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Renee Stevens

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Everything posted by Renee Stevens

  1. Tomorrow is the day. By the time I wake up in the morning, my brother will already be checked-in at the hospital and they'll be prepping him for the surgery to remove the tumor from his kidney. Good thoughts are welcome if you are so inclined.

    1. Show previous comments  8 more
    2. comicfan


      You need me, call. Prayers are going and my thoughts are with you.

    3. Renee Stevens
    4. Renee Stevens

      Renee Stevens

      The surgery went well, and he is tired and sore, but home.

  2. Renee Stevens

    Anything New?

    So much has happened in the last year. There's so much I wanted to do, that I never actually managed to accomplish. Of course, a lot of that pales in comparison to my biggest accomplishment yet...Baby J. We waited so long for him, and at times I still feel like maybe we're living in a dream, or that something is going to happen that will take it all away. I try my best not to focus on the negatives, but sometimes it's hard. Then I look at that little boy's smiling face, or hear his little giggle, and I realize that everything I didn't accomplish, doesn't matter. What matters is him, and my Husband, and our little family. What matters is making the most of every moment that we have together. It's been a rocky road getting to where we're at now, but in the end, it was all worth it. I came to a realization this evening, as I was sitting here listening to the Hubby and Baby J sleep. I was looking at the themes for the anthologies this year and thought that just maybe, I could write something for it. It's been so long since I really did much writing at all. And I realized something. About the time I quit writing, really writing, was about the same time that I got diagnosed with Anxiety. That stupid A word that makes me think that every little twinge is something wrong. To be fair, many in my family have had health issues the last couple years, and not just minor ones. But that had happened before and I'd always been able to write through. I'd always been able to put my feelings to paper and it helped. Then a dang nurse at a doctor's office mentioned one word, and I saw something wrong with me around every corner. (Note to nurses: Don't tell a patient (all perfectly calmly) that their blood pressure is in stroke range and you'll just give it a moment and take it again. Nothing good comes from that, especially when less than five minutes later you take it again and go "Oh, it's a lot lower now, maybe it was a mistake". Maybe? MAYBE? You mean you don't know? You're talking about my damn life, woman! GRRRRRR) I'm lucky in that I have a Husband who is willing to do whatever it takes to put my mind at ease, but sometimes I feel like it gets a bit ridiculous. And the more I looked at things, the more I realized that is when I stopped writing. I was so focused and worried about what MIGHT be wrong with me health wise, that it consumed me. I started with a new doctor, and at first things seemed good, up until I refused a medication that I read more bad than good about. Sure, it worked for people's anxiety, as long as they never tried to go off of it. And it wasn't even something that he thought for sure would work, but something that he just wanted to "try". Everything I read pointed to people being completely hooked after only a very very short round of dosages, even less than how long he wanted me to "try" them for. And these people had a nightmare of a time trying to come off of it, many of which never managed it). After talking about it with the Hubby, we both agreed that neither of us were comfortable with me being on that medication. My doctor's response was basically to tell me that he didn't know what else I wanted him to do then. Ummm... I don't know, maybe try and actually rule stuff out rather than blaming anxiety for EVERYTHING! In the end, we THINK that some of the ER trips, EKG's, chest x-rays, and doctors appointments that I was told were just anxiety, were the beginnings of my gallstones. They hurt, but we're thinking the gallstones just weren't big enough to cause the excruciating pain that finally got the ER docs to do an ultrasound and find the stupid gallstones. Gallbladder removal, and surprise, no more than the occasional twinge that could be just about anything. Fast forward to now. I've started going to a new doctor that is doing a really long blood panel to see if anything comes back. It's early days yet, but he has promised that he will NOT blame anxiety for things without ruling other issues out first. So we'll see how that works out. Anyway, that's a long winded way of saying that perhaps I need to look at things a little bit different now. I've always had some anxiety, but never as bad as it has been in the last couple years. If what I now suspect is true, perhaps it was my writing that helped me to keep my anxiety in check. Could it be possible that by losing my writing, I lost that outlet that gave the anxiety free rein? If I could get back into writing, is it possible that I'd be focused enough on that and Baby J that the anxiety would take a back seat? I'm hoping to find out. Of course, there are no guarantees, but this year, I'm going to put forth a concerted effort to get back into my writing (most likely during Baby J's naps and after he goes to bed at night). It might just start out with short stories, or prompts, but writing was my escape for so long, and I think when I quit writing, I lost the part of me that was able to keep other things at bay (though I got something back too, in the form of Baby J). Anyway, this was all on my mind, so I thought I'd get it down while thinking about it. I hope to have something new to share soon!!!
  3. Renee Stevens

    Anything New?

