aroslav: Blog

New releases

September 16, 2017
Posted at 3:52 pm

Well, today the paperback version of Art Critic was released. You can get your copy at Yes, I know you are waiting for the eBook, or perhaps you are simply content to read for free as chapters are released every three days. That's fine. That's why I post them. Enjoy! But the paperback release seems to always go much faster than the eBooks. I'm guessing the Kindle version could make it tomorrow as long as none of their censors get a feather up their ass. I don't think Nook actually reviews what is posted, but it still always seems to take days for a book to be processed and released on their site. Sometime next week, I presume. I'll post an update when both are available and I'll update my webpage as well.

But for now, I'm happy to see the response to Art Critic here on SOL and thank you for the comments and email I've received. Those are payment enough. I'm glad you are enjoying the story.

You might be wondering why I even bother releasing my books in paperback. Well, the answer is simple and in two parts. First is that having the book laid out with proper styles applied and everything looking right in InDesign makes creating an eBook out of it nothing more than pushing a button. I've been working on the re-release of The Props Master 1: Ritual Reality, a book that I put up for Kindle three years ago. The second edition will be made available in conjunction with the release of The Props Master Prequel: Behind the Ivory Veil (probably in November). Back when I released Ritual Reality, I was hand coding all the ePUB 2.1 compliant HTML and then using a compiler to generate the eBook. What a long, time-consuming mess. Dropping all the text into an InDesign template and then simply emitting ePub 3.0 compliant files is much easier.

The second reason, of course, is that I actually carry a stock of books that I sell at events and shows. Or maybe the second reason is vanity. They are about the same thing. People buy paperback books when they can meet the author and get him to sign their copy. I also give away as many paperback books for promotionals as I sell. Oh. Begging your pardon, state tax boards. I only accept donations to the author when I'm in public. I pay income tax on them. I give a book away to every donor who gives me $15. I never 'sell' the books.

Mmm. Well, on to other things.

Here's a question for those of you who wait until the final chapter has been posted in a story before you begin reading. Do you ever look at the last chapter of a book before you start reading to decide if you want to invest the time reading it? I don't do that, but I admit that I have a strong preference for authors who have a track-record of finishing what they write. And for posting on a regular schedule. But I usually start at the beginning and read forward. Sometimes I'm disappointed and wish I'd read that last chapter first. I wouldn't have invested my emotions in the unfolding story.

I have all kinds of questions today. Feel free to answer or ignore any of them. When you vote, do you vote for the chapter or the story? The voting box is at the end of the posted portion of the story, so if you are reading chapters as they are posted, it is easy to believe that the vote you cast is for the chapter you've just read. The truth, of course, is that the vote is for the story as a whole, not for that chapter, but I'm wondering if you thought you were just voting for the chapter. If you vote a story low and then encounter a chapter that just is the best thing you ever read so you vote it a 10, that changes your vote to a 10 for the whole story. The same is true if you get pissed at the author in one chapter and vote that chapter a 5. Your vote for the whole story is a 5.

If you aren't interested enough in a story to keep reading it, do you still vote for it? Yeah. Trick question. Voting is for the whole story. So, if you cast a vote based on the second chapter and then aren't interested enough to come back to the story, you have cast a vote for a story you didn't read. Think about that.

Here's something else I've observed. If you dislike a new story an author posted, do you go back and lower your votes for all the other stories the author has written? I'm curious because I often see a number of my stories move down a point on the same day. Of course, that could also be because the median has moved. The score for any story that you see is not the raw score. It is compared against the scores of all the stories that have been posted in the past time period (I think it's around 4 years at the moment, but I can't find the reference). Median point of all those scores is drawn. It's currently around 7-point-something, if I remember correctly. Then all the scores of stories above that point are adjusted as if the median was 6.0. That means if you see a story that currently has an 8.50 score and you generously vote it a 9.0, you lower the story's score. It's designed that way so that it gives a 'fairer' indication of how a story ranks on the site. Cool, right?

