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  1. It seems the authors have been busy with their noses buried in the upcoming Secret Author Contest. Not that I blame 'em, it's a fun event to partake in. While the authors, myself included, are typing away in utter secrecy, let's do another community edition of Ask An Author! Yes, that means you, my dear reader, get to partake in this month's fun. Normally, we have some questions for an author about a particular story of theirs or about themselves as a person. Instead, everyone can answer! Don't worry, I'm not asking for much. We did a version of this over a year ago, and it turned out well with over seventy-five comments. Let's see if we can break a hundred... Gay Authors community, here are your questions: Life has given you a potato. What are you going to do with it? Which Gay Authors story are you reading currently? What singular superpower would you love to possess? Be creative and personal with your responses! Put some thought into them, and let your fingers fly across your keyboard. I'll even start things off! Just a singular potato? I wish I had a few more, I'd make thousand-layer duck fat potatoes. This one better be a Yukon Gold... I'll probably create fondant potatoes with some butter, garlic, and thyme. Wait, no! Rosemary. Yeah, rosemary. I've been perusing a bit as of late. A bit of Rob Colton's Timber Pack Chronicles, a bit of Cia's Carthera Tales... I've been in a mood for what inspired me to start writing in the first place. Duh, flight? I don't care if I have to sprout wings or wear special shoes for it, I need to get in the air! No more traffic jams, no silly-billy drivers with zero common sense, and no restrictions of staying on a road. Let's hear it, people! Sound off below with your responses to these questions! And don't forget to send me questions for authors you'd like to see featured on the site... or else next month's Ask An Author's community questions will be much, much more intense, and not in the fun way.
  2. I hope y'all had a wonderful break from me. Big shoutie-outie for @Valkyrie and all of those who participated in this year's Poetry Anthology! Onto our next edition of Ask An Author! Yes, yes, I'm sure everyone missed me and my fat fingers as I bring you wonderful interviews. Let's get right into it, shall we? We have an amazing author lined up, so grab your popcorn and a drink while we see what kind of questions we have. • • • • • lawfulneutralmage 2 Stories / 99,604 Words What prompted you to start writing, and what has kept you going? I am a keen table-top role-playing gamer. My first RPG rule book, Shadowrun v2, contained a chapter explaining what role-playing means. The game designers asked the readers whether they had ever read a book and imagined they were the main character and in the described situation in the book, they would do something completely different. Role-playing would allow the reader to impersonate a character and act upon a described situation. Furthermore, the rule book stated that a character can be easily forgotten or, if well played, be someone a player would fondly remember. The difference, the rule book continued, was how much effort a player invested in a character. I have always invested a lot in my characters. Descriptions of family members and family history (where applicable), appearance and demeanour, and, of course, personal histories explaining why a character was who he was and why he was doing what he was doing. Sometimes, that was a long text. I think the maximum was twenty-four A4 pages. I even had one or two Game Masters (GM) who read it. Later, I started writing for some characters and their pivotal experiences as stories. In 2022, a new Game Master set a particular challenge. All characters had to be genuine criminals and on the run. That is not easy for me. My characters always have a detailed background with proper reasoning for what they are doing. I cannot justify proper criminal behavior, i.e. greed or hunger for power. I could write it, but I could not “feel” it. Therefore, I had to come up with something that was a justifiable and understandable crime. For me, it could only be some form of self-defense getting out of control. So, I wrote “Unchained” and shared it with the role-playing group who, all cis-hetero men, gave very positive feedback. When browsing GA and reading about the Secret Author Contest 2023, I thought “Why not?” I started going through the writing resources on GA, did some editing (poorly I know now) and asked it to be included. For me, the feedback to “Unchained” was fantastic, especially as most people I asked responded to my requests for further info. By that time, I had completed my run as Game Master with a TPK (total party kill – GM hint: never split the party!). However, the players wanted to know how the story ended. Therefore, I started writing it as a story with one of the non-player characters they had met as MC. It quickly got out of hand, i.e. took pages and pages and just did not want to come to an end. The positive experience from “Unchained” gave me the energy to continue that story. I intend to publish it on GA once it is done. To conclude my elaborate answer, I write and I continue doing so because I love stories. I keep posting on GA because it is an encouraging community. What genres do you enjoy writing, and what genre have you always wanted to explore? I love fantasy stuff, magic if it is at least somehow logically explained, and science-fiction under the same condition. In these areas I “know” stuff. I could not write about a genre I really know nothing about e.g. Westerns. What inspired you to write a police procedural that morphed into a supernatural thriller? In Great Britain, I was a volunteer police officer for ten years, a Special Constable. They have the same police powers as regular officers and the same uniform, apart from a crown on the epaulets. I was lucky enough to be based in a small but very busy station. I was able to experience a lot, either crewed with a regular officer or later with a fellow Special. I miss policing dearly. Sometimes, I am asked to tell some stories, and I realized people were actually quite interested. With that in mind, I planned to record some of my experiences. In 2021, my role-playing group started a Savage Worlds “Super Heroes” campaign where the Game Master had us make normal characters who would discover their super powers gradually. My character was Jamie, a young but experienced, gay police officer. A friend’s character was someone like Rupert Morris-Walker, an upcoming conservative politician from the ubiquitous upper crust. The group had a run-in with a supernatural creature that was after the politician, and that encounter activated parts of Jamie’s powers and got him suspended. Unfortunately, we have never continued that storyline and never will, because that GM retired from mastering. I was annoyed, because I loved Jamie and the story. When I just could not stand my 84 pages fantasy story anymore (see question 1), I needed to let it rest and concentrate on something else. At the same time, there was a discussion an GA about writing first-person-point-of-view i.e. the main character’s viewpoint and how difficult that was and how annoying it could be. Again, I thought “Why not?” I had a character I loved in Jamie whose world changes completely. I could explore what he felt by trying the first-person PoV which made me fall in love with him even more, and I had a topic I loved to talk to about in policing. So, the idea for “Special Circumstances” was born. Due to that PoV discussion on GA, I contacted Mikiesboy whether he would be willing to have a look at what I had written. He did … and tore it apart (nicely). He made me read Stephen King’s “On Writing” (most strongly recommended!!!). Mikiesboy was able to make me see “it”: let the characters tell, don’t describe too much, readers will imagine etc. He showed me how to write a story, not a description or a technical manual. CassieQ came back to me a bit later and was willing to have a look, too. She “hit me with the feelings stick”, making me rewrite stuff I thought was clear and asked questions I had hoped nobody would ask or I had thought had obvious answers. To give an idea of the transformation, my first chapter of about 7,800 words turned into four chapters of about about 20,000 words after they had put their hands on it. It was fun! Dear experienced writers, please help newbies by editing! What is one story/book you could read until the end of time and why? What a limitation! There is so much good stuff out there! My favorite commercial authors are Timothy Zahn and Raymond E. Feist. I have all their books and have read them several times. My favorite Zahn story is the Conquerors Trilogy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conquerors%27) in which the first book is written from the Human perspective, the second from Alien perspective, and the third mixing them. What a world building! My favorite fantasy story is the Raymond E. Feist / Jenny Wurtz’es Empire Trilogy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_Trilogy) featuring the political machinations in a Human society resembling a mix of East Asia, Zulu, and Aztec cultures. The world they are painting is so alive. However, the book I have read most often and since moving to Norway, yearly, is Melissa Scott’s science-fiction book “The Kindly Ones” (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1268281.The_Kindly_Ones). It first mentioned gay characters in any book I could access. Also, the MC’s gender is never revealed. So, this book was my first exposure to LGBT characters and dark, cold places. If you could chat/gush about one story you've written, which one? Well, I like both of them, but Jamie and policing are closer to my heart, so “Special Circumstances” it is. That story will always have a special place in my heart. • • • • • Thanks for the interview, lawfulneutralmage! It was fun to read your responses. As for the rest of y'all, make sure to send me some questions for future Ask An Author articles via PM. If you can't come up with questions, you can list an author for me to send some of my own! Until next month!
