Reveal, To Me: The Inspiration Behind “The Glassman”

I’m writing this because The Glassman is coming out – a work I am super excited for. Like Dreamer and other works, The Glassman has been boppling about in my head for about two decades (what I call “legacy stories” – stories that have been in my head for a really long period of time). And I want to talk about it.

Because it causes me cringe.

I love the story. I also want to talk about what inspired it.

Ok, so. The Glassman was a heavily (probably not heavily enough, I’ll get to that in a sec) de-fan fictionalized story I wrote as a teenager. I didn’t know it was a fan fic even tho it had all the basic rigors of a fan-fic (that’s another tale for another day). Enter: the music/band fandom fan fics!

Now you see where the cringe is coming in? Oh, not quite.

Now, I loved reading them! My favorite, hands down, was “The Linkins”, which was about Linkin Park. (Gonna throw this in here, I religiously avoided any sultry fan fic/lemons. Blech. Dear gods no. If you wrote, for example, Bennoda (Don’t look it up) I avoided your work like death itself). Fun fact, I still have the printed copies I made of “The Linkins” and I still read them from time to time. Why? Because they’re funny and amazing! No, it wasn’t a perfect book nor was it Great Expectations but, hey, it gives my brain good fuzzies. Any writing is great if it really resonates, in a way. It wasn’t perfect but it didn’t need to be. The story was told in script style and I have zero idea who wrote it. It had fantasy, it had sci-fi – I loved “Amphibiman” – it had quirky, it had silliness. It had the familiar faces and personalities of the men of Linkin Park. Everything I wanted.

Linkin Park is a favorite band of mine. But my most favorite band is Payable On Death, P.O.D., for short.

We’re not at cringetown yet. Still on the highway, watching the exit signs and deer go by.

I wrote small P.O.D. fan fics. I still have them, all in hand-written form. I had a small blog on Xanga (the digital old heads are probably feeling their years now) called “P.O.D. Weekly”, where I would post these short stories, a new one every week. Very few read them and of those few, they were most likely all from the P.O.D. fanbase, called The Warriors.

I kind of fell out of posting because one short story a week was (and is!) tough. Plus, of the remaining works never posted, sat The Glassman. I didn’t want to post that one because even as a 15 year old, I could tell it was a dark work. What if P.O.D. themselves ever came across it? So, it sat and sat in my blue spiralbound for years and years, never even typed. I was that terrified of anyone coming across it. Completely honest, one of my biggest fears back then was Sonny Sandoval, lead vocalist of P.O.D., coming across this journal and reading it. It’s still vivid in my head and still gives me the heebie jeebies.

But what’s the likelihood? I’m in Maryland, they’re in California. The journal never was carried anywhere except to school and home. I never even have gone to a rock concert before at this time, let alone a P.O.D. show, and I definitely had enough sense to not bring it and to not ever mention the existence of this book or story to them ever. Ever.

And no, we are not at the Cringe Stop. Still heading to it.

But I loved the story. What inspired The Glassman was the visuals of the band’s music video for The Matrix “Sleeping Awake” and the song itself.

Song still slaps.

Visuals still slaps.

No one will ever convince me different.

That is all.

Another fun fact, this very music vid was the introduction of me to the existence of the band back at Artscape 2002. I was a fan at first sight, let me tell you. Black bassist doing a cool thing. Check. Cool guy with long dreads doing metaphysical things. Check. Awesome sound. Check. At least 75% of the band is visually Not White. Check. The Matrix. Check. Sci-Fi stuff occurring around PoC. Check. I’m easy to please, what can I say?

I learned everything I could about the band – yep, even when I was 15, I was heavy into researching whatever I like. Like, NSA-level – I think I even finagled a school laptop to get around its firewall so I could watch the “Sleeping Awake” music video again and again. And this was when videos were hard to find. No one-stop shop like now for videos, you had to do a little digging. The videos were grainy, but totally worth it. I think it was on a Yahoo article.

