Happy New Year — Shredded to be released in April — New website — Shredded excerpt
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Happy 2017!

I trust that your 2016 was pleasant and prosperous, and that your 2017 is filled with promise. 

2016 was the first full year of release for Moment of Conception, and the response to the second book in the Matt Bugatti series has been great. If you haven't read it, you can find it on Amazon in paperback or for Kindle. If you have read it, please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads, or both!

If you haven't yet taken the Moment of Conception photo tour, you can find it here. I had the opportunity a year ago to go to northern Italy and visit many of the locales from Moment of Conception. The Hermitage of Ronzano was especially moving. I'd done extensive research on the history of this 15th century monastery, but this was my first visit. When I was in the chapel, I imagined standing among the crowd gathered for the funeral of Lamberto Magnani, with the brothers of the Order of the Servants of Mary filling the front pews. The path from the chapel to the vineyard, where Matt and Ronni walked with Brother Alessandro, was exactly as I pictured it. I could almost see the brothers working among the vines, and Brother Dario's face as he saw his cousin Matt for the first time in years.

As always, I love to hear from you about what you thought of Moment of Conception, or of the first Matt Bugatti book, The Girlfriend Experience.

Shredded is scheduled for release in April, 2017

Shredded is set fifty or more years in the future, at a time when almost all human activity takes place in virtual reality. It's also a time in which every item—clothing, accessories, appliances, personal items, everything—is connected to the all-present Worldstream, where every word, image, and action by every citizen, whether in virtual reality or in real life, is recorded for all time.

Grace, a civil servant with a dark past, wakes one morning to find that she's become a viral sensation: Her life has been hacked, all her life data converted to a lifestream, a full-immersion, 3-D, virtual reality experience that thrill-seeking stream riders can inhabit for a few dollars. The helplessness she feels, knowing that she's powerless to prevent strangers from getting their jollies reliving her life, and the fear that her fourteen-year-old son, Dylan, might stumble upon her explicit lifestream, drives her to find a shredder, an expert in the ways of the Worldstream, to erase her lifestream and all the data collected about her since she was born. Her life will be hers again, but she'll be outside of the Worldstream—and she can never go back.

Will you help by becoming an alpha reader?

I've posted the entire first draft of Shredded online at writeon by Kindle. You can also find the link to it on my Shredded landing page. Your comments are hugely helpful! I read them all, and every contributor will be mentioned in the acknowledgements. Key contributors will receive a free signed copy! While you're there, sign on to writeon and leave some love for Shredded. You can "like" each and every chapter!

We have a new website!

The Charles O'Donnell, Author website has been given a makeover! You'll find all the news about my books there, as well as other features, and links to other resources I've found helpful. If you're a follower of my blog, you find all my blog content at the new site. Click here to go to my landing page, and tell me what you think of the new look!

Excerpt from Shredded, Chapter 2
"Privacy Is Overrated"

Grace stood at a corner, on a stained and fractured concrete sidewalk, by a narrow, one-way street, dotted with repairs. Tall buildings formed embankments on either side, residences for the most part, tenements that were old when the twenty-first century was new. They limited the view of the sky to narrow strips, through which the fading twilight filtered to ground level. It was peak shipping time, when people had ended their days, finished their evening meals, and opened retail portals on their screens, their purchases delivered in minutes by commercial drones overhead, high enough that their buzzing softened, blending into an ever-present hum. The police drones were less numerous but closer to the ground, where their high-def cameras could conduct surveillance more effectively. Their formations passed at regular intervals, announcing their approach with a sharp sound, dropping in pitch as they passed. The only ground-based vehicles were the occasional private transports, greatly outnumbered by the community transit auto-buses, themselves numbering few, moving slowly forward, stopping when they encountered the occasional pedestrian.

Grace was in a part of town where people gathered in the evening, people who had grown restless inside the walls, who sometimes preferred Real Life to Virtual Reality, who felt that an authentic experience, however mundane, had intrinsic value that a synthetic experience, however remarkable, did not. They found it comforting to walk to an actual, physical shop, to take a breather between a want and its satisfaction, and fill it with human contact. They were people who wanted other people.

Some were people who lacked the means or the aptitude to participate in the rich and varied Virtual Reality world. Real Life, where they spent the majority of their hours, was a trial; VR was their escape. They were patrons of the ubiquitous lifestream bistros, streamboats they called them, where they could rent the VR gear that the more affluent took for granted—headgear, gloves, and the latest innovation, the Belt, strapped to the waist, coupled to the nervous system, delivering sensations directly to the spinal cord. They could select from a menu of VR experiences, exciting breaks from their gray existence. For a lousy fifty cred, the cost of a cheap meal, a person could be anyone he wanted to be for thirty minutes.

Some were Cloaked. They walked among the uncloaked citizens, conspicuous in their shapeless, indistinguishable coverings, concealed from head to foot in one continuous, black garment, like the burqas worn by women in the less enlightened regions of the world, where people still worshipped gods, where men still followed the words of the Prophet, shielding their women from all eyes but theirs. The street people knew enough to step aside when the Cloaked approached, and they never spoke to them. The Cloaked were not so much people as they were simply mobile features of the environment: hidden, identical, and anonymous.

Copyright © 2017 by Charles O'Donnell, All Rights Reserved

Copyright © 2017 Charles O'Donnell, Author, All rights reserved.

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