  3. Do you know how tempting it was to copy and paste the intro to this article? The weather has been absolutely insane. California is buried in snow, and the high today here in Banjoland was 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This is wild! But you're not here to talk about the weather. What was that Oscar Wilde quote? "Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative." I would also say you're not here to read quotes, but this is an Ask An Author interview, so I suppose you could quote the following author. This month, I had the opportunity to proverbially sit down with @AusGlitterati with some questions. Let's see what they said! • • • • • AusGlitterati 15 Stories / 723,080 Words What prompted you to start writing, and what has kept you going? I've always had an interest in writing stories - creative writing lessons at school were my jam! I used to write fanfiction about shows I watched growing up - Cyberchase, Arthur, Scooby Doo! In fact, I was "outed" because my dad found and read something I'd written as a self-insert in a Scooby Doo story - I'd made myself Fred's boyfriend (Freddie Prinze Jr was my first remembered crush!) I also created and uploaded many stories in the Story Designer mode in the WWE games! The direct answer to the question is that I don't know what really prompted me to start. I always just wanted to do it I enjoyed the stories told in books, cartoons and eventually games, and wanted to do that myself. I never did complete a story until adulthood - To The Stars - partly because I didn't think anyone was interested in gay fiction. It was literally GayAuthors and the incredible community that helped me reach critical mass and publish something and it's the community that keeps me coming back! What genres do you enjoy writing, and what genre have you always wanted to explore? I really enjoy writing drama/comedy - it's no coincidence that lot of my plot and characters are driven heavily by dialogue. I don't know if the chicken or the egg came first, but they seem to go hand in hand. I've had a go at writing mysteries in my two short stories - I definitely want to give that a proper crack! I'd also like to challenge myself with a supernatural story! Do you have a favorite food or beverage? Something you could have every day without growing tired of it. Coffee is the easy but copout answer - but we tend to downplay caffeine addiction, so I might instead go with salmon. The ONLY reason I don't live off salmon is that it would literally bankrupt me. 😜 What is one story/book you could read until the end of time and why? Oooft this is a challenging one to answer because I go through phases. Deltora Quest was a major part of my childhood and I do go back to it even now, partially for the nostalgia and partly because DUDE, Deltora Quest is lit! If you could chat/gush about one story you've written, which one? I might pick To The Stars because I don't know how many stories have been published about professional wrestlers. Part of the reason I wrote it was because I'd never seen one before! It was a little bit of a mess - the story changed in scope and direction several times while I was in the middle of writing it - but it was my first one and it's my baby! • • • • • Thanks for the interview, AusGlitterati! It was fun to read your responses. As for the rest of y'all, make sure to send me some questions for future Ask An Author articles via PM. If you can't come up with questions, you can list an author for me to send some of my own! Until next month!
  4. I don't know about y'all, but the weather here is a little wonky. 59 degrees Fahrenheit is a tad bit warm for February. Hold on a second... I think that's because we have a new Ask An Author edition that's hot off the presses! Eh? See what I did there? Aren't you proud of me? Nah, I can feel a few sets of eyeballs on me as I type this. I'll take the "boo's" in the comment section, please and thank you. Anyway, new interview! I had the lovely opportunity to chat with @Lee Wilson and see how their mind works. Enjoy the interview! • • • • • Lee Wilson 8 Stories / 398,382 Words What prompted you to start writing, and what has kept you going? There are really two answers to that question. I started a novel many (very many) years ago from an idea I had. It was just a spark really, but I spent a bunch of time on it. I don't get back to it often enough. My intent was self-publishing it, but it stalled after a few chapters. Secondly, while surfing the net, I came across nifty.org. After reading a few stories there, and one that triggered a memory, I figured, hey, I could do this. I set up a new email address to be anonymous and started writing. Interestingly enough, Lee Wilson is one of the characters' names in the aforementioned, truncated novel. Anyway, the story grew from that single memory into something a whole lot more. One of the comments sent to me mentioned this site. I started a story that the moderators there couldn't classify, so I moved it here. I'd also gotten to another story that I saw getting longer, so I brought the first couple chapters here as well. What keeps me going? Two things. Obviously continuing to come up with new ideas, and the folks here. I feel like I fit in somewhere; I don't have a lot of friends IRL. What genres do you enjoy writing, and what genre have you always wanted to explore? Well, primarily the stuff I've written here. I guess you'd summarize it as gay relationships. Apparently, I'd always wanted to explore that, it's thirteen stories and counting later. Do you have a favorite food or beverage? Something you could have every day without growing tired of it. Pasta, probably seafood alfredo specifically, but Bolognese works too. Top it off with a Mountain Dew, and I'm happy. What is one story/book you could read until the end of time and why? Stephen King's 'The Stand.' It's just a great story. Awesome characters and it's not exactly horror, for anybody that might be afraid to try it because they don't like the genre. Horror doesn't bother me, though; I have all of SK's books. And all of Lee Child's, John Grisham's, what I could find of Dean Koontz and Jeffrey Deaver, a lot of Richard Laymon, Jo Nesbo, a couple of James Patterson's series, John Saul. Did I mention I like to read? If you could chat/gush about one story you've written, which one? Wow tough question. If I were to pick one that's here (since most of what's on nifty wouldn't fly here), I think it would be 'Don't Blame the Band.' I took that one all over the place. It's also the longest one I've written so far. But to be completely honest, it would be the first one I wrote on nifty. DM or email me if you're interested in knowing how perverse I really am. 😁 • • • • • Thanks for the interview, Lee! Make sure y'all check out their stories. In the meantime, don't forget to send me some questions for your favorite authors!
  5. December is here, and you know what that means... There's one song I'll be muttering under my breath for the next three weeks. No, it's not Mariah Carey's Christmas song. The husband is already wanting to strangle me for singing Trixie Mattel's "All I Want For Christmas is Nudes" nonstop the past couple of days. But you're not here to hear me sing, and if you are, you've come to the wrong blog article. December also means y'all get another Ask An Author! Let's see, lemme dig around. I know I got one here somewhere. Jeezums, it's dark in— AH, GOT ONE! Took me a bit, but here ya go. Time to see what @WolfM is up to... • • • • • Higher Education WolfM 21 Chapters / 105,204 Words / Status: Complete What was the draw for writing and creating in this genre? Maybe it was my name that started me down this path. I do have a passion for the furry beasts I’m named after. More seriously, for as long as I can remember, the idea of shapeshifters has been a favorite fantasy of mine. I’ve written about being homeless and living on the streets a couple times. It wasn’t a pleasant world on the best of days. Creating in this genre made for a fantasy world I could escape into where I was able to hide from what was around me. Beings that don’t usually get sick, are strong enough to protect themselves, and can heal injuries just by shifting between their different bodies had a big appeal to a teen who tried act like he was never scared. On second thought, it was definite because I’m named Wolf. 😉 In almost all of your stories, the characters both primary and secondary may start single or coupled; but by the end they almost always coupled. Is there a reason that you tend to put your characters into relationships? To be honest, it’s not something I really gave much thought to. When I started writing Running with the Pack, I wanted it to be a boy meets boy story. I didn’t think of it as writing a romance story, but that’s partly what it became. For me, I really didn’t see myself as someone who’d have a meaningful relationship with anyone, but it was fun to see in print. While I was more-or-less happy being single while I wrote, I wanted something a little more for my characters. Aiden got Ethan. Casey got Darius and Cody, the greedy bastard. In The Journal of Chris Williams, it seemed like a natural progression of Chris’ healing that he found his true mate; what’s considered the ultimate happiness for a shifter in the world I create. Dorian was going to remain single, but I liked the character of Karissa Ryan and had fun when I expanded on their time together. I also thought she was just the person to knock some sense into the man. In Embers, Brandon is based on me more than any other character, even though Ethan’s beginnings match mine, so he started with his mate to match mine. I guess I could have created a similar dynamic between characters without putting them in a relationship. Through multiple books, Trevor had always been the playboy; always playing the field and getting laid with as many women as he could. So far I haven’t mated him off to anyone, though it came close. At the end of Higher Education, despite his summer relationship he does return to Harvard a single man. Maybe I’m just a romantic at heart. While this genre would be one that would lend itself to outdoor setting; you seem to set not only this story but others in areas with amazing outdoor sites. Is there something about the outdoors that really call to you, or more just that this genre needs to have some of those settings? I’m not an especially big fan of the outdoors and yet I’ve spent a lot of my life in it, which is probably why I’m not a fan. It’s a vicious cycle. That said, I kind of felt with my characters being part animal, they need to be outside of a bustling city with places they can shift, hunt, and run. I did kind of go against that in Embers with the ones living in Sydney. With Higher Education I decided to reuse the same rural Northern California town from The Alpha. The way I’d left that pack offered a good starting point for another book. Trevor hadn’t spent much time in that pack’s territory, so it was natural to have him explore. While there’s many fun and incredible things you can do in a city, I prefer writing the relaxed setting of the outdoors. Visiting a beautiful waterfall or climbing to the top of a volcano usually aren’t usually available options in a metropolitan location. I did place or mentioned shifters in and around San Diego and Los Angeles. If I hadn’t, Trevor wouldn’t have had the fun he did with Brandon in Hillcrest’s bars and restaurants. Well, the nude beach definitely qualified as outdoors near a big city. Where I’ve used a real location in a book, I’ve tried to see what’s around for my characters to do. Between the time I wrote The Alpha and Higher Education, I got to spend time in the area controlled by the Pit River Pack and was able to experience some of what I’d written about. That alone, increased my desire to reuse Burney, CA as a story location. Trevor was able to see more things than I used the first go around. Tourists do tend to find more than the locals who are used to having it around. Maybe the outdoors does call to me more than I’d like to admit. Just as long as camping isn’t involved. I get enough of that as a firefighter. • • • • • Thanks for the interview, @WolfM! It's always a pleasure chatting with you. Well, if you didn't catch my subliminal message before the interview, I'll reiterate. We've reached the bottom of the barrel again, folks. There's no more stories in the piggy bank. Help a little blogger and give him a few Q&A sessions for Christmas. If YOU have read an awesome story recently and want to learn more, send me THREE questions in a personal message pertaining to an author's story. Have a good holiday, y'all! See ya next year.
