Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Welcome Derek Adams

This week, I have the great pleasure of sharing my blog with a very interesting man who happens to also be an author. I'm sure you're going to love getting to know, Derek Adams much better.

Jude, first of all, just let me thank you for the opportunity to be interviewed. Exposure is everything in this business and it is very generous of you to give me a chance to be heard by your readers.

(Derek, thank you for joining me here. It's a real pleasure to expose you...errr your book, to everyone who stops by. *G*)

1. How long have you been writing? What inspired you to pick the pen up one day and create characters that capture the imagination?
My first short story was published October, 1987, which is – what? – twenty-five years ago. Yikes! It was called ‘An Accident of Love’ and was published in ‘Mandate’ magazine, a now defunct men’s magazine that published nude male photos and short fiction. A number of these mags thrived in the 1980’s, before the proliferation of still photos and dvd clips on the internet.

I was inspired to write when I bought one of these magazines and read a story. “I can do better than that,” I told myself, and so I set out to prove that I was right. I was working with an Amstrad word processor at the time, which is approximately the equivalent of a stylus and a wax tablet. Still and all, it was a notch above my portable typewriter.

My first attempt was titled ‘Fantasy Man’ which I sent to Jerry Douglas at ‘FirstHand’ magazine. He sent it back to me with a very kind letter to the effect that I had written a very good sex scene. What it needed was a story to go with it. I took this to heart, went back to the Amstrad, and had another go at it. This time the story was accepted and I was hooked. I’ve always had an active imagination and this gave me the opportunity to put it to a profitable – well, slightly profitable – use. Actually, I was able to make a living writing short stories and novels for about ten years. I was very fortunate – and perhaps just a little talented – because I actually wrote and sold almost four hundred short stories, won a number of erotic fiction contests and had the opportunity to have my works translated into Spanish, Dutch and German. Then I got tired of the irregular pay and the uncertainty. I also felt that it would only be fair to my partner to add some more cash to the community funds. So, I put away my pen for a few years and returned to my former job of waiting tables.

I actually gave up writing for almost ten years, except for a few contributions to anthologies and a collaboration with Bruno Gmunder, a German publishing house. Friends kept asking over the years why I quit writing and since I couldn’t come up with a good reason, I figured I should get back into the game. Things had changed, of course. The erotic magazines are a thing of the past. Fortunately, however, the e-publishing business stepped in to fill the gap. I did a bit of research, got busy writing and sent manuscripts to the good folks at Extasy Books, MLR Books and Amber Quill Press and – Voila! – I currently have two full-length novels, two novellas and over a dozen short stories available online. I’m back and I couldn’t be happier.

2.  Most people envision an author’s life as being really glamorous. What’s your take on this? Can you tell us something unglamorous you did within the last week or so?
Glamorous, huh? I’m not too sure about that. After all, we’re writing these stories, not living them. Although, in truth, I do live them in my mind, so I suppose that counts. This past week, I spent long hours with my partner decorating our home for Christmas. Schlepping all those boxes of ornaments, lights, garland, etc, down from the attic, to the living room, to temporary storage in the basement wasn’t very glamorous, but the result is pretty spectacular.

3. Plotter or pantzer?
I guess I’m a bit of both. I almost always have a germ of an idea when I begin to write, but when the creative juices begin to flow, the characters have a tendency to take off and go their own way. Even when I’m writing a tale to go with a particular illustration – which I often did for the editors of ‘Advocate Men’ when they were seeking a tale to go with artwork they had purchased on spec – the characters frequently just get up and take off with the story in ways I hadn’t anticipated. They occasionally take the story over a cliff or up against a stone wall, but I’m usually able to reverse course and have another go at it. Those, of course, are the times I drag out an outline and do my best to enforce some discipline. Even with the outline, my characters often tend to push me around. Entire characters and plot threads sometimes just appear on the scene, demanding to be noticed. Just last night, while I was writing a scene set at a political fundraiser, Veronica grabbed me, almost literally by the arm, did a star turn for about a page and a half, then meandered off the stage. I hadn’t even considered her presence until she was there. She let me get an important plot point into the mix in a much more natural way than a paragraph of mere description. Maybe she’ll be back, maybe she won’t. Is this normal – or do I need some serious help?

