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Found 7 results

  1. Carlos Hazday

    Ask an Author 2.0 - #9

    My threat to ask myself questions in a previous entry sparked the following from a GA member: A question or two for you... Or for anyone else with a long-running saga. How do you keep track of everyone? And indeed everything they do? Do you just remember, write notes in a separate file, rely on your beta-reader to keep you on the straight and narrow? Do you ever mix characters up, giving them characteristics belonging to someone else? I decided to accept the invitation to share the question with others and approached the authors of the two longest series on Gay Authors: @Mark Arbour and @Bill W. • • • With sixteen books and nearly four million words, Mark Arbour’s Chronicles of an Academic Predator is a series of historical fiction spanning the late twentieth century and early twenty-first. The author was gracious enough to reply to the question. • I have a really good feel for my characters and their personalities, so I really don't have to worry about losing track of that aspect. When I'm writing, I periodically go back and re-read prior books, and that helps keep me in their heads. That being said, I'm not very good with details. That's where my writing team and my readers help keep me on track. In addition to editing, my team will point out any inconsistencies or grievous errors. With the CAP series, for example, Jeremy (Methodwriter) has been instrumental in watching out for important dates (Iike birthdays) and even set up a reference topic on my forum. My readers have also been amazingly helpful. In the past, when I've had questions about something (like how many people did this character have sex with?), they've jumped in to do the research for me. • • • Bill W’s The Castaway Hotel follows the life of Josh and the children he provides shelter for. At eleven books and nearly two million words, the saga is the second longest one on Gay Authors. Here’s his reply to the question. • I keep notes in a document/file pertaining to the characters, specifically ages and any other information that might change as my story The Castaway Hotel progresses, but mostly I know the characters and their personalities, so I depend on my memory for the most part. I also keep a document with a synopsis of each chapter for easier reference, especially if I need to go back and check to make sure what I'm writing is in agreement with what I've already written. I also rely heavily on my beta(s) and editor to catch any slip-ups I might make, although sometimes the readers still catch things we've missed. • • • I guess it’s my turn. • Excel is my best friend. I have a file with multiple spreadsheets I use to keep track of several things including characters. Name, nickname, physical characteristics, date and place of birth, education, and myriad other things. The more important the character is, the more information I keep. Some of the minor characters have no more than a first name and a few words on who they are. Something like Georgetown Cupcakes baker. Considering I have named around 250 named characters so far, it’s the only way I can track everyone. My team also helps. Mann, Kitt, and Reader1810 have caught me mixing things up a few times. Particularly Reader since she gets to beta read an early draft of each chapter. • • • That’s all, folks. See ya next month.
  2. Carlos Hazday

    Ask an Author 2.0 - #8

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

    Ask an Author 2.0 #7

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

    Ask an Author 2.0 - #6

    And we’re back. Sometimes I wish a few of my favorite GA authors were still around. I have questions about what inspired them to write a particular story, how they decided on locations, or even how they settled on a character’s name. Unfortunately, those I’d most be interested in asking aren’t around these days. Will you face the same regrets I do in a couple of years? Think of one of our new hotshot writers and send me a question. I’ll get it answered and we can all learn a bit more about those who entertain us. • • • • • @Dodger Well-known for his distinctive avatar and having published ninety-five chapters of his long-running story The Cockney Canuck, Dodger is not a one-hit wonder. I’ve enjoyed reading several of his short stories and this month’s question is about a different ongoing story: The Church and the Tradesman. • Your The Church and the Tradesman is a highly original and engaging work. How did you get inspired to create these characters? • Most of my characters are loosely based on people who I have met in real life and The Church and the Tradesman follows the same principle with the exception, unsurprisingly, of the unruly and thoroughly dislikeable pop star, Tyrone. It’s definitely not fan-fiction so I’m not going to throw any names out there but his character is based on the typical, manufactured, teenage, pretty boy, pop idol. Needless to say, I’ve never met anyone who falls into this category so it’s possible that Tyrone’s personality isn’t an accurate representation, but I like to think it is. The protagonist Andy, his friend Jazz, and sly colleague Bob are all slightly exaggerated variations of people who I met or worked with whilst living in the UK. They do, however, come from completely different backgrounds and environments and their paths in real life would probably never cross. I just thought it would be fun to put them all together and throw in a pop star for good measure. The inspiration originally came from an iconic gay nightclub in London that was nicknamed ‘The Church’ because of its unusual opening hours. In the story, this is the spiritual home for Andy’s gay alter-ego and a counterbalance for his very straight weekday job with Bob. This bizarre, hardcore dance venue, only opened one day a week on Sunday mornings from 4 am until 1 pm and gained notoriety in the nineties following a number of high-profile sex scandals. In its day it was probably the most infamous gay nightclub in the world but a reputation for sleaze and drugs inevitably led to its closure. Mercifully, I was never old enough to attend church when I was in England but I once had the dubious privilege of meeting some ex-members of the so-called ‘congregation’. Their vegetated states and vacant expressions were enough to convince me that the stories that I had heard about this place were probably true. This was supposed to be a light-hearted story but it does touch on the very serious problem of drug abuse, which I do not condone but could not ignore either. Drugs play a very big and very destructive role in Andy’s life and it was difficult for me to write about this without glamorizing it in any way. I hope I did okay. • • • • • @Dabeagle & @Cynus One question, two top dogs in the GA greyhound track– talk about a perfecta. I gambled and posed the same question to both authors in one message so they could read each other’s responses. Here’s what they had to say. • Dabeagle has just finished writing a story The List which is set in the universe of another writer's creation: Cynus' Weightless and Fearless. I'm curious as to the effect on both writers. Cynus, with someone else using, inhabiting, and possibly changing his own world. And Dabeagle about the pressures of writing something knowing that another author was likely to take a close interest in what resulted. How much collaboration was there? Or did Cynus hand over the characters and their environment and let Dabeagle get on with it? What attracted Dabeagle to those stories in the first place? • Dabeagle For me writing with others is old hat. Some of my best ideas and stories come from discussion and brainstorming with other people. I had worked with Cynus before - he's a relatively old friend - and we'd been successful in our plotting and execution of the story we'd wanted to tell. With respect to The List, Cynus had put out an invitation for people to come write in his universe. That particular thing isn't something I do. I have borrowed characters, with permission, such as Craftingmom's Devyn Kennedy. Sometimes a character, usually a secondary one, resonates strongly with me and I'll be moved to write them. My motivation in this case was to create characters that could interact with the existing universe yet be individual. I follow some basic rules or guidelines when working with other's characters. First is not to change them in order to suit me. For instance, breaking up a couple for my own use unless the original author approves. For instance, Cynus had already told me that Angie and Travis wouldn't last, therefore opening a door. I'd never have broken them up on my own. Secondly this sort of thing needs the blessing of whomever you're either working with or, in this case, whose universe you're playing in. Cynus was very supportive and loved Parker and Shane which made things much easier. I asked him a lot of questions in order to stay true to characters as well as not running afoul of any plans he had made in terms of new stories. So this wasn't a collaboration in the traditional sense, but neither was it a carte blanche. As I completed scenes or had ideas for new ones I'd often chat with Cynus via text or once a phone call. Communication is essential, for me, to create in a situation like that. I didn't feel a great deal of pressure as Cynus was involved in my idea process and read things as they got done. As far as what attracted me to them, I've read most of Cynus's work and given him critiques as well as sought critiques from him. I liked his characters and thought it would be fun to start out on the ground floor, as it were, and see if things would go like my Sanitaria Springs series. Primarily, though, I did it because Cynus is a friend and I felt I could do it. If this had been in some of his other universes, I'd have not had the ability. • Cynus Dabeagle's being a bit kind to me here. The perk of answering second is being able to read his response first, and I intend to take full advantage of the opportunity. There was a point in time where I was feeling a bit sorry for myself as an author. I felt I wasn't properly connecting to my readership, and that I wasn't having the level of success I felt capable of reaching. I kept complaining to Dabeagle about how no one ever wanted to write with my characters, and I questioned if that meant they weren't lovable enough. It sounds silly, I know, and in hindsight my mind really wasn't in the best place at the time (If you have any doubt, check out the note at the end of "Weightless"). Dabeagle knew I wanted someone to care about my work in that way, and he was generous enough with his time and talent to accommodate my self-pity. I'm grateful to him for that, even if it didn't quite pan out the way either of us expected. That was a rough time for me, and his willingness to contribute to my universe was in fact something I really needed emotionally. We'd collaborated before on Sanitaria Springs stories (where Dabeagle fell in love with one of my characters, Logan Whitmore), and working with him has always been fairly natural. With respect to the world/setting, I gave him fairly loose rein. The only areas which became tricky at all involved his use of my characters, but through extensive communication I think we handled that very smoothly. Shane and Parker are delightful--I have a soft spot for Parker especially--and I think they play well with my characters. For the record, if anyone else wants to consider a collaboration (or sponsored fanfiction) in my worlds, please feel free to talk to me about it. My characters always need friends, and if you're as good at collaboration as Dabeagle, we'll create another great story like "The List". • • • • • @MythOfHappiness Although no stranger to prose, MythOfHappiness has delighted many a reader with poetry. In my continuing effort to highlight GA poets, here’s another one for you. • You write so beautifully in poetry about images and experiences common to so many of us. Do you see poetry as a way to tell stories and share experiences? What led you to share your gift for image and word in poetry with everyone? • I write because it makes me happy. I can't really do anything else artistically, I don't play any musical instruments, I can't draw worth anything... writing is kind of all I have. I publish on here because I want to improve at writing and because if I didn't, I wouldn't ever finish anything I started. My drive at home is half-full of stories and poems I began to write but never finished. I'm not good at ending things, I guess. Thanks for asking. You're the first person to ever do so, and it really surprised me when I opened my GA account today.
  5. Carlos Hazday

    Ask an Author 2.0 - #5

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

    Ask an Author 2.0 - #4

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

    Ask An Author 2.0 #3

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