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  1. Carlos Hazday

    Ask an Author 2.0 #12

    It’s been a year since Ask an Author’s reboot. Although the feature appears to be as popular as ever, getting questions continues to be a struggle. Serious or silly, professional or personal, short or long, what you ask makes the monthly blog possible. Don’t be shy, tell me what you want to know, and I’ll look for answers. • • • • • A self-described NoCal gay, @Ashi puts the social in social media in Gay Authors. The man has to be one of the friendliest people around here. What many of you may not realize is he is also an author having posted both fiction and poetry. • You’ve written a number of poems but not on a regular basis. What moves you to write a poem? Do you have to be in a certain mood? Will we see more poetry from you? • • • Anyways, yeah, I wrote just a dozen of poems here and there. Honestly, poetry is not my main genre and I do not plan on doing it regularly. The prime recipe for poetry to me is some epiphany as a starter, plus some proper mood to get going, so I can put random thought fragments together. A few pieces are particularly taxing, emotionally speaking. It creates a weird contradiction, because feeling down gets my creative juice going, yet, I need energy to write. While other pieces of poem I wrote come happily in one stroke, without dragging my feet for a laborious chisel. The 99-Cent Love Poems ended with twelve pieces by design, six-hundred words exactly by accident. The title of the last poem is a wordplay. Last signifies ending, but lasting is a continuum. Pineapple is traditionally a symbol of hospitality. Sailors from Colonial time would bring back home a pineapple, signaling a safe return from an arduous journey. Thus, I am forever thankful that a few people read this journey of angst, lament and nostalgia, though love and hope are constantly on stand by. I really enjoyed writing them. Now I just need a guy to love. LOL! • • • • • From the San Francisco Bay area, we jump across the country to the Tampa Bay area. Prolific author @BHopper2 celebrates his second anniversary as a GA member later this month; in that time, he’s shared 17 stories which have earned him wide popularity. • You are normally seen writing Sci Fi, yet your latest story’s set in the modern world with a regular (mostly) dad and son, is wildly successful. Will you go back to Sci Fi at some point? Have you learned anything from writing My Son you'd apply to your other work? • • • First off, I want to thank you for reading my work, and it's my hope that you find it enjoyable. Will I go back to SciFi? the simple answer is yes. SciFi is a passion of mine, ever since I was a kid watching re-runs, and recordings, of Lost in Space (the original), Star Trek, Star Wars, and Buck Rodgers. One of my favorite memories is of my Grandfather, before he passed away, doing a SciFi night with me. We watched a couple of old movies, Forbidden Planet and War of the Worlds, and ate Apple Pie and Ice Cream. Then in High School, I was introduced to SciFi Role-Playing Games, and have been hooked ever since. In High School and College, I was in creative writing classes, where most of my work revolved around one aspect of SciFi or another. So, again, one day I will return to SciFi, and finish what I started on a few projects. The story, My Son actually scares me on how popular, and successful it has been. To date, it's been my most successful story on GA, and the story is flowing like no other for me. I have to thank several people for its success though. @Mikiesboy and his husband @MichaelS36 first and foremost. Mike was the one that challenged me to go outside my comfort zone and write something different than what I normally do. I had some notes lying around, read them over, and wham My Son was born. tim has been helping with content editing on the story. Helping me reword passages to mark them more presentable. Last, but not least, @Kitt for being a technical editor on the project. She really gets in there and helps polish the drafts off. She's working on the first four chapters, post-publishing, but I thank her for doing the job. What I've learned with My Son, that I can carry back to SciFi is to focus on telling a character-driven story. All the dodas and gadgets are nice, with epic space battles with ships blowing up in stellar fashion, but they are all secondary to the Characters. Know the characters, give them their own agency, be in their mindset when you write their part of the scene, and take chances and see where it goes. • • • • • A member of the exclusive Signature Author club, @CassieQ has always impressed me with her thoughtful opinions. But her participation’s not restricted to GA conversations, her stories are thoughtful and well written. If you haven’t discovered them yet, I suggest you get your butt in gear and start reading. • What are your biggest motivators in life? Do these translate into the stories you write? • • • My main motivator in my life is writing. I have grown up responsibilities like everyone, but if I have any free time, I like to spend it writing, or thinking about writing or planning out my storyline. Aside from that, my family is a big motivation for me. I adore my sister and my Mom and I think that comes across in my writing a lot. Most of my characters have a kick ass sister or best friend figure. During my early writing days, my beta reader once pointed out how a lot of my characters have a relationship with their mother but don't have a strong father figure in their life (my father is alive and well, he just wasn't around a lot growing up). My Mom has finally clued in to the type of stuff I write and while she is not thrilled about it, she will ask how the writing is going and was very supportive of me going to my first writing conference this year. It was very cool of her. I hope that answered your question! • • • • • Since our previous three authors are all Americans, let's finish this month with an international flavor. In the process, another author will lose his Ask an Author virginity. If you’ve ever wanted to visit Australia but have not done so, I have a suggestion for satisfying your Aussie cravings: read a story or two by @quokka. The prolific author from Down Under charms us with his descriptions and Aussie dialogue. I’m not sure how his imagination can conjure up so many different stories when I have trouble concentrating on one. • How long have you been writing? How do you deal with writer's block? • • • Thank you for the question. I began writing as a teenager as a sort of hobby, but it was never a regular thing. It wasn't until I discovered Gay Authors, in January 2012, that I began to take up writing a lot more seriously, with action and drama, mainly about Australia, being my main themes. For writer's block, I will usually just leave the story and continue on another story or begin a new story, from ideas that develop from what I see or hear in everyday life. A lot of the Australian stories, I usually don't have to do very much research, as I have either lived or visited the places, especially in my home state of Western Australia. For the other stories that are not based on Australia, I like to do a fair amount of research before I commence a story, to get a basic outline, and on occasions I have to stop during writing, to do more research. For me, it is very much like the quote from Beatrix Potter that I have mentioned in my profile. "There is something delicious, about writing those first few words of a story. You can never quite tell, where they will take you." Beatrix Potter - 1866 to 1943. Regards Q • • • • • That’s it for this edition, my friends. Tune in next month for more insight into authors you love and those you have yet to discover. In the meantime, remember to send me any questions you may be dying to ask but may feel too shy to do in person. I promise to protect your identity.
  2. Carlos Hazday

    Ask an Author 2.0 #11

    My thanks to the two members who sent in multiple questions for a variety of authors following my last appeal. I’ve been pestering the authors since and I’ll be sharing their responses over the next couple of blog entries. This month we have a couple of returning ones and a couple of rookies. In alphabetical order… Gay Author’s Poetry Sensei, @AC Benus, returns with a short question and answer. • You’ve been posting lots of older work which is great. Will we see something ‘now’ from you? • • • I am working through and posting my old poems, but I also post new stuff all the time, like the Sonnets for Tony. Mojo is also rolling out, and that's entirely new • • • • • @lmoline is a sophisticated, intelligent woman with outstanding literary taste. How do I know this? Simple, she’s a fan of my stories and I look forward to seeing her react to each chapter I post in the CJ series. Fine, that was a plug, so sue me. What some of you may not know is she’s also a poet. I Started Thinking—her initial post a little over a year ago—is a moving exploration of how our life doesn’t always follow the path we thought it would. • You’ve written a few poems. They seem very personal. Does poetry help you deal with situations in your life? • • • To answer your question, yes when I write it is my form of therapy. It allows me to release all of my pent up emotions. I can say that each poem I have written or have posted has been personal to me in some way, whether it is from early experiences in my life to current situations. I do hope to post a few more soon and I appreciate the encouragement I have received. • • • • • Can an author produce both complex and simple writings? @Mikiesboy can. In prose and poetry. His work can be delightful in its flights of fancy; it can also be moving, rooted in personal experience. Based on my interactions with him, his writing reflects his personality: a serious individual who has a surprising child-like playfulness at times. • Your book about a couple dealing with disability suddenly introduced into their lives was highly successful. What inspired you to begin writing the sequel to "Changes"? Did you just feel the timing was right? • • • What inspired the character Don, who is a doer, an athlete, a marathoner, a sports writer, very alpha, a top, who, in an instant, has all he thought he was taken from him, came from a line in a story I read when I was around 13 or 14. I cannot remember the name of the book or the exact quote but it was something akin to, "And mountain goats fall too." That stuck with me. Mountain goats we think of as sure-footed, sturdy, yet even they can slip and fall. The book was about a man who wanted to kill himself after finding himself in a wheelchair because he couldn't bear to live that way. I always wondered about that. I wondered why some people cannot find what they need to continue to live in the face of huge change. Where do they find the strength to give up the only life they have? Also, what is it within us that keeps us fighting in the face of huge change or issues. Why not just give up? So, I wrote Changes. It's really Don and Louis' story, and all the others in their lives. Because when a family member has a life altering accident, it affects everyone. And so, with that bit of background, the answer to the question is twofold. Usually, when I write characters and finish a story, I am done with them, but that didn't happen in this case. These two still had more to offer to me as a storyteller. The second part of the answer is, it is droughtquake's fault. He said something to me about writing more about Don and Louis, and what he thought that might look like. I let his idea stew awhile. So after a couple of false starts, I am writing Changes Again. Thanks for the question. • • • • • The final author highlighted this month is also the newest addition to the GA stable in this group. @Superpride posted for the first time a few months ago; his six stories—five of them still in process—have supernatural and romance themes. If those topics appeal to you, make sure to check out his work. • You seem to have a fascination for more other-worldly type stories. Where does this come from? • • • First, I want to say that I'm very grateful that you're asking me this question since I love interacting with people who are interested in my stories. With that said, I think my fascination for more other-worldly type stories comes from my other fascination with mythologies and folklores from different cultures, especially from the Philippines where my parents have come from and is a major influence to a couple of my stories published on this site. There is so much that we can learn about these stories, and that is one reason why I write my type of stories, to share my own fascination with these old stories by adding my own twist to them. This includes Filipino mythology that has fairies called diwata who can change ginger into gold and vampire-like creatures called the aswang who can separate their bodies into two, independent segments while they hunt during the night. I think another reason why I write these types of stories is because I love exploring certain concepts like people having superhuman abilities to defend humanity from an other-worldly threat and use them as analogies for today's real-world problems. In today's world that is very divided in many aspects, I want to tell stories that can be used to help us to better understand these issues while entertaining us as well by using these futuristic and fantastical themes that is my form of escapism. There is something about telling stories about superheroes, fairies and mermaids and having them relate to the past, present and even future that is very fascinating to me as well. I hope this answers your question, and I'm looking forward to interacting with anybody else in the future. • • • • • That’s it for this edition, my friends. Tune in next month for more insight into authors you love and those you have yet to discover. In the meantime, remember to send me any questions you may be dying to ask but may feel too shy to do in person. I promise to protect your identity.
  3. Carlos Hazday

