Almost release day – not just for me!

As the release date for Darkness Falls quickly approaches, I can’t help but feel excited. After all, it’s taken me a long time to get the damn thing written, and it represents the culmination of at least 20 years of writing for me. I introduced the world of the Brethren in 2007, but Brandon and his kin have been part of my creative consciousness long before that. They went through several different incarnations (and mediums, too!) before finally making it to the page as they exist today, and they’ve become a very important, intrinsic parts of my life. Leaving behind that world and those characters will be bittersweet, for sure, even as I discover new ones for new stories that I’m working on.

As it turns out, I’m not the only one with a book launching soon. My friend, Anne C. Miles, is getting ready to release her first book, one that she, too, has been working on for years, and I’m absolutely tickled shitless for her. It’s a fantasy entitled Sorrowfish, and it’s the first in a series about a bard, a wizard, and a college student from Kentucky.

The official blurb:

51W6Lhwo2HLSara is having crazy dreams. Gryphon and dragon crazy and she’s not even a geek. The scary part? She wakes up with scratches and splinters. Is she losing it because of stress? One more unfinished sculpture will fully tank her grades. Goodbye bachelor’s degree, hello failure. Her twin sister is in a coma. On top of everything else, her best friend Peter wants to date.

It’s enough to make anyone sleepwalk.

Choosing to defy the Conclave, Bard-in-training Trystan risks capture and mind control to find a magical lute through a shadow network. Luthier-wizard Dane meets a sinister stranger and barely escapes with his life. Dane’s fate entwines with Trystan’s when they must end an ancient curse, guided by a fae they only know as Sara.

I can’t wait to read it, and not just because I’m kind of partial to her heroine’s name. (Ahem!) I’ve known Anne for a long time. Back in the day, she and I went to college together. During the summer between freshman and sophomore years, we worked at a summer camp as counselors together. She taught arts and crafts to the kids there, and she’s always been a brilliantly creative soul. Although we fell out of touch for many years after college, we reconnected around 13 years ago or so. I wasn’t the least bit surprised to find she’d started her own successful graphic arts and web design company. Turns out in addition to being a creative genius, she’s also an expert at managing her own business. When she decided she wanted to take a shot at a lifelong ambition and write/publish a book, it makes perfect sense that she would approach the process with the same careful attention to detail, meticulous planning, and marketing savvy with which she built her professional brand.

As for me, I’ve fallen pathetically behind in book marketing strategies. When “Dark Thirst” was originally published in 2007, it was an entirely different world in terms of marketing and promoting. Many of the tools that were staples for authors (at least, of romance fiction) at that time are gone now, like Romantic Times Book Reviews magazine. And with the explosion of independent and self-publishing industries, there’s more competition than ever to try and attract readers.

It can feel really overwhelming as an old dog trying to pick up on these new tricks. Luckily for me, Anne has put a lot of conscientious time, effort, and energy into learning them, too, and she’s gracious enough to share what she’s learned, not just with me, but with other writers. Her blog is an invaluable resource for marketing tips and helpful links. For example, in a recent post, she recaps what she’s done so far on the limited budget she’s working with. A lot of it deals with ways she is trying to build her email list, which is something I need to do, too, so I’m definitely going to implement some of the things she has tried. I used to have an email list back when “Dark Thirst” released, but it’s long gone now, and I’m guessing even if I had it, 99% of the emails on the list would no longer be valid.

If you’re reading this, you can click the link from my homepage to sign up for my newsletter/email list. I’m going to use it to offer giveaways, coupons, excerpts, and more, once I get a good subscriber base.

In the meantime, you can check out more about my friend Anne and her upcoming novel, Sorrowfish, here.

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Songs to write by, part 2

Another song that I used as inspiration while writing Darkness Falls was this beautiful, acoustic version of “Take on Me” by A-ha. I first heard it in the movie Deadpool 2, but it’s been around for awhile before that, too. I loved to listen to it whenever I would write scenes with Brandon and Lina (SPOILER ALERT, I guess). It captured just that perfect mix of romance and melancholy that I feel kind of embodies the point in their relationship they’ve reached in this book.

