Snippets of The Prodigal Band Trilogy: Horror

I grew up immersed in the Horror genre, movies mostly, but also some comic books. When I was a pre-teen and teenager, some local TV station had aSaturday night movie series called “ChillerTheater.” Today that has morphed into the DirecTV and DishTV channel “The Chiller Channel” or whatever it’s called now. It was on this show series I saw “Godzilla,” “The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms,” “The Crawling Eye,” and various Japanese and other monster movies, various zombie/ghoul/vampire/Frankenstein-type monsters and serial murder movies many of which starred my fave actor at the time, Vincent Price. Basically, if Vincent Price was in the movie, I watched it.

In my twenties, I started reading horror genre fiction but I thought horror movies were more exciting. There was one book–I have no idea what the title was but it’s one of the few I actually finished reading–about some vampire-like rock band that recruits roadies or fans or whatever and then turns them into vampires, but one small group of fans turns against the band. Eventually, the vampire band gets “burned” if you know what I mean. But I did not buy the book because it had vampires, but because it had vampires who were rock stars!

And around this time, Ozzie Osbourne was making it huge…And. Oh yeah, AC-DC, “Highway to Hell” and all that…

One of the reasons I began writing the books that make up the trilogy was the notion, which has some merit but which can also be debunked, that rock stars are all “devil worshipers” and rock music is “the devil’s music” which quite a few Christians still believe is true. Many supposedly Christian YouTube channels try to verify this over and over and over while mentioning a few, such as the guitarist for MegaDeath–I forgot his name–are avowed believers in Christ (as is rapper DMX). My point is not to prove rockers are not devil worshipers; some clearly are (such as Marilyn Manson). My point is wanting folks to get over the notion that listening to rock music is going to turn one against Christ or for Satan. As if listening to country music and someone like Miley Cyrus is going to turn one to Christ!

But anyway…

To contrast the band called Sound Unltd’s beginning and rise to fame and fortune with their inability to handle it wisely later, and then the coming trials and tribulations they face, I thought it would be a good idea to bring in the most debauched period of their ‘supremacy’ in rock music. This is where the horror comes in. There are no monsters or vampires or zombies or mass murders, but it still has horror themes including ‘rituals of the craft’ if you know what I mean.

The following snippet which is a bit long comes from Chapter Six of Battle of the Band. The scene is a Hellside Horror House party for the touring band Sound Unltd given by the estate owners Andre’ and Cheetah, owners of a horror TV channel who use snakes and lizards as props on their show. Both are occultists as well. The night of the party is Thursday, July 12, 1993, in the fictitious city of Richmont, California, in the Bay Area. Band guitarists Jack and Mick (the occultist of the group), drummer Tom, singer Erik and bassist Keith are all mentioned, as well as various groupies, some of whom are wiccans, and Adam Bloodlove, Mick’s ‘partner’ and rock superstar of satanic bent.


Ring around the rosy, pocket full o’ posy

Ashes, ashes, all fall down

“A song about the Black Plague? Can’t you play a happier song than that, Jack?” Cheetah asked as she, the guitarist and six others finished the gruesome children’s rhyme.

Another asked, “What about your song, Jack? The Rune of Seven Crag Mountain? About the burning children?”

“Right. All in the name of religion. I can barely tolerate Mick’s cultist crap, let alone Swami Negran.” He readied his guitar to play the song. “But I love playing this piece.”

Jack began the music as a skuz tray was passed around.

They rounded up the young ones

And tied them to the trees,

And lit the grass.

The wood did burn

And then young skins.

You could feel the screaming breeze.

Cheetah broke in at the end of three verses. “I got an idea. Why don’t we play like the song says in the woods by our pond?”

“Let’s do it,” someone said.

 

Mick, Andre’ Cool, and Adam Bloodlove lounged in Cool’s dungeon-like bedroom, listening to the guitarist’s tales of the Crag-Dwellers.

Cool asked, “Where’d you learn these stories?”

“I formed the Druid Family. Mostly, for fun—and sex. But these people weren’t really Druids, eh? My cult’s based on the Order of the Crag-Dwellers, a secret society that lived at the time of the Druid priests. The Crag-Dwellers were cannibals.”

“No shit? Cannibals?”

“Yeh. They turned cannibal when the Druids tried to drive them out of their huts by the crags. The Crag-Dwellers believed that if they ate the flesh of an animal, they acquired the spirit and power of that animal. So, they applied that rule to people’s spirits as well. If they ate Druid priests, they acquire the Druid’s power.”

“But why did the Crag-Dwellers burn the children instead of eating them?”

Mick said cynically, “Because children have no power. So, they fried.”

“What else did the Crag-Dwellers do?” Bloodlove asked.

“Well, they also— Hey, wait a bit, eh? You know, I could show you outside. Andre’, you got a pond here, eh?”

“Yeah, about a half-mile behind the house.”

“Okay, I’ll show you what they did, and, on the way, I’ll tell you about it.”

Mick proceeded to tell the story of how the Crag-Dwellers gouged the eyes of their victims.

 

Tom, Princess Tina, and Lady Moira Sedgewick sat at a patio table on the veranda, deep in discussion.

Her Grace said, “Now, Tom, I read an editorial in CounterCulture that said due to inflation, consumers were being priced out of live entertainment. For instance, the outrageous cost of your concert tickets. And sixty bucks is outrageous.”

“Yeh, but in our case, sixty is worth it. And if what they said was true, we wouldn’t be perennial sell-outs. You know what the gripe is? A lot of acts would love to charge what we do, but they can’t. They don’t have the reputations for excellence and outrage like we do.”

Just then, a rush of singing, partying people from the solarium passed the trio. Cheetah called out, “Hey, Tina, you guys want to play Crag-Dwellers and Druids?”

“Oh, how super! You want to Moira? Tom?”

“Sounds ducky to me.” The two women got up.

“Oh shit,” Tom said. “When is that Skinny gonna get off this Druid crap?” He got up, disgruntled, and followed them.

 

“You mean, they took skewers and jabbed them into the eye sockets and wriggled the skewers around ‘til the eye popped out?” Bloodlove now couldn’t wait to play-act the scene at the south end of the pond.

“Yeh,” said Mick, “and then they ate the eyeballs. Raw. Whole. Like this.” Mick made believe he had an eyeball on his finger and stuck the finger into his mouth. “Delicious!”

“So where we supposed to get the eyes?” Andre’ asked nervously. “We’re supposed to kill something?”

“Shit, man, just a frog or something,” Mick answered. “Don’t worry, we won’t kill one o’ your lizards.”

“Gila monsters, not lizards!” Cool performed surrounded by the poisonous pet reptiles. “And I’m not killing anything!”

“Party pooper!” Bloodlove sneered.

“Come on, Adam,” Cool yelled in annoyance. “You’re just sucking up to that devil worshiper to get a record contract.”

“No. I get high off doing this. I thought you did, too.”

“I just make believe. I’ve never killed anything in my—”

“Shut up!” Mick whispered loudly. “I see a frog and I’m gonna catch him.”

