Friday, August 28, 2015

My Creative Yodas-Joss Whedon

"Whatever makes you weird is probably your best asset." -Joss Whedon

 Let me just say that I unreservedly LOVE Joss Whedon! Not more than my wife or even like I love my wife because that would be just weird, and he's married and he doesn't even know me, but I think you get the picture, rambling notwithstanding.
Like most fans, my gateway to the Wonder that is Joss came from a certain Slayer from Sunnydale, Ca. I remember the movie "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" with Kristy Swanson and Luke Perry and I wasn't very impressed with it. When I saw a trailer for the TV show and saw how there was darkness and actual menace, I could see it was different from the movie in a good way. The show didn't disappoint. Sarah Michelle Gellar and Co., over seven seasons, brought the funny, the dark, the drama and the snark. This is because of the man at the helm who took his creation back and steered Buffy and the Scoobies throughout the perils of High School and beyond. I gladly went along for the ride.
One thing you can say about Joss Whedon projects is that you always know from the writing that it's him. No one writes a conversation or a twist out of nowhere like him.
For example, on the too-soon cancelled, instant classic show Firefly, Mal Reynolds and Jayne are having a conversation centering around Jayne's dissatisfaction with Mal getting a wife while he got a stick that sounds like it's raining. Jayne was holding a rifle, which gave his complaint some weight.

Jayne: Do I have your attention?
Mal: Kind of going to extremes here, ain't we?
Jayne: There's times I don't think you take me seriously. I think that oughta change.
Mal: Do you think it's likely to?
Jayne: You got something you don't deserve...
Mal: ...And it's brought me a galaxy of fun, I'm here to tell ya...
Jayne: Six men came to kill me one time. The best of them carried this...It's a Callahan full bore auto lock. Customized trigger, double cartridge thorough gauge. It is my very favorite gun.
Mal: Are you offering me a trade?
Jayne: Trade? Hell, it's theft. This is the best damn gun made by man. It has extreme sentimental value. It's miles better than what you got.
Mal: What I got? She has a name.
Jayne: So does this: I call it Vera.
Mal: Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly comin' to a middle.

There are many other gems from that episode, not to mention the rest of the show, but to put it shortly, I wish I could write like Joss.  Not only is he inventive, he's also prolific. Besides spawning Buffy and Angel, he also created the aforementioned Firefly, Dollhouse, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, and the current hit, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (renewed for a third season), alongside his brother Jed Whedon and sister-in-law, Maurissa Tancharoen. He's also written a critically and fanboy acclaimed run on the Astonishing X-Men and The Runaways for Marvel, Sugar Shock and Fray, a future slayer, and Executive Produced (And no doubt written some issues) Buffy Seasons eight, nine and ten for DarkHorse.
On the movie side, he revisted the 'Verse in Serenity, co-wrote Cabin in the Woods with Drew Goddard, and wrote and directed The Avengers, Much Ado About Nothing and Avengers: The Age of Ultron.
He also writes music, hence the Buffy Musical Ep, Once More with Feeling, and the Firefly Theme. (Which is a ringtone for my phone.)

Getting to the point of this post, reading or watching anything that Joss Whedon has done, or will do, makes me want to step my writing game up. I want to write killer dialogue, write a story with a killer twist, create a killer character, heck maybe they'll BE a killer. I know I have to write to the level of my talent and gifting and won't ever be a Joss Whedon, but he inspires me to do the very best I can make my stories the best they can be.
He also makes me want to be able to write a script and /or a story perfectly, all ready to go with no revisions needed after the first draft is done.
Yes, he seriously does this. Repeatedly. Read the biography.

Mr. Whedon's next project is a comic called Twist that he's doing with Darkhorse. Like everything else he does, I'm definitely going to pick it up and enjoy a modern master storyteller at work and take steps to become one myself.



Joss Whedon's new book, Twist, and the man himself


The movie, starring Luke Pery and Kristy Swanson, that, thankfully, gave way to...


...the TV show.


Alyson Hannigan, Seth Green, Anthony Stewert Head, Charisma Carpenter, Nicholas Brendon, Sarah Michelle Gellar, David Boreanez, James Marsters and Julliet Landau.


