Donald Trump and Thinks Out Loud

While Donald Trump is not a character in Thinks Out Loud, some of the bloggers in the book do make references to him circa 2011, when the story takes place. An aside: The predecessor to the novel was an actual blog called Thinking Out Loud, postings of what I hoped at the time were of a humorous nature. The novel grew out of those postings, some of which were recycled in varying degrees with modifications of form and content. I worked on the book in earnest, as opposed to unearnest, in 2013 to 2014. Then the book went into an advanced editing/publication stage, finally appearing in July 2017 (after Trump took office). Since the book was essentially written before the 2016 election, those references to Trump were all created when he was starting to make his presidential aspirations known but while no one was taking him seriously.

On page 18, for example, the blogger tallboy actually does a short satirical posting featuring an abrasive Trump demanding to see Obama’s third-grade transcript, his dental records, and a list of his iTunes downloads.

On page 78, tallboy conjectures that Trump could accidentally fire himself from The Apprentice.

As I said, back in 2011, Trump wasn’t being taken seriously by the press, Democrats, and Republicans with presidential dreams. I can’t even say these short references to him in the early parts of the book serve as foreshadowing because he’s not mentioned later on. The only loose connection I can come up with is that one of the book’s themes is about control: the desire for control and what that desire can cause a person to do. Given that perspective, then Trump’s appearance in the book can be considered inadvertently prophetic.

SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT THE BOOK AND AMAZON: If you order Thinks Out Loud from Amazon Prime, you will be receiving an older version that is out of date and whose printing is lighter than the current edition. If on Amazon, order from the Thinks Out Loud option which will be the newer better print version. You can also order the newer version directly from the publisher via this website,,  or from your local bookstore, which will either have the book in stock or available via a quick special order from Ingram, the wholesaler. 

Thinks Out Loud, a Blog at First
by Martin Perlman

In Addition to the Story, There's. . .

While not encyclopedic in nature (Think Moby Dick, Ulysses, Seven Eves), Thinks Out Loud does contain some sections, not exactly asides, but somewhat self-contained moments that go beyond the 'essential' elements of the story. Still, that's not exactly what I mean. These portions, often within the novel's blog postings, run the gamut of industrial yoga, new Barbie roles, Trumpisms, updates on the royal family (or a branch of), South Seas fauna and flora, high-tech hiring techniques, high-energy particle physics.

What I am trying to say is that so-called non-plot segments only seem to be unrelated to the story at hand, but in their own way they either illustrate themes, reflect back on the person writing that blog posting, or come to have an impact in the characters' experiences later in the story. While the 'detours' might seem irrelevant or inconsequential, they are part and parcel of the book. Taking them out would reduce the novel to its bare bones, or even just a part of its bare bones. As a bonus, these flights of fancy are some of the funniest (in the author's subjective opinion) creations in the book.

More at:

SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT THE BOOK AND AMAZON: If you order Thinks Out Loud from Amazon Prime, you will be receiving an older version that is out of date and whose printing is lighter than the current edition. If on Amazon, order from the Thinks Out Loud option which will be the newer better print version. You can also order the newer version directly from the publisher via this website,,  or from your local bookstore, which will either have the book in stock or available via a quick special order from Ingram, the wholesaler. 



Carried by a breeze: Books take on a life of their own

It happens to paintings, music, film and books. Once the artistic creation is completed and sold in its various ways, the entity takes on a life of its own, independent of the creator's original intent or goal. In the case of novels, the book is read and digested and oftentimes interpreted and experienced in ways an author might be surprised by. In essence, the book becomes detached from the writer and can even be carried away by unseen currents to land in unexpected places.

Reactions to the book can be affected by trends in society, unexpected turns of events in the political, social and artistic worlds. Concepts the author never explicitly considered can suddenly become the lense through which the book is seen and even judged. And all of this is magnified if the author is writing a satire, which adds a layer of interpretation that is sometimes understood yet often is not perceived by the reader who traverses the work with a different frame of reference. From the writer's point of view, the off-course reader fails to see and appreciate the actual meaning the author attempted to convey. Readers, however, are bringing their own point of views, life experiences and perspectives to bear--with the potential of different reactions and interpretations.

In the case of Thinks Out Loud, I, the author, created a style, tone, and characterization clearly conveying a satirical take on the high-tech world, one that seems to be more and more accurate with each passing day. Or did I? A reader might experience the book in a different and unexpected manner. Satire? No way. It's a vitreous attack on the high-tech world! No, it's actually a tragedy of a romantic hero who tried to reach a higher level of existence. Etc. 

No matter how it's being interpreted, Thinks Out Loud is now aloft, drifting along on currents, landing in unexpected places and being experienced in unique ways. All beyond the 'control' of the author. What all this means is that the reader completes the artistic, creative cycle. And that is a valuable and essential role, for if a book falls in a forest and no one is around to hear, does it make a sound? 

SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT THE BOOK AND AMAZON: If you order Thinks Out Loud from Amazon Prime, you will be receiving an older version that is out of date and whose printing is lighter than the current edition. If on Amazon, order from the Thinks Out Loud option which will be the newer better print version. You can also order the newer version directly from the publisher via this website,,  or from your local bookstore, which will either have the book in stock or available via a quick special order from Ingram, the wholesaler. 


Meet Prime Mover, Real or Imagined

People have been asking if Prime Mover, the mysterious CEO of Altasystemics, is based on a real-world, high-tech mastermind, the kind who is purportedly trying to save the world or at least make it a better place. Good question. 

One commentator compared the book's antagonist to the man behind the world's largest e-commerce juggernaut. Others are seeing parallels, given recent appearances before Congress, of a certain head of a very large information-gathering organization. Or is the magnetic, high-tech entrepreneur in Thinks Out Loud purely a fictional character in a fictional book?

Looked at from another angle, does he have certain traits in common with today's high-tech leaders? Does he make broad but appealing promises about improving the human condition through technology and the application of forward-thinking paradigms? Is Prime Mover misunderstood by those who would try and stop him from reaching his goals?

To complicate matters, there is the allure of power, a seemingly irresistible attraction that pulls people into the orbit of the visionary Prime Mover. Join with him, he says, and help reshape the world for the better. Challenge Prime Mover and be prepared to face his corporate attorneys, public relations teams and marketing machine. 

Prime Mover, real or imaged--you decide. 

SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT THE BOOK: If you order Thinks Out Loud from Amazon Prime, you will be receiving an older version that is out of date and whose printing is lighter than the current edition. If on Amazon, order from the Thinks Out Loud option which will be the newer version that is a decidedly better print version. You can also order the newer version directly from the publisher via this website or from your local bookstore, which will either have the book in stock or available via a quick special order from Ingram, the wholesaler. 




A Writer's Best Book

I've been thinking about writers and the books they write. Right now, I'm reading Amor Towles' Rules of Civility, a best seller set in the late 1930s, coolly written, featuring a witty young narrator trying to figure her way around the New York of pre-World War II. It's a good read. Fun. Spunky. Evocative. But. . .it's not the same experience as reading Towles' oh-so-smart A Gentleman in Moscow, which is enjoyable on multiple levels of story, understory, sentence craft and character revelation. Gentleman: Great. Rules: Pretty good. And that's okay. For I'm thinking, how many writers write a great book? A few. And how many writers write another great book? Fewer than few.

A quick trip up and around my book shelves reveals some great titles--Wharton's Age of Innocence, Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, Woolf's To the Lighthouse, Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. Great reads. And all these novelists wrote more, some much more. But did they ever knock  it out of the park again? Did Wolfe ever achieve another Look Homeward Angel? Did Bellow ever equal Herzog? (And, believe me, I have enjoyed the other works of many of these authors, but not quite as much as the works I'm mentioning.) Think Pynchon and Gravity's Rainbow. Think Melville and Moby Dick. Even Erica Jong had her Fear of Flying (haven't read it).

Jane Austen aficionados would probably vote for. . .well, let's hear your choice. . . 

And now I cast the mirror at myself. Thinks Out Loud is my debut (first) novel. People have been saying some kind things about it. Standing so close to the words, I have a hard time being objective. I think it's unique. Unconventional. Diverting. Is it my 'great' book? (Not 'great' in relation to Literature, but 'great' or the best I am capable of. Pause. I'm working on a second novel, set in the early 1970s of post-love-in Berkeley, a coming of age story of a young man caught in the backwash of the late 1960s. Will my second book be 'greater'  (better) than my first? (Big multi-level question that also makes the assumption the first one has some merit.) 

Well, we (writers) can keep swinging for the fences, can't we?


Moby Dick.jpg

A little fun on YouTube plus an important update

Partly for fun but also for marketing purposes, I made a short video introducing Thinks Out Loud. Nothing fancy. Just me talking about the book for a minute and a half. Here's the link.

Now for the important update. Between printings, the publisher fixed some typos from the first printing. And we also found a printer that is providing an edition that features a darker, more legible text. Two improvements in one!  And given those new features, if anyone who bought a book from the first printing wants a cleaner copy from the new printing, the publisher will send it your way. All you have to do is pay for posting and handling at $5.00. 

