Please enjoy this review brought to you by the lead of our review team, Timothy M!
Never Too Late
Reviewer: Timothy M.
Word Count: 42,149
November is approaching, a dreary, cold, dark month in the northern hemisphere. The Danish poet Henrik Nordbrandt once wrote: The year has sixteen months: November, December, January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, November, November, November. Read the poem out loud and you’ll get the feeling of how long and boring November is. (Of course, this doesn't apply to the GA story November Falls).
Now imagine it’s November and you’re an old, poor and lonely man living in a cold, damp cottage in England. Then you’ll have the setting of northie’s story Never Too Late. It’s a rather unusual tale on a site where most protagonists are teens or adults below age 30, handsome and/or charming, fit and friendly, or at least with some redeeming traits. Maybe the only thing Eric has in common with the normal main characters is being gay. And deeply closeted but opening the door.
The person Eric opens the door to, is Andy, a young charity volunteer who does fulfill the usual character criteria. At first they don’t get along at all, but with nudging from Adam, his clever boyfriend, Andy manages to salvage the initial disaster and gradually win the trust of Eric. He discovers how to help the taciturn, proud oldster who in turn gradually opens up to potential friendships and a glimpse into the unobtainable world of gay romance and relationships. But at least Eric now has a connection to the gay community which Andy wants to broaden by introducing him to computers and the internet. Not an easy task at all.
Never Too Late culminates at Christmas and the New Year, two events which can be especially depressing for people without family and friends. So why do I recommend a story which sounds as sad as November? It’s because northie once again has managed to capture my heart with something real; with characters who make mistakes, but strive to improve; with gentle but piercing observations on how society ignores the needs of the poor, the old, and the lonely. Most of all, how the kindness of a few people, who reach out to Eric during the story, makes all the difference in the world to him.
northie’s tale has attracted a small, but devoted group of fans, some of whom shared their personal experiences and perspectives on the topics mentioned above, both via interesting chapter comments and in the discussion forum. Their opinions are perhaps better advertising that anything I could say:
@Carlos Hazday : Love your way of writing these stories, sensitive and emotional characters, bordering on pathetic without actually reaching that level.
@drsawzall : well done and vitally important that we see stories in this subject. Life isn't simply led as some of the stories would have you believe. We all struggle with and hide what we don't want others to see.
@dughlas : My heart still aches for Eric. There is much missing from his life. Andy and Adam are bringing new experiences to his life.
@ColumbusGuy : This story is just amazingly warm, especially once Andy got over his 'save the world' complex and saw Eric as a real person. Do you know how rare that is for elderly or handicapped people?
We look forward to the next book (already into chapter 12 according to northie and due to start posting early in 2019), where we hope to see Eric’s life brighten in various ways. Take your time to savor Book One, which may not be full of action and drama, but has plenty of the compassion and understanding to which we as humans should aspire. And if nothing else the story may make you appreciate what you have in your life in terms of comforts, health, friends, and best of all love. As @droughtquake said: I feel so lucky compared with Eric!
Category: Fiction Genres: Drama, Romance Tags: young adult, senior, gay, europe, coming out, friendship Rating: Mature
Did you catch Monday's blog featuring the ads for The Zot's short story, You Meet Your Soulmate in the Strangest Places? This short story is a romance of a different sort, full of unexpected moments, sweet surprises, a bit of angst (what good romance doesn't have at least a little?) and some hot, hot kissing. Check it out!
I picked this excerpt because it creates a moment of romance, some humor, some of that drama I mention, and you're left with a wait... what? right at the very end. LOL. It's hard to do all that within just a few paragraphs and in one moment of time in a story, but The Zot managed!
To read more, click here.
One of the earliest authors on GA, @TheZot has stories featuring a mix of genres and styles, and one of my favorites among them is this quirky story. Not quite what you'd expect and definitely with a twist at the end, I think you'll enjoy this short story as much as I did! Make sure you come back on Wednesday to find out what excerpt I picked to showcase The Zot's writing as well!
Description: Drew never expected to meet his true love on the train, but that's okay, he did anyway. Now if he can just figure out who the guy was and find him again...
If you want to spread the word about The Zot'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!
Who's into a spooky story? It's October after all, and time for all sorts of shivery scary stories all set to send a chill up your spine. Check out what Puppilull thought about one of MrM's short stories from his flash collection of vignettes. Sometimes, it just takes a few words to truly bring out the heart-pounding fright... and he kicks it off with the title alone: The Web (eww!)
Vignettes Collection: The Web
Word Count: 1,696
Autumn is upon us and curling up inside with a nice read is high on the agenda. But deciding the right story can be difficult. Romance? Suspense? Hmm…
Why not go for getting scared half to death? Read something that can very well give you nightmares of evil things dwelling in the dark recesses of your basement? Then The Web, a short, stand-alone story, part of MrM’s Vignettes Collection, is just the thing. Just remember, I did warn you!
I’m not a particularly sensitive person and can often find myself drawn to the darker side of stories. But even I found The Web to be a quite disturbing story of a spider living in the basement of a house. There it lies in wait for prey…
As short as it is, this story was still terrifying enough to make the hairs on my arms stand at attention. It unfolds as intricately as the threads of a spider’s web, getting the reader increasingly ensnared, wanting to get away but feeling compelled to read it to the disturbing end. Throughout the story, you can feel the menacing hunger of the creature, which as any predator feels no remorse for sating its need for flesh. Then again, would you feel remorse over eating, say, a plate of pancakes?
The story was written as part of a Newsletter Game Challenge, where the writers were instructed to pick the scariest creature imaginable and then write a story about it. And boy, did MrM manage to hit this one out of the ballpark! In only little over 1500 words, MrM manages to create a truly terrifying tale of that which lurks in the corners of basements.
If you need anything from your basement, get it before you read this story. Chances are you won’t go down there any time soon…
Category: Fiction Genres: Free-Verse (Horror) Tags: dark, serious Rating: Everyone
October brings us a nice long month to read, a full 28 days, so I wanted to feature a series. Carlos Hazday's Atlantis Shift series delves into the mystical world under the waves that so fascinates many due to the very mystery it still holds on the planet, and I couldn't pass it up. It's also another older feature from his early days showing his creativity from the beginning and his growth since then. You'll get to know more about these stories and Carlos in my interview at the end of the month, so make sure you read up and come back on October 29th!
