Showing posts with label The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder. Show all posts

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Connection Between Observation and the Material World

A friend of mine sent me the following video about an interesting new technology. Isn't it interesting that everything we look for . . . we find?

Perhaps there's more of a connection between the act of observation and our "discoveries" than we realize. Maybe we're actually creating the world, rather than discovering it. I talk about this in The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Latest 5-Star Review of The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder

I'm listening to the Reds game while I write this. I just had to turn down the sound on another cancer commercial. Ask yourself what they're selling in those commercials and realize that healthcare providers, like all corporations, are actively about the business of expanding their markets. Think about that and you will turn down the sound on all such commercials too. That's the topic of my next book, the current working title of which is The Obamacare Experiments.

In the meantime, I have this other book out there called The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder, and my friend and colleague, Thomas Cothran, has been so kind as to post a review on Amazon. While Thomas gave the book five starts, in the review he also says of what you might call its philosophical argument:
"I'll let the reader make their own decision about the merits of this worldview. (The enemy of this metaphysics is Aristotle.) For my own part, I remain cheerfully Aristotelian.
In other words, The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder in essence lays the responsibility for all the woes of modern society squarely at the feet of Aristotle's rationalism, and young Thomas--who's favorite philosopher is Kierkegaard but doesn't recognize that Kierkegaard was anti-Aristotilian too--remains unconvinced.

Not to worry. I've challenged my good friend to read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for himself, a challenge to which he has agreed. We shall see if he remains cheerfully Aristotelian after that.

I'll keep you posted. Thanks, Thomas!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Success - Writing and Publishing

Following is the meat of a post to a friend on Facebook in response to a question about publishing:

My last book was self-published, so I didn't work with a publisher on that one. It was actually my 8th novel and I tried a little to get some of the other ones published but never really delved deeply enough into it.

In some ways, I wish I would have tried to do more with them, but then again I think something inside made me want to wait to mature as a writer and as a person. And no regrets, there is only now. And speaking of now, I've written a 9th novel, working title The Obamacare Experiments, and now I'm pursuing a traditional publisher for that one more rigorously.

Find an Editor

One thing I've come to understand is that you have to invest in your product. That means you need to seek out a professional editor. It's expensive but it must be done, for four reasons.

First, it's the best way to learn. It's like hiring a tutor.

Second, writing is a collaborative process. It is very rare when a person can just write something down and have it published (maybe impossible). You need that professional with credentials. Why? So you will trust their recommendations. Preferably, you should find one from NYC with publishing experience, again expensive, but worth it.

One more piece of advice on the selection I might offer: if you're a woman, find a male editor and vice versa. This is not a hard and fast rule, by any means, but in my own research (anecdotal though it may be) I found that this dynamic seems to lend itself to creation of a better product . . . food for thought.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Emails About Kierkegaard

I know what you're thinking: "Gee, Todd, your life must be pretty dull if you're exchanging emails about a Danish philosopher from the 19th century." Ok, ok, I hear you, but hear me out.

Let me give you a little background on how this email came about. A couple of friends of mine read my book, The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder, and one of those friends described my book to the other as, "out there." Which is about the best review a writer can hope for. Why? Because this means that the book contained ideas and concepts that the reader didn't necessarily agree with (or thought he didn't), and yet it was written well enough that he was able to get through it, he was able to finish the book. That's big! I couldn't really hope for more.

This fellow, I'm told, is also a big fan of Søren Kierkegaard, the aforementioned 19th century Danish philosopher (these are the upper crust circles of people who actually have favorite philosopher that I run in, folks, what can I tell you?). So much so, in fact, that he named his child after him (Søren, not Kierkegaard). Which I think is pretty cool because it's a pretty cool name, only I hope he didn't use the o with the slash through it (ø), which would probably get a little annoying for the kid.

Anyway, I was only vaguely familiar with the philosophy of Kierkegaard  (I'm a novelist, after all, not a philosopher, or worse a "philosophizer" as Robert Persig puts it in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance), so after the conversation I went on line and brushed up on it, and lo and behold, what did I find but that the depressed Dane agreed wholeheartedly with everything in The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder! He professed, you see, Kierkegaard did, a similar brand of what has been labelled "existentialism."

I had always heard the term bandied about and had an idea what it meant, but not until now did I make the connection between the "existence" in "existentialism" and "being" and "consciousness." These are all exact synonyms. What Kierkegaard was talking about, what Eckhart Tolle is talking about, what I'm talking about in The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder--it's all the same thing.

And now from the email . . . Oh, and be sure to check out the link to the exercise mentioned a couple of times below so you know exactly what we're talking about when we talk about existence.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

5 Stars from Portland Book Review for The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder!

You may be wondering why I keep bringing up The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder. "Why don't you write another book already?" some of you may be thinking. Well, I have written another book. It's working title is The Obamacare Conspiracy and it goes to the editor on March 17th. I'm very excited about that.

But neither book is merely entertainment. They represent the latest generations in a long and hallowed genealogy that begins as far back as Plato's Dialogues, continues on through all the books about Jesus (he never wrote any himself), through St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas and on into the present period with Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Zen and the Art could be considered the father of The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder and the grandfather of The Obamacare Conspiracy.

These books unravel a philosophical conspiracy far more important to you and your life than The Da Vinci Code every could. They help you understand what may be missing in your life and how you can feel better--much, much better--without regard to what you believe (or don't believe) religiously speaking.

So the reason I keep bringing it up is because I would love to help you feel better, and The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder is a great place to start (if I may say so, myself). Spend the time on yourself, it'll be worth it.

Of course, the converse is also true. If you have no doubts, no anxiety about the future, no depression at all about the past, no curiosity about the deeper meaning of life, no concern for the constant conflict and suffering that seems to be the state of our existence on this planet, if you've lost faith in your religion or science to help you answer these questions, if everything is peaches and cream as far as you're concerned, that's fantastic! You have no need for these books.

If, on the other hand, peaches and cream wouldn't have been your first choice of descriptors, give The Self-Improvement Book Club a look. But be forewarned: you can't "unlearn" the truths it contains.

The Portland Book Review picked up on the foregoing. It's review by Rachelle Barrett states:
As the detectives question witnesses, delve into the life of the victim and interact with each other, they clarify not only the case but the nature of reality. Bookman and Berg come away from the case irreparably changed by having gained this new knowledge. Whether you are an avid reader of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance or new to these types of books, you will be riveted to the story for one reason or another. And soon you may be introducing this book to a book club of your own.
You can read the entire book review here. For what it's worth, the reviewer's average is 3.9 stars. Thanks, Rachelle!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Celestine Prophecy - A Cautionary Tale

The Book

A really great idea, poorly executed, and yet James Redfield has sold something like 23 million copies of The Celestine Prophecy. Why? Well, because it's a really great idea for a novel, I suppose.

But just imagine if Dan Brown had written The Celestine Prophecy (23 mil.) in addition to The Da Vinci Code (80 mil.). If I were Redfield, I'd ask Dan Brown to help me write a revision of The Celestine Prophecy for the 25th anniversary of its publication coming up in 2018 (published in 1993, you do the math). It would sell another 20 million easy.

Because there's a lot to like in The Celestine Prophecy: jungles, the Andes, Machu Picchu. But there's also a lot to hate there too. I've tried three or four times over the years to read it but I just couldn't do it. And I like this kind of novel, one that tries to teach you something, especially something about consciousness, enlightenment, awakening--all that crap. Heck, I even write books like that myself and I still couldn't choke it down.

The problem is, it's just so poorly written, and that's where the cautionary aspect of this blog post comes in. The Celestine Prophecy was originally self-published, and it shows. Redfield sold 100,000 copies out of the back of his Honda--Accord-ing to lore (sorry, couldn't resist)--so at that point it must have been tough for the editors at Warner Books, which scooped up the publishing rights to the book after that, to talk much sense into Redfield. And what did they care, really? I'm sure they were happy to keep the printing press churning out twenty-dollar bills. This was an unholy union that I suspect damed the movie version to hell, Satan's spawn that it is, but we'll get to that in a moment.