Contact us via this website or my email, 



Is Your Book For Real?

Some readers have been asking questions, such as, "Are parts of Thinks Out Loud real? Are the bloggers in the book based on actual bloggers?  Is there really a start-up like AltaSystemics where a crafty CEO is out to amass vast power and control over society? Is there really an island in the South Pacific like Tiaré (Flower) where the islanders strive to maintain their way of life against the onslaught of modernity? 

Authors tend to pull back from answering such questions. We like to say, "It's fiction. It's all imagined. If the people and places feel 'real,' then we have succeeded to some degree in our story-telling ways." In addition, I would add that all of a writer's experiences, internal and external, are fair game for import and transition/translation/transcendence into a work of fiction. 

The key to it all is imagination (plus some rewriting and editing). 



What Others Are Saying

I'm going to step to the side and let others have a word:

Intriguing! -- Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times Art Critic

Opening Perlman's book is like opening an exquisite package of potato chips. You think you'll only eat a few and then end up devouring the entire bag. It's so much fun ping-ponging from fog-bound Seattle to Polynesia, all without ever leaving the digital confines of Isaac's blog.--Bestselling author (Nam) Mark Baker

Perlman uproariously skewers start-up culture in a novel that will strike true to a Seattleite. This form-breaking novel is written in blog format, hence the subtitle, and even features a villainous CEO who, some may argue, bears a resemblance to Jeff Bezos."
--Review by Third Place Books, Ravenna Store, August 24, 2017


Author Reading in a True Neighborhood Bookstore

On Thursday, Sept. 7, I had the opportunity to do a reading at Ravenna Third Place Books, the epitome of a neighborhood bookstore. The operative words here include warm, welcoming and cozy. There is no guarantee of how many folks will show up to hear a writer stand in front of them and try and bring a book to life through reading aloud. But friends and the curious did walk through the door to join me in what I hoped was a fun and entertaining hour. I know that I have always enjoyed hearing authors read from their works. . .their intonation, pacing, and emphasis provide that 'live' dimension to the reading experience.

For me, the best part of the presentation is the question/answer period after the reading. "Did the characters come to you fully fleshed out or did they grow and develop?"  Me: Developed. "Since the book's information is all conveyed by the postings of the characters, are there aspects of the characters that we don't directly know about but can infer from what they don't say?" Me: Yes. Perhaps more evident on a second ready. "How much planning did you do before writing the first draft? Me: The basic, larger elements. The details (including plot shifts, new characters and some other surprises) surfaced along the way.

I again want to thank the professional and dedicated and friendly staff from Third Place Books for creating a terrific venue for book readings. And also a great place to have Thinks Out Loud (signed) right on the book shelf for anyone seeking an entertaining and slightly different kind of reading experience.


Malvern Books Is a Wonderful Store for Indie Publishers

Malvern Books in the heart of Austin carries some of the most interesting and special books being published today--all by small presses and independent publishers. Most bookstores make most of their profit from the best sellers table, books by name authors coupled with back listings of earlier commercial success. But a store such as Malvern gives its limited space to the books and authors who don't make the New York Times bestseller list but would make a list for quality, thought-provoking writing. The store features writers who are willing to take chances, to experiment, to provide a different perspective, a challenging vision.

That being said, the bookstore hosted me on Sunday afternoon for a reading and discussion of Thinks Out Loud. As a writer from out of state, I was nervous about being seen as an outsider, but the staff was warm and welcoming and the audience attentive (and who also asked sharp questions). I couldn't help buying a bunch of books while I was there!


Malvern Books Reading Aug 2017.JPG

Writer as Promoter: Wanna buy a book?

These days (and probably in those days) writers of newly published books become marketers of those newly published books. So, for the past month, since the release of Thinks Out Loud, that's what I've been doing. It's fun, at least for me, although I'm not clear on the line between informing and pestering potential customers. I know that messages in today's crowded promotional world need to be received multiple times to even begin to penetrate a potential customer's consciousness. So I try I variety of approaches. Facebook, LinkedIn, Media Releases, Personal Contact, Goodreads, Sky Writing. And I pretend mine is the only new book out: Mind over Matter. If I thought the book dull, trite and unentertaining, I would not put out the effort. But early readers are telling me it's wry, funny, entertaining, and even emotionally moving in some sections. Wow.

