A year ago today, I posted chapters one and two of my first story on SOL. I completed the twelve chapter story on January 5. I had no idea what to expect as I'd blogged novels before and had published three. I'd just finished writing the mystery that would become my fourth published book and I was pretty depressed. I thought, why can't I write something with a happy ending.
What I wasn't prepared for was over 8,000 downloads a 9.9.9 TPA and score of 7.9 and the beginning of what would mount to more than 1,500 emails during the year.
The Art & Science of Love was a story idea I'd had kicking around for twenty years with several very early drafts. It was an off-shoot of a romp I'd titled "Blackjack. Blackmail. Blacklist." In that story, a crew of amateur gamblers take on Reno, but each is being blackmailed by one of the others. The main character's flaw is that he writes erotica based on his real-life wife. With the success of ASL, I decided to dust off the larger novel, post it, and write a second volume of ASL to go with it. But it was going to take me a while to revise and work on the story. I'd think about starting it about the end of April.
In the meantime, I thought I'd post a couple of short pieces, just so people knew I was still around. I posted Art School on January 19. What a flop! It remains one of my lowest scores, partly because it is short and partly because I still hadn't gotten what peope wanted to read.
I still liked the overall concept of stories in the art world as there didn't seem to be many and it's a great excuse to have people taking their clothes off. So February fourth, I posted a slightly longer piece that I thought would be finished in two chapters. Model Student created an instant flurry of emails and ratings. I actually thought I'd finished the story after each of the first five chapters, but people kept writing to tell me how much they liked my characters and asking me to please continue the story. 146,000 words later, I finished chapter 19 and the first year of adventures with Tony, Melody, and Lissa. The Blackjack book had been set aside indefinitely. The question was how soon I could begin the sequel. That was 55,000 downloads ago, dwarfing the 9500 downloads of ASL.
I had to get things moving and made people wait a tense six weeks before I had enough of Triptych written to begin posting on June 4. At the same time, I started publishing Model Student in Amazon and Nook eBooks in segments because the work was so long. Part three was released October 1 and the series actually started selling. I also started posting Interviews with the characters. That doesn't appeal to everyone, but it's fun and I get a lot of great comments on what people think of different characters. What I love about this story is that even when someone is depressed, injured, broke, or isolated, there is an underlying excitement and love that binds them together. I finished Triptych Part I at the end of July and took two months off to try to sell it to a publisher and to write the second part. October 1 I came back with Triptych Part II which, when it is published, will be titled Odalisque.
During the time off, I tossed in a little ditty--my lowest rated story because it isn't really a story at all--called Bucket List. I'm still trying to figure out how to accomplish the things on that list. I also wrote a Halloween competition story titled One-Hour Do-Over. I was both surprised and flattered when the story received third place honors in the competition here on SOL.
Then came November and National Novel Writing Month. It was my depression over the previous NaNoWriMo story that started me writing on SOL, but the published book was doing well. So I decided to cross-over between my two identities and write a psychological thriller with erotic overtones (or just some raw sex). It posted daily through November, and while the story isn't for everyone, the ratings have been climbing steadily for the past two weeks as people continue to read and rate it. This story will make a great literary competition entry after the first of the year and I have an agent interested in looking at it when I finish the rewrite. As a result, I may have to remove it from SOL at the end of the year, so if you think you'd like to read it, download the whole thing. I'm still trying to work out a way that I can leave it here for my fans who want it and still satisfy a publisher who really wants to sell it. We'll see.
I've preloaded Triptych Part II to post through Christmas Eve. I'm working on the final five chapters that mean the story should wrap up early in January if I can get them completed and edited by then. It's a bit of a push after the very intense month of November. And don't worry, there is another sequel brewing, even though it might take me a month of two to get enough written to start posting (probably in about March).
The stats: I've written 594,543 words posted here on SOL in the past year. Over all, my stories have a basic score of 8.80 and a TPA of 8.9.9. They've been downloaded 159,709 times. I've sold over 200 ebooks on Amazon and Nook of the Model Student series and will publish Book 4: Triptych (the Part I story here) before Christmas. I've read over four times that amount on SOL in the same time, including works by Ryan Sylander, Nick Scipio, Dr. Paco Jones, Invid_Fan, bluedragon, Crumbly Writer, EzzyB, Jay Cantrell, RPSuch, and many others. Some of these guys write a lot of words!
I'm hoping to be around for a long time to come, and hope you will continue your support by purchasing the books of Devon Layne and Nathan Everett if you are able and like my writing. If the world doesn't end on December 21, you'll be seeing me a lot in the next year!