We’re so pleased to have author Don Allmon dropping by today on the tour for his now novel, The Glamour Thieves. He’s chatting monsters with us, and there’s also a giveaway, so be sure to check out the entry details below.
As a kid I’d beg my grandparents to let me stay up late on Saturday nights because right after Star Trek was Creature Feature. It showed old black & white horror and sci-fi flicks. My grandparents would go to bed and I’d stay up alone, and there’d be The Wolfman or Godzilla or Vincent Price in something (he was in everything), whatever they were showing that night.
My reading as a kid was Famous Monsters of Filmland, Fangoria, and Starlog. Later, Heavy Metal. My parents and grandparents weren’t readers, but had somewhere heard that reading was a good thing. This worked in my favor as it never occurred to them that there might be things in books—especially comic books—that I probably shouldn’t have been exposed to quite yet.
I had a childhood surrounded by monsters.
One of those monsters was orcs.
I’d read about them in LotR when I was nine. I saw them rotoscoped over live action in Ralph Bakshi’s 1978 version. In the crappy and somehow now-iconic drawing included in the AD&D Monster Manual, they were pig- and boar-headed.
You’d think when half-orcs became a playable race in D&D, I’d have gravitated to them. I didn’t. They weren’t interesting. They were bullies, comically stupid but dangerous, and life was filled with too many of those people already. Why would I want to pretend I was one?
Warcraft—not World of Warcraft, but the 1994 RTS “Orcs v. Humans”—started my love affair with orcs. You’d tell them to chop wood and they’d say “Zug zug!” or “Lok’tar!” or “Dabu!” You’d click them repeatedly and they’d say “Stop poking me!” (Warcraft II) or “Me not that kind of orc” (Warcraft III). All in their growly Yoda voices.
They were adorable—simultaneously monstrous and cute. And, whatever they said, in my head they were already “that kind of orc.”
The neat thing about monsters is that they can represent anything you’re afraid of. Strangers. Foreigners. The dark. The water. Whatever. Some people read Tolkien’s orcs as an analogue for the Germans in WWII. A friend of mine reads orcs as analogue for the Middle East.
There’s this thing in Literary & Film Criticism where giants always represent “unrestrained masculinity.” (Big dicks don’t you know.) That monster = masculinity thing has become even more popular since the release of the live action “Beauty and the Beast.”
My orcs are gay.
The unpopular kind of gay. Not like the trendy elves that always get cast as the witty-best-dressed-best-friend roles on TV shows, but the rest of us who aren’t shaped quite right or have too much hair in all the wrong places or bad teeth and smell funny.
There’s a whole bunch of metaphorical reads you can do between orcs and gay men. Go for it.
For me, JT is more than a novelty species dropped in an urban paranormal novel. He was one of two ways for me to explore and respond to gay masculinity and stereotypes both from without and within.
That other way, by the way, is Austin. Because, sure, orcs are in the AD&D Monster Manual, monsters by definition, but everyone seems to forget that elves were on page 39.
About the Book
JT is an orc on the way up. He’s got his own boutique robotics shop, high-end clientele, and deep-pocketed investors. He’s even mentoring an orc teen who reminds him a bit too much of himself back in the day.
Then Austin shows up, and the elf’s got the same hard body and silver tongue as he did two years ago when they used to be friends and might have been more. He’s also got a stolen car to bribe JT to saying yes to one last scheme: stealing the virtual intelligence called Blue Unicorn.
Soon JT’s up to his tusks in trouble, and it ain’t just zombies and Chinese triads threatening to tear his new life apart. Austin wants a second chance with JT—this time as more than just a friend—and even the Blue Unicorn is trying to play matchmaker.
About the Author
In his night job, Don Allmon writes science fiction, fantasy, and romance. In his day job, he’s an IT drone. He holds a master of arts in English literature from the University of Kansas and wrote his thesis on the influence of royal hunting culture on medieval werewolf stories. He’s a fan of role-playing games, both video and tabletop. He has lived all over from New York to San Francisco, but currently lives on the prairies of Kansas with many animals.
To celebrate the release of The Glamour Thieves, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 2, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!