by G. Lloyd Helm
GENRE: Literary Fiction
Stephen Mitchell did not know what he was getting into at a small church college in Tennessee. Sex, protest, friendship, and Civil rights. The title “Serpents and Doves” comes from the warning Jesus gave to his disciples as he sent them out to preach the gospel, knowing the dangers they were going into. He said “I send you out as sheep among wolves, therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Stephen Mitchell learns first-hand what that warning means when he goes to a Tennessee church college in the midst of the turbulent 60’s. He learns about friendship, war, protest, the sexual revolution, and civil rights.
Ethan’s suicide rocked the school, but not nearly as much as Stephen expected. The New Jersey and New York folks mostly didn’t know anything about Ethan or the BSU so they noted the suicide as a bit of news, but it didn’t effect them much. There was some anti-homosexual noise and the inevitable nasty jokes, but Ethan Patrick’s passing caused no more than a ripple for the most part.
There was some noise and protest from the Mason First Baptist Church when Billie Jo asked them to hold the funeral service, but finally they said they would bury him, but not in the church cemetery. They ignored the fact of his suicide and the reasons for it and held a small service. Stephen debated with himself whether he should go. He had about decided not to when Cathy Powell cornered him and asked if he would go with her. “I really don’t have the strength Steve,” she said. “I’m just a wreck. Can’t you please come with me?”
Stephen seriously thought about saying, Why don’t you go ask David Hall? But didn’t say it. “All right. I’ll meet you at the church.”
She smiled sadly, but Stephen thought he saw just the smallest glimmer of triumph in it.
The coffin was set across the aisle in front of the altar. Closed. It was silvery gray and looked more like a large tin can than a coffin. The congregation was small, mostly people from the BSU but a few from Beacon’s faculty including Dr. Conners and Dr. Marchant. Having the Pope there was no surprise. Probably here to make sure the sumbitch is really dead, Stephen thought, and then felt bad about thinking it.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
G. Lloyd Helm has been writing for 40 years, having published poetry in a wide variety of magazines and newspapers including “The New York Poetry Anthology,” “Stars and Stripes News,” “The Los Angeles Times,” “The Antelope Valley Press,” and “The Antelope Valley Anthologies,” among others.
… Has published short stories and memoirs both in the US and in England in such journals as “Pligrimage” which published the memoir “Football” in spring 2005, and a second memoir “4 April, 1968” in the winter of 2008. He has published short stories in “Citadel” the literary magazine of Los Angeles City College,” “Delivered Magazine,” which is based in London, “Short Story Library,” The University of S. Illinois’ “Eureka Literary Magazine,” “Tales as like as not,” and London’s “Black Gate Magazine.” Recently published “Even Up” a Civil War Ghost story at www.ruthlesspeoples.com, an English on line magazine, and the short story “A Lovely Elephant” in “Delivered Magazine” an English fiction journal. “The Other Fellows Shoes,” Pulp Empire III, Metahuman Press, Cedar Rapids, IA Nov. 2010. Is being published in an on line experiment from Alfie Dog Publishing in England. May 2012.
…Has published three novels in the F&SF field, 1) OTHER DOORS, From MousePrints Publishing, and 2) DESIGN from American Star. 3) WORLD WITHOUT END from Rogue Phoenix Press, www.roguephoenixpress.com OTHER DOORS, originally published in 1997, was published electronically by Rogue Phoenix Press in July 2010. Also Published a literary Romance novel called SOMETIMES IN DREAMS, from Siren’s call. Most recently a volume of short stories called TRAIN WHEELS, FLYING SAUCERS, AND THE GHOST OF TIBURCIO VASQUEZ. Many of these stories appear on the Alfie Dog site.
…Is in process of publishing an adult literary novel called SERPENTS AND DOVES with Rogue Phoenix Press, which will be out in May 2016.
Where are you from?
That is a harder question to answer than you think. I was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, but I started traveling Route 66 when I was three years old. I have lived in California, Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee, Virginia, Spain, Germany, and Italy. At the moment I am in Lancaster, California, with an eye toward Oahu within the next couple of years. I am a citizen of the world and a true believer that home is where you hang your hat.
Tell us your latest news?
Latest is that I have a new book coming out 22 May, 2016. But that is mostly out of my hands. What is in my hands is that I am working of a script taken from my first novel "Other Doors." Got no producer yet but I am working on that too.
When and why did you begin writing?
I thought about being a writer back in seventh grade so I guess that is when I really picked up the sickness, but I didn't start "writing" until I was in college. As to why, God knows. Like I said I think it is a sickness and I can seem to get well.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I first considered myself "a writer" when I got my first article published back in college. It was just in the college news paper but it was good enough that the dean attacked my stand from the podium at a student council meeting so I figured I was a success.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I recognized that the United States had been almost continuously at war throughout the 20th century and that a lot of popular literature was about war and battles--I hate war so I decided to write a book about a man who could stop war by simply saying "Stop." I am very proud of that little book. It came out in 1996 and since then I have sold hundreds of them on American Military bases, and I take pride in saying that my little book about peace has gone to every war zone in the world.
What would you like my readers to know?
That we humans are dangerous animals. We are uncivilized barbarians, all of us. But we don't have to remain that way. Where there is will toward civilization it can be achieved. Do unto others as you have them do unto you. and Peace be with you, one and all.
G. Lloyd Helm will be awarding 10 paperback copies of the book to10 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. (international giveaway)