    Ask an Author 2.0 #10

    Here we go again, folks. Another installment of your questions being answered by GA authors. Have you sent me a question to pass along already? No? Why? I never reveal who send in the questions so you need not be embarrassed of anything you may want to ask. Hell, once I send the question to the author, I delete the message so I don’t even know who asks most of them in. I’m old and my memory’s deficient. • • • With twenty-eight stories and over 800,000 words posted in a little over two years, @Geron Kees could be the poster-child for prolific authors. His varied output has garnered a multitude of fans and this month lands him on Ask an Author with a question form one of his many followers. • I enjoy your writing very much and I appreciate that your stories span different categories including sci-fi. ROYGBIV, The Road of Dreams, and The Frost Covered Marker are a few of my favorites. Your stories though are all young adult/teen. What is it that appeals you to that genre? What is the most difficult thing about writing from the teenaged perspective? And just because we can’t be serious all the time: what is the most embarrassing thing that you’ve ever worn? • • Hmm. Very nice to hear that you have enjoyed the stories. I began my 'gay' life quite young. I grew to age nine in a suburb of Amsterdam, Netherlands, where the 'gay revolution' had already come to pass. Gay teens were open about their lifestyles, and as a youngster I was quite curious about it all. I and my best friend knew an older teen in the next block who was 16 and gay, and we started to pester him about what exactly it was that 'gay' guys did together. He finally got annoyed enough with our persistence to tell us. My friend and I were quite amazed, and curious, and...just not all that timid, I guess. I came to the US when I was nine, and was simply amazed at the backward state of sexual affairs here. Amazed and horrified, actually. But I soon learned that there was still gay life around, it was just all undercover. I found myself a boyfriend by the time I was 13, and never really looked back. I started writing on a dare. I was recounting some of the adventures of my youth to friends here, and one said I should "write that stuff down." I did, and submitted the results to Nifty, the only site I was aware of at that time. The response really astonished me. I just couldn't get over the fact that people would like to read about this! But, again, I never looked back. I soon found other sites to post on, and here we are. I have written some adult gay fiction, but I have not published it. Not yet anyway. The night is still young, as they say. I am more than a little saddened by the amount of misery prevalent in so many stories of gay youth. Growing up gay in America was tough for a lot of people. Through luck or circumstance, my life has not been laden with such misfortune. My teens were actually quite wonderful for me, and I enjoy sharing that sense with others , that being a gay young person need not always be so challenging. Sometimes, it's pretty darn nice! I really don't find it terribly challenging to write about teens. They're people, like anybody else. I was one, you were one. It's just about remembering what that was like. As I said, for me it was a very nice time of life. The adult world is more complex, and more challenging, I think. I do write those types of stories when the urge strikes me, but it simply is not as much fun, and I mostly write for fun. But...you never know. As for the most embarrassing thing I have ever worn? Well, you have to understand first that European values are different from American ones. When I first came to the US, I wore some clothing that was perfectly fine at 'home;' but which didn't go over as well here. Not quite enough of it, as it turned out. Very short shorts, for one thing. But I learned, and changed. But I have never been bashful about myself, so I don't become embarrassed easily. I guess the most embarrassing thing I ever wore in retrospect was in sixth grade, when a few friends and I appeared in front of the entire school dressed in nothing but loincloths and feathers and performed some Native American dances we had learned. Not a Native American among us, either, but the dances went over big, and girls followed us around for weeks afterwards. And, um, a few guys, too. Thanks for your interest. • • • @Defiance19 took many of us by surprise when she shared her first story on GA. It was so well written, technically and thematically, some of us felt she had been holding out on us. Subsequent offerings have not disappointed. On a personal note, Def has followed my series from the beginning, leaves me wonderful comments, and has more than once served as a sounding board for when my characters are in New York. I had the pleasure of meeting her earlier this year (she helped me celebrate my 60th) and I can tell you she’s even lovelier in person than in cyberspace. • You've written several short pieces, which are really very good. Do you see a longer project in the future? • • First off, whaat? So surprised, but I’m grateful to be included by whomever submitted this question. Thank you! I write the short stories mostly because it allows me to focus on a theme, and there’s a due by date. I do have ideas, and have things written toward a longer serial story goal. But also, other than second guessing myself I need to have a better writing discipline. Hopefully soon, I will have something completed. This is great motivation. Thank you again, for your question. • • • Having written about a dozen stories based in Washington, D.C. you would think I would have asked @oat327 for help at some point. However, I didn’t discover he was a resident of the District until recently. Had I known before, I could have asked him to hit Uproar on a Thursday night and meet with the Scandals Rugby Football Club after their practice to provide me with background info. Nah, who am I kidding? I’m glad I did it myself but I’ll definitely invite him to join me next time I’m in the city. • The Best Four Years of Adam Becker sees Adam trying to come to terms with his sexuality, and finding out who he is and how he fits, all while attending college. What are some of the things that get edited out of the story? Was your college experience anything like Becker’s? • • Honestly, my college experience was very similar; Tulane was a trip. I actually started this piece as a kind of way to kind of memorialize my college years, and much of the first few chapters especially are pulled directly from real life. The racially-tinged car accident en route from Ben and Jerry’s, Erik’s crazy roommate that they try to integrate into the group, weekends starting on Tuesdays at Bruno’s or The Boot, the ludicrous fraternity politics—all actually happened. Basically, I like to think of this as being a true story in the details; the main plot is generally fictional (I didn’t have a Kevin until after college, sadly) but everything else is generally being pretty accurate. Everything still follows the general arc of my college years. What gets edited out... considering this story is already about 150,000 words long, probably not nearly enough. In retrospect, I wish my editing had been a little tighter at the beginning; I think there are a lot of things in the early chapters that were fun memories for me but aren’t all that relevant to the plot. Once Becker met Kevin, I got a bit better with keeping focus. Most of what we lose is Becker's relationship with his friends. (Which is sad, because Tripp is my favorite character and I always feel guilty for neglecting him.) College is so much dicking around in other people’s dorms and doing absolutely nothing--that's how Becker probably spends 90% of his time and we definitely miss that. • • • I’ll close this month with @JohnAR. The Germany-based author created a universe full of all sort of critters defying the usual vampire/werewolf tropes found in most stories. He struck a chord with readers and his weekly posts were eagerly anticipated by his fans. • I was curious as to why he chose a shifter story to write, and how he came to write such a different shifter story. • • Some years ago I was stationed in a far-away country with little attraction of the male kind, so I read lots of ‘enticing’ books. And like in overall popular culture, the werewolf/vampire theme was ubiquitous. Unfortunately, most of the stories were so formulaic I got bored quickly: A big, young, hairy, dark Alpha wolf finds ‘his and only his’ gentle, blond, smooth, submissive Omega pup, takes him as his own rather forcefully as he cannot live without him (her?) anymore, and f***ks him (her?) raw happily ever after. I discovered that most of these male Alpha wolf/kind-of-male Omega wolf stories were written by women and for women (I think Colt explains that better in book MetaOrigins). The only exception are the ‘Tameness of the Wolf’ books, though those have too much sex (if that is possible). However, when I found that a gay author used exactly the same set-up I decided that I had enough and started to write a story that would break with all of those for me dreadful cliché characters. Hence, I created an Alpha that isn’t dark-haired and doesn’t get to do the f***ing, an enforcer that likes all sweet things but trips on pain, and a Beta that loves playing women for his pack’s advantage, but is the ultimate power bottom. This is crowned by the contrarian hero nerd who in no other book would ever get to do the unspeakable things he does to his pack wolves in Meta – after all he has to take one for the team, doesn’t he? Once those characters were set, my mean imagination did most of the rest; occasionally conflagrated by the cute expectations of my readers which I enjoyed to crush with OCD precision. • • • That’s it for this month, my friends. If you wish to ensure this feature remains alive, don’t forget to send me a question for any GA author. I have one more month in inventory but after that…
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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!
  9. Good... Afternoon XD For my third entry into my blog, I'm sending you back to the first. My own version of throwback Thursday. It's March 1st, 2018. It's a day that will live... well, I'm not really sure. 20 years from now this may be a momentous day in the history of that famous internet author... ... ... ... ...VampireMystic. XD (You were expecting @Comicality maybe? Admit it, it's fine. Hehehe. I'm (one of) the speck(s) of slightly deeper darkness in his shadow) Why, you ask? Why, you wonder, will this day be worthy of note? Turn up the volume to 38, because Imagine Magazine's March issue is out now. Some might be thinking, "So what? I read your story in the preview." To them I say: *cough* Plot twist *cough* When he heard that I was sitting on 26,863 words (and counting) of story for his magazine, he (naturally) had some questions. And we've decided you get to read the answers! Head on over, pickup a copy, and you'll see Comicality shine a spotlight on me. Specifically, on the writing process for my story, 2-14-9X, from the world of Predators. Want more to sink your teeth into? Give me a follow, I have a lot in store this year. (Feeling a little confused? Check out my first blog entry)
  10. 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.
  11. 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?
  12. Renee Stevens

    Ask An Author 2.0 - #2

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

    Ask an Author 2.0 - #1

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

    Author Interview: Valkyrie

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

    Ask An Author #50

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

    Ask An Author #45

    I can't believe it's already time for our December Ask An Author feature! This year just seems to have flown by and now it's almost over. The next Ask An Author will be the start of a new year! If you have a question that you'd like to ask a specific author, but don't want to do the actual asking, then send your question to Dark! I hope you enjoy this edition of Ask An Author, and a big THANK YOU to Dark for continuing to provide these. Ask an Author #45 Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors! In AtA #44, the blog was all about Dayne Mora. Today, we go back to our regular programming. In AtA #45 we hear from authors albertnothlit, Nephylim, Riley Jericho, and skinnydragon. Today’s first author is no stranger to this blog. Promoted to Promising Author status back in May 2016, Albert has had a busy year filled with stories, moving, and winning a silver medal in 2016’s FAPA President's awards (you may have seen that announcement back in August). Not one but two books were picked up and published by DSP Pulications, an off-shoot of Dreamspinner Press. Check out his website for more info. He’s also publishing a new story here on GA called Life Seed with 36 chapters between January and September. Like much of his other work, Life Seed is sci-fi. Albert writes powerful and intriguing characters in some utterly bizarre and yet fascinating settings. I’m dying – dying! – waiting to find out what new twist is coming up next, but sometimes life gives you a kick in the pants and it takes awhile to recover. Send some warm wishes his way and let’s hope we see Albert back again in the new year. To albertnothlit: Do you prefer to publish chapter by chapter and see where the story flows in response to readers, or do you complete most or all of a story before posting? In an ideal world, I usually prefer to have the entire story written out, edited, and proofread, before I publish it. That was the case with the very first stories I published here on GA, and it allowed me time to really look at reader feedback and figure out which things needed attention and which things I had done correctly, having the entire big picture of the completed story. Alas, nowadays I no longer work like that because life has gotten in the way. Since I don't have as much time anymore, what I will do is capture the essence of a story by writing a few chapters on my own before posting for the first time. Then, I will write the story chapter by chapter, as fast as time and my job will allow, while simultaneously working with editors or beta readers to polish chapters before they see the light of day. I would say both approaches have their strengths and weaknesses. Writing week by week is a great way for new ideas to flourish, and take the story in unexpected directions. I have found that by writing in this way, creativity is maximized because you have so much more time to think about the story, even if it's just on the back of your mind while you're doing other things. I will very often be surprised with the direction the story has taken after having been constantly writing it for more than, say, three months, which is entirely different from simply sitting down and finishing an entire novella or short story in one week. I enjoy both ways of working, but nowadays I write in little batches, read feedback, and carry on! Another oldtimer (to this blog and to GA) is vampire, fallen angel, and Author Nephylim. At one time, Nephy was a Promising Author and then Signature Author (back then we called them “Hosted” Authors). Like myself and Andy, real life has taken Nephy away from GA more than she might wish. With GA since 2009, Nephy has posted some 50 different stories and poems. She has been an inspiration to many, including myself, and it’s been said by many that she’s as nice in person as she is to chat with online. There were a few meet-ups for those GA authors living or willing to travel in Europe, and Nephylim was one of them, traveling at least twice from her home in Wales. She may not be as active on the site anymore, but we still get her stories! She finished posting her latest, My Brother Daniel, just this past summer, and that was quite the ordeal, from the sound of it. Like many of her stories, Daniel, Sara, and Rayn help us readers learn and deal with some tough topics that are not for everyone, but this classy lady makes all the drama and heart-ache worthwhile. To Nephylim: I know you deal a lot with issues of gender fluidity. Does this stem from your background in anyway? And do you think by having more stories involving people who don't fit the same mold that others are used to seeing, that perhaps they'll gain greater acceptance in the so-called normal world? I'm absolutely on a crusade to make sure every single young person can find a character to relate to. There are more out there than I thought mostly, I have to say, in young adult/new adult books. My next goal is to get them out of the LGBT niche and into the mainstream. I'm only one person but I think people are beginning to get the message because I've been banging on about it for a long time. I very much hope there are others out there doing the same thing. My characters are always out of the ordinary in one way or another. Recently I've been writing a lot about mental health issues which is in the realm of personal experience, and I suspect I will continue to have elements of that in my work. I like to worked with flawed characters, to show that not only perfect people deserve their own story and their Happy Ever After. As for gender fluidity - all I will say is that I have experience of elements of that in my own life. I've never met anyone quite as fluid as Ari, for example, but most of the trans/gender fluid people I know are pretty comfortable in their own skins and therefore easy to be around and to talk to We were just talking about this guy, not too long ago: Riley Jericho, author of An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA, the longest single story on GA. Although the story is now complete, interest is still strong, as you’ve seen with all the questions for the author. Now we can only wonder what Riley will write for us next! To Riley Jericho: Regarding An English Teen Circumcised in the U.S.A.: Circumcision, especially of teen boys, is an usual topic. Why did you choose it as the focus of your story? Lol! Well there certainly hasn't been much competition for the theme, that's for sure! There's a lot of cultural perspectives that play into circumcision as well, and, let's face it, not everyone is comfortable with the theme. Concluding things today is everyone’s favorite classical music-loving reptile, Author skinnydragon. This cool Canadian concluded his young adult story Toph’s Empty Year in November and has now gifted us with The Valedictorian. This new story is also young adult, with two teens in love dealing with life apart at different colleges. It’s a dilemma which plagues many high school seniors and college kids, so there’s a great opportunity here to ponder the “what ifs” that Skinny is bringing out in his story. And, in case you missed it, this story is something of a sequel to 18 Weeks of Twoey. So, if you were in love with those characters, then this story should charm you as well. To skinnydragon: You seem really good at describing your characters as being at the center of a network of friends and relationships. Do you conceive of these webs first, or do they grow organically as you write your story? In Twoey, David’s gang and the relationships among its members were pretty much worked out first, as the axis around which the story could build. Other webs, such as Matty’s little nebula of boys, grew organically. On the other hand, in Toph, the friends Nico and Austin, were originals. I thought more would develop from them, but it didn’t happen, even though their ghosts sort of followed Toph to New Glory. All the friends and relationships in New Glory grew as the story did - except for Gary. That’s it for now! For more info on these authors, go check out their stories, post in their forums, and/or catch them in chat! I’ll see you next time, with authors Comicality, Mann Ramblings, mikiesboy, and Parker Owens! I’m always in the market for new questions! Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark
  17. Renee Stevens

