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  1. May already?! Well, in honor of the school year coming to a close in much of the US, I thought I'd feature a H.S. coming of age story which is quite popular on GA. So... this one time... at band camp. I know, I just dated myself, but maybe that gives you a hint at the story! It's not too long, and you have 4 full weeks to read it so I hope you will enjoy it. A Marching Band Story by @Jacob Windigo Length: 32,810 Description: Jarrod, a closeted gay high school senior, is the epitome of a band geek. He is a member of every band his at his school, but his favorite is the marching band, where the number of unfairly attractive boys seems infinite. But, there is one boy that stands out above the rest. Connor, a 15-year-old high school freshmen, is the boy of Jarrod's dreams, but a relationship with Connor seems forever out of reach. That is, until the unexpected happens on Jarrod's last summer marching band trip to Calgary, Canada. This story follows the journey Jarrod and Connor take as they discover themselves and the possibility of something more. A Reader said: I have just finished reading your story, I thought I should let you know that I think you wrote a very beautiful story, I hope you will write some more thank you for such a great story your friend Charlie ~ Cewright Don't forget to come back to share your thoughts on Monday, May 30th!
  2. April showers bring... well, snow in my neck of the woods! It seems like everywhere I looked online people were talking about strange weather. Life on Earth has been rough the last few years, but could it be worse? That's explored in astone2292's story based on our prompt game, Corporate Galactic. Did you enjoy these snapshots in future time? Share your thoughts below, and enjoy my interview with him too! Do you eat your fruits and vegetables? Do wine and cheddar broccoli soup count? Have you ever gone out in public, realized your shirt is on backwards, and just don’t care? It’s happened a few times, but it hasn’t since I filled my closet with short-sleeve button ups. It’s really hard to wear one inside-out. What’s something personal about you people might be surprised to know? When I was eight years old, my parents’ house was hit by a tornado while we were inside. All I remember is the sound of a stampede, then a two-by-four smacked me in the face. If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be? The Man with a Million Masks: Someone Who Doesn’t Know Himself. What’s the best part of being an author? I can do whatever I want! Authors can do things normal humans can not. Go back in time, travel to outer space, invent new worlds. I went to school to be an artist, but my fingers would never translate what I wanted to create. Using my imagination in writing, I regret not spending more time in English and other writing classes. Which was a harder genre to tackle Dystopian or SciFi? Well, each was difficult in its own way, but I’ll give the award to Dystopian. Dystopian involves creating a society of sorts that operates with great suffering. This can lead authors down a rabbit hole into the dark corners of their imagination. How warped can an environment be without truly breaking the human psyche? Corporate Galactic was a dip in the water for me, and I might be tempted to take a plunge. There are three main characters, one in each chapter. Do you relate to one character the most? Not particularly. I see a part of me in each of them. Jared because I like being analytical and having as many options available. I relate to Symanthus when I work. She likes production, smooth operation, and seeing success. Silyn for his leadership style. He doesn’t want to rock the boat, but when things don’t go according to plan, he’s able to act with a sense of compassion. Hybrid human & alien cuisine… in a taco. What kind of dessert do you think Silyn would enjoy? Ha! If there’s one thing every species could come together on, it’d be cuisine. If there were to be more hybrid human and alien cuisine combinations, specifically for dessert, the easy answer is cake and pie. Oh the possibilities! The human race will always argue which is superior (The correct answer is pie. Bring it on, comment section!), so I can’t imagine what the other species in the Galactic would bring to the debate table. But for Silyn, I’d say brownies. He already goes to the aura bar, and we saw what those pods can do. Can you sum up this story in one sentence? What would happen if Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk became rulers of Earth? Can you share a little of your current or future story(s) with readers? The current story I’m working on is Death in the Shadows, the final book in a trilogy starring a man who can control shadows using magic. He’s destined to fall in love with a local shapeshifter, and fight the man who murdered his parents. Along the way, he meets many new friends across the globe, develops his understanding of magic, and even becomes a puppet to a few of the seven gods who run the universe. A warning for interested readers: the first book is terribly written, as it was my first attempt at writing. I used third-person omniscient after snorting a line of Fun Dip. POV switches-a-plenty! A thorough edit is in progress, and the new changes look much cleaner. A blurb from Death in the Shadows: Future stories in my to-write bank include a guy who purchases a mail-order bride but receives a husband instead, a Frosty the Snowman origin story, and a collection called Tales of Inanimate Objects where I take on the perspective of various objects used on a daily basis, such as a cigarette or a doorknob. Will the objects be tortured? Will they be sexual? Who knows?
  3. Welcome to March's CSR! I've decided to feature a short-novel length story that's bound to create a connection for many of us to those youthful teen days which resonated with the many readers who read, commented, and reviewed Ridley by Krista. I hope you will enjoy the story if you haven't read it yet and will come back on the discussion day to help encourage Krista to write part two... if she isn't already. Hmm... maybe a question for the interview? Ridley by @Krista Length: 33,422 Description: Ridley wants a lot of things. To be left alone, for people to forget a stupid nickname, and for time to stop and rewind two years. What he doesn't want is to be featured in the school paper. A Reader said: ... This story was phenomenal. From start, where we experienced Ridley's self-denial, to finish, where we rejoiced in the main character's awakening, @Krista immersed us in mixed emotions we all remembered from our youth. I couldn't have asked for a more compelling short story. ~ Danners Don't forget to come back to share your thoughts on Monday, March 28th!
  4. Well, for once I've no interview to share with you, fellow GA readers! So I thought I'd share an excerpt from The Connecticut River Boys that I liked, and you can share your favorite line, scene, character, or any thoughts from when you read the story below. The Connecticut River Boys by @Tallguyct Don't forget to share your thoughts below!
  5. Well, can you believe we're already one month into 2022? How's your year going? Do you have plans for this month's love fest day? Or is the day after chocolate discount day more your thing? Whatever your love life is like, you can enjoy this month's tale of love, loss, woe and wooing in Tallguyct's short novel, The Connecticut River Boys. The Connecticut River Boys by Tallguyct Length: 45,178 Description: Following the party where Dave and Craig, both in their 60s, celebrated forty years of love and togetherness, a life changing event shattered their world of happiness. Forty years earlier, two very different appearing guys in their 20s, an auto mechanic and a college student, met during a Vermont snow storm. Their different backgrounds helped blend them into a loving couple. After the tragedy following the fortieth anniversary party, the move forward is complicated and challenging as a brawny Scotsman and a twenty year old naive nephew intertwine with the life of a sixty year old. A reader said: I liked how this story started out somewhat simmering but reached a full boil by the climax. Keep writing. Hugs ~alexlittel Don't forget to come back to share your thoughts on Monday, February 28th!
  6. Welcome back to this first CSR feature of the 2022! I couldn't help but start off with a bit of magic and one of my favorite fantasy creatures, dragons! What did you think of Xfighter1984's story, Dragonborne? Share your thoughts in the comments below, but first enjoy this interview where he shares a few insights about him and teases about more! Do you eat your fruits and vegetables? Fruits more than veggies Chocolate or Vanilla? Vanilla, but really strawberry if I can find it If you were an animal, what would you be? Shark (Great White) What’s something personal about you people might be surprised to know? I am a total nerd at heart (plastic models, games, anime, books) What brought you to GA? Years and years ago a story caught my interest and the entire collection was on GA, I never left What’s one location you’d love to go to research for a story? Australia When did you first gain interest in Arthurian fiction? Reading and anime(Code Geass used a lot of Arthurian references) Why dragons versus knights in this tale? Dragons have always been my favorite ‘mythical’ creature but they are usually depicted as the ‘villain’ and the knights the always the hero, I like the conflict being a little bit greyer. Do you have a favorite line or scene in Dragonborne? I do, Levi’s first time transforming into his true dragon state! The events leading up to and after were a joy to write Can you share anything about your current or upcoming fiction with readers? Levi and the gang(Dragonborne) are on a bit of a break until I get further into “A Slice of Life” as I am really flowing with that one at the moment and is updated weekly, but they will be back in grand fashion and I planned on at least three books for the “Fire and Shadows” series.
  7. Well, I don't know about you, but I sometimes have a hard time facing the rest of winter after the magic of the holiday season has ended. Now it's just extreme weather and no fun... so I thought we'd enjoy some magic of a different sort and the fun of a coming-of-age short story with Xfighter1984's fantasy tale Dragonborne. And for those who like their tales to continue... a little birdie (read: the author note at the bottom of the last chapter) says there more in store for this world. So if you fall in love, never fear, more to come! Dragonborne by @Xfighter1984 Length: 23,082 Description: Step into a world of magic, mystery, swords, and of course dragons. Young Levi doesn't quite know who or what he is, until one day a mysterious man shows up and everything changes A reader said: This is an exciting chapter. These are a well written series of chapters. The plot is interesting and the characters are well developed. I really look forward to the next chapter. ~JCtoGO2 Don't forget to come back to share your thoughts on Monday, January 31st!
  8. Well, it's come. The final CSR feature of 2021... and what better than a time-traveling tale of the Old West? Headstall shares his passion for the genre with this comment on his story: "What was life like for a gay man in the Old West? Westerns are not a popular genre, but this author grew up on them, and I wrote this for me. This is my second story set in these times, and I wanted to explore how these men coped... how they survived, and what the attitudes of the times were. A lot of research went into this, but the trappings of the story are only a small part of it. This is a simple human drama about wanting what we all want... to stay alive, have a place to call our own, and someone to share it all with. Sometimes, it's just a dream...." ~ Headstall Sidewinder by @Headstall Length: 71,019 Description: Life in the Old West was harsh. The work was hard, but the men were harder, and death.... well... it came easy. Boone had no one until he met Coy, a handsome cowboy with a good heart. Their friendship was quickly formed, and meant everything to him, but after five years of being at each other's side, it was time to move on. Coy didn't need him anymore, and Boone wanted someone made like he was. Finally accepting that was never going to be Coy, and tired of being rootless, he sets out to find a home... land that was his, and a place he could belong. Coy? Left on his own, what path will he take? A Reader said: This story with it's wonderful characters...Coy, Boone and others (Blue and Daisy, especially), ticked all the boxes for me, written so well, there was laughter, tears, adventure, cliffhangers, LOVE, a uniqueness, etc, etc, etc!!! Loved it, the ending was perfect!! ~ Onim Don't forget to come back to share your thoughts on Monday, December 27th!
  9. How has November treated you? I can't believe we're almost done with this year, but in the same respect it just can't go fast enough! I felt like that when I was reading Dabeagle's story, Bloom. I wanted to know what happened next so I kept reading faster and faster, but I wanted to savor it before it would end too soon.... as all good stories do! What did you think? Share your thoughts below, but first, enjoy these interview questions he answered first! Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate has its time and place, but I'm partial to Vanilla myself. If you were an animal, what would you be? A Beagle, of course 🙂 What’s one location you’d love to go to research for a story? Oh, this is a tough question, really. I'm of the opinion that my stories are character driven rather than location driven, so it would be harder for me to research an area, except for details to make something a bit more realistic. There was a story written years ago in collaboration with a friend where I wanted to write a little epilogue with them getting a honeymoon in Venice – so maybe a return to Venice. Not the worst reason to go there! What’s something personal about you people might be surprised to know? Again, hard to say. Depends how long you've 'known' me. I was once married to a woman and I have three children – though I think many people know the second as foster care has featured more than once in my stories. Bloom features a romance where one character has some surprisingly romantic moments. Are you a romantic? In theory, yes. One of the great failings in me as a person is I stink at the day to day things, but am good at the grand gesture stuff. Need the dishes done daily? I will screw that up. Ned a big birthday night out? More my speed. I usually get secondhand embarrassment from intensely romantic situations on TV and sometimes in books, but I guess it kind of got away from me here. How did you get the idea for Cal’s interest and drive for plants and genetics? Caleb was complex in my head. I introduced my kids to the movie 'Lucky Number Slevin', which one was impressed enough to call genius (trust me, not much I do with them gets that label) and the character of Slevin who has the condition described in Bloom, kind of fascinated me. What if you took that and applied it to someone in a more mundane setting than hitman? To me it suggested an entirely different line of reasoning. So Caleb grows up scrutinizing himself because he thinks he needs to 'normalize' himself – because his peers do. But he notices at some point that not everyone does that, and that points him to Hunter. The involvement with plants and genetics actually didn't occur right away, until the parties were introduced. From there tying the plants to Hunter's eye color seemed obvious, yet practical. I also think it ties Caleb to his family through their business, yet also is unique enough that others may not understand or care to. The retail settings of Bloom are all too realistic! Have you ever held a job in retail? Yes, I have visited the ninth circle of hell. As a kid of course I worked a few grocery jobs and indoor retail setting as I got older. I managed a video store and a GameStop. My experience in the field is out of date, but I think there is enough there for people to identify with. Twins… you did a great job with those! I have 2 sets in my immediate family and twin brain is real, as well as the sudden snaps of hostility and crazy. What made you choose to bring in that dynamic with Hunter and Andy? Andy is probably one of my better developed secondary characters. I wanted her to stand out in being unconventional in her interests, yet entirely human in how she makes mistakes – and stubbornly sticks to her decisions until it's too late. I actually have practically no experience with twins – not in years. When I worked as a camp counselor I was friends with a family of a boy I mentored who had twin sisters. They would set each other off laughing with a look, something private only they understood. They didn't fight each other often, but especially as they grew older, man it was personal. As I was setting Hunter up to be a senior – the cusp of graduation – I didn't want his sibling trailing behind or just ahead because I felt it would put too much separation between their social circles, not to mention Andy's appetites would be less palatable for some. I like the idea of empowering a female character to go for what she wants as much as a male character. What is your favorite scene or line from the story? I have a couple. As readers comment, I frequently re-read the chapter they are reading (it's how I find my typos). Some folks recently were reading an older story of mine, and I end up reading the whole damn thing again. But to your questions, two scenes come to mind. The first is when Caleb tells Hunter everything has been aimed at winning him over. I like those moments when a character literally is blindsided by something good happening to them, and Hunter struggling with the complexity of his growing feelings for Caleb versus the safety of the 'fact' Caleb is straight and now that is all in question is very enjoyable for me. Second is that I frequently use images to influence how I describe a pose, a setting, an expression or how the light lays in a scene. So when the end comes and Hunter has the idea that a drone shot from above would be amazing I tend to agree with him – it would be something to see, perhaps in black and white. Honorable mention to Issac's scenes because he's fun to write. Can you share a little bit of your current or upcoming work or ideas with readers? I usually have a few ideas rolling through what passes for my brain. Unfortunately I don't share all of them at GA because my Sanitaria Springs stories frequently rely on the foundations laid by earlier chapters. Case in point I thought 'I Got You' was stand alone enough to post at GA, but it mightily confused someone who even took the time to review the story. I do have a few Sanitaria stories that will be posting soon, first to my Patreon and then to my site. I have a serial story that is magic centered that I'm also working on, but with the nature of my brain, all of that could change at any moment. The magic story is a twist on a part from a series of books I read...whose name escapes me. But the concept of how 'magic' works with a practitioner was interesting to me and I am running with my own idea.
  10. Welcome to the next to last month of 2021! I hope it treats you right, and to get you started on the right direction, we have a good-sized novel by Dabeagle to enjoy for this month's CSR, or Can't Stop Reading, book club feature! What did you think of it? Make sure you're ready to comment at the end of the month! Bloom by @Dabeagle Length: 69,943 Description: Hunter has plans and reasons. Get the hell out of Park Terrace, power through college to get to New York City where he can be himself - because there is nothing and no one to tie him down, unless you could coming back to visit the parents. New York City would bring the romance he loves so much, maybe even one of those 'hate them at first sight and grudgingly learn to love them' type stories. No. Those are too much work. A reader said: I love the story, from the beginning till the end. Hope to read more of Hunt and Caleb. ~Percycass Don't forget to come back to share your thoughts on Monday, November 29th!
  11. Did you read this fun, twisted tale from Richie Tennyson before or after I announced it earlier this month? Readers really seemed to like the new take on the old fairy tale genre. What did you think? Share you thoughts before, but make sure you check out my interview with Richie here first! Do you eat your fruits and vegetables? I certainly do! What’s one location you’d love to go to research for a story? A small country town with colourful locals. I read lots of books set in small towns and would love to write one. What brought you to GA? I came across GA when I was looking for a place to share my first story, Self-Portraits. Do you like original fairy tales or are you more of a Disney tale fan? I loved Disney fairytales as a child and was also obsessed with a lot of picture book adaptations. I wasn’t as familiar with early versions of fairytales but, when I was researching Happily Ever After, Ltd, I became a big fan of the gory Brothers Grimm version of Cinderella. One of your readers left an excellent review stating how the twists and turns had to be plotted out. Are you a plotter or pantser when you write? Yeah, I did plot most of Happily Ever After, but I was bit of a “pantser” for Ryan and Dorothy’s backstories. Did grown ups read fairytales to you when you were a child? Yes, my parents did – and I spent a lot of time re-reading them on my own too. Do fairytales have an influence on your writing outside of this story, or was it a one-off? I always enjoy playing around with the “happily ever after” cliché. When I’m writing, I like to find ways to subvert expected endings, and bring characters to endings that are realistic and earned, but hopefully still satisfying. Ryan and Dave both have quite the adventure. Do you identify more with either character? I identify more with Ryan. His backstory is adapted from my own life, and as a person, we share a range of traits. We’re both a bit awkward and often exasperated - and we both have a very crude best friend. What is your favorite part of Happily Ever after, Ltd.? Without spoiling anything, my favourite part is the scene where two characters are on a boat. It combines action, horror, comedy, love, absurdism, and more. Can you share more of your upcoming writing or story plans with readers? I am currently writing a psychological thriller about a group of old university friends (including three gay guys), who are reuniting ten years after they graduated. They stay in a very isolated lodge, but one of them has murder on their mind. So again, I’m using a well-known story structure (the “whodunit”), but trying to subvert expectations/tropes. Don't forget to share your thoughts below!
  12. I can't believe it's the end of September already! This month has flown by, unlike the 56 weeks it took for Renee to write her 1k a week Wednesday Briefers flash fiction story, Thwarted. Did you read it? Make sure you share your comments below, but first my interview with her! Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate What's your favorite room in your house? Do you plot or write there? My favorite room in the house is my craft room. I don’t really plot or write there though, partly because that room is honestly disorganized chaos. It definitely needs an in depth cleaning. I do mostly sewing in that room, as well as crafts for my at home craft business. What is your favorite book? It’s been so long since I’ve been able to do any reading, that I honestly couldn’t pick a favorite book. And many of the books that I read now are the books that I read to my little man. And while I cherish being able to read to him, I wouldn’t say any of his little books would be my favorite. What do you like to do when you’re not writing? My favorite things to do are camping, fishing, just being outdoors. Lately I do a lot of crafting, and playing with my little guy, but for the most part I love to share my love of the outdoors. We haven’t got to do much camping the last couple of years, for various reasons, but hopefully soon our summers and fall will be back to spending time at the lake or in the mountains. Ironically, camping is always where I seemed to do my best writing. It’s been a while since you had time to write. What’s the best part of being an author you miss? Losing myself in the story. I used to be able to sit down and write and everything else just fell away. It let me get whatever I was feeling out, and at the same time allowed me to focus on something other than whatever was going on in life. I tend to bottle things up and for some reason, when I would be really into a story, everything just kind of melted away. I miss the release I got from writing, but I’m still hopeful that I’ll get back to it. The stories are there, I just struggle to get them out since I can’t stay up until all hours of the night, which is when I did most of my writing. If you could give advice to yourself when you first started writing, what would it be? The first one would be not to post until something is finished, with the exception of these 1K chapter stories. It puts too much pressure I think and trying to rush it in order to post can affect the story. The other thing is to not worry about it being perfect, just get the story out, as it can always be edited to fix major mistakes. What is the best part of writing a 1k a week story? The hardest challenge? The best part is that a 1K chapter is easily doable in a week, so it helps to keep an author writing. In fact, if I ever manage to get back to writing, I may very well start with flash stories just to get back into the groove of it. The hardest part is keeping chapters to the 1K word limit and have smooth transitions. In fact, while I really stuck to the 1K format for the first half or so of the story, in later chapters I have many that are a bit longer. Did you connect more with Mark or Trey when you wrote the story? I honestly can’t even remember. But that being said, I will say this. When I write, I have to have a good connection with all the main characters, or the story doesn’t get written. I’ve had stories before that I completely changed one of the characters because they were just not someone I could connect with. That wasn’t the case with Thwarted. I stayed connected with both Mark and Trey throughout and their characters never strayed from who they were to begin with. It’s been nearly 10 years since you wrote Thwarted. Would you change anything about it now? I don’t think I’d change anything about the storyline, but I would like to go back into it and smooth things out a bit. Maybe combine chapters and provide better transitions. Do you have a favorite scene or line from the story? It’s been so long since I wrote Thwarted that I really can’t remember any specific favorite scenes or lines. But, if pressed I’d have to choose the first prompt line, which was “Count sheep? I’d rather count…” mainly because it was the prompt that started it all, and I really think that scene kind of set the tone for Mark’s relationship with Jackie and Brent.
  13. Welcome to August. Wow, I can't believe we've already made it here. Summer in the northern hemisphere is in full bore, but we can see the end in sight. Change is in the air, and what better way celebrate that than with a tale about personal change? And sports! Football!! Yes it's American football, people, but this is the month for it. Plus, don't forget to congratulate MozLover21 on being a member of GA for a year on August 16th!! Electricity by @MozLover21 Length: 74,284 Description: NFL quarterback Andrew Thompson is tired of being blasted in the press for his notorious playboy lifestyle and wild reputation. But just as he's trying to make changes in his life and become a better man, a brand new article by respected journalist Aubrey Miller, goes viral. The author berates Andrew for perpetuating a negative image of gay men in the media and questions his dedication to the community. Initially, the quarterback is furious with Miller, but a chance encounter with the handsome writer leaves him rather conflicted about his feelings. A Reader Said: Easily one of my favorite stories. To see how the characters mature was awesome. Definitely looking forward to more stories from Moz. ~Wesley8890 Don't forget to come back to comment on the discussion day on Monday, August 31st.
  14. On the first Monday of the month, I announced the CSR Feature was Carlos Hazday's series, Atlantis Shift. It features two stories, Tidal Power and Detskoye Porno, but check out my interview with Carlos to see his thoughts on writing in general, those two stories, or if there might be more to come! He always gets to ask authors questions and share the answers, so enjoy this chance I had to turn the tables on him! When it comes to reading, do you have a preference for paper or eBook/online books or stories? I’ve read on both but have realized I prefer printed over digital. Ten years ago, when I sold a large house and moved to an apartment, I gave away several hundred books. A few favorites I replaced with electronic versions and enjoyed reading on my tablet. Over time, I’ve recaptured the love for the physical presence of a book and the delight of turning pages and folding a corner to mark my place. It’s also a great sleep aid. Reading on a screen can interfere with dozing but falling off with my glasses on and the weight of a book on my chest is a thrill again. What do you like to do when you’re not writing or collecting questions & answers for Ask an Author? Riding my motorcycle! I own a 2010 Harley-Davidson Road King. For anyone not familiar with scooters, that’s a BIG touring bike meant for more than speeding down the highway or bumming around the city. Over the past ten years, I’ve ridden in 41 of the 50 states and a small corner of Canada. In all kinds of weather. The feeling of freedom is infectious. If on a busy road, I’ll blast the sound system; if on a quiet one, I’ll let the engine roar and the whistling wind blowing through my hair be my soundtrack. And no, I rarely wear a helmet. It’s the rebel in me. What’s one location you haven’t been to that you’d love to go to research for a story? Brazil! Although I’m almost fluent in Portuguese, the South American giant is a place I’ve never visited. I can imagine a story straddling the beaches of Rio and the Amazon jungle. Exotic locales alone could be a great inspiration. The danger would be that when you throw in sultry weather and half-naked hot men, I may just forget about writing. What do you think the most valuable advice or piece of education you’ve learned about writing is? Patience. Something sorely missing from my personality, but what I advise new writers to develop. Too many good story ideas are wasted in the rush to publish. It takes months for a chapter of mine to see the light and, even then, I often find errors. Only a fool thinks they can offer a quality product by themselves. I’ve been lucky to have a few talented individuals work with me. Particularly @Mann Ramblings. I’ve benefitted from his experience working with professional editors when publishing his books. I also know at times he’s consulted @Renee Stevensand @Cia when in doubt, so my gratitude to all three. Things he corrected at the beginning are no longer an issue. I’ve paid attention to what he fixes, internalized, and hopefully improved my writing. What’s the first thing you do when you start to write a story? (Plotter, pantser, get in a particular place to write, have your coffee/tea/drink ready to go…?) Look up hot men on the internet to model my characters after… Nah, not really. That comes later in the process. I’m a chronic planner. The spark may be a location, a character, or an event. I generally will jot down whatever it is, and then flesh it out into an outline/timeline. Once I have a beginning and an end, I sit at my desk and start working. Since most of my writing’s done in the early morning, a mug of coffee is always by my side. Did you do any particular research for the fantastical aspects before you wrote Tidal Power and Detskoye Porno? Not at all. I researched locations for both stories, power generation for the first one, and kiddie porn for the second. Dolphin anatomy was also in there. As far as the fantastical aspects, I relied a bit on previous readings. Anne Rice’s vampires, Rob Colton’s werewolves, and Cia’s were-creatures all floated around in my head. But I wanted something different, so I used those as a starting point to create my own myths. What do you think the best parts of these stories are? (scenes, characters, particular aspects of the writing, etc…) The concept. The emergence of shifter dolphins as a result of Atlantis sinking into the ocean. It‘s something different and opens up a world of opportunities for water-related stories. Being born in Cuba and raised in Puerto Rico and Miami, the ocean’s always played a huge part in my life. The Atlantis Shift series were written and posted a few years ago, and writing is an evolution. What changes do you think would improve the stories from your viewpoint as an author now? Where to start? Tidal Power was an experiment in dialogue-driven storytelling. No narration and no speech tags. Somebody slap me if I try that again. The second story’s a bit better but not much. Both would benefit from additional descriptions of locations, characteristics, and action. Written when I was getting my feet wet in the authorship business, I thought I knew what I was doing. Fool! Do you have any ideas, plots, plans, or thoughts you want to share with readers about the Atlantis shift series to come? Yes, I do. My idea was to follow the dolphins through different adventures where they would team up with other fantastical creatures. So far, werewolves, vampires, and dragons have been featured. I have blurbs involving witches, Santeria gods, and elves amongst possible characters. Each story would deal with a real-world situation where the dolphins team-up or face-off with the other beings. A new series installment is on my list of 2019 projects. Please share any other inside tidbits about your current works, your stories those who enjoyed these stories might like, or special sneak peeks of works to come for readers here! I’ve concentrated on the CJ series in the recent past. Currently, book ten is in the works. The story about a wealthy, Hispanic, gay teen with political aspirations will conclude with his graduation from college. It’ll begin posting in January. The list of future projects includes a children’s story or two, further adventures for the Key West biker in American Steel, fleshing out flash pieces of Colt and Tony in Chelsea, and potential CJ spinoffs. The pantheon of character in that series is rich, and I’d like to explore a few of them in more detail. Either flashbacks or future events. I do have quite a bit written on one dealing with Chipper, the musician in the group. And there’s always the possibility of further CJ stories following his work in the State Department and his rise to prominence in the US. But I need a break first.
  15. Holy mackerel it's Monday, the last Monday of the month! How did that happen already? Well it's a good thing we're ready for it, right? Did you take advantage of the time you had to read Aceinthehole's story, The Hidden Ones: The Spotlight? I know it was really long! Hopefully you made a dent. I will caution you, if you're still mid-read, there are some questions below in the interview that have answers that might be a tad revealing about the story, so I've hidden them with spoilers. Or maybe they will just entice you to read it! Your choice. Do you eat your fruits and vegetables? I can’t say I always did, but I’ve gotten a lot better about it! I recently graduated college, where I used to only eat frozen pizzas, chicken nuggets, take out and the like. However now that I’m onto the next chapter of my life, I’ve tried my hardest to make a strong commitment to my health, both mental and physical. If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be? The Eighth Circle of Hell: How to Survive in a House with Four Sisters. I’m just kidding. I love my sisters and the chaos that comes with a packed house. But sometimes, it does feel like the eighth circle of hell! What don’t we know about you? In addition to loving sports and music, I’m a gigantic nerd. I love comic books, video games, T.V. shows and movies. These mediums are really what inspired me to become a writer. I’ve read and watched so many amazing stories, that I hope to one day contribute one of my own! Is there a literary character (in the whole universe of fiction) that you’ve read who you really identified with? I’d have to say Tyrion Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. I’m nowhere as smart or tactical as he is, but I closely relate to him being an outcast. I’ve always been blessed with family and friends, however I grew up in an area where being gay isn’t widely accepted. His words and wisdom really meant a lot to me, especially when I was coming out to those close to me. Did something specific in your life/history inspire you to write The Hidden Ones: The Spotlight? I’d say my experience in High School was what really sparked the idea for this story. I can’t say I was bullied much, but I was also never that popular. Instead I was an anonymous kid who kept to his friends and simply observed everything that was happening around him. Yet what I observed always ate away at me. For no specific reason, certain kids got made fun of for the same qualities the ‘popular’ kids had. In addition, at every High School I knew, there was always one kid at the top, usually the captain of a sports team or school president. This kid always tried his/her hardest to seem perfect at every turn. Worst of all, they always offered help without ever actually intending to follow through with it. They rarely got their hands dirty in terms of bullying, but turned a blind eye to it. They pretended to be friends with everyone, but in reality they were in it for their own selfish gains. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the popular kid isn’t all that different from the kid with a target on his back. This hypocrisy was what really inspired The Hidden Ones: The Spotlight. I wanted to show what would happen if that popular kid ever learned just how much they had in common with the bullied kid. Is there anything you found particularly challenging while writing this series? If you could give advice to yourself when you had first started writing the story, what would it be? Stop overthinking it, and just keep writing. There were a lot of moments when I was writing that I just wanted to give up. I often doubted the story, and where it would go. I felt silly trying to create my own rock star, and citing music I’m not sure many people had heard. But now looking back, those doubts were silly. I was so worried about how it would be received, that I almost lost the story I wanted to tell. It may not be perfect, but I’m proud of it. I got to write about a genre I love, and about an issue that always seemed to bother me. I credit @JayT, who edited the story, with helping me through my doubts and even brain storming along with me during certain parts. By the end I was able to get to a place where I was really having fun with this story. What do you think makes The Spotlight stand out compared to other “similar” stories? I think what separates it from other stories is how dark and gritty it can get. This is not a light hearted, feel good story. It explores the boxes we force ourselves into, and how much damage that can do to a person. Even when things get better, the damage is already done. I understand that many people read stories to escape certain realities. After all, I read certain stories for the same reasons. However, we don’t always get the happy endings we dreamed of. Life has a way of warping our endings, and giving us what it feels we need. I always try to keep this in mind while writing, and to me that whole concept sets this story apart. I wouldn’t say this is a dark story, there are a lot of light and happy moments within it, but I tried my hardest to keep it as realistic as possible. What do you like best about the story? This is a very tough question for me, as this story is perhaps the most fun I’ve had writing so far. I got to combine my passion for writing with my passion for music. Often before writing a chapter I would sit down and watch music video after music video to help me get into the right mindset. It was like I got to take messages from the bands I loved and let it flow through me into my own story. However, after looking at the whole of the story, the thing I like best... Can you share something about your current work or an upcoming story? So I have a current story I’m writing along with the editing help of OzLoGo called The Golden City, and two upcoming stories Tales of the Underground Book four: Vision and an unnamed The Hidden Ones third book (although this book is more for fun!). The Golden City is very unlike anything I’ve written before. I’m not too sure where it came from. It’s just been this really fun and vibrant story. It’s the journey of Arthur Price following the loss of his single mother and his move to San Francisco. It follows him exploring his new city as he begins to discover his true self. It feels like a lot more of an adventure than anything I’ve written before. The fourth and final Tales of the Underground story, Vision, will be released after The Golden City is finished. It’ll take place a good twenty to thirty years after the first three books and will focus on Matthew Sanders-Taylor’s journey to find who he really is. This journey will require the help of many characters from this series and in many ways will mirror the first book, Velocity, that sparked my love for writing. Finally, the third The Hidden Ones which is still unnamed will follow the rising of a new rock star. It was a story I was uncertain about at first, but after receiving requests from some of my readers, is something I will happily begin. It will be a running story I update throughout the year. It’ll help people stay updated on their favorite characters, while also allowing me to continue writing characters I miss!
  16. 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!!!
  17. Well this was a nice long month between Mondays, so I picked a short story and the novella continuation of the tale written by BHopper2 in A New Life and a New Home and My Son. Did you have a chance to read them before or this month for the feature? Make sure you share you thoughts below! You might also consider writing a review for the story or copying your comments there; authors always appreciate those! But first, as always, I have an interview with BHopper2. Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point? The short answer is no, and yes. Back when I was still in college, I took a course in Human Reproduction and Development. One of the assignments we had involved reading over a report from the CDC about the dangers of making your bed in the morning. Basically, it is better to not make your bed so that it can air out during the day, and get rid of the sweat and germs you slept off overnight. Of course, I do make it if someone is coming over that might see my room, but overall, nope, I don’t make the bed. If you were an animal, what would you be? I’ve been called a cuddly bear many times by my Ex’s, so I would be a bear. LOL. In the nomenclature of the Gay Culture, I would be classified as a bear. However, I’ve been partial to cats most of my life, and I’ve always liked Snow Leopards, Florida Panthers, and good old alley-cats. So, I think I would be a cat of some sort while hoping it was a Snow Leopard. Which is odd, because my native Floridian self can’t stand the cold. Or a bear… LOL If you had 30 minutes of free time, what would you do? I have too much free time as it is. I’m disabled, and not currently working. But if I had 30 mins to spend on anything thing I want, I would look for a nice quiet place to perform meditation. I’ve started to get back into the practice of doing meditation daily, and I feel that it helps. Just need to find the quiet, which is hard when all the family is running through the house. Especially now during summer. What brought you to GA? I first came to GA in early 2016. I was over on Nifty, reading some stories, and