4.  What do you do when you’re suffering writers block?
On those occasions when writers block becomes a problem, I turn to my garden. Pulling weeds and pruning hedges can be very soothing. I also find that power-washing the moss off the bricks on the patio to be very empowering. When the plants turn on me, I retreat to the house and play the piano. The great composers may lead you into a technical thicket, but they won’t take you down a dead end road, then leave you high and dry.

5.  What would you like to share with new writers? Any suggestions or advice?
If I could offer a word of advice to new writers, it would be to be very open to criticism. You may think you have written the Great American Novel, but a good editor generally has a much clearer view of the reality of the situation. It is tough to gain distance from something you are so intimately involved with, so you damn well better listen to the person who is telling you to cut this, revise this, add that, and quit changing the point of view every three lines!!! Seriously, I will never forget Jerry Douglas or the wise words he offered to my virgin effort. I read his advice, I took his advice, and I’ve been selling stories ever since.

6. If you could be a character in any of your books who would it be and why?
It would have to be my good buddy Miles Diamond, the hapless hero of a series of detective novels bearing his name. Miles is befuddled and generally behind the eight ball, but he is devilishly handsome, a true sexual athlete and he has oodles of the hottest sex imaginable with gorgeous guys in dozens of exotic settings. Miles may not always get the point, but he inevitably gets the guys. He also has a fairly hilarious relationship with Rudy Vale and Jackson, his often unwilling cohorts in detection. I must admit that I have been almost everywhere Miles has been in his world travels, including that hash farm in the Atlas mountains of Morocco. That, however, is Miles’ tale to tell in The Case of The Missing Twin, available at Extasy Books. (Is that a plug? Is that appropriate? Do I have any shame? Guess not.)

7. Looking over the past year, what has been the best moment for you in your writing career?
The best moment in the past year has definitely been a comment from my Amber Quill Press editor (also an author). Catherine Snodgrass praised Safe Harbor as: “A wonderful story, wonderfully written.”  Quite simply the best review ever, in my opinion. I fell in love with the story and characters when I was writing and to have my feelings confirmed in such simple, generous terms by a fellow author really got to me.

8. What do you enjoy doing with your spare time, your non-writing time? 
Spare time is filled with gardening, music—including symphonies, chamber music and opera—travel, long gourmet meals prepared by my partner of 28 years – and then there’s that waiter guy who still logs 30 hours a week to keep body and soul together. All in all, that pretty much wrings the ‘spare’ out of my time.

9.  If you could choose one vice, what would it be and why?
Smoking – because I loved it so much and because I always thought Bogart and other forties movie stars looked so cool doing it. Still, I’m glad I shook that habit years ago. I can now breathe easy and I’ve saved a whole bunch of money. Also, smokers are now viewed in pretty much the same light as dogs that aren’t house-trained.

10.  If you found that, for one reason or another, you couldn’t write anymore, what would you like to do instead?
I couldn’t manage to do either of these things at this late date, but if I couldn’t write in my next life, I would want to be a concert pianist or an opera singer. These displays of physical dexterity and the ability to channel the genius of a composer through your brain and body to bring pleasure to a large audience would be incredible. In live performance, it’s just you and the music, right there, right now, no editor, no chance for revision, plenty of chances for human error. Terrifying! And exhilarating. What a rush.

11.  What are you working on now? Can you tell us a little about it?
‘Retreat to Island County’ is the tentative title of my current project. It is a novella/novel – the length keeps changing. Two guys from very different backgrounds meet, but fail to connect. They are continually thrown together and begin to bond, but their relationship is thwarted time and again by painful memories from their pasts. Love may or may not triumph. So far the mix includes a faithless lover, a dead lover, a lesbian couple with a six-year-old boy, and a nest of white supremacists. Weaving all the strands together will be challenging, but it is a challenge I love.

