The Crusades revisited. A thousand years later, a Christian leader, Pat Robertson, suggests to a caller with "wife problems" that he convert to Islam so he can beat his disrespectful spouse. A group of (presumably) Christian fanatics create a really stupid video intended to show Muslims that their prophet was a child molester. In response, a group of (presumably) Muslim fanatics kills American diplomats who just supported their efforts to overthrow the tyrants who had been oppressing them. On most social issues, the fantical Christians and the fanatical Muslims agree with one another. There is one minor difference. Each sees themselves as representing the will of god, and the other as representing the devil. I can only conclude that after a thousand years, we really haven't made much progress as a species.
This is the second novel in my "Civitas Rising" series. It's been a joy peeling back the layers of drama and political intrigue that confront the Newman family and their friend Marco Prima.
I've been both surprised and fascinated by the evolving political dynamics in the story. What started as a narrative about finding balance in our personal priorities has uncovered a fundamental truth - that if we hope to achieve an equilibrium in our personal lives, we need to ensure the cultural and political world in which we live isn't an upside-down mess.
Even after their escape from the mainland, Rachel Newman and Marco Prima find themselves caught up in the toxic messiness of Freedom First's America, a country that sacrifices community values at the altar of corporate libertarianism. The results are a roller-coaster ride where these young lovers have to come to terms with their own personal phantoms while desperately fending off an assault on their island refuge by global cartels intent on sinking Civitas once and for all.
I hope you enjoy the read. It's a wild ride.
“So, how are you planning to market your new book?” a friend asked this morning. I thought for a moment, smiled and shrugged.
This is the primary challenge facing writers in the era of open access publishing. It’s equally true whether your book is being released by a big NY publishing house, a small press, or you are going the independent route. If you don’t have an established base of readers who follow your work, how will you connect your stories to those who would enjoy reading them?
Most of us try the usual things, Facebook page, product website, Tweet yourself silly, blog-on, all of which is good to do but has a limited effect. So you look at what worked for the much-publicized new publishing superstars, writers like Amanda Hocking and John Locke. They were prolific, wrote well… and got lucky. Ahh - there’s the rub.
There’s a serendipity factor in how audiences connect with new writers, which by definition is impossible to control and therefore very frustrating until it happens, at which point it becomes magical and wonderful. This isn’t new. In the old world of publishing, you got a lucky break and found the great agent or the perfect Big Six company to shepherd your work. Or someone somehow got a copy of your new book to Oprah. In the new world you load your book on Amazon and Smashwords, let everyone you’ve ever met know about it, send free copies out to bloggers and reviewers you think might be interested, cross your fingers and start outlining your next tome.
The barriers to publishing have been smashed, Amazon is ascendant, paper is giving way to digital, the world of words is wide open. At some point new marketing avenues will emerge to provide a credible connection between writer and reader. For now all I know to do is write my best work, set it free, hope I get lucky - and start writing the next one.
Have you read any of the Civitas Rising series? Please share your thoughts about the Great Change, the impact of technology on our lives, healthcare, the role of government, and anything else the books got you thinking about.