Saturday, 28 September 2013

Review - Battle For Gallerir - Anna Lee

Okay, so I haven't been as consistent as I liked with the reviewing bit, because I haven't had much time to read lately. However, I have a few ready and waiting now. Read some amazing books, partly thanks to Andrew Gordon who ran a competition which I won, giving me a $15 gift card for Dreamspinner Press where I was spoiled for choice. The two books I chose were breathtaking both in the skill of the writing and the stories. But more of that later.

First I have a review of a book by Anna Lee. Published by mlr Press I didn't realise until afterwards that this is the second book in a series. It is testament to the fact it's a stand alone book, that I had no idea it was the second book until it was pointed out, although in retrospect that explains a few extremely minor niggles about references to the past.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although there were a few tiny niggles as I pointed out below. However, it was one of those books that carries you on and entertains so the flaws don't mar the beauty. I have no problem in recommending it

All is not right in the kingdom of Galerir. The King is dying and the Crown Prince has a hard job on his hands preparing himself and his kingdom for war. Their enemies are drawing close, aided by the great black dragon Altor and Thomas has his own problems to deal with before they get here.

With the aid of his loyal knight Griffin, and two friendly dragons he must change the law, capture the traitors, try to heal the deep rifts with their neighbours, find the magical items with which to fight Altor and, through all this, fight for his right to love.

For high fantasy the story was told in a very straightforward way that was easy to follow, although there were twists and turns aplenty. The characters are richly drawn with plenty of detail and the supporting cast coloured in nicely.

If I had a complaint it was that the dialogue was sometimes a little wooden. I felt that perhaps the author was trying a little too hard to be ‘high fantasy’ when she would have been better accepting ‘extremely enjoyable fantasy’ was good enough.

I immediately warmed to Thomas and Griffin and felt that I took a journey with them. There were times I laughed, times I cried and times I got so angry I wanted to hit someone (Ronan). I felt they were real people with hopes, dreams and flaws.

All the elements of fantasy are here – knights and dragons, elves, wizards, castles and swords. However, I didn’t feel the story was formulaic and there were nice twists and details that made the tapestry a rich one. If it was a little stiff at times I could forgive it easily for the sake of the story.

More than the above, woven through the fantasy and going hand in hand with the story, is the tale of two men very much in love, who are taking a journey of discovery together; supporting each other when they stumble, raising each other when they fall and forgiving each other when they make mistakes.

I am pleased there are other stories in the series and that I can follow Thomas and Griff further on their journey. I’m hoping to meet the elves again, and maybe some dwarves. Who knows perhaps even a dragon or two.

So there you go. I hope I've whetted your appetite. If so, here are the buy links

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Gay Authors - A Community to be Proud Of

Anyone who knows me knows I started my writing career by posting stories on an online writing site, Gay Authors and that I am not slow in praising this wonderful place. Gay Authors is much more than a place to post and read stories. It's a community.

I'm very proud of what is achieved there. The community is extremely welcoming, with a discrete section for teens where young people can explore their issues with support from their peers and advice from people who have gone through the same things. This section, as well as the rest of the forum, is extremely well moderated by a staff of dedicated volunteers.

The chat room is usually lively and equally well moderated. It's a place where people of all ages from all over the world can get to know each other in a safe environment. They can chat about their favourite writers, their own works and just about anything else. One of my favourite conversations was about chemistry/quantum physics, in which I participated with Google open at all times :)

Of course, you don't have to participate in the social aspect of the site. The main focus and purpose of the site is reading and writing. You can find dozens and dozens of stories, from the first tentative steps by new young writers, to the polished works of published authors. There is a writing support team to help you find beta readers and editors to polish your own work and find the confidence to post it.

That's not even scratching the surface of the wonderful place that is GA, from a gallery or original/fan art and photographs, to blogs, weekly updates, book club, competitions, prompts - you name it and if it's connected to writing you can probably find it here.

Today, I have the absolute honour to interview the god...erm... founder of GA, known only as Myr. The man is a genius. Not only has he built the best writing site on the internet, but he maintains it and is constantly pushing it forward. So let's meet the man behind the legend

I'm not going to ask too much about the man behind the avatar, but I would be interested in some background.

Do you have a background in computing, particularly in building websites, blogs etc.
Yes.  I had my own website as far back as 1995.  This was before well… most things.  It has always been a hobby for me as part of my general interest in computers and programming. 

What are your interests outside the computing world. For example, do you like sky diving? Crochet? Dog racing?
I love to read and write.  I love movies.  I love to take pictures too.  I love roller coasters and trains.  

What is your favourite holiday destination?
I’m presuming by holiday you mean vacation?    Holidays I go to my grandparents, typically.  Vacations?  Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL is a favorite.  I also really like Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH (America’s Roller Coast, as they call themselves)

Okay, lets get down to business - GA

What was the concept and intention behind GA, in other words, why did you do it?
My intention when I started GA was to have all my favorite Nifty authors in one place and form a little community that also liked those authors. 

 Has it fulfilled its potential?
More than I ever imagine.  We had over 90,000 unique visitors and 1.7 million hits in the last 30 days.  It makes for a very busy site for us.  Most of our visitors are just reading though.  The community, as extraordinary as it is, only accounts for about 1/3 of site traffic.

What are your plans for the future of GA?
The Paradigm we started under has shifted.  When we first started the site, if you wanted to read gay stories of any quality, you had to find them yourselves.  When I started the site, I brought authors together.  A lot of other sites followed that did the same, giving homes to the writers.  But eBooks have come along and it is now exceedingly easy to not only post an eBook of your writing somewhere, but to sell it and make some money too!  Being a site that still offers only episodic stories would eventually leave us as a small niche place to read. 

So we are focusing on joining the new revolution of social media and eBook creating, and selling.  Technically speaking, we are already a publisher, as we can now provide ISBN and other eBook services.   We will be growing that over the next year or two. 

There is also a rather large software update coming from the company that provides our forum software.  We are going to take that opportunity to update our own Story software to add features and ease of use User Interface updates.  As we get closer to the time, we plan on working heavily with our site members to determine what they want most to make Gay Authors better for them.

What are you most proud of?
I’m very proud of our community.  It has stayed strong over the years and has grown every year.  I have made many great friendships here and I look forward to seeing where our community takes us next 

What's surprised you the most?
 I’ve been surprised that we have continued to adapt and grow.  I’ve watched a lot of sites come and go.  While it is quite true that some of the sites that started before us are still around, they are pretty stagnant in many ways.  Nifty, of course, is an institution.  But their target audience is different from ours as well. 

What have you found to be the most rewarding part of making and running GA?
 A handful of times over the years, I’ve gotten an email or message from a member thanking me for running the site saying that if it wasn’t for Gay Authors, they wouldn’t have found the friends or the support they needed and would have committed suicide.  On the toughest days for me to keep pushing forward, I remember those letters, and keep going with Gay Authors.

What does GA have to offer readers and writers?
Gay Authors offers a great place to read quality gay fiction.  For writers, it is a chance to post and have you control your work.  For everyone, it is a great place to interact.  Writers can get to know their audience and readers can get to know their entertainer, so to speak.  I think that interaction leads to better writing and reading experiences.

What does GA have that other online story sites don't have?
We keep moving forward.  We try to take advantage of new technology as it becomes mainstream to improve the experience of all our site members.  We don’t tend to stagnant.  Things change and get updated.

Thank you, Myr. I really enjoyed your interview that's thrown some light on the enigma behind the avatar.

GA members have begun to have commercial success and become published authors. A selection of ebooks and are available for sale on GA  

WARNING All of these stories have sexual content, some more than others, some more graphic than others. I've tried to give a selection. 

As well as purchasing published books you will be able to read an enormous range of free stories by vastly differing authors. Good and bad. I would particularly recommend

Not only that but, once you've joined the site, you can post your own stories, find editors to enhance them, build a following, join a thriving community and chat to others just like you.

I hope I've given you enough to whet your appetite and to encourage you to dunk your toe into the vast, deep ocean that is GA 

WARNING This site his highly addictive and viewer discretion should be used with regard to the number of hours per day lost without realizing when reading, writing and communicating.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Wednesday Briefs In the Arms of an Angel - Three In A Bed II

Here we are on Wednesday morning, getting ready for work and pausing for a flash. I can't believe it's going to be October next week. I must be getting old because time is just flying away from me. This week, I've chosen Spam and Chips as the prompts, God knows why. Actually, God doesn't know why, at least, two of them don't and Uzzy only knows he's been 'infected with human' :)

Pasha moaned, as best he could with his mouth full and forced himself not to bite down as Gabri’el worked his fingers inside while Uzzy made good use of his tongue and teeth on the outside.  He was totally unable to do anything other than compress his lips around Uzzy’s shaft and suck. He lost the ability to do even that when both Uzzy and Gabri’el, still with that uncanny synchronism stepped up their attacks on his equilibrium.

Forced to let Uzzy go, Pasha ground his teeth and moaned, arching his back. Gabr’el’s free hand kneaded his buttock, while Uzzy’s ran up and down over his sides, sending shivers through him.

When Gabri’el’s fingers withdrew Pasha moaned with loss but not for long. Uzzy gripped his hips to brace him as Gabri’el parted his buttocks and pressed against his opening.

“Are you ready to grant me entrance?”

“Just do it,” Pasha moaned. “Please.”

“I have a feeling this is more than just sex, Pasha. If we go on; if I expel my seed within you, there will be no going back. We will be joined forever. For better or worse.”

Pasha didn’t have to think. “Do it.”

“Pasha, do you understand…?”

“Just fucking do it. I understand. We’ll be joined forever. As if we aren’t already. As if any of us can go back from this. Do it,” he screamed, then screamed again as Gabri’el did.

Gabri’el was not small and he filled Pasha as Pasha had never been filled before. At first he was still, letting Pasha become acclimatised to the intrusion. Pasha’s muscles twitched and spasms. With a long, low moan he pressed back against Gabri’el while Uzzy raised himself to follow his cock.

“Oh God. Oh God,” Pasha panted as Gabri’el increased his speed and depth. He was getting short of breath. Electric shocks were running up and down his spine, fizzing, then popping in his head, sending little bursts of light flashing in front of his eyes.

Gabri’el  grunted as he thrust, deeper and deeper. His fingers dug into Pasha’s flesh. It hurt but it was a good pain, a great pain, and another was building inside – or was it pleasure. The borders blurred and shifted and shuddered deeply. Hid brain was backfiring, unable to decide if it wanted his body to thrust back onto Gabri’el, or forward into Uzzy. Both of them were going deeper and deeper and the pressure building in his gut was making his eyes roll.

He tried to call out, to say he was close, but he couldn’t speak. Gabri’el bent forward and whispered in his ear.  “Come for me.” It was too much. He slammed back against Gabri’el, as Uzzy worked him hard and his whole body shook like crazy as he came hard and fast. As his muscles contracted hard around Gabri’el, Gabri’el cried out and exploded inside him.

For a moment, no one moved, then Uzzy slid out from under Pasha and Pasha collapsed, gasping. Gabri’el rolled sideways to avoid crushing him and they both lay sprawled out and trembling with after shocks. 

Gradually, Pasha became aware of featherlight strokes on his chest and light kisses, moving from his belly upwards. By the time he was fully aware, Uzzy had reached his nipple and bit hard. Pasha cried out and grabbed his hair tugging upwards until their lips met.

They kissed softly, then Uzzy curled into his side, while Gabri’el crawled up to tuck himself around Uzzy. 

For a while they merely lay, content, listening to the crackling of the fire and allowing their hands to wander over whatever skin they could reach, not caring who it belonged to.

Uzzy made little noises of pleasure and sleepiness, nuzzling into Pasha’s shoulder. Pasha would have let him drift off and followed him willingly, but Gabri’el raised his head and smiled at him, his eyes glowing and holding a wicked expression.

“Shall we pluck the little flower and plough his field?” Gabri’el said huskily.

“I think we should pluck him good.”

“Mhm.” Uzzy purred and blinked up at Pasha, like a sleepy kitten, but one who was about to leap for the ball of string. “I’m hungry,” he whined.

“You’ve already eaten,” Gabri’el said, “Hasn’t he, Pasha?”

For a moment, Pasha didn’t know what he was implying. “Oh  yes, my love. You’ve just had a meal of me and now I’m hungry for you.”

“Wish we had peaches.”

“You don’t need peaches to make you sweet.”

Uzzy gazed up at him, looking more like an angel than ever, with his blue eyes and golden curls. Pasha kissed his soft, warm lips and it suddenly hit him. This is heaven, literally heaven. Maybe he’d got there by a wing and a prayer but he was here now. One lover lay under him and the other was stroking his hair and his back and he felt exactly what he was – A God. Raising his head he saw an expression in Gabri’el’s eyes that told him he was thinking the same thing.

“Come on, my Gods, send me to heaven.”

“We’re already here.”

“Yeah well, you’re thinking literal and I’m thinking metaphorical. I’m hungry so either you make me spam and chips or make me forget about it.”

“Spam and chips? We’re Gods, in heaven…kind of. We could have anything, absolutely anything and you 
want spam and chips?”

“I got infected with human.” Uzzy fluttered his eyelashes and threw Pasha a hot look.

“Then it’s time we did some serious distracting,” Gabri’el said. Pasha agreed and they both pounced.

We're just about at the end of the line with our boys. I would think two more chapters will do it. I have to finish of the sweet lurving and then round it off. It seems as if we'll be done just in time for some spooky stuff for Halloween.

Now hasten unto the blogs of my fellow flashers and have a great day.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Banned Books Week

Thanks to a friend, JeriWB I learned that next week 22 - 28 September is Banned Books Week, and it got me to thinking about banned books and banning books. Some rather noteworthy books have been banned in the past, books like

Lady Chatterley's Lover by DH Lawrence
The explicit scenes of love (not by today's standards) between Lady Chatterley and her 'servant' lover was banned in the UK between 1928 and 1960 when Penguin fought in the courts for the right to publish. It went on to become a classic

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Banned in many US libraries in the 1930's and 1950's for daring to have a strong, independent and even stubborn female character, God forbid one's wives and daughters get ideas from that. Also it was clearly flirting with the satanic with its characters of witches, flying monkeys and talking animals.

Ulysses by James Joyce
Despite being hailed as one of the most important works of literature of the twentieth century it was declared obscene by a court in the US and banned due to its reference to masturbation

Harry Potter
The first four books made it to the list of the most banned books in America for promoting witchcraft and the occult

The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall
Banned for obscenity after a trial, even though there is nothing more than a kiss - between two women, which was considered likely to 'deprave and corrupt'.

There are many more. It appears ridiculous now, looking back, but at the time people were very serious about it, serious enough to go to court to support (or suppress) the right of free speech. It would seem that freedom of speech is fine provided it/'s 'freedom to speak in a way I find acceptable'.

Recently, paypal has instituted new policies with regard to 'obscene' publications and have introduced sanctions to those distributors who continue to distribute them. Smashwords, for one, have ceased accepting books which they consider cross this like.

The offending content includes, incest, bestiality, rape-for-titillation and under age erotica. For a more in depth discussion of the subject, including paypal's previous foray into censorship with its treatment of WikiLeaks see Here

Well, you may say, those are objectionable things. It's right there should be no under age erotica, no incest. Really? How erotic is erotic? In 'The Well of Loneliness', it was a kiss. Harry and Ginny are screwed then. Oops, sorry, they're hetero so that's okay. What about the homo-eroticism in 'Lord of the Flies'?

In any event, is censorship by organizations like paypal EVER justified, no matter what the content? Is censorship of books EVER acceptable?

I'm leaning heavily toward the 'no'. If freedom of speech becomes objective where is the road going to lead? When one group of people have the right to prevent another group writing, or reading, whatever it wants it's going to lead down a dark road, no matter how justifiable it might seem objectively

So, I happen to think Banned Books Week is an awesome idea, a way to bring the word to people that when someone is there in the background, chipping away at our rights and freedoms you - all of you - and your children are the ones who are going to pay in the end.

For more information look here

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Wednesday Briefs - In The Arms of an Angel - Three in a Bed Pt 1

By popular demand, Uzzy, Pasha and Gabri'el get to know each other in the best possible way. As for the prompt this week, if you haven't already read it, may I suggest you read Chapters 32 and 33 to understand the reference to peaches.

After Gabri’el called in The Host and set them to conduct a thorough search and inventory of the complex, Uzzy took them back to the suite where they’d first met Ari. “I guess this is ours now,” he said with a sigh as he lowered himself onto the plush sofa. I’ll have to show you how everything works, but not tonight. I’m too exhausted.”

“What do you mean, ‘how everything works’?” Pasha asked, sitting beside him and snuggling into his side.
Uzzy smiled at him with open adoration in his gaze and gently stroked his cheek. “I missed you,” he said hoarsely.

“I missed you, too.”

Caressing his mate with his gaze, Uzzy raised his hand and brushed it over the arm of the sofa. Pasha gasped as the sofa seat shot out beneath his legs and stretched away until they found themselves lying on a huge, four poster bed. In the fireplace, the fire flared, its flames crackling comfortably.

“How the hell did you do that?”

“I’ll show you tomorrow. It’s a knack. You’ll pick it up. All you need to do is touch something and you can alter their composition. Nothing here is the same as it is out there. Things are not as…solid as they seem. Most of it’s made of magic, which is why it’s so easy to change. I’ll teach you.”

