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Found 12 results

  1. Renee Stevens

    Featured Story: Button

    Well, it's the start of a new week, and for today's schedule, we're bringing you BlindAmbition's review of Button by Cole Matthews. Featured story days are a great way to highlight one of the many stories that can be found in GA Stories. With so many stories, it's easy for a single story to get lost in the shuffle. Now, onto the review. Hopefully you enjoy BlindAmbition's review enough to go check out Button for yourself! Button Cole Matthews Reviewer: BlindAmbitionStatus: CompleteWord Count: 77,786 I’m happy to be providing my first official GA story review. There are so many wonderful stories on GA, so it was hard to choose one. I decided on highlighting the story Button by Cole Matthews. It’s a little gem that flies below the radar. The story is full of heart and meaning, without being preachy. It offers a little something for everyone. I read this story before joining GA, and it still resonates with me. The story revolves around a full cast of characters, but it’s truly Button’s story. He is left on the doorstep of his father Craig’s house. Craig and his partner Graham take on the Herculean task of raising Button. Each chapter represents another year in their lives. Craig is the buddy and most relatable figure to Button, whereas Graham is the overprotective nurturer. Each father plays an invaluable part in what Button will become. Button will experience hardship through his learning disability. He will also learn to achieve and overcome adversity. Button gains confidence through an abundance of love. Learning how to deal with the curves life throws at you can be difficult, but it’s what you make of any situation that counts. Cole has written a story with a lot of heart. It’s not fluffy and sugarcoated. It’s also not depressing and a Debbie Downer. Button is just an honest portrayal of life, life that isn’t certain and often changing. The story's strengths come from showing people are flawed, constantly evolving and resilient. These are all things we inevitably learn in the game of life. The only criticism I have of the story is wanting more. Each chapter represents a year; this limits how much of Button’s life can be included in those chapters, although I feel writing in another format would have taken away from the story’s special quality and voice. Category: Fiction Genres: Drama Tags: gay, light-hearted, parents, psychology, modern, love Rating: Teen
  2. Happy Birthday, Cole! I hope Randy and the cats spoil you all day! I hope your day is as awesome as you are, my dear friend! Here's a rainbow cake for you to celebrate with
  3. Renee Stevens

    New Author Advice #3

    Hey All! I hope everyone is having a wonderful week so far. Today we're going to look at a writing tip provided to me by Cole Matthews. Cole has put together a bit of a primer on a way to build character. As he told me, it's something that he's always reminding himself of and he was hoping that by sharing his thoughts that it would help other authors out as well. Thank you, Cole! If you have any advice that you would like to share with the GA authors, send me a PM! Builds Character Cole Matthews So, you’ve got an idea. You even have the beginnings of a main character and a hilarious best friend/sidekick. You have started writing about how your protagonist feels about things and views the world. You are kicking into high gear and then you hit your first speed bump. Your character is alone in the world. The point of your story is to convey how a young gay man navigates the difficult shoals of a changing world and a kaleidoscopic life. Yet, you are stymied by these details, and creating the annoying back story. For example, you need a difficult past, a troubled childhood, parents who don’t understand him, and a hostile environment. Right? This is what we must get past in order to discover the many crannies and crevices of our character’s deep personal history. Quickly, almost without effort, you create a distant, absent family, no room for siblings or cousins or even grandparents. You have a best friend/sidekick who gets your character, but haven’t taken the time to flesh out the rest of his world. You cobble together the most likely antagonist to act as a foil for your intrepid main character. Obviously, she/he’s a bully who hates/scorns/ignores gay people as a matter of course. You invent the perfect love interest, and now your novel is practically writing itself. Done. Well, not really well done, but you get the picture. Consider this, we are not just the internal aspects of our being. Human beings are a myriad of roles juxtaposed against a series of situations. Everyday. Several times a day. Unless we’ve sailed alone into the sunset or moved to a remote cabin in the woods and are writing our manifesto on an antique Underwood typewriter on hand-made paper created from soaking woodchips in spring water and pressing the pulp into sheets and drying on racks in the sun, we interact with others and these actions define us. You get the picture, or at least my first stab at it. Look at your day. You get up and pour a bowl of cereal. Your roommate is already eating his toaster treats and looking at his phone. He’s bleary-eyed from last night’s late night at the bar. He’s grumpy and you’re sick of hearing about his stupid love life which he is screwing up because he can’t commit to the love of his life. You are a good roommate though so you chat and say goodbye because, well, that’s what roommates do. You check your phone on the way to work. It’s your mother. She left a message about your sister’s birthday party. Your sister’s lazy, good-for-nothing, boyfriend is planning it, but needs help finding a cake. Apparently, he’s too stoned to Google a bakery or find a grocery store or buy a stupid ice cream cake at the local Dairy Princess. Regardless, you call your mother back and tell her you’ll help. After all, you’re a good son and an even better brother. When you get to work, your boss has sent you a nasty email about performance. Instead of finishing that boring market research project, you blew it off. You get cracking at it right away. You’re a good employee, generally, so you work diligently at it. In the meantime, your co-worker stops by to complain about the way her boss is treating her. You listen and nod and speak encouragingly about how things will get better. Let’s face it, you’re a team player and you really want to help make her feel better. You look up at the clock when she leaves your cubicle, and it’s 10:30 am already. Today you’re meeting your best friend for lunch so he can talk about his upcoming wedding to that girl you set him up with. You’ve known Stephen for ten years now and he’s so happy you can hear the enthusiasm in his voice in your memory. You’re thrilled he’s found someone. If only… [End scene]. Note, I haven’t talked about how he feels about things, how the light from the morning sun glinted off the windshield of his car and blinded him revealing his empty life, or even about how he feels like a cog in this immense machine which we call the world. Nope. I used the ensemble cast of his life to build character. We know him through his roles and his relationships with others. This is one way to build character, through the actions and interactions with other people. Think of all we know about him without any descriptions whatsoever. He thinks of himself as a good person who tries hard to fulfill expectations others may have. He works hard and tries to be a nice person. He’s operating by rote for the most part. His life is empty, but that’s by implication. You feel some empathy for him because you have experienced days, and episodes, like his. Instead of stock-in-trade characters who become static furniture to your main character, these characters have motivations, hopes, fears, and dreams of their own. None of them are paper dolls with premade, tabbed clothing to press over their two-dimensional bodies. In fact, this makes your main character even more complex and richer because he’s showing character while dealing with their issues. Take care to consider your cast and the richer their stories are, the richer your main character is. Does he snap at another co-worker, his rival, which begins a conflict neither can control? Is this how his antagonist comes into being? Be creative and think deeply. Not every antagonist is a homophobic, religious fanatic with sadistic tendencies. In fact, most aren’t. Developing a well-rounded antagonist is just as important as creating the supporting cast. In fact, a good foil can make Protagony look even better. Our guy, Protagony, and the other guy, Antagony, are bucking for the same promotion. They don’t get along, at all. Antagony is a jerk who cheats on his girlfriend with his wife. [Yes, I love the cheating inversion for effect.] However, he is good at his job. He loves his two kids. His mother has cancer, which she is fighting and winning. Antagony runs in marathons to support this cause. That’s not all. He stole our main character’s idea for a new promotional idea and is passing it off as his own. Protagony needs to figure out how to prove it’s his baby. The problem is, Antagony is really good looking and everyone likes him. In fact, Protagony hates him in part because he’s so attracted to him. He tries to hate him, fails, and then remembers about the stolen idea, and writhes in frustration. The truly memorable and interesting antagonists are complete human beings. When their humanity is compared to their monstrous actions, we are intrigued. How can Antagony live with himself after stealing his co-worker’s idea? Doesn’t his cheating nature show what a horrible person he is, or is there something else there? Let’s explore. Antagony’s wife cheated on him, but doesn’t want a divorce. He tried to make the marriage work, but she’s cold and distant. Their marriage is a farce kept alive by the children. Antagony has his work and that’s all that seems to be working in his life. His mother is sick. His kids are having trouble in school due to the family issues they don’t even understand. The idea he stole will give him a much-needed promotion, and even more importantly, a boost of self-confidence in his life. He’s even persuaded himself he really did come up with the idea. He’s convinced himself that Protagony tried to steal it from him. The rat bastard. This makes both characters more interesting and gives them motivations, perspectives, and even character traits which will color and flavor their interactions. To summarize: Build a better main character by using the supporting cast and antagonist to flesh him out. Give them back stories which align with the main character. Let them have motivations and their own tales. Don’t be afraid to sprinkle both good and bad traits since we don’t know people with all good or even all bad tendencies. Craft the story using these other characters to help, hinder, advise, trip, and otherwise baffle or enlighten the main character. Don’t be afraid of using an antagonist to refine your character and challenge, but make them whole and not cookie cutter. Using characters to fill up your main character will make a more interesting and richer storyline. That’s my advice to new writers and to myself as well. Trust me, I have to remind myself about this all the time. It’s another device to consider using.
  4. Renee Stevens

    Secret Admirer Special Review

    One year ago, the thirteen stories written for the Secret Admirer Contest posted in time for Valentine’s Day. Like the regular GA Anthologies, the contest let authors try their hand at short stories within a common theme. But in this case readers could vote for the story they liked best - all without knowing who the author was. After the contest there was a guessing game about who wrote each story. Half the stories were so well disguised no one was able to pinpoint the author. Three stories were distinct enough that the authors (Cole, AC Benus and Thorn Wilde) were recognized by four people each. Perhaps the reviews below will give you the answer why. The Valentine's Day stories were very different; some made readers cry and others made them laugh. The genres ranged from Romance (naturally) over Drama to Mystery and even Historical. Why not explore or revisit the stories as a prelude to this year’s holiday? There is something for every taste whether you feel happy or sad. Don’t forget to leave a like and comment for the authors so they know how you felt about their stories and as an incentive to keep writing. If you're not sure where to start, the reviews below may inspire you to choose a story. Valentine’s Day 2016 Secret Admirer Contest Cupid Central by Aditus Reviewer: Timothy M. Word count: 3,961 Of all the wonderful Secret Admirer Contest stories last year, this one was probably the most light-hearted and fun. Did you know Cupids have arrows of different colors depending on the situation? Or that missing a shot can have dire consequences, not only for the humans involved, but also the hapless Cupid who bungled the job. The management at Cupid Central assigns punishment for tardiness as well as sloppy jobs, but also rewards good work. If you want to know how, you’ll need to read the story. I was chuckling most of the time, and I’ve asked Aditus to lend me a couple of his angels to help out in my A.I. story. But most of all, I hope we’ll get more Cupid Central stories, because the concept is delightful, the dialogue is funny, and the characters are vividly portrayed. Jager by Cole Matthews Reviewer: Aditus Word Count: 3,332 This is the story of Adam and Glenn, ‘the dynamic duo, in love and in charge for more than forty years, always having each other’s back.’ They share a life of genuine affection and care: from the beginning, when it took great courage to be together as gay men, to overcoming a severe loss, raising their son and having a grandchild. Now that old age has finally caught up with them and joints are stiff, and hips hurt, Glenn fears Adam is slowly losing his sanity. Why else would he talk to people who aren’t there or suddenly drag Jager, the old rocking horse Glenn’s grandparents gave him when he was a kid, from the garage into the house? They are only ‘two old queens on their last leg in the journey of life. No one is there. They only have each other.’ Right? So, what is Adam doing? If I had to associate one word with Jager, it would be trust─trust to follow through with the words they might have had promised to each other in the past: to have and to hold/from this day forward/for better, for worse/for richer, for poorer/in sickness and in health/to love and to cherish/till death do us part. Jager won first place in the Secret Admirer Contest for a reason. Make sure you have tissues ready. And then there is this brilliant twist Cole invented, but you’ll have to read it for yourself to find out what it is. Lupercalia by Puppilull Reviewer: Cia Word Count: 7,169 Valentine’s Day usually makes you think of love, sweets, and romantic nights… but Puppilull’s story, Lupercalia, is set in the most unlikely of places for this: a prison. An ancient prison in Rome, actually. The story revolves around a tortured prisoner sentenced to die by the emperor in the annual Lupercalia celebrations. Varius is warned about him, but he can’t see why the prisoner might be a danger to him or any of the other guards. But as the days leading up to the Lupercalia pass by, Varius finds out more about him, and his reason for being imprisoned, than he likes to know about those condemned to die. Varius questions the dictates of his life and the strictures put upon him as a soldier of the Roman empire, and it’s nearly impossible to accept the prisoner's fate, even though he remains steadfast in the convictions that led to his death sentence. Love and compassion should never be forbidden. Their tragic romance might be doomed, but don’t let that keep you from reading Puppilull’s tribute to love in all its bittersweet glory. There’s always a chance… if you’re brave enough to face the potential pain in pursuit of love. Making Sense of Secret Gifts by Timothy M Reviewer: LitLover Word Count: 12,488 Timothy M’s submission to the Secret Admirer contest was a story about a very private man, named Colin, who starts receiving some very public attention, in the form of gifts left on his desk by a secret admirer. The gifts are thoughtful, and some, such as a carving of his cat, give the impression the benefactor knows Colin fairly well. Colin is a caring, if lonely, man who has been hurt in his past. In order to alleviate some of his loneliness he gives up his weekends to volunteer in a group home. Colin’s partner in crime is Sol, his sneaky cat, who can coax a smile out of the most sullen teenager. The more I read about Colin the more fiercely I found myself hoping he would find someone to care about him as much as he cares for others. This sweet, but introverted man is unsure of what to make of the mysterious packages. A part of him is flattered someone would put so much thought and effort into these gifts, but his discomfort is almost palpable when he starts to become the center of attention in the office. It takes him a great deal of courage to leave a message for his admirer, and ultimately decide to meet him/her in person. I’m not going to give away the identity of the secret admirer because it would spoil the fun of reading the story, and trying to puzzle out the mystery for yourself. All I can tell you is you will be more than satisfied with the answer. Nobody’s Valentine by Thorn Wilde Reviewer: Puppilull Word Count: 4,664 So it’s that time of year again. Hearts everywhere and everyone acting so lovey-dovey it’s making the air turn pink. Or red. But what if your reality doesn’t fit in? What if your life has taken a completely unforeseen turn, leaving you feeling disappointed, lonely and perhaps even despairing? A story of a Secret Admirer that deals with these less written about sides to this thing we call love can be such a relief. If that story is friggin’ well written as well, things are looking up. Thorn Wilde has provided us with a story of Mike who is fighting an uneven battle to get over the boyfriend who dumped him. When that infamous date rolls around, he finds the sadness flares up and seeks ways to deal with it. One remedy turns out to be the one to lead him on his way. But where will it take him? This is a truly bittersweet story telling us life isn’t always a bed of roses. I think it’s important to not lose sight of that. It’s actually somehow comforting to know bad stuff will happen, but you will be OK. A bit scarred perhaps, but OK. Sunshine by AC Benus Reviewer: Timothy M. Word count: 9,480 Writing a Valentine’s Day story filled with sadness, loss, longing and even anger, and naming it Sunshine, is the kind of chutzpah few people can get away with. But AC Benus has the unique ability to pluck at our heartstrings and fill our guts with dread, holding the story on the precipice of anticipation, yet letting us hope for a miracle. Will the two characters make the right choice? Will their innate goodness break through like a ray of sunshine? Will it become a Valentine’s Day to remember for the triumph of love and kindness or for the loss of innocence and trust? Go read the story, and afterwards go hug someone you care about and tell them they matter. The Cupid Complex by Valkyrie Reviewer: spikey582 Word Count: 5,127 In this little treat from last year’s Secret Admirer Contest, Valkyrie takes us through one year in the life of Gabriel as he searches for that special someone. He doesn't always have the best of luck in his search, but he is a romantic at heart with a penchant for holiday decorating. A Valentine’s Day misstep leads to a humiliating situation, and some accompanying depression that he battles throughout his journey for the relationship his heart desires. Dealing with obvious hurt, Gabriel plays the “hook-up” game, hesitant to really put himself out there. As the year progresses, some new friendships are forged, but everything in relationship territory remains starkly “casual.” Yet, as the next Valentine’s Day approaches, Gabriel discovers gifts and notes being left on his doorstep. Whose admiration has Gabriel drawn? Will Cupid’s arrow strike after all? This was the kind of story that left me smiling in one instant, and frowning and frustrated the next. Valkyrie packs quite a lot into such a short tale. I found myself feeling Gabriel’s sorrow and rooting for him to finally be with someone he truly deserves. Join Gabriel through this fun little tale, as he realizes life is full of surprises, which are often much closer than we think. The Lady in the Flames by jfalkon Reviewer: Lisa Word Count: 7,711 Imagine driving past the scene of a car accident and noticing one of the drivers slumped over the steering wheel. What would you do? There was already rubbernecking on the road, so you know someone must have called 911. Would you just drive on by, assuming the driver would be taken care of? Or would you stop and try to get him out of the car? What if you had the day off from work because you lied and told your boss you were home sick? What if, by helping this person, you were ‘found out’ and you were fired because you lied to your boss about being sick? Our protagonist James has a lot on his mind as he ponders these questions. Of course being morally sound, he saves the driver’s life and pulls him out of the car before the big chunk of metal explodes into a ball of flames. On the news, the flames in the background make him look like a woman, so he thinks he’s pretty much off the hook of being found out. I found this fast-paced story captivating, and I was riveted from the first line. It didn’t hurt that the characters were very relatable also. What I liked best about it, however, were the beautiful words jfalcon used toward the end of the story to describe a moment of passion. I would highly recommend reading The Lady in the Flames if you haven’t already, and if you have, why not pick it up again and enjoy it a second time around? These are by no means all of the stories from the Secret Admirer Contest; there are more wonderful stories for you to take a look at. You can read all of the Secret Admirer Contest stories here. And don't forget the upcoming April Fool's Day Short Story Contest. You still have time to submit a story. Entry deadline is March 1st, 2017.
  5. Aditus, Cole Matthews, and I are proud to announce what has been keeping us so busy over the past couple of months. We have each written eight stories, poems, memories, or personal vignettes--so a total of twenty-four goodies we will share every day starting December first and ending on Christmas Eve. Aditus will post each treat, but the author will be kept secret until the end of each week. We would love to hear our readers' predictions and guesses as to who wrote which story either in a review or in this thread. We will respond to reviews and reveal the correct authors on the Saturday of each week during December. Please feel free to share your own holiday traditions, memories, and experiences here. We would love to have a discussion about any similar experiences our vignettes inspire. We are all very excited to bring you this calendar. We hope it brings as much joy to you as it did to us while we were creating it.
  6. When do you start the holiday season? For quite a few Americans it's the end of November, often the day after Thanksgiving, though stores are starting earlier and earlier. But for a lot of the world, the countdown begins on December 1st with many marking off the days to December 25th with an Advent Calendar. And today we're featuring a GA version created by three authors who want to share the magic of the season with readers where they plan to do just that. What brought this about? Well, they can tell you that themselves! Aditus: When I had the idea of putting together an Advent calendar, I quickly knew I couldn’t do this alone. Writing twenty-four little pieces without becoming boring or redundant is difficult enough, but I also have to write Caesura. The problem was solved easily, as I knew exactly whom I could ask to join me: Valkyrie and Cole Matthews. I worked with them in the past, mostly beta reading each other’s stuff. We’re talking about other things too, and we click. So, without thinking too long about it, I wrote a PM named An Idea, and here we are. Cole Matthews: There is something about collaborating on a project which stimulates the imagination. During our writing process, Aditus would come up with an idea and have us beta read it. That would give me ideas about a holiday memory I had. I would write up a vignette and share it with Valkyrie and Adi. Then Valkyrie would recall a memory that affected her deeply. She’d post it for us to review and then Adi would come up with another idea. Instead of being burdensome, the process of creating 24 pieces to the Advent Calendar became easier as we worked. The act of sharing, reading, and recalling bits and pieces of our lives and creating new characters and stories built upon itself. Like the cartoon snowball racing down the hill growing in size and momentum, our work became better and easier to create. When you have a group of artists who are committed and trust each other, the collaborative process is a powerful way to work. At least, that’s how it worked for us. Valkyrie: When Aditus approached me and Cole about working together on an Advent calendar for GA, I couldn’t say ‘yes’ fast enough. I’ve worked with both of them enough to know that our styles mesh well, and we make a good team. Cole suggested an ‘artistic community’ approach, which we heartily embraced, going beyond our usual editor/beta reader roles. We each contributed our thoughts on each others’ pieces, and even offered suggestions as to possible directions to take with a story if the author was stuck or unsure if it worked. I took on the task of editing the final products—with Lisa stepping in to edit some of my pieces. As someone who typically dreads each holiday season, this project has changed my perspective into something more positive. I’ve learned that instead of mourning the past, it’s OK to embrace it and look at it fondly while making new memories and traditions. It’s been a pleasure working on this project, and I hope you all enjoy the fruits of our efforts. If you want to learn more, or guess who wrote what starting tomorrow—they're keeping it a secret each week—make sure you swing by the story topic An Advent Calendar 2016 posted by Valkyrie.
  7. aditus

    Advent Calendar

    From the album: Covers and stuff

    The wichtel have been busy...

    © aditus

  8. Cole Matthews' The Art of Being Gay was Monday's Signature Feature. Did you grab your copy of the signature banner so you can share your love for Cole's story? If not, you can do that here! Today we're featuring his chosen excerpt. Cole says... This excerpt gives you a glimpse at the tone and character of the story. It's a comedy, a farce really, and also gives the reader some of Roy's attributes. This segment also shows how Roy may not think he's ready to date, but fate really doesn't care about such reservations. Want to read more? Check out the rest of the story here!
  9. September's Signature Feature is The Art of Being Gay by Cole Matthews. This story came about because Cole was wondering what it was like for middle-aged guys struggling with these questions. He wanted the story to be organic, fresh, and not planned, so he posted each chapter as it was written, using the feedback from readers to influence each chapter. Length: 83,473 Description: Chad was outed, his life in shambles. His son, Justin, was his only lifeline to happiness. Roy had enough. His attempts to find love and happiness had failed. He decided to simply live without trying to find a companion in life. Together, they begin to learn what it really means to be gay. Reviews: Flamingo136 says... I've often wondered....just why is it so important to anyone as to what anyone's sexuality has to do with them as a person. Frankly, most people spend very little time having sex...sure we all think about it during our day but really it is not the only thing that defines us...gay or straight or anything in the middle. It makes me upset that a grown man, Chad, felt that he had to leave his home, family and friends in order to find himself. Shame on those who make it intolerable for Chad, making him feel that he must leave everything in order to find himself and happiness. Ok, I'm off my soapbox now....LOL...eagerly awaiting the next chapter and hoping that we get to ultimately see the butterfly emerge from his cocoon....Great beginning............Mike LadyDe says... And THAT's why I love cats!!!!! They bring people together. But Carlos said it best "a little lost pussy" Hilarious. Once again you put us on a rollercoaster, with no warning, and let us fly, with awkwardness, angsty nightmares, lost kitty and then yum yum!! Wonderful ending. Tyrell is an excellent friend who really knows his Roy Toy! Excellent chapter. Can't wait for the next chapter. Thanks, Cole Headstall says... Roy intrigues me like anyone does who is oblivious to themselves, yet understands what everyone else wants or needs. Sometimes we really are the last ones to know. Kendra's little talk with Roy was illuminating to both him and me. I love getting to know and understand a character as they interact with others...and I really enjoyed what and how you showed us about Roy through Kendra. Maybe I was wrong about the uplifting part...Chad's breakdown at work shows at the least that he is feeling guilt and the pain of separation from his son. His path appears lonely right now...like a broken toy. Remember to check back on Wednesday to see what excerpt Cole Matthews chose to share with readers! Want to show your support and enjoyment of Cole's story? Download the banner above for your site signature!
  10. Renee Stevens

    Ask An Author #40

    I can't believe it's already July and that the year is half over!!! 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 #40 Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors! In AtA #39, we had questions for authors Billy Martin, Dayne Mora, and Mark Arbour. In AtA #40, we hear from authors Cole Matthews, M.A. Church, Riley Jericho, and Carlos Hazday. Just shy of his three-year anniversary on GA, Cole Matthews joined the ranks of our Signature Authors. While this may be his first appearance in this blog, his new story Third Shift is already generating discussion and interest in the forums. Which, by the way, is where Cole has posted a fantastic intro to the story, so go check it out. With more than 5,000 likes and 26 stories, this boy is not slowing down anytime soon! I remember when he first started posting on the collaborative project Gaia Town. Setting up and organizing that project was fascinating to watch. What you may not know about him is that he’s something of a gardening maniac who has recently experimented with making his own jam/jelly. Those cookies he posted in his blog from the antique cookbook are also pretty good, but if you really want to know Cole, then you’ll read The Second Fifty, an autobiography of his life. It’s a must-read. To Cole Matthews: Did you enjoy writing your most recent murder mystery, and do you plan a second? I love murder mysteries, thrillers, and suspense stories. In fact, they are my favorite stories to read. I always thought my first novel would be that genre. I realized early on, I needed to practice writing dialogue, exploring characters, and establishing a voice first. Creating Barbed Wire Heart was a wonderful experience which allowed me to exercise those skills. I learned how to craft the clues and false leads more easily after becoming more proficient. I am working on more thriller shorts for anthology stories. In addition, I'm working on a suspense novel called Perdido Key, which will be set in Florida and not in Minnesota for once! Next up is popular fiction writer M.A. Church. She has been a member of GA for about five and a half years now, but early on started branching out into the online publishing genre. You may remember her from her original nom de plume “nomoretears.” She only claimed herself on GA two years ago and though she’s never said, I think it had to do with her rising popularity in the published world. Did you know she’s been mentioned in the Rainbow Awards twice now? She can also be found at Dreamspinner and All Romance Books. Check out her profile on Goodreads or her blog to see what she’s been up to lately. Of her five stories on GA, my favorite is In Enemy Hands. Of course, I’m a huge sci-fi fan, so those who know me will not be surprised by that. Like many, my favorite character is Adler. I think a lot of my love for him comes from the way MA Church writes his interactions with his brother. I also love the slow build-up between the main characters and between the supporting cast. There’s a lot of cleverly-hidden details and it’s always fascinating to see how characters navigate culture differences. There’s a lot M.A. Church has planned for 2016, so check-in with her often to see what’s new! To M.A. Church: Did someone have talk you into posting your stories for the public to read or did you decide yourself? I decided after reading several stories at a place called Literotica to try my hand at writing. After a few stories were posted, comments were left encouraging me to publish. I finally decided if the Christmas story I’d written for their Winter Contest placed, I’d try to find a publisher. A Tah’Narian Christmas came in first, lol. Not long after that I submitted a story to Dreamspinner Press. So basically, thanks to the encouragement from my fans at Lit, I started down the path as a published author. While it did not work out to include the next question into special edition #33, British Author Riley Jericho remains popular here on GA. He promises that his long-running narrative An English Teen... is finished! He’s just got to add the last chapters to the site. I’m sure his fans will be both relieved and disappointed. As with many people, real-life can often find a way to interfere with writing, but Riley has persevered, a feat not to be undervalued. Andy Q Gordon continues to work with Riley on ET, and at over 100,000 reads, it’s a partnership that’s definitely working. I wonder what Riley will work on next? To Riley Jericho: What made you decide to write m/m fiction? That's a good question, and I'm not sure I know. I guess I just thought I'd have a go. I read a lot, I love words. I thought, 'Well how hard could it be?' Jeez—what an idiot! Starting with this blog entry, I decided to shake things up just a little and feature 4 authors every month in honor of this being the 4th year of the blog series. Today’s 4th and final author is Carlos Hazday. He says that his blog question and answer will expire soon, so it made sense to start here. When I asked him this time if he wanted to participate, he said, “How could I not be up for it? I was the one who complained when your blog was pre-empted this month, remember?” Which of course I had forgotten. We’ve had a couple of questions for Carlos over the years; you might remember him talking about reader feedback, but those of you who frequent his forums already know how interactive they are. But for those of you crying over the ending to the latest in the CJ series, see below: To Carlos Hazday: I love the CJ series. What's next for CJ and his crew? There are two timelines concerning CJ running parallel in my mind. One is the story being posted on GA which is currently two years behind the real world. Spring ended as summer vacation was about to start in 2014. The second timeline is the one which tracks events taking place afterwards and through today. I