UPDATE AT 10 PM Monday: GRAVE DIGGER BLUES, the upgraded Kindle edition, is now live on Amazon. That means you can read it and look at 100+ groovy pictures on your Kindle, iPhone, etc. Click here to order. It’s not your average eBook with eText and an eGeneric plot. Here’s a couple of screen shots. (The other screen shots on this post are from the iPad edition, which also has music and some video.)
It started with an idea. A phrase, actually: “The last detective at the end of the world.” So, I had a title, and some images. That was back in January, when I did a reading at the quarterly art event known as Tertulia, held at the Continental Club Gallery, hosted by Gretchen Harries Graham, Robert Asher Kraft, and Kellie Sansome. The theme was “The End of the World (As We Know It).” I wrote a 1400 word short story for the gig, narrated from the point of view of Hank Zzybnx, a damaged vet from the last war in Afghanistan (or, as they commonly refer to it in the near future, Murderstan).
Hank returns to civilian life troubled not so much by his memories of killing and destruction, but by the huge gaps in his memory–gaps that were put there by the same men who trained him to do his job. Hank was in psy-ops, a specialized assassin, programmed to kill in close quarters, black ops, grim chores assigned to a special section of the military known as “the messenger service.” When one of these guys has a message for you, you don’t want to be home, see? So now Hank is back in civilian life, in the last weeks before the planet implodes and sinks into its own rotting juices.
Nothing works. The power grid is shot. Digital technology is useless because of the high radiation. The only paying gigs left for private detectives are murder for hire and worse things. Hank works a lot. Sleeps rarely, and never dreams. He’s haunted by the benevolent ghost of Marilyn Monroe. A surrealist artist who goes by a different name every day of the week is his assistant. To keep things simple, Hank calls him Alias.
Those are a few details about our hero, Hank Zzybnx. The other protagonist of the book is a doomed jazz musician they call The Blues Cat. He plays a different dive every night of the week, 365 days a year. A 300 pound thug named The Muffin Man follows him wherever he goes. The Cat is rarely without a female admirer in tow, but there have been at least nine attempts on his life by ex-lovers, and at least twice that many by the embittered spouses of some of those lovers. This is one musician who never runs short of reasons to sing the blues.
Grave Digger Blues will hot-wire your iPad, see??
AND NEXT, the KINDLE version with 100 + photos, drawings, crazy visuals, representing the monumental contributions of leading Austin avant garde photographers/models Mona Pitts and Ricardo Acevedo. (Author photo by Todd V. Wolfson). We are lucky to be so successful in our commitment to weirdness. When these friends of mine got involved in project, that’s when it really started to get real. Working with their images (and have I mentioned this? The book has over 100 photos, drawings, collages and other media), helped push the project forward, turning a dream into a crazy dreamlike state of reality. In other words, one story followed the other, and it became a serial novel.
Today, Monday, November 26, 2012, I finished formatting these 102 complex and strange small masterpieces by these artists (as well as a few modest scribblings by My Terrible Self, and some of my iPhone shots and collages), and delivered same to the Amazon Kindle store. So, with any luck, by Tuesday, November 27, say noonish, you should be able to drive down to your Amazon Kindle Drive-In Liquor Store & XXL Condom Dispensary (OK, or just open it on your digital device) download a version for only $4.99 that is digestible on your Kindle, Kindle Fire (color photos will be in glorious and gory COLOR), iPhone, iPad, whatever. The iPad version with its 30 minutes of original scary blues songs and 30 minutes of audio chapters (with soundtrack collaboration between My Terrible Self and Johnny Reno) is live and moving products at your local iTunes Warehouse and Rogue Elephant Sanctuary.
“Grave Digger Blues is a dark fever dream that’s part noir, part stand-up. Sublett’s writing is as apt to scare the hell out of you as it is to make you die laughing.” —REED FARREL COLEMAN, three-time Shamus Award-winning author of Gun Church
To wrap up, it’s a dangerous world we live in, and you can either pull the covers over your head and cry about it, or you can get out there and put a smile on your face and charge forward and keep the rotten, greedy villains from taking over, mulching paradise and grinding up the last good things on the planet just so they can have a few more zillion dollars to spend.
Yes, it’s a scary world–we just had an election where the choice was either the good guy or some stalk of overcooked brussel sprouts with the personality of a wet Kleenex and the moral spine of … well, no spine at all, just money, stuffed into overseas accounts. Is that noir enough for you? The other bad guys were a bunch of stooges from Central Casting, and if brains and soul sold for fifty cents a pound these guys couldn’t pitch enough pennies together to buy a bag of Doritos.
These people would drill for oil in their own grandma’s kitchen or her lap if there was a barrel of oil to be harvested. They’d promise you any war any time, as long as they or their kids didn’t have to go risk their asses in it. Is that noir enough for you? Lots more where that came from.
Recently some follower on Twitter responded to one of my political tweets saying, “Oh, dude, chill out. Don’t go there. The election is over. Republicans buy books and music, too.” I replied, “Hey man, I’m ALWAYS there. I was born chill. I don’t care if Republicans buy my art or not. I kiss ass to nobody.”
More Grave Digger Blues updates coming. Stay tuned, download, remain cool, dig the blues.