Two damaged men.
One straight, one gay.
Both yearning for love.
Will it save them? Destroy them?
It's his head-turning good looks and his homelessness that puts Bob Newell into the claws of rich Carmen.
He's her Man-Toy to comply with whatever whim she has.
He speaks to her of wanting wife and family. She scoffs, "Me and you?! No way!"
Bob finds the gumption to flee.
How he yearns for a woman's love, wife and family.
In Atlanta he works as a roofer.
Gay Blaine manages, with difficulty, to befriend straight Bob.
It's on again. Mostly off again.
After a night in a gay Disco, drunk Bob says he'd like to spend the night.
Blaine protests that would mess up a budding friendship.
Bob counters, "I want to hold and be held."
While still dark, Bob sneaks out of Blaine's apartment, horrified at himself, at what he had invited into his life.
That one sexual encounter severs the nascent friendship.
He longs for real love, a woman's love, for wife and for kids to play with in the backyard.
He doesn't long for sleazy sex.
Sometimes, though, the dream of wife and family evades a man's grasp.
Eventually the rift between them mends and they make a home together, straight and gay.
But then Bob needs to fire bullets.
Enter the brutally honest world you've always wondered about,
the world of damaged psyches, depravity, sacrifice and ultimate transcendence.
Sometimes Lovin' is Hurtful
An explosive mainstream novel on gay theme.
Read it now.
It'll grip your soul.
Sometimes Lovin' is Hurtful
432 pages, 107,000 words
Paperback (ISBN: 978-0999858318), eBook (ISBN: 978-0999858363)
and Audiobook (ISBN: 978-0999858332)
A free 30% sample is offered at most retailers.
AD 589, the Twilight of Antiquity.
Plague and decades of war had depopulated Italy.
Industry, agriculture, commerce and city life had all stopped,
and the people cowered under the brutality of their Germanic overlords.
Through this ruination moves Titus Tribonius, a man of emotional and moral strength.
An idealist, he is reluctant to step forward.
But then the Germanic overlords publicly castrate a friend of his on the Cathedral's steps.
In panicked fear he flees to the shrine of his household gods.
For hours he stands before those pre-Christian, forbidden gods, his arms raised in supplication,
his head covered with the old-fashioned toga. It is stained with his friend's blood.
Dozens of his household slaves gather to gawk at him just standing at the pagan shrine.
Hours pass. He stands.
More hours pass. He prays to his heathen gods.
The peristylum becomes crowded with those watching him.
He just stands there, immobile, silent, with arms raised.
Finally he turns to proclaim in measured voice, "It shall not stand."
One of his household asks him to clarify and he bellows, "Our subjugation shall not stand!"
How he struggles to regain what was being lost!
You know the shroud of the Dark Ages would befall.
You know, in hindsight, that Titus failed.
But won't you join him in his noble, doomed struggle?
Titus could use some help.
Some things are worth fighting for.
Add your efforts to his.
Read To Forestall the Darkness today.
To Forestall the Darkness: A Novel of Ancient Rome, AD 589
612 pages, 158,000 words.
Third Edition, Nov 11, 2017
Paperback (ISBN: 978-0999858301), eBook (ISBN: 978-0999858387)
A free 30% sample is offered at most retailers.
AD 593. A good man, still pagan in a Christian world, banished.
His wife, his Little Flower, raped in his absence.
Another woman, Adria, a commoner, nurturing him in his exile.
The Pope, thrusting the defense of Rome on his shoulders.
Amid political machination within the walls of Rome, the Lombard king lays siege to the city.
Titus: "But Your Holiness, what about your flock? Resist them, yes. But defeat them?
Our grain grinders, road repairers, grocers can't match a trained military on the field.
They'd be slaughtered. We'll wait them out within our walls."
Pope Gregory the Great: "The Emperor is watching me. He demands and I demand a spirited defense!"
I'll defend the city but I won't lead the people outside the walls. It'd mean their deaths."
Pope: "Who are you to dare defy me?!"
Titus: "Consul with Plenary Powers by acclamation of the people!"
Pope: "Careful, Titus! I know things about you. We burn heretics at the stake."
Join Titus in his struggle
+ to defend the city,
+ to avenge his wife and
+ to escape Rome with Adria, the woman he loves.
Start reading today.
To Abandon Rome, AD 593
342 pages, 85,000 words.
Paperback (ISBN: 978-0999858325), eBook (ISBN: 978-0999858370)
A free 30% sample is offered at most retailers.
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
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 (ISBN: 978-0999858349)
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,
was domestic chef to British nobility in Greenwich, CT, became an amateur bodybuilder,
used his medic training to work in hospitals, then went on to transcribe medical dictation 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'd 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, 2009.
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 Facebook or Twitter.
You see, the mindless and anonymous blather there gives him the heebie-jeebies.
