Saturday, October 11, 2014

A personal update for my readers and radio listeners

I have some news to share with readers and listeners who’ve been following my recent attempts to reinvent myself after a 33-year career in TV news.  The print publication of my science fiction novel, A Journal of the Crazy Year, is now set for early January.  And I’ve just learned that it’s been selected for review by Publisher’s Weekly.

To get the review, I had to send in two copies of the finished book, and then survive two selection rounds.  Once ready, the review will go up on their website and possibly be included in their weekly magazine as well.  There’s no guarantee that I’ll get a good review, of course.  But the fact that the book did make it through those first two competitive rounds has me feeling hopeful, as does the fact that reader reviews for the Kindle edition were very good overall.  The sci-fi site also gave that edition a thumbs up last year, calling it a “thrilling narrative” and writing some nice words about the huge amount of real-life medical research I put into the novel. 

My debut novel, Messages (which is not sci-fi, but rather a crime and satire novel set in a TV newsroom) also got very good reader and professional reviews, including one from the respected outfit Kirkus Reviews, and that gives me hope as well.  So, I have my fingers crossed. 

A Journal of the Crazy Year is more relevant right now than it was when I was setting the words down.  I wrote about a new and deadly disease that had broken out and was threatening the world.  This was well before the current Ebola outbreak.  I wrote about increasingly brutal and bizarre public acts of mass violence.  This was before the recent incident in Memphis where crowds of people gathered in a grocery store parking lot and began attacking shoppers at random just for the fun of it.  And according to, so far this year there have been 237 mass shootings in the United States.  237!  I wrote about passenger jets going off course and mysteriously crashing under circumstances that suggested the incidents were not accidents.  This was well before the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.  I wrote about new warfare erupting in Iraq before ISIS burst on to the scene (the new edition now reflects that new reality).  The novel is as relevant as this morning’s newspaper. 

In fact, in retrospect I now worry at least a little whether the “fiction” I set down is bizarre enough to outstrip the present-day reality.  But let’s hope the current similarities between the novel and the daily news end where they now are.  Because it gets worse in the novel.  Much worse.  Still, if you’re interested to see how certain trends now before us could ultimately play out—and, as a side show, how it would all unfold in the media, written by a TV news guy who definitely knows what that would look like—the novel is a quick, cheap read, and it’s based largely on medical, societal, and news industry realities.

When I published Messages in print late last year, I was in a hurry.  In fact, as I have mentioned on this blog and on my radio show, my entire change of life and the subsequent writing endeavors were driven by certain personal premonitions suggesting to me that I might be running out of time.  This is why I did not even try to seek a traditional publisher last year, which can take quite some time even if successful.  I was experiencing no physical symptoms at the time, but late last year the premonitions proved out when I was handed a diagnosis of cancer.  However, I survived a very difficult surgery, thanks to the skilled hands of my doctor, Sanjay Ramakumar, and to his team.  I’ll never be completely out of the woods, but time is now less of an issue for me than it was.  So, for A Journal of the Crazy Year, I handled the print publication differently and with a tad more patience.  For one thing, I spent quite a bit of time working on a new cover (you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but let’s be honest, people do that all the time) and I’m very happy with it.  For another, I delayed the print publication date long enough to make it possible to seek professional reviews, a practice that is standard in the publication industry.

My illness interrupted the writing of my third novel, which is also science fiction.  When I got fully back on my feet in April, the first thing I did was to launch The Bashful Bloviator blog, which took some time.  Then came the work on the new book cover.  And then I took a news/talk gig in radio, which was my first professional love.  Since I switched to afternoon drive a few weeks ago, I’m happy to say my show on Tucson’s PowerTalk 1210 appears to be drawing in new listeners.  Producer Mark Ulm and I are trying something a big different and somewhat experimental—serious news and commentary mixed with satire and some outright silliness.  I have reason to believe that formula is hitting the spot with at least some listeners, such as the one I heard from on Friday who told me he loved the show overall and that the skits cracked him up.  That’s music to my ears.  Many days, we get so many calls that I don’t get through all my prepared material, and sometimes those callers take the show in unexpected and fun directions.  I’m loving it.

The radio project further delayed me getting back to that third novel, but I finally hit the keyboard again two months ago.  I’m able to spend less time per day with the book than before, but I’m greatly enjoying the writing.   The draft surpassed novel length six weeks ago, and I’m now 95% finished with it.  Since I’m in the climactic part of the book right now, it’s hard to tear myself away every afternoon to get ready for the radio show.  But I manage to do it and I’m having a blast with both. 

I will feel very sad when this new novel is complete.  These characters have been a part of my life for a year now, and I’m attached to them.  I can’t testify as to whether they feel the same way about me.  As I’ve said before, I don’t believe my characters are really alive.  But they sure as hell do.  And some of the decisions they make are strictly on their own; in some places I just take notes.  I’ll miss them. 

Once this new book is complete, I may decide to spend at least a few months seeking a traditional publisher.  But rest assured, it will be out in public one way or another relatively soon.  And I plan to immediately set to work on a fourth.

Meanwhile, look for the print edition of A Journal of the Crazy Year to be available in early January.  I’ll make an announcement here and will also reveal the new cover at that time.  Watch this space!

And remember, you can catch my radio show on Tucson’s PowerTalk 1210 AM Monday through Friday from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM Mountain Standard Time (which, when the rest of the nation is in Daylight Savings Time, corresponds to Pacific Time.)  We stream to the Internet via four different methods on our main web page, and you can also get us via Tune In.

Stand by for more updates.  And thanks for reading and listening!


Post Script:  The print edition came out on schedule.  And recently I got to go on nationwide radio to discuss it!  Go here to find out more about that and hear the latest news on how this is going.

©2014 by Forrest Carr.  All rights reserved.


  1. Let me know when it's published and congratulations. Hope you're continuing to get better and all the best to Debbie.

  2. Sounds like a must read. I'll look of fit when it comes out.