What I’m Writing in Spring 2017

It may not feel like it, but spring is here! What are your plans?

Here’s what I’m up to.  I’m writing a comedy screenplay about a spokesman for a dystopian government. I call it Utopia PR. I’ve got the plot outlined and have written about 35 pages. That means I’m about a third of the way through (think of each screenplay page like a minute of a movie). I’m hoping to finish the script over the next couple months and enter it into a contest or two. It’s been a lot of fun to let loose and have a laugh, especially given the current state of the world.

As for my third novel, The Wanderer and the New West, I’m afraid there’s not a lot new to say. The search for a literary agent continues. I’ve received definite interest but I’m waiting to hear more. I really can’t wait to get the book into your hands! I’m hoping to decide in the next few months whether to take matters into my own hands and self-publish, as I did with my previous novels.

Speaking of which, happy to report that sales have been up on We, The Watched and Divided We Fall, especially since the presidential election! Seems that ads about dystopian governments are getting clicks these days. You may have seen that sales of George Orwell’s 1984 are way up, too, so maybe my books are getting some kind of Orwellian bump. Thanks, George!

George Orwell, presumably giving We, The Watch free advertising.
George Orwell, presumably giving We, The Watched free advertising. Photo Credit: BBC

Books about war, writing and rapture — reviewed

What, you think writers are just writing all the time? No, we read, too! And, you know … have a life outside of books … but that’s not the point I was getting at.

If you like my novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall, you’ll really dig my first two selections — The Leftovers and Homage to Catalonia. The latter is actually a journalistic account by the great George Orwell about his true experiences during the Spanish Civil War. My third pick, City of Thieves, is another war story — this one about the siege of Leningrad during World War II — but what makes it clever is that it’s also a coming of age story. Finally, for the writers out there, I’ve reviewed Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury, a huge influence and inspiration for me.

And now, without further adieu….

Adam’s Book Reviews

The LeftoversThe Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love stories that start with a fantastical or sci-fi premise and then take a realistic look at what would happen in the real world. That’s exactly what happens in The Leftovers. There is a rapture, but a seemingly random one with nothing to do with religion, and we see what the people in a suburban community do next.

If you’re expecting a grand sci-fi plot with an explanation for what happened, this book’s not for you. It’s more about the people and how they deal with losing people they loved. While that might sound sad, there’s actually a lot of humor that comes from the absurdity of the situation and the way people have responded.

Perrotta’s clear, humorous writing style adds to the fun. It’s effortless to read and hard to put down.

 

Homage to CataloniaHomage to Catalonia by George Orwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Did you know George Orwell fought in the Spanish Civil War? Like a lot of people, I only really knew Orwell for 1984 and Animal Farm. Reading this account of the author’s experience fighting Franco and fascism offers great context for other works while also illuminating all the confusion and propaganda from this 20th Century war. Orwell writes in an accessible way, effectively conveying his own outrage at the events of the war but also his fondness for the Spaniards. Worth a read for all Orwell fans and war history buffs.

 

City of ThievesCity of Thieves by David Benioff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A coming of age set during the siege of Leningrad, City of Thieves deftly mixes humor, teen angst and the horrors of World War II. The prose moves along briskly, making for a quick read that never drags. It’s also a true story, making the tale all the more poignant.

I also really liked the characters and felt emotionally involved with their highs and lows. The descriptions of the dead and the desperate are tragic, and the brutal actions of the Nazis are truly horrifying.

Looking forward to reading more by this exciting new author.

 

Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on CreativityZen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity by Ray Bradbury
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This excellent collection of essays about writing by the great Ray Bradbury should be essential reading for any writer. This book is not about grammar or stylistic techniques. It is about finding focus and setting the right conditions to allow the writer inside to come out and show what he or she is made of!

The final essay, for which the book is named, is worth the price of admission alone. Bradbury makes the case for writers to stop thinking about commercial or critical success. Instead, he argues that writers should relax and write honestly.

There are also a few essays that give insights to Bradbury’s most famous novels, including Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles. These I had read before, as they were included as forewords in those novels. Even so, it’s nice to have them in a single collection.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I should get back to my writing!

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New Cover for We, The Watched

Just a quick update to say that I’ve just redone the cover for my dystopian novel: We, The Watched.

www.wethewatched.com
New cover! Click to see it big and in all its glory.

The idea behind the redesign was to make it a bit more obvious what my book is about. They say not to judge a book by its cover, but most people do. I think the new look says exactly what to expect in We, The Watched. Please tell me what you think in the comments below.

By the way, if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, the book is on sale for the entire month of July during the Smashwords summer/winter sale. You can pick up the entire tale about struggling to conform in a surveillance society for just USD $1.50! That’s half off the regular price.

Click here to enter the sale. Just use the coupon code SSW50 at checkout to get the discount.