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Found 18 results

  1. Welcome back. Ask an Author returns with another issue packed with questions and answers. This month we get to hear from authors not often featured. We’ll start off with one of my favorite New Yorkers, and definitely my favorite wine enthusiast: @Defiance19 • In your fiction, you seem to create scenes where men are on the cusp of major changes. How important do you think these moments are to where you’d like to go as a writer, and to life in general? • • • On its own, ‘..on the cusp of major changes.’ is not a terrible thing, but it made me think. I can see what you mean in relation to the stories. An easy answer would be that it’s not unusual; what I write will at times reflect some of my personality and my state of mind at any given moment. We’re almost always in transition, at crossroads, turning points, facing choices, making decisions... It’s life, right? Upon introspection, at the time most of these stories were written, there was a lot of change and upheaval happening to and around me personally. I dealt with the outcome, but I’m still not quite allowing myself to trust, beyond that. It’s almost like I’m settled at the top of a rollercoaster. The climb up was rough, I know there’s solid ground after the ride down but I’m not eager for the possible turmoil I may encounter on the way there. So I remain comfortably in between. The why will keep us here all day. Keeping in mind that these stories were written within guidelines and were always going to be short, I see how I transferred some of my experience and part of my personality to my characters. I get them through the obstacle, and write them to the point where the immediate problem is solved, and I end with a sense that they will move on happily. It may have left some feeling that there could be unfinished business. Which sort of explains the few PMs for more chapters on a couple of stories. I’m hesitant to write a longer arc of substantive plot and character transformation. Because again, comfort. Maybe that’s another reason why I write short stories...one speed-bump at a time...Hmm. As to how it relates to the future of my writing and life in general? I have an idea of how I would like to end up as a writer, but no clear plan, or discipline on how to get there. Maybe when I take the ride down that coaster, it will translate in future stories. Or maybe I should get brave, dig deep, finish writing those longer stories and hope it inspires real-life changes? Eh... Thank you for reading my stories, and for a great question. I bet that’s not quite the answer you were looking for, (I may have to send you a thank you check for that self-observation) but I hope it makes sense to you. To anyone, actually... Best, Def • • • • • We travel west to the Rockies for our next victim author. I still can’t believe studly @MacGreg once had green hair! I may want to pose a question asking why at some point. • Your characters are often very hard to forget. What kinds of traits and idiosyncrasies attract you to a character? What makes a fictional person so important that you need to write his story? • • • I'm going to guess that most of my readers already know I’m attracted to misanthropes and misunderstood characters. In real life, everyone copes with interpersonal struggles and suppressed demons fighting for dominance. In my stories, I choose to write about characters who are often flawed, emotionally bankrupt, frustrated with the world. I don’t pussyfoot around their truths, I lay it all out there. I keep it real. But I also make a point to illustrate redeeming qualities, positive traits, and actions being taken to improve their circumstances. The development of characters is never black and white, just as people aren't. There’s grittiness, there’s beauty. Although I don’t write about fairy-tale romance and happy endings, no character is ever fully doomed in my stories. Even the misanthropes have hope. • • • • • With eighteen stories posted on GA, and only two of them not labeled as romances, @R. Eric strikes at the heart of the most popular category on the site. • You’ve written a number of stories, many of them paranormal romance. What motivates you to write paranormal characters? • • • I write about love. It is what I think is the most important emotion that we have. Who wants a regular guy meets guy and they start having sex? That's dull. I consider what Daniel and I had was paranormal. North Meets South is more about Daniel and myself. I think what he and I had was a miracle. I wrote Cinderfella using the same sort of magic found in Cinderella. A same gender marriage in the middle ages!? Makarovia? A modern day prince marrying an American man...with his country's approval and the support of the prince's family's support? How did that happen. Now, Blueblood 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 have been fun. The truth was, I did it to keep Daniel alive. I made him a vampire. It worked a little. Now, I am battling something else and while I do that, I am proof reading again and boy, I keep finding errors. I will write again, but I'm dealing with a health issue. My Muse has been silent. I'm too preoccupied for the next few weeks. Writing about men that aren't normal is fun. I want the people out there to see what we have as love, make them see the fantasy and want it for themselves. • • • • • From romances to thrillers. @Twisted_Dreemz has few stories posted, but the three he has shared have earned praise from several other authors. His most recent one is a Spiderman fan-fic offering. • The relationship between teenager Peter and his ten-year-old brother Trejon is very detailed and convincing in The Black Spider. What inspired you to start this project, and are you as close to your siblings as they are, if you have any? • • • Thank you very much for checking out the story. I appreciate your questions! So, what inspired The Black Spider? I can’t answer that without sounding strange, so here we go. It came from a dream. One night, I dreamt that I was watching The Black Spider as a show on television. The dream was short, but in it, I knew everything about the show. When I woke up after having the dream, I still remembered what I knew about the show, so I wrote all of that down. Even after that, I had no intention of writing the story. Readers want original. They don’t want fan-fiction. lol. But the idea wouldn’t rest. So, I wrote up the first chapter and previewed it on the GA message board to see how people would respond. The response was good, so I went forward and here we are at chapter ten! For the second question, no, I have no siblings. I always wish I did, though. • • • • • If you haven’t read @WolfM ‘s Running With The Pack, you don’t know what you’re missing. The entertaining, action-packed story featuring shape-shifters deals with human-nature and power struggles. This month, however, we have him talking about his poetry. • You started writing poetry rather recently. What do you think poetry does for you that prose does not? In other words, what does poetry do for you? • • • I actually started writing poetry several years ago. The instructor of the creative writing class I once took suggested it might be best if I worked on things other than poetry. By the end of that class he had suggesting perhaps writing in general wasn’t for me. I decided to give it another try after reading many of the talented authors on GA. I talked with Mikiesboy (aka tim) who encouraged me and AC Benus who provided some guidance and some editing. I’m not fully convinced that my attempts qualify as poetry, but I’ll leave that to the reader to decide. The response has been positive. For me, poetry is trying to tell a very short story. I suppose that is what it truly is, but since I have mainly focused on long stories, saying what I want in only a few words is difficult. Trying to learn the structure of a poem and not get stuck on one particular format is a challenge for me. This form of writing gives me a chance to explore something different and push my comfort zone. I can write about a thought, a touch, or a mood that provokes something I want to share. While I incorporate things from my daily life in all my writing, a poem is more intimate. I find enjoyment when I manage to articulate what something meant to me in under fifty words and in some cases much less. I’m not sure if I really answered the question, but it’s the best I’ve got. • • • • • Part of the series of questions previously featured, I’ll end the month with two for @lomax61. • What to your mind, would be the greatest misfortune? The greatest misfortune has already befallen, and the world, in its wisdom, decided to call it Brexit. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? "Come on in, dear boy. The kettle's boiled, and the tea's brewing nicely. I've even made some of those strawberry jam and double cream doughnuts you so love. You can eat whatever you like now. Oh, and by the way, Trump is one of ours. Who says I don't have a sense of humour?" • • • • • That’s it for this month. Remember, if you want to ask an author a question you feel the rest of us would enjoy the answer to, send it to me. I’ll do all the work, and share it in a future issue.
  2. Happy 2019! Here’s hoping the year’s better than the one just ended but not as good as future ones. Here at the AAA (that sounds like the Miami Heat home—the American Airlines Arena!) we’re starting the new year the way same we did the last one: a poetry special. We’ll kick it off with GA’s poet laurate and the man I get more questions for than anyone else: @AC Benus • Your poetry is so good, and you so willingly share your knowledge with anyone who's interested, how did you get so into poetry? Have you ever thought about teaching? • • • Thank you for the question. Since I first read it, I've been wondering when my interest in poetry began. I think it started early, so early I can't really say when I wasn't. Nursery rhymes are with most of us as kids, and Puss in Boots is one I had in book form. I'd read it happily to myself. But on TV at the time were also great poems: Dr. Seuss' Grinch Who Stole Christmas and Horton Hears a Who; Disney's Casey at the Bat (the 'No joy in Mudville' poem); and also Kipling's Rikki-tikki-tavi. These all played at least once a year. Our school readers had poetry too. I particularly remember our 8th grade book had a selection of WW1 poems in one section. But it was in high school where I first thought about writing poetry for myself. In 9th grade, one of our English books had Keats' Ode to a Grecian Urn in the back, and it changed me. So, since the age of 15 I have tried my hand at verse. As for teaching, I am rather proud of my 20 Poetry Prompts, as they form a course on teaching one's self how to write, lesson by lesson (as one builds on the other). I would like to publish them in book form one day. It'd be a sort of Poetry Writing for Dummies, and the kind of book I could have used back when I was just starting. Thanks again for the interesting question. • • • • • Next, we have @Dolores Esteban making her maiden voyage into Ask an Author waters. The prolific Signature Author may be better known for her science fiction stories, but her poetry obviously captured the interest of at least one reader. • Your work is very original and different from a lot of poetry we see on GA. What inspires you? Do you feel your work is experimental? • • • Thanks for your question. I thought long about it. What is experimental poetry? Is it a category, like we have free verse, traditional poetry, and everything else is experimental? I don’t think so. I think all poetry is experimental, because poets experiment with thoughts and ideas, words and form. I think, however, the approach to and the experience of writing traditional poetry and experimental poetry is different, at least to me. Traditional poetry is a mental challenge. It can take hours, days, even weeks, to get the words, rhymes and syllable counts right. Mastering the form is rewarding, even if the resulting poem is not a masterwork in itself. It’s a joyous but often draining process. It’s about accomplishment, closing and ending. Experimental poetry, like found poetry, is quite the opposite. Poets are looking, hunting for words. It’s an adventurous process and has an element of surprise. The found results are often mediocre, sometimes utterly meaningless, but sometimes they open a door to new thoughts and ideas. They can spur imagination and thus start a whole new process of writing, a traditional poem perhaps, a short story, a novella even. I rarely write free verse, so can’t talk about it. What inspires me? I’m not a people person, not the romantic type. I always prefer a scientific article to a love story. Hence, I’m inspired by topics and the questions that arise from them. For instance, when I read an article about Ancient Egypt, I ask myself: Who built the pyramids, how and why? When I read about an exoplanet, I ask myself: Is it inhabited? What are the aliens like? I also like words that sound good to me. I once stumbled across the word ‘opalescent’. (English is not my first language.) The word stuck with me. There are other words and phrases that I like for their sound, regardless of meaning. They inspire me, too. • • • • • @Juan Manuel Sandoval is another AAA rookie and I’m loving having all these Spanish names show up. Clear indication of GA’s international and multicultural membership. • Can you tell us about the anime connection to your poetry persona? And if you’ve reached out to others on GA with similar Japanese-style interests? If not, I suggest looking through the images people post to see who you might befriend • • • I would be more than happy to answer this question. The connection of anime to my poetry persona is actually something that developed in tangent with my growing fascination with pop culture particularly things like anime, manga, video games, and music as well as my general concerns with the individual and larger society. When I watch anime like Recovery of an MMO Junkie or Sailor Moon, I see a glossy, sparkly layer of artistry that covers characters who are genuinely flawed and fearful of themselves and the world around them. Pop music is an overload of sugar tinged lyrics and sound that sometimes detrimentally detach the humanity of the artist behind them. Video games sensationalize out of this world narratives and characters that, at the end of the day, are revealed to be just as human as us. I was fascinated by how we use the glossy, the pretty, the escapism of fantasy to hide the ugly corners of our own identities while still trying to be different and human. In a way, I saw a lot of myself within all these small worlds. Anime plenty of times creates characters that are ruled by a singular trait, stereotype, emotion, or idea and so my poetry itself began to mimic that as wel. My poetic persona shifted drastically with that realization and discovery from something generic and superficial to a style of self confession and exploration. I took singular emotions, events, tragedies, ideas, people and I sensationalized all of them. In a sense, each of my poems is a living and breathing character built off of real human fears and dreams. The Baker, for example, takes something many would take for granted or overlook, baking a cake with my mother, and sensationalizes it so that people can feel the importance of it, they can feel what I feel. When my mother explained to me that sadness was a part of life I had to accept with happiness, the act of baking a cake transformed into something more than the glossy sweetness I had seen it as before. Now this cake was a culmination of a story. It was sadness mixed with happiness all sprinkled with tragedy and hope. I also counter the sweetness of the idea of making a cake by subverting it, describing it as a long and bitter struggle to figure out the recipe. I often take these images, ideas, or concepts that I think seem “glossy, anime perfect” and subvert a readers expectation by denying them that sweetness and perfection and instead presenting the raw and human truth. Me and my writing are also strangely separate in people’s eyes. People see me as myself and it’s difficult for them to attach the melancholic and cautionary tones of my writing to me, almost as if my writing was one character and I another. In a sad way, that’s just part of us as human beings. It’s easier to accept the glossy presentation than venture into the uncomfortable truth. To finish, I’d say my poetic persona adopts the glossy and beautiful surface of anime, but it ultimately shatters any hope of real life mimicking such. I ant people to really see the vulnerability of us being human and not just act and treat each other like passing extras in an episode or scene. As for reaching out to others with similar Japanese influenced styles, I have not. I’m still relatively new and I do suffer from social anxiety. It’s extremely difficult for me to talk to others, even on online platforms, without breaking down into nervous fits over if I said what I wanted the right way or if people like me or just tolerate me. It’s something I try to work on everyday and I will definitely reach out. I just like taking things a step at a time! Thank you so much for the question if I enjoy anything more than writing it’s getting to talk about it. • • • • • New year, new authors. @Ivric is our third consecutive rookie this month. If you want to find his offerings, do not search under authors, my fellow Floridian is listed under EDITORS on GA. • Your book of poetry is marked complete. You mention in your description that poetry helped you become a better writer. How has it done this? Do you think you’ll write any more poetry? • • • Poetry helped me become a better writer by first helping me say more in less words. I was not one to express myself out loud when I was younger and moving away to college I found myself experiencing life however I could not convey how I felt. I remembered that listening to music helped me also. When I combined music with my emotions I could create, with my own voice, my poems. Second, poetry helped me put my thoughts in a logical order. My mind bounces all over with different thoughts and ideas, so with poetry I had to organize for a purpose and have rhythm and life. Lastly, I could free the stresses of my past and focus on today. I am always writing more poetry! I have never stopped. I am focused on the story that I have been writing for a few years. Also, I am expanding on the prompt that I wrote for Christmas. • • • • • I’ll close this month’s feature with one of my favorite GA authors: @Parker Owens Why didn’t I have cool high school teachers like him? Adept at writing fiction and poetry, Parker never fails to reach his audience with his writing. • What was an early inspiration for your poetry? And you seem to be interested in a strict pattern of traditional meter. Why do you think that’s so? Does it relate to your early exposure? • • • Music was my earliest inspiration for poetry. I wish I could say it was great music, but my parents and grandparents taught us all an odd assortment of college songs, silly folk songs and popular tunes from their own childhoods. Most had easy-to-grasp rhyme schemes, and regular metre, as one might expect. Many of these still stick in my memory (Passengers will please refrain / from using toilets while the train / is standing in the station, I love you…). There are times when I have my pen in hand, and I can hear my father reciting Wordsworth, and echoes of my grandmother singing bad temperance songs, all the while holding onto her bourbon and water. Perhaps it is because of this that regular, traditional metre appeals to me. There is a song in the lines one writes, but the music has yet to be written. Regular metre works for me also because it concentrates language, in the same way that syllable-count poetry does. One has to choose words carefully and structure them so that they sing. I studied both mathematics and music as an undergraduate, and continue to compose justifiably neglected pieces from time to time. This seems to be an extension of that. I rediscovered poetry upon joining GA. I found authors like @Mikiesboy, @AC Benus, @Headstall and @Valkyrie to be supportive and constructive without being pretentious. Without people like these, I should never have gone back to poetry, which I largely abandoned in high school. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll try free verse again. • • • • • That’s it for this round. Remember to send me any questions you may have, may not feel comfortable asking yourself, or wish to share with the community. See you next month.
  3. Living in South Florida, the chances of a cold, snowy December are about as good as the chances of me not messing up commas in my writing. This time of year, my thoughts often turn to scaling the border wall and visiting our neighbors to the north. Oh, wait, never mind about that wall. Wrong direction. Anyway, because I’m thinking of snow, our Canadian members come to mind. The current issue of Ask an Author features a few of our authors from the frozen north. For good measure, I’ve added several Europeans to the mix. I’ve never been to Scandinavia, but I heard they get a couple of inches of the fluffy white stuff over there too. I have, however, visited Colorado and know what it’s like to fall on your ass and slide halfway down the side of a mountain. So, before we tackle the denizens of the higher latitudes, let’s visit with someone who can tell us all about living Rocky Mountain high. @MacGreg • What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? All three of these have elements that turn me on. Creative projects, vibrant, thoughtful, digging at the marrow of life; spiritual beliefs that we're all interwoven, connected in this life and meant to be here in this moment; courageous expression, benevolence, seeking truth, -finding worth in the mundane – all of these stimulate me. I could continue with intelligence, diligence, humor, loyalty, humility… but I won’t hog the blog with a laundry list of impetuses. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? “You did a fine job whipping people into shape down there. Now let’s see what you can do up here!” • • • • • @Dodger • What natural gift would you most like to possess? I’ve learned how to read people a lot better than I used to which helps me to weed out those who are detrimental to my well-being. Some people can do this naturally, but I’ve been too trusting in the past and easily fooled. I’m talking about life in general and not merely relationships. I’m tougher now, but it took a long time to learn. It may sound lame but to be a good judge of character is a very useful gift to have. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? You’re late! That’s assuming, of course, I make the cut in the first place. I’m hoping there’s an appeal process in which case, I may have to go all the way to the supreme court to squeeze in. On a more serious note. Having seen the damage religion does to people; I tend to follow a more atheist doctrine nowadays, but everyone to their own. • • • • • @Mikiesboy • If you were reincarnated as a plant or animal, what would you be? I'd be a large handsome Airedale, the King of Terriers. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? You're forgiven, now forgive yourself. • • • • • @wildone • I’m still mourning Santa... With the holiday season upon us, what is your present state of mind? I`m jovial! Actually looking forward to this year’s Christmas. Since Santa has arisen from the dead, from what I can tell, I think everyone will enjoy the holiday season this year without worrying about me. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Welcome to the Hotel California. Wouldn`t that be cool? Really, I thought it would be neat if you went in to theatre and watched your life on a big screen with a laugh track and other sound effects to make it look like a black and white silent Charlie Chaplin film. • • • • • @Headstall • What sound or noise do you love?  Sound or noise? I would have to say the sounds of nature, and my horse's whinny would top the list. She's quite vocal, and we 'talk' every day. I also love listening to the conversations birds have from morning to evening, whether with each other or with me as I walk around the farm. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? If heaven does exist, I would want to hear God say my mom was waiting for me in the gardens on the south lawns. • • • • • @Ivor Slipper • What quality do you like most in a person? Kindness - especially to animals. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? "Err, I think you misread the date on your invitation, you're not due for another fifty years." • • • • • @Puppilull • What is your most marked characteristic? This is a tough question and I spent quite some time coming up with these few lines. I would prefer a friend tell me, but I’ll give it a try. I think I have to pick two traits: intuitive and analytical, if that is even a possible combination. To me, I see them as equally strong in myself. Growing up I more or less disregarded my analytical side and was convinced I was an artsy, flaky person. With dreams of writing for a living, I guess it suited me to think so, even if it didn’t really add up. Then, only a few years ago, a friend told me “Intuition is just fast track logic” and that made so much sense. Suddenly, these two seemingly opposite traits could meld. I need logic to make sense of the world around me, but I don’t have to spell everything out. Analyzing my gut feeling seems like a waste of time, and I prefer to rely on my intuition to guide me. Despite being prone to logical coldness, I have no problem reading and tuning into other people’s emotions. Sometimes I wish they would make more sense, though their weirdness does provide a lot of fodder for writing. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Initial reaction would be ”Wow, this was a surprise!”. I’m not a religious person in that way. If there are any powers to the universe, they aren’t a bearded man at some impressive gate in the clouds. More some sort of energy-based entity. But that could be my trekkie side talking. Even if I haven't believed in God while living, who would pass up an opportunity to meet the big guy? As for his judgement of me, I think I'm pretty safe. The mistakes I've made have been few and far between. And rather boring. The head honcho, on the other hand, has some explaining to do. Just look around you in the world today. I mean, what is going on? On darker days, I think it’s a rather cruel joke. When I’m in a positive mood, I view it as a learning experience. So hopefully, he'd say welcome and let me have at him with my lawyer style questioning. I can't imagine God shying away from some serious examination. In the meanwhile, I doubt we’ll ever get an answer. But that’s good. If we had all the answers, what would be left for dreams and writing? • • • • @Timothy M. • Mouthwash aside, What is your favorite cuss word? Well, in Danish it would either be Pokkers! or Pis! The latter is easy to translate since the English word Piss is similar. Pokkers means Pox or ‘May the Pox get you’ in the original version ‘Gid Pokker må tage dig.’ I have to admit to using Fuck and Shit a lot, because they’re less offensive when speaking Danish than they’d be in UK or the USA. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? “Welcome to the Heavenly Library. All the books you could ever want to read may be found here. You have all of Eternity to enjoy them.” • • • • • @Thorn Wilde • What is your dream of happiness? I guess my dream of happiness would be to live comfortably off my writing and my music. I have no need to be rich, I'd just like to be able to not worry about bills and rent, and have a bit left over for nice things for myself afterwards. I'd like to be able to go to concerts and spend time with my friends and be my own nerdy self. Basically, financial freedom, I suppose. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? If heaven exists, I guess I'd like to hear, 'Welcome! Come greet your dad and your granddad, and all your cats who died.' It wouldn't be heaven without cats. I don't really believe in heaven or hell, but if there's an afterlife, I'd like to spend it with all the people I miss. • • • • • That’s it for this month. Hope you enjoyed the format the last two months. In January, we return to the traditional approach. In the meantime, Happy Hanukah, Festivus, Solstice, Christmas, Boxing Day, and New Year!
