Welcome to 2019 and the first of our Classic Author features! This month I've another oldie but goodie, Topher_Lydon's epic, The Falcon Banner. This science fiction series had quite a following, and if you haven't read it yet, you're really missing out.
Description: A lone man picks up a battle standard cast down three hundred years before. beginning a journey that will lead him to find the lost fleet, and a forgotten ship at the edge of nowhere. Darien Taine must accept his role, guiding his crew on the long road to free their people from Amsus tyranny. Uncovering along the way the sins that led to humanity's downfall, and reforging alliances long thought forgotten. Three hundred years of slavery, of persecution and of tyranny are at an end.
If you want to spread the word about Topher_Lydon's story, download the graphic below and add it to your signature!
Make sure you come back on Wednesday to see the excerpt I chose to share!
To start the new year off, the review team thought that we'd take a look at all the reviews posted since 2014. There were a lot of wonderful reviews submitted by readers and by the review team. Reviews for stories that were part of the CSR or are no longer found on site have been omitted. If you're curious about the review and would like to read it, simply click on the date and the link will take you to the review. Don't see your favorite story on the list? Consider writing your own review and submitting it. If you are interested in doing a review for the blog, contact @Timothy M.. A huge thank you to Timothy for taking the time to compile the list.
January 8th: Classic Author Special Review - The Review Team
January 22nd: Confide/ant by Sasha Distan - Lisa
February 12th: Shifter by Skinnydragon - Puppilull
March 12th: Predator/Prey by Parker Owens - Spikey582
April 9th: Travelling Home by podga - Timothy M.
April 23rd: Boy story: The road taken by Rip Skor - Puppilull
May 14th: Button by Cole Matthews - BlindAmbition
June 11th: The Lilydale Leopards by Graeme - Timothy M.
July 9th: How the Light Gets In by Duncan Ryder - Parker Owens
July 23rd: Blood of the Neko by Craftingmom - LitLover
August 13th: Losing Kevin by Ronyx - BlindAmbition
September 10th: Pour Me Another by K.C. - Spikey582
October 8th: The Web by MrM - Puppilull
October 22nd: Never Too Late by northie - Timothy M.
November 12th: Twelve Gays of Christmas by Iomax61 - Puppilull
December 10th: The Hollow Hills by Valkyrie - Cole Matthews
December 24th: Favorite Christmas Story Special Review - The Review Team
January 9th: Circle of Hell Stories by Sasha Distan - Puppilull
January 23rd: Joined by Blood by Renee Stevens - Aditus
February 13th: Secret Admirer Special Review - The Review Team
April 10th: Hypnotic by Cia - Litlover
May 8th: The Navigator by Cynus - Timothy M.
May 22nd: Unforgivable by LitLover - Spikey582
June 12th: A Healing Heart by Lilansui - Puppillul
July 10th: Rule #3 by CassieQ - William King
July 24th: Premium Stories Special Review - The Review Team
August 14th: Alex and Zach by Greg_A - Aditus
September 11th: 9/11 by Mark Arbour - Timothy M.
October 9th: Morningstar : The Malaise by Headstall - Wicked Witch
October 23rd: Miss Silver Pretty-Pink Toes by mikiesboy - AC Benus
November 13th: Personal Banking by Refugium - Puppilull
December 11th: Famous Barr series by AC Benus - Timothy M.
January 18th: Toy Soldiers by Dabeagle - Valkyrie
February 15th: Trouble Plus Trouble by Palantir - Timothy M.
April 18th: MetaBattles by JohnAR - Defiance19
May 9th: Red Running Shoes by Aditus - Timothy M.
May 23rd: Song and Dance by Headstall - Litlover
June 20th: Thaw by Puppilull - Timothy M.
July 11th: A to Z by Parker Owens - Aditus
August 8th: The Alliance by VVesley - Puppilull
August 22nd: About Carl by Diogenes - Timothy M.
September 12th: NaPoWriMo by Mikiesboy - Aditus
October 10th: Shapeshifter by metajinx - Puppilull
October 24th: MetaDeaths by JohnAR - PKCrichton
November 14th: Nature Wrath Anthology Special Review - The Review Team
January 19th: The English Year by Jwolf - Timothy M.
February 16th: Dangerous Impulses by Greg_A - Cia
March 16th: Leaving Club Leo by C James - Renee Stevens
March 23rd: Meta by JohnAR - Timothy M.
April 20th: Savory, Bitter and Sweet by Percy - Timothy M.
May 18th: Gaymer by Dabeagle - Renee Stevens
June 20th: Denn's Mobile Circus by Twisted_Dreemz - AC Benus
July 20th: Bound and Bound: The Curse and the Captives by AC Benus - Valkyrie
August 17th: MetaOrigins by JohnAR - Puppilull
August 24th: Future Imperfect by Bill W - Atruefan
September 21st: Prophylaxis by Rambling Robin - Timothy M.
November 16th: Confounded by Andr0gene - Timothy M.
November 23rd: MetaShadowlands by JohnAR - Litlover
December 21st: Kissing the Dragon by lomax - Timothy M.
January 20th: No Room In The Lodge by Joann414 - LJH (Louis Harris)
February 17th: Burden of Secrets by Cia - Comicfan
March 17th: Roommates by Krista - LJH (Louis Harris)
March 24th: The Lake by Dolores Esteban - Joann414
May 19th: Geeks by CassieQ - Cole Matthews
June 16th: Memoirs Of A Child Of The Past Century by Old Bob - Percy
June 23rd: The Matchmaker is Grounded by Dark - Renee Stevens
August 18th: The Game by Nephylim - Joann414
September 15th: Empath's Kiss by Andrew Todd - Renee Stevens
September 22nd: Judas Tree by AC Benus - Timothy M.
October 13th: Joined by Blood by Renee Stevens - Cia
November 17th: Imprint by Hermit in the Cave - faxity
December 8th: Misunderstandings by BigAKHorton - Timothy M.
