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Author Showcase!

Renee Stevens


What day is it today? Oh yeah, it's Wednesday, which can only mean it's time to showcase two more Authors! Today we have a review of "The House Always Wins" by Promising Author: Andr0gene as well as a review of "Blizzard" by Admin & Author: JSmith! Enjoy!!!



Reviewer: Renee Stevens
Status: Complete
Word Count: 51,936


Before I became a beta reader for Andr0gene, I first read his story The House Always Wins. While I have read all of his stories since then, this story remains my favorite. Though, “Colorado Games” and his “Confounded” series are a close second!


The story “The House Always Wins” follows Jason Carter, or JJ, in the days after he has been kicked out of his home for no other reason than he was gay and was caught in a compromising situation. With very little money and with nowhere to go, he finds himself in Las Vegas.


After being accidentally injured just outside of a casino, JJ finds himself a guest of the hotel. Before leaving Las Vegas, he decides to try his luck, only to find himself in worse circumstances than he was in before with no money and no place to go. An unfortunate string of events ends with an offer too good to refuse. All he has to do is pretend to be the boyfriend of the casino’s owner, Michael Black, for a month, and he’d walk away with a cool twenty thousand. He quickly accepts, after all, how hard could it be to pretend?


Actually a lot harder than he thought. The story follows the month that JJ spends with Michael. When Michael’s nosy mother shows up, JJ has to make sure she believes that he’s in love with Michael and Michael is in love with him, which includes sharing a bed with the man he’s supposed to love. Lines become blurred throughout the story and the reader has to keep asking themselves, what is truth and what is the lie?


“The House Always Wins” in an interesting story and I quickly became engrossed in JJ’s plight. Andr0gene shows his skill with this story in that he hooked me from the start and refused to let go until I finished reading. I look forward to reading more by Andr0gene.


If you haven’t already, why not check the story out and if you enjoyed the story, leave the author a review or two!


4.5 out of 5 Stars






Reviewer: LouisHarris
Status: Complete
Word Count: 4,074


Having only just discovered this author’s work, I find myself asking why it is I have not read him before. He has the ability to draw the reader in without shouting and whining. The words seem to roll along without any effort at all. It’s like taking a walk through a forest and discovering the soft dazzle of a dew drop, the silky strands of a spider’s web, or the strange moan of an animal one has never met. He writes in hues of peaceful yellow, and mixes his colours until he has a powerful blue and finally a dangerous red. He pulls the reader into these colours without a chance of escape. In short, he is a master of structure. He offers his reader a spellbinding experience through a roller coaster of events and emotions that are difficult to shake off long after reading the last word.


BLIZZARD has whispers of Brokeback Mountain, and, although the author claims that it is not a gay work, the nuances are ever present.


Jason and Patrick are 17 year old teens on their annual camping trip in the Wauskogee Park. It’s the middle of winter and it’s snowing. They spend their time reminiscing about old times and good times and have brought along all the equipment they require to make a winter camping trip comfortable. But, on the third day they find out that the area will soon be snowbound, and all too late they realize they will have to leave the site. Their friendship takes on a whole new aspect when, on their journey home, tragedy strikes.


I read quickly and digest words as I would a good South African barbecue, which we call a braai. The cooking of this story deserves applause, not only because it was written as a class assignment some years ago, but also because the structure of the piece is near perfect.


The writer’s intention in this piece, I believe, is to deliver an act of heroism where the hero is not fearful of losing his life through his actions. I also believe, that if the author could have, he would have made this a gay story; however, there are references to a deeper relationship between the teens that compelled me to read more, just to find out.


The author has given the reader two characters that are not just anybody. I believe readers want to read about people that tiptoe, and stroll and sprint through a story. Sunny, foggy and gusty characters. Mr. Smith delivers. He writes using the senses of sight, and touch and sound. He writes about characters that have faults and are able to evoke in the reader some measure of emotional response by the way they talk and walk. He paces this story through dialogue and flowing action, and this allows the story to develop until the very last word. He keeps his sentences in check. They are sharp and clean.


“After he successfully removed most of the glass, he started crawling his way out the window. He screamed in agony when he tried putting weight on his broken ankle. It felt as though someone were crushing the bone between two boulders every time he put any amount of pressure on it.”


But for me, the most compelling part of the story is the nauseating feeling that maybe, just maybe, neither of the lads will survive.


BLIZZARD is like a wild gust of wind. I recommend it to any reader who loves a thrill and an adventure. These are two teens that any teenaged boy will identify with as they approach the crossroads of their lives.




So, what did you think of our reviews for today? Ready to go read the stories and share your own thoughts? If you are interested in doing a review for the blog, we are still looking for Volunteers! If there is a story that you have read that you want to see highlighted in the blog, please contact Trebs or Renee Stevens!

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Also mentioned in the opening description is that "Blizzard" was intended as an anthology entry - I think that had it been submitted as one, the story could have worked as is. If anything, I think the story is a bit more powerful the way it is than if it had been written with Jason and Patrick as a gay couple. With them as a couple...you'd already be able to sense a strong connection between the two, because it's implied. With them as (not knowingly romantic) friends, such a strong connection isn't quite implied as strongly - and that's what makes Patrick's bravery later on so powerful. It's those actions, and the final scene days later, that let you know how much they mean to each other. I do think the story is better off for being able to show that so vividly.


As for "The House Always Wins"...I don't recall reading that one, but maybe I'll give that one a go. :)


(P.S. Renee - any short stories available needing review? I can try reviewing one of those. :))

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The House Always Wins is a great story, as is anything by Angr0gene. I was very happy to see him land here at GA. If you haven't read his work, I highly recommend you give it a try.


Oh, and Joe's good, too.

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