April 13, 2021

Joseph R.G. DeMarco Discusses The 200 Men He Interviewed

Joseph R.G. DeMarco Discusses The 200 Men He Interviewed

Ep:079 Joseph R.G.  De Marco, a native of Philadelphia,is the author of the Marco Fontana Mysteries, the newest and fifth in the series is The Vermilion Pursuit. He also writes The Vampire Inquisitor series, and the second volume, A Battle in Blood, was just released. In addition he writes the Doyle and Kord Mysteries.  His plays have been produced in Philadelphia, NY, and elsewhere. His work appears in The International Encyclopedia of Marriage and Family, Encyclopedia of Men and Masculinities, and Journal of Homosexuality. He was a columnist for The Advocate, In Touch, X-Factor magazine, and other publications. His PGN article “Gay Racism” was awarded the prize for excellence in feature writing by the Gay Press Association. He was Editor-in-Chief of The Weekly Gayzette (Philadelphia), and New Gay Life (a national magazine), and a contributing editor for publications including Il Don Gennaro (an Italian-American magazine) and Gaysweek (NY). Currently he is Editor-in-Chief of Mysterical-E, an online mystery magazine.

Also Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz with Gayish Podcast join us.

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Joseph R.G. DeMarco's Website
Joseph on Facebook

The Marco Fontana Series:
Murder on the Carmac
The Vermillion Pursuit

The Vampire Inquisitor Series:
A Battle in Blood

The Doyle and Kord Mysteries:
Family Bashings
Lethal Attachments

Mysterical-E Mystery Magazine

Gayish Podcast with Mike Johnson & Kyle Getz

bradshreve.com

Requeered Tales.com


Transcript
Brad Shreve:

You're listening to Queer Writers of Crime, where we feature LGBTQ authors, of mystery, suspense, and thriller novels. I'm Brad Shreve and I interview the authors. Justene is here and she does the book recommendations. Today I'm interviewing Joseph RG DeMarco but first Justene and I have some special guests. So our listeners this week are going to be very happy because they're not going to have to hear about my crush on Paul Rudd. They will have to see how they feel about you. not giving a book recommendation.

Justene:

That's right.

Brad Shreve:

over the past couple of years, you have given me some recommendations. You listened to a lot more podcasts than I did

Justene:

That's right?

Brad Shreve:

last year. I recommended one to you.

Justene:

Yes, you

Brad Shreve:

What was it?

Justene:

It was Gayish and you recommended the rimming episode. So that was quite the introduction.

Brad Shreve:

Yes, I'm sure it was well after this totally improvised conversation. If, if you look,

Justene:

we've done several times through now.

Brad Shreve:

if you look at your screen, it's miraculous coincidence that we have Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz who are the host of Gayish..

Justene:

Cool. So very cool. It's great to see them.

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

Hey, it's great to be here. Thanks for having us.

Brad Shreve:

It's wonderful to have you gentlemen. Now I know on your show, you usually do some shots while you're doing it.

Justene:

It was shots time? You didn't tell me. There was going to be shots.

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

As Justene knows it's best to start with rimming and then, and then eventually shots.

Brad Shreve:

Everything's better when you start with rimming..

Justene:

Oh. Good Lord

Brad Shreve:

Well, because we're a book show, we're a little more high-brow So we use brandy and never before sunset. So, go ahead and help yourselves to whatever drinks you want.

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

Sure.

Brad Shreve:

just to let our listeners know, Gayish is no small time. podcast out there. they have been featured in Oprah magazine, Esquire, Queerty. They've been on Buzzfeed. They are a three time nominee for best LGBTQ podcasts by the People's Choice Podcast Awards. Reached number four, in iTunes sexuality charts, and they have a whole slew of impressive guests. Why they're talking to us? I don't know, but we're happy to have you and also happy fourth birthday.

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

Oh, thank you. Thank you so much. We just, we just had our fourth birthday a couple of weekends ago. Yeah. I mean, I can talk about Paul Rudd. That's fine with me. He just keeps morphing into the continually, the sexiest person ever. So, I mean, bearded Paul Rudd is just is daddy gold.

Brad Shreve:

Oh God. Yes. I agree. A hundred percent, but I'll take him however, he comes. Or whenever he comes, let's start out. What does Gayish mean?

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

what does Gayish mean? I think gayish for both Mike and I means that we are both gay. Definitively inexorably gay, for sure. But also don't always feel like we're a part of the community. Sometimes we know things that the community like is community knowledge and sometimes we don't, or we don't like the same things or we just don't always feel like we belong in the same way that other gays do. And we just wanted to talk about that on a show. Yeah. W w we'd like to talk about stereotypes. We pick a different stereotype every week and try to break it down. And at the end of every episode, we talk about the gayest and straightest thing about us, uh, in, in the last week and all of this to shine a light on the idea that really sexuality is about who you have. Sex with, and then all of the stuff that's yeah. Dudes. Yeah, exactly. But, but not everybody, you know, every dude don't speak for me. Yeah. There's, there's a bunch of stuff.inordinate of that that doesn't necessarily apply and that doesn't make you any less gay. And if you're a straight guy and you do some of these quote unquote gay things, it doesn't make you any less. Straight, and then the converse for all of that for women and lesbians and non-binary folks like just wearing converse is pretty lesbian. But yeah, the idea is you're, you're probably gayish everybody, whoever you are, regardless of who you bang,

Brad Shreve:

Well, Mike, do your little byline after you two introduce yourselves,

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

we're here to bridge the gap between sexuality and actuality.

Brad Shreve:

That's it. Care to elaborate a little more?

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

Yeah, I mean, we, we, we pick, uh, all of our episodes are really short phrases, right? Like rimming legit was one of them, but, uh, we we've covered everything from flowers to dogs to hanky code, fisting, sex toys, leprechauns, just kind of anything you can think of. Sometimes stereotypes you'd know about sometimes stereotypes you wouldn't know about. Yeah. Yeah. It's a, it's an hour and a half long format give or take. We've had shorter episodes. We have some longer. And, uh, we, we do a little bit of news and cover the topic and Kyle and I each sort of bring stories and observations and ideas that relate to that. Topic. And we're a weekly show and have been 221 episodes later. Here we are. We, we each, uh, do research on sometimes it's news stories about the topic, or I often do research studies about the topic to figure out if the stereotype is true or not, or information articles that we read. So we each bring kind of discussion points to our conversation and we talk about. You know what we've both learned about the stereotype and often it's the craziest things that you'll find actually does have some kind of gay angle or stereotype too. I've never found anything. That's turned out to be a dud. Everything is, everything is a little bit gay in some way. Yeah.

Justene:

Everything's gayish.

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

Everything's gayish

Justene:

So how does Dan fit into your show?

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

Well, so Fucking Dan, uh, w that's the nickname, so it's official, it's official name is Fucking Dan.

Brad Shreve:

Oh, I thought that was his real name. Fucking Dan.

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

Might as well be now I w in the early days of the show, a hundred episodes, or so every time that we would make a mistake, we would get a phone call or an email from Fucking Dan. And, uh, he's also here in Seattle. So, uh, eventually we just said, well, if you, if you're going to be a pain in the ass, just come work for us. And so, uh, yeah, he does a lot of our research and fact checking and then does a lot of work for us on social media. Yeah.

Justene:

My favorite segment is always the Ma Johnson segment.

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

Oh, my goodness. Okay. Mike's Mike's mom. I was going to just go ahead and take it from you. So you didn't have Mike's mom is, uh, batshit crazy. Okay. Sure. But nevermind, like she is the it's it's amazing. Cause she's so supportive and so down in a lot of people, when they listen to her, like. This is incredible that a mom can be that supportive and onboard, and she just kind of claims anyone who needs a mom. She's their mom. She's also fucking nuts. And oversharers way too much. We talk about our vagina way too much to be appropriate for, for Mike to hear. And, uh, usually we ever on, um, for a segment called momsplaining with Mom Johnson, where we ask her about a gay thing and she tells us what she thinks it means. And it's usually wrong in a delightful way. Yeah.

Brad Shreve:

I love it when I hear her call in because you know, it's going to be crazy.

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

you know, it's going to be crazy.

Brad Shreve:

I think she's the mom of the year. Anybody's mom that is that open and that's silly. You got it made.

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

Yeah, it's, it's really, it's really touching the fan mail that she gets and the things that people say to me about my relationship with, with her. And it makes you realize how painful the relationship, a lot of Queer peoples Queer people can have with, with their, with their parents. And so the idea that, that she and I can just be. B the way that we are with each other is, is sort of inspirational to a lot of gay people. And it's been really, it's been really humbling and awesome to, to, to get, to bring, you know, an example of how it can be, uh, and show it to the world.

Brad Shreve:

when I first stumbled on your show, it, it just seemed like it was a comedy banter, silly show, and it was funny and I liked it, but I, you know, I wondered, you know, I don't know how long this will go on, but then when I really listened it, your show is a lot deeper than that. I mean, you mentioned some of the silly things like leprechauns and you also did one on monster trucks. Uh, but you also did one on debt and you've done depression and a lot of other stuff. So in the middle of all that fun time that you guys have, you really get into some heavy topics. And I always learned something.

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

Oh, wow. Great. Thanks. Hopefully it's you learn true things. That's why we have Fucking Dan to kick this. Yeah, we, I mean, I think it's, it mirrors our friendship and that we have been friends for a very long time. So are we, we do personally talk about deep, important things like mental health, like self harm, like depression. We talk about those things as friends and also. In the context of the most serious, heavy things are people that will laugh and joke about things. So I think it just came naturally for us to kind of have both sides of it and it, yeah, it may at first seem like it's. Uh, you know, just, uh, a flippant, like, you know, just jokes or the fact that you call it, comedy is very kind of you or just lighthearted or what have you. But yeah, we do get into some heavy personal things. Yeah. We, we, we said from the very, very beginning before episode one, even when we were doing the planning for the show that that authenticity was something that we really wanted to strive for. And. And gay people are multifaceted to be a fully authentic gay person means having struggles with mental health and substance abuse and sexual assault. And like, it, it means more than just RuPaul and iced coffee. Like it, it there's, there's, there's a lot to it and we want to show all aspects of it, warts and all.

Brad Shreve:

Justene. Do you have a favorite episode?

Justene:

Oh, man, you didn't tell me we were going to go here. You didn't send me the questions in advance.

Brad Shreve:

I told you we were

Justene:

my favorite segment was Ma Johnson. That's what I was leading with, man.

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

That's a good one.

Brad Shreve:

I got to tell you what my favorite was, which in the interest of science, Mike, you took it upon yourself to go to a jerk-off club in Seattle. That that was, I was shocked because I never knew such a thing existed. We don't have one in LA. I looked it up after your show.

Justene:

Oh, good Lord.

Brad Shreve:

it was, yeah. And it was, uh, it was really interesting that you shared that experience and you gave it, for lack of better word dignity, you didn't make fun of it. You,

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

said, no none of our listeners ever

Brad Shreve:

yeah. I mean, I mean, you had fun, like you always do, but I don't think it was at the expense of anybody that goes there.

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

Right, right. Yeah. We try, we try to be respectful. We don't always necessarily, you know, a hundred percent of the time succeed, but we try not to kink shame or, or yuck anybody's yum is the, is the phrase. And, um, it's also true that the show has led me to really. Confront a lot of things that I might not otherwise. And, uh, Kyle likes to make fun of me a little bit for it. Like, like, uh, if, if there's, if there's something that I'm, I might have been afraid to try on my own, but if I can say I'm going to do it for Gayish because it fits this episode that we have planned, I've had some really great experiences and learned a bunch of stuff about myself because, because I had the show as an excuse to go try it. And, um, it's been, it's been. It's been a growth opportunity for me. Thank you, Kyle. Only reason we're doing this so you can jerk off a bunch. Yeah.

Brad Shreve:

Well, my opinion is you apologize way too much.

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

Oh, Oh, sorry about that. Sorry about that,

Brad Shreve:

Yeah. You cover something and you offend some people. And you're always very quick to apologize. Not always, sometimes you'll state why you won't apologize, but lot of times you do and you just need to roll with it and ignore those folks. That is my opinion. You've been around, around a lot longer than I have, but

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

Well, I mean, I, I think that we want to, again, be authentic, like at no point, are we going to take audience feedback? And I think like, fundamentally change the show or who we are as a result of that, but definitely want to acknowledge to people we heard you. Right. And, um, it's, it's a fine, it's a fine line to walk sometimes I think. But, but we, we, we do our best and it seems to be working, I guess.

Brad Shreve:

it works for me.

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

Good.

Brad Shreve:

Justene you sent me a message saying you had something specific you wanted to talk about.

Justene:

Well, I would like to know, uh, you know, since we're skipping my book recommendations, maybe we can get Mike and Kyle's book

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

Yeah, Absolutely. Um, I recently finished, uh, The Deviant's War by Eric Cervini and it is, uh, it's nonfiction, uh, and covered the story of the parts of the gay rights movement starting in the 1950s with a man named Frank Kameny and his struggles to get reinstated as a federal employee, after being ousted for gay. Uh, activity that he was caught in a San Francisco bathroom for, and, uh, uh, it's really, uh, a really interesting look at a super critical time in our history pre Stonewall. And, um, I just, I really, I really liked it. I think it's, it's, it's good reading. And also the author is very hot. Which of course it's a factor in while you're reading a book. Um, mine is, uh, one that I just read recently because Mike clued me into The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta. Um, it is a fiction, but you can tell it's very close to home for the author. It's written in a style that is a bit of poetry and. Uh, like almost lyrical poetry in its narrative and also poetry esque. Um, about a, uh, kid who is a mixed race, black and gay and trying to find his place. And it's it's after I read it became my favorite book now it's, it's incredible.

Brad Shreve:

Is there a hot guy that wrote that

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

I haven't not looked him up. I like Mike and intellectual instead of physical. So, so I didn't base my opinion on whether he saw it or not.

Brad Shreve:

well, based on what Mike said, I am going to find a really sexy model and put him on my book jackets from now on.

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

Good plan. Honestly. I think that's one of the shitty, but true things about gay culture. You put a hot guy on it and it's going to do 50% better than if you don't. Yeah. Absolutely. Which is why Mike and I like are not popular because we don't have abs like,

Justene:

How about fucking Dan? Does he have abs

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

No, no, I don't think so. None of us have abs another unattainable goal

Justene:

no, neither Brad, nor I have abs either. So.

Brad Shreve:

well, I have them, but nobody can see them.

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

Yeah. There somewhere.

Justene:

what are your favorite episodes guys?

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

um, you know, it was an early episode. I forget what number? 30 or less, but weddings, I keep coming back to weddings. So some, some dear friends of ours got married and, uh, we were involved in it and just. Uh, we took a different approach than most of our episodes and Kyle and I recorded separately on a handheld recorder that we had at, at the, at the wedding. And then, and then spliced it together. Kyle did a fantastic job with the editing and creating a narrative out of our two individual tracks. And we cover a lot of really, I think, deep, emotional issues all in the context of this really joyous occasion. And it made for a really great episode that keeps coming back to my mind over and over. Oh, one of my favorites also an early one is, uh, about consent and it is, uh, Mike shares a super personal story about, um, kind of that being gay in that, that line that the danger you can face when being in hookups and what the boundary of consent is. And I think it's, um, it was deep and heavy and emotional, but also relatable and things that gay people. Well, some of these aspects like hookup and the danger involved in that, or the risk involved in being gay or meeting a stranger, like there are things that we maybe talk about with our friends, but don't always, and don't always talk about these genuine experiences. So I was very impressed with Mike sharing his experience from there. I'm very impressive.

Justene:

Impressive episodes is when, uh, shortly after lock-down you guys got together and Kyle was not doing very well. And you guys just talked to through on the show it, it really resonated with, uh, with me and a lot of the other experiences of people I knew.

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

thank you. Yeah, Mike, um, Mike is the reason I have been able to open up more, like, not just on the show, but just as a person, he has encouraged me to be able to share things because he's. Non-judgemental he's open. He's genuine. He's honest. And I think that's reflected on the show. And that was one of those times where I usually wouldn't share that kind of thing with people, but I was just like, I can't do a show right now. So instead we just recorded our conversation and I think it was technically, we were breaking the lock down because you weren't supposed to. And I was just like, I have to, for my mental health to like keep existing as a human, I need to see someone and talk about this. Yep. Yep. It's been a weird year. It's been a weird year.

Brad Shreve:

Yeah, it really has been, and you guys are really raw and. Take that word for whatever you want to say, but I'm, I'm saying raw in the sense that you, you, you you're, you bare your soul and it's, it's very refreshing and you can tell it's real.

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

Yeah, thank you. And, and it's, it's one of our, it's one of our fundamental values. And, uh, when we have our production meetings and we're planning out our episodes schedule quite often, an idea will come up and one of us will make the face that says, Oh, that makes me real uncomfortable. And then we almost always take that episode on as soon as we can, because we know there's something there that we need to talk about.

Brad Shreve:

I could go on and on, but I have an interview coming up. So I want to thank you guys for stopping in and saying hello

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

Thank you. Thank you so much.

Brad Shreve:

For listeners it's Gayish and I'll have the link in the show notes or wherever you're listening to this show, you can find them as well. They're pretty much everywhere

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

We're pretty much everywhere. Just like a bad case of gonorrhea.

Brad Shreve:

well said.

Justene:

Thanks for coming guys. We really appreciate it.

Mike Johnson and Kyle Getz:

Yeah, thank you so much for having us.

Brad Shreve:

My guest is Philadelphia native, Joseph RG DeMarco. He is the author of the Marco Fontana mysteries. He also writes the Vampire Inquisitor series. His play's been produced in Philadelphia, New York and elsewhere. His works appear in the International Encyclopedia of Marriage and Family in the Encyclopedia of Men and Masculinities and The Journal of Homosexuality. He was a columnist for the Advocate. InTouch and X-Factor Magazine. He was the editor in chief of The Weekly Gazette in Philadelphia and the national magazine, New Gay Life. Currently he is editor in chief of the online magazine, Mysterical-E, and to make it clear, he also writes books That's a lot.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

It is.

Brad Shreve:

Well, welcome to Queer Writers of Crime, Joe.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Thank you. Well, I'm glad to be here.

Brad Shreve:

Well, you have been a busy man over the years. so I want to start with your background cause it's pretty overwhelming to me. I didn't even read all of it. How did your writing journey begin?

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Oh, goodness. I've always wanted to write. Um, since I was a little kid and I'm sure everybody says that, but it's true. And, when I came out, I discovered, the gay press and, uh, gay media. And so I just naturally gravitated to that, uh, writing articles and. covering things in Philadelphia. so it started that right, but I always wanted to do fiction and I just, I guess I never had enough courage to do it and, um, stuck to the non-fiction until I could feel good enough to do the fiction that I really wanted to do.

Brad Shreve:

When you, started was it as a journalist?

Joseph R G DeMarco:

It was as a journalist, first, and then I began to do more kinds of feature articles, which required research and stuff like that. And you know, more in-depth interviews. Um,

Brad Shreve:

How did you get started in journalism?

Joseph R G DeMarco:

It was the gay press. Everything was wide open. So I just did it. It was not, you know, no training, no nothing just, and I'm sure it's the same today in some respects, you know,

Brad Shreve:

It's the same, many of those magazines are gone.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Everything. Yeah.

Brad Shreve:

Frontiers was the big one in the LA area and they're gone. Some of them have gone online, but there's a time, as many as there used to be

Joseph R G DeMarco:

And it's not exactly the same either online, you know, it's, it's, there's something about a print, a print issue.

Brad Shreve:

And, uh, they don't have the quote massage, ads in the back of the magazine

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Yeah. So all that's gone, that's really a shame because they were, whether you used it or not, they were fun to read.

Brad Shreve:

say that they were, well, I think they have websites specifically just for that now. So the magazines don't have to be there. Now your your most recent not mystery. The Vermilion Pursuit was published in December of 2020, just few months ago. It's the Marco Fontana Mystery Series. book number 5, correct?

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Right. Yes.

Brad Shreve:

Who is Marco?

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Marco is, also a Philadelphia native, um, an Italian guy in his, at the time of that novel in his early thirties, um, grew up in the city, joined the police force, but after a while, most kind of hounded out of it. Um, he's not good with authority. and. In casting about what to do. One of the things he decided to do was to start a male strip troop, uh, which he continues to run as well as his private investigation business.

Brad Shreve:

Well, that's interesting.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Just slip that in there. It's

Brad Shreve:

And most PIs are not good with authority. Okay.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

No, that's true. That's why PIs.

Brad Shreve:

So did he get into the strip club business or did he become a PI first?

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Uh, I think he was doing the P the strip club stuff first and then gravitated to doing the PI business. Although he had been doing in the third book in this series Crimes on Latimer, that is a group of six long short stories. Of cases that didn't become a whole book. and the first one actually takes place when he was in high school. So he'd been toying with this private investigation stuff for a long time.

Brad Shreve:

Well, it's an interesting combination. And I generally don't ask where your ideas come from, because that's such a difficult question to ask, but this one being so unusual. How did you come up with that connection

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Owning the strip troop?. Well, I had

Brad Shreve:

the doing the two jobs at the same time, those two jobs

Joseph R G DeMarco:

I don't know. I just thought it would be fun to it's something to balance out the daytime work as a PI. Um, and he'd go to his, the bar where his troop is, based and do that at night. Um, You know, keeping busy the whole day and its kind of its kind of fun. I mean I've, I, I think I've wrote, I told you that I did, uh, a very long study of male strippers, in different cities and it was always kind of, it always kind of seemed like fun to me to run something like that. So it was kind of natural for me to want my PI to do something like that. In addition to his PI work. nothing pays the bills entirely so

Brad Shreve:

I'm always jealous of strippers, cause I wish I'd had that body. The, the fifth novel, The Vermilion Pursuit that I just mentioned earlier, tell us that story.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Well, it takes a direction that. I have been increasingly interested in doing it, gets into the art world. And I think that there's going to be a few more with that kind of a background, uh, to them. Uncle comes to town and, is chairing a panel. That's trying to decide whether a Botticelli that they have is an actual Botticelli or. Not a fake, but not a genuine, you know, maybe done by a student of Botticelli. and in the course of events, one of the other panel members is murdered, who had also been a pretty heavy rival of his uncle. And of course his uncle discovers the body and Marco needs to, uh, Find out who actually did the crime

Brad Shreve:

And art is one of your passions.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

yes, it is. It's something I've always loved. And, have always had people in my life who are actual artists, something that I, you know, you envy a stripper's body. I envy being able to draw and paint and all of that. my drawings come, you know, people are like stick figures rather than

Brad Shreve:

I was a pretty good artist when I was lot younger, but, I don't have that skill anymore. I never honed that skill as much as I should have or wanted to, I guess I didn't want to at the time now, I wish I did.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Yeah. Well, you still could. There's never too late as they

Brad Shreve:

That is true. That is true.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Especially in art, you can always sit down and, do it and, and hone your skills as you, as you go along. But it's just, to me, seems like something very serene and peaceful to do. I know it's not, but it seems like that from the outside.

Brad Shreve:

Well, a lot of the, great authors started in a later age.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

That's true. Yeah,

Brad Shreve:

The first Marco Fontana mystery was written 11 years ago. How much time has passed in Marco's life?

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Oh, that's a wonderful question. I don't know. A couple of a couple of years. Not as many as the novels have been out. Yeah. It's just two or three or four perhaps, but not as many as 11. And 2020 will never appear in the series

Brad Shreve:

There's been a lot of debate amongst authors, whether it include 2020 or not.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

for me. It's I don't want to talk about it. I don't want to hear about it. I don't want to read about it and I won't write about it. It's just not going to have happened. I'm very bitter about the whole deal. It ruined lots of things for a lot of people. And it's for me, I became just very angry about it all. So I'd rather just put it aside and not deal with it.

Brad Shreve:

I've heard the argument that it should be written in there. just like it would have been inappropriate during the eighties to not write about the AIDS crisis. I disagree. I'm like you, I'm going to skip right over 2020. I've had enough of it.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Yeah. Well, that's why its kind of the novels are kind of timeless. I don't put a year to them. I don't, I mean, in one I know that there's a mayoral election, or a Senate election, but I don't put a year to it. So it doesn't really matter. You know, these things could have happened anytime. I they're in the 21st century, but. Not a particular year.

Brad Shreve:

So you keep, that kind of open.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Yeah. So I don't feel that I have to deal with 2020, you know, I'm not doing it sequentially by year anyway, so,

Brad Shreve:

Well, that's kind of nice cause. it lets the reader paint their own picture. how has Marco changed over the series of the five books?

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Well, I think he's grown in his skill. He's grown in his approach to being to investigatory work. Um, he's also at least in, in The Vermilion Pursuit, he's beginning to think a little bit more about his. personal romantic life. I don't mean it's, there's going to be a romance element, but he's kind of commitment challenged. I forget one reviewer was not against that, but other people have been wondering why he doesn't settle down and get involved with, you know, and he's just, he's not that kind of guy, but he is. thinking about it. And in fact, in conversations he had with his uncle in The Vermilion Pursuit, his uncle really made him think about this kind of stuff. And then the next novel, which I'm working on now, I think he's going to deal with it a little bit more, whether or not he's going to actually have a relationship. I don't know. He's been in sort of dating relationships, but nothing more serious than that. But he's beginning to think about it.

Brad Shreve:

Well that romance aspect. I don't want to get into it too much cause I talk about too much on this show, but a lot of readers expect that.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Yes. Yeah. I mean, I have more of a, there's the Doyle and Kord series that I do, which is a pair of cops who left the force and started a PI agency. That's more, it's not a romance novel, but it deals with their relationship as a, as a major part of the, the series. So right now they're on the skids, waiting to do the next night.

Brad Shreve:

Well, you mentioned that, you have another Marco book coming. When can we expect that

Joseph R G DeMarco:

I'm hoping before the end of the year, it takes a while for me to actually I had it all planned and I'd even started writing it even before the pandemic hit. but I wanted to finish The Vermilion Pursuit first and, And this one is going to take place in Florida. So it's adding another layer of research that I have to do to make sure I get some things, right. At least most things. so I'm hoping by the end of the year,

Brad Shreve:

has the past year made it difficult to write.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Yes. I mean, I did, I finished The Vermilion Pursuit and I finished, A Battle in Blood, which also, which came out just last month. I think it was it's the second in The Vampire Inquisitor Series. I finished both of those and got them out. But. It took a lot longer than it would have. normally I couldn't focus and concentration were out the window and, uh, that's another, you know, thing that just makes you angry.

Brad Shreve:

Yeah, I've heard that a lot. And I've been part of that. I expected to have a book out before now, and it was so difficult last year. And a lot of people said, Oh, I thought I'd have so much more time. You know, I'm stuck at home. I'll be able to knock a bunch of books out and No you gotta be in the right space.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

That's right. That's exactly right. Yeah.

Brad Shreve:

it was really hard to be in the right space for pretty much everything last year.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Yes. I agree. I agree. And which is another reason I don't want to hear about it after it's over. It's

Brad Shreve:

well, you were saying that the next book is going to take place in Florida and you're going to need to do some research in your books. I know you've. delved into the Catholic church, the lives of strippers, as you said, the leather community, organized crime. How much time do you spend research on your novels?

Joseph R G DeMarco:

More than I like, because I mean, but research is fun for me. I I'm trained as a librarian. And so doing research, finding sources, you know, finding how to ask a question is for me, a lot of fun, which is unfortunate because research can really be a time suck. So. You have to, you know, you have to limit yourself. But I also find that I do research all along the way, even when I'm finished, quote, unquote and get on with the writing, I still do some more as I'm writing. And sometimes that also affects the direction of the story. You learn, you learn something and you think, Oh, I've got to do this. Or I forgot to change that. So I do a lot, but it's, to me it's fun.

Brad Shreve:

Now let's get more specific regarding your research. You brought up in your bio that you sent me the research that you did on strippers, which certainly got my interest. Tell us that story cause that you were really in depth with that one.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

right. Well, for some, I just had this fascination, I went to. with two friends, one of whom is, was my late partner, um, to a place in New York called the Gaiety, which features in one of Madonna's old, videos. and it was a strip club on Times Square or right off Times Square, which was unbelievably nice. I mean, just. You know, you sat there. It was like a theater setting, like almost like a porn theater, except that it had a stage in the front and they'd have a whole bunch of guys. And these are hot guys who did amazing routines. And this is a tiny, no, not a huge place and not a high ceiling. There was one guy who was actually tossing batons on fire in his act. It was something to see,

Brad Shreve:

not just moving and shaking.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

not just moving. No, no. And they all were, it was really, it was interesting. and so it just. I was fascinated with why people are doing this, how they get themselves to do this because it is, there is a moving and shaking and bearing yourself in a lot of ways, uh, to an audience, an audience of mostly strangers. And so I decided, um, my, my late partner was a sociologist and I'd learned a lot about doing sociological research. So I thought. I'm going to do something, you know, as an independent researcher and started by, there was a strip club here in Philadelphia, and I thought, okay, I'm going to get to know the people and get to know the owners. And I'm going to ask if I can do some interviews with, with their people. And they were all thrilled to do that. So it was a lot of fun. I just started doing these in-depth interviews on tape. With them and about their lives and the work and all of that. And from there, I just went to other cities, New York, Montreal, DC, Chicago, uh, all of which had DC had a really interesting situation in almost everywhere in the U S you cannot have alcohol and, and nudity in the same room at the same time, but in DC, you could. Rules are different. there Politicians get what they want, I guess. Um, you could have nudity and alcohol and whatever else going on at the same time in the same place. So that was an whole, that's all gone. Now. It was knocked down to put up the convention center. I'm not even sure they have a strip club anymore. And the rules are, I mean, Canada, it's different too. You can have alcohol and nudity. It doesn't matter. Um, nobody's going to get out of control because of that. I don't, I don't even know what the basis of that rule is. Um, so I just, I did this study for several years in the mean in the middle of it all. Uh, my partner died and that sort of derailed me for a while. And then I got back into, you know, working with the material that I had and produce a few articles, and had hoped to do a longer work. And so when I, and I will get back to it and do that. Um, so, but that's, that's basically the story.

Brad Shreve:

It's interesting to me that you focused on DC because I went and visited a friend there. And while she was at work during the day, I went and toured all the monuments almost every day, but there was one, there was one day that I did go to it's my very first. gay strip club I had ever been to.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Which one was,

Brad Shreve:

I can't remember the name. I

Joseph R G DeMarco:

but it was in this kind of warehouse looking district.

Brad Shreve:

well, I can tell you that there was a, it was an adult store in the front and then in the back there or behind the, behind the storefront, there was the stripper and behind that, the play area.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

The play area. Yes. I think I know the place. You mean.

Brad Shreve:

Okay. It was a, quite an experience for this young lad and you interviewed her many strippers. The number you gave me was huge

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Around around 200. Yeah. I mean, they weren't all in depths. There were quite a number in depths, but others were just conversations where I took notes. I didn't get to tape all of them. but you get a piece of information from everybody. Every interview is a little bit different. Every interview gave you a little bit. Different look at things, but there was also a lot of similarities in them. So it amounted to around that number or maybe a little more, I don't know, I didn't keep it exact tally of the number of people, but I have all of my, my closet is bursting with notes.

Brad Shreve:

well, I'm guessing in your research, it's not hard to get people to talk to. People love to talk about themselves,

Joseph R G DeMarco:

They do. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, some are a little suspicious, you know, um, they wonder what you're doing, but, on the whole, yeah, they, they were happy to talk about them about their themselves and their work and why they got into it. And a number of them were actually straight, just doing, I mean, they're all just doing it for the money. It's not, they, you know, I mean they, a number of them enjoy doing it, you know, as. The type of work they were doing, but the money is the big, the big thing.

Brad Shreve:

I would guess. And you can tell me, is there a good number that are putting themselves through college that way?

Joseph R G DeMarco:

A number of them are doing that or just paying other bills, you know? Um, there were a couple of them, one at least was a PhD student, uh, who was doing it. so yeah, they, they. Have a variety of reasons, but I think you can, it's also, you can make a lot of money. Um, those, those g-string filled with dollar bills, mounts up to a lot of money

Brad Shreve:

It may not be much material but you can get a lot of money stuffed in

Joseph R G DeMarco:

You can get a lot of money. Yes. And it's not always just $1 bills either. So

Brad Shreve:

Yeah. A girl I went to high school with, went to college in Atlanta and went to work at. uh, one of the real popular strip clubs there, which amazed me because it didn't seem to fit her personality, but she paid her way through college with no problem whatsoever.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Yeah, no, it's, uh, I mean, it's it's work,

Brad Shreve:

well, yeah, I would think so. Out of all your research, not necessarily just the stripper research, but all that you've done. What have you found the most interesting that stands out?

Joseph R G DeMarco:

of the things that I've researched? Okay. So we won't, we won't count the strippers because to me they're very interesting,

Brad Shreve:

Yeah. And we covered them.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Yes, but other than that history, I think, and art and art history, all of that is mixed up in my mind. I like, I really enjoy doing that. Um, reading about different historical periods. And I also like to read alternative history because its kind of, if you know, The period that he wrote an alternate history about, it becomes a lot of fun to read that. So, but yeah, I think history, art, those are my favorite things to do research in.

Brad Shreve:

Alternate history interests me. What do you know? What drives you towards that?

Joseph R G DeMarco:

I guess maybe we all have a desire. To know, what would it be like if things were different, if things had happened differently, you know, what if Trotsky had been killed in a train wreck, would he have not Trotsky Lenin, would that whole Russian thing turned out differently or? I don't know. so I think it's just the desire to know what else might of happened.

Brad Shreve:

I don't remember it was a book or a movie and you may be familiar with it. It was a time travel story where a guy kept going back to stop the assassination of Kennedy. And every time he would change things and go back into his own time. things were worse.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Worse. Yeah. You don't know what the consequences will be. That's the whole, that's the whole thing. And that's, what's. brilliant about some of the people who write it, if they really do a good job. And one of the ones who does a pretty good job is Harry Turtledove um, I think that's how I pronounce his name. if they know their history, then they'll know what the consequences might be, or they can at least make a good case, for that. So that's fascinating, but, but I just like history in general.

