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Ask an Author 2.0 #16

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Carlos Hazday

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Welcome back. Ask an Author returns with another issue packed with questions and answers. This month we get to hear from authors not often featured.

We’ll start off with one of my favorite New Yorkers, and definitely my favorite wine enthusiast: @Defiance19

In your fiction, you seem to create scenes where men are on the cusp of major changes. How important do you think these moments are to where you’d like to go as a writer, and to life in general?

• • •

On its own, ‘..on the cusp of major changes.’ is not a  terrible thing, but it made me think. I can see what you mean in relation to the stories.  

An easy answer would be that it’s not unusual; what I write will at times reflect some of my personality and my state of mind at any given moment. We’re almost always in transition, at crossroads, turning points, facing choices, making decisions... It’s life, right?  

Upon introspection, at the time most of these stories were written, there was a lot of change and upheaval happening to and around me personally. I dealt with the outcome, but I’m still not quite allowing myself to trust, beyond that. It’s almost like I’m settled at the top of a rollercoaster. The climb up was rough, I know there’s solid ground after the ride down but I’m not eager for the possible turmoil I may encounter on the way there. So I remain comfortably in between. The why will keep us here all day.  

Keeping in mind that these stories were written within guidelines and were always going to be short, I see how I transferred some of my experience and part of my personality to my characters. I get them through the obstacle, and write them to the point where the immediate problem is solved, and I end with a sense that they will move on happily. It may have left some feeling that there could be unfinished business. Which sort of explains the few PMs for more chapters on a couple of stories. I’m hesitant to write a longer arc of substantive plot and character transformation. Because again, comfort. Maybe that’s another reason why I write short stories...one speed-bump at a time...Hmm.   

As to how it relates to the future of my writing and life in general? I have an idea of how I would like to end up as a writer, but no clear plan, or discipline on how to get there. Maybe when I take the ride down that coaster, it will translate in future stories. Or maybe I should get brave, dig deep, finish writing those longer stories and hope it inspires real-life changes? Eh...  

Thank you for reading my stories, and for a great question.

I bet that’s not quite the answer you were looking for, (I may have to send you a thank you check for that self-observation) but I hope it makes sense to you. To anyone, actually...  

Best,  

Def 

• • • • •

We travel west to the Rockies for our next victim author. I still can’t believe studly @MacGreg once had green hair! I may want to pose a question asking why at some point.

Your characters are often very hard to forget. What kinds of traits and idiosyncrasies attract you to a character? What makes a fictional person so important that you need to write his story? 

• • •

I'm going to guess that most of my readers already know I’m attracted to misanthropes and misunderstood characters. In real life, everyone copes with interpersonal struggles and suppressed demons fighting for dominance. In my stories, I choose to write about characters who are often flawed, emotionally bankrupt, frustrated with the world. I don’t pussyfoot around their truths, I lay it all out there. I keep it real. But I also make a point to illustrate redeeming qualities, positive traits, and actions being taken to improve their circumstances. 

The development of characters is never black and white, just as people aren't. There’s grittiness, there’s beauty. Although I don’t write about fairy-tale romance and happy endings, no character is ever fully doomed in my stories. Even the misanthropes have hope. 

• • • • •

With eighteen stories posted on GA, and only two of them not labeled as romances, @R. Eric strikes at the heart of the most popular category on the site.

You’ve written a number of stories, many of them paranormal romance. What motivates you to write paranormal characters?

• • •

I write about love.  It is what I think is the most important emotion that we have.  Who wants a regular guy meets guy and they start having sex?  That's dull.  I consider what Daniel and I had was paranormal.  North Meets South is more about Daniel and myself.  I think what he and I had was a miracle.  I wrote Cinderfella using the same sort of magic found in Cinderella.  A same gender marriage in the middle ages!?  Makarovia?  A modern day prince marrying an American man...with his country's approval and the support of the prince's family's support?  How did that happen.  Now, Blueblood 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 have been fun.  The truth was, I did it to keep Daniel alive.  I made him a vampire.  It worked a little.  Now, I am battling something else and while I do that, I am proof reading again and boy, I keep finding errors.  I will write again, but I'm dealing with a health issue.  My Muse has been silent.  I'm too preoccupied for the next few weeks.  Writing about men that aren't normal is fun.  I want the people out there to see what we have as love, make them see the fantasy and want it for themselves.

• • • • •

From romances to thrillers. @Twisted_Dreemz has few stories posted, but the three he has shared have earned praise from several other authors. His most recent one is a Spiderman fan-fic offering.

The relationship between teenager Peter and his ten-year-old brother Trejon is very detailed and convincing in The Black Spider. What inspired you to start this project, and are you as close to your siblings as they are, if you have any?

