Monday, August 21, 2017

Inhuman Beings by Richard May #giveaway #interview

Welcome all!

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Rick May, author of Inhuman Beings: Monsters, Myths, and Science Fiction.

Hi, Rick, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

What were you like at school?

I was in the closet as a Gay person and as an intelligent person. Neither were prized in my little country high school so I tried to be as outgoing as possible and make people laugh. Meanwhile, I was dating a boy from another high school and a girl from mine.

Were you good at English?

I loved reading and writing and was pretty verbal so I did well in English, but I planned on being a doctor because I enjoyed science and math so much. A year into college, however, I realized I’d make a terrible doctor so switched to plan B, which was an English degree.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

I don’t expect to be rich—a pretty safe assumption when you write Gay erotic short stories—but I hope people find my books and are stimulated intellectually, emotionally, and maybe physically by my writing.

Which writers inspire you?

The American Transcendalists, especially Hawthorne and Melville, inspire me for the oddity of their stories. Jane Austen inspires me through her humor and keen eye for character. D.H. Lawrence is such an excellent descriptive writer and of course a master at portraying passion. He is my favorite short story author. Tolstoy always amazes me for the depth of his writing and the sweep of his stories.

So, what have you written?

I have two published books: Gingersnaps: Photos & Stories of Queer Redheads and this book. I’ve also been published several times in Best Gay Erotica (Cleis Press) and other anthologies, as well as in several literary journals. I also have a short story series on Kindle called Gay All Year.

Where can we buy or see them? (* include American, European and any other relevant links. Free, free promotions or prices can be included)

Gingersnaps is out of print, regrettably, but Inhuman Beings is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and through Ingram at your local bookstore.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

My book is a collection of short fiction so there are numerous main characters. The book is divided into three parts: monsters, myths, and science fiction. One of my favorites is a leprechaun living in modern day New York City, but then I’m Irish. I’m very proud of my extension of a Greek myth, “My Mother’s Head,” in which I imagine a story for Chrysoar, the fraternal twin brother of Pegasus. He’s mentioned by name and described in the classic Greek myths but not much else is known about him. “Kakouhthe” is a Native American story I wrote about a human encounter with the cyclone god of the Shawnee people. It doesn’t turn out well for the human he connects with, depending on how you look at it. “Exchange of Fluids” is dystopian, which I am definitely not, about a post-apocalyptic world in which dogs have become humoid.The main character is a red-haired dog, like an Irish Setter with a human body.

What are you working on at the minute?

I am working on a third short fiction collection, all fairly contemporary settings. This is based on my Kindle series.

What’s it about? (*if relevant)

It’s 12 stories of how men meet other men and is keyed to a holiday or major event each month. I’m trying for a lot of diversity—racially, culturally especially. For example, December is a bondage and S&M story keyed to the eight nights of Hannukah.

What genre are your books?

Gay erotic fiction

What draws you to this genre?

I like exploring the different ways Gay men can meet and how different men can overcome obstacles to fall in love. This necessarily involves sex so my stories have been categorized as erotica. To me, sex is just a part of life.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

Ha, ha! Again, I have multiple lead characters. I’d love to see a young Laurence Harvey play the human in my ghost story, “inheritance,” and a young Marlon Brando play the golem in “Sand.” It would be lots of fun if Eddie Redmayne played the leprechaun in “A Leprechaun in New York. Benedict Cumberbatch would make a great stainless steel robot in “The Latest Model.”

How much research do you do?

I always do lots of research on place and character—cultural and physical. I write a lot of historical fiction and so do quite a bit of research into the clothing, food, size, culture, etc., of the time. I always say when in doubt, look it up. It’s so easy now it’s lazy not to.

Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?

Not writers. My first book was done with the photographer David Sweet. My stories were inspired by his photos of gingers. My stories are almost always inspired by a visual—a photo, painting, dream, or someone in a crowd.

Why did you do decide to collaborate and did that affect your sales?

David talked me into it. I didn’t seem myself writing books. I was perfectly content getting published in magazines and anthologies.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I don’t know that I ever decided. My third grade teacher, Mrs. Sheets, in grammar school had us draw a picture and write a story about it and I’ve never stopped.

