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Ask An Author #36

Renee Stevens


It's the first Wednesday of the month again (can you believe it's already February?!) 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! Also, a reminder, the Secret Admirer Short Story contest is tomorrow at 2:00 PM EST!


Ask an Author #36


Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors!


In AtA #35, we had questions for authors AC Benus, Aditus, and Mark Arbour.


In AtA #36, we hear from authors Bill W, Robert Rex, and Sasha Distan.
For their protection, the members who asked these questions shall remain nameless (unless they choose to reveal themselves). :lol: Please note that all author replies are copied as is, spelling errors and grammar eccentricities original to the individual.


Our first author today inducts Signature Author Bill W into this blog series. Now Bill has been around awhile, since 2003 actually. Say hello, as Bill often has a different perspective than us younger folk who are still trying to figure things out. He’s graced us with 60-something titles, including a few poems. What with the new GA Stories transfer in 2010-2011 (has it been 5 years already? :o ), I don’t remember what the earliest of his stories is, but Bill is perhaps best known for his Castaway Hotel series. The first of those is the Grand Reopening, aka Castaway Hotel #1. The Castaway Hotel is an orphanage of sorts, with a jumble of different personalities and backgrounds all trying to get along in life. With Bill’s long interest in politics, it’s interesting to see how that flavoring changes over the course of the different story collections. His most recent story is Tempered by Fate, Sword of Kings #3, and with only a few chapters left, catch up quick to learn Kieran’s fate!


To Bill W: Who is your favourite character from The Castway Hotel and why?


Wow! That's a really tough question, since I'd built an empathy for and felt close to each of the boys. If I had to pick just one, it probably would have to be Ricky. Not only was he the first, but he's a fun loving little imp, even now that he's grown (although some might question if he ever grew up!) Ricky came from a horrible background, but he never lost his upbeat view of life. He always found a way to make me smile and did some really touching things, but his pranks got the entire family going.


Danny would be a close second, and he was actually the second 'new' family member, but now that he's moved back home and is taking over for Josh, he is someone I've come to admire. He also came from a rough situation, but he buckled down and did well academically and now he's using his position to help others in similar circumstances.


If it was who I felt the worst for and would have wanted to help out the most, it would have been Kevin. He seemed to go through one relationship crisis after another, as well as a health scare, so I'm glad everything worked out for him and he ended up doing well.


Next up is also new to the blog: Author Robert Rex. Now in his sixties like Bill, Robert is unstoppable! :P Robert has been a welcoming voice to new members since his own arrival about a year and a half ago, and he survived another birthday back in November. He’s also from New Orleans and it’s no surprise to me that his interests include food/cooking. Hard to pass up that Cajun cooking down there. Of the three stories Robert has posted here on GA, his most recent is Lion's Lair, which has generated quite the buzz across the community. Congrats, Robert! If you’ve yet to visit, Lion’s Lair is a mature story involving two very down-to-earth (but sexy!) men named Ryan and Clayton. As we’re told in the first chapter, there’s no such thing as an “ex” marine, and Ryan has his work cut out for him adjusting to life in a chair. The story is told in alternating first person, which is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s still a popular format, and the POV of each character is engaging and unique. Fall in love with someone new and go check it out!


To Robert Rex: What is the first thing you decide when you're going to create a new character?


I probably work ass-backwards on this, but I'm most comfortable when the characters are created based on the story theme/plot. (I like to think my writing tells a story--so the character's definition is driven by the plot/story requirements.). I've only once created a character, then built a plot. And introducing a new character in a story is ALWAYS plot driven for me. As a result, the story defines the character's sex, emotions, and physical description (in that order). The emotional makeup of the character is the real driver, beyond sex.


