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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

"The Art of Death": Deleted Scene and Tone

My initial inspiration for The Art of Death came from the idea of an evil museum curator gathering a bunch of artifacts and raising the classic Universal monsters (Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, Wolf Man, etc.) to do his bidding.  Sounds pretty fun.

I couldn't use trademarked characters, of course, so that sent me looking around the world for "real" monsters of folklore and myth.  I found quite a few really, really cool ones.  Unfortunately, "real" monsters aren't very fun.  They're gruesome.  Parts of this book became a splatter fest thanks to these things.  I mean, I needed to consult for "entrails" synonyms.

Needless to say, some of the "fun" concepts I had in mind early on seem painfully tone deaf now.  Below, you'll find one such scene.  It's been altered in the final book.

"Wait."  The others stopped in the outer room and looked back at her.  Reed walked toward the portrait that Leigh had been staring at.  "I've heard noises before in here.  Beeping."  She pulled on the frame and it didn't budge.  Then she reached for the right side of the frame and tugged.  The portrait swung out from the wall, revealing an electronic safe.

"Wow," Terry said.

"Good work," Chaney said.  He walked up behind her and saw the keypad.  "Any idea about the combination?"


Leigh looked at it and said, "How many digits?"

"Looks like four," Lyons said. 

"Are there letters on the buttons?" she asked.

"No.  But what if the safe locks up after three failed attempts or something?"

Millie shook her head.  "I don't even know where to begin."

Griffin took a step back and sat on the arm of that leather chair.  "Well, he's supposed to be evil, right?"  Terry looked at him and the former officer said, "Try six-six-six."

Leigh shook her head and Terry said, "Really?"

Millie tapped the keys and three sixes appeared on the panel in blue light.  Then the safe clicked.

"You've got to be kidding me," Lyons said.

"But that's not even four digits," Leigh said.

One "funny" thing I will be keeping are some of the chapter titles.  I chose many of them depending on the focal monster, but I also chose some because they're over-the-top dramatic (eg, "The Grim Gala").  There are also a few that feature a group of monsters instead of just one.  For those I went with titles derived from Bobby "Boris" Pickett's song "Monster Mash."  Sure, we all know "Monster Mash," but did you know that there were three sequels?  You'll see the names for those in the book.

The Art of Death will go live on Wednesday.

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