Memo to Fiction Authors–Make Sure It’s Fiction!

Boy did I learn a thing or two after submitting my complete “three-books-in-one” e-book, The Prodigal Band Trilogy, to Lulu.com for publication and distribution! NEVER, and I mean, NEVER, indicate in any way shape or form that anything in your fiction is “based on actual events” or “based on true events”…or, perhaps, “based on a true story.”

Why? Because if you say anything on any copyright page or whatever that anything in the book/novel is based on any actual event, that (unlike the old days when one could write a novel “based on a true story” and call it “fiction”) apparently that is no longer the case.

In these days when it is so easy to “offend” someone–and I’m not just talking so-called “SJWs” here…does no one have the capacity to develop thick skin anymore? Is it against the “law” to develop thick skin these days? In these days when “getting offended” is the prevailing narrative, can a fiction novelist such as myself get into trouble for putting actual “brands” into my novels?

Here are some of the “brands” I have used in my three published books and copyrighted with the Library of Congress:

Musical instrument companies Fender and Gibson–Gibson guitar and Fender bass.

Car companies–Bentley, Rolls Royce, Ferrari, BWM, Mercedes-Benz, Lamborghini and others.

And other brands. But guess what? NONE of these brands appear in The Prodigal Band Trilogy. Why? Because I could be sued for LIBEL! Because someone at one of the instrument “brands” might get “offended” that I used a competitor’s brand in my book! After all, any use of any brand could be construed by someone as being “negative.”

Gee, will someone get offended because one of my band characters is bisexual? And, when he repents of being bisexual, will an actual bisexual be offended?

And then you have record labels and media outfits. Back in the late 90s before zillions of indy recording artist labels came about, I could take an actual record label that had been around since the 1960s and change the spelling of it a bit–no problem. For instance, I could take the actual Atlantic Records label (that Led Zeppelin among others used) and fictionalize it into “Atlantis” and no big deal. Well guess what? Atlantis is now a record label! Found that out on a site called “Discogs” which lists EVERY song by EVERY recording artist on EVERY label that has EVER existed (and even lists VINYL records for sale! Would you believe they still make VINYL records?). So then I had to change that label name to an actual FICTIONAL label name! It only took me two days to figure out what the fictional record label would be! I spent two days on this! Another record label I used had to have its spelling changed as well, because the actual label had a couple of “discogs” listed! I had never heard of this label, but never mind…

And two more days on changing the names of the media conglomerates I mentioned in my novels! Thank God I’m not a best selling author–I’d have been sued a zillion times by now!

Finally, EVERY real person known to be a real person had to be expunged from the e-book. AND I COULD NOT EVEN MENTION THE BEATLES, THE BAND MY FICTIONAL BAND IS FASHIONED AFTER! No Elton John, no Jimi Hendrix, no Jimmy Page, no Kurt Cobain, no actual rock band, no actual pop star (I even removed the late Michael Jackson! Just because…).

No actual business, government department or agency, non-profit org, no actual religious group except for the fact that major religions exist, no actual churches, no mention of actual books, records, movies, works of art, buildings. And no mention of actual presidents, prime ministers, royalty. Even historical figures are taboo..but I did mention William the Conqueror aka William of Normandy. Will that have to be expunged also?

And I am NOT BLAMING LULU.COM for this! I am not blaming Lulu.com for me having to take two weeks to revise my manuscript. Lulu is only doing what any wise online company would do in the day and age of zillions of “libel” suits for no reason. One of my fave news sites has been sued for using a photo without “attribution” to the photographer EVEN THOUGH THE PHOTO CAME FROM A COPYRIGHT-FREE AND ROYALTY-FREE WEBSITE! Because suddenly one day the photographer figured he or she would null the copyright and royalty free status of the photo…just because!

That is why my e-book cover art WILL use a photo that I took in 2009 of a July 4th fireworks show at an actual amusement park at night. Since I can no longer trust actual photographers anymore!

