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.

Forthcoming: The Prodigal Band Trilogy-Combined E-book for Sale! And Happy New Year to All Downloaders of My FREE PDF “The Prodigal Band”!

Just checked the stats for the first time in 2019. More downloads of my FREE PDF E-book “The Prodigal Band” than I expected! Thanks for downloading this book! Happy New Year to you all!

But here is why I have no posted since around Christmas when I had been posting articles about my books and the characters: Since late December, I have been working on formatting ALL of the three Prodigal Band Trilogy books, printed and PDF, into ONE E-BOOK, mainly for the sake of those folks I know who simply cannot read the FREE book on their E-Readers (Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, Kobo, etc…folks, it won’t even work on the free Caliber e-reader that Lulu recommends!), and also for those who would rather pay for the two printed books by credit card–I am NOT taking credit card payments, period, because of privacy issues and also hackers…in the last five years our credit card account has been hacked numerous times! All a hacker would have to do is hack into my (possible) PayPal account to screw up a customer–or PayPal could–as has been done to other free speech advocates, for I am a free speech advocate–simply close my (possible) PayPal account, for no reason other than “it’s personal”… So I figure, since I am re-typing the two printed books into Microsoft Word format (that is, Battle of the Band and The Prophesied Band), why not re-format the PDF The Prodigal Band as well? All I have to do is re-format the most important parts and “tell” over parts I am not including (the revisions will mean the book section will be about half the size of the original PDF). By the end of January, I will submit the “three books in one” The Prodigal Band Trilogy to Lulu Publishing, the will finish the formatting and whatever else needs to be done, and then distribute the e-book to various e-book sellers (Lulu, Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, Kobo (that is, WalMart and others), etc. and I will link to the sites on my Book Store.

When the project is completed, I will let everyone know! Thanks for your support! Happy New Year and Happy Reading!

About the Prodigal Band Trilogy-Main Characters-Part 5: the Good

MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!

If there is a large number, or a cabal, of evil-doers in my Prodigal Band Trilogy, then there has to be those on the side of good. Good people, good spirits, good angels, starting with God, known in my series as:

The Creator: Also The All Mighty, The Creator, and the One we call God, Who rules all schemes. That is a direct quote from at least one of my books. The Creator, Who rules all schemes, in the case of my books, has His helpers. Just as the Evil, Corion, has his helpers, spiritual and human.

The Tooters: Here is an interesting fact–I named these good angels The Tooters, back in the 70s, before I even knew anything about God’s angels “sounding the trumpets” in the Biblical Book of Revelation! But I named these three angels The Tooters because I had seen several angelic statues seemingly blowing trumpets in several places. And it was this notion of angels blowing trumpets or horns that helped drive my narrative of angels battling demons to put out a fire which burned an entire city in the year 1136 AD. (Why that year? I have no specific reason other than the 1100s in English history presents a lot of turmoil and a lot of peasant revolts many years after Norman Conquest. A conquest by a foreign power almost always has serious ramifications many years later, especially in a place such as England which was, from the Roman period until the 1200s–nearly a thousand years!–under constant threat of conquest: Romans, then Anglo-Saxons, the Vikings (Danelaw), then the Normans.) While The Tooters are a granite three-part statue, this statue is the portal or gateway through which the evil Demons first arrived that year and through which the three good angles then appeared, put the fire out, and prevented the Demons from returning to their Abyss–as they prevented the Demons, on God’s orders, from ever doing such a thing again. They would also keep Corion in check.

Morwenna, aka ‘the Witch of the Hovels’: As ‘the Witch of the Hovels’ (called that by locals who believed a ‘witch’ inhabited the Hovels, a slum for the indebted), she was a spirit that existed as a human at various times when necessary. As a witch, only chosen individuals could see her, hear her, talk to her, and feel her. When necessary, the witch was the human, Morwenna, who could be seen by all, but still would only contact those chosen by The Tooters for contact. As Morwenna she was young, but would grow old to the point where she became a spirit being.

Why female spirits, when the Bible says angels were the ‘Sons of God’ and were male only? In my original printed versions of both Battle of the Band and The Prophesied Band, I made a serious misinterpretation of the Bible with Zechariah 5:9, which talks about female spirits, and since Babylon is also referenced, I now assume these were evil spirits as with the Whore of Babylon in Revelation 17 and 18. In both of my books, The Tooters appear to be female due to this misinterpretation (and several Christian friends who I had review the first book pointed this out; still I refused to listen and put female Tooters in the next book!). That mistake was removed in The Prodigal Band. Still, I decided to keep Morwenna female, as ‘witches’ are considered female, and who is to say those female spirits in Zechariah 5:9 are truly evil?

