Thursday, 9 June 2016


My name is Jack Felson, I'm a French writer still working on a political fiction novel called "Cheneyland". It's a book about a theme park for adults that could be the opposite to Disneyland - basically it's a war zone, which is visited by a 12-year-old boy, and by two adults along with him (his father and elder sister).

I'm writing this for some good reasons.

Everybody knows what happened in Paris last November 13. As the first of that series of bloody attacks occurred, I was at the English-French border, about to go to my parents' home in the suburbs of Paris. Because of what was happening, everything got suddenly blocked at both borders and it took me lots of time to finally reach my family in France.

It was horrible enough, maybe more awful than what happened when a Concorde plane crashed in the same suburbs of Paris in 2000. But the most horrible was to come.

Just a few days later, some of the terrorists were spotted in Saint-Denis - a city just near Paris. Whatever they were doing, they were peacefully living inside an apartment there. The French police forces attacked them at 4 am that night (November 18).

My father, who's a doctor, has his own practice in this very same city, in the same area, almost on the same street. If the French police forces - praise them - had decided to attack a few hours before or later, my dad would have been caught in the heavy gunfire that occurred.

As a reaction to all this - the attacks, plus those in the Middle East, and the heavy situation we've been enduring since 2001 -, I finally started the writing of this book, in February. At the time, the attacks in Brussels hadn't even occurred yet.

Why have I titled the book this way? For an even more simple reason.

We have all declared war on ISIS, or ISIL, or Daesh, whatever those guys call themselves. But I believe that if we want to do it effectively, we must first declare war on those who gave birth to that group.

I'm talking about the Bush administration, and what it did when they attacked Iraq back in 2003.

At that time, Iraq was a destitute country ruled by a lay leader, Saddam Hussein. He was a bloody dictator, okay. But as a layman, he had no connection - or too little - with Islamist groups, so he didn't have any with Al-Qaida and with what happened on 9/11, contrary to what the Bush administration made us believe.

Also, even if Saddam Hussein really had 'weapons of mass destruction', it was what was left of a pack of chemical weapons he used in the 80s to face the Iranian forces, then against the Kurdish people in 1988. That arsenal was built for him by... the Republicans - with notably the help of... Donald Rumsfeld (see this and that), who was appointed as Special Envoy to the Middle East by President Ronald Reagan -, and the rest of it had all the time to run obsolete and useless before being found in 2003. In other words, he had nothing.

Despite those facts - facts that they perfectly knew about -, and the heavy worldwide opposition, the Republicans started that illegal and colonial war, attacking and ruining what was left of Iraq, and finally allowing a bunch of terrorists to emerge from the chaos and use it as a pretext to take over, and to establish an Islamist authority in the country. An Islamist authority that has spread over to Syria and Lebanon since. And that has been hitting hard in Western Europe. And in the US, very recently.

Whose real fault is it?

In the name of 'Freedom of Iraq' and the fake desire to bring democracy there, the Republicans have killed and tortured hundreds of thousands (if not over a million) innocent people, and forced over two other million people to exodus, only for a small group of them to steal the oil and make more money than they already had.

They have made some of the most dangerous people even angrier than they already were. Their so-called 'war on terrorism' resulted in an even bigger threat.

The funniest thing is, they are now laughing out and enjoying great lives with all the cash they made from this, when they should be enjoying... life sentences, inside maximum security prisons.

Since it seems impossible to only lodge a complaint against them, I thought I could write a satirical book.

But this book is not only about the past. It's also about the future.

The US presidential elections are coming fast. I'm very surprised about why people don't wonder more about what may happen if the Republicans come back in charge next year.

Since what happened before the war in Iraq was triggered, the whole world knows how the American people can be influenced, intimidated, manipulated ("You are with us, or you are against us").

Back in 2010, the Republicans, notably war crazy Sarah Palin, who sees everything in black and white (all the Americans are good, all the Arabs are terrorists), put heavy pressure on President Barack Obama in order to try to make him attack Iran. "If you want to get yourself the chance of a second term, you need to bomb Iran", she said, more or less.

Fortunately - yes, fortunately! - Barack Obama didn't let himself get impressed, he didn't bomb Iran and he got his second term easily.

Will any candidate learn from this? Frankly I don't think so. Actually nobody cares. Most of the Republicans want to attack Iran, when Iran is a muslim Republic - and when Iraq was not, back in 2003 -, when Iran has certainly developed nuclear stuff in order to become an important nation able to defend itself against an attack from the West.

But this won't stop the Republicans. It didn't stop them from attacking a country that was supposed to be massively armed - as they said -, and from crossing the crucial line of nuclear deterrence, which has become obsolete.

