Out of all of the stories that have been popular on the Shack Out Back website… “Gone From Daylight” still remains at the very top of the list. And not by a small margin, either. It beats out every other story, almost 2 to 1. And since its first chapter in 1999… it has grown into something much larger than what it was intended to be! I, personally… couldn’t be more honored.
The “GFD: Blood Bank” website was born more out of necessity than just popularity. I really cherished some of the other stories that I had seen, the artwork and pictures that people sent me in emails, the videos, the poetry, the ‘soundtrack’ suggestions… but I didn’t have a way to hold it all on the system that I was using at the time. So, unfortunately, some of those “GFD” treasures were lost over time, and the authors have vanished, so I have no way to get those contributions back. But the ideas from other fans of the series never stopped coming in. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten an email from someone saying, “You know what would be COOL for the ‘GFD’ story???” And they always have some really cool ideas as to what should happen or what new characters would be a cool addition to the series. Ideas and characters that I could never come up with on my own. So, as always, I was fascinated. And I always look into what other people are doing with their particular interpretation of the story. I don’t think that people really understand how impressed I am by something like that. The stuff that people have written for the “Blood Bank” website has been some of the most enjoyable reads that I’ve ever known. I think I’m just really moved by the fact that people ‘get it’, you know? They read “GFD”, they understand the concept, and they use their creativity to mold it into something that is truly unique and something of their own. That blows me away! And there are a BUNCH of original “GFD” related stories on the site that I had absolutely nothing to do with. They are all creations of their individual authors. And the end result is something that EVERYBODY can enjoy! Trust me… if you haven’t read them… give them a look! It’s mind-blowing!
I began encouraging a few people (As I always do) to write their “GFD” vampire ideas down and actually start creating their own stories. I mean, I was writing “GFD”, but these people were inventing a whole new generation of ideas and characters that were all independent from the story and unique to the people who were creating them. *I* couldn’t write this stuff. They were making up stuff that was way out of my league. This was like… AMAZING to me! I wanted more people to see this stuff, as I felt it was selfish for me to just keep it to myself. So I decided to have a writing contest on the library. Write your best “Gone From Daylight” story, no holds barred, no rules… and let’s see what people come up with. Some people stepped up to the plate and posted some really incredible stories. Some with vampires of their own making, and some with “GFD” characters in a different setting. Not only did they create something awesome, but it made me want to step up and create a few spin-offs of my own. So, that clenched it. I needed a website. One that was made specifically for the vampire stories that had captivated me so much from the get go. There were also a few ideas circulating around about other fans of the series doing things to support “GFD”. And then a couple of Shackers alerted me to the fact that there were actual artists on Deviantart that had drawn these amazing pictures of the “GFD” characters! And I didn’t even know they were reading. There was some poetry that made its way to my email box, and I created a vampire vocabulary for the story, a message board, and Erick created an entire, functional, vampire language… it really became something of a phenomenon! And I was excited about saving everything we had, and then encouraging and building more!
So the “Blood Bank” website was born! And it continues to grow to this day! Anyone and everyone is always free and welcome to write their own story, submit their own pictures or drawings, videos, games, movie reviews, whatever. Thanks to TurtleBoy and Imagine Magazine, the site has found a whole new life online, and more additions from other authors as well as myself keep pouring into the site at all times. I am always surprised and intrigued at the stuff that I see at the “Blood Bank” website. ALWAYS!
As for this month’s update, I’ve been slaving over it for two months now!
A majority of the first collection of vampire stories that I made for the “Blood Bank” were mostly based in a familiar modern setting. A reality that was similar to the current situations that were going on in the original “Gone From Daylight” series, just in different parts of the city, and consisting of other vampire characters, each with goals and motivations of their own. But, this month, I’ve been working hard to stretch out beyond that. I’ve expanded the vampire territory by a HUGE margin this time around. This month, you’ll see vampires from current times, vampires from a few decades back, vampires from a few centuries back, and more. I’ve definitely taken a lot of artistic risks and made a serious effort to change things up enough with this update to show people what is really possible if they ever decide that they want to try to write something of their own. It’s a challenge that I hope people will get into and enjoy on a level that’s never been done before with anything else that I’ve done on the Shack.
