Please welcome my latest guest blogger, Antonio. Thanks for being here today.
Antonio was called to write at various times in his life. When he was young, the writing consisted of plays and short stories. Then he explored the fine arts and literature, earning a bachelor’s degree in the latter while minoring in art history. In his studies he was fascinated by and enjoyed analyzing characters, their personalities and motivations. To him it’s always been the characters who make a story special. Once again writing has taken hold of him. In the past it was just an amusement, but now—for Antonio—writing is a passion to live, eat, and breathe.
Who is Antonio?
For those that are interested, I am a forty-five year old Puerto Rican male who has lived in Florida since the age of five.
What made me decide to start writing?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. As a child I wrote plays and later, short stories. After not having written for a while, I wrote my first novel about two years ago when story ideas just started coming to me demanding to be written down.
What genres do I write and how did I get into them?
I write in the M/M genre and my first novel Dueling Divas, an Avondale Story, was bought by Dreamspinner Press. Even though they publish primarily M/M romance, I consider myself much more of a mystery writer. My primary characters are gay, but I like to populate my worlds with all types of characters: gay, straight, male, female, etc. I’ve always found mysteries interesting to write, and there are so many different types. Dueling Divas was inspired by the Agatha Christie type mysteries, while my latest novel Blue Light by Night, a Layton Shayne Mystery, was inspired more by film noir type mysteries with a touch of Southern Gothic and some supernatural elements. Dead men Tell Tales, my next Dreamspinner Press novel was actually inspired by Westerns, but is a mystery with ghosts. I’m sort of making it a game trying to do my take on various genres, even though it’s not always obvious, such as in Dead Men Tell Tales.
Are there any genres I haven’t written yet which I would like to? If so, which genres?
Right now I’m writing an M/M young adult novel, which is a first. I would like to write in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and steampunk. I do have plans and ideas to tackle those genres—I just wish I typed faster.
What do I think makes for a good hero or heroine?
I think there are a few things that make a good hero/heroine. While I’m not fond of the anti-hero types, I also don’t think a hero should be perfect. A good hero is one that can inspire others, and to do that, they have to be relatable. What turns a normal person into a hero is the journey they take, and the decisions they make. A lot of the time they experience a lot of growth while on that journey, which is often what gives a story flavor.
Do I plot out my stories before I start writing or do I let the characters take over? Or is it a bit of both?
It can be a bit of both, but every story is different. As an author I do try to have the entire story thought out, and lots of notes written, before I start writing, but things can change. I have learned to be open to a character or characters taking me in a different direction. I experienced a lot of that while writing Dead Men Tell Tales. I had my ideas about the characters and where they were going, but they surprised me right from the start. Characters truly do take on a life of their own sometimes.
What is the best and/or worst reaction I have had after telling someone I write same sex novels?
I’ve had some very surprising reactions. My life seems full of surprises (LOL). Most of the people I know are straight females, and their reactions varied. People I thought I had close friendships with had absolutely no interest in reading them. Indifference of that sort is the worst reaction. I’d rather have someone hate the idea of a novel, rather than be indifferent to it. Then there were people who I wasn’t so friendly with that rushed out to buy my stuff to show their support. That felt incredibly good, especially when they told me they thoroughly enjoyed reading the novels.
Why did I choose to go down the self publishing route?
I do have two novels with Dreamspinner Press, but decided to self publish one—Blue Light by Night, a Layton Shayne Mystery—with Smashwords. I love working with Dreamspinner, but was very curious about the idea of self publishing in case I ever decided to write a novel with a heterosexual couple or without a central romance.
What is my favorite genre to write?
I love writing a good juicy mystery with lots of twists and turns. In a good mystery I believe there should be enough clues for the reader to be able to play detective and sometimes be able to solve the case.
If I could have any magical power at all, what would it be?
Without a doubt, invisibility. Imagine the ideas I could pick up, for stories if I could walk around unseen. It boggles the mind.
What do I like to do to relax?
