M.D Neu has a new MM paranormal/alternate universe book out:
T.A.D – The Angel of Death.
Tad loves bouncing around in time and watching mankind grow and change. He loves humanity and helping when he can. However, his job isn’t conducive to helping people. He’s an Angel of Death.
Doug is fun loving and a drama queen. Despite his witty exterior, he has a dark history and is prone to self-destruction. He’s also an amazing drag queen and hairstylist with big dreams.
When Tad pushes the boundaries of his duties too far, his angel wings are stripped away from him, and he is sent to New York City to live as a human. Lost and alone he ends up meeting Doug, and the two start a friendship that will shape them both and last a lifetime. But nothing is simple when you’re dealing with a former Angel of Death and a Drag Queen. Could these two cause the fabric of our world to collapse or will they manage to keep the future as it should?
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Guest Blog: Character Inspiration?
T.A.D.-The Angel of Death is something unique to me; as are the cast of characters. For the story, I focus on two people Doug, a hairdresser and drag queen, and Tad, a former Angel of Death. Despite how fun these characters sound I realized there was potential for them both to be silly and over the top, but for the story, I wanted to tell, I needed them to be grounded. These people couldn’t be caricature they had to feel real, and they had to read as real, like people you may know. Also, with both characters, we follow them throughout their lives. So, they had to change and grow as they got older, which meant they needed to be fully fleshed out. I had to have a life arch for both of Doug and Tad, which was something I never had to do before, so it was fascinating to work on. It wasn’t perfect, but it gave me a starting point for each of them and as the story progressed I was able to change and modify bits of it as I needed.
The character of Doug starts out at the age of twenty-one, so he’s in his prime, he loves to party and have a great time, but he’s also somewhat responsible and unsure of himself. For him I based his character on two of my drag friends from when I was in my twenties, they were both full of life, but each of them had hints of sadness that was just behind their bright smiles. Despite all the craziness of who these amazing guys were, there was more to them. One lived on the streets for a while and the other had some mental health issues, which plagued him for a while. I was in a position to see how both these conditions affected them over their lives. So, with Doug, I needed to ensure he had real-world issues that would affect his life as he got older, some of his ‘baggage’ helps him, while some of his issues are a hurdle he must live with and deal with for good or bad.
Like my friends, who I got to see grow and change, we get to experience that with Doug. Unlike Doug, both my friends’ lives ended young (not related to the hurdles stated above). Also, with Doug, I get to pull in some fun additional drag bits from another friend of mine who also happened to be a drag performer, but has since given it up. So, playing with that bit was a treat as well.
With the character of Tad, him being an angel and not just any angel, but an angel of death. I didn’t have any point of reference, however, I believe that angels surround us and they look after us. There are too many things that happen in our world that we can’t fully explain and I think this is them influencing us. So, pay attention to the people you pass on the street because you never know. So for Tad, I wanted him to be honest and open. He needed to almost be like a child who we watch and see grow up. And like kids Tad, as a human, can be shortsighted and stubborn, he also has streaks of being spoiled and not understanding that his actions have consequences. Major consequences, which again he has to learn and grow from. Tad isn’t based on anyone I know, but he is based on the idea of a teenager who doesn’t fully understand the world, but thinks they do. By the age of thirteen, they know it all. That was fun to play with.
Tad changes a lot throughout the story because he needs to, but for me, everything Tad does makes him a better person, which I enjoyed seeing in his character arch.
Really when it came down to these two characters I wanted to explore our character flaws and see how they affect us throughout our lives. Because I’m no longer in my twenties, I can see how the choices I made back when I was twenty affected who I am now. I wouldn’t go back and change my past, because that is what got me to now and has given me the life and friends I have, which I’m happy with. So, even in the case of this story these characters may not like everything that happens to them or the choices they make, but in the end, I don’t think they would change anything…but maybe they would…you’ll have to read and see for yourself.
Doug glanced up at the big void where the buildings once stood.
How could anyone do that? All those people, and for what? Thank God, no one I know was there. Thank goodness, Garret’s train was running late. Even from across the river, seeing the buildings fall, one minute there, the next not, awful. Not knowing if Garret was alive or dead. The not knowing was awful, and it seemed to last forever. Then getting his call when the phones were back up. It was a relief. Still, the not knowing? Horrible. How do survivors do it?
Doug shuddered. He had to look away before he started to cry again. That day. The world wasn’t the same. How could it be? Would it ever be the same again? He swiped at his eyes, keeping the tears he was trying to hold back from dropping. He caught his reflection in one of the storefront windows and fussed with his blond spiky hair.