  6. I bet I had y'all fooled. "Oh, no! Where did Ask An Author go? Did it fall off a cliff, possibly dangling off a railroad track like a cheesy action flick?" Well, the answer is no. The explanation is incredibly simple. Blame the antholo— I MEAN I was asked so kindly and sincerely to push this back a week. By the way, did everyone enjoy this year's anthology? Personally, I had a blast. Such great submissions to check out, so if you haven't yet, get goin'! Anyway, y'all have waited long enough for this month's edition of AAA. Let me just check my list... Ugh. Not her again. How did @kbois get back in the queue? I'm just joshin' around. She's okay, I guess. A member of the purple Promising Authors group, she's become a staple for giggles, guffaws, and pesky cliffies around here. Let's get into the Q&A! • • • • • ⚠️ WARNING! ⚠️ The following interview contains massive spoilers pertaining to @kbois's "Shadow Effect." Please keep this in mind before continuing. • • • • • Shadow Effect kbois 40 Chapters, 185,695 Words, Mature You seem to joyfully embrace the idea that family can either be the one you are born into or the one you choose for yourself; and sometimes the two can mesh but they don't always have to. Do you find it easier to write about one style of family over the other? No. The story is what dictates how easy or difficult it is to write about family. In real life family dynamics are some of the most complicated issues you can come across. I come from a big family, married into a big family and yet am not close to any of them. My 'chosen' family is made up of a small group. My best friend is the sister my mom never gave birth to. We have each other's backs to the extent of dropping everything to help hide the body. Lol. My brothers wouldn't do that for me. Writing about family is easy, whether it's drawing on my own experiences or wishful thinking. Elijah is an only child who loses his parents. He has little choice but to create his own family. In this story like others; you seem to be very big on redemptive arcs. In this one, you seem to be heading Caleb Micco on one; is there something about these type of arcs that you find fulfilling to write about? Ahhh, Caleb! Even though he's not a big part of Shadow Effect, he seems to have made an impression. He started out as one of those secondary characters who wasn't supposed to go anywhere. Somewhere along the line, he gained a bigger purpose. He became a bad guy, albeit reluctantly. Hence, the redemptive arc. So now Caleb has his own story; The Light at the End of the Tunnel. It still remains to be seen how his redemption will pan out. I enjoy these types of storylines because they appeal to most readers on a base level. Who doesn't love it when a bad boy sees the light? 😆 What made you decide to keep Kage, despite his death, so present in this story? Elijah feeling his presence and using it to find his mate seemed different. What prompted you to choose this storyline development? Kage. Probably my biggest regret. I positively loathed killing him. It physically hurt writing that chapter. Kage was not supposed to be so... Kage. When I first started thinking about the storyline, the character was meant to be an ass. Then I started writing and Kage had other plans. I fell in love with him. He showed me a side of himself I never expected. That's the weird thing about writing-- characters will absolutely dictate what they want you to write, and sometimes it's vastly different from you envisioned. His death was planned from the very start. I couldn't change it. But neither could I completely write him out of the story. He was too important to Elijah (and to me), so that's why he played an important role later on. He still may show up in some way. Someday, I'd love to write something else with him in it. Maybe a short add-on to The Devil Is Gay world and he and Lucifer can see what kind of mischief they can get into. • • • • • Thanks for the interview, @kbois! Readers, don't forget to click the link in their name to check out their stories. Before I end this, I'm down to one more article in the piggy bank. If you would like to give one of your favorite authors a spotlight, send me three questions. They can be about a particular story or the author themselves. Check back the first Wednesday of December for the next edition of Ask An Author. See y'all later!
  7. And we’re back! My inventory of questions is rapidly diminishing and unless I get some new ones, I may start making some up for myself. You wouldn’t want that would you? Pick an author we haven’t featured, ask a question, and let’s see what they have to say. Aren’t you curious about what type of sneakers someone wears? Or maybe how they go about naming chapters or characters? Anything except for XXX matters is fair game. @Hunter Thomson has agreed to a return engagement. Our politician/jock from the Great White North was gracious enough to share a bit more about himself. • Your stories tend to have a sporting theme or background, is this a reflection of your own experiences in high school? In other words, were you, or are you still a sportsman or like most of us, an armchair fan? • The short answer is yes, this is a reflection of my experiences in high school. I started playing baseball when I was four years old, and I retired from the sport once my high school days were over, as I did not make the cut on the university team I tried out for. I spend most of my curling now, and I've been doing that for the past fifteen years. There's no plans to write a curling based story right now, I don't think there's enough of a market for it either on Gay Authors or in the world at large, although I suppose if I did write a gay curling romance it would be the best-seller (only seller?) in its field. I'm actually heading to my third regional playdowns the December 9-11 weekend, so I still play rather competitively. • You can find Hunter’s stories here: https://www.gayauthors.org/author/hunter-thomson/ • • • • • @northie also returns for her second appearance in the rebooted Ask an Author. If you haven’t been following her Never Too Late, I suggest you check it out. Fairly well written, the story’s a look at the budding friendship between an older gay man and a younger one. No, you pervs, it’s not about sex. It’s about the plight of a closeted man in the sunset of his life. • Short stories seem to be your forte and you definitely have the knack, but it can be a challenge for a lot of authors to tell a complete story in a limited amount of words. I think that it takes a certain amount of discipline to write short stories; are you naturally quite a disciplined person? • Thanks for the compliment. Am I self-disciplined? Yes and no … If I'm working to any kind of deadline (at home or in my job), then, yes, I can be disciplined in how I operate. Otherwise, I'm dreadful. 'Tomorrow' is one of my favourite words. I aim to write something every day, whether that's original writing, writing up, editing, or otherwise making alterations. As for the stories, mine vary wildly in length. The shortest is 500 words ('An Uncommon Daisy') and the longest is something over 16,000 ('The Bard's Tale'). When there is an actual word limit imposed (as some of Cia's writing games do), that certainly adds self-discipline into the equation – the story can't just run its course, but must be planned, then contained, refined, reduced as necessary. • You can find northie’s stories here: https://www.gayauthors.org/author/northie/ • • • • • @MacGreg continues the trend. This is the second time we hear from him in the past few months. Previously, we heard about his story Dissonance. Mac’s one of those gifted authors who share stories and poems and this time around he talks about his poetry. • You write both prose and poetry. What do you feel that poetry does for you as an artist/author that prose doesn't? • Good question. Writing prose is creating a story. It involves building a scene, developing characters, pulling the reader into the moment and letting them stay there for a while as the plot unfolds. Like most authors, writing prose gives me a platform to express myself and create fictional people, places, and experiences to share with others. Poetry is a similar outlet for me – but the impetus for writing it comes from a very different place. It derives from a deeper, unconscious source and is much more emotion-driven. It allows me to express myself in a less-structured way than prose (I tend to forego poetry patterns like rhyme, line length, and meter - sorry, poets). Because of this free-form style, I’m able to expel what I’m feeling in short order, sort of like purging something. Get it out, move on, and maybe a few readers will find value in it along the way. • You can find Mac’s work here: https://www.gayauthors.org/author/macgreg/ • • • • • @AC Benus takes the prize, this is the third time he gets featured. I may be renaming the blog Ask AC if this continues. Not only is the man from San Francisco a prolific author, his fans are prolific inquisitors. • Among the 58 stories and poems that you have posted on GA are a few of screenplays. You have a done a remarkable job, but what made you decide to attempt these in the first place and how difficult were they to write? • Like most of us, I was exposed to Moby-Dick in high school, and lucky for me, one of the scenes we studied in detail is the overtly homoerotic “Counterpane” chapter. This is where the two heroes of the book wind up in bed and consummate a marriage as true and inspiring as any in literature. So years later, one day browsing the shelves of my local used book seller, I happened on an edition of the book Melville published right after Moby-Dick. As I was expecting an enjoyable read, I was completely befuddled by Pierre, or the Ambiguities. It was dense – so dense, I felt like a dunce – and I gave up trying to read it, even though I hate to lose any battle. After a while, I settled on a way to conquer Pierre; I would read Melville’s novels from the beginning. I found a copy of Typee (published when he was 24) and was off. If I thought Moby-Dick was open about its portrayal of same-sex love, I was blown away by the male couple in Typee. The book was a phenomenon when originally published, and Melville feared he’d only be remembered for having written it. As far as my filmscripts on GA, I suppose I’m still surprised when people tell me screenplays So, long story short, I did read all of author’s novels in sequence until I was finally able to return to Pierre. My strategy worked, as I could now breeze through this very challenging book. But after I was finished, I wanted to bring the remarkable sequence to life for others. That’s when I hit upon doing screenplays, and organizing them so they tell Melville’s own story, from being a ship’s ‘boy’ at age 19, until the devastatingly negative reviews came in for Moby-Dick’s open and far-too homoerotic love story. Are they difficult to write? I would say they are a fun challenge to write. Most films unfold over a sequence of 8 to 10 large sections, or Parts. Once you get in the mindset of seeing tales developed this way, it helps you structure novels you wish to write as well. There are several online guides on how to start, but be aware, there is an almost Byzantine code of do-and-don’ts to learn and keep in your head. Nonetheless, I’d recommend the exercise to any writer looking to expand their abilities. As far as my filmscripts on GA, I suppose I’m still surprised when people tell me screenplays are difficult to read. They are like any other form: you start at the top and read your way down the page. Scripts are meant to be evocative too, so you should be able to see the scene as if watching a movie unfurl. • You can read some of those countless posts here: https://www.gayauthors.org/author/ac-benus/ • • • • • We’ll see you back next month but only if you send me enough questions to pass along.
