Jump to content

Ask an Author 2.0 #15

Sign in to follow this  
Carlos Hazday


Happy 2019! Here’s hoping the year’s better than the one just ended but not as good as future ones. Here at the AAA (that sounds like the Miami Heat homethe American Airlines Arena!) we’re starting the new year the way same we did the last one: a poetry special.

We’ll kick it off with GA’s poet laurate and the man I get more questions for than anyone else: @AC Benus

Your poetry is so good, and you so willingly share your knowledge with anyone who's interested, how did you get so into poetry?  Have you ever thought about teaching?

• • •

Thank you for the question. Since I first read it, I've been wondering when my interest in poetry began. I think it started early, so early I can't really say when I wasn't. Nursery rhymes are with most of us as kids, and Puss in Boots is one I had in book form. I'd read it happily to myself. 

But on TV at the time were also great poems: Dr. Seuss' Grinch Who Stole Christmas and Horton Hears a Who; Disney's Casey at the Bat (the 'No joy in Mudville' poem); and also Kipling's Rikki-tikki-tavi. These all played at least once a year. 

Our school readers had poetry too. I particularly remember our 8th grade book had a selection of WW1 poems in one section. 

But it was in high school where I first thought about writing poetry for myself. In 9th grade, one of our English books had Keats' Ode to a Grecian Urn in the back, and it changed me. So, since the age of 15 I have tried my hand at verse.

As for teaching, I am rather proud of my 20 Poetry Prompts, as they form a course on teaching one's self how to write, lesson by lesson (as one builds on the other). I would like to publish them in book form one day. It'd be a sort of Poetry Writing for Dummies, and the kind of book I could have used back when I was just starting. 

Thanks again for the interesting question.

• • • • •

Next, we have @Dolores Esteban making her maiden voyage into Ask an Author waters. The prolific Signature Author may be better known for her science fiction stories, but her poetry obviously captured the interest of at least one reader.

Your work is very original and different from a lot of poetry we see on GA. What inspires you?  Do you feel your work is experimental?

• • •

Thanks for your question. I thought long about it. What is experimental poetry? Is it a category, like we have free verse, traditional poetry, and everything else is experimental? I don’t think so. I think all poetry is experimental, because poets experiment with thoughts and ideas, words and form. I think, however, the approach to and the experience of writing traditional poetry and experimental poetry is different, at least to me. Traditional poetry is a mental challenge. It can take hours, days, even weeks, to get the words, rhymes and syllable counts right. Mastering the form is rewarding, even if the resulting poem is not a masterwork in itself. It’s a joyous but often draining process. It’s about accomplishment, closing and ending. Experimental poetry, like found poetry, is quite the opposite. Poets are looking, hunting for words. It’s an adventurous process and has an element of surprise. The found results are often mediocre, sometimes utterly meaningless, but sometimes they open a door to new thoughts and ideas. They can spur imagination and thus start a whole new process of writing, a traditional poem perhaps, a short story, a novella even. I rarely write free verse, so can’t talk about it.

What inspires me? I’m not a people person, not the romantic type. I always prefer a scientific article to a love story. Hence, I’m inspired by topics and the questions that arise from them. For instance, when I read an article about Ancient Egypt, I ask myself: Who built the pyramids, how and why? When I read about an exoplanet, I ask myself: Is it inhabited? What are the aliens like? I also like words that sound good to me. I once stumbled across the word ‘opalescent’. (English is not my first language.) The word stuck with me. There are other words and phrases that I like for their sound, regardless of meaning. They inspire me, too.

• • • • •

@Juan Manuel Sandoval is another AAA rookie and I’m loving having all these Spanish names show up. Clear indication of GA’s international and multicultural membership.

