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    May C S R Discussion Day: Unison Island by Caz Pedroso

    By Cia

    Okay, you've had two months to read Caz Pedroso's Unison Island series. Did you like it? Maybe leave a few comments? Well here's your chance to share your thoughts and talk about your favorite parts of the stories. First, enjoy this interview I did with Caz!   What’s the hardest thing for you, as an author, and what do you love best about writing? The hardest thing is finding time. Trying to balance my volunteer work, my family, my housework, and my writing. Then, of course, I would like to find some time for myself in there somewhere 😊   What brought you to GA and made you decide to post stories here? You did, Cia. I read one of your stories on kindle (by recommendation after I finished another story) and then found the Wednesday Briefs group through your blog and decided to join in. That led me here. (Very cool, I actually didn't know that was the path!!)     Unison Island is set in an ‘exotic’ locale, but is there a real place would you love to visit to research for a story? Maybe Discworld by Terry Pratchett. It's the first one to come to mind. That world is so fantastic, I could spend years exploring it.   If you have thirty minutes of spare time, and you’re not writing, what do you like to do? Housework!!!! Not really LOL, I read. I always have a lot of books/stories on my To Be Read list.   Okay, I have to ask this one… just how could the witches make just their island rotate different from the rest of the planet to get a constant equinox? A good friend said to me once, when I was moaning about something I wanted to write not being possible, ‘Anything, is possible if you make it magic’. I try to keep things at least slightly realistic, but I do like to use the magic angle to create the world I want. Including controlling the weather, think of it like a dome or force-field being over the island and inside the dome is weather controlled.   Out of the creatures you created (witches, vampires, weres, etc…) for Unison island, which is your favorite? I really don’t have a favorite. I created each race as I wanted them. Taking the bits of myth and legend I wanted and making up the rest. So, they’re all my favorites.   How did you plan out the series? Did you figure out all the information you share in Welcome to Unison Island before you started, or did that evolve as you wrote and you shared it with readers later? Book one was written as I went. And book two was written, finished and published, before book was one finished. The rest of the stories were planned out a bit better. But, the information I needed readers to know couldn’t really be incorporated so late in the series. So, that led to me writing the introduction so things would make a bit more sense.   With witches and other creatures, how did you decide which holidays and other ‘special days’ of the year based on their alternate history? I didn’t. I just write different pieces when I have time, and if that time coincides with a holiday – Christmas, Easter, etc. Then that gets added in as well.   Do you have a favorite character in the series? I love Jamie from book one. He loves to play pranks, but still takes his job very seriously. He’s also loyal and fiercely protective of his friends and family.   Would you ever go back to the series, maybe write flash pieces for secondary characters readers really liked? There may be a few things on my To Be Written list…but, I’m not saying 😉  I am also trying to re-edit when I have time, but something always seems to come up.
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  1. wildone
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    By wildone,

    Well good day everyone :) With Renee still off enjoying some holidays in the mountains, being the Crazy Mountain Lady that she is, and Cia deserving at least one day of rest, I have been threatened volunteered to do the Wrap Up this week :P . Lots happened this week on the blog so lets summarize it all up. Another way to get the news is to sign up and have it delivered straight to your inbox with Gay Author's weekly newsletter which goes out every Sunday.

    :ph34r: psst, I'm reading Unforgivable and really loving it!!!

     

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  2. Cia
    Latest Entry

    By Cia,

    Let's keep the prompt love going with some new inspiration this week from prompt guru, Comicfan, and have fun with these two options! What could a pink umbrella and a classic car have in common? Or are you more inclined to roam the wilds of space in a desperate expedition? Read on, figure it out, and share your story with readers!

     

     


     

    Prompt 580 – Creative

    Tag – List of Words

    Use the following words in a story – swimsuit, pink umbrella, a gumball, a classic car, and a cell phone.

     

    Prompt 581 – Creative

    Tag – The Ship

    You have been chosen to take part in a very exclusive expedition into space. Years of ignoring the climate change and massive over population has brought the earth to the brink of collapse and the world is sending some of its best and brightest into space in hopes of finding a new home. The ship trained for the trip. The trip is expected to take a minimum of forty years. Who do you take as your mate and what is the training like?

     


     

    Let's see... today's prompt features responses to Prompt #579 "How can you be so sure?"

     

    “How can you be so sure?” Rob’s blue eyes were unusually earnest.



    “About what?” Eric wriggled to get a bit more comfortable on his bed, next to where his brother lay in his customary sprawl.

    “How can you be so sure Nelson is the one you want?”

    “Rather than a girl, you mean?” Eric scowled. He couldn’t believe Rob suddenly asked him this after almost tricking him into coming out.

    “No!” The swiftness with which Rob reached out and punched his thigh took Eric by surprise. “Don’t be an idiot, bro. I know you like what feels right, natural, or whatever.”

    “Sorry,” Eric mumbled as he rubbed the sore spot on his leg. He should have known better than to doubt Rob. After all, his brother was his greatest supporter and seemed almost proud of the fact Eric was dating Nelson.

    “How can you be so sure Nelson is the one?”

    Want to know how Eric answers that question? Read more here!

  3. Okay, you've had two months to read Caz Pedroso's Unison Island series. Did you like it? Maybe leave a few comments? Well here's your chance to share your thoughts and talk about your favorite parts of the stories. First, enjoy this interview I did with Caz!

     

    Whats the hardest thing for you, as an author, and what do you love best about writing?

    The hardest thing is finding time. Trying to balance my volunteer work, my family, my housework, and my writing. Then, of course, I would like to find some time for myself in there somewhere 😊

     

    What brought you to GA and made you decide to post stories here?

    You did, Cia. I read one of your stories on kindle (by recommendation after I finished another story) and then found the Wednesday Briefs group through your blog and decided to join in. That led me here. (Very cool, I actually didn't know that was the path!!)  

     

    Unison Island is set in an exotic locale, but is there a real place would you love to visit to research for a story?

    Maybe Discworld by Terry Pratchett. It's the first one to come to mind. That world is so fantastic, I could spend years exploring it.

     

    If you have thirty minutes of spare time, and youre not writing, what do you like to do?

    Housework!!!! Not really LOL, I read. I always have a lot of books/stories on my To Be Read list.

     

    Okay, I have to ask this one just how could the witches make just their island rotate different from the rest of the planet to get a constant equinox?

    A good friend said to me once, when I was moaning about something I wanted to write not being possible, Anything, is possible if you make it magic. I try to keep things at least slightly realistic, but I do like to use the magic angle to create the world I want. Including controlling the weather, think of it like a dome or force-field being over the island and inside the dome is weather controlled.

     

    Out of the creatures you created (witches, vampires, weres, etc) for Unison island, which is your favorite?

    I really dont have a favorite. I created each race as I wanted them. Taking the bits of myth and legend I wanted and making up the rest. So, theyre all my favorites.

     

    How did you plan out the series? Did you figure out all the information you share in Welcome to Unison Island before you started, or did that evolve as you wrote and you shared it with readers later?

    Book one was written as I went. And book two was written, finished and published, before book was one finished. The rest of the stories were planned out a bit better. But, the information I needed readers to know couldnt really be incorporated so late in the series. So, that led to me writing the introduction so things would make a bit more sense.

     

    With witches and other creatures, how did you decide which holidays and other special days of the year based on their alternate history?

    I didnt. I just write different pieces when I have time, and if that time coincides with a holiday Christmas, Easter, etc. Then that gets added in as well.

     

    Do you have a favorite character in the series?

    I love Jamie from book one. He loves to play pranks, but still takes his job very seriously. Hes also loyal and fiercely protective of his friends and family.

     

    Would you ever go back to the series, maybe write flash pieces for secondary characters readers really liked?

    There may be a few things on my To Be Written listbut, Im not saying 😉  I am also trying to re-edit when I have time, but something always seems to come up.

  4. So here’s what’s new.

     

    I’ve got a dog. A golden doodle or is it a labradoodle, I’m not sure, but my sister told me that it was big and hard and she must have known that I wouldn’t turn that down.

     

    I wasn’t looking for a pet, but he was looking for a home to destroy and I just happened to have one available. The alternative for this poor creature was the pound but like the fool that I am, I didn’t ask why. My sister; love her, talked me into it but forgot to mention to me that he was very hairy, very young and not yet housetrained. It’s a familiar pattern; most of the males that enter her house are the same way, but when I pointed this out, I knew exactly what to expect and although our little battles have become much tamer over the years, I rarely win.

     

    She has far too much sensitive info on me to ever be vulnerable; it’s enough to put Edward Snowdon in the shade, so I have to be careful about what I say. I’m only joking, of course, I’ve been a good boy and she loves me. She told me so. Once. At the end of a hen night that she doesn’t remember and I definitely shouldn’t have been invited too. Come on, it was a night out, I was bored and there were male strippers, although I didn’t know that or I would’ve worn my glasses.

     

    Whatever, I’m easy going and I look at it as a valuable lesson learned. Never go out on the razzle with your sister or any other member of your immediate family, and if you do, stay the f**k away from tequila and anyone who plays the bongos and goes by the name of Stardust! It’s a dangerous combination, and although admittedly rare, it’s designed specifically to trip-up complete idiots such as yours truly. Luckily, I regained my sense of morality—or survival instinct kicked in—and I was able to give Stardust the slip long before he could show me his proud collection of Vietnam War memorabilia. My sister doesn’t believe me though, and the fact that he still sends me the occasional text adds some credibility to her well-worn jibes. I don’t reply to them, but I know that I will never be able to sit through another re-run of ‘Full Metal Jacket’ without thinking about this dude.

