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Cia

Did you catch Monday's blog where we featured Rec's story, Jake's Hand? You can also download an image there for your signature if you want to share your enjoyment of the story and promote it to fellow readers! If you haven't read it yet, maybe this excerpt will help you decide to put it on your list! 

 

Cia says:

  I picked this excerpt because it resonated with because I work with students. I know how many have to overcome the assumptions made about them, and how hard it can be to try and be a mentor at the same time you're a teacher. Also, this scene mentions a very obvious theme in the story in relation to the discrimination rampant in 1969 facing African American students in poorer areas, but that theme is echoed in far more ways through the story in very real and personal ways for Jake and Robbie.

 



 It was Jake who announced at the end of the first week that he would direct a play and that we all would contribute with set-building and stage design, which would set the curriculum for the arts class.  No ‘would-you-all-be-willing-to-help-out?’  Just an assumption that we would contribute and that we would be happy about it.  And, he was right.  After volunteering to lug his suitcase that first day, I was not surprised that no one objected to his assignment of tasks.  It was his way.

            “Now, who wants to be stage manager?”  Jake asked, looking directly at me as we five sat around one day after class.   I tried to avert my eyes, to no avail. There was no hiding from what I was to learn was a master of wile’s con job, so I became stage manager, which meant, in that case, that I had to make sure everything worked on time and as scheduled.  The trouble was, I felt happy to do the job for him.

            As part of my job, I had to scour the neighborhood for materials and donations of paint, furniture, barrels and whatever and slowly accumulated them in the already overfull church store room, much to the consternation, I suppose, of the church elders.

            Jake found out which kids wanted to be in a play, sized them up by giving them poetry to read—most of Jake’s heavy books were poetry—then wrote a play to fit the cast.  He told me it was easier to write the play himself, rather than setting the cast based on an existing play.  I edited what he wrote. 

            We spent long hours together reading lines to each other to get the vocabulary and dialect true.  At night in our double bed for the summer, the lights out, we would talk long into the early hours of the morning sometimes about what Jake wanted to say in the play and how he would say it.

            The play was about coming of age in an era in which official discrimination was ending but de facto discrimination still existed.  The kids in the play had to come to terms with each other at the same time as they were coming to terms with a hostile world outside that had just lost its right to maintain segregation.  It was done with poetry and humor.  It was really good.  At least, I thought so.

            By mid summer, we were in major rehearsals.  We were spending most afternoons and evenings in the church auditorium polishing the parts.  The kids worked hard and learned a great deal about the theater, as did I.  Jake charmed, pushed and prodded them to give the parts their all.  He gave them a chance to improvise their own routines, particularly in the comic parts, stopping only to give helpful suggestions.  Jake was intensely wrapped up in the play for a full month. As a consequence, I was, too.

            The play was a triumph.  So many people came the first night that we had to turn them away at the door and schedule an extra performance, to the delight of the cast.

 

To read more, click here. 

Cia

January is a new year, a fresh start, or maybe just another month in the calendar for you... but it's all about time. Jake's Hand is set in 1969, an era far removed from what you would find in the world today. Choices the characters make... well, you'll have to read the story to find out! 

 

Rec Jakes Hand Lg.jpg

 

Jake's Hand

by Rec

 

Length: 80,964

 

Description: Two college men who have volunteered to tutor black kids for the 1969 summer in the South grow more and more attracted to one another. But the summer ends before they realize the full extent of their love for one another, and they go separate ways—one to get married and have children, the other to join the military and go to Vietnam.

 

Some Readers Said: 

charlieocho saidAh, what luck to stumble upon this masterpiece! It will be difficult not to devour this story...a deep chord is struck already.

 

LJH said: You are a brilliant writer. Hooked, hell yes from the first sentence. You build the story and you don't let up and that's a point, raising left index finger and stroking the air. You've given Jake a light, airy, adventurous nature, and Rob Ellis beautifully paints his story. But then again, you are passionate about giving your characters soul, your plot a life, and reinventing style. You have steered clear from the stereotypical gay meets gay scenario and made yours different and consuming, I love the way they meet and then reintroduce themselves. They click.

You rock

 

If you want to spread the word about Rec's story, download the graphic below and add it to your signature!

Make sure you come back on Wednesday to see the excerpt I chose to share!

Rec Jakes Hand Med.jpg

Renee Stevens

We hope everyone had a great weekend!  Today is a "review" day and to help you start your week off, the review team has put together a special review featuring some stories by our Classic Authors. If you haven't read these, hopefully these reviews will make you want to add them to your reading list. A huge thank you goes out to the review team for helping keep the blog supplied with reviews.

 


Sandy
Altimexis

Reviewer: Lisa
Status: Complete
Word Count: 11,123

 

Sandy’s so cute he steals every scene he’s in, which is great because he’s in all of them! Sandy is the narrator of this humorous, emotional, and heartwarming story. Sandy happens to be a golden retriever. Which is why, of course, I chose to read the story in the first place! Because who can resist reading a story from a dog’s POV?


The story begins when Sandy is just a wee puppy and is given to a five-year-old boy named Timmy. Sandy and Timmy become inseparable. The story doesn’t get going until Sandy’s eight and Timmy’s thirteen.


I’m not going to give away any spoilers, so I won’t tell you what happens at that point. I will tell you, however, what I loved about the story. I constantly found myself laughing at how Sandy describes things that we humans do, such as:  'Timmy got out of bed, leavin’ the covers all rumpled the way I like ’em, an’ he walked into his bathroom, lifted the seat on the big water bowl an’ let loose a steady stream. What a shame it was to waste a perfectly good bowl of water like that!’  And now I know why dogs love to drink the toilet water! Another endearing quality Sandy has is the way he leaves off all the ‘g’s and shortens the words ‘them’, ‘and’, along with many other words. I think it’s comical the way his ‘voice’ is written.


Sandy, a Dog’s Tale is also a story about growing up and realizing you might not be right all of the time. It’s about coming to terms with the fact your life might not be all warm and cozy in that little box you squeezed you and your family in. And I’m talking about the adults in the story, not the kids!


Put it on your “To Read List” if you need to, but definitely, check it out when you have time. It’s a really good story. Plus, how can you resist that cute dog on the front page?? Don’t you want to read all about him and his family?

 

Category: Fiction   Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance   Tags: teen, gay, under 18, north america,  animals, parents  Rating: Mature

 


 
Dabeagle
Reviewer: Puppilull
Status: Complete
Word Count: 50,195 

 

Starting a new school is never easy and Sean is nervous. Perhaps he has reason to be, as he finds himself thrust in the middle of students who are out of his league, at least financially. Sean is on an academic scholarship, coming from nothing and finding himself thrown into a very different world. Already on Day 1, he ends up in hot water, bumping into the resident bully and his sidekick. However, he also makes a friend that day, the instant way, by intervening in another fight. His new friend Harrison introduces him to his circle of friends at school and the story takes off. It takes us through a rollercoaster of events, shaking the lives of our protagonists. 

 

Like all of Dabeagle's stories, the characters are so well written you instantly feel like you know them. The story is told firmly with the voices of the young and show us the world through their eyes - a world where adults merely visit. The group of friends are witty and intelligent, the banter entertaining. The arrogance of youth can be annoying, but soon the reader gets to see the cracks in the façade. Beneath the superficial exterior, there are secrets this group of friends would rather not share with anyone. Dark, unsettling and infuriating secrets. How will that affect the friendship?

 

The story is engrossing with a lightness and tempo to the writing that draws you in and keeps you going forward. Also, it doesn’t shy away from troubling subject matter, giving it a depth beyond the traditional “high school boy meets boy” stories. The varied vocabulary is a treat in itself, embellishing the story without turning it into a dictionary. So read it!

 

Category: Fiction   Genres: Romance, Mystery   Tags: teen, gay, coming of age, crime  Rating: Mature

 

 
DomLuka
Reviewer: Spikey582
Status: Complete
Word Count: 368,980
 
This is a story that I happened across just searching through completed stories on the site not long after I joined in 2015. Little did I know at the time, this is probably one of the better-known stories among those in the ‘classic’ category, and with good reason, as this is still my favorite among the exemplary writing of DomLuka.

Sixteen-year-old Rory’s life gets turned upside down when he loses his mother to cancer. This might sound obvious, as a loss like that is bound to change anyone’s life. But for Rory, things change in ways he never expected. His mother’s dying wish is that, after she’s gone, Rory should go live with his father. A father he never met, and never knew anything about while his mother was still alive. Rory, without much say of his own, is whisked away from the only family he’s ever known --- his grandmother --- and  shipped off to Arizona to start a new life among complete strangers.

I can’t possibly give a full and fair synopsis of this amazing story in such a short review. That little summary of the inciting incident doesn’t even scratch the surface of what this story is about. It’s one part coming-of-age tale, one part coming-out story, one part family drama, and one part romance. There’s probably some other genres that cross over into this story as well. Suffice it to say, this story is packed full of something for everyone.

