“Rock Gods is a sharp, witty, horrifying, and reflective must read. Be careful if you have a weak stomach, though: It’s probably the goriest non-horror novel I’ve ever read.” – Leks Drakos, The Lit Refinery
I feel so blessed to have had the courage to go “on sabbatical,” as I say, and write and publish my fiction full-time for nearly two years. I’m giving myself until the end of 2023 to continue as a full-time writer. And even though I might eventually pick up some consultancy work or pitch a project I’ve been ideating, I’ll still be writing and indie publishing my work.
My debut novel Rock Gods & Messy Monsters had its Southwest Soft Launch in Santa Fe in September of 2022. I’m excited to announce that the New York City Hard Launch will be in October in, yes, the Big Apple. (Because everything’s harder in New York City….)
Details on the exact date and event to come shortly – I’m still finalizing a venue. (I forgot how much more difficult everything in NYC is…) I’ll keep you posted in case any of you in the tri-state area would like to attend the launch. It would be great to see/meet you!
The biggest highlight of my sabbatical has been the feedback I’ve gotten from several people who’ve read the book and were inspired to take some kind of action in their life. I also feel grateful when I read a review from someone I don’t know who gets the work.
Rock Gods is multi-layered, irreverent, absurdist, and definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. So when I read Leks Drakos’s recent review of the book, I nearly teared up. He got the fact that it’s a humorous satire on top, but underneath and between the lines of the story is commentary on corporations, society, and the search for our authentic self.
The two books that will follow in the trilogy carry on with the main character Alex’s search for meaning and self.
I’ve copied Leks’s review below, and you can also read it directly on The Lit Refinery’s site.
Authors like me are extremely appreciative of readers and reviewers who share their thoughts about our work. If you read something, and especially if you like it, please reach out and let the author know, whether through review or an email.
Your words are fuel for a writer’s soul.
REVIEW: ROCK GODS & MESSY MONSTERS BY DIANE HATZ
8 Jun | Written By Leks Drakos
Aliens have hatched a rockstar. Brain extractions, falling body parts, and blood-vessel explosions have become the norm. It’s the 1990s.
Think: A fever dream Velvet Goldmine plus Dark Mirror plus Videodrome if reimagined by Julia Ducournau, Poppy Z Brite, and Mary Harron.
That sort of does it.
It’s difficult to really pin down Rock Gods. You could take it at face value and chalk it down as pure abstract surrealism. You could also decode comma and quotation mark for deeply written philosophical wisdom.
I think it’s a little bit of both.
Throughout, Alex is surrounded by ridiculous and grotesque absurdity turned up full volume. It’s a daily expectation that she wipe down her boss’s office from his routine bloody explosions. Just like making sure he has a Twinkie ready with his morning coffee, and delivering memos to the rest of the cabal.
The guy from A&R carries around a stuffed ferret. The head of marketing is always losing and reattaching body parts (there’s a funny quip in there somewhere but I’ll save that for later). She has to (literally) remove her brain before clocking in.
Oh, yeah. Aliens made a rock star.
I think everyone who’s put up with an excessive amount of bullshit under the guise of “paying their dues,” or felt it was necessary to put up with an excessive amount of bullshit to even have a shot at what they want will see themselves in Alex.
She desperately wants to move up in the music industry, but has been told – and believes – the way to get there is to start at the bottom. Just get her foot in the door. Work as a secretary for one of the higher ups and eventually it’ll lead somewhere.
Alex tells herself this over and over. She allows herself to be humiliated, abused, and nearly destroyed for that faint hope of being the secretary of someone a little higher up, and then someone a little higher up from that, until finally a someone sees her true potential and gives her a shot.
But she has to be patient. There’s a way things are done and you have to go through the right channels. You have to suffer before you can succeed. Meanwhile, the ones enforcing that mantra are doing whatever the fuck they want in the top floor conference room – which usually includes creating more and more fanciful titles for themselves and discussing how much of a pay increase they can get away with.
It’s a book about the music industry, about the business world, about being human (or not, as the case may be), and about watching all of your expectations and assumptions fall apart in front of you. And maybe realizing that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
As fun and comedic as Rock Stars can be – and it is definitely both of those things throughout – it’s also a deeply tragic cautionary tale.
We’ve all been Alex at some point. Some of us may be Alex right now. We all probably know an Alex. Maybe we even have an Alex working for us as an overwhelmed secretary with unrealized ambitions that we can’t see for what they are.
Rock Gods is a sharp, witty, horrifying, and reflective must read. Be careful if you have a weak stomach, though: It’s probably the goriest non-horror novel I’ve ever read. (Direct link)