    Sorry, it's been a bit crazy the last couple of days. In-law drama. @Mikiesboy i agree. it's easy to blame everything on the anxiety, and while I truly believe that at least some of it is because of the anxiety, i still dont think it's all due to anxiety. Hopefully we'll know more soon. As far as writing, those are some great ideas and i'm working on some others and hopefully will have something soon. @Kitt i do have some notebooks that have things jotted out, so hopefully something will pan out with them. @MacGreg Thanks for those ideas, Sir. i've actually tried doing some meditation the last few days, but have been struggling with it. However, i'm also keeping a meditation journal and afterwards i write down how I feel afterward and why i think i struggled. i think it might be helping as i've fallen asleep much quicker. i'm glad to hear the Tanka helped Sir, even if only for a moment or two. i hope we both are able to find our ways out of our respective writing slumps. As far as the doctor, i really hope to find some answers when this latest round of blood work comes back. If nothing shows up, then we'll talk to the doctor and see what we do next, though i already have a few ideas.
  4. Renee Stevens

    Weekly Wrap Up (Jan 13. - Jan 19.)

    It's still not fixed, but I remembered the issue from before and put it in manually
  5. Renee Stevens

    Author Guess Who - #1

    I wanted to do something new for 2019, and what better than to start the new year off with a brand new feature. This one could be interesting as Authors were sent interview questions and had to answer them. The author's name has been omitted, and you'll have until the 26th to guess the author. The weekly wrap up on the 27th will reveal who our mystery author is. Each member gets three guesses, after that, guesses won't count. Happy guessing! What is one thing that most GA members might not know about you? I have never been hang gliding. What prompted you to write your first story? My grade 5 teacher. I’d always made up stories but she pushed me to write one. What genre of books do you enjoy reading and have you written for that genre? Many types are including comedy, drama, historical, horror, and science fiction. I’ve written a number of them. Is there a genre that you haven’t written for that you would consider trying later on? Perhaps one day historical or horror. Both would be a challenge. What do like most about publishing on GA? That would have to be the interaction with readers. Do you have any unique writing habits or rituals to help you get into a writing mood? No, nothing in particular. I do like to have a cup of coffee, however. How has your writing style evolved over time? Yes, it most definitely has evolved. Practice makes perfect as they say. Most people know I need a lot more practice. Do you have a significant other? Yes, I do. Do you have any pets? No, I do not have any pets. Do pet rocks count? Do you post multi-chapter stories as you write? Do you wait until you’ve finished writing the entire story? Or is it something in between? I prefer to write the entire story. Doing so ensures that you do not write yourself into a corner. So much less embarrassment that way. What is your favorite television show? Well, that’s a hard one. After much thought, I would have to say, Fortitude. What is your favorite movie? The Legend of Hell House Do you write poetry? Prose? Or both? I enjoy writing both. Each of them brings a different sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. If you could meet one person, living or dead, who would it be? I would enjoy meeting John Steinbeck. He is an author I much admire. What would you say is your greatest accomplishment? Beyond my writing, I would have to say my marriage. It means a great deal to me.
  6. Have i fired myself lately? If not, add one more to the tally. *shakes head*


    Round 4 Q & A was started, and forgot to hit submit. It is now up. And there's even a bonus question for anyone willing to answer it!  You can find the list of questions, and deadlines, here.


    Prompts were started, and, once again, forgot to hit submit. Sometimes, though I haven't looked ahead yet, prompts kind of need to go up before a certain date. Next week we will have a total of 4 prompts to choose from in order to make sure that if there ARE any that need to go live sooner rather than later, we will be back on track.


    Sorry for the mess-up.

    1. CassieQ


      You're not allowed to fire yourself.  You've been under a stupid amount of stress and things happen.  The other day, I forgot how to spell "teeth" and my coworkers are still giving me a hard time about it.  

