Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Book Review with Extra Musings: Breakthrough by James O'Keefe

NOTE: This is a book review/essay I wrote back in 2013, before my mind became preoccupied with the fictional rebels from my novel. Now that James O'Keefe and his Project Veritas are back in the news, I felt it might be useful to re-visit some of the thoughts I had on the book and the state of our society in general. I would like to think that we are slightly less asleep now than we were back when I wrote the original.

Established societies are notoriously hard on young rebels. From the French barricades to the streets of Czechoslovakia to the iconic picture of Tiananmen Square – history is full of examples, some grimmer than others but all leading to the same place.

So I suppose it’s progress that in our kinder, gentler society, we don’t kill our rebels.  James O’Keefe is lucky that way. All that can be destroyed is his reputation, friendships and finances. A small price to pay to wake up a society determined to slumber itself into oblivion. Well…shame on us all for letting it happen.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Whose Values Are They Anyway?

Unless you've been living under a rock lately (no offense to the iconic Spongebob character), you might have heard about the New York Values spat going on in the GOP primary contest. In truth, both sides of the controversy are right. Much like the proverbial elephant described by four blind men, New York values are impossible to narrowly define. Chances are good that a tough guy Queens firefighter will have different values from a Manhattan socialite or a small grocer in Brooklyn.

On second thought, maybe not. Maybe there are values that go beyond social status, ethnic background, or even-gasp-politics.

I know what you're thinking. Politics is supposed to be all about a conflict of values. Yes and no. If we limit out discussion of values to what is loosely known as "social issues," then politics does divide us along those lines. But what if we drop the specifics and think bigger? What if we go to the fundamentals of human existence? Then it all becomes significantly less clear.

Friday, January 15, 2016

My Novel Is Now Live!

Yes, friends and readers, now it's for real. After two years of equal parts fun and author angst, my creation has now gone into the world. A couple of advance reviews are already up. If you were one of the brave souls who pre-ordered on the strength of the synopsis and my allegedly charming personality, you should have the e-copy available to you shortly. Otherwise, feel free to click the link below and check out what came out of my brain when I let it loose on virtual paper.

Once again, many thanks to all who have supported this effort.

Chasing Freedom on Amazon

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Novel Status Update

For those of you wondering about the book cover on the right sidebar, this is indeed my first novel. One side effect of years of reading and reviewing books, combined with hanging around talented creative individuals, is that sooner or later, you catch the writing bug. As it turned out, I was not immune.

The e-book version is currently available for pre-order, and I am happy to report that I have met the submission deadline. Therefore, the January 15th publication date is now officially set. Hard copy is also ready to go, but I am trying to time it so that both versions are available at about the same time.

Many thanks to my friends and followers who have encouraged me along the way, and I hope you enjoy the final product.


Freedom is lost, but not forgotten. 

In 2040s America, civility is prized above truth, conformity above free expression, and “green” living above basic human needs. Most have given up, too busy trying to survive in a country where life is cheap and necessities are scarce. Yet even in the midst of drudgery and despair, unbroken spirits remain. 

Julie is a girl who has everything, including a plan to ignite the spark of resistance. 

Randy dreams of winning Julie’s love and escaping the emptiness of over-regulated life. 

Joseph seeks revenge on the system for a family tragedy.

Daniel is a young artist, who can’t seem to stay out of trouble.

Chris is an orphan prepared to do the unthinkable to protect his younger sister. 

Whether by choice or by accident, each will take a path on a collision course with the oppressive regime. Will they find the freedom they desire? Or will the cost of defiance prove too high to bear? 

Marina Fontaine is an immigrant from the former Soviet Union. She uses personal experience to craft a novel that takes an intimate look at life in a totalitarian society and the role that individual choices play in advancing the cause of liberty. 

Pre-Order Chasing Freedom on Amazon

Check out my Author Page

Friday, January 1, 2016

A Date on the Calendar

New Year's Day is, in a way, an artificial holiday, just a date demarcating an end of the year. Why, then, such lavish celebration? Champagne, caviar, the extravagant show in Times Square, the breathless countdown of last remaining seconds till the clock strikes midnight?

The answer, I think, lies in the human longing for a fresh start, desire to do better, get it right (whatever "it" might be). It may be naive, an empty hope, but the very fact that it persist throughout generations and cultures shows that there may be something to it.

And so I leave you with this, my dear friends and readers. May you find your fresh start this year, leave your troubles behind the border created by the changing of the dates and embark on new and exciting adventures. I, for one, am looking forward to sharing them with you. Happy and healthy 2016 to you and yours, and thank you for being here.