it was Comicality’s story called Shelter that I wanted to see if there were any more chapters. I did a Google search, and that led me to GA. I started reading the stories here and eventually created an account to interact and post my own stories. What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Depends on the day, and if my disabilities are getting in the way. But, if it’s a good day… watching sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico, sipping coffee with some friends while talking about various topics, hockey, taking a stroll on Bayshore Blvd and the longest sidewalk in the world, hockey, watching the military men that use Bayshore as an exercise trail, hockey, watching some good shows, reading, and of course my Tampa Bay Lightning hockey. What’s the best part of being an author? Creation. Being an author it lets one create a world, fill it with dynamic characters, and tell a story (or stories) set in that world. Yes, some may use the real world, and take elements from real people to make a character, but the bottom line is storytelling is creation. We are making something from nothing. I recently relearned that according to one study it is estimated 75-80% of Gay Men have some form of Mental Illness, with the primaries being Anxiety, Bipolar, and Depression. I have all three. The feeling you get from creating a world, even if you don’t share it, can help with these issues. Most gay men will never experience the birth of a child that they help create. Not to take anything away from that experience, but writing can help fill the gap with the creation of stories and characters. My stories are my children, my legacy if you will. A prompt inspired A New Life and a New Home. What led you to expand the storyline in My Son? When I wrote A New Life and a New Home, I had just finished talking to the real-life person that inspired the character Chandon. I was looking for an idea to write about and saw the first line prompt. It reminded me of how the real-life version of Jill met her son’s boyfriend, and the rest they say is history. I changed the names of my friend, his boyfriend, and mother, and wrote the story. (They liked it btw.) It was the first story I worked with @Kitt on with her as my Editor. Posted it, and got some good feedback. When I started My Son, I was actually struggling with a different story. I was posting in tim’s Chat Thread @Mikiesboy Drop-In Center about struggling, and tim’s husband Mike (@MichaelS36) suggested I try something different from what I usually do. I had notes and an outline from a story I was planning on doing, that I felt could be used. I sat down at the kitchen table and was looking at House Design plans for a cousin that was building a house. While I was there, that’s when I spotted the house that I would use in My Son. It was gorgeous, and it sparked the first paragraph of the story. I excused myself from the family, set up my laptop, and immediately started the first chapter. Later, I took the notes and New Life and combined them as I kept thinking about Chandon and Brayon, while I was writing about Adam, Duncan, and Rob. I had originally only planned for one chapter for My Son, but the readers wanted more. I had the notes ready to go and finished out the story of Adam and Robert coming together. I now have Tampa Chronicles 3, which is about Duncan’s Nephew Jeremy Isen, and getting ready to start writing Tampa Chronicles 4, which will have all the character together. I must give credit to two people though. Without @Mikiesboy’s and @Kitt’s editing help, neither story would be as good as they are. If your story were made into a movie, could you picture anyone playing the main characters parts? I can see Christian Bale playing the part of Adam Smith, and Duncan Isen would be played by Chris Pratt. As for the kids, Tom Holland would make a good Robert Turner. Brayon Hopper could be played by KJ Apa (Archie for Riverdale). For Chandon Bolton, I can see Cole Sprouse playing him. What was your favorite part of the stories? Showcasing my hometown in My Son. Tampa is just as much of a character as the rest of the ensemble. Also, the sense of love and family, I’ve tried to convey. Can you share a little idea of your currently working on/future projects with us? I’m currently working on three projects. Getting Tampa Chronicles 4 plotted and planned. I do High Overviews in long arc stories, and I have a list of places I want the boys to go see. I have to give credit to @BabyXander1990, a fellow Tampa resident, for giving me some places for them to visit, that I hadn’t thought of. It will start off with a train trip that has Adam and Duncan taking Robert, Giles, Brayon, Chandon, and Jeremy to Boston for a bit, and then other places around the country before coming back to Tampa. Freedom Station is a new SciFi story that I’m working on. It tells the story of Twin Brothers who were separated and adopted by different families at birth. Their biological mother was part of a government gene-therapy program, and her pregnancy wasn’t discovered when they started. So the twins are more than they seem. They are a successful splicing of Human and Alien DNA. While the story is character focused on the Twin’s reuniting and developing a relationship, in the background Earth is in danger from an alien armada which will reach the Sol System in 36 months. Earth and her alien allies are trying to mount a defense, and Freedom Station a space station in lunar orbit, will be the shield. The last project is called Timeless, and it’s about Garrett. He’s a former US Army Ranger who was a career military officer until a roadside IED caused him to lose both legs at the knee. He’s an avid gamer and went to college to be a computer programmer. Garrett wakes up inside the game Timeless a VRMMORPG. He doesn’t know how he got there, and the story is about him escaping. Think TRON or TRON Legacy, but inside an MMO game, with other players playing normally. This is my first attempt at a LitRPG story, where it’s a story within a story, and when writing the game-world portions, there will be a discussion on game mechanics, the damage being dealt, etc. It’s a fairly new genre of stories that a major motion picture was made of one of the books called Ready Player One. Of course, there is a lot of shorts, practice pieces, and others I’ve done that don’t get published. I would say, about 90% of what I write, doesn’t see the light of day.
  18. What? Another 2 story series? Yes, that's what's on tap for this month's CSR feature too! Of course, instead of two short stories, we're featuring a prompt and a novella-length story written by BHopper2. This contemporary coming of age story is rife with feels, but also contains some graphic content (no sex) so please make sure you check out the tags and the story description. It's quite popular already, so I'm hoping we'll have a great Discussion day on the last Monday of the month. And hopefully lots of reviews posted on the stories too! A New Life and a New Home Length: 2,254 Description: Sixteen-year-old Brayon came out to his Progressive parents, but they did the one thing he didn't expect. They disowned him and kicked him out. This is his story. A Reader Said: This had me hooked! There's a style here of 'just the facts, ma'am' that's balanced and nuanced. I was drawn right in, like I was watching it happen and not reading about it at all. Read it for yourself, and you won't regret it. ~ AC Benus My Son Length: 32,530 Description: Adam Smith is a successful businessman, who recently came home to Tampa, Fl. Retired at age 38, living in a newly constructed house, he feels like he's set for a new chapter in his life, with plans to set up a Micro-Brewery. A Reader Said: An interesting plot, well-drawn characters, and realistic dialogue take us through the joys and fears of meeting your child as a teen. ~ JeffreyL Don't forget to come back on the Discussion Day, Monday July 30th, to share your thoughts!!
  19. This month I thought we'd try something a little different. Instead of a single story, I picked two of Mark Arbour's shorter works (instead of his epic series, sorry to his fans!) from his anthologies. I hope you're in the mood for a trip into the past, something Mark does all too well, with his stories from the Carpe Diem and the I'd Never Do That anthologies. Furlough War's End by Mark Arbour Furlough Length: 4,853 Description: Two wounded men meet in Paris during World War I. One is wounded on the outside, both are wounded on the inside. Will their accidental meeting help heal both of them? A Reader Said: I found this beautiful story very touching. I think the war setting added a tension and immediacy to the encounter between the two men, causing me to feel compassion for them quite deeply. Thank you ~ DonR2D2 War's End Length: 6,287 Description: World War I is coming to an end, but for two men, both former soldiers, peace means a return to their separate homes and their separate lives. A Reader Said: Stop! Read Mark's story Furlough before reading this story which is more than an epilogue! This is a fitting finish to Furlough and is a fast and scintillating read! As always with Mark's stories, there is a bit of sex, a lot of love and much thought. ~ Daddydavek Don't forget to come back on the Discussion Day, Monday June 25th, to share your thoughts!!
  20. It's May... already?! How did that happen? I swear the time keeps flying by, but that just means we have to remember to take some time out to stop and enjoy ourselves. This month, that means you get to read Craftingmom's story, Lie of the Serpent. This contemporary crime mystery will hopefully keep you on the edge of your keyboard from start to finish! Lie of the Serpent Lie of the Serpent by Craftingmom Length: 70,591 Description: When Bryan finally finds the man he wants to be with forever, he thinks his life will be perfect. But it's taken time to convince not only Wyatt that he's sincere, but his own mother as well. Between Wyatt's anxiety to trust again after a brutal breakup with an ex, the ex still trying to wreck havoc in Wyatt's life, and Bryan's own mother's doubts, Bryan is over-stressed. So when Wyatt disappears days after their engagement, he's left devastated and confused. A Reader Said: I love all the books by this author and have read them all. This one was slightly different from her usual writings, but still a compelling read. I liked the storyline in this one because even when you find out who is the bad guy, you still can't see how the good guys are going to work it out in time. The bad guy isn't unexpected, but the lengths they go to are. As always a well written and thought out story from an imaginative author. ~ Caz Pedroso Don't forget to come back on the Discussion Day, Monday May 28th, to share your thoughts!!
  21. Did you have a chance to read these short stories featured in Cris Kane's fantastical tale, X-Dream Makeover this month? While there is a common thread in all 4 chapters, they do standalone quite well, so I hope a lot of people got a chance to read at least one of the four. Did you have a favorite character? Makeover? Make sure you share your thoughts below in the comments, but first, as always, I grilled the author to find out a little more about him and his writing! If you had 30 minutes of free time, what would you do? Nap. What's your favorite room in your house? Do you plot or write there? The bedroom. That's also where my computer is located, so I guess the phrase "that's where the magic happens" actually applies in this case. The stories I've posted here are unusual for me in that I haven't outlined them in advance. I've come up with a premise and let the writing process tell me where it needs to go. That said, once things start to fall into place and a structure reveals itself, I end up jotting down lots of notes for events and details that should fall later in the story, if only so I don't forget them. What’s the best part of being an author? As many have said before me, I like having written more than I enjoy the actual work of writing. That said, my favorite part of the process is the moment when a particular phrase or sentence pops into my head or flows out of my fingers and surprises me. Something that perfectly fits the precise situation. Something that could ONLY work at that exact point in the specific context of the set of characters and circumstance I've put in place. Some realization that I would never have come to if I hadn't been writing this particular story. I don't feel like I can take much credit for such brainstorms, but I do feel lucky that I'm the first person who gets to enjoy them at the moment of conception. I hope they eventually give the reader a similar amount of pleasure. What kind of research did you do for X-Dream Makeover? Location? Theme? Character? The most helpful "research" for this series of stories has been my visits to San Francisco over the years. I don't live there, but have been there enough that I have a general lay of the land that I figure my sense of geography won't be glaringly off the mark. Otherwise, this group of stories didn't require a lot of intense research. Despite the fantastical nature of the transformations, I did try to treat the situations as realistically as I could, exploring the potential drawbacks that might come about if Mr. Lee's various potions and devices actually existed. The line in the first chapter, “So what is it you wish to have that your money cannot buy you?” feels particularly… sinister. Sort of in a ‘Beware, go no further, danger, danger’ vibe that directly contradicts the modern Mr. Lee we see at first. Did you deliberately merge these two natures of his character or did it develop organically as you wrote? From the very beginning, I wanted to paint Mr. Lee as enigmatic, leaving his origin and even his age intentionally vague. He might seem like a stereotypical "old Asian wise man" but he knows more than he's letting on. He's clearly putting on an act to some degree, speaking in a stilted manner and purposely coming across as less worldly than he actually is. From the get-go, I have him hiding a Whopper Jr. and a Mello Yello from his customer. I like that he's fundamentally a benevolent person, but with a sly sense of humor that he hides behind his created persona. Perhaps the key descriptor in that first chapter is "When you've been doing something as long as Mr. Lee, it becomes inevitable that you start to fuck around with the clientele, just to keep it interesting for yourself." I enjoyed taking his point of view, as someone who had been doing this a long time and had seen many situations, so little surprised him. He knows the pitfalls of his clients' requests because he's seen how wishes have backfired on people in the past who haven't thought things through. He also wants to stay under the radar, so it's to his benefit to discourage ill-advised transformations. Each chapter has a very different tale with insightful lessons the characters learn about themselves. What message do you think the story has, beyond ‘be careful what you wish for’? We all have things we would change about ourselves if we could, so there's a definite wish-fulfillment aspect to these stories. I would hope the stories also convey that sometimes what we think is a flaw could actually be a strength, or that often what we want to change about ourselves isn't actually what's causing our problems. In the end, hopefully the characters end up with a better understanding of their true selves. Nobody goes through an encounter with Mr. Lee without being changed, although probably not in the way they anticipated. Do you plan to write more stories for the people Mr. Lee helps? He's such a fun character to write that I would definitely go back to using him if the proper story presented itself. It helps to have an established character who we know can do fantastical things, rather than having to come up with a brand new story device every time you want to bring about a magical transformation. I did write one additional chapter, titled "Where'd He Go?", which I consciously did not post as part of this series. I like it, but it's a bit darker and more cynical than the other four chapters, which I feel have a more consistent tone that allows them to hang together as a coherent group. That standalone chapter can be read here, along with some other transformation tales I've written over the years: https://www.gayspiralstories.com/newStory/show/2320 What other projects are you working on that you might like to share with us? I'm attempting to motivate myself to write a screenplay, so I haven't been too productive lately on the fiction front. I do have one story pretty well mapped out that could find its way to GA someday if I somehow find the time to write it. All of my stories seem to have an element of the fantastical, although it doesn't reveal itself immediately in this one.
  22. Happy March! This month I'm bringing you something a little different. March makes me think of St. Patrick's Day and magic... so I looked for stories that would fit the bill. What better than the magical world of Harry Potter? Plus, I've never featured a fanfic. So why not give JulieLHayes' novella-length story a try? Nocturnal Emissions by JulieLHayes Length: 12,449 Description: Sirius Black has a secret that haunts him in the silence of the night - his love for Remus Lupin. It's Christmas hols and the Marauders are together, as usual. But something unexpected occurs, something that threatens to bare Sirius' very soul... what is he to do? A Reader said: I love this! I enjoy the Mauraders and I love Sirius black. I believe I have read some of your other work else where but I was not sure. Anyways, I really like this story and I can't wait for more. ~ Carrie76 Remember to come back on Monday, March 26th for the Discussion day to share your thoughts on the story and to catch my interview with Julie L. Hayes!