• • •

Thank you very much for checking out the story. I appreciate your questions! So, what inspired The Black Spider? I can’t answer that without sounding strange, so here we go. It came from a dream. One night, I dreamt that I was watching The Black Spider as a show on television. The dream was short, but in it, I knew everything about the show. When I woke up after having the dream, I still remembered what I knew about the show, so I wrote all of that down. 

Even after that, I had no intention of writing the story. Readers want original. They don’t want fan-fiction. lol. But the idea wouldn’t rest. So, I wrote up the first chapter and previewed it on the GA message board to see how people would respond. The response was good, so I went forward and here we are at chapter ten! 

For the second question, no, I have no siblings. I always wish I did, though. 

• • • • •

If you haven’t read @WolfM ‘s Running With The Pack, you don’t know what you’re missing. The entertaining, action-packed story featuring shape-shifters deals with human-nature and power struggles. This month, however, we have him talking about his poetry.

You started writing poetry rather recently. What do you think poetry does for you that prose does not?  In other words, what does poetry do for you?

• • •

I actually started writing poetry several years ago.  The instructor of the creative writing class I once took suggested it might be best if I worked on things other than poetry.  By the end of that class he had suggesting perhaps writing in general wasn’t for me.  I decided to give it another try after reading many of the talented authors on GA.  I talked with Mikiesboy (aka tim) who encouraged me and AC Benus who provided some guidance and some editing.  I’m not fully convinced that my attempts qualify as poetry, but I’ll leave that to the reader to decide.  The response has been positive.

For me, poetry is trying to tell a very short story.  I suppose that is what it truly is, but since I have mainly focused on long stories, saying what I want in only a few words is difficult.  Trying to learn the structure of a poem and not get stuck on one particular format is a challenge for me.  This form of writing gives me a chance to explore something different and push my comfort zone.  I can write about a thought, a touch, or a mood that provokes something I want to share.  While I incorporate things from my daily life in all my writing, a poem is more intimate.  I find enjoyment when I manage to articulate what something meant to me in under fifty words and in some cases much less.  I’m not sure if I really answered the question, but it’s the best I’ve got.

• • • • •

Part of the series of questions previously featured, I’ll end the month with two for @lomax61.

What to your mind, would be the greatest misfortune? 

The greatest misfortune has already befallen, and the world, in its wisdom, decided to call it Brexit.

• • •

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? 

"Come on in, dear boy. The kettle's boiled, and the tea's brewing nicely. I've even made some of those strawberry jam and double cream doughnuts you so love. You can eat whatever you like now. Oh, and by the way, Trump is one of ours. Who says I don't have a sense of humour?"

• • • • •

That’s it for this month. Remember, if you want to ask an author a question you feel the rest of us would enjoy the answer to, send it to me. I’ll do all the work, and share it in a future issue.

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Another great AAA installment, Carlos! I enjoy learning more about authors and their motivations, some whom I'm familiar with and some I need to become familiar with. So many great answers! I like hearing how authors put heart and soul into their writing.

 

(As for why I once had green hair... I also once had a mohawk... and no hair... but that's careening off the AAA page.) 

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4 minutes ago, MacGreg said:

Another great AAA installment, Carlos! I enjoy learning more about authors and their motivations, some whom I'm familiar with and some I need to become familiar with. So many great answers! I like hearing how authors put heart and soul into their writing.

 

(As for why I once had green hair... I also once had a mohawk... and no hair... but that's careening off the AAA page.) 

Not sharing pics of that? Just asking.  LOL  

 

I enjoyed this month's AAA.  I don't always get here, but I enjoy it when I manage it. 

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2 minutes ago, MichaelS36 said:

Not sharing pics of that? Just asking.  LOL  

 

I enjoyed this month's AAA.  I don't always get here, but I enjoy it when I manage it. 

There's a pic of the green hair in my photos. That's it.

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1 minute ago, MacGreg said:

There's a pic of the green hair in my photos. That's it.

Yes, Sir.  

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1 hour ago, MacGreg said:

There's a pic of the green hair in my photos. That's it.

 

That's how I knew about it. Post a mohawk one... :P

 

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This is another wonderful edition of AAA. As always, its great learning about the fantastic authors here, even that wolf-whatever guy ;)  Thanks for putting this together Carlos and letting me be a part of it.

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Lots of good questions and great answers! Always love reading these. :) 

3 hours ago, MacGreg said:

 

(As for why I once had green hair... I also once had a mohawk... and no hair... but that's careening off the AAA page.) 

I have had all three of those things. Mohawk only lasted two weeks before I shaved my head, but it was, in fact, green. /off topic

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first of all, thanks for all your work on this feature Carlos.  i imagine it takes a fair bit of time

it was really good to learn about new authors this month.  i've read some of @R. Eric work and enjoyed it.  i've added @Twisted_Dreemz and @lomax61 to my list to check out, thanks!

as for @WolfM his poetry is good, and i'm glad you were able to feature him here.

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      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!



      Dark


    • 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!
      Dark
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