Tuesday, May 5, 2015

MY FIRST REVIEW FOR THE NEW YORK JOURNAL OF BOOKS



Several months back I was invited by the publisher of the New York Journal of Books to begin reviewing for this successful online venture. Last week my first review came out. It's a review of The Nearest Thing to Life by literary critic and Harvard professor James Wood.  It begins:


The late Ray Bradbury was often approached by fellow authors for cover blurbs for their upcoming releases. As a generous man and dedicated to encouraging others people’s creative endeavors, he accommodated as many as he could, but only if he sincerely felt the work deserving. After reading one novelist’s book, he wrote to him with a blurb suitable for marketing, but added a personal note that what he really liked about the writer’s novel—ostensibly a thriller—was that he took detours or asides to describe the world surrounding the characters, and even the interior landscape of the characters themselves. “After all,” Bradbury wrote, “people don’t really read just for plot.”
It is likely that James Wood, a staff writer for the New Yorker magazine and Professor of the Practice of Literary Criticism at Harvard University, would agree with Bradbury, given the evidence of his latest book, The Nearest Thing to Life. It is a short work that gives deep consideration to the art of fiction and the importance of that art to our culture...
To read more go to: 
http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-review/nearest 



Monday, February 2, 2015

TRAVELING IN AUDIO SPACE -- BOOKS IN 3-D





Here is a Facebook message exchange I had right after the release of the audio book of Traveling in Space that sums up perfectly the importance and power of a spoken word version of prose writing. And how the use of a really fine actor -- as opposed an author who's just a happy ham -- is required.  




Reader Peter Frazier had read Traveling in Space twice (and I thank him for that), but in this listening, a certain aspect of my words and what I do with them took on another dimension making my intentions stand out in a way Peter never saw before. It was almost as if the audio book was a good 3-D version of the text

Now, I have no problem with people just reading my words and getting my intentions in the lovely one-dimension of ink on paper, or even E-ink on screen, but as readers read in different ways -- some sound out the words in their heads, some don't and report that they just see "images," some read only for plot, some skip the descriptive parts (I shudder here in existential writer’s fear) -- that you can't trust that your author's "voice" will be "heard" as you want it heard. But in an audio book, especially if you have the opportunity and skill to direct the performance of your words yourself, you can strive to record a voice you trust will fully convey your voice.

Often it can even go beyond that The actor sometimes surprises you with an interpretation of an intention you didn't even know you were clever enough to have. In other words, the actor brings something of his voice to your "voice" and as long as it is not a 180 turn away from your intentions, it might just be a small revelation to you -- and for the audience.

Here's the whole thing in short -- I try to put music in my words; there is music in the human voice; it is only natural to meld the two.


You can purchase the audio book of Traveling in Space on Audible.com HERE



Print editions of Traveling in Space are available on Amazon.com HERE

Thanks for listening!

Friday, January 30, 2015

THE DIGITAL LAUNCH OF "BY THE SEA" BY STEVEN PAUL LEIVA



When it comes to publishing these days it is quickly becoming a digital world. So -- a digital launch for my latest novel, By the Sea -- A modern comic adult fairy tale with an ensemble cast of Cinderellas. 




For those of you know my previous novels you will find "By the Sea" to be a bit of a departure. It's not a thriller, like my Fixxer Novels, Blood is Pretty and Hollywood is an All-Volunteer Army
and it is certainly not science fiction like Traveling in Space. But it does share with those novels a comic view of life, while exploring art, love, sex, and, ultimately, happiness. I hope you will take a moment and explore the book, and, if it looks like a world you would like to visit, order it through your favorite digital bookstore. It comes in hardback, trade paperback, or ebook for all readers. The ebook can be pre-ordered now for a Feb 15 delivery to your ereader of choice. The print editions have an official publication date of Feb. 1, but IT CAN BE ORDERED NOW from Amazon and other fine online bookstores. If you can share this with friends, family, or even foes who you think might enjoy By the Sea, please do share the invitation by posting on your Facebook pages. It would be very much appreciated, indeed.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

AN AUTHOR'S HAPPY NEW YEAR

Nothing starts a new year off well for an author like indications that his work is appreciated. Oh, possibly a royalty check in six figures would do the trick, but barring that….

On January 2nd I got a notice via email that a message for me had been posted on Goodreads. Dutifully, I went to Goodreads to have a good read of the message:



Well, I was, of course, delighted. What author wouldn’t be, what author does not like being give a second chance and coming out a winner. Especially since Joanna’s first reviewed Traveling in Space in July of last year, giving it, I believe only two stars out of five and and writing this:

“I did not get very far in. I don't care for flippancy in first-contact novels. A little humor is fine, but not complete ridiculousness. I didn't mind it in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but usually I don't care for it.”

I remember noting the review as an example of a reader honestly not liking a certain style of writing. Fair enough -- horse races and all that. I was, though, sad that she did not continue with the book to find that the “flippancy” was possibly but a mad method to get somewhere else. However, I do not remember contacting Joanna to express that or “guilt-tripping” her into trying the audiobook. I suppose I might have, but as I had no way to contact her outside of a message via Goodreads and there is no record of my having messaged her, I do not quite know what happened. But I am happy to leave that as a mystery, because the outcome is quite lovely. Especially since Joanna not only privately messaged me, but was good and kind enough to correct her impression of Traveling in Space publicly by amending her original review:



I now, of, course, very much wanted to contact Joanna, thank her, and answer the question she asked in her message::




As has often been pointed out, the writing of novels is an individual, lonely pursuit. But serious readers like Joanna make it less so.

Still feeling the glow of Joanna, the next day I got an email notice that lead me to this webpage:





The delight here was in now knowing that there are listeners out there who enjoyed the experience  of the audiobook that Jeff Cannata and I worked so hard to achieve, not to mention my co-producer and audio engineer, Peter Lonsdale. A “droning, monotonous performance” is definitely what we did not want. As Joanna said in her review, “The audiobook is more like a one-man radio show.” As Jeff is a fine actor, and I love audio drama, that’s exactly what we were going for, and it’ grand to have that not only recognized, but appreciated. So thank you Joshua.

And yesterday, only the fifth day into the new year, Jeff Cannata and I got this lovely Tweet. Not the first of it’s kind we have gotten in regard our audiobook, but the first one this year. I thanked the tweeter and he responded:



What I love about Scott’s tweets is that the term “Factually speaking” and him saying, “...no joke (it’s definitely NOT the season)” are both references to things in “Traveling in Space.” Lovely, that is.

Appreciation is a wonderful way to start the new year, and leads to much gleeful anticipation as my latest novel, By the Sea







is set to be published on February first, and I am deep into finishing another novel this year. 

Story, characters, incidents, thoughts, ideas, humor, emotions created and given shape to is a fine clay to have your hands in.

Thanks to my publishers, my collaborators, my readers for making it all real. And a great and productive and joyous new year to you all.




Traveling in Space is available as a trade paperback or ebook from Amazon





Or as an audiobook from Audible.com.











Tuesday, November 18, 2014

MY LATEST BOOK: BY THE SEA -- A COMIC NOVEL

BY THE SEA 


A modern comic adult fairy tale with an ensemble cast of Cinderellas. 











“Steven Paul Leiva has written an engaging, thoughtful, and kind book. In this era of unlikable characters and the idea that a "good" book is one in which horrible things happen to horrible people, Leiva has turned that entirely on its head. Even when people act badly, he has told their story with sympathy and grace, with a complete kindness for even the most outwardly difficult characters. By the Sea is long, but it's not fat. It's all muscle. And what a satisfying book it is! Leiva has built his small world perfectly, and each character is so complete and well thought out that what at first seem disparate pieces fit together perfectly by the end. It's a hat trick in perfect proportions!”   -- Jo Graham, author of Black Ships, Hand of Isis, and Stealing Fire.