So, my advice is this: before sending any manuscript to Lulu or Kindle or whatever for print or e-book publication, use your fave search engine to see if the company you think does not exist actually does exist. I mean, there are only about a million media outfits these days! Need a record label? Make sure discogs.com doesn’t list it anywhere! If there are only one or two listings, DON’T USE IT! If you need to use an actual well-known person or celebrity, make sure that person is dead! Dead persons cannot sue for libel!

Finally, since you will likely use the name of an actual person who actually exists, make sure you indicate that “names of real people, real places, and real things are used only for fictional purposes.” Instead of using “brands,” use generalizations: car instead of car brand name, hotel instead of actual hotel name, guitar instead of Gibson guitar, etc.

The Prodigal Band Trilogy E-book to be Uploaded to Lulu.com Tomorrow or Monday

All I have to do now is the “Afterword” or something at the end of the book to explain how this book and the three trilogy original books came about. By Monday the latest, the e-book The Prodigal Band Trilogy–the three-books-in-one e-book that should be available on Amazon Kindle, Kobo (now including WalMart), Barnes and Noble Nook, Lulu and other platforms in a few months, after all the formatting by Lulu’s “team” and cover art is done, and I, the author, gives my okay.

When the e-book is being distributed on various platforms, I will likely reduce the price of both printed books, Battle of the Band and The Prophesied Band, but shipping, between four and five dollars, will remain the same.

The FREE PDF The Prodigal Band will remain available for download for Free here.

Above is another possible piece of cover art, based on a photo I took in 2009 at Sea World in San Antonio, Texas. As much as I like Pexels.com, someone I know is now sued by a photographer for “copyright infringement” for using a “free stock photo” from Pexels! Not blaming Pexels here, but apparently that photo he or she posted there was removed by the photographer later so the bogus “suit” could go through. So from here on in, if I need cover art, I’ll just do it myself. And Getty images charges too damned much for the rights to a license over a photo! If Lulu wants to change the cover art that’s up to them.

About the Prodigal Band Trilogy–Main Characters-Part 4: the Evil

With this trilogy or series of novels themed primarily as a battle between good and evil, there must be an evil side. As I stated in a previous post, when the first novel, Battle of the Band, was being finalized, I began researching what forces might have been behind the events at Ruby Ridge in Idaho, the David Koresh cult church in Waco, Texas, and the various militia groups tied to the Oklahoma City bombing, the last two events of which happened under President Bill Clinton, as well as former President George HW Bush, who was the first world leader I ever heard mention ‘new world order,’ and was president during Ruby Ridge. Did Bush’s ‘new world order’ speech cause various militia groups to be formed as a response to increasing globalization toward a ‘one-world-government’? Such a scenario is prophesied in the Book of Revelation–that an ‘anti-Christ’ would unite the world under a false peace and then turn the world on its head in an orgy of death and destruction to all whom opposed this one-world-government run by evil. For it is research into Bible prophecy that caused me to consider this battle between good and evil as the theme for my books.

There are several ‘one-world-government’ or globalist organizations that, in my research, became well-known to me in the 1990s–the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, and the Bilderbergers, and others. They all seem to work together and all seem to contain world leaders, politically, economically, militarily, and even culturally. There were or are even entertainment celebrities that have been involved in these groups, most notably Angelina Jolie, a CFR member. A rock star, U-2’s frontman, Bono, is also notable to have been seen around oligarchs like Bill Gates and even the Pope.

It is not that world unity or world peace is a bad thing. But what makes a one-world-government or ‘new world order’ a bad thing is that it will ultimately be led by evil forces, headlined by the Dragon (Satan, the anti-Christ), the Beast (a one-world-system designed to eradicate belief in Christ and destroy individual freedom and liberty in favor of collectivism), and the False Prophet (a religious or spiritual leader who will cause even believers in Christ to ‘fall away’ and buy into Satan as ‘the false messiah’). And what better way to lead especially young people to evil than by using popular culture icons–such as rock stars–to carry out this agenda?

