes not what? but how?

Armed uprising is futile, the people hangdog and cowering. But then he sees in their downcast gaze the answer. They would regain what has been lost by rebuilding the people's confidence, their technologies and crafts. They would sell their output to the rich East. He would work to rebuild the optimism that had made Rome great.

Titus opens his estate to those fleeing Verona. He builds kilns for the potters. He parcels out his 6,000 acres for those wishing to farm and instructs his overseer to teach them to farm. He starts building an Academy to replace those the Pope closed in Rome. He buys scholars to teach in it.

Betrayals come, hostility and distrust, but he presses on to forestall the coming darkness.

But he is rash and goes too far. The overlords arrest him.

You know from your history classes that the shroud of the Dark Ages did befall. The world retreated into the cloister and prayed for the dissolution of the whole world. They called it by a pretty euphemism, the End of Days. What they meant was the destruction of everything. Nothing would remain. Nothing.

Isn't that a horrible thought? Isn't the world and civilization worth fighting for?

Join Titus in his efforts To Forestall the Darkness.

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Tribonian Trilogy 2. About a man's defense of the common people, and the woman at his side.

AD 593. Amid the crumbling grandeur of Christian Rome a good man opposes both Archdeacon and Pope. He stands against them as a bulwark for the common people.

Titus, banished by the new Lombard King, finds himself reduced to baking bricks in Rome. Political machinations are afoot and the factions have contrary schemes for him. One faction lifts him from the brick factory to a minor office. Neither faction is ready for what a Roman of the old cloth would do.

While this historical novel is true to the times, conflicts and characters, it is gripping and breath-catchingly dramatic:

In the late 6th Century, a Consul with Plenary Powers wore the mantle for a bit. A true Roman. He stood up. But then he faced Papal ire and the threat of the heretic's stake.

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The maps of the city of Rome in *Abandon* cannot be adequately displayed in an eBook because the map and legend cover left and right pages. This necessitated the eBook edition to have simplified maps. You may view, enlarge and/or download the full maps here (PDF format):
Map of Rome
Map of Rome's Northern Regions

Tribonian Trilogy 3. The conclusion of the Trilogy is a dramatic exultation of the wedded life. Gripping. Emotive. It’s a short read, but a memorable one.

On Titus’s recall from banishment, his jubilation is short-lived. First, the Lombard King threatens him. Second, a man he had freed from slavery attempts to kill him. He must find a new life beyond the reach of King, Pope and Emperor -- the unknown wilds of Scotland.

There, he and Adria coax the earth to provide. And they are content, man and wife. But the skeletal hand that comes for all mortal flesh touches Adria.

Will Titus -- educated, philosophical Titus, his earthly work at an end -- hurl himself from the cliffs to follow her?

To Grasp the Miraculous, AD 593 – 607 is a dramatic exultation of the wedded life. Gripping. Emotive. It’s a short read, but a memorable one. Read it today.


This novella completes the Tribonian Trilogy. Each of the books is self-contained without a cliff-hanger at the end.

The three books in the Trilogy are listed below. They may be read separately in any order, each to powerful effect. But there is a forward thrust throughout the Trilogy. I guess the reason for that is when I wrote the first words of To Forestall ("'Putrid!' Titus said, sniffing the air and curling his lips in revulsion."), the final scenes of To Grasp (on the cliffs of Scotland) had already been revealed.

To Forestall the Darkness: A Novel of Ancient Rome, AD 589 (pub 2013)
To Abandon Rome, AD 593 (pub 2017)
To Grasp the Miraculous, AD 593 - 607 A Novella of the Dark Ages (pub 2020)

Published September 27, 2020.

Dramatic. Heartfelt. Explosive.

He kept searching for the perfect woman, but found perfect love in a man. He couldn’t accept that! Not him! An explosive love song on repressed love.

Atlanta, 1980. Bob Newell longs for a loving wife and family. Unfortunately, things don't go as planned. He breaks free from an abusive relationship and is only a step away from sleeping on the streets, when a sinister figure from his past beats him up and tosses him in the gutter.

Blaine hasn't found intimacy; he just settles for anonymous sex and he thinks the hunk in the gutter would be tasty. So he hauls Bob up from the sidewalk and over several weeks the two damaged men form an uneasy friendship. But when a drunken night at the disco opens the door to his fantasies, Blaine risks sex with straight Bob. It proves to be a mistake and Bob flees in the night.

Renewed danger from the dark figure forces Bob to seek refuge in Blaine's apartment. While Blaine embraces the growing feeling that his new roommate may be his ideal lover, his health deteriorates and threatens their fragile liaison.

Will Bob ever accept that the love he craves was in Blaine's heart all along?

Sometimes Lovin' is Hurtful is an emotionally charged male-male romance, straight and gay. If you liked Brokeback Mountain or if you like heartfelt journeys of healing and complicated relationships, then you'll thrill at this cataclysmic novel.

Sometimes Lovin' is Hurtful will wrap you in an emotive whirlwind, ultimately settling in love.

A genre-bending M/M Romance. Not a coming out story. An ascent from the bowels of hell to transcendent love, straight-gay. Explosive. Buy it today.
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Sometimes: Dramatic, Heartfelt & Literary
So what is literary fiction?

Scott Semegran, author of To Squeeze a Prairie Dog: An American Novel, explains it well:

NY Book Editors define literary fiction as a type of fiction that “doesn’t adhere to any rules. Anything can happen which can be both exciting and unnerving for the reader. Sometimes, literary fiction takes a common theme in genre fiction and turns it on its head.” This is opposed to genre fiction, such as mysteries or romance, which is also “known as popular fiction… Genre fiction is more appealing to a wider audience. It’s written for the mainstream reader” and typically follows a storytelling formula and is plot-driven: Boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, boy loses girl, etc.
NY Book Editors further describe genre fiction as entertaining, often featuring happy endings, making it easier to sell for publishers, mainly because something easier to categorize is easier to sell. “It’s a romance!” That’s a simple widget to describe, which makes it easier to commodify — supposedly. Literary fiction isn’t plot-driven; it’s character-driven. Literary fiction uses creative storytelling, explores the human condition, and many times has ambiguous endings. Most of the great works of literature are categorized as literary fiction: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Catcher in the Rye, and To Kill a Mockingbird, to name a few.

Used with permission, from Scott Semegran’s article, “The Future of Literary Fiction Is Self-Publishing”

Short Stories

The Marine, the Lady & the Hag: An Adult Fable.

This loss of innocence fable is set in New York City at the height of the Vietnam war. In it an idealistic Marine confronts the horrors that await him and glimpses the societal structures that enable those horrors and are indifferent to them.
It's a gripping good read (only 3000 words).
eBook only (sug $0.99)

Never Quite Good Enough: A Short Story

A car crashes though the railings on a bridge. Bob skids to a halt and jumps into the dark current below, rescuing one. Later, to avoid a banquet in his honor, he invents a lie about his upcoming wedding.
This literary short story is about heroism, dreams that evade a man’s grasp and self-doubt. It’s about the dignity of the common man. A good read at only 2700 words.
eBook only. (sug $0.99) Available in English & Tamil.

Biographical note

Amazon's Author Page
Goodread's Author Page

Although author Vann Turner was born in West Palm Beach, FL, he cannot call that home. He attended thirteen different schools, in thirteen different locales, before he graduated from Pensacola High School in 1966. His parents thought the best graduation present would be a suitcase. Vann took the hint and left. By tending bar and cooking he earned his BA in English (Latin minor).

He went on to teach high school one year, became an avid backpacker, did a stint in the Army, then tried homesteading in upstate Maine. Failing at that, he merged into the hordes of homeless veterans on the streets. His medic training in the Army enabled him to pull himself up to work in hospitals and he became an amateur bodybuilder. He went on to transcribe medical dictation for a group of neurologists (using WordPerfect 5.1). During this time he wrote three gay short stories. The first magazines he sent them to bought them. Maybe he could tell a story and had something to say besides.

He then began working on his first novel, completing it in 1992. That novel came close to acceptance by a major publisher, but in the end it was no cigar. He told himself he needed to write full time, but he needed an income so he could quit his job and write. If he had something to sell on that new fangled thing, the World Wide Web, that would provide the income he needed.

So he learned coding. He wrote and sold medical transcription software, MedPen, on the internet. But that decision did not pan out as he had hoped. It sapped all his time and creativity and he wrote not a word of fiction until he sold the business in September, 2012.

The next day his long-time partner (and future husband when it became legal in 2014) asked him what he was going to do with his time. He said he was going to write. Bob nodded approvingly and asked him to dust off that 1992 novel. Vann responded that he had other stories to tell as well and he was going to write a novel set after the fall of Rome but before the solid onset of the Dark Ages, a time ripe with conflicts, Roman tradition versus Germanic custom, Christianity versus the old gods, the human heart struggling against itself and external constraints.

Vann has always been a shy person and now is something of a recluse in his mountain home with his dogs. (His husband passed in May of 2017.) He is not on Twitter, but dared to venture into the strange world of Facebook for seven months, finally deleting his account in February, 2020. He found the FB environment toxic to him. It sapped energy. Maybe it was just too many people shouting for attention all at once. But he loves interacting with people one on one. So if you'd like to send him an email, he will answer you.

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  • To Forestall: Ebook-- 978-0-9998583-8-7 Paperback-- 978-0-9998583-0-1
  • To Abandon: Ebook-- 978-0-9998583-7-0 Paperback-- 978-0-9998583-2-5
  • To Grasp: Ebook-- 978-1-7357029-1-9 Paperback-- 978-1-7357029-0-2
  • Sometimes: Ebook-- 978-0-9998583-6-3 Paperback-- 978-0-9998583-1-8 Audio-- 978-0-9998583-3-2 Hardback-- 978-0-9998583-9-4
  • Hag: Ebook-- 978-0-9998583-4-9
  • Enough: Ebook--(ASIN) B082QQGMJN

copyright 2020 Vann Turner DBA Feather Books