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I once thought I wrote hot stories. But the weather here in Idaho has me outdone by a long way. It's been 107 degrees all afternoon today, breaking records by 13 degrees. Yesterday's 105 only broke the record by 10 degrees.
The remedy? Tomorrow night is the resort chili cook-off. I don't have a single recipe, though I have several ingredients I use repeatedly. Hot food for a hot day--it's supposed to be over 100 again tomorrow. I'll probably plug my kettle in outside so I don't have to heat up the trailer. I'll call it "Redtail Chili" because if it's from Devon Layne, it's supposed to be hot.
Haha. Okay. Joke's over. Turn down the heat, please!
All of Drawing on the Dark Side of the Brain and all of Wayzgoose's For Money or Mayhem have been uploaded and queued for posting over the coming weeks. I always breathe a sigh of relief when I upload the last chapter and can say, "That one will never have a yellow bar." If you are like me, you hesitate to start new stories by old authors. After all, we might die before the story is finished and then you'd never know the end.
I try to make sure that a story is either finished or at a conclusion point (like the end of a distinct part) before I start posting it. So, I've just sent all of What Were They Thinking? Part I (Living Next Door to Heaven 3) off to my editors. "What," you might ask (or maybe not), "is the story behind reopening the saga of Brian Frost, Casa del Fuego, and the Clan of the Heart?" Funny you should ask (or maybe didn't).
This story is neither a sequel, though the prologue would come after the end of the ninth LNDtH book (LNDtH2), nor is it a prequel, though chapter one begins long before the beginning of the LNDtH saga. I will call it an 'equel', running parallel to the nine books of Living Next Door to Heaven 1 and 2, and with mulitiple narrators, sometimes running parallel to itself. It began when a reader approached me with typical words whenever a reader is enthusiastic about a story. "Devon, you need to write a sequel to this story."
I've received many such requests from readers of different stories over the years. Well-intentioned but usually ill-advised. When I end a story I generally don't plan to ever go back to it, though I have thought of writing an LNDtH story from the perspective of Brian and Dani's daughter Xan. Someday.
"Now look," Doug said, "you and I both have daughters not long out of their teens. We can read this story and think 'Where was this when I was in school?' But if your daughter or my daughter came up to us and said, "Yeah, Dad, I'm spending the night at my boyfriend's house with our ten other girlfriends, we'd have said, 'Oh, no you aren't!' and we'd have made it stick if we had to sit at the door with a shotgun. What the hell were those parents thinking?"
I agreed it would be an interesting study and maybe I'd consider writing it this fall. Then I made the mistake of driving across Washington State for the Memorial Day holiday with said daughter, and driving back across the state to my summer campground with Doug's idea rolling around in my head. I started writing.
This, however, brings me to a crisis. I want to release What Were They Thinking? to my SOL readers. LNDtH 1&2 have been downloaded 1.9 million times according to SOL stats. Based on the email and comments I've received and continue to receive, readers are emotionally invested in the characters.
However, when I released the series in eBook on Amazon and B&N, I did a pretty complete rewrite that included changing the names of many places and characters to protect the innocent. That version is going through one more proofreading and check for consistency and I'll be releasing the updated edition at Amazon soon. But the new book is built on the released version, not the version that is on SOL. It could get confusing. Even Pixel commented, "Wait a minute. Who is Hannah? Is that the same as Rhonda?"
So, do I update the entire SOL version with the release version names and content? Then have fans dazed and confused because I changed the names of their favorite characters? Or should I just post the new LNDtH3 and let confusion reign as people cross-check the character list? Or should I only offer the new book on Amazon and B&N? (Not going to do that. I've promised that all my books would be available free on SOL.) Maybe I should offer the updated LNDtH1&2 on my website so anyone who wants to can read it there and not mess with the stuff that's posted on SOL?
Crap! How do I get myself into these predicaments?
On a completely different note, the party at camp this weekend was especially enjoyable for many reasons but one of those reasons was good enough to share. I sat at the campfire next to a very nice young woman (Hey! 55 is young to me). In the process of getting to know this woman (and her husband), I find out that she was a Hustler model. Yes, it was thirty-five years ago, but the lady still has it.
There was the high-point of my weekend, sitting naked next to a naked former Hustler model examining her new nipple jewelry. I hope you all have a great week, too!
There was some good discussion in the Drawing on the Dark Side of the Brain comments that I've tried not to participate in because I don't want to accidentally give any spoilers in the comments. Mostly, that comes from my inability to shut up at the right time. It also sparked some conversation with my editors, though, and it helps to keep us all focused.
Without referring further to the story, I'll give some of my data regarding the dystopian vision of the future held by a huge number of Digital Natives (born after 1997). The writer of the following message is near the cut-off, though technically still considered a Millennial. I thought, however, that his honest assessment was spot on and I see it only amplified as we reach down to age eighteen, like the characters in Dark Side.
Why do we want to die?
It's kind of a joke, and kind of an expression of a very real feeling of powerlessness and dread.
As a generation we are crippled by student loan debt. Can't buy a house because the housing market is a catastrophe. Trapped in meaningless service sector jobs, gleefully exploited by large corporations, not unionized, and feeling the full force of wage stagnation. Retirement seems like a hilarious fantasy. And that's just the economy.
The US is a cultural wasteland. Our movies are remakes of remakes and the cynical reselling of our childhoods back to us. Our computers and social networks actively spy on us. We're always connected, yet statistically very isolated. We're going to be around when the full effects of climate change set in and start fucking shit up. Our taxes are wasted in fruitless military adventures overseas while our politicians refuse to take real action on the exploding costs of education and health care. Our national politics in general are in absolute shambles.
Personally, my life (age 26) is going quite well. But as a cohort we don't really have much to be optimistic about. There is much to be concerned about, and many potential futures to dread.-from Zeebuss
Generations are not defined by the literal time it takes to mature and reproduce like it might be with dogs or orchids. In human generations, the seemingly arbitrary cut-off of 1997 as where the Digital Native generation starts is based on those who can remember 9/11 and those who really can't. So, consider what this generation is all about. They are twenty-one years of age or less. (When my generation was in that age range, we were burning draft cards and bras. We were marching in the streets for civil rights. We were putting flowers in her hair, flowers everywhere. We did not remember World War II.)
Today's 18-21-year-old does not remember 9/11
Has never known privacy and has no real understanding of it outside of sneaking behind the garage to smoke pot (and that will be photographed and posted for everyone to see on flickr)
Never had a phone with wires
Always had a cell phone and a home computer (probably was given Mommy's smart phone to play games on while shopping
Never knew broadcast television (it's always been cable, OnDemand, and satellite TV)
Never bought an entire CD to get one song they wanted (yet have a library of over a thousand pieces of music they like, or did when they bought it)
Stands a one-in-six hundred chance of having had a live shooter in their school during their twelve years of education (those starting school this year stand a one-in-three hundred chance) and believe no one cares enough to stop it
Have had more live shooter drills in school than fire drills (of course, my generation had duck-and-cover drills to protect us from nuclear holocaust)
Will spend upwards of 100-150,000 for a four-year college degree that will get them a $40,000-a-year entry level job
Or, elect to do a job that does not require a degree and struggle to work their way up to $15 per hour in wages
Either way, they will start their working life either in debt or in crippling debt
Will live with parents as long as possible (BTW, the parents of today's 18-21-year-olds are mostly not Millennials, but the tail end of Gen-X, sometimes referred to as Xennials.)
Have no hope of ever buying a home, retiring, or being able to afford marriage
Fear having children because that would truly be the end of hope
Have never known a time when the US was not at war someplace in the world
Consider the world, and especially the US, to be a corrupt and hopeless place
At the same time, they want to go to concerts, buy cool clothes, smoke pot, drink to the point of alcohol poisoning, and discover true love via sex. All of those are an escape from what they consider reality to be. Like all such escape mechanisms, they are self-defeating as they consume the limited cash resources that they have and spiral back into more hopelessness. But any attempt to tell them they should save their money and not spend it on all that frivolous stuff is responded to with disbelief that we of the older generations would take away the little joy they have in life.
Sex is a cheap pleasure, but my generation-the generation of free love-has pounded into them that sex is dirty, that it is a form of abuse, that it can't be enjoyed in a way that doesn't require one party being used by the other, and that it inevitably leads to AIDS. We have convinced girls, transsexuals, gays, and non-binary people that men cannot be trusted, and then we proved it. We have further done our best to keep quality sex education out of schools (abstinence only), to deny reproductive health services, and to convince both males and females that sex is nothing more than a marketing tool.
Is every Digital Native so despondent? Of course not. We are a diverse culture. "Smart Girls" will find a 40-year-old electrical engineer to seduce and graduate from college at sixteen. Or win the lottery. Some will truly be so smart and dedicated they will rise to the top no matter what. Some will already be members of the privileged class whose parents will support them, pay for college, house them, and get them started in life. As we move from Gen-X to Millennials as parents, we find fewer and fewer who are capable of doing that as the gap between the economic classes widens and people who were once upper middle class discover the erosion of the economy has moved them down and widened the gap between them and the upper strata they aspire to. And those who were just at the edge of making it find their savings gone, mortgages that consume 50% or more of their income, health services increasing in price as health benefits are reduced, and mounting credit card debt that was only supposed to see them through a tough spot and became a way of life.
Dystopia? Only if you define the reality of our world and society today as dystopian.
I thought that I was going to finish the first draft of Drawing on the Dark Side of the Brain this morning. I am halfway through chapter 40 and realize there will be at least one more. Maybe two. Damn characters have their own story to tell and often won't shut up until they've had their say. And with seven lovers and a few more volunteers, I have to be fair and let each of them get their cookies, right?
Well, without giving away the story, suffice it to say that I was writing about Baroque Porn. Specifically, porn based on Jett's interpretation of Poisson's Bacchanal before a Statue of Pan. I was trying to envision how such a scene would evolve and Baroque music came flitting to mind. With that thought came Bach, and suddenly I had a silent porn film conducted and performed to Bach fugues. In order to properly visualize that, I had to listen to an entire hour-long concert of Bach played on a huge pipe organ.
What a way to begin my day.
I've since progressed to listening to Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream Op 61. For some reason, that reminded me of Rachmaninov. I found a delightful performance of his Piano Concerto No. 2 featuring the lovely Anna Fedorova. Now I have her rendition of Piano Concerto No. 3 cued up and ready to play as I continue writing. I swear she has an orgasm while she is playing Rachmaninov! It's been a musical morning.
And I plan to continue writing this morning. I intend to have Dark Side complete by the weekend, and if that means I have two more chapters to write, I have a lot of work to do! I produced 6500 words yesterday, but I confess that 1200 were on LNDtH3. Part I of that story has been drafted and is in the hands of my story editor. I'm working on Part II. When finished, this is likely to be a work of some 150-200,000 words. Of course, characters… Who knows what their stories will tell?
I'm very pleased with the reception Wayzgoose is getting with For Money or Mayhem, so the sequel that I've not yet completed, For Mayhem or Madness, is rising on my list of important projects to get finished by the end of the year. 2019 is shaping up to be a very productive year as I have been producing an average of over 2000 words a day all year.
Speaking of the end of the year, I'm thinking of hitting the Florida panhandle from November to March. Anyone have experience and advice on that area near Pensacola? I've heard it gets chilly, but none of the weather history that I've looked at for the past two years indicates more that a few days of truly cold weather and plenty of days in the high seventies-ideal weather for sitting outside in the altogether, IMHO.
And I've heard that spring break at Pensacola Beach is as lovely as Ft. Meyers. Hmm.
We had a mini tornado rip through camp a few days ago. Damnedest thing ever if you ask me. Slightly more than a dust devil. I was sitting outside under my awning working on my laptop when the wind picked up. Really started to blow and shake things. I'm in a fairly sheltered location, so it was muted somewhat by the trees surrounding me. The skies were all clear blue without a cloud anywhere, but a little twister came right up the dirt road into our camp. One guy's camp table and umbrella ended up in the meadow about a quarter mile away and his awning is going to need some repair.
Five minutes after the wind started whistling, everything was calm again and you would think it was all an illusion. Still beautiful clear blue skies, 80 degrees, and calm as could be.
I have to mention my Patreon page. The folks who have joined my community really do a lot to boost me and keep me writing. Since most actually found me through SOL, I want to recognize them for all the support and advice they give me. Patrons in my Advance Release Community ($5/mo) receive all my stories at a more rapid pace and a bit before they are posted here. Patrons in my Sausage Grinder Community ($10/mo) get to watch the stories take shape as I write them. It's raw and unedited, but some people just can't wait. The comments I get also help me create a better story through the editing process. Those patrons are currently almost finished with Dark Side and are now well into LNDtH3 with weekly posts. If you'd like to join those patrons and get immediate access to what they are seeing, check it out at www.patreon.com/aroslav. Of course, I welcome supporters at any level and appreciate all the community members.
I'm just absent minded. I have been so deep in my current writing projects, making up time lost while traveling to promote City Limits, that I have neglected to update blogs and other such stuff.
No more. At least not today.
Here is the exciting news: Two new stories starting in the next few days! One from Wayzgoose and one from aroslav. A little something for everyone.
Today (like right now), the cyber mystery For Money or Mayhem begins posting on Wayzgoose's page.
Dag Hamar is a computer forensics detective. He was thrown into the profession when he discovered the CEO of his company had not only stolen his girlfriend, but his retirement funds as well. Dag really hates a thief.
Now his mentor has asked him to go undercover in a credit card company to find out who has his fingers in the till. Dag pegs the Chief Technology Officer as the culprit but there's no evidence. And it looks like everyone in the company has something at stake in keeping him from needed information.
But Dag continues in his private business as well, helping a young man thwart a cyber-bully and discovering a real-life threat in the process. A threat that will extend to his girlfriend, her daughter, and her daughter's best friend. And that will bring down a cyber empire.
Discover how the two cases are related and join Dag as he is dragged out from behind the comfort of his computer screen and into the gritty streets of Seattle to stop a kidnapper and an embezzler.
No-sex. Mystery. Tear-jerker. 28 chapters, posting every three days beginning now: July 13, 2018.
On Tuesday, aroslav's new erotic artist story, Drawing on the Dark Side of the Brain, will begin.
Jett Blackburn is a Digital Native. Born after the turn of the millennium, Jett has never known a time when technology wasn't at his fingertips. He played with his parents' cell phones as a baby. A computer was in his room from the beginning of his life. He can't understand why his parents buy entire CDs to get one song they are interested in. He sends and receives more than ten thousand text messages a month. And his friends video chat through every aspect of their lives.
Jett and his friends have never known privacy. As a result, their online antics spill over into their real lives without boundaries.
But in all this digital world, what Jett likes to do is paint. Real paint on real canvas. And sometimes on his underwear. And his friends like to watch. As Jett's art begins to take shape, people are affected by his drawings and paintings that capture the soul of his subject. People are changed. Sometimes terminally.
Jett discovers real-life sex is even more satisfying than cyber-sex and a group of his female friends self-select around him to become his family as they head to their first year at the university. Jett discovers a new substrate for his art and a new venue for his performances.
Much sex. Coming of Age. College. ~40 chapters, posting every three days beginning July 17, 2018.
And this weekend is the Skin to the Wind Festival of Fun at Sun Meadow Nudist Resort. The RV spaces started filling up Monday and the campground is near capacity. There are nightly music events, games, seminars, pools, and cocktails. Tomorrow at 4:30 at the potluck patio party, I'll have a table for an author meet and greet featuring City Limits and other Nathan Everett titles. I'm carefully selecting what hat to wear as that will be the only thing I have on.
I've hinted a couple times at a new project I'm working on. Well, I'm only half a chapter away from completing part one of my new Living Next Door to Heaven installment: What Were They Thinking? It will enter the editing cycle soon and I expect it to post in August. This sometimes hilarious and sometimes sad account is about the development of Brian's Clan of the Heart as seen from the perspective of the parents of the fourteen-year-olds who sign The Agreement. Told from multiple points of view, Marilyn Frost, Anna Pratt, Rev. Gordon, John Clinton, Sly Cortales, and others look back at what they allowed their kids to do and ask "What the hell were we thinking?"
And that's life in the fast lane. Here in Idaho the temps have been in the upper 80s this week. I've spent most of my time outside with my computer as I write and wave at my friends and neighbors walking by. Seems that I get into a cycle, though. Heat. Lethargy. Nap. Repeat. I'm just sandwiching as many words as possible between naps!
Have a great Friday the thirteenth!
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