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.
Interview with the Author:
1.long have you been writing?
Seems like forever, but as I think back it is about fifty years. I wrote some short stories and poetry back in the 1970’s and ever since.
2. How long have you been a published author?
First published in my college paper back in the late 60’s but I don’t know if that counts. My first real publication was in the literary magazine “The Citadel ” from Los Angeles City College. That was my first short story publication. That was about 1975.
3. What titles do you have available?
Counting Serpents and Doves, I have six books total. Other Doors, My first novel is available from Rogue Phoenix Press, as are World Without End, and Train wheels, Flying Saucers, and the ghost of Tiburcio Vasquez, and now Serpents and Doves. My Soft Science Fiction novel Design is available from Amazon, and Barnes and Noble, and finally my tragic romance Sometimes in Dreams can be had from Sirens Call publishing. And of course all are available from me at email@example.com. Check, credit card, or PayPal.
4. What made you choose the subject of this book?
The desire to sort out much of what happened to me in the mid-1960’s. The book is fiction, but it deals with a lot of things I was dealing with at the time. It has taken me forty years to write this book. So you can see it took a lot of sorting.
5. Do you have any new titles coming soon?
Just Serpents and Doves at the moment. I have some more stuff back but it isn’t ready for publication. I have a volume of short stories that I am polishing/prepping.
6. What is your favorite genre and why?
I don’t have one. I am a voracious and omnivorous reader. I used to read a lot of Science Fiction but lately I am more inclined toward straight literature or mystery.
7. What, to you, is the most exciting part of the writing process?
Being done with a piece of it–holding the book in my hand.
8. If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would you choose and why?
I would really like to co-author with a friend of mine, an author with a couple of books out. His name is Rod Williams. We have been friends for years and we think a lot alike in many areas. Also, my little publishing company Mouse Prints just published a book of his short stories called Celestial Springs and Other Stories Available at the above e mail address.
9. Where can readers find you on the web?
Easiest is to find me on face book. I am at Gary Helm on Face Book or Mouse Prints on Face book. I had a website for a time but it was more trouble than it was worth so I stick with Face Book now.
“The mid-sixties were turbulent: The Vietnam War, Protests, the Civil Rights movement, and the sexual revolution. Stephen Mitchell, a naive California Church boy goes off to college at a small church school in Tennessee where he learns about sex, betrayal, friendship, and what it meant to be black in the segregated south.”
Thanks for having me.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
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.
Pre-order this book here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EW6D4D2
G. Lloyd Helm will be awarding 10 paperback copies of the book to 10 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. (international giveaway)
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: