Saturday, July 20, 2013

Beta Reader Alison DeLuca on THE HOPE STORE by Dwight Okita


NOTE: I had a few writers reading THE HOPE STORE as "beta readers." Their feedback is very helpful because they are commenting on the whole new book and giving overall input as well as sometimes more detailed notes on the manuscript. I wanted to share some notes from one such reader, author Alison DeLuca who has written several fine steampunk novels. As you may know, this novel is about the first store to sell hope over the counter. Jada is the store's first customer and Luke is one of the store owners. Here are some of Alison's comments:


"Overall, The Hope Store really succeeded on several levels for me. First, I loved the actual story, with Jada and her own self-discovery -- as well as the future of the Hope Store. Those story arcs were balanced perfectly.

I felt a lot of connection to Jada, as well as to Luke. His revelations later in the book made him very human, from my POV. Kazu is also such a vivid, alive character. The Luke/Jada chapters were perfectly done, and I enjoyed the two different points of view. The green highlights are for sections that really nailed it – they stood out to me as well-written, and extremely interesting. I think you brought the book to a real, satisfying conclusion.

I also loved the style and poetry of your words. There were only a few phrases that seemed off or clichéd to me, and I pointed them out in the manuscript. The book is a fantastic follow-up to Prospect."



Alison DeLuca

http://amzn.to/11ztpD7

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Beta Reader JT Kalnay on THE HOPE STORE by Dwight Okita



NOTE: I have a few writers reading THE HOPE STORE as "beta readers." Their feedback is very helpful because they are commenting on the whole new book and giving overall input as well as sometimes more detailed notes on the manuscript. I wanted to share some notes from one such reader, author JT Kalnay who has written several fine thriller novels. As you may know, the novel is about the first store to sell hope over the counter. Jada is the store's first customer and Luke is one of the store owners.


Hi Dwight,


I finished the book this evening. It is a fantastic story, filled with just enough twists and turns. But it's the insight into Jada's viewpoint that really makes the story work.
It is fascinating how it gets inside Jada's head, literally and figuratively.
(You probably don't know this but I spend about 1/2 my time doing MRI physics.
So I thought the fMRI part was pretty interesting.)
Many people will weep while they read the story, as they identify with Jada's issues.
Others will identify with Luke and the result of his living a lie.
Dwight I think you have an excellent story here.



JT Kalnay
http://www.amazon.com/jt-kalnay/e/B004XW2KOA/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1371519802&sr=1-2-ent

Thursday, May 30, 2013


I write like
Chuck Palahniuk
I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!







This is amazing. Writers, paste in some paragraphs of your novel to have it cyber-analyzed. The software I WRITE LIKE will tell you which famous writer you most write like, based on your language, phrasing, etc. Mine told me that I write like Chuck Palahniuk, which I take as a great compliment! I enjoy his writing. Try out the software and let me know who you write like.

Dwight

http://iwl.me/b/2b568272

Friday, March 1, 2013

Hope Store Advances in Contest


Okay, this news is a little late.  But on February 13, 2013 -- I learned that my novel THE HOPE STORE advanced in the Amazon contest.  10,000 novels were entered from around the world.  2,000 of our books advanced on the based of our 300 word pitches.  I did my happy dance.

Next, on March 12, I'll find out if my book advances on the basis of my 20 page excerpt.  There will be 500 books left standing at that point.  And the public is invited to go to -- www.amazon.com/abna -- to read for themselves any of the advancing excerpts!  There's always quite a stunning variety of novels and voices on display.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

My entry to the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards



It's Monday, Jan 28. I am part of a large blogging event called the "Re-Introduce Myself" Blogfest where I get to introduce myself to new audiences. My name is Dwight Okita. I live in Chicago where I design websites and work at a nonprofit for the visually impaired. I just finished writing my second novel THE HOPE STORE and I've entered it in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. You can learn more about the contest at www.amazon.com/abna
Below is the pitch for my book:

"We don't just instill hope. We install it." 
That's the slogan for the first store in the world to sell hope over the counter.  

Luke Nagano goes to sleep each night dreaming about hope and how to make more of it, ever since he lost his sister. He and his partner prepare the store for its grand opening. As media interest grows, an activist group called the Natural Hopers emerges with the mission to warn the public about the dangers of synthetically created hope. Though the store investors become rightly nervous, a steady stream of hope-enhanced customers begins to sing the store's praises. 

When hopeless Jada Upshaw first hears of the Hope Store, she's outraged. She's wasted plenty of time and money on magic bullets that haven't worked. Jada sets out to expose the Hope Store for the fraud it must be -- but to do so she must have a hope installation herself. Jada's response to the installation forces her to change her plans dramatically, and to re-think the meaning of hope. 

A TV station offers to present a town hall meeting about the controversial nature of enhanced hope in the new millennium, and Luke is tempted by this chance for big exposure -- but it means they'll have to face the Natural Hopers who can be loose cannons. Everything is at stake as this high-profile event could either signal the beginning or end of a global conversation on hope. 

THE HOPE STORE tells a story of an unlikely friendship set in the near future, and the thorny relationships between science and faith, placebo and cure, hope and hype. 


My first novel THE PROSPECT OF MY ARRIVAL was a finalist in the Amazon contest in 2008.

I look forward to meeting the other bloggers in this blogfest!

Friday, December 28, 2012

HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Well, this is an amazing photo of Big Ben. From last new year I think.

It's been a pretty good year.  I got a cool part time job at Blind Service Association.
A Hollywood film producer treated me to steak dinner and we talked for two hours about possibilities.
I designed a website and video for an associate professor in Dubai.
My buddhist practice of chanting and daily prayers are more regular.
I've been making new friends, in town and out of town.
And I finished my second novel THE HOPE STORE.  Below is the pitch for the book.

Feel free to write back and tell me about your 2012 year, or your hopes for 2013.
As any blogger knows, it's a lonely job blogging on the internet.  So comments are great welcomed!

Dwight

Here's my latest pitch for my novel for the Amazon contest:

"We don't just instill hope. We install it." That's the slogan for the first store in the world to sell hope over the counter. Luke Nagano goes to sleep each night dreaming about hope and how to make more of it, ever since he lost his sister. He and his partner prepare the store for its grand opening. As media interest grows, an activist group called the Natural Hopers emerges with the mission to alarm people about the dangers of synthetically created hope. Though the investors are rightly nervous, a stream of hope-enhanced customers begins to sing the store's praises.

When Jada Upshaw first hears of the store, she just laughs. She's wasted plenty of time on magic bullets that didn't work. She's a woman born without a breath of hope. Jada sets out to expose the Hope Store to be the fraud that it surely is -- but to do so she must have a hope installation herself. Her response to the installation forces her to change her plans dramatically, and to re-think the meaning of hope.

A TV station offers to host a town hall meeting on hope, and Luke is tempted by the chance for major exposure -- but it means they’ll have to face the Natural Hopers. Much is at stake as the outcome of this high-profile event could either be the start of a global conversation on enhanced hope – or the end of it.

This story of friendship set in the new millennium explores the thorny relationships between science and faith, placebo and cure, hope and hype. THE HOPE STORE is a soft science-fiction novel.



Thursday, December 20, 2012



Today, I welcome author Leti Del Mar to my blog "Long Day's Journey Into Dwight." We are doing what's called a blog swap. I feature a short interview with Leti on my blog about her new novel THE INADVERTENT THIEF and she features a short interview with me on her blog about my first novel THE PROSPECT OF MY ARRIVAL  (On Dec. 21, you can read that interview on me at: wordswithletidelmar.blogspot.com)



1. What made you want to become a writer?
My whole life, I've been thinking up and telling stories.  One day this story was just buzzing around in my head and I had to write it down. Once I started, I couldn't stop.  I gave the first few chapters to a friend who is also an editor for a magazine here in L.A. and she told me I just had to finish it.  So that was that, I knew I needed to be a writer.