December 22nd: Gay Whales by Graeme - Renee Stevens
Welcome to 2019! The Can't Stop Reading book club continues, and this winter month drags on without a holiday and with so many facing a post-festivities let down. So let's have some fun with fanfiction story by @Laura S. Fox titled Nude Pics Please! She shares some information and backstory on the original Chinese comics this is based on in her story note, so make sure you check out all the info! So enjoy the story and come back to catch my review with Laura and share your thoughts on this 23k novella on the last Monday of the month, January 28th.
Nude Pics Please!
by Laura S. Fox
Description: To give a little bit of context for anyone who didn't read the manhua, the characters starring in my little fanfiction piece here are He Tian and Mo Guan Shan, two boys who are sort of in a cat and mouse game. This story starts after He Tian sends Mo Guan Shan a dick pic to tease the guy. The characters are aged up, so they are in their last year of high school and of legal age.
A Reader Said: Great story! Really enjoyed reading this. ~ Ricknc
Don't forget to come back and share your thoughts on the Discussion Day on Monday, January 28th!
This month's featured CSR story was Geron Kee's The House of Storms. Did you catch the feature at the beginning of the month featuring it? There were a lot of positive thoughts urging readers to check it out! If you did, make sure you share your thoughts below in the comments, but first, as always I pumped this month's author with all sorts of questions during an interview, so check that out!
Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point?
I make my bed. Or rather, we do.
If you were an animal, what would you be?
A porcupine. Even a tiger will not mess with a porcupine. And porcupines know it!
What's your favorite room in your house? Do you plot or write there?
My home office-library. I write here, and I read here.
If you had to only work on one project for the next year... what would it be?
That's a tough one. I have a folder of unfinished stories, that were interrupted by one thing or another, and to which I just never got back to. If the contents of the folder could be taken as a single project, I'd like to finish those tales.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Deadlines. I use a lot of my free time to write, and there never seems to be enough of it. I tend to no longer write entries in anything that has a specific date for which the work is required. If you are referring to the mechanical aspects of writing, I feel fairly comfortable with that. Mostly, I just wing it!
Were the Hardy Boys a childhood favorite of yours?
I found them very quickly after coming to The States at age 9. My dad had a large library in storage at his parent's house, which was reclaimed when we moved here. I think my dad has never parted with a single book in his life. He had most of the Hardy Boys series, and they were the editions published in the forties, before they were abridged in 1959. The Abridged editions are patently inferior to the originals, and I was able to get a really good dose of the best of that series.
Your characters use fun time period slang, like “the gas”. Was it easy to sprinkle in time-period specific phrases or did you find modern slang creeping in?
If there was any accidental modern slang in the story, no one pointed it out to me. I generally research anything that I am unsure about before adding it to one of my stories. That said, we all have some 'fake' facts in our heads - things we think are true, but aren't. Those sorts of things can get into a tale under the guise of a fact I feel certain of, and then just prove to be wrong later. But, again, no one said anything, so I hope I got it right.
Do you have a favorite scene in The House of Storms?
Actually...I kind of smile at the scene where the power is out at the hotel, and then comes back on, and Frank and his boyfriend, who are holding each other in their room, and Joe and his boyfriend, who are doing the very same thing in their room next door, turn and spy each other through the open connecting door between rooms. Neither brother knew the other was gay until that point. Great pair of detectives, huh?
Was there any red herring or detail readers didn’t pick up in the mystery you wish they would have?
I don't think there was any discussion on the clues, so I actually don't know if people missed things or not. There were a few red herrings, but I kept them to a minimum. Hardy Boys stories tended to telegraph a little bit of what was coming, and I did the same, so I am not certain how much of a surprise the ending was to readers. As a boy, my general reaction to having the bad guy revealed at the end of a Hardy Boys story was, "I knew it!", rather than, "Didn't see that coming!" I think most readers simply had their suspicions confirmed at the end of my version, too.
Can you sum up The House of Storms in one sentence?
If it was as fun for readers to read as it was for me to write, than I consider it a successful tale.
Hello all, I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! It's hard to believe that the year is nearly over, and it's been such an exciting year. For today's blog, we're going to start wrapping up one of our previous blog features. The Improve & Encourage feature was a fun one to do, but it's time to move on to a new feature. With that in mind, I'm working on getting the final few Improve & Encourage posts and it will be complete in the near future. Today, to help get us started, we have a critique by @aditus of The Tollbooth Operator by @Timothy M.. Enjoy!
The Tollbooth Operator
Critique by: aditus
Please give us a short summary of the story you chose.
Frankie lived all his life in a gated community. Like his father, he works as their tollbooth operator and lives in a tiny cottage attached to the booth. Residents and colleagues like him for his work ethic, friendliness, and helpfulness, even though some might think him slightly odd. Every day he unwavering follows a strict set of routines. One of those routines proves to be very helpful in a criminal investigation; as a result, Frankie has to step out of his comfort zone and leave his home for the first time.
What do you see as the strengths of the story/poem?
The Tollbooth Operator originated from Cia’s newsletter Grid & Dice game. Timothy M. had to write a flash fiction piece from: A neurotic tollbooth operator hides in an inner city one-star no-tell motel because: "Fuck, they saw me!"
When I read this combination it made me grin at first, then I was tremendously glad I didn’t get this particular challenge. I found it difficult to think of any ideas for this prompt. Timothy however, obviously didn’t have a problem with the task, or so it seems after having read the story.
Usually we learn about a character by observing them while the story unfolds —not this time. We get to listen in as Frankie recaps why he has to hide from criminals and how he feels about it. I loved this. It’s a sneaky way to show us how uniquely his mind works and what an extraordinary and strong person he is. Timothy developed an engaging tale around him and gave it a nice twist by cleverly using Frankie’s quirks. On top of that, he somehow managed to include the one-star no-tell motel because “Fuck, they saw me!” without it being awkward or forced. Unbelievable!
What do you see as the weaknesses of the story/poem?
Obviously Frankie is not your run of the mill character. There are only hints at what makes him special. I liked this, but I found the just hinting a little overdone. A small piece here, a description there, emphasizing certain quirks, detailing unusual needs and routines.... At some point, I was thinking ‘Okay, I I got it.’ But this is admittedly just nitpicking.
