What inspired you to become a writer?
I can’t say that any one event, person, place or thing really inspired me to become a writer. I got a call for Submissions once from Simon & Schuster, soliciting Erotic stories for their “Chocolate Flava” anthologies of short erotic stories primarily for Black women. At the same time, I got another call for submissions that was soliciting erotic stories about people’s first sexual experience. I thought to myself, “Hey! I got one! And I can send it to two publishers.” So, I wrote my story, which became “Sweet Chocolate’s First Taste,” which I wound up selling to Simon & Schuster and appeared last year in “Chocolate Flava 3.” This sort put my toe in the water.
When I was on my last tour of duty in Afghanistan, I thought I would sort of type up a weekly journal of fictionalized accounts. Since I was in Special Forces, Military Intelligence, there wasn’t a lot I could talk about, so as events occurred on the ground, I would write a response to those events. When I got home, everybody raved about what a great story it was, that I had to send it to a publisher. I did and they picked it up. I’ve been straining to get a functional story line for the sequel ever since.
How did you decide to write in this genre?
When people ask what I write, I always start off by saying, “Well, I’ve written some Erotic Romance…” At which point everybody smiles, rolls their eyes, or nods their head like a bobble dog. BUT!!! When I tell them about my last book, “Say Goodnight,” well, then they seem to pay a little attention, but not as much as they would’ve had I started with that. I think it’s incredibly narrow-minded on their part, but there’s nothing I can do about that. “Sweet Chocolate’s First Taste,” is not just a story about sex, it’s about a coming of age, a moment where an incredible level of intensity, meets an incredible moment of tenderness!
When I write, I like to paint a very, VERY vivid picture for the reader, because I don’t want them only to visualize the scene, I want them to feel invested in it! Not a fly on the wall, but an active participant. People who read “Sweet Chocolate’s First Taste,” will not be disappointed! And the same vivid description that I put into that story, people will find in “Say Goodnight!” I’ve had people who were in the Army tell me how vividly I described one fight, how their heart was pounding! They were breathing hard, their eyes burned and they couldn’t see for all the gunsmoke! Is a very exciting book! To me, that’s high praise indeed!
I say that, but it’s not just all mayhem either! Readers will get a taste of the full spectrum of emotional turmoil that combat brings, as well as the light hearted moments and those incredibly humorous moments that seem all that much funnier in a combat zone.
Now, I’ve just submitted my venture into the Horror genre, or more accurately, Romantic/Horror, if there IS such a genre. This is entitled, “Forevermore,” and was originally going to be for the “Behind the Locked Door,” theme, but I decided to just submit it in the General Submissions category. Like most of my stories, it has a military tie-in and of course, ALL of my characters are designed with real people in mind. It’s just the circumstances that I take liberty with.
Now, I like horror, but I didn’t want characters that just run a lot, then die, quivering, cowering and groveling at the feet of some monster. I decided to give them some teeth and bite! I think everybody is going to love and want to emulate my characters, Mike & Maggie!!! I promise, you will ALL, LOVE THEM!!!
But I think all stories, even horror stories have a love interest or at least an understated potential. But this is currently under consideration at Muse It Hot Publishing. I’ll include a short excerpt in this interview.
After a particularly stressful day whether it’s spent feverishly typing away at your latest book or hard at work on some other project how do you unwind?
Believe it or not, I try to watch the news. While that ratchets me up all over again, it gets me spun-up on much larger issues which sort of reminds me that I am but a small cog in the machine. I remember reading somewhere, quite a while ago, obviously, that Johnny Carson used to get most of his material for his monologs from the days current news, so sometimes, I’ll try to springboard things that way. Perhaps tweak something and apply it to whatever I’m working on. By the way, I now know that Carson had the best writers at NBC working for him while he was doing the tonight show, which brought him down a peg or two in my book.
How would you describe a perfect evening?
Naturally, it’s going to be with my wife. No, I’m not just saying that! We’d spend a totally relaxed and leisurely day with plenty of laughs, a decent meal or two, and maybe a movie. Just now, sitting here thinking about this question, it really doesn’t matter what you do; it really all comes down to who you do it with!
Who are you currently reading?
