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  1. Time for a new author promo! This month we're taking a look at Dodger. Dodger was asked to pick three stories and answer the three questions: 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. If you would like to do an author promo for the blog, please check out the blog feature opportunities thread. Now, let's take a look at what Dodger has for us. Dodger Author 8 stories · 1,918 comments · 683,683 total words The Cockney Canuck Description: Following the death of his mother, fifteen-year-old Robbie is forced to move from England to start a new life living with his uncle’s family in Canada. Homesick, confused, and missing his close friend, it soon becomes clear to his new family that Robbie is carrying a lot more baggage than he arrived with. What gave you the idea for this story? It started out as therapy before turning into a bit of an autobiography, but my life wasn’t interesting enough to sustain it, so I invented Robbie and turned it into fiction. What was your favorite thing about writing this story? It was fun because it was my first attempt at writing fiction and I became totally absorbed in the main character. I was, of course, completely out of my depth and the early chapters definitely reflect this. They are, perhaps, a tad raw in places but for those who have ploughed through regardless, the ending promises a real treat! Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description? Most of the characters are based on real people, but only one of them is aware of their inclusion. The infamous Nicola is my sister in real life and reads the story on GA. It’s quite bizarre because she calls me after each chapter is posted to give me her valued opinion. Inevitably, she has had some influence, but no direct input and of course, the storylines are all fiction. Incidentally, she also enjoys reading the comments. So remember, the next time you rant about ‘that horrible bitch Nicola’, the real one will probably be reading it!!! A Soldier’s Guide to Single Parenting Description: After losing his wife to illness, a decorated war hero is determined to keep his family together, but his parenting skills are tested during the summer break by financial restraints, an increasing reliance on alcohol, and the discovery that his eldest son is gay. What gave you the idea for this story? I think that everyone loves a fictional character who they can really hate. So I thought it would be a good idea to give the villain the lead role in a story. The narrator, therefore, is a thoroughly dislikeable, homophobic, alcoholic, sexist, bigot, with some serious mental issues. Yeah, it’s a biggie and he’s only saved by the fact that his adversary in the story is even worse! What was your favorite thing about writing this story? Believe it or not, I’m not a homophobic, alcoholic, sexist, bigot, but I may have some serious mental issues because I enjoyed pretending to be one while writing it. There may even be a hint of sadomasochism in this work because I’ve revelled in some of the abuse that has been understandably levelled at the main character, even though I’m innocent. Don’t shoot the messenger is the theme here. Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description? Jeff is dislikeable but not unlikeable. He has some almost redeeming qualities which the reader would not be aware of if he wasn’t the narrator. There’s a well-worn cliché that may apply. You can’t judge a book by its cover. A Night at the Opera Description: Georgie’s younger brother Simon turns up with some friends to celebrate his seventeenth birthday, but the next morning, a monumental hangover and an unexpected discovery threaten to cast a shadow over their close family bond. What gave you the idea for this story? I wanted to write a short story from a different perspective and allow the readers to jump to the wrong conclusion simply by not mentioning things which they take for granted. I can’t say much more. What was your favorite thing about writing this story? Dropping little clues here and there and trying to work them into the story. I like that kind of thing but I didn’t know if it would work until I received some feedback. I think that most people were fooled. Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description? It’s very tongue in cheek with a little more comedy than I would usually use but it’s an easy read for the unsuspecting.
  2. Welcome to our November CSR Discussion day with GA's newest Signature author, Dodger! Did you have chance to congratulate him before? If not, you can do so here, plus share a thought about his featured story, A Soldier's Guide to Single Parenting, or my interview with him! Enjoy! What are you wearing (and no fibbing!)? No fibbing? Okay. Only sweatpants and a t-shirt, which, like their owner, have seen better days. I just got up, and it's my day off, so I'm probably going to stay like this until it's time to walk the dog. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate, but it's a close call. What's something personal about you people might be surprised to know? I'm ambidextrous. What brought you to GA? Reading stories by Dom Luka and Comicality. I became a member straight away, but it was a couple of years before I started writing and interacting. What's one location you'd love to go to research for a story? Outer space. Not too far out, though; I think the International Space Station would be a great setting for gay fiction. Imagine an unexpected attraction between a Russian and an American astronaut living in close quarters in an environment where they are constantly watched and monitored from below. Zero gravity sex presents so many opportunities for a writer. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Finding the right time. I suppose it's the same for everyone, but my brain shuts down the moment I get tired. I can't come in from work and write, and I can never get up early enough to get much done in the mornings. Unfortunately, work gets in the way, but it pays the bills, so it has to come first. That and commas! If you could give advice to yourself when you first started writing, what would it be? Be patient, and don't start posting a story until it's completed and the best it can be—writing is difficult enough without limiting your options and putting yourself under unnecessary pressure. Also, pay attention to the basics like grammar and sentence structure, and never rely totally on spell-checking programs. A Soldier's Guide to Single Parenting was a departure for you into a non-contemporary story at the time. What drew you to trying historical fiction as part of your setting/theme? I've always been interested in recent history, particularly the seventies and eighties. Most people probably wouldn't consider the eighties historic, but our attitudes and lives have changed enormously since then, thanks mainly to technological advances. I love technology, but it's fun writing about a time before cell phones, GPS, and the internet. It creates more opportunities for intrigue and surprise when the characters aren't all interconnected by wi-fi and mobile networks. They have to figure things out for themselves instead of just asking Siri or Googling something. Researching can also be enjoyable, but when you're writing about a period many of the readers have lived through, you have to get it right. Reading the story, I could both feel the fear David has and the utter confusion his dad is under trying to hold something together when he has no idea what he is doing. Readers described your writing as gritty and gut-wrenching. How did you craft such emotional scenes? Writing from Jeff's point of view wasn't easy. He's a narcissist, a bigot, and a homophobe, and these are usually the traits of my enemies. However, I think it's important to try to understand your adversaries, and writing this story helped me to come to terms with certain but far less dramatic incidents in my own life. Jeff is not a bad person but a product of his time. He believes he's doing the right thing when, as you point out, he has no clue. Under a tough exterior is a fragile man who turns to alcohol to cope with memories of the war and the loss of his wife. I felt sorry for him in the end, but he has some redeeming qualities, and Jeff's saving grace is his willingness to listen, ask difficult questions, and draw his own conclusions. Most people find this surprisingly difficult. Can you share anything about your current or upcoming work with readers? Now that the soap opera style Cockney Canuck is finally coming to an end, I have time to do other things. There are a couple of stories on hold that I want to finish posting, another historical drama set in wartime London, and a very Canadian story about a trucker. That should keep me busy, along with next year’s anthology and maybe even the secret author contest.
  3. Please join myself and the Author Promotion Team in congratulating @Dodger in becoming GA's newest Promising Author. Dodger has been a member at GA for over six years, and in that time he's posted over 700,000 words across eight stories including his highly enjoyable epic The Cockney Canuck. You can find all of his stories at his author page, so settle back and have fun reading the creations of our newest Promising Author! Congratulations, Dodger!
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