Tuesday, June 17, 2014

INTERVIEW: Stephen del Mar plus #GIveaway!

Today we're talking to Stephen del Mar who not only has a kickass name, but a kickass hat as well! Mr. del Mar comes to us with VERY generous giveaway! Check below for details. 

Hello Stephen and welcome to The Hat Party <3 Thank you so much for subjecting yourself to the RANDOMNESS that is a Raine O'Tierney interview! Please don your best hat, and let's get started!

Thanks for inviting me to the party! I love hats. My black fedora with the Havana brim is one of my favorites.

What important thing would you give up in order to continue writing?

Wait, there’s something left to give up? I think the important thing that I have given up, and as you know all writers have to do this, is a lot of free time. Especially social time with people, writing can be an isolating thing.

Be totally honest. How awesome would you be at leading a moon colony?

Very awesome, especially if it was a moon colony with a beach. I like being in charge and I like beaches. Oh and a lot of space cadets in regulation combat Speedos.  Gotta love combat Speedos.

What is your super-secret, wildest, most outlandish writing dream?

That is a good and hard question. Honestly, I don’t know if I have any secret dreams when it comes to writing, other than the writing itself. At this point, being a successful writer that can live on the income from their writing seems to be the wildest dream from the outland. I hope it comes true some day. Maybe I can find a blue fairy in a Speedo to make a wish on. ;)

Tell us about a time you were changed.

My road to being a writer was a hard one. I’ve always wanted to tell stories, to write, but I have a slight learning disability that made it very hard. And I just sucked in English classes growing up. Somehow, the idea that I couldn’t write got stuck in my head and stayed way too long. There were a number of things that helped dislodge that idea, a very special one was getting an email from a man in Turkey saying he really liked one of my short stories. Here was a person in another country on the other side of the world taking the time to say he liked something I wrote. That was one of those little transformative moments where I told myself, “Okay, you may never make any money at this or be well known, but you CAN do it. You can tell a compelling story and move people.” Yeah, that changed me.

Give a shout-out to another author who may, or may not, know how much you appreciate them.

Unfortunately he’s not around anymore and I never had the opportunity to contact him. Joseph Hansen, the writer of the Dave Brandstetter mysteries, is a pretty important writer in my life. I came across his work back when there was no positive portrayal of gay men in any media. I found one of his books in the University bookstore and took it back to my dorm room. I stayed up all night reading it. Not only was it a kick ass detective story but the main character was a cool gay man. A real man. That was pretty damn significant for a gay kid back in the early 1980s. Thanks Joe.

You have 200 words—Make. Me. Swoon. (PLEASE!)

Okay, don’t know if it is Swoon worthy, but here is part of a little scene I’m working on for the follow up to “Dark Love.” And I kept it under 300. Sorry. :)


“No,” Max said. “This isn’t right.”

Janos’ eyebrows knitted together. He tilted his head. “Why wouldn’t it be right? We both want this.” He paused. He pulled the band from his ponytail. His long brown hair fell to his shoulders. “We both want this. Right?”

Words felt thick and sticky in Max’s mouth. “Wanting something doesn’t make it right.” Janos unbuttoned the top button on his work shirt. Max thought, Is he going to strip right here in the middle of the living room? My aunt’s living room.

Janos’ fingers worked their way down the sweat stained shirt. He pulled it off his shoulders and tossed it over the back of Flora May’s rocker. The morning light coming in the window glistened on his torso. He took a step toward Max. “And wanting something doesn’t make it wrong.”

“But,” Max sputtered.

“But what?”

“Flora May is dead. Her funeral is tomorrow.”

Janos shook his head as he laughed, his hair flying around. “And you think she would mind?”


Janos took another step. “More buts?”

Max frowned. “Oh be reasonable. I’m an old, fat man. Why would you want this?” Janos stood in front of him. Max couldn’t help but inhale his musky scent.

