I’m working on a novel, projected to be about 90,000 words (350 pages), set in the same universe as my short story “Sacrifice.” I’ve been working on it for 2.5 years and have gotten about 5 drafts into it. Each draft is quite different than the one before it.
Finally I sat down to outline it. I’m a pantser, not a plotter, but it does seem to help to do some basic outlining. My “basic” outline is 4500 words long, which I suppose isn’t bad for a 350 page book.
My next challenge will be sticking to the outline. I’m not very good at that.
I published a short story called “Sacrifice” in At Hell’s Gate 3: Bound by Blood. The short story takes place around 100 BCE near Samarkand, which is a city in Central Asia. The main characters are Persian and Roman.
The piece is set in the same “urban fantasy” world as my novel, and the characters in this piece are half-vampires. In my novel there’s a taboo against half-vampires getting pregnant, so I wrote this story to determine why. What was so bad about pregnancy? How would it affect half-vampires? What sort of infant could two half-vampires produce?
I also spell out a bit of the mythology of the Order of vampire hunters, including what the name of the Order is. That was really hard. I’m not good at naming thing. I probably spent more than a year trying to figure out the Order’s full name.
I liked writing this story. I also had a lot of help writing it. I ran it through a local writer’s group (shout-out to Missy Kirtley) and through a bunch of critiquers over at Scribophile.com, plus S.G. Lee beta read it for me and offered a number of useful corrections. Amanda Shore of By The Shore Editing and my friend Jennifer Fisch-Ferguson, who wrote Enter the Moon and who edits in her copious spare time, to edit it before I submitted it and then S. Kay Nash of The Bookie Monster edited it again after it was accepted for publication. They did great work. In total we probably spent over 100 hours writing, revising, editing, and talking about this story. I hope readers enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
This volume of At Hell’s Gates is the largest yet. It comes in at over 500 pages. Family must be a hot topic for horror novelists. The e-book version is currently $2.99 and the print version will come along within the week. I donated the story to the anthology because the anthology’s purpose is to raise money for a charity called the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which is a charity devoted to helping US veterans with traumatic brain injury and/or post traumatic stress disorder. So far the anthology series has raised over $1000 for this charity. I know several vets with TBI or PTSD, so I’m happy to be doing something to help.
Mike V. at Amazon wrote:
“Lockdown by TM Caldwell: A school teacher tries her best to protect her students amid a school lockdown that quickly proves to be something far beyond a student with a knife. There’s a slight twist on the typical zombie behavior that is novel, and the story’s pacing, language, and plot are good. Not quite a standout from other zombie stories, it is still entertaining.”
This is my first review ever. I’m really happy with it. It’s not overly-enthusiastic, which makes me trust it more. He says it’s good and entertaining, which is what I could reasonably hope for, this being my first “sale.” He rated the anthology itself with five stars.
At Hell’s Gates: Origins of Evil came out today and I have to say it’s really a thrill to see my name on a book’s cover. I hope readers like my story.
Once I finish all this grading I’ll write another story. 🙂
It appears my short story “Lockdown” was selected for inclusion in the At Hell’s Gates: Origins of Evil anthology (their second) and will be published January 31, 2015. Hooray!
I wrote and submitted a short story called “Lockdown” to the At Hell’s Gates anthology for their second round, which is subtitled “Source of Evil.” I should hear back around New Year’s Day about whether the story is accepted for publication.