Stephen del Mar on Return to Cooter Crossing ~ Excerpt, Guest Blog

Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Stephen del Mar for stopping by today.


Title: Return to Cooter Crossing
Author: Stephen del Mar
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Fiction


Aidan Quinn is having a good day, possibly the best day of his life, at least since moving to Dublin. He just received word that his degree committee approved his PhD and he’s on his way home, with lamb chops, chard, and a bottle of wine. Time to celebrate in the little cottage he shares with his mentor and lover, Dr. David Stokes. But, something is wrong when he gets home. Dr. Stokes has found a new student to “mentor.”

Like any good Irish-American lad, he gets drunk and heads home to his mother. He hopes to find himself and make plans for a new future in the quiet backwater town of Cooter Crossing. But, he forgot what it’s like being part of a large family in an extremely small town. He gets off the plane in Tampa and finds his little sister is pregnant and won’t tell anyone who the father is. His next two older brothers, Danny and Dillon, are keeping secrets, and the oldest, Rory, shows up with his son, Sean, expecting Aidan to help him navigate Sean’s coming out.

Just as Aidan thinks he’s finally getting ahead of the family drama, and settling back into life in a small Florida village, someone shoots him. And people start dying. Will he find a way to put all the pieces back together? Will he find a new direction for his life? And, what really happened to Mrs. DeWitt’s prize rooster?

A Bit of Southern Family Drama

I’d like to thank the folks at Prism Book Alliance for giving me the opportunity to talk about my new release Return to Cooter Crossing.

Return to Cooter Crossing is part of the Stories from Bennett Bay series. A collection of stories and novels set in the fictional county of Big Cypress and the town of Bennett Bay. Most of the stories are stand alone but characters weave their way in and out of the various works forming a larger tapestry of their connected lives.  Some of the works have paranormal fantasy aspects, especially the “sub-series” The Live Oak Tales.

With this book I wanted to take the time to spin a good southern tale of family drama. To take the time to really get inside a large family in a small town and revel in the drama, love, and humor we find in our families. It’s an exploration of building new family through romance and friendships. Of course being southern, you know there’s going to be some mystery and someone’s going to be shot. Oh and there are a few chickens, gators, and a very large black dog.

If you like strong character driven stories I suggest you download a sample and give it a read.  Thanks.


Scene setup: Aidan Quinn has returned to his home after being away for college. He hooked up with Allen Clark, his high school lover, his first night back. But he soon learned that Clark the boy became at man Aidan didn’t want anything to do with; having a wife and kids being a major reason. On the way to an appointment, Aidan receives a text to meet Clark at his house. He decides to meet him and tell him that he isn’t interested, that there is no longer anything between them.

Aidan headed south on County Road 513 over the river and across South River Road. He drove about five miles and then his GPS told him to turn onto a dirt road that led through citrus groves. He made a hard left turn and pulled into a lot with a double-wide, manufactured home.

He parked the truck next to a rusted-out white sedan. He headed for the front steps. Chickens ran loose in the yard scratching in the flower bed around the front steps. Laundry flapped loose on a line, most of it lay on the ground. The chickens pecked at a work shirt. He froze on the bottom steps. Something was wrong. The front window, a bay window that protruded out about a foot from the side of the house, was cracked. It had a bullet hole and the lace curtain behind it looked torn. He looked back at the chickens and the laundry in the yard. “Oh shit.” He pounded on the door. “Clark! Clark!” Children cried inside. He pounded on the door again. “It’s me Aidan. Is everything okay?”

He could still hear the crying. He turned to looked back at his truck. He didn’t belong here. He didn’t need to be involved with the shit storm that seemed to be Clark’s life. Something glinted in the orange grove. He turned, slipped on a loose board on the steps, and fell against the banister. His left, upper arm exploded in white-hot pain. The siding next to the door splintered and a crack, like thunder, made the chickens go running. A dark, wet spot spread out from a tattered hole in his shirt. “Fuck! I’m shot.”

He dropped down on the steps as another shot rang out. It went through the door.

He reached up with his right hand and tried the door handle. It turned. He opened the door a crack and crawled in. He shut the door and locked it. He shook his head. Get a grip. That’s not gonna stop a guy with a gun. Then the smell hit him. Death and decay. He looked around the room. A body lay in front of the window. He stayed low and crawled over. His arm burned and throbbed. It hung like a useless dead weight. It was Dottie—purple and bloated. Milky eyes stared up at the ceiling. He crawled away and wretched up his breakfast by the couch. The reality of the crying children came to him. He crawled toward the back of the house where he heard the kids. He got to the back wall of the living room and leaned against it to help him stand. He felt woozy. He tried to remember his first-aid training. Shock. He was going into shock.

He pulled out his phone. It was slick with blood. He pushed the emergency call button. 9-1-1. The county’s emergency dispatcher came on.

“What is the nature of your emergency?”

“Someone’s shot me.”

“Where are you?”

“Can’t you tell?”

“I’m pinging your phone’s GPS, but I need to confirm.”

“Oh. The Clark’s residence. On twenty-eight off County 513.”

“I am dispatching someone now. What is the situation?”

“I’ve been shot for fuck’s sake! That’s the situation. Dottie’s dead on the floor and the kids are in the back somewhere. And I’m going into to shock.”

“How do you know?”

“Because I’ve been fucking shot!”

“Sir, are you safe at the moment? Where is the shooter?”

Aidan staggered into a back room. “Oh God.”

“What is it, sir?”

Two little boys, about seven, huddled in the corner of their bedroom. One had black hair and the other blond, like Clark. They were dirty and wore only their underwear. Aidan knelt down next to them. “It’s okay. I’m a friend of your daddy’s. We’re gonna get help.”


Return to Cooter Crossing on Goodreads

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About the Author

Stephen del Mar is a fresh voice in Southern Gay Fiction. His Bennett Bay collection of books and stories explore life in that unique corner of the American South known as Florida. He also writes fantasy and science-fiction. Del Mar lives in the Tampa Bay region of Florida and enjoys Key Lime Pie and mango margaritas, but not at the same time.

For more information please

Farewell Giveaway
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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