Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Next novel: America Unplugged

America Unplugged
Author:  R. M. Krakoff

In the last half of the twenty-first century there was a land of speculators and hedge fund investors called the United States. Here in this pretty world, white privilege took its final bow while the last of corrupt lobbyists and enshrined inequity teetered. Look for them now only in history books, for they are no more than a bad dream remembered. An entire civilization gone with the wind―and it happened so fast.

When the Continental United States’ fragile energy grid toppled, with no reboot in sight, the ripple effect became devastating; collapsing governments; disenfranchising the military; generating urban conflict, civil war, malicious looting, monetary collapse, survivalist and religious cults, massive fear and societal destruction.

Ezra Singleton’s chance for survival is complicated by his next-door neighbor and her teenage daughter’s unsolicited company as they set out on a journey to find Ezra’s son. The unlikely trio eventually attempts to escape their doomed country for another in search of a home with electricity and running water.

On this rancorous road trip through hell they come face-to-face with apocalyptic good and evil lurking in every town, hotel, and shelter where they seek refuge.

Ezra attempts to chronicle all that occurs, just in case some future race of men survives this egregious loss of civilized infrastructure and asks, what the hell happened here?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Now There are Five!

(with a sixth on the way)

TimeBall: First Review

Review of TimeBall
By Harriet Hart

Time travel is a literary device that has been used by some of the great writers in the English language. Think of Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens: Scrooge visits the past and the future with ghosts as his guide and this reader (for one) never questioned for a moment how this was possible. I just enjoyed the journey. In 11/22/63 Stephen King takes his readers back to 1958 so his protagonist can prevent Lee Harvey Oswald from shooting JFK.

Now novelist R.M. Krakoff contributes to this literary tradition in his fifth novel TimeBall, in which protagonist wealthy entrepreneur Aaron Kinsley is bored with life in the year 2020 and time travels back to 1944 to fulfill a boyhood dream to play professional baseball.  He inhabits the physical body of Albert Hollingsworth, a pitcher for the St. Louis Browns. Aaron didn't count on finding himself in this particular athlete's body on this specific losing team. There's a lot more he didn't count on too, like Albert's involvement in a Nazi cult intent on world domination or becoming party to a plot to assassinate Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

 "This is not a novel about baseball," the author assured me, his way of assuring me that I could relish the read without being a ball fan. He was right. I enjoyed the book in spite of my ignorance of the sport, yet baseball permeates the novel. The protagonist is a pitcher, many of the characters are players (or fans), the setting is frequently a ball park and there are constant references to the history of the game.

Don't get me wrong, TimeBall will appeal to die hard baseball fans, plus anyone who has ever wondered what it would be like to change places with a historical figure or to run the bases in someone else's cleats.   Time travel is a fascinating concept that appeals to our imaginations and allows the writer to indulge in historical research and social commentary, of the past, present and future, simultaneously.

Author Krakoff tells us that 1944 was a wonderful time to be alive: "People are more open, honest and direct…Life is simple. Your work, you play, and occasionally you pray…Everyone is employed; there are no street people. No beggars, no blue suede show men selling time shares…"  He compares this with the future in which "Medical science is helping wealthy people live longer, but the poor are many and continue to suffer…Computers rule the land, banks rule the world, and America is still a superpower…" Since he's describing 2020 and we're already in 2014, we can infer what he thinks of the present state of affairs.

There are many elements I liked about this novel. Once you accept the basic premise that we can travel back in time, the rest is believable. The protagonist is likeable as he struggles to act like another person, make friends and lovers, escape his enemies and face the moral dilemma central to the book. The "time traveler's moral code dictates that I cannot alter history" yet if he does not intervene, evil will occur and lives will be lost.

The supporting characters, especially Annie and Bonnie, are well drawn and charming. The plot is fast moving and keeps you reading – and, forgive the pun, features a fast curve ball at its conclusion.

If you like historical fiction, time travel, action and suspense, read this book. In addition to entertaining readers, it will make them ponder big questions like what does one do with one's life to give it meaning, and what would one do if you could live someone else's?

Introducing Novel #5: TimeBall

It’s the year 2020 when Aaron Kinsley, a wealthy entrepreneur with an excess of time and money, revisits his boyhood dream of pitching in the major leagues for the St. Louis Cardinals. Having learned that time travel has become possible―albeit dangerous and illegal―he decides to transcend his mortal flesh and get transported across the time/space continuum to the year 1944. He figures that since the all-star players are away at war, he’ll have a chance. What he doesn’t count on is taking over the body of Albert Hollingsworth, a pitcher for the most losing team ever, the St. Louis Browns.

