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  1. First off, Happy Thanksgiving to all our Canadian members. I hope you have a wonderful holiday! Now, it's time for a story review! Let's take a look at what we have for you on this Monday morning. Wicked Witch provided us with this great review on our newest Signature Author, Headstall. We hope you enjoy the review on Morningstar: The Malaise, and if you haven't already read it, hopefully this review will inspire you to do so. Morningstar: The Malaise by Headstall Reviewer : Wicked Witch Status : Complete Word Count : 227,645 When Kellar found out he was a wolf shifter, he was alone in the world. After every one of his kind he met refused to talk to him, he became an island. Estranged from all, Kellar retreated to his little piece of the world, and lived a lonely but peaceful existence. Then he met Tobyn, the first shifter who answered his questions. And the peaceful existence was subsumed in following the mystery of the malaise and finding love and somewhere to belong along the way. With a few surprises. Headstall’s recently completed Morningstar: The Malaise quickly became one of my favourite stories as I followed the journey of the characters. And such a journey it was! Headstall provided more than a few twists along the way as the characters and the world grew. Action, romance and adventure spread out ahead of Kellar and Tobyn. The Morningstar world is interesting and well thought out, however this story's shining light are the characters. They’re interesting, they have troubles and conflicts, they grow as people throughout the story. And just when you think their journey is complete, they prove to you that they have many more interesting things to show you, the reader. You get to follow them through ups and downs and heart stopping moments, and sweet happiness at times that makes you smile with them. I commend Headstall for managing to avoid many of the pitfalls of werewolf stories and provide an intrigue twist on the usual fare. If you enjoy the paranormal/supernatural, you’ll love this one. Or if you haven’t had a chance to get your toes wet in the realm of fantasy stories, here is a perfect place to start. Category: Fiction Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Mystery Tags: young adults, were creatures, gay, first time, anal, oral Rating: Mature
  2. Please join the Author Promotion Team in congratulating Headstall as GA's newest Signature Author! Headstall has been a member of GA for about three and a half years and was first promoted to Promising in November of 2015. Since joining, Headstall has written a total of 19 stories, including Cards on the Table. If you want to check out Headstall's other stories, you can visit his author page and while you're there, you can check out his updated banner! Please join us in congratulating Headstall on his well deserved promotion.
  3. It's time for another author promo! I'm completely out of these promos, so if you'd like to promo your own work, take a look at the thread for guidelines and then PM me. For this month, our featured promo spot is for Headstall. There were three questions that Headstall had to answer for each story. The questions were 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. Headstall Promising Author 15 stories · 3,128 reviews · 636,814 total words Chrisis Eve Description: Darren is in a crisis on Christmas Eve. His pain is unbearable, and he only wants one thing… peace… peace from the memories of another Christmas Eve that has haunted him for two years. Is there someone or something that can help him find it? What gave you the idea for this story? I was intrigued by the 2015 Secret Santa contest, but I didn’t think I was up for it, quite frankly. The idea must have been percolating in my brain, though, because I woke up one morning with this strange story at the front of my mind. Something magical, which was weird for me. Anyway, I sat down and started writing. What was your favorite thing about writing this story? I guess I would have to say how different it was. It had my brain firing on all cylinders as I created my Santas in a way that was pure fun. It was like playing, rather than writing. Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description. The only thing I can think of that might be interesting is when I wrote the alley scene, for some reason I pictured Johnny Depp in his role as Captain Jack Sparrow… I think it might have been his carriage as he walked. So maybe there was a bit of him in there. Dirty Pool Description: Duncan never saw it coming... any of it. His friends didn't understand. They meant well, but it was over, and there was no going back. He wouldn't be fooled again. What gave you the idea for this story? This was a story that coalesced in my head on a fairly long bike ride. By the time the ride was done, I had the entire story. I don’t know why it came to the surface, other than one of the characters is a lot like a friend of mine. I might have been thinking about the fall anthology at the time… Blindsided… but I can’t be sure. My imagination comes alive for no apparent reason most of the time. What was your favorite thing about writing this story? The dialogue, without a doubt. I could hear all the voices clearly. Ah, should I be admitting that? Seriously, I love writing dialogue between characters who are well fleshed out in my head. Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description. That’s a tough question without giving spoilers. I guess it would be that I designed Kelly and Martin’s house completely in my head, right down to the door hardware. It’s why I’ve been working on short stories more and more, as a form of discipline. My instinct is to turn every story into a long one. Finding Refuge Description: A refuge can be a place, or a person. Sometimes, it's both. Just like scars. We can carry them on the outside, or on the inside. Sometimes, it's both. Wiley Burch is a cowboy on the run. He never bargained for being someone's target, but it appears his luck has run out... or has it? What gave you the idea for this story? The Rewind Anthology. I wanted to write something for it (I ended up writing three stories in all), and there were so many options with all the previous themes available. I saw the Scars theme, and a cougar came to mind for whatever reason. I had never considered writing a ‘Western’ before, but once I did, it seemed the most natural thing to do. I was raised on Westerns as a kid, on TV and at the movies, and I was a true fan of them. It was exciting. What was your favorite thing about writing this story? Other than the fact it had horses in it, it would have to be the ‘western speak’ I had the most fun with. I wanted the feel to be authentic, but not hokey or over the top. I was really happy with how it turned out. Please tell us something about this story that is not already in the description. I would have to say first of all, this little story is a favorite of mine, and secondly, these guys have never left my head. They show up periodically so there’s a good chance we will see them again at some point, and that includes Cholo.
