Monday, October 26, 2015
Guest Blog and Giveaway Confessions of a Punk Rocker by Nessie Strange
Confessions of a Punk Rocker is actually a complete re-write of a story I finished a couple years back entitled ‘Confessions of a Broken Hearted Punk Rocker’. In that earlier version, Jack was dealing not with the death of his best friend, but a breakup from the woman he madly loved. That woman, of course, was Jen, the star of my novel Living Dead Girl. So how did that happen?
Living Dead Girl had been accepted by my publisher and was in the process of being edited. In that early draft of the book, Jen and Jack broke up for a short period of time, and ‘Confessions’ was supposed to cover that time period, but from his POV. Then a curious thing happened during the editing process: my editor suggested—and I eventually agreed—to scrap the break-up completely. For a book that was supposed to go paranormal, we were already taking an extraordinarily long time to get to the paranormal, so we were looking for ways to speed things up. A rambling courtship, breakup and reconciliation were not in the cards.
So I re-wrote a huge chunk of Living Dead Girl during the editing process, with this sinking feeling that it had rendered another story I wrote (Confessions) completely useless. That if I ever wanted to tie these two books together, it couldn’t happen without some serious re-writing of the other book too. Confessions of a Broken Hearted Punk Rocker ended up gathering virtual dust in my hard drive. I loved Jack’s voice, and still wanted to tell his story, but this one wasn’t going to work.
Of course, one day, I had one of those breakthrough moments of inspiration, where I figured out exactly which direction I wanted to take Jack’s story. Instead of a break-up, it would happen before he met her, and tell how the death of his bandmate led to Jack recruiting Jen’s younger brother to play drums. I was able to salvage a few of the scenes from the original story and tailor them to the new plot. In the end, I was much happier with the new story and glad that things had taken the turn they did.
I guess the advice I’d give any writer, is if you truly love a story you wrote, but it doesn’t quite work…keep it anyway. You might find use for it. That, and seriously consider the advice of your editor. In my case, it was hard at first, but ended up making for much better, much stronger stories.
All that said, here are a couple snippets from that original work, ‘Confessions of a Broken Hearted Punk Rocker’…never before seen in public. Thanks for reading!
Jack & the band on a road trip, and dealing with having the brother of the chick who dumped you right there…awkward:
“Drew turned sideways to talk with Scott, but with the Exploited blasting in my eardrums, I couldn’t hear what they were saying. Fuck, he even looks like her. That was the killer. Having the male version of my ex right in front of me, it was just cruel. I couldn’t look at him without thinking about her. And it wasn’t like I was attracted to dudes, or even to him, it was just…they had the same eyes, the same nose. Even some of the same facial expressions. Fuck.”
As musicians sometimes do, Jack wrote a song about his ex. And now he’s second guessing himself:
“I hated censoring myself. I figured if I was too much of a pussy to say something out loud then it probably wasn’t worth saying in the first place. But this? Doubt looked over my shoulder, because when I heard myself singing the words, they sounded too harsh, they sounded wrong, and everything inside me screamed that I didn’t mean it. Not that I had a problem using the word, it was just using it in reference to her. I mean, what if she heard it? That thought ran over and over in my head. So at the last minute, when I was showing the guys what I’d written, I made a mental note to scratch out the word ‘cunt’ from the song. Then I cringed and waited for the backlash from the rest of it. I watched Drew’s expression in particular, for any sign that he was ready to throttle me, but it never came.”
Showing up unannounced at Jen’s house:
We stood at the front door, waiting, and then there she was, practically swallowed by her brother while I stood on the step feeling like an idiot. Their cousin Ethan piped up in the background, and Drew barreled past her, and she stood watching them, frozen in place. I didn’t think she even noticed I was there.
“We would’ve called first, but fucktard over there couldn’t wait to come home and see his big sis. I hope we’re not interrupting anything.”
Her head whipped around, and she stared, wide eyed. God damn did she look good. And what she was wearing? Man, it should’ve been outlawed. This old, worn Bruins t-shirt, so thin I could see the shadow where her bellybutton was, I could see the outline of her bra and where her tits pushed out over the top of it. I could see freaking everything.