  8. And we’re back. Sometimes I wish a few of my favorite GA authors were still around. I have questions about what inspired them to write a particular story, how they decided on locations, or even how they settled on a character’s name. Unfortunately, those I’d most be interested in asking aren’t around these days. Will you face the same regrets I do in a couple of years? Think of one of our new hotshot writers and send me a question. I’ll get it answered and we can all learn a bit more about those who entertain us. • • • • • @Dodger Well-known for his distinctive avatar and having published ninety-five chapters of his long-running story The Cockney Canuck, Dodger is not a one-hit wonder. I’ve enjoyed reading several of his short stories and this month’s question is about a different ongoing story: The Church and the Tradesman. • Your The Church and the Tradesman is a highly original and engaging work. How did you get inspired to create these characters? • Most of my characters are loosely based on people who I have met in real life and The Church and the Tradesman follows the same principle with the exception, unsurprisingly, of the unruly and thoroughly dislikeable pop star, Tyrone. It’s definitely not fan-fiction so I’m not going to throw any names out there but his character is based on the typical, manufactured, teenage, pretty boy, pop idol. Needless to say, I’ve never met anyone who falls into this category so it’s possible that Tyrone’s personality isn’t an accurate representation, but I like to think it is. The protagonist Andy, his friend Jazz, and sly colleague Bob are all slightly exaggerated variations of people who I met or worked with whilst living in the UK. They do, however, come from completely different backgrounds and environments and their paths in real life would probably never cross. I just thought it would be fun to put them all together and throw in a pop star for good measure. The inspiration originally came from an iconic gay nightclub in London that was nicknamed ‘The Church’ because of its unusual opening hours. In the story, this is the spiritual home for Andy’s gay alter-ego and a counterbalance for his very straight weekday job with Bob. This bizarre, hardcore dance venue, only opened one day a week on Sunday mornings from 4 am until 1 pm and gained notoriety in the nineties following a number of high-profile sex scandals. In its day it was probably the most infamous gay nightclub in the world but a reputation for sleaze and drugs inevitably led to its closure. Mercifully, I was never old enough to attend church when I was in England but I once had the dubious privilege of meeting some ex-members of the so-called ‘congregation’. Their vegetated states and vacant expressions were enough to convince me that the stories that I had heard about this place were probably true. This was supposed to be a light-hearted story but it does touch on the very serious problem of drug abuse, which I do not condone but could not ignore either. Drugs play a very big and very destructive role in Andy’s life and it was difficult for me to write about this without glamorizing it in any way. I hope I did okay. • • • • • @Dabeagle & @Cynus One question, two top dogs in the GA greyhound track– talk about a perfecta. I gambled and posed the same question to both authors in one message so they could read each other’s responses. Here’s what they had to say. • Dabeagle has just finished writing a story The List which is set in the universe of another writer's creation: Cynus' Weightless and Fearless. I'm curious as to the effect on both writers. Cynus, with someone else using, inhabiting, and possibly changing his own world. And Dabeagle about the pressures of writing something knowing that another author was likely to take a close interest in what resulted. How much collaboration was there? Or did Cynus hand over the characters and their environment and let Dabeagle get on with it? What attracted Dabeagle to those stories in the first place? • Dabeagle For me writing with others is old hat. Some of my best ideas and stories come from discussion and brainstorming with other people. I had worked with Cynus before - he's a relatively old friend - and we'd been successful in our plotting and execution of the story we'd wanted to tell. With respect to The List, Cynus had put out an invitation for people to come write in his universe. That particular thing isn't something I do. I have borrowed characters, with permission, such as Craftingmom's Devyn Kennedy. Sometimes a character, usually a secondary one, resonates strongly with me and I'll be moved to write them. My motivation in this case was to create characters that could interact with the existing universe yet be individual. I follow some basic rules or guidelines when working with other's characters. First is not to change them in order to suit me. For instance, breaking up a couple for my own use unless the original author approves. For instance, Cynus had already told me that Angie and Travis wouldn't last, therefore opening a door. I'd never have broken them up on my own. Secondly this sort of thing needs the blessing of whomever you're either working with or, in this case, whose universe you're playing in. Cynus was very supportive and loved Parker and Shane which made things much easier. I asked him a lot of questions in order to stay true to characters as well as not running afoul of any plans he had made in terms of new stories. So this wasn't a collaboration in the traditional sense, but neither was it a carte blanche. As I completed scenes or had ideas for new ones I'd often chat with Cynus via text or once a phone call. Communication is essential, for me, to create in a situation like that. I didn't feel a great deal of pressure as Cynus was involved in my idea process and read things as they got done. As far as what attracted me to them, I've read most of Cynus's work and given him critiques as well as sought critiques from him. I liked his characters and thought it would be fun to start out on the ground floor, as it were, and see if things would go like my Sanitaria Springs series. Primarily, though, I did it because Cynus is a friend and I felt I could do it. If this had been in some of his other universes, I'd have not had the ability. • Cynus Dabeagle's being a bit kind to me here. The perk of answering second is being able to read his response first, and I intend to take full advantage of the opportunity. There was a point in time where I was feeling a bit sorry for myself as an author. I felt I wasn't properly connecting to my readership, and that I wasn't having the level of success I felt capable of reaching. I kept complaining to Dabeagle about how no one ever wanted to write with my characters, and I questioned if that meant they weren't lovable enough. It sounds silly, I know, and in hindsight my mind really wasn't in the best place at the time (If you have any doubt, check out the note at the end of "Weightless"). Dabeagle knew I wanted someone to care about my work in that way, and he was generous enough with his time and talent to accommodate my self-pity. I'm grateful to him for that, even if it didn't quite pan out the way either of us expected. That was a rough time for me, and his willingness to contribute to my universe was in fact something I really needed emotionally. We'd collaborated before on Sanitaria Springs stories (where Dabeagle fell in love with one of my characters, Logan Whitmore), and working with him has always been fairly natural. With respect to the world/setting, I gave him fairly loose rein. The only areas which became tricky at all involved his use of my characters, but through extensive communication I think we handled that very smoothly. Shane and Parker are delightful--I have a soft spot for Parker especially--and I think they play well with my characters. For the record, if anyone else wants to consider a collaboration (or sponsored fanfiction) in my worlds, please feel free to talk to me about it. My characters always need friends, and if you're as good at collaboration as Dabeagle, we'll create another great story like "The List". • • • • • @MythOfHappiness Although no stranger to prose, MythOfHappiness has delighted many a reader with poetry. In my continuing effort to highlight GA poets, here’s another one for you. • You write so beautifully in poetry about images and experiences common to so many of us. Do you see poetry as a way to tell stories and share experiences? What led you to share your gift for image and word in poetry with everyone? • I write because it makes me happy. I can't really do anything else artistically, I don't play any musical instruments, I can't draw worth anything... writing is kind of all I have. I publish on here because I want to improve at writing and because if I didn't, I wouldn't ever finish anything I started. My drive at home is half-full of stories and poems I began to write but never finished. I'm not good at ending things, I guess. Thanks for asking. You're the first person to ever do so, and it really surprised me when I opened my GA account today.
