Category Archives: fiction

Genesis of a Voracious Reader

If I had to pinpoint where my love of reading came from it would have to be because of my father. As a kid he’d read me bedtime stories like the typical fare: Jack and The Beanstalk, Hansel and Gretel, etc, mixed in with tales of Brer Rabbit and stories he’d made up on the spot.

Growing up I always saw him with his head in a book and this sparked my interest in reading. At first I raided his book collection, picking what I liked and then when I was in middle school I discovered the library and practically lived there.

I devoured the horror and science fiction sections until discovering the Mythology section and falling in love with it. Roman, Greek, Egyptian, and Norse I read about them all and couldn’t get enough.

When I stop to think about it now I completely skipped young adult books and dived right in to adult books. I guess I found them more interesting than the books for kids my age.

In high school I discovered a whole new world of stories online and would spend hours on end reading one after another. These stories let me know it was OK that I was attracted to other guys and that I wasn’t alone.

I was deathly shy and theses stories provided me a safe space to explore my budding sexuality and not feel like such a freak, but at the same time I couldn’t help but notice that the characters in these stories were all the same blond haired, blue eyed muscle bound guys who instantly found a lover on page one.

After awhile I grew tired of these stories that tread the same path and never finding protagonists like me, so I decided to try my hand at writing for the other geeky LGBTQ kids out there who were longing to see diverse character like them.

Review: The Last Command

Introduction

Picking right back up where The Last Humanity left off, The Last Command ratchets up the action and is a real page turner. A common theme for this book is all roads lead to the Ancient City.

First Bray and company make it to the Ancient City and take refuge in the remains of a museum. William sneaks off in the middle of the night and Melora follows after him only to get lost and is saved by Ivory, who just returned to the Ancient City.

Meanwhile William is confronted by Jeremiah and commands a horde of the infected to kill him.

The Good

I really liked how all the story lines converged to the Ancient City and how it was all wrapped up nicely. I was also pleasantly surprised when my hypothesis about William was confirmed. The way I see it he’s becoming like Jingo and won’t lose his mind to the spores.

I was also shocked when Father Winthrop lost his mind and killed General Blackthorn. I didn’t see that coming and found it a little hard to believe. I also found his delusions about being a war god laughable and down right pathetic.

The bad

I was thoroughly disappointed with the resolution of Oliver’s pot to kill Father Winthrop. After all that build up and him growing as a character just to wimp out at the last minute and run up under the skirt of Minister Beck.

Honestly had Oliver just killed Winthrop it would have saved everyone a lot of heart ache later on, but no. Instead Oliver chickened out, allowing Father Winthrop to kill Blackthorn and turn most of the blue shirts to his side.

I was also disappointed in the resolution of the coup to oust Tenbrook. Even though he just assumed power he had the Dunlow Twins, and their family ,tortured and burned at the pyre along with Scholar Evan and the other conspirators.

The Verdict

Overall this was a good read and i suggest to give it look if you’ve enjoyed the other books in this series thus far.

No Limit Writing

“If you always put limits on what youHow many times have you started a piece but never finished it? If you’re like me then it’s probably a lot. It’s the fear of not being good enough that paralyzes us, but unless we risk failure we won’t reach new plateaus.

Writing like anything else takes practice. We must always push ourselves to new heights and go beyond our limits to reach greatness. It’s not simply good enough to do the bare minimum. We must shoot for perfection each time we write, and not get complacent in our work. That being said we mustn’t use this as an excuse so that we don’t write anything at all either.

Likewise we mustn’t let our quest for perfection sidetrack us from shipping our work. There comes a point when we must let the world see our work and this can be scary if we aren’t ready mentally for rejection. But we needn’t concern ourselves with what others think because that is outside of our control, so keep things in perspective.

We must experiment with new forms and genres, to grow our craft in new and exciting ways. To try new subject matters and write outside our knowledge base. We must be ready to approach these new topics in fun and unique ways. Sure we won’t succeed at everything we try, but that’s a risk we must take.

At times it will seem like a struggle but in the end it’s worth it when you create something that resonates with a lot of people. You must be willing to go outside your comfort zone and try new things with your work. You can’t let your preconceived notions cloud you from thinking in new and better ways.
We must be willing to take in the new and cast out the old where appropriate.

We must be willing to work our writing muscles in new ways to elevate our craft to the next level and the next beyond that. This means we must write everyday, no excuses, and try new things with words. If you normally write in first person point of view try third person, or vise versa.

If you generally write in one genre try another. If you write about one subject matter try a new angle, or a new subject all together. If you write mainly nonfiction try your hand at a short story, and if you usually write fiction switch to creative nonfiction. Only then can we be satisfied with our work.

Yes the hours will be long and the work hard, but this is the price we must pay for going beyond the average and making work that engages readers, and makes them question what it means to be human.

Your job as a writer is to add your verse to the poetry of life, and you can’t do that if you’re not going beyond the mediocre because you’re afraid of failing.We have to move beyond our fears and let the sky be our limit. Fear never goes away, it just gets easier to deal with in time, with practice.

QUILTBAG

One of the difficulties of being a QUILTBAG writer is that you’re writing for a community that encompasses a wide range of people. For this reason it can be hard to include everyone’s experiences and trials.

It can be overwhelming to get things right for every reader. If you have a sex scene one person will complain about too much sex, another will complain about there not being enough sex. Have a feminine gay character and you’ll get complaints of being stereotypical from one reader, and compliments from another.

You can drive yourself crazy trying to please everyone, or you can focus on one person while writing: your ideal reader. I’ve found once you define who your audience is it goes a long ways to alleviate these concerns. Yes be true to your readers’ experiences, but don’t pander to them.

Your job as a writer is not just to entertain, but to inspire. When people read your work you want them to leave ready to take on the world and know they matter.

Remember your primary job is to tell a good story.

Rainbow Revolution

If you’ve read m/m fiction online chances are you’ve come a cross a disturbing trend wherein these characters have no self esteem and never stand up for themselves, unless it’s to defend their perfect boyfriends.

I’ve written about this subject before, however today I want to discuss A particularly insidious brand of these stories, namely the stories where the main character(s) internalize homophobic ideas.

Straight Acting
this character is based on the assumption all homosexuals are effeminate, drag queens with rainbows shooting out their assess.

They engage in activities associated with heterosexual males and are “Straight” except in the bedroom. The problem with theses characters is they reinforce the archaic notions of gender roles while conflating sexuality with gender.

Big Man On Campus The BMOC centers around a “straight” character who is the quintessential Alpha Male, yet questions his sexuality once meeting the new effeminate gay guy.

The problem with this is it feeds into the fallacies that people can choose their sexuality and that LGBTQ folks are out to “convert heterosexuals to their life style.”

It also shares the same problems with Straight Acting. While people discover their sexuality at different times of their life they don’t suddenly go from one end of the spectrum to the other over night like in these stories.

Nor do they jump into relationships right off the bat. This discovery process varies and then there’s the adjustment period before you become comfortable admitting it to yourself, let alone others.

The Sub
Let me start out by saying whatever two more consenting adult do in their bed is their business. However with him it’s all about being humiliated. He has such a low opinion of himself, due to internalized homophobia, he doesn’t just get off on being treated like a piece of crap, he believes he is crap.

He seeks out being humiliated and if events like being gang raped or stomped by the football time happen then all the more better because he deserved it.
These tropes are a statement on the mind set of LGBTQ folks in America and elsewhere. While the march for marriage equality continues there are still issues of mental health and well being that aren’t being addressed.

People of color in the gay community struggle with homelessness and violence at higher rate than their white brothers and sisters, and often times can’t come out for fear of losing their home and violent reprisals from those in the black community and the larger society.

And then there’s the racism within the LGBTQ community that gets ignored or denied even exists.

There’s also the up tick of new infections of young gay/bi white males based on the belief HIV/AIDS is no biggie because you take a few pills and you’re good which leads to a culture where one’s status doesn’t matter so why be truthful about it if it means not hooking up with that cutie in the corner.

Then there’s the culture of drugs and sex that often go hand in hand at the clubs and circuit parties where people let strangers bareback them on the say so he’s clean.

Maybe if we spent half the time on these issues as marriage equality the community wouldn’t be so fucked up. I don’t know? Maybe it’s time for another revolution in the same vein as Stone Wall, this time pushing for the issues above.

Who knows maybe in another decade or so things will change and we’ll be talking about people coming out as straight since being LGBTQ has become the new normal. You tell me.

How Not to Get Burnt Out

Lately I’ve been on a poetry kick. I’d forgotten how much fun playing with words could be. The simply act of string words together and making magic out of nothing.

Sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect every time, we don’t stop to have fun with what we’re doing. No one likes grinding out piece after piece so you can make a living. But that doesn’t you have to hate the process.

When you free yourself to have fun playing around with words, it releases your creative juices. Stop trying to impress everyone and concentrate on yourself.

You can always go back to the piece later. The point is to write fast and have fun while doing it. One technique I’ve found that works is to use written kitten or some other program that rewards you for typing X amount of words.

Another technique is to let the characters decide what happens next. This can be scary at first because their decisions can radically the plot line you had in place.

This is a good because it means you’re tuned in with the world of your story and have freed yourself to play around. If something doesn’t work, don’t worry be happy. Keep going until you’ve reached the end then do the big edits.

The point is to find your passion and allow it to take you over so you can reach for something beyond the ordinary and transcend the mediocre things you’ve been producing.

When I write it’s first for myself. Then on the rewrite I keep the reader in mind and remember to kill my darlings so things don’t get bogged down by dead wood and fluff.

I also take time away from writing to work on other things and recharge those creative juices by watching movies or TV, or reading something.

The point is we need to strike a balance between producing the best product we can, while indulging the creative side of ourselves. Otherwise we run the risk of getting burnt out and no one likes when that happens.

Phoenix Diaries Update

Good morning,

I hope all is well with you this Friday as you’re gearing up for labor day weekend. I’m going to my parents house and I’m a bit scared because I’m going to show them my writing for the first time.

I’ve been sharing more my writing with the critique group I’m part of and figured it was about time my family read some of my work. It’s part of what Jeff Goins calls performing in public.

Anyone can write but the only way to get better is by showing it to other people. This is why I’ve set a goal to finish the first draft of Paligenesis, book one of the Phoenix Diaries by my birthday which is in a bit over two weeks’ time.

After this I plan to switch over and rewrite/edit my first book Pinky&The Brain and then begin work on Phoenix Diaries Book Two: Ouroboros. Also I have two pieces which I plan to submit to Writer’s Digest Magazine for their column Five Minute Memoir.

For those of you who have been keeping up with the story thus far expect chapter 15 and 16 to be posted to silentbutcudly.com this weekend. Instead of making you guys wait so long between chapters I’ve decided to break each chapter into smaller parts and post those every other day or so at nifty.org so as to build a following and get my name out there more.

Well later and again enjoy the weekend.