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Found 19 results

  1. What? Another 2 story series? Yes, that's what's on tap for this month's CSR feature too! Of course, instead of two short stories, we're featuring a prompt and a novella-length story written by BHopper2. This contemporary coming of age story is rife with feels, but also contains some graphic content (no sex) so please make sure you check out the tags and the story description. It's quite popular already, so I'm hoping we'll have a great Discussion day on the last Monday of the month. And hopefully lots of reviews posted on the stories too! A New Life and a New Home Length: 2,254 Description: Sixteen-year-old Brayon came out to his Progressive parents, but they did the one thing he didn't expect. They disowned him and kicked him out. This is his story. A Reader Said: This had me hooked! There's a style here of 'just the facts, ma'am' that's balanced and nuanced. I was drawn right in, like I was watching it happen and not reading about it at all. Read it for yourself, and you won't regret it. ~ AC Benus My Son Length: 32,530 Description: Adam Smith is a successful businessman, who recently came home to Tampa, Fl. Retired at age 38, living in a newly constructed house, he feels like he's set for a new chapter in his life, with plans to set up a Micro-Brewery. A Reader Said: An interesting plot, well-drawn characters, and realistic dialogue take us through the joys and fears of meeting your child as a teen. ~ JeffreyL Don't forget to come back on the Discussion Day, Monday July 30th, to share your thoughts!!
  2. This month I thought we'd try something a little different. Instead of a single story, I picked two of Mark Arbour's shorter works (instead of his epic series, sorry to his fans!) from his anthologies. I hope you're in the mood for a trip into the past, something Mark does all too well, with his stories from the Carpe Diem and the I'd Never Do That anthologies. Furlough War's End by Mark Arbour Furlough Length: 4,853 Description: Two wounded men meet in Paris during World War I. One is wounded on the outside, both are wounded on the inside. Will their accidental meeting help heal both of them? A Reader Said: I found this beautiful story very touching. I think the war setting added a tension and immediacy to the encounter between the two men, causing me to feel compassion for them quite deeply. Thank you ~ DonR2D2 War's End Length: 6,287 Description: World War I is coming to an end, but for two men, both former soldiers, peace means a return to their separate homes and their separate lives. A Reader Said: Stop! Read Mark's story Furlough before reading this story which is more than an epilogue! This is a fitting finish to Furlough and is a fast and scintillating read! As always with Mark's stories, there is a bit of sex, a lot of love and much thought. ~ Daddydavek Don't forget to come back on the Discussion Day, Monday June 25th, to share your thoughts!!
  3. It's May... already?! How did that happen? I swear the time keeps flying by, but that just means we have to remember to take some time out to stop and enjoy ourselves. This month, that means you get to read Craftingmom's story, Lie of the Serpent. This contemporary crime mystery will hopefully keep you on the edge of your keyboard from start to finish! Lie of the Serpent Lie of the Serpent by Craftingmom Length: 70,591 Description: When Bryan finally finds the man he wants to be with forever, he thinks his life will be perfect. But it's taken time to convince not only Wyatt that he's sincere, but his own mother as well. Between Wyatt's anxiety to trust again after a brutal breakup with an ex, the ex still trying to wreck havoc in Wyatt's life, and Bryan's own mother's doubts, Bryan is over-stressed. So when Wyatt disappears days after their engagement, he's left devastated and confused. A Reader Said: I love all the books by this author and have read them all. This one was slightly different from her usual writings, but still a compelling read. I liked the storyline in this one because even when you find out who is the bad guy, you still can't see how the good guys are going to work it out in time. The bad guy isn't unexpected, but the lengths they go to are. As always a well written and thought out story from an imaginative author. ~ Caz Pedroso Don't forget to come back on the Discussion Day, Monday May 28th, to share your thoughts!!
