SERIES TOUR – NACHO MAMA’S PATIO CAFE NOVELS
Friends, fags, & fun in a little college town
Any Summer Sunday
Boys in the Band meets Le Cage in an Indiana drag bar
Who Plugged the Dyke?
Elections are hard. This one is Murder
The two books stand alone and can be read in either order, although Any Summer Sunday was written first and contains more background information. It is a more character driven story. Who Plugged the Dyke is a mystery.
Overall Heat Rating: 2 flames. Tawdry, but not dirty. Sex is described as part of a story, but not in detail. No sex scenes. Not romance. Not erotica. Think of gay friends in a bar who might describe a conquest (but not the specifics).
Book Title: Any Summer Sunday at Nacho Mama’s Patio Cafe:
Drag, Songs, Friends, Laughs, Lies, Danger & Redemption
Author: Steve Schatz
Publisher: Any Summer Sunday Books
Cover Artist: James at GoOnWrite
Length: 75 000 words/ 234 Pages
Release Date: June 21, 2019
Genre: LGBT Humorous Fiction
Trope/s: Reluctant hero, power of friendship, metonymy (Drag – the entire life around performance in a gay bar & Nacho Mama’s represents a safe place where friends gather, gossip, and support each other)
Themes: Friends, Small town gay, Drag and Performance, Lookin’ for love
It is a standalone story
How far should you go to save a friend from her own desires?
TiaRa del Fuego is in love and that means trouble for her friends. Every Sunday evening we meet in Hoosier Daddy, our small college town’s only gay bar gather to watch TiaRa del Fuego’s Parade of Gowns drag show. Performance, love, betrayal, spies, and friendship fight to the fore every Summer Sunday.
However, this Sunday, dear TiaRa, thin enough to hate, yet broken enough to love, announces she has found love…yet again…and is leaving after that evening’s show to be with her new man. We know she is making a huge mistake…again. What can we do?
Any Summer Sunday is a celebration of friends, drag, and life. Come and join in the fun.
Excerpt from Any Summer Sunday
With few exceptions, the same group of reprobates gathered every week. We are no longer young, but all have spent our years wisely or wildly enough to hold one’s place when the conversation turns a bit too bitchy. We enjoyed our youth, are enjoying the years beyond youth without regret, and occasionally enjoy youths—when the opportunity arises, as it were.
All societies celebrate the young, but in gay circles, this celebration borders on idolatry. Twenty-somethings and now even teeny-somethings who celebrate their coming out are welcomed into a glorious disco summer camp with every conceivable need provided. For those of us who are years past the realization and/or announcement, being out offers far fewer invitations. We often find ourselves between worlds—not certain of a welcome in either gay or straight society.
In “normal” society, it is tiresome to yet again face the “ . . . and your wife?” questions in every new group and to worry if it is going to be an issue. If I have an urge to explore square dancing, must I find a gay square—hmmm . . . Mr. Lynde springs to mind. Sometimes it’s easier not to bother. Then there are those moments when it suddenly pisses you off that you are supposed to feel gratitude merely for being accepted or endured by the dominant pairing paradigm.
In the gay community, the adulation of youth and horror of aging can make one feel diseased. Even previously enjoyable activities can be snatched away. Take window shopping. I enjoy looking at a pretty pair of pants when it walks by, even if I know it will never fit, I can’t afford it, and the style is all wrong for a man of my years and shape. I look because it is pretty, and I enjoy looking at pretty things. But, if every time I go looking, the trousers, upon noticing my gaze, gasp in horror, turn away with a look of sardonic pity, and begin to whisper with their fellow couture, I eventually will give up looking.
So, when we find a group and an enjoyable activity where we can simply be, without the need to prove or explain ourselves, then it is something to be cherished. Not misty-eyed, bosom clutching cherished, but those people and enjoyments are simply too dear to give up without a care. Sunday afternoons were like that. That is why, when one Sunday, TiaRa del Fuego—dear, sweet, damaged TiaRa—announced that she had found love, yet again—this time on a dating site and was leaving town to be with her new man who was driving up that very day to help her move—well, we knew something had to be done and quickly.