Janos reached out and put his hands on Max’s shoulders. His warm brown eyes held Max’s. His face hardened. “That is your issue. I know what I want. Do you? One more but.”

Janos pressed his hard body against Max’s. Max closed his eyes. Why was he fighting this? Why didn’t he just let go and lose himself in the young man? He made one last attempt. “But you are dirty.”

A hand stroked Max’s beard. Janos whispered into his ear. “Then bathe me.”

You’re writing along and you’re attacked by a horde of zombies…ON FIRE…how do you survive? Or do you become a zombie too?

So it is relative cool for a summer day here in Florida and I decided to write out on the porch. I smell something. I check the clock on my laptop. “Kind of early to be barbequing,” I mutter. That’s when the screaming starts. I look up. A horde of flaming zombies lumber up the walk. They are the ones screaming, the undead flesh dripping from their bones like marshmallow melting off a stick in a campfire. One by one they fall. The last one collapses at the steppes to the front porch.

As the morning breeze blows the thick, black smoke away. I see Joe, the crazy Iraqi war vet, standing in the street. He’s wearing nothing but camo boxers and combat boots. And the flamethrower strapped to his back. I look at him. He looks at me. A mocking bird twitters in the magnolia tree shading the front lawn. I reach out and pick up the pitcher of iced tea. I hold it up. “Sweet tea?”

He gave me a grunt and a nod. I poured a second glass as he made his way up the front walk, avoiding the smoking dark pools of zombie matter. I sighed. I had hoped something out of the ordinary would happen today. But it looked like it would be just another day in the swamp. I looked up as Joe mounted the steps. Well he did look good in those boxers. I wondered how hard it would be to get him out of them. He, of course, could leave the boots and flamethrower on.

Do you have any special library memories?

Hum. Yes. Blush. Hey, I was young. It was college. The security guard seemed to enjoy it. Let’s just move on.

What was the trigger that made you first get really serious about publishing?
My friend Cindy kicking me in the butt to finally finish a story. She offered to help edit and polish it. And I’ve never looked back since then. Thanks Cindy!

And finally, for THE most important question of all: what kinds of dachshunds are the BEST kinds of dachshunds?

Well that is easy. The snuggly ones that like to watch TV with you. I dated a guy that had one. God I miss that dog.

~ ~ ~

Love and family, the two things Dieter wants most are slipping away. His uncle, the man who raised him as a father, is dead. Now his brother can’t wait to bulldoze and sell the family farm. Yet Dieter clutches at the memories of the past, fighting to hold them close. What Dieter doesn’t know is the past can be present and what is dead doesn’t always stay dead. He discovers that Dark Loves wants to live in the light.

“Dark Love” is a paranormal romance set in Stephen del Mar’s Bennett Bay region of Florida. There are witches, faeries, bears, twinks, a dragon drive by, and one very determined fag hag. Once again del Mar gives us the rich texture of his Florida setting that goes from the bayside tourist town of Bennett Bay to the backwater country hamlet of Live Oak. Remember, things are not always what they seem and be careful what you do under the light of the full moon!


I’m doing this interview on the June 13th, a Friday with the full moon closest to the Summer Solstice. In honor of that, I thought I’d include the excerpt when Dieter, the main character in “Dark Love,” finds out what he’s not supposed to do in the light of the full moon.


Of course that was the moment my phone made the little nose-twitch tinkle-tinkle. I sighed, go with the flow and remember you love him.

I picked up the phone. “Hello Innes.”

“Didn’t you get my text?” He sounded flustered.

“No. I haven’t looked at my phone. I’ve had other things on my mind.”

“Oh. Right. Well, what are you doing?”

“Sitting naked in the kitchen having soup and a sandwich.”


“Because I was hungry. What do you want?”

He didn’t say anything for a moment. I heard the creak of a screen door and the chirping of frogs. He must have moved outside onto Flora May’s front porch. “Look,” he said, “Flora May just got back from the faeries.” He paused like he expected me to comment. I had nothing.

