Carv's Thinky Blog I'm an author with a focus on satirical sci-fi and agnostic commentary.

9Sep/160

Two Quick Links

Words, Words, Words: Science Fiction

Before I write anything else, I want to thank everyone who came out to hear me read from Mr. Klein's Wild Ride this week in Lacey, Olympia and Tacoma. If you bought a book, double thanks. Let me know what you think of it. In fact, please let everyone know, especially if you enjoyed it. Go to my Amazon page via the links in the post below and leave a critique. Authors say this all the time, but we say it because it's true: reviews from readers like you matter. If someone looks for my book and finds few or zero reader responses, it de-legitimizes both me and the book. So even if you don't like it--and I'm pretty sure you will--post a review. It shows the book is getting some action. And it may just talk someone else into buying it!

Now, then. In addition to writing novels and being the managing editor of Oly Arts, I also still write for the Weekly Volcano. This week's cover article is a preview of 10 shows planned for this theatre season that I think you're most likely to enjoy:

"Top 10 Shows Not to Miss"

And here's an essay about why you should attend a show I curated, called Words, Words, Words: Science Fiction. It's a benefit for Theater Artists Olympia that collects beloved tales of the fantastic from 1897 to the present. I chose half; our stellar cast chose the rest. You're gonna love it. And if you buy one of my books while you're there, I'll donate two bucks to the Midnight Sun Performance Space. Everybody wins!

"Futures Past and Present"

I hope to see you out there in the stars!

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6Sep/160

Mr. Klein’s Wild Ride Hits Shelves TODAY!

Woohoo! At long last, you can hold a copy of Mr. Klein's Wild Ride in your hot hands TODAY! If you live outside the South Sound, it's available on Amazon in print here and electronically for Kindle here. Either way, it's a mere $12, a hell of a lot cheaper than tickets to a high-end theme park like, say, Bliss Panerotic.

If you do live near me, you can come see me in person tonight at 7 at Olympia's Browsers Bookshop, 107 Capitol Way N, where I'll read an abridged version of Chapter 1 followed by a related short story, "Retreat." I'll read the same pieces Thursday at 7 in Tacoma, thanks to King's Books at 218 St. Helens Ave. I'll sign books and answer questions from listeners at both events.

I sold a handful of advance copies last night at Creative Colloquy Olympia, and I've already started doing interviews about the book, so I have some idea what I'll be asked this week. Here's a mini-FAQ to get the conversation rolling:

Q: Why did you use a pen name for this book?

A: Books with sex in them sell better when they're written by women. That's the most relevant answer. But I also wanted to shield my wife, my family and myself from folks who would judge the book's subject matter harshly. It didn't seem fair to my in-laws, for example, to drag them into the conversation. So last summer when the first e-book edition was released, I did my best to con people into thinking Lynn Savage was a real person and I was just her sometime writing partner. But of course Lynn is me, and my in-laws have gotten so used to my nonsense by now that I don't think this will rattle them much.

Q: Will your family read the book?

For the most part, no, and I suspect we're all happier that way.

Q: Can you give me any sex tips?

I can, but mostly they center around communication and body comfort.

Q: Admit it, you're a swinger, right?

I'll tell you I'm open-minded, but otherwise my marital secrets are staying that way. It's only fair to my wife.

Q: Yeah, but really, though, you two are freaks, I bet.

It's interesting to me that when I wrote about Oklahoma religion in Lightfall, no one assumed I was a Freewill Baptist. If I wrote a spy thriller, no one would think I walk around with a garrote in my pocket. But when I wrote about sex, everyone assumed it was an autobiography. The sex had by Gary and Summer Klein in this book is about fictional characters, not me. This isn't the Penthouse letters column.

Q: Why isn't there a real theme park for swingers?

Because swingers tend not to have billions of dollars.

Q: If I tell you I'm a swinger, is that gonna get weird?

No. When I told people I was writing a book about an adult theme park, folks in "the lifestyle" came out to me by the dozens. That is not an exaggeration. I found myself with a mountain of anecdotal research material, most of it fascinating.

Q: Do you really believe people will have sex with robots someday?

