Brian Paone

Author // Musician

My interview for the "A Haunting of Words" blog tour

Blurb for "Anesthetize (or A Dream Played in Reverse on Piano Keys)": A disenchanted-youth ghost story, with a cat named Bonnie, a restraining order, lovers on the rocks, and a hanging teenager, swinging from the trees near the train tracks by the lake.

What inspired you to write this story?: It’s a rock-fiction adaptation of Porcupine Tree’s “Fear of a Blank Planet” concept album.

How long have you been writing?: I wrote my first story, “The Night is Young,” in 1988 but, my first novel, “Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts,” wasn’t published until 2007.

What genres do you most associate with in your writing: I write in a genre called rock fiction—which is a sub-genre of musical fiction—where a single song, an entire album, or the span of a band/artist’s complete work is novelized, using the literal lyrics to directly create the plotline and story arc, and usually the title of the book/story is taken directly from the song/album that the work is an adaptation of. But what makes it special, is being able to write a story or novel where the reader doesn’t even need to have ever heard the songs/album to understand and enjoy the work. These novels and stories, although adaptations of albums or songs, are also stand-alone books. Just like you don’t have to have read a book to enjoy or understand the movie adaptation, you don’t need to have heard the album (or even need to have ever heard OF the band before) to understand or love a rock-fiction novel. Rock-fiction novels are unique in the sense that they already have two built-in audiences right out of the gate: the fan base of whatever band’s album is being adapted, and the fan base of the genre the book is written in. It’s not a prerequisite to know the album to read a rock-fiction novel. In fact, I bet most people read a rock-fiction novel purely based on its blurb and have no idea it is an album adaptation. That’s the beauty of rock fiction.

What are you working on right now?: My upcoming 4th novel, “Moonlight City Drive,”  is currently being sent to my editor this week. It has a November, 3 release date (the novel’s book release party is scheduled at the Agora Ballroom in Cleveland during a two-day concert event featuring Dog Fashion Disco and Chuck Mosley, of Faith No More). It’s a supernatural crime-noir thriller set in a Dick Tracy meets Sin City atmosphere. The story follows a detective on the trail of a Jack-the-Ripper-style killer, who he starts to admire and has to decide if he should continue the cat-and-mouse chase, or join the killer and his cult of ghouls in his cleansing of society.

What else do you have available/published?:
My novels:
"Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts" is about what it would be like to befriend a rock star who becomes a drug addict, and the trials and tribulations of having a friend who's dealing with fame, drug addiction, depression, social anxiety, and the throes of the music business.

"Welcome to Parkview" is a cerebral-horror novel where the town itself is the main character, and the stories of the residents and how the town starts to eat away at the fabric of their lives. (One reviewer described it as early Stephen king meets The Twilight Zone.)

"Yours Truly, 2095" is a time-travel romance novel about a man who wakes up 114 years in the future. A future that has many opportunities for a new start from a past that is shrouded in a failing marriage and a deceased daughter. And he has to decide whether he wants to stay forever in his life in 2095, or go back and try to reconcile and repair the life he left behind in 1981.

My short stories:
“Outside of Heaven” (which appears in “A Matter of Words”) is a rapture-monster, post-apocalyptic story that deals with a group of strangers at a motel, who have to survive the night of the rapture, and the monsters who are sent to fulfill its prophecy.

“The Whaler’s Dues” (which appears in a “A Journey of Words”) is a modern-day, mythological-romance story about a man who falls in love with a stripper who is not what she appears to be. And the adventure that ensues.

The third story is my A Haunting of Words story discussed above.

What advice do you give to new writers?: Sleep is for the weak.

List links where people can find your work:
www.BrianPaone.com

You can purchase A Haunting of Words (available in paperback and eBook) through the Scout Media online store at: www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/a-haunting-of-words and get an exclusive companion soundtrack CD, or through Barnes & Nobles, Target, Books-a-Million, and Amazon.

 

Author Interview: K.N. Johnson and her "A Haunting of Words" story

Today author K.N. Johnson takes over my page with a discussion about her short story, "The Blue Amberol Turns Again," appearing in the anthology A Haunting of Words, which also includes my brand new short story, "Anesthetize or A Dream Played in Reverse on Piano Keys"):

Synopsis: Two families, two eras, one house and one haunted music cylinder. Does it foretell the future or just replay the past?

What inspired you to write this story?: I love to roam antique shops. In a particularly cool shop in Louisville, KY, I discovered loads of phonographs, including an old Amberola and a box of dusty cylinders. And that’s when I remembered my trip to the Thomas Edison house where I learned Edison recorded music on wax cylinders before records were invented. The scratchy melody coming from these things is eerie – like a voice scratching its way out from the past.

How long have you been writing?: As a child, I’d create family newspapers, children’s books in scribble pads. My sisters still remember me forcing them to act in my plays. In middle school, my best friend and I wrote a paranormal YA book for fun. I was the high school newspaper editor, but also churned out handwritten pages of a soap opera for a few close friends. When my twins were toddlers, I wrote a screenplay with my husband. Miramax passed on it and I haven’t tried romantic comedy again. I worked as a reporter and email marketer for years before finally giving time to my pile of short story ideas.

What genres do you most associate with in your writing?: In general, I write horror. But it’s not the slasher gore most people consider horror. It’s more cerebral, strange, unsettling. I’ve been drawn to Folk Horror recently. I think the combination of woodlands and religious elements reminds me of my childhood.

What are you working on right now?: I had a Netflix marathon of reality forensic shows about young kids who committed murder. Really disturbing stuff about the Slenderman murder and other cases. This inspired a story about a psychopathic teen who manipulates another into helping her commit murder. They get away with it and head their separate ways. But paranoia sets in. Each begins to wonder if the other will rat them out, and if one more murder is necessary to keep their secret from ever coming to light.

What else do you have available/published?: My dark science fiction story “Regolith” will appear in the upcoming anthology Terra Nullius later this year. My dark story “Frigid” won Mythraeum’s Pygmalion contest and is available to read on their website: http://mythraeum.com/story-pygmalion-contest-winner-frigid

What advice do you give to new writers?: Read writers you love and try to figure out why you love their stories. Then, make time to write. Write absolute rubbish just to get your story down. You can’t be a writer if you don’t write, write, write.

List links where people can find your work:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/knjohnsonauthor/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/K.N.-Johnson/e/B01KUNOBP6

You can purchase A Haunting of Words (available in paperback and eBook) through the Scout Media online store at: www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/a-haunting-of-words and get an exclusive companion soundtrack CD, or through Barnes & Nobles, Target, Books-a-Million, and Amazon.

My band Yellow #1's album "Thanks for the Nostalgia" turns 1

Waaaaay back in 1995, I started my first band, Yellow #1. We released one album in 1996 called "Bottle of Rain." We played about three years worth of live shows all over New England; we even opened for Godsmack and had a song from the album ("Broken Eyes") played on Boston radio station WAAF. Oh, and a few music magazines reviewed the album. The band was approached as a Mr. Bungle meets Nine Inch Nails. Then, in 1998, we played our last live show and broke up. I went on to front the bands Drop Kick Jesus, The Grave Machine, and Transpose...never ever thinking Yellow #1 would ever see the light of day again.

Then, in 2014, while we were living in Japan (and Transpose had just come off its last tour), I decided it might be time to resurrect the band and see if we had another album of tunes in us after 19 years. Work on the second album began in 2014 with producer and hip-hop artist Darius Malloy (RedStryke). The difference from "Bottle of Rain" that I was adamant about this album, was I did not want a single real instrument on the album. The first album, along with all the programming, synthesizers, and drum machines, still had live drums, acoustic guitar, piano, electric guitar, harmonica, and tambourine. I knew this album would completely exist inside computer programs.

Darius worked with me on four songs, supplying beats and bass lines. I got to work on the other songs and filling in the gaps of what he left for me on his songs. In 2015, I had twelve songs completely written for the new album. All I had left was to write all the lyrics.

"Bottle of Rain" was built lyrically off the strife and angst of Nine Inch Nails, Korn, and Quicksand. I was 20 years older and didn't quite carry the same frustrations with life or my inner demons anymore. BUT, I knew in order to assign the Yellow #1 moniker to the album, it still needed to FEEL like a Yellow #1 album. This was the first album of ANY of my bands' albums (this is the 7th album I have released throughout my 4 bands) where the lyrics were less introspective and more worldly. I put my own personal journal in the backseat and focused more on universal topics that still create a rise in me. I also hadn't lyrics for an album since 2011 when Transpose released our second album, "Retribution," so there was some rust to shake off.

I entered the recording studio in Jacksonville, NC in July, 2016 and spent 6 weeks recording the 12 songs' vocals. In typical Yellow #1 style, we used a multitude of vocoders, and layers of vocal effects to help make my voice sound different in every song. Just like we had 20 years ago on "Bottle of Rain." It was like wearing an old hat. All the old Yellow #1 atmosphere in the studio came back so effortlessly once I stepped into that vocal booth.

We named the album "Thanks for the Nostalgia" and used a beautiful picture of Japan at the base of Mt. Fuji, since the album was started there and the song "Kenritsudiagaku" is about what it was like to live in Japan as an American family. It was a very cathartic journey, making a second Yellow #1 album after two decades of silence. I can't even try to project when there might be a third Yellow #1, but I had so much fun making this album, I can promise it won't be another 20 years before there is new music from the Yellow #1 camp. 

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