Please welcome George Seaton with
Shane Thorpe Knew Jesus And Rode Bulls
Happy to be at My Fiction Nook today. Thank you for having me.
My new release from Dreamspinner Press, “Shane Thorpe Knew Jesus and Rode Bulls,” was written for the States of Love project. I chose Texas, bull riders, and the juxtaposition of two men from different backgrounds who ride the rodeo circuit together.
Though I had much of this story completed before the Dreamspinner submission call went out, I enhanced it to fit the theme of the project.
I love to write characters who come from real life, concentrating on what makes them who they are. Hopefully the reader will recognize what makes my primary characters, Shane Thorpe and Joe Vasquez, tick.
About the book:
Eighteen-year-old Joe Vasquez leaves Denver for Texas with Harley Bray, the cow kid who never fit in at their high school. In spite of discovering there’s another side to Harley’s nature—occasional “withdrawals” from roadside convenience stores, a nefarious skill he teaches Joe—Joe shares Harley’s dream of riding bulls and a life together on the Texas plains outside of Abilene. A life that will hopefully see the fulfillment of another of Joe’s dreams—to become a veterinarian.
When a rank bull kills Harley in a rodeo on Longview, Texas, Joe accepts an offer from another bull rider, Shane Thorpe, to partner up and ride the circuit together. The problem is that the blond-haired, blue-eyed Shane found Jesus a long time ago, and he’s torn between his faith and his attraction to Joe. As they make their way across Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona to their final stop on the circuit at the National Western Rodeo in Denver, Joe bides his time for what he hopes will be a relationship with Shane as fulfilling as the one he’d had with Harley. His hopes for the future, however, are challenged along the way when he discovers that his “withdrawals” have captured the attention of a dedicated Texas Ranger.
Shane Thorpe was born, raised, and lived for most of his life just outside Tyler, a city in East Texas less than one hundred miles from Shreveport, Louisiana. Though not as notable as west, north, and south Texas for cattle production, the Thorpe ranch had been producing cattle for six generations: black baldies, mostly, with a little Brahmin influence thrown in for good measure. It was a hot and humid place where the lushness of the landscape was notable, though droughts did occasionally pass through it. Tyler was also known as the Rose Capital of the World.
When he was twelve years old, Shane was set upon a young bull for the first time. The bull didn’t like it, but Shane did and his life’s passion was therefore identified at an early age. So too, the Thorpe family had practiced the teaching of a particularly Baptist outlook on life and were longtime members of the First Baptist Church, where passions on any given Sunday overshadowed pretty much everything else in life. At least for the hour and a half when hell was raised for condemnation and the choir sang and the congregation joined in with full voice. The first word Shane ever said was amen.
Blue-eyed, blond-haired, a body sculpted from movement: the day in, day out, dawn-to-dusk activities that his daddy early on assigned to him. Shane was a cowboy for sure.
As a boy of seven or eight, Shane became aware of his interest in other boys—not just for the camaraderie of it, but also for the sensation of just looking at them. He watched them from the eyes of one who for some reason hadn’t been able to figure out why he found the sight of boys doing one thing or another pleasing and later on arousing. When he was fifteen, he yearned to participate in the soft-core sexual escapades of his friends who had discovered girls, their breasts, and their softness. For Shane, though, his desires leaned toward carousing with boys in the same manner those boys were fumbling around with girls. An impossible thing. His mama, God, King James, Leviticus, and the Baptists had made sure of that. Such things were abominations, and abominations would secure you a place in hell quicker than the demise of a trailer park in a tornado. Or so that’s what his daddy had told him.
When he could, Shane would take his weekly allowance—$15 in good times, $5 in bad—and go into town on Saturday afternoons with his friends and raise the kind of hell ranch kids did when they’d all been reared with a lifelong immersion in scripture: movies approved by their parents, fast food, church youth picnics, adult-supervised dances, and sometimes, if a car was available, a ride to the other side of town and back. When he was seventeen, his curfew became nine o’clock on Saturday.
During the week, his morning chores done, Shane would catch the bus to school, where he excelled in wrestling but found the academic curriculum useless and boring. He wasn’t dumb, just passionate about what he’d identified as his future when he was twelve. He’d be a bull rider, and no amount of arithmetic, science, literature, poetry, and all the other bullshit the Smith County public school system contrived to muddle or delay the realization of that passion would make a difference.
Shane’s best friend was a boy named Eloi with black hair and eyes. Eloi’s family was vaguely Cajun, though they never really admitted to it, and had moved from southern Louisiana to Tyler before Eloi was born. He was a short but tightly muscled boy who was often paired with Shane during wrestling practice. By the time they were seventeen, they’d managed to inspect pretty much the total of each other’s bodies, as the sport of wrestling will give that to boys whether they want it or not. Shane wanted it, and sometimes it seemed as though Eloi did too.
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Meet the author:
George Seaton’s short stories, novellas, and novels capture contemporary life mostly set in the American west—Colorado and Wyoming in particular. He and his husband, David, along with their Alaskan malamute, Kuma, live in the Colorado foothills just southwest of Denver.
Promotional post. Materials provided by the author.