     

    I got sidetracked; this wasn’t the reason why I decided—in one of my all too frequent moments of insanity—to give a home to this crazed animal, who was able to pull off one of the greatest impersonations of all time. For the fifteen minutes that it took to drive him from my sister’s house to mine, he successfully masqueraded as a playful, cute, quiet, adorable little puppy, the type that you see on television adverts. I was ready to find him an agent and rake in the dosh, but those dollar signs quickly disappeared along with the sofa and almost anything else that he could fit his vice-like jaws around.

     

    I’ve always been a sucker for puppy dog eyes and partial to a little playful biting every now and then, but this guy was soon taking lumps out of me the size of golf balls. My sister said it would be therapeutic, good company for me while I recovered from a recent health issue, but my stress level went through the roof and my clean orderly life fell apart. She could have given me an alligator instead; at least I would have been better prepared.

     

    Now, let's make this clear. I would never hurt the little guy or mistreat him in any way. I am way too scared of him to attempt anything that foolish. It’s been a challenge though, and one that I have now begrudgingly accepted if only to prove the family wrong. They think that I’m a drama queen and maybe there is a little truth in that sweeping statement, but walking around my house in the morning can be like strolling through a minefield and taking him out for a walk is traumatic at best.

     

    I’m no stranger to dog collars, but anyone who gets that excited at the prospect of being attached to a leash and paraded around the neighbourhood isn’t exactly stable in my book. I was told by a helpful buddy of mine, who doesn’t really know me that well, that a cute dog is a babe magnet and it’s true, but it depends on which side of the road you choose to walk down. He didn’t get my vague metaphor, but he was right, and now I’m fairly certain that I’m being stalked by the lady a few doors along from me. She has a golden retriever and when my dog takes me for a walk, I always seem to bump into her. They’re both females and overly friendly, and it’s got to the stage where I’m checking to see if the coast is clear before setting foot outside and choosing increasingly odd hours to exercise my hound. So far, it hasn’t worked and she’s managed to collar me more times than not. She’s even caught me hiding behind the recycling, or rather my dog gave me away. He doesn’t exactly help by trying to jump her pouch at every opportunity, even though it happens to be twice his age and three times his size. It’s embarrassing but as flattering as it is, if her owner thinks that I’m going to try to follow his example in any way, then she’s definitely barking up the wrong tree.

     

    Who knows, maybe there’s a nice fit, good-looking, masculine, dog owner in the neighbourhood who’s up for a little playful biting, and doesn’t mind being jumped on, licked and drooled over occasionally, plus whatever the dog does to him.

     

    In the meantime, it’s just me and my dog and despite all my misgivings, moans and the fact that he has single-handedly destroyed my life, he’s become my best friend, and I truly love him to bits. My rapid evolution into a responsible pet owner—the type that I would always ridicule in my younger years—has somewhat surprised my family. I guess that they never saw me in this role, and neither did I. The only thing that they don’t understand is why I called him ‘Stardust’. My overly protective older sister thinks she knows, but she would never tell anyone anyway.

     

    They say that dogs look like their owners or vice versa, but honestly, I can only wish I was that cute! Take a look at the pictures below.

  5. Confucius' philosophy and my views have differences in social organization and morality, but in terms of government organization, and the role of leaders in a nation, I am probably one of his deepest disciples.

     

    I am going to paraphrase a Chinese question and its dialogue:

     

    A question in the Confucian Dialectics is asked among Confucius scholars that is both broad and narrow: How does one "know" what they are doing is right for a nation?

     

    Student 1: "One does not need to know as the Tao/"Way" is best revealed by inaction and the freedom of the people will allow nature to run its course. It is best to be Right and Good through the flow of Tao."

     

    Student 2: "One should "create" what is righteous and good for the people's benefit, inaction will only lead to confusion as none can find harmony, nor Tao/the Way without direction."

     

    Student 3: "One should seek to observe what has already been set as righteous by divine law of Gods and ancestors, we human beings cannot know what is righteous or good, so we must accede to the wisdom from the ancients."

     

    Student 4: "One should seek out the price of rice, vegetable, and meat in the market place. For above all these ideas of the direction of a leader, no nation can exist without its people having enough food to avoid hunger. It does not matter if the path is achieved through direct charity of divine rituals, release of rice from government granaries, or removal of tax on rice as the people will befed. If a leader should achieve a time where even beggars will not want for a meal, then he has done right by his people."

     

    ---------------

     

    Student 1-3 reminds me of Libertarian, Liberal, and Conservative political divide, but Student 4 is someone Americans and I think Western Politicians have rarely seen in existence, a leader with no care of ideology just the results for the good of the society.

     

    Leadership rises above ideology

     

     

  6. Prompt #518:

    Marcus & Phillip - Married Gay couple. Marcus' was adopted, and his adopted family has cancer.

    Dr. Morgan - supporting character

     

    Prompt #576:
    Gavin & Kyle - a Witch, and a DotCom CEO.

     

    Radiated Love: (You'll be able to read this one starting on 6/4/2017)

    Simon & Fred - Surprise! No Spoilers.

     

    Prompt #573 & #579:

    AJ & Tommy - Tommy Fostered at AJ's place for the last 3 years of the Foster Care program. At age 18, he was kicked out of the program but moved in with AJ at his apartment for college. Recently engaged. Tommy Like's Bud Light.

    AJ's Mom - Dawn (was in Both Prompts) & AJ's Dad -  Bruce (579 only) - Ranch owners and Foster Care approved caregivers. Have had several kids come through over the years.

    Tommy's Twin - Unnamed, mentioned in 573 only.

     

     

    Reason behind listing these characters is so I can use them in future prompts. I have minor notes on them, but I need to flesh them out some more for full use. Next story posted is #579, and AJ and Tommy make another appearance.

     

    Update: added some more information on AJ and Tommy, and their Family.

  7. D/s BDSM

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    JayT
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    Here we go ladies and gentlemen....a safe place to discuss BDSM....any comment made to this post can/may contain sensitive material. Thanks you!

  8. lt's taken a bit of time, but I've finally been able to pull all my teeth with a some rusty pliers and get this story going again.

     

    Due to my diminished mental state I do not know when Chapter 19 will be out, but at least there is enough material pending for that chapter.

     

     

  9. For my K

     

    Your pain is like a stone,
    thrown in a lake.
    Concentric rings appear,
    spreading over the surface.

    There are still shadows of hurting.
    Sometimes in the night I lay awake crying.
    You will never know my tears.

    “I don't know if she ever loved me.
    She never told.” You said.

    Words unspoken inflicted more pain
    than anything done to your body.

    I kiss my kids good night, good morning
    whispering “I love you” every day.

    So they get told and know and feel.
    They will be safe loved. This is my oath to you.

    Maybe this one ring reaches safe harbor in the end.

     

     

     

  10. So, it's been just over a week since my last blog post. Thank y'all for talking me through my over-analytical mind fuck of the possible situation. Thank the gods I didn't have to face the bitch-in-law, since my brother was the only one that came from Austin. She evidently fell off a ladder or some bullshit and hurt her back. Oh and all of the kids were sick with a stomach virus, conveniently. That was probably for the best. The first night we were down there, I had to sleep out in my aunt and uncle's travel trailer, with no power (no ac-only open windows). The second night, I said eff that and rented me a cabin out at the KOA. By the time we got down there on Friday afternoon, my brain had stopped over-analyzing how was supposed to feel. I decided that if I felt something I would just go with it, if I still felt nothing, oh well. It didn't mean I loved my grandfather any less. I just accepted the fact he was gone. Everyone cried around me. I could tell my brother's sobs were....I won't say forced, but something wasn't right. He looked like he was crying. His eyes were scrunched up and his face was red. His breathing was spot on like a crier would be breathing. One thing was missing. The tears. He had no tears. It wasn't that he wiped them away. They weren't there. I don't know why I noticed that, but there it is. What does it mean? Nothing. I'm not accusing of faking his sorrow. I believe he was upset. But I think  he knew he was supposed to be upset and filled the role of the mourner. 

    My cousin and I almost got into a fight at the cemetery. Over me joking with my brother. I walked my grandmother to the grave site tent and made sure she was situated in her chair. While I did this, the rest of the family filled the tent. My parents, aunt and uncle, cousins and their wives and kids and step-kids all took a seat. When I went to sit next to my grandmother, the only seat left open, my brother brushed past me and said, "Hey bro, let me sit here." 

    *Backstory* In 1990, my brother had an AVM which is an internal brain injury kinda like an aneurysm, so he has what is known as "left-side neglect". This means he walks with a limp and noticeably has to force his left arm and hand to work "normal". On top of that, a few months ago, an 18-wheeler hit his SmartCar and he now has a herniated disc. *End Backstory*

    So, I didn't mind letting him sit there. I was a little upset when I looked up and saw that there were no more seats. I said to my brother jokingly (which he took it as such since he smiled and laughed a little so did my mom and dad) "Guess I'll be the only family member standing." My cousin overreacted and stood up. You could hear his annoyance and frustration when he told me to "Just sit here then, Jay." I told him I was only joking and didn't mind standing. My dad even stood up to stand with me. I told my cousin to sit back down with his family, I was fine. But he refused. I let it go and didn't say another word to him. I don't even think I told him bye when my dad and I left. 

    Anyways to make a long story short (TOO LATE!!!!) The tears never came. The sadness never came. Like I said before, i wasn't numb, I was almost apathetic. More along the lines of accepted the reality and didn't force sadness. 

    Today, I feel the exact same. Only now I don't have my mind going 90 to nothing telling me I needed to feel something. 

    On a positive note- I had my mom's Mother's Day Flowers delivery address changed to my grandparents. So on Friday afternoon, FedEx delivered 12 blush pink and 12 darker pink roses to my mom. 

  11. Infectious diseases have changed the course of whole civilizations.

     

    There is archaeological evidence suggesting that plagues may have wiped out or caused huge changes in several prehistoric civilizations.(1)

     

    The Antonine Plague (2) of 165–180 AD was a major factor in weakening the Roman Empire to the point that it could be defeated. Most people think it was smallpox but we can’t be sure.

     

    Black Death(3) was the most devastating pandemic in human history killing 75–200 million people in Eurasia. It came in waves starting in the 14th century with periodic recurrences until the 16th century.

     

    European diseases that arrived with explorers and colonists like smallpox and measles decimated Native American populations. European diseases so depopulated Native Americans that they could only be a minor nuisance to European interlopers. Smallpox allowed the Aztec and Incan civilizations with thousands of warriors to be sacked by a few hundred Spanish Conquistadores.(4)

     

    The 1918 Flu Pandemic(5) killed 50–100 million people worldwide and pushed the war weary and flu ravaged combatants of World War I to the peace table in Versailles.

     

    These were just the big outbreaks that changed the courses of whole civilizations. Other diseases were a constant menace like cholera, typhoid, typhus, measles, consumption (tuberculosis and pneumonia) and other treatable diseases today that were fatal without antibiotics and mass immunizations.

     

    Humanity survived for thousands of years without vaccination but, infectious diseases have definitely left their mark.

     

    It is a great fear of doctors and government officals that a virus might mutate or be created by a mad man that no one has any immunity to. With world populations so high, dense and mobile, there would be nothing to stop it from killing billions.

     

    Worse still- over use of antibiotics and disinfectants is creating drug resistant strains of old diseases that are now emerging threats. (6) 

     

    We only THINK that we are done with infectious diseases. They are not done with us. We can only vaccinate against the worst of them and use good public health practices to contain outbreaks when they do occur.

     

    Least we forget: the HIV/AIDS pandemic emerged in the early eighties and has killed millions world wide. Modern medicine and our modern world are not immune to emerging infectious diseases or new strains of the old diseases that have dogged humanity since prehistoric times.

     

    _________________________________________________________

    Footnotes:

     

    1-  DNA Evidence that Plague Started Much Earlier Than Thought  https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/23/science/in-ancient-dna-evidence-of-plague-much-earlier-than-previously-known.html

    2- Antoine Plague https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonine_Plague

    3- Black Death https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Death

    4- Native American Diseases & Epidemics  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_American_disease_and_epidemics

    5- 1918 Flu Pandemic  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1918_flu_pandemic

    6- Dangerous Drug Resistant Infections on the Rise Among Children    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2017/02/25/dangerous-antibiotic-resistant-infections-on-the-rise-for-children-in-the-u-s-study-finds/?utm_term=.15672308e593

     

    Further Reading:

    Garrett, Laura The Coming Plague  

    Quammen, David Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic

     

  12. It's been a long time coming but I am finally writing again.  I have several more chapters complete and having a blast creating this world.  It's like a comfortable old blanket and I wrapped myself tightly with it.  Hope you like it.

     

     

    The sun had long set behind the mountains of the town of Glacier Bay.  The moon bathed the town in a soft light with a backdrop of twinkling stars in the October sky.  The trees gently swayed in the offshore breeze that hinted at the bone chilling weather that was to come but for now, the air was crisp and refreshing.  The leaves had changed giving the streets and parks a colorful facelift that brought in visitors from all around.  The last influx of outsiders bringing their pocketbooks before the long winter brought snow and ice and all the winter games along with it.  Some folks said that winter was gods way of testing the human spirit.  Much like the grass and trees, humans tended to go into a hibernation mode throughout the winter.  Surviving on the nutrients they had gathered in the spring and summer to get them through the harsh starving months of winter.  The world seemed a bit sadder in the winter months, most of the habitants of Glacier Bay walked with their head down, their faces covered by scarves and bundled up in colorful hats, gloves, and bulky winter coats.  In the summer, they would wave and shout out to their neighbors, most times stopping for moment to ask about families and goings on.  But with the onset of winter, one was lucky to get a polite wave as they rushed by seeking indoors over the blistering cold.

    On this particular night, Scott Taylor was staring out at the glacier that gave the town its name.  The glacier, brightly lit by the moon, reflected across the bay giving off the illusion the water was ice, calm and still.  This illusion was ruined every few minutes when a gentle wave would crash into the bottom of the glacier echoing off the mountainside. 

    Scott tucked his long blonde hair behind his ears and looked towards the town he had lived in all his life.  Glacier Bay, nestled at the base of a range of mountains that almost saw snow on the peaks all year round.  The glacier snaked its way down the mountain until it spilled out in the bay that was protected by a natural seawall.  When the town was first settled in the late 1800’s, the townsfolk had carved a deep channel for boats to enter the bay safely in the natural wall.  This was once upon time to protect the fishing vessels that were moored at the docks during the winter months.  Nowadays there was not much commercial fishing anymore.  All the boats moored at the dock were built more for pleasure and unused for most of the year except when their rich owners could get away from the city for a few short weeks and enjoy all the town had to offer.  Many local boys like Scott, made really good money taking care of the boats for their absentee owners throughout the year as well as maintaining the carefully manicured lawns and removing the snow from their vacation homes throughout the year.  It always amazed Scott how much someone was willing to pay to keep a house they would visit once or twice a year.  It seemed like a waste of money that could be better spent in other ways.  But Scott was never one to look a gift horse in the mouth.

    As he peered across the bay, he eyes drifted to the lighthouse.  There was no need for a lighthouse since the 1950’s and it had long been turned into a tourist destination with daily tours during the summer months.  A small gift shop in the base of the lighthouse offered those who had the need to buy souvenirs and keepsakes to remember their trip to Glacier Bay.  It had been closed for weeks now, abandoned until the spring.  Too many things in Glacier Bay seemed to be dormant for his liking. 

    Scott glanced at his watch and wondered again what was keeping his friend.  His eyes drifted back to the high school.  Thirty minute ago the lights had all but been turned off, signaling the end of the play and the participants headed home for the night.  Even if there was traffic leaving the parking lot, his friend should have arrived twenty minutes ago.  He pulled his coat around him tighter, it wasn’t that cold yet.  But sitting still on a bench for almost an hour had caused a chill to sink into his bones. 

    For the hundredth time, he checked his phone to see if there were any texts.  Since he had arrived, his sister had texted him three times about the ending of the play, his mom wanted to know what he was doing Saturday night and if he was free for dinner.  And a few more from random friends, but there was nothing from Jake.  Silent; much like the last week had been.  The old saying was true; you almost never miss what you have until it is no longer there.  And after a week of silence from his closest friend, he found that he missed him terribly. 

    Scott reached into his pocket and pulled out his cigarettes.  It was definitely a habit he was trying to quit but the craving was always worse when he was bored.  He hadn’t so much taken his first drag when he heard footsteps on the gravel walkway below.  Jake must have ridden his bike, otherwise he would have seen the headlights of his car as he drove around the lake.

    Though the moon was bright and the sky was clear, he couldn’t make out the face of the figure as it approached him.  But he would have known that shape anywhere.  He had seen that shape for eighteen years.  He peered intently as the boy walked towards him.  Once he was close enough to see, Scott could see his face was drawn, his eyes intent as he looked at the ground.  His hands were shoved in his pockets and his breath steamed in the night with every exhale.  He had ridden his bike.

    Jacob Rainer, his next door neighbor for most of his life.  The one person that knew every secret, every prank, everything he had ever done in his life.  They were together when Scott got the bright idea to jump off the roof with sheets tied around their necks; they were also together when Scott convinced his friend that crossing the bay in old man Thomas’s row boat was a good idea at 2am in the middle of winter.  From the time they could walk, they had been inseparable.

    The two boys, both eighteen and heading into their final year of school, could not have been more different.  Neither in looks nor in personality.  Jake was average size, short cropped brown hair, and always seemed to ponder each decision carefully before acting.  He was well liked by his peers and received mostly A’ and B’s in all of his classes.  Being the middle child, at home he would disappear as his younger sister seemed to garnish all the attention and his older brother couldn’t keep from arguing with his parents about everything.  Everyone who knew him would testify that out of all the kids, he was going to be the one that made it and made it in a big way. 

    Scott took another drag from his cigarette and waited for his friend to sit down next to him on the bench.  But that did not stop him from looking at his friend with an expectant look on his face.

    Jake moved his hand in front of his face, trying to avoid the cigarette smoke that lingered around Scott’s head like a halo.  “I really wish you’d quit those.”

    Scott shrugged, “Everyone needs a bad habit.”

