The Morrow Family Saga, Series 4(1980’s), Book 1: “Once Around the Ride”, Chapter 9

Sal Giovanni had been with Matt since ’74. He had seen the endless line of groupies, male and female, hoping for their moment with the ambivalent Matt…whose sexuality was no secret within the band, but remained hidden from his fans. Unlike him, Matt was very heterosexual and was choosy where his dates were concerned. Rarely seen with models or actresses, or even the intermittent groupie, the press often speculated about Matt’s preference.

Then Belinda entered the picture. Magazines and newspapers conjectured about the engagement. She was clearly a groupie, out of character for Matt, and keeping some sort of secret. Was she pregnant? Was she blackmailing him? the rumors swirled immediately.

The quick, private marriage had raised the bar even further and the rumor mills began producing wildly untrue gossip that would have angered Matt had he not been as jaded as he was. But Matt had never cared what others had to say. Sure the man had dated off and on during the ‘70’s, at least since Sal had joined the band, but nothing serious. But, then, Matt had been a teen. Not an adult.

Sal smiled when the press compared Matt to David Bowie. While it was clear that Matt was no David, Sal knew that David had been no Matt as well. There was no comparison. While David had gone through his Ziggy Stardust androgynous phase, Matt had concerned himself with music and being himself. There had been no experimentation. No drugs. No genderbending. Just Matt doing what he did best.

He had left the genderbending and androgyny to those who wanted to be someone other than themselves. Not that he had any problems with the whole scene, he didn’t. it just wasn’t him. those in his band could do whatever they desired, but Matt would stick to sobriety and a solid self-identity.

Matt knew that Sal was gay. He was supportive and understanding. Hell. He supported what each member desired to do. Except drugs. Alcohol was fine.

But something told Sal that those days, the days of sobriety, were almost over. Matt’s reasons for remaining clean and sober were coming to an end. His mama was dying. His new wife had lasted only nine months, just long enough to pop out a baby and think that she could take Matt for all he had.

But Matt had shown her otherwise in classic Matt Morrow style. He’d had a post-marriage “prenup” drawn up and forced Belinda to sign. She had no choice. Unlike Matt, she had not went in with any legal representation. She hadn’t even had the presence of mind to hire one.

Unable to fight legally, she was forced to accept the terms of both the prenup and the implied divorce. She had rejected the idea that his brothers and sisters were to remain in his house, with him as their acting guardian and parent, and were to be treated with the same kindness as she would want. All she had wanted was money and fame, so she took the money and ran. Well, walked away.

Matt was left with a baby and several children to raise. He had, out of obligation, promised to raise his brothers and sisters. But the baby had been his attempt to create his own family as well. Unfortunately, Belinda had wanted nothing more than money and fame. Matt had seen to it that she had the money, but had stripped her of the fame.

In the end, Belinda had conned herself out of happiness. Once her relationship with Matt was over, no one else seemed to want anything to do with her. at least no one who had money and fame to bask in. Too many knew her to be a gold digger.

Sal was not sad to see her go. She had been trying to get in good with everyone in the band, including him. her flirting had given him a headache and the silence that had filled the void where she had once been was wonderful. He chuckled at the realization that she had never known his sexuality.

***

Tandy Lewis sat behind his drum set. He had been Matt’s drummer since the early days. At fifty-five, he was the oldest remaining member of the band. Norvis Sinclair had been bassist, but had retired and replaced by Sal Giovanni. Todd Haelstrom was still keyboardist, but Norm Lowthrup had left in ’78 after Matt had refused to record a full album of disco. Matt had wanted to try his hand at both new emerging styles, disco and punk. But rather than attempting a full album of both, he decided two or three songs of each.

There had been more, of course, but they had never been released. Something told Matt that disco was going to cause a major backlash. Tan and Todd had backed him up. Norvis had sat the sidelines, taking neither side, knowing that he was going to retire the next year. But Norm believed that disco was going to catapult them, meaning him, to stardom. When Matt refused to go all in, Norm left.

And Matt had been right. Though disco had a brief rise, the backlash had just begun. Matt had sensed this and had refrained from getting too deeply involved in the music. Or the scene.

