Hello, Everyone! Welcome to the mad writings of a demonic squirrel today! Oh *looks to the side* what? *listens* Oh, you don't say? Well *brushes off imperceivable piece of lint* I guess we're not listening to the mad ravings of a squirrel. It seems we have a guest author today. The wonderfully talented Angel Martinez is here to talk ago us about her new paranormal series, Offbeat Crimes.
The series kicks off with her story, Lime Gelatin & Other Monsters. *looks at title name* You gotta love it, right?
So without further ado, here is Angel to talk to us about serious stuff. You know, funny. ;)
Paranormal Stories Should Be Serious
Paranormal Stories Should Be Serious, Right?
Yeah, well, often they are. A lot of paranormal stories take themselves too seriously. I’ve written some pretty deadly serious paranormal stuff, too, though I can’t write serious all the time. A lot for the absurd always creeps back in. And boy is there a lot of stuff to make light of in the paranormal genre.
While I’ve run into quite a few paranormal stories in gay romance/fiction that have funny moments (even Whyborne and Griffin have endearingly hilarious moments) there isn’t much in the way of gay paranormal stories that are set up as humorous rather than as a serious stories. We have werewolves and vampires galore and their dark and trauma-laden pasts. We have ghost hunters and fae, zombies and psychics. But not a lot of comedy. Even mainstream het romance is a bit light on the comedic paranormal except for vampire rom coms. Absolutely buckets full of those. One of the few I can recall offhand in gay romance is Geoff Knight and Ethan Day’s zombie romance, Guess Who’s Coming At Dinner, which was hilarious. I can’t even find a list on Goodreads for gay paranormal humor. That might be operator error, though…
When Amber Allure gave us authors the 77th Precinct prompt, the idea was for each author to write about a paranormal police squad in a chosen city. The idea itself seemed humorous to me, but I knew my cohorts would most likely write serious paranormal with Character Trauma and Big Bad Things and stuff. I have to be different. Funny…but what?
I’ll confess, my first thought was a vampire detective, kind of the easy way out, using a defective vampire. But the more I thought about it, the more he needed cohorts, other officers with broken paranormal abilities, until I had a whole squad full of them. Poor vampire (who can only drink “skim blood”) was pushed to the sidelines and another character got to play hero, one who can only absorb other people’s abilities. This sometimes gets messy, dangerous, and occasionally embarrassing. And we needed monsters! Ridiculous ones! So, yes, I have a whole notebook page of the most absurd monsters I could think of, some of which morphed over time.
There’s still mayhem and destruction, cause I like mayhem and destruction, and a budding relationship that’s not treated as an absurdity, but I do hope the structure of the story and the adventures of my broken paranormal cops will strike some funny bones.
Lime Gelatin and Other Monsters
Offbeat Crimes 1
(part of Amber Allure’s 77th Precinct Pax)
Officer Kyle Monroe’s encounter with a strange gelatinous creature in an alley leaves him scarred and forever changed, revealing odd abilities he wishes he didn’t have and earning him reassignment to Philadelphia’s 77th Precinct where all the cops have defective paranormal abilities.
Just as Kyle’s starting to adjust to his fellow misfit squad mates, his new partner arrives. Tall, physically perfect, reserved, and claiming he has no broken psychic talents, Vikash Soren irritates Kyle in every way. But as much as he’d like to hate Vikash, Kyle finds himself oddly drawn to him, their non-abilities meshing in unexpected ways.
Now, if Kyle and Vikash can learn to work together, they just might be able to stop the mysterious killer who has been leaving mutilated bodies along the banks of the Schuylkill.
Kyle sat up straighter, shifting to see between the heads in front of him. Soren looked like a poster boy for the model police officer, tall and straight, uniform crisp and sharp. He stood at parade rest beside the lieutenant, impassively surveying his new colleagues. A little knot of resentment lodged in Kyle’s stomach. At his own introduction to the 77th, he’d been nervous and fidgety, freaked out by the collection of…freaks. How can he be so calm?
“Officer Soren transferred from the Harrisburg PD—”
“Don’t they have enough freaky shit of their own up there?” Wolf called out in his rasping growl.
“Since Harrisburg is in our jurisdiction,” she continued with a quelling glance. “He’ll start out partnered with Monroe.”
“What does he do, ma’am? That it’s safe to put him with Kirby, er, Kyle?” Shira Lourdes asked as she flicked nervous glances across the room at Kyle. An empty chair slid away from her and fell over. Her partner, Greg Santos, shook his head and righted the unfortunate piece of furniture.
“Officer Soren’s abilities are his business, which he may or may not choose to share if you ask. And don’t bully him about it either, any of you.” Lieutenant Dunfee swept the room again, pinning each of her officers with her needle-laser gaze like captive butterflies. “Monroe, my office after briefing. Info on your current case.”
She dismissed them, stalking from the room with thunderclouds in her eyes. Kyle found himself approaching the new guy and trying his best not to be awkward. Did he offer to shake hands? Was it safe? Would the guy flinch like so many people did at the sight of Kyle’s scarred hands? Soren was even taller up close, six-foot-three of lean inscrutability, his blue eyes startlingly bright against smoky bronze skin.
“Um, hi, I’m Kyle Monroe.” Kyle fidgeted when Soren didn’t offer his hand either. “You’re with me, I guess. I’ll show you our spot in the squad room.”
Soren followed him silently and Kyle was starting to wonder if he was like Krisk in the not-speaking department until he finally spoke in a smooth, soft baritone, making Kyle startle and miss a step. “Why do they call you Kirby?”
“You’d hear it sooner or later, I guess.” Kyle shrugged. “It’s this thing I do, absorbing other people’s talents temporarily. If they’re close to me. Or touch me. Like Kirby, the little pink dude in the video game.”
Just that? Soren didn’t edge away, or change expression at all. Was he made of stone? “It’s a thing. Everyone here has a thing.”
After a few more steps, Soren asked, “Always?”
“What… Oh, was I always like this? Who knows? I mean, maybe I’ve picked up stray thoughts or something, but no. It’s pretty recent. Knowing that I do this.”
Kyle took a wide arc around Vance as he entered the squad room, pointing to the double desk in the far corner, well removed from everyone else. “That’s ours. Coffee’s over there, but you might not want that coffee. Let me grab my file and we’ll go see the lieutenant.”
“So what’s your story, Soren?” Vance called across the squad room. “What flies your freak flag?”
“Yeah, what do you do?” Jeff Gatling stopped ’porting his banana from one corner of his desk to the other.
“I don’t really do anything,” Soren answered as he hefted the empty coffeepot. “Guess I’ll make fresh since I’m the new guy.”
He opened the top to remove the filter and every human voice in the squad room yelled out, “No!”
Most people would have startled, maybe dropped the carafe. Soren just blinked at the roomful of people gesturing wildly. He took the filter out and emptied it over the trashcan. “Why not?”
“You don’t want to do that.” Kyle stayed by his desk, a nice safe distance from the coffee station. “That’s Larry’s job.”
“Larry’s not keeping up then.”
The container of sweetener packets began to rattle. It shivered across the counter and leaped to a messy end, ceramic shards skittering across the floor. The desk that Krisk and Wolf shared rose from the floor several inches and slammed back down. Wolf fled with a squeaking yelp just before the desk flipped on its side.
Soren glanced toward Kyle. “Larry’s not a cop, is he?”
“He is…he was! A dead cop. Larry’s a ghost. He gets ticked if anyone else makes the coffee. Put the stuff back, please!”
“Larry?” Soren raised his voice but to all appearances remained completely unruffled. “I’m new here. I’m very sorry I invaded your jurisdiction. See? I’m putting the carafe back. Closing the top. Are we good, Larry?”
A breeze ruffled through a stack of papers, but no further mayhem ensued. The carafe slid from its pad on the coffeemaker and floated to the water cooler where Larry, who never manifested in a visible form, whistled tunelessly while he filled the carafe.
From his dim corner of the room, Carrington said in his dry, genteel way, “Welcome to the Island of Misfit Freaks...”
2 commenters will be chosen at random (’cause I have a formula to do that and everything) for their choice of backlist Angel Martinez book!
Welcome one and all! It's wonderful to participate in this years Hop Against Homopobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia this year as we all celebrate International Day Against Homophobia, Biophobia and Transpobia this May 17th, 2015.
I sat for a while trying my darnedest to figure out what I should write about. I have lots to say, but when it came to this post I was stumped. I've written about bisexuality, homophobia, and all sorts of related topics so this should've been easy. I have talked about my bisexuality, should I talk about identifying as gender fluid? What would I say? I have talked about who I live in a conservative area so it makes it hard to met people like myself. To identify with anyone. Did I really want to discuss it again?
Nope. I write about those things in my books. I wanted something different for my blog post.
I sat staring at the screen and couldn't think of a thing. Frustrated I got up several times and came back, going 'round and 'round trying to decide what to say. Finally I couldn't take it anymore. I had to do something.
So what did I do? I took a walk. I didn't think forcing myself to watch a cursor blink, and not have something to say, would be productive.
The walk cleared my head, let my mind wander. It gave me space from the problem and made me feel better (instead of being absolutely frustrated and no outlet for my energy). And while out on my walk I took my "usual route." A route I have taken since I was in high school, needing an escape. (Yes, I have lived in the area for a long ass time.)
Best decision ever.
It's a nice time of year in Chicagoland. The air is fresh, alive. Everything is in bloom. The weather is just cool enough to not be cold, but not so warm you're sweating buckets. You can appreciate the smells and sights around you.
I have several houses I enjoy seeing aka stalking (and their yards—what can I say? I'm a garden voyeur. A construction voyeur. A, well, a "I like to watch change" voyeur.) We have some perpetual home improvement tinkerers in the area. Something new is always popping up in their yard, around their house, etc.. You can't help watching and taking note of what's going on if you've lived in the area a long time.
One of those house is a little carpenter-style stucco house. It sits on a corner so you can see 3/4ths of the house and yard. The owners take good care of it. Over the years it has changed colors. White. Off-white. Green. And with those color changes came other improvements as well.
First was the the front porch. Earlier on they went with a cinderblock design that went surprising well. Not something you expected but it worked. Then they added a back patio. Nice pavers with garden boxes around it.
For years the guys in the house focused on the inside. There were two doors that entered the side of the house, which seemed a little odd until I figured out door was meant for down (the basement level) and the other for up (the ground level). Slowly the floors were replaced with wood. A state of the art kitchen went in. The entry with the doors? Well, that always seemed unfitted because there was no divide between them.
But hey, it wasn't my house. If they wanted to share the entry and have two doors, go for it. Odd design, but I've seen weirder. (Including one that added a pirate ship in their yard - no joke.)
After they renovated inside to their satisfaction (I assume), the guys focused back outside. A tall fence went up in the backyard—maybe to keep us voyeurs from looking in. But you could still see the yard, so *shrugs*.
A tiny garage was added. Their regular cars never go in it, but it holds the lawnmower and other fun stuff. Their porch table and chairs go in over the winter. Their fire pit too.
Yes, I notice a lot happening in and around the house, but I walk by it nearly every days for years and years. When I went away to college I missed stuff. That sucked because then I had to figure out what changed because stuff had changed there. Little improvements happened.
Decades (yes, decades) passed. Twenty years makes it plural.
The two guys that lived there obviously held a great deal of pride in their work. They had one of the nicest houses because it was loved. Their cars went from being beaters to the expensive kind. They had a dog. It grew up, barked when I walked by. Eventually he was gone, though. The stone steps to the front of the house have been replaced by wooden steps. So, yes, changes happened. Big and small.
Oh, a few years ago the guys added one minor detail. One little thing that had changed in the twenty years I've walked by their house in the right-wing, conservation, catholic neighborhood they lived in.
On the outside of the fence, the one that went around their backyard, they added a flag holder.
The first flag they flew? A Pride flag. A beautiful rainbow flag. Four blocks from the catholic church. Three from the high school.
You know what happened?
Not a damn thing.
You could say "No big deal, I see pride flags all the time." But the thing is, here? In my neighborhood? You don't. Their pride flag is the only one I have ever seen out and proud as soon as the weather permits.
Could that have happened twenty years ago? No. Not one bit. Do we have other LGBTQ families in the area. For sure. I mean, I live here. But it's not like we go around advertising it. Not like what these guys did.
What that flag represents, the fact that no one has complained or damaged their property in any way, means so much to me. The fact that these guys can hang their flag, and no one bats an eye, shows how far we've come as a people. It gives me hope. It fills me with pride. It shows the amount of change that has occurred in our area over the last twenty years.
The other thing that changed? The two doors to make the house look like separate living spaces? French doors now.
The couple went from pretending to share a house to feeling safe enough to live there as a couple. One of their cars even has an marriage equality bumper sticker on it.
That is huge. So huge. It speaks volumes more than I could ever say here.
It shows how even conservative areas like mine are changing, can change, to be a place where all people are comfortable being who they are and not fear the consequences.
I will take that small pride flag over any declaration people could make to me in town any day because it shows progress. It shows hope. And it proves acceptance can happen anywhere.
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I tend to be a little squirrelly, but my friends still love me anyway. ;)