The months right after the attack had been hell for everyone. People from all over the world sent support and offered help. But New York was moving on, as it should. They already had seven different architects offering new designs to fill the empty skyline. Mayor Giuliani was doing everything he could for the city, and there was even talk of him running for president.
Doug checked his flip phone and picked up his pace. He was running late. He shouldn’t have spent the night at Tim’s, but leaving such a sexy guy was no easy task. Not to mention they might have partied too much.
I doubt that is even possible. You can never party too much.
There was a large group of mourners, and he had to step to the side to let them pass. He took a deep cleansing breath, pushing all thoughts from his mind, and started walking again. He rushed past the families and friends heading to Ground Zero. Now he had to hustle to make it to work. He’d gotten lucky no one he was familiar with was killed. Still, every time he thought about the attack and looked up at the twin lights filling the night sky, he wanted to cry.
Why President Bush didn’t blow up the whole of the Middle East after the attack, Doug would never understand. Instead, the president sent troops to Afghanistan, searching for Osama bin Laden and taking out Al-Qaeda.
Just as long as they find and kill the monsters who did this to us.
Doug couldn’t help but stop again and glance up to where the twin towers once stood. He quickly wiped at his eyes. “I need to get out of here.” He moved over to the brick façade and leaned against the wall as more people passed him, heading to the memorial ceremony.
“So much suffering and for what?” Doug mumbled. He started walking again, taking a deep breath and trying to avoid the crowds. A woman in a dark jacket passed him and bumped his shoulder, causing him to step closer to an alley. She didn’t bother saying anything; however, Doug thought she said something about his size. He caught his reflection again. He hated how everything made him feel so fat. Nothing he wore looked right on him. Even the baggy pants still made him look fat and messy. He would need to start at the gym if he wanted to continue dating Tim and keep up with his partying. He frowned.
At least I have good hair.
He played with the spikes of his hair.
“It’s my fault,” a gruff voice whispered from behind him.
Doug startled and turned around, but no one was there. He glanced over to the dumpster.
Sitting there, a raggedy black man, with kinky hair in desperate need of a cut and wash, stared at him. The man had the most beautiful green eyes Doug had ever seen. The rich tones of his skin really made his eyes pop, quite possibly the unkempt man’s best feature. The man was in shambles, and tears streamed down his dirty cheeks.
The anniversary affects everyone.
“I did this,” the man groaned through his sobs. “And now I’m being punished.”
Doug wasn’t sure what to do or say. Should he walk away and get to the salon? Leave what appeared to be the crazy homeless guy alone? Could he do that now that they made eye contact? Could he do that today of all days? The man needed help. The man needed a shower and clean clothes. Perhaps, if he talked to him, that would be enough…well, the talk and ten bucks.
That’s what Shannon would do. Talk to him and give him money. Shannon was such a kind soul, and I need to be more like him, more like he was. To honor him. Just like my drag name. Maybe Miss Enshannon needs to be more. I need to be more.
Doug’s heart ached at the memories of Shannon and how wonderful he was. When he picked his drag name there was no doubt on what it would be, but to honor someone you loved had to be more than using their name.
“It’s not your fault.” He knelt close to the man, still keeping his distance just in case. “It was the work of terrorists. They killed all those people, not you.”
“I should have stopped them. I should have done more,” the dirty man moaned.
“Oh, baby, no one could have done more,” Doug offered. Some people thought the government knew about the attack beforehand and the president allowed it to happen. Doug didn’t buy it. Why anyone listened to these people was beyond him, but they did. He just wished they would shut up and crawl back under the rocks they came from. They weren’t helping anyone, and in the long run, their remarks and comments only hurt people more.
“Now, I’m being punished. They sent me here and took my wings,” the man whispered.
Was this guy a pilot? Oh, that would be awful. I bet he was supposed to fly one of the planes, and he couldn’t take it. Survivor’s guilt.
M.D. Neu is a queer Fiction Writer with a love for writing and travel. Living in the heart of Silicon Valley (San Jose, California) and growing up around technology, he’s always been fascinated with what could be. Specifically drawn to Science Fiction and Paranormal television and novels, M.D. Neu was inspired by the great Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Stephen King, Alice Walker, Alfred Hitchcock, Harvey Fierstein, Anne Rice, and Kim Stanley Robinson. An odd combination, but one that has influenced his writing.
Growing up in an accepting family as a gay man he always wondered why there were never stories reflecting who he was. Constantly surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, M.D. Neu decided he wanted to change that. So, he took to writing, wanting to tell good stories that reflected our diverse world.
When M.D. Neu isn’t writing, he works for a non-profit and travels with his biggest supporter and his harshest critic, Eric his husband of twenty plus years.
Author Website: http://www.mdneu.com
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