Thursday, November 26, 2015

December Audiobook TOUCHDOWNS

One of the things about fiction, particularly science fiction, is that it gives readers (or in this case listeners) the ability to conceive or imagine alternate ideas. Real life is fascinating—often more fascinating—but fiction allows enables people to see what might have happened had they taken a different path. Why is this important? Because life itself is about the journey, and decisions have to be made continuously until death (and even regarding death.) You still have decisions to make. The ability to see the future is what distinguishes humans from animals. Apes and dolphins can see into the future a bit, but we can imagine just about anything. Why be continually focused on what’s “trending” when you can visualize what (might/could/should) be happening? Our attention spans have been eroded by television, with its constantly streaming images and soundbites. So a good way to extend your vision into the future is to imagine it, and to see what Borges talked about: “the forking paths.” Audiobooks are a way to extend your reading time, which may be limited in our furiously moving culture. Therefore it makes sense to add them to your day. Imagine what you’ll imagine!
Some recommended tities this month and available now, some at BlackFriday prices: 
Imagine America lost WWII. Philip K. Dick did. He’s the author of many stories which became films, like Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, Next. In THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, which won him the Hugo Award for best scifi novel in the early 60s, slavery is legal once again, Jews still hide under assumed names, and in In San Francisco the I Ching is as common as the Yellow Pages since America is divided between Nazi and Japanese occupation. (Kinda like we’re divided between the Red and Blue States of Democrat and Republican. Just kidding.) There is a wild zone between the two, like in the film Mad Max. A new mini-series is ongoing visualizing High Castle, so you can see that, or listen to the “audio movie” (audiobook) version narrated by Jeff Cummings, whose always engaging voice talent can be heard on many other audiobooks, garnering him both Earphones awards and an Audie Award. “Castle” is indeed “high concept,” as they say in the movie biz, as are most of Dick’s books. And I hear there is a Blade Runner sequel coming too, and you can hear that on audio too. (For a real life alternate look at WWII, listen to HOME FIRES: The Story of the Women’s Institute of the Second World War by Julie Summers, read by Juliet Mills, now a PBS series.)
Some other fiction that may interest you as you drive, cook, work, or shovel snow, are PRETTY BABY by Mary Kubica, read by the always great Cassandra Campbell, plus Tom Taylorson and Jorjeana Marie. It’s a psychological thriller by the author of “The Good Girl” about a social worker who takes home a young woman and daughter they live (or do they?) to regret. THE GUILTY by David Baldacci is read by Keith Brewer and Orlagh Cassidy, about vigilante justice and a father who is arrested for murder in a small town. (Author’s book Absolute Power was filmed by Clint Eastwood; have interviewed Baldacci about another of his excellent readers, Ron McLarty.) THE READING ROOM by Shelley Gray is read by star narrator Tavia Gilbert, a historical mystery set at the Chicago World’s Fair. And THE EARLY STORIE OF TRUMAN CAPOTE by the author has a foreword by Hilton Als, and is read by Scott Brick, Nancy Linari, and Sarah Scott. Long before “In Cold Blood,” Capote wrote about outsiders, left behind, oppressed and ignored. I asked Scott about this, and he responded, The Early Stories of Truman Capote is a great new collection, filled with stories that had only been previously published in the author's school magazine. They're not as polished as we've come to expect from him, but even in the those that appear the most raw, they've still got that flair, you can still see the spark that will ultimately flame in his best known work. One of the great privileges of my life was to narrate In Cold Blood, and it was absolutely delightful to be back on board, not for new Capote, but on stories that the public will certainly never have seen before. Every page was a treat, just a delightful read.”     
Finally, in non-fiction, a movie starring Will Smith will be released Christmas Day, based on CONCUSSION by Jeanne Marie Laskas, the riveting story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, a pathologist who discovered CTE (Chronic traumatic encephalopathy) in football players. In 2012, when the controversy exploded, Omalu was besieged by the NFL, which called into question his qualifications and ethics after the autopsy of Junior Seau and “Iron Mike” Webster found CTE. (Over a dozen other autopsies of NFL players had shown CTE, but these had been ignored. By 2012 thirty-three players had been diagnosed with CTE, post-mortem. Some had comitted suicide in a mind-fog.) The NFL reached a settlement with widows and sufferers for $765 million, and as of September of this year, 87 of 91 deceased players have been identified with CTE. Hillary Huber narrates the audiobook, and she adopts the perfect “girl on the gridiron” tone to tell the full story of how all this happened…more than you’ll see in the movie on-screen. Which is sure to be controversial and one of the best films of the year. After all, the NFL is one of the biggest corporations in America, a Goliath now trying to save itself from this “snafu” brought on by a whistleblower “David” by introducing new rules of engagement on “the killing fields.” 
The game must go on? From the publisher: "50 YEARS, 50 MOMENTS is a new audiobook that celebrates five decades of memories, insights, and personal experiences of Super Sunday. Super Bowl MVP Jerry Rice has compiled his list of the most iconic, strategic, and record-breaking moments in football history from the Super Bowl’s inception to today—from the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl I, to the amazing Miami Dolphins championship in Super Bowl VII that capped their seventeen-game undefeated season, to the ‘heart-stopping’ Super Bowl XXV in which the New York Giants beat the Buffalo Bills 20-19, and Super Bowl XLIX’s amazing last-second victory by the New England Patriots over defending champion Seattle Seahawks 28-24. A Hall of Fame wide receiver who has played alongside and against some of the greatest players in the NFL, Jerry Rice, joined by accomplished sports researcher and journalist Randy O. Williams, draws on his intimate knowledge and insight of the game to highlight remarkable moments from this greatest game in modern sports. Rice’s access to the NFL means that 50 Years, 50 Moments is chock full of memories and insights directly from the athletes and coaches who were involved in these moments. Pulling together all the catches, the interceptions, the fumbles, and triumphant touchdowns that have made the Super Bowl an unforgettable experience, 50 Years, 50 Moments will feature marquee names like Joe Montana, Vince Lombardi, Roger Staubach, Walter “Sweetness” Payton, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Namath, Lawrence Taylor, “Mean Joe” Greene, as well as Tom Brady. 50 Years, 50 Moments is a must for football fans everywhere and is sure to be treasured for generations to come.” Narrator is Mirron Willis, who also narrated MAGIC STREET by Orson Scott Card. 

(My own latest are ebooks, “TrumpWorld” and “The World’s First Trillionaire,”  both satires at Amazon. Contain plot elements from three of my novels, and may have a few mere billionaires committing suicide!)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Billionaire Commits Suicide

Okay, not really. I was going to title the post “World’s First Trillionaire Penned by Homeless Man.” But I realized that some would find that offensive. With “Billionaire Commits Suicide” no one is offended, and people instead click to find out who. BuzzFeed and TMZ and many other “news” outlets spin such headlines to generate views, and that’s my point here. About the “homeless” idea, I was going to defend it by saying I don’t own a home, and for half of the year I live in a trailer with my sister (who has been a social worker helping the homeless for decades, while earning near the minimum wage.) I offered to help her buy a home, but she refused to move. She’s never been married either, and likes her trailer. She’s a happy person. People who help others generally are. Currently I’m renting a nice condo for the winter in Arizona. It is furnished. I don’t own furniture, and drive a Honda Civic. In short, I’m far from rich, (a relative thing, anyway), but the motive in writing this book is not to get TMZ rich, either. If that were the case, I would have priced the ebook $14.99 like many rich do, instead of $2.99. (Psychologists tell us we value things by how much they cost, after all.) Besides this, I would have quit writing long ago and tried to become a Wall Street broker or rapper or televangelist (or even politician/game show host.) Instead, during and after college, I worked for peanuts in retail, hung wallpaper, sold hardware, sold peanuts, assembled light fixtures, cooked in a restaurant, was a travel agent, sorted mail, and all the while reading and listening to countless books. I wrote articles and poems and stories and novels. My novel “The Miraculous Plot of Leiter & Lott” is based on The Power of Now, and I try to live that philosophy now, too. My mother was as happy as my sister, you see, albeit “poor” her entire life. (She also helped others. My dad not so much. He wasn’t happy. Both are gone now.) So does success equal money, as our culture promotes? Do you have to spurge on Black Friday to be happy? Should it really shock you if the title of this post turned out to be real? In our age, the rich don’t go to jail, buy politicians, and compare yachts from Palm Beach to Dubai. So if a Trillionaire was announced, maybe a few billionaires would jump ship into a real Shark Tank!   
The World’s First Trillionaire is an ebook, but it includes plot elements/excerpts from three of my novels, which are audiobooks. My hope is that you’ll go on to listen to those for the full story, not needed or included to make this ebook work. (And other audiobooks here, which make great Christmas gifts.) About the word “Trillionaire,” it is not even a word spellcheck recognizes, although that may change in the lifetime of children alive today, even without hyperinflation (deflation being more likely, say economists now…see my interview with Harry S. Dent.) If the discovery revealed by Mr. T (as in Trillionaire) in this book happens, it may indeed happen sooner rather than later. And that would really be something, if it did. If he wanted to, he could change the world for the better. Makes the song “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits nothing by comparison too, especially lyric wise. “And the chicks are free”? Pretty offensive, and also untrue now. Groupies are writing tell-alls, and want to be given lavish gifts. Get one pregnant and she could hire an A-list lawyer. Slip your groupies drugs and they could call Oprah or The View. Before long Dr. Phil’s producers are calling, and the paparazzi are looking through your trash. If you answer the door and it’s Frontline or 60 Minutes, stick a fork in your bubble (universe) butt, you’re cooked!
Come to think of it, I did once make deliveries, too. So Dire Straits picked the right job to compare rock stars to: backbreaking labor moving appliances, sofas, refrigerators. The custom kitchens part is a big and complicated business, however, and now requires specialists and trained carpenters, not mere blue collar heavy lifters. Of course to “Mr. T”—Howard Rosen—mere millionaires and billionaires with gigantic kitchens are referred to as “losers.” (Ironically, my mom would probably have said the same thing.) 