And not just rock stars–these days, rap and hip-hop almost seem to have taken over pop culture from rock music, which has ruled pop culture since the days of the Beatles. Beginning in the 2010s, gangsta rap and hip-hop appear to be much more prominent, as well as pop icons like Beyoncé and Jay-Z and Kanye West. But, rap, hip-hop and the three icons I mentioned are all black. I am white, I do not listen to rap and hip-hop and Beyoncé and them, and I began my book timelines in mainly the 1980s into the 1990s–therefore, it would make no sense to write novels about black rappers or hip-hoppers or folks like Beyoncé. Further, in Britain and Europe anyway, rock music is still prominent, and in Asia, is becoming far more prominent. Some of rock music’s most prominent acts these days are from Japan and Korea.

However, the main reason my main characters are rock musicians in a Beatles-like super band is that so many people who follow popular culture today, and have followed it for years, truly believe rock music is a huge reason why evil has taken over world events. You Tube video after You Tube video purports to ‘prove’ that rock and roll is ‘the devil’s music’ and that rock stars are all ‘devil worshipers’ and, therefore, have no chance of salvation through repentance and taking Jesus Christ as Savior. This mindset, in my opinion, is full of fallacy. As I state in ‘The Prodigal Band’ toward the end of the book, some of Christ’s most important apostles were either wealthy ship-fleet owners or sons of such (such as Peter, owner of a fishing fleet, and James and John, sons of fleet owner Zebedee), or wealthy or prominent community leaders or officials (such as Matthew, a tax collector; Zacchaeus, chief tax collector and wealthy man; Jairus, temple leader; the Centurion, a Roman, and Nicodemus, a Pharisee). Then, you have folks like Mary Magdalene, a prostitute and a woman possessed by demons, possibly even a devil worshiper. The fallacy that members of the elites, or members of morally corrupt groupings, or both–such as wealthy, ‘devil worshiping’ rock stars–can never be saved because they carry out Satan’s agenda to morally corrupt the young for fame and fortune, is indeed, a fallacy.

Very likely there are few rock stars that have accepted Christ as Savior. Supposedly a guitarist for the death metal band Mega Death–I forget his name but he is mentioned in these videos– has openly avowed belief on Christ. So has rapper DMX. These two are likely two of the more prominent music celebrities that have. Some videos claim others have claimed that as well, but are faking it. Folks, it is difficult in a popular culture ruled by the ‘almighty dollar’ for a star celebrity to give all that fame and fortune up to truly accept the Way of Christ. But it is possible–yet one must give up the debauched lifestyle that one had led previously, and that is not easy.

So that, while it is unlikely that a star celebrity would give all that up to serve Christ, it is still a possibility, and to deny that such a thing could happen, to me is a fallacy, and a false belief that needs to be repented. To believe such a thing, in my opinion, is evil! For anybody can accept Jesus as Savior, and didn’t Jesus come to save the sinner?

As one of my characters mentioned earlier, Billy Preston, former band manager, says toward the end of ‘The Prophesied Band,’ to his former charges–“It’s not how you start, but how you finish.”

I will discuss my ‘evil’ characters and groups in the next post.

About the Prodigal Band Trilogy–Main Characters-Part 3: Support Characters and Women

While not quite as important to the novels as the six band members of Sound Unltd, all big-time rock bands or rappers or pop singers or whatever have ‘administrative staff’–managers, road managers, roadies, producers, promoters, accountants, lawyers, consultants, and what not. A few of these types of support staff personnel within the three books are important characters that appear in all three books. And they are–

Manager Joe Phillips, son of a banker-oligarch who heads the ‘evil side’ (I will get into my ‘evil’ characters in the next post), and has the pony-tailed ‘Laurence Olivier’ look, with typical upper-class London accent. While he is descended from an evil family, he is opposed to this evil. But his family influence definitely aids the band into reaching huge success.