  4. Welcome to our last CSR Discussion day of 2021! What better way than with this interview with Headstall's story, Sidewinder. Did you read it? I admit I'm a country girl so I enjoy a good western tale done right. What did you think of the story? Share your thoughts in the comments below, but first you get to enjoy my interview with Headstall! Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate, hands down. If you were an animal, what would you be? A faithful, devoted companion, like a dog or a horse. I might also have a little bit of tiger mixed in. What’s something personal about you people might be surprised to know? Something surprising? Hmmm. I’m pretty much an open book about my life. Maybe it would be that I’m a pretty good public speaker—I seem to have an easy time of fitting in and making people laugh—and I’ve usually been successful in the things I’ve wanted to accomplish. I’m struggling to come up with something interesting, but I’m drawing a blank. I guess I can add that people tend to confide in me, and look to me for advice. I’d like to think that means I’m a good listener. Sorry… that’s all I got. What’s one location you’d love to go to research for a story? Oh, that’s a tough one. I’ll say the Yukon, but Greece and Switzerland would be up there. I have story ideas for all those places. Actually, since I’ve been watching Yellowstone, I might choose a working horse ranch in Montana if I could go somewhere tomorrow, but that would be for fun as much as research. Do you have any writing rituals or concrete habits when writing a story? I don’t believe so. No… not really, although I most often tend not to read what I’m writing when I’m on a roll. Does that count? Sometimes that will go on for an entire story, and then I’ll have to divide an 80,000 or so word document into chapters after it’s completed. That was the case with “Endings”, and “Sidewinder” was pretty much that way (other than I did separate chapters along the way after I got a ways in). I just kept writing and researching, and had no idea whether my western would be good enough to post when it was finished. Once done, I read through the whole thing in two sittings, editing the obvious stuff here and there as I went along. It was a relief to feel it was good enough to post (the pandemic was still screwing with me). After that, I spent weeks editing and reediting… and researching. I continually edit right up until I post, with every story I write… and am usually still editing in the GA editor before I submit a chapter. I’m a tough man to please in that regard. Others, stories that don’t flow so easily, that’s not the case. I might write a few paragraphs, and then go back over it right away. So, I suppose that means I was right that I don’t have concrete writing habits. I don’t usually listen to music, but sometimes I do. I might have the TV on in the background, or I might not. I write when I’m tired… or not. Sometimes I write for twenty minutes, and sometimes I write all day or evening. I guess I do have a habit in where I write, though. In a big, usually empty house, I always end up writing in one corner of my bedroom at my desk. My chair is comfortable and the lighting is good, and I can stare out the window at the trees when my eyes need a break. What book first inspired your love of the western genre and why? I’m not sure how to answer this. I was a voracious reader, but I don’t remember the names of a lot of books I read as a kid. I do know a lot of the westerns I did read were by Louis L’Amour. I remember someone giving me a box of them. “Hondo” was one of those, as was “Sackett”. And of course I read “Lonesome Dove” by the incredible Larry McMurtry when it came out. I don’t think my love for westerns came entirely from those books, though. I’m sure some of it seeped in because of reading—I’ve been horse crazy my whole life, and read all of Walter Farley’s books about “The Black Stallion”. I also devoured Marguerite Henry’s books, like “Misty of Chincoteague” and “Justin Morgan had a Horse” to name a couple. But even those weren’t the reason for my love of westerns. I would watch any TV show or movie that had horses in it, and I came to love TV shows like Bonanza, The Big Valley, The Virginian, Gunsmoke, The Rifleman, Rawhide, The Cisco Kid, Have Gun—Will Travel… I could go on. All of those spaghetti western movies too, were like candy for me, so that’s where a lot of my love for that genre came from. To this very day I will watch just about any western that comes on television. Even so, I’ve always known, even as a kid, that a lot of what was presented was not true to life. Indians weren’t savages, and the bad guys didn’t always wear black hats. One of the most powerful movie experiences I’ve ever had was watching a ‘western’ called “Soldier Blue” in the theater. The Indian massacre in that movie devastated me in ways I can’t even describe, and continued to affect me for many years. I’m not sure I could ever write about something so tragic. What part of writing a western story came easiest? Was the hardest? Easiest? I think that would be how I understand that pioneer spirit. I might have been born in the wrong time period. I’ve built two farms from almost nothing, and I had that drive to work from sunup to sundown, building barns and fences and clearing land, all while doing any chores that were required to be done… and working fulltime. Showing horses successfully takes tremendous dedication and a strong work ethic, and is a dream that takes a lot to achieve, and I rose right to the very top. So yeah, I’m familiar with the challenge of that kind of life. I can even make my own horse shoes, being a trained and licensed blacksmith/farrier. The hardest? That would definitely be creating a dialect that sounded authentic to my own literary ear—one I felt comfortable using for my characters. I did a lot of research, and believe me, it is sporadic when it comes to how folks talked back then. There existed such a regional variation that it was almost a series of different languages. Tenses were the biggest thing… they were often mixed up and improperly used, and word choice was vastly different. Language relates to the time period we are in, and so much was different in those times on the frontiers. It was a process, but I believe I found the rhythm, cadence, and word choice I needed to make the characters come to life. I actually find myself ‘thinking’ in that dialect now. Your story description mentions a lot of research. When it came time to write, did that help you develop Boone and Coy’s characters or was it more about the setting and authenticity? It was definitely both. Let me clarify. I needed to understand what made these guys tick, like with any characters I write, and research gave me the biggest key for that. It soon became clear that despite the lawlessness of the time, most folks were god-fearing. Their faith was what kept them going through the tough times in the harshest of environments. Sometimes a cowboy had no company but the Lord’s for miles around, and for months at a time. Faith wasn’t something they paid lip service to… it was the backbone of their existence, and once I understood that, I had my characters. And of course there were a lot of scenes in the story that had to feel right. They included aspects of hunting, weapons, terrain, types of game and edible plants, equipment, and cooking—even types of cattle. They are just some examples that required a lot of tedious research (not that I really minded). I did go down a few rabbit holes… okay, a lot of rabbit holes, but I believe I ended up with an authentic feel to the story. If that isn’t the case, it wasn’t from a lack of trying. And word choice! I can’t forget that. There are so many words we use without thinking today (like ‘okay’), ones which would seldom or never be used back in those times, so I spent a lot of time searching word origins and when some sayings came into existence, or when they were popular. That was ongoing throughout the entire story and its sequel. What is your favorite scene or line in Sidewinder? Can you share anything new about your current or upcoming work with readers? Sure. I am working on chapter eleven of a new story. It’s been waiting in the wings a long time, and it’s just a simple human drama set in contemporary times. I started it a long time ago, but the pandemic played games with my head, and I lost my desire to write. After writing my anthology entry, “Finding Refuge”, I’d always wanted to write another western, so out of the blue I started “Sidewinder” late one evening… and my research began. Later, I returned to this story, only to leave it again to write “Larkspur: A Sidewinder Tale”. Those voices wouldn’t stay quiet. I must admit I am having strong urges to write another western, so we’ll see if this one gets set aside again. I’m not doing a good job of selling this new work of mine, am I? J Thanks for the great questions, Cia. This was fun.
  5. 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!
  6. Looking for inspiration for a Halloween costume? How's about you put on some chaps, a button up, a hat and swagger your way down to the watering can for... a good ole fashioned gunslinger western romance novella by Headstall that spike382 gives two spurs up in his review below. Read on to find out more! Boundaries: An Old West Tale by Headstall Reviewer: spike382 Status: Complete Word Count: 16,640 One thing that I love about being a longer-term member of this community is seeing certain writers evolve and improve over time. One writer in particular that I’ve followed for a long time is Headstall. His earliest offerings on the site were all good, but as time has passed and he’s written more and more, it amazes me how much he has evolved as a writer in the last seven or eight years. Nowhere is this more apparent than in his latest story on the site, Boundaries: An Old West Tale. In Boundaries, we meet wandering gun fighter, Virgil Pruitt, a lonely man headed for greener pastures. His journey takes him to a troubled Texas town, very close to the Mexican border. It’s been just a few years since the Mexican-American war, and the tensions remain. When he visits the local saloon, Virgil is immediately held with suspicion and prejudice, forcing him to show off those gun fighter skills previously mentioned. Luckily, Virgil’s a little more Shane, and a little less Man with No Name. If you don’t get those references, go watch some classic westerns when you’re done reading this story. Anyway, Virgil soon encounters a local outcast Wyatt Burnham, a young man with his own dark past. The two share an instant connection, and the story takes off from there. As the synopsis says, a lot can happen in one day. This is a short but sweet tale packed full of themes and conflicts facing the characters. It touches on sexual assault, prejudice, tragedy, love, and self-acceptance. It’s all handled masterfully and again it’s amazing how much Headstall can pack into such a short story. This easily could have been spun out into a much longer entry, and yet it has a perfect stopping point. I can’t recommend this story enough, if you haven’t had the privilege yet, go check Boundaries out! Category: Anthology 2022 - Anniversary Genres: Western, General Fiction, Romance, Historical Sub-genres: Drama, General Romance, Historical Romance, Romantic Western, Western, Western Romance Tags: adult, gay, north america, serious, abuse Rating: Mature
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