I’m joining the masses at the movies today to take in the movie version of this book. In the meantime, here’s my review of Andy Weir’s runaway hit that I did back in Decebmer 2014.

Originally posted on G. Robert Frazier's Adventures in Writing:

by G. Robert Frazier

The Martian by Andy Weir isn’t lacking for quality reviews on the Internet, so it was a little surprising to find the book was available for a free read in exchange for an honest review on Blogging for Books. Already a New York Times Bestseller, the book really doesn’t need my two cents worth, but I’m happy to oblige.

The MartianThe book follows the plight of astronaut Mark Watney who is left for dead on Mars by the rest of his crew following an emergency liftoff in the midst of a dust storm. Watney makes clear throughout that his fellow astronauts had no choice but to abandon him or perish themselves. Still, that leaves Watney to fend for himself or die.

Why Matt Damon really wanted to do The Martian

Watney, who is The Martian in this case, is a botanist by occupation and he uses his…

View original 313 more words

Author Update (9-28-15): Author Amy Stewart promises a sequel in the Kopp sisters story due in 2016. Also, movie and/or TV offers in the works. Read more at

by G. Robert Frazier

Constance Kopp could be just the leading lady Hollywood has been waiting for. She’s independent, resourceful, intelligent, brave, and she won’t back down from any man. While we wait for the inevitable movie adaptation and for the dust to settle over which A-list actress should portray her on the big screen, readers can whet their appetite for Constance’s adventures now in the pages of Girl Waits With Gun, the new novel by Amy Stewart (available Sept. 1 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27).

Girl Waits With GunSet in 1914, the novel wastes no time as Constance, along with sisters Norma and Fleurette, are nearly killed in the opening pages in a horrific collision between a motor car and their horse-drawn buggy in Paterson, N.J. Both Constance and Norma escape the mishap with minor scrapes, though Fleurette, who is the youngest of the three at just 16, suffers a badly injured leg.

Making matters worse, the driver of the motor vehicle, silk factory magnate Henry Kaufmann, has no remorse for what’s happened and lays the blame for the wreck on the Kopp sisters. When he tries to drive off, Constance promptly shuts the car door in his face and demands his name so that she can send him the repair bill for the wreckage to their buggy. Right away readers cannot help but cheer for Constance Kopp and want to keep reading.

Read the full review at Killer Nashville

by G. Robert Frazier

 In the life of every country, at a moment of extreme national disruption, there is a brief period of breakdown, when everything is uncertain. That is the moment to act, to shape events how you want them to go. That is Minute Zero.

Minute ZeroState Department Crisis Manager Judd Ryker is thrown into the midst of just such a scenario in Minute Zero, the new book by Todd Moss (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, $27). Inspired by actual events, the novel highlights the chaos of a national election gone awry in the African country of Zimbabwe. Rudd is tasked with helping steer a political outcome that will benefit the United States, but, unknown to him, he is just a pawn in the political game being played out around him.

The election pits longtime Zimbabwe leader Winston Tinotenda against upstart rebellion leader Gugu Mutonga, and early signs point to a possible victory by Mutonga at the polls. Ryker’s investigation unveils a money trail and secret US support behind the candidates, as well as a scheme to uncover a high-grade uranium mine that could put the weapons-grade material in the wrong hands.

But as the election draws to a close, the country is rocked by a series of events.

Read the full review here.

So, I just wrote a story (essay) about a hat for the Iowa Writers Workshop I’m participating in. The piece is part of the welcome week activities in which we were supposed to write about an object of wonder. Here’s what I wrote:

The baseball cap sits atop the plastic pencil drawer on my desk, just to the right of the computer screen, silent and unobtrusive as a hat usually is, yet loud and boastful with its simple message. The hat — it’s black, my favorite color — includes one six-letter word written across its face. All caps in a clean, traditional Courier font.

No, not a sports team or a city or a logo. A word. A simple word.

That one word is my constant reminder of who I long to be, and who I am. It is a word that is both bold and sure of itself, regardless of anything else. It is a word as powerful as the person it describes. As poignant or as humorous or as exciting as I am. As fearful and as lonely as a person can be. As I am.

Read the rest of this entry »

Just when you think you’ve heard everything, there’s this: In Los Angeles, if you are freelance writer or creative trying to eke out a meager living, you could be penalized for a tax you don’t owe. The penalty applies if you fail to register for an exemption from the tax by a certain date each year.