Former manager and mentor Billy Preston is the man who helped put the band together in the early 1980s and also adopted two of the band members, Jack and Tom, who came from poverty-stricken and abusive or neglectful families. Preston is mostly bald and rather plump, whereas Phillips is thin. Preston appears in all three books, primarily in The Prophesied Band and The Prodigal Band.

Road manager Billy Hallslip is a prominent character in The Prodigal Band, is rather short, porcine, has a Cockney accent, dresses weird and is actually the manager until Phillips takes over.

Chet and Stu, head roadies, are Hell’s Angels bikers, large and brutish, with north London accents and tend to get into bar fights. Bry is their boss and he has to bail them out at times. Some roadies are full-time, but many are part-time or even fan-temporaries.

Bobby is one of the ‘fan-temp’ roadies, who not only ‘baby-sits’ some of the band on road trips, but also helps the band later while they are on their ‘righteous journey.’ Bobby is a teen, and is also into the occult before he goes to jail for robbery and is set straight by a Christian convict.

Pearson, Rogers, and Rudi are important ‘personal assistant-butler’ types who help some of the band members get over drug or alcohol addiction, and other supports.

There are also many rival and friendly rockers, groupies, ‘lovers’ of various sorts, old friends and even family members, including children, that appear at varying degrees in all three books.

The Women

There are four primary female characters that appear in all three novels, to varying degrees. All become successful super models–matching the stereotypical meme that rock stars date super models, if not actresses. And all create their own business models–cosmetics, clothing lines, jewelry lines, body boutiques and the like–to become as successful as their men.

Ger, which is pronounced ‘Jer,’ is Erik’s ‘something,’ his ‘queen’ so to speak, originally from central London from a middle-class background, is medium height as he is, with ‘bedroom eyes’ and ‘sultry-sexy’ look about her, with page-boy brown medium-length hair. Of the four women, she is the most prominent. Her original name was ‘Geri’ but I decided to shorten it.

Laurie is Jack’s woman, but he doesn’t always treat her as well as he should, suspecting her of infidelity and having a lack of trust, which later backfires on him. She is gorgeous, long haired-blonde, tall, skinny and sexy, with a toughie voice and lurid smile. She is the first super-model of the four. As a teen, she is neglected by her father, and she lost her mother at a young age.

Jarris is Keith’s girl and marriage partner, abused by her own father which forces her to become very tough and thick-skinned, with flowing red hair and high-pitched voice, and very skinny even before she started modeling and later developed several profitable businesses. She and Laurie are often antagonists, but friends the same.

Mo is Bryan’s wife, though their marriage is rocky despite having three boys. While Bryan’s folks are confirmed atheists, Mo’s father is an Anglican vicar! Only her father calls her by her real name, Maureen. She is red haired, medium length, large boned, but thin enough to model. She is manipulative when it comes to her husband, with consequences for both.

Other women-

There are several groupies mentioned, but one in particular stands out–Princess Tina of the fictitious principality called Leandro, set inside the Italian peninsula. She is Tom’s ‘only love’ and due to his ‘low birth’ he must meet with her in secret. He has a very good reason for wanting to associate with her and her kind, aristocrats and other wealthy folks. Another one that becomes important and is in The Prodigal Band is Julie, a classmate of Mick’s in Music School and later a lover. She plays first chair violin in the city orchestra.

And finally there is Morwenna, but she is as much spiritual in nature as human, and will be discussed in a future post.

About the Prodigal Band Trilogy–Main Characters-Part 2: the Band

The fictitious rock and roll band that is on a journey to either choosing a good vs. evil path that ultimately all must take at some point called–for a very good reason–Sound Unltd, consists of six musicians of worthy talent, ambition, drive, and goals, with an instrument make up resembling most rock bands regardless of origin: guitarists–in this case, two–bass, percussion, keyboard-synthesizer, and lead singer/frontman. Since the time of the Beatles, this has been the usual configuration, more or less. Some of the six can play other instruments, as well, and some also have classical or operatic training. Three of the six come from musical families.

Descriptions of the band members:

I will offer physical descriptions two ways: one by actual overall description in word, and also a comparison to actual rock musicians or singers that should be well known…that is, character A looks like or plays his instrument like “so-and-so.” The word description of each band member comes from the beginning of the Prologue of ‘The Prodigal Band’, and I will name the character within the description:

“A lead singer (Erik) with dark brown shoulder-length hair accentuated by sensuous bangs on a baby-face was slender, thin-lipped and of medium height. Voice a Godly gift. Yet, some said, the devil’s tool.”  Within The Prodigal Band I compare his looks to Elvis Presley, but a lot skinnier; plus he has a Nordic complexion. His mother is from Norway, thus his name is spelled with a ‘k’ and not the usual ‘c’ ending. His voice is also similar to Elvis, deep and rich sounding.

“A tall, angular-faced guitarist (Jack) possessed dirty-blond hair now growing on once-shaved sides of his head. Now without the screaming instrument he fired into immortality.” I don’t really have an actual guitarist he resembles, but as for his playing style, it is not quite Hendrix, but still innovative, and has various qualities one would expect from Clapton, Page, Townsend, Walsh, or Prince.

“The dark, strapping bass guitar player (Keith) with bushy black hair and dark-coal eyes walked without his trademark gold chains.” The closest comparison to a renowned bassist is Jack Bruce of Cream, who, in my opinion, is the best bassist in rock history. And, for the sake of diversity which is rampant in England since the 60s, Keith’s grandmother is African, from Nigeria. I made Keith part-black while I was writing ‘Battle of the Band,’ but I did not stress this change until ‘The Prodigal Band’, where I bring up the issue or racism–I hate racism of any kind! As for looks, he certainly isn’t as dark as Hendrix! He and Erik call each other ‘bro.’

“The tall, lanky, beak-nosed, ringlet-haired album producer and master of many guitars (Mick) worried over his past perversions.” Mick is a cross physically between Jimmy Page, Alice Cooper, and Ozzie Osbourne, but much taller and skinnier (his nickname is ‘Skinny’). As with Page, he is an occultist, more or less. Jimmy Page bought occult cult leader Aleister Crowley’s Loch Ness occult estate, while in the books, Mick lives in an ancient occultist castle in the Cambrian Mountains of Wales near a burial site of an ancient Celtic occult high priest. The supposedly satanic memes of Page’s Led Zeppelin also provide a comparison for my fictitious band.

“The pot-bellied, biker-esque keyboard-synthesizer player (Bryan) famed for red hair wild as the wind, fiery as his brew, bore a downcast of regret.” I really cannot think of a keyboard-synth or piano player in rock music that has a similar description, but he does look like a typical Hell’s Angels biker. His nickname is ‘Bry’ or ‘Redbeard.’ As for playing style, his style reminds me of the keyboardist for Dire Straits, but the keyboardist of the previously referenced 60s group the Animals, Alan Price, is also a reference here, if you remember back to those days. Plus, he also plays Northumberland bagpipes and some horned instruments.

“A short, curly-blond percussionist (Tom) once angered by lost love approached with the others to an unknown destination, glad with a full life behind him.” The closest resemblance here is to Ginger Baker, rock and roll’s version of the greatest drummer of all time, Gene Krupa, who was the drummer for Benny Goodman’s Orchestra, an icon of the ‘big band era’ of the late 1930s and 1940s. Plus, Tom also looks kind of like Baker, with blonder and curlier hair, and shorter a well. Tom’s nickname is ‘Shorty.’

Music style–One reason I named them ‘Sound Unltd’ is that they can play virtually any rock and roll style, from fifties throw-back to progressive-psychedelic-late 60s to heavy metal to punk to new wave to grunge to rock-rap to even orchestral and rock-aria and operatic. There is a scene in ‘The Prophesied Band’ where the narrator, a fictitious ‘Rolling Stone’ reporter, imagines lead singer Erik on operatic stage while performing a rock aria he wrote. Their stage performances resemble the gigs of the 90s, with all the pyrotechnics, raunchy stage-mic stand-sex antics, guitar-bashing (first performed by the Who’s Pete Townsend in the 60s), faked amp burning, and other attention seeking behaviors.

Music influences–The Beatles, certainly, but also Mick Jagger’s notorious stage antics, and Led Zeppelin’s supposedly occultist influences as well. Other influences include Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, Prince–who is one heckuva musician–Michael Jackson even, with his dancing on stage, and, of course, Jimi Hendrix…there will never be another guitarist like him!

That’s all I’m going to say about the characters and their personalities. If you want to really know their personalities, read the books! Hint: my own daughter loves these guys! Maybe so will you.

About The Prodigal Band Trilogy: The Theme-Good Triumphs over Evil

I began writing a book that would eventually work its way into three books that make up the Prodigal Band Trilogy–Battle of the Band, The Prophesied Band, and The Prodigal Band–back in the late 1960s in diary form as the characters morphed from just a group of guys in a gang or a clique, with or without girlfriends, living on Long Island-then-New York City, to rock musicians with or without girlfriends, living in England. Why the morph? Because of my own interest in rock music as well as actually having participated in a local band for a few months, and having gone to England in 1970, as well as the notion I had the rock bands from England were more worthy overall than American ones (and Brit bands were my fave bands anyway.) These topics have been discussed in previous posts here and on my blog.

The names and looks of the characters were created in the mid-60s with other characters being created in the mid-80s, which was when I started getting serious about the books, which was still just one book novel. But instead of a diary to write stuff that would later make up the book(s), I just wrote on notepad paper with pen.

In the meantime, I had a teaching job–more than one–and children, which of course took precedence over novel writing. Then came the use of an old 48K Atari computer that I typed ten chapters on, and, really, the whole thing was random…this character did this and that character did that and it was as if it was just a satire on the lives and loves of rock musician celebrities. It was funny, but meaningless in a way. At that point in the early 90s what I was typing onto 4.5 inch floppy discs was just a matter of getting these characters out of my head onto printer paper.

I do not remember the year–1992? 1993?–that I went outside one night and the spirit of the theme took over my head, “telling me” to remake the book(s) into a fight between the forces of good and the forces of evil. One problem–if this was going to be about a rock band, Brit or not, then I had to get with ‘the program’ so to speak because by the early 90s I had lost touch with rock music…the last I remembered was punk and new wave of the early 80s. Living in a rural remote area of far west Texas–where country music reigns supreme and rock music is considered by the hardcore fundamentalist Christians out here as some kind of devil worship (!)–I had no idea how rock music was evolving into what in the 90s was called ‘grunge’ or ‘rock-rap’ or ‘death metal’ or ‘emo’ or whatever. Until 1994, when I got a teaching job in a gang-ridden high school in El Paso. The job sucked, but the themes rustling around in the pop culture world of the high school didn’t. The majority of my students were Hispanic and at the time a female singer from south Texas, Hispanic–I don’t remember her name but she was huge among my students–was the rage, as was rap, especially among the few black students I had. But I did have some white kids as well, mostly children of Fort Bliss parents–these kids were into, primarily, Nirvana with Kurt Cobain–a major influence on my characterizations–and grunge groups like Nine Inch Nails and Green Day. All American groups–what happened to the Brits? Well, it turned out, I discovered, that the Brit bands from the latter 80s were still around.

And that, my friends, is why my fictional band, Sound Unltd, stemmed from the 1980s. Originally, they were supposed to be late 60s-70s group, but rock music had changed so much since then that I did not think it would be wise to make them a 60s-70s group.