You and I probably won't, but yes, I think that will happen. It kind of does now. In fact I believe the day will come in my lifetime when a person seeks to marry an artificial intelligence, ambulatory or otherwise.

Q: Will you sign my book?

If I see you in person, absolutely. The nature of the book might even make that inscription rather special. But if you live anywhere away from western Washington, I'm afraid I probably won't. It costs more for me to ship you a book than I can profit by selling it. These things add up. Also, my publisher can't spring for an out-of-state book tour, so my friends around the country are out of luck. I would, however, happily accept gifts of plane tickets and couch stays if you're really that excited about it.

Q: Is this book erotica?

That's a subjective question, but my gut response is no. I have no intention of being coy. My feeling is if you plan to write about sex, your book had better be sexy. So yes, when it came to the sex scenes--of which there are several--I was trying to turn readers on. (I'm told by male and female readers I succeeded.) I don't fade to black at the moment of truth, nor do I suddenly get all dainty about my language. But the overall intent of the book is not to titillate. It's to incite conversations about sex, a taboo topic in most cultures including ours, and to ask whether monogamy deserves to be the prevailing marital arrangement in the 21st century. Also, I try pretty hard to make readers laugh.

Q: Shame on you for even talking about this.

No. Flatly, no. I feel no shame whatsoever. I expected to, kind of, but I don't. Sex is great. Most of us enjoy it very much. It's terrific to share your body and time and care and joy and passion with someone whose company you enjoy. Rape is awful; pornography is a mixed bag of awful and helpful. Erotica is often badly written but usually harmless, if not helpful. Sex itself is phenomenal. Even the Bible thinks so, at least from the Song of Solomon's perspective. If your religious culture and/or upbringing have made you ashamed of your body and sexual appetite, I can sympathize, but otherwise that isn't my concern. I don't have to be party to other people's hang-ups. I can share my voice--and, behind the scenes, the voices of people I've loved for years--to share the message that sexuality is a core element of what it means to be, and love being, a grown-up human person. Your body, male, female or indeterminate, is your personal property to use, display and share as you see fit. Your childhood pastor does not get a say in that. I get no say in that. If you want to stay celibate and live in a burlap sack, have a blast. I do not. Neither of us is inherently wrong. I do not believe sex, married or otherwise, is a sin. I don't believe sin is even a thing. I believe unkindness is a thing, as are dishonesty, betrayal, cruelty, and a lot of other traits and behaviors that exist within sexuality. But do you honestly believe God gives a care what consenting adults do with their crinkly bits? If He did, then why make them so much fun? Now that human beings have invented contraception and STI preventatives, I believe the real sexual fun park exists all around us.

And this, my friends, is just one tiny phrase in the grand tale of why Carv will never, ever run for public office.

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31Aug/160

We Ride! (UPDATED 8/31)

Mr. Klein's Wild Ride

--UPDATED WITH NEW APPEARANCES!--

Friends, I've been telling you I have big news, and I have big news. The good people at Mud Flat Press are publishing a brand-new print edition of Lynn Savage's sexy 2015 novel Mr. Klein's Wild Ride. The official publication date is Tuesday, Sept. 6! At 7 that night, I'll appear at Browsers Bookshop in a downtown Olympia debut event called "A Wild Ride With Christian Carvajal." Hey, some titles just write themselves.

If you aren't an acquaintance or family member who'd be embarrassed by unrepentant sex talk, I sure hope to see you there! The event itself is free. The novel is a trade paperback, so we're able to keep its cost at a low, LOW $12. I'd love to sign a copy for you! And while you're there, pick up a tall stack of reading at the amazingly refurbished Browsers Bookshop.

If you can't be there, perhaps you can make it to King's Books in Tacoma two nights later! That event also starts at 7, and of course I'll be reading and signing there as well.

If you simply can't wait that long, you can catch a shorter reading at Creative Colloquy Olympia on Monday, Sept. 5, at 6:30 p.m. in Lacey. "CC Oly" is a terrific monthly event no matter who's reading, one it's been my pleasure to host in months past.

You can also just order the book directly from Amazon, and it'll be in your sweaty palms a few short days later. Because it's already for sale there! Same goes for the Kindle edition!

