The Wanderer’s Cover Revealed! Gunning for Unlawful Readers in February 2018

The Wanderer is coming to bring New West justice to a town near you! My trigger finger has been itchin’ to get this fine dystopian-western novel into readers’ hands. Well, that time’s almost here, and I have the first evidence!

Allow me to present a staggering shot to the senses, the cover for The Wanderer and the New West by artist Ben Mcleod!

The cover for The Wanderer and the New West
The Wanderer and the New West — Cover by Ben McLeod.

This ain’t your grandfather’s Western. With elected leaders rushing to loosen laws and get more guns into Americans’ hands, this adventure need not take place in the past because the Wild West is coming back! In the way that We, The Watched and Divided We Fall analyzed the real issue of government surveillance, The Wanderer and the New West takes on gun culture in the United States and where things could be heading.

But enough of my peddling! When can you read it?

The Wanderer and the New West will be released February 4, 2018 in paperback and eBook editions.

But wait! You can pre-order the digital eBook version today on Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo, Smashwords and more fine online retail establishments! Keep your eyes peeled for more information soon on how you can order the hard copy.

Meet Ben Mcleod, cover artist for The Wanderer and the New West

My next novel — The Wanderer and the New West — is getting closer to publication! A key part of that process is designing a cover, and I’m thrilled to announce illustrator Ben Mcleod will be taking on this important job.

Hailing from Manchester, Ben has created art for an array of cool clients like Disney and 20th Century Fox, working on such popular franchises as Star Wars and X-Men! Check out some of his recent work below and on his Tumblr blog.

I’ve seen some of Ben’s ideas for The Wanderer and am thrilled with the direction. Can’t wait to share the cover with you when it’s complete!

The Time Machine
Credit: Ben Mcleod
Star Wars
Credit: Ben Mcleod
Big Hero 6
Credit: Ben Mcleod
1984 by George Orwell
Credit: Ben Mcleod

Journalists are worried about trust… and 4 other big takeaways from ONA 17

Just got back from the Online News Association 2017 conference in Washington, DC!

From fake news possibly influencing the election to elected leaders referring to real journalism as fake news, trust in news could be at an all-time low in the United States. As someone who cares about reporting truth with fairness and balance, I’m deeply worried about the future of journalism. Based on what I heard at this year’s ONA, I’m not the only one.

Here are some of my takeaways from the conference about how to restore trust in this critical institution:

  1. Journalists should spend quality time in local communities.

    Asma Khalid (WBUR) made a strong argument against “parachuting” into towns and neighborhoods to get the story. It’s important to be present and listen, she said. Not only will sources appreciate it, but it just might change their opinion about reporters.

  2. Newsrooms should be as diverse as America.

    Journalists are supposed to ask questions on behalf of the nation, but according to Nikole Hannah-Jones of The New York Times Magazine, an industry dominated by white men can’t represent all of the people. News companies must consider this as they make hiring decisions, she said.

  3. Be open about where you’re coming from.

    That’s from Rob Wijnberg, editor in chief of De Correspondent. Transparency about the writer behind the story makes for more honest journalism, he said. PBS Public Editor Madhulika Sikka said it’s impossible for reporters to be completely objective because they have to live their lives outside of work: “The point is to be fair.”

  4. Fact check with public data and citations.

    Government data and other trusted information makes it difficult for critics and politicians to dispute a story, said one panel. NPR combated one senator’s Twitter criticisms of a story by coolly tweeting the facts used in its reporting, said Mark Memmott. The senator backed down.

  5. Don’t cover everything.

    There’s something to be said for “strategic silence,” said CUNY’s Molly de Aguiar. Reporters should ask if they’re giving oxygen to a fraudulent claim, inadvertently reinforcing the disinformation, she said.

ONA Reception
Journalists let off some steam at the Newseum.

An update on my current projects

Things are moving forward again on releasing my next novel, The Wanderer and the New West.

Jim Spivey
Jim Spivey, editor

I’m very excited to announce that professional editor Jim Spivey has joined the project to proofread the novel! Jim’s job is to seek and destroy typos and grammar and style problems. Like my first editor, Jim previously edited for DC Comics. He later did production for Hachette and directed editorial for Kirkus. Check out Jim’s full profile on Reedsy, but you can bet his more than two decades of professional experience means a super-polished read when the new book reaches your hands!

Meanwhile, I’ve begun work writing my next next novel! It’s a political satire following Blake “The Hammer” Hamner, PR crisis adviser for a dystopian president. Believe me, this past year has provided a wealth of material! The novel’s working title is Utopia PR. It started life as a short story, but that felt too short. I also tried it as a screenplay, and while I think it would still work well as a film someday, I ultimately decided that a prose version provided some advantages.

Can’t wait to share all of this with you. Assuming all goes well, I hope to announce a release date for the Wanderer in the not-too-distant future. Stay tuned!

You’re Invited to ‘A LifeTrade Wedding’

Logo for 'A Life Trade Wedding'

Here’s the ad copy for my new short story:

Read about the next direction of matchmaking apps – exchanging lives! A reluctant groom leaves his bride at the altar by trading places with a man who wants to be married. A series of testimonials by the wedding party shows how LifeTrade can give everyone a “happily ever after.”

I wrote “A LifeTrade Wedding” as a fictional advertorial for the trading-places-as-a-service (TPaaS) introduced in a previous short story. I had a lot of fun writing it and am super excited to share it with you!

As with all my short stories, it’s completely free to read. If you like it, please leave a comment below or a review where you download it.

Get the eBook now from Smashwords, Apple iTunesBarnes & Noble, Kobo or Scribd.

Cover for A Life Trade Wedding