Thursday, April 21, 2016

Serpents and Doves by G. Lloyd Helm @goddessfish


My 10 favorite authors/books?

My ten favorite books and Authors huh? Well naturally I could say my own six--but even I am not that egocentric.  But I gotta mention them--  1)Other Doors,    2) Design  3) Sometimes in Dreams  4) World without end   5) Trainwheels, Flying Saucers and the Ghost of Tiburcio Vasquez and 6) Serpents and Doves.  Those are mine, available from Barnes and Noble and Amazon on line, and from Rogue Phoenix Press.
All right. Enough of that. So let's get serious here.
My number one favorite is John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath because it could be the story of my people. We came to California in the second Okie migration, after WWII. We lived in trailer parks and barely habitable apartments in Arkansas clusters in Bakersfield and the San Fernando Valley.
Second is hard. I am an omnivorous reader going from purest fiction to Science and history. I think maybe my second favorite is Chaos Theory Honest. I truly love that book though I freely admit I don't understand it all. But the one thing I really got out of it is that there is really no such thing as chaos. If you look at anything from the right angle and enough distance there is order of some kind.
Third is a departure--a Robert Heinlein book called Door into Summer. It is a time travel story and the way he over lapped the times fascinated me. I have stolen the technique a couple of times in some of my stories
Fourth is another Heinlein story The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. It is a book about a revolution on the moon. The Moon is a penal colony that is basically run by a computer who one day woke up and became self aware.
Fifth would have to be For whom the Bell Tolls. Ernest Hemingway.  This one and The Sun Also Rises are pretty much tied, partly for the stories, but also because I am intimately acquainted with Spain where they are both set. I lived in a little town in Spain called Torrejon just up the road from Cervantes home town for about three years and I would go back to live there in a heartbeat.
Sixth is Ray Bradbury's --well Ray Bradbury, period. Fahrenheit 451,  and The Illustrated Man,  but also a weird one. Bradbury wrote several books of poetry, one of them being When Elephants last in the Door Yard Bloomed. When my uncle Henry discovered I had pretenses toward poetry he gave me a copy of that book. I carried it pillar to post all around the world--literally around the world since I lived out of the US for more than ten year and all around the US in the mean time. When we came to California I happened to be near where Bradbury was giving a lecture and signing books so I carried my copy, ragged though it was, and asked him to sign it. I told him the story and he smiled and signed it.
Seventh would be Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series. I know that isn't a single book but about five books, but they are all like long chapters of one book so I just mush them together in my mind. There are so many things in these that are so prescient they are spooky. I mean he has cell phones in his books even before they were thought of.
Eighth will have to be another conglomerate J. R.R. Tolkien's Ring Trilogy plus The Hobbit. I have read all the books a couple of times each. The languages in them astound me. He made all those languages up and they were whole languages which he and some specialized friends actually spoke. The joke now is nerds speaking Klingon but Tolkien really spoke and wrote Elvish and Dwarfish and Entish and like that.
Ninth is another weird one--Leaves of Grass, that's Walt Whitman. I get him. I understand what he was saying though he died fifty years before I was born. I have been told that some of my own poetry has something Whitman-ish about it. I assume that is good.
Tenth is hardest because there are so many more that I love, but I think I am gonna have to say Patrick O'brian's  Aubry/Maturin  novels. I got a complete set of them for Christmas a couple of years ago and I have been gobbling them up ever since. I am fascinated by the nautical detail he puts in the books. I am also fascinated by the fact that his real name was not Patrick O'brian nor was he Irish.

All the above is just spur of the moment thought. They are pretty accurate but they are interchangeable and  could easily be crowded out by other writers not mentioned.

Serpents and Doves
by G. Lloyd Helm

GENRE:  Literary Fiction


Stephen Mitchell did not know what he was getting into at a small church college in Tennessee. Sex, protest, friendship, and Civil rights. The title “Serpents and Doves” comes from the warning Jesus gave to his disciples as he sent them out to preach the gospel, knowing the dangers they were going into. He said “I send you out as sheep among wolves, therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Stephen Mitchell learns first-hand what that warning means when he goes to a Tennessee church college in the midst of the turbulent 60’s. He learns about friendship, war, protest, the sexual revolution, and civil rights.


Ethan’s suicide rocked the school, but not nearly as much as Stephen expected. The New Jersey and New York folks mostly didn’t know anything about Ethan or the BSU so they noted the suicide as a bit of news, but it didn’t affect them much.  There was some anti-homosexual noise and the inevitable nasty jokes, but Ethan Patrick’s passing caused no more than a ripple for the most part.

There was some noise and protest from the Mason First Baptist Church when Billie Jo asked them to hold the funeral service, but finally they said they would bury him, but not in the church cemetery. They ignored the fact of his suicide and the reasons for it and held a small service. Stephen debated with himself whether he should go.   He had about decided not to when Cathy Powell cornered him and asked if he would go with her.  “I really don’t have the strength Steve,” she said. “I’m just a wreck. Can’t you please come with me?” 

Stephen seriously thought about saying, Why don’t you go ask David Hall? But didn’t say it.  “All right. I’ll meet you at the church.”

She smiled sadly, but Stephen thought he saw just the smallest glimmer of triumph in it.

The coffin was set across the aisle in front of the altar. Closed. It was silvery gray and looked more like a large tin can than a coffin. The congregation was small, mostly people from the BSU but a few from Beacon’s faculty including Dr. Conners and Dr. Marchant. Having the Pope there was no surprise. Probably here to make sure the sumbitch is really dead, Stephen thought, and then felt bad about thinking it.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

G. Lloyd Helm has been writing for 40 years, having published poetry in a wide variety of magazines and newspapers including “The New York Poetry Anthology,” “Stars and Stripes News,” “The Los Angeles Times,” “The Antelope Valley Press,” and “The Antelope Valley Anthologies,” among others. 

Helm has published short stories and memoirs both in the US and in England in such journals as “Pligrimage” which published the memoir “Football” in spring 2005, and a second memoir “4 April, 1968” in the winter of 2008.  He has published short stories in “Citadel” the literary magazine of Los Angeles City College,” “Delivered Magazine,” which is based in London, “Short Story Library,” The University of S. Illinois’ “Eureka Literary Magazine,” “Tales as like as not,” and London’s “Black Gate Magazine.”  Recently published “Even Up” a Civil War Ghost story at, an English on line magazine, and the short story “A Lovely Elephant” in “Delivered Magazine” an English fiction journal. “The Other Fellows Shoes,” Pulp Empire III, Metahuman Press, Cedar Rapids, IA Nov. 2010. Is being published in an on line experiment from Alfie Dog Publishing in England. May 2012.

He has published three novels in the F&SF field,
 1) OTHER DOORS, From MousePrints Publishing, and
2) DESIGN from American Star.
3) WORLD WITHOUT END from Rogue Phoenix Press

OTHER DOORS, originally published in 1997, was published electronically by Rogue Phoenix Press in July 2010. Also published a literary Romance novel called SOMETIMES IN DREAMS, from Siren’s call. Most recently a volume of short stories called TRAIN WHEELS, FLYING SAUCERS, AND THE GHOST OF TIBURCIO VASQUEZ. Many of these stories appear on the Alfie Dog site.

He is in process of publishing an adult literary novel called SERPENTS AND DOVES with Rogue Phoenix Press, which will be out in May 2016.



G. Lloyd Helm will be awarding 10 paperback copies of the book to10 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. (international giveaway)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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