Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Max Pierce for taking the time to talk with us today.
Title: AT THE CROSSROADS
Author: Max Pierce
Publisher: Lethe Press
Cover Artist: Alex Jeffers
Genre/Sub-Genre: Fiction, Gay, Gay Fiction, Historical, Humor/Comedy
JACK FARLEY, a 21 year-old who believes life should be like the movies, finds more than he bargained for. To get his football-star boyfriend back, Jack strives to acquire a fantastic life–a sometimes comical journey that takes him on a path of self-discovery.
Prism Book Alliance® recently reviewed AT THE CROSSROADS. You can find the review here.
Max Pierce on his writing journey, and his newest book, a Texas-sized comedy tale of a city:At The Crossroads.
My Many Crossroads:
Years in the Making! A Cast of Thousands! Romance! Mystery! A Tale as Big as Texas!
At least one of the above is true (I’ll let you decide the rest.)
It was September 3, 1983. I was sitting on the rattling stairs that led up to my apartment in Dallas, musing about the more-than-interesting people living in the ‘all-gay’ complex I had just moved into, and I began making humorous and over-the-top character notes in a spiral notebook. Becoming a writer, a journalist (and a published one) was the furthest thought from my 21 year old mind. I had a good, solid job as an Assistant Buyer at a department store with years of career advancement in my future.
Jumping to 1998, as part of a writing exercise in a class at Los Angeles’ Gay and Lesbian Center, I fleshed out what would become At The Crossroads into a synopsis for a five-season primetime soap opera a la Melrose Place. To my surprise, many of my fellow writing group members assumed they’d missed out on an actual high-camp television show.
What I thought was the final draft of ATC was completed about 2004. I queried every relevant literary agent and heard back from every one: No Thank You. In 2005, I attended the Saints & Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans, and pitched ATC on the balcony of a Bourbon Street bar.
“What else do you have?” asked the editor, who was familiar with my short stories he’d selected for a few anthologies.
In fact I did have another book, a gothic suspense called The Master of Seacliffthat I’d written before I began ATC. But no one would want to read a Rebecca, Jane Eyre, Dark Shadows romance. It had already been done, fantastically, with Gaywyck by Vincent Virga.
What I hadn’t factored in was the amount of gay romantic fiction titles that flooded the marketplace in the early 2000’s. And the lack of queer gothic suspense. The Master of Seacliff was sold, had an InSightOut Book-of-the Month limited-edition hardcover release, was nominated for a couple of awards, and put me on the map as a novelist. Thanks to Steve Berman and Lethe Press, TMOS was reissued in softcover, Kindle and iBook formats in 2012.
Meanwhile, the manuscript of At The Crossroadsresided in a box on my desk, an unsold failure. I no longer had the heart or interest in selling it. This was another addition to the very difficult times I was experiencing personally.
A series of events found me revisiting ATC in the summer of 2013, almost 30 years to the day when I made those notes. I chopped and chopped and chopped some more. I sent it off to Lethe Press, and here we are.
This is my tale of my experience with one book, and perhaps it will be of some use to you. Just write. Don’t give up. Allow the Universe to take its time to help. because I have found that it always will.
For a musical accompaniment to AT THE CROSSROADS (and other stuff I like), visit my You Tube channel.
Jack Farley addresses the next goal on his list to becoming fabulous in this excerpt from Chapter Five.
Now that he had an apartment, Jack Farley addressed the next step to having it all. He was ahead of Helen Gurley Brown’s sage wisdom; he’d already made an appointment at Dallas’ newest and most exclusive health club. In a couple of months, if he worked out every day, he’d have a well-defined body like the guys who danced at The Old Plantation. And when fate decreed they again should meet, Miguel would regret breaking up.
The upscale Mount Olympus Health and Racquetball Club was across Elm Street from Jack’s new job at Goldman’s Department Store.
He was more than a little nervous. Jack had avoided team sports and P.E. by joining the Bison Marching Band.
An attendant asked Jack to have a seat while the manager, finished with another client. He lounged in one of the plush purple chairs by the door and looked up at an elaborate mural that ran above the counter. It depicted a mountain range, maybe the mythical Olympus, for each of the hills were populated with muscle men of various size and color, wearing Speedo swimsuits. A couple of women had been a recent addition on some of the smaller hilltops; the reflection and smell of fresh paint was just pronounced enough to tell.
The whole thing looked like an ad for an old Steve Reeves movie, and looming over the little figures was the Obi-Wan Kenobi-like face of a white haired man with a walrus moustache.
These watercolor Hercules’ figures weren’t at all like the guys in Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” video: These Were Men. Jack started biting his lower lip. All he wanted to do was learn some basic exercise routines and then head to JR.’s for happy hour.
“Hi. I’m Rebecca! Let me take you on a guided tour of our facility and then we’ll get you started.”
An attractive young woman with flaming red hair, white teeth, and wearing a green Fila warm up suit, had bounded out of a door marked ‘Fitness Director.” Relief settled in: a woman would train him. No pressure to be macho or have an innate understanding of these complicated machines. Rebecca followed his eyes up to the mural.
“Those are some of the world-famous bodybuilders who got their start at Mount Olympus. Our club was founded by Emmanuel Zeus in 1960, and the original Mount Olympus continues to operate in Hollywood, California!”
She gestured to the portrait of the white haired man. “That’s Manny watching over his stable of handsome hunks and wonder women. With hard work and discipline, you can look like them too!”
Rebecca seemed to be reciting a speech, and Jack wasn’t sure that if he interrupted she might start from the beginning again. He wanted to reply that he didn’t want to look like the men in the mural, if being a muscle man meant having shaggy 70’s hair and an intense expression.
“Our state-of-the-art facility has Nautilus machines, traditional weights in our Advanced Training Center, a workout salon exclusively for ladies, Jazznastics, our signature Twenty-four Carrots Café, a racquetball room, as well as a wet and dry sauna, and also a eucalyptus room.” She sniffed the air. “For your sinuses. We provide all your gym clothing and towels, which are thoroughly laundered throughout the day. All you need to bring is yourself, and a positive attitude!”
Jack concentrated on positive thoughts as Rebecca cheered the amenities of Mount Olympus. It was most chic. He was sold.
About the Author:
Max Pierce enjoyed a successful career as a Senior Executive in the apparel industry while he developed his writing skills.
As a journalist, he began writing on Hollywood history in 1999 for CLASSIC IMAGES magazine. He has contributed to numerous anthologies and is the author of the Lambda Literary Award-nominated gothic suspense, THE MASTER OF SEACLIFF and the romantic comedy AT THE CROSSROADS, both published by Lethe Press.
He has called Los Angeles home since 1988.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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