“But not kill it, Mick. This is my pond, and—”

“I won’t do anything.” Andre’s hesitancy wearied Mick. “We’re just playing, Andre’. Who told you I was a devil worshiper?”

“Well, I thought you were, with all those altars at your place.”

“It’s just décor, eh? I collect Druidic artifacts and other witchy things. And you should talk, with all that ghoulish shit in your own house. Anyway, I’m not a devil worshiper.”

“Come on,” Bloodlove said, “let’s get on with it.” He turned to Cool. “We can’t waste any frogs, eh?”

“No.”

“Well then,” Bloodlove winked at Mick, “we’ll just have to kill you.”

He and Mick jumped Cool, sending the victim to the ground. Adam grabbed at Andre’s eyes.

“Get the hell off me!”

Bloodlove and Mick rolled off Cool, laughing with gusto.

Suddenly several bodies flailed at the three, chanting nonsense while grabbing at hair.

One of the new arrivals carried some twine and yelled, “Tie them up!”

The gang picked up the trio and shoved and marched them over to some trees. Mick, Adam, and Andre’, by now having been stripped to their ankles, were tied to an oak tree.

The curly blond among the gang got out his cigarette lighter and torched some tall grass under the trees, shrieking, “The Crag-Dwellers be avenged!” He gathered the others in a laughter-filled war-dance around the growing fire. “Burn the beastly Druids!” Tom’s face glowed orange by the budding blaze as he jabbed at Mick. “Skin them alive!”

Mick and the other two had enough and broke free of the bondage. “Okay, Shorty, put the fire out! Now!” The three stomped on the fire, and others used whatever devices they carried to take water from the pond onto the now smoky blaze.

Once the fire was out, Jack jibed at Mick. “So, you can’t take a joke, eh? What’s the matter? It’s you that believes this shit.”

Mick dusted himself off and snickered, “Did you have fun, Jack?”

The other laughed. “We need to do this again sometime.”

Tom joined in. “Yeh. Tomorrow night. Hey, Jack, you think we can do ‘im up during the show, a new skit?”

“Fuck you, Shorty!”

“Not in this lifetime.”

“Tom, I wouldn’t waste me time with this loony lad. But maybe we can grab our road manager, tie ‘im to our monolith—”

“Aaaaaarrrrrruuuuughhhhh,” came a blood-curdling scream from the pond’s north end.

“Everybody,” Bloodlove called out, “let’s see what that is. Quietly, okay? Let’s sneak up on him.”

Some carried wooden torches as they followed the satanic singer.

Another snippet that follows continues the bizarre party scene.

“God, Erik! You sounded like you enjoyed killing that poor baby frog,” Rona pouted as she squatted down to kiss her man for the evening.

The singer, still grasping the hapless amphibian, cocked his head to face the nineteen-year-old with cascading, shiny black hair. “Haven’t you heard? I eat frogs before I make love. That way, my pecker becomes more slippery and—juicy.” He ran his tongue over his sweaty lips and whispered, “Join me, luv, in my carnal feast.”

Their lashing tongues caressed each other’s mouths.

The frog squirted out of his grasp.

“Oh, no!” Rita shouted. “My frog got away!” She looked down at the writhing couple. “I thought you killed that frog, Erik! Why’d you let him get away?”

“Because,” the singer looked at her and smiled, “some things are more important than frog’s eyes for your witches’ brew, eh? Why don’t you and Lindsay go see if you can find that frog again, and Ro and I will catch you later, eh?”

Rita, disappointed, turned away. “Fine, Erik. Let’s go Lindsay. We’ll get our own frog, and we’ll make a potion and cast a spell on the two of them.” When she looked back, a naked Rona mounted a naked Erik.

Later, a torchlight parade saw the two girls coming toward them. “Witches!” Cheetah called out. “Burn those witches!”

The gang war-whooped and swooped down on the two.

“Wait! Wait!” Rita shouted. “We’re not witches. We’re hunting witches, and we got two of ‘em over there.” She pointed to where they left the lovers.

The growing throng danced down upon the passionate twosome, who got up immediately and ran furiously toward the house, still naked.

When Erik and Rona reached the veranda—the others in hot pursuit—they shut off the outside lights, then walked silently into the pool. The darkness caused three others to fall into the water.

Then— Flash went the lights. Crash! Went the music, to begin the next party round. Splash! Went half the wasted guests into the light-sparkling refreshment.

Untouched by the ‘witch-hunters,’ Erik and Rona walked arm-in-arm out of the water toward the bath house to towel themselves, their clothes still out at the pond. When they entered the small building, they found Keith and Lolita resting limp with exhaustion on the floor.

“Oh, sorry about interrupting,” Rona apologized.

Lolita covered herself with a towel.

“No need for that, girl,” Keith snickered. “They were just leaving.”

“Fancy meeting you here, bro.”

“Oh, fancy that. You still here.”

Rona sensed trouble between the two blood brothers. “Well, that’s okay. We just came in for towels and—”

“No matter, lovely wench,” Keith said. “We’ve been here long enough. Shall we go, my precious?”

He and Lolita strutted outside to a scene of rollicking hedonism exploding to the sound of gnashing metal and ghoulish cries.

Let’s party in Hell. We make it so well!

Move over, Sweet Satan for the party in Hell!

They ran, crying, “Let’s party in Hell!” as their momentum hurled them into the water.

 

There are more horror snippets I could have included but I figure this one is long enough as it encompasses most of the chapter. Want a much more serious horror scene? Buy the book using links here:

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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.

Snippets of The Prodigal Band Trilogy: Fantasy

The Fantasy genre can be defined in many ways as it mixes in with Science Fiction or Horror-Occultic or Spiritual or even Dystopian genres. But The Prodigal Band Trilogy does not take place on some fantasy world in another galaxy or another planet or another time frame, but in the modern times mostly in the time frame of late 70s to early 2000s, mostly in the UK or the US, mostly in southeast England, NYC, LA area or the Bay Area or in the fictitious city of Walltown in northeast England where the band, Sound Unltd, is from, or the Bay Area fictitious city called Richmont. Yet that’s not the fantasy part.

Both the first chapter of Battle of the Band and the first chapter of The Prodigal Band begin in the “beforetime” realm of God in heaven with the fallen angels being cast into the Abyss, and on Earth in the 1130s in Walltown, which in the year 1136 is burning, having been cursed by an evil Duke calling forth Demons to burn the residences of rebellious serfs. Meanwhile angelic forces entering the city through a portal where a three-part angelic statue is being built, come to inhabit that statue where they sit in spirit as they put out the fire. Since the statue-figures have music horns, the statue is called The Tooters.

Another force for good–truly a fantasy character–an old woman considered a ‘witch’ by the locals, Morwenna being her name, is able to channel The Tooters for the cause of good. As she is given a song that will be passed down to future generations to save the town from evil, she suddenly by divine intervention becomes young again, and is able to mate with the man who will raise a son to pass down the song for over 800 years. What can be more fantasy than a woman who grows old and young and old and young for 800 years to assure the song is passed down to what would become a ‘prophesied’ band.

