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  1. It is time! No, not the Super Bowl. Not the yearly anthology either. Put your guessing hats on, y'all! Don't worry, I'll give you a few seconds... Darn, it's in the title. Jeezums, what am I supposed to do with all of this confetti? Maybe I'll hand it to a kid waiting at the bus stop and tell 'em to wreak havoc in class. Evil plots aside, it's time for Author Guess Who! For those who do not know or are new, this is a monthly blog game with a mystery interviewee. The only clues you get are that they're an author on GA and the following Q&A. Not only do you get to whip out your magnifying glasses, but you can learn more about some of our community here. If you think you know who it is or just want to point accusatory fingers, drop a guess or five in the comment section! Let's see what our mystery guest has to say. Who knows... They might've accidentally left a clue that will unmask their identity. • • • • • What is one thing the GA community might not know about you? I’m on the LGBTQ rainbow, but I won’t say which letter. You're making a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. What kind of peanut butter, and what kind of jelly/jam? Crunchy peanut butter with homemade grape jelly made with grapes from my mom’s next door neighbor’s grapevine. What prompted you to write your first story? I’ve always loved to read and wanted to try my hand at writing my own story about my interests. If you could meet one person, living or dead, who would it be? The living person. Unless it’s a vampire. A real vampire like Lestat or Louis. None of this Twilight bullshit. Are you a dog or cat person? Meow hiss What's something on your bucket list? To visit Alaska. Hey, how about that? Teleportation was just invented. Where's the first place you're going? Don't worry, the purple portal pad is totally safe. I’m going to visit my bestie, purple portal pad be damned! Is there a fictional character you look up to? Who is it? It’s a character I wrote, so What is your favorite movie/television show? Pee Wee’s Big Adventure You've been exposed to fictional radiation! Don't worry, it's not that bad... I think. What super power would you like to have? Teleportation without the purple portal pad. Which actor/actress would you like to see portray you in this year's newest documentary blockbuster? Either Kathy Bates or Dan Levy When you go on vacation/holiday, when do you pack your suitcase? The night before, a few hours before the plane takes off? Who the hell packs the night before? Procrastinators unite! Tomorrow… What would you say is your greatest accomplishment? Being at peace with who I am and where I am in life. • • • • • So, we got a procrastinating, cat-loving, Alaska-admiring author? This one might be a doozie. I hope y'all grabbed your detective hats because my lips are sealed. Mark your calendars for the reveal on the 22nd of this month. Did you catch a hint? If so, comment section! Go Go GO!!!
  2. October is one of my favorite months, right behind November. While the temperatures are still high, I feel autumn coming. That crisp and chilly breeze, the layered fashion trends, and countless s'mores over a campfire... I can't wait! Then there's Halloween, which I thoroughly enjoy. It's the one day a year where I can blatantly ignore my job's dress code. The apron, appropriately dubbed "my little red dress" remains at home while I don some sort of wig or silly outfit. What will I be this year? I refuse to repeat myself, so I shall not be Austin Powers, Seth Rogen, or Johnny Cash[ier]. This may be the year where I shave my head and become Walter White from "Breaking Bad." But enough of my ridiculous ranting. You're here for questions and answers. Before y'all scroll down, I'd like to remind everyone to keep your eyeballs open. The anthology deadline has passed, which means they're going to post soon. From what I hear, the site proofing team has been sifting through some fantastic submissions. As for Ask An Author, I had the opportunity to sit down with resident author, @Refugium and give them the monthly anonymous questions. Let's see what they said: • • • • • Refugium 29 Stories / 186,138 Words Regarding the series Stories from Old Photographs. Were you in search of inspiration and found the photographs, or did you come across the photographs and the inspiration took hold? The photographs came first. My partner collects 19th-century photographs of men with interesting facial hair. I started collecting a little bit, too, and then the photographs activated my imagination. Sometimes it's the best compensation one can come up with for being born in the wrong century. Several of your stories have a clear "tall tale" or folk story flair that is very enjoyable. Does that come from some place in particular? It might be from a couple of sources. Some of my earliest sci-fi reading was Theodore Sturgeon's collection Beyond, in particular "Nightmare Island" and "Largo." Those are certainly in the tall tale genre. My interest in folktales increased through my Master's program in the Kodaly system, which uses folk songs as the first teaching material in elementary school. I also enjoyed Bruno Bettelheim's book The Uses of Enchantment, despite the great fall Bettelheim's reputation has suffered. Also, I cope better with fairy tales than with reality. Do you have a beard? I do have a beard. I have had a beard for most of my life since late high school. I have had a mustache for all of that period except for once when I shaved to appear as Edna St. Vincent de Paul singing my setting of Edna St. Vincent Millay's poem "The Singing Woman from the Wood's Edge." • • • • • Thanks for the interview, Refugium! See y'all next month!
  3. Did everyone enjoy the Secret Author contest? I certainly did, both writing and reading. But now that it's the first Wednesday of the month, it should be no secret what's coming up. Time for another edition of Ask An Author! This month, we have @Salander! Let's see what questions we got for 'em... • • • • • Salander 1 Story / 121,143 Words What brought you to GA? I honestly don’t remember…I started following GA as a lurker back in high school (10-ish years ago). I’ve been big into reading and writing since I was a preteen and knew I was LGBT pretty early on, so just wandered here eventually. I only made an account last year and posted my first story shortly after, per my partner’s encouragement. I’ve always been really self-conscious about sharing my fictive writing, so the amount of support I’ve gotten here has been overwhelming, but also so heartwarming and valuable as a new author. How did you come up with the concept for You Complete Me? Hm. Being bored but luckily still employed during the pandemic, mostly. All of my stories start out as half-baked ideas that I can’t get out of my head until I eventually put something down on paper, even if it’s just a scene. In the case of YCM, it was a sex scene, but then I found myself intrigued with who was involved. I kept adding more and more until two people in a sex scene became friends with benefits, who also needed other friends, family, and lives outside of each other, and those people had their own dilemmas to tie back to the original story. In other words, I just came up with Jake and Nic, and the concept sort of wrote itself around them, though there were a lot of themes I weaved into the story because they were prominent in my own life in some way: i.e., ADHD, anxiety, addiction, trauma…and playing rugby. All of your characters are extremely unique, complex, and realistic. What is the inspiration behind them? What is it about a character that makes you want to tell their stories? Lots of gay romance stories (particularly those set in high school) pair the cute, twink-like character with the tall, dark, and handsome “straight”-acting jock, which is great, but I wanted to do something a little different with Jake and Nic. So, I ended up with a troubled and snarky twink-like character and a well-meaning, attractive-yet-insecure jock unwillingly falling for each other. I think those personas felt more natural for a couple of older teens just trying to make it through the final years of high school. I got there by asking why they acted in certain ways and also taking some inspiration from my own life, as mentioned in the previous question. For example, why is Jake so unsure of himself, despite appearing to have it all from the outside? I’ve never been a popular jock in high school, but I do know the toll ADHD can take on your self-esteem. Why is Nic so prickly? My past isn’t as traumatic as Nic’s is, but I do know what it’s like to crave affection while also being afraid to accept it. As narcissistic as it may sound, I’m more inclined to tell their stories if I see myself in them. That’s not to say that either Jake or Nic are self-inserts (if anyone, maybe Shiv is), but they were extensions of my own mindset at different points in time, in different situations. Putting a bit of yourself into your work (just a bit!) has been the most effective way of writing more realistic characters that you care about as an author in my experience. What inspired you to become a writer? That’s a good question – I had to think on it for a while. I was an only child, and since I’m pretty introverted, I also had trouble making friends. Needless to say, I was bored and lonely quite a bit, which eventually turned into depression, and writing was a great way of escaping the parts of myself that I didn’t like very much. I could create fun situations and imagine myself in the shoes of characters that didn’t have my issues – and if they did, I could write a better ending for them, or have them handle those issues in ways I couldn’t. I wrote less and less as I got older, had less time, and found other coping mechanisms, but it’s always something I go back to when I need that escape. I didn’t really consider myself a “writer” until I started posting on GA. My fiancée inspired me to share in the first place, but my readers are why I continue to when I can. I like being able to provide that same escape to someone else that might need it. • • • • • Thanks for the interview, Salander! For those who enjoyed these responses, head on over to "You Complete Me." It's an ongoing story, so there's still time to get caught up. Catch y'all next month!
  4. I hope everyone is having a wonderful day today. For your enjoyment today, we have an interview with Valkyrie where she talks about her writing process, her book Hollow Hills, and a few questions just for fun. If you haven't read Valkyrie's stories, you can do so here! Hope you enjoy! Valkyrie General Author Questions What does your writing process look like? I don’t really follow the same process with every story. Sometimes I’ll jot ideas down or make an outline, but most of the time the story is in my head and I just write until it’s done. If I get stuck or the story has too many directions it can go in, I’ll discuss it with my beta readers to help me narrow it down. Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? I do a lot of ‘writing’ in the car. I get a lot of ideas when I’m commuting to and from work or travelling. Sometimes I really wish I could actually write while driving, but I don’t think that’s such a good idea… lol Sometimes I need to write using pen and paper vs. the computer. I find when I write poetry especially that I prefer starting with pen and paper before entering it on the computer. When I write stories, sometimes it helps me get past a block. I have notebooks full of story scraps, ideas/notes, and poems. Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write? I would be beyond flattered if any of my writing inspired others. As far as my own influences, I would have to say Tolkien, Anne Rice, Marguerite Henry, Sam Savitt, and Piers Anthony. Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles led me to look for more m/m type stories, which eventually led me here. How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend? Names are extremely important in my stories. I try to tailor the name of the characters to the theme of the story, if possible. For example, in Faeries Anonymous the majority of characters have names associated with what they are. So Jonquil is a flower faery, Alvin means ‘elf friend’, and Garin is an elf with a dwarf name. My favorite in that story has to be Dr. Schmetterling, though. For those unfamiliar with German, it means ‘butterfly’. Sometimes I pick names because I like them. Joshua is my favorite male name, which is how Josh from The Hollow Hills got his name. Galen in the same story was created almost instantly when I first heard the name. I was working in retail at the time and had a customer named Galen come in and my immediate thought was “OMG I just found a man for Josh!” lol What do you consider to be your best accomplishment? That’s hard to say. While it hasn’t always been an easy road, I’m pretty proud to be a self-sufficient single woman. I have a good career, own my own house, and am able to enjoy little extras like hobbies and vacations. It took a long time to get to this point, and I’m enjoying it. Are you a plotter or a pantster? A little bit of both. What is your least favorite part of the writing process? Getting started and then writing the endings. I don’t usually have a problem with the middle. Sometimes I struggle with narrowing down a story to one starting point, then once I get past the middle, I want to rush and just get it finished and to my team. I need to tell myself to slow down and make sure I’m not missing any important pieces to tie the whole thing together. Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it? Incest What are you working on now? What is your next project? I have a ton of ideas, and I hope to get them all written at some point. I’d like to expand both The Legend of Treehaven Woods and Faeries Anonymous. I also plan on writing a sequel to Vodka at Moonlight. I have a story idea centered around my Day 28 poem for National Poetry Month (which can be found in April Musings chapter 14). Good news for Galen and Josh fans… my immediate plan is to concentrate on finishing The Hollow Hills. Rapid Fire Questions If you had a superpower, what would it be? Teleportation. I’d love to be able to just pop in and visit my friends who live far away. If you were a super hero, what would your name be? What costume would you wear? Super Penguin! LOL I wouldn’t need much of a costume, since penguins have natural tuxedos, so maybe a bowtie with a ‘P’ in the center and a black cape. Capes are always cool. What secret talents do you have? I can draw pretty well. Animals, anyway. I’m horrible at drawing people. I can also stand with my feet facing inward, toes touching, feet perpendicular to my body. I’ve never met anyone else who can do that. I must have weird feet because I can also stick my toes straight up in the air with my feet on the ground, creating a 90 degree angle. It used to gross my brother out when we were kids. Where is one place you want to visit that you haven't been before? I have lots of places I want to visit! Top of the list would be the UK and Europe, specifically Germany and Poland. I’d also like to see the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be? Since my member title is ‘Pesky Penguin’, I suppose I’d have to go with that… lol If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose? Irish or Scottish *swoon* Do you dream? Do you have any recurring dreams/nightmares? I dream all the time. Most of the time they’re quite epic, with intricate plots mingled with lots of bizarreness. My absurdist prose poem about the three-headed duck with one leg is based on an actual dream I had. I don’t have any recurring dreams, but I do have recurring themes. I dream a lot about GA, which tells me I probably spend way too much time on here! Lol They’re mainly dreams about meeting site friends. Water is another recurring theme in my dreams. Sometimes it’s as small as a puddle and other times I’ve had to wake myself up from a literal wall of water about to crash into me. I could go on and on about my dreams, but I’ll stop now since there’s still more questions to go. Book Specific Quickly, give us the title and genre of your book and a 30-word or less tagline: The Hollow Hills After leaving his boyfriend of twenty years, Galen decides to return to his roots and move across the country to leave near his cousin. He meets Josh, and his life takes an unexpected turn. Then tragedy strikes, and everyone has to learn how to live with their new reality. How did you come up with the title of your book or series? It’s the name of the farm where a lot of the story takes place. Who is your favorite character from your book and why? It’s a toss-up between Josh and Galen. Josh has been around in some form since I was a freshman in high school, so he’s pretty dear to me. Galen’s capacity for love and forgiveness is something I’m pretty impressed by. How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you? Roger. Because he’s a dick. If you could change ONE thing about your story, what would it be? Why? I would have waited to post it until it’s complete. I had about seven chapters written when I first started posting it, and thought I would easily be able to keep pace, but then I got sick and stopped writing for a few months, which put me majorly behind. I’ve put it on the back burner several times in order to participate in anthologies and contests, so I’m glad to have a few months now with no other writing commitments. One thing I would change about the story itself is that I should have introduced Adam earlier. Adam is Alannah’s adopted son, but doesn’t feature much in this story. Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series: There’s a tie-in with Alex’s Legacy and a few of my early prompt responses feature characters from The Hollow Hills. Josh and Alannah didn’t get along when they first met. It’s not mentioned in the book so far, but Josh drives a black ‘50s era Ford pickup.
