The Story Orgy is pleased to present our interview this week with the talented author of Casa Rodrigo and Lauderdale Hearts, Johnny Miles. We're talking about Lauderdale Hearts in detail, but lets find out a little about Johnny first.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
My favorite quote is from Auntie Mame, “Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!” I think the reason why I like it is because it resonates within me. I'd love to be like her, taking life by the balls and hanging on! Alas, I often lack courage. But when there's something I really want to do and start to talk myself out of it, I try and bring up that quote.
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
My fifteen-year relationship with the most wonderful person in the world. My partner!
And people say gay marriages don't work? I'm here to prove them wrong.
Congratulations! Fifteen years is a long time. I can't brush it off, because I know being with someone that long takes more than affection. It's work, dedication and compromise. What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
I think every bit of writing is challenging. From coming with a story and sticking to it, to sustaining plausibility and keeping the characters true to who they are. Then, of course, there's the entire process of submitting your story, the wait, the rejection or acceptance, not to mention the entire process that soon follows if your story is accepted. So, each step of the writing process offers its own challenges. But what a feeling when you see the cover art or see your name in print!
It's unequaled, isn't it? What is your greatest strength as a writer?
In my life, many friend have told me that I'm empathic. That's probably a good quality to have because even if you're writing about imaginary people, you still want to put yourself in their shoes and feel what they feel. Or at least understand why they do what they do.
I guess that makes me a bit like Counselor Troi on Start Trek: Next Generation, huh? Only not as cute with the long curly hair and the tight jumpsuit!
Blink. Tight jumpsuit? If anyone can pull that off, I'm sure it's you.Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Sure! This excerpt is from Lauderdale Hearts and it's my second m/m romance to be released by
Excerpt: Lauderdale Hearts
It was only after he stepped aside and let Ricky in, holding his bag of oils, that Blake thought he should go back upstairs and put some pants on or perhaps an oversize T-shirt. But it certainly looked as if Ricky didn’t mind.
While Blake pulled the front door closed, Bosco rammed his nose into Ricky’s crotch and sniffed and snorted.
“Bosco, no!” Blake reached for the dog’s collar and pulled him away -- though he had to admit, he couldn’t blame him. He would have liked to have done the same.
Oh, to be a fucking dog!
“Sorry,” Blake offered in apology but couldn’t stifle a grin. “He’s never done that. Usually he just sniffs ass.”
“It’s okay.” Ricky laughed. “I’m used to it. A lot of my clients have big ones. Dogs, that is.”
Blake drank in the sight of the Latin man standing before him. He had naturally tanned skin like caramel, and jet-black hair cropped high and tight. He was dressed in a short-sleeved polo shirt in hunter green that clung to every part of his torso. Blake noted the rounded shoulders, the defined arms, the chiseled chest. The material of his white jean shorts stretched and clung to perfectly sculpted legs. Blake couldn’t help imagining those legs thrown over his shoulders, those ankles around his neck.
Blake’s cock stirred for the first time in nearly two weeks.
Jesus, fuck. Not now!
“Nice boxers,” Ricky muttered, then cleared his throat.
“Sorry, man.” Blake covered himself as he flushed. “It’s…ah… I…just woke up a few minutes ago. You know how that is.”
“Yeah.” Ricky grinned slowly. “I do.”
Blake noted the young man’s appreciative eyes on his body, the way Ricky scanned him openly, boldly. The tip of Ricky’s tongue slithered out, enticing, as he licked his thick lower lip, then gently bit it.
“It’s okay, man,” Ricky said in a soothing tone. Blake swallowed, nervous and awkward. “So, are you guys lovers?”
“Wh-what?” Blake spluttered. “Who? Me and Derrick? Oh no. Noooo. We’re not lovers. We’re partners.”
Blake thought he saw a look of disappointment on Ricky’s face. The young man arched an eyebrow, and the grin disappeared. Then Blake realized what he had said and how it must have sounded.
“No, no! Not like that. We’re business partners.”
The glimmer of a smile once again appeared.
“Derrick’s a nice guy, but he’s totally not my type.”
“Oh yeah? What is your type?”
“You,” Blake replied, his voice soft and low. He’d meant to say guys like you, but apparently his mind had other thoughts. Blake’s heart was racing. It seemed to him they were standing too close. He could feel Ricky’s body heat.
Blake glanced down and thought he noticed Ricky’s bulge grow larger. He was pretty sure it hadn’t been that obvious before. He resisted the urge to reach out and cup it.
“Me, huh?” Ricky grinned sensually. He took a step closer. “That’s good to know. Very good to know indeed!”
Dear God! This is insane. What’s he doing to me?
Blake had never been one to shy away from a man coming on to him, but usually he was the one doing the pursuing. And this one was much younger. Ricky was all of… What? Ten? Fifteen years younger? Yet so incredibly confident. So cocky and self-assured. So fucking hot.
