Sugar’s Last Dance: Behind the Scenes (Part 2)

Alright, so I was going to make this post about the real life inspiration behind Ana, but since I touched on music last time, I figured I would keep that ball rolling.

When I write, I listen to music…instrumental (or electronic) music. That changed a bit with Sugar’s Last Dance. Instead of the ambient sounds I usually work to, I found myself coming back time and time again to an actual band. That band? Crosses (or ttt).

So, who are Crosses and why did I listen to them? Well, let me tell you.

Crosses is a side project from musician Chico Moreno. Chico already has a hugely successful band called the Deftones, but I guess he needed a second outlet. At any rate, being a big fan of the Deftones, I ended up grabbing Crosses on CD one day (I know, I’m an old man, but I like listening to music in my car and CD is the only way that I can do that).

This album, which is very Deftones-esque, was massively influential in the writing of Sugar’s last Dance. I would start each writing session by firing it up on YouTube. This was also helpful in that I would use the length of the album as a guide as to how long I had been writing.

Something about the record just fit so perfectly with what I was trying to achieve that it became a crucial part of the story.

Now, I know that music is objective to a degree, so you may not experience the same thing that I did while listening. And really, that’s the way it should be, but still, this album was a big part of the story.

I’ll leave you with a song from Crosses. If you like it, buy the album (trust me, it’s super rad!)

Next time, I promise to reveal the woman who inspired Ana, I swear!

-C

Sugar’s Last Dance: Behind the Scenes (Part 1)

With All These Crooked Streets having launched on Tuesday (Nov. 21st), I figured now would be an appropriate time to take a behind the scenes look at my story, Sugar’s Last Dance (don’t worry, no spoilers).

The first thing to talk about is the fact that this was not the story I was planning to write at all. I had spent a couple months prior to beginning the actual writing process, plotting out a completely different novella. I won’t get into what that story was about (I still may write it!), but I will say it had a decidedly Die Hard vibe to it.

You may be asking, what kind of work had gone into the plotting of this original story (or maybe not, but too bad, I’m gonna tell you)?  Like most of the stuff that appears in my books, I started with pen and paper. In this instance, I had broken the entire plot down into sections and events, leading all the way to the finale. I really liked what I had come up with, but it just didn’t seem to jive with the rest of the book (compared to Ed and Ben’s stories, mine didn’t feel all that crimey). Which is why at the 11th hour, I scraped it and went with something completely different.

So, I guess that leads to the next obvious question, where the hell did the idea for Sugar’s Last Dance come from? Simple. A song. Let me elaborate.

I used to do this thing where I would pick a random album, listen to it, and come up with a story that was inspired by the songs. One such album was Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children by Mushroomhead. Besides being a pretty rad album, the opening track really spoke to me, and was ultimately the main inspiration for what would eventually become Sugar’s Last Dance. That song was a rocking little ditty called Come On. Oh, by the way, this was back in late 2011!

While jamming to this track, this is what I wrote (just a heads up, it is point form):

The main character is one of the strippers. Her name is Sasha but her stripper name is Ginger. She is a natural red head and so she uses that as her gimmick. She is new to the strip club. She used to work elsewhere but ended up moving because she ripped off some bad guys. Sasha is not really accepted by the other girls.

On the outskirts of town there is a strip club called the Pink Kitty. The club has to be so far away from schools and such so the only logical place is outside of town.

Usually the place is pretty busy but a freak snow storm has caused business to be non-existent. Inside the club the only people there are employees.

There are a dozen people in the club. The bouncer, the bartender, two waitresses, the DJ, the owner and six dancers.

Outside the snow continues to come down in a relentless white-out. Some of the girls are worried about getting home.

One of the girls decides to go out and have a cigarette. In the parking lot having her smoke she sees something. It is hazy at first but as she squints her eyes she can see into the dense white falling snow that a man approaches. As he walks past her he asks if they are open. She says yes and watches as he goes in. She looks again towards where he came from and sees no car. Wherever he came from, he walked.

