I'm not actually talking about living in a nudist park. This time.
I've been focused on getting City Limits ready for its public release on 23 June 2018. There is always something. My sister got her advance review copy and wrote back almost immediately that she'd started reading and there was a missing word on page one. Sheesh! She was right. That's not the only error that has been found. A reader here on SOL corrected the school name of the orphanage with a nice little lesson about masculine and feminine. So now, instead of Flor de la Día, it is correctly Flor del Día. Every correction I receive makes the release version stronger!
I love to write, either as Nathan Everett or as Devon Layne. I'm good most of the time with editing and rewriting. I'm a book designer for several different authors and love creating beautiful books. Where I fall apart is the business end of things. Getting sales and marketing going is an eternal struggle. But I'm progressing slowly.
I got my new website ready and deployed this week at http://www.nathaneverett.com. This is significant because it includes a listing of all six of my mainstream books with first chapter excerpts so people can read a bit of the story to see if it appeals to them. With luck, the release of City Limits will drive sales of some of my other books as well. There are also four short stories that you can read for free.
Accompanying that site, I've started a Patreon page for author Nathan Everett. https://www.patreon.com/NathanEverett. Originally, I planned to just have one Patreon page that served both Nathan Everett and Devon Layne. That just wasn't working. The majority of the people who read my mainstream fiction don't want to think about the fact that I write erotica, too. That's why I created two names in the first place. So, now I need to drive traffic to my new page without distracting from the old.
One thing about this is that I will be serializing some stories on my new website that will be accessible only to patrons. Those stories may or may not have a future publication elsewhere. I've been writing for over forty years and most of my manuscripts are stacked up in a box under the bench seats of my dining nook. Time to blow the dust off!
I'm also making a concerted effort to maintain weekly posts on my First Exit blog. http://firstexit0.blogspot.com. This is where I post information and pictures from my travels, thoughts about writing, and my own brand of selfish social commentary of which you've experienced a bit here on SOL.
Of course, social media is a big driver for any marketing these days. I'm on Twitter at https://twitter.com/wayzgoose and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Wayzgoose or https://www.facebook.com/Elder-Road-Books-887279807957064/. The Wayzgoose account is my daily short quips and observations with occasional quick photos, while the Elder Road account is strictly publishing. I invite you to join me at any of these social sites.
Part of preparing for my next long adventure is saving up as much of my meagre income as I can. I discovered in 2016 that I could travel internationally as cheaply as I could live in the US. I thought I might repeat an around-the-world adventure in the winter of 2018-19 but have decided I need to put more in the bank before I go. It's as cheap to travel, but it has to be paid for in advance. So I need at least half a year's expenses put aside up front.
So the new plan is to spend six to eight months after my 70th birthday next year backpacking around the world.
That means I've been looking for a cheap and warm place to spend the winter this year. I may have found it-or at least a region where I can find a place. I believe that I will spend the winter in South Texas, somewhere in the Rio Grande Valley. The area welcomes thousands of snowbirds and parking for my rig would cost no more than the site I have here in Idaho. There are interesting things to do, beautiful scenery like South Padre Island, and lots and lots of old people sitting around looking to get into mischief.
I haven't chosen an exact location yet but I'll announce it as soon as I do. If you have suggestions, please let me know!
Tomorrow: City Limits Chapter Seven: The Nut. Gee is navigating the turbulent waters of a new relationship and while dealing with his doubts he seeks comfort in the Forest. Whatever put the idea into his head that he should eat one of the poisonous nuts?
It is practiced by a small tribe in the darkest jungles, untouched by the outside world. They have lived in isolation since the beginning of time. It is only their devotion, sacrifice, and continued prayers that keep the god Ichypoo from destroying the world. Be thankful!
I write fiction.
I am not anti-religious, as I've said before, but it seems City Limits has inspired some comments that pit various religions against each other. That misses the point dramatically. I don't write about religions. I write about people. There are good people and there are bad people. There are good people who believe in a Christian god, a Jewish god, a Muslim god, a Shinto god, a Buddhist god… There are bad people who believe in a Christian god, a Jewish god, a Muslim god, a Shinto god, a Buddhist god…
And in my opinion, the one thing that is missed most often in our black and white world is that good people do bad things and bad people do good things. If nothing else, it makes for good plot twists. It would be so much easier if we could point and say that person is good and never does anything bad. Or vice versa. But even Hitler had a great love for Eva Braun. It didn't make him a good person.
Religion is probably like that, too. I can think of no religion that is entirely good or evil. What a person believes does not tell me what is true. It only tells me what kind of person he or she is. If you believe in a vengeful god, it shows me you are a vengeful person. If you believe in an anti-gay god, it tells me you are an anti-gay person. If you believe in a white nationalist god, it tells me you are a white nationalist. If you believe in a loving, forgiving god, it tells me you are a loving, forgiving person. Or at least that you want to be. Remember, no one is all one thing or another.
None of these reveals truth.
I'm reminded of a meme I saw on Facebook recently. It said, "Does drugs. Smokes. Has unprotected sex. Won't drink diet sodas because artificial sweetener will kill you."
We all have our artificial sweetener.
Did you ever see one of those 'old Yankee' carved kids' toys where the arms of a character go flying around or the bicyclist pedals like mad when the wind blows? Sometimes, I imagine myself balanced on a fencepost with both arms flailing in the wind as I try to keep my balance on the narrow ledge where I'm anchored.
Especially this month when I've been in winds ranging from 20-50 most of the month. There's an old joke here about how Laramie, Wyo was founded. Some settlers coming west over the mountains were hit by an incredible blast of wind coming across the plains. They sought shelter down by the Laramie River where they decided to wait until the winds died down. They're still there.
And I'm here! Laramie, Wyoming, setting of Devon Layne's trilogy of Erotic Paranormal Romance Western Adventures. I've managed to acquire a bottle of Wyoming Whiskey (and will probably get another before I leave the state) and have been getting reacquainted. I even went over to the library that was so helpful in researching my books and signed and gave them copies. As Devon Layne. This is a town where I have to keep my identity straight. Alas, Devon's research assistant, Aubrey, has moved on to greener fields since I was last here three-and-a-half years ago.
I plan to move on west on Friday when temperatures are expected to be above freezing and the pass to be clear. With luck, Friday night I will be down to about 6,000 feet elevation and might start to get warmer.
Tonight, City Limits chapter 4, "Whirl-a-Gig" will post on SOL. So imagine you've got a mysterious ticket to the County Fair that not only gives you admission, but a free ride on the Whirl-a-Gig. A carnival ride where the arms spin around as you are buffeted in the wind. Would you go?
How about if it was the only clue you had as to what your identity might be?
Gee Evars, the man without a memory, follows the urge to investigate and steps into the middle of an attempted kidnapping. But is he the hero or the scapegoat? Tonight will tell.
And City Limits is progressing on other fronts. Review copies in both eBook and paperback will be available in limited supply in mid-May. If you are or know of a reviewer with a forum (book blog, website, magazine, newspaper) who might be interested in reviewing City Limits when it is released June 20, please let me know or have them contact me.
But wait! There's more!
Usually I'd let Devon announce this, but he's not likely to write a blog post until the weekend when it happens. He'll be releasing Wonders of My World 2, American Backroads on Kindle and Nook Saturday. Only $3.00. And what do you get by buying the book that you wouldn't get by reading it for free on SOL? Well, it's been edited and cleaned and scrubbed. And forty photographs have been added.
Of course, I've had to read the book a couple of times in the past two weeks and can only be complimentary about the skill and experience Devon brings to the second volume of the memoirs of aroslav, the avatar of the pseudonym of the alter ego of the author. Though I wouldn't trust anything he says as true, it's remarkable how much some of his adventures remind me of mine.
And, yes, volume one U.S. Highways is also available.
Well, I have a client with a fiction story to edit today. I could use the money, so I'd better get hopping-or reading.
Or what day, for that matter? I find I have trouble remembering. I know that Monday I had a long driving day (for me). I traveled 250 miles from Oakley, KS to Chappell, NE. I was expecting just 170. That's because I'd used a direct line distance calculator and not one that figured roads into the equation. But it was okay. I also crossed from Central Time to Mountain Time, so I gained an hour.
But there is really nothing while I'm traveling that distinguishes one day from another. I'm either driving to a new campsite or I'm sitting in a campsite reading and writing. A lot of reading lately, so that means I often think it is actually whatever day I'm reading about.
But today is Wednesday. Here. Your mileage may vary. That means that City Limits Chapter 3: Bearing False Witness will post somewhere around 8:30 Eastern Time this evening.
I got an interesting comment after chapter two posted last week suggesting that I'd lost a reader because he didn't like things that were anti-religious or mind control. I can appreciate that and firmly believe and encourage readers to read what pleases them and not to look at a new story as a chore or an obligation. I recently stopped reading a fairly long story that's been posting for some weeks, even though it was well-written and by one of my favorite authors. The subject matter just didn't float my boat.
On the other hand, I don't want people to think that I'm anti-religious. I'm NON-religious, I admit. To me, a church or religion is subject to the same temptations and foibles as any other business, social club, or gang. I'll treat a church, minister, congregant, or official the same way that I would treat a political party, corporation, or mob. Not saying they are evil, but they can be and I'm not going to avoid them because others think they are holy or infallible.
It's interesting to me that in the first draft of City Limits, the villain was the mob and a few Italian bosses. One of my editors commented that she really didn't ever need to read fiction about the mob or child sex trafficking again in her life. But the real problem was that I didn't know anything about the mob. (Nor do I think most authors who write about it.) So it felt like it was all made up. And it was. I do, however, know about churches-from the inside and the outside. I was once one of them. It became much more believable when I rewrote A church and A minister as villains (not all churches or religions).
I just finished re-reading Living Next Door to Heaven and Model Student. (Funny how anything aroslav reads, I read.) Anyway, both Brian and Tony are non-religious. Tony declares, "I'm an atheist, thank God!" Brian says, "To be an atheist, you have to care. I don't." But both have strong interactions with churches and people of faith. Tony has a close relationship to the one-time Lutheran minister in his hometown. He develops a collaborative working relationship with the priest, Father Andrew, while at the same time having a near war with the Archbishop. Brian discovers he has no interest in religion, but when John's faith is shaken to the core, it is Brian who encourages him not to give up his faith because another has betrayed him.
Mind control? I suppose so. The hypnotic effect of the drug Lustre allows the preacher to control his congregation and to deprogram youth and children. I guess that I can find no other reason that sane people would believe and adhere to what he preaches. Like so many right-wing "believers" today.
Please refrain from trying to convince me your religious views are correct and I am mistaken in calling churches a social club or business. They are institutions of faith. Everyone from college professors to preachers to my former father-in-law have tried to prove to me that God exists, the Bible is true, and that there is a heaven and hell. I know that is all very comforting to some of you.
I pose to you the fact that if you can prove the existence of God, then you have taken faith out of the question. That makes your religion a science, not a faith.
Or, as the famous atheist revolutionary Thomas Paine once wrote: "If I do not believe as you believe, it proves that you do not believe as I believe, and that is all that it proves."
I'll close with another Thomas Paine quote that I try to adhere to. "My country is the world, and my religion is to do good."
As long as I've been posting stories on SOL under the name aroslav, getting my first story, City Limits, set up under the pen name Wayzgoose looks like the effort of a total NOOB. I'm supposed to understand how to set up a new story after doing it 31 times.
First, 'Voting' was turned on by accident as I don't normally allow it until there are a few chapters up, but since it is on, I'm leaving it on. Thank you for your votes. Especially since that seemed to be the only way to get feedback to the author. And that's the second idiocy I committed. I intended to turn on "Feedback Welcome" in my author profile, but apparently, I only checked "Reviews Welcome". What a dunce!
Finally, I know how to turn on comments. In fact, I've helped other authors find where to turn them on. But when I looked at the button, my head said it was telling me what was on rather than what I needed to click to turn it on.
The summary is that I didn't give people any means of feedback on my story other than voting and I apologize for that. While uploading the rest of the chapters of City Limits, I discovered my errors and hopefully have corrected them. When Chapter 2: Blessed Are You posts tomorrow, you should have full access to comments and feedback and voting. Sorry for having it screwed up when it posted.
Eleven of the thirteen chapters of City Limits have cleared my editor and proofreader and I expect the last two this week. My proofreader pointed out an unintended implication in chapter 10 and I'm doing a few sentences of rewrite in 10 and 11 to correct the problem. Everything through Chapter 9 has been uploaded and the remainder will make it by next week so the whole story will be set to post on Wednesdays through June.
One of the things that I'm dealing with in putting my 'no-sex' stories on SOL is protecting my (minimal) royalties from the Goliath of book distribution. City Limits will release to the general public on June 23 (approximately). I have five other books in the market and you can see them at my profile page: https://www.amazon.com/Nathan-Everett/e/B004QVVE1S/. I'd like to release my backlist here on SOL as well, but the giant reserves the right to reduce the price of any of my books to the lowest available online. If I offer them here for free, they could feasibly offer them for free as well.
I haven't made a solid decision on this as yet. I will probably hide City Limits behind the SOL paywall at the end of July, just to protect my initial revenue stream. I think. I might just thumb my nose and dare them. If any of you have had experience with enforcement of this policy, let me know!
I will be expanding my website at http://www.devonlayne.com to include the books of Nathan Everett soon. In the meantime, here is the blurb for each.
The Gutenberg Rubric (2011). Literary thriller. Think Dan Brown, but interesting.
Did Gutenberg leave a secret?
Just months before the famous Bible that bears his name was finished, Johannes Gutenberg was sued by his business partner for misappropriating funds for a private enterprise. When Gutenberg refused to share the secret project, the court awarded the entire Bible-printing operation to Johan Fust, leaving Gutenberg with nothing but his secret. Was it an alchemical formula? A heretical treatise? A new technology? Or something far more dangerous? Why would Gutenberg risk everything?
Two rare book librarians are reluctant heroes in a centuries-old search for Gutenberg's secret. Crossing continents to follow clues from an encoded rubric and stolen manuscript, the couple face injury, encounter arcane rituals, and flee biblio-terrorists as they race to find the fabled treasure.
But once they find it, will they survive to tell the world?
For Money or Mayhem (2012). Cyber Mystery.
"I hate thieves. And I'm a badass in cyberspace."
Meet Dag Hamar, computer forensics detective. Dag is about to be dragged out from behind his comfortable desk and into the streets of Seattle when he discovers a link between an online predator and a series of real-life kidnappings. Will he be in time to save his new girlfriend's daughter? And if he does, will the relationship survive the test?
For Blood or Money (Second Edition 2013). Cyber Mystery. This is actually the first novel I ever published, but it comes after For Money or Mayhem in the series.
You're a hard-boiled detective with all the trimmings. You've got the Seattle Waterfront office, the sexy young assistant who adores you, and an attitude to match the constant gray drizzle outside your window.
Into your office blows this high-society dame boo-hooing about her missing husband and how he always said that if anything happened to him she should come to you, Dag Hamar. The only problem is you're a middle-aged computer geek who doesn't do missing persons. Doc has told you to stay close to home while you wait for a replacement for your failing ticker. And the only clue the lady brought you was the missing man's laptop.
Did I mention she's your ex-wife and the missing man is the former best friend she ran off with twenty years ago? You can't wait to get your hands on that computer!
Dag Hamar and Deb Riley, computer forensics detectives, discover hidden files and computer code can be as deadly as dark alleys and flying bullets as they enter the high-stakes game of Seattle's business world to trace a missing friend and the billion-dollar fortune that disappeared with him.
The Volunteer (2013). Literary Fiction. Which means that all twelve people who will ever buy this book already have.
Journey inside the head of a chronically homeless man--a man that in a less politically correct age we might have called a hobo. Gerald Good, known now only as G2, volunteered to take the place of a homeless man, believing he would work his way back quickly. Ten... twenty... thirty years, find G2 alone in his head, his memories, and his boxcar.
A story without chapters, we follow whatever G2 thinks of as his present at the moment. In delving into his non-linear life, perhaps we can discover what separates the chronically homeless with nothing from those who constantly collect and consume.
Steven George & The Dragon (2011). Young Adult Fantasy. Don't mistake this for kiddie-lit. A funny story about a clueless dragonslayer told in a series of fairy tales. (Think Grimm, not Disney.)
Once upon a time there was a dragonslayer named Steven George. When Steven is sent by his village to slay the fearsome beast, he realizes that he doesn't know what a dragon looks like, where it lives, or how to slay it. But Steven's village has fostered the talent of telling tales. Steven trades once-upon-a-times with the people he meets along the way and each remarkable story leads him a step closer to understanding the true meaning of his quest.
If all that looks like a dragon is not a dragon, it follows that all that is a dragon may not look like a dragon!