  9. Ask an Author 2.0 - #5 Welcome back y’all. So far this year we’ve featured seven different authors in this blog; this month we add four new ones to the mix. I’ll continue to showcase different ones as long as you keep sending in your questions. Remember this is your chance to ask any author anything you want. The identity of the member asking the questions shall remain a secret in order to protect the guilty. J • • • • • @MacGreg Mac’s current avatar on Gay Authors is a length of rope innocently left on a wood floor. Don’t let it fool you, he uses it to rope readers into his world and once you get a taste of his writing it’ll be tough not to return for more. • I love the connection I'm able to feel with your characters and your story even though I may never be in their situation. That's with every story you've written. My question is, what are you hoping to communicate with your writing, and with Dissonance where did the inspiration come from for that story? • First of all, thank you for including me in the Ask An Author series. It pleases me to hear that you feel a connection with the characters of my stories. Honestly, I can’t think of a better compliment than that. I would say that a common thread throughout much of my writing is a focus on character-driven plots as opposed to event-driven plots. Although plenty of events happen within each story, the driving forces are the perceptions and reactions of the characters involved. I’m interested in psychology and sociology and the dynamics of interpersonal relationships, so I suppose the biggest thing that I’m trying to communicate with my writing is the intricacy of human relationships. Life is a great big jumble of positive and negative points that we bounce around on, and our reactions help mold our personalities. We all want to end up on a positive point, but it can be extremely challenging to get there. How we interact with others along the way is important, because we are all connected. Dissonance illustrates some of these positive and negative points. The ways in which Travis Cooper and Ben Mansfield navigate through the obstacles of their budding relationship is just as important as the obstacles themselves. I first got the idea for this story many years ago while driving from Colorado to Texas. Something in the air triggered a thought, and nine hours later, I had a story in mind. What happens when two people from very different backgrounds strike up a connection? Opposites attract, yes, but discordance can also happen. It’s an old story line, yet it remains relevant. Nothing is ever as it seems. Add into the mix the fact that these two characters are gay/bi, struggling with self-identity, self-loathing, fear of rejection, fear of the past, fear of the future, societal pressures, and a myriad of family issues (things so many of us can personally relate to), and the result becomes dissonant. This story sat for a long time before I was compelled to pick it up again in the fall of 2016. The characters of Travis and Ben never completely left me alone, and I’m glad for that. Thanks to everyone who's been reading it! • • • • • @jfalkon Having joined in 2007, jfalkon is one of Gay Authors oldest members. His thirty stories on the site show his versatility; the genres are as varied as the tales themselves. Having read some of them, I have enjoyed how his writing has evolved and the variety of emotions it evokes. • What prompted you to write Under The Surface? It was quite a dark story and I'm interested in your motivation. • Thanks for the question. I usually write about things that are on my mind. Before writing the story, I had watched some documentaries on kidnappings and religious cults and had heard a few stories about failed treatments designed to change a person's sexual orientation. This all happened in a period of about two months. The stories melted together in my mind and resulted in this rather dark story. • • • • • @northie One of the benefits or coordinating this feature is being exposed to authors I’m not very familiar with. Northie is one of those. Although I’ve know her for a bit, my interest in her work peaked when she sent me questions for the blog and again when someone sent questions in for her. Since then, I’ve read a few of her stories and plan on reading more. Her characters leap of the page and seem as real as if they were sitting next to me. • You have posted quite a few stories on GA in a short amount of time. Including an impressive 7 short stories in 2017. Were some of these stories already written, posted on other sites, re-vamped, or did you start each one from scratch this year? • Everything that's appeared on GA is new, and with the exception of the Anthology stories, they are usually posted pretty much hot off the pencil. I only started writing in late 2016, after a friend on GA (who's now my editor) planted the idea in my head that maybe I could write. My first efforts were short prompt responses (posted in 'Am I late?'). About the same time, I started a multi-chaptered story which is now complete, but has yet to be posted. Prompts continue to inspire my stories, because as an author who is still inexperienced, I love the opportunity to experiment. Genre, form, style, I enjoy playing around with them. Cia's writing games are another source of inspiration, and also, practice in writing to order. Some things that started out as shorts have evolved into longer, ongoing stories ('Soul Music', 'hell_is.com'). • • • • • @Hunter Thomson Hunter’s our resident jock from Canada. Who else could get away with a picture of a curler as their avatar? The man isn’t only interested in sports, politics battle it out for attention. If you get a chance, read one of his blog entries concerning running for public office. They’re fascinating. • In your bio, the focus is very much on real life and your own personal experiences. How much of your own life goes into your work, bearing in mind that you’re only 27? • I do tend to use my life experiences as a template for what I write. I feel that doing so gives me a more authentic point of view, and I can write about sports more effectively because I understand the thoughts and feelings of the players from my own experiences. That isn't to say that my Out on the Field series is a biography, its not. But there are certainly a number of elements to Devin's life that are similar to mine. It's been argued in the past that Devin's stories are a way for me to relive my life in an alternative universe where things were different (like making the UBC Thunderbirds). I can see where the argument comes from, but what happens in my stories is fiction; my life experience just give me some extra perspective on the psychology and internal aspects of the characters. I find it interesting that the question frames me as 'only' being 27. I guess from a chronological viewpoint I haven't been around the planet for very long compared to some people (and potentially the person asking), but I've given myself a chance to lead a rich life in the time I've been here, and the wealth of positive and negative experiences I've lived through gives me a lot more to work with in my writing than I thought I would have. • • • • • BONUS QUESTION– ASK AN EDITOR @Kitt A little detour along the way. Someone suggested asking editors a question and two of the ones I approached were kind enough to reply. Here’s what Kitt had to say. • Can you give examples of edits you've made of mistakes which were really funny or really strange? • I edit for a gent whom English is his second language. Actually several of my authors fall into that category. I think the most amusing one is where he put shrubs in where scrubs ( the hospital wear) belonged. Was several minutes before I could continue working. I kept seeing this little older woman wearing a bush!
  10. Wow, July is gone and August has started. In Canada, the first week of September is considered the end of summer. No matter where you are, let's make the most of August! Currently I'm on vacation , so a big thanks to Cia for running the stories Saturday night and putting them in and publishing the wrap up! Monday, Cia started the close of the month with the CSR Discussion Day: Wednesday, Carlos brought us another edition of Ask an Author 2.0: Friday, I was a bit late featuring the Prompts, but CIA had them up nice and early. Anthologies 2018 Fall Anthology: Fight Back - Due Nov 15th 2018 Fall Anthology: Good Intentions - Due Nov 15th Blog Opportunities Story Critique: Open to all GA authors. Sign up here. Ask An Author: Send your questions for your favorite authors to @Carlos Hazday (no questions = no Ask An Author) Story Recommendations: Open to all GA authors & readers. PM your recommendation and why you recommend it to a Site Admin. Premium Updates: Harbinger by Cia *Premium* Classic Updates: Conversations With Myself by Altimexis Mark's Revenge by Ronyx Wild Heart by Dabeagle Signature Updates: Aria Graice by Nephylim Clouded Purity by Cynus; Book 2 of The Trial Denied by Cia Dinner is Prompt-ly at Eight by Cole Matthews Leopard Hunt by Graeme; Book 4 of The Lilydale Leopards Mojo by AC Benus The Angel of Retribution by CarlHoliday Translation Trashbin by AC Benus; Book 7 of Verse Promising Updates: Here Kitty, Kitty by Caz Pedroso The Cockney Canuck by Dodger tim's Bits and Pieces by Mikiesboy ***Check out this GA Classic*** Escaping the Pain By Cia When things go wrong what would you do to get away? Dane tries to escape by running but something stops him. Is there a better way? Don't forget.... Read, Write, and REVIEW!!!
