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Found 132 results

  1. 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!
  2. 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?
  3. Here’s hoping this month’s issue proves as popular as the last one. We are back to one question for several authors but this month’s query is somewhat different from our usual fare. It does, however, dovetail nicely with Myr’s history of Gay Authors so many enjoyed in August. As usual, responses are in alphabetical order and posted as the respondent submitted them without editing. ҉ ҉ ҉ We are putting together a Gay Authors Time capsule. This capsule will be opened in 10 years. You have been asked to input your thoughts. What would you like to include in this time capsule? ҉ ҉ ҉ @AquariusGuy So I've given this a lot of thought. I would like to see the work of some of the older Author's who haven't written in a while to preserve their stories. The liking of DomLuka, NicolasJames8, Vlista, Afriendlyface and CJames. These are some of the Authors who have inspired me to write and I always enjoyed their stories. ҉ ҉ ҉ @Bill W Seeing this would be for Gay Authors, I would suggest articles about how the current administration was trying to push back against the LGBTQ community with their 'religious freedom' claims and remove them from guaranteed rights, such as employment, health care, etc., and that the Supreme Court had decided against some of it. I think any articles about the current situation for the LGBTQ community would be good, so in ten years we can see how much we've gained, or lost. If you're asking specifically for Gay Author related items, I'm not sure. The library should still be available by then, but possibly a memorial tribute to those who contributed to the site, but are no longer with us. This way in ten years new members can read about those we lost that helped to make GA great. ҉ ҉ ҉ @Brayon Hello GA! Today is Sunday, August 9, 2020, and I’m currently sitting at my desk and typing this message for the Time Capsule. First off, I want to say congrats on being around in 2030! I hope the community has continued to be a thriving place, for authors who want to tell a story beyond just erotica. I hope that everyone is finding the place inclusive still, and that any old hatreds have been settled. Life is too precious and short. Cherish every moment you have with friends, family, and each other. Aside from this letter, I’ve placing in the capsule some items that I feel would be a reminder for how crazy 2020 has been. 1. A Covid-19 test kit. 2. A Mail-in Ballot for the US 2020 Election Cycle. 3. A Facemask from Universal Studios during Pride Month. 4. A video archive of my online classes. Remember to break the rules of writing from time to time. It’ll make your story unique. Say yes to Infodumps, they are the bread and butter of certain genres. A good Infodump won’t read like an Infodump and will lay a foundation for the reader to engage with your world. Say yes to “Tell, Don’t Show.” Because sometimes, dogmatic adherence to “Show, Don’t Tell,” will bog down your story. Sum it up and move on. Bottom line, it’s your story, tell it like you want to. If this capsule is resealed, and buried for another ten years, then I hope the community at GA continues to thrive, and new stories and content is added. May you write your stories and continue to be kind to each other. Cherish each other. Thanks for listening, ҉ ҉ ҉ @CLJobe When this Time Capsule is opened, I'll not be here. I have lived my life trying to help those who have a hard life because of the ills of society. I write my stories illustrating some of the problems the gay community faces because of the bigotry and the lack of sympathy among those who could help. If you read any of my stories, I would hope the world is better than it is now, 2020. People care about everyone, gay or not, Love overcomes hate, and most of all gays are accepted as a normal human being. As much as you would like to live forever, it isn't going to happen. Leave you mark on this earth, love your neighbor, gay or not. ҉ ҉ ҉ @Mikiesboy Thanks for the question. My thoughts for a time capsule? The question is a broad one, but here some of the things I think about now that I hope for the future. § I hope GA is still around and offering a home to LGBT+ authors § It’s my hope that people are accepting of each other no matter, colour, race, sexual preference, or religion. I hope we see each other as brother and sister finally. § I hope we have learned from the past. It has much to teach those who bother to learn from it § I pray for a new breed of politician; one who believes in the People and their rights § I wish for a world where community and the good of all, not the individual, is what’s important, where more wealth and health are available to all. § And it’s a wish really, that we learn and respect all life on this planet. That we see that each life is worth living and it is not any one person’s place to snuff out another. § On a personal note, I hope my Husband and I are still around in 10 years. I hope my friends are also. ҉ ҉ ҉ @RichEisbrouch Just a reminder about how far we've come in the last seventy years and a hope we continue to make progress in the ten years between 2020 and 2030. Without younger people, and the increasing and casual acceptance of gay people since 1990, I'm not sure there would have been gay marriage. And without the people who started working for acceptance in 1950 and continued, maybe specifically in 1970 and the mid-1980s, I'm not sure there would have been the casually accepting young people from the '90s onward. And no matter how hard it sometimes seems, it's a lot easier to grow up gay in 2020 than it was any time earlier. So let's not forget that, and let's hope growing up gets increasingly easier. And thanks for asking. ҉ ҉ ҉ @Wayne Gray What a wild question! Okay, cool. A GA time-capsule. I'll approach it from this angle - what would I want GA to know in ten years about what is happening right now? To GA in the year, 2030. It's September of 2020 right now, and we are in the middle of an historic event. We're watching our governments struggle to control the COVID-19 pandemic. While that issue is important and worth talking about, it'll be in the history books by the time you read this. I'm sure those will do a much better job of explaining it than I. To that end, I wanted to talk about something that probably won't be nearly as discussed. That is the problem of disinformation in this time of ever-increasing connectivity. So what I'd like you to know about these times is that the need for critical thinking has never been higher. As more "information" becomes available, more of it is simply junk that has to be filtered out in order to understand what is really going on. COVID-19 has truly rammed that lesson home. Access to information is no guarantee from drawing the wrong conclusions. Be critical. Look at your sources. Think about what a source has to gain from earning your trust and belief. Because if we're dealing with this now, in 2020, then 2030 will prove even more of a minefield of misinformation and outright lies. ҉҉҉ That’s all for this month. Still hot in South Florida, and I’m still sitting naked beneath the AC vent as much as possible. I took the Harley out yesterday and, after an hour riding around, my arms and my face were screaming for relief. Even through the hair on my arm, the outline of my watch on the skin is more noticeable. My face’s also tanner. Once again, thanks for reading. Same GA channel, same GA time next month. As usual, I’m in the market for questions.
  4. We’re changing things up this month. Instead of one question being asked of several individuals, we’re back to one author one query. One being the operative word. @Myr was kind enough to provide a detailed response, so I’m featuring it by itself. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. ҉҉҉ Why did you decide to start Gay Authors and how did you go about it? Also, how has it lived up to your expectations and how has it diverged from your original intent? ҉҉҉ Why did I decide to start Gay Authors and how did I go about it? At the time I started Gay Authors in 2002, the world for gay stories was a completely different place. There was no such thing as an ebook market yet. Kindle on Amazon didn't exist until 2007. At the time, there were a handful of sites out there that allowed people to post their works. Nifty was (and still is) the big kahuna for archives of posted works. Nifty accepted all stories (pretty much), but they tended to be heavily geared towards um... action. Plot in most Nifty stories was a bonus. There was a time, 1995-1998 or so, where I actually checked every story posted on Nifty across a number of categories I was interested in. I quickly started spotting authors that had plot with their action. Real character development, etc. That was a new thing really. Amazon had gay books, of course, but there were so few published in those days that I had pretty much every gay fantasy/gay sci-fi book that Amazon sold. Most of them weren't as good as some of the free gems on Nifty. So, understanding that background, I went about identifying and contacting authors of stories that had plot and character development. I approached them and said, I'll build a website where you can post your stuff so that you stand out more than getting drowned in the deluge on Nifty. Comicality signed on as did Bill W, and dkstories not long after. DomLuka and others followed. We started hosting in September 2002. By the time July 2003 rolled around, I decided to give IP.Board 1.1 a try and the forums were born. You'll notice that I'm member number 3. When I started the forums, the default first account was 1, of course, and called "Administrator". The name on the account now is "GA Staff" and it is used for our program/developer for the Stories software. Number 2 was a friend that has since passed away that helped me with testing the forums in the early days. Active posting and other things on the forums didn't really kick in until about 2004. In those early days, Hosted Authors would email me their stories and I'd do the web development. Most authors went this route. Some, like CJames, were given FTP accounts and allowed to roll their own. The more authors we got, the more work it was, of course. It didn't take long for me to want to find a way for authors to have a way to post on their own. I turned to eFiction, which was a stand alone free software package that allowed members to post stories. I also programmed, on my own, a Story Archive that allowed links to stories and a quick way to sort and find stories. This left us with 3 separate, competing systems, each with their own member system. It was a bit of a headache for a while. Eventually, and with spending some money, we got all three systems using the forums member database. But keeping eFiction and the forums working together was a nightmare. Enter our biggest software development action in our history... the creation of "GA.Stories" which was a spin on Invision software IP.Whatever (IP.Forums, IP.Blog, etc). This is where we went from Hosted Author websites, stories in eFiction by any author, and a separate list of linked stories to one Stories Archive to rule them all. It was December 2010 or so. This is why so many stories are posted at that date. We posted all the Hosted Authors stories in one go, and imported most of the stories in from eFiction. This was in the forum software version days of 3.X. We've kept that system since, though changing developers. The leap from 3.X to 4.X was sizable. But we're now in a position where the Stories Archive is a third party application in the Invision Community Software. So, some of the quirks of the Stories Archive are tied to how the forum software works. But all the benefits, like following, liking, notifications, etc are all because the Stories Archive is just part of the "Invision Community" software package. Those around at the times of the big change will remember the growing pains. The last major revision to the software was pretty smooth. We've got one coming up very soon that should be pretty smooth as well. (Stories works fine on the new forum software even without the update, minus some formatting) Has it lived up to my expectations? Has it diverged from my original intent? Yes it has and more. We've been going for 18 years now (almost). The world and technology has changed a LOT since then. Kindles, iPhones, tablets, smartphones in general, are all things now that weren't then. We have grown and adapted to new technology and have weathered the changes over the years. I've worked to keep us up-to-date and relevant as well as a safe port in the storm. While I'm pretty political, I've kept that out of Gay Authors for the most part. I'd rather Gay Authors just be. Everyone else can have an agenda. My agenda is "great stories people want to read." If you can write a story with a message that people enjoy reading and it stimulates thoughtful discussion, then great! We need less yelling and partisan BS. Live and Let Live was a great concept out of the free love 60s. Hell of a lot easier to have a happy life that way then looking over your shoulder afraid to be canceled for breathing wrong at any moment. I guess that probably explains my operating philosophy most and fits my original intent. I just want to read and enjoy stories. Perhaps have some inspired debates. I can't tell you how many hours I went back and forth with dkstories over his political take on something. It was quite enjoyable to have that exchange of ideas. But society is no longer in a place where that's even allowed. Hence my policy of no politics except in The Pit. Its purpose is to keep the divisiveness in an isolated place to allow everyone of all political stripes to enjoy the great stories our authors have shared with the world. I know people have commented on that in the past. The "if you are for free speech, why can't I post this here?" Well it is because you are deliberately antagonizing someone who has an opposing view. The Pit allows you to know what you are in for when you go in there. So, go read and let an author know that you enjoyed what you read. Let Gay Authors be your escape. And if your escape is riling people up, then hop into the Pit and have a go. =================== There you go. I probably meandered. I have not diverged from my original intent. Gay Authors is still about having quality stories I want to read posted in one spot and having a community support each other and enjoy the content. ҉҉҉ And there we are, a quick history of the site we all seem to enjoy. I mean, your reading this blog means you’re interested in what our authors have to say, now you have an idea of how we all came to share this cyberspace. Myr mentioned he’s member #3, to give you an idea of the amount of traffic this place has, I joined some seven years ago and my member number is 19841. I just looked at one of our newest members and we’re up over 36,000. Finally, here’s a link to something you might enjoy reading: https://gayauthors.org/anniversary/ That’s all for this month. At least in South Florida, August is horrible. Heat and humidity drive us indoors, and GA is a perfect companion for sitting naked on the couch with the AC blowing on you to cool you off. Ooops, is that overshare? Anyway, thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it, and we’ll see you back next month. In the meantime, send me some questions, dammit!
  5. Half the year is behind us, and I suspect by the time 2020 is over, we will look back and marvel at how different the twelve months turned out to be from what we might have expected. If the COVID19 pandemic, social distancing, and quarantines weren’t enough to shake us, police brutality and Black Lives Matter protests surely did. Not surprising then that two members sent in similar questions referencing the pesky virus and our reactions to it. Responses are posted in alphabetical order. ҉҉҉ How has living with social distancing affected your writing? Do you find it odd to write actions which are currently disallowed or socially frowned upon? ҉҉҉ @Carlos Hazday I’m semi-retired, work from home, and lead a nearly monastic life; being isolated should not have bothered me. But it has. Because most of my stories take place in the real world, and I’ve written into the near future, many of the things I described happening in 2020 could not have taken place. It took me a while to realize it was okay since I spin fiction. For now, I’m ignoring the virus. In my alternate universe the pandemic did not occur. The events of 2020 do provide material for many a story in the future, though. For others and myself. Surprisingly, the murder of a black man in Minneapolis and the subsequent worldwide reaction have helped pull me out of my stupor. Barely able to write at first, I now have outlined several chapters in different stories dealing with the ensuing social unrest. There are countless tales out there waiting to be told but maybe we need a little distance before we can tackle them. Thanks for the question. Remember the virus is still out there and we are all susceptible to it. Keep your distance, wash your hands, and wear a mask. It may just save your life. ҉҉҉ @CassieQ I am an introverted person by nature, so I didn’t have much of an issue with social distancing. I work in healthcare (Physical Therapy) and our business was considered essential during the pandemic, so I worked with people all day and wanted to relax and write at home when I was off, which is how I am normally. I write to help escape stress (regardless of what my whiny status updates say) and like everyone, I had plenty of that to fuel me. However, when I was working on my Spring Anthology I recall writing a scene where one of my characters just hopped in his car and left on a trip out of state. It felt weird to be writing something like that when we were under stay at home orders and traveling was very discouraged and I remember thinking of how my character couldn’t do that if it was set during this time period. Normally I wouldn’t think twice about it. ҉҉҉ @Geron Kees That's easy. I have not addressed the virus in my writing at all. That's the nice thing about fiction: you don't need to confront reality if you don't need to. So far, I have not needed to. The coronavirus is big now. But in a few years it will mostly be a bad memory. I don't really want this thing hanging around in my stories. Most readers have lived a lot of years virus-free before this outbreak, and will live a lot of years after it the same way. Why capture such an unpleasant moment and make it a factor people have to read about later? The last story I posted on GA was written before the pandemic emerged. I have another written since then, not yet posted, and I am working on another for posting around July 4th. None mention the virus. This isn't really just about avoidance, though. I live in the back of beyond, the Adirondack Park. We've had five cases of the virus in my whole county, and one death. There have been no real local horror stories. Social distancing is almost the norm here as a way of life. There are only a little more than 5000 people in the entire county, which comprises 1800 square miles. I was driving about 35 minutes to reach my office in the next county each day (I tend to drive fast, so this is not a good indicator of distance!). What I have experienced is a hell of a contrast with what life has been like for people just a couple of hundred miles south of me, around New York City. I have not experienced the pain and distress that so many people have, so I am not qualified to write about it, other than tangentially. I own my business. My sole concession to the virus has been that I simply stopped going to my office in town at the start of March and have worked online from home since. I have one employee, who works on the office net with me each day from her own home. The remove from normal life for us has just not been so large as to see it sitting squarely in front of me like with so many others. I know people in other parts of the country that have been ill, or lost people, and I absolutely feel that. But the pandemic is largely a remote event for me, and I don't feel I can legitimately write about this except as an observer, not having really experienced it other than in the news. It seems unfair to those that have been living with it daily, like posing. I'd much rather write something that can take readers away from this event, than serve to remind them of it. So for now, I won't. I may, at some point. Maybe. ҉҉҉ @Headstall I've thought a lot about this question. The fact is this epidemic has gone on for a long time and how it affects me changes from day to day. Lately, I've been depressed. I suppose I should stop watching the news, but it's like a car crash that goes on and on, and the worldwide bungling is sucking the life from me. I miss my kids and grandkids and feel guilty about all the things my sons and daughters insist on doing for me. Yet, I still try to write. I prepare to write for the day, open my document, but the words aren't coming. Instead, I get frustrated—and sometimes angry. I have had spurts earlier on, and even started a new, out of the blue story that is now stuck at chapter five, while another sits at chapter seven. I tell myself it's okay, and this will pass, but I'm not feeling it. I have written some poetry, some of which is in the spring anthology, and I wrote a story as well for the same one—but I finished that seven weeks ago. Now when I sit at the computer I feel dread, so I busy myself with outside work like painting, mowing, gardening, and playing with my dog, while I pray for a vaccine. Social distancing has me off balance. I feel lost, as I'm sure many of us do, but I'll keep trying to get out of this slump. As for the last part of the question, I don't feel odd writing about human interaction as it was before all this started. In fact, I hope to find solace in it. Thanks for the question. Cheers... Gary.... ҉҉҉ @Mikiesboy Thanks for the question. The act of social distancing hasn't stopped me writing or changed it, at least not yet. The pandemic affected me for awhile but i've been fine the last couple of months. Wayne Gray and i are writing well together. Our latest is currently at 48,000+ words. I don't find it difficult to write things which are disallowed or frowned on. Writers shouldn't tiptoe around, they should write their story. If the site you post on asks you to put warnings on, use them, but authors/poets are meant to write. I can see writing something about the pandemic and its effects on people. Then in that case i'd write about wearing masks, or staying two metres apart, but only if it's part of the story. People also don't always want to read about what is currently happening because they want to escape it. If we start being afraid to write our story, and the character's truths, then we shouldn't bother writing anymore. A reader from another site where i post e-mailed me. He said, please never stop taking these risks in your writing, because it makes it real and believable. I smiled at that, because that's how we should write and because i have always said; write bravely. ҉҉҉ @Wayne Gray Social distancing has affected my writing because it has affected the ritual of the act itself. I used to do most of my writing sitting in the corner of a little coffee-shop a few blocks away. I had a steaming latte, a breakfast bagel or a scone, and a nice walk back home to look forward to after finishing. So now I try to reproduce the coffee-shop experience at home. I will set up in our back bedroom with my coffee, and away from the distraction of my powerful gaming desktop. But I'd have to say the biggest impact has been adjusting to the new world we're in. I'm sure we all feel the interruption of our daily lives. Some will feel it more than others, and I'd love to think my case is extreme due to my work, and the shift to almost entirely dealing with COVID-19. But I know that we're all affected. Just the stress of dealing with "the different" is huge. I don't find it odd to write about life before COVID-19 and social distancing. That is the baseline and social distancing is the oddity. Social distancing will end - there's far too much economic incentive for it to continue, so one way or another it will end. Plus, it's nice to write about the times before all this began, or to think about what it'll be like after. Thanks for the question. 🙂 ҉҉҉҉҉҉ That’s it for this month. If you like this feature, if there are things you’d like to know about a specific author, or if you’re tired of the same authors being featured all the time, do something about it. Send me a question or two and I’ll do my best to get responses.
  6. Last month’s installment of “Ask An Author” was one of the most popular ever based on the number of comments from readers. Not sure we can match the response, but this month’s question is just as fascinating. Let’s see what some of the Author/editors on Gay Authors have to say. Participants were selected by the member asking the question, and they're featured in alphabetical order. ҉҉҉҉҉ Amateur writing can have some differences, and no one is perfect. As many of us on GA are, I am an author as well as an editor of others' work. I'm wondering if editing has affected how you enjoy reading in general? Do you lose the flow of a story because your 'editor eye' keys in on your perceived rules of writing? Are you quicker to dismiss a work because of mistakes than you used to be? What about published mainstream works... are you pickier? Does it make reading frustrating at times, especially when the story itself is good? If so, have you been able to overcome it over time? ҉҉҉҉҉ @ColumbusGuy Happy to answer any questions sent in by fellow GAers. Since my vision problems and eye surgeries at the start of 2016, I haven't done as much editing as before; I now use narration software for my computer work, and my visual acuity isn't sufficient to notice the symbols most programs use. I limit myself to spelling and the flow, and suggesting a few word changes to make things smoother without changing the author's intent. I always put the story first when reading, both in print and digital formats, so I can let a lot go by unless it truly mangles the sense and quality of a story. Learning German in college taught me that writing is more than the words themselves--you may have the right words, but making it sound good is almost an art. Modern programs can correct most spelling and word choice errors, but nothing can put in creativity and emotional punch if it's lacking. My reading used to range from history and archaeology to poetry and fiction of many genres before 2016, and I'd read nearly all of my 6,000 books by then. Science-fiction and fantasy have always been major genres for me, but Literature became my major by default. What teen read Chaucer in Middle English in 10th grade, or the entire sixteen volumes of the Arabian Nights by Richard Burton by age 22? I've been writing my own stuff since 5th grade, and some of it was truly awful. Back in 1969 when I began, there were no computers available to kids, and we learned reading from the 'Dick and Jane' readers in our first years; I moved on fast to real books above my grade level, and that joy remains even now though it's limited to online sources now. I got my first computer in 1990 from one of my first roommates after moving to Columbus, and found a few sites to read at, and a few to write interactively with others with an interest in ancient history--my Pompeii story is what I could salvage from that site before it went under about five years ago. About that time, I began reading here, and tried writing a few months later. My vision has slowed me down, but I'm not out yet. One final thing to add: I learned my rules of writing and grammar before computers, so I don't adhere to any of the purported online 'experts' who claim dominance these days. Many of these guides are fine for writing articles or reports, but fiction derives far more of its impact from style rather than technical correctness that many consider of primary importance in digital media. Uniformity is an asset in the online community for global understanding, but it is a severe limitation to creativity as was once seen in regional language variants and fiction. How would Charles Dickens or James Whitcomb Riley fare in today's online world? Editing was always tricky for me in that I wanted to preserve the author's meaning with as little alteration as possible, making the story the goal rather than technical perfection. One of the best books I read before my surgeries was a great example of this: it is a British science-fiction tale set in a post Atomic future as told by a young teen in his own then-current English of about 2600AD. The spelling defies all modern rules, as does the grammar, but the story itself is riveting and I highly recommend it--Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban. ҉҉҉҉҉ @Mann Ramblings It can be difficult. When I read, I find myself re-writing lines in my head of authors I really like. Some more than others. It makes me sensitive to grammatical errors and I try to ignore it, but if a story is too messy, it can pull me right out of headspace and make me stop reading. I haven't learned to ignore it yet, partially because my sadistic side likes to use the red pen. (for constructive purposes... honest.) However, if the story is good enough, I can be more forgiving than I can if the story is just "all right." Turning off the correction vibe is real work some days. ҉҉҉҉҉ @Timothy M. Spotting mistakes in spelling and grammar is something I did long before I became an author. It’s always annoyed me. When I began writing stories for GA and had editors and readers point out my own blunders, I actually became more tolerant of the occasional typo. Because no matter how many times I (or my editors) go over my own stories, something always slips through. But I still notice mistakes whatever I read (online or printed), and I don’t think this will ever change. Luckily, I’m usually able to enjoy the story, while rolling my eyes at the occasional blunder, unless the mistake makes something difficult to understand. However, really sloppy writing will destroy my pleasure in reading. If the story content is great, I try to grit my teeth and shoulder through, but fortunately, such cases are rare. It’s possible to be an average author with good technical writing skills (like me), but it’s unusual to find a great author with really bad grammar and spelling. One of the great advantages about reading on GA is that I can send a message to authors to point out any mistakes I notice. Somehow, this possibility makes it much less frustrating to spot mistakes. Most authors (including me) appreciate such hints as helpful. In fact, I’ve gotten several editor jobs that way, which is a fair payment for being a busybody. On the other hand, if I edit for someone, I certainly expect any mistakes to be corrected (if I pointed them out and the author agreed). If they’re not fixed in the published version, that’s when I get annoyed and may send the poor author a grumbly message. ҉҉҉҉҉ @Thorn Wilde That's an excellent question! Yes, I think editing has changed the way I read. I do tend to notice people's mistakes a lot more. Though I've always been like that when it comes to online fiction, it's probably gotten worse. I do also notice stuff in published books. That might actually be one of the reasons why I prefer audiobooks nowadays, come to think of it; can't see the mistakes if I'm not reading them. It can break the flow and the immersion, but if the story's good, I can ignore a lot of mistakes and still enjoy it. Really good storytelling pulls me into the action and I'm less likely to notice the mechanical issues. If it's really obvious that English isn't the author's first language, I tend to make more allowances too, again provided it's a good enough story. I do try to give a story a chance and not dismiss it out of hand just because there are mistakes, but that only works up to a point; I'm probably a little quicker to give up on a poorly written story than I used to be. I often wish I had an off switch, so I could prevent myself from noticing mistakes, but I've never let my overly discerning eye prevent me from enjoying a really good story. At least I don't think I have, as good storytelling is to a point dependent on a decent handle on the craft of writing. Though I have had a tendency to contact authors whose stories I love and let them know they need an editor. Sometimes, I have offered to be that editor. ҉҉҉҉҉ @Valkyrie This is a fantastic question, and the answer to if editing has affected how I enjoy reading in general is an unequivocal ‘yes’. I discovered online fiction about twenty years ago and joined another site in 2003 (well before I’d ever heard of GA). I discovered a story on that site that quickly became my favorite. I even re-read it multiple times, and I rarely re-read online stories. The story had its share of detractors, and I thought they were nuts. I loved the story and thought it was well-written, so screw them! Several years ago, after I had started writing and editing, I decided to re-read that favored story. To say my eyes were opened is an understatement. While technically edited well, the story contains just about every gay fiction trope out there and is not what I consider good writing anymore. It felt like losing a good friend. I still enjoy the memory of it, but reading it is most definitely not the same. The answer to the next couple of questions is also ‘yes’. Because the majority of reading I do now is with a critical eye, it can cause me to lose the flow of a story when I find errors. I am able to ignore the editor voice and continue reading, but it can be difficult at times to get back into the story. Because of this, I do tend to dismiss works that are riddled with mistakes. I consider writing a craft, and as authors, we should be looking to better our craft. If a story contains multiple errors within the first paragraph, or even the story description itself, I’ll generally give it a pass. If the story title has an error, then I’m pretty much guaranteed to move on to something else. That being said, when reading amateur online fiction, I try to overlook errors and concentrate on the story itself. If the author is a good storyteller, I’ll continue reading, especially if it’s a newer author. We all started somewhere, and I cringe at some of my early writing. I hold published mainstream works to a higher standard, since those would have gone through professional editing and review. Finding errors in those is disappointing and disheartening, as it’s something I’ve paid for vs. free online fiction. I won’t get started on errors in professional writing, like news stories or articles. And sometimes Facebook makes me weep for the English language, but that’s a whole ‘nother topic. ҉҉҉҉҉ Y’all stay safe out there, and we’ll be back in July.
