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Sunday, April 16, 2017

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Research for Where The Guitars Play

 

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When Death shows up at the gig, two old musicians may have to rethink their dismissal of the forces unseen.

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When I was writing the first draft of Where Guitars Play, Mr. Bowles and I had a conversation about bands. Who have you always liked? soon devolved into Yeah, but who would you still pay to see? A lot of the acts from our youth – they weren’t really the same guys anymore. Maybe they still have the singer or the guitar, but maybe the rest of the group are new guys. And even then, they’re creaky, and we’re creaky . . . Who would you still stand in line and get jostled around to see?  

 

I couldn’t think of a single act that was still together and/or still alive, except for Paul Rodgers. I’ve always loved the way he sings, enough so that I said I’d be willing to remove the delicate old bones from the couch and sally forth, if he ever went on tour again. I thought it unlikely, seeing how he’s in his 70s. I first saw Bad Company when I was fifteen, at the infamous Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati, a year before the Who concert tragedy. I stood right next to the amps. Couldn’t hear for a week. Such things are legendary when you’re fifteen. It was awesome.

 

Coincidences make life interesting - damned if I just didn’t barely get the words out of my mouth, and then my good friends at Ticketmaster sent me the incredible news: Paul Rodgers was scheduled to appear in Las Vegas, at some place called the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center. My daughter Marie was down for the trip to Sin City, even though she’d undoubtedly be one of the youngest people present. She’d heard the tunes her whole life, Bad Company and The Firm and even The Law, so just like Elise and Lisa, she’d know all the words. We looked at the seating chart, but discovered that the tickets were general admission, so apparently we could sit wherever we wanted. 


 


So on my mythical 9th Street Press expense account, I’d have to submit our Las Vegas trip for reimbursement; call it research for Where the Guitars Play. In the novel, Phenex winds up playing the DLVEC. We were there to see a much better act, however. You might even say one of Sonic Daydream caliber.

 

 

We saved 9th Street Press lots of money by staying at The Shalimar Hotel, which was definitely not on the strip. The hotel was located between a few strip clubs and wedding chapels. It seemed nice enough, although we did hear one side of the following conversation through the thin walls as we walked up to our room: “Clyde? He’s nothing to me. He’s fifteen hundred dollars to me, and that’s it.” I didn’t know if that made Clyde cheap or expensive, so we hurried on down the hall. I thought that our room was pleasant enough, with a nice balcony. On my review I stated, “Nice clean hotel, but not in a neighborhood for kids.”

 

I’d booked the place because it was fairly inexpensive and near to the venue. As we strolled from the Shalimar to the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center – it was supposed to take eight minutes – I immediately learned a new lesson. When Expedia says the hotel is eight minutes from the venue, they’re talking about driving time. Attention to such details has never been one of my strengths. A mile and a half is a little bit farther than one thinks when one is on foot, and the trip is considerably more than eight minutes. It was actually rather a hike. The younger fan was not amused. 

 

 

The internet is a wonderful thing, but I didn’t consult it before we went to Vegas. If I would’ve, I would’ve seen the pictures: to our surprise, we discovered that the DLVEC is an outdoor venue, a big, fenced-in square of concrete with a stage at one end. Ticketmaster had lied to us. There were no seats at all, at least not for this event. It was to be standing room only; general admission, as the tickets had said.

 

Since we knew ahead of time that the show was general admission (even if we did think it was inside), we’d showed up early. The only way to get up front at a general admission show is to be first in line.

 We weren’t the very first ones there, but almost, and the wait was considerable. But it was all worth it. We were right up front on the rail, and I can say that one of my favorite rock stars actually smiled at me. Mr. Rodgers's performance was just as good as it was way back in 1978, and since the band backing him wasn't Bad Company, he sang Satisfaction Guaranteed and Radioactive from his days with The Firm. The latter is one of my very favorites, what I'd traveled all the way to Las Vegas to see and hear (video below).

 The show was great, worth the long drive to Vegas and the sleazy hotel and the long walk to the venue. It's not often that one gets to take their kid to see one of the great acts from their youth. And just like Cal Bascomb said, "Nothing’s more fun than seeing and listening to your favorite band live."

 

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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

New Release! Adapted for the Screen

Adapted for the Screen is the Sequel to Two Green Keys. Through August 1, download both novels for free at Smashwords. Use coupon code HX55A for Two Green Keys and TK89N for Adapted for the Screen.
"There is only one plot - things are not what they seem." - Jim Thompson
 
Carolyn Adyon was once a bored secretary, slaving her life away in a ten by ten cubicle, coveting the dream of many an office worker: I want to be a writer.

Now her life is golden. She’s become the screenwriter she’d always known she could be, and better than that, she’s in love with a wealthy, gorgeous actor. They live together in a grand old-Hollywood mansion. The workaday fears of not being able to make ends meet – those belong to someone else now.

The events that brought about these wonderful changes were miraculous, but death and tragedy had accompanied them, so Carol had doubted her good fortune for a long time.
Doubts pass when one is living one’s fondest fantasies, however.

Carol’s lover harbors a secret. She’s ignored the whys and wherefores of it for years, concentrating instead on the excitement of the Hollywood high life, the red carpets and movie premieres and collaborations with famous directors, none of which she could’ve ever achieved without him.
But doubts have a way of coming back.
 
 



Saturday, April 16, 2016

Peter's Sisters


Sue’s in the mental hospital and she’s only partially surprised. Her sister Bonnie wants to be fair. She’d almost gone over the edge herself once. On the other hand, what Susan had done, the things that she’d said . . . Bonnie wanted to be fair, but she wasn’t sure she could forgive Sue. Not for any of it.

Read an excerpt from 9th Street Press's latest release here!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Wiley Royce Versus The Martians

Latest Release!
Wiley Royce Versus The Martians
Order here!

Thanks to everybody that preordered!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sequel or Series?


In my several-novel world of a fictionalized Riverside, California, Paul’s is the best restaurant in town, and there are a couple of fairly entertaining bars: Mickey’s and The House of Ale, both of which feature live music. There is an occult bookstore, Mohini’s House of Dreams, just down the street from Mickey’s.
 
With the impending release of Wiley Royce Versus The Martians, I was asked recently if this was intentional. Did I already have it in mind that the places from one story, as well as the characters, would appear again later? Which stories should be considered as part of a series? Which as sequels? Is there a particular order?
 
Our indispensable friends at Dictionary.com define sequel as a literary work, movie, etc., that is complete in itself but continues the narrative of a preceding work, and series as (among other things) a group or a number of related or similar things, events, etc., arranged or occurring in temporal, spatial, or other order or succession.
 
So I guess you could look at the question of sequel or series? as continues the narrative versus related things arranged or occurring in succession.
 
So which novels are which?
 
Contrariwise is the story of Wes Thomerville and his band, Rolling Blackout, and even though he doesn’t appear as a speaking character in any other story, his person and music cast a long shadow in Corvino, Wiley Royce, Generally Recognized as Safe, and Wiley Royce Versus The Martians.
 
So, should they be read in order? Are they a series?
 
Darlene is one of Wes’s small group of adoring fans in Contrariwise. She has no dialogue. Her role is expanded a little bit in Corvino. It is Darlene that introduces the narrator to Wes’s music. A minor plot point in Corvino concerning one of Darlene’s friends and her choice in men becomes a major plot point in Wiley Royce; Darlene also plays a slightly bigger role in that one.
 
But these stories don’t continue the narrative so much as they are related things. One could read Contrariwise, Corvino, and Wiley Royce individually and get the gist of each, yet I guess these three could loosely be considered a series. Maybe. Sorta. If you want to get a more in-depth backstory to Wes, read Contrariwise first. If you want to further delve into Darlene’s obsession with him (as mentioned in Wiley Royce) Corvino before Wiley.
 
So, Contrariwise and Corvino could be considered precursors to Wiley Royce. But all three could also stand by themselves.
 
What about the series Tom and Wiley? It’s complicated . . .
 
We first meet Tom Bastion in This Carnival of Strange. Tom’s a nice guy; he owns a bookstore, quotes Shakespeare, has an aquaponics garden. He seems like the perfect man to Liz, but still . . . there’s just something a little bit off about him. There’s something just not quite right about Mr. Right.
 
Wiley Royce is a senior in high school, and an electronics genius. It’s 2033, and one of his favorite pastimes is to spy on people through their webcams. Once he shows his buddy Nate a clip of the girl Nate’s had a crush on since grade school, the adventure in manipulation begins.
 
Tom and Wiley become friends in Generally Recognized As Safe. Since he has always considered himself the smartest guy in the room, Wiley is appalled when Tom shows him all the poisons lurking in our food. A hacker from way back, Wiley uncovers the shady cabal responsible for poisoning the First World. Just what is he going to do about it?
 
The fourth book is Wiley Royce Versus The Martians.
 
“I knew he was in with a bad crowd,” Dr. Scott tells us in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. “But it was worse than I imagined . . . Aliens!” Tom and Wiley are confronted with the biggest threat in the history of mankind. But is it, really? Or are they just overreacting?
 
Generally Recognized As Safe is definitely the sequel to Wiley Royce: it continues the narrative of Wiley. But in Safe, I dragged in Tom from This Carnival of Strange; he is the perfect type to reveal secrets.
 
So Wiley Royce is not the sequel to This Carnival of Strange. But since Wiley Royce Versus The Martians could be the sequel to Wiley Royce or Generally Recognized As Safe or This Carnival of Strange, all four stories are now a series: Tom and Wiley.
 
But to answer the original question – Did I already have it in mind that the characters/places from one story would appear again later? – I have to say that neither Wiley nor Wes had even been imagined when I wrote This Carnival of Strange. The fact that the bar where they all hang out in Carnival is not called Mickey’s just goes to show that I did not indeed dream up all these connections ahead of time.
 
And now for the segue: Mickey’s chief competition in my Riverside is a bar called The House of Ale, which appears in Talk to a Movie Star and Where The Guitars Play. It’s first mentioned in Contrariwise as a place that almost gets shuts down for serving liquor to minors. As this is a plot point in Movie Star, I reused the locale. Movie Star and Guitars definitely fall under the definition of a series: related things, occurring in succession.
 
The local occult bookstore, Mohini’s House of Dreams, figures prominently in the One Wilde Ride Trilogy, Duck Feet, Corvino, and Where The Guitars Play. Yet these stories (except for the trilogy) are not related to each other, past the characters of Iris and Lily. If there are timelines, they are thus: the events in the trilogy occur before the events in Duck Feet. Corvino and Guitars come after that, but these two are neither series nor sequels.
 
Confused?
 
There are also three stories that do not relate in any way to the above or to each other: A Passing Resemblance, Crypsis and Two Green Keys, although a sequel to Two Green Keys may be in the works . . .
 
Thanks for all your support!!