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Do you have any tattoos? Where? When did you get it/them? Where are they on your body?
– No. I was always the “piercing guy.” I have 11 piercings in my body, 5 of them ear piercings. I got all of them between the ages of 16 and 20. Now that I’m 41, I don’t regret any of them, but I don’t flaunt and brag about them anymore like I did when I was young and foolish.
Is your life anything like it was two years ago?
– Two years ago I was living in Japan with my wife and three kids and no pets. Now I live in North Carolina with my wife and four kids and dogs. I’d say just geography and number of carbon-based life forms in my house have changed. My wife is an officer in the Navy, so we move around every three years. We were stationed in Japan from 2011 – 2015 and it was the greatest place I’ve ever lived. Even better than the place I call “home”: Salem, MA. I climbed Mt. Fuji twice while we were there, my kids went to Japanese Yochien (and became fluent in Japanese), and I wrote and published my third novel during our tenure in Japan; a romantic time-travel novel titled Yours Truly, 2095.
How long have you been writing?
– In the 7th grade. I wrote my first fictional short story called, “The Night is Young.” It wasn’t part of some homework assignment, or in-class exercise. I wrote the story over the weekend, purely because I loved to read and wanted to write something that was my own. After that, I never stopped writing. However, I only wrote short stories from 1988 to 2005. It was then that I began work on my first novel. My career as a novelist would never have happened, or at least to the success that I have had, if one of my best friends hadn’t died in 2005. My friend David, who was the lead singer of the industrial-rock band God Lives Underwater who enjoyed some commercial success in the 90s, had been struggling with drug addiction, depression, and the throes of the music business since I met him in 1995. We became fast friends, and I was one of the few people who stuck with him through all his highs and lows. When he passed away in 2005, I didn’t know where the put my grief. I just couldn’t find a healthy outlet for how I was feeling about losing him. It was suggested to me to write a memoir about our friendship, but in novel format so it read more like a story than a journal. My wife was the biggest advocate of me using my grief to write my first novel and recant all the good and bad times that come with being close to someone who struggles with addiction, and someone who was on major tours, on MTV, and all over the radio. He was a multi-dimensional person, and our friendship was trying and rewarding all at the same time. I started writing what would eventually become my first novel, Dreams Are Unfinished Thoughts, in January 2006 and it was published in October 2007—on the second anniversary of his death. The book sold above and beyond anyone’s expectations, and that’s how I stopped writing short stories and focused on writing novels.
What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
– There is good procrastination and then there is bad procrastination. When I think of good procrastination, I think of the artist’s end result being that much more superior because they procrastinated and allowed the idea to really blossom over time. Now, don’t get me wrong. Don’t confuse procrastination with “spending extra time to get it right.” Procrastination’s little sister is the word “lazy.” And yet, sometimes being lazy allows enough time to pass in the world, so the world can be ready for your release. Unfortunately, this only happens about 5% of time. The other 95% of the time, procrastination is evil and can kill momentum and a career faster than you can say “Crocodile Dundee for President.”
So what demons will try to tempt you to taste the fruit of laziness, or making excuses?
— First, I’d like to talk about the internet and social media. The internet (and I also mean to include social media from this point on) is a fantastic tool to help market and promote yourself after your work is released, or just prior, to get fans or potential new fans to know that your book is coming out. Where the internet can become a black hole of procrastination, is when someone “takes a break” to check their Facebook, or Twitter, or even their email. Social media platforms have algorithms in place, designed by some of the top programmers in the world, to subliminally try to keep you on the page. Everything from the layout, and the manner in which new notifications come in, are designed to keep you put. So, I would suggest only checking your email, Facebook, Twitter etc. AFTER you have finished writing for the day. If you need to take a break, do something that keeps the creative juices flowing, but gives you an emotional break. Listen to a few songs, take a walk around the block, alphabetize your spice rack. Anything but falling down the rabbit hole of social media sites. Now, when I write, I keep my internet browser closed. Completely closed. Not minimized. Closed. If I need to research anything about what I am writing, I use my google or Wikipedia app on my iPhone. That way I know I am only trapped in those functions and I won’t wander into distraction that eventually leads to full-blown procrastination.
– The second procrastination demon that I find rears its ugly head often, is believing that “I will get to writing today after I finish the list of A, B, and C things.” If today is a Writing Day, then writing should be A on your list. When I am writing a novel, I set aside three of the seven days of the week to just writing. The other four days can be filled with cleaning the house, laundry, grocery shopping, vacuuming etc. Pick the days you are going to write… and WRITE. It’s so easy to say, “Well, today I’m going to write after I put in a load of laundry, vacuum the house, and go get an oil change.” And what happens is, you get home from the oil change, somehow it’s already two o’clock (probably because you spent a wasted hour on Facebook) and now it’s time for the kids to come home from school. You really think you’re going to get anything of quality written after the kids come home from school? No. I have three little kids, and trust me, my writing ended when that bus pulled up. But guess what, if today was supposed to be a writing day, then make tomorrow the day to do laundry, vacuum, and get your oil change. Those household tasks aren’t going anywhere. Now don’t misunderstand me. I hate a dirty house, dishes in the sink, laundry piled up. What I am trying to say is, if today is a writing day, make it a Writing Day (proper noun). It should never be something to check off on a to-do list. Because guess what… you’ll never check it off, and the procrastination demon will go to bed that night with a tummy full of victory.
Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.
I approached the narrative as a Dick Tracy meets Sin City. And having the story take place in 1947 Vegas was pertinent for the vibe and atmosphere of the Jack-the-Ripper-style killer and the salty private detective. Being from Massachusetts (but moving around the world because we’re military), I find that my “missing home” comes out in the locations of my novels. All three of my previously published novels take place in MA, but when I started writing Moonlight City Drive, I wanted to break away from locating the action in MA. But sometimes you can’t escape your roots, and even though 95% of the novel takes place in Las Vegas, somehow the characters wind up in Salem, MA at one point. It’s like a magnet I can’t escape.
by Brian Paone
GENRE: Crime/Thriller Romantic Paranormal
11:18 p.m. Subject is checking into the Desert Palms Motel, accompanied by an unknown female.
Snapshot in the parking lot. Man and woman embrace. Betrayal, I see it every day, like my own reflection in the mirror staring back at me. Another case, another bottle of booze, life is no longer a mystery to me …
… Because I’m the private eye, hot on your trail; the top gun for hire. You’ll find me lurking in the shadows, always searching for a clue. I’m the bulletproof detective. I got my eye on you …
What’s a little sin under the covers, what’s a little blood between lovers? What’s a little death to be discovered, cold stiff body under the covers?
I’m digging you a desert grave, underneath the burning sun. You won’t be found by anyone. Vultures circle in the sky, and you, my dear, are the reason why.
… I was always easily influenced.
Smith spit out another peanut shell onto his Chevy’s floorboard as his gaze stayed trained on the Desert Palms Motel’s front entrance. His fingers instinctively found the opened bag in the complete darkness and pinched another nut. He squeezed his eyes closed to ward off the simmering residual headache from the most recent blackout. The sound of the rain pelting the windshield was soothing.
“Come on. Where are you? You took the last two nights off. I can’t imagine you being on vacation.”
Headlights turning into the parking lot diverted his attention from the motel’s front door. He squinted to decipher the make and model of the vehicle through the downpour. A Bentley. He sighed and returned his focus to the motel as he fingered the brim of his newly purchased replacement fedora and then tossed it next to him in frustration.
Smith removed his revolver from his shoulder holster and checked that all six chambers were loaded for the umpteenth time. He secured the weapon and grabbed the small notebook from underneath his discarded fedora, lying on the passenger seat, where Wynn should be sitting. But she had maintained radio silence throughout the past two days since storming from Hank’s office. He shook his head in disgust for letting Wynn’s drama distract him from the job at hand.
He swiped the Chevy’s dashboard with his palm to clean off the thick layer of dust that had collected from months of neglect. He wiped his hands on his pants, leaving a graying smear across the fabric covering his thighs. He reached into his trench coat’s inner pocket and removed a silver flask. He opened the top and looked at the engraved insignia on the front. His index finger traced the shining eyeball hanging freely in the cut-out middle of a pyramid. Taking a swig from the decorated flask, he grimaced as the brown liquid hit the back of his throat.
Brian Paone was born and raised in the Salem, Massachusetts area. Brian has, thus far, published four novels: a memoir about being friends with a drug-addicted rock star, Dreams are Unfinished Thoughts; a macabre cerebral-horror novel, Welcome to Parkview; a time-travel romance novel, Yours Truly, 2095, (which was nominated for a Hugo Award, though it did not make the finalists); and a supernatural, crime-noir detective novel, Moonlight City Drive. Along with his four novels, Brian has published three short stories: “Outside of Heaven,” which is featured in the anthology, A Matter of Words; “The Whaler’s Dues,” which is featured in the anthology, A Journey of Words; and “Anesthetize (or A Dream Played in Reverse on Piano Keys),” which is featured in the anthology, A Haunting of Words. Brian is also a vocalist and has released seven albums with his four bands: Yellow #1, Drop Kick Jesus, The Grave Machine, and Transpose. He is married to a US Naval Officer, and they have four children. Brian is also a police officer and has been working in law enforcement since 2002. He is a self-proclaimed roller coaster junkie, a New England Patriots fanatic, and his favorite color is burnt orange. For more information on all his books and music, visit www.BrianPaone.com