  11. My threat to ask myself questions in a previous entry sparked the following from a GA member: A question or two for you... Or for anyone else with a long-running saga. How do you keep track of everyone? And indeed everything they do? Do you just remember, write notes in a separate file, rely on your beta-reader to keep you on the straight and narrow? Do you ever mix characters up, giving them characteristics belonging to someone else? I decided to accept the invitation to share the question with others and approached the authors of the two longest series on Gay Authors: @Mark Arbour and @Bill W. • • • With sixteen books and nearly four million words, Mark Arbour’s Chronicles of an Academic Predator is a series of historical fiction spanning the late twentieth century and early twenty-first. The author was gracious enough to reply to the question. • I have a really good feel for my characters and their personalities, so I really don't have to worry about losing track of that aspect. When I'm writing, I periodically go back and re-read prior books, and that helps keep me in their heads. That being said, I'm not very good with details. That's where my writing team and my readers help keep me on track. In addition to editing, my team will point out any inconsistencies or grievous errors. With the CAP series, for example, Jeremy (Methodwriter) has been instrumental in watching out for important dates (Iike birthdays) and even set up a reference topic on my forum. My readers have also been amazingly helpful. In the past, when I've had questions about something (like how many people did this character have sex with?), they've jumped in to do the research for me. • • • Bill W’s The Castaway Hotel follows the life of Josh and the children he provides shelter for. At eleven books and nearly two million words, the saga is the second longest one on Gay Authors. Here’s his reply to the question. • I keep notes in a document/file pertaining to the characters, specifically ages and any other information that might change as my story The Castaway Hotel progresses, but mostly I know the characters and their personalities, so I depend on my memory for the most part. I also keep a document with a synopsis of each chapter for easier reference, especially if I need to go back and check to make sure what I'm writing is in agreement with what I've already written. I also rely heavily on my beta(s) and editor to catch any slip-ups I might make, although sometimes the readers still catch things we've missed. • • • I guess it’s my turn. • Excel is my best friend. I have a file with multiple spreadsheets I use to keep track of several things including characters. Name, nickname, physical characteristics, date and place of birth, education, and myriad other things. The more important the character is, the more information I keep. Some of the minor characters have no more than a first name and a few words on who they are. Something like Georgetown Cupcakes baker. Considering I have named around 250 named characters so far, it’s the only way I can track everyone. My team also helps. Mann, Kitt, and Reader1810 have caught me mixing things up a few times. Particularly Reader since she gets to beta read an early draft of each chapter. • • • That’s all, folks. See ya next month.
  12. Welcome to a special edition of Ask an Author. Some members may not realize the individuals who help Gay Authors thrive are themselves authors. Most of them have stories on the site. My thanks to Renee Stevens for the suggestion leading to this blog entry. @Renee Stevens provided the inspiration for this edition of Ask an Author so let’s start with her. Im hoping she gets to read this before Baby J comes bounding out! This is her take on an issue that has been previously discussed on Gay Authors. • For any of the lady staffers who write the stories: I've always wondered how straight ladies got into writing gay fiction. Not sure I've ever seen it asked. • • I can't talk for all the straight women who write in the M/M genre, I can only speak for myself. I can't even remember how I got into reading the genre, but I became part of a gay fiction group and met some wonderful people. At the time, I was writing M/F romance and a couple of my new friends read what I wrote, but other than that, I never really shared my writing. The more I read, and the more I saw how supportive the group was, the more I thought about trying my hand at M/M romance, especially as I had the people available and willing to answer any questions I might have. My first story, Eternity, was received rather well, and those I had read it had no problem telling me if I had something wrong, or if my characters weren't acting or doing like they should. After I finished Eternity, I wasn't really sure if I had done the story justice, but the community I had become involved in was so supportive and encouraged me to write my next novel, Puppy Love. After that, I never looked back. • • • @Cia's name has been known to strike fear in many an author. She’s the gatekeeper when it comes to moderated stories and has the difficult task of sifting through posts by newer contributors. I’m not going to lie and say she’s a pussycat; I’ve suffered the pain of her communications. However, she’s a talented, published author with plenty of experience under her belt. I bristled at her comments on my first ever anthology submission, but once I calmed down, I took her criticism to heart and my writing’s better because of it. She can critique my work any time she wants. • You write in a bunch of different genres. What is your favorite genre to write and what is your favorite story of yours in that genre? • • I'm an eclectic writer as well as reader. I like to try a little bit of everything, and generally enjoy most of it, because, helloooo, we're talking books! I love the written word, to the point I have an appointment next month to get a tattoo of a multicolored galaxy coming out of an opened book and the quote "open books lead to open minds". That's also a pretty good indicator of my favorite genre, which is definitely science fiction. I'm a huge geek when it comes to research (though I sometimes play a little fast and loose with actual science as it morphs into fiction) and I love creating alien worlds and species. And when I write sci-fi, I feel more creative and inspired, so writing flows easier for me too. As for my favorite book... that is so much harder to decide, and I could never pick just one book or author! The genre leads to stories that are all so different, and I enjoy them for those differences. I began my journey through alien worlds on dragonback and singing ships with Anne McCaffrey, and she remains one of my favorite authors of all time, but the intriguing concepts and complex societies spanning the universe in Dune by Frank Herbert really cemented my love of the genre when I was twelve. If I had to pick my favorite MM authors who've written science fiction eBooks I love, I'd have to say it's a tie between M.A. Church and Lexi Ander. All of those worlds and styles I've read over the years have influenced me, and I think one of my favorite worlds and stories is one I've barely written, actually. Coupled in Synchronicity was a short story for an anthology where I played with Jung's theory of synchronicity in a sci-fi theme setting. Writing it led to a plot bunny of epic novel proportions that I still can't decide how to write. A romance? A bromance? Post it free? Expand my publishing to more traditional publishers and try my hand with a 'nomance' at all story? Do one of the first two options and self-publish? Until I figure that out, I just can't seem to get going on the story since the two main characters' relationship has to be defined first. But that would be the first chapter of the story, so everyone can check it out and share their thoughts with me! . • • • @Graeme, one of our prolific Aussie authors, has over fifty stories on GA. He’s recently begun posting the fourth installment of his Lilydale Leopards series; if you’re not familiar with his Aussie Rules Football team, you should be. I’ve enjoyed following the antics of the delightful cast of characters. • With the release of new Leopard story I’m curious. Graeme has very detailed storylines... How do you go about planning a Leopard story? How long is the process? • • Actually, it's more the research that takes the time than the planning. The planning is usually restricted to working out some major events and how I want the story to end, and that's about it. When I write, I simply head the story in the direction of the first major event and see what happens. The writing is a discovery process for myself, too! While it may look like I have things plotted out, one of my talents is furious rationalisation after the event. I can usually come up with a reason for something that justifies what's happened before. My favourite example is Matt's motivation for his behaviour in Heart of The Tree. When that motivation is revealed, it ties everything back to the start of the story, and looks like it was all planned, but it wasn't. I came up with that motivation when I was writing that late chapter. Research is where I tend to go overboard. For example, I went down to the level of identifying which California district Mason's mother represented in the Assembly, and which Congressional district she was running for in the primaries. They're not mentioned explicitly in the story, but that research gave me demographics, crime rates, historical voting patterns, the distance to the school that Mason intended to go to, etc. And that's only one of the items that I've researched during the writing of the story! • • • @Myr is probably missing chunks of hair from pulling them out while dealing with software update issues. Although most of his time is dedicated to the nuts and bolts of running our favorite site, he’s also an author. His Harry Potter fanfic and Science Fiction stories are a treat. However, the question we’ve asked him to answer gives us a bit more background on GA’s boss man. • First, thank you for all that you do for us at GA. I can’t impress how much your efforts and that of the team mean to us. We’ve been learning a lot more about you recently, with the blogs and such. The world building in your Sci-fi and magical realms is nothing short of amazing. However, this question is not about your writing. We know you have an extensive and varied book collection so, tell us, what is the most ridiculous fact you know? Tell us something we’d be surprised to learn about you • • I haven't really ever talked about it on GA, but I've been obsessed with trains of all sorts since I could walk and talk. To the point that I spent several hours while at Disney World, chasing the train and monorails around getting pictures. Or in the case of the Monorail, back when it was still allowed, getting video from the front seat up with the driver. A fair few of my books are dedicated to trains and model railroading as well. I'm currently working on a very sizable room so I can build a very sizable model train empire. It's a great hobby for getting away from the stress of things. • • • @Mann Ramblings is a man of many talents and I have a soft spot for him. Get your minds out of the gutter! He took a chance on a newbie author and any success I’ve had with my writing owes a lot to his patience and guidance. I’m giving him some time off so we can hopefully have something new from him in the near future. (I know I’m gonna pay for the time off comment.) I’m stretching the staff definition to include him since he’s a member of the GA promotions team. • I noticed you are using a different name on other sites. Is J. Alan Veerkamp your real one? If not, how come the change in pseudonyms? • • J. Alan Veerkamp is a new pen name I created after a discussion with my new publisher. There was some concern that having a pen name like Mann Ramblings which is a play on words, might make my writing seem less serious to the main public. So with that in mind, I put together the new name which is a combination of aspects of mine and my mother's maiden name. I did it to honor the side of my family where all my creativity comes from and who have given me unwavering support in all of my endeavors. In spite of it all, I decided not to change my identity on GA, because I didn't want to create additional confusion and I didn't see the need on the site that started it all. • • • That’s it for this month. Remember to send me any questions you may have for GA authors, and I’ll do my best to get them answered for you.
  13. May Day! May Day! I’m floundering, here. I know April has thirty days. So thinking the first Wednesday in May was next week was a total brain fart. My apologies for the late posting and the brevity of this issue. Coffee has yet to properly do its job. A member sent me a question and suggested I ask it of either Cia or Mann Ramblings. Not one to waste an opportunity, I approached both. @Cia You are an artist in many forms, be it the written word, photography, sculpting, painting, etc. Does your art of writing influence your art of other mediums? Or vice versa? Yes, it does, actually. Photography/digital art and writing are both creative outlets for me. I often pair them, using art for scene inspiration or published works. I love to take photos of the beautiful locale I live in, but hot gay men draped over each other are seriously lacking in my real life, lol. In all seriousness, the saying is that a picture is worth a thousand words, and I'm always striving to find the ideal angle to capture a beautiful shot or the most expressive language to share a scene. Whether what I see is in front of me or in my mind, the goal is to use the most visceral, the most real, language or viewpoint to paint a picture that pulls others in and enables them to feel. Photography isn't easy, but writing is even harder. If I do that just once with one reader in a whole story, I'm ecstatic. @Mann Ramblings You are an artist in many forms, be it the written word, photography, sculpting, painting, etc. Does your art of writing influence your art of other mediums? Or vice versa? The answer is kind of yes and no at the same time. While I've drawn character sketches of my cast (some have ended up in GA's gallery) I don't make fanart of my work per se. I have a fascination with Victorian imagery which I will incorporate into ceramic design or decorate pieces with steampunk themes, but I don't make them to go along with my ongoing stories. For example, I don't make mugs with quotes from my stories on them, no matter how cool they might be. (The context would be lost for most of my customers.) There's no way to say my different media don't cross-influence one another. I think it's less of a conscious decision and more of directing one another into color pallets, literary genres, and visual elements. Sometimes I make pottery with book/library graphics on them, so it's all connected, I think. @Thorn Wilde is a long-time member who’s also a musician. I felt they would fit well into this crowd of authors. In much of your recent work, including stories, poetry and blog posts, you champion the importance of (and struggles with) transgender/non-binary inclusion. This is a subject not discussed a whole lot on GA. What are the biggest challenges you see in writing about this subject? What are the biggest rewards? Oh, that's a great question! I guess the biggest challenge is approaching it in a way that people understand. There are a lot of readers, especially older readers, who don't really have a concept of what transgender means, let alone non-binary or genderqueer. There's a lot of misrepresentation, inaccuracy and simplification when the media presents trans identities, a lot of sensationalism and so on. Which is, of course, why I think it's so important to write about it in the first place, to try and get around the stereotypes and the misunderstandings. I kind of see it as my duty to educate, because someone has to, and that requires a certain amount of patience, which can be very challenging in and of itself. I muddle through, though. The reward is when a reader says, this is something I never thought about but I get it now. Knowing that I reached someone who would otherwise not have thought about the issue much feels really good. Then I feel like I've accomplished something important, and it gives me a reason to go on doing what I'm doing. And, on a more personal level, perhaps people understand me better as a result, too. And maybe, just maybe, by talking about it and putting it out there, it may help someone else come to terms with their own gender identity. It took me a long time to understand how and why I feel the way I feel, and I did so largely because other people talked about it and gave me the language to put my own feelings into words. If I can pay it forward and help someone else do the same, then that's the greatest reward I can think of. @Wayne Gray, in contrast, is one of our newest members. His first story garnered a large response and earned him instant fans. Y’all keep sending in questions for him so we can get to know him better. Okay? As a newbie to GA, you've already made a big impression with Guarded and your latest piece, Silverwolf. You write characters who are very believable/relatable but also have unique, and sometimes quirky, characteristics, which is one of the draws to your stories. What is your creative process for developing your characters and bringing them to life? First, I'm flattered that anyone would want to know about my process. Thanks for that! For characterization, I start with a blueprint based on someone I've met. I amplify certain traits, mute others to turn my character into someone new. I've found starting with a real person gives me inborn attributes with which to work. Karen in the coffee shop in Guarded is one of those quirky characters. She's wildly goodnatured, bubbly, and has an infectious joy about her. I had a lot of readers "warn" me not to hurt her during the process of Guarded's plot. I consider that a successful character. There's more to it than starting with that base model. Before I begin anything at all I think about the "roles" in the story I want to tell. Protagonists, antagonists, side players, red herrings, flavor only, allies - these are all categories make it onto my character tracking sheet. If you're really interested in that, then I'll link it so you can see it. BEWARE: There are spoilers on the sheet! Don't click it if you actually want to be surprised by the twists and turns of Guarded. Guarded Character and Resource Sheet Thanks again for your interest. I look forward to posting many more stories on GA. That’s it for this month. I promise to start working on the next issue today, but you can help ensure it’s a good one. Send me your questions!
  14. Ask an Author #48 Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors! In AtA #47, we heard from authors Riley Jericho, SkinnyDragon, Craftingmom, and Roberto Zuniga. Today in AtA #48 we hear from authors JackBinimbul, Mikiesboy, Palantir, and WolfM. Please welcome Texan and Author JackBinimbbul to the blog. Jack has been with GA for almost a year but has dabbled in writing for a long time. He’s the author of the popular crime/romance story Painted Blue, just what the BDSM genre needs after the horror that is “Fifty Shades....” Jack’s family has a history of service in law enforcement, and you know what they say: “write what you know!” Painted Blue is about a detective who begins to understand and allow himself to enjoy aspects of himself that our society often labels taboo. Law enforcement and BDSM are two genres commonly ridiculed or demonized, so it’s awesome to have a story that’s so real. Despite the play on the Dorian Gray name, the characters are wonderfully down-to-earth and the information about what happens in a real “scene” is a can’t miss, even if you’re not normally a fan of the genre. To JackBinimbul: How have you planned out the crime/mystery part of Painted Blue? What challenges have you run into attempting to weave the mystery aspect of Painted Blue into Dorian and Felix's story? Well, I won't be giving any spoilers! That said, it's been relatively difficult to weave everything on the crime/mystery level so that it's not readily apparent, but in hindsight, the reader will be able to see all the threads as they converge. It will be a fairly large reveal, but I want it to still be believable. It has been a bit of a challenge working everything in with the relationship between Dorian and Felix. I didn't want either elements of the story to completely overshadow the other, but I also want them to feel interconnected and to play off of each other organically. It has been tempting to just focus on the crime aspect, or the developing relationship and I've really had to be disciplined about giving them equal consideration. Author Mikiesboy joins us once more. For those of you not familiar with this guy, Timmy is from Ontario, Canada and has published about 20 different items in his year and a half here on GA. An avid participant in the weekly prompts, Timmy also writes some amazing poetry. In January, Timmy gifted us with Miss Silver Pretty-Pink-Toes, a fairy tale story with some breathtaking imagery. While I am not the only one wanting more from this author, unfortunately life has a way of throwing curve balls. We might be seeing less of Timmy in the future as he puts things in perspective and focuses on what is truly important to him. Still, he’s given us some rich memories which will be treasured. To Mikiesboy: Do you have any future projects planned? I don't plan to write poetry, not like you'd plan to write fiction, poems just sort of come to me. They are a way for me to deal with issues, good or bad, that happen in my life. However I do work on AC Benus' Poetry Prompts, which are a great opportunity to learn. For these I have to plan to write them. It's a challenge and I think making yourself try new things, step out of your comfort zone, follow the restrictions of the form, makes you more creative and a better writer. Future projects, yes, I am currently working on a new fictional piece, a kind of dystopian story. I also have something almost ready for the Pre-2016 Anthology Themes. It's something completely different for me. I'll probably continue to write a weekly prompt now and again and definitely will do any of AC Benus' O'Henry Prompts when he puts out another one. You might remember member and writer Palantir by his former name Iarwain. With GA since 2009, Palantir has had an amazingly varied life. He calls Melbourne, Australia home now but he has travelled extensively over the years and can tell you quite a bit about a number of different places. I’ll bet all those stories made him a wonderful teacher, too. He now has a website dedicated to his stories about what he’s calling the Terran Diaspora, which you can also read here. For those of you who are not sci-fi fans, this generally refers to Terrans (us, Earthlings) leaving Earth and settling on other planets. Closer to home, you might remember The Ocean Walk, one of Palantir’s first stories. Two guys off hiking along the beach keep meeting up as small catastrophes keep trying to ruin their adventures. If you like nature, this is one for you. To Palantir: What inspires you to write? How is it that you put an idea together for a story? The inspiration to actually write? = a sense of achievement - hopefully a kind of legacy - the wonderful gift when readers express their enjoyment - the act of creation Inspiration is a very tricky beast and I never know where it's going to come from. All my major stories have started with a germ of an