This post is not about how, in the 60s and 70s and 80s, I came up with the characters as a gang, and then as a band. This post is about how I developed the final plot involving good vs. evil spirits and entities using the prodigal band for good or evil purposes, how I was inspired this way and how I managed to write the three novels, the final one (The Prodigal Band) twenty years after the second one (The Prophesied Band). How I turned just an entertaining piece about the foibles of rock stardom into a spiritual plot using the Parable of the Prodigal Son of the Gospel of Luke Chapter 15 as a guide. Finally, it is about actually creating the novels using various software including ClarisWorks (for Mac) and Corel WordPerfect, Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat conversions for PDFs on both Mac and PC desktops and laptops. I reviewed the “why” in the previous post; now is the “how.”
As I’ve stated in the previous post, in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, my mind made up the band and female main characters for the manuscript that I had no idea would become this trilogy. Then in the early 90s, I looked up at the stars and was then inspired to begin the writing journey—out here in rural mountain far west Texas, the stars are everywhere in the night sky on a clear night, unlike in urban and suburban areas. But what would be the main plot?
I started putting notes together with bound notebook and pen or pencil beginning with angels called the Tooters “prophesying” that a band would come about and be subjected to a tug of war between good and evil spirit characters as the band succeeded through the 90s and would eventually side with good over evil. Sometime in 1992 and 1993, using an old Atari XE computer which used a floppy disk “operating system” as a “hard drive” and where, once the disk set up the system, you take out the system disk and put in another floppy which holds the file one is working on (and where the new floppy holds about 48 kilobytes of space for the files)… In other words, only one or two chapters could be placed on each floppy disk, and, yes, they were indeed floppy! So using about five disks I typed in the first version of the book I titled “Rock Band” since I really had no idea what else to call the book. After completing this, I printed out a copy from each disk; I have no idea what printer I used. The plot was, in my opinion, weak as well—now why would angels call on a rock band to carry out a good agenda over evil when all the rock band members wanted to do was make millions and party and partake in sex orgies and get smashed on cocaine-like drugs? And then wind up in serious tribulations with seemingly no way out? So, in spring of 1994, I hit an impasse.
In fall of 1994, I took a HS math teaching job in El Paso at a “gang land” high school and a few students there would tell me about various rock bands of the time, most of which were ‘grunge’ or alternative types, such as Nirvana and Nine Inch Nails and Green Day (I actually liked Green Day, would you believe it…weird!) In other words, this wasn’t the typical 60s-80s “classic rock” that had influenced my earlier plotline. The 80s-type rock my fictional band played was no longer in vogue so I had to change that aspect, as well as the stage-performance antics, considering the activities within ‘the mosh pit.’ Then when I found out Kurt Cobain had died earlier in 1994, that also helped to change the script, from one or more band characters merely having health issues from drug or booze overdose to an actual near-death experience, where the ‘good spirits’ would overcome the evil ones to ‘save’ the lives of the band members in the hospital from heart attacks (because for one thing a hit song of theirs was called ‘Heart Attack.’) So that, after work and dinner and the bit of home schooling I did with my two children aged six and two, among other things, I would go into my closet for a bit and ‘edit’ the previous printed ‘Rock Band’ manuscript. Yet it was still not quite right. I had the good side down pat, but I needed to enhance the evil side—what would the evil side true agenda be?
And then the Oklahoma City bombing happened, in April, 1995, around the time I realized working at a gangland high school simply wasn’t my cup of tea if you know what I mean. And I missed back home in the rural remote POA, ‘God’s country’ atmosphere. A year or so after the Branch Davidian cult destruction in Waco, Texas, by various government agencies whereby a cult compound was burned as were many children and cult members in what I considered government overreach and overkill, some “anti-government terrorists” destroyed the Murrah Building housing a day care center and other businesses which led to a series of manhunts for Timothy McVay among others, some tied to a right-wing ‘Christian militia’ called Elohim City. And what were these ‘right wing militia’ types warring against? What they called ‘the Illuminati’ and ‘the New World Order’ elites, globalists. In my own research I discovered that these globalists had secret societies, had occultist links to satanic cults including groups inspired by Aleister Crowley (who inspired Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page among others), and tended to be led by bankers and oligarchs. It was also during this time I found out about a ‘messianic’ new age cult leader called ‘Maitreya’ that was sponsored by Benjamine Crème’s Share International. Maitreya was the inspiration for the Church of the Circle of Unity cult leader Swami Negran, and the bankster-oligarchs leading ‘the Illuminati’ were the inspiration for Baron Torquay-Lambourgeau, the Duke of Effingchester, and Mssrs. X and Y, who led what I called “the Novordo Club” and “Hellyons.” Not that the novel was going to turn political or ideological, but at least I began to understand exactly what the band characters were up against—true minions of evil. And, as with the reality within the music and entertainment industries, it was these evil folks and their evil nihilist and anti-Christ agendas that drove the final edit’s narrative to overcome the evil, step-by-step. Finally, it was then that I realized it would take more than one novel to expose these truths and set the band and their women on the righteous pathway.
In Part Two, I explain how this conclusion led to finishing the first novel, Battle of the Band, and how two other events in my life led to the second novel, The Prophesied Band. Using different computers, both manuscripts were finalized on an Apple Macintosh LC475, using OS 7.5 and much smaller floppy discs that really weren’t ‘floppy.’
For me, if any plot is going to have some kind of impact encouraging the reading of the novel as well as book sales, the spiritual or ‘good vs. evil’ scenario makes the most sense and is the one I could best handle. Growing up, the genre of horror movies full of good vs. evil scenes and characters made the most impact and were the most entertaining—monster movies, vampires like Dracula, men-turned-monsters like Frankenstein or the Wolf Man or zombies such as in ‘Night of the Living Dead’ and more. Without or without the science fiction aspects, I watched just about every horror movie out there in the 50s and 60s. And every one of them had a good vs. evil theme.
Then came rock music, which isn’t exactly horror (even the movie “Rocky Horror Picture Show” filled with rock music wasn’t really horror!). So this rock band I created wouldn’t exactly fit into some horror scenario. But it could certainly fit into a ‘good vs. evil’ scenario, especially when so many folks, especially Christians, thought all rock stars ‘sold their souls to the devil.’ And it was this ‘sell souls to the devil’ notion that, while it made sense—the Rolling Stones’ song ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ and Jimmy Page’s following of Aleister Crowley and the Beatles following a new age cultist called Maharishi Yogi and more—I realized this to be not quite true for most rockers, in the 60s and 70s and 80s, anyway. I needed proof, and what better way to ‘prove’ this was true or not than to have an excuse to do the research? Just because some preachers said this was true didn’t actually mean this way really true. What I found was that yes, some rockers were avowed ‘devil worshipers’ (Marilyn Manson being the most avowed as a member of ‘the Church of Satan’), and while very few were even somewhat Christian (as time went on a few would make that choice, such as Megadeath’s Dave Mustain and one or two others), it seemed to me that most were not devil worshipers but did ‘sell their souls’ for fame and fortune whether they wanted to or not. They wanted the rock star lifestyle, not devil worship. However, this did lead some into occult practices. Yet their choices often led to dire outcomes, such as drug or alcohol addiction, which my novel band characters engaged in handsomely.
In 1994 especially, some folks I knew out here were into a growing political movement that somewhat sprang from the Randy Weaver-Ruby Ridge anti-government-gun rights movement that had some far right ‘neo-nazi’ aspects as well as a Christian cult movement known as ‘Christian Identity’ which had its own neo-nazi aspects including racism and antisemitism, which I could never support. But what were these folks up to? Mostly exposing globalism and what they called ‘the illuminati’ running ‘the new world order.’ Reading alternative news organs in the pre-internet era (or as the internet was just getting started) I found names of bankers and oligarch super wealthy and seemingly evil people that actually run much of what happened on Earth, and their spiritual guides so to speak (beginning with those inspiring Swami Negran and the satanic Corion and his Demons). It was these folks that guided the ‘evil’ group of characters that would try to force my band into siding with evil once and for all. The good spirits called the Tooters had already been created in my novel notes, and all it took to complete the deal was the creation of ‘the spirit being’ called ‘the witch of the Hovels/Morwenna’ that would morph into a human woman in her final role on Earth leading the band to side with good.
Thus, by the time I finished teaching in that El Paso high school in June, 1995, the script so to speak was set; it was just a matter of putting it all together, or the first novel anyway!
In July, 1995, my husband was hired to help a local family move to northern Idaho and he was with them a good part of the month, roughly three weeks. It was in that time frame that I began to put what would become Battle of the Band together at last. But I had no good up-to-date computer to type it on; I was not about to type this roughly 200 page novel on a typewriter when my typewriter skills were not up to the task and having to constantly correct spelling and grammar mistakes. And then there was the issue of formatting for being able to correct easily when a friend of mine, an English teacher and freelance editor/beta reader, agreed to beta read and even edit the manuscript once it was completed. So another friend who had his computer at an ‘office’ so to speak a few miles down the road let me use his Mac computer; that beta reader of mine also had a Mac computer, so everything was honky-dory until I had to actually have my own computer to finish the manuscript. And another thing: while hubby was away, I also had to home school my two young children and take care of them as a top priority. When hubby was away, I went to the ‘office’ around 6 am and returned home around 8 am, got the kids up, breakfast, then schooling and play time, then dinner, etc. So by the time he got back home, I was about half way through the novel and needed my own Mac computer, which I had the money to buy on my own. I finished Battle of the Band around mid-October, my friend beta-read and edited it for the most part (with a few mistakes left mostly dealing with the style of British English-for instance, the word ‘pants’ should have been ‘trousers’ in some spots, and a few other mistakes of that nature, which were corrected in the three-books-in-one Trilogy). Then I had to design the cover, choose where to get it printed (and this was before ‘print-on-demand’) and the cost of printing…in a time when self-published authors were either sink or swim. Amazon did not even exist yet! Finally, I had no idea how many books to get printed that I could sell in a year or so, so I ordered too many books-in-print and it cost me more than I could afford so I had to borrow money which I did pay back over the next years, 1996 and 1997. But I learned my lesson so to speak such that the second novel, which I began writing after a trip to Idaho to see that family hubby helped move and a teaching job interview that did not pan out, finished for publication in the spring of 1998, called The Prophesied Band.
Which leads to the next post on the ‘how.’ Hopefully, it will be up next week. It took about eight months to complete The Prophesied Band and was mainly guided by a spiritual incident I witnessed in late February, 1997. Then, it would take almost twenty years to figure out how to frame this ‘prodigal’ narrative to not only side with good but to also defeat evil.
At the end of Part Two, I said that an actual spiritual incident I witnessed, which caused me to commit to Christ as Lord and Savior, inspired me to figure out a way to complete the ‘prodigal band’ story (using the Parable of the Prodigal Son as a guide) so as to create a novel trilogy that could spread ‘the message’ of redemption and salvation that anyone could accept freely, of their own free will. This incident certainly helped me to write The Prophesied Band, which ends with the prodigal band Sound Unltd being given ‘mission of God’ by the spiritual forces of Good. But would the prodigal band, having no idea about how to complete these missions, as well as being either atheist or agnostic toward Christianity and religion in general, be able to truly accept the missions and complete them?
In 1998, The Prophesied Band was published and printed (by a different outfit from the one that printed Battle of the Band), but this time I had far fewer copies printed—a wise decision! During that summer I sold roughly one-third of the number of printed copies at local festivals and writer conferences and made enough money to actually cover the cost of printing. By the following summer, I had sold about half of the book copies, and more than half by the fall of 2000. By then I had another Mac desktop and Corel WordPerfect software knowing that likely the next desktop computer would be using a Windows operating system (for one thing, a new Mac computer is almost double the cost of a Windows computer, and hubby and my kids wanted me to get one with Windows, likely with Windows 98).
In 1999 and 2000, into 2001, I worked on what would become the third novel in the trilogy which back then I would name ‘Band of Glory.’ (Note: Inside the final page of The Prophesied Band I had a page stating the final novel would be called ‘Band of Glory’ and said it would come out ‘soon.’). I got to the part where the band met with former roadie, Bobby, at Bobby’s wooden house near the High Sierras in northern California. Bobby, who had turned Christian after years of new age and Swami Negran belief due to his loyalty to Sound Unltd, had written a song for the band hoping they’d accept the song, called ‘He is the Way’ (the song referring to Christ), so the band found out about it and visited him, only to wind up non-committed to the song. Why? Because while they’d accepted the ‘missions of God’ they couldn’t quite accept the idea of becoming ‘Christian’ themselves! The small snippet below from Chapter Ten of The Prodigal Band, features singer Erik, having just been called a ‘hypocrite’ by his wife Ger’s personal assistant Morwenna (formerly a spirit being allied with angels called The Tooters), pondering his role in ‘the mission’:
He stood there, looking up with eyes of cold sweat. “You know, I want to do this mission, but hell, man, I can’t do a mission on me. I just can’t— become a—” he whined to the air above him and waved his arms— “a Christian. You know I don’t have anything against— Jesus—” and then he whined again, as, truly, all six of them in their own ways had whined—“but do I have to? You know I didn’t even do Swami’s religion— much, anyway. I wasn’t serious about it. I just can’t see myself doing religion. You know, going to church. Imagine me, in church?” Laughed. “I bet you’d get a jolly good one outta that.”