Donald Trump is the most powerful Republican candidate. Trump is clearly a racist, a bigot and a demagog, but he said that it's not among his plans to attack any 'rogue state' in sight if he becomes president. During a confrontation against Jeb Bush, he heavily criticized the Bush administration for what they did in Iraq, and for lying about the WMDs.

Problem is, he's already promised Sarah Palin to give her power if he gets elected. This means she could push him to attack Iran. As a powerful advisor she might be able to do that.

We can imagine the consequences if she manages to succeed. If the United States attack a country that probably has real WMDs. We avoided these consequences when French President Jacques Chirac refused to follow Bush in his 2003's crusade for money. We won't be lucky forever.

Every time the Republicans are in charge, a war for nothing is triggered somewhere, especially in the Middle East and on its soil still filled up with oil and other materials that are as raw as valuable.

Since the lifting of sanctions last January, Iran has become one of the biggest oil producers. The Iranians may sell their black gold at the cheapest price, they are not free from anything. Especially when we know that the Republicans have welcome the lifting of sanctions with much hostility.

If we don't want to be manipulated into wars again, if we don't want to be deceived with the biggest lies one more time, if we really want to stop other useless wars from being triggered, and to save thousands - millions - of precious lives, and if we want to be properly ruled and protected all over the world - and inside of America in the first place -, we need to keep the Democrats in charge.

I am not an American, but I am a Democrat. This is an important call for the American people so they vote for the Democrats.

Visit the official website for my book - many thanks for your time!

Friday, 23 January 2015

New Indiegogo campaign

We just launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign this time, for my book Charlie's Trips and also for a film project based on the book. Get all the details here!

Check it out fellows!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Book Tour!

Hello folks, I'm back at last! Been so busy!

Last September I managed to have a virtual tour with my book, Charlie's Trips, lead by Mrs. Tracee Gleichner from Pump Up your Book. And the result is rather interesting! A couple of positive reviews came out, along with a handful of interviews of me, I'm inviting you to discover them today. Even if I'm a bit disppointed because the tour lasted less than a month, with only 2-3 commentaries from bloggers, and because the website didn't deliver a review of my book as it was supposed to, it was so special for me to find my book liked and positively reviewed, it's still a very weird event.
Here are the reviews, from:

Minding Spot

Paula Mitchell, from Book Lover Stop

Reading with Monie

The minimum, yes? But I enjoyed the Minding Spot review, I'm very grateful. I'm even more grateful to well-known UK gossip newsletter Popbitch who published, a month before (on August), a very flattering thread about my book, unfortunately invisible now ('Come on, Random House, you need a hit, publish this.')

Wow! Did my book deserve such a comment, and does it still deserve it? I'm asking, because Random House didn't spot it so far ;) We'll see. A real promotion campaign, and a big one, is about to start - I hope so... In the meanwhile, check out this interview, and have a good read!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

The car chase movie scenes you must see before you die

I love movies, but I hate cars. I hate them because they're rolling, polluting coffins to me. I love them only when they are used in action films. Like in these ones. Classic old movies that use cars with respect, in beautifully filmed chases, with great actors and no lazy CG shit. Enjoy!

BULLITT - dir. Peter Yates (1967)
It's difficult to resume this movie but it's very easy to watch Steve McQueen in this exciting sequence that started it all.

THE FRENCH CONNECTION - dir. William Friedkin (1971)
Popeye Doyle (Hackman) chases a madman (Marcel Bozzuffi) and the subway he took over. Friedkin shot this gasping scene with no authorization from the authorities. Five Oscars!

GONE IN 60 SECONDS - dir. H.B. Haliki (1974)
This fun chase is very long, split in 4 parts so follow up! And forget the remake with Nicolas Cage.

THE DRIVER - dir. Walter Hill (1978)
Ryan O'Neal plays an expert driver regularly hired by robbers so he gets them away from the police. A great concept from writer/director Walter Hill.

MAD MAX - dir. George Miller (1979)
Ouch! One of the most violent films ever. Not for everybody! Only problems: this is not the original Australian version, and the quality is quite poor. But what the hell?

TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. - dir. William Friedkin (1985)
For me, one of the best police films in history. And one of my favorite films. With starting William Petersen, way before he became the CSI star, as a cop chased by other cops after a robbery he planned, in this incredible scene. Friedkin is THE car chase expert! We haven't finished with him yet!

THE HITCHER - dir. Robert Harmon (1986)
Two young innocent people are chased by the police - and are rescued by the killer! A terrific scene from another of my favorite movies. With an extraordinary actor, Rutger Hauer, as the playing maniac.

THE HIDDEN - dir. Jack Sholder (1987)
The bad guy here is in fact a hidden, aggressive alien, turning the most honest citizens into the worst criminals! An excellent, very underrated police horror film with this great opening scene.

AMSTERDAMNED - dir. Dick Maas (1987)
The Dutch too, can film great chase scenes! Here it's not a car one but a boat one, filmed through Amsterdam. My favorite chase scene, enjoy! You won't believe it!