Anyway, it’s a beautiful version of the song, completely different than the pop radio version.

Special thanks and a special song

Writing Darkness Falls was a team effort, or so I like to think. It’s been at least five years in the making, and God knows I started and stopped it enough times. I have enough half-finished draft versions and abandoned scenes to probably stitch together another three full manuscripts, at least.

I would not have finished this book had it not been for a message I received from a reader named Riley. Up to that point, I’d posted occasional updates on my Facebook page, usually just apologies for still not having finished the damn thing, but also at times sharing my disappointment and discouragement in how one of the previous books, Dark Vengeance, Part 2, had been received by readers. I felt torn between telling the story I wanted to tell, the way I’d envisioned it, and trying to please all of my angry and frustrated readers.

Riley reached out to me, sending me a message through Facebook, to let me know how much she’d enjoyed the series. She is a visual artist, she told me, and she empathized with my struggle to please my audience, while staying true to myself. More than this, she encouraged me to trust my instincts as a writer, and to tell the story the way I wanted. Her kind and supportive words were exactly what I needed to hear, at a time when I really needed to hear them. And along the way, as I worked on Darkness Falls, she continued to stay in contact with me, offering encouragement. She really was instrumental in the completion of this book. I don’t think it would have ever been finished without her–and I know for sure that it wouldn’t have been as good without her.

As I was writing, I also found a lot of inspiration from music, and from one song in particular. I happened upon it by accident, a piece written and performed by contemporary instrumentalist Kori Linae Carothers. It’s called Carpe Diem, and it’s from her album “Ides of Trillium.” Whenever I was feeling stumped while writing, I tucked in my earbuds, cued up this song, and instantly found myself immersed in the world of Darkness Falls, right there in thick of things. This song became a compass of sorts for me as a writer and a storyteller as I wrote Darkness Falls, helping me find my creative “true north” whenever I heard it.

So, of course, I have to share it with you, and share a link to Kori Linae Carothers’s website. I need to try and email her one of these days, if only to thank her for her beautiful song and let her know how much it helped me with this book. And if only to provide her (I hope) with the same kind of encouragement and support that my friend Riley gave to me.

 

End of summer

My kids go back to school this week. There’s always a bittersweet transition when this happens, and the house suddenly feels really quiet and empty during the daytime. Several years ago, to compensate for this, I bought a pair of zebra finches, hoping their singing would make up for the silence. I really wanted a canary, because the pet store near us keeps a breeding pair on display, and their songs are so beautiful to listen to. But canaries cost around $300 apiece, while zebra finches, by contrast, cost $25 each. Not knowing how my luck with keeping a pet bird alive would be, I figured the safest, if not cheapest, option would be to start with the finches and work my way up eventually from there.

I bought a male and a female. He has the usual markings, a mix of grey and brown with speckles and spots, and orange patches on each of his cheeks. She was white, with a bright orange beak. We named them Bonnie and Clyde. I read that they mate for life and thought, “Isn’t that romantic?”

Eventually we started to find little eggs inside the nest in their cage. Eventually, one of those eggs developed to fruition, and much to our delight, a baby bird was born. By the time he figured out how to fly, the nest was pretty much hidden beneath a four-inch thick layer of dried bird dookie, so that’s what we named him. Dookie. When, shortly after that, Bonnie produced three more eggs and all of them hatched, I decided that was probably going to be more birds than I wanted to deal with.

Yes, the fanciful life of a bird owner had not turned out as idyllically as I’d imagined. For one thing, zebra finches don’t sing, not like their canary cousins. There are no pretty, trilling runs or melodic chirps. They squawk. It’s not a pretty sound. It’s actually kind of grating.

For another thing, birds are really messy. They make little nets you can wrap around the bottom of the cage to try and prevent some of the birdseed shells and wayward feathers from flying out, but these are not foolproof. Birds are messy eaters. They’re messy drinkers. They like to pick and peck and scatter things. And they shit everywhere. In their nest. On their nest. On their perches, food bowl, water dish, the bars of their cage–basically anywhere they can point their little bird butt, they’re going to shit on it.

So when Bonnie popped out three more eggs, and those eggs in turn popped out three more birds, once they were old enough to fly, I promptly popped them into a box and gave them to the pet store in exchange for a bag of bird seed. It was, to paraphrase Wind in His Hair from Dances With Wolves, a “good trade.”

About this time, Clyde, the male bird, started picking on Bonnie, the female with whom he was supposedly so romantically linked for life. He plucked out her feathers, leaving bald patches all over her. He chased her relentlessly around the cage, preventing her from getting to the food and water. So I put her in her own cage, leaving Clyde and Dookie in the other. I put the cages side by side so she wouldn’t be lonely, and she’d sit on a perch all day long, staring wistfully into Clyde’s cage, directly at Clyde, who sat on a perch in his own cage, doing the same. They looked so miserable and depressed, I finally caved in and stuck Bonnie back in with Clyde and Dookie. Several days later, we found her dead, plucked nearly bald, on the floor of the cage.

Birds.

So anyway, this time of year always leaves me feeling melancholy, both because I know that terrible silence is coming once the kids are back in school. But also because it makes me think of poor ol’ Bonnie, and how I’m glad I didn’t spend $300 on a canary to learn that particularly cruel little life lesson.

On the writing front, I’ve pretty much spent the entire weekend uploading all of the Brethren books to Amazon for paperback release, and tweaking the covers in Photoshop to get everything …if not perfect, well then, as close as I am going to bother. I’ve also been trying to figure out why my domain name is down. It appears to be a problem with GoDaddy, my host. It figures as soon as I try to update my site and maybe attract new readers to it, the damn thing stops working right.

Anyhoo, here’s to two more days of summer vacation.

 

Long time, no see (and a sneak peek at Darkness Falls)

Wow! It’s been over a year since I last dusted off this blog and posted anything. In fact, I’d actually closed up shop here for most of that time, and removed the link from my site. After some thought, I’ve decided not only to bring it back again, but to try and get back into the habit of updating it, not just without about news of my writing, but about life in general, too.

But first, a writing update. If you don’t already know, DARKNESS FALLS, the very-long-awaited conclusion to the Brethren Series has finally been completed, and will be released in ebook and paperback on August 30, 2019. You can now pre-order the ebook version through Amazon.

DARKNESS FALLS

Thank you so much to all of my readers who have so patiently waited for it all of these years, and those who have reached out to me along the way, offering support and encouragement during a time when, I have to admit, as a writer, I was feeling pretty down and out.

As I was dusting off the ol’ blog here, I discovered a post from several years ago, right around the time the last Brethren book, In the Heart of Darkness came out. In it, I talked about how some of the events mentioned in the story had actually occurred in real-life, and how I like to do that–find people, places, and events from history that I can incorporate into my stories.

This, ironically, was going to be the topic of this new blog post, as well, because I did the same thing several times in Darkness Falls. For example, check out this sneak peek from Darkness Falls, an exclusive excerpt I’m sharing only on my blog:

***

In 1838, Aaron had traveled with his father and Julien to London, England. He remembered feeling excited about the trip, as giddy as a child at the prospect of visiting another country, not to mention the sea voyage that had taken them there. They had embarked aboard the S.S. Great Western, a paddle-wheel steamship, and the first of its kind to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Sailing from New York City to London would have taken well over a month, but aboard the Great Western, they’d made the crossing in less than two weeks.

It had been a strange time for Aaron, still soon enough after his recovery from Lamar’s assault that he had no memories of his life before he’d woken up in the care of Dr. Samuel Wilks in Boston. He supposed in retrospect he’d seen the world from an almost childlike perspective, then, everything brand new and fascinating to him. Everything an adventure.

It had been before Lamar had ever dreamed up anything like the juice, more than a century and a half before he would start ordering Aaron to be regularly tortured and mutilated in order to harvest the somatotrophin from his blood, the enzyme that allowed him to heal at an accelerated rate—faster even than any of the other Brethren because he’d been given the first blood.

It had also been more than fifteen years since Lamar had first arrived at Dr. Wilks’s doorstep in the Charlestown district of Boston to deliver a bewildered Aaron—who hadn’t known or recognized him—back to Kentucky. By that point, the son of a bitch had grown bored enough with his game of making Julien beat the shit out of him to have given up on it. Or at least cut back, which had meant for a very brief while, Aaron hadn’t hated his father all of the time. In fact, sometimes, like during that trip to London, he actually hadn’t minded the old fuck much.

Lamar had rented accommodations for them, a modest house on Bruton Street, near Berkeley Square in Picadilly. On their first night there, he’d brought them to another home in the St.-Martin-in-the-Fields district for what Aaron had at first mistaken to be a dinner party of some sort. A loose crowd of maybe a dozen people had gathered, well-to-do men and women who’d stood around in loosely assembled groups, speaking together in hushed tones over cocktails. At least until they’d all been ushered into a large parlor on the home’s second floor. Here, they’d been introduced to their host, a man named Dr. Thomas Pettigrew.

Pettigrew, it seemed, had been an antiquarian, as well as a renowned surgeon. His area of special interest was mummies, and that was why Lamar had brought Aaron and Julien there that night, to watch as Pettigrew had hacked, sawed, ripped, and dismembered the mummified remains of an Egyptian woman he said had been buried in Thebes more than 2,000 years earlier.

In his lifetime, Aaron had seen plenty of things come and go, fads and trends that had come in like wildfire, only to eventually wither and fade away into forgotten obscurity. In the 1930s, it had been swallowing live goldfish. In 1980s, Cabbage Patch Kid dolls and kush balls. In the 1830s, it had been anything and everything Egypt—and nothing more so than mummies.

Pettigrew had put on a good show, not just leaving the corpse prone on a table as he’d set to work removing the wrappings binding her, layer by layer. He’d attached the mummy to some kind of contraption fashioned out of levers and pulleys, so her arms and legs had moved, rising and falling in a jerky, grotesque fashion, pivoting her from side to side as he’d worked. Around the room, he’d set out what he’d called ushabti, or funerary containers carved in the likenesses of animal-faced Egyptian deities in which the mummy’s internal organs had been stored.

“The ancient Egyptians believed that the ba—the mind—was separate and distinct from this, the ka, or physical body,” Pettigrew had told the crowd of morbidly fascinated onlookers while he worked. “The ba could leave and return again at will, which is why the ka had to be preserved after death. So the mind would always have a form to return to.”

Julien had seemed vaguely disturbed by it all, or at least more interested in the free brandy Dr. Pettigrew had served, and he’d left the parlor less than half-way through. Aaron, however, had remained, and he remembered watching, fixated and amazed by the theatrical autopsy. When at last, the mummy’s spindly remains had been revealed, skin like dried-out leather stretched tautly against underlying bones, the faintly discernable outline remaining of eyelids, lips, and nose, he remembered the smell of her—musty and vaguely spicy, like apples that had been left to dry-rot in a cellar corner.

***

Dr. Thomas Pettigrew actually existed, and did indeed have a penchant for throwing private parties in his home during which he would “autopsy” Egyptian mummies in bizarre, theatrical displays such as the one described in Darkness Falls. Pettigrew considered himself to be an expert in the field of antiquities, and even published what was long considered to be the definitive guide on ancient Egyptian burial rituals and practices. You can read more about Dr. Pettigrew here.

