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  1. I hope everyone likes contagious things, because I got a smile on my face. While I'm comfortable with my "resting retail" face, I figured I could put on a genuine one for today's sake. This month's edition of Ask An Author features one of GA's favorite authors, and is easily one of the kindest people on the site. Honestly, I've never seen the guy in any sort of negative mood. If I'm being even more honest, I firmly believe he's an actual horse that has learned to write stories on a comically large keyboard. Coming from GA's Signature Author pool, we have some questions for @Headstall! • • • • • Headstall 38 Stories / 1,093,410 Words Your stories cover many genres. How difficult is it to write in a new genre, and what problems do you face as the author? It's true I have tried a number of genres, but writing is writing, and there are challenges to any new work. I don't see those as problems, though, just parts to examine, play with, and work through. Still, tackling a new genre does instill a certain amount of fear in me. My shifter story, "Morningstar: The Malaise", for example, terrified me at the start. I felt truly out of my element, but my muse said otherwise. I'd never written a mystery before, never mind a shifter story, and this one was intricate. Hence, I had a real fear of failure, and that I would make a mistake and giver something away before the right time. It truly was a weaving process, right from the first chapter. In retrospect, I can say I thrived on the challenge, immersing myself totally in this new world I created. It gave me a lot of confidence, and I believe it remains my crowning achievement as a writer. You create authentic dialogue, settings and behaviors true to the time and place. Can you describe how you do this difficult task? Thank you for thinking so. I guess the simple answer is research. I research everything... even names. It is time consuming, but happens to be something I can enjoy. I go down some rabbit holes, but that can often give me ideas for future stories. I think the most research I have ever done was on the "Sidewinder" series. It was definitely a challenge to find a dialect and rhythm I was happy with, but I'm satisfied with what I came up with. In fact, I think in that dialect sometimes. I give a lot of thought to settings. We all like to dream, and reading is a time we can do that, so I like to put readers into a place they can see themselves, but somewhere they might never have been before. How could anyone not like the magic of Larkspur and Red Apple Farm in "Sidewinder", or the charm and character of Cloud Nine Manor in "Cards on the Table"... or the hidden valley Wiley and Cooper find themselves in "Finding Refuge"? Or Grandma's crafted house on the river in "Gone Fishing"? Or what about the barn where Caleb and Dalton meet again in "Big Boy Pants", or Eagle's Nest bluff in "Morningstar: The Malaise"... or Kellar's rescued cabin? My point is, these places, only some of many, are like characters in their own right, enriching our escapes as we turn the pages. The stories would be far less without them. As far as behaviors, it is a good question. My pet peeve as a reader is when characters do one-eighties, and become something different from what I invested myself in. I mean, they can change, certainly, but the author has to do a thorough job of making us understand why... otherwise, I am out. That doesn't mean I am not a patient reader, because I am. For my own writing, I make sure what my characters do make sense, even if we don't understand their actions right away. There is a fine line there. In one of my stories, "Endings", there is a character we don't really understand, but he is that way from the beginning. There is a slow reveal until we can finally see why he is who he is, and that was a fine line I had to get exactly right. Did I? I believe so, because of how the many readers responded. You took some time off from writing recently. What prompted you to start writing again? Here I am asking about the influence of reader comments, reviews, friends, and challenges such as the anthology this year. I have had some roadblocks in the past few years that affected my production, that is true. It was a huge deal when I tore three ligaments/tendons in my shoulder. I had a year wait for surgery, and then a hard year of rehab. It meant I had to type with one hand that whole time, and even capitalizing was almost impossible. But, I got through it. Then came the pandemic, and like so many, I found myself rudderless, and lost any desire to write. What prompted me out of that? I definitely have to thank "Sidewinder" for it. After many attempts to finish up a half written story to no avail, "Sidewinder" came out of the blue (no pun intended... readers will understand ) and took hold. It ignited a passion in me, I think because I have always loved westerns and had wanted to write a multi chapter one ever since writing "Finding Refuge". It coalesced in my mind rather quickly, and then the research began. It was fun to write again, and thus I continued on with "Larkspur: A Sidewinder Tale", a sequel that was asked for. But, the pandemic was far-reaching, and I hit my most recent slump. And it is true the latest anthology got me fired up again, and I produced three works for it. Reader comments and reviews can inspire me for sure, but the fact is, and one I have come to accept, is that writing can be very hard work and I cannot force it. I have to be patient where my muse is concerned. Definitely, support from my friends really helps as well, but I have to wait for that perfect storm to arrive. In your own opinion which of your characters is your favorite? Most vile? Most lovable? Most humorous? Briefly describe how you develop characters, please. Most favorite character? Oh, boy. That is a hard question because my characters are my children. I'll give it a try. My first characters were Michael and Kendall of "Cards on the Table", so I will say they rank up there, but how can I ignore Kellar and Tobyn from "Morningstar: The Malaise"? And Boone and Coy from "Sidewinder"? Oh, and Jared from "Treading Water"? That guy broke my heart. And then there is Wyatt Burnham who bent but never broke... and Mitch Willard and Will Merrick... and Chase and Hank... and Dawson. See what you've done to me? This part of the question isn't just hard... it is impossible... because I have created so many different characters who still live in my head and heart. Jeremy from "Cards on the Table" just came to mind, as did Maurice and David from "The Watcher" series. Yeah, I can't choose. Most vile is easier. I would have to say Candy from "Cards on the Table". Oh wait. Carly from "Treading water" might be worse, and I think there are readers who would say Kevin from "Endings" or Ian from "Song and Dance", but I personally don't think they were vile no matter how unpopular they were... just needy and foolish. That brings to mind Perry's appearance at the "Amarok Hotel" in "Endings". He was more of a douche, though. Wait again. I think I've got it! The sidewinder himself, Will Diamond, was the most vile. Oh, but then there was the Reznicks from "Morningstar"... hard to top how evil those two were. And Lucas from "Boundaries: An Old West Tale" probably deserves a mention. I give up. Most humorous? I've got to get it together, so I will say Mrs. B from "Cards on the Table", although Big Mike from the same story had some wonderful zingers, and Michael and Kendall's banter would keep me chuckling for days after writing it. Most lovable? Again you make it hard, but I am going to go off the board for this one. I could say Mrs. B. because I have a soft spot for characters who make me think of my mom, but I am going to say old man Corker from "Sidewinder". There was something about that guy... what horrors he has endured, and yet he has this irrepressible spirit and joy that leapt off the pages for me. Finding him was like discovering gold. Briefly describe how I develop characters? I had to laugh at the 'Briefly'. Briefly speaking is not my forte. I guess the simplest way to say it is they develop themselves. They come into my brain, and I get to know them. I play scenarios with them over and over in my mind before they make it to the page, and that helps me figure them out. Of course there are exceptions who appear as I write and I just go with it. Honestly, I don't know where these characters come from. I've always had this incredible imagination, though, so maybe that is where they live, and they come out to meet me when I need them. I will say one more thing. Characters are the easiest part of writing for me... they become real rather quickly, and I consider that a blessing. Thanks for the thought provoking questions. I tried my best to answer them all, but you made it hard, and I appreciate that. Writing has taught me I like a challenge. Cheers! Gary.... • • • • • I loved reading "Sidewinder" and "Morningstar." They're in my favorites folder when I need a pick-me-up. Thank you for answering these questions, Gary! Well, that'll do it for this month. As for March, I'm afraid I'll have to go searching under some rocks. The AAA piggy bank is dry once again! Don't forget to submit 3 questions to me via private message. Let's get specific, folks. I'm challenging you to focus on a singular story. I know y'all can do it. You were probably in the middle of reading a GA story before you stopped to read this. Ask questions that forces the author to think. Get them to open up about the nitty-gritty details that made their work shine! Pick these authors' brains, people. Toodles!
  2. Many thanks for @wildone for covering for me last month. I didn't want anyone to think I had a big head to write the article where I answer Ask An Author questions. Speaking of big heads... Oh dear. Gay Authors community, I can confidently say none of you are ready for this month's edition of AAA. I know I've said that in a previous article, but this time, the seams might actually rip with this one. This is, without a doubt, the most difficult edition of Ask An Author 3.0 I have ever written. Everyone tighten your shoelaces, buckle your seat belts, and get your giggle-boxes ready. If you are in a public space with people passing by, prepare to have everyone look at you as if you're a lunatic. Once again, the AAA rule book has been chucked out the window. It's not a series. It's not an admin or moderator. Nope... I had to interview two troublemakers authors at the same time. But not just any two authors. For some strange reason, an anonymous member of our community tasked me with moderating babysitting interviewing two ladies with the power to generate comment counts on an astronomical scale. Together, with their powers of coconut and mango habanero whiskey, they're a reckoning force. If you haven't already guessed who I'm referring to, I had the pleasure of chatting with @kbois and @Mrsgnomie. *** Before I get to the good stuff, a few quotes from them before the interview began: kbois (after Aaron sent the questions): So help me if this is @weinerdog... Mrsgnomie: Love this! kbois: Only 3 of us on the thread. No need to suck up. astone2292: Just a fair warning, I might use anything you say here. Mrsgnomie: I’m gonna come out smelling like a rose 🌹 astone2292: I think it might be best for me to act as a moderator, asking one question at a time. Let's focus on the first question. Mrsgnomie: I can’t take you seriously with your profile picture. Here are the questions for our authors: What do you feel are the important contributions of the comments to the stories and the readers? Mrsgnomie: Feeling connected to the story is one of the best parts of reading a book. Here on GA, not only do you get to feel connected to the story, but you get to connect to the author and the community. It makes it a 3D experience! It fleshes out thoughts and feelings. I’ve seen readers come into the comments feeling one way but by the time they finish, they have more insight and new thoughts! As an author, being engaged with the readers heightens the experience of sharing. The comments have time and again given me inspiration and helped improve my writing. Life without the comments is black and white. I want to live in color. kbois: Puce? Comments are an absolute necessity when building a relationship with your readers. Not only do readers provide some amazing insights, but they often have a unique way of looking at something in a way I never considered when writing the story. I enjoy seeing things from a different perspective. It helps me to grow as a writer. The banter and teasing is icing on the cake. The GIFs... well, they speak for themselves. Gnomie wants to live her life with color. I want to live mine with sass and snark. Mrsgnomie: Living life in color is living life with sass and snark. Gah! You two are playfully combative and competitive in comments. Do your readers pick up on it and expand that playfulness to you and other readers? What are the positive results of these playful comments? kbois: Playfully combative? Ummmm. Okay? Fine. Gnomie and I speak the same language. Being fluent in sarcasm is an advantage that allows us both to connect to our readers on a different level. To me, being able to joke around with someone like we do, it shows that we can have fun and bring about some laughs along the way. It helps keep the readers engaged and involved in the story. Mrsgnomie: Kbois and myself are not the only two people who enjoy having a good time, especially at the other's expense. The banter between us is authentic, and that authenticity has created a culture within our stories and our author realm that's opened the door for readers to join in. I can't speak for GA, but I think the desire behind sites like these is that there is a real community connection, and an authentic community is more than 'likes' and 'story compliments'. It's realism. As real as one can get on the internet. Kbois and I have forged a pretty dang good friendship, and everyone is welcome to have a drink and a seat in our living room. Come one, come all. kbois: Awwww.... thanks Boo! I'll bring the whiskey. Mrsgnomie: Are there any negative consequences? How do you handle/respond to comments that are too close for comfort? Here I am referring to readers who suggest possible future events and actions in the story. Mrsgnomie: Off the top of my head, I don't think there have been any negative consequences. It doesn't matter what you do, there will always be people who don't like what you're offering. As an author, my stories aren't for everyone. Our community isn't for everyone. I don't think our banter or the culture we've cultivated has created anything negative that we wouldn't have gotten regardless. Oh, you want to bring up those readers? The ones that guess the deets too early? How dare they?! Many messages have gone back and forth between Kbois and I when a reader gets a little too smart. I usually ignore the comments or dangle a carrot in a different direction. Kbois gets really worked up about it. She's even edited chapters to try to throw readers off. Psycho. kbois: Psycho? Really? Learned from you. Honestly, negative comments are few and far between. Gnomie gets worked up about those. Overanalyzes every decision she's ever made. Me? Whatever. This is one instance where we totally agree. You can't please everyone. There are other authors that I absolutely love their stories and there's more than a few that just aren't my cup of tea. Everyone's tastes are different and that's part of what makes GA such a great platform. Does it bother me when readers hit the nail on the head? Nah. Have I edited a story because of it? Yeah, but not drastically. Am I going to blindside them with something else? No doubt about it. Do I enjoy going off about it in a chat between us? Of course. We've spent hours discussing the ins and outs of our stories and characters. For as much time as they're in our heads, it's so important to get another opinion especially if one of us is stuck on something. I lost count of how many times one of us started a chat with got a minute to bounce? How personally important to you are the comments, recommends and review to you as a writer? Here I am not referring to increasing readers, but your personal feelings about your writing. kbois: Brutal honesty? I'm wicked insecure about my writing. I know I'll never be the next Stephen King or Nora Roberts and I don't want to be. When readers comment on a story, it's uplifting. It's an affirmation. It's somebody saying "hey, you did good." It makes me want to continue writing, even though doubts always hover over me. The occasional negative feedback I view as a learning opportunity. I think there has only been a couple of occasions where the comments indicated a reader didn't like the story and wasn't continuing. I've had readers comment about flaws in my writing. I've messaged them asking for advice on how to improve. How else am I going to learn? I went through my fair share of bullying as a kid. Fourth grade was hell. My brothers often teased me, and it had a negative impact. Self-confidence is something I struggle with even now. Writing allows me to create new worlds. Worlds that allow me to get lost in them for a while. It's a privilege to be able to share them. I look forward to the comments on every chapter I post. Granted, Shadow Effect became Comment Central. I never expected such an overwhelming response. Not only do readers care about the story, they genuinely care about me as a person. I spent two weeks dealing with the aftermath of hurricane Ian and everyone was concerned and understanding. So yeah, comments, reactions, recommendations and reviews are very important in giving me a boost in confidence and the desire to continue writing. Gnomie loves the competitiveness. 🤣🤣 Mrsgnomie: I wouldn't be where I am if it wasn't for all those things. I don't consider myself a writer. I never enjoyed it growing up. Technically speaking, I'm not any good at it. I wrote my first story because it's what I wanted to read at the time but couldn't find it, so I wrote it. It's the feedback and comments that encouraged me to write a second story. It was the promotion to Signature Author that pushed me to be a better author. It's the amazing community, comments, DM's, recommendations, comments, etc that keep me wanting to write. I wish I could say that I write for the love of it, which I do love it now, but it's not some therapeutic thing I do for myself. I do it because it's well received and people seem to genuinely want more. If no one wanted to read my stories, I wouldn't put forth the effort. *** If YOU have questions about a member of our community and/or their stories, send me a PM! We're looking for articles to promote wonderful works on the site. I got one more in the piggy bank before I'm left with drastic options... Until next month!
  3. Well, well, well... This silly, overused introduction that sparks an uneasy feeling into weak hearts. Maybe I should add a slow-clap. Ehh, it's also overplayed. Anyway, I must say I'm proud of y'all. My tease of dropping Ask An Author into the fiery pits of Mount Doom encouraged some of you to ask questions. What I did not expect was the surge of comments from last month's altered edition. Some of you even messaged me, asking for more of the comment section-driven pandemonium. Further discussion with the blog-squad is needed, but for now, we have questions! @Tim Hobson joined us back in March 2022, and he's comin' in hot with a trilogy to start his Gay Authors adventure. • • • • • Tales Along the Way Tim Hobson 3 Stories / 140,622 Words / Rating: Mature / Status: All Complete Tales Along the Way is a series of three novellas loosely inspired by Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. The Knight's Tale tells of Lord Henry Sandringham, a British nobleman who is a secret agent for MI6. He is sent to Tehran to rescue the son of the Foreign Minister, who faces a death penalty for being gay. The Priest's Tale follows the struggle of Father Peter Ruxton, a Catholic priest who can no longer toe the party line about gay men being loved by God but forbidden to have intimacy in their lives. The Squire’s Tale introduces us to Keiran Bronson, an 18-year old gay soccer star who goes on a graduation trip to Peru and is kidnapped. I love the concept of three stories being told by each of three passengers who have just met on a long flight. How did you come up with the concept? First, I have to confess that the trilogy was born at a time when I was trying very hard to find a publisher or to self-publish. I had started writing about Lord Henry, and I liked the story that was emerging, but I was finding it impossible to come up with enough material to make it a novel (i.e., in the neighborhood of 100K words). I concluded that the most I could get out of the story was a novella (25-50K words), and I pondered how I could make it “book-length.” I thought of a writing a collection linked together by some common theme, and the vehicle of something along the lines of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales immediately came to mind. Instead of pilgrims on their way to the shrine of St Thomas à Becket, I needed a contemporary and “worldly” reason for travelers to be together for a longer period of time. And that reminded me of the longest flight I have ever been on—from Australia to NYC. I titled the first story in the trilogy, The Knight’s Tale, and that led me to come up with the other two. Which tale was the hardest to write and why? Which was the easiest? As I said in my apologia at the beginning of The Priest’s Tale, I have never been very successful at writing romance. I took online courses, joined a couple of writing groups, and struggled. I hesitated to include Peter’s story at all, but writing it forced me to work hard to come up with a passable romance. I agree it is the weakest of the three stories, but I’m not sorry I tried my hand at the genre. I don’t think I’ll ever do it again—I accept that it’s not my forté. The Knight’s Tale was the first story I ever felt was good enough to publish (some of its predecessors were pretty awful). The characters intrigued me, the sexy parts were fun to write, and the adventure in a foreign land (which took a lot of meticulous research to get the details right) were all a real joy, so up to that point I would have said it was easy to write. Then I had to edit the damn thing, and I learned that the hard work only begins when the draft is solid, and you think it’s “almost ready”—not! I spent a lot of my career writing and editing technical articles, and I have to say editing fiction is ten times the work! So, I give the prize to The Squire’s Tale. It was a genre I know and love to read, and I went in aware that the editing would be work, but knowing that fact in advance made it seem easier when the time came. And, perhaps, the editing became easier because I self-edited as I wrote, trying not to make the same mistakes I had made constantly in the first two stories (see the next answer for the gory details). What is the area of writing that you feel you have grown/improved the most? I cannot fail to mention the outstanding support of my beta reader / editor @kbois. She came on with Peter’s story, and really set me on the right path. I had trouble with showing versus telling, and her clear examples helped me a lot (I am slightly dyslexic and have to read something dozens of times before I fully understand it—if ever—but a picture or sample breaks through and I get it). Like many writers, my story plays like a movie in my mind, and in a film it’s always clear who’s speaking and when someone else speaks, but words on paper/screen don’t work like that—all of which is to say I had to learn to establish and maintain clear POVs, again with @kbois' help. Finally, I took an online course in writing erotica, and some “rules” were ingrained in me regarding sentence and paragraph length. I know it frustrated @kbois, as evidenced by her insistence that I combine short sentences, which my course instructor had claimed helped accelerate the pace and build excitement. I did so grudgingly at first but now can see the wisdom in her words. Again, this is now something that I consciously self-edit as I write those damn seven-word sentences! What's next? I have to say how thrilled I am to have found GA and been able to write for this audience. I never expected to make money publishing, but I thought it was the only outlet available to me as a writer. Writing for GA, and especially interacting with readers, is pure delight. I’m still new to this, and I plan to stretch my boundaries and go into areas and genres where I’ve never tried to write. By this I mean that I might go silent for a time, while I’m learning what I can and cannot do well (and I don’t intend to post anything that I’m not proud of). However, two new stories are bubbling in my creative cauldron: one is a second adventure for Lord Henry and his friends, and the other is a gritty, noir crime drama set in San Jose, CA, where the main character (anti-hero?) is a gay police Detective Lieutenant—sort of a gay Columbo with a Joe Friday attitude and the intuition of Adrian Monk. • • • • • Ooooohh! A gritty, gay noir! Sounds like a lovely read with a glass of bourbon and a cigar. I'll be keeping my eyes open for that. Another Ask An Author in the books, and there's another ready to go for next month. As I said up top, some of y'all were interested in the more public, comment-eccentric edition last month. Don't think it's going unnoticed. The blog staff is paying attention, but while we have a queue of questions for articles, we'll be keeping up with the ongoing format. Once the well dries up, I'll be dangling y'all by your toes over the volcano again. Until next month, ta-ta!
  4. Another month has come and gone. Over here in Kentucky, we're actually getting some autumn weather for once. I'm used to going from intense heat to severe cold within a week. No need to immediately break out the heavy coats. However, I am getting used to coming up with innovative ways to freshen up Ask An Author. No questions came in this past month, so we're switching things up. We're going back to interactive. When we didn't have questions last time, our authors and readers asked and answered a chain of questions with each other. It got a bit chaotic, and as much as I revel in it, let's keep it nice and simple. I'm giving y'all five easy questions, and everyone is welcome to answer them. How do you like your eggs? Scrambled? Over-medium? What is your favorite story on Gay Authors, and why? What brought you to GA? If your life was a book, what would be the title? What is your favorite soup? See? Pretty easy to come up with questions. How about we work on getting 10 responses down in this month's AAA comment section? Okay, y'all. In two days, I'll be the resident birthday boy, and I got a short wish list. Aaron wants several sets of three questions. Anyone can ask them, and they can be for any author's story. I'll take anything at this point, people. You don't want to disappoint the birthday boy, now do ya?
  5. OMG, where is Aaron If he lived up here, he might have got hit by a snow plow, but down where he lives that is not very likely. Or is it? Someone told me that he was stocking a shelf when the whole aisle collapsed on him and he was by himself. Then they say he saw all the spilt liquor and couldn't bare the idea of all the good spirits going to waste. So injured on the floor he started slurping up everything he could get. Luckily he was lying at a low point of the store floor so all the split booze flowed to him. Now I guess he has a wee bit of a hangover Actually personally I think he went AWOL. I'm not sure who told him he could take the month off! Oh, it was me Okay, for the truth none of the above is true except getting the month off. So we have a different AAA 3.0 that was sent in this month in where one of our anonymously question suppliers came forward with some questions for none other than @astone2292. Rather than have him appear full of himself (appearances are everything) I decided I would take over the blog, just this once to ask him the questions. 1) What interested you in writing stories about shifters? I write shapeshifter stories as an escape, of sorts. Living with a basic, daily routine (wake-up, work, sleep, repeat), the paranormal genre gives me something life can’t. The ability to transform between human and animal is a concept that would provide one such freedom, even if the animal is odd. A wolf can run in a forest. A mole can dig in the dirt. A bird can sit on power lines and shamelessly defecate on passing strangers. A Golden Retriever can walk around and be called a good boy/girl. Shall I continue? 2) Since you have already hinted about crossover stories, what pros and cons did you consider as you deliberated writing a crossover? The one crossover I performed was not an easy decision. Combining the In the Shadows series and Cernunnos into the same universe had its issues. I had to create a reason for the differences between the shifters and their differing abilities. As time passed, I desperately wanted certain characters to have the opportunity to meet. I can only imagine my readers’ delight if Cyrus ever met Cyn, or if Kaplan met Keiran. The cons… Well, my primary concern was if my In the Shadows readers hadn’t enjoyed Cernunnos (or vice versa). I hate spoilers more than the next person, so potentially causing someone to be exposed to who met who, or who did what unspeakable action was a heavy detractor in the decision. 3) What things do you consider when creating a new universe? By this, I mean considerations between canon and personal ideas about how things work. Going back to my answer to the first question, I want to escape. What could I do to alter life around me to make it more interesting yet believable? I think of a concept, flesh it out, and either stick it in the “to-write” pile or toss it if it’s not beefy enough. Sometimes, I’m met with a stunning image or hypothetical situation through conversation, and my imagination dives into the rabbit hole. Putting a story in consideration, I evaluate whether I have the attention span to commit to the idea, and how passionate I am about the concept. If I know it hasn’t been done before on GA, I’m gunning for it. Two of my projects are going to be unique: Cow-man, being an anthropomophic fantasy/western, and a Pokémon story, a first for GA’s fan-fiction archive. 4) Can you explain how you develop a character from the beginning to the end of a story? Here I’m thinking about the minor character, Sarah, from the In the Shadows series and her arc in Death in the Shadows? Planning, planning… Nah, I can’t say that. I wrote In the Shadows while flying by the seat of my britches. Did I have plans for Sarah back in the first book? Oh, hell no! As much as I’d like to say, “Oh, I just made a bunch of side characters that don’t matter so I can use them when I need to,” but that would be a lie. That’s just the miraculous way it turned out. Being a young and inexperienced writer is both a blessing and a curse. Even now, it’s what I continue to do: write the story, incorporate some minor characters, and when a plot point starts to unfurl, I think whether to give one of the side peeps a spotlight or not. 5) Anything you can add about character development of main characters would also be appreciated. With main characters, I’ve kept them either relatable (Vincent) or true to their nature (Cyn). I find embodying a MC to be the best. Using Cyn as an example, what can, would, or should he do? He’s a deer shapeshifter, and hasn’t been around humanity and their modern ways in his upbrining. I… ate… that… up! Cuisine, transportation, technology. The poor guy sat on a mattress for the first time and thought he was on a cloud. My point is to dive in with a character. Make them stand out and be individuals, but be cautious. It’s easy in the supernatural and paranormal genres to make an all-mighty character without weakness. With Vincent, I did my best. He is a mage with several abilities, even before he became a lycan. What was his weakness? A lack of fighting experience and a morality that prevented him from killing in a ‘kill-or-be killed’ situation. Well that is it for this month! If you didn't enjoy this out of control train about to go off the tracks, don't worry it probably won't happen again. Aaron will be back next month, but only if you continue to send in some great questions like the ones above! Just click on his handle here @astone2292 and then click on the Message button to submit them to him. Easy peasy
  6. Are you ready for the best intro to an Ask An Author article? I certainly am! Honestly, it could be a great title to the series we're featuring this month. "Ask An Author, Charlie Boone!" That's right! We got a set of questions for @Geron Kees's wonderful series, Charlie Boone. Even if you haven't read any of the stories, you've probably seen the titles in the Story Archives. With twenty completed stories, I'm sure it was difficult for our anonymous reader to only ask four questions. Let's get right to it! • • • • • Charlie Boone Geron Kees 20 Stories / 760,120 Words / Rating: Mature When you started the series back in 2016, did you expect to still be writing the series 6 years later? I never had an inkling that there would ever be more than one Charlie Boone tale. The first one was just a stab at a Halloween tale, and the title was an obvious parody of another writer's title. That first tale had no supernatural, fantasy, or science fiction elements to it. The response was better than I expected, and several readers mentioned the possibility of a story for Christmas. So I decided to do another. That first Christmas tale was the one where Max was introduced, and the fantasy element entered the story line. The treatment of the title was repeated, sort of, and has become the standard for the series. Do you find it easy to come up with new adventures, for whichever holiday? I actually don't have trouble thinking up plots for new stories. I'm a lifelong reader, and that sort of develops a melting pot of ideas inside. I never plot out any of these tales first. I start with the germ of an idea for a new story centered on the holiday, and then just go from there. The stories tend to write themselves as I go along. I know some writers create outlines and plot their stories in great detail before they ever sit to write. I tend to wing it, research things as I move along, and wake up in the mornings with new ideas. Seems to work, more or less! Did you envisage Charlie and Kip having such a large group of friends, and is it easy to keep track of them all? Um....no. I never imagined Charlie and his immediate friends getting to know so many others. But new characters popped up as the series progressed, and many somehow managed to find fans that wanted to see more of them. The character list is so large now that I can't include everyone in each story without pulling my hair out. So I try to rotate among them from one story to the next so everyone gets a turn to adventure a little with the guys. And yes, I do have trouble keeping track of each character's specifics now, as all of them have developed and changed over time. I have to keep notes, definitely. Remembering to update them is the hard part! Do you have more adventures planned for Charlie Boone and friends? After spending so much time with Charlie and the gang, they've become friends of mine, too. I really have no desire to let them go, though I have had to make concessions to time. With the holiday theme of each tale, I pretty much have to drop whatever I'm doing as a holiday approaches in order to write a new CB tale. This has seriously interfered with efforts to write other stories, and I had to drop the Valentine's Day-themed Charlie Boone tale as a result. I plan to keep with the series as long as readers read them. But the holiday themes may have to become less a part of the story, so that I can write these in between other tales. But I'll have to see how it goes! I also have plans to add some stories to the series that revolve around some of Charlie's friends, but may not include the regular group of main characters. All the characters in the series have lives that go on when they are not with Charlie, Kip, and the others, and it seems like a fun idea to maybe write a few tales about them as they move through their own days. Stay tuned! • • • • • And there you have it. I hope these questions and answers encourages y'all to go reading. If you like Ask An Author and the insight the authors provide, send me three or so questions for your favorite story. I'll go knock on the author's door with my little notepad and jot down their responses. Don't think I forgot how much fun everyone had when I gave the asking power to the comment section. Let's have some fun. For the fans of the Charlie Boone series, if y'all have any questions of your own, drop 'em in the comments. Just don't go hog-wild; one question per person. We don't want to overload @Geron Kees, do we? Until next month.
  7. Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold on there. That's not the right title, is it? Ask An Author 3.0 #21? Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah! Batman. All jokes aside, there's a good point in my confusion. Is this even legitimate? I need the official AAA rulebook because I'm pretty sure what's about to go down is so off the beaten path. If you haven't already guessed, we don't have questions this month. At least, not for an author. Guess again! It's not an Admin, Author, Promising Author, Signature Author, Classic Author, or even Moderator. Yep! We got ourselves a regular, plain-Jane member in the hot seat today. I gotta say, I'm really excited to have this person featured on Ask An Author. Can we get a round of applause for a familiar face on Gay Authors? Someone roll out the red carpet for @chris191070! • • • • • chris191070 324 Stories Reviewed / 8,315 Comments / Also Known As: Crazy Cat Vamp With over three hundred story reviews, you're one of the most recognizable readers on GA. If you were stuck on an island with only one GA story, which one would it be? It would be difficult to pick just one story as I have read and reviewed some amazing stories on GA. So I would have to go with a story Series and that would be CJ by @Carlos Hazday, because they have a bit of everything in them. Adventures, Sex, History and Good Food. Not really a question, but I'm in charge here. Name three stories on your "I'm planning on reading this at some point" list. 1) Circumnavigation by @C James 2) Still You Want Me by @Mrsgnomie 3) Anything that Appeals by a New Author - I like to help and support New Authors. If you could get a sneak peak at one of the in-progress stories and see the ending, which one would it be? 1) Book 3 of The Hybrid Journey Series by @kbois - I know we're only halfway through Book 2. But right from the 1st chapter of Book 1, I have been gripped by this series with its attention to detail and how questions from Book 1 have seamlessly been answered in Book 2, knowing unanswered questions will be answered in Book 3. 2) The Super Epilogue of The Board Members Series by @Mrsgnomie - We have been left with unanswered questions from Book 2 - Jay's Loelife. Thanks for these questions, they were not particularly easy to answer. As I've read some amazing stories in the 5 years I've been a member of GA. • • • • • Well, wasn't that a breath of fresh air? Thank you @chris191070 for answering these questions. Sometimes I forget it's not just about writing stories on GA, but also reading them. I'm sure I speak for a lot of us when I say we're always excited to see you reading one of our stories, Chris. For that, thank you for being such an awesome member of our community. Y'all know the drill! Give me three questions for a member of Gay Authors, I'll put on a fedora with PRESS written on an attached sticky note, and I'll knock on some doors to find you the answers. Okay, probably not with the fedora. I don't have a great suit to wear one with. Regardless, send in your questions!
  8. It's come to this. The scrapings from the bottom of the piggy bank. Jeez, I don't even have a dust bunny to share with y'all. Well... That's it, I guess. Curtain's coming down. We're callin' it a day. No sense in delaying the inevitable. ... Pfft. Nah. I'm invoking "Take Backsies." I can't just throw in the towel. Time to innovate things! It's a few days shy of July, but I think we can have Christmas early this year. Before I go any further, allow me to soapbox a bit. I want to explain why I love writing the articles for Ask an Author. This is one of the blogs that promotes our hard-working authors, but it's special in its own way. You, the readers and members, get to choose which authors are featured on the site. You get to promote the stories that capture your attention every time, even on the forty-seventh re-read. You are given the opportunity to ask questions about your favorite stories. Yeah, sure. You can do that on your own time and dime via a personal message to said author... But sharing is caring! If you're asking about the story, you obviously find it fascinating. Isn't it a fun experience to share a love with your fellow community members? It's like talking to your best friend about an awesome movie you just know they would find equally amazing. Even as the guy that receives the questions, acts like a Jehovah's witness to the intended author, and posts the articles, I have plenty of fun with this. I see the questions before anyone else, and it often leads me to reading new stories by unfamiliar authors. Knowing this, the blog does its job. That's why I ask for further participation. I won't beg, grovel, or whine. If I don't get questions, you don't get articles, and your favorite authors will have to hope for other means to promote their work. No skin off my nose. AAA would just go away. Questions mean views for the people who have earned your attention, and deserve more than that. Hmm? Early Christmas? Right, right. It's not a present, if that's what you were banking on. Nope, just some good cheer and family fun. Like many of our resident members, some of us take part in the forum games. This edition of Ask an Author is taking that spirit and running with it. How about that? An interactive AAA. When you comment, share one of your go-to stories. Include the story title, @-ing its author, and include a single question you have about the story. Please keep the author's last visit timestamp when asking though. If they haven't logged on in a while, your question might go unanswered. If you so happen to have a question tossed your way, play along! Answer the question, then ask one yourself. Let's make an easy and fun goal of 20 comments. Things may get a little chaotic, but that's part of the fun, right? If the trail runs cold, feel free to pick it up and ask a new question. I'll kick things off with a question for our most recent AAA interviewee, @kbois. Some of us imagined what it would be like if the devil were gay. What was the inspirational spark for your brilliant short story, Wait. What? The Devil is Gay? Now, ask! Ask questions, my pretties!
  9. Wow. Time flies, doesn't it? This marks my twelfth Ask An Author 3.0 article, and I'm so glad I messaged Renee a year ago. This has been an absolute blast! But enough of that. It's the first Wednesday of the month, and we have another set of questions for one our gifted authors! @Kong Wen Hui brings fantastic answers for this week's AAA. Let's get into it! • • • • • The Spirit of the Plum Blossom Tree Kong Wen Hui Status: In Progress / Sub-genres: Historical Romance, Alternate History, Dragon Fantasy, Mythic Fantasy / Rating: Mature Wanted criminal Hong Shen finally meets his end after being stabbed in the back by a comrade. As he makes his final resting place under a dead plum tree, he submits to death. Instead, he receives two choices: die, or be given a second chance. To take the second chance means he must complete a trial in the past in order to return to the present. But what he doesn't know is that the trial isn't only difficult for him, but even more difficult for the person he must be to fulfill it. The Spirit of the Plum Blossom Tree is a unique take on second chances. How did you come up with the idea to put Hong Shen in the past? Putting Hong Shen in the past was not actually my original intention. At first, I was going to have the whole story take place in Ancient China, but I had a wonderful idea when I was drinking my morning coffee a couple years ago. There is a concept commonly taught in America that we must learn from history if we do not wish to repeat it. What better way to have a modern criminal learn from his previous ways then to experience the hardships of a historical prince? Of course, I was also heavily influenced by MXTX's novels, and I simply love the ancient cultures in general. ( ´∀`) You’ve built a vibrant and believable world set in ancient China. Is it all part of the fictional setting, or is there any ‘true’ history included? The world of the Guan Dynasty in my story is a fictional setting. However, there will be true history incorporated into the story. I think of the Guan Dynasty as a mirror time period that existed at the same time as the historical Song Dynasty. They were two different Empires, one fictional and the other true, but some accurate events that occurred in the Song Dynasty will affect or influence the Guan Dynasty in different ways. They may not all happen in The Spirit of the Plum Blossom Tree, though, as I plan to have multiple stories set in my fictional dynasty in the future. What advice do you have for authors looking to write stories in the historical fiction genre? For those who are interested in writing stories of the historical fiction genre, I will warn you now - it is difficult! If you wish to write something historically accurate, a lot of research is recommended. Specific people are the hardest, for if you want to portray them correctly you have to know almost everything about them to the point you could live them. Same with time periods and scenery; you have to imagine you live in your own story. What would you see? What would you wear? What were the cultural trends of the time? What is your purpose? The purpose is probably the most important aspect of historical fiction. After all, if your characters have no purpose and meaning in the past, why are they there? As difficult as writing historical fiction is, it is also incredibly fun, and I believe it gives you a better understanding of certain times in history than most other people, besides maybe historians. If you have a passion for it, then you will continue to grow and improve, and nothing is better to read and enjoy than a story filled with an author's love! (。•̀ᴗ-)✧ • • • • • I loved the last Q&A! Historical fiction is a genre I would consider a great challenge. I'm not sure I have the skill to produce a piece, but I'll check back after another twelve AAAs. As always, we're looking for more questions! If there's a story that has captured your attention and you want to learn more about it from the author's perspective, shoot me a PM with three questions.
  10. The holiday season is officially over with, and I haven't been happier! For those who just did a double-take, let me explain. January through March is a resting period for us retail folk. It's a time of recovery, restructuring, and... Uh-oh. I forgot about inventory counts! Can we go back to the everyone not knowing how to drive and Christmas songs on repeat? Hmm? Ask An Author? Yeah, I suppose we can get back on track. But first... ⚠️ALERT! ⚠️ The well has run dry! The well has run... DRY!!! There are no AAAs in the piggy bank! If y'all want Ask An Author to continue, submit three questions about a posted story to @astone2292 via PM! These questions can be aimed at any author on the site. Any story status, genres, length, or classification of work is welcome. This particular blog prides itself on giving a spotlight to much deserved work, regardless of author status. By sending in questions, you give your favorite authors more views, reactions, badges, reputation points, and reviews! Along the way, your questions about the author's inspirations and thought processes are answered. *cough* Oh, sorry about that! Had something caught in my throat. With that out of the way, let's learn more about this week's edition! We got another In Progress story coming from @imogene_arant. On to the questions! • • • • • Silver and Gold imogene_arant Status: In Progress / Genre: Fantasy, Romantic Paranormal / Rating: Mature It's a tale as old as time: When woman is traded to the faeries, the Lord of the Wood falls for her. It's the perfect love story — for them. Life is less picture perfect for the Lord's former lovers. For decades, Feldspar, Gneiss, and the Lord were a triad inside and outside the bedroom. Eight months later Feldspar's heart is still broken. He has tried everything. Torrid threesomes, exercise, mind-altering substances, and faking it. When Silver, a strange faery who spends most of his time with humans, returns to the Wood Feldspar has a chance to remake himself. Will he be able to find love again, or will fear get in the way? Food and cooking are woven into this story so authentically. Silver’s tales from the human realm and how he brings human food and cooking techniques into Faery makes the story relatable and gets my stomach growling! Do you have a culinary background or do you just watch a lot of Food Network? This story is absolutely a love letter to food. I don't have a culinary background but several of the people I love most in the world do. When we get together, every meal is savored, discussed and critiqued. If it was a really good meal, we'll still be talking about it years later. I’ve got a lot of foodies in my circle now, but I grew up eating lots of junk food and meals from a box, which inspires Silver’s unpretentious love of food. As for cooking resources, I love Serious Eats (Kenji fan forever!), Binging with Babish, America’s Test Kitchen, and NY Times Cooking. I first learned to cook from Food Network stars of the 90s like Rachel Ray, Alton Brown, and Sandra Lee. Someone mentioned in the comment section that you’ve written other stories featuring some of these characters. Are you planning on posting them here as well? As a bisexual I’m pretty omnivorous and enjoy writing different variations of queer romance. I did publish Mal and Daniella’s story on another site. While Mal is definitely on the bi+ spectrum, his relationship with Daniella is the centerpiece of that story while his relationships with men aren’t explored deeply. Plus the tone of that story is… very… BDSM Beauty and the Beast. I don’t think it’s the right fit for this site and audience, but you’re welcome to Google my name and it should come up…. potentially on private browsing…. I am considering writing a third story in this world focused on Nephrite, which in my daydreams will be a lesbian revenge/noir. If I ever write that, then I might publish it here if GA readers are also interested in a badass sapphic romance. The world-building and descriptions in this story are very well done. Do you have any tips for writers who want to try their hand at writing fantasy? The world of this story literally came from me having stagnated on a more “serious” project and feeling cooped up due to the pandemic. I wrote this to give myself an escape into a world I would want to live in, and pulled in fantasy elements that appealed to me. If you’re newer to writing fantasy, you can always start small. Change one aspect of the world you write in, in one impossible way. Starting with more real-world based fantasy allows you to focus on just one magical aspect without needing to build a whole history, culture, currency, foods, etc. I would also say read a wide range of fantasy books, of course! • • • • • Food? Well, that's all the motivation I need! Don't forget to send in questions for your favorite stories, and I'll see y'all next month!
  11. Who has their holiday decorations up? I certainly do! It's the first Wednesday of December, and we have something special. It's a fantastic edition of Ask An Author! I know many missed seeing the November issue, but as Renee put it, the well ran dry. Let me tell ya, I felt the site rumble with activity and the messages came flooding in! But I'm not one to act in desperation, folks. Ask An Author relies on readers sending in their questions. Let's end 2021 on a high note and stuff the AAA piggy bank full! I want to be buried in questions! Send them through PM, snail mail, telegram, or any other way you possibly can. This... is my wish for the incoming holidays. With that out of the way, you're probably asking, "Aaron, you said this edition is fantastic. We're going to need some proof." Oh, it's fantastic alright. As a matter of fact, one might even say it's epic! Someone brought out the big guns in the questions department. I saw the name on this bad boy and I had to break out my scouts uniform to confirm I had some merit badges involving boats. Yep! Canoeing and Rowing, but I missed out on the Motorboating and Small-boat Sailing badges. Did I give enough clues? Am I starting to act like @wildone a bit? Are y'all ready for the biggest AAA 3.0 yet? I hope so, because we got three five questions for the longest story on the site! Circumnavigation. This story title is one of GA's finest gems. I haven't had the pleasure yet, but I think I'll need to take a deep dive after these amazing answers from @C James! Let's jump right in! • • • • • Circumnavigation C James Word Count: 1,080,266 / 158 Chapters / Status: Complete / Genre: Action/Adventure, Mystery, Thriller/Suspense / Rating: Mature Trevor, through little fault of his own, finds himself with few choices. Desperate and hunted, he decides that his best chance is to head out to sea on his boat, for a circumnavigation of the Earth. His boat, Atlantis, is a fifty-five foot cruising catamaran, bequeathed to him by his mother prior to her mysterious disappearance. Come along for the ride and explore with Trevor, as he discovers many things, not the least of which is himself. In Circumnavigation, you hooked me in for the long haul after the first chapter, with the prologue as a teaser. How do you manage to suck in readers so they are interested right at the onset? Some rely on a suspenseful, edge-of-your-seat craving for the next chapter, but in this story, you didn’t do that until later. What is your secret to get the reader to come back? I really don't know, other than I sure do remember worrying that there wasn't a "hook" right up front. I guess I kind of relied on the title to show what the story was about, plus I opened with a prologue, set years before, when Trevor's mom vanished at sea, and hoped readers would notice it's central to the story. The story was part mystery, part adventure, and I hoped to at least show the mystery part up front. It didn't work for all readers; some did leave (for a while, anyway) after chapter one. Then, knowing that I needed to give readers sort of a tour of Atlantes (due to most being unfamiliar with big cruising seagoing catamarans) I was facing a chapter with a lot of dry narration. So, I figured that wasn't a good thing for chapter 2, and decided to do it differently; play with reader's heads a bit, and rely on their expectations - a future lover interest showing up early in a story is fairly common. So, in chapter 2, we have Ben - who was only ever to be in chapter 2, though most readers thought otherwise. His real purpose was to give readers a tour of Atlantis from Trevor, and also do some character development for Trevor (and Lisa too). It was the only way I could think of to avoid having an overly-dull chapter right up front. I also, especially in the first few chapters, tried to mention things that were not only critical to the story, but (I hoped) would make readers curious enough to look at the next chapter. One example is Trevor finding a certain box of old paperwork in the Chandlery, then not actually looking at it until a couple of chapters later. Another thing I worried about (especially for an adventure story!) was the main antagonist isn't revealed until many chapters into the story (though they'd been in it from early on). To be honest, I was very surprised that the story became as popular as it did. Trevor and Joel were like brothers. Trevor knew Joel only since he dated Lisa. Did you consider how this could be an issue with Trevor truly finding someone? How did their relationship contribute to other issues in Trevor's life? You are right, Trevor hasn't known Joel as long as he has Lisa. The story also alludes to Trevor having a bit of a crush on Joel, though never says explicitly - and yup, best friend Lisa was a rather large consideration there. I did that as part of Trevor's character development; he started off having major qualms about his own sexuality, and was very uptight about it. Joel getting him to loosen up and accept himself was the key to Trevor eventually finding love - as was seeing Lisa and Joel's relationship. Your attention to detail is amazing, which leads me to the assumption you do an incredible amount of research. Want to build a nuclear bomb, fly and land a jet plane? You are the guy! How much research was undertaken for Circumnavigation? Is it from self-experience? How do you do your research? I indeed do a lot, though I was fortunate enough to know a bit on much of this, which gave me a basis, thus making the research easier. I do know how to sail, but I hadn't ever so much as set foot on a big cruising cat like Atlantis at that time. And, most important of all, I had expert help - one of my beta readers, Red, is a yachtsman, and helped me in all kinds of ways (and on that point, my writing team gave all sorts of input and advice, and were vital to the story - this story is theirs as much as mine). Other parts, such as the radar system in Australia, I already knew about, so it was easy. Geography and scenes from all the places visited was easy as well; I've been to most of them. In fact, I think I was in Italy when I wrote some of the Italian bits, though the scene in Pompeii was based on an earlier trip (which was when I took the photos in that chapter). And harking back to Let the Music Play, there's a scene in the Piazza Navona in Rome. I wrote much of it while sitting in the patio of a cafe at the north end of the piazza. Some of the other stuff, like bits about a single-engine plane, were easy; I've flown that particular model. For other things, like Florida law, statutes of limitations, etc, I did online research to look up the text of the actual laws, plus on a couple of things I asked a lawyer to double-check me. Generally though, for things like port entry procedures, bridge heights, weather patterns on specific days and dates, etc, etc, I just look them up online (not always easy, because I didn't need current ones, I needed ones from what was already several years in the past). Online research usually works, but it also caused me to make a massive error that's still in the story. It's the shuttle launch Trevor sees. I looked up a launch manifest to get that (to make sure that shuttle was actually flying on that day in the story). Well, oops, I didn't double-check (and didn't know until a reader pointed it out); turns out, the site I looked up had an error; they'd copied the prior year's shuttle manifest to the following year's page. There was no actual shuttle flight that day, not even for months before or after, and by then, I'd posted too much of the story to fix it (it would have required a massive rewrite, as I was timeline-constrained by many other real-world events that the story is built around.) Being one of the longest stories on GA, it must have been a challenge and a hugely rewarding experience. What did you do when you just didn’t really want to tackle the next chapter, or did you have times like that? You posted nearly weekly for what two years! What was the ultimate reward when you finished? The posting schedule for Circumnavigation was... well, hard. Yup, weekly, for nearly two years. Often, I had a reserve of completed chapters to fall back on when life got in the way. Sometimes, I didn't. I was very ill for a month (and too zonked to write) which did derail the posting, but another time I was traveling for nearly two months, and had chapters ready to post before I left. Another thing that was hard about posting as a serial was the inability to change past chapters when later chapters developed a bit differently than I anticipated. As for it being the longest story on GA, that didn't phase me, because I just called it a short story. With so much passed time since you finished Circumnavigation, do you consider it your swan song? Or do you ever see doing a short story of Trevor and some or all of the cast, five or ten years later? Will I be posting more stories? I sure as heck hope so. I've promised to (in my forum) to be doing so long before now, and feel like a jerk for letting my readers down. For a while, I was burned out after Circumnavigation. Then, life got in the way, so did family responsibilities (I've been caring for an elderly family member). I've been writing again, on and off, for several years, though nothing completed yet. One story, Going Sideways, is at around chapter 20 of about 30 (and most of the chapters are very long - 20k or more words). I hope to get it done soon. I'm not posting anything until done, because I learned my lesson from Circumnavigation on that, plus I can't devote the time per week I did to writing Circumnavigation, so no way could I post on a schedule. Another story, Damaged Goods, is underway, though I'm writing it piecemeal. Will we see Trevor and Shane again? Not in Going Sideways. • • • • • I need a roll call in the comments. Shout out if you've completed reading Circumnavigation! I think I'll make this story one of my New Year's resolutions for 2022. Thank you @C James for answering these questions! If you've read a riveting story, shoot me a PM with three questions! I'll track down the author, knock on their front door, and ask them for you. All authors and stories are fair game. Ask An Author is a great way to give your favorite author a spotlight on their work! I'll see y'all next month!
  12. Wow! Time flies! It's time for Ask An Author! We're dipping our tootsies back into some fantasy writing, but with a healthy dosage of sci-fi! This one is a little special because it's a sequel. I got the chance to interview another rising star in the GA community, @Yeoldebard! As a member of the Million Word Club, this author has a plethora of stories in their arsenal. Let's dive right in! A little message from the author first! This story can stand alone, but the first story, Wolf Pack, will help shed light on how this story was born. Inspired by other Gay Author News and Writing World blogs, I'll add in a few more details about the stories we interview. Let me know if this encourages interested reading! • • • • • The Neko's Tail Yeoldebard Word Count: 94,020 / 42 Chapters / Status: Complete / Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi / Rating: Mature For those of you who wondered what happened to Elias when he went missing in Wolf Pack, here is his story. A young neko, lost in a new reality, making new friends and being brought out of his quiet shell. Elias, to me, was a beloved character in the first story, Wolf Pack. I was thrilled to see him getting his own story. His character's mentality is powerful, and he is one of the most beautifully crafted MCs in any story I've read. What was the inspiration for creating him? Elias was originally just a throwaway character, one inspired by a friend's insistence that I was more furry than anything. I decided to mix nekos and werewolves because of her, and the rest is quite literally history. But Elias took on his own role in the story. Quiet, broken, he became a symbol of me, of my own struggles. Throughout my childhood, I found it hard, nearly impossible to be heard for who I was, and Elias was my way of working through that. You'll notice more than a few of my characters are selectively mute, or fully mute, because for the longest time, I was not allowed to have a voice. They are my way of talking to the world, of getting my story out. This is a sequel. The first story is full of medieval and fantasy tropes. You completely turned this sequel upside-down, turned it around, and sent it in a direction I didn't think was conceivable! How... Did... What... Why... I'm speechless! Straight up, this is the most creative thing I've ever seen! It was absolutely beautiful! Are you a god? A writing god? But seriously, where did this come from? Elias was never truly meant to be in Wolf Pack. But I had made his character, and I couldn't let him go. He needed a different story to shine in. I had just finished reading Kidnapping Is Always an Option for the first time, and it got me thinking about why we always see modern people abducted by aliens. And I decided to try my hand at changing that. It was the perfect out for Elias. He could escape his former life, and I could start building new species, new creations, something that I have always enjoyed doing. More than that, it was a way for me to stretch my horizons, challenge myself. And it really was a challenge. I learned a lot about myself as I wrote The Neko's Tail, and even now I enjoy looking back to see my early work, to remind myself of where I've come from. At this time, I haven't continued on into the series, but that will be changing very shortly. Iason is an interesting character to me. Not much is given regards to his and Artemis' history. Is there a possibility for seeing my second-favorite Egaro in a future story? I can make no promises of seeing this particular Iason again, but Egaran Stars has a Iason that is very similar to this one. While that story is a much later inclusion to the universe as a whole, it goes much more in depth regarding both Egaro and Faro culture, and even introduces a new species discovered by Elias himself during his travels with Artemis. Iason himself is sort of a spiritual successor to another character of mine, Maximus Markhaus. His story is one of those included in my furry story, though he is not nearly as sexual as the average Egaro. • • • • • Well, that's another Ask An Author in the books! I hope y'all go check this story out. As soon as I got this set of questions, I had to read it! Give a comment down below if you've read this, or any other of Yeoldebard's stories. If you haven't, links are in the title and author's name above. If you've read a riveting story, shoot me a PM with three questions! I'll track down the author, knock on their front door, and ask them for you. All authors and stories are fair game. Ask An Author is a great way to give your favorite author a spotlight on their work! I'll see y'all next month!
  13. What is this? Is it the first Wednesday of the month? What does that mean? Why am I asking all these questions? Maybe I should... Ask An Author! We have another three questions for a wonderful author. Let's get right into it! Due to potential spoilers, some details will be redacted. • • • • • Effigy Geron Kees Michael finds himself in a predicament: someone knows his darkest secret, and hates him for it. But who? A brief tale on the subject of fear. This story spoke to me. I connect with Michael and his fears, although I was not outed in high school. Because of the area I was brought up in, it was vital to keep my true self bottled up. Did Michael have these fears beforehand, or was this not an area where he had to be concerned? Let's say that before the incident that launched the story occurred, Michael was living a cautious life. I'd say the place he lived in was about average for being gay, in that the responses to it could be expected to vary across the spectrum, and so that caution was a reasonable course to chart. He was living with the knowledge that his parents pretty much knew who he was, but also that they were comfortable with not openly speaking about it. He had no reason to feel anyone else suspected that he was gay, and so he wasn't living in fear on a daily basis. He was not out. But even so, this state generates a sort of fear-but-not-fear that lends to a moody awareness of what might come, and that it's there at all allows for it to be easily inflamed by small things. The incident of the effigy in his yard was scarcely a small thing; it virtually screamed to Michael that someone did know about him, and that they aimed to make him pay for being the way he was, as well. So he went from the moody awareness that there could be fear in his life to having it arrive full blown, all at once. Fear, depression, and paranoia go well together. To me, one can start with any of the three, but eventually the other two will follow. Writing a story that combines them hooked me. What was the inspiration to use this theme? I don't think anyone that has ever lived with what they feel is an uncomfortable secret is ever far from a little bit of fear of exposure. Paranoia is too strong a word for the way most people would probably react to having a secret they fear having exposed, but they do have a heightened awareness of the way people react to them. An alertness to the signs that others suspect. And a comfortable sense of complacency over time when it becomes obvious that they don't. A lot of gay guys are extraordinary chameleons. They so obviously fit in that no one ever suspects otherwise. For others, living a secret life makes them nervous wrecks. And still others are OUT with a force of their own, and so open about who they are that there is no doubt at all. It's an individual thing, how you handle it. So personality plays a great part in the response that someone in Michael's position takes. Fear breeds paranoia and depression, certainly. I chose to have the forcefulness of the situation initially overwhelm Michael's fairly complacent defenses, but then to have his innate strength slowly rise to take charge as he realized that he was on the run from his own fears. For this to happen he needed to transit the worst parts of living in fear, that included some paranoia and depression, but not to have any of it take him over. I wanted him to learn to deal with others possibly knowing, and become comfortable with living with it. And, I wanted him to learn to defend himself if the need arose. To not be a victim of his fear. Or the attitudes of others. When John was arrested, Michael seemed rational when stating he would be out before him or Barry would know it. While I admire Michael's attitude in this, was this secretly produced from his fear/depression? Michael's interest in mystery novels and what he had learned of police procedure from them was what prompted his comment that John would be out of jail before either Michael or Barry knew it. At least here in the US, a young offender on a first arrest is likely to be released back into the custody of his family very quickly for most anything short of a capital crime. Michael was just cautioning Barry not to feel like his troubles were over. That may have surely been a result of Michael's new awareness of his own problems, though. Confronting any fear would tend to heighten a person's awareness of where trouble might come from next, I would think. Michael was sharing his experience at that point, but it's fair to say that the warning came out of his new, heightened sense of caution. • • • • • Looks like I'm adding another story to my reading list! These answers got my mind pumping. Forget adding it to the list, this one's going right at the top! Y'all know the drill! Send me three questions about a story, I'll go bother the author, and we'll see you next month!
  14. Whoopsie-daisies! Missed the deadline by a few hours, but don't you worry! Ask An Author is here, and we got a story for you. Without further ado, let's get celestial! • • • • • The Lesser Evil ObicanDecko Edwin is a young shop owner living a quiet life in the kingdom of Wisian, but that peace is shattered when his best friend vanishes without a trace. Desperate for help, he meets a mysterious man offering his assistance - a seductive demon named Lothar. As attraction between the two men grows stronger every day, Edwin finds himself getting entangled in a conflict between demons and angels. Will Lothar be able to find Edwin’s friend in time, and what will be the price of his help? What was your inspiration for this rendition of the never-ending war between angels and demons? I particularly enjoyed the take on angels and their abuse of humanity to recruit in their favor. I play a lot of Diablo, which is a game about the "eternal conflict" between demons and angels, with humans stuck in the middle, so I wanted to try and write my own take on such a story. There was also another game where one of the characters was a demon who is trying to seduce the player, which inspired me to create Lothar. I wanted to put some of the focus on a love story between a human and a demon, and explore the whole "making a pact with the devil" trope, and how it inevitably has bad consequences. I'm glad you liked my take on angels - I wanted to avoid having the angels be the obvious "good guys". In this case, both sides are selfish and only in it for themselves, and don't care much about what happens to humanity. Mildburg is one of my favorite characters in this story. Her intelligence/power is something to behold, but I'm interested in the world's opinion. Did humanity naturally find this power, or did one of the two warring sides leave them at some point? Mildburg is one of my favorite characters too. Very intelligent, but mysterious. The origins of her and Sigrid's powers were left unsaid because I usually like to leave some things a mystery and let readers fill in the blanks with their own theories. But my headcanon is that people with such power are very rare and that they don't even know where it comes from. They are simply born with it. It could be from either angels or demons, or maybe some combination of the two. The chapter before the epilogue had me screaming! This outcome slapped me in the face. I should have seen it coming, but dang! What influenced you, as the author, for Edwin's decision? I'm sorry for springing such a big plot twist on you, especially at the end of the story! The rest of the story was quite dark, with big threats from several sides, so I knew it couldn't have a perfect happy ending. Maybe it could've been easy to have Edwin and Lothar end up "happily ever after", but I didn't want that. I wanted a more impactful ending, something that showed the sacrifices we sometimes have to make. Also, Edwin would never be able to let himself be happy while his little sister is suffering. He had to take that chance and help her. • • • • • Oh, jeez! I love a story with a plot-twist! I'll have to add this one to my reading list. Make sure to check out The Lesser Evil and @ObicanDecko's stories through the links above! If you just finished a story and want to learn more about it, shoot me a PM with three questions and I'll pester the author for you! I'll see y'all next month!
  15. I promise, I won't sing this time! But it is the first Wednesday of the month and we got three more questions to answer. As soon as I got the message to go bother this author, I put my little "press" cap on and booked it! It's @Aditus, one of GA's Signature Authors! Are you excited? I definitely am! Let's jump into the interview! • • • • • The King's Mate Aditus TKM - a three book series detailing the lives of Diarmad, King of the Seraei--an aggressive alien species--and Noel, his mate. The King’s Mate series was a riveting roller coaster ride that made me want to alternately scream, rejoice with the characters, and smack them upside the head! This seems to be a recurring theme in your stories *coughcoughRedRunningShoescoughcough* Do you think there are similarities between Noah/Nico and Jonah from RRS? The King’s Mate series was a riveting roller coaster ride... Thank you. 😊 I have to admit the idea that some readers feel connected to a character of mine so much they yell at their computer screen, telling them in strong words what to do or not to do next or else— motivates me immensely. *evil cackle* To cut a long story short, yes, even though both stories are vastly different, with RRS being a contemporary romance set up in Europe, and The King’s Mate series created in an alternative, paranormal world, there might indeed be similarities between Noël and Jonah, because... see above. This doesn’t mean all my characters are like them; I try to diversify. 😉 Was it difficult to write Caesura after the intensity of Noel and Diarmad’s relationship in The Holly and the Ivy? Yes. I couldn’t believe what they did to each other and others in the second book. While I wrote it, I was constantly upset with myself and how they spoke to me. I believe there were times I hated them so much I couldn't write. And I thought I might just kill them off and be done with it. Going down in flames and so on. That’s why I needed a third book, to clear up the mess they/we made. Ivan and Sho are secondary characters that are brought to life extremely well. Do you think you’ll ever write their story about what happens after Kabal? The story is in my head. However, after the last word of Kabal was written, I was immensely relieved. I was forced to take a long hiatus due to illness. It took some time before I could write again and find my characters’ voices. In the meantime, I had lost many readers. I’m honest, I need my readers’ feedback to stay motivated. When even die-hard followers didn’t react to the finished book, I felt too discouraged to step foot in the mate’s universe again. I’m sorry. I might overcome my hang-up, eventually, you never know. Thank you for your interest in my stories. • • • • • Wow! After the answer to the second question, I'll need to pick these stories up. This sounds intense! Make sure to click the link in the series title to head straight there, or check out Aditus' other works through the link underneath! If you just finished a story and want to learn more about it, shoot me a message with three questions. Any story and any author will do! Until next month, buh-bye!
  16. Is it Wednesday? I think it is! Which means it's time for... 🎶 Aaaaaaaask An Author! 🎶 Oh, boy! I hope speech-to-text capabilities don't advance any time soon, because that was just awful! My husband's looking at me like I'm a crazy person! Anyway, we have another three questions for one of GA's authors! • • • • • Solitude of the Photo C.T. Piatt The lens of the camera is shallow. It sees colour and shape. It gives the illusion of motion in two dimensions. It draws the light from the dark. In that space between lens and subject, between picture and reality, lies solitude. Jonah lived in that solitude, content within its embrace. The descriptions and details really bring this story to life and made it a riveting read. Are you a photographer or artist yourself? I dabble in photography, have a decent camera and a couple of lenses - well it was decent when I bought it 10 years ago. I've tried painting/drawing but I can't get my body to create what I see in my mind. Photography is simpler to achieve that. I do create in other ways - mostly sewing (from scratch and repurposing) and jewellery. I know I can 'see' what I want to create. And I want my words to paint what I see so others can see it too. I'm pleased to hear that I achieved that. All the stories you have posted on GA are short stories. Do you have any longer work or plans for longer stories? I do have longer stories in the works, but they seem to just keep growing and I never find 'The End'. It's easier for me to write shorter and finish. Plus there is always another story jumping around in my head demanding some attention. Currently with the change in the world I have ended up with employment that takes up most of my time (too much of my time) and my hobbies are suffering. I know I need to achieve a better work/life balance - maybe this will kick my butt into doing more for me. What was your inspiration for this story? I was once that photographer - taking photos of cars racing around the track. But I was there with my family and friends, all of whom took part as drivers. Except me. I can't stand just being a spectator so I took up the camera to be active and to make memories. One such event 'Jonah' started talking to me. The story was born that night after everyone else had gone to bed. • • • • • I love the answer to the first question! I have a soft spot for a story that takes it time to paint every emotion, every movement, and every single second in the world. If you liked this interview, make sure to go read the story (link in the story title). After that, go check out @C.T. Piatt's other works (link in the author's name under the title)! Don't forget to send me some questions! Anybody can send me questions about any author's story! I'll see y'all next month!
  17. Is it that time already? I believe so! Boy, oh boy, do we have a special treat today! We're doing things a wee bit different today, and I am so excited about it! Normally on Ask An Author, I get to pester an author about a story, but not today. This time, I got to pester one of our beloved Administrators about THREE stories! That's right, we got ourselves three amazing questions about a series! I hope y'all are ready, because we're diving right in. Here we go! • • • • • Carthera Takeover Tales Cia The Carthera are a violent race, never failing to respond to battle, they nevertheless are a proud and honorable people. Except for the ferals. Battles for territory, fighting persecution from the humans, for the right to rule, have echoed down through the ages. In these modern times things are different, easier. Laws are made--and enforced--and peace, of a sorts, is possible. Some seek to end that. My favorite pairing is Dav and Ellis, don't know why, but do you have a favorite pairing between Natham & Velaku, Bashta & Cavel, and Dav & Ellis? If so, who and why? Dav and Ellis as well! Probably because I put a lot of myself in Ellis. Oddly enough, while I loved writing Dav as a character, I absolutely hate snakes in real life. My teen daughter has a 2 year old ball python that's somewhere close to 3 1/2 feet, and it's all... ewwwww. She wears it like a necklace and watching it move around her head creeps me out. Somehow, though, the idea of all that sinuous movement in a man? 😊 Totally works! How did you come up with the specifics of the plague that spread through the jaguar clans? ⚠️ This will have a spoiler, FYI to readers who haven't read Book 2 in the trilogy! ⚠️ Carthera have only been "accepted" in "human society" for about 50 years in this trilogy. So the medical knowledge isn't quite up to date. I treated the plague much like Ebola. Exposure from contaminated surfaces (the statue) then person-to-person among the vulnerable and least 'clean' (aka children who don't tend to wash up well). Antiserum from survivors was the most effective treatment for ebola for a long time. FYI, I used to work in the medical field, so that's one of my areas I try to be very exact and make sure is realistic, even when I'm writing a scifi, paranormal, or fantasy story. The Carthera are incredibly interesting to me. What made you detour away from the typical shifters and instead create the Carthera? I'm never one for writing 'run-of-the-mill stories' where I follow along with conventional mythos. I love to create twists. Either in the idea behind the original mythos I'm basing my storyline on or morphing the character types or as I'm going along in the plot events. Okay, okay, sometimes I'm greedy and do all three. I like shifter societies who have all sorts of animals (OMG, why limit myself to a single species when I could play with so MANY?) who carry their animalistic traits into their human form, and I do like it when they're integrated instead of being hidden society alongside humans. So with my Carthera, I decided to create "shifters" with mixed animal/human characteristics who were integrated into society, but I figured by timing it to recent 'coming out' as a species to humans I could also incorporate a lot of different societal dynamics in the storylines. One of these days I want to come back to the world; I have some ideas with ocean shifters, since they are some of my favorite animals. • • • • • Unlike Cia, I love snakes! Let me tell you, if I ever got my hands on a man like Dav, I might be tempted to kick my husband to the curb (sorry, Noah...)! The second I got the request to go bother Cia, I screamed like a little girl! I dropped everything and wrote the fastest PM in my life! This series is one of the very few reasons I made an attempt at writing, and I come back to these stories often frequently regularly a lot when I want to get away from everyday life. Make sure to check out Cia's other amazing stories through the link in her name under the series title! If you have read a riveting story and want to ask the author about it, send your questions to me and I'll happily knock on their inbox for you! Until next month, buh-bye!
  18. It's the first Wednesday of the month, and you all know what that means! Bringing a fresh face to the Ask An Author universe is always an interesting maneuver, and we got a juicy one! I was sent some questions for a story that differs tremendously from the last AAA. We're going from sweet romance to dark and dangerous! Have you ever wondered what a serial killer thinks about? Well, @C. Henderson did with this gripping story! ***This is a warning to potential readers. The following interview contains massive spoilers for the highlighted story. We encourage reading the story before continuing with the interview. Click the link in the story title.*** • • • • • Inhospitable Places C. Henderson After the death of his mother, professional dancer and choreographer Louis loses his job and falls into a deep depression. When his partner, Hunter, proposes a change in scenery to help Louis heal from the loss, he reluctantly agrees to move to Hartford, Connecticut. But soon after the move, a serial killer dubbed “The Hartford Menace” starts targeting men throughout the city. Numb from his grief, Louis doesn’t pay the news too much attention. That is, until his sister Francesca points out a terrifying fact: all the victims bear an uncanny resemblance to him. This was a gripping story involving a serial killer on the loose. What made you decide to use the killer's mindset as chapters? As a huge fan of the horror/thriller genre, I like to explore various dark themes in my writing. I think it's intriguing and challenging to attempt to expose the mindset of an individual with a thought process that most people can't understand or relate to. The chapters from Hunter's perspective in Inhospitable Place served in building tension throughout the story, as well as highlighting how different a killer's mind is from our own. When you read Louis' chapters he comes across as warm and caring (rescuing a dog, grieving the death of his mother, worrying about the state of his relationship) but when you get into Hunter's POV, there is a stark difference there. He is cold, calculated, manipulative and obsessive. And what's most frightening is that he's hiding in plain sight. The box's placement was a very interesting choice. Obviously, most killers desire to keep mementos from their victims, but what was the reasoning for the location? The danger of being exposed, or is there a more underlying intention? Yes, the placement of the box has meaning behind it. The spare bedroom, which is originally supposed to be Louis' studio but turns into Hunter's room when Francesca moves in, is supposed to be a place where he finds his passion for dance once again. But little does he know that buried underneath his feet are the mementos of all the men Hunter killed. It's only when he forces himself to finally go in there and try to choreograph a routine for Derek's animal shelter dance class that he is able to uncover the truth. For a year Louis avoids dancing and lives in denial while self-medicating, so it's meant to be symbolic that it's getting back to the dance studio that finally ends up setting him free. I can't get my mind wrapped around Hunter's attitude when Louis planned a nice dinner for him! What was going on in this man's mind? You would think if your partner is going through serious emotions, it would be important to give a considerate gesture for putting forth such an effort. To Hunter, the act of killing satisfies an insatiable urge within him. After it's over, he is calm and satiated for a while, then comes the period where he picks his next victim, and the cat and mouse game begins again until it reaches its final crescendo. In chapter 4, right before the dinner sequence that comes in the next chapter, Hunter is slowly reaching the crazed stage that happens right before he just needs to kill. He gives us a glimpse into his state of mind when he says: "I pick up some groceries on my way back, then return to a mundane life. The thought of what I’m going to do to you so very soon is the only thing that gets me through the night." That night, he isn't capable of going through the motions with Louis and pretending to care about the dinner his partner made him, or the effort he put into it. The mask is slowly slipping, and all he can do is go to sleep and try to stifle his urges until he can finally satisfy them once again. • • • • • I got goosebumps from those answers! This was certainly a treat. I don't read a lot of dark stories, but I think I might have to start. If you liked this story, make sure to go check out @C. Henderson's other stories on his author page! I just loved seeing a new author on AAA. Despite his dark and gloomy stories, I think we found a bright and shining star in the community! Don't forget to send me some questions! I'm always looking for a surplus of interviews, and you can ask questions about any story by any author! I'll be looking forward to your requests so I can pester our authors. See y'all next month!
  19. Good news, Renee hasn't fired me yet! Even better news, it's time for another Ask An Author! As requested, we got ourselves a nice love story that will just melt the hearts of any Valentine's Day haters. I haven't even brought out the questions yet, and I know this is one heck of a Q&A session! We got some juicy ones for you in this interview with @Dabeagle, one of GA's Classic Authors! • • • • • The Right One Dabeagle Corbin's girlfriend is late after their first time. Add to that this boy named Declan that just confuses Corby to no end - who, in the end, will be the right one? Corbin is a great friend and seems to be an all around great guy. I'm curious, do you see yourself in your characters at their age, and if so, how to you capture the age and maturity of them that makes them seem so real but not told from an adults POV? Usually the only thing I see in my characters that I see in myself is their being clueless. The Corbin character has some flaws in a 'character dissection' sort of discussion. Given his mother is so sharp-tongued, one might think Corbin would be more aware. However, like many people, he's not seeing the trees of reality due to the forest of his own life before him. As far as the maturity level, my biggest error in writing characters of that age group is giving them more maturity than they normally possess. However I do know that because people come in all stripes, there are kids who are 'more mature' than they should/could be. The challenge comes in figuring out why they are the way they are. Some of my characters are that way from necessity, such as Ehren from Things We Lost. Corbin comes at it from a different direction - he's given responsibility and freedom at home because he's earned it from parents who are involved with him and know who he is. For me, I think Corbin is more life-like due to his struggles and self-doubt more than anything else. Like some of your other stories, you have a great mix of supporting cast. Some are good, some are bad. What do you find harder to write, a good character or a bad one? Do you prefer writing one over the other? I find everyone has a bestie, so it only makes sense that your characters have people besides the writer to bounce their ideas off of. For some people it's their pet, like Oliver in Boy, Bus & Key, but mostly it's going to be another person who isn't your love interest. A supporting cast takes the story off in different directions as needed - like a sleight of hand so you forget the main character has a major decision to make, but the writer feels to jump right to that decision would move things a long too quickly. When it comes to 'good and evil'...I'm not a big fan of outright evil. There are reasons why people are who they are, whether we agree with them or not. Some people would be very quick to take a character like Ryder and throw him in the clink and be done with him, but why is he doing what he's doing? Why does he deal? Why did he decide it was okay to attempt to rape Declan? Is it that disconnect that somehow it's not rape (in his mind)? Has that been perpetrated on him, so that he sees it as normal? If a boy, as they flower through puberty, spends sexual time with an adult -willingly - then does that not color how they see that when they get older? Might they become the older person in that situation because they filled the other role previously? Many people recoil and discussions about morality come into play - so you have to decide first, what is evil? Where is the moral compass before we write the character off? I'm weak on 'evil' characters because I normally don't get very far into why they're jerks. The tendency is to make them more relatable so we understand why they are jerks - which is all well and good, but doesn't change what they did. In the end, I prefer redemptive arcs - 'yes, I was a jerk, but now I know I was a jerk and I'm trying hard not to be a jerk in the exact same way' sort of thing. Not always very realistic, because when was the last time you changed your mind about something? It takes a stressor, usually, and sometimes people just double down and dig in over being wrong rather than admit fault. If I was a teenage boy (still), what message would you say you are trying to get across with Corby and Declan to all your audiences' ages and genders? It does seem to me that this story would appeal to multiple generations of readers. Well, the answer may make some people uncomfortable, but I'm going to go with the truth. I'm glad for all my readers, I'm grateful for the ones who support me with messages, questions like these, and financially. As an adult, it's nice to read about the things people have the potential to achieve that we did not. Sometimes that's a bit of escapist fantasy. But the focus of these stories is to the ones that never write, never ask questions and are unable to be part of the financial wheel that helps keep things going - teenagers who may see themselves in my work. As a group, gay teens are under-served and underrepresented. We've all been inundated with sex between straight kids for years in many forms. We've seen how straight kids have and break, fix and lose relationships. Straight kids get the chance to date in high school, to learn what they want in a relationship; what they need and can give. Gay kids aren't afforded as many opportunities, so on one level it's for them to see a potential of themselves. In quite another sense, it's to show how a positive relationship between them should work - communication, mutual respect, and self-respect. In this particular series we can see examples of each - from those that need help to get there, like Bell, to those that want someone to be clear about what someone wants, like Declan. We also see that even guys like Corby don't have all the answers, but that the important part is to seek them from people you can respect, like Nelson. That trying to be a decent person nets you friends who are decent people like Chris and Noel. No one come out of a box and knows how to have a good relationship, or how to recognize a bad one. I hope that there are teens who do read these and see how positive relationships can be, and not just accept that it all comes down to how someone looks or if they have money or a car. • • • • • What amazing questions, elaborate answers, and incredible story! I think I need to find myself a fedora and put a 'press' sticky note in it. Doing these articles is so much fun! Don't forget to send me your questions, and I'll go pester the authors so you don't have to! Ask An Author doesn't happen all willy-nilly. You, the Gay Authors community, need to send in three questions about your favorite stories. You can remain anonymous to your admired author, and you just have to send it to me instead! Don't worry, I won't bite. I'll see you next month! Buh-bye!