    Ask An Author #48

    Ask an Author #48 Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors! In AtA #47, we heard from authors Riley Jericho, SkinnyDragon, Craftingmom, and Roberto Zuniga. Today in AtA #48 we hear from authors JackBinimbul, Mikiesboy, Palantir, and WolfM. Please welcome Texan and Author JackBinimbbul to the blog. Jack has been with GA for almost a year but has dabbled in writing for a long time. He’s the author of the popular crime/romance story Painted Blue, just what the BDSM genre needs after the horror that is “Fifty Shades....” Jack’s family has a history of service in law enforcement, and you know what they say: “write what you know!” Painted Blue is about a detective who begins to understand and allow himself to enjoy aspects of himself that our society often labels taboo. Law enforcement and BDSM are two genres commonly ridiculed or demonized, so it’s awesome to have a story that’s so real. Despite the play on the Dorian Gray name, the characters are wonderfully down-to-earth and the information about what happens in a real “scene” is a can’t miss, even if you’re not normally a fan of the genre. To JackBinimbul: How have you planned out the crime/mystery part of Painted Blue? What challenges have you run into attempting to weave the mystery aspect of Painted Blue into Dorian and Felix's story? Well, I won't be giving any spoilers! That said, it's been relatively difficult to weave everything on the crime/mystery level so that it's not readily apparent, but in hindsight, the reader will be able to see all the threads as they converge. It will be a fairly large reveal, but I want it to still be believable. It has been a bit of a challenge working everything in with the relationship between Dorian and Felix. I didn't want either elements of the story to completely overshadow the other, but I also want them to feel interconnected and to play off of each other organically. It has been tempting to just focus on the crime aspect, or the developing relationship and I've really had to be disciplined about giving them equal consideration. Author Mikiesboy joins us once more. For those of you not familiar with this guy, Timmy is from Ontario, Canada and has published about 20 different items in his year and a half here on GA. An avid participant in the weekly prompts, Timmy also writes some amazing poetry. In January, Timmy gifted us with Miss Silver Pretty-Pink-Toes, a fairy tale story with some breathtaking imagery. While I am not the only one wanting more from this author, unfortunately life has a way of throwing curve balls. We might be seeing less of Timmy in the future as he puts things in perspective and focuses on what is truly important to him. Still, he’s given us some rich memories which will be treasured. To Mikiesboy: Do you have any future projects planned? I don't plan to write poetry, not like you'd plan to write fiction, poems just sort of come to me. They are a way for me to deal with issues, good or bad, that happen in my life. However I do work on AC Benus' Poetry Prompts, which are a great opportunity to learn. For these I have to plan to write them. It's a challenge and I think making yourself try new things, step out of your comfort zone, follow the restrictions of the form, makes you more creative and a better writer. Future projects, yes, I am currently working on a new fictional piece, a kind of dystopian story. I also have something almost ready for the Pre-2016 Anthology Themes. It's something completely different for me. I'll probably continue to write a weekly prompt now and again and definitely will do any of AC Benus' O'Henry Prompts when he puts out another one. You might remember member and writer Palantir by his former name Iarwain. With GA since 2009, Palantir has had an amazingly varied life. He calls Melbourne, Australia home now but he has travelled extensively over the years and can tell you quite a bit about a number of different places. I’ll bet all those stories made him a wonderful teacher, too. He now has a website dedicated to his stories about what he’s calling the Terran Diaspora, which you can also read here. For those of you who are not sci-fi fans, this generally refers to Terrans (us, Earthlings) leaving Earth and settling on other planets. Closer to home, you might remember The Ocean Walk, one of Palantir’s first stories. Two guys off hiking along the beach keep meeting up as small catastrophes keep trying to ruin their adventures. If you like nature, this is one for you. To Palantir: What inspires you to write? How is it that you put an idea together for a story? The inspiration to actually write? = a sense of achievement - hopefully a kind of legacy - the wonderful gift when readers express their enjoyment - the act of creation Inspiration is a very tricky beast and I never know where it's going to come from. All my major stories have started with a germ of an idea and then fleshed out with the characters somehow running away with their own ideas and actions. When I've committed to a story it's with me everywhere. Sometimes I realise I've walked through the bush or along a beach and seen nothing because my mind has been trying out ideas and approaches for the next section of the story. Last but not least today is author WolfM. We’ve seen a lot from this author in the past few months, as he’s the creative force behind Running with the Pack. With more than 350 reviews on this story alone, can you believe WolfM was once told he has no talent? Running is an epic tale pushing 250-thousand words and 50 chapters as of January 2017 and WolfM should feel pride in such an accomplishment. He’s enjoying some time off writing right now, but let’s hope he brings us some more of Ethan and Aiden soon! To WolfM: Do you plan on having expanding the world of Running with the Pack with future stories or creatures? As I've been writing Running with the Pack I have given thought at times to a possible follow up story. At this point I have absolutely no idea what form it would take, what characters would be included or even if new species of shifters would make an appearance. Unfortunately the best answer I can give to any of the readers who have encouraged me with their support to keep working on RWTP is that my current focus is on completing this project and taking a little break from writing so I can catch up on many of the stories I very much want to read. I will say that after spending so many years with these characters and having them in a sense before friends and family to me, I might not be able to let them go completely once I do reach the final chapter. That’s it for now! For more info on these authors, go check out their stories, post in their forums, and/or catch them in chat! I’ll see you next time, with authors AC Benus, HindertoyBL, Milos, and Parker Owens! I’m always in the market for new questions! Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark
  18. Renee Stevens

    Ask An Author #47

    I can't believe it's already March. Not only that, but it's the first Wednesday of the month, which can only mean one thing. It's time for another Ask An Author feature provided to us by Dark. If you have questions you want to ask your favorite authors, but don't want to ask the questions yourself, you can always send your questions to Dark for inclusion in the Ask An Author feature. Ask an Author #47 Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors! In AtA #46, we heard from authors Comicality, Mann Ramblings, Mikiesboy, and Parker Owens. Today in AtA #47 we hear again from authors Riley Jericho and SkinnyDragon, plus Craftingmom, and Roberto Zuniga. It’s been quite a while since we’ve had the pleasure of quizzing lady craftingmom (way back in AtA #34, fall of 2015). She had just finished Lie of the Serpent, a story revolving around protagonist Bryan finding his missing fiance. I, like many others, found myself fighting tears several times. Craftingmom does love a good tear-jerker! Since then, she’s been promoted to Promising Author and gifted us with more than half a dozen more stories. Currently she’s working on a sequel to “Guarding the Line” called Finding the Line[/url. While I haven’t read it (you know I’m not a big fan of teen romance), the reviews are intriguing. I think everyone has had that one crush you just wish you’d said something to, but what would have happened if you’d actually gathered the courage to do so? If you have read the original, this is the same story but from the opposite point of view, and it’s just beginning! you can flip back and forth between them or read all of Brady’s story first. But buyer beware! Craftingmom writes character-driven stories. You’ll certainly feel the drama as if you were the protagonist yourself. You can also catch her at her other sites; she’s really branched out over the past few years. Look for her pen name Taylor Ryan, if you want her M/M stuff. To Craftingmom: What sort of things do you do after dealing with the darkest parts of your stories? That's a tough question. I'm not really sure I do anything specific afterwards. I do go through a bunch of tissues while writing them. I think since I tend to do most of my writing between midnight and 4am, the fact that I get to crawl in bed with my husband and cuddle up with him helps too. Before bed, my girls also crawl into my bed and beg me to read to them. Mind you, they are 13 and 15, so the fact that my 'teens' still want to be with me and have me read to them is very comforting. One other thing my husband and I usually do is, when we are eating out, if any first responders come in to eat, we'll pay for their meals. (When 12 walked in at once, that was a little more overwhelming!) It's not something I do specifically because of the dark subject matter I write, but I do think about how these people help the kinds of souls that I write about, and it's a small way of thanking them for their service. Back with us again is Author Riley Jericho, most well-known due to his epic saga An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA. Riley flirted with us for four years before finally completing his saga last fall (Sept 2016). He writes to us from all the way over there in Manchester, UK. Although a quiet, private person, Riley is quite friendly, do don’t hesitate to swing by his profile and say, wish him a belated birthday (Jan), or poke him about writing us something new, not that I’m one to talk. Still, who knows what random comment or thought will lead to the next big story? To Riley Jericho: How do you feel about your stories being so popular and well received here on GA? I'm a Brit. It's genetically impossible for us to accept compliments, so that's a tough question! The truth is, I value every chapter read, and drink in each review, answering them methodically. I love hearing what people think and it also feeds me with many new ideas. Some of my least-proud moments here on GA have been the times I've disappointed readers. I think you know what I mean, and even though my reasons and situation were very real when I disappeared for a long while, I'm also very sorry for doing that—and thanks to all who sent hugs and kept looking out for me. So in answer to your question, it astounds me that most of my readers still stuck around! And yes, I'm extremely grateful my stories are well received. That said, I've learned the lesson that you have to write because you want to. Sometimes there will be lean times when it comes to how well readers respond. It's only when the story is important to you, do you keep writing. Author Roberto Zuniga is the better half of Albertonothlit, who you might remember appearing in this blog once or twice. In addition to writing, Roberto is an amazing artist and has created book cover art for his husband. Mexico certainly has its challenges when you’re gay, but these two almost make it seem like a fairy tale. An interesting tidbit for those Star Wars fans out there: Roberto’s birthday is Star Wars Day! (May the 4th) Now you’ll always remember. According to his friends, this is one sweet man, and he can also write a mean story. Roberto has several stories that are in progress, but I think the hidden gem in his collection is Bred for War. In this story, there are two countries at war. They’ve been at war so long that their entire economy has slowly become only about the war. What will happen when two soldier-boys from opposite sides meet? They’ve been raised from birth to believe their enemy is “evil.” It’s a devilish conundrum for the main characters and the world Roberto has created makes my inner sci-fi geek purr. To Roberto Zuniga: First, congrats on your husband being promoted to Promising Author! So, when it comes to writing, have you two collaborated on projects or bounced ideas off each other? Not really. Carlos is very secretive when it comes to his writing, I think it's basically a matter of wanting everything to be perfect before he shares it with anyone, including me. I have been lucky enough to get to read many of his works before everyone else (LOL) and I've also encouraged him to carry on and publish. Take Earthshatter for instance -his new novel published by DSP-, I loved him so much I wouldn't stop bothering until he accepted to publish it LOL. Something I do have to say is I love his finished products and drawing for those projects. Regarding my writing, pfffff! I'm so messy! Ideas can flow through my mind sometimes, scenarios, particular characters. Sometimes I share some of my ideas or tell him I feel conflicted about this or that character, but he usually advises to work it the way I feel I should. We do read each other's work and encourage each other to keep on writing, since we both enjoy it so much. Author skinnydragon comes back to finish up our blog for the day. Skinny is the author behind https://www.gayauthors.org/story/skinnydragon/18weeksoftwoey]18 Weeks of Twoey and has recently begun a sequel that is generating a lot of attention. Unfortunately, Skinny received bad news at the end of 2016. Send him some love and well-wishes. I feel blessed to have been able to be on the periphery of his life the last couple years. I hope that he is able to maintain the strength of body and mind long enough to see his bucket-list completed. Headstall I think said it best: “I just want you to know, though we've never met in person, you have impacted me from the first interaction. You are one of the bright lights in my life, skinny … I wish I could hug you for real... I really do.” To skinnydragon: What motivates you to write? For example, do you hope to publish or is it simply a creative or artistic outlet? That’s a good question. It is an artistic outlet, in a way. I certainly never intend to publish - ever. I am not a writer, which should be pretty plain to any reader. I’m an artist. I was challenged by a mentor/writer, when younger, to write a back story for a few things I painted. In doing so, I discovered it helped improve everything I subsequently drew. Now I do it all the time and they have become the germs for a few story ideas. Some stories may even get written and make the journey from my laptop to GA. That’s it for now! For more info on these authors, go check out their stories, post in their forums, and/or catch them in chat! I’ll see you next time, with authors JackBinimbul, mikiesboy, palantir, and WolfM! I’m always in the market for new questions! Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark
  19. Renee Stevens