have those events chronicled in outline form and will flesh them out into a story. Soon. I dislike stories which are abandoned or are posted on a very irregular schedule and don't want to fall into that pit. I am working on TRAVELS, the fifth book in the series but will not begin posting until it's entirely written. My fearless editor is also quite busy over the next couple of months, and not wanting to train a new one, I've decided to give him a break. I'm all heart, aren't I? Mann was fearless when he agreed to work with a rookie like me and his assistance has been priceless; the story is much better than it would have been without his input. I'll beg him to continue helping me once the book is at least halfway written. So no promises on when you'll read about the trips most of the major characters embark on during the summer of 2014, but rest assured there's more to come. 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 Headstall, mikiesboy, Sammy Blue, and Sasha Distan. I’m always in the market for new questions! Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark
  11. Hello All, Here is the forum thread for the sequel to 'Button' called 'Barbed Wire Heart.' Feel free to ask questions, predict who characters may be, or brainstorm about what's going on in the story. There are several riddles throughout the story. Our first one is who the hell is "Killer?" This is followed up by what happened at the Humble Braggart? The restaurant where a man got raging drunk and had to be driven home. I hope you enjoy the story and all the surprises I have planned for it. Let's talk!!!! The story can be found here. https://www.gayauthors.org/story/cole-matthews/barbedwireheart
  12. The Unsolvable Riddle Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, a reporter and lawyer, began writing a series of tracts which when finished in 1879 was called “The Riddle of Man-Manly Love.” In these booklets, he discusses the nature of sexuality including the innate quality of some men to love other men exclusively. As with Karl Kertbeny, Ulrichs wasn’t happy with the common references to gay men such as pederast or sodomite. He created some Greek referenced terms for sexual identity, Dioning for straight men and Urning for gay ones. Hubert Kennedy has written extensively about Ulrichs and his writings. Below is a link to one of his papers and it’s a fascinating read if you’d like. Ulrichs opines about “animal magnetism” of the draw between two lovers as well as about Urnings and Dionings. Here is a quote of his as he struggles to explain his idea of the innately Urning man. “This outwardly recognizable female essence I call the female habitus of the Urning. . . The female habitus is quite particularly in us in our childhood, before we have been reared into an artificial masculinity, and before we have had the depressing experience that every expression of our female essence will be ascribed to us as a disgrace (!) by our playmates as well as adults, before, that is, suffering under this external pressure, we began to carefully hide that female trait. The Urning shows as a child a quite unmistakable partiality for girlish activities, for interaction with girls, for playing with girls’ playthings, namely also with dolls.” (Inclusa, 13–14)” Kennedy page 9. Obviously, Ulrichs was trying hard to explain his own Urning nature had been from childhood and therefore innate and not “made” or “influenced” into gayness. He was making the same point as his contemporary Karl Kertbeny that gays weren’t created but had their preference from birth. It’s interesting how many of Ulrichs’ characterizations became stereotypes of “gay behavior” or noticing “gayness” in people. Attributing female attributes or tendencies would become the norm in western culture. We have to remember though that Ulrichs and Kertbeny were making an important point. Homosexuals or Urnings weren’t adopting non-normative sexual desires. They were simply expressing how they felt not perverting nature. Ulrichs soon found there were other men who identified as Urning but didn’t have the “female essence.” Instead of finding this “third sex” as being consistently effeminate, he discovered there were several men who were attracted to and desired other men but weren’t “carefully hiding the female trait.” They simply were oriented towards other men. Ulrich created other categories within the Urning system of classification to accommodate this. Here is a simple representation of what he found. The Human Male: A. Dioning(1) “Heterosexual” B. Urning(2) “Homosexual” 1. Mannling(3) “Straight acting and appearing homosexual” 2. Weibling(4) “An effeminate homosexual” 3. Zwischen(5) “A homosexual who exhibited male and female traits” 4. Virilised(6) “A homosexual who is with a woman” C. Urano-Dioning(7) “A bisexual” What Ulrichs stumbled across was the spectrum of sexualities. Without intending to, he discovered sexuality wasn’t an either/or proposition. Eighty years later, Kinsey would measure sexual behavior in males and find the same kind of array. He developed a scale which measured human male sexuality into a rubric. Ulrichs wasn’t a researcher in the sense he had a formal academic study with subjects and control groups. Yet, he managed to find that human sexuality was something quite remarkable and diverse. Ulrichs’ work wasn’t transformative like later activists would be. But, this German Urning found that like Gay Authors writers and readers, sexuality, love, and human behavior, is a rich source of ideas and expressions. His work over a hundred and fifty years ago is fascinating. The question of sexuality will never be answered. However, it sure is interesting exploring it. http://hubertkennedy.angelfire.com/FirstTheorist.pdf http://www.lgbtdata.com/karl-ulrichs-sexual-orientation-classification-scheme.html

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