I'm also excited to be doing the next reading in Austin, Texas. My wife and I are dropping our daughter off at college--the BFA program in Theater at Texas State University in San Marcos outside Austin. Malvern Books, which is supportive of indie press/indie writers, will host me on August. 20. If you are near or around Austin, here is a link to the promotion (back to that again) on their site:

That's it for the moment. Need to get back to marketing.

From the University Bookstore reading, Seattle, July 21, 2017

From the University Bookstore reading, Seattle, July 21, 2017

Hello, Queen Anne: First Book Reading

Would people show up? If they did, would they stay through the reading? Would they ask questions?

Yes, yes, and yes.

It was terrific to have friends and neighbors turn out for the reading and book signing at the Queen Anne Book Company on a balmy Thursday night. The bookstore has an outdoor patio which made for an intimate reading space. The staff also did a remarkable job of creating a welcoming atmosphere with a fun book display inside (including leis) and outside a cheese, cracker and wine station that converted into the book signing area after the reading.

Tegan gave an embarrassingly nice intro. Before reading excerpts, I offered a quick ‘how-the-book-came-into- being’ summary. The sections I chose were from the earlier part of the book and, I hoped, would kindle some curiosity about the novel as a whole.

The audience asked probing questions about character development, the level of pre-planning, amount of time spent writing and editing. Since some of the original real blog postings have survived in altered form in the final book version, an audience member wanted to know if any comments made by people reading those postings were in the book.  “A few are,” I said, somewhat cryptically.

 The neighbor who lives opposite my house on Queen Anne brought her two young sons, who sat in the front row. One of them, Elliott, age 10, asked the question about how long it took to write the book. At the signing segment, he brought his family’s copy forward. I autographed the book and thanked him for coming. I would rate the book at PG-13. He’s younger than that, but he was genuinely interested in the reading and seemed eager to have the book.

A couple of days later I was saying hi to Kim, Elliott’s mom, as we emerged from our houses on a sunny July Sunday. She told me her son was reading the book. I was impressed. “He said he had come across one swear word.” True, I said, but used within context. Then she said, “Elliott says it’s like having the internet inside a book.” That made me stand up straight. Yes, Elliott had gone to the core of the book’s essence.  

Next up: A reading at (UW) University Book Store, Friday, July 21, 7 p.m.

See the July 21 entry on their calendar:




Reading selections from Thinks Out Loud

Got. . .blogger?

Here's an excerpt from Thinks Out Loud, an entry early in the book by tallboy, one of the bloggers who starts posting after Isaac, the blog's originator, goes on sabbatical. . .tallboy's references to Jeannie, another blogger, will become clearer if and when you read the book.

Entry No. 516 - POSTED AUG. 23, 2011


Whew, I don’t want to get in the middle of the Jeannie firing thing, although her situation did get me thinking about the art and science of blogging.

Blogging is not for everyone, especially someone we all know.

To help determine if you have the mental and physical constitution to be a blogger, here’s a revealing questionnaire based on a draft of Isaac’s I found in his Thinks Out Loud working file. (See, Isaac, I am giving you credit where credit is due.)

Choose the answer for each question closest to your personal version of the Truth. (Remember, cheaters never win, though they do sometimes come in second.)


I like to blog because

1. Why is this even a question? Blogging simply Is.

2. I think I have something to say.

3. I got laid off from The Daily and this is my only outlet for investigative reporting and the detailing of public health warnings.

Readers of my blog

1. Are important, no vital, to me, my raison d’être.

2. Are certainly welcome to visit. We’re all in this together. I love comments, even weird ones.

3. Consist of my second cousin in Spokane, my roommate, and an adolescent hacker from somewhere in the Midwest.

My level of blogging activity:

1. Every couple of minutes, pretty much nonstop, alternating with Twitter.

2. Two or three times a week or as the muse moves me.

3. I most recently posted during Obama's first year in office.

When someone flames one of my postings

1. It runs right off my back like Evian.

2. I try and understand the flamer’s point of view

3. It hurts, it really hurts.


For every 1 you answered give yourself 3 points. Every 2 gets you 2 points. And a 3 equals 1 point.

Now, add up your score.

4-6: You are an anti-blogger. I’ll bet you didn’t even finish the quiz or add up your points. In fact, you probably didn’t even read this posting.

7-9: You are a bloggette, a wee little one afraid to even stick that baby toe into the big cold lake.

10-11: You are a demi-blogger, and I mean that in a nice way. Is that a new typeface? It looks good, really.

12: You are a blogging fanatic who lives for the next posting. Some might call it an addiction. You call it a calling. But don’t forget to take out the compost and recycling.

     So, there you have it. To blog or not to blog? Let’s hope we’ve answered that question.



