Purchase Links

Universal eBook LinkAmazon (paperback)


The Secret of the Golden Cup

by Rebecca Buchanan

The toothpaste exploded.

Grover Benson stared down at the mess. It did not bode well for a day he had been anticipating for four months.

The end of the spring semester. All he had to do was stop in, pick up his students’ term papers, spend a few hours in his office grading them (and trying not to tear out his hair), and then he could disappear into the archives and lose himself in research for the summer. Maybe he would come out to eat. Or not.

An authentic Minoan Linear B cup. Perfectly intact, the thin gold showing only a few dents here and there. According to the faded tag resting inside the bowl, Hilda Dunbar had dug it up on Crete around the turn of the century and then given it to Gustavus Swan in 1946. How the cup had come to be boarded up in a basement closet instead of being properly logged, deciphered, and displayed at Laurel University’s campus museum was something Grover did not understand. Neither did the museum staff, leaving Mrs. O’Neil in a huff, scrambling to make sure nothing else had been missed.

So he woke up excited, barely taking the time to shower. Then the toothpaste exploded all over his shirt and tie, forcing him to waste time cleaning up and changing his clothes. He was almost to the interstate when he realized that he had left his Minoan syllabary at home and had to turn around. Then he got stuck behind a line of oversized tourist buses and missed his exist.

And so it went.

By the time he reached the lecture hall, he was disheveled, sweating, thirty minutes late, and as close to swearing as he had ever been in his entire life.

He did not look up to see if seat H-12 was occupied.

Never mind that the man had been a fixture in Grover’s dreams all semester—he did have some dignity, after all.

Michelle, bless her, had already begun collecting the term papers and was giving his students instructions on how to retrieve them, and where and how to dispute their grade if they felt so inclined. A few students had done so over the years; usually, by the time Grover was done explaining his reasons for that solid D, they were either nodding along and vowing to do better, or weeping and vowing to switch majors.

Michelle had been one of the former. She was now his teaching assistant and well on her way to a stellar career in linguistics and archaeology.

Her welcoming smile turned to a frown as she took in his appearance. She quickly turned back to the students who filled the tiered seating, reminding them—again—that plagiarism was an expellable offense.

No one shifted, looking guilty. That was a good sign.

She handed him the stack of papers. “Anything you would care to add, Dr. Benson?”

He pulled on his glasses and casually flipped through them, pacing around his lectern and closer to the first row of seats. “Hhmm. Only ten papers this semester on sex in the ancient world. That’s an improvement. Usually there are at least twenty.”

Nervous laughter.

The Mis/use of Classical Mythology in Contemporary Paranormal Romance. A change of pace. The Influence of Victorian-Era Archaeology on Early Hollywood. Good. An Alternative Reading of Book Six of The Odyssey Using Feminist Hermeneutics. Excellent. And—” He stopped, squinting, then peered over his glasses at H-12. He could feel a flush spreading up his neck and did his best to stop it. “Homoeroticism in Late Bronze Age Cretan Art.” He cleared his throat. “Well, I guess that’s eleven papers on sex.”

More laughter, less nervous this time.

He waved his hand toward the doors. “Go. Be free. Enjoy your summer. And those of you who survive the culling, I look forward to seeing you in my 201 class on Bronze Age linguistics and mythology. Run while you can.”

Groans and laughter, which quickly changed to general conversation as the students picked up their bags, pulled out their phones, and began pushing their way toward the exits.

He tried to ignore the fact that H-12 hadn’t moved from his seat.


To celebrate the release of the paranormal gay ménage anthology Myths, Moons & Mayhem,  Dale Cameron Lowry is giving away a bunch of paranormal and ménage ebooks for your reading pleasure. Prizes include:

  • Chance & Possibility: Seven Fantastical Tales of Gay Desire, an eclectic selection of Dale’s previously published paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi stories. Chance & Possibility isn’t available to buy anywhere.
  • Pacific Rimming, a contemporary novelette about a middle-aged gay married couple who fall in love with a younger man while vacationing on Canada’s Vancouver Island
  • Love Unmasked, the story of a gay man who’s unlucky in love because, once in a blue moon, he turns into a raccoon.

Enter to win here. (https://dalecameronlowry.com/mmm-giveaway/)


What inspired you to write your latest story?

I’m going to answer this in a roundabout way.

One of the benefits of my non-fiction career is that it’s enabled me to travel to lots of places I wouldn’t have otherwise had a chance to visit. One of those places is Madagascar, a country I’d wanted to go to ever since I’d read about it in Ranger Rick magazine when I was seven or eight years old.

Madagascar is about 200 miles off the eastern coast of Africa, but it is a world apart. Its language, Malagasy, isn’t related to any African languages but rather to Pacific languages like Indonesian, Hawaiian, and Māori, and its culture has a mix of Asian, African, and Arab influences.

Oh, yeah. Madagascar also has lemurs.

We don’t hear a lot about Madagascar in the US unless it’s about a Dreamworks movie. Even the current outbreak of bubonic plague in Madagascar’s capital* has barely made headlines thanks to us always getting distracted by some crazy guy in the White House who’s unable to control himself on his unsecured Twitter account.

I wanted to share a little of the country I had come to know and love, including both cultural and natural aspects. So I decided to base my story for Myths, Moons, and Mayhem around a paleontological expedition in western Madagascar, in an area I modeled on Anjohibe Cave, part of a limestone karst where scientists have dug up the bones of many now-extinct animals, including gorilla-sized lemurs and pygmy hippopotami. In a bout of hypercreativity, I called the story, “The Cave.”

While a short erotic story doesn’t allow for a deep dive into any of these subjects, it did give me a chance to include snapshots from my time in Madagascar, including people I’d met, words I’d learned, food I’d tasted, trees I’d leaned against, and—you guessed it!—lemurs.

* The name of the capital, Antananarivo, is roughly pronounced ahn-TAN-ah-nah-REEV, but most people—and by people, I mean Malagasy—just call it Tana because it’s easier to say.

AM Says: This makes me want to visit Madagascar, and I’m hardly much of a traveler!

 What is the hardest part of publishing?

So much needs to be done that pulls me away from actually writing and revising stories. That’s the hardest part of publishing: having to focus on those things when I want to be writing.

AM says: I feel that. And it seems never-ending.

Tell us a little about any upcoming projects.

I’m working on a longer novella based in Madagascar, but without any paranormal touches. And since you and I both have an interest in the intersection of queer identity and spirituality, I should mention that I have a gay Mormon novella sitting in my drafts folder. I should probably get around to revising and publishing at some point. I’ve been procrastinating because it doesn’t say all I want to say on the subject, but I guess that’s what series and thematically interconnected oeuvres are for, right? I’ve already published several short stories about gay Mormons, so it’s not like I can’t write multiple novels about them, too.

AM says: In the course of reviewing, I’ve read two novels about gay Mormons (which were similar in oddly specific ways, and yet very different stories) and a couple of short stories. Makes me wonder how much more is out there and how we can make it more accessible to people who might need to read it.

Okay, time for some sprints. Coffee or tea?

Coffee; tea gives me heartburn.

Reusable or disposable grocery bags?


Musical theater or rock concert?

Musical theater, hands down; rock concerts are so loud I can’t understand the lyrics.

About the Editor

Dale Cameron Lowry’s number one goal in life is getting the cat to stop eating dish towels; number two is to write things that bring people joy. Dale is the author of Falling Hard: Stories of Men in Love and a contributor to more than a dozen anthologies. Find out more at dalecameronlowry.com.

Social Media

WebsiteFacebook (author page)Twitter | GoodreadsTumblr | Newsletter