Thursday, July 2, 2015

Reefer Snakes!

I would like to present the cover for my upcoming July release, courtesy of Grind Pulp Press.

REEFER SNAKES! is a "novelization" of a "grindhouse film" based on a short story I wrote starring a recurring character of mine, Jishnu the Srijati. I wrote this because a bunch of different things fell together at the right time, which speaks to the serendipity we sometimes feel discover in The Craft, and it all started because of two disparate documentaries.

Documentaries hold a special place in my heart. In many ways, humanity only understands something when it is transmitted in a relational story that is easy to follow, and documentaries serve a unique purpose in their ability to take large amounts of information, condense them into an understandable message, and present themselves in a compelling narrative that forces you to think. Whether you buy the message or not is up to you, but I believe being made to think because of a story is the ultimate method of developing our culture. We do this with sports, novels, TV shows, movies, music, politics, and the list goes on and on. When I saw The Union: The Business Behind Getting High, the compelling narrative within the documentary changed a lot of my views on prohibition, The War on Drugs, governmental policy, and helped me develop some of the more revolutionary aspects I employ in my style of writing. Growing up a D.A.R.E kid, finding an alternative take on the issue required that I looked deeply into the views outside of the material presented in the classroom, which I have found advocates prohibition based on perceptions, not actual facts.

"Okay, weed is bad. But why do we have to wear pants? Daren the Lion isn't wearing pants."
- Little Jay Requard, Age 9

Nancy Reagan hates lions, by the way. Or she does for the sake of this post. (No hate towards Nancy Reagan. A very classy lady.)

What really led to the creation of the story, however, has been my fascination with India. To me, it is a country where human culture finds itself split between the new and innovative and the ancient and wise. From its spiritual practices to the food (oh, the food), to the history and the originations of eastern thought, this land has always held my imagination as a fertile ground for stories that capture me in a way that Western European/Medieval Fantasy settings can't muster anymore. I also wanted to follow up on "Stout", another Jishnu story that focused itself on beer, but this time I wanted it to be set in Sutia, which is my Iron Age India. 

What really helped me formulize the setting and theme, believe it or not, was another documentary I discovered while researching some world-building aspects for this story. Strain Hunters: The India Expedition is a fascinating examination behind the people in the business of recreational cannabis, the exploration (and, I could argue, exploitation) of native Indian cultures, and how prohibition interacts with class, religion, and politics.

A Shaivite Sadhu smoking charas, a form of cannabis hash often used in meditative practice and for medicinal purposes

More than anything, I wanted to write a fun story that was beyond the pale of what is currently out there. I love stoner humor, be it Cheech & Chong or Half Baked, and I love Glen Cook's The Black Company. Reefer Snakes is a marriage of the two, full of thrilling action you come to expect from Sword & Sorcery, paired up with some goofy puns and red-eyed joy. I hope you laugh your ass off and have fun.

Before I go, I want to thank Grind Pulp Press for giving me a shot. I need to thank my fiance, Margo. For all her eye-rolling at the stupid shit I wrote, she is always there to help me make my work better. And finally, I need to thank all of you. You keep coming back, you keep supporting, and that's pretty damned cool.

Please share and support this if you like reading the stuff you see here at Sit.Write.Bleed. Clicking on the G+1 at the left always helps get this blog placed higher (HA!) in Google Searches, and that helps promote the myself, the people I interview, and hopefully Heroic Fantasy and Sword & Sorcery.

Love you all!

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