More questions? Of course. Do you use the library feature to bookmark stories that you are reading? This feature is only available to premier members who pay their annual subscription fee. For me, it was reason enough to decide to pay the premium. The library is one of the best features of SOL, allowing you to keep track of updates to your reading list, most recent stories read, and even to archive stories that you've read in the past. Remember that one story about the geek who helps the cool girl and then learns all about how to become a sex god and ends up marrying her? You can go back to your library and scan through the titles of stories that you've bookmarked in the past to locate RPSuch and Revenge of the Nerd posted back in 2012. And when you finish reading, you can remove it from your Active Reading List without removing it from your Library. Cool!

I suppose that's enough trouble for me to get into today. Here in Northern Idaho, the temperature has been dropping into the low 40s at night and last night I finally relented and turned on the furnace to 62. Just enough to take the chill off. I have blankets. I'll be leaving to head south on October 16 and just hope the snow in this part of the country stays at bay, unlike Montana and Wyoming!

I'm still debating my route south and thinking now that I've never done U.S. 97 out of Washington and through Oregon. Might be interesting. The goal is to get from Northern Idaho (right on U.S. 95) to Corona, California (right on I-15). If you've got favorite things to see along the way, let me know!

Finally Made It

September 12, 2017
Posted at 12:37 am

My apologies for the late posting of Art Critic. Turned out that I had opened the file for editing and hadn't resubmitted it. Got that turned around and now the first chapter of Art Critic is live. Haven't posted much leading up to this (in my opinion). Nonetheless, I'm happy to have this latest story in the 'Strange Art' series ready for readers. The eBook and paperback will be available Saturday. The story will post on SOL every three days.

Arthur Étrange. What a strange boy. This book opens soon after Art Project closes. It covers sophomore and junior year in the first three chapters, because everybody wanted to know about Art and Kendra, his best friend. You get an idea in the first chapter, but don't assume that is all of it. Then there is Art and Susan, the model who prefers to be blindfolded and positioned wherever Art wants her.

Then there is Mavis.

In Art Project, Mavis appeared at the start of second semester during Art's freshman year in college. Art has always had a visceral reaction to Mavis. He just can't help the way his body reacts. In Art Critic, Mavis becomes a major influence in 'Artie's' life. She is a photographer and there is just something about the way the two interact.

Of course, the girls are all important to Art, but the story is triggered during Art's preparation for his senior BFA exhibition at the university. Art is overcome by a darkness that takes all his lovers and friends to overcome.

It was really hard to code this story. Paranormal often refers to time travel or to urban legends like zombies and vampires. ESP, or extra-sensory perception, typically applies to mind-reading. So, what does seeing auras qualify as? It is certainly an extra sense. Most definitely outside what is considered 'normal'. But neither one really captures the ways that Art, Morgan, and their mother see the world. With Art's decided social handicap, bordering on (or perhaps completely within) the ill-defined areas of autism or Asperger's, his world collapses and Art is sent deep within himself.

Only paint on canvas and the love of his friends can save him.

The reason I missed the fact that my story was held up briefly by the editing I had done and not saved, is because I was working on another new project, slated for release on April 5, 2018. Remember that scene where Art poses Susan? I photographed it today. Yeah. Really. An incredibly cute blonde who allowed me to blindfold her, drape her, and photograph her. The book I'm working on is a 'nonfiction' work titled The Art of Sensual Draping and will show and explain the use of fabric to conceal and reveal a lover. But for now, I'm just reliving the day while flipping through hundreds of photos of an incredibly beautiful woman who put her body in my hands to show the reality of Art's fantasy.

That has not slowed me down on the writing of The Props Master Prequel: Behind the Ivory Veil. (Note a theme developing here?) I'm 60,000 words into the novel that explores Rebecca Hart Allen and Wesley Allen as they enter the occult world simultaneously embodied at the great circle of Carles Castlerigg in Northern England and the City of the Gods, accessed through a secret passage in the Metéora of Greece. This book will show how Rebecca and Wesley meet on the mountaintop and release the goddess hidden Behind the Ivory Veil. Unfortunately, the interference of The Blade leaves Rebecca and Wesley separated by the impenetrable veil. It has been two years since I released The Props Master 1: Ritual Reality. The new volume will explain how the characters got to the point they are and will open the door to many more questions.