Book Title: Who Plugged the Dyke?
Author: Steve Schatz
Publisher: Any Summer Sunday Books
Cover Artist: James at GoOnWrite
Length: 218 pages 67,000 words
Release Date: July 2020
Genres: LBGT Mystery, LGBT Humor, LGBT Fiction
Trope: Reluctant hero
Themes: Friendship, small town gays, detection, politics
It is a standalone story.
A gay mystery full to the tits with action and wit.
Some Elections are hard … This one is Murder!
Get ready for Excitement, Laughs, Thrills and Fun!
In 10 days she’ll be the 1st in your face lesbian judge elected in homo-hating Indiana. But someone wants to kill her and her little dog too.
The friends from Nacho Mama’s Patio Cafe must put on their big boy panties, get out of Hoosier Daddy, the only gay bar in town, onto the streets and go hunting for the culprit.
Thrills, drag shows, danger, laughs and a kick line of drag queens in judicial robes as the anti-heroes dodge explosions, fire, guns, knives and terror, seek out the hidden mastermind and sashay to the rescue.
You loved Any Summer Sunday at Nacho Mama’s Patio Cafe. Now, the merry band from the small Indiana college town’s drag bar return. It’s an Indiana Election Mystery. Who Plugged the Dyke?
Excerpt from Who Plugged the Dyke?
I noticed that the big, bearded Tooth Fairy had moved nearly in front of me. There is something wonderfully wrong about a big ol’ hunka hunka in a pink tutu. I grinned at him. He didn’t grin back. His attention was fixed on Deb. However, he was not smiling. He was just staring. Something in the back of my mind tickled. I started watching him more carefully. He was playing with his magic wand. It was about three feet long and trailed stars and strands of glitter. But he was pulling off the covering and it was looking less and less like a wand and more and more like a weapon. Recalling what I had been told, I looked for Roger or Petunia or one of Nacho’s Twinks. I couldn’t see Roger. Petunia was at the back of the stage, guarding the way in. I saw a couple of cute Twinks, but didn’t know if they were Nacho’s boys or not. I started to raise my hand and kind of gesture toward the Tooth Fairy. I was trying to be cool and not alert him that I had noticed anything untoward. He continued to pull away the spangles. He was looking down at the wand and then up at Deb, and I could see a look of menace grow across his features.
I waved my hands over my head and then pointed down at him. Some in the crowd saw what I was doing and waved, too. They thought it was a celebratory gesture. I began to wave my hands and point more emphatically. I nearly lost my balance, but no one seemed to get the message. No one was heading in that direction. I looked at he man, who was no longer looking fairy-like at all. He had finished pulling all the detritus off his wand and while I was not a weapons guy, even I could recognize that what was once a wand was now, very obviously, a weapon. A blow gun.
He reached into his bag and pulled out, not a handful of glitter, but a rather large dart with a very large and very sharp point. By this time, subtle was no longer on the table. I waved my hands wildly above my head, then pointed at the guy. I did not care if he saw. I had to stop him, and no one seemed to be coming to do anything about it. Deb was talking. The girls were dancing. And the Tooth Fairy dropped the dart into his blow gun.
Q & A With Steve Schatz
Introduce yourself and your writing
I’ve been a clown, a concert promoter, an international consultant, a software trainer, and a college prof. Through it all, I’ve been a writer. Over the past several years, I have focused exclusively on writing. A small publisher put out my YA fantasy/adventure book, Adima Rising after I had spent several years collecting rejection letters from agents and publishers. During that time, I had been working on my character driven novel about a group of friends who meet every week at a small town drag bar – kind of Tales of the City meets Le Cage. Self publishing had been establishing itself as a reasonable alternative and I decided that I would rather spend my energies writing and publishing than trying to please an agent. So, I formed AnySummerSunday.com and published first Any Summer Sunday and then Who Plugged the Dyke. I’m currently working on the third book in that series, plus a YA time travel adventure and a book of my silly poems, songs and stories.
Tell us about your new release. What inspired you to write it?