12. Are you in love? Have you ever been?
Twenty-eight years and counting. Life is good.

13.  You often write about sex in a humorous light. What’s that all about?
Well, Jude, sex is funny. If you don’t believe me, just log in and check out one or another of the hundreds of sites that show us humans coupling. Even with physically perfect specimens, the mechanics of it all are a bit goofy. Sex is a very emotionally charged topic, weighted with incredible expectations that it often can’t sustain. Putting it all in a humorous light takes away some of that baggage and helps you to relax. Laughter during sex helps break the tension – as long as you aren’t actually laughing at your partner in an unkind way. Reading about humorous sex can be very erotic, because it breaks down some of the pompous, overwrought situations that erotic stories sometimes fall victim to. Besides, laughter is good for you. People who laugh have more fun during sex that those who continually growl and scowl. Besides, the growlers and scowlers are usually among the funniest performers, so why shouldn’t they be in on the joke as well?

14. Safe sex and erotic literature – pro or con?
I’ve been chided by some of my readers for not always observing safe sex guidelines in my work. Let’s face it, sex has always been potentially deadly. Long before the advent of AIDS, humans were faced with a host of sexually transmitted diseases with fatal consequences, none of which did much to deter sexual activity. In the past, erotic authors didn’t spend much time warning against the dangers of syphilis or gonorrhea, even though the consequences were well-understood. Of course, in real life, you should definitely do all you can to protect against STDs and, for women, unwanted pregnancies. In fantasy, however, I think it is a relief to both writer and reader to escape for a while from the real world to a realm where every sex act is white hot and risk free. I tend to employ condoms in most of my stories, but in cases where it is purely over-the-top erotic fantasy, my characters exist in an ideal world where no harm can come to them. Erotic romance is a realm where every sex act brings perfect pleasure. Nothing is messy, nothing smells bad and there is no pain that isn’t accompanied by a little frisson of pleasure. I think that is one reason the genre is so perennially popular. We get plenty of reality in our daily lives.

We all know about the trauma and waste brought about by murder, but sending all potential murderers in our books to counseling and anger management sessions would severely undermine a very popular genre of fiction. 

Derek has chosen to show off his book, Safe Harbor:

Safe Harbor
by Derek Adams
ISBN: 13: 978-1-61124-223-2 
Publisher: Amber Allure

Safe Harbor’ is the erotically charged, highly romantic story of a young love sidelined by harsh realities and then dashed by a shocking act of betrayal on the part of one of the protagonists. When the men meet again a decade later they immediately realize that their mutual attraction is undiminished. However, their priorities have changed over the years and it is unclear whether they can rekindle their love, or whether it is fated to be merely a memory of happiness lost.

Excerpt: (and here you all got lucky. Derek sent me two and I couldn't decide on just one)
“I’m Mike.”
“Eric. Pleased to meet you.” He stuck out his hand. I shook it. His grip was firm, but his hand was as soft as a girl’s. It was pretty clear he hadn’t been putting in a lot of hours doing manual labor to help his family out financially.
“Okay, Eric. Let’s have a look.” He patted the smooth stone next to where he was sitting. I scooted over. He held the sketch pad between us. Our bare shoulders touched. His skin was warm...“Hey, man, that’s me.” It was a drawing of me, standing with the water at my back. The detail was pretty amazing, almost like a photograph. It sure as hell looked like the face and body I saw when I looked in the mirror on my bedroom door every morning. He had even included the long scar on my right shoulder, souvenir of a set-to with a grappling hook last year at the marina. The hairs on my chest were there, in detail, and the fine line of fuzz that trickled down my belly.
“Do I really look that mean?”
“That’s not supposed to be a mean look. That’s a pissed-off look.” He chuckled softly. “You were pretty pissed when you first saw me here the other day.”
“Okay, okay. I admit it. Guilty as charged.” I looked over at him and grinned. “Do I still look pissed?”
He stared at me intently for a moment. “Nope. Goofy, maybe, but not pissed.”
“Goofy?” I reached over and grabbed him in a mock headlock. “You’re gonna have to take that back, Eric.”
“Never!” He laughed as he struggled in my grasp. I pulled him closer. His face pressed against my chest. He slipped his left arm around my waist and splayed his right hand against my belly.
“I am not goofy!”
“You are, too!” His breath ruffled the hairs on my chest, tickling me. “Okay. Okay. I give up,” he gasped after several moments had passed. I let him go, but he didn’t jump away. Instead he put his hands on my shoulders, his face only inches from mine. He was flushed and he had a loopy grin on his face.
“Glad you finally saw it my way.” I was intensely aware of the pressure of his hands.
“You may not be goofy, Mike, but you sure are se…uh, crazy.” Eric’s face got even redder.
I stood, then turned my back on him abruptly. I’d sprung a rod for some reason. I tugged at the crotch of my pants, but it didn’t help much. I grabbed my T-shirt and held it in front of me. “I gotta be getting back. If I don’t show up to work I’ll catch holy hell from Mr. Peterson.”
I loped across the sand. I turned around once and saw that Eric was still looking at me. He raised his hand and waved. I waved back and kept on going. When I reached down a couple of minutes later to scratch my balls, I realized that my cock was still hard.


