Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway: The Devil's Jukebox by Marcel Feldmar

Published: July 8th, 2014
Cover Artist: Sam Soto 


A group of friends are reunited after twenty years to learn that their destinies are entangled with the immortal Muses and a mysterious lost jukebox.

From Vancouver to a New Orleans cemetery, roaming through Los Angeles to Las Vegas; it’s a supernatural road trip laced with rock ‘n’ roll.

Defining a genre: What is Paranormal Pop Fiction? 

When I started writing The Devil’s Jukebox I knew that it was “Fantasy”. Beyond that, I wasn’t sure. I wanted to finish the story first and then figure out what it was. That may have been a mistake, but I didn’t want the genre to define the book—I wanted the book to find its own genre. 

I toyed with YA, but the characters grew up and probably smoked too many cigarettes. There’s some paranormal and romantic elements, but it doesn’t work as a Paranormal Romance. It’s fiction, and there are definitely supernatural elements. It’s set in an urban environment, and deals with fantasy—but is it Supernatural Fiction or is it Urban Fantasy? Paranormal Fiction? 

These genres are loosely defined, but I wanted something to stand behind. First, I thought Supernatural Fiction. Nope—this is traditionally tied to ghost stories, and more recently, horror fiction. The Devil’s Jukebox holds a little horror, but also mystery, music, and poetry. There’s art, humor, compassion, and conflict. I did want to keep the “Fiction” part, though. 

Then Urban Fantasy—this would have been the genre of choice if this was written twenty years ago. While The Devil’s Jukebox may look like another entry into the Urban Fantasy milieu, it really isn’t. When I started writing the book I wanted the act of reading it to be similar to walking through a crowded record store and reading a horror comic while a poetry slam took place outside. I wanted High Fidelity meets On The Road meets The Vampire Lestat. Between start and finish, my vision shifted, but so did the Urban Fantasy genre. Now it seems to be full of seductive vampires, sexy werewolves and lusty demon hunters. Urban Fantasy as a genre has been co-opted by Paranormal Romance, and that’s not my world. 

So does that leave Paranormal Fiction? I believe this is the umbrella genre, covering UF and SF; but what about something that fits into both, or neither. Some literary version of Shoegaze or Post-Punk, a fictional Britpop or Darkwave. A subgenre with a twist. 

That’s where I wanted to be. Paranormal with a pop culture twist. I wanted to have something that would stand out. I wanted something that might get those invested in Literary Fiction, those who dismiss Popular (Genre) Fiction as worthless and clichéd, to give it a second look. So it’s a hit of Pop, for the musical reference; and then also a slight tongue-in-cheek nod to Popular Fiction. Given by someone who appreciates and incorporates elements of Literary Fiction into a paranormal world. This is where Paranormal Pop Fiction lives. 

We are dealing with the real world, but there are other planes of reality attached to it. The Muses, The Immortals, The dead. There are vampires and not quite vampires, there are werewolves and shape-shifters, Curses, Voudou, and Magic. There are people who believe in all of that, and those who don’t. There are records, comics, toys, movies. These are characters who have seen the remake of Dark Shadows. These are beings who have seen Bauhaus play live. These are Immortals who just want to enjoy a good drink and listen to some music. These characters live in a literary world of supernatural proportions, where there is a great importance placed on images created; the lyrical flow of words, the emotions given to the reader, the touches of beauty that can sometimes take precedence over plot. This is the world of Paranormal Pop Fiction, and there’s enough room for all of us to live within it. 


The coffee, the smoke, the music, the air. They connect the future in some twisted roadside frenzy, and Annie knows she’s been here too long. The songs in the café move and she gets lost somewhere in the sound. Suddenly she feels the downbeat smooth across her cheek. She remembers that drumbeat, close as Sebastian’s heart was when he told her that he loved her. His voice, warm across silk sheets.
She remembers crying as the bass line slid through empty air after he was gone.
She’s not going to cry anymore. She walks out of the cafe with a backwards wave towards the barista. She walks, and all of the sunset junkies walk past her. Crowding her off the sidewalk with tired eyes, searching for just one beautiful thing to hold onto. Annie wishes she had that one thing. It only lasts a second, and it’s gone. Mistaking repetition for inspiration and emptiness for satisfaction, leaving her alone to drink in the hideous magnificence of the slowly lowering night. Like wine spilling over, stained by ocean and moon.
Annie shakes the strange vision from her head and finds herself falling into another one, but this time it’s right there. A woman hidden in a mess of hair and moonlight, crossed by shadows and pale skin. The street is dark, but the woman almost glows.
“I didn’t mean to startle you. At least,” she smiles, “not much.”
Annie is flustered, scratched by a sharp edge of Déjà vu as she hears echoes of something Phillip said to her a long time ago. This was someone like him… but definitely different. “Oh, no, I mean… it’s okay. I’m sorry.” Annie wonders why she’s suddenly apologizing.
The woman’s gaze is sickly sweet, and it lasts a little longer than Annie likes. She starts to step away, but a hand falls on her shoulder. She’s behind her, still smiling, and Annie didn’t even see her move. The streetlight flickers, a flash of darkness and Annie is suddenly aware of all the silence. She’s suddenly aware of the fear as well.
Annie thinks about running, or screaming, or both.
And she finds that she can’t. The fear moves into desperation, then a slow resignation. “Who are you?”
“My name is Pandora.”
“What do you want?”
Pandora laughs lightly, and it sounds like glass.
“I want you to be very careful.”
“What do you mean? What did I do?”
“It’s what you are going to do that concerns me.”
Annie stutters against her fear. “I-I’m not going to do anything.”
Pandora shakes her head. “Sometimes I forget how little you humans see. Consider this a warning. You didn’t listen the last time I warned you, and I do not like repeating myself. Don’t follow your friends.”
Annie stares, nervous and confused. “What do you mean the last time? I don’t remember you at all.”
“Of course you don’t.” Pandora fixes her eyes on Annie and it feels like lightning. “But remember this. This is not three strikes and you’re out. This is it. Leave the jukebox alone, or you leave this life.”
Pandora stands tall, pale, menacingly elegant, and Annie imagines that this is how flies must feel when they suddenly hit a web. The dark magnificence of the spider moving towards another meal. Except no spider could move like this. She narrows her eyes and Annie’s blood shivers within her skin. “Sebastian didn’t listen to me. Maybe you should.”
The woman releases her gaze, and before Annie can let a breath escape, she’s alone. She turns in a full circle—nothing. No one. She’s shaking.

All Annie wants is a drink, so she heads towards the Viceroy, where she’s supposed to meet Martin. It’s a small bar, but quiet. The drinks are strong and the music is decent, but Martin isn’t there yet. Annie sits near the back and faces the door behind a vodka martini. A slight touch of safety. She tries to clear her mind, to relax. She tries to not think about what happened. It doesn’t work. All she can think about is Sebastian. Who is Pandora? What did she do to Sebastian? Was she there when the accident happened? Annie can barely remember that, but she knows it was bad, and that maybe it’s best not remembered. And how did Pandora vanish so quickly? She sips her drink, knowing that Pandora is not like most people in this world. She is something that probably shouldn’t exist but is too strange to believe, so Annie covers it with more alcohol and comforting thoughts of illusions and hallucinations. She’s frightened by shadows of what might happen, and Pandora’s words echo in her head…
“You humans…”
This isn’t happening, Annie insists to herself and proves it by getting another drink. The music plays against the night, and Annie feels a memory shivering somewhere between the song and her cigarette. There was a time, long before she met her high school friends, when she believed in magic. There was a time, before nicotine nights and empty alcohol, when she would sit in her room and stare out the window and hope for something amazing. Something wonderful to sweep in out of the night and take her away. There was a time when she wasn’t scared.
Another drink. It stains her tongue with silence. Her nails dig a little too deep into her arm, and she stains her skin with violence. Sometimes it feels better to bleed than to need.
She places her hands on either side of her glass, not touching it, and tries to relax her thoughts. Her eyes slide heavy across the smoke of the room. Another sip and a slow thought of Sebastian slides in alongside. It feels like red wine time, but Annie knows she’s not going to start drinking that, not now. They had a history, lined up in empty glasses and faded labels, but that’s all it was. History. And sadness.
She sighs, skipping over the wine like smooth stones sailing across the ocean, but that doesn’t mean she’s not drinking. She’s drinking to remember how to hang onto that space between cigarettes that can last almost as long as the silence between songs. Sometimes Annie forgets that all it takes is a quarter to break her heart, as the jukebox spits out another sad song. Sometimes she forgets how small the world really is.

About the author:

Marcel Feldmar was born in Vancouver, moved to Boulder, ended up in Denver, went back to Vancouver, moved to Seattle, and ended up in Los Angeles. He is married with three dogs, and enjoys well made cocktails. He is also a coffee addict and an ex-drummer for too many bands to mention. He recently traded in his drumsticks for a couple of pens, and proceeded to complete his first novel. The Paranormal Pop Fiction tale entitled The Devil’s Jukebox.


Anonymous said...

Good luck and thank you for the giveaway.

Unknown said...

Thank you! I hope, if you get to read The Devil's Jukebox, that you enjoy it.


Anita Yancey said...

Sounds like an amazing and exciting book. I can't wait to read it. Thanks for having the giveaway.

Unknown said...

Hi Anita,
Thanks! I hope the giveaway does good by you.

Unknown said...

Your book looks good, thank you for the giveaway of them.

Unknown said...

Thank you, Bella

Good luck to you!


Linda Romer said...

Hello Marcel your book sounds fasinating I would like to read it. Thank you

ShainaJo said...

Looks like a great read! Love the title. :)

Unknown said...

Thank you, Linda and ShainaJo!

I'm pretty happy with the title, too - and the rest of the book ain't bad. :)


Suus said...

This books sounds great, I would love to read it!

Marcel Feldmar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Hi Lavender,

I think the opportunity will arise - if you don't win this giveaway, there will always be other opportunities...