Atlantis Shift Series by Carlos Hazday
Description: Two ancient species join forces to battle a common enemy.
A Reader Said: I think I agree with most guys here in that you left us wanting more! After reading the story I have an entirely new appreciation for dolphins that I never even knew existed The wolves are still my favorite, though! ~albertnothlit
Description: The dolphins of Nova Scotia return in an all new adventure!
A Reader Said: Definitely interested in more. I like all three of the shifter groups we've met - the wolves, dolphins and the dragons. Great story. ~avidreadr
Don't forget to come back for the Discussion Day on Monday, October 29th!
September was a short month week-wise for reading the CSR story, so we had a shorter selection (and much shorter than last month's!) with Remijay's Time Will Tell. Did you make the time to read this contemporary twin feature? That's one of the interesting parts of this--the story started posting years before it was finished. Make sure you share what you think in the comments below, but first I want to share my interview with Remijay where I ask him about writing over the course of years.
Chocolate or Vanilla?
If you were an animal, what would you be?
I would like to think a Tiger.
What brought you to GA?
My favorite author, Comicality.
Is there any quote or saying about writing that resonates with you?
There is a lot of quotes that I could use, but the one I like the best is, "Without risks there are no rewards".
What’s the best part of being an author? The hardest part?
The best part would be inspiring others from your words. The hardest part would expressing yourself in a way that leaves you vulnerable
You began writing Time Will Tell a very long time ago. Do you remember what prompted you to begin the story?
I was in a very dark place at the time. The story Time Will Tell, originally was supposed to be a poem. But I couldn't shake the feeling that it could be much more.
If the author you are now could give advice to the author you were then, what would it be?
Listen to others. Write from your heart. Be passionate about what you write.
If you could pick actors to play Devon & Josh, who would they be?
Dylan and Cole Sprouse.
What’s your favorite scene in the story?
There are actually two scenes. One is when Devon is introduced to Trent, and the second would be the ending part of the story.
What else are you writing or plan to post next on GA for readers to enjoy?
I am currently continuing to write Twist Of fate, along with Modern High Take 3. Other than that, whatever comes to my mind as a story.
Did you catch Monday's blog featuring Stefan Schmidt's novella, The Sons of Memory? This tale of Theseus brings out a lot of the old classic stylings with all the trappings of the Greek mythology, including a minotaur who needs... well, what he needs. And this story isn't shy with the details. I decided to share the excerpt from the very beginning, because as with all good stories, that sets the plot and the first glimpse of the character. Care to check out... the maze?
To read more, click here.
A classic tale with a twist by a Classic GA author? How about that?! Check out this month's Classic Author feature, The Son's of Memory by Stefan Schmidt, a nearly 24k story all about sacrifice, monsters, misunderstandings, and maybe some mischief. Okay, we're talking about the Greek Gods, so there's going to be a whole lot of mischief!
Description: This is the ancient tale of Theseus, prince of Athens, who tries to stop Athens' tribute to Crete. He will not only meet a monster in a labyrinth but perhaps the love of his life. But the Gods are not always friendly. Being a plaything to the moods of the Gods, Theseus and Arian are stranded on the isle of Naxos where they will meet their fate and a God's private competition.
If you want to spread the word about Stefan Schmidt'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!
A very popular story in its day, many of our current readers might not have read this latest story to be reviewed by the team combing through the stories on the site to bring you recommendations like Pour Me Another by K.C. A winner of a Reader's Choice Award from when we polled site members for their favorite story content, see if spikey582 agrees with the voters and would have chosen K.C.'s story back then too!
Pour Me Another
Word Count: 72,802
Last year when we did our review feature on Classic author stories, I knew at the time that I really wanted to do a review for more than one story. Unfortunately, at the time, I didn’t have enough time to get more than one story covered, so I’ve been wanting to go back through the GA archives and find another somewhat forgotten gem to draw attention to. That being said, I was happy to run across this story by K.C. that I actually had forgotten I read back in my first year on GA.
In Pour Me Another, we are introduced to one Asher Burkhart, an openly gay bartender working in an upscale business center. At the same time, we’re introduced to Michael Waters, a seemingly straight, arrogant businessman, and frequent patron of the very bar in which Asher works. A series of encounters early on in the story, in which Asher finds himself rendering aid to Michael more than once sets a pattern of these two men to cross paths again and again.
As they continue to meet and interact, both men are taken on a journey of discovery together. We are treated to the ups and downs of their interactions, as they get to know each other and we get to discover who they truly are right along with them.
What I really enjoyed about this story was how well K.C. develops both characters. They have a depth to them, and they have to overcome some seemingly insurmountable challenges through their journey. This story handles some pretty heavy issues, and complicated situations, and does so in a subtle way. A simple boy-meets-boy story this is not.
I’m not sure I can do this story justice in such a short synopsis for how good it really is. It is engaging right from the first chapter, and had me binging to read what happens next, even upon revisiting the story just this last month. Something I thought was interesting upon rereading this story was a notation on the title page. Pour Me Another was the winner of the 2013 Readers Choice Award for Best Story by a Promising Author. I joined GA in 2015, and as far as I am aware, there hasn’t been such an award voted on since joining. So, this is something that apparently was done on the site a few years ago. Either way, Pour Me Another was very deserving of such an award. It’s a great read, so go check it out.
Category: Fiction Genres: Romance Tags: gay, urban, anal, masturbate, oral, modern Rating: Mature
Time Will Tell... will you read this month's CSR story by Remijay? This recently finished story is one that also stood the test of time. It began six years ago with chapter one and just finished in August with chapter fifteen. There's a tale to tell about writing the story just as much as there is in the story itself, I'm sure, and I can't wait to bring more about both to you on the last Monday of the month on the Discussion Day, September 24th.
Time Will Tell
Description: Two twin boys, and gay. How to tell this story is simple but complicated. Devon a boy of 16 struggling with difficulties of a home life. Josh a boy of the same age, that has everything he wants, but one thing, his brother. Both are struggling with their past and maybe present. Hopefully they find each other. Together they might overcome, what is to come.