Brad Shreve:

Do you like Michener novels where fiction and history are intertwined?

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Yes. Yeah. I like that. it's a lot of fun. hopefully one day I'll do one standalone maybe on that and in that way, but it's, that takes even more research because people, our readers are pretty good at spotting. What's good. And what's not right.

Brad Shreve:

Yeah, really gotta do your research to know what you're talking about. What have you found that was the most difficult thing to research?.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Um, I don't know. I think every time I do research. For any of the novels, there's always something that I come up against a brick wall. It's some little thing that I can't find an answer to, but I don't, I can't nothing stands out in my memory of being the most difficult, Yeah. Actually it was all easy to find a whole lot of stuff like in the Murder on Comac has to do with, um, the death of John Paul, the first. Uh, the Pope in the 1970s who died after only a little more than a month. and there's always been conspiracy theories spinning about that. finding out about that and some of the history behind these things was easier than I thought it would be. Of course, you never know who's telling the truth and who's not, but it was still easy to gather tons of information. and work with it. So it was fun. It's an after a few years later, my mother passed away and, I got several boxes of stuff from her house, you know, my sister doled out all of this stuff and I found in one of those boxes, a huge. Pile of clippings that I guess I had made at the time, about the death of that Pope. So it was something that I guess, stuck in my memory all those years.

Brad Shreve:

well, when you said the next Marco Fontana novel. It's going to be in Florida. It jumped out at me because I noticed in his novels and then your vampire novels. And I don't know about the others. They all take place in Philadelphia. Your hometown. You are very passionate about your city.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Well, yeah, I guess, and I guess that's, uh, I have a love, hate relationship with the city. It's got its good points, but it has lot more bad points than it should have. And it's a failure of leadership. You know, we had a couple of good mayors who did wonderful things and we'd had a spade of bad mayors who. don't know what to do with themselves and or the city. And, um, but I do, it's the only world heritage city in North America, which we were awarded a couple of years ago and rightfully so. I mean, there's a lot of really good stuff here, but, um, it needs to be, treated better and, and. There needs to be more creative thinking about things that go on in the city right now, we're just coming out of this pandemic lockdown and things are coming back to life, which is nice to see, but it was kind of, it was really disheartening, especially in the first month to walk around and see that it was kind of like a, an apocalyptic scene, you know, it was, and I'm sure many big cities are the same way.

Brad Shreve:

Yeah. You mentioned the love hate relationship with, Philadelphia. I live in Los Angeles. And I absolutely love living here and I can't wait to move away.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

I feel the same way about Philadelphia. Yeah.

Brad Shreve:

Yeah, no, it's definitely is fun for now, but not where I'm going to call home forever. Well, I actually bring that up with all your travels that you've done. If you did win the lottery, where would you go? You've done a lot of traveling around the world.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

If I won enough of the lottery, if I want a big enough sum, I'd probably go to Europe, say didn't win that much. I'd go to Fort Lauderdale. I'd move. I love that city. It's I go, I go there just about every year and although, which was the 2020 exception,

Brad Shreve:

My daughter, went to college in England and. Is now gaining her graduate degree in Germany. She's traveled extensively throughout Europe and she pretty much let it be known that she's not coming back.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Good for her.

Brad Shreve:

She doesn't know where she's going to settle, but it's not going to be here in the States.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Yeah. I mean, Italy would be wonderful. Vienna would be. A big choice. Um, it's consistently voted the most livable city in the world every year. so I don't know, but that's one direction I would go. I've been to China. That's wonderful. But at the moment, I'm not sure I so live there, but, uh, but it's, uh, it's uh, but it's a beautiful place. So it's, uh, I was totally fascinated.

Brad Shreve:

going back to Philadelphia, you live in a neighborhood called The Gayborhood. Which most of these largest cities had have, or had a gay area such as the Castro in San Francisco. Does it still, do you still have an active gay community?

Joseph R G DeMarco:

We have an active gay community, but The Gayborhood has kind of. shrunken now it tried to sort of expand and I'm not going to say it's the pandemic's fault. Although a couple of places did falter one, the only lesbian bar we had closed, I thought I was hoping they'd survive, but they didn't. I'm hoping another one will open up because there is no other one. There's, it's really a shame. Um, I can't, I'm trying to think. I think that's the only gay bar that closed after due to this, but, uh, it's still, there's a lot of new building going on. I don't know where the people are coming from, who are gonna live here, but they're building more condos and apartments than you would imagine. You'd need. There are a lot of people who live here and work in New York. And so that's one of, one of the groups that's, you know, So filling out the city, but, that's kind of cutting into some corporation, just bought and knocked down a building, which had. a gym, which was hugely popular with the gay community that's gone. Um, so I don't know. I think it's gonna take awhile. There's an initiative amongst some people to start pouring some money into The Gayborhood and getting some more new places to open up. So we'll see what happens, but it's always ebbed and flowed. There's The Gayborhood has moved from one part of the city to this part where it is now. It used to be not far from here, but it was a totally different set of bars and, uh, and things. So I always have hope that these things will change. I'm not, I'm, I'm a cynical person, but I'm not a pessimist. Um, I don't know if that makes sense, but that's what I'm like.

Brad Shreve:

well, we've lost a lot of gay bars over the past year in Los Angeles. And one of them was a dance club. That was my husband and I. It was our favorite dance club, and it's really sad to see that happening. and the reason I asked if it was an active community in San Francisco, the Castro and West Hollywood here in LA, still large gay communities, but there's been so much gentrification that it's, it's going away. Are you seeing the same thing in Philadelphia?

