I have always loved to read. When I was a pre-teen and teenager, I read young adult stories from CS Lewis and Tolkien and a host of other writers in a variety of genres. But the magic and fantasy of Lewis and Tolkien always seemed to echo in the back of my mind. With all the stories I read, however, I never once found a gay character. There was no young gay boy struggling with his identity, or even just struggling against some outside force.
My first stories published were gay erotic short stories, which soon turned into gay erotic romance stories of a host of genres. But there was a story in the back of mind that just wouldn't go away. This seed of a story was about a girl who moved in next door to a house surrounded by a tall wooden privacy fence. From her window, she could see a beautiful garden in bloom, but never saw anyone tend to it. Then one night, as she's trying to get to sleep, she hears someone out in the yard beyond the fence and she peers out her window…
The story always stalled there, and I could never figure out why. Just recently, it finally hit me. That character wasn't supposed to be a girl at all. No, that character needed to be a boy, and he would fall in love with the mysterious boy who lived behind the fence.
Once I came to that realization, everything jus opened up for me. There would be magical creatures and adventures, and the story would be told over a number of books, not just one. And The Midnight Gardener - A Town of Superstition Story: Book One came to be. I decided it should be kept separate from my erotic romance writing and sent it to Harmony Ink Press with the author name R. G. Thomas. A second book in the series is through final edits with Harmony Ink, and I'm about halfway finished writing the first draft of the third book. My main characters, Thaddeus and Teofil, have a lot of adventures together.
Here's an excerpt from The Midnight Gardener - A Town of Superstition Story: Book One, available now at all e-book sellers.
The Midnight Gardener - A Town of Superstition Story: Book One
Contemporary Young Adult fantasy gay romance
Harmony Ink Press
At fifteen, Thaddeus Cane has moved thirty-two times with his father. Each time he’s displaced without explanation, Thaddeus loses any friends he’s made. The name of their latest town is Superstition, but it seems normal enough, with one exception.
Thaddeus’s bedroom window gives him a view into the beautiful gardens next door. Every night after dark, an attractive guy around Thaddeus’s age appears to tend the plants. When Thaddeus visits his neighbor, he discovers not only how deep his interest in the other man runs, but also that Teofil, the midnight gardener, isn’t human. He’s a garden gnome, a revelation that will lead to more secrets coming to light and an adventure unlike anything Thaddeus ever imagined.
Harmony Ink Press: https://www.harmonyinkpress.com/books/the-midnight-gardener-by-r-g-thomas-340-b
Apple Bookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-midnight-gardener/id1054820841?mt=11
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-midnight-gardener-r-g-thomas/1122878346?ean=2940151075657
Midnight Gardener excerpt:
He had left his windows open a bit to enjoy the night air, and the sound of someone humming drew him to the one that faced west. Thaddeus peered down into their neighbor’s yard where the light of the moon bleached the color from the flowers and the grass. Someone was out in the yard, moving from flowerbed to flowerbed, humming an odd tune. Fireflies danced around the figure, and Thaddeus frowned as he watched them move along with the person. He’d never known fireflies to trail after someone like that. This deserved a closer look.
The grass was wet and cool under his bare feet, sending a shiver up Thaddeus’s legs. He crept along the tall, wooden privacy fence, looking for a space between the boards or a knothole he might be able to peer through. But the fence was solidly built, and Thaddeus couldn’t find even the smallest crack to try and get a glimpse of the mysterious neighbor.
On the other side of the fence, Thaddeus could hear the humming gardener moving closer to the fence. A few fireflies drifted over the top and circled Thaddeus’s head, their lights flashing in rhythm. He moved a few steps back, and the fireflies spun around the place where he had been standing before rising up and slipping back over the fence.
Just as Thaddeus parted his lips to call a greeting over the fence, the skin at the back of his neck prickled, and he stopped. Someone was watching him.
He turned slowly toward the wooded area at the edge of their property. Just inside the closely spaced trees, Thaddeus saw something standing very still and staring at him. It was an animal of some kind, a big one, but he couldn’t tell if it was a dog or a wolf, or maybe even a cougar, as the moonlight didn’t reach far enough between the trees to illuminate it.
Chills rattled through him, stilling his voice and freezing him in place. He stared at the creature in the woods, trying to decipher form from shadow. It stared back, not moving or making a sound, and that was more frightening to Thaddeus than if the thing charged him.
The humming grew louder as the midnight gardener moved to a flowerbed just on the other side of the fence from Thaddeus. Thaddeus swallowed and tried to find his voice to shout a warning to his neighbor, but decided it would be unnecessary since his yard was completely closed in. Instead, he willed his legs to move and stepped backward toward the house. The shadowy creature remained standing in place, but it lowered its large head, and moonlight flashed within its eyes.
That sparked a reaction within Thaddeus, a thawing out of his fear, and he turned his back to run to the house, glancing over his shoulder every second step. Nothing pursued him, however, and he stepped through the side door and quickly closed and locked it behind him. Now that he was safe inside, shivers took him, and he stepped up and down in place to get them out of his system.
“Okay, so, no moonlit strolls,” he said to himself with a firm nod. “Got it.”
He crept upstairs, being quiet so as not to wake his father whose room was at the top of the steps. After pausing in the bathroom to wipe the grass and dew from his bare feet, he entered his bedroom and leaned out the window that overlooked the neighbor’s yard. The mysterious gardener was gone, and the fireflies now meandered around both yards, sparking and fading like normal insects. Thaddeus leaned a bit farther out of the window to see the place in the woods where the animal had stood and watched him. He squinted but couldn’t tell if the creature still lurked in the shadows.
With another shiver, he drew back inside and closed the window. After a second’s hesitation, he latched it even though his bedroom was on the second floor. Despite the excitement of his midnight sojourn, or maybe because of it, a yawn crept up on him. He slipped beneath the sheets and curled up on his side. He yawned once more before drifting off to sleep, where he dreamed of walking through a dense wood while a large creature followed him, both of them trying to track down the person who was humming a tune among the trees.