Two years ago this month. . .

. . .Thinks Out Loud, a Blog at First, was born. As writers who are published by indy presses know, it’s a challenge to get the word out about your book, to snag readers’ attention. I was lucky to be able to do three readings in the Seattle area and one in Austin, Texas. I also got a review in Publishers Weekly and attention in the local Seattle media. Plus, positive reader reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. I was appreciative of all that attention. And yet, Amazon proved to be more a hindrance than a benefit. The reviews and readings got the book off to a nice start, and then a lag set in. I had thought the book’s satire of high-tech with sci-fi flourishes and the South Pacific romance and adventure counterpoint would prove popular with the Seattle tech world. That didn’t come to pass. (If anything, the character of the flawed but visionary high-tech CEO who’s playing around with time and space seems even more relevant than two years ago!)

While a lot of friends did buy the book, I was a little disappointed that more of them chose not to. (Were they hoping for a free copy? I couldn’t afford to do so.) And I also thought bloggers would be intrigued by the blog format. For the most part, they weren’t. I know, folks are busy. Social media and web surfing account for large chunks of our free time. My novel is one brief wave in an ocean of books. I get it.

To those who bought Thinks Out Loud, you have my thanks! (I still believe the blog format and multiple stories by the bloggers provides a fun read.)

It’s on to the next novel, this one will be the picaresque adventures of two naïve young men thrust into the Berkeley, California of circa 1971. They are expecting to experience the love-ins of 1965, though times have changed, darkened. Sounds serious—but there’s plenty of humor to be mined.

Stay tuned.

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THE BOOK AND AMAZON: If you order Thinks Out Loud from Amazon Prime, you will be receiving an older version that is out of date and whose printing is lighter than the current edition.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

It's a blog It's a novel It's both

The other day I was leafing through my novel, as I do weekly, to prove to myself the book exists. Not for the first time did I note the layout. It’s an attempt to look bloglike. Each postings begins with a Thinks Out Loud banner and a headline in bold, an entry number, and the posting’s date. Then comes the content followed by the bloglike View Comments section.

See the blog. Since I know the book’s contents forwards and backwards (forwords and backwords?), I take the design for granted, now. However, if I were a browser in a bookstore and came across the book with its mysterious cover art—a tropical leafy creature’s head/mask with a robed body—and I opened to a random page, I would not see a traditional layout of most novels—lots of words, lots of paragraphs, maybe a chapter title. Instead, would I experience some level of confusion, especially if I were unaware of the blog nature of the novel? Would I have the patience to try and read the opening pages?

Because I am one with the book, I experience a version of the curse of knowledge. It’s a tendency to assume that others have the perspective to understand what I now take for granted. They wouldn’t.

Even if that bookstore browser reads the back cover copy, and even though the blogging concept is explicitly stated, there is no indication that between the covers lies a book with a unique design that attempts to recreate the blog experience in blog form.

Some readers have said it doesn’t take long to get into the blog rhythm of the book—10 to 15 pages. But what if a reader is impatient and exits the book after trying to work through only one or two postings? I guess that’s the chance I’m taking.

Here's how a typical posting looks:

Posting section that includes the posting’s heading, title, and the content     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 seller option which will be the newer better print version. You can also order the newer version directly from the publisher via this website,  thinksoutloud.com , or from your local bookstore, which will either have the book in stock or available via a quick special order from Ingram, the wholesaler.

Posting section that includes the posting’s heading, title, and the content

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 seller option which will be the newer better print version. You can also order the newer version directly from the publisher via this website, thinksoutloud.com, or from your local bookstore, which will either have the book in stock or available via a quick special order from Ingram, the wholesaler.

Ode to Aged Books

Upon these shelves dear friends of long ago
Await a visit though layered dust
Suggests a case of broken trust

A sharing delayed as years come and go
And now when trying to renew the bond
To find them musty yellow though still fond

For even though unopened they await
A kind embrace and chance to demonstrate
True links that yet remain while brittle page
Foretells a fate that comes with span of age
One last caress and honoring apart
Removed from shelf but still within the heart.

—————————————————————————

Will this be the fate of Thinks Out Loud, a Blog at First, forty years hence (if the book is still around)?

—————————————————————————

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 seller option which will be the newer better print version. You can also order the newer version directly from the publisher via this website, thinksoutloud.com, 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 Random Selection from Thinks Out Loud, a Blog at First

Okay, I grabbed a copy of Thinks Out Loud, closed my eyes, and twirled the book around. When I could no longer tell front from back, top from bottom, I opened the book and touched a spot on a page. Where my finger made contact became the randomly selected portion shown below. Totally random! Pure fate! Eyes closed! And here it is:

Random selection of an entry from Thinks Out Loud, A Blog at First:

After another bountiful dinner, some of the villagers made a fire and stood near it to talk and relax. Vaea was in light conversation with several of his friends over near the pool I’d bathed in. I found myself walking toward the beach with Vaitiare.