  7. It’s that time again, folks. We’re running dangerously low on material for future issues, and I need your help. Think of something you’d like to ask any GA author and send me their name and the question. I’ll take it from there. Privately, I answer most generic questions sent in. This one was tough. Is it wrong I’d like to meet one of my own? Anyway, I found the question and the responses of the authors I pose it to fascinating. ◊◊◊◊◊ Is there a character you read about in a story on GA that you would like to meet? Get to know better? Take out to lunch? Who is it and why? ◊◊◊◊◊ @comicfan Okay, I'm not sure who asked this but they enjoy making my life hard. I read a lot of stories on here and couldn't pick just one. So I'm having a brunch to invite three of my many favorites. First is Alexander Wellberg from Mistletoe and Handgrenades by KC Grim. Alex is just a sweet man whose life is turned upside down. I want to know what he fought with his grandfather about and how he is making out with Brice. He lost millions and is starting over. I want to know how the house was when he was finished with the repairs.I am nosey and he has the answers. Next up is Peter Gregory from Second Shot by Andrew Q Gordon. I love Peter's determination. He is so down to earth and seems to have so much common sense. Would enjoy just making him a friend and maybe learning martial arts from him. One way to get in shape. Finally, Skylar from Twice the Night Before Christmas by Aditus. I love a character that turns the expected on its head. He is so sick and as a vampire he can't drink blood. How does that even work? Skylar is sassy and determined to live his life, or is it his afterlife, the way he wants to. He is the type of man who sees things differently. I would love finding out his take on werewolves, elves, and the likes. So a nice brunch, coffee, tea, and plenty of conversation. Those are my choices today. In a month that might be completely different. ◊◊◊◊◊ @Graeme It all depends on whether I'm meeting them as myself or as another fictional character. Most of the characters I love are much younger than me, and I'd feel weird and out of place meeting them. So, assuming I'd be meeting them as myself, I'd pass. It just wouldn't feel right to meet them. If I can meet them as a character in the story, then there's way too many to mention. I often imagine myself as a side character in stories, interacting with the protagonist(s) and helping them out. Having said that, there's one character I'd like to meet as I am. That's the bartender in chapter 1 of Dabeagle's You Don't Know Me. When it's time for me to move on, I'd like to meet him and see if he'll give me a second chance, too... I'd like to see what my life could've been like if I had lived as an openly gay man. ◊◊◊◊◊ @Myr If I could meet a character I've read about in a story on GA, I think it would have to be Dalen Ashkevron in dkstories' Tests of Blood. It is a FanFiction story of Mercedes Lackey that is pretty unique. It takes place within the lore of the world, but much further forward than any story Mercedes Lackey has published thus far (including her yearly Anthologies. ie. official FanFiction). I find Dalen to be a very interesting person, in that he has power but he's conflicted by his family history and the fear of it repeating. Underlying it all is the steel nerve to drive what is right. And he's basically a magical engineer. It would be hugely interesting to me to see the magical steampunk sort of world he exists in too. How could you go wrong with a magical artificer making a locomotive? ◊◊◊◊◊ @Krista I would choose, Aaron Keslin from Desert Dropping. Singularly he was the character that brought me to Gay Authors. I would like to meet him later in life, after he moved on from High School to see how he developed into a young adult. He had an interesting character arc. He was a bully, but one that had demons that made him mean, to the point where it was slightly irredeemable for their ages. He also had tender and romantic moments that kept you guessing and interested. It brought him to life and I would be curious to see if he still had that spark that made him interesting. ◊◊◊◊◊ @Mann Ramblings A few years ago, Cia wrote a series across a set of anthologies called Maze for Three, and I was kind of fixated on her alien shifter, Moshe. He was big, powerful, and kind hearted in a way I'd always appreciated. I guess I've always had a not-so-soft spot for honorable beast-men in sci-fi and fantasy. (I may have even written about one...) So, to be honest, I wouldn't have wanted to take him out just for coffee. (nudge, nudge, wink, wink...) ◊◊◊◊◊ @Renee Stevens Just one? Argh! You don't make this easy on me. I don't get to read on site as much as I'd like to, but there are still a few characters that really stand out in my mind. I'll be honest in that as soon as I read the question, my mind screamed Davis Retic (also known as Dav) from Cia's story Hypnotic. I personally love the depth that Cia put into the character. There are so many dimensions to him that I'd love to learn more about him. To most, he comes across as nothing more than a very dangerous Carthera, but the more we learn about him, we learn that, while his reputation is definitely deserved in some aspects, there is so much more to him. He was fascinating to me and he has stuck in my mind since the first time I ever read Hypnotic. Receiving this question actually made me go back and read my two favorite Carthera stories, and then I questioned my answer. Why? Because I'd also love to meet Bashta, from Cia's other Carthera story, Two of a Kind. I loved Bashta from the start of the story and just kept wanting to learn more about him. Geez, who am I kidding. I'd love to meet the majority of the Carthera. They are fascinating and I'd love to hear lots of stories about them! These are by no means the only characters that I've loved, but they are the ones who stand out immediately in my mind. ◊◊◊◊◊ @Valkyrie There are several I can think of, but I'd have to say Jonah from @aditus' Red Running Shoes tops the list. There's something endearing about him, despite his penchant for running when things get tough. His quirks and spontaneity would keep things interesting, and he seems like he'd be a loyal friend. I'd love to sit down over some lunch or a cup of coffee and talk about life, dragons, or whatever else strikes our fancy. My other choice would be Ben from @Cole Matthews's stories. When I edited So Weeps the Willow, I frequently commented "I adore Ben!" I also threatened Cole with torches and pitchforks if anything happened to him. Ben seems like a down-to-earth, friendly guy who would be fun to hang out and chat with. ◊◊◊◊◊ That’s it for this month. Remember if there are no questions, there’s no blog. Come on, y’all, I’m begging here. EDIT NOTE- My apologies to @Valkyrie for leaving her off the blog. She answered the question before anyone else, and I screwed up. Sorry, Val.
  8. ATTENTION: All COVID 19-related restrictions have been lifted. The pandemic is over! Ooops, April Fools’ Day here in the old U S of A. Welcome back! And welcome to the best month of the year. We celebrate fools—we all know a few of those—this month. Mother Earth has her day this month. My niece—didn’t I just hold her as a newborn?—will turn twenty-four this month. And a foolish, tree hugging, white-haired, old biker has his birthday this month. Happy April, y’all. The member who sent in last month’s question also asked something of poets. Due to the total number of individuals involved, I decided to feature them in separate months. And even though not all poets I contacted replied, the responses we do have are outstanding. ◊ ◊ ◊ Do you have a favorite metaphor? An image or analogy you come back to again and again? If so, what is it about that metaphor that draws you back? ◊ ◊ ◊ @AC Benus When I first got this question, I thought, "No. I don't go back to well-worn ideas over and over...." And then, lol, I thought of a couple of things that I have gone back to a few times. One seems to be the "Alice in Wonderland" theme. It has appeared several times as allusions in my poetry, and then, last year, it somehow wound up being the central theme in my havin-a-baby novella Finding Joy. Another area I come back to is more nebulous. This especially shows up in my poetry as opposed to my fiction, but I use concepts and theories from Physics as metaphors. String Theory, the Butterfly Effect, Quantum Mechanics, and many more wind up as ways to express the sort of mystical connections some of us feel for others. One area I have plans to write a prose piece deals with discoveries made by a doctor of Anesthesiology concerning the human body and reactions people have far, far, far below the conscious level. So, thank you for your question. It really made me think ◊ ◊ ◊ @Mikiesboy Hmmm , interesting question. I write a lot about depression, i have lived with it for many years. To me it is a soul and spirit sucking vampire. I often use words such as fog, darkness, viscous, heaviness and chains, to describe it. I included some samples in my answer: In the early morning I can hear its song though its wee small voice is fleeting my soul yearning for something more and sadness I can feel comes creeping And the tears sit waiting but are not wept for what earthly good will it do? I can cry for an age but it would not be enough There is no cure for what ails, not even you You speak of hope but I have none at least I don’t today But I cannot do what must be done To take this pain away On days like this I am tired of life of the pain I carry like a canker It’s a Dickensian chain heavy and thick and its weight wants to drag me under I like words with texture. To describe clouds for example: felted or woolen skies. Here is an other example of clouds: Whales of gray clouds drift past my windows blown by on fierce seas of gusty wind While the sun teases and taunts us with golden rays The first cold of winter is triggered and as the first flakes fall i think spring And i write a lot about life and what it means, i write what i see and feel about it and people: I walk in the world, a pretender, a lonely visitor I don't know the path and there is no map There is no place to stop to ask for directions I watch the world around me and despair People don't see outside, their universe is inward It easier to ignore the downtrodden, to close our eyes Our houses are crammed with baubles Shiny toys that blind us to what is right in front of us And we scamper on whirling wheels Like hamsters ignorant of life's meaning I am one - and there's no reason or rhyme Ours is to race to the end; to the finality of death Desperately I search my cage for a map Seeking the reasons for my incarceration But i am terrified to take that step Afraid of what i think life really means. I hope that answers your question and the examples helped a bit. Thanks for the question. ◊ ◊ ◊ @Wayne Gray Yes. I love the power of storms and the ocean. They're these tremendous forces of nature - awesome, impossible to stand against. Instead we're battered about, forced to simply endure. If we're lucky, we're looking at them from some safe place, marveling at their power. You can see my take on them both here. Thunder Just Breathe Thanks for the great question. ◊ ◊ ◊ Hope you enjoyed those as much as I did. We’ll be back next month with another edition. In the meantime, send me additional questions for any of our authors, and I’ll do my best to have them answered.
  9. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! My apologies for shouting to anyone recovering. Can you believe it’s already 2020? Weren’t we all recently concerned about Y2K trashing our computers? Wasn’t I trashed myself after a night of half-naked dancing at a Millenium party? I’m getting old; my memory plays tricks all the time. But one thing I remembered clearly was that Ask an Author would be the first blog entry this year. Thankfully, I had this ready early enough I didn’t have to cancel last night’s celebration. Have I babbled sufficiently? How about I shut up and share this month’s question and the responses? ◊ ◊ ◊ My question concerns those who produce a regular Wednesday 1000 word length chapter ie Cia, Mann, and Caz Pedroso. Why did you start writing a story like this? Does it change your writing? Do your readers enjoy it? Do you write chapter to chapter? If so, how obliged do you feel to keep up the frequency? ◊ ◊ ◊ @Caz Pedrozo Why did you start writing a story like this? I saw the Wednesday briefs group on Cia’s blog and decided to join them. It was my way of easing into writing again. Does it change your writing? It does and it doesn’t. The word limit of 500 - 1000 words makes you think more about what you’re writing and can help you to be more concise. However, my Wednesday briefs story is never planned, it is written by the seat of my pants and changes week by week depending on the characters and sometimes the comment left by readers. My longer stories are always planned out ahead of time (although, things can always change) and so have more structure to them. Do your readers enjoy it? Their comments say they do, even when they are begging me to write longer chapters. Do you write chapter to chapter? If so, how obliged do you feel to keep up the frequency? As i said above, yes, i write these stories as they come to me. I try my best to post each week, because i know as a reader that it is annoying to be enjoying a story and the author disappears after posting faithfully for several weeks. I also like the fact that even if my other writing is stalling I can have something to offer my readers so they know I haven’t disappeared and forgotten them. ◊ ◊ ◊ @Cia My Wednesday feature is actually part of a group from a blog I have off GA, and it used to be upwards of 20 authors or more posting each week. I've been participating for more than five years, and I rarely miss a week. Even when all my other writing dries up (like now) the weekly flash keeps me motivated to use my imagination and not let my skills get rusty. Eventually I start writing more on other stories as well since I didn't completely let writing fall by the wayside in my busy life. It's a big commitment for me, but one I enjoy. So, yes, I write each chapter week to week though I might have an overall story idea for the beginning/middle/end to reach, reader comments DEFINITELY influence how each chapter flows into the next with their thoughts, questions, and ideas of what they like/don't like, and it has changed my writing in many ways. Word choice matters when you need one word instead of ten because you're limited to 1,000, and I've found if I have too many chapters where nothing happens but background setting or building motivations and events up then readers get bored. The stories have to have a lot of action but I still need to maintain an ebb and flow of natural activity so it still feels "real" so I'm often challenged to think about how I can include small events with big and timeline jumps to make a story feel believable. I encourage all authors to try writing fiction in a variety of lengths. It's a challenge, and there's nothing more stimulating for authors than learning something new about their writing abilities and preferences! ◊ ◊ ◊ @Mann Ramblings I started writing with the Wednesday Briefers because my schedule became so overloaded, I was having trouble writing at a consistent pace. I have at least three WIPs that get sporadic attention at best. The flash fiction format of 1k per week gives me a deadline I can manage and keeps at least one story flowing constantly. It's been a nice exercise in being concise and getting as much as I need into the portion allotted. Maintaining pacing is a little tricky, but I'd like to think I've managed that fairly well. Reader reactions have been mixed. They’ve been loving the story, but they're also voracious that if I could promise more on a regular basis I would. Because of that, I've been religious about posting every Wednesday at 8am my time because if I can't give the readers as much as I'd like, I can at least be counted on to give them something for being so loyal and putting up with the extended format. If my life ever stabilizes, I'd like to post stories with more traditional sized chapters. Until then, I want to keep writing, and this makes sure it happens. ◊ ◊ ◊ That’s it folks. According to Word, this entry clocks in at just under a thousand words; that sounds very appropriate since it’s a Wednesday See you all next month. In the meantime, please don’t make me wait until I’m out of material to send me questions. Do it now, before you forget.
  10. We were granted a reprieve. I’ve received several questions since last month and Ask an Author will remain a feature for the next couple of months. Of course, that does not mean I am done asking you to submit new queries. Seems asking several authors the same question’s becoming a thing. I kinda like it, since it allows us to explore different outlooks. Here’s this month’s question, and for the record, it does not matter if it has been asked before. Authors are listed in alphabetical order. ◊ ◊ ◊ I have a question if this has not been asked before. It’s a 2-part question. #1 - What GA story character (not your own) did you read that you said “damn I wish I had written that character” and why? #2 - Now that you have chosen this character which of YOUR stories would you put him in and Why? For example I like yours Carlos - CJ in Singer, and I think he would be a great add to Wayne’s Camp Refuge. ◊ ◊ ◊ @Brayon The timing of these questions is spot on, as I’m actually doing this. One of my editors, @Backwoods Boy has a story here on GA that he wrote called Indian Summer. I’ve always had a connection to Native Americans, both by blood and relationships, so when this modern fantasy came out, I loved it from the start. Then I started talking to BB in private messages and ended up helping him with the story. The two principle characters, Pahana and Tocho are among my favorites, and it goes beyond what is posted, but also what I’ve discussed with BB when giving feedback as a beta reader. So, I’m writing a story now, called Freedom Station, which is about twin young men, and what they are going through in their lives. In a later chapter, they are meeting Pahana and Tocho who are in their late 20’s at the time. It’s been a fun addition to my story to have BB loan me these two and allowed me to use them in my story. ◊ ◊ ◊ @Carlos Hazday Although I can’t recall any specific character making me wish I had created it, there have been several I liked so much I’ve already included them in my stories. The first one was Tyson Hill. Ty was the protagonist of Marc MacNally’s Love on the Rocks. An Aussie performer, I had two of my main characters attend a concert of his in Sydney. That was in Winter, but I referenced him a couple of other times in subsequent CJ Series stories. Since I have the author’s permission to use his character, Ty could show up again in the future. Michael Quintana and Blaine Emerson, minor characters in @Parker Owens’ Predator Prey, have made multiple appearances in my stories. The most recent one was in Singer. The similarities between Parker’s Michael and my CJ were too tempting to avoid. Gay Hispanic teens with two fathers and non-Latin boyfriends was good; the fact Michael and Blaine attended the University of Miami clinched the deal. Chipper, Singer’s protagonist was also a student there. Michael and Blaine have made at least three appearances in my work. @Dayne Mora’s Cory and Efrain became favorites when I read Wolf Like Me. Since the author abandoned them (please bring them back, Dayne) I asked for permission to use them. They are football players at Virginia Tech University, and the school conveniently scheduled a football game against the University of Miami in November 2018, I crafted a chapter in Goodnight, My Angel around it. I had some of my characters and Parker’s Michael and Blaine travel to Blacksburg from Miami and Washington for the contest. Their interaction with my CJ was through the mail. However, I left the possibility of further encounters open. As for the future, I’ve toyed with using more than one of @Jack Scribe’s characters. Private Investigator Oleg Petrov, a partner in AOI’s West Coast security operation was a consideration for Singer in place of the FBI agent I created. I also considered using his Brent Williams as the LA attorney in the same story. I could still do so in an upcoming one, but since Jack passed away a couple of years ago, I’d have to do it without the author’s permission. If you’re interested in finding out more about Oleg and Brent, check out Scribe’s Splash Trilogy. If you like my work, you’ll love his. https://gayauthors.org/story/parker-owens/predatorprey/ https://gayauthors.org/stories/browse/series/e-p-i-c/ https://gayauthors.org/stories/browse/series/splash-trilogy/ ◊ ◊ ◊ @ColumbusGuy This is a tough set of questions, mainly because I can't always remember where a character I liked appeared. Second because you want me to pick just one. 1. I'm gonna cheat a bit on what character--I'm picking a duo--a pair of brothers who you really can't separate. I choose Alex and his little brother Luke from @Dodger's 'The Cockney Canuck'. Why? These two have had a crappy life and just want to be together and somewhat safe, but Fate is always against them. Alex has trouble dealing with life due to his abusive family issues, and Luke just wants to stay with his brother, the only stable person in his life. 2. What story of mine would I put them in? If you mean one I wrote rather than someone else's in the example cited, then I'd put Alex and Luke in my 'Jay & Miles' story. It has an atmosphere and an environment that puts one's emotional well-being first rather than conforming to society's expectations. And, the characters help one another develop their own better vision of themselves and of their place in an accepting and caring group. Hope this helps you out. I did have a fun alternative, but you only wanted one...but I'll tell you about it anyway. I'd choose Difris, the alien robot created by @Geron Kees as his Portal station guardian. I'd put him in my 'Tales of Three Worlds' story because nothing goes better together than a robot and Neanderthals in a bizarre future history. ◊ ◊ ◊ @Cole Matthews I love Clay Moore, Little Man, by @Mann Ramblings. The character is so well-rounded and unpredictable, yet he's also likeable without being 'nice' per se. I don't know that I'd necessarily put him in one of my books, but I could see Rush Romer dating Little Man if something happened to Ben. I don't think it would be a relationship exactly, probably more like an episode in their lives and they'd part, wistfully, but knowing it was the right thing to do. Does that answer the question? Thanks for asking ◊ ◊ ◊ @Mikiesboy These answers are likely not what you want to hear, but it's how I feel. I don't have writer envy like that. I enjoy other's work for what it is. I don't recall a time I wished I'd written someone else's character. I'm glad for them when they write a successful one. And you will likely be disappointed in this answer also. I am just not interested in borrowing characters. I don't really enjoy stories where that has been done. It's not my thing and if others are into it, they can certainly do so. I'd rather write a new story with an author I like, rather than borrow characters. Thanks for the question. ◊ ◊ ◊ @Talo Segura To answer this question I had to really think, and yes, there was one story and one character that stuck in my mind, but it was a few years ago when I read the story. It's probably not true to say I wish I had written the character, because back then I read, but didn't write. However, @Sam Wyer wrote a great character named Cal in a book of the same name: He brought the character to life in a way that was summed up beautifully in one of the reviews. He (Cal) shares what he's going through which draws you into the story and makes you like him, just as you would if you met him for real, he becomes your friend. What better compliment could you give to an author than telling them the character they created lived off the page and was so real you wished you met him? So yes, now, "damn I wish I had written that character," and maybe I'll get close one day. There is only one story that Cal would fit into and that's Camp Echo, maybe because both stories offer up a gritty realism, but also by pure hazard. Cal is inspired by a real life person the author knew, and Camp Echo is a fictionalised biography, so also inspired by real people. Pure hazard: Cal in Sam Wyer's story is nineteen, exactly the right age for Cal, the American who makes a cameo appearance in chapter seventeen of Camp Echo. Now there would need to be a little tweaking, because Cal is short for Carlton in Sam Wyer's tale and Cal is short for Calvin in Camp Echo. Nevertheless, it's kind of an odd coincidence and my story almost answers your second question for me. You know what they say: "Real life is stranger than fiction!" ◊ ◊ ◊ @Wayne Gray Thank you for the questions! I'm going to get to them right away. #1 - Keter, in The Searcher, by @Mikiesboy. He's one of my favorite characters in any story I've read. The reasons are that he's complex, conflicted, quietly powerful and yet lovable and affectionate. Those characters are rare, and when I find them I take notice. #2 - Silverwolf! For certain. Keter would easily slip right in among the characters in that tale without any issue at all. They're both fantasy/supernatural sorts, and a little time/planar travel would see Keter romping around with werewolves, tribal shamans and spirits. If I ever talk tim into a crossover, maybe we'd see it! That’s it for this month. My thanks to the member who sent in the question and the authors who were kind enough to provide responses. If you like this blog, remember to send me any question you may want to ask so I can share them with the GA community.
  11. In October 2017, @Renee Stevens resurrected the popular Ask an Author GA Blog. Two months later, I was entrusted with coordinating the monthly feature. Including this month’s entry, the blog has featured 119 responses by 66 different authors. I’ve been lucky with readers asking question and authors providing replies. Over the last 24 months I’ve been astounded by their generosity in answering whatever I asked of them. Only twice was my approach rebuffed for personal reasons. Out of all the responses shared, @AC Benus leads the pack with nine. Here’s number ten: • Is a particular form which inspires a piece of poetry, or do you have an idea, then find a form that fits? Is the discipline needed to keep to a form part of the creative process, or does it represent another, different challenge? • • This is a deep question, as it’s a bit of ‘chicken or egg’ coming first. Not everything leading to writing a poem comes from the same place. Sometimes the idea itself comes first. That happened when I was inspired to write one of my Kevin Poems. It was based on how I relished being with him, and how he stimulated all of my senses. As that suggested a form with five something-or-others, I immediately thought Ballade! Knowing I could use those stanzas for various senses in turn came back to inspire me more. My original concept was limited to the five basic senses, but Ballades have a final section called an Envoi, so my poem expanded to include thinking of Kevin with my sixth sense. I’m happy with the way that poem turned out. A Ballade being a French form, there are others in that family of poems that are so difficult to render in English, you almost have to decide first “Okay, I’m gonna sit down and write a Triolet (or Sestina, or Pantoum) today,” and then figure out a concept which lends itself to all the elements of repetition needed. Naturally, a poet can get to the point where these forms are keys for them, but it would take work to get to where inspiration comes first. So, lol, the answer is “Yes!” Sometimes the inspiration leads to a form, and sometimes the form comes first and you have to find a subject that works best with it. Thank you for the question! • • • AC’s position atop the list won’t be challenged for a while; three authors are tied for second place on the list with five responses each. One of them is @Graeme • Question 1. Presuming your children know you are gay, are they also aware that you write gay fiction? If your answer is no, go to question 2. If yes, go directly to question 3. Question 2. How have you managed to keep this a secret? Have you any plans to tell them in the future? Question 3. Have they ever read any of your work? If so was it on Gay Authors? Question 4. How did they react when you first told them and how interested are they in your work as an author? Are they indifferent about it or do they take a keen interest or even have some kind of input? • • My kids don't know I'm gay. I discussed this with my wife several years ago and we decided that there was little point in saying anything to them. Doing so would potentially have prompted them to wonder if my telling them was the prelude to my wife and I breaking up. Since that's not happening, we decided to keep things quiet. One of the reason (and it's onl yone reason) is one of our boys was being bullied at school. My coming out would have potentially openned him up to more bullying, and there was no way I wanted to be responsible for that. He's now in university, so that reason is now gone, but the youngest boy is still in school. Having said that, we're not adverse to discussing gay issues at home. During the Australia-wide survey on whether to change the definition of marriage to allow same-sex couples to wed, we discussed the matter with both of our sons. We gave them our views, but we told them that this was a matter for them to decide for themselves. After a lot of thought, our eldest boy (who was the only one old enough to participate) decided that love was love, and voted accordingly. I suspect my youngest son may be aware that I'm gay, since he's seen me visiting GA several times, but he's not said anything. This is something my wife and I may revisit in a few years time, but we'll probably wait until the boys have completed their education before saying anything. As for my writing, the boys haven't seen any of it, but my wife has read most of it. She gets copies before they're posted online I've valued her comments on the early drafts many times. • • • I’ll close this anniversary edition by featuring a younger author. I’ve had the opportunity of working with @WolfM and was delighted by his willingness to learn and interest in improving. I wish more authors would be as interested in improving their craft. • What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? • • The short answer to that is I don’t. On the stories I’ve written so far, the research comes later in the process. In the case of The Journal of Chris Williams, I had the entire outline of the book written in about three or four days. Size wise, it was about half of the final release, but it gave me the framework to fill out the rest of the details. The research came when I did fill in the details. I’ve never been to the Portland, Oregon area, but knew that’s where the story would take place from his exile in RWTP. Trying to find things for him to do, I spent a lot of time on Google Maps. From there I picked a place outside of the city for the wolf pack to have its hometown and took advantage of the sights available. Finding a fire lookout tower that is available to rent ended up giving Chris a good bonding experience with his escorts as they did repairs to it. Learning the glaciers on Mt. Hood for a run with friends in their fur, or the tours available at a hydroelectric plant added to things the characters could do. Even finding there is a large rock fireplace in a hotel the family goes to for dinner is something I don't want to overlook. I took the same approach in RWTP. Once I settled on something I wanted to use, I would look for details. I know a lot of writers spend a lot of time doing research up front, but for me, building the framework and then researching the details seems to work. • • • I’ll close this anniversary edition by once again thanking all members who’ve sent in questions and the authors who’ve answered them. No time to rest though. I have next month’s issue set but I’m out of questions for subsequent ones. Take the plunge, pick an author you like, and send me a question for them.
  12. 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.
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. I've had quite a few messages asking about the return of Ask An Author, so here it is: Ask An Author 2.0. It won't be exactly like Dark always did it, but hopefully you enjoy getting the answers you've asked just as much as in the past. One major difference is, at least to start, we're only going to look at two authors at a time. Without further ado, here's the first Ask An Author 2.0. Today we're going to hear from Hudson Bartholomew and Timothy M. The first author for today is Hudson Bartholomew. Hudson was raised by conservative immigrant parents and grew up straddling two cultures with often times conflicting perspectives on life. Instead of conforming to either, she tries to find a third way that brings together the positive elements of both. Having spent much of her life on the outside looking in, Hudson likes to write stories about outsiders who fight to carve out their place in society, and overcome everyday challenges to find love and happily ever afters. You're pretty new to GA, but I personally think you're one to watch. I'm impressed with all I've read from you so far. Did you always know you wanted to write and do you have any rituals when you get to it? 1. Did you always know you wanted to write? I have a distant memory of a grade school project where we wrote short stories with pictures and our teacher helped us bind them into books with fabric covers. I think that's when I fell in love with writing. Since then, I have had an on-again, off-again relationship with writing. School, work, life, people I love who dismiss writing as "a waste of time," these have all drawn me away from writing at some point. My old computer is filled with half written stories that will never see the light of day. Despite all these things, however, I always end up coming back to it because that's where I feel most like the real me. A couple of years ago, I finally admitted how much writing meant to me and I committed to making it a regular part of my life. What I discovered is that the more I write, the more I fall in love with writing. So, Writing--you're stuck with me now. 2. Do you have any rituals when you get into it? I don't have any rituals, per se. But I find that I need a certain level of distraction in order to concentrate, if that makes any sense. If all I have is the story in front of me, my brain will quickly wander off. But if I'm writing and also chatting with a friend online, my brain is preoccupied just enough that I can keep writing for hours on end. I'm strange, I know. The second author for today is Timothy M. Tim is from Denmark and is known for sprinkling his posts and stories with Danish words and references to the webcomic Scandinavia and the World. He's also a prolific writer of story reviews and comments, as well as editor for several authors. As a regular contributor to the site as well as being a popular author, how do you strike a balance between writing your own material and reading and reviewing other authors' work. Do you for example set aside a certain amount of time each day, where you are offline, to concentrate on your writing. No, I write when inspiration strikes me and I have time. I usually give priority to editing for others, and also to writing reviews, reading and commenting. This is probably one of the reasons my stories progress veeery sloooowly, to the frustrations of my readers. Sorry But they are patient and nice, giving me the occasional prod by PM or story topic post, and only resorting to threats of pitch forks and tying me to the computer, when I've lapsed on updating for too long. In fact, I sometimes feel a little guilty about the pleasure I get from having Hungry Birds cheeping at me for more. Well, that's it for this month!!! If you have a question you'd like to ask an author, send it to me and I'll pass the question on and see about getting it answered!
  16. Welcome back to the new Ask An Author 2.0. Just a quick note that @Carlos Hazday has agreed to take over the Ask An Author feature, so please send your questions to him. I've already sent him the questions and answers that were sent to me. Now, I'll turn it over to Carlos. Renee has to be one of the busiest members on GA, so I’m stepping in and trying to help her a bit by taking on the Ask an Author monthly feature. I’ll remind you the questions come from you, not me or the staff. If there’s anything you’d like to ask one of our authors, send me a PM and I’ll pass the question along anonymously. Until we have a good inventory of questions and answers, we’ll be limited in the number of questions answered each installment. This month, our first two authors are part of the European contingent on the site. • • • • • JohnAR has kept his many fans somewhat happy by publishing MetaPrompts since the popular Meta Series concluded. The original books are now part of GA’s Premium Collection, so if you’re interested in reading them for the first time, or re-reading them for the umpteenth, all you have to do is join Gay Authors and become a Premium Subscriber. • I'm sad that your amazing Meta series is over. Did the ending frame your story or did it come as you were writing? How did you manage to keep all those twists in the plot together? • 1a) As Meta had always been intended to celebrate the opposite of all tropes of classical M/M romances, it couldn’t have had a HEA; so neither ‘happy,’ nor ‘ever after,’ nor ‘ending.’ Right from the start, I knew the ‘endings’ would be ambiguous and ultimately left to the reader’s interpretation. Some of those endings had always been planned like ‘Wolf 635’ that had been planted from the very first chapter. So these goal posts framed most of the story arc across the eight books. Of course, the details of the story ultimately shaped the specificity of the endings, as did some of my readers’ speculations. I decided rather late in the game to add a ‘fake’ HEA in middle of the last book ‘Fate,’ as I was repeatedly referred to as ‘evil’ author. Thanks for the compliment! 1b) For every individual Meta novel - like with the overall story arc, I had the first, central, and last chapters locked before starting to write them. Everything in-between was just stuff to fill the gaps. So I always ‘knew’ how the plot would have to ‘twist’ eventually. And in the instances I did get lost (I shall not reveal my biggest blunders), my editor (@Timothy M.) and the official MetaWiki (@PkCrichton) helped me out. Thanks, by the way. • • • • • Timothy M returns to AAA for the second month in a row. The self-anointed DROLL DANE is a voracious reader (based on the number of comments he leaves, a prolific reviewer, and as our previous author mentioned, supports the work of others as an editor. In his spare time, he’s also an author. His versatility has given us Timothy’s Terrible Prompt Stories—a lighthearted look at American teens—and The Cardmaker and the Caretaker—a romantic story involving European young adults—amongst others. • You've given us stories written in both British English and American English - can you share some of your thoughts on how you make that happen? Also, care to share any particular sources you use for finding idiomatic words and phrases? • It’s almost embarrassing to have to admit that I’m not really doing anything special. British English is what I’ve been taught, so this comes naturally to me, although reading on GA has ‘contaminated’ me. American English is harder when it comes to words and phrases, but I rely heavily on my editors (AC Benus and Kitt) to catch my mistakes. As for spelling I simply set my Word to the correct version, which works well for my stories based on pure US (Prompt story) and UK (The Cardmaker and the Caretaker). It’s harder when I mix the two which is what happens in Clueless Camping. In that one I’ve chosen American English because the main protagonist comes from the U.S.A. However, I mix in British words and phrases, because the Danish guys would use those. Examples: Russ uses Mom, apartment, elevator and vacation, but Jacob would say Mum, flat, lift and holiday. A couple of examples of British English words and phrases caught by AC Benus: “You didn’t fancy me back then” – Americans use like. Dinner instead of supper – or is it the other way around? And some terms I can never seem to learn. I keep using baseball match rather than game, training rather than practice, and lessons instead of classes. But I think the two latter are Danish terms getting mixed up. All I can do is hope my readers will forgive me any mistakes – and preferably point them out too. • • • • • Our final author is AC Benus and breaking with tradition, I’ll let you know it came from Skinnydragon. Skinny’s no longer with us and his death affected many of us who came to enjoy his writing, comments, and friendship. This question was submitted before he became ill but was never published. Miss you, buddy. • Your FB/Christmas novella is awe-inspiring in both scope and complexity. Truly one of the most amazing things I've ever encountered on GA. My question is simple -- the answer may not be. Did this project come to you for the first time as to what it would ultimately become, or did you begin writing one section, and then see the need for the next, etc. Sort of how Wagner wrote his "Ring" -- backwards? • "Did this project come to you as what it would ultimately become?" The answer is no. I'm not sure what compelled me to get beyond the wish of 'maybe someday' to rolling up my sleeves and thinking I'm going to do this, but when I conceived of the project I thought I would be doing 6 short stories. I also thought the series would take me about 8 months in total. Boy, was I wrong on both fronts. "Did you begin writing one section, and then see the need for the next, etc.?" To this one the answer is more complex. After I committed to doing the Christmas at Famous-Barr series I first pitched about deciding which years I had information on and compiled a possible list. Here arose my first problem – there were 8 Christmases that intrigued me, so my initial 6 went out the window. Before I let myself delve into writing the first one, I pulled out pieces of paper and jotted down notes and ideas for each year to be featured. Some of these notes filled up a few pages; others existed as only a paragraph or two. 2005 and 1880 are examples of the by-the-seat-of-my-pants approach. Once all 8 were grounded in a conceptual way, I immediately saw relationships of content. 1976 and 1929 were love stories; 1945 and 1913 were 'kid' stories; 1988 and 1964 were magic stories, etc. So, that's how I wrote them, in groups. First the two on themes of love – and a crisis appeared. These were outlined in proportions way beyond the scope of a short story, so I said, "Fine. The series will be 2 novellas and 6 short stories." That didn't work out either…. Each of the 8 Christmas years presented expanded opportunities and all of them became novellas in their own right. Thus, my original 8-month timeframe ballooned to me needing slightly less than two years to complete the project. Was it worth it…? Time will tell I guess. Thank you for your praise of my work and your excellent question. • • • • • That’s it for this month. Hope you all have a wonderful Holiday Season and we’ll see you again in the New Year. Remember to send me your questions so we can discover more about our authors, their lives, and how they craft their stories.
  17. Happy New Year! We are back and this month our blog entry focuses on poets. Figures my first themed entry would be about a subject I rarely understand and often avoid. However, I’m here to pass your questions along, not to editorialize on what I like. So let’s get to it. • • • • • This month’s first question is for asamvav111. Hailing from India, he’s an example of GA’s worldwide reach and membership. Don’t you all think GA should underwrite my travels so I can ask future questions in person? A member since 2012, this young man posted his first collection of poems in 2017 and has quickly garnered a solid fan base. • There is a certainty and deep conciousness that comes from your poems. What does poetry do for you? Is there a poet that you recommend we all read? • Poetry as an art has so many facets, it is difficult to choose one. In my poetry, I always try to capture a mental state or an emotional response & give it flesh. Poetry begins with poesy, the act of creation itself. Everyone of us are creating our own reality, commissioning our own funhouse of mirrors, every day, every moment. I just use words to give others a glimpse into the one inside me. I think, we should read every material we can get our hands on, because it helps develop our own art & our own critique. Beside all the old masters like Wordsworth, Whitman, Baudelaire, Frost etc, I would suggest to read our very own AC Benus, Parker Owens, Mikiesboy. And also join us in Live-Poets-Society where we have wonderful discussions on every possible aspect of poetry & showcase our work. • • • • • Asamvav111 recommends three GA poets so let’s hear from them. Mikiesboy’s one of those members everyone seems to like. His friendly and thoughtful disposition when dealing with others has endeared him to many. Adept at poetry and prose, I’m not sure how he finds the time to write, edit, and beta read for others, and participate in his Drop in Center forum thread. • Why does free verse appeal more than anything else? • Free verse may sound free but it isn't, there are still poetic rules that apply. There must be flow, meter is important even in free verse, and it must be written poetically. You can't just write down sentences and call it a free verse poem. Why do i choose it? Well, it suits my mood normally. I don't always want or even like rhymes. One exception is the Rubaiyat, it's a form i really enjoy writing and i like the rhyming pattern of : a-a-b-a; b-b-c-b; c-c-d-c; d-d-e-d; e-e-f-e. This is a real challenge. But free verse lets my thoughts flow more than other forms that are more restrictive. • • • • • Parker Owens asked me to beta read one of his stories earlier this year and I can’t thank him enough for it. It was a pleasure to do so and I discovered Parker was open to criticism and suggestions unlike some authors. However, his writing is not limited to prose; his poetry collections have earned him the respect of other poets as we saw in the first entry on this blog. • Do you think your math skills and musical ability contribute to your innate sense of form and meter in your poems? Your ability to look at your surroundings and use mathematical and scientific principles as allegories to love and life is quite remarkable and definitely unique. Do you look at an object or read a mathematical concept and see the poetry within? Or do you have a poem in your head and look for a concept to fit it? • I wish there were an easy description of how music and mathematics relate to what I write. Often, it has their interplay that conveys to me a sense of balance and sound to each line or couplet. If I listen to what gets scrawled in my notebook, I hope to hear something as compelling as my favorite music, or as true as any axiom. Frequently, I am taken by the sound of a scientific or mathematical word, and a poem gets built around that. Words like implicit differentiation and lanthanide series have their own rhythms and stories to tell. A few times, someone has dared me to write about a concept that was foreign to me - such challenges have proved irresistible. Often enough, it is what I see my students reviewing in their study halls that plants those words in my mind. Thank you for asking! • • • • • We visit again with AC Benus in this installment. Last month he answered a question about his Christmas at Famous-Barr series; in this entry, he addresses his poetry. Poems are more prominent on the site than when I first joined and a lot of the credit goes to AC. He’s encouraged, prodded, and mentored poets to the point they have become a vibrant subset of the community. • You write sonnets beautifully. What advice would you give someone starting out? Are you self-taught? If yes, what did you do to become such a good poet? • The answer to am I self-taught is yes. As for advice, I’d say listen to your heart and what moves you. Poetry is all around us at all times, in song lyrics, in jingles, in the lessons we learn in school, but maybe one day something will break through and make you go ‘wow.’ That happened to me the first year of high school. There was something about Keats’ Ode to a Grecian Urn, and particularly the concluding lines "Beauty is truth, truth beauty – that is all we know on earth, and all we need to know," that made me wake up and want to write myself. So I’d look for that moment and that piece of poetry, in any style or form, that makes you go “Oh…”. Learn from it and figure out what exactly the poet did to shake you up. After that, read as much as you can, and get busy writing. Thanks for a great question, and I will post a longer answer in Live-Poets Society, so please look for it. • • • • • That’s it for this month. Hope you all had a wonderful Holiday Season and the New Year brings you health and peace. Remember to send me your questions so we can discover more about our authors, their lives, and how they craft their stories. How about we focus on the authors of your favorite love stories next time around?
  18. Hello February! By the time you read this, stores will be full of red and pink decorations. Chocolates and love cards will be prominently displayed everywhere. Florists will be busier than a one-armed wallpaper hanger in a windstorm would. And GA readers will be searching for love stories to read. Our focus this month is on the authors of three such tales. • • • • • @Rip Skor I was not aware of Rip Skor’s Boy Story until one of its fans sent in a question for the author. The story’s description and Rip’s reply to the question have led me to adding it to my reading list. Moral of the story? If you are an author, how you describe the story when you post it can gain or lose you prospective readers. • I happened upon Boy Story a while ago, and it was hard to resist Matt and Parker. It was great watching their romance unfold and seeing them live their lives. You mentioned the story is semi-autobiographical, so, why was this the time to tell it and how hard was it to separate fact from fiction? And since it is the month of Romance, what is the best love advice you’ve received? • Being an English Major, I've always written well, but I hate to write because it saps a lot of my energy. So the fact that I put pen to paper seems perplexing even to me. I was sitting at home with Parker one night and we watched another horrendous gay-themed movie. They always seem to end up sad, as if it's some kind of penance for being gay. Just look at Brokeback Mountain for example. Can't a gay love story have a positive ending, yet still be entertaining? Can't a gay love story keep itself from getting mired down in gay culture, which turns off most straight people? Parker said, "You're a good writer, why don't you show them how it's done?" That started the ball rolling. Only problem is I had no idea what to write about. I find it easier to use real events even if just for a framework to build around. But once I turned the faucet on, things came flooding out, like I was watching a movie. One of my college professors said "Write about what you know." So I wrote about what I know...my life. Specifically, when things drastically changed for me, yet kept me feeling alive and happy and thankful. Parker had become like a drug that I could not live without. Being with him fed my soul and I guess that's where the term soul mate comes from. Others have experienced the same kind of all encompassing love. I didn't change much of the events. I did compress the timeline a bit to keep it moving. Otherwise we'd be on Chapter 247 by now. I kept most of the names the same where I used only first names, I changed my last name and Parker's last name to protect our privacy. So there was not a lot of fiction to separate from fact. Like Parker winning the car in a drawing that Aunt Helen entered him in really happened! My Grandmother hit the nail on the head when it comes to relationships. She simply said "Be good to each other." I found that's how you keep romance alive. • • • • • @Headstall Headstall began posting Cards on the Table three years ago, in January 2015. Since then, the story’s sixty-three chapters and over 300,000 words have attracted nearly 180,000 views, 2,700 comments, and over 300 followers. I think it is fair to say Gary’s story about two hockey-playing friends taking their relationship to a new level struck a chord with readers. This has to be one of the all-time most popular love stories on the site. • How difficult did you find it returning to Cards on the Table after a long break? Had your writing style noticeably changed since you'd last written a chapter? Did you have to alter anything to get back into your previous style? • There was a lot of emotion/angst involved with my return to Cards on the Table. The biggest thing that made it difficult was the guilt I carried for being away so long, and the pressure I put on myself because of it, at a time I really needed a good extended rest. I had no intention of taking such a long absence. This new, strange story was making a heck of a racket in my head, and I had already taken breaks in the past to write two other stories (Song and Dance and Treading Water), and both had gone quickly. But, Morningstar: The Malaise, my shifter story, turned out to be a different animal (sorry... couldn't resist). I really thought I could write the bulk of it and then return to CotT, writing both at the same time, but it was such an intricate undertaking, it became impossible to go back and forth between these two epic length stories. I found I could write anthologies during that time (four of them), but only because they were relatively quick endeavors. Consequently, I was nervous about returning to my original story. Morningstar was still living in my head, even though Book One? was complete, and after a year and a half of living it, it was hard to let go. That whole time I had been barraged with requests to get back to CotT, and I felt a very real pressure. I learned a huge lesson. As far as altering my writing style, I will say this: my writing is always evolving. It has from chapter to chapter and book to book. The first chapter of CotT is much different from the latest, and eventually I will clean the whole thing up. A better question might be whether I could fall back into Michael and Kendall's world with ease. It was the question I had, and I found the answer as soon as I started writing the 'Christmas Cards' chapter. It was a huge YES. It was like I never left these guys at all. Every character was right there waiting for me, and I can't begin to tell you how relieved I was. I had Kendall's inner voices and sense of self in my head and on my fingertips, and Michael's sense of humor and fearless approach to love were still a part of me. Even Nate and Bodie were every bit as nuanced as they've been from the beginning. So, even though my skills may have improved while being away, I don't think it has altered the essence of Cards on the Table in any way. Thankfully, judging by the comments, the readers agree. I hope my long-winded reply answers your question. Thank you for your interest. • • • • • @Renee Stevens Our final author this month is Renee Stevens. I suspect the woman does not sleep a lot. How the heck else is she able to have a life and still serve as part of GA’s staff, coordinate weekly blogs, anthologies, author promotions, and who knows what else. From personal experience, I will vouch for her support of rookies; she is always willing to share what she has learned. Of course, she is an author first and her love stories about rugged, working men enjoy huge popular support. • I read Puppy Love after it was featured in a recent blog. When compared to your other love story I've read (Studly Ranch Hands which I loved) both have a similar feel. Kind of an open country atmosphere. As some of the blog comments mentioned, the quality of the old story is not as good as your most recent work. Why? How did the changes come about? How long and how hard was it to get to where you are now as an author? • Thanks for the question! Puppy Love was only the third novel I’d ever written, and the second M/M novel. The first was Eternity and that has many of the same issues as Puppy Love does. (We won't even get into the issues that my first ever novel Life After Loss has). I looked at my files and the earliest files I could find on Puppy Love dated back to 2007. It could have even been written before then, I can’t remember, and that’s just when it was first saved in my current files. The “Why?” is simply because I didn’t know any better back then. I didn’t have the community of support back then that I had after I came to GA just over 8 years ago. Sure, I had friends who read over what I wrote and they helped improve the story line, but there are so many things that none of us knew. Once I came to GA, I developed some wonderful friendships and really started to get some assistance in improving my writing. It’s taken over ten years for me to get where I am now, and a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it and I hope to continue to learn and improve. The one thing that helps me is I make note of repeated mistakes and now I check all of my stories for these issues prior to posting.
  19. Ask an Author 2.0 - #5 Welcome back y’all. So far this year we’ve featured seven different authors in this blog; this month we add four new ones to the mix. I’ll continue to showcase different ones as long as you keep sending in your questions. Remember this is your chance to ask any author anything you want. The identity of the member asking the questions shall remain a secret in order to protect the guilty. J • • • • • @MacGreg Mac’s current avatar on Gay Authors is a length of rope innocently left on a wood floor. Don’t let it fool you, he uses it to rope readers into his world and once you get a taste of his writing it’ll be tough not to return for more. • I love the connection I'm able to feel with your characters and your story even though I may never be in their situation. That's with every story you've written. My question is, what are you hoping to communicate with your writing, and with Dissonance where did the inspiration come from for that story? • First of all, thank you for including me in the Ask An Author series. It pleases me to hear that you feel a connection with the characters of my stories. Honestly, I can’t think of a better compliment than that. I would say that a common thread throughout much of my writing is a focus on character-driven plots as opposed to event-driven plots. Although plenty of events happen within each story, the driving forces are the perceptions and reactions of the characters involved. I’m interested in psychology and sociology and the dynamics of interpersonal relationships, so I suppose the biggest thing that I’m trying to communicate with my writing is the intricacy of human relationships. Life is a great big jumble of positive and negative points that we bounce around on, and our reactions help mold our personalities. We all want to end up on a positive point, but it can be extremely challenging to get there. How we interact with others along the way is important, because we are all connected. Dissonance illustrates some of these positive and negative points. The ways in which Travis Cooper and Ben Mansfield navigate through the obstacles of their budding relationship is just as important as the obstacles themselves. I first got the idea for this story many years ago while driving from Colorado to Texas. Something in the air triggered a thought, and nine hours later, I had a story in mind. What happens when two people from very different backgrounds strike up a connection? Opposites attract, yes, but discordance can also happen. It’s an old story line, yet it remains relevant. Nothing is ever as it seems. Add into the mix the fact that these two characters are gay/bi, struggling with self-identity, self-loathing, fear of rejection, fear of the past, fear of the future, societal pressures, and a myriad of family issues (things so many of us can personally relate to), and the result becomes dissonant. This story sat for a long time before I was compelled to pick it up again in the fall of 2016. The characters of Travis and Ben never completely left me alone, and I’m glad for that. Thanks to everyone who's been reading it! • • • • • @jfalkon Having joined in 2007, jfalkon is one of Gay Authors oldest members. His thirty stories on the site show his versatility; the genres are as varied as the tales themselves. Having read some of them, I have enjoyed how his writing has evolved and the variety of emotions it evokes. • What prompted you to write Under The Surface? It was quite a dark story and I'm interested in your motivation. • Thanks for the question. I usually write about things that are on my mind. Before writing the story, I had watched some documentaries on kidnappings and religious cults and had heard a few stories about failed treatments designed to change a person's sexual orientation. This all happened in a period of about two months. The stories melted together in my mind and resulted in this rather dark story. • • • • • @northie One of the benefits or coordinating this feature is being exposed to authors I’m not very familiar with. Northie is one of those. Although I’ve know her for a bit, my interest in her work peaked when she sent me questions for the blog and again when someone sent questions in for her. Since then, I’ve read a few of her stories and plan on reading more. Her characters leap of the page and seem as real as if they were sitting next to me. • You have posted quite a few stories on GA in a short amount of time. Including an impressive 7 short stories in 2017. Were some of these stories already written, posted on other sites, re-vamped, or did you start each one from scratch this year? • Everything that's appeared on GA is new, and with the exception of the Anthology stories, they are usually posted pretty much hot off the pencil. I only started writing in late 2016, after a friend on GA (who's now my editor) planted the idea in my head that maybe I could write. My first efforts were short prompt responses (posted in 'Am I late?'). About the same time, I started a multi-chaptered story which is now complete, but has yet to be posted. Prompts continue to inspire my stories, because as an author who is still inexperienced, I love the opportunity to experiment. Genre, form, style, I enjoy playing around with them. Cia's writing games are another source of inspiration, and also, practice in writing to order. Some things that started out as shorts have evolved into longer, ongoing stories ('Soul Music', 'hell_is.com'). • • • • • @Hunter Thomson Hunter’s our resident jock from Canada. Who else could get away with a picture of a curler as their avatar? The man isn’t only interested in sports, politics battle it out for attention. If you get a chance, read one of his blog entries concerning running for public office. They’re fascinating. • In your bio, the focus is very much on real life and your own personal experiences. How much of your own life goes into your work, bearing in mind that you’re only 27? • I do tend to use my life experiences as a template for what I write. I feel that doing so gives me a more authentic point of view, and I can write about sports more effectively because I understand the thoughts and feelings of the players from my own experiences. That isn't to say that my Out on the Field series is a biography, its not. But there are certainly a number of elements to Devin's life that are similar to mine. It's been argued in the past that Devin's stories are a way for me to relive my life in an alternative universe where things were different (like making the UBC Thunderbirds). I can see where the argument comes from, but what happens in my stories is fiction; my life experience just give me some extra perspective on the psychology and internal aspects of the characters. I find it interesting that the question frames me as 'only' being 27. I guess from a chronological viewpoint I haven't been around the planet for very long compared to some people (and potentially the person asking), but I've given myself a chance to lead a rich life in the time I've been here, and the wealth of positive and negative experiences I've lived through gives me a lot more to work with in my writing than I thought I would have. • • • • • BONUS QUESTION– ASK AN EDITOR @Kitt A little detour along the way. Someone suggested asking editors a question and two of the ones I approached were kind enough to reply. Here’s what Kitt had to say. • Can you give examples of edits you've made of mistakes which were really funny or really strange? • I edit for a gent whom English is his second language. Actually several of my authors fall into that category. I think the most amusing one is where he put shrubs in where scrubs ( the hospital wear) belonged. Was several minutes before I could continue working. I kept seeing this little older woman wearing a bush!
  20. And we’re back. Sometimes I wish a few of my favorite GA authors were still around. I have questions about what inspired them to write a particular story, how they decided on locations, or even how they settled on a character’s name. Unfortunately, those I’d most be interested in asking aren’t around these days. Will you face the same regrets I do in a couple of years? Think of one of our new hotshot writers and send me a question. I’ll get it answered and we can all learn a bit more about those who entertain us. • • • • • @Dodger Well-known for his distinctive avatar and having published ninety-five chapters of his long-running story The Cockney Canuck, Dodger is not a one-hit wonder. I’ve enjoyed reading several of his short stories and this month’s question is about a different ongoing story: The Church and the Tradesman. • Your The Church and the Tradesman is a highly original and engaging work. How did you get inspired to create these characters? • Most of my characters are loosely based on people who I have met in real life and The Church and the Tradesman follows the same principle with the exception, unsurprisingly, of the unruly and thoroughly dislikeable pop star, Tyrone. It’s definitely not fan-fiction so I’m not going to throw any names out there but his character is based on the typical, manufactured, teenage, pretty boy, pop idol. Needless to say, I’ve never met anyone who falls into this category so it’s possible that Tyrone’s personality isn’t an accurate representation, but I like to think it is. The protagonist Andy, his friend Jazz, and sly colleague Bob are all slightly exaggerated variations of people who I met or worked with whilst living in the UK. They do, however, come from completely different backgrounds and environments and their paths in real life would probably never cross. I just thought it would be fun to put them all together and throw in a pop star for good measure. The inspiration originally came from an iconic gay nightclub in London that was nicknamed ‘The Church’ because of its unusual opening hours. In the story, this is the spiritual home for Andy’s gay alter-ego and a counterbalance for his very straight weekday job with Bob. This bizarre, hardcore dance venue, only opened one day a week on Sunday mornings from 4 am until 1 pm and gained notoriety in the nineties following a number of high-profile sex scandals. In its day it was probably the most infamous gay nightclub in the world but a reputation for sleaze and drugs inevitably led to its closure. Mercifully, I was never old enough to attend church when I was in England but I once had the dubious privilege of meeting some ex-members of the so-called ‘congregation’. Their vegetated states and vacant expressions were enough to convince me that the stories that I had heard about this place were probably true. This was supposed to be a light-hearted story but it does touch on the very serious problem of drug abuse, which I do not condone but could not ignore either. Drugs play a very big and very destructive role in Andy’s life and it was difficult for me to write about this without glamorizing it in any way. I hope I did okay. • • • • • @Dabeagle & @Cynus One question, two top dogs in the GA greyhound track– talk about a perfecta. I gambled and posed the same question to both authors in one message so they could read each other’s responses. Here’s what they had to say. • Dabeagle has just finished writing a story The List which is set in the universe of another writer's creation: Cynus' Weightless and Fearless. I'm curious as to the effect on both writers. Cynus, with someone else using, inhabiting, and possibly changing his own world. And Dabeagle about the pressures of writing something knowing that another author was likely to take a close interest in what resulted. How much collaboration was there? Or did Cynus hand over the characters and their environment and let Dabeagle get on with it? What attracted Dabeagle to those stories in the first place? • Dabeagle For me writing with others is old hat. Some of my best ideas and stories come from discussion and brainstorming with other people. I had worked with Cynus before - he's a relatively old friend - and we'd been successful in our plotting and execution of the story we'd wanted to tell. With respect to The List, Cynus had put out an invitation for people to come write in his universe. That particular thing isn't something I do. I have borrowed characters, with permission, such as Craftingmom's Devyn Kennedy. Sometimes a character, usually a secondary one, resonates strongly with me and I'll be moved to write them. My motivation in this case was to create characters that could interact with the existing universe yet be individual. I follow some basic rules or guidelines when working with other's characters. First is not to change them in order to suit me. For instance, breaking up a couple for my own use unless the original author approves. For instance, Cynus had already told me that Angie and Travis wouldn't last, therefore opening a door. I'd never have broken them up on my own. Secondly this sort of thing needs the blessing of whomever you're either working with or, in this case, whose universe you're playing in. Cynus was very supportive and loved Parker and Shane which made things much easier. I asked him a lot of questions in order to stay true to characters as well as not running afoul of any plans he had made in terms of new stories. So this wasn't a collaboration in the traditional sense, but neither was it a carte blanche. As I completed scenes or had ideas for new ones I'd often chat with Cynus via text or once a phone call. Communication is essential, for me, to create in a situation like that. I didn't feel a great deal of pressure as Cynus was involved in my idea process and read things as they got done. As far as what attracted me to them, I've read most of Cynus's work and given him critiques as well as sought critiques from him. I liked his characters and thought it would be fun to start out on the ground floor, as it were, and see if things would go like my Sanitaria Springs series. Primarily, though, I did it because Cynus is a friend and I felt I could do it. If this had been in some of his other universes, I'd have not had the ability. • Cynus Dabeagle's being a bit kind to me here. The perk of answering second is being able to read his response first, and I intend to take full advantage of the opportunity. There was a point in time where I was feeling a bit sorry for myself as an author. I felt I wasn't properly connecting to my readership, and that I wasn't having the level of success I felt capable of reaching. I kept complaining to Dabeagle about how no one ever wanted to write with my characters, and I questioned if that meant they weren't lovable enough. It sounds silly, I know, and in hindsight my mind really wasn't in the best place at the time (If you have any doubt, check out the note at the end of "Weightless"). Dabeagle knew I wanted someone to care about my work in that way, and he was generous enough with his time and talent to accommodate my self-pity. I'm grateful to him for that, even if it didn't quite pan out the way either of us expected. That was a rough time for me, and his willingness to contribute to my universe was in fact something I really needed emotionally. We'd collaborated before on Sanitaria Springs stories (where Dabeagle fell in love with one of my characters, Logan Whitmore), and working with him has always been fairly natural. With respect to the world/setting, I gave him fairly loose rein. The only areas which became tricky at all involved his use of my characters, but through extensive communication I think we handled that very smoothly. Shane and Parker are delightful--I have a soft spot for Parker especially--and I think they play well with my characters. For the record, if anyone else wants to consider a collaboration (or sponsored fanfiction) in my worlds, please feel free to talk to me about it. My characters always need friends, and if you're as good at collaboration as Dabeagle, we'll create another great story like "The List". • • • • • @MythOfHappiness Although no stranger to prose, MythOfHappiness has delighted many a reader with poetry. In my continuing effort to highlight GA poets, here’s another one for you. • You write so beautifully in poetry about images and experiences common to so many of us. Do you see poetry as a way to tell stories and share experiences? What led you to share your gift for image and word in poetry with everyone? • I write because it makes me happy. I can't really do anything else artistically, I don't play any musical instruments, I can't draw worth anything... writing is kind of all I have. I publish on here because I want to improve at writing and because if I didn't, I wouldn't ever finish anything I started. My drive at home is half-full of stories and poems I began to write but never finished. I'm not good at ending things, I guess. Thanks for asking. You're the first person to ever do so, and it really surprised me when I opened my GA account today.
  21. I can't believe it's already March. Not only that, but it's the first Wednesday of the month, which can only mean one thing. It's time for another Ask An Author feature provided to us by Dark. If you have questions you want to ask your favorite authors, but don't want to ask the questions yourself, you can always send your questions to Dark for inclusion in the Ask An Author feature. Ask an Author #47 Welcome back to another quirky question and answer session with your favorite authors! In AtA #46, we heard from authors Comicality, Mann Ramblings, Mikiesboy, and Parker Owens. Today in AtA #47 we hear again from authors Riley Jericho and SkinnyDragon, plus Craftingmom, and Roberto Zuniga. It’s been quite a while since we’ve had the pleasure of quizzing lady craftingmom (way back in AtA #34, fall of 2015). She had just finished Lie of the Serpent, a story revolving around protagonist Bryan finding his missing fiance. I, like many others, found myself fighting tears several times. Craftingmom does love a good tear-jerker! Since then, she’s been promoted to Promising Author and gifted us with more than half a dozen more stories. Currently she’s working on a sequel to “Guarding the Line” called Finding the Line[/url. While I haven’t read it (you know I’m not a big fan of teen romance), the reviews are intriguing. I think everyone has had that one crush you just wish you’d said something to, but what would have happened if you’d actually gathered the courage to do so? If you have read the original, this is the same story but from the opposite point of view, and it’s just beginning! you can flip back and forth between them or read all of Brady’s story first. But buyer beware! Craftingmom writes character-driven stories. You’ll certainly feel the drama as if you were the protagonist yourself. You can also catch her at her other sites; she’s really branched out over the past few years. Look for her pen name Taylor Ryan, if you want her M/M stuff. To Craftingmom: What sort of things do you do after dealing with the darkest parts of your stories? That's a tough question. I'm not really sure I do anything specific afterwards. I do go through a bunch of tissues while writing them. I think since I tend to do most of my writing between midnight and 4am, the fact that I get to crawl in bed with my husband and cuddle up with him helps too. Before bed, my girls also crawl into my bed and beg me to read to them. Mind you, they are 13 and 15, so the fact that my 'teens' still want to be with me and have me read to them is very comforting. One other thing my husband and I usually do is, when we are eating out, if any first responders come in to eat, we'll pay for their meals. (When 12 walked in at once, that was a little more overwhelming!) It's not something I do specifically because of the dark subject matter I write, but I do think about how these people help the kinds of souls that I write about, and it's a small way of thanking them for their service. Back with us again is Author Riley Jericho, most well-known due to his epic saga An English Teen, Circumcised in the USA. Riley flirted with us for four years before finally completing his saga last fall (Sept 2016). He writes to us from all the way over there in Manchester, UK. Although a quiet, private person, Riley is quite friendly, do don’t hesitate to swing by his profile and say, wish him a belated birthday (Jan), or poke him about writing us something new, not that I’m one to talk. Still, who knows what random comment or thought will lead to the next big story? To Riley Jericho: How do you feel about your stories being so popular and well received here on GA? I'm a Brit. It's genetically impossible for us to accept compliments, so that's a tough question! The truth is, I value every chapter read, and drink in each review, answering them methodically. I love hearing what people think and it also feeds me with many new ideas. Some of my least-proud moments here on GA have been the times I've disappointed readers. I think you know what I mean, and even though my reasons and situation were very real when I disappeared for a long while, I'm also very sorry for doing that—and thanks to all who sent hugs and kept looking out for me. So in answer to your question, it astounds me that most of my readers still stuck around! And yes, I'm extremely grateful my stories are well received. That said, I've learned the lesson that you have to write because you want to. Sometimes there will be lean times when it comes to how well readers respond. It's only when the story is important to you, do you keep writing. Author Roberto Zuniga is the better half of Albertonothlit, who you might remember appearing in this blog once or twice. In addition to writing, Roberto is an amazing artist and has created book cover art for his husband. Mexico certainly has its challenges when you’re gay, but these two almost make it seem like a fairy tale. An interesting tidbit for those Star Wars fans out there: Roberto’s birthday is Star Wars Day! (May the 4th) Now you’ll always remember. According to his friends, this is one sweet man, and he can also write a mean story. Roberto has several stories that are in progress, but I think the hidden gem in his collection is Bred for War. In this story, there are two countries at war. They’ve been at war so long that their entire economy has slowly become only about the war. What will happen when two soldier-boys from opposite sides meet? They’ve been raised from birth to believe their enemy is “evil.” It’s a devilish conundrum for the main characters and the world Roberto has created makes my inner sci-fi geek purr. To Roberto Zuniga: First, congrats on your husband being promoted to Promising Author! So, when it comes to writing, have you two collaborated on projects or bounced ideas off each other? Not really. Carlos is very secretive when it comes to his writing, I think it's basically a matter of wanting everything to be perfect before he shares it with anyone, including me. I have been lucky enough to get to read many of his works before everyone else (LOL) and I've also encouraged him to carry on and publish. Take Earthshatter for instance -his new novel published by DSP-, I loved him so much I wouldn't stop bothering until he accepted to publish it LOL. Something I do have to say is I love his finished products and drawing for those projects. Regarding my writing, pfffff! I'm so messy! Ideas can flow through my mind sometimes, scenarios, particular characters. Sometimes I share some of my ideas or tell him I feel conflicted about this or that character, but he usually advises to work it the way I feel I should. We do read each other's work and encourage each other to keep on writing, since we both enjoy it so much. Author skinnydragon comes back to finish up our blog for the day. Skinny is the author behind https://www.gayauthors.org/story/skinnydragon/18weeksoftwoey]18 Weeks of Twoey and has recently begun a sequel that is generating a lot of attention. Unfortunately, Skinny received bad news at the end of 2016. Send him some love and well-wishes. I feel blessed to have been able to be on the periphery of his life the last couple years. I hope that he is able to maintain the strength of body and mind long enough to see his bucket-list completed. Headstall I think said it best: “I just want you to know, though we've never met in person, you have impacted me from the first interaction. You are one of the bright lights in my life, skinny … I wish I could hug you for real... I really do.” To skinnydragon: What motivates you to write? For example, do you hope to publish or is it simply a creative or artistic outlet? That’s a good question. It is an artistic outlet, in a way. I certainly never intend to publish - ever. I am not a writer, which should be pretty plain to any reader. I’m an artist. I was challenged by a mentor/writer, when younger, to write a back story for a few things I painted. In doing so, I discovered it helped improve everything I subsequently drew. Now I do it all the time and they have become the germs for a few story ideas. Some stories may even get written and make the journey from my laptop to GA. 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 JackBinimbul, mikiesboy, palantir, and WolfM! I’m always in the market for new questions! Simply PM me (Dark). Until next time! Dark
  22. Welcome to the premiere of year two! I promised a special issue and here it is. My thanks to one exceptionally clever member who sent in all the questions used this month. Due to the number of authors featured, I will dispense with the individual blurbs this month. Instead, I’ll share the comment sent in with the questions: I thought, why not recycle some of our—ok my—favorite authors, in an Inside the Actors’ Studio rip-off? Here are questions from James Lipton, Marcel Proust, and Bernard Pivot. • • • • • @AC Benus • To what faults do you feel most indulgent? There's nothing indulgent about them, but I have many faults. Chief among them are the problems I tackle everyday as a severe dyslexic. Certain mistakes of my own are nearly impossible for me to "see," like barley for barely, illiterately for literally, defiantly for definitely, and one poor @Lisa had to tackle for years as my editor: finially for finally. Fortunately, when I read other people's text, I don't have these problems. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Well, assuming all the many questions I have for Him are barred, I guess he'd ask me what I learned this time around. My answer: "I learned to love and not expect anything in return." • • • • • @aditus • What do you most dislike? Regarding last year, being sick. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Surprise! • • • • • @Carlos Hazday • Who are your favourite fictional heroes? Superman- The ultimate Boy Scout. Honest to a fault, and Henry Cavill is HOT! Dirk Pitt- Clive Cussler’s character spends most of his time in the water, and owns a great car collection. Jack Ryan- Tom Clancy’s retired Marine uses brains and brawn to beat up the bad guys. Any of the bad boys created by Mann Ramblings. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? “Don’t get too comfortable. I’m sending you back so you can kick some more homophobic ass. And may the force be with you.” • • • • • @CassieQ • What is your least favorite word? Creamy, especially when used for a non-food related item. When I was younger, I read a novel where the heroine was described as having a creamy bosom or some kind of nonsense like that, and for the life of me I couldn't get the image of a woman walking around with boobs made of cream cheese out of my mind. Unless it's talking about peanut butter or ice cream, I don't want to hear the word creamy in a book. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Hmm. I would like to imagine him saying something like "Betcha believe in me now bitch." But in all seriousness, in this kind of scenario, I would like to hear him saying something about my family and friends that I've lost being in there waiting for me and that I could go and join them. It's a comforting thought. • • • • • @Cia • In what country would you like to live? I'd live in Ireland. I have red hair and a metric ton of freckles. Not to mention the whole burst into flames in the sun thing. I'd finally fit in somewhere! My husband called me an Irish vampire and made the kids bust out laughing by trying his best mix of Dracula camp and Irish brogue with the quip, "I vant to suck your Lucky Charms!" • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Well, even in a question/answer scenario I can't really make believe the whole "God might say...." answer. I'm an atheist through and through. If there is something beyond this body when it finally craps out on me, I'd like to think it's another one, because there's still so much to learn and experience. I hope we get more than one chance even if we don't know it. All matter remains matter, right? Besides, I'm a redhead. We steal souls, one per freckle, apparently. Pretty sure that'd send me right down to the Abyss instead, and the Devil would be welcoming me as his right-hand woman since I have innumerable freckles, so clearly I brought a LOT of business with me. • • • • • @Cole Matthews • What is your idea of earthly happiness?  These are interesting questions, to which my answer is about the same. I believe we were born to do good and help others by being ourselves. I believe that for a person to achieve happiness, they strive and work toward becoming their best self. This path and series of achievements are the most positive possible manifestations of happiness. True joy comes from your work and effort during the process of becoming you. I'm always happiest when I've done my best. Success for me isn't winning, per se. The honest, earnest attempt is the achievement. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? When I arrive at the pearly gates, I hope God says, "Good job! You have done more good in the world than ill. You've atoned when you trespassed. Your soul is shining with the light of your happiness. You are tried to be a good example and to ease suffering of all kinds in others. Sometimes you've fallen short, but you never gave up. Welcome home!" Thanks for the great questions! • • • • • @Comicality • What profession would you not like to do? What job would I NOT like to do? Healthcare. Definitely. I'm a huge empath, and I can't bear to see people sick or in pain. Especially kids. I worked in an animal hospital for a few months when I was in high school, and I didn't have the stomach for it. Poor animals... I can't hack it. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Hehehe, and if I got to the pearly gates, I'd love to hear God say, "You know..you just BARELY made it here!" LOL! I'm not an evil person, but I'd love to know that I had some 'fun' while I was alive. • • • • • @comicfan • What is your motto? No matter what, find a way. I've had more than my share of issues and, while it might take a while, I find a way to do the things I need to. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Finally! Do you know that number of people and pets that have been waiting for you? • • • • • @Defiance19 • What are you most proud of? The what, is my ability in knowing when and how to be patient. It has served me well as an educator, and as a mostly single mom raising a son, of whom I am most proud. Today I look at the man he has become, I hear how people speak of him, how they see him, and my heart swells. I like knowing I maybe had a little something to do with that. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?  You did good, kid. I’m sorry, and I know I have a lot to explain. Your family is waiting, but if you need to hit the wine first, it’s down this hall. • • • • • • @Graeme What turns you off? That's a pretty wide-ranging question, so I'm going to narrow it to just my reading habits. My other habits are private... I like stories that go somewhere. I'm pretty tolerant, but if a story doesn't appear to progress, I'll eventually stop reading. For example, I stopped reading Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series after ten books because, while lots of things were happening, the overall plot seemed to be going nowhere. I know that series is now complete, but after giving up on it, I haven't been able to find the motivation to go back and purchase the final few books in the series. The other big thing that turns me off are stories that feel forced. I like stories to flow naturally, and too much forcing turns me off. That's why there are some TV series that I initially liked, but then stopped watching because the writers forced things too much. Superhero/supervillain stories are a good example of what I'm talking about. Writers tend to introduce more and more powerful supervillains, which starts an arms race of more and more powerful superheroes...and it doesn't end well. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say, when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? I thought it was supposed to be St. Peter who met people at the Pearly Gates? Seriously, though, what I'd like to hear is "Thank you for helping people." The best praise I've ever received from a reader was being told that I had made a difference. That particular email still makes me proud and happy. That's the sort of thing I'd like to be recognised and remembered for when I leave this mortal world. • • • • • @Parker Owens • What sound or noise do you hate?  Generally, I prefer sweet, close harmony and sounds that incline to melody. And I hate insistent, high pitched alarm sounds that keep me from thinking. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? “Hello, Parker. We've been waiting for you. What would you like to drink?” • • • • • @Mann Ramblings • What do you regard as the lowest depths of misery? That's a hard one. I imagine nothing goes lower than when despite all your best efforts, all your struggles and good intentions, the universe conspires against you and you still fail, causing you to lose the most precious thing you have, be it a person, place, or thing. • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? "Good to see you! Your friends are at the martini bar and since I knew you were coming, I collected that rugby team and muscle bear lineup you like so much to keep you occupied for an eternity or two. Everyone's waiting for you inside. You know the drill, clothing optional." • • • • • @Valkyrie • What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? This is a difficult question because I love my profession. What people may not know is I'm actually on my second profession. I worked as a horse trainer/riding instructor for quite a few years before becoming a speech-language pathologist. In some ways, it was my dream profession, even though I had to give it up for physical reasons. If I had my choice of professions to try, I would say teaching English or literature, or even being a chef, since I like to cook. Or something involving travel, since I like to do that too • • • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? That I lived a good, meaningful life. • • • • • There you have it! Thirteen authors for Issue # 13. There are a few more like these I’ll share over the next couple of months. I hope that was as enjoyable to read for you as it was for me.
  23. It’s been a year since Ask an Author’s reboot. Although the feature appears to be as popular as ever, getting questions continues to be a struggle. Serious or silly, professional or personal, short or long, what you ask makes the monthly blog possible. Don’t be shy, tell me what you want to know, and I’ll look for answers. • • • • • A self-described NoCal gay, @Ashi puts the social in social media in Gay Authors. The man has to be one of the friendliest people around here. What many of you may not realize is he is also an author having posted both fiction and poetry. • You’ve written a number of poems but not on a regular basis. What moves you to write a poem? Do you have to be in a certain mood? Will we see more poetry from you? • • • Anyways, yeah, I wrote just a dozen of poems here and there. Honestly, poetry is not my main genre and I do not plan on doing it regularly. The prime recipe for poetry to me is some epiphany as a starter, plus some proper mood to get going, so I can put random thought fragments together. A few pieces are particularly taxing, emotionally speaking. It creates a weird contradiction, because feeling down gets my creative juice going, yet, I need energy to write. While other pieces of poem I wrote come happily in one stroke, without dragging my feet for a laborious chisel. The 99-Cent Love Poems ended with twelve pieces by design, six-hundred words exactly by accident. The title of the last poem is a wordplay. Last signifies ending, but lasting is a continuum. Pineapple is traditionally a symbol of hospitality. Sailors from Colonial time would bring back home a pineapple, signaling a safe return from an arduous journey. Thus, I am forever thankful that a few people read this journey of angst, lament and nostalgia, though love and hope are constantly on stand by. I really enjoyed writing them. Now I just need a guy to love. LOL! • • • • • From the San Francisco Bay area, we jump across the country to the Tampa Bay area. Prolific author @BHopper2 celebrates his second anniversary as a GA member later this month; in that time, he’s shared 17 stories which have earned him wide popularity. • You are normally seen writing Sci Fi, yet your latest story’s set in the modern world with a regular (mostly) dad and son, is wildly successful. Will you go back to Sci Fi at some point? Have you learned anything from writing My Son you'd apply to your other work? • • • First off, I want to thank you for reading my work, and it's my hope that you find it enjoyable. Will I go back to SciFi? the simple answer is yes. SciFi is a passion of mine, ever since I was a kid watching re-runs, and recordings, of Lost in Space (the original), Star Trek, Star Wars, and Buck Rodgers. One of my favorite memories is of my Grandfather, before he passed away, doing a SciFi night with me. We watched a couple of old movies, Forbidden Planet and War of the Worlds, and ate Apple Pie and Ice Cream. Then in High School, I was introduced to SciFi Role-Playing Games, and have been hooked ever since. In High School and College, I was in creative writing classes, where most of my work revolved around one aspect of SciFi or another. So, again, one day I will return to SciFi, and finish what I started on a few projects. The story, My Son actually scares me on how popular, and successful it has been. To date, it's been my most successful story on GA, and the story is flowing like no other for me. I have to thank several people for its success though. @Mikiesboy and his husband @MichaelS36 first and foremost. Mike was the one that challenged me to go outside my comfort zone and write something different than what I normally do. I had some notes lying around, read them over, and wham My Son was born. tim has been helping with content editing on the story. Helping me reword passages to mark them more presentable. Last, but not least, @Kitt for being a technical editor on the project. She really gets in there and helps polish the drafts off. She's working on the first four chapters, post-publishing, but I thank her for doing the job. What I've learned with My Son, that I can carry back to SciFi is to focus on telling a character-driven story. All the dodas and gadgets are nice, with epic space battles with ships blowing up in stellar fashion, but they are all secondary to the Characters. Know the characters, give them their own agency, be in their mindset when you write their part of the scene, and take chances and see where it goes. • • • • • A member of the exclusive Signature Author club, @CassieQ has always impressed me with her thoughtful opinions. But her participation’s not restricted to GA conversations, her stories are thoughtful and well written. If you haven’t discovered them yet, I suggest you get your butt in gear and start reading. • What are your biggest motivators in life? Do these translate into the stories you write? • • • My main motivator in my life is writing. I have grown up responsibilities like everyone, but if I have any free time, I like to spend it writing, or thinking about writing or planning out my storyline. Aside from that, my family is a big motivation for me. I adore my sister and my Mom and I think that comes across in my writing a lot. Most of my characters have a kick ass sister or best friend figure. During my early writing days, my beta reader once pointed out how a lot of my characters have a relationship with their mother but don't have a strong father figure in their life (my father is alive and well, he just wasn't around a lot growing up). My Mom has finally clued in to the type of stuff I write and while she is not thrilled about it, she will ask how the writing is going and was very supportive of me going to my first writing conference this year. It was very cool of her. I hope that answered your question! • • • • • Since our previous three authors are all Americans, let's finish this month with an international flavor. In the process, another author will lose his Ask an Author virginity. If you’ve ever wanted to visit Australia but have not done so, I have a suggestion for satisfying your Aussie cravings: read a story or two by @quokka. The prolific author from Down Under charms us with his descriptions and Aussie dialogue. I’m not sure how his imagination can conjure up so many different stories when I have trouble concentrating on one. • How long have you been writing? How do you deal with writer's block? • • • Thank you for the question. I began writing as a teenager as a sort of hobby, but it was never a regular thing. It wasn't until I discovered Gay Authors, in January 2012, that I began to take up writing a lot more seriously, with action and drama, mainly about Australia, being my main themes. For writer's block, I will usually just leave the story and continue on another story or begin a new story, from ideas that develop from what I see or hear in everyday life. A lot of the Australian stories, I usually don't have to do very much research, as I have either lived or visited the places, especially in my home state of Western Australia. For the other stories that are not based on Australia, I like to do a fair amount of research before I commence a story, to get a basic outline, and on occasions I have to stop during writing, to do more research. For me, it is very much like the quote from Beatrix Potter that I have mentioned in my profile. "There is something delicious, about writing those first few words of a story. You can never quite tell, where they will take you." Beatrix Potter - 1866 to 1943. Regards Q • • • • • That’s it for this edition, my friends. Tune in next month for more insight into authors you love and those you have yet to discover. In the meantime, remember to send me any questions you may be dying to ask but may feel too shy to do in person. I promise to protect your identity.
  24. My thanks to the two members who sent in multiple questions for a variety of authors following my last appeal. I’ve been pestering the authors since and I’ll be sharing their responses over the next couple of blog entries. This month we have a couple of returning ones and a couple of rookies. In alphabetical order… Gay Author’s Poetry Sensei, @AC Benus, returns with a short question and answer. • You’ve been posting lots of older work which is great. Will we see something ‘now’ from you? • • • I am working through and posting my old poems, but I also post new stuff all the time, like the Sonnets for Tony. Mojo is also rolling out, and that's entirely new • • • • • @lmoline is a sophisticated, intelligent woman with outstanding literary taste. How do I know this? Simple, she’s a fan of my stories and I look forward to seeing her react to each chapter I post in the CJ series. Fine, that was a plug, so sue me. What some of you may not know is she’s also a poet. I Started Thinking—her initial post a little over a year ago—is a moving exploration of how our life doesn’t always follow the path we thought it would. • You’ve written a few poems. They seem very personal. Does poetry help you deal with situations in your life? • • • To answer your question, yes when I write it is my form of therapy. It allows me to release all of my pent up emotions. I can say that each poem I have written or have posted has been personal to me in some way, whether it is from early experiences in my life to current situations. I do hope to post a few more soon and I appreciate the encouragement I have received. • • • • • Can an author produce both complex and simple writings? @Mikiesboy can. In prose and poetry. His work can be delightful in its flights of fancy; it can also be moving, rooted in personal experience. Based on my interactions with him, his writing reflects his personality: a serious individual who has a surprising child-like playfulness at times. • Your book about a couple dealing with disability suddenly introduced into their lives was highly successful. What inspired you to begin writing the sequel to "Changes"? Did you just feel the timing was right? • • • What inspired the character Don, who is a doer, an athlete, a marathoner, a sports writer, very alpha, a top, who, in an instant, has all he thought he was taken from him, came from a line in a story I read when I was around 13 or 14. I cannot remember the name of the book or the exact quote but it was something akin to, "And mountain goats fall too." That stuck with me. Mountain goats we think of as sure-footed, sturdy, yet even they can slip and fall. The book was about a man who wanted to kill himself after finding himself in a wheelchair because he couldn't bear to live that way. I always wondered about that. I wondered why some people cannot find what they need to continue to live in the face of huge change. Where do they find the strength to give up the only life they have? Also, what is it within us that keeps us fighting in the face of huge change or issues. Why not just give up? So, I wrote Changes. It's really Don and Louis' story, and all the others in their lives. Because when a family member has a life altering accident, it affects everyone. And so, with that bit of background, the answer to the question is twofold. Usually, when I write characters and finish a story, I am done with them, but that didn't happen in this case. These two still had more to offer to me as a storyteller. The second part of the answer is, it is droughtquake's fault. He said something to me about writing more about Don and Louis, and what he thought that might look like. I let his idea stew awhile. So after a couple of false starts, I am writing Changes Again. Thanks for the question. • • • • • The final author highlighted this month is also the newest addition to the GA stable in this group. @Superpride posted for the first time a few months ago; his six stories—five of them still in process—have supernatural and romance themes. If those topics appeal to you, make sure to check out his work. • You seem to have a fascination for more other-worldly type stories. Where does this come from? • • • First, I want to say that I'm very grateful that you're asking me this question since I love interacting with people who are interested in my stories. With that said, I think my fascination for more other-worldly type stories comes from my other fascination with mythologies and folklores from different cultures, especially from the Philippines where my parents have come from and is a major influence to a couple of my stories published on this site. There is so much that we can learn about these stories, and that is one reason why I write my type of stories, to share my own fascination with these old stories by adding my own twist to them. This includes Filipino mythology that has fairies called diwata who can change ginger into gold and vampire-like creatures called the aswang who can separate their bodies into two, independent segments while they hunt during the night. I think another reason why I write these types of stories is because I love exploring certain concepts like people having superhuman abilities to defend humanity from an other-worldly threat and use them as analogies for today's real-world problems. In today's world that is very divided in many aspects, I want to tell stories that can be used to help us to better understand these issues while entertaining us as well by using these futuristic and fantastical themes that is my form of escapism. There is something about telling stories about superheroes, fairies and mermaids and having them relate to the past, present and even future that is very fascinating to me as well. I hope this answers your question, and I'm looking forward to interacting with anybody else in the future. • • • • • That’s it for this edition, my friends. Tune in next month for more insight into authors you love and those you have yet to discover. In the meantime, remember to send me any questions you may be dying to ask but may feel too shy to do in person. I promise to protect your identity.
  25. Here we go again, folks. Another installment of your questions being answered by GA authors. Have you sent me a question to pass along already? No? Why? I never reveal who send in the questions so you need not be embarrassed of anything you may want to ask. Hell, once I send the question to the author, I delete the message so I don’t even know who asks most of them in. I’m old and my memory’s deficient. • • • With twenty-eight stories and over 800,000 words posted in a little over two years, @Geron Kees could be the poster-child for prolific authors. His varied output has garnered a multitude of fans and this month lands him on Ask an Author with a question form one of his many followers. • I enjoy your writing very much and I appreciate that your stories span different categories including sci-fi. ROYGBIV, The Road of Dreams, and The Frost Covered Marker are a few of my favorites. Your stories though are all young adult/teen. What is it that appeals you to that genre? What is the most difficult thing about writing from the teenaged perspective? And just because we can’t be serious all the time: what is the most embarrassing thing that you’ve ever worn? • • Hmm. Very nice to hear that you have enjoyed the stories. I began my 'gay' life quite young. I grew to age nine in a suburb of Amsterdam, Netherlands, where the 'gay revolution' had already come to pass. Gay teens were open about their lifestyles, and as a youngster I was quite curious about it all. I and my best friend knew an older teen in the next block who was 16 and gay, and we started to pester him about what exactly it was that 'gay' guys did together. He finally got annoyed enough with our persistence to tell us. My friend and I were quite amazed, and curious, and...just not all that timid, I guess. I came to the US when I was nine, and was simply amazed at the backward state of sexual affairs here. Amazed and horrified, actually. But I soon learned that there was still gay life around, it was just all undercover. I found myself a boyfriend by the time I was 13, and never really looked back. I started writing on a dare. I was recounting some of the adventures of my youth to friends here, and one said I should "write that stuff down." I did, and submitted the results to Nifty, the only site I was aware of at that time. The response really astonished me. I just couldn't get over the fact that people would like to read about this! But, again, I never looked back. I soon found other sites to post on, and here we are. I have written some adult gay fiction, but I have not published it. Not yet anyway. The night is still young, as they say. I am more than a little saddened by the amount of misery prevalent in so many stories of gay youth. Growing up gay in America was tough for a lot of people. Through luck or circumstance, my life has not been laden with such misfortune. My teens were actually quite wonderful for me, and I enjoy sharing that sense with others , that being a gay young person need not always be so challenging. Sometimes, it's pretty darn nice! I really don't find it terribly challenging to write about teens. They're people, like anybody else. I was one, you were one. It's just about remembering what that was like. As I said, for me it was a very nice time of life. The adult world is more complex, and more challenging, I think. I do write those types of stories when the urge strikes me, but it simply is not as much fun, and I mostly write for fun. But...you never know. As for the most embarrassing thing I have ever worn? Well, you have to understand first that European values are different from American ones. When I first came to the US, I wore some clothing that was perfectly fine at 'home;' but which didn't go over as well here. Not quite enough of it, as it turned out. Very short shorts, for one thing. But I learned, and changed. But I have never been bashful about myself, so I don't become embarrassed easily. I guess the most embarrassing thing I ever wore in retrospect was in sixth grade, when a few friends and I appeared in front of the entire school dressed in nothing but loincloths and feathers and performed some Native American dances we had learned. Not a Native American among us, either, but the dances went over big, and girls followed us around for weeks afterwards. And, um, a few guys, too. Thanks for your interest. • • • @Defiance19 took many of us by surprise when she shared her first story on GA. It was so well written, technically and thematically, some of us felt she had been holding out on us. Subsequent offerings have not disappointed. On a personal note, Def has followed my series from the beginning, leaves me wonderful comments, and has more than once served as a sounding board for when my characters are in New York. I had the pleasure of meeting her earlier this year (she helped me celebrate my 60th) and I can tell you she’s even lovelier in person than in cyberspace. • You've written several short pieces, which are really very good. Do you see a longer project in the future? • • First off, whaat? So surprised, but I’m grateful to be included by whomever submitted this question. Thank you! I write the short stories mostly because it allows me to focus on a theme, and there’s a due by date. I do have ideas, and have things written toward a longer serial story goal. But also, other than second guessing myself I need to have a better writing discipline. Hopefully soon, I will have something completed. This is great motivation. Thank you again, for your question. • • • Having written about a dozen stories based in Washington, D.C. you would think I would have asked @oat327 for help at some point. However, I didn’t discover he was a resident of the District until recently. Had I known before, I could have asked him to hit Uproar on a Thursday night and meet with the Scandals Rugby Football Club after their practice to provide me with background info. Nah, who am I kidding? I’m glad I did it myself but I’ll definitely invite him to join me next time I’m in the city. • The Best Four Years of Adam Becker sees Adam trying to come to terms with his sexuality, and finding out who he is and how he fits, all while attending college. What are some of the things that get edited out of the story? Was your college experience anything like Becker’s? • • Honestly, my college experience was very similar; Tulane was a trip. I actually started this piece as a kind of way to kind of memorialize my college years, and much of the first few chapters especially are pulled directly from real life. The racially-tinged car accident en route from Ben and Jerry’s, Erik’s crazy roommate that they try to integrate into the group, weekends starting on Tuesdays at Bruno’s or The Boot, the ludicrous fraternity politics—all actually happened. Basically, I like to think of this as being a true story in the details; the main plot is generally fictional (I didn’t have a Kevin until after college, sadly) but everything else is generally being pretty accurate. Everything still follows the general arc of my college years. What gets edited out... considering this story is already about 150,000 words long, probably not nearly enough. In retrospect, I wish my editing had been a little tighter at the beginning; I think there are a lot of things in the early chapters that were fun memories for me but aren’t all that relevant to the plot. Once Becker met Kevin, I got a bit better with keeping focus. Most of what we lose is Becker's relationship with his friends. (Which is sad, because Tripp is my favorite character and I always feel guilty for neglecting him.) College is so much dicking around in other people’s dorms and doing absolutely nothing--that's how Becker probably spends 90% of his time and we definitely miss that. • • • I’ll close this month with @JohnAR. The Germany-based author created a universe full of all sort of critters defying the usual vampire/werewolf tropes found in most stories. He struck a chord with readers and his weekly posts were eagerly anticipated by his fans. • I was curious as to why he chose a shifter story to write, and how he came to write such a different shifter story. • • Some years ago I was stationed in a far-away country with little attraction of the male kind, so I read lots of ‘enticing’ books. And like in overall popular culture, the werewolf/vampire theme was ubiquitous. Unfortunately, most of the stories were so formulaic I got bored quickly: A big, young, hairy, dark Alpha wolf finds ‘his and only his’ gentle, blond, smooth, submissive Omega pup, takes him as his own rather forcefully as he cannot live without him (her?) anymore, and f***ks him (her?) raw happily ever after. I discovered that most of these male Alpha wolf/kind-of-male Omega wolf stories were written by women and for women (I think Colt explains that better in book MetaOrigins). The only exception are the ‘Tameness of the Wolf’ books, though those have too much sex (if that is possible). However, when I found that a gay author used exactly the same set-up I decided that I had enough and started to write a story that would break with all of those for me dreadful cliché characters. Hence, I created an Alpha that isn’t dark-haired and doesn’t get to do the f***ing, an enforcer that likes all sweet things but trips on pain, and a Beta that loves playing women for his pack’s advantage, but is the ultimate power bottom. This is crowned by the contrarian hero nerd who in no other book would ever get to do the unspeakable things he does to his pack wolves in Meta – after all he has to take one for the team, doesn’t he? Once those characters were set, my mean imagination did most of the rest; occasionally conflagrated by the cute expectations of my readers which I enjoyed to crush with OCD precision. • • • That’s it for this month, my friends. If you wish to ensure this feature remains alive, don’t forget to send me a question for any GA author. I have one more month in inventory but after that…
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