    Ask An Author #46

    It's time for the first Ask An Author of 2017! Typically this would have been posted in January, but there were a few hiccups, so you're getting it now. Better late than never! If you have a question that you'd like to ask a specific author, but don't want to do the actual asking, then send your question to Dark! I hope you enjoy this edition of Ask An Author, and a big THANK YOU to Dark for continuing to provide these. Ask an Author #46 Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors! In AtA #45, we heard from authors albertnothlit, Nephylim, Riley Jericho, and skinnydragon. Today in AtA #46 we hear from authors Comicality, Mann Ramblings, Mikiesboy, and Parker Owens. Signature Author and founding member Comicality start us off once again in today’s blog. Comsie has an enviable success, continuing to churn out story after story without fail. He’s more reliable than many cell phones. We’re at over a hundred stories right now, go ahead and ask him what his secret is. Better yet, stop by his forum. Comsie can often be found refusing to give spoilers and discussing plot arcs. His most recent story is Release Me, a story with only 600-ish reviews, quite low by Comsie standards. Perhaps it’s the holiday season or perhaps the zombies, or maybe the teenagers are throwing folks off. You’ll never know unless you give it a try! You know Comsie won’t let you down. To Comicality: Are you planning to offer Cody (#NKIS) a spinoff, a story of his own? Actually, there have been some requests to get a peek into Cody and Sean's relationship from interested readers, as well as the relationship with his sister, Ronnie, and his foster parents who took them in. However, there aren't any big plans for Cody to have a solo series just yet. That's not to say 'never', but I don't have any plans for it so far. Mostly because I'm enjoying having a little bit of mystery to Cody's character right now. As long as everybody gets to see him from an outsider's point of view, I get to reveal little bits and pieces of Cody's personality and his past as he becomes more comfortable, and (dare I say it) a bit more vulnerable about offering it up. I think it makes for good storytelling. But, like I said, I never say never. And folks are definitely interested in seeing a Cody story. So who knows? It might just pop up somewhere out of nowhere. Maybe my muse will put me in a chokehold and tell me to do it some time in the future. Hehehe! Another Signature Author in today’s blog is Mann Ramblings. At 12 stories and half a million words since 2012, Mann has definitely overcome his nerves about posting his thoughts online for everyone to see. Recently, Mann has become a published author and you can check out more of his work on Amazon. He also has something of a wacky sense of humor, for those of you new to his style. His most recent story on GA is the second half of Innocence and Carnality. This is the continuing story of Nathan and Rother, a somewhat historical, somewhat sci-fi tale with that guy we’ve all learned to dislike as more and more of his character has been revealed. What’s next for these two? Before you venture into this one, you’ll definitely want to read Part One first. To Mann Ramblings: What has been your most difficult character or story to write and why? And also, will we see a sequel to So Little Magic? I think Kenrick from So Little Magic Left was one of the hardest because of his complexity. I had to hide his true nature, show his gentile qualities while allowing his sadistic side to surface, and make his obsession with Shawn almost romantic at times even though we know how bad the whole situation could be. On top of all that, I needed him to sound real enough for people to hate and not turn into some caricature or cartoon. He received a nomination for best villain that year, so I feel like I managed it fairly well. One of the things I loved about SLML, (after all the work and frustration when I couldn't touch it for months at a time) was that it felt complete when I typed "The End" and hadn't planned on extending the story. I say that, but I can't say the possibility of a sequel is zero. You never know when inspiration strikes. I still have a lot of love in me for this story. Canadian author Mikiesboy joins us in today’s blog. Although he calls himself a poet, Timmy has several items written in prose now. Much of his work (prose and poetry) is gritty and achingly close to real life, but they’re also wonderful and full of characters you can’t help but love. Take The Pledge, for example. It’s an intriguing twist on the standard vampire-master & servant story. There are so many ways to interpret this story and the dissenting opinions are just as interesting to me as the story itself. You may be familiar with After the Past, a story about how one thing can change a person’s whole life forever. For me it was a real tear-jerker but there’s no denying that Timmy can write a character that sticks with you long after the last word is read. To Mikiesboy: Since you have expressed yourself in both poetry and fiction, have you ever considered or would you ever consider writing a story focused around a poet? Are there any connecting factors between your poetry and your fiction? Ummm, never thought about writing about a story focused around a poet. Interesting idea. I'll mull that over. Are there connecting factors between my poetry and fiction? I'd have to say no, not really. My non-fiction yes, somewhat. Poetry is my way of sorting out my feelings and my world. I suppose I might apply some of that to my fictional characters but it's nothing I plan for. Author Parker Owens makes his blog debut today as we finish things up. Besides posting his stories and poetry, Parker is also posts pictures of his beautiful garden from this past summer. Most people know Parker from his story A to Z. It’s certainly a dark tale; it gets darker and darker and every time you think things couldn’t possibly get worse, something even more awful happens. But eventually rock-bottom is reached and things start to look up for our main character. It’s fascinating to see how Andy views the world and finds his own way to happiness. Most recently there’s Predator Prey, a story that I think is even darker than A to Z. At this point in the story, it’s hard to see where things are going but Parker keeps a lively discussion going in the forums. I’m still hoping for a happily ever after, but I’m also the kind of person who can’t help but root for the anti-hero. I’m looking forward to seeing what else Parker has in store for us. To Parker Owens: One of the things I pick up on when reading your stories and poems, is your love for math and science. What got you interested in these subjects in the first place? It's funny to get this question because I came to love math and science much later in life than many do. I was not a particularly good math or science student in grade school or high school. College and university changed that; I had one extraordinarily gifted math professor in a calculus course I had to take as a required general education credit. He showed those of us in the 8:00 AM class that mathematics was both interesting and comprehensible to mere mortals like ourselves. He gave me the confidence to try for a math teaching job. My transformation into a math nerd soon followed. I find that simple, genuine encouragement is often the spark that ignites the fires of creativity and intelligence. This is one reason I find GA to be such a wonderful community, as I have found the same degree of welcome and encouragement to exist here. Because it’s the perfect tie-in for today’s blog, I have a bonus for you: another question for Parker! You have graced us with some wonderful stories. But in a few, there have been brutally long and brutally describe periods before the protagonist is saved or redeemed. 'AtoZ' and 'Predator' immediately come to mind. My question is, how does such depth of depravity even get into your thinking? Writing for Predator Prey, and especially for the predator character, was a real struggle. I spent a lot of time trying to write in the point of view for such an unappealing individual, that I tied myself in knots several times. The result was shorter, more condensed chapters. I could not face extended contact with him or his business. Afterwards, I would want to write something gentler and brighter. But the question of whether such a character can experience change kept drawing me back. Can he be redeemed or find a new and better direction? That's a critical question to me. The search for that answer kept me going on with the draft, rather than discarding it. That’s it for now! For more info on these authors, go check out their stories, post in their forums, and/or catch them in chat! I’ll see you next time, with authors Craftingmom and Roberto Zuniga joining Riley Jericho and SkinnyDragon! I’m always in the market for new questions! Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark
  20. Renee Stevens