Things get worse when he falls into a strange underground metaphysical German cult― hell-bent on overthrowing the American war effort. His life, his beliefs, and his loves are torn between potentially altering history and becoming a reluctant spectator.

Notation: This book is not about baseball. Baseball is used merely as the thread to the story. This is a book about choices, values and the moral and ethical decisions we would all face when traveling through time.

The author leads us on a bleak ride of action, adventure, alternative history, black humor, and wild conspiracy theories, many of which just may be true.
Other R.M. Krakoff novels available at Diane Pearl Colecciones or eReader format Amazon,

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dream Hackers is a hit!

After one month on sale at Amazon and in local bookstores I have sold more copies then all my other books combined. First I should thank my fans/customers for their support and also for their positive feedback. Local book reviewer, Harriet Hart has published the first indepth review of Dream Hackers, plus reader reviews are beginning to appear on Amazon.

My take on reviews may be a little different than other authors who use them purely as marketing fodder. I use them as a barometer of public opinion and as a measurement of how I can improve as a writer. As I have mentioned before, I dont write for profit. I write for entertainment and creative expression. I am an idea mine and love to tell a story, spin a yarn, so to speak (my wife refers to all fiction writers as marvelous liars).

As a story teller, I'm always looking for feedback. As a writer I am always looking to improve my skills. Those skills include character development, story continuity, environmental descriptions and of course the proper use of the language.

Recently I have read that other authors are paying services for reviews. I find this practise abhorrent and would never pay anyone to write a review of my work. If you are interested in reading more about this new service click here.

For those of you who prefer to read an objective review of my latest novel, here it is...

Dream Hackers by Rob Krakoff is a futuristic novel that begins in 2099 when disenfranchised youth are waging a cyber war against their elders who own 83% of the planet's wealth. Elders, equipped with computational innovations to keep them alive, live in comfortable charter cities "while ComGen, Computer Generation, are relegated to squatter cities lacking basic necessities such as sanitary systems. Criminals and deviants inhabit the void lands.

Androids, created as simple mechanical robots, evolved into reasoning machines programmed to serve the elders, and are hated by humans because of their abilities.

Thus the author sets the stage for a battle to determine who will prevail – the selfish elders or the disenfranchised youths. He chooses to tell the tale by using four narrators: Park, the computer hacker, Brenda, an elder married to Clem, their android servant Andre and Alexander, an employee of the Royal Bank of Scotland who is the same age as the ComGen hackers but who has chosen to work for the establishment.

At the outset Park and his hacker army are engaged in a hack attack called Over the Rainbow targeting key leaders of S.E.N.I.L.E., the elder movement, hacking into their brains to plants subliminal messages. Clem Wellman is targeted and becomes conscious of having too many possessions; his wife Brenda is alarmed at the change in his thinking; his loyal android Andre removes the chip against orders and is banished to the void lands where he falls in with a bad bunch. Meanwhile, in Edinburgh Alexander is hired by the richest man on earth, Pablo Corazon, to infiltrate the ComGen movement and put a stop to bank hacking.

A summit meeting is planned in Madrid where representatives from S.E.N.I.L.E. and the ComGen generation are to meet for peace talks. Clem is chosen to attend, as is Park who represents the Nairobi ComGen Base; Alexander is ordered to assassinate Clem, Brenda's feminine instincts tell her that Clem may be in danger and sends Andre the Android in disguise to protect him, and author Krakoff skillfully brings things to a climax worthy of The Bourne Conspiracy.

This novel is a great read for many reasons. Krakoff describes the global society of the future with relish: "Times have changed the world; governments have all but vanished and the modern military-industrial complex is now driven by banks…" There is global drought, dried up rivers, wild fires burning and populations on the move as coastal cities like San Francisco, New York, London and Hong Kong are flooded by rising sea waters.  The plot marches forward relentlessly. The author moves in and out of four different mind sets of the four narrators with ease.

 But what's best about Dream Hackers is its moral depth. At the beginning everyone is motivated by self interest but gradually the four narrators develop in complexity. Is our species driven by greed and the desire to live forever or can we exhibit courage and compassion? Ironically, Andre the machine says it best: "My programming is simple; I am here to serve. But there is so much more to celebrate about life…the vast knowledge of the world, appreciation of culture, awareness of the sciences, being around humans, animals, nature…to view and accept the beauty of life is its own reward."

 Author Rob Krakoff has penned a fast moving, entertaining novel depicting a bleak future for our planet, but in the process he makes us shake our heads in sorrow, laugh  and feel tiny twinges of hope. Copies are available for $200 pesos at Diane Pearl's Collection on Colon or on Kindle for $4.99.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Novel #4: Dream Hackers

I have recently completed my fourth novel, Dream Hackers, a fictional futurist story set in the year 2099.

Our story is set in a future of Haves versus Have-nots. The Haves are the elders, whose lives have been extended through science. They own the vast share of the world’s wealth, food, and water supplies. The Have-nots are the impoverished young adults residing in squatter cities who have been organized into a devastating army of computer hackers.

Medical, computer, and scientific advances began in the first decade of the century, expanding life expectancy exponentially to the point where extended lifespans became the standard. As a result, the world population is heavily tilted toward wealthy seniors who live as long as they choose.  This dystrophic civilization spawns a cold war where the elders are under constant attack, having their life savings, wills, health records, property -- and even their dreams -- hacked by aggressive youths. This gripping action-adventure story follows four main characters as they seek a peaceful solution to conflict, only to learn that there are greater forces of evil behind this worldwide clash.

Brenda and Clem Wellman are 100-ish-year-old seniors, living in retirement in the charter city of New Mesa, Arizona when they are financially and psychologically attacked by the hacker army. Brenda, a pampered 99-year old former beauty contestant, is fearful of youths, robots and aging. Clem is a former educator and reluctant hero of the senior defense movement who has been targeted for dream hacking.

Park, a 40-something, ladder-climbing, conniving, trash-talking, computer-hacking youth, joins the ComGen (Computer Generation) as a personal vendetta against his wealthy Minneapolis parents. His base of operations is located in the squatter City of the Dead in Cairo, Egypt. Park becomes the ComGen’s most effective dream hacker.

Alexander Joseph resides in Edinburgh, Scotland as head of Mergers and Acquisitions for the Royal Bank of Scotland. As an ex-Navy SEAL turned stodgy British subject, he is recruited by the bank’s CEO to secretly infiltrate the ComGen and discover those responsible for hacking the RBS seniors’ bank accounts.

André is an almost-French domestic robot working and residing in the Wellman home in New Mesa. Due to his loyalty to Clem he is caught up in the battle between the elders and the ComGens. In his adventures outside the Wellman home he encounters danger, intrigue, robot makeovers, bigotry, and Halloween costumes.

The ComGen young adults want a quality of life equal to that of their elderly parents, with homes in upscale charter cities.  They long for a return to family unity and to the pleasures and comforts of fresh food and water.

The elders want their selfish, isolated lives back without conflict and to live out their days in comfort.
This is an action-adventure, science-based, fast-paced, decidedly prophetic novel that assumes scientific evidence of today and rams it relentlessly into a perilous and high-speed future.

How do I Buy your Books

Everyday I get fans asking me if they can buy hard copies of my books. Since my books are published in Mexico my novels have not been available in retail channels outside of Latin America.

Soon there will be a link on this site which will allow you to order books from my personal supply and allow me to sign each copy and mail them for a flat fee to 190 countries in the world.

The fee for any of my books is $14.95 US per book.

The shipping fee is a flat fee of $9.00 US for one book; $12.00 for two; $15.00 for three and $18.00 for all four novels. So if my math skills are correct, if you buy all four of my books including shipping it will cost you a gazillion dollars.

This is a special price for my online friends and fans, as the books sell for $200 pesos in Mexico (about $18.00).

The popularity of eBooks is growing fast and IMHO one day (sooner than you think) Amazon will be the world's largest book publisher. Amazon has made strides in that direction with AmazonEncore, Author Central and their relatively new POD (print-on-demand) site CreateSpace.

My goal is just to write and get my books out there where readers can find them, and e-publishing lets me do this in a way that doesn't cost me thousands of dollars paid to some vanity press to get a few thousand copies that only wind up moldy in my garage.

I encourage anyone to invest in some form of an eReader. Personally, I like the Kindle. These readers are the future of literature. Yes, I know that you love the feel of a new book in your hands just like you loved the feel of vinyl records and 8-track players back in the day.

Amazon will do to books what the iPod did to music and that day is coming at you like a bullet train. Don't be the last kid on your block to adapt. I mean, come on.

One of my books in live paperback will cost you about $25 smackers including shipping. Online through Amazon or Smashwords they are less than $4.00 each, no shipping charges and you don't have to wait; they download in less than one minute. Now where did I store my old vinyl LP record collection???