Instead of a kingdom by the sea, our story takes place in and around a residential hotel by the sea. The architecturally eclectic Briers Hotel is situated on Leech Beach, a not particularly inviting beach, being often fog-bound and always scruffy. But it’s the perfect setting for our Cinderellas, male and female, who put up with the scruffy-ness of life while striving to make it through their various personal seaside fogs.  Theater; art; antiques; old movies; sex; more sex; death; fast and slow cars, chicken shit and cow poop; military bearing and erotic emissions -- not to mention the wicked witch, the sea serpent by the sea shore, the village ogre, the village idiot, and several Prince Charmings -- all figure into this merry tale with a multitude of happy endings.











From








What do they say about Steven Paul Leiva and his books -Traveling in Space, Searching for Ray Bradbury, and Blood is Pretty: The First Fixxer Adventure?


"Beautifully written" -- Ray Bradbury 


"Traveling in Space's humor and refreshing perspective are thoroughly enjoyable" 
 -- Diane Ackerman, New York Times bestselling author of The Human Age and A Natural History of the Senses


“Steven gives way to impulse. To passion and the heart." -- David Brin, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of Existence and the Uplift Series


"Leiva's immense gifts are matched only by his wry, biting wit" -- Paul Provenza; author of ¡Satiristas! director of The Aristocrats, host of Showtime's The Green Room with Paul Provenza


"Highly entertaining and impressive" -- Richard D. Zanuck, Academy Award-winning Producer of Jaws, Cocoon, Driving Miss Daisy, and Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland


"Wry humor, intellectual insight and terrific story telling are the consistent signatures of Leiva's work." -- Ken Kragen, legendary Hollywood producer/manager 



"Superbly entertaining and unique...thought provoking." The Mindquest Review of Books



"Many of the aliens' encounters with human beings are downright funny...much to think about and I'm sure that Traveling in Space will play on my mind for some time to come" -- Russell Blackford, author of 
Humanity Enhanced and Terminator 2: The New John Connor Chronicles



"A unique spin of science fiction... With much humor and much to think about...not to be overlooked" -- Midwest Book Review


"Searching for Ray Bradbury is a delightful book, written and made in the loving spirit of Ray himself...Who could resist?" -- Gary Dalkin, Amazing Stories Magazine



"Ray Bradbury will be remembered as one of the literary giants of the 20th Century.  Steven Paul Leiva's book is a perfect tribute to the life and works of this great artist." -- Joe Mantegna, actor



"Steven Paul Leiva takes a dash of James Bond, the ghost of noir, a splash of Hollywood and stirs it into Blood is Pretty, an adventurous, fast-paced first novel." -- Melodie Johnson Howe, Edgar-nominated author of The Mother Shadow


"The Fixxer has the mystery of the Shadow, the sophistication of James Bond and the street smarts of Sam Spade." -- Stuart Nulman, Book Banter/CJAD, Montreal



"Fixxer is a fascinating character. Intrigue; murder; mayhem in a fast paced action filled adventure. A truly great first novel." -- E. V. Le Roux, Silver Moon Magazine







Monday, November 3, 2014

I HAVE TWO IN THE TOP TEN











I have three of the top 30 articles (in pageviews) for Neworld Review from Nov. 1, 2013 to Nov.1, 2014, as just reported by Fred Beauford, the editor and publisher of Neworld Review. This is from the 780 items posted since Neworld went online in 2009, which, Neworld being an online publication, are all still available and seem to gather readers every month. My pieces that made the cut are:

In position number 3 is my essay “Waiting to Understand Godot.” It details that time I met Samuel Beckett, and my relationship with his great play, Waiting for Godot.

In position number 6 my review of 50 Great Myths About Atheism By Russell Blackford and Udo Sch√ľklenk

And in position number 24 my review of The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology, and Philosophy of the Human Future Edited by Max More and Natasha Vita-More. http://www.neworldreview.com/vol_6No_43/transhumanistReader.php