And that’s it! That’s all I had. I promptly saved it in my ideas folder and moved on with my life.

Flash forward to the end of Dec. 2016, with only weeks before I’m supposed to begin writing my contribution to All These Crooked Streets, and that idea came back to me. Although conceived as being more of a horror story, I quickly realized that the plot could also work quite nicely as a tense little crime thriller.

I had to decide; either use what I had been working on, or go with the stripper story. Throwing caution to the wind, I went with the latter and I think the book is much better for it.

Come back next week to find out who the real life inspiration for Ana, AKA “Sugar” is!

Adventure Worlds Summit 2017

The First Annual Adventure Worlds Press summit is nearly upon us (Feb. 10th – 12th), and I’m pretty pumped for it! Wait, you don’t know what I’m talking about? I’m pretty sure I mentioned the summit at some point in the last few months. Hold on, I’m going to go check.

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Hmm, looks like you’re right, I’ve never once talked about the summit. Well then, I guess now’s as good a time as any.

In a nutshell, the Adventure Worlds Summit is a weekend where all of the Adventure Worlds Press projects and ideas for the rest of the year (and slightly beyond) will be hashed out. The idea is to sit down, and make a plan for what’s to come.

Although this is the first annual summit, the weekend getaway has been going on for a few years now with the Adventure Worlds crew (we used to call it the writing retreat). It’s usually three people (although the first year we had four) in a cottage for a few days writing like crazy.

The retreats were always fun and productive. I wrote the majority of my stories for No Light Tomorrow, as well as a healthy part of my novel at the previous retreats. There’s usually way too much food and way too much booze (two things I love having way too much of). This year will mostly be the same, except now that Adventure Worlds is a publisher, we (Ben and Myself) figured we might as well get some business done as well.

The main item on the docket will be the upcoming crime anthology. The stories are being written as I type this, but we need a name and we have to start looking at cover ideas and designs. Plus, we want to do something special for the launch that will take some serious planning. Beyond that book, there are a couple of smaller projects that need to be discussed. I have a few ideas that need fleshing out, but could be amazing.

So there you have it, the first annual Adventure Worlds Press Summit! I’ll be tweeting out all weekend, as well as plastering pics all over Instagram. If you’re interested in such things, follow me for all the wacky happenings.

-C

My Twitter

And Instagram

Crime (and) Story

I was going to post an update about my novel, but found it too depressing, so instead I thought it would be fun to talk about the crime story I’m working on, and how my early writing process, as a whole, unfolds.

The above mentioned crime story is for an anthology. The book will have three stories, each in the 20 – 25K range, and will be written by myself and two other authors. I agreed to take part in the project before having any sort of idea as to what I was going to write about.m002060484_sc7

With a deadline looming, I got out the trusty note pad and started jotting. This marks the first step in the evolution of a story for me. I have about a hundred blank note books. You know the ones, those 80 page Hilroy’s we all remember from school. Every August I load up on the things when they are 10 cents each leading in the new school year. I like to get a nice mix of colours for the covers, but seem to lean towards red and green. Anyway, I crack one of those bad boys open and let my brain dribble all over the page. Continue reading

Coming Soon!

Hey everybody! So, I’ve been talking to my buddy Ben Van Dongen (see what he’s all about here) and although it pains me to admit it, he was actually right about something…for the first time…ever! I don’t update my site enough. So, with the confidence of a new year before me, you’ll be hearing from me a lot more often.

This brings me to my first hurdle though. What the hell am I going to talk about? Ben’s blog focuses on various events and things from his life, but that’s not really my speed. Not that I think he is wrong to spend time on such topics, it’s more that I personally don’t like writing about that stuff. Because of that, I’m going to keep things as work related as possible around here. Basically, I’ll be giving updates, info on events and books and talking to and or about other authors and their work.

Since this is the first post of the year, and telling everybody your plans for the next 365 days is the cool thing to do, I will spill the beans a bit about what I have coming (fingers crossed) this year. Continue reading