I enjoy various types of art such as drawing. I’m also an avid gardener, and worked extensively in the yard, planting daylilies and fruit trees this year. Every day if the weather cooperates I put on my head phones and walk for an hour. That time is therapeutic, and helps me to de-stress. Sometimes I can even work out details of a story when walking.
Do I enjoy films or TV shows? Which are my favorites?
I like both, but especially glamorous and well written films. Some old films just can’t be touched for character development and story. There were some great characters such as Auntie Mame played by Rosalind Russell, and any of the Tennessee Williams heroines/villains—even more so when played by great actresses like Elizabeth Taylor and Katherine Hepburn. Some of my favorite modern films are more along romantic lines. Somewhere in Time with Jane Seymour is in my top five of films along with 2004’s Phantom of the Opera film with Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum, and I have to mention Moulin Rouge with Nicole Kidman. My reaction to Moulin Rouge surprised me, I was sure I’d hate it and bad mouthed it to friends before I even saw it. Then I absolutely loved it! Saw it numerous times in the theater and drove people nuts trying to get them to see it. As far as gay films go—you can’t get better than Latter Days.
Do I like to Travel, which are my favorite places to visit?
I love to travel. I’ve been to Europe and enjoyed seeing tulips in Amsterdam. Paris was every bit as beautiful as people say it is. But my favorite place, which I’ve visited often, is England. I’d always dreamed of going there and it did not disappoint. I don’t travel overseas now because of an ear problem, but I do enjoy traveling in the United States. My favorite places to visit are the old Southern antebellum towns. I recently discovered a town named Madison in Georgia and even did a home tour there. It’s a dream place for fans of antebellum architecture.
What am I working on at the moment, and what are you likely to see from me in the upcoming months?
At the moment I am working on an M/M young adult novel titled Tangi. I’m also halfway through a sequel to Blue Light by Night. The Layton Shayne mysteries will be a series of books. After that I will introduce a new detective series and a new young adult mystery series, with gay characters, which will be a lot of fun.
My latest works
Currently I have Blue Light by Night, A Layton Shayne Mystery available from Smashwords. It’s a mystery with a supernatural element (no werewolves or vampires). It’s the first book in a series featuring a former Marine turned detective named Layton Shayne. I also have a new novel available for pre-order from Dreamspinner Press, titled: Dead Men Tell Tales, A New Eden Tale. It’s a mystery with a touch of a ghost story. Here’s the blurb from Blue Light by Night, enjoy.
Blue Light by Night
Detective, and ex-military man, Layton Shayne’s newest case has taken him from his home out west into the dark and ominous swamplands of Louisiana. His client Leticia Carter has only told him that the case is simple and involves three siblings with the last name of Kennedy. Layton’s job is to discover who should inherit the old family estate located in Shelby, a town so small it doesn’t even show up on most maps. Immediately after he entered Shelby, the detective met some colorful and mysterious characters. It wasn’t long before he discovered that there was an ancient supernatural element which held the citizens of the town in fear.
Soon after meeting the Kennedy sisters and their handsome brother Alex, Layton noticed that the old southern veneer of the town was thin and disintegrating by the minute. He’d need to depend on his military training to learn not just who to trust, but in order to survive. Somehow in the middle of all this, love comes to the lovelorn detective from more than one direction. Layton knows that work comes first and the case he is there to solve, which sounded so simple, is anything but that. If Layton manages to survive night treks through the swamp, an impromptu trip to New Orleans, some wise-cracking kids, and the lusty inhabitants of Shelby, he still has to come up against supernatural forces and mysterious blue light orbs with the power to kill.
No matter what the outcome, Layton Shayne’s life will never be the same.
Where to can find my books on the web
My books can be found on Smashwords (look below for 25% off coupon code for Blue Light by Night):
On my blog I have the complete first chapter of Blue Light by Night as a free preview. On Mondays I post a new chapter of my blog exclusive story, Haunted.
As my thanks, I would like to offer a coupon code for 25% off the price of Blue Light by Night on Smashwords.
The coupon code is: XZ37Y