Being a ‘Non-Conformist’ Author: You Don’t Always Have to ‘Follow the Script’

In the mid-1990s I joined a local far west Texas writer’s group called ‘Texas Mountain Trail Writers.’ While working on the first printed novel I would call Battle of the Band, I needed ‘tutoring’ so-to-speak on absolutely what had to go into the novel to make it a legitimate novel, to market and sell the thing–that is, get some literary agent to ‘sell’ it to a big time publisher. No literary agent came a-calling, so I had to do it myself.

And this was what I picked up in all of these discussions and even annual writer conferences, which I will now list:

  1. ‘Show, don’t tell.’ Anyone who writes novels or books knows what this means. And I believe in ‘show, don’t tell,’  but there are times the ‘tell’ part has to be used perhaps  more than some would find acceptable, as I discovered finishing up my first book.
  2. Your setting must be a setting one is familiar with. After all, aren’t most of Stephen King’s novels set in Maine, where he is from? (And why do I always use Stephen King as an example? Because other than literary genius Kurt Vonnegut–from Ithica, New York (quite a few of his books are set in that part of New York state)–no writer has influenced me to write than the best suspense-si-fi-horror novelist in US history.
  3. Your characters must be from the setting you use that must be one you are familiar with.  Not all, but many of King’s characters are from Maine, or at least New England.
  4. Your characters, because you must know your characters–especially the main ones–must be part of you and even as you are. (Characterization)
  5. Dialogue–your characters must speak in a way that characters from a particular setting would speak, thus you must know how these characters would speak, which is why they ought to come from a particular familiar setting. Further, you characters must speak in a way that it is obvious for that character and the reader knows that is how the character talks. Use catch-phrases as well.
  6. Genre–this is the item that has and will give me the most headache. My books are not genre specific, but a mix of spiritual/satire/adult-rated R not X/horror/suspense/fantasy, so that could be why no literary agent touched my books–literary agents tend to be genre specific, or at least that’s what I was told by the first published author I ever met, a romance novelist (with plenty of the required ‘sexual tension.’)
  7. Theme–The only way I can describe any theme in my books is this: good triumphing over evil. If it isn’t ‘good vs. evil’ in fiction, then I am not writing it-ultimately, good vs. evil is the only issue that matters to me.
  8. Plot–Within the realm of the physical and mental and real and spiritual worlds, the plot revolves around an 80s-90s rock and roll band that, upon achieving great success, must choose their good vs. evil path, with triumphs, trials and tribulations along the way. Because they are ‘rock stars,’ they are ‘gonna do what a rock star is gonna do.’ Which is why these novels are adult–sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll–and not young adult or Christian or rated G. Sorry about that, but if my characters are going to be real, they’re just gonna have to cuss every now and then, or engage in free sex–and one of my characters is bi-sexual, by the way.

Did I miss anything?

So, here is where I ‘go off the reservation’ so-to-speak. ‘Show, don’t tell’? Who gets to decide if you I don’t show enough and tell too much? Folks, I have NEVER read a novel without some ‘tell,’ okay? Read JRR Tolkein’s “Silmarillion’ some time…there is so much ‘telling’ in that book that one would think one of the greatest novelists ever couldn’t write a novel to save his life! But of course, he has to ‘tell’ about how the elves and what not came to be, from what heavenly spirits, and the rest. Then you have books loaded with dialogue–in fact, one friend-turned-book-critic once told me that my two printed books had too much dialogue! “Too much telling,” she told me. After all, dialogue is kind of like telling, right? In my opinion, however, nothing SHOWS a character like his or her dialogue, and how he or she says it!

Where I really go off the reservation though is setting, for actual setting and in terms of where the characters are from and how they speak. I intend to fully explain the whys and what-fors of this issue in posts I have already written and just need the right time to post (since I am busy re-typing/re-writing my two printed books for e-book formatting purpose for sale on Kindle, Nook, Lulu, etc). But for now I will sum it up–since my characters are in a rock band of the 80s and 90s, and since I grew up in the 60s and 70s when British rock reigned supreme for the most part (beginning with the Beatles), and since I spent about two months there in mostly the southeast (Brighton area) and also met three twenty-somethings from Tyneside (Newcastle, of course) and I just loved hearing that Geordie accent… Okay, you get the idea. But just to make it a bit easier for me to deal with creating these books, roughly half of the settings in all my novels are in the US, either New York City or California between LA and San Fran. I grew up on Long Island and lived in NYC. I have visited southern and central California and know several folks from there  (and my brother and his family used to live near Silicon Valley). A number of supporting characters are Americans. Finally, for the most part, my Brit rocker characters spend most of their time in the most affluent part of England, which just happens to be the part of England I am most familiar with–the southeast, including the affluent county called Surrey. Thus, one really cannot accuse me of not knowing the settings and the ways of speaking (though I do use slang words every now and then that are more American than Brit, and one big mistake I made originally in the printed books was listing the dates American style instead of Brit style: instead of writing ‘the 15th of July’ I wrote “July 15.’ Or used the term ‘called’ instead of ‘rang’ on occasion…any slang terms I screwed up in my first two books will be rectified, I hope, in the e-books.