I have to confess, that since I’ve become a writer, I almost never read now. Almost. I have a few books from a very good friend of mine, Steve Hartov, who is a fantastic writer. In fact, it was his powers of description that I’ve emulated and expanded on. He has an ability to describe something that gives the reader the impression he is looking at it while he’s describing it. A great writer!
Do you write with music or background noise or do you prefer silence? If you write with music or noise, what’s your preference?
Actually, it would appear that talk radio is on most of the time, this way I’m not really distracted when a song comes on that I like, although talk radio brings its own type of distraction. Especially on a topic I am very passionate about. Silence would actually, probably be most productive. It’s the distractions that keep me from finishing a book or starting a new one, “Damn, I really do need to cut the grass…” or “shovel that snow…”
Tell us a bit about your formative years. Where’d you grow up? Did you have siblings, two parents in your home, pets?
I grew up in the Chicago area, German-Irish Catholic family, oldest boy, two brothers, four sisters, Yes, that’s 7 kids, boy scout, alter boy, had a dog. I was just going to say the usual. But that teenage angst really got me bad! I joined the army my Junior year in high school and left half-way thru my Senior year.
We’ve often heard people say, “youth is wasted on the young” and “if I could go back, oh, what I’d do.” What do you think? Would you go back and if you could, what age would you go back to?
I really don’t waste much time on this thought line. I’ve come to a realization in life that ‘things happen for a reason.’ If I could go back, I might change a few things I did in the Army, but not much. I might behave differently with some girls, either be more aggressive or lose them quicker, now having a better understanding of the games they play. Actually, at the end of the day, I wouldn’t change much at all. Yes, I’m not as young as I used to be, but I AM as OLD as I want to be!
Here is a short Except of Sweet Chocolate’s First Taste, my first publication…
Columbus, Georgia: April 1979
I was training as an Infantryman in the U.S. Army at North Harmony Church, Fort Benning, Georgia. I was just seventeen years old and regrettably at the time, still a virgin. We were two weeks from graduation, and my buddies, Ed Bristol and Juan Garcia, took a weekend pass to visit Columbus, Georgia. A typical GI town of the late ‘70’s, Columbus offered an endless collection of strip joints, tattoo parlors, and pawn shops. They catered to young inexperienced soldiers, like me, from Tinytown, Kansas; Nowhere, Oklahoma; and Jerkwater, Nevada.
We checked into a cheap, dreary motel near the cornucopia of strip joints, eager for our weekend of fun and freedom. Juan left “for supplies,” while Ed and I unpacked. It was a dump on Victory Drive. Threadbare carpets, thin walls, thin drapes, and even thinner towels that felt as comfortable against your skin as twenty grit sandpaper. I would say it was clean, but the roaches would probably take offense. We were watching one of those pathetic ‘70’s sitcoms when Juan abruptly returned. Grinning, he immediately began unbuttoning his shirt. Following Juan was a surprisingly beautiful black woman. I was caught completely off guard.
She closed the door behind her. I watched intently, as her breasts swayed and jiggled slightly, ever so delicately. Her eyes were downcast as if she was embarrassed. She followed Juan into the room. At the sight of us her eyes went wide and she gave a shrug of her shoulders and a tip of her head, as if to say, “Oh well…” To me, it all said: bashful.
Instantly, I was captivated, and a little intimidated by both her age, almost thirty, and her luscious beauty. The woman—and she was a real woman, not a kid—had a pleasant round face with high cheek bones that gave it depth. She was tall, but still several inches shorter than my six feet, but I was struck by her very dark, coffee brown complexion, which seemed at odds with her flowing, shiny curls of gorgeous shoulder-length hair. My palms were sweaty at the thought of getting them on her beautiful, perfectly proportioned breasts. Those breasts seemed to call to me, with each sway and bounce.
Her soft white cotton dress fit her form sensationally, hugging her upper body alluringly, accentuating the breadth of her torso before tapering down to her narrow waist, then loosely flowing over the graceful, but sweeping curve of her hips. My arms wanted to encircle that narrow waist, to lay my hand atop that scrumptious, perfectly developed ass, and then just pull her body to mine. To press our chests and hips together, to meld into a single being; to feel her softness pressed against my hardness. To feel the slope and curve of her back as those glorious breasts pressed against my chest. She was perhaps the most beautiful black woman I had ever met. All of these thoughts vanished quickly with my growing anxiety at my impending moment.