  5. Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors! In AtA #49, we heard from authors AC Benus, Parker Owens, HinderToyBL, and Milos. Today in AtA #50 we hear from authors Mann Ramblings, Parker Owens, Mikiesboy, and W_L. First up today is Signature Author Mann Ramblings. In addition to writing, this Michigan Man is quite the artist; have you seen the new avatar image? or the book cover he did for Cia? It’s been four and a half years since Mann first followed his heart to GA, and we’ve sure benefited from it. While his time with Wayward Ink was not as long as anticipated, I’m sure that Mann’s stories will find another home soon. In the meantime, if you snoop around his GA stories, you’ll find plenty to keep you occupied. He’s got a Premium story now: Innocence & Carnality Part 2 is the sequel to what was originally written in 1k word-spurts for the flash fiction group. The original story (Part 1) is also a Premium story and explores the changes to main character Nathan as he finds out about the arrangements for his marriage and what happens in his life from there. Given Mann’s rather wicked humor, this is a can’t miss. But, as the author says, make sure you read them in order! To Mann Ramblings: Your pseudonym is a nice play on words, how did you come about it? When I was first getting up my nerve to write M/M, I figured I needed a pseudonym because I knew my stories would have erotic elements. (In the beginning, that was the focus.) Granted, I hadn't actually written anything yet, but organizing a plan is how I function. Anywho, I only knew of one mainstream writer who had delved professionally in erotic stories: Anne Rice. I have a number of her earlier novels and I was a fan. One of the names she wrote erotica under was Anne Ramplings. Looking at it, Ramplings became Ramblings since I wasn't overly confident in my writing skills. (I hadn't written anything in years and never finished any stories that weren't for school.) And since I wanted to emphasize the male aspect of my writing, Anne became Mann. It was all a play on words and a nod to a author whose work I respect and appreciate. Yes, you read that correctly; Parker Owens joins us once more! This is a rare double-shot, getting the same author two months in a row, but Parker keeps his name fresh in our minds with his regular poetry submissions and activity in the forums. He recently finished Predator Prey, a story about finding redemption. If you’ve been the bad guy all your life, and then suddenly become the victim, how might that affect you in the future? Prey explores this and more. Another recent addition is Fool Me Once, Parker’s submission to the April Fool’s anthology. Author and the main character Oliver have a lot in common, both being math teachers, but Oliver has a bit of a problem - or, really, more than one problem. It’s like Murphy’s Laws are out to get him: if it can go wrong it does go wrong. Read and find out how Oliver handles the obstacle course falling in front of him. To Parker Owens: How and why did you get the idea of using science subjects for your poetry? I am a math teacher and all around nerd. These are fun subjects to play with both for the ideas, for their metaphors, and for the words on their own. Math and science subjects for poems sometimes come up as a consequence of a student question, or an image from a way of thinking about a complex subject. Besides, who can resist the challenge of writing poetry about the universal gas constant? Foodie and Author Mikiesboy is up next. Despite protesting being called a “food blogger,” Tim continues to keep us apprised of his food explorations. He used to be the guy with all the food pictures and although he’s down to only 4 pictures of food, it’s still enough to make your belly rumble. Mike is amazingly lucky to be the recipient of all that good food…. Even if he does buy pie from the store. Tsk! We’ve had a lot of poetry from Mikiesboy this year so far in 2017, but take a chance on Miss Silver Pretty-Pink-Toes, a delightful short story told like an old-fashioned fairy tale. Complete with love, revenge, magic, and a riddle, Miss Silver will take you on a fun ride reminiscent of childhood, but without all the innocence. To Mikiesboy: How hard is it to write about your personal life and the hard moments you've experienced through life? Wow, good question. It is hard in a way but it is also cathartic. I starting writing poetry after I was thrown out of the house at 15 and was learning to survive on the street. Years later when I survived a severe beating, and was off the streets, I decided to write as a therapist thought it might help me deal with things. I had recurring nightmares for many years. So I decided i couldnt be timid about it, that I had to be honest and brave and face the things that frightened me. But when I write about myself, I have to do it like a reporter. I have to take a step away and write it without a lot of emotion. The facts, baby, only the facts!! So when I write about me or anything, I try to be brave, and try to push myself. Today’s final author has been with us for just over 9 years. Author W_L writes to us from Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Be careful talking politics with this guy, as he’ll definitely tell you what he thinks in that sharp, dry wit he possesses. He, like Parker Owens is an unrepentant math geek. When I see math jokes in the Make us Laugh thread, this is one of the guys I think of. For example: how do you make seven an even number? WL also enjoys food, and if you ask nice, he might share some of his recipes. In the part of his brain not trying to master calculus and not taking pictures of his dinner to share with us and the part not devising more ways to educate us on current events, WL has managed to squeeze out a story or two. The Real Me is an entry for the April Fool’s anthology, a curious mix of comedy and sarcastic commentary of local governments. Herman is a retired superhero who gets to swoop in and save the day one more time. And he still remembers to get his coffee! To W_L: AJ sees you have written a story called 0's and 1's. He wants to know if you can actually do binary math. if not, why not. 01001001 00100000 01101100 01101111 01110110 01100101 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01000001 01001010 That’s it for now! For more info on these authors, go check out their stories, post in their forums, and/or catch them in chat! I’ll see you next time, with repeats from MrM, Timothy M, Headstall, and a last chat in memory of SkinnyDragon. I’m always in the market for new questions! Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark
  6. Ask an Author #48 Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors! In AtA #47, we heard from authors Riley Jericho, SkinnyDragon, Craftingmom, and Roberto Zuniga. Today in AtA #48 we hear from authors JackBinimbul, Mikiesboy, Palantir, and WolfM. Please welcome Texan and Author JackBinimbbul to the blog. Jack has been with GA for almost a year but has dabbled in writing for a long time. He’s the author of the popular crime/romance story Painted Blue, just what the BDSM genre needs after the horror that is “Fifty Shades....” Jack’s family has a history of service in law enforcement, and you know what they say: “write what you know!” Painted Blue is about a detective who begins to understand and allow himself to enjoy aspects of himself that our society often labels taboo. Law enforcement and BDSM are two genres commonly ridiculed or demonized, so it’s awesome to have a story that’s so real. Despite the play on the Dorian Gray name, the characters are wonderfully down-to-earth and the information about what happens in a real “scene” is a can’t miss, even if you’re not normally a fan of the genre. To JackBinimbul: How have you planned out the crime/mystery part of Painted Blue? What challenges have you run into attempting to weave the mystery aspect of Painted Blue into Dorian and Felix's story? Well, I won't be giving any spoilers! That said, it's been relatively difficult to weave everything on the crime/mystery level so that it's not readily apparent, but in hindsight, the reader will be able to see all the threads as they converge. It will be a fairly large reveal, but I want it to still be believable. It has been a bit of a challenge working everything in with the relationship between Dorian and Felix. I didn't want either elements of the story to completely overshadow the other, but I also want them to feel interconnected and to play off of each other organically. It has been tempting to just focus on the crime aspect, or the developing relationship and I've really had to be disciplined about giving them equal consideration. Author Mikiesboy joins us once more. For those of you not familiar with this guy, Timmy is from Ontario, Canada and has published about 20 different items in his year and a half here on GA. An avid participant in the weekly prompts, Timmy also writes some amazing poetry. In January, Timmy gifted us with Miss Silver Pretty-Pink-Toes, a fairy tale story with some breathtaking imagery. While I am not the only one wanting more from this author, unfortunately life has a way of throwing curve balls. We might be seeing less of Timmy in the future as he puts things in perspective and focuses on what is truly important to him. Still, he’s given us some rich memories which will be treasured. To Mikiesboy: Do you have any future projects planned? I don't plan to write poetry, not like you'd plan to write fiction, poems just sort of come to me. They are a way for me to deal with issues, good or bad, that happen in my life. However I do work on AC Benus' Poetry Prompts, which are a great opportunity to learn. For these I have to plan to write them. It's a challenge and I think making yourself try new things, step out of your comfort zone, follow the restrictions of the form, makes you more creative and a better writer. Future projects, yes, I am currently working on a new fictional piece, a kind of dystopian story. I also have something almost ready for the Pre-2016 Anthology Themes. It's something completely different for me. I'll probably continue to write a weekly prompt now and again and definitely will do any of AC Benus' O'Henry Prompts when he puts out another one. You might remember member and writer Palantir by his former name Iarwain. With GA since 2009, Palantir has had an amazingly varied life. He calls Melbourne, Australia home now but he has travelled extensively over the years and can tell you quite a bit about a number of different places. I’ll bet all those stories made him a wonderful teacher, too. He now has a website dedicated to his stories about what he’s calling the Terran Diaspora, which you can also read here. For those of you who are not sci-fi fans, this generally refers to Terrans (us, Earthlings) leaving Earth and settling on other planets. Closer to home, you might remember The Ocean Walk, one of Palantir’s first stories. Two guys off hiking along the beach keep meeting up as small catastrophes keep trying to ruin their adventures. If you like nature, this is one for you. To Palantir: What inspires you to write? How is it that you put an idea together for a story? The inspiration to actually write? = a sense of achievement - hopefully a kind of legacy - the wonderful gift when readers express their enjoyment - the act of creation Inspiration is a very tricky beast and I never know where it's going to come from. All my major stories have started with a germ of an idea and then fleshed out with the characters somehow running away with their own ideas and actions. When I've committed to a story it's with me everywhere. Sometimes I realise I've walked through the bush or along a beach and seen nothing because my mind has been trying out ideas and approaches for the next section of the story. Last but not least today is author WolfM. We’ve seen a lot from this author in the past few months, as he’s the creative force behind Running with the Pack. With more than 350 reviews on this story alone, can you believe WolfM was once told he has no talent? Running is an epic tale pushing 250-thousand words and 50 chapters as of January 2017 and WolfM should feel pride in such an accomplishment. He’s enjoying some time off writing right now, but let’s hope he brings us some more of Ethan and Aiden soon! To WolfM: Do you plan on having expanding the world of Running with the Pack with future stories or creatures? As I've been writing Running with the Pack I have given thought at times to a possible follow up story. At this point I have absolutely no idea what form it would take, what characters would be included or even if new species of shifters would make an appearance. Unfortunately the best answer I can give to any of the readers who have encouraged me with their support to keep working on RWTP is that my current focus is on completing this project and taking a little break from writing so I can catch up on many of the stories I very much want to read. I will say that after spending so many years with these characters and having them in a sense before friends and family to me, I might not be able to let them go completely once I do reach the final chapter. That’s it for now! For more info on these authors, go check out their stories, post in their forums, and/or catch them in chat! I’ll see you next time, with authors AC Benus, HindertoyBL, Milos, and Parker Owens! I’m always in the market for new questions! Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark
  7. Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold on there. That's not the right title, is it? Ask An Author 3.0 #21? Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah! Batman. All jokes aside, there's a good point in my confusion. Is this even legitimate? I need the official AAA rulebook because I'm pretty sure what's about to go down is so off the beaten path. If you haven't already guessed, we don't have questions this month. At least, not for an author. Guess again! It's not an Admin, Author, Promising Author, Signature Author, Classic Author, or even Moderator. Yep! We got ourselves a regular, plain-Jane member in the hot seat today. I gotta say, I'm really excited to have this person featured on Ask An Author. Can we get a round of applause for a familiar face on Gay Authors? Someone roll out the red carpet for @chris191070! • • • • • chris191070 324 Stories Reviewed / 8,315 Comments / Also Known As: Crazy Cat Vamp With over three hundred story reviews, you're one of the most recognizable readers on GA. If you were stuck on an island with only one GA story, which one would it be? It would be difficult to pick just one story as I have read and reviewed some amazing stories on GA. So I would have to go with a story Series and that would be CJ by @Carlos Hazday, because they have a bit of everything in them. Adventures, Sex, History and Good Food. Not really a question, but I'm in charge here. Name three stories on your "I'm planning on reading this at some point" list. 1) Circumnavigation by @C James 2) Still You Want Me by @Mrsgnomie 3) Anything that Appeals by a New Author - I like to help and support New Authors. If you could get a sneak peak at one of the in-progress stories and see the ending, which one would it be? 1) Book 3 of The Hybrid Journey Series by @kbois - I know we're only halfway through Book 2. But right from the 1st chapter of Book 1, I have been gripped by this series with its attention to detail and how questions from Book 1 have seamlessly been answered in Book 2, knowing unanswered questions will be answered in Book 3. 2) The Super Epilogue of The Board Members Series by @Mrsgnomie - We have been left with unanswered questions from Book 2 - Jay's Loelife. Thanks for these questions, they were not particularly easy to answer. As I've read some amazing stories in the 5 years I've been a member of GA. • • • • • Well, wasn't that a breath of fresh air? Thank you @chris191070 for answering these questions. Sometimes I forget it's not just about writing stories on GA, but also reading them. I'm sure I speak for a lot of us when I say we're always excited to see you reading one of our stories, Chris. For that, thank you for being such an awesome member of our community. Y'all know the drill! Give me three questions for a member of Gay Authors, I'll put on a fedora with PRESS written on an attached sticky note, and I'll knock on some doors to find you the answers. Okay, probably not with the fedora. I don't have a great suit to wear one with. Regardless, send in your questions!
  8. Cia went searching through old newsletters in a quest for some Blast from the Past material. She came across this wonderful interview by Kevin (aka: AFriendlyFace) in an October 2006 newsletter. Hope you enjoy the interview as well as Cia's introduction and conclusion. GA has inspired many readers to take the leap into writing, myself included! The writing information and programs found on the site have changed over the years, but that encouraging support has always been here. Check out this interview with AFriendlyFace, then member and mod, now Promising Author. *** Interview with AFriendlyFace GA: So, thanks for agreeing to let us profile you. Please tell our readers who you are. Kevin: Well, I usually just go by Kevin or AFriendlyFace. I found this site over a year ago and I've been hooked ever since! GA: Did anyone pay you to say that? Kevin: Hahaha, nope! I just really love the site though. I've met some REALLY awesome people through it and thoroughly enjoyed reading the stories! GA: How did you find the site in the first place? Kevin: Well, I found Dom Luka's The Ordinary Us on Nifty and after I read all the chapter that were up I saw the link to GA. So I came here and read the rest that were up (but it still wasn't complete at that time). Then I read all of The Log Way <lol> and having a big mouth, I just had to comment on it once I was done. So I joined the forum and started running my mouth and I haven't stopped yet. GA: Does that mean that Dom Luka is your favorite author? Kevin: Hmm. Possibly. I would have said yes without any hesitation six months ago, but lately I've been reading so much stuff by other really talented authors that I really can't pick a favourite. GA: How diplomatic. So which authors are on your 'must read' list? Kevin: In alphabetical order: Dom Luka, LittleBuddhaTW, NickolasJames8, RHawes16, Viv and Vlista. I just know I'm forgetting some though and also I've read a few things by some others that I really enjoyed and looked forward to reading more by. Those are just the ones whose complete work I've read and thoroughly enjoyed. GA: By the way...favourite? You're not from around these parts, are you? Kevin: LOL! Actually, I am! The 'ou' spelling is just a quirky little eccentricity I picked up. When I was younger I used to read a good bit of British Lit. (especially P.G. Wodehouse), and some things just sort of sunk in I guess and honestly I just prefer the way it makes the words look. Besides I don't want to seem too 'normal.' GA: Hehehe. What's your biggest eccentricity? Kevin: Hmm...my biggest eccentricity...<lol>. That's a tough one. I guess one would be that I enjoy over-analyzing words and phrases. I also really enjoy seeing the absurdity in every day life and I do have a tendency to try to find something positive or amusing even in bad situations. Last night, when I was feeling AWFUL and weak with a migraine, I realized that I'd just finished shaving and that in that regard I was like Samson. Of course, the laughing actually hurt a bit, but it cheered me up. GA: You do know what ultimately happened to Samson, right? Kevin: ....yes, well, I didn't take the comparison too far! GA: That's a good thing! Are you always this friendly, nice and positive? Kevin: Hahaha. Well, I try to be and if I'm feeling grumpy I tend to just not be around people, unless they don't mind me whining. As someone who majored in psychology I've analyzed it A LOT and I think it mostly comes down to having to make sure everyone is having fun and is at ease. If not, I feel responsible for making it better. <LOL> I've got several people I whine to though! GA: Speaking of whining...you do have a blog right? What made you decide to start a blog at GA? Kevin: Yep, I love blogging. I think I enjoy it for several reasons. First of all, I tend to be analytical with regards to my own thoughts and feelings, so it's perfect for that. Also, I really enjoy the writing process in general, so even if I haven't managed to focus enough to write an actual story the blog's a start. Last, it definitely is great for 'whining' purposes, but mostly because people's comments have really helped me get a new perspective on things, as well as just good old-fashioned practical advice. I'm a firm believer in asking for help if you need it, so I like to ask sometimes. GA: What's the best piece of advice you've ever gotten? Kevin: Hmm, well, I'd say the thing that stands out to me the most in terms of pure wisdom is when I was a kid and my grandmother used to always tell me, "Everybody's different, that's what makes the world so much fun." Of course, that wasn't in a blog, but it could have been! GA: Yep, it definitely could. What else makes the world fun for you? Kevin: Lately? New things. I've been on quite a kick about trying new things, going new places etc. I also really love meeting new people and just sitting around talking to people. Oh yeah, and chocolate and shopping are fun too. GA: So shopping for chocolate in a new place with a new friend is the ideal? Kevin: Pure bliss! GA: Your favorite kind of chocolate? Kevin: Fudge. I also tend to like brownies and cakes and things. I seldom ever just eat like a bar of chocolate and if I do, it's probably going to be dark chocolate, not milk. GA: Place you'd most like to travel to? Kevin: Definitely the British Isles, and if I could, Western/Southern Europe, in general. GA: British isles? Is that why your avatar is a pirate? Kevin: Haha! Ben was kind enough to make it for me. As an interesting aside, about a month ago I had a hair dying "accident" and given my blue eyes and pale skin, I realized if I put on the get-up, I could pass for my avatar. GA: So you have no nose? Kevin: Haha, umm, it fell off from all the dye. GA: That's some accident. Kevin: Quite a relief actually - that stuff smells terrible! GA: You always do find the bright side of things. Kevin: <smile> GA: Which pirate are you most like: Dred Pirate Roberts, Captain Jack Sparrow or Captain Crunch? Kevin: Hmm, I'd say Captain Jack. He's delightfully strange, but everything seems to just sort of work out for him. I often feel like I'm just strolling through life falling into good luck...and of course I'm rather strange too. GA: What's your favorite part of GA? Kevin: I guess the forums in general, but it's a close tie with the blogs. It's just really fun to get people's insight into things. Of course, I love the stories! In general, it seems like I learn something new about the place all the time. <LOL> Just yesterday, Vance showed me the calendar - I never knew that existed. I was super-excited. GA: Calendars are exciting. Kevin: Yep, it's like life on a piece of paper. Where else are you going to get to see everything all mapped out? GA: On a map? Kevin: Ohhhh...well maps are just impossible to fold! Calendars are way cooler. GA: To go in a different direction...if you could give a message to yourself - 5 years into the past - what would you tell yourself? Kevin: Hmm, I'd tell myself to relax more. I'd also mention a few lottery numbers. GA: And if you could ask yourself - 10 or 20 years in the future - something, what would it be? Kevin: I'd definitely like to just KNOW who I was going to end up with and what I'd be doing career-wise. I suppose half the fun is in the surprise, but sometimes it's nice to expect the surprise. GA: If you knew those answers, do you think it would make it more likely that it would happen that way or less likely? Kevin: Well, I definitely believe in the whole "butterfly effect". So changing anything would probably be risky and that would certainly include knowing your future. So, I guess in the end, I'd opt not to know. GA: Fair enough. I didn't mean to trap you in a time travel paradox. Kevin: Hahaha! That's okay, it's one of my favourite things to contemplate. GA: What's your favorite time travel paradox story, movie, or television episode? Kevin: Hmm, well, I really enjoyed Do Over by dkstories. As far as television goes, there's this British sci-fi comedy from the 1990s called Red Dwarf. They dealt with the phenomenon many times over the course of the series and it was always fun to watch how it played out. GA: Was it grade B? All shaky cameras? Kevin: <LOL> No, I think it was fairly successful actually. In fact, a few months ago it actually came up in Dom's forum when one of the character's ate HOT gazpacho soup. The fact that gazpacho soup is typically served cold was central to one of the episodes and a few other readers and I remarked on the connection. GA: What does that say about Dom Luka's forums and our readers? Kevin: Well, I could go with 'we're all sci-fi nuts,' but I'm thinking I'll go with 'we're well-rounded individuals who have an eclectic taste in the arts.' GA: I was thinking maybe you all need to get out more... Kevin: <LOL> A one-eyed pirate without a nose? Who can't fold a map! I wouldn't get far. GA: Is that what your personal ad would say? Kevin: NOOOO. It would say: well-rounded individual with an eclectic taste in the arts... GA: Pirates who can't fold maps might be more in demand. Kevin: <lol> Well, then I'll be: well-rounded pirate, eclectic taste in the arts, slight map-folding deficiency. GA: That's a winner. Ok, so this is your big chance to get a message out to our entire community. What do you want to tell everyone? Kevin: I want them to know that regardless of the situations in their lives, there's always hope for things to get better and there will always be people out there who will love and accept them just the way they are. And that includes EVERYONE! GA: That's a good one. Kevin: Thanks <lol> It was between that and the directions to the nearest calendar shop. GA: Not the chocolate shop? Kevin: Naw....I couldn't unfold the map for that one. GA: Hehehe. Even a one-eyed pirate could see that coming a mile away Kevin: Hehehe. I guess! GA: Thanks for humoring us. Kevin: My pleasure! I had a great time. GA: Of course you did. Oh right, me too.... *** So, obviously after this interview he started writing. He has 8 different stories for you to peruse in GA Stories. Check them out here. Don't forget to leave a review if you enjoy what you read!
  9. Today we have an author interview with Mark Arbour. Many of you know his stories, but do you know anything about him and how or why he started writing them? Hopefully Marzipan’s interview will shed some light on this subject for us all. but first... an announcement... Today is the last day for the Reader's Choice Award Nominations. Get yours in. Now on to the interview -- I’m going to start with an easy question. You are hugely popular author in GA. What do you think appeals in your writing to your readers? I’m not sure that I’m ‘hugely popular’, but I think a big part of the reason people read my stories is due to their historical nature. I have two series that I’m writing, and they’re both very different. “Chronicles of an Academic Predator” (CAP) is set in more recent times. It started in 1962, and I’ve written up through the year 2000 as of right now. It’s about a wealthy family and their trials and tribulations, and tends to be more of a soap opera. The emphasis in that series is on the characters themselves. The other series, Bridgemont, is about the Royal Navy during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. The focus in that series tends to be more on the environment or world the characters lived in. You joined GA February 2005, how do you feel the writing community has changed over the years you’ve been a member? What about the mass of your readers and the correspondence with them, how has that evolved? I’m not sure that it really has changed that much over the years, other than it’s gotten bigger. My readers communicate with me via e-mail, the forums, or reviews. Of the three, I prefer the forums for general stuff, because then readers tend to talk to each other, and I love that! Most readers are polite enough to send me criticism via e-mail or PM, which is great, since it gives me a chance to digest it without a piling on effect, or worse, having a lynch mob of readers going after the guy who dissed me in public. How did you end up in GA? Have you posted on other sites? I originally came to GA as a Domaholic. I've posted stories on Nifty and a few chapters on Literotica, but not all of them. About the time I was promoted to "Promising," I was offered an opportunity to post at CRVBOY, which is another great site. But I had been putting stuff up on e-fiction for a while, and had the 'most read' e-fiction story here at that point, so it seemed like the right decision to just stay here. Hosted Authors are presumed to be exclusive to GA, and I've followed that rule, so you'll only find all of my stories posted here, or at my Yahoo group. How and when did you start writing, how you would describe the change in your writing? I started writing almost as a fluke. I wrote an article about that for the newsletter, so I won’t repeat myself. What’s changed? That’s an interesting question. Probably my focus on character development and consistency. When I first started writing, I thought in terms of places and events. That faded really fast as my characters took over the stories. They were right. I listen to them now. You write and post a lot. How much of your free time does it take? Is it something that is supported by the work you do for living or is it something totally different? It takes a lot of my free time, and it has nothing to do with my work, or anything else. It’s just a hobby. Usually, it comes pretty easy to me. When I write, I absorb myself in the character, trying to visualize the scenes and to feel what he feels, so the words more or less flow naturally. Then there are times when that bonding with the character fails, and I sort of flail around in limbo trying to get back into the story. Do your family and friends know about your writing in GA? How do they feel about it? I’m a married bisexual guy who’s not out about my “other side.” No one that is a close personal friend or family member is aware of my writing. Have you published a fictional story? Do you aim to do that? That’s not on my radar screen. Based on what I just mentioned above, if I was going to publish a story, it would increase the chances of having my real identity leaked. That’s something I can’t afford to do at this point, either personally or professionally. Ok, I understand the reasons you want to keep the anonymity with your writing, but considering how much time you put in to your writing, wouldn't it be a natural leap to pursue publishing? Have you considered writing a historical novel that is not gay themed? I haven't really thought of that. Right now, writing is a hobby. That makes it sound like actual work. You write mainly historical stories, sometimes from the Napoleon era, but mainly following the history and political change of the US. Why do you write historical stories? I’ve always enjoyed history. The CAP series has been fun for me because I was born about the same time the story started, so it’s a bit like going back and tracing what happened over the years when I was growing up and too young to realize what was going on. I still have memories that flash back when I do that, especially of the Vietnam War, and later, of Watergate. The Bridgemont series can trace it’s lineage to when I was 12, and read “Beat to Quarters” by CS Forester, the first published book of his Hornblower series. I’ve read those books so many times, they’re falling apart. In your stories you follow certain families over decades. I see it as neat way to entwine general history and personal life of the characters. How do you see it? The same way that you do. It also gives me a chance to address generational conflict and issues, which can be fun. I try to work a theme or two into each story. The latest one, Paternity, is all about father-son relationships. The real reason that I decided to write a series in the first place, though, is that I liked all my characters, and I couldn’t really stand to just let them ‘end.’ What made the fatherhood-theme special to you? I've got a son who's 16, so I have a lot of firsthand experience with it. file:///C:UsersSparkyAppDataLocalTempOICE_F99B9EB8-6AFB-4654-B2AC-51FE93BA7A02.0msohtmlclip11clip_image001.gifOne of the more fun parts of the story is writing about Brad (the father) and Will (the son). Will gives Brad a lot of crap, much like Brad did to his father (JP) when he was young. It's me channeling my own frustration and amusement when my son pisses me off and I remember doing similar things to my dad. You have a lot of erotica in your stories. Is it something you get more critique or thanks for? Some people like it, some people don’t. Personally, I think it’s kind of fun. I’m not perfect, but for the most part I’m pretty faithful to my wife. I think that a big part of that is venting my attraction for men with my writing, and a lot of that is through the erotic segments. Then there’s the ability to push the envelope with different things. I’ve hit on some pretty kinky stuff, including fisting, BDSM, and e-stim. I sometimes wonder if my readers open a new chapter with one eye closed, wondering what I’ll throw at them. There’s three places I can’t go: Bestiality, Scat, and sex with pre-pubescent kids. They can relax about those topics. I realize this isn’t exactly a question, but I have to comment that I enjoy your boldness. Personally I think it’s your unique brand and I wouldn’t have it any other way. You bold entry ‘Ode to the Taint’ for last year’s Poem Anthology was something that made my eyes roll but it also made me snicker. I think you have guts and I see you like to shock a bit too. Thanks. I’m no poet. I wrote that primarily to show support for Lugh and the Poetry Anthology. That’s a lot of work, and I’d teased him a lot about it, so I figured I should show that I appreciated what he was doing by trying my hand at it. I knew it wouldn’t be good, so I went with shocking humor instead. What sort of plans do you have for year 2012 in terms of writing? I’ll continue on with my two series. There are a lot of exciting events ahead for both of them. One era that is of particular interest to me is pre-revolutionary France. It’s highly likely that I’ll ultimately work on a series that takes place around the time of Louis XIV, but it probably won’t be this year. Thank you Mark for taking time for this interview! Have a prosperous year 2012!
  10. Wow. Time flies, doesn't it? This marks my twelfth Ask An Author 3.0 article, and I'm so glad I messaged Renee a year ago. This has been an absolute blast! But enough of that. It's the first Wednesday of the month, and we have another set of questions for one our gifted authors! @Kong Wen Hui brings fantastic answers for this week's AAA. Let's get into it! • • • • • The Spirit of the Plum Blossom Tree Kong Wen Hui Status: In Progress / Sub-genres: Historical Romance, Alternate History, Dragon Fantasy, Mythic Fantasy / Rating: Mature Wanted criminal Hong Shen finally meets his end after being stabbed in the back by a comrade. As he makes his final resting place under a dead plum tree, he submits to death. Instead, he receives two choices: die, or be given a second chance. To take the second chance means he must complete a trial in the past in order to return to the present. But what he doesn't know is that the trial isn't only difficult for him, but even more difficult for the person he must be to fulfill it. The Spirit of the Plum Blossom Tree is a unique take on second chances. How did you come up with the idea to put Hong Shen in the past? Putting Hong Shen in the past was not actually my original intention. At first, I was going to have the whole story take place in Ancient China, but I had a wonderful idea when I was drinking my morning coffee a couple years ago. There is a concept commonly taught in America that we must learn from history if we do not wish to repeat it. What better way to have a modern criminal learn from his previous ways then to experience the hardships of a historical prince? Of course, I was also heavily influenced by MXTX's novels, and I simply love the ancient cultures in general. ( ´∀`) You’ve built a vibrant and believable world set in ancient China. Is it all part of the fictional setting, or is there any ‘true’ history included? The world of the Guan Dynasty in my story is a fictional setting. However, there will be true history incorporated into the story. I think of the Guan Dynasty as a mirror time period that existed at the same time as the historical Song Dynasty. They were two different Empires, one fictional and the other true, but some accurate events that occurred in the Song Dynasty will affect or influence the Guan Dynasty in different ways. They may not all happen in The Spirit of the Plum Blossom Tree, though, as I plan to have multiple stories set in my fictional dynasty in the future. What advice do you have for authors looking to write stories in the historical fiction genre? For those who are interested in writing stories of the historical fiction genre, I will warn you now - it is difficult! If you wish to write something historically accurate, a lot of research is recommended. Specific people are the hardest, for if you want to portray them correctly you have to know almost everything about them to the point you could live them. Same with time periods and scenery; you have to imagine you live in your own story. What would you see? What would you wear? What were the cultural trends of the time? What is your purpose? The purpose is probably the most important aspect of historical fiction. After all, if your characters have no purpose and meaning in the past, why are they there? As difficult as writing historical fiction is, it is also incredibly fun, and I believe it gives you a better understanding of certain times in history than most other people, besides maybe historians. If you have a passion for it, then you will continue to grow and improve, and nothing is better to read and enjoy than a story filled with an author's love! (。•̀ᴗ-)✧ • • • • • I loved the last Q&A! Historical fiction is a genre I would consider a great challenge. I'm not sure I have the skill to produce a piece, but I'll check back after another twelve AAAs. As always, we're looking for more questions! If there's a story that has captured your attention and you want to learn more about it from the author's perspective, shoot me a PM with three questions.
  11. The holiday season is officially over with, and I haven't been happier! For those who just did a double-take, let me explain. January through March is a resting period for us retail folk. It's a time of recovery, restructuring, and... Uh-oh. I forgot about inventory counts! Can we go back to the everyone not knowing how to drive and Christmas songs on repeat? Hmm? Ask An Author? Yeah, I suppose we can get back on track. But first... ⚠️ALERT! ⚠️ The well has run dry! The well has run... DRY!!! There are no AAAs in the piggy bank! If y'all want Ask An Author to continue, submit three questions about a posted story to @astone2292 via PM! These questions can be aimed at any author on the site. Any story status, genres, length, or classification of work is welcome. This particular blog prides itself on giving a spotlight to much deserved work, regardless of author status. By sending in questions, you give your favorite authors more views, reactions, badges, reputation points, and reviews! Along the way, your questions about the author's inspirations and thought processes are answered. *cough* Oh, sorry about that! Had something caught in my throat. With that out of the way, let's learn more about this week's edition! We got another In Progress story coming from @imogene_arant. On to the questions! • • • • • Silver and Gold imogene_arant Status: In Progress / Genre: Fantasy, Romantic Paranormal / Rating: Mature It's a tale as old as time: When woman is traded to the faeries, the Lord of the Wood falls for her. It's the perfect love story — for them. Life is less picture perfect for the Lord's former lovers. For decades, Feldspar, Gneiss, and the Lord were a triad inside and outside the bedroom. Eight months later Feldspar's heart is still broken. He has tried everything. Torrid threesomes, exercise, mind-altering substances, and faking it. When Silver, a strange faery who spends most of his time with humans, returns to the Wood Feldspar has a chance to remake himself. Will he be able to find love again, or will fear get in the way? Food and cooking are woven into this story so authentically. Silver’s tales from the human realm and how he brings human food and cooking techniques into Faery makes the story relatable and gets my stomach growling! Do you have a culinary background or do you just watch a lot of Food Network? This story is absolutely a love letter to food. I don't have a culinary background but several of the people I love most in the world do. When we get together, every meal is savored, discussed and critiqued. If it was a really good meal, we'll still be talking about it years later. I’ve got a lot of foodies in my circle now, but I grew up eating lots of junk food and meals from a box, which inspires Silver’s unpretentious love of food. As for cooking resources, I love Serious Eats (Kenji fan forever!), Binging with Babish, America’s Test Kitchen, and NY Times Cooking. I first learned to cook from Food Network stars of the 90s like Rachel Ray, Alton Brown, and Sandra Lee. Someone mentioned in the comment section that you’ve written other stories featuring some of these characters. Are you planning on posting them here as well? As a bisexual I’m pretty omnivorous and enjoy writing different variations of queer romance. I did publish Mal and Daniella’s story on another site. While Mal is definitely on the bi+ spectrum, his relationship with Daniella is the centerpiece of that story while his relationships with men aren’t explored deeply. Plus the tone of that story is… very… BDSM Beauty and the Beast. I don’t think it’s the right fit for this site and audience, but you’re welcome to Google my name and it should come up…. potentially on private browsing…. I am considering writing a third story in this world focused on Nephrite, which in my daydreams will be a lesbian revenge/noir. If I ever write that, then I might publish it here if GA readers are also interested in a badass sapphic romance. The world-building and descriptions in this story are very well done. Do you have any tips for writers who want to try their hand at writing fantasy? The world of this story literally came from me having stagnated on a more “serious” project and feeling cooped up due to the pandemic. I wrote this to give myself an escape into a world I would want to live in, and pulled in fantasy elements that appealed to me. If you’re newer to writing fantasy, you can always start small. Change one aspect of the world you write in, in one impossible way. Starting with more real-world based fantasy allows you to focus on just one magical aspect without needing to build a whole history, culture, currency, foods, etc. I would also say read a wide range of fantasy books, of course! • • • • • Food? Well, that's all the motivation I need! Don't forget to send in questions for your favorite stories, and I'll see y'all next month!
  12. Who has their holiday decorations up? I certainly do! It's the first Wednesday of December, and we have something special. It's a fantastic edition of Ask An Author! I know many missed seeing the November issue, but as Renee put it, the well ran dry. Let me tell ya, I felt the site rumble with activity and the messages came flooding in! But I'm not one to act in desperation, folks. Ask An Author relies on readers sending in their questions. Let's end 2021 on a high note and stuff the AAA piggy bank full! I want to be buried in questions! Send them through PM, snail mail, telegram, or any other way you possibly can. This... is my wish for the incoming holidays. With that out of the way, you're probably asking, "Aaron, you said this edition is fantastic. We're going to need some proof." Oh, it's fantastic alright. As a matter of fact, one might even say it's epic! Someone brought out the big guns in the questions department. I saw the name on this bad boy and I had to break out my scouts uniform to confirm I had some merit badges involving boats. Yep! Canoeing and Rowing, but I missed out on the Motorboating and Small-boat Sailing badges. Did I give enough clues? Am I starting to act like @wildone a bit? Are y'all ready for the biggest AAA 3.0 yet? I hope so, because we got three five questions for the longest story on the site! Circumnavigation. This story title is one of GA's finest gems. I haven't had the pleasure yet, but I think I'll need to take a deep dive after these amazing answers from @C James! Let's jump right in! • • • • • Circumnavigation C James Word Count: 1,080,266 / 158 Chapters / Status: Complete / Genre: Action/Adventure, Mystery, Thriller/Suspense / Rating: Mature Trevor, through little fault of his own, finds himself with few choices. Desperate and hunted, he decides that his best chance is to head out to sea on his boat, for a circumnavigation of the Earth. His boat, Atlantis, is a fifty-five foot cruising catamaran, bequeathed to him by his mother prior to her mysterious disappearance. Come along for the ride and explore with Trevor, as he discovers many things, not the least of which is himself. In Circumnavigation, you hooked me in for the long haul after the first chapter, with the prologue as a teaser. How do you manage to suck in readers so they are interested right at the onset? Some rely on a suspenseful, edge-of-your-seat craving for the next chapter, but in this story, you didn’t do that until later. What is your secret to get the reader to come back? I really don't know, other than I sure do remember worrying that there wasn't a "hook" right up front. I guess I kind of relied on the title to show what the story was about, plus I opened with a prologue, set years before, when Trevor's mom vanished at sea, and hoped readers would notice it's central to the story. The story was part mystery, part adventure, and I hoped to at least show the mystery part up front. It didn't work for all readers; some did leave (for a while, anyway) after chapter one. Then, knowing that I needed to give readers sort of a tour of Atlantes (due to most being unfamiliar with big cruising seagoing catamarans) I was facing a chapter with a lot of dry narration. So, I figured that wasn't a good thing for chapter 2, and decided to do it differently; play with reader's heads a bit, and rely on their expectations - a future lover interest showing up early in a story is fairly common. So, in chapter 2, we have Ben - who was only ever to be in chapter 2, though most readers thought otherwise. His real purpose was to give readers a tour of Atlantis from Trevor, and also do some character development for Trevor (and Lisa too). It was the only way I could think of to avoid having an overly-dull chapter right up front. I also, especially in the first few chapters, tried to mention things that were not only critical to the story, but (I hoped) would make readers curious enough to look at the next chapter. One example is Trevor finding a certain box of old paperwork in the Chandlery, then not actually looking at it until a couple of chapters later. Another thing I worried about (especially for an adventure story!) was the main antagonist isn't revealed until many chapters into the story (though they'd been in it from early on). To be honest, I was very surprised that the story became as popular as it did. Trevor and Joel were like brothers. Trevor knew Joel only since he dated Lisa. Did you consider how this could be an issue with Trevor truly finding someone? How did their relationship contribute to other issues in Trevor's life? You are right, Trevor hasn't known Joel as long as he has Lisa. The story also alludes to Trevor having a bit of a crush on Joel, though never says explicitly - and yup, best friend Lisa was a rather large consideration there. I did that as part of Trevor's character development; he started off having major qualms about his own sexuality, and was very uptight about it. Joel getting him to loosen up and accept himself was the key to Trevor eventually finding love - as was seeing Lisa and Joel's relationship. Your attention to detail is amazing, which leads me to the assumption you do an incredible amount of research. Want to build a nuclear bomb, fly and land a jet plane? You are the guy! How much research was undertaken for Circumnavigation? Is it from self-experience? How do you do your research? I indeed do a lot, though I was fortunate enough to know a bit on much of this, which gave me a basis, thus making the research easier. I do know how to sail, but I hadn't ever so much as set foot on a big cruising cat like Atlantis at that time. And, most important of all, I had expert help - one of my beta readers, Red, is a yachtsman, and helped me in all kinds of ways (and on that point, my writing team gave all sorts of input and advice, and were vital to the story - this story is theirs as much as mine). Other parts, such as the radar system in Australia, I already knew about, so it was easy. Geography and scenes from all the places visited was easy as well; I've been to most of them. In fact, I think I was in Italy when I wrote some of the Italian bits, though the scene in Pompeii was based on an earlier trip (which was when I took the photos in that chapter). And harking back to Let the Music Play, there's a scene in the Piazza Navona in Rome. I wrote much of it while sitting in the patio of a cafe at the north end of the piazza. Some of the other stuff, like bits about a single-engine plane, were easy; I've flown that particular model. For other things, like Florida law, statutes of limitations, etc, I did online research to look up the text of the actual laws, plus on a couple of things I asked a lawyer to double-check me. Generally though, for things like port entry procedures, bridge heights, weather patterns on specific days and dates, etc, etc, I just look them up online (not always easy, because I didn't need current ones, I needed ones from what was already several years in the past). Online research usually works, but it also caused me to make a massive error that's still in the story. It's the shuttle launch Trevor sees. I looked up a launch manifest to get that (to make sure that shuttle was actually flying on that day in the story). Well, oops, I didn't double-check (and didn't know until a reader pointed it out); turns out, the site I looked up had an error; they'd copied the prior year's shuttle manifest to the following year's page. There was no actual shuttle flight that day, not even for months before or after, and by then, I'd posted too much of the story to fix it (it would have required a massive rewrite, as I was timeline-constrained by many other real-world events that the story is built around.) Being one of the longest stories on GA, it must have been a challenge and a hugely rewarding experience. What did you do when you just didn’t really want to tackle the next chapter, or did you have times like that? You posted nearly weekly for what two years! What was the ultimate reward when you finished? The posting schedule for Circumnavigation was... well, hard. Yup, weekly, for nearly two years. Often, I had a reserve of completed chapters to fall back on when life got in the way. Sometimes, I didn't. I was very ill for a month (and too zonked to write) which did derail the posting, but another time I was traveling for nearly two months, and had chapters ready to post before I left. Another thing that was hard about posting as a serial was the inability to change past chapters when later chapters developed a bit differently than I anticipated. As for it being the longest story on GA, that didn't phase me, because I just called it a short story. With so much passed time since you finished Circumnavigation, do you consider it your swan song? Or do you ever see doing a short story of Trevor and some or all of the cast, five or ten years later? Will I be posting more stories? I sure as heck hope so. I've promised to (in my forum) to be doing so long before now, and feel like a jerk for letting my readers down. For a while, I was burned out after Circumnavigation. Then, life got in the way, so did family responsibilities (I've been caring for an elderly family member). I've been writing again, on and off, for several years, though nothing completed yet. One story, Going Sideways, is at around chapter 20 of about 30 (and most of the chapters are very long - 20k or more words). I hope to get it done soon. I'm not posting anything until done, because I learned my lesson from Circumnavigation on that, plus I can't devote the time per week I did to writing Circumnavigation, so no way could I post on a schedule. Another story, Damaged Goods, is underway, though I'm writing it piecemeal. Will we see Trevor and Shane again? Not in Going Sideways. • • • • • I need a roll call in the comments. Shout out if you've completed reading Circumnavigation! I think I'll make this story one of my New Year's resolutions for 2022. Thank you @C James for answering these questions! If you've read a riveting story, shoot me a PM with three questions! I'll track down the author, knock on their front door, and ask them for you. All authors and stories are fair game. Ask An Author is a great way to give your favorite author a spotlight on their work! I'll see y'all next month!
  13. Wow! Time flies! It's time for Ask An Author! We're dipping our tootsies back into some fantasy writing, but with a healthy dosage of sci-fi! This one is a little special because it's a sequel. I got the chance to interview another rising star in the GA community, @Yeoldebard! As a member of the Million Word Club, this author has a plethora of stories in their arsenal. Let's dive right in! A little message from the author first! This story can stand alone, but the first story, Wolf Pack, will help shed light on how this story was born. Inspired by other Gay Author News and Writing World blogs, I'll add in a few more details about the stories we interview. Let me know if this encourages interested reading! • • • • • The Neko's Tail Yeoldebard Word Count: 94,020 / 42 Chapters / Status: Complete / Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi / Rating: Mature For those of you who wondered what happened to Elias when he went missing in Wolf Pack, here is his story. A young neko, lost in a new reality, making new friends and being brought out of his quiet shell. Elias, to me, was a beloved character in the first story, Wolf Pack. I was thrilled to see him getting his own story. His character's mentality is powerful, and he is one of the most beautifully crafted MCs in any story I've read. What was the inspiration for creating him? Elias was originally just a throwaway character, one inspired by a friend's insistence that I was more furry than anything. I decided to mix nekos and werewolves because of her, and the rest is quite literally history. But Elias took on his own role in the story. Quiet, broken, he became a symbol of me, of my own struggles. Throughout my childhood, I found it hard, nearly impossible to be heard for who I was, and Elias was my way of working through that. You'll notice more than a few of my characters are selectively mute, or fully mute, because for the longest time, I was not allowed to have a voice. They are my way of talking to the world, of getting my story out. This is a sequel. The first story is full of medieval and fantasy tropes. You completely turned this sequel upside-down, turned it around, and sent it in a direction I didn't think was conceivable! How... Did... What... Why... I'm speechless! Straight up, this is the most creative thing I've ever seen! It was absolutely beautiful! Are you a god? A writing god? But seriously, where did this come from? Elias was never truly meant to be in Wolf Pack. But I had made his character, and I couldn't let him go. He needed a different story to shine in. I had just finished reading Kidnapping Is Always an Option for the first time, and it got me thinking about why we always see modern people abducted by aliens. And I decided to try my hand at changing that. It was the perfect out for Elias. He could escape his former life, and I could start building new species, new creations, something that I have always enjoyed doing. More than that, it was a way for me to stretch my horizons, challenge myself. And it really was a challenge. I learned a lot about myself as I wrote The Neko's Tail, and even now I enjoy looking back to see my early work, to remind myself of where I've come from. At this time, I haven't continued on into the series, but that will be changing very shortly. Iason is an interesting character to me. Not much is given regards to his and Artemis' history. Is there a possibility for seeing my second-favorite Egaro in a future story? I can make no promises of seeing this particular Iason again, but Egaran Stars has a Iason that is very similar to this one. While that story is a much later inclusion to the universe as a whole, it goes much more in depth regarding both Egaro and Faro culture, and even introduces a new species discovered by Elias himself during his travels with Artemis. Iason himself is sort of a spiritual successor to another character of mine, Maximus Markhaus. His story is one of those included in my furry story, though he is not nearly as sexual as the average Egaro. • • • • • Well, that's another Ask An Author in the books! I hope y'all go check this story out. As soon as I got this set of questions, I had to read it! Give a comment down below if you've read this, or any other of Yeoldebard's stories. If you haven't, links are in the title and author's name above. If you've read a riveting story, shoot me a PM with three questions! I'll track down the author, knock on their front door, and ask them for you. All authors and stories are fair game. Ask An Author is a great way to give your favorite author a spotlight on their work! I'll see y'all next month!
  14. What is this? Is it the first Wednesday of the month? What does that mean? Why am I asking all these questions? Maybe I should... Ask An Author! We have another three questions for a wonderful author. Let's get right into it! Due to potential spoilers, some details will be redacted. • • • • • Effigy Geron Kees Michael finds himself in a predicament: someone knows his darkest secret, and hates him for it. But who? A brief tale on the subject of fear. This story spoke to me. I connect with Michael and his fears, although I was not outed in high school. Because of the area I was brought up in, it was vital to keep my true self bottled up. Did Michael have these fears beforehand, or was this not an area where he had to be concerned? Let's say that before the incident that launched the story occurred, Michael was living a cautious life. I'd say the place he lived in was about average for being gay, in that the responses to it could be expected to vary across the spectrum, and so that caution was a reasonable course to chart. He was living with the knowledge that his parents pretty much knew who he was, but also that they were comfortable with not openly speaking about it. He had no reason to feel anyone else suspected that he was gay, and so he wasn't living in fear on a daily basis. He was not out. But even so, this state generates a sort of fear-but-not-fear that lends to a moody awareness of what might come, and that it's there at all allows for it to be easily inflamed by small things. The incident of the effigy in his yard was scarcely a small thing; it virtually screamed to Michael that someone did know about him, and that they aimed to make him pay for being the way he was, as well. So he went from the moody awareness that there could be fear in his life to having it arrive full blown, all at once. Fear, depression, and paranoia go well together. To me, one can start with any of the three, but eventually the other two will follow. Writing a story that combines them hooked me. What was the inspiration to use this theme? I don't think anyone that has ever lived with what they feel is an uncomfortable secret is ever far from a little bit of fear of exposure. Paranoia is too strong a word for the way most people would probably react to having a secret they fear having exposed, but they do have a heightened awareness of the way people react to them. An alertness to the signs that others suspect. And a comfortable sense of complacency over time when it becomes obvious that they don't. A lot of gay guys are extraordinary chameleons. They so obviously fit in that no one ever suspects otherwise. For others, living a secret life makes them nervous wrecks. And still others are OUT with a force of their own, and so open about who they are that there is no doubt at all. It's an individual thing, how you handle it. So personality plays a great part in the response that someone in Michael's position takes. Fear breeds paranoia and depression, certainly. I chose to have the forcefulness of the situation initially overwhelm Michael's fairly complacent defenses, but then to have his innate strength slowly rise to take charge as he realized that he was on the run from his own fears. For this to happen he needed to transit the worst parts of living in fear, that included some paranoia and depression, but not to have any of it take him over. I wanted him to learn to deal with others possibly knowing, and become comfortable with living with it. And, I wanted him to learn to defend himself if the need arose. To not be a victim of his fear. Or the attitudes of others. When John was arrested, Michael seemed rational when stating he would be out before him or Barry would know it. While I admire Michael's attitude in this, was this secretly produced from his fear/depression? Michael's interest in mystery novels and what he had learned of police procedure from them was what prompted his comment that John would be out of jail before either Michael or Barry knew it. At least here in the US, a young offender on a first arrest is likely to be released back into the custody of his family very quickly for most anything short of a capital crime. Michael was just cautioning Barry not to feel like his troubles were over. That may have surely been a result of Michael's new awareness of his own problems, though. Confronting any fear would tend to heighten a person's awareness of where trouble might come from next, I would think. Michael was sharing his experience at that point, but it's fair to say that the warning came out of his new, heightened sense of caution. • • • • • Looks like I'm adding another story to my reading list! These answers got my mind pumping. Forget adding it to the list, this one's going right at the top! Y'all know the drill! Send me three questions about a story, I'll go bother the author, and we'll see you next month!
  15. Whoopsie-daisies! Missed the deadline by a few hours, but don't you worry! Ask An Author is here, and we got a story for you. Without further ado, let's get celestial! • • • • • The Lesser Evil ObicanDecko Edwin is a young shop owner living a quiet life in the kingdom of Wisian, but that peace is shattered when his best friend vanishes without a trace. Desperate for help, he meets a mysterious man offering his assistance - a seductive demon named Lothar. As attraction between the two men grows stronger every day, Edwin finds himself getting entangled in a conflict between demons and angels. Will Lothar be able to find Edwin’s friend in time, and what will be the price of his help? What was your inspiration for this rendition of the never-ending war between angels and demons? I particularly enjoyed the take on angels and their abuse of humanity to recruit in their favor. I play a lot of Diablo, which is a game about the "eternal conflict" between demons and angels, with humans stuck in the middle, so I wanted to try and write my own take on such a story. There was also another game where one of the characters was a demon who is trying to seduce the player, which inspired me to create Lothar. I wanted to put some of the focus on a love story between a human and a demon, and explore the whole "making a pact with the devil" trope, and how it inevitably has bad consequences. I'm glad you liked my take on angels - I wanted to avoid having the angels be the obvious "good guys". In this case, both sides are selfish and only in it for themselves, and don't care much about what happens to humanity. Mildburg is one of my favorite characters in this story. Her intelligence/power is something to behold, but I'm interested in the world's opinion. Did humanity naturally find this power, or did one of the two warring sides leave them at some point? Mildburg is one of my favorite characters too. Very intelligent, but mysterious. The origins of her and Sigrid's powers were left unsaid because I usually like to leave some things a mystery and let readers fill in the blanks with their own theories. But my headcanon is that people with such power are very rare and that they don't even know where it comes from. They are simply born with it. It could be from either angels or demons, or maybe some combination of the two. The chapter before the epilogue had me screaming! This outcome slapped me in the face. I should have seen it coming, but dang! What influenced you, as the author, for Edwin's decision? I'm sorry for springing such a big plot twist on you, especially at the end of the story! The rest of the story was quite dark, with big threats from several sides, so I knew it couldn't have a perfect happy ending. Maybe it could've been easy to have Edwin and Lothar end up "happily ever after", but I didn't want that. I wanted a more impactful ending, something that showed the sacrifices we sometimes have to make. Also, Edwin would never be able to let himself be happy while his little sister is suffering. He had to take that chance and help her. • • • • • Oh, jeez! I love a story with a plot-twist! I'll have to add this one to my reading list. Make sure to check out The Lesser Evil and @ObicanDecko's stories through the links above! If you just finished a story and want to learn more about it, shoot me a PM with three questions and I'll pester the author for you! I'll see y'all next month!
  16. I promise, I won't sing this time! But it is the first Wednesday of the month and we got three more questions to answer. As soon as I got the message to go bother this author, I put my little "press" cap on and booked it! It's @Aditus, one of GA's Signature Authors! Are you excited? I definitely am! Let's jump into the interview! • • • • • The King's Mate Aditus TKM - a three book series detailing the lives of Diarmad, King of the Seraei--an aggressive alien species--and Noel, his mate. The King’s Mate series was a riveting roller coaster ride that made me want to alternately scream, rejoice with the characters, and smack them upside the head! This seems to be a recurring theme in your stories *coughcoughRedRunningShoescoughcough* Do you think there are similarities between Noah/Nico and Jonah from RRS? The King’s Mate series was a riveting roller coaster ride... Thank you. 😊 I have to admit the idea that some readers feel connected to a character of mine so much they yell at their computer screen, telling them in strong words what to do or not to do next or else— motivates me immensely. *evil cackle* To cut a long story short, yes, even though both stories are vastly different, with RRS being a contemporary romance set up in Europe, and The King’s Mate series created in an alternative, paranormal world, there might indeed be similarities between Noël and Jonah, because... see above. This doesn’t mean all my characters are like them; I try to diversify. 😉 Was it difficult to write Caesura after the intensity of Noel and Diarmad’s relationship in The Holly and the Ivy? Yes. I couldn’t believe what they did to each other and others in the second book. While I wrote it, I was constantly upset with myself and how they spoke to me. I believe there were times I hated them so much I couldn't write. And I thought I might just kill them off and be done with it. Going down in flames and so on. That’s why I needed a third book, to clear up the mess they/we made. Ivan and Sho are secondary characters that are brought to life extremely well. Do you think you’ll ever write their story about what happens after Kabal? The story is in my head. However, after the last word of Kabal was written, I was immensely relieved. I was forced to take a long hiatus due to illness. It took some time before I could write again and find my characters’ voices. In the meantime, I had lost many readers. I’m honest, I need my readers’ feedback to stay motivated. When even die-hard followers didn’t react to the finished book, I felt too discouraged to step foot in the mate’s universe again. I’m sorry. I might overcome my hang-up, eventually, you never know. Thank you for your interest in my stories. • • • • • Wow! After the answer to the second question, I'll need to pick these stories up. This sounds intense! Make sure to click the link in the series title to head straight there, or check out Aditus' other works through the link underneath! If you just finished a story and want to learn more about it, shoot me a message with three questions. Any story and any author will do! Until next month, buh-bye!
  17. Is it Wednesday? I think it is! Which means it's time for... 🎶 Aaaaaaaask An Author! 🎶 Oh, boy! I hope speech-to-text capabilities don't advance any time soon, because that was just awful! My husband's looking at me like I'm a crazy person! Anyway, we have another three questions for one of GA's authors! • • • • • Solitude of the Photo C.T. Piatt The lens of the camera is shallow. It sees colour and shape. It gives the illusion of motion in two dimensions. It draws the light from the dark. In that space between lens and subject, between picture and reality, lies solitude. Jonah lived in that solitude, content within its embrace. The descriptions and details really bring this story to life and made it a riveting read. Are you a photographer or artist yourself? I dabble in photography, have a decent camera and a couple of lenses - well it was decent when I bought it 10 years ago. I've tried painting/drawing but I can't get my body to create what I see in my mind. Photography is simpler to achieve that. I do create in other ways - mostly sewing (from scratch and repurposing) and jewellery. I know I can 'see' what I want to create. And I want my words to paint what I see so others can see it too. I'm pleased to hear that I achieved that. All the stories you have posted on GA are short stories. Do you have any longer work or plans for longer stories? I do have longer stories in the works, but they seem to just keep growing and I never find 'The End'. It's easier for me to write shorter and finish. Plus there is always another story jumping around in my head demanding some attention. Currently with the change in the world I have ended up with employment that takes up most of my time (too much of my time) and my hobbies are suffering. I know I need to achieve a better work/life balance - maybe this will kick my butt into doing more for me. What was your inspiration for this story? I was once that photographer - taking photos of cars racing around the track. But I was there with my family and friends, all of whom took part as drivers. Except me. I can't stand just being a spectator so I took up the camera to be active and to make memories. One such event 'Jonah' started talking to me. The story was born that night after everyone else had gone to bed. • • • • • I love the answer to the first question! I have a soft spot for a story that takes it time to paint every emotion, every movement, and every single second in the world. If you liked this interview, make sure to go read the story (link in the story title). After that, go check out @C.T. Piatt's other works (link in the author's name under the title)! Don't forget to send me some questions! Anybody can send me questions about any author's story! I'll see y'all next month!
  18. Is it that time already? I believe so! Boy, oh boy, do we have a special treat today! We're doing things a wee bit different today, and I am so excited about it! Normally on Ask An Author, I get to pester an author about a story, but not today. This time, I got to pester one of our beloved Administrators about THREE stories! That's right, we got ourselves three amazing questions about a series! I hope y'all are ready, because we're diving right in. Here we go! • • • • • Carthera Takeover Tales Cia The Carthera are a violent race, never failing to respond to battle, they nevertheless are a proud and honorable people. Except for the ferals. Battles for territory, fighting persecution from the humans, for the right to rule, have echoed down through the ages. In these modern times things are different, easier. Laws are made--and enforced--and peace, of a sorts, is possible. Some seek to end that. My favorite pairing is Dav and Ellis, don't know why, but do you have a favorite pairing between Natham & Velaku, Bashta & Cavel, and Dav & Ellis? If so, who and why? Dav and Ellis as well! Probably because I put a lot of myself in Ellis. Oddly enough, while I loved writing Dav as a character, I absolutely hate snakes in real life. My teen daughter has a 2 year old ball python that's somewhere close to 3 1/2 feet, and it's all... ewwwww. She wears it like a necklace and watching it move around her head creeps me out. Somehow, though, the idea of all that sinuous movement in a man? 😊 Totally works! How did you come up with the specifics of the plague that spread through the jaguar clans? ⚠️ This will have a spoiler, FYI to readers who haven't read Book 2 in the trilogy! ⚠️ Carthera have only been "accepted" in "human society" for about 50 years in this trilogy. So the medical knowledge isn't quite up to date. I treated the plague much like Ebola. Exposure from contaminated surfaces (the statue) then person-to-person among the vulnerable and least 'clean' (aka children who don't tend to wash up well). Antiserum from survivors was the most effective treatment for ebola for a long time. FYI, I used to work in the medical field, so that's one of my areas I try to be very exact and make sure is realistic, even when I'm writing a scifi, paranormal, or fantasy story. The Carthera are incredibly interesting to me. What made you detour away from the typical shifters and instead create the Carthera? I'm never one for writing 'run-of-the-mill stories' where I follow along with conventional mythos. I love to create twists. Either in the idea behind the original mythos I'm basing my storyline on or morphing the character types or as I'm going along in the plot events. Okay, okay, sometimes I'm greedy and do all three. I like shifter societies who have all sorts of animals (OMG, why limit myself to a single species when I could play with so MANY?) who carry their animalistic traits into their human form, and I do like it when they're integrated instead of being hidden society alongside humans. So with my Carthera, I decided to create "shifters" with mixed animal/human characteristics who were integrated into society, but I figured by timing it to recent 'coming out' as a species to humans I could also incorporate a lot of different societal dynamics in the storylines. One of these days I want to come back to the world; I have some ideas with ocean shifters, since they are some of my favorite animals. • • • • • Unlike Cia, I love snakes! Let me tell you, if I ever got my hands on a man like Dav, I might be tempted to kick my husband to the curb (sorry, Noah...)! The second I got the request to go bother Cia, I screamed like a little girl! I dropped everything and wrote the fastest PM in my life! This series is one of the very few reasons I made an attempt at writing, and I come back to these stories often frequently regularly a lot when I want to get away from everyday life. Make sure to check out Cia's other amazing stories through the link in her name under the series title! If you have read a riveting story and want to ask the author about it, send your questions to me and I'll happily knock on their inbox for you! Until next month, buh-bye!
  19. It's the first Wednesday of the month, and you all know what that means! Bringing a fresh face to the Ask An Author universe is always an interesting maneuver, and we got a juicy one! I was sent some questions for a story that differs tremendously from the last AAA. We're going from sweet romance to dark and dangerous! Have you ever wondered what a serial killer thinks about? Well, @C. Henderson did with this gripping story! ***This is a warning to potential readers. The following interview contains massive spoilers for the highlighted story. We encourage reading the story before continuing with the interview. Click the link in the story title.*** • • • • • Inhospitable Places C. Henderson After the death of his mother, professional dancer and choreographer Louis loses his job and falls into a deep depression. When his partner, Hunter, proposes a change in scenery to help Louis heal from the loss, he reluctantly agrees to move to Hartford, Connecticut. But soon after the move, a serial killer dubbed “The Hartford Menace” starts targeting men throughout the city. Numb from his grief, Louis doesn’t pay the news too much attention. That is, until his sister Francesca points out a terrifying fact: all the victims bear an uncanny resemblance to him. This was a gripping story involving a serial killer on the loose. What made you decide to use the killer's mindset as chapters? As a huge fan of the horror/thriller genre, I like to explore various dark themes in my writing. I think it's intriguing and challenging to attempt to expose the mindset of an individual with a thought process that most people can't understand or relate to. The chapters from Hunter's perspective in Inhospitable Place served in building tension throughout the story, as well as highlighting how different a killer's mind is from our own. When you read Louis' chapters he comes across as warm and caring (rescuing a dog, grieving the death of his mother, worrying about the state of his relationship) but when you get into Hunter's POV, there is a stark difference there. He is cold, calculated, manipulative and obsessive. And what's most frightening is that he's hiding in plain sight. The box's placement was a very interesting choice. Obviously, most killers desire to keep mementos from their victims, but what was the reasoning for the location? The danger of being exposed, or is there a more underlying intention? Yes, the placement of the box has meaning behind it. The spare bedroom, which is originally supposed to be Louis' studio but turns into Hunter's room when Francesca moves in, is supposed to be a place where he finds his passion for dance once again. But little does he know that buried underneath his feet are the mementos of all the men Hunter killed. It's only when he forces himself to finally go in there and try to choreograph a routine for Derek's animal shelter dance class that he is able to uncover the truth. For a year Louis avoids dancing and lives in denial while self-medicating, so it's meant to be symbolic that it's getting back to the dance studio that finally ends up setting him free. I can't get my mind wrapped around Hunter's attitude when Louis planned a nice dinner for him! What was going on in this man's mind? You would think if your partner is going through serious emotions, it would be important to give a considerate gesture for putting forth such an effort. To Hunter, the act of killing satisfies an insatiable urge within him. After it's over, he is calm and satiated for a while, then comes the period where he picks his next victim, and the cat and mouse game begins again until it reaches its final crescendo. In chapter 4, right before the dinner sequence that comes in the next chapter, Hunter is slowly reaching the crazed stage that happens right before he just needs to kill. He gives us a glimpse into his state of mind when he says: "I pick up some groceries on my way back, then return to a mundane life. The thought of what I’m going to do to you so very soon is the only thing that gets me through the night." That night, he isn't capable of going through the motions with Louis and pretending to care about the dinner his partner made him, or the effort he put into it. The mask is slowly slipping, and all he can do is go to sleep and try to stifle his urges until he can finally satisfy them once again. • • • • • I got goosebumps from those answers! This was certainly a treat. I don't read a lot of dark stories, but I think I might have to start. If you liked this story, make sure to go check out @C. Henderson's other stories on his author page! I just loved seeing a new author on AAA. Despite his dark and gloomy stories, I think we found a bright and shining star in the community! Don't forget to send me some questions! I'm always looking for a surplus of interviews, and you can ask questions about any story by any author! I'll be looking forward to your requests so I can pester our authors. See y'all next month!
  20. Holy crap, I'm late! Well, not late late. I don't think Noah and I are ready for that kind of commitment. Maybe in a few years. Ooooooooooh, if Renee sees how late this is, I'm sure she'd throw something at me. Enough rambling; got's to get right into the interview! We have a wonderful and exciting story by an equally awesome author. @kbois I promise a bottle of your favorite stuff is on the way! • • • • • Spirit Wolves kbois 27 Chapters / 125,766 Words / Rating: Mature / Status: Complete How does a simple, low key life get turned upside down? Easy. Mix up six shifters, missing pups, three packs, a few bad guys, some messed up family dynamics, and maybe a cliffhanger (or two?) That's how. What made you want to write about Lycans? I've been fascinated with this type of fiction since I was a kid. I got my first library card when I was 5. One of the first books I checked out was The Five Chinese Brothers, which features each brother having a supernatural ability. I honestly don't remember my first shifter story, but I've been hooked on the unconventional ever since. Also, shifters are pretty damn sexy. How did you decide to create your own version of this world and was it easy? The idea for Spirit Wolves started when I was writing A Tattoo for Lex. Ideas often strike my brain when I walk my dogs at night. That's what happened in this case. It actually started as two separate story lines, Reilly's and Ben’s. For whatever reason, my writing muse made me merge them. Oftentimes it gets weird inside my head, but I'm fortunate that the weirdness occasionally morphs into story ideas. Was it easy? Absolutely not. I got about eight chapters written and then bam! The idea well dried up. So I set it aside for a little over two years. After When Opportunity Knocks wrapped up, I dusted it off and sort of pushed some ideas out there to see what would stick. How did you come up with the Sentinels, especially as two of them weren't Lycans? The Sentinels didn't come about until I revisited the story. I knew I needed a good reason to combine Reilly's story and Ben's. Saving the shifter world seemed to be as good a reason as any. If you're going to save the world you need some superheroes. Ben is the only one not born Lycan and his and Zev’s role will be expanded on later. Which brings us to….. Do you have any more books planned in this series? That would would a most definitive and resounding yes! Spirit Wolves is the first of a three part series. I'm currently finishing up the second story which focuses more on finding the hybrid pups that are missing. Posting is right around the corner. I really think the reason it took me over two years to finish Spirit Wolves is because these other two ideas were inside of me, just not quite ready to come out. Now everything makes more sense to me inside my noggin as I can weave the random ideas into the story plots. • • • • • Done! Did it! Posted! Auughhh!!! I'll be putting a repeating reminder in my phone to get this done before the deadline for next month's edition. Well, I thank everyone for your patience, especially @kbois's and @Cia's. On another note, we're out of AAA articles! Don't be an Aaron. Send those questions. Promote your favorite authors!