And the reaction his body was having! He was almost fully hard. His blood raced, and his heart thumped almost as loudly as when he’d had the heart attack. He could feel it hammering away.
“Uh, maybe…maybe I should just show you to the massage room?” Blake took a step back, suddenly scared and unsure. “There’s a table already set up in there.”
“Oh. Uh, okay. Sure,” Ricky replied. Blake heard disappointment in the young man’s voice and wanted to explain that nothing would give him greater pleasure, that it was the first time he’d been aroused and wanted to have sex since the heart attack, but this was a total stranger.
Yet he felt so comfortable with Ricky.
They were quiet as they made their way up the stairs. Bosco stayed below. Blake already knew from the night before that no amount of cajoling would get him up. Bosco didn’t like the open risers.
Blake imagined he could feel Ricky’s eyes boring into him. Secretly, he hoped his ass looked as good in boxers as he knew it did in briefs.
“Nice view,” Ricky said admiringly as they stepped onto the second floor.
“Thanks,” Blake said, blushing once more. That was something else; he hardly ever reddened over a compliment. Then he turned and noticed Ricky looking out over the railing toward the yacht.
Blake’s heart sank with disappointment.
“I think I’ll just…head on up to my room,” Blake said after clearing his throat. Ricky turned to him.
“That is, provided you don’t need anything else,” Blake added. He gulped and hoped it wasn’t visible.
“Uh,” Ricky started. He looked as if he might say something smart, witty, or flirty but then changed his mind. “I’m okay,” Ricky said quietly. “I’ve got everything I need in my bag. Thanks.”
Blake nodded and moved away slowly.
“Hey, uh, Blake?”
“Yeah?” Blake stopped.
What the hell is wrong with me? Why did I stop him from flirting and coming on to me?
He tried to tell himself it was the age difference.
“Maybe I’ll…” Ricky paused for a long, uncomfortable moment -- long enough to make him want to go up to Ricky and kiss the words out of his mouth.
Blake’s breath caught.
“See you around?” Ricky gave a weak grin.
Blake smiled and nodded. He was disappointed with his inability to make a move, but his chest expanded as a warm rush of promise filled his heart.
* * * * *
Blake went into his room, closed the door, then leaned against it. He exhaled sharply. There was only one reason he could think of for why he had stopped the banter. Certainly the age difference was something to consider, but it had never stopped him before.
Chickenshit! a voice taunted.
Blake picked up his iPhone and scrolled for his doctor’s number in
. He dialed, unable to believe that of the seemingly hundreds of questions he’d asked, there was one crucial question he’d forgotten. New York
“Dr. Mellon’s office,” a pleasant female voice answered.
“Uh, yes, hi.” Blake spoke softly, afraid of being overheard. “My name is Blake Hudson, and I’m a cli -- I mean, a patient of Dr. Mellon’s.”
“I’m sorry, sir. Can you please speak up?”
Shit! Why the hell am I whispering? It’s not like they can possibly hear me in this big house!
Blake spoke more loudly and asked to speak to the doctor.
“I’m sorry, sir. Dr. Mellon is in surgery today. I can take a message for him if you like. He’ll be calling in for his messages later this afternoon.”
Blake wondered how it would sound to her and he suddenly felt self-conscious. But surely this wasn’t the first time the question had come up.
“Can you please ask him if I can…uh…if I can have sex? Er, with someone else, I mean.”
The woman was silent. Blake imagined her putting the phone on mute and bursting into laughter, perhaps sharing it with the others in the office, the nurses. Blake’s throat felt dry. He was about to hang up, when the woman spoke again.
“Your phone number, please?”
Blake sighed, realizing he had been holding his breath. He gave her his number.
“Are there…any other cardiologists there who can answer my question?”
“I’ll run it past her and have someone call you.”
Blake thanked her and hung up.
* * * * *
Time definitely passes much more slowly here than in
, Blake thought impatiently. An hour and a half had felt like an entire day. New York
Blake shifted for the millionth time, striking what he hoped was a sexy and seductive yet casual pose on the chaise, just in case Ricky walked out onto patio after the massage.
Bosco had curled up at his feet, and the bowl Blake had filled with fruit earlier sat empty on a glass table beside him.
But Derrick walked out alone, wrapped in a white towel.
“Hello,” Blake said, trying to sound nonchalant.
“Mmm. Hello, yourself.” Derrick rolled his head and shrugged, grinning.
“I take it the massage was good?”
“Oh my God. Probably the best I’ve ever had.” Derrick pouted. “No happy ending, though.”
“Yeah. You know.” Derrick crudely pretended to jerk off. Secretly, Blake was glad Ricky wasn’t that kind of masseuse.
