The Vortex Winder

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The Vortex Winder is a most unusual novel, because it comes with its own musical soundtrack.

At the time of writing Vortex, I had my rock band, Lighthouse XIII, and decided to add songs to the book. So, The Vortex Winder is both a book and an album. It’s like a movie musical where each song fits into the story.

Some people have thought they’re supposed to listen to the music while reading the book, but that’s not the case. The music and novel are separate but related.

I then wrote a sequel, The Maelstrom Ascendant, which also has its own album.

The soundtrack albums for Vortex and Maelstrom are available on CD, on iTunes or Amazon music, and Spotify. Some short audio samples are on this website.

As for literary genre, these books could be filed under ‘magic realism.’ That is, they’re set in the real world but include supernatural elements that go beyond it. One reader called The Vortex Winder ‘a modern fairytale,’ which is a good description.

These novels feature the adventures of Jimmy Brandt, a knockabout guy trying to make sense of life in the 21st century. He’s not your conventional hero – indeed, The Maelstrom Ascendant shows his turn to evil – but The Vortex Winder begins with an act of kindness when he saves the life of an insect. The insect turns out to be a magical being who gives him the ‘Vortex Winder’ – a device which grants Jimmy’s wishes, at least in the short term. Just as in traditional fairytales, these wishes rarely work out as expected, and lead to complications of one sort or another.

Jimmy’s main drive is to become a famous rock musician, but he’s drawn into various other adventures: a love affair in Germany, a stint in a Thai prison, and a short burst of social media infamy. Along the way, he’s guided by his mentor, Iolango, and pursued by his nemesis, Elijinx.

Presented here is The Vortex Winder‘s opening chapter. The Maelstrom Ascendant is featured elsewhere on this website.

Chapter One of The Vortex Winder

Some moments are life changing, yet random. For example, a friend of mine met her future husband for no better reason than that he dialed a wrong number and she answered the phone. Now, why would that happen?  Whether it is all fate, luck, or a ricochet in God’s  random plan, who knows?  Yet when it comes to life changing moments, the last place I expected one was in the Excelsior hotel toilets at a heavy metal concert.  Who would ever guess that an act of compassion for a drowning cockroach could lead so far?

Now stop right there. Don’t make that face, turning your nose up like that. Yes, I too wish this story had a more glamorous beginning. If only  it had begun at a Frank Sinatra concert at one of those Paris restaurants you have to book a year in advance, it would have been much more convenient for me.  But it didn’t, and I’m obliged to present the facts as they happened.

The show was on at the Excelsior hotel in Surry Hills, Sydney. The band ‘Nevermore’ was playing that night and I, a recent convert to their sonic assault, was warming up with a couple of  drinks.  My rigorous preparation for the show had already begun on the bus on the way in. I’d sipped discreetly without attracting the interest of the bored, balding bus driver whose life had slumped  to the depths of working on Saturday night. How could he do it? Personally, I can’t stand working when other people are enjoying themselves around me. Like that time picking up glasses in that nightclub a few years ago. Never again.

You can download the full chapter by clicking here.


The Vortex Winder
The Vortex Winder

Listen to music samples from The Vortex Winder Album:

The Vortex Winder
Trade Winds
The Ephemeral and the Eternal

Music album on Amazon here

Listen on Spotify here