  4. Did you have a chance to read these short stories featured in Cris Kane's fantastical tale, X-Dream Makeover this month? While there is a common thread in all 4 chapters, they do standalone quite well, so I hope a lot of people got a chance to read at least one of the four. Did you have a favorite character? Makeover? Make sure you share your thoughts below in the comments, but first, as always, I grilled the author to find out a little more about him and his writing! If you had 30 minutes of free time, what would you do? Nap. What's your favorite room in your house? Do you plot or write there? The bedroom. That's also where my computer is located, so I guess the phrase "that's where the magic happens" actually applies in this case. The stories I've posted here are unusual for me in that I haven't outlined them in advance. I've come up with a premise and let the writing process tell me where it needs to go. That said, once things start to fall into place and a structure reveals itself, I end up jotting down lots of notes for events and details that should fall later in the story, if only so I don't forget them. What’s the best part of being an author? As many have said before me, I like having written more than I enjoy the actual work of writing. That said, my favorite part of the process is the moment when a particular phrase or sentence pops into my head or flows out of my fingers and surprises me. Something that perfectly fits the precise situation. Something that could ONLY work at that exact point in the specific context of the set of characters and circumstance I've put in place. Some realization that I would never have come to if I hadn't been writing this particular story. I don't feel like I can take much credit for such brainstorms, but I do feel lucky that I'm the first person who gets to enjoy them at the moment of conception. I hope they eventually give the reader a similar amount of pleasure. What kind of research did you do for X-Dream Makeover? Location? Theme? Character? The most helpful "research" for this series of stories has been my visits to San Francisco over the years. I don't live there, but have been there enough that I have a general lay of the land that I figure my sense of geography won't be glaringly off the mark. Otherwise, this group of stories didn't require a lot of intense research. Despite the fantastical nature of the transformations, I did try to treat the situations as realistically as I could, exploring the potential drawbacks that might come about if Mr. Lee's various potions and devices actually existed. The line in the first chapter, “So what is it you wish to have that your money cannot buy you?” feels particularly… sinister. Sort of in a ‘Beware, go no further, danger, danger’ vibe that directly contradicts the modern Mr. Lee we see at first. Did you deliberately merge these two natures of his character or did it develop organically as you wrote? From the very beginning, I wanted to paint Mr. Lee as enigmatic, leaving his origin and even his age intentionally vague. He might seem like a stereotypical "old Asian wise man" but he knows more than he's letting on. He's clearly putting on an act to some degree, speaking in a stilted manner and purposely coming across as less worldly than he actually is. From the get-go, I have him hiding a Whopper Jr. and a Mello Yello from his customer. I like that he's fundamentally a benevolent person, but with a sly sense of humor that he hides behind his created persona. Perhaps the key descriptor in that first chapter is "When you've been doing something as long as Mr. Lee, it becomes inevitable that you start to fuck around with the clientele, just to keep it interesting for yourself." I enjoyed taking his point of view, as someone who had been doing this a long time and had seen many situations, so little surprised him. He knows the pitfalls of his clients' requests because he's seen how wishes have backfired on people in the past who haven't thought things through. He also wants to stay under the radar, so it's to his benefit to discourage ill-advised transformations. Each chapter has a very different tale with insightful lessons the characters learn about themselves. What message do you think the story has, beyond ‘be careful what you wish for’? We all have things we would change about ourselves if we could, so there's a definite wish-fulfillment aspect to these stories. I would hope the stories also convey that sometimes what we think is a flaw could actually be a strength, or that often what we want to change about ourselves isn't actually what's causing our problems. In the end, hopefully the characters end up with a better understanding of their true selves. Nobody goes through an encounter with Mr. Lee without being changed, although probably not in the way they anticipated. Do you plan to write more stories for the people Mr. Lee helps? He's such a fun character to write that I would definitely go back to using him if the proper story presented itself. It helps to have an established character who we know can do fantastical things, rather than having to come up with a brand new story device every time you want to bring about a magical transformation. I did write one additional chapter, titled "Where'd He Go?", which I consciously did not post as part of this series. I like it, but it's a bit darker and more cynical than the other four chapters, which I feel have a more consistent tone that allows them to hang together as a coherent group. That standalone chapter can be read here, along with some other transformation tales I've written over the years: https://www.gayspiralstories.com/newStory/show/2320 What other projects are you working on that you might like to share with us? I'm attempting to motivate myself to write a screenplay, so I haven't been too productive lately on the fiction front. I do have one story pretty well mapped out that could find its way to GA someday if I somehow find the time to write it. All of my stories seem to have an element of the fantastical, although it doesn't reveal itself immediately in this one.
  5. Happy March! This month I'm bringing you something a little different. March makes me think of St. Patrick's Day and magic... so I looked for stories that would fit the bill. What better than the magical world of Harry Potter? Plus, I've never featured a fanfic. So why not give JulieLHayes' novella-length story a try? Nocturnal Emissions by JulieLHayes Length: 12,449 Description: Sirius Black has a secret that haunts him in the silence of the night - his love for Remus Lupin. It's Christmas hols and the Marauders are together, as usual. But something unexpected occurs, something that threatens to bare Sirius' very soul... what is he to do? A Reader said: I love this! I enjoy the Mauraders and I love Sirius black. I believe I have read some of your other work else where but I was not sure. Anyways, I really like this story and I can't wait for more. ~ Carrie76 Remember to come back on Monday, March 26th for the Discussion day to share your thoughts on the story and to catch my interview with Julie L. Hayes!
