It’s the beginning of another lovely week, and it’s the beginning of another lovely interview here at the Menagerie. For the first time ever we are featuring a male erotic author! Yes, we’ve had men here before, but they were part of a writing team… this is the first time one has braved the Menagerie all on his own. Although, when I mentioned this he didn’t seem too worried… like I said; brave man. So, let’s not be too rough with him… he is here of his own free will. His name is Randall Lang and he is definitely a charmer.
Welcome to the Menagerie, Randall. We’re so glad you could join us today. And since you’ve already charmed us, let’s get started so you can charm our readers. What inspired you to write your first book?
Firstly, let me thank the Menagerie Authors, Kealie, Mysti and JennyKat, for inviting me here today. I have enjoyed reading erotica since discovering those 'naughty' books, hidden from the eyes of family and guests behind the front row of 'nice' books on my Mother's book shelf. After feeding my pubescent fervor with the likes of Peyton Place, Bramble Bush, Fanny Hill, and The Harrad Experiment, I became hopelessly hooked on quality written erotica. As the years passed, it seemed that all that was available to a maturing erotica addict was drivel with a lot of capital letters and rows of exclamation points. When a job change left me with intermittent periods of idle time, thoughts of what I considered good erotica began to haunt me. I decided to try my hand at erotica writing and, in a relatively short time, I had assembled a book of erotic short stories and what would become my first book, Trailer Park Nights. I wanted to write erotica that was tasteful; free of gratuitous foul language, ridiculous situations, and stereotypical characters; yet would leave the reader eager for companionship. Once I started writing, I have not stopped, but I have changed direction away from erotica and toward erotic romance.
I have to agree, so much “erotica” is drivel. So glad I’m not the only to think so. LOL. How did you come up with the title?
For my recent release, Magnificent Man, the title is based upon an attribute of the hero, Coyote. It is a novel of adventure and romance that takes place in the contemporary American southwest. Cassandra, the heroine, is rescued from a group of murderous thugs by Coyote. He kneels before her and addresses her as "my lady". She is confused by him and his strange, anachronistic mannerisms. He treats her as a knight would treat a queen in the Middle Ages. It is not until later, as she begins to understand him, that she realizes what a truly noble and magnificent man he is.
He sounds very interesting, gotta love a man who treats a woman like a queen. Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I am deathly afraid of those e-mails that ask, "Who told you that?" Or the ones that say, "I've lived in that area all my life, where did you come up with such bogus crap?" It is my nature to try to be as factually accurate as possible. When I started to write Magnificent Man, which is based in the desert southwest, I had a problem. Specifically, I had never been there. Big problem! I needed to do research and lots of it.
I spent several weeks in Arizona and New Mexico travelling through the area on back roads and visiting places where I was an obvious stranger. I found places and people who exist below any kind of radar screen, and whom you could not find without seeking them out. They have ways that are deeply rooted in their own culture. The effects of the modern world are present, but there is a deep undercurrent of culture that remains unshaken.
I also did a tremendous amount of research on the internet. It’s amazing how much information is available. I was able to get historical information, geographical information, and even information about largely extinct unwritten Native American dialects.
I think every author lives in fear of those emails. It’s great that you want to have such attention to detail. How much of the book is realistic?
See previous answer. This is one of the secrets about the book, and is a point of pride for me. The book is VERY true to reality. Not so much in the story line, but the route that Coyote and Cassandra travel IS real. Anyone who cares to can follow their journey on a map. Only the villages of Peligroso and Esperanza; and, Bishop County, Texas are fictional, but by carefully following the route, a reader can see where they would be if they were real. The town, the buildings, and even some of the people are real. I did change people’s names, but, if you lived in a mentioned town, you probably could identify the individual(s).