Then, when I really began to get really serious after resigning the El Paso teaching job and moving back to the rural remote in 1995, I had a decision to make–just write a satirical book making fun of rock stars and celebrities with all the fun of sex scenes, orgies, drug use, and sex-drug-rock-n’-roll themes, or write a book or books exposing the fallacy so many who lived in my area believed to be true–that rock stars are all devil worshipers, and rock music was the ‘devil’s music.’ And more.

Around the same time, what with events like Ruby Ridge, Waco, and the Oklahoma City bombing–all around the time of a series of Satanic holidays beginning April 19 and ending with Beltane, Walpurgis Night, and May 1–and the so-called “Patriot Movement” against the so-called ‘New World Order’ (spear-headed by both Presidents George HW Bush with his 1989 ‘New World Order’ speech and Bill Clinton’s screeds about globalism throughout the1990s)–I felt it might be another good idea to incorporate an ‘Illuminati-CFR-Bilderberg-type’ organization into the mix, representing the ‘evil’ side…I mean, the symbolism they use–the ‘All-Seeing-Eye’ on the dollar bill and all atop a pyramid with the Latin phrase within-“ANNUIT COEPTIS NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM”–which means, “Announcing the Birth of the New World Order” (or some say, “New Order of the Ages.”). And, having read Biblical prophecy and growing more interested in the possibility that the so-called “end times” were getting closer to fruition, I figured this whole notion of “one world government” was not just some conspiracy theory, but getting closer–and who would lead this one world government? Those who clearly sought power and likely had the money to buy power–bankers and their minions in government and also the media and entertainment industries–and would willingly side with ‘the anti-Christ’ at the end.

Just a note here: the Biblical Book of Revelation, on which so much ‘end times prophecy’ is based, mentions three parts of the so-called “Beast System” which has to exist for all this prophecy to occur: the Dragon (Satan, or the Anti-Christ, or some person Satan/the anti-Christ inhabits), the Beast (which I suppose is a system that supports Satan) and the False Prophet (and there are all sorts of theories as to who or what the False Prophet is!). Thus, it is this notion of an evil system that provides the novel’s notion of ‘bad guys.’ And, according to prophecy, after the anti-Christ comes and sits in the temple in Jerusalem, the true Messiah, Christ–accompanied by a huge number of good angels–returns in the ‘second coming’ to overthrow the evil. Prior to this happening, all humanity must make a choice–side with evil or side with good.

And that, folks, is the overarching theme of my books–my fictitious rock band of world-wide renown must make that same decision before it is too late. The Prodigal Band Trilogy is their journey to that decision, and what they do with it.

Being a ‘Non-Conformist’ Author: You Don’t Always Have to ‘Follow the Script’

In the mid-1990s I joined a local far west Texas writer’s group called ‘Texas Mountain Trail Writers.’ While working on the first printed novel I would call Battle of the Band, I needed ‘tutoring’ so-to-speak on absolutely what had to go into the novel to make it a legitimate novel, to market and sell the thing–that is, get some literary agent to ‘sell’ it to a big time publisher. No literary agent came a-calling, so I had to do it myself.

And this was what I picked up in all of these discussions and even annual writer conferences, which I will now list:

