So for anyone reading this and wondering how the current project is going, here's a status report and some details about what I'm working on right now.
The current project falls into what could be classified as a "hardcore" horror novel. If you're not sure what that label actually means, read Richard Laymon, Jack Ketchum, Bryan Smith, Kristopher Rufty, and other authors in that vein. Basically, take a normal horror novel, amp up the blood and sex to about 12 on a scale of 1 to 10, and that's a hardcore horror novel. I'm using the quotes when I describe it because, realistically, this is probably a little tamer than the stuff they've written, so I don't feel entirely comfortable lumping it into that category just yet. I'll let my beta readers decide once I finish it and it gets out into the wild.
I'm not giving away much information in the way of the actual meat of the story, because it is still a work in progress. I don't want to jinx myself.
Here's what I will tell you. It's based on an old legend I heard in high school about a guy who went nuts and killed his family by skinning them alive while they were hanging from barbed wire. The story went that the guy, Crazy Freddy, still haunted the place he lived, looking for fresh victims. That's pretty much where the similarities end. I took that legend and ran with it to the point it's not quite the same as what I heard so long ago. I envisioned this as a slasher film in novel form, and so far that's what it feels like.
Seven friends decide to party at Crazy Freddy's place on the night they all graduate high school. What they don't know is that someone is not happy with their being there, and after an accident causes the place to burn down, that person wants revenge.
The working title right now is Graduation Summer. Don't get too attached; that still might change.
I'm still working on the first draft, and am in the process of wrapping up the second act of the story. That puts me roughly two thirds of the way through it. I'm at the point now where I know who's going to live and who's going to die, but these characters are behaving in ways I never anticipated, so even that might change. I won't force it if it's not meant to be.
So. If you're one of the people I have asked to beta read this, you probably will have it in your hands by the end of next month. If you're just waiting to get it when it comes out, I'm hoping for early next year. I do have a publisher in mind to submit this to, so if I win the lottery and they accept it, I'm at their mercy for release dates. If I do it myself and self-publish it on CreateSpace and Kindle (which WILL happen if the publisher doesn't accept it), my target may be closer to the end of this year. I will need to commission cover art and get it edited to the point I can accept it being out there forever for anyone to read.
Keep watching this site for more updates and news about the submission process. As soon as I know a release date, I'll post it here.
Fingers crossed, and I hope you enjoy it when it finally does see the light of day.