How do you think the story/poem could be improved?
That’s easy, with writing an end that doesn’t feel as if the author ran out of time! Or at least by adding a part two.
‘I was hoping this open-ended finish would leave you in a state of mind similar to Frankie's, so you'd feel the uncertainty and what now?’
Sorry, that didn’t work .Well, not with me. I’m greedy. I want an ending for this unusual, quirky story written by the author himself and not cobbled together by my inadequate brain. Pretty, please? You can do this so much better than me, Tim!
What was your favorite part? (scene/sentence/etc)
I loved how Frankie handled the reporters. It showed that he isn’t a push-over. It was an important realization for my understanding of him.
And then there is Detective Kasumaki. Let’s whisper his name together with Frankie and hope the author finds it in himself to write a little something more.
Well, it's Christmas Eve. Hope everyone is ready and if you celebrate, hopefully Santa visits you tonight. Make sure you're in bed early! To help you get into the holiday spirit, we asked the review team to pick some of their favorite Christmas/Holiday stories and write a short review. If you haven't already read these stories, they are definitely worth checking out. And maybe, if you have an extra moment or two during a lull in the festivities, leave the authors a story review! Now, I'm going to leave these with you as I finish with the preparations for Baby J's very first Christmas!
from the Gay Authors Staff
Reviewer: Parker Owens
Word Count: 10,821
There are so many good things to say about this story, I’m not sure where to begin. That’s probably why it’s a favorite Christmas tale. For one thing, it’s about healing, a theme toward which I naturally gravitate. The central character, Frank, has suffered traumatic loss after traumatic loss. Tragedy and misfortune have taken so much away. He’s changed his profession from trainer to artisan; now he ekes out a living selling the products of his hands. He’s numbed by it all and seems beaten down by life.
Yet something stirs inside Frank when Chris walks into his store.
We see a friendship unfold and something potentially wonderful begin to flower for Frank. What warms the heart is watching Frank thaw, seeing him reclaim himself from his pain. The reader can cheer him on, willing Frank to see what ought to be plain.
Of course, isn’t that an experience common to so many of us? We miss something splendid and incredible right under our noses, just as Frank does. Fortunately, he finds the courage to reach for that very thing, only to see it become something far more fantastic than he expected.
Category: Fiction Genres: Fantasy, Romance Tags: gay, love, brothers, holiday Rating: Everyone
Word Count: 3,287
Christmas… The time for cheer and goodwill toward all. However, the sweetness of the season can put you in a foul mood, just for being too much and sometimes fake. If this happens, I would prescribe an antidote in the form of Meeting Santa, a story devoid of Christmas coziness. It revolves around a man hellbent on proving Santa exists, and he has some big plans for the jolly, old man if or when they meet. Anticipation builds throughout the short story and your curiosity will mount for every paragraph. With a few, well selected lines, Wildone outlines his main character, a man who is rather bitter. Instead of letting the injustice of life paralyze him, he’s taking action. As an added bonus, the story will teach you quite a bit about what preparations and equipment are needed for a trek to the North pole.
Category: Fiction Genres: Adventure Tags: mature adult, no sex, modern, holiday, christmas Rating: Mature
Muscle Bear Santa
Reviewer: Timothy M.
Word Count: 2,992
If you like stories with lots of banter between hunky guys, Muscle Bear Santa is the perfect choice. Plus the banner will probably make you wish for a Christmas Night visit from this special Santa – or any night he’s free. Enjoy the warm feeling of spending time with two great guys who care about each other and people around them.
Category: Fiction Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Romance Tags: young adult, adult, gay, north america, light-hearted, christmas Rating: Mature
Rudolph's Tijuana X-mas
Reviewer: Renee Stevens
Word Count: 5,599
I kind of forgot how twisted this tale really was until I re-read it for this review blog. We all push the limits sometimes, and Mann Ramblings is no exception, which he clearly shows in this little tale. A moment of jealousy, peppermint schnapps, a riot, and a scandal that ruins Christmas send Rudolph far from the North Pole to escape the chaos. Sounds a bit messed up, right? Well, that’s because it is. I guarantee that after reading about Rudolph’s Christmas, you won’t look at Santa, Rudolph, or the elves in the same way as you did previously. At least, that’s the general consensus among those who have already read Rudolph's Tijuana X-mas. Mann freely admits that brandy may have been involved when he wrote this little Christmas tale, though he claims that was the only mind-altering substance involved. Regardless, this little tale will have you shaking your head and laughing out loud from the first word to the last.
Category: Fiction Genres: Comedy, Fantasy Tags: mature adult, celebrity, 20th century, holiday Rating: Mature
Santa's Little Helper
Reviewer: Blind Ambition
Word Count: 5,674
The true spirit of Christmas is often lost in the commercialism and capitalism that we so often see during the holiday season. Christmas is a time to share with family and friends. A time to cherish past memories. More importantly, Christmas is a time to give of your time and heart. Craftingmom reminds us of these simple things in Santa's Little Helper, as we see the unfolding story of Chase. An innocent, bright-eyed child asking the mall Santa for a larger car to sleep in. How will Dean, Santa's aide, provide a little spirit and hope to Chase and his father Tony? This is a heart-warming story that represents the true magic of the holiday. A reminder of compassion, love, and empathy. Humanity at its best!
Category: Fiction Genres: Drama Tags: child, young adult, gay, christmas Rating: Everyone
Word Count: 1,152
For Dean and Tommy everything starts with a joke, which then becomes their first Christmas tradition. Add another family member, and some more well-loved rituals and routines, and you have an amazing Holiday season to look forward to every year. Until everything changes and the bliss of the past seems to be out of reach.
Their daughter Ashley thinks she has found the solution. By gift-wrapping the joke that started it all, she hopes to free all the beautiful memories locked away, and pave the way into a hopeful future.
On a personal note: I couldn’t help buying an unbelievably kitschy novelty mug, big enough for the first portion of much needed coffee on Christmas Morning.