I mean, come on. How exciting is this?

We'll really be kicking out the jams at the "Creative Colloquy After Dark" segment of Creative Colloquy Crawl on Oct. 5, and I bet I have more to say about that down the road.

Here's the official book description from Mud Flat Press:

Mr. Klein’s Wild Ride is the tale of Gary Klein, a marketing guru who accepts the job of brand manager for a sexy new theme park...at which point his life and his marriage spin into chaos. His tragicomic downfall culminates at Bliss Panerotic, a paradise for lovers and a feast for the senses. It's an island playground for couples whose lust for adventure knows no bounds. Mr. Klein's Wild Ride is a satire that calls to mind Jurassic Park and Exit to Eden, yet merges its own cutting-edge technology with polyamorous sexuality.

Are you ready to walk on the wild side?

Preview Mr. Klein's Wild Ride by clicking HERE!

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9Aug/160

Paradise Lost

Mr. Klein's Wild Ride

--by Lynn Savage

Not since the RMS Titanic sank on its maiden voyage has a luxury product rollout gone so tragically wrong. Seventeen people were killed in Bliss Panerotic's opening-weekend disaster last year, with hundreds more injured. Some claimed it was God's vengeance against a flesh pit of sexual decadence. Around the world, millions of swingers and polyamorists quietly go about their business as they have for most of a century, living it up in their nonconformist lives with nary a lightning bolt from heaven in sight. Yet it's hard not to see the Bliss Panerotic adult theme park as a target when reminded of news graphics like the one shown below.

GNN quake graphic, June 13, 2015

GNN quake graphic, June 13, 2015

 

The devastation, of course, was unforgettable.

Commissary pavilion near the Grand Entry in Zone 2

Commissary pavilion near the Grand Entry in Zone 2

 

Sanasana hotel, northern lawn

Sanasana hotel, northern lawn

 

From the Los Angeles Times, June 28, 2015

From the Los Angeles Times, June 28, 2015

 

I'm using this space to remind you of all that sadness, but I want you to know that Mr. Klein's Wild Ride isn't the story of a tragedy. It's the story of a dream, a dream deferred perhaps, but a wonderful dream all the same. It's the enriching dream of sexual enjoyment, boundless and saved from puritanical repression. It's the dream of a woman who declared of Bliss Panerotic, "It’s not empowerment, it’s the presumption of power. The taking of power. It’s me owning my power." It's the dream of a man who reminded us all to get naked and see what happens. Above all, it was the dream of thousands of park visitors, who swarmed to a rocky island off the coast of California in pursuit of their bliss. My book is a tribute to the freedom they envisioned.

Early mockup of the Bliss Panerotic park map, provided by Gary Klein

Early mockup of the Bliss Panerotic park map, provided by Gary Klein

 

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4Aug/160

Bliss!

Hi, folks! Lynn Savage here. It's appropriate that my book, Mr. Klein's Wild Ride, should be reintroduced on Carv's Thinky Blog, as it was Carv who first got me interested in its subject. He wrote an article called "Pilgrims in Pornland" for Western Zeitgeist, a pop culture journal for which I contribute a love/sexuality column. His primary source for that article was Gary Klein, an L.A. marketing guru who served as brand manager for Bliss Panerotic. Bliss, of course, was the controversial amusement park that opened and closed so spectacularly on Catalina Island in 2015. It promoted itself as a getaway for swingers, honeymooners, and other couples and singles interested in expanding their sexual boundaries in a safe, modern resort environment. A flyer for the park appears below.

 blissflyer

Of course, the project was plagued with shaky publicity from the start, but Klein did much to dispel the concerns of investors and potential visitors. The Realms of Eros multi-user computer game created in support of the park is still selling in the millions of copies. Klein can hardly be blamed for the project's downfall--but when you think (or tell a joke) about Bliss Panerotic, his may well be the first name that comes to your mind. Carv introduced me to Gary this last year, and I communicated with both men frequently through the final stages of park construction. While I was unable to attend the grand opening, it was the expense of a trip to southern California rather than any controversy that scared me away. In retrospect, of course, that was fortunate, but so was my access to Gary. He's an interesting fella who has much to say about the Bliss Panerotic debacle, what the resort aspired to be, and what it means in the context of modern relationships.

So, you may ask, is my book, taken straight from a year of interviews with Gary, sexually frank? You bet your naughty bits it is. Will it turn you on? I sure hope so. Will it inspire you to think about sex, love and marriage in the twenty-first century? I believe it will. Some of you had the chance to read the e-book last year, but now things are heating up again! Watch this space for more details!

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1Aug/160

Reintroducing Lynn Savage

lynnsavageheadshot

As I did last summer, I'm sharing ownership of this page with my good friend Lynn Savage. Her book, Mr. Klein's Wild Ride, is an insider's look at the recent Bliss Panerotic disaster. Bliss, you'll recall, was the controversial adult theme park on Santa Catalina Island off the coast of Los Angeles. Her source's take on how that park was conceived, and on what it might've been, is almost as fascinating as the story of its ultimate downfall. Oh...and it's pretty darn steamy, too.

Author Alec Clayton (Visual Liberties) puts it this way: "Forget Fifty Shades of Grey. Mr. Klein's Wild Ride is libertine sex in primary colors." A sassy, erotic beach read, it's scheduled for its first print edition in 2016. Watch for further details and sneak peeks here!

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7Oct/150

Welcome, Creative Colloquy Crawlers!

The seven blog entries below this are all concerned with an audition I'm holding next week (I'm also a theatre director). Hence, I thought it might be a good idea if I popped in here long enough to say hi to folks I met at tonight's epic literary event in Tacoma. If you enjoyed my sci-fi story "Personal History," I encourage you to look for it in the upcoming print edition, Creative Colloquy Volume 2. I've heard it might even be illustrated. That's a first for me, so I'm really excited!

I encourage you to poke around my author site, especially the fiction tabs above. Of course I'd be remiss if I didn't mention you can buy either of my novels (or the short story collections in which my work has appeared) by browsing through the buttons in the right-hand sidebar. I had a wonderful time on the Crawl tonight, as I hope you did, too! Thanks again to Odd Otter Brewing Company for hosting the sci-fi hour, and to B Sharp Coffee House for hosting the after party and so many Creative Colloquy events over the last year and change. And of course my sincere appreciation goes out to Jackie Fender, Joshua Swainston, William Turbyfill, and everyone whose blood, sweat, and tears have gone into making Creative Colloquy a success.

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30Jul/150

Wordstock Olympia…2016?

Many, many thanks to everyone who came out for Wordstock Olympia 2015. We had a full house on a hot Wednesday night in an insufficiently air-conditioned theater. Our loyal friends were rewarded with a short clip from Eva Suter's "Glory, Glory, Vanish," soon to be presented in full as part of Theater Artists Olympia's Improbable Peck of Plays 4. Then Dianne Kozdrey Bunnell read from her engrossing novel The Protest, which concerns the fundamentalist annexation of a family. I had the great privilege and pleasure of watching Tacoma actor Deya Ozburn read "Retreat" (which you can also read for free here).

After a brief intermission, Olympia actors Jackson Jones and Amanda Stevens read a chapter from Ned Hayes's forthcoming YA novel The Eagle Tree, in which an autistic teenager wages a memorable environmental campaign. Then Amanda and I read an episode from Alec Clayton's charming novel Visual Liberties, the concluding installment of a trilogy set in fictional Freedom County, Mississippi.

Our program marks the start of an effort to extend the wonderful work Creative Colloquy is doing in Tacoma to Olympia. There's been talk of making Creative Colloquy a regular Oly event at a business near Capitol Lake. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, the full house to which some of you contributed means we'll do this again...though probably not in the heat of the summer! Remember, we owe our space to Theater Artists Olympia, whose Improbable Peck debuts a week from Friday (i.e., August 7). That anthology of short plays features local writers as well, and I can tell you from personal experience (as I'm acting in three of the short plays collected) that this is an excellent program well deserving of your money and attendance. I hope to see you there! I'll be the guy in the horned Viking helmet.

No, seriously.