  21. I swear we just had it! Where did it go? Did it fly away, or whiz past our eyes? Oh, well! April's gone and she won't be back until next year. Now we have May, and what a day to post the next Ask An Author! From this Star Wars fan, May the Fourth be with you. While the featured story may not take place in a galaxy far, far away, we're still treated to a bit of fantasy. Welcoming back @C. Henderson, we'll be trading lightsabers for vampire fangs. Although the story's status says Temporary Hold, I see there's been some recent updates. Sounds like we have an In Progress tale, so let's dive in and generate some up-to-date readers! • • • • • Sacrum C. Henderson 35 Chapters / 108,057 Words / Rating: Mature / Status: Temporary Hold Dani is a vampire with a special mission. Born in a lab, he has never been human. Kept from society by Vinicius, his mentor, he's naive to the way of the world. When his mentor suddenly is taken from him, he's thrust into a new school where he's forced to figure things out on his own while also navigating the desires of his non-beating heart. This story features your own take on vampires. How did you develop your vampire lore? I can’t think of a time when I wasn’t interested in vampires. I distinctly remember watching Gary Oldman as Dracula and being fascinated by him and his powers. I was also intrigued by the duality of vampires – the fact that they were associated with dark forces, but – like the Count – were also capable of loving someone else and potentially being good. However, it never occurred to me to write about anything supernatural until I had some extra free time over quarantine, which is when I rewatched a lot of post-apocalyptic horror films like 28 Days Later and Resident Evil. I also watched Train to Busan, the Underworld movies, and got back into The Walking Dead series. Additionally, I read The Rising and World War Z, and was inspired enough to do my own take on a vampire story. I started Sacrum one night, with a distinct vision of Dani and Vincent in mind. I wanted one to represent the force of good, and the other to have a history of darkness that made it hard to discern whether he could ever be good, or whether his genetics would determine him to be evil. However, the story quickly evolved with many other important characters like Vinicius, Demetrius, Ciprian and the ghost of Dahlia. Without giving the rest of it away, I knew that another important part of the story would be the “Rebirth” movement. As for how I developed it all – mostly while thinking about the story in the shower, which is where all my best thoughts seem to occur. Sacrum is full of both big and small mysteries. How do you plot them out and keep all your clues and plot threads straight? It's impressive! Once I realized that the story was growing rapidly away from what I intentionally had in mind, and that each character had their own mysteries they were battling with, I had to sit down and write a painfully long chapter by chapter outline so that I could remember everything. I also have a general overview of the story, a name cheat sheet, and another document containing random phrases I think of in the shower that I know I want to utilize in the story in some way (usually something Ciprian might say... I have a long list of those). Which authors influence you and what mystery/suspense books are your favorite? It’s hard for me to name an “influence” because I enjoy a lot of different genres, and the writers I like don’t necessarily influence my own writing style. They are so distinct it would be impossible to mimic them. However, I am currently reading “Nothing But Blackened Teeth” by Cassandra Khaw, and I’m in awe of how poetic she makes everything sound. She's inspired me to work on having a nicer flow to my own writing. As for favorite books, I love a good classic by Hemingway or Faulkner. The Sound and The Fury is probably one of my favorite books. And in the horror/mystery genre I have to go with Bram Stoker’s Dracula. • • • • • There's another AAA wrapped up! Thank you so much to @C. Henderson and the anonymous reader who sent questions my way. As always, Ask An Author could always use material for articles. Read a riveting story recently? Think of a few questions, send them to me, and I'll get them ready for posting. All stories and authors are fair game! Until next month!
  22. Ah, the first week of April! A fresh rain. Blooming flowers. The head-jerking reaction you'll have when a bee flies too close to your face. No? Huh. Guess that's just me then! I've never cared for bees, if I'm being honest. The memory of stepping on one barefoot when I was little is forever imprinted in my brain, and I've been careful to never get stung by one again. That, and the husband's allergic. Anyway, on to more important details. It's the first Wednesday of the month, so let's Ask An Author! Coming from @LittleCherryBlossom26, we have Live, Love, Lose. • • • • • Live, Love, Lose LittleCherryBlossom26 58 Chapters / 137,372 Words / Rating: Mature / Status: Complete April 1940, Denmark. Karl Nielsen is a 17-year-old boy who has been helping his parents at the familial farm from an early age on a small island on the west coast of Denmark. However, his life shatters the day when Germans invade Denmark and arrive where they live. His father still manages to send him on a boat for England before the Nazis can take him away. In a country he has never been to before, he will have to survive on his own right in the middle of the madness of the war. Will he manage to make it through despite all the hardships he will have to face? Well, read to find out. What inspired you to write about WWII and Karl's experience in a foreign country? Well, as far as I can remember, I’ve always had a keen interest in history (that was my favourite subject in highschool!) and world wars, especially world war II, are such an important part of our human history, so I thought to myself before starting to write: if I have to write about anything first, it should be historical fiction. All of us have at least or several relatives who took part in these world wars, relatives who were ready to risk what they had to fight for their beliefs and ideals. When I was younger, my grandmother used to tell me and my brother about her childhood during World War II (she was only eight when it started), so this alone contributed a lot to making me write about this period in history. Yet, I’ve chosen to write about a seventeen-year-old Danish boy who found shelter in England, and not about a fictional character living in Occupied France as I could have, or maybe should. Why then? Well, I think this is a facet that had never really been explored before; citizens living in annexed countries like Denmark, their daily life; hence the difficulty to make research about this aspect in particular. So of course, this could only pique my interest (there is also the fact that since highschool I’ve had an earnest interest in Nordic countries as well, though I don’t really know where it comes from; it’s like a magnet pulling me towards their culture and civilisation.) I’ve found this really interesting to explore exile in such a way, finding yourself penniless in a foreign country where you know no one or the language spoken there. How you have to realise you must grow up since you are not safe anymore in your familial environment and have no choice but fend for yourself on your own if you want to survive. Then how family doesn’t necessarily mean you must be tied by blood to consider people as your family. Most war stories I know (when I say this I’m thinking especially about movies) are about war itself, the fighting and its terrible consequences, so I think this is important to be immersed in the civilians’ life who, of course, didn’t meet the same difficulties, hence the second part being more about the fighting to then show the discrepancy between two different visions of war. Was it difficult emotionally [to write this story]? Yes, of course, it was! Terribly difficult! It was a roller coaster of ups and downs and a real challenge given this was my first story and not the easiest subject to write about! I kept repeating to myself I should have chosen something much lighter to write about, but then in the end I don’t regret writing this story at all. I mean I can be proud that this is my first story ever because despite the many difficulties, it was really worth it!!! Since this is your first novel, are you planning to revise it, or leave it as a benchmark to show where you started as a writer? Well…This is a very good question! I’ve been hesitating about these two choices for so long now! I mean, as this is my first story ever, this would be interesting to leave it as it is with the minimum editing needed as a benchmark to then show how my writing progresses with the years. Yet a part of me just wants it to be perfect since this is my first story! How contradictory, I know! So I guess I will just need some more time to think about it. Perhaps once I have finished the whole series I might be finally able to decide which is best! Overall, how do you feel about the success of your first story? If there is one answer I should provide for this one; I think I simply still can’t really realise it was read and appreciated by lots of people! This just sounds so incredible to me! By the way, never had I thought I would be featured in this blog! So a big thanks to the reader who asked me these questions! I really enjoyed answering them Besides, I really want to thank all of my readers once again for all the support and constructive comments. You guys rock! • • • • • How exciting! A historical fiction, and it's the author's first story? Awesome job, @LittleCherryBlossom26! This is one genre I don't believe I could write for. While history was one of my preferred subjects in school, I didn't retain enough information to create a plot confidently. Much respect to the historical authors on GA! If you enjoyed this edition of Ask An Author 3.0, then listen closely, folks. This was the last submission in the piggy-bank. I'm going to need a few more soon, or the first Wednesday of the month will be dryer than a fart. Take a quick second to think about your favorite story on Gay Authors. Now, take another couple to think about three questions you'd love to ask the author. Then send me a PM with the story title, the author's name, and the three questions. Until next month, have a good'n!
  23. I'm not sure about everyone else, but the weather in Kentucky's starting to warm up a bit. Well, at least for the moment. The chilly breezes were welcome for a short while, but I've had enough snow and ice. I'm ready for summer! Bring out the swimwear and IPAs! But you know what else we need? The March edition of Ask An Author! I'm all smiles with this month's featured author, although he might hunt me down after this introduction. One of GA's Signature Authors, Big Daddy @Carlos Hazday! An anonymous reader sent me some questions about his C.J. series, so let's dive in! • • • • • C.J. Carlos Hazday 15 Books / 45 Reviews / 863,840 Words / Rating: Mature CJ’s fifteen when his step-father banishes him from his home for being gay. When he moves to Washington to live with his father, he begins a journey of discovery. The series follows him through high school and college as he accumulates friends, and learns what it’s like to be a young, wealthy, gay man living in an urban environment. What made you write the final book to the series in 2019 and then return to it in 2021 with a new CJ novel? Exhaustion and fear. After churning out ten CJ books, I was tired of looking at everything through the same filter: could what I saw, heard, or read be incorporated into the series? By then, the stories had become more complex, and the supporting cast had gained popularity. I thought I could silence CJ by writing the stories some readers were asking for about secondary characters. As an aside, it didn’t work, CJ continues to infiltrate my thoughts constantly. I knew where CJ would end up twenty-years after his college graduation, and I feared I wouldn’t be able to share that. I have health issues that flare up now and then. Facing our mortality can be a motivator and with me the result was Hail to the Chief. Singer, Ranger, Cadet and a couple of other stories featuring secondary characters gave me the chance to expand the CJ-verse without having to feature him in every story. At some point I knew I had to return to the main series, and CDMX was the vehicle for it. One little comment in HTTC had followers up in arms wanting to know details. Those details are included in the final chapters of the Mexico book. When you created CJ in 2015, how did you go about creating the character and did you think you would still be writing about him 7 years later? Hell, no! As I’ve previously mentioned, the original idea was to write about a gay father with a gay son. Yeah, I still did that, but instead of CJ’s dad being the main character, his son took over. At some point I realized my plans to write about a rejected kid moving and spending a summer surrounded by gay adults would not be enough. Writing about summer let to three more tales named after each season. But the ideas kept coming, and CJ’s future looked too interesting to quit. I took him through high school and college before I jumped ahead those twenty years. CDMX picks up a bit over a year after his graduation from Georgetown. Inspiration has not abandoned me. I have three other CJ books in process right now. How difficult is the research for the books, as they got more complicated as the characters got older? It’s brutal. Because there’s so much. I’m a stickler for getting details right, and that leads to countless hours reading. Sometimes multiple references result in one line in a story. Actual research isn’t bad, but it is time consuming. Since Owen was introduced, I’ve learned a lot about wines. Because of the spinoffs, I’ve spent countless hours reading about music competitions, injured veteran recovery, and the Air Force Academy. And of course there’s been a lot of location and architectural research when writing about travel. Many locations I’ve used I’ve visited, but for some I rely on the internet and fellow GA members. I last visited Mexico City a couple of decades ago. Using my experience as a guide, I had to update my knowledge. You’d be amazed at the number of articles read and documentaries watched on Maya ruins! My next story’s set in Spain, so I’ve called on a Spaniard for assistance. So far he hasn’t quibbled with most of what I’ve written, but he has provided some great information I incorporate in the story. How many more CJ books are planned, will you be bringing us up to date with events that are mentioned in the final novel? Short term, there will be three more stories with CJ and Owen as the main characters. After Mexico, I’ll jump five years and switch continents. We’ll spend a week in Spain 2027. Then I’ll return to 2022 for the three months following Mexico, and jump ahead to 2027 again for a party in Las Vegas. Long term, I’m not sure. I do have tentative titles for about a dozen other stories. But I think I want to write shorter installments from now on. The rambling novels are exhausting. Yes, I do clear up one tiny, little, item I mentioned in Hail to the Chief. But I still haven’t figured out why readers considered that a cliffhanger. LOL Thank you to the member who asked and to Aaron for coordinating the AAA feature. Having done it for a while, I know it’s not easy. And thank you to ALL of GA for the incredible support I’ve received over the years. • • • • • I love working with Carlos. This guy has taught me more about the English language than any of my educators, public or collegiate. If it wasn't for him, I'd probably still be writing in a coke-induced third person-omniscient perspective. A heartfelt thanks for answering the questions! As always, we're looking for more questions to ask authors! Did you leave a review for a story, but wanted to know more about the plot or the author's mindset? Send your questions to me, and I'll get 'em answered! Any author is up for being interviewed, and any member of the community can provide questions. Until next time!
  24. Fourth year, first issue! Yeah, yeah, yeah… I know that’s not a proper sentence. So sue me. As I compile responses, the U.S. presidential election is less than a week away and I’m a little stressed. When you read this, people have cast the final votes. Who won? Okay, no politics. Let’s talk about this month’s Ask an Author question. Once again, it dovetails nicely with the one asked last month. The member who sent it in asked me to select the authors it would be forwarded to. Not wanting my preferences to influence the decision, I looked at the STORY UPDATES list, and chose the most recent authors to post something, as long as they had not been featured the previous month. We ended up with quite an interesting bunch. Thank you to the authors who answered my call. ҉ If you had the chance of collaborating with a GA author or poet who would it be and why? ҉ @Cia Well, for poets... collaboration is out, sorry! I'm able to evoke emotion and a sense of story well but only within story. Meter and verse simply elude me. It doesn't even crop up in my fantasy stories very often. I've tried co-writing before, but I'm either of two styles: plan it to death then write or just write as it comes to me and post it right away. Honestly, I'm more the second than the first. Writing with another person takes planning. Who does what, how do you separate out writing--plot events or chapters, how will you mesh styles? And time, lots of time. Not something I have much of these days. However, if I were to pick anyone out of the mix and the time and planning could magically work out? @Rob Colton I love his stories and they're easy reading, we have similar interest in genres. Plus I even met him at a conference before and got to hang out with him for a few days, so I know he's a sweetheart and would be amazing to work with. ҉ @Mann Ramblings In reality, I can be a bit of a controlling dick when it comes to creative projects. At work, I get a feel for what the client's needs are and then tell them what will work. I often believe the world would be a better place if everyone would just do whatever I tell them to do. (Ask Carlos how pushy I am when I edit for him. Some days it's not pretty.) So I'm not sure it would be kind to inflict me on a writing partner who's not prepared for that. That aside, I have been talking a little bit about pairing up with @Renee Stevens on a sci-fi story she has in mind. We each have strengths to balance out our weaker areas, and we know each other's process, so it could work. It's not a done deal, but the idea has been tossed around... ҉ @Mark Arbour If it was a poet, it would be Lugh, because he's bitchy but cute. For a story, I'd pick Domluka, even though he hasn't been heard from in years. I've followed his writing for years, and in fact he's the reason I first came to GA: I followed him here. He is excellent at developing quirky characters, and can tell an awesome story. ҉ @Mawgrim People who don’t write often think that it must be a lonely process. While it’s often best to write when you are alone (less chance of distraction) it doesn’t feel lonely to me as my characters are my companions. However, writing as a collaborative process definitely brings something different to the mix. I’ve collaborated with others writers a few times now and have discovered several good reasons to do it: It inspires the creative process. If you get stuck, then the other person or persons can often suggest a way out that you might not have thought of alone It’s really good for creating dialogue. Most of my collaborative projects have been on play or pantomime scripts and getting dialogue going between two (or more) writers really shows what works and what doesn’t. It’s also great when you are trying to create comedy - this is probably why a lot of comedy shows are written in partnerships. It helps to stop procrastination. If you know you need to get a section or chapter finished before you meet up, you are much more likely to keep to deadlines. Having said all that, I should now answer the actual question: If I had a chance of collaborating with a GA author, who would it be and why? I’ve not been using the site for very long, so I’ve only started to dip into the vast well of creative talent out there. But of the few authors I’ve read so far, the one I would most like to collaborate with would be @drsawzall Collaborating is a good way to improve your own writing. I have been told that I write with quite a ‘spare’ style; I tell a story without too much embellishment and I know my main failing is in detailed description. @drsawzall handles description brilliantly, so that it’s not a filler, or something you want to skip by, but creates a textured scene that you feel you could step into. If we were to collaborate, I feel that I could learn a lot from trying to mesh my ideas with his style. ҉ @RichEisbrouch This is stupid, but I'm an English teacher and editor. It's something I've been doing part-time for the twenty years since I retired. And I start to read so many of the stories on this site and just want to have five minutes with the writers to say, "You know, there are more economical ways of putting that." Or "You've got a great story there, but you could so easily give it more impact." Yeah, I know: it's not my business. Just read the stories, Rich, and say encouraging things. You know how hard it sometimes is to write -- you're putting yourself out there defenseless. But I say right back, "Yeah, but give me five minutes, and I'll show these writers how to use a few more defenses." As I keep telling my students, "Think as much about how you're writing as about what you're saying." And as Kurt Vonnegut's notes taught me: "Revise. Revise. Revise." But always keep a few earlier copies until you're set. Because sometimes, you overedit. And anyone who wants to collaborate with me, just ask. Thanks. ҉ @Wombat Bill Thanks for your offer, but as it is such early days, I don't think I have read enough stories on GA to make an informed decision. I have only read read stories by 2 authors so far. ҉ @Yeoldebard Tsukihana. We've been friends for years, and while our styles differ, she and I are always throwing ideas off each other. A full collab would be rather fun. ҉ Now, wasn’t that a blast to read? Expanding a bit on Mann Ramblings response, yes, he is a controlling dick. But he’s not that hard to work with. If you simplify sufficiently and obey him. I have no further questions inventory, so you need to send me some. See you next month!
  25. G’day, y’all! Can you tell I’ve been writing something with an Aussie and a Southerner as the main characters? Who cares, right? After all, you’re here to read what other authors have to say. I’ll shut the heck up for now. ҉ ҉ ҉ Which author/poet (alive or dead) do you identify with most, and why? ҉ ҉ ҉ @BDANR I'd say Essex Hemphill. His work moved me with its rawness, activism, and he elevated other marginalized, talented authors not seen as having a story worth hearing. He's unapologetic in his delivery, imagery, and leaves a lasting impression on whoever reads his work. He is one of my biggest inspirations and influences my own artistry. I only wish I could've known him, but he passed when I was still a toddler. It also didn't help that he lived on the other side of the country. ҉ ҉ ҉ @lilansui I have more than one, because I am constantly searching for inspiration. First, I do lean a lot on Paulo Coelho for words of comfort. Manuscript Found in Accra is a favorite. He has a way with words that makes me nod and agree no matter the occasion, and I think that's powerful. His books are great for when I'm feeling my soul is a little battered. When it comes to writing inspiration, I find it in manga-kas. I love manga and how insanely creative it can get. My first and forever inspirations came from creators like CLAMP of Legal Drug and Maki Muramaki of Gravitation. They got me writing my first fanfiction. The list gets long from there, all I can say is that I could spend hours reading manga because it entertains me on such a basic level. It can get obsessive. I love discovering strange concepts that sort of open new worlds to explore. There's nothing impossible in a manga. You just need to level up, 😉. I can obsess over genres I come across, when their characters take a grip of me and won't let go. This can also turn so obsessive it morphs into full blown research and character write ups. 😆🤣 My latest author obsession is Mo Xiang Tong Xiu. She writes great suffering and enduring love. 😎🙈 And now, I have decided that this is a tough question to answer. So many authors stick with me and I want to mention them all. Why only one? hahaha ҉ ҉ ҉ @lomax61 I’m choosing to answer this question in terms of the author’s writing style, body of work, and characters they’ve created - and not as the person themselves. When I first aspired to writing gay fiction, the gay authors I read tended to be serious fiction writers, the likes of Edmund White, Alan Hollinghurst, and Paul Monette. You know, the kind of fiction where you have to pay attention and often have to go back over a paragraph to make sure you understood what the author was trying to say. Not a style to which I was ever going to aspire. Thankfully, I soon stumbled upon Armistead Maupin and Joe Keenan, both who not only have a unique sense of humour, but whose gay characters are never tragic, and are mixed up in stories with plots that are fun to follow, if at times a little absurd. At the same time, I discovered the very English Patrick Gale, whose style of prose I continue to admire (but who is far more fearless than me when it comes to subject matter). The author that brought me out of the writing closet, so to speak, was Josh Lanyon with the Adrien English series. Finally, I thought, an author of gay fiction who could write believable and relatable gay men with all their quirks, foibles and insecurities, but men who are still essentially men (very different men, admittedly). Moreover, one of them is not simply a pronoun shift from she to he (as happens with all too many female authors of commercial MM fiction). The Adrien English series is still my go-to favourite when I want to settle in an armchair, kick off my shoes, and lose myself in something warm and familiar. Around 2015, when Josh came out as a women (Diana Killian, I believe), I felt as shocked and betrayed as the rest of the MM reading community. But at the end of the day, good writing remains good writing, and I love the readability of Lanyon’s prose, the light touch of her humour, the way she builds her mystery plots around her main characters, gives them brilliant dialogue, and never loses sight of them, growing them along the journey. I even love the way she has me invested in minor characters. So the simple answer wrapped up in my long-winded response is that the author I identify with most is Josh Lanyon. ҉ ҉ ҉ @northie An interesting question which can be taken in all kinds of directions. I'm sticking with the 'author who's influenced my writing the most' angle. I often seem to kinda cheat with these questions where one, and only one, answer is permitted. So what's new... In that vein, I'll present a runner-up before I settle on the main act. Pat Barker is best known for the Regeneration trilogy which looks at an element of WW1 from a very different angle. She comes from north east England (like me) and that comes through in her writing, whatever the actual subject. It's difficult to put a finger on - language, style, outlook on life, but I know it when I read it. That's what I'd like my writing to be like, and to match her spare, characterful prose. My main act is Susan Hill. You'll probably know her best as the writer of The Woman in Black. It's an excellent, scary ghost story with heart-stopping moments achieved with an economy of style. (Spot a trend?) She writes about ordinary people and allows us into their thoughts and actions. Even the worst offenders in her detective novels see 'normal' to others as they so often do in real life. My favourite novel of hers is Strange Meeting. In one tiny corner of a WW1 battlefield, she creates a quiet, profoundly moving meeting of two lives. A friendship deepens, broadens, until you wonder whether in another age the two men would have become lovers. Then one is killed and the other wounded and you're left to ponder. ҉ ҉ ҉ @ObicanDecko I definitely don't mean to sound presumptuous and imply the quality of my works matches that of these authors, but just in terms of subject matter and style, I identify myself with Lloyd Alexander, who wrote fantasy (mostly aimed at younger audiences), specifically The Chronicles of Prydain; also there's James Hilton, whose adventure/fantasy novel Lost Horizon always inspires me, and it definitely had an impact on my short story The Island of Poa. I find their ideas refreshing and original, and their style of writing enjoyable and easy to read, which is something I aim for in my stories. ҉ ҉ ҉ @Parker Owens I find it hard to choose a single author with whom to identify. There are many I admire, others I might wish to emulate, others with whom I might find common life experiences, still more with whom I’d like to share a long weekend lunch. Bring them all together at once, and the room might get very crowded indeed. W. Somerset Maugham comes to mind. Here is a writer who believed his own work to be labored and mechanical, as I have often felt. Yet I have come to admire his variety and prolific output over decades of work. I have a number of his books still on my much-culled shelves. Robert Louis Stevenson is another I can take to heart, if only for our shared weakness as children and similar birthdays. I still smile at his Deed of Gift, in which he gave his birthday to young Annie Ide of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, who, “… was born, out of all reason, upon Christmas Day, and is therefore, out of all justice, denied the consolation and profit of a Proper Birthday ….” He, too, was an exile of a sort, though he felt the need to go all the way to Samoa. And then there is the composer Alexander Borodin, who wrote brilliant and beautiful music – symphonies, operas and exquisite chamber pieces – all while teaching and doing important research in chemistry and medicine. I empathize with his dual passions in creation and education, in science and in music. His story inspired me as a young man to try writing in my own spare time: first music, then fiction. It is a tragedy his untimely death cut short such a marvelous musical output. This list could be a lot longer, but I fear I may have already tried the patience of GA readers ҉ ҉ ҉ @Timothy M. I had a hard time answering this question. At first I didn't understand it, but Carlos gave me this explanation: What author do you like so much they influence your writing or you try to emulate them? So then I spent a while trying to come up with author names and reasons why. I've read a lot of stories in the past 50 years, and there are plenty of authors I enjoy reading and admire for their skills. But I don't identify with any of them. To me, the idea is absurd. The main reason for this reply is I would never presume to compare myself with real authors or pretend I could live up to their example. I'm simply not able to say I want to write like this author, or identify the 'technical' reasons why I like their stories in order to emulate them. And this includes all my favorite authors on GA. The only way I can manage to improve my writing is via the hard work of my editors and input from my readers. What they praise or approve of, I try to keep doing. ҉ ҉ ҉ @Valkyrie I can’t think of one author I identify with the most, but there are several throughout my life I would say I identified with for one reason or another. When I was a teenager, I read a lot of poetry and the work of Sylvia Plath really spoke to me. I was pretty dark as a teen and struggled with depression, so I identified with the darkness of her writing. I would also say Piers Anthony, since I love a good play on words, and his entire Xanth series is basically one pun after another. I also identify with Tolkien and his love of language. Language is something that’s always fascinated me. I actually spent a summer once translating and learning Tolkien’s runes and Elvish language with a friend of mine. When I went to college, we wrote letters to each other in runes and Elvish. Unfortunately, I’ve lost the skill throughout the years. ҉ ҉ ҉ I don’t know about you, but I had to google a few names after reading the responses. A couple of things were added to my reading list in the process. On a serious note, I really, really need questions. How about helping?
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