I still remember how I got caught after hours by my Physics teacher using the laptop for non-educational purposes. He found me because he was also using a laptop for non-educational purposes (checking travel tickets, perusing NPR, music sites, the like). Since he caught me doing something I had no business doing and I caught him doing something he had no business doing … we both agreed that this moment never happened and as long as neither one of us looked at 18+ stuff, that’s exactly how it’s gonna stay.

So that all (sans getting caught by my Physics teacher during the Moment That Did Not Happen™) is what fueled the story The Glassman. In the blue wire spiralbound journal, it was about 30+ handwritten pages.

I also once lost the journal. I was so desperate to find it. Those were some nerve-wracking days I still remember. I also remember how I came in early (pre-7:30, before even most of the teachers showed up) and found it sitting plainly on a table in the Philosophy classroom. I screamed when I saw it, I was so happy! A teacher bumbled into the room because A ) They heard a scream B ) it’s not even 7:30, hardly anyone should be in the building C ) It’s Baltimore and they heard a young person scream and it’s not even 7:30 AM, there’s probably a dead body involved. When they saw that no one was dead and I was overcome with joy, they sleepily said “yep, saw it under a chair and wondered who it belonged to. I figured they would have picked it up if they saw it. Keep better track of your things.”

I have kept the journal close to me ever since.

And it sat, for years and years, untouched. I didn’t end the story, it was pretty dark but I didn’t know what to do with it. I didn’t want to post it anywhere – what if P.O.D. saw?

So there the journal sat.

And eventually, I thought, I’m gonna complete The Glassman. I simply loved the plot too much to just let it go. But! Gotta de-fan fictionalize it first. That means make new characters and places wherever I could. Easy for me, I love making characters and ideas, so much fun.

I didn’t want to change the setting, I liked that it was set in Chula Vista. I didn’t mind changing the races a little, Afro-Chicano culture is neat! (No one in P.O.D. is strictly Afro-Latin™. The band is basically Chicano and Black but not with that hyper-exact combination).  I just wanted to make enough changes that The Band That Should Not Read This would not, well, read this. Don’t forget, I still have that mental image of a horribly aghast and disturbed Sonny dancing in my head. I tried to make Amos and Mars not related (in real life, Sonny and drummer Wuv are cousins) but then the story fell apart fast so I kept them related. Either way, I re-wrote the story to what it is today. Some parts I made less bloody & dark (I’m a horror writer, gimme a break1) – want to know how bloody/dark some of the parts got? I was able to move a line and behavior to Miserix, quite a few bits to Kinetics and The Harlequin – especially The Harlequin. Yeap. (as of posting, Miserix and The Harlequin aren’t out yet buuuut it will. Eventually. 2024, bare minimum) – and I reworked everything since also I was an adult and thus could construct a better story. I took bits from the band itself but then reworked them to something newer and more mine. Isaiah is a unique one because P.O.D. had two guitarists in their history, so I just took a super cherry-picked pinch from both, poured in a massive sh*t ton of my own artistic creativity (*cough*made Isaiah bi, gave him silver hair, among other things*cough*). I thought Isaiah was a bit boring but then once I queered him up, he now is the lively guitarist character I know and love. I remember not really wanting to write with him much but once I made him bi, all went smoothly. No one in P.O.D. is any part LGBTQIA. They all rock solid zeros on the Kinsey scale, if not negative numbers. If I wanted queerness in alt-rock at that time, I’d have to find Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance (who I did, a lot. I will interpretative dance MCR’s entire discography, singing the entire time.)  and Against Me!, who is still amazing.

I tried to not worry about The Band That Should Not Read This because, again, they’re in California, I’m in Maryland. This work is still 100% handwritten. What is the likelihood that I would even meet them or even spend enough time with them long enough that they would know I existed outside of “another person who forked out money for our concert ticket”?

Turns out, very.

I not only met them.

I became friends with them.

Everyone, we are officially arriving at CringeTown.

So now, I’m sitting there, with the personal contacts of the band in my phone, just buuuuuuuuuuurning there. My stupefied brain being stupefied and plain stupid. And lo, The Glassman still exists.

My thought: Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh. I just won’t tell them. Literally bulletproof plan. They’re not really bookworms and I’m not really doing anything with the story. Say nothing. They’ll suspect not a thing. Not a single thing.