Seriously, there’s a reason people still talk about this story a decade after it first posted.  If you haven’t read anything by DomLuka, Desert Droppings is a great introduction to an awesome author.

 

Category: Fiction   Genres: Drama, Romance   Tags: teen, anal, oral  Rating: Mature

 

 
K.C.
Reviewer: Litlover
Status: Complete
Word Count: 5,835 
 

I’ve always been a fan of K.C.’s work and this story is no exception. It’s not a long tale, but --- pardon the pun --- it packs a wallop in only a few thousand words.

 

This story is about AJ, a man who has just had his world blown apart by someone he thought loved him.  As he picks his way through the pieces of his heart he receives more bad news that has him packing up and leaving his previous life behind. 

 

In his journey to rebuild, not only his life, but a home he’d once loved, he runs into someone from his past who brings with him fond memories of first loves and summertime kisses.

 

I think my only issue with this story was the length; it was only one chapter.  There was so much more I would have liked to know. I would recommend you read Mistletoe and Handgrenades yourself to find out what happens to AJ, although I warn you, by the end, you’ll want more. 

 

Category: Fiction   Genres: Drama, Romance   Tags: mature adult, gay, friendship, holiday  Rating: Everyone

 

Luc
Reviewer: Timothy M.
Status: Complete
Word Count: 21,854 

 

Let me introduce you to one of the most poignant and beautiful stories which I read shortly after I joined GA. It never fails to squeeze my heart and bring tears to my eyes as I hold my breath and hope for love to conquer fear and the dreaded age gap.

 

At the beginning of the story, Justin is contemplating jumping off a cliff, literally, but then he encounters Aaron who distracts him from the woes of having been dumped by his partner after fourteen years of catering to his wishes. The mutual attraction between the high school teacher and the eighteen-year-old is fairly obvious, but Justin knows all the reasons why he shouldn’t give in to temptation. He may be vulnerable, but he’s also sensible and honorable, two traits, which together with his kindness, make me admire him as he struggles with loneliness.

 

The pace of the story is slow but every word pulls you deeper. Justin may find it easy to resist the offer of physical intimacy, but as the summer progresses so does their mutual closeness of mind and heart. Justin ends up at the mental cliff of whether to leap into the love and relationship offered by Aaron, for the summer or forever. Of all the stories by this Classic GA author, this is my absolute favorite, and I heartily recommend it.

 

Category: Fiction   Genres:  Romance  Tags:  young adult  Rating: Mature

Renee Stevens

I hope you all enjoyed the last Improve & Encourage feature, because it's time for another one. These features are meant to both provide feedback to authors and, similar to story reviews, point out stories that readers might not otherwise have found. It's similar to a review, in that the person doing the critique tells you what they liked about the story, but it differs in that they also provide constructive criticism. Each author signed up to participate, and sign up's are still open!  These will post once a month until we no longer have content. Once that happens, I will critique the last author that posted. If you'd like to provide a critique for the blog, sign up in the thread. I'm hoping to have a lot more authors sign up, and just remember, by signing up, you are also volunteering to have your story critiqued and featured.

 

Puppy Love

Renee Stevens

 

Critiqued by: Valkerie

 

Summary:

Blaine and Levi meet under rather embarrassing circumstances.  Blaine has just gone through a bad break-up and is not prepared for the effect Levi has on him.  They are brought together through their mutual concern over a found puppy.  Adversity is nipping at their heels though, and they go through more than their share of trials and tribulations at the hand of Blaine’s ex.

 Strengths:

This story is riveting from the beginning.  It has plenty of action both in and out of the bedroom, and it has a puppy! I love stories that feature animals, and Ruff’s antics throughout the story mesh well with the storyline.  Renee creates relatable characters who provoke a sense of empathy and make the reader root for their success.  I thought the development of Blaine and Levi’s relationship flowed well and developed at a natural pace. 

Renee also develops conflict to drive the story forward and throws several wrenches at the characters just to keep them on their toes.  I binge-read the last several chapters because I simply couldn’t stop reading.  She threw conflict on top of conflict and then added a little bit more.  I had to remind myself to breathe at times, and to slow down so I could process what I was reading!

Weaknesses/Areas of Improvement:

This is one of Renee’s earlier stories, so these comments are not reflective of her current writing skills.  The story needs a good tune-up from an editor, as there are quite a few misused/misspelled words and repeated words, along with the overuse of characters’ names in dialogue.  There are couple of scenes I found implausible,

Spoiler

such as toward the end of the story when they are in the helicopter.  After finding out the pilot is the mole, the other agents devise a plan to take him out just prior to landing.  There are no other qualified pilots on the helicopter, so taking out the only person who can safely land it seems counterproductive. They immobilize the pilot just prior to landing, and one of the agents talks to an experienced pilot on the ground, who then guides him through the process. I found the whole scenario implausible.  Landing is one of the trickiest parts of flying, so it makes more sense to me to have the confrontation take place once they were safely on solid ground.

The other major weakness, IMO, also occurs near the end of the story,

Spoiler

when Levi withdraws from Blaine, thinking he wants to break up with him.  It was an abrupt change for a character who, up until then, had been nothing but open and communicative.  The explanation didn’t make sense to me and the transition from distant to himself again seemed a bit rushed.

Despite its weaknesses, it’s still a good read that will make you laugh, facepalm, and want to immediately go out and pet a puppy.  lol

What was your favorite part?

It’s hard to pick a favorite part.  I was torn between the beginning and the ending, but I think I’m going to go with Chapter Two when Blaine and Levi first meet.  The interplay between them made me chuckle, and Levi’s tenacity was annoying, but endearing at the same time. 

As he approached, Blaine locked gazes with the man and had to force himself not to turn around and go back into the relative safety of the water.  Reaching his towel and the man standing next to it, Blaine bent over and grabbed up his towel off the ground, all too conscious of the man’s gaze.   Blaine quickly secured the towel around his waist before turning and facing the guy standing next to him.  The guy who had intruded on his peace and quiet.

 

“Can I help you?” Blaine asked, his tone stating that he was not happy at being disturbed.

 

“Nah, was just out wandering.”

 

“And you just happened to end up here, huh?  Okay, sure, sorry if I find that a bit hard to believe.”

 

“Skeptical, that's nice to know.  Name’s Levi,” the man said holding out a hand.

 

“Blaine,” Blaine answered, reluctantly grasping the hand that was extended towards him.  At the first touch of Levi’s skin on his own, Blaine felt a warmth creep over his body, causing him to quickly pull away.  “So, what exactly are you doing around here?”

 

“Like I said, I was just wandering, I’m camped about a mile west of here, just wanted to see what else was around here.”

 

“A mile huh?  That’s interesting, considering the nearest approved campsite to this place is about two miles away, and that’s where all the tourist crap is.  There’s not a whole lot to see out this way.”

 

“I wouldn’t necessarily say that, I think I found something worth exploring.”

Cia

Did you catch Monday's blog featuring Vlista's teen drama, Tyler? Make sure you check it out and download your copy of the signature graphic at the bottom if you want to share your love for the story. Or, if you haven't read the story before or checked it out yet, enjoy this excerpt below! 

 

Cia said: 

Vlista's stories can be quite graphic and dark, but Tyler is more about the life after the worst a teen has faced than the negative experiences that shaped him. I really like the sense of hope in the story as the characters look forward and not back, refusing to let the darkness take away the chance of a happy future. I also really liked the way this one section offers so many glimpses into the major characters in the story.

 

Quote

 


Though his face was red a small smile formed on his lips as he slipped the sneaker on Connor’s foot.  “So you came in here just to check me out?” he said feeling incredibly flattered as that didn’t happen with anyone but girls.  Girls he could care less about.

Chuckling nervously Connor nodded.  “Fraid so.  We saw you in the food court and suddenly I needed new sneakers.”

His small smile formed into a larger one as he tied up the shoe and put his hands gently on each side of it when he was done.  The gesture made Connor’s heart tingle as well as other parts of his body.  “How does this one feel?”

“Good,” Connor stood up and took the required few steps before he sat back down.  Tyler removed the shoe and pulled another one out having no idea of what to say or do about this sudden situation and hoping Connor would keep talking.

“So not being gay that must gross you out?”

He suddenly felt angry he’d denied his own feelings as his hands worked over the laces on the shoe.  “It doesn’t gross me out.   I’m flattered actually.”

Connor bit his cheek in frustration hoping his question would pry the kid out of his closet.  “You got a girlfriend?”

Tyler sighed and shook his head.  He slipped the shoe on Connor’s foot.  “I lied I am gay.” he was tired of the beating around the bush questions and was really liking the guy back, though he seemed a little weird he figured that just may be nerves, and didn’t want to ruin any chances he may have.

Connor nearly passed out from his glee as his face lit up enough to lite a small country.  He stuck out his hand.  “Name’s Connor.”

Tyler grinned at him and put his hand in his.  “Tyler but I guess you already knew that.”

Connor grinned and nodded. “So do you have a boyfriend?”

Sniggering Tyler shook his head.  “I don’t think I need to ask but do you?”

