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Ask an Author 2.0 - #8

Welcome to a special edition of Ask an Author. Some members may not realize the individuals who help Gay Authors thrive are themselves authors. Most of them have stories on the site. My thanks to Renee Stevens for the suggestion leading to this blog entry.   @Renee Stevens provided the inspiration for this edition of Ask an Author so let’s start with her. Im hoping she gets to read this before Baby J comes bounding out! This is her take on an issue that has been previously discussed on Gay Authors. • For any of the lady staffers who write the stories: I've always wondered how straight ladies got into writing gay fiction. Not sure I've ever seen it asked.   • • I can't talk for all the straight women who write in the M/M genre, I can only speak for myself. I can't even remember how I got into reading the genre, but I became part of a gay fiction group and met some wonderful people. At the time, I was writing M/F romance and a couple of my new friends read what I wrote, but other than that, I never really shared my writing. The more I read, and the more I saw how supportive the group was, the more I thought about trying my hand at M/M romance, especially as I had the people available and willing to answer any questions I might have.  My first story, Eternity, was received rather well, and those I had read it had no problem telling me if I had something wrong, or if my characters weren't acting or doing like they should. After I finished Eternity, I wasn't really sure if I had done the story justice, but the community I had become involved in was so supportive and encouraged me to write my next novel, Puppy Love. After that, I never looked back.    • • • @Cia's  name has been known to strike fear in many an author. She’s the gatekeeper when it comes to moderated stories and has the difficult task of sifting through posts by newer contributors. I’m not going to lie and say she’s a pussycat; I’ve suffered the pain of her communications. However, she’s a talented, published author with plenty of experience under her belt. I bristled at her comments on my first ever anthology submission, but once I calmed down, I took her criticism to heart and my writing’s better because of it. She can critique my work any time she wants. • You write in a bunch of different genres. What is your favorite genre to write and what is your favorite story of yours in that genre?   • • I'm an eclectic writer as well as reader. I like to try a little bit of everything, and generally enjoy most of it, because, helloooo, we're talking books! I love the written word, to the point I have an appointment next month to get a tattoo of a multicolored galaxy coming out of an opened book and the quote "open books lead to open minds". That's also a pretty good indicator of my favorite genre, which is definitely science fiction. I'm a huge geek when it comes to research (though I sometimes play a little fast and loose with actual science as it morphs into fiction) and I love creating alien worlds and species. And when I write sci-fi, I feel more creative and inspired, so writing flows easier for me too.   As for my favorite book... that is so much harder to decide, and I could never pick just one book or author! The genre leads to stories that are all so different, and I enjoy them for those differences. I began my journey through alien worlds on dragonback and singing ships with Anne McCaffrey, and she remains one of my favorite authors of all time, but the intriguing concepts and complex societies spanning the universe in Dune by Frank Herbert really cemented my love of the genre when I was twelve. If I had to pick my favorite MM authors who've written science fiction eBooks I love, I'd have to say it's a tie between M.A. Church and Lexi Ander. All of those worlds and styles I've read over the years have influenced me, and I think one of my favorite worlds and stories is one I've barely written, actually.        Coupled in Synchronicity was a short story for an anthology where I played with Jung's theory of synchronicity in a sci-fi theme setting. Writing it led to a plot bunny of epic novel proportions that I still can't decide how to write. A romance?  A bromance? Post it free? Expand my publishing to more traditional publishers and try my hand with a 'nomance' at all story? Do one of the first two options and self-publish? Until I figure that out, I just can't seem to get going on the story since the two main characters' relationship has to be defined first. But that would be the first chapter of the story, so everyone can check it out and share their thoughts with me! .    • • • @Graeme, one of our prolific Aussie authors, has over fifty stories on GA. He’s recently begun posting the fourth installment of his Lilydale Leopards series; if you’re not familiar with his Aussie Rules Football team, you should be. I’ve enjoyed following the antics of the delightful cast of characters. •     With the release of new Leopard story I’m curious. Graeme has very detailed storylines... How do you go about planning a Leopard story? How long is the process?   • • Actually, it's more the research that takes the time than the planning. The planning is usually restricted to working out some major events and how I want the story to end, and that's about it. When I write, I simply head the story in the direction of the first major event and see what happens. The writing is a discovery process for myself, too!   While it may look like I have things plotted out, one of my talents is furious rationalisation after the event. I can usually come up with a reason for something that justifies what's happened before. My favourite example is Matt's motivation for his behaviour in Heart of The Tree. When that motivation is revealed, it ties everything back to the start of the story, and looks like it was all planned, but it wasn't. I came up with that motivation when I was writing that late chapter.   Research is where I tend to go overboard. For example, I went down to the level of identifying which California district Mason's mother represented in the Assembly, and which Congressional district she was running for in the primaries. They're not mentioned explicitly in the story, but that research gave me demographics, crime rates, historical voting patterns, the distance to the school that Mason intended to go to, etc. And that's only one of the items that I've researched during the writing of the story!   • • • @Myr is probably missing chunks of hair from pulling them out while dealing with software update issues. Although most of his time is dedicated to the nuts and bolts of running our favorite site, he’s also an author. His Harry Potter fanfic and Science Fiction stories are a treat. However, the question we’ve asked him to answer gives us a bit more background on GA’s boss man. • First, thank you for all that you do for us at GA. I can’t impress how much your efforts and that of the team mean to us.     We’ve been learning a lot more about you recently, with the blogs and such. The world building in your Sci-fi and magical realms is nothing short of amazing.    However, this question is not about your writing. We know you have an extensive and varied book collection so, tell us, what is the most ridiculous fact you know?    Tell us something we’d be surprised to learn about you   • • I haven't really ever talked about it on GA, but I've been obsessed with trains of all sorts since I could walk and talk.  To the point that I spent several hours while at Disney World, chasing the train and monorails around getting pictures.  Or in the case of the Monorail, back when it was still allowed, getting video from the front seat up with the driver.   A fair few of my books are dedicated to trains and model railroading as well.  I'm currently working on a very sizable room so I can build a very sizable model train empire.  It's a great hobby for getting away from the stress of things.   • • • @Mann Ramblings is a man of many talents and I have a soft spot for him. Get your minds out of the gutter! He took a chance on a newbie author and any success I’ve had with my writing owes a lot to his patience and guidance. I’m giving him some time off so we can hopefully have something new from him in the near future. (I know I’m gonna pay for the time off comment.) I’m stretching the staff definition to include him since he’s a member of the GA promotions team. • I noticed you are using a different name on other sites. Is J. Alan Veerkamp your real one? If not, how come the change in pseudonyms?   • • J. Alan Veerkamp is a new pen name I created after a discussion with my new publisher. There was some concern that having a pen name like Mann Ramblings which is a play on words, might make my writing seem less serious to the main public. So with that in mind, I put together the new name which is a combination of aspects of mine and my mother's maiden name. I did it to honor the side of my family where all my creativity comes from and who have given me unwavering support in all of my endeavors.   In spite of it all, I decided not to change my identity on GA, because I didn't want to create additional confusion and I didn't see the need on the site that started it all.     • • • That’s it for this month. Remember to send me any questions you may have for GA authors, and I’ll do my best to get them answered for you.
 

GA's Newest Promising Author: Aceinthehole

Please join the Author Promotion Team in congratulating Aceinthehole as GA's newest promoted author! Aceinthehole has been a member of GA for approximately two years and during that time, he has written five novels and over 800,000 words to share with the members here at GA! His current story Tales of the Underground: Blinded is over 175,000 words. If you want to read more from Aceinthehole, you can visit his author page (and check out his new banner while you're there).   Please join us in congratulating Aceinthehole on his well deserved promotion.  
 

Author Promo: Dodger

Time for a new author promo! This month we're taking a look at Dodger. Dodger was asked to pick three stories and answer the three questions: What gave you the idea for this story? What was your favorite thing about writing this story? & Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description. If you would like to do an author promo for the blog, please check out the blog feature opportunities thread. Now, let's take a look at what Dodger has for us. Dodger Author 8 stories · 1,918 comments · 683,683 total words     The Cockney Canuck   Description: Following the death of his mother, fifteen-year-old Robbie is forced to move from England to start a new life living with his uncle’s family in Canada. Homesick, confused, and missing his close friend, it soon becomes clear to his new family that Robbie is carrying a lot more baggage than he arrived with.   What gave you the idea for this story?   It started out as therapy before turning into a bit of an autobiography, but my life wasn’t interesting enough to sustain it, so I invented Robbie and turned it into fiction.   What was your favorite thing about writing this story?   It was fun because it was my first attempt at writing fiction and I became totally absorbed in the main character. I was, of course, completely out of my depth and the early chapters definitely reflect this. They are, perhaps, a tad raw in places but for those who have ploughed through regardless, the ending promises a real treat!   Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description?   Most of the characters are based on real people, but only one of them is aware of their inclusion. The infamous Nicola is my sister in real life and reads the story on GA. It’s quite bizarre because she calls me after each chapter is posted to give me her valued opinion. Inevitably, she has had some influence, but no direct input and of course, the storylines are all fiction. Incidentally, she also enjoys reading the comments. So remember, the next time you rant about ‘that horrible bitch Nicola’, the real one will probably be reading it!!!       A Soldier’s Guide to Single Parenting   Description: After losing his wife to illness, a decorated war hero is determined to keep his family together, but his parenting skills are tested during the summer break by financial restraints, an increasing reliance on alcohol, and the discovery that his eldest son is gay.   What gave you the idea for this story?   I think that everyone loves a fictional character who they can really hate. So I thought it would be a good idea to give the villain the lead role in a story. The narrator, therefore, is a thoroughly dislikeable, homophobic, alcoholic, sexist, bigot, with some serious mental issues. Yeah, it’s a biggie and he’s only saved by the fact that his adversary in the story is even worse!   What was your favorite thing about writing this story?   Believe it or not, I’m not a homophobic, alcoholic, sexist, bigot, but I may have some serious mental issues because I enjoyed pretending to be one while writing it. There may even be a hint of sadomasochism in this work because I’ve revelled in some of the abuse that has been understandably levelled at the main character, even though I’m innocent. Don’t shoot the messenger is the theme here.   Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description?   Jeff is dislikeable but not unlikeable. He has some almost redeeming qualities which the reader would not be aware of if he wasn’t the narrator. There’s a well-worn cliché that may apply. You can’t judge a book by its cover.       A Night at the Opera   Description: Georgie’s younger brother Simon turns up with some friends to celebrate his seventeenth birthday, but the next morning, a monumental hangover and an unexpected discovery threaten to cast a shadow over their close family bond.   What gave you the idea for this story?   I wanted to write a short story from a different perspective and allow the readers to jump to the wrong conclusion simply by not mentioning things which they take for granted. I can’t say much more.   What was your favorite thing about writing this story?   Dropping little clues here and there and trying to work them into the story. I like that kind of thing but I didn’t know if it would work until I received some feedback. I think that most people were fooled.   Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description?   It’s very tongue in cheek with a little more comedy than I would usually use but it’s an easy read for the unsuspecting.  
 

Ask an Author 2.0 #7

And we’re back! My inventory of questions is rapidly diminishing and unless I get some new ones, I may start making some up for myself. You wouldn’t want that would you? Pick an author we haven’t featured, ask a question, and let’s see what they have to say. Aren’t you curious about what type of sneakers someone wears? Or maybe how they go about naming chapters or characters? Anything except for XXX matters is fair game.   @Hunter Thomson has agreed to a return engagement. Our politician/jock from the Great White North was gracious enough to share a bit more about himself. • Your stories tend to have a sporting theme or background, is this a reflection of your own experiences in high school? In other words, were you, or are you still a sportsman or like most of us, an armchair fan?   • The short answer is yes, this is a reflection of my experiences in high school. I started playing baseball when I was four years old, and I retired from the sport once my high school days were over, as I did not make the cut on the university team I tried out for. I spend most of my curling now, and I've been doing that for the past fifteen years. There's no plans to write a curling based story right now, I don't think there's enough of a market for it either on Gay Authors or in the world at large, although I suppose if I did write a gay curling romance it would be the best-seller (only seller?) in its field. I'm actually heading to my third regional playdowns the December 9-11 weekend, so I still play rather competitively.   •   You can find Hunter’s stories here: https://www.gayauthors.org/author/hunter-thomson/    • • • • •   @northie also returns for her second appearance in the rebooted Ask an Author. If you haven’t been following her Never Too Late, I suggest you check it out. Fairly well written, the story’s a look at the budding friendship between an older gay man and a younger one. No, you pervs, it’s not about sex. It’s about the plight of a closeted man in the sunset of his life. • Short stories seem to be your forte and you definitely have the knack, but it can be a challenge for a lot of authors to tell a complete story in a limited amount of words. I think that it takes a certain amount of discipline to write short stories; are you naturally quite a disciplined person?   • Thanks for the compliment.    Am I self-disciplined? Yes and no … If I'm working to any kind of deadline (at home or in my job), then, yes, I can be disciplined in how I operate. Otherwise, I'm dreadful. 'Tomorrow' is one of my favourite words. I aim to write something every day, whether that's original writing, writing up, editing, or otherwise making alterations.    As for the stories, mine vary wildly in length. The shortest is 500 words ('An Uncommon Daisy') and the longest is something over 16,000 ('The Bard's Tale'). When there is an actual word limit imposed (as some of Cia's writing games do), that certainly adds self-discipline into the equation – the story can't just run its course, but must be planned, then contained, refined, reduced as necessary.    • You can find northie’s stories here: https://www.gayauthors.org/author/northie/   • • • • •   @MacGreg continues the trend. This is the second time we hear from him in the past few months. Previously, we heard about his story Dissonance. Mac’s one of those gifted authors who share stories and poems and this time around he talks about his poetry. • You write both prose and poetry. What do you feel that poetry does for you as an artist/author that prose doesn't?   • Good question. Writing prose is creating a story. It involves building a scene, developing characters, pulling the reader into the moment and letting them stay there for a while as the plot unfolds. Like most authors, writing prose gives me a platform to express myself and create fictional people, places, and experiences to share with others.   Poetry is a similar outlet for me – but the impetus for writing it comes from a very different place. It derives from a deeper, unconscious source and is much more emotion-driven. It allows me to express myself in a less-structured way than prose (I tend to forego poetry patterns like rhyme, line length, and meter - sorry, poets). Because of this free-form style, I’m able to expel what I’m feeling in short order, sort of like purging something. Get it out, move on, and maybe a few readers will find value in it along the way.   • You can find Mac’s work here:     https://www.gayauthors.org/author/macgreg/    • • • • •   @AC Benus takes the prize, this is the third time he gets featured. I may be renaming the blog Ask AC if this continues. Not only is the man from San Francisco a prolific author, his fans are prolific inquisitors. • Among the 58 stories and poems that you have posted on GA are a few of screenplays. You have a done a remarkable job, but what made you decide to attempt these in the first place and how difficult were they to write?   • Like most of us, I was exposed to Moby-Dick in high school, and lucky for me, one of the scenes we studied in detail is the overtly homoerotic “Counterpane” chapter. This is where the two heroes of the book wind up in bed and consummate a marriage as true and inspiring as any in literature. So years later, one day browsing the shelves of my local used book seller, I happened on an edition of the book Melville published right after Moby-Dick. As I was expecting an enjoyable read, I was completely befuddled by Pierre, or the Ambiguities. It was dense – so dense, I felt like a dunce – and I gave up trying to read it, even though I hate to lose any battle.   After a while, I settled on a way to conquer Pierre; I would read Melville’s novels from the beginning. I found a copy of Typee (published when he was 24) and was off. If I thought Moby-Dick was open about its portrayal of same-sex love, I was blown away by the male couple in Typee. The book was a phenomenon when originally published, and Melville feared he’d only be remembered for having written it.   As far as my filmscripts on GA, I suppose I’m still surprised when people tell me screenplays So, long story short, I did read all of author’s novels in sequence until I was finally able to return to Pierre. My strategy worked, as I could now breeze through this very challenging book. But after I was finished, I wanted to bring the remarkable sequence to life for others. That’s when I hit upon doing screenplays, and organizing them so they tell Melville’s own story, from being a ship’s ‘boy’ at age 19, until the devastatingly negative reviews came in for Moby-Dick’s open and far-too homoerotic love story.   Are they difficult to write? I would say they are a fun challenge to write. Most films unfold over a sequence of 8 to 10 large sections, or Parts. Once you get in the mindset of seeing tales developed this way, it helps you structure novels you wish to write as well. There are several online guides on how to start, but be aware, there is an almost Byzantine code of do-and-don’ts to learn and keep in your head. Nonetheless, I’d recommend the exercise to any writer looking to expand their abilities.   As far as my filmscripts on GA, I suppose I’m still surprised when people tell me screenplays are difficult to read. They are like any other form: you start at the top and read your way down the page. Scripts are meant to be evocative too, so you should be able to see the scene as if watching a movie unfurl. • You can read some of those countless posts here: https://www.gayauthors.org/author/ac-benus/  • • • • •     We’ll see you back next month but only if you send me enough questions to pass along.        
 

Ask an Author 2.0 - #6

And we’re back. Sometimes I wish a few of my favorite GA authors were still around. I have questions about what inspired them to write a particular story, how they decided on locations, or even how they settled on a character’s name. Unfortunately, those I’d most be interested in asking aren’t around these days.   Will you face the same regrets I do in a couple of years? Think of one of our new hotshot writers and send me a question. I’ll get it answered and we can all learn a bit more about those who entertain us.   • • • • • @Dodger Well-known for his distinctive avatar and having published ninety-five chapters of his long-running story The Cockney Canuck, Dodger is not a one-hit wonder. I’ve enjoyed reading several of his short stories and this month’s question is about a different ongoing story: The Church and the Tradesman.    • Your The Church and the Tradesman is a highly original and engaging work. How did you get inspired to create these characters?     • Most of my characters are loosely based on people who I have met in real life and The Church and the Tradesman follows the same principle with the exception, unsurprisingly, of the unruly and thoroughly dislikeable pop star, Tyrone.   It’s definitely not fan-fiction so I’m not going to throw any names out there but his character is based on the typical, manufactured, teenage, pretty boy, pop idol. Needless to say, I’ve never met anyone who falls into this category so it’s possible that Tyrone’s personality isn’t an accurate representation, but I like to think it is.   The protagonist Andy, his friend Jazz, and sly colleague Bob are all slightly exaggerated variations of people who I met or worked with whilst living in the UK. They do, however, come from completely different backgrounds and environments and their paths in real life would probably never cross. I just thought it would be fun to put them all together and throw in a pop star for good measure.   The inspiration originally came from an iconic gay nightclub in London that was nicknamed ‘The Church’ because of its unusual opening hours. In the story, this is the spiritual home for Andy’s gay alter-ego and a counterbalance for his very straight weekday job with Bob.   This bizarre, hardcore dance venue, only opened one day a week on Sunday mornings from 4 am until 1 pm and gained notoriety in the nineties following a number of high-profile sex scandals. In its day it was probably the most infamous gay nightclub in the world but a reputation for sleaze and drugs inevitably led to its closure.   Mercifully, I was never old enough to attend church when I was in England but I once had the dubious privilege of meeting some ex-members of the so-called ‘congregation’. Their vegetated states and vacant expressions were enough to convince me that the stories that I had heard about this place were probably true.   This was supposed to be a light-hearted story but it does touch on the very serious problem of drug abuse, which I do not condone but could not ignore either. Drugs play a very big and very destructive role in Andy’s life and it was difficult for me to write about this without glamorizing it in any way. I hope I did okay.    • • • • • @Dabeagle & @Cynus One question, two top dogs in the GA greyhound track– talk about a perfecta. I gambled and posed the same question to both authors in one message so they could read each other’s responses. Here’s what they had to say. • Dabeagle has just finished writing a story The List which is set in the universe of another writer's creation: Cynus' Weightless and Fearless. I'm curious as to the effect on both writers. Cynus, with someone else using, inhabiting, and possibly changing his own world. And Dabeagle about the pressures of writing something knowing that another author was likely to take a close interest in what resulted. How much collaboration was there? Or did Cynus hand over the characters and their environment and let Dabeagle get on with it? What attracted Dabeagle to those stories in the first place?    • Dabeagle For me writing with others is old hat. Some of my best ideas and stories come from discussion and brainstorming with other people. I had worked with Cynus before - he's a relatively old friend - and we'd been successful in our plotting and execution of the story we'd wanted to tell.    With respect to The List, Cynus had put out an invitation for people to come write in his universe. That particular thing isn't something I do. I have borrowed characters, with permission, such as Craftingmom's Devyn Kennedy. Sometimes a character, usually a secondary one, resonates strongly with me and I'll be moved to write them. My motivation in this case was to create characters that could interact with the existing universe yet be individual.   I follow some basic rules or guidelines when working with other's characters. First is not to change them in order to suit me. For instance, breaking up a couple for my own use unless the original author approves. For instance, Cynus had already told me that Angie and Travis wouldn't last, therefore opening a door. I'd never have broken them up on my own. Secondly this sort of thing needs the blessing of whomever you're either working with or, in this case, whose universe you're playing in.   Cynus was very supportive and loved Parker and Shane which made things much easier. I asked him a lot of questions in order to stay true to characters as well as not running afoul of any plans he had made in terms of new stories. So this wasn't a collaboration in the traditional sense, but neither was it a carte blanche. As I completed scenes or had ideas for new ones I'd often chat with Cynus via text or once a phone call. Communication is essential, for me, to create in a situation like that.   I didn't feel a great deal of pressure as Cynus was involved in my idea process and read things as they got done. As far as what attracted me to them, I've read most of Cynus's work and given him critiques as well as sought critiques from him. I liked his characters and thought it would be fun to start out on the ground floor, as it were, and see if things would go like my Sanitaria Springs series. Primarily, though, I did it because Cynus is a friend and I felt I could do it. If this had been in some of his other universes, I'd have not had the ability. • Cynus Dabeagle's being a bit kind to me here. The perk of answering second is being able to read his response first, and I intend to take full advantage of the opportunity.

There was a point in time where I was feeling a bit sorry for myself as an author. I felt I wasn't properly connecting to my readership, and that I wasn't having the level of success I felt capable of reaching. I kept complaining to Dabeagle about how no one ever wanted to write with my characters, and I questioned if that meant they weren't lovable enough. It sounds silly, I know, and in hindsight my mind really wasn't in the best place at the time (If you have any doubt, check out the note at the end of "Weightless").

Dabeagle knew I wanted someone to care about my work in that way, and he was generous enough with his time and talent to accommodate my self-pity. I'm grateful to him for that, even if it didn't quite pan out the way either of us expected. That was a rough time for me, and his willingness to contribute to my universe was in fact something I really needed emotionally. We'd collaborated before on Sanitaria Springs stories (where Dabeagle fell in love with one of my characters, Logan Whitmore), and working with him has always been fairly natural.

With respect to the world/setting, I gave him fairly loose rein. The only areas which became tricky at all involved his use of my characters, but through extensive communication I think we handled that very smoothly. Shane and Parker are delightful--I have a soft spot for Parker especially--and I think they play well with my characters.

For the record, if anyone else wants to consider a collaboration (or sponsored fanfiction) in my worlds, please feel free to talk to me about it. My characters always need friends, and if you're as good at collaboration as Dabeagle, we'll create another great story like "The List".  • • • • • @MythOfHappiness Although no stranger to prose, MythOfHappiness has delighted many a reader with poetry. In my continuing effort to highlight GA poets, here’s another one for you.  • You write so beautifully in poetry about images and experiences common to so many of us. Do you see poetry as a way to tell stories and share experiences?   What led you to share your gift for image and word in poetry with everyone?     • I write because it makes me happy. I can't really do anything else artistically, I don't play any musical instruments, I can't draw worth anything... writing is kind of all I have. I publish on here because I want to improve at writing and because if I didn't, I wouldn't ever finish anything I started. My drive at home is half-full of stories and poems I began to write but never finished. I'm not good at ending things, I guess. Thanks for asking. You're the first person to ever do so, and it really surprised me when I opened my GA account today.  
 

Author Promo: northie

Wow, it's been a while since we've done an author promo. This month we're taking a look at northie. Northie was asked to pick three stories and answer the three questions: What gave you the idea for this story? What was your favorite thing about writing this story? & Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description. If you would like to do an author promo for the blog, please check out the blog feature opportunities thread. Now, let's take a look at what northie has for us. northie Author 13 stories · 593 comments · 126,539 total words   The Bard's Tale   Description: A bard decides to take action to recover unpaid monies due. A perfectly reasonable task which involves him in unreasonable and unintended consequences.   What gave you the idea for this story?   Strange as it may sound, the original inspiration came from playing Last post wins here on GA. Many of the players assume characters and this drew on two of them. I'll leave you to guess which. They appeared first in an early poem posted in my GA blog, but when the Spring/Summer 2017 Antho came around I realised it was a perfect match. However, it wasn't allowed as an entry, so I took the general outline of the poem and worked it into a much, much longer prose piece.   What was your favorite thing about writing this story?   This is a difficult one because I enjoyed so many things about writing it. Allowing myself to experiment creatively is what I'm going to say. Format, subject matter, genre, tone – all a matter of experiment. I wrote it in February / March 2017, when I'd only been writing prose for four or five months. I learnt so much from it.   Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description.   It is collaboration with my editor, Parker Owens. Parker very kindly wrote the poems for the bard which form a central part of the plot. He is such a wonderful poet – he took my rather vague requirements and turned them into poetic gold.     Incy Wincy Spider   Description: Dave Harrison is late for work, again. Turns out, that's by far the least of his worries.   What gave you the idea for this story?   It's actually a prompt response. One of the creative ones, where you're given a scenario and left to continue it. Very often I look at those without much of an idea, but this one grabbed me from the outset. In fact, I'd hardly finished reading the prompt before the ideas started bubbling up. I had so much fun with the story, it became long enough to be my first separately posted story apart from The Bard's Tale.   What was your favorite thing about writing this story?   Personification. Making the spiders come alive. Describing them. Making them interact with our hapless hero. Imbuing each with its own personality and traits which came partly from the truth and partly my imagination. This was my first experiment in personification and I loved it.   Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description.   The spiders are real in the sense that they are species which I see around me all the time. I like spiders (or at least the ones which live in the UK) and I do observe them. At the end of the story I give a 'cast list' with their proper names.     Night Thoughts   Description: What would your thoughts be if you were alone, at night, imprisoned only for who you are? One man gives us his.   What gave you the idea for this story?   Again, it started out as a prompt response. This time to a challenge prompt which asked you to 'write a scene where it is not possible to see anything'. This type of prompt is something to use to push your writing technique. Straight away it suggested a cell, a prisoner, but I didn't immediately make a start on it. I left it for a couple of weeks lurking in the back of my mind while I got on with other things. When I did finally sit down to write something, it still wasn't very clear in my mind what was going to happen. One thing I was clear on – it had to be from the point of view of the prisoner as he was living it. It was only when I got started that the whole thing just poured out, pretty much as it is now. A crie de coeur from a nameless prisoner, jailed simply because he's gay.   What was your favorite thing about writing this story?   I'm going to use that phrase again: the chance to experiment. I'd decided it was going to be written in the first person. My first attempt at that. But I also decided that the word 'I' was never going to appear. Another layer of complication. However, I enjoyed writing it immensely. It has opened up a new channel for my writing – one which can be used for short, intense, immersive pieces like this one. This story is the first of a projected series of 'Night thoughts'.   Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description.   The description is deliberately fairly bland. Which makes the shock, you, the reader, hopefully experience when reading it all the more intense. I wasn't trying to shock for shock's sake – it's more, the way I've written it, it should draw you in. Place you right next to the poor soul incarcerated in the cell who opens up his heart and mind over the course of one night.
 

Ask an Author 2.0 - #5

Ask an Author 2.0 - #5     Welcome back y’all. So far this year we’ve featured seven different authors in this blog; this month we add four new ones to the mix. I’ll continue to showcase different ones as long as you keep sending in your questions. Remember this is your chance to ask any author anything you want. The identity of the member asking the questions shall remain a secret in order to protect the guilty. J • • • • • @MacGreg Mac’s current avatar on Gay Authors is a length of rope innocently left on a wood floor. Don’t let it fool you, he uses it to rope readers into his world and once you get a taste of his writing it’ll be tough not to return for more. • I love the connection I'm able to feel with your characters and your story even though I may never be in their situation. That's with every story you've written. My question is, what are you hoping to communicate with your writing, and with Dissonance where did the inspiration come from for that story?   • First of all, thank you for including me in the Ask An Author series. It pleases me to hear that you feel a connection with the characters of my stories. Honestly, I can’t think of a better compliment than that. I would say that a common thread throughout much of my writing is a focus on character-driven plots as opposed to event-driven plots. Although plenty of events happen within each story, the driving forces are the perceptions and reactions of the characters involved. I’m interested in psychology and sociology and the dynamics of interpersonal relationships, so I suppose the biggest thing that I’m trying to communicate with my writing is the intricacy of human relationships. Life is a great big jumble of positive and negative points that we bounce around on, and our reactions help mold our personalities. We all want to end up on a positive point, but it can be extremely challenging to get there. How we interact with others along the way is important, because we are all connected.   Dissonance illustrates some of these positive and negative points. The ways in which Travis Cooper and Ben Mansfield navigate through the obstacles of their budding relationship is just as important as the obstacles themselves. I first got the idea for this story many years ago while driving from Colorado to Texas. Something in the air triggered a thought, and nine hours later, I had a story in mind. What happens when two people from very different backgrounds strike up a connection? Opposites attract, yes, but discordance can also happen. It’s an old story line, yet it remains relevant. Nothing is ever as it seems. Add into the mix the fact that these two characters are gay/bi, struggling with self-identity, self-loathing, fear of rejection, fear of the past, fear of the future, societal pressures, and a myriad of family issues (things so many of us can personally relate to), and the result becomes dissonant. This story sat for a long time before I was compelled to pick it up again in the fall of 2016. The characters of Travis and Ben never completely left me alone, and I’m glad for that. Thanks to everyone who's been reading it!   • • • • • @jfalkon Having joined in 2007, jfalkon is one of Gay Authors oldest members. His thirty stories on the site show his versatility; the genres are as varied as the tales themselves. Having read some of them, I have enjoyed how his writing has evolved and the variety of emotions it evokes. • What prompted you to write Under The Surface? It was quite a dark story and I'm interested in your motivation.   • Thanks for the question.   I usually write about things that are on my mind.  Before writing the story, I had watched some documentaries on kidnappings and religious cults and had heard a few stories about failed treatments designed to change a person's sexual orientation.  This all happened in a period of about two months.  The stories melted together in my mind and resulted in this rather dark story.   • • • • • @northie One of the benefits or coordinating this feature is being exposed to authors I’m not very familiar with. Northie is one of those. Although I’ve know her for a bit, my interest in her work peaked when she sent me questions for the blog and again when someone sent questions in for her. Since then, I’ve read a few of her stories and plan on reading more. Her characters leap of the page and seem as real as if they were sitting next to me. • You have posted quite a few stories on GA in a short amount of time. Including an impressive 7 short stories in 2017. Were some of these stories already written, posted on other sites, re-vamped, or did you start each one from scratch this year?   • Everything that's appeared on GA is new, and with the exception of the Anthology stories, they are usually posted pretty much hot off the pencil.    I only started writing in late 2016, after a friend on GA (who's now my editor) planted the idea in my head that maybe I could write. My first efforts were short prompt responses (posted in 'Am I late?'). About the same time, I started a multi-chaptered story which is now complete, but has yet to be posted. Prompts continue to inspire my stories, because as an author who is still inexperienced, I love the opportunity to experiment. Genre, form, style, I enjoy playing around with them. Cia's writing games are another source of inspiration, and also, practice in writing to order. Some things that started out as shorts have evolved into longer, ongoing stories ('Soul Music', 'hell_is.com'). • • • • • @Hunter Thomson Hunter’s our resident jock from Canada. Who else could get away with a picture of a curler as their avatar? The man isn’t only interested in sports, politics battle it out for attention. If you get a chance, read one of his blog entries concerning running for public office. They’re fascinating. • In your bio, the focus is very much on real life and your own personal experiences. How much of your own life goes into your work, bearing in mind that you’re only 27?   • I do tend to use my life experiences as a template for what I write. I feel that doing so gives me a more authentic point of view, and I can write about sports more effectively because I understand the thoughts and feelings of the players from my own experiences. That isn't to say that my Out on the Field series is a biography, its not. But there are certainly a number of elements to Devin's life that are similar to mine. It's been argued in the past that Devin's stories are a way for me to relive my life in an alternative universe where things were different (like making the UBC Thunderbirds). I can see where the argument comes from, but what happens in my stories is fiction; my life experience just give me some extra perspective on the psychology and internal aspects of the characters.   I find it interesting that the question frames me as 'only' being 27. I guess from a chronological viewpoint I haven't been around the planet for very long compared to some people (and potentially the person asking), but I've given myself a chance to lead a rich life in the time I've been here, and the wealth of positive and negative experiences I've lived through gives me a lot more to work with in my writing than I thought I would have.    • • • • •   BONUS QUESTION– ASK AN EDITOR     @Kitt A little detour along the way. Someone suggested asking editors a question and two of the ones I approached were kind enough to reply. Here’s what Kitt had to say. • Can you give examples of edits you've made of mistakes which were really funny or really strange?    • I edit for a gent whom English is his second language.  Actually several of my authors fall into that category.  I think the most amusing one is where he put shrubs in where scrubs ( the hospital wear) belonged.  Was several minutes before I could continue working. I kept seeing this little older woman wearing a bush!
 

Ask an Author 2.0 - #4

Hello February! By the time you read this, stores will be full of red and pink decorations. Chocolates and love cards will be prominently displayed everywhere. Florists will be busier than a one-armed wallpaper hanger in a windstorm would. And GA readers will be searching for love stories to read. Our focus this month is on the authors of three such tales.   • • • • •   @Rip Skor I was not aware of Rip Skor’s Boy Story until one of its fans sent in a question for the author. The story’s description and Rip’s reply to the question have led me to adding it to my reading list. Moral of the story? If you are an author, how you describe the story when you post it can gain or lose you prospective readers. • I happened upon Boy Story a while ago, and it was hard to resist Matt and Parker. It was great watching their romance unfold and seeing them live their lives.     You mentioned the story is semi-autobiographical, so, why was this the time to tell it and how hard was it to separate fact from fiction?    And since it is the month of Romance, what is the best love advice you’ve received?    • Being an English Major, I've always written well, but I hate to write because it saps a lot of my energy. So the fact that I put pen to paper seems perplexing even to me.   I was sitting at home with Parker one night and we watched another horrendous gay-themed movie. They always seem to end up sad, as if it's some kind of penance for being gay. Just look at Brokeback Mountain for example. Can't a gay love story have a positive ending, yet still be entertaining? Can't a gay love story keep itself from getting mired down in gay culture, which turns off most straight people?   Parker said, "You're a good writer, why don't you show them how it's done?" That started the ball rolling.   Only problem is I had no idea what to write about. I find it easier to use real events even if just for a framework to build around. But once I turned the faucet on, things came flooding out, like I was watching a movie.   One of my college professors said "Write about what you know." So I wrote about what I know...my life. Specifically, when things drastically changed for me, yet kept me feeling alive and happy and thankful. Parker had become like a drug that I could not live without. Being with him fed my soul and I guess that's where the term soul mate comes from. Others have experienced the same kind of all encompassing love.   I didn't change much of the events. I did compress the timeline a bit to keep it moving. Otherwise we'd be on Chapter 247 by now. I kept most of the names the same where I used only first names, I changed my last name and Parker's last name to protect our privacy. So there was not a lot of fiction to separate from fact. Like Parker winning the car in a drawing that Aunt Helen entered him in really happened!       My Grandmother hit the nail on the head when it comes to relationships. She simply said "Be good to each other." I found that's how you keep romance alive.       • • • • •   @Headstall Headstall began posting Cards on the Table three years ago, in January 2015. Since then, the story’s sixty-three chapters and over 300,000 words have attracted nearly 180,000 views, 2,700 comments, and over 300 followers. I think it is fair to say Gary’s story about two hockey-playing friends taking their relationship to a new level struck a chord with readers. This has to be one of the all-time most popular love stories on the site. • How difficult did you find it returning to Cards on the Table after a long break? Had your writing style noticeably changed since you'd last written a chapter? Did you have to alter anything to get back into your previous style?   •   There was a lot of emotion/angst involved with my return to Cards on the Table. The biggest thing that made it difficult was the guilt I carried for being away so long, and the pressure I put on myself because of it, at a time I really needed a good extended rest.   I had no intention of taking such a long absence. This new, strange story was making a heck of a racket in my head, and I had already taken breaks in the past to write two other stories (Song and Dance and Treading Water), and both had gone quickly. But, Morningstar: The Malaise, my shifter story, turned out to be a different animal (sorry... couldn't resist).     I really thought I could write the bulk of it and then return to CotT, writing both at the same time, but it was such an intricate undertaking, it became impossible to go back and forth between these two epic length stories. I found I could write anthologies during that time (four of them), but only because they were relatively quick endeavors.    Consequently, I was nervous about returning to my original story. Morningstar was still living in my head, even though Book One? was complete, and after a year and a half of living it, it was hard to let go. That whole time I had been barraged with requests to get back to CotT, and I felt a very real pressure. I learned a huge lesson.   As far as altering my writing style, I will say this: my writing is always evolving. It has from chapter to chapter and book to book. The first chapter of CotT is much different from the latest, and eventually I will clean the whole thing up. A better question might be whether I could fall back into Michael and Kendall's world with ease. It was the question I had, and I found the answer as soon as I started writing the 'Christmas Cards' chapter. It was a huge YES.   It was like I never left these guys at all. Every character was right there waiting for me, and I can't begin to tell you how relieved I was. I had Kendall's inner voices and sense of self in my head and on my fingertips, and Michael's sense of humor and fearless approach to love were still a part of me. Even Nate and Bodie were every bit as nuanced as they've been from the beginning. So, even though my skills may have improved while being away, I don't think it has altered the essence of Cards on the Table in any way. Thankfully, judging by the comments, the readers agree.     I hope my long-winded reply answers your question. Thank you for your interest.     • • • • • @Renee Stevens Our final author this month is Renee Stevens. I suspect the woman does not sleep a lot. How the heck else is she able to have a life and still serve as part of GA’s staff, coordinate weekly blogs, anthologies, author promotions, and who knows what else. From personal experience, I will vouch for her support of rookies; she is always willing to share what she has learned. Of course, she is an author first and her love stories about rugged, working men enjoy huge popular support. • I read Puppy Love after it was featured in a recent blog. When compared to your other love story I've read (Studly Ranch Hands which I loved) both have a similar feel. Kind of an open country atmosphere. As some of the blog comments mentioned, the quality of the old story is not as good as your most recent work. Why? How did the changes come about? How long and how hard was it to get to where you are now as an author?   • Thanks for the question!  Puppy Love was only the third novel I’d ever written, and the second M/M novel. The first was Eternity and that has many of the same issues as Puppy Love does. (We won't even get into the issues that my first ever novel Life After Loss has). I looked at my files and the earliest files I could find on Puppy Love dated back to 2007. It could have even been written before then, I can’t remember, and that’s just when it was first saved in my current files.   The “Why?” is simply because I didn’t know any better back then. I didn’t have the community of support back then that I had after I came to GA just over 8 years ago. Sure, I had friends who read over what I wrote and they helped improve the story line, but there are so many things that none of us knew. Once I came to GA, I developed some wonderful friendships and really started to get some assistance in improving my writing.   It’s taken over ten years for me to get where I am now, and a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it and I hope to continue to learn and improve. The one thing that helps me is I make note of repeated mistakes and now I check all of my stories for these issues prior to posting.  