LOL, makes you wonder if you WANT them to figure out who they are in there or not. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
This is going to sound like sacrilege, since our collective world runs on romance and erotic romance, but I do not read much romance. I’m actually hooked on history, and in particular local history. Much of my working life was spent in and around the coal mining industry. One of my favorite writers is Homer Hickam, author of Rocket Boys, the book that became the movie October Sky, http://www.homerhickam.com/. He has numerous published books and many of them are about his youth in Coalwood, a small company town deep in southern West Virginia. I had met his Father, a mine supervisor featured in several of his books, and I was familiar with the town and its people. Reading Homer’s work taught me that an author could write an interesting and captivating story in plain words. Before that, I had assumed that authors had to have a PhD in literature from an Ivy League college and be fluent in four languages before they could write a book. Homer opened the mental doors that had held me back. I have seven of his books but he only has one of mine. I have to catch up.
Okay, I’ll pretend I didn’t hear you say that… But that’s a good author to admire. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Simply keeping myself working. I have this inertia problem that I call the 'slug monster'. It wants to drag me away to more relaxing and fun pursuits instead of sitting down and working. I am the victim of an ongoing internal struggle. (Start violin music now)
*snort* The slug monster, love it. Yeah, I’ll go get our personal violinist… he’ll play “My Heart Weeps for You.” What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I enjoy bicycling. Please do NOT misunderstand, I'm NOT one of those characters in the spandex suits with the silly little plastic hats. My blog post "Some Serious Spandex" lampoons them. http://randalllang.blogspot.com/2009/04/some-serious-spandex.html. I'm just a plodder in jeans and tee shirt grinding away the miles on any of the wonderful rails-to-trails conversions that exist all over the country. We have two excellent trails here in Wheeling, several nearby in Pennsylvania, and more (as of yet unexplored) in Ohio.
I also enjoy kayaking. I must admit that I'm a 'wimp-water' kayaker rather than the classic Mountain Dew swilling white-water kayaker who is out playing in waterfalls and protruding rocks. I do enjoy four or five hours of quietly drifting down a scenic river. I have other more personal enjoyments but those I'll keep to myself.
Both much more vigorous pursuits than I would try for. As for the more personal enjoyments… you should know by now… keeping stuff like that to oneself only serves to make us guess… and somehow I think our guess are a bit more wild and hairy than your actual pursuits… just saying. Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
At the risk of sounding arrogant, I offer a few thoughts in general, not aimed at anyone in particular, but born of frustration. Let me scream this from my well-worn soapbox. D-I-C-T-I-O-N-A-R-Y! For GOD’S sake, learn to spell and learn to use a dictionary. Misspelled words are giant gaping potholes in the story that distract the reader from the journey that you have written. DO NOT depend upon ‘spell-check’, get a dictionary and USE IT. TOO and TWO are not the same as TO; DO is not the same as DUE and certainly not DEW; there are apostrophes in contractions and possessives; and, GOD is a proper name. Writers should be held to a higher standard, this is not YAHOO.
A grammar guide is essential. Again, DO NOT rely upon the grammar-check of MS Word. That was developed by Chinese people who went to Argentina for a one-week training course in English. It does not even know the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ or ‘its’ and ‘it’s’. If you wish to call yourself a writer, you must learn how to punctuate and when to capitalize. One of the absolute best reference sources I have found is http://www.getitwriteonline.com/ . In the archives, they have actual answers for those sticky grammatical questions.
Finally, every writer should have a good thesaurus. When the editor screams about a writer overusing words, the thesaurus will help to correct that problem. I was always taught that, “You don’t have to remember this stuff now, but you must know where to find it later when you need it.” AMEN to that. A writer without reference guides is a blind man driving a bus. Your writing represents you and you DO NOT want it to say ‘moron’.
LOL, I’m really laughing myself silly right now. I know, you’re serious, but this is a conversation Mysti, Jenny and I have had ad nauseam. So, you’ll need a bigger soap box because we’re right up there with you on this one. And now, for the “absolutely nothing to do with writing” questions: Do you hate how you look in pictures? Why or why not?
Yes I do. Hate how I look in pictures that is. I have never been one to take good candid pictures and the best I can hope for is 'not too bad'. The professional pictures are good, but without the help of a professional, I end up looking like a troll. Sigh. My daughter and son, on the other hand, could crawl out from under a wrecked bus and look like models in a Macy's catalog.
I have yet to find a single author who doesn’t feel this way. Might be why we’re writers… just a thought. You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?
January 6, 1958. I would prevent my Father from getting into his car. We were a classic 'Leave It To Beaver' 1950's family until that night. Afterward, we...struggled.
