Twenty-three years ago Alicia offered Mark fame and fortune as a rockstar, in exchange for an early death. Mark refused, walked away from Alicia and from music altogether. He walked away and made a life for himself, a success of himself.
But now Alicia is back, not a single day older than when Mark last saw her. Once again, she has a proposition for him, a proposal of artistic collaboration. Only this time, it’s an offer that Mark cannot refuse…
Once upon a time, Steve was a hotshot writer, the mastermind behind a series of hugely popular comic books. But Steve’s career also cost him his marriage and left him alone with only a shaggy grey dog for company. And sometimes, late at night, the doubts creep up on Steve and that niggling voice in his head just won’t shut up. Even worse, the voice sounds and looks just like Channa Dal, the time and dimension hopping amazon warrior from the Logarithms of Time series and Steve’s most popular creation. So is Steve going crazy or has Channa really left the comic pages to torment her creator?
Two troubled artists, two muses, two short tales of art, creativity, inspiration and the demons they sometimes unleash.
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Read an excerpt.
List price: 2.99 USD, EUR or 1.99 GBP
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More formats coming soon.
Some background information:
- Muse is 5200 words long and Crisis is 2500 words long. Both stories are digital premieres and have never been published elsewhere.
- The initial spark for Muse was a prompt generated by Andrew Bosley’s Brainstormer. The prompt I got were the words “fortress”, “grunge” and “betrayal”. I decided to give my both characters a background in the grunge scene of the late 1980s and early 1990s. “Fortress” became the name of the grunge club turned coffee bar. As for the betrayal, you’ll have to read the story to find out.
- The contract practices in the music industry described by Alicia are real. You can read more here.
- The early death that is the price paid by Alicia’s protégées is a reference to the so-called “27 Club”, namely that troubled but talented rockstars have the tendency to die at twenty-seven. Though Alicia also refers to Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston, both of whom lived to 48 and 51 respectively.
- Crisis was originally written for a university creative writing class sometime in the early 2000s. I completely forgot about the story until I came across a printout among a stack of university papers and notes I was packing up for attic storage. My curiosity was sparked by this story I had forgotten, so I read it and was surprised by how good it still was almost ten years after it was written. I’m not sure why I never did anything with Crisis before now, though I suspect that I trunked the story because my creative writing class didn’t like it.
- The first and last sentence of Crisis are the same. Coincidentally, that’s also the opening line of Steve’s Logarithms of Time comic series, repeated every single issue.
- Channa Dal, time traveling amazon and nasty voice in Steve’s head, was really named for a curry dish, namely this Indian lentil dish.
- Except for Batman, who was obviously created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger and is trademarked by DC Comics, all other comic series and characters mentioned in Crisis are my own creation. Indeed, I want to write the stories that go with titles like The Strange Adventures of Spinning Jenny (Steampunk, most definitely), Logarithms of Time (clearly about a snarky amazon warrior hopping through time and space) and Resurrection Punk (some sort of futuristic Cyberpunk tale featuring either zombies or immortals or a combination of both) some day, because the titles are damned cool, if I dare say so myself.
- The title Crisis is a reference to the 1980s DC Comics mega crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths.
- The current cover is digital art by Setory found via Dreamstime.com. The grunge look is certainly appropriate for the story and while she doesn’t look very much like I envision Alicia, the image was simply to gorgeous to pass up.
- I designed the old cover in the style of a grunge concert poster/flyer, because the grunge look was easier to pull off with my design skills than a comic book style cover. The female silhouette in the top left corner is supposed to represent Channa Dal, sword-swinging and time-hopping amazon warrior. The guitar bashing male silhouette in the top right corner is supposed to represent the doomed rockstars that are Alicia’s clients.