As I sit and watch the surreal press conference between Trump and Putin after their so-called historic summit, where, after recently treating our allies like dog shit, Trump behaves like a sycophantic lapdog to a murderous dictator who wants nothing more than to destroy and subjugate the U.S. of America in retribution for how the U.S. of America destroyed and subjugated his beloved U.S.S.R., I am reminded of how I felt, or better yet, how my fuzzy, nightmarish memories leave me feeling from the surreal and tumultuous times in the U.S. of America during the late-Sixties through the mid-Seventies, you know, the era of national madness beginning with the Tet Offensive through the Watergate break-ins and subsequent hearings to Nixon’s humiliating yet palliative resignation and ending with America’s humiliating yet palliative retreat from South Vietnam.
I’m only a so-so fan of HP Lovecraft. I guess I’ve read as much of him as I have more out of a sense of allegiance to the horror genre than a sense of loyalty to his literary acuity.
Which is why I was somewhat surprised when I found myself selecting Jonathan L. Howard’s CARTER & LOVECRAFT the other night when cruising my Overdrive app looking for an audiobook fix for which to fall asleep to…
Which, to me, is the primary purpose of audiobooks – literary lullabies.
And most of the audiobooks I listen to do a great job of it.
In fact, they do such a great job of it that most audiobooks I listen to, I don’t finish because each night I always have to go back to the last point in the book I can remember before drifting off to sleep the night before, which is, more often than not, only a minute or two after I started listening.
And the books I do manage to get through before the loan ends I often only remember in sketchy patches…
Or, Speeding Up the Reviews
Not the primary reason but one of the reasons I decided back in April to take a hiatus from the web was because I wanted to give my brain a break from all the nonsensical chatter that was cluttering it so.
I have been having what I collectively call chemo brain issues for quite some time so I thought it may do me some good to lay off for a while all the hyper-clicking and attention-span deflating skim-reading that the web so sweetly and successfully induces us into doing and which studies have told us is altering our brain and its ability to focus on and process information.
To counter what seemed to me to be my lack of focus and ability to process effectively process information (perhaps less a result from all my web time and more a result from all the chemo and prednisone I used to be strung out on years ago (and, in the case of chemo, which I still take daily dose addiction of)), I decided to turned off the web for a while.
Which, for the most part, I did surprisingly enough.
To fill the time I no longer spent on the web, much of which had been dedicated to this blog, I mobilized the pen and cracked open the books pretty hard.
BOOK | FICTION | THRILLER
USA, Inc. (A Mike Wardman Novel: Book 1)
by Larry Kahaner
RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
When acclaimed and prolific author, investigative journalist, and private investigator Larry Kahaner reached out to me to see if I would be interested in receiving a copy of his latest thriller, USA, Inc. (A Mike Wardman Novel: Book 1), I was at first skeptical, for the last two books that I read that were pitched to me as “thrillers” – one which I reviewed here and, the other, because I won’t review here any book that I cannot honestly give at least a Three-Star rating, I wouldn’t review – turned out to be less like thrillers and more like romance novels.
However, I was intrigued by Larry’s proposal after checking out his impressive bio; and then, after reading the book’s synopsis and preview, I was hooked, completely, and quickly wrote back to him to accept his kind offer.
And I’m truly grateful that I did because I found in Larry’s book a Five-Star Story that is fresh, fast, topical, and, yes, quite thrilling to read.
Literary fiction is my natural space for my literary endeavors; mostly, because I find they instruct me about life in ways foreign or less apparent to my way of living and thinking, often while set in surreal, nightmarish environments completely alien to my own. And the literature I like best (Kafka) instructs without the pedantry (Dickens) and overbearing, lifelike details (Balzac) that I look to literature to escape from in the first place…and which I too often find in genre fiction.
Continue reading “A First-Rate Fish Tale of a Thriller: USA, Inc. – A Review”
…I am knee deep (I’m pretty tall dude so that’s pretty darn deep) into so much stuff* — stuff being formatting my two latest books HOW NOT TO DIE and SHORT VERSES & OTHER CURSES into print editions; setting up the logistics for the film adaptation of my short story “Leave” (fundraiser announcement soon – that’s right, I’m looking at you); adapting my novel THE SEA TRIALS OF AN UNFORTUNATE SAILOR into a screenplay (so that I’ll have it to shop around when I go out to LA to work on “Leave”); and of course the latest WIP — that I’v given up on it.
If it matters, I do feel quite guilty about it…
In fact, I feel quite guilty about not publishing much at all around here lately.
Publish or perish, an all that…
But, as a consolation for my quitting on this review, I recently read this interesting read from the Paris Review, which kind of (but far from exactly) reflects my thoughts on my relationship with Hemingway, and I offer it as a very nice, if not nicer, substitute.
In addition to discussing things such as my relationship with the Big Papa, I also had good intention (and we all know what the path to hell is paved with) to compare and contrast Hemingway’s view of Fitzgerald and Paris in the Twenties as found in his memoir with the beat up protagonist in Fitzgerald’s short story (perhaps a view similar to one he had of himself) “Babylon Revisited” (one of the best short stories ever put to paper).
I probably would have giddily gushed a bit about Woody’s “Midnight In Paris,” too…
However, because of all the stuff presented above and the nice PR essay, I lost my head of steam for it all and this is as far as I got/am getting with it…
The Romance versus the Reality of Hemingway’s Paris of the “Lost Generation”
BOOK | NON-FICTION | MEMOIR
A MOVEABLE FEAST
by Ernest Hemingway
RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★
★ = Unreadable
★ ★ = Poor Read
★ ★ ★ = Average Read
★ ★ ★ ★ = Outstanding Read
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ = Exceptional Read
That’s it. That’s alls I gots…
Pretty lame, I know; but what can say other than that the offer I presented in my “Hey Reader, What’s Your Angle?” post still stands. I’m still looking for good reviews to read, and perhaps reblog, that illustrate your reading and critiquing strategy… a bonus now for me would be ones that discuss Hemingway and/or Fitzgerald.