    Jake settled back into the bench, and stretched his legs out in front of him.  “Nice night.  Won’t be long until winter arrives though.  I can smell the snow in the air.”

    Scott threw the cigarette on the ground and stamped it out with his foot.  “It is almost November.  Hell, Halloween is just around the corner.”

    Jake looked at his friend sideways.  “What are you going as this year?”

    Scott turned his head and looked at his friend, “Are we really doing this?  Small talk, like you haven’t said a word to me in a week, and you want to know what I’m dressing for Halloween.”

    Jake ignored the outburst, something he did often.  “I’m going as a father,” he said quietly.

    Scott’s eyes widened at the declaration.  “Well shit.”

    Jake stared at the ground, not wanting to make eye contact with Scott.  Instead he dug his toe around in the dirt.  “Remember the fall dance at the club back in August.”

    Scott couldn’t help but chuckle as he remembered that night.  That was the night he dumped two bottles of whiskey in the punch, one hour before he puked on Mrs. Turners shoes.  As much trouble as he received for ruining her shoes, it would have been worse if they would have known he was the culprit that spiked the punch.  “What about it?”

    “Christine and I…”

    “Christine?” Scott interrupted.  “Blankenship.”

    “Remember, Becky and I got into that fight.  She was mad at you for spiking the punch,” Jake explained.  “Becky went home with Julie and Christine was pretty drunk, so I offered to give her a ride.”

    “Yeah you did,” Scott said, laughing. 

    Jake stood up, and spat out angrily, “This is why I can’t talk to you sometimes.  Not everything is a joke.”

    Scott stared up at his friend for a moment.  Then he said in a quiet tone, “You’re serious.”

    “I’m gonna be a father Scott.  And I’m scared shitless.” Jake stated before turning around to face the glacier. 

    “Wait a minute,” Scott said, shaking his head.  “You slept with Christine the night of the dance and didn’t tell me?”

    Jake glared at his friend.  “Not everything is about you.  And no, I didn’t.”

    Scott pulled out another cigarette.  “Okay, lets start at the beginning.”

    Jake rubbed his eyes tiredly.  “Christine was hammered that night.  I would never take advantage of someone like that.  But she was all over me, and managed to kiss me before I kicked her out of the car.”

    Jake sat back down next to his friend and grabbed the cigarette and took a long drag before exhaling the smoke upwards.  “That’s how you do it.  Not in your friends face.”

    “Rodger,” Scott said with a grin.  “Continue.”

    “Becky and I were having problems.  She was so worried about what would happen at the end of the year when we go off to college.  It was so frustrating, I mean, why couldn’t we just be happy now, and worry about next year, next year.” Jake stated with a sigh. 

    “A few days later, Christine showed up at work, being all flirty.  Wondering if I wanted to get coffee after I was finished.  It was nice, hanging out with her, just being in the moment, not worried about college, and how many kids we needed to have, where we were going to live, you know.  Just two people enjoying each other.”

    Jake stopped for a moment and eyeing the cigarette before taking it again.  “So we hung out off and on for the next few weeks.  And I swear, nothing happened.  We were just talking.”

    “When did Becky find out?” Scott asked as he lit up another cigarette.  

    Jake took a another drag, looked at the cigarette in his fingers, and threw it on the ground.  He stated with a frown, “You sure seem to smoke a lot nowadays.”

    “What can I say, I’m an addict.”

    “Three weeks ago, Becky saw us at the coffee shop, she went crazy.  She wouldn’t let me explain, she started accusing me of cheating on her with her best friend, calling us all sorts of names.  It was in the middle of the coffee shop.  I’m surprised you didn’t hear about it.”

    Scott shrugged.  “I’ve been busy.”

    “That was the night it happened.  Right over there,” Jake gestured at the end of the walkway.  He grabbed the cigarette again and took a long drag.

    “Look Jake, I don’t mind if you smoke my cigarettes but you have to stop putting them out after one drag, their expensive,” Scott said with a frown.  “Are you sure she’s pregnant?”

    “She was pretty sure after a week because she missed her period.  Three tests later, and I’m gonna be a father,” Jake sighed.  “At eighteen, just like my father.”

    “That’s heavy,” Scott stated with a grimace.

    “And the really messed up thing,” Jake said quietly. “I don’t love her.  I love Becky.”

    “Does she know?”

    Jake shook his head.  “No one knows.  Just Christine, me, and now you.  Not even her parents.”

    “No wonder you’ve been avoiding me all week,” Scott said, his eyes wide in disbelief. 

    Jake stared off into the distance as he said, “I told her.  That I didn’t love her and that I wanted to be with Becky.”

    “How did she take that?”

    “She just starting crying,” Jake said, rubbing his hands through his hair.  “I can’t seem to do anything right lately.”

    “There is one thing you did perfectly,” Scott blurted out. 

    Jake stared at him flatly.  “Don’t be an ass.”

    “I’m just saying maybe you should’ve tried for that ass and you wouldn’t be in this situation.”

    Jake couldn’t help but chuckle.  “I’m not a pervert like you.”

    Scott laughed.  “I’m not a pervert anymore; it’s legal now in almost all fifty states.  We can get married and everything.”

    Jake shoved his friend playfully.  “What you do I wouldn’t call it legal in any state.”

    “They have all been consensual,” Scott said, pausing before adding with a grin, “except that one time but we won’t talk about him.  He deserved what he got anyway.”

    “Gross,” Jake stated dryly.  “I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

    “Is she going to keep it?” Scott asked carefully. 

    “I’m not sure.  I didn’t know how to bring that up.  Fuck, I already told her I don’t want to be with her, I didn’t think asking about abortion was appropriate.” Jake admitted.  “I’m such an asshole aren’t I.”

    “Best thing to do is talk to your dad.” Scott offered. 

    “He’s going to kill me,” Jake said with a frown.  “He always told me not to do what he did.”

    “Look on the bright side,” Scott stated as he stood up.  “You didn’t, you’re not going to marry the girl you knocked up.”

    “Oh, you are so dead,” Jake snorted and started chasing his friend who had starting running towards his truck parked in the lot down the path.

    “You could never catch me slowpoke,” Scott called out over his shoulder before really turning on the speed.  His long legs made running seem effortlessly, and he had been running his entire life.  On his best day, Jake couldn’t keep up with him unless he slowed to a jog and this time was no different.

    By the time Jake caught up to him, he was leaning against his truck and the motor was already warming up.  He did notice that Jake’s bike was already in the bed of his blue pick-up.  Riding out to the glacier in the middle of the night might be fun but no one wanted to make the long ride back.

    Jake half-jogged the last ten yards, his chest heaving as he took large gasps of air.  He held his side and winced.  “I don’t know how you run that fast and still smoke that many cigarettes.”

    “Genetics,” Scott said with a smile.  He smoothed down his long blonde hair and jumped in the truck.  “Get in before you fall over.”

    “I was built for short bursts,” Jake explained as he climbed inside the 4X4 truck with a grunt.  “I’m much better on the wrestling floor.”

    Scott turned on the heat full blast as he spoke, “And yet, oddly enough, I turned out to be the gay one.”

    “That is true.  I’ve probably had my face in more boy crotches than you have.  If I’m not gay by now, I’ll never be,” Jake said proudly. 

    “You are one of the few on the wrestling team that could honestly say that,” Scott said, moving his eyebrows up and down suggestively.

    “Those are my teammates, I don’t want to hear about what they might do with you behind closed doors,” Jake complained half-heartedly.

    Scott laughed, loud and deep.  “Remember that time we went to that away game in Hillersville, now that was a wrestler that knew which end of a boy was what.”

    For the rest of the ride back to town, Scott told one outlandish tale after another about his many conquests and crazy exploits.  Like most boys do of a certain age, there was a large amount of exaggeration and all out lies.  Jake knew that Scott was far from being a virgin, and he did have a more active sex life than most boys in the school ever dared dream.  Most times he just hoped that most of Scott’s stories were fanciful tales designed to get a rise out of his listeners. 

    Scott was well known around the school at having the weirdest sense of humor.  No matter what the circumstance, he could always be counted on to say the most offensive thing at any given time.  It was something that Jake actually respected him for.  It took a very confident person to say whatever and not care what everyone else thought.  Scott truly marched to a different drum than anyone else.  He was never sure which boy was the good influence on the other.  All he knew, Scott was someone he could count on to always be there.  No matter what.

    For his part, Scott was at a complete loss of words.  He couldn’t even begin to understand what his friend was going through.  So he did the only thing he could do, try to take Jake’s mind off his problem, even if it was only for twenty minutes on the ride home. 

    Jake was almost smiling by the time the blue truck pulled up to 803 Campus Circle at 11:53pm.  Scott put the truck in park and stared ahead.  “Talk to your dad.”

    “I’d rather talk to your dad,” Jake stated with a grin.

    Scott laughed again.  “He’d be so happy to talk about sex with girls with someone.  You’d make his day.”

    “How’s he been the last few weeks?” Jake asked, looking at his friend intently.

    “He’s getting use to it,” Scott said with a shrug.  “Mom said it was okay for me to come to dinner tomorrow night.  So that’s a good thing.”

    Jake reached over and put his hand on Scott’s arm.  “Look Scott, I’m sorry I’ve been so distant lately.  It’s not because…you’re gay.  I don’t care about that.  And truthfully, I kind of always suspected.”

    “Really?” Scott asked.  “Why didn’t you say anything?”

