Category Archives: On Writing

Weathergirl Reduced (536x800)

Available in print and e-book formats on Amazon.com and in print format from many other online retailers, including BarnesandNoble.com. See what’s become of Effie Mae, the notorious “spin the bottle” girl from Zendoscopy, and some of your other favorite characters from that novel. And now meet the hapless Horace Tibbles, ex-CPA and aspiring but terrible nightclub magician, and bumbling detective Dudley Boomchika, arguably one of the most unlikely heroes since Inspector Clousseau. It all makes for quite a romp in the Southern California of the 1980s.

 

Weathergirl: Chapter One Still Online!

For those of you who perhaps missed the last post, you can still see it and read the first chapter of my latest novel, Weathergirl. Please check it out and, if you like it, surf over to Amazon.com and pick up either a print or an e-book copy of the book. The story picks up years after the events depicted in my previous novel, Zendoscopy, and follows several of the characters in that book. Most notably among them is the notorious “spin the bottle girl”, Effie Mae McStutz, now divorced from and in pursuit of her alimony-shirking ex-husband Horace, who abandoned his practice as a CPA to become a rather terrible and pathetic nightclub magician. Things begin to go wildly out of control as as the increasingly deranged Horace is moved to pursue desperate measures to resolve his financial problems.

“Weathergirl” Is Coming!

Weathergirl, the “not-quite-a-sequel” to Zendoscopy is now in pre-publication and will likely be available in March. If you’ve wondered what became years later of some of the characters in Zendloscopy, like Effie Mae (the 10-cent airmail girl), you’ll be able to find out soon.

On another note, you’ve no doubt noticed that I haven’t been posting for some time, now. There’s a reason. It seems that pretty much everything I’ve said and continue to think about our current politics and the nut case in the White House is being well reflected in the media. The New York Times, the Washington Post, MSNBC and other outlets are doing a great job, and there’s not much I can add that would be worth your time to read. Stick with me, though, for more posts to come upon the release of Weathergirl. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Back After a Hiatus: Politics as Usual

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted to the blog. Life’s like that, I guess. Lots of other responsibilities and even some fun stuff have kept me from blogging. First, in early April, I spent time selling one of my books, Zendoscopy, at the L.A. Times Festival of Books. While sales were less than spectacular, the time I spent with other writers while meeting and greeting the public in the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society booth was interesting and fun, and when it was over, I returned home recharged to work on the not-quite-a-sequel to Zendoscopy. Yes, it’s got a title, finally, after two years of ruminating over possible monikers, and it’s getting close to completion. I won’t be announcing the title until the book is completed and formally copyrighted, however. A bit later this year, all being well, I’ll post a chapter or two to whet appetites. All I can say now is that it’s going to be even funnier than the funniest parts of Zendoscopy, and not quite as angst-ridden.

Those who’ve read Spacebraid and Other Tales of a Dystopian Universe and/or Zendoscopy have likely surmised that I’m an amateur (“ham”) radio operator. In fact, I have been a ham since I was a kid. In April I was away at a major West Coast amateur radio convention for which I was the program chairman (third time in the job), and I just returned from attending the largest such convention held every year in Dayton, Ohio, where as President of an international organization of amateur radio operators in the health professions I chaired its annual meeting.

So, I’ve been busy.

Not so busy, however, that I haven’t been following what journalist Matt Taibbi has aptly called the Republican Clown Car. Of course, with only Trump (Drumpf?) left standing, it’s less a clown car now than a reincarnation of the Third Reich. Think that’s an exaggeration? Think again.

Let’s forget about Barry Goldwater for this discussion and skip directly to the Reagan era, when we truly began to see the rise of the religious right and an increase in bold faced Republican right wing lying to the public in ways that left a significant segment of the American population unaware that voting “conservative” was tantamount to voting against their better interests. Then came the so-called neocons, with Dick Cheney and a moronic President named George W., who led us into a misguided war based upon inadequate data and outright fibbing. There was an increased sense of militancy in foreign policy with more than a dollop of nation building idealism thrown in but based upon a wholly inadequate understanding of Middle Eastern culture, politics, and history. Meanwhile, at home, those most opposed to “big government” had no hesitations about trying to further disadvantage the poor, trample on equal rights for women and reproductive choice, restrict health care, undercut voting rights, and gang rape the environment.