  7. Renee Stevens

    Blog Feature Opportunities - #2

    Round 4 is now up. It was a little delayed due to real life issues, but you will have until February 6th to answer. And, this time there's a bonus question for all groups!
  8. Renee Stevens

    Blog Feature Opportunities - #2

    Since it looks like my previous topics got archived, here's the new topic with information on various blog opportunities. Q&A Feature: I hope to include our community more in future blog posts. With that in mind here are some questions (this post will be updated with each new round): Authors: Round 1: Have you experienced writer's block? If so, what helped you get past it? Round 2: Do you use an outline? Why or why not? Round 3: What was the hardest story for you to write? Why? Round 4: Do you base characters off of real life people? Are they completely fictional? Or some of both? And how does it affect your writing of said characters? Poets: Round 2: What do you find is the most difficult part about writing poetry? Round 3: What inspires you to write poetry? Round 4: Many know of the poetry teachings of @AC Benus, what is your favorite type of poem to write from those teaching? Readers: Round 1: When reading, what is one thing that will make you stop reading a story? Round 2: What is your favorite trope? What draws you to it? Round 3: What is your favorite genre? What is your least favorite? Why are they your favorite and least favorite? Round 4: What is the main thing that entices you to read a story? Editors: Round 1: What would be your number one tip that authors should do BEFORE sending their story to their editor? Round 2: What is your biggest pet peeve when editing? And why does it bug you so much? Round 3: What is the most common error you see? How can authors avoid it? Round 4: How hard do you find it to edit a story that you can't get into? Have you ever had to refuse to continue on with a story? If so, why? Round 1: PM me your answers. In the subject line, please use: writer's block answer, stop reading answer, or tip from editor. Round 2: PM me your answers. In the subject line, please use: Outline answer, Favorite Trope answer, Poetry Difficulty, or Pet Peeve answer. Deadline: December 5, 2018 Round 3: PM me your answers. In the subject line, please use: Round 3 Author, Round 3 Editor, Round 3 Poet, or Round 3 Reader. Deadline: January 6, 2019 Round 4: PM me your answers. In the subject line, please use: Round 4 Author, Round 4 Editor, Round 4 Poet, or Round 4 Reader. If you are answering more than one questions you can simply do Round 4: (followed by whatever groups you are answering). Deadline: February 6, 2019 BONUS QUESTION (all groups): Round 4: Do you have a favorite Valentine's memory that you'd be willing to share with us? Guess the Author Feature For kind of a fun blog feature, plus another chance for authors to get themselves out there.... I'll be doing a "Guess Who" blog feature. Authors will answer a few interview questions, and the community will try to guess who it is... Then in the weekly wrap up, we'll reveal the author, along with a link to up to two stories on GA that the author would like to promote. PM me if interested and I'll send you the list of questions. A sample question might be: What prompted you to write your first story? (With this question, you wouldn't be able to give the story name)
  9. Renee Stevens

    January Plans

    Hope you have a much better 2019, Wayne!
  10. Renee Stevens

    Blog Feature Opportunities - #2

    Round 4 will be up sometime tomorrow!
  11. Renee Stevens

    Author Guess Who - #1

    The questions in the post are the only questions the authors get asked.
  12. Trying to get back into eating at home a lot more. Seems we are always on the go on Hubby's week off, but we're hoping to get into better habits now, while Baby J is still young. (His six month checkup went awesome!) Tonights experiment was Baked Chicken Teryaki. The ingredient list was a little daunting, but it was actually really easy and oh so good. It got a thumbs up from Hubby and He said He'd eat it again, so....Yay!

  13. Renee Stevens

    Reviews Revisited (2014-2018)

