Death is her groupie...or she's his.
Sex, drugs, rock&roll---and murder. A slightly different
side of the Sixties.
She's a newspaper reporter whose beat is rock, not a detective, and her best-friend sidekick is a blonde bisexual superstar chick singer, not a cop, but murder rocks their world, following them through the heart of the Sixties, from Haight-Ashbury to the Hollywood Hills, from the East Village to Abbey Road....
In the hip, funny, contemporary style of modern mystery queens Margaret Maron, Sharyn McCrumb, Janet Evanovich, Marcia Muller...
Seamlessly blending the fictional with the real: the stars, the bands, the music, all the excitement of the most incredible decade of the last century...
Full of rockworld dish and attitude, created by someone who was not only there for it but made some of it happen herself, and who took just enough drugs to get into it and not so many that she can't remember it...
And with murder to sit in and jam...The Rennie Stride Mysteries.
It is a time when things are happening that have never happened before...when artists like Jerry Garcia and Janis Joplin and Mick Jagger are doing stuff onstage that people never dreamed
of when listening to Perry Como...when rock is the hottest thing on the planet and the people who make it their life and love and work are the coolest people you could ever hope to meet.
The time when it was all NEW: the music, the hair, the clothes, the drugs, the sex, the politics, the revolution in society that stopped a war and changed the world.
A time often imitated, always envied by those not lucky enough to have been there for it, certainly never surpassed...
Over the course of the series, which will run from 1964 to around 1972---the real
if not the chronological Sixties, kicked off by the Beatles' arrival in America and ending with the beginning of the end of the Vietnam conflict (with possible extensions into the rise of heavy metal, up to 1975 or so)---smart, tough, pretty rock writer/social commentator/amateur crime-solver RENNIE STRIDE will move back and forth between San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and London.
Everywhere she goes, it's the heart of rock and roll: She's a player in classic scenes like Woodstock, Monterey, the Fillmores East and West,the San Francisco ballroooms, the Greenwich Village rock and folk clubs, LA's Whisky A Go-Go and Troubadour, England's tiny blues club and huge pop festivals.
As notorious for her affinity for and proximity to foul play---the "rock albatross," as she calls herself, a murder magnet always around for, or connected to, a string of music biz murders and counterculture crimes---as she is famous for her journalistic talent and style and personal dash, Rennie is not only a hip rockworld Miss Marple but the friend of superstar PRAX McKENNA and dozens of other Sixties movers and shakers, real and fictional: musicians, painters, photographers, clothes designers, record company execs, other writers.
Not to mention the lover of some of the rock deities who are making musical history.
And eventually falling madly in love with one in particular, an English guitar hero named TURK WAYLAND, leader of the hugely famous blues-rock band Lionheart, and he with her. The relationship will have its ups and downs over the course of several books, mostly due to the huge personal secret that Turk, as he insists on calling himself, is carrying around. But everyone, including themselves, can see that Rennie and Turk are made for each other, and they get together and stay together and move on together.
"It's ONLY rock and roll"? No way. So...let it be. Let it bleed. Let it roll, baby, roll. And rock on...
The first Rennie Stride book, Ungrateful Dead: Murder at the Fillmore
, is scheduled to be published, through Lulu.com, on or about November 1...the Day of the Dead. And also the Celtic New Year. It seems the proper time.
Thanks to Lulu's phenomenal two-month turnaround time, the second book, California Screamin': Murder at Monterey Pop
, could come out as quickly as six months later (once I finish it; it's all roughed out, about 60,000 words, just needs to be filled in). And as the third one, Love Him Madly: Murder at the Whiskey A Go-Go
, is done and ready to go, it won't be far behind.
I will be setting up, or having someone set up, a website strictly for these, with a click-through to Amazon and/or Barnes & Noble, and they can be ordered directly from Lulu as well.
As to the books themselves: MDFs Jared and Michael and Suki and Mary have seen some of them, and, I believe, enjoyed what they read. I'm having a ball writing them...like Margaret Maron's Judge Deborah Knott books, or the Kelts books, they're more about the people and emotional relationships and why they do what they do, not so much about the murders and the personal solving. Rennie's around for it, obviously, and a participant in it, as are Prax and Turk (who are both busted for separate murders, btw), but the detectiving isn't the big thing it is in more traditional mysteries. It's more the catalyst for the interactions, which is how I like it.
Which is the problem that moron publishers had with it: "Where would it go at Barnes & Noble? Is it chick lit? A mystery? A romance? Ooooh, we wouldn't know how to market it." Even my agent, who couldn't manage to sell it despite much effort and persuasion, said that publishing today is very different from what it was when the Keltiad first appeared, and that they would never give me the respect I deserve, or indeed require. Because they've turned into a fearful, weasel-hearted bunch of money-grubbing bastards who wouldn't know a good book if it bit them in the ass and wouldn't publish it if they did. (I said that, my agent didn't.)
Well, as we said in the Sixties, fuck that
noise, man. This way I can get them out when I want, how I want, to the people I want. And I would hope that you lot could help out a bit with that, getting the word to other lists and groups who might be interested.
Oh, and Rennie is absolutely not me, by the way. Actually, it's amazing how much she isn't...surprised the hell out of me, really. Mary pointed it out immediately, and she was quite right.
Nor is Turk Jim, and not just because he's an English guitar stud and not an American lead singer. They're both really cool people, but like all my characters they're not perfect and sometimes you will get annoyed with them. But I am completely
in love with them, as I am with all my best characters, and I do find myself wishing they'd been real, and that I could have known them and been friends with them back in the day...
In fact, I also find myself buying
things for them occasionally, which is either verisimilitude carried about as far as you can tote it or completely demented. It's just one of my little ways. Not big things. Rennie wanted a charm bracelet and an anklet with Turk's name on it, Turk needed a funky handmade leather duffel bag that he bought when Lionheart played Woodstock and someone poisoned him...eBay's been extremely helpful. Though I do have a two-inch-thick binder full of pictures of their stuff that I found online and printed out: clothes, cars, houses, pets. Pictures are safer.
I drew the line at a black vintage Porsche (see "Auto Eroticism" on this blog) and the gold-plated Strat that Turk uses for encores. Well, it had to be drawn SOMEwhere...
Anyway, I'm very excited and very resolute and very into it all. And after Whisky
will come The Beltane Queen
, hopefully. More about that later.
So long live rock and roll, and long live Keltia! And thank you all for your patience and loyalty.