Where the Road Roams
Horror films have always been an influence on my writing. I remember reading Salem’s Lot after seeing the Tobe Hooper miniseries with the creepy floating vampire kids and being amazed at how different the story was. I saw lots and lots of horror films in the eighties. I rented everything with a cool cover and saw every single horror film released in a theater near my house. Before the internet, it was books, films, and Fangoria magazine for me. I sought H.P. Lovecraft after seeing Re-animator and From Beyond and if there was a novelization of a film say April Fool’s Day or Friday the 13th Part 6 - Jason Lives, I had it. During this time the creative process struck me. I wanted to make a film. I wrote shorts about killers and zombies, renting a camcorder and filming some in the backyard. Others were more ambitious and never made it past the page. I wrote a sequel to the first eight Friday the 13th films tying up all the loose ends with Jason and his father as killers picking off survivors, starting in New York and making their way back to Crystal Lake. The final showdown had Chris Higgins and Tina Shepherd rescued from an insane asylum by Ginny Field, their psychiatric counselor, to meet up with Trish and Tommy Jarvis for the ultimate confrontation. I also wrote a Maximum Overdrive inspired one using things around the house like the washing machine, garage door opener, lawn mower, and a car. The one that got the farthest along was my Dario Argento inspired slasher with some Lucio Fulci moments thrown in for good measure. The ultra-violent script, The Deadfall, was written in response to the rampant censorship of the times. My friends helped me make a set that was a torture room dungeon in an abandoned family owned house. Alas, The Deadfall came to a sudden end with a car wreck until resurfacing decades later as a short in my book, Anarchy. These were fun and there is nothing like the dreams of being a teenager when anything is possible.
Also during those times, I discovered the world of audiobooks on cassette. The first one I bought on a lark was Flowers in the Attic. I may never have read that disturbing, incestrous, gothic book if it were not for that tape. The second was an amazing adaptation of Stephen King’s The Mist with sound effects. Closing my eyes, it was like living a movie. As time has passed, the lessons of film have stayed with me in visualization. Flash forward and it was an honor to record a book of my own. Too bad there were no sound effects or musical score, but the campfire feeling of telling a story is still cool.
My first audiobook, Where the Road Roams, recorded at Double J Studios on Friday the 13th of November 2015 was an interesting process. I narrated the troubling tale, of brothers on the streets, shut in a soundproof room with a microphone to read roughly a chapter at a time. It was an all day marathon read. Hearing my own voice is strange, no matter the format. I never get use to it, from film work to answering machine recordings of old. The recording was followed by the mastering process and submission to ACX. Editing was long distance as I had left Houston and was living in a cabin in the woods in New Braunfels. There was a back and forth QC and some things were recorded there and incorporated into the mix. I spent a lot of time keeping track of runtimes in a log. Submission to ACX began the following January with a final version released on February 25th, 2016. Overall, the project took about three months to complete. I hope it makes an enjoyable listen for the curious.
Here is an old FB post about Where the Road Roams:
My first novella, Where the Road Roams, came in around 2005. I had written some raw and rather primitive screenplays and wanted to try my hand at a book.
My inspiration came from the neighborhood I lived in at the time, the Montrose. A place with no zoning, it was a mix of inner city suburbia and urban street life. It offered a chance to see a different part of life, and a chance to be a voyeur. I frequented a bar named the 6ll to watch people, taking notes of the hustlers and the street life that came in and out of the place. I decided to write a story of two brothers, one just out of rehab (Dean) and the other (Mark) lost on the streets I was observing. I knew there had to be a dark past that fragmented their lives, especially for Dean. He was searching for his brother Mark, feeling guilty of a past sin he could not name.
The style of the novella was influenced by William S. Burroughs. Every moment short and out of place was my intent to show how the character experienced the world. Chapter ten, where there is an LSD induced train ride, furthers the journey as a cut up portion of the story. Burroughs used the method of cutting up prose and even stories, rearranging them to create an abstract form. I did not go as far as incorporating unrelated material to see if it fit, but I did take a poem, a past story of abuse, and a present one of the trip and arrange them into a cut up that informs the crux of the story: the everlasting effect of abuse on the psyche of an adolescent.
Where the Road Roams may not have a normal progression, yet I am proud of it not only as a first novella but as an experimental work.
Where the Road Roams is currently available in print as part of Anarchy - Strange Tales of Outsiders and separately as an audiobook.