“I am still trying to decide if you are here to harm us,” she said as we followed the top of the wave line. The ocean before me, the palm trees and flowers and distant mountain behind, this intriguing woman beside me, I felt as if I were inside a Gauguin painting.

That’s it. Unless you’ve read the book, you wouldn’t know the narrator is a burned out blogger now living in the South Pacific on an island that eschews modern technologies in an attempt to maintain its traditions. Vaitiare is the island’s visionary princess.

That was fun. Should we try this random selection one more time? Here goes. . .

She came to my side and leaned toward the computer. “I have this crazy theory. Say, do you think your brother could get us into The Hive, let us take a look around?”

“Emily, I don’t know if we could get in,” I said as my vocal chords began working again.

She nodded as though she agreed how tough it would be and then kept going. “Hey, how about if we get the whole class to take a tour?” she asked, her green eyes impossibly bright.

“Well, tallboy just started. We should probably give him a couple of weeks to settle in, “ I suggested.

“I think the sooner we do a tour the better. Are you in?”

So, this scene takes place in Seattle on the UW campus where Emily and the blogger [Eddie] are taking a History of High-tech seminar. Eddie’s brother, tallboy, just started a blogging job at a mysterious startup called AltaSystemics. Trouble is, he can’t figure out what the company does or what to blog about. But the place is very cultlike and run by a flamboyant CEO who calls himself PrimeMover. Emily is keen on finding out what is going on there while Eddie is a bit hesitant. . .

All the above and much more is available via Thinks Out Loud, a Blog at First.

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 seller option which will be the newer better print version. You can also order the newer version directly from the publisher via this website, thinksoutloud.com, 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 sentence here, a sentence there, from Thinks Out Loud, a Blog at First

Okay. For fun, some not-so-random, out-of-context pulled parts from Thinks Out Loud, a Blog at First:

A thin door seemed to materialize right out of the wall, and a tall, young, engaging man walked toward us. “I’m Ted, an AltaSystemics Connector.”

“You’re probably wondering why I asked you here today,” he said with a hearty laugh as he put down his phone. “I’m AltaSystemics’ PrimeMover. Candy?”

Vaea stopped at the water line. “You had lived on our sacred island. We wanted to see if that had somehow affected you.”

With an authoritative glance at the drummers, she held a pose for just a moment, a Polynesian statue, a counterpart of a Grecian Aphrodite.

As if released from the starting post at Churchill Downs, Thinks Out Loud surged forward a fierce expression reforming his face.

“Beyond the cloud environment with quantum flux engagement.”

Our men charged. With a piercing war cry, Teva erupted and floored two guards next to him as if they were flimsy mannikins.

All the above comes together in the novel, half set in the high-tech world of Seattle, the other part taking place on a mysterious island in the South Pacific.

More at: Thinks Out Loud, a Blog at First
by Martin Perlman

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 seller option which will be the newer better print version. You can also order the newer version directly from the publisher via this website, thinksoutloud.com, or from your local bookstore, which will either have the book in stock or available via a quick special order from Ingram, the wholesaler. 

To Read or Not To Read, Part 2, or How to Read

Oh, another idea. Different subject. . .As I was thinking about my friend’s non-read, I came up with an idea, a way of reading Thinks Out Loud that might just make it easier to keep going. Here it is: Read only the blog postings for each day per day. That is, if there are one or two postings on October 27 (Lunch at the Lagoon and Trying to Focus), just read those two that day.

While the entire read would take many times longer than ‘normal,’ the rhythm would duplicate what it would be like to be reading a blog whose postings are one or two at a time.

Note: In the nineteenth century, novelists like Dickens would publish their works by chapters in magazines, so that readers would have to wait for the next installment. (Dickens was also writing madly to meet deadlines.) The delay helped to build suspense and wonder about what’s would be coming next. Any takers? If anyone does decide to read TOL in this manner, I’d love to hear what the experience is like.

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 seller option which will be the newer better print version. You can also order the newer version directly from the publisher via this website, thinksoutloud.com, 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 movie version of a blog novel?

Recently, two readers of Thinks Out Loud contacted me and said they thought the book would make a good movie. That was flattering! Honestly, I’d not thought of that possibility, primarily because it’s a novel written in blog form, far far afield from a film’s script format. At least by beginning with a traditional novel, a screenwriter using that as a basis for a movie’s script has a foundation for moving forward.

But a novel of blog postings? How would a screenwriter even begin to translate that into a film version? Each posting is from one of several bloggers, each with his or her own take on the world. Plus, much is going on in the characters’ heads (though revealed in their text), how could that possibly translate into the language of film? Finally, how would the sense of blogging, so essential to the essence of the book, be conveyed on screen? (Think of how woodenly texting and emailing is shown in contemporary movies.)

On the other hand, although it’s in blog format, the book does contain the basic elements of fictional construct: plot, setting, character, conflict, tension, climax, and so on. There’s the plucky band of young bloggers thrust into the role of trying to save the world from the monomaniacal designs of the brilliant but flawed high-tech CEO. The setting would shift back and forth from the fast-paced world of start-ups in Seattle to a traditional South Seas community protective of its identity that brings into its midst a lost blogger who could upset the island's carefully crafted way of life. So, yes, that could be ‘movielike,’ though capturing the book’s playfully irreverent tone might be a challenge, if that is the tone the would-be producers would want to maintain.