You’ve met him before, Sasha Distan returns to complete our author interviews today. Now, we haven’t seen Sasha in awhile, but at almost 12000 likes, I’m sure I’m not alone in hoping he comes write for us again soon! Sasha describes himself as “part wolf and part African Hunting Dog” but prefers to lick and say hello rather than bite. This youngish Brit is known for his stories involving shape shifters of various kinds, but he’s written other things as well, such as his series American Songbook beginning with Great-Granddaddy's Gun. That one’s a short story revolving around, you guessed it, an old twelve-gauge shotgun. One of my favorites is Six Billion Credit Rent Boy, a sci-fi gem of a tale about … a kitten? :D Well, no, not literally, but find out more for yourself!


To Sasha Distan: Are you a group of writers rather than an individual?


No. I am just one person, ten fingers, ten toes, and one laptop. My brain might be more than one person, but that's not really in my control. I find this question kind of funny, because for those who know me personally, I have a history of not playing well with others. I lead well, I delegate well, but I'm not so much what you might call a team player. this partly because I have no tact, and I've never been shy about telling people exactly how and why they are wrong. books which are co-authored always confuse me, because I admire other people for their ability to combine their creative outputs, but I don't understand how they can do 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!


See you next time, with authors albertnothlit, Carlos Hazday, and Julie Hayes and MA Church!


I’m always in the market for new questions! Simply PM me (Dark).


Until next time!

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I'm in awe of Robert's ability to write steamy hot romance and the men he conjures up in his stories. I wanna visit Barry's Bar.

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Sasha, come back!!!!!   :,( :,( :,( :,(




This was another great group of interviews, Dark! :)  Thank you!

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Sasha, come back!!!!!   :,( :,( :,( :,(


This was another great group of interviews, Dark! :)  Thank you!


What she said. :)

Re Sasha:  at least the stories are still there for us to read.