    Reviews Revisited To start the new year off, the review team thought that we'd take a look at all the reviews posted since 2014. There were a lot of wonderful reviews submitted by readers and by the review team. Reviews for stories that were part of the CSR or are no longer found on site have been omitted. If you're curious about the review and would like to read it, simply click on the date and the link will take you to the review. Don't see your favorite story on the list? Consider writing your own review and submitting it. If you are interested in doing a review for the blog, contact @Timothy M.. A huge thank you to Timothy for taking the time to compile the list. 2018 January 8th: Classic Author Special Review - The Review Team January 22nd: Confide/ant by Sasha Distan - Lisa February 12th: Shifter by Skinnydragon - Puppilull March 12th: Predator/Prey by Parker Owens - Spikey582 April 9th: Travelling Home by podga - Timothy M. April 23rd: Boy story: The road taken by Rip Skor - Puppilull May 14th: Button by Cole Matthews - BlindAmbition June 11th: The Lilydale Leopards by Graeme - Timothy M. July 9th: How the Light Gets In by Duncan Ryder - Parker Owens July 23rd: Blood of the Neko by Craftingmom - LitLover August 13th: Losing Kevin by Ronyx - BlindAmbition September 10th: Pour Me Another by K.C. - Spikey582 October 8th: The Web by MrM - Puppilull October 22nd: Never Too Late by northie - Timothy M. November 12th: Twelve Gays of Christmas by Iomax61 - Puppilull December 10th: The Hollow Hills by Valkyrie - Cole Matthews December 24th: Favorite Christmas Story Special Review - The Review Team 2017 January 9th: Circle of Hell Stories by Sasha Distan - Puppilull January 23rd: Joined by Blood by Renee Stevens - Aditus February 13th: Secret Admirer Special Review - The Review Team April 10th: Hypnotic by Cia - Litlover May 8th: The Navigator by Cynus - Timothy M. May 22nd: Unforgivable by LitLover - Spikey582 June 12th: A Healing Heart by Lilansui - Puppillul July 10th: Rule #3 by CassieQ - William King July 24th: Premium Stories Special Review - The Review Team August 14th: Alex and Zach by Greg_A - Aditus September 11th: 9/11 by Mark Arbour - Timothy M. October 9th: Morningstar : The Malaise by Headstall - Wicked Witch October 23rd: Miss Silver Pretty-Pink Toes by mikiesboy - AC Benus November 13th: Personal Banking by Refugium - Puppilull December 11th: Famous Barr series by AC Benus - Timothy M. 2016 January 18th: Toy Soldiers by Dabeagle - Valkyrie February 15th: Trouble Plus Trouble by Palantir - Timothy M. April 18th: MetaBattles by JohnAR - Defiance19 May 9th: Red Running Shoes by Aditus - Timothy M. May 23rd: Song and Dance by Headstall - Litlover June 20th: Thaw by Puppilull - Timothy M. July 11th: A to Z by Parker Owens - Aditus August 8th: The Alliance by VVesley - Puppilull August 22nd: About Carl by Diogenes - Timothy M. September 12th: NaPoWriMo by Mikiesboy - Aditus October 10th: Shapeshifter by metajinx - Puppilull October 24th: MetaDeaths by JohnAR - PKCrichton November 14th: Nature Wrath Anthology Special Review - The Review Team 2015 January 19th: The English Year by Jwolf - Timothy M. February 16th: Dangerous Impulses by Greg_A - Cia March 16th: Leaving Club Leo by C James - Renee Stevens March 23rd: Meta by JohnAR - Timothy M. April 20th: Savory, Bitter and Sweet by Percy - Timothy M. May 18th: Gaymer by Dabeagle - Renee Stevens June 20th: Denn's Mobile Circus by Twisted_Dreemz - AC Benus July 20th: Bound and Bound: The Curse and the Captives by AC Benus - Valkyrie August 17th: MetaOrigins by JohnAR - Puppilull August 24th: Future Imperfect by Bill W - Atruefan September 21st: Prophylaxis by Rambling Robin - Timothy M. November 16th: Confounded by Andr0gene - Timothy M. November 23rd: MetaShadowlands by JohnAR - Litlover December 21st: Kissing the Dragon by lomax - Timothy M. 2014 January 20th: No Room In The Lodge by Joann414 - LJH (Louis Harris) February 17th: Burden of Secrets by Cia - Comicfan March 17th: Roommates by Krista - LJH (Louis Harris) March 24th: The Lake by Dolores Esteban - Joann414 May 19th: Geeks by CassieQ - Cole Matthews June 16th: Memoirs Of A Child Of The Past Century by Old Bob - Percy June 23rd: The Matchmaker is Grounded by Dark - Renee Stevens August 18th: The Game by Nephylim - Joann414 September 15th: Empath's Kiss by Andrew Todd - Renee Stevens September 22nd: Judas Tree by AC Benus - Timothy M. October 13th: Joined by Blood by Renee Stevens - Cia November 17th: Imprint by Hermit in the Cave - faxity December 8th: Misunderstandings by BigAKHorton - Timothy M. December 22nd: Gay Whales by Graeme - Renee Stevens
  14. My niece has apparently gotten the writing bug. She is planning to submit a short story to a Young Authors contest. She can't exceed a 4,000 word count, but we talked today and narrowed down her story. Since she was bullied in her old school, she's planning to do a short story about a kid who is being bullied and the other kids that step in, like she wished someone had done for her. A tough subject to tackle, but I have complete faith in her. So proud of her.

    1. Show previous comments  3 more
    2. Renee Stevens

      Renee Stevens

      @Kitt Thank you! i'll pass it along to her.

    3. Mikiesboy


      Wonderful, renee!!  

    4. Renee Stevens

      Renee Stevens

      @Mikiesboy Totally agree, tim. 

  15. Renee Stevens

    Writing Prompts #724 & #725

    Happy Friday, y'all! Sorry for the delayed prompts today, but here you go! Hopefully these inspire you to write something, whether you're a seasoned author or someone writing for the first time. Enjoy! Prompt 724 – Creative Tag – New Year, New You On New Year’s Eve like so many others you made a promise that in the new year you would change and do much better. Having had a bit too much to drink and no one special to share the night with you went home and collapsed into bed just before midnight. When you wake, you have a hell of a hangover and stumble to the bathroom to take care of business. As you catch sight of yourself in the mirror you scream. You aren’t you anymore, but that’s just the start of a new year and new you. What do you do? Prompt 725 – Creative Tag – Midnight Kiss Your grandmother has always told the story of everyone in the family finding their true love by being kissed by their soulmate at midnight on their eighteenth new year. You were alone and didn’t get kissed. She begged you to out and celebrate on your twenty-first, saying it was the last chance. You finally do, only to be grabbed by a stranger seconds before midnight and given a soul searing kiss. What happens? Did you write a prompt response last week? Share a link in the comments!
  16. New year = new doctor. Part of my working on becoming a healthier me. Hoping this one actually listens to me and doesn't immediately blame everything on anxiety, but instead rules other things out first.

