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  1. Today I'm featuring an interview with Rob as part of his Signature feature. Btw, did you download your copy of the background yet? Now, Rob is a popular man, so we've featured interviews with him in the past, so I didn't want to go with the usual author questions. This time I asked him a different series of questions, so I hope you'll enjoy this insight into the flash group, writing Noah's New Plan, and Rob's future plans! What brought you to the Wednesday Briefers flash group? I was contacted by Julie Lynn Hayes, who runs the group. We knew of each other through another Wednesday Briefer, M. A. Church. I thought it would be a great way to practice my writing and to get something “out there” every week, during a time frame when I didn’t have any new books coming. Did you like having the prompts for the following week posted just 7 days in advance? Seven days works – it’s a perfect timeframe. If it was longer, I think you’d lose some of the spontaneity the briefs group inspires. Was writing in short bursts, just 500 to 1000 words each week, easier or harder than your normal method? Most weeks I didn’t have an issue with the word count, though several times I went over the 1000 limit by a few words. Having a deadline was definitely the worst part – I’ve found I just don’t write that way by default. I needed to have it ready before Wednesday each week, and there were plenty of times where I struggled with that. Did the inspiration for the characters or the plot of Noah’s New Plan come to you first? The character inspiration definitely came first. When I wrote the first chapter, all I really had was Noah’s backstory: a man who has to start over after a long-term relationship. Eli would come along to shake things up, breaking Noah out of the rigid shell he’d boxed himself into. Your story—as most of them are—is unashamedly sexual, but in this one that contrast was made far more marked by the lack of sex in the long-term relationship Noah got out of before he met Eli. Was that aspect written purposely or just part of the evolving changes in Noah as you wrote the story? Oh yes, that was an aspect of Noah’s life I knew in advance. Eli busted onto the scene and turned Noah’s world upside down. Noah didn’t realize that passion was missing from his life until he met Eli. Eli worked as a security guard and a bar bouncer… but he seems like a very multi-layered character. We don’t see any career aspirations outside of his current jobs, but is that something that might change, say in a sequel? It’s not fair for me to say Eli doesn’t have ambitions; he is just happy where he is. He’s a laid back kind of guy, but he knows what he wants and goes for it. And in this story, he decided he wanted Noah. By the end of the story, I’d say he has everything he needs. Do you have a favorite scene in the story? Noah’s New Plan had a great stopping point—which I won’t spoil for potential readers—but do you have any plans to go back and share more of Eli and Noah’s story? At this time I don’t really have plans to revisit Eli and Noah. I think they ended on a great point, as you said. I did continue the story in a sense, though. Rex, Eli’s friend and boss at the bar he works, gets his own story in “The Buckle” – part of the Stranded anthology of short stories, published by Wayward Ink Press. Eli makes a brief cameo at the beginning of the story. Can we expect a new Wednesday Briefs story from you? Yes! I plan on starting up a new short story for Halloween.
  2. Wow, it's hard to believe it's already September. This year has gone by so quickly. Don't forget, tomorrow is the last day to get your anthology entries in. We already have a lot of great entries, but there's always room for more! Now, onto regular business. As most members probably know, the first Wednesday of the month is set aside for our Ask An Author feature, provided to us by Dark. For those who don't know what the Ask An Author feature is: If you've always wanted to ask your favorite author, or any author, a question, send it to Dark. Dark will ask the question for you and compile it into one of the Ask An Authors. Don't worry, Dark keeps the identities of the askers anonymous! Let's see what we have this week! Ask an Author #31 Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors! In AtA #30, we had questions for authors AC Benus, ricky, and wanda walker. In AtA #31, we hear from authors Andrew Todd, Headstall, and Sasha Distan. For their protection, the members who asked these questions shall remain nameless (unless they choose to reveal themselves). Please note that all author replies are copied as is, spelling errors and grammar eccentricities original to the individual. Today’s first author was last featured way back in AtA #2 with one of the most followed stories on GA at the time, Riding Lessons. Last year, the book became available on Amazon as a paperback with a slightly different name. The cover is hot, and it’s rated 4.8 out of 5 stars, so not just GA loves this story! Though we haven’t heard much from Andrew lately, there’s 10 other stories in his portfolio, complete and in progress. Todd often writes about young men facing life’s challenges. One of my favorites is Empath's Kiss, but it’s not for the faint of heart, dealing as it does with some tough material and ending on something of a cliffhanger. To Andrew Todd: Regarding your story "The Chosen," do you plan on horses having anything to do with getting your West Coasters to meet your New Hampshire guys? and if so, how? One of the things I love about posting my writing in forums such as this is the feedback I get from readers and seeing how they think the story is going to unfold. I've received a lot of e-mails speculating on this very thing, I think that some of it might be 'wishful thinking' that more of the 'Riding Lessons' characters will find there way into 'The Chosen'. The short answer to the question is 'no'. I've known since almost the beginning of the story how the boys will end up together, if I was writing a more 'conventional' story then having them cross paths at a show or something like that would be a good way to have them meet, but as this story has more of a 'supernatural' bent, they will be coming together in a different way. As it's still in my head (I've been taking a break for the last few months), it might change in it's specifics, but one thing for my readers to chew on...I've never said that some of them might not have already met... Now meet author Headstall in his blog debut. Hailing from Ontario, Canada, he’s been with GA only a year and a half but has already racked up 6200+ likes, many from his current story Cards on the Table. In case you didn’t know, a “headstall” is an item similar to a bridle. Now, most people know that a “bridle” is the thing that goes over a horse’s head, holds the bit in the horse’s mouth, and connects to reins. It’s not really that simple, of course, and the choice of “headstall” as a user name is an interesting one. Catch up with our “poster child for success” Headstall in his forums if you want to know more! To Headstall: Your writing has turned out to be awesome. Was it difficult to take that first step and post? Thanks for the compliment. It was an extremely hard decision to make. I wrote the first chapter in around five or six, maybe seven hours, and figured I would just put it aside. It played on my mind however, because of how the words just poured out. I didn't even know the process of posting and I am not a computer person. I knew that if I didn't try to post it right away... then I never would. That scared me almost as much as posting it. My biggest concern was whether or not I could follow through on such a commitment if I did post. The bottom line is I threw caution to the wind. I have always been creative, and ever since I was a very young boy, words were my friend and my solace through some very tough times. As difficult as it was to make the decision and as scary as it was to follow through, I have absolutely no regrets. I have a new outlet for my creativity, and tremendous support and encouragement from the GA community. The reception has been way more than I could have ever hoped for. Thanks for asking... Cheers.. And our third author today is an author we’ve seen before, Sasha Distan. A member since March 2013, Sasha became one of our promising authors only a few months later, and small wonder. 2014 was an amazing year for Sasha, with a short story published through House of Erotica and a very special wedding. 2015 continues to reveal Sasha as one of our more regular writers, consistently turning out chapter after chapter, and story after story. You can catch up with this British teacher in the forums, where he frequently updates his readers on his writing schedule, and if you need more than the zillions of stories here on GA, you can find his published works on Zulu. Are those goldfish still alive, Sasha? To Sasha Distan: You always talk about how crowded your head is, how do you decide which characters/stories get to go first? The ones who shout the loudest. My skull is indeed a very busy place, a bit like my classroom. and a bit like my classroom, it's the noisy boys who get my attention first, regardless of whether that attention is good or bad. When I was writing Redemption's A Bitch and A Wolf And His Man simultaneously, I switched between the two every few chapters. Kieran would be shouting the loudest, so I would write him some story to keep him happy until Oli's bark became too strong to ignore. Then I would write for him and Boris until you could hear nothing but the sound of motorbikes - and then back I'd go. The problem with this system is, without careful maintenance like a classroom full of students, is that someone gets lost forever. It happens: an idea springs up and pokes me. He's small, hopeful, eager to please, but not strong enough to shout down whoever I am currently working with (at the moment, Hel, Ishca and Aki are taking up a vast majority of my time), and if there is too much still to do on the other story, then he slips away like he wasn't even there. I can't tell you if the stories that don't get written are good or bad, happy or sad, amazing or dull - because I never see them again. I like to think that the ideas that don't make it go and find another writer to make puppy eyes at. Let me know if see them. 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 Aditus, Cia, and Wolfwriter. Want to ask your favorite author a question? Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark
  3. Have you downloaded your copy of this month's signature background? If not, before you do so, check out this week's interview that Cia did with Dolores Esteban on her story Cold Case. Interview with Dolores Esteban Single people often have more time to write. Are you single? Yes, I’m single, but I don’t feel I have more time. No long evenings and lonely weekends Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point? I make my bed in the morning. I like it all tidy. It saves time and nerves. Did you like to write as a kid in school? No, I actually hated it. I loved reading, though. I practically spent all my free time reading books on a wide variety of subjects. What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Reading books on a wide variety of subjects, researching weird stuff on the internet and discussing it with friends. I’m intensively following an aviation forum on the internet. Don’t ask me why. I was interested in a specific topic and now I can’t stop reading the stuff. Oh, and I have a full time job. What’s the best part of being an author? I can make up a whole new world. I can do whatever I like and go wherever I want to. Did something specific inspire you to write in a crime/cop based-theme for Cold Case? The first chapter was actually a reply to Comicfan’s prompt # 122. I rewrote and continued the story later. Did the characters or the plot for Cold Case come to you first? The prompt inspired me. Use the following words in story: Red hand print, shattered vase, new car, fifteen year old boy, and a spider. Just how real is the Antique Mafia? It’s real. I read about it in a magazine and thought it fitted my story. Did you always plan to have a strong paranormal theme to the story, even though it’s primarily a contemporary setting? Paranormal and mysterious themes fascinate me. I’m a big fan of unsolved mysteries and the unknown. I like to research on it, read about it, write about it, make up a mystery or twist the mundane. What are your future projects? I like the poetry prompts. The last one particularly intrigued me. I want to write more poems and experiment with the forms. Another major project is my Space Pioneer series. I have finally finished editing Space Pioneer III and IV, 20.000 words together, and plan to start posting soon. I have some ideas for another story.
  4. The first Wednesday of the month, for anyone that follows the GA News Blog, you know what that means! It's time for another edition of "Ask An Author". For those new to the site (or to reading the blog), Ask An Author is our month feature provided by Dark. GA Members are able to send questions they'd like to ask their favorite author and Dark tries to get the answer and compile them in the monthly Ask An Author! Now, let's see what Dark has for us this month! Ask an Author #30 Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors! In AtA #29, we had questions for authors Carlos Hazday, ColumbusGuy, and Timothy M. In AtA #30, we hear from authors AC Benus, ricky, and wanda walker. For their protection, the members who asked these questions shall remain nameless (unless they choose to reveal themselves). Please note that all author replies are copied as is, spelling errors and grammar eccentricities original to the individual. All of today’s authors are new to Ask an Author. First up is San Francisco resident AC Benus, foodie and historian. In only 2 years AC has managed to accrue almost 2500 likes! Perhaps you know him from his poetry, or perhaps you’ve read one of his series, such as The Judas Tree Novellas. This author also likes to post poetry and trivia in his blog, and he’s responded to the poetry prompts. If you’ve ever wondered what a novel in progress looks like, go on over to AC’s gallery and check out the pics for his novel Dignity and its upcoming sequel Destiny. Jack and Dawn are the main characters (amongst an amazing group of supporting characters) in the first novel, but the second is going to feature Jack and Lincoln. Excited yet? In the meantime, we’ll just have to go re-read the original. To AC Benus: I love your work and your recent piece, Bound and Bound is captivating. What were/are the challenges (historical research, literary,etc.), in bringing it to the page? Who or what made you want to write, and what do you like to read? Being able to complete Bound & Bound represents a personal milestone for me. Although I did not get very far the first time (maybe about 1200 words), I began writing this story when I was fourteen years old – in the summer between 8th and 9th grades – and I dedicated the completed book to 'him' who first came up with it. That being said, the only things I remember from my original concept is that the opening would be the cursed young man first laying eyes on the castle (in the 'old country,' lol) on a stormy night as he was trying to solve the mystery of his inherited curse, and that he'd have a 'secret' (that's he's Gay, lol). As for research, I have always loved reading about paranormal and historical things, so I suppose the blend was a natural one, and when I was fourteen I loved to read gothic novels and ghost stories, so they were all very present on my mind. As for why I suddenly got motivated to dust off the cobwebs of this long-unwritten project, it was TV; in the last few years there have been several paranormal shows visiting Romania, and each time I saw one, a little itch in the back of my mind would say 'It's time to write your gothic book,' and each time I came a little closer to actually doing it. So, now that I've done it, it's great to hear that it's resonating with readers! Our next author is ricky. For many of us, ricky was the first person to say hi and welcome us to the site. With kids of his own, he watches over our younger members and frequently responds to the teen forum. Last year, ricky traveled to Vienna and had a wonderful time, if his photos can be believe. Many of his stories highlight the adventures of his sons, so if you’re having trouble with your own kids, go laugh at ricky’s for awhile! Back around Thanksgiving last year (2014), ricky posted 3 new stories, of which A New Trek is my favorite. Ricky writes wonderful teenage characters, and main character Trek will make you laugh and cringe with the shenanigans he gets into. Or if you’d rather, ricky also writes poetry, like The Great Throupadore Hunt, which is written in the style of Dr. Seuss and will definitely bring a smile to your face. To ricky: Have you ever had a close brush with death? Do you think there is life after death? Have you ever really saved another person from death or destruction? If so, have you shared a story about that experience? Of this I have no doubt. But not in the biblical sense. Energy is never used, it just changes form. Ever meet someone you knew instantly? Perhaps you share like energy from a previous incarnation. Sometimes even enough to have memories. Yes many times. And since they are all still living, I choose not to share their stories. That's for them to share or not. But I can say this, pain and anguish is a temporary state. Hang in there, it does get better. Or at least it gets different. And our third author today is Wanda Walker from Pittsburgh. She’s been writing off and on since elementary school and comes to us from fictionpress. Wanda also enjoys drawing her characters to solidify their appearances in not only her mind, but those of her readers as well, but she hasn’t posted any of them here yet. L And while it’s not yummy M/M fiction, congrats to Wanda on getting her novel The King and the Courtesan published! So far, Wanda only has 3 stories posted on GA, and I for one enjoyed Spiders and Snakes. This story is about dysfunctional couple Isaac and Vaughn who move to Pittsburgh where drama ensues. After being caught on the bridge with the crazy road construction where I-376 merges with three other freeways … omg! How do people live in Pittsburgh? After that experience, having a landlord who raises snakes and spiders could actually seem normal. To Wanda Walker: What prompted you to write a story about a character with bulimia? Did you draw from personal experience (either yourself or friends/family)? I have no personal experience with eating disorders, neither through myself nor through friends or family. But as I mentioned that my life thus far has been a pretty smooth ride, if I only wrote about things I had experienced in my own life or in the very small number of people I'm close to, all I could write about would maybe be social anxiety. So I try to branch out and write characters who suffer from disabilities-- either mental or physical-- because I'm interested in portraying these people in sympathetic, respectful ways. As I've always had a good relationship with food, I knew it'd be a challenge to show someone who didn't. So it was a way to challenge myself. I also make sure that my portrayals are the kind that people who actually suffer from the disorder can empathize with, so I do my best to avoid clichés. While I still struggle to wrap my mind around what it's like to see yourself as fat despite being thin, I CAN in a visceral way understand what it's like to use your body as the whipping boy for internal insecurities. Because it's much easier to control your body than it is what you feel, I could see how Isaac would essentially torture himself to punish some imagined crime he's concocted in his head. Considering he is male, I thought it was a more gender-appropriate approach, since boys are not under the same pressure as girls to be thin and beautiful all the time. 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 Andrew Todd, Headstall, and Sasha Distan. Want to ask your favorite author a question? Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark
  5. Dang, it's hard to believe that it's already July! This year is just flying by. Today we have the next installment of Dark's Ask An Author feature. Before we get to that, I want to remind everyone that I am now taking theme suggestions for the 2016 Quarterly Anthologies. If you have a theme suggestion, make sure to post them in the thread which will remain open until July 31st. Please read the beginning post before posting your suggestions. Ask an Author #29 Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors! In AtA #28, we had questions for authors joann414, James Savik, and wrathofmagneto. In AtA #29, we hear Carlos Hazday, ColumbusGuy, and Timothy M.. For their protection, the members who asked these questions shall remain nameless (unless they choose to reveal themselves). Please note that all author replies are copied as is, spelling errors and grammar eccentricities original to the individual. Today’s first author is retired accountant Carlos Hazday in his blog debut. In July, Carlos celebrates his two-year anniversary here on GA, but only started posting stories in November 2014. In that time, he has posted 8 stories and one collection of prompts. Carlos likes to model his characters after his own experiences, writing in first person with an engaging commentary. Try Happy New Year to read about a cast of loveable and quirky characters and a plot spread over a year-long adventure. To Carlos Hazday: I find your characters larger than life and also relate-able. Is there anything you find challenging in your writing? Who or what made you want to write, and what do you like to read? My biggest challenge is trying to keep my characters and the story grounded in the real world while still providing an interesting tale which will engage the reader. Even while writing science fiction or fantasy I try to make everything else in the story as real as possible.I'm a decisive person and my characters tend to reflect that. Vere few doubts, very little second guessing and minimal recrimination. I started writing as a way of dealing with a bad depression which made me retreat from the world and hide in my home. Writing allowed me to interact with others. characters and readers, while I dealt with the causes behind my depression. Marc McNally and his story Love on the Rocks have been my biggest inspiration. In SUMMER, I've tried to create something in the US which compares to what he did with his story in Australia. He's also provided a lot of encouragement.My favorite all time writer is the late Sir Arthur C. Clarke. I love science fiction and have read most of his books and many of them more than once. Next up is author ColumbusGuy, also featured here for the first time. This guy is from Columbus, Ohio (I know that’s a shock), the place where I’m at for the month of July. It’s been a long time since I spent so much time here, how do you do it? The two of us share a dislike bordering on disgust for MSWorks and a love for cats. You probably will remember this guy as the author of Jay & Miles, but there’s also Pompeii Passions, which is way better than the movie. Of course, I like historical fiction and convoluted characters. Still, if you haven’t branched out to some of ColumbusGuy’s other stuff, you’re missing out. For shorter works, check out his prompts. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s glad ColumbusGuy took the plunge to write again after all this time. And did you know there’s a Jay & Miles forum thread? To ColumbusGuy: I have read in your answers to reviews that your character, Miles, is based on you as a teenager (although the story itself is fictional). Do you find the experience of writing about some of your own experiences/emotions as a teenager to be cathartic? Miles is so much like me, it's scary; every emotion he feels was mine, his reactions were mine, even the description was mine at that time. I asked a friend who knew me just after that time to read my story, and she picked up on every facet. Back then, in a town of 2,500 people, you couldn't be 'out' and expect to have a happy life, though it was possible in big cities. The initial event of the note is true, and Jay is based on the person who wrote me that note, but I didn't show up, and we never progressed beyond casual friends. Every chapter has something factual in it, an event, a thing or a person--though I didn't try to kill myself, I thought about it a lot--but I kept hoping that the next day/month/year would be better--and eventually it was. The only entirely fictional people in the story are Jay's family--they are the parents I wish I'd had. Years later, I discovered my sisters all knew my sexuality, but never said anything until my nephew came out to me one Thanksgiving. This story has helped me clear up a lot of old feelings and regrets, and started to heal the gap in my soul my father left there--we didn't speak for his last thirteen years because he didn't approve of my sexuality when he found out--but last year my sister (with the gay son) told me my dad asked about me once in a while when she'd see him in Florida--so this is helping me deal with the new fact that he still cared, which I hadn't known once we moved away to separate cities. It's years too late to mend fences since he died in 2001, but those thirteen years and the ten more since his death disappeared hearing my sister say those words--and I'm not ashamed to say that I cried like a baby despite being 53 years old, shedding tears I had locked away behind doors saying I DON'T CARE in big letters--all it took was her saying 'he still loved you' to turn my world inside out, so this is helping me cope with finding him again. And our third author today is also new to Ask an Author; say hello to Timothy M all the way across the Atlantic in Denmark. Like the other two authors today, he’s been around for about two years, but only started posting stories recently, beginning with prompts last October and now updating the multi-chapter fic Clueless Camping. Although Timothy thinks he’s posting slowly, Clueless already has 11 chapters. This is a story about young Russell’s path to self-discovery and love. Give him a try! 91 followers and even more reviews indicate something’s not rotten in the state of Denmark! To Timothy M.: Your stories are so well-done, so how much of a challenge is it to write in your second language, Danish being your first? I remember my attempts in German were pretty simple affairs, so you must have done a lot of studying to get such proficiency in English...do you plan them in Danish first, then translate into English, or do you start in English all the way through? My stories on GA are written directly in English, and I'm thinking in that language when I plan them - not that I do much planning beforehand. I tend to take an idea or a character and start writing. I do have several stories originally written in Danish, and I've started to translate and expand one of them for GA, but it's difficult to lose the Danish sentence construction and make the story flow naturally. Perhaps a reason my stories seem well-done is I'm fanatical about spelling, grammar and not using the wrong homonyms. My main problem is punctuation, I suck at placing commas correctly in English. Sometimes finding the right phrases and terms is difficult and I get mixed up on British and American word usage. Thank god for my GA editors. My challenge as a writer has always been content rather than form, and a lack of dialogue. In other words my stories are often technically well-written and detailed but boring (or is the term dull? ). I'm trying to improve by showing rather than telling e.g. by using more dialogue. I've always read a lot and reading and discussing stories on GA has certainly helped. That’s it for now! For more info on these authors, go check out their stories, post in their forums, and/or catch them in chat! See you next time, with authors A.C. Benus, ricky, and Wanda Walker. Want to ask your favorite author a question? Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark
  6. Our featured story this month for the June Signature Background is "Crash Landing" by Bill W. If you haven't already downloaded your background, the month isn't even half over yet so you still have plenty of time! We started out Signature Week with a great review that Cia did, and now it's time to hear from the author himself. Hopefully you enjoy this interview that Cia did with Bill W. Author Interview: Bill W. on Crash Landing Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point? It depends on the day. Most days I make my bed when I get up, but if I get up feeling run down and suspect I will end up taking a nap later, then I leave it as it is. Who do you like best, Jerry or Tom? I've always identified with the underdog, so I would have to say I like Jerry better. What first brought you to GA? The site I was posting on at the time suddenly shut down. A short time later, Myr contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in posting on a site he was starting. I agreed, and as they say, the rest is history. What do you like to do when you’re not writing? I like to go back and read the classics, including Shakespeare's plays. I also like to watch certain sports and I'm an avid college football and college basketball fan. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? You mean other than coming up with a good idea/plot for a story? Yes, because I've been criticised for not including enough description/details in my stories from some readers, while others tell me I've included too much. I'm not sure where I'm messing up. Do you have a favorite story or character you’ve written? That's a tough one. I would have to say that I've always identified with Josh, the father in the Castaway Hotel series, but I've always got a kick out of Ricky, the first boy Josh adopted. Ricky has always been a little prankster and a bit of a devil at times, but he's also wormed his way into my heart. Did something inspire you to write Crash Landing, beyond the anthology theme? I guess there were a couple of things that might have inspired the story. First of all, we're always concerned about the threat of pandemics, but when you combine that with a threat from space, it magnifies the destructive potential. Also, the talk about life in other parts of the universe and the theory that some elements, possibly including life, may have arrived on Earth via space has always intrigued me. I guess it all just came together when I saw the anthology theme. Did the characters or the plot come to you first? Definitely the plot, then the characters were developed for specific purposes within the story. Where did the technical knowledge and medical information in this story come from? Personal/work experience or research? Once I knew what I was planning to do, I did a lot of research to fill in the medical and scientific aspects. I guess the jury is still out on whether my research was a productive or not. Crash Landing has a nice twist ending that creates the possibility for an alternate society Earth setting. Have you considered going back and exploring that further? Actually, I haven't. I felt I'd made the point that I'd intended, that there are those that are willing to rise above the pettiness of life and do what was best for everyone, no matter what the threat, while others would cling to their petty and closed-minded beliefs, even if it might mean their own destruction. Do you want to share anything about your current or future work? At this point, I'm not currently working on anything and I have no plans to write anything new. I've heard from a few people that have told me they would like for me to add another book to the Castaway Hotel series, but coming up with new material is difficult at this point. Besides, I have a feeling that too many readers are suffering from Castaway overload, while prospective readers are daunted by its current size.
  7. I can't believe it's already June!!! 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 #28 Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors! In AtA #27, we had questions for authors Mark Arbour, Andrew Q. Gordon, and Rob Colton. In AtA #28, we hear from joann414, James Savik, and wrathofmagneto. For their protection, the members who asked these questions shall remain nameless (unless they choose to reveal themselves). Please note that all author replies are copied as is, spelling errors and grammar eccentricities original to the individual. We had another question for Joann414 earlier this year, so this will be my third time featuring this extraordinary person. Please join me in sending positive thoughts her way, as it’s been a tough spring. Joann414 was one of the first supporters of the Ask an Author feature, first appearing in AtA #2 with a question about writing advice. Authors still brag about the number of comments they’ve garnered from this sweet lady. Be sure to check out I'm Here for the Party, the holiday-themed 11th story posted by Joann. If everyone who has ever received a review from Joann gave her one in return, she’d be one of the most-reviewed authors on the site! Write on, Joann! To Joann414: As a mature writer, what life experiences have you had that gives you an advantage over a younger writer? Me, mature? Maybe older, but according to some, a mischievous kid at heart. Now, to the question. The first would be raising my daughter who is now thirty. I saw her experiences with other young people, good ones, bad ones, and even cruelty she's dealt with. As far as writing gay fiction, of course my own sexuality and dealing with both sexes, male and female. I've been a victim and seen others victimized. So, yeah, experience is food for thought, and the older you are, the more experiences you've got and you can feed from that knowledge. This also marks the third feature for Author James Savik and 2015 will be his 10th year here on GA. James’ blog entries contain some of the most thought-provoking insights on humankind, like “nuking hypocrites” and a list of red flags for abusive relationships. There’s also his 20-something stories, a book of poetry, and his responses to the weekly prompts. I particularly like a short autobiographical piece about Jeff, a man James has mentioned before and who has played a key part in making James the man we know and admire today. He also keeps us smiling with the popular forum thread Make us Laugh! among others. To James Savik: Why do you write? (Is it for yourself, to entertain others, to explore a passion, a combination or other)? I come by it honestly. My background and education is in math and science. Very early on as a tekkie, my bosses discovered that I could put sentences together rationally. Apparently that's a rare gift for tekkies as we usually communicate with grunts and flashing lights. I wrote user documentation for computer programs and lots of it. The more of it I wrote, the better I got at it. The more people wanted me to write the stuff. I once heard that technical writing was so dry and boring that it read like stereo instructions. If there's anything worse than reading the stuff, it is writing it. I took great pains to make my stuff readable by using dry wit and the occasional cartoon. It was fun for me to see someone installing software that I documented actually laughing at the instructions. If it wasn't so painful to read, they would read it and not make as many mistakes. That's where I got my feet wet. I changed jobs but ended up writing again by doing the long range planning for a state agency. I took them from old 80s minicomputers to a modern networked campus over the course of a decade. It was slow as watching paint dry but one guy with the right idea pushing in one direction can get a lot done when he's willing to do the paperwork no one else wants to do. I wrote my first fiction in college. After reading it everyone was convinced that I was horribly disturbed. At the time I probably was. I don't know- I don't remember it very well. I got clean and sober 11 years ago. It's trendy with Hollywood people to go in and out of rehab. Ordinary people are expected to grow up and get responsible. Where was I... OH! Why do I write? Because I can. Because I look at popular fiction and know that I sure can't do any worse. We last saw Promising Author wrathofmagneto in AtA#5, a long long time ago, so welcome back to this Michigan-dweller, comic-book lover, and sworn enemy of OSU. GA has been witness to a few breaks from this author over the 9 years he’s spent with the site, so keep your fingers crossed that this current one shall pass soon. Where are we to get more comic-book-flavored stories if not from Lord Magnus? (sigh) I for one look forward to more chapters in the sci-fi story Footsteps of Giants, a story that reminds me of James White’s Sector General books. I love me a good sci-fi story, and this one has a detective-who-dunnit vibe as well. To wrathofmagneto: If you could get one author to change a relationship in one of their books (or series) to a gay relationship, which author/book would it be and which characters would you make fall in love? For me, the one character I would change to a gay relationship if I could, would be the delightfully quirky title character from Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas series. Odd is just an instantly likable character, and he just totally made me love him from the first paragraph of the first book. I wouldn't have him fall in love with a different character though, I'd just gender swap his girlfriend Stormy into his boyfriend, as the two of them are perfect for each other. 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 Carlos Hazday, Columbusguy, and Timothy M. Want to ask your favorite author a question? Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark
  8. Hope everyone is having a great week so far! Once again, it's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for this month's edition of Ask An Author. A big thank you goes out to Dark for continuing to provide us with this great feature. Remember, Dark can only provide the Ask An Author feature if members keep providing questions. Ask an Author #27 Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors! In AtA #26, we had questions for authors Carringtonrj, Joann414, and Mark Arbour. In AtA #27, Mark Arbour returns, as well as Andrew Q. Gordon and Rob Colton. For their protection, the members who asked these questions shall remain nameless (unless they choose to reveal themselves). Please note that all author replies are copied as is, spelling errors and grammar eccentricities original to the individual. Mark Arbour was the last author presented last time, so let’s have him go first today. No introduction is really needed for this Signature Author; he’s more frequently liked than the latest thing to go viral on youtube. Having been around since 2005, Mark’s been a witness (and sometimes willing participant) to the many different incarnations of GA. Can someone who’s been around awhile tell us if he’s had the same profile pic for 10 years? Geez, can you believe it! 10 years is longer than many sports careers and yet he’s still plugging away, entertaining us with his historic dynasties. Fall in love with history all over again and wish Mark a happy birthday on May 13th. To Mark Arbour: As one of the most successful and prolific authors on GA, did you ever imagine your series of novels would have the success and following that has grown form them? Thanks for that, but to answer your question: No. I started writing Chronicles of an Academic Predator after I watched the movie Hairspray and was nostalgically transfixed on the early 1960s. It was an experiment more than anything, but with some strong encouragement, especially from Sharon, I kept on writing. I was pretty surprised back in those days to have that story vault up to the most-read in the non-promising/non-hosted worlds. I'd been a reader here for a long time, but I never thought I'd be able to actually write a story myself. Guess you don't know until you try. This will be the 5th year anniversary on GA for “The Author formerly known as ‘Q’.” Lots of things have changed for this popular author. He’s gotten officially married, has a baby girl, and is involved in a myriad of different ways in online publishing. One of the first books that Q published was “The Last Grand Master.” Its sequel is due out in June, not soon enough for its many fans. In a recent blog post here on GA, Q let us in on some of his upcoming plans and says, “Also, I like to leave an open invite to anyone who has questions about publishing, marketing, or writing. Feel free to message me here or email me. I promise to always reply.” To Andrew Q. Gordon: Do you have any new stories or ideas that you are working on for GA after the latest in the Purpose saga? Yes, I have some other things I'm working on - I will start posting a new story that after the new Purpose story is complete. And I'll be returning to SS the Senior Year as well. I'd like to do more anthologies, but I always seem to take too long to get my things finished and I end up missing the deadlines. Beyond that, most of my energies is going into books I've committed to working on for my publisher, so I don't foresee any new full length novels being posted here in the near future. Parenting has really restricted the amount of time I have to write, so I'm trying to allocate it as best I can. We last heard from Signature Author Rob Colton in AtA #22. On his website, Rob describes himself as “… a software developer by day, and avid reader of romance novels at night. A romantic at heart, he loves to read and write stories that feature big, burly men who find true love and happy endings.” Goodreads.com members nominated Rob in 2013 for having the best alternate universe for his story The Degan Incident, the first story posted to GA and still one of his more popular, though “The Timber Pack Chronicles” are up there and my personal favorite is “Noah’s New Plan,” which I’ve mentioned before. Hopefully, Rob will have another exciting story for us soon. To Rob Colton: I have seen your writing grow to something amazing and relly signature you. What kind of impact did it have on your writing/publishing that you settled in Gay Authors? I feel more a part of a community at Gay Authors than on other sites. Everyone here has been great. I also feel like I have more control over my content. I can format it the way I want, and set up chapters in advance. It's very powerful. Cia has been especially helpful with admin tasks, as well as being a gracious guinea pig, helping to beta read my pre-release. She has given me excellent advice, and I've become a better write because of her. I also took advantage of the resources here to get set up with an editor for my newest release. Mann Ramblings has been great to work with. 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 Joann414, James Savik, and wrathofmagneto. What? No Mark Arbour? Patience, Grasshopper, he’ll be back soon. Want to ask your favorite author a question? Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark
  9. Andy78 is the featured Signature Author this week, and as always, we have a great interview where he can share just a little bit more about himself with site members. I decided to change up the questions, so we have a few new ones this time to go with some of my favorites. Andy actually said, "Thank god you didn't ask the what are you wearing question." Maybe if I had, Andy would've been sharing A LOT about himself. Single people often have more time to write. Are you single? Nope. I’ve been with my partner for sixteen going on seventeen years (that makes me feel so old lol). Have you ever gone out in public, realized your shirt is on backwards, and just don’t care? Once – thankfully it was nowhere fancy, just the local pub. By the time one of my friends pointed it out to me, I was far too drunk to care. Did you like to write in school? I did. It was mostly essays though, I was never one for writing prose. What brought you to the Gayauthors? I was reading Ghostryder’s Kombat Kids over on Nifty and there was link over to GA. What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Reading for the most part – anything I can get my hands on really (I’ve even been known to read Jane Austen). The other thing I really enjoy doing is baking – cakes and breads mainly. I also like to experiment a lot in the kitchen. My most recent act of bravery was with baking peanut butter bread – it was not nice. What’s the first thing you do when you start to write a story? I plan out the universe it takes place in. Who my characters are, what the country is like, the religion, their folklore, their laws, those kind of things. I tend not to worry about the timeline so much at the outset – I find the story dictates the timeline rather than the other way round. If you could give advice to yourself when you first started writing, what would it be? Don’t adopt plot bunnies lol In all seriousness, never start posting anything until it’s finished. Life ‘n stuff happens. If you have a complete story written, you can postdate the chapters and not have to worry about the unexpected. Did something inspire you to write a story with magic for The Back-up Plan anthology? I had the TV on in the background just for some noise (I can never concentrate without background noise) and I had the SyFy channel on, when an old episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer came on. The episode revolved around a student who had brought his brother back from the dead and was building him a girlfriend in a Frankenstein-esque way. I’d never been a fan of the Frankenstein genre, but the idea of creating someone with magic suddenly came to me. How long did it take you to write Magic in the Air? It took just over nine weeks to write the story. Then it went through about two weeks’ worth of editing and beta reading (which added about 1400 words to the story). What was your favorite part of the story? The scene at the start with Angus performing the incantation. That was probably the scene that I spent the longest amount of time fussing over, and I also needed to research the various plants and weeds that flourish in the highlands. Do you have any stories in the pipeline you haven’t posted yet? There’s two that I’m seriously writing. One is an old story I wrote that never really came to anything so is going through a major rewrite (it’s up to about 50k, but is a long way from being ready). The other is a Star Trek-esque sci-fi that I think will end up as a collection of short stories rather than a novel. There’s also a couple that I’m just toying with. One has some potential, and the other one just won’t leave me alone. They are annoying little plot bunnies that I adopted a couple of years ago but haven’t had the heart to fricassee.
  10. Ask an Author #26 Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors! In AtA #25, we had questions for authors Aditus, Nephylim, and Stephanie L. Danielson. In AtA #26, we hear from carringtonrj, joann414, and Mark Arbour. For their protection, the members who asked these questions shall remain nameless (unless they choose to reveal themselves). Please note that all author replies are copied as is, spelling errors and grammar eccentricities original to the individual. Today we start with Promising Author Carringtonrj. It’s been about a year since RJ was promoted to promising, in March 2014. With us since 2011, RJ has gifted us with more than 50 different stories. Not to mention all the reviews and story comments! I first noticed RJ when Queertown came along. It was one of the first gender-bending stories to grace GAstories, crazy and bold and just beautiful in its explorations of the differences between gender and sexuality. What you may not know is that RJ has a doctorate and studied at Oxford University, but that may not surprise you considering the deliciousness of the writing that has graced the site since this author first wandered in. Oh, and RJ’s story Man of Montana started as a request, so don’t be afraid to suggest topics for writing. To Carringtonrj: I am amazed how you can find beautiful, gorgeous words on such a variety of subjects. Is there any theme under queer-world that you would not explore, even if requested and why? In theory, I could write about anything. In practice, I tend to prefer broadly positive, happier subjects. I do not write about anything too horrific or disturbing, generally. I write for pleasure and seek to give some kind of joy to anyone who reads my scribbles. So I tend to stay away from the more shocking and depressing subjects. That said, I love a commission or request. If someone asks me to write something for them, I will. Right now, for instance, I'm getting regular requests, from the most beautiful artist in the world, to write poems to go with her amazing drawings. I love doing this and would do anything she requested. Joann414 was one of the first supporters of the Ask an Author feature, first appearing in AtA #2 with a question about writing advice. Back then, she was “… a lady with a big heart who conquered GA early on with her numerous positive and thoughtful reviews. Authors still brag about the number of comments they’ve garnered from this sweet lady.” Although we see her less these days than in the past, she’s brave enough to post her age on her profile, keeps us updated on the latest shenanigans at home and work (stay away from the oil, pretty lady!) and passes along encouragement and good cheer at every available opportunity. Send this wonderful woman a happy thought when you have the time, and be sure to check out I'm Here for the Party, the holiday-themed 11th story posted by Joann. If everyone who has ever received a review from Joann gave her one in return, she’d be one of the most-reviewed authors on the site! Write on, Joann! To Joann414: Who is a published author that has affected you the most and why? I feel as if I should say the author of some of the required reading in high school and college, but that wouldn't be true. So, John Grisham would be my choice. The main reason is because he's an author that writes what he knows and does a great job entertaining and enthralling his readers. Also, I'm familiar with the places that are the settings for his stories. Last on my list for today is fan-favorite Mark Arbour. His profile now boasts “There can be only one!” and at 20,000+ likes, is there any author more closely followed? I could list all his stories, but we’d be here all day. Mark’s forums are among the most popular as well. Have a question or comment about a plot point or character? There’s plenty of people just waiting to help you out or argue the finer points, not to mention the author himself! And although he doesn’t add to it much, Mark’s blog can give you a touch of insight to this amazing author as well. It’ll be May soon and Mark’s birthday, so stop by and tell him to write his 2015 blog and tell us all about what it’s like being over the hill. And keep your fingers crossed that he’ll be around to keep the Cap and Bridgemont series going longer than the Energizer Bunny. To Mark Arbour: How many chapters or what period of time do you see the current book Flux covering? I really don't know. I know that some authors start a story and have a clear outline of where they're going, and what's going to happen, but I rarely do. I usually have a basic theme I want to deal with, along with a few ideas about how the story will begin, and then it plays out from there. With Flux, the basic theme is re-assembly. In 9-11, the characters were torn apart by the losses of loved ones, their psyches were damaged, and relationships suffered. Flux picks up after that, where their lives are sort of in, well, a flux, and they have to pick up the pieces and go on. I can probably end it in October of 2002 (it started in May, 2002), but I'll have to decide then if I want to go on. One of the big events ahead in 2002-3 was the lead up to the Iraq War. I may cover that in a separate story. *A special note to readers: Flux ended after 46 chapters. The latest episode in the Cap Series is Streak, begun in August 2014 and encompassing 43 chapters (and 273,764 words) as of February 2015. 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 Andrew Q. Gordon, Mark Arbour, and Rob Colton. Want to ask your favorite author a question? Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark
  11. Have you downloaded your March Signature Background? If not, there's still time and you can do so, here. Cia's always asking everyone else the questions, and now it was time for the tables to be turned. Hope you enjoy this little question and answer session with Cia! Author Interview: Cia on Two of a Kind Do you eat your fruits and vegetables? Some more than others. I love raw baby spinach and bananas. I even like combining them in smoothies. Don’t knock it til you try it! Add some almond milk, a tablespoon of peanut butter, milled flax seeds, and ice and you have a very filling—and good for you—breakfast. What are you wearing? (no lying ) Jeans, black shirt with rolled up black/white striped cuffed sleeves and one of my hubby’s black hoodies, with the hood up to avoid the sun coming in through the big living room window. It burns!!! Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point? Gotta make the bed. We have a California king waterbed, and it’s heated. Year round we have a soft blanket, bottom sheet, top sheet, Egyptian cotton blanket, and 2 handmade quilts. Hubby likes it cold in the room, and I like to be warm when sleeping, so that’s our compromise. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Dedication. I swear, if I could just make myself focus for 1-2 hours a day on nothing but writing, I’d have so much more done. Do you have any writing rituals? Not really. I tend to fly by the seat of my pants. Music via ear buds helps me drown out my 2 monsters if they’re home while I’m writing, but I might listen to country or rock or pop, depending on my mood and how close I am to muzzling them if I don’t block their inane chatter and bickering. What brought you to Gay Authors? A story I’d had recommended to me, Beloved by Don H. After that, I made my way through the Hosted. Eventually, I joined up because I wanted to yell at Lugh to finish Vega-5. Lol What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment? I once had a reader I respected tell me they were critiquing the way I write by comparing it to the work of a high school student, without sharing any examples. Later, I asked them for specifics and was told it was the disturbing content of the story more than my writing that bothered them—even though that was clearly stated as not part of the critique. It felt unfounded. I love critical feedback, because not everyone loves everything and we all have room to grow, but I also like a reason why someone feels a certain way about something I’ve written. Without that, the information is about as useless as tits on a boar. The best compliment I’ve heard a few variations on but the first time, a reader told me they’d stayed up most of the night to read one of my stories twice in a row because they enjoyed it so much. I’ve had some eBooks suck me in like that, and I know just how amazing I thought they were. That someone felt that way about my work was very gratifying, and continues to be as well. How did you come up with the idea of the Carthera? I was reading a werewolf story, and my cat curled up on my shoulder. I rested my face against him, and he began to purr. It felt soft, warm, and soothing. I wanted to replicate that feeling in a character. I’d written a small bird Carthera hetero story once, but hadn’t really nailed down the mythos other than part person/part Clan animal. It just sort of flowed onto the page after that though. In “Two of a Kind”, did the characters or the plot come to you first? I knew I wanted to do two rare cats. I was working in Photoshop on some fire photos and saw the black cat faces in the charcoal that blended perfectly into what I could envision as a temple. And where do we still find hidden cities and temples? The jungle. Thus, Bashta’s ancestral temple in the Amazon was born into being, and then Cavel entered the jungle to look for something—anything—that might save his Clan. The rest is history. What’s your favorite part of “Two of a Kind”? Definitely the visual of the temple. I love that sort of thing in paranormal stories. How much research did you have to do while writing “Two of a Kind”? Tons. I had to figure out all the plants and animals from the jungle, so I looked all that up, with images and multiple sources. I had to figure out flying times from Brazil to California, then driving and flying times from the main airport to the small town I set as Cavel’s Clan home. Medical stuff comes easier, but also refreshed my memory on creating vaccines from immune individuals to combat disease. I usually spend just as much time researching—sometimes more—than I do the actual writing. For instance, it took me 2 hours to determine the type of flower, the superstitious meaning by locals, and the possible sizes and color variations for one of the flowers set in a carving. That element came into play in 3 paragraphs of the story. Which Carthera character would you say is your favorite? (even if it’s not from ToaK) Oh, definitely Davis Retic, The Snake himself, from Hypnotic. I don’t care to handle them, but I find snakes to be very elegant, yet often singularly reviled, yet solitary creatures. I really wanted to incorporate all that into my next story, especially after I introduced the Snakes as such negative creatures in Bonds Unbroken, the first Carthera story in this trilogy. I think Cap, from Escaping the Pain, was a big ole sweetheart, too! What are you working on now? Well, a secret project which I shall not divulge to anyone. Sorry! I’m also writing and posting updates each week to both my not-very steampunk-but kinda-steampunk flash fiction story posted every Wednesday with my off-site Briefers group (Fortitude) as well as the third novel in my Saving Caeorleia sci-fi series (Cosmic Inception). I think my next short story will be a continuation of a very short story I wrote for a contest in a Queer Science Fiction group I joined on Facebook. You can read First Contact here:
  12. I've heard countless times how much everyone loves the Ask An Author feature and want to give a big Thank You to Dark for taking the time to contact all the authors and compile these wonderful Wednesday pieces. Don't forget, if you have a question you'd like to "Ask an Author" all you need to do is send Dark a PM!! Hope you enjoy!!! Ask an Author #25 Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors! In AtA #24, we had questions for authors Andrew Q. Gordon, Andy78, and Sasha Distan. In AtA #25, we hear from Aditus, Nephylim, and Stephanie L. Danielson. For their protection, the members who asked these questions shall remain nameless (unless they choose to reveal themselves). Please note that all author replies are copied as is, spelling errors and grammar eccentricities original to the individual. First up today is scientist turned teacher, Author Aditus. He comes to us from the Canis lupus species of familia Canidae and is a secret vampire fan, so would that be Team Edward or Team Jacob? He’s also a Scorpio, and if you believe in Astrology, that means our dear friend is secretive, passionate, resolute, insensitive, steadfast, painstaking, and stubborn, which doesn’t seem to bode well for that secret vampiric lover. Unless you’re a character in Blade, of course. Or Twilight. Oh, and have you had a chance to chase down Red Running Shoes? The characters will drag you in and the drama will make your roll your eyes, but the well-designed plot will keep you coming back for more! To Aditus: What prompted you to write stories in the vampire genre? The early vampires were usually a mixture between a mummy and a zombie and variations of the concept can be found in most cultures. Although they always interested me historically, I never wanted to write a story about them. The modern concept of vampires brought into life e.g. by John Polidori and Bram Stoker however, always fascinated me. They are tragic and lonesome creatures, dead but immortal. To live they have to drink one of the essences of life, blood. To get it they have to hunt humans. Due to their immortality, they lost their family and all their friends. A great background to spin emotional stories…that and they don't need condoms. The sweet but dark angel Signature Author Nephylim needs little introduction, but did you know that she’s been collaborating with fellow Author Stephanie Danielson? It’s true! Check out their series Upstaged, two stories (so far) about grunge band The Von. They’re both completed, so the only question remaining, is what’s next? And when’s the next collaborative effort coming out? To Nephylim: In Recovery, a great deal of detail goes into the medical procedures, symptoms and progression that poor Kei and Alex suffer through. Is this based on a real life experience, a TON of research or a huge collaboration of the two? The medical procedures themselves are down to research and asking people who know more about it than I do. The waiting I know a lot about because I did a LOT of waiting when my father had a heart attack when I was 24. In the end we lost him but the waiting was the same. My mother was the one who set up the food/drinks/practical stuff station for everyone else. There were three families and we got to be quite good friends whilst we were there but never saw them again after. It was a strange and surreal experience which I have never forgot. As mentioned above, our next Author Stephanie Danielson has co-written two stories for GA with fellow author Nephylim. 2014 was a tumultuous year for Stephanie, with her first solo work getting published and what great timing, too! It was like there was a Winter Olympics or something, when Ice Fairy first entered the scene. You may not know that Stephanie is a key stakeholder in Romance First Publishing and slaves her day away as the servant to two cats. Perhaps it is their influence that has resulted in 12 published works? Or was that Nephylim cracking the whip? To Stephanie Danielson: What made you decide to publish your story as a book and was it easy to find a publisher? Hi! No problem...I guess my first question is which story? LOL. I've done dozens. As for finding a publisher, in the early days I found one, but it was the wrong one. After that grievous error, I decided to self-publish some of the stories. I found other publishers through friends and networking and gave them a try. A website called Preditors and Editors helped too in weeding out some of the bad ones. (right now I have a series and another book (all co-authored) that are through other houses; which were found by word of mouth and just subbing them and crossing our fingers. But in 2011, I started my own small press and along with self-publishing, I have a few of my stories run through there. As for my first ever, ever story...it's kinda described above. But I'd rather talk about my first story after that, a tale called "Love by the Numbers". LBTN is a tale about a jock and a brain; Jared and Scott. These two get together by means of the teacher pushing them together so Jared's math grade can go up. It develops from there. This was a story I wrote in a fairly short period of time and fell in love the boys from second one. I decided to self-publish it after it was turned down from a couple of publishers; but I wanted the story out there. It ended up becoming one of my biggest early hits! Through that same networking, I found sites to sell the book and get exposure and make the start of a name for myself. 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 Carringtonjr, Joann414, and Mark Arbour (omg, yes, again, lol). Want to ask your favorite author a question? Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark
  13. Have you downloaded your copy of the Signature Background for February yet? There's still time! Today we're featuring an interview with Carl Holiday, all about him, his writing, and a little about how Hold 32 came into being! Do you eat your fruits and vegetables? I’m more of a dairy and grains kind of guy. Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point? I make it up at night, before I use it. It’s not like the housing inspectors will be coming along and give me demerits for sloppy housekeeping. What brought you to GA? I was out on the web looking for gay (or, gay written) stories and discovered Gay Authors. At the time, I was working on a long story and publishing it on Nifty when I was contacted by someone here and the rest is history. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Yes, getting in enough humor because it’s so vital to the human psyche. Do you have any writing rituals? No, not since I moved in with my son in October 2011. How did you come up with the plumber idea for Hold32 based on the anthology theme ‘Walk on the Wild Side’? There will come a time in the far future (if we’re not obliterated by an asteroid or massive Yellowstone sized volcano) when humans will venture forth in humongous space vessels seeking a new planet they can pollute with rapt abandon. Did the characters or the plot come to you first? Plot first, characters and tiger second. Did you ever think up the alternative method for them that you didn’t share with the short story? No, they had their work to do and it has to be done. They probably have a union approved directive stating their need to get the job done. How they did it was up to them. What are your future projects? Do you ever think you’ll go back to these guys? 1) Finish Hercules III. Honest, there is an end in sight; it’ll just take a while; unless, of course, a plot change occurs. 2) Depending on unknown circumstances, I’ll probably start work on another long story; humongous star ships seem to be a sub-genre I can live in. Guys in Hold 32 again? No, I don’t see ever coming to another story about plumbers. Although, a long, long time ago (decades), I was working on a long story centered around a plumbing company, Petersen Plumbing, located in North Park (favorite fictional town) in Washington state.