Category: Fiction Genres: Historical, Romance Tags: holiday, christmas Rating: Mature
Since this is the last review for the year, I just wanted to take a moment to thank the review team. You all are awesome, and I so appreciate your hard work and the time that you have spent providing me with reviews for the blog. I look forward to working with all of you in 2019! I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and the absolute best in the coming year. Thank you, again.
Did you catch Monday's feature of this month's Classic story, Someday Out of the Blue by LittleBuddhaTW? We shared the ad and a graphic you can add to your signature, plus a glowing review from a fan. If that didn't convince you to read the story, how about this excerpt below?
I picked this excerpt because I wanted to point out all the drama this poor guy is going through. And, while most teenagers think they have a lot to shoulder under or face burdens that feel super dramatic and heavy, Connor really does. But, like so many other teens, he thinks he has life under control. He can handle it. He knows what's best... or does he?
Want to read more? Click here.
Well the year is nearly over, but we have one last feature for 2018 for readers to enjoy from our Classic Authors. This story features some of readers' favorite themes here on GA: coming of age, first love, and jocks/geeks themes.
Description: Connor Matthews, a shy boy who comes from an abusive family is accidentally hit in the head by a lacrosse ball one day, which leads him to meet Ryan, an attractive redhead, and his younger brother, Toby. Connor gradually learns to come out of his shell, but not without some traumatic experiences along the way.
A Reader Said: Without a doubt one of the best stories I've ever read. ~BadBart
If you want to spread the word about LittleBuddhaTW's story, download the graphic below and add it to your signature!
Make sure you come back on Wednesday to see the excerpt I chose to share!
Welcome to another Monday! While Monday's might be the start of your work week, there is also a bright spot, at least on THIS Monday. Today we have a review from Cole Matthews on Valkyrie's in progress story, The Hollow Hills. Just a reminder, if you'd like to bring some attention to a story that you're reading, you are more than welcome to write a blog review for it! We do have a review team, but we also welcome reviews from members outside of the review team. If you're interested in reviewing a story for the blog, please message @Timothy M. to sign up for an available review slot.
The Hollow Hills
Reviewer: Cole Matthews
Status: In Process
Word Count: 86,114
Writers dream in stories. We fantasize about scenes, conjure characters to people them, and fill their fictional lives with events and emotions. That’s what a writer does to create a truth of their own.
Readers indulge in a writer’s fancy, digging deeply into the words and images conveyed. A reader interprets a writer’s words and the characters come alive.
At least that’s what happens when reading a story like “The Hollow Hills” by Valkyrie.
This is Valkyrie’s introduction of the story to the reader.
This story centers around The Hollow Hills - a horse farm in Vermont - and Galen and Joshua. Galen moves to New England after breaking up with his boyfriend and meets Josh. Their relationship is anything but easy, with many obstacles standing in their way. When tragedy strikes, they need to learn how to redefine their lives and live with the after-effects.
The story seems pretty straight-forward.
Galen and Josh both have rich personal histories. Each man’s past affects their actions and reactions. These characters are steeped in pain, happiness, love, and fear, and they struggle to make their lives better.
Surrounding these men are other characters, both loving and deeply flawed. They provide the kind of contour and texture that makes both men feel like people we know.
In fact, I can identify with these guys personally. They are that real.
The story is called “The Hollow Hills,” which is the setting for this drama. However, Valkyrie has managed to make this horse farm another actor in the story. The ranch is the place where Galen and Josh meet and interact, but those interactions take on a greater meaning as the farm becomes a protector.
The horses too, are integral parts of the story as both men learn to heal with their help.
So far, I’ve only described the setting, the story outline, and the theme. The story is so much more, so let’s take a look.
Here is an excerpt from the first chapter, from Galen’s perspective.
Galen’s past is still part of him. He’s struggling with the loss of his partner, Jamie, and yet he’s not alone. The man has a cousin, Liam, who is there for him like a brother. Jamie left him therefore Galen is dealing with waves of self-doubt and a crisis of confidence. He’s determined to move on though.
Then, Galen meets Josh, and feels a striking attraction. Josh has a boyfriend, but that doesn’t prevent Galen from experiencing an interest in him. And vice versa.
In chapter four, we begin to see the world through Josh’s eyes. Let’s take a peek.
Josh also has a past filled with love and disappointment that he carries with him. His boyfriend, Roger, is a person he believes is good for him. The thrill of being around Galen is tempered by his love for his partner.
Josh’s housemate at the ranch is Alannah, who can’t stand Roger. She’s a warm, no-nonsense woman, and something makes her view their relationship critically. What could that be the reason?
You’ll have to read the story to find out.
“The Hollow Hills” is written in first person from Galen and Josh’s perspectives. It’s set in modern times and I would characterize it as a novel. It contains some very disturbing content, so if you avoid stories with violence or depression, this isn’t the book for you. Valkyrie is finishing the last couple of chapters so it will be complete shortly. If you want a moving, emotional story you can sink your teeth into, you will enjoy “The Hollow Hills.”
It’s worth the wild ride.
Category: Fiction Genres: Drama, Romance Tags: adult, rape, animals Rating: Mature
Can you believe it's already December? Nope, your eyes are not deceiving you. Cia has been super busy, but luckily for me, she'd already chosen the December CSR, and now it's my turn to help her out! Hopefully in between all your holiday activities, you'll be able to find time to read this story, set in 1948! The discussion day will finish out the year here in the blogs, and will be on December 31st! If you haven't read anything by Geron Kees yet, now is a great time to start! Hope you enjoy and we look forward to seeing you on New Years Eve to discuss The House of Storms.
The House of Storms
by Geron Kees
Description: It's 1948. Teens Frank and Joe Dane, sons of nationally famous private detective Ben Dane, are enjoying their summer vacation. But then their dad asks them to come along on a little trip up the coast, to a tourist town where strange things have been happening...and the boys are off on a mysterious case with two friends in tow.
Events take an immediate turn for the worse as it soon becomes obvious that someone is out to stop the investigation...someone willing to use any means at his disposal to win!
An homage to the Hardy Boys adventures that some of us read as kids, except that in this one, the boys are...um, well...you'll see.
