Homosexuality is a crime, cursing is a punishable offense, and lifestyle legislation keeps American citizens on a prescribed moral path.
The country lives in a Moral Age, all thanks to The Moral Authority, the nation’s fourth branch of government, which has held dominion for the past thirty-five years.
Yet the Moral Age comes at a price. Americans either live like mindless cattle or in fear.
Told from three points of view, Mark, the brash young hero, who finds true love in the most desolate of places; Isaac, the renegade, who searches for redemption; and Samuel the dictatorial megalomaniac intent on maintaining his power, Moral Authority exposes what happens to a nation that continues to restrict, instead of broadening, civil rights.
About the Author
Jacob Z. Flores lives a double life. During the day, he is a respected college English professor and mid-level administrator. At night and during his summer vacation, he loosens the tie and tosses aside the trendy sports coat to write man on man fiction, where the hard ass assessor of freshmen level composition turns his attention to the firm posteriors and other rigid appendages of the characters in his fictional world.
Summers in Provincetown, Massachusetts, provide Jacob with inspiration for his fiction. The abundance of barely clothed man flesh and daily debauchery stimulates his personal muse. When he isn’t stroking the keyboard, Jacob spends time with his husband, Bruce, their three children, and two dogs, who represent a bright blue blip in an otherwise predominantly red swath in south Texas.
You can follow Jacob’s musings on his blog or become a part of his social media network by visiting Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.
Thanks for having me here at Books Books and More Books. I really appreciate you agreeing to host me here today.
For all of our followers who may not be familiar with you work, could you tell us a bit about yourself?
What’s funny is that I can talk about my books or other people’s books for hours. When someone asks me about myself, I turn stupid. I’m just not very interesting. At least not to me. I’m not much different from anyone else. I’m married to a wonderful man. We have three kids and two dogs. See? All perfectly mundane. Wonderful, but mundane
So, how about I tell you this? My real name is Jacob Kent, the lovechild of Superman and Wonder Woman. I’ve kept this a secret for years, but it’s time for me to come out of the closet and be me. Starting today, I will fight for truth, justice, and the American way wearing my dad’s S and cape, and my mom’s kick ass red leather boots and tiara. I won’t be Superman or Wonder Man.
I shall be Fabulous Man, and all crime, especially those against fashion, shall be dealt with the strictest force!
Tell us a little about your process. Do you start with an idea? A character? What is the easiest part of writing for you? What’s the hardest?
I typically start with an idea. For my latest release Moral Authority, I started with the question: what would happen if the moral majority got everything they wanted? From that, I imagined a dystopian America, where a fourth branch of American government called the Moral Authority had been created. This new government branch was charged with creating a moral code of conduct for all citizens to save us from ourselves. As a result, the country entered a golden moral age, but it came with a price. Morality was no longer subjective. It had been defined, and following moral law meant behaving exactly how the government expected citizens to act. So the moral majority got everything it wanted. All it cost was true freedom. That’s the idea my novel explores. If rights are continually restricted instead of broadened, the country as well as its citizens pay the ultimate consequence.
The easiest part of the writing process is coming up with the ideas. I have a ton of them swirling around in my head at any given moment. I make notes in my phone, on my iPad, in my writing journal, and on my computer. I mean, literally they are everywhere! The problem is finding the time to write them all. That’s technically the hardest part for me. I have so many ideas just itching to be written that it pains me that I can’t do them all at once. You see, I’m very OCD when it comes to writing. Once I start a project, I have to finish it before I can start another. If I split my focus, the works will suffer. Perhaps what I need to start doing is use the speed I’ve inherited from my super powered parents to complete my books. Fabulous Man to the rescue!
What is the best piece of advice you have received as an author? What piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
The best advice I’ve received is to set goals for myself. When I first started writing, I didn’t do that. I wasn’t exactly rudderless. I had an idea for a book, and I wrote it. That was my goal. Writing, however, is more than that. Just like in any other job, we have to hold ourselves accountable. What motivation do we have to finish that book if we haven’t set any goals for ourselves?
Setting goals has helped me tremendously, and they are goals that fit into my frantic life of father, husband, college professor, and super hero. I try to write 1,000 words a day during the school year. During the summer, my goal is 4,000. You would be surprise by the difference it has made. I now know what I’m supposed to accomplish each day I sit at my computer. When I meet my goal, I give myself a reward, usually something sweet. Like a cookie or a Snickers bar. When I don’t, well, then I have to adjust my time to make sure that I meet the goal the next day. Because I really want my treat!
Setting these goals has increased my productivity. Over the past two weeks, I have written almost 40,000 words. When you consider that the minimum publication for most novel length books is 60,000 words, I’ve almost written a whole novel. That’s pretty industrious.
As for the advice I’d give someone who wants to get into writing, I’ll say that determination is key. Writing isn’t easy, and it doesn’t happen over night. It takes determination not only to complete a novel but to also get it published. There are so many hoops writers have to jump through to get noticed by a publisher, but we all have to do it. Don’t give up. If you don’t succeed at one publisher, try another and another and another. Eventually, if you have a good book, you will find a publisher who thinks so too.
Share with us something off your Author bucket list.
That’s easy. I’d like to see my name on the New York Times Best Sellers list. That would mean to me that not only have I made it, but that gay fiction has truly made a splash in the publishing world.
What are you currently working on? What other release do you have planned for 2013?
I’m currently writing the second book in my upcoming Provincetown Series. The first book, When Love Takes Over, is slated for release in August/September, and the novella spin off from that book Chasing the Sun is coming out in October/November. When Love Gets Hairy and When Love Comes to Town will be out in 2014.
