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

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!

Kirkus Reviews: Divided We Fall Delivers on Promise of ‘Riveting Debut’

I’m excited to announce that Kirkus Reviews has followed up its rave review of my novel WE, THE WATCHED with a stellar review of the sequel, DIVIDED WE FALL.

You can check out the full critique over at Kirkus, but here’s a quick taste:

… a gripping dystopian narrative … Bender’s sequel is a worthy delivery on the promise of his riveting debut.

A novel about a scheming president offers an excellent read for those who love thrillers or 21st-century history.

KIRKUS REVIEWS

If you haven’t read DIVIDED WE FALL yet, check out this page for a list of stores where you can buy it in digital ($3.99) or paperback ($13.99). You can also get WE, THE WATCHED for FREE by joining my mailing list! And check out “Fire Eyes,” a short story that ties into the series.

DIVIDED WE FALL picks up on the events of WE, THE WATCHED. With the nation under attack, Agent Eve Parker must find and arrest her fiancé, who has lost his memory and become a revolutionary named Seven. However, when Eve learns more about the President’s plan to broaden citizen surveillance, she begins to question just who is right.

I hope you enjoy the book and look forward to reading your review!

Bender Novels Featured in SELF-e Indie Pennsylvania

Now free at your library!
Now free at your library!

As a local Philadelphia author, I’m thrilled to announce that SELF-e is now featuring my novels WE, THE WATCHED and DIVIDED WE FALL in its Indie Pennsylvania collection.

SELF-e is a curated collection of self-published works by Library Journal and BiblioBoard, and is available to participating libraries across the county. Because I’m from Philly, my books will be featured prominently in the Pennsylvania Indie collection. When you visit a library in any state that has BiblioBoard, you can access eBooks of my novels on library computers or on your personal mobile devices by downloading the BiblioBoard app from the Apple, Google or Amazon app stores. Since you’re getting them through a library, the books are free to borrow, though the app includes a Buy link if you’d like to add the eBook or paperback to your personal bookshelf.

I’m excited to make my books available to new readers! If your library supports BiblioBoard, please let me know your experience finding my book. And if your library doesn’t have it, ask them to look into it!

And don’t forget, you can also get WE, THE WATCHED free by joining the Underground, my monthly mailing list for fans.

On pitching my Dystopian Western to literary agents

Cowboy with two guns
Philly Writing Workshop
Philly Writing Workshop

What a rush! On Saturday, I pitched two literary agents on my next novel, The Wanderer and the New West, at the Philly Writing Workshop. I also learned a great deal about the query process in a series of talks by Chuck Sambuchino from Writer’s Digest.

I’m excited to report that both of my pitches with agents went well, and I will follow up with them soon. While I can’t say for sure what will happen, it’s encouraging to get such a positive response to my novel’s concept.

Doing all that pitching forced me to hone my one-sentence pitch (a.k.a. “logline”). The Wanderer and the New West is a 100,000-word Dystopian Western about a gunman seeking redemption in a future America where the government has strengthened the Second Amendment and individuals make their own justice.

Hey, I’d read it.

Oh, and I guess this is a good time to tell you that editing is finished! Following two rounds of content editing, my editor Rachel sent me the final technical copy edits. And let me tell you, this thing is looking polished. If you are a writer, I cannot recommend enough the value of a good freelance editor.

If you want to keep up to date on the new book (and get my first novel for free), please join the Underground, my monthly mailing list for fans of my work. I can’t wait to share my new novel with you!