Saturday, November 14, 2015


Quote for Audiobook CRIPPLED AMERICA by Donald Trump: "Look at the state of the world right now. It’s a terrible mess, and that’s putting it mildly. There has never been a more dangerous time. The politicians and special interests in Washington, DC, are directly responsible for the mess we are in. So why should we continue listening to them? It’s time to bring America back to its rightful owners—the American people. I’m not going to play the same game politicians have been playing for decades—all talk, no action, while special interests and lobbyists dictate our laws. I am shaking up the establishment on both sides of the political aisle because I can’t be bought. I want to bring America back, to make it great and prosperous again, and to be sure we are respected by our allies and feared by our adversaries. It’s time for action. Americans are fed up with politics as usual. And they should be! In this book, I outline my vision to make America great again, including: how to fix our failing economy; how to reform health care so it is more efficient, cost-effective, and doesn’t alienate both doctors and patients; how to rebuild our military and start winning wars—instead of watching our enemies take over—while keeping our promises to our great veterans; how to ensure that our education system offers the resources that allow our students to compete internationally, so tomorrow’s jobseekers have the tools they need to succeed; and how to immediately bring jobs back to America by closing our doors to illegal immigrants, and pressuring businesses to produce their goods at home. This book is my blueprint for how to make America great again. It’s not hard. We just need someone with the courage to say what needs to be said. We won’t find that in Washington, DC."

BERNIE SANDERS audiobook. THE CRASH OF 2016 by Thom Hartmann. 

Based on his groundbreaking reporting for Vanity Fair, Hunting Season is award-winning journalist James Harkin’s harrowing investigation into the abduction, captivity, and execution of James Foley and the fate of more than two-dozen other ISIS hostages. On August 19, 2014, the jihadist rebel group known as ISIS uploaded a video to YouTube. Entitled “Message to America,” the clip depicted the final moments of American journalist James Foley’s life—and the gruesome aftermath of his beheading at the hands of a masked executioner. Foley’s murder—and the choreographed killings that would follow—captured the world’s attention, and the Islamic State’s kidnapping campaign exploded into war. Hunting Season is a riveting account of how the world’s newest and most powerful terror franchise came to target Western hostages, who was behind it, and why almost no one knew about it until it was too late.
Ted Koppel's LIGHTS OUT, about future attacks on the electrical grid.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Black Friday AudioBook Deals Until December 3