You might also like: These articles about Eckhart Tolle

Monday, February 6, 2012

Introducing The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder Book Club

For those of you in the Lexington (Kentucky) area, I've decided to form an exploratory committee to gauge interest in what would be the first of its kind in the world: a loose-knit social organization I've pithily dubbed The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder Book Club, or the SIBCMBC for short.

The SIBCMBC would meet once a month to discuss one of the books featured in my novel, The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder, books like The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, A New Earth, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, The Secret and others. We would start with The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder as a roadmap to the other books. And when we get through all the books, who knows where we'll go from there.

We would have food to eat (a potluck arrangement) lots of good conversation and games for the kids (I made this last one up, there will be no games and probably no kids).

If you think you might be interested and/or have ideas, please let me know. Feel free to leave a comment of send me an email at

Friday, January 13, 2012

A New Review for The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder on Amazon

Shopper writes:
From the first page of The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder I was hooked. I took the book on vacation to have something to read while I was gone but I couldn't put it down and finished it before reaching Greensboro, NC. Mr. Wright takes the theories behind self help books and brings them all together to develop an excellent murder mystery. I enjoyed the evolvement of the characters, how the detectives develop a tie between the individual books and the murder. Wright's knowledge of the self help books he uses as a basis for the novel is extremely detailed and intriguing. I find myself compelled to pick up a self help book. A must ready for anyone who has doubt of how to live in the here and now or if you just want to enjoy a good book.
Thanks, Shopper!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Another Review The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder on Amazon

Another Review The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder on Amazon, this one from Tom Thompson, of Southern Pines, North Carolina. Tom gave it 5 stars and wrote:
"Great book! I enjoyed it very much. Not at all what I expected. Nice review of the self-improvement literature intermixed with a murder mystery complete with detectives, suspects, and Catholic priest. The author really goes into some depth with the whole Aristotelian model vs. wisdom/in- tuition. Highly recommended for those wishing to explore this area more deeply and from a new angle."
Thanks, Tom!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

One More Review of The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder

My request to you is this: If you've read The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder, please go to its page on Amazon and write a review. If you haven't read it, please get a copy and do so as soon as possible! Everybody's talking, you don't want to be left out! Scott gave it 5 stars and wrote:
The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder was a recommendation to me from a colleague, and I ended up reading and enjoying it in just three sittings. The personalities that were developed really spoke to me -- they became as famailar as friends by the end of the read. Even the injected references to well-known and respected volumes in the "self-help" genre -- Covey, Hill, Nirenberg, Persig and others -- provided me with additional insights that I had never considered before. What a rare combination -- a fictional work that provided a 'value-added' quantity for everyday events through the teachings of the self-help masters. And, as with any respectable mystery novel....I certainly did NOT see the ending coming....
Thanks, Scott!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

New Reviews for The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder

If you've read The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder, please go to its page on Amazon and write a review. If you haven't read it, please get a copy and do so as soon as possible! Everybody's talking, you don't want to be left out! Keith gave it 5 stars and wrote:
"The Bible is the first self-help book" was my favorite idea that came from this well written concise, little nugget of a book. Getting all of the ideas from all of the most popular self-help books rolled into one exciting murder mystery was a great idea and Mr. Wright has an uncanny way of explaining all of the different concepts that I have had trouble understanding. I highly recommend that everyone read this book to enjoy a happier, more satisfied life. A little bit of sugar helps the medicine go down.
Angie gave it 5 stars and wrote:
I love a good "who done it" and have found great solace in many of the writings highlighted in The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder. Wright's thoughtful book brings both genres together in an enlightening and entertaining page turner. I was happily intrigued by the unique character development and thought provoking exerpts which lead me to consider the possibility that, we are what we read. 5 Stars and I can't wait for the next one!
Thanks Keith and Angie!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Dennis Miller and the God Question

My book, The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder, deals directly with the below issues in Chapters 12 and 13, which focus on Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (link to free online version). 