This has got to be one of the most ridiculous excuses for a city government to stick it to the masses I’ve ever read.

The full article is here.

What do you think? Should freelancers and creatives have to acquire a license to work and be penalized if they don’t? 

by G. Robert Frazier

I don’t mean to sound insensitive or cold, but this whole push for trigger warnings on virtually everything is ridiculous.

According to the Washington Post article, four students, who are members of Columbia’s Multicultural Affairs Advisory Board, say trigger warnings are needed on certain texts dealing with Greek mythology, of all things. “These texts, wrought with histories and narratives of exclusion and oppression, can be difficult to read and discuss as a survivor, a person of color, or a student from a low-income background,” the students write.

When I worked as a newspaper reporter and editor, we would often include a note to readers — a trigger warning, if you will — at the beginning of stories about sexual violence. It was just good public policy to let parents know the article’s content might not be suitable for children to read. It was the same idea as ratings for motion pictures and comic books.

Trigger warnings take the idea a step farther, by seeking such warnings on topics ranging from racism to classism to sexism and every -ism in between. And not just for the benefit of parents trying to monitor their childrens’ reading, but for the reader who may take personal offense to any of the issues or content within said article.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Los Angeles Times recently surveyed writers participating in the L.A. Times Festival of Books about their path to literary success. The result can be seen the creation of a unique board game that lets you play along.

The board game cites interesting results along the way, including:

  • the age respondents decided to be a writer
  • 51 percent kept a diary
  • 25 percent who got an MFA in creative writing
  • most influential books in youth (Grapes of Wrath and Portrait of a Lady)
  • 58 percent of writers make a living from writing
  • how respondents published, whether with a major, traditional publisher; independent publisher; or self-publisher
  • 64 percent had books rejected
  • age in percent that they had their first best-seller
  • percent who teach creative writing

The game itself awards points for writing or winning a contract or agent, but deducts points for falling into a social media hole that keeps you from writing to losing points in a computer crash. I played the game and scored 33 points, which translated equates to: “You’re Ernest Hemingway. You’re celebrated, but not by everyone.”

Hmm, I’ll take it.

Give the game a try. (But subtract 10 points for allowing it to keep you from writing.)


Now here’s something to read and savor, especially if you’re a New England Patriots fan and you hate Roger Goodell.

NFL vs. NFL Players Association Decision & Order

Tom Brady Deflategate suspension nullified

Patriots owner Robert Kraft issues statement

Hurley: If you’re still hung up on Brady being guilty, you’re an idiot

Goodell won’t let court decision rest; vows appeal

NFL owners to re-evaluate Goodell’s role in disciplinary process

Why Deflategate was the perfect media feeding frenzy

Previously on Adventures in Writing:

Assumptions, not fact, are bottom line in Deflategate

Sports media has lost its cool over Deflategate

wes_craven_photoWes Craven, 1939-2015

Wes Craven, the man who gave us Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream and The Hills Have Eyes has died. He was 76.

I believe the cinema is one of our principal forms of art. It is an incredibly powerful way to tell uplifitng stories that can move people to cry with joy and inspire them to reach for the stars.

On horror movies:

It’s like boot camp for the psyche. In real life, human beings are packaged in the flimsiest of packages, threatened by real and sometimes horrifying dangers, events like Columbine. But the narrative form puts these fears into a manageable series of events. It gives us a way of thinking rationally about our fears.”

More quotes to remember Wes Craven by

The official site of Wes Craven

Read the original script for Dream Warriors

Remembering the man who transformed horror

The Atlantic: How Wes Craven redefined horror

How Wes Craven wrote, then rewrote his own horror rules

A video tribute to horrormeister Wes Craven

Originally posted on G. Robert Frazier's Adventures in Writing:

“Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one.”

Terry Pratchett, 1948-2015

UPDATE: Aug. 26, 2005: New Discworld book hits stores Sept. 1

Fans of the late Terry Pratchett will be happy to know his latest (and sadly last) Discworld book, The Shepherd’s Crown, will hit bookshelves Sept. 1. Go here to read an excerpt from the book.

Terry Pratchett remembered

Terry Pratchett in quotes

Terry Pratchett and, well, everything

View original

Quote  —  Posted: August 26, 2015 in Uncategorized