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Renee Stevens

Well, we're at the start of another week and this week we are going to look at a story written by Parker Owens called "Predator Prey". If you like what spikey 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.


Predator Prey

Parker Owens


Reviewer: spikey582

Status: Complete

Word Count: 75,843


Being part of the Review Team here on GA, I often find myself on the look-out for what will be the next story I review. So, I pretty much had my eye on this fantastic story since about mid-2017 when Parker Owens posted the final chapter.   

In Predator Prey, Parker Owens introduces us to a character, who’s extremely hard to care about at the beginning of this tale. This person is a predator, preying on vulnerable people, using and abusing them in the worst ways possible, and then tossing them aside on the hunt for his next victim. Something happens to the predator early on in this story, the tables are turned on him, and he becomes the victim of another predator possibly even worse than he is. He has to leave, to get away for his own safety. But, the question becomes, who will he turn to? He has no friends, no potential allies, just fellow predators and past victims. So, who does such a person turn to for help. And, possibly more importantly, does he even deserve help in the first place?   

I personally think this story is some of the best writing that Parker Owens has posted to the site. The main character is every bit as reprehensible as I described, and yet through Parker’s talented prose, I found myself finding sympathy with this predator. I became enthralled with his story, eventually finding myself caring about him, and rooting for him to overcome his struggles, even those of his own making.

I don’t want to say too much more for fear of potentially spoiling something. I will say, this story definitely does start out in a dark place. However, it doesn’t stay there. It is the epitome of a roller coaster ride, filled with drama, romance, and thrills to satisfy all.


Category: Fiction   Genres: Drama, Romance  Tags: young adult, gay, university, rape, modern, abuse    Rating: Mature


Happy March! This month I'm bringing you something a little different. March makes me think of St. Patrick's Day and magic... so I looked for stories that would fit the bill. What better than the magical world of Harry Potter? Plus, I've never featured a fanfic. :) So why not give JulieLHayes' novella-length story a try? 


Nocturnal Emissions

by JulieLHayes


Length: 12,449


Description: Sirius Black has a secret that haunts him in the silence of the night - his love for Remus Lupin. It's Christmas hols and the Marauders are together, as usual. But something unexpected occurs, something that threatens to bare Sirius' very soul... what is he to do?


A Reader said: I love this! I enjoy the Mauraders and I love Sirius black. I believe I have read some of your other work else where but I was not sure. Anyways, I really like this story and I can't wait for more. ~ Carrie76


Remember to come back on Monday, March 26th for the Discussion day to share your thoughts on the story and to catch my interview with Julie L. Hayes! 

Renee Stevens

The Improve & Encourage feature is back!!! 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 all listed authors have been critiqued. 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.



Cole Matthews


Critique By: Dodger


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

Jager, is a moving and powerful story about an elderly gay couple whose lives—after more than forty years together—are disrupted when one of them is affected by dementia. Despite the serious underlying theme, this is basically a love story with an interesting twist that should have you fooled. It was originally written as an entry for the 2016 GA Secret Admirer, Short Story Competition and unsurprisingly it finished in first place.


Jager, incidentally, is the name of the couples wooden rocking horse, which swings during the course of the story from hero to villain and back to hero again. The story is told through the eyes of Glen as he and his partner Adam prepare to host their annual St. Valentine’s Day party.

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

I enjoy reading stories that are a little out of the ordinary or from an unusual perspective. Something that perhaps doesn’t follow the normal well-trodden paths and this story is a good example.


It is a truly beautiful tale, well-written and almost guaranteed to pull at your heartstrings. Part of its strength is its simplicity although this is not apparent until the end. To get there you will need to put your trust in the author, but you won’t be disappointed as everything begins to unravel.

The story has a very slow, retired feel to it, as the narrator delves into the past in an attempt to explain the present. I don’t think that there are many authors who would have been brave enough to want to include dementia in a Valentines Day story, but Cole Matthews expertly strikes a good balance and the reader is constantly reminded of the couples love for each other which overrides everything else.

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

I enjoyed this story so much that I felt a little robbed in the end because it didn’t go on long enough. Cole handles the subject exceptionally well but 3322 words don’t do it justice and it wasn’t enough detail in it for me. I feel that there was enough room to get to know the characters and their history a little better, without giving anything away.


It seems almost criminal trying to find fault in such a wonderful story but it says a lot, I suppose, if my only worthwhile complaint is that the story is too short.