A Reader Said: Well you did end with a bang and it was a good ending. ~ NimirRaj
Don't forget to come back on Monday, Sept. 24th, for the Discussion Day.
Holy mackerel it's Monday, the last Monday of the month! How did that happen already? Well it's a good thing we're ready for it, right? Did you take advantage of the time you had to read Aceinthehole's story, The Hidden Ones: The Spotlight? I know it was really long! Hopefully you made a dent. I will caution you, if you're still mid-read, there are some questions below in the interview that have answers that might be a tad revealing about the story, so I've hidden them with spoilers. Or maybe they will just entice you to read it! Your choice.
Do you eat your fruits and vegetables?
I can’t say I always did, but I’ve gotten a lot better about it! I recently graduated college, where I used to only eat frozen pizzas, chicken nuggets, take out and the like. However now that I’m onto the next chapter of my life, I’ve tried my hardest to make a strong commitment to my health, both mental and physical.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
The Eighth Circle of Hell: How to Survive in a House with Four Sisters.
I’m just kidding. I love my sisters and the chaos that comes with a packed house. But sometimes, it does feel like the eighth circle of hell!
What don’t we know about you?
In addition to loving sports and music, I’m a gigantic nerd. I love comic books, video games, T.V. shows and movies. These mediums are really what inspired me to become a writer. I’ve read and watched so many amazing stories, that I hope to one day contribute one of my own!
Is there a literary character (in the whole universe of fiction) that you’ve read who you really identified with?
I’d have to say Tyrion Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. I’m nowhere as smart or tactical as he is, but I closely relate to him being an outcast. I’ve always been blessed with family and friends, however I grew up in an area where being gay isn’t widely accepted. His words and wisdom really meant a lot to me, especially when I was coming out to those close to me.
Did something specific in your life/history inspire you to write The Hidden Ones: The Spotlight?
I’d say my experience in High School was what really sparked the idea for this story. I can’t say I was bullied much, but I was also never that popular. Instead I was an anonymous kid who kept to his friends and simply observed everything that was happening around him. Yet what I observed always ate away at me. For no specific reason, certain kids got made fun of for the same qualities the ‘popular’ kids had.
In addition, at every High School I knew, there was always one kid at the top, usually the captain of a sports team or school president. This kid always tried his/her hardest to seem perfect at every turn. Worst of all, they always offered help without ever actually intending to follow through with it. They rarely got their hands dirty in terms of bullying, but turned a blind eye to it. They pretended to be friends with everyone, but in reality they were in it for their own selfish gains.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that the popular kid isn’t all that different from the kid with a target on his back. This hypocrisy was what really inspired The Hidden Ones: The Spotlight. I wanted to show what would happen if that popular kid ever learned just how much they had in common with the bullied kid.
Is there anything you found particularly challenging while writing this series?
If you could give advice to yourself when you had first started writing the story, what would it be?
Stop overthinking it, and just keep writing.
There were a lot of moments when I was writing that I just wanted to give up. I often doubted the story, and where it would go. I felt silly trying to create my own rock star, and citing music I’m not sure many people had heard.
But now looking back, those doubts were silly. I was so worried about how it would be received, that I almost lost the story I wanted to tell. It may not be perfect, but I’m proud of it. I got to write about a genre I love, and about an issue that always seemed to bother me.
I credit @JayT, who edited the story, with helping me through my doubts and even brain storming along with me during certain parts. By the end I was able to get to a place where I was really having fun with this story.
What do you think makes The Spotlight stand out compared to other “similar” stories?
I think what separates it from other stories is how dark and gritty it can get. This is not a light hearted, feel good story. It explores the boxes we force ourselves into, and how much damage that can do to a person. Even when things get better, the damage is already done.
I understand that many people read stories to escape certain realities. After all, I read certain stories for the same reasons. However, we don’t always get the happy endings we dreamed of. Life has a way of warping our endings, and giving us what it feels we need.
I always try to keep this in mind while writing, and to me that whole concept sets this story apart. I wouldn’t say this is a dark story, there are a lot of light and happy moments within it, but I tried my hardest to keep it as realistic as possible.
What do you like best about the story?
This is a very tough question for me, as this story is perhaps the most fun I’ve had writing so far. I got to combine my passion for writing with my passion for music. Often before writing a chapter I would sit down and watch music video after music video to help me get into the right mindset. It was like I got to take messages from the bands I loved and let it flow through me into my own story.
However, after looking at the whole of the story, the thing I like best...
Can you share something about your current work or an upcoming story?
So I have a current story I’m writing along with the editing help of OzLoGo called The Golden City, and two upcoming stories Tales of the Underground Book four: Vision and an unnamed The Hidden Ones third book (although this book is more for fun!).
The Golden City is very unlike anything I’ve written before. I’m not too sure where it came from. It’s just been this really fun and vibrant story. It’s the journey of Arthur Price following the loss of his single mother and his move to San Francisco. It follows him exploring his new city as he begins to discover his true self. It feels like a lot more of an adventure than anything I’ve written before.
The fourth and final Tales of the Underground story, Vision, will be released after The Golden City is finished. It’ll take place a good twenty to thirty years after the first three books and will focus on Matthew Sanders-Taylor’s journey to find who he really is. This journey will require the help of many characters from this series and in many ways will mirror the first book, Velocity, that sparked my love for writing.
Finally, the third The Hidden Ones which is still unnamed will follow the rising of a new rock star. It was a story I was uncertain about at first, but after receiving requests from some of my readers, is something I will happily begin. It will be a running story I update throughout the year. It’ll help people stay updated on their favorite characters, while also allowing me to continue writing characters I miss!
Did you catch Monday's blog post feature of this month's Classic Author story, My Jump Off by Nickolas James? There's something to be said for reading about flawed characters who have a real life and problems they might not handle like you would want a character to do... since real people and real life so seldom follows a script. And that's just what this story has going for it. I picked this month's featured excerpt for that reason as well. You can really see the 'teenage drama' and the self-involved focus Jarred has even as you want to reach into the computer and smack him upside the head for being an idiot. Or maybe that's just the mom in me, lol.