  4. Welcome to the premiere of year two! I promised a special issue and here it is. My thanks to one exceptionally clever member who sent in all the questions used this month. Due to the number of authors featured, I will dispense with the individual blurbs this month. Instead, I’ll share the comment sent in with the questions: I thought, why not recycle some of our—ok my—favorite authors, in an Inside the Actors’ Studio rip-off? Here are questions from James Lipton, Marcel Proust, and Bernard Pivot. • • • • • @AC Benus • To what faults do you feel most indulgent? There's nothing indulgent about them, but I have many faults. Chief among them are the problems I tackle everyday as a severe dyslexic. Certain mistakes of my own are nearly impossible for me to "see," like barley for barely, illiterately for literally, defiantly for definitely, and one poor @Lisa had to tackle for years as my editor: finially for finally. Fortunately, when I read other people's text, I don't have these problems. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Well, assuming all the many questions I have for Him are barred, I guess he'd ask me what I learned this time around. My answer: "I learned to love and not expect anything in return." • • • • • @aditus • What do you most dislike? Regarding last year, being sick. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Surprise! • • • • • @Carlos Hazday • Who are your favourite fictional heroes? Superman- The ultimate Boy Scout. Honest to a fault, and Henry Cavill is HOT! Dirk Pitt- Clive Cussler’s character spends most of his time in the water, and owns a great car collection. Jack Ryan- Tom Clancy’s retired Marine uses brains and brawn to beat up the bad guys. Any of the bad boys created by Mann Ramblings. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? “Don’t get too comfortable. I’m sending you back so you can kick some more homophobic ass. And may the force be with you.” • • • • • @CassieQ • What is your least favorite word? Creamy, especially when used for a non-food related item. When I was younger, I read a novel where the heroine was described as having a creamy bosom or some kind of nonsense like that, and for the life of me I couldn't get the image of a woman walking around with boobs made of cream cheese out of my mind. Unless it's talking about peanut butter or ice cream, I don't want to hear the word creamy in a book. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Hmm. I would like to imagine him saying something like "Betcha believe in me now bitch." But in all seriousness, in this kind of scenario, I would like to hear him saying something about my family and friends that I've lost being in there waiting for me and that I could go and join them. It's a comforting thought. • • • • • @Cia • In what country would you like to live? I'd live in Ireland. I have red hair and a metric ton of freckles. Not to mention the whole burst into flames in the sun thing. I'd finally fit in somewhere! My husband called me an Irish vampire and made the kids bust out laughing by trying his best mix of Dracula camp and Irish brogue with the quip, "I vant to suck your Lucky Charms!" • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Well, even in a question/answer scenario I can't really make believe the whole "God might say...." answer. I'm an atheist through and through. If there is something beyond this body when it finally craps out on me, I'd like to think it's another one, because there's still so much to learn and experience. I hope we get more than one chance even if we don't know it. All matter remains matter, right? Besides, I'm a redhead. We steal souls, one per freckle, apparently. Pretty sure that'd send me right down to the Abyss instead, and the Devil would be welcoming me as his right-hand woman since I have innumerable freckles, so clearly I brought a LOT of business with me. • • • • • @Cole Matthews • What is your idea of earthly happiness?  These are interesting questions, to which my answer is about the same. I believe we were born to do good and help others by being ourselves. I believe that for a person to achieve happiness, they strive and work toward becoming their best self. This path and series of achievements are the most positive possible manifestations of happiness. True joy comes from your work and effort during the process of becoming you. I'm always happiest when I've done my best. Success for me isn't winning, per se. The honest, earnest attempt is the achievement. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? When I arrive at the pearly gates, I hope God says, "Good job! You have done more good in the world than ill. You've atoned when you trespassed. Your soul is shining with the light of your happiness. You are tried to be a good example and to ease suffering of all kinds in others. Sometimes you've fallen short, but you never gave up. Welcome home!" Thanks for the great questions! • • • • • @Comicality • What profession would you not like to do? What job would I NOT like to do? Healthcare. Definitely. I'm a huge empath, and I can't bear to see people sick or in pain. Especially kids. I worked in an animal hospital for a few months when I was in high school, and I didn't have the stomach for it. Poor animals... I can't hack it. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Hehehe, and if I got to the pearly gates, I'd love to hear God say, "You know..you just BARELY made it here!" LOL! I'm not an evil person, but I'd love to know that I had some 'fun' while I was alive. • • • • • @comicfan • What is your motto? No matter what, find a way. I've had more than my share of issues and, while it might take a while, I find a way to do the things I need to. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Finally! Do you know that number of people and pets that have been waiting for you? • • • • • @Defiance19 • What are you most proud of? The what, is my ability in knowing when and how to be patient. It has served me well as an educator, and as a mostly single mom raising a son, of whom I am most proud. Today I look at the man he has become, I hear how people speak of him, how they see him, and my heart swells. I like knowing I maybe had a little something to do with that. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?  You did good, kid. I’m sorry, and I know I have a lot to explain. Your family is waiting, but if you need to hit the wine first, it’s down this hall. • • • • • • @Graeme What turns you off? That's a pretty wide-ranging question, so I'm going to narrow it to just my reading habits. My other habits are private... I like stories that go somewhere. I'm pretty tolerant, but if a story doesn't appear to progress, I'll eventually stop reading. For example, I stopped reading Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series after ten books because, while lots of things were happening, the overall plot seemed to be going nowhere. I know that series is now complete, but after giving up on it, I haven't been able to find the motivation to go back and purchase the final few books in the series. The other big thing that turns me off are stories that feel forced. I like stories to flow naturally, and too much forcing turns me off. That's why there are some TV series that I initially liked, but then stopped watching because the writers forced things too much. Superhero/supervillain stories are a good example of what I'm talking about. Writers tend to introduce more and more powerful supervillains, which starts an arms race of more and more powerful superheroes...and it doesn't end well. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say, when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? I thought it was supposed to be St. Peter who met people at the Pearly Gates? Seriously, though, what I'd like to hear is "Thank you for helping people." The best praise I've ever received from a reader was being told that I had made a difference. That particular email still makes me proud and happy. That's the sort of thing I'd like to be recognised and remembered for when I leave this mortal world. • • • • • @Parker Owens • What sound or noise do you hate?  