“Nope.” Connor said happily perhaps the first time in his teen years that he was glad of it.

Tyler motioned with his hand for Connor to stand up and this time when he did he checked him over from head to toe.  The guy was cute.  Something he would have seen before if he’d not been so scared of him.  He had short dark hair cut much the same as his own hair.  Light blue eyes that sparkled and a lean yet solidly built body.

He looked back at Rick wondering how much Rick knew about his life since his mother was his social worker.  He knew now that’s where he’d recognized him from as his picture was on her desk down at the social services offices.  A desk he sat at three or four times in the past.

Rick seeing him studying him smiled.  “Don’t worry man, I don’t know nothing about you.  Ma just said you’d be starting school with us yesterday and it wouldn’t kill me to be nice to you.”

He smiled filling with relief though it nagged at him still as it would be plenty easy enough for Rick to dig up dirt on him.  Stuff he was not yet ready to tell anyone about but his social worker knew from dealing with him for many years as long before he was taken away from his parents social services had been part of their lives.

After deciding on a pair of sneakers Tyler walked Connor to the counter where he stepped behind it.  “So can I have your phone number?”

 

To read more, check out the rest of the story here.

Cia

This month I picked a Classic Author story to feature that might make for some difficult reading, but the hope inside the story is what I like to focus on. As one of the older stories on the site, you might have missed it before, but I hope everyone will enjoy Vlista's teen drama, Tyler! 

 

teen's lower legs and tennis shoes propped up on a box

 

Length: 86,934

 

Description: Tyler’s a foster kid, after being abused by his parents and mistreated in foster care he’s angry with the world and all but given up on finding true happiness, until he meets Connor, but is he too angry to let himself be happy?

 

Some Readers Said: 

 

On ‎4‎/‎19‎/‎2011 at 7:49 PM, Contest4jen said:

This story is very cute...this chapter especially :) Cheers :D

 

On ‎3‎/‎6‎/‎2013 at 11:05 PM, Daithi said:

Thank you for a beautiful story. It had me running the full gamut of emotions. Story was too short but the ending was perfect

 

On ‎3‎/‎3‎/‎2017 at 12:13 PM, bundu_st said:

This is the third time over the years that I've read this story. It is sad, yes, but also always reminds me that sad doesn't have to last forever. Thanks for this little jewel of light.

 

If you want to spread the word about Vlista's story, download the graphic below and add it to your signature!

Make sure you come back on Wednesday to see the excerpt I chose to share!

 

Vlista Tyler Md Banner.jpg

Renee Stevens

Well, we're at the start of another week and, to finish off the year, we are going to look at a story written by AC Benus called "Christmas at Famous-Barr". If you like what Timothy M has to say in the review, why not go check out the story and leave the author a review! Also, if you've read a story you've enjoyed lately, and would like to see it featured in the GA News Blog, simply shoot me a PM and send me a review. I'm always looking for reviews.

 

Christmas at Famous-Barr

AC Benus

Reviewer : Timothy M.

Status : Complete

Word Count : 279,124

 

Who wants to get in the mood for Christmas? Or if you don’t celebrate Christmas you can simply enjoy a series of eight well-written and heartwarming tales with a most unusual main character. AC Benus’ impressive chronicle of Famous-Barr, a Saint Louis department store, takes us through more than a century, beginning in 1880 (story VIII) and ending in 2005 (story I). You can either read them chronologically, or you can read them in the order they were posted, starting with story III (Katie’s Sketchbook) from 1976 and my personal favorite story VI (It Had to Be Good) from 1929.

 

It’s difficult to give justice to the huge amount of research AC did to get every detail right. There are pictures and links to documents and historical facts, both in the stories themselves, in the story topic, and in AC’s Famous-Barr blog, which are also well worth a visit. All of this is weaved together with an amazing set of main characters who capture our hearts as we follow their struggles to do the right thing and find love. Their stories will make you laugh and cry, whether the love is gay, straight, parental, sisterly, or even the love of working in a special place alongside your colleagues.

 

Famous-Barr turns out to be an example of what we today would call an inclusive and socially aware work place. Long before corporate social responsibility, CSR, became a buzz word, this department store showed progressive thinking and behavior towards both employees and customers, irrespective of gender, race, and orientation. AC Benus depicts not only how narrow minds and tradition caused injustice but also how the influence of kind and clever Famousites (the nickname for the staff) made all the difference needed to set matters right. What better Christmas presents could you possibly get than acceptance and recognition of your worth as a human being?

 

Now, before you get bored or scared off by all this philosophical stuff, let me assure you that Christmas at Famous-Barr has plenty of fun, tender, dramatic, and holiday-spirited moments. Not to mention vivid descriptions of the beautiful Santalands, Christmas window exhibitions, decorations, events, and presents, which are bound to make you either nostalgic or envious of the Saint Louis inhabitants and visitors who were lucky enough to experience these holiday miracles in person. Famous-Barr actually invented the concept of a department store Santa !

 

Visit Famous-Barr and find the true Christmas spirit of giving joy to those you love. No matter what your preference is, you’ll find a tale to suit your taste. Happy Holiday.

 

Category: Fiction   Genres: Historical, Comedy, Drama, Romance  Tags:  christmas, philosophy, psychology, parents, child, coming of age    Rating: Everyone/Teen

Cia

That's right! Your eyes have not deceived you. :) This month the last Monday is Christmas, and New Year's is a Monday as well. There are other posts we're going to feature those days, so I thought I'd do something a little different these two months for our Can't Stop Reading selection(s). There are so many stories, there's sure to be a favorite for everyone to choose and share with each other! 

Rows upon rows of gold presents with red bows.

In honor of the holidays, you can use the Advanced Search to find any story with "Christmas" or "Holiday" in the title for your reading enjoyment. Or five. Or five pages... totally up to you! I'd like you to pick 1 (just one) story to write a review of 1-3 sentences. You love it, you want others to read it... now why? On Monday, January 29th, I'll share a blog post with all the great stories our members loved over the holiday season. 

 

Sounds like fun, right? 

 

Not sure how Advanced Search works? Follow these 5 super easy steps!

 

1. Click on the Stories tab

2. Click on the Advanced Search option in the right sidebar Browse box. 

3. Type in Christmas or Holiday into the title field

4. Scroll down and click Search

5. Enjoy the stories! 

Renee Stevens

I hope you all enjoyed the last Improve & Encourage feature, because it's time for another one. These features are meant to both provide feedback to authors and, similar to story reviews, point out stories that readers might not otherwise have found. It's similar to a review, in that the person doing the critique tells you what they liked about the story, but it differs in that they also provide constructive criticism. Each author signed up to participate, and sign up's are still open!  These will post once a month until we no longer have content. Once that happens, I will critique the last author that posted. If you'd like to provide a critique for the blog, sign up in the thread. I'm hoping to have a lot more authors sign up, and just remember, by signing up, you are also volunteering to have your story critiqued and featured.

 

Genie in Flames

Wicked Witch

 

Critique By: Comicfan

 

Please give us a short summary of the story you chose.

Jo is a young boy who is lonely. He is dealing with coming to terms with who he is, but wants someone to talk with. He makes a wish upon a star and a genie named Yaidul comes to talk with him. I don’t want to go into too much detail and rob you of the reading pleasure, but this one leaves you feeling for the main character.

What do you see as the strengths of the story/poem?

Jo is shown to be a lonely soul. He has no one to talk to and is shown immediately sharing his fears with the fire. Wicked Witch gives many traits to Jo in a very short period, displaying the child’s generosity, thoughtfulness, and worry. This brings his loneliness and fears into sharp focus. This accomplished within a short period and with an economy of language.

What so you see as the weakness of the story/poem?

If there is a weakness in the story it is its brevity. You know poor Jo is worried about his future. While there are mentions of Jo’s parents, as a reader you desire to know more. What have they said that worries Jo? Why is this poor, sweet soul seemingly without friends? As a reader you just want more.

How do you think the story/poem could be improved?

I believe it could be improved greatly by tying Wicked Witch to a seat in front of a computer and keeping them there until a second chapter is completed. Barring that, just going back to expand and include a bit more in the details. Overall, you are easily drawn into the world Wicked Witch created for Jo, but you so want more of it.

What was your favorite part?

I’m a sucker for anything that pulls at the heart strings and Yaidul’s final line, “I’ll be here as long as you need a friend to talk to, Jo,” just breaks my heart. It leaves you feeling so sad for Jo.

 

Cia

Did you have a chance to read Graeme's short story, Street Life? This was originally posted as part of the 2008 spring anthology, and it's an emotional journey of surprisingly short length but with great impact. Make sure you share your thoughts below, but of course, first we have my interview with Graeme!

 

What’s the best part of living in Australia?

Checks to see if Tourism Australia has sent me a cheque for advertising. Hmm…nothing so far…

Definitely the people and culture. While Australia is by no means perfect, I’ve generally found people across the country to be friendly and helpful (though there are always exceptions). Culturally, Australians are very diverse and generally tolerant (though, again, there are exceptions). As a result, while there is definitely racism, homophobia and religious intolerance here, I find it to be much less than it could be. As an example, it’s rare for the media to report the sexual orientation of a person, even when that person is a public figure (such as the head of a political party, or the president of a major professional body). In Australia, the sexual orientation of a person isn’t a big deal (unless you’re trying to date them).

Oh, and would this be a good time to let everyone know that Melbourne has been name as the world’s most livable city by the Economist magazine for the seventh time in a row? Not that I’m boasting....

You’re very busy. How do you find time to write?

At times, I struggle. If I’m working from home, I can sometimes squeeze in an hour or two of writing during my working day, but if I’m travelling it can be a chore. I work best first thing in the morning, but if I’m not working from home I lose that time. I generally don’t write at night as I often struggle with motivation at that time of the day.

Do you plot out a story or write as it comes to you?

It’s a little of both. For many years now, I won’t start a story unless I know roughly how it’ll end. That gives me a goal to write to, and I then fill in the gap with a number of possible events along the way. Once I have done that, I start writing and often find new things along the way that I didn’t original plan. I like my characters to drive the story, rather than have them being puppets to the plot, so while there is some control over what happens to ensure I get to the ending I’ve planned, I give the characters a lot of leeway. As an example, in Leopard Spots, one of the characters shows up unexpectedly at someone’s house. That had been planned from the beginning, but when I first plotted the story, it was a different person’s house to what appeared in the final story. The character interactions that arose during the writing changed the details of whose house it would be from what was originally planned.

If you have 30 minutes of free time, what do you like to do?

Read. Either on my tablet, browsing the Internet, or I’ll pick up one of my print novels and start re-reading a story. It’s always re-reading, though, because if I have a new novel, the reading time is never just 30 minutes….

Is there a literary character you’ve read (in all fiction) that you really identified with?

That’s a tough one. I always like to put myself into a story when I’m reading, imagining what it would be like to be part of that universe. Since I like reading science fiction and fantasy, that means I’m often putting myself in the shoes of someone with special abilities, which is always fun. So, I don’t have a specific character I identify with, but I like to associate myself with lots of characters in different worlds.

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently re-reading some of L.E.Modesitt Jr’s Recluce series. The exact one I’m reading at the moment is Magi’i of Cyador. I’ve always liked the complex worlds that L.E.Modesitt Jr creates, and how he doesn’t make groups black or white. In the book that started the series, it was easy for the reader to think that those who followed Chaos were always going to be the bad guys, but then he wrote several stories, including the one I’m currently reading, where a Chaos-wielder is the champion of the story.

You’re not shy about delving into serious topics in your writing, but do you remember what prompted you to write Street Life?

Absolutely. Most people who have read both Street Life and New Brother will be aware that Street Life is a spin-off of the scene at the end of chapter 8 of New Brother. What’s less well known, though I’ve mentioned it before, is that scene is the very first scene I wrote before I decided to start posting my works online. I wrote that scene to see if I could portray the emotions I wanted. I was sufficiently happy with the result that I wrote New Brother. During the early stages, whenever I got stuck, I would go back to that first scene I wrote and tweak it, until it was time to drop it into the story. That is why it’s one of the strongest scenes in the story; it had a lot of work put into it!

Since I had put some much effort into that scene, I always wanted to write Craig’s tale as its own story. That task languished for a long time, partly-written but not completed, until the Living in the Shadows anthology came along. That theme fitted the Street Life so well that it motivated me to complete the story and post it online.

As for the original inspiration, the basic setup was from newspaper reports from that era. That area of St. Kilda was well known at the time for street sex workers, though most were female. However, I read an article in one of Melbourne’s newspapers about some streets where the sex workers were young men. That article also mentioned how the locals gave what support they could to the kids living on the streets and surviving by selling their bodies, and that was how Mrs. K ended up in the story.

AIDS has changed so much since the years this story is set in. Have you written about someone facing the disease in more modern years in your works?

Just one other short story: Bad News. I still don’t know for sure but I suspect I wrote that story as a warning to myself about the dangers of straying. As most readers will be aware, I’m a married man who came out to his wife over ten years ago. She stayed with me, and I’ve stayed with her…but I know that I can’t afford to do what the protagonist in Bad News did.

I have AIDS as a major part of another story which was originally written as a Valentine’s Day story, but that’s more about how love doesn’t care about things like AIDS, rather than someone facing the disease in more recent years.

Despite the tough scenes readers experience in Street Life, you managed to end the story on a note of hope. How important was it to show that scene rather than just let readers imagine it?

It was important because the story summary had already been published in New Brother. I had to get from where I started to a place where the events told in New Brother were a logical extension. That, plus the fact that I don’t generally prefer dark endings, meant I couldn’t leave things with Craig in despair. I’m happier if a story ends on an up note, even if life isn’t perfect, and that’s what I did here.

How about you share something readers might like to know about your current or upcoming work?

I’m currently working on a fourth novel in the Leopards series that follows on from the end of Leopards Leap. Unfortunately, the work has been going slowly (I’ve been working on it for over a year and haven’t gotten very far) but I’m still hopeful that I’ll be able to finish it. Originally, the story was going to concentrate on the group in Sydney, but I’ve expanded it so the story will encompass both the Sydney and Melbourne groups. I hope I haven’t bitten off too much with what I’m attempting....

 

Cia

Did you catch Monday's blog featuring Comicfan's story, The Life of Seeon, as this month's Signature Feature? If not, go check it out and then download a copy of the graphic to share in your signature if you want to show your love for his story. If Monday's blog wasn't enough to move this story to the top of your TBR list, maybe today's excerpt will! 

 

Comicfan said:

I picked it because it sets up the whole tale. Right from the start you know Seeon is seen as the lesser of the princes. The world he is used to, first two sons are important, then daughters so power can be gain by marriage.  A third boy isn't needed and this excerpt shows that.

 

Quote

 


  Prince Seeon was the fifth child of the High King Toleran Maon. Being the youngest meant he had disadvantages his older siblings did not. His oldest brother, Prince Henot, would inherit the crown and rule after his father died. His second oldest brother, Prince Semon, was the Warrior Prince. He often was sent to deal with the necessary problems and acted as the face of the kingdom to the outside forces. It was heard whispered by the royal servants that if Prince Semon died, at least Prince Henot would be safe.

                That just left the youngest three. Princess Yasmeen and Princess Solrean were twins. They were barely seventeen years old. In about a year their father would begin to look for suitable matches for them. And then there was the youngest, Prince Seeon, who was just fourteen. Seeon knew he would never rule so he would either have to become a eunuch on his eighteenth birthday or become a priest. When he was twelve years old these things had been carefully explained to him so he knew these were the only options for the third born prince. It was only necessary for there to be one crowned prince and what was jokingly referred to as the spare. Any sons beyond that were simply to be dispatched before anyone thought of using them in a battle to split the kingdom.

                So Seeon, having decided to become a priest rather than a eunuch, was kept far from the hallways of power. He rarely if ever was brought before his father. As royalty, he was given eunuchs to keep him fed, washed, dressed, and have his hair neatly shaved off as the priests did. He spent four hours a day studying the various forms of religion. It was at lunchtime that he truly found happiness each day, for this is when he got to dine with his sisters. Occasionally even Prince Semon would join them.

 

 

 

To read more, check out the rest of the story here

 

 

Cia

This month we're changing it up a little and doing a feature for one of our Signature authors--and resident prompt guru--Comicfan. The story he chose to be featured was The Life of Seeon. Make sure you check it out (I bet those reviews will help you decide to read it sooner rather than later!) and then download the signature graphic below if you want to share you love for Comicfan's story. 

599376646c6dc_ComicfanLifeofSeeonLg.jpg.5e3903058ef078e75a539e3bc8ec65c2.jpg

 

Length: 31,995

 

Description: Seeon Toleran is the fifth child of the ruling royal family. His life was one of study and devotion to his Gods. Then war came and the world Seeon knew ended. There were decisions that were made for him which drastically altered the direction of his life. Suddenly the world of the priesthood is gone as an option in Seeon's life. Instead he is made Ma' Nee. What will this mean to a youth who has known neither love nor choice? Will this end his world or open new vistas? Time will tell.

 

Some Readers Said:

On ‎11‎/‎5‎/‎2011 at 4:40 PM, Renee Stevens said:

Liking the beginning of this, though there are still so many questions to be answered. Hopefully won't have to wait too long for those answers. This I think is going to be an interesting tale, the talk about becoming a eunuch was really unexpected. So, if I'm reading this write, since the middle brother did have two children, is that why Seeon didn't become the "spare" ? And what is a Ma’ Nee???? Keep going with this!

 

On ‎11‎/‎10‎/‎2011 at 5:59 PM, Frostina said:

Poor Seeon! the heart twists with the pain he's having to go through. :(

 

On ‎11‎/‎13‎/‎2011 at 1:13 AM, Ramon said:

Intriguing. The story itself is well told but this whole Ma'Nee thing is weird. I've also never been a fan of people going with what they are told simply because it is their duty so I'm hoping Seeon still has some fight in him. Secretly training isn't much but I'm going to take that as a sign that he won't turn into some crying mess that feints all the time. (I'm not being too harsh on Seeon, am I?) Anyway. I'll stick around for a bit to see where you go with the story line. Thanks for the interesting read.

