Category Archives: Daniel

Thursday Thirteen #21 — More Soy Sauce Story


For those of you who haven’t been here all week, one of you groupies reminded me to tell the Soy Sauce Story. So I did. But then, I realized that I could envision my friends in the fictional city of Riverview having experiences with soy sauce, and that it could be an interesting way to show you guys the inner workings of my writer’s brain. So I let Val and Mitchell star in their own short outtakes, about soy sauce. This week’s Thursday Thirteen ties up all the loose ends — including some that I bet you hadn’t thought of.

Thirteen Things about The Variations on the Soy Sauce Story

1. Ping’s Soy Sauce doesn’t exist, as far as I know. Since very little of Riverview resembles brands and things we’re familiar with, I figured I’d create my own soy sauce, too.

2. I named Ping’s Soy Sauce after a friend. She’ll probably never know this, but I am quite sure that if she finds out, she’ll be embarrassed.

3. Oh, well.

4. I’m not really sure if the couple in Mitchell’s outtake are me and the Tour Manager or not. Yeah, that sounds like a conversation we’d have. But how can we exist in fiction?

5. Following Mitchell’s outtake, he asks Val if he bought the right stuff. She confirms that he did.

6. Since many of you don’t know Val very well, she is the granddaughter of a Chinese national who married an American woman, who then had a son. Thus, the rusty Mandarin.

7. I always thought I’d write about her mixed heritage, but I’ve read so many books about first- or second-generation Americans who struggle with their dual ethnicity, that it’s been done to death.

8. Besides, the current WIP gives her something much more interesting to struggle with. I hope.

9. Why do you want to know what Val and Daniel are doing going out to sex clubs? Don’t be a perv!

10. Anyone else curious to know why an Asian food market is on the way to a sex club?

11. Yes, Val bought her clothes at Lyric’s store. Want more of Lyric?

12. For those who don’t remember, are too lazy to investigate Val’s history, or whatnot, Val is picky about her soy sauce not because of her Chinese roots. She is a graduate of the Riverview Culinary Academy.

13. What do you know. Riverview Culinary Academy’s initials spell RCA. And what do you know, but that’s the name of an old-time record company. See how it all gets back to music? Rock on, my friends.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

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ShapeShifter Fiction: Backstage Party (Pre-Trevor’s Song)


Despite his weed-induced mellow and years of personal experience, Trevor was still proud of the destruction they’d just wreaked on the dressing room. Beer bottles on every surface. Foil wrappers wherever they’d been tossed. Towels draped over the beer bottles, under the bottles, in one case even wrapped around the base of a bottle, anchoring it upright. Potato chip crumbs — among other things — ground into the carpet. Food everywhere. The couch washed down with shaken-up soda and beer, and people still dumb enough to try to sit on it. Garbage cans overturned; at one point, Mitchell had been wearing it instead of a lampshade, the wanker.

One rather enthused and satisfied girl had taken the squeeze mustard and written ShapeShifter on the wall behind the disaster that the catering table had become. All the food had either been knocked over, pushed aside, rescued by a frantic local roadie or two — Trevor hadn’t bothered to watch — or relocated; it didn’t matter. It wasn’t the lovely little display of tempting usualness it’d been when they’d arrived.

Two girls had decided to see if sliced salami would stick to the wall if they threw it just right. Intriguingly, a couple actually had. A bunch had made contact but then slid down the wall, leaving a lovely grease trail in their wake. The rest made a path — like stepping stones, Trev thought with a snicker — across the room. One or two had been trampled on; a brunette had slipped and fallen on her ass, then limped out. She’d looked more in pain than upset that her party with ShapeShifter had ended so soon.

Trevor didn’t doubt that he’d been the only one who’d noticed her leaving. He also didn’t doubt that he’d laughed the hardest at her fall. Her arms had flailed, her eyes had gone huge, but she’d let out this kittenish, barely audible scream. It hadn’t fit the picture. Pretty fucking cool.

“Come on,” Charlie, their tour manager said, tugging on Trevor’s arm as if he was the one who’d be able to get everyone to leave. “Party’s over. We need to get out of here.”

Trevor pulled his arm free. The guy wasn’t entirely sober, himself. Settlement must not have taken long — although who the hell knew what would happen once the disaster of the dressing room was noticed.

Charlie burped a beery-reeking gasball, giving Trev the feeling that he was the only sober one in the room. For a change. If it weren’t for weed this good, he’d have hated the fact that he was afraid to drink.

“The party’s not over,” he told Charlie.

“The party’s not over?”

Trevor gave him a blessedly stoned, placid look. He stopped himself from folding his hands over his belly. “The party can’t be over until the fat lady sings and if you look around, all the fatties showed sense and left already. No fat girl sings, no party ends.” He nodded. It really was pretty simple.

“We’ve got to clear out,” the tour manager whined.

Trevor curled his lip at the guy. “So clear the fuck out. But in the meantime, we have a party to finish up.” He nodded at the rest of the band. “They’re still standing. There’s still a few girls here. Party’s not over.”

“Move it back to the hotel,” Charlie called, raising his voice to be heard over the drunken slurring that passed for chatter. Even if most of it was directions about what felt good and the slurping of deep kisses.

When no one gave any sign of hearing, he turned the radio off. “Move it back to the hotel,” Charlie repeated.

The guys looked around their girls at each other and shrugged. One spot was as good as another. So long as there was beer, they’d be happy. Besides, there were beds in hotels. That meant less complaints about sore knees and backs and other body parts.


Trevor wondered if there’d be any fat chicks at the hotel they could pick up. And if there were, what would it take to get them to sing?


Fiction Outtake: Eric’s Flu (pre-Trevor’s Song days)


This is for Erica, who’s home sick with the flu. But while I have you here, let me point out that author Conor Corderoy stopped by to leave a comment here. If you haven’t picked a book to read yet for the Debut a Debut contest, why not his Dark Rain? A dystopia AND murder mystery; how can you refuse?I can’t!

And now… the outtake, just for Erica!

Daniel and Mitchell had gathered around Eric, who stared up at them from Trevor’s couch on the tour bus, his eyes glassy.

“Freaky,” Mitchell said with a nod. He pulled a potato chip out of the bag he’d bought at the rest stop half an hour ago.

“I think it’s a hangover,” Daniel insisted, holding out his hand for a chip.

Mitchell ignored him. “We weren’t drinking that much last night. And you don’t blow your nose as much as he’s been doing when you’re hungover. It makes your brain pound too hard.”

“Good point,” Daniel said. He tried to take the bag of chips, but Mitchell pulled it out of danger and tossed it toward the bus’ kitchen area.

Daniel took a wary step back, but Mitchell was fast and pinned the drummer to the couch opposite Eric. “You can fucking share,” the drummer snarled.

“No I can’t,” Mitchell growled back. “And let’s hope Eric doesn’t. He’s got the flu, you dumb fuck. All of us can get it.”

“We have a show tomorrow,” Eric moaned. “We can’t cancel.”

“True. ShapeShifter doesn’t cancel.”

“What do we do?” Eric’s moan turned sniveling. “I can’t fucking move. Do you know I spent the entire stop trying to get out of my bunk and up here?”

“Well, I wish you’d gotten here sooner,” Mitchell told him, diving for the potato chips before Daniel could grab them again. “’cause if we’d known, we could have picked up supplies.”

“Supplies?” Daniel asked, sucking on the thumb that Mitchell had bent backwards in his rush for the chips.

“Yeah,” Mitchell said, popping another chip into his mouth. “Soup, Jell-o.” He grinned. “We could have some real fun with the Jell-o that sick boy there doesn’t eat.”

“What girl’s gonna want to get on a bus that’s got a guy with the flu on it?” Daniel asked.

Mitchell winked. “Who said we’d tell them before we’re rolling?”

“Show tomorrow,” Eric said and pulled another tissue out of the box he’d propped on his chest. “Me. Gotta play,” he said and blew his nose. Hard.

Mitchell shuddered. Charlie, the band’s tour manager, jumped for the used tissue and put it into a plastic bag.

“What do we do since we don’t have any soup?” Daniel asked.

Mitchell shook his head uselessly and eyed his potato chips. There was something unappetizing about eating after listening to the goop that had come pouring out of Eric’s nose. He crumpled the top of the bag closed and offered it to Daniel, who winkled his nose and shook his head.

“You fuck heads,” Trevor said, getting up from his usual spot on the couch, at Eric’s feet. “There’s only one cure for the flu.” He pushed past Mitchell, who gave him a quick slap to the back of the head, and opened the fridge. He pulled out a beer and grabbed the opener. “You get him so drunk, he forgets he’s sick.”

“We might pickle him before that happens,” Mitchell said with a frown. He opened the potato chips and, without looking, fished one out of the bag and ate it.

“Pickle me!” Eric begged. “Just … make me better.”

Trevor handed over the beer. Daniel helped himself to a potato chip and shrugged at Mitchell.

It was worth a try.


Fiction Outtake: Inspiration (The Later Days)


When Kerri woke, Mitchell was still busy with his Midnight Blue ESP. She wasn’t sure what time he’d brought it up to their bedroom; she only remembered that it had been after three when she’d last looked at the clock, and the room had only held one guitar: the acoustic that was always there for middle-of-the-night inspirations.

In fact when Kerri had made that last time check, Mitchell had been as exhausted as she was, not bothering to pull the sheets back into place and barely noticing when she’d accidentally kneed him as she’d tried to get comfortable.

It was ten now, she saw when she lifted her head out of the pillows she’d had to use when he’d taken his shoulder back. Late for her, and she had a million things yet to do. Even though Michelle had started coming daily to clean, Kerri believed there was no reason to ask her to deal with the empty beer bottles in the TV room. Likewise, Kerri herself would strip the bed — once Mitchell got his ass off it.

“Have you slept at all?” she asked him, sitting up and kissing his right shoulder.

He shook his head no, his mouth counting beats or mouthing chord changes or lyrics; Kerri wasn’t sure which. Experience had taught her it was one of the three and until the notebook on his nightstand was full with a million scratch-outs and then a final, impossible-to-read song, he wasn’t moving, saying, or possibly even thinking.

Such was life with a musician.

Kerri planted another kiss on his shoulder and brushed at the ends of his hair, laying so temptingly right above her lips, and got up to face the day.

Hope you’re inspired by the Debut a Debut contest and are getting ready; we’ll open for entries next week, February 12!


Fiction Outtake: New Year’s Eve in Dallas (Trevor’s Song Era)


Mitchell tossed his head, trying to get the sweat to change course. Of course, it didn’t work. At the end of the show like this, the sweat had a mind of its own.

“So,” he said in a conversational way, putting his left foot forward more, almost straddling the mic stand. His guitar got in the way, so he used his right hand to move it away. “Those lousy fuckers in this half-ass town wouldn’t let us stay up here tonight until midnight so we could do this all proper, like.”

The crowd booed. Mitchell nodded approvingly, looking around at them and then at the band. Trevor and Eric looked suitably impressed and they nodded along with Mitchell.

“But,” he said, holding up one finger and cocking his head. More sweat dripped into his eyes; he blinked it out. “They wouldn’t budge even when we offered them lots of money. And I mean lots,” he said, wondering if the fans could possibly comprehend the negotiations they’d tried. Beside him, Eric nodded agreement. Trevor just laughed.

“So. Here we are, and you fucks are probably gonna bolt outta here and head off to another party. When you get there, be sure you show off your special New Year’s T-shirts and then laugh your asses off ’cause none of us got ’em.”

The crowd roared again, like that was the funniest joke they’d ever heard. As if it was true, Mitchell thought. Shit, he had the original drawing that Kerri had made somewhere in all his papers. As if ShapeShifter would make something as exclusive as a commemorative New Year’s tee and not hold out a few for themselves.

“Before we go, let’s have ourselves a little celebration. Ready? Dans’ll help you count down from ten, and we’ll have some fireworks and shit.”

He paused as Eric signalled to Daniel before approaching. “Invite the crew out,” the guitarist reminded him. Good thing; he’d forgotten. As if he’d wanted to do this without Kerri.

“Whoa,” Mitchell said, holding both hands up to quiet the fans. “We gotta do this right. Bring the crew on out. Ker, techs, everyone back there. C’mon out.”

Once Kerri had nestled under his left arm, his guitar touching her hip and his sweat drenching her, he waited for the rest of the crew to stumble out. Even though he’d warned them he’d be doing this, they were still wary, as if they were expecting some sort of joke.

On any other day, they’d have gotten one, that was for sure. Ordinarily, crew belonged in the background. But this was New Year’s Eve, and while they hadn’t gotten permission to bust through the arena’s curfew, they had gotten permission for some indoor fireworks and an early celebration.

Then, band and crew would party backstage until they were all too soused to stand.

Bobby, Mitchell’s tech, offered to take his guitar. But Mitchell shook his head. “You’re off duty for a few,” he said, leaning away from the mic so it wouldn’t pick up his voice. The guitar wasn’t heavy; he could carry it a few more minutes.

Daniel provided the bass drum beat that the crowd used to count down, and then the pyro guys back at the sound board set off the fireworks.

As he and Kerri watched, smiling, Trevor came up behind them. “So, tonight the night you’re gonna wise up and dump Rusty’s ass? That girl in the third row sure looks like she’d be willing to ease the parting.”

Mitchell cuffed the back of Trevor’s head and grinned. “You don’t stop, do you, asshole?”

Trevor grinned happily. “Who, me?”


ShapeShifter Fiction: Death by Cheese (early days)


(with apologies to Cheesy)

Mitchell kicked the pizza box out of the way and, with a burp that shook the room, stretched out his legs on the coffee table. It bowed under his weight.

“M, man,” Daniel said wonderingly. He picked up a drum stick and scratched his back with it. “You just ate the whole thing. I thought you weren’t going to do that anymore.”

“I wasn’t,” Mitchell slurred. He laid his head back on the grimy dressing-room couch. “But I wasn’t gonna drink this much anymore, either.” He burped again.

Trevor held up a hand, all five fingers splayed. Slowly, he dropped each finger in turn, starting with the index finger. Just as he tucked his thumb in, Mitchell sprinted for the bathroom.

“Death by cheese,” Eric laughed.

“Should we save the box as a reminder for next time?” Daniel asked.

“Dumb fuck,” Trevor said, shaking his head and, for a few minutes there, feeling in tune with Daniel and Eric.


Daniel’s most cherished moment with a fan


“Dude, I never watched the news until I heard you did. And it was like someone was showing me this whole great big fucking world that I never knew was out there. I mean, yeah, I’d heard of terrorism and all that shit, but all of a sudden, I get why it’s such a big deal. I know this sounds cheesy as hell, but thanks, man.”


Daniel’s Obsessions


If there were a ShapeShifter fan magazine, this might be printed in it:

Daniel’s top three obsessions (in order):
1. Music
2. Val
3. CNN

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