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 follows.
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.
Some Things That Are New Are Also Old: Why I Chose to Serialize The Ruins of Tropicalia
When I returned from a long trip to Central America, I knew I had a story to tell, but I wasn’t sure how to tell it.
Luckily, I wasn’t alone. I was one of a group of Americans who traveled south and witnessed and participated in a series of somewhat… fantastical… events. Those of us who returned to the States knew we needed to share what we did and saw. We (Elizabeth Troy, Regina Porter, me, and a fourth author who wants to remain anonymous for the time being) began writing our individual accounts of what happened.
And I had my band. I’m a member of the indie rock n roll band called The Amends. I’ve focused most of my creative energy over the past several years on songwriting (usually collaborating with lead singer/guitarist, Drew Weikart), so I knew music would be a part of the story, too.
As I began editing and compiling our prose, and finalizing the mixes of the songs the band had recorded, I began to envision a way to blend multiple art forms into something hopefully exciting and new. Though the bulk of the story would be told in novel-length prose, I saw an opportunity to allow it to spread beyond the traditional confines of the pages of a book. So then I thought about how this could feasibly, technically work.
If music was to be an integral part of the story, then I’d have to figure out how to bind songs with written words. I briefly considered pursuing a more traditional publishing model—maybe a traditionally printed book accompanied by a CD. But the fact is, few people buy actual CDs anymore. And ebook consumption continues to rise.
I still enjoy curling up with an actual printed book more than reading on my tablet. But like many modern readers, I’ve found myself consuming more and more ebooks over the past couple years, especially when I decide I need to read something right now. In many ways, ebooks can be a more immersive, immediate experience. I thought I could take advantage of this with what would become The Ruins of Tropicalia.
That sense of immediacy was both an opportunity and a challenge. Releasing the entire text of TROT as a single ebook, accompanied by a digital album, would be the easiest path. But I knew there was a way to both keep readers more continually engaged, and to allow for deeper (and easier) immersion into all parts of the story. Having decided to embrace the most modern and independent methods to package and distribute the story, I also began to think of the past.
Serialization was one of the earliest and most successful ways of keeping readers engaged and “wanting more”. Some of the most popular serialized stories were the pulps. I soon realized that the story within TROT had much in common with pulp fiction serials.
A plan started to form. If I released individual chapters (or episodes) of TROT on a regular schedule, I could then release the songs most relevant to each episode on the same schedule. And it would also allow me to add both context and additional content to the story on various web/social platforms in real time.
I obviously can’t be sure this plan will succeed, but I’m confident this is the best way to tell the story I (and my fellow writers) wanted to tell. I hope you’ll give pop in and see if you agree.
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.
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