Anyone who's read either of my first two novels, Stuck Outside of Phoenix and Ghost Notes, has a good idea what to expect from Badge. I'm interested in writing about characters who love music so much they take on the musician trade themselves and try to ascend the same heights as their rock and roll heroes. I'm also interested in, when they come down, where they land, and how hard.
Badge is more ambitious than my previous two novels. Stuck is 42,000 words, Ghost Notes is 57,000, Badge is 83,000. For those of you who wanted Stuck and Ghost to be longer, I heard you.
Also, Badge, while technically the sequel of Ghost Notes, features a new main character, Badge, who departs significantly from Hote. I love Hote, but after spending a decade trying to get him to do something as simple as drive out of town, I wanted a less reserved protagonist, one who isn't afraid to drink and fight and fuck, whose emotional and spiritual troubles lie elsewhere. Hote and Badge share a love of rock, but they probably wouldn't survive in the same band.
I started writing novels because I wanted to use words to relay the high of playing live. I think, if Badge does one thing well, it shows what it's like to be in the middle of a rock show and slaying it for a ga-ga audience.
Anyone who follows my writing knows how hard I tried to get Badge published traditionally. I've explored here and here why this was important to me, but I've come to realize I already have enough people who believe in what I do: first, my wife Raquel, who's signed on to create cover art for Badge; and you, the hundreds of people who have read my work and made it known you get it. What more do I really need?
I've now written three novels. The first is set in 1990, the second in 1995, and Badge in 2000. I'm just about finished with the first draft of Novel 4, which is set in 2005. See a pattern here? My plan is to do ten of these, creating a kind of Star Wars series for rockers as we move through youth, middle and old age. If you're reading this, there's a good chance that's your story too. Help me make it happen.
Here's the blurb of Badge:
Aging rock guitarist Badge drank and cheated his way out of his best chance at life. For eight years he's managed to stay off the booze and, not coincidentally, out of the music business. But in 2000, flat broke and fearing passionless days ahead, he accepts work in Los Angeles with a new artist, young punk diva Betty. The gig promises great pay, professional studios and Badge's last best chance to rock at the top of the heap, that is, if he can keep his mind on the music and away from bars, back alleys and backstage temptations that greet him at every turn.
Meanwhile, the music business is undergoing monumental change, with bands turning to the Internet to reach their fan bases and record companies making criminals of their customers. With a lead singer looking for more from her guitarist than memorable solos, a ten-year-old son curious about his dad's new world, and an ex-wife who misses nothing, Badge navigates both home and road life with values accrued in a bygone era, and toward a future as murky as a used shot glass.
You can find the first chapter of Badge here.
As with my previous two novels, you can expect a song from the book to act as its "single." The single for Badge is called "Calypso," and I think it's the best one yet.
Risks and challenges
Publishing Badge myself means I have to work about ten times harder to bring it to you. The good news is I already know how to do it. Both of my previous self-published novels were reviewed widely and favorably. Stuck Outside of Phoenix won an Editors' Choice award and was made into a feature film. Ghost Notes won the 2009 PODBRAM Award for best work of contemporary fiction. The only one who can screw up Badge is me, and I won't let that happen.
So I leave Badge in the hands of the people who care about it. Take a look at the rewards, and please donate to bring the novel to life, with great cover art; impeccable editing, formatting and proofreading; and a story that will not disappoint. We're just starting this journey. Climb aboard now.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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