  17. The themes of the 2019 Spring Anthology are: In the Stars and/or Snapped Feel free to interpret these themes in any way you want. The anthologies are not exclusive, but inclusive, so don't worry if you think your entry has only a tangential link to the theme. If you are inspired, then write a short story, poem or play, and submit it. Please read these submission guidelines carefully. You may address these themes in any style or genre you choose. Be as creative as you want to be with the themes. However, please note that this anthology is an anthology of short stories. By definition, a short story must stand alone and not require reading a prior story. It therefore cannot be a chapter in a serial. Who may participate Everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate. However, submission to GA Stories requires that you be a member here at GA so you can be assigned as the author. If you have author status (which is free and you can get after five posts in the GA forums), you can submit stories. Submission Guidelines Submission Date: May 15th, 2019 Please Note: Submission date is for submission to the Anthology Proof Team. Proofreads should take no more than 72 hours once you have been paired with a proofreader, if you have not received your story back within 72 hours, please contact Renee Stevens via PM. If you send your stories in within the last 48 hours of the deadline, you have 48 hours after receiving it back to upload it in order for it to be included in the Anthology. Non-Poetry No Story Limit: Each story submitted must meet quality and editing guidelines and only one story can be under 1,000 words. Each story posted as its own submission Minimum Word Count Per Story: 1,000 Maximum Word Count Per Story: 25,000 Poetry Up to five poems Posted as a single submission (a collection) Each poem posted as its own chapter Submission Procedure *Please read carefully* Once your story is complete and has gone through your beta and editing team, please complete the following steps: Contact @Valkyrie via PM. Include in the PM the following information: Title, original editor, genre, synopsis, word count, and excerpt in the body of the PM. Attach your story file. You will be paired with an editor from the Anthology Proof Team who will perform a final proof for the anthology and return the file to you. *Please Note: The Anthology Proof Team is not meant to take the place of an author’s normal editing team so all entries MUST be edited prior to contacting Valkyrie* Once you receive your proofed file, complete your edits and submit your story into GA Stories, for help, please read How do I upload my anthology entry into GA Stories? Make sure the story is unpublished by clicking BOTH the publish sliders, one for the chapter and one for the story itself Select “Fiction” as the category. It will be moved to the correct category by the anthology team. Mark your story as COMPLETE. Only completed stories are allowed in the anthologies Please note that once you submit a story it will NOT show up in your list of stories until the anthology has gone live. Copy the URL for your story and provide Renee Stevens with the URL via the announcement thread so that your submission may be checked to ensure it has been submitted correctly and meets submission guidelines. This also ensures that it will get moved to the anthology category. Please give the URL to the STORY page, not the chapter page. *NEW* Each theme will have it's own category. When providing the URL for your story in the announcement thread, please state which theme your story best represents. [*]Please do a visual check of your story once it has been uploaded to ensure that it uploaded correctly Extensions Occasionally things happen that prevent an author from meeting the deadline. If you should find yourself in such a predicament, PM Renee Stevens, before the deadline (not the day of or after), and something may be able to be worked out. Please contact Renee only if you need an extension; requests will only be considered when requested by the author personally. However, if the same author is consistently asking for extra time, extensions may no longer be granted for that particular author. Deadlines exist for a reason. The Anthology Team needs time to prep the anthology to go live and extensions, while occasionally warranted due to unforeseeable circumstances, add to the already hectic workload. If you have NOT made arrangements with Renee prior to the deadline, your Anthology will not be included. Please do not send a message the day an anthology is due requesting an extension, these will not be granted. You are welcome to post your story on your own and include a story note stating that it was originally meant to be part of the anthology. Story Titles Please do not use the anthology themes or your GA Username as a title. Be as original as you can. In case of duplicate titles within the anthology, we will request that titles be changed. Unacceptable entries & Content Warnings Entries that are obviously unedited (containing many errors), are overly graphic, or which are deemed to have unacceptable content will be either declined outright, or changes may be requested as a condition of entry. For information on what is considered to be unacceptable, please see the Story Content Rules FAQ. If you still have questions, ask. Please include a Content Warning in the story notes if your story contains sensitive content. Examples of sensitive content: abuse, especially graphic/extreme abuse or child abuse, in-scene graphic violence, suicide attempts/themes, allowable incest, etc... if you're unsure that your story falls within this type of content please alert Valkyrie when you send the PM requesting the final proof. Previously posted stories (whether at GA or elsewhere) are not eligible for inclusion into the GA anthologies. Editing All entries MUST be edited prior to being sent to the Anthology Proof Team. If you need an editor, please visit the Writing Support Requests forum to request one. There are editors who prefer to edit only one shots, such as anthologies. Please make sure to state that your story is for the upcoming anthology. Also, please make sure to follow the guidelines when requesting an editor. Copyright As with all content in GA Stories, the rights remain with the individual authors. Your story will post with a simple 2019 copyright notice, using your GA user display name. If you have another preference (for example, a different name, or a Creative Commons license, or specific copyright wording you'd like to use), please include that with your submission. However, with this anthology, by submitting your story, you are giving GayAuthors.org first worldwide rights with 14 days exclusivity. What that means is you are giving GayAuthors.org permission to archive your story on its website, distribute it via RSS, kindle, iphone, ipad, eyeball…. And you agree not to publish it anywhere else for 2 weeks. If you later decide to post your story at another site, please mention at the beginning or end of the story that it was first published as part of the 2019 Gay Authors Spring Anthology: In the Stars and/or Snapped, and include a link back to GA if possible. If you have any questions, please contact Renee Stevens via PM or via the Anthology Blog or Forum.
  18. Renee Stevens

    Q & A: Round 3

    Well, it's time for another Q & A session with our site authors, poets, editors, and readers! As you can see, these features have a little something for everyone. If you have ideas for questions for one of these groups, feel free to PM me! And while you're at it, why not answer one of the Round 4 questions! Now, let's see what we have for you this month! This month, we're going to turn it around a bit and start with our editors first! Editors: What is the most common error you see? How can authors avoid it? @Kitt - I have a lot, but the worst are misused homonyms hear/here and your/you're. The first you can remember by the fact that you hEAR with your EAR, but you are either here or There The latter try replacing the words "you are" for the your/you're in question. If you are works, you need the apostrophe! @Timothy M. - I'm sure someone else will have mentioned homonyms like bare/bear and break/brake, and using apostrophes (') where they're not needed. So I'll go with shift in verb tense. Experienced authors rarely make this mistake if the whole story runs in the same tense. But since a deliberate change of verb tense from past to present, or back, can set the pace nicely, the wrong verb tense may occur even to the best among us/you. I'm not sure how to avoid it, other than putting the story away for a day or two, and return to read the sections with different verb tenses separately. @Valkyrie - I would say comma usage tends to be the most common error I encounter when editing. It's something I struggled with when I first started writing, so I understand it can be difficult to get a handle on. If an author is unsure if a comma should be used or not, they should ask themselves if there is a complete sentence following the conjunction. If there is, then add the comma. If not, then don't. Commas are also necessary after introductory phrases. For example: After I woke up, I got a cup of coffee. I realize there is a lot more to comma usage, but the two instances I outlined are the most common omissions I see. Readers: What is your favorite genre? What is your least favorite? Why are they your favorite and least favorite? @Disjecta Membra - My favorite genre (to read and write) is fantasy. I love fantasy because to me, reading and writing is about getting lost in a different world. There is so much that can be done in fantasy worlds that cannot be done in other kinds of writing. I find it also allows for a great deal of invention, with creatures, magic, places, etc. I always find it wonderful to see what the unique minds of other writers can come up with. There are really no rights or wrongs in fantasy either; a reasonable answer can always be provided for something even if it wouldn't make sense in the real world. That being said, I do still enjoy other genres. Fiction is fiction, and it always has the ability to take the reader somewhere else. However, I have never been a fan of historical fiction. I don't know that I have a super justifiable answer as to why not, except that I've just never been able to get into it. @Thorn Wilde - Interestingly, the answer to both of these is Fantasy. IRL I practically only read sci-fi and fantasy. Good SFF is interesting and engaging and plain fun, it lets you escape from your own life, your problems, everything that hurts, even when it's serious stuff. But then you get to the tropes. Oh God, the tired old tropes! If it's not absolutely excellently written fantasy, they cannot be overlooked. You've got your high fantasy with Tolkien inspired elves and other creatures, your vampire stories that all seem to draw on Anne Rice in one way or another (and don't even get me started on Twilight, ugh), so many dragons, crappy world-building where everyone is white (because for some reason all fantasy has to be based on medieval Europe, apparently; you can have elves and gnomes, but you can't have people of colour? Give me a break!) , and the list goes on. Mix magic into your sci-fi, and it all becomes crappy Star Wars rip-offs. I swear, a lot of fantasy novels could just as well be fan fiction of better works. If they were, I think they'd be better. @mollyhousemouse - i really enjoy reading stories about second chances, and slice of life stories with adult characters. i'm not too fond of teen romances, might be that i'm so far removed from that time of life; also, not too fond of shifter stories. well i did enjoy those by @JohnAR , but they weren't what you would normally think of when you say "shifter stories" i like the second chance stories because we all like to believe in second chances, don't we? and the slice of life ones well it's nice to peek into the neighbors house to see what's going on. Poets: What inspires you to write poetry? @aditus - When I feel the need to bring order to things it’s good to sort by meter. @Mikiesboy - The world, people, feeling, colours, nature. What i see and feel everyday. Poetry let's me express my joy, pain and love. @Valkyrie - I tend to draw inspiration from my life and surroundings. Sometimes I'm inspired by current events or an article I read. I also enjoy the challenge of National Poetry Writing Month and seeing what I can create based on daily poetry prompts. Authors: What was the hardest story for you to write? Why? @Thorn Wilde - I think it's a tie in my case, between the Craig short in Hubris, and Nobody's Valentine. With Craig, it was simply the subject matter. It was a hard story to write because it was so painful and heartbreaking. It was also difficult to give a character who did such awful things a backstory and a soul. A reason, even if it wasn't an excuse. As for Nobody's Valentine, I wrote it a few months after my ex dumped me and it was more than a little bit based on what I was going through at the time. It drew on my own recently lived experience of heartbreak, and that hurt a lot. Even when I reread it now, three years after the break-up, I relive the pain of it and I kind of want to cry. It's hard to admit, but I still miss him, even though I've otherwise moved on. @CassieQ - It is usually whatever story I am working on when the question is asked, but that’s a cop-out. Some stories are easier to write than others, but the one I struggled with a bit was Save Tonight. It is about grief and loss, and those are very hard things to experience and write about. I was pleased with the final result, and I’ve gotten great feedback on it, but there were definitely some moments when I had trouble getting the words down. @aditus - Noli Me Tangere. This story doesn’t have a HEA ending, only hope. I knew the readers wouldn’t like it. @Mikiesboy - That's a tough one. Changes because it took a lot of research and it was quite emotional. But i think it would have to be After The Past. I had to make some tough choices with respect to what happened with the characters. I had to make sure i wrote it well enough so readers would accept the choices i'd made. @Superpride - The hardest story for me to write was Hero Wanted. The first reason was because it was hard for me to find an exact premise of how the characters got their superhuman abilities. This story is actually the third iteration before I officially published the first chapter in this site. It took me a lot of research to find how my characters got their abilities that would make sense in my head. After going through nanotechnology and ether, I finally settled with the manipulation of light as the premise. Another reason is the balancing of world-building and the romance between the two main characters. I really wanted to write how the world of Hero Wanted works, but I also wanted to go deep into the developing romance between Ryan and Chris. I wanted both elements of my story to be just as captivating, and I didn't want to focus too much on just one of the two. I don't know if I was successful with that endeavor, but I hope to continue that mission as I make this story into a series. The last reason is the tons of research I did to connect this story to the various world mythologies, specifically Filipino mythology and connect those mythologies together, like the diwata of Filipino mythology named Maria Makiling who could transform ginger into gold and connect her to the origins of the three sacred treasures of Japanese mythology. It was a lot of time I spent with my eyes on my computer screen, but it was really worth it since I learned a lot about different mythologies, and I got to learn about my own Filipino culture as well. @Valkyrie - I found my anthology story for the fall 2016 anthology--"Lost and Found"--quite difficult to write. When I wrote it, I was struggling with a bout of writer's block, so I had to to push myself for every word. The subject matter didn't help, as it was a difficult topic and not easy to write about in the best of times. Well, that's it for this session of Q & A. Don't forget to check out the thread for the Round 4 questions!
  19. Renee Stevens

