Vampire Conspiracy – Sneak Peek into the Playlist

Now that the main text of “Vampire Conspiracy” (book two of the Vampire Syndrome saga) is finished (and being edited by PDMI), I’m working on peripherals, such as the glossary and the playlist.

A brief glimpse into Chapter 32, “Deconstruction Crew”:

Jack:

“Are you sure about this?” Razvan asks us.

“We’re positive,” I answer.

“We’d like to drive back ourselves,” Coach Ron says.

“Do you want motorcycle escorts?” Petra asks.

“Thanks, but we should be fine,” Diane replies.

“A lot of people runnin’ and hidin’ tonight,
A lot of people won’t get no justice tonight.”
“Armagideon Time”, original version by Willie Wilson

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Bootlegs and Fan Fiction: Moving beyond the Artist’s Concept of the Artist

In my basement, a 1995 hardcover dwells:
Clinton Heylin: Bootleg (Hardcover)
A riveting documentation of a world long gone, yet full of prophetic clues as to how the music industry’s appetite for self-destruction would lead it straight into the tar-pit quicksand.

Page 372: “Vinyl is more of a craft thing whereas a CD is mass-produced. …now they have CD recording machines so people can always copy someone’s CD and have…something that’s 98 percent of the original.”

“Craft.” The very reason why Hipsters collect vinyl. Pressing a run of actual vinyl records and printing full-color jackets requires dedicated, expensive machinery that is still far beyond the affordability of recreational hobbyists, preserving vinyl records’ ‘collectible artifact’ status to this day.

Computer CD-R drives became affordable by 1998. Overnight, the retail music dynamic was changed forever. College campuses, previously the best neighbors for record stores, suddenly became the worst locations for a record store to be near. Disc sales dropped from “the whole dorm” to “one per dorm” (if that), and then Napster began its rise to prominence.

The major labels of the music industry could have bought Napster at that point and used it as the perfect one-stop distribution center for MP3 files. Their failure to do so gifted Steve Jobs with the world of iTunes, served on a silver-iPod platter. The industry’s myopia also led it to ‘kill’ Digital Audio Tape (DAT), the one product for which a widespread adoption would have significantly slowed the onset of the CD-R revolution of the late 1990’s. By mandating technological restrictions on a product that could make digital copies only at 1x playing speed, the music industry left the path wide open for CD-R drives (which reached 52x recording speed by 2003) to dominate home recording. The equivalent of hiding the keys for a old Volkswagen bus from your teenager, and having them end up discovering the keys for your Dodge Viper instead.

As anyone reading this is well aware, the Digital Age has shaken up the old guard of the publishing industry, in the same manner as it did the music industry. You might be wondering how a nearly twenty-year-old book documenting the “bygone” culture of music bootlegging could be relevant to the world of fan fiction.

Page 392, quoting Lenny Kaye: “I think that bootlegs keep the flame of the music alive by keeping it out of not only the industry’s conception of the artist, but also the artist’s conception of the artist. There’s that self-editing thing and, with all due respect to great artists, a lot of times their own instincts aren’t as righteous about the music as someone else.”

Bootlegs and Fan Fiction both exist to satisfy the desires of the hardcore fans who want to go beyond the official “edited” product, and experience artistic works as an entire extended, unexpurgated universe; seeing as much as possible of the creative vision, beyond what the original artists may have ever envisioned.

Fan fiction has been around for decades, and even centuries. The Digital Age took fan-fiction out of its xeroxed and mimeographed shadows, into the mainstream and even to #1 on the New York Times Best-Sellers List. The world has sound reason to be sure that Stephenie Meyer never foresaw her Twilight Saga as being the ideal platform on which to base BDSM-themed fiction; in this case Meyer may have been so blinded from her own love for Edward Cullen that she could not visualize him as “Christian Grey.” No matter, millions of others not wearing Bella-colored glasses saw the controlling, manipulative aspects of Edward Cullen (whether they liked the Fifty Shades books or not). Those who were attracted to this aspect would naturally gravitate toward an Edward Cullen persona, taken to its logical extreme in Christian Grey.

We, the authors, need to keep possible fan fiction interpretations of our work in mind when writing our sagas. Some authors will try to sweep all fan fiction under the rug, others will celebrate the visions of the fans; but all authors writing in the Digital Age must take heed of fan fiction, regardless of how we personally feel about it. If Stephenie Meyer had considered the more unsavory aspects of Edward Cullen’s ‘character’ at length, she might have changed him to be a ‘better person’, more in line with her own Mormon views as opposed to being potential (and now proven!) BDSM erotica fodder. This would have also nullified the numerous criticisms accusing Edward of being a Grade-A stalker (which he was!). Does any author want to write a character that millions people interpret as being a 180° opposite from what the author intended? Edward Cullen, intended by Meyer to be the embodiment of old-time courtship and an advocate for abstinence until marriage; became Christian Grey, a man who compels Ana Steele into a signing a contract for a non-romantic submissive sexual relationship in which Ana is not allowed to touch Christian or make eye contact with him.

I’m not proffering moral judgments here. My own character Damien Tepesh has been cheating on his wife Lilith for more than two centuries, to the point where Lilith now keeps his current mistress under her control. And his extramarital liaisons will take an extreme twist in my second novel, “Vampire Conspiracy.”

