Rec: Red July

Title: Red July
Author: Sloane Pryor
Format: Novel
Published/Free: Free
Length: 2k+ words per chapter
Status: WIP
Rating: Mature
Warnings: violence, homophobia, blood
Link: (available on three sites) AO3 linkFictionPress linkWattpad link
Summary: It’s the 1950s and greaser vampires are as real as boys who fall in love with other boys, but both must keep their true nature hidden from the world.

The year is 1958, summer has arrived, and all Parker wants to do is hide his fair skin from the cruel sun until it’s over. He’s been spending a lot of time with a cat named Coop that seems to feels the same way, lounging in his grandfather’s bookstore with him. One night, when Parker comes across a man stripping down to nothing in the woods, he discovers Coop is not a cat at all, but a shapeshifting vampire who takes the animal form to go out in the day, and is a motorcycle riding, leather-clad young man at night.

In a battle between fear and fascination, fascination wins, and Parker becomes close with the vampire, determined to learn more about Coop and his world. Coop, however, is reluctant to let their friendship deepen, but he can’t resist the blood Parker is willing to trade to get the answers he seeks.

Review: I’m submitting my own work so I won’t leave a review. I’ll just say, if you’re into greasers, vampires, and coming of age/new adult content, you might enjoy this story!

Rec: Can’t A Guy Visit A Friend?

Title: Can’t A Guy Visit A Friend
Author: TheCaliMack
Format: Short Story
Published/Free: Free
Status: Complete
Rating: Teen/Mature (depends)
Warnings: mentions of suicide
Link: AO3 | GayAuthors.org
Summary: Miguel comes to visit his friend Tristan, but notices something is amiss when the man opens his door to him.

Intuition has never failed him before, but it never prepared him for what he’d see.

Review: I’m sharing my own work, but reviews so far mention it as moving and heartbreaking and one of the most emotional writings they have ever read. I felt honored and I thought I’d share it some more with the rest of you.

No one dies. That’s all I’m saying.

Rec: Tunnel Vision

Title: Tunnel Vision
Author: NomNomNami
Format: Visual Novel
Published/Free: free/name your own price
Length: 20min
Status: Complete
Rating: Everyone
Warnings: death mention
Link:  https://nomnomnami.itch.io/tunnel-vision
Summary: Two girls go on a cave expedition searching for ghosts. As they get separated, a ghost appears.

Review: Cute short story! The two main characters form an interesting pair. An alternative font for dyslexic people is available, just like translations into Korean and Portuguese.

Rec: Girl Crush

Title: Girl Crush
Author: Bix Lewd
Format: visual novel (Windows/Mac/browser)
Published/Free: Free
Length: 20-30min?
Status: Complete
Rating: Mature
Warnings: explicit sex, including spanking
Link: https://girlcrush.itch.io/girl-crush
Summary: You are a female university student who becomes friends with Quinn, a straight-laced overachiever. As you visit Quinn’s dorm room each day to study together your friendship evolves into a steamy romance

Review: This is the kind of game you’ll go back to, even after playing it all, because the sweetness of it will make your day brighter. It’s slightly repetitive, short and doesn’t offer that much art, but its defaults are also its strengths: you don’t have to think much after a long day, it always ends well and you get to cheer on those  two cuties! The art is really good and the writing totally gets you into it. As nice as candy!

Rec: Artistic Process

Title: Artistic Process
Author: Red-Vaporeon
Format: Webcomic
Published/Free: Free
Length: So far 17 pages
Status: Wip
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Smoking of cigarettes and weed
Link: red-vaporeon-draws.tumblr.com
Summary: It’s a story about teens in highschool that lead with things like hyper-masculinity, being disabled, being lgbt, and racism. We follow the characters as they individually deal with their struggles and start expressing themselves in new ways, and slowly accepting themselves.

Rec: Judgement, Part 1: Bag of Tools (Series)

Title: Judgement, Part 1: Bag of Tools
Author: Mexta (AO3), Mexta (Blogspot, complete list of her other original works)
Format: Novel (Book one of planned trilogy)
Published/Free: Free
Length: 85,368 words (24 chapters)
Status: Finished
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Violence. Abuse, including underage. Noncon and dubcon. Voluntary submission, masochism, D/s. Large age gap. Sex, mainly implied. Dubious morality. Slavery too (but weirdly consensual, just read it, you’ll understand)
Link: AO3 for book 1, index of complete works (except the third book)
Summary: This is Tom’s story. Born in the near-future and growing up on the desolate streets of one of the last inner city neighborhoods, he’s a local kingpin before he reaches adolescence. Facing a bleak future, he looks for a way out – and finds it when he’s adopted by a wealthy, well-known family. But what happens when a boy who’s never known innocence gets a second chance at childhood?

Review: Absolutely engaging story. 

It’s such an exquisite writing with really advanced characterization and character development. In terms of plot, it’s not grandeur or larger-than-life, but the pacing and the story gradual transformation is so gripping and it’s just pulling you in. The world-building is also absolutely grounded and realistic but also elaborate and creative at the same time. It doesn’t feel like the writer is trying to make an explosive or huge-deal world, but it’s intricate in its own way. 

This isn’t exactly “slash” or LGBTQ+ centered story, but I think that’s the best part of it. It’s so normalized in the universe (including polyamory and everything) that it’s not taking you away from the core message of the story. Being queer here isn’t queer.

It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, but if you’re into morality conflict story, this is the one for you. It definitely deserves much bigger recognition.

Rec: Crosscurrents

Title: Crosscurrents
Author: Adam Phillips
Format: Novel
Published/Free: Free
Length: 266,000 words
Status: Complete
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Contains m/f as well as m/m; some angst.
Link: https://www.gayauthors.org/story/adam-phillips/crosscurrents
Summary: Andy and Matt, best friends and teammates from childhood, grow together, learn together, and struggle to remain friends when their evolving relationship outpaces their ability to understand it.

Review: A high school story with some autobiographical elements, this is one of the few stories out there that addresses bisexuality in a realistic, honest way. Andy is in many ways the quintessential high school jock, and can come across as arrogant at times, but he’s also remarkably self-aware.

(Original Post)

Rec: Daron’s Guitar Chronicles

Title: Daron’s Guitar Chronicles
Author: Cecilia Tan
Format: Webserial / Novel
Published/Free: Free / Published (the books are regularly compiled and published)
Length: 1,074,459 words and counting
Status: WIP
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Homophobia, drugs, violence, angst,
Link: http://daron.ceciliatan.com/start-here or get the published books here: http://daron.ceciliatan.com/shopping-cart
Summary: Tells the story of Daron Moondog (né Marks) from about the time he was eighteen onward. He arrives at RIMCon (Rhode Island Musical Conservatory) in the mid-1980s, desperate to leave behind a dysfunctional family in New Jersey’s suburbs and discover himself. It’s the advent of MTV, AIDS, and punk versus metal, all of which would affect his journey searching for fame, artistic expression, and the courage to seek out the sex and love he needs.

Daron’s Guitar Chronicles is a bildungsroman, which is a fancy word for a novel where the coming of age process is long and gradual.

Review: This is an other long running series and favourite of mine I was surprised to see had not been recced before (maybe it was, back on livejournal?). Anyway, I’m a sucker for well-written, long, regularly updating WIPs, and this one is one of my favourites. It’s been running since 2009 and it just keeps growing as does the main character and his career and relationships. It has a great balance of action, romance, music industry business, friendships, family problems… And it has a very good path too, doesn’t get too slow, but it doesn’t really gloss over anything. Might be a bit slow for some people, but I assure you, none of those 1000k words are the character rambling just to prolong things. A lot of things happen and the story has been staying interesting all this time. That in itself is worth checking out 🙂
(Sorry if my review is a bit vague, I am a bit new at this reviewing business.)

Rec: Exiles

Title: Exiles
Author: Wordsmith1994
Format: Novel
Published/Free: Free
Length: Currently has 30,000+ (ongoing, updates frequently)
Rating: Mature, might be more in future chapters
Warnings: Violence, mature rated stuff like sex, mention of drug use and minor drinking
Link: FictionPress
Summary: In a post first-contact world, 17 year old Wilf and his father struggle to survive. Fleeing NYC in search of work, Wilf falls in love with a beautiful half alien girl. He soon becomes entangled in her powerful and dominating alien father’s web of control over a small northern town. As he is increasingly involved in the violence of this new world, he is forced to chose sides.
Summary by me: Aliens invaded Earth around when Wilf was born. His mother joined the resistance that struggled against the invasion, while his father remained at home and raised Wilf up in a world that was constantly changing. 
Now that they moved to a new town when aliens and humans live closely together, Wilf tries to find his place among the hierarchy of the town.
Archer, the town’s ‘leader’ and the father of Wilf’s girlfriend seems to… be very fond of Wilf.  

Review: I write this recommendation mostly because I feel that this story is waaayyyy underrated for how good it is and how well written. From the first moment I started reading the very first chapter I noticed that this story may be the most original plot and topic that I’ve read in a looong while in a free fiction. 
The characters, the topic itself, the writing skill, the scenes and the development are all very much there, and in a good way. 

It is slightly dark and mysterious, but if you liked things like The Erlking of bergdis Valley and other supernatural-schi-fi-fantasy mature stories you will seriously like this one. 

Rec: Catalina Blues

Title: Catalina Blues
Author: Marlo York
Format: Novella
Published/Free: Free
Length: 28,200 words
Status: Complete
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Homophobia, violence.
Link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/631563
Summary: Stranded in the Pacific Ocean during WWII, an American gunner and a Polish ace pilot discover that a brief romance can help them get to the other side of the war. For a few days they can get away with loving one another.

Review: This story is part of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group’s Don’t Read in the Closet events. During these events, members post photos and prompts for stories they’d like to see. What particularly intrigued me about Catalina Blues was that the photo used is a historical one from World War II. (History buffs, or in-the-buff buffs, can check it out here. Warning – naked guy.)

This is a well-written story about young lovers finding each other in the midst of battle. Leon is living with the fear of death, as well as the fear that his sexuality will be discovered. Nikifor (Kip) is desperately holding on to the last remnants of his obliterated home town. Good sense should have kept them apart. Luckily, they are both too young to have developed much good sense because they may have just what the other one needs for happiness.