Generally, I prefer sweet, close harmony and sounds that incline to melody. And I hate insistent, high pitched alarm sounds that keep me from thinking. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? “Hello, Parker. We've been waiting for you. What would you like to drink?” • • • • • @Mann Ramblings • What do you regard as the lowest depths of misery? That's a hard one. I imagine nothing goes lower than when despite all your best efforts, all your struggles and good intentions, the universe conspires against you and you still fail, causing you to lose the most precious thing you have, be it a person, place, or thing. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? "Good to see you! Your friends are at the martini bar and since I knew you were coming, I collected that rugby team and muscle bear lineup you like so much to keep you occupied for an eternity or two. Everyone's waiting for you inside. You know the drill, clothing optional." • • • • • @Valkyrie • What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? This is a difficult question because I love my profession. What people may not know is I'm actually on my second profession. I worked as a horse trainer/riding instructor for quite a few years before becoming a speech-language pathologist. In some ways, it was my dream profession, even though I had to give it up for physical reasons. If I had my choice of professions to try, I would say teaching English or literature, or even being a chef, since I like to cook. Or something involving travel, since I like to do that too • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? That I lived a good, meaningful life. • • • • • There you have it! Thirteen authors for Issue # 13. There are a few more like these I’ll share over the next couple of months. I hope that was as enjoyable to read for you as it was for me.
  5. It’s been a year since Ask an Author’s reboot. Although the feature appears to be as popular as ever, getting questions continues to be a struggle. Serious or silly, professional or personal, short or long, what you ask makes the monthly blog possible. Don’t be shy, tell me what you want to know, and I’ll look for answers. • • • • • A self-described NoCal gay, @Ashi puts the social in social media in Gay Authors. The man has to be one of the friendliest people around here. What many of you may not realize is he is also an author having posted both fiction and poetry. • You’ve written a number of poems but not on a regular basis. What moves you to write a poem? Do you have to be in a certain mood? Will we see more poetry from you? • • • Anyways, yeah, I wrote just a dozen of poems here and there. Honestly, poetry is not my main genre and I do not plan on doing it regularly. The prime recipe for poetry to me is some epiphany as a starter, plus some proper mood to get going, so I can put random thought fragments together. A few pieces are particularly taxing, emotionally speaking. It creates a weird contradiction, because feeling down gets my creative juice going, yet, I need energy to write. While other pieces of poem I wrote come happily in one stroke, without dragging my feet for a laborious chisel. The 99-Cent Love Poems ended with twelve pieces by design, six-hundred words exactly by accident. The title of the last poem is a wordplay. Last signifies ending, but lasting is a continuum. Pineapple is traditionally a symbol of hospitality. Sailors from Colonial time would bring back home a pineapple, signaling a safe return from an arduous journey. Thus, I am forever thankful that a few people read this journey of angst, lament and nostalgia, though love and hope are constantly on stand by. I really enjoyed writing them. Now I just need a guy to love. LOL! • • • • • From the San Francisco Bay area, we jump across the country to the Tampa Bay area. Prolific author @BHopper2 celebrates his second anniversary as a GA member later this month; in that time, he’s shared 17 stories which have earned him wide popularity. • You are normally seen writing Sci Fi, yet your latest story’s set in the modern world with a regular (mostly) dad and son, is wildly successful. Will you go back to Sci Fi at some point? Have you learned anything from writing My Son you'd apply to your other work? • • • First off, I want to thank you for reading my work, and it's my hope that you find it enjoyable. Will I go back to SciFi? the simple answer is yes. SciFi is a passion of mine, ever since I was a kid watching re-runs, and recordings, of Lost in Space (the original), Star Trek, Star Wars, and Buck Rodgers. One of my favorite memories is of my Grandfather, before he passed away, doing a SciFi night with me. We watched a couple of old movies, Forbidden Planet and War of the Worlds, and ate Apple Pie and Ice Cream. Then in High School, I was introduced to SciFi Role-Playing Games, and have been hooked ever since. In High School and College, I was in creative writing classes, where most of my work revolved around one aspect of SciFi or another. So, again, one day I will return to SciFi, and finish what I started on a few projects. The story, My Son actually scares me on how popular, and successful it has been. To date, it's been my most successful story on GA, and the story is flowing like no other for me. I have to thank several people for its success though. @Mikiesboy and his husband @MichaelS36 first and foremost. Mike was the one that challenged me to go outside my comfort zone and write something different than what I normally do. I had some notes lying around, read them over, and wham My Son was born. tim has been helping with content editing on the story. Helping me reword passages to mark them more presentable. Last, but not least, @Kitt for being a technical editor on the project. She really gets in there and helps polish the drafts off. She's working on the first four chapters, post-publishing, but I thank her for doing the job. What I've learned with My Son, that I can carry back to SciFi is to focus on telling a character-driven story. All the dodas and gadgets are nice, with epic space battles with ships blowing up in stellar fashion, but they are all secondary to the Characters. Know the characters, give them their own agency, be in their mindset when you write their part of the scene, and take chances and see where it goes. • • • • • A member of the exclusive Signature Author club, @CassieQ has always impressed me with her thoughtful opinions. But her participation’s not restricted to GA conversations, her stories are thoughtful and well written. If you haven’t discovered them yet, I suggest you get your butt in gear and start reading. • What are your biggest motivators in life? Do these translate into the stories you write? • • • My main motivator in my life is writing. I have grown up responsibilities like everyone, but if I have any free time, I like to spend it writing, or thinking about writing or planning out my storyline. Aside from that, my family is a big motivation for me. I adore my sister and my Mom and I think that comes across in my writing a lot. Most of my characters have a kick ass sister or best friend figure. During my early writing days, my beta reader once pointed out how a lot of my characters have a relationship with their mother but don't have a strong father figure in their life (my father is alive and well, he just wasn't around a lot growing up). My Mom has finally clued in to the type of stuff I write and while she is not thrilled about it, she will ask how the writing is going and was very supportive of me going to my first writing conference this year. It was very cool of her. I hope that answered your question! • • • • • Since our previous three authors are all Americans, let's finish this month with an international flavor. In the process, another author will lose his Ask an