But he loves interacting with people one on one. So if you'd like to send him an email, he will answer you.
copyright 2019 Vann Turner DBA Feather Books
Sometimes Lovin' is Hurtful is an emotionally explosive novel, at times gritty, at times lyrical.
In the gritty opening scenes Robert Newell--with head-turning good looks--severs his Man-Toy relationship with Carmen
and returns to the land of his childhood, the South. He hopes he might obtain his dream there.
He acknowledges his is a humble dream, the common dream of Everyman,
the dream of wife and family.
An idyllic interlude follows. It is spent with a blind old schoolmarm in rural Missouri.
Bob and Mrs. Sloan need each other, but she sends him away that he might find his future in wife and family, in providing and caring.
"My first name is Ethel, in case you have a little girl."
In Atlanta a Marine from Vietnam pummels him in a beer joint and tosses him onto the sidewalk.
Homely gay Blaine encounters the hunk there, and with ulterior motives stops to help him home.
Over weeks a sort of friendship develops. On again.
Mostly off again.
But eventually they manage to make a home together.
And together they celebrate the negligible milestones of their lives, straight and gay.
But then bullets need to be fired. "Hands can do a lot of things, Reggie. Like building, like destroying."
The murder becomes a cause celebre for special interest groups. It is not a cause celebre for Bob.
It is the closing of his life. Outside the walls of Florida State Prison police assemble in riot gear.
Inside it is quiet as Bob talks with a chaplain.
Realization comes. Then visions.
And Bob joins Blaine as they continue their lives together.
AD 589. In the Sixth Century Italy had been depopulated by plague and laid waste by decades of war.
Industry, agriculture, commerce and city life had all stopped.
Into this desolation the Germanic Lombards had come marching in, meeting no resistance.
Decades later, with things unimproved,
a new King appoints Titus Tribonius as his Chief Jurist for Roman Matters.
Titus, an upright man but more pagan than Christian,
seeks to protect the native Romans from the brutality of their overlords.
He has little success because the King had given him the responsibility for them
but not the authority to act.
It's a difficult time for Titus.
His wife's excessive piety shields her from his embrace.
The Romans despise him for being in cahoots with the Lombards
and he can't insult the King by resigning his office.
A friend's public castration on the cathedral steps compels him to act. But how?
Armed rebellion would be foolhardy and only increase the people's agony.
He decides on a course of action and pursues it.
After some success, his idealism rashly prompts him to free his four hundred slaves.
The Lombards see this as an attempt to undermine the very foundations of their State.
Charges are brought against him.
In this novel, Vann Turner bears witness to the dreams we cherish,
the difficulties we face and the courage we must summon when society threatens what we hold dear.
This is a tale of the human heart in Ancient Rome.
It is about a RAGE that must be kept caged until the moment comes to release it.
It is also about the woman who must sit by and watch it happen.
Amid political machinations, the story focuses on two characters. The first is Titus.
An educated man and former Chief Magistrate to the Lombard King, he has been banished
and has sought refuge in Rome where he finds himself reduced to baking clay and lime in furnaces.
Only camaraderie with the lowest commoners softens his loss of all he had and loved.
Unknown to him the powerful are vying for position one against the other with Titus central to their schemes.
One of those factions lifts him out of the brick factory and appoints him to a minor office.
A letter from Titus's wife in distant Verona finds its way to him.
In it she confesses to being raped and names her defiler: the King's Master of Horse.
Titus's heart explodes with RAGE.
The other focus of the story is Adria.
Unmarried, she is a middle--aged woman who teaches flute to support herself.
She had first spied Titus when, at the close of the workday, he would sit in the Ad Elephantos district
and read aloud to the assembled workmen and their children.
When the plague struck him, she nursed him back to health and back to the brick factory.
On his appointment to the Aedileship, she stayed with him as chaste companion and helpmate.
When word arrives that the Lombard forces were amassing for a siege of the city,
rustics stream into its walls for safety. Providing for them falls to Titus.
A senator with Germanic connections orders Titus to use his popularity with the people
to get them to clamor for letting the King enter the city.
On the opposite side, the Pope--loyal to the Emperor--appoints him Consul
and charges him with a spirited defense.
Titus sees detriment to the people in both of those courses.
He discards them. As Consul with Plenary Powers he pursues his own course:
"We'll wait out the siege within the walls."
He knows his decision will jeopardize his life once the immediate crisis has passed.
The siege befalls. In a meeting to negotiate a truce, Titus's two personal adversaries face him:
First there is the King who had stripped from him all that he loved.
And then there is the King's Master of Horse who--in Titus's absence--
had defiled his wife, his Little Flower. It was the moment for RAGE.
Adria was there, strong Adria in disguise as a man--Adria who loved him,
Adria looking on with dread.
In this novel Vann Turner continues his poignant exploration of the human heart,
how closely we bind, how the world seeks to sever,
and how we all need the courage to defend what is most dear.