StrongArm AUG. 23, 2011 AT 9:29 AM
Hey, I got an 11 and I’m not even a blogger. Maybe I should be.

BlueRibbon AUG. 23, 2011 AT 12:50 PM
Don’t believe in tests and scores. Visit my blog, Destiny’s Pile.

Heiress AUG. 23, 2011 AT 2:31 PM
HA! A perfect high score for a perfect lady, assholes!



A Blog (Novel) Is Born, Part 2

I’d been blogging two or three times a week for about a year and a half, mostly social and political commentary. Sometimes I was pretty good, other times rather lame. I’d say I was a minor blip on the blogging screen with several  thousand hits a month, depending on how much commentary and other interaction I did in the comments sections of related articles and other blogs.

One of the main features I became aware of was the number of hats a blogger wears: idea generator, researcher, author, editor, marketer, self-critic. Then I started thinking about veering away from my blog as commentary and doing something untried, approaching blogging from a different angle. What if I created a blog about blogging, a pulling back of the curtain to reveal what really goes into a blog, kind of a reality-blog show? That sounded promising. . .until I actually thought about the content. If I were going to be truthful about how I blogged and included all the steps leading up to a posting, that would probably be a contestant for the “Worlds Mostly Boring Blogs” contest: Woke up, checked Huffington Post. Saw article about latest Obama birth certificate rumor.

Beyond boring. No, a blog about blogging, at least for me, would never be launched into the blogosphere.

I went back to commentary on contemporary issues. Until a night in August. (I wrote most of my entries in the quiet of night.) I was casting about for a topic when (and I need a leap of faith on your part here) unexpected words entered my mind and flowed through my fingers onto the keyboard. Here is the original text:

Break time:  Guest bloggers coming your way!

Blogging can be taxing! After months of facing the daily pressure to perform, I'm taking a week, maybe two, off from blogging to pursue non-electronic forms of entertainment, relaxation, and procrastination. And discovery, both inner and outer. Truth be told, I need to figure out why page views seem to have peaked and are now beginning to decline. Not to mention, most of my visitors seem to be from former Soviet republics. Have I in some way peaked in my own life? And in a larger sense, if I were to really stop blogging, what would become of me?

On a more immediate front, to keep the pages fresh, a bevy of young Guest Bloggers I found on Craig's List have signed on to keep you in the know.

Stay tuned.

Thinking Out Loud is not responsible for the views, language, or staleness of Guest Blogger remarks. All Guest Blogger entries are the sole responsibility of said blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or wishful thinking of Thinking Out Loud.

The “I” in the above posting was not me, the me sitting at my desk, in my house, in Seattle. It was a different voice, a character (who turned out to be Isaac). This other character, not me, was burned out and about to go on sabbatical and end up in Polynesia. Who these new bloggers were, I didn’t know. What they were up to, I didn’t know. From this moment on, the blog took on a life of its own. Thinking Out Loud became Thinks Out Loud, a blog at first.

A Blog (Novel) Is Born

During Thanksgiving 2009, I was talking with a friend about writing. And I was casting about, trying to come up with some different approaches to reach a reading public. My friend said, “What about a blog?” And I said, “Never thought about it.” But right then and there I did start thinking about it. I told her I wouldn’t be the kind of blogger who reports what I’ve had for lunch or how I spent my summer vacation or when I realized I was a writer. She said that was fine; I could write about anything. She was right, but the thought of trying to come up with connected thoughts about something/anything seemed intimidating. I said I would think further about it and that, in theory, I liked the idea: the sense of direct connection with readers, of their ability to respond in a comments area, of my words going out into the electronic universe. I just didn’t know what words to send out.

A week later, I gave it a tentative try. Following an easy step-by-step process, I had created a basic blogsite via Blogger. Here was my first baby step:

What Is Your Pet’s Eco-footprint?

In Time To Eat the Dog? The Real Guide to Sustainable Living, Robert and Brenda Vale argue that the resources required to feed a dog equal about twice the eco-footprint of an SUV. Based on their research, my daughter's cloud minnows have a footprint of a Vespa LX150.

Posted 5th December 2009 by Martin Perlman

That was it.
Not exactly brilliant but it was a start. This first posting set the tone for the ones that followed on an irregular basis, weekly, sometimes twice a week: The Future of Reunions in the Digital Age, Facebook Connects to the Other Side, Clouds R Us (more on that one later).

I alerted friends and family, and, to reach a larger audience, I found web articles on the same subject (Reunions, Digital) and in the reader comments area made a comment and added a link to my post. People visited. Some commented. I was a blogger.