Carlos Hazday

Carlos Hazday

 

Ask An Author 2.0 #3

Happy New Year! We are back and this month our blog entry focuses on poets. Figures my first themed entry would be about a subject I rarely understand and often avoid. However, I’m here to pass your questions along, not to editorialize on what I like. So let’s get to it.    • • • • •   This month’s first question is for asamvav111. Hailing from India, he’s an example of GA’s worldwide reach and membership. Don’t you all think GA should underwrite my travels so I can ask future questions in person? A member since 2012, this young man posted his first collection of poems in 2017 and has quickly garnered a solid fan base. • There is a certainty and deep conciousness that comes from your poems. What does poetry do for you? Is there a poet that you recommend we all read?   • Poetry as an art has so many facets, it is difficult to choose one. In my poetry, I always try to capture a mental state or an emotional response & give it flesh. Poetry begins with poesy, the act of creation itself. Everyone of us are creating our own reality, commissioning our own funhouse of mirrors, every day, every moment. I just use words to give others a glimpse into the one inside me.   I think, we should read every material we can get our hands on, because it helps develop our own art & our own critique. Beside all the old masters like Wordsworth, Whitman, Baudelaire, Frost etc, I would suggest to read our very own AC Benus, Parker Owens, Mikiesboy. And also join us in Live-Poets-Society where we have wonderful discussions on every possible aspect of poetry & showcase our work.     • • • • •   Asamvav111 recommends three GA poets so let’s hear from them.   Mikiesboy’s one of those members everyone seems to like. His friendly and thoughtful disposition when dealing with others has endeared him to many. Adept at poetry and prose, I’m not sure how he finds the time to write, edit, and beta read for others, and participate in his Drop in Center forum thread. • Why does free verse appeal more than anything else?   • Free verse may sound free but it isn't, there are still poetic rules that apply. There must be flow, meter is important even in free verse, and it must be written poetically.  You can't just write down sentences and call it a free verse poem.   Why do i choose it? Well, it suits my mood normally. I don't always want or even like rhymes. One exception is the Rubaiyat, it's a form i really enjoy writing and i like the rhyming pattern of : a-a-b-a; b-b-c-b; c-c-d-c; d-d-e-d; e-e-f-e. This is a real challenge.   But free verse lets my thoughts flow more than other forms that are more restrictive.   • • • • •   Parker Owens asked me to beta read one of his stories earlier this year and I can’t thank him enough for it. It was a pleasure to do so and I discovered Parker was open to criticism and suggestions unlike some authors. However, his writing is not limited to prose; his poetry collections have earned him the respect of other poets as we saw in the first entry on this blog. • Do you think your math skills and musical ability contribute to your innate sense of form and meter in your poems?  Your ability to look at your surroundings and use mathematical and scientific principles as allegories to love and life is quite remarkable and definitely unique.  Do you look at an object or read a mathematical concept and see the poetry within? Or do you have a poem in your head and look for a concept to fit it?     • I wish there were an easy description of how music and mathematics relate to what I write. Often, it has their interplay that conveys to me a sense of balance and sound to each line or couplet. If I listen to what gets scrawled in my notebook, I hope to hear something as compelling as my favorite music, or as true as any axiom.    Frequently, I am taken by the sound of a scientific or mathematical word, and a poem gets built around that. Words like implicit differentiation and lanthanide series have their own rhythms and stories to tell. A few times, someone has dared me to write about a concept that was foreign to me - such challenges have proved irresistible. Often enough, it is what I see my students reviewing in their study halls that plants those words in my mind.    Thank you for asking! • • • • •   We visit again with AC Benus in this installment. Last month he answered a question about his Christmas at Famous-Barr series; in this entry, he addresses his poetry. Poems are more prominent on the site than when I first joined and a lot of the credit goes to AC. He’s encouraged, prodded, and mentored poets to the point they have become a vibrant subset of the community. • You write sonnets beautifully. What advice would you give someone starting out? Are you self-taught? If yes, what did you do to become such a good poet?   • The answer to am I self-taught is yes. As for advice, I’d say listen to your heart and what moves you. Poetry is all around us at all times, in song lyrics, in jingles, in the lessons we learn in school, but maybe one day something will break through and make you go ‘wow.’ That happened to me the first year of high school. There was something about Keats’ Ode to a Grecian Urn, and particularly the concluding lines "Beauty is truth, truth beauty – that is all we know on earth, and all we need to know," that made me wake up and want to write myself.     So I’d look for that moment and that piece of poetry, in any style or form, that makes you go “Oh…”. Learn from it and figure out what exactly the poet did to shake you up. After that, read as much as you can, and get busy writing.     Thanks for a great question, and I will post a longer answer in Live-Poets Society, so please look for it.   • • • • •   That’s it for this month. Hope you all had a wonderful Holiday Season and the New Year brings you health and peace. Remember to send me your questions so we can discover more about our authors, their lives, and how they craft their stories. How about we focus on the authors of your favorite love stories next time around?
 

Ask An Author 2.0 - #2

Welcome back to the new Ask An Author 2.0. Just a quick note that @Carlos Hazday has agreed to take over the Ask An Author feature, so please send your questions to him. I've already sent him the questions and answers that were sent to me. Now, I'll turn it over to Carlos.     Renee has to be one of the busiest members on GA, so I’m stepping in and trying to help her a bit by taking on the Ask an Author monthly feature. I’ll remind you the questions come from you, not me or the staff. If there’s anything you’d like to ask one of our authors, send me a PM and I’ll pass the question along anonymously. Until we have a good inventory of questions and answers, we’ll be limited in the number of questions answered each installment. This month, our first two authors are part of the European contingent on the site. • • • • • JohnAR has kept his many fans somewhat happy by publishing MetaPrompts since the popular Meta Series concluded. The original books are now part of GA’s Premium Collection, so if you’re interested in reading them for the first time, or re-reading them for the umpteenth, all you have to do is join Gay Authors and become a Premium Subscriber. •  I'm sad that your amazing Meta series is over. Did the ending frame your story or did it come as you were writing? How did you manage to keep all those twists in the plot together?  •  1a) As Meta had always been intended to celebrate the opposite of all tropes of classical M/M romances, it couldn’t have had a HEA; so neither ‘happy,’ nor ‘ever after,’ nor ‘ending.’ Right from the start, I knew the ‘endings’ would be ambiguous and ultimately left to the reader’s interpretation. Some of those endings had always been planned like ‘Wolf 635’ that had been planted from the very first chapter. So these goal posts framed most of the story arc across the eight books. Of course, the details of the story ultimately shaped the specificity of the endings, as did some of my readers’ speculations. I decided rather late in the game to add a ‘fake’ HEA in middle of the last book ‘Fate,’ as I was repeatedly referred to as ‘evil’ author. Thanks for the compliment! 1b) For every individual Meta novel - like with the overall story arc, I had the first, central, and last chapters locked before starting to write them. Everything in-between was just stuff to fill the gaps. So I always ‘knew’ how the plot would have to ‘twist’ eventually. And in the instances I did get lost (I shall not reveal my biggest blunders), my editor (@Timothy M.) and the official MetaWiki (@PkCrichton) helped me out. Thanks, by the way.  • • • • • Timothy M returns to AAA for the second month in a row. The self-anointed DROLL DANE is a voracious reader (based on the number of comments he leaves, a prolific reviewer, and as our previous author mentioned, supports the work of others as an editor. In his spare time, he’s also an author. His versatility has given us Timothy’s Terrible Prompt Stories—a lighthearted look at American teens—and The Cardmaker and the Caretaker—a romantic story involving European young adults—amongst others. •  You've given us stories written in both British English and American English - can you share some of your thoughts on how you make that happen? Also, care to share any particular sources you use for finding idiomatic words and phrases? •  It’s almost embarrassing to have to admit that I’m not really doing anything special. British English is what I’ve been taught, so this comes naturally to me, although reading on GA has ‘contaminated’ me.  American English is harder when it comes to words and phrases, but I rely heavily on my editors (AC Benus and Kitt) to catch my mistakes. As for spelling I simply set my Word to the correct version, which works well for my stories based on pure US (Prompt story) and UK (The Cardmaker and the Caretaker).   It’s harder when I mix the two which is what happens in Clueless Camping. In that one I’ve chosen American English because the main protagonist comes from the U.S.A. However, I mix in British words and phrases, because the Danish guys would use those. Examples: Russ uses Mom, apartment, elevator and vacation, but Jacob would say Mum, flat, lift and holiday.   A couple of examples of British English words and phrases caught by AC Benus: “You didn’t fancy me back then” – Americans use like. Dinner instead of supper – or is it the other way around?  And some terms I can never seem to learn. I keep using baseball match rather than game, training rather than practice, and lessons instead of classes.  But I think the two latter are Danish terms getting mixed up. All I can do is hope my readers will forgive me any mistakes – and preferably point them out too. • • • • • Our final author is AC Benus and breaking with tradition, I’ll let you know it came from Skinnydragon. Skinny’s no longer with us and his death affected many of us who came to enjoy his writing, comments, and friendship. This question was submitted before he became ill but was never published. Miss you, buddy. •  Your FB/Christmas novella is awe-inspiring in both scope and complexity. Truly one of the most amazing things I've ever encountered on GA. My question is simple -- the answer may not be. Did this project come to you for the first time as to what it would ultimately become, or did you begin writing one section, and then see the need for the next, etc. Sort of how Wagner wrote his "Ring" -- backwards?  •  "Did this project come to you as what it would ultimately become?" The answer is no. I'm not sure what compelled me to get beyond the wish of 'maybe someday' to rolling up my sleeves and thinking I'm going to do this, but when I conceived of the project I thought I would be doing 6 short stories. I also thought the series would take me about 8 months in total. Boy, was I wrong on both fronts. "Did you begin writing one section, and then see the need for the next, etc.?" To this one the answer is more complex. After I committed to doing the Christmas at Famous-Barr series I first pitched about deciding which years I had information on and compiled a possible list. Here arose my first problem – there were 8 Christmases that intrigued me, so my initial 6 went out the window. Before I let myself delve into writing the first one, I pulled out pieces of paper and jotted down notes and ideas for each year to be featured. Some of these notes filled up a few pages; others existed as only a paragraph or two. 2005 and 1880 are examples of the by-the-seat-of-my-pants approach. Once all 8 were grounded in a conceptual way, I immediately saw relationships of content. 1976 and 1929 were love stories; 1945 and 1913 were 'kid' stories; 1988 and 1964 were magic stories, etc. So, that's how I wrote them, in groups. First the two on themes of love – and a crisis appeared. These were outlined in proportions way beyond the scope of a short story, so I said, "Fine. The series will be 2 novellas and 6 short stories." That didn't work out either…. Each of the 8 Christmas years presented expanded opportunities and all of them became novellas in their own right. Thus, my original 8-month timeframe ballooned to me needing slightly less than two years to complete the project. Was it worth it…? Time will tell I guess. Thank you for your praise of my work and your excellent question.  • • • • • That’s it for this month. Hope you all have a wonderful Holiday Season and we’ll see you again in the New Year. Remember to send me your questions so we can discover more about our authors, their lives, and how they craft their stories.

Renee Stevens

Renee Stevens

 

Ask an Author 2.0 - #1

I've had quite a few messages asking about the return of Ask An Author, so here it is: Ask An Author 2.0. It won't be exactly like Dark always did it, but hopefully you enjoy getting the answers you've asked just as much as in the past. One major difference is, at least to start, we're only going to look at two authors at a time. Without further ado, here's the first Ask An Author 2.0.  Today we're going to hear from Hudson Bartholomew and Timothy M.     The first author for today is Hudson Bartholomew. Hudson was raised by conservative immigrant parents and grew up straddling two cultures with often times conflicting perspectives on life. Instead of conforming to either, she tries to find a third way that brings together the positive elements of both. Having spent much of her life on the outside looking in, Hudson likes to write stories about outsiders who fight to carve out their place in society, and overcome everyday challenges to find love and happily ever afters.   You're pretty new to GA, but I personally think you're one to watch. I'm impressed with all I've read from you so far. Did you always know you wanted to write and do you have any rituals when you get to it?   1. Did you always know you wanted to write?    I have a distant memory of a grade school project where we wrote short stories with pictures and our teacher helped us bind them into books with fabric covers. I think that's when I fell in love with writing. Since then, I have had an on-again, off-again relationship with writing. School, work, life, people I love who dismiss writing as "a waste of time," these have all drawn me away from writing at some point. My old computer is filled with half written stories that will never see the light of day. Despite all these things, however, I always end up coming back to it because that's where I feel most like the real me. A couple of years ago, I finally admitted how much writing meant to me and I committed to making it a regular part of my life. What I discovered is that the more I write, the more I fall in love with writing. So, Writing--you're stuck with me now.    2. Do you have any rituals when you get into it?    I don't have any rituals, per se. But I find that I need a certain level of distraction in order to concentrate, if that makes any sense. If all I have is the story in front of me, my brain will quickly wander off. But if I'm writing and also chatting with a friend online, my brain is preoccupied just enough that I can keep writing for hours on end. I'm strange, I know.      The second author for today is Timothy M. Tim is from Denmark and is known for sprinkling his posts and stories with Danish words and references to the webcomic Scandinavia and the World. He's also a prolific writer of story reviews and comments, as well as editor for several authors.   As a regular contributor to the site as well as being a popular author, how do you strike a balance between writing your own material and reading and reviewing other authors' work. Do you for example set aside a certain amount of time each day, where you are offline, to concentrate on your writing.   No, I write when inspiration strikes me and I have time. I usually give priority to editing for others, and also to writing reviews, reading and commenting. This is probably one of the reasons my stories progress veeery sloooowly, to the frustrations of my readers. Sorry   But they are patient and nice, giving me the occasional prod by PM or story topic post, and only resorting to threats of pitch forks and tying me to the computer, when I've lapsed on updating for too long.  In fact, I sometimes feel a little guilty about the pleasure I get from having Hungry Birds cheeping at me for more.      Well, that's it for this month!!! If you have a question you'd like to ask an author, send it to me and I'll pass the question on and see about getting it answered!  

Renee Stevens

Renee Stevens

 

GA's Newest Signature Author: Headstall

Please join the Author Promotion Team in congratulating Headstall as GA's newest Signature Author! Headstall has been a member of GA for about three and a half years and was first promoted to Promising in November of 2015. Since joining, Headstall has written a total of 19 stories, including Cards on the Table. If you want to check out Headstall's other stories, you can visit his author page and while you're there, you can check out his updated banner!   Please join us in congratulating Headstall on his well deserved promotion.  

Renee Stevens

Renee Stevens

 

GA's Newest Promising Author: Parker Owens

Please join the Author Promotion Team in congratulating Parker Owens as GA's newest promoted author! Parker has been a member of GA for two and a half years and during that time, he has written thirteen stories to share with the members here at GA and has written over 1,300 reviews! His latest story A Fall Observation is at just over 11,500 words. If you want to read more from Parker, you can visit his author page (and check out his new banner while you're there).   Please join us in congratulating Parker on his well deserved promotion.      

Renee Stevens

Renee Stevens

 

Author Promo: Mikiesboy

It's time for another author promo! I'm completely out of these promos, so if you'd like to promo your own work, take a look at the thread for guidelines and then PM me. For this month, our featured promo spot is for Mikiesboy. There were three questions that Mikiesboy had to answer for each story. The questions were What gave you the idea for this story? What was your favorite thing about writing this story? & Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description.   Mikiesboy Promising Author 22 stories · 4,280 comments · 193,265 total words   After the Past   Description: Life after the past isn't what most of us dream of, or hope for.   What gave you the idea for this story?   The first chapter was written years ago but there was a push for dystopian stories at the time, so I’m sure I was influenced by those. Most of those stories had very evil overlords who had taken over and controlled others. I just wondered if that was how it would be. I wondered what would likely end most of the human race - war or disease. I chose disease, a virus.   What was your favorite thing about writing this story?   Creating the characters I think and then building their relationships, but most important making sure it felt real.   Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description.   It’s a love story really. There tough times, sad ones, and ones filled with joy. It’s Dave’s story, his life, and what happens as a result of his humanity, and his choices.   Levko   Description: Levko is a rent boy who supports his roommate and pimp, but his life changes one dark night.   What gave you the idea for this story?   My life did. My experience was very much like Lev’s, but how we each ended up are much different.   What was your favorite thing about writing this story?   At the time I wrote this I’d read a few BDSM stories which seemed over-the-top and a little unreal. So I decided to draw from my experience and bring my voice, and take on the subject.   Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description.   This is really two stories, Lev finds a second life and he also finds the strength to leave one and accept the other.   Delicious   Description: Faris and James meet life head-on, together.   What gave you the idea for this story?   It was a prompt. I hadn’t been a member here long when I saw a Prompt #447 – The Gift: You haven’t been feeling well lately, but you still try to keep up with your normal routine. You’ve been asked to a party, and although you don’t feel well, you decide to go. The only request is that as a gift you give something homemade. What do you give as your gift?   What was your favorite thing about writing this story?   Oh, that has to be the two main characters, Faris and James and their dog, Larry. I laughed until I cried writing Delicious. Faris is Scottish, big and sexy and James is slim and slight, and both madly in love with each other. They get up to all sorts of adventures. I wanted to write something funny and I kind of surprised myself in that I managed it. I hope.   Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description.   There are (so far) 9 separate short stories in this collection featuring these two and their dogs. Stories range from how they met and married, to dealing with rats, birthdays, and illness.  

Renee Stevens

Renee Stevens

 

Author Interview: Valkyrie

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day today. For your enjoyment today, we have an interview with Valkyrie where she talks about her writing process, her book Hollow Hills, and a few questions just for fun. If you haven't read Valkyrie's stories, you can do so here! Hope you enjoy!   Valkyrie General Author Questions   What does your writing process look like? I don’t really follow the same process with every story.  Sometimes I’ll jot ideas down or make an outline, but most of the time the story is in my head and I just write until it’s done.  If I get stuck or the story has too many directions it can go in, I’ll discuss it with my beta readers to help me narrow it down.    Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? I do a lot of ‘writing’ in the car.  I get a lot of ideas when I’m commuting to and from work or travelling. Sometimes I really wish I could actually write while driving, but I don’t think that’s such a good idea… lol  Sometimes I need to write using pen and paper vs. the computer. I find when I write poetry especially that I prefer starting with pen and paper before entering it on the computer.  When I write stories, sometimes it helps me get past a block.  I have notebooks full of story scraps, ideas/notes, and poems.   Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write? I would be beyond flattered if any of my writing inspired others.  As far as my own influences, I would have to say Tolkien, Anne Rice, Marguerite Henry, Sam Savitt, and Piers Anthony.  Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles led me to look for more m/m type stories, which eventually led me here.    How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend? Names are extremely important in my stories.  I try to tailor the name of the characters to the theme of the story, if possible.  For example, in Faeries Anonymous the majority of characters have names associated with what they are.  So Jonquil is a flower faery, Alvin means ‘elf friend’, and Garin is an elf with a dwarf name.  My favorite in that story has to be Dr. Schmetterling, though.  For those unfamiliar with German, it means ‘butterfly’.  Sometimes I pick names because I like them.  Joshua is my favorite male name, which is how Josh from The Hollow Hills got his name.  Galen in the same story was created almost instantly when I first heard the name.  I was working in retail at the time and had a customer named Galen come in and my immediate thought was “OMG I just found a man for Josh!”  lol    What do you consider to be your best accomplishment? That’s hard to say. While it hasn’t always been an easy road, I’m pretty proud to be a self-sufficient single woman.  I have a good career, own my own house, and am able to enjoy little extras like hobbies and vacations. It took a long time to get to this point, and I’m enjoying it.    Are you a plotter or a pantster? A little bit of both. 
What is your least favorite part of the writing process? Getting started and then writing the endings.  I don’t usually have a problem with the middle.   Sometimes I struggle with narrowing down a story to one starting point, then once I get past the middle, I want to rush and just get it finished and to my team.  I need to tell myself to slow down and make sure I’m not missing any important pieces to tie the whole thing together.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it? Incest   What are you working on now? What is your next project? I have a ton of ideas, and I hope to get them all written at some point.  I’d like to expand both The Legend of Treehaven Woods and Faeries Anonymous.  I also plan on writing a sequel to Vodka at Moonlight.  I have a story idea centered around my Day 28 poem for National Poetry Month (which can be found in April Musings chapter 14).  Good news for Galen and Josh fans… my immediate plan is to concentrate on finishing The Hollow Hills.   Rapid Fire Questions   If you had a superpower, what would it be? Teleportation.  I’d love to be able to just pop in and visit my friends who live far away.   If you were a super hero, what would your name be? What costume would you wear? Super Penguin!  LOL  I wouldn’t need much of a costume, since penguins have natural tuxedos, so maybe a bowtie with a ‘P’ in the center and a black cape.  Capes are always cool. 
What secret talents do you have? I can draw pretty well.  Animals, anyway.  I’m horrible at drawing people.  I can also stand with my feet facing inward, toes touching, feet perpendicular to my body.  I’ve never met anyone else who can do that.  I must have weird feet because I can also stick my toes straight up in the air with my feet on the ground, creating a 90 degree angle.  It used to gross my brother out when we were kids. 
Where is one place you want to visit that you haven't been before? I have lots of places I want to visit!  Top of the list would be the UK and Europe, specifically Germany and Poland.  I’d also like to see the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. 
If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be? Since my member title is ‘Pesky Penguin’, I suppose I’d have to go with that… lol
If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose? Irish or Scottish *swoon*
Do you dream? Do you have any recurring dreams/nightmares? I dream all the time.  Most of the time they’re quite epic, with intricate plots mingled with lots of bizarreness.  My absurdist prose poem about the three-headed duck with one leg is based on an actual dream I had.  I don’t have any recurring dreams, but I do have recurring themes.  I dream a lot about GA, which tells me I probably spend way too much time on here!  Lol  They’re mainly dreams about meeting site friends.  Water is another recurring theme in my dreams.  Sometimes it’s as small as a puddle and other times I’ve had to wake myself up from a literal wall of water about to crash into me.  I could go on and on about my dreams, but I’ll stop now since there’s still more questions to go.   Book Specific   Quickly, give us the title and genre of your book and a 30-word or less tagline: The Hollow Hills   After leaving his boyfriend of twenty years, Galen decides to return to his roots and move across the country to leave near his cousin.  He meets Josh, and his life takes an unexpected turn.  Then tragedy strikes, and everyone has to learn how to live with their new reality.
How did you come up with the title of your book or series? It’s the name of the farm where a lot of the story takes place. 
Who is your favorite character from your book and why? It’s a toss-up between Josh and Galen.  Josh has been around in some form since I was a freshman in high school, so he’s pretty dear to me.  Galen’s capacity for love and forgiveness is something I’m pretty impressed by.
How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you? Roger.  Because he’s a dick. 
If you could change ONE thing about your story, what would it be?  Why? I would have waited to post it until it’s complete.  I had about seven chapters written when I first started posting it, and thought I would easily be able to keep pace, but then I got sick and stopped writing for a few months, which put me majorly behind.  I’ve put it on the back burner several times in order to participate in anthologies and contests, so I’m glad to have a few months now with no other writing commitments.  One thing I would change about the story itself is that I should have introduced Adam earlier.  Adam is Alannah’s adopted son, but doesn’t feature much in this story. 
Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series: There’s a tie-in with Alex’s Legacy and a few of my early prompt responses feature characters from The Hollow Hills.  Josh and Alannah didn’t get along when they first met.  It’s not mentioned in the book so far, but Josh drives a black ‘50s era Ford pickup. 