Finally, as I will explain in my posts that will be posted as soon as possible, my entire life generally does not ‘follow the script,’ and I’ve been for the most part a non-conformist my entire life.

The Prodigal Band Trilogy: The Spiritual

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Moving on to the spiritual aspect of why I wrote these books…

In the fall of 1993, at night with the myriad of star-shine visions outside the house at night in the mountains, a view of the heavens, thinking some divine entity was hovering above, a thought came into my head, in my own voice, telling me that now was the time to begin to compile all the character and theme and setting and story and all the stuff I had carried in my head since the mid-60s. The time to write the novel was nigh.

The rough-rough-rough draft was written using an ancient Atari computer that used a very large floppy disk inserted into the hard drive to set up the system and then insert another floppy disk to write whatever. Don’t ask me the model of this Atari, I don’t remember. But computers in the old days didn’t have operating systems as we know them today…you had to insert a master floppy disk to get the computer to work, then insert another floppy disk for whatever you were typing on the keyboard, then copy the new work to the disk, which only had 48 KB in its “memory bank.”

Imagine! A floppy–and I mean floppy! These disks weren’t the plastic kind with metal parts that were 3.5 inches square, but 5 inch floppies without metal parts–could hold only one chapter at a time!

Since I was raising a toddler daughter at the time, I had limited time to do this work, but I managed to get the rough draft manuscript done by the summer of 1994 only to have to go back to work teaching secondary math–in El Paso, in what was then a ‘gang land high school’ and put up with not only gangster students but a principal that couldn’t handle gangster students (the ONLY time I noticed serious discipline in the hallways was the one week this so-called principal was at a conference in Washington, DC! During that week, the assistant principals and security guards were actually able to do their jobs, and not one student of mine tried sneaking out of class or wanted to roam the halls…the only time this happened!) After the kids went to bed at night, when I wasn’t grading tests or whatever, I edited the rough-rough-rough draft. I quit the teaching job in June, 1995.

That summer I began the actual rough draft on someone else’s Macintosh computer, from 6 am until 8 am, when I had to go back home to home school my kids. In fall of 1995 I bought my own Mac computer with System 7.5. When I had time, I finalized the first novel, Battle of the Band, which was completed in 1996–after a writer/retired teacher friend of mine Beta Edited the novel twice.

And what she told me through her proof-reading/editing caused me to think maybe divine intervention WAS at work in this first book:

  1. I did not know, first of all, that there was a direct shipping lane from Stavanger, Norway,  to the Tyne River in northeast England, where the band is from. The mother of the singer-character just happened to be from Stavanger, Norway! Coincidence?
  2. I did not know when I wrote the book that a “Laird McLeod” owned a castle on the Isle of Skye in northeast Scotland, so it seemed very strange to both of us that a “Laird McLeod” (correct spelling) in my book just happened to own a castle on that island! Coincidence?
  3. The fictitious city my band is from, Walltown, on that Tyne river, has an angelic statue of winged trumpeters, angels. I did not know in fact that a city across from my fictitious Walltown, called Gateshead, had as it’s main tourist feature an angelic statue! (but only one angel, not three angels, plus one could say it almost looks bird-like, but is definitely an angel.) Coincidence?
  4. The most important song in the book speaks of “…for my sweet love, to wear a golden crown.” This song came into my head in the early 70s. In the early 70s, tired of all the arguing by my parents over various Christian doctrines (my dad grew up Episcopalian; my mom grew up Catholic–they argued about the Pope’s ‘infallibility’ ad infinitum, among other things), I became agnostic. So I had no idea what that line in the song meant. When I became a committed Christian in the mid-90s, I finally figured the line out. That was when I knew that the ‘mission’ I was given had to be completed. Coincidence?
  5. In that same song is a part about Pleiades, a star system, Orion, another star system, and the Dragon, a constellation–which, by the way–coincidence?–contains not only Orion, whose belt ‘flays the fire’ of the dragon, but Pleiades as well! These three heavenly entities co-exist, which I had no idea about! The ‘dragon,’ of course, is mentioned in the biblical Book of Revelation as another name for Satan.  Pleiades, named for an ancient Greek warrior, ‘brandishes’ Orion’s belt to ‘flay the fire.’ How else could this happen unless all three heavenly entities were in the same constellation–and I had no idea of this when I wrote the words to the song–in the early 70s?

