A Voice from the Chasm

Hello, everyone—or at least everyone who’s reading this.  I hope you’re all doing well and having a wonderful Spring.  It’s been hot and muggy here lately, even for south Florida, but then again, warm weather is the reason I moved here.  I have no right, nor deep desire, to complain.

All right, enough pointless chit-chat.

I’m sorry that I haven’t posted anything in a while.  I’ve been very busy working on the rewriting and editing of “The Chasm and the Collision,” and that’s quite a task; it’s a long book.  Prior to editing, it weighed in at a quarter of a million words, so the tweaking process is a laborious one, albeit a labor of love.  I’m very excited about the novel, of course.  I think it’s a good story, full of mystery, friendship, adventure, discovery, wonder, and—most especially—danger.

I also, of course, have not yet been able to quit my proverbial day job, so I do a great deal of my writing and editing on the train during my commute, and sometimes at lunch time and at lag times at the office.  This places some inevitable limits on my output.

But I don’t like going for so long without having written on my blog.  For one thing, on a purely mercenary and commercial level, to keep people interested in what one has to say, one has to keep saying things.  That in itself is not an adequate reason to write, however.  A vastly more important consideration is the fact that I do, in fact, have a great deal to say.  My cell phone’s memo app contains a list of a few dozen article ideas that rage to be released, and one cannot forever keep an untamed idea in captivity, lest one kill its spirit.

So, I’ve decided to designate Thursdays as my day for writing non-fiction.  There are many topics—political philosophy, science, creativity, art, popular culture, and even spirituality, to name a few—on which I have thoughts that I’d like to explore.  Therefore, henceforth, on those days on which we all pay our respects to the god of thunder, I will take a break from writing fiction and devote myself to producing blog articles such as this one.

This doesn’t mean I’m necessarily going to release these articles on Thursdays specifically, or every Thursday.  Though I tend to write quickly, I don’t know that I can do justice to all the topics I have in mind, and to whatever others continue to pop up, in one day of a week.  Nevertheless, I will do my best to keep my output asymptotically close to that idealized mean.  I suppose it’s just possible that, if the fit strikes me and I simply cannot control an article that forces itself to be written, I may even come out with more than one in the occasional seven-day period.

Those of you who anticipate my next book with bated breath need not fear, however!  The rest of my week will continue to be devoted to my first and greatest love:  writing fiction.  In fiction, we are given the chance to experience the world through the lives and minds of others, albeit imaginary others.  This is not only one of the most wonderful sources of joy humans have ever created, it also allows us to practice seeing the world from others’ points of view.  This skill, or habit, or whatever one might call it, is crucial for helping us get along with our fellow humans, with some of which we will inevitably have differences.  Especially in the fractured political climate of present day America, this seems to me to be an ability we could all stand to enhance, myself included.

Einstein is quoted as saying that imagination is more important than knowledge.  Despite the apparent implicit assumption behind many Facebook memes, just because some famous person—even some famously very smart person—said something doesn’t make it correct, or even sensible.  In this case, however, I think the words are true (though knowledge is certainly crucial as well).  The human imagination is not only our first and greatest virtual reality device; it is also a remarkable virtual laboratory, in which we can experiment with actions, as well as with ideas and points of view, some of them different from whatever might have occurred to us previously.  To read what another person has written is to have them thinking inside our heads.  It’s truly remarkable if you stop and ponder it, and something most of us take for granted, yet it’s something that, as far as we know, only humans can do.  It is a tremendous, perhaps the primary, source of our power…and it is also, I think, one of the most important tools to keep us from abusing that power.  And fiction is perhaps the most potent rough-hewer of that tool.

Perhaps more crucially, though, it is simply a wonderful and mostly harmless joy.  And a life without joy is, I think, worse than no life at all.

I look forward to writing more and to receiving any feedback you might wish to give me.  I’m on Facebook and on Twitter (the former more than the latter), but I would especially love to read your responses in the comment section below, after any article that strikes you as interesting, provokes thought (or outrage), or in which you disagree with me and want to point out why.

In the meantime, and as almost always, I wish you all well.

TTFN

The Chasm and the Collision is now underway!

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It is with great personal pride – and some degree of amazement – that I hereby announce that I have finally finished (minus a few tidbits here and there) the rewriting of the 676 handwritten pages of “The Chasm and the Collision.”  It turns out to be about 240,000 words long.  That’s a lot of chicken scratching!  It’s the second of the novels I wrote while in Florida State Prison (West Unit), and is certainly my longest novel so far.  Itt still will be, even after I trim it down during the upcoming editing (which is going to be no mean task).  So look forward to a story with some meat on its bones.

I’m thoroughly excited about this.  Even more than all the other books I’ve written, this was a labor of love, dedicated to and inspired by my kids.  They were in middle school, or near middle school, when I started writing it, and the main characters of the story are middle school students.  Of course, now my kids are both in high school, but hopefully they’ll still appreciate the story.  Actually, it’s probably a book that’s better for young adults and adults, anyway.  It’s long, obviously, but that’s a well-precedented fact for fantasy adventures.  It is also, at times, somewhat dark (as are all my stories, though by no means is it too dark for the average reader…anyone who can tolerate Harry Potter will certainly not be put off).  It does, however, have not one single instance of profanity, despite several occasions in which it would certainly be called for and excusable for the characters.  Now that took restraint on my part, as anyone who’s read my other works would know.  It was, however, the recommendation of my late father, and it was a good one.

Of course, I will be delivering further bulletins as events warrant (though why bulletins need their livers removed I don’t know), and I will take the time to post some of my musings and meanderings on unrelated subjects when I need a break.

TTFN!

All My Published Books Are Now In Paperback

Okay, well, at long last I am pleased to announce that all three of my published books are now available in paperback on Amazon.

You can find Son of Man here:

Son of man icon

you can find Welcome to Paradox City here:

Welcome to Paradox City Icon

and You can find Mark Red here:

Mark Red Cover

They’re also of course is still available for Kindle.  I’m a big fan of Kindle, but I have to admit that there’s something rather special about having my books out in paperback now.  As always half of my royalties will be given to literacy charities such as RIF, but don’t let that influence your decision to purchase them.

(Wink, wink.)

I am now proceeding full steam with the rewriting and subsequent editing of The Chasm and the Collision, and hopefully within the next few months or so it will be available for purchase as well. It’s a rather long book, so formatting it is going to be interesting.  It’s probably going to be in a bigger volume format, like Mark Red.  It also has not a single instance of profanity it the entire book, which is rather unusual for my work. So it’s kid friendly and family approved

This is literally true; it was my father who suggested to make sure to leave profanity out of this one.

I’ll give you further bulletins as the writing and the editing continues on The Chasm and the Collision, and of course I’ll be posting other random thoughts as they occur to me, so keep your eyes open.

TTFN!

“Mark Red” is now in paperback!

Well, I’m as happy as a pig in…well, in a loving and caring home, I guess, to be able to inform you all that “Mark Red” is now available in paperback as well as in the Kindle edition!  You can buy it from Amazon here:

Mark Red Cover

(Please note, if you use this link, a percentage of the sale will go to RIF, Reading is Fundamental.  This is in addition to my ongoing commitment to donate half my royalties to that or similar literacy charities.)

Now that “Mark Red” is out there in paperback, we are in the process of re-formatting “Welcome to Paradox City” as well, and it should be the next title available in physical print form, followed shortly thereafter by “Son of Man.”  After that, all attention will be given to the completion of the rewriting and editing of “The Chasm and the Collision,” followed by its publication both in Kindle and Paperback editions.

This is obviously a great milestone for me simply on a personal level, but I’m also happy to be able to provide good stories for people to read.  (Of course, I would think they’re good…I wrote them after all.)

Continuing that trend of blatant egotism – and no one has ever accused me of having a diminutive ego – I wanted to let you know that anyone who has purchased any of my paperbacks, and who is going to be in South Florida, should feel free to seek me out, and I would be delighted to autograph your copy.  Who knows, it might be worth a lot of money, someday.

Even though this is all quite invigorating – and it is – I must say that it will be wonderful when I can finally get fully back to work on “Unanimity,” which is my newest work.  Watch for its coming, and be warned; it’s a very dark story.  I like dark stories.

I shall be posting further updates as events warrant, and I’ll also try to throw in the occasional posting of my thoughts on various political, social, and scientific matters as well, just to keep things from being dull.  Do be on the lookout.  In the meantime, as Stephen Fry might say, be wonderful to one another.

And leave the lights on.

TTFN!

Some (Minor) Publication Updates

Hello all!

This is just a little FYI posting.  First of all, the formatting of “Mark Red” continues, and once that’s done, it will be available in paperback.  After that will follow “Son of Man” and “Welcome to Paradox City.”

In the meantime, the rewrite of “The Chasm and the Collision” can now continue…and so it will.  With that in mind, I will shortly un-publish the serialized early chapters of that book, so if you want to get those, now is the time.  If you want to wait for the full novel, though, I don’t blame you, and I give you my personal promise that you won’t be disappointed.  Seriously.  I’m very excited, it’s one of my favorite stories ever (and there’s not a single instance of profanity in the whole thing, so it’s safe for the whole family).

I’ll let you all know as everything becomes available.

TTFN!

“Mark Red” is now available on Kindle!

Okay, everyone, good news!  At long last, “Mark Red” – the complete novel – is available for purchase through Amazon Kindle, here.

In addition, we are currently formatting “Mark Red” for the paperback edition, which will soon be available as well.  It will probably be somewhat more expensive in paperback, but you will also have the option of buying both formats together for a discount, so keep you eyes open.  (You’ll also, in principle, be able to get it autographed by the author, so that’s something to keep in mind!)

In addition, we will soon be formatting both “Son of Man” and “Welcome to Paradox City” for paperback as well, and these too will be available for purchase, with the same deal as listed above.

Keep your eyes open.  If you like modern vampire stories, check out “Mark Red.”  And remember, 50% of royalties go to literacy charities!

TTFN

“Mark Red” is Complete

Okay, just a brief announcement:  I have, at long last, finished the editing of “Mark Red.”  Now, I think it’s a true statement that no work of fiction – be it film, script, novel, short story, poem, or song – is ever completed and perfect.  Its creator simply reaches the point where he or she is satisfied with releasing it to the public, warts and all.  Many cringes undoubtedly follow for nearly every creator…or perhaps I’m just projecting.

Anyway, since “Mark Red” was written more or less entirely while I was an invited guest of the Florida State DOC, and the first novel I’d written in a very long time – and was, of necessity, handwritten – there was a great deal of work to be done to get it ready.  This is part of the reason why “Son of Man” and “Welcome to Paradox City,” as well as my two short stories on this blog, though written after, were released before “Mark Red.”  I’m sure it’s still far from perfect, but I do like it a lot…and I especially love the character Morgan.  I’m very proud of her!

If you want to find out who Morgan is, and who Mark is, and who all the rest of the characters are…well, the book will be available shortly.  I hope to take advantage of Kindle’s new “paperback” option and make it available in hard copy for people who prefer that format, but it will almost certainly be more expensive that way.  On the other hand, if you were so inclined, you could get a paperback autographed by the author (me).  Some day that might even be worth something.

In any case, I’ll let you know when the book is available.  Even if none of you are excited about it, I am, and that’s good enough for the moment.

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Mark Red

TTFN!