  6. How's February treated everyone? I know it's the shortest month of the year, but it feels like it can't possibly have already passed this quickly! But, it has, and today is the discussion day for David AB's All We Have Now. Did you get a chance to read or re-read this story posted back in 2015? Make sure you gave the author a few likes, comments, or even share your thoughts and questions below. David's going to pop in as he can today, so let's encourage him to share more stories by sharing how much you enjoyed this month's read! First we have my interview with him, of course! Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point? Not in the morning, because when I wake up I'm more corpse than man and it usually takes me a few hours before I manage to lure my soul back into my body with an unreasonable amount of caffeine and nicotine. I do make my bed at some point though, but only so I can just collapse onto it and pass out comfortably at night. If you had 30 minutes of free time, what would you do? Maybe lie down on my couch and read the news or google random stuff. (That's just the least inappropriate answer I could think of though, so who knows what I might do, haha.) What brought you to the GA? Serendipity. Many authors like to write in genres they enjoy reading. Do you have a favorite post-apocalyptic story or book you’d like to recommend? Well, Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" is by far the best post-apocalyptic novel (aside from "All We Have Now" of course, haha) and one of the best books in general I've ever read, but I don't think I would recommend it to anyone, because it's emotionally devastating and I kind of wish I had never read it myself to be honest. (I know it's a bit tacky to promote my own stuff, but if you've enjoyed reading "All We Have Now", I did write another apocalypse-themed (short) story called "To Last". I can definitely recommend that one, haha.) If the apocalypse hit and you survived, where would you go to live? I love my apartment, so I'd probably stay right where I am. (I would've answered "IN A SPACESHIP!!! O.O" However, I'm assuming there would be no more Google after an apocalypse, so to find a spaceship I'd have to drive around aimlessly and hope that I'd happen to come across a spaceship-parking lot or whatever. That just doesn't sound like a lot of fun to me, especially not if I could be lying on my couch instead, doing who knows what, haha.) Did the characters or the plot come to you first for All We Have Now? This is probably not something I should openly admit as an "aspiring" writer, but I don't really care about plots all that much in general, I'm mainly interested in characters and their interactions and development. To answer the question though, the setting "came to me" first. At the time I loved "The Walking Dead", so I decided that I wanted to basically write a more intimate, gay version of that show. After the setting I "developed" the characters, came up with a whole bunch of "moments"/scenes to get a proper feel for them and finally I used those "moments" to roughly map out the basic plot of the story. How did you flesh out your world? Did you plot out the events and the settings as an overall “this is the world now” or did you include the post-apocalyptic elements as they came to you while you wrote? Before I started writing "All We Have Now" I already knew what I wanted the world and all the different locations to look and "feel" like and how realistic or rather "unrealistic" I wanted the story to be, but I only outlined the plot very roughly and let the characters heavily inform most of my decisions on what should happen between all the abovementioned "moments", so consequently I did keep adding new elements throughout the story. I also kept researching every little detail, which made me change and add a bunch of stuff as well. One example is the [spoiler-alert] farm-chapter(s) – originally I wanted Cody and Troy to stay in the house, but the problem was that dead bodies had been decomposing in there for quite a while and I had planned for them to do a poop-ton of cleaning and bleaching etc., but when I arrived at that chapter I did a lot of research on crime scene cleaning and things of that nature and I soon had to realize that there was absolutely no way that they could realistically get rid of that corpse-stench, at least not in a day and without proper equipment. So I scrapped that idea and let them find the RV instead, which I had originally decided against, because I thought it would feel too similar to "The Walking Dead". However, in my opinion "Book 2" (which is set almost exclusively in the RV) turned out far better than both "Book 1" and "Book 3", so in hindsight I'm quite happy that corpses reek much worse than I ever could've imagined, haha. Do you have a favorite scene or moment in All We Have Now you can share with readers? I know the whole thing drags on for way too long and probably isn't nearly as funny as I'd like to believe it is, but the chapter in which [spoiler-alert] they get stoned out of their minds was such a blast to write and there's one line in particular that I immediately had to think of: At one point Troy is wondering whether they could make [potato] chips themselves and then he lists all the stuff they have, but he's high, so he lists both "oil" and "canned potatoes" twice without realizing it. (Here's the line: "Hey, wait a minute, we have canned potatoes, oil, spices, oil, a pen, canned potatoes and a camping stove, we could make chips ourselves," he said.) The thing is, when I wrote that line I didn't do that on purpose, I simply listed "canned potatoes" twice by accident, probably because I was tired at the time. When I realized what I had done I laughed so hard, because it was exactly the kind of mistake you'd expect a stoned person to make, so it fit perfectly and became one of my favorite jokes in the whole story, even though it was just a lucky accident.
  7. November is here, and this month I wanted to feature something different. There are a lot of stories on the site with themes that involve some heavy subjects that can really make you think, but one of the best of those is an older story that many current readers probably haven't found since it was posted for a 2008 anthology themed "Living in the Shadows". Street Life by Graeme Length: 16,661 Description: *Reader warning* This story does contain mature themes & references to underage prostitution and suicide. A Reader said: That was depressing and uplifting at the same time. I've read New Brother, and I can remember the main charater (whom I despised utterly in spite of your heroic and brilliant effort to make him understandable and redeemable) being told Craig's story. It was one of the better moments in New Brother and I'm glad I finally managed to read Craig's story, even though it made me sad. ~ Timothy M Please come back for our Discussion Day on Monday, November 27th.