A reader said: Didn't know anything about the Hardy Boys - maybe they never made it across the pond. However, that didn't detract from my enjoyment of this story that moved along at a rapid and, at times, very tense pace but also with an amazing amount of detail. Indeed it is a magical story! ~Ivor Slipper
Don't forget this month's Discussion Day will be Monday, December 31st.
Did you have a chance to read Dolores Esteban's science fiction story, Sumeru featured in this month's CSR? What do you think? Is the truth out there? More than we know or is it all just a bunch of bad t-shirt, retro hat conspiracy theory claptrap? Hmmm... how about you check out the story and find out? Or share your thoughts below if you already did! But first, enjoy this interview with Dolores Esteban!
Chocolate or Vanilla?
If you had 30 minutes of free time, what would you do?
I would probably read an online article. Thirty minutes is not a long time.
What’s one location you’d love to go to research for a story?
I'd travel back in time to Ancient Egypt or Ancient Sumer.
We share a love of science fiction, it seems. What do you like best about writing the genre?
I love to create new worlds, visit places in space and explore unknown things.
Do you have a favorite science fiction story that you’ve read (online or published)?
The Songs of Distance Earth by Arthur C. Clarke. I loved the novel.
In Sumeru, the crew is supposed to travel to a planet in the constellation in Scorpius. Is there a special reason you picked that constellation?
No special reason. I picked the constellation probably because it contains deep sky objects.
How about the meaning behind the name of the spacecraft, “Shiva”?
Shiva is a Hindu deity. I read articles on Hindu mythology. The texts inspired me to write Sumeru. The Vedas, texts originating in ancient India, contain concepts that are similar to concepts from modern science. That's the background of the story. Scientists learn from the texts that extraterrestrials visited Earth in the past. They send a ship to the aliens' system of origin to investigate. The spacecraft is called Shiva because of the Hindu texts that revealed the ancient truth.
Did you like trying the infographic style of Sumeru as a plot device or do you find a more classic story format flows better for you as a writer?
I started the story three times in three years. The first two attempts were plotted as classical stories and they failed miserably. I changed the approach and tried the infographic style. It worked out for the story Sumeru.
Do you have a favorite part of this story?
I actually like the whole story. After several failed attempts, I was happy when I had finally managed to finish the story.
In a reply to a review on the last chapter, you said you like to ask questions. Are you pondering any deep thoughts lately that have prompted any new story ideas?
I read about coherent quantum states and quantum decoherence. A very interesting topic. I've just started a science fiction piece. Quantum states are an element of the story. The writing so far is a mess. I jump between scenes. Definitely no coherence in writing. LOL. The editing process will be a pain.
Monday I brought you the Classic Author Feature for this month, Shadowgod's A Shot of Bourbon. Did you catch it? You can download a copy of the banner if you want to add it to your signature. If you missed the feature, never fear, we have more to pique your interest today with an excerpt from the story that will whet your appetite for more!
I picked this excerpt because I wanted to show just where the inspiration for the image from the banner came from, plus it's a great scene to showcase the interactions and back and forths between Bourbon and one of the other characters...
Want to read more? Click here.
How can November be half over? Seriously? 2018 is just a few weeks from ending, and I have no idea where all the time went. Well, we read a lot of great stories this year, and here's another one for you to enjoy! A popular story in its day, A Shot of Bourbon is a teen coming of age story full of full-throttle fun, hormones, and more than a little excitement that comes with all of that.
Description: The classic tale about a boy and his dirtbike. You know the one; boy meets bike, boy falls in love, bike hurts boy... yadda... yadda... yadda...
If you want to spread the word about shadowgod's story, download the graphic below and add it to your signature!
Make sure you come back on Wednesday to see the excerpt I chose to share!
Who's ready for another story review? You're in luck then, as Puppilull has prepared one for lomax61's Twelve Gays of Christmas! Before we get to the review though, we would really like if a member of the community would be willing to provide a review for the December slot. The review team is working on a special treat for everyone and if someone could sign up, that would be awesome! If you're interested in getting one of your favorite stories some attention, send a message to @Timothy M. Now, onto the review!
Twelve Gays of Christmas
Word Count: 53,556
I can’t believe it! It’s that time of year already. The holiday season, where all shall twinkle along with the tinsel and stars, all happy and cozy, fa-la-laing in joyous harmony as fluffy snowflakes gently blanket the world outside.
Except not all Christmases live up to those standards. When your husband has left you, for a woman no less, your circle of friends is falling apart and nothing seems to be going the way you planned – what do you do? You get on with it, of course! What else?
Trevor is not about to let a deserting husband, friends away in far off places, breakup of his best friend, and death of another dear friend stop him from celebrating Christmas as they have been for the past years. The plans will go ahead or he’ll be forced to admit defeat. And he is not defeated.
Sticking to their plans, the remaining gang with a few add-ons departs to a remote location in Scotland for the holidays. Off they go, this motley crew of old friends, new acquaintances taking the places of others, among them Trevor’s ex and Mary, the new woman. Yes, his rival will be joining them for the celebrations. Does this sound like an excellent idea? No, I didn’t think so either…
Of course, there are arguments already from the get go, when Mary turns out to be a bit demanding to put it mildly. But in the midst of all the drama, the son of the landlord shows up. Enter the delicious Rudy. Trevor is instantly smitten, but what will Rudy think? And what is lurking in his not so distant past?
Twelve Gays of Christmas is a fun but heartfelt read. You get the Christmas feel and also the romance to warm your cold evenings. The characters are well written, both the ones you root for and the ones you mostly want to hit over the head with a snow shovel. I found the villains also have some redeeming traits, even if I was pretty much alone in feeling sympathy for the Supervillain of the story (read to see who that is…). This keeps them from being cardboard cut outs and instead are people you can somehow understand.
Most of all it’s a nice read, perfect for an evening in with some tea, a warm blanket and a crackling fire. It will set you in the right mood for Christmas. And perhaps add a slight longing for just a little more romance and drama in your own life…
So unwrap this story as your own special Christmas treat. You are worth it!
Category: Fiction Genres: Romance Tags: mature adult, gay, rural, anal, serious, celebrity, modern, christmas Rating: Mature
Happy November! I know many authors are focused on Nanowrimo, but there's also time for reading this month, right? There's always time for reading! Still, I picked a story on the lower end of the word count this month, but one that is right up my favorite alley--science fiction. Dolores Esteban writes excellent stories in all different styles and genres, and Sumeru is a real thinker. Have you checked it before? Now's the perfect time!
by Dolores Esteban
Description: Operation Shiva is the biggest spaceflight mystery of all time. The spacecraft took off from Cape Canaveral on August 8, 2068. According to official statements, the craft reached its target in the constellation of Scorpius, but hence was never heard of again. What happened with the ship and the crew? The truth is out there.
A reader said: OMG............The End?????? (now much wailing and gnashing of teeth) Thank you for a story that had a unexpected twist..........The truth is out there........... ~Jeff1
Don't forget this month's Discussion Day will be Monday, November 26th.
On the first Monday of the month, I announced the CSR Feature was Carlos Hazday's series, Atlantis Shift. It features two stories, Tidal Power and Detskoye Porno, but check out my interview with Carlos to see his thoughts on writing in general, those two stories, or if there might be more to come! He always gets to ask authors questions and share the answers, so enjoy this chance I had to turn the tables on him!
When it comes to reading, do you have a preference for paper or eBook/online books or stories?
I’ve read on both but have realized I prefer printed over digital. Ten years ago, when I sold a large house and moved to an apartment, I gave away several hundred books. A few favorites I replaced with electronic versions and enjoyed reading on my tablet. Over time, I’ve recaptured the love for the physical presence of a book and the delight of turning pages and folding a corner to mark my place. It’s also a great sleep aid. Reading on a screen can interfere with dozing but falling off with my glasses on and the weight of a book on my chest is a thrill again.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing or collecting questions & answers for Ask an Author?
Riding my motorcycle! I own a 2010 Harley-Davidson Road King. For anyone not familiar with scooters, that’s a BIG touring bike meant for more than speeding down the highway or bumming around the city. Over the past ten years, I’ve ridden in 41 of the 50 states and a small corner of Canada. In all kinds of weather. The feeling of freedom is infectious. If on a busy road, I’ll blast the sound system; if on a quiet one, I’ll let the engine roar and the whistling wind blowing through my hair be my soundtrack. And no, I rarely wear a helmet. It’s the rebel in me.
What’s one location you haven’t been to that you’d love to go to research for a story?
Brazil! Although I’m almost fluent in Portuguese, the South American giant is a place I’ve never visited. I can imagine a story straddling the beaches of Rio and the Amazon jungle. Exotic locales alone could be a great inspiration. The danger would be that when you throw in sultry weather and half-naked hot men, I may just forget about writing.
What do you think the most valuable advice or piece of education you’ve learned about writing is?
Patience. Something sorely missing from my personality, but what I advise new writers to develop. Too many good story ideas are wasted in the rush to publish. It takes months for a chapter of mine to see the light and, even then, I often find errors. Only a fool thinks they can offer a quality product by themselves.
I’ve been lucky to have a few talented individuals work with me. Particularly @Mann Ramblings. I’ve benefitted from his experience working with professional editors when publishing his books. I also know at times he’s consulted @Renee Stevensand @Cia when in doubt, so my gratitude to all three. Things he corrected at the beginning are no longer an issue. I’ve paid attention to what he fixes, internalized, and hopefully improved my writing.
What’s the first thing you do when you start to write a story? (Plotter, pantser, get in a particular place to write, have your coffee/tea/drink ready to go…?)
Look up hot men on the internet to model my characters after… Nah, not really. That comes later in the process. I’m a chronic planner. The spark may be a location, a character, or an event. I generally will jot down whatever it is, and then flesh it out into an outline/timeline. Once I have a beginning and an end, I sit at my desk and start working. Since most of my writing’s done in the early morning, a mug of coffee is always by my side.
Did you do any particular research for the fantastical aspects before you wrote Tidal Power and Detskoye Porno?
Not at all. I researched locations for both stories, power generation for the first one, and kiddie porn for the second. Dolphin anatomy was also in there. As far as the fantastical aspects, I relied a bit on previous readings. Anne Rice’s vampires, Rob Colton’s werewolves, and Cia’s were-creatures all floated around in my head. But I wanted something different, so I used those as a starting point to create my own myths.
What do you think the best parts of these stories are? (scenes, characters, particular aspects of the writing, etc…)
The concept. The emergence of shifter dolphins as a result of Atlantis sinking into the ocean. It‘s something different and opens up a world of opportunities for water-related stories. Being born in Cuba and raised in Puerto Rico and Miami, the ocean’s always played a huge part in my life.
The Atlantis Shift series were written and posted a few years ago, and writing is an evolution. What changes do you think would improve the stories from your viewpoint as an author now?
Where to start? Tidal Power was an experiment in dialogue-driven storytelling. No narration and no speech tags. Somebody slap me if I try that again. The second story’s a bit better but not much. Both would benefit from additional descriptions of locations, characteristics, and action. Written when I was getting my feet wet in the authorship business, I thought I knew what I was doing. Fool!
Do you have any ideas, plots, plans, or thoughts you want to share with readers about the Atlantis shift series to come?
Yes, I do. My idea was to follow the dolphins through different adventures where they would team up with other fantastical creatures. So far, werewolves, vampires, and dragons have been featured. I have blurbs involving witches, Santeria gods, and elves amongst possible characters. Each story would deal with a real-world situation where the dolphins team-up or face-off with the other beings. A new series installment is on my list of 2019 projects.
Please share any other inside tidbits about your current works, your stories those who enjoyed these stories might like, or special sneak peeks of works to come for readers here!
I’ve concentrated on the CJ series in the recent past. Currently, book ten is in the works. The story about a wealthy, Hispanic, gay teen with political aspirations will conclude with his graduation from college. It’ll begin posting in January. The list of future projects includes a children’s story or two, further adventures for the Key West biker in American Steel, fleshing out flash pieces of Colt and Tony in Chelsea, and potential CJ spinoffs.
The pantheon of character in that series is rich, and I’d like to explore a few of them in more detail. Either flashbacks or future events. I do have quite a bit written on one dealing with Chipper, the musician in the group. And there’s always the possibility of further CJ stories following his work in the State Department and his rise to prominence in the US. But I need a break first.
Please enjoy this review brought to you by the lead of our review team, Timothy M!
Never Too Late
Reviewer: Timothy M.
Word Count: 42,149
November is approaching, a dreary, cold, dark month in the northern hemisphere. The Danish poet Henrik Nordbrandt once wrote: The year has sixteen months: November, December, January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, November, November, November. Read the poem out loud and you’ll get the feeling of how long and boring November is. (Of course, this doesn't apply to the GA story November Falls).
Now imagine it’s November and you’re an old, poor and lonely man living in a cold, damp cottage in England. Then you’ll have the setting of northie’s story Never Too Late. It’s a rather unusual tale on a site where most protagonists are teens or adults below age 30, handsome and/or charming, fit and friendly, or at least with some redeeming traits. Maybe the only thing Eric has in common with the normal main characters is being gay. And deeply closeted but opening the door.
The person Eric opens the door to, is Andy, a young charity volunteer who does fulfill the usual character criteria. At first they don’t get along at all, but with nudging from Adam, his clever boyfriend, Andy manages to salvage the initial disaster and gradually win the trust of Eric. He discovers how to help the taciturn, proud oldster who in turn gradually opens up to potential friendships and a glimpse into the unobtainable world of gay romance and relationships. But at least Eric now has a connection to the gay community which Andy wants to broaden by introducing him to computers and the internet. Not an easy task at all.
Never Too Late culminates at Christmas and the New Year, two events which can be especially depressing for people without family and friends. So why do I recommend a story which sounds as sad as November? It’s because northie once again has managed to capture my heart with something real; with characters who make mistakes, but strive to improve; with gentle but piercing observations on how society ignores the needs of the poor, the old, and the lonely. Most of all, how the kindness of a few people, who reach out to Eric during the story, makes all the difference in the world to him.
northie’s tale has attracted a small, but devoted group of fans, some of whom shared their personal experiences and perspectives on the topics mentioned above, both via interesting chapter comments and in the discussion forum. Their opinions are perhaps better advertising that anything I could say:
@Carlos Hazday : Love your way of writing these stories, sensitive and emotional characters, bordering on pathetic without actually reaching that level.
@drsawzall : well done and vitally important that we see stories in this subject. Life isn't simply led as some of the stories would have you believe. We all struggle with and hide what we don't want others to see.
@dughlas : My heart still aches for Eric. There is much missing from his life. Andy and Adam are bringing new experiences to his life.
@ColumbusGuy : This story is just amazingly warm, especially once Andy got over his 'save the world' complex and saw Eric as a real person. Do you know how rare that is for elderly or handicapped people?
We look forward to the next book (already into chapter 12 according to northie and due to start posting early in 2019), where we hope to see Eric’s life brighten in various ways. Take your time to savor Book One, which may not be full of action and drama, but has plenty of the compassion and understanding to which we as humans should aspire. And if nothing else the story may make you appreciate what you have in your life in terms of comforts, health, friends, and best of all love. As @droughtquake said: I feel so lucky compared with Eric!
Category: Fiction Genres: Drama, Romance Tags: young adult, senior, gay, europe, coming out, friendship Rating: Mature
Did you catch Monday's blog featuring the ads for The Zot's short story, You Meet Your Soulmate in the Strangest Places? This short story is a romance of a different sort, full of unexpected moments, sweet surprises, a bit of angst (what good romance doesn't have at least a little?) and some hot, hot kissing. Check it out!
I picked this excerpt because it creates a moment of romance, some humor, some of that drama I mention, and you're left with a wait... what? right at the very end. LOL. It's hard to do all that within just a few paragraphs and in one moment of time in a story, but The Zot managed!
To read more, click here.
One of the earliest authors on GA, @TheZot has stories featuring a mix of genres and styles, and one of my favorites among them is this quirky story. Not quite what you'd expect and definitely with a twist at the end, I think you'll enjoy this short story as much as I did! Make sure you come back on Wednesday to find out what excerpt I picked to showcase The Zot's writing as well!
Description: Drew never expected to meet his true love on the train, but that's okay, he did anyway. Now if he can just figure out who the guy was and find him again...
If you want to spread the word about The Zot's story, download the graphic below and add it to your signature!
Make sure you come back on Wednesday to see the excerpt I chose to share!
Who's into a spooky story? It's October after all, and time for all sorts of shivery scary stories all set to send a chill up your spine. Check out what Puppilull thought about one of MrM's short stories from his flash collection of vignettes. Sometimes, it just takes a few words to truly bring out the heart-pounding fright... and he kicks it off with the title alone: The Web (eww!)
Vignettes Collection: The Web
Word Count: 1,696
Autumn is upon us and curling up inside with a nice read is high on the agenda. But deciding the right story can be difficult. Romance? Suspense? Hmm…
Why not go for getting scared half to death? Read something that can very well give you nightmares of evil things dwelling in the dark recesses of your basement? Then The Web, a short, stand-alone story, part of MrM’s Vignettes Collection, is just the thing. Just remember, I did warn you!
I’m not a particularly sensitive person and can often find myself drawn to the darker side of stories. But even I found The Web to be a quite disturbing story of a spider living in the basement of a house. There it lies in wait for prey…
As short as it is, this story was still terrifying enough to make the hairs on my arms stand at attention. It unfolds as intricately as the threads of a spider’s web, getting the reader increasingly ensnared, wanting to get away but feeling compelled to read it to the disturbing end. Throughout the story, you can feel the menacing hunger of the creature, which as any predator feels no remorse for sating its need for flesh. Then again, would you feel remorse over eating, say, a plate of pancakes?
The story was written as part of a Newsletter Game Challenge, where the writers were instructed to pick the scariest creature imaginable and then write a story about it. And boy, did MrM manage to hit this one out of the ballpark! In only little over 1500 words, MrM manages to create a truly terrifying tale of that which lurks in the corners of basements.
If you need anything from your basement, get it before you read this story. Chances are you won’t go down there any time soon…
Category: Fiction Genres: Free-Verse (Horror) Tags: dark, serious Rating: Everyone
October brings us a nice long month to read, a full 28 days, so I wanted to feature a series. Carlos Hazday's Atlantis Shift series delves into the mystical world under the waves that so fascinates many due to the very mystery it still holds on the planet, and I couldn't pass it up. It's also another older feature from his early days showing his creativity from the beginning and his growth since then. You'll get to know more about these stories and Carlos in my interview at the end of the month, so make sure you read up and come back on October 29th!
Atlantis Shift Series by Carlos Hazday
Description: Two ancient species join forces to battle a common enemy.
A Reader Said: I think I agree with most guys here in that you left us wanting more! After reading the story I have an entirely new appreciation for dolphins that I never even knew existed The wolves are still my favorite, though! ~albertnothlit
Description: The dolphins of Nova Scotia return in an all new adventure!
A Reader Said: Definitely interested in more. I like all three of the shifter groups we've met - the wolves, dolphins and the dragons. Great story. ~avidreadr
Don't forget to come back for the Discussion Day on Monday, October 29th!
September was a short month week-wise for reading the CSR story, so we had a shorter selection (and much shorter than last month's!) with Remijay's Time Will Tell. Did you make the time to read this contemporary twin feature? That's one of the interesting parts of this--the story started posting years before it was finished. Make sure you share what you think in the comments below, but first I want to share my interview with Remijay where I ask him about writing over the course of years.
Chocolate or Vanilla?
If you were an animal, what would you be?
I would like to think a Tiger.
What brought you to GA?
My favorite author, Comicality.
Is there any quote or saying about writing that resonates with you?
There is a lot of quotes that I could use, but the one I like the best is, "Without risks there are no rewards".
What’s the best part of being an author? The hardest part?
The best part would be inspiring others from your words. The hardest part would expressing yourself in a way that leaves you vulnerable
You began writing Time Will Tell a very long time ago. Do you remember what prompted you to begin the story?
I was in a very dark place at the time. The story Time Will Tell, originally was supposed to be a poem. But I couldn't shake the feeling that it could be much more.
If the author you are now could give advice to the author you were then, what would it be?
Listen to others. Write from your heart. Be passionate about what you write.
If you could pick actors to play Devon & Josh, who would they be?
Dylan and Cole Sprouse.
What’s your favorite scene in the story?
There are actually two scenes. One is when Devon is introduced to Trent, and the second would be the ending part of the story.
What else are you writing or plan to post next on GA for readers to enjoy?
I am currently continuing to write Twist Of fate, along with Modern High Take 3. Other than that, whatever comes to my mind as a story.
Did you catch Monday's blog featuring Stefan Schmidt's novella, The Sons of Memory? This tale of Theseus brings out a lot of the old classic stylings with all the trappings of the Greek mythology, including a minotaur who needs... well, what he needs. And this story isn't shy with the details. I decided to share the excerpt from the very beginning, because as with all good stories, that sets the plot and the first glimpse of the character. Care to check out... the maze?
To read more, click here.
A classic tale with a twist by a Classic GA author? How about that?! Check out this month's Classic Author feature, The Son's of Memory by Stefan Schmidt, a nearly 24k story all about sacrifice, monsters, misunderstandings, and maybe some mischief. Okay, we're talking about the Greek Gods, so there's going to be a whole lot of mischief!
Description: This is the ancient tale of Theseus, prince of Athens, who tries to stop Athens' tribute to Crete. He will not only meet a monster in a labyrinth but perhaps the love of his life. But the Gods are not always friendly. Being a plaything to the moods of the Gods, Theseus and Arian are stranded on the isle of Naxos where they will meet their fate and a God's private competition.
If you want to spread the word about Stefan Schmidt's story, download the graphic below and add it to your signature!
Make sure you come back on Wednesday to see the excerpt I chose to share!
A very popular story in its day, many of our current readers might not have read this latest story to be reviewed by the team combing through the stories on the site to bring you recommendations like Pour Me Another by K.C. A winner of a Reader's Choice Award from when we polled site members for their favorite story content, see if spikey582 agrees with the voters and would have chosen K.C.'s story back then too!
Pour Me Another
Word Count: 72,802
Last year when we did our review feature on Classic author stories, I knew at the time that I really wanted to do a review for more than one story. Unfortunately, at the time, I didn’t have enough time to get more than one story covered, so I’ve been wanting to go back through the GA archives and find another somewhat forgotten gem to draw attention to. That being said, I was happy to run across this story by K.C. that I actually had forgotten I read back in my first year on GA.
In Pour Me Another, we are introduced to one Asher Burkhart, an openly gay bartender working in an upscale business center. At the same time, we’re introduced to Michael Waters, a seemingly straight, arrogant businessman, and frequent patron of the very bar in which Asher works. A series of encounters early on in the story, in which Asher finds himself rendering aid to Michael more than once sets a pattern of these two men to cross paths again and again.
As they continue to meet and interact, both men are taken on a journey of discovery together. We are treated to the ups and downs of their interactions, as they get to know each other and we get to discover who they truly are right along with them.
What I really enjoyed about this story was how well K.C. develops both characters. They have a depth to them, and they have to overcome some seemingly insurmountable challenges through their journey. This story handles some pretty heavy issues, and complicated situations, and does so in a subtle way. A simple boy-meets-boy story this is not.
I’m not sure I can do this story justice in such a short synopsis for how good it really is. It is engaging right from the first chapter, and had me binging to read what happens next, even upon revisiting the story just this last month. Something I thought was interesting upon rereading this story was a notation on the title page. Pour Me Another was the winner of the 2013 Readers Choice Award for Best Story by a Promising Author. I joined GA in 2015, and as far as I am aware, there hasn’t been such an award voted on since joining. So, this is something that apparently was done on the site a few years ago. Either way, Pour Me Another was very deserving of such an award. It’s a great read, so go check it out.
Category: Fiction Genres: Romance Tags: gay, urban, anal, masturbate, oral, modern Rating: Mature