 

If you want to spread the word about Comicfan's story, download the graphic below and add it to your signature!

Make sure you come back on Wednesday to see the excerpt he chose to share!

599375e798038_ComicfanLifeofSeeonMd.jpg.89b8b4b16323fdae84387745e83f4bf1.jpg

 

Renee Stevens

Well, it's the start of a new week, and for today's schedule, we're bringing you Puppilull's review of Personal Banking by Refugium. Featured story days are a great way to highlight one of the many stories that can be found in GA Stories. With so many stories, it's easy for a single story to get lost in the shuffle. If you're reading a story that you would like to do a blog review and bring attention to, PM me (Renee). Now, onto the review. Hopefully you enjoy Puppilull's review enough to go check out Personal Banking for yourself!

 

Personal Banking

Refugium

 

Reviewer : Puppilull
Status : Complete
Word Count :  18,202
 

You know how sometimes you just want to escape for a little while? Go somewhere you can forget your everyday musts and simply have fun? But you don’t really have the time? If so, I have the perfect story for you! It’s humorous, sexy and the chapters are short enough to sneak in at a minibreak (or by all means, binge the whole thing at once…).

 

The story is Personal Banking by Refugium and it’s about a man needing a loan to cover his debts. Sounds like you might as well look at your own, fun-filled life, doesn’t it? Well, only if your bank contacts consist of not one, but two very sexy loan officers who make your mind go to inappropriate places. :P 

 

The main character, Richard Andrews, is in trouble. He needs a loan to consolidate some debts he’s struggling with, but he doesn’t have any collateral. His attractive loan officer is willing to stretch the rules to give him the loan, provided Rich lives up to certain requirementsvery specific requirements regarding his everyday life, such as no frivolous spending, no drinking and no drugs. And, of course, personal meetings once a week to ensure payments are being made to clear the debt.

 

The loan officer Mr. Phillips turns out to be somewhat of a mystery man with an unclear agenda and a knack for confusing his client. Rich tries to be the perfect client but can’t help himself as he lusts after Mr. Phillips, trying to figure out if his bank man is in fact interested or merely polite. More than once, Rich loses himself in steamy daydreaming when he should be paying attention. And then there is the other guy, Jose, who leaves no question about where his interests lie. Maybe he’s the one Rich should be focusing his attention on?

 

This story is written with an underlying humor that makes you giggle practically continuously. It’s lighthearted and quick paced which makes for the perfect distraction. At the same time, you feel strongly for the characters, especially Rich.

 

A word of warning, though. Reading at a break at work would be ill-advised. There is some sex in this storysteamy sex that will have your cheeks turn at least a nice shade of pink. A slight element of dominance and submission adds to the tension between our characters. Throw in some jealousy and the cocktail gets rather potent.

 

As a reader, you are kept in the dark about why Mr. Phillips makes Rich jump through all those hoops, and you are as puzzled as he is. His overactive imagination plays tricks on him as he interprets everything that happens as signs and then feels stupid when things turn out differently. The twists and turns of the story will make you jump to the next chapter and then the next, giving you pure reading fun.

 

Category: Fiction   Genres: Comedy, Drama   Tags: mature adult, adult, gay, work place, urban, north america    Rating: Mature

Renee Stevens

Have you ever wondered, if an author could pick one story that they wrote, what story they would recommend? Well, today we're going to set about answering that question for you. Today we have Carlos Hazday, lomax61, and Headstall, all telling us what story they wrote is their favorite and why. Hopefully you find a new story or two out of this feature. And if you're an author, well, pick your favorite story of yours and send it to me along with a link to the story and a paragraph telling readers why that is your favorite self-written story!

 

Favorite Self-Written Story #2

 


 

Melvyn Ford

Carlos Hazday

 

Description: A 1929 Ford Model A Tudor is passed from father to son through several generations.

 

Note from Author: Although not up to my current technical writing standards, the story still tugs at my heart. The number of layers is what makes me like it so much. It's all about family with highs and lows, sadness and happiness. I don't consider it a gay story even though one of the characters is. It's simply about a line of fathers and sons and one of them happens to be gay. What binds them together is their affection for an automobile which helps us track the generations of Jareds.

 


 

Second Half

lomax61

 

Description: Marcus, a gay chef riding the waves of success, loses his best friend Lorraine Bradford-Fowler in a car accident. Her husband, Tom, is a broken man, especially knowing that she had been in the car with another man. Left to bring up his two daughters single-handedly, he begins to come apart. Until Marcus steps in to bring things back from the brink, and taking them both by surprise, finds that Tom begins to have feeling for him.

 

Note from Author: This is my favourite story to date because it deals with potentially real life situations, with family and loss, and most importantly shows how two people can find love through their dependence on each other.

 


 

Morningstar: The Malaise

Headstall

 

Description: Kellar has become an island unto himself. That is, until he meets Tobyn, the first shifter who will actually talk to him.

 

Note from Author: I believe many would expect I would choose Cards on the Table, and it is a close call in some ways. I have written two 'epic in length' stories, but I have learned so much about writing since my first, and Morningstar: The Malaise is the culmination of that. It truly represents how far I have come as an author. Yes, I will continue to refine my skills, but the pride I feel for this accomplishment is immense. You are asking this question on the day I'm posting my final chapter, so it is a bittersweet one. Morningstar delves into new territory for me. It is a shifter story, a mystery, and a romance. It required a ton of thought and research, and rather intricate planning, and was, at times, taxing, but the end result, I believe, speaks for itself. I have created a world that is relevant in our day and age... at least I hope so. I think most readers who are not a fan of the supernatural genres will forget all about the fact it is a shifter story if they give it a chance. In fact, I know it, because it's been told to me often. I have many 'favorite' stories, but this one eclipses them all... until I write the next one :) .

 


 

Cia

November is here, and this month I wanted to feature something different. There are a lot of stories on the site with themes that involve some heavy subjects that can really make you think, but one of the best of those is an older story that many current readers probably haven't found since it was posted for a 2008 anthology themed "Living in the Shadows".

 

Street Life

by Graeme

 

Length: 16,661

 

Description: *Reader warning* This story does contain mature themes & references to underage prostitution and suicide. 

 

A Reader said: That was depressing and uplifting at the same time. I've read New Brother, and I can remember the main charater (whom I despised utterly in spite of your heroic and brilliant effort to make him understandable and redeemable) being told Craig's story. It was one of the better moments in New Brother and I'm glad I finally managed to read Craig's story, even though it made me sad. ~ Timothy M

 

Please come back for our Discussion Day on Monday, November 27th.

Cia

How fast these months go! Is it nearly Halloween where you live? Are you ready for some tricks or treats? Or maybe you celebrate All Hallow's Eve another way? Or... maybe the whole thing freaks you out, and you'd rather read a story set firmly in the present? Maybe a little second-chance? If so, I hope you enjoyed Mitchelll's Mr. Brightside! Don't forget to share your thoughts in a comment below, but my first we have my interview with him!

 

What brought you to Gay Authors?

I liked the interaction between the users with the forums and the commenting on the stories.  I also liked that the stories focused more on storytelling rather than on sex.  I had read stories at Nifty for years, and always found their lack of story description and ability to search for specific stories problematic.  There are definitely gems there, but it can be a slog to find something I really enjoy reading.

 

If you could give yourself advice when you first started writing, what would it be?

To just get started.  To just sit down and write.  When I decided to try writing, I spent literally years thinking about writing, creating characters and plotting stories in my head before I finally managed to sit down at a computer and try to put those ideas on paper.

 

Do you have any writing rituals?

Not really.  I always write at a certain place, my grandmother’s table in the breakfast room, but other than that it varies.  My favorite time to write is very early in the morning while drinking coffee, but I haven’t been able to turn that into a real habit.

 

What do you struggle with most when you are writing a story?

Actually putting it down on the page.  I have entire stories plotted out in my head, huge swathes of dialogue, etc.  And I write a lot while doing other tasks like walking the dog or working, or at least think about my stories, but when it comes time to sit down and actually transfer it from my brain to a page, I find it incredibly difficult.  I think it was Truman Capote who said something like “I like to have written.  I hate writing.”  That pretty much sums up my feelings.

 

How long did it take you to write Mr. Brightside?

I’m not actually sure, but I know that it was more than a year.

 

How did you come up with the title?

I had started the story, which had already evolved a lot from its beginning.  I was thinking about a title when I happened to see the video for Mr. Brightside again, and I realized that the lyrics about jealousy, the feeling of the video, so much of it reflected my story.  In fact, I pictured Jason as looking very much like Brandon Flowers, and Viktor as looking like Eric Roberts.

 

What prompted you to set the story in New Orleans?

As a writing novice, at this point, I’m sticking to the old advice of writing about what you know.  I’ve lived here for almost twenty years, and I love it.  And I have, unfortunately, seen paths like Shane and Corey.  It’s a beautiful, fascinating city with a very, very dark side. 