To read more, click here.
This month we're keeping the theme going with another teen story by one of our site authors. This time it's My Jump Off by Nickolas James, one of the site Classic Authors. All too often authors write their teenage characters as if they are minor adults--a little more impulsive and stuck in high school still--but with all the wisdom and maturity to make the "right decisions". Well... what happens when right doesn't feel right and wrong feels so much better? I think Nickolas James's story features that aspect teens struggle with all too often in a very real way. Check it out!
Description: Jarred Fedina's a high school sophomore who's got a problem....his boyfriend. Jarred's been thinking about leaving him for another guy for a while. Then, one day during a chance encounter, Jarred has an epiphany.
A Reader said: I was there engulfed and sharing in all the emotions and love, confusion, and frustrations.indeed A VERY WILD RIDE for me...it brought Reality in its finest moments to me...(meaning I have some unfinished business. To handle there...... My heart goes out to you and your abilities and skills THANK YOU SINCERELY. .HUGGS ~ Dmrman (Ch. 20 of Staking My Claim, series book 2)
If you want to spread the word about Nickolas James'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!
One thing many readers have in common here on GA is that, at one time or another, we've had to grapple with the fact that we're not quite what everyone expects us to be when we're growing up. We're different. But others can't tell. And sometimes, when you're reading, that's a good thing! There are a lot of teen coming-of-age stories on GA, but BlindAmbition really connected with this one for his review. Read on to find out why!
Word Count: 57,913
Choosing a story to read can be difficult, whether you’re craving a certain genre, or a specific mood. Deciding which story to review can be just as difficult. GA has a vast library of stories and authors. I gravitate more to stories that evoke reaction, or real emotion. Losing Kevin by Ronyx is one of those stories. This story has your typical teenage angst, but there's so much more complexity within these characters and their relationships. It’s a binge worthy pleasure from one of GA’s Classic Authors.
Losing Kevin centers on Kevin Williams. A boy who is coming to terms with his sexuality, and what exactly that means for him going forward. A difficult moment for any teenager. Add in his identical twin Devin, and well, it’s a recipe for disaster. The brothers have become increasingly distant as they grow older.
Kevin is a master at blending in and keeping secrets, while Devin is Mr. Popularity juggling a social climbing girlfriend. The only thing these two have in common is pleasing a demanding father. Each has their own way of dealing with him. This has created a certain level of sibling rivalry.
Kevin has kept a low profile. That was until new student Cameron Lynch enters the picture. There’s instant chemistry. Something which hasn’t gone unnoticed. Brewing storms from multiple fronts are ahead for Kevin and Cameron. The realization of secrets and truths will pit brother against brother, friend against friend, parent against parent, parent against child in this complex tale.
Ronyx masterfully dissects these relationships layer by layer, giving the reader multiple views of situations. He does this with extreme neutrality, leaving the reader the opportunity to form their own opinion.
I’m usually not a fan of too many teenage coming of age tales. Ronyx is an exception. He tackles tough and taboo subjects. Sometimes the issues are hard to read about, but they are handled with an honest and delicate curiosity. The teen characters are well formed individuals. You know they are teens, but there is a level of maturity there. Losing Kevin is a good introduction to Ronyx’s stories if you’ve never delved into his library of work. Happy Reading!
Category: Fiction Genres: Drama, Romance Tags: teen, gay, coming of age, university Rating: Mature
Oh, how the world turns... for so many in the upper hemisphere, summer is coming to a close and that means school is beginning again. And with school, we think of teenagers and all that comes with them--the angst and pain of growing up and fitting in or maybe not fitting in. One of our recent promotions to the ranks of Promising Authors, Aceinthehole is one of the site authors who has written a popular story featuring a story that is "a slice of reality of broken people. The ups and downs of growing up" (review by mogwhy). Intrigued by that review and the others on the story, I'm going to take a leap and feature a story that so many readers seem to have been drawn to already even though it's a lot longer than a normal feature. So take advantage of these few last lazy days, if you have them, and enjoy August's CSR feature before the Discussion day on Monday, August 27th.
The Hidden Ones: The Spotlight
Description: Imagine your perfect life. What’s it like? Are you rich? Are you popular? Do you have a million cars? Well 17 year old Teddy Haner doesn't have to imagine. Being student body president, and captain of his lacrosse team…he has everything! However when a new mysterious friend flips his world upside down, and starts to ascend to stardom, he finds that there’s a lot more to life than popularity.
A Reader Said:
Great story about the rejected kid and the most popular one in school and what they want in life.
but keep a box of kleenex nearby for some of the chapters. ~tabaqui
Remember to come back and share your thoughts on the Discussion day on Monday, August 27th.
Well this was a nice long month between Mondays, so I picked a short story and the novella continuation of the tale written by BHopper2 in A New Life and a New Home and My Son. Did you have a chance to read them before or this month for the feature? Make sure you share you thoughts below! You might also consider writing a review for the story or copying your comments there; authors always appreciate those! But first, as always, I have an interview with BHopper2.
Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point?
The short answer is no, and yes. Back when I was still in college, I took a course in Human Reproduction and Development. One of the assignments we had involved reading over a report from the CDC about the dangers of making your bed in the morning. Basically, it is better to not make your bed so that it can air out during the day, and get rid of the sweat and germs you slept off overnight. Of course, I do make it if someone is coming over that might see my room, but overall, nope, I don’t make the bed.
If you were an animal, what would you be?
I’ve been called a cuddly bear many times by my Ex’s, so I would be a bear. LOL. In the nomenclature of the Gay Culture, I would be classified as a bear. However, I’ve been partial to cats most of my life, and I’ve always liked Snow Leopards, Florida Panthers, and good old alley-cats. So, I think I would be a cat of some sort while hoping it was a Snow Leopard. Which is odd, because my native Floridian self can’t stand the cold. Or a bear… LOL
If you had 30 minutes of free time, what would you do?
I have too much free time as it is. I’m disabled, and not currently working. But if I had 30 mins to spend on anything thing I want, I would look for a nice quiet place to perform meditation. I’ve started to get back into the practice of doing meditation daily, and I feel that it helps. Just need to find the quiet, which is hard when all the family is running through the house. Especially now during summer.
