Hi, my name is Mark Wildyr. Don invited me to guest post this week because he knows I'm fired up that my new novel JOHNNY TWO-GUNS is scheduled for release by Dreamspinner Press on Friday, March 18. JOHNNY is my first collaboration with Dreamspinner Press, but I hope it is not the last. Those are professional and supportive folks over there. Let me tell you a little about myself before we take a look at a scene from the book.
An Okie (like Don) from a little southeastern Oklahoma farming and lumber town, I’ve always been creative. Childhood tuberculosis convinced me I couldn’t do what others my age did, so I turned inward and lived in the local library where I developed a fascination for history and the study of various Native American cultures. Those two interests have remained with me throughout a stint in the Army and my business career. Historical events and cross-cultural relationships are key elements in the Wildyr books. Thus far, I’ve published 60 or so short stories, a novella, and seven novels.
The following scene takes place in Chapter 2 of the novel. Roger Mackie, a Denver architect, has agreed to give a young Chippewa a ride to Arizona in exchange for help driving and some conversation. They have stopped for the night in Provo, Utah. Rog’s reaction to Johnny Two-Guns is visceral, raising recollections of long suppressed experiences with a high school jock.
We ate a midnight dinner in Provo, Utah, where we found a good motel. The room was pleasant, and management accommodated us with two queen-size beds. As soon as we were settled, I found I was charged up rather than tired. Dressed in my sweats, I invited Johnny to join me for a run. But all he had were his cowboy boots, and they weren’t made for running… or walking, for that matter.
I made the four miles by myself, and when I opened the door upon my return, Johnny, fresh from his shower, stood combing his glossy hair in front of the mirror with nothing but a terry cloth towel snugged around his waist. I literally stopped dead in my tracks with both the door and my mouth wide open. There was no fat on the boy, just muscle and sinew, which made his shoulders look wide… hell, they were wide. Traps and lats rolled with his movements. He must have been just shy of six feet and probably weighed 170 or 175. The chest was an odd combination of defined pecs and still-developing adolescence. His skin looked velvety smooth and hairless. Brown nipples centered on large areolas that were almost black. His belly wasn’t washboard, but had definite musculature. His navel was high and deep.
He caught my look in the mirror. “Sorry. I’ll put some clothes on.”
“Don’t bother on my account,” I managed to say, brushing past him quickly so he wouldn’t see the state of my rising excitement. “You leave any hot water?”
I stripped in the bathroom, and by the time I got in the shower, I was thinking of Hank and how he looked at me on the camping trip. I showered for a long time. The last five minutes of it in cold water.
Johnny was in bed when I returned to the room. As I pulled on a pair of shorts with my back to him, I wondered if he was watching. When I turned around, he was on his side, his eyes closed. The three TV channels on our set held nothing of interest, so I snapped off the light and turned in… to spend an hour lying there in the dark assessing Roger Mackie. Why was Hank and what he had done to me so vivid in my mind’s eye? The answer was clear, although I was loath to admit it. The young man sleeping in the bed not five feet from me stirred up old, forgotten memories. Had I been gut punched for the second time in my life?
There had been no thunder and lightning when I met Julie Ann. I liked her, dated her, and married her. It took time and effort for our love to mature. And it was love. Even so, lying in the dark in that small motel in Utah, I wondered what would have happened had Hank showed up at any time during the courtship. What if I’d had to choose between them? Had I loved Hank? No, but the fact I was thinking so much about him lately meant something. What? Obsessed with him, maybe? I shook my head in the darkness. Really, Hank was nothing but a guy who’d shown me something I knew nothing about. Planted a seed that perhaps sex wasn’t just something that happened between men and women. Could that be right?
I turned over and searched through the darkness for the still, silent form of Johnny Two-Guns on the other bed and wondered if he had heard the peal of thunder. Surely it wasn’t just inside my head.
As I wrote this scene, I was “in the head” of both Rog and Johnny, as I recalled both hitchhiking cross country in my youth and providing rides to others in my young adulthood. While none of my trips were as eventful as this venture, I can still recall the thrill of expectation with each new companion. A few provided dalliances, but none measured up to the life-changing events these two characters experienced. I hope this short passage whets your appetite for more.
Here are some links where you can learn a little more about me and my writing.
Website and blog: markwildyr.com
The following are Dreamspinner’s buy links (they are presently accepting pre-orders, by the way):
Well, thanks for reading. Readers are some of my favorite people. Again, let me express my appreciation to Prism Book Alliance for allowing me to guest post this blog.
This is me again. I hope you enjoyed a look at Mark's new novel. If so, please consider supporting hi by purchasing one of the books.
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