 

Did you have to do a lot of research for Mr. Brightside? What’s your preferred method?

Honestly, no.  There were a few things I looked up online and verified.  Like luxury VIP hospital wings are a very real thing.  And Louisiana involuntary commitment laws, though not quite as easy to get around in real life, are in fact among the most lax in the nation.

 

Can you sum up the story in one sentence?

I think for me the main theme would be contained in Jason’s story arc:  When you refuse to be true to yourself and life authentically, it can lead to tragedy, both for yourself and the others around you.

 

When can readers expect more?

I am currently working on a follow up to Mr. Brightside, Smile Like You Mean It.  It’s not a direct sequel, and its main focus is on new characters, but Jason and Shane do play a role.

Renee Stevens

I hope you all enjoyed the last Improve & Encourage feature, because it's time for another one. These features are meant to both provide feedback to authors and, similar to story reviews, point out stories that readers might not otherwise have found. It's similar to a review, in that the person doing the critique tells you what they liked about the story, but it differs in that they also provide constructive criticism. Each author signed up to participate, and sign up's are still open!  These will post once a month until we no longer have content. Once that happens, I will critique the last author that posted. If you'd like to provide a critique for the blog, sign up in the thread. I'm hoping to have a lot more authors sign up, and just remember, by signing up, you are also volunteering to have your story critiqued and featured.

 

Little Man

Mann Ramblings

 

Critique By: Timothy M

 

Please give us a short summary of the story you chose.

This is a story of strong friendships and of budding love which goes awry at times, due to insecurity, mistakes and the misplaced interference from other people. Clay, or Little Man as his best friend Eric calls him, is in college and a talented artist. He spends most of his time around straight jocks like his BFF. But one of them has more in common with Clay than he thinks, and the sparks fly from the very first, unexpected kiss. However, hiding their attraction leads to all sorts of problems and hurts, yet Mann keeps the reader hoping till the end.

 

What do you see as the strengths of the story/poem?

The main strength of Mann’s first story is the way he makes the characters come alive before our eyes and persuades us to like them in spite of all their faults and mistakes. The wrong decisions are logical at the time, even as we cringe to read about them. Mann’s message is loud and clear: don’t lie to your best friend and don’t deny love. I also admire the way he portrays the insecurities and fears of Little Man without once making him come across as whiny, feeble-minded or weak-willed. Clay doesn’t let his emotions rule his mind for long, even when they mess up his heart. And perhaps I should mention the sex is sizzling hot. :P

 

What do you see as the weaknesses of the story/poem?

Let me start out by saying it's bloody difficult to find any weak points in Mann's stories. That's part of the reason I chose his first GA story.

 

It has only one real weakness IMO, and that relates to Mann’s choice to drag the three friends, but Clay in particular, through all sorts of terrible, painful situations. At one point I felt as if he’d made a list of all the bad things which might ruin relationships (whether as friends or boyfriends). E.g. lying, cowardice, anxiety, homophobia, loneliness, physical hardship and violence, cheating, rejection and abandonment, betrayal, depression, and any other nightmare conceivable – someone had to suffer from it. :o I guess you could say Mann comes clean about his style of writing from the very beginning, since all his main story characters suffer. ;)


I could accept most of the misfortunes, since they advanced the story development in a logical and believable fashion, and I’m not ‘sensitive’ or generally squeamish about violence. But, to my mind, the final incident in chapter 9 detracted from the main message and over-all contents of both the story and the chapter.

 

Spoiler

The graphic violence was barely acceptable, but the rape seemed unnecessary, illogical and over-the-top.

 

I wasn’t the only (shocked) reader thinking this way, so I guess my feedback isn’t very original. Mann does address the issue in his replies to comments, and by adding a chapter note warning, and I can respect his reasons. But it remains the only weak point I could find in the story, and I still hate it. (Sorry, Mann)

 

How do you think the story/poem could be improved?

Not surprisingly, it ties into the perceived weakness, but it’s almost impossible to go into details without a major spoiler (see above). The worst part of chapter 9 crossed a line for me, which prevents me from fully enjoying and recommending this otherwise great story. I think the epic and brilliant resolution in chapter 10 could take place without going to the previous painful extreme. If I had beta read this story, I would have advised removing the most offending ‘detail’ but keeping the rest of the graphic violence, as an acceptable compromise. It’s not as if the three guys don’t suffer enough mental anguish already from the fateful consequences of their mistakes :pinch: and I think the showdown would stand out much stronger with the suggested rewrite. 

 

What was your favorite part? (scene/sentence/etc)

My favorite parts may be the very first and the very last sentence in the story. Mann sure knows how to start and end his story with something to make us :lmao: and :rofl: I also loved the visit to the mall (Heidi is awesome), and the body painting in chapter 1 was a brilliant idea.

 

Renee Stevens

Being the start of a new week, Monday's are also a good time to take a look at some of the different stories that can be found on Gay Authors. With so many great works, it can be easy to overlook one and Monday's provide an opportunity for us to help make one of them stand out and maybe catch your interest. Today, we're bringing you a review by AC Benus of Mikiesboy's story "Miss Silver Pretty-Pink Toes." Enjoy!

 

Miss Silver Pretty-Pink-Toes
Mikiesboy

Reviewer: AC Benus
Status: Complete
Word Count: 5,622

Mikiesboy’s range is pretty amazing. How many of us have thought of tackling a fairytale, and doing it old-school?

In Miss Silver Pretty-Pink-Toes you will encounter a beautiful goat who suffers a horrible fate: humanifacation! Her curse is to be set adrift among the caprice of mankind and to try to make her way back. Along the way, she meets unlikely love, and pure devotion – which she will need to return to her original form.

We also meet a one-eyed goat, a massive slime-covered snapping turtle and an evil toad.

In this highly original tales, many of Mikiesboy’s talents are called into use. There is poetry, fantasy, love and longing. There is also pain and confusion as some of the forces around Miss Silver act with malice.

If you have not ventured into this remarkable fantasy world, please do. Like me, I think you soon be asking the author to create more imaginative tales along these lines.

Category: Fiction   Genres: Fantasy, Romance   Tags: magic, sorcery, witchcraft, wizards, no sex, friendship   Rating: Everyone

Cia

Did you catch Monday's blog about this month's Classic Author feature, Don H's Working It Out? Don't miss out on some of the reviews and download your copy of the signature graphic so you can share your love of the story. If you did read Monday's blog but aren't quite convinced, maybe Myr's reasons for sharing this story and excerpt will sway you into reading it right away! And don't forget to leave a star rating and story review when you're done!!

 

Myr said: 

Don Haratty's "Working it Out" has long been a favorite of mine.  It started in 1999 and was going strong when I started Gay Authors, so he was one of the first authors I recruited here.  In reviewing the text for the blurb, I once again got sucked into the story.  I'm not really sure what it is.  The quirky humor? The appeal to a better nature?  The vivid physicality of the writing?  The Faith?

 

I guess in the end for me it has to be that feeling of striving to be better that the characters exhibit.  There is a religious element in the story too, that should, at least, provoke thought and that is something that appeals to my inner nerd.  It has been my experience in life that everyone needs to embrace a concept that is bigger than oneself.  For many years and in many places, people have embraced religion.  Gays in general seem to have wholesale rejected this aspect, but it may not be necessarily so.  This story does a good job of showing that without being preachy about it. 

 

This story hooked me right from the get go.  Read a chapter or two and see if it does the same for you.

The two roomies settled down into a comfortable routine over the next two weeks.  They had a few of the basic freshman liberal arts classes together during this first semester before more advanced classes in their respective majors kicked in.  Matt was pre-law, and Mike was pre-med.



After classes, in the late afternoon, Matt worked out with the wrestling team and Mike with the swim team.  Between athletics and their studies, there wasn't a lot of time for socializing, but they usually talked for a while before bed about their courses, complained about their professors and dorm food, and compared notes on the pretty girls in their classes.

They found out they had a lot in common.  Both came from well-to-do, upper-upper middle class families, both had a younger brother and sister, both of them had been jock heroes in their high school days, and--this blew Mike's mind--they both loved motorcycles.  Each of them owned a Honda CBR 900, as a matter of fact, and shared "a need for speed."  Their lament was that they couldn't have their bikes at school during their freshman year.

They were very popular with their teammates on the wrestling and swim teams, and there were always a lot of guys and even a few girls wandering in and out of their room at odd moments.

Matt was a pretty good Episcopalian, and Mike a casual Roman Catholic, so on their first Sunday in residence, Matt talked Mike into going to mass at the Canterbury Center, with the promise that he would go to mass at the Newman Center with Mike the next week.  Mike received communion at Canterbury, and on the way back to the dorm Matt kidded him,  "Mikey, the Pope is really pissed off at you now!" and they had a good laugh.