Forget ties, fruit cakes, hardcover books, or music CDs. How about audiobooks this Christmas? You can give gift cards for downloads, or the actual audiobooks in CD or Mp3-CD format. Click on the link banner to the right for ideas. There are also links to electronic accessories and funny tee shirts (along with some new ways to dress up a smartphone or disguise it.) Why audiobooks? People are so busy, these days, and stuck in traffic for hours with boring talk radio or repetitive Top 40, who has time to drop everything and read? Or if they do have time, it's still easier and more entertaining to listen to professional actors create characters while you walk or do chores. They can get through more reading that way, too. Audiobooks are not just for trips. They are for cooking, doing laundry, gardening. You name it. Practically every subject imaginable (including cooking or astronomy), plus Vanity Fair magazine on audio, and exciting, enlightening, or funny fiction too. If you know what a person would like to read, your shopping list is now uncomplicated: give them an audiobook. They'll love it, it will be unexpected, and it will engage them for hours. Do you know their favorite movie? If it's based on a book, it's probably on audio, as a fuller, better "audio movie." Why not make someone happy with your new and different choice for a present? 
Ray Bradbury’s moving recollection of a vanished golden era remains one of his most enchanting novels: Dandelion Wine. Downpour has a special Black Friday event going on until Dec. 3, and you can get up to 70% off on downloads, and up to 50% off on CDs, depending on which titles you choose. Click on links to discover the perfect gift.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

Stephen King loves to talk about writing and his influences, and THE BAZAAR OF BAD DREAMS is no exception. The audiobook is narrated by a number of excellent performers, including Will Patton, Holter Graham, Dylan Baker, Edward Herrmann, and others. But Stephen King reading and commenting on his stories is most omnipresent. He loves audiobooks, and loves to narrate them too. Does that make him a narcissist? Only his psychiatrist knows for sure. (And he’s got to have one, right? What with all those wild bad dreams and night terrors?) Some of the stories are old or unpublished prior to this reading, including the first, about a station wagon that is actually a UFO or alien being that eats people who get close to it. King almost never tries to explain his often ridiculous plots, and the fact that these work as stories is testament to his power at sentence construction. With the proper spin and mood control, one can make the reader accept or believe just about anything…at least for the duration of the story. (My own new ebook TrumpWorld postulates Donald Trump as homeless in an alternate bubble universe, trying to get back to normalcy.) Many of the stories here you will not know about, and others you will. It’s a big collection. After so many books, one wonders how King finds the time to write so much. He was nearly killed by a driver once, and has threatened to retire, but never has. My question for him is not “where do you get your ideas?” I already know the answer to that. Finding the time to collate and actually turn them into stories or novels is the bigger problem. (It’s a lot of work.) My question is, “When do you go on vacation, and where?” Imagine being on a cruise ship and you look over, and there sits Stephen King reading a James Patterson novel in a deck chair. (Like maybe Patterson’s latest, MURDER HOUSE, narrated by the always great Jay Snyder, about a murder-haunted beachfront estate in the Hamptons with a sordid history and a hidden mystery.) Not sure that scenario would ever happen for two reasons, the second being Patterson outsells King even though he’s not as good a writer, and King is probably more likely to be reading a literary novel anyway. It’s all a matter of taste and style. Not everything in King’s new collection is as good as Patterson, but there are stories that are far better, too. The range is vast, as is King’s imagination. A few are funny/silly, some are truly scary, and some are literature. Take the bad with the good, so to speak. Add commentary, and an introduction also read by King, and you have a primer for anyone new to writing, or for those horror fans who eat up every word with a side order of Lovecraft.  

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


The author and narrator of TROUBLEMAKER, Leah Remini is an actor, producer, and writer. A fixture on television since the age of eighteen, Remini is best known for her beloved role of Carrie on the nine-season hit The King of Queens. Remini went on to produce and star in one of the earliest and most successful comedic web series, In the Motherhood, and appeared in the movie Old School alongside Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn. In 2010, Remini helped launch and cohosted the first season of the CBS daytime hit show The Talk, and in 2013 she was seen on the dance floor in Dancing with the Stars. She currently costars in the TV Land comedy The Exes and TLC’s reality show Leah Remini: It’s All Relative, which she also created and executive produces. Remini finds great joy in her philanthropic work with numerous and diverse military, women’s, and children’s charities. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter. Will Smith has also left Scientology, and is now a whistleblower on the NFL in the movie (based on the book) CONCUSSION