Friday, June 26, 2015

A change-of-pace novel in the works this month

WATKINS GLEN, New York - As Fracking Justice continues to get placed in bookstores, wineries, restaurants - and lots of other Finger Lakes locations - I picked up the draft of a novella I penned back in the 1990s, but never published. It was in a drawer with several other works-in-progress.

I was three chapters into rereading my draft of Jack's Boat when realized it would make a good contrast/project for me to tinker with for the next month or two while I continue my research for Fracking Evil, the third book in the trilogy of fracking novels that started with The Fracking War.

Jack London
I posted a detailed explanation about that novella-soon-to-be novel titled "The challenge of reviving a novel drafted years ago" on this website, LINK: Writing For Money.

For readers of The Fracking War and Fracking Justice, Jack's Boat has nothing to do with Jack Stafford, the columnist/publisher in those novels. The Jack in the title of the novella is late American author Jack London. The boat is one of many that London had in his lifetime living in Oakland, San Francisco and the Sonoma County hills overlooking San Pablo Bay.

Jack London's writing and life had a profound influence on me when I was a teenager. His love of sailing, ocean adventuring, journalism - and writing novels - provided a hazy blueprint for me growing up.

Maybe it still does.

Look for Jack's Boat sometime this fall. And Fracking Evil in the spring of 2016.

Fracking Evil cover concept art. Scary enough?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Lesson learned: Always have a speech ready to go

GROLIER CLUB, 60th St., Manhattan - I should have known better. Really.

After more than 40 years in the news business and attending countless awards ceremonies, dinners, graduations and fetes of every imaginable kind, I know that anyone even remotely connected to the event should have a finely crafted speech in their pocket.

And be ready to give it on the spot.

But for some inexplicable reason (even to myself), I didn't prepare a real speech of any kind for the Green Book Festival awards reception. Nada, zip, zilch.

And for Godsakes, I was an honoree - first place in the General Fiction category.

I can't explain it, exactly. But there was a lesson learned. Oh yes there was...

Mercifully enough, I didn't speak first. I went second. But had I gone, oh, eight people later, I think my short talk would have been a little more, um, coherent? It worked out all right. Several of the audience members even commented that they enjoyed my off-beat sense of humor. Off-beat, that's what they said. And I'm taking it as a complete compliment and running with it as fast as I can.

The award was for The Fracking War (2014), not the just-published Fracking Justice.

General Fiction - the award (and me...)
While I'll take credit for spinning a good yarn in The Fracking War, the credit for landing this first place Green Book Festival honor really goes to Sylvia Fox for tracking down the contest, getting the book entered on time, and then convincing me - after I learned that I had won - to get my author butt down to New York City to collect it.

It was worth every bit of nail-biting NYC traffic.

As I sat and listened to the award winners give their speeches/talks (some very well-organized, others seemed to subscribe to my just-wing-it style), I realized how much I want to get back to drafting the third novel in the fracking trilogy, Fracking Evil.

I am anxious to fire up the novel-writing machine partly to round out the series, but also so I can jump on the next book after that, a book I've had percolating for several years.

More on that book another time. Right now, I need to put together a quick set of talking points for a speech - just in case I'm asked to give one on short notice.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

An afternoon listening about government corruption

ITHACA, New York - An early summer Saturday afternoon lecture on corruption in government is usually as deadly as, well, an early summer Saturday afternoon lecture on corruption in government.

Me, Fracking Justice and Zephyr Teachout
Except when the lecture/talk is given by Zephyr Rain Teachout, a gubernatorial candidate who took on incumbent NY Gov. Mario Cuomo in the the primary election last year.

In that race she was honest, refreshing, and pulled an amazing number of votes against a candidate tied to big money and big politics.

She is still as honest and refreshing as she was.

And now her message is the same, thumping on the need for good, non-corrupt government. And she is likely to run for office again. And maybe soon.

My conversation with her was short - it was midway between her talk and a reception with the Tompkins County (NY) Democrats. But she answered every question more straightforward than most politicos would have.

And because she is not in public office, she was happy to accept a copy of Fracking Justice.

If I get lucky, she will like the book and write a review. If I get really lucky, it will be a favorable review!

Friday, June 12, 2015

A blog to accompany my 'official' author's page

WATKINS GLEN, New York - My official author's website, gets updated often. But because it's a tad more complicated to make changes (as in complicated for me), I'll be using this page also for timely book and book-related issues, environmental stuff - and some politics.

Oh yeah! Some politics!

There will be direct link from the author's page to here. This page will also be listed on Captain's Blog, Writing For Money, From Where I Sit and The Class of '66.

It's been a somewhat wild and crazy few weeks. Fracking Justice launched with a fabulous launch party at the Hector Wine Company in Hector, NY. Three days later I was giving a talk in Washington, D.C. at The Green Festival titled Fracking Fiction: You Can't Make This Stuff Up. And then Thursday I learned The Fracking War had won first place for general fiction in The Green Book Festival's annual competition.

Can a fracking movie be far behind?

Fracking Justice has been getting excellent reviews with promises of more to come. And my editor, promotions manager, speech coach (And spouse!), Sylvia, has been working like crazy to keep all the plates spinning that she has set in motion. And just when she catches up, she puts another plate up there and sets it whirling. Amazing, she is. Amazing.

We hope to get a calendar of events, speaking engagements, book signings and whatever else up on the author's website soon. But there is one on this page, too - kind of tiny affair (for now) in the upper right-hand corner, inspired by a friend who has an entire website devoted to her travels called "Where's Cherie?"

Thanks to everyone for their support of both Fracking Justice and its older brother (just by a year!) The Fracking War.

OH! That's what I should have mentioned earlier. The audio book of The Fracking War is now up on for purchase.

That means I will be calling on amigo Scott Adams very soon to record me reading Fracking Justice for an audiobook of that novel, too.

Somewhere in all this, I hope to start drafting the third book in the trilogy, tentatively named Fracking Evil.

Gives me chills to think about it.

Giving copies of Fracking Justice to the Reading, NY town board