In any case, both The Tooters and Morwenna are the guiding forces for my fictitious band to seek truth and good, and renounce evil.

And then there are the narrators, one of whom is an angel in human form–the Bible references angels in human form in many places: the angels who spoke to Abram/Abraham, the angles who prevented Lot from letting sexual perverts into his house before Sodom and Gomorrah were burned, the fallen ‘Genesis Six’ angles who mated with the ‘daughters of men’ and thus created ‘the giants’ (called Nephilim), various angles such as Michael who spoke to Biblical prophets such as Ezekiel, Gabriel, who told Mary she was ‘with child’ (Jesus) before she even had sex with Joseph–all of these angels presented themselves as male humans.

Jay Elliot, also known as the ‘Counselor Angel,’ is the narrator of The Prophesied Band while being a Rolling Stone free-lance reporter (and Counselor Angel in Battle of the Band). Among other human jobs he has, he is the one that tries to convince the fictitious band, Sound Unltd, that they are ‘the prophesied band’ heralded in a previous fictitious hit song of the early 80s.

Lloyd Denholm, fully human and also Christian, is another Rolling Stone writer who eventually gets to help the band see righteousness, with Jay Elliot’s help. It begins with Denholm debunking the notion made by phony Christian preachers that Sound Unltd are ‘devil worshipers’ (a notion that gets repeated over and over when it comes to actual rock stars–sorry, they may want fame and fortune more than anything, but that doesn’t mean they are ‘devil worshipers’! Some are, of course, but not all, and, further, even rock stars are capable of repenting and accepting Christ. So there!).

Those notions are part and parcel with my book series–to speak of how and why we all need to accept Christ as Savior (Christ, not religion) and why ANYONE, even evil people, can repent and accept Christ. It is my job, not to actually convert anyone, but to try to get folks to consider it, and the benefits thereof. So far my FREE PDF e-book The Prodigal Band has been downloaded hundreds of times by what my stats tell me, so that’s a start.

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 Main Characters, Part 1

In the previous post and other various posts, I stated that my main characters morphed from a gang or clique of boys in the area I grew up, Long Island and New York City, to rock musicians from England–a decision influenced by, first, the fact that I actually made it into a local band; second, rock music was my main connection to youth culture of my generation (60s and 70s); third, my fave bands of that era–and the most influential bands of that era–were Brits, and I had visited England as well as attended the 1970 Isle of Wight Rock Festival which featured the Who, Traffic, ELP, Led Zeppelin, and Jimi Hendrix (who died in London a few weeks later) and others of note (some whom I missed since we had to leave early to get the flight back to the States).

That the most influential rock bands of that era were from England was a major reason my fictional band, Sound Untd, is from England. And what band from that era had the most influence on how I constructed my fictional band? Why, the Beatles of course! The so-called Fab Four–whom many claim are the greatest rock band of all time…basically re-invigorated the genre leading the so-called ‘British Invasion’ in 1963-64 as rock music in the States had been, IMHO, flat-lining since the plane crash of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens in 1958. One doesn’t need to read the ‘Rolling Stone History of Rock and Roll’ books to know that from 1959 until the Beatles, rock was tripe, was cutesy-wootsey, was just ‘boy meets girl, boy ‘dances’ girl’ stuff (and you know what they mean by ‘dance’–having sex, right?), with a few true rock outfits to keep the genre alive (Del Shannon, Dion and the Belmonts, Beach Boys and a few others). Folks, it wasn’t until the Beatles came around–and the groups that followed them–that I had any interest in rock music at all. With the arrival of the Beatles, my world–and the world of my friends–became consumed by listening to the radio and records, reading ‘fan magazines,’ including the British one called ‘Melody Maker,’ and even getting together and pretending we were the Beatles on stage as the Beatles records played on victrolas or stereos (and not just the Beatles, either) in bedrooms or basements. It was this “pretending” to be John or Paul or George that would later give me the idea of learning guitar.

It was the Beatles and the other groups that helped me to grow up amongst my peers and not just be the loner, sort of, that I had been before. Finally, I was able to ‘fit in.’ Finally, I became interested, somewhat, in boys–it would take several years, however, before boys became interested in me. I wasn’t exactly a ‘hot date’ if you know what I mean. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I even thought I was good-looking enough (despite my acne) and finally landed a boyfriend of sorts (whose acne was even worse, but anyway…). Oh, as for my friends–most were better looking than me, and one of them, who looked like the model ‘Twiggy,’ (remember her? And she appeared in the movie ‘Blues Brothers’ as well toward the end), actually had a rock musician boyfriend–lead singer and lead guitar, of course. Another friend also dated once or twice another band singer who graduated the year before I did. And another friend had her band and she could sing like Janis Joplin! So, folks, since I knew I had writing talent since I’d been writing since the age of 8 or so, what better way to get the ball rolling than to write fiction stuff about an imaginary rock band?