As the days passed, Mike realized that Matt was as beautiful a person on the inside as he was on the outside.  Mike just didn't see any flaws in this guy at all--he seemed honest, hardworking, serious about the serious things, but with a killer sense of humor and an infectious laugh.  And he was very laid back and easy to get along with.  He was also very demonstative, and was constantly pulling pranks.  He thought nothing of grabbing Mike around the neck and giving him nuggies, or putting him in a full Nelson and letting him struggle vainly to get away, or when they were sitting around in their underwear, snapping the waistband of Mike's boxers, and telling him, when he jumped, that he needed to learn how to relax.  When Mike retaliated on occasion, his only assets were speed and dexterity.  Matt couldn't catch him in a flat-out run down the hall, and Mike was slippery as an eel when cornered.  Once Matt had his hands on him, though, it was all over.

 

To read more, check out the rest of the story here:

Cia

For October, the Classic Author feature is another oldie but goodie, Working it Out by Don H. This story was actually what drew me to the site, and I have to echo a lot of Myr's sentiments on why he chose Don's story to feature! And if those endorsements aren't enough, check out some other reviews left by fans in the feature below. And don't forget to download the smaller graphic for your personal signature if you want to show your love of Don H's work!

 

59936797b8d5e_DonHWorkingItOutLg.jpg.8d9e3049d78690858ca62ebb0c95fb8e.jpg

 

Length: 120,993

 

Description: Mike Berman, a swimmer, and Matt Broman, a wrestler, are college roommates. Mike is gay and Matt finds out. They live life and face the ups and downs and above all, they work things out.

 

Some Readers Said

On 9/5/2011 at 10:54 AM, mr curiosus said:

WoW...

 

Loved this story! I have never cried so much reading a masterful piece of fiction,

excellent work, well written, well thought out concept, five stars all the way...

 

On 2/13/2012 at 1:09 PM, joann414 said:

Absolutely beautiful story. Loved the mixture of faith, love,sex, and above all the friendship that all the characters cultivated. Can't wait to read the next part. Thank u for such a wonderful story.

 

On 2/21/2016 at 10:05 AM, Cinnamon said:

I loved this story and the second read was even better. The way the two mc's overcame challenges was amazing and the family life promoted by the parents was an inspiration. Well done. Definitely five stars!

 

On 5/15/2017 at 0:12 PM, nehmad3223 said:

I just finished reading the whole wonderful story. It's a pity you haven't gone with it much longer... Anyway, thank you very much for it!

 

If you want to spread the word about Don's story, download the graphic below and add it to your signature!

Make sure you come back on Wednesday to see the excerpt Myr chose to share!

599368c46d1dc_DonHWorkingItOutMd.jpg.62054a591b3c897c7b86b926067ee593.jpg

Renee Stevens

First off, Happy Thanksgiving to all our Canadian members. I hope you have a wonderful holiday! Now, it's time for a story review! Let's take a look at what we have for you on this Monday morning. Wicked Witch provided us with this great review on our newest Signature Author, Headstall. We hope you enjoy the review on Morningstar: The Malaise, and if you haven't already read it, hopefully this review will inspire you to do so.

 

Morningstar: The Malaise 

by Headstall

Reviewer : Wicked Witch

Status : Complete

Word Count :  227,645

 

When Kellar found out he was a wolf shifter, he was alone in the world. After every one of his kind he met refused to talk to him, he became an island. Estranged from all, Kellar retreated to his little piece of the world, and lived a lonely but peaceful existence. Then he met Tobyn, the first shifter who answered his questions. And the peaceful existence was subsumed in following the mystery of the malaise and finding love and somewhere to belong along the way. With a few surprises.

 

Headstall’s recently completed Morningstar: The Malaise quickly became one of my favourite stories as I followed the journey of the characters. And such a journey it was! Headstall provided more than a few twists along the way as the characters and the world grew. Action, romance and adventure spread out ahead of Kellar and Tobyn.

 

The Morningstar world is interesting and well thought out, however this story's shining light are the characters. They’re interesting, they have troubles and conflicts, they grow as people throughout the story. And just when you think their journey is complete, they prove to you that they have many more interesting things to show you, the reader. You get to follow them through ups and downs and heart stopping moments, and sweet happiness at times that makes you smile with them.

 

I commend Headstall for managing to avoid many of the pitfalls of werewolf stories and provide an intrigue twist on the usual fare. If you enjoy the paranormal/supernatural, you’ll love this one. Or if you haven’t had a chance to get your toes wet in the realm of fantasy stories, here is a perfect place to start.

 

Category: Fiction   Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Mystery   Tags: young adults, were creatures, gay, first time, anal, oral    Rating: Mature

Cia

October is here! Can you feel the seasons changing? Year after year, the seasons change and some things stay the same... but not everything has to. Sometimes you get a second chance, and this month's feature is all about that. So enjoy this thrilling contemporary novel, and make sure you're ready for the Discussion day at the end of the month. 

 

Mr. Brightside

by mitchelll

 

Length: 76,407

 

Description: Four years ago as a college sophomore, Jason betrayed his best friend and roommate. Now he has a second chance...will he have the courage to take it?

 

A Reader Said: What a ride! So glad that Shane and Jason got their happy ending. Thanks for a wonderful story Mitchelll. I'm a little sad to see it end though. ~ Defiance19

 

Don't forget this month's Discussion Day will take place on Monday, October 30th

Renee Stevens

I hope you all enjoyed the last Improve & Encourage feature, because it's time for another one. These features are meant to both provide feedback to authors and, similar to story reviews, point out stories that readers might not otherwise have found. It's similar to a review, in that the person doing the critique tells you what they liked about the story, but it differs in that they also provide constructive criticism. Each author signed up to participate, and sign up's are still open!  These will post once a month until we no longer have content. Once that happens, I will critique the last author that posted. If you'd like to provide a critique for the blog, sign up in the thread. I'm hoping to have a lot more authors sign up, and just remember, by signing up, you are also volunteering to have your story critiqued and featured.

 

W.A.R. Part 1 & 2

jkwsquirrel

 

Critique By: Cole Matthews

 

Please give us a short summary of the story you chose. 

W.A.R. is a teenage story about friends and their maturing.  Billy is a somewhat naïve, precocious thirteen-year-old, who helps care for his grandmother.  She is suffering from a stroke and is now mute.  Billy’s family is burdened with helping her cope, and his best friend Brett is also there to help.

 

Brett is his most constant companion.  Brett’s mother moved them from New York City and he’s not happy being away from there.  Billy seems to be the only thing that makes his life in southwestern Pennsylvania manageable.  This is a vignette style story, in these first couple of sections.  It gives you a slice of these boys’ lives during a time of growth and trial.  It’s realistic and set in present day.

 

What do you see as the strengths of the story/poem?

Definitely the characters.  Brett and Billy have very distinctive voices and their own personalities, so different you can miss the name tags and still know who is speaking.  These characters have personality, history, and most of all humor.  In a hilarious exchange, Billy admitted his mother walked in on him changing clothes and saw him naked.  He’s mortified by it and his best friend Brett doesn’t hesitate to tease him about his shyness.  Later when Billy’s mom arrives to relieve the boys from the task of watching her stroke-impaired mother, Brett takes a dig at his friend. 

 

  “I don’t know,” Brett replied.  “So, Mrs. Roberts.  You’re a nurse, right?”

  “Of course, Brett.  You know that.”

  “So how many penises do you see in a day?”

  “Oh my god, Brett, shut the fuck up!”  I exclaimed.  Brett laughed his butt off.  I couldn’t believe he would say such a thing in front of my mother!

  “Billy!  Language!”  She scolded.  “So he told you about our little incident this morning,” mom said.  “I don’t see as many naked people as you might think, Brett.  But if a certain thirteen-year-old boy was worried about what his mother saw this morning he doesn’t need to worry.  I didn’t see anything I haven’t seen before.  The only thing he needs to be embarrassed about is the way he swears in front of his grandmother.”

  “Sorry mom,” I apologized.  “Sorry grandma.”

 

There is a kind of loving, yet brutal, endearing quality to these boys.  Throughout the first couple of sections, they vacillate between love and truly hating the other.  Their emotions aren’t limited to those expressions.  Brett has a learning disability and he struggles with the implications of it.  Billy is in the throes of puberty, and the writer has him growing and realizing things have changed.  There is portrayal of the physical manifestations of sexual maturity, but more importantly, he realizes his parents aren’t empty vessels.  Other people have different ideas, and he needs to accept it.  Billy discovers his father had a past.  This is a revelation to the teen. 

 

Billy is learning something about himself and his place in the world.  His father cares for him, but he has to work a lot, and that gets in the way.  There is a kind of ‘turning on’ the parts of the brain which acknowledges this in these first two segments.  The characters are genuine, have heart, and develop naturally.

 

It’s the maturation of the characters along with endearing and infuriating attributes, and humor, which make you want to know more about them and keep reading.  Keep laughing.  It’s okay, we are really funny at this transitional period.

 

What do you see as the weaknesses of the story? How do you think the story could be improved?

There is a reliance on melodrama.  While the characters have dilemmas, which make for interesting reading, they fall into constant, and relentless, emotional outbreaks.  This is more telling later in the ongoing story, but the seeds of the problem are in the first two segments as well. 

