The Live Oak Series by Stephen del Mar:
Books in the series include…
Dark Love; The Bear, the Witch, and the Web; and Hunter Moon and the Red Wolf
Should be read in order
In love with paranormal romance? Want new tales with dragons, and shifters, and wolves, and love? Check out the books that make up The Live Oak Tales by Stephen del Mar. Blurbs and excerpts below.
My Interview with Stephen del Mar…
Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Stephen del Mar author of The Live Oak Tales series. Hi Stephen, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
Thanks, I’m very excited to be here. This is my first blog tour. Basic stuff about me: I’m a 54 year old gay man living in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. I have a background in media production and attended seminary for a while.
I’ve just finished and released “Hunter Moon & the Red Wolf,” which is the last book in “The Live Oak Tales.” This series is a fun and, at times, a quirky take on contemporary/paranormal fantasy. We have witches, faeries and a number of shifter folk all trying to do the right thing and live together. All of this is set in the Bennett Bay area on the Gulf Coast of Florida. A fun little place I’ve made up. I wanted a place where I could condense all of Florida into one county with a tourist town and backwater villages. I’ve been very influenced by the southern literary traditions and setting is always one of my main characters. A strong sense of place is a must for southern fiction, as is a bit of spirit, in whatever form that may take.
What book do you wish you could have written?
I honestly have no idea how to answer this. I’m in the process of writing everything I want to write. I’ve read a lot of very good books over the years, but if I’d written them they’d be different. Each writer has their own voice. Maybe I’m over thinking this and need more tea!
How important are names to you (in your books)? Do you choose names based on liking the way it sounds or meaning? How do you choose your names?
Names are really important to me. The sound of a name is really important as is the meaning. Sometimes characters come to me with their names in place. This is usually true of main characters. For minor ones, I search baby name sites for names that catch my eye. I also collect cool names for later use.
I move to my current location about a year ago and one of the streets I take to get home is Krycul. I just loved the harsh sound of that name. I knew I’d use it somewhere. In “Hunter Moon & the Red Wolf” I needed an evil guy that owned a meat packing plant. Krycul was it!
Were you already a great writer? Have you always enjoyed writing? How long have you been writing?
Okay, I’m not touching the “great” thing. 😉 I’ve wanted to write probably since high school, but two things stood in my way. One is I have dyslexia which makes writing a real bitch. I had to wait for computer technology to come around to assist me. The second is I’m a real pantser. That’s a writer who writes by the seat of their pants, without an outline, and discovers the story as it unfolds, much like the reader. Not one of my writing teachers in high school or college ever mentioned that this was a thing. Not one of those how to write book I bought over the years ever said you could just sit down and start writing. I imagine you can’t sell a lot of books that say, just write.
Outlines freeze me up for some reason. For thirty years, I was in this stuck state, then a writer friend of mine visited and took me to task for not writing. So I told her what I mentioned above and she looked at me like the fool I was. First she said, well there are these people called editors and proof readers that can help me clean up the spelling issues. Then she told me to just sit down and write. You don’t need an outline. Lots of writers don’t use them. Everyone writes different. Really? They couldn’t put that in a book?
So the best writing advice I can give: Just do it. Early drafts are supposed to be messy. There are people to help with that, if you need it. And most importantly, find what works for you. Go back to the first part, butt in chair and write. Finish what you write. Get it edited and beta read, publish the sucker and move on. Seems so easy now.
Which character, from any of your books, do you consider your greatest work?
There’s that word again. I really like Dieter in “Dark Love.” It’s a first person story so we get into his head. He’s gone through a lot and he’s become somewhat of a jerk. I think it’s fun to see him realize that and wrestle with it. He really doesn’t want to be a jerk, especially to his closest friends and his new boyfriend, but bless his heart, sometimes he just can’t help himself.
What hobbies do you enjoy?
Hobbies? Oh, yeah, those things I did before I started writing. I used to really be into aquariums. I had fish tanks everywhere and I also really enjoyed photography, it was my minor in college. But writing has taken over all of my free time. If I’m not at the Evil Day Job, I’m doing something writing related. And I really like hanging with my imaginary friends.
Publisher: LMW Books
About The Live Oak Tales
The Live Oak Tales is a paranormal/contemporary fantasy series set in the wider Stories from Bennett Bay collection by Stephen del Mar. The series consists of one short story (“Slay me,” said the dragon.), which serves as a standalone prequel and three novels, Dark Love, The Bear, the Witch and the Web, and Hunter Moon and the Red Wolf.