  23. How's February treated everyone? I know it's the shortest month of the year, but it feels like it can't possibly have already passed this quickly! But, it has, and today is the discussion day for David AB's All We Have Now. Did you get a chance to read or re-read this story posted back in 2015? Make sure you gave the author a few likes, comments, or even share your thoughts and questions below. David's going to pop in as he can today, so let's encourage him to share more stories by sharing how much you enjoyed this month's read! First we have my interview with him, of course! Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point? Not in the morning, because when I wake up I'm more corpse than man and it usually takes me a few hours before I manage to lure my soul back into my body with an unreasonable amount of caffeine and nicotine. I do make my bed at some point though, but only so I can just collapse onto it and pass out comfortably at night. If you had 30 minutes of free time, what would you do? Maybe lie down on my couch and read the news or google random stuff. (That's just the least inappropriate answer I could think of though, so who knows what I might do, haha.) What brought you to the GA? Serendipity. Many authors like to write in genres they enjoy reading. Do you have a favorite post-apocalyptic story or book you’d like to recommend? Well, Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" is by far the best post-apocalyptic novel (aside from "All We Have Now" of course, haha) and one of the best books in general I've ever read, but I don't think I would recommend it to anyone, because it's emotionally devastating and I kind of wish I had never read it myself to be honest. (I know it's a bit tacky to promote my own stuff, but if you've enjoyed reading "All We Have Now", I did write another apocalypse-themed (short) story called "To Last". I can definitely recommend that one, haha.) If the apocalypse hit and you survived, where would you go to live? I love my apartment, so I'd probably stay right where I am. (I would've answered "IN A SPACESHIP!!! O.O" However, I'm assuming there would be no more Google after an apocalypse, so to find a spaceship I'd have to drive around aimlessly and hope that I'd happen to come across a spaceship-parking lot or whatever. That just doesn't sound like a lot of fun to me, especially not if I could be lying on my couch instead, doing who knows what, haha.) Did the characters or the plot come to you first for All We Have Now? This is probably not something I should openly admit as an "aspiring" writer, but I don't really care about plots all that much in general, I'm mainly interested in characters and their interactions and development. To answer the question though, the setting "came to me" first. At the time I loved "The Walking Dead", so I decided that I wanted to basically write a more intimate, gay version of that show. After the setting I "developed" the characters, came up with a whole bunch of "moments"/scenes to get a proper feel for them and finally I used those "moments" to roughly map out the basic plot of the story. How did you flesh out your world? Did you plot out the events and the settings as an overall “this is the world now” or did you include the post-apocalyptic elements as they came to you while you wrote? Before I started writing "All We Have Now" I already knew what I wanted the world and all the different locations to look and "feel" like and how realistic or rather "unrealistic" I wanted the story to be, but I only outlined the plot very roughly and let the characters heavily inform most of my decisions on what should happen between all the abovementioned "moments", so consequently I did keep adding new elements throughout the story. I also kept researching every little detail, which made me change and add a bunch of stuff as well. One example is the [spoiler-alert] farm-chapter(s) – originally I wanted Cody and Troy to stay in the house, but the problem was that dead bodies had been decomposing in there for quite a while and I had planned for them to do a poop-ton of cleaning and bleaching etc., but when I arrived at that chapter I did a lot of research on crime scene cleaning and things of that nature and I soon had to realize that there was absolutely no way that they could realistically get rid of that corpse-stench, at least not in a day and without proper equipment. So I scrapped that idea and let them find the RV instead, which I had originally decided against, because I thought it would feel too similar to "The Walking Dead". However, in my opinion "Book 2" (which is set almost exclusively in the RV) turned out far better than both "Book 1" and "Book 3", so in hindsight I'm quite happy that corpses reek much worse than I ever could've imagined, haha. Do you have a favorite scene or moment in All We Have Now you can share with readers? I know the whole thing drags on for way too long and probably isn't nearly as funny as I'd like to believe it is, but the chapter in which [spoiler-alert] they get stoned out of their minds was such a blast to write and there's one line in particular that I immediately had to think of: At one point Troy is wondering whether they could make [potato] chips themselves and then he lists all the stuff they have, but he's high, so he lists both "oil" and "canned potatoes" twice without realizing it. (Here's the line: "Hey, wait a minute, we have canned potatoes, oil, spices, oil, a pen, canned potatoes and a camping stove, we could make chips ourselves," he said.) The thing is, when I wrote that line I didn't do that on purpose, I simply listed "canned potatoes" twice by accident, probably because I was tired at the time. When I realized what I had done I laughed so hard, because it was exactly the kind of mistake you'd expect a stoned person to make, so it fit perfectly and became one of my favorite jokes in the whole story, even though it was just a lucky accident.
  24. Can you believe it's already December? Nope, your eyes are not deceiving you. Cia has been super busy, but luckily for me, she'd already chosen the December CSR, and now it's my turn to help her out! Hopefully in between all your holiday activities, you'll be able to find time to read this story, set in 1948! The discussion day will finish out the year here in the blogs, and will be on December 31st! If you haven't read anything by Geron Kees yet, now is a great time to start! Hope you enjoy and we look forward to seeing you on New Years Eve to discuss The House of Storms. The House of Storms by Geron Kees Length: 56,882 Description: It's 1948. Teens Frank and Joe Dane, sons of nationally famous private detective Ben Dane, are enjoying their summer vacation. But then their dad asks them to come along on a little trip up the coast, to a tourist town where strange things have been happening...and the boys are off on a mysterious case with two friends in tow. Events take an immediate turn for the worse as it soon becomes obvious that someone is out to stop the investigation...someone willing to use any means at his disposal to win! An homage to the Hardy Boys adventures that some of us read as kids, except that in this one, the boys are...um, well...you'll see. A reader said: Didn't know anything about the Hardy Boys - maybe they never made it across the pond. However, that didn't detract from my enjoyment of this story that moved along at a rapid and, at times, very tense pace but also with an amazing amount of detail. Indeed it is a magical story! ~Ivor Slipper Don't forget this month's Discussion Day will be Monday, December 31st.
  25. Did you have a chance to read Dolores Esteban's science fiction story, Sumeru featured in this month's CSR? What do you think? Is the truth out there? More than we know or is it all just a bunch of bad t-shirt, retro hat conspiracy theory claptrap? Hmmm... how about you check out the story and find out? Or share your thoughts below if you already did! But first, enjoy this interview with Dolores Esteban! Chocolate or Vanilla? Vanilla. If you had 30 minutes of free time, what would you do? I would probably read an online article. Thirty minutes is not a long time. What’s one location you’d love to go to research for a story? I'd travel back in time to Ancient Egypt or Ancient Sumer. We share a love of science fiction, it seems. What do you like best about writing the genre? I love to create new worlds, visit places in space and explore unknown things. Do you have a favorite science fiction story that you’ve read (online or published)? The Songs of Distance Earth by Arthur C. Clarke. I loved the novel. In Sumeru, the crew is supposed to travel to a planet in the constellation in Scorpius. Is there a special reason you picked that constellation? No special reason. I picked the constellation probably because it contains deep sky objects. How about the meaning behind the name of the spacecraft, “Shiva”? Shiva is a Hindu deity. I read articles on Hindu mythology. The texts inspired me to write Sumeru. The Vedas, texts originating in ancient India, contain concepts that are similar to concepts from modern science. That's the background of the story. Scientists learn from the texts that extraterrestrials visited Earth in the past. They send a ship to the aliens' system of origin to investigate. The spacecraft is called Shiva because of the Hindu texts that revealed the ancient truth. Did you like trying the infographic style of Sumeru as a plot device or do you find a more classic story format flows better for you as a writer? I started the story three times in three years. The first two attempts were plotted as classical stories and they failed miserably. I changed the approach and tried the infographic style. It worked out for the story Sumeru. Do you have a favorite part of this story? I actually like the whole story. After several failed attempts, I was happy when I had finally managed to finish the story. In a reply to a review on the last chapter, you said you like to ask questions. Are you pondering any deep thoughts lately that have prompted any new story ideas? I read about coherent quantum states and quantum decoherence. A very interesting topic. I've just started a science fiction piece. Quantum states are an element of the story. The writing so far is a mess. I jump between scenes. Definitely no coherence in writing. LOL. The editing process will be a pain.
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