PJV Quickie: This book is heartbreaking, and heart warming. I read it in a day. My kindle gripped tightly as I went on a wild, twisting downward spiral with Rick the MC. It has kind of left me speechless. Maybe. A little bit.
Title: Rhythm in Blue
Author: tfc Parks
Revised and re-published: Nov. 2012
Source: Author provided ebook
Rating: [xrr rating=5/5 imageset=red_star] GoodreadsAuthorAmazon
Blurb: After running away from an abusive, alcoholic father at the age of fifteen, Rick Rowland has overcome his past and made a name for himself as the bassist for the popular 70s rock band, Smoke n’ Mirrors. With his choice of beautiful women and a party-all-the-time lifestyle, Rick knows he’s got it made. But, his life drastically changes when he meets someone who makes him question who he really is and makes him wonder if he ran far enough away from his past.
When Rick travels to Greece for his sister’s wedding, he meets Shelby, the one person who can make him see himself for who he truly is and help him be the person he wants to be. Although their deep attachment is instantaneous, the conventions of society limit their relationship. Determined to keep their bond intact, Rick walks a fine line with Shelby, but their circumstances quickly crumble, leaving them both forever changed.
Left with nothing but a shell of his former self and filled with self-hate for destroying the only true happiness he’d ever known, along with the person he cared for most, Rick struggles to uncover his path in the world and seeks a normal life, but finds himself slipping into the patterns of abuse he learned at a young age. His hardships are a catalyst that brings him great success, but the price is steep. Somehow, he must find his way through – find a way to survive the wrongs of his past and find the happiness he craves.
This book follows the life of Rick Rowland a rock star. He lives the rock star life to it’s fullest. Girls, drugs, booze and music. He thinks he’s got it made until one day, while in Greece for his sister’s wedding, he realizes he is lonely. The only true companion he’s had in years outside of his band is 15 year old Shelby. Shelby is a free spirit who finds a kindred spirit in Rick.
Rick is a very, very complicated character. He was abused horribly by his father from a young age. He became a teenage runaway, and then a rock star. I don’t think he ever really had anytime to discover who he was between each new chapter in his life. He meets Shelby and for the first time I think he finally sees that he needs and wants much more in his life than a good party. Shelby completely changes his life. The fact that she is only 15 and he is 24-25, complicates things a lot.
Complicated is exactly how he leaves Greece, and his relationship with Shelby. I realize that a lot of people could find that relationship a little, um, creepy? It was at first. For both myself and for Rick. He isn’t a saint, but he does show mountains of responsibility while dealing with Shelby. He truly does care for her. That shows in the writing and care that the author took with the relationship.
I’m going to be completely honest. This is a very, very hard review for me to write. I was way too emotionally involved in the story for so many reasons. I’ve had my own life fall apart at the hands of other people’s drug addictions. So seeing it played out for me in black and white took me back to some scary places. Needless to say this part of the book was….well it was hard to read. I’ve read books about drug abuse and it didn’t affect me. Not like this story did. That is a testament to the author’s writing. The fact that I couldn’t just breeze through it. It felt real. I felt like I was there watching Rick go through this.
The author gave these scenes justice. She didn’t overplay it and make Rick into a demon because of his, well demons. But she didn’t sugar coat it and seem like it was “no big deal” either.
How Rick got to that point is almost a heart killing as it is watching him live through it.
The world that Rick, the band, and Shelby all live in is beautiful and real. The backdrop of Greece is perfect. I couldn’t think of a more beautiful place to fall in love. The author painted a very vivid physical and emotional picture. Her writing is definitely on point in this book. Rick and Shelby’s relationship have moments of physical passion, especially as they bump into each other through the years, but the real passion comes from their emotional relationship.
I just can’t say enough about how amazing this book is. It’s one of those books that you white knuckle through in one day and then feel completely empty and emotionally spent after reading. It’s not for a light reading day. It will be too hard to put down. You have to see Rick get happiness. It’s too hard to think that he might not get it. Even right now, my heart is pounding and hurting thinking about what this character went through. Did I cry? Oh yes, yes I did.
Tammy is awesome and agreed to answer some of my questions. So here is our interview:
Lori: What inspires you to write?
Tammy: Characters. I come up with all these characters and situations in my head, and when they’re interesting enough and I feel like others might get a kick out of them, I’ll put them in a story. People do such crazy things, and I always like to imagine the weird stuff they hide under the surface. Almost no one ever shows the world what really goes on in their minds (when they do, they usually end up in handcuffs), and people tend to feel inferior because of these odd behaviors and thoughts. I think my best stories come from these little quirks of the human condition.
Lori: I have a friend who is a HUGE fan of Rhythm in Blue. She read it before you revised it. What made you decide to revise the book after it had been out for a few years? Any big changes?
Tammy: The original version was a little more shocking because of my need to disturb people, but I decided that as an unknown writer, it was better to appeal to a wider readership and make the story easier to stomach. The changes are subtle, but make a big difference in the story overall.
Lori: I loved the back drop of Greece. I think some of my favorite scenes take place there. Do you plan on revisiting Greece in your writing anytime soon?
Tammy: Oh yes. I spent a lot of time there growing up and as a young adult, and no place else has ever really felt like home, so I’m sure it will be the backdrop for future stories. Even though I haven’t been there for years, it’s the only setting I feel really comfortable writing about – other places are just generic.
Lori: Any chance we might get a” comeback tour” from Smoke & Mirrors? I’d love to see what everyone is up to.
Tammy: I would love to write a sequel. I already know what happens to everyone, it’s just a matter of committing and doing it. Other work has been keeping me busy.
Lori: Do you have a favorite writing food? Anything you MUST have on hand to write?
Tammy: I go through phases, but it’s usually something sweet. For a while it was Oreos, then peanut M&Ms. My daughter recently spent a month in Greece, and she brought me back four packs of these orange cookies I loved as a kid. I’m rationing them out.
I need a carrot phase.
Lori: What is coming up for you? Any new projects either as (tfc Parks or Brandie Buckwine) that you would like to tell us about?
Tammy: I have another book I’ve started, but I haven’t decided on whether it should be a Tammy story or a Brandie story. The story could go in two very different directions, and either one would be good. I just need to decide. I’m thinking I need a break from erotica, but the Brandie direction of the story is just so damn hot, I might not be able to let it go.
A short story I wrote as Tammy will be published along with nine other stories from writer friends in an anthology. It was a contest entry, and I took first place. It’s a creepy story – a first for me, but it was fun to write.
Other than that, I have about five or six starts on stories and I’m just waiting to see which ones win out for continuation.