Unlike previous ‘snippet’ posts with two or three snippets from one book or all three, this post will only include one snippet, from Chapter One of The Prodigal Band.


In the Battle of the Beforetime

 

Before God created mankind, He created angels, the ‘Sons of God’ as told in the Book of Genesis. Administrators—Principalities and Powers—for His plans on Earth He created. They were given powers over the creatures of the Earth according to His Will. Except the ‘Light Bearer,’ Satan, didn’t want to serve God. He wanted to be God, and God simply wouldn’t allow it. So Satan, with the ‘fallen angels,’ fought against God and His angels, lost the battle, and was cast down as far as they could be into the Abyss.

Called Satan in many instances within the Bible, God’s chief adversary had other names, such as Lucifer, mentioned in Isaiah 14. But a tribe of cannibals conquered by the Romans in 50 AD known as the Crag-Dwellers, who lived in the Craggy Mountains of Wales, called him Corion, as referenced by a Roman historian. Corion was their god. The Druids were their enemies.

 

On Earth, 1136 A.D.; In Heaven, timelessness

 

Foreordained, it was time to send the message.

So it happened that three angels took up spirit-residence within an as-yet-to-be completed granite three-part statue of winged trumpeters called The Tooters, at the north gate of a green-grass marketplace in the midst of Wall Town.

But the grass and the marketplace and the surrounding wood-dwellings wore dancing flames in rhapsody fanned by Demon breath. For the fourth Duke of Effingchester had to burn a peasant army and their homes to the ground to preserve his power over them.

A dilapidated quarter due east of the statue, the Hovels, was spared the fire, but Corion bade the Demons hold sway there. The serfs Effingchester refused to emancipate must forever be in debt.

Within the smoky pall around her, Morwenna, called by some the Witch of the Hovels with her scars of great age and scraggly gray hair, stood before huts of twig and scrap wood. In an instant her arthritic hands glowed with supernatural cure. The Tooters had told her she would survive eight-hundred-plus years to warn the chosen minstrels of Demon destruction and guide them to the Way.

“A—rock band, you say?” She laughed a wizened laugh. “Imagine! Rocks playing music. What a wonder of God!”

Morwenna then looked up in the westward direction of the voice of The Tooters. “What be their names?”

Soft and mellow, Tooter Three answered, “The Creator has told us their name. Their name will be sound, unlimited. Their sound will be of The Creator. Yet the Demons will try their evil magic with them. It will be they will fall under Corion for a way. But Our Creator has decided. It is this sound, unlimited that will minister the youth to His Will. Only then can they and the youth be prepared.”

Still wondering over her now-youthful hands, Morwenna spoke. “Yes, but—” Her voice quivered. “How will they know?”

“You will tell them. You will give them their name.”

“So I will tell them in 800 years?”

“Yes. You will grow old, then young, then old, then young. For 800 years. You will not see death until the mission God has given you and we have imparted to you, has ended.”

“But—”

“Impossible, yes. But with the All Mighty God, Maker of Heaven and Earth, and all things seen and unseen, all things are possible.”

“So, I am doing the Will of God.”

“Yes. And we, His angels, are telling you this.”

“So it is true.”

“Yes. God does not lie.”

Tooter Three then spoke to the partners. “And at the appointed time, only they will see and hear her. Morwenna is now a spirit for Good. We have given her the power to know His chosen ones and to give them an unseen guiding hand.” The spirit turned away and laughed. “To use the parlance of those future times—they won’t even know Who hit them.”

Morwenna was now a young maiden.

Nearby, a dazed lute player, not realizing he had wandered that far eastward from his usual marketplace milieu, fell prostrate from smoke inhalation. Cough, cough. He laid his instrument on the dirty ground.

A voice called to his prone form. “Minstrel, we will now give you a song. You will play it and pass it on. It will one day save the young from evil. Your bloodline will perform it.”

He sat up instantly in vexation. His name was Mollock.

Soon Morwenna approached the musician.

“Eh, fair lass,” Mollock called to her, “that song. You hear it?”

She looked toward the statue. “I know the song you mean. You are to preserve it for your posterity.”

He sat up. “Are you the giver of the song, pretty maiden?”

“Well—” He’d never believe it if I told him it was the statue. “Yes,” she fibbed, “it was me who sang it. But you will pass it on. You will give it to your son to pass to your generations.”

Startled. “Son? Young lassie, I don’t have a son.”

So she gave him one.

And that son would turn out to be the one to pass down that song, the most important song in the entire trilogy. To find out why, you will just have to buy the book. Here are all the online bookstore links you would need.

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.

Snippets of The Prodigal Band Trilogy: Comedy

Everyone has their definition of “comedy” because everyone has their own sense of humor and everyone has their own idea of what is “funny” and what isn’t, which could also include satire (which I will deal with later…in my opinion there is more satire than comedy in these three books that make up the trilogy.)

The first example also includes some slapstick…well, that’s my opinion anyway. This example is found in the final chapter of Battle of the Band and comes right before another category I just added to the series, Tragedy.

While creating videos for a new video marketing company in their home town, Walltown, the singer (Erik) and the bassist (Keith) are leaving a pub called the White Horse Pub and heading back to the tour bus so as to get ready to party somewhere else high on a designer drug called skuz. It is evening in early February, 1996. Both were drunk on whiskey, but Erik more so–he was trying to drown his self-pity over his wife’s (Ger) supposed “betrayal” in that she never told him she was bulimic. She was a TV hostess as well as supermodel. Note:  I have heard and read in magazine articles that many supermodels as well as models, to keep their weight down, turn to eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia.


Two-and-a-half hours and uncounted whiskey shots later, Keith, himself swaggering drunk, had to support his blood brother as the two swayed back to the bus parked by the alley site.

It was almost eight o’clock when the singer finally told himself he’d drunk enough for the blues to swim away. Now, he needed something to pep himself up so that, maybe, he and his brother rogue could go out and party somewhere else.

Keith had just the something—a hit of skuz. Or two. Or three.

Moments from the van, Erik fell into Keith’s chest. “Am I gonna make it, bro?” He slurred. “I can barely—”

“We almost there, eh? Just a wee bit, eh? Get the hell of me!” The besotted bassist held him up. “Shit! You a ton o’ dead weight.”

Ten more tortuous steps. Slam! Erik’s body hit the back door of the van.

“Hold on to the handles, eh bro? Gonna open the door in front, eh? Then I’ll figure out some damned way to get you in.” Keith rounded the van. “Why the hell I let you drink so much? And now you gonna need a whole packet of skuz to get you right.” He entered the van, cussing at himself. “Nice going, eh Keith?” Nearly tripping over the black bags in the aisle way, he kicked them to the side, yelling, “Move your bloody bag next time, eh Bry? Little—big!—shit screws his back, so he thinks he can leave his bags wherever the hell he feels like. Up yours, Bry!”

Erik banged on the back doors. “Open the goddamned door, Keith! Bloody cold out here!”

“Wait up, bro.” Tripping over the handle of Jack’s ever-present portable amp—“Get the hell off me!”—Keith’s head accidentally slammed into the inside back doors. Cusses galore.