Author virginity. If you’ve ever wanted to visit Australia but have not done so, I have a suggestion for satisfying your Aussie cravings: read a story or two by @quokka. The prolific author from Down Under charms us with his descriptions and Aussie dialogue. I’m not sure how his imagination can conjure up so many different stories when I have trouble concentrating on one. • How long have you been writing? How do you deal with writer's block? • • • Thank you for the question. I began writing as a teenager as a sort of hobby, but it was never a regular thing. It wasn't until I discovered Gay Authors, in January 2012, that I began to take up writing a lot more seriously, with action and drama, mainly about Australia, being my main themes. For writer's block, I will usually just leave the story and continue on another story or begin a new story, from ideas that develop from what I see or hear in everyday life. A lot of the Australian stories, I usually don't have to do very much research, as I have either lived or visited the places, especially in my home state of Western Australia. For the other stories that are not based on Australia, I like to do a fair amount of research before I commence a story, to get a basic outline, and on occasions I have to stop during writing, to do more research. For me, it is very much like the quote from Beatrix Potter that I have mentioned in my profile. "There is something delicious, about writing those first few words of a story. You can never quite tell, where they will take you." Beatrix Potter - 1866 to 1943. Regards Q • • • • • That’s it for this edition, my friends. Tune in next month for more insight into authors you love and those you have yet to discover. In the meantime, remember to send me any questions you may be dying to ask but may feel too shy to do in person. I promise to protect your identity.
  6. My thanks to the two members who sent in multiple questions for a variety of authors following my last appeal. I’ve been pestering the authors since and I’ll be sharing their responses over the next couple of blog entries. This month we have a couple of returning ones and a couple of rookies. In alphabetical order… Gay Author’s Poetry Sensei, @AC Benus, returns with a short question and answer. • You’ve been posting lots of older work which is great. Will we see something ‘now’ from you? • • • I am working through and posting my old poems, but I also post new stuff all the time, like the Sonnets for Tony. Mojo is also rolling out, and that's entirely new • • • • • @lmoline is a sophisticated, intelligent woman with outstanding literary taste. How do I know this? Simple, she’s a fan of my stories and I look forward to seeing her react to each chapter I post in the CJ series. Fine, that was a plug, so sue me. What some of you may not know is she’s also a poet. I Started Thinking—her initial post a little over a year ago—is a moving exploration of how our life doesn’t always follow the path we thought it would. • You’ve written a few poems. They seem very personal. Does poetry help you deal with situations in your life? • • • To answer your question, yes when I write it is my form of therapy. It allows me to release all of my pent up emotions. I can say that each poem I have written or have posted has been personal to me in some way, whether it is from early experiences in my life to current situations. I do hope to post a few more soon and I appreciate the encouragement I have received. • • • • • Can an author produce both complex and simple writings? @Mikiesboy can. In prose and poetry. His work can be delightful in its flights of fancy; it can also be moving, rooted in personal experience. Based on my interactions with him, his writing reflects his personality: a serious individual who has a surprising child-like playfulness at times. • Your book about a couple dealing with disability suddenly introduced into their lives was highly successful. What inspired you to begin writing the sequel to "Changes"? Did you just feel the timing was right? • • • What inspired the character Don, who is a doer, an athlete, a marathoner, a sports writer, very alpha, a top, who, in an instant, has all he thought he was taken from him, came from a line in a story I read when I was around 13 or 14. I cannot remember the name of the book or the exact quote but it was something akin to, "And mountain goats fall too." That stuck with me. Mountain goats we think of as sure-footed, sturdy, yet even they can slip and fall. The book was about a man who wanted to kill himself after finding himself in a wheelchair because he couldn't bear to live that way. I always wondered about that. I wondered why some people cannot find what they need to continue to live in the face of huge change. Where do they find the strength to give up the only life they have? Also, what is it within us that keeps us fighting in the face of huge change or issues. Why not just give up? So, I wrote Changes. It's really Don and Louis' story, and all the others in their lives. Because when a family member has a life altering accident, it affects everyone. And so, with that bit of background, the answer to the question is twofold. Usually, when I write characters and finish a story, I am done with them, but that didn't happen in this case. These two still had more to offer to me as a storyteller. The second part of the answer is, it is droughtquake's fault. He said something to me about writing more about Don and Louis, and what he thought that might look like. I let his idea stew awhile. So after a couple of false starts, I am writing Changes Again. Thanks for the question. • • • • • The final author highlighted this month is also the newest addition to the GA stable in this group. @Superpride posted for the first time a few months ago; his six stories—five of them still in process—have supernatural and romance themes. If those topics appeal to you, make sure to check out his work. • You seem to have a fascination for more other-worldly type stories. Where does this come from? • • • First, I want to say that I'm very grateful that you're asking me this question since I love interacting with people who are interested in my stories. With that said, I think my fascination for more other-worldly type stories comes from my other fascination with mythologies and folklores from different cultures, especially from the Philippines where my parents have come from and is a major influence to a couple of my stories published on this site. There is so much that we can learn about these stories, and that is one reason why I write my type of stories, to share my own fascination with these old stories by adding my own twist to them. This includes Filipino mythology that has fairies called diwata who can change ginger into gold and vampire-like creatures called the aswang who can separate their bodies into two, independent segments while they hunt during the night. I think another reason why I write these types of stories is because I love exploring certain concepts like people having superhuman abilities to defend humanity from an other-worldly threat and use them as analogies for today's real-world problems. In today's world that is very divided in many aspects, I want to tell stories that can be used to help us to better understand these issues while entertaining us as well by using these futuristic and fantastical themes that is my form of escapism. There is something about telling stories about superheroes, fairies and mermaids and having them relate to the past, present and even future that is very fascinating to me as well. I hope this answers your question, and I'm looking forward to interacting with anybody else in the future. • • • • • That’s it for this edition, my friends. Tune in next month for more insight into authors you love and those you have yet to discover. In the meantime, remember to send me any questions you may be dying to ask but may feel too shy to do in person. I promise to protect your identity.