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  • Similar Content

    • By Renee Stevens
      Cia went searching through old newsletters in a quest for some Blast from the Past material. She came across this wonderful interview by Kevin (aka: AFriendlyFace) in an October 2006 newsletter. Hope you enjoy the interview as well as Cia's introduction and conclusion.
      GA has inspired many readers to take the leap into writing, myself included! The writing information and programs found on the site have changed over the years, but that encouraging support has always been here. Check out this interview with AFriendlyFace, then member and mod, now Promising Author.
      Interview with AFriendlyFace
      GA: So, thanks for agreeing to let us profile you. Please tell our readers who you are.
      Kevin: Well, I usually just go by Kevin or AFriendlyFace. I found this site over a year ago and I've been hooked ever since!
      GA: Did anyone pay you to say that?
      Kevin: Hahaha, nope! I just really love the site though. I've met some REALLY awesome people through it and thoroughly enjoyed reading the stories!
      GA: How did you find the site in the first place?
      Kevin: Well, I found Dom Luka's The Ordinary Us on Nifty and after I read all the chapter that were up I saw the link to GA. So I came here and read the rest that were up (but it still wasn't complete at that time). Then I read all of The Log Way <lol> and having a big mouth, I just had to comment on it once I was done. So I joined the forum and started running my mouth and I haven't stopped yet.
      GA: Does that mean that Dom Luka is your favorite author?
      Kevin: Hmm. Possibly. I would have said yes without any hesitation six months ago, but lately I've been reading so much stuff by other really talented authors that I really can't pick a favourite.
      GA: How diplomatic. So which authors are on your 'must read' list?
      Kevin: In alphabetical order: Dom Luka, LittleBuddhaTW, NickolasJames8, RHawes16, Viv and Vlista. I just know I'm forgetting some though and also I've read a few things by some others that I really enjoyed and looked forward to reading more by. Those are just the ones whose complete work I've read and thoroughly enjoyed.
      GA: By the way...favourite? You're not from around these parts, are you?
      Kevin: LOL! Actually, I am! The 'ou' spelling is just a quirky little eccentricity I picked up. When I was younger I used to read a good bit of British Lit. (especially P.G. Wodehouse), and some things just sort of sunk in I guess and honestly I just prefer the way it makes the words look. Besides I don't want to seem too 'normal.'
      GA: Hehehe. What's your biggest eccentricity?
      Kevin: Hmm...my biggest eccentricity...<lol>. That's a tough one. I guess one would be that I enjoy over-analyzing words and phrases. I also really enjoy seeing the absurdity in every day life and I do have a tendency to try to find something positive or amusing even in bad situations. Last night, when I was feeling AWFUL and weak with a migraine, I realized that I'd just finished shaving and that in that regard I was like Samson. Of course, the laughing actually hurt a bit, but it cheered me up.
      GA: You do know what ultimately happened to Samson, right?
      Kevin: ....yes, well, I didn't take the comparison too far!
      GA: That's a good thing! Are you always this friendly, nice and positive?
      Kevin: Hahaha. Well, I try to be and if I'm feeling grumpy I tend to just not be around people, unless they don't mind me whining. As someone who majored in psychology I've analyzed it A LOT and I think it mostly comes down to having to make sure everyone is having fun and is at ease. If not, I feel responsible for making it better. <LOL> I've got several people I whine to though!
      GA: Speaking of whining...you do have a blog right? What made you decide to start a blog at GA?
      Kevin: Yep, I love blogging. I think I enjoy it for several reasons. First of all, I tend to be analytical with regards to my own thoughts and feelings, so it's perfect for that. Also, I really enjoy the writing process in general, so even if I haven't managed to focus enough to write an actual story the blog's a start. Last, it definitely is great for 'whining' purposes, but mostly because people's comments have really helped me get a new perspective on things, as well as just good old-fashioned practical advice. I'm a firm believer in asking for help if you need it, so I like to ask sometimes.
      GA: What's the best piece of advice you've ever gotten?
      Kevin: Hmm, well, I'd say the thing that stands out to me the most in terms of pure wisdom is when I was a kid and my grandmother used to always tell me, "Everybody's different, that's what makes the world so much fun." Of course, that wasn't in a blog, but it could have been!
      GA: Yep, it definitely could. What else makes the world fun for you?
      Kevin: Lately? New things. I've been on quite a kick about trying new things, going new places etc. I also really love meeting new people and just sitting around talking to people. Oh yeah, and chocolate and shopping are fun too.
      GA: So shopping for chocolate in a new place with a new friend is the ideal?
      Kevin: Pure bliss!
      GA: Your favorite kind of chocolate?
      Kevin: Fudge. I also tend to like brownies and cakes and things. I seldom ever just eat like a bar of chocolate and if I do, it's probably going to be dark chocolate, not milk.
      GA: Place you'd most like to travel to?
      Kevin: Definitely the British Isles, and if I could, Western/Southern Europe, in general.
      GA: British isles? Is that why your avatar is a pirate?
      Kevin: Haha! Ben was kind enough to make it for me. As an interesting aside, about a month ago I had a hair dying "accident" and given my blue eyes and pale skin, I realized if I put on the get-up, I could pass for my avatar.
      GA: So you have no nose?
      Kevin: Haha, umm, it fell off from all the dye.
      GA: That's some accident.
      Kevin: Quite a relief actually - that stuff smells terrible!
      GA: You always do find the bright side of things.
      Kevin: <smile>
      GA: Which pirate are you most like: Dred Pirate Roberts, Captain Jack Sparrow or Captain Crunch?
      Kevin: Hmm, I'd say Captain Jack. He's delightfully strange, but everything seems to just sort of work out for him. I often feel like I'm just strolling through life falling into good luck...and of course I'm rather strange too.
      GA: What's your favorite part of GA?
      Kevin: I guess the forums in general, but it's a close tie with the blogs. It's just really fun to get people's insight into things. Of course, I love the stories! In general, it seems like I learn something new about the place all the time. <LOL> Just yesterday, Vance showed me the calendar - I never knew that existed. I was super-excited.
      GA: Calendars are exciting.
      Kevin: Yep, it's like life on a piece of paper. Where else are you going to get to see everything all mapped out?
      GA: On a map?
      Kevin: Ohhhh...well maps are just impossible to fold! Calendars are way cooler.
      GA: To go in a different direction...if you could give a message to yourself - 5 years into the past - what would you tell yourself?
      Kevin: Hmm, I'd tell myself to relax more. I'd also mention a few lottery numbers.
      GA: And if you could ask yourself - 10 or 20 years in the future - something, what would it be?
      Kevin: I'd definitely like to just KNOW who I was going to end up with and what I'd be doing career-wise. I suppose half the fun is in the surprise, but sometimes it's nice to expect the surprise.
      GA: If you knew those answers, do you think it would make it more likely that it would happen that way or less likely?
      Kevin: Well, I definitely believe in the whole "butterfly effect". So changing anything would probably be risky and that would certainly include knowing your future. So, I guess in the end, I'd opt not to know.
      GA: Fair enough. I didn't mean to trap you in a time travel paradox.
      Kevin: Hahaha! That's okay, it's one of my favourite things to contemplate.
      GA: What's your favorite time travel paradox story, movie, or television episode?
      Kevin: Hmm, well, I really enjoyed Do Over by dkstories. As far as television goes, there's this British sci-fi comedy from the 1990s called Red Dwarf. They dealt with the phenomenon many times over the course of the series and it was always fun to watch how it played out.
      GA: Was it grade B? All shaky cameras?
      Kevin: <LOL> No, I think it was fairly successful actually. In fact, a few months ago it actually came up in Dom's forum when one of the character's ate HOT gazpacho soup. The fact that gazpacho soup is typically served cold was central to one of the episodes and a few other readers and I remarked on the connection.
      GA: What does that say about Dom Luka's forums and our readers?
      Kevin: Well, I could go with 'we're all sci-fi nuts,' but I'm thinking I'll go with 'we're well-rounded individuals who have an eclectic taste in the arts.'
      GA: I was thinking maybe you all need to get out more...
      Kevin: <LOL> A one-eyed pirate without a nose? Who can't fold a map! I wouldn't get far.
      GA: Is that what your personal ad would say?
      Kevin: NOOOO. It would say: well-rounded individual with an eclectic taste in the arts...
      GA: Pirates who can't fold maps might be more in demand.
      Kevin: <lol> Well, then I'll be: well-rounded pirate, eclectic taste in the arts, slight map-folding deficiency.
      GA: That's a winner. Ok, so this is your big chance to get a message out to our entire community. What do you want to tell everyone?
      Kevin: I want them to know that regardless of the situations in their lives, there's always hope for things to get better and there will always be people out there who will love and accept them just the way they are. And that includes EVERYONE!
      GA: That's a good one.
      Kevin: Thanks <lol> It was between that and the directions to the nearest calendar shop.
      GA: Not the chocolate shop?
      Kevin: Naw....I couldn't unfold the map for that one.
      GA: Hehehe. Even a one-eyed pirate could see that coming a mile away
      Kevin: Hehehe. I guess!
      GA: Thanks for humoring us.
      Kevin: My pleasure! I had a great time.
      GA: Of course you did. Oh right, me too....
      So, obviously after this interview he started writing. He has 8 different stories for you to peruse in GA Stories. Check them out here. Don't forget to leave a review if you enjoy what you read!
    • By Lugh
      Today we have an author interview with Mark Arbour. Many of you know his stories, but do you know anything about him and how or why he started writing them? Hopefully Marzipan’s interview will shed some light on this subject for us all.
      but first... an announcement... Today is the last day for the Reader's Choice Award Nominations. Get yours in.
      Now on to the interview --