Still frantically undressing, Juan said, “Hey guys, I need the room for a while.”
Now here is an excerpt from my latest book, Say Good Night, the fictionalized account of my 2009 tour of duty in Afghanistan with the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force…
A gray Toyota Hilux pickup truck was seen driving down the
road from the top of the quarry with three passengers in addition to the driver. Once they were at the quarry floor, I could identify the third man from the bazaar that I had seen earlier with Stretch and ‘Stumbles’. He was waving his arms wildly and speaking in loud tones which I heard faintly, despite the distance. He appeared to be the instructor in the crowd, perhaps fifty to fifty-five years old. Everybody else was at least between twenty-five and forty years old.
Ten minutes later, another Hilux was seen driving down the road towards the bottom with a driver and two passengers. I slowly and quietly unfolded the bipod legs of my M-21 sniper system yeah, it’s old, but it still works. Now, I was bathed in sweat. The pressure was always intense.
The reason I had the M-21 was because the Brigadier thought this would be the better option than involving a larger direct action force, like a twelve man Special Forces Operational Detachment-Alpha SF-ODA or a sixteen man Navy SEAL platoon. So in a way, I was just warming up for an upcoming operation. The sun was down now but glowing below the horizon and it would soon be dark and the lights would come on. I looked through the scope of my rifle and did another range estimate in my head using the stadia lines cross hairs in the scope. Then I proceeded to watch as the instructor brings his students together and shows them the intricacies of the DuPont box, this is the “plunger” or detonating device which generates an electrical charge to the blasting cap, named for DuPont who won the Nobel Prize for the invention of dynamite.
There was a crane and a bulldozer at the bottom of the quarry. An Old Russian pieces of shit. Nobody made any moves to start any machinery, or equipment. Not the crane, not the dozer, not a dump truck. Nobody was there to do any quarry work. This was a bomb making class about to be in session.
* * * *
I was loosing light fast.
The driver of the second vehicle broke from the group and started the generator near the shack at the base of the quarry. Within a minute, the entire quarry was bathed in glowing bright light. I could feel the sweat flowing freely from me now. As if to make some kind of point, the instructor raised his arms to shoulder height and turned 360 degrees to show everybody how bright it was, or how vast his power was, or some other such crap.
Now came the stingingly cold blooded aspect of this job. It’s cold-blooded, because at that precise moment, before action commences, you’re shooting a man who is no real imminent threat to you, specifically. Furthermore, I positioned myself a good 200-300 meters beyond the maximum effective range of their rifles, provided they didn’t have anything bigger than your garden variety Russian AK. You have to be able to accept the solace that comes with the knowledge that he would kill Americans on another day. All of them would. They would all happily march us down to the train stations and load us all on to cattle cars haul us away, then march us right up to delousing. You, me, all of our children and grandchildren. Well, not today. I made a note of the time, 19:21; Start of action. Either way, I had decided that it was time for them to die.
The pressure completely enveloped me now. It was stifling and oppressive, breathing was difficult as my chest was so tight. I felt the old familiar tension headache, come on instantly. It always felt as if my head were clamped in a vice. Despite the relatively pleasant eighty degrees, I was now soaking wet with sweat.
I lifted the weapon, took a second to dry my sweaty hands on my sleeves, deep breaths, then I took a reading of my winds. They were very light, maybe two to four knots, and they were at my back, no value to a sniper, ‘no value’ winds are winds that do not require any sight or hold adjustments. Down in the quarry they would probably be non-existed. I couldn’t see any dust flying anywhere in the kill zone. A straight on simple shot. How often does that happen, I asked myself. Not much. Never mind that, they’re targets, nothing more, and it’s just another day on the range, I coached myself. Breathe deep, steady, in… out… line ‘em up. Come on, Sweet Cheeks. Let me see your smile. Turn a little more. Steady hand, smoooth squeeeze…
An excerpt from my first effort in the Horror genre, Forevermore,
By Richard Burns
“Well, now that you’ve lured me up here Mike, what else did you have in mind for this mid-night picnic?” She emptied her second glass and leaned back on her elbows. I liked this pose because it showed off her breasts, my guess is; she knew that. Again, it was my guess, that she was feeling warm and happy now perhaps a little romantic. Could I really be winning her over?