    “Why didn’t you tell me?” Jake countered.

    Scott turned his head for a moment and looked out the drivers window.  “I guess I was scared.”

    “Of what?”

    Scott turned to face his friend.  “I think I knew that you wouldn’t care, deep down.  But I didn’t want to lose you.  You are one of the most important things in my life.  And I was scared to take a chance that you wouldn’t accept me.  Or worse.”

    “Or worse?” Jake asked.

    “Like, if you thought I was hitting on you on those times we would wrestle around.  Or the showers, or sleeping together,” Scott said honestly. 

    Jake made a face and said quickly, “That’s gross.”

    Scott’s eyes widened as Jake continued thoughtfully, “One of the reasons I always thought you were gay was when we wrestled and you’d get a boner.”

    “I so did not,” Scott denied laughing. 

    Jake laughed, for the first time that night, a deep belly laugh.  “Exactly my point.  You are more like my brother than my own brother.”

    Scott stated through his laughter, “Truth.”

    “I didn’t know what to say about this Christine thing, I was avoiding you because it’s got my head all twisted,” Jake admitted.  “But I realized that you might think it was because you came out.  And it’s not.  Honest.”

    Scott sighed.  “Thank you.  I will admit I was wondering if that was it.  It was weird not being able to talk to you about this stuff.”

    “Hey, you can always talk to me, I might not understand it all, but I’ll listen,” Jake said with a small grin. 

    “Thanks.  And you’re not worried what everyone will say at school about you,” Scott asked.  He had already heard some of the things that have been said.  For the time being, nothing had been said to his face but he figured it was just a matter of time.

    Jake laughed again.  “Scott, I don’t know how to tell you this, but I wasn’t the only one that suspected.”

    Scott was truly stunned.  “Really.”

    “Becky and even Julie told me that years ago.  Mike mentioned it in passing,” Jake said through his laughter.  “I think everyone knew and probably no one really cares.”

    “Well shit, I could’ve saved all that stress,” Scott said thoughtfully.  “If only my father would’ve suspected.”

    “He’ll come around,” Jake said confidently.  “He just always wanted a grandson.”

    “Well, maybe he can adopt Christine’s baby,” Scott snorted out, not being able to stop himself.

    “You really are an asshole,” Jake said, shaking his head.  “Really, a big asshole.”

    “You could come over and visit him, bring him presents,” Scott said more enthusiastically, gesturing wildly.  “Take naps with me in my bed.”

    “Just keep laughing,” Jake warned, but the corner of his mouth was curling up in a grin.  “Though, you are a great napping partner.  You like to cuddle.”

    “One time,” Scott admonished.

    “Best nap I ever had,” Jake said laughing.  “That’s when you’re father should’ve suspected.  When he walked in on us that day, you had even drooled a bit on my shoulder.”

    “You’re laughing now,” Scott replied.  “But Mom asked me if you were my boyfriend.”

    Jake stopped laughing and asked, “Seriously?  What did you say?”

    Scott put his hands behind his head and said, “I told her it wasn’t my place to out other people and if she wanted to know she should ask you.”

    Jake smacked him right in the stomach, hard.  Scott made a sound, and grabbed his stomach, though he didn’t stop laughing.  “It doesn’t help that you stopped coming around these last few weeks.  No telling what they are thinking.”

    “Well, I can bet they aren’t thinking I got some girl pregnant,” Jake said wistfully. 

    “No, can’t say that they are,” Scott agreed.  “Anything you need, just ask.”

    “Thanks.  But it’s time for me to go inside,” Jake stated as he stared at his darkened house, a lone porch light shining a light on the walkway.  “I’ll see you.”

    Jake opened the door and headed towards the front of the house.  Scott stared at him until he disappeared inside and the door closed.  Scott checked his phone and read a text that brought a grin to his face.  He replied, “I’m on my way.”

    He started up his truck and headed across town whistling.  He had wanted to tell Jake about the reason he came out but didn’t think it was the right time.  Not when Jake was worried about being a father to a girl he didn’t want to be with.  Not to mention that when Becky found out she would probably break up with him.  No seventeen year old girl wants to be a girlfriend of an eighteen year old that is having a baby with her best friend. 

    But that was for a later time to worry about.  For now, he was going to see the reason he came out.  And for now, that was all that mattered.

  13. I recently started, slowly, 'coming out' as gender fluid.

    Some of my close friends and husband, some random people at work and acquaintances i felt would be accepting/ understanding.\

    Started updating my wardrobe and finding ways to battle the dysphoria when I'm in a situation I'm unable/uncomfortable presenting honestly on "boy days" (such as at work or situations where I have to be "kiddo's Mom". 

    Today was a "boy day". :boy:

    Hubby, kiddo and I went shopping. I had on a great neutral outfit and was feeling awesome. And handsome :) Got some great neutral and "boy day" clothes. Had dinner and scowled when the waitress very obviously put the candies down in front of me and the bill in front of him :thumbdown:. And chuckled when the hubby passed it right over (because I always pay) :thumbup:.

     

    Then, walking home a pick-up truck full of teenage boys drove by and yelled out the window at us.

    I'm not 100% sure what they yelled, they were driving pretty fast.

    But I'm pretty sure it was something along the lines of "F*ck*ng Fairies" or "F*ck*ng F*gg*ts" .:pissed:

     

    And the inner conflict began.....

    Part of my was all "who gives a sh*t what they think! F*ck 'em" <_<

    Part of me was all "what kind of low lives think it's okay to yell things like that out the window at people? For christ sake give it up!"

    Part of me wished I had moved quick enough to flash my (usually very obvious) t*ts their way to teach them about judging someone based on appearance. :evil:

     

    But another part of me was just a little excited that walking down the street with my hubby and son a group of strangers was so convinced I was a guy they felt confident to assume we were a homosexual couple.  :2thumbs: :thankyou:

     

    Those guys are till ass holes though. :pissed:

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    then moving on to the bright lights and big city of New York. Throughout his journey of life, Nick Buchanan encounters some

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    but sometimes devastating world.

    After nearly giving up, Nick discovers a new sense of strength and resilience that comes from facing his fears, standing up to

    prejudice, and learning what genuine love and respect for himself truly are.

  14. Updated 3:00 PM  EDT Friday May 29, 2017

     

    We are sorry that some of these bugs have been so stubborn.  We've had a lot of underlying updates with just a little movement on the visible bugs.

    We continue to ask everyone for patience as we work through the remaining bugs. 

     

    IMPORTANT NOTE:

     We keep getting support requests from readers who are trying to access unpublished chapters. These chapters are supposed to be "invisible" to anyone but the author and staff, but a bug keeps coming back making them visible. If an author has a chapter or chapters on their story with the purple circle/clock and you get an error message when you try to open it, that's because it's unpublished. It's not a bug, site staff don't always know why an author has the chapter unpublished, and you can either ask the author directly or wait for the chapter to go live. (It is only a bug that you can see it.  We are working on that as it is something that was previously fixed and returned)

     

    You can always find the latest stories by clicking the Newest Stories link on the side menu after you select "Stories" on the main menu.

    https://www.gayauthors.org/stories/browse/date/

     

    You can adjust your notifications here:

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    You can see all the content you follow here:
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    There are How To videos for various aspects of how to use the site on our YouTube Channel. 

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC24R2wGvfokple9CobsusIQ

    We will add more over time.  We are also working on Closed Captioning for new videos and ones we've posted.

     

    This is a list of open bugs and their status:

    • Advanced Story Search is not allowing more than once option currently.  Fix: TBD
    • Story Related Activity Streams are functioning except for the "My content" filter.   This is still being worked on.  Fix: TBD
    • Contrast dark mode is usable, but the links become unreadable.  We're working on this when other bugs are complete.  Fix: TBD
    • Favorite Authors and Favorite Stories mechanism is being replaced.  Currently, it is based on "Likes" of Story on story detail page and author author listing page.  We have a much better method we are working on.  Fix: Stories 2.1
    • Notification of comments on stories I like. Fix: TBD
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    • Manage Followed Content - Story Authors Database error. The link has been disabled for now to reduce confusion.  Fix: TBD
    • Unpublished chapter link is showing again to members/guests.  Fixed
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     Updates will be ongoing until everything is working.

     

     

  15. In this episode of React, the elders of the show react to photos taken of them when they were young.

     

    I thought it was pretty touching, especially the guy who realized that all of the friends that were with him in the mountaintop photo were all passed on.

     

    And it was interesting watching them react to their 30's/40's photos and about how much energy they had...there's something I think is pretty cool about these particular decade's of one's life, and it kind of felt like they concurred to that theory I had. And it made me think, "Hey, I might not be 21 anymore, but I've still got some great decades ahead of me."

     

    I do a lot of interaction with older people in my life due to my volunteer work with the local history museum. I really do get such a kick out of hearing where they've been and what they've done in life- my favorite volunteer was a man in his late 80's/early 90's who was a local artist and also fought in World War II.

     

    It's also fun to picture what older people were like when they were young- some people have such a zest for life that it's really easy to picture them young, and some just seem eternally grumpy.

     

    Anyway...that's pretty cool of FineBros to give the elders a platform on a space that tends to skew pretty young. As much as I like Smosh or Jenna Marbles, it's nice to see people over a certain age sharing their viewpoints and stories on YouTube.

