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  1. This is one heck of a tome. Guy Sclanders has a wonderful YouTube Channel that goes into a lot of topics beyond his books as well. Aside from being a professional artist, game master and author, he's also on our team as a fellow gay creator. There are some really nice techniques described in this book about giving the bad guy goals and motivations. I think this can help us as writers as well, writing it down and when the muse causes us to deviate, the villain will have to adjust his plans too. Not to dissimilar to when Players deviate from a planned story from a game/dungeon master. Even if you aren't a gamer and are just writing a story, the ideas, concepts, motivations etc, help fill in the world and give the sense of purpose to those characters that would otherwise just be milling about.
  2. While i've not gotten Covid, it did a number on me and lots of others, too, i know. This week i managed to write and post a poem, the first in what 2 years? I am so very nearly finished with Kidnapped (working title) ... i have edited the first 6 chapters and finishing writing chapter 20. I will finish it. i was inspired to after events in the last week. my FiL has cancer he's been fighting it for over a year now, and on Saturday, my MiL called and said that he'd like to see everyone. So, we all went down to the Toronto Western, where he has been for the past 8 weeks. There's been just so much ... small strokes, catheters, chemo, rehab, a lot of discomfort and pain and so much more. My MiL spends each day there at the hospital. Often from 9 am to 11 pm, comforting and helping him. Due to Covid we cannot visit his room. But he has a super wheelchair, and he came down to the very big lobby/food court. I'd seen him last at Christmas time. He was thin, but on Sunday, he was not the same man. Skeletal is the best word i can think of. He barely knew us but would brighten now and again. He's on a lot of medication. i watched my MiL roll him in and my heart just broke. This profound sadness washed over me and i couldn't see how he'd come back from this. They cannot give him more chemo and he's in no way healthy enough for rehab. They are looking for a hospice that is pet friendly so his sweet cat can visit. He wants to go home or at least get out of the hospital so he can see her. Why am i telling you all of this? i realized that life is so fleeting. My attempts to end my own wasn't enough to show me that. i decided that i need to make changes. i need to finish things that are important to me. i need to stop worrying about things that i cannot change; that are not my a fault. I need to work less, which is going to happen, in the next 6 months or less, i hope. .. NO! i don't hope.. it's going to happen. i will either work part time or not at all. I'm a good writer ... i have 3 good stories that are nearly done and I'm going to finish them. Here's a small scene from chapter 6 of Kidnapped: Thanks for reading. Now get out there and live. xo
  3. I hated Sunday afternoons as a child. It was always the low point of the week, the afternoon when nothing really happened. It was those long hours between Sunday lunch and Sunday tea. My parents would go and garden, leaving me alone with the television. There were only three channels and none of them saved their best programs for Sunday afternoons. I watched a lot of old and often not very good films, black and white war films that were all about the glory of fighting, or equally black and white family dramas were everyone was so buttoned up and corseted that barely any emotion could escape. As a child I wasn’t a discerning viewer, I would watch anything to chase away the boredom, and those long Sunday afternoons I would watch anything the television had to offer. This afternoon Martin and I spent a lazy Sunday afternoon at home, watching television. We have the advantage of streaming TV; we can choose whatever program whenever we want to. There’s no searching through three channels and settling for the least annoying thing on offer. As we watched television, I wrote on my laptop. I find nostalgia fascinating but also a little worrying. The romancing of the past until it almost seems like a paradise. My father and his brothers used to do it. They would look back on the nineteen-forties and nineteen-fifties, especially the Second World War, as an almost perfect time. Even as a child, in the nineteen-seventies and nineteen-eighties, this seemed strange to me, society had moved forward so much, why was the past so wonderful? I don’t want to return to the world of my childhood, technology has made my life so much better, and I don’t see my childhood as some sort of paradise, yet some people are now romancing that time too.
  4. I’ve had problems with the bailiffs, or one particular bailiff company. It’s not what you think, I didn’t owe anyone any money but someone else, who I have never heard of, has been giving out our address as his own, someone who has never lived at our address. For ages I’ve returning letters for him as “Not known at this address.” The three weeks ago we received a hand delivered letter for him, with no return address on it and the envelope was open. Inside was a letter from a firm of bailiffs, saying that over six thousand pounds was owed in fines and court fees. If this sum wasn’t paid within ten days then bailiffs would come to our address and seize property to the value of the amount owed. I was shocked and angry. I rang the bailiff company, straight after reading that letter, but they weren’t helpful. Their attitude was that it was my fault and I had to sort it out, even though it was someone else who had lied. Citizens Advice were very helpful. They told me the documents that I had sent the bailiff company to prove it was only us who live here. They also told me that the bailiff company had to pause the “recovery” until it was all sorted out. They also advised me that I didn’t have to let any bailiffs into my home. I rang the bailiff company back and told them they had to pause the “recovery”. They said they would only do that for ten days, as it was company policy. All the people I spoke to, at that company, had poor interpersonal skills. Nine days later, I received an email from the bailiff company saying that they agreed that the man didn’t live at our address and the matter was closed. No apology or anything for the stress and worry they caused me. The bailiffs were trying to collect a court fine and fees, yet at no point did anyone try and confirm that this man lived at our address. Why didn’t anyone just check that what he said was true? At least I know what to do if it happens again, thanks to Citizens Advice.
  5. On the grass, in front of our house, the crows and seagulls have fallen back into their usual cold war, after all staring at the lorry that came to emptying our rubbish bins. They stand around, glaring at each other, or attacking leftover fast-food wrappers, which the crows always seem better at. Every couple of days the cold war breaks down and they’ll start fighting over something or other, leaving behind the occasional feather on the grass. Before lockdown, the grass was dominated by pigeons, who wondered around in their lost way, with the occasional crow interrupting them. But something changed during lockdown and a flock of crows moved in, driving the pigeons away. Towards the end of lockdown, the crows were joined by the seagulls and the cold war began. The crows are now sitting up on the roofs, of our terrace of houses, glaring down at the street like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, as the seagulls just stand around on the grass. They are back into their cold war.
  6. B1ue

    Dribble Drabble

    Had this image in my head for about a week. Needed to excise it. "Why are you praying?" Fitzpatrick screamed, activating the neural whip in her hands. The bright blue pulse entered her prisoner's skull, arresting the flowing intonation in his throat. But only for a moment. He swallowed, spat, then continued on as if it had been nothing. "Holy Mary, mother of God..." They'd been at this for a while. At first, she'd been cheered when it started. Former priests, as this man was, were high on her list of least favorite subjects. It was odd, because the perverted faggots should have been wonderful to experiment on. She should have been able to draw immense satisfaction from working them over, forcing them to realize that God did not exist, that their determination to cling to such illegal modes of thinking was nothing but cowardice, but it was hardly ever the case. Sometimes they broke fast, and could be gold mines on occasion, as the unthinking reactionaries still tended to place their trust and their secrets in their illegal clergymen, but mostly they were just pains in Fitzpatrick's ass. Her initial cheer evaporated when the actual words dutifully recorded by her computer penetrated, and the cadence in which he said them was recognized. Out of all the gall, the bastard was praying at her. In her indignation, what few scruples she had evaporated. "God...does...not...exist!" she said, punctuating each word with another pulse from the whip. Fitzpatrick had been exposed to the whip, once, during her training. Every pain receptor in her body seemed to flare at once with the stimulation, her stomach muscles going strangely slack or tight as the pulse flat refused to allow her body to vomit. That one touch haunted her dreams for years, but it gave her a real understanding of the work she did everyday. This priest had been exposed to hundreds of such stimulation in the last hour. She was slightly in awe he could even speak, let alone remember whole prayers. Perhaps he couldn't. He seemed to be saying the same one over and over a lot. "Why do you still call to a figment of your imagination?" He'd met her eyes, once or twice during the session, but didn't even acknowledge that remark with a frown. He simply carried on. "Pray for us sinners..." "Prayer is nothing! It does nothing! Gives you nothing!" she cried. "Are you blind? Are you stupid? How much more proof do you need that God is nothing but a lie? Your kind says miracles happen, but what miracles can come from a being that can do nothing, not even stop your pain?" "Amen," he said. Then he looked up, meeting her eyes. "But He is. He is doing something. And if you cannot see it, you are the one blind." He turned away, and resumed his pace. "Glory be to the father..." Fitzpatrick sighed. There was nothing for it. That was the only reaction she'd gotten in a session long enough to drive almost any other person to madness. The only explanation she could see was that he was already crazy, and so they could not trust anything out of his mouth anyways. She hated the waste on her time, but at least she finish up. She stepped back, and with a smooth motion extracted her sidearm. "...is now, and ever shall be, a world without--." *** Now that's out of the way, how about I say a few offensive things, yes? I blame the Old Testament for the misunderstandings people have about Christianity. Catholicism in particular, at least as I understand it, but Christianity in a wider sense too. The Old Testament made things too easy for it's adherents. It is easy to have faith when faith alone kept fire from touching you. Shadrach in the charnel, singing of His glory, must have made a terrible impression on the Babylonians. It is equally easy to follow a god who provides a 60' pillar of sand to act as your GPS navigation device. Who will turn rivers into blood in protecting you and yours. Who can, will, and does provide tangible proof when such proof is demanded. I encountered someone who told me that God cannot exist, because if He did, the world would have no problems, since he'd provide miracles enough to keep his followers in the style in which they'd like to be accustomed. I thought, My God, what a moron. Christianity isn't like that. Christ performed miracles yes, in front of thousands sometimes, but on the whole, they were quiet ones. Do you really think all 5000 people knew there was only a scattering of bread and fish in that basket? That people who saw the corpse didn't think they might have been mistaken when the soldier's daughter lived? Yes, people said, people testified, but it wasn't like they had EEG devices back then. Even people who witnessed might have been able to doubt the evidence of their eyes. The Bible says they believed, but I'm sure some did not. Many, I'd think. If Christianity isn't about pillars of flame, it is about more quiet forms of faith. A grown, important man taking them time to speak to children. It's about the head of a saint rolling just so to stare accusingly at his murderer. It is about a woman giving her last coin in the faith that it will make a difference in her life. It is a man, dying, finding it in himself to offer comfort to another. A woman in mourning wiping the sweat and blood from the brow of the condemned. Instead of a man defying fire, it is a man chained, yet still singing to His glory. The martyrs are telling, I think. In the Old Testament, the martyrs would have been saved. The bitter cup would have passed their lips. It is a bit grim that we wear crosses to show our faith. It is a reminder of the greatest miracle performed for our sakes, yes, but also the cost that our beliefs sometimes carried, because God would not save us from that fate. Not on this world. There is a reason St. Peter is the father of Catholicism. Yes, yes, his name signifies that he is the rock upon which the church was built, but any biblical scholar, or even someone who's read a Dan Brown novel, knows the Bible we have wasn't all we had to work with. I feel confident the church patriarchs could have done a bit of editing, should they have felt the need. Paul, from the perspective of someone who thinks in Old Testament terms, would have made a much better example, which is why he did most of the proselytizing. But Peter, ah, Peter was the man who denied. Who, before Thomas, doubted. Who failed himself, when the chips were down and when Christ himself reached out a hand and asked him to step forward. We are told that it was John whom Christ loved best. But it was Peter, that sank beneath the waters, who became the rock. Faith isn't supposed to be an easy thing. It isn't supposed to be blind. That was the miracle of Saul/Paul, after all. Faith is supposed to be tested, and sometimes found wanting. But it is also supposed to be a light in dark places. It cannot save us from the gallows. But it can touch us, let us walk to our deaths in peace.