Can you tell us about the anime connection to your poetry persona? And if you’ve reached out to others on GA with similar Japanese-style interests? If not, I suggest looking through the images people post to see who you might befriend 

• • •

I would be more than happy to answer this question. The connection of anime to my poetry persona is actually something that developed in tangent with my growing fascination with pop culture particularly things like anime, manga, video games, and music as well as my general concerns with the individual and larger society. When I watch anime like Recovery of an MMO Junkie or Sailor Moon, I see a glossy, sparkly layer of artistry that covers characters who are genuinely flawed and fearful of themselves and the world around them. 

Pop music is an overload of sugar tinged lyrics and sound that sometimes detrimentally detach the humanity of the artist behind them. Video games sensationalize out of this world narratives and characters that, at the end of the day, are revealed to be just as human as us. I was fascinated by how we use the glossy, the pretty, the escapism of fantasy to hide the ugly corners of our own identities while still trying to be different and human. In a way, I saw a lot of myself within all these small worlds. Anime plenty of times creates characters that are ruled by a singular trait, stereotype, emotion, or idea and so my poetry itself began to mimic that as wel. 

My poetic persona shifted drastically with that realization and discovery from something generic and superficial to a style of self confession and exploration. I took singular emotions, events, tragedies, ideas, people and I sensationalized all of them. In a sense, each of my poems is a living and breathing character built off of real human fears and dreams. The Baker, for example, takes something many would take for granted or overlook, baking a cake with my mother, and sensationalizes it so that people can feel the importance of it, they can feel what I feel. When my mother explained to me that sadness was a part of life I had to accept with happiness, the act of baking a cake transformed into something more than the glossy sweetness I had seen it as before. Now this cake was a culmination of a story. It was sadness mixed with happiness all sprinkled with tragedy and hope. I also counter the sweetness of the idea of making a cake by subverting it, describing it as a long and bitter struggle to figure out the recipe. I often take these images, ideas, or concepts that I think seem “glossy, anime perfect” and subvert a readers expectation by denying them that sweetness and perfection and instead presenting the raw and human truth. Me and my writing are also strangely separate in people’s eyes. People see me as myself and it’s difficult for them to attach the melancholic and cautionary tones of my writing to me, almost as if my writing was one character and I another. In a sad way, that’s just part of us as human beings. It’s easier to accept the glossy presentation than venture into the uncomfortable truth. To finish, I’d say my poetic persona adopts the glossy and beautiful surface of anime, but it ultimately shatters any hope of real life mimicking such. I ant people to really see the vulnerability of us being human and not just act and treat each other like passing extras in an episode or scene. 

As for reaching out to others with similar Japanese influenced styles, I have not. I’m still relatively new and I do suffer from social anxiety. It’s extremely difficult for me to talk to others, even on online platforms, without breaking down into nervous fits over if I said what I wanted the right way or if people like me or just tolerate me. It’s something I try to work on everyday and I will definitely reach out. I just like taking things a step at a time! Thank you so much for the question if I enjoy anything more than writing it’s getting to talk about it. 

• • • • •

New year, new authors. @Ivric is our third consecutive rookie this month. If you want to find his offerings, do not search under authors, my fellow Floridian is listed under EDITORS on GA.

Your book of poetry is marked complete. You mention in your description that poetry helped you become a better writer. How has it done this?  Do you think you’ll write any more poetry?

• • •

Poetry helped me become a better writer by first helping me say more in less words.  I was not one to express myself out loud when I was younger and moving away to college I found myself experiencing life however I could not convey how I felt.  I remembered that listening to music helped me also.  When I combined music with my emotions I could create, with my own voice, my poems. Second, poetry helped me put my thoughts in a logical order. My mind bounces all over with different thoughts and ideas, so with poetry I had to organize for a purpose and have rhythm and life. Lastly, I could free the stresses of my past and focus on today.  

I am always writing more poetry!  I have never stopped. I am focused on the story that I have been writing for a few years. Also, I am expanding on the prompt that I wrote for Christmas. 

• • • • •

I’ll close this month’s feature with one of my favorite GA authors: @Parker Owens Why didn’t I have cool high school teachers like him? Adept at writing fiction and poetry, Parker never fails to reach his audience with his writing.

