In the end, I let my writing stand alone and waved adios to the song lyrics, but to me they’ll always be in there, and now, here they are for you too. Whether being played over a car stereo or sung by a character, here are the songs of Revamp:
Song1 - “Perfect” by The Smashing Pumpkins
The sped-up slow song playing in the after-hours club during Josie’s fateful night out, that has a high Josie trying to recall the song’s name.
Song2 - “California Love” by 2pac
Sung by Josie as she “gets beautiful.”
Song3 - “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)” by John Lennon
Emma confesses she’s a planner at heart and contemplates John Lennon’s advice. “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
Song4 - “My Way” by Frank Sinatra
Sung in the first draft, hummed in the final draft, by Myers as he prepares to“examine” Emma.
Song5 - “La Guitarra” by Los Autenticos Decadentes
Playing over Rojas’ car stereo when he comes to pick up Cooper. He tells Cooper, “You know, boss, this song here is the story of my life.” Not revealed in the book, it’s about a man with an unruly spirit who only wants to play his guitar and make music, despite his family’s objections.
Song6 - “Staying Alive” by the Bee Gees
The “tinny version of a Bee Gees song” playing over the delivery truck radio during Seven’s escape.
Song7 - “Setting Sun” by The Chemical Brothers
Playing in Club Vein when Emma gathers the courage to walk across the dance floor through a sea of vampires.
Song8 - “It’s So Easy” by Linda Ronstadt
Ironically hummed by Emma while she searches the closet to find items for her escape pile.
Song9 - “My Boyfriend’s Back” by The Angels
Blasting over the mod vampires’ car stereo as Emma passes on the motorcycle.
Song10 - “Walking in LA” by Missing Persons
“I had heard that nobody walked in LA, but that had all changed. Vampires walked. Vampires walked in LA.” (Emma Spade in Revamp)
Song11 - “Sympathy for the Devil” by The Rolling Stones
In the first draft of Revamp, lyrics quoted by a vampire character to introduce himself to Emma. “‘Let me please introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste.’ I’ve always wanted to say that.”
Song12 - “Midnight Special” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
The record played by a vampire character in Revamp as he tells Emma his story, and the record that later serves an unconventional purpose. (Note: The “Midnight Special” chorus lyrics were the only ones I was able to keep in. The chorus has been used and reworked in songs for almost a century and was thought to have originated among prisoners in the American South. The chorus lyrics from the original folk song differ by one word from the Creedence version.
Let the Midnight Special
Shine her light on me
Let the Midnight Special
Shine her ever-loving light on me
REVAMP: FALSE START 1
REVAMP: FALSE START 2
REVAMP: THE JUICY BITS (7 & 8 are spoilers!)
REVAMP: FALSE START 1
So, beginnings are hard. You only have one chance to make a first impression, and all that. Revamp had two different beginnings before I settled on the current one. This particular excerpt is the original beginning of Revamp, and it’s a dream sequence, happening in the tumultuous head of my heroine, Emma Spade. The decision to cut it was based on the fact that it had very little to do with the rest of the story. This deleted Revamp excerpt has never been published before. Enjoy!
I’M WEARING A NAVY BLUE DRESS with white ruffle trim. Through a large window quite a distance from me I see the back end of a hearse. A gold decal on the door reads:
Loving your corpse like no one else will.
I’m under a table and there are darkly decorated legs for miles. A murmur rises and falls in pitch. It reminds me of bees protecting their hive. Tommy says people whisper at funerals because they don’t want to wake the dead. I’m not sure I believe him. Tommy’s my second-cousin-twice-removed-in-law and he’s only recently learned of his adoption. Now he looks for any opportunity to make a fool out of someone else, I suppose so he can feel like less of one. It’s to the point of compulsion.
I listen to the hum and catch Mildred’s name. I met my great aunt three times before she succumbed to pneumonia at the ripe age of ninety-two. When alive, she walked with a constant tremor and enjoyed sticking dusty caramels down children’s throats with her long yellow fingers. I was not sad to see her go.
A pair of legs winds their way through the others and stops in front of my table. Gray trousers too short for the person wearing them and black men’s shoes with heavy creases in the leather. A drop of congealing liquid sticks to the right one. The trousers hike higher before a head drops into my view.
“What'cha doin’, Teddy Bear?”
It has my dad’s features, but it is not my dad. There’s the brown hair, the bushy eyebrows, the crooked smile, the Elvis sneer, but the eyes are black, and the voice…oh my God, the voice.
“Come here, Teddy Bear,” it says, with lips moving at normal speed but the words coming out too slow, like time is honey. Black teeth sprinkle from its mouth, becoming rotted imperfections on the pristine Persian rug below.
“Whoopsie daisy,” it says, looking down coyly at its fallen parts.
My heart leaps. I press my back against the wall until it hurts so bad. I scream, but no one is coming to rescue me. The humdrum murmur continues, and far away someone laughs with manners. It’s just air through the nose.
“No more games, Emma! Time to pay your respects.”
Its arms stretch for me. Bones are cracking and things are making mushy sounds. Soon the tips of its fingers will be around my neck. And then…
An odor invades my nostrils: flowers after the rain and the dead possum we found outside my window one hot day. I hold my breath to halt the stench. Beneath me, something moves. I sneeze and recognize the first smell almost immediately.
I always had been allergic to Mildred’s perfume, and I guess I still was.
“Do you want some caramels, dear? They’re the ones you like.”
I scream and push my arms forward. I kick my legs up, but they stop short at something solid, unmovable.
“Lay down, Emma! Don’t be a Screamin' Meemie!”
Slimy bones wrap around my wrists and ankles and pin me to the lumpy, writhing remains of my Great Aunt Mildred. I can taste old caramel. The candy multiplies in my mouth. I try to swallow, but I can’t. My cheeks are puffing out. Elastic chew inches down my throat. I struggle for breath. Mildred reprimands me with a tapping on my head.
You whiny brat
You whiny brat
So, beginnings are hard. You only have one chance to make a first impression, and all that. Revamp had two different beginnings before I settled on the current one. This particular excerpt is the second beginning of Revamp. I wanted to start the story with a frightening scene, perhaps related to the blackout. The decision to cut it was based on the fact that it introduced a doomed, inconsequential character. This deleted Revamp excerpt has never been published before. Enjoy!
“Son of a bitch, Lacy, you make news look good.”
Lacy Ryan watched her recorded self on the television screen. That night had been a particularly hard segment. People died. But not just people. Women and children. Angelinos. All burned alive in a multiple-alarm blaze that could be seen across the city like a bonfire of the gods.
Choosing a look for this one had been difficult. She had added four more to her repertoire over the weekend, and though Lacy appreciated the luxury of choice, too much choice could be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Choose badly and your world might become shredded with too many pieces to pick up. She moved closer to the screen.
“Look 16,” she said aloud. “Works every time.”
Look 16 was tough to master. It went: face tight, begin piece, pause, blink twice, water eyes (not enough to draw tears but enough to create a sad shimmer), clear throat, continue piece. For this story, she had narrowed it down to Look 16 and Look 10, which went: face tight, begin piece, pause, blink twice, water eyes, clear throat, excuse yourself, continue piece. The latter look needed to be used sparingly. In news, there was a fine line between caring and unprofessional. Look 10 was reserved for those gut-wrenching stories with someone to blame - school shootings, for instance.
Satisfied another perfect segment had been achieved, Lacy pointed the remote at the television and turned it off. Greater Los Angeles’ top-rated anchorwoman two years running would keep her title and her Mercedes, her house in Malibu and her extracurricular supply of blow.
Lacy gathered her things and opened the door to her office. Outside, the newsroom slept. The building was fairly new but creaked worthy of the Hollywood Roosevelt. Mark in Weather said it was the electrics cooling down for the night, but just the same, Lacy liked to leave the main floor fully lit when there alone.
She locked the door and made her way around desks piled high with tomorrow’s headlines and mesh waste baskets teeming with yesterday’s news. Coffee rings, chewed pencils, and full ashtrays sung clichés.
She was halfway across the floor, when the lights went out. Lacy knocked into something.
She rubbed her knee where it hurt and waited for the lights to go back on. Had the cleaning crew come by to turn them off?
“Hello! I’m still in here!”
Lacy reached into her purse for her cell phone. She turned it on and held it up. The light from the screen illuminated the direct space in front of her, no more, no less. She moved slowly forward. As badly as she wanted to get to the elevator and get outside, if she fell and bruised that pretty face of hers, she could be off the anchor desk for a good three days. That may not seem like much time, but in the world of news, miss breaking a big story and you could land right back where you started, photocopying your ass for your married boss.
Lacy took baby steps, expecting the lights to turn back on at any second.
She arrived at the elevator and pressed the call button. She tapped her foot. The button didn’t light up, and she knew that if the power was out, the elevators would not be running, yet she still waited. Lacy was a person used to getting what she wanted, and in her was the refusal to accept exceptions.
A crash came from somewhere in the newsroom. Lacy yelped. It sounded like something had been broken.
“Fudge, fudge, fudge,” Lacy said, aware a co-worker might be in earshot. “Someone there?”
The elevator wasn’t coming, and the realization crept up on Lacy that she would have to cross her darkened workplace once more to get to the stairs. Don’t be silly, she thought. It’s nothing. A reporter had been careless with a coffee pot - left it too close to the counter’s edge. The building had done some selfish settling and the coffee pot was deposited onto the floor. Maybe I should go to the kitchen and have a look? Clean up the mess? No. There were more important things for her to do. Beauty sleep being one. At this rate, she’d have to use a whole cucumber tomorrow morning to quell the over-packing that would be her under-eye baggage.
“Alright, stairs. Here I come. Slow and steady wins the race.”
Lacy muttered tiny encouragements as she started across the black newsroom for a second time. She was on The sun will come out tomorrow when a shadow crossed her path. She stopped.
A trick of the light? Her phone display screen powered off. She pressed the button to turn it back on. She directed the light ahead of her.
“Hello? You’re not funny…I’ll report you if you keep this up.”
Coming from under Marvin’s desk. Marvin from Traffic. Watched her tits as much as he watched cars. Lacy bent down and pointed her makeshift light at Marvin’s desk. Lacy had never seen a rodent in the building, though she was sure they must be there. The building was too big to not have unmentionables infiltrating it.
“Just stay away from me, you nasty little creatures.”
She renewed her pace to the stairwell and had nearly arrived when she heard it again. The scratching. Whatever was doing it had moved.
Ahead of her.
Lacy was being stalked and rodents didn’t stalk. Not people. She glanced around nervously.
“I’m calling the cops!”
Lacy dialed 911. A woman answered immediately at the other end.
“Nine-one-one operator, what is your emergency?”
“I’m a news anchor at WTBH. I’m on the twelfth floor. I think someone’s…after me.” The operator didn’t respond. Lacy could hear her breathing. “Hello?”
“You’re right about that, Ms. Ryan.”
“What? Wait…how do you know who this is? I never told you my name?”
“You’re the top-rated female news anchor in
“I never told you my name.”
“That doesn’t matter.”
“What are you talking about?” The scratching was right behind her now. “I want to know what’s going on.”
Lacy turned, slowly. She thought she might choke on her own fright. Behind her, a wall of black stood impenetrable to the naked eye. She moved the phone away from her ear and held it up to light the area. The space was empty.
“Is this a fucking joke?”
Lacy was ready to yell at the woman, when her feet went out from under her. The landing made her lose her phone and her breath. Four small pale hands, each one not yet big enough to grip an adult ankle alone, dragged her into the dark depths of the newsroom. Lacy screamed, a look on her face too horrific for her average viewer.
“Chin up, Ms. Ryan,” the voice said from the abandoned phone. “This’ll only hurt for a second.”
REVAMP: THE JUICY BITS (7 & 8 are spoilers!)
Below are some behind-the-scenes facts about Revamp. Enjoy!
1. Revamp had 3 beginnings. The original beginning was a dream sequence. Emma is being pursued by her “changed” father in a funeral home. The second beginning was a scene from the Blackout. A popular news reporter is targeted for the sake of the takeover.
2. Emma’s mother, Sophia, makes a brief appearance as a waitress in my next book, not a Revamp sequel.
3. Character names in Revamp changed from first draft to final draft. Mabon was originally Max, Josie was originally Heidi, and Emma was originally Tristan.
4. The ending of Revamp was inspired by the ending of one of my favorite movies, John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club.
“...but we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us. In the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain...and an athlete...and a basket-case...a princess...and a criminal. Does that answer your question?”
5. A couple of scenes and characters were inspired by James Cameron’s Aliens. Bugs (Newt). Rudy (Hudson). The Revamp scene down in the manhole was inspired by the scene when the aliens are fast-approaching and
Hudson is reading his
scanner and announcing their distance as they get closer and closer. Hudson announces, “Nine
meters. Eight.” Ripley says, “Can’t be. That’s inside the room.” Hudson: “It’s readin’
right. Look!” Then it dawns on them that the aliens are coming from above.
6. Revamp went through six title changes. Tristan’s Monsters was the original title. Then, Patriots and Vampires, The American Vampire (a title that was nixed because Stephen King chose it for his graphic novel), Six Hearts, The Vampire Anarchist, and finally Revamp.
7. (SPOILER) Something not mentioned in the ending, but in my head, was that Emma would now drive east, back cross-country, to check on her boyfriend and roommate in
Syracuse and her
mom in Boston.
She would leave LA with Cooper, Bugs, Sammy, and Schizo. Possibly Seven and
Charlie would go along, too. Topps and Rudy would go their own way - styling,
of course, in a big old Caddy. (SPOILER)
8. (SPOILER) Emma and Cooper had sex in the first draft of Revamp, but the scene was later removed in a plot change. (SPOILER)
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