A Chat with Damon Suede about Horn Gate, Bad Idea and audio books…And I made a Gin Gimlet

HornGateAUDlgLast week I wrote my Ode to Bad Idea and waxed long about all the things that were fantastic about that book. One of my FAVORITE things specifically, was getting to read about Trip’s, one of the heroes, and his creation of the  comic Scratch. In the story we get to read how he comes up with the demon as the main character, the descriptions of his appearance are wonderful and very very alluring. There is also Scratch’s nemesis, The Judge, who promises to be a mighty villain. As a comics fan, there was so much goodness to conjure up in my mind…I was so very curious of what that comic book would look like, I wanted to see it to so bad. To my delight Mr. Suede wrote, Horn Gate, a novella with the first installment of the Scratch series, which is available in ebook and audio formats!  About halfway through Bad Idea I went and bought Horn Gate on audio to pounce on it the moment I finished the book.

First things first, it should be required that this story is read in combination with Bad Idea. Actually, I find it hard to believe anyone could get to the end of Bad Idea and NOT feel an overwhelming need to read it! The build up and back story we get for it are so damn intriguing it was all I could do to not read both books at once!  Not surprisingly Scratch’s story gets off to a delightfully dark and sensual start. There is a lot of mysticism in the story to build on, and like any good comic arc it uses traditional (or obscure) lore elements to create a super interesting world. This story blends in Hebraic lore and demonology, and a strong dose of urban fantasy which totally worked for me. The audio version is narrated by Charlie David who has done both of Damon’s previous novels. He did an amazing job here, and in my opinion really helped the story come to life.

Horn Gate is set in NYC. Isaac a rare volumes curator in a NYC library is our hero, on his 22nd birthday he decided to venture to a sex lounge, Gehenna, he has inadvertently acquired an invitation for. Once Isaac, who is a bit on the pudgy side and quite geeky, goes into the club he realizes just how out of place he is. There are some strange goings on at Gehenna. Of course Isaac can’t keep from snooping around, and soon he finds himself in a room with what looks to be some sort of fallen angel. Things end up getting a bit confusing when Isaac gets a bit closer to the beautiful being who seems to be imprisoned in Gehenna’s basement. He wakes up the next day unsure of what happened, but with an intense desire to see his demon again. Strange things are happening to him, and quickly realizes he might walked into something a lot more sinister than he could have imagined. His fate is linked to the his demon’s and he will do what he has to for both of them to walk out alive.

This novella (as it should!) will leave you with more questions than answers. This is the setup for an arc, so what we get is a look at the relevant actors, a sense of the setting, the world, and the tone for the story. As openers go this was delicious, basically what we have here is a whole lot to look forward to! After finishing Horn Gate, I had some questions regarding the story and putting it on audio. Damon kindly took the time to answer them for me. But, before we go on to that, let’s talk alcoholic beverages…I made  a cocktail for this one, because, A. Wine just did not seem to go with this story and B. Because I hadn’t had a Gin Gimlet in a really long time and Isaac, Scratch’s hero drinks them in the story. So, The Gimlet.

photo 2 (8)

Like I said, I was really curious about what involved putting Bad Idea and Horn Gate on audio, they are both extremely visual stories, but completely different in their tone, genre, etc. I took my questions to Damon, and he very graciously answered them, and then some!

Tipsy Bibliophile: How did the process of getting Bad Idea and Horn Gate on audio go? 

Damon Suede: Honestly, smooth as silk. Charlie David and I have been friends and colleagues for a whole bunch of years. He did such a masterful job on the Hot Head audiobook that I had him written into my contract for both books. LOL I knew going in that he was the baseline. I knew that Horn Gate and Bad Idea needed to have the same narrator because of the overlap between them. Thing is, he gets my voice and really knows how to bring the characters to life. He always goes the extra mile to make may books dazzle and I love him for it.  The truth is, I trust him pretty implicitly… He has a way of splashing around in language that’s sexy, funny, and thrilling to hear. Because he gets my voice, I knew he would dive into these books in the same way, even though they were so different from Griff & Dante’s story in Hot Head.

TB: Was there anything in particular you asked him to focus on? Where there parts of the story you were especially worried about?

 DS: With Horn Gate, my biggest concern was all the insane Hebrew and demonology, but I trusted him because I know I can. LOL In a sense, Bad Idea actually felt a lock for him. It’s such a theatrical book and has a bit of a rom-com feel that I knew he’d groove on. Charlie LOVES digging into characters and finding the stuff that makes them tick, so I was certain he’d go balls to the wall on that one. For Bad Idea, I didn’t really have concerns beyond the general flow of it. Dreamspinner has been phenomenal with audiobooks and Andrew Grey has taken over the production end with dazzling results. I’m so grateful for the way he shepherded these through so quickly and gracefully. Between Andrew and Charlie, my audio was in the best hands.

TBWhat was it like for you to listen to Scratch and Issac’s story on audio? For me, it was amazing, especially after the build up for it in Bad Idea. Did the images come to your mind just like they did when you were making them?

DS: Horn Gate is such a visual story, so yeah. The original idea for the comic came to me while I was drafting Bad Idea. And the more I wrote Silas and Trip’s story, the more I wanted to know the details about their collaboration. SO much of Bad Idea is about the sexiness of collaborating, bringing something to life. Also, I used to write for comics, and I truly plotted Scratch’s story out the way I would a graphic novel. I built Scratch’s series arc in his first big sticky adventure, and I wanted it to echo back and forth between the two books thematically. Not to mention, as I was finishing the rough draft of Horn Gate, Rey Arzeno came to my loft and PAINTED Scratch for me while I wrote, both of us listening to my soundtrack for the project. Amazing mojo! I’d have an idea and he’d paint it, and he could just look over and ask about the way Scratch came off the page. I love that kind of creative back and forth, when we bring out the best in each other by kicking each other’s asses.

And since (technically) I was writing the novella AS Trip Spector, that added a funny sizzle to the process because I have my personal experience in that industry, but wanted Scratch to be in his “voice” if you know what I mean. Horn Gate definitely has an urban fantasy feel, and the Indiana-Jones style digging in the musty library only added to that as the pieces came together. I loved the way Charlie built that sense of wonder/urgency/anxiety into that last build solving the mystery of Scratch. Again Charlie is phenomenal at digging the drama out of a situation and he just went for it. As he does!

Writing Bad Idea and Horn Gate turned out to be such a blessing, because the contemporary side of the two artists let me do one kind of exploration and then playing in the paranormal let me flex all kinds of other spooky muscles. That’s like muse-candy. 🙂 And coming soon I’ll have the second Scratch novella, and the sequel to Bad Idea (which will be Ziggy’s book). We’ve already had offers on an actual comic book adaptation of Scratch which is so f#$%ing exciting.

So there you have it folks. Thanks again to the lovely Mr. Suede, I learned so much about his creative process for both Bad Idea and Horn Gate, as well as some exciting news of what’s to come! I CANNOT wait for the comic book adaptation for Horn Gate and can barely contain my excitement about Ziggy and Kurt!

Totally recommend this novella! Horn Gate is available on ebook and audio version at Dreamspinner press.

The Gimlet

1 oz Gin

4 oz of sweetened lemon juice

photo 1 (8)Directions:

In an cocktail shaker mix the gin and juice with LOTS of ice. Pour on to a martini glass and garnish with a sliver of lemon peel.

That’s all for me today! Hope you enjoyed the chat with Damon, and that you giver the Gimlet a try.

Cheers and Happy Reading.




Interview with ZA Maxfield for My Cowboy Heart Blog Tour

My Cowboy HeartHello ALL! I AM SOOOOOOOOOO excited for today! ZA Maxfield came out with her wonderful cowboy love story My Cowboy Heart released this past Tuesday through Inter Mix Publishing. This is exciting on various fronts. New publisher for ZAM, COWBOY, a series and did I mention cowboys? As always ZAM did not only not disappoint even a little bit, but managed to raise the bar in what I will be expecting from gay cowboys stories in the future.

As part of the Blog Tour for My Cowboy Heart Ms Mazfield has graciously stopped by my little corner of the blogeshere to answer some questions about her new book, M/M Romance as a genre, cowboy friendly foods, and her future plans for the men of the J Bar Ranch! So without further a do…An Interview with the most fabulous ZA Maxfield!

The Tipsy Bibliophile: In the past you have explored a wide range of storylines in your books, but you have rarely gone for the more “traditional” themes. Tell us a little bit about why you decided to go for a cowboy story?

 ZA Maxfield: I’ve always loved Cowboy stories. Cowboys come from the larger group of archetypes that include knights and wandering samurai. They have a code of honor. Sometimes they’re taming the land, sometimes they’re protecting the innocent. Sometimes it’s cowboys versus society. Versus progress. They’re a dying breed. It makes for great drama.

 tTB: What surprised you the most about how this story developed?

 ZAM: What surprised me the most is that once I got rolling, I was hitting on the same three themes that appear in all my books: Romantic love, family, and redemption. This shows up in everything I write, even when I try to totally switch things up. I was talking with a friend on the phone and we decided it’s my holy trinity. I’m a three-note musical scale.

 tTB: To me this book is one of your most “True Blue” romances, just full of all the stuff that makes a great romance story, but at the same time there were very heavy subjects surrounding the main characters. Do you think that is what makes the M/M genre so unique? That you can still have a classic romance despite characters who are not only flawed but have been broken.

 ZAM: I don’t necessarily think that’s unique in m/m. My favorite romance writers (of course this may be a personal taste thing) write hopelessly flawed characters. The joy is seeing how they’ve written this very flawed man or woman a happy ending. I think the guy or girl who is damaged goods is what romance is all about. We love broken characters way more than undamaged ones.

 The books that I can’t put down are the ones with characters I must see succeed in love, in life. I need for them to get their happy ending. I guess that’s why I write the types of books I write as well.

 I’m driven by empathy. When I feel for the character, when I can relate to what makes his yearning more poignant, I’m in palm of the writer’s hand so to speak. As a writer my goal has always been to write classic romance novel with gay characters. It’s tough to do, because so many traditional romance plots include inherent gender-based power imbalance. But I strive!

 tTB: This blog is a bit different in that I pair my book reviews with wine and food that I think would go well with the story. For Crispin and Speed I’ve made stuffed roasted poblano peppers with a New Mexican chile sauce and a delicious Spanish Verdejo…What would the guys think of my food choice for them?

 zAM: I think my Cowboys would be delighted to pull up those scarred wooden dining chairs to sit down and eat hearty. I do think that Speed might enjoy a beer more — he’s not big on wine, whereas Crispin will probably try to coax you out of that old bottle of Respoado Tequila you’ve been hiding.

 Oh, and can I come for dinner too? That sounds absolutely delicious!

 tTB:  So what is next for the cowboys at the J-Bar Ranch? Can you tell us a little bit about what to expect from the next book in the series?

 ZAM: Oh, my gosh. What can I say. Jimmy is in big trouble. He’s been drinking like a fish and Eddie and Boss Malloy have finally had enough. In one way, they’re only looking out for him, you know? What happens if Mrs. Jenkins decides to sell up? Who’s going to hire some drunken cowboy?

 Maybe Eddie goes about things all wrong by getting Jimmy drunk and shoving him into his truck and taking him to an isolated mountain where there’s nothing to do but dry out and watch the snow fall.

 Jimmy’s not happy. Eddie’s in over his head trying to help him. Eddie calls his friend Don, who loaned him the cabin in the first place, and asks for help. Problem is, Don has a thing for cowboys, and as far as he’s concerned, if one cowboy in his bed is good, then two must be better.

 Eddie and Don might be exactly what Jimmy needs. Or they might be more than he can handle… STAY TUNED for My Heartache Cowboy! Coming in January…

Well there you have it folks! I had a lovely time reading ZAM’s responses to my questions, she really is one of my true favorites in this genre. My Cowboy Heart is a book that lives up to ZAM’s solid reputation, a fantastic romance, with great humor, fabulous erotica, awesome secondary characters and a solid story to back it all up. If you have not read it, go and GET IT NOW it is on sale at here at Amazon.com

As for the next installment in the series, Jimmy and Eddie’s story My Heartache Cowboy, is availabe for pre-order on Amazon.com

I’ll end it here for now, but stay stuned, because later today I’ll be posting my review for this awesome book with the recipe for the poblano peppers which are AMAZING! Thanks again to ZAM for stopping by and to you guys for taking the time see what I am up to!

Cheers and Happy Reading!