What brought you to GA?
I first came to GA in early 2016. I was over on Nifty, reading some stories, and it was Comicality’s story called Shelter that I wanted to see if there were any more chapters. I did a Google search, and that led me to GA. I started reading the stories here and eventually created an account to interact and post my own stories.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Depends on the day, and if my disabilities are getting in the way. But, if it’s a good day… watching sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico, sipping coffee with some friends while talking about various topics, hockey, taking a stroll on Bayshore Blvd and the longest sidewalk in the world, hockey, watching the military men that use Bayshore as an exercise trail, hockey, watching some good shows, reading, and of course my Tampa Bay Lightning hockey.
What’s the best part of being an author?
Creation. Being an author it lets one create a world, fill it with dynamic characters, and tell a story (or stories) set in that world. Yes, some may use the real world, and take elements from real people to make a character, but the bottom line is storytelling is creation. We are making something from nothing. I recently relearned that according to one study it is estimated 75-80% of Gay Men have some form of Mental Illness, with the primaries being Anxiety, Bipolar, and Depression. I have all three. The feeling you get from creating a world, even if you don’t share it, can help with these issues. Most gay men will never experience the birth of a child that they help create. Not to take anything away from that experience, but writing can help fill the gap with the creation of stories and characters. My stories are my children, my legacy if you will.
A prompt inspired A New Life and a New Home. What led you to expand the storyline in My Son?
When I wrote A New Life and a New Home, I had just finished talking to the real-life person that inspired the character Chandon. I was looking for an idea to write about and saw the first line prompt. It reminded me of how the real-life version of Jill met her son’s boyfriend, and the rest they say is history. I changed the names of my friend, his boyfriend, and mother, and wrote the story. (They liked it btw.) It was the first story I worked with @Kitt on with her as my Editor. Posted it, and got some good feedback.
When I started My Son, I was actually struggling with a different story. I was posting in tim’s Chat Thread @Mikiesboy Drop-In Center about struggling, and tim’s husband Mike (@MichaelS36) suggested I try something different from what I usually do. I had notes and an outline from a story I was planning on doing, that I felt could be used.
I sat down at the kitchen table and was looking at House Design plans for a cousin that was building a house. While I was there, that’s when I spotted the house that I would use in My Son. It was gorgeous, and it sparked the first paragraph of the story. I excused myself from the family, set up my laptop, and immediately started the first chapter. Later, I took the notes and New Life and combined them as I kept thinking about Chandon and Brayon, while I was writing about Adam, Duncan, and Rob.
I had originally only planned for one chapter for My Son, but the readers wanted more. I had the notes ready to go and finished out the story of Adam and Robert coming together.
I now have Tampa Chronicles 3, which is about Duncan’s Nephew Jeremy Isen, and getting ready to start writing Tampa Chronicles 4, which will have all the character together.
I must give credit to two people though. Without @Mikiesboy’s and @Kitt’s editing help, neither story would be as good as they are.
If your story were made into a movie, could you picture anyone playing the main characters parts?
I can see Christian Bale playing the part of Adam Smith, and Duncan Isen would be played by Chris Pratt. As for the kids, Tom Holland would make a good Robert Turner. Brayon Hopper could be played by KJ Apa (Archie for Riverdale). For Chandon Bolton, I can see Cole Sprouse playing him.
What was your favorite part of the stories?
Showcasing my hometown in My Son. Tampa is just as much of a character as the rest of the ensemble. Also, the sense of love and family, I’ve tried to convey.
Can you share a little idea of your currently working on/future projects with us?
I’m currently working on three projects.
Getting Tampa Chronicles 4 plotted and planned. I do High Overviews in long arc stories, and I have a list of places I want the boys to go see. I have to give credit to @BabyXander1990, a fellow Tampa resident, for giving me some places for them to visit, that I hadn’t thought of. It will start off with a train trip that has Adam and Duncan taking Robert, Giles, Brayon, Chandon, and Jeremy to Boston for a bit, and then other places around the country before coming back to Tampa.
Freedom Station is a new SciFi story that I’m working on. It tells the story of Twin Brothers who were separated and adopted by different families at birth. Their biological mother was part of a government gene-therapy program, and her pregnancy wasn’t discovered when they started. So the twins are more than they seem. They are a successful splicing of Human and Alien DNA. While the story is character focused on the Twin’s reuniting and developing a relationship, in the background Earth is in danger from an alien armada which will reach the Sol System in 36 months. Earth and her alien allies are trying to mount a defense, and Freedom Station a space station in lunar orbit, will be the shield.
The last project is called Timeless, and it’s about Garrett. He’s a former US Army Ranger who was a career military officer until a roadside IED caused him to lose both legs at the knee. He’s an avid gamer and went to college to be a computer programmer. Garrett wakes up inside the game Timeless a VRMMORPG. He doesn’t know how he got there, and the story is about him escaping. Think TRON or TRON Legacy, but inside an MMO game, with other players playing normally. This is my first attempt at a LitRPG story, where it’s a story within a story, and when writing the game-world portions, there will be a discussion on game mechanics, the damage being dealt, etc. It’s a fairly new genre of stories that a major motion picture was made of one of the books called Ready Player One.
Of course, there is a lot of shorts, practice pieces, and others I’ve done that don’t get published. I would say, about 90% of what I write, doesn’t see the light of day.
Well, happy Monday! Are those groans I hear? Well, hopefully you will either survive, if you're checking this blog before work or you obviously managed to make it through the day if you're home and hopefully relaxing. And what better way than to first read this review by LitLover of this eko tale written by our very own Promising author, Craftingmom?
Blood of the Neko
Word Count: 61,158
Blood of the Neko is the sequel to the very popular Tears of the Neko by Craftingmom. This is a story about love, loyalty, and most of all, trust and how easily trust can be damaged. I’ve had a hard time reading stories about abused characters, but there was something about Kaden that drew me in and had me impatient for this sequel.
Kaden is a young Neko hybrid; people who in this world appear part feline, with ears and a tail, and the agility of a cat. In Tears of the Neko Kaden was a slave, purchased as a gift for a nobleman. His sweet and loyal demeanor quickly endeared him to the household and to his new master, who eventually becomes his lover. In Blood the new lovers are learning how to live together as a couple and
Kaden is adjusting to his freedom and life as the consort of a powerful lord.
