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Friday, July 25, 2014

Company at Vastine's...Welcome, Lloyd Meeker!

Happy Saturday, darlings! 

Today's visitor is a man I've known for quite some time. A man I adore and respect. A stellar author, a stellar person. And---don't tell him I told you this---but he's also a marvelously handsome fellow! 

Lloyd A. Meeker.

Lloyd is one of the most fascinating persons I know. A man very much in tuned with an avenue that thrill me---spirituality, the beautiful world beyond the here and now. Mysticism. Facets that, as he explains during his visit, we all possess. 

He's also going to tell us about his brand new release, The Companion. Wait until you see the cover below. It's a sensual work of art. And it appears the book  is going to be a match for its sublime cover!

So...here is is, folks! Welcome one of my favorite people...Lloyd Meeker!

* * * * * * * * * *

 Thanks, Carol, for having me today. Okay, I admit this probably qualifies as a rant, but I’m claiming it's a legitimate one: I object to being classified as an author of paranormal fiction.

Most of my characters have psychic or mystical experiences that are central to their character arcs. I do understand the need for for a convenient system of classification for the stories we write, but it still irks me when experiences that I consider to be perfectly normal are categorized as paranormal – that is, not normal or beyond normal. Don’t get me wrong, exercise of logic is normal, too! I’m a big fan of logic. It’s just that today my focus is not on the many beauties of the rational.

We're all psychic, so don't fight it. Join us! Just accept that and learn by listening, paying attention. Let your perceptions be an ally. Intuition, which is often used as a descriptor for a complex variety of experiences and sensations that are the product of our psychic sensitivity, makes a terrible commander-in-chief but an excellent ally and source of useful information.

It may be that it takes some practice to trust the information we get through our psychic sensitivities as being relevant. It certainly has for me. But when we start listening respectfully to the information we receive through non-linear sensitivity we open to a life far richer than we previously knew, full of a new kind of wonder.

Have you ever said, "I just have a gut feeling about this" or "this place gives me the creeps?” Because we rarely listen to those messages with any more attention than just acknowledging them, it's not surprising that most of us don't get more specific information than a general gut feeling or sense of unease. It takes practice.

One of the results I've experienced from paying attention to the less organized messages that come through my psychic sensitivity is that I have a much stronger sense of the continuity of life than I ever had before.

Long ago, when I worked as a minister, one of my duties was to sit with someone who was dying. My job was to simply be with them and to maintain an atmosphere of peace and respect as they moved on. I also attended quite a few births. I began to notice the similarities between the two – entrances and exits on the stage that we usually think of as life. But on the other side of the journey – where the person was coming from, or where the person was returning – was a realm of beauty that showed itself, sometimes even becoming tangible at that very moment of transition. I began to form a belief which I still hold that although a death may well have elements of grief connected to it, the transition from this life to the next should be revered and celebrated with the same quiet joy as a birth. I’m certain it’s another kind of birth.

So how does all this relate to my stories? I believe that the finest stories show internal and external forces at work in the protagonist. These forces bring a change in the hero that we call the character arc. I love the challenge of including those internal forces from the perspective that the hero has more resources – wisdom, strength, courage, and compassion – available to him as he opens to that intuitive or nonlinear part of him — it is the door to his psychic and spiritual life.

That mystical thread is a central component in the plot and hero’s character arc of my stories. The first reason for that is my own way of experiencing life. That dance of the visible with the invisible is fascinating to me. It shapes the way I experience the world around me. Another reason is that the human heart is not linear by nature, and our responses to internal and external stimuli or events are born out of an alchemy of logic and feeling more complex and deeper than anything I can hope to write. So this mystery becomes my muse as well as the way I make sense of the world around me.

Thank you, Carol, for letting me rant on your blog! I really do hope for the day when those experiences that are presently considered to be paranormal are considered perfectly normal, beautiful, and profoundly important.

Shepherd Bucknam is the protagonist in my new story, The Companion. He is a Daka, a professional companion who coaches men in the art of sexual ecstasy. In this excerpt Detective Marco Fidanza, who is investigating the murder of Shepherd’s protege and is quickly becoming Shepherd’s new love interest, is having dinner at Shepherd’s apartment. Without discussing it they both know that the evening will end in bed—for the first time. Marco asks Shepherd what sex means to him.


Shepherd Bucknam hasn’t had a lover in more than a decade, and doesn’t need one. As a Daka, he coaches men in the sacred art and mystery of sexual ecstasy all the time, and he loves his work. It’s his calling. In fact, he’s perfectly content—except for the terrors of his recurring nightmare, and the ominous blood-red birthmarks on his neck. He’s convinced that together they foretell his early and violent death.
When Shepherd’s young protégé is murdered, LAPD Detective Marco Fidanza gets the case. The two men are worlds apart: Marco has fought hard for everything he’s accomplished, in sharp contrast to the apparent ease of Shepherd’s inherited wealth—but their mutual attraction is too hot for either of them to ignore.

Shepherd swears he’ll help find his protégé’s killer but Marco warns him to stay out of it. When an influential politician is implicated, the police investigation grinds to a halt. Shepherd hires his own investigator. Marco calls it dangerous meddling.

As their volatile relationship deepens, Shepherd discovers his nightmares might not relate to the future, but to the deadly legacy of a past life—a life he may have to revisit before he can fully live and love in this one.


“Do you want dessert?” I asked.

“Not yet.” He stared at me. Hard. “Later.”
“More wine?”

“A little. Not much. It’s incredible, though.”
I felt some tension mounting in him, but he didn’t say anything. He just stared into his wineglass, as if there were a message in it that he needed to read. I cleared our plates and sat back down and waited. I put my hand on his, wanting him.
He looked up at me like a wild animal, fierce and wary. He put his wineglass down. “What does sex mean to you?” he asked quietly.
“I think it’s essential to a happy life. I’m a big fan.”
He scowled. “Don’t be cute. I want the real answer.”
I was in his interrogation room again, with the recorder running and the pine disinfectant stinging my nose. I took a sip of wine to banish the smell. “My real answer?”
“That’s the only kind. Zero tolerance for frauds, remember?”
I tried to lighten his seriousness. “The real answer is complex. I might ramble.”
“You can take your time. I need to know.”
I took a deep breath. “Remember... you asked,” I said.
“Before anything happens between us,” he repeated, as if each word weighed as much as he could lift, “I need to know.”
I took a deep breath and let it out. “Okay.” To my surprise, the truth bubbled up easily, asking me to tell him things I’d seldom told a therapist, and never a date. The sacred essence of my work.
“My first sexual attraction to a man comes in a feeling that somewhere in his body lies a secret, a story I need to learn. Maybe a story he doesn’t even know he’s keeping.”
I looked out the window onto the lights of Westwood Village and UCLA winking in the purple evening, feeling dangerously exposed. But he’d asked, and I’d promised.
“It sounds arrogant to say it out loud, but sometimes, I feel he’s asking me for help—can you take the journey to where I keep my secrets? The ones I can’t find unless we share our bodies?
“If a man can tell you a story with words, he’s giving you one of his surface ones—his history, his wounds, his hopes. Very few of those stories arouse me.
“Can I get to the deeper ones? That’s the challenge. Will he let me into the sweet dark archives of his body? The haunted places in his heart? His sacred stories, the powerful, wordless ones, are there, waiting, stored in his skin, his breath, his seed. Those are the ones I love.”
I bit my lip, certain this sounded daft to him. I needed him to understand. What if he didn’t? Or wouldn’t? I looked into his eyes. They told me nothing. Ruthless poker-player’s eyes.
“I may sound crazy, but you wanted the truth.” He just stared back, not moving.
Gathering myself, I plunged forward. “Somewhere under his skin, stored in some guarded place like a prisoner, lies that memory, or maybe a dream—a longing I can awaken, excavate with my touch, my body, coaxing out his stories aching to be heard. We become allies, then—brothers in some ancient tribe, preparing for a sacred ceremony of spirit and flesh. A ceremony greater than either of us.
“There are clues how to start. He shows me in the way his hand moves, or the stretch of his throat when he turns his head. The way he holds his mouth when he throws back his head and laughs. The way he speaks of small regrets.
“When the ceremony begins, he unfolds as if he’s an entire foreign country, a different culture, a story in a strange language I can understand only when my tongue is on his skin, when his flesh is inside me, when his flesh welcomes mine inside him.
“As we go deeper, his body guides me. When did he get that tattoo? What did it mean to him at the time, and what does it mean to him now? When did his eyes become so deep? When the first lines of age creased his face, did he laugh in his strength, or did it take time for him to wear them with grace? When his heart was first broken, where did he store the pain?”
I pointed to Marco’s face. “When he got the scar that cuts through his eyebrow, what was he doing?” His eye twitched, but he said nothing.
“Our union forms a unique Rosetta Stone, making us each understandable to the other so long as we’re joined. Then we speak the wordless language that men know only when they are filled, overflowing with pleasure and respect. Everything about him radiates his meaning to me, from the folding of an eyelid to the slow unfurling of foreskin, drawing away to reveal more of his power.
“We fall into beauty together. No matter what he looks like, there isn’t a man so open and alive as that—so hungry to welcome the mystery of another, so hot to share himself, to know the secrets he can’t find in himself except through the Other, secrets to be poured back into him through the breath and pulse and saliva and seed of another—who isn’t beautiful to me.”
I leaned forward, buzzing with the pleasure of speaking so openly. “Then afterward—very rarely—when a man is soft and vulnerable, in the moments before his breath returns to normal, before he closes himself again to the outer world, putting his outer body back on like insulating armor, I can touch the one who tells the stories, the one who reaches through them to be known, even if only for a moment. I believe that connection lasts forever, and becomes a new, shared story we each, if we’re lucky, can tell others.”
I had nothing more to say. The AC whispered down on us, the only sound in the room.
Marco drained his glass, not meeting my eyes. I made to pour him more, but he held up his hand to stop me. He stared at the dregs for an uncomfortably long time. I wanted to defend what I’d said, but I’d already said far more than I should have. I’d been an idiot to give him the truth just because he’d asked for it. When I thought about it now, it must have sounded like pretentious bullshit to him.
“Did that happen between you and Lewis?” His voice had cooled and hardened. “Touching the one who tells the stories?”
With a shock, I realized it had. Often. Effortlessly, no excavation needed, so naturally it hadn’t even registered as the rare magic I’d been describing. That had to be the reason Stef meant so much to me.
“Yes.” I looked away, missing Stef and unable to look Marco in the eye, afraid I’d see his sneer. Even if it meant a sudden end to the evening, I wouldn’t let Marco pass judgment on the beauty Stef and I had shared. That was off-limits.
He pushed his chair back and stood. I looked up but couldn’t read his face at all. He gestured with both hands, palms up. I stood.
He hooked his fingers inside my belt and led me into the bedroom.