Why do you write?

Stories start telling themselves to me all the time, inspired by what I see around me. I write them because they’re interesting to me and I don’t want to let them slip into nonexistence. Once I write them, the stories and the characters exist and that gives me satisfaction and happiness.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?

I don’t really “decide.” The stories come and I write them.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

Part-time. The rest of my day is spent planning literary events for others and writing for our local newspaper.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

I almost always write in the morning. I aim for 9am to noon but life too often intervenes.

Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?

I write Monday through Friday, rarely on weekends.

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?

No. I aim for hours at my desk and laptop. The amount I write or edit is not important to me.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

A computer. I wrote longhand for years because I enjoyed the quiet of a pen on paper, but my thoughts ran faster than my pen so I switched to a computer. The flow of thought to page is much faster. I hated the finger tapping at first but became used to it.

Where do the your ideas come from?

I don’t know that it’s an idea. The inspiration almost always starts with a visual. I see something and bing! the story starts to tell itself.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I definitely prefer to see where the story goes. I bang out the first draft fairly quickly and spend many more hours editing. If a story winds up in a dead end, I put it aside. These stories usually can’t be fixed.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I’m technically much more proficient. I was an editor and edited other people’s writing as part of my work in publishing. But my writing process is the same: write fast, edit over and over. I do show my work now to other people for comment before I think I’ve finished editing. I found a writing group and try the beginnings of stories there to receive feedback on whether there’s potential. I show first edits of complete stories to fellow writer friends for feedback. I never did this until I became serious about publishing. More brains do help, although you have to ignore a lot of comments. You have to consider them but you don’t have to implement them. It’s your story; you get to decide.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Promoting published work

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

The book I’m writing now has been very difficult. It took a year to write and I’ve been editing for 18 months or more. After publication of my first erotic short story collection, I realized I didn’t want to be stereotyped as an erotic writer so psychologically it’s been difficult finishing this second erotic collection. But the stories are too good to abandon. I’m almost done and then I’ll move on to general fiction, not erotica.

What is the easiest thing about writing?

The writing. It’s a joy to sit down and write.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

It takes a year to write and one to two years to edit. I amazed at friends who write and edit a book a year.

Do you ever get writer’s Block?

Only after the election of Donald Trump. First time in my life. Took six months of bad writing to get through it.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

Don’t stop writing. Sit at your desk or the coffee shop or wherever you write and write something—random thoughts, descriptions of the place or people you see. That works for me. I think prompt cards might work to. Read a prompt and write something about it. Anything. That’s the key. Write ANYTHING. You’ll get through it. Then, throw everything you’ve written during the process away.

If this book is part of a series, tell us a little about it?

It’s a one-off. I have other ideas for parallel stories but probably more here and there for magazines and anthologies. One story I dropped from the manuscript was accepted for an anthology. Another needed more research and I plan to get back to it.

What are your thoughts on writing a book series.

I write fast enough to do a series but I edit way too slowly so, no, I don’t expect ever to write a series. I can see the attraction though. I love many of my characters and enjoy visiting them. But my stories aren’t autobiographical or from my alter ego. If they were, I think it would be easier to write more about the character.

Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.

I read a lot but never enough to keep up with the to-read stack. My favorite contemporary authors are Colm Toibin, Michael Aleynikov, Anne Raeff, Shelley Wong, and Genanne Walsh.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

I read in both formats but prefer paper. I spend so much time looking at computer screens that print books are a relief for my eyes.

What book/s are you reading at present?

Right now I’m enjoying the three John Burdett Bangkok books. I’m also reading the latest Wuvable Oaf graphic novel. At the top of the stack are Where the Jews Aren’t by Masha Gessen and Only the Animals, stories by Ceridwen Dovey.

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

I edit my own books. I was trained to edit in college when I was pointing to be an English professor and learned to edit when I was an editor at Doubleday. I can be dispassionate about my own work.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

No, I plunge ahead. Editing takes so much time so I just push through.

Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?
Not applicable

Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.
This book was first published as an ebook. The publisher did a pretty good job on the cover, but for the paperback I wanted something more fun and more lurid. The inspiration was a 1950s scifi film poster. I think I got what I asked for.

Who designed your book cover/s?

My publisher

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

Absolutely. Unless you have a highly recognizable name, it’s the main reason potential readers look at the book.

How are you publishing this book and why?
(*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

Small press

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?

I self-published my first book but it was a lark anyway. You have a lot more control but you may wind up embarrassing yourself because you don’t have multiple brains working on your book.

How do you market your books?

Oh, marketing. I’ve done this for decades for other people. Quite another story to do it for myself. I wrote a marketing plan and am working my way through implementing it.

Why did you choose this route?

I’ve marketed other people’s books so just toddled on without thinking.

Would you or do you use a PR agency?

I will, when I’ve finished my first general fiction book.

Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?

My advice is ask someone else. I don’t trust myself yet to pass on information. But, yes, one bit of advice: Get out there. Read in public wherever and whenever you can. If nothing else, you’ll get readers’ reactions, which may help you write.

What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?

Not enough. I should be spending a third of my time marketing.

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

You have to take any review as one person’s opinion and—good or bad—not make it your opinion of your work.

Any amusing story about marketing books that happened to you?

There are no amusing stories about marketing books.

What’s your views on social media for marketing?

Excellent and no expensive.

Which social network worked best for you?

I use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Facebook is still the most effective for me.

Any tips on what to do and what not to do?

Write every day. Write in the same space/place, if possible. Don’t worry about the quality of your writing during the first draft. Don’t try to edit during your first draft. Hire an agent, if possible. Aim high when it comes to publishers but accept lower if that’s the reality.

Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?

I am on this book.

Did you get interviewed by local press/radio for your book launch?


Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures?

Food and drink at my launches.

Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?

I wouldn’t spend money on ads unless they’re in social media.

Why do you think that other well written books just don’t sell?

Many well-written books don’t really tell an interesting story, and many that do are just not found by readers. It’s so difficult to bring your book to the attention of readers so they might buy it and read it and recommend it to friends.

What do you think of “trailers” for books?

Too far astray from writing for me but a good idea if you can get yourself to do it. We live in an increasingly visual world. I may make myself try this at some point.

Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book/s?

Maybe. There’s so much you can do on marketing. With anything you do, you have to think: how am I going to get people to look at this?

Do you think that giving books away free works and why?

It depends. If the recipient is influential, in print or word of mouth, yes. If they’re going to blurb your book, yes. If they’re your mother, yes. Otherwise, no.

Did you format your own book?


In what formats is your book available?

Ebook and print

If formatted by someone else, how did you select them and what was your experience?

My publishers formatted them in both cases.

How do you relax?

I have a large garden. Gardening is very zen. I stop thinking when I’m gardening. I love to walk and to think about playing tennis. I go to a lot of other people’s readings; I love being read to. I listen to classical music. I love chamber music, the symphony, opera, and ballet.

What is your favourite motivational phrase.

Do it!

What is your favourite positive saying?

“Love is always there, all around you. Be aware. Accept love, not the lack of it.”

What is your favourite book and why?

Pride and Prejudice, because it’s so funny

What is your favourite quote?

I’m not much for quotes.

What is your favourite film and why?

2001, A Space Odyssey, because it is beautiful and weird at the same time

Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?

I see myself publishing my fifth book.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t take yourself so seriously

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville together. I admire their work tremendously and am intrigued by them personally. Most authors don’t intrigue me, their stories do.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

Leviticus. I’d leave Queer people off the list of abominations.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t write unless you feel compelled to. You won’t receive much notice or money for your work, and it’s hard work and so many people are already doing it. The world does not need more writers, unless they can tell brilliant stories. The world will always need that.

Where do you see publishing going in the future?

I think we’ll be going back to clay tablets and cave walls after climate disaster.

Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

Thank you for your interest in my book and in me!