Endlessly repeated lies and misinformation from the right, coupled with the Republican and Wall Street induced economic collapse of 2008, created an angry public that swallowed Republican scapegoating of President Obama and the Democrats, Muslims, Mexicans, and immigrants in general, and in the end created so much alienation that it inevitably led to the appearance of the Republican Clown Car: all those idiots competing for the Republican Presidential nomination. Let’s see, now. Just a few of them…Ben Carson, a religious fool who thinks the pyramids are hollow and were built for grain storage. Carly Fiorina, who touts her business experience but drove Hewlett-Packard into the ground and was fired as its CEO. The pathetic Jeb Bush, wholly inept as a debater and too weak to stand up to any of his opponents . Ted Cruz, one of the meanest, most reactionary, lizard-like human beings on the planet. I could go on with Christy, Paul, Kasich, Rubio…but you get the idea. And finally, of course, the alien monster that burst from the collective chest of the Republican disaffected, an arrival virtually guaranteed by years of Republican rhetoric and behavior: the Trumpmeister, himself. Misogynistic, bullying, bloviating, ignorant of world history, politics and culture, bigoted, scapegoating, vulgar, egotistical — a man with no real political allegiances who simply gave voice to all that festering anger and frustration, bias, bigotry, and xenophobia: the slimy innards and cold heart of today’s Republican Party. The right wing is like the rioters of Watts, Ferguson, and too many other places. It doesn’t care if it destroys the country – it’s simply mad beyond reason, charged with irrational anger, and Trump is the vehicle of this inchoate rage. Damn the torpedoes – blow up democratic government by consensus and compromise and simply rule by fiat. In other words, If Trump wins in November, we will have elected a fascist.

In several of my prior blog entries, I’ve said similar things, but the situation now is getting serious, folks. A recent Wall Street Journal poll (and, OK, the WSJ is pretty conservative) found that Clinton still beats Trump in the general election, but only by a margin of three percentage points: 46 to 43. Now, that’s scary. Do we want a bloviating, bigoted ignoramus as President? Could he really win in November. Unfortunately, the answer is yes. After all, consider the re-election of George W., and try not to cry when you do. Anything’s possible.

The only hope is for youth and minorities to show up in droves at the polls. Let’s hope they’ve gotten the message because if they haven’t, and if we end up with a President Trump, we may find the Canadians wanting to build a wall to keep us out.

Where Are The Sales?

I just received the annual report from WordPress with the 2015 statistics for seductivepeach.com. Over the course of the past year, the blog was viewed in 71 countries around the world, a fact that both surprises and delights me. So, as 2015 ends and 2016 begins (I’m writing this on New Year’s Eve), I want to thank everyone for their support and interest in my ramblings and rantings.

Having expressed my thanks, I still want to ask a question to which I probably won’t get an answer. With so many readers in so many countries, how come I sold so few of my two books in 2015?

Zendoscopy is the sometimes hilarious, sometimes wrenching story of Sherman, a somewhat square peg of a kid coming of age in the round hole of his 1950s and ‘60s Southern California world. The book has received excellent reviews (check them out on Amazon.com), and I’ve done book signings and taken ads during the year. Yet, still, very few sales. If you haven’t read (bought!) the book, please consider doing so as we enter 2016. And if you like it, please write a review on Amazon.com or any other online site that accepts reviews. And tell your friends about it, too!

Spacebraid and Other Tales of a Dystopian Universe , my other book, was published back in 2004. It, too received favorable reviews but has sold many copies. It’s a collection of science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories written over a period of years when, in my former (I’m retired) career as a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist, I needed to kill time in the hospital waiting for women in labor to deliver their babies. It’s a fun read if you’re into those genres, and I hope you’ll consider getting a copy in the year to come.