Erik, about to fall down, yelled, “Stop your bloody cussing and let me in, Keith!”

“Hold your goddamned balls, Erik! Bloody door won’t open.”

Wham! Erik crashed backwards into the van as Keith kicked open the back door.

Five minutes and a cavalcade of cussing later, Keith had Erik within, the singer sprawled atop the amp, his own bag as well as Jack’s and Tom’s, nearly out like a dead lightbulb.

“I found it, bro. Skuz. Good for what ails you, eh? Right here in the side pocket o’ me bag. We fix you up.”

The whiskey-soaked singer barely found his thick voice. “I’ll prob’ly need—” His voice trailed off into slumber.

In the second example within Chapter Three of The Prophesied Band is found the women of four of the band members, by then married to these members. Laurie is married to guitarist Jack; Jarris is married to bassist Keith; Ger is married to singer Erik; and Mo is married to keyboardist Bry. Also mentioned is Bry’s synth-building partner, Reg Lewis. Some groupies are also mentioned, Peaches and Artesia. The scene begins (narrated by a pop culture journalist) with the women exiting a heliport atop the hotel and heading to their men’s fancy suite rooms. Meanwhile, a groupie, knowing Ger is coming, tries to get Erik to let her go before Ger shows up but he keeps her there on purpose. When Ger enters the suite a round of ‘verbal judo’ ensues. Later, during a band concert, the four women are off-stage, but close enough to the performing band, and are smoking a joint, discussing what happened when they had arrived at the fancy hotel in New York City that day to be with their men. They are trying to “one up” each other, which was standard operating procedure for this foursome.

Warning: the following is rated R.


And then there were the women:  blonde-bombshell-turned-mommy Laurie Koolig; fiery red-head cosmetics tycoon Jarris Mullock; Ger Manilow, Britain’s top super-model; and wavy red-head Mo McClellan. Since they couldn’t join the tour in Los Angeles, it had to be New York City. As in the luxurious New York Wynworth Hotel, The Club, and The Studio—where, for a fifty-thousand dollar membership and all the skuz you could snort, you could engage in foreplay as you and your date strolled past hundreds of milling wanna-bes and gossip hounds.

Besides, the Richmont Port Authority wouldn’t let a hired helicopter land at Richmont Speedway. It wouldn’t have been in good taste for the one in New York to refuse the same request from four of the world’s most glamorous females, so a whirlybird from a local airport arrived atop the Wynworth one roasting afternoon in mid-June.

Must have been sweltering weather for the girls. They all wore their most alluring sables.

I doubt if Ger’s racks of ice around her neck, waist, and wrists cooled her off. But that’s okay. She needed to be in the Big Apple anyway to do her Diamond Girl video. Rumor had it the world’s top supermodel, back in form after birthing her son Alec, wanted to upstage her rival.

She definitely upstaged New York’s most bodacious groupie, fiery red-head Peaches La Crème. Next to Rona, no Fun Girl could enflame Erik Manning’s manhood as the freckled former street-tough with Brooklyn accent to match.

But Ger was his something. The consummate pro at seduction. Her sultry eyes and voice, her Southern-Belle-ish smile played to enthrall the male race. Of expensive means, that is. She allowed no serious competition.

 

Having thrown a tawny-colored mink-and-leather wrap on her left shoulder, Peaches turned to leave the singer’s room.

Wearing a towel around his lower torso, Erik came out of the bathroom with a sigh. “It’s that time already, eh?”

She opened the bedroom door into the suite lounge and noticed the clock on an antique ornate table. “It’s past time, after two.” Turned to him with plaintive blue eyes. “I better get the hell outta here before Ger comes.” Out the door.

He briskly went after her. “Wait a bit, babe. One more hug, eh?”

Ger, and then the others, stepped out of the down elevator onto the Deluxe Suite floor.

Several wet kisses and squeezes. Peaches tried to push him away. “I gotta go, sweet love. She’s gonna walk in—”

“So what?” Grabbed her tightly. “What she gonna do?”

Ger opened the grand suite double doors.

“Well, I don’t—” Peaches, within his caress, turned her head around at the whoosh of the opening doors. Mouth opened.

Her eyes firing lava at the groupie, Ger cocked her head and seethed with stiffening body. That Peaches bitch! You kept her ‘til now on purpose, didn’t you, Erik!

“I’m outta here.” The blushing red-head almost shot out of the lounge, hastily passing Laurie, Jarris, and Mo, who stood at the doorway waiting for a scene.

For effect, the brunette whipped the carpet with her sable. “God, Erik! Didn’t you remember I was coming at two?” Sneer.

But Manning was too manly to be cowed by her play at wrath. He coolly glanced at the clock opposite the door. Two-twenty. Then slowly turned his head back to her with mockery. “Yeh, babe, at two. Just where the hell you been?” Snort. Then he went into his room, leaving the page-boy styled model there to stew in her vain possessiveness.

For her singer was the only man in the world who could put her back in her place. She’d never be above him.

That was why, with her plethora of tasty young lovers, she’d never put any of them ahead of him.

She picked up the sable, looking sidelong back at the girls as they entered the suite. “Sorry about that.”

Jarris looked her in the eyes. “Don’t apologize to us, girl.”

The others went to their men, and Ger went to hers. Humbled, she stood, sable, diamonds and all, in his doorway waiting for a pardon.

Propped on pillows, he lay naked outstretched on his bed. Victorious smile. “So like I’ve waited three months for you, and you just standing there sheepish?” He slapped the bed. “Get that gorgeous ass of yours over here.”

Her will to conquer him returned. On her way to his pulsating fruit, the bed would have come alive for her passion.

 

That night off-stage during the show at a nearby stadium

 

“So, Ger, what happened after you went into his room?” Laurie lit a joint for herself and the rest of this foursome of inseparable women. Long toke. “Did you two argue?” The sexy blonde’s smiling eyes wanted scandalous news that might set even the rafters and blazing speakers above them to listen. “Or did you give in to his lust?”

Cocky cool and jutting her left hip, she toked. “He was putty in my arms, girl. You know he was already naked when I got there. I strutted to his bed licking my diamonds and rubbing them in my twat, you know, and I threw ‘em at his feet. Then my sable at his pecker. Then I stripped, and threw my clothes at his face.” Toked again, then handed the joint to Jarris. “I slinked onto the bed and—you know.” Toothy smile. “So,” laugh, “that’s my story of salacious seduction.” Ger smiled sweetly to Laurie. “So like what’s yours?”

Laurie had to yell now because the music suddenly got a lot louder. “Would you believe he was taking a shower?”

“Oh, yeh?” Jarris interrupted. “Who’d he just lay?”

“How the hell would I know? You think the first thing I did when Jack came out of the shower was to ask him who he just wanked? Not bloody likely, Jar!”

“But you wondered, eh?” Mo asked with a throaty voice and a street tough accent. Toke.

“Yeh, right. But in the meantime, I was preparing myself for the feast, you know.” Took the joint from Mo. “You know that whipped cream I brought?” Laughs.

“Ooooohh!” Mo licked her lips. “And you licked him dry in the passion play.”