COLORS - dir. Dennis Hopper (1988)
Sean Penn and Robert Duvall chase gangmen through the Watts area, in this awesome, violent flick from late actor/director Dennis Hopper. With a great soundtrack from Herbie Hancock.

POINT BREAK - dir. Kathryn Bigelow (1992)
Oscar winning director Bigelow and executive producer James Cameron - they were married at the time - deliver a full adrenaline packed flick that reaches its top during that car chase turning into a running pursuit.

JADE - dir. William Friedkin (1995)
Third flick in this list from Friedkin, with David Caruso, way before he became the CSI Miami star.

RONIN - dir. John Frankenheimer (1998)
An American film showing this chase scene shot in Southern France, through very narrow streets.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011


This is an editorial I submitted a few days ago to a handful of mainstream newspapers in London  The Guardian, The Observer, The Independent. Since I haven't received any response from any of them so far, I'm publishing it on my blog.

"What can be expected in 2012? Let’s examine the present situation.

"On one side, we have a very serious financial crisis spread all across the Euro zone. On the other side, we have Israel threatening to attack Iran, if the United States don’t do it for them. Stuck just between those two great, heavy blocks, the one doing everything necessary to go to recession, the other doing everything necessary to go to war, we have Turkey, that country sitting on Europe and Near East, that recently got hit by two big earthquakes in only a couple of days. These earthquakes could be the results of natural causes as well as political – was the international pressure too strong to take for Turkey and its so fragile construction?

"Less than two months before year 2012, all the religious and pseudo-scientists predicting the end of the world for this year must be very happy – all the signs are reunited for this to happen. Let’s remember that in 1998, under Bill Clinton’s presidency, the Republicans had put pressure on him so he goes to Iraq with the heaviest bombs ever. The same thing is happening again now, with the Republicans putting pressure on Barack Obama so he does the same with Iran, Sarah Palin notably, who likes to believe that everyone thinks and reasons just like her, and who’s very cynically arguing that a war against Iran and Ahmadinejad would assure Obama to be reelected – something that the Republicans are yet the last ones to wish for him. Bill Clinton hadn’t fallen under the pressure, we can expect Obama not to do that either but if he’s not reelected in November 2012, if the Republicans come back in charge next year, we can easily expect them to attack Iran right away, for a reason that is as easy to guess – for oil much more than for getting rid of the Iranian nuclear capacity. A war against a country that has more or less clear nuclear capacities would be, much more than with Iraq a decade ago, a clear crossing of the course of deterrence, and would lead to another World War that could burn the whole planet. And the end of the world is predicted by many people for... December 21, 2012. Which means, right after the next American presidential elections. Some other people have told of some miscalculation, and moved the date of the end of the world to October 28, 2011. This date is now behind us and nothing has happened. I don’t believe in any such prediction – the end of the world has already been predicted, many times before, in so many ways, especially before year 2000. Nothing had ever happened, even if French president Jacques Chirac and German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder had stopped the end from occurring by refusing to go with Bush to Iraq ten years before, in 2002 – in my opinion –, something that nobody could have foreseen. When I see what’s going on I still don’t believe at all that the end of the world is for next year, still...

"In the meantime, the Euro zone crisis keeps influencing the political scenes, all over the continent. The crisis has been first provoked by the political elites that believed that an European money was needed to compete the American dollar and to fight its influence. Without understanding that Europe is a continent (not a country), an ensemble of very different countries with different economics and languages. The entry in the Euro zone of the first country in big deficit or irresponsibly ruled (like Greece), had been enough for everything to collapse. “The euro money doesn’t work so we have to kill it, to return to all of our previous national currencies,” most of the political extremists seem to be saying. And the situation is bringing them the best reasons to be happier and more credible and popular. They probably wont even have to kill the euro money. The possible arrival in charge of extremist people in Europe (in Switzerland, Greece and especially in France, where the next presidential elections are for May 2012), added to the heavy situation in the Middle East, with the Israelis now looking for another enemy to attack – since Palestine has just entered UNESCO and become more credible politically – can add to the explosive side of the situation; if America doesn’t attack Iran, Israel will.

"Roland Emmerichs big Hollywood film, 2012, shows the Earth struck all over its surface, by many big natural disaters predicted and foreseen by the Maya calendar. The present situation can suggest the end coming from other, unnatural causes - (thermo)nuclear ones. What will (may) happen next year? Has mankind gone stupid enough to do everything it takes to run straight into a programmed, global disaster, without doing anything to stop it? We'll have to wait after the next American presidential elections to have a clearer  definitive? idea."

