C. James Bye is the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of Knee-Jerk Magazine and co-editor, with his wife, of the anthology, The Way We Sleep (Curbside Splendor). He previously wrote for Milwaukee's Shepherd Express and was a staff writer at the now defunct Undercurrents section of Milwaukee's Riverwest Currents. He received an MFA in Writing from Columbia College Chicago. His music has been praised by best-selling author, Warren Ellis, and featured in the Chicago Shakespeare Company's 2011 production of en route. You can enjoy all sorts of lo-fi, four-track and electronic recordings at stirupyourgreymatter.bandcamp.com.
More Like a Siren, Less Like a Bell is a 73,000-word novel set in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Beginning in 1978 and ending in the days following the arrest of Jeffrey Dahmer, the story follows Loretta as she navigates relationships that inform her fears and occasionally offer her support. She idolizes her father as much as she does Superman, until he’s fired for an act Loretta can’t even comprehend. Her partner in crime and noise-rock bandmate, Elliott, sneaks her beers when she works solo shifts at the film supply store. His grandmother jumps in puddles with Loretta and teaches her how to draw. Loretta’s artistic rival, Jenny, only paints the most realistic swans, which everyone seems to love, no matter how boring they are. Kieran, Loretta’s boyfriend, literally believes God has given him carte blanche to sleep with as many girls as possible, while Caleb, Kieran’s replacement, makes Loretta packages of mix-tapes and Toblerone, but is too kind for her to think she deserves him. With her security blanket, Elliott, ready to graduate college and move to Chicago, Loretta must decide if her fear of failing will keep her from a rewarding life. A nostalgia-junky, Loretta stuffs her book collection full of her own comic strips, homework assignments, study hall notes, and other sentimental ephemera, which also appear throughout the novel.
C. James is currently seeking representation for More Like a Siren, Less Like a Bell as he begins work on a second novel that features time dilation, a talking cat, a nudist colony, and an alien computer that talks like John Malkovich and wants to rule the U.S., tentatively titled Amerigo Round, as well as the script for a graphic novel re-imagining of part of the Arthurian Legend (the sexy, love triangle part) featuring teenagers and called The Vulgar Cycle. Maybe one day you can read them. In the meantime, if you see him, he'll be happy to talk your ear off about Buffy, Batman comics, Saturday Night Live, and especially (oh so especially) King Crimson.