Angel, the highly successful spin-off


Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, David Boreanez, Charisma Carpenter and J. August Richards


The Instant Classic, cancelled too soon.
Adam Baldwin, Summer Glau, Sean Maher, Nathan Fillion, Morena Baccarain, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Jewel Staite and Ron Glass.


A great show, also cancelled too soon.


Dichen Lachman, Enver Gojak, Fran Kranz, Eliza Dushku, Olivia Williams, Tahamoh Penikett and Harry Lennix


Awesome show/movie...waiting for a sequel...


Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, Joss Whedon, Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day and Zack Whedon



Serenity, the return to the 'Verse


Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Alan Tudyk, Gina Torres, Nathan Fillion, Sean Maher and Summer Glau


Marvel's the Avengers, the movie that made Superhero History...

Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth


...And the sequel.


The Marvel Cinematic Universe on TV...It's all connected...



B.J. Britt, Chloe Bennett, Ian De Caestecker, Ming-Na Wen, Clark Gregg, Nick Blood, Henry Simmons, Elizabeth Henstridge and Brett Dalton

 Buffy Season 8 covers


Season 9


 Season 10


The gang's all here.


The Future Slayer


Whedon's first arc with the incredible John Cassaday






Runaways


Sugar Shock





Thursday, August 6, 2015

Superstar-Chapter 64 & 65

Thanks for reading... Follow me on Twitter and Like me on Facebook! Check out previous chapters of   Superstar and samples of my first novel, Facets: Stories of the Mundane and the Weird, here on the blog.  Facets is available on the Kindle Market!

With these two chapters, the first half of Superstar is done. I'm gonna be taking a quick sabbatical 'til I get things straight for the second half of the book. Then I'll be posting again. Working on a couple of other things for the blog too. In the meantime, if you any comments or suggestions, just drop me a comment here or on Twitter (@wlsherrod) or on my author page on Facebook. Thanks again for reading and supporting Facets of Creativity!


Chapter 64: Here We Go Again

“So, another producer wants us to jump through hoops, huh?” Terry asked. He was at home relaxing. Of course, for him that meant practicing more on top of what they’d practiced at rehearsal earlier that day.
“Whoop-tee-doo,” Eric deadpanned. “I’m starting to feel a bit like a sideshow freak.”
“I know. What d’you think, Groove?”
“We’ll see. Russell’s been talkin’ to a guy from Musicmax Records.”
“They must’ve gotten tired of Mikki and his attitude.” Terry smiled.
“Well, it’s not like he was their only act, but it is safe to say.” Eric paused. “Have you heard from Dom?”
“No.”
“Are you okay?”
“I’ll just have to be, won’t I?” Terry asked.
“Yeah.” Eric sighed. “Terry, why are you doing this?”
“Doing what?”
“Being here with the band. Why are you doing this. What’s your motivation?”
“If you got something on your mind, just say it, Groove.”
Eric sighed. “I think you’re here because you’re mad at Dom for ditching you and you wanna show her up.” Eric raised a hand, stopping Terry before he could speak.
“Yeah, it’s great to have you back with us. You belong here, but the revenge thing, getting back at her, you gotta let it go, cuz. It’s gonna  poison everything you do and you’re too talented to let that happen.”
Terry sighed. “I can’t help it, Groove. I keep thinking about her all the time. ALL the time.”
“You gotta let her go, Terry.”
“I’m tryin’.”
“Try harder.” Eric looked at his watch. “I gotta go. I need a nap before work tonight. “
“Awright, peace.” Terry said as they man-hugged. Eric left and Terry figured he might as well get his mail. There wasn’t much outside of junk mail, a newspaper and a copy of the latest Vibe.
Terry walked into his room and turned on the TV. He went to the kitchen to pour himself a Rum and Coke when a report on Entertainment Tonight made him put the rum down.
Mary Hart was talking. Her lips were moving but Terry couldn’t hear anything she was saying. He assumed it had to do with the video clips of Dominique, in a beautiful, flowing, white wedding dress and veil and a dude, who had to be Kevin Shields, in a sharp black tux. Terry sat heavily on the bed, his legs failing to support him. A hole existed where his heart was moments ago and he felt himself shutting down, shrinking down a cold lump in the center of himself. Tears rose and Terry buried his face in his hands.
Anger sparked and flared inside of Terry. The fire of it flowed through him like an energizing current that exploded into action. He lashed out, throwing smashing, breaking and screaming anything to express the fury inside him.
When Terry came to himself, his room was a shambles. Amazingly, the window wasn’t broken, though anything else made of glass was. The TV was a smoking ruin and there were holes in the wall and the door. The floor was covered in trash, glass and rubble. Terry surveyed the room. He was a little unnerved by what he’d done. Something caught his eye and he knelt down and picked it up. It was a picture of him and Dom. They looked so happy in the picture. At the moment it was taken, Terry thought that was how they’d be for their rest of their lives. Too bad reality didn’t match up with his dreams.
All the anger, desire and thwarted dreams coalesced and crystallized inside him then. He knew what he had to do.
“You’re not getting away that easily, bitch.” Terry growled as he crumpled the picture.


