Thanks for all the positive feedback. I really do appreciate it. I try to respond individually to everyone (well, except those who are anonymous, of course), but there seems to be a set of questions that get asked (in addition to corrections).
Ending of Book 1
Book 1 ends the way it did in real life. The story is largely based on my youth, though there is some fantasy added in as well as some 'what-if' speculation. With regard to the events in chapter 40, names, dates, locations and circumstances were changed, but they did happen.
Tell me, please! I'll fix them. Be they spelling, punctuation, historical reference or continuity! I have an editor and two proof-readers. We miss stuff. I want to fix it!
I plan to write eight books. The first four cover Steve's High School years. The second four college and work. Beyond that, I do not know. The story continues, but I can't promise more at this point.
I also intend to write several shorter stories that highlight the main female characters. Brigit's story just needs to be put down on paper. I hope to do ones for Melanie, Jennifer, Becky and Stephanie. I'm not sure the timing. And I don't want spoilers so certain books have to wait for the main story to progress.
Of course, life my interfere, but I can work around most things as long as I have a computer and I'm breathing.
I've received a bit - nothing harsh, and I appreciate all of it. It's been helpful. I enjoy reading the comments. They make me think and challenge me. Don't worry about hurting my feelings, I have a thick skin!
I'll just comment on one specific type of critique: "X would never do Y." I have two responses to that.
The first is, it's fiction and fantasy. Yes, there is a lot of me and my experiences in the story, but you'll just have to suspend disbelief if necessary. Everything in the story happens for a reason. There are no extra words.
The second is, don't be so sure. While some of my characters don't fit the perceived notions of what a certain type of person might do, the most important aspects of the story are drawn from my real life.
Too much story, not enough sex
That I can't control. The story writes itself. When I wrote Book 1 it took less than 2 weeks from start to finish. I simply poured myself onto digital paper, so to speak.
I happen think the balance is right. But my writing isn't really about sex, it's about self-discovery, coming-of-age, right vs. wrong, love and everything else we struggle with for our whole lives.
Sex is part of the story, but it's not the story.
By all means, send requests and ideas. But they have to fit the story. And the characters have to be consistent within their behavior, even it outside events force radical changes on them.
For example, Steve never has sex casually. Ever. Don't believe me? Go back and read! He thinks about every young woman, considers the situation and decides what to do. The possible exceptions are Jennie and Melanie, but even there, read the thought process. It develops over time, of course, so the two early encounters aren't specifically representative. Brigit is her own special case with very special circumstances . He may well have casual sex (e.g. with Mary) but he doesn't have sex casually.
Steve also has a 'type' that he ends up with. Nearly all the girls fall into that type. He's not going to bang the entire cheerleading squad - he can't stand most cheerleaders. He's not chasing adult women and trying to lure them into his grasp. In point of fact, he's the prey, not the predator, for most of his encounters!
Steve has clear views of right and wrong. They may be skewed, they may actually be wrong, but he's pretty consistent with following his notions of right and wrong. When he doesn't, it's usually because Birgit, Melanie or Jennifer are instigating. And it usually leads to trouble.
All that is to say, if you have some scene you might like to see, send it in. If it fits the story, I'll see if I can accommodate. But I promise you he's not going to have a harem of married women at his beck and call. He'd never even think about that, if you understand him!
Book 1 is complete, so any such suggestions would be in Book 2 or later.
Is Larry gay?"
I had no framework to understand that in 1977. I didn't know. I won't write much about it, since even 38 years after I met him, and having a son who came out a few years ago, I have no context. I'm a straight, white male who never experimented and never had any interest in experimenting in that area. If I wrote about it, it would be obvious. And it would probably suck.
It's bit of a spoiler, but Larry had no relationships that I was aware of during the timeframe I'm writing about, so there isn't much to write beyond my friendship with him. Making stuff up just wouldn't work.