“Okay. I don’t think anything would surprise me in this place.”

“I don’t know. I’m sure I could find something if I tried hard enough.”

“No need to try. You always surprise me.”

Uzzy smiled, and pushed him back on the soft, fluffy pillows that had appeared along with the bed.  His eyes glittered in the firelight. “Got any peaches?” he said huskily.

For a moment Pasha was utterly confused, then he remembered the last time they’d been together like this. “Maybe next time,” he said, feeling lazy and comfortable.

Pasha sighed contentedly and closed his eyes as Uzzy began to undo the buttons on his shirt. His sighs deepened as Uzzy opened the shirt and started dropping kissed over his chest. His skin prickled with the crackling blue energy that sparked and tickled with every touch of Uzzy’s lips and he allowed himself to be submerged in the sensation.  He moaned softly and writhed as hands pulled at his trousers and slipped them down over his hips. 

Uzzy’s hands were everywhere, caressing, tweaking, stroking. His lips seemed to be everywhere, too. Something didn’t quite add up and Pasha opened his eyes. He was met with a sight that, at first shocked him. He froze and gazed up into Gabri’el’s smiling face. His emotions were thrown into turmoil and he stared for so long the smile began to slip from Gabri’el’s face. And then Pasha saw the rainbows in Gabri’el’s eyes and a switch flicked. Reaching up, Pasha buried his hands in Gabri’el’s hair and pulled his head down to kiss deeply.

With Gabri’el’s mouth on his and Uzzy’s sucking at a nipple, Pasha found himself completely swept away and, after only a short time it became unbearable. He twisted away from Uzzy and pushed Gabri’el onto his back. Raising his eyes to Uzzy, he grinned and Uzzy returned it.

“What…?” Gabri’el asked and Pasha silenced him with a kiss, while Uzzy quickly stripped him, then shucked his own clothes before stretching out on the other side of Gabri’el, teasing him with light strokes until he started to tremble.

Releasing Gabri’el’s mouth, Pasha leaned across him and kissed Uzzy deeply as three of his fingers curled in the dark hairs on Gabriel’s chest and tugged gently, while his thumb and forefinger rolled a nipple. Gabri’el moaned and shuddered, writhing as Uzzy replaced Pasha, kissing his lips while Pasha released his nipple with his fingers and replaced them with his teeth, making Gabri’el squirm even more.

Pasha had to admit to a pang of jealousy when Uzzy shifted his position to bury his nose between Gabri’el’s legs. Although he couldn’t see what he was doing he could see the results on Gabri’el who started to shake in earnest. It was momentarily though, because then his vision was filled with the luscious sight of Gabri’el’s rock hard cock waving in front of his face and he was unable to resist.

Uzzy raised his head slightly and his eyes met Pasha’s as he started to lick Gabri’el’s balls. Gabri’el fisted Pasha’s hair as Pasha licked then suckled his throbbing cock. Little mewling sounds came from the enigmatic soldier as Pasha sucked harder, taking Gabri’el further into his mouth, and Uzzy rolled his balls with his tongue.

Pasha jumped when Gabri’el’s finger slipped between his ass cheeks and massaged his hole. He squeaked and Gabri’el whimpered at the vibrations. Moaning, as Gabri’el massaged him more and more firmly, Pasha swallowed him deeper and began to bob. Gabri’el thrust into his mouth as his finger popped passed his barrier and slipped deeper inside. Pasha lost total awareness of what Uzzy was doing as he had to focus hard on maintaining his rhythm as Gabri’el  slowly finger fucked him.

Wriggling, his ass, to receive a second finger, Pasha sucked harder and swallowed deeper until Gabri’el moaned. “I’m close.” Pasha was ready to swallow him, but Uzzy pushed him gently backwards until Gabri’el popped out of his mouth.

Gabri’el  and Uzzy seemed almost to be in mental contact when Gabri’el slid from under him to be replaced by Uzzy. Gabri’el positioned himself behind Pasha and raised his hips while Uzzy wriggled under him to work him deeply into his mouth. At the same time, Uzzy’s pretty cock, velvety and hard was just impossible to resist. Pasha almost regretted taking it in though, when he very nearly bit him as Gabri’el’s fingers thrust into him, hard and fast, finding his sweet spot and sending shock waves through him and rainbows flashing in front of his eyes.


Now go check out the rest of the flashers. There are some delectable tidbits this week.