Reviews

From the Music and the Spires purchasing page:

Reading CE Alexander’s work is like walking through a beautiful, but dense forest. Being a reader of mostly YA fiction, The Music and the Spires is quite a change. While the plot and settings are sometimes not obvious, you can’t help but be completely drawn into the characters. While my brain worked out what was happening in each story, my heart fell in love with Magsa, the kids in Les Wodr, and dear Annette. A beautifully written work of fiction. Looking forward to Alexander’s next offering!

Thank you, Britt!

“Trapeze Disrobing Act,” by Thomas Edison

We’re hard at work on Alexander’s next book trailer (after months of hand-wringing, we finally released our promotional film for The music and the spires last week). The forthcoming trailer will promote three short stories, published individually on Kindle: Book of Constants, Bar Juchne and My Wounded Specular.

This brief Edison clip–depicting a lively, if nonscandalous trapeze tease–kept turning up in our search for footage. We took that as a sign.

Look for Book of Constants to publish on June 16, via Kindle Direct.

“Ledabella,” by William Ryan Fritch

Earlier this year we commissioned a previously-unreleased track from Wiliam Ryan Fritch, who records under Vieo Abiungo, Settled Scores, and his given name. The composition is truly stunning. It is named “Ledabella” after one of the characters of The Music and The Spires. Ledabella is a young girl who finds a long-drowned neighborhood exposed by drought. As the water continues to recede, she braves deeper explorations into this forgotten neighborhood, and into her own.

Get to know the music of William Ryan Fritch. His accomplishments here–and in the world of film and traditional album releases–are remarkable.

Sundries

Credits

When the day job beckons and you can’t fit in your blogging, let it all pile up and then–when the stack finally tips over–call it a newsletter. That being said, file this one under “May.”

First, C.E. Alexander’s The Music and The Spires is available for $0.99, wherever fine ebooks are sold. Purchasing links include AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo BooksCopia and eSentral.  That’s 0.0083 bitcoins per spire.  (Notre Dame only has one spire, by the way.  Read the book if you don’t know what Notre Dame has to do with anything.)

Next, and speaking of Zidi publications that don’t cross the one-dollar threshold, C.E. Alexander’s Kindle-only Book of Constants is still on for its June 16 release. Take a look at the cover here, and read some background here.

As for The Music and The Spires book trailer? It’s a bit late in the game to keep talking about a May 1 release. But it will be soon. We’re talking hours, now, not days. The trailer features a remarkable new composition by William Ryan Fritch and some found footage by various, turn-of-century video tinkerers. While you wait can we offer a mango-peach smoothie or some Dallas re-runs?

Finally, C.E. Alexander just completed his interview of Lucille Redmond over at Fluid Radio. In March 2012, Redmond published Love (stories of love, Ireland, sex, sea, snow and money). It is excellent reading throughout.

And what’s with the two guys at the top of page? Not telling. Yet.

Reviews

Dave K. writes in with more remarks on C.E. Alexander’s collection of short stories The Music and the Spires. Buy here. Read more here.

Been reading some more. “Vibrant” was so wonderfully creepy. Nightmarish…. And Radio Wind is a great phrase (one I’m sorely tempted to appropriate). I have to read it again, I think there are things I missed–especially in the relationship between Bleibtreu and the guard.

Loved “Dogs and Baghdad”–maybe my favorite so far. At first I was kind of startled with the straight real world setting, but there’s still this sense of unreality permeating everything. Like the way everything is somehow mediated–the body painting through video, the conversations with Goose through translation, even the way that the feeding of the owl was somehow weirded out by the naming of the mice…. And then of course, that damn televised invisible war is hanging over everything. The story reminded me of good collage–with elements working together to produce a feeling rather than a thought. Did you ever see any of Rauschenberg’s combines? Some of them (like Odalisque, and Bed, and even Monogram) are kind of stunts, but some of them–Canyon for instance–are amazing. Very sad. And profound without being pretentious–which is something people don’t even try anymore. Anyway, I’m digging the book.

Reviews

“I…really like the sense of dread and unease in both, and how it’s not so much a dread of physical violence so much as ontological violence. There’s a sense in both that reality is very thin.”
–Dave K., via email, about “A song for Magsa” and “Back and forth,” from the short story collection The music and the spires.

Ending the week on a high note. Thank you, Dave!

(Oh, and Elysium’s name change to The Lotusland? That’s yesterday’s news. We’re rolling with Bar Juchne, and that’s final. Maybe.)

Author interview: “I change their names so often it’s possible they just don’t know which one of them I’m addressing”

Someone needed to interview the guy. We thought, What the hell?

Remember C.E. Alexander’s The music and the spires is available for purchase now, through Amazon (purchase link). Other outlets will follow soon.

Zidi Publishing: What about life makes writing necessary for you?
C.E. Alexander: Are you sure the question shouldn’t be, What about writing makes life necessary? Either one is the $64,000 question, frankly. I think all of us watch our lives from the upper atmosphere, see patterns form, have thoughts we couldn’t possibly trace back to their origins, and put the thoughts to paper. Those of us who have decided we are writers simply keep writing. Others scribble the words TO DO at the top of the page and go fulfill themselves in other ways.

ZP: What would you do if you couldn’t write?
CEA: The glib answer is that I would dictate my fiction to SIRI and let her do the writing. I imagine that violates the spirit of the question, though. Let’s say I was somehow forced to put the flower down, sober up, and leave the lotus eaters behind. I’d probably channel those energies into multimedia art. I don’t even know what I mean by that, so let’s not examine it much further.

ZP: Is there a point in a story that particularly excites you?
CEA: The planning phase. When the narrative, characters, theme and voice all start taking shape, it is intoxicating, an absolute dopamine rush. No other phase of the story comes close to that, be it the initial spark, the writing, the editing, or the publishing. Indeed, writing, editing and publishing are terribly invasive: they spoil the sheer joy of planning out the next piece.

ZP: Whom do you read most?
CEA: I read so little fiction that those books I do manage to finish are statistically meaningless. Written fiction disappoints me. I tend to map out other stories in advance, just as much as I map out my own. When the story fails to go according to my script, when the characters fail to act the way I have planned out, when the voice is wrong or the theme is wrong, I’m disillusioned. The last novel to exceed my expectations was The King, by Donald Barthelme. That was years ago.

ZP: Is there something in your day-to-day routine that triggers the writing impulse?
CEA: I wake up at five in the morning, plug back into my subconscious, and start typing. I routinely blurt out the wrong word or sentence and knowingly leave it, which gives the characters something to banter about. They mock me ruthlessly.

ZP: How would you define the muse? Your muse?
CEA: I’m not sure if my answer is any different from my answer to the first question, or if it should be. I always keep a notebook on hand. In time someone will cut me off in traffic, and I’ll realize that his license plate is short for “Liars And Operators-35 Each.” Within a week or two I’m writing about con men running a phone sex racket.

ZP: Why short stories?
CEA: It’s probably something to do with my terrible ADD. I’ve tried writing novels, but they’re way too long.

ZP: Do characters linger with you after you’ve finished a story?
CEA: I miss Magsa and regret everything I put her through. I wonder about her grandsons and hope my predictions were all wrong. I’ve no idea where Magsa came from. To this day I see her in people I meet sometimes, which endears them to me at once. This question was surprisingly painful to answer.

ZP: Do your story ideas come first as characters or events?
CEA: Events, definitely, and the characters are hand-drawn for the events to work. But from there they refuse to listen to a word I say, although I change their names so often it’s possible they just don’t know which one of them I’m addressing.

ZP: Do you know the progression of a story before you start writing?
CEA: No I don’t. I often don’t know what the story is about, either. Sometimes I’ll have to read an unfinished story like a literary critic, just to sort through the mess I’ve made. I’m prone to lots of abrupt shifts that way, but my publisher let most of them through. We’ll see what the critics think.