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BIBLIOGRIND

Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

A QUORA question…

Recently (or not so, but now I’ve re-found the forum) I came across an interesting question: WHAT ARE SOME GOOD WRITERS GROUPS TO JOIN ONLINE?

Firstly, I have some strong opinions about “learning to write fiction”, and even stronger about writers groups. Without getting into those bags of snakes, here is my answer to the above question:

You might find a writing group that helps you look further into your writing. That would be good. However, be aware that fellow writing group inmates may have the same “problems” or need help as much as yourself. Do you really want to take advice from people who likely — practically speaking — can’t write any better than you do at this point?

What you need, conversely, is a good mentor, or better yet, someone who knows books and how story works and what’s all inside character and narrative. A friend, a lover, an acquaintance? Maybe you can find this person within an online group. Wonderful.

Ultimately, however, you’re going to have to learn from the masters, those who’ve come before you, those whose proven craft of storytelling is obvious from the first sentence and doesn’t let up, won’t let you go, even long after you’ve completed the book.

For that I have a decent list you might begin with: Margaret Atwood, Richard Ford, Iris Murdoch, Mary Gaitskill, Saul Bellow, Nabokov, V.S. Naipaul, Paul Theroux and Alex Theroux. Read everything by Philip Roth. Read the Russians, the French; Goethe and Cervantes; Dickens and Henry James (he was more Brit than American). Read Edith Wharton. All of these authors provide a master-class in the techniques — and art — of writing fiction.

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My latest novel is “Max, the blind guy” from which you can read an excerpt here.

Promotional Video for “Max, the blind guy”

I shot a promo video for my new novel today, in the square in Prague where I first saw “Max” and “Greta” — an older couple walking through the open-air market. The image of this couple — a doting wife and a blind man — gave me the story moment from which the full-length novel “MAX, the blind guy” grew.

Thank You for Supporting Your Local (er… GLOBAL) Author

MaxCOVERToday is the launch of my new novel, MAX, THE BLIND GUY, I want to take some post-space to deliver a heart-felt “Thank you” to those who have supported this two-point-five-year project. From the first month or so after I came up with the vision for this book (while standing on a street corner in Prague, watching an elderly couple walk arm in arm together, he blind, smoking and nodding to her continuous description of the open-air market nearby Prague’s Wenceslaus Square.

I wrote the scene over the next few days that would eventually become the (near) beginning of the book. A few days later, I read this to a group of friends, who encouraged me to continue, and to find the story. Today all of that work has been realized.

Please enjoy this novel, as it’s a story we can understand, if only not to ever wish to live ourselves.

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“Max, the blind guy” is the story of Max and Greta Ruth, their 40-year relationship, and all the demons that show up as they find that life rarely goes according to plan. This new novel is published by Siren & Muse Publishing and available at Amazon.com. Come by MarkBeyer : Author and read an excerpt that you won’t find at on-line bookshops.

What Beauty was published in 2012. It’s a story of art, obsession and ego. Read an excerpt here. It’s available as an ebook, too.

The Village Wit (2010) is a humorous and sometimes dark odyssey through village life, love’s fall, sexual politics, and that place where memory and modern love intersect. Read an excerpt here. This book is also available as an ebook.

Six Days until “Max, the blind guy” goes on sale…

“Max, the blind guy” is my third novel. It lives in the present and 40 years of a marriage between Maximilian Ruth and his betrayed wife, Greta. There’s sex in this book. There is love in this book. There is also a healthy amount of travel and infidelity and betrayal.

Click on the book cover to read an excerpt you can’t find at online bookshops:

MaxCOVER

June 5, 2015 is the on-sale date for this new book in a print edition. June 12th is the date on which “Max, the blind guy” begins its ebook sales as a serialized novel, with installments available monthly for 12 months. I’ve done this for readers who are otherwise busy and want just enough “tale” for a week or two.

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What Beauty was published in 2012. It’s a story of art, obsession and ego. Read an excerpt here. It’s available as an ebook, too.

The Village Wit (2010) is a humorous and sometimes dark odyssey through village life, love’s fall, sexual politics, and that place where memory and modern love intersect. Read an excerpt here. This book is also available as an ebook.

My newest novel is “Max, the blind guy” — the story of Max and Greta Ruth, their 40-year relationship, and all the demons that show up as they find that life rarely goes according to plan. This new novel will be published on June 5, 2015 from Siren & Muse Publishing.

Max, the blind guy … #coverreveal

Max, the blind guy comes out June 5th in a 564-page, 6×9 edition, for those who want a book-in-the-hands.

MaxCOVER

 

Here’s a sneak look at page 69:

“Look!” Max meant to follow my finger, but he looked at my bare arm first, holding its shaking tautness in focus. I could see him forming a smile, and he pressed it down and followed along my arm, up to the wrist, and past the arrow-sharp fingertip. All so casually, even a touch of arrogance. I thought to put a scare into him that would make him turn white if he had any brains. “If
Mrs Much comes up here, you can say ‘bye-bye’ to hanging your paintings in Camps House. She’s strict.”
“Oh, that I’ve seen,” he agreed, still with a casualness I didn’t like. He pinched the ash end of the cigarette, slowly crushing the ember until it was cold to his touch. He showed it to me. Very cool, he was, for someone about to be thrown out on his ass.
“Don’t be an idiot,” I said. “Rules are rules.”
“I didn’t know the rules. Tell me the rules.” He gave me a pleading look. All I could do was fume at him. He tried again. “Please?”
“I just caught two kids necking upstairs, which is bad enough,” I explained. “If Mrs Much were to catch me up here with you–”
“But we aren’t necking,” he replied in a fast, city-boy way. Then he shot me a wink. “Or have I missed something? I must have inhaled too heavily and I have memory loss.” A fake frown pulled at his eyebrows. “Where did this happen, if I may ask, just in case Mrs Much interro–”
“Will you shut up!” I breathed at him like an angry bull, then walked to the door to peek into the hallway.

The story of Max and Greta Ruth is an American story, set in foreign lands: Prague, Vienna, Salzburg, Venice. Desire never ends, but for whom the desire is aimed makes all the difference. This story grew from a recognition on a Prague street-corner.

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What Beauty was published in 2012. It’s a story of art, obsession and ego. Read an excerpt here. It’s available as an ebook, too.

The Village Wit (2010) is a humorous and sometimes dark odyssey through village life, love’s fall, sexual politics, and that place where memory and modern love intersect. Read an excerpt here. This book is also available as an ebook.

My newest novel is “Max, the blind guy” — the story of Max and Greta Ruth, their 40-year relationship, and all the demons that show up as they find that life rarely goes according to plan. This new novel will be published on June 5, 2015 from Siren & Muse Publishing.

Serialized Novel: MAX, THE BLIND GUY

News … MAX, THE BLIND GUY will be released in digital format as a serialized novel, beginning one week after the launch of the in-full print edition (June 5, 2015).

I made this decision a few weeks ago, after reading Hillary Kelly’s opinion essay in the Washington Post’s April 24th issue. I had toyed with this idea years ago (the year 2007 seeps into my mind), and went so far as to contact several magazines with the idea; I received just two responses (Harper’s and The Atlantic) who disagreed with my assessment, and prediction.

However, I agree with Ms Kelly: reading must become more accessible to readers, who, often enough, find themselves too busy to sit down with a long book (i.e., THE NOVEL). What’s more, there is a certain intimidation, these days, that novels put upon readers whose time is otherwise separated between family, friends, work, travel, and entertainment itself.

Bearing this in mind, I believe today’s readers and the market have opened a ripe opportunity to bring back story serialization. Dickens proved its viability from the 1840s, and thereafter Thackery, Wilkie Collins, even Conan Doyle, serialized their works, which we still read today. Magazines thrived with serialization; people had the chance to read extended stories (with many characters) in short installments. They came to anticipate the next “chapter.” The business & pleasure of offering stories to the wider public enjoyed a wonderful relationship!

Does this sound familiar? Of course! On television today, we watch “the long form” with such delight as is found in “House of Cards” and “Better Call Saul” and “Bates Motel” to name a few. And this is where novel serialization can step in, for the readers and the TV viewers. The printed word is yet strong, and short(er) chapters that pull you in and keep you “tuned” to the story is all that we ask for in our entertainment.

On June 12, 2015, the first installment of “Max, the blind guy” is going to be available for the Kindle, Kobe, and other formats. Twelve monthly installments, at a cost not to exceed the price of the full print edition (on sale June 5th).

“Stay tuned” for more news. Oh, for that original WashPost OpEd, read it here.

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My newest novel is “Max, the blind guy” — the story of Max and Greta Ruth, their 40-year relationship, and all the demons that show up as they find that life rarely goes according to plan. This new novel will be published on June 5, 2015 from Siren & Muse Publishing.

What Beauty was published in 2012. It’s a story of art, obsession and ego. Read an excerpt here. It’s available as an ebook, too.

The Village Wit (2010) is a humorous and sometimes dark odyssey through village life, love’s fall, sexual politics, and that place where memory and modern love intersect. Read an excerpt here. This book is also available as an ebook.

The first “blurb” is in for … Max, the blind guy

Here’s the first blurb for my newest novel, Max, the blind guy, by Patricia Ann McNair, author, THE TEMPLE OF AIR …

Precocious. Provocative. Poignant. Mark Beyer’s massive novel “Max, the blind guy” is built like an intricate mansion of dozens of opulently adorned rooms and secret passageways and windows and doors that open up to the bright and vibrant world beyond. Told through multiple points of view, the story explores the delights, disappointments, disturbances, and distractions of love, lust, and the desire to get to the next place. Language play, humor, despair, and the engagement of a complicated community of characters, Mark Beyer’s “Max, the blind guy” brings to mind the work of his literary predecessors such as Nabokov, Marquez, Dickens, and Dostoevsky. Good company. Good reading.

Thank you, Patty. I’ll use this sparingly, but to great advantage. Good luck with your new novel. And, readers, check out McNair’s The Temple of Air.

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My newest novel is “Max, the blind guy” — the story of Max and Greta Ruth, their 40-year relationship, and all the demons that show up as they find that life rarely goes according to plan. This new novel will be published on June 5, 2015 from Siren & Muse Publishing.

What Beauty was published in 2012. It’s a story of art, obsession and ego. Read an excerpt here. It’s available as an ebook, too.

The Village Wit (2010) is a humorous and sometimes dark odyssey through village life, love’s fall, sexual politics, and that place where memory and modern love intersect. Read an excerpt here. This book is also available as an ebook.

Between Books: ending one novel and beginning another

I finished writing, rewriting, and editing “Max, the blind guy” two weeks ago. Finishing a book, as most writers can attest, is a loss; it takes something out of you and away from you. You also breathe better after this loss.

I liken the end of a book to the loss of a friend you had come to dream of ditching after a long bout of traveling together, and now it’s time to part ways, perhaps forever, but at least for a few months, to get the smell of his three-day-old shirts out of your nostrils and the echo of his voice off your mind.

But now I need a new friend. Not Max, or Greta, but a new “guy” and “girl” with whom I can hang around, and who will entertain me and horrify me; people who I’ll not know completely for a while, and then learn all their intimate details, even their secrets. This type of “friendship learning” was not always available to me. For several years I would meet a few friends, only for them to leave me too shortly, before their story was complete; maybe I’ll run into those few cotton-and-carbon souls again, and then I’ll have the chance to catch up and learn more, maybe all that they have to tell.

Those past friends will have a bit of a time to get my attention though. In the last five years I’ve come across many potential friends whom I want to befriend and learn all about their lives. My imagination of them, and others, is fecund, and I’ll ride this wave until I don’t know how to surf any more. Maximilian Ruth and Greta Klein were such a pair; I saw them in the spring of 2009, and they weren’t far away from my mind until their story was finally all told, and complete, two weeks ago.

As for now, SURF’S UP … I’m on the board once again. There’s a new pair of friends, Earnest and Charlotte, whose stories have piqued my imagination for quite a while; they bother me, in the most subtle manner. We’re getting together in a couple of weeks. Our meeting ought to be unusual, as are most first formal gatherings. I wonder what they’ll ask me.

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“Max, the blind guy” is a story of Max and Greta Ruth, their 40-year relationship, and all the demons that show up as they find that life rarely goes according to plan.

What Beauty was published in 2012. It’s a story of art, obsession and ego. Read an excerpt here. It’s available as an ebook, too.

The Village Wit (2010) is a humorous and sometimes dark odyssey through village life, love’s fall, sexual politics, and that place where memory and modern love intersect. Read an excerpt here. This book is also available as an ebook.