Both books are available in hardcover and e-book formats, so take your choice. You’ll find the hardcover (trade paperback) versions of each on any of many online sites, and the e-book on Amazon.com. I recommend buying from Amazon.com and posting reviews there. Of course, if you live in Southern California and buy the hardcopy version, I’d be glad to autograph it for you.

Finally, the not-quite-a-sequel to Zendoscopy should be ready sometime in 2016. Several of the characters from Zendoscopy appear in the new book, but the story is totally new. If you’d like to find out more about Effie Mae, Larry, Saltzman, and Consuela, you’ll certainly want to pick up the new book when it arrives. I’ll be announcing its title a little later in 2016, so keep watching the blog or check me out on Facebook.

In the meantime, have a safe, happy, and healthy new year, and let’s all hope that in 2016 we’ll begin to see a more peaceful and tolerant world. And that goes for the behavior in Congress, as well!

Upcoming Zendoscopy Signing

On Saturday, 11/21 from 10 AM to 1 PM , I will be participating in a local authors’ fair at the Peninsula Center branch of the Palos Verdes Library, located at 701 Silver Spur Road, Rolling Hills Estates (main entrance located on Deep Valley Drive).

I will be signing my book, Zendoscopy, so if you don’t have a copy and can stop by, please do so. I’d love to sign a copy for you! Even if you already do have a copy, bring it and I’ll sign it for you.

Here’s the full text of the book’s review by B. Case, a top 500 reviewer for Amazon.com:

5.0 out of 5 stars Witty, warm, and wonderful, December 26, 2014

“Zendoscopy,” by J. Allan Wolf, is a fictional memoir that tries to be both emotionally honest and delightfully hilarious. It succeeds admirably at both. I haven’t enjoyed a work quite like this since I read David Niven’s autobiography, “Moon’s a Balloon” some 42 years ago. That bestseller captured the essence of the famous English actor’s sparkling personality mostly through a collection of outlandish (but narrowly true-to-life) tales. It’s the same with this book. It’s the personality of author that shines through loud and clear out of the pure joy of the reading experience.

“Zendoscopy” defies categorization. I called it a fictional memoir because it reminded me of Niven’s autobiography. But I could just have easily have said that it was a character study, a coming-of-age-novel, or a collection of linked stories. Whatever it is, in summary, it covers the early life of a geeky, insecure, and bright young man named Sherman Alt. The stories start with his birth in a hospital where a plumber’s plunge serves a vital role. It ends with Alt as a medical doctor with a wife, a home, and a major plumbing problem. In between are many stories that help describe what it was like to grow up in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. The stories cover a broad range from serious to slapstick. It’s a work full of wry humor, ironic circumstances, and somewhat exaggerated tales. Many of the stories have to do with the main character’s adventures and misadventures with the opposite sex.

On a serious note, the book covers the journey of one man toward self-acceptance and the deep psychological reward of a validated life. It’s impressive the way the author pulls off this serious theme from a book that is mostly light and brilliantly funny.

Wolf’s prose is rich and polished. He keeps his readers engaged by focusing almost entirely on action and dialog rather than weighing down any particular piece with too much descriptive prose. Most of his character development takes place through authentic action and dialog. As a result, these secondary characters flash to life off the page.

As for the meaning of the unusual title, “Zendoscopy,” trust that there’s a gratifying explanation at the end of the last story. And, yes, it’s tied together with further revelations about the honorable, rational, and world-loving character of Sherman Alt.

Naturally, the perfect audience for this book would be other bright, geeky men who grew up in the same time period (i.e., Baby Boomers in their mid-60s). But I am sure the many universal themes in this book can resonate nicely with a much broader range of readers. As far as humorous anecdotal story collections go, this book gets an easy five stars in my rating scheme. It’s brilliantly written and had me smiling almost constantly and laughing out loud a number of times.”

   So, plan to attend if you can. If you can’t, you can still get hard copy from Amazon.com or the e-book format for Kindle. The book is also available from multiple other online sellers.