Joseph R G DeMarco:

thing here. Yes. Yeah. I mean, gay people live all throughout the city now and not concentrated in one area, but, and we didn't have as many bars. I mean, we're a big city. We used to be the third largest city in the country. Now I think we're number six, which is still pretty big, but we don't have, we don't have the number of bars you would think a city this size should have. so that's always been a sore point with me, but, you know, not a bar owner type, so I'm not going to go out and start a, a business. But I just think the community here deserves more. In the way of places to meet. And I think there's a lot of things that mitigate against that and the internet, uh, you know, the younger generations not thinking it's necessarily needed. They'll discover that it is at some point. but, yeah, I that's happened to the whole gentrification thing. That's what happens with the, uh, the gym. I just said, uh, they've been knocked down. They're going to be building all kinds of apartments there. And I can only hope that a lot of gay people will move into it. I don't know,

Brad Shreve:

Yeah, The Faultline, which has been an icon in, LA, is being torn down for a. marijuana distributor and a holistic health store. So quite a change though. I do remember before back when it was illegal, there was still a lot of pot smoking going on there. Now it's legal. I owe you an apology. I promised you an article for Mysterical-E a long time ago, and I haven't, I haven't fulfilled that. You are the editor in chief for the Mysterical-E What is the Mysterical-E?

Joseph R G DeMarco:

It's, uh, it's an online mystery magazine. It's actually been going since the 1990s, which is quite a long time for these things. and it started out, um, I don't know exactly how it started out. I just know the people who were involved and what they did was kind of a rolling. See they'd every once in a while come out, I don't want to call it a new issue, but with a new set of stories, appended to the old set of stories that they had. Um, so it was a huge long list of stories, but there was no sort of schedule. And with the pandemic there hasn't been as much of a schedule as there should have been, but now we do it quarterly and we do mystery stories. of all sorts. I have some features about writing and other spotlighting, different mysteries and things like that. And, um, we do excerpts from novels. We do all kinds of stuff like that. So we've been around a long time. I got involved in The first issue I put out was 2005

Brad Shreve:

So that was back in its early stages.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Yeah, that was, yeah, it was after whoever owned it before they were giving it up at some point, and I thought, this is great. I'll rescue it and we'll do it. And so my very best friend is a wiz with computer stuff and he redesigned the whole thing and it's, it looks beautiful now.

Brad Shreve:

I agree. It does. But one thing, one thing I've found really interesting. Is that online magazine has been around, as you said for over 20 years, I didn't see any ads.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Nope. Nope. We don't do any ads. I just it's all out of my pocket. It's really just paying for it. We don't pay people to publish anything. and I just pay for the, uh, you know, upkeep fees, the, the host web hosting service, stuff like that. which doesn't amount to a whole lot. But it's, to me, it's a, it's an important,, I've had writers, who've been noticed by agents in this thing. One who's become I see his name on Facebook all the time, advertising advertisements or his books. So, um, we've had, we've been noted in the best mysteries of whatever year. Um, so you know, people look at it And I liked being able to give people a chance to sometimes get their first publication or whatever. Um, so that's fun. I, you know, but it's also, it lives and dies by my schedule. If I can't get an issue out on time, it'll get out. But when I can do it,

Brad Shreve:

And I know, I don't believe it's just strictly for LGBTQ

Joseph R G DeMarco:

No, it's for it's mystery in general. I'd like to have more gay content, but you know, it's, it's, I've asked people, I've put out notices. I may do it again, but I don't know where to, advertise for this, but, uh, yeah, I'd like to have more LGBTQ content, but, It's just dependent upon who sends us material.

Brad Shreve:

we have reached the time. For awkward questions, authors get. Which you knew was coming since you're a regular listener. Having surveyed dozens of authors, I'm going to spin the wheel and we're going to see what question you get. Are you ready? Okay, this is actually probably pretty good question. I think how much, or how little is your main character? Like you.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Ah, well, that's funny because that's a question that a couple of people have asked in an accusatory way. Your main character is really you isn't he? Well, no, not really. I mean, yes, we're both Italian and we both live in Philadelphia, but he has a much more exciting life than I do. And, I guess. I don't know, he's like me in a lot of ways, but he's not like me in a lot of ways too. And he would, he would do things that I probably wouldn't do, uh, or I would be, you know, a little bit taken aback at doing. but yeah, I mean, his Italian background comes from me, But I don't think of him as me when I'm writing. I think he's his own person. Um, and I'm sure he doesn't think of him as me either.

Brad Shreve:

I would guess it's almost impossible to write and not have a bit of yourself in your characters. I could be wrong.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

I think, I think it's, there's a bit of yourself in almost every character that you write. I don't, um, What that might be. I don't know, but I think a lot of it is unconscious. So you can't really, um, think about, Oh, I'm doing this because I would do this. No, the heat, they all become characters in their own. Right. And so they do what they want to do. Uh, and that's good. It doesn't, bother me. I want that to happen. And it, it makes for more interesting, you know, except when I. have him beaten up or tossed out onto a highway, uh, or shot at, or even shot, but those are things he's not happy about, but makes for a good story.

Brad Shreve:

Well, it's funny. That question is the one that came up. I was on another podcast being interviewed last week or one or two weeks ago. And I was asked that question. Is your main character, you and I give basically there's a lot of me in him. but it's not entirely me. The cynical side is me. And what I like to say is he gets the spew, his cynicism, where I can't otherwise nobody would want to be around me.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Right. Well, I know Marco gets his wandering eye from me. That's for sure. But he actually, he gets to actualize it more than I do. but yeah, there's a little of me in him, but there's a lot of him in himself.

Brad Shreve:

It's amazing. how fast 45 minutes goes. guys.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Yes, I'm shocked. I just, it feels like I just sat down here too.

Brad Shreve:

Yeah. a reminder to our listeners. My guest is Joseph RG. DiMarco and you write the Marco Fontana. Mysteries and more, and your most recent novels is the mystery of The Vermilion Pursuit and also A Battle in Blood, which is your Vampire Inquisitor Series. thank you very much for being on the show.

Joseph R G DeMarco:

Thank you for having me. Thank you. It was a good experience.