  16. Attention all GA Members! Put your pen and paper down and put on those reading glasses, if you have them. It's time to do some reading, as the 2017 Spring Anthology is now live for your enjoyment! We had twelve authors take up the challenge of the Jagged Edges/Unintended Consequences themes and there are fourteen new stories and poems for you to go through. Don't forget, if you like a story, leave the author a comment to show them your appreciation.

     

    All authors who participated in the anthology were entered into a drawing as part of the author incentives. The winner gets to choose which prize they would like:

    • 1 Month Premium Membership
    • 1 Month Ad Space - This can be used for a GA story, a published story, or your story collection
    • $5 Credit to the GA ebook store

     

    And the winner is

    CassieQ

    (Pm me with your prize choice)

     

    On top of author incentives, we want to encourage readers to read and comment on the anthology entries. For each story a reader comments on, they will get one entry into the drawing. Comments need to be more than just a "great story" or "I liked this". Share your thoughts with the author and you could win one of the following prizes:

    • 1 Month Premium Membership
    • $5 Credit to the GA ebook store


    If you'd like to better your chances, write me a blog review (200-500 words) on your favorite story from the anthology and I'll give you an extra 2 entries! Readers will have until June 1st to review stories and/or write a blog review. The winner will be announced in the Weekly Wrap Up on June 4th.

     

    Now, let's see what the authors came up with!

     


     

    jagged-edge-unintended-consquences.jpg.5db65e0a11dbf7a3149ac538a3f49a08.jpg

     

     

    Can't A Guy Visit A Friend

    thecalimack

     

    Hold the Elevator

    Puppilull

     

    Angel and Imp: Thrice is Enemy Action

    Timothy M.

     

    April's Fool

    Valkyrie

     

    Dalkhu (Demons)

    aditus

     

    The Bard's Tale

    northie

     

    Impatient

    CassieQ

     

    Rule #3

    CassieQ

     

    Looking Glass

    Cole Matthews

     

    Jagged Edges Sounds

    Parker Owens

     

    Joined

    Sasha Distan

     

    A Diamond in the Rough

    Comicfan

     

    Companionship Can Be Many Things

    Timothy M.

     

    Rounded Rocks

    AC Benus

     

     


     

    Anthology Support Team

     

    Anthology Coordinator

    Renee Stevens

     

    Tech Support

    Myr

     

    Proof Team

    Rec

    Valkyrie

    craftingmom

    Parker Owens

     

    Anthology Banner Creation

    Mann Ramblings

  17. Renee Stevens
    Latest Entry

    By Renee Stevens,

    Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors!

     

    In AtA #48, we heard from authors JackBinimbul, Mikiesboy, Palantir, and WolfM. 

     

    Today in AtA #49 we hear from authors AC Benus, Parker Owens, HinderToyBL, and Milos.
     


    First up today is Promising Author AC Benus.  Hailing from the city of San Francisco, USA, AC got a chance to visit Iceland earlier this year in 2017.  Perhaps he’ll write a new story based on some of his experiences there, such as the amazing northern lights, the hot springs, and the infamous penis museum.  AC likes to write in series, and one of his more recent is A Half-Once of Gold, a story about a stranger’s trip to Bali.  It’s part of the XXX Series, so reader beware!  If you like non-fiction, you might check out The Gay Experience, a collection of short essays along the same lines as AC’s blog; but instead of discussing music, he talks about some of the things he’s read.  It’s always interesting to venture into the mind of a creative genius.  A little scary sometimes, but that’s half the fun!  :D  And don’t forget AC’s wonderful poetry!  There are more and more of them every day and they’re so varied that everyone is bound to fall in love with at least one.

     

    To AC Benus:  Your FB/Christmas novella is awe-inspiring in both scope and complexity. Truly one of the most amazing things I've ever encountered on GA. My question is simple -- the answer may not be. Did this project come to you for the first time as to what it would ultimately become, or did you begin writing one section, and then see the need for the next, etc. Sort of how Wagner wrote his "Ring" -- backwards?

     

    "Did this project come to you as what it would ultimately become?" The answer is no. I'm not sure what compelled me to get beyond the wish of 'maybe someday' to rolling up my sleeves and thinking I'm going to do this, now, but when I conceived of the project I thought I would be doing 6 short stories. I also thought the series would take me about 8 months in total. Boy, was I wrong on both fronts.

     

    "Did you begin writing one section, and then see the need for the next, etc.?" To this one the answer is more complex. After I committed to doing the Christmas at Famous-Barr series I first pitched about deciding which years I had information on and compiled a possible list. Here arose my first problem – there were 8 Christmases that intrigued me, so my initial 6 went out the window. Before I let myself delve into writing the first one, I pulled out pieces of paper and jotted down notes and ideas for each year to be featured. Some of these notes filled up a few pages; others existed only as a paragraph or two. 2005 and 1880 are examples of the by-the-seat-of-my-pants approach. Once all 8 were grounded in a conceptual way, I immediately saw relationships of content. 1976 and 1929 were love stories; 1945 and 1913 were 'kid' stories; 1988 and 1964 were magic stories, etc. So, that's how I wrote them, in groups. The first two tackled were on themes of love – and a crisis appeared. They were outlined in proportions way beyond the scope of a short story, so I said, "Fine. The series will be 2 novellas and 6 short stories." That didn't work out either…. Each of the 8 Christmases presented expanded opportunities and all of them became novellas in their own right.

    Thus, my original 8-month timeframe ballooned to me needing slightly less than two years to complete the project. Was it worth it…? Time will tell I guess.

     

    Thank you for your praise of my work and your excellent question

    .
     


    We saw Author Parker Owens just recently in AtA #46.  Like me, Parker lives in the North and, like AC Benus, is not one of our young twenty-somethings.  He has a rich background he shares with us in his stories and poetry.  Most people know Parker from his story A to Z.  It’s certainly a dark tale; it gets darker and darker and every time you think things couldn’t possibly get worse, something even more awful happens.  But eventually rock-bottom is reached and things start to look up for our main character.  It’s fascinating to see how Andy views the world and finds his own way to happiness.  He is continuing with Predator Prey, a story that I think is even darker than A to Z.  Parker keeps a lively discussion going in the forums, so if you have a burning question for him, that’s where you should look first.  He’s one of those people who just electrifies the forums, so look him up and see.

     

    To Parker Owens:  You have graced us with some wonderful stories. But in a few, there have been brutally long and brutally describe periods before the protagonist is saved or redeemed. 'AtoZ' and 'Predator' immediately come to mind. My question is, how does such depth of depravity even get into your thinking?

     

    This is a terribly hard question. I teach, I counsel, and I volunteer at homeless shelters. I hear some heart-stopping stories. And if that isn't enough, there is the news. In so many cases, the darkness encountered in reality makes pale anything I can conceive in fiction. I fear that these things got into my brain from actual news and stories told to me. All I did was fit them to the story lines.

     

    In the case of A to Z, I felt the stories of children ignored, neglected and abused, needs to be told. It really is that bad for some, and yet the survivors often hold themselves as nothing special. In A to Z, I felt the need to write a story in which we can recognize such a survivor as an average someone who is nonetheless immensely significant. The depths of dark agony in the first few chapters were meant to be offset by the strengthening, brilliant light of the latter chapters.

     

    When I began Predator, it started as a single chapter piece, but grew in response to an anecdote about what had happened to a campus dealer when his customers turned on him. There were no good guys: I wondered if it were even possible for even one of these characters to find some redemption.

     

    There are real horror stories out there; these two stories explore what happens after the horror occurs

    .
     


    We don’t see this too much, but Author HinderToyBL is actually a joint pseudonym for two different authors:  Thirdly & Rambling Robin.  These two lovely ladies have come together three times over the past few years to collaborate on a story.  Robin is an avid animal lover and has an interesting sense of humor.  :P  Thirdly is a fantastic artist who absolutely loves video games, especially Pokemon.  (If you visit their profiles you can find stories they’ve written as themselves, on GA and elsewhere.)  Together, they make HinderToyBL and have brought us such amazing things as Kidnapping is Always an Option.  If the title doesn’t give it away, Robin’s humor comes out to play in the absurd situations main character Caspin finds himself in.  Also Thirdly puts a dash of cute in there just to keep you on the edge.  They do write about animal-shaped characters, and there’s usually a menage at some point, so read those blurbs so you know what you’re getting into.  I guarantee that even if you think you’re prepared, you’re really not!  Turn your common sense off and enjoy the show.

     

    To HinderToyBL:  How do you work together?

     

    Robin: We met through reading each other's stories online. I think we realized that we were both giving each other cooing reviews and so we started talking. It blossomed from there.

     

    Thirdly: Yep, what Robin said. Somehow we ended up from writing long reviews to each other to writing e-mails to each other, and finally, to skype messaging. So, it's only a virtual partnership for now. I consider us distant sisters until I can pay her family a visit.

     

    "Do you write individually and compare or is it a joint effort from the start?  Do you write the characters first or the plot?"

