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Brief excerpts from my new novel Blood Storm

samzheresamzhere BannedPosts: 10,923 Senior Member
Just for grins, here are a couple excerpts from my soon to be published novel Blood Storm. Feedback on style is appreciated...

a sleazy roadhouse strip joint -- haven't we all seen these?

The Kuntry Klub Kitten was decorated as an Old West saloon or, more likely, somebody’s secondhand and drunken concept of what an Old West bar looked like. There were faux oil lamps, many of which weren’t casting faux flames because the faux bulbs were burned out. Dusty hanks of braided rope depicting various cowboy working knots were stapled to the wall, alongside drawings of cattle brands and cheap prints of Western shootouts. The Kitten had always been ratty, even when busy, but now the seams were really showing. Nobody was onstage dancing, just the CD jukebox blaring Waylon Jennings. In times past, the place would have been overflowing with cigarette smoke, but nowadays the only bars where you could smoke were, I think, a couple places in Ecuador. The Kitten was torpid and rundown, but at least I could breathe inside.

here is my Private Eye on stakeout in East Houston and his reflections on modern urban society ---

Shimmers of heat rose from the sticky asphalt lot and formed distorted counterfeit images of the cars and trucks squatting there. The furious sun glared at bits of chrome trim and bumper, forcing lancets of brightness from these points straight through the deep tint of my windshield.

The air conditioner of the 4Runner cycled as it compensated for the hundred degree September day, and the entire vehicle registered a labored complaint, shuddering as the engine took up the slack. I wondered how much strain I was putting on the faithful Toyota machinery, how many months I was shaving off its lifespan. Cost of doing business, I figured—if you call sitting on your tail all Sunday afternoon business.

I was in eastside Houston, parked in a midsize office complex over by the Ship Channel, and right in the afternoon sun because the existence of a single shade tree was anathema to an imperious enterprise philosophy that squeezed out each available square foot of rental space.

Dozens of places like this exist in Houston, everywhere else in fact. Developers obliterate a respectable neighborhood, bulldozing homes and apartments that sat happily for decades. Trees ripped from their ancient roots as well, chaff blown from the millstone of egregious capitalism. Then come the concrete slabs and cheap cinderblocks and cheesy aluminum trim, long rows of generic shops and offices extruded like sausages from an infernal steampunk packing house. In these stores you can get a beer, a tuneup, life insurance, a cheap suit, and a massage. And that’s only the first block.

Eventually the focus of commerce turns elsewhere, the strip centers fail and are flattened, making room for more homes and apartments, cycle continuing unabated. Progress they call it, but I had my doubts.

feedback is appreciated


  • gunrunner428gunrunner428 Senior Member Posts: 1,018 Senior Member
    All I know is, a Kindle's on my Christmas list, and the authors here are on my top list of first-buys. Sounding good, Sam, and your excerpts read well - good descriptions with a twist of humor. I actually pictured the decor in a couple of old restaurants I remember there when you described the Kitten.
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Thanks. Of course I'm only quoting the PG sections. The other descriptions of the "Kitten", it being a strip joint, are, er, more colorful.

    Our good pal Dan Chamberlain, even though his Long Shooters novel is written on an adult level, it's definitely not raunchy. Mine on the other hand contains regular blue language and some fairly graphic crime descriptions. This doesn't make my writing or Dan's better or not, or more or less adult -- it's just an individual choice of style.
  • DanChamberlainDanChamberlain Senior Member Posts: 3,395 Senior Member
    When you said exerpts, I thought you'd get banned for certain! Then I realized you wouldn't put a sex scene on the forum. Didn't you mention that this novel is a bit darker than the last?

    It's a source of great pride for me, that when my name is googled, one finds book titles and not mug shots. Daniel C. Chamberlain
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Yes, a lot darker in fact. Not in the sex scene category, but in the crime violence setting. Just the other day, re-reading one chapter describing the victim of the serial murderer "the Slicer", I actually got queasy for a moment. And this is something I myself had written. And I thought: "Perfect!"

    Dan, I've mislaid your email address. PM it and I'll send you a couple of short non-postable excerpts, where I think I've maybe done some of my best writing ever here -- not because it's "R" rated, just because it's strong in the theme and resonates.

    I'll send PDF if okay.

    Anyone else, sure, just give me your email via PM. And no, I'm not writing soft porn. It's just kind of bloody and pulls no punches with the language. Adult but not sleazy adult.

    On the timetable front, we're progressing along through the final galley proofs now. Book should be e-published late December. Hard copy will probably leak over into January but release date is still 2011.
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,813 Senior Member
    I like the excerpts, Sam. It has that cynical ring to it that I am accustomed to and like, after reading a lot of Mickey Spillane and Dashiel Hammet, many years ago.

    But I am having a little difficulty picturing Houston in film noire. :tooth:
  • BuffcoBuffco Senior Member Posts: 6,244 Senior Member
    I am detecting a disturbing lack of pictures. Dan's novel suffered the same plight.

    I mean, it was so many words....
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    As far as describing modern Houston, here's another small excerpt:

    I looked across the parking lot. Above the endless melee of Telephone Road I could make out the glow from high-rises in the Galleria and Med Center, barely visible through the skimpy and devolving treeline and rapidly dissipating rainshower. People who haven’t been to Houston maintain this nebulous image of the city, always hot and steamy, the only buildings in town being a corral and the Astrodome. Everyone drives pickups or Caddys when they’re not riding their favorite horse down the street, every guy has two six-guns and a big white Stetson like the crazy Texan on The Simpsons, every gal has huge blonde hair and is named Lula Belle.

    This is understandable because any TV show purporting to be in Houston has obligatory stock intro footage of longhorn cattle, a rodeo, or horse infested parade, even though the story may detail a new cancer cure or some oil exploration discovery. This cowtown image is just as accurate as the Neil Simon stereotype in which everyone in New York City is divorced, works for a prestigious law firm, and lives in a luxury loft overlooking Central Park.

    Decades ago, Houston may have fit the cowtown pattern, but now it’s the fourth largest city in the country and a world center for oil exploration, with engineers and other technical types in abundance. NASA adds to the techie overload. Yes, we do have our Western wannabes, most believing that ownership of a Ford F-150 confers cowboy status but for whom the term “all hat and no cattle” applies perfectly. Myself, I haven’t ridden my horse to work for a couple weeks now.
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Yeah, my new novel has over 85000 words and no pichers.

    Just finished my final edit/re-read of the book and will soon approve the galley proofs.

    Tone of this book is a lot darker than the first one, rougher. Not a lot of sex like the first, but plenty of graphic violence and other nasty bits. With luck, it will scare some readers, which is what I hope.

    Sadly, Buff, the pictures will remain, as Hamlet said, "in my mind's eye" but hopefully they will be even more rude than if drawn on the page. I'm counting on the perfidy of the human soul.
  • jaywaptijaywapti Senior Member Posts: 5,067 Senior Member
    Sam, kinda reminds me of the original "Hogsbreath Saloon" I belive it was on Aldine-Bender just south of the international airport, when I worked for Pan Am we used to go there for beers after work.
  • jaywaptijaywapti Senior Member Posts: 5,067 Senior Member
    Or maybe it was Aldine-Westfield cant remember it was in 79-84 JAY
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Been to the Hogsbreath quite a few times. It was pretty nice but deliberately shabby, like many "dive" bars. A great bar.

    The Kitten is way down the scale from honky-tonk bars that "pretend" to be sleazy. The Kitten is genuinely sleazy, a cruddy owner and boss.
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