“I don’t know, Eric. It all sounds pretty queer to me.”
“Jerking off sounds queer?”
“No, not exactly. It’s just that I’ve never jerked off except when I’m all alone. I’ve sure as hell never jerked off with another guy.”
“I’m not going to tell anyone. Hell, I don’t know anyone around here except you.”
“I don’t know, man.”
“Trust me, you’ll never be able to corral that beast back into your shorts until you relieve some of the tension. You could hurt yourself.”
“Yeah, maybe.” It was true. I’d never get my cock under wraps while it was like this. The damned thing was harder now than when we’d started this dumb conversation. I looked down. It jutted up at a jaunty angle, and clear drool was already starting to ooze out of my pisshole.
“So, what are you going to do?” I looked over at Eric. He was standing only a couple of feet away from me.
“I’m going to join you.” I took a step back. “Relax, Mike. I’m not going to touch you, if that’s what you’re afraid of.”
“I’m not afraid.” I didn’t know exactly what the hell I was feeling, but it wasn’t fear.
“Good. Neither am I.” He gripped his stiffer in his left hand and started to stroke it.
I followed suit and soon we were both really going at it. I had my eyes closed at first, figuring I should fantasize about some hot chick, but I soon gave up on that. Instead I watched my fist pump up and down on my cock while I sneaked occasional glances at Eric. Every time I looked at him, he was looking back at me. It didn’t slow me down at all.
I gasped softly when he took a step closer, but I didn’t stop stroking. He leaned forward slightly and our foreheads touched. I looked down and so did he. Our hips were just far enough apart to make room for our pistoning fists. Clear cock honey drooled out of me and splashed on Eric’s knuckles. He groaned as he rubbed it on the shaft of his dick.
I opened my eyes when I felt Eric’s hand on my chest. His fingers slipped slowly down over the curve of my right pec, grazing my nipple. I shuddered and my balls drew up tighter between my legs. His fingers continued down against my abs, going lower and lower till they tangled in my pubes. He didn’t touch my cock, but he did cup my balls in the palm of his hand.
I hunched my shoulders forward and rose up on my toes, crying out as the first blast of jism shot out of me. It hit Eric in the hollow of his throat and slid down his heaving torso. His cry echoed mine as I felt his cum splash my belly. Our knuckles rubbed together as he leaned heavily against me. His breath was hot against my chest.
My hand dropped away from my shaft as Eric’s fingers curled around it, holding our slowly deflating hard-ons tight together. My hands wandered over the contours of his back and shoulders, down to his waist and then farther down. His lips touched my throat, my chin, the skin beneath my lower lip. I turned my head away from him.

Phew, nice huh? Here's a little more about Derek:

Derek Adams is the award-winning author of a popular series of novels featuring the spectacularly inept detective, Miles Diamond. In addition, he has written several hundred short stories which he insists are ongoing chapters in his autobiography. His stories have been translated into Dutch, Spanish and German, and have been widely anthologized. His fiction won the first prize from Mavety Media’s ‘Torso’ magazine fiction contest four times. When not chronicling his amorous adventures, Adams writes about gay history and travel. He currently lives in Seattle.

And here's where you can find Derek online:

My website is I’m on facebook, look for Derek Adams


Jude Mason said...

Thanks so much for joining me here, Derek, and for giving us a peek into what makes a male romance writer tick!


Derek Adams said...


Great to see the interview in print. Thanks so much for the boost. I really appreciate it.

Take care and thanks again,