Tag Archives: Intelligence Industry

Locus Amoenus signing at the Millbrook Literary Festival

locus-amoenus-revised-cover-webOn May 30th, I’ll be participating in the best little literary festival in the Harlem Valley. The Festival will feature over fifty thought-provoking, and thoroughly entertaining authors and illustrators from the region participating in panel discussions, readings, and signings throughout the day, from 9:45 – 4:30 at the Millbrook Free Library on Franklin Street in Millbrook New York.

I will be signing copies of and answering questions about my latest novel, Locus Amoenus (Permanent Press, 192 pages). The story of  is set in Amenia, which is right next door to Millbrook.  I anticipate lots of locals at my table trying to find out if they appear in the story.  No spoilers!

Here’s a brief synopsis In this dark comedy, a 9/11 widow and her son, Hamlet, have retreated from Brooklyn to the idyllic rural countryside upstate, where for nearly eight years they have run a sustainable farm. Unfortunately their outrageously obese neighbors, who prefer the starchy products of industrial agriculture, shun their elitist ways (recycling, eating healthy, reading). Hamlet, who is now 18, is beginning to suspect that something is rotten in the United States of America, when health, happiness and freedom are traded for cheap Walmart goods, Zoloft, endless war, standard curriculum, and environmental degradation. He becomes very depressed when, on the very day of the 8th anniversary of his father’s death, his mother marries a horrid, boring bureaucrat named Claudius. Things get even more depressing for Hamlet when his friend Horatio, a conspiracy theorist, claims Claudius is a fraud. The deceptions, spying, corruption, will ultimately lead, as in Shakespeare’s play, to tragedy.

For details see the festival website millbrookbookfestival.org.

 

Charles Holdefer, author of The Contractor, on Locus Amoenus

A tale of dark political corruption, betrayal and a through the looking-glass world where you can believe six impossible things before breakfast, Locus Amœnus is also a fiercely funny romp by a talented writer.
Locus Amœnus is now available on Amazon at a 10%  discount.

David Koepsell, author of Reboot World, on Locus Amoenus

“Alexander’s Locus Amœnus is a biting, witty, and ultimately touching window on modern American life. She evokes the wit and depth of the best of Kingsolver and high satire and earnest social exploration of Pynchon or Delillo. Her experiences bridging the worlds of rural and urban northeastern America provide those of us with experience of both a welcomed bit of nostalgia, longing, familiarity, and a sense of loss. This story is to be savored, and hopefully re-read in certain existential moods.”

Order Locus Amœnus direct from the publisher, The Permanent Press, or from Amazon today for a  10% discount.

Oona Frawley, author of Flight, on Locus Amoenus

“This brilliant, searing political novel deserves to be read by all of those interested in the current and future state of the United States of America. Darkly comic, wry and witty, Locus Amœnus is a genuine pastoral, a critique of the bloating and corruption of American life that draws on Hamlet for its dissection of politics, relationships, and love in post-9/11 America. From Swift to Shakespeare, the literary antecedents for Locus Amœnus are wide and varied, but the novel that emerges is wholly original and haunting in its graphic depiction of contemporary American mores and failures. I can’t recommend Victoria N. Alexander’s new novel enough.”

Order from Permanent or from Amazon.

 

Josip Novakovich, author of Shopping for a Better Country, on Locus Amoenus

A satirical examination of how we live in the 21st century, in the United Estates of America, with less civilization and more discontents than hitherto. Amidst nostalgic reflections on our past, Victoria notices current absurdities and contradictions in our appetites and critique of consumerism, and despite the tragedy, we have the consolation of her humor. I haven’t laughed this well while reading in a long time.
Locus Amœnus is available now on Amazon.

 

Dorion Sagan, author of The Cosmic Apprentice, on Locus Amoenus

Brilliantly combining Shakespeare’s knowing personal-political masterpiece, Hamlet, with post-911 ruminations of an edifying diversity of characters inhabiting Amenia in rural New York, novelist Victoria N. Alexander manages to do the three things that Nabokov says a good novelist must do: tell a story, inform, and enchant. Locus Amœnus, a short, sweet, sui generis blend of contemporary adult fiction and geopolitical drama, reminds us that something may be rotten in more than Denmark.

Locus Amœnus will be out soon.  You can pre-order from Amazon at a  13% discount. (This discount decreases as the pub date nears!!)

 

How to pronounce Locus Amœnus, the title of my new novel

lacoversmallOkay, so maybe picking a Latin phrase, Locus Amœnus, with its weird spelling, for the title of my latest novel might make it a little hard for people to recommend it to friends. (If you  order now from Amazon you can get 13% off.) Locus amœnus can be pronounced in English, Low cuss a men us, with stresses on “low” and “a.” In Latin you want to make “amœnus” sound more like “a moin us.” I have also heard amœnus pronounced “uh mean us.” Any of these are acceptable. This is America, after all.

Locus Amœnus means “pleasant location,” and it’s used in poetry to describe a restful place where nothing bad ever happens. It also happens to be the scene of the crime in many of Ovid’s tales, an idea which fits well with the theme of my novel. I couldn’t pass up this phrase for my title, despite its awkwardness, because the story is set in the rural upstate town of Amenia, a would-be pastoral paradise where I own a sheep farm. The name “Amenia” of course comes from the same Latin word as amœnus. Amenia is, by the way, variously pronounced  as “Uh many uh” or “Uh meanie uh.”

 

Vegetable Oil: a DiY solution to fossil fuel pollution

thThe fossil fuel industry has an enormous impact on politics, the economy, and our health. This pollution Goliath is just too powerful to fight with government regulations. Take matters into your own hands and put vegetable oil in your fuel tank.

Electric cars will also be a good green choice some day. Unfortunately 44 percent of electricity is generated at coal-burning plants. The new construction of wind farms and run-of-the-river hydroelectric dams to power our super high-efficiency electric cars should be part of our long-term green energy strategy, but such projects require huge start-up funds and massive political support. People who want to help fight environmental pollution and disentangle our politics from the Middle East now — with the technology that is currently available — can run their diesel vehicles on vegetable oil.algaeoil

Although burning vegetable oil does release carbon into the air, this carbon is already part of a natural cycle of plants taking in CO2 from the air and releasing oxygen. When plants decay, the stored carbon is released back into the environment. Burning vegetable oil does not add more carbon into the atmosphere than is already part of the available carbon constantly being recycled. In contrast, the carbon in fossil fuels is brought up from deep below the surface and added to the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. Continue reading

Permanent to publish Locus Amœnus!

Great News! My new novel, Locus Amœnus, will be published by Permanent, the same press that did my first and third novels, Smoking Hopes 1996 and Naked Singularity 2003. Help me make this novel a success by going to Amazon.com and posting quick 20-word reviews of my other books and boost my ratings. I am really happy to be working again with Permanent Press editor and publisher, Judy and Marty Shepard, and their new partner Chris Knopf, who have built their small press into an impressive, independent not-quite-so-small press, which, as the New York Times says, publishes some “literary gems” on a “shoestring” budget. I signed the contract today, and they expect the hardcover to be in bookstores early 2015. Advance review copies available soon. I’m looking for blurb writers and reviewers too. Let me know if you want a free e-copy now.