What was an early inspiration for your poetry? And you seem to be interested in a strict pattern of traditional meter. Why do you think that’s so? Does it relate to your early exposure?

• • •

Music was my earliest inspiration for poetry. I wish I could say it was great music, but my parents and grandparents taught us all an odd assortment of college songs, silly folk songs and popular tunes from their own childhoods. Most had easy-to-grasp rhyme schemes, and regular metre, as one might expect. Many of these still stick in my memory (Passengers will please refrain / from using toilets while the train / is standing in the station, I love you…).  There are times when I have my pen in hand, and I can hear my father reciting Wordsworth, and echoes of my grandmother singing bad temperance songs, all the while holding onto her bourbon and water. 

Perhaps it is because of this that regular, traditional metre appeals to me. There is a song in the lines one writes, but the music has yet to be written. Regular metre works for me also because it concentrates language, in the same way that syllable-count poetry does. One has to choose words carefully and structure them so that they sing. I studied both mathematics and music as an undergraduate, and continue to compose justifiably neglected pieces from time to time. This seems to be an extension of that. 

I rediscovered poetry upon joining GA. I found authors like @Mikiesboy, @AC Benus, @Headstall and @Valkyrie to be supportive and constructive without being pretentious. Without people like these, I should never have gone back to poetry, which I largely abandoned in high school. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll try free verse again. 

• • • • •

That’s it for this round. Remember to send me any questions you may have, may not feel comfortable asking yourself, or wish to share with the community. See you next month.

  • Like 11
  • Love 7
Sign in to follow this  


Recommended Comments


Posted (edited)

I loved everyone’s answers as well, but what really struck me was what @AC Benus named as his early childhood influences. I’ve never thought of nursery rhymes or Dr. Seuss as being poetry, but yes, they really are. So cool, to realize that. :D 


PS: I had a Puss N’ Boots storybook, too. :) 


Edited by Reader1810
  • Like 2
  • Love 2

Share this comment

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Similar Content

    • 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 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.
    • By Renee Stevens
      I can't believe it's already November! The great thing about it being the start of a new month, is it's time for a new Ask An Author feature and this one is a Special Edition! For those who don't know, Ask An Author is when members send their questions for their favorite authors to Dark and they ask the questions. So remember, if you have a question you want to ask, but don't want to do the asking, send it to Dark!