But from England…but where in England?

My fictitious band absolutely could NOT be from Liverpool because that’s where the Beatles are from, and because they spoke with one of the weirdest accents on God’s green earth–Scouse. Sing-songy, to the point of crazy (and yes, folks, out here where I live a recent property owner just happened to be from Liverpool). And anyway, no way was my group going to be from where the Beatles were. London? Nope. Several bands, especially the Rolling Stones, were from London and, as with the Beatles, the Stones were prominent enough to where they, too, would be a serious influence on how my band was created. Manchester? A group that hit it huge for about a year, Hermann’s Hermits, was from there, but after a while they just did what I thought was tripe. And it seemed to me that most of these British Invasion groups were from either Liverpool, London, or Manchester.

Another group from another part of England hit it big in the summer and fall of 1964, and this group did some very interesting–and different–music, more bluesy, and with a really, really good keyboard player that really titillated my ears–the Animals, whose first hit was a remake of the Bob Dylan song, ‘House of the Rising Sun.’ Later songs had a bluesy style, such as ‘Boom Boom’ and ‘Bo Diddley.’ I saw them one night on the Ed Sullivan Show, and, after performing, Sullivan started to interview them, and–well, talk about weird accents! Neither I–nor by the looks of it, Sullivan–could understand about half of what they said, but it turned out they were from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, which is way up north and close to Scotland. In fact, the accent had a Scottish lilt to it–and that was the fascinating part. Their music, and their accent.

Then, in 1970–and I’ve stated this in a previous post as well–the night before taking the ferry from Portsmouth (I think, or South Hampton) to the Isle of Wight, I just happened to meet three guys from Newcastle, and while one of them was hard to understand, the others were easier–but still, they spoke with that fascinating accent, called Geordie. Several years later after meeting some folks from Scotland, they told me the Geordie accent (and there is a dialect, as well, but I won’t get into that) was very similar to and actually derived somewhat from Scottish. Historically it makes sense: Hadrian’s Wall, which the Tyneside town of Wallsend is named for, was in fact the old time border between England and Scotland. The portion of the county of Northumberland (or Northumbria) north of that wall was part of Scotland off and on for centuries, and was finally incorporated into England in 1744, the days of ‘Bonnie Prince Charley” and that war. And, the more I hear Geordie (YouTube videos and the like), the more I’m glad I chose that area and that accent for my characters in the band.

They come from the fictitious city of Walltown (south of Wallsend on the Tyne river where they build boats and stuff, and east of Newcastle), and the main tourist attraction of this fictitious city is an angelic statue called The Tooters (referencing the horn-blowing angels in the Book of Revelation). Well guess what? Across from Newcastle is Gateshead, and it just so happens that the main tourist attraction in Gateshead is–and angelic statue! (The thing is, it looks more like a bird, but at least it has wings, if not horns). And bear in mind I didn’t know ANY of this when I started writing my book(s)!

Finally, why did I call my group ‘Sound Unltd’? The original name for the group was the actual original name in my books, the Smash. Later, I changed it to ‘Smash Unltd’ (you do realize ‘unltd’ is short for ‘unlimited,’ right?). Two things caused me to change it to ‘Sound Unltd’–one, the fact that a group called ‘Sounds Incorporated’ existed in the 60s (of course, they never made it here), and that spiritual inspiration that came to me in the early 90s. Further, the name Sound Unltd is so ‘pretentious sounding’ that I figured no one would ever call themselves by that name, and so far, no one has–and they better not, since the name exists in copyrighted manuscripts! I do hope I never to lay out a couple o’ hundred dollars to trademark it!

Posting Links on Facebook? Yep, Folks, I DO Have a Facebook Page After All

Now I’m not being cutesy-wootsy here. I am 66 years old and I have a Facebook page? Heck, it’s even called “OmegaBooks!” I’ve had this page for about eight months and being so “tech ignorant” I didn’t even know one could push a “Facebook” button at the bottom of the post and link to the article on Facebook. Here is the link to the Facebook page.

Now, why does some old lady need a Facebook page? Because I’m learning how to do things MARKETING-wise using a technology I’m not very good at. Why not take the risk and make a Facebook page to help promote my books? After all, I am a month or so away from getting my two printed books Battle of the Band and The Prophesied Band formatted and uploaded to e-book sellers. Why not?