Renee Stevens

Renee Stevens

 

GA's Newest Signature Author: AC Benus

Please join the Author Promotion Team in congratulating AC Benus as GA's newest Signature Author! AC Benus has been a member of GA for just over four years and was first promoted to Promising in July of 2015. Since joining, AC Benus has written a total of 57 stories, and is the leader of the Live Poets Society. If you want to check out AC's other stories, you can visit his author page.   Please join us in congratulating AC Benus on his well deserved promotion.    

Renee Stevens

Renee Stevens

 

Ask An Author #50

Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors!   In AtA #49, we heard from authors AC Benus, Parker Owens, HinderToyBL, and Milos.    Today in AtA #50 we hear from authors Mann Ramblings, Parker Owens, Mikiesboy, and W_L.
    First up today is Signature Author Mann Ramblings.  In addition to writing, this Michigan Man is quite the artist; have you seen the new avatar image? or the book cover he did for Cia? It’s been four and a half years since Mann first followed his heart to GA, and we’ve sure benefited from it.  While his time with Wayward Ink was not as long as anticipated, I’m sure that Mann’s stories will find another home soon.  In the meantime, if you snoop around his GA stories, you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied.  He’s got a Premium story now: Innocence & Carnality Part 2 is the sequel to what was originally written in 1k word-spurts for the flash fiction group.  The original story (Part 1) is also a Premium story and explores the changes to main character Nathan as he finds out about the arrangements for his marriage and what happens in his life from there.  Given Mann’s rather wicked humor, this is a can’t miss.  But, as the author says, make sure you read them in order!    To Mann Ramblings:  Your pseudonym is a nice play on words, how did you come about it?   When I was first getting up my nerve to write M/M, I figured I needed a pseudonym because I knew my stories would have erotic elements. (In the beginning, that was the focus.) Granted, I hadn't actually written anything yet, but organizing a plan is how I function.   Anywho, I only knew of one mainstream writer who had delved professionally in erotic stories: Anne Rice. I have a number of her earlier novels and I was a fan. One of the names she wrote erotica under was Anne Ramplings. Looking at it, Ramplings became Ramblings since I wasn't overly confident in my writing skills. (I hadn't written anything in years and never finished any stories that weren't for school.) And since I wanted to emphasize the male aspect of my writing, Anne became Mann.   It was all a play on words and a nod to a author whose work I respect and appreciate.     Yes, you read that correctly; Parker Owens joins us once more!  This is a rare double-shot, getting the same author two months in a row, but Parker keeps his name fresh in our minds with his regular poetry submissions and activity in the forums.  He recently finished Predator Prey, a story about finding redemption.  If you’ve been the bad guy all your life, and then suddenly become the victim, how might that affect you in the future?  Prey explores this and more.  Another recent addition is Fool Me Once, Parker’s submission to the April Fool’s anthology.  Author and the main character Oliver have a lot in common, both being math teachers, but Oliver has a bit of a problem - or, really, more than one problem.  It’s like Murphy’s Laws are out to get him: if it can go wrong it does go wrong.  Read and find out how Oliver handles the obstacle course falling in front of him.   To Parker Owens:  How and why did you get the idea of using science subjects for your poetry?   I am a math teacher and all around nerd. These are fun subjects to play with both for the ideas, for their metaphors, and for the words on their own. Math and science subjects for poems sometimes come up as a consequence of a student question, or an image from a way of thinking about a complex subject.  Besides, who can resist the challenge of writing poetry about the universal gas constant?     Foodie and Author Mikiesboy is up next.  Despite protesting being called a “food blogger,” Tim continues to keep us apprised of his food explorations.  He used to be the guy with all the food pictures and although he’s down to only 4 pictures of food, it’s still enough to make your belly rumble.  Mike is amazingly lucky to be the recipient of all that good food…. Even if he does buy pie from the store.  Tsk!  We’ve had a lot of poetry from Mikiesboy this year so far in 2017, but take a chance on Miss Silver Pretty-Pink-Toes, a delightful short story told like an old-fashioned fairy tale.  Complete with love, revenge, magic, and a riddle, Miss Silver will take you on a fun ride reminiscent of childhood, but without all the innocence.    To Mikiesboy:  How hard is it to write about your personal life and the hard moments you've experienced through life?   Wow, good question. It is hard in a way but it is also cathartic. I starting writing poetry after I was thrown out of the house at 15 and was learning to survive on the street. Years later when I survived a severe beating, and was off the streets, I decided to write as a therapist thought it might help me deal with things. I had recurring nightmares for many years. So I decided i couldnt be timid about it, that I had to be honest and brave and face the things that frightened me. But when I write about myself, I have to do it like a reporter. I have to take a step away and write it without a lot of emotion. The facts, baby, only the facts!! So when I write about me or anything, I try to be brave, and try to push myself.     Today’s final author has been with us for just over 9 years.  Author W_L writes to us from Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Be careful talking politics with this guy, as he’ll definitely tell you what he thinks in that sharp, dry wit he possesses.  He, like Parker Owens is an unrepentant math geek.  When I see math jokes in the Make us Laugh thread, this is one of the guys I think of.  For example: how do you make seven an even number?  WL also enjoys food, and if you ask nice, he might share some of his recipes.  In the part of his brain not trying to master calculus and not taking pictures of his dinner to share with us and the part not devising more ways to educate us on current events, WL has managed to squeeze out a story or two.  The Real Me is an entry for the April Fool’s anthology, a curious mix of comedy and sarcastic commentary of local governments.  Herman is a retired superhero who gets to swoop in and save the day one more time.  And he still remembers to get his coffee!   To W_L:  AJ sees you have written a story called 0's and 1's. He wants to know if you can actually do binary math. if not, why not.   01001001 00100000 01101100 01101111 01110110 01100101 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01000001 01001010   That’s it for now!  For more info on these authors, go check out their stories, post in their forums, and/or catch them in chat!   I’ll see you next time, with repeats from MrM, Timothy M, Headstall, and a last chat in memory of SkinnyDragon.   I’m always in the market for new questions!  Simply PM me (Dark).   Until next time! Dark    

Renee Stevens

Renee Stevens

 

Ask An Author #49

Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors!   In AtA #48, we heard from authors JackBinimbul, Mikiesboy, Palantir, and WolfM.    Today in AtA #49 we hear from authors AC Benus, Parker Owens, HinderToyBL, and Milos.
  First up today is Promising Author AC Benus.  Hailing from the city of San Francisco, USA, AC got a chance to visit Iceland earlier this year in 2017.  Perhaps he’ll write a new story based on some of his experiences there, such as the amazing northern lights, the hot springs, and the infamous penis museum.  AC likes to write in series, and one of his more recent is A Half-Once of Gold, a story about a stranger’s trip to Bali.  It’s part of the XXX Series, so reader beware!  If you like non-fiction, you might check out The Gay Experience, a collection of short essays along the same lines as AC’s blog; but instead of discussing music, he talks about some of the things he’s read.  It’s always interesting to venture into the mind of a creative genius.  A little scary sometimes, but that’s half the fun!    And don’t forget AC’s wonderful poetry!  There are more and more of them every day and they’re so varied that everyone is bound to fall in love with at least one.   To AC Benus:  Your FB/Christmas novella is awe-inspiring in both scope and complexity. Truly one of the most amazing things I've ever encountered on GA. My question is simple -- the answer may not be. Did this project come to you for the first time as to what it would ultimately become, or did you begin writing one section, and then see the need for the next, etc. Sort of how Wagner wrote his "Ring" -- backwards?   "Did this project come to you as what it would ultimately become?" The answer is no. I'm not sure what compelled me to get beyond the wish of 'maybe someday' to rolling up my sleeves and thinking I'm going to do this, now, but when I conceived of the project I thought I would be doing 6 short stories. I also thought the series would take me about 8 months in total. Boy, was I wrong on both fronts.   "Did you begin writing one section, and then see the need for the next, etc.?" To this one the answer is more complex. After I committed to doing the Christmas at Famous-Barr series I first pitched about deciding which years I had information on and compiled a possible list. Here arose my first problem – there were 8 Christmases that intrigued me, so my initial 6 went out the window. Before I let myself delve into writing the first one, I pulled out pieces of paper and jotted down notes and ideas for each year to be featured. Some of these notes filled up a few pages; others existed only as a paragraph or two. 2005 and 1880 are examples of the by-the-seat-of-my-pants approach. Once all 8 were grounded in a conceptual way, I immediately saw relationships of content. 1976 and 1929 were love stories; 1945 and 1913 were 'kid' stories; 1988 and 1964 were magic stories, etc. So, that's how I wrote them, in groups. The first two tackled were on themes of love – and a crisis appeared. They were outlined in proportions way beyond the scope of a short story, so I said, "Fine. The series will be 2 novellas and 6 short stories." That didn't work out either…. Each of the 8 Christmases presented expanded opportunities and all of them became novellas in their own right. Thus, my original 8-month timeframe ballooned to me needing slightly less than two years to complete the project. Was it worth it…? Time will tell I guess.   Thank you for your praise of my work and your excellent question .
  We saw Author Parker Owens just recently in AtA #46.  Like me, Parker lives in the North and, like AC Benus, is not one of our young twenty-somethings.  He has a rich background he shares with us in his stories and poetry.  Most people know Parker from his story A to Z.  It’s certainly a dark tale; it gets darker and darker and every time you think things couldn’t possibly get worse, something even more awful happens.  But eventually rock-bottom is reached and things start to look up for our main character.  It’s fascinating to see how Andy views the world and finds his own way to happiness.  He is continuing with Predator Prey, a story that I think is even darker than A to Z.  Parker keeps a lively discussion going in the forums, so if you have a burning question for him, that’s where you should look first.  He’s one of those people who just electrifies the forums, so look him up and see.   To Parker Owens:  You have graced us with some wonderful stories. But in a few, there have been brutally long and brutally describe periods before the protagonist is saved or redeemed. 'AtoZ' and 'Predator' immediately come to mind. My question is, how does such depth of depravity even get into your thinking?   This is a terribly hard question. I teach, I counsel, and I volunteer at homeless shelters. I hear some heart-stopping stories. And if that isn't enough, there is the news. In so many cases, the darkness encountered in reality makes pale anything I can conceive in fiction. I fear that these things got into my brain from actual news and stories told to me. All I did was fit them to the story lines.   In the case of A to Z, I felt the stories of children ignored, neglected and abused, needs to be told. It really is that bad for some, and yet the survivors often hold themselves as nothing special. In A to Z, I felt the need to write a story in which we can recognize such a survivor as an average someone who is nonetheless immensely significant. The depths of dark agony in the first few chapters were meant to be offset by the strengthening, brilliant light of the latter chapters.   When I began Predator, it started as a single chapter piece, but grew in response to an anecdote about what had happened to a campus dealer when his customers turned on him. There were no good guys: I wondered if it were even possible for even one of these characters to find some redemption.   There are real horror stories out there; these two stories explore what happens after the horror occurs .
  We don’t see this too much, but Author HinderToyBL is actually a joint pseudonym for two different authors:  Thirdly & Rambling Robin.  These two lovely ladies have come together three times over the past few years to collaborate on a story.  Robin is an avid animal lover and has an interesting sense of humor.    Thirdly is a fantastic artist who absolutely loves video games, especially Pokemon.  (If you visit their profiles you can find stories they’ve written as themselves, on GA and elsewhere.)  Together, they make HinderToyBL and have brought us such amazing things as Kidnapping is Always an Option.  If the title doesn’t give it away, Robin’s humor comes out to play in the absurd situations main character Caspin finds himself in.  Also Thirdly puts a dash of cute in there just to keep you on the edge.  They do write about animal-shaped characters, and there’s usually a menage at some point, so read those blurbs so you know what you’re getting into.  I guarantee that even if you think you’re prepared, you’re really not!  Turn your common sense off and enjoy the show.   To HinderToyBL:  How do you work together?   Robin: We met through reading each other's stories online. I think we realized that we were both giving each other cooing reviews and so we started talking. It blossomed from there.   Thirdly: Yep, what Robin said. Somehow we ended up from writing long reviews to each other to writing e-mails to each other, and finally, to skype messaging. So, it's only a virtual partnership for now. I consider us distant sisters until I can pay her family a visit.   "Do you write individually and compare or is it a joint effort from the start?  Do you write the characters first or the plot?"   Robin: We seem to start with a character and then branch off from there. Usually, one of us messages the other in a tizzy about it. Some of the ideas get further than others. Our first attempt at writing a Unicorn/Nightmare story fizzled out, but then it eventually led to Lust and Chastity, which is chugging along nicely. We have so many ideas for it, sometimes it's hard to fit everything in. Once we have one character figured out, we then branch out from there. Where does he live? What's his conflict? What's his personality? Who is his love interest? We flesh all of those things out and then have excited little flurries of conversations about ideas for scenes. At some point in there we decide who will be in charge of which character. Then we take turns writing from our character's perspective. When we finish a chapter, we usually both edit it. Although lately I've been failing on that and Thirdly has been doing a lot of the editing, bless her. When we agree it's good, we post the chapter. As we go along, we save what we've written in a word file.   Thirdly: I digress (only a little bit!). First, there is a thought, theme, or idea. For Kidnapping is Always an Option, Robin really wanted to write a story with a kemonomimi/semi-anthro character in it (which eventually became Caspin). For Lust and Chastity, I stuck to that Unicorn/Nightmare theme, which is something that I have always, ALWAYS, wanted to write. Like Robin said, our first attempt flopped (mostly because I wanted to cling to a very old idea that never took flight...ever [but, I will keep trying because I don't know when to quit!]). I was persistent on writing a story with that theme, though, and I am glad we tried again because Lust and Chastity is more than what I could have ever hoped for (one has to try and try again!). After the idea/theme is set in place, then we dig deep into the characters and the cast keeps expanding as the characters are more fully developed and interwoven into the plot (most of the time the plot requires the characters to exist and not the other way around). So, in order, it would be:   1. Idea/Theme/Whimsy
2. Character Development
3. Plot Pow-wows and Squealings   OH! And regardless of whose idea or character it is to start with, we both have each other's input in just about everything. Therefore, yes, it is a joint effort from start to finish. The two of us try our best to compromise with one another and, though sometimes it's not fully possible (which has happened on more than one ocasion, but we quickly move on from dead ideas and form even better ones later on), it has worked out tremendously for the majority of the time. Partnerships (and projects, for that matter) require patience, prudence, and preparation. Robin has more patience than I do, we both have very little prudence, and I try to make sure that we're both pretty prepared. Whoever came up with the 3 P's never did say how much of each was needed, now did they?   Note from Site Administrators: While site members are allowed one account on GA, under certain circumstances we can understand the need for a second pen name. If you find yourself in the position of requiring a second pen name, please contact the Administrators via a support request so that we can review your request.    Author Milos finishes things off today!  Also from the USA, Milos has been with GA for about six years now.  He’s the author of Die Catfish Die a story that begins with one of life’s more somber moments, when you lose a good friend to suicide.  The later chapters are just as powerful as the beginning.  And then there’s the cover art.  If you don’t know what cat-fishing is (in the story context), you can let Milos tell you about it from the perspective of his struggling teen characters.  He won’t let you down.  There’s a lot of serious content in this story, but I find it’s handled with respect while not minimizing what any of the characters are going through.  Just, if you’ve got something in your past, read with caution.  Some of these characters and situations can really get to you.   To Milos:  What inspired you to write Die Catfish Die? I really wanted to explore more mystery in my writing, and I wanted to write something that totally ended in a way that nobody expected. I'd been featured in an anthology that did really well (under a different pen name), and I felt that I could have done better with my story. Even though the stories have nothing to do with each other, it gave me inspiration for Milos to pick up and start writing again. Mystery and psych-thriller are two genres that I've never really tried, and I really want to develop in these areas.   With Die Catfish, Die, the idea came from several news stories I'd seen, and the trend of teen suicide by way of cyber-bullying. This is a phenomena that we're only beginning to understand, and the cat-fishing is only one small aspect of something greater in the plot. I can't really say more about the inspiration aspect because it may ruin the ending if I do.     That’s it for now!  For more info on these authors, go check out their stories, post in their forums, and/or catch them in chat!   I’ll see you next time, with repeats from Mann Ramblings, mikiesboy, Parker Owens, and WL!   I’m always in the market for new questions!  Simply PM me (Dark).   Until next time! Dark  

Renee Stevens

Renee Stevens

 

GA's Newest Promising Author: Mikiesboy

Please join the Author Promotion Team in congratulating Mikiesboy as GA's newest Promising Author! Mikiesboy, or tim as many know him, has been a member of GA for almost two years. During that time he has written a total of 21 stories, both prose and poetry, and has touched the hearts of many members. If you want to check out Mikiesboy's stories, and check out his new banner and author bio, you can visit his author page.   Please join us in congratulating Mikiesboy on his well deserved promotion.  

Renee Stevens

Renee Stevens

 

GA's Newest Signature Author: Aditus

Please join the Author Promotion Team in congratulating Aditus as GA's newest Signature Author! Aditus has been a member of GA for five and a half years and was first promoted to Promising in March of 2015. Since joining, Aditus has written a total of 33 stories, including his popular novel, Red Running Shoes. If you want to check out Aditus' other stories, and check out his new banner, you can visit his author page.   Please join us in congratulating Aditus on his well deserved promotion.    

Renee Stevens

Renee Stevens

 

Author Promo: Headstall

It's time for another author promo! I'm completely out of these promos, so if you'd like to promo your own work, take a look at the thread for guidelines and then PM me. For this month, our featured promo spot is for Headstall. There were three questions that Headstall had to answer for each story. The questions were What gave you the idea for this story? What was your favorite thing about writing this story? & Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description.   Headstall
Promising Author
15 stories · 3,128 reviews · 636,814 total words   Chrisis Eve   Description: Darren is in a crisis on Christmas Eve. His pain is unbearable, and he only wants one thing… peace… peace from the memories of another Christmas Eve that has haunted him for two years. Is there someone or something that can help him find it?   What gave you the idea for this story?   I was intrigued by the 2015 Secret Santa contest, but I didn’t think I was up for it, quite frankly. The idea must have been percolating in my brain, though, because I woke up one morning with this strange story at the front of my mind. Something magical, which was weird for me. Anyway, I sat down and started writing.   What was your favorite thing about writing this story?   I guess I would have to say how different it was. It had my brain firing on all cylinders as I created my Santas in a way that was pure fun. It was like playing, rather than writing.   Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description.   The only thing I can think of that might be interesting is when I wrote the alley scene, for some reason I pictured Johnny Depp in his role as Captain Jack Sparrow… I think it might have been his carriage as he walked. So maybe there was a bit of him in there.   Dirty Pool   Description: Duncan never saw it coming... any of it. His friends didn't understand. They meant well, but it was over, and there was no going back. He wouldn't be fooled again.     What gave you the idea for this story?   This was a story that coalesced in my head on a fairly long bike ride. By the time the ride was done, I had the entire story. I don’t know why it came to the surface, other than one of the characters is a lot like a friend of mine. I might have been thinking about the fall anthology at the time… Blindsided… but I can’t be sure. My imagination comes alive for no apparent reason most of the time.   What was your favorite thing about writing this story?   The dialogue, without a doubt. I could hear all the voices clearly. Ah, should I be admitting that? Seriously, I love writing dialogue between characters who are well fleshed out in my head.   Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description.   That’s a tough question without giving spoilers. I guess it would be that I designed Kelly and Martin’s house completely in my head, right down to the door hardware. It’s why I’ve been working on short stories more and more, as a form of discipline. My instinct is to turn every story into a long one.   Finding Refuge   Description: A refuge can be a place, or a person. Sometimes, it's both. Just like scars. We can carry them on the outside, or on the inside. Sometimes, it's both. Wiley Burch is a cowboy on the run. He never bargained for being someone's target, but it appears his luck has run out... or has it?   What gave you the idea for this story?   The Rewind Anthology. I wanted to write something for it (I ended up writing three stories in all), and there were so many options with all the previous themes available. I saw the Scars theme, and a cougar came to mind for whatever reason. I had never considered writing a ‘Western’ before, but once I did, it seemed the most natural thing to do. I was raised on Westerns as a kid, on TV and at the movies, and I was a true fan of them. It was exciting.   What was your favorite thing about writing this story?   Other than the fact it had horses in it, it would have to be the ‘western speak’ I had the most fun with. I wanted the feel to be authentic, but not hokey or over the top. I was really happy with how it turned out.   Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description.   I would have to say first of all, this little story is a favorite of mine, and secondly, these guys have never left my head. They show up periodically so there’s a good chance we will see them again at some point, and that includes Cholo.

Renee Stevens

Renee Stevens

 

GA's Newest Promising Author: LitLover

Please join the Author Promotion Team in congratulating LitLover as GA's newest promoted author! LitLover has been a member of GA for exactly 3 years (Today is her GA Anniversary as well!) and during that time, she has written four stories to share with the members here at GA and has written over 1,000 reviews! Her current novel Choices is at just over 30,000 words and still going strong. If you want to read more from LitLover, you can visit her author page (plus you can check out her snazzy new banner).   Please join us in congratulating LitLover on her well deserved promotion.      

Renee Stevens

Renee Stevens

 

Ask An Author #48

Ask an Author #48   Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors!   In AtA #47, we heard from authors Riley Jericho, SkinnyDragon, Craftingmom, and Roberto Zuniga.    Today in AtA #48 we hear from authors JackBinimbul, Mikiesboy, Palantir, and WolfM.

  Please welcome Texan and Author JackBinimbbul to the blog.  Jack has been with GA for almost a year but has dabbled in writing for a long time.  He’s the author of the popular crime/romance story Painted Blue, just what the BDSM genre needs after the horror that is “Fifty Shades....”  Jack’s family has a history of service in law enforcement, and you know what they say: “write what you know!”  Painted Blue is about a detective who begins to understand and allow himself to enjoy aspects of himself that our society often labels taboo.  Law enforcement and BDSM are two genres commonly ridiculed or demonized, so it’s awesome to have a story that’s so real.  Despite the play on the Dorian Gray name, the characters are wonderfully down-to-earth and the information about what happens in a real “scene” is a can’t miss, even if you’re not normally a fan of the genre.    To JackBinimbul:  How have you planned out the crime/mystery part of Painted Blue?  What challenges have you run into attempting to weave the mystery aspect of Painted Blue into Dorian and Felix's story?   Well, I won't be giving any spoilers!  That said, it's been relatively difficult to weave everything on the crime/mystery level so that it's not readily apparent, but in hindsight, the reader will be able to see all the threads as they converge.  It will be a fairly large reveal, but I want it to still be believable.   It has been a bit of a challenge working everything in with the relationship between Dorian and Felix.  I didn't want either elements of the story to completely overshadow the other, but I also want them to feel interconnected and to play off of each other organically.  It has been tempting to just focus on the crime aspect, or the developing relationship and I've really had to be disciplined about giving them equal consideration.   Author Mikiesboy joins us once more.  For those of you not familiar with this guy, Timmy is from Ontario, Canada and has published about 20 different items in his year and a half here on GA.  An avid participant in the weekly prompts, Timmy also writes some amazing poetry.  In January, Timmy gifted us with Miss Silver Pretty-Pink-Toes, a fairy tale story with some breathtaking imagery.  While I am not the only one wanting more from this author, unfortunately life has a way of throwing curve balls.  We might be seeing less of Timmy in the future as he puts things in perspective and focuses on what is truly important to him.  Still, he’s given us some rich memories which will be treasured.    To Mikiesboy:  Do you have any future projects planned?   I don't plan to write poetry, not like you'd plan to write fiction, poems just sort of come to me.  They are a way for me to deal with issues, good or bad, that happen in my life.  However I do work on AC Benus' Poetry Prompts, which are a great opportunity to learn. For these I have to plan to write them. It's a challenge and I think making yourself try new things, step out of your comfort zone, follow the restrictions of the form, makes you more creative and a better writer.   Future projects, yes, I am currently working on a new fictional piece, a kind of dystopian story. I also have something almost ready for the Pre-2016 Anthology Themes. It's something completely different for me.  I'll probably continue to write a weekly prompt now and again and definitely will do any of AC Benus' O'Henry Prompts when he puts out another one.   You might remember member and writer Palantir by his former name Iarwain.   With GA since 2009, Palantir has had an amazingly varied life.  He calls Melbourne, Australia home now but he has travelled extensively over the years and can tell you quite a bit about a number of different places.  I’ll bet all those stories made him a wonderful teacher, too.  He now has a website dedicated to his stories about what he’s calling the Terran Diaspora, which you can also read here.  For those of you who are not sci-fi fans, this generally refers to Terrans (us, Earthlings) leaving Earth and settling on other planets.  Closer to home, you might remember The Ocean Walk, one of Palantir’s first stories.  Two guys off hiking along the beach keep meeting up as small catastrophes keep trying to ruin their adventures.  If you like nature, this is one for you.   To Palantir:  What inspires you to write? How is it that you put an idea together for a story?   The inspiration to actually write? = a sense of achievement - hopefully a kind of legacy - the wonderful gift when readers express their enjoyment - the act of creation   Inspiration is a very tricky beast and I never know where it's going to come from. All my major stories have started with a germ of an idea and then fleshed out with the characters somehow  running away with their own ideas and actions.   When I've committed to a story it's with me everywhere. Sometimes I realise I've walked through the bush or along a beach and seen nothing because my mind has been trying out ideas and approaches for the next section of the story.   Last but not least today is author WolfM.  We’ve seen a lot from this author in the past few months, as he’s the creative force behind Running with the Pack.  With more than 350 reviews on this story alone, can you believe WolfM was once told he has no talent?  Running is an epic tale pushing 250-thousand words and 50 chapters as of January 2017 and WolfM should feel pride in such an accomplishment.  He’s enjoying some time off writing right now, but let’s hope he brings us some more of Ethan and Aiden soon!    To WolfM:  Do you plan on having expanding the world of Running with the Pack with future stories or creatures?   As I've been writing Running with the Pack I have given thought at times to a possible follow up story.  At this point I have absolutely no idea what form it would take, what characters would be included or even if new species of shifters would make an appearance.  Unfortunately the best answer I can give to any of the readers who have encouraged me with their support to keep working on RWTP is that my current focus is on completing this project and taking a little break from writing so I can catch up on many of the stories I very much want to read.  I will say that after spending so many years with these characters and having them in a sense before friends and family to me, I might not be able to let them go completely once I do reach the final chapter.   That’s it for now!  For more info on these authors, go check out their stories, post in their forums, and/or catch them in chat!   I’ll see you next time, with authors AC Benus, HindertoyBL, Milos, and Parker Owens!   I’m always in the market for new questions!  Simply PM me (Dark).   Until next time!   Dark    

Renee Stevens

Renee Stevens

 

Author Promo: Valkyrie

It's time for another author promo! If you'd like to promo your own work, take a look at the thread for guidelines and then PM me. For this month, our featured promo spot is for Valkyrie. There were three questions that Valkyrie had to answer for each story. The questions were What gave you the idea for this story? What was your favorite thing about writing this story? & Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description.

Valkyrie
Signature Author
30 stories · 975 reviews · 264,746 total words   Vodka At Moonlight   Description: Bradley and Allen move into a new house in the country. They love their idyllic, new life until their son meets a new friend.   What gave you the idea for this story?   I love Halloween and have wanted to write a story about the holiday for a while. I wove a lot of personal elements into this story—such as Allen being so afraid of spiders. The person he is based on is afraid of spiders, and so is my mom. I remember several times as a kid having friends freak out over the blood-curdling screams coming from the basement and looking at me like I’m insane when I nonchalantly reply, “Oh, my mom found a spider.” Zeke was inspired by my friend’s son, who as a toddler used to talk about the ‘man in the closet’. The title and ‘vodka’ were inspired by the name of a racehorse I saw when I visited Cole Matthews and his husband. I saw the name and immediately commented how it would make a great prompt or short story. I thought it fit this story well.   What was your favorite thing about writing this story?   I really enjoyed coming up with all the twists in the story. I was hoping to keep readers guessing, and I think I managed to do that. I was also pretty proud of Bradley’s name. He’s named after Boo Radley—and another person whose name also starts with Br-.   Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description.   I’ve had numerous requests for a continuation. I won’t guarantee when, but I do have some ideas for a sequel.   The Hollow Hills   Description: This story centers around The Hollow Hills - a horse farm in Vermont - and Galen and Joshua. Galen moves to New England after breaking up with his boyfriend and meets Josh. Their relationship is anything but easy, with many obstacles standing in their way. When tragedy strikes, they need to learn how to redefine their lives and live with the after-effects.   What gave you the idea for this story?   This story has existed in some form since I was in high school. Josh first appeared in a story I wrote for my freshman English class. That story sparked the Hollow Hills universe, leading to the development of Alannah, Adam, Liam, and Roger, and eventually Galen. I’ve always wanted to write it, but had a lot of trouble narrowing down the storyline and finding an appropriate starting point. Now that I’ve gained more confidence as a writer, I felt ready to tackle such a daunting story.   What was your favorite thing about writing this story?   It’s still in progress and hasn’t been abandoned. I will admit to being very slow with posting chapters, but I want to remain as true to the story as possible and hope that the wait has been worth it. I would say my favorite thing so far has been the varied reactions of readers. These characters are near and dear to my heart, so seeing them from a different perspective has been eye-opening.   Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description.   There is a crossover between this story and my story Alex’s Legacy . Huge bonus points to anyone who can tell me what it is.   Max's Garage   Description: Elliot is living the good life, even though he hates his job. Then he meets Max, who helps him answer some tough questions he didn't have the courage to face.   What gave you the idea for this story?   I honestly don’t remember. It was written for The Backup Plan anthology, and was my first anthology submission to this site.   What was your favorite thing about writing this story?   Writing Max and getting to know him was very enjoyable. I was also pleasantly surprised by how much people like this story and the sequels.   Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description.   Max and Elliot’s story continues in Lawyer or Mechanic? And Proximate Cause . Pete’s story was told in Exit to Redemption .

Renee Stevens

Renee Stevens

 

Ask An Author #47

I can't believe it's already March. Not only that, but it's the first Wednesday of the month, which can only mean one thing. It's time for another Ask An Author feature provided to us by Dark. If you have questions you want to ask your favorite authors, but don't want to ask the questions yourself, you can always send your questions to Dark for inclusion in the Ask An Author feature.   Ask an Author #47   Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors!   In AtA #46, we heard from authors Comicality, Mann Ramblings, Mikiesboy, and Parker Owens.   Today in AtA #47 we hear again from authors Riley Jericho and SkinnyDragon, plus Craftingmom, and Roberto Zuniga.  

It’s been quite a while since we’ve had the pleasure of quizzing lady craftingmom (way back in AtA #34, fall of 2015). She had just finished Lie of the Serpent, a story revolving around protagonist Bryan finding his missing fiance. I, like many others, found myself fighting tears several times. Craftingmom does love a good tear-jerker! Since then, she’s been promoted to Promising Author and gifted us with more than half a dozen more stories. Currently she’s working on a sequel to “Guarding the Line” called Finding the Line[/url. While I haven’t read it (you know I’m not a big fan of teen romance), the reviews are intriguing. I think everyone has had that one crush you just wish you’d said something to, but what would have happened if you’d actually gathered the courage to do so? If you have read the original, this is the same story but from the opposite point of view, and it’s just beginning! you can flip back and forth between them or read all of Brady’s story first. But buyer beware! Craftingmom writes character-driven stories. You’ll certainly feel the drama as if you were the protagonist yourself. You can also catch her at her other sites; she’s really branched out over the past few years. Look for her pen name Taylor Ryan, if you want her M/M stuff.   To Craftingmom: What sort of things do you do after dealing with the darkest parts of your stories?   That's a tough question. I'm not really sure I do anything specific afterwards. I do go through a bunch of tissues while writing them. I think since I tend to do most of my writing between midnight and 4am, the fact that I get to crawl in bed with my husband and cuddle up with him helps too. Before bed, my girls also crawl into my bed and beg me to read to them. Mind you, they are 13 and 15, so the fact that my 'teens' still want to be with me and have me read to them is very comforting.   One other thing my husband and I usually do is, when we are eating out, if any first responders come in to eat, we'll pay for their meals. (When 12 walked in at once, that was a little more overwhelming!) It's not something I do specifically because of the dark subject matter I write, but I do think about how these people help the kinds of souls that I write about, and it's a small way of thanking them for their service.     Back with us again is Author Riley Jericho, most well-known due to his epic saga An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA. Riley flirted with us for four years before finally completing his saga last fall (Sept 2016). He writes to us from all the way over there in Manchester, UK. Although a quiet, private person, Riley is quite friendly, do don’t hesitate to swing by his profile and say, wish him a belated birthday (Jan), or poke him about writing us something new, not that I’m one to talk. Still, who knows what random comment or thought will lead to the next big story?   To Riley Jericho: How do you feel about your stories being so popular and well received here on GA?   I'm a Brit. It's genetically impossible for us to accept compliments, so that's a tough question! The truth is, I value every chapter read, and drink in each review, answering them methodically. I love hearing what people think and it also feeds me with many new ideas.   Some of my least-proud moments here on GA have been the times I've disappointed readers. I think you know what I mean, and even though my reasons and situation were very real when I disappeared for a long while, I'm also very sorry for doing that—and thanks to all who sent hugs and kept looking out for me.   So in answer to your question, it astounds me that most of my readers still stuck around! And yes, I'm extremely grateful my stories are well received. That said, I've learned the lesson that you have to write because you want to. Sometimes there will be lean times when it comes to how well readers respond. It's only when the story is important to you, do you keep writing.     Author Roberto Zuniga is the better half of Albertonothlit, who you might remember appearing in this blog once or twice. In addition to writing, Roberto is an amazing artist and has created book cover art for his husband. Mexico certainly has its challenges when you’re gay, but these two almost make it seem like a fairy tale. An interesting tidbit for those Star Wars fans out there: Roberto’s birthday is Star Wars Day! (May the 4th) Now you’ll always remember. According to his friends, this is one sweet man, and he can also write a mean story. Roberto has several stories that are in progress, but I think the hidden gem in his collection is Bred for War. In this story, there are two countries at war. They’ve been at war so long that their entire economy has slowly become only about the war. What will happen when two soldier-boys from opposite sides meet? They’ve been raised from birth to believe their enemy is “evil.” It’s a devilish conundrum for the main characters and the world Roberto has created makes my inner sci-fi geek purr.   To Roberto Zuniga: First, congrats on your husband being promoted to Promising Author! So, when it comes to writing, have you two collaborated on projects or bounced ideas off each other?   Not really. Carlos is very secretive when it comes to his writing, I think it's basically a matter of wanting everything to be perfect before he shares it with anyone, including me. I have been lucky enough to get to read many of his works before everyone else (LOL) and I've also encouraged him to carry on and publish. Take Earthshatter for instance -his new novel published by DSP-, I loved him so much I wouldn't stop bothering until he accepted to publish it LOL. Something I do have to say is I love his finished products and drawing for those projects.   Regarding my writing, pfffff! I'm so messy! Ideas can flow through my mind sometimes, scenarios, particular characters. Sometimes I share some of my ideas or tell him I feel conflicted about this or that character, but he usually advises to work it the way I feel I should. We do read each other's work and encourage each other to keep on writing, since we both enjoy it so much.     Author skinnydragon comes back to finish up our blog for the day. Skinny is the author behind https://www.gayauthors.org/story/skinnydragon/18weeksoftwoey]18 Weeks of Twoey and has recently begun a sequel that is generating a lot of attention. Unfortunately, Skinny received bad news at the end of 2016. Send him some love and well-wishes. I feel blessed to have been able to be on the periphery of his life the last couple years. I hope that he is able to maintain the strength of body and mind long enough to see his bucket-list completed. Headstall I think said it best: “I just want you to know, though we've never met in person, you have impacted me from the first interaction. You are one of the bright lights in my life, skinny … I wish I could hug you for real... I really do.”   To skinnydragon: What motivates you to write? For example, do you hope to publish or is it simply a creative or artistic outlet?   That’s a good question. It is an artistic outlet, in a way. I certainly never intend to publish - ever. I am not a writer, which should be pretty plain to any reader. I’m an artist. I was challenged by a mentor/writer, when younger, to write a back story for a few things I painted. In doing so, I discovered it helped improve everything I subsequently drew. Now I do it all the time and they have become the germs for a few story ideas. Some stories may even get written and make the journey from my laptop to GA.     That’s it for now! For more info on these authors, go check out their stories, post in their forums, and/or catch them in chat!   I’ll see you next time, with authors JackBinimbul, mikiesboy, palantir, and WolfM!   I’m always in the market for new questions! Simply PM me (Dark).   Until next time!
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Renee Stevens

Renee Stevens

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