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

A little more character development would have been good for me. I would like to have known more about their past and their early lives together even if the recollections weren’t entirely lucid. I know that it wouldn’t have been easy for them in the early days and perhaps more could have been made of this. I obviously know why the author felt the need to limit what information was fed to the reader, but it seemed a little rushed at the end.


Maybe I’m asking a little too much but Cole has set a consistently high standard and this is one of his best.

What was your favorite part?

My favourite part of the story is the final paragraph, including the last four words at the end, just before you reach for the tissues. However, it’s impossible to quote this without spoiling the story for anyone who hasn’t read it.


How's February treated everyone? I know it's the shortest month of the year, but it feels like it can't possibly have already passed this quickly! But, it has, and today is the discussion day for David AB's All We Have Now. Did you get a chance to read or re-read this story posted back in 2015? Make sure you gave the author a few likes, comments, or even share your thoughts and questions below. David's going to pop in as he can today, so let's encourage him to share more stories by sharing how much you enjoyed this month's read! First we have my interview with him, of course! 


Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point?  

Not in the morning, because when I wake up I'm more corpse than man and it usually takes me a few hours before I manage to lure my soul back into my body with an unreasonable amount of caffeine and nicotine. I do make my bed at some point though, but only so I can just collapse onto it and pass out comfortably at night.


If you had 30 minutes of free time, what would you do?

Maybe lie down on my couch and read the news or google random stuff. (That's just the least inappropriate answer I could think of though, so who knows what I might do, haha.)


What brought you to the GA?



Many authors like to write in genres they enjoy reading. Do you have a favorite post-apocalyptic story or book you’d like to recommend?  

Well, Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" is by far the best post-apocalyptic novel (aside from "All We Have Now" of course, haha) and one of the best books in general I've ever read, but I don't think I would recommend it to anyone, because it's emotionally devastating and I kind of wish I had never read it myself to be honest.


(I know it's a bit tacky to promote my own stuff, but if you've enjoyed reading "All We Have Now", I did write another apocalypse-themed (short) story called "To Last". I can definitely recommend that one, haha.)


If the apocalypse hit and you survived, where would you go to live?

I love my apartment, so I'd probably stay right where I am. (I would've answered "IN A SPACESHIP!!! O.O" However, I'm assuming there would be no more Google after an apocalypse, so to find a spaceship I'd have to drive around aimlessly and hope that I'd happen to come across a spaceship-parking lot or whatever. That just doesn't sound like a lot of fun to me, especially not if I could be lying on my couch instead, doing who knows what, haha.)


Did the characters or the plot come to you first for All We Have Now?

This is probably not something I should openly admit as an "aspiring" writer, but I don't really care about plots all that much in general, I'm mainly interested in characters and their interactions and development. To answer the question though, the setting "came to me" first. At the time I loved "The Walking Dead", so I decided that I wanted to basically write a more intimate, gay version of that show. After the setting I "developed" the characters, came up with a whole bunch of "moments"/scenes to get a proper feel for them and finally I used those "moments" to roughly map out the basic plot of the story.


How did you flesh out your world? Did you plot out the events and the settings as an overall “this is the world now” or did you include the post-apocalyptic elements as they came to you while you wrote?

  Before I started writing "All We Have Now" I already knew what I wanted the world and all the different locations to look and "feel" like and how realistic or rather "unrealistic" I wanted the story to be, but I only outlined the plot very roughly and let the characters heavily inform most of my decisions on what should happen between all the abovementioned "moments", so consequently I did keep adding new elements throughout the story. I also kept researching every little detail, which made me change and add a bunch of stuff as well.


One example is the [spoiler-alert] farm-chapter(s) – originally I wanted Cody and Troy to stay in the house, but the problem was that dead bodies had been decomposing in there for quite a while and I had planned for them to do a poop-ton of cleaning and bleaching etc., but when I arrived at that chapter I did a lot of research on crime scene cleaning and things of that nature and I soon had to realize that there was absolutely no way that they could realistically get rid of that corpse-stench, at least not in a day and without proper equipment. So I scrapped that idea and let them find the RV instead, which I had originally decided against, because I thought it would feel too similar to "The Walking Dead". However, in my opinion "Book 2" (which is set almost exclusively in the RV) turned out far better than both "Book 1" and "Book 3", so in hindsight I'm quite happy that corpses reek much worse than I ever could've imagined, haha.