Can a brother get a link or two to a review, or what?
*Isn’t it funny how I’m always whining about how much I have to do, yet I somehow still found the time to
promote inform you about all the stuff I have to do? Weird.
In my last post “Hey Reader, What’s Your Angle,” I invited you all to share a link to a book that you’ve reviewed that provides some insight, via your writing, as to how you apply your critical thinking strategy towards the books you read.
I’m so happy that MB BLISSETT was kind/brave enough to take me up on the offer; for, not only did he introduce me to THE FEVER by Meg Abbott with his interesting and insightful review of her work, he introduced me to a new eclectic world of creativity and intellect that can be found all throughout his website.
After reading his review that I introduce here, I strongly urge you to then head straight to his About page as it is most interesting and entertaining – I read it and I feel a strong kinship with his outlook toward writing and his literary taste.
Comments are closed here so that you can share your thoughts directly with MB at his website.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs posits that when base needs are met, then your desires become more refined. Which usually means that your fears probably work on the same level. If you’re not risking death every single time that you give birth, then you’re worried that they will live to be healthy adults and when they’re healthy adolescents, you’re worried about any number of factors. Within the haunted house of parenthood and adolescence, Megan Abbott knows where the ghosts live and shows them to you.
The Fever ably captures the beauty and passion, the terror, the contradictory desire for freedom and privacy, the secrets that women keep from themselves and one another. She uses social media and how it intertwines and defines the worlds of young people subtly and effectively. In the iconography of the modern world, the online video is the sermon, the blowing of the whistle or in this…
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Probably the most influential and impactive course I took during my college years (and for me, “college years” do not mean four coming-out-years of raucous partying and occasional studying, it means thirteen long and tedious years of night school, transferring to this college or that college depending on where the military assigned me, and all of which were completely dependent upon the sacrifice and commitment from my lovely and loving wife) was a Literary Theory and Schools of Criticism (or something to that effect) course while attending Tidewater Community College in Chesapeake, Virginia, oh so long ago.
It was this course, taught by an instructor mild in manner but powerful in purpose and ability whose name I sadly cannot remember, in which I was instructed and inspired to become an active reader — a reader who brings to a book not just a desire to be entertained, but desires to seek within the work deeper and hidden meanings, as well as to impose upon the work a personal agenda.
I quickly learned that being an active reader by itself takes more than a little bit of effort; but being an active reader with an angle, so to speak, is an exhaustive work out.
No really… thinking burns significant calories, my friend. Ergo, the harder you think, the more calories you burn, ergo once more… the more exhaustive – and rewarding – workout you have. Don’t believe me ask the Google God.
If you aren’t aware, I happen to be an excessively white, less-than-excessively (nowadays, anyway) WASPy kind of dude who was socialized as a youth in and by an excessively white and WASPy home, church, school, television, books, etc. kind of way. And one thing about us white, WASPy dudes — and if you are not a white, WASPy dude you probably understand this much better than we ever will — is that we have a very strong tendency to see the world through rose-colored glasses.
I mean, come on, the industrialized world we now live in pretty much has grown out of the minds of past and present white, WASPy dudes so why wouldn’t all the rest of us white, WASPy dudes think all life is just grand and peachy keen, right?
Anyway… we can have a much longer discussion about the pros and cons of white, WASPy worldviews later, but the point about it here is, when it came to being an active reader with an agenda, well, I just didn’t have one to inherently apply to the literature I was reading, since most of the literature I was reading came from the minds of those with worldviews similar to mine.
Can you dig?
Which is why the book the course was based upon was so important to the success of the class, and why, even today, it continues to be so important to me.
Long story short – kind of: The book provides a survey of all the major schools of literary criticism and the coursework involved reading short stories and having to critique them by applying the various critical schools. This, of course, meant that yours truly here had to think, read, and react to the work not like a staid white, WASPy dude that I was and, much to much of the world’s dismay, still am, but as a Deconstructionist, or, gasp, a Marxist or even, deeper gasp… a Feminist!
Needless to say, I survived the severe disruption to my cozy worldview. But I didn’t just survive it, I thrived from it. It really opened my eyes to all the many ways – good and not so good – works of literature can and are interpreted and understood by those with worldviews quite dissimilar to mine.
I’ve come to find that life is much more thoughtful and clear and understanding once those rose-colored glasses were removed and seen as others without them see it.
So, I ask you, Dear Reader, what’s your angle?
Are you an active reader?
Do you bring an agenda to a body of literary work when reading it?
My guess is most of us don’t because being an active reader is tough work.
Even though I intend to go into a body of work with purpose, I more often than not find myself being a “casual reader,” a reader easily lured into passivity by the cozy confines of verisimilitude, until I’m wrapped up – held hostage – by the telling of a good story. And once I finally am able to break free from the stories grasp, I’ll have to go back and try once again to read critically what I had just read mindlessly.
As Kurt Vonnegut so wisely, and often, said: So it goes…
However, if you, Dear Reader, are an active reader with an agenda, or even if you are not, I’d like to know about it. Drop me a line in the comment section and let me know about your reading strategy, or lack thereof.
And if you are a book reviewer with an agenda, please provide links to some of your work. I would love to