  20. This is so exciting! When I joined Gay Authors not too long ago, I began reading everything I could get my little fingers on. And Ask An Author has been one of my favorite segments! When I saw that Renee and the team were searching for someone new to tackle AAA, I pulled up my ankle socks and sent her a message. I'm so ecstatic to be even considered for such a responsibility! But before we get into this, I just want to remind everyone that these questions aren't provided by the staff. Nope. That's on you, guys! Shoot me a PM about a story you read, along with at least three questions, and we'll send the author an anonymous message. • • • • • The Hollow Hills Valkyrie This story centers around The Hollow Hills - a horse farm in Vermont - and Galen and Joshua. Galen moves to New England after breaking up with his boyfriend and meets Josh. Their relationship is anything but easy, with many obstacles standing in their way. When tragedy strikes, they need to learn how to redefine their lives and live with the after-effects Alannah is such an important supportive character to the guys. What in her past made her so empathetic? Alannah had a difficult start in life. She was raised by her drug-addicted mother in her early childhood, until she was brought to her grandmother’s farm and then abandoned there. Her grandmother was a kind and empathetic woman, who passed those traits on to her granddaughter. Alannah learned to be compassionate and non-judgmental, and understands all too clearly how otherwise good people sometimes make mistakes. Who was first? Galen or Josh. Josh. Josh first appeared in a short story I wrote for a writing assignment way back in ninth grade. Galen didn’t come around until about eleven years later. How did you come up with the setting? See question #2! After I wrote that story, the farm kind of took on a life of its own. Josh needed someone else at the barn, so I came up with Alannah’s character, and then Adam’s. The farm became almost a character in and of itself, and is based on my dream place to live. At some point I want to write a prequel to The Hollow Hills, which would cover when Josh arrived at the farm, Alannah moving there from Ireland, and it would feature Adam’s story as well. It's a long story. How did you stay motivated? Any tips? I was really gung-ho when I started writing it, then I got a nasty case of the flu and had to take a several-month-long hiatus from writing. Getting back into the groove proved difficult at times, but these characters are so dear to me that not finishing was never an option. I think my motivation was the need to get this story on paper, so to speak. It was always my dream to share their story, so I’m thrilled I was finally able to do so, and that people liked it so much. I don’t really have any tips as to how to stay motivated to write, since motivation is such a personal thing. What works for me won’t necessarily work for someone else. It’s something I’m struggling with at the moment. I think taking a deep breath and a step back sometimes is helpful. Re-reading my stories can also be motivating to me. So is reader feedback. I love hearing what people think of my work, even when they’re ranting about Josh! • • • • • And that does it for this month's Ask An Author! Since Renee made the rules for me, as per AAA 3.0 #1, we are showcasing a different author for every month this year. That means Valkyrie gets to sit back and relax! Don't forget to send me a message with three or more questions so our community can discover their next binge! After all, I'm starting to run out of things on my streaming services to watch. This pandemic is really rough! Since Valentine's Day is coming up, how about we try for a real sappy love story for next month? Go dig through your favorites and followed stories, ask some questions, and we'll get them answered! See y'all next month, unless Renee fires me! Also, Carlos! I stole your dots from 2.0. They're mine now, and you can't have them back!
  21. Holy crap, I'm late! Well, not late late. I don't think Noah and I are ready for that kind of commitment. Maybe in a few years. Ooooooooooh, if Renee sees how late this is, I'm sure she'd throw something at me. Enough rambling; got's to get right into the interview! We have a wonderful and exciting story by an equally awesome author. @kbois I promise a bottle of your favorite stuff is on the way! • • • • • Spirit Wolves kbois 27 Chapters / 125,766 Words / Rating: Mature / Status: Complete How does a simple, low key life get turned upside down? Easy. Mix up six shifters, missing pups, three packs, a few bad guys, some messed up family dynamics, and maybe a cliffhanger (or two?) That's how. What made you want to write about Lycans? I've been fascinated with this type of fiction since I was a kid. I got my first library card when I was 5. One of the first books I checked out was The Five Chinese Brothers, which features each brother having a supernatural ability. I honestly don't remember my first shifter story, but I've been hooked on the unconventional ever since. Also, shifters are pretty damn sexy. How did you decide to create your own version of this world and was it easy? The idea for Spirit Wolves started when I was writing A Tattoo for Lex. Ideas often strike my brain when I walk my dogs at night. That's what happened in this case. It actually started as two separate story lines, Reilly's and Ben’s. For whatever reason, my writing muse made me merge them. Oftentimes it gets weird inside my head, but I'm fortunate that the weirdness occasionally morphs into story ideas. Was it easy? Absolutely not. I got about eight chapters written and then bam! The idea well dried up. So I set it aside for a little over two years. After When Opportunity Knocks wrapped up, I dusted it off and sort of pushed some ideas out there to see what would stick. How did you come up with the Sentinels, especially as two of them weren't Lycans? The Sentinels didn't come about until I revisited the story. I knew I needed a good reason to combine Reilly's story and Ben's. Saving the shifter world seemed to be as good a reason as any. If you're going to save the world you need some superheroes. Ben is the only one not born Lycan and his and Zev’s role will be expanded on later. Which brings us to….. Do you have any more books planned in this series? That would would a most definitive and resounding yes! Spirit Wolves is the first of a three part series. I'm currently finishing up the second story which focuses more on finding the hybrid pups that are missing. Posting is right around the corner. I really think the reason it took me over two years to finish Spirit Wolves is because these other two ideas were inside of me, just not quite ready to come out. Now everything makes more sense to me inside my noggin as I can weave the random ideas into the story plots. • • • • • Done! Did it! Posted! Auughhh!!! I'll be putting a repeating reminder in my phone to get this done before the deadline for next month's edition. Well, I thank everyone for your patience, especially @kbois's and @Cia's. On another note, we're out of AAA articles! Don't be an Aaron. Send those questions. Promote your favorite authors!
  22. I swear we just had it! Where did it go? Did it fly away, or whiz past our eyes? Oh, well! April's gone and she won't be back until next year. Now we have May, and what a day to post the next Ask An Author! From this Star Wars fan, May the Fourth be with you. While the featured story may not take place in a galaxy far, far away, we're still treated to a bit of fantasy. Welcoming back @C. Henderson, we'll be trading lightsabers for vampire fangs. Although the story's status says Temporary Hold, I see there's been some recent updates. Sounds like we have an In Progress tale, so let's dive in and generate some up-to-date readers! • • • • • Sacrum C. Henderson 35 Chapters / 108,057 Words / Rating: Mature / Status: Temporary Hold Dani is a vampire with a special mission. Born in a lab, he has never been human. Kept from society by Vinicius, his mentor, he's naive to the way of the world. When his mentor suddenly is taken from him, he's thrust into a new school where he's forced to figure things out on his own while also navigating the desires of his non-beating heart. This story features your own take on vampires. How did you develop your vampire lore? I can’t think of a time when I wasn’t interested in vampires. I distinctly remember watching Gary Oldman as Dracula and being fascinated by him and his powers. I was also intrigued by the duality of vampires – the fact that they were associated with dark forces, but – like the Count – were also capable of loving someone else and potentially being good. However, it never occurred to me to write about anything supernatural until I had some extra free time over quarantine, which is when I rewatched a lot of post-apocalyptic horror films like 28 Days Later and Resident Evil. I also watched Train to Busan, the Underworld movies, and got back into The Walking Dead series. Additionally, I read The Rising and World War Z, and was inspired enough to do my own take on a vampire story. I started Sacrum one night, with a distinct vision of Dani and Vincent in mind. I wanted one to represent the force of good, and the other to have a history of darkness that made it hard to discern whether he could ever be good, or whether his genetics would determine him to be evil. However, the story quickly evolved with many other important characters like Vinicius, Demetrius, Ciprian and the ghost of Dahlia. Without giving the rest of it away, I knew that another important part of the story would be the “Rebirth” movement. As for how I developed it all – mostly while thinking about the story in the shower, which is where all my best thoughts seem to occur. Sacrum is full of both big and small mysteries. How do you plot them out and keep all your clues and plot threads straight? It's impressive! Once I realized that the story was growing rapidly away from what I intentionally had in mind, and that each character had their own mysteries they were battling with, I had to sit down and write a painfully long chapter by chapter outline so that I could remember everything. I also have a general overview of the story, a name cheat sheet, and another document containing random phrases I think of in the shower that I know I want to utilize in the story in some way (usually something Ciprian might say... I have a long list of those). Which authors influence you and what mystery/suspense books are your favorite? It’s hard for me to name an “influence” because I enjoy a lot of different genres, and the writers I like don’t necessarily influence my own writing style. They are so distinct it would be impossible to mimic them. However, I am currently reading “Nothing But Blackened Teeth” by Cassandra Khaw, and I’m in awe of how poetic she makes everything sound. She's inspired me to work on having a nicer flow to my own writing. As for favorite books, I love a good classic by Hemingway or Faulkner. The Sound and The Fury is probably one of my favorite books. And in the horror/mystery genre I have to go with Bram Stoker’s Dracula. • • • • • There's another AAA wrapped up! Thank you so much to @C. Henderson and the anonymous reader who sent questions my way. As always, Ask An Author could always use material for articles. Read a riveting story recently? Think of a few questions, send them to me, and I'll get them ready for posting. All stories and authors are fair game! Until next month!