  7. Here we go again, folks. Another installment of your questions being answered by GA authors. Have you sent me a question to pass along already? No? Why? I never reveal who send in the questions so you need not be embarrassed of anything you may want to ask. Hell, once I send the question to the author, I delete the message so I don’t even know who asks most of them in. I’m old and my memory’s deficient. • • • With twenty-eight stories and over 800,000 words posted in a little over two years, @Geron Kees could be the poster-child for prolific authors. His varied output has garnered a multitude of fans and this month lands him on Ask an Author with a question form one of his many followers. • I enjoy your writing very much and I appreciate that your stories span different categories including sci-fi. ROYGBIV, The Road of Dreams, and The Frost Covered Marker are a few of my favorites. Your stories though are all young adult/teen. What is it that appeals you to that genre? What is the most difficult thing about writing from the teenaged perspective? And just because we can’t be serious all the time: what is the most embarrassing thing that you’ve ever worn? • • Hmm. Very nice to hear that you have enjoyed the stories. I began my 'gay' life quite young. I grew to age nine in a suburb of Amsterdam, Netherlands, where the 'gay revolution' had already come to pass. Gay teens were open about their lifestyles, and as a youngster I was quite curious about it all. I and my best friend knew an older teen in the next block who was 16 and gay, and we started to pester him about what exactly it was that 'gay' guys did together. He finally got annoyed enough with our persistence to tell us. My friend and I were quite amazed, and curious, and...just not all that timid, I guess. I came to the US when I was nine, and was simply amazed at the backward state of sexual affairs here. Amazed and horrified, actually. But I soon learned that there was still gay life around, it was just all undercover. I found myself a boyfriend by the time I was 13, and never really looked back. I started writing on a dare. I was recounting some of the adventures of my youth to friends here, and one said I should "write that stuff down." I did, and submitted the results to Nifty, the only site I was aware of at that time. The response really astonished me. I just couldn't get over the fact that people would like to read about this! But, again, I never looked back. I soon found other sites to post on, and here we are. I have written some adult gay fiction, but I have not published it. Not yet anyway. The night is still young, as they say. I am more than a little saddened by the amount of misery prevalent in so many stories of gay youth. Growing up gay in America was tough for a lot of people. Through luck or circumstance, my life has not been laden with such misfortune. My teens were actually quite wonderful for me, and I enjoy sharing that sense with others , that being a gay young person need not always be so challenging. Sometimes, it's pretty darn nice! I really don't find it terribly challenging to write about teens. They're people, like anybody else. I was one, you were one. It's just about remembering what that was like. As I said, for me it was a very nice time of life. The adult world is more complex, and more challenging, I think. I do write those types of stories when the urge strikes me, but it simply is not as much fun, and I mostly write for fun. But...you never know. As for the most embarrassing thing I have ever worn? Well, you have to understand first that European values are different from American ones. When I first came to the US, I wore some clothing that was perfectly fine at 'home;' but which didn't go over as well here. Not quite enough of it, as it turned out. Very short shorts, for one thing. But I learned, and changed. But I have never been bashful about myself, so I don't become embarrassed easily. I guess the most embarrassing thing I ever wore in retrospect was in sixth grade, when a few friends and I appeared in front of the entire school dressed in nothing but loincloths and feathers and performed some Native American dances we had learned. Not a Native American among us, either, but the dances went over big, and girls followed us around for weeks afterwards. And, um, a few guys, too. Thanks for your interest. • • • @Defiance19 took many of us by surprise when she shared her first story on GA. It was so well written, technically and thematically, some of us felt she had been holding out on us. Subsequent offerings have not disappointed. On a personal note, Def has followed my series from the beginning, leaves me wonderful comments, and has more than once served as a sounding board for when my characters are in New York. I had the pleasure of meeting her earlier this year (she helped me celebrate my 60th) and I can tell you she’s even lovelier in person than in cyberspace. • You've written several short pieces, which are really very good. Do you see a longer project in the future? • • First off, whaat? So surprised, but I’m grateful to be included by whomever submitted this question. Thank you! I write the short stories mostly because it allows me to focus on a theme, and there’s a due by date. I do have ideas, and have things written toward a longer serial story goal. But also, other than second guessing myself I need to have a better writing discipline. Hopefully soon, I will have something completed. This is great motivation. Thank you again, for your question. • • • Having written about a dozen stories based in Washington, D.C. you would think I would have asked @oat327 for help at some point. However, I didn’t discover he was a resident of the District until recently. Had I known before, I could have asked him to hit Uproar on a Thursday night and meet with the Scandals Rugby Football Club after their practice to provide me with background info. Nah, who am I kidding? I’m glad I did it myself but I’ll definitely invite him to join me next time I’m in the city. • The Best Four Years of Adam Becker sees Adam trying to come to terms with his sexuality, and finding out who he is and how he fits, all while attending college. What are some of the things that get edited out of the story? Was your college experience anything like Becker’s? • • Honestly, my college experience was very similar; Tulane was a trip. I actually started this piece as a kind of way to kind of memorialize my college years, and much of the first few chapters especially are pulled directly from real life. The racially-tinged car accident en route from Ben and Jerry’s, Erik’s crazy roommate that they try to integrate into the group, weekends starting on Tuesdays at Bruno’s or The Boot, the ludicrous fraternity politics—all actually happened. Basically, I like to think of this as being a true story in the details; the main plot is generally fictional (I didn’t have a Kevin until after college, sadly) but everything else is generally being pretty accurate. Everything still follows the general arc of my college years. What gets edited out... considering this story is already about 150,000 words long, probably not nearly enough. In retrospect, I wish my editing had been a little tighter at the beginning; I think there are a lot of things in the early chapters that were fun memories for me but aren’t all that relevant to the plot. Once Becker met Kevin, I got a bit better with keeping focus. Most of what we lose is Becker's relationship with his friends. (Which is sad, because Tripp is my favorite character and I always feel guilty for neglecting him.) College is so much dicking around in other people’s dorms and doing absolutely nothing--that's how Becker probably spends 90% of his time and we definitely miss that. • • • I’ll close this month with @JohnAR. The Germany-based author created a universe full of all sort of critters defying the usual vampire/werewolf tropes found in most stories. He struck a chord with readers and his weekly posts were eagerly anticipated by his fans. • I was curious as to why he chose a shifter story to write, and how he came to write such a different shifter story. • • Some years ago I was stationed in a far-away country with little attraction of the male kind, so I read lots of ‘enticing’ books. And like in overall popular culture, the werewolf/vampire theme was ubiquitous. Unfortunately, most of the stories were so formulaic I got bored quickly: A big, young, hairy, dark Alpha wolf finds ‘his and only his’ gentle, blond, smooth, submissive Omega pup, takes him as his own rather forcefully as he cannot live without him (her?) anymore, and f***ks him (her?) raw happily ever after. I discovered that most of these male Alpha wolf/kind-of-male Omega wolf stories were written by women and for women (I think Colt explains that better in book MetaOrigins). The only exception are the ‘Tameness of the Wolf’ books, though those have too much sex (if that is possible). However, when I found that a gay author used exactly the same set-up I decided that I had enough and started to write a story that would break with all of those for me dreadful cliché characters. Hence, I created an Alpha that isn’t dark-haired and doesn’t get to do the f***ing, an enforcer that likes all sweet things but trips on pain, and a Beta that loves playing women for his pack’s advantage, but is the ultimate power bottom. This is crowned by the contrarian hero nerd who in no other book would ever get to do the unspeakable things he does to his pack wolves in Meta – after all he has to take one for the team, doesn’t he? Once those characters were set, my mean imagination did most of the rest; occasionally conflagrated by the cute expectations of my readers which I enjoyed to crush with OCD precision. • • • That’s it for this month, my friends. If you wish to ensure this feature remains alive, don’t forget to send me a question for any GA author. I have one more month in inventory but after that…
