To get us started can you tell us a little about what you are working on or have coming out?
I am continually working. At the moment just puttering around because I just released a novel called SOMETIMES IN DREAMS and now I am getting ready to releas TRAIN WHEELS, FLYING SAUCERS AND THE GHOST OF TIBURCION VASQUEZ. When I actually get back to work, rather than all this necessary sales work I will be working on a straight literary novel called SERPENTS AND DOVES.
How would you describe yourself using only five words?
Philosophical, observant, thoughtful, loving, kind.
Do you have any guilty pleasures?
TV. I am a rabid TV watcher. If I am in the room with a TV it has to be on whether I am watching it or not. Sounds more like an addiction than a guilty pleasure doesn’t it?
If we asked your muse to describe you using five words, what do you think they would say?
Lazy, Procrastinator, uncommunicative, talented, remarkable
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Hard to say. I’ve lived in a lot of places, different countries and states and for the most part I have like them all. I would have to say Italy I believe, but my wife and I are talking about retiring to Hawaii.
How do you get yourself in the mood to write?
I have great difficulty with this. I am very much like Dorothy Parker. “I hate writing. I love Having written.” Usually I get to work by scaring myself. I have a sign above my computer that says, “Your time is running out. Write something!”
If someone hasn't read any of your work, what book would you recommend that they start with and why?
That’s like asking a parent to pick his favorite kid, but that being said I would encourage everyone to read OTHER DOORS. It was my first book and is very close to my heart because of the theme. It is about a man who can stop war by simply commanding peace. It came out in 1996 and I know for certain that it has gone to every war zone in the world since then, because I have sold lots of them on military bases. It is available from Rogue Phoenix.
Are your characters able to love or do they need to be taught?
My characters are born, not written. They have human capacity to love and to hate and they very often do both, so I guess in a way, that since they have the capacity they have to be taught like all of us.
When you begin your stories, do you go with the flow, or go with an outline?
I very much go with the flow. I have a general idea where I want the thing to go but I don’t let that get in my way. The characters usually take the thing away from me after a couple of chapters.
Train Wheels, Flying Saucers and the Ghost of Tiburcio Vasquez
Comic Adventure Fantasy
Rogue Phoenix Press
Available at Publisher
“Big Dave Dodge and me seem to stumble into some very strange adventures, including wind so strong it picks up train wheels, the ghost of Tiburcio Vasquez, Walt Disney’s cryonically preserved body, and the time machine from the 1962 movie, which seems to be cursed.”
EXCERPT— No Time Like the Present
We sat and looked at each other for a couple of moments, nursing at our drinks. I waited for Dave to lead in any conversation about the time machine, but he just kept sipping his Jameson’s and looking at me.
“Ol’ Kong is really how come I bought this place,” Underdown said. “I figured I owed it to him since he kept my brother out of Vietnam.”
I rolled that statement over in my mind a few times, but finally had to say, “How’s that again?”
Frankie laughed. “See back in ’68 they were still drafting people. My brother Billy was nineteen and not in school and mostly just hanging around with a bunch of undesirables—“ he looked at Dave and lifted his jar with a grin. “Anyhow, Billy decided that he didn’t want to get drafted and maybe killed so he came up with a plan. He knew that convicted felons don’t get drafted so he convinced a friend to help him steal one of King Kong’s hands, so they broke in here—Kong was still standing out in the yard at the time—and cut off his right hand. They didn’t try to hide it or anything. Took it to my Grandma’s house over in Sun Valley and stuck it out of an air vent at the front of her garage. Folded the fingers up so that Kong was flipping the bird to everybody that came down the street.” Frankie paused to laugh and shake his head. “You know it took the cops two full weeks to notice that gorilla finger. I think Billy finally had to call in an anonymous tip, but they finally came around to Momma Vella’s house and arrested Billy. Tried him and found him guilty of grand theft gorilla fingers and sent him to jail for eighteen months.” Now we were all laughing.
“So what did they do with the hand?” I asked.
“Brought it back here. Forty years later and I got it buried back in the warehouse somewhere. It’s a raggedy mess, but it kept Billy out of the army so I couldn’t just cut it up and throw it away. He’d kill me.”
“That’s a great story Frankie,” I said. “You oughta write it up and maybe submit it to some producers or something. Dave could probably help ya with that. He seems to know everyone in Hollywood.” I looked pointedly at Dave.
“You could write it up G.” Underdown said. “You’re pretty good. I give you my permission. If you sell it for a million bucks you can give me ten percent.”
That started my mind ticking over, but then I remembered why we were really there. “Maybe I’ll do that,” I said. “And maybe you can tell me the story about the haunted time machine. I betcha I can sell that one for sure.”
Frankie looked from me to Dave and back again.
“Subtle G,” Dave said. “Like hitting him with a hammer.”
“Serves ya right for that King Kong stunt.”
“Later maybe,” he said with a big grin.
About the Author
Gary L. Helm
Graduate Bethel University, McKenzie TN, 1970
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,(now defunct),The short story “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 Publish America. 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. This book has been banned by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Helm is also a publisher of and contributor to “The Antelope Valley Anthologies” which are collections of poetry, short stories, and essays from the residents of Southern California’s Antelope Valley. These have been published for the last eight years. The seventh anthology THE RAVEN AND THE WRITING DESK was released 28 October, 2009. The seventh Antelope Valley Anthology, HARD TIMES, was released 26 October, 2010. DARKNESS VISIBLE , the 8th Anthology was released 22 October, 2011.
…Is a former leader of the Palmdale Playhouse “Writers’ Roundtable” and current facilitator of “The Unknown Writers of the Antelope Valley workshop.”
FaceBook—Gary L. Helm
Rogue Phoenix Press— www.roguephoenixpress.com
Sirens Call Press – www.sirenscallpress.com