Tandy was now glad that Matt had stood his ground. Rod Stewart and David Bowie were being ostracized and their careers were under attack. Matt, on the other hand, was not. And those who had stayed with him and stood by him had remained sheltered from the nightmare of scrutiny.

The Morrow Family Saga, Series 4, Book 1: Once Around The Ride, Chapter 8

Natalia faded in and out of consciousness. Her body was weakened by the illness. Each day, she knew she was losing ground. She knew she was dying and she accepted that.

She opened her eyes, a tear forming at the thought of what she had done to her family. She had failed to be a mother to her children. she had failed to be a daughter to her parents. Or a sibling to her sister and brothers.

She had been irresponsible. Cruel. Thoughtless. Selfish.

Now it was too late. She was dying and could only ask their forgiveness. Not that she deserved it, but she wanted closure. She needed closure.

The sound of the door of her room opening brought her out of her thoughts. Looking in the direction of the sound, she spotted Shasta.

She smiled sadly up at her sister. “What day is it? Am I dreaming?”

Shasta shook her head sadly. “No, Nattie. You’re not dreaming. I have come to see you.” She sat down next to the bed and took Natalia’s right hand. “And it is Tuesday. 4 PM to be exact.”

Natalia felt a tear come to her eye. A lump began to form in her throat. “I am so ashamed of myself, Shazz. I have let everyone down.” She suddenly broke down into sobs.

Shasta patted her hand. “No, sis. You have not let everyone down. We let you down a long time ago. Mama and papa both let you down by not taking your story serious. But it is too late to change all that. All we can do is be here for you right now. “ Shasta swallowed the lump rising in her throat. “You have done well. You have been brave, even in your most vulnerable moment.”

Natalia smiled weakly. “You’re just saying that.” She saw the tears in Shasta’s eyes. “Please don’t cry, sissy.”

Shasta bent down and embraced Natalia. The tears were now flowing freely. Nattie was so young. She had always been so full of life, even after being raped. This seemed so unlike her. so unreal.

Why did she have to be the one who died first? Sure, Natalia had done some things wrong, but she did not deserve to die for them. Why now? Why right when she was starting to turn her life around and make good? Anyone could have made the same mistakes. Why was she not getting another chance?

After a long embrace, Shasta pulled away gently and looked Natalia in the eye. “I love you, Nattie. Hang in there for me. I want to be able to spend more time with you. I know Matty wants the same.” She kissed her sister on the forehead. “I’ll be back in a little while. I have to run a few errands to attend to.” She smiled reassuringly. “Business as usual, you know.”

Natalia found herself laughing weakly. “Yes, I know. Even when emergencies pop up, life never seems to stop.” She smiled up at Shasta. “Go. I can use the time you are away for a short nap. That is if Matty doesn’t come in right after you leave.”

***

Matt sat pouring his sorrow and pain into his guitar work. The music that was taking form was dark and brooding, but the best he had made so far. Tom couldn’t help but think that this new sound fit right in with the current movement in the industry. It was heavy. Harder than anything Matt had ever done.

He knew better than to interrupt. Matt’s eyes were closed in deep concentration. When he had his eyes closed, he was deep in the music and the rest of the world no longer existed. Even if he wanted to, he wouldn’t be able to get Matt’s attention until the music ended.

The band sat behind Tom listening in on the session, their mouths agape. They couldn’t believe what they were hearing. Where was this coming from and why had Matt kept it a secret? It was a breath of fresh air.

Sal Giovanni smiled. Whatever the secret, Matt had opened up at just the right time. he had known that Matt would bring in new ideas when he was ready. Seemed he was ready now.

He knew the boy was going through hell, but sometimes, that was when the best ideas hit. As long as his energy was poured into finding new sounds and creating new paths in the industry and not in taking drugs or alcohol, he would have a long, successful career. He closed his eyes and lost himself I the sweltering music pouring forth from Matt’s guitar. Burn on, man, burn on, he thought to himself as he continued to listen.