I recommend that anyone interested read my book as a primer, then read Zen and the Art, which is quite a long book, well worth reading, but you have to know what you're looking for and how it all fits together.
* * *
Below is a short audio clip of an Interview from The Dennis Miller Show. Dennis is interviewing Vince Bugliosi, author of Divinity of Doubt: The God Question (as well as Helter Skelter, and others), a book in which Bugliosi intellectualizes many tenets of Christian faith, like virgin birth, immortality of the soul, the divinity of Jesus and others.

In the interview, Bugliosi says that he is an agnostic, and that atheism is an "intellectually empty philosophy. Says Bugliosi of popular atheists like Christopher Hitchens, who he names specifically, "They simply cannot find a non-sequitur that they do not like."
But like such atheists (and religious folk from the opposite side), Bugliosi sets up these straw man intellectual arguments which do not advance the debate at all, but rather simply further obscure the basic difference between religious/spiritual people and intellectual people, which is a PHILOSOPHICAL difference concerning the nature of reality.
This sounds quite esoteric, but let's make it very, very simple:

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Reviews Keep Coming on Amazon!

Jeana of Lexington writes:
"Beautifully spun web of "self-improvement" book synopses, theology, mystery and murder. A creative, well-written and engaging concept. Mr. Wright's story telling ability makes it unnecessary to have read each of the "self-improvement" books....but he leaves the reader with a desire to add each to their reading list. A+++"
Thanks, Jeana!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Another Review on Amazon!

From Delia C. of Lexington, Kentucky:
I loved the book...couldn't put it down! Wright's description of a 'self-improvement book thinly disguised as a murder mystery' is totally spot-on! The characters were perfect vehicles for presenting the foremost points in each self-improvement book for the reader to agree with or argue (as the characters did so well with one another), from either a philosophical, a religious, or merely a personal standpoint. This book not only makes me curious to read more of Wright's future publications, but also makes me want to completely read each of the 'self-improvement' books so cleverly outlined in this novel as well. It actually IS an easy, and interesting read, and in turn may make the novels mentioned in it more interesting and easy to read for me in the future. Enjoy!
Thanks, Delia!

Reviews are coming in on Amazon!

From Darla O. of Baton Rouge, LA:
Do you enjoy reading? Do you enjoy a murder mystery? Do you enjoy knowing what makes different people tick? Would you enjoy an intelligent read that is 100% non-offensive in language or actions? Do you struggle with finding new, fresh reading material that is worth spending your time reading? Do you want to read a book that is truly a joy to read? If you answered yes to any of those questions the good news is this is the perfect book for you! It is a page turner and you will wrongly guess time and time again who is the guilty party. In our hectic, fast paced world, time is at a premium ... But you will be glad you took the time to read this book. It is hard to believe this is a debut novel ... There are many veteran writers who will never produce a product near this captivating. There are certain authors whom I will buy simply because it is their work ... John Grisham, James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell, Maggie Lamond Simone and now I gladly add Todd Wright to that list. Thank you Mr. Wright for such an immensely enjoyable read!
Thanks, Darla!

Book Club Murder Now Available at Joseph-Beth Booksellers

Joseph Beth Booksellers in Lexington, Kentucky, is now carrying The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder.

It's also available for order from any book store across the country through Ingram Book Wholesalers. I would be grateful if you would ask your local shop to carry it. That would give you an opportunity to take a look at it before you buy.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder Available Now!

Update 2/27/11 - Amazon has put The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder on sale for $9.35 ($8.88 for Kindle). Don't know how long this will last. Thanks, Amazon!

Update 2/23/11 - The Facebook launch is official:

It's official! My book, The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder, is available in both Kindle and paperback on Amazon. Just waiting on Amazon to correct the book description for the paperback before sending out an electronic launch FB event tomorrow.

I'd be honored if you'd buy my book.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Launch Date for Self-Improvement Book Club Murder

UPDATE: Due to user error (me being the user) the launch date for for The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder has been moved back to the 23rd of February. It will be worth the wait!

* * *

The launch date for The Self-Improvement Book Club Murder will be 16 February. That's the date I anticipate that the softcover version will be available on Amazon. It's already available in Kindle e-book format.

I must say that early "test market" results are very positive. Thanks, everyone, for your interest and encouragement!

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