      Ask an Author #33

      Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors!
      In AtA #32, we had questions for authors Aditus, Cia, and Wolfwriter.
      In AtA #33, we have a special feature for you: 3 x 3 or nine different authors with the same question to answer. This is a question that is asked by many a person, with just as many different answers. Please note that all author replies are copied as is, spelling errors and grammar eccentricities original to the individual.
      And the question is … What made you decide to write m/m fiction?
      Andy78: I've always enjoyed writing stories since I was a child. However, I only started writing m/m when I joined GA. The simple fact is that until I joined here I didn't have an outlet for any m/m fiction.
      BarricadeBoy: Well i started reading gay fiction back in 2013 and it grew fron there- i wanted to create my own characters and i knew GA was the best place to do it, and i was right. It all started with a Story i read here called "A Class By Himself."
      CassieQ: I decided to write m/m fiction because I like to read m/m fiction. Once I find something that I'm really interested in, I can't wait to try it out and add my own flavor to it.
      Cia: I read everything, so I write everything, including MM. I found GA as a writing 'home' because the writing community here is so encouraging to newcomers. The feedback kept me motivated to finish stories for the first time ever... and the rest is history!
      Jammi: I loved the dynamics of male relationships. Best friends like brothers, realizing what they felt went beyond friendship. I loved writing stories like that. I also felt like there weren't enought gay stories out there and definitely not enough visibility for the gay community. I just wanted to be a part of that
      Krista: For me, I got into M/M fiction because of my gay male friends. They had found M/M fiction sites, but didn't like that it was mostly pornographic smut. They wanted more romance, something they could relate to being in a closed-minded small town. They had found some good stories and had sent them to me. So I started writing and sending them what I had. I started writing other romances on the side, but it was their encouragement from reading the M/M that got me hooked. By that time they had gotten more out of the closet and more willing to expand their search for other gay people. I stopped sending them what I had written. So my audience changed from them to readers on the internet. I did well enough for it to encourage me to continue.
      The stories I write are also stories that I want to read, so that helps.
      layla: I'd written with the same characters for almost 17 years, their stories had gone all over the place, but there always seemed to be a lingering connection between two of the guys and one day I decided simply to begin exploring it. The story simply begged to be told and once I got into writing it, I found myself really enjoying what I was doing. To me its not so much about the genre but about giving the characters what they want. Not to mention that I have never been a big fan of m/f stories and despite being female don't really enjoy writing female characters, so it just seemed a very natural genre for me to write in.
      Mann Ramblings: I'm old enough to have grown up without any visibility of gay characters in movies, stories; etc, that wasn't a serial killer or other affected comic relief. There was so little in entertainment that reflected the person I tried to hide. Positive examples of gay men and women were virtually non-existent. I wanted to see the domineering hero save his buddy and bed him down, not the obligatory girl placed in to prove his unerring heterosexuality. I wanted to see and read the stories that I never got to see and read.
      When I first found M/M fiction, I was looking for porn, to be honest, but then I found out there were real stories out there with quality writing! The hero can get the guy! Who knew? I always had a knack for storytelling and now I have the chance to write the stories that were missing from my life. I can't give it up now.
      Renee Stevens: I’ve been asked similar questions a number of times. To be honest, I never have a good answer. I used to read (and write) M/F romance, but it seemed like it was always the same and it was hard to find something that hadn't been done. I can't remember the exact details, but somehow I ended up reading a story by Sara Bell called "The Magic In Your Touch". I thoroughly enjoyed it and joined her yahoo group. She allowed other people to post stories and not only did I meet a lot of wonderful people, many of which became good friends, but I read countless stories.
      After reading Sara’s story, and a few others, I decided that I wanted to see what I could do in the Gay Romance genre. My reasoning at the time was that as a M/F Romance writer I would have less chance of getting published as it is so hard to get noticed amongst all the other authors that write M/F romance. With a lot of encouragement from the friends I met through Sara’s group, I started my first M/M story and Eternity was the result. It's quite a bit rougher than my more recent works, but it was the first M/M story I completed. I ran it by my friends and they really enjoyed it and encouraged me to keep going, so here I am .
      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 an extra-special edition of Ask an Author!
      Want to ask your favorite author a question? 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 Renee Stevens
      I've heard countless times how much everyone loves the Ask An Author feature and want to give a big Thank You to Dark for taking the time to contact all the authors and compile these wonderful Wednesday pieces. Don't forget, if you have a question you'd like to "Ask an Author" all you need to do is send Dark a PM!! Hope you enjoy!!!

      Ask an Author #32


      Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors!
      In AtA #31, we had questions for authors Andrew Todd, Headstall, and Sasha Distan.
      In AtA #32, we hear from authors aditus, Cia, and wolfwriter.
      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 Promising Author Aditus, whom we last saw in AtA #25. Once a scientist, Aditus continues to let his curiosity guide him and many of his interests pop up in his stories. Speaking of which, Aditus is one of the regular prompt-writers; and congrats on making it to 3000 rep! Recently, he’s been attempting National Poetry Writing Month, where authors are challenged to write a poem a day for an entire month. His current story is The Lonely Heart Club, a romance based on two things, the Friday prompts and Billy Joel’s “The Piano Man.” Love the song like I do? Then see what the plot bunnies are chewing on.
      To Aditus: What inspired the creation of Jonah from Red Running Shoes. Did the dove as a symbol play a role in his development?
      Jonah was inspired by a real person. Someone you’d think has it all: He’s good looking, has a well-paid and interesting job, and a lot of nice friends. His issues, however, are what make him story-worthy.

