Filtering by Tag: Rock Island

"Yours Truly, 2095" turns two years old!

My third published novel, Yours Truly, 2095, has its second birthday this month. I can't believe that it has been two full years now since its been out, especially since it took me three full years to research, outline, write, and edit.

Starting off as an idea to take one of my favorite albums of all time, Electric Light Orchestra's concept album Time, and try to adapt it into a direct novelization was something I had been tossing around in my head since high school, almost twenty-five years ago. The concept album, which follows a man who wakes up in the year 2095 with a robot for a wife, not knowing how he got there, and trying to get back to his real wife in 1981, had always intrigued me, not only as song lyrics, but as a stand alone storyline.

It took almost nine months to dissect every single lyric so I could write an outline and find enough story arcs, plot lines, and character developments within the words to where I felt comfortable writing a 90k word novel based around a 16-track album that clocks in at around 55 minutes.

Writing the novel during the four years that I lived in Japan, I approached it initially as a Michael Crichton-style sci-fi story; I wanted the technology to be so steeped in science-fact, that there would never need to be a suspension of disbelief from the reader (even when the characters have to go to the moon). I really wanted an organic feeling story that didn't have whirling time machines and technology that seemed far-fetched. What I never expected was that I would wind up with a time-travel romance novel.

Staying true to every single lyric of the Time album (heck, even the front cover of the book is an adaptation of the front cover art of the album), I found I had a lot of holes that needed to be filled in with my own literary license. Even though it IS a concept album, it's not as concrete as, say, Pink Floyd's The Wall or The Who's Tommy, where there is no mistaking what is happening, what everyone is thinking, and what everyone is saying.

I realized, after the book's final draft was approved, was I had a novel (even though it IS a direct and perfect adaptation of a band's album) that anyone, and I mean ANYONE, could read. My biggest concern (and also some friends when I told them what I was working on) was that people who didn't know who Electric Light Orchestra was, wouldn't even TRY to read the book. Why should they? Especially If its a novelization of an album they'd never heard of? But I was able to write a straight forward time-travel romance novel that works twofold: 1) if you are an Electric Light Orchestra fan, you will "see the storyline" of the Time album in every piece of action and dialogue ... or 2) if you have no idea who Electric Light Orchestra is, this book is a stand-alone time-travel romance novel full of mystery and action and suspense. You do not need to know ANYTHING about the source material to enjoy the book or for it to make sense. In fact, most of the positive reviews I have received are from people that only found out AFTERWARD that the book is based on an album. And the positive reviews from Electric Light Orchestra fans have applauded me for taking a revered album and turning into a novel that stayed true to the tone and storyline of Time.

Yours Truly, 2095 was nominated for a Hugo Award in 2016, however, it did not make the finalists. It is my first, true, rock-fiction novel or story I have ever published (Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts is ABOUT the band God Lives Underwater's music, and Welcome to Parkview is heavily inspired by Billy Joel's song "Piano Man," but neither are an actual adaptation like this is). This also proved to me that I COULD produce a worthy rock-fiction novel, which then lead me to write and publish an apocalyptic-rapture short-story adaptation of Moby's song "Spiders" ("Outside of Heaven"), a modern mythological-romance short-story adaptation of Jethro Tull's album Rock Island ("The Whaler's Dues"), and a dramatic ghost short-story adaptation of Porcupine Tree's album Fear of a Blank Planet ("Anesthetize or a Dream Played in Reverse on Piano Keys"). Later this year my next novel will be released: a novelization of Dog Fashion Disco's album Adultery.

2016 in review: one new short story published and one new album released

Well, 2016 is almost over, and throughout this past year I had another short story published in an anthology (which brings my published work up to 3 novels and 2 short stories), and one of my bands released another album (which brings my cumulative number of released albums up to a total of 7).

My short story, "The Whaler's Dues," was published in the anthology "A Journey of Words," in August, along with 34 other authors from all over the world. Its a modern-day mythology-romance story about a stripper, who is also a vengeful sea spirit, and the man who is cursed to love her. "A Journey of Words" is available in eBook and paperback worldwide.

My band, Yellow #1, released our second album, "Thanks for the Nostalgia," in July. Work began on it in 2014 in Japan and it is our first album since our debut album came out back in 1996. Taking a break from my main band, Transpose, to work on new Yellow #1 material after a 19 year break, was both rewarding and inspiring. The album is available on CD through this site, and digital download worldwide.

Next week I will talk about the 2 novels and 1 more short story that are on the docket for 2017....


Another music adaptation added to my fiction bibliography

This week I finished a short story titled "The Whaler's Dues" that will be published this Fall in a short story compilation called, "A Journey of Words." This will be only the second short that I have ever written that will be published. The first was my story "Outside of Heaven" in the compilation, "A Matter of Words" that came out last year.

Following the tradition that I seem to feel the most comfortable in of writing a story and plotline based on song lyrics or entire albums, "The Whaler's Dues" is no different. I have 3 published novels, and now there will be 2 published short stories that make up my official bibliography as an author, and all 5 pieces of work are steeped in adapting music to fiction.

"Dreams are Unfinished Thoughts" was directly centered around the songs from the band God Lives Underwater and solo artist David Reilly.

"Welcome to Parkview" was based on a handful of songs: Billy Joel's "Piano Man," Ned's Atomic Dustbin's "Cut Up," Faith No More's "Ricochet," The The's "Bluer Than Midnight," Blue October's "The End," and Taco's "Puttin on the Ritz."

"Yours Truly, 2095" is a direct novelization of Electric Light Orchestra's album, "Time."

My short story, "Outside of Heaven" is a direct adaptation of the Moby song, "Spiders."

And now, with this newly finished story, "The Whaler's Dues," it fits right in line with what I've become as an author; its a direct adaptation of Jethro Tull's album, "Rock Island."

With "Outside of Heaven," it was easy to write a 10k word short story because I was basing the entire plotline off that one song, but with "The Whaler's Dues," it was a little bit more challenging to take am entire 10-track album, and try to keep the story to around 10k words. I had to be much more specific with what lyrics I wanted to influence the storyline, since I had so many lyrics that could contribute. But I think I created a cohesive story, and stayed true to every single song on the album.

I guess we'll have to wait until Fall time to see if everyone else thinks so too.


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