A little help from my friends…

Ahhh, Easter is over. I have a sugar hangover that would fell a mortal man. I looked into the innocent eyes of my three year old daughter and tried to explain why a bunny would bring her candy in the middle of the night (she asked, she’s a sharp one). Strange thing, that. I don’t know how many times I have told the child not to take candy from strangers…but, it’s OK if it comes from a giant rabbit who breaks into your house in the middle of the night. Hmmm. I think she is humoring us. And it is a dangerous message. Almost as much as Disney (Copyright, all rights reserved, appropriate trademarks and kow-towing implied…please don’t sue us) convincing my daughter that “poison” makes you fall into a beautiful, peaceful sleep until a handsome chap on a horse comes and kisses you and you wake up and fall in love. Thanks capital D Disney. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, my head hurts, much like it did when I woke up in an alley with the taste of Robotussin in my mouth and no pants only to find out months later I had “co-written” a book. Collaboration. That’s what I want to talk about.

K.S. Brooks, in all her sexy wisdom, suggested several months ago that she, Stephen Hise, and myself write a book together. Not just any book. The worst book that had ever been written. This was music to my ears as I had grown tired of writing shockingly GOOD books. There was initially a fourth writer in on the plans, but he bailed and shall remain nameless (Antrobus, you stupid jerk, I hope we make a million dollars and then you can drive my Rolls). So, the three of us decided to write a bad book. One problem: everything we right is got-damned gold. We wrote a bad book so good it will make your ovaries ache (especially if you are a man). And I thought you might want to hear about it, because it was my first ever threesome and it might not ever happen again.

Kat started with some computer magicness and opened a thing called “dropbox” which allowed us all to work on the same manuscript. Sometimes we wrote paragraphs, sometimes pages – to be perfectly honest, I don’t really remember. There is one part I know for sure I wrote, but the rest is anybody’s guess. And that was the really suprising thing. When you read the book (and you will!), it doesn’t seem like three people wrote it. I’m not sure how we pulled this off. Unless it is because of our awesome powers. Or possibly because Hise and I were smart enough to go on a three month bender while Kat wrote the book. At any rate, it’s interesting to me that it came out so smoothly.

The other cool thing…let me back up a little. When I was a young writer (I majored in Creative Writing, hence the luxury automobiles and top shelf Ramen), I workshopped many a story. Sometimes I got really good advice, but I refused to incorporate it even if I thought it would improve the story. Because then it wouldn’t be MY story anymore. Stupid, huh? I’ve gotten over that. I take advice like candy from a baby now. But there was something particularly freeing about this. I love the way the book turned out and the fact that I don’t really know who wrote what is part of the reason. It’s not about me. Or Kat. Or Hise. (OK, it’s sort of about me).

In all sincerity, though, I was honored to write with these two excellent writers. It was a blast. I suggest you read it. I lament the fact that you will never get to read the parts we cut for decency’s sake. But I would encourage you all to try it for yourselves. I have two other collaborations in the works right now. It’s fun. And it is an amazing example of our weird, internet-indie world. I have talked to Kat on the phone. I think. Hise, hell, he may be a 13 year old girl. I wouldn’t be able to pick him out of a crowd (I could make a good smell-based assumption, though). A year ago I didn’t know these weirdos. And today you can (and will!) buy a book we wrote together without ever having to make eye contact.  It’s a really good Bad Book, but that’s not what makes me feel like I am wrapped in kittens when I go to sleep every night – no, that’s the kitten blanket I made. And the knowledge that we actually practiced what we preach. Humility. Solidarity. All for one and one for all. Now go spend .99 cents you scamps, you.

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JD Mader is a Contributing Author for Indies Unlimited and author of the novels JOE CAFÉ and THE BIKER. For more information, please see the IU Bio page and his blog:www.jdmader.com (and musical nonsense here: JD Mader).

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Author: JD Mader

JD Mader is an award winning short story writer and novelist. 'Joe Café' and 'The Biker' are out now, as well as 'Please, no eyes'. and the collaborative 'Bad Book'. Mader has been writing for half his life and has no plans on stopping any time soon. Learn more about JD Mader at his blog and his Amazon author page.

29 thoughts on “A little help from my friends…”

  1. It's true. I have no idea who wrote what part – and I tried.And you won't get that many laughs any where else for $.99 – except maybe watching my daughter's hamster chase her cats. That's free.

  2. I couldn't love this post any more, even if it was covered in chocolate mocha icing…which it wasn't. I already licked the page.

    I am a scamp and so I already have this lovely Bad Book in my Kindle library awaiting my next sleepless night. Gosh, I've never looked forward to insomnia before :))

    Jo

  3. Many years ago I became involved in radio. A small chapter of my life, but a rewarding one. I developed an almost immediate liking for a quirky quartet out of England that went by the name of 10cc. These guys were absolutely demented geniuses. Unfortunately, they became victims of the business end of music and were ultimately destroyed by the A/R men and label demands. Other aged and doddering music fans may remember them for the monster hit, "I'm Not in Love." Believe me, it is not representative of the style or sound of the band. One of the first songs I ever heard by them was a tune called, "The Worst Band in the World." Copping the first line of the song directly from the lyric sheet, the song begins:

    "It's one thing to know it, but another to admit

    "We're the worst band in the world and we don't give a"

    (bad bass solo obscures final word)

    While reading "Bad Book" I was immediately reminded of 10cc and how these talented people amused themselves by attempting to write the absolute worst piece of tripe in history. It's not nearly as easy as one might think. Elsewhere on the album (Sheet Music) is the song, "Silly Love." Again, it's a tongue in cheek intentional piece of garbage. It's also an addictive masterpiece. A sample line:

    "Oh, you know the art of conversation must be dying

    "When a romance depends on cliche`s and toupees and threepays."

    (pause for collective cringe from the assorted grammar nazis in the audience)

    My point is, I adored this willingness to be good at being bad. I'm also not alone. Legions of Monty Python fans, 10cc fans, and Steve Carell/Will Farrell lovers stand with me.

    "Bad Book" likely involved far more effort than the three minds behind it would ever admit. It's that bad. Which is to say, it's really THAT good!

    1. Thanks for the awesome comment, brother. I get what you're saying. These 10cc guys ripped us off. Hise is headed toward the litigation copter as we speak. 😉

      1. Remind him to get bonked in the noggin' real hard like Case so he can properly file the torte in 1972. It's a shame to miss out on a payday just so someone can avoid a little concussion and brain swelling.

  4. Amazing thoughts. My daughter who has a four-year old recently said about the "D" in your post, "Can you imagine my kid is watching Alice take pills and potions." As a mother of four, I never saw it that way. Wow, the world really has changed.

    1. We watch all the old school ones. Alice is my daughter's favorite. But the pink elephants on parade? It is amazing. Loved them as a kid, as an adult I realize they were all on acid.

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