“She’s not telling me a lot. Said they’re pretty agitated about the whole thing.”

Again the pause. Again I was silent; although I was worrying my grip on the phone would reach its crush point.

“Dieter, you gotta promise me to take this seriously.”

Actually, I didn’t have to promise him anything.



I heard him swallow. “Tonight is a full moon.”

“So? It happens every twenty-eight days from what I understand.”

“Fuck.” He was agitated. “Listen, whatever you do, don’t jack-off in that box under the full moon.”

My mind kicked into neutral and spun its gears as it tried to make sense of the string of words it just received. Because they didn’t make any sense and they kept coming.

He continued. “I mean it. Whatever you do, do not mix your semen with that ash in the full moonlight.”

Some emergency back-up system took over. My thumb slid over my phone and ended the call. I stood up, opened the fridge and pulled a beer out. I twisted the top off and dropped it on the table. I pushed my way through the swinging door into the living room. As I fell back onto the couch, I tried to imagine a world where the idea of masturbating into a box of human ash existed, let alone the need to warn someone not to do that. Ohhh, I’m gonna cum, make sure the drapes are pulled and the lids are on all the urns, ‘cause we don’t want our spunk and ash and moonlight to mix! ‘Cause that will start the zombie apocalypse or something.

Available from Amazon


*What inspired you to write the story you are promoting?

I really didn’t intend for this to be my first novel. I’ve been working on a longer one, more of a gay Southern family saga thing. But National Novel Writing Month rolled around and at the last moment I decide to do it. As I sat there in Starbucks, watching the clock tick toward midnight and November First, I racked my brain for some story I could pound out in four weeks. I know I wanted it set in my Bennett Bay/Big Cypress County setting but what should it be about?

I decided to poke a little fun at the whole paranormal/supernatural genre. (Think pouty and sparkly vampires.) I thought substituting semen for blood would make for a good twist. After all, wouldn’t the seed of life have more power than blood? It is certainly more fun to come by. I also wanted my main character to believe that magic was absurd and then have that absurdity bitch slap him.

The serious part of the story was looking at family, both our biological family and the family of choice we build around us. The dark love is a metaphor for gay love, the love that had to be hidden for so long and is now bursting forth into the light. That love is the subversive power of two men standing hand in hand and declaring their love in public. Love that will be dark no more.

*What are your hopes for this title?

I know it is a wacky story but I hope people enjoy it. It does show off my “voice” and the humor I like to weave in a story, even in the middle of tense or sad moments. 

About the Author:

Stephen del Mar is a fresh voice in Southern Gay Fiction. His Bennett Bay collection of books and stories explore life in that unique corner of the American South known as Florida. He also writes fantasy and science-fiction. Del Mar lives in the Tampa Bay region of Florida and enjoys Key Lime Pie and mango margaritas, but not at the same time. He also finds constantly barking Chihuahuas nearly as distracting to the writing process as Facebook and Twitter, but don’t tell his housemate.

Twitter: @StephendelMar


Comment between now and June 22nd at 11:59 PM CDT with your email address for your chance to win one of three copies of Dark Love!


  1. This was a blast! Thanks for letting me join the party!

    1. Thank YOU for stopping by, m'friend! <3

    2. I love your hat! I'm not a hat person, but enjoy it when others indulge. I've read some of your Bennett Bay stories and enjoyed them all.


  2. Hi Stephen, YOur novel sounds intriguing. I enjoyed your interview blog post. Please count me in for the giveaway. Thanks.

  3. Great interview! I am worry to say that I haven't read any of your books yet, but I am off to go put them on my wishlist.

    jczlapin(at)gmail(dot) com

  4. That is an epic interview. *nods* Zombie, libraries, semen and human ashes... Yup, epic.


    1. Thanks Ashley, I always aim for epic. :)

  5. great interview and the blurb sounds awesome! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Thanks for the giveaway appreciate the chance to win. great interview.


    1. You are welcome. Good luck and great screen name btw!