As I’ve always said, the “GFD” ideal consists of four major elements… Action, Sex, Society, and Philosophy. Those concepts sort of define the core of the whole “GFD” mythology. I’ve been sticking to those elements with all of the new stories that I have scheduled for the 2012 ‘Red October’ update. The whole idea is to give inspiration and freedom to anyone who has a certain vision or an idea or a take on the story that deviates from what the original “Gone From Daylight” story is about. There is a lot of leeway given for these truly talented and creative fans of the story to build and create something all on their own. Something that is totally unique to them that will express their love of the series through their own eyes. Just look at what has been posted on the “Blood Bank” already! It’s incredible! Every part of that website is fueled by the passion and creativity of those who took the chance to get involved with something they love, and they built a mythology of their own making from it. I really love and respect that. I enjoy it. Anyone who has ever asked me will tell you that I’m quick to say ‘go for it’ whenever it comes to them wanting to write their own spin off or off shoot of the “GFD” saga. Use the characters, create your own, or just have a similar theme. I get a kick out of it! As long as they mention the original story in a single, visible, sentence, I’m HAPPY to have them add their own vibe to the Comsie version of “GFD” vampire lore. Let’s see what you got! You know? Do it! I’m honored to see it. Every time.
Also, people can expect a brand *NEW* “GFD: Blood Bank” website! It is now ready for a whole NEW audience to enjoy!!! And I can honestly say that TurtleBoy has certainly outdone himself this time!
The new “GFD: Blood Bank” website design is COMPLETELY a creation of TurtleBoy’s ingenious expertise! This will be the third (maybe fourth) generation of the site, but I am definitely pleased with how it looks and the simplicity in how it functions. All of the material is there as it was before. Very simple. Very easy to find. But with a design that is both appealing and functional on a level that all previous forms of the “Blood Bank” weren’t. Despite the awesome graphics and presentation on the homepage, there is now a way for all readers to rate and COMMENT on all of the stories that they see on the site! I think that was a missing piece of the puzzle from the way we had it before, because email addresses and author contact info was so very limited, if not nonexistent. And why post a story if you can’t hear back from your audience, right? So that is a major bonus to the new design of the “Blood Bank” fansite! You can now rate stories anonymously, or you can leave personalized comments for the authors to read, encouraging them to write even more. TurtleBoy really put a lot of time and effort into making things awesome! So thank him for the new design, and for the brand new face of the “GFD: Blood Bank” site in general! That makes this ‘Red October’ update more special than ever!
This month, I hope to truly enhance and expand on the whole ‘Red October’ experience for you guys and really show people what I’ve got as an author in terms of trying to attack the vampire concept from as many different angles as my creative mind will allow. Not just with the new stories online, but with the Kindle store, the not-so-recently added ‘Vampire Warehouse’ forum, and with the original “Gone From Daylight” series itself. The more that I can add to this update, the better. I can honestly say that I have NEVER worked this hard on a single update in all my life! Never. This is me going for a full blown golden trophy with this one. Hehehe! I don’t think it’s humanly possible for me to put any more effort and energy into anything like I have over the last two months or so. I hope everyone will have a lot of fun leading up to Halloween, and I hope that people will finally be able to see the whole “GFD” vampire idea from an entirely new variety of perspectives this month! ‘Red October’ is going to be delivered on a whole new level in “GFD” folklore in the next few weeks. And anyone who wants to join in… they’re MORE than welcome to! But they’d better keep up with me! I’m WAY ahead of ya! Hehehe!
Where things will go from here is anybody’s guess. But where the fans of “Gone From Daylight” used to just send emails and make occasional posts on the vampire forum… now they write their own stories, create movie posters, make videos and animations… all surrounding their favorite characters and a story that they truly enjoy. One that I’m overjoyed and honored to write for their entertainment. And it is their effort and their commitment to each and every single posted chapter that has inspired me to work my hardest to make this ‘Red October’ something that they’ll remember… forever!
Wish me luck!

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