Friday, November 1, 2019

#94 Inside the Emotion of Fiction: "TENDERLOIN WARS" by David Henry Sterry

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****David Henry Sterry’s TENDERLOIN WARS is #94 in the never-ending series called INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific excerpt from a fiction genre and how that fiction writer wrote that specific excerpt.  All INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION links are at the end of this piece. 

Name of fiction work? And were there other names you considered that you would like to share with us? Tenderloin Wars. Originally The War of the Tenderloin.

What is the date you began writing this piece of fiction and the date when you completely finished the piece of fiction? 2015 start. 2019 finish. I cut 250,000 out of the book after working with an editor who I paid $15,000. Worth every penny.

Where did you do most of your writing for this fiction work?  And please describe in detail.  My office. Also in Tenderloin, Ireland, Amsterdam, Hollywood, Hawaii & on airplanes. 
What were your writing habits while writing this work- did you drink something as you wrote, listen to music, write in pen and paper, directly on laptop; specific time of day? Longhand first, then talked into computer. Early mornings. Late mornings. Early & late afternoons. Early evenings. Never late at night. I usually watch a sporting event while I wrote. I usually drink magic marijuana-infused tea that I make myself. 

What scene/excerpt of the book was the most emotional for you to write? This scene/excerpt can be as short or as long as you prefer.
Boris was a hairy knuckley Russian troll.  His pleasure centers lit up as he took out of a long, thin, rectangular case. 
Svetlana, four feet, eleven inches and 98 pounds of snow-haired, pink-skinned pigtailed Russian kewpie doll, closed her eyes and tried to ignore the alarms shrieking in her head. She didn’t know it was her 14th birthday.
Finally the device was ready.
“On knees.”  Boris sounded like he was ordering a shot of vodka.
Katya and Ekaterina got on all-fours.
Yulia flopped onto her knees, her torso dead-weight on wet concrete.
Svetlana saw Tatyana paralyzed.  So she gently helped her kneel.
Then she herself assumed the position.
Boris gazed lovingly at the Mother Russia asses, shining like beautiful moons. 
He tried to decide who should be first.  Important to set the right tone. 
He hovered over Tatyana’s terrified, quivering white ass.
She rhythmically palpitated with panicked mini-yelps.
Boris pushed 700° of searing metal into Tatiana’s flesh.
It sizzled.  She screamed a death shriek.
Katya and Yulia flinched and recoiled.
Ekaterina’s eyes were full of vacancy.
Svetlana took a big breath as she tried to sink into deep relaxation.
Boris licked his lips, eyes glistened as he pushed the superheated steel further into flesh, and got a branding boner.  Like this is why he was put on Earth.
The smell of burning skin filled the room.                            
Smoke curled up from Tatyana’s bottom like the devil’s tail.  She howled. 
Boris grunted softly as he admired his handiwork. 
Tatyana’s backside was branded:
Ekaterina groaned low.  The only sound anyone ever heard her make. 
Yulia’s screech became a coughing fit that left her a shaking fetal ball.
Katya vowed not to make a sound.  Then she unleashed a keening yowl.
Svetlana flipped the switch in her head and smiled 

Why is this scene/excerpt so emotional for you to write?  And can you describe your own emotional experience of writing this specific scene/excerpt? I cried while writing this. I myself was a sexually exploited, assaulted and abused youth and taught writing workshops with this population later in life & a girl described how this happened to her.  My heart broke open. I wanted to honor her by writing this. 

Were there any deletions from this scene/excerpt that you can share with us? And can you please include a photo of your marked up rough drafts of this excerpt. Originally I wrote the scene much more graphically with many gory details.  The more that stuff.  I took out, and the more interior life of the characters I put in, the more horrific it seemed to get.  Like the human brain turns off when it sees all that abused flesh of the 14-year-old girl.

Other works you have published? Chicken: Self-Portrait of a Young Man for Rent, 10 Year Anniversary Edition (Soft Skull, 2013)

Chicken: Self-Portrait of a Young Man for Rent (ReganBooks, 2002). Bestseller sold into nine countries.
“Sterry writes with comic brio… [he] honed a vibrant outrageous writing style and turned out this studiously wild souvenir of a checkered past.”--Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“Stunning… Sterry's prose fizzes like fireworks. Every page crackles… Very easy and exciting to read--as laconic as Dashiell Hammett, as viscerally hallucinogenic as Hunter S Thompson. Sex, violence, drugs, love, hate, and great writing all within a single wrapper. What more could you possibly ask for?” –The Irish Times

The Essential Guide To Getting Your Book Published (Workman, 2010). Based on the Stanford Workshop created by himself and his wife, former agent and author, Arielle Eckstut.
“Before you write your own book, read this one first.” –Jonathan Karp, Publisher, 12 Books

Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent-Boys: Professionals Writing on Life, Love, Money & Sex (with RJ Martin, Soft Skull, 2009). Featured on the front cover of the Sunday New York Times Book Review.  Now in its seventh printing. Optioned by Marta Kauffman, co-creator of the TV show Friends.
     “Eye-opening, astonishing, brutally honest and frequently funny… unpretentious and riveting — but also graphic, politically incorrect and mostly unquotable in this newspaper.”—The New York Times Sunday Book Review (front page review)

The Glorious World Cup: A Balls-Out Guide (Dutton, 2010). Became to go-to World Cup expert for NPR and the Huffington Post.

Confessions of a Sex Manic (Kismet, 2011) Hardboiled San Francisco noir, Henry Miller Award Finalist.

Master of Ceremonies: A True Story of Love, Murder, Rollerskates and Chippendales (Canongate/ Grove-Atlantic).  
Master of Ceremonies is dizzying, tender, and… resplendent with seedy glamour, hilarious backstage madness, and unflinching honesty.”--Library Journal 

The LittleMissMatched Series: LittleMissMatched’s Pajama Party in a Box (Workman, 2007), LittleMissMatched’s Fabulous Marvelous Me (Workman, 2007), LittleMissMatched’s The Writer in Me (Workman, 2008), LittleMissMatched’s The Artist in Me (Workman, 2008). LittleMissMatched is a company dedicated to inspiring creativity and self-expression in girls of all ages. 
These books, created with Arielle Eckstut, have been sold everywhere from FAO Schwarz to Toys R Us to Disneyland.

Travis & Freddy’s Adventures in Vegas (Dutton, 2006). Written under the pseudonym Henry Johnson.
“This is a winner.”— Library Journal
Satchel Sez; The Wit, Wisdom & World of Leroy Satchel Paige (Crown, 2001). Picked by the ALA as one of the best books of the year for teens.

Anything you would like to add? I'm also co-founder of The Book Doctors.
We've  helped hundreds of writers get published. 

My newest piece:  This is the true story of being a White Asshole in black sitcoms. The first time I thought it must be a coincidence. But by the fourth or fifth time, I couldn't help but wonder: Was I REALLY a White Asshole? Link:   

David Henry Sterry is the bestselling author of 16 books, a performer, muckraker, educator, activist, and book doctor.  His new book Chicken Self:-Portrait of a Man for Rent, 10 Year Anniversary Edition, has been translated into 10 languages.  He's also written Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys: Professionals Writing on Life, Love, Money and Sex, which appeared on the front cover of the Sunday New York Times Book Review.  He is a finalist for the Henry Miller Award.  He has appeared on, acted with, written for, been employed as, worked and/or presented at: Will Smith, a marriage counselor, Disney screenwriter, Stanford University, National Public Radio, Milton Berle, Huffington Post, a sodajerk, the Taco Bell chihuahua, Penthouse, the London Times, Michael Caine, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, a human guinea pig and Zippy the Chimp.  He can be found at


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