Somewhere in the past few hours I recorded my 2 millionth download on SOL. I'm sure some writers on the site have five times that amount (some of the deservedly so) but I thought it the achievement was impressive enough to share.
"Death and a Life in Emerald Cove" has been very well received in spite of my misgivings. I can't seem to figure out the vagaries of the SOL family. Some of my more popular stories, "Always on Guard" and "Emerald Cove" are prime examples, started out as just sideline tales I would work on as plot lines or characters solidified on other works. Those works, "Daze in the Valley" and "A Flawed Diamond" took so long to write and clean up that I eventually managed to finish what I considered the "secondary" stories.
"Emerald Cove" was so unlike the other stories I've posted that I worried the group that I consider my "core" readers would be disenchanted. My fears were misplaced. The same group that has offered words of encouragement since I started to post in earnest in 2008 followed right along and I wanted to take the time to tell them how much I appreciate them.
As has become my habit I've fallen behind in my email correspondence. I don't intend for it to happen but it always seems to work out that way. I set aside a folder for each story in the vain hope that someday, somewhere I'll have time to go through and give each message the response it deserves. The "Emerald Cove" folder had more than 1,100 messages as of this morning - and I've gotten more than three dozen responses in the few hours since the final chapter went up on the site.
I'm smart enough to know when I'm whipped. So I hope that I can answer a few of the more common questions here.
Will I write more about Bryant and Jan?
I hope so. I really liked the way the pairing went together - and the supporting cast melted into the background far better than I've managed in previous stories. They were integral to the plot but they didn't take over the plot as has happened before. I wouldn't be surprised if a few characters from the story pop up in my future works - as I did with the "Daze" cast in "Diamond." I've outlined a second full story involving Jan and Bryant. When an old friend's death calls them home to Chicago they find themselves investigating corruption at the highest levels (talk about art imitating life). Right now, it's only an outline, though. My writing schedule is pretty full right now because …
The next original story on SOL is likely to be the long-awaited (by some) sequel to "Unending Night." It's been slow because I want to keep the style and pacing of the original - something I lost when I wrote the sequel to "The Outside." Yeah, the characters were similar but one of the reasons I moved it into the future was because I had so much trouble recreating the atmosphere from the original. I can't do that with "Unforgettable Weeks." It picks up the morning after the original so I have to maintain some sort of consistency. What is wholly different from the original is the length. "Unending Night" could be read front to back in 20 minutes - if you stopped for a soda in the middle. "Unforgettable Weeks" is at 60 chapters already with probably 20 more needed to wrap up the loose ends and to set the stage for the third part of the Regan and Andy Trilogy - "Unimaginable Life". I suspect "Weeks" will start on the site in early winter 2015 with "Life" tentatively scheduled for 2017-18.
Original? Do you plan to plagiarize a better writer's work next?
I'm not a United States Senator, so no. But the next story I post will be on FineStories. I think that site deserves to gain a following so I plan to post an original (shorter) story there every few months. The first original story I'll post there (one that hasn't appeared on SOL beforehand) is tentatively slated for late summer or early fall, barring any major rewrites. It's about 20 chapters long and I will alert the readership here in this blog.
What else is in the works?
A lot of things, actually. I have about 125 chapters done on my next "major" production, a college coming of age story that I wrote in lieu of a similar story about Brock Miller from "The Outsider." This one will perhaps be as long as "Daze in the Valley" because, well, there ain't no end in sight. I've far outpaced my outline and I've shelved it for now while I write "Unforgettable Weeks." Perhaps the most ambitious project on my radar is a series of stories about a man who gets on the wrong side of a drug cartel and has to go on the run. I've outlined six parts so far, with settings ranging from San Diego to the Caribbean to, possibly, the fictional town of Emerald Cove. I've also been working periodically on a piece of "historical fiction" set during World War II and a story set in a fictional medieval country. I'm about 20 chapters into each of them. There is no guarantee either will be finished but the farther along I get, the more I feel compelled to conclude them.
I think that answers the most frequent questions I get. I want to offer my sincere thanks to the fine folks that have taken the time to let me know they appreciate the efforts I go to keep them entertained.
And, of course, to the fine group of editors and proofreaders who work diligently to make the stories better and easier to read. They truly do yeoman's work.