    Blog Feature Opportunities - #2

    Sorry all. Round 4 questions will be posted soon in the next few days.
  20. Renee Stevens

    niece time

    wonderful picture, Sir. Thank You for sharing it!
  21. My family seriously can't catch a break. My aunt was taken by ambulance to the hospital this morning. They say they've ruled out a stroke, but they suspect a brain aneurysm. My other aunt was already up there for an MRI because she has 2 broken ribs (and something else, but I can't remember). And my brother's surgery for his kidney tumor (cancerous) is scheduled for next week. I'm already not liking 2019!

    1. Show previous comments  8 more
    2. Valkyrie
    3. Renee Stevens

      Renee Stevens

      Thanks @Reader1810 and @Valkyrie


      we're back home now, but did what we needed to do. Things are about the same, though he surgery will be tonight. Not sure why they waited, maybe to see if she got stronger? I dunno, but things dont look very good right now.

    4. Valkyrie


      Sorry to hear that, Renee :hug: 

  22. It's time to make some positive changes in my life, for both myself and my family. It's time for me to really work on getting healthy.  And no, not a New Year's resolution, just a decision that has been a long time in the making.  Wish me luck!

    1. Show previous comments  3 more
    2. Renee Stevens

      Renee Stevens

      @Mann Ramblings Thanks, hon.  The last year and a half has been crazy, but especially the last six months. And those last six months have shown me how desperately i need to make some changes. It'll take time to accomplish everything, but it will definitely be worth it in the end.

    3. Reader1810


      Good luck, Renee! I know you can do it. :) 

    4. Renee Stevens

      Renee Stevens

      @Reader1810 Thank you, Reader!

  23. Renee Stevens


  24. Best start to my day: Laying in bed and listening to Baby J babble happily.


    Worst start to my day: Finding out I'd left the bottle warmer on and it no longer works. Then, being stupid and having coffee temperature water splash over my entire hand.


    I think I'll go with listening to Baby J babble happily.

    1. Show previous comments  2 more
    2. Mikiesboy


      be careful, honey ...

    3. Renee Stevens

      Renee Stevens

      @Mikiesboy i will. i was just being stupid. Since the bottle warmer seems to be dead now, i used my coffee maker for hot water to warm up Baby J's bottle. Instead of doing the smart thing and putting the cup of hot water on the counter before adding the bottle, i added the bottle while i was holding it. The water overflowed all over my hand.

    4. wildone


      I'm not a coffee drinker, but doesn't missing coffee start a day long sequence of events all leading back to the morning without coffee :gikkle:

  25. Okay, I've now posted the poor neglected anthology topics for the 2019 Spring Anthology. You can find them, along with a help request thread, in the anthology forum:




    Now, I think it's time to head to bed and hope that Baby J lets me get a few hours of sleep before he wakes up!


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