HE WASN’T rough, but he’d taken charge without negotiation. My heart raced, unsure. Was he angry? Scornful? I had no idea. He stopped me at the foot of the bed, putting his hands on my hips. Without once breaking eye contact, he began pulling my shirt out of my jeans.
Soft with compliance, I lifted my arms as he drew the shirt over my head. He tossed it on the floor. In the dim light, his fingers traced my throat, pausing at the three bloody marks at the base of my neck. “There is a God after all,” he chuckled. “I was afraid you would be too perfect to be real, but now I see you are not perfect, but beautiful instead.” His conqueror’s smile was dazzling. “Beautiful is much, much better than perfect.”
His eyes were dark lamps burning into mine. He found my belt buckle, and he opened my jeans, softly scraped his nails across my skin just above the waistband of my shorts. “Take those off,” he ordered softly. I obeyed.
He pulled his own clothes off in swift efficiency and was waiting for me, naked and erect, by the time I had finished. The black hair I’d glimpsed before covered his muscular chest. It dusted his belly, too, pushing into a heavy trail that plunged to his groin, then spread to forest his thighs. He stood, muscles taut, poised—sinuous, dark, powerful.
He put his hands on my hips again and pulled me into him. He lapped the hollow of my throat with an aggressive tongue, biting softly as he grazed.
“Just so you know up front,” he said, “you are not going to be digging for my stories tonight. I’m going to shout them into you until you cover your ears and beg for mercy. You will not escape me until you’ve heard everything I have to tell you.” His eyes blazed. “This could take a long time.”
 * * * * * * * * * 

Oh, mercy sakes alive! See, I told you the book promised to match the cover's sensuality! But, then, too, Lloyd is a wordsmith with that wonderful talent for verbalizing the simplest of thoughts, the un-obviously obvious beauty of life, such as in this....“Beautiful is much, much better than perfect."

Lloyd, thank you so much for visiting today. It's been a huge honor and a delight! 

And, you, lovelies! Here are links for YOU to buy this delicious read! 






Lloyd A. Meeker said...

Thanks for having me, Vastine, I really appreciate it! And I'm thrilled you feel so strongly about my work. Thank you.

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