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dlgrantsf

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Everything posted by dlgrantsf

  1. A bleak, and cold, and hungry Paris, in the late Fall of 1945. The Second World War has been over for months. Two young American soldiers, recovering from their wounds, dream only of going back home in peace. Together. As soon as possible. Together. But before their turn comes, they find themselves caught up in espionage, betrayal, and great power conflicts. They discover, that they don't know what game is being played. They discover, that they don't entirely know who to trust ... And in the end, their road home to America takes a detour to one, final, dangerous confrontation, in the very heart of shattered, Allied-occupied Berlin. Brandenburg Gate. A sequel to my previous story, China Boat. Coming soon. June 2nd. (Apologies for the book-jacket-style blurb; I really couldn't resist. It was fun. But I also wanted to alert potential readers. There is some violence, in this one.)
  2. Thank you so much, gentlemen. Thank you. -Doug
  3. I heartily second the praise. I have recommended this story to many. There is a spare simplicity to it; which is at the same time, very fraught, and emotionally expressive. It's something I've never managed. Oh, it is good. Which is not to overlook in any way Cole's many other works, which have continued to grow richer, and more compelling, over time. (Even if I haven't gotten around to reading them all yet!)
  4. Oh, Chris, thank you so much for this! There happens to be yet another resource, for all things about Shanghai: http://www.virtualshanghai.net It has enormous amounts of information about Shanghai, including a searchable database of historic photos of the city. I've spent many hours, there; and without it, I don't know if I would have even started 'China Boat'. Highly recommended. Also, for anyone who hasn't looked, recently, the story is now properly formatted for tablets and phones, in landscape and portrait orientations. My apologies for the earlier limitations, and deepest thanks to Mike for putting up with all the necessary changes.
  5. With apologies for my long absence... What happens when a too-sensitive boarding-school boy is ripped away from his classmates, his grandparents, and his best friend and secret lover- -and taken on a rushed trip to Shanghai, China, for reasons that he does not understand? And all this, in the tense and dangerous Spring, of 1937? China Boat by Douglas; coming soon.
  6. If I was flabbergasted by the kind words, before - now color me, completely gobsmacked. My deepest, deepest thanks, to each of you. Heck, all I ever wanted was for someone to READ the frigging thing! You've completely blown me away . . . (Yeah, I'm easily pleased.) Thank you all; deeply. Again.
  7. On the internet, no one can see you blush. But I'm blushing, right now. Thanks, guys; very much. And thank you, Mike, for posting the story. Without AD, I'd be reduced to frantically handing out mimeographed copies on streetcorners, getting the pages all mixed up . . . it wouldn't be a pretty sight. Nope. My warmest hugs, to all of you. I mean it.
  8. I'm very sorry, too, James. I've been there, with my own mother. All my sympathy -
  9. Oh, for heaven's sake, Wibby. The poor man's only been in office for a few days. Leave his shoes alone!
  10. Oh, did I ever stumble on this thread late . . . (Covers his face, embarrassed.) I didn't know it was here. I need to change my lurking habits. Thank you, everybody; I appreciate your comments and kind words, very, very much. Virtual hugs to you, all around -
  11. Des, you take care of yourself! Grab bars in the shower, sticky things on the tub floor . . . (oh; sorry. You know what I mean.)Seriously, don't scare us. When I go bicycling around San Francisco - especially at night - and cell phone drivers do bad things in my proximity, I wind up thinking "no, no, I can't check out right now, I've got a whole book written that still needs to be posted!" So think about your public, okay?
  12. Well, if I recall correctly, the whole episode is pretty movingly treated in Mary Renault's 'A Fire From Heaven', the first of her novels on Alexander the Great. She was a brilliant writer, and the book is very much worth reading. I did try to write my Senators about the Sacred Band, along about the time 'Don't As, Don't Tell' was being promulgated. I suspect the antiquity of the story keeps it from being taken seriously, which is a shame. (I wonder if they even mention it, in military academies like West Point?) One other point worth making. If historians like John Keegan are right - the special value of the Sacred Band was enhanced by the way wars were fought in that time. As a rule, the units that stood together, keeping their shields facing the enemy, almost always won; the units that started to flee - turning their backs to the enemy - not only lost, but suffered horrendous casualties, approaching 100 percent. The dynamic was very well understood at the time, by all sides . . . Thank you for bringing it all back to us.
  13. Oh, wonderful, Josh! I?m so glad you posted this essay; it adds so much to my appreciation of the story. Full disclosure; I?ve already exchanged emails with Josh, telling him some of my thoughts about this story ? at a little bit of length. But the important thing I left out in my email was, that it moved me . . . and I walked away from the screen, still thinking about it. Which is all I ever wanted to accomplish as a writer, myself. I did, on first read, pick up on the ?challenging? aspect of the story; that we are presented with, well, a different kind of love, something with which we?re unfamiliar, and being tested for our reactions. Our ability to accept. And I thought it was, indeed, a nice twist, effective not so much on the conscious level, as the gut level. For me, anyway. (By the way, I admired the way Tim?s choice of pronoun for Sam switched from she to he in almost mid-thought, unconsciously; nicely done.) And I think I did also understand the nature of Tim?s sacrifices for Sam . . . but I think here?s where my worldview is just a bit different from yours, Josh. I guess because I?m myself so monogamous as to be dull . . . and because I live in San Francisco near the Castro, in a neighborhood with an awful lot of (very) long term, older, gay and lesbian couples . . . because of that, I think I maybe see more daily evidence of the kinds of sacrifices we all make for love. (Not, of course, that I myself have gotten thinner, fatter, or less than the epitome of desirability I?ve always been . . . cough, cough.) Oh, that part of the story certainly still worked for me, and was absolutely central to what moved me. But on reading your posting . . . I hope you haven?t lost too much faith in humanity, and gay humanity is particular. Long term love is the human condition; and the frequency of its occurrence is not inherently moderated by sexual orientation. Humbly submitted. Other reactions. I liked all the physical love scenes between Sam and Tim! But you?ve always been very good at that. The scenes with two boys and two girls all together in ?Sealing Our Fate? were almost ? but not quite ? enough to make me reconsider my lifetime membership in the Boys Only Club. (I do sometimes wish I was more flexible, that way . . . ) And post-modernist turning away from Christianity? Oooh, oooh, what an opportunity for a pie fight! But instead, I?ll just mention in passing a new book by David Levithan, a wonderful author of young-adult books for straight and gay audiences alike. It?s called ?Wide Awake?; the plot centers around a teenage gay couple, a few decades in the future of the US, who are volunteer workers in a Presidential election whose outcome is being challenged extra-legally. He is a wonderful writer, and I recommend it. But the point is, in Levithan?s future, the Evangelical movement has undergone a sort of sea change (sorry, couldn?t resist) ? becoming much more centered on a Sermon on the Mount sort of worldview and much less, or not at all, a Levitican kind of worldview. The teenage couple has a group of Evangelical friends who love their neighbors and play Christian rock on the car stereo, on the way to support a gay Jewish President-elect. Wonderful stuff. (Levithan?s day job, by the way, is as an editor. If I recall correctly.) Anyway. A wonderful job on Masquerade, both in this kind of substance, and on so many technical levels. Thank you for posting it!
  14. Thank you both, JasonR and Camy, so much. I've told some other people, Tuesday's election makes me a little less concerned . . . but only a little. The long term outlook for the US still scares me. </politics off> As for the rest, I'm still slightly awed that the story got posted, here. The content on this site is amazing; and I've read at least some of your work ("Robert's Day" and "So Called Chaos"), and I'm flattered to be listed on the same screen. Which means, time to get back to work . . . -Douglas
  15. Thanks, all. I certainly will post here, at some point; I may have a short story freeing up soon, and if/when it does, I'll try passing it by Dude. Didn't mean to leave the impression that I'm morbidly self-questioning; I'd frame it more as me asking myself the kinds of internal questions we all do, as part of the writing process; as part of the process of reviewing our own work. And as part of the process of getting better at what we do: (it's always fun, following an author and watching him . . . improving. Over time. I have ambitions to do the same.) I will say, being relatively new to this site, that when I saw listings for quite a few of the (best) authors I know from Nifty, it was like - wow! A distinguished group; I'm looking forward to reading more.