  23. Ah, the first week of April! A fresh rain. Blooming flowers. The head-jerking reaction you'll have when a bee flies too close to your face. No? Huh. Guess that's just me then! I've never cared for bees, if I'm being honest. The memory of stepping on one barefoot when I was little is forever imprinted in my brain, and I've been careful to never get stung by one again. That, and the husband's allergic. Anyway, on to more important details. It's the first Wednesday of the month, so let's Ask An Author! Coming from @LittleCherryBlossom26, we have Live, Love, Lose. • • • • • Live, Love, Lose LittleCherryBlossom26 58 Chapters / 137,372 Words / Rating: Mature / Status: Complete April 1940, Denmark. Karl Nielsen is a 17-year-old boy who has been helping his parents at the familial farm from an early age on a small island on the west coast of Denmark. However, his life shatters the day when Germans invade Denmark and arrive where they live. His father still manages to send him on a boat for England before the Nazis can take him away. In a country he has never been to before, he will have to survive on his own right in the middle of the madness of the war. Will he manage to make it through despite all the hardships he will have to face? Well, read to find out. What inspired you to write about WWII and Karl's experience in a foreign country? Well, as far as I can remember, I’ve always had a keen interest in history (that was my favourite subject in highschool!) and world wars, especially world war II, are such an important part of our human history, so I thought to myself before starting to write: if I have to write about anything first, it should be historical fiction. All of us have at least or several relatives who took part in these world wars, relatives who were ready to risk what they had to fight for their beliefs and ideals. When I was younger, my grandmother used to tell me and my brother about her childhood during World War II (she was only eight when it started), so this alone contributed a lot to making me write about this period in history. Yet, I’ve chosen to write about a seventeen-year-old Danish boy who found shelter in England, and not about a fictional character living in Occupied France as I could have, or maybe should. Why then? Well, I think this is a facet that had never really been explored before; citizens living in annexed countries like Denmark, their daily life; hence the difficulty to make research about this aspect in particular. So of course, this could only pique my interest (there is also the fact that since highschool I’ve had an earnest interest in Nordic countries as well, though I don’t really know where it comes from; it’s like a magnet pulling me towards their culture and civilisation.) I’ve found this really interesting to explore exile in such a way, finding yourself penniless in a foreign country where you know no one or the language spoken there. How you have to realise you must grow up since you are not safe anymore in your familial environment and have no choice but fend for yourself on your own if you want to survive. Then how family doesn’t necessarily mean you must be tied by blood to consider people as your family. Most war stories I know (when I say this I’m thinking especially about movies) are about war itself, the fighting and its terrible consequences, so I think this is important to be immersed in the civilians’ life who, of course, didn’t meet the same difficulties, hence the second part being more about the fighting to then show the discrepancy between two different visions of war. Was it difficult emotionally [to write this story]? Yes, of course, it was! Terribly difficult! It was a roller coaster of ups and downs and a real challenge given this was my first story and not the easiest subject to write about! I kept repeating to myself I should have chosen something much lighter to write about, but then in the end I don’t regret writing this story at all. I mean I can be proud that this is my first story ever because despite the many difficulties, it was really worth it!!! Since this is your first novel, are you planning to revise it, or leave it as a benchmark to show where you started as a writer? Well…This is a very good question! I’ve been hesitating about these two choices for so long now! I mean, as this is my first story ever, this would be interesting to leave it as it is with the minimum editing needed as a benchmark to then show how my writing progresses with the years. Yet a part of me just wants it to be perfect since this is my first story! How contradictory, I know! So I guess I will just need some more time to think about it. Perhaps once I have finished the whole series I might be finally able to decide which is best! Overall, how do you feel about the success of your first story? If there is one answer I should provide for this one; I think I simply still can’t really realise it was read and appreciated by lots of people! This just sounds so incredible to me! By the way, never had I thought I would be featured in this blog! So a big thanks to the reader who asked me these questions! I really enjoyed answering them Besides, I really want to thank all of my readers once again for all the support and constructive comments. You guys rock! • • • • • How exciting! A historical fiction, and it's the author's first story? Awesome job, @LittleCherryBlossom26! This is one genre I don't believe I could write for. While history was one of my preferred subjects in school, I didn't retain enough information to create a plot confidently. Much respect to the historical authors on GA! If you enjoyed this edition of Ask An Author 3.0, then listen closely, folks. This was the last submission in the piggy-bank. I'm going to need a few more soon, or the first Wednesday of the month will be dryer than a fart. Take a quick second to think about your favorite story on Gay Authors. Now, take another couple to think about three questions you'd love to ask the author. Then send me a PM with the story title, the author's name, and the three questions. Until next month, have a good'n!
  24. I'm not sure about everyone else, but the weather in Kentucky's starting to warm up a bit. Well, at least for the moment. The chilly breezes were welcome for a short while, but I've had enough snow and ice. I'm ready for summer! Bring out the swimwear and IPAs! But you know what else we need? The March edition of Ask An Author! I'm all smiles with this month's featured author, although he might hunt me down after this introduction. One of GA's Signature Authors, Big Daddy @Carlos Hazday! An anonymous reader sent me some questions about his C.J. series, so let's dive in! • • • • • C.J. Carlos Hazday 15 Books / 45 Reviews / 863,840 Words / Rating: Mature CJ’s fifteen when his step-father banishes him from his home for being gay. When he moves to Washington to live with his father, he begins a journey of discovery. The series follows him through high school and college as he accumulates friends, and learns what it’s like to be a young, wealthy, gay man living in an urban environment. What made you write the final book to the series in 2019 and then return to it in 2021 with a new CJ novel? Exhaustion and fear. After churning out ten CJ books, I was tired of looking at everything through the same filter: could what I saw, heard, or read be incorporated into the series? By then, the stories had become more complex, and the supporting cast had gained popularity. I thought I could silence CJ by writing the stories some readers were asking for about secondary characters. As an aside, it didn’t work, CJ continues to infiltrate my thoughts constantly. I knew where CJ would end up twenty-years after his college graduation, and I feared I wouldn’t be able to share that. I have health issues that flare up now and then. Facing our mortality can be a motivator and with me the result was Hail to the Chief. Singer, Ranger, Cadet and a couple of other stories featuring secondary characters gave me the chance to expand the CJ-verse without having to feature him in every story. At some point I knew I had to return to the main series, and CDMX was the vehicle for it. One little comment in HTTC had followers up in arms wanting to know details. Those details are included in the final chapters of the Mexico book. When you created CJ in 2015, how did you go about creating the character and did you think you would still be writing about him 7 years later? Hell, no! As I’ve previously mentioned, the original idea was to write about a gay father with a gay son. Yeah, I still did that, but instead of CJ’s dad being the main character, his son took over. At some point I realized my plans to write about a rejected kid moving and spending a summer surrounded by gay adults would not be enough. Writing about summer let to three more tales named after each season. But the ideas kept coming, and CJ’s future looked too interesting to quit. I took him through high school and college before I jumped ahead those twenty years. CDMX picks up a bit over a year after his graduation from Georgetown. Inspiration has not abandoned me. I have three other CJ books in process right now. How difficult is the research for the books, as they got more complicated as the characters got older? It’s brutal. Because there’s so much. I’m a stickler for getting details right, and that leads to countless hours reading. Sometimes multiple references result in one line in a story. Actual research isn’t bad, but it is time consuming. Since Owen was introduced, I’ve learned a lot about wines. Because of the spinoffs, I’ve spent countless hours reading about music competitions, injured veteran recovery, and the Air Force Academy. And of course there’s been a lot of location and architectural research when writing about travel. Many locations I’ve used I’ve visited, but for some I rely on the internet and fellow GA members. I last visited Mexico City a couple of decades ago. Using my experience as a guide, I had to update my knowledge. You’d be amazed at the number of articles read and documentaries watched on Maya ruins! My next story’s set in Spain, so I’ve called on a Spaniard for assistance. So far he hasn’t quibbled with most of what I’ve written, but he has provided some great information I incorporate in the story. How many more CJ books are planned, will you be bringing us up to date with events that are mentioned in the final novel? Short term, there will be three more stories with CJ and Owen as the main characters. After Mexico, I’ll jump five years and switch continents. We’ll spend a week in Spain 2027. Then I’ll return to 2022 for the three months following Mexico, and jump ahead to 2027 again for a party in Las Vegas. Long term, I’m not sure. I do have tentative titles for about a dozen other stories. But I think I want to write shorter installments from now on. The rambling novels are exhausting. Yes, I do clear up one tiny, little, item I mentioned in Hail to the Chief. But I still haven’t figured out why readers considered that a cliffhanger. LOL Thank you to the member who asked and to Aaron for coordinating the AAA feature. Having done it for a while, I know it’s not easy. And thank you to ALL of GA for the incredible support I’ve received over the years. • • • • • I love working with Carlos. This guy has taught me more about the English language than any of my educators, public or collegiate. If it wasn't for him, I'd probably still be writing in a coke-induced third person-omniscient perspective. A heartfelt thanks for answering the questions! As always, we're looking for more questions to ask authors! Did you leave a review for a story, but wanted to know more about the plot or the author's mindset? Send your questions to me, and I'll get 'em answered! Any author is up for being interviewed, and any member of the community can provide questions. Until next time!
  25. Fourth year, first issue! Yeah, yeah, yeah… I know that’s not a proper sentence. So sue me. As I compile responses, the U.S. presidential election is less than a week away and I’m a little stressed. When you read this, people have cast the final votes. Who won? Okay, no politics. Let’s talk about this month’s Ask an Author question. Once again, it dovetails nicely with the one asked last month. The member who sent it in asked me to select the authors it would be forwarded to. Not wanting my preferences to influence the decision, I looked at the STORY UPDATES list, and chose the most recent authors to post something, as long as they had not been featured the previous month. We ended up with quite an interesting bunch. Thank you to the authors who answered my call. ҉ If you had the chance of collaborating with a GA author or poet who would it be and why? ҉ @Cia Well, for poets... collaboration is out, sorry! I'm able to evoke emotion and a sense of story well but only within story. Meter and verse simply elude me. It doesn't even crop up in my fantasy stories very often. I've tried co-writing before, but I'm either of two styles: plan it to death then write or just write as it comes to me and post it right away. Honestly, I'm more the second than the first. Writing with another person takes planning. Who does what, how do you separate out writing--plot events or chapters, how will you mesh styles? And time, lots of time. Not something I have much of these days. However, if I were to pick anyone out of the mix and the time and planning could magically work out? @Rob Colton I love his stories and they're easy reading, we have similar interest in genres. Plus I even met him at a conference before and got to hang out with him for a few days, so I know he's a sweetheart and would be amazing to work with. ҉ @Mann Ramblings In reality, I can be a bit of a controlling dick when it comes to creative projects. At work, I get a feel for what the client's needs are and then tell them what will work. I often believe the world would be a better place if everyone would just do whatever I tell them to do. (Ask Carlos how pushy I am when I edit for him. Some days it's not pretty.) So I'm not sure it would be kind to inflict me on a writing partner who's not prepared for that. That aside, I have been talking a little bit about pairing up with @Renee Stevens on a sci-fi story she has in mind. We each have strengths to balance out our weaker areas, and we know each other's process, so it could work. It's not a done deal, but the idea has been tossed around... ҉ @Mark Arbour If it was a poet, it would be Lugh, because he's bitchy but cute. For a story, I'd pick Domluka, even though he hasn't been heard from in years. I've followed his writing for years, and in fact he's the reason I first came to GA: I followed him here. He is excellent at developing quirky characters, and can tell an awesome story. ҉ @Mawgrim People who don’t write often think that it must be a lonely process. While it’s often best to write when you are alone (less chance of distraction) it doesn’t feel lonely to me as my characters are my companions. However, writing as a collaborative process definitely brings something different to the mix. I’ve collaborated with others writers a few times now and have discovered several good reasons to do it: It inspires the creative process. If you get stuck, then the other person or persons can often suggest a way out that you might not have thought of alone It’s really good for creating dialogue. Most of my collaborative projects have been on play or pantomime scripts and getting dialogue going between two (or more) writers really shows what works and what doesn’t. It’s also great when you are trying to create comedy - this is probably why a lot of comedy shows are written in partnerships. It helps to stop procrastination. If you know you need to get a section or chapter finished before you meet up, you are much more likely to keep to deadlines. Having said all that, I should now answer the actual question: If I had a chance of collaborating with a GA author, who would it be and why? I’ve not been using the site for very long, so I’ve only started to dip into the vast well of creative talent out there. But of the few authors I’ve read so far, the one I would most like to collaborate with would be @drsawzall Collaborating is a good way to improve your own writing. I have been told that I write with quite a ‘spare’ style; I tell a story without too much embellishment and I know my main failing is in detailed description. @drsawzall handles description brilliantly, so that it’s not a filler, or something you want to skip by, but creates a textured scene that you feel you could step into. If we were to collaborate, I feel that I could learn a lot from trying to mesh my ideas with his style. ҉ @RichEisbrouch This is stupid, but I'm an English teacher and editor. It's something I've been doing part-time for the twenty years since I retired. And I start to read so many of the stories on this site and just want to have five minutes with the writers to say, "You know, there are more economical ways of putting that." Or "You've got a great story there, but you could so easily give it more impact." Yeah, I know: it's not my business. Just read the stories, Rich, and say encouraging things. You know how hard it sometimes is to write -- you're putting yourself out there defenseless. But I say right back, "Yeah, but give me five minutes, and I'll show these writers how to use a few more defenses." As I keep telling my students, "Think as much about how you're writing as about what you're saying." And as Kurt Vonnegut's notes taught me: "Revise. Revise. Revise." But always keep a few earlier copies until you're set. Because sometimes, you overedit. And anyone who wants to collaborate with me, just ask. Thanks. ҉ @Wombat Bill Thanks for your offer, but as it is such early days, I don't think I have read enough stories on GA to make an informed decision. I have only read read stories by 2 authors so far. ҉ @Yeoldebard Tsukihana. We've been friends for years, and while our styles differ, she and I are always throwing ideas off each other. A full collab would be rather fun. ҉ Now, wasn’t that a blast to read? Expanding a bit on Mann Ramblings response, yes, he is a controlling dick. But he’s not that hard to work with. If you simplify sufficiently and obey him. I have no further questions inventory, so you need to send me some. See you next month!
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