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

I don’t have a website. Isn’t that terrible? But I do have a Facebook page. Here’s the link:

Title: Inhuman Beings
Author: Richard May
Release Date: June 15th 2017
Genre: Gay Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Erotic

Inhuman Beings-Front cover


Fall in love with a shapeshifter in San Francisco, a ghost in Scotland, or a vampire in Russia. Time travel to 1920s Mesopotamia, 1600's Africa, or to ancient Greece before time even existed. Find yourself on a distant planet, in love with a creature whose very being can destroy you, or in a post-apocalyptic world, drawn to a mutation created by the destruction of Earth.

Enjoy these 18 erotic stories about romantic encounters between men and not men--monsters and myths, gods and demons, science fiction and fantasy. Each story is the stuff of nightmares--and of dreams.

Add Inhuman Beings to Goodreads

Paperback Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK *The paperback version has 3 new stories*

Ebook Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK | MLR Press


“With Inhuman Beings, May seductively crosses the boundaries of time and space, the real and the imaginary, in these spellbinding tales of love and lust and things that go bump, not to mention hump, in the night.”

Rob Rosen, editor of the Best Gay Erotica series

Inhuman Beings is an enormously imaginative, genre-crossing work in the tradition of Peter Cashorali’s groundbreaking Fairy Tales but with greater breadth and franker eroticism; an impres­sive achievement.”

Michael Nava, author of the Henry Rios novels

Inhuman Beings represents a seminal work in gay male erotic literature that draws on the threads and yarns of our cultures and civiliza­tions. Tales from many countries and eras transport you across the globe and through the years, making this book one that will stand the test of time.”

Wayne Goodman, author of Better Angels

“Richard May’s new collection of short fiction contains an international menagerie of legendary creatures. There’s a Hindu god, a Native American cyclone spirit, a Chinese rain dragon, a moody Jewish golem, a sadistic Iraqi jinn, and more. Fans of the homoerotic melded with the speculative and the paranormal will savor every page of Inhuman Beings.”

Jeff Mann, author of Country and Consent

"The beauty of this collection lies in its imagination – May is doing nothing less than writing a gay mythology, complete with monsters and fairy tales, imagined futures and refreshed pasts. His bold infusion of desire into mythology and encounters with the paranormal is unique, bracing and insightful. Inhuman Beings is full of a kind of sacred frivolity.”

Trebor Healey, author of Faun and Eros & Dust


Clocks told me it was after midnight, the new last day for the Daberleys at Enscombe. I climbed the central staircase, thinking of all the feet which had trod before me.

My father’s bedroom felt freezing so in quick order I stripped, not bothering to hang my clothes, and slid under the heavy blankets. Sleep came quickly but I was awakened soon after, or so it seemed, by the sound of footsteps in the hall outside my room. I was groggy and pulling myself into sitting when the bedroom door opened and the shadow of a tall man stood in the doorframe.

“Aren’t you afraid?” he asked in Stephen Taylor’s voice.

“No,” I lied, jumping out of bed and turning on the lamp, only belatedly covering myself with underwear tossed aside.

“But I do want to know what you’re doing in my house in the middle of the night.”

“I come here often,” was all he said as he entered the room and closed the door. I made ready for him as he came across the carpet but he just sat, slumping in the armchair.

“He killed me, you know.”

Giveaway: Comment on this post for a chance to win a copy of Inhuman Beings

About the Author

Richard May

Richard May’s short fiction has been published in his collections Inhuman Beings and Ginger Snaps: Photos & Stories (with photographer David Sweet), his series Gay All Year on Amazon Kindle, in anthologies like Never Too Late, Best Gay Erotica, and the Lambda Literary nominated Outer Voices Inner Lives, and in literary journals, including Bay Laurel, Chelsea Station, and Hyacinth Noir.

Rick also organizes the monthly Perfectly Queer book reading series with his partner Wayne Goodman in Oakland CA at Nomadic Press: Uptown and in San Francisco at Dog Eared Books Castro, individual LGBTQ Pride Readings for visiting authors, the annual literary festival Word Week in Noe Valley CA, and an online book club Reading Queer Authors Lost to AIDS.

Rick is from Sacramento CA and Brooklyn NY and now lives in San Francisco. He has red hair and truly believes in all things ginger. Another genetic stunner: he is 19th cousin to Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.

Please follow him on social media at, @rickmaywritr on Twitter, and richard.may1313 on Instagram.

Links: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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