Damien is an unrepentant skirt-chaser, but no one is going to interpret him as a guardian of moral platitude. In a similar vein, it would be exceedingly difficult for anyone to re-cast my protagonist Jack as being anything but a hero, without a ground-up alternate universe styled re-write. An ounce of prevention during invention is better than a million books of an ailment you can’t cure anyway, the “disease” of misinterpretation.

E.T. phone here

Two great songs about extraterrestrial contact, yin and yang.

By then, the Carpenters had made so much money for A&M Records, the only answer they could give to “Can we hire a 160-pc. orchestra for a song about contacting aliens?” was “Sure, we’ll get right on it, Mister and Miss Carpenter!” 😈

Mod fashion or punk? Both! The best album of 1978, in my humble opinion.

Real spooky stuff for Halloween

Disney buys “Star Wars”

Random House Penguin

“Random House Penguin”: sounds like a Captain Beefheart lyric or a Zippy catchphrase, doesn’t it?

A few years from now, the people in my critique group will still be trying to get signed on HachHarpMacmilPengRandSimoSchuHouse, or whatever the “Big One” will be called. 😈

Jill The Ripper

Can’t you hear me knockin’, yeah, down the gas light street, now

Here’s a snippet from Chapter Five of  “Vampire Syndrome”, in Damien’s point of view:

Interrogation Room Four. Taylor’s blonde girlfriend Lauren Heinrich has been chewing gum and filing her fingernail tips during my entire round of questioning. Vanity or nervousness? Probably both.
“Distinguishing characteristics?” I ask.
Lauren stops filing her nails.
Interesting.
She puts the nail file in her purse, then spits her gum into a tissue. Lauren fixes her gaze on mine.
“The kid had Down Syndrome,” Lauren says. “I used to live in Kansas City back in the forties, so I heard all about what you did to that one girl.”
Not only that, a bunch of damn loudmouth Vampires there are still yapping about it. Kansas City,  Missouri. Home of great barbecue and “Damien killed the retarded Vampire girl” stories.
“When you were living there,” I ask Lauren, “did you happen to hear any rumors about who may have sexually assaulted her?”
“No,” she replies. “Kansas City Security never even named a suspect. Sorta like Jack The Ripper.”
I snicker, then say, “The Normal detectives at London Metro never considered the possibility of a Jill The Ripper.”
“No way,” Lauren gasps. “She was a Vampire, right?”
“Correct.”
“Who?” Lauren asks.
“Classified,” I reply, with a wink.
Lilith Morrigan. Our president. Also known, only to me, as Jill The Ripper. She didn’t seem to think any of those London hookers I was scouting out were worthy of becoming a Vampire and keeping me company.
Lauren asks, “Was this Jill The Ripper using her surgical tools to cut out her victim’s bite marks?”
Great. Lauren’s now interrogating me.
“Possibly. We don’t know for sure, Miss Heinrich.”
I had to love Lilith’s use of surgical instruments as the signature clue to throw off the Normals. “They say I’m a doctor now,” ha ha. Lilly carved their bodies like Pures cutting body parts from cattle. A clue only I would get. And she knew it.
Lauren leans in closer to me, smiles and asks “Is Jill The Ripper still alive?”
I really shouldn’t be answering Lauren’s questions, of course, but I admire her thirst for knowledge.
“The Council of Thirteen ordered the Venators, including myself, to conduct an official investigation. The results were inconclusive.”
No wonder. Lilly was Chief Venator back then. Our dear boss. She even had me scribble the From Hell letter and post it to George Lusk. That same letter is now framed on my desk, and Lilly’s Saucy Jacky postcard is locked in her wall safe.
Lauren asks, “How could the investigation be inconclusive when you knew she was female?”
Good question, Lauren. You might be a candidate to become a Security detective like Betty when you get older. Then you could investigate your boyfriend’s stupid pranks.
“The only Vampire who witnessed one of her killings didn’t provide us with enough details to make a positive ID. Our report states only that the suspect was an unidentified female Vampire.”
That Vampire hooker who caught Lilly in the act was not about to report who the killer was, even to us. Lilly told me afterward she “swore that whore to silence or death.”
“Well, Mister Chief Venator,” Lauren says, “I sure hope you catch this Down Syndrome kid.”
“Thanks. And don’t worry, Miss Heinrich,” I reply. “He’s handicapped. Once I find him, he’s done for. It’s not like he’s gonna be another Ripper giving us the slip.”

My blog turns two

Today, Oct. 16th, is the two-year anniversary of my Vampire Syndrome blog. And thanks to the magic of YouTube, I can invite Beth Gibbons to sing at my blog’s “birthday party.” 😎

“For time is but a memory”

I am thrilled to announce that Vampire Syndrome will be a featured title during Fangs And Hearts Week, October 24-31 on Emily Guido.com 😀

This is my blog’s birthday, but you get a present. Click here, log in (or register for free first), enter code RC29W and pick up your free copy of Vampire Syndrome. This promo code is good now through November 4th. 🙂

A big thank you to all my readers!

Garden Party

To Thine Own Self Be True