Kaden, fiercely protective of those he loves, decides he want to learn how to properly fight so he can protect Damien if he’s ever attacked again. Knowing his duke would disapprove putting himself in harms way, he decides to keep his lessons a secret. Damien, still smarting from his brother’s deception, immediately thinks the worst when he realizes his young lover is keeping secrets. The seeds of doubt fester as the days go by, resulting in angry accusations, a devastated hybrid and a kidnapping. The whole thing leads to an exciting ending that I won’t spoil for you. You’ll have to read the story yourself to see how everything plays out.
Blood of the Neko is a story that pulled me in and had me wanting to wrap Kaden in a protective hug, while smacking Damien on more than one occasion. Warning; there is reference to abuse of a child in this story and it does involve physical abuse in the present day. It won’t be a story for everyone, but I think if you give this series, and this tale in particular, a chance you won’t be disappointed.
Category: Fiction Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Romance Tags: young adult, alternate earth, serious, renaissance, love, abuse Rating: Mature
Did you catch Monday's blog featuring Altimexis's coming of age contemporary novella, Fish Out of Water? If you're a fan of the story, don't forget to download the signature graphic to share it through the month. If you haven't read the story yet, maybe this excerpt will help change your mind!
I picked this excerpt both to share with readers and to help design the ad because who doesn't think of fireworks and love together? Okay, so maybe it's cliché or corny, but really, if you've been in a relationship in the summer (and in the US, for the most part, for our Independence day like the setting of this story) then you've experienced the hot summer night under the sparkling lights that are the explosions of color rocking the horizon. Or maybe wrote someone's name with a sparkler? Maybe cuddled up on a blanket if the heat of the day suddenly cooled and gave you a good excuse to canoodle? Well... there might be some of that (and more) going on in this chapter... but you'll have to check out the excerpt to find out!
To read more, click here.
There's something about summer that brings back a tinge of nostalgia. The heat, the hormones, the first flush of love... and that's what Altimexis's story, Fish Out of Water, has in spades! Check out this story from the 2009 novella contest featuring two American teenagers experiencing all life has to offer for those just starting to look forward to adulthood!
Description: Danny and David are two typical American teenagers who share a passion for skateboards, alternative music, philosophy . . . and each other. (2009 Gay Authors Novella Writing Contest) The author gratefully acknowledges the assistance of David of Hope in editing and Alastair in proofreading this story, as well as the support of Gay Authors, Awesome Dude and Nifty. I would also like to thank Rigel for correcting errors with respect to Orthodox Jewish practices.
A Reader Said:
Absolutly beautiful and warming story.
Love does seem to triumph in many cases.
I do not believe in ANY organized religion, however,
Dannys take on helping humanity is an excelent substitute
for the negativity portrayed by many faithful people and Davids
father has truely seen the light in his sons eyes for the betterment of us all...…
If you want to spread the word about Altimexis'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!
This week we're featuring a story by one of GA's Classic authors, one that isn't quite finished based on the story status (always important to check if you have a preference). Good thing we have a lot of ways to filter stories. Even better than just doing a search for stories, are these great reviews by our very own review team. And today's review of Duncan Ryder's story is by Parker Owens. Let's see what he thought of How The Light Gets In.
How The Light Gets In
Reviewer: Parker Owens
Status: In process (= unfinished)
Word Count: 91,687
The lives of two young men who have known too much darkness in their lives intersect. They and their friends search for relief, and for healing. This is a sequel to the excellent story Everybody’s Wounded, but it can stand alone.
How the Light Gets In is the second in a two-part novella. In the first part, Everybody’s Wounded, we meet three of the four central characters in part two. Even so, How the Light Gets In is the more powerful, more compelling of the two halves, perhaps because the reader is given deeper insight into the dark night of hurt which haunts each one. Readers should be warned that this story deals with very problematic subjects: rape and suicide. Ryder writes about these things with considerable and commendable care and compassion for his characters.
The two central personalities, Luc and Matt are returning to university in deeply unhappy circumstances. Each is enveloped in his own inky well of gloom. Josh and Scott, students at the same university, are lovers. They, too, have a history of hurt. These four men share interlocking stories and injury and love. The tale unwinds some of these, while each man slowly gravitates through his own ache to that place in the dark where he realizes he is not alone. Ryder shifts viewpoints deftly to describe and develop their intersections, and these drive the story forward.
One might be forgiven for feeling that one is reading or watching a French film. Conversation, both intimate and general, propels the plot onward at many points. This is not to say there aren’t dramatic moments of action; there are. Yet it is not these instances we recall, but how these young men handle, discuss, and interpret them. Growth comes with reflection and dialogue. It is a subtle way to tell a story, but effective, and very much in keeping with the way real people recover from deep injury.
The growth and depth in the central characters is an abiding strength of the novella. Each has many facets, each has multiple layers. These young men, as well as their circle of friends, are well drawn without forcing too much detail upon the reader. One can easily call each person in the story to mind, but variations in what readers invent are certain. It is a trait of good writing to allow the reader to imagine, and Ryder does this especially well.
However one imagines them, Ryder gives us understanding to connect with these men individually. One cannot help but care for them and sympathize with them as they make their way toward something more hopeful.
How the Light Gets In is not without its flaws. There are times when characters respond to situations with maturity and wisdom quite unexpected in young undergraduate students. They seem older than their years, perhaps because of the burden each one carries. In addition, readers complained that the final chapter did not feel like an ending. A number of comments expressed a need for more, for some definite feeling of closure.
Ryder does not give readers a happy-ever-after denouement. Instead, we get a far deeper moment in which darkness is transcended by the ever brightening and broadening cracks in its curtain. In this way, Ryder connects us to the quote from Leonard Cohen’s lyrics which provided the title for the story.
This was one the first things I read on GA. Its quality made me return to explore further. I hope other readers will find this classic tale still compelling, and that it still sings its song and weaves its spell for many more to come.