  7. The infamous Writing List that I have. Mind you, I can't exactly post most of these here since they are...smut. Except Imaginary which I will post eventually here. Once I get it posted. Hopefully. For now, enjoy. Read, what ever. If you are 18 I'll give you a link to my AFF.net account and you can raid me there. As of October 29, 2009: Editing/Overhauling: Xanders Many Faces Imaginary: A Sailor Moon Story What I am writing: Chapter Stories That are being written and posted: A Butterfly's Dream: Chapter 13 - written - sent to beta Chapter 14 - being written To Catch a Kitten: chapter 5 - written chapter 6 - need to type it Honey Drops: Chapter 2 - In planning stages Xanders Many Faces Hellsing 2, 3 and 4 - with beta Planned Chapter stories: Harry Potter Travels (tentative title): Bill/Charlie/Harry Status: Starting to write Untitled Harry Potter Crossover: Crossed over with: Sex Therapist Anita Blake Hellsing Yu Yu Hakusho Bleach Weiss Kreuz Saiyuki Summary: Harry travels the world to discover more about himself. UntitledOuran High Host Club: Mori/Everyone. Thought: Mori knows how to work itbehind closed doors. Showing the host club why he's always silent, Moritakes control without being in control. Just don't ask. Just read.Haruhi will be a guy, not a girl. Finding a Bit of Trust: For truly here. Naruto/Ibiki. Something goes horribly wrong and Naruto isleft with more then just emotional pain. Ibiki fixes it for him. Prologue - Posted Chapter 1 - being written The Ultimate Betrayal Chapter 2 - planning stages Untitled Bleach and Weiss Kruez crossover. Summary:After Ichigos mother dies, he goes to stay with his uncle, his mothersbrother, Yohji. Coming back after many years, he stumbles onto the ongoing war, tilting the war in favor of the side of evil...Aizen andthem are evil...right? All the while, he makes others think about theirperceptions of right and wrong as his friends come to help kick someass. One shots and requested one shots: Dreamcatcher Status: Being written once more...one paragraph at least. Next story for 'Xanders Many Faces' Status: Being edited and reposted. Cyny: Spy VS Spy fiction chynyll: Bleach threesome: Renji/Ishida/Ichigo NinaFox: Grimm/Renji (crack anyone?) knaveofhearts: David and Clary Smut: Being outlined Shiauko: Umi/Baby Smut: Another Penthouse letter Most of the following people aren't on here (or at least not to my knowledge) so don't be surprised, yes? Pairings only really. For Anon on AFF.net: Kisuke/Issin Shunsui/Hisagi Ishida/Renji Ishida/Hisagi GreentreeFroggy: Urahara/Renji - also requested by Dragonmist753 Shirosaki (Hichigo)/Ichigo/Renji OfMagicalEssence: Urahara/Nova Ichigo/Nova (I will enjoy writing that one) Roberta2002: Ichigo and Issin (don't know if this will turn into incest): Finds out dad is a soul reaper. Ichigo/Ukitake: MPreg Story Liz: Chad/Ichigo: Virigin!Ichigo, Vamp!Chad Aizen/Urahara Aizen/Ichigo: Another Virgin!Ichigo Affriel and Rysha: Yumi/Ishida: Ribbons, measurments. Happygirl124: Continue the Ukitake/Byakuya/Ichigo Ichigo/Grimm/Aizen: Unable to choose between the two. GeneralSephiroth: Continuation of the Renji/Shunsui with Grimm as the main focus, babysitting Ichis kid. PickleReviewer: Ikkaku/Ichigo Kensei/Ichigo KiraRose: Aizen/Ishida Byakuya/Ishida Anony: Byakuya/Ukitake Bya: kind of evil like dom, Uki: uke taken by surprise virgin like Mizukotsuchan: Shunsui/Ichigo athello Gin/Hanatoru sneere: Byakuy/Hanatoru: making plans 2 Stormraven Aizen/Hana Bleach Melodies YaoiSmutMaster: Shunsui/Chad Ukitake/Shuuhei/Hanatoru (totally yummy...) chynyll: Stark/Shunsui sweetseme Gin/Byakuya Sado/Maso, Uke Bya (warning: will be major OOC!) Rose NymphGreen Jugo/Naruto with back up pairing First Hokage/Naruto/Second Hokage Drawn from a Hat Pairings How this works. You take 8 characters, fandom or originals and put them onto 16 pieces of paper. Two pieces per name here! Now, stick them in a hat, mix it all up and pull them from said hat. Every 2 slips are one pairing. Write a story rotating around Shonen-Ai (sweet and fluffy), Yaoi (hard core smex, breaks down into 'no point, no climax, no end), and/or Smut (you get the idea). My pairings are: Bleach Set 1: Finished Naruto set 1: Finished Pairings for Weiss Kruez: Pairing 1: Yohji/Ken - Written - chapter 2 Pairing 2: Crawford/Aya Pairing 3: Farfarfello/Omi Pairing 4: Schuldig/Omi Pairing 5: Crawford/Nagi - Written - chapter 3 Pairing 6: Farfarfello/Aya Pairing 7: Schuldig/Aya Pairing 8: Nagi/Aya - Written - chapter 1 I WILL TAKE REQUESTS IF THEY MAKE ME PERK UP IN INTEREST. I HOLD THE RIGHT TO DENY OR DELETE YOUR REQUEST IF I FIND MYSELF UNABLE TO BECOME INTERESTED IN IT. ALL CHAPTER STORIES COME FIRST MOST OF THE TIME, SO EXPECT TO WAIT. I WILL GET TO YOUR STORY THOUGH.
  8. I sort of muddle along when it comes to writing, but I have a story that has so many people waiting for it, that I thought it is better to share what my thoughts are. The frustration of waiting to read the next chapter....I understand this very well. So... For A Healing Heart - > Read it Here I've set it up that a chapter goes up every week. On Fridays or Saturdays. Catch up with the new chapter. - Talin and Dimitri find themselves in a difficult situation at dinner with Vlad. A Haunted Love - > Read it Here This is a new story. I'll post the new chapter on Tuesdays. Catch up with the new chapter - Hideki and Kazuma get used to each other....and a sizzling kiss. I suddenly realize I've started a trend of naming my stories with "A..." what a peculiar trend. Hmm... To all of you who read me...you're my special people, Thank You! Sui.
  9. I have been blogging since quite a few years, and I recently discovered this site, which I have found to be varied and friendly. It is not frequent -- I think -- to find a place to discuss or exchange concerns about our writing within the gay community. This is especially true in my case, as I live in Panama, and this aspect is kept under the carpet -- not in the closet. My experience with the gay theme stems from my clinical work in the field during 40 years. This produced several scientific publications and one novella -- 1985. Since 2010 -- If I remember well -- I have published several almost-fiction stories. Anyway, I do not write erotica. I write about themes where the characters may be gay or have concerns about their sexual orientation -- I grew up in the times when gay was an illness. Many topics go through my mind. Maybe you would share your concerns as authors? BTW, I love cats!
  10. I'm doing it again! November is almost here, and I will be participating in NaNoWriMo once more. Last year, I won with Nemesis 2 (which, as many of you are aware, still isn't quite finished; I'm in the editing and rewriting stage and totally stuck, but I'm sure it'll come). This year, I will be working on the detective novel I've been planning for some months now. I'm really excited for it, which is awesome, as I don't get really excited about things very often these days. Now, it just so happens that NaNoWriMo is a nonprofit that, in addition to running and maintaining a website, also funds creative writing programmes for, in their own words, 'nearly 500,000 kids and adults in approximately 200 countries, 2,000 classrooms, 650 libraries, and 600 NaNoWriMo regions every year.' They provide tools for teachers, librarians and community leaders to run writing and reading programmes to promote literacy and creativity, they use their vast network to get talented and famous writers to write pep-talks and post encouragement for participants, and they inspire aspiring writers around the world to pick up their pens, notebooks and/or laptops and write. I would donate all of my money towards this fantastic cause. Promoting creativity is a recipe for peace and prosperity, and if NaNoWriMo keeps growing they'll be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize any year now. Unfortunately, I have rent and bills and tuition fees that need paying, and I'm incapable of studying and working at the same time, so my funds are limited. Which is why I've set up a NaNoWriMo fundraiser. NaNoWriMo allows their participants to create fundraisers to ask friends, family and random strangers on the Internet to donate to NaNoWriMo on their behalf, kind of like a sponsorship, all in the name of motivation. None of this money goes to me. I don't get anything out of this except good feels and maybe some freebies if I raise enough. And both good feels and freebies are pretty motivating things. So, this is where you guys come in. If you'd like to join me in helping NaNoWriMo to continue to be awesome, please visit my fundraising page. There's some information on there about the programme, but if you'd like to know more about how the money is spent and where it comes from, you can do so here. And, if you'd rather make a personal donation and maybe get some freebies of your own, you can donate directly here. As they put it themselves, by donating 'You not only support people’s novel writing dreams, you help transform people into creators who see new possibilities in the world—and act on them. You spark a creative revolution.' And, hey, who doesn't love a revolution? Thank you for reading!
  11. Writer's die a lot. Death, that thing that cannot be known beforehand: writers can be said to experience it often. They are often little deaths, small hard moments of pain which pass soon, but in the moment they are with us, they are all to real. We die when he kill off a character, we die softly and quietly inside when they say goodbye to us, we ache with pain when our muses refuse to release them to our waiting fingertips. Depending on how much one writes, and on how long those stories last, a writers can die several times a year. Fans of Direct Confusion will know just what I am speaking off, for many of you died along with Greg several chapters ago. For me, that pain was written a long time ago now, but even though I was in charge of the words as they came (for a certain value of the phrase 'in charge') it was like getting punched through the chest. And now there is a different death. Those who know me or have read interviews will know my general claim of not knowing my plot until it happens: the work is character driven, and boy are my characters often driven. But the end of this particular novella snuck up on me unexpectedly. I finished writing a chapter of A Wolf and His Man, and as i opened the next word document, I knew with an awful clarity, that the next chapter would be the last. So, I did the mature and sensible thing, and procrastinated as much as possible to avoid having to say goodbye. But say goodbye I did. Last night I wrote those closing words, and felt a combination of two emotions. A high bright burning joy that I was finished, done, complete; and a deep mourning for the friends that I had lost. Oli and Boris will go on with their lives, but I won't be there. I believe that this parting is a very sad one particularly, because I first penned the story concept of A Wolf and His Man something like 6 or 7 years ago. I am glad I waited, because it is a better story now than it would have been if I had written it just out of my teen years. It is a little death, one that will not hurt for long, and the shouting of other characters in my brain will help to wear down the sharp edges of the loss until visiting Oli and Boris again will not be so painful. And Kieran Tristan Toyne does shout very loudly.
  12. When you've been depressed for a while, and you've found writing really hard, getting back into it can be a bit of a challenge. I'm feeling a lot better now. Going to school to study sound engineering this autumn, and it feels like my life is back on some kind of track. But the writing is still difficult. The problem is that I have lots of ideas, and I want to get back to writing properly, I really do. But I'm mostly motivated to work on my new ideas. So I sit down thinking, 'I'm gonna write now,' and open up one of the new, unpublished ones (my new viking story, my detective novel, the Pride & Prejudice pastiche). But then I remember that I should be working on my unfinished novels, Lavender & Gold or Nemesis 2, and so I open those and read through what I've written and get to the point where I've got more to write... and then stop, cause I don't feel motivated to write those things, I just want to write the new things. It's like my attention span is shot. And I have readers waiting for L&G and Nemesis, and I don't know what to do. So, I end up playing Skyrim instead. I know all I have to do to finish L&G and Nemesis 2 is just sit my arse down and start writing, but it's like when I try my fingers just won't move, and my mind wanders to Detective Inspector Templeton, or Trym the viking, or Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley. And nothing at all gets done. I have to find some way around this. I really, really do.
  13. I saw this floating around social media today and thought it would be a humorous exercise for GA authors to participate in. http://www.boredpanda.com/and-murders-began-first-line-book/?page_numb=1 "The opening line of a book is extremely important, as it has to be intriguing and powerful enough to capture the reader's imagination. Then, the second line has to intensify the intrigue. Coming up with these lines can be pretty difficult, yet one writer came up with a second line that would almost always heighten the intrigue to its peak, and the Internet is going crazy. "And then the murders began" - that's the clever line Marc Laidlaw came up with. Add it to almost any opening line and you've got yourself a hell of an intriguing book opening." So here's the exercise for you: In the comments, write the first sentence of one of your GA stories or poems, followed by the second line of "And then the murders began." I'll start with my own contribution, from 'Backstage Tryst': "I rubbed nervous palms across my denim-covered thighs, trying once more to exhale the breath which remained stuck in my throat, unable to escape. And then the murders began." I look forward to seeing yours!
  14. Today I want to talk about something which mostly everyone thinks doesn't affect me, and much of the time, I am lucky, and I pass by writer's block like a freight train running on a different track while I sit in comfort and tap away on something which more resembles the shinkansen. But to say I have never felt that dread of not starting right, or not finishing, would be a terrible lie. I'm good at lying, but I don't want to lie to you. Let's talk about The Last Page, Final Chapters, The End, and how hard it is to say goodbye. I'm sitting in front of a story right now, 24,000 words of something which sledge-hammered me around the skull two weeks ago (yes, sorry, I did write all that in 12 days with breaks for Christmas), but which I do not want to finish. Not just because it was supposed be for the spring anthology and is going to be too long to qualify, but because I still don't feel like I know these characters well enough to let them go. But I know I'll have to. Finishing is the worst feeling, or one of the worst feelings, I have ever known. Letting go of people you have shared your brain with, your life with, is tough. My characters talk to me in the shower, while I’m trying to eat dinner and converse with my family, hang around while I sleep and insinuate themselves into my life. They latch on, bug me when I'm supposed to be teaching, or marking, or walking the dog, and letting them go means waving goodbye to people who have become great friends. Even if they've only been with me for a little while, it's still hard. The First Page, In The Beginning, Once Upon A Time, and how to get to know someone. Starting can be as hard as finishing, and I doubt I need to explain to any other writer out there, the number of files I have, a thousand words here, four thousand words there, of things which just never got off the ground. Worse still are the ideas which roll around in the mind, sometimes for years, but every time you go to apply them to paper, they drift away, as insubstantial as smoke, the details smearing like warm paint in the bright sun. I have a few things I want to start at the moment, but I can't, because I don't know where to start, and something else is holding my back from that first blank page. Guilt. Guilt because I have left characters and readers hanging, suspended in mid air, waiting for resolution or continuation, some I have left waiting to fall in love. And that must be painful. I feel bad for them, but sometimes trying to dive back in where you left off is worse. You can't grab the thread, the style has changed, and what seemed easy and natural before is now stilted and difficult. The best intentions are all well and good, but coming back is hard. So to those readers and those characters, I am sorry. But I'll try. You are not abandoned, and I am on my way. I will do my best to bring you home.
  15. A lot has been said about how sex sells. There’s no doubt about that; sex and sexuality are hugely important to many marketing and advertising campaigns, and the fact that companies continue to experience commercial success after using sex as a marketing tool proves how well sex sells. But, I’m not a marketer, or an advertising executive. I’m just a guy who writes young adult novels. Which leads me to wonder how much sex is too much sex for a novel, or even a series of novels. We’re all taught to hide sex in our writing, that if we really must have our characters be put in sexual situations then they must be off-screen, to be imagined by the reader instead of explained and detailed. All of this is done in fear of disturbing potential readers, or especially potential publishers. This moral paranoia extends to television and films, though not to the same degree. You see people on tv or the movies pre and post-coitus. Sometimes, you even see the sexual act in some clinical fashion. Maybe we’re going about this the wrong way, as authors. I try to be a realist in my writing. I write about young adults who are on journeys of self-discovery, particularly relating to sexual orientation. They fall in love, and they have all the same urges that we had when we were young adults. We had sex. We didn’t let sex consume our lives; it was present, to be sure, but it didn’t dominate our existences. It was one thing among many other things that we did. I like to think that my writing is the same. Yes, there’s sex in my novels. Boys kiss boys. Sometimes they stop, sometimes they don’t. They’re learning how to control themselves and figuring out how to satisfy those urges without causing problems in the rest of their lives. But, they have other things going on in their lives that are much more important. I think that part of the equation is incredibly important, that sex not become the defining quality of the novel or the character. Frankly, the people who read my novels, and who read your novels, and who read anyone else’s novels? They all have sex.We’re deluding ourselves as an industry if we think our readers don’t know what’s going on when we fade the scene to black. Let’s be realistic with our writing. Write scenes the way that feels natural, not the way you think it needs to be censored in order to survive a publisher’s wrath. In an industry filled with things that defy reality, it will make your writing feel that much more connected to the lives of your readers. Cross-posted from https://authorhunterthomson.wordpress.com (Check out my blog/twitter/facebook page in my profile!)
  16. Many of you will probably know that outside of my writing here and the small pile of pseudo-educational jobs I do, I'm also a political activist and one-time candidate. This is not a blog post to go on and on about my politics, but simply to set the context for everything else. Five years ago I helped pass an anti-homophobia and anti-transphobia school board policy, and since then I've had the distinct pleasure of watching people become less worried about anti-LGBTQ discrimination in my hometown's schools. Since then, other school board and countries have moved towards greater legal acceptance of LGBTQ rights and freedoms, but many youth still feel like they can't come out for fear of or familial rejection. I'm working with some of my activist friends in the real world to help create an anthology, based on the Chicken Soup books, that would showcase the lived experiences of ordinary LGBTQ people coming out in all aspects of their lives and showing that things do get better. I'm looking to eventually have 101 stories, just like the series I'm using as my template, and different sections where the stories could be found, such as coming out to parents, to siblings, at work, to friends and a few other sections that could possibly make sense. I'm the first to admit that my circle of friends is not terribly diverse, and that we also come from very similar backgrounds as activists (which I fully admit are not the same as normal humans. Our lives are much less joyful.) which may not resonate with everyone else. I'd be honoured to have people submit their stories, or if this is something the community wants to do together and publish, we can find a way to make that happen. I want this to happen, so it will happen; I'd like it to happen with the people I've met here, all the writers and the people who know how to spin a good yarn and help potentially use our writing gifts to help out kids. Thanks for reading, and hopefully thanks for your support.
  17. Wow. Earlier today I posted chapter 18 of The Last Out, which is amazingly the final chapter of the story I've spun around Devin and Alex. I'm writing this and it feels surreal to me to have finished it (again, actually) and to have it published on a site like Gay Authors. I can't help but think 'what a strange, magical journey this story and I have gone on together'. The Last Out was never meant to be published. Not originally anyways. This was meant to be a guilty pleasure and escape, something I wrote to make sure I didn't lose my sanity during a stressful period in my life. I never thought it would be anything other than a piece of erotica, but somewhere along the way I melded it and molded it into something more than that. It became more than smut and as it did so, the characters became more than constructs to me, they became real, with real lives and real frustrations and real joy, and sometimes even real pain as I wrote and built up the people I'd created in my mind. I have no idea how I'm supposed to feel right now. I'm relieved to have finished it and put it all out there for people to read, but I'm also sad, knowing that it's now here and this vehicle I've created to tell stories isn't as open to me anymore. It'll live like this forever, and it's sort of like letting go of someone you cherish to do so. I wish there was more I could do with the story, or that I could go back and add to chapters wholesale, but its too late for that anyway. I read somewhere that any piece of art requires two people to create it; one to create the piece, and one to stop the creator from continually fiddling with it. I suppose that's true, since I'm continually thinking of how I would change certain things. I'm glad I did it. This gave me a chance to explore certain sides of myself that I didn't think I could. This won't be the last you hear of me, and it won't be the last you read about Devin and Alex.
  18. I supporter this one on Kickstarter as I have an interest in the mythologies associated with Britain and Ireland. (Scotland too). This is another RPG, of course. I'm using as an inspiration for more Irish/British mythology monsters. This is an interesting book with some cool artwork. worth checking out if you deep diving into different world building inspiration or gaming.
  19. Pirate Campaign Compendium is another gaming resource but this time to the dangers of traveling on the high seas in a fantasy setting. This is just another book in my vast collection that I can reference for those "at sea" stories in the queue. The artwork is also nice. Cheers to world building, and ahoy matey!
  20. Another gaming book that I use as inspiration is Remarkable Cults and Their Followers by LoreSmyth's JVC Parry, Jeff Lee, and RP Davis. Every fantasy world needs a bad guy and every bad guy needs a cult. This is a great inspiration for different ways you can put things together. More fodder for world builders.
  21. The Positive Trait Thesaurus: a Writer's Guide to Character Attributes by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi. As you might guess, Positive Traits is the opposite of yesterday's Negative Traits. Like yesterday's book, this should be in your library too. Also with yesterday, this helps you fill out your character and make them more well-rounded.
  22. The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: a Writer's Guide to Psychological Trauma by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi is another book in the Thesaurus series that helps writers round out their writing. This one is focused on traumatizing your characters and giving you all the dirt on what that causes. This gives you plenty of drama related to the trauma, what results from it, how to overcome it and the traits and behaviors a character would have when they suffer from it. Strongly recommended for authors that want to add depth to their characters.
  23. The Occupation Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Jobs, Vocations, and Careers by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi is another book in the Thesaurus series of writing support books that gives you details on various occupations. Common traits, common skills, common conflicts they are involved in. A great resource for making a more well-rounded, less cliche characters. Definitely another one a writer should be keeping in their library.
  24. Ultimate Guide to Alchemy, Crafting & Enchanting by Nord Games is one of the many Role Playing Game resources that I have in my library. I love world building. One of the keys to making a world functional for stories is to have the actions and reactions of the world follow rules. They may not be rules you tell your readers about. But if pulling the level makes the door open, then the doors should open when you pull the lever... or a surprise should occur. Books like this one, I use as inspiration for how to do world building. What do you think about? how do you quantify it? You don't need to go to the level that games do to make things work, of course. But having thought about it, it at least makes things consistent, which reduces reader's confusion, which increases reader's satisfaction. This particular book, is an interesting look into the creating of potions and magical artifacts. Very handy if you have a magic filled world. Or if you want to create that extra special McGuffin. Fun book, nice art.
  25. The Urban Setting Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Publisi is another book in their excellent series of Thesaurus books. This one, obviously, focuses on locations you'd find in an urban setting. Like the Rural version we covered yesterday, this one may not be used as often as some of the other books in the series. It is, however, an excellent resource to have in your library. Like the Rural book, this gives you ways to engage all the senses in different places. They also include some common conflicts you might encounter in these settings. Check it out!
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