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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, so he 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.
Twenty-seven years ago, under the title Ascent from Hell, Sometimes was completed. At one of the big-5 publishing houses, it got the attention of the first two sets of readers. They sent it up to the Editor, with their recommendation, "an important novel that deserves publication." The Editor demurred, writing to me, "prodigiously inventive, just not my cup of tea."
Decades have intervened since then and attitudes toward the gay community have changed. On his Hospice bed my husband asked me to dust it off and publish it. The dusting wasn't much, just a little reworking here and there. It took about three weeks and stands essentially as it was back in 1992 when it was inventive but not somebody's cup of tea.
In these pages magical elements pop up amid the realism:
+ A three-legged dog talks with God.
+ A naked hag swings on a golden chandelier.
+ A sainted mother prays for troubles to descent on her son that he might come to know what love is and call it by its name.
The novel is an M/M Romance. But it is not a romance in the way people think about romances--it's genre-breaking. This genre (in the male version) often contains multiple sex scenes. In Sometimes there is one sex scene (about 2 pages), and that one encounter severs a budding friendship.
Romances always contain protestations of love, one to the other. In this novel there is no such protestation. But it is a love song. Bob's sacrifice demonstrates the depths of their love, one to the other, straight and gay.
It's a love song to repressed love.
I think you'll enjoy it, gritty in places, lyrical in places. Explosive.
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.
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:
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)
Amazon's Author Page
Goodread's Author Page
Facebook's Novelist 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 and only recently (June 2019) ventured forth into the strange world of Facebook. You see, mindless and anonymous blather 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