And then the author begins to imagine how his dear creation might fare in the midst of Hollywood’s creative ferment. I knew of a writer in Santa Barbara who was surprised to find himself being approached by a film star interested in his deceptively modest novel of unrequited love set in the high desert of Southern California. He sold the rights and the film was actually made and did well. The plot and characters, however, bore little resemblance to the original book, except for its title: Murphy’s Romance.

Where was I? Oh, I asked the author if all the changes bothered him. He said no. They’d paid him fair and square and were under no obligation to re-create the original novel on the screen.

Where does that leave me? Not anywhere really, except as the author of a novel written in blog form that I would willingly leave to others to attempt to massage into a cinematic treat while I retreat to go work on another novel.

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 seller option which will be the newer better print version. You can also order the newer version directly from the publisher via this website, thinksoutloud.com, 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

https://www.thinksoutloud.com/

Giveaway Via ForeverGeek

Am doing a promotional giveaway of Thinks Out Loud courtesy of the ForeverGeek website. You have until Feb. 25 to enter and maybe win a free copy.

Some of their text:

“Thinks Out Loud, a Blog at First” has all the elements that makes for a fun, light geek read. It takes some potshots at one of our favorite (good or bad, up to you) CEOs Jeff Bezos (or so it has been assumed). It’s about a loose band of bloggers who are forced to leave the safe confines of their Internet bubble when one is shipwrecked on a sacred South Seas isle while others try to keep the book’s manipulative high-tech CEO (Prime Mover) from gaining control of all information past, present, and future (and going way beyond cloud computing in the process).

From the get-go, the book will take you down memory lane. If you were into “real” blogging, that is. You know…those days when you wrote whatever, and you had a community of followers (majority of which may or may not have been family and friends) with whom you had actual conversations in the comments.

To Read or Not To Read

A friend recently admitted she had started but not finished Thinks Out Loud. She said she had not gotten very far in it. She added she’s never been a reader of science fiction/fantasy.

I was sorry she hadn’t enjoyed the novel, but I also recognized that not everyone is going to enjoy a book, any book. In the case of Thinks Out Loud, many traditional readers might be put off, for example, by the blog concept, especially in the opening pages.

As for science fiction. . .myself a fan of science fiction since I was ten, I can still understand that speculative fiction does not appeal to many readers who feel the genre often sacrifices complex character development in favor of gadgetry and theoretical extrapolation of technology, often mixed with big doses of dystopia.

However, is Thinks Out Loud science fiction? In the case of TOL, I would say it borrows motifs and elements of science fiction but doesn’t go all the way. Some readers might say the book is more a high-tech suspense story. Others an adventure and romance set in the South Seas. And a few might even suggest it’s a coming-of-age bildungsroman.

And I say, let all of those genres comes out and play. Stir it up. Go beyond labels and boundaries. Have some fun. So, while there are writers who do rightfully claim their genres (mystery, suspense, romance) and do so proudly. Let’s let other writers just go for it and see what happens.

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 seller option which will be the newer better print version. You can also order the newer version directly from the publisher via this website, thinksoutloud.com, 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

https://www.thinksoutloud.com/

View Comments: The roles of commenters in Thinks Out Loud

Before the writing of Thinks Out Loud, there was the actual blog, the late Thinking Out Loud, a profound and telling commentary on culture, politics and oral health. I was always pleased, and a little shocked, when a reader would write a comment after a posting. Proof of connection.

A fun part of writing TOL was the inclusion of comments by the blog’s readers at the end of each posting. Comments gave a posting a sense of completion, again, a verification that someone was responding to the blog. (If a blog falls in a forest and no one comments, does it make a sound?)

After a while, the commenters’ roles took on a mini-plot aspect within the larger context of the book. Some commenters were real fans of the blog, others quite skeptical of the goings-on. One or two came to promote their own blobs, ahem, blogs. Some commenters appeared only once, but many of them pop up throughout the book. They even reveal aspects about themselves. Dolfan is constantly going out on auditions. FreeZone is always trying to top the bloggers’ exploits with his own adventures. And Explica, well, she’s the witty ex-wife.

Note: Two of the main characters, tallboy and Jeannie, become part of the blogging team.

Far from an afterthought, the commenters are a real part of the novel, a way to open up and enliven the blog postings, for bloggers do not want their posts to fall in a forest and not be heard, or something like that.

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, thinksoutloud.com, 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

https://www.thinksoutloud.com/

 

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, thinksoutloud.com,  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

https://www.thinksoutloud.com/


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: https://www.thinksoutloud.com/

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, thinksoutloud.com,  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, thinksoutloud.com,  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 in Thinks Out Loud, 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 seller 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, marperl@centurylink.net. 

 

 

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!

 

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