      I’m going to start with an easy question. You are hugely popular author in GA. What do you think appeals in your writing to your readers?
      I’m not sure that I’m ‘hugely popular’, but I think a big part of the reason people read my stories is due to their historical nature. I have two series that I’m writing, and they’re both very different. “Chronicles of an Academic Predator” (CAP) is set in more recent times. It started in 1962, and I’ve written up through the year 2000 as of right now. It’s about a wealthy family and their trials and tribulations, and tends to be more of a soap opera. The emphasis in that series is on the characters themselves. The other series, Bridgemont, is about the Royal Navy during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. The focus in that series tends to be more on the environment or world the characters lived in.
      You joined GA February 2005, how do you feel the writing community has changed over the years you’ve been a member? What about the mass of your readers and the correspondence with them, how has that evolved?
      I’m not sure that it really has changed that much over the years, other than it’s gotten bigger. My readers communicate with me via e-mail, the forums, or reviews. Of the three, I prefer the forums for general stuff, because then readers tend to talk to each other, and I love that! Most readers are polite enough to send me criticism via e-mail or PM, which is great, since it gives me a chance to digest it without a piling on effect, or worse, having a lynch mob of readers going after the guy who dissed me in public.
      How did you end up in GA? Have you posted on other sites?
      I originally came to GA as a Domaholic. I've posted stories on Nifty and a few chapters on Literotica, but not all of them. About the time I was promoted to "Promising," I was offered an opportunity to post at CRVBOY, which is another great site. But I had been putting stuff up on e-fiction for a while, and had the 'most read' e-fiction story here at that point, so it seemed like the right decision to just stay here. Hosted Authors are presumed to be exclusive to GA, and I've followed that rule, so you'll only find all of my stories posted here, or at my Yahoo group.
      How and when did you start writing, how you would describe the change in your writing?
      I started writing almost as a fluke. I wrote an article about that for the newsletter, so I won’t repeat myself. What’s changed? That’s an interesting question. Probably my focus on character development and consistency. When I first started writing, I thought in terms of places and events. That faded really fast as my characters took over the stories. They were right. I listen to them now.
      You write and post a lot. How much of your free time does it take? Is it something that is supported by the work you do for living or is it something totally different?
      It takes a lot of my free time, and it has nothing to do with my work, or anything else. It’s just a hobby. Usually, it comes pretty easy to me. When I write, I absorb myself in the character, trying to visualize the scenes and to feel what he feels, so the words more or less flow naturally. Then there are times when that bonding with the character fails, and I sort of flail around in limbo trying to get back into the story.
      Do your family and friends know about your writing in GA? How do they feel about it?
      I’m a married bisexual guy who’s not out about my “other side.” No one that is a close personal friend or family member is aware of my writing.
      Have you published a fictional story? Do you aim to do that?
      That’s not on my radar screen. Based on what I just mentioned above, if I was going to publish a story, it would increase the chances of having my real identity leaked. That’s something I can’t afford to do at this point, either personally or professionally.
      Ok, I understand the reasons you want to keep the anonymity with your writing, but considering how much time you put in to your writing, wouldn't it be a natural leap to pursue publishing? Have you considered writing a historical novel that is not gay themed?
      I haven't really thought of that. Right now, writing is a hobby. That makes it sound like actual work.
      You write mainly historical stories, sometimes from the Napoleon era, but mainly following the history and political change of the US. Why do you write historical stories?
      I’ve always enjoyed history. The CAP series has been fun for me because I was born about the same time the story started, so it’s a bit like going back and tracing what happened over the years when I was growing up and too young to realize what was going on. I still have memories that flash back when I do that, especially of the Vietnam War, and later, of Watergate. The Bridgemont series can trace it’s lineage to when I was 12, and read “Beat to Quarters” by CS Forester, the first published book of his Hornblower series. I’ve read those books so many times, they’re falling apart.
      In your stories you follow certain families over decades. I see it as neat way to entwine general history and personal life of the characters. How do you see it?
      The same way that you do. It also gives me a chance to address generational conflict and issues, which can be fun. I try to work a theme or two into each story. The latest one, Paternity, is all about father-son relationships. The real reason that I decided to write a series in the first place, though, is that I liked all my characters, and I couldn’t really stand to just let them ‘end.’
      What made the fatherhood-theme special to you?
      I've got a son who's 16, so I have a lot of firsthand experience with it. file:///C:UsersSparkyAppDataLocalTempOICE_F99B9EB8-6AFB-4654-B2AC-51FE93BA7A02.0msohtmlclip11clip_image001.gifOne of the more fun parts of the story is writing about Brad (the father) and Will (the son). Will gives Brad a lot of crap, much like Brad did to his father (JP) when he was young. It's me channeling my own frustration and amusement when my son pisses me off and I remember doing similar things to my dad.
      You have a lot of erotica in your stories. Is it something you get more critique or thanks for?
      Some people like it, some people don’t. Personally, I think it’s kind of fun. I’m not perfect, but for the most part I’m pretty faithful to my wife. I think that a big part of that is venting my attraction for men with my writing, and a lot of that is through the erotic segments. Then there’s the ability to push the envelope with different things. I’ve hit on some pretty kinky stuff, including fisting, BDSM, and e-stim. I sometimes wonder if my readers open a new chapter with one eye closed, wondering what I’ll throw at them. There’s three places I can’t go: Bestiality, Scat, and sex with pre-pubescent kids. They can relax about those topics.
      I realize this isn’t exactly a question, but I have to comment that I enjoy your boldness. Personally I think it’s your unique brand and I wouldn’t have it any other way. You bold entry ‘Ode to the Taint’ for last year’s Poem Anthology was something that made my eyes roll but it also made me snicker. I think you have guts and I see you like to shock a bit too.
      Thanks. I’m no poet. I wrote that primarily to show support for Lugh and the Poetry Anthology. That’s a lot of work, and I’d teased him a lot about it, so I figured I should show that I appreciated what he was doing by trying my hand at it. I knew it wouldn’t be good, so I went with shocking humor instead.
      What sort of plans do you have for year 2012 in terms of writing?
      I’ll continue on with my two series. There are a lot of exciting events ahead for both of them. One era that is of particular interest to me is pre-revolutionary France. It’s highly likely that I’ll ultimately work on a series that takes place around the time of Louis XIV, but it probably won’t be this year.