    Ask An Author #44

    Who's ready for this month's popular feature, Ask An Author. This month is all about Dayne Mora. A quick reminder: Dark can only continue this feature providing they have the content. Dark is running out of questions, and that's where you come in. Don't forget to send questions for your favorite author so that we can keep this feature going!!!! Ask an Author #44 Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors! In AtA #43, we had questions for authors Mann Ramblings, Mikiesboy, Riley Jericho, and Wolfm. Before we begin, let me take a moment to say that for the first time in a really long while, I’m running low on questions to ask our dear authors. Got one? Send it my way! Now, it’s that time of year again! Some time ago I decided that to keep this blog series interesting, I’d do a special edition every once in a while. This is a blog number divisible by 11! In the past, other special editions have had extra authors and different question styles … This time, I decided to feature only one author: Dayne Mora. Dayne is an interesting person in a lot of ways, but was chosen this time around because she just lacks that certain something, that gene that allows us to know when to, well, to shut up. Dayne, you know I adore you, but we have this … thing, between us that we (and by “we” I mean “you”) can’t seem to stop. The rambling, rambling, rambling. Dayne says: “Yeah.......I can get a bit chatty. Teacher thing, I guess. But, captive audience AND I get to talk no stop? Bring it on!” Sure, you’re popular. You’re “unstoppable” in fact, even though you only have something like 200 people hanging on your every word and 30,000 people stopping in to read every time you post something, as if they like your writing or something. But can we, like, just … stop? So much writing! There aren’t enough hours in the day to edit it all. And it was question, question, question, everyone wanting to ask the amazing Dayne Mora a question! What’s a person to do? Besides roasting her a little, I decided to publish all my Dayne questions all in one go. For the few of you who don’t know who this “Dayne” person is, you might have seen her in chat, since she’s a moderator, there to smack you if you get out of line. Though only a member for not-quite a year, Dayne’s been writing for awhile. She’s also a Texan. Anyway, Dayne birthday is coming up next month, as is her anniversary here at GA. Dayne is in fact a high school teacher, English, or should I say was? For reasons that we won’t go into here, Dayne is stepping away from education for the next little while. Perhaps she’ll put that pseudonym to good use… Dayne says: "Dayne Mora" is based on the pseudonym that I was going to publish a tell-all memoir under. Couldn't remember if it was "Dana Moore" or "Mora Dane." Fun Fact--my real name is even more strange and pretentious, and takes up two lines on my social security card besides. Don’t forget the very understanding hubby, Dayne’s fur-babies, and her deep love for Publix (Dayne’s originally from Florida, which … Florida? to Texas? ). But Dayne’s also something of a comedian and a poet. Seriously, I about busted a gut reading the blog entry “Dayne vs fitbit or a conversation with my glorified pedometer.” In one word: shake-weight. Okay, that’s technically two words, but, hey, I only learned about the “shake-weight” thing in early October and it’s still funny to me. (I know, living under a rock, so sue me). And then of course there’s Wolf like Me. Readers know all about this story. It used to be called “Efrain and Cory.” It’s a little bit teen fiction, little bit drama, little bit tongue-in-cheek, and lots of really smooth, delightful dialogue. The sequel, Wild Card starts shortly after “Wolf…” and throws you into the deep end right away. With only 5 chapters but 55 reviews …! Readers are really loving this one. I don’t want to say too much, but you get to see more of Cory’s family and what with how the beginning’s going, there’s bound to be some surprises along the way. Now, let’s get down into the dirt with Dayne. To Dayne Mora: Dayne, you come up with some of the most interesting titles for your chapters, are they easy to come up with or do you have to wrack your brain before you say, "Aha!"? Sometimes I have to wrack my brain for ages. I put in placeholder titles, until something better occurs to me. "The Aphrodisiacal Properties of Intersectionality and Juxtaposition" had originally been called "Talk Nerdy to Me", while "Gagging For It" was "For Demonstration Purposes". Cute, I suppose, but it just didn't feel right. In case you can't tell, "Warming Up" was a placeholder that I kinda just left (as is "In Soviet Russia, Iceman Thaws You"). Titles like "Dame Esa Leche", "Indie Comes to Jesus" (these appear as subtitles on GA since I released the initial 14 chapters as 7, which funnily enough, let me work in more titles), and "To Die in Thy Lap" were total "Aha!" moments. Sometimes, the "Aha!" happened well after the fact. "BAM! GAY DRAMA!" popped into my head the day after I released "Indie Comes to Jesus" on Nifty. Many times, I'm trying to reference something specific within the chapter. "This Little Kitten Went to Market" of course refers to the gay bar they went, but also to the emcee there (I don't think anyone got that I named her "Miss Piggy"). "Cory Has a Posse" is a nod to Fueled by Ramen, the music label born in Gainesville, FL. I used to find their "Mr. Miyagi has a posse" stickers all over when I was at UF. Other times, I've known what I wanted to title the chapter forever. I had titles worked out for the first three chapters of Wild Card since chapter 18 of Wolf Like Me. Then there are the titles I had to come up with to pass muster on GA. "Eat a Dick, Texas" and "Dame Esa Leche" weren't the friendliest titles, so those became "Cory Arrives" and "Leche". My boys like to curse, so f-bombs litter a titles here and there. You'd think a mod would a little more angelic. Now, story titles are another deal all together, just ask my Literotica readers about the whimsical fuckery that was Wolfie Kitten Iceman Maddog. /whimper To Dayne Mora: Dayne How do you manage to keep your motivation to write a story with a lot of chapters? So, I think I've told readers this story before--Cory, Efrain, and Indie were originally characters I'd created for disparately different stories that I'd had swimming around in head. Cory and Indie (Leaf and Stone) come from a high fantasy series (or at least were products of my weird habit of choreographing elaborate anime-style transformation sequences while listening to EDM). Efrain (Angel) came from a YA story. Somewhere in all my yaoi and gay erotica reading, I got this scene in my head--two football players driving home after practice, and things get hot when one tells the other "I want to make you cry." Somehow, Leaf and Angel (although a few years older) fell into those roles, and the fantasy spiraled out of control. I became obsessed with them. And then, they set their sights on Stone (originally, both Efrain and Cory were sleeping with Indie). In order to get them out of my head, I started writing out the fantasies--the sex scenes in "Warming Up", "When Indie's Away", and "Mea Culpa" (I haven't published the last two on GA as they're non-canon and I wasn't sure if readers here wanted to see them). However, once I started writing out the sex scenes, other scenes emerged. Then, Cory decided he wanted a kitten, and things progressed from there. There's so much story between the three of them, and when other characters appeared, the story expanded. As they evolve, their world expands, and it's all I can do to put the words down. I still find it strange how THIS is the first story that I've managed to put into writing. THIS is the only story I've been able to write. But, the real answer is quite depressing. I thought I'd had rough spots as a teacher, but 2015-2016 burned me out. The school district I worked for pretty much fell apart during the 14-15 school year, and shit really hit the fan in 15-16. A lot of crap went down that eventually led to three administrators doing the work of six. I got saddled with preps I couldn't teach, and kids I couldn't handle, and as one of the top teachers in the district, they just assumed I'd be fine, even when I repeatedly insisted that I wasn't (I don't think it helped that I complained about being unqualified to teach AP, yet had a bunch of kids pass ). I already suffer from a host of mood and pain disorders, but those went into hyper-drive. I lost the drive to do much of anything. Hobbies like video games and knitting were abandoned, and I neglected housework. Hell, I even stopped dressing up for work, and I LOVE dressing up. I went from working 60-70 hour weeks, to just my contracted 37.5. I phoned it in last school year (which is really weird because I still out-performed the rest of the district--even my lazy IDGAF version kicks ass!). I'd finally allowed myself to recognize how much I kick ass as teacher, but it just..............went away..............all of it. The one thing, however, that got me through was writing Wolf Like Me. I'd come home, put on my pajamas, then sit with my laptop and write. I stopped bringing work home, and even wrote at work. And then, I started publishing it, and people reacted! Things took off here at GA, as I got to interact with readers and fellow writers. Through these interactions, I was finally getting the recognition for my efforts and feelings of accomplishment that I wasn't getting from my job. Getting readers hot, making them laugh and feel the all the feels, didn't make it easier to face that one class that always made me cry during my planning periods, or help me force myself out of bed and into my car, but it gave me something to look forward to when I got home. I'm taking at least a few years off from the classroom, possibly working up into higher ed, but I can't let go of the thrill of reader feedback To Dayne Mora: I have seen [Wolf like Me] posted on various other sites (Nifty and Literotica), and I'm curious how your fan response varies from site to site. Are the readers that different? Are they looking for different things? What are the pluses and minuses of the various sites? There are some variations between readers and reader responses between the sites I post to, most of which can be tied to the sites themselves. Nifty and Literotica are first and foremost erotic writing sites, so responses tend to focus on the erotic elements of ExC, while the romantic and comedic elements are a second thought. Nifty readers expect more sex acts in a given entry, but are okay with more "unpolished" writing (my initial drafts were hella rough). I could cut out all the back story and just post the sex and they'd be fine with it (but, what's the fun in that!). I get (sometimes explicit) requests for certain acts (some I have or will use) and effusive praise for my epic grammar skills. Strange how bad grammar could be such a boner-kill. Literotica, as the only non-LGBT centered site I post to, accounts for a greater part of my straight/bi female readership. LitE readers appreciate the romance and comedy more, but the more highly rated chapters still tend to be those with the most erotic content. Since readers are able to comment publicly, commentary is a little less explicit. I was posting ExC under a rather regrettable and silly yaoi-inspired title that turned off readers, but I'm hopeful that the recent change will attract more readers (even if the title doesn't stand out as much anymore). GA, as a site dedicated to LGBT writers that just happens to also host erotic stories, attracts readers who are there for the narrative and consider erotic content a bonus. It still amuses me that most GAresponses are about plot and character elements with an "oh yeah, and the sex was hot" thrown in (if it's mentioned at all!). And only GA readers have noticed that I try to keep character development consistent during erotic scenes, that there's a difference between how Cory and Efrain experience sex versus how Preston and Indie experience sex (and that it feels different depending on whose head you're in). Also, GA readers seem to handle the multiple narrative viewpoints and viewpoint shifts within the chapter. Or at least they complain about it less. I don't know if it's because I've gotten better at signalling the shifts, or if it's easier to follow narrative when you aren't trying to read and do arm cardio at the same time. Benefits and Drawbacks As there are significant differences between Nifty, LitE and GA, each provides it's own benefits and drawbacks. The Nifty site is low-maintenance and laidback -- no forum, no chat, no fancy images -- a kind of lawless no-man's land where anything goes. It's hard to sift through stories to find gold (a running theme in reader emails) and not another golden sh....nevermind. As ExC is my first attempt at writing extended fiction (well, any fiction, really) and my first erotic work, I had absolutely no confidence when I started out. Nifty was perfect for me because there was enough terrible fiction (Mikie knows what I'm talking about) that even my poor attempts would look good. Kinda like the novice erotic writer's version of the fat friend. However, I worry that ExC gets lost among the literary detritus. Plus, there's no metric for comparing stories, so feedback is limited to those bold enough to email. It was great at first when I worried about getting umpteen million comments about how bad I suck. Literotica is more organized, even if it is difficult to find and follow stories, and the rating system and view counts give me a good idea of my success. Stories in the Gay Male category tend to rate higher than other sections, so my ratings may be a little inflated, but I consider it a good thing that only a few of my chapters rate below 4.7. There's more commentary from readers, more feedback, but not really a way for me to comment back. And with the way the site is set up, my story gets lost within a week of posting, so I have to post often to keep myself at the top of the deck (this is also an issue on Nifty). It doesn't help either that LitE readers expect longer entries (my 4-6k word average is short by LitE standards). Although, that has challenged me to really expand moments within narrative. The GA platform is much more interactive and easier to navigate. Readers get notifications when I post, and there are various ways to stay in touch with readers between postings. I feel closer to GAreaders and authors than I do to those on other sites, and I'm on here so much that my psychiatrist actually warned me that I wasn't socializing enough with irl people. There isn't a rating system for individual chapters (and I'm not sure how much attention readers really pay to them anyways), but counting likes and followers is a good enough metric for me. The ability to comment on reader reviews allows me to validate and show appreciation, and since many readers are also writers whose works I enjoy, the commentary challenges me to grow as a writer. Of course, I do get a little "OMG! SEMPAI NOTICED ME!" when another author reviews my story (Here's a simple check: are you a GAauthor? are you interacting with me? If you answered "yes" to both questions, I am having a "sempai" moment). Sometimes I get nervous that I won't measure up to the other authors in the GAfamily, but that just pushes me to raise the bar. Thank the light for Thorn Wilde, or else I'd be a nervous wreck about posting! To Dayne Mora: One of the things I appreciate about Efrain and Corey [Wolf like Me] is that it is a fairly realistic story with three dimensional characters and true-to-life dialogue. I'm curious if parts of it are autobiographical, if characters are based on real people, and if so, where does reality begin and fiction end? My characters aren't so much based on real people as informed by them. I "collect" things from people around me from the typical writer/artist/creator stuff like ear hustlin', observation, reading, and way too much time daydreaming. The initial sparks of characters float around in my head with all those little scraps -- names, mannerisms, speech patterns, quirks, physical attributes, styles, desires, etc -- and pull in the things that make sense to them. Pieces of me also fall into the mix, but not to the point of being too autobiographical. There are traces of me in all four of the major characters (Preston's nicknames, Indie's defense mechanisms, Cory's shoe collecting, Efrain's competitive streak), and even the minor characters (JJ Teague's mismatched socks, Romero's gossiping). Yet, there's not enough of me in them that they are me. And not even I could tell you who is the most "me" and who is the least (my husband, as the person who knows me best, has some theories). There is one exception: Jameson. He's more a composite than an accretion, but at his core is a college boyfriend who pretty much destroyed what little sense of self-worth I actually had. Jameson's spark latched onto my memories of that bottom-feeder like a douchebag kindred spirit. I try to not let characters become too close to their real life inspirations, and I seriously doubt a certain cretinous scumbag engineer would recognize himself (Jameson is more attractive ), but he's close enough that I've been able to work out some lingering demons. That’s it for now! You can regularly find Dayne in chat, but her forums are usually hopping, too, and she’s open to receiving more emails and reviews. I’ll see you next time, with Ask the Author #45 and authors albertnothlit, Nephylim, Riley Jericho, and SkinnyDragon. I’m always in the market for new questions! Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark
  21. Renee Stevens

    Ask An Author #43

    Ask an Author #43 Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors! In AtA #42, we had questions for authors Andrew Q. Gordon, Nephylim, skinnydragon, and W_L. In AtA #43 we hear from authors Mann Ramblings, Mikiesboy, Riley Jericho, and WolfM. Signature Author Mann Ramblings starts us off today. We last saw Mann in this blog about a year ago, back in AtA #33, but he really hasn’t been featured since AtA #7. That takes us back, doesn’t it? I know I’ve got at a couple more questions for him, if he’d answer his emails… Anyway, this nice gent is from Michigan, USA and I can poke at him a bit because I know I can handle the bite of his rather wicked sense of humor. Have you seen his profile pic lately? Mann has designed a few of those! He’s quite the artist, and I don’t mean just writing, which his 7,000+ followers already know. His first year with GA saw 3 stories; now Mann has more than 10 to his name. He writes a lot of drama and sci-fi (naturally), but his stories cross over into many different genres. One of my favorites is Rudolph’s Tijuana X-mas, in which Rudolph leaves the North Pole and, well, goes to Tijuana. Of course, since it’s a comedy, hilarity ensues. Like many another, this gem of a short story made me laugh until I cried. Oh, and did you know? Mann is now a published author with Wayward Ink Publishing. His published works have some changes, so if you liked them the first time, go check it out.  To Mann Ramblings: One of my favorites of yours, So Little Magic Left, is a largely fantasy story, and I'm curious. How do you come up with the detail and backdrop for such a mystical place and have it come out so believable? Lots and lots of notes. Days of brainstorming the details based on what I needed. Since I plotted the entire story out in advance, I knew what my settings would be and what had to be there. The underworld was medieval and stuck in time, so everything around them had to reflect that. So the buildings had to be raw and the businesses had to have limitations. I focused a lot on the world building and made a point to stick to it. Everything had to be consistent and nothing could be added without a damn good reason. I put the fantastic elements in but tried not to make them the centerpiece of the scenes rather than the setting. They're there, but we don't dwell on them beyond what's necessary to move the story along. I guess I did a good job selling the environment. Canadian “Poster Boy for Success” Mikiesboy is our next author today. In the year and change that he’s been with us, Mikiesboy has posted over a dozen stories and collections for our enjoyment. This is the gentleman who cooks all that amazing food he takes pictures of, although, sadly, there are none left in his gallery. Luckily, this word enchanter continues to gift us with his magic; I know a few of you were worried recently, but he promises to stick around awhile longer. Mikiesboy is a familiar name in the weekly prompts, and we’re all eagerly waiting the next longer project. For Halloween this year, why don’t you try out the wickedly tongue-in-cheek Wanted? Main character Sam answers a help wanted ad, and the rest will give you chills … good and bad. To Mikiesboy: Can you describe the process of writing poetry you go through when you want to start a story? Do you just start with an idea and let it develop as you write, or do you outline most of it first? I'm sort of a from-the-gut poet I guess, and often the poem, all or in part, is just in my head (keep notebooks with you always!). But lately I've been working on the different forms of poetry, and so use classic stories, films or something AC Benus specifies in his monthly Poetry Prompt. When I write poetry I just sit down and write it. I don't use an outline for poetry at all. However I do write outlines for stories. Some of you might know our next author. Although he has yet to mark it “complete,” Riley Jericho says he’s posted the LAST chapter to An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA. If I’d foreseen the end was so near, I would have posted this question months ago! At 89 chapters, I believe ET is now the longest single story on GA. Did you see the poster-like image Riley created for his epic? I like the subtlety in the colors. Way back when, Riley said he came over to GA after fighting with his previous website over the story’s name. Aren’t we the lucky ones? Now we can only wonder what Riley will write for us next. Perhaps we’ll learn more about Manchester, UK, where Riley’s from? Maybe he’ll do something completely different, like a horror story…! Oh, by the way, Riley has written some other stuff. There’s some poetry and other teen fics, and the chilling anthology entry Into a Better Place. It will make you think, but, more importantly, it will make you feel. Check out the reviews; they’re powerful, too. To Riley Jericho: Regarding An English Teen Circumcised in the U.S.A.: Is there an endgame---a definite plan or outline of what is going to happen and how the characters will end up---or is it a more organic process or like an ongoing serial? So, is there an endgame, or am I just making it up as I go along and hoping for the best? I have to smile because actually both are true. There is very definitely an endgame, and the last chapter, paragraph and sentence of ET have already been penned. However, what it is that you might possibly say to me when we get there...well, let's see. Anything more at this point would be spoilers! However, at the same time, the story has been quite fluid in some aspects, and I find there's some stuff you don't realise about a situation, until you get into it. I also feed a lot from reviews. You may not know it, but something you might have said in a review could well have sparked an idea that gets written in. Sometimes, somebody will make a comment about how a situation might develop, and for me, it's like 'oh...that's right...how come I never saw that coming?' So to answer the question, mileposts are set in stone, the end is coming into sight, but there are still many twists and turns that will be quite likely to turn up on the journey! In the end, you're going to have to ask the characters! Today’s final author is WolfM, marking his first entry in this blog, which seems funny, because I could swear he’s been around longer than just a year .... Anyway, this is the author behind the dark teen story Alone in the Night and the very popular Running with the Pack. If you haven’t read “Alone,” it’s definitely on the dark side but it’s also been a way for WolfM to exorcise some of his past and re-connect with his younger self. How much of the truth is being shared with us is perhaps something only WolfM knows, but in a world where the truth is so often conveniently brushed under the rug, it’s a story that should never be forgotten. It is in surviving his past that WolfM (like main character Matt) can bring us the gift of the present and the future. Employing a vivid imagination, after all, is how we now have RWTP, not to mention the thousands of other stories on GA. In RWTP, we get a city-boy stepping out into the “wilds” for the first time and discovering werewolves! I don’t know that I’d say it’s light-hearted, but it’s hard to escape drama when you’re writing about teens! LOL To WolfM: From where/what do you draw inspiration? We joke about muses, but what is yours? I've stared at the question on an off since you sent it to me trying to figure out how to answer it. The only answer I can come up with is, "I have no idea." I can sit down in front of my laptop one day and knock out the first draft of a chapter and other times go days to months without even feeling like writing. I usually joke that it all depends on what conversations the voices in my head are having and if they want to let me in on it or not. I have used the character I had in WoW as well as avatars I've created in the virtual world "Second Life" as elements in the current story I'm working on, though that is more an idea bed for how characters might look vs. actual inspiration. Possibly what truly inspires me is my readers as well as my desire to see this current project through to its completion. That’s it for now! For more info on these authors, go check out their stories, post in their forums, and/or catch them in chat! I’ll see you next time, with Ask the Author #44, a special feature dedicated to one of our more popular authors Dayne Mora! I’m always in the market for new questions! Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark
  22. Renee Stevens