 

Developing character, carefully structuring plot, and cultivating the reader’s investment, are keys to good writing.  In WAR. the characters are well developed in these first parts, the plot has a kind of outline, but it starts to veer into some rather doubtful territory with extreme yelling and terrible arguing, which isn’t necessary.  This tends to interrupt the suspension of disbelief for the reader.

 

Yes, there are situations which make us crazy.  Most of the time, it’s overblown in our own minds and starts to divert the attention to the overall story.  Drama needs to build and engage, not assault the reader.

 

While discussing this with another writer friend, I realized it was a symptom of pacing and flow.  Consider this, there is some great literature which builds upon the character, setting, and situation of a story without being overly dramatic.  In ‘The Piano’, the touch of a finger in a hole in a garment is erotic and provocative.  In ‘Dune’ a person places a hand in a box and we experience terror, pain, and fear of what is to come.  Sometimes building the scene means editing the melodrama from a story and crafting it to work as a complete story.  In this story, Billy and Brett don’t need more, they are complete without the drama. 

 

What was your favorite part? (scene/sentence/etc)

Billy and Brett found a porn videotape hidden in Billy’s dad’s things.  The boys watched it, as teenaged boys would, and after a series of physical antics, Billy fell and gave himself a black eye.  (For context, this is done rather well. More of it in the story would be hilarious).  Brett is feeling guilty because he realizes if they didn’t steal and watch the tape, the whole situation could have been avoided.  That’s when this scene happens. 

 

  Brett groaned as if he was feeling my pain himself.  He gently touched my face.  “I can’t believe how swelled up it is.”  He looked closely at me, so close I could feel his breath on me.  He stared into my eyes.  He smiled.  “I wish my eyes were green like yours.”  He sighed.

  “Why?” I asked.  I hadn’t ever really thought about my eyes being anything special.

  “I just think they’re cool,” Brett replied.  “You have really nice eyes.  They’re unique.  Not a lot of people have green eyes like yours.  Mine are just boring old blue.”

  “I like your eyes,” I said.  “You have pretty eyes.”

  “Pretty?” Brett laughed.  “My eyes are pretty?  So now you think I’m pretty?”

  “You know what I mean!” I said.  “Boy pretty, not pretty pretty.”

  “Is my dick pretty, too?” Brett laughed.

  “Why do you always twist whatever I say and make it into something perverted?”

  “Because I’m a pervert!” Brett exclaimed, “and you’ll be as sick and twisted as me by the time I’m done with you!”

  “You’re crazy!” I laughed.  Brett was a goofball.  If he had to go five minutes without making a joke I think he’d explode.

 

Teenagers, especially boys, don’t know how to express affection.  They are too old to say it plainly without nuance and too young to speak their truth.  This story shows boys being boys, caring for each other, and discovering the intricacies of human interactions.  Billy and Brett are struggling with the percolated emotions that bubble within us, and they are learning what those feelings mean.

 

This snippet demonstrates how this story portrays these challenges in an engaging and thoughtful way.  It’s not the outbursts which define characters, but the discussions and heartfelt worries that can create the outlines we desire.  The writer does this quite well, as I hope I’ve shown.  Please check out this story.  It’s worth a read.

Billy, Brett, and Dustin deserve it.  They are interesting characters  you don’t want to miss!!!

Cia

This month's story is all about a day... My Last Day Without You by QuinnDK. This was announced on the first Monday of the month, so I hope you had a chance to read it? Don't be shy, share your thoughts below! But first, enjoy this interview with Quinn. 

 

What’s something personal about you people might be surprised to know?

I really love washing dishes and doing the laundry – for some reason it’s a huge stress reliever for me. Yes, gentlemen, I’m single.

Did you like to write as a kid in school?

I did! When I was about 10 years old my mom took a screenwriting class and I would stay up at night reading through her course materials and books. So I actually got my start as a kid writing these terrible little movie scripts, and I eventually moved on to write terrible fanfiction as a teenager. No amount of money in the world will make me share it, by the way. 

What brought you to Gay Authors?

I wasn’t all that satisfied with the content I found in mainstream fiction writing sites (such as FictionPress, Wattpad, or AO3) and started searching for a writing community that had an LGBT focus but also a sizeable and active reader base. To my astonishment, I found just that with Gay Authors!

What book(s) or author have most influenced your personal writing style?

Romance novelists such as Lori Foster, Linda Lael Miller, Jayne Ann Krentz, and Diana Gabaldon inspired me the most, I love that their styles range from lyrical and sweet to smutty and hot. I aspire to have that same range for my own stories.

I also drawn inspiration from literary writers like Michael Chabon, humorists like David Sedaris, and quirky chick-lit authors like Helen Fielding. If I can become some combination of those three, I’ll be a very happy writer.

What’s one location you’d love to go to research for a story?

Reykjavik! An adventurous tourist and a hunky Icelandic local, plus those steamy geo-thermal spas… that sounds like the start of a very hot story to me.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

When I’m not writing, or working, or studying for school, I either have my nose in a book or my eyes glued to a videogame. And I go to the gym, but that’s only because I’m always testing out new cookie recipes.

Your characters have great, distinctive names: Ezra & Henrik. How did you come up with those?

Oh gosh, naming my characters has always been a laborious process for me. I think main characters with unique names that you don’t necessarily hear or see every day stick out in your mind more vividly. And I like having names that sound different from each other, too. I could never write a romance about a Matt and a Mitch.

It’s important to me that names reflect their characters. Henrik has such a strong, solid, Scandinavian connotation, while Ezra sounds more ethereal and artistic.

One of your main characters, Ezra, likes to draw. Is that a personal hobby of yours too?

I’m a terrible drawer! I’m actually terrible at anything artistic. But I knew I wanted to give Ezra a hobby he was passionate about. He already worked as a writer in his day job and I thought drawing would contrast that very well. The fact that he’s so good at it but is constantly second-guessing himself was inspired by an interview I read with someone who used to draw Batgirl for DC Comics.

Do you have a favorite scene in My Last Day Without You?

The epilogue where Henrik surprises Ezra in the courtyard is probably my favourite. There’s no more tension or deadlines or pressure, they’re just two men allowed to enjoy the moment and each other. It’s just such a pure and sweet romantic moment.

The scene before that with Ezra on the phone with Marvel was also very fun to write, I liked turning the story into a screwball comedy after so many chapters of drama and angst.

What’s next? Is there a sequel for these or other characters coming?

A sequel is planned, though it probably won’t be a full blown novel-length story. I’m thinking of writing it as a novella. Some readers have said they really enjoyed Xavier, so I might explore something with him as well.

Two stories that I’m writing concurrently on Gay Authors, ‘Fire and Icing’ and ‘Safeguard’, feature different characters but they take place in the same narrative universe and my fictionalized version of Toronto. So, you never know who might show up and where… ;)

Cia

Did you catch Monday's feature announcing with Classic Author & story we are highlighting this month? If not, go check the reviews from some big fans of Dabeagle's story, Things We Lost, as well as downloading a graphic for your signature if you want to share your love of Dabeagle's story. In the meantime, check out why Timothy chose this story and excerpt to share with other readers!

 

Timothy M. said

Ehren has lost most of the things many of us take for granted: loving parents, a home, the chance to have friends, go to school, have enough to eat, clean clothes and a shower s needed. Living on the streets is a hard life, but he’s clever and resourceful. On the day we meet him, he makes a snap decision to help a girl in need, in spite of being scared of the potential consequences. The ripples from this first stone are complicated further when Ehren flings another daring missile, and life as he knows it unravels around him.

I’ve chosen the moment when Ehren is confronted with the desperate plight of a stranger. How would you react in his stead?

 

As a street rat, I tended to roam quite a bit. Even though this street wasn't one of my usual hangouts, I'd passed through at some point. It was a college neighborhood with some fraternities and a few, scattered dorm buildings. This area was off campus, technically, and there were several rental houses that were scattered in with the student housing. With my breath steadying, I started to mentally plot a safe way back to my place but was startled by a scream.



“No! Get off!”

It was a female voice that echoed off the buildings in the still neighborhood. I heard a male make a sound of surprised pain and another voice breaking out in laughter, again carrying in the still air, and then the female appeared around the corner awkwardly running. I had been bent over while catching my breath, but as I stood I realized that the streets weren't her normal place—clothes looked like they fit and she wasn't wearing everything she owned, for one thing— and that something bad was going down. Pushing off my knees, I straightened my back and, with that movement, she spotted me.

“Help! Please!”

I debated for a second, no more. Helping someone is usually the right thing to do, morally, but sometimes sticking your nose in somewhere comes with big repercussions, especially out here. As she homed in on me, a man's voice called out, and then another did. They were cat-calling to her, asking where she was, telling her to 'come back and play'. If they came around the corner, they'd see and catch her. I realized this as she lurched into me, grabbing me in desperation.

“Please! Help me!”

 

To read more, check out the rest of the story here

 

 

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