“Still,” Derrick continued, “I suppose it’s more about the therapeutic value than getting off. Right? But it’s so intimate, and I get so damn horny when a hot guy like Ricky plays with my body.” Derrick trembled, then sighed. “Say, did you call the doctor? Do you know if you can get a massage?”
“How the hell should I know?” Blake snapped irritably. “I’m not even sure if I can have sex!” Then he looked up at Derrick, who grinned lasciviously. Blake cleared his throat.
“Oh!” Derrick teased. “I see. You liked Ricky, didn’t you?”
“No!” Blake replied, sounding much more emphatic than he needed to. “It’s just, you know, in case I hit a bar or something.”
“Yeah, right.” Derrick put his hands on his hips, then made his way to the chaise beside Blake’s.
“So where is Ricky, anyway?”
“He’s gone. Had to go to school.” Derrick sat and leaned back.
“Yeah. He’s finishing up his bachelor’s in marketing.”
“Marketing? But that’s great! When he’s done, maybe we can offer him a position.”
“Two steps ahead of you, buddy. I already hinted at it, but either he doesn’t get subtlety or he’s not interested.”
“Oh,” Blake muttered, unable to hide his disappointment.
“But he asked about you,” Derrick teased.
“Oh?” Blake couldn’t resist breaking out into a smile.
“Yeah. He wanted to know if you were single.”
“Really? Did he ask anything else?”
“He wanted to know if you were a nice guy.”
“And?” The smile turned into a grin. “What did you tell him?”
Derrick arched his eyebrows and took a deep breath, as if for dramatic effect. He then glanced at Blake with an apologetic look.
“I told him you were a prick, had been married twice, and had a brood of kids back in
.” Derrick said, deadpan, then burst into laughter. New York
“I gave him your number. He sounded pretty eager. Don’t disappoint him! Now c’mon!” Derrick jumped out of his chaise and rubbed his hands together. “I have a city full of hot men to show you and only a few hours to do it!”
What was the hardest part about writing this book?
The hardest thing about writing this book is putting myself in Blake's position as he was having a heart attack and recuperating from it. I've never had a heart attach before and pray I never do!
The book is available from Loose
http://www.loose-id.com/Lauderdale-Hearts.aspx. It's also available through Amazon Kindle and Are. Id.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Hopefully, aside from the entertainment, I think an important aspect of the story is that all we have is the present. Life is short, so, go out there and live it!
That's a good philosophy to have. Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot?
Ironically enough, yes! I had a verbally abusive boyfriend, just like Blake and Ricky. It started off innocently enough but it grew. He kept putting me down until it got to the point where I no longer looked forward to coming home after work. When that starts to happen, it's pretty much over. I'm glad I got out when I did because I don't even want to think what might have happened to me had I stayed. Not writing books, I can tell you that much!
What are your current writing projects now?
I'm actually in between projects at the moment. I've subbed one and floundering between picking one of 3 possible stories to pursue. I can't say which one yet but hopefully it will allow me to have fun, push my limits as a writer and help me grow.
Are you reading any interesting books at the moment?
Oh, yes! I'm re-reading the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling and trying, frantically I might add, to finish them all by the time the last movie comes out. These are probably some of my favorite books.
Have to admit, I'm a big Harry Potter fan myself. How do you deal with rejection letters?
LOL! Not well! Just ask my partner, he'll tell you. I turn into the biggest baby!
Do you have any advice for writers?
If you have to write, do it because you have to. Write because you must find out what happens next. If you're in it for the money…well, let's just say you might be disappointed because that so-called “success” doesn't happen overnight and just because our first book has been published doesn't mean we'll be saved from evil-day-jobs. Writing is a hell of a process and a large amount of work. Sometimes to the point where you're drained for days or weeks at a time! But in the end, when someone reads it and tells you what they got out of it or that they enjoyed it because…whatever the reason…it's so very satisfying. It's like love being poured all over you!
Sound advice. I have always believed readers could tell if the author wasn't engaged during the writing process. What do you do to unwind and relax?
I try and spend as much quality time with my partner, our dogs and our friends as I possibly can. Have a glass of wine or go for a walk through the neighborhood. I basically try to do things that make me focus on the moment so I can have a better appreciation for life, my home, my surroundings and, most importantly, my loved ones. And I guess this flows into the last question.
If you could leave your readers with one bit of wisdom, what would you want it to be?
Enjoy today. It's all we've got. It's the only guarantee. Tomorrow might never come so if there's something you've always wanted to do, something that makes you feel as if you'll die if you don't try, go for it! Provided you're not hurting anyone else, what have you got to lose? Even if you fail, you've succeeded because at least you tried when so many others do not. And if you succeed? Well…we'll just cross that bridge together when the time comes.