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Everything posted by Josh

  1. Is that you, precious one? There's 2 Josh's so i'm takin' a chance here...not a huge chance from the date "last seen"

    Be well,


  2. Umm... quick caveat... I meant to paint with a broader brush than to simply paint the gay community. If anything, the straighter world is even more relationship challenged these days. And no pie fights, please. I think I'd like the book! Thanks for the kind reply, Josh
  3. Thanks for the kind words! I certainly enjoyed writing the story, and I'm especially delighted to hear that you guys (at least one or two ) liked it. In emails, a couple of readers as to why I wrote Masquerade and what I was trying to accomplish with the story. I thought I would give some answers, and in the process, reveal some of the thought processes of at least one author in the writing of one story. Since I plan to go into a little depth here, it might be best if you haven?t read the story, to skip this post for a later reading. I have been reluctantly fascinated by intersex issues for sometime. I say reluctantly because like most people, I?m naturally a little put off by the strangeness of hermaphrodite and intersexual physiology. Nevertheless, my heart has always gone out to those souls, even as my thinking and even my view of this world have always been challenged by their existence. When a recent episode of the TV show House featured a CAIS individual (though I don?t believe they called it that), and House in his typical fashion was mercilessly cruel to that person, I became as angry as ever at the House character. (Really, some writer is working out a hell of a lot of angst with that show and he or she really should pursue something else until he get?s his hatred dealt with? sheesh! But yeah, I watch the show. The writing has gotten better and it does have some really redeeming features. Anyway?) I really hate cruelty, and resolved to write a happier story for someone with CAIS. As I thought about it, I knew the story would be a challenge to write and a challenge to readers. And so, I decided to make the story a challenge to readers at several levels. A challenge to straight readers who so often compartmentalize love into good or bad based on the genders involved. A challenge to gay readers, who so often hunger for love but have so much difficulty giving it, especially to those who are physically unlovely (I know, I know? broad generalization? you?re getting out the knives and pistols? fire away!). The story has had an unusual affect on me. I almost prefer it to all of my other stories, and I think it is because of them all, this is most purely a love story, and one in which a great sacrifice is made. It is a story with a long-term commitment ? a life commitment -- and deep, abiding affection. And in this story, two of my favorite characters developed. Tim, despite the hardships of his life and wounding of his spirit, really is a good man. And Sam is an almost mythical, mystically beautiful creature... a boy/girl with a heart from the beginning, only for Tim; a heart made vulnerable because of that love and because of his body. Certainly I was afraid that readers wouldn?t stay with me through the story. Straight and bi readers might not go for it from the start, and gay readers might drop out as soon as Sam started to come on to Tim. It was a challenge to try to keep readers through all the necessary plot development, and also build sympathy on their part for the characters. I just knew that gay readers were going to hate Sam for being an interloper in the romance between Tim and Jason. And yet, the Sam character would have those feelings and perhaps at least those actions and they needed to be portrayed. It was tricky to build a heart and life for Tim that would lead him to choose Sam, despite Sam?s physiology. It was tricky to give Tim an absolute aversion to females without crossing into pathology. It was tricky giving him a gay romance that would addict him to romance without locking Sam out as a possible lover. And it was tricking giving Tim gay experiences without those experiences ruling out Sam as a possible future lover. That was another reason for the early sex scenes between Sam and Tim. (I don?t call them love scenes because they weren?t at that point.) The story had to build to a point where only Tim?s aversion to females prevented him from realizing his love for Sam. And in the process, it had to ride the edge and not go over to Sam looking for another boy to love. And so much had to be implied, like Sam?s willingness to identify as a male after discovering his condition, at least in private, because of Tim?s need for that. The only other way to write the story was for a straight guy to love Sam, and then choose to love him anyway after discovering the truth. But our audience is the gay and bi reader, and I think the story is far lovelier with a gay character making the sacrifice. For one thing, the sacrifice is much greater. When I wrote the story, I was concerned that readers would be put off by the strangeness of Sam?s condition and by the sex appearing to be bi or straight. But I have come to realize that the story could put off some readers for an entirely different reason. In this post-modern era, the thought of love requiring sacrifice is not attractive. We tend to find someone who attracts us physically, emotionally? and we love them. We screw each other until the love feeling goes away? worn down by the other person?s revealed shortcomings and the attractiveness of all those other potential lovers out there. The idea of loving someone when it is no longer convenient or easy -- loving them beyond the point at which the feelings are no longer there -- is pass?. And yet, unless we find someone who will love us in that way, we will never find the love we desire. We all have shortcomings. We all grow older, fatter, thinner? there will always be younger, more attractive lovers out there. And don?t we all have a sense of the ugly duckling in us? Especially those of us who are gay or bi... that mix of male and female, CAIS in our emotions and spirits, ambivalent in our desires... not so much as to boy or girl, but as to love and desire. Even the vainest of us know our vulnerabilities. We each long for a lover who will choose us over all others for life. Of course, that lover should be the person of our dreams? ideal physically, an exact match emotionally, and? easy to live with. Double standard is our middle name. Tim?s love is attractive. His sacrifice isn?t. I honestly believe that the post-modern antipathy to Christianity is just as much about what Christianity clearly commands as what it is perceived to forbid. A religion whose founding concept is self-sacrificing love is anathema to a society of self-serving lovers. And give me a break -- we all tend to be self-serving. Even when we do find that perfect lover, we still look at other bodies, and given half a chance to jump into bed with some good looking partner, we jump. And yet, sacrificial love is lovely. We recognize that only a lover who makes sacrifices, daily, enduringly, will stick with us, complete us, make us happy. And we long for someone like that? just someone beautiful, failing to realize what makes for beauty. I'd like to think, and the story is about, even someone like Sam having someone like Tim out there; someone made for him, who loves him no matter what; someone who lays down his own life because he?s convinced he?s found a treasure greater than all the rest the world has to offer, and who commits to enjoy that treasure as long as he lives. I find that surpassingly beautiful. I suppose I'll always try to write that kind of story.
  4. OK, guys. We posted the last of it this weekend. Be honest... if you liked it. Be kind if you didn't. I was trying to get out of my box. Josh
  5. Thanks for hosting me! I enjoyed writing SOF more than I thought I would. I began it as a simple diversion and writing exercise, and like my other stories, it grew on me. Now I'm thinking of reworking it sometime; especially chapters 3 through 5 and probably chapter 11. At the time, I had several users comment about the speed with witch the two boys entered into their sexual relationship in chapter 3. I wasn't real concerned because I knew where the story was going and felt that it would remain, overall, a sweet story. However, looking back on it now, I could pace it out a bit more. And as for chapter 11, I may have gone a bit over the top on the romantic feelings and deeper thoughts. Certainly, if the story were to go longer, I would soften up that chapter. I'm still learning the craft, and would welcome any suggestions for this story, should I rework it. And yes, everyone's after me to get The Greatest of These going again. Oh, and thank you to the readers who wrote to say they read the story. I appreciate it. And thanks to Dude for hosting.
  6. What an interesting discussion! I hope you don?t mind another guy agreeing with you (because too much agreement leads to too little angst :D ), but dramatic tension makes a story. And sadly, I?m challenged in that respect. I understand that it?s natural for city writers to include all sorts of conflict, while writers with rural backgrounds tend to write about duck hunting with their cousins on a sunny day. My roots are rural. And I think older guys sometimes find it harder to keep up the necessary tension in a story for the same reason our music gets milder as we age; our spirits mellow. I?m older. But despite those two strikes against me, I have experienced enough of the conflicts and struggles of the heart common to human relationships that if I can simply remember to write honestly about those things, there will always be a bit of tension to my stories. Truth is, all of our lives have tensions. Even what appear to be our most mundane struggles can often mask a deep turmoil. Shalom Aleichem once said that give him any randomly selected person (actually, I think he said something more like any stranger walking across the dessert or such), and he could get ten good novels from their life. Some readers have had more than enough of life?s passions and read for escape. Some, thrive on the energy of a well-conflicted story. And there are stories for both. But no matter the nature of the story ? no matter whether simple or involved ? if it is aimed for the human heart, then it should move it. And what moves hearts best is triumph; triumph through, over, or in spite of conflict. Now if I could just practice what I preach?
  7. Wow, I've got to get back here more often. You guys have been busy! First, an apology guys... I'm just not as into angst as I should be. I have some more, main-stream story ideas where I plan to angst it up with the best of them. But especially for this story, I simply wanted something that would be primarily fun, but plausible. And I know... I may avoid some clich?s like the bully jock fairly well, but this story is close enough in theme to The Least of These and Sea Change in some respects to almost be called formulaic. And I admit, I do have some favorite points to make. But honestly, after finishing the Sea Change rewrite, I only wanted some, simple story to enjoy writing. Consider it my summer vacation. Now for the future... if I do any more homo-erotic writing any time soon, I have in mind a couple of more exotic and perhaps even mysterious themes. But first, I really, really need to make a stab at that Great American Novel I intend to write. As for SOF. There is a major change in pace coming in chapter 6. And there is even a little angst at the end of 5. But what I really hope for this story is an entertaining development of the two protagonists and their relationship? and perhaps a warm and gratified feeling for the reader at the end (chapter 11). Oh, and one final apology. When I first wrote to Dude, to tell him about the story, and in correspondence afterward, I specified that it was a simple, and I hoped sweet, coming of age story. My apology is that I didn?t make that clear in the intro to the story. I?m sorry. I just hoped you?re hooked enough anyway to hang in there with me. Thanks,
  8. My editor, Michael, reminded me to keep in mind that my background might be a little different from many readers. For example, when I was thirteen and had already done some rubbing with friends, a buddy from the swim team and I tried all three of the biggies in one morning -- frot, oral, and anal. Of course we called them rubbing, blow jobs and cornholing. (And we actually did try "blowing" that first time and wondered what guys saw in it.) Of course neither of us came that morning which was probably good since we didn't have any resulting, post-coital regrets and were back at it the next day. On a different note, another author friend told me he figures that guys that age are hard wired for falling in love, which is very much like a line or two I have in the next chapter. So though some readers might think I stretched it a bit with the enthusiastic experimentation and the romance in chapter 3, from my own experience as well as that of others I've known, I don't think so. But none of it is really important if people can simply enjoy the story.
  9. I knew I would be stretching credulity with this one (though not necessarily where you found it incredulous ) but I wrote it for fun. I thought about more angst. I thought about pacing. I really don't think I'm that far off on some things. There were two areas in this story that I was concerned about. The first is romance at the age of the protagonists. It's uncommon, but not out of the question. I've received letters from readers who formed life bonds at that age. My second concern was with guilt and doubt. At that age, a lot of guys come under tremendous guilt, even for masturbation. The story will deal with some other, more real-life issues. But those two, I decided to invoke author's perogative on. I'm delighted you are taking the story seriously. I seriously wrote it for your enjoyment. And I hope you hang in there with me and forgive some of the more fantastic points. Josh
  10. Hi guys. I'm glad that you all seem to like the story so far. I've had fun with it... no, make that, I'm having fun with it. I keep tweaking chapters. Actually, I pretty much rewrote chapters 3 and 4 after first running them past Dude and TR, especially after my editor/best friend/jiber-in-chief, Michael, basically said that he told me so. :D I was a little worried with so much of the first two chapters being narrative. Normally, I like to include more dialog/action. And that is coming. I hope you guys hang in there with me. Thanks!
  11. Thanks for the encouragement, guys. I've had fun with TGOT Pt 1; continuing the story, trying out third person, working with so many characters at once. And I'm glad you like the Brandon/Jake pairing. When I wrote TLOT, I had it in mind, and hinted at Jake's interest in Brandon in the chapter where he appeared. It struck me as an interesting pairing and not at all unlikely. I'm often amazed at how opposites attract in real life. When the story continues, you may see another one or two. Oh, and before the end of part one, you'll see one more new pairing. I'll be interested in how readers respond to it since it may be one of my favorites yet. Unfortunately, it may be a little while before part two as I'm concentrating now on finishing up the re-serialization of Sea Change. But the story is mapped out. I just need a chance to get it done. Thanks, Josh
  12. Hey guys, thanks for the kind words. It's been crazy-busy, but I wanted to let ya'll know I'm doing well and I'm grateful for your comments. I wanted to thank everyone who sent their prayers and good wishes for me and a new job. I have one, and it is incredible. A perfect fit in many ways and a great workplace; good company, fine people. But it does take many long hours. And I still have other obligations. As some of you found out, I turned over my author?s email address to Michael, one of the editors of TLOT, for safe keeping. He has been answering email for me and forwarding me copies of most coming in. Once I have my feet back on the ground, time-wise, I hope to resume comrrespondance. Prior to that, I may take time to clean up TLOT. You guys are a gracious audience. When I looked back over the story, especially those early chapters, I was appalled at the syntactical errors, over-used words, etc. I?d like to clean those up and elevate the posting from rough draft to first draft status. Oh, and Michael is taking the lead in cleaning up Sea Change for a re-serialization and first-time posting here on AwesomeDude. I may look in on that project from time to time. So don?t expect my marvelous reappearance for a while, guys. But thanks for the emails, the prayers, and the kind wishes. Oh, and thanks for liking TLOT.
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