Tag Archives: Kitty and Cadaver

Score for Sharp – and bonus versions

Kitty_iconI have written a number of songs that don’t appear in Kitty and Cadaver (though they may show up in the second book, when I get to it.)

This one, Sharp, was (like Copper Beaches) written as a sort of Sherlock filk song exploring John Watson’s youth and his relationships.

Sharp was based on the idea that as a teenager he had walked in on his sister Harry cutting a girlfriend’s name into her arm.

(In my head, they are a very dysfunctional family, after his mother’s death and their father’s and Harry’s ensuing depression and alcoholism.)

.

Sharp

Red ink,
black letters,
parchment skin
Is this the only way you know to let love in?

Strange joy
Blessed pain
Ecstacy
Is it only when the love hurts
that you think it’s real?

See it to believe it, carve it on your heart
Leave a message from your arteries
And the love just falls apart

And the memories are sharp
So sharp
You can’t use my hand or heart
So cut me out.

Etch a name into the bone
Not hers, not yours, but ours alone
Let these words be written
“I could not stand to listen”

You’re the one who’s leaving
You have cut away the ties
And the neatest slice is bleeding
Goodbye, goodbye
the red ink writes

Red ink,
black letters,
parchment skin
Is this the only way you know to let love in?

And the memories are sharp
So sharp
You can’t use my hand or heart
So cut me out.

They’re not necessarily kind lyrics. They’re the words of an angry young man whose family is falling apart and he can’t work out how to keep them together and functional. Especially as neither his father nor sister seems to want him to.

Of course, one of the wonderful things about filk, fandom and music, is that other people may come along and play in your sandpit. A fellow Sherlock fan was inspired to play with the lyric, come up with her own melody and record it for her Soundcloud account. (She’s also done her own version of another filk I wrote, Battlefield).

Here is my own version, sung a capella.

At Continuum 11 this year, Ann Poore performed a version of it (and her take on Gretel’s Lullaby and Down as well) during a filk singing session.

(By the way, if you’re interested in filk – which is basically the fan version of folk music – Ann and I have started the Melbourne Filkers group on Facebook and we’re hoping to find others to join us to develop a local singing scene.)

And here is the score for my version:

Sharp 1Sharp 2

And as always, if you’re moved to try your own version of it, I’d love to hear it.

Music Score for Copper Beaches

LaszloI’ve had a very productive few weeks, having submitted three short stories to various anthologies and also sent my first full-length adventure-romance novel, Ravenfall, to my publisher for consideration.

Before I get fully into my new book, The Adventure of the Colonial Boy, I thought I’d share another of the songs for Kitty and Cadaver.

Copper Beaches, as the name suggests, was something I first wrote while noodling about with Sherlockian ideas – though the connection to Holmes isn’t at all obvious from the lyric. It actually relates to an idea I had about BBC Watson having had a more reckless youth, and these lyrics represent the decision he made to find a more constructive path. Once it was done, I felt the whole thing could do extra service as a song in Chapter Seven of Kitty and Cadaver.

In that chapter, Laszlo (the band violinist), Yuka (drummer) and Sal (guitar) are teaching the song to new recruits, Kitty and Stephen. Thematically in that book, the lyrics are very relevant to all three of those singing it.

Here’s the lyric on its own:

Copper beaches

A seaside in rain and a hollow in the heart
And sand is a grave for rocks and bone
Smashed up by the tide and time
An ancient stage
Where we’ll go with age
and we always go alone

And the sun’s going down and it’s bleeding into
An ocean to swallow the sorrow down
And the bronze on the water and silver horizon
In the blazing light, I keep my eyes on
the copper that’s staining the place where I stand
I’m on firmer ground in this copper sand.

It’s nothing to anyone how old is the earth
It’s nothing to the sea that my mother gave birth
And the sun doesn’t care if I live or die
But it’s such a beautiful sky

And everyone’s bleeding and lonely and scared
And the world wouldn’t notice if anyone cared
But we do
And we’re too small to matter to oceans and skies
And our hearts are too broken to love after lies
But we do
But we do

This tiny heart in the burning world
Is finding a flame in these copper beaches
the sun doesn’t care if I live or die
It’s such a beautiful sky

And everyone’s bleeding and lonely and scared
And the world wouldn’t notice if anyone cared
But we do
And we’re too small to matter to oceans and skies
And our hearts are too broken to love after lies
But we do
But we do

And here is the score:

Copper Beaches p1

Copper Beaches p2The song is meant to be very rock – in my head there are drums, bass and lead guitar, maybe keyboards. I was listening to a lot of Shinedown at the time, so think of that, a bit.

I’d be all for someone having a go at playing it/arranging it and sending the result to me, if you have time on your hands. 🙂

Introducing: Kitty and Cadaver – saving the world with rock 'n' roll!

UPDATE MARCH 2019

Kitty and Cadaver is to be published this year by Clan Destine Press.

Subscribe to the Mortal Whispers newsletter or the Mortal Words blog for up-to-date news on its release.


Original post:

Anyone who has spoken to me lately has seen me, bright-eyed and over-excited, going on (and on and on and on) about my multimedia online story project. And I really am VERY ALLCAPS EXCITED about it. The project is called Kitty and Cadaver, and this post is so I can squee all about it to the world – and then invite you to join me!

Kitty and Cadaver outline

Kitty and Cadaver is a book about a rock band that uses music as magic to save the world from monsters. As the story opens, the three surviving members of the band (who played as Rome Burning until the very recent and violent death of their lead singer) and their roadie have come to Melbourne, Australia, to lick their wounds and try to regroup, as it were.

Enter Kitty Carrasco, a 21 year old with a strange past, who works as a beautician in a mortuary. Brought up by her grandparents, Kitty doesn’t know what happened to her parents, and she doesn’t know why her grandparents forbade music in their household.

Of course, things start going pear-shaped pretty quickly, and the dead start getting restless. Some of them start to literally sit up and take notice. It’s as well Kitty has a cool head on her shoulders and, despite her grandparents’ best attempts, knows how to sing to the dead anyway.

Soon Kitty meets up with Steve (Texan, bass player), Salvadore (guitarist from Goa, India), Yuka (Japanese, drummer) and Laszlo (the Hungarian roadie who knows a lot more about the violin than he’s letting on). With them is another guitarist, Stephen, whom Steve is trying to recruit as his replacement. (Steve would rather like to be one of the few band members to retire rather than being killed on the job.)

The trouble is, each and every one of those people has a secret. Some of them don’t even know they’re keeping one.

So all they have to do is try not to get eaten, sing the dead back to sleep, find out who’s raising them and save the world. Again. As soon as they can stop fighting among themselves, in traditional rock band fashion.

Not just a book – a whole song and dance! And also a comic book.

The whole thing about writing a story about a band that defeats monsters with music was that, clearly, I had to write music as part of the story. Well, it’s been 30 years since I learned the piano, although I’ve dabbled in songwriting on and off in the intervening decades. Oh, but look – I have an awesomely talented niece, Jess Harris, a guitarist and songwriter! I’m more excited than I can tell you that I’m now co-writing songs with Jess (and Jess is contributing some of her own songs) for this book about a band.

So now my book, which I wanted to post in chapters and parts in a blog, had songs to go with it.

The next thing I realised was that, if I wanted to post this onto a blog, I’d need banner art. I approached Nath Holden, the drummer from Jess’s old band, Vermillion, who is also a pretty cool artist. He came right on board to create the banner you see above. At the same time he said, ‘That’s a neat idea. Have you thought about making it into a comic?’

I’m sure you can guess what happened next.

Nath and I are in the process of creating an 18 page comic, telling the ‘secret origin’ of Yuka – the drummer whose heavy metal band accidentally summoned a demon, and Yuka was the only survivor of the encounter. We hope to bring you the first pages of Demon of the Earth in a few months.

Not to mention the craft project

My brain is having some kind of creative supernova at this point, because my next thought was ‘Yuka wears bracelets and a necklace made out of the smashed up musical instruments of her dead bandmates as memento mori. It would be so cool to have something like that’.

My researches showed that only a very few craftspeople/jewellers made wearable art from recycled instruments, and I couldn’t find any in Australia. So I thought the obvious next step would be to collect suitable materials and then have a workshop. Yay!

I’m in the process of getting donations of bits of instruments that might otherwise be thrown away, and my friend Ali Alexander, a jewellery maker, is going to work with me to determine how best to use such materials and then get the workshop together in a few months’ time. Stay tuned for details!

The Axe Principle

One of the key ideas behind the world of Kitty and Cadaver is that the band has a 700 year history, playing under different names, depending on the make-up of the troupe at the time.

The piper and drummer who began in all in the 13th century died long ago, but the mantle has been handed on and on through the centuries. Like an axe that has had its handle replaced, then the head, then the handle, then the head – hundreds of years later, it may be considered the same axe with an historic persistence-of-vision, although the component parts are no longer the original.

This means that although Kitty and the band she’s meeting now are the latest incarnation, I have a hugely long history of music magic I can play with in this universe. I can write short stories or comics set anywhere in that time period, with whatever the band looked like then. I can write songs that are from the band’s repertoire and then invite musicians to work out how they sounded in the 16th century, or the sixties; as madrigals or pirate metal!

An invitation to play

But wait, there’s more!

Another key idea behind the Kitty and Cadaver universe is that this is a huge world, with room to play in all kinds of time periods and musical styles and even characters. The music and art already coming out of this idea could lead to so much more. Add to this my background as a writer of fanfiction – thirty-odd years ago, it’s where I learned so much about writing, and where I’ve seen many writers and artists make a start before going on to professional work.

The result is that I’ll be posting Kitty and Cadaver under a creative commons licence, and inviting people to come and play in my sandpit. The licence I’m using essentially means that I’ll be thrilled if you have some creative response to the work as long as you credit the source and don’t use it for commercial purposes.

That’s getting a bit ahead of myself, I know. Still, everyone I’ve spoken to about the world of Kitty has been enthused about the creative possibilities, and I’d love for the project to grow!

Blogging at Kitty and Cadaver

I aim to post a new part each Monday, but I’ll also be blogging about related material: song lyrics and soundfiles; other books with music and monsters; music-themed art and craft; music-related folklore; the occasional video or link about the macabre (I have a video up already about being a make-up artist in a mortuary); discussions of music, instruments and music history; and pretty much anything that seems relevant and interesting.

Join us at Kitty and Cadaver

The Kitty and Cadaver project has its main site, www.kittyandcadaver.com – please visit that for the blog posts and the weekly story update.

You can also follow the Kitty and Cadaver project on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. (Some songs are already posted on Facebook and Tumblr, as well as Jess’s Soundcloud site.) When we’ve had the opportunity to develop some more art for a clip, you’ll also find songs and related videos being posted in the Kitty YouTube channel.

If you’re new here, start at Kitty and Cadaver: Not the Zombie Apocalypse, Chapter One, Part One.

 

The Next Big Thing

You may have seen the blog chain winding its links around the Australian writing community lately. Tansy Rayner Roberts tagged me (read her contribution here) and here is my effort at answering the standard questions. I actually have two concurrent projects (actually, three, but the third involves short stories, so I thought I’d leave them out of it) so it got a bit complicated. Apparently, complicated and way too busy is my thing. Free time is anathema to me.

What is the working title of your next book?

I have a couple of projects going simultaneously at the moment, which is madness, I know. Believe me. They’re not even the only two projects I’m developing.

One project is the third Gary/Lissa vampire novel, with the working title of Beyond Redemption. The new project is being developed under the title Kitty and Cadaver.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Kitty and Cadaver came about basically because I love books in which rock and roll saves the world from monsters. There aren’t nearly enough of them, so I decided to write one.

Beyond Redemption is the third in a trilogy and will finish the Gary and Lissa’s story.

What genre does your book fall under?

Both of them are urban fantasy books. Well, I suppose Kitty and Cadaver is urban fantasy come rock opera.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

For Gary and Lissa, I’ve been thinking lately that Toby Truslove (Outland, Laid, The Strange Calls) would make a good Gary, if he chubbed up a bit. For Lissa, an actress named Maya Stange (Garage Days) has a great look.  (Actually, I think they’re both older than the characters, but they fit with my ideas of the characters.) Magda Szubanski was always the model for the vampire queen Magdalene, of course.

I haven’t got that far with the characters for Kitty and Cadaver yet.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

I will cheat by writing very long sentences.

Beyond Redemption: Gary is at the end of his tether, then he gets an idea that is either completely brilliant or completely stupid, particularly in light of the latest ructions in the vampire community and the return of Lissa’s mother.

Kitty and Cadaver: The surviving members of the rock band with a mission to save the world from monsters stumble across the zombie apocalypse in Melbourne, but need to find a new lead singer with a magic voice before they can confront the undead as well as their own demons.

Maya Stange
Maya Stange

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Beyond Redemption will come out with Clan Destine Press. I don’t know what will happen yet with Kitty and Cadaver. I’ll be approaching an agent when I have a completed manuscript ready to go, but Clan Destine has expressed interest in that as well.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I’m still working on them both, but first drafts usually take me 12 to 18 months, since I write them outside my day job hours. I’m hoping to go down to three days a week in day job hours in 2013, so maybe I’ll get these ones done more quickly for a change.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Obviously Beyond Redemption is on a line with the other vampire novels, The Opposite of Life and Walking Shadows.  Comic, non-romance urban vampire books in general, I suppose.

Kitty and Cadaver will be a bit like other rock ‘n’ roll saves the world books: Scott Westerfeld’s Peeps and The Last Days, and Emma Bull’s The War for the Oaks come to mind. (If anyone has recommendations for other books along these lines, I’d love to hear about them!)

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

For Kitty and Cadaver Rock ‘n’ Rooooooooollllllllll!!

More helpfully: I’d been noodling about writing lyrics (and a bit of music, but it’s been a long time since I played an instrument) to stretch myself and I loved doing it. I last wrote songs for some Blake’s 7 filk about thirty years ago, though I’ve dabbled a bit in the interim. But I loved doing it so much that I wanted to do a story that used music a lot more.  Music, magic, monsters: a perfect combination, surely?

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Music will be an integral part of Kitty and Cadaver, and I’m working with my niece, who is a musician, on developing songs that will be used in the stories. So it’ll be a multimedia bonanza!! Woooot!

Read other Next Big Thing entries in the blog chain!