  16. Hmmmmm . . . . wisdom. And good advice. The ?plot-driven? vs. ?character-driven? debate has been part of my head ever since Mr. Fisher?s much-dreaded Accelerated English section, in 12th Grade. I think we compared and contrasted ?Red Badge of Courage? (plot-driven) vs. something by E. M. Forster (character-driven), and I was squarely in the Forster group. Figured I?d go with the gay guy. (Mr. Fisher, ironically enough, was young and cute enough to star in many stories on this site, and was many a girl?s, and boy?s, heartthrob. Except for me, I couldn?t get past the tweed jacket and elbow patches; a turnoff.) But since then, I?ve started to write; and post on the Internet. And I know how to write to please myself, but I?ve been terrified of boring my readers. Which gets into a writer?s self-confidence, which is definitely off-topic for this thread. And, the (blessed) feedback emails I?ve received on my stuff show that . . . some readers, get what ?conflict? or change or tension I?m trying to express, or evoke; and some don?t. I think I?ll slink away and think about this, a bit. Thanks, for all the feedback. I?m slightly awed by the names on the posts listed here . . . .
  17. Hmmmmmm . . . . I've got some reading to do on this site, to catch up. I think, to me, believability of conflict is pretty essential; something arising out of the situation, as Pecman says. And that makes me more willing to roll with the story, getting to know the characters, waiting for the situation to pop up - believably. But that's me. One question - what about younger readers? The print author I cited on the first posting writes for younger gay readers, (think high school age); and I respect him enormously, he's done so much for that age group. I suspect his conflict-centric approach is deliberate. Would y'all think that's part of How To Write For The Younger Reader - ?
  18. Uh, oh. Respectful disagreement rears its head. <grin>. To me, Chapters 3 and 4 work exceedingly well. Partly, maybe, because of how I view the concept of 'conflict' - (Blue very kindly moved that post to a separate thread, and I'm very interested in how that develops) - but maybe I should have added the idea of 'Pacing', too. I originally made an analogy to 'Huckleberry Finn'. A lot of it, most of it, is an idyllic, sunlit, dreamy drift down a broad, slow river - (with, I still swear, some wonderfully homoerotic themes). Right up until the riverboat comes out of nowhere and runs the raft down on a warm, still night. To me, Real Life is like that. That charging riverboat might come around the bend two, three, or six chapters from now. Or maybe, when it comes, it misses the raft. Or maybe, we only ever just see the smoke, off in the distance . . . but we're changed by the experience. I guess my view is, in RL, conflict doesn't punch a timeclock. The randomness (of life) is scary. Especially when we have hostages to fate. Anyway. Sorry to ramble. Looking forward to the rest, Josh . . .
  19. dlgrantsf's question was a good topic in itself, so now it's in its own thread. -- Blue, as moderator This leads to a serious question I have, for readers. Authors too, actually. About conflict, in our stories. As in; how much is believable? And/or, does lack of conflict make you stop reading, and go click on another story? I follow one print author (name withheld) who likes short, snappy chapters, and conflicts ? friends arguing, lovers falling out ? happening every other page or so. Full disclosure; even though I love his characters, I find that kind of approach artificial. Not altogether believable. (All due respect, I?m new to this site; I?m not referring to anyone posting here.) In the stuff I?ve written, on Nifty, the ?conflict? tends to be more internal. Not so much the classic, boy-meets-boy, boy-loses-boy, boy-gets-boy-back; more, ?this is how I learned about life, and myself.? Or, ?these are the fears I faced up to.? Or, ?this is how I got over myself.? Because to me ? that kind of story seems more realistic; and hence, more moving. But maybe it?s just me. I love ?Huckleberry Finn?, which is mostly an idyllic and somewhat homoerotic float down a river, punctuated with a few intervals of violence and fear. And Charles Dickens . . . you get the idea. But what do you think?
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