idea and then fleshed out with the characters somehow running away with their own ideas and actions. When I've committed to a story it's with me everywhere. Sometimes I realise I've walked through the bush or along a beach and seen nothing because my mind has been trying out ideas and approaches for the next section of the story. Last but not least today is author WolfM. We’ve seen a lot from this author in the past few months, as he’s the creative force behind Running with the Pack. With more than 350 reviews on this story alone, can you believe WolfM was once told he has no talent? Running is an epic tale pushing 250-thousand words and 50 chapters as of January 2017 and WolfM should feel pride in such an accomplishment. He’s enjoying some time off writing right now, but let’s hope he brings us some more of Ethan and Aiden soon! To WolfM: Do you plan on having expanding the world of Running with the Pack with future stories or creatures? As I've been writing Running with the Pack I have given thought at times to a possible follow up story. At this point I have absolutely no idea what form it would take, what characters would be included or even if new species of shifters would make an appearance. Unfortunately the best answer I can give to any of the readers who have encouraged me with their support to keep working on RWTP is that my current focus is on completing this project and taking a little break from writing so I can catch up on many of the stories I very much want to read. I will say that after spending so many years with these characters and having them in a sense before friends and family to me, I might not be able to let them go completely once I do reach the final chapter. That’s it for now! For more info on these authors, go check out their stories, post in their forums, and/or catch them in chat! I’ll see you next time, with authors AC Benus, HindertoyBL, Milos, and Parker Owens! I’m always in the market for new questions! Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark
  15. I can't believe it's already March. Not only that, but it's the first Wednesday of the month, which can only mean one thing. It's time for another Ask An Author feature provided to us by Dark. If you have questions you want to ask your favorite authors, but don't want to ask the questions yourself, you can always send your questions to Dark for inclusion in the Ask An Author feature. Ask an Author #47 Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors! In AtA #46, we heard from authors Comicality, Mann Ramblings, Mikiesboy, and Parker Owens. Today in AtA #47 we hear again from authors Riley Jericho and SkinnyDragon, plus Craftingmom, and Roberto Zuniga. It’s been quite a while since we’ve had the pleasure of quizzing lady craftingmom (way back in AtA #34, fall of 2015). She had just finished Lie of the Serpent, a story revolving around protagonist Bryan finding his missing fiance. I, like many others, found myself fighting tears several times. Craftingmom does love a good tear-jerker! Since then, she’s been promoted to Promising Author and gifted us with more than half a dozen more stories. Currently she’s working on a sequel to “Guarding the Line” called Finding the Line[/url. While I haven’t read it (you know I’m not a big fan of teen romance), the reviews are intriguing. I think everyone has had that one crush you just wish you’d said something to, but what would have happened if you’d actually gathered the courage to do so? If you have read the original, this is the same story but from the opposite point of view, and it’s just beginning! you can flip back and forth between them or read all of Brady’s story first. But buyer beware! Craftingmom writes character-driven stories. You’ll certainly feel the drama as if you were the protagonist yourself. You can also catch her at her other sites; she’s really branched out over the past few years. Look for her pen name Taylor Ryan, if you want her M/M stuff. To Craftingmom: What sort of things do you do after dealing with the darkest parts of your stories? That's a tough question. I'm not really sure I do anything specific afterwards. I do go through a bunch of tissues while writing them. I think since I tend to do most of my writing between midnight and 4am, the fact that I get to crawl in bed with my husband and cuddle up with him helps too. Before bed, my girls also crawl into my bed and beg me to read to them. Mind you, they are 13 and 15, so the fact that my 'teens' still want to be with me and have me read to them is very comforting. One other thing my husband and I usually do is, when we are eating out, if any first responders come in to eat, we'll pay for their meals. (When 12 walked in at once, that was a little more overwhelming!) It's not something I do specifically because of the dark subject matter I write, but I do think about how these people help the kinds of souls that I write about, and it's a small way of thanking them for their service. Back with us again is Author Riley Jericho, most well-known due to his epic saga An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA. Riley flirted with us for four years before finally completing his saga last fall (Sept 2016). He writes to us from all the way over there in Manchester, UK. Although a quiet, private person, Riley is quite friendly, do don’t hesitate to swing by his profile and say, wish him a belated birthday (Jan), or poke him about writing us something new, not that I’m one to talk. Still, who knows what random comment or thought will lead to the next big story? To Riley Jericho: How do you feel about your stories being so popular and well received here on GA? I'm a Brit. It's genetically impossible for us to accept compliments, so that's a tough question! The truth is, I value every chapter read, and drink in each review, answering them methodically. I love hearing what people think and it also feeds me with many new ideas. Some of my least-proud moments here on GA have been the times I've disappointed readers. I think you know what I mean, and even though my reasons and situation were very real when I disappeared for a long while, I'm also very sorry for doing that—and thanks to all who sent hugs and kept looking out for me. So in answer to your question, it astounds me that most of my readers still stuck around! And yes, I'm extremely grateful my stories are well received. That said, I've learned the lesson that you have to write because you want to. Sometimes there will be lean times when it comes to how well readers respond. It's only when the story is important to you, do you keep writing. Author Roberto Zuniga is the better half of Albertonothlit, who you might remember appearing in this blog once or twice. In addition to writing, Roberto is an amazing artist and has created book cover art for his husband. Mexico certainly has its challenges when you’re gay, but these two almost make it seem like a fairy tale. An interesting tidbit for those Star Wars fans out there: Roberto’s birthday is Star Wars Day! (May the 4th) Now you’ll always remember. According to his friends, this is one sweet man, and he can also write a mean story. Roberto has several stories that are in progress, but I think the hidden gem in his collection is Bred for War. In this story, there are two countries at war. They’ve been at war so long that their entire economy has slowly become only about the war. What will happen when two soldier-boys from opposite sides meet? They’ve been raised from birth to believe their enemy is “evil.” It’s a devilish conundrum for the main characters and the world Roberto has created makes my inner sci-fi geek purr. To Roberto Zuniga: First, congrats on your husband being promoted to Promising Author! So, when it comes to writing, have you two collaborated on projects or bounced ideas off each other? Not really. Carlos is very secretive when it comes to his writing, I think it's basically a matter of wanting everything to be perfect before he shares it with anyone, including me. I have been lucky enough to get to read many of his works before everyone else (LOL) and I've also encouraged him to carry on and publish. Take Earthshatter for instance -his new novel published by DSP-, I loved him so much I wouldn't stop bothering until he accepted to publish it LOL. Something I do have to say is I love his finished products and drawing for those projects. Regarding my writing, pfffff! I'm so messy! Ideas can flow through my mind sometimes, scenarios, particular characters. Sometimes I share some of my ideas or tell him I feel conflicted about this or that character, but he usually advises to work it the way I feel I should. We do read each other's work and encourage each other to keep on writing, since we both enjoy it so much. Author skinnydragon comes back to finish up our blog for the day. Skinny is the author behind https://www.gayauthors.org/story/skinnydragon/18weeksoftwoey]18 Weeks of Twoey and has recently begun a sequel that is generating a lot of attention. Unfortunately, Skinny received bad news at the end of 2016. Send him some love and well-wishes. I feel blessed to have been able to be on the periphery of his life the last couple years. I hope that he is able to maintain the strength of body and mind long enough to see his bucket-list completed. Headstall I think said it best: “I just want you to know, though we've never met in person, you have impacted me from the first interaction. You are one of the bright lights in my life, skinny … I wish I could hug you for real... I really do.” To skinnydragon: What motivates you to write? For example, do you hope to publish or is it simply a creative or artistic outlet? That’s a good question. It is an artistic outlet, in a way. I certainly never intend to publish - ever. I am not a writer, which should be pretty plain to any reader. I’m an artist. I was challenged by a mentor/writer, when younger, to write a back story for a few things I painted. In doing so, I discovered it helped improve everything I subsequently drew. Now I do it all the time and they have become the germs for a few story ideas. Some stories may even get written and make the journey from my laptop to GA. That’s it for now! For more info on these authors, go check out their stories, post in their forums, and/or catch them in chat! I’ll see you next time, with authors JackBinimbul, mikiesboy, palantir, and WolfM! I’m always in the market for new questions! Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark
  16. 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.
  17. 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!
  18. 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!
  19. 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!
  20. 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!
  21. 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!
  22. 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!
  23. 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!
  24. 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!
  25. 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!
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