2. What inspires your writing?
I get most of my inspiration from the people in my life and the places around me.  I love to travel and incorporate quite a bit of what I experience into my writing.

3. What do you think the hardest part about writing is?
The revision process is the most difficult for me.  It is hard to decide what to toss and what to keep and after reading my own work for a dozen times, it’s hard to maintain the same passion and drive that I had while writing the first draft.

4. Do you plan out what you are going to write or just let it flow?
I spend a significant amount of time early on planning and outlining.  Once I have my plan in place, then I sit down and just write and let it flow.  

5. What is your latest project about?
The Inadvertent Thief is about Vivien Flowers who specializes in protecting fine art and her highly structured world comes to a halt when two very special paintings are stolen.  In her fierce determination to get them back, Vivien learns how to become a thief.  This romantic suspense follows Vivien’s journey from Los Angeles to Paris as she learns about trust, love and the brilliance she is capable of.

6.  What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Don't ever give up.  Being a writer is a journey and not a destination so keep writing.  Also make friends with and learn from other authors.  Their tips can be invaluable.

7.  What is on your to-read list?
Right now, I am trying to read as many indie authors as I can to spread the love and support.  I am looking forward to the final installment of Karly Kirkpatrick’s Into The Shadows Trilogy.  She also has a great blog that gave me some wonderful advice on epublishing.
You can purchase The Inadvertent Thief at:

Barnes & Noble

The book is available for free download also:

Social network with Leti at:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 7, 2012

PROSPECT in Movieland




Chicago, Illinois -- Jon Shestack is a film producer in LA ("Dan in Real Life" with Steve Carell, "Family Man" with Nicholas Cage). He took an interest in my book PROSPECT OF MY ARRIVAL a while back. Interestingly, he heard of my book from a book-to-film scout for Disney Studios who is a champion of my novel. She just happened on my book while browsing Amazon. Turns out Jon was coming into town this week to teach a one-week seminar on film producing at DePaul University. He asked if he could use my book as the book-to-film source material.  Cool beans.  

So this week, my book was stocked at DePaul University with textbooks and required reading for 22 film students.  I had the privilege on Friday to sit in on the presentations.  Jon had them break into three work groups: one presenting a movie production plan for my book as if to a big studio; one presenting as if an indie venture; and one presenting as if it would be a TV series.

There were interesting suggestions for who should direct, casting, musical score, who was the target audience, budget, locations, etc.  They even talked about whether the film should get a G or R rating and which was most profitable. One team proposed teaser ads on bus shelters for the movie. Two teams used powerpoint presentations.  Jon was a gentle giant as the teacher, giving them insights on what actors would be in reach or out, which composers give the most bang for their buck, which tweaks of storyline were most compelling, etc.

It was a lovely experience. I hope all novelists can experience such a thing. And hopefully Jon and I will get to work together on the real production of the movie of Prospect in 2013! Nothing is set is stone but nothing is impossible either.

The top picture above is of some of the students in the seminar. The second picture is Jon Shestack's hand as he points to his notes on the blackboard about Prospect.  Earlier in the week, Mr. Shestack took me out to dinner as we chatted for 2.5 hours about my book and the movie biz and our lives.  It was our first face-to-face meeting and probably won't be our last. The picture below is Jon Shestack having a martini with olives before we had our steak dinner together at Petterino's. Very Hollywood!







Thursday, September 20, 2012

In Praise of Virtual Boyfriends



NOTE:  On Facebook, I shared the following post.  It generated a lost of enthusiastic response so I wanted to share it in my blog too.  It is a small window into the heart of one gay man in the new millennium. Mine.



I have a "virtual boyfriend." What's that? It's someone who often lives in another country but you click really well with. And though you might not ever meet, you want to feel a bit more connected. So Leon is my virtual boyfriend in Serbia. We've been VBs for a few months. I will share a bit of our correspondence today.