Getting back together:
I kissed her. Old habits? Maybe. For a split second I worried that she’d push me away, but instead, she kissed me back, and any self-control I might have had flew out the window. It was insane. I wanted her so bad, just to bury myself inside her. I backed her up against the wall and lifted her, and oh, fuck, when she wrapped her legs around my waist, and squeezed, I nearly lost it. I grasped the backs of her thighs, and pressed myself into her, ran my hands up her shirt and undid her bra. My fingers brushed over her tits, then I slid my hand into her shorts. She was already so hot, so slick, my fingers slid right inside her. I would’ve fucked her right there. Then she pushed me back, panting just as hard as I was, and I thought please don’t fucking stop me now.
“Let's go to my room,” she whispered
Confessions of a Punk Rocker
Living Dead World
Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Etopia Press
Date of Publication: Sept 25 2015
Number of pages: 268
Word Count: 55305
The dead should stay dead...
Jack Norris has just lost his best friend—who also happened to be his band's drummer—to a drunk driving accident. As he struggles to deal with the band's uncertain future and his own personal demons, those issues soon become unimportant. His dead friend has come back. And he's not showing any signs of going away. Questioning his own sanity, Jack finds his life spiraling out of control. But when a new acquaintance not only hooks him up with a drummer, but promises to help get rid of his ghostly stalker, Jack's life does a one-eighty.
Drew MacLellan, the new drummer, is more than just a new set of sticks—he's the brother of the insanely hot Jen MacLellan, who's definitely not Jack's biggest fan. Jen is nothing like the women Jack's dated in the past, but the more he gets to know her, the deeper he falls. The only problem is she's got a boyfriend. Caught between his growing attraction and the desire to do the right thing, Jack does everything he can to keep his distance. But the more he sees of her, the more he realizes he can't. He's determined to win Jen's heart, if only he can figure out how to help his dead friend rest in peace...permanently.
My eyelids strain against gravity. Last night’s binge hangs in the back of my throat, threatening to reappear. Maybe. All I know is the inside of my mouth tastes like a used tissue and my head throbs, right between the eyes. I don’t even remember how I got home.
“Hey, Jack, get up.” The door swings open and my brother Ashton pokes his head in. A beam of light cuts through the darkness and stabs me square in the face. Am I still drunk? Groan. I shouldn’t have had those last three beers. Or that shot of whiskey to top it off. Right now, any sudden movement would be a bad idea.
“Dude?” Ashton widens his eyes at me and jerks his head to the side, a move that’s one part impatience, but mostly asshole.
I fold my arms behind my head to show him I’m not in a rush to do anything. This will piss him off even more, I’m sure of it. It’ll also give me time to scrape the fuzz from my brain. “What.”
“Uh, funeral?” He looks at his watch. “It’s nine-thirty and we need to be there in forty-five minutes.”
As if I could forget something like that. My buddy Eben got tanked a few nights ago and lost control of his car. It flipped over, skidded across the median, and smashed into the concrete barriers on the other side. They say he died instantly.
His eyes look like they’re ready to roll back into his skull. “And you need to get your lazy ass out of bed. Now.”
Right. Get out of bed. It doesn’t seem possible that I’m burying one of my closest friends today. A wave of dizziness washes over me as I try to sit. My eyes snap shut. That’s it, I’m never drinking again. “Chill the fuck out. I’m getting up.”
“Yeah, well, get a move on.” He stands in the doorway with his arms folded across his chest and watches me. Could he be any more annoying?
“If I leave the room, you’re just gonna sit there instead of coming out to the kitchen. Where the rest of the band is already waiting, by the way.” He cocks his head to the side. “They’re pretty much always waiting on you, aren’t they?”
“Go fuck yourself,” I mumble while I untangle my legs from the blanket. I’m holding my breath now. It’s funny how smells like stale air and dirty laundry seem magnified when you feel like you’re gonna puke.
Ashton shakes his head. “Grow up.”
I shoot him a dirty look, but don’t answer.
“Do I at least have time to shower, or are you gonna stand there with the stopwatch if I do that too?” I grab a towel from the floor and brush past him, slamming the bathroom door behind me.
“Hurry up, Jack.” His voice is thankfully muffled by the door.
The shower turns cold after the first couple minutes. I stay under the water anyway, tilt my head back and focus on the mosaic of peeling paint and mold spots above me. Man, I never realized what a luxury hot water was until I moved in with my brother. I’m shivering to the point my teeth chatter together by the time I get out, but I couldn’t possibly be more awake.
Nessie is a Massachusetts native and mother of two who has dabbled in everything from abstract painting to freelance sports reporting. She also loves a good story, whether it's reading or writing one. The first two novels in her Living Dead World series--Living Dead Girl and Reaper Madness--were published in 2014.