“Well, I was hoping that we might take this time to… get better acquainted.” I leaned forward as I spoke softly, my face was close enough that we could rub noses. The glimmer of her eyes, the smell of her hair, the heat of her breath were all… intoxicating. My head would spin with each of her breaths that I inhaled.
Suddenly, her face seemed to change to that of a much younger girl, her lips slightly parted and pouty, her eyes half closed a look of lust and curiosity at what may come next. So quietly, it wasn’t even a whisper, “Yes, I think that’s a very good idea,” she said and tilted her chin up in the same moment that I lowered my lips to hers.
I could feel Maggie’s body, the warmth, the softness of her curves as she shifted beneath me, the sparks on her tongue, the heat in her mouth. Soon, I was as hard as a rock. I was as hungry for her as a bear. I needed her as I’ve never needed anybody before.
The second our lips met, the world seemed to explode and disappear. I remember thinking that her entire body, once firm and muscled, now seemed to turn into jelly. No longer able to support the weight of her body with her arms, she took the back of my neck and pulled me down with her as she lay back upon the stone floor, I rolled over on top of her, supporting my weight on my elbows, leaving my hands free to explore those breasts.
Gradually, her lips pressed harder against mine and as our intensity grew, we both fell into a tidal wave of bliss. My head felt as though I were swimming in a warm current, we were oblivious to the world beyond our mouths, we were totally consumed in our kiss. We pressed even harder still against each other, as we gave into our mutual hunger. Our mouths opened, our tongues met, they danced again.
As my shaking hands explored the softness of Maggie I found and pinched her nipples and felt her diaphragm expand as she inhaled. Her tongue began to move more deliberately as we were inundated with the magic of US…
Another excerpt, but from a more exciting portion of the story…
Don’t get skittish! Get busy!
I brought the bat up to Hessian and delivered one furious blow to his back as he rode past, I got in front of the horse again, more beatings for you Flica! I approached the Jaeger opposite his sword hand and broke his leg with that bat, then a few blows to his shoulders, under the horse, on his right side, I broke his sword hand, hoping he’d drop it. No such luck.
I kept it up, constantly getting in front of the horse, beating her at every turn, as they tried to clear my kill zone. I gave him four more solid blows to the back and shoulders. I broke off my assault and waited for him to come back for more.
As the Jaeger and horse prepared for another assault on me, I decided to re-engage the enemy. I charged them, screaming as I ran. The horse and Jaeger, retreated! Don’t get cocky, they’ll be back. Because I’d charged him, I was now too far from my next ambush point. Great idea Mike!
As I searched in the dark, foggy woods for my next point, I heard the Jaeger’s horse approaching, I had to run for it. I was distinctly aware of how tired my arms were from the fight, how out of breath I was, my chest seemed to heave with every breath. He means to kill you Mike! Run and just keep running!
No! People are depending on you! One man has been killed already! Finish this!
I ran until I saw my next marker, I waited for the Jaeger, when he got close enough, I turned on wobbly almost rubber legs, and went for it. It was the same way in Afghanistan, the stress the excursion, controlled-frenzied-panic of hand-to-hand combat.
The tiny inch and a half cylum stick chemical lights were invaluable in the dark foggy forest now. The moon was half behind some clouds and it was now darker. I was slower now due to the intensity of the fight. He took every pounding I gave him, and now, still, he was almost on top of me. The horse was not as fast as it was a minute ago. Ha Ha! A couple of swings to the brain case will do that, he he he…
Don’t get cocky! You’re not done yet!
I want to encourage everyone to keep their eyes peeled for the 2nd Coming of the Headless Horseman in “Forevermore,” and to contact me at: Richard_Burns325@yahoo.ca and you will always be able to find my books at http://www.RichardBurnsBooks.com