Category: Fiction Genres: Drama, Romance Tags: young adult, adult, gay, university Rating: Mature
What? Another 2 story series? Yes, that's what's on tap for this month's CSR feature too! Of course, instead of two short stories, we're featuring a prompt and a novella-length story written by BHopper2. This contemporary coming of age story is rife with feels, but also contains some graphic content (no sex) so please make sure you check out the tags and the story description. It's quite popular already, so I'm hoping we'll have a great Discussion day on the last Monday of the month. And hopefully lots of reviews posted on the stories too!
A New Life and a New Home
Description: Sixteen-year-old Brayon came out to his Progressive parents, but they did the one thing he didn't expect. They disowned him and kicked him out. This is his story.
A Reader Said: This had me hooked! There's a style here of 'just the facts, ma'am' that's balanced and nuanced. I was drawn right in, like I was watching it happen and not reading about it at all. Read it for yourself, and you won't regret it. ~ AC Benus
Description: Adam Smith is a successful businessman, who recently came home to Tampa, Fl. Retired at age 38, living in a newly constructed house, he feels like he's set for a new chapter in his life, with plans to set up a Micro-Brewery.
A Reader Said: An interesting plot, well-drawn characters, and realistic dialogue take us through the joys and fears of meeting your child as a teen. ~ JeffreyL
Don't forget to come back on the Discussion Day, Monday July 30th, to share your thoughts!!
Cia’s Torturing Me!
If you’re an author, I’m sure you’ve thought that at least once, right? I swear, it’s nothing personal! GA’s posting system is complicated, and there is always a learning curve for new authors to figure out the ins and outs of posting here. I'm also the primary staff member who reviews Stories submissions, so I am not picking on any one person if you receive more than one PM; I'm simply the staff member who reviews everything in the queue unless I am away from GA for some reason. That being said, there are a few things that will get you on my hit… uh, kindly message list.
Posting Issues Most Likely To Trigger a Moderation PM:
*A posting bug issue noted by some authors since the update: Chapter text or other content uploads as files instead of pasting as text. This should not happen. If it does, try a different browser.
Posting More Than One Chapter
New stories should always be posted with a single chapter only. These should be properly edited, ready to go live and be read by readers. A prologue can be added when you post the new submission, and published separately from the story and chapter, but you can't go back and add a prologue later. Additional chapters CAN be posted, but only if you post-date them. You can read about the post-dating system in the faq here.
This might be the most common mistake I see. You can check the spacing using the "Preview" button in the text editor (looks like an magnifying glass over paper) to view how it will appear after you save your content. Check your story content after you post, please.
Some writing programs, browsers, and/or devices (tablets/phones) are not compatible with the text editor. It can either strip out or add extra spaces between the paragraphs. Reviewing your chapters allows you to fix that before I find it in the queue. A fix in Word for extra spacing can be found in the faq here.
If you use other writing programs, like Google docs, tablets, etc… try posting with a new browser or placing your text in another program before you copy to GA until you have the correct spacing. We can't always tell you what the exact problem is in these cases to fix the spacing issue.
Flash Fiction and Poetry
Short stories under 1k in length, such as prompt responses, or poetry must be placed in a ‘collection’. This is as simple as creating a title that implies a collection, such as ‘My Shorts or My Haiku’ and then posting a single submission as the first chapter. Then subsequent posts would be made as chapters to that ‘collection’. The chapter titles can be edited and notes can be placed in each chapter as a description, if you choose. You may have more than one collection, though we ask authors to limit them to 4 or 5 at most, to separate types of poetry or stories if you have a large number of varied content available.
Posting a Series Title
If you are posting a story that isn’t a follow up story to one already existing on GA, you do not have a series. Please don't use this field. Once you post the 2nd story in your series you can go back and edit the first story to include the series information for the search engine. Also you can never have story 0 of a series.
Yes, we have limits of basic editing standards and quality for stories posting on GA. If you don’t know the word ‘I’ should be capitalized, or how to use a basic spellcheck, you will be placed under review and your story may be rejected until you can edit it up to a minimum level of readability. Yes, we allow stories with erotic content. We also allow stories that show drug use, suicide attempts and actual suicides, abuse, rape, etc… but there are criteria for each that must be followed, such as not glorifying the acts and adding content warnings to the story/chapter notes for extreme content. Erotic content must be integral to the plot and cannot be more than half the story plot. There is a narrow band of acceptable incest and bestiality themes, but necrophilia is NEVER allowed.
Various Meta Data Fields Filled Out Incorrectly
We have a 3 step rating system for stories for authors to use. They include Everyone, Teen, and Mature. Teen and Mature ratings apply for stories containing content like sex, violence, abuse, or suicide stories. Mature would mean any ‘on-screen/graphic’ content. Teen includes those themes, but it might occur in the backstory or off-screen such as a ‘fade to black’ sex scene not actually written in. Everyone means no graphic content.
We have a story status system that has 3 levels. In Process means you’re still posting the story on GA (even if you have completely written, until you post the last chapter live it is not complete on GA) and On Hold means you’re not posting the story for whatever reason. Make sure you post to the right category for your story. There is a drop menu with many options, so please check them all to ensure you have chosen the best ones for your story.
And there's more… This is why we ask that authors read the entire Author and Story related faq topics before they post.
Any story deemed suspect for any reason will be placed under review and discussed by the forum moderation team to ensure a fair team decision on acceptability. I am not a dictator with the only say in what does and does not get approved.
Questions I Get The Most From Authors:
Why are you checking my stuff in a moderation queue?
We check to ensure proper posting procedure is followed, that the content falls within our guidelines, and that you’re not a plagiarist. The fact is, we’ve been burned before with people stealing stories and posting on GA. We don’t always catch it, but we try our utmost to protect authors’ rights on this site.
How long does the queue take?
Typically 24 hours, at the most. I say this because I check the mod queue once a day. Usually I attempt this between 5-10 AM, Pacific Standard Time, but I do have a life and things sometimes crop up. If you post at 9:00 AM and I already checked the queue, and something comes up the next day and I don’t get to it until the afternoon… you may wait longer than 24 hours. Sometimes I can review and approve submissions several times a day. Anything with questionable content triggering a team review can take several days, as all staff are volunteers.
