Tuesday, July 8, 2014

BOOKS TO LOVE: The Ruins of Tropicalia with MUSIC by The Amends


Virtual Book Tour Dates: 6/24/14 – 7/22/14
Genres: General Fiction, Literary, Thriller, SciFi, Musical

Tour Price: Free

Release Date: 6/24/14


The Ruins of Tropicalia is a serialized, pulpy adventure story, accompanied by new music by indie rock n roll band The Amends.

Expanded Plot Summary:  In early 2014, a group of
Americans gathered on a remote Central American peninsula to experience
the last days of an unsullied tropical paradise before its development
into a corporate retreat for the world’s biggest tech company. Many of
them believed they were there accidentally, but none of them were. This
is the story of how a group of restless, indecisive idiot discovered who
brought them there, and what they could be. This is the story of a
country and a civilization few remember ever existed. This is the story
behind the most mysterious mass Disappearance of the 21st century. This
is a war story. And when things get bad, you rescue what you can…

Details: Two new chapters/episodes of TROT
debut each week from 6/24/14 until its completion at the end of August,
available for free in multiple formats (mobi/Kindle, EPUB, PDF, etc.)
both online and on a mobile app. A new single from The Amends will premiere each Wednesday throughout TROT’s run at the above locations as well as http://theamendsband.com. A trailer for the book can be viewed on Youtube.


Sam Merard doesn’t recognize the station
names any more, but they must be deep into Queens. They’re out of the
underground, elevated. He checks the time on his phone. This isn’t
right. They should have been to JFK at least fifteen minutes ago. He
considers crossing the car to check the subway map, but he doesn’t want
to chance Liz spotting him.

“Approaching Utnapishtim station,” a female voice announces through the rattly speakers.

Utna-what? The announcer’s voice was different, too. The
train slows and screeches loudly to a stop. The doors slide open. Liz
steps outside. Sam pauses his iPod, slips the earbuds back into his
pocket, waits a few seconds again, and follows. The train rolls away
behind him.

The platform stretches endlessly northeast. A solitary heat-lamp
illuminates the stairs down to the street. Beyond that, darkness and
infinity. Without looking behind her, Liz walks into the gloom. He

Sam hears nothing but her footsteps. No car horns, no breaks, no
drunken shouts, no anything. He peers over the edge of the platform, but
has trouble seeing anything more of the city than dark, blurred
outlines of buildings. This part of the city produces no light. No
illumination behind the windows, no streetlights below. Nothing but
shadows beyond the train platform.

He walks gingerly on the sides of his feet for what must be a mile.
The platform continues on past the point of credulity. Liz is not
concerned with making noise. Whenever her faint outline disappears into
the murk, he is still able to follow the sounds of her heels clicking
against the wood.

A faint white light appears in the distance. Liz continues walking
towards it, never altering her pace. The light splits into three
distinct shapes. He makes out the profiles of three men— two wear white
bio-suits and gas masks, the third dons a long white lab coat and
surgical mask. A dim fluorescence emanates from their clothing.

Liz stops walking. Sam’s heart thumps, and he ducks behind a trash can. He peers over its edge.

The man in the lab coat approaches Liz. His coat is open, and an
oddly-shaped, octagonal stethoscope bounces against his chest. Liz
unfastens the top two buttons of her blouse. She offers him her chest.
He places the diaphragm against her neck instead.

The scientist murmurs something to his colleagues, who stand side by
side four feet behind him. One of them scribbles a note on a pad. Sam
hears their exaggerated breathing through their masks. The lead
scientist reaches into his coat pocket and withdraws a portable blood
pressure monitor. He straps it around Liz’s forearm. He pumps it, checks
his watch, and mutters to the others again.

“Satisfied?” Liz asks.

“Somewhat,” the scientist answers in a gruff, muffled voice.

“Then give me what you promised,” she says.

Sam can’t help but notice again the lack of noise and smell and sight. It’s as if there is no city surrounding him.

One of the other scientists steps forward. He places a small
cylindrical object to his throat, beneath his gas mask. When he speaks,
the words come out robotic, metallic.

“After one more test,” He She or It says.

The second scientists pulls what looks like a neatly folded piece of
paper from his back pocket. He unfolds it, bends down, and places it at
Liz’s feet. It too gives off a faint glow. She steps upon it. The second
scientist glances at the paper, checks a watch-like device on his
wrist, and places the cylinder to his throat again.

He says to the note-taker, “Thirty-seven pounds. A new record.”

“Would ya look how special I am?” Liz says flatly.

The scientist in the lab coat asks, “Have you noticed anything different? Have you taken flight yet?”

Liz shakes her head. “Just give me the powder,” she says.

Guest Post!!

The Foundations of The Ruins of Tropicalia
Post By Tyler Taylor

The Ruins of Tropicalia is a bit of an experiment. It’s a serialized novel-length adventure story that will be released (at least at first) only digitally, and it’s accompanied by the rock n roll music of my band, The Amends. However, one of the overarching themes of TROT is the importance of building any “new” creation on solid, well-tested foundations. For that reason, I’d like to talk about the various books which influenced me (and my fellow collaborators) in the construction of TROT.

The Big Book of Adventure Stories, Edited by Otto Penzler: I’m starting off with a bit of a cheat here, and using this as a catch-all for all the classic, pulpy, adventure stories I grew up loving—from Kipling to Stevenson to Burroughs to Robeson--and which serve as a major influence for The Ruins of Tropicalia. The most obvious connection is that TROT is serialized. And sometimes the characterizations, motivations, inner monologues, and backstories are merely prologue to the thrilling heroics. Sometimes you have to rescue what you can…

Stranger Things Happen, by Kelly Link: Magic realism, however elusive a true definition of it can be, has long been the most fascinating, unattainable literary genre. It wasn’t until I began reading Kelly Link’s odd, beautiful stories that I realized that the genre could be broadened beyond its Latin American roots. To me, the genre is about memory and perception, whether on a cultural or personal level. Link manages to wrap late-20th century pop culture and mythology around unique voices, creating miniature worlds that appear alien at first, but eventually reveal universal truths.

A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway: When writing about a group of American ex-pats in a foreign land, why not at least try to take inspiration from the best that ever was?

The Hawkline Monster, by Richard Brautigan: Although Brautigan has a small cult of devoted readers, he deserves to have a much bigger audience. Like Hunter Thompson, his style is unique and unable to be imitated. I wouldn’t dare to try, but once you near the end of TROT, you might understand why I included here the story of strange creatures in caves beneath the basement of a decaying mansion.

The Haunting Of Hill House / We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson: Shirley Jackson is one of my absolute favorite writers, and I often return to her stories when I need guidance on how to create atmosphere and a believable inner monologue—even if the monologue I’m writing is my own. Plus, the first paragraphs of both novels are two of the best in all modern literature.

 Under The Volcano, by Malcolm Lowry:    “You like this garden? Why is it yours? We evict those who destroy!” I admit I didn’t begin reading this story of a depressed British diplomat drinking himself to death in Mexico until after I was well underway writing The Ruins of Tropicalia. A friend recommended it. There are many surface similarities to TROT—a disillusioned Westerner wanders around a Latin American country he is unable to understand while his relationship crumbles, and his companions share perspectives more lucid and truthful than his own. Although very different (and better, I’m quite sure) in tone and plot, there’s no way that it didn’t end up influencing me in the latter part of my writing.

Ubik, by Philip K. Dick: Once you finish the first chapter/episode of The Ruins of Tropicalia, you will see why.

The Labyrinth of Solitude, by Octavio Paz: Although this is a collection of essays about the history of Mexico (and not the Central American country in which much of TROT takes place), the scars of colonialism and the challenges of building new culture from fractured ruins are issues across much of Latin America.

All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers, by Larry McMurtry: This departure from the epic Westerns that made Larry McMurtry famous has been one of my all-time favorite books since I read it in many years ago. The memory of the story of a writer who walks away from the edge of success called me back to the book, and I re-read it in the months before I went to Central America. Granted, there’s a big difference between Danny Deck’s story and mine, considering I left my band to go into the business world, and we probably wouldn’t have been successful anyway. But still, an incredible book.

CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, by George Saunders: Saunders’ debut collection of stories creates a vivid patchwork of a recognizable but surreal picture of America’s dystopian near-future. The narrators of TROT sometimes portray the country they left behind through a similarly distorted lens.

Tales of H.P. Lovecraft, Edited by Joyce Carol Oates: I’m going to defer comment on this one until the whole of TROT is released, haha.

The first installment of The Ruins of Tropicalia debuted on 6/24. Two new chapters/episodes will debut each week, along with new singles from The Amends, until its conclusion at the end of August. It’s entirely free. Go to http://theruinsoftropicalia.com to read it online in multiple formats (Kindle, PDF, plain text, EPUB), or for links to download the mobile ios/Google app.

The Ruins of Tropicalia is written by Tyler Taylor, Elizabeth Troy, Regina Porter, and Anonymous.

The Amends are Drew Weikart (lead vocals/guitar), Tyler Taylor (guitar/keys/vocals), Chris Childress (bass), and Shay Byington (drums). Learn more at http://theamendsband.com

Buy Links:

About the Author:

Photo of The Amends, including TROT’s “curator”, Tyler Taylor (wearing the shark shirt).

After taking a temporary leave from his Colorado-based rock n roll band
The Amends, Tyler Taylor was among the group who went to Central
America, and witnessed the events described in The Ruins of Tropicalia. He edited and compiled the accounts of his fellow travelers into the main text of TROT.
He and Amends lead singer/guitarist Drew Weikart worked to put some of
the events to music, and the entire band (including bassist Chris
Childress and drummer Shay Byington) recorded the eight new songs in
April and May.

Connect With The Author:


The author is giving away: (5) The Amends T-Shirt (Multiple Sizes
Available), What We Could Be Studio Album (3), and The Amends Studio
Album (3) on The Ruins of Tropicalia Book Tour! Open internationally, enter through Rafflecopter!


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