Saturday, April 28, 2012

From The Vault: "The Hornet Queen" (1997): Scans

Front cover artwork of The Hornet Queen, yet another basketball thriller I wrote during my high school years (and the fifth of the ten books I handwrote from 1995-2000). This 312 page novel I began on July 17, 1997 and completed August 17, 1997, when I was 17 years old. A sort of spiritual successor to Bullet Games, this novel was inspired by the work of John Grisham (who I was reading a lot of novels by that year), and also Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction screenplay, which I first read in June of that year (though I did not see the actual film until November of '97).
Back cover of The Hornet Queen. The premise for this novel was that the Charlotte Hornets basketball team suffers a devastating team accident right before the start of the season (when their bus explodes), and the team ends up hiring a Jewish woman named Eva Diaz, the league's first female coach (who proceeds to persuade the team to pick up 3 female players, 2 of whom end up becoming lesbians). The main bad guy is a disgruntled former employee of the team who doesn't even kill anyone: so much for all that "evil threat" nonsense.
The Hornet Queen's about the author page. After the travesty that was Bullet Gamesit would seem I couldn't be arsed to include a photo for this novel.
Critical praise for The Hornet Queen. Ah, those halcyon days of youth, when my ambitions as a writer were primarily to be the "John Grisham of basketball!"
More critical praise.
Inner cover for The Hornet Queen.
Copyright page for The Hornet Queen.
Table of contents for The Hornet Queen pt. 1. "The Darkhorse Team" was actually one of the working titles for the novel. The terse one-word chapter titles were a sign that I was still somewhat influenced by Tom Clancy as a writer by this point.
Table of contents pt. 2.
The "cast" of The Hornet Queen. The fact that I said Miramax released the film adaptation was probably an example of the Tarantino influence. Sean Bean and reginald VelJohnson were two actors I tended to "cast" in my books quite a bit back then. In fact, Sean Bean had "played" the character of Sypha Nadon in Bullet Games.
Photograph of Lucy Lawless that I taped to one of the book's back pages. She was cast as one of the female basketball players, Ashley Roberts. I kind of had the hots for her at that time, though I wouldn't actually watch a Xena episode until November of that year.
Pg. 1 of The Hornet Queen. One of my goals of this novel was to have as little bloodshed as possible: therefore I decided to begin the book right after the explosion of the team bus that sets the whole stupid plot into motion.
Pg. 57 of The Hornet Queen. A player tosses a drink into Coach Eva's face during a game.
Pg. 95 of The Hornet Queen. There's a ton of Jewish stuff in the book (that utterly mystified my father at the time). Much of it was copied word-for-word from the family set of Funk & Wagnall encyclopedias.
Pg. 116 of The Hornet Queen. One of the female players, Ashley, I decided to make a witch, giving me the chance to go on for page after page about modern witchcraft in America. This could be seen as an early example of my fascination with the occult.
Pg. 125 of The Hornet Queen. It could very well be the only basketball novel to feature a bunch of skyclad witches raising a "Cone of Power" to help the home team win the championship that season.
Pg. 129 of The Hornet Queen. More Jewish lore.
Pg. 133 of The Hornet Queen. Man, nothing gets those pages turning faster than some dreidal action.
Pg. 162 of The Hornet Queen. In this very silly scene, Pat Murphy, the novel's main bad guy, hires a male prostitute named Lloyd to have sex with Eva, so that he can blackmail her later on (as Eva is married).
Pg. 223 of The Hornet Queen. Holly, one of the lesbian players, prepares to out herself to the woman she loves. To motivate her, she reflects on the lyrics to the 1983 single "Mr. Roboto" by Styx. Hey, weirder things have happened.
Pg. 234 of The Hornet Queen. This was around the time in my life where I first started to question the Catholic Church. Why I was under the notion that a black man couldn't be a Catholic priest, I have no idea.
Pg. 235 of The Hornet Queen. More theological speculations.
Pg. 238 of The Hornet Queen. Eva's husband is kidnapped by Pat Murphy and he sends her a typewritten note, which I typed out on my mom's old typewriter. At the time I thought that quite clever.
James Brandy (one of the team's made-up players, played by James Spader) and Ashley Roberts drive to Barnes & Noble, where James Champagne (one of the most famous writers in the world, it would seem) is having a book signing. Wishful thinking?
Pg. 246 of The Hornet Queen. In one of my first dalliances with meta-fiction, I insert myself into the text. My dad found this cameo quite amusing.
Pg. 271 of The Hornet Queen. James drives to Ashley's house to pick her up for a date while rocking to "Laylah." Later on in the book you see him listening to ABWH's "Long Lost Brother of Mine." Glad to see I was so bad-ass back then.
Pg. 301 of The Hornet Queen. One of the first sex scenes I ever wrote. James and Ashley do it. It would seem my primary sexual fantasy back then was banging witches who looked like Xena: Warrior Princess.
Pg. 302 of The Hornet Queen. More badly-written erotica. Then again, if Fifty Shades of Grey can sell...
Last page of The Hornet Queen. Just like in Bullet Games, the team wins the NBA Finals.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

From the Vault: "Bullet Games" (1996): Scans

This is the front cover of Bullet Games, a 280 page novel I wrote from August 1st, 1996 to August 27th, 1996. I was around 16 at the time. The 4th of 10 handwritten books that I wrote during the years 1995-2000, this basketball thriller was heavily inspired by the novels of Tom Clancy: even the book title is a rip-off of Clancy's novel Patriot Games. In any event, Bullet Games follows the highs and lows of the Washington Bullets basketball team during their 94-95 season. Like all my basketball books, the team was a mix of real-life players and players that I myself had created.
The back cover of Bullet Games. Piston Wars was a basketball novel written by my brother Tom Champagne that same year.
Bullet Games about the author page. I think that's my tenth grade yearbook photo. Too bad I had forgotten to shave that day: also too bad that I had decided to rock an Australian Outback t-shirt.
The critics loved Bullet Games. Most of these blurbs I just copied from Tom Clancy books, just changing the author's name.
Bullet Games copyright page. Observe that the book was "published" by Berkley Books, who was Clancy's publisher at that time. For some reason all my handwritten books had the ISBN of 9999-9999 (which isn't even close to resembling an actual ISBN).
Bullet Games table of contents page. A lot of these chapter names, again, are taken from some of Clancy's novels.
The dream cast for Bullet Games.
A Bullet Gamesreader's survey that I had my dad fill out after he had completed the novel.
Page 1 of Bullet Games. Observe how the NBA draft is taking place in late July instead of late June.
Page 125 of Bullet Games. The bucking van in this scene is based on one that my parents once owned.
Page 131 of Bullet Games. For some reason I decided that Boston Celtics legend M.L. Carr just needed to be the book's main bad guy.
Pg. 138 of Bullet Games. A tense scene between Utah Jazz point guard John Stockton and his wife. Revolutionary Road, eat your heart out.
Pg. 163 of Bullet Games.
pg. 174 of Bullet Games. One of the Washington Bullets' female players, Non Nothma (named after Star Wars' Mon Mothma, leader of the Rebel Alliance!) is forced to watch as her husband dies from cancer at the hands of a bunch of lunatic doctors who are clearly quacks ("We need a heart pump!")
Pg. 211 of Bullet Games: A scene in which one of the Bullets' female players is attacked by an assassin. She kills him with the help of one of her plants, a "Strangler Fig."
Pg. 212 of Bullet Games. I can't think of too many sports teams that have their own personal staff of psychiatrists on standby.
Pg. 225 of Bullet Games. More implausible action nonsense.
Pg. 246 of Bullet Games. The team's head coach, Jim Lynam, shows up for game 7 of the NBA Finals dressed as a priest. As his team takes its final shot, he recites the Lord's Prayer, and as soon as he finishes it off with "Amen" they hit the game-winning 3 pt. shot. You can't fake that kind of writing.
Pg. 249 of Bullet Games.
The final page of Bullet Games.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Out Now: Grimoire

My debut short story collection "Grimoire" is now available for purchase through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It may also be purchased at the Rebel Satori website.

From Amazon:

From Barnes & Noble: