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Carlos Hazday

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.

 

Renee Stevens

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.

Carlos Hazday

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!

Carlos Hazday

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

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?

Renee Stevens

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 Storiesa lighthearted look at American teensand The Cardmaker and the Caretakera romantic story involving European young adultsamongst 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. :lol:

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? :unsure:

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. :facepalm: 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

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. :lol: 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

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.

 

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Renee Stevens

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.

 

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Renee Stevens

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

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

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.

 

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Renee Stevens

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!  :D

 

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!  :lol: 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

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

 

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

 

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


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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

.
 


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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

.
 


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

 

To HinderToyBL:  How do you work together?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 


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

 

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

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

 

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

 


 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Until next time!

Dark

 

Renee Stevens

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.

 

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Renee Stevens

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.

 

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Renee Stevens

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

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.

 

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Renee Stevens

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

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.


Signature Author


30 stories · 975 reviews · 264,746 total words

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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

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. :P 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. :D 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!


Dark

Renee Stevens

Please join the Author Promotion Team in congratulating Caz Pedroso as GA's newest promoted author! Caz has been a member of GA for just over three years and during that time, she has written sixteen stories to share with the members here at GA. Her most recently finished novel, The Mouse that Roared, is Book 5 of her popular series, Unison Island. If you want to read more from Caz, you can find her poetry, prompt responses, and so much more by visiting her author page (plus you can check out her snazzy new banner).

 

Please join us in congratulating Caz on her well deserved promotion.

 


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Renee Stevens

It's time for the first Ask An Author of 2017! Typically this would have been posted in January, but there were a few hiccups, so you're getting it now. Better late than never! If you have a question that you'd like to ask a specific author, but don't want to do the actual asking, then send your question to Dark! I hope you enjoy this edition of Ask An Author, and a big THANK YOU to Dark for continuing to provide these.

 

Ask an Author #46

 

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

 

In AtA #45, we heard from authors albertnothlit, Nephylim, Riley Jericho, and skinnydragon.

 

Today in AtA #46 we hear from authors Comicality, Mann Ramblings, Mikiesboy, and Parker Owens.

 


 

Signature Author and founding member Comicality start us off once again in today’s blog. Comsie has an enviable success, continuing to churn out story after story without fail. He’s more reliable than many cell phones. We’re at over a hundred stories right now, go ahead and ask him what his secret is. Better yet, stop by his forum. Comsie can often be found refusing to give spoilers and discussing plot arcs. His most recent story is Release Me, a story with only 600-ish reviews, quite low by Comsie standards. Perhaps it’s the holiday season or perhaps the zombies, or maybe the teenagers are throwing folks off. You’ll never know unless you give it a try! You know Comsie won’t let you down.

 

To Comicality: Are you planning to offer Cody (#NKIS) a spinoff, a story of his own?

 

Actually, there have been some requests to get a peek into Cody and Sean's relationship from interested readers, as well as the relationship with his sister, Ronnie, and his foster parents who took them in. However, there aren't any big plans for Cody to have a solo series just yet. That's not to say 'never', but I don't have any plans for it so far. Mostly because I'm enjoying having a little bit of mystery to Cody's character right now. As long as everybody gets to see him from an outsider's point of view, I get to reveal little bits and pieces of Cody's personality and his past as he becomes more comfortable, and (dare I say it) a bit more vulnerable about offering it up. I think it makes for good storytelling. :)

 

But, like I said, I never say never. And folks are definitely interested in seeing a Cody story. So who knows? It might just pop up somewhere out of nowhere. Maybe my muse will put me in a chokehold and tell me to do it some time in the future. Hehehe!

 


 

Another Signature Author in today’s blog is Mann Ramblings. At 12 stories and half a million words since 2012, Mann has definitely overcome his nerves about posting his thoughts online for everyone to see. Recently, Mann has become a published author and you can check out more of his work on Amazon. He also has something of a wacky sense of humor, for those of you new to his style. His most recent story on GA is the second half of Innocence and Carnality. This is the continuing story of Nathan and Rother, a somewhat historical, somewhat sci-fi tale with that guy we’ve all learned to dislike as more and more of his character has been revealed. What’s next for these two? Before you venture into this one, you’ll definitely want to read Part One first.

 

To Mann Ramblings: What has been your most difficult character or story to write and why? And also, will we see a sequel to So Little Magic?

 

I think Kenrick from So Little Magic Left was one of the hardest because of his complexity. I had to hide his true nature, show his gentile qualities while allowing his sadistic side to surface, and make his obsession with Shawn almost romantic at times even though we know how bad the whole situation could be. On top of all that, I needed him to sound real enough for people to hate and not turn into some caricature or cartoon. He received a nomination for best villain that year, so I feel like I managed it fairly well.

 

One of the things I loved about SLML, (after all the work and frustration when I couldn't touch it for months at a time) was that it felt complete when I typed "The End" and hadn't planned on extending the story. I say that, but I can't say the possibility of a sequel is zero. You never know when inspiration strikes. I still have a lot of love in me for this story.

 


 

Canadian author Mikiesboy joins us in today’s blog. Although he calls himself a poet, Timmy has several items written in prose now. Much of his work (prose and poetry) is gritty and achingly close to real life, but they’re also wonderful and full of characters you can’t help but love. Take The Pledge, for example. It’s an intriguing twist on the standard vampire-master & servant story. There are so many ways to interpret this story and the dissenting opinions are just as interesting to me as the story itself. You may be familiar with After the Past, a story about how one thing can change a person’s whole life forever. For me it was a real tear-jerker but there’s no denying that Timmy can write a character that sticks with you long after the last word is read.

 

To Mikiesboy: Since you have expressed yourself in both poetry and fiction, have you ever considered or would you ever consider writing a story focused around a poet? Are there any connecting factors between your poetry and your fiction?

 

Ummm, never thought about writing about a story focused around a poet. Interesting idea. I'll mull that over.

 

Are there connecting factors between my poetry and fiction? I'd have to say no, not really. My non-fiction yes, somewhat. Poetry is my way of sorting out my feelings and my world. I suppose I might apply some of that to my fictional characters but it's nothing I plan for.

 


 

Author Parker Owens makes his blog debut today as we finish things up. Besides posting his stories and poetry, Parker is also posts pictures of his beautiful garden from this past summer. 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.

 

Most recently there’s Predator Prey, a story that I think is even darker than A to Z. At this point in the story, it’s hard to see where things are going but Parker keeps a lively discussion going in the forums. I’m still hoping for a happily ever after, but I’m also the kind of person who can’t help but root for the anti-hero. I’m looking forward to seeing what else Parker has in store for us.

 

To Parker Owens: One of the things I pick up on when reading your stories and poems, is your love for math and science. What got you interested in these subjects in the first place?

 

It's funny to get this question because I came to love math and science much later in life than many do. I was not a particularly good math or science student in grade school or high school. College and university changed that; I had one extraordinarily gifted math professor in a calculus course I had to take as a required general education credit. He showed those of us in the 8:00 AM class that mathematics was both interesting and comprehensible to mere mortals like ourselves.

 

He gave me the confidence to try for a math teaching job. My transformation into a math nerd soon followed. I find that simple, genuine encouragement is often the spark that ignites the fires of creativity and intelligence. This is one reason I find GA to be such a wonderful community, as I have found the same degree of welcome and encouragement to exist here.

 

Because it’s the perfect tie-in for today’s blog, I have a bonus for you: another question for Parker!

 

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?

 

Writing for Predator Prey, and especially for the predator character, was a real struggle. I spent a lot of time trying to write in the point of view for such an unappealing individual, that I tied myself in knots several times. The result was shorter, more condensed chapters. I could not face extended contact with him or his business. Afterwards, I would want to write something gentler and brighter. But the question of whether such a character can experience change kept drawing me back. Can he be redeemed or find a new and better direction? That's a critical question to me. The search for that answer kept me going on with the draft, rather than discarding it.

 


 

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 Craftingmom and Roberto Zuniga joining Riley Jericho and SkinnyDragon!

 

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

 


Until next time!
Dark

Renee Stevens

Who's ready for another Author Promo? This month we are taking a look at William King. William was asked to pick up to 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.

 


Author


6 stories · 116 reviews · 109,393 total words

 

 

Description: Alex and Matty have been best friends like forever, but all that changes the day that Matty says he's gay!

 

What gave you the idea for this story?

 

The idea for the story of Matty and Alex's relationship came from the first chapter originally just a short story about two best friends who reveal to each other that they are gay. As the novel builds and introduces other characters, we meet Jake, an older guy who hits on Alex. There are other things going on in the background concerning Alex's group of school friends, but the main storyline is the interplay between Alex, Jake, and Matty. The book poses, but never resolves, the question as to whether or not three people can love each other and live together as a 'ménage à trois'.

 

What was your favorite thing about writing this story?

 

All my stories contain elements of personal experience, I don't think they would be real if they did not. The most extraordinary thing about writing this book, in fact any of my books, is the character development, the way in which the characters take on a life of their own and live. I have confined the story limits by giving attention and detail to the three principle characters, but if that were not the case, any of the characters could be developed, but of course that would tell a different story.

 

Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description.

 

You are told that any story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Broadly speaking this is true, but I tend to blur the edges of this concept, because this story is a cameo from the lives of Alex, Jake, and Matty. It could quite easily continue to tell what happens later between the three of them, the end is purposely left open, a sequel is always possible. This is interesting for me as a writer because it allows me to step back, it gives time for reflection, and that freedom lets the theme for the possible subsequent novel emerge. The continuation of the story presents itself, I don't need to invent it, it's there saying 'write me!'

 

 

Description: Amidst the drama and choas of a journey interrupted by dreams and different realities, is a quest to find the one person who can deliver the means to discover the answer which will allow all the pieces of the puzzle to reveal the whole.

 

What gave you the idea for this story?

 

A paragraph written by a friend on Facebook inspired the story which is why it is set in Mexico, although that fact is not specifically stated until the end. It's not your usual type of story, although it is strangely enough a romance. Nevertheless, as one reader commented, "it borders on the surreal." Reality, dreams, past and present are blurred at the edges and interwoven into the narration of a journey.

 

What was your favorite thing about writing this story?

 

It presented an enormous challenge to me as a writer, how to progress the story so as to encompass three different threads - the journey through a hot dessert landscape, the other reality of the Palace and it's gardens, the boy Demitri from the narrator's past. To do this in such a way so as not to lose the reader completely, but to allow them to guess at what was going on. What were all the pieces that would fit together to reveal the puzzle.

 

Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description.

In chapter 7 the narrator arrives at La Terraza Sobre el Mar (The Terrace Over the Sea), it's the chapter title. This is a real location, when I was describing it I was remembering the Café Hafa in Tangier. I relocated it from Morocco to Mexico!

 

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Here's the description from Wikipedia:

 

"Café Hafa is a cafe in Tangier, Morocco, located along the cliff top overlooking the Bay of Tangier. Opened in 1921, the cafe has retained its 1920s style of decor and through the years has been visited by numerous writers and singers, from Paul Bowles and William S. Burroughs, to The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. The cafe is known for its mint tea, a Tangier special brew.

 

With its simplicity, with its dominance over the Strait of Gibraltar, with its plastic chairs, its tables with tablecloths, with its blue walls, with its trees that grow without concern to none and with charm to which no one can resist, the Café Hafa has built its glory, its history and its reputation that crossed borders and have inspired numerous international writers."

 

I wouldn't presume to class myself as an 'international writer', but it did inspire me.
Renee Stevens

I can't believe it's already time for our December Ask An Author feature! This year just seems to have flown by and now it's almost over. The next Ask An Author will be the start of a new year! If you have a question that you'd like to ask a specific author, but don't want to do the actual asking, then send your question to Dark! I hope you enjoy this edition of Ask An Author, and a big THANK YOU to Dark for continuing to provide these.

 

Ask an Author #45



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

In AtA #44, the blog was all about Dayne Mora. Today, we go back to our regular programming. :D

In AtA #45 we hear from authors albertnothlit, Nephylim, Riley Jericho, and skinnydragon.


 

Today’s first author is no stranger to this blog. Promoted to Promising Author status back in May 2016, Albert has had a busy year filled with stories, moving, and winning a silver medal in 2016’s FAPA President's awards (you may have seen that announcement back in August). Not one but two books were picked up and published by DSP Pulications, an off-shoot of Dreamspinner Press. Check out his website for more info. He’s also publishing a new story here on GA called Life Seed with 36 chapters between January and September. Like much of his other work, Life Seed is sci-fi. Albert writes powerful and intriguing characters in some utterly bizarre and yet fascinating settings. I’m dying – dying! – waiting to find out what new twist is coming up next, but sometimes life gives you a kick in the pants and it takes awhile to recover. Send some warm wishes his way and let’s hope we see Albert back again in the new year.

To albertnothlit: Do you prefer to publish chapter by chapter and see where the story flows in response to readers, or do you complete most or all of a story before posting?

In an ideal world, I usually prefer to have the entire story written out, edited, and proofread, before I publish it. That was the case with the very first stories I published here on GA, and it allowed me time to really look at reader feedback and figure out which things needed attention and which things I had done correctly, having the entire big picture of the completed story. Alas, nowadays I no longer work like that because life has gotten in the way. Since I don't have as much time anymore, what I will do is capture the essence of a story by writing a few chapters on my own before posting for the first time. Then, I will write the story chapter by chapter, as fast as time and my job will allow, while simultaneously working with editors or beta readers to polish chapters before they see the light of day.