      Thank you Mark for taking time for this interview! Have a prosperous year 2012!
    • By Renee Stevens
      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!
    • By Renee Stevens
      Typically, this would have been posted last week, but better late than never. For those who don't already know, Dark provides us with the Ask An Author feature. Members send in their questions for authors and Dark goes about getting the answer and then compiles those into this wonderful feature. Don't forget, if you have a question for an author, but don't want to ask it, send it to Dark!

      Ask an Author #34

      Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors!
      In AtA #33, we had questions for nine different authors in an extra-special feature.
      In AtA #34, we hear from authors ColumbusGuy, craftingmom, and pmdacey.
      For their protection, the members who asked these questions shall remain nameless (unless they choose to reveal themselves). Please note that all author replies are copied as is, spelling errors and grammar eccentricities original to the individual.
      First up is author ColumbusGuy, who first appeared in AtA #29 a few months back. I’m sure it’ll come as a shock to know that this author is from Columbus, Ohio. You probably will remember this guy as the author of Jay & Miles, but there’s also Pompeii Passions, which is way better than the movie. Of course, I like historical fiction and convoluted characters. Still, if you haven’t branched out to some of ColumbusGuy’s other stuff, you’re missing out. For shorter works, check out his prompts. Oh, and did you know this guy likes to garden? Perhaps he can talk some sense into my black thumb…
      To ColumbusGuy: I think Jay and Miles is very evocative of its time and setting, and I have read in your forum that this is your first attempt at non-historical fiction, so what inspired you to begin writing the piece?