Who Plugged the Dyke is a mystery with the same characters as Any Summer Sunday. It has the same mix of action and fun, actually a bit more action. I love the characters from ASS and wanted to try to put them into a new situation to see if there was a potential for a series and if I had the writing chops to do it. Writing a second book is a challenge when the characters are well formed. I don’t want to repeat large sections of the first book, but I also want the book to stand on its own. It took several rewrites, but I think I hit a good balance. I know people who have read only Who Plugged the Dyke and understood the characters just fine.
The first idea came from a friend who ran for judge in our town. This is a small college town and is pretty liberal, but is stuck in the midst of a very conservative area in a pretty conservative state. She didn’t run into problems in her election, but I thought it would be a good premise for a whodunnit. There are developers, violent right wingers, and old guard officials as potential villains.
A funny thing about the title – I tried to run an ad on BookBaby and they pulled it after I had run it a few times, run up some bills, and had adjusted my targeting. They said the name was offensive. Now, I started going to Pride parades in SF and the first contingent was always the Dykes on Bikes. The book is about a bunch of LBGT folks who use the words dyke and fag freely, as do I. BookBaby didn’t care. They took my money for my test runs, but wouldn’t let me run any more ads. I’m still sulking.
What are you working on at present? Would you like to share a snippet?
I’m working on the third book in the Nacho Mama’s Patio Café series. It’s called Sea Shell Virgin because of a small statue of the Virgin Mary decorated with sea shells that plays an important role in the story. It is a bit of whodunnit and a bit of what’s going on? Hoosier Daddy is imperilled, there’s break ins, blackmail, threats, theft, and, of course, drag queens. The block where the bar is located is up for sale and the evangelical church at the other end of the block wants to buy it. If they succeed, they are sure to evict Hoosier Daddy, the only gay bar in town and a center of gay life. TiaRa del Fuego, the grandest diva in town and MC of the weekly Parade of Gowns drag show proposes a grand cotillion and auction to raise money to bar the block.
“Then why the interest?” I asked.
“The children,” said TiaRa. “All the young gaybe babies. The transaware. The baby dykes. The hidden and frightened who know or suspect they are different and have nowhere to turn except to inner sorrow. We must create a youth center to allow those who are questioning to have a place to discover answers and realize they are not alone, but are part of. Part of a community with a proud past and a glorious future. There will be places to safely socialize. Information for their questions. Professionals to help with school, family, social, and more. It will be a place of learning, recreating, safety, and fun. A place like we never had. And it is up to us. Besides, if we do not act, those evil churchies will … ” Her mouth continued moving, but no sounds came out as she contemplated a fate that none of us understood, yet was too awful for her to express.
TiaRa del Fuego usually floated above mere mortals. Except for planning shows, she rarely expressed more than polite interest in anything. Except for times when she was enthused about a new act or a new man, I had never seen her so wound up. There was something very important to her here. I had a feeling were were touching a raw spot from her mysterious, misty past.
Aunt May looked up from her drink, unaware of the undercurrents of the conversation. “When I was a young woman, I started a youth center. It was, however, for a much younger clientele. There was a particularly virulent influenza one year that took a great toll on new mothers. There were an inordinate number of viral young men left bereaved and with child or children. They were overwhelmed, poor dears. I felt I had to do something to ease their suffering.” She patted her mouth with her hankie, then took another sip, looking back. “I raised the money and hired a staff of able young women to care for the children. I myself have never been good with children. I am afraid I do not have the patience, the skill set, or the desire to acquire either. However, I was able to offer succour to the fathers. For while they were offered sympathy in full measure by many, it was viewed as unseemly in the eyes of most to offer to meet their more private needs. But these were young men in the very prime of their sexual potency and they were hungering for a diversion from their grief. So on a regular basis I would call each one in for counselling and training in fatherhood. I recall Wilber Heckman, not altogether an attractive man, but possessed of a most remarkable …”
Beau reached over and touched her hand. Aunt May sometimes got lost in her memories and needed a call from shore to come back to the present. “Aunt May, TiaRa was telling us about her inspiration.”
