My name is Dakota Caldwell, and welcome to the recesses of my mind known as Lead Pyramid!
How I got started: I first started telling stories before I even knew how to write. My dad would transcribe my wild tales (most of which involved dinosaurs) onto small pieces of notebook paper, which I would then store in hidden places so no one could steal my ideas. As I got older, I began writing them myself, transcribing my tales onto sheets of loose-leaf paper, then wide-ruled notebooks, and then eventually *gasp* college-ruled notebooks!
My senior year of high school, I made the decision that I was going to get something published. And, with that, I spent the entire year completing my first full-length novel. It was a 120-thousand word science fiction epic detailing a group of ancient Mayans dropping from the sky in flying saucers and invading our world. And if that sounds as cringe-worthy to you as it does to me, you'll understand why that particular story can't be found in stores anywhere.
After around a year of fruitless querying, I decided that I simply needed a new approach, and penned a post-apocalyptic story titled Project Nomad. If you'll notice, you also can't find that one anywhere. However, around the time that I finished writing it, I met a rather cute girl who thought that my writing was rather awesome. The results of that relationship can be seen in the above picture. We're now happily married, have a second one on the way, and haven't slept in two years.
So what is Lead Pyramid? A more organized method of self-publishing. Operating under the banner of Lead Pyramid forces me to be a bit more conscious about what I write, makes me attend to the details a bit more, and helps me care more about the quality of what I'm putting out. In addition, it provides an official name that I can use when dealing with larger companies (like bookstores) who don't like to deal with independent publishers.
A bit about what I write and why: Right now (drat, I'm dooming myself to regularly update this page as I release new stories) my two primary projects are The Eternal Quest and Apocolyps Squad.
Apocolyps Squad was first born from an exhaustion-induced daydream. I was a regular runner in college, and spent a large amount of my time aimlessly barreling across campus in the hopes that my fitness would attract one of the many females that I knew. Because flopping across the ground like a dying duck is a total chick magnet. Anyhow, I distinctly remember running past an extermination truck that had a really cool logo. And I thought "Huh! It would be really awesome if, instead of killing bugs, they tried to avert apocalypses before they happened!" I DID say that I was basically dying at this point, right? Though it took me a few more years to write, the book that you now know as Apocolyps Squad was indeed first born from such a simple root.
The Eternal Quest has a bit of a different backstory. Around the time I was writing Apocolyps Squad and preparing it for publication through Lead Pyramid, I was just sort of... Stuck. I was writing novels far faster than I could afford to do, but I simply can't stand to not write. As a compromise, my wife and I came up with this idea. Short stories that I release on a weekly basis. From there, I began brainstorming what type of story I would want to incorporate in such a manner. After all, most stories have an ending, which simply wouldn't be allowed in this situation. As I pondered it, I came up with a brilliant idea. Build an entire world, drop in some characters, and see where it went! And... If you want to know where those ideas are going, it's all available for free! Here's a link to chapter 1.
As for the why I write... I just can't stand not to. I absolutely love storytelling, I love the way that characters interact with each other, and I love the fact that we can learn in real life from these imaginary beings. Stories are powerful, in ways that are almost impossible to truly see, and I just want to capture that in any way that I can.
So what's my life like now? Chaos. Absolute chaos. *stares off into the distance, haunted by the ghosts that plague me everyday*
Really though, life is pretty nuts. I mean, I have a toddler who only likes to play with things that I have CLEARLY told her NOT TO TOUCH!!! Seriously! She won't eat her supper but she'll chow down on cat food because she knows I don't want her to do it. *sigh*
My family really is the most important thing to me. I know how cliche that sounds, but... It's true. During my publishing journey, I've gone through a lot of different stages in how I viewed my writing. It's gone from being a dream to being a reality, from being something that I liked to dabble with to being something that I spend every spare moment trying to improve upon. That said... Shortly after my wife and I got married, I was working on a hog farm part-time while I wrote the other part of the time. When we found out that we were pregnant, my wife warned me that my writing schedule would probably have to change. I had no idea how true that would be.
See, at the 16-week ultrasound (where we found out we were having a girl), the doctors noticed something on the image. Through the course of about five months and countless tests, we discovered that Willow had a genetic disorder known as Cystic Fibrosis. Upon hearing the news, we did the exactly what the doctor ordered us not to do, and googled what we were going to be dealing with. Suffice it to say that the results weren't pretty. As we talked with the doctors leading up to Willow's birth, then again afterwards, learning how to deal with it all, my entire world shifted.
Suddenly, getting an extra hundred words written didn't seem so important. Suddenly, all the annoying little habits of my wife were more bearable. My life shifted to focus around taking care of this tiny human, keeping her alive no matter what. And, as we're preparing for the birth of Fletcher, that's still where my life is standing.
Please don't misunderstand me, writing is more than a simple hobby to me. But... My goals with my writing have changed. I want to be able to quit my day job and focus fully on writing so that I can be home with my wife and help her take care of Willow (I can attest to the handful of times I've done it: It's exhausting to keep track of all that medication). I want to succeed as an author so I can bring joy to people who are also struggling in this world. I want to be able to give back to the countless individuals who have helped my wife and I along this crazy path.
And... Yeah, that's pretty much me! Thanks for coming along on this journey! I only hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.
Check out my books!
A ragtag government agency tries to save their jobs... And the world!