    Ask An Author #42

    It's the first Wednesday of the month again (can you believe it's already September?!) which means that it's time for our monthly Ask An Author feature. A big thank you to Dark for their continued contribution to the blog with one of our most popular features. Don't forget, if you have a question you'd like Dark to cover, send a PM! Ask an Author #42 Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors! In AtA #41, we had questions for authors Headstall, Mikiesboy, Sammy Blue, and Sasha Distan. In AtA #42 we hear from authors Andrew Q Gordon, Nephylim, skinnydragon, and W_L. It’s funny how time flies. Like, I remember when Classic Author Andrew Q Gordon went by something that started with a Q that was hard to pronounce. Back then he hadn’t yet made an honest man of his husband, he was working all the time, and Andy was begging everyone to read Second Shot. Next thing you know, Second Shot is climbing the charts as one of the most-read, most-liked, most-reviewed story on GA, Lil’ Q makes an appearance, there’s publishing demands, a wedding, and a new name to go with that shiny new “Classic” Author mantle. Where have the last five years gone? Did you know that AQG has a website? Visit and you can get one of his published stories for free. Personally, I’d like to see another collaboration between Andy and Anyta. But I’m also looking forward to the new book, due out in the beginning of 2017. It’s called “When Heroes Fall” and the plot is still hush-hush. You’ll have to stalk Andy at RomCom or through his blog to learn more. To Andrew Q Gordon: I notice that you edit for Riley Jericho, for his story 'An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA'. He's English, you're American...how's that all working out, and do you enjoy editing other writers? First let me say that Riley is an amazing person. He definitely makes my "List of people you'd like to meet." The English/British thing isn't a problem, in fact I think that is where I provide some of my value to Riley. Because English Teen (ET) is written from a few different Points of View, he and I go back and forth on word choice. For the most part, when we're in one of the Summers' 'heads' i.e. Luke, Simon, Lucy or Geoff - I leave his British usage, but if we're in an American's head - Ryan for instance - I try to change things to an American usage. There are exceptions. Sometimes Luke is thinking about something at school - say the Gymnasium or an assembly and for those things because the school uses a specific word for it, I try to steer him to an American usage because that's more likely what Luke would think, not the British word. Beyond those types of things, I've tried to give Riley some tips I've learned from my editors with Dreamspinner Press. One thing about Riley, he doesn't have an ego and is very receptive to suggestions and help. If you love the story and think he's awesome, you're correct on both counts. I can point to times he and I have had a discussion about some point or another and then the following chapters he applies it. That's really very cool to see. The trick for me is to not take away his voice. He and I have a running joke about something he does that kinda drives me nuts, BUT it's his voice and I try not to interfere except in those instances where it's needed. (And I shouldn't muck with that because his voice is most likely one of the things people love about his story.) Riley's really great at taking advice and he's good at standing pat when he feels he needs to. I really enjoy working with him and being able to see the story before most others. Like I said, he's on my bucket list of people to meet for a reason. Now if I could convince him to try his hand at publishing something. A task for another time I suppose. As for editing for people in general, I shy away from it for the most part. I like helping people grow as a writer they way others have helped me, but I'm probably a poor teacher. I'm not good at sugar coating things or making them nicey nice. I warned Riley at the start I'm direct and to the point (blunt, bordering on rude I suppose) at times. I've apologized in advance if I do it, and I wish I didn't. I think of us as friends, and I don't want to hurt his feelings. (Sorry if I have Riley, but you know I don't mean to do that.) So, to answer the "do I enjoy it" part of your question; yes I do. Very much, but I'm not for everyone. In fact I'm probably hard to work with, which is why I tend to avoid editing too much. It helps me avoid making enemies. Another oldtimer (to this blog and to GA) is vampire, fallen angel, and Author Nephylim. At one time, Nephy was a Promising Author and then Signature Author (back then we called them “Hosted” Authors). Like myself and Andy, real life has taken Nephy away from GA more than she might wish. With GA since 2009, Nephy has posted some 50 different stories and poems. She has been an inspiration to many, including myself, and it’s been said by many that she’s as nice in person as she is to chat with online. There were a few meet-ups for those GA authors living or willing to travel in Europe, and Nephylim was one of them, traveling at least twice from her home in Wales. She may not be as active on the site anymore, but we still get her stories! She finished posting her latest, My Brother Daniel, just this past summer, and that was quite the ordeal, from the sound of it. Like many of her stories, Daniel, Sara, and Rayn help us readers learn and deal with some tough topics that are not for everyone, but this classy lady makes all the drama and heart-ache worthwhile. To Nephylim: In your story "Boy Called Slave", how did you bring yourself to write about some of the really dark and serious aspects of the story without impacting yourself emotionally? You create characters that readers instantly connect with, so I'm curious about how you shut off those feelings. The truth is, I don't. I'm totally invested in my characters and I laugh and cry with them. I'm often to be found sobbing all over my laptop. I have also cried on a train, at a bus stop, in a legal lecture - all over the place. Wherever I write. I find it cathartic rather than depressing, though. My writing is a therapy and when I'm totally stressed or upset or angry, I sit at my keyboard and torture characters. It's my stress-buster. Perhaps I have a twisted mind, but I find it difficult to write sweet and fluffy without dark and deadly lurking in the background. I recently wrote a book I tried very hard to keep light, and I even wrote a lot of myself into it. I used my own beliefs and experiences and built some very strong characters - only to have one of them jump off a cliff (well not jump exactly). I feel at times as if I have no control over what the characters do. The way I write is strictly pantser. The characters and story carry me and I often have no idea where a story is going until I write it. When the characters/story take a turn for the worse I follow and hold on for grim life, with a box of tissues, coffee and chocolate to hand. Please welcome Author SkinnyDragon to the blog! This young Canadian has been with GA a couple years now and enjoys the “fine” things in life. Currently, he’s off sailing in the shivery-cold waters of stormy Maine. I hope he comes back alive and in one piece! And not blue! But I suppose he is from Ontario…. Something you may not know about Skinny is his skill with the dead language of Latin. I wonder what he makes of the Monty Python monks with their Latin chants just before they smack themselves in the face with a board? Anyway, this guy has recently posted the final chapter to 18 Weeks of Twoey, his first full-length story here on GA. You might have also seen his collection of poetry and flash-fiction, not to mention the prompt responses. For a self-proclaimed non-author and non-poet, I’d say Skinny isn’t doing too bad! Twoey has received over 800 reviews, so Skinny’s definitely doing something right! And don’t let the 122 chapters intimidate you; it’s not a conventional story, but a real gem nonetheless. Don’t believe me, see what some others had to say: “The balance between serious and humourous is perfect, IMO, and all the characters and their interaction is well done too,” and “Loved this chapter, SD. Here is a blockbuster surprise. All kinds of bets just got wiped off the table,” and “You’ve done it again, Skinny! An amazing chapter. I truly felt David’s anguish and helplessness as he began figuring more things out….” To SkinnyDragon: What inspired you to create David in 18 Weeks of Twoey? Was it someone you knew, or was it a situation you encountered? Actually, it was a little of both. I encountered the two boys who would become David and Twoey, or I should say they befriended us, because they correctly guessed we were a couple. The eager young boys had lots of questions for us. The real David had some of the same religion/not-gay issues as the fictional character, but dealt with them in a more off-handed and lighter manner. The brooding and psychologically dark aspect was purely my own invention for the story which subsequently spun from my mind. They were our uninvited beach companions for nearly two weeks during which time I filled a composition book with snippets of overheard conversations. Some of their comments were so hilariously startling they made it into the story, virtually unchanged. I invented neither PPF nor Dannyspeak. Author W_L wraps things up for the blog today. This guy’s been here with GA since 2008 and his title is now amusingly “GA's Electrifying Mouse Writer.” From Boston, Massachusetts, USA, W_L faced the tragic death of his computer in August, which kept us from enjoying his sarcastic wit in the forums for a time. He’s also a fan of odd music (and, yes, I, too mourn Yellowcard) and politics and is currently single, so snap him up while you still can! While many of us remember with pleasure W_L’s writing spree in 2013, the 2015-2016 year has seen the completion of 0s and 1s, a mystery and thriller and young adult novel all rolled up into one. It’s a tragically under-read story, touching on more than one theme in America’s tumultuous present. The boys give powerful life to this intriguing tale which, like many a Disney movie, begins with death and ends with a sequel. Here’s to seeing what Hunter gets up to in Book 2! To W_L: Your story 0's and 1's deals with technology at a very high level of understanding, and also with cyberbullying and youth trauma. Were these things that you already had prior knowledge or experience with, or was most of the information in the story based on research you had done as an adult writer?? Being a gay youth was hard, but being a disabled one eyed gay youth is even harder. I was always slightly more tech savvy than my peers, not just because I was smart, but I needed the technology to support me. I learned how to use short keys at age 8, touch typing (Basically I memorized the entire keyboard and learned Braille) at age 10, and I was playing around with programming at age 12. Despite all my triumphs over adversity, I was bullied by other kids, who knew I was different even without knowing I was gay. In high school, I knew a kid who was bullied so much that he committed suicide for being gay, which I let happen and am ashamed to have joined in bullying him on one occasion just to feel less alienated due to my own limits. I am no ones hero, but I hope to inspire the heroes of tomorrow to rise above this crap and be better. That’s it for now! For more info on these authors, go check out their stories, post in their forums, and/or catch them in chat! See you next time, with authors Mann Ramblings, mikiesboy, Riley Jericho, and WolfM. I’m always in the market for new questions! Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark
  23. Cia

    Ask An Author #41

    One of everyone's favorite blogs, back again!! It's the first Wednesday of the month, which can only mean one thing. It's time for another Ask An Author feature provided to us by Dark. If you have questions you want to ask your favorite authors, but don't want to ask the questions yourself, you can always send your questions to Dark for inclusion in the Ask An Author feature. Ask an Author #41 Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors! In AtA #40, we had questions for authors Cole Matthews, M.A. Church, Riley Jericho, and Carlos Hazday In AtA #41 we hear from authors Headstall, Mikiesboy, Sammy Blue, and Sasha Distan. Promising Author and Canadian Headstall kicks off the blog this week. If I understand the story correctly, this author name comes from a particular piece of tack (for horses, oh ye whose minds went elsewhere… ). Not as spry as he used to be, Headstall has had some recent health setbacks, but there are many glad to see his return. Hopefully, the words will start flowing once more with the grace and fluidity that readers have become used to. In the two years Headstall has been with us, he has posted almost a dozen stories, most of them the multi-chapter kind. He’s also a poet; you can see his responses to the weekly prompts among his collection of works, as well as Headstall’s Reflections, a collection of random musings about life, the universe, and everything. Or, you know, a blog of sorts. If you’ve enjoyed this author’s work, have you tried Morningstar: The Malaise? This is Headstall’s first story about werewolves, and in his version, the pack is dying out due to a mysterious … malaise. The main characters must find a way to not only save the pack, but themselves. Is there a way to be happy together given the desperate need the pack has for more matings and pups? I leave you with these words from editor Timothy M: “Being a sifter is complicated, even without the malaise, and sorting out your feelings is difficult, especially when they are new ….” To Headstall: How did it feel to have your first story take off the way it has? When I first posted, I didn't know what to expect, from the readers or myself. The response was immediate and somewhat overwhelming, and I honestly expected the support would die down quickly. But it didn't, and to this day I'm still surprised, and now I feel honored and encouraged to improve with every single sentence I write. It's given me the confidence to try new things, like my songs, poetry, an anthology story and a story contest. I've written two other stories posted as serials since the debut of "Cards on the Table," and that is because of the support I received initially, and continually. I'm not quite sure why it took off the way it did, but I am thankful for it everyday, and I feel I owe the readers and GA my very best effort every time I touch the keyboard. Cheers. A big welcome to Author Mikiesboy, making his first appearance in this blog – but not the last, I assure you! He calls himself an ”abecedarian poet.” You’ll have to ask him what it means. Another Canadian, Mikiesboy hails from Ontario and is a big fan of fellow Canadian Headstall. I have learned to stay away from his GA gallery, because just looking at all that wonderful food makes me hungry, lol. Michael is one lucky guy. Read more about their real-life love story in Michael and Me. I’m not sure about that tomato soup cake, though, dunno if I’m adventurous enough to try it. This past April, Mikiesboy tried his hand at NaPoWriMo, which is the poet’s version of writing one whole story in only a month. It’s a daunting task, no matter how you look at it. Mikiesboy is very upfront with his past and you can see some of that in his written works. They’re gritty and real and will make you rethink parts of your own life. Having a huge sweet tooth, however, I find that my favorite story remains Dessert. David gets a second chance at finding love with a man from his past. They meet by chance, eat and talk, and some of his inner musings and realizations will give you a punch to the gut. Of course the sex scene is pretty hot, too! To Mikiesboy: What inspired the characters you've created? Do people you know make you think of them, or is it situations you encounter? I've been inspired by situations and people I know. I guess it depends which characters you mean. In my latest story Tait's experience is partly based on my mental health struggles, and some abuse I suffered when I was much younger, but once I know the character I can figure out how he'll react or act. Two of my characters came to me when I was using a prompt, but Faris and James, have a few traits borrowed from me and my husband. So I guess I'd have to say that my characters are one part imagination, one part experience, and a dash or more of me. Youngster and Author Sammy Blue writes from Braunschweig, Germany. Recently, Sammy decided to translate one of his German stories into English. In the forums, Sammy explains some of the finer details making their way into his stories to give us non-Germans a better understanding of the culture belonging to his characters. It’s nice to have that background to ask questions about without the author feeling the need to write it all in the story itself. Sci-Fi writers are well-known for this. High Fantasy, too, can get bogged down with the details, not that you or I would ever do that, of course! LOL. But Sammy is perhaps best known for his work with Gemini. This is a story about teenage Josh and his crazy public school life. With 25 chapters now, we’ve really seen Josh grow into himself. And Jacob? That boy is amazing. To Sammy Blue: Do you have a character that you've put more of yourself into than any others, and what qualities do you see yourself as sharing with that character? Not particularly, at least not in Gemini. That might change with future stories, though. However, I do share some sort of connection with all of my major characters. The reason is simple, really. When I am writing, I am usually using one of two methods, mostly even both in combination. The first is to 'envision' the scene I am writing, almost like a movie. If I'm unsure about something, I even 'replay' it a number of times with small changes to see what fits. This also helps me to narrate in a realistic way. The other I mostly use when I write thoughts or some of the conversations. I try to really get into the 'skin' of the character I'm writing, to feel their feelings and think their thoughts. It takes some time to get psyched up enough for that, but it's usually worth it. Anyway, because I do this, I do have a pretty good understanding of what my characters feel, and I guess that is what I 'put' into them, and the connection I share with them. Today’s 4th and final author is Author Sasha Distan. We last saw Sasha in ATA #36, about six months ago. Next month it will be a year since Sasha's profile was active, which makes the last status post more ironic: Apparently I’ve been offline long enough for my avatar picture to vanish… But for those of you who need your Sasha fix, you should know that I horded one last question and answer. I, too, have my fingers crossed that Sasha will soon return with more of that British snark we’ve come to enjoy, as well as a conclusion to Sanctuary, the fantasy story where the persecuted find hope and, perhaps, love. To Sasha Distan: How do you keep all of your storylines from bleeding together when you have more than one story going at a time? I have a great filing system! My brain is a very compartmentalized place, and a bit like the filing system on my laptop, I'm very good at keeping the separate part of my life, and separate parts of my stories, very much apart from each other. Characters who exist in different worlds don't even talk, so for example I'd never have problems with Kurt and Tahryn having a chat and exchanging plot lines with Oli and Boris. The characters who do live in the same world, Kieran, Robin, Bay, Issac, and Zupan for example, are generally so self obsessed (or romantically obsessed) that they don't tend to interfere with each other. Generally writing two stories at once doesn't cause me many issues, but three or four can be more problematic. That’s it for now! For more info on these authors, go check out their stories, post in their forums, and/or catch them in chat! See you next time, with authors AQG, Nephylim, SkinnyDragon, and W_L. I’m always in the market for new questions! Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark
  24. Renee Stevens