     

    Robin: We seem to start with a character and then branch off from there. Usually, one of us messages the other in a tizzy about it. Some of the ideas get further than others. Our first attempt at writing a Unicorn/Nightmare story fizzled out, but then it eventually led to Lust and Chastity, which is chugging along nicely. We have so many ideas for it, sometimes it's hard to fit everything in. Once we have one character figured out, we then branch out from there. Where does he live? What's his conflict? What's his personality? Who is his love interest? We flesh all of those things out and then have excited little flurries of conversations about ideas for scenes. At some point in there we decide who will be in charge of which character. Then we take turns writing from our character's perspective. When we finish a chapter, we usually both edit it. Although lately I've been failing on that and Thirdly has been doing a lot of the editing, bless her. When we agree it's good, we post the chapter. As we go along, we save what we've written in a word file.

     

    Thirdly: I digress (only a little bit!). First, there is a thought, theme, or idea. For Kidnapping is Always an Option, Robin really wanted to write a story with a kemonomimi/semi-anthro character in it (which eventually became Caspin). For Lust and Chastity, I stuck to that Unicorn/Nightmare theme, which is something that I have always, ALWAYS, wanted to write. Like Robin said, our first attempt flopped (mostly because I wanted to cling to a very old idea that never took flight...ever [but, I will keep trying because I don't know when to quit!]). I was persistent on writing a story with that theme, though, and I am glad we tried again because Lust and Chastity is more than what I could have ever hoped for (one has to try and try again!). After the idea/theme is set in place, then we dig deep into the characters and the cast keeps expanding as the characters are more fully developed and interwoven into the plot (most of the time the plot requires the characters to exist and not the other way around). So, in order, it would be:

     

    1. Idea/Theme/Whimsy
    2. Character Development
    3. Plot Pow-wows and Squealings

     

    OH! And regardless of whose idea or character it is to start with, we both have each other's input in just about everything. Therefore, yes, it is a joint effort from start to finish. The two of us try our best to compromise with one another and, though sometimes it's not fully possible (which has happened on more than one ocasion, but we quickly move on from dead ideas and form even better ones later on), it has worked out tremendously for the majority of the time. Partnerships (and projects, for that matter) require patience, prudence, and preparation. Robin has more patience than I do, we both have very little prudence, and I try to make sure that we're both pretty prepared. Whoever came up with the 3 P's never did say how much of each was needed, now did they?

     

    Note from Site Administrators: While site members are allowed one account on GA, under certain circumstances we can understand the need for a second pen name. If you find yourself in the position of requiring a second pen name, please contact the Administrators via a support request so that we can review your request. 

     


    Author Milos finishes things off today!  Also from the USA, Milos has been with GA for about six years now.  He’s the author of Die Catfish Die a story that begins with one of life’s more somber moments, when you lose a good friend to suicide.  The later chapters are just as powerful as the beginning.  And then there’s the cover art.  If you don’t know what cat-fishing is (in the story context), you can let Milos tell you about it from the perspective of his struggling teen characters.  He won’t let you down.  There’s a lot of serious content in this story, but I find it’s handled with respect while not minimizing what any of the characters are going through.  Just, if you’ve got something in your past, read with caution.  Some of these characters and situations can really get to you.

     

    To Milos:  What inspired you to write Die Catfish Die?

    I really wanted to explore more mystery in my writing, and I wanted to write something that totally ended in a way that nobody expected. I'd been featured in an anthology that did really well (under a different pen name), and I felt that I could have done better with my story. Even though the stories have nothing to do with each other, it gave me inspiration for Milos to pick up and start writing again. Mystery and psych-thriller are two genres that I've never really tried, and I really want to develop in these areas.

     

    With Die Catfish, Die, the idea came from several news stories I'd seen, and the trend of teen suicide by way of cyber-bullying. This is a phenomena that we're only beginning to understand, and the cat-fishing is only one small aspect of something greater in the plot. I can't really say more about the inspiration aspect because it may ruin the ending if I do.

     


     

    That’s it for now!  For more info on these authors, go check out their stories, post in their forums, and/or catch them in chat!

     

    I’ll see you next time, with repeats from Mann Ramblings, mikiesboy, Parker Owens, and WL!

     

    I’m always in the market for new questions!  Simply PM me (Dark).

     

    Until next time!

    Dark

     

  18. So I fell off with my blogging, obviously, but honestly it's for the best. The last few months were important, but would've been unpleasant to read about week by week.

     

    To sum things up:

     

    1) We've moved closer to campus, chopping fifty entire minutes off my commute, which has been game changing.

     

    2) The "we" in question is the sort-of boyfriend I seemed so dead-set on breaking up with in my last entry. I'm not interested in hashing out exactly what all has happened, but it will suffice to say that we radically renegotiated our relationship: we're entirely open; I bear a lot less of the chores/finances/being an adult burden; and I get a lot more alone time. At first he had some issues, but now that I've gotten some distance and seem to be really into him sometimes, and now that he's had some side flings of his own, we are both very, very happy.

     

    3) I was sober for a solid three months, dropped fifteen pounds, and now I'm letting alcohol back into my life, which I'm sure will backfire shortly enough, but for now it's under control.

     

    In short, I can't believe how happy I am. It's weird how I always end up on GA just before making a bunch of life changes. I wonder why that is. I have some ideas, but I can't pin them down entirely.

     

    One of my first acts after redefining my relationship with my non-boyfriend was to go on a complete fucking rampage. I can't believe how many guys I've been getting lately. It feels selfish, immature, and even irresponsible, but I really don't care. I've had nearly four years of suppressing monogamy, and what I've learned is that I really, really, really love guys. It's not just that I like men, it's that I like men in their plurality. I love how much variety there is among men. I would never be satisfied with just one, and as long as my sex drive holds out, I will never agree to monogamy again. I'm having the time of my life.

     

    As a side note, I've also discovered that telling guys I'm on a rampage is a great pick-up line, for whatever reason. As soon as I explain that I'm on a rampage, they want in on it. I think to bottoms it implies a certain kind of sex, so they get all excited. I hope I'm not disappointing them ;)

     

    Tonight was a little sloppy though. Some surfer type guy (this is California) came over, and he was pretty attractive, and we watched most of a movie together before starting to cuddle. I gave him what I thought was really stellar head for a bit, really enjoying myself, and then before finishing, he asks me to cuddle naked with him. I strip to my underwear and we start cuddling. He mentions he's dizzy because he had a few shots earlier. I thought nothing of it until he got up suddenly and vomited powerfully into my sink.

     

    The funny thing about that is that that was the second time those dishes had been vomited upon. One of my friends in the department lives in the same apartments and visits herself upon me sometimes, often after she's had an unclear amount to drink. A few nights ago, she came over, we were talking, and I was fucking around on my phone. I look up at her as she's talking, she casually turns her head to the side, projectile vomits, and then starts to talk to me again as if nothing had happened. I told another friend about it and she called it a "casual side-vom'," which I found funny.

     

    I've gotten a student loan as a living cushion (I don't pay tuition and I get income as an instructor, so it's not so ridiculous), and I'm using part of it to finally get a professional wardrobe. That shopping trip hasn't occurred yet, but I did buy some cute boxer briefs online, and I'm using them as a weight loss incentive. I bought three wonderful pairs. One pair I'm allowed to wear now. Another pair I'm allowed to wear once my weight stays under 162. My favorite pair I'm allowed to wear once I get under 157, around which weight my abs re-emerge. I'm hoping this is a good dieting strategy.

     

    Anyway, things are pretty awesome right now. I hope to keep blogging in the near future, and I hope you're all doing well.

  19. Foster
    Latest Entry

    All out

    No control

    Substitute

    Reticence

    To rectify

    A hard passage

    Between

    Resolutely reluctant

    Explicitly rash

    And standing alone

    After facing

    That look

    Of ...

    Disbelief

     

     

     

    5.30.17 Monday 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  20. Mikiesboy
    Latest Entry

    This contains some descriptions of animal abuse. If you're sensitive you may not want to read on. 

     

     

    I’m reading a book called, Saving Simon by Jon Katz. Simon is a donkey and Jon Katz is a writer. He writes often about dogs.

    This is the first thing of his I’ve read. It is sad and horrible, yet uplifting and wondrous.

     

    Simon was abandoned on the farm where he lived.  Left in what they thing was a hog pen, with no water or food except for what the small boy who lived there could sneak to him.  Rescuers found Simon nearly dead, covered with maggots, horrible sores and hooves he could not walk on. They figured he’d had to walk on his ankles they were in such horrible shape. His teeth were rotting and he was in pain. They found lying down where they believe he had been for some time.  As they treated him, they discovered that donkeys can scream.

     

    They rescued the poor thing, and took him Mr. Katz’ small farm. Katz and his wife Maria had had three other donkeys by that time and took Simon in. They nursed him back to health, well as healthy as he could be.

     

    While all that is lovely, the full title of this book is Saving Simon - How a Rescue Donkey Taught Me the Meaning of Compassion.

     

    What is compassion? What does it mean to you?

     

    1.    Merriam-Webster says Compassion is: sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it

                                                                                                                                                                  

    As I read this book and what Mr. Katz talks about I have to agree that with regard to animal abuse and neglect, the majority of us think it’s wrong. In fact we think it’s so wrong that we often say the perpetrators should be strung up, jailed, beaten or sometimes killed. 

     

    Where is the compassion there?

     

    Why is it we can care so much for animals, yet have difficulty showing that compassion for the poor, the wronged, or even the farmer that left Simon alone, starving and sick?

     

    I know from my own personal experience there is little compassion to our fellow man. When I was on the street, I was yelled at, spit on, beaten, robbed, and unseen. No one saw a fifteen year old boy who needed help. I often wondered what they thought exactly. Did they think I wanted to be there?