I’m sorry. It’s always hard dealing with the fallout of things like that. What were you doing at midnight last night?
Sitting in front of a slot machine at Wheeling Island Race track and Gaming Center, drink in hand, and hoping for the bonus round.
Hmmm… something tells me you’d either do really well here in Vegas… or really horrid. What’s a saying you use a lot? From where did it originate?
I have two quotes that I repeat often. The first is, “Even a blind squirrel gets an acorn sometimes” by anonymous. That sums up the rare occurrence of luck in my life. The second is, “It’s not the years, it’s the mileage”, by Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. Abuse your body as if you’re renting it and you’ll quickly understand that one.
LOL, as a former dancer I can certainly understand that last quote… (okay, we’re kind of like the Marines… once a dancer always a dancer, but still…) Are you a morning person or a night person?
I am most definitely a night person. Being nocturnal by nature my best hours are from eight in the evening until about four A.M. Inside and outside of the house are quieter and my mind can be more free. If things are cooking along and a story is flowing, I may work all night. It's just really nice to have that option after so many years of fighting my own natural hours.
Again, I can relate. I’m sure you can imagine how hard it is with four young children in the house… I’m all out of whack. If you could wish for anything, what would you wish for?
I would like to take my grown-up brain with all of its knowledge and transfer it into the body of a healthy twenty year-old. That, my friends, would be fun.
Let me again say thank you to the Menagerie Authors for your courtesy and for inviting me here today. I am,
I am your most humble and obedient servant.
I think we all have that wish… but think of the havoc it would wreak. Yeah, I know, that would be half the fun. It’s been great to have you here hanging out on the couch with us today, Randall. Good luck with all of your future endeavors, and don’t be a stranger.
Randall Lang grew up in the tough coalfields of southwestern Pennsylvania where nothing comes easily. It is a world of limited opportunity and few roles to follow. Dreams are quickly vanquished in the shadows of necessity and creativity is usually buried beneath an avalanche of cynicism. However, epiphanies come in all shapes, sizes, and in a wide range of locations. In the dark and quiet world of the underground worksite, the stories within him began to take form. Years later, Randall Lang is the author of eight books of erotic stories published by Renaissance E Books, has contributed to two erotic anthologies, and the recently released Magnificent Man, an erotic romance published by Midnight Showcase. Randall’s erotic works include the five volume Trailer Park Nights series and three books of erotic short stories. These are available at http://shop.renebooks.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=120. His newest release, Magnificent Man, is available from Midnight Showcase at http://www.midnightshowcase.com/MagniMan.htm. See the book trailer at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fv3T4zXq_Lo. Visit Randall’s website, The Worlds of Randall Lang, www.randalllang.com.Or his blog, The Mind of Randall Lang, www.randalllang.blogspot.com. It’s a strange place to be. Randall now lives historically on an historic island in historic Wheeling, West Virginia.
Magnificent Man by Randall Lang
Life has not been easy for former beauty queen Cassandra Taylor. Abandoned by her worthless former husband, she is a single mother struggling to hold a home together for her teen-aged daughter and her mother with health problems. An ad in a Hollywood fan magazine offers her the hope of beginning anew with a more financially secure life and the glamour of Hollywood. She spends her meager savings chasing this dream only to have it dashed by an offer she must refuse. When her car breaks down on a desert highway, it leaves her alone, desperate, and at the mercy of strangers. She is rescued from a life or death encounter by a large, handsome man who rides the desert on a motorcycle. He agrees to take her home, but she is suspicious of him. To her surprise he calls her ‘my lady’ and treats her as if she were a queen and he, her knight escort. It is during this long and convoluted journey of adventure that she finds herself falling deeply in love with Coyote, the spirit rider. Although he resists, he also becomes helplessly in love with her. She quickly comes to realize that she could not survive in the harsh desert world where he is loved and respected, and he could not survive in the modern world that he does not understand and which will not accept his anachronistic ways. They seem doomed, as the sun and the moon, to always be apart even though their love bonds them helplessly to each other. Join Cassandra on the journey of a lifetime with her strange desert knight, her Magnificent Man.