      In all honesty? Regrets for lost chances, and a desire to go back and explore what might-have-been. Miles' thoughts and feelings are so bound up in how I was in high school back then, that it is like a second chance to go back and do things right this time; knowing what you want in your relationships isn't enough if you don't have the courage to try for it--I had the same invitation that Miles was presented with--the very same circumstances and joking references leading up to it--despite his fears, Miles took the risk and said yes to himself, and opened up to his Jay. I didn't, and what could have been more than a casual friendship lost any hope when graduation came around.  

      More recently, the historical fiction was going well, even with some male-male experiences thrown in since they were acceptable in the Ancient World--but it was academic in a sense...it wasn't real--and the only way I could begin to gather myself together was to tell my own experience in my past where it would have made a difference. My urge to write at GA came after reading AC Benus' Dignity--it showed me how much more there could be to gay fiction than simple eroticism or blatant sex. Without that story, I wouldn't have written Jay & Miles--his was the first hand extended in friendship to a newbie. Subsequent events morphed it into more than a series of prompts.  

      I had a health scare this past summer, and I realized that if I was going to be true to myself, then I had to stop hiding behind historical creations and situations--my real dreams needed to come out into the open, hence: Jay & Miles began as a series of prompt responses--and well--Mikey and Jay just won't shut up until they tell me I've gotten myself out there completely.  

      This had been eating at me since 2007: I've had some good relationships, but none the life-long kind I'd always wanted--in that year, my longest one (and it could have been the life-fulfilling one) came to an end when my love succumbed to overwhelming stresses he was under from family and other problems and took his own life...the allegedly homophobic ex-military man came to me, sharing his feelings, his sad poetry, and himself physically and spiritually with me for years until he couldn't handle things anymore--so besides helping to reweave my past I hope I'm helping to give him some peace of mind--that in a better world, we both could have finished our lives in a happier place together.  
      Next up, in her Ask an Author debut, is Promising Author craftingmom. You can find stories from this author in many a genre, including young adult. Look her up on GoodReads under pen name Taylor Ryan. Craftingmom likes stories filled with angst. She likes taking hurt, lost, and abused characters and giving them a new start in a safe place with people who love them. Tears of the Neko was her first story here on GA, but her latest is just as compelling. Recently completed is Lie of the Serpent, a story filled with monsters, mystery, and revenge and, of course, friendships and love. Find a new character to fall in love with and read craftingmom today!
      To craftingmom: Is it difficult writing a character's struggle to get through abuse and hardships? Finding ways to resolve them?

      Yes, I cry--a lot. I often try to put myself in the character's place, getting into their head, their thoughts and feelings of guilt and hopelessness and such, relaying as much of the emotional turmoil that I think someone would almost have to be feeling in such a situation--and I try to write it as realistically as possible. I figure the more emotion and struggle that I can convey that the character is going through, the more the reader will feel it as well. I go through a lot of tissues when I'm writing highly emotional scenes, often having to stop to dry my eyes long enough to read the screen. I know that I sometimes drag my readers through a bunch of emotional turmoil, but I hope that it's because I've managed to create for them a connection to my characters that makes them feel real. Then when the resolution finally comes, I hope readers feel some satisfaction in the ending, hope that things will be better; healing takes time and patience, and of course love. Yes, I'm an emotional sap.
      We finish up today with author pmdacey, who comes to us from Portland, Oregon. 2014 brought us more chapters of Things are Different, which was sadly put on hold in early 2015, but was very much enjoyed by readers. It’s the story of Jay, who moves from Texas to Portland and made me wonder from early on how much was based around pmdacey’s own life. In addition, google his husband’s name to find some cool art.
      To pmdacey: How did you overcome the writers blocks that almost overwhelmed you the first time you tried to tell your Portland story "Things Are Different?”

