It’s seems like a lifetime ago…
Then again, I was a completely different person when I started writing as ‘Comicality’ online. For those of you who have been with me from the very beginning, I’m willing to bet that you were completely different people too. Hehehe!
I was living with my very best friend at the time. A cramped, tiny, little apartment in downtown Chicago. And I had ‘secretly’ been in love with him since I was 14 years old. Oh man, looking back, I was SO head over heels for that boy! Hahaha! And then, nine years later, we were living together, working together, going to college classes together…I think that I actually reached a boiling point where the sexual frustration got to be too much for me to handle.
At the time, I was still wet behind the ears when it came to being online. Still a bit paranoid about my attractions as well. But I figured a few things out, and ummmm…let’s just say that a few naughty hook ups were made during that time. Hehehe! And I SORT OF enjoyed them, but…I was lost in a huge dilemma. I found myself being able to ‘have’ boys that I didn’t really love, but was in love with a boy that I couldn’t really ‘have’. And, I won’t lie…it tormented me for a long time.
I don’t remember what the heck I was looking for online at the time, but it led me to a story about two cute boys sunbathing on a boat while on vacation. And as I continued to read…things got a little heated. Then they got sexual, but in a way that I thought was sweet and heartwarming, you know? I followed the link at the top, and discovered the Nifty Archive for the first time.
Ahem….sooooo….about 50 boxes worth of wasted tissues later…LOL…
I got over the sexy parts of the stories that I was reading, and began looking for something with a bit more ‘story’ to it. As I always say, when it comes to writing out a sex story…there are only so many holes you can fill. And at the time there was a lot of ‘boy meets boy’, ‘boy thinks other boy is the hottest boy he’s ever seen’, ‘other boy turns out to be gay’, ‘they screw like jack rabbits’, ‘the end’, stories. Which, don’t get me wrong…I definitely love the occasional stroke material formula myself. Nothing wrong with that at all. But, considering where I was in my life at that point, and living with someone that I felt so close to and yet so distant from at the same time, I began looking for stories that had some real heart in them. Some romance. A few shy glances and some giggles thrown in. I found some that I really loved and found touching, and found a few authors like Savoir Faire, Jaxsper Finn, and Dean Lidster, that I felt always got the tone JUST right! That made me want to reach out and talk to them and show my appreciation for their hard work, and eventually…the idea entered my mind that, “Hey! Why don’t *I* try writing my own story?” Something that I would like to read online. Something that was exactly what I wanted to see, and experience, and feel in my heart. The story I wish I could have had with my best friend and love of my life up to that point. About the many boys that I used to have a huge crush on. The boys in movies and on TV that I dreamed about. What if I could take those fantasies and put them into words and write them down for the world to see?
And…on June 19th, 1998…at about 3 O’clock in the morning…that’s exactly what I did.
“New Kid In School” was the name of the story. Pretty generic now that I think about it, hehehe! I typed the entire story out as a first draft in one sitting. It took me a few hours, and I actually wrote the whole thing in an email. Then I sent it into Nifty, hoping that they would accept it. And…the rest is history.
Comments started coming in the same day that it was posted. More than I expected, to be honest. I began to continue Ryan and Randy’s story, and added some new tales that I also wanted to tell. More people began to find them and sent compliments and feedback about them. The site was built to hold them all, then a strong message board community was built, then a chatroom for us to talk to each other in real time…it was insane. The more people got involved and wrote in just to say hi, the more I wanted to write new material. But I think it was the teens that I heard from that affected me the most. Some of them actually came out to their parents, or the friends, because of those stories. Some found the courage to go on their first date, or found true love, or found comfort and solace in the stories of boys just like them who just wanted to feel normal for a little while. And sometimes…suicides had been avoided. All because I was sexually frustrated one night and wanted to write something to help me let off some steam. Hehehe!
Well, it’s been 22 years now. June 19th is approaching again, and the Shack Out Back is celebrating another birthday. And through struggle and strife, through computer crashes and malfunctions, through arguments and online witch hunts and hatred from the most determined trolls alive…we’re still standing. In fact, I don’t think there’s a single website that started back when I started that’s still around, with the exception of Nifty itself. I won’t lie…it hasn’t been an easy road to travel. I’ve had my doubts. Times when I wanted to quit and pack it up. Times when I was overwhelmed. Times when I lost material, or had my heart shattered into a million pieces, and times when it felt like the whole site was in a state of chaos that didn’t seem like it was worth saving. But, at the end of the day…we always come back. We always find the strength to move forward, to rebuild, and to stand taller than we ever did before. And I have all of you guys to thank for that.
When I talk about The Shack…I always say ‘we’. That’s not a mistake. My name may be at the top of the website, but it’s all of us together that has made this site what it is. I know that we all get busy, and sometimes we just get lazy, hehehe…but over the years, it was YOU that made this place work. We’re a family, and we always will be. No matter what. No one will ever be able to take that away from us. Never.
You guys have changed my life. I don’t know who I’d be without your influence. I honestly don’t. You’ve given me drive and purpose in my life, the likes that I’ve never had before. I’ve never been rich, or famous, or glamorous…I was a middle class kid who was scared of his own desires and trying to fight off the lingering effects of his physically abusive father. Trying to forget those dark moments when…I simply didn’t want to live anymore. But, because of this site, and your friendship, and just knowing that I might actually help some of these kids out here who have it just as bad or even worse than I did…it’s made every moment of doubt, frustration, heartbreak, and depression, worth it. I’ve met some really AMAZING people in my life because of this place! Both online and in real life. I’ve shared parts of myself that I never thought I’d be able to talk about without having a complete mental breakdown. And I’m thankful.
I’m SO thankful!!!
This month, I’d really like to send out a message to give you all the praises and appreciation that I possibly can. Most of you guys started reading when you were in your early teens, and have grown up with the rest of us, hopefully with an elevated perspective on life in general. Hehehe! I’ve watched you guys become amazing adults in your own right, talked to you and listened to your questions and concerns through hard times…and it’s been an incredible journey for us both. My teen audience has taught me way more than I’ve ever could have taught them, believe me. And I want to thank you all for that. I know that I sometimes get all wrapped up in writing stories and doing stuff for the site, and it may seem like I’ve gotten complacent or that I’ve taken you guys for granted because I don’t take just a few seconds to say ‘thank you’. I really don’t mean to. I don’t EVER want to take what you’ve done for me for granted. Please know, that every waking moment of my life, and every word that I’ve written in this…MONSTROUS collection of stories (I’ve lost track of how many at this point), hehehe…is because of the love and support that you’ve given me over the years. It has been SUCH a long and exciting ride for us, and there is SO much more to come!
So thanks to all of you for that!
You’re all Shackers! And that makes you family! Stay beautiful! And remember…I love you too!
As many of you know, I have been spending a LOT of my writing time getting a bunch of ebooks edited from scratch, with a bunch of new material and corrections made to make them the best product possible. As always, I’m not looking to get rich. Hehehe, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, George R.R. Martin, I’m not! LOL! But, while I’m doing ok at the moment, my finances are far from being infinite. And depending on how long the current Covid-19 pandemic lasts, those ebooks my have to act as my only income for a while.
My art is all I have to give. And if there was ever a time to prove that I’m capable of making my writing my bread and butter, it would be now. So I’ve definitely been giving it my all, and you will all be seeing those concentrated efforts coming to fruition in the months to come! I’ve actually had a lot of fun revisiting a lot of these stories and characters. And with some formatting help (Special thanks goes out to Cryptic!!!), some of my previous efforts can now get released the way that I wanted them to!
So expect some goodies to pop up alongside the regular posting of stories on the site! I’ve got WAY more stories to tell! And all of my ebooks can be found HERE if you want one! Or two! Or TEN!!! Hehehe, grab them all…like Pokemon! 🙂
(Available In Fall 2020) I’ve really enjoyed being able to share my ‘Daydream’ stories with you guys. Short, sweet, and to the point. They’ve always been my attempt to capture those youthful moments in time that we can all relate to. Some of them innocent…and some not so innocent. Hehehe! But all memories that we can take to heart, and experience again through the eyes of these characters. Small collections of completed short stories, this will be the third volume in this series of books. Including stories such as “Connor’s Best”, “I Could Tell”, “Special Delivery”, “Shared Blankets”, “Mother, May I?” and others. So keep an eye for it soon!
(Coming Soon) As this series is finally coming to an end on the website, I’ve gone back to the very beginning to edit the “My Only Escape” series and get it ready for a series of ebooks, each one being about five to seven chapters long. This is one of the most difficult stories that I’ve ever written, as it took me back to some very dark places and bad memories that I thought I had dealt with when I really hadn’t. And yet, writing it out in my own words, it turned out to be a true exercise in healing. “My Only Escape” liberated me, and from the comments I’ve gotten from people over the years, I think it helped to liberate others as well. There’s just something special about being able to talk about something as painful as childhood abuse to someone else, and to just be like…”Wow…you ‘get it’. You really do.” It will be an honor to bring this ebook out to the masses. I hope it helps those in need.
(Available June 19th, 2020) What started out as a ‘short story’ ended up being a lot longer than I thought it would be. LOL! But I fell in love with the idea of it, and the characters involved. There was so much more that I wanted to explore with this story, and I have been making it a part of Imagine Magazine for a while now. However, the story is now finished, and I’m putting it out as an ebook this coming Friday in its entirety. And, believe me, I definitely had some ‘fun’ with this one in it’s last chapters! Hehehe! Now, if you guys want to continue reading the series here on Imagine Magazine, there’s a new chapter up in this very issue! And the final two chapters will be posted in the July and August issues to finish things out! But…if you want to skip ahead to the end, the ebook will be ready in time for the site’s anniversary!
(Coming Soon) A LONG time coming, I know! Huge chunks of this book were lost to computer crashes and an external hard drive that just ‘decided’ to stop working one day for no reason and without warning. Everybody always says, “You’ve got to make sure you SAVE your stuff!” So I do. Then the computer crashes, and they say, “You’ve got to make sure you save your stuff EXTERNALLY, not just on your computer!” So I do. Then the EXTERNAL hard drive goes belly up, and they’re like, “You’ve got to save your stuff in MULTIPLE places!” Mother FUCKER!!! LOL! Look, I just want shit to work. Is that too much to ask? Whatever…I’ve been putting a lot of time into recreating that story’s missing pieces, and I’m finally getting to a point where I can release the third ebook in the series. It’s long, but gets more into the mythology of the Widow Lake boys and the story itself, which takes a few dark turns, and a few naughty turns too. Hehehe, you might be surprised at how the two become intertwined by the end of the book. So grab a copy when it’s ready for release!
(Available June 26th, 2020) This was supposed to be released on Halloween in 2019, which would have been ideal! But there was a huge formatting problem that I simply could NOT fix! God knows, I tried. I’m sure the frustration of trying to fix it has taken a few years off of my life. Ugh! But, that’s no longer a problem, and I’m going to go through and give this horror anthology one final look through, and it will be released next weekend! I’m excited about this one, because it’s my very first ‘horror’ book! Don’t worry, it’s not overly gory or anything like that, but suspenseful and dark in a way that my previous stories haven’t touched upon before. I hope you guys with a darker mindset enjoy the nightmare fuel. Hehehe!
(Available July 2020) The first three books of the “Gone From Daylight” have been TOP sellers for the ebook section. Fans of the series have left comments on Amazon.com (THANKS, by the way! You have no idea how much your thoughts and ratings have helped me out!!!) and are hungry for the next book in the series to be released! Well, your wait is almost over! And there is a *LOT* of new material and details included in the new book! “GFD: Foretold” will be a combination of the “Threshold” and “Pride And Prophecy” chapters of the story, and will take Justin through a lot of trials and tribulations while trying to deal with the surge of the new powers and abilities that he’s experiencing for the very first time. It’ll be a lot of fun for you vampire fans. It should be finished some time in July! Join the mailing list or stop by one of the forums to get the final release date.
(Available Beginning In October 2020) Another project that I’ve been working on for a long time now that is finally reaching a point where I’m ready to put it out. Directly connected to “Gone From Daylight” and many of its spinoff stories, “PakRatz” is a special, multi book, story that is close to my heart. It’s actually a young vampire version of the famous ‘Rat Pack’. (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis Jr, and Joey Bishop) The story deals with this shady underground mob, the vampire elders, and their reaction to the emergence of a vampire mimic in their world. Things are changing, and former members of their organization now find themselves being targeted by the very elders that employed them in the first place. It’s a six book series (one book per month) that introduces each character in their own story for the first five books, and the sixth book, “PakRatz: Showtime”, will bring them all together for the final showdown. I’ve always been excited about writing this series, and now that I’ve had more time to write, it’s been a lot of fun writing things out! I had to wait until some of the other “GFD” stories were at a point where I could weave the stories together seamlessly. And, while readers may not realize it yet, “Gone From Daylight”, “GFD: Expiration Date”, “GFD: Circle Nocturnus”, “GFD: Executive Order”, and a few others have already planted the seeds for the “PakRatz” series to take place! I can’t wait for you guys to read them all! It’s gonna be awesome! 😛
(Available Summer 2020) Yes…more “Billy Chase” is coming! For the love of fucking CHRIST…PLEASE stop fucking asking me about it!!! LOL! Don’t worry, I’m just kidding. (Sort of) I KNOW that it has been an ice age, and I understand you guys wanting to know what happens next. Please, please, please, understand things from my end, ok? I wrote the longest “Billy Chase” that I’ve ever written to finish off chapter 450, and I poured my entire heart into it like you wouldn’t believe. I emotionally EXHAUSTED myself for two weeks straight, getting that chapter just right and having it say exactly what I wanted it to say. And one day…Windows decided they wanted to update my computer without my consent. And EVERYTHING got erased! All of that time and heart and emotion and effort…poof. Gone. With no explanation, no warning, no apologies. Just gone. And I know that there have been people who have been upset and angry at me because they wanted a new chapter…but they have no idea how much that hurt. They don’t know how hard it is to sit down and take the time out of their normal lives to write something like that, just to have it disappear…and then have people constantly yelling at you about it and trying to ‘politely’ bully you into hurrying up to recreate it. It fucking sucks! YOU try doing what I do, and see what it feels like. Anyway, sorry…rant over. “Billy Chase” is a character that has always been close to my heart. And I look forward to bringing his adventures back to the website, possibly on a bi-weekly basis. We’ll see how things work out. But yes, “Billy” still has a lot more to say, and I hope you guys will like what I’ve got planned as he goes back to school after his Summer break. 🙂
(Available Winter 2020) I really look forward to bringing out the continuation to this guardian angel story! It dives deep into my personal feelings of instinct, consciousness, and spirituality, in a major way. When I began the first book of “Always”, I felt like I had sooooo many ideas and so much to say that I couldn’t fit it all into those first few chapters. Especially since a lot of it was backstory on our main character, which was incredibly important to the main story and how it unfolds. But I still have my handwritten notes handy, and I’ve been working on crafting an in depth look on humanity and belief, in general, with this story. I wanted to write something that causes us all to look at ourselves from the outside, bypassing our own biases and sense of self denial to find areas of our lives where we could improve, and become better people. A difficult task, I’m sure. But I’d like to take on the challenge, regardless. Maybe I’ll pull it off, maybe I won’t. Check back around Christmas, and you be the judge! 🙂
(Available Starting June 19th, 2020) The zombie apocalypse series “Shelter” will be coming to the ebook section at the end of this year! But all of the prequels are being finished up as you read this, and they will begin popping up as ebooks starting this Friday! One book per month, giving all the details of the lives of “Shelter’s” main characters before they all came together to find safety in the local high school. Walker, Donovan, Preston, Spencer and his father, and Sonny, will all have their stories told…and then the “Shelter” stories will begin right after that. Much like the “PakRatz” series, I think it’ll be awesome to tell the stories of these characters individually, and then bring them all together to interact with one another all at once in the same space. I’m a big fan of ensemble casts, so that’s always a bonus for me. I love it! I hope you will too!
(Available December 1st, 2020) Now, this is one of those stories that I’m always working on, little by little, but it just doesn’t ‘feel’ right unless it’s the holiday season. Hehehe, is that weird? “Holiday Rush” was meant to be a quick, short, ‘Daydream Short’ story for Imagine Magazine, and I fell in love with what I was doing and the characters’ witty banter back and forth with each other…so I figured, I’ll make it a two chapter story. It was written for Christmas, but January is still kind of ‘snowy’, right? Same thing. Some lingering holiday spirit could still make it relevant. Well, more chapters kept coming, and it’s a lot longer than I ever planned it to be. But it can’t go on forever! So you guys can expect the final chapter to show up in the December issue of Imagine on the 15th! But, if you’re anxious to see how it all turns out, you can grab the ebook on December 1st and save yourself the wait! I promise to make it worth the wait. I just wanted it to have that holiday feel…which is hard to fake when it’s not the holidays. ::Giggles::