Posts Tagged ‘nicely done’

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I didn’t expect to love this book nearly as much as I did. I mean, it sounded good from its description and I come into every book expecting to love it, but to go this bonkers? Nope.

This is a Rock Fiction romance, and I know that I’ve been complaining about how many Rock Fiction romances there are anymore. But this one’s different. For one, it’s a “we’ve been in love forever but never admitted it to each other” trope. For another, Nolan runs away and changes his name after a tragedy. That generally makes it hard for a guy to admit his love to the best friend (who happens to be a girl) across the street. Oh, you can argue that because Hailey is one of the few people who knows the story of Nolan’s past, that makes it easier for him. But nope. He took off, high-tailed it out of town, and didn’t look back. Except for this one picture, this one tie. And the phone number of his other best friend, who is the person who sends the summons to Nolan that it’s time to come home.

So while we’ve got the romance thing happening, we also have the side story of Nolan needing to face his past. Because if anything will make a scared man face his past, it’s love.

That might have come out way more cynical than I meant it to be. It’s just that this is a pretty darn good way to spur someone into action. Threaten their loved one. How many books have been written based around this very plot? Thousands.

Again, more cynical than I want to be. It works. Hailey’s in trouble. Nolan comes running. It helps that his band is at a pivotal second in which he can run, sort of, mostly. But his band, for once, isn’t full of pricks, and they find a way to make it work. Nice twist on the usual Rock Fiction rules, there.

So Nolan rushes to Hailey’s side, and the two of them both have to deal with the amnesia issues they have. Too coincidental? Maybe, but I like how Hailey can’t remember but wants to while Nolan can remember but is terrified to. It sets up a good contrast to each other.

We’re not done with the plot, either. Nolan, in his alter ego as rock star Tyler, is supposedly dating this actress who just happens to be pursuing a music career. This is important because this is where the book gets back into Celebrity Fiction and the paparazzi, much like Lauren Weisberger’s Last Night at Chateau Marmont did. Only differently.

You know, now that I think about it, maybe there’s too much going on here. But it’s a fun read, and the story of Nolan’s history is pretty darn fascinating. His memories unfold in a way that allows the reader to see the pain in the situation but neither we nor Nolan are overwhelmed by them.

At the end, things are resolved too easily. The press conference scene? I’d be surprised if others don’t call author Lindenblatt out for it. It’s stupid. It’s cringe-worthy. What is it lately with normal people doing press conferences? Didn’t BJ Knapp do it, too?

Even the mysteries that unfold in the story—remember, both lead characters can’t remember violent scenes, which pushes this romance near the idea of being a mystery or thriller of some sort—come together too easily and are a bit too pat. But we’re not reading this book for its plot. We’re reading it for the romance and the way these two overcome the obstacles—mostly Nolan’s memories—in front of them, and that’s ultimately why I loved this so much.

There’s a sweetness between Nolan and Hailey. You can’t help but pull for them. And because the Rock Fiction here is handled really well: there’s no clichéd scene where he writes music or lyrics on her body, and while Nolan’s music is written with Hailey in mind, he’s more matter-of-fact about it while Hailey is hopeful that she’s the object. And right there’s that sweetness again.
More than in a lot of Rock Fiction, Nolan’s career is handled as a job. Add in the other twists to the usual stuff we see in Rock Fiction and this right here is a winner.

So, yeah. There are some logic gaps you may need to overlook, but Nolan’s story carries the day, and these two are sweet. It’s good. It works. And it makes for a fun read.

Thanks to NetGalley for approving us for a review copy!

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Remember about two weeks back, when Kevin Doyle stopped in to talk about how his short story (which we loved around here. I finally convinced Susan to share her review copy and man, she’s right about it. Read this one) was being turned into a radio show?

Well, it didn’t all go smoothly. The radio station messed up and forgot to play it when it was scheduled. But Kevin worked some magic — which was probably more Halloweeny than not, given that he usually writes horror — and got ’em to run it the week after. Which was last Friday.

So here’s Kevin again to tell us about what it was like.

As I mentioned in the first part of this post, last summer I began making inquiries around Columbia, which resulted in Maplewood Barn Community Theatre expressing interest in performing my novelette “One Helluva Gig” as a radio show. The program ran this past Friday night on KBIA radio here in Columbia. After five months of waiting, the time had come to hear the finished product, the first time any of my prose had been converted to another medium.

It was a seasonal night, with the temp in the low seventies, so I cranked the radio on and partook myself to my balcony, complete with a nice view of the changing colors of the woods across from my place, and stretched myself out to listen, for the first time ever, to a new version of one of my stories, one I had had little to do with. (Basically, my contribution to the endeavor lay in telling Brad Buchanan that his script looked fine to me. Other people did all the actual work.)

And while they’d let me sit in during rehearsal and taping, I hadn’t yet heard the whole thing put together.

As the program started, I tensed a bit. Hearing my name and the title of my work mentioned over the radio felt a bit odd, but nothing I couldn’t handle. The beauty of it was that, already knowing the story so well and how the individual lines would sound, I didn’t have to concentrate on the individual parts but instead could listen for the full effect.

So how did it all work out?

All in all, pretty darned well. Obviously, when you take a seventy-page novelette and reduce it to about twenty pages of script, some stuff is going to be lost. And when what’s essentially a interior narrative piece is turned into more of a dialogue piece, even more changes will crop up. As I mentioned in the first part of this post, they did a good job of capturing the plot, though some of the pathos had to, inevitably, be left out. Or at least that’s how I saw it.

Yeah, okay. But how did the darned thing sound? Specifically, how did it sound nearly three years after I wrote the story, almost two years since Vagabondage Press published it in e-book form, and five months after that initial sitdown meeting with Byron and Brad?

When I’d attended the voice taping, a few days after rehearsal, I’d felt assured that these people knew what they were doing. Naturally, I could fill in for myself some of the background characterization that the script couldn’t include, but at the taping I’d heard a handful of people doing various voices as they recited lines from a script. (Which, of course, is what they were doing.)

However, the complete production included slices of music buffering the scenes, pulling the listener out of one mood and setting the tone for the next scene. And for me, that really made the difference. (As I understand it, the credit for all of that goes to Amy Humphrey.) As I sat there on my balcony, the sun setting behind the tree line, I was listening to an actual story, darn it. Not just some folks sitting around a table reading a script. I could trace the passage of time in the changing voices, hear the intelligence in the Dairy Queen girl, and feel the pathos as Jeffers expresses just how hard it is to be famous in a world that simply will not leave you be.
It was all there, maybe not in the same way that it comes across on the printed page, but the voices and the accompanying music created a different dimension, one apart from the straight printed version.

Shortly after the show ended, I made a short posting to my social media pages that summed up, in one short line, my overall feelings.

To the crew at Maplewood Barn Community Theatre, thanks guys, for taking such good care of my baby.

People of note:
Byron Scott – President, Board of Directors
Brad Buchanan – writer and artistic director
Joe Hayes – cast, production
Todd Salazar – cast
Amy Humphrey – cast, production
Darren Hellwege – cast, production
Kelli Moore – Podcast publishing

Kevin, I gotta tell you this: Susan’s jealous.