In The Slipstream Con, when Kellen is injured, he sings a song about a seal lord and a human bride. Tal and Vanya don’t recognize the song, but if they did, they’d be able to trace it back to Kellen’s homeworld- a bit of information Kellen hasn’t shared with anyone since he left it.
If you’re wondering where the inspiration for the song came from, take a listen to Heather Dale’s “The Maiden and the Selkie”. (And pick up her album The Green Knight, which is fabulous.)
The thing about Kellen Frey is, most times, he can get what he wants. Like a lot of people, the few things he can’t have are the most intriguing to him. The pair of bounty hunters on his tail top that list.
Do U Damage – The Specimen I wanna, I wanna get close to you
This is a silly, pop-y dance track, with a “do your worst, I’ll do my best” theme that underlies the lyrics. The “do your worst” definitely pits Kellen against the world, while the “I’ll do my best” reminds me of his need to prove himself to Tal and Vanya throughout the story.
Nocturnals – Peter Gabriel (YouTube Link, because it’s not available on Grooveshark) i dream of birds, birds without wings
children who grow up to be dangerous things
This is my Vanya song. It’s creepy and violent and sexy, in a very understated way. You would not want to mess with this song in a dark alley. Likewise, Vanya wouldn’t be my choice of people to cross. She’s got a habit of making things happen, and she doesn’t particularly care if other people like that or not.
Pain Killer (Summer Rain) – Turin Brakes Batten up the hatches, here comes the cold
I can feel it creeping, and it’s making me old
You give me so much love that it blows my brains out
Sometimes, loving someone just wears you out. I think Tal feels that way a lot.
The Con – Tegan and Sara Calm down, I’m calling you to say
I’m capsized, staring on the edge of safe
I think if there was a Kellen’n’Cassie song in this mix, it would have to be this one. Love is a game, and at least one of them forgets that to some people, the point of a game is to win.
Out the Airlock – Paul Dempsey
Okay, so maybe there are two Kellen’n’Cassie songs on here. Or maybe this one is all about a man who thought he knew what he was doing. Or maybe I’m cheating, and I just liked the song. We may never know…
Backfire – Mutemath
Isn’t having something to watch when it all blows up in your face the whole point of having a plan? Nobody in The Slipstream Con is getting what they expect, but some of them are getting what they want anyway.
Perfect Weapon – Communique
Tal and Vanya have a very physical element to their relationship that I love writing. They communicate with body language and touch, and Kellen picks up on that pretty quick.
Tell Me ‘Bout It – Joss Stone
Oh, repressed lust, you look so pretty under the stars… Even though the story didn’t allow for a lot of on-screen sex, there’s a current of tension that starts almost on the first page, before you even meet Kellen in person, and carries through the whole book.
27 – Fall Out Boy
My mind is a safe, and if I keep it in, we all get rich
Kellen’s warring desires to help Cassie and keep Vanya and Tal out of his mess collide with his own fervent wish not to spend time behind bars. It’s a lot to keep track of, a lot to control, and I like this song because it made me imagine Kellen as the man pulling the strings, who doesn’t realize they’re all about to be cut.
Let’s Pretend – No-Fi Soul Rebellion
Oh, let’s. I love the backwards/forwards/sideways/upside-down vibe to this song. It takes a strong personality to live under all those lies.
Fair – Remy Zero
What if you catch me, where would we land?
So, say you were a law-abiding, licensed Good Guy. Say you had the worst habit of falling for people who lived on the other side of that line. Where would you meet- in the middle, or would you just keep running?
Armistice – Mutemath
I’ve mentioned a couple times, I wrote the entire last scene of the book with this song on loop. And not-so-subtly paid homage to it, as well. Back and forth, give and take- those things can get lost, when you’re not sure if you’re even fighting for the same things.
A Good Idea At the Time – OK Go
Well, it did! I can actually hear any of the three of them saying this, at any given moment.
I hope you enjoyed the drive-by commentary, and the mix itself. Remember, just leave a comment on any entry from this week and be entered to win a signed paperback copy of The Slipstream Con. (Soundtrack not officially licensed or included. 😉
(The following piece of flash fiction contains minor spoilers for The Slipstream Con.)
“Oh, I was an art student.” The instant Kellen uttered the seemingly innocuous words, he wanted them back behind his teeth, swallowed down deep into the lost part of him that shouldn’t even exist anymore. “Of course I was also the wealthy son of an investment banker, and possibly a lost Imperial cousin.”
Vanya kissed his forehead, her hand gentle on the back of his head as she moved past him. “The difference is, only one of those was true.”
He didn’t answer her, but he didn’t go to bed that night, either. She came into his studio hours after she should have been asleep, and her voice was soft. “I didn’t mean to upset you. I don’t know how I did, but if you tell me what I said, I’ll figure out if I’m apologizing or not.”
Kellen laughed, staring at the brush in his hand for too long before he replied. “You didn’t do anything wrong.” It felt like he was breathing fire, his tongue shaping flames as he spit out an explanation that didn’t really tell her anything, and still felt too revealing. “I like who I am. I like who I’ve become. I’ve never liked who I was.”
“You’ve changed, though. You’ve gotten out of that life–”
“I don’t mean my alleged criminal activities.” Red paint dripped from his brush into the canvas, marring the landscape. He made no move to wipe it off. “I can’t talk about it. And I don’t mean to hurt your feelings, but I don’t want to be around anyone right now. Can you just…”
He didn’t have to ask her to go. The door shut halfway through his request, and he didn’t know if she was on the wrong side or not, but at least he was alone.
Angry with himself, Kellen picked up a tube of crimson paint and filled his palm with it, smearing it across the perfect copy of Hoefling’s famous starscape, Imperial City. He’d worked on it since the anonymous trail turned up a result he was almost insulted by.
Kellen hadn’t seen her face in years, but his fingers dragged it out of the brilliant red pigment, smudging in age he hadn’t witnessed, and a smile he barely remembered. When he was done, so angry he could barely keep it in, he ran a hand through his hair, ignoring the paint, and stared at the portrait until it dried just enough that there was no way to erase her.
It didn’t matter that she was alive. It wouldn’t have, to anyone but her son, and he was dead and buried, a year shy of graduating art school when he was dropped in the ground.
He should have left it alone, but it was a sickness he’d suffered from lately, this feeling like he needed to tie up loose ends. He wasn’t dying, or settling up a score, or clearing the way for a new con, and there was no good reason to have gone looking for her, not after all this time.
He wasn’t her son. He could remind himself of that all he wanted, but the fact remained that he’d found her alive, and he didn’t know what to do about it. He wasn’t her son, just a man of his own making, who used her son’s face. He owed her nothing, and wanted nothing she could give.
Her son’s name had been Grant. He didn’t know who Grant would have been, but it was a fair bet it wouldn’t have been Kellen Frey. He wasn’t sure Vanya and Tal would see the difference between them, and he couldn’t take that chance.
Alone, in the wee tiny hours before the false dawn of a ship on the drift, Kellen sealed her away with wide swaths of black paint. Her face disappeared from the canvas, mouth first so she couldn’t spill his secrets.
(Note: Due to technical difficulties, yesterday’s entertainment is being shared today.)
Tal Serafine-Reyes, Imperial Forces (retired), has agreed to play victim to the Random Interview generator, and the questions of a few of his fans.
Q: If you could steal one thing in the entire world without consequence, what would you steal?
Tal Serafine-Reyes: I’d have to defer that question to Kellen, as that’s more his area of expertise. Allegedly.
Q: What misconception of adulthood did you have as a kid that you secretly wish had been true?
TS-R: That everything would be right and fair, as soon as I was old enough to understand the secret rules adults didn’t tell me about. There are a lot of things about life that are neither right, nor fair, and it startles me on a daily basis how much I enjoy most of them.
Q: What would you tell yourself ten years in the FUTURE?
TS-R: The same thing I tell myself today. Don’t wake Vanya when she’s sleeping and search Kellen’s pockets before you let him leave someplace interesting. Honestly, I can’t see either one of those changing. Oh, and I’d tell myself to remember that what I found is better than what I expected to find. Just in case I’ve forgotten by then.
Q: What’s your favorite position for Kellen? (Submitted by Patrick.)
TS-R: Anywhere I can watch him is good.
Q: When you walk into a room, what do you notice first? What do you expect people to notice about you?
TS-R: Exits, and the two gorgeous people accompanying me.
Kellen Frey has made a study of the con for many years, and he’s damn good at the game he plays. He’s got a set of guidelines, and he sticks to them… Unless he doesn’t. Want to run a con like Kellen? Check out a few of his rules before dipping your toe into the world of professional lies.
Kellen Frey’s Rules of the Con
1. Don’t forget what you want out of the game.
2. Your job is to convince someone that they want what you want them to want.
3. Never believe your own con.
4. A good con needs a composer and conductor- you’re both. As a composer, you have to create the most beautiful masterwork ever performed. As a conductor, you have to keep the work accessible to your audience. Perfection is rare, and rarer still in people. It’s better to bring the human touch to your game than it is to look as though you’ve already written your mark’s part.
Kellen, his rules, and the bounty hunters who make him question all of them can be found in The Slipstream Con.
As we may have mentioned once or twice, the paperback release of The Slipstream Conis next Tuesday, March 6. To celebrate, we’re going to have a week-long party here on the blog, with something new and fun every day.
Monday- Michelle-a-palooza! (In other words, I have no idea what Michelle is going to post, but it’ll be awesome.)
Tuesday – Release day! We’ll post a bit about where you can find the book, and perhaps an excerpt or two.
Wednesday – Wednesday is Random Interview day ’round these parts, and we’ll be torturing talking to Tal Serafine-Reyes, voted 2012’s Most Beleaguered Bounty Hunter by Ylendrian Bounty Hunter Magazine.
Thursday – What? Did you hear a rumour about a bit of flash fiction featuring Kellen Frey? (He probably started the rumour himself, just to distract people while he stole their valuables.)
Friday – If it’s Friday, it’s time for Reesa Radio, where I’ll be posting the (semi) official Slipstream playlist, and doing drive-by DVD commentary on the songs.
Be sure to stop by every day. We’ll be holding a contest and nobody wants to miss the chance to win Amazing Free Things, do they?
Of course, if you do, we know a guy who can probably acquire them for you anyway, as long as you don’t mind a five-finger discount.
Look at me, catching up on things! I didn’t even suspect it was possible. As it turns out, I have a lot more free time when I’m not writing two books at once.
First, I have a shameless plea: Please vote for us in the 2011 Sammie Awards.
The Sammies are an award contest sponsored by the Samhain Cafe, the yahoo discussion group for our publisher. Every year, they round up all the releases from the previous year, and invite people to vote in the following categories:
We’re included in the eBook categories, and we’d love it if you’d vote for The Slipstream Con. There’s some pretty great competition, too, including Stacy Gail, Sierra Dean, Sheryl Nantus, Nathalie Grey, and Keith Melton, all of whom released some fantastic stuff in 2011. (And I won’t lie, I voted for the Bad Karma cover, even though I haven’t read the book.)