Do you have a favorite scene or moment in All We Have Now you can share with readers?

I know the whole thing drags on for way too long and probably isn't nearly as funny as I'd like to believe it is, but the chapter in which [spoiler-alert] they get stoned out of their minds was such a blast to write and there's one line in particular that I immediately had to think of: At one point Troy is wondering whether they could make [potato] chips themselves and then he lists all the stuff they have, but he's high, so he lists both "oil" and "canned potatoes" twice without realizing it. (Here's the line: "Hey, wait a minute, we have canned potatoes, oil, spices, oil, a pen, canned potatoes and a camping stove, we could make chips ourselves," he said.) The thing is, when I wrote that line I didn't do that on purpose, I simply listed "canned potatoes" twice by accident, probably because I was tired at the time. When I realized what I had done I laughed so hard, because it was exactly the kind of mistake you'd expect a stoned person to make, so it fit perfectly and became one of my favorite jokes in the whole story, even though it was just a lucky accident.


Did you catch Monday's blog where we featured Jack Scribe's story, It Stays in Vegas? 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! And, if you do read and enjoy it, make sure you leave some comments and reviews. The author might be gone, but let's make sure his great stories aren't forgotten! 


Cia says:

I chose this excerpt because it's the beginning of a very good... relationship. You get to see a lot of Drew's personality, which is important to share of the main character in the first chapter. The hook must come from either the setting, action, or character. I feel like Jack really fleshes out Drew well in this chapter. I also like the way Jack Scribe can set a scene, and the whole hotel and club area come to life in just a few sentences in this excerpt! 


“I’m aware of why Trish and you are here. Shall I go ahead and increase your dinner reservations to three guests at Terrazza?” Drew said in a low voice. Terrazza was the hotel’s five star Tuscan Italian restaurant.

“That’ll be great. But tomorrow, he’s on his own,” Al replied with a wink.

“I also took the liberty of booking a VIP booth for you at tonight’s Reba McEntire show. It’ll fit two to four guests,” he said as a follow-up.

“Drew, you think of everything,” he replied with a broad grin. “Hey, how about joining us? It’s an 11:00 p.m. curtain, right?”

Drew considered his schedule as he answered, “I haven’t seen the show yet, but are you sure I won’t be in the way?” The idea of spending some social time with Bob was creating a stirring sensation in his crotch. ‘Thank god,’ he thought, ‘I’m standing behind a counter.’

“Absolutely not. I think we’d all like to get to know you better…as a friend and fraternity brother. We all hit it off right away and it’ll make Bob feel less like he’s a third wheel,” Al said with a sincere smile.

“Okay, then. I’ll take you up on the offer. If not before, I’ll meet you in the showroom a little after eleven,” Drew replied with a grin. Al waved goodbye and joined the Harrington sister and brother.


Drew changed out of the uniform white shirt and tie in his small back office in favor of an open neck silk shirt and made it to the Circus Maximus showroom just as the lights were dimming. Antonio, the Maitre d’, pointed down to the first tier of horseshoe booths in the front of the 2,000-seat room where he saw the backs of his new friends’ heads.

“Hi, guys,” he said quietly, easing into the booth to sit next to Bob. Everyone greeted Drew with smiles, whispers and handshaking. He hadn’t mentioned that the booth was tight but doable to seat four adults. A little bolt of lightning shot up his body as Drew’s leg came into contact with Bob. Neither man made an effort to move.

“I’m glad you could join us, Drew,” Bob said into his ear, just as the Amazing Jonathan began his very funny comedic warm-up act before Reba. Knowing the pace of the bookings and production, he wasn’t surprised when the comedian took his final bows 22 minutes later. The houselights darkened and a rich, baritone voice came over the speakers. “Ladies and gentlemen, Nero’s is proud to present…Reba.”

Percussion and guitar could be heard as the curtain was brought up. With the aid of subtle backlighting for illumination, the sold-out audience was aware that the shadowy cluster of musicians on ‘stage left’ was her backup western band. ‘Stage right’ contained a large, vaguely recognizable string section, also shrouded in semi-darkness. First, Reba’s band started the initial bars of a familiar, signature song. Then, the strings joined the Western ensemble to produce a rich overture. The front stage lighting was slowly brought up.

And in the center, surrounded by billowing smoke that was highlighted by unseen up-lighting, slowly being raised to maximum, brilliance was a grand staircase. The diminutive silhouette of the star was on the top, standing in repose. Reba began singing

To read more, click here.



February is short and often gone before we know it. Jack Scribe is an author that many readers from GA will miss as well. But we still have some of his stories to enjoy, including his Las Vegas Trilogy. If you're in the US, you're probably ready for some sunshine and heat, so enjoy this first story in the series, It Stays in Vegas! 


two red dice on a black background with text saying It Stays in Vegas by Jack Scribe


Length: 48,027

Description: NOVEL. Drew is an ambitious, young manager at a Las Vegas casino resort who becomes smitten with an arriving guest. Danger lurks as their friendship grows. Book 1 of the Vegas trilogy.


A Reader said:  I really am enjoying this!!! ~ Gene63


If you want to spread the word about Jack Scribe'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!

Jack Scribe It Stays in Vegas Sm.jpg

Renee Stevens

Hi All!

Recently, site staff has been reviewing stories on GA, and we’ve come across a few things that we need your help to fix!

Missing/Incomplete Story Descriptions: 

A good example of missing/incomplete story descriptions can be found in many of the earlier anthologies. Many of these stories simply have a description of “2006 Summer Anthology”. Incomplete descriptions do nothing to engage readers or entice them to read your story. When updating the story description, keep in mind: "I'm trying to get people to read this.  How can I make this interesting enough for someone to want to read it?"  (while being truthful and no spoilers, of course).

Missing Tags:

Tags are a great way to help readers find your stories. For example, if you are writing a paranormal vampire story, using these tags will allow anyone interested in that genre to simply click a tag and bring up all stories of that type. If your story is not tagged as such, no matter how good the story, a reader interested in the content you provide may miss out on reading it.

Series Information:

We’ve found some stories that are a part of a collection, but the series information is missing. We’ve also found instances where the series field is used incorrectly. When you post the first story in your series, you don’t use the series feature. When you post the second story in your series, you add in the series field the name of the series and what book in that series it is. Then you go back to the first story and add in the information, labeling it as book one of the series. Please do not use the series field until you have posted the second story in the series as the series field is meant to tell readers that there are more stories in that series that are ready to be read.

Unpublished Stories:

We’ve found a lot of stories that are unpublished for one reason or another. However, as staff, we don’t know the reason. It could be perhaps that the author no longer wishes the story to be available online, but since staff has to delete the story, they simply unpublish it and leave it. If you have unpublished stories, then please contact staff to let us know if you’d like the story deleted from the system or if you plan to republish it.

How can you help?

If you are an author, we ask you to revisit your stories and if any of the above applies to you, please update your stories. If the story in question is an Anthology, contact Renee Stevens. I can temporarily remove the story from the anthology to allow you to fix it, and then move it back. If you are a reader, and you come across a story with any of the above, please PM a moderator or an admin. You can find a list of all mods and Admins here. You can also provide suggestions, which will be extremely helpful if the author is no longer on GA.

Thank you for your help!

Renee Stevens

Well, it's the start of a new week, and for today's schedule, we're bringing you Puppilull's review of Shifter by skinnydragon. 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 Shifter for yourself!




Reviewer: Puppilull

Status: Complete

Word Count: 2,034


It’s strange how a story of a mere 2,000 words can take you on such a journey. In this case, it's a journey into the twisted mind of the main character. When writing this review, I read my comments to the story from my first reading. Hypnotic and intense were words I used to describe it and I still think they sum up Shifter rather well.

Throughout the story, the reader is left in the dark about a lot of details surrounding the main character. Who is he? With only a vague outline, there’s yet enough of a backstory to give you a definite sense of him as a person. It’s written as a frenzied, sketchy account of events, based of a collection of grim memories.

What particularly impressed me was the way the story is written or rather constructed. In the most fascinating way, skinnydragon uses repetition of words and phrases to emphasize the theme of the story in an almost hypnotic manner. Each and every word needs to be read slowly and deliberately, so don’t read this while rushed. Take your time to savor the excellence of the crafting of sentences.
This short story had a deep impact on me. Both because of the story itself and because of the brilliant way it is written. It could all too easily have been simply an exercise in technique, but instead it leaves the reader feeling disturbed and upset at having entered someone’s mind. And not just anyone’s mind - a twisted mind that gives Brett Easton Ellis a run for his money. So when you read it, be prepared to carry it with you for a long time. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. It’s just that good.


Category: Fiction   Genres: Drama  Tags: young adult, violent, dark    Rating: Mature


This month we have a lot of focus on love, love, love! But sometimes that doesn't come in the form you think it does, especially when the world is an entirely different place. This month's feature combines moments both light and dark, so I hope you'll enjoy it and come back on Monday, February 26th to share your thoughts! 


All We Have Now

by David AB


Length: 42,836


Description: It has almost been a year since the world ended. The majority of the population died, came back as mindless and highly aggressive creatures and killed most of the rest. Cody is one of the last survivors. He is small, sensitive, innocent and about to starve to death. While he is desperately trying to find food, he gets attacked and then saved at the last second by Troy, who is a hardened brute. Cody hates him, but knows he is probably his only chance to survive the winter, so he sticks with him.


A Reader Said: Lol so I didn't realize that was the final chapter. I've been waiting and waiting and just now read that was the end for "Part 1." Great story so far! I hope there is more on the way! ~ semaj565


The CSR for the last 2 months were completely different from our usual format. Usually we feature a story, do an interview with the author, etc... but we had a few holiday blogs planned on the Mondays the CSR usually happens so we went with holiday stories--and we have a lot on GA! Did you read one over the last 2 months you loved? A feel-good holiday slice of sweetness? Or a bittersweet moment that resonated with you? Maybe it a new story released by the author this year or perhaps one of the flash fiction stories from the White Elephant Gift Prompt Game?  Or an older story that caught your eye, perhaps from one of the many holiday-themed anthologies? Share your thoughts on a story in the comments below!


Some holiday stories you might have missed:

The Gift by Sam Wyer

Lucky Kitty said: Oh my goodness! I lost it when Craagen gently squeezed Tligg's bobble! Glad I wasn't drinking coffee, I'd have a mess to clean up. Thanks for this sneak peek into elven culture.


Santa and His Dirty Little Elf by Dahawk

Okiegrad said: Loved it!!  Made me smile and laugh and was a great way to start my day!

An Advent Calendar by Aditus, Cole Matthews, and Valkyrie

Timothy M said of "Christmas Spirit": Like a (reverse) Hans Christian Andersen tale. The innocent child rips the veil from their eyes and brings understanding.

Mistletoe and Handgrenades by K.C. 

Kiltie69 said: 

I have a term I use when I'm blown away, I've used if only once or twice in GA

Woof. :) . Loved it.


So do you have a favorite holiday story on Gay Authors?




Renee Stevens

It's been a couple of months since we've done one of these, so I thought for the first one of the New Year, why not find out the favorite self-written stories by our GA Admins.  I hope you all enjoy the answers from me, Myr, Cia, and wildone!  Enjoy! And if you decide to go read any of these, let us know what you think!!! Also, I've got another one of these features partially complete, but need some more entries for it. If you haven't already done so, pick your favorite self-written story and PM me the title, link, and your reason why it's your favorite!





Nick Cringle



Description: Nick's father dies and he goes to the family owned school before he takes over the family business at Christmas.


Note from Author:  I think my favorite story that I have written is still Nick Cringle, though A Bad Day to be WET comes a close second.  I tried really hard in Nick Cringle to present a modern story with a twist.  The fantasy elements of the story didn't happen until the very end, though I put hints in.  It was also a really positive story for me.  I thought I pulled off the characters and the atmosphere I was aiming for.  






Description: Davis has been alone for a long time. Between his club and his job essentially as a mercenary for Velaku, the local Carthera leader who let him live in his territory, he has little time to worry about finding a mate. If that is even possible for one of his kind. That doesn't mean he doesn't want one though.


Note from Author: Hypnotic is one of my favorite stories because it incorporates so many things that are very personal, and of course I love paranormal stories. I suffer from migraines, so I used a lot of the pain from those to shape Ellis’ character. Living with chronic conditions can really affect someone’s life, and it definitely has his. Of course, a migraine is how he meets Davis Retic, the deadly Snake Carthera who is instantly captivated by him and vice versa. Snakes, to me, and gorgeous but scarily dangerous and I really wanted that vibe for my Snake in the story. Based on the reaction of my readers, I totally succeeded. Eventually, I’d love to publish the entire Carthera series… but for me, Hypnotic is definitely my favorite. *To fully understand all aspects of this story, you should read the first 2 stories in the Carthera Takeover Tales*



There All Along



Description: He laughs, tears escape from his mother’s eyes, pieces of life flash before us as I watch all of us ride the big coaster, being together, there all along.


Note from Author: When Renee asked me to pick my favourite story, it was hard and I only have 3 stories to choose from!! I had a lot of fun working with Renee and the concept of my most recent one, but my heart still goes to the first of 3 anthologies I have written; There All Along. I learned a lot of what you might consider basic writing skills to make an idea into a story with the lovely Viv guiding and challenging me. It sure makes me appreciate all the Authors on the site and what they do. The idea early was to write a story that had the reader believing in their impressions and then when the ending happened, you could go back and see that really those ideas were based on assumptions. If you haven't read it yet, give it a quick read and let me know what you thought.




Burning Bright

Renee Stevens


Description: Bryce has suffered from migraines for years. He's finally on a migraine preventative, but even that can't stop all of them. When one hits at an inopportune time, he has to depend on Kevin to take care of him.


Note from Author: I now know exactly how hard it can be to choose a favorite. Many of my stories are a favorite for one reason or another, but Burning Bright ranks among the top. Even though it's one of my shorter stories, at just under 3,000 words, it's one of those stories that, as a migraine sufferer, feels very real to me. Even though I know what a migraine feels like, I started wondering how others would describe their migraines. So I went on a search to find out. I was amazed at some of the descriptions I found and how perfect they fit what I've felt myself. The idea for Burning Bright came when I was driving home one day and had a migraine hit. Luckily, I was very close to home when my vision started deteriorating, so was able to make it, but I wondered what if I hadn't been able to get home before it hit. It was then that I decided to write a short story that answered that question. Burning Bright remains one of my favorites because it is so realistic (at least in my opinion) and has some of the best descriptive writing of all my stories. I hope, if you read it, that you agree!



Renee Stevens

Monday, Monday, Monday. What could we possibly have for you on a Monday? Oh yeah! We have a new featured story for you. This week, courtesy of Lisa, we are taking a look at Confide/ant by Sasha Distan. Remember, if you're reading a story (or have read one) that you'd like to see featured in the blog, simply write a review and send it to me!




Sasha Distan


Reviewer: Lisa

Status: Complete

Word Count: 47,554 


Sasha’s third most recent story centers around Marty, a sexy high school rock star (Hrishi’s words, not mine) and Hrishi, a short, geeky high school nerd computer freak (Marty’s words, not mine).  :gikkle:

Can these polar opposites find a common ground? Besides all the hot sex they’re engaged in. Oh no, not sex, “sexy stuff” is how Marty justifies it.


Marty and Hrishi have this chemistry that jumps off the page. Even when they’re fighting and exchanging words (which is extremely often!), their chemistry is palpable.


There is conflict, of course. It wouldn’t be a great story without conflict. Hrishi never hides who he is. Marty, on the other hand, spends his whole life hiding who he is. Hrishi refuses to be anyone’s dirty little secret, and he lets Marty know that in no uncertain terms. He is adamant they will never move forward physically, until Marty proves to him he’s not afraid to call out people who make homophobic slurs.


Marty has a hard time doing this because he doesn’t want people to even think he’s anything but straight, and defending Hrishi against disparaging words might make others question him. Naturally, it’s Marty’s best friend and band mate, Leon, who makes the most homophobic comments.


Can Mr. Rock Star defend Hrishi in front of others? Can he ever come out to his friends ─ to his family? Can the rock star and the computer nerd find happiness? Will they ever stop arguing? Inquiring minds want to know!  :lol: And you will too if you read the story. 


Confide/ant is one of the most enjoyable stories I’ve read. I loved it so much I never wanted it to end. In fact, I purposely waited seven months to read the last few chapters just to prolong the ending. This is a story I could read over and over ─ not because of the scorching hot sex, but because of the amazing chemistry Marty and Hrishi have together. If this were a published book, I’d be the first in line to buy it. 


Thank you, Sasha, for another awesome story!  :worship: 


Category: Fiction   Genres: Romance   Tags: young adult, adult, gay, fighting, parents, interracial    Rating: Mature


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. 


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.



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


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


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


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


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



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.


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,


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,


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.”


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.




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.


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


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.



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....



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.




  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




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. 



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!



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



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


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