  1. ‘Show, don’t tell.’ Anyone who writes novels or books knows what this means. And I believe in ‘show, don’t tell,’  but there are times the ‘tell’ part has to be used perhaps  more than some would find acceptable, as I discovered finishing up my first book.
  2. Your setting must be a setting one is familiar with. After all, aren’t most of Stephen King’s novels set in Maine, where he is from? (And why do I always use Stephen King as an example? Because other than literary genius Kurt Vonnegut–from Ithica, New York (quite a few of his books are set in that part of New York state)–no writer has influenced me to write than the best suspense-si-fi-horror novelist in US history.
  3. Your characters must be from the setting you use that must be one you are familiar with.  Not all, but many of King’s characters are from Maine, or at least New England.
  4. Your characters, because you must know your characters–especially the main ones–must be part of you and even as you are. (Characterization)
  5. Dialogue–your characters must speak in a way that characters from a particular setting would speak, thus you must know how these characters would speak, which is why they ought to come from a particular familiar setting. Further, you characters must speak in a way that it is obvious for that character and the reader knows that is how the character talks. Use catch-phrases as well.
  6. Genre–this is the item that has and will give me the most headache. My books are not genre specific, but a mix of spiritual/satire/adult-rated R not X/horror/suspense/fantasy, so that could be why no literary agent touched my books–literary agents tend to be genre specific, or at least that’s what I was told by the first published author I ever met, a romance novelist (with plenty of the required ‘sexual tension.’)
  7. Theme–The only way I can describe any theme in my books is this: good triumphing over evil. If it isn’t ‘good vs. evil’ in fiction, then I am not writing it-ultimately, good vs. evil is the only issue that matters to me.
  8. Plot–Within the realm of the physical and mental and real and spiritual worlds, the plot revolves around an 80s-90s rock and roll band that, upon achieving great success, must choose their good vs. evil path, with triumphs, trials and tribulations along the way. Because they are ‘rock stars,’ they are ‘gonna do what a rock star is gonna do.’ Which is why these novels are adult–sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll–and not young adult or Christian or rated G. Sorry about that, but if my characters are going to be real, they’re just gonna have to cuss every now and then, or engage in free sex–and one of my characters is bi-sexual, by the way.

Did I miss anything?

So, here is where I ‘go off the reservation’ so-to-speak. ‘Show, don’t tell’? Who gets to decide if you I don’t show enough and tell too much? Folks, I have NEVER read a novel without some ‘tell,’ okay? Read JRR Tolkein’s “Silmarillion’ some time…there is so much ‘telling’ in that book that one would think one of the greatest novelists ever couldn’t write a novel to save his life! But of course, he has to ‘tell’ about how the elves and what not came to be, from what heavenly spirits, and the rest. Then you have books loaded with dialogue–in fact, one friend-turned-book-critic once told me that my two printed books had too much dialogue! “Too much telling,” she told me. After all, dialogue is kind of like telling, right? In my opinion, however, nothing SHOWS a character like his or her dialogue, and how he or she says it!

Where I really go off the reservation though is setting, for actual setting and in terms of where the characters are from and how they speak. I intend to fully explain the whys and what-fors of this issue in posts I have already written and just need the right time to post (since I am busy re-typing/re-writing my two printed books for e-book formatting purpose for sale on Kindle, Nook, Lulu, etc). But for now I will sum it up–since my characters are in a rock band of the 80s and 90s, and since I grew up in the 60s and 70s when British rock reigned supreme for the most part (beginning with the Beatles), and since I spent about two months there in mostly the southeast (Brighton area) and also met three twenty-somethings from Tyneside (Newcastle, of course) and I just loved hearing that Geordie accent… Okay, you get the idea. But just to make it a bit easier for me to deal with creating these books, roughly half of the settings in all my novels are in the US, either New York City or California between LA and San Fran. I grew up on Long Island and lived in NYC. I have visited southern and central California and know several folks from there  (and my brother and his family used to live near Silicon Valley). A number of supporting characters are Americans. Finally, for the most part, my Brit rocker characters spend most of their time in the most affluent part of England, which just happens to be the part of England I am most familiar with–the southeast, including the affluent county called Surrey. Thus, one really cannot accuse me of not knowing the settings and the ways of speaking (though I do use slang words every now and then that are more American than Brit, and one big mistake I made originally in the printed books was listing the dates American style instead of Brit style: instead of writing ‘the 15th of July’ I wrote “July 15.’ Or used the term ‘called’ instead of ‘rang’ on occasion…any slang terms I screwed up in my first two books will be rectified, I hope, in the e-books.

Finally, as I will explain in my posts that will be posted as soon as possible, my entire life generally does not ‘follow the script,’ and I’ve been for the most part a non-conformist my entire life.