One of the reasons I’m so excited about this series is that I absolutely love Provincetown. My husband and I vacation there every summer, and I wanted to write a series that captures the town’s essence. It’s a beautiful locale with an eclectic cast of characters that truly make it a unique setting. It is also a wonderfully romantic place to fall in love, but P-town, as it is commonly called, is not without its problems. The carefree lifestyle upon the Cape can lead to stumbling blocks on the path to happily ever after. The town is an important character in the books, just as much as the people who visit and live there.
In the first book, struggling author Zach flees to Provincetown to escape a painful break up. He’s searching to understand why his relationship ended and why he can’t seem to find his writing voice. The last thing he’s looking for is love. What he finds, however, is Van, a gay porn star who enjoys his carefree life. The two of them have no desire to give into what they feel, but once Provincetown casts its spell, love takes over.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published?
Chatting with the readers. One of the best things about being published is that the readers enjoy conversing with you about your books. They aren’t shy to tell you when something doesn’t work or tell you that they demand a sequel to this or that book. It’s been rewarding interacting with the readers in that way. I get a feel as to what readers are looking for and what they expect. It helps me hone my craft, and I think it makes me a better author for listening to what readers have to say.
Do you have any specific last thoughts that you want to share with us?
Well, I’d like to thank you once again for having me here, and to let your readers know that my latest release Moral Authority, which is gay mainstream fiction, is available from Wilde City Press. I have included a blurb and an excerpt below.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are prescribed ideals in America of 2050. The Moral Authority, the nation’s newest branch of government, has virtually eliminated crime, poverty, and most social ills, but it also rules the land with a tyrannical fist, championing ignorance and brandishing fear.
Mark Bryan is a gay man whose existence brands him an outlaw; Isaac Montoya is a charming stranger, who entices Mark to defy moral law; and Samuel Pleasant runs the Moral Authority and plans to punish moral offenders and a rebellious uprising—no matter the cost.
Will liberty and justice return for all?
“What the hell makes you think I’m gay?” Mark asked in a whisper. He crouched lower in his seat as if the new posture made him somehow invisible.
The man just stared at him knowingly, as if he saw Mark’s innermost desires. This infuriated him further. This man had no right to assume anything about him, whether it was true or not. There was no way any stranger could profess to know him so intimately after so few words had been exchanged between them. He found the stranger’s assumptions both rude and presumptuous.
Mark’s anger shifted back into apprehension, when he considered the possibility that this man was an undercover moral officer. If he was and if he suspected Mark of being gay, he would be able to rightfully arrest Mark and hold him for questioning. Still, despite the man’s inappropriate accusation, he couldn’t find anything threatening or malicious about him. He didn’t have that prudishly righteous look of a moral officer. Plus, he did say “other gay men,” which meant that he admitted in a roundabout way that he was gay. He was the one who should be worried about moral arrest, not Mark.
“Look, I take it back,” the man said. “I meant no offense. I shouldn’t assume you’re gay, much less give voice to it. That was inappropriate. I apologize.”
Mark stared at him, dumbfounded. How was it possible for this guy to know what he was thinking?
“I’m really good at reading people,” he finally stated as if answering Mark’s unspoken question. “You have to be if you’re a gay man in America these days.” The stranger’s frank admission of homosexuality took him by surprise.
He ignored Mark’s astonishment and continued talking as if his admission was an aside. “Besides, the two of you were pretty obviously interested in each other.”
Amused, Mark let out a short laugh.
“What’s so funny?”
“You called me obvious,” said Mark. “That’s what I was calling the guy you saved me from. Mr. Obvious.”
His stranger smiled, and his smile was big and warm. The authenticity of the smile eased Mark’s apprehension, slowly. Although born from fear of exposure, he found it difficult to maintain the emotion in face of such an honest smile.
“I’m Mark Bryan, by the way.” Mark held out his hand, and the stranger shook it.
“Nice to meet you, Mark. I’m Isaac Montoya.”
“Thanks again, Isaac.”
Isaac waved the gratitude away with his hand and returned his cappuccino to his lips. The stranger fascinated Mark. He was willing to help Mark out of a sticky situation, which was intriguing enough, but the fascination went deeper than that. There was something just below Isaac’s surface that called out to his budding investigative journalist mind.
At first, Mark thought it was simple attraction. There was no doubt Isaac was a fine specimen. He was clearly biracial, which Mark always found alluring. Isaac had both Latin and Caucasian attributes in his genetic makeup. His black eyes and thick black hair pointed to his Latin heritage, and the milky tint to his tan belied his Caucasian blood. Also, his hair, though thick, was tamely cut into long layers at the top with strands of hair that fell midway down the sides of his temples. Every now and then, one strand got too close to Isaac’s eyes, and he gently brushed it back into place. He wasn’t as smacking as Mr. Obvious, but Isaac definitely wasn’t ugly by any definition of the word. His attractiveness was much more understated and soothing, just like his smile.
“Now who’s Mr. Obvious?”
Mark was confused by the question. “What do you mean?”
“Well, the way you’re looking at me is a bit like the way Mr. Obvious was looking at you.”
Mark blushed red. He had no idea how long he was silently staring at Isaac. Now Isaac probably thought he was a lovesick schoolgirl, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, he thought Isaac was attractive, but that wasn’t the only reason he stared. He was trying to figure out what lurked beneath the charm.
You can buy Moral Authority here: