Archive for the 'Fiction' Category

2015 Retrospective

by Jason Stotts

Usually, in early January, I do a big “Best of” the year post that highlights my best essays from the year. This year, however, there weren’t many essays on Erosophia. Nevertheless, it’s been a really big year for me! (Older best of’s: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009)

First, Erosophia turned 10  this year! I’ve been blogging for ten and a half years now. It’s funny, because I started blogging on a lark. At some point I started to really enjoy it and people kept reading it, so it’s just worked out that I’m still doing it.

Second, I graduated with my Master’s in Clinical Psychology in 2015 and started work as a MFT Intern specializing in sex therapy in Palm Springs (more details here).

Third, I started my first full-length fiction book “The Wizard’s Tower”. It’s about half done now and I hope to release it in the next year or two. As I get closer to releasing it, I’ll give out more details about the book and maybe even put up the first chapter here on Erosophia.

Finally, 2015 was a huge year for Eros and Ethos: A New Theory and Practice of Sexual Ethics, my forthcoming book on sexual ethics. I started writing it in January of 2008, so I’ve been at it 8 years now! I finished the complete first draft of E&E in 2014 and spent 2015 working on revising it and making it into a much better book. I’m about halfway through the third draft now and then there will only be one last quick copy-editing draft. I’m expecting to complete it and offer it for sale this year (hopefully!!!).

As we get a little closer, we’ll be setting up a website for the book launch at www.ErosandEthos.com (it’s not live yet). We’ll also announce a firmer publication date and set up a pre-order system. I’m also planning on doing a limited print of 50 or 100 books that are numbered and signed. They will be available through the Eros and Ethos website. The print version will follow the digital by a couple of weeks.

There is, however, one potential problem. Eros and Ethos is long. The present word count is a little over 170,000 words, which makes Eros and Ethos 20,000 words longer than both Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets combined. Depending on the words per page calculation, publishing it as a single volume will be between 680 pages (at 250 wpp, which is what Amazon recommends), to 566 pages (at 300 wpp, which is average nonfiction), to 378 pages (at 450 wpp, which is pretty small print on large pages). Given that most nonfiction books clock in around 200-250 pages (at between 300wpp and 450wpp), this is a problem as it might disincline readers, who will think it’s simply too long to read.

So, one option I’ve been kicking around is separating Part 1 from Part 2 and publishing them separately as Volume 1 and Volume 2. This would yield two regular sized books. The problem is that both ways have pros and cons, which I’ve tried to list below (you’re welcome to add to the lists in the comments).

Publishing Together

Pros:

– The reader can start with either the theory or the applications

– One unified volume

– Won’t have to separate out references to missing parts

– Won’t have to edit to disentangle Part 1 and Part 2

– Won’t need new covers

Cons:

– Less $, since selling 1 books vs. 2

– Longer time to completely publish (need to wait between volumes)

– Too long of a book might discourage readers (some people may never read who might have read a shorter book)

– Fewer published books (author’s vanity)

Publishing Separately

Pros:

– Publish 1st book sooner (less time to edit it all)

– More overall $

– Shorter books, easier to read and more likely people will read

– More total books published

– Build reputation for subsequent releases (maybe)

Cons:

– Will need new covers

– Potential continuity issues

– Only get 1 shot to impress readers and people might prefer theory to applications or vice versa (This is my biggest worry)

What do you think of the publishing issue? Realistically, I think that it’s full of good and interesting stuff and everything that’s in it is in it for a reason.

Either way, 2015 was a great year for me and I’m hoping that 2016 will be even better and see the publication of Eros and Ethos.

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Happy 10th Birthday Erosophia!

by Jason Stotts

Happy_Birthday!

I really can’t believe that it’s been 10 years since I started blogging!

Blogging is interesting.  I never set out to be a blogger.  In fact, I only started writing a blog on a lark.  Then, I just sort of kept writing and at some point things got interesting.  Somewhere along the line people started reading and then I accidentally became popular. I still have no idea how. I’m glad it happened though.

Anyway, I’m happy to announce that we’re half done editing Eros and Ethos and we’re optimistically shooting to release in Q4 of this year, probably December. Editing is going a little slower than I would like, but the book is definitely benefitting from it and it’s much better now than it was before we started.

I also want to announce that I’ve started writing a second book, tentatively titled The Wizard’s Tower. This book, unlike Eros and Ethos, will be fiction. It’s a fantasy book set in a land where wizards rule. It revolves around a new High Wizard and the choices he must make as a ruler who never had any aspirations to rule.  It’s already a third of the way written and we’re starting work on the cover. Joseph Pearson is helping me with this project as well (if you need design work, check him out). Here’s a really tentative cover he mocked up for it:

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I hope to have The Wizard’s Tower published in the next two years.

One other announcement: the Erosophia Podcast is going to start recording again! We got a little behind there, but we’re back on the ball now and we’re starting to record again next week.

If you’ve enjoyed Erosophia these last 10 years, please consider sending me some love.

You can donate via PayPal:


You can buy me a birthday present from my Amazon Wishlist

You can email me and tell me that my work has had some impact in your life: Jason(at)JasonStotts.com (I could really use this one right now).

Or, you can like Erosophia’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ErosophiaBlog.

Finally, I want to thank all of you, my readers and listeners, for a great decade and I look forward to many more years to come.

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Harrison Bergeron

by Jason Stotts

I was recently sent a link to the short story “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut, about the ideal of “equality” and the practical implications of that.  I strongly recommend taking a look at the story, which you can find here.

THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.

(H/T Diana Hsieh)

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The Tow: A Short Story

by Jason Stotts

[Author’s note: this is the first short story I’ve ever written, constructive criticism would be appreciated.]

When you’re unemployed, each day is like the last and they end up running into a blur of searching for jobs, submitting resumes, and waiting anxiously for calls from potential employers.  So, when he woke up today, John expected that today would be much like every other day for the past several months.  Following his regular routine, he dragged himself out of bed, shaved, showered, and had breakfast.  As he was sitting by his window eating his eggs in his small, unadorned, apartment, he was staring blankly outside, thinking about what he could do differently to find a job before he ran out of money.  So far, he was doing alright and he had managed to be current on all his bills, but he knew time was running out.

Just then, he was startled out of his reverie as the tow truck he had only vaguely noticed pulled up to his car and began to maneuver itself into position to pick it up.  He leapt off his chair and rushed to get dressed.  By the time he was outside, the tow truck was already putting the chains on his car in order to lift it onto the bed of the truck.

“Stop!”  John yelled as he ran over to the tow truck.  “What do you think you’re doing?”

“Calm down guy,” the tow truck man said gruffly.  “I’m just doing my job.”

“There has to be some mistake, I’m not behind on my bills or speeding tickets or anything like that.  Can you at least double check that you’re getting the right car?”

“Plate’s match boss, there’s no mistake.”

“I’m not going to let you take my car!  If you don’t stop, I’m going to call the police!”  John said, mostly as a last resort, as he pulled out his cell.

“Fine by me, guy.  I’m just doing my job.”

Realizing that the threat wasn’t stopping him and that his car was almost onto the truck at this point, John call 911 and reported that his car was being stolen.

“The dispatcher said that they have someone in this area and he’ll be here in a minute.  You’re going to be sorry.”

“Listen guy, I’m just doing my job.”  The tow truck driver said, more than just a little annoyed, as he finished putting John’s car onto the truck.  He walked over to him angrily,  “What’s your problem?”

“You want to know what my problem is?  That’s my car.  I’m unemployed and without it I’ll have no way to get a job and, besides, there’s no way you’re towing the right car!”

As he finished saying it, the cop pulled up in his squad car behind the tow truck with his lights on and stepped out of his car.  He was middle aged, in good shape, and looked like he had been on the force his entire life.

“What’s the problem here, gentlemen?  We got a report that a car was being stolen.”

“Officer, this man is towing my car for no reason!  I’m not behind on my payments, I have no outstanding tickets or anything like that, and this guy is trying to take my car!”

“Okay, calm down.  What’s your name?”

“My name is John Owens, I live here,” he pointed vaguely at his apartment behind him, “and this is my car.”

“Okay,” the officer approached the tow truck operator standing by his truck.  “What’s going on here?  What’s your name and who do you work for?”

“Officer, my name is Frank and I work for ASAP Towing here in town.  I have orders from our headquarters to get this car here.  The model, make, and plates all match the orders.  It’s the right car.  I don’t know what this guy did to get his car towed, but I have a job to do.”

“Be that as it may, I’d like to get to the bottom of this first before you head out.  Do you have the number for you headquarters so I can call them and find out what’s going on?”

“Sure, officer.  It’s right here on the side of the truck.”

“John, right?  Why don’t you call down there and see what’s going on.”

“Okay.”  John took his phone back out and dialed the number on the side of the truck.

“ASAP Towing, this is Alyssa, how can I help you?” the woman on the other end of the phone answered.

“This is John Owens, I’m the owner of a Honda Civic that one of your trucks is towing right now and I want to know why.”

“I’m sorry to hear about your confusion, Mr. Owens.  Let me see what I can look up.  Just one moment.”  She put him on hold.  She returned after a short time.  “Mr. Owens?  We have a record for the tow request, but I can’t find who submitted it.  Our manager is out of the office right now, but he’ll be back in less than ten minutes.  Tell you what, why don’t you let the truck take your car down here to our office and you can take a cab, it’s not far from where you live.  We’ll sort out what’s going on and if we find that it was our mistake, we’ll compensate you for your time and trouble, how does that sound?”

“Um, hold on one second.”  John turned to the officer, “The woman on the phone says that they have the order for the tow, but that she can’t find who the order came from.  She wants me to come down there to sort it out.”

“That sounds like the best thing we can do.”  He said.  “How far is your headquarters from here, Frank?”

“Less than a mile.”

“Okay, tell you what John, I’ll give you a ride down there and you can work out what’s going on, okay?”

“Fine,” He put the phone back to his ear.  “Okay, I’m going to have someone take me down there.  I want you to know, though, that I’m very upset about this.”

“I can certainly understand your frustration, sir.  If it is our mistake, we’ll make sure to compensate you adequately for your troubles.  The address for our office is 153 Main St, just South of where Maple crosses main.  We’ll be expecting you.”

“Fine, we’ll be there soon,” John said curtly and hung up.

“Alright Frank, why don’t you head back to your headquarters and see what’s going on.  We’ll be down there shortly.”  The officer said.  “John, why don’t you get whatever you need from your house and lock up and I’ll take you down to their office.”

“Okay, thanks.”  John said.  As he ran back to his house, he turned back as the tow truck drove off with his car.  He grabbed his coat and locked his house, then ran back over to the officer, who was now sitting in his squad car.  “I’m ready.”

“Okay, I have the address, let’s go.”  He started his car and they headed the over to the office in silence; the officer, although curious about the situation, had nothing to say, while John was too worried to say anything at all.

They pulled into the address, 153 Main Street, but it was immediately apparent that something was wrong.  Although the sign did say ASAP Towing, the windows were boarded up and it was evident that they had been out of business for some time, judging by the state of disrepair.

“I don’t understand it!”  John said desperately, leaping out of the car and running over to pull on the door.  “This is the place!  Where is my car?”

The officer got out of his car and surveyed the scene.  “Well, it looks like you were right after all, your car was being stolen.”

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A Brief Confrontation

by Jason Stotts

“You’ll learn. Oh, one of these days, you’ll learn.” She said it as if speaking across the experiential gap that divides children and adults.

“What is it that I should learn, mother?” He said it simply, inquisitively. The question was more directed to understand her motive than her position.

“You’ll learn,” her eyes narrowing; “that the world is not as cut and dry as you think. There is much in the world that doesn’t fit your neat little ideas about right and wrong. It’s not a black-and-white world out there; there are only shades of gray.”

“Your moral mists have no sympathy from me,” He said easily, her position coming into focus and her weaknesses manifesting as if they were glowing red targets beckoning a strike. “Mine is a world of light and truth.”

“I don’t like the way you’re talking to me,” she said hastily as she arose from the table where they had been sitting. “You need to learn to respect your elders. One of these days you’ll learn and your lesson will be a hard one.” It was as if she almost took glee in the thought of him failing, glee in the prospect of a maternal ‘I told you so’. But it was tinged with fear and said as if to forestall further argument during her retreat from the kitchen.

He continued to sit there for a few minutes more, contemplating what sort of life she must have had, prior to his birth, and what sort of upbringing could have driven her to such absurdity. Clearly, if there was no black and no white, there could be no gray. Yet that was precisely the kind of world she wanted; a vindication for her moral depravity and failure of thought. How could someone think like this? How could they not see the folly of their position? Worse, he thought, how could I be related to her?

The chain was familiar and worn. Although he had had many similar confrontations in the past, they never ceased to amaze him at their childishness nor did they ever seem to provide an answer to his questions.

He sighed as he arose and went back upstairs to his work. To argue with one such as her was its own folly.

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