     

    Mr. Katz, wanted to understand from the farmer, what had happened that would allow him to leave Simon in such a state. He went to talk with the man. However, the farmer was empty inside. He’d been through a lot; he couldn’t feed Simon any longer. He was losing his farm, couldn’t feed his family, things had gotten out of hand and it was easier to forget Simon.  Katz asked why the farmer hadn’t just shot the donkey. The farmer replied he just couldn’t bring himself to go back there. He thought Simon was dead.  

     

    Why is it, knowing how Simon was left to suffer, and what the farmer was suffering, that we have no compassion for him?

     

    All life on earth is connected. The only way to be truly compassionate is to free yourself from judging others. Only in doing that can we learn what compassion really is. However to do this, is a huge task and we are programmed to worry about our immediate world, for good reason.  I judge, I read all of what was wrong with Simon and I hated the farmer.

     

    But as I let myself feel for him, I hated him less and less. If someone had shown him compassion, perhaps Simon may have suffered less.

     

    It’s a lot to think over but I’ll leave you with this:

     

    “Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival.  – Dalai Lama XIV

     

     

  21. Now that I'm at an ideal weight, I think it's time to fine tune my diet. I don't eat a lot of red meat or a huge amount of junk food, but I'm not guiltless either. Problem is, I'm not a very great cook, but I've taken a few classes at college, and I'm ready to stop getting my meals through a drive thru, I'm just not sure what to cook, but whatever it is, it needs to be healthy and affordable because I'm dirt poor and I can't afford to be sick anymore. I was thinking about asking around for some recipes so I can make a shopping list this weekend, and from what I've seen here, a lot of people know good food. I need some recipes! 

     

    I know it seems picky but I can't do any red meat, and I need to have minimal pasta and breads. That's why I'm having trouble now, because I seem to only cook pasta and breaded food. :( 

     

    Any websites that could help are welcome too. I looked at allrecipes.com but I didn't see a health food option. T_T 

     

    I know if I eat better, I will feel better. I'm battling a kidney infection right now so I've taken soda out of my diet for good today, and I won't look back. I just need help. 

     

    SO HALP ME! 

     

    PS: I don't eat salads. Can't help it. 

  22. Yesterday afternoon, I had the day off and spent a couple of hours at the contemporary art museum here in town. The latest exhibition showcases a raw, vibrant display of street art, including graffiti, photography, and a rare collection of Jean-Michel Basquiat scribbles/doodles done a year before he became famous.

     

    Just a few weeks ago, I saw Julian Schnabel's film "Basquiat" at a local theater (on original 35mm, complete with snaps and pops and blips on the screen), followed by a Q&A panel with one of Basquiat's friends and bandmates who was also the screenwriter for the film, Michael Holman. Seeing the film this time around, after watching it 21 years ago when it first came out, was just as moving for me now as it was back then. (On a side note: David Bowie played Andy Warhol in it, which was a remarkable performance. All of the actors were remarkable.) Hearing Michael Holman's tales afterwards about Basquiat and the crazy life they led brought back a cloud of memories for me.

     

    When I was in junior high/high school, I had lofty dreams of running off to New York to hang with Warhol and the Factory crowd and to immerse myself in the art scene. I knew such a lifestyle would come with a truckload of challenges, but it held a certain glamour for me, and the creativity that was being produced out there was alluring to my much-younger, naive self. I never made it to New York, and after Warhol passed in '87, there was little point in doing so. However, that itch to live a Bohemian, street-art lifestyle never left me. To some degree, I did live it, but my version wasn't glamorous or productive - just a lot of fucked-up. If nothing else, I walked away with some serious life experiences under my belt, and I met some interesting people along the way - some who didn't make it out, and some who did and are now enjoying successful lives. For me, the direction could have gone either way, but that's for another discussion.

     

    So, this art exhibit yesterday compounded the influx of memories that had already been swirling around after watching "Basquiat" again. But, beyond the Basquiat exhibit itself, there was a whole floor of the museum dedicated to thousands of photos by a New York artist named Ryan McGinley. These photos, taken when he was in his early 20s, exemplify street-art life, with raw, realistic portrayals of himself and his friends - many art students, many living on the streets - shown countless times in very stark, unflattering situations (a post-punch bloodied mouth, someone snorting coke, someone passed out, someone naked and bruised, someone with cum-splattered pants, someone spewing vomit, and so on.) This entire exhibit is stark and in-your-face, similar to Nan Goldin's photos in the mid-80s, and seeing it brought flashback reminders of so many things for me, including people and circumstances that I could relate to.

     

    The photo below, titled "Red Mirror", particularly moved me, because it embodies Ryan's sexual discovery about himself and an intimacy and energy that pokes at the heart no matter what your preference is. I can see myself in this photo. I can see friends in this photo. I can see many in this photo. Can you see yourself? 

     

    In a new chapter that I'm currently working on for my story Dissonance, I mention art imitating life... or is it life imitating art? I feel that way often. Just last night, while attending an art opening for a friend of mine, I saw a man wearing the exact 1950s vintage western jacket that I'd just described in this current, unfinished chapter. I couldn't fucking believe it. The exact one. I had to go over and discuss the uncanny coincidence with him. Art imitating life... or life imitating art? The lines are blurred. The exhibit at the contemporary art museum perfectly illustrated that for me yesterday.

     

    I feel more enlightened and inspired today because of it.

    mcginley_redmirror.jpg

  23. Yes, it has been forever and a day since I added anything to the blog. I feel like one of those co-workers who leaves the office for a new job and promises on their mother's grave they'll stay in touch. Then you only see them when lightning strikes and you're in the same place at the same time and you swear once again you'll stay in touch, but in reality you know the demands of your job will never allow for it.  That's a convoluted way of saying, sorry I've been so absent, but I've been crazy busy. 

     

    That said, I need to say thank you to GA and Caz Pedroso for nominating Chosen of Honorus for story of the month.  Chosen of Honorus was the precursor to The Last Grand Master - the first book in the Champion of the Gods series that DSP Publications is publishing. It was/is the book that jump started my publishing career.  I owe a big debt to GA for taking a chance on me and giving me the confidence to push out into the wide literary world. 

     

    There is a prequel to Chosen of Honorus First Love - that is available on the DSP Publications site or you can find a link on my website. If you sign up for my monthly newsletter, there is a link in one of the welcome emails as well.  If you want to sign up for my newsletter, you can use this link:

    http://GAAQGNewsletter.getresponsepages.com

    In addition, if you like Chosen of Honorus, there are now three more books in the series available from DSP Publication and the last book in the series will be released in 2018.  Books 1-3 are also on sale now through the end of April.  Here is a link to the sale page on my website:

     

    http://www.andrewqgordon.com/2017/03/champion-of-the-gods-sale-through-april-30-2017/

     

    Despite what I said above about being the co-worker who left, sometimes a little jolt reminds you of what you're missing. In my case, I realize how much I miss the people I met here. I think if I have time to socialize with fans on Facebook and Twitter, I can use some of that time to come here once a day too. I'm going to do my best to do that. That said, the new set up is going to take me some time to get used to so if I miss your comments, you can always email me - Andrew@andrewqgordon.com.  I'm usually very good at responding to emails. :) 

     

    Thank you all again. It's humbling and flattering to realize people haven't forgotten you. It's a very good feeling. 

     

    Best regards

     

    AQG

    PS In case you forgot what I look like or want to see a new picture of 'lil q (way more likely than wanting to see me) I'll post a few pictures in a few minutes. .


     

  24. Sasha Distan
    Latest Entry

    We might have done something insane. A suspect a lot of you might think so. We have made a mad, crazy, awesome, wonderful, expensive, fabulous, impulsive choice. Again.

    Our little Goblin is currently 17 months old, gorgeous, blond, fluffy, blue-eyed, intent on digging in the dirt, playing with his brother Dashi, pointing excitedly at tractors, ‘helping’ water the garden, and getting to know the sheep and lambs at the farm.

    So we thought we’d get him a sibling – a real human sibling (which in no way diminishes Dashi’s position as his only older brother).

    Yes, we’re insane.

    New Baby will be a blood relative of Goblin, and we will be accepting delivery of them sometime in mid August. Goblin will be 22 months old, we’ll have two in nappies, we won’t be sleeping, life will be harder, more expensive, and potentially more stressful.

    Why on earth have we chosen to do this? I couldn’t tell you. We love being parents to our little man, neither of us would have life any other way now. So why not?

    Sure, every now and then I have a split second desire of student life with clubs and loud music, louder outfits, and flirting with pretty boys. But then, I think the reason I look back so fondly, was because we were young, we’d just got together, and it was fun to be cute and desirable late at night in Brighton. I wouldn’t go back to that life for all the money, all the books, or all the pretty horses in the ‘verse.

    I see dads and mums in the woods, by the beach, in town sometimes, with their gaggle and brood of children in different heights, chatting, squabbling, giggling, sharing ice cream, playing games – and I want that life. Our one boy is perfect and marvellous, but I want him to have siblings to fight with and play with. So here we go.

    If I seem distracted, that’s why.

    As last time, I am not prepared to talk, openly or privately, about the ins, outs, or specifics of how we are going about this, and we thank you in advance for your understanding.

    So, anyone got any advice how to tell the Goblin he’s going to have an even smaller person in his life?