  8. How fast these months go! Is it nearly Halloween where you live? Are you ready for some tricks or treats? Or maybe you celebrate All Hallow's Eve another way? Or... maybe the whole thing freaks you out, and you'd rather read a story set firmly in the present? Maybe a little second-chance? If so, I hope you enjoyed Mitchelll's Mr. Brightside! Don't forget to share your thoughts in a comment below, but my first we have my interview with him! What brought you to Gay Authors? I liked the interaction between the users with the forums and the commenting on the stories. I also liked that the stories focused more on storytelling rather than on sex. I had read stories at Nifty for years, and always found their lack of story description and ability to search for specific stories problematic. There are definitely gems there, but it can be a slog to find something I really enjoy reading. If you could give yourself advice when you first started writing, what would it be? To just get started. To just sit down and write. When I decided to try writing, I spent literally years thinking about writing, creating characters and plotting stories in my head before I finally managed to sit down at a computer and try to put those ideas on paper. Do you have any writing rituals? Not really. I always write at a certain place, my grandmother’s table in the breakfast room, but other than that it varies. My favorite time to write is very early in the morning while drinking coffee, but I haven’t been able to turn that into a real habit. What do you struggle with most when you are writing a story? Actually putting it down on the page. I have entire stories plotted out in my head, huge swathes of dialogue, etc. And I write a lot while doing other tasks like walking the dog or working, or at least think about my stories, but when it comes time to sit down and actually transfer it from my brain to a page, I find it incredibly difficult. I think it was Truman Capote who said something like “I like to have written. I hate writing.” That pretty much sums up my feelings. How long did it take you to write Mr. Brightside? I’m not actually sure, but I know that it was more than a year. How did you come up with the title? I had started the story, which had already evolved a lot from its beginning. I was thinking about a title when I happened to see the video for Mr. Brightside again, and I realized that the lyrics about jealousy, the feeling of the video, so much of it reflected my story. In fact, I pictured Jason as looking very much like Brandon Flowers, and Viktor as looking like Eric Roberts. What prompted you to set the story in New Orleans? As a writing novice, at this point, I’m sticking to the old advice of writing about what you know. I’ve lived here for almost twenty years, and I love it. And I have, unfortunately, seen paths like Shane and Corey. It’s a beautiful, fascinating city with a very, very dark side. Did you have to do a lot of research for Mr. Brightside? What’s your preferred method? Honestly, no. There were a few things I looked up online and verified. Like luxury VIP hospital wings are a very real thing. And Louisiana involuntary commitment laws, though not quite as easy to get around in real life, are in fact among the most lax in the nation. Can you sum up the story in one sentence? I think for me the main theme would be contained in Jason’s story arc: When you refuse to be true to yourself and life authentically, it can lead to tragedy, both for yourself and the others around you. When can readers expect more? I am currently working on a follow up to Mr. Brightside, Smile Like You Mean It. It’s not a direct sequel, and its main focus is on new characters, but Jason and Shane do play a role.
  9. Sam Wyer

    CSR?

    Hi I'm finding my way around the slightly complex world that is GA, however, I can't find this. What does CSR stand for? Despite all of the posts about them, there doesn't seem to be an explanation. Thanks Sam
  10. Did you have a chance to read this month's CSR selection, The Transporters, by Israfil? This short story was a quick and easy read, so I hope we had a lot of takers trying something new this month! Share your thoughts about the story below, but first enjoy this interview where Israfil asks all my probing questions! Have you ever gone out in public, realized your shirt is on backwards, and just don’t care? Nope. I've definitely put my shirt on the wrong way but I don't think I could ever make it out the door without noticing. It just feels weird, you know? If you had 30 minutes of free time, what would you do? Nothing productive, that's for sure (as much as I'd like to say otherwise). Probably play a computer game, watch some YouTube videos (just discovered a bunch of awesome sketch artists so I'm binge watching those) or read a book. Thrilling, to be sure. What brought you to the Gay Authors? A friend referral. I initially started posting The Transporters on another site and a fellow writer suggested Gay Authors might be a good platform. I'd heard about the site before and realized it was solid advice now that I was actually writing online. I'm happy I did - not just to post my writing but all the great authors and stories I've discovered here. It's a really fun community. When you get a story idea, do you use any particular method, app, program, etc… to expand it before you begin writing? Or do you just open up a document and start typing? Sometimes. I tend to get stuck on details so for a while I used Microsoft OneNote to organize my ideas by making a flow chart of sorts - mapping out what would happen from A to B to C. Other times I just start writing and seeing what happens but it's not long before I get stuck on a point and can't go on until I resolve it. Maybe I should go back to flow charts, now that I think on it... If you could give advice to yourself when you first started writing, what would it be? Keep writing! Don't sweat the details and try to make every bit perfect on the first draft. You can always edit it later. Otherwise, you'll just exhaust yourself and end up not writing at all. That I took such a long break from serious writing because of this is a pretty big regret of mine. Do you have a favorite mythological creature? I think it's safe to say dragons will always have a special place in my heart. I've loved them since I was a kid. The creature itself, and how the idea can manifest in so many different ways - dragons show up in some form or the other in cultures the world over but they're always unmistakable. My personal favorite is the idea of wisdom and age combined with the raw power - something about that is very compelling. I'd always be rooting for the dragon in any medieval fantasy and I was very disappointed when Smaug died at the end of The Hobbit. Even more so in the movie - Benedict Cumberbatch's portrayal of Smaug is what inspired me to start on the Deadwood series in fact. What kind of magic would you like to have out of the types that Parker, Jenson, and Evan have? Probably Evan's. I like nature and wish I was more outdoorsy than I am, so controlling plants and the earth would certainly help with that. Of the three, his magic seems to have the least drawbacks. Jenson's traps and intricate spells are appealing in their subtly but the lack of control would be a problem. As for Parker, I can't deny that throwing lightning bolts and stealing magic would fun, but being a warlock comes with certain baggage as I'm sure he would attest. Is this going to be a high fantasy/magic story or do you plan to toss some romance into the future plot? Relationships of any kind are a key part of what makes us human - they governs our feelings, interactions and...yeah, it's important. If you want your characters (even if they aren't all exactly human) to be compelling then you have to explore how they relate to each other, be it platonic or romantic. Depending on how you look at it, there actually has been a little already. Anshar and Mithras have a history - I've always been interested in writing about the aftermath or results of a relationship as opposed to the beginning of one. In this case, that includes a assassination, coup and civil war. Talk about your bad break-ups. Parker will also have to deal with his romantic past a little too - suffice to say it will be awkward for all involved. Dragons can do spells and they’re elemental… do they have any other cool hidden powers you haven’t shared with readers yet? There are more than a few types of dragons and many have their own unique abilities, and that's not even including an individual dragon's own personal talents. So yes, they do. Oh, you wanted an example? Well, they wouldn't exactly be hidden if I did that but I can give you one, though it may not come as a surprise: dragons possess a degree of mind control over lesser creatures. Which includes humans. What’s next? When can we expect part two of The Deadwood Chronicles? Working on it! I'm doing a slightly different set up for part two, Magefall. The goal is to make each chapter something of a short story in itself so readers are left a little more satisfied between updates - which of course means longer chapters. Now that I've started writing again, the first chapter of part two should be ready soon. I'm pretty excited about it. Ah, so many things are going to go boom...
  11. August is upon us, and this month is the end of a season--most of us are looking forward to a reversal of our local weather (I know I'm desperate for some cooling!) but, meanwhile, we can all enjoy a good story for the featured CSR blog! This month I've chosen Israfil's short story, The Transporters. At just 16.5k, everyone should be able to finish it. The Transporters by Israfil Length: 16,565 Description: When two dragons transporting a war criminal drop in for dinner, three wizard college drop-outs find themselves caught in the crossfire of a supernatural power struggle. A reader said: I do enjoy this story as well, keep it up. ~ Anubis Lichlore This month's discussion day will take place on Monday, August 28th. Be ready with your comments and questions for Israfil!
  12. Did you have a chance to read this month's CSR feature, Reece's Choice, by our very own blog queen herself, Renee Stevens? I hope so, because she has some questions for you! Ahh, didn't know there was going to be a quiz this month, did you? Muahaha, I hope you're prepared!! Of course, I asked her a few question first. How do you approach creating goals for yourself as a writer? Do they help you? Honestly, I’ve tried doing the goals thing, and in most cases they don’t work for me. I try to tell myself on a daily basis that I’ll write 1,000 words that day, and at least lately, the majority of the time I don’t make it. I might not even make half of that. Now, if I have a set in stone deadline not of my own making, I can usually make them. For some reason they make the creativity flow a bit better. I think it’s because they force me to really focus on what I’m working on. On average, how long does it take you to write a story? Is it easier or harder to write different lengths? Wow. That’s actually a harder one to answer than you might think as it’s really hard to average the huge differences in time it takes me to write something. I have stories sitting in my folders that are partially done, but were started five or more years ago. Then I have stories that I can crank out within a couple weeks. It just depends on how focused I am. As for different lengths of stories, it’s hard to say because it depends on the stories. There are some short stories that I can crank out really fast, and others that it takes me months, if not longer, to get a first draft out. And the same goes for longer stories. What is one thing you would give up to become a better writer? Caffeine? Chocolate? TV? Or…? I thought about this one for a bit, but the answer is in the ones provided. I could give up caffeine. I’ve done it before, and actually gave up all soda for a few months. If it would make me a better writer, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. If it would even help me write, I’d give it up. Does your reading taste reflect itself in the genre and style you prefer to write? Not really. My taste in stories varies depending on what I’m feeling like that day. Sure, I read some stuff similar to what I write, but that’s just a percentage of what I read overall. I read everything from fluffy romance, to sci-fi, to BDSM, to angsty stories. If you’ve read many of my stories, you’ll know that I tend to put my characters through hell. Some of the stories I read do that, but some of them have very little conflict. Where do you see yourself in 5 years as a writer? I’ve been struggling a lot to write lately. My focus has been shot, but in 5 years, I’m hoping to have a few more published stories under my belt and still be writing. In five years, I’d like to have completed my Jagged Edges novel that’s been sitting on my computer, half complete, since 2008, and the rest of the stories that are there. Of course, that means there would probably be a whole new list. I’d also like to see Reece’s Choice and Joined by Blood published in eBook format. And I’m working toward those goals right now. Hey y’all, Renee here. Cia was nice enough to let me ask some of my own questions. As you see up above, I’m hoping to eBook Reece’s Choice and I have been working on revising it. But I’m a little bit stuck and can use some help, so I have a few questions for you all, if you don’t mind. I can’t guarantee I can use all the suggestions, but I want to know your thoughts: the good, the bad, and the ugly! 1. What was your favorite scene in Reece’s Choice and why? Could it be improved? 2. What, if anything, did you feel Reece’s Choice was lacking? 3. Did you like the starting point of the story, or do you think it would have been better to start before that point, possibly seeing the scene of Josh trying to set Reece up with Dave before the ambush at dinner? 4. Would you have liked to see some of the adults coming around and their treatment of Reece improving? Possibly even backing him up? (I have some thoughts here, but am curious as to what my readers think). 5. Was there anything in Reece's Choice you absolutely detested or saw no point to and felt it didn't add to the story? 6. If you were to rate Reece’s Choice, as is, what rating would you give between 1 & 5, and if lower than 5, what would have made you rate it 5? (And let me say now, no blasting anyone for their rating. If you’re uncomfortable giving your rating here, you can PM it to me)