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Who Plugged the Dyke is the second book of a series. The first, Any Summer Sunday, was a deep character study with a thin layer of plot. The characters were interesting and different and the interplay between them was crucial. Writing Dyke, which was much more plot driven, the challenge was how to introduce the characters quickly but well enough so that the book could stand alone. I wanted people to be able to enjoy the book without reading ASS first.
The other challenge was keeping track of different threads and the timing. I love to play with time. Part of the pressure in Dyke is that an election is coming up in just a few days. Everything will either blow up or resolve by then. There are three or four different possible explanations and keeping track and keeping the reader guessing was hard, but fun.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Decide on what kind of writer you want to be, what kind of career you want. It’s taken me a lot of years to realize how many different paths exist. At the beginning, it’s “Hey, I want to be an author and sell a million copies and be rich and famous.” You can see vids online that talk about selling a million copies of your first novel or making a million dollars self publishing.
A lot of the sites that offer these ideas focus on searching to see what search terms are popular – write to the market. In fact, many of these folks research the market and then hire ghost writers. It’s not about the book, it’s about the product. If your goal is to earn money, that’s a great way to go. Mimic others in your target market.
That personally holds no interest for me. I write what I want and then try to find a market. This is much more satisfying for me, but much less lucrative. What do you want from your efforts? I’m pleased with my work and I’ve made some people happy, given them a laugh, shown them a new view of the world. Sure, I’d like to have more people read my work, but if the cost is spending my days cranking out books on an assembly line, I’m not interested. Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s a valid choice to aim for a shelf of books. I read those books and enjoy them. I just cannot, as an author, do that and trying would hurt – both me and the readers.
Why GLBTQ? Two reasons. It’s what I know. The life I’ve lived. I find the people more varied and interesting and the situations I can spin out in fiction are more rich. The other reason is that there are still places and people that hate us for who we are and I think it is important to clearly state that we exist. I’m not focused on the stars or heroes. I’m glad we have them, but there are so many just plain folks who live just plain lives who happen to be GLBTQ. We exist. That’s good. There should be a record. There should be acknowledgment. There should be celebration. During Pride marches, attention is paid to the flamboyant, the cute, and the people riding at the head of the parade. I try to shine a light on the people further back or who are not even at the event, because they are at work or at home, just living their gay old lives.
Are any of your characters based on you or people you know?
Several are. TiaRa del Fuego was my husband’s drag persona. While I taken liberties with her, that was the basis. When we first got together, I went with Tia to meet the Krewe of Color, a group of friends who got together in the San Francisco Bay Area to celebrate Marti Gras. Pretty amazing. They had a stage set up and did a whole performance. At that time I was doing a public access clown show as Mr. Steve the clown. I had never hung out with drag queens. They had never hung out with a clown. The performances were great. A lot of the world of Hoosier Daddy is drawn from that night.
Roger is based on a dear friend and partner in crime. He was a second tier porn star and a wonderful person. He took pictures at our wedding.
Bits and bobs of many of my friends end up in my characters. I steal from everywhere. It’s an author’s prerogative.
Do you have a favourite character and/or book you’ve written? Who, what and why?
Aunt May, a tiny, old Southern lady who looks ever so proper, drinks ever so much, and was moved out of Honeysuckle Springs when her public reminisces of past lovers became an embarrassment for now respectable and married men of the community, is an exception. I absolutely love her when she sets down her drink, pats her lips with a lace hanky, and lets loose a truly tawdry tale. She is not based on anyone. She popped into the story one day. I don’t know where she came from unless the spirits of Jessica Tandy and Divine happened to be floating by that day.
I love her because I get to channel a sweet, old lady who is absolutely filthy and has grabbed life by the lips and yanked. She’s seen and done it all and has deep knowledge of what lurks in the minds of men, but very little judgement. I have friends who are already insisting that they be the one to play her if the books ever go to film.
Do characters and stories just pop into your head, or do you take your time thinking about and planning them?
I know the characters when I start and I learn more about them as I write. It’s a wonderful time when the characters are alive enough that when I come to a point where I just don’t know what is going to happen, I close my eyes, take a breath, put my hands on the keys and type and the characters take over the story. Nacho is not based on anyone. They just evolved. Aunt May is also a complete figment, unless I was a nasty old lady in a previous existence. Many of the others are based on people or combinations of people I have known.
Stories are often based on small scraps. Who Plugged the Dyke came from a friend running for judge. She’s a lesbian, but that’s it. My middle grade mystery, Ghost Girl started from a chance glance out the window. The kids from next door were walking down the street and the younger one was just messing around and fell and popped back up and continued on as if nothing had happened. That glimpse into childhood and the experience of living in a small, mountain town started the ideas that led to a book.
What are your writing and personal goals for 2021 and beyond?
I’m working on three books now and I believe I’ll be able to finish them all this year. One is the third in the Nacho Mama’s Patio Café series. The second is a YA book that bounces back and forth between present day and the 1920’s. The third is a collection of poems, songs, stories, and activities for kids that I have been collecting since I was a clown oh so many years ago. I finally found an illustrator I’m comfortable working with, so I have great hope for Mr. Steve’s Big Yellow Book of Fun.
I’m also working as a writing coach with a friend who was born blind, gained some sight over the years, and then, in her 60’s underwent a procedure that gave her clear vision and three dimensional sight for the first time in her life. It’s an amazing story and a reminder that it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.
I’m also doing more publicity. I’m pleased with my books and people who have read them have liked them. I’m going to spend more time letting the world know.
Are there big events in your life that affect your writing?
We were living in Hartford, CT and drove up to Western Massachusetts, where a friend of my husband was visiting. She was a well know Yaqui dreaming woman (if you remember the Carlos Castaneda books, his teacher was a Yaqui shaman. A dreaming woman is one who has lucid dreams) who read cards and did horoscopes. I was skeptical, but willing to indulge my husband. The reading was interesting, but no big changes. We headed home.
On the way home, I was struck by a vision, a very clear vision – like I was there. I had to pull over and let the scene play out. It involved a village in high mountains and the people had appointed someone to be in charge of “talking” to the spirits. They had given up their personal duty to create and celebrate the sacred. .
This person walked through the village, leading an assistant and they went to the top of high place – maybe a pyramid, maybe a mountain and were doing a service and something went wrong and the assistant was killed and the “priest” was frightened, so he declared it was the will of the god. Just because he made a mistake and was frightened.
And I knew that this was how divine sacrifice, an inexcusable act, came into this world.
I cried. It was so real.
And that image guided the creation of my first novel Adima Rising, published by a small publishing house in Texas. I started that trip as a college professor. I came home several hours later on the path to being an author.
If you could go anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would you go, who would you take with you, if anyone, and why?
I’m a real wimp when it comes to travel. I get uncomfortable when I’m out of my cocoon. So, I’d need someone to go with me. Thankfully, my husband is a good traveler. I’d like to go through India – especially the Northern part. I’d like to see big ol’ temples. I remember in my youth reading that there were several million people in India who had never heard of the US. I’d like to experience that. It would be a good change of focus.
About the Author
Steve Schatz writes with a crazy mashup of laughs and excitement and humor. Readers can’t stop reading, but don’t want the story to end. Each book is an adventure where endearing anti-heroes struggle against this crazy world and triumph using the twin forces of intentional, creative action and friends helping friends. Schatz draws on a lifetime of varied and fascinating experiences, from instructional designer and college prof to party clown and nightclub owner.
His series of adult fiction highlights a group of middle-aged gay friends who gather every week in a small, Indiana college town. Mixing drinks, snappy repartee, and the humor and joy of long-time friends, in one book they rescue the fair drag queen from an obvious miscreant. In another, they ride to the protection of a lesbian candidate for judge who is being targeted by mysterious evil-doers. The excitement reveals itself against a backdrop of drag performance and efforts by anti-heroes. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll beg for more. Steve Schatz offers a new voice and a smile for the LGBT community and their friends.
Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win
one of three ebook copies of Any Summer Sunday,
one of three ebook copies of Who Plugged the Dyke?,
or an audiobook of either book.
Total of 8 giveaways