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1038501_45464764Finished Bloodbound on March 16, 2014, sixteen days past when I wanted to finish, but man, was it good to finally complete the story after so many external interruptions and setbacks. I think I need to keep better care of myself.

Folks, take care of your bodies, and they’ll be more likely to take care of you.

I didn’t do updates on the writing process of this for a few reasons. One was that I wasn’t sure what it was, and I’m still not entirely sure. Is it a serial? Is it a short series? Is it a novel comprised of five books? Who knows?

The other reason I didn’t do more than brief updates on Facebook was because I intended to write this more for myself than for publication, in case it didn’t work out. I think it might have worked out, although there are aspects of the story that will probably make it hard to sell.

The first version of the story arose when I was in fifth grade. As you can imagine, it’s gone through several incarnations since then, and this was only the most recent. Was it the final incarnation? I certainly hope so. I’d like to move on from the plot and move forward with new ones. And I really like the story that I wrote, in spite of the aspects that make it a tough sell.

When I write vampires, I write unrepentant predators. It occurred to me that when I address the matter of the feeding habits of vampires, werewolves, and some demons, I’m dealing with some of my own omnivore tension and whether I should be eating meat.

I’m not sure I’ve come to the right conclusion, because when I write these creature characters, I’ve determined that under their code of ethics, responsible eating of humans is acceptable. I’m not sure the human beings on the other side of the page are okay with some of my characters’ cavalier consumption, especially since I don’t treat it as an inherent personality flaw or evidence of villainy. Humans tend to vilify maneaters in general; the maneaters themselves roll their eyes at humans’ hypocrisy and lack of self-awareness.

Also, in writing for myself, not only did I write a primary relationship mix of MF and MM, but I added some femmeslash in, more than I’d originally intended. Basically the erotic romance kiss of death, and I don’t give a crap, because I wrote this for me. If it doesn’t get accepted by anyone, that’s okay, because I can self-pub for me, too. And I have a few people to ask about self-pubbing serials. :) The femmeslash felt organic to me, and I’m not inclined towards boundaries. The sexual stimulation and penetrative nature of the vampire bite blurs some of the conventional sexuality structures built around genitalia, so some fuzziness in that area seemed appropriate.

I did run into some problems. I realized that I’d created a master/servant relationship between two vampire priests where the master is white and the servant is black. I’m usually really aware of minority issues when I’m writing, but for some reason, the baggage of a black man being subservient to and calling the white man ‘master’ just completely slipped my notice.

Now, there is a way to salvage it – the arrangement was created by the servant rather than the master, and it’s maintained by the servant, to end at his discretion. The two vampires also have a relationship of deep respect for the other. They’re companions (in the significant sense). So the relationship was not created to mirror the master/slave atrocities at all, completely different dynamic.

But I should also be sure not to write this in a vacuum, especially since the black man was turned in the heart of the civil rights movement. Vampires have their own vocabulary for things, so if I do keep the terminology, I need to build a case for why this relationship is what it is within the framework of America’s racial history and vampire culture.

Another problem I ran into was that I wasn’t sure if I was going to alternate POVs between my female protagonist and male interest, but after writing one chapter in the second book from Nathan’s POV, I realized I couldn’t sustain it over the whole book and would rather stay in Julia’s POV the whole time. So I left that chapter to come back to when I was finished so that I could keep moving forward at the time. Ugh. I hate changing POV, since I had a beautiful look into Nathan’s head and had to move some of that into dialogue to make it work. And I’ll probably have to cut a good bit of that out to make it work better as dialogue so it isn’t an exposition dump.

However, I love my characters, love my MF and MM relationships, and I enjoy the vampire world I created, plus the parallel vampire religion based upon the same premise as Christianity. It evolved alongside of it – and comes across as blasphemous as a result, which was a bucket of uncomfortable for me, let me tell you.

I had some name changes and title changes from beginning to end, but the essence stayed pretty consistent throughout – even with the surprises I had when I reached the end and had to finally make some decisions.

Anyway, here’s the part that no one’s been waiting for, but I love too much.

Bloodbound Stats:

Bloodbound is, at this point, a five-book serial. In structure, I think of it as a five-act play, and within each book are three parts. So, five books, three chapters each, fifteen chapters in all. It could also function as a single novel with five “books.” I’ll just have to see.

Final word count: 88,149 words, practically a novella for me, seriously, and it’ll be even shorter after editing cuts.

Projected word count: 110,000 words, but that’s a lie. I thought it would be about 90,000 words, but I’m historically conservative with my initial word count guessage, and I moved it up 20,000 just to be safe. Turns out I was right the first time – for the first time.

First line: “Before someone threw her in this cage, she remembered walking on the street.”

Largest number of sexual participants at once: 3, although I’m not counting the biting orgy, just the number of participants in a particular sexual activity at a time.

Number of sex scenes: 9, I believe. I need to remember to keep better count of these things.

Book titles: Blood Contract, Bleeder’s Ball, Blood Pool, Blood on the Moon, and Bleeding Heart

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Next on the list: Editing Stone & Chains, then taking a break from this world to work on other projects before returning to the Arcanium universe in the late summer or early fall.