Last night, I pushed publish on The Enforcers, the final book of the Blood Calling trilogy. There’s at least one more story I’ve planned out and want to tell (a prequel of sorts, which I’ll talk about in a second) but the series is at a point where I can stop and say that the tale is effectively told.
(Fans may disagree. I suspect I’m either going to get a lot of messages from people saying they love the ending, or a lot of messages from people saying, “That’s it? That CAN’T be it!”)
I could link all the books individually, but I don’t know that you want to have to hunt through a dozen links to find the books you want. So instead, I’ll link my author pages:
Okay, on with the show. Please be warned that while I’ve tried to tread lightly on plot points, if you’re very, very, very spoiler-averse you might want to skip reading this until after you’ve finished the series.
1. The question I get most frequently about the series is “In what order should I read the books?”
That’s not as easy to answer as it might seem. The main trilogy (Blood Calling, Misfits, and The Enforcers) need to be read in that order. But people want to know, where does Baby Teeth fall in there?
I think to have maximum impact, Baby Teeth should be read either before or after Blood Calling. The events contained in the novelette dovetail neatly with a story that gets told in Misfits, and I’m not sure if Baby Teeth is quite as enjoyable once you’ve read Misfits.
I could be wrong.
All that said, reading Baby Teeth is not essential to enjoying the rest of the series.
2. Speaking of Baby Teeth, I’m never quite sure if the story fits, tonally, with the rest of the series. When I started writing it, I hadn’t originally planned to tie it to the Blood Calling series. It was just meant to be a creepy story about a vampire baby.
(Truth be told, I was trying to do a riff on Lovecraft. I think that if you squint, you can see the influence, but Lovecraft is much, much, much more relentless than I think I’m capable of being.)
I’ve told the story elsewhere, but in the end Emma was the glue that tied the two stories together. I was stuck on both Blood Calling and Baby Teeth, and she solved problems I had in both of the books. After that, the link grew.
3. Emma was never meant to be part of the Blood Calling series. Originally it was supposed to be about Wash and Lucy. Which makes the fact that Emma is the most-loved character in the series terribly interesting to me.
4. Most interesting fact about Emma? Emma isn’t her real name. I know what her real name is, but I’ve been holding it back, hoping that I could come up with a fun way to reveal it. I will tell you that her real name starts with the letter M.
I’m pretty sure I’ve already said too much.
5. The “lost” Blood Calling story, if it ever gets written, will be about Emma’s time in Egypt. I have a decent outline, but to get it right I’ll need to do more research than I generally do (which can be surprisingly substantial). I go back and forth whether to call the story Emma Goes to Egypt or A Game of Senet.
6. Speaking of titles, Misfits and The Enforcers had those titles from the moment I started working on them until the moment I pushed publish.
Baby Teeth, however, started life as Living Dead Baby. During the writing process, I also considered calling it My Undead Baby. My wife told me both of those sounded like zombie stories. She was not wrong. A friend at WPR (my online writing group of friends) suggested Baby Teeth.
7. Blood Calling, for that matter, also had a different name for much of the time I was writing it. It was called The Kids, because I was first launched into the idea of writing a vampire novel kind-of-but-not-really based on the song The Kids are All F###ed Up, by Cobra Starship. Almost none of the ideas I envisioned while listening to the song made it into the final novel.
For that matter, I suspect the song itself has nothing to do with vampires at all.
8. I don’t think I’ve ever been great at coming up with character names. I’m not sure what the problem is, but I’m guessing it’s related to the fact that I’m terrible with names in real life, and subsequently have a hard time assigning a name to a character who isn’t fully formed in my mind yet.
I often have to pull names from other areas of my life, just to put some kind of placeholder there. Then I never remove the placeholder. So, off the top of my head:
Washing Lincoln is, of course, named for the two most well-known US Presidents. Is that Wash’s “real” name? No. I have no clue what his original name was. His backstory is, somewhat, based on Frederick Douglass.
Lucy’s first name was pulled from Dracula. Leary is actually the last name of an ex-coworker.
(Before starting Blood Calling, I actually read Dracula and one of Frederick Douglass’ autobiographies as research. That might be the only time in history anyone says that.)
Then there are the characters whose names came from Joss Whedon shows.
Nathan is named for Nathan Fillion, most famous among geeks for his work on Firefly.
Alex is named for Alexis Denisof, who worked on Buffy, Angel, and Dollhouse.
Charisma is, of course, named for Charisma Carpenter, of Buffy and Angel fame.
Then there are the names pulled from my first movie, Searching for Mr. Right.Com.
Tim and Petrina are the first names of the lead actors in that film.
Wordsworth was Tim’s character’s original last name, until it got changed in a rewrite I was not involved in.
David, on the other hand, is named for one of the primary bad vampires in the movie The Lost Boys.
Emma is named for the Jane Austen novel. Which is funny, because I’m not a fan of the author or the book. But I thought Emma would be, since she’s a reader.
9. There are two bands who named in Misfits, both of them in The Pitt. They are names of bands my brother is/was in. He’s playing the drums.
10. At 212,000 words, the complete Blood Calling series is longer than Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but shorter than Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. That might change if and when I finish my Emma story.