  14. It's hard to believe it's already February, but not only is it a new month, but it's also the first Wednesday of the month. That means it's time for the "Ask An Author" feature provided to us by Dark! Don't forget, PM Dark if you have a question you'd like to ask your favorite author! Ask an Author #24 Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors! In AtA #23, we had questions for authors Mark Arbour, Thomas Nealy, and Thorn Wilde. In AtA #24, we hear from authors Andrew Q. Gordon, Andy78, and Sasha Distan. For their protection, the members who asked these questions shall remain nameless (unless they choose to reveal themselves). Please note that all author replies are copied as is, spelling errors and grammar eccentricities original to the individual. This will be the fourth question in AtA posed for Signature Author Andrew Q. Gordon. Though he may not be as active on GA as he once was, AQG remains popular, and is gaining new followers every day, through GA or the internet publishers he’s graced with his time and efforts. His most recent release A Closed Door is likewise through new Wayward Ink Publishing, which, if I’m not mistaken, Q helped get started. And don’t forget that Q continues to add to the story begun in Second Shot, one of the first stories Q posted to GA and still one of the most-liked. At Q’s website, you can find out more about how busy his life has gotten chasing the toddler Lil’ Q has become. To Andrew Q. Gordon: Has fatherhood and formal marriage encouraged you to re-think the balance in your life between work/career and your personal life as a father/husband? And if so in what ways? Marriage hasn't really changed my life that much - and where it has, it's all been for the better. As far as we were concerned, we'd been acting like we were married for at least 16 years when we 'formally' tied the knot. All those balancing issues were there and dealth with before - at least where marriage is concerned. Fatherhood, on the other hand, created/creates a huge shift in focus. I do a much better job of being out on time - not that I didn't want to see Mike, but if I got home at 630 vs 730 didn't matter so much because we'd have the rest of the evening. Now, getting home at 730 means instead of two hours to see 'lil q I get one. In the past I would take people's weekends to get extra time off later - (court is open saturdays and holiday in DC so we cover those days on a rotating schedule) Now I give away my days where I can to have that time. Weekends require more planning, becuase we want to do things with her. We also need to plan more in general. So it absolutely required a rethinking of my priorities and activities. Andy78 first graced GA by the name Andy 021278 in 2011. In 2013, he became a Promising Author, and then in 2014 became a Signature Author. He has also been a long-time helper behind the scenes, like working on the blog and a being part of the forum moderation team. One of our many Brits, Andy loves to cook and helped me discover the reality show Masterchef in its overseas guises (I can’t help but love Gordon Ramsey). Andy is also a long-time devotee of our Friday Weekly Prompts. You’ll find some real gems in his collection and its sequel. As if that weren’t enough, Andy often submits to the anthologies, of which my favorite is From Beyond the Stars, because it’s told in a unique way via emails from the different characters. To Andy78: Do you take on multiple stories at once or do you like to take it one story at a time? When posting, I now try to limit myself to one story at a time, though I have about seven or eight others I'm working on. I used to quite happily flit between posting two or three stories at once, but because of constant changes in my work life I'm now in the mess of having two in process stories that haven't been updated in ages. I'm still writing chapters for them, so they will be finished at some point. Though from now on I'll only be posting a story once it's complete. Today’s final author Sasha Distan was featured most recently in AtA #22 and is a fellow Brit. Self-described as a cowboy, writer, jeweler, chef, and “not-so-secret Redneck-type,” Sasha is married with 2 fat babies (he calls them “fancy goldfish”). You can find his published works on Lulu.com, if you’ve already devoured the 40 stories he’s posted to GA. To Sasha Distan: You have an ever increasing body of work on GA. How do you balance your work with so many open stories in progress at once? I cheat. Kidding. Sometimes I genuinely do work on three or four stories at once, and it's hard, but i just write whichever character is holding my brain to ransom on any particular day. Summer last year, for example, I was writing Unexpected Liaisons and Cowboy Summer and i simply had to not write any cowboy Summer for two weeks because Zupan wouldn't let me go. I have just finished writing and posting Wicked Boy, but Born Wolf was completed before I started posting it, which is why it looks like I'm doing two at once. Of course, this means I also work on other stuff while uploading which you guys don't see just yet. Whatever's going on, I'm always writing. Oh Dark, I think the "coded" message in this question is "Are you going to write any more direct confusion chapters soon?", and the answer to that is "YES". 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 Aditus, Nephylim, and Stephanie Danielson. Want to ask your favorite author a question? Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark
  15. Have you downloaded January's Signature Background yet? If you haven't already done so, the month is only half over so there's still plenty of time! To go along with this month's background, we're happy to bring you today's interview with Stellar, courtesy of Cia. Enjoy! Interview: Stellar on " Hidden Sunlight" Single people often have more time to write. Are you single? I think the correct phrase would be 'terminally single.' Being an Aspie makes it difficult to meet and connect with people on a social level, let alone further than that. So, yes, very single. Do you have an ulterior motive here, question-asker? P.S. Let me add that having more spare time doesn't necessarily translate to getting more written. Do you eat your fruits and vegetables? I'm healthier than I used to be! I eat my fruits and most vegetables, though if you put kumara (New Zealand's native sweet potato) or parsnip in front of me ... yuck! No way. Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point? Sometimes, sometimes not! I'm inconsistent. What brought you to the Gay Authors? Comicality did. Before he joined GA, I was regular on his forums (up until roughly 2002) and within that community. Due to personal circumstances I fell out of touch with most people I knew there. Fast forward a few years later to GA's earlier days, and I discovered he was now hosted here, so I became an infrequent lurker. Then fast forward a lot more to 2010 when I decided I would stop lurking and make an account so I could comment. Then again to 2012 when I made the bigger step of posting the start of a new fiction I wanted to write—and that was when I became an author. Do you have any writing rituals? No rituals as such. I do need calm to get any writing done. It's mostly just having the correct environment so I can concentrate on what I'm doing. Sound in particular is a big distraction, so quiet is important. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Balancing the desire for complicated flowery prose against letting the story tell itself in simple cleaner language. Often, less is more and I have to constantly fight that desire! Characterisation and scene-setting description has become much easier the more I do it, so making it all connect and not sound like I'm trying to be clever and riff Shakespeare is the main concern. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment? Probably the toughest criticism given was not even on GA, and was to do with supposed plot implausibility near the end of Hidden Sunlight and my male protagonist being androgynous to the point where the commenter reduced his gender from 'him' to 'it.' That one was insulting, and I won't lie -- I was pretty annoyed reading it. The other criticisms have been mostly minor things to do with pacing and flow of the narrative. The best compliment, on the other hand, is difficult to choose. I have been given some beautiful praise by readers here; everything from being compared to some of science fiction's greatest authors through to phrasing such as: "This is the best thing I have read, online or offline, and I have been an avid reader for X years." That sort of tribute is humbling and often is what keeps me going when I'm feeling at my least motivated. How did you come up with the title for Hidden Sunlight? Well I want to be careful what I say here because the title is also the most important element of the plot, so telling precisely what it means in an explanation would be a spoiler. It is a metaphor that is partially literal; the 'hidden sunlight' is hidden because it is not visible to normal eyesight. However, it is not actually sunlight at all, and this is simply an artistic way that one of the characters (Mira) chooses to imagine it, since it appears like illumination to those special few who are capable of seeing it. In fact, he is the only character that uses the titular phrase, the others choosing different descriptions both verbally and mentally. Ultimately, it was a natural fit, and more poetic than using accurate scientific terminology, which would not only give away the plot by being obvious, but also be a mouthful and decidedly 'unsexy' as a title. Did the characters or the plot come to you first? Parts of both the two primary protagonists were around in my head before the writing began. Shay and Mira were the quickest to tell me how they wanted to be written. I'm just the messenger boy Konstantin was also in proto-form before writing began, as was the genesis for the then-unnamed character that eventually morphed into Hartley. They developed early on alongside the plot, so it was more or less in tandem. Your story has a lot of science involved in the plot, from the beginning til end. Do you have a background in that, or did you just do a lot of research? I have no true background in science, although my brother and I both studied computer science at university. While he went on to become a software programmer, I did not. I'm a very logical details-oriented sort of person, in part because my Aspergers has that influence on the way I think, and also because l have a keen interest in why the natural world does what it does. This means I tend to read a lot about such subjects just for leisure. So, while my own general knowledge can get a fair way, research is always required and I make very sure to do my homework. Certain parts of the plot have needed a lot of extra reading and sometimes for very small details that I simply wanted to be accurate. I have lost track of the number of times I've been awake at 3am reading about ethnic cuisine in Malaysia, Earth's projected demographic change 100 years in the future, particle physics, stellar spectroscopy, Russian firearms ... or whatever it may be. It got to the point where the ads on GA were suggesting hotels in Yakutsk for my next vacation simply because I'd spent so long looking at Siberia on Google maps. What was your favorite part of Hidden Sunlight? Call me a soppy romantic, but the first-kiss scene was emotionally satisfying to write. In fact, most of the scenes where the main pair gets to enjoy a few moments of happiness together were satisfying, because there is a lot of unhappiness in other parts of the plot. Also, the story's climax (the last couple of chapters) whilst an utter headache for me to bring together, was full of awesome moments for the main cast and I was very happy with it once it was done. What are your future projects? Currently I am working on Veil of Shadow, the sequel to Hidden Sunlight. I suppose I may as well say this here, as it isn't exactly a secret, but there will be a third book following this, to make a trilogy. Beyond that, I'm not sure. I have a few story ideas; one major one is more pure fantasy, another a more typical youth-drama type romance with less crazy world destroying antics. I'll decide closer to that time what I'm going to do.
  16. Hope everyone is having a great new year so far! Not only is it the first Wednesday of the month, but it's also the first one of 2015, which means it's time for this month's edition of Ask An Author. A big thank you goes out to Dark for continuing to provide us with this great feature. Remember, Dark can only provide the Ask An Author feature if members keep providing questions. Ask an Author #23 We return to Ask an Author following December’s Special Edition (#22), in which we had questions for authors Comicality, Nephylim, Rob Colton, and Sasha Distan. In AtA #23, we hear from authors Mark Arbour, Thomas Nealy, and Thorn Wilde. For their protection, the members who asked these questions shall remain nameless (unless they choose to reveal themselves). Please note that all author replies are copied as is, spelling errors and grammar eccentricities original to the individual. Our first author has been featured on AtA twice before, and why not? Mark Arbour is one of the most prolific authors on GA, and remains one of the most popular. Although he may only have posted 20-something stories, those “few” stories have created some 5.5 million – yes, I said million – words, 20,000+ likes, and more than 200 followers. Ever since he joined GA in 2005, Mark has posted chapters more regularly than a heartbeat. There’s the CAP saga and the Bridgemont series, but Mark has also posted stand-alone stories, like 2011’s Sink the Bismarck. Find out what all the hubbub’s about and read Mark Arbour today. To Mark Arbour: How do you decide what historical events you are going to include in your stories? There are so many smaller yet significant events, what criteria do you use to decide which will fit your stories? I decide which events to put in based on how well they work with the story, unless the event is significant (like 9-11), in which case I work the story around it. I usually look at things in chronological order (Wiki is the best resource for that) and then pick and choose as I go. I learned a lesson when I wrote 1968, and that is that I'm writing a story with history in it, and not a historical story. In 1968, I let history write (and dominate) the story. Now I don't do that. On the other hand, 1968 was a year like that, where the world was in chaos wherever you looked. American Author Thomas Nealy is next. A member since 2009, Thomas has posted two stories, the fanfic A Love Through Time featuring characters from Harry Potter and Twilight and the romantic original Lives and Trials of Jupiter. I love Cedric from Harry Potter and so, although I’ve never read Twilight, the fan-fic is quite humorous because Cedric takes the place of the vampire Edward. Just read around the typos to find the gem inside. Last time we heard from Thomas, he talked about Lives and Trials of Jupiter, which he refers to here again, but also hints at something new! To Thomas Nealy: How did you come up with so many ideas to keep it fresh and exciting? And do you plan to write more within the world of your series in the future, or is there new work we can expect? I'm an avid sifi and fantacy reader. So it was unaviodable that those things would infuance and find their way into my own stories. I belive that there is very little truely origanal ideas in writing now, we are all just tweaking and reusing the ideas of masters that have long come before us. Even out technology of today was inspired by by fiction. As for writing more in the Jupiter world, I would like to as there is more of the story to be told. However right now I am working on my Devia story which is proving to be harder then i thought it would be to write for. Our last author, Promising Author Thorn Wilde, has also been interviewed for AtA before. When asked about the speech habits of his characters, Thorn replied that his characters’ traits are a reflection of himself. From this, it’s quite fitting that Thorn takes his pen name from one of his favorite authors: Oscar Wilde. But he’s also said he struggles when writing in his favorite genres, though Teddy makes that hard to believe. The sweetness of the story perfectly balances the horror. And then there’s Sleeping with Ghosts, written for Halloween 2013. Let go of your New Year’s Resolutions with the help of this charming ghost story. To Thorn Wilde: Have your stories been (or do your stories get) influenced by stories you've read? I should think so. I would have a hard time believing any writer who said this wasn't the case. Whether it's intentional or not, I think most writers will be influenced by what they read or watch. Sometimes it's a plot point, sometimes it's a character, and sometimes it's a style of writing. It's no secret that The Jacob & Marcus Tales were inspired by my watching The Thick of It, and a while back I read a fanfic where the main characters were Hollywood actors, and that inspired me to write Lavender & Gold (and is where I learnt most of the specifics of movie making). 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 Q, Andy78, and Sasha Distan. Want to ask your favorite author a question? Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark
  17. The original GA member, Myr, is mostly found behind the scenes (Don't look behind that curtain!) on the site, but he's also an author. As you'll see from his interview, that isn't always easy to do with everything else he has going on. I hope you enjoy this interview, and if you haven't had a chance, go check out his featured story and download the Signature background! Who do you like best, Jerry or Tom? Jerry, obviously. Do you eat your fruits and vegetables? Nope and Nope. Still don't eat any fruits, but I do eat enough vegetables. What are you wearing (and no fibbing!)? Polo shirt, kahkis, boxer briefs, socks and shoes. But that what you get when you ask questions when I'm on lunch at work. Gay fiction has gone through quite an evolution since you began GA. What do you think the biggest change is? Popularity, by far. Gay fiction has gone mainstream. It used to be difficult to find it, and now its everywhere. What’s your favorite genre to write and why? Fantasy. I'm a big fan of escapism and as an engineer working on cutting edge technology on a daily basis, Sci-fi is too much like work. (seriously). With fantasy, I like a world where the entire playing field can be flipped around to fit the plot. As long as you have rules and consistently follow them at least. What was your biggest challenge in writing back when you wrote Nick Cringle? How about now? My biggest challege hasn't changed. It's time and focus. I need my free time to align with my ability to focus on a task. The two don't align often. I'll get free time and want to rest or I'll get a great idea I want write about, but be in the middle of work. It get's really annoying after awhile. Nick is very self-assured, though he’s just a teen. Was that part of his ‘heritage’ or just the way he came to you as a character? Nick is an only child that grew up knowing what his life's work would be. That removes a lot of uncertainly in life and gives him the strong confidence of knowing who and what you are. When we meet him, he also has the powers that come with the sack, to so speak. So, in this case, it was a combination of both nature and nurture. Did Nick’s character or your interesting spin on the Santa mythos for your short story come to you first? It was sort of both. I started with the general idea of Santa's son, and Nick quickly popped into my head. And he sort of wrote himself. The character quickly dictated the twists to the Santa mythos though. If that makes any sense? Do you have a favorite MM story that features a Christmas theme? I can't really think of one off the top of my head. I want to thank Myr for taking the time to do the interview, with his busy schedule and all. I hope everyone enjoyed it (and maybe if you have a fav MM Christmas story, you can share it here).
