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  1. phoenix_0826

    Chapter 51

    I've read all of the "town" stories and had greatly enjoyed them. The shifting tone towards the end of this story made it almost unrecognizable with the rest. Many of the later chapters feel like they were being told at a great remove rather than the immersive, well -lived world you'd originally built for the characters. It felt as if the agenda took precedence over the characters and the story you had originally been building. I really do wish I had something more positive to say because of what a funny, charming story this started as. I'll miss the characters from the first half of the story.
  2. phoenix_0826

    Chapter 49

    I definitely didn't mean to hurt you with that comment my friend! I have truly enjoyed this story and especially the characters at it's heart. Seeing your note about then end coming quickly made me stop and think back over the story as a whole and that was when i really recognized the change in tone (which you handled brilliantly - it was subtle and snuck up on us, we grew into as well as the characters). There has been so much humor, passion and interesting moments along the way that it could be head spinning! I do completely agree about "Gordy comes Home" - the sorrow and despair of the first chapter almost lost me, but I'm so glad I pushed into the second. I still get choked up from time to time thinking of that story. The image of phantom laughter at the waters edge will always bring a smile to my face though.
  3. phoenix_0826

    Chapter 49

    I'm feeling rather bittersweet realizing that we're coming to the end of this story. I've enjoyed all the stories set in "the town", and I find myself missing the intimacy of the early chapters of this story and the others in the overall cycle. Somewhere along the way this grew into a Dallas-style soap opera while I was being charmed by the characters rather than the small story of new love and discovery it seemed to start as. Don't think I haven't enjoyed the ride, I've stuck it out to see these characters week after week because they have been very engaging and charming. I'll miss Paul's wonder at the changes happening in his life, Jeff's rakish charm, the palpable heat between Raymond and Daniel, Miss Julie's charismatic and sparkling personality, and on and on. Thank you for bringing them to life and sharing them with us over the past few years. I hope that we return to the town again and again. I'm sure there are more stories to tell and dreams to explore. all the best --- J
  4. phoenix_0826

    Chapter 11 Missing Pieces

    Wonderful ending here Gary - bravo!! I'm looking forward to the epilogue, and hopefully a new Cards chapter in the future. 😉
  5. phoenix_0826

    Chapter 3

    This has been a very thought-provoking and bittersweet story. I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes in the future.
  6. phoenix_0826

    Chapter 7 Another Man's Shoes

    I find myself not really hating Richard and actually growing in my dislike of Drake. From the beginning I've been at best ambivalent toward Drake because he's come across as very emotionally immature and rather bigoted (toward bisexual individuals). I was turned off by his treatment of Jimmy from the beginning - it's obvious that Jimmy is a kind, caring person that is still quite devoted to Drake. Drake refuses to discuss and understand Jimmy's sexuality and instead paints him with a wide brush and tells him (Jimmy) how he (Jimmy) feels and will act. I agree that Richard handled the breakdown and end of his relationship with Drake poorly - but had Bernadette been Bernie, Drake still would have been the last to know. Based on Drake's behavior throughout the series so far, I envision him becoming defensive, throwing a tantrum, and running away before he an Richard could have had a true and meaningful discussion about their breakup and Richard's feelings. The second kiss may or may not be an issue - the text says that it was more meaningful, not that it was lustful or passionate. It seems like in Richard's mind he's established a re-connection with someone he once loved, it can be confusing and awkward physical gestures can happen. If you've ever had a peaceful meeting with an ex, moments like this are more common than you'd think. Even wondering about if Drake has feelings - while worded in a way that could be more ominous than intended - has a ring of truth. My ex and i have sometimes been in social events together, and while chatting somewhere may ask "do you ever wonder what if?" - we normally turn it into a joke about how we'd have killed each other at least twice by now. I'm definitely hoping that Drake has a brilliant awakening, because I think Jimmy deserves someone worthy of his love. I give you a lot of credit Gary -- you've got me invested in a story about a main character that i really don't like!!
  7. phoenix_0826

    Chapter 42

    Interesting addition with Gram -- he reminds me of Bruno Gianelli from the West Wing, if you aren't familiar search for some clips on youtube. He could seem ruthless and distant, but he was always one of the smartest minds in the room
  8. phoenix_0826

    Moving Beyond

    This is a very warm and funny series - the perfect amount of humor and heartbreak. I'm definitely hoping for the third book --- Moving In maybe?
  9. phoenix_0826

    Chapter 39

    Thanks! I completely understand, I'm definitely looking forward to the new content - I'm looking forward to the birthday celebration and the big move. Knowing the plan I'll attempt to sit patiently on my hands with regards to looking for the next book here, but now I'm spoiled because I really love this format and the ease of feedback and communication here! I think you picked the perfect stopping point for Awakening - this was a prelude, the story of Jack's metamorphosis, the next book will really get us into the meat and bones of Forever. I can't believe how lucky your new readers are to experience all this for the first time!!!
  10. phoenix_0826

    Chapter 39

    Thanks Jack - it's been a blast re-reading the beginning of Forever! Are you going to be publishing the next book to this site soon or will we have to wait until you have prepared it for eBook/print production?
  11. phoenix_0826

    Awakening Forever

    Awakening Forever is the initial story of the larger Forever saga - it is a story with a likable lead character who is very easy to relate to and incredibly memorable supporting characters that are very easy to love. A simple phone call triggers a series of events that will change Jack Schaeffer's life and make him face his own self-imposed limitations and challenge him to be the best he can. This story is overflowing with optimism and a firm belief in the power of love, human connection, and the ability we all have to make the world a better place with actions large and small. It's heart shines through at every turn.
  12. phoenix_0826

    Chapter 37

    I love Jack's thought about missed opportunities piling up - he's coming to the realization that his own fears and attempts to isolate himself from rejection and pain cost him strong relationships while living in Chicago. He's also galvanizing his resolve to face the next chapter of his life openly and on his own terms. Do it afraid!
  13. phoenix_0826

    Chapter 36

    Jack is something of a magical unicorn in this chapter - spewing rainbows and glitter wherever he goes!
  14. phoenix_0826

    Chapter 33

    I think Mary has gotten something of a short hand from Jack. She is somewhat annoying and a bit of the office busy-body, but it seems like underneath she means well. Possibly Jack let his own prejudices and insecurities color his perception of her. Speaking of which, it seems that a lot of Jack's isolation in Chicago was his own doing. He had so many insecurities about being gay and trying to keep it hidden from everyone around him that he left himself with no meaningful connections to people that could have been a support system for him. Fred's family definitely stepped up and seemed like they would have been very welcoming and inclusive of Jack, even Mary seems like she could have been someone that Jack could have shared a laugh or two with over the years. And truly, Chicago is a great city to be young and gay in - even if you had to commute from the 'burbs! I know that Jack's reticence from being more open comes from the life he experienced with his mother and brother, it's a shame that he didn't have the self-acceptance to have truly been himself in college or while living in Chicago. Of course if he did we'd be reading a drastically different story! :-) Question for author Jack -- will you be publishing the other already released books on this site immediately after Awakening is finished, or will you be spending time revising those before adding them here? (I know I'd love to see them posted immediately, but I fully understand if you want this to be the repository for the "final" version.)
  15. phoenix_0826


    Such a beautiful sentiment, simply reading the words helps to ease some of the burden. Often it only takes the slightest compassion to help you know you're not alone.

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