With the rise of bands like Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, and Scorpions, Matt’s traditional classic rock was starting to fade in popularity. With this new thunderous offing, he would once again rebound. After all, the sixties and seventies were past and there was a movement of darker, harder, more metallic music based in the blues. There was even an emerging thrash metal scene. But there was no telling where Matt would go with his music.

Sal let the riffs take him away. He could feel the basslines wanting to be added. Matt’s music caused a natural reaction within his band, a reaction that allowed the rhythm to fill in naturally. And it was usually done in a single take. Easy.

This would be no different. One shot only. So easy, so smooth. He looked at his bandmates. All seemed to be feeling it as well. But who would he choose for vocals? Their last vocalist had thrown a tantrum and left the band.

Matt had naturally shrugged it off. Who needed a diva, male or female, when they could go and find a hungry wannabe to fill in for an album or two? Perhaps Matt would be able to secure a female vocalist this time? Or maybe a duo.

He looked over at Tandy. “You ready for this?”

Tandy grinned. “Oh hell yeah! This is amazing!”

Sal smiled. “I know. Been waiting for this for the last year. At least since Sabbath emerged. Now, Matt pulls out all stops and gives us thunder.”

Tandy chuckled. “I know, right?”

***

Savanna Morrison was hungry for stardom. She had cut her musical teeth on disco and R&B, but wanted something else. She had a jazz and classical training, but even those styles didn’t fit. She had fronted a couple of blues rock bands and found the style a bit closer to her liking. The only problem was that she had joined them near the end of their runs. She had pushed them closer to success only to watch them fall apart as the labels sought them out for signings.

Now without a band, she found herself drawn to Matt’s studio. She had heard that Matt’s band  Morrow was looking for a fresh new vocalist. Toro Malvaise had quit over something stupid and now they were without a vocalist. Perhaps she could win the position.

There were ten other vocalists waiting in line when she arrived. Three were more experienced than she was, two were more groupie than musician. She couldn’t help but smile. Most were only there to push their way to stardom through getting the gig. But not her. if it helped her, so be it. If it was her last gig, that was fine as well.

The point was that Matt rarely did his own vocals. He was the mastermind behind  the sound. His guitar work was legendary and drove the band. The sad thing was that she seemed to be one of the few waiting who realized that. Perhaps she could work that to her favor.

Are We Ready?

I am now ready to pick up where I left off. Sorry it took me so long. It is so refreshing to be in classes where I make A’s instead of C’s or D’s. Before last term, when I was set up with Business math and biology together, I had a strong feeling that I was being set up to fail. By itself, Business Math is hard for me, especially when it comes to what I call Banker’s math (figuring out loan payment amounts, interest, etc.). I don’t really care about what my payments will be because my figures won’t necessarily meet the figures of the bank or lender. I would much rather learn how to do business projections needed for a business plan such as 5 year projections and the break even figures. These, to me, are more about business than knowing how to break down a loan. Why? Because  These figures tell you more about when you can stop relying on lenders and walk on your own as a company.  Biology, while intriguing, would have been easier if I had not had to deal with a math class that meant very little to me.

Putting them together set me up for failure. Luckily, I was able to pull a C in both class. this caused me to pull a C overall and made my GPA fall. Had I taken one with another class, a less technical class, I would have pulled a B or even an A. But the Advisor I had insisted that I take them both, even when I requested not to take either at that point. I had explained that I needed a longer rest from math, but was unheeded. And although I started off strong in both, midway through, I hit the wall and my grades fell.

By the end of the term, I was drained. Emotionally, physically, mentally. I was so drained that it has taken me this long to get back up to speed. Now, I am back go Once Around The Ride and finish the story so I can start on or finish a couple more books in the 1950’s series. At the same time, I am trying to get started on the other series’s within the Vampire War Saga so that I can create a backstory to the Angel of Death series, which is actually the very end of the story.

My goal for this year is to finish at least three series within The Morrow Family Saga and the same within The Vampire Wars. I also want to get the Halloween book in The Daniel Hargis Series finished and out to you, the reader along with other projects I have in the offing dealing with my cartoons, lyrics, and nonfiction is concerned.  By the end of the year, I would like to have a larger library of work finished that includes one-off novellas and short story anthologies.

I am also trying to get a book  about the Liberian Civil War edited for a friend so that I can publish it for him and promote it to its fullest. It is my first attempt at emerging as a publisher/editor and help other international authors who want to break into the American market. I will be publishing it under the Jaysen True Blood Creations label until I can create a new publishing label.

Coming back to life

Sorry for the nearly month long silence. Last term was a bitch. Instead of allowing me to break up the science and math, they (my advisor) decided I needed to get both out of the way. I could have done much better if they had allowed me to take one at a time, math with Government or Science with Government (like I had wanted to do) but, no. The young lady acting as my student advisor at the time thought that I had to have both classes right then and there. to say the least, I was lucky to make it out of both classes with C’s.

Anyhoo, onward. I will be reviewing where I was when I left off and will be resuming the story that was in progress. At the same time, I am editing a client’s manuscript so that I can publish it for them (I am going into publishing)  and will also be editing past Morrow Saga books so that the age sequencing is no longer off. during my sabbatical, I noticed that books 1-4 of the first series are way off on the age sequence, so must fix the problem.

I will also be getting all the Jay’s World comics together, along with the early cartoons, so that they can be published.eventually, I intend to publish all of my lyrics as well…but that is a project for another time.

Books

My publication plans are always made so that I can change them. Although I wanted to release another collection of short stories, I am going to have to put it off until I can rewrite and edit a handful of those stories to be offered. This means that a few of the other “projects” and finished boks get a chance to get published first.

What I am saying is that Angel of Death: The Crystal Ship and The Morrow Family Saga, 1980: Once Around the Ride will be the first books out. I will also release book three of Tales from the Renge: The Prophecy as well.  I will also be returning to the first series in The Morrow Family Saga. the idea is to write the next three books in that series (1950’s series) so that the majority of the series is done.

At the same time, I will also be returning to Seasons, writing Summertime, the next chapter in the love story of Matt Morrow and his new wife, Amanda. Happiness is on its way for the pair as are a series of surprises. Once I get done with these adventures, I am returning to Angel of Death for a few more stories (to push closer to the end), then do a book each in the rest of the serieses in The Vampire Wars. Call it trying to build my bibliography up, but I want to get as deep into as many serieses as I can as quickly as I can.

I guess what I am trying to say is that not being able to write a lot is driving me insane.

Update

In three more weeks, I will return to writing. I can’t wait for Math and Biology to be done and over with. Both classes have taken so much out of me. Next term, I will be taking business law as well as Economics. I love the subject of economics. You learn so much about things you once mistook for political systems.

Before I begin again, I will be submitting three books from the Angel of Death series to HuffPost Books and Rolling Stone for review. I need a bit more exposure. I am just hoping that my choices of publications to send to are the best. I had toyed with the idea of sending to the NYT, but I decided-with a little help from my friends-not to.

Also in the works is the editing of the first three books in Morrow Family Saga; 1950’s series. Seems that I allowed a small mistake in all three go through. The chronology of age is all wrong. But no biggie. I will be changing ages. Instead of the original starting age, I will be starting the series out with Nattie being 9.It comes out perfectly so that she is 20 in 1960.

The Frustration of Taking a Rest From Writing

So I was looking over the first three books in the Morrow Family Saga: 1950’s and noticed something disturbing. In Hand Me Down World, I started Natalia out at twelve. In Dreams, she is ten or eleven. And in Laughing,  she is yet another age. Apparently, in my writing, my intent to start out with a ten-year-old Natalia was unintentionally ignored and her age misstated.

I am surprised that no one who has taken time to read the serialized books here caught the age mistakes. I guess that the story is good enough that no one notices the discrepancies. That is both surprising and flattering. I suppose that this means that I am doing my job as a writer.

Anyway, the actual chronological age order is as follows:

1950: 10 years

1951: 11 years

1952: 12 years

1953: 13 years.

etc.

At the same time, I am wondering if I should begin at age 9 or keep it according to the original plot.

Either way, this means that I do have to pull the books in order to do a wee bit editing. But that is the only bit I have to do, which is good. Perhaps, after I do the fixes, the books will take off in sales. After all, there is always a reason why things aren’t a sudden success, and sometimes it is something small.