  18. Many might have noticed that there was no "Ask An Author" feature last month. There were a few reasons for that, but one of the main ones was because this month we're doing a Special Edition of Ask An Author! In the spirit of the season, Dark has gifted us with an Ask An Author feature that features not three, but FOUR, authors. On top of that, each of the authors this month has answered two questions each! Thanks Dark! Enjoy! Ask an Author #22 Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors! Today is a special edition and as such features 2 questions apiece for 4 different authors! In AtA #21, we had questions for authors comicfan, K.C., and reddirtwriter. In AtA #22, we’ll hear from authors Comicality, Nephylim, Rob Colton, and Sasha Distan. For their protection, the members who asked these questions shall remain nameless (unless they choose to reveal themselves). Please note that all author replies are copied as is, spelling errors and grammar eccentricities original to the individual. First up today is signature author Comicality. Legend says that Myr was a big fan of the stories Comsie posted online and dragged a kicking and screaming Comicality to the then-fledgling teen fiction website that today is known as Gay Authors. With 4,758,720 total words in over a hundred different stories, Comsie is one of our most beloved (and followed) authors. My One True Weakness is Comicality’s most recent multi-chapter story, told in first person about young Russ’s search for his one true love. Check it out! You know Comicality won’t leave you hanging for long! To Comicality #1: How did you come up with the concept for "The Secret Life of Billy Chase?" Actually, "Billy Chase" began as a fanfiction type of story. It was originally going to be about a boy whose father worked for a celebrity talent agency, and Billy would get the chance to meet and sleep with many well known famous cuties of the time. Hehehe, but after trying to plan out ways for that to happen, I decided to make Billy the focus instead of the starlets that he got into bed. And that story was much more interesting to me, and I thought it would be much more relatable to people reading. So I decided to write Billy as more of a regular teenage boy, just trying to navigate through the trials and tribulations of life, love, sex, and personal identity. Just as a normal person would, pitfalls and all. I'm glad that I went in that in that direction. Anything else would have burned out a long time ago. To Comicality #2: What inspired you to write the Gone from Daylight series? Did you ever really have a solid direction you wanted the narrative to go in, or did it come to you as you went? A weird story, actually. Hehehe! When I was in my late teens, I actually got the Chickenpox. Now...if anyone has had the chickenpox past the age of ten...you KNOW just how screwed up and almost FATAL something like that can be! Hehehe, and I had it sooooo bad! I was so depressed, for like two MONTHS or more! LOL! Anyway, "GFD" actually came from a really screwed up dream that I had while breaking a fever of 102* on a random Wednesday afternoon! Bedridden and alone...I had a dream about vampire teenagers who ran a night club, and fed off of their patrons one by one as they came in for a good time. Over time, I developed this story a bit more and called it "Midnight's Child". And that later became "Gone From Daylight". Also, I wanted an exotic name for the main love interest in the story, and came up with a bunch of different ideas, until the name 'Taryn' came to mind. I didn't know it was a real name until the movie "8 Mile" came out, and the actress/singer, Taryn Manning, was in the cast. Next, say hello to another signature author, the vampiress Nephylim! Writing to us from Wales, Nephy is both an accomplished mother (one daughter and one son) and a published author. Swing by her blog some time to say hello! She’s strong, beautiful, determined, and by all accounts as nice in person as she is online. It’s been about a year now since my favorite Nephy story, “A Face in the Window,” was published, but since then we’ve been introduced to Frank, from ”Finding Alex”, Slave and Shade, from ”Boy Called Slave”, and a good half-dozen other new boys to keep us all interested. If you haven’t yet found Alex, I recommend you give it a read. To Nephylim #1: Which character do you regret the most in Enigma and why? Not sure what you mean by this. I've no regrets as far as the characters are concerned in the story. They each have their part and I like them all for different reasons. Even Faith. He was a stereotype it was fun to write. My biggest regrets as far as Enigma is concerned are, firstly that I haven't been able to afford to have it properly edited before publication and secondly that Silver isn't real To Nephylim #2: Your fictional story, Dangerous Liaisons, deals with gays and bigotry fueled by religion. Do you feel that there is hope for these bigots in real life? That they can become more open-minded and come to accept gays? What do you think it will take to spark this change? To be honest, the answer to this question has to be, I don't know. I have never been able to understand religious bigots. The bible provides no more reason to hate gays than to stone adulteresses or murder children. It has always shocked me that people who are happy to accept horrific behaviour (like murder, child abuse and torture) both in the bible and in the name of the bible can't accept an expression of love. What I mainly don't understand is - lets say the bible DOES condemn homosexuality and all homosexuals are going to hell, what does that have to do with anyone else? What gives someone the right to beat, berate or even murder someone because they're going to hell? If someone has joy and love in their hearts they have no room for hate and if someone has hate and bitterness in their hearts they have no room for love of any kind. I honestly have no idea what it would take to get the hate out. I don't really think they want it to. Our next author is another signature author: Rob Colton. You may remember him joining us as robcub32 in the spring of 2012. With more than 10 stories and 4500 likes, it’s no wonder this writer was promoted so quickly! His first story was “The Deegan Incident” which has since been expanded with Book 2 of the series Galactic Conspiracies which takes the story to a doctor and his marine lover. Or, if sci-fi isn’t to your taste, you might like Rob’s most recent story, Noah's New Plan, about a man whose partner leaves him for a younger man. Find out what Noah gets up to as he starts over in his middle years. To Rob Colton #1: What helps you to focus when writing? It seems these days I have a lot of distractions trying to pull me away from writing. What I have found most helpful is to set aside time, usually on Saturday and/or Sunday. Instead of sitting with my laptop in the living room or wherever, I find I concentrate better sitting in my office at my desk using my big screen monitor. To Rob Colton #2: How did you decide to start publishing your work? What really got me to publish my work was the prodding of some of my fans, as well as author M. A. Church. After she made the successful leap into the publishing world, she gave me a ton of great advice. I was so nervous after submitting my first novella, but I am so very glad I took the chance. Last up in this special edition is an up and coming writer, Promising Author Sasha Distan. At almost 10,000 likes and 150+ followers, I’d be surprised if you didn’t know this author! He’s a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, with a surprising story of encouragement by way of his godfather (way back when he was just a wee lad of 15). According to his profile, Sasha is now published on 3 different sites and is another one of our members from good ol’ Great Britain. His short story collection American Songbook has its 9th addition as of November 25th, and if you haven’t yet read about Clem’s confusion, I highly recommend it. Besides, who can resist a story about cowboys? To Sasha Distan #1: How do you deal with writer's block? Generally, I don't get it. For which the rest of you will now curse me as a lucky S.O.B, I'm sure. If a particular chapter, scene or character is being difficult, I always find a change in physical location helps. Even if all I do is go for walk, or make dinner, when I come back, I can look at the situation anew. Mostly I think I used up all of my writer's block in the four years I spent not writing between 2008 and 2012. My muse tells me I needed that time to let the story i was thinking about fully mature, but then, we disagree often. To Sasha Distan #2: How do you balance your work and personal life with writing, especially when the ideas are flowing faster than you can write them? The short answer is: I just don't sleep anymore. The longer answer is that I don't have as much social life as people might think. Being a teacher is a great excuse for not being available on school nights. In a typical week day, i'll be at work from 7.30 until 5. Then I'll go to the farm and ride, work sheep, feed dogs and do other farm jobs for three hours. Come home, cook dinner, and then write until midnight. And as my sister will attest, I type really fast. it helps. As we enter the Holiday Season, send a thank-you note to your favorite authors on their profile pages, blogs, or in chat. You might be surprised how much even a small overture can really brighten up a person’s day. With the crazy weather this year and the usual hustle-bustle-stress of the holidays, one teensy smile can stretch a long way. Coming next time: Mark Arbor, Thomas Nealy, and Thorn Wilde. Want to ask your favorite author a question? Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark
  19. Comicality has been a member of Gay Authors since the beginning, and this week we get to find out a little more about him. If you haven't already downloaded your Signature Background for November, you still have plenty of time. Now, I'm sure you stopped by the blog today to read about Comsie, so let's get to it! Thank you to Cia and Comsie for the interview! Interview: Comicality on Save or Sacrifice Who do you like best, Jerry or Tom? Jerry! All the way! LOL! If you're talking 'cat and mouse', I felt bad for Tom, but Jerry had the most fun! Even if he was being a jerk, at least he got to laugh about it! What are you wearing (and no fibbing!)? Hehehe, right now? Black boxer briefs, and that's it. With a robe on the back of my chair in case I have to move around outside of my room. So...yeah. There's a picture to put in people's heads when they read my stuff from here on out! LOL! Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point? I wouldn't call it 'making my bed'. I straighten up the pillows and pull the sheets up. But it's hardly something that would pass military inspection. Chocolate or Vanilla? Vanilla! All the way! What brought you to the site? Myriddian! He saved me from nonexistence by being kind enough to offer me a place to stay. Do your characters try to make like bunnies and create ever more convoluted plots for you? Or do you have to coax them out of your characters? I have to admit that my characters bully me into doing whatever they want to do most of the time. I always have a plan in mind, but once I start writing, the characters develop themselves and eventually start telling me where the story will go from there. So I get suckered into becoming a reporter instead of a creator after a while. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? Dean Lidster and Jaxsper Finn. They were some of the first authors that I ever wrote to from Nifty, and they both answered me! Going to their sites and seeing what was actually possible with writing stories, I can credit them with being the first people to ever inspire me to start writing my own stuff. And Savoir Faire too, as well as a few others! Name one entity that you feel supported you in your writing endeavors outside of family members. I think that was mostly the support that I got from the Shack forum. They are the ones who made it all worthwhile. Especially when "Billy Chase" became a weekly series, and people went to the Library to discuss the events of the story amongst each other. They were really 'reading' and absorbing what was going on. That was the biggest inspiration for me. So my thanks go out to all of them. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? I'm always trying to do something new. That's the most challenging part for me. I want to write a story or create something that has NEVER been done before! And that's nearly impossible these days. But I keep trying. I keep thinking that there's got to be ONE tiny little corner of love and affection in a story that hasn't been explored yet! So that challenges me. Trying to find a new angle. Trying to improve on what I've done already. I always want to do better. I'm self critical in a major way, so I always want to reach the next level and make something that people will like and respond to. ::Fingers Crossed:: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment? Wow....I can't even remember the harshest criticism that I've had since I started writing. I can honestly admit that I've had some really hurtful things hurled my way or said about me in public that have nearly brought me to tears, though. Just cruel and unnecessary comments from people who had no conscience at all about what they were doing. One that I remember, in particular, was 'Encyclopedia Dramatica'. Which is a site dedicated to hurting feelings and making fun of people. But their twisted views on me and my site and what I was trying to do...I can honestly say that they stick out as one of the most hurtful things that has ever been said about me. So congrats to them. I hope their proud of themselves for making me feel like shit while trying to help THEIR kids feel better and more accepting of who they are. Hope they got a big laugh out of it at my expense. But at the end of the day, my site has helped teens come out to their parents and friends. It's prevented suicides from happening. It has helped people realize that love still exists beyond the age of 18...and many adults have found love and companionship on my site well into their 40's. Teens as young as 13 find the stories and find strength where they couldn't find it elsewhere. And Encyclopedia Dramatica? I looked it up just now to add a link...and it's not there anymore. I think there's a bare bones copy of it, if you want to read it. But the Shack is still thriving...and they aren't. So to hell with them and their insults. I'm still going strong. As for the best compliment...I don't think there is one. ANYBODY, from 15 to 50, who writes to me and lets me know that they read and enjoy the stories? I am SUPER appreciative! Honored and blessed! ANY word of positive feedback is enough to make me giggle for the rest of the day! It's all I ask. If there is someone out there who enjoys what I do...and they take the time to tell me so? I am TOTALLY in your debt! Thank you!!! And I love you all! Because most people don't say anything at all. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Ty, who does the "Storm" series has always been a favorite of mine. And guys who started out on the Shack, LemonFresh and TurtleBoy, have impressed me with their work a lot. Also Elias Scott, with his story, "Knots". I am WAAAAY behind on my reading, but I've seen some real talent and ambition in the new generation of writers these days! And when I get more time to read stuff, I'll be letting each and every one of them know how much I appreciate their genius. Because I'm super excited by the kind of stuff that new writers are writing these days! When did you first consider yourself a writer? Hehehe, never. It's never happened. Not even now. I love doing it. But a writer? Eh....not yet. I've still got a lot of bugs to work out of my system. Do you have any writing rituals? Music. I can't write without music. I think I spend more time making playlists for the 'mood' I want for each writing session than I do on the session itself. Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published? Not yet. I definitely have my days when I just have something on my mind or an emotion that I need to get rid of or off my chest...and I'll write stuff that I have no plans to ever release, I just wanted to write it out. But as far as stories that I haven't been able to publish? Not yet. If I believe in the finished product...I ALWAYS put it out there. If people hate it or have issues with it, I can always take it back. But at least I forced them to think about the concept. At least they were forced to be aware of it. After that...they have to make a conscious choice to be close-minded or open-minded. And they have to be aware of that choice. So whatever they decide...it's all on their conscience. I can live with that. How many books/stories have you written? Which is your favorite? Oh God! I have no idea!!! LOL! but if I had to choose one hat I was most in tune with...it would be "Gone From Daylight". It's a vampire story, but I think there is more of my real life and personal views on life than any other story on the site. So it's gotta be "GFD"! How did you come up with the title? Hehehe, which title? Did the characters or the plot come to you first? Characters first. always. I'm heavily character oriented. The story? I come up with a vague theme or idea to work with, but until I have the characters straight, I can't figure out what the story is going to be about. If your story were made into a movie, who do you picture playing each characters part? Hehehe, No idea!!! I could fill up 50 pages on this question alone! Believe me! What sort of coffee would your characters order? Simple coffee, complicated soy-non-fat-extra-espresso-half-caff-nightmare? My characters are pretty young. Hehehe, prolly just 'coffee'. um...large. What was your favorite part of the story? I've got certain scenes that I really cherish in the stories. Moments that stand out to me. But I don't know if I have a favorite. They're all my favorite when I'm in the midst of writing that particular scene. Can you share a little of your current work with us? Hehehe, NOPE! Because I'm always writing, but if I mention a story, folks mob me with requests to 'hurry up', and God forbid it doesn't come out on the date I mentioned. I get BULLIED over stuff like that! So I keep my mouth shut, and just release stuff as soon as I can. People don't know how to be NICE to me when it comes to hours and HOURS of my free time!!! What are your future projects? I'm working a lot on ebooks at the moment! That includes "GFD: Persona", "Boys Of Widow Lake: Depths Of Devotion", and "GFD: Nightfall"! Also, I have been putting a LOT of work into re-writing the story "Always", which I hope to have available for Christmas! As for stuff on the site, like I said...I'm not saying anything because people get mean and hate me when I do. So...new stuff is coming as fast as I can type it out! I'm always on the job, so you'll see new stuff soon!
  20. In honor of this month's creepy critters theme, we featured Renee Stevens' story, Joined by Blood, with our October Signature Background. Who doesn't like vampires, right? If you like your vampires bad... this story has them! If you like your vampires good... this story has them! But figuring out which is which...? Maybe not so easy! If you haven't read it yet, you really should, but first, read this interview with Renee where you can learn some more about Interview: Renee Stevens on Joined By Blood Do you eat your fruits and vegetables? Some, not all. Some fruits and vegetables I really like, some I absolutely detest and you couldn’t pay me enough to eat them. What are you wearing (and no fibbing!)? Jeans and a t-shirt… and my camo slippers. Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point? Lately I try to at least throw the blankets so they somewhat cover the bed; otherwise I end up with dog hair all over the sheets. What brought you to the site? Mainly, I was looking for a new place to start posting my work. I found GA, became a member right away, and started posting in the old eFiction. I just never left and am now coming up on my 5 year GA Anniversary. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Sometimes it’s just finding the motivation to write, especially lately. It seems like there’s just one thing after another happening that makes me lose my focus. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment? The toughest criticism is hard, but I think it would have to be the one when I was simple told that a story I wrote was “boring beyond belief” and had absolutely no plot. The thing was, the story in question was simply a look inside the lives of two characters. There wasn’t supposed to be a major set-up with them. Luckily, no one else agreed with the person who said it. The best compliment… I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on my writing. With that being said, I think it’s a toss-up between two things. One of which is those readers that continue to follow me and read my work. I’ve heard from a few readers that they’ll read anything I write and honestly, I don’t think you can get a much better compliment than that. The other compliment is similar, in those readers who will wait for chapters, no matter how long it may take me to get them out. I’ve had stories get stalled because of life happening(a couple have been stalled for years), and yet, when I manage to finally get a chapter out of them, I get a review (or comment) from someone saying that they are so happy I’m working on the story again. Do you have any writing rituals? If I’m determined to write, then I turn music on. Other than that, only if I’m stuck. If I’m stuck, then I turn music on and grab a pen and paper. Here’s the thing though, it can’t be just any pen and paper. If I am truly stuck, it has to be a new pen and a new notebook. I actually have a stack of single subject notebooks and a stash of never used pens that when I get really stuck on a story, I grab a new set and start working through my thoughts. Once in a while, even that’s not enough to get me through the block, but most the time it works. How did you come up with the title for Joined by Blood? I always have a really hard time coming up with titles for stories. Generally, I run title options past Cia, and sometimes we go through numerous title options before settling on one that we both like. If I remember right, I thought of “Joined by Blood” because of the simple reasoning of, all of the bonds in the story are blood bonds and require the ingestion of each other’s blood. I ran the thought by Cia (probably Lugh, Nephylim, and Frostina as well) and it was agreed to be the perfect title. Why vampires? I’ve always been fascinated with vampires. When I wrote “Joined by Blood” I had already written a couple of shorter vampire stories, but I wanted to try my hand at something longer. I also always wondered as to what made a vampire good or bad, writing “Joined by Blood” gave me the chance to explore that. At what point did you realize that Dante, Damian, and Vik were destined to be a triumvirate? Was that the initial idea that came to you, or did it evolve as you wrote the story? Honestly, that was NOT in the original plans at all. The original plan for the story was simply a Vik/Damian pairing, but the further I got into the story, the more I realized that Dante was playing a more important role than originally planned. He had a bond with both Vik and Damian that just begged to be explored. I wouldn’t say there was a “moment” that I just “knew” they were destined to be a triumvirate though, I think it was just a gradual realization. Little things started to come together until there was no other conclusion I could come to. What was your favorite part of the story? That is a tough question. There were so many parts to this story that just beg to become my favorite, but I think one part manages to edge the others out, just a little. In Chapter 6, both the reader and Damian learn of the true relationship between Jarrod and Vik. It’s a bit of an eye opener for everyone, but especially for Damian and it’s a bit of a turning point in the story. Have you considered writing a sequel to Joined by Blood? When I first completed “Joined by Blood”, I considered the story complete. Since then, I’ve done some thinking and considering and there just might be a sequel after all. It’s not really even in the planning stages right now because I have so many other stories in the works, but I do have a few thoughts and plans for if/when I get some of my other projects done. However, there is no timeline for when I might start work on it or when it might come out.
  21. It's hard to believe that it's already October, and with the start of a new month, it's also time for the newest Ask An Author monthly feature, provided by Dark! Do you have a favorite author on-site? Have you had a question that you've been wanting to ask them, but haven't? If so, send it to Dark and you might just see it in an upcoming Ask An Author feature!! Ask an Author #21 Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors! In AtA #20, we had questions for authors Aditus, Celethiel, and TetRefine. In AtA #21, we hear from authors comicfan, K.C., and reddirtwriter. For their protection, the members who asked these questions shall remain nameless (unless they choose to reveal themselves). Please note that all author replies are copied as is, spelling errors and grammar eccentricities original to the individual. Our first author today is Comicfan, a member of the Forum Moderation Team. Comicfan (perhaps so named due to his love of Peanuts?) and I have been members for about the same amount of time but you might be most familiar with him as the instigator of Friday’s prompts, evil creature that he is. In case you didn’t know, as a New York-er, Comicfan equates sarcasm with love ... when he’s not cursing at the craziness that amounts for island living, that is. It’s been a busy summer for Comicfan, a summer of new beginnings at a wedding and of goodbyes, specifically making room in the old noggin for some new memories by excising the old. While still cranking away at his multi-chapter story, The Strange Life of Jonas Marks, Comicfan has gifted the September Anthology (Scars) with two new stories! Both have about 4k words, with Fang and Claw falling in the werewolf/supernatural genre and crossing over into the crime drama genre and Body and Soul a more modern drama. Have you checked them out yet? While you’re at it, take a look at the other anthology offerings. To Comicfan: Where do you get your inspiration for the prompts you come up with? Do you ever have a response in mind when you come up with them? Prompts come from a number of places. There are ideas for stories that I don't have time to write, conversations overheard, times spent people watching, and sometimes suggestions made to me by other members, like the bacon prompt by AJ. People have requested picture prompts, first line, and lists of words which is why they appear so often. Mainly I try to create something that will give people an idea they can make their own. I love seeing what people do with the ideas. Some create great little gems to read and others have turned them into multi chaptered tales. That is the great thing about the prompts, they are as unique as the author who takes up the challenge. Also joining GA around the same time as Comicfan and myself is recently-promoted K.C. As of April 2014, K.C. has joined the ranks of our Signature Authors. Congrats, K.C.! You may be asking yourself “Why him?” and I’d tell you, but it’s best you find out for yourself by reading one of the tons of stories he’s posted. Many of you have already sampled Pour Me Another and Great Balls of Fire, two winners from 2013’s Reader’s Choice Awards, but he has actually written some stories not for the anthologies. I think I still like best Chasing the Shadows, written way back when in 2011, but there’s also A Grim Fairy Tale, a short story about my favorite holiday: Halloween! To K.C.: What was it like to get promoted from Promising Author to Signature Author? I'm always amazed that people actually read my stories! LOL Winning awards or getting promotions for something that I do because I love it, is incredible. I remember looking at the Hosted/Signature Authors & Promising Authors with stars in my eyes when I first joined GA. I aspired to reach that point and now to be rubbing elbows among them is unbelievable. My writing has improved as I've learned so much over the years with help from many GA members with beta readers, editing, and readers encouragement that it has pushed me to keep trying harder with every new project I take on. Reaching this point doesn't mean I get to slack off and enjoy, now the real work begins 'cause people are watching and will know if I screw it up! Today we finish up with author reddirtwriter. He’s a bit of a food connoisseur and you can check out some of his favorite new recipes by venturing over to the blog he started about a year ago in May of 2013. (You can also find out his super-secret name!) reddirtwriter has led an eclectic life, migrating from the southwest to the Midwest (crazy man to stay there, lol) and having held quite a few jobs has accumulated some serious story fodder. In the short time he’s been churning out good stories, reddirtwriter has also become published through not one but three different publishers and has also self-published. Find out where on his blog. I think he’s most well-known on GA from his story Wrangler Butts, a story that was no doubt influenced by the time he spent as a ranch hand. I like it because, well, come on, cowboys! There’s nothing quite like a good butt in a tight-fitting pair of jeans, and these guys have attitude to match. To reddirtwriter: What was your first story and what inspired you to write it? My first story was Wrangler Butts. It's a western romance between two graduate students in an Agricultural college. Why did I write it? I grew up in a pretty rural setting and like the whole ranch and cowboy thing. Unfortunately, most of the stories in those settings had the characters sounding and acting like morons. I didn't like their versions of the people I'd known, so Wrangler Butts was born. It now has two sequals and a fourth in the works. 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! Coming next time: Stay tuned for the Ask an Author #22, an ultra-special installment with 2 questions each for 4 different authors: comicality, Nephylim, Rob Colton, and Sasha Distan. Can you believe I’ve been compiling these for almost two years now? Want to ask your favorite author a question? Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark
  22. Our featured story for the September Signature Background is "9.11" by Mark Arbour. As I'm sure many can imagine, writing about the events of September 11, 2001 couldn't have been easy. Not only do we get to learn a little about Mark Arbour in today's interview by Cia, but we also get to hear from him on what it was like to actually write about the events of 9.11. Interview: Mark Arbour on " 9.11" Personal: Single people work more. Are you single? I would like to see your empirical evidence to support that statement, which is my way of saying that’s bullshit: single people do not work more. And no, I’m not single. Chocolate or Vanilla? I like chocolate, but really light chocolate. There’s an ice cream shop near my house that makes awesome chocolate shakes: I have them use about a third the chocolate syrup they normally use. What brought you to the site? Dom Luka. I fell in love with his writing, and when he made the migration to GA, I went with him. I came over at about the same time as Sharon and Vic. I miss Vic. Writing in General: Do your characters try to make like bunnies and create ever more convoluted plots for you? Or do you have to coax them out of your characters? My characters write the stories for me. It’s like I put them in a place, give them a premise, and then turn them loose. They do the rest. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? I can’t answer that question by naming one person, because this whole writing thing has been an evolution. The writer who originally inspired me was John Walsh, who wrote "Fraternity Memoirs". I loved his story, and how vivid his characters were. The author who encouraged me the most (and still does) is Adam Phillips. I love his mind. Then there’s Dom Luka: his writing is not only awesome, it’s also a challenge, to see if I can even get close to building stories like he does. Name one entity that you feel most supported you in your writing endeavors. That’s easy: my team. If they quit, I’d probably stop writing. When did you first consider yourself a writer? When I first published "Chronicles of an Academic Predator" here on GA, it started to get some real traction with lots of ‘views,’ and that made me think I could actually do this, that I could write. But I didn’t really think of myself as an author until I got promoted to Promising status. After that, I felt like I was part of the GA writer’s guild (there isn’t one, but there should be). Story Specific: Tackling the 9-11 attacks is a pretty big challenge. How did you approach it? After I finished "Millennium", which ended at the beginning of 2000, I could just feel this event looming. To be honest, I took awhile (2 stories) before I got there, and I was probably avoiding it. But it was such a pivotal point in our history, that I knew I had to deal with it, and I was determined to try to do it justice. How did you do that? Two things: research and story structure. I read three books on 9-11, including one on the architecture of the twin towers, in addition to countless web pages. I found that Wikipedia was a very reliable source, but I could only come to that conclusion after looking at a bunch of other stuff too. The other part was how I set up the story. The first part shows the characters blithely going along, doing what they do, mostly getting into petty arguments with each other, or screwing up their relationships. The attacks are next, and there really isn’t a character that isn’t devastated by them. The latter part shows them dealing with the aftermath, and the grief. I drew on my own experiences, where those attacks changed things for me, and changed how I looked at things. The little bullshit just didn’t matter as much after watching those towers collapse. Writing a story like this must be emotionally draining. Is this the toughest one you’ve written? It’s very draining. There were times when I’d write a chapter and find myself wiping tears out of my eyes as I did. As for the toughest story, I think it’s a toss-up between this one and "1968". "1968" was pretty dark, and while this story certainly isn’t a happy tale, it has some bright points you can hang your psyche on. You’ve written one story since you finished 9.11, and you’re working on another one. What are your future plans for the CAP series? The story after "9.11", "Flux", was largely about the characters recovering from the attacks and trying to move forward with their lives. The current story, "Streak", is focused on two of the characters that are closeted athletes: one is a football player; the other is a figure skater. I think that "Streak" could be considered a continuation of "Flux", but the story after this will be different. I’ve got some ideas, and some new characters to bring into the mix with that one.