Don't worry. The first drafts of The Props Master 2: A Touch of Magic, and The Props Master 3: Child of Earth have already been completed and I expect to finish both before the end of 2018.

Crossover? It has been mentioned. I anticipate that a new generation from this cast will show up at PCAD and seek help from Tony Ames and his family from Model Student. Now you've got something to look forward to in 2019! There is even a chance that the next generation from Living Next Door to Heaven might show up!

My travel schedule from the Pacific Northwest to Southern California will be a bit compressed this year. I'll be making the trip between October 15 and November 1. The planned route will take me the length of Idaho on U.S. 95 to Nevada and then across to Reno where I'll pick up U.S. 395 to SoCal. If you are along that route during the last two weeks of October, though, let me know. I always have time for a cup of coffee or dinner and I'm happy to meet fans wherever I travel.

That means I'll hit the Riverside, CA area just in time to start NaNoWriMo again this year. I have three potential projects and will spend the time between now and then deciding which will be my focus for the end of the year project. I have another new artist, Jett Blackburn, who discovers what Drawing on the Dark Side of the Brain means. Alternatively, I might continue working on the Props Master series with A Touch of Magic. Finally, I've been researching a post-apocalyptic literary piece (not erotica at all) that I've tentatively called Singularity. It is a surprising tale of redemption and hope. But it's hard work getting all the data that I need to project a future that's a couple hundred years away. Or maybe it is only a couple decades away.

Of course, I welcome your input, even if I ignore it.

I hope this finds you well and that you have escaped the fires of the Northwest, the continuing floods of the South, and the hurricane winds of the East. Go outside and look at the Northern
Lights. Really. Right now!

We're off on another new adventure!

The Countdown Has Begun

August 29, 2017
Posted at 11:21 am

But first, this important note. I hope all my readers and friends in Texas are weathering the storm and that you are safe and sound. That extends to all others who are affected by the hurricane as well. One thing I have learned about my readers over the past six years is that they are good people who take care of others. I want you to know that I'm supporting you in your efforts, whether you are affected personally, afloat as part of the Cajun Navy, sending donations to American Red Cross, or simply offering your hand to someone who needs a lift. Be safe, my friends.

Now, about that Countdown. I received proofs of Art Critic yesterday and am making the last minor changes needed for release. It's amazing how different a book looks when you are holding paper in your hand than it does when it is just pixels on screen. I see things. (Spooky music here.)

So, here's the schedule. The ARC (advanced readers' copies) will be available to my $5 patrons on Monday, September 4. Patrons must be enrolled before September 1 in order to receive this. Believe me, I'm thankful every day for my patrons. They help me stay focused on writing and preparing things for all readers. Thank you!

On September 11, Chapter 1, "Getting Things Straight", will post on SOL with subsequent chapters scheduled to post every three days. Art Critic has 12 chapters and will conclude on SOL on October 14. The story is complete and all chapters will be preloaded to post automatically so you don't have to worry about having the story stop someplace in the middle. I continue to be committed to posting my stories for free on SOL, and while I accept donations and patronage, I don't ask that of any SOL reader. These stories are here because I like people to read them. Enjoy!

Of course, for those who can't wait to get to the end, Art Critic eBooks and paperbacks will release on September 16. The paperback will be available through my site and Amazon. Both Kindle and Nook will be released at the same time. Remember, your reviews on Amazon and on Barnes and Noble are as helpful as the money you pay to fuel the behemoths. Again, thank you!

Next up. I'm happy to have just finished a complete re-edit of The Props Master 1: Ritual Reality. There were two reasons for this re-edit. First, it needed another round of proofreading-desperately. Every time I opened the book I found more typos and punctuation errors. That doesn't surprise me too much because according to my notes I slipped this one out at a time when my editors were preoccupied with other authors. I'm going to ask Pixel to take another read-through before I release the second edition. I don't expect it to be released till the end of the year. Which brings me to the second reason for the rewrite. I'm working on The Props Master Prequel: Behind the Ivory Veil. Many events in Ritual Reality are based on things that happened in Ivory Veil. And in doing the extensive rewrite of IV, I need to update some of the names, dates, and dialog that were quoted in RR. It's very complicated to make sure that all versions of a story are updated to the same universe and are consistent with each other. Especially since I completed the first draft 40 years ago! The good news is that in the past week, I've read the story three times and I still like it. Hope you do, too. I'll repost it when I start posting Ivory Veil.

Speaking of Behind the Ivory Veil, I expect writing to move along much more rapidly now. Part of the writing process is to 'get in the flow', as it were. Now that I'm finished with Ritual Reality, I can re-read the eight chapters I've finished and continue with suitable language and spirit. So next up is taking the same readership care with the first 38,000 words of this story that I've just taken with the other. Then I'll start it through the editing process. I'm guessing that I should be able to release this about holiday time at the end of the year.

Upcoming travel. On the home front, I've decided to slow up my travel a little bit. I'll leave the nudist park here in Idaho about the first week of October and after a brief stop for annual checkups and to see my daughter in Washington State, I'll be headed south for the winter in SoCal. Hopefully, the winter will be warm enough that I won't need to worry about clothes unless I'm leaving the campground. I'll be down there for four months before starting the winding road back north in March. I'm planning to return to Denver for Exxxotica, then on up to Laramie, Yellowstone, and the Grand Tetons before I turn back to my Idaho home in May.

I had a great visit with reader Etniopal in Moscow (rhymes with Idaho) this week. Great stories shared back and forth, a tour of the town and the campus of the University of Idaho. I do love colleges in the fall! I also love visiting with readers wherever I travel, so if you discover you are on my route, please let me know and we'll get together for coffee or a meal.

Since I'll be spending longer here each of the next two years (five months), I've begun some minor site improvements. I'm leveling the patio area out front and installing some AstroTurf so I have a stable place for my grill and firepit and to entertain all the young lovelies who stop by for cocktails. I love siting out here, but it's been a little tipsy with the slope. I manage to go outside and work at digging for about ten to fifteen minutes at a time. Then I have to rest and recover for half an hour. That's when I manage to keep writing.

If you've got an idea as to where I should spend the winter of 2018-19, let me know. I'm thinking out of the country again. Maybe this time to New Zealand or Australia or back to Thailand. Someplace where the living is easy (and very cheap). Let me know where you think I should go. It will be my last trip before I hit 70.

Now that is frightening!

Volunteer Editor and Proofreader Day

August 23, 2017
Posted at 2:40 pm

I want to be among the first to jump on this idea from Jay Cantrell. On this anniversary of the birth of Black Irish, I'd also like to recognize some of the editors here on SOL. As it happened, Black Irish was the very first volunteer editor on my stories, back when I was just starting out with Model Student. Even though he was too busy to take me on as his regular, I often received messages of encouragement from him.

This week, I emailed a message of thanks to the three editors who helped me with Yelloweye, making it a much better and stronger work. Old Rotorhead, Pixel the Cat, and Mr Spock have all been influential on this work and others. I've just received the first proofs of my next book, Art Critic. The following acknowledgment/dedication is included in that book.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I claim this story and all the stories I write and post on SOL as my original work. But that doesn't mean that others don't play a part. I would be a poorer writer without the support and advice of my editors. Thank you to Mr. Spock who pointed out where I was rushing things in the first chapters and needed to slow down-even though he was interrupted in his critique by a couple of broken ribs and pneumonia. Thank you to Old Rotorhead who helped me extensively with art samples and photo techniques ranging from the research of Dr. Edwin Land to the chemicals used in archival photo processing. Thank you to Pixel the Cat who critically reads every word and corrects my spelling, punctuation, and word use. Yes, I actually do understand when to use "I" instead of "me" but he corrects me when my passion gets ahead of my grammar.

And finally, thank you to my naked neighbors. Colleen, for "just one more readthrough", aloud to husband Doug. The support of all the folks here at The Estates-Doug, Colleen, Mike, Sue, Dennis, Jackie, Jeff, JodyLynne. Whether ribs on the grill, a puff on a cigar, or generous contributions to the author in exchange for his books, this is part of what keeps me going. This 'Strange Art' is for you!

It is not always the "official" SOL editors who want our work to succeed. It is also the wife, friend, follower, and sometimes the excited reader. Thank you to all those who have participated in making my work better. Floyd, IamBlindman, Ron, and many others not listed above. Thank you for making my work better!

End and Begin and End and Begin

August 20, 2017
Posted at 5:39 pm

Let me start by saying that Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin were icons of my youth. I loved all the 'on the road' pictures, Lewis's zany antics, Martin's straight man routines. Later, I watched every one of Lewis's Labor Day telethons for MD and was watching when he and Martin met and embraced on stage after years of estrangement in '76. Martin passed away in '95. It is a sad day, today, when we say goodbye to that incredible comedian, Jerry Lewis, at age 91. RIP.

That, of course, has nothing to do with the posting of the final chapter of Yelloweye this evening. Personally, I'm a little sad to see this story end because it also marks the end (as far as I know) of my series of Erotic Paranormal Romance Western Adventures and the Bell Family saga.

This series started back in '13 when I was working as a category chair for a literary competition. The other leaders and I were sitting around a large table with 1,100 entries in the contest, dividing them up by category and coding them for distribution to the judges. We talked about stories entered in one category, but that seemed by the synopsis to be in a different one. And the amount of genre-mashing that was going on. In a sudden inspiration I said, "Yeah. Next year I'm going to write an Erotic Paranormal Romance Western Mystery."

Never put an idea like that into the universe. I'd no more than said it than I knew exactly what the story was for Redtail.

I once went to school with a girl named Laramie Wyoming Bell. She was rumored to be the daughter of a Cheyenne chief, though I've tried and have never been able to track down her or her family. Those two items, however, became the cornerstone of my story. Cheyenne princess named Laramie. I'd never been to Wyoming for more than a cut from I-80 to I-25 on the southeast corner. But I knew how to do research. And thus, I set the story in Centennial and Laramie, Wyoming.

The next summer, I took a diversion from my trip across the country on U.S. 20 and went to visit Laramie and Centennial. I visited the Coe Library and discovered Redtail was already in the college library. The history librarians were anxious to help me with research if I decided to write a sequel. I hadn't thought about it until that moment, but that was when Blackfeather was born. I went back to Laramie in October, and the librarians did, in fact, help with tons of research. Plat maps of Laramie in 1868, rancher biographies, a city history and directory with advertisements from the various businesses of 1873, and anything else they thought they could immerse me in for three days. Blackfeather was published the following spring.

By the time I'd finished Blackfeather, of course, I'd determined there would be a third volume in the story. I knew who the principal characters would be, the main crux of the story, and the totem animals that would be involved. But I struggled with the actual storyline for two years before I finally got a first draft out and sent to Mr. Spock. He gave me enough feedback that I was able to launch the rewrite and publication of Yelloweye, the last chapter of which posts tonight. I'm fortunate to have Mr. Spock, Old Rotorhead, and Pixel the Cat as my editors!

An hour ago, I got a very pleasant, very naked hug from a fan who asked me to autograph copies of both Blackfeather and Yelloweye. Great perk when living in a nudist camp. Now she's on the road with her husband to their home in Montana and she is reading the first chapter aloud to him. Well, there's nothing in the first few chapters that will cause him to run off the road!

Four years in the making! The Bell Family Saga. You can't see it on the big screen, so read the damn book!

Another ending heralds a new beginning!

I received and integrated the final edits to the final chapter of Art Critic, the third volume in the Strange Art series. The story is a 'go!'

I'll be working on formatting and preparing the story for upload shortly. Here's the schedule: September 4 (Labor Day) all $5 or more patrons at as of the first will have access to the completed story in .ePUB, .mobi, and .PDF. September 11, chapter one will post on SOL with a posting schedule of every three days. That will bring it to conclusion on October 14 (12 chapters and about 76,000 words). September 16, the eBook and paperback will be released on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and CreateSpace. Hope you enjoy the latest adventure of Art Étrange and his lovers.

People have asked if I'm ever going to continue the Props Master series. Short answer is, I'm working on it-really! I'm well into a complete rewrite of The Props Master Prequel: Behind the Ivory Veil. Best guess is that I will be ready to post around the holidays. Yeah. Nothing after Art Critic for at least two months. I think!

Of course, that's always subject to change, like the rest of my life!