“He was limp with exhaustion, girl. Like, after I squirted his pecker and licked it clean, he could barely control himself. He never humped me so bloody hard in his life. Like he hadn’t any in weeks.” Laugh. “Well, hours, anyway.” She looked at Jarris. “Your turn, babe.” Toke.

“When I opened the door that bitch Artesia was biting Keith’s ear, so I grabbed her, dragged her out of his bed and threw her out the door.”

“Shit, Jar!” Mo shouted above the now muted music, causing Mick, the closest on stage, to give her a dirty look.

Mo saw the guitarist glare at her. “Ooops! Sorry, Mick.” Turned her volume down. “Shit, Jar, you serious?”

The skinny red-head laughed. “No. He was playing his VideoGame.”

Sighs of relief all around.

“So I threw off me sable and marched up to him and said as a vixen in heat, ‘You put that stupid game away, Keith Mullock!’ and proceeded to rip off his leather trousers, eh? Then I took a flying leap on top of him that burned the hair off his chest. Before he could even unplug that game, he tossed it to the floor, eh? Then we wrestled each other’s clothes off.”

“Totally delicious!” Ger giggled. “Like you always say—he’s sooo good in bed. Need to try him sometime.”

“In your dreams, babe.” Snide laugh. “Now, Mo, can you top that?”

“Maybe.” Mo toked again, eyes flashing pride. “At least I got to throw someone outta Bry’s room.”

“Who?”

Stifled a laugh. “Reg Lewis.”

As the girls cackled, the music exploded and the audience roared.

With the other women nearly rolling on the floor with riotous comedy, Mo wiped tears of hard laughter from her eyes. “Yeh, I said, ‘Goodbye, Reg,’ and flung him out the door. His head almost,”—shriek of laughter—“hit the door frame!”

The girls were picking themselves off the floor.

“Bry got off the bed to protest, eh? So I shoved him back onto his bed and ripped his clothes off. Ripped ‘em, eh? Seriously.”

“Good for you, girl.” Laurie said.

“Yeh. When you deal with Bry McClellan, you sometimes have to get rough with him. The rougher, the better. Turns into a real sex machine.” Like he always was before he got me pregnant and we got married.

In the third example, from Chapter Eleven of The Prodigal Band (or chapter 13 of the PDF) the six band members are in a spiritual void–not heaven and not hell–after being “rescued” from a calamity on their private jet headed to a London Airport in order to attend a Directorate meeting. At first separated, the six band members find themselves together again a short time later–but in a realm without time. Spoiler alert: two of the band members had already experienced a similar spiritual void a few years before while their bodies were physically in hospital beds.


“Fancy meeting you here,” Erik smiled.

Keith went up to him. “This is the place, eh bro?”

“Yeh. Same place, but no black holes and no other people. But how’d we get here?” Then the singer dropped his jaw. “Are we—?”

The bassist anticipated the question. “No. We not dead.”

“You sure, bro?”

“We’re on a mission of God, eh? Not a mission to God.”

A glowing light turned on in Manning’s brain. “Well, that explains it, then!” He waved his arms with such joy he wanted to jump on the others with the news. “We’re on a mission of God but now we’re on a mission to God! That way, God can tell us what He wants us to do!”

Jack was nonplused, but turned annoyed. “Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute!” He stood there, hands on hips in disbelief. “God isn’t some guy you meet on the street! Like you really, really think the Almighty God, Jehovah, Yahweh, whatever, is going to deign to face pipsqueaks like us and put us in a circle around Him and tell us big-time unrepentant sinners what He wants us to do?” He then marched up to the singer. “Are you freaking out of your freaking mind? Who do you think we are? Ezekiel, Daniel, Elijah, Jeremiah, Moses and David?”

“Who?”

Jack slumped, exasperated. “I thought you said you were reading the— Never mind!”

Tom said, “They’re Biblical prophets, right?”

“Not all of ‘em,” Jack answered. “Moses was the guy who took the Jews out of Egypt. David was the guy who slew Goliath with a sling shot. The other guys are big time prophets.”

“Why?” Erik wanted to know.

“Why were they prophets?” Jack had to think fast. “Because according to the Bible, God told them to say things to the Jews like repent from your sins and stuff like that, ‘cos if they didn’t, God would destroy them. And basically, that’s what happened. Most of the Jews— they had twelve tribes, but ten of them were wiped out. They were conquered, then scattered. The other two tribes were taken by the Babylonians, but later they returned. Anyway, God punished ‘em ‘cos they wouldn’t stop sinning. Something like that.”

“Okay, I get the picture!” But the singer got going. “But that brings us back to what we were saying months ago when we were given this mission. Why would God choose us unrepentant sinners to do this mission? Which leads us to why would God bring us here to tell us what—”

Jack flew off the handle. “I didn’t say that, you did! You’re the one who’s saying we got raptured up here!”

Keith’s eyes popped out. “You mean, this is THE rapture?”

“What rapture?” Bry asked.

“You know, THE rapture in those ‘end-times’ novels. That’s when all the Christians get taken up into Heaven—”

Jack shouted for effect. “It’s NOT the rapture! Bloody shit!”

Tom shot back, “No cussing in Heaven.”

There are more comedy scenarios with the three-book-novel trilogy.  And I had a lot of fun writing these scenarios! More snippets to come next week!

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.

Why is OmegaBooks “Home of the World’s Most Unique Fiction”? (Repost from my author blog, March 2, 2018)

But before I do the repost, here is some news regarding my The Prodigal Band Trilogy e-book to be published by Lulu Publishing: I have just sent in the manuscript revision sheet for the final proof…and I couldn’t believe how many typos and grammar issues I had to revise! And I’m sure I forgot one or two… Printed copies of the three-books-in-one will also become available, and Lulu will send me a few when it is completed…complimentary copies.

Onto the repost…

Originally posted March 2, 2018 on my Blog

I know that sounds bloviated, unrealistic, conceited even, to call my little independent publishing company hardly anyone has ever heard of “home of the world’s most unique fiction.” But folks, I do believe it is true. Here is why:

None of my fiction books fit into a fiction genre. My books are not simply romance, though there is romance in them. Or spiritual, though there is much spirituality in them, and the same goes for the “Christian” label–my novels contain sex, drugs, and rock and roll–now how “Christian” is that? Or fantasy–but there is plenty of fantasy in my novels! Or horror–but there are elements of horror in all my novels, such as Satanists drinking blood like vampires. Or adventure–but there are adventures in all of them, and even a bit of “western” in my forthcoming “The Prodigal Band.” Or the notion of “based on a true story”–no novel is based on one particular true story, but many truthful events which at some point I will document. One “truthful event” scenario that prevails in all my novels so far is the well-worn notion that rock and roll artists, from simple rock stars to mega stars, have “sold their souls to the devil.” Thus my novels are spiritual, fantasy, horror, with a bit of adventure, romance, “Christian” and western thrown in. Historical facts are also at play here.

The over-riding theme, being spiritual, is simply this–and I hate to play spoiler here–a rock and roll band learns how to defeat evil and accepts the ultimate destroyer of evil, but not to spoil anything I won’t say Who. So, folks, are there any other novels out there with the same theme using a rock and roll band? If so, let me know.