  23. I can't believe how quickly this year seems to be going. It's already the beginning of September and since it's also the first Wednesday of the month, that means it's time for our monthly feature, Ask An Author. This great feature is provided to us every month by Dark, to help keep it going, don't forget to PM Dark your questions for your favorite authors! Ask an Author #20 Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors! In AtA #19, we had questions for authors Layla, lilansui, and Thorn WIlde. In AtA #20, we hear from authors Aditus, Celethiel, TetRefine. For their protection, the members who asked these questions shall remain nameless (unless they choose to reveal themselves). Please note that all author replies are copied as is, spelling errors and grammar eccentricities original to the individual. Our first author today is Aditus, who makes this look easy. Many of you know my feelings about vampires, but have you read From the Ashes Springs New Life? You’d think Halloween + vampire = horror, but I found this entry for W_L’s Halloween collection deliciously fun. Aditus is also one of the writers of Gaia Town. For those of you not in the know, Gaia Town is a story written in a round-robin style, with all authors contributing to the plot and characters. If you want to know more, check out the forum here: Gaia Town. Aditus reads everything, so watch out! To Aditus: Since English isn't your first language, do you brainstorm for a story in German or in English? When I get an idea for a story, I see pictures in my mind, in other words, I use one of the most basic languages that exists. If I explore the idea further, brainstorm, I always do that in English. It isn't a conscious decision, I do it involuntarily. It's also the reason why lately I have more problems writing a story in German than in English. For poems, though, I still prefer German. When I start writing, and don't know a word, I paraphrase, looking it up would interrupt my thought process. Later I read everything aloud, change what sounds wrong, look up words or expressions, and hope Lisa and Zombie won't ever resign their job. Up next is artist and Author Celethiel. From Montana, he writes both prose and poetry, and he likes to draw. Talk about a triple threat! Plus, if you’ve ever visited his blog, you’ll see examples of the bracelets he’s made. Celethiel is one of our more prolific poets, all organized by theme. I think my favorite collection is The Elementals. Maybe I like them because they’re “dark.” Then again, there’s just something so stirring about them and I love the build-up toward a climax. If you like vampires and the teen genre, you’ll definitely want to check out A Crimson Frost. Maybe if enough of us poke him, Celethiel will finish it. Oh! And random tidbit: Celethiel shares a birthday with my sister. To Celethiel: Have your stories been (or do your stories get) influenced by stories you've read? My stories have been influenced by lots of things, books I've read, movies I've watched, my life, my dreams, history it's self. You can see a lot of the influences of movies like the 1963 movie the Raven, and Wizards of the Lost Kingdom (cheesy movie, you don't want to watch it), both of which i watched as a child. You may also see some influence of Tolkien and David Eddings in it as well. Although most of these are in the aesthetics and technic of what I writing, rather than plot. Possibly though some of the greatest influence on my writing, at least consciously, came from James V. Smith, who actually wrote a book on the subject. On my poetry... I'd tell you i get my inspiration from emotions, politics, war, while i got idea of poetic quatranes from the Mayans. It was an attempt on my part to create my own poetic style, which may have been more or less successful. So as you can see there are a lot of things that really go into the things I write. Last but not least, is Author TetRefine. Although he’s only been with GA since 2009, TetRefine’s one of those guys that you wonder how you lived without. 2014 is going to be an exciting and challenging year for Tet as he finishes college and decides what his next steps are going to be. He’s already got one thing many of us are still looking for: a loving, supportive partner of several years. Plus, we’ve finally convinced him to write for us! Go take a look at The Gauntlet, a story about a college lacrosse player. Like Tet, main character Mark has a lot to come to grips with in his life. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a happy ending. To TetRefine: What do you like the most about your writing process? Which part you find it most challenging? The part I like most about my own personal writing process is exploring how gay men reconcile their masculinity with their homosexuality. One of the things that bothers me in gay fiction is how authors often portray a "straight-acting" closeted character's coming out as neat and orderly. He meets a out-and-proud boy, they stay secret for a while, and eventually the "straight-acting" guy comes out and its happily ever after. I just don't think that it's that simple or easy in real life. I think the struggles that guys like that go through can be harsh and painful, and don't always have a happy ending. I like exploring what I see as a more realistic view of people like that when I create each chapter. 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! Coming next time: Comicfan, K.C., and Reddirtwriter. Want to ask your favorite author a question? Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark
  24. Our featured story this month for the August Signature Background is "The Game" by Nephylim. If you haven't already downloaded your background, the month is only half over and you still have plenty of time! We started out Signature Week with a great review that Jo Ann did, and now it's time to hear from the author herself. Hopefully you enjoy this interview that Cia did with Nephylim. Interview: Nephylim on " The Game" Do you eat your fruits and vegetables? Absolutely!!! I LOVE fruits and vegetables. There’s not much from the fruit and veg shelf I won’t eat. For many years I was vegetarian, and I still only occasionally eat meat, so fruit and veg are my forte. My favourite fruit is watermelon, and my favourite veg are carrots and swedes mashed. Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point? Totally don’t see the point. Chocolate or Vanilla? In everything but sex it’s vanilla all the way. I LOVE the taste and smell of vanilla and I have vanilla candles burning right now. Do your characters try to make like bunnies and create ever more convoluted plots for you? Or do you have to coax them out of your characters? I never have to tease storylines out of my characters. They throw them at me from every direction constantly. Even when I’m not writing their story. Name one entity you feel supported you in your writing endeavors outside of family members. Gay Authors. I came to the site by absolute chance years ago when I was very tentatively beginning to explore the possibility of sharing my stories with others. I was scared stiff and even more scared when I put my first posts on the forum. Somehow, it was like touching a lighted paper to a firework and my world literally exploded. Suddenly people were reading my stories and commenting. They were taking to my characters like the real people they are in my head, and not only that they were talking to me, sharing all kinds of things. I’m not the most…er…vanilla person. I have more kinks than brain cells, but I was absolutely accepted for who and what I am and that gave me more confidence than anything else in my life – confidence to write, to share my writing and to be myself. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Not in the writing process itself. Writing has always been my therapy, my stress release, my salvation. Recently, I’ve been struggling a lot. I’ve moved house and it’s taken a lot out of me and for the first time in my life I’m finding it hard to write. It’s not like writers block because I have plenty to say. It’s purely the energy levels. I’m really struggling to write this interview. I just want to close down the computer and sleep. Maybe that’s what I should do until I catch up with my energy. I’m just a very driven person and find it hard to rest when there are things to do. Do you have any writing rituals? None at all. I sit down wherever I am and write. If I’m not at my laptop I write longhand and type it in later. I write with whatever pen comes first to my hand on the tatty reporter’s notebook I have in my bag all the time. How many books/stories have you written? Which is your favorite? Dozens. I have about 40 on GA and six or seven published books/anthologies. I’ve also written a twelve book series with Steph Danielson which is in the process of being posted on GA. I find it really hard to choose my favourite story, but I can say that by far and away my favourite character is Silver. Silver appears in the Enigma books. There are five books altogether of which two are available on GA. They have been taken out of publication for a short while to be properly edited and overhauled. When they come back they will bring book III with them. Silver is amazing and I’m totally in love with him. Did the characters or the plot for The Game come to you first? The characters always come first. Daniel started telling me his story in the bathroom. The face in the mirror was mine at the time – yeah, I’ve had a colourful past as far as my hair at least is concerned. It took me a while before I realized what was going on. I had no idea it was all part of a game until Daniel suddenly informed me he was actually someone else altogether. If The Game was made into a movie, who do you picture playing the main character’s part? Robert Sheehan What was your favorite part of The Game? The end. I had absolutely no idea what was coming. I was as much in the dark as everyone else playing The Game. Not even Daniel knew what he had to do until it happened. It was a real shock. I actually cried my eyes out for a while. Can you share a little of your current work with us? My next release will be ‘Project X’ with Wayward Ink. This story actually made its debut on GA in Premium section some years ago. A good friend, Andrew Q Gordon, who now works with Wayward Ink suggested I submit and put in more than a good word for me, for which I am forever grateful. So far, at least, it appears that working with Wayward Ink is going to be an immensely pleasurable experience. I’m having the best time with everyone. The cover of Project X is a real piece of art and I’m so excited about its release at the end of the month. As soon as I have the final cover image I’ll give you all a little peep. What are your future projects? I have my second book with Featherweight Publishing – Memories of Forgotten Love – coming out in the next couple of months. This is a young adult work about a boy called Noah, who wakes after being in a coma for six months with no memory of anything at all from before that moment he woke. Gradually, with the help of the people who tell him they’re his family and friends, especially Luke, who was probably his best friend, Noah gradually comes back to life – until a chance change of doctors accidentally reveals a huge secret – everyone thinks Noah’s injury was no accident, but the result of a failed suicide attempt. Right from the start, the idea of suicide doesn’t sit right with Noah. He admits to having no memory of who he was but he’s damn sure the person he is would never do anything like that and can’t see any reason why things would have been so different then. Luke isn’t being much help because not only does he believe that Noah tried to kill himself, he’s convinced it was Luke’s fault. Gradually, as his friendship with Luke falls apart for no reason Noah can see, and his confusion about just about everything in his life deepens, Noah’s memories of ‘the accident’ return bringing with them a sickening revelation. Noah didn’t fall. Nor did he jump. Noah was pushed. I also have a story in an anthology Stranded coming out with Wayward Ink in mid October. And finally, my favorite question: What are you wearing (and no fibbing!)? I bet your hoping for leather and chains huh? Unfortunately, I find it difficult to get comfortable to type in those things and I tend to slob when I’m in front of a screen. At the moment (5pm and sat in front of the laptop and TV in my new house, surrounded by purring and grumbling animals) I’m wearing my pyjamas. Black cotton trousers and a pink and grey striped sleeveless t-shirt. I have no makeup, my hair’s a mess and I have chipped black nail varnish on my nails. All in all, not a pretty picture.
  25. The first Wednesday of the month, you know what that means! It's time for a visit from Dark with the ever popular, Ask an Author! If you like this monthly feature, don't forget to send your questions to Dark so that we can keep this feature going. Enjoy! Ask an Author #19 Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors! In AtA #18, we had questions for authors AQG, Ashi, and Sasha Distan. In AtA #19, we hear from authors Layla, lilansui, and Thorn Wilde. For their protection, the members who asked these questions shall remain nameless (unless they choose to reveal themselves). Please note that all author replies are copied as is, spelling errors and grammar eccentricities original to the individual. Midwesterner Layla starts us off today. Since the last time she was featured in this series, Layla has taken her place as a Promising Author and I know I’m not the only one waiting for the day she joins the ranks of our Signature Authors. An exciting thing to happen in 2014 is the beginning of Guitars2, the second half of the very popular Guitars and Crossdressers. That particular story has helped Layla amass over 2000 likes! But you should definitely check out some of her others, like her poem “Until the End” and short story Cold Confusion. To Layla: What is your favourite work you've written, the one you are most proud about and why do you think it's your best writing? That's really a hard question, actually, because i feel like with every story my writing gets stronger, my characters become more evolved and I feel more comfortable delving into areas and topics that I maybe shied away from or skimmed over previously. I think my best writing, to date has been in Broken Prince and Mismatched eyes, despite the fact that it is the most difficult of my stories for me to write. Where some of my other pieces are more straight forward, in that one there are multi-layers and plot twists and characters who are never really as they seem and to me that's kept things exciting. I'm proud of the fact that in continuing to work on that story I took myself out of my comfort zone of gritty urban or supernatural drama and went into something that's somewhere between fantasy and history. I'm also very proud of the way the main characters have grown and the depth of the relationship that is developing between them. Today’s next author is Author lilansui, author of Electric Blue and Catnip, nominated in the 2013 Reader’s Choice Awards Best of GA Stories category. The newest story in her arsenal is A Rescued Life, which has attracted 33 followers in the first week since its posting. Anyone who has read the first chapters will see why! lilansui is one of our international members, living and working in Diani Beach, East Africa, where she’s had LOTS of fun and interesting adventures, like the wedding fiasco in March. Closer to home, lilansui’s blog has been nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award. Who knew 2014 was going to be such a momentous year? Here’s to you, lilansui! To lilansui: What does your family think of you writing m/m stories? Had you asked me this question in 2012, I'd have said no way would they be okay with it. But things have changed lately. I'm happy to say my closest family is supportive, my mother especially since she always knows what each of us is doing with ourselves. She's like a ninja when she wants to find out what we're hiding from her, lol. She found a notebook of mine filled with my first m/m story a couple months ago. She was visiting my house and as always checking out my bedroom. My mother is insane that way. She asked, "Sui, what's this?" I'm like in shock going like, "Uhmm...Mum!" Lol. We had a long talk after that and in the end she was okay with it especially because of my youngest brother. I have four brothers: three older and one younger than me. A few years back, my younger brother had a really hard time coming out to the family. I can't describe just how hard this was for him. It's always tough especially in a family like ours where my mother pushes us a lot to conform with so many customary rules. Marriage at a certain age, live a certain way...that kind of thing. For a moment, I thought the family might fall apart, but we didn't, we stood strong, which I'm happy for now. In a way, my stories are my own way of supporting him. My older brothers don't read the stories, but they don't mind. Although I do get teased a lot for writing them, which makes me think that they read them anyway...lol. And my younger brother thinks I write them for fun and because an m/m perspective fascinates me. I'm just glad they know now and are okay with it. Brand-new Promising Author (as of April 2014) Thorn Wilde is our last author today. A Whedonopolite like myself, Thorn is a fan of fantasy and sci-fi and admits to an addiction with Tumblr. You can also find quite a few delicious recipes posted in his blog. I’ve made his garlic butter and it’s definitely easy and delicious – come on, if I can make it here in the nowheres of Alaska, so can you! I haven’t made it yet, but I’ve saved the recipe for salmon soup … While making your next meal, why don’t you snack on some of Thorn’s posted work? His series Nemesis is currently on book 2, though you can read more of the characters in the collection Hubris. My personal favorite so far is Half Jack, Thorn’s take on 2013’s Recipe for Disaster Anthology, but there’s plenty more, including a Buffy/Angel fan-fic, to suit many different kinds of readers. To Thorn Wilde: Do you find that when writing characters with interesting or extreme vocal habits (such as Marcus), that you start to reflect those habits in your own daily speech? I think it's rather the opposite... That is to say that Marcus reflects me on a really bad day, if somewhat amplified. And there's generally less aggression behind it when I use colourful language. Though I won't deny that I've sometimes written a particularly good insult and then filed it away in the back of my mind for an appropriate occasion. 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! Coming next time: Aditus, Celethiel, and TetRefine. Want to ask your favorite author a question? Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark
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