  13. This month's CSR announcement was slightly delayed so I could post it live so Renee wouldn't find out it was happening since she's the lead blogger... but Monday has arrived so I can let everyone know this month's featured story is Reece's Choice by Renee Stevens! Woo hoo! This is a nice contemporary novella, an easy read at just 25k, so make sure you've read it and are ready to discuss the story on Monday, July 31st! Reece's Choice by Renee Stevens Length: 25,483 Description: When confronted with his family’s bigotry, Reece is faced with the first of many choices. He can continue to tolerate the caustic atmosphere or he can walk away and finally focus on making himself happy. His cousin’s friend Dave unintentionally becomes the catalyst that forces Reece to make a choice. He can only hope it's the right one. A Reader Said: Thanks Renee for a wonderful story. I'm happy it ended here. Maybe there can be future adventures the boys will get into, but it's certainly not necessary. The title actually says it all. Reece's choice. He made a good one! ~ skinnydragon Don't forget this month's Discussion Day will be Monday, July 31st!
  14. Did you have a chance to check out this month's CSR story, The Others by Stannie? I hope you did and you're ready to share your thoughts, but first you can enjoy all his answers to my probing questions, including what he plans on posting next!! Chocolate or Vanilla? I don’t really like sweet food, so I’m going for chocolate. Real bitter pure chocolate! If you had 30 minutes of free time, what would you do? Watching, just looking around. When the sun is shining I’d go sit on my balcony with a cup of coffee, just to watch the people outside. I watch the children play, the elderly going for a walk, or the adults rushing towards their work. What do you like best about being part of the GA community? Motivation, to me, has always been a problem. Whether it’s at school, when working or when doing things I really like doing, I regularly can’t seem to get motivated enough. When writing for GA and getting feedback on what I write or getting messages when I didn’t upload for a while, it gets me motivated to do what I like best: writing. So, I think that means I like the support I get. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Writing in English. I think I mastered English well enough to have normal conversation, et cetera, but when writing a story you want something beyond that. I noticed I lack the ability to get something literary on paper, especially when it isn’t anything physical, like describing emotions. I don’t know many sayings or proverbs to illustrate what I want to say. How did it feel to finish posting your first novel on GA? Well, that was a little confusing, I’d say, as I never planned on finishing the story with this. Originally the story was way longer (and it still is), but I just decided to make a sequel. That was something I had thought about for a long time, because I normally don’t like stories being split into sections. With this story, however, I felt like the next part was a whole new story, a new part of Adam’s life, so that’s why I chose for it. Your character, Adam, has a taste for older movies (Monty Python) most contemporary teens probably don’t watch. Did you invent that for his character or is it modeled after your own preferences? I’m just a “teen” myself, so if I didn’t know those movies, I couldn’t have made Adam like them, so it’s kind of modeled after my own preference. It’s also based on someone else I met who is around my age, but listens to old music and watches old movies a lot, so I guess he had something to do with it as well. Do you believe people are inherently selfish or was that just Adam’s take for his blog? Yes, I truly do. I’ve had many discussions about this with people and every time I don’t get it why they don’t feel the same way about it. I challenge them to show me a situation in which someone isn’t inherently selfish, only to counter it by explaining what the selfish part was. It always works, unconditionally, unless it has something to do with having children. I haven’t been able to explain why people do certain things for children even when it doesn’t make them necessarily happier or something, so I guess that’s the exception to the rule. Sam says she likes, “The happy you” in chapter 6. Do you think that mood lift from the release of writing the blog that made Adam seem happier, or the knowledge of his Anonymous Reader’s identity and his feelings about him? Ah, that’s funny, because I actually talked about this today with someone. I stated that happiness without an obvious reason to it, is the best kind of happiness. It makes you feel like it doesn’t matter what happens around you, you can always be happy. I think Adam had the same thing here, as he thought to himself right after Sam said she like the “happy Adam”. He asked, being surprised: “I’m acting different?” Maybe it’s because it just feels right, you know? When you realise everything is okay, your life is going at a bearable pace and you found your position in the world in correspondence to the people around you. It feels right, and you are happy it does so. If you could sum up the theme of The Others, what would it be? I find that very difficult. When I started the story I just wrote 1 chapter and uploaded it. By then I wanted Adam to be a person with this secret second life, and I meant the story to be an interaction between those lives. It didn’t really work out (that’s why there is so much time between the first and second upload), so I decided the theme to be a book with a main character who isn’t necessarily likeable. I noticed that many stories have protagonists we sympathise, we feel sorry for, or just like a lot. Very plain feelings, in general, though when we think about ourselves and when we try to feel something about ourselves, it’s never this simplistic. We are complex organisms, and I wanted that in this story, so I made up Adam: a person who you can’t understand all the time (he doesn’t even do that himself) and switches between being liked to being hated. Not much for a summary, is it? What do you plan on posting next on GA? Of course, that’s the sequel of the Others, which will be about the travels of Adam.
