Word counts and what’s on the menu?

“The Clock Man” is a story I started thinking about a while back.  I quickly realized it wasn’t quite long enough to be a full-length novel, but was far too long to be a simple short story.  It’s currently sitting at about 20k words with an estimated 5-10k more to go.  That puts it full-on into novella length but unless you’re Joseph Conrad it’s hard to sell a single novella these days.  Even if you are Joseph Conrad it’s hard to sell a novella these days because people still flee in terror when they see a ghost, even if that ghost is trying to get a story published.  In the erotica world novellas sell like hot cakes, but in the science fiction/urban fantasy world they don’t work so well.  Not that I’m some awesome writer, but when I put up Henchmen: Arise for $0.99 I got a whopping one sale.  That story is being rewritten and repurposed for inclusion in “The Clock Man” so that’s why it’s a bit harder to find these days. The other problem I wound up with is I had all these smaller stories that I had come up with when I was writing Arise that didn’t fit the main narrative but were interesting little tidbits.  For instance: ever wonder what was going through Wilford’s head when he decided to start hunting down Coco?  For that matter, where did Coco itself come from?  The one regular note I get about Henchmen is “what’s up with Eve?”  What’s her back story?  I had originally intended to leave her somewhat nebulous; a force of nature if you will, but she’s an interesting enough character that she needs some further explanation that couldn’t be handled elegantly in either Henchmen or Arise; it would require far too much exposition to make it fit.  Part of her story is here somewhere on this blog, but her story will be expanded and included in “The Clock Man.” As I sat down to work on some of these stories I realized there were little threads that existed between each of them.  The stories all stand on their own but it seemed like there was a link back to something in a previous story or in either Henchmen or Arise.  That got me thinking that maybe the events of Henchmen and Arise were really a part of a larger story.  I guess that’s what happens when you start throwing gods into the mix. Interestingly enough, the very first story I actually sat down and wrote explicitly for inclusion in this collection was based on a dream I had about ghosts in my hallway.  It’s arguably my first true horror story but it has a twist and a half.  Other stories sort of spun up from other ideas I’d had.  Without further ado, here’s a tentative list of what will be in “The Clock Man” when it comes out sometime this summer.

  • The Protectors: Ghosts appear and disappear in a house but that may not be a bad thing.
  • The Hunt: The first adventure of Wilford Saxton and his talking gun.
  • Awaken: Retitled and edited version of the original Henchmen: Awaken.
  • The Clock Man: On Aluna magic is very real and the Clock Man manages the distribution of magic.  But something’s gone wrong and the current Clock Man’s daughter wants Felix Crow to kill her father.
  • Eve: How did a Valkyrie wind up trying to spark the end of the world?
  • Exceeds Expectations: Katherine designs monsters and her skills have attracted some attention.
  • Zona Peligrosa: In a house at the end of the endless highway is something only the innocent can touch.

And there may be one more.  The entire collection will come out to around 90k words, give or take 5k or so.

Clock Man cover design rev 6.  ©2015, Eric Lahti.  Background image © Skypixel
Clock Man cover design rev 6. ©2015, Eric Lahti. Background image © Skypixel
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