ABOUT THE STORY
This story was originally slated to be just one part. It was also supposed to be the normal 35-40,000 word size. However, because of story demands, it got longer than that. And even at its greater length, it still felt incomplete.
With encouragement from my wife, I decided to make it two books instead of one. Had Ghouls/Ghoul King seen print on paper, that’s probably how it would have been presented.
When I decided to publish it on the internet, I also decided to put both parts together into one longer book. On the net, I felt, there would be more chance of someone picking up one part accidentally, rather than understanding it was a two-part story.
So, rather than have people pissed at me for giving them only part of the story, I decided to sell both parts together. Though the price of this volume is more than the others, it’s still less than it would have been if it had been published in two parts.
I’m happy with the changes and expansions that I made in this story to make it longer. For one thing, we got more of Ivy in the expanded edition than we did in the original. For another thing, I got to add more ghoulish highlights.
Hope you like this extra-long story, too.
If you like my work, be sure to check out my literary website:
(Now www.stephendsullivan.com, though the Alliterates site may still work.)
You’ll find info there on lots of other scary authors, too.
I hope you’ll rejoin me for the next Frost story.
Tell your friends, too. The more people who buy the books, the more I can write. I’d like to continue the stories of Ivy, Grant, Tony, and the rest.
I think you’d like that, too.
—Steve Sullivan, Halloween 1999
Book Revised 10/28/99
The wheel turns once again… or… the more things change the more they stay the same.
This story is finally headed for print publication, and so Ghouls and Ghoul King are now separate books once more.
Whether this will be a problem for some readers, I’m not sure. Probably I’ll indicate it’s a two-part story on the cover of the books—once I finish the designs. I’ve even chosen a mini-series-within-the-series name: The Ghouls Saga. Sure, it’s just a two-book series, but it fits the format. Because in print books and the modern age of digital publishing, it’s important (or at least desirable) to have books in a series be a similar length.
As mentioned in the original About section, above, the size goal for the original Frost Harrow books was 35,000-40,000 words. Why? Two reasons: One, because I felt that to be an ideal “pocket book” size for enjoying on a train (or whatever) during a commute—something a reader could breeze through in a few settings—and Two, because I intended to release the Frost books at the rate of one a month (for about 36 months), and I felt that length to be something I could write on a monthly basis.
And perhaps at the end of the Twentieth Century, that was true. Now that I’m older, though, it seems like a lot of words to lock myself into in so short a span of time.
Still, if my then-agent had managed to actually sell the series, I probably could have done it. Back then, it took me only a couple of weeks to write the first draft of a Frost book. Now… everything takes longer.
Maybe it’s the internet distracting all of us. Ha ha.
In any case, I really enjoyed revisiting this first part of The Ghouls Saga.
It was especially great hanging out with Grant and Ivy, who have had enough time to get over their traumas from the first books in the Frost Harrow series. Now they’re settling into being a couple, though doing so in the era where AIDS killed so many is a little trickier than it is now—pandemic aside. Back then, a careless fling could get you killed. (Praise modern medicine and pass the vaccinations, please!)
I’ve probably pointed out before that there are a lot of tributes to Dark Shadows in the Frost Harrow series. The really obvious ones here are the staff at Grant’s mansion, who are all named after DS writers, producers, etc. I think the Frost Hall staff are, too, but they don’t appear in this book. Check it out when they appear.
There are other tributes as well, though I’ve forgotten some of them over the intervening two decades.
“Who did I name Joe Rathburn for?” I asked myself as I was editing. Maybe nobody; I don’t always do tribute names. Kay is not named for the similarly named politician—of that much, I am sure. Tammy, on the other hand…
In any case, figuring out these kind of word games is not essential to enjoying this or any of the other Frost stories. They’re just Easter Eggs for those that care to find them or, just as often, hooks for me to remember something about the character involved when writing that character.
If you want to speculate about such things, feel free to do so on the Monster Conservancy FB page – www.SaveMonsters.com – or ask me via email or internet post.
The best place to find me and my work nowadays is at www.StephenDSullivan.com (or SDSullivan.com) or by looking me up on Facebook—though I sometimes let friend requests pile up before approving them.
You’ve waited over twenty years for Frost Harrow, though, so I guess you can wait a few weeks for me to check my FB requests.
7 December 2021