So let me sum this up:  I wrote a song about the ‘second coming’ of Christ as well as the coming so-called ‘great tribulation’ by Satan (and the ‘beast’ and the ‘false prophet’) prior to Christ’s second coming BEFORE I had any idea about such a Biblical event in the Book of Revelation I had NEVER read before writing the song! The same song which is the centerpiece of all three novels in The Prodigal Band Trilogy! Add to that the other ‘coincidental’ facts I had no clue about when writing the first book in the trilogy before my friend just happened to tell me were true fact I thought I had simply made up.

These things are just one reason why I believe a divine authority put it into me to write these novels. If it worked for the Blues Brothers

This site is now the OmegaBooks WordPress Blog site

After about a month of trying to get BlueHost to give me back my domain “omegabooks.com” and (using ICANN and Whois as excuses for not doing so!) failing to get the domain “omegabooks.com” back, WordPress handed me a “reprieve” of sorts by letting me set up a new domain, omegabooksnet.com from where one can download the FREE PDF e-book, The Prodigal Band, as well as (soon) purchase the printed books published in the 1990s, Battle of the Band and The Prophesied Band. For the last three weeks I have been getting the site prepared for this adventure in Independent Publishing and marketing. Today, April 30, 2018, I was able to get the site presentable, and also get The Prodigal Band registered with the Library of Congress ($55 fee).

Since omegabooksnet.com is now the official OmegaBooks site, this WordPress blog site will be the BLOG for omegabooksnet.com where I will discuss how and why I began the book series in the 90s, the creation of the characters and scenarios and such. Since I have deleted the “blog” and “book” pages previously at the top of the page in the “menu,” I am re-posting the original “blog” article, below.

Chapters of Three Books will be added soon.

UPDATE: The “chapters” will be added to the Battle of the Band page on omegabooksnet.com, The Prophesied Band page on omegabooksnet.com, and the The Prodigal Band FREE PDF page of omegabooksnet.com, and in fact, the Prologue has already been added to that page!

Chapters, or rather, parts or sections of chapters, will be posted in the “Book” menu section soon, and here at the “Blog” I will discuss what was posted and why I posted what I posted. If one is a certain spiritual bent some of the words posted might offend. Sorry. But anyone who believes a writer can’t develop a character’s way of speaking or way of living in order to prove a point later has likely never tried writing a book let alone develop book characters.

Notice (if you have read the home front page) the use of the word “Band.” Gee, guess what kind of “band” I am talking about? Growing up in the 1960s? Now, what kind of bands predominated in the 1960s…and the 70s and the 80s and the 90s and the 2000s?

Rock and roll bands? Yep. (Note–I am white. If I was black they might be rap groups or “soul” groups or Michael Jackson-types)

Meaning, guess what the main characters are? Rock stars. Yep, sex, drugs and rock and roll, with some cussing thrown in (BTW, I almost never cuss, and do not use the “f” word…my characters do. Sorry.) But when I was growing up, the one thing I had in common with boys and girls of my generation–I grew up on Long Island, not some far west Texas ranch run by a fundamentalist Christian family where girls always wore dresses or skirts and boys always wore button-down long sleeve shirts and jeans or nicer pants for church led by a fundamentalist preacher–well, the one thing I had in common was love of rock bands and music (really, that was the one thing that kept me from being “D-list” in high school…I actually made it to “B-list” by my junior year! And I even tried out for a couple of local rock bands–they were all over the place! I will discuss that at some point). So, about the only way I “conformed” to kids my age was listening to rock music and discussing or seeing various rock groups (I never did see the Beatles except on TV. Oh well.) So, there I was a writer of fiction from the time I was 8 or 9…seriously.

Now I could have written about just average teenagers. But I wanted characters a bit more exciting and “push the envelope” than just young folks like me. So I developed the characters I developed and, over time, they became rock stars. (Keep in mind, I was pretty good at electric guitar and could sing at the time. Meaning, I wanted to be a rock star though I am female and there weren’t very many female rock stars then.) Since I never did become one, I figured, well, if I didn’t become one, maybe I could write about one? Or a band that (fictionally) made it big?

So, there I was in the mid-1990s when an extraordinary experience happened to me in the mountains and deserts of far west Texas, where I am now.

More later.

Why Is OmegaBooks “Home Of The World’s Most Unique Fiction”?

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:

  1. 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–bu 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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 Vonnegutt? He is from central-upper New York State, near Ithica, 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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, seances, etc. Just to try it out so to speak–but after one particular horrifying seance 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?