DWIGHT: Yes, bread is nice. Bake for me some day, Boyfriend. And feel free to call me boyfriend because i have almost never been called that. :(

LEON: hehe, I would bake bread + cook for you...you're a great guy and the best virtual boyfriend that I ever had, Boyfriend! 
:)

Friday, August 24, 2012


FROM AUTHOR ALISON DELUCA'S BLOG "FRESH POT OF TEA"
Friday, August 24, 2012

Dwight Okita, Murakami, and Jellyfish

This summer I've had the pleasure to read both 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami and The Prospect of My Arrival by Dwight Okita. The books were very different, and yet there was a similarity to their style - a deceptive simplicity, deepening excitement, addictive prose, and a sense of melancholy and wonder throughout.

1Q84 is a doorstop of a book that originally was published in three volumes in Japan. It is perfect for anyone who is looking for a book for autumn, one that will last through quite a few rainy nights. Murakami writes about a woman, Aomame, and a man, Tengo. They go through separate adventures that interact in Murakami's signature mysterious existentialism.

Aomame gets out of a cab one day and climbs down from the highway into a world that has two moons. There she finds that things are a bit off. The world has shifted. In that  new alternate universe, a beautiful young girl called Fuka-Eri writes about Little People. They appear out of a dead goat's mouth and build an Air Chrysalis. There are two moons, and a Town of Cats.

Meanwhile, Tengo is working to polish and publish the manuscript by Fuka-Eri called Air Chrysalis. There are fascinating minor characters, such as the man who leads a powerful cult, a man that Aomame is contracted to kill. There is Ushikawa, the man hired by the cult to find Aomame.  Each of these characters is more than they appear - they unfold, like origami, into balanced people with depth and emotion. 

I am already a huge Murakami fan; Kafka on the Shore is one of my very favorite books. To be able to spend a summer reading a long novel by him was a real gift. And he didn't disappoint - 1Q84 satisfied my delight in urban fantasy, science fiction, action, and wonderful writing.

The Prospect of My Arrival was a different kind of read. It is much shorter, for one thing. I read the book in a few evenings, although in part that was because I simply could not put it down. Okita uses dreamy prose that is reminiscent of Murakami. He pumps up the volume on the science fiction, as the book is about a scientific and moral experiment.

Prospect is a foetus, a baby about to be born. He is given enhanced intelligence and a twenty-year-old body and sent out into the world to see if he wants to be born.

To help him in his decision, he is sent to visit Referrals. The book is the story of those visits on one level, but there is a thread of other plots connecting those stories. There are people who are against the Pre-Born Project and who want to stop it at all costs. There is also a love story between Prospect and Lito, his second referral. Okita manages both deftly, making the first exciting and the second lovely and touching.

I have read some reviews on Amazon about The Prospect of My Arrival that complain about the spare prose. Okita uses short sentences and simple description, but to my mind it is done very artistically. The book is like a Mondrian painting. It seems very straightforward at first glance, but there is a complex structure and design behind the simple sentences. And those short phrases echo the soul of Prospect who is, after all, a foetus. 

In one scene, Prospect meets his mother in the Shedd Aquarium. They talk about his sister, Joyce, in front of one of the tanks of jellyfish. "As they leave this place, jellyfish descend in slow motion like parachutes onto the bright coral reefs below them." This image is echoed in another Referral's home. "Sheer pink curtains flutter from the open windows of the living room. They move like jellyfish in the summer breeze."

The jellyfish encapsulated the book, to my mind. The words move lazily, dreamily, like underwater creatures, and yet they are mesmerizing. The plot and the prose seem so simple, and at the same time they are lovely and complex.

Can you get excited about the story of a foetus who may or may not decide to be born? Oh, yes indeed you can. As I said, I could not put it down, and I had a very sad feeling when the book ended. Luckily, Okita has other books coming out, such as The Hope Store, and I will certainly be purchasing everything by him.

I read Prospect as a Kindle book. Formatting is an art unto itself, and Okita's format is breathtaking. He includes images and chapter headings that make this a joy to read. However, the story was so amazing that I need to get the print version and beg the author to sign it for me. Okita is a name to be watched on the Indie front.