To the End of the Earth by Michael Gouda – Guest Blog

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Michael Gouda who is celebrating the recent release of his newest work To the End of the Earth.


Hi, I’m Michael Gouda and I was born in London, England, at the start of WW2.

In my mid thirties after a disgracefully enjoyable time in the gay pubs and clubs of London I decided to take life more seriously, went to University, obtained a respectable degree and took up teaching in the Worcestershire town of Evesham.

I took early retirement to a limestone cottage in the Cotswold hills where I lived with a series of neurotic collie dogs, a domineering cat and a determination to write. Since then I have written over one hundred and fifty short stories and published longer works with Dreamspinner Press and M.L.R. Press.

I like to introduce incidents from my own deplorable past into my stories of crime and misadventure. Being a romantic at heart though I never allow a tragic ending, however downbeat may be the indications in between.

Sometimes I include my agnosticism in my characters, who can’t believe in a loving god when there’s so much hatred and evil in the world and the innocent suffer. Nor can I really understand how a so-called monotheistic deity has three gods and certainly cannot comprehend life after death. However my atheist characters are able to disregard all this and remain loving and human beings (or the opposite – such is the power of the author).

I think my favorite story at the moment is one which, like many others, started from a true occurrence. It tells of the meeting in hospital between an able-bodied guy and another with cerebral palsy and of their deepening relationship. It was a difficult subject and needed to be treated in a sensitive manner. This I thought I had achieved though obviously DSP didn’t for they immediately rejected it. However MLR Press didn’t and ‘All my Fault’ has since been published.

For the past three years I have been immobilized in a Home, unable to stand or, of course, walk and having to be moved via a hospital hoist. Luckily I have retained at least most of my marbles, so I can type away at my tablet whenever I get a reasonably inventive idea.

I think I write to entertain as I certainly hope to do I ‘To the Ends of the Earth’ though occasionally I must admit secretly I think I also write some stories to inform, though hopefully not in a didactic, or worse in a patronizing way.

My next story is already on the stocks. It involves the complications of Mistaken Identities. I love the occasional unhappy ending. Unfortunately publishers don’t! So, however bleak things get it must always turn right in the end. Apparently, unlike real life when it comes to the crunch there’s always ‘Amor Vincit Omnia!’ – an easy cop-out – though it does leave a satisfying after-taste!

I hope you find ‘To the Ends of the Earth’ interesting and rewarding reading.

The narrator, Johnny, seems to have been born to succeed. He is a journalist, has friends, a loving family, an excellent education and a marvelous lover, Lex. But all starts to go wrong when a minor difference causes a rift between the two. Is it coincidence that the same night, the flat they share is set alight and Johnny only narrowly escapes. As he has identified a terrorist, he is given protection and a new identity by the police. But even here he is not safe and an explosion kills his two minders. Terrified, Johnny tries to hide himself in London. Who can he trust? He eventually finds out in a terrifying climax. ‘I’ll follow you to the Ends of the Earth’. Is that a threat or a loving promise?

Enjoy an Excerpt

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Mine said, ‘I’m proud and I’m gay’, and his said, ‘I’m gay too’.

He made a minor objection. “I’m proud as well.”

“Course you are but it’s a sort of joke when we walk together.”

He said, “I don’t see the joke,” but I don’t think he minded.

We all congregated at the front entrance of the Main Building, and I dished out the placards and banners we’d made. I was pleased to see that lots of people had come along from the town, and they’d brought their own things to wave.
There were a few boos from some homophobic louts but they were quickly covered by our chanting, “I’m proud to be out” which was good as it covered the L’s, the B’s, the T’s and the Q’s as well as us G’s all under one chant. Then the watching crowd cheered and some slipped past the few police who were shielding us from possible antagonism and joined in. But really there was no need for protection and soon the police themselves, both male and female, joined the march, a couple even holding the edges of the banners.

There was a band organized by Sarah I think because I certainly wouldn’t have thought of it. They played tunes from the shows, both old and new, and people sang and had a fucking good time.

I marched with Jacob of course, on one side while the willowy youth, whose name was Christian, skipped along on the other. Occasionally he put his hand in my trouser pocket which, I think, slightly embarrassed Jacob but not enough to upset him.

A lot of guys really dressed down for the occasion, some wearing little more than a ‘wisp of cloth about their loins’. They were roundly cheered and really played up to the crowds making fairly obscene movements simulating coitus, or their idea of it – but all in the best possible taste!

We ended gloriously in Castle Park where we danced and sang and sang and danced until we could do it no more and, drooping, we returned home. Jacob caught the last train back and Christian and I (fuck buddies) made our final celebration of the day.

About the Author: Michael Gouda was born and raised in London, England. He served as a National Serviceman in the R.A.F. where, he claims, he lost his virginity. Then he went back to the commercial life. After a change of direction in his thirties, he left the world of commerce and entered that of education becoming a teacher at a Comprehensive School in Worcestershire, England. Since retiring he lives in a limestone cottage in the Cotswolds with a neurotic Border collie. He has written short stories included in anthologies and crime novels.

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