Mindbenders 2 is out (more details here) and I’m proud of the reviews it’s gotten. There’ll be a new review Monday that I’m especially proud of and we’ll talk more about that when it posts.
In the meantime, here’s another review I found today which I’m less entranced by (edited by me to eliminate even more massive redundancy):
“Hello My name is Joe Lee and i’m here to express my opinions on this fantastic book written Mindbenders 2: The Fiery Sky: A Max Renn Thriller (Volume 2) . With a variety of fake Mindbenders 2: The Fiery Sky: A Max Renn Thriller (Volume 2) reviews listed online a large number of people find it hard looking for dependable answers while browsing Yahoo for ‘where to download Mindbenders 2: The Fiery Sky: A Max Renn Thriller (Volume 2) PDF free’. I realize that this must be a frustrating task when making a decision if an individual should buy Mindbenders 2: The Fiery Sky: A Max Renn Thriller (Volume 2) ebook for kindle, or any well known device in which the reader would rather read their digital books. Nevertheless, by checking out this review people can be assured that Mindbenders 2: The Fiery Sky: A Max Renn Thriller (Volume 2) is a great book as detailed.”
Gee thanks, Joe. Nice to know the book is fantastic and great and all that. An endorsement’s an endorsement; I’m grateful for people liking my work.
Then again, this is a guy offering my book on his torrent site, one of several I’ve found links for in the last few weeks. The first link appeared within minutes of the book’s publication in Tokyo, hours before it was even available in the US.
So this is just someone offering my work for free. Naturally, I have a problem with that.
Joe, this book is several years of my life and decades of hopes and ambitions for me. I assume you don’t work for free. The other alternative is that you can afford to work for free.
The book costs less than two gallons of gas or a small anything from Starbucks. If you drove anywhere (or took mass transit anywhere) in the last month or drank a coffee or tea or hot chocolate in that time, you can afford the book. Pay the damn three bucks.
In the meantime, it will be available on Nook, iTunes, Kobo, etc. in about three months, when the inital Kindle Direct enrollment runs out. So if you guys can just hold your horses for a little while, we’re all set.
And thanks for your support.
One of the first decisions I made about ‘Mindbenders 2: The Fiery Sky’ (publishing on Amazon March 12th–click here for details and to pre-order!) was that the three members of the Mindbenders team would split up right after the conclusion of the first book, under hot pursuit from the CIA, MI6, Interpol and L Corp, their most dangerous enemy.
So, starting sketching the new book, I had the very entertaining duty of trying to figure out where I’d want to go if I wanted to disappear. Personal preference–like the fact that I hate the cold–ruled out some extremely promising locations, like Patagonia or the Sandwich Islands. The US, Canada, Japan and China all seemed too ‘wired’ for someone who wanted to become invisible.
Google Earth is the thriller writer’s friend. I started sliding around the globe looking for places that seemed remote but not so primitive that you couldn’t get out quickly if recognized.
And then I realized that the safest place to hide was in a place where nobody would expect you to be truthful about your identity. In our world, such places aren’t hard to find, particularly where the gold rush (whichever one) is local. Shortly after, I found this:
A village on stilts, jutting off the edge of an island. Attached to Nature but not of it. Within disputed territory, so under no flag. Filled with people with a reason to be there–which is to say, with a good reason not to be anywhere less remote.
The pictures fascinated me and filled in all my questions. I wrote far more material about the place than what ended up in the final book.
By the way, the two pictures above are of two different villages, hundreds of miles apart and technically in separate countries. This kind of living has spread across the sea basin.
I even found a video. It’s nine minutes and in the middle of a real city in a real country but the living-on-stilts is pretty vividly portrayed:
So this is the first of a few locations I’ll highlight. I think this is the most exotic; nonetheless, they all have their fascinations.
Stay Tuned! More to Come!
In the meantime, read a sample of the new book here!
Mark the date! It’s (finally) coming! Better yet–go to Amazon and pre-order your copy now!
Mindbenders 2: The Fiery Sky will publish March 12th on Amazon!
The most dangerous enemy is the one inside your own mind.
Max Renn, the legendary Soviet mind control agent, faces a terrifying new threat to the global balance of power—and an opponent who ruthlessly uses Renn’s own deepest secrets to betray him.
Renn and his Mindbenders team race from a murder-without-clues in Belgium to a floating village in the South China Sea, from an amphitheater in Africa to the Australian Outback.
The battle is waged in a world where brutal coercion is an everyday weapon and victory hides even in the doubts of those who seem to know too much.
Stay tuned–I’ll be previewing some of the places and people of the expanded Mindbenders universe in coming weeks.
For those of you who’ve been waiting, thanks for your patience. For the impatient ones (you know who you are), thanks for your passion. The wait is (almost) over!
We went to a New Year’s party last night. I know it’s a night early but who’s counting?
I came from work and met Claire on Sixth Ave near Waverly. And, waiting for her (because the F train was actually quick and to the point for once), I wandered down the block past a magazine stand I swear I remember in that location since the 70’s or even late 60’s (the awning over the place tends to support that memory).
This is a famous Berenice Abbott photo of a newsstand from the Depression, when a third of the country was out of work and even those earning some kind of living had very little money for frivolous reading. The magazine stand I remember wasn’t quite as thickly populated as this one but I still remember hundreds of publications on display, such dense variety you couldn’t see the entire cover of more than a handful.
Them days are gone, as they say…
Here’s what I saw last night. About ten newspapers, some of them mere classified ad sheets, some Chinese and Russian language, a few rows filled with candy and some soft drink displays–and no magazines. Zero. All those banal and beautiful thoughts and passionate causes and idiotic space filling, gone.