The main characters in these books were created by me when I was somewhere between the ages of 12 and 14, the time period being 1964 through 1967 or thereabouts–the time of the Beatles, Stones, Who, Cream, etc.–that is, the beginnings of the true “classic rock” period. Now, what do the bands mentioned above all have in common? They are Brits. To me, these English bands made the genre, so therefore, after spending about 6 weeks in England as a HS graduation gift, along with five others, one my best friend, and learning about living in England (we lived as guests with families near Brighton and attended lectures at Sussex University), I decided my main characters would be from England, and would be in a rock band. (Besides, I love hearing English accents, especially northern ones).

Now isn’t it conventional wisdom that one’s novels almost always contain characters and landscapes similar to or exactly where one grew up? Stephen King’s novels almost always take place in Maine, where he is from, right? JK Rowling’s Harry Potter novels are set in England, where she is from, right? My fave American author if all time, Kurt Vonnegut? He is from central-upper New York State, near Ithaca, and aren’t many if not most of his novels set in that area? A great English novelist, Charles Dickens, has most of his books set in or around London, where I presume he is from, right? So, another “unique” aspect to my novels is that my main characters, which originally were from my birthplace on Long Island when I first created them, were moved to England around the time I went there. But not because I know a huge amount of stuff about England or even would rather live there, but because since they would be in a rock band, in my opinion they had to be from England, which created the best rock music in my day. Plus, I had become an Anglophile, so to speak.

Why a rock band? Two reasons. One, rock music was one of my very few connections to my generation and friends–I was mostly a loner then and I am mostly a loner now…an introvert. Being a fan of rock music allowed me to have at least some good friends and become, if not “A-list” in High School, at least “B-list.” Two, because when I was a teen I wanted to become either one or two things–either an author or journalist, that is, a writer, or a rock star with guitar. I learned some guitar when my grandparents got me a regular guitar for Christmas in 1965 and learned mostly chords. I got more lessons from a friend who happened to be the front man for his local band, which after some lessons I joined–and this band was quite good. But it split up in 1969 or so. Plus, I was okay at guitar as well as singing but not really up to professional standards. So as for college, I had become pretty good at art as well, so I went to art school in NY City but dropped out after a year–I was good, but again, not professional. So then, why didn’t I become a journalist? Because I realized that “journalism” was what the editor and newspaper publisher wanted one to “journalize” about! I did not want to be a “journalist” who had to re-write the truthful story into falsehood just to please my “bosses.” So, after a period of years, I began my first novel featuring a fictional rock band.

If I was never a rock star, how could I write about fictional rock stars? Ever hear of Rolling Stone magazine? The “magazine about rock stars” from the late 60s until today? Research, folks. Plus what happens at gigs, how music/tracks/albums are recorded, back then and today with digital, various instruments, etc. The music business, recording contracts, managerial connections, etc. The research isn’t that hard–and I did most of it back before I had internet! But though fictional rock stars are featured in my novels, the novels aren’t about “rock stardom.” The novels are about good vs. evil. And did I dance with evil! The occult, witch craft, tarot cards, Ouija boards, séances, etc. Just to try it out so to speak–but after one particular horrifying séance were I and two other friends actually called up the dead and the “dead” responded–sending the Ouija board into the air and the curtains in the room flying hither, thither, and yon!–that was the last of my doing “witch” stuff!  So, my novel characters also wind up calling up what would turn out to be demons and wicked angels to “assure” their huge success. If I could do it (never mind success)…

And, if my novels present and future do achieve sales success, it won’t be because of evil spirits, but Good Ones if you know what I mean. I’m on a “mission from…” Remember that line from the movie Blues Brothers?

 

 

 

The Prodigal Band Trilogy: The Why (Originally Posted on Blog in 2018 in Five Parts)

For the original blog posts, they are here at the Blog.

Since Lulu.com is now in production mode of my “three-e-books-in-one” The Prodigal Band Trilogy, now is a good time to rehash “the why” I created these books beginning years ago.

Part One

As I have said in previous posts, I began my journey as a writer of fiction around the age of 8 or 9. I was returning home, on Long Island, New York, with my parents and older brother in a car from a visit to my grandparents (mother’s side) who lived in Mount Dora, Florida (about 20 miles from what was then Orlando). It was the summer of 1962; thus, I was 9 at the time. And I just happened to bring some non-lined notebook-sized paper and pencil with me. The paper was folded in half, width-wise, and looked like a “paperback book.”

Glad I brought the paper and pencil, because I was bored. I do not remember what my brother, in the back seat with me, was doing–he was 14 and likely listening to transistor radio up to near his ears (and folks, before the Beatles came along, pop music was very very boring, cutesy-wootsey “love songs” and other meaningless tripe about teenagers falling in love. From the time of the plane crash of Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens, and Buddy Holly in 1958 until the Beatles in 1964, “rock” music, if you could call it that, was IMHO, tripe. Dion and the Belmonts and Del Shannon and perhaps the Four Seasons were about as good as it got, and who the heck was Elvis? But anyway…) I had no idea what my parents were doing other than driving.

This was my first journey into the “deep south.” And the only thing I knew about the “deep south” related to the Civil War and the abominable institution known as slavery back then. There were times along Route 301 or even what was then I-95 when I would see what were called “negro shacks” along the way, plus we all visited some Civil War Confederacy monument somewhere, can’t remember. Now I was a “buff” so to speak of Civil War history. So I decided I was going to make up some story about this kid in the South during the Civil War who, along with his friend, a black kid who had been freed from slavery somehow and lived with the kid and his family, hated the south and slavery! So what he and his friend did was help the Union Army blow up a Confederate “ammunition dump.” And they did. I did not mention the state the kid lived in, or even the kid’s family name, but I called him “Johnny Reb” and the black kid was named Sammy. So, I named a kid who would blow up a Confederate ammo dump Johnny Reb? When my dad actually read the “book” (named “Johnny Reb” and was about 20 pages long in pencil) he brought up this irony! After all, weren’t the Confederates called “Rebels”?

Around that time I also had a diary–didn’t all young girls have diaries then? So, there I was in late 1963 just starting to have any interest in the watered-down “rock and roll” back then. When it rained outside, and in the Northeast US, home of “Nor’easters,” it almost always rained some in the fall and early winter, the public elementary school kept all the students in the gym after lunch, too wet to play outside. I was in sixth grade at the time and, not being popular so-to-speak, no boy wanted to dance with me. So all I did then was listen to whatever 45 RPM record discs were put onto the record player. Not being a ‘A-list’ or even ‘B-list’ (more like ‘D-list!’) that’s all I could do as most of my friends were dancing on the gym floor with boys whom had asked them to dance. Well, I had to try to ‘fit-in’ somehow so, even though I thought the music was boring tripe, I pretended to like it anyway. Thus, in my diary I would make up stuff about myself–in terms of a fiction character I can’t even remember the name–being popular and folks like Chubby Checker or Frankie Valli (spelling?) wanting to ‘dance’ with me (not knowing the actual hidden meaning of ‘dance’ at the time…’dance’ was code for a certain ‘f’ word if you know what I mean!) And of course I made up the boy characters as well. And named them the same names I have used for the original rock band characters in my books! (Note: the band concept came about in the latter 70s, and then I added two more band members, then deleted one of the originals in the 80s only to put him back in during the 90s). The reader is going to have to wait to find out the names of the characters for a bit.