    Ask An Author #40

    I can't believe it's already July and that the year is half over!!! Not only that, but it's the first Wednesday of the month, which can only mean one thing. It's time for another Ask An Author feature provided to us by Dark. If you have questions you want to ask your favorite authors, but don't want to ask the questions yourself, you can always send your questions to Dark for inclusion in the Ask An Author feature. Ask an Author #40 Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors! In AtA #39, we had questions for authors Billy Martin, Dayne Mora, and Mark Arbour. In AtA #40, we hear from authors Cole Matthews, M.A. Church, Riley Jericho, and Carlos Hazday. Just shy of his three-year anniversary on GA, Cole Matthews joined the ranks of our Signature Authors. While this may be his first appearance in this blog, his new story Third Shift is already generating discussion and interest in the forums. Which, by the way, is where Cole has posted a fantastic intro to the story, so go check it out. With more than 5,000 likes and 26 stories, this boy is not slowing down anytime soon! I remember when he first started posting on the collaborative project Gaia Town. Setting up and organizing that project was fascinating to watch. What you may not know about him is that he’s something of a gardening maniac who has recently experimented with making his own jam/jelly. Those cookies he posted in his blog from the antique cookbook are also pretty good, but if you really want to know Cole, then you’ll read The Second Fifty, an autobiography of his life. It’s a must-read. To Cole Matthews: Did you enjoy writing your most recent murder mystery, and do you plan a second? I love murder mysteries, thrillers, and suspense stories. In fact, they are my favorite stories to read. I always thought my first novel would be that genre. I realized early on, I needed to practice writing dialogue, exploring characters, and establishing a voice first. Creating Barbed Wire Heart was a wonderful experience which allowed me to exercise those skills. I learned how to craft the clues and false leads more easily after becoming more proficient. I am working on more thriller shorts for anthology stories. In addition, I'm working on a suspense novel called Perdido Key, which will be set in Florida and not in Minnesota for once! Next up is popular fiction writer M.A. Church. She has been a member of GA for about five and a half years now, but early on started branching out into the online publishing genre. You may remember her from her original nom de plume “nomoretears.” She only claimed herself on GA two years ago and though she’s never said, I think it had to do with her rising popularity in the published world. Did you know she’s been mentioned in the Rainbow Awards twice now? She can also be found at Dreamspinner and All Romance Books. Check out her profile on Goodreads or her blog to see what she’s been up to lately. Of her five stories on GA, my favorite is In Enemy Hands. Of course, I’m a huge sci-fi fan, so those who know me will not be surprised by that. Like many, my favorite character is Adler. I think a lot of my love for him comes from the way MA Church writes his interactions with his brother. I also love the slow build-up between the main characters and between the supporting cast. There’s a lot of cleverly-hidden details and it’s always fascinating to see how characters navigate culture differences. There’s a lot M.A. Church has planned for 2016, so check-in with her often to see what’s new! To M.A. Church: Did someone have talk you into posting your stories for the public to read or did you decide yourself? I decided after reading several stories at a place called Literotica to try my hand at writing. After a few stories were posted, comments were left encouraging me to publish. I finally decided if the Christmas story I’d written for their Winter Contest placed, I’d try to find a publisher. A Tah’Narian Christmas came in first, lol. Not long after that I submitted a story to Dreamspinner Press. So basically, thanks to the encouragement from my fans at Lit, I started down the path as a published author. While it did not work out to include the next question into special edition #33, British Author Riley Jericho remains popular here on GA. He promises that his long-running narrative An English Teen... is finished! He’s just got to add the last chapters to the site. I’m sure his fans will be both relieved and disappointed. As with many people, real-life can often find a way to interfere with writing, but Riley has persevered, a feat not to be undervalued. Andy Q Gordon continues to work with Riley on ET, and at over 100,000 reads, it’s a partnership that’s definitely working. I wonder what Riley will work on next? To Riley Jericho: What made you decide to write m/m fiction? That's a good question, and I'm not sure I know. I guess I just thought I'd have a go. I read a lot, I love words. I thought, 'Well how hard could it be?' Jeez—what an idiot! Starting with this blog entry, I decided to shake things up just a little and feature 4 authors every month in honor of this being the 4th year of the blog series. Today’s 4th and final author is Carlos Hazday. He says that his blog question and answer will expire soon, so it made sense to start here. When I asked him this time if he wanted to participate, he said, “How could I not be up for it? I was the one who complained when your blog was pre-empted this month, remember?” Which of course I had forgotten. We’ve had a couple of questions for Carlos over the years; you might remember him talking about reader feedback, but those of you who frequent his forums already know how interactive they are. But for those of you crying over the ending to the latest in the CJ series, see below: To Carlos Hazday: I love the CJ series. What's next for CJ and his crew? There are two timelines concerning CJ running parallel in my mind. One is the story being posted on GA which is currently two years behind the real world. Spring ended as summer vacation was about to start in 2014. The second timeline is the one which tracks events taking place afterwards and through today. I have those events chronicled in outline form and will flesh them out into a story. Soon. I dislike stories which are abandoned or are posted on a very irregular schedule and don't want to fall into that pit. I am working on TRAVELS, the fifth book in the series but will not begin posting until it's entirely written. My fearless editor is also quite busy over the next couple of months, and not wanting to train a new one, I've decided to give him a break. I'm all heart, aren't I? Mann was fearless when he agreed to work with a rookie like me and his assistance has been priceless; the story is much better than it would have been without his input. I'll beg him to continue helping me once the book is at least halfway written. So no promises on when you'll read about the trips most of the major characters embark on during the summer of 2014, but rest assured there's more to come. That’s it for now! For more info on these authors, go check out their stories, post in their forums, and/or catch them in chat! See you next time, with authors Headstall, mikiesboy, Sammy Blue, and Sasha Distan. I’m always in the market for new questions! Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark
  25. Renee Stevens

    Ask An Author #39

    I'm back! Did you miss me? A huge thank you to AJ, Cia, Steve, and Slytherin for helping cover me while I was gone. It was much appreciated. Speaking of being back, Ask An Author is returning to start the month off right! Ask An Author is one of our most popular blog features, and I want to give a huge THANK YOU to Dark for supplying us month after month. Now, lets see what Dark has for us this month! Ask an Author #39 Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors! In AtA #38, we had questions for authors Andrew Q Gordon, Sammy Blue, and Valkyrie. In AtA #39, we hear from authors Billy Martin, Dayne Mora, and the return of Mark Arbour. Our first author today calls the Appalachian Mountains of the U.S. home. With two stories and two poetry collections, Billy Martin is more than the simply country boy we knew way back in 2011. He’s well-versed in current events and many of you have debated with him over politics, so perhaps some of that will shine through in the new story he’s working on now that Trials & Tribulations is completed. Can’t forget about The Field of Love, either. According to Billy, these two stories will eventually merge into one storyline. I have always wondered how close Andy Collins (and friends) is to the reality of Billy’s life … and now we’ve got an insight into Sammy. I confess that when I first saw the title, I flashed instantly to the Kevin Costner movie “Field of Dreams.” The fact that Billy’s story is also about baseball hooked me, even though I’m not generally a fan of teenage dramas. For now, I’ll wait on that update notification and continue rolling my eyes at the back-stabbing and politicking of small towns. To Billy Martin: What has been your favourite character you have written? Not that I have a lot of characters to choose from, but I would have to say that Roger, Andy's best friend from Trials and Tribulations is my favorite. If I'm allowed, in future chapters I will give him more depth and explore why he is such a good friend to Andy. I think we all need a best friend like Roger in our lives to help us off the floor when life knocks us down and celebrate the awesome experiences that will come our way as well. Don't get me wrong, I love Andy and Joey, not to mention the Judge, but there's nothing like a rock solid friend. I have a friend like that and he has always been there for me just like Roger has for Andy and I guess I've molded Roger after my very own best friend. Dayne Mora is today’s next author, though some of you may know him from the additional job he’s picked up: Chat Moderator. Dayne and I have a few things in common; we’re both American high school teachers, though I don’t have half the essays to read that he does, and we both have fur-babies. Of course, Dayne has a hubby to share the babies with. We both also enjoy Publix and Weird Al. I recently saw Weird Al on TV … I was visiting my mom and she was watching “Celebrity Name Game” and told me that Weird Al was a really good player – apparently he’s on the show a lot… The things you don’t know about your favorite celebrities, eh? But back to Dayne… Did you know that "Efrain and Cory" has a new name? It’s now called Wolf like Me and I hear there’s a sequel … looks pointedly at Dayne … If you haven’t yet read about these two college kids yet, the interactions between the friends are well worth it. There’s angst of course, but also humor, and the dialogue is so engaging you eat up the chapters before you realize it. To Dayne Mora: What do you like to write the most and what made you take the leap into posting stories here on GA? I love writing humor. It doesn't matter what genre or mode I'm working in, I can't stop the giggles from seeping in. I mean, I can try to keep a straight face, but it doesn't last long enough to justify the effort. It's so bad that my poor professors had to deal with my odd sense of humor. And lets not even talk about my lesson plans (when I actually write them, that is). Defiance19 sent me a message back in December recommending GA if I wanted to cast a wider net, and I joined pretty much immediately. And now let’s welcome back Signature Author Mark Arbour. It’s been over 10 years since Mark ventured onto what is now called GA and he’s still one of our most popular authors. Could it be his writing style? The myriads of different characters? The dynamics of the forums? The weekly updates? CAP is now 16 books long, a family dynasty as long-lasting as any soap opera, and Bridgemont is on book 7. Each of these series has its own fanatic supporters, and that doesn’t include the other things Mark gets involved with on the site. And although this article is now coming out after Mark’s birthday, he won’t hold it against you for some belated tidings. After all, when you’re as old as he is, each year is a triumph, right? With Black Widow now carrying the CAP series into the current century, eventually Mark will have to write about Obama … dunno if that’s good for an old guy’s blood pressure or heart, so, c’mon, folks, for the sake of Mark’s heart, let’s not add onto those 24,000 likes, okay? We don’t want him to keel over early. Like that word play, Mark? Now let’s get to the next chapter in Granger’s legacy and nobody’ll get hurt! To Mark Arbour: You are an accurate story-teller of historical events, which I've assumed from reading many of your stories. Your characters are also very believable, with or without their having sex. Question: If you could ask one of your historical people a question, what would you want to know and why? I'm going to change this question, and I'm going to make it two people. That seems fair, since I have two series. In the Bridgemont Series, the key character is George Granger. If I could ask George anything, I'd ask him who he considered his one true love to be. George is not a one-partner kind of guy, and much like the 17th/18th century society that he lives in, he's very hierarchical. He tends to array his lovers in pyramid format. At the end of the day, I'd want to know who ended up on top, so to speak. For the CAP Series, I'd tap into the father of the series, JP Crampton. I'd ask JP what decision/thing in his life he would have changed? He tends to bury his guilt and spend much too much time on self-recrimination, but at the end of the day, when he looks back, I would be curious about where he thought he'd made his biggest mistake. And I doubt that it would be the most obvious one. Now, as a little bonus, how about a bit from yours truly? Like the last question I answered in this blog, I’ve received a variety of questions all wondering similar things… To Dark: Is there a story behind how you chose "Dark" as a nom de plume? Sadly, no. It was a combination of things. I felt that I had outgrown my childhood nickname and was still struggling with my personal identity, and I was joining a bunch of different sites with different names, hoping that one would stick. I did sort of like part of one I was using to role-play with, so when I came to GA, I tried it and voila! No one had taken it, and thus “Dark” was born! It’s hard to think of myself as something else now, so I know it was the right choice. That’s it for now! For more info on these authors, go check out their stories, post in their forums, and/or catch them in chat! See you next time, with authors Cole Mathews, MA Church, and Riley Jericho. I’m always in the market for new questions! Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark

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