Dianne Kozdrey Bunnell, author of The Protest

Dianne Kozdrey Bunnell, author of The Protest

Deya Ozburn reads "The Retreat"

Deya Ozburn reads "The Retreat"

Amanda Stevens and Jackson Jones read from The Eagle Tree

Amanda Stevens and Jackson Jones read from The Eagle Tree

Wordstock Olympia banner

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30Jul/150

Loose Talk with Davee Jones

Davee Jones, author of Finless and Personal Fouls

Davee Jones, author of Finless
and Personal Fouls

The Unpleasant Truth podcast makes a surprise reappearance in honor of Lynn Savage's new ebook, Mr. Klein's Wild Ride. Over the course of an uninhibited 37-minute conversation, we talk about God, the Devil, hidden carnalities in the Oklahoma public library system, and the perils and pleasures of writing sexy. We say flattering things about each other's books, I admit I'm on an NSA watch list, and Davee giggles at inappropriate moments. Caveat auditor: this podcast is NSFWOFM (Not Safe for Work or Family Members). You have been warned! If you prefer to think Davee and I arrived chastely in our current respective marriages, this podcast is NOT, I repeat NOT, for your ears.

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24Jul/150

Wordstock Olympia 2015

Coming this Wednesday, July 29, at 7 p.m. in the Midnight Sun, we're delighted to invite you to Wordstock Olympia 2015! This is a one-night-only event at which four local authors will share the stage, with actors reading passages from their works. Even better, it's absolutely free.

You get:

Alec Clayton: When not skewering local talent with his art and theater reviews for The News Tribune and Weekly Volcano, Alec creates worlds upon worlds of fictional characters that live mostly in the small towns among the dense pine forests and swampy coastal bogs of South Mississippi where he grew up. He has published seven novels including the “Freedom Trilogy,” which includes the selection to be read by Christian Carvajal and Amanda Stevens.

Christian Carvajal: "Carv" writes all sorts of things under his own name and sexy stuff using the pen name Lynn Savage. He's the author of two satiric novels. One, an apocalyptic thriller called Lightfall, is available in hardback or ebook from Campanile Press. The second, Mr. Klein's Wild Ride, is a brand-new ebook from Amazon, Smashwords, and ChristianCarvajal.com. He's asked his friend, actor Deya Ozburn, to read a new story, "Retreat," set in the same world as Mr. Klein's Wild Ride.

Dianne Kozdrey Bunnell: It took Dianne ten years to write her novel The Protest, which was inspired by the real-life religious hijacking of her two daughters, ages ten and twelve. She believed that if her story saved other families from such calamity, then some good could come from the firebombing by the blood of the Lamb her girls endured. Today, she is happily reunited with her daughters. The Protest, a passage from which will be ready by Dianne herself, was chosen as “Reviewer’s Choice” by Midwest Review of Books. One reader claims she figured out how to read the book while blow-drying her hair.

Ned Hayes: Ned gets to talk a lot in his day job for Intel and as a published critic, professor, and theater producer...so he got picked by his fellow introverted writers to be MC for this event. Accolades for the MC are welcome, rotten tomatoes not so much. His new book, The Eagle Tree, is the tale of an autistic young man on a desperate environmental crusade. He's the author of the bestselling historical novel Sinful Folk, which was nominated for the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award, and a crime novel called Coeur d'Alene Waters. Actors Jackson Jones and Amanda Stevens will read a passage from The Eagle Tree.

This event will be hosted by Theater Artists Olympia, stewards of the Midnight Sun Performance Space at 113 N. Columbia. Concessions will be available for a small charge, and reservations may be made at the event for TAO's next offering, Improbable Peck of Plays 4. Improbable Peck also celebrates local writers by staging (often debut) productions of their short (less than 15-minute) plays. Carv's "An Imperfect Galatea" was performed in Episode 3. This year, he's appearing as an actor in three short plays, one of which you might just see a glimpse of on Wednesday.

Of course the authors will have copies of their works available for purchase and signing, but again, the event itself is absolutely free. Seating is limited, so don't arrive late and miss your chance! We look forward to entertaining you, and in the meantime, happy reading!

wordstock2015poster

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