I would say both approaches have their strengths and weaknesses. Writing week by week is a great way for new ideas to flourish, and take the story in unexpected directions. I have found that by writing in this way, creativity is maximized because you have so much more time to think about the story, even if it's just on the back of your mind while you're doing other things. I will very often be surprised with the direction the story has taken after having been constantly writing it for more than, say, three months, which is entirely different from simply sitting down and finishing an entire novella or short story in one week. I enjoy both ways of working, but nowadays I write in little batches, read feedback, and carry on!




Another oldtimer (to this blog and to GA) is vampire, fallen angel, and Author Nephylim. At one time, Nephy was a Promising Author and then Signature Author (back then we called them “Hosted” Authors). Like myself and Andy, real life has taken Nephy away from GA more than she might wish. With GA since 2009, Nephy has posted some 50 different stories and poems. She has been an inspiration to many, including myself, and it’s been said by many that she’s as nice in person as she is to chat with online. There were a few meet-ups for those GA authors living or willing to travel in Europe, and Nephylim was one of them, traveling at least twice from her home in Wales. She may not be as active on the site anymore, but we still get her stories! :D She finished posting her latest, My Brother Daniel, just this past summer, and that was quite the ordeal, from the sound of it. Like many of her stories, Daniel, Sara, and Rayn help us readers learn and deal with some tough topics that are not for everyone, but this classy lady makes all the drama and heart-ache worthwhile.

To Nephylim: I know you deal a lot with issues of gender fluidity. Does this stem from your background in anyway? And do you think by having more stories involving people who don't fit the same mold that others are used to seeing, that perhaps they'll gain greater acceptance in the so-called normal world?

I'm absolutely on a crusade to make sure every single young person can find a character to relate to. There are more out there than I thought mostly, I have to say, in young adult/new adult books. My next goal is to get them out of the LGBT niche and into the mainstream. I'm only one person but I think people are beginning to get the message because I've been banging on about it for a long time. I very much hope there are others out there doing the same thing.

My characters are always out of the ordinary in one way or another. Recently I've been writing a lot about mental health issues which is in the realm of personal experience, and I suspect I will continue to have elements of that in my work. I like to worked with flawed characters, to show that not only perfect people deserve their own story and their Happy Ever After.

As for gender fluidity - all I will say is that I have experience of elements of that in my own life. I've never met anyone quite as fluid as Ari, for example, but most of the trans/gender fluid people I know are pretty comfortable in their own skins and therefore easy to be around and to talk to




We were just talking about this guy, not too long ago: Riley Jericho, author of An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA, the longest single story on GA. Although the story is now complete, interest is still strong, as you’ve seen with all the questions for the author. Now we can only wonder what Riley will write for us next!

 

To Riley Jericho: Regarding An English Teen Circumcised in the U.S.A.: Circumcision, especially of teen boys, is an usual topic. Why did you choose it as the focus of your story?

Lol! Well there certainly hasn't been much competition for the theme, that's for sure! There's a lot of cultural perspectives that play into circumcision as well, and, let's face it, not everyone is comfortable with the theme.




Concluding things today is everyone’s favorite classical music-loving reptile, Author skinnydragon. This cool Canadian concluded his young adult story Toph’s Empty Year in November and has now gifted us with The Valedictorian. This new story is also young adult, with two teens in love dealing with life apart at different colleges. It’s a dilemma which plagues many high school seniors and college kids, so there’s a great opportunity here to ponder the “what ifs” that Skinny is bringing out in his story. And, in case you missed it, this story is something of a sequel to 18 Weeks of Twoey. So, if you were in love with those characters, then this story should charm you as well.

To skinnydragon: You seem really good at describing your characters as being at the center of a network of friends and relationships. Do you conceive of these webs first, or do they grow organically as you write your story?

In Twoey, David’s gang and the relationships among its members were pretty much worked out first, as the axis around which the story could build. Other webs, such as Matty’s little nebula of boys, grew organically. On the other hand, in Toph, the friends Nico and Austin, were originals. I thought more would develop from them, but it didn’t happen, even though their ghosts sort of followed Toph to New Glory. All the friends and relationships in New Glory grew as the story did - except for Gary.




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 Comicality, Mann Ramblings, mikiesboy, and Parker Owens!

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

 

Until next time!

 

Dark

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