  15. And just this fast, June is upon us and the year is half over. But the CSR event is still going strong, and I have a new story chosen for you guys to read this month. June's selection is by an author who's been on the site for a while but just completed posting his first novel. Let's all take a look at The Others by @Stannie and share some thoughts and comments on the site on the discussion day on the last Monday of the month, June 26th! The Others by Stannie Length: 74,750 Description: While pretending to be cool when he is with his friends and trying to be intelligent when he is editing his popular weblog, Adam actually is going through a lot. He is able to ignore his own problems by running from reality. It works, until someone in the real world becomes interesting enough to stay for. A Reader said: Looking forward to the next book, great job Stannie! ~ Scary Don't forget to come back and comment on the story on the discussion day set for Monday, June 26th!
  16. Okay, you've had two months to read Caz Pedroso's Unison Island series. Did you like it? Maybe leave a few comments? Well here's your chance to share your thoughts and talk about your favorite parts of the stories. First, enjoy this interview I did with Caz! What’s the hardest thing for you, as an author, and what do you love best about writing? The hardest thing is finding time. Trying to balance my volunteer work, my family, my housework, and my writing. Then, of course, I would like to find some time for myself in there somewhere 😊 What brought you to GA and made you decide to post stories here? You did, Cia. I read one of your stories on kindle (by recommendation after I finished another story) and then found the Wednesday Briefs group through your blog and decided to join in. That led me here. (Very cool, I actually didn't know that was the path!!) Unison Island is set in an ‘exotic’ locale, but is there a real place would you love to visit to research for a story? Maybe Discworld by Terry Pratchett. It's the first one to come to mind. That world is so fantastic, I could spend years exploring it. If you have thirty minutes of spare time, and you’re not writing, what do you like to do? Housework!!!! Not really LOL, I read. I always have a lot of books/stories on my To Be Read list. Okay, I have to ask this one… just how could the witches make just their island rotate different from the rest of the planet to get a constant equinox? A good friend said to me once, when I was moaning about something I wanted to write not being possible, ‘Anything, is possible if you make it magic’. I try to keep things at least slightly realistic, but I do like to use the magic angle to create the world I want. Including controlling the weather, think of it like a dome or force-field being over the island and inside the dome is weather controlled. Out of the creatures you created (witches, vampires, weres, etc…) for Unison island, which is your favorite? I really don’t have a favorite. I created each race as I wanted them. Taking the bits of myth and legend I wanted and making up the rest. So, they’re all my favorites. How did you plan out the series? Did you figure out all the information you share in Welcome to Unison Island before you started, or did that evolve as you wrote and you shared it with readers later? Book one was written as I went. And book two was written, finished and published, before book was one finished. The rest of the stories were planned out a bit better. But, the information I needed readers to know couldn’t really be incorporated so late in the series. So, that led to me writing the introduction so things would make a bit more sense. With witches and other creatures, how did you decide which holidays and other ‘special days’ of the year based on their alternate history? I didn’t. I just write different pieces when I have time, and if that time coincides with a holiday – Christmas, Easter, etc. Then that gets added in as well. Do you have a favorite character in the series? I love Jamie from book one. He loves to play pranks, but still takes his job very seriously. He’s also loyal and fiercely protective of his friends and family. Would you ever go back to the series, maybe write flash pieces for secondary characters readers really liked? There may be a few things on my To Be Written list…but, I’m not saying 😉 I am also trying to re-edit when I have time, but something always seems to come up.
  17. This month's feature, Unison Island, is a series of short stories and novellas by Caz Pedroso. It starts with an introduction in... Welcome to Unison Island. What else is there to read? Well, a lot! Check them out below. Read one, or two, or all five, but be ready with your thoughts on the stories and series and any questions for Caz on Monday, April 24th! Unison Island Series by Caz Pedroso Book 1: Welcome to Unison Island 1,108 words This is an introduction to Unison Island, including how it started and how it is governed. This was prompted by the reviews I have received on my other stories. Some facts have of course been left out if they impact on current or future stories - Sorry but you'll have to wait for all the answers. Headstall said: Interesting premise and providing the background really helps. It all sounds quite civilized but that remains to be seen...Cheers...Gary Book 2: Andrew & Jamie 41,743 words Description: Andrew is a shy vampire, who is nervous around crowds. Jamie is an outgoing witch who always has people around him. Can a relationship work between them, especially when someone else has his eye on Andrew??? LadyDe said: Awwww!! Now that was the perfect ending. Book 3: Adam & Ben 19,235 words Adam is a vampire and is nearly two thousand years old. He has almost given up all hope of ever finding his mate.Ben is a witch who is working at the healing clinic. He is on the run from his ex and doesn't want anything to do with Vampires again. Can Adam get Ben to trust him? And will they get their happy ever after? Simonnomis said: Wonderful story! You create such interesting worlds, and write so well. Thanks :-) Book 4: Buried Treasure 20,426 words I have loved my best friend for a long time but he doesn't know I'm Gay. What do I do? Now he's living with me. Help!! Mikiesez1 said: This was cool...thanks ! Book 5: The Mouse That Roared 53,994 words Vash is rescued, but what is the cost of that freedom? Jackson and Casey are willing to anything to ensure Vash stays free. Puppilull said: Thank you for writing and sharing your imagination with us! Don't forget the Discussion day will be on Monday, April 24th!
  18. Did you have a chance to read LitLover's scifi vampire novel, Crave? Maybe read it again if you were a fan when LitLover first posted the story? Hopefully you enjoy it and have lots of comments or questions ready to ask! But first, I have an interview with her to share... apparently she's never had to talk about herself that much! LOL What action would your name be if it was a verb? Hmm, well if my name were a verb it would be daydreaming. I’m always being accused of daydreaming; while I’m writing, and while I’m reading. Not that exciting, I know, but it fits. Share one unique or quirky habit you have. I don’t know if it’s a habit or a quirk, but I won’t write about a character until I hear their “voice” in my head. Even minor characters have a unique inflection and tone. If their “voice” isn’t clear they’re scrapped from the story because I know I won’t be invested enough to give their character the attention it might deserve. What are you wearing (and no fibbing!)? I just got home from the office, so I’m wearing fairly professional attire: a dark blue blouse, black slacks, and chunky black heels. If you caught me in a few hours it might be sleep pants with kittens on them and a tank top. What is one story/book/eBook you’ve read and reread and think others should read immediately? I don’t really have one favourite book, although I am a diehard Jane Austen fan and reread her books often. More contemporarily I always recommend anything by Headstall (here on GA). I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read Song and Dance and Cards on the Table. I’m a sucker for a good HEA. What’s the best part of being an author? Being able to create worlds and characters purely from imagination. People can be anything you dream up; any profession, race, or sex, and the worlds you create are only limited by what you picture in your mind’s eye. It’s a great feeling to effectively sketch out what you see so the reader is right there with you. What’s one location you’d love to go to research for a story (including space)? I would love to follow Jenson and Merrick into space. It would be amazing if some of those places actually existed so I could visit them in person. One of the locations I’ve had in my head lately was Landin’s home world of Anphilia. It’s a water planet with areas I imagine look much like the Caribbean ocean. It would be great to go scuba diving in the Caribbean just to get a feel for that world. (Not because it’s -17 Celsius in March.) What prompted you to combine a science fiction story in space/alien planets and ‘vampires’? It was an idea that came out of the blue. I was having a discussion about the vampire craze in books and movies with a friend and wondered “why are all vampires paranormal? What if they were created by some natural event instead?” That thought led to vampires being descendants of humans with altered DNA. I wasn’t sure the concept would be well received, but when I ran the idea by Gary (Headstall) he encouraged me to take the leap and post the story. Just how many twists did you write in Crave, and how much did you enjoy coming up with them? There were several twists in Crave, which led to the nickname “Cliffie Queen” one reader bestowed on me. I have to admit, I loved writing Crave because, although I tried to keep the story from becoming too fantastical, it was freeing having all imaginable worlds and species at my fingertips. Politics is a complicated subject to write. Did you have to keep notes/use a cheat sheet to keep all the differing elements relating to that accurate as you wrote the story? As this was my first real story, I thought I could “wing it”, but quickly found out how easy it is to get lost in the details. I was about halfway through the story when I realized I needed an outline for my own peace of mind. By the last chapter I had a fairly detailed summary with character names, affiliations, and even a personal history of the major characters. I will never write another story without an outline, and would recommend the process to all new writers until you figure out what works best for you. Can you share something of your current or upcoming work to entice readers? I’ve been toying with a few ideas lately. The first is book two of Crave set a couple of years after the epilogue. I’m also working on a short story for Landin and Tei that’s in the rough copy stage. Another idea I have brewing is something I haven’t shared with anyone, including my esteemed editor (it’s that new). The theme is darker than anything I’ve written before, and is inspired by events that have affected people I care about. It won’t be “based on a true story,” but the subject matter is personal to me. I don’t know if the finished product will see the light of day, but it feels like an important story to tell.
  19. Okay, so every once in a while I pick a story that falls in my preferred reading wheelhouse, and science fiction is a definite favorite. This month the CSR feature is going to be a story I haven't had a chance to finish, but I will! It's a bit longer than a lot of our CSR features, but you have a good amount of time to finish it since the Discussion day won't be until Monday, March 27th. Crave by LitLover Length: 75,896 Description: Crave: Feel a powerful desire for (something). Some cravings you just can't fight. A Reader Said: BRAVO!! You wrote an excellent story. I love stories like this. It satisfied by sci fi side, the romantic in me and oh my ....vampires. Crave is on my re-read list. and a sequel would be much appreciated. ~ LadyDe Remember, this month's Discussion day will take place on Monday, March 27th!
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