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 effect 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.
A Word From the Author
When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer?
I first started thinking about it in 7th grade. I had become a pretty voracious reader by then, but the thought of writing a book just occurred to me one day. I didn't really write anything much until college though. That was when I truly got the sickness, and I haven't been able to shake it since.
2.Besides yourself, who is your favorite author in the genre that you write?
I don't have any particular genre. As I said above, I am voracious, but I am also omnivorous. I read literature and science Fiction and Fantasy and hard science, history, and philosophy. Among my favorites are Robert Heinlein, Ernest Hemingway, Ray Bradbury, Ross McDonald, Lawrence Block and Mark Twain.But my library is chock-a-block with other authors and poets.
3.What are reading right now?
Just finished the Aubry/ Maturin series by Patrick Obrien and am looking forward to the Morte de Arthur . Also reading 1001 Ways to Market Your Books. Dull but necessary.
4.Which one of your characters is most like you?
All my characters have resemblance to me even the nasty ones, but in Serpents and Doves Stephen is very much me.
5.Which of your books is your favorite? Why?
I hate this question and I am always asked. It is like asking a parent which one of his children he loves best, but having said that I am gonna commit to one. About my favorite is my first one Other Doors. It isn't the "best" but it is close to my heart because of the subject matter. It is a story of a man who can stop war by simply saying STOP. I couldn't get anyone to publish it so I put Mouse Prints publishing together to publish it myself. Because of my association with the Air Force--my wife Michele is a retired Air Force Master Sergeant--I have sold hundreds of copies of OD on military bases around the world. I have the distinct honor of being able to say that my little book about peace has gone to every war zone in the world since it came out in 1996. It is refreshing and hopeful when some uniformed stranger greets me with "Peace be with you." which is a catch phrase in the book. The book is available from Rogue Phoenix Publishing, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.
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.
… 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 www.ruthlesspeoples.com, 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.
…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, www.roguephoenixpress.com 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.
…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) Use the link below to enter.