Part Two

Continuing from Part 1, no boy would dance with me in the public school gym on rainy days, so I pretended they would using a fictional diary character, a “new persona” so to speak, just to make myself feel like I was okay and not the ‘D-lister’ I imagined everyone else thought I was. I didn’t even think my neighborhood friends thought I was up to snuff (and I don’t mean “snuff film snuff” either! If this happened to day I’d have been called a “geek” or “emo”). Four of the fictional diary boys later became four of my Prodigal Band fictional characters.

But in late December, 1963, before school was let out for Christmas vacation, I noticed a magazine picture on a shelf along the blackboard wall headed out the door. On the picture were four young men dressed in dark-colored suits and long-ish hair…back in those days boys or men generally had either crew cuts or short hair not below the neck line. These four men had much longer hair than I was used to seeing! The name or title above the men was written as “The Beatles.” Well, that was it, no other mention by any other student that I’d heard. And I had no idea who put this picture on the shelf, or why. The teacher was in her 50s–certainly she wouldn’t have put it there!

Then Christmas came and wouldn’t you know it but my older brother got two Beatles albums as a gift! (Did he put the picture there? Likely not, he was already in High School. But clearly he’d heard of the Beatles or else why would he request Beatles albums, LPs back then, for Christmas?) So he let me listen to both; one was Introducing the Beatles featuring ‘And I Love Her’ and several others I can’t remember, and the other was Meet the Beatles featuring ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ and “She Loves You.’  Well, that Meet the Beatles LP just blew me away, especially ‘She Love You’ (Yeh, yeh, yeh…) Now THAT was rock and roll! So, I became an instant Beatles fan, and nearly went crazy when I watched them on the Ed Sullivan Show in February, 1964. And then went even more nearly crazy when I saw the movie, A Hard Day’s Night, that summer in a nearby movie theater.

But it wasn’t just the Beatles. By summer, 1964, the so-called ‘British Invasion’ was in full swing and pretty much took over the airwaves from American acts by then. After the Beatles came, in spring, the Dave Clark Five (who I actually got to see live in early 1965), and other Liverpool groups like the Searchers and Gerry and the Pacemakers; then in summer, the Rolling Stones and the Animals; then in fall, Herman’s Hermits and the Kinks. Then in 1965, the Hollies and the Yardbirds (both of which would lead to even greater things with Crosby, Stills and Nash and Cream and Led Zeppelin).

Note about the Animals: ‘House of the Rising Sun’ originally by Bob Dylan was one of my fave songs back then, and, when I saw them on the Ed Sullivan show, he interviewed them after they performed and what got me was that while I could understand what the Beatles were saying (they of course are from Liverpool and speak ‘Scouse’), I could barely understand what any of the Animals were saying! They were from Newcastle-upon-Tyne and had a very strange accent! And, in a later post, I will explain how I became fascinated with this strange accent, called ‘Geordie’.

But as for my fictional diary characters, since I didn’t know squat about how rock and roll bands did things and couldn’t play guitar then anyway, I didn’t yet have them form some fictional band–they became a gang. American, of course. Didn’t know squat about England–yet.

Part Three

Continued from Part 2, I said my ‘boy diary’ characters became a gang, but not a drug gang or a violent gang. Just a close knit group of boys, and all these teen boys had girlfriends. Remember, this was fantasy stuff in my fake persona diary that I kept, basically, because I loved writing and writing about a persona that was very popular among boys literally kept me sane (even if it seems as though making up fantasy personas seems insane! I will say this: I am sure any friends I had did think I was a bit on the weird side because I was such a non-conformist. And love of rock music was almost the only way I knew I could fit in with ‘the crowd’).

But, as rock music went psychedelic beginning with the 1967 ‘summer of love’ in San Fran’s Haight-Ashbury district, hippie central, and the release of the landmark Beatles’ album, Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band—you know, the one with Aleister Crowley on the cover—I suddenly found myself absorbed in this music and decided I wanted to learn guitar. For Christmas in 1967 I got an acoustic guitar and a chord chart and a lesson book. Then in 1968 I got lessons from a teen around my age (16) who had his band, a neighbor. It turned out I could play an electric guitar much better than an acoustic one—the frets were narrower and the strings were closer together, a benefit to one with shorter fingers and a wee bit spastic in the ring finger who had trouble with chords that required outstretched fingers such as B, B flat, A flat, etc. So that I got good enough to play in this band as well as sing. Well, this got my ‘boy diary’ characters out of ‘just a gang mode’ and into ‘gang and rock musician mode.’ While the band I played with some broke up shortly, at least I got a taste of what being in a rock band was all about. By 1969, I had my fantasy boy rock band made up, and I wrote ‘stories’ about how they made records and toured and stuff.

And then came 1970 when a boy—he was pimply as all get up and curly blond hair and not exactly ‘A-list’ either—asked me out on dates, and even the senior prom. I turned down the prom offer, but at least I got to ‘make out’ so-to-speak. By then, I was ‘B-list,’ and working at an afternoon job at a local supermarket. Near graduation time from high school my best friend showed me an ad in the New York Times about a ‘university lecture program’ for students interested in European affairs from a British point of view at Sussex University near Brighton, which is on the English Channel and a seaside resort of sorts, with the added bonus of ‘living’ with a local family, as part of what was called ‘Inter-Teach.’ My folks knew I was somewhat an ‘Anglophile’ (thanks to Brit rock bands mostly along with a fascination for British accents…heck even American accents are fascinating to a degree), so they decided to put up the money for me to partake in this program as a graduation gift.

The program began in mid-July, 1970 and my friend (who had just turned 16 and I was nearly 18) and I and three college students and one HS freshman (we almost never saw…he was there solely for the education) lived in houses of program patrons in a Brighton suburb and attended daily lectures at the university given by three professors, one of whom was Welsh. In addition to  lectures we all did the following: saw a Shakespeare play in his home-town of Stratford-on-Avon, got coffee at Oxford University, saw several museums in London including one honoring one of my fave authors, Charles Dickens, some folk music festival near Guilford in Surrey, and various trips to pubs (without the freshman…while my friend and I weren’t quite 18 yet and thus weren’t old enough to consume alcohol, no one noticed that and for the first time in my life I drank warm beer. My friend and I also made a special trip to the northern London Hackney district so she could see her aunt, her mother’s sister, and her cousin for the first time (they lived in a tower block…at the time, Hackney seemed okay; now, it is supposedly an ‘Asian’ (read Muslim) district and there were riots there several years ago!). And various car trips with the family I stayed with.

We were supposed to leave England around the 25th of August, but my friend and I and two college students stayed an extra week or so. To attend the second Isle of Wight Rock Festival, Britain’s Woodstock (the other two on this trip returned without us) we learned about when we met some young men at some youth hostel or something. And no way was I going to miss a chance to see the Who, Pink Floyd, Traffic, Emerson, Lake and Palmer and many others. (Note: the final day, Sunday, featured Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, but we had to leave during that day, or else we never would have been able to return to the States in time—it took days for everyone to leave Woodstock in August, 1969, and this was on an island!)

The festival was wonderful and interesting, but that really wasn’t the best part of this extra-week stay. The best part was a trip by van (driven by a male college student who quickly learned how to drive on the left side of the road in the right side of a vehicle!) into and around Wales, including the Cambrian Mountain area (spending a night at a bed and breakfast in said mountain area), then onto Bristol and Bath—named for ancient Roman hot baths—then onto Stonehenge, then onto South Hampton (or was it Portsmouth?) for the night to take the ferry to the Isle of Wight the following morning. So we spent the night ‘camping’ by the van, but before I went to sleep in the front seat of the van I had a very interesting conversation with three men in their twenties that spoke with that very strange accent I mentioned in my last post.

Part Four

The four of us—my friend and I and two college students—parked the van we rented in the overnight parking lot next to the ferry dock for the Isle of Wight to head for the Isle of Wight Rock Festival the following morning. Next to our van was another van, and next to us in front of that van were three men likely in their twenties that really only I spoke with, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Of the three, I could only really understand one of them; the other two had much thicker Geordie accents. No matter, the accent was fascinating (and, in fact, most English accents are somewhat fascinating). According to this Northeast England website,   this accent/dialect is derived from the Angles (not the Saxons) and is related to Celtic tribes that border Scotland. (In fact, all northern England accents/dialects derive from the Angles instead of the Saxons). Nor was this dialect affected by the Viking invasions and subsequent Danelaw kingdoms that were later conquered by the Normans. In fact, from the time of Robert the Bruce’s successful take-back of most of Northumria (above the Tyne, at the site of Hadrian’s Wall above the city of Wallsend) until England took it back in the 1740s, that area was part of Scotland. If you hear the Geordie accent, it almost sounds Scottish.

A couple of things to note this accent/dialect: one, instead of “ow” or “ou,” they say “oo,” and instead of the long A sound, it sounds like the long E sound, a sharper long I sound and long O sound, the short “a” sounds like “aaa” or “ah,” and the short u sounds (as with other northern accents) like a cross between “u” and “oo” (for instance, take the “u” in “push”, but not quite the “oop” for “up.” And other different sounds. And more, such as the expression “to hell with it,” they’d say “to hell wi’t.”

And that, folks, is why my band fictional characters are from this area. The accent.

And the history as well. I mentioned Hadrian’s Wall before. Then, in the latter 700s (as seen on the History Channel TV series “Vikings”) Norsemen raiders from mainly Norway sailed, among other places, up the Tyne River and nearly took over the Kingdom of Northumbria. Later the area was Christianized and today there is a famous monastery in the city of Jarrow, also made famous by the “Jarrow March” of striking coal miners and ship-yard workers in 1926. Across from Newcastle is the city of Gateshead that features an angelic-like or winged-bird-like statue, near the entrance point to the world’s first suspension bridge. The point about the ‘angelic statue’ plays a role in my novels. One has likely heard the term “coals to Newcastle,” and of course this river is a major shipping artery for more than just coal. In fact, and I didn’t even know this until after my first novel was published, there is a direct shipping lane from the city of Stavanger, Norway, to Newcastle. This also plays a role in my novels.

So I kept all this in mind when I seriously started writing the Prodigal Band Trilogy.

Part Five

Now is Part 5, discussing the various changes I made over the next twenty or so years from 1970 until the final version of the first novel in the series, Battle of the Band, was published, that set the stage for the next two books, including the FREE PDF of The Prodigal Band.

In the early 1970s I had planned to write the story of a 60s band, but that made no sense since no prime plot was set, and why write a story about a 60s band when the 60s were over with and in the mid-70s the music genre was changing? And, oh yeah, the mainline pop music at the time was a genre I hated—Disco! And then in 1975 another rocker I had no regard for, Peter Frampton—remember him?—was suddenly foisted on us rock fans at the same time the early 70s wunderkind, Led Zeppelin, was stagnating? Just as with today and my feeling that rock is dying or died with Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell resting in peace, I felt that by the latter 70s rock was dying as well. What was around was milquetoast at best (with a few exceptions like the Eagles and one or two others). Thank God for punk—the Ramones, the Cars, the Police and others. As I said, a 60s or a 70s band made no sense to me, and again, what was the over-riding plot?

And, oh yeah, I was in my mid-20s and had to support myself and figure out my life, right? That meant working full time, and then later, attending college, which I thought would help me figure out just what I was going to do with my life. So, from 1972 or so until about 1981 I stopped writing (except for college term and research papers).

In 1981, I graduated from a state university in New York. I had been accepted for a master’s degree/PhD at the New School for Social Research in the midst of New York City, a very expensive college, with the goal of getting a PhD in Psychology. Well, President Reagan screwed that one up by signing into law a provision whereby graduate students could no longer apply for Pell Grants or other grants, which was how I was planning to pay for college (and then there was the issue of getting room and board in New York City besides). I was NOT going to force my parents to pay for all this; they had just retired and moved to snowbird central, the Tampa-St. Pete area of Florida (where my mother’s folks lived). So, thanks to Mr. President, I had to put off my college plans, so I moved in with my parents in a nice retirement HOA home in a very nice subdivision with swimming pool, golf course, etc. But in 1982 I was hoping to head back to New School after having worked at several jobs. In the meantime, I began working on the band story again for a month or two. Then, in early fall, an event happened that would put the story off for years—I met my future husband, who lived in far west Texas, a beekeeper and lifeguard near the Oasis of far west Texas, mostly mountain and desert country. We married in a small Catholic church in a town of 600 people, then a couple of years later bought property in a local POA, then built a house there. In the meantime, I returned to college, Sul Ross State U, and got a teaching certificate in secondary math and English, then taught math in local high schools. In 1993 after having two kids, I got a Master’s Degree in Counseling, but never got a counseling job—my Spanish wasn’t good enough! (Note: I lived within a hundred miles of Mexico…).

So there I was…being a wife and mother and beginning to home school my kids and such in the middle of nowhere in the mountains in the early 90s and was no longer teaching (getting the Counseling degree in the meantime, then teaching a year in El Paso since we badly needed the income for various reasons I’m not going to get into here…but might be explained later in a non-fiction book I plan to write about an event that really happened in my neck of the woods in the mid-90s). One night in the early 90s—I can’t remember the year, but it was in the middle of autumn—I prayed and prayed for Divine intervention because I was feeling as if I must get these characters out of my head if I was to be a proper mother/teacher/wife, as if these characters haunted me. And that is why over the next couple of years the stories I had in my head became my first book, written on someone else’s Mac computer and then finalized on my own Mac computer in early 1996. Because of praying for Divine intervention, this book morphed into the spiritual genre.

Of course, that was the plan all along.

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.