I know we read differently now. Most everything is free (for the moment) and online and instantly searchable and that definitely has its advantages. But I felt very aware, all of a sudden, of how different the experience was of buying magazines at the stand, making a public decision like declaring an allegiance in a public square. And it feels like a connection to the way people got through the Depression with a sense of solidarity that we certainly haven’t been able to muster in a financial crisis that is tiny by comparison.
They made those declarations every day at the newsstand, going to see a movie with friends at the theater, listening to radio shows on the three available networks and discussing them the next day at work. Did that contribute to a level of solidarity and understanding? Certainly the music and film of the day had a sense that we were all in this together, as opposed to the solitary-loner, beat-the-other-guy-to-the-punch nonsense paraded these days by Trump, Cadillac ads and every politician but Bernie Sanders, that wonderful relic.
We don’t really believe in progress anymore and we have plenty of reasons not to. But even where we seem to be moving forward, it seems important to take a few minutes here and there to consider what’s being lost…or what we never had.
What do you mean you haven’t read it? People who did said:
“…fascinating and provocative…”
“…echoes of Jonathan Lethem’s ‘Motherless Brooklyn’…”
“…held me to my chair for one marathon reading…”
“engaging, believable characterization and fast-moving story…”
More reviews here.
Synopsis and behind-the-scenes notes here.
Me rambling on Video here.
Mindbenders 2 is nearing completion – even closer than the last time I said that! Read this one first – it’ll make the next book even better!
For you new readers, those of you who’ve lost your copy or who acquired it on one of those pitiful torrent sites and want to be able to look yourselves in the mirror, ‘Mindbenders’ the First will be free on Amazon tomorrow through Saturday.
Tell your friends! Tell your enemies! Why shouldn’t they have something good to read?
The new one is nearing completion. How many times have I said that? Too many. I’ve learned a lot of lessons the last few years but we’re nearly there now, I swear. I think it’s gonna be worth the wait. You’ll tell me.
So for those of you who’ve lost your copy or got one on one of those pitiful torrent sites and want to be able to look yourselves in the mirror, ‘Mindbenders’ the First will be free on Amazon tomorrow and Sunday. Tell your friends! Tell your enemies! Why shouldn’t they have something good to read?
Most importantly, she saw in me the person I’d been working so hard to become and encouraged me to be even more. And accepted me as I am, complete with warts and hump.
We’ll be getting married soon. It’ll be my second marriage and they say a second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience. But I’ve been saying something else to people when the subject comes up: just skip the first marriage and go direct to the second. You have so much clearer of a concept of what you want and what you really need.
So Happy Anniversary, sweetheart. Here’s to a bigger world, together.
Okay, I have to out myself: I’m a Mets fan. Pity me – for a little while. We will have a very good team, sooner or later. Though it always seems to be later and a lot of people in the fan base and now the national sports media are understandably getting tired of waiting. I sent this post to one of the fan blogs today as a response to some of the coverage I’m reading:
I’m wondering if the accounts of Sandy Alderson’s press conference yesterday all focused on the wrong segment: his rambling non-answer to the question (my rephrase but I think I’ve got the gist of it): Do you REALLY have the money to do anything and, if so, will you just ignore that opportunity again like you have all these past years?
David Crosby was never my favorite.
First it was Stills, then Young. Neil gets all the headlines and respect. Young musicians revere him and play with him. He gets interviewed on Colbert and parodied by Fallon. Stills faded away long ago, Nash is a gentleman, an amazing singer and a fine tunesmith but only occasionally an interesting songwriter.
And then there was Crosby, the egotistical drug maniac, crack addict, heroin addict, cold-turkey veteran of a Texas prison in the mid-80’s, liver transplant veteran since the mid 90’s, sperm donor for Melissa Etheridge’s in-vitro kids and talking head de rigeur for every rock documentary of the last fifteen years. He’s joked for ages that Stills wrote the anthems, Nash wrote the hits and he wrote the weird shit. He was a punchline – so what about him?
What about him is a rebirth at an age rock stars are supposed to be irrelevant, maybe still playing but certainly not growing. First, he formed a band called CPR in the Nineties with his biological son James Raymond (a very talented keyboard player/singer/songwriter in his own right). That band left behind many tours and several now out-of-print albums that didn’t sell much but are continually on top of my playlist. Their live versions of Byrds and CSNY songs put the originals to shame.
Last year, Crosby put out a solo record that offered far better songwriting than anything Neil has done in a decade. He backed the record with a full-band tour and those shows (I saw one and have heard several) were terrific, starting with the album in it’s entirety, followed with gems from the long career.
His voice is amazing, taking a few songs to warm up but reaching powerful high notes no 73-year-old should even attempt and showing an ability to shape melodies and sell a lyric better than his young self ever could. He played back-catalogue songs I’ve loved for years without ever hearing live (‘Laughing’ ‘In My Dreams’) and found new life in songs I’ve heard many times before (‘Guinevere’, which I thought I never wanted to hear again – I was wrong). A front-of-the-audience member told Crosby to stop talking politics between songs and sing – Cros told him to go fuck himself, to general chuckling from the rest of the crowd.
The songs were fascinating, especially stripped down like this. The depth of the chord changes reminds you that this is the man who taught Joni Mitchell to open-tune and introduced George Harrison to Ravi Shankar. The sounds would have been profound without the words. And the words were wonderful. ‘Fluttering pages of faces’ is a great image even when he explains it (I’m not blowing the story here).
It was a great show on all counts.
It’s kind of stunning. I look back now on a band I’ve followed over forty years (through fifty permutations) and at the very end, when they should be way past over-the-hill, the most unlikely guy has become my favorite.
If he comes to your town on this tour, just go.
Thank me later.