      I have to overcome it every time I sit down to write (when I can find the time to write). I have to constantly remind myself to not care what other people think, that I am telling this story for myself. It is a story I would want to read and if other people like it, then that is a bonus. Not only that, but it is also a deeply personal tale. It is fiction, but the characters, in a sense are very real. I suppose I have always struggled with some form of writer's block and it initially took putting "Things Are Different" out there anonymously and getting some positive feedback to let me expose more and more of myself and grow some of the confidence to handle criticism. The fear of criticism is, after all, what keeps writers from putting pen to paper or an artist putting brush to canvas.  
      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 A.C. Benus, Aditus, and the return of Mark Arbor!
      Want to ask your favorite author a question? Simply PM me (Dark).

      Until next time!


    • By Cia
      Ready for more Halloween fun? This month we're featuring KC for the Signature background with his story A Grim Fairytale. Have you read it yet? You can check out my review of his story here. What about his themed desktop background? It's spookily fitting for this time of year! But first, you can't miss this interview where KC shares a little information of the... naughty variety.
      What’s your favorite Halloween tradition?
      With a name like Grim, Halloween has to be my favorite Holiday! Growing up, Halloween was a big event in our house. Our entire neighborhood was always decked out with lots of creepy crawly things and my family had a huge costume party that everyone came to. It was THE party of the year! If you missed it, you’d hear about it for weeks.
      Ever been on the wrong side of an egging? The right side?
      I plead the Fifth! LOL
      Oh yeah, as a kid we did it all. Egging houses, toilet papering trees, ding-dong-ditch, flaming bags of poop….you name it, we did it and now that I have a teenager I’m getting payback for all my years as a hellion. We’ve only had our house egged once (knock-on-wood) but we live really far out in the country so it’s a lot harder to pull those pranks than when I was a kid growing up in the city.
      Do you have a favorite ghost, ghoul, or gruesome creature? Or do you prefer cuddly creatures?
      There’s enough time to be cute and cuddly the rest of the year. Halloween is for ghouls!! The scarier the better. I love special effects make-up. The entire month of October I work at a local Haunted House called Shocktober and I’ve gotten really good at torn flesh, bloody gashes, and faces being ripped off. It’s so much fun scaring people.
      What inspired you to write the story A Grim Fairytale?
      This story was written as a birthday gift for a very dear friend of mine. He loved it ((and I saved money on wrapping paper! )) I’ve always wanted to write my own twisted fairytale and this story was so much fun to create. I tried to keep in the style of the Brothers Grimm, but of course with my own Grim flair.
      Do you have a favorite scene or static image from the plot?
      There are so many scenes I like, but my favorite is when Magda kills the piglet and Marcus brings it back to life. Even at a young age, it’s clear that Marcus is a pure soul and his mother can’t tarnish who he really is inside, no matter how much she tries.
      Magda means ‘maiden’ and Marcus is ‘dedicated to Mars’, the Roman god of fertility. Given how Marcus was conceived, were those name chosen as a subtle tweak of the characters for the storyline?
      I always put way too much thought into character development. Even if it’s a short story and I’m just scratching the surface on paper, I always have a complete backstory, even if only for myself. Not only do the names need to fit the character, I want it to feel like they have morphed into the personification of who they were made to be.
      Your story brings into a question of the duality of good and evil—how does each come into being and do they exist only with or without each other? How do you view that aspect of the A Grim Fairytale?
      I’m a big believer of the duality of good and evil, yin and yang, light and dark. You can’t have one without the other. My favorite lines from the story: “Everyone knows the tales of All Hallows Eve. On this night, the boundary between our world and the spirit world thins. For one night alone, demons can pass through to our realm. Yet as dark and terrifying as this night might be, out of the deepest darkest blackness comes the purest light.”
      Magda’s dark heart is balanced by Marcus’s wholesomeness.
      Do you have any other holiday-themed stories you’d like to mention, maybe ones that go beyond the spooky season?
      Yes! I have a Christmas story floating around out there called, “Mistletoe and Handgrenades.” It’s a flash fiction story about what happens after your life explodes and you now have to pick-up the pieces. It is a happy holiday treat. Check it out.
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