      One reader very keenly concluded that Jonah has a typical INFP personality. For those who aren’t familiar with this, here are some facts: true idealist, always looking for the hint of good in even the worst of people, often a writer or poet. Add to this some quirks and baggage from the past that leads to a great fear of being betrayed, and you have an interesting character to write about. Those who read my stories know that my focus is usually on the characters of my stories, on their feelings, their reasoning, their reactions to obstacles life throws at them. You can see why I couldn’t resist Jonah.  

      I like names and their meaning and read a lot about this topic. When Jonah’s character was shaping up, his name was suddenly there. I looked it up and found it strangely fitting. Doves stand for love, sacrifice, peace, and hope. I just had to use it. So, I guess the answer is no. The character was mostly finished before I named him, it’s nevertheless a very suitable symbol for Jonah’s personality.  
      We venture now to redhead, sci-fi-loving Cia. We haven’t seen her in this blog in awhile, but the majority of us here on GA know her quite well as one of the behind-the-scenes workers. As if being a mom and admin aren’t enough, she’s also got a new puppy! And check out her blog Cia's Stories for more info on her published works. Crazily, Cia had a run-in with plagarization, with someone trying to rip off one of her stories. Grrr. Sadly, it’s not the first time something like that’s happened, but thanks to our wonderful readers (both on GA and elsewhere), fixes are much quicker than they used to be. On a happier note, congrats to Cia for making it 18 years with the same person. Happy Anniversary, and here’s to many more!
      To Cia: I love some of your short stories. Have you thought of serializing them? Where do you draw your inspiration from?

      That depends on which short stories you're talking about! Honestly, most of my non-contemporary stories are whole new worlds I could explore. Coupled in Synchronicity is going to be a novel. Married to the Enemy began as a 2k short and went to 12k. The Breach is a nice contemporary start, but it doesn't scream out to me, "Write More!". I do have a few flash fiction pieces I want to expand, but most of my Dribbles are just as is. I guess I'm just not motivated to write enough each day, but if I was (or my kids weren't so darn needy, they expect dinner EVERY night, can you believe it?!) then yeah, I'd love to serialize more of my shorts.Inspiration... well that's a tricky thing. Sometimes I don't feel it at all, and writing is a slog each week to get through because I just know it'll get easier if I keep trying. Sometimes my plot ideas are inspired the prompts I receive each week from the Wednesday Briefers, my off-site flash fiction group. I've been inspired for basic concepts in a story by a magazine article on passionettes (Changing Focus), a scientific research topic (gamma radiation from a supernova in Cataclysmic Evolution), a philosophical debate (Jung's theory of synchronicity in Coupled in Synchronicity)... and once even from my cat curled up on my shoulder and letting me rub my cheek against his soft, fluffy fur.  
      Author wolfwriter is our third and final author today. From Dallas, Texas, Wolfie loves stories with werewolves and other were-animals. She’s been with us since 2012 and published her first story with us in 2013. Her latest project is Love Bite, a story about a were-bear and a vampire and the sequel to “A Trip to Love.” Just this summer, Wolfie got “Uncommon Valor” published through Amazon. The cover to that, and others of her stories, are in her gallery. See what else she’s been up to on her website through weebly.
      To wolfwriter: Your works range from The Marine to Lonesome Theta: what got you to try your hand at 'were-stories'? The mind-link is a nice touch--what inspired you to add that aspect to the tales?

      I actually started my writing with were-stories. I read Timber Pack by Rob Colton and was hooked on them. One day I had an idea to try my hand at writing my own and came up with Your Alpha, My Mate. I wanted my characters to be able to communicate with the ability to have a conversation without anyone being able to overhear it when the need came. As for my non-were stories I was challenged by my beta of Your Alpha to try to write something more contemporary and I came up with A Chance At Love. While I love those stories I also love my were-stories.  
      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 an extra-special edition of Ask an Author!
      Want to ask your favorite author a question? Simply PM me (Dark).

      Until next time!
  • Create New...

Important Information

Our Privacy Policy can be found here. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..