In the last two years, so much has been changing for me when it comes to writing. For starts, I completed my first collaborative work with my wife Helen, which became “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”. As I’ve said in previous entries, she has been my sounding board, my adviser on both science and science fiction, my rock, and my inspiration.
Shortly before work was completed on the “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”, a friend from high school days, Rich Caminiti, asked me to look at a piece he’d been working on for a number of years. I read what he had done and quickly saw he was in the same boat I had been back in 2009-2011. A story idea which needed some serious direction, scene cutting/editing, a little more cohesive connection between ideas… but a SOLID concept. As we talked more, he asked me to help be his mentor and after having read my first two books he wished to know if we could work on a project together and I agreed. Like Helen, Rich is a huge knowledge of science fiction as well as computers and actual science, so I found the idea very appealing. After a few sessions of kicking around ideas a joke was made about vampires in the old west. But not just any old vampires, oh no. We started thinking about Chiangshi, or Chinese “Hopping” vampires. We had some serious laughs, but for me history repeated itself.
Taking a few steps back to four years ago, I had sworn I would never do a vampire story unless I could introduce a whole new angle to the idea, that also allowed my creation to be highly recognizable as such a creature. Furthermore, any vampire of mine would have to be science fiction based and be able to fit into my Para-Earth series. Yet at the same time such a being needed to have typical vampire powers such as being able to shape-shift, turn to mist, and be strong. But it would also have many of the usual limitations and needs such as avoiding sunlight for extended periods, sleep in the ground and of course drink blood.
Clearly this was a tall order and probably out of my league. Yet no sooner had I said this to myself, when the beginnings of an idea began to germinate in the back of my mind and soon Nathaniel Eoghan Steward was born. But even then I had to consult with my wife Helen to help me decide on what kind of life-form could turn an ordinary man into such a being. But she quickly thought up several possibilities based on actual life-forms that actually exist in today’s world that would suit the purpose and we were off and running.
Now we fast-forward to two years ago with me and Rich joking about Chinese vampires in the old west and once more the seeds of an idea began to take root. Drawing upon his knowledge of history and the Civil War, we soon came up with a working idea of espionage and the seemingly supernatural working together towards the last year and a half of the Civil War. We were even able to pull in some Native American lore and actual historic events to create “The Pass”, which is still under construction at the writing of this entry.
At first, in spite of Rich’s hopefulness that this could become part of the Para-Earth series, I hesitated. Not because I was possessive of the series, but I simply was unable to see how the story could be incorporated into the overall concept. The tale we were creating seemed so much more fantasy/horror, and I could not see how it could be incorporated into the Science Fiction aspect of the series. Then about a week ago, while taking my usual hour long drive to work (which is when I do a lot of ‘braining’ for various story ideas) a thought struck me that made the entire story itself come together in a way I hadn’t seen before. This brainstorm also allowed it to fit perfectly into the Para-Earth series, allowing me to take a step I had planned long ago for the series. Adding another new writer to it.
You see, long ago I had been inspired by HP Lovecraft who of course created the Cthulhu Mythos which continues to grow to this day long after his passing. While still alive, Mr. Lovecraft allowed and even invited other authors to build upon his mythos and help expand it. Some of those who joined in were August Derleth, Robert Bloch, and others. And as I mentioned before, modern day writers, including Stephen King, have continued adding to the mythos and bringing new life to it.
So when I began the Para-Earth series, I knew right off the bat I had created something with near limitless story possibilities, more than I alone could ever cover. Therefore, I planned that as the series progressed to allow others, who proved their writing skills and ability to stick close to my vision, to help expand and build upon the series. To date, I’ve only allowed my wife Helen and Rich to be part of the writing for the series. However, in the years to come I hope to invite more writers join us. But that is something for another entry. At the moment, the three of us have our hands full with several stories currently under way and more to be started, which I will cover in the next installment of this lengthy entry.
Until then, take care and keep writing my friends.
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