Please remember I’m one person who dedicates time every day to this process, but I am not perfect. In the past we’ve found bugs with the posting system when author’s work didn’t post to the queue properly as well. IF your submission remains in the queue for an unreasonable amount of time without any contact from me, you can PM me.
How long am I in the queue?
There is no set time limit in the queue, but there is a cut-off point. You must have 250 likes on your forum content, stories, and chapters before you're moved outside the queue. Once you have achieved that level, your stories and chapters will post when you publish them. So, it behooves an author to be active, posting consistently, and interacting with readers and other members on our forums as well.
Is your decision the sole factor in submission approval?
No, it’s not. As I said before, any story deemed suspect for any reason is reviewed by the forum moderation team for a fair discussion and consensus.
Why can’t I edit my story/chapter or why did I get an error message when I tried to edit my story/chapter?
The system has a fail-safe set in place to prevent large amounts of text in a chapter or story from being removed. We expect that you post your best work that has already been edited. If there is a serious problem, or you do not take advantage of the offer, I will remove the story/chapter content for you to repost if you PM me.
Why can’t I delete my story/chapter(s)?
Again, there’s a fail-safe built into the system to prevent that from occurring. Authors can place their work unpublished so no one but the author or staff can see it, but they cannot delete. No, we will not refuse to remove your work, but you must PM me to ensure complete deletion from the system. I will usually want to know why, because if there’s a problem with the story, posting, or a moderation issue with another GA member, a cooling off period and discussion can sometimes resolve the issue without the story actually being deleted.
I’m so confused! How do I find help?
We have a FAQ you can find under the Help tab in the red menu bar. The topics there explain all this and more, plus there is a step-by-step explanation of what each field is for in our story submission form as well as various things unique to our system. If you’ve read the FAQ and still don’t know the answer to your questions, please feel free to PM me. It can often be easier to ask ahead of time than to sort out posting issues after you submit your story.
June flew by! Alas, all too many years have passed since these times in the stories written by Mark Arbour in this month's CSR selections, Furlough and War's End. Did you have the chance to read these anthologies? They do tie together, so you really should read them that way so you can review both of them. If you haven't, first enjoy this interview with Mark and then go check out the anthologies and then come back and share your thoughts in the comments below!
If you had 30 minutes of free time, what would you do?
When I have half an hour of spare time, I generally pick up my iPad and catch up on games (like Words with Friends) or the news. I guess the preferred answer would be that I’d write, since that goes with the theme here, but to do that it takes more than time: it takes motivation.
What’s one location you’d love to go to research for a story?
I’m hoping to get to England in the next year or two. I’ve spent limited time there, and what time I spent was in London, which I loved. My plan is to spend some more time in London, then head down to Portsmouth to the Royal Navy Museum, and most importantly, to visit HMS Victory.
What's your favorite room in your house? Do you plot or write there?
The bathroom. No one bothers me there. I don’t write there (SMILE).
What’s something personal about you people might be surprised to know?
I flew on the Concorde from Paris to New York and I’ve travelled on the Orient Express (train).
If you had to only work on one project for the next year... what would it be?
My ADD addled brain finds the idea of working on just one project absolutely abhorrent.
What draws you to work on period pieces when you write stories?
There’s really two pieces to that question…there’s the time period and there’s the location. I’m an avid reader, so during my reading travels, occasionally a time and place will intrigue me, and I’ll store that away for a potential story topic. For a longer story (like the Bridgemont Series), it has to be an era that has truly captivated me. You didn’t ask, but if I were to write another historical series, it would probably be set in Ancient Regime France, most likely around the reign of Louis XIV or XV.
Did you pick WWI as a time period for a particular reason for Furlough and War’s End?
I picked World War I for three reasons, the first two of which are books. I’d finished reading John Keegan’s “The First World War,” then I’d read Jeff Shaara’s “To the Last Man.” Keegan did an excellent job of outlining the war from a historical perspective, and then Shaara made it come to life in the talented way that he has. The final reason was that my grandfather fought in WW1, and I had been going through some boxes in the basement and I’d uncovered his gas mask and helmet, stark reminders of the hell he’d gone through at Verdun.
Do you have a preference for one story over the other?
I like War’s End better, because I’m a sucker for happy endings.
Both stories have strong themes relating to soldiers/war and recovery. Was this just their story that came to you, or was there an underlying theme to the story from events in real life at the time?
I wrote these stories in 2009-10, and during that time frame our soldiers were coming back from the debacle that was the Iraq War and Afghanistan. There was much talk of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but unfortunately the talk didn’t seem to manifest itself into action. Suicides were much too frequent, and when it happened to a family friend, that brought the whole issue to the front of my brain. I continue to agonize over how we, as a nation, glorify our soldiers when they go off to fight, yet after they are done and come home, we really don’t give a shit about them.
Do you have a favorite scene/moment/sentence in either story that resonated with you that you’d like to share with readers?
Well, it's Wednesday. Did you check out this month's Classic Author feature on Monday, or download your copy of the graphic for your signature? It's definitely an unusual little tale and has an ending I don't think you'll expect. Well, if you read Lugh's stories, you probably already know that the story won't go like you think it will and the ending is never far from assured. But let's talk about another part of the story, because there's a hint in the beginning that just captures the attention and hooks you, and that's the excerpt I chose.
To read more, click here .
June is transition month... hot to cold, cold to hot, the spring equinox. The month of weddings for many; gay pride month. The end of the school year and the start of summer vacation. And this month, June is also the month we're featuring a different kind of transition, and union, with Lugh's short story, The Union of Darkness and Light. An interesting tale spanning years in the lives of the characters, we see the tale from multiple POV and learn that all we think is good and light and bad and dark is not always as it seems.
Description: Some faery tales start with a kiss; some end with a kiss. They all take place in a perfect world. Well, if you don't count the wicked step-mother and the prince-eating dragon. This is my version of a modern faery tale. There are no wicked step-mothers nor prince-eating dragons, but not everything is exactly perfect either. And it all starts with a kiss...
A Reader said: Sweet... a lot of fun Lugh. I look forward to reading more of your work. ~ Stephen ODonohue
If you want to spread the word about Lugh'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!