Thursday, 24 November 2011

"Charlie's Trips" & its future place in YA literature

Let’s suppose that the book is a commercial success, what will be its place among the so many literary classics for the young? We can ask ourselves this question when we think that the book is also a disaster story, showing more than one natural disaster when, for instance, L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz shows only one – that famous tornado that catches little Dorothy and takes her somewhere else. Charlie’s Trips, which first can be seen as a sci-fi version of Baum’s work, also contains many subtitled comments about our society, targeting some of the American strongest values, when most of the best-known children and teenage classics don’t do that, when they’re pure entertaining pieces of literature, with no other ambition to make the reader feel good about himself and the society he’s part of. This is also the main aim of Charlie’s Trips, as well as the one of being a little caustic and unserious about all these values. The book doesn’t show any villain, any eccentric character the kid hero would have to struggle again. The only eccentric elements showed in the book are those famous  values (religion, television, army, marriage, etc.) we’re so fond of and dependent on.

I wrote Charlie’s Trips as a film script before turning it into a book after realizing that it could be possible – the script was way too long, over 200 pages – and after the project was turned down by Daniel Radcliffe’s agent in London. The result is, in my opinion the book is very close to Roald Dahl’s works, from a stylistic aspect, much more than it is to any other teenage book. No, this is a little dishonest – I have to admit, I haven’t read most of those novels, I still haven’t read Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, I still haven’t read J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, I still haven’t read S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders and any of her other teenage classics, such as Rumble Fish or Tex, I still haven’t even read The Wizard of Oz and I have very few, vague memories of the legendary film! I still haven’t read Alice in Wonderland or Charlotte’s Web or Gulliver’s Travels either, I haven’t read any of the Harry Potter books and you know what? I’m more than glad I didn’t read any of all these, because it allowed me to stay away from their influences and not to compete with them. And, even if I haven’t read any of these classics, I know about their plots and I know for sure that none of them includes science-fiction or describes futuristic environments. You’re going to laugh, but I also haven’t read any of the Lord of the Rings books, which belong to the fantasy genre. The only classic for the young I knew about very well before I started writing Charlie’s Trips, was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (one of my favorite books). The influence is quite clear – I reused the same first name, notably – and the narrative style is similar, rather minimalist, lacking any psychological consideration and issue, just like in Roald Dahl’s lovely book, but it’s still very different and distinctive. In Charlie’s Trips, the lack of psychological content can be explained by the ‘new’ nature of its main character, who totally lost his past, he can’t remember any of it and has no other choice than look forward – and his ability is quite limited. Such a character is a good enough reason to use minimalist narrative, to stick to the dialog and action and to deliver everything with this – in the end we have a book that is a fun and very quick read.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

My way(s) of writing

Before starting to write a fiction story, you always need to have an idea that could make such a good story, in your opinion. Then you need to work on that idea, to develop it. You can write a first synopsis then take more or less notes on paper about your plot and characters, you can also do all of it mentally but anyway you always have to plan your future work.

Personally I quit taking notes, I just think a whole lot about what I'm going to write before actually starting to work on paper or computer. I mean I quit taking notes some time ago, when I started writing screenplays, which is an easier (or less difficult) thing to do than writing books. Fiction writing is a hard job, it can take much time - especially when you write a book, which is incredibly difficult - so I'd rather do it naturally, use my instinct. And new ideas come to you while you're writing. I remember a line in the movie Finding Forrester, from writer Mike Rich and director Gus Van Sant, starring Sean Connery: "You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite it with your head. The first key to writing is... to write, not to think!" I won't say that this is what I do most of the time but it's the best definition about the way I do it: instinctively. I put on paper or computer every good idea that gets through my mind, trying never to lose my vision and style.

So the first thing I do when I get a good idea is think about it a lot, and build it (beginning, middle, ending, etc.), no matter how I do it, if possible without taking notes at all, BEFORE starting to turn that idea and concept into a book or script or play or whatever. Then as soon as I start writing I don't think no more - or if I do, I don't do it too long or too intensively, it could lead me to writer's block. I just follow my instinct and let the story lead me to where it's supposed to end. And I try never to put any heavy psychological stuff in my texts, I always try to define my characters with what they say and do, as much as possible. This way my works can be read quite easily and quickly, and the reader will never get lost.

I'm always surprised when I manage to finish something. And I'm even more surprised when I manage to get promotion for it. Actually my last notable work, Charlie's Trips, is also the first of my works to get a publicity campaign. Two good reasons to be pleasantly surprised about that one. All my previous works have been left unpromoted - and I've been writing stuff since the mid 90s.

Today, with hindsight, I often wonder how I could write this or that, and when I find it good I call myself a crazy. Or a genius. Or both. Which is a good thing - and an even better thing when it's your friends or family mates, or even strangers, that call you such names. One sure thing, when it comes to writing you need to follow your instinct and you need to turn more or less crazy to do that and achieve something.