The phone rang and Eric cursed whoever it was that was disturbing his nap.
“Hello,” He snapped.
“I’ve got to go.”
“What? Who is this?” The flat, robot-like monotone didn’t sound like anyone he knew.
“Groove, I’ve got to go.”
“Terry, is that you?”
“I can’t stay.” Terry droned on. “I have to go.”
“Go where? What are you talking about?”
“To California. To get Dom back.”
“Terry, she’s living her own life now! Let her the fuck go!”
“I can’t,” Terry intoned. “She’s mine, Groove. No one else’s. I’m gonna show her, Groove. I’ll make her see.” Eric was about to speak his mind, but Terry had already hung up.

“Damn, Terry.” The gutbuzz in Eric’s stomach kicked into overdrive. He wanted to do something, but he didn’t know what that would be. Terry was grown and was capable of making his own decisions and, regrettably, his own mistakes.


Chapter 65: Leavin’ On a Jet Plane

Within a week, Terry had either given away or sold most of his possessions. He’d even managed to sell his car. All he was taking to California was his acoustic guitar, a keyboard and a duffle bag full of clothes. He was waiting on his cab to take him to Midway when there was a knock at the door. He thought it was Eric trying to stop him from leaving.
He was only half right.
“Denise?” Terry said.
“Hi,” She said and sauntered into the bare room. “I was hoping I’d catch you before you left.”
“Why?”
“You like me. I know you do. I can see it in your eyes…feel it when we’re close to each other.” Denise said as she moved closer to him. “You can’t leave. The group needs you…” She caressed his face. “…I need you.” Terry grabbed her hand, effectively stopping her.
“Don’t do that.”
“Why?” Against his better judgment, Terry looked at her: She had on a light blue sundress that contrasted nicely with her light chocolate skin and matched the open toed sandals she wore. Denise’s limpid brown eyes pulled Terry in even as he tried to look away and her shapely body, braless beneath the dress, pulled at his attention as well.
“I…I gotta stay focused.”
“Maybe there’s a reason.” Denise said as she gently pressed the full, sleek and warm length of her body against Terry. “Don’t spoil something that could be a beautiful thing, Terry.” She gently kissed him for emphasis.
Terry reluctantly broke the kiss. “I can’t.” He breathed.
“Yes, you can.” She kissed him again and Terry responded, pulling her closer.
Their embrace grew more and more passionate and Terry started to let himself go and enjoy it. That’s when he saw Dominique in his mind, looking so happy in her wedding dress next to her husband. Anger seeped into him and cooled his ardor. No matter how beautiful Denise was, she wasn’t the one he wanted. He gently pushed Denise away.
“What’s the matter?” She asked. “Why did you stop?”
“Denise, you are an incredible, wonderfully gifted, woman. If things were different, I’d love to be your man…”
“But you’re in love with someone else.”
Terry nodded. “All I see is her and I’m going to get her back.”
“What about your music.”
“I still want that. And it will happen.” Terry gazed straight into Denise’s eyes as he spoke and she saw the fire and absolute certainty there.
“Yeah, it will.” She grinned and kissed his cheek. “Good luck and be careful.” She said and walked out.
Doubt dropped into him and Terry wondered if he might be making a mistake. He could still go back to Avant Groove, still go to Denise and let her love him like she wanted him to. He could still change his mind.
Then he heard a horn blow out front. He was conflicted for a brief moment, then Dominique’s face appeared in his mind and all doubts fled and were replaced by a diamond hard resolve.
The horn blew again and Terry grabbed his belongings and walked out to take back what was his.



END OF BOOK 1

(c)2015 W.L.& Courtney Sherrod


Monday, July 20, 2015

Superstar-Chapter 63

Thanks for reading... Follow me on Twitter and Like me on Facebook! Check out previous chapters of   Superstar and samples of my first novel, Facets: Stories of the Mundane and the Weird, here on the blog.  Facets is available on the Kindle Market!


Chapter 63: It’s On



Avant Groove welcomed Terry back with open and very grateful arms.
He was reinstated as leader of the band and took over as the lead guitarist. He did notice that the band had gotten tighter, if that was even possible, and were more of a unit, a true gestalt that could play pretty much any style of music they wanted to and sound great doing it.
Eric introduced Terry to Philip Overstreet, who took over Wanda’s vacant spot on keys. Terry remembered him from the Armada and asked him why he left Mikki’s group.
“He was on some Prince/James Brown shit, tryin’ to fine people for being late or missing notes.” Philip explained. “That’s why everyone left the group and he’s currently a solo act.” Serves him right, Terry thought to himself.
Over three rehearsals, Terry learned and re-learned all of Avant Groove’s material. He was ready to rock with the band on their gig at Club Jam that Thursday. From the first note, Terry was happier than he’d been in a very long time. He’d missed being in front of a crowd, playing all the sounds he heard in his head for people to appreciate.
He was home.
One day, Terry set up a microphone and surprised everyone by singing “If You Want Me to Stay” and sounding a great deal like Sly Stone. He was voted in as lead singer in addition to everything else he was doing for the band. He didn’t mind a bit.
About four weeks after Terry’s return, a co-lead singer was found. Her name was Denise Jefferies, formerly of the group Billie’s Bliss. During her interview, she and Terry did a spirited rendition of “Take Me With U”. There was a subtle chemistry between them. Everyone saw it and assumed they’d get together. Terry stopped that cold. He’d just gotten over Dominique and he wasn’t about to put his heart on the line again.
Groove was glad to have his brother from another mother back. He’d grown as a musician while Terry was gone and felt more confident. Still, Eric welcomed the chance to step back a little and let Terry handle to heavy lifting. He noticed that Terry had acquired a taste for alcohol and approached Terry about it.
“It’s under control, Groove,” was the reply. Groove tried to ignore the itty-bitty gutbuzz that started after Terry said that.
Lisa asked Terry about his drinking also.
“I got this.” Terry snapped. “I’m not my father.” Lisa declined to comment.
One night after their last set at Club Jam, everyone was feeling good. Terry especially since he had three Rum and Cokes during the show and two more when they were done. Denise was a little tipsy and the liquid courage gave her the guts to finally act on her attraction for Terry. She kissed him and he actually responded. Terry closed his eyes and started to get lost in the kiss when visions of kissing Dom swam through his head and the desire he felt turned to anger.
“Stop,” Terry said.
“Why?” Denise asked, her voice thick with desire. “You like it. I felt it, Terry.”
He grabbed her hands and told her to leave him alone. Denise looked at him and saw the anger behind his eyes. She didn’t understand what was going on, but she did as he asked and walked away.
“You know you were wrong for that.” Lisa said as she sat on the stool Denise vacated. “You know you like her. Why not give her a chance?”
“ I’m not getting screwed over again.” Terry stated. “I already lost time because I let myself get distracted by a relationship. I’m not doing that again. I’m staying focused.” He took a swallow of his drink and looked into the glass as if the answers to life were inside it. Lisa shook her head and left him to his isolation.
“He’s really angry.” Lisa said to Eric.
“He’s really drunk.” Eric said. “I’m glad he’s focused, but I think he’s more concerned about getting revenge on Dom than anything else.”
“You’re probably right, but what can we do?”
Eric sighed. “Until he lets us in to help? Nothing.”

(c)2015 Courtney & W.L. Sherrod

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Quote Me on This-Johnathan Hickman

"It's okay to be afraid. It's okay to fail. But to say you're not even willing to try...That's unacceptable, Reed."
- Nathaniel Richards (Fantastic Four #570)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Superstar-Chapter 62

Thanks for reading... Follow me on Twitter and Like me on Facebook! Check out previous chapters of         Superstar and samples of my first novel, Facets: Stories of the Mundane and the Weird, here on the blog.             Facets is available on the Kindle Market!


Chapter 62: Falling Away from Me


“You cussed her out on the floor in front of customers?” Janda asked.
“It seemed the thing to do at the moment.” Terry stated.
They were in the manager’s office in the back of the kitchen. A desk dominated the space, topped with a myriad of important looking papers. A computer monitor sat on a corner of the desk, close to Janda, with a keyboard and mouse in front of her. Terry sat in a chair in front of the desk. Manuals, books and licenses adorned the walls and crowded in on Terry. One wrong move and everything will fall in on me, Terry thought.
“Terry, you know better.”
“Nobody told that woman to give me shit because she couldn’t get something for free.”
Janda held up a hand. “First, don’t snap at me…
“I ain’t snappin’…”
“Yes. You are.” Janda insisted. “I don’t know what’s wrong with you lately, but you’re messin’ up, being short with people and flubbin’ simple stuff. That’s not like you.”
Terry sighed. “I’ve been under a lot of pressure lately.”
‘Well, I’m about to relieve you of it for a couple of days.” Janda said. “You’re suspended.”
“Suspended?!”
“Yes. Suspended.” She folded her arms. “I could fire you. I’m doing you a favor.”
Terry stared at her, his face blank and impassive. Then he smiled and said, “Fuck a favor. I quit.” He walked out and dropped his apron on the floor.


Terry walked into his house with a brown paper bag. He took out a bottle of Bacardi Gold and a two liter bottle of Coke and made himself a drink, heavy on the rum. Terry dropped in a couple of ice cubes and gulped down a third of it. He belched, freshened up his drink and walked back into his living room.
“I’m doing you a favor, just firing you”, Terry muttered, imitating Janda. “Do me a favor and shut the fuck up.”
 Terry flopped down into his favorite chair and took another drink. He was mentally exhausted, but at the same time, he felt free. It was strange. There was no prospect of income on the horizon, but he felt free, limitless, like nothing could stop him. He looked at his two guitars and keyboard and thought about going into music full time.
He missed Dom.
Janda was right, he was different lately. Ever since Dom left, Terry had gradually pulled away from everything that mattered to him. He wrote letters to Dom, but didn’t get any response back. Seeing as how he basically told her to piss off and never bother him again, he wasn’t entirely surprised.
He went into his room and turned on the 13” RCA color TV he finally bought.  He watched it sometimes, when he had nothing else to do and the muse wasn’t pulling at him; Usually music videos, music documentaries and the occasional sitcom. A video was on and the music caught his attention. It wasn’t the usual cookie cutter R and B material. There was a brain at work with the arrangements and the melody. Terry bobbed his head to the beat and took another drink when he heard a voice, A voice that energized him every time he heard it during rehearsals.
Dominique was singing to him.
Well, not really, but she was looking into the camera as she lip-synched a song off her upcoming album, ‘Dominique’ called ‘Wings to Fly’. She looked absolutely beautiful, undeniably radiant, just like Terry knew she would. Just like that, the mental exhaustion and hesitation was burned away by a bright rush of anger. On screen, Dom embraced some light-skinned pretty boy and sang to him, smiling all in his face.
That…Bitch!
‘Wings to Fly.’ If Avant Groove hadn’t taken her in, if I hadn’t given her a place to stay when her momma kicked her out, she wouldn’t be where she was now. And did she thank any of us or try to help any of our careers get started? Hell to the naw!
Fuck that! Muthafuck that! I ain’t got a job holding me back. Ain’t nothin’ but space and opportunity in front of me. That bitch ain’t the only one who can blow the hell up.
It’s on!
Terry grabbed the phone and dialed a very familiar number, even if he hadn’t called it in recent months. It was late afternoon and he was confident that Eric would be home.
“Hello?”
“Groove?”
“Terry?”
“Yeah.”
“Whassup, man?”
“Nothin’ much. Workin’. Well, not so much. Just got fired.” Terry sighed. “Eric, I’m sorry for pullin’ a slow fade on y’all.”
“Well, having you there the past year would’ve been easier, but we got through it.”
Regret and sadness ripped into Terry’s heart. He betrayed his best friends, put his dream on the shelf because of a woman. That shit is over, Terry thought to himself.
“To what do I owe the honor, Cuzzin?”
“First, am I forgiven?” Terry asked.
“Of course.”
Terry breathed a sigh of relief. “Thanks. Now, can I come back?”
There was a distinct note of relief and happiness as Eric said, “If you can be here tomorrow morning at eight o’ clock.”
“Cool. I’m there. It’s on, Cuzzin’.”


(c)2015 Courtney & W.L. Sherrod

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Superstar-Chapter 61

Thanks for reading... Follow me on Twitter and Like me on Facebook! Check out previous chapters of Superstar and samples of my first novel, Facets: Stories of the Mundane and the Weird, here on the blog.                                       Facets is available on the Kindle Market!


Chapter 61: Chicago, Illinois 1995 Save Me

It was an easy day at Trudy’s but Terry found it hard to concentrate. Mainly because Dom had sent back every letter he sent her.
A year ago, Eric and Lisa had come to ask him to come back to the band, but he dismissed them, saying he had no music inside him with Dom gone. It was almost true. The music was there, but Terry couldn’t be bothered to chase much less listen to the Muse when his heart felt shattered and jagged. Terry got so discouraged, he didn’t even bother anymore. He remembered when he told Dom to go to Hell and not write him anymore, but after a few weeks, his resolve crumbled and he started writing to her, telling her how sorry he was and could they at least strike up a friendship, if nothing else. The answer was blatantly obvious.
“Excuse me?”
Terry turned towards who had spoken: A light skinned sistah with dark hair that was too long to be natural and a shirt that showed a wealth of cleavage. She’d been giving him the eye since he’d approached her table. She was fine, no doubt, but there was something about her that set Terry on edge. It could’ve been the fact that she reminded Terry of Dom, albeit a less comely version.
“Yes?”
“How much is the larger sized daiquiri?” She asked with her best come hither look.
“Six ninety-five,” Terry answered. “Did you want that to come with your dinner?”
“Not if I have to pay for it.” She said and licked her lips for emphasis.
I knew it, Terry thought to himself. “Then, I guess you won’t be getting it. Anything else?”
Her face closed down to an angry expression and Terry felt the chill of Antarctica radiate from her as she said no. He went to check on his other tables and had just entered the kitchen when Jomanda asked him why his lady at table 25 was so bitchy.
“Because, I wouldn’t give her a large daiquiri free.”
“Well, she asked for some napkins and dogged you out for taking so long with her food.”
“Her damn food just came up,” Terry said as he picked up her plate.”I hate it when people get mad ‘cuz they can’t get the ‘hook-up’.”
“Don’t let the trick biotches get to you, Terry.” Jomanda patted him on the back as he walked out of the kitchen.
At the table, Terry placed her food in from of her and said, “Here you go: One Louisiana Catfish Platter. Anything else I can do for you?”
“Yeah, quit tryin’ to sound white.” She ate a forkful of fish and glared at Terry.
He didn’t think he heard her correctly and asked her to repeat herself.
“You heard me, nigga. You may be high yella, but yo ass ain’t white so quit tryin’ to sound like it.” Terry stood there speechless for a moment. Something his mother always said about no matter how prim and proper somebody was, it always came back to name calling. Normally, Terry would let it go and just take care of the table, but she said the wrong thing to the wrong person on the wrong day.
“Look, bitch,” Terry began. “Don’t get salty ‘cuz I won’t give you free shit when you wiggle your tits at me and I talk proper because I’m educated, not tryin’ to be white, ho!” That comment garnered many a look, plenty of open jaws and a snicker or two.
“Ho?!”
“H-O. Ho.”
“Fuck you, gay ass mothafucka!” She started to get up from her chair, when Janda walked over to the table to see what all the commotion was about. There was a lot of screaming and cursing, but Janda got the gist of it and told Terry to go to the office while she calmed the woman down.

(c)2015 Courtney & W.L. Sherrod


Monday, June 22, 2015

Superstar-Chapter 60

Thanks for reading... Follow me on Twitter and Like me on Facebook! Check out previous chapters of Superstar and samples of my first novel, Facets: Stories of the Mundane and the Weird, here on the blog.                                        Facets is available on the Kindle Market!


Chapter 60: Los Angeles, California 1994 Are You Still Mad?


Dom had opened the package he gave her on the plane. It was a cassette of music Terry put together. Songs by other artists that they both liked or knew reminded them of each other and two originals: “Angel” and a song called “Inside You.” He also included his address and a note asking her to write him and let him know what’s going on with her and promising to write her back once she did.
Once Dom got situated with a place in L.A., she wrote Terry as he requested and told him pretty much everything that was going on: meeting with James Parker and the head of Quiet Storm Records, Rondell Prescott, working with Kevin Shields (But not the Lead Singer/Guitarist of My Bloody Valentine), the producer on her record and many of the artists that she was singing back-up for while her project was getting started.
Terry answered her back almost immediately, filling her in on how he’d left Avant Groove and basically just worked at Trudy’s and practiced his music at home. She felt a little guilty about that, since she was the reason he left the group. A voice inside said that Terry was a grown man and more than capable for choosing for himself. Dom knew that, but she still felt responsible.
About two months later, Dom got a letter from Terry. As she read it, her face paled and her heart dropped into her stomach.
He found the pregnancy test.
There was a lot of anger, cursing and general disapproval as Terry correctly assumed that Dom must’ve had an abortion or given up the baby, since she hadn’t mentioned a baby to him and the test was hidden in the box of garbage under the sink that he normally didn’t touch, but had been prompted by something to empty it.
Dom was considering answering Terry back, but he saved her the trouble by telling her to go to Hell and never write to him again.
Guilt and shame lanced through her heart and questions flooded her mind. All the doubts about what she did, and why she was doing it, started to whisper to her mind. Dom wanted to put all that behind her, but she felt locked in place, like she couldn’t move. She picked up the phone and called Kevin.
Lately, Dom had started talking to Kevin on an increasingly intimate basis. He always listened to her and gave her honest feedback, even if it was a little hurtful. She was a little nervous about opening up to Kevin about a previous relationship, especially with the abortion looming over it all, but she didn’t have anyone else she trusted to talk to about it.
So, she did and Kevin listened. There was no judgment in his eyes as he said, “Well, it was wrong not to let him know about the child, but I can see where you’re coming from.”
“You probably think I’m a monster.”
“If I did, I’d have to call myself one too,” Kevin said and told Dom about his own brush with abortion. Dom felt herself unclench and listened as completely and without judgment as he did. When they were done, she felt so much lighter and steadier inside.
Kevin asked her if she wanted to go out and get something to eat and talk some more. Dom was surprised, but pleased and said yes.
After that night, Dom and Kevin started to hang out more often and eventually became a couple. She’d never been happier and had never, ever been in a relationship that was as healthy. There were no games played between them or any attempt to control the other. Theirs was the beginning of a true partnership and it translated over to the recording of Dominique’s record. Dom and Kevin were so in sync, it was like they’d been together for years, like Ashford and Simpson, and not just a few months. They not only finished each other’s sentences, they wrote as if one person were composing everything. Everything was gelling and the album was on pace to be done by the end of the summer.
Then Quiet Storm Records filed for bankruptcy and folded.
Different acts were in different stages of production when this happened and the majority of them lost their deals and their albums were shelved and tied up in the legal red tape of the bankruptcy. Dom was sure she and her dream were done, but Kevin came to her rescue and bought out her contract with Quiet Storm and signed her to his newly formed label, Kuumba Records. Dom couldn’t thank him enough. After a quick break to get their legal ducks in a row, work continued on Dom’s album. The advance Kevin paid her was put to good use and Dom found a place and bought a late model car to get around in.  It was mid-December when the album was finished. They decided to wait until the early part of January ’95 to release the album, but put out the first single in time for Christmas. It was called, “Wings to Fly” and once it hit, it quickly burned up the charts and was a favorite with R and B radio. When the album, simply called “Dominique” was released, it immediately went 2x Platinum and stayed on the top of the charts for six weeks straight and crossed over onto the Pop charts as well.
During this time, Terry started writing to Dom, about a letter a week. Dom would’ve opened them, part of her wanted to, and find out what he wanted but she remembered his last words to her and she returned them unopened. She wanted to talk to him and try to explain what happened and why she did what she did, but she thought better of it. I don’t have to explain anything, Dom thought. He didn’t want me to talk or write to him, wish granted. She had more important things to do with her time and a career to pursue.

“See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya.” Dom said as she left a note for the mailman. She didn’t tell Kevin about what happened, though.

(c)2015 Courtney & W.L. Sherrod