Likewise, the steamship described in the scene, the S.S. Great Western, also existed. It was the world’s largest passenger ship from 1837 to 1839. You can read more about it here.

For what it’s worth, yes, people in the 1930s really got their shits and giggles by swallowing live goldfish, and those of us who lived through the 1980s remember only too well the maniacal craze induced by Cabbage Patch Dolls every year at Christmas.

Stay tuned for additional sneak peeks at Darkness Falls. As for me, I’m going to hit the grocery store. When you’re out of toilet paper and milk, it won’t wait until Saturday.

 

Housekeeping

Went through my old blog posts and cleaned a bunch out – mostly those promising (yet again) that Darkness Falls will be coming soon. I’d say it again, but…you know…

In the meantime, the rights to Dark Thirst, Dark Hunger, and Dark Passion, the first three books in The Brethren Series have reverted from their original publishers back to me. This gives me the opportunity to re-release them independently, which I am planning to do in August. Be on the look out for more details.

(P.S. I’m planning on re-releasing Dark Thirst and Dark Hunger for free!)

As part of the process of re-releasing these titles, I decided to take the opportunity to revamp the series (It’s a vampire romance series, and I’m re-vamping it. See what I did there? LMAO) and completely redo all of the cover artwork. That way, the series is visually branded instead of being a hodgepodge of different art styles, colors, fonts, etc., like the old ones. I’ll be replacing the old ones on Amazon sales pages soon, but in the meantime, you can check out the new, upcoming  covers on my website: www.sarareinke.com or just peek below!

P.P.S. I really am working on Darkness Falls. I swear to God. I am struggling against the worst case of writer’s block I’ve had in ages – it’s going on four years long now – and I’m just swamped between my day job as a nurse and family life. And everything all of these entail, LOL.

Of singing rabbits and Indiana Jones: An Earth Day Retrospective

Earth Day, 1990: The 20th anniversary of the Earth Day celebration. It was kind of a big deal because the world wasn’t so eco-friendly or eco-smart back in those days, but we were starting to try a little harder, and making some progress. And at my high school, for some unknown reason, the Adults in Charge let me write and direct a series of short plays commemorating the occasion, and these were then (even more astonishing) performed before the entire student body.

I actually dusted off and tinkered with one of those plays several years later, and it was selected for performance as part of the Western Kentucky Playwrights Festival in Murray. It featured two teen boys, best friends since childhood, but polar opposites in personality, talking about how one boy had knocked up his girlfriend. There were liberal political statements galore in both the Earth Day, and later the Festival versions of that play. Most not particularly subtle, because well…I’m not. I wish I could find the script for it. Both times it was performed, the actors portraying the characters did great, as memory served, and really brought my story to life. That remains one of my proudest moments as a writer.

Then, of course, we had the “main show,” a satirical piece which, as memory serves, had a princess, a bunch of singing rabbits, a witty narrator who lipsynced Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al”, and Indiana Jones, barreling onstage from the back of the packed auditorium to the blaring sound of the iconic theme music. Yeah, it didn’t make a lot of sense, and I probably violated all kinds of copyright laws. But the crowd enjoyed it. LOL, that, too, remains a pretty proud moment.

And that’s what why Earth Day always makes me smile.

Audio version, “The Periphery People”

I stumbled across this video online today. It’s an audio version of my short story, “The Periphery People,” performed by a video blogger named Natenator. He saw my story on Creepypasta.com and enjoyed it so much, he selected it for narration — such a wonderful, unexpected, welcome surprise! I think he does a phenomenal job — he has a fantastic voice, perfect for the mood and atmosphere of this spooky little yarn. I hope you enjoy as much I did!

Sometimes inspiration in writing comes completely by surprise. Such was the case for me while working on my newest release (which launches today!), In the Heart of Darkness. Because the main characters in the story are both vampires, each of whom has lived around 240+ years, parts of the story take place at various points in the past, as well as in the present. For example, Mason and Julien first meet in the late 1700s, and reunite in 1818 in Boston, Massachusetts. Mason is attending Harvard Medical School, which was relatively new at that time. I wanted him to have something to talk about in terms of his life on campus, his classes, and started researching Harvard in the year 1818.

To my surprise, I discovered something quite relevant that I wound up including in the plot. In 1818, the entire sophomore class at Harvard was summarily expelled following several incidents on campus that marked the first organized student protest activities in the United States. The first such incident was a food fight. Really. While the food fight itself was probably more in fun than anything, when instigators were admonished for it, the student body rebelled, considering the punishment unfair. Teachers were heckled, administrators publicly ridiculed and mocked. Protests were organized. Mayhem ensued. And the rest, as they say, was history.

You can read more about the “Harvard Student Rebellion of 1818” here. But you can also read about it in the pages of In the Heart of Darkness:

“Have you tendered your letter of resignation yet, Morin?”

Mason glanced at his friend and fellow classmate at Harvard, David Gorham, as they tromped side by side along the snow-slickened cobbled sidewalk. They walked with their shoulders hunched, their gloved hands stuffed deeply into their coat pockets, and their breath frosted the air around their heads in dim, hazy clouds.

“I’ve yet to figure out a way to explain to my father why I’d do such a thing,” Mason said.

David laughed, his cheeks bright red, chafed with the cold. “Because the college’s treatment of their student body is nothing short of bloody tyranny,” he proclaimed. “The very same sort against which our fathers fought so valiantly to be freed from. A college should promote free and independent thought and self-expression—not seek to stifle it, or persecute those who would express it.”

Mason rolled his eyes. It all seemed rather ridiculous to him—circumstances that had, without question, been blown out of proportion. What had started as an innocent-enough, if not somewhat destructive, food fight in University Hall involving a majority of sophomore class had swelled to melodramatic proportions. Two of the school’s more venerable and influential instructors had been publicly ridiculed by the student body during a protest in defense of those suspended as a result. David—who had played a fairly instrumental role in the food fight that had instigated all of the trouble—seemed to be enjoying the entire debacle immensely, but to Mason—who hadn’t taken part—it all seemed a bit childish.

“Besides, what’s the point of resigning?” Mason asked. “They’ve already deemed we’re all to be expelled anyway—the entire class.”

And how the hell he was going to explain that to Michel was a more pressing concern than any pretentious and meaningless resignation. He’d pleaded for nearly a year before his father had agreed to let him travel on his own to Boston in order to attend Harvard Medical School. Three years had passed since the horrific fires that had destroyed their clan’s great house and left them living in exile, secreted from their fellow Brethren. Three years had passed since he’d last seen Julien and he had been forbidden to send as much as a postcard, not even a note, to let him know of his survival. In the aftermath, his heart had seemingly crumbled beneath the overwhelming weight of his loss.

“Yes, but they’ll let you reapply next term,” David said. “And you’ll be back in for sure, Morin. You’re not one for causing trouble. And your grades have been splendid for sure. Just rent a flat and bide your time until enrollment comes around again. Trust me—your father will never know.” He clapped his hand against Mason’s shoulder. “Come on, don’t look so glum. I’ll hire us a hackney and we’ll ride out to Beacon Hill. That should cheer you up.”

“What’s at Beacon Hill?” Mason asked. He knew of the area, of course. On one hand, it was home of the Massachusetts State House. But on the other, it was an area where many of the city’s poorer populace resided, one notorious for its taverns, inns, and other establishments of ill or illegal repute. He wasn’t about to admit this aloud, however, and especially to David, whom he knew only casually, and thus feigned innocent obliviousness as he spoke.

“Any manner of debauchery and impropriety you can imagine,” David promised with a grin. “Some even call it Satan’s seat. The ale flows like water, and the whores are always welcoming. It’s the perfect place to celebrate a successful rebellion!”

(And for the record, Mason’s friend, David Wood Gorham was an actual historical figure, who was indeed involved in the food fight rebellion and who went on to become a prominent New England physician. I like to throw these sorts of Easter eggs into my books.)

Publishing ain’t dead, either!

I saw this on my Facebook newsfeed this morning and thought it was very much on-point. I discovered a long time ago that Dee Snider, lead singer of the band Twisted Sister, is an extremely insightful and articulate man. In the commentary below, I think he’s spot-on, not just about the music industry, but about a lot of the creative industries in general. I think his observations could just as easily apply to the publishing world as well, and the rise of independent publishing in the last decade.

Back then, electronic publishers and independent publishing were on the cusp of the massive break-throughs both have enjoyed in recent years, but the former stigmas were still attached, and it was generally accepted that the “traditional” publishing model was still the way to go. Today, we know differently – while yes, many writers go on to publishing success through traditional means, many others enjoy that same degree of success through their own publishing endeavors, or through smaller electronic imprints and publishers. Rather than find this to be the “death” of publishing, I find it an exciting development that continues to help our industry evolve.

Anyway… Mr. Snider’s original comments (which are, of course, copyrighted to him):

POINT / COUNTER POINT: “ROCK ‘N’ ROLL AIN’T DEAD” by Dee Snider

“Recently, my esteemed colleague, Gene Simmons of Kiss declared that “Rock ‘n’ Roll is finally dead”. Really?

While I have nothing but respect for Gene, he couldn’t be further off the mark. Yes, the rock ‘n’ roll “business model” that helped Kiss (and my band for that matter) achieve fame and fortune is most certainly long dead and buried, but rock ‘n’ roll is alive and well and thriving on social media, in the streets, and in clubs and concert halls all over the world. And the bands playing it are more genuine and heartfelt than ever because they are in it for one reason: the love of rock ‘n’ roll.

Spend some time seeing and listening to these incredible young bands and their rabid fans and you will know that rock ‘n’ roll couldn’t be more alive. Yes, it’s not the same as it was for the first 50 years of rock’s existence, but the fire definitely still burns.

And it wasn’t some 15 year old kid in Saint Paul, Minnesota (to paraphrase Mr. Simmons) who killed the rock ‘n’ roll goose that laid the platinum egg…it was greedy, big city, record company moguls who made their own velvet noose to hang themselves with. It was they who took advantage of the consumer (and the artist for that matter) and drove them to use an alternative source of music presented to them.

For example, take the bill of goods the record industry sold the mainstream public when introducing the CD format. “We have to charge more for it, because it’s a new technology and there’s a cost to setting up the infrastructure to produce them.” The consumer believed them–it made sense–so they paid a $18.98 list price for a product they had been paying $7.99 list for previously. After all “you can’t break a CD with a hammer!” (Remember that?)

But when the infrastructure was in place and paid for in full, and the cost of producing a CD dropped to less than a dollar, did the record companies roll back the list price in kind? Not on your life. They weren’t about to do the right thing and cut their increased revenue stream. Those fat cats were enjoying their ill-gotten gains way too much.

So when the general public finally realized they were being had, and the opportunity arose for them to stick it to the man, what did they do? The same thing their Woodstock Nation, baby boomer parents had done when they had their chance…they stuck it and they stuck it good. Does anyone remember Abbey Hoffman’s “Steal this Book”, the massive selling, early 70’s hippy guide “focused on ways to fight the government, and against corporations in any way possible.”

Multiply that by a googolplex.

Is it hard to make it rock ‘n’ roll? You bet. Always was, always will be. Will rockers make as much money as they did “back in the day”? Probably not. But that won’t stop them, and they’ll be motivated by a much more genuine love of the art, and great rock will continue to be produced, played and embraced by rock fans.

So in conclusion: Record company executives killed the old rock ‘n’ roll business model…and Rock ‘n’ Roll Ain’t Dead!

Dee Snider/ September 10th, 2014