- “Slay me,” said the dragon. is a tongue-in-cheek look at a romantic encounter between a dragon and a slayer. It sets up the mythology of dragon shifters that runs through the rest of the series.
- Dark Love, a metaphor for gay love, takes us from the ordinary world of the Bennett Bay, a Gulf-side tourist town in Florida, to the tiny, backwater village of Live Oak. Dieter Reinhold, the proprietor of a trendy café in Bennett Bay’s Spanish Quarter travels back to Live Oak to deal with the death of his great uncle, the man that raised him as a father. While there, he learns there are more interesting creatures in the woods than he ever imagined. He discovers that magic, witches, and undying love are real.
- In The Bear, the Witch and the Web, Innes Callahan and the circle of witches we met in Dark Love are facing a number of crises. The greatest of which is that the faeries are missing. In fact, all the enchantment seems to be gone from the Jumble, the wild woods adjacent to the farm. They need to find the faeries and discover who the new Witch of the Wood will be.
- The final book in the series, Hunter Moon and the Red Wolf, finds the Circle still in disarray as Janos Pac tries to come into his own as the new Witch of the Woods. This is complicated by a plot by the dragons and wolves returning to Florida after nearly a hundred years, but are they really wolves?
These books are on the lighter side of the paranormal spectrum with a fair bit of humor. However, they do touch on deeper issues. Dark Love explores loss, grief, and what it means to hide one’s love. The stories also explore what it means to make hard choices about our path in life; and, an overarching theme is the changing nature of family as we move through life. How we move from our family of birth to the family we create with friends and lovers.
Pages or Words:
“Slay me,” said the dragon: 45 pages
Dark Love: 398 pages
The Bear, the Witch, & the Web: 153 pages
Hunter Moon & Red Wolf: 249 pages
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy. (Book two also includes an older main character.)
Excerpt from Dark Love: Book 1 in the Live Oak Tales
Setup: Dieter is alone at the family’s old farmhouse after the death of his uncle. His ex-lover and still good friend Innes comes over to comfort him. Innes finds the mysterious silver box Dieter found out in the barn, which seems to have human ash in it. Innes warns him that it might be dangerous. Innes is a witch and Dieter thinks magic is bull. Innes calls in his mentor, Flora May Crawford, to help him convince Dieter there is danger afoot. It doesn’t work. Later, Innes calls back with another warning for Dieter. It doesn’t make him think Innes is any less crazy.
Of course that was the moment my phone made the little nose-twitch tinkle-tinkle. I sighed, go with the flow and remember you love him.
I picked up the phone. “Hello, Innes.”
“Didn’t you get my text?” He sounded flustered.
“No. I haven’t looked at my phone. I’ve had other things on my mind.”
“Oh. Right. Well, what are you doing?”
“Sitting naked in the kitchen having soup and a sandwich.”
“Because I was hungry. What do you want?”
He didn’t say anything for a moment. I heard the creak of a screen door and the chirping of frogs. He must have moved outside onto Flora May’s front porch. “Look,” he said, “Flora May just got back from the faeries.” He paused like he expected me to comment. I had nothing.
“She’s not telling me a lot. Said they’re pretty agitated about the whole thing.”
Again the pause. Again I was silent; although I was worrying my grip on the phone would reach its crush point.
“Dieter, you gotta promise me to take this seriously.”
Actually, I didn’t have to promise him anything.
I heard him swallow. “Tonight is a full moon.”
“So? It happens every twenty-eight days from what I understand.”
“Fuck.” He was agitated. “Listen, whatever you do, don’t jack-off in that box under the full moon.”
My mind kicked into neutral and spun its gears as it tried to make sense of the string of words it just received. Because they didn’t make any sense and they kept coming.
He continued. “I mean it. Whatever you do, do not mix your semen with that ash in the full moonlight.”
Some emergency back-up system took over. My thumb slid over my phone and ended the call. I stood up, opened the fridge and pulled a beer out. I twisted the top off and dropped it on the table. I pushed my way through the swinging door into the living room. As I fell back onto the couch, I tried to imagine a world where the idea of masturbating into a box of human ash existed, let alone the need to warn someone not to do that. Ohhh, I’m gonna cum, make sure the drapes are pulled and the lids are on all the urns, ‘cause we don’t want our spunk and ash and moonlight to mix! ‘Cause that will start the zombie apocalypse or something.
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.
Where to find the author:
Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: Ebook copy of Dark Love, Book 1 in the Live Oak Tales. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Tour Dates & Stops:
Bayou Book Junkie
Rainbow Gold Reviews
My Fiction Nook
Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
MM Good Book Reviews
BFD Book Blog