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. The following are blog features that site authors can participate in. If you would like to be included, please send me a PM with the information required. If you want to participate in multiple ones, please send a separate PM for each one. Please make sure the subject line of your PM specifies which one you're wanting to participate in. Improve & Encourage *NEW* The idea is for an author to read a story by a fellow author and provide detailed feedback, both positive and negative (constructive criticism). This is also a great way to find new authors that you haven't read before. The way it would work, is you would read a story/poem (of your choice) by the author who's post is above yours in the thread. Then you would write out a critique following a set of guidelines and send it to me via PM or email (renee@gayauthors.org). You can find the guidelines and other information, as well as sign up to participate, in the thread. New Author Advice Do you remember when you first started posting your writing? Is there something that you wish you had known prior to first hitting that submit button? Now's your chance to share your knowledge with other authors just starting out! Simply PM your advice to Renee Stevens. Writing Tips Have something you would like to share with other authors and readers about your writing process? This could be a number of things, including stuff like: building characters, grammar and editing tips, getting started, plotting, handling criticism, etc. Really anything that you can think of that has to do with the process of writing. 3 Story Promo If you'd like to have your GA stories featured in the blog, send me the links to the stories, the description, and the following information. What gave you the idea for this story? What was your favorite thing about writing this story? Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description. Favorite Self Written Story I'd like to know your favorite story that you've written and posted on GA. All I need is a link to the story and a single paragraph as to why that is your favorite. I will do 3 - 5 authors for each feature. Author Interview If you'd like to be interviewed for the blog, then please fill out the attached list of interview questions and PM it to me (Renee Stevens). You can also attach a short author bio if you'd like. Author Interviews will be posted in the order they are received. GA Author Interview.docx
  11. Hey everyone! There is this site, that I used to visit a lot when I was sixteen or seventeen. Well, if Literotica and Nifty had children together, this site would have been the naughty one so, that should give y'all an idea on what the site is like Many of its stories weren't really that great. Heck, a lot of them were more porn than plot However, like Literotica and Nifty, there were gems here and there. One of those gems, is the reason for this blog Back in May 2013, I came across a new story on there. At the time, there were only several chapters posted, but the story description already had my interest. So, I read the chapters and I absolutely loved it! What is so cool is that the author was still in high school, graduation only a few weeks away. I remember reading a note he wrote at the end of a chapter saying, "This is my first time writing anything other than an essay for class." I was (and still am) in awe of his ability At the time, he was one of the few authors on the site that made an effort to have correct grammar and an actual plot to boot! Fast forward two years later... He has come a long way. Where once he made mistakes here and there in his early chapters, he quickly got the hang of it and today, I consider his writing to be superb. That story has now become a trilogy of sorts, and he is now on the final book and now only needs one more chapter before it is finished. For me it is a bittersweet moment. At once, I am really happy to read the final chapter but at the same time I'm sad to know there won't be another story after about the characters I have come to love I guess, we all feel that way when it comes to a book or series that we like. So... in all that time, I never left a comment or review. Since the final story is almost finished, I decided it was high-time I did so. And so, I did I sent an email to him with my review and I also invited him to GA because I think his stories will find a home here. I didn't expect him to respond, but surprise surprise, he did a dew days later He thanked me for the review. As for me... I was OMG!OMG!OMG!!! as I read his email I plan to write a review for each of his stories on here over the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for them Thanks for reading, y'all!!!
  12. Is anyone aware of any major, ongoing, gay literary festivals? I've Googled and haven't found much. There are plenty of festivals that feature gay forums or reading series. But is there a festival that focuses specifically on gay literature and/or gay authors? Cheers, Gary
  13. Dear GA staff and members I think we should celebrate and congratulate each other that GA has reached the milestone of 900 authors. I also think it's cool that one in twenty members is an author. . The next important ones will be 100 million words of wonderful stories and 100,000 reviews to encourage our hardworking writers. to all the people working on the site for helping make this a happy and well functioning community. to all our authors for providing hours of entertainment. to all the members for reading, liking, rating, reviewing, and posting about stories.
  14. Hi everyone I've been reading a lot of gay themes novels. I wanted to know what everyone else is reading if they are reading off course. I just read the painting of porcupine city by Ben Monopoli and the seasons series by Jay Bell. I absolutely loved them all. I read a lot of the stories here and would love to own a few in hardcover to add to my collection. I am very partial to Comicality's stories and would love to own a hard cover copy. What are your favorites? Do you read Ebooks, paperback or hard cover?
  15. If JK Rowling Cares About Writing, She Should Stop Doing It Are there no limits to people's pettiness? I think not, given Lynn Shepherd's frankly astoundingly jealous and sad post in the HuffPo blog regarding how J.K. Rowling has 'had her turn' writing fiction for adults, and she should let someone else have a go. Shepherd admits that she herself hasn't read the Harry Potter books, but that she thinks it's 'a shame' that adults are reading them when there are, 'so many other books out there that are surely more stimulating for grown-up minds'. She goes on to say that Rowling should lay down her pen or stick to children's books because she's clogging the market so other writers can't get their work through. Shepherd starts the article with a disclaimer, so people will understand that this isn't just 'sour grapes', but she could have fooled me. I haven't read The Casual Vacancy or The Cuckoo's Calling, but I do know that the Harry Potter series got me and my entire generation reading. That's no mean feat, and I think Rowling's deserved her moments in the sun. It is a fact that big best sellers draw readers to book shops, and once they're there they browse, and they come away with lesser known books that they end up loving. Me buying book X doesn't make it less likely that I'll buy book Y, rather the opposite. Reading is an addiction. Once you start, you just want more. Aside from that, writing something like this is extremely unprofessional. A bit of envy of other people's successes when you're struggling in the same field is unavoidable, but spelling it out like this is really just petty. Please, you guys, let's make a pact never to get like this.
  16. In an age when books are still being banned for LGBTQ content all over the world, I thought this might be relevant. Here are some quotes by authors about book banning: 11 Quotes From Authors on Censorship and Banned Books
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