About to take a step, he snorted and looked up again, grinning. “Well, I tell you what, man, I’ll leave it up to you, eh?”
In other words, they all had to do ‘missions on themselves’ before they could carry out their given missions! And it was these considerations as to how they would do their missions, on themselves and anyone else, that caused me to ponder how to complete the novel. All at the same time I was bringing up two children and home schooling them as hubby continued to work at his own job with local emergency medical services.
And then an event happened in 2001 that caused me to pause finishing the novel as well as providing somewhat of a distraction—9-11, of course! In other words, while I was trying to write fiction, reality hit home, and family and schooling became paramount—and were ‘the prophetic end times’ coming? So that while I did work on the novel piece by piece, I really couldn’t put it together yet. I had to wait until 2010, when both children were either entering college or graduating from it, to get serious about the novel. Further, I took a part time job as the POA office manager in October 2010 because I needed the income and time added in order to collect social security later (you have to work 40 quarters or ten years in order to collect social security benefits; I had only worked about 36 quarters until then).
When I retired in 2015, I set to finally completing the novel, getting earnest in 2016 on a Windows 7 laptop using WordPerfect, since it could automatically convert to a PDF file; in 2018, I formatted the novel into a Word 2016 file, which would also convert to PDF. Why PDF? Because I intended to put it up on a website I would create so that anyone could download it for FREE and, I hoped, at least consider accepting Christ as Lord and Savior. As of today, August 24, 2021, there have been at least 670 downloads from July 2019 until now (downloads were not recorded until July 2019 for this site, which was created in April, 2018. My free blog was created earlier, but I wanted a site from where I could sell my novels, a ‘bookstore’ so to speak). The Prodigal Band was finally published in 2018 shortly after this site was created.
Since this is the era of e-books and since Amazon’s Kindle (and, to a lessor extent, Barnes and Nobel’s Nook device) was taking off huge, the notion came to me that I should also make it easier for a reader to be able to read all three novels if one so chose to do so. Thus, an e-book formatting mindset was developed; yet, since Amazon’s Kindle Create program would only let one sell their e-book on Amazon, I wanted to get with a platform that would distribute all three trilogy novels-as-one to other platforms (B&N, Smashwords, GooglePlay, iBook, Kobo and others) and, further, I did not have the patience to format any of the novels in the various formats (EPub, Mobi, etc). That platform turned out to be Lulu Publishing. Some consider Lulu’s GlobalReach program ‘vanity publishing’ since one has to buy into the program, but unlike most vanity publishers, Lulu gave me a great deal financially, so I went with it anyway. They would do the various formatting. They would distribute both print and e-book versions to Amazon and the rest of the top platforms mentioned earlier with a decent royalty payout. Throughout most of 2018, I had to re-type both Battle of the Band and The Prophesied Band (since my laptop could not and would not read twenty-year-old floppy disks; there was no floppy drive on the laptop!), and shorten The Prodigal Band so that the novel would have a page count less than 740. The page count is between 650 and 700 pages in the print version. And I did want a print as well as e-book version; us older folks tend to want to read paperback books since we are more used to it. In March, 2019, it was ready to go and was published officially that summer. So far, most of the sales have been e-books with Amazon, with a few printed orders from Lulu and Amazon and a couple from Barnes and Nobel. I have also continued to sell original copies of Battle and Prophesied at local events up until last year.
Use the menu above to check out purchasing the books or to download the free PDF The Prodigal Band, and more.
The Prodigal Band Trilogy © 2019 by Deborah Lagarde, Battle of the Band © 1996 by Deborah Lagarde, The Prophesied Band © 1998 by Deborah Lagarde and The Prodigal Band © 2018 by Deborah Lagarde. Permission needed to copy any materials off this page.