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The Blog

Don’t Give Up

November 29, 2011

I wrote my first real story when I was 16. After seven months of junior-year high school literature study, the assignment from my English teacher – Mark James, a wise-cracking Englishman who was also a fine actor -- was a short story of five to 10 pages. I wrote 31. The story exploded onto the page over the course of several days in a feverish blur, filling every line and many margins of sheet after sheet of college-ruled binder paper. What came out was virtual Stephen King fan fiction; I brazenly borrowed plot elements from his classic 1975 vampire novel...

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With a Little Help from My Friends

November 28, 2011

As we gear up for launch day tomorrow, our friends at Riff Raf are lending a hand. Fellow musicologist and Riff Raf chief Richard Fulco recently invited me over to talk about the music that both inspired and inhabits Believe in Me. Hope you’ll stop in and check it out. This also seemed like a good time to share some of the wonderful comments we’ve been receiving from early readers, each one a friend I’ve connected with along this fascinating path that weaves between the worlds of music and writing. My thanks to each of these gentlemen for their kind...

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Thank You*

November 23, 2011

Believe in Me (Wampus Multimedia, Nov. 29) begins one sunny July morning and ends during the first week of that same November. Which means Thanksgiving does not happen in the book. Now, when I sat down to write this post – the title having felt inevitable considering the timing – I initially thought I might rattle off a few thank-yous of my own. But there’s already an author’s acknowledgements page in the book itself, we’re just six days away from publication, and enough about me, anyway, right? We’re here to talk story, and these characters… well, to be perfectly honest,...

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November 19, 2011

When I started writing the story that became Believe in Me (Wampus Multimedia, Nov. 29), it never occurred to me that faith would play a role in the narrative. When I started writing this blog, it never occurred to me that faith would be a topic for one of my posts. The fact that I was wrong both times begs the very question that I found unexpectedly developing as a secondary theme within the pages of Believe in Me: what about faith? Is the universe simply a random collection of atoms colliding with one another, or are there larger forces...

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The Voice

November 14, 2011

It’s funny how the mind works. That’s especially true, I find, when you try to turn it on a dime from creative mode—open, flowing, unfocused, nearly devoid of intrusive consciousness—to analytical mode—hyper-conscious, capturing every bit of external data, putting it under a microscope and trying to see it from all angles at once. A couple of weeks back, I sat down at the computer thinking I was going to write about the books that helped to shape Believe in Me (Wampus, Nov. 29). What came out was a post about the books and writers whose work I used for research—as...

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November 8, 2011

It’s time. We’ve talked about the book itself, about the music it’s infused with, about the research that went into it, and about a couple of movies that helped bring the story to life. And next time—later this week, in fact—I’m planning to talk about some of the authors whose work inspired and influenced my writing. But right now, it’s time. Three weeks from today, Believe in Me will go on sale through four services—Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), iBookstore (iPad), and Sony (Sony Reader). The countdown has officially begun. So, it’s time. Time to offer you a first...

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Gone to the Movies*

November 2, 2011

One of the early readers of Believe in Me, commenting on a change I made several drafts ago, told me that the prologue I had added felt more like the opening of a movie than a book. This was clearly intended as constructive criticism, the implied solution being to “Make it more novel-ish.” Yeah, well, um, NO. “Cinematic” is an adjective I have used often to describe music I enjoy. To some it might imply “shallow” or “cliché” or “bourgeouis”; to me it implies drama and power and the ability to engage the imagination immediately and viscerally. Something that’s cinematic...

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Paperback Writer

October 29, 2011

Last time we talked about the music that fueled Believe in Me (Wampus, Nov. 29). This time we move from the inspiration to the perspiration part of the process—the research. It would of course have been handy if there had been a stadium-filling rock star among my immediate family and friends, but since there isn’t (sorry, guys, but fantasies don’t count), and since I’ve never played a note on stage in my life and have exactly one trip backstage to my name, what I couldn’t pick up of the rock life from observation over the years, I’ve attempted to glean...

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Listen to the Music

October 22, 2011

On average, I probably listen to a hundred songs a week.  My novel Believe in Me might exist without music, but it would be a completely different story. In fact, check that. It wouldn’t exist without music; it couldn’t. The thing about popular music for me is that it serves so many different functions. Sometimes it tells a story, sometimes it “paints” impressionistic tableaus of emotions or ideas, and sometimes it simply zooms in and captures in detail a single, vital moment in time. It can be sad or celebratory, contemplative or urgent, elaborate and insightful or raw and simple. ...

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Welcome Back My Friends (to the show that never ends)

October 15, 2011

Welcome. When Wampus chief Mark Doyon offered this soapbox for me to talk about my forthcoming novel Believe in Me—and, more generally, in his words, “Music, Fiction, Dreams”—I couldn’t help but appreciate the irony.  Because Believe in Me will be published in e-book form only, and my wife and I are still mourning the loss of the Borders down the hill from us, where we used to stop in a couple of times a month. And yet… and yet… I’m also intrigued and energized by the idea of being a part of the new wave of publishing represented by e-books....

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