Trolololo. This was my mental game plan while I re-worked it, re-wrote it, typed it and then shopped it around.

At 12,000 words and with a straight Isaiah, The Glassman was rejected everywhere. I think just about every single time I sent it off – Fiyah, Giganotosaurus, Fireside, etc, etc – it would be kept for a long time and/or make it to the second round and then a “you did a great job, you have a unique take – but we don’t want it”. It got rejected at 12,000 words, it got rejected at 18,000 words. I always would get some version of “we nearly took it, hence why we held onto it for so long – but we ultimately decided we still didn’t want it”. That really just sucked a lot. Honestly, submitting your works to get rejected over and over again is just … so freakin’ pointless, it feels like at this point. Especially when the hole of acceptance is already so pin-prick small for Black writers. It a great way to genuinely dissuade people out of writing.

While working more on the story, I got first readers/beta readers, who told me they liked the story but felt like it could be longer. The readers wanted to see the men of Lumination Rising to go on tour. They wanted to see more.

I usually tell folks when a story is done, it’s done. If they want a longer story, tough tomatoes!

But then, there I was sitting on P.O.D.’s tour bus one night, watching a movie, watching everyone be silly around me after a show, eventually sitting in the later quiet of the deepening night.

I realized there still was some story left for The Glassman. There’s always having a tour, a must for any musical act.2

And lo, thus came Part 2 of The Glassman: The Tour.

When I did the hand edits for The Glassman, it got bigger and bigger. Eventually, 18,000 became 43,000. More story, less straight guitarist, simply better.

I shopped the novella (well, what I thought was a novella, turns out 43k is a novel) to Fireside. Nearly got accepted but fell short on the final round, as I mentioned prior. But it turned out, with Fireside dropping novella contracts without telling people and the massive blunder they did with having a White voice actor do a racist audio version of a Black author’s essay about Outkast, I basically dodged a bullet there.

The entire experience convinced me – among other experiences I had in trying to get my work picked up by others – that I should just put the book out myself. Everyone else is just going to jack it up, keep rejecting me, screw me over or some combo. It didn’t help that when I would show ppl The Glassman, they would say they loved it. But when I showed publishing people The Glassman, they would say in the end “we love it – but nope”.

Oh, right, The Band Who Should Not Read This. I still just went with the “Say nothing” route. I maaaaaaay have tried to mention a smol, v smol glimmer to Sonny, to, y’know, test the waters. His eyes glassed over and I could hear the sound of distant beach noises wafting out his ears as his mind drifted away so that’s a sorta … sign. I also was a nervous wreck so there’s that. He’s a rockstar, not a bookworm – that would be his kiddo, Pint-size3. (Well, Sonny does like books but he’s not the “I want to live in the library” type. You’re thinking of Gerard Way and everyone else in My Chemical Romance)

And now, we’re here. With The Glassman coming out officially. Finally. September 23, 2023 is the date.

Let me say, I am beyond stoked that The Glassman is coming out and all the work that was put into it. From coming up with the idea as a teen to keeping the story well into adulthood to working on it, adding only when necessary and because I felt so, to getting my editor on it, to having a cover made for it, to planning to getting it narrated by an Afro-Chicano or Chicano voice actor. I have been hyped for The Glassman since I started putting out my work myself.

Actually, fun fact: I’m actually using Wuv’s voice, the drummer of P.O.D., as a guide for who I want for a narrator. I find his voice really comforting.4

I worked really, really hard on the story. I still have all written versions of The Glassman: the version I wrote when I was 15 (and will never make it to the internet unless I’m famous and very dead, strictly for archival reasons), the version I wrote in my adulthood, and everything in between. I’m actually very proud of the story. I’m also proud of the omake that I made between The Glassman and Dreamer that I will talk about later when the time comes.5

How I thought of telling the band – since they are my friends and, welp, it doesn’t really make me sound like a great friend if I go the “hey, I wrote a book about you, published it and didn’t tell you about it!” route. For one, they may find that super sneaky. For two, I have a bunch of friends in the music industry, the last I want is that reputation. I don’t want to spend time with, say, Claudio of Coheed and Cambria and he ends it with, “Wow, you’re funny. Also, don’t write a book about me, kthxbye.”

I had no idea I was going to build friendships with people I heard on the radio and grew up idolizing when I was 15! What? I’m just as surprised and befuddled as you are.

So, telling the band. Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. That’s a tricky one.

The thought would weigh on me whenever a new milestone for The Glassman would happen:

Finished the hand-written book – Are you gonna tell them? Nope, it’s just a hand written book.

Typed the hand-written book – Are you gonna tell them? Nope, it’s just a file on my computer.

Submitted it to the first publication – Are you gonna tell them? Nope, it’s probably gonna get rejected a lot

Re-worked the book – Are you gonna tell them? Nope, who knows when it’s coming out

Gave the work to my editor – Are you gonna tell them? Nah, no reason to, it’ll be eons before it shows up. I’ll do it later.

Gave the book a tentative slot date – Are you gonna tell them? That date is really far away. I’ll do it later.

Put the book into book format & e-book format – Are you gonna tell them? Ehhhh, I’ll do it later.

Submitted the book to Copyright – Are you gonna tell them? I probably should … but I’ll wait for the cover mock up to come out. I’ll do it later!

So, yeah. The visual of a mortified Sonny always dances in my head when I think of telling them. I even sometimes used to hyper-ventilate at the thought.

If some of you are thinking, “if it bugs you that much of them knowing, why put out the book?”, you’re not wrong. But I really like the story and want it to be shared. I just have to figure out how to break it to my friends that they were the source material. And since those friends have fame under their names, it doesn’t get easier to tell them – and there’s literally no suggestion I can find on the internet of what to do. Turns out, “telling your favorite music artist you developed a personal friendship with that you wrote a darkly themed book about them and it is soon to come out” is not a very common question on the internet. Not on StackExchange, not on Reddit, not on Quora. Odd.

I wanted to ask my other music friends … but then there’s the whole “hol’ up, you’re writing books about us?” thing that tends to stop the convo.6 It’s one thing when a fan writes a book based on you, there’s always going to be fuzzy-wuzzy facts and stuff. It’s another when you know that person personally. There comes the reasonable worry about how much of that fiction is indeed fiction. For my music friends, I don’t use personal tales as story fodder (I’m not creatively destitute, c’mon. I’m MultiMind, not Perez Hilton). Plus, that’s just, gah, more cringe than I can handle. I didn’t even listen to P.O.D.’s music when I wrote my book, The Glassman. I didn’t want personal memories starting to blip up when I should be focused on writing. Not because they’ll make it into the book but because walking down memory lane is distracting.  So, I have asked other, non-music-industry-adjacent friends … who all have given me unsure shrugs and “Y’know, only this happens to you.”

But I did it. I sent Sonny a long email (unfortunately, I am one chatty Cathy, especially to him. Please feel sorry for him.) the day before my birthday. I didn’t even say it was going to be my birthday the next day, I just blabbed how I felt and sent a digital copy of The Glassman – all the while telling him that he doesn’t have to read the work whatsoever. I also told him of all related works, such as the up-coming and finished omake(ssssss, there’s two lololololool)7. And that, again, he does not have to read them.

Not to mention, I am also obscenely Weird AF™ around him and about him. The book could get turned into a film and I’ll prolly say “There’s gonna be a movie based on the book. You don’t have to see it – but I would love for you to work on it as coordinator and I already have you and yours slated for premiere red-carpet tickets. But you don’t have to look at it whatsoever or do anything with anything at all. I also have a little Glassman sweater for your cat and dog”. I’m still working on my brain, everyone. Again, feel bad for him, lol. 

Pictured: My Personality

Turns out, he was quite fine with it. 15+ years of worry, concern and doubt, completely lifted. And it feels strange. Good strange but strange all the same. I also am glad I did it via text because I was a panicky mess the entire time. If I tried to do it in person, he probably would have thought I was trying to tell him that someone was dying through my hyper-ventilating and pacing. At least in text, I can read what I say and there’s no worried Manic Gerard Way laughter accompanying my words (that Sonny can hear).

Which is what I would have said if I wrote the email like a pro. He basically replied to me, “Is everything ok? I just got this” days later because he had zero idea what the hell I was going on about. Full on Lassie “What happened? Did little Timmy fall down the well?” level confused. He was very kind. I clarified the best my dumb brain could do, and then he went, “It’s fiction, it’s fine”.

How Sonny probably felt when he read my email

I saw him in person when P.O.D. was on tour. I always go to their local shows (because, favorite band and all that) but also to gauge his face upon subject of the book and hand him over a copy of Dreamer. He was cheerful. He hadn’t read The Glassman yet because he preferred physical books (easier on the eyes) but he was fine with the existence of the book. Everyone else in P.O.D. is happy for me (because I hella glossed over the subject of The Glassman and mainly went “Focus on pretty and current book I haz here” (I brought Dreamer)). This is, as of current, a good thing.

Thus, the band now knows about the book. I did indeed entertain the thought (a lot) of keeping my mouth shut to them about the book forever but the universe runs on irony and, I don’t know, perhaps Head from Korn would have suggested to Sonny, “Hey, man, there’s a book out you probably should read. It’s got, like, a dude in a band from Chula Vista who can control glass and stuff. Isn’t that where you’re from?” All Sonny would have to do is glance at the “About the Author” and see “Baltimore”, “cat”, “technology” and know exactly who wrote it. And then I probably would have a brand new text message or email that would make my 15 year old self die in abject horror. Even if it was a cheery selfie of him holding up the book and captioning it with “Look at what I got”. I appreciate his (possibly blind but very much appreciated) supportiveness ;_;

Hey, might as well get in front of the horse and grab it by the reins the best I can instead of getting dragged by it.

Oh, and The Glassman might have gotten rejected by everyone in traditional publishing but it got a MSAC creativity grant that paid me a lot more than a royalty check from any and everywhere I submitted it to ever could. I put that grant money to the cover of my book and the audio version as well as some promotions.

For my other musical buddies – there are no books about you guys (*cough*ThatIamwillingtocurrentlyadmitontheinternetabout*cough*) and I love you muches.

For everyone else – please get ready to pre-order my sci-fi/fantasy roman à clef Galax– oh wait, that’s an eons ways away! Sorry! Mix-ups!

For everyone else – please pre-order The Glassman! Coming out September 23, 2023! Read a sample from the Glassman here

or click the cover to pre-order

1Unless you’re from P.O.D., then please give me mercy ;_; I am of feeble emotion and you know it. Mercy pls.

2If you are in P.O.D., I totally wasn’t taking mental notes of everyone. Totes. I appreciate you all. :3

3 The kid’s name is not actual “Pint-size”, just my mental name for him. He’s sweet and youngest of three, who I basically mentally nickname as “Pint-size”, “mid-Pint”, and “big Pint”.

4 If from P.O.D. or the P.O.D. camp (or a general person) asking “Why not just ask Wuv to narrate since you know him and he literally has a character based off of him and you’re also using his voice as a sound compass?” … Bruh, it already took me a decade and a half to just let the band know the work exists. Nah. Also, Wuv isn’t a voice actor. If it were a plain non-fic work, sure, I would consider but in fiction there are character voices and inflection. And given some of the scenes – especially in the omake(ssss) following behind The Glassman – it’s a super sayan hell no. I’d never live it down, the cringe, the Cringe!

5 If you are from P.O.D., no need to read the omake(ssss). Nothing serious, just y’know. There are, uh,… did you know the internet has cat videos? They’re pretty cool. If you know anyone in P.O.D. personally – or Korn – don’t read it. (If in Korn, Hiiiiiiiiiiiiii! Nothing happens. 200+ pages of blank. Did you also know the internet has cat videos?)

6 If the book sells well: “I want a cut of the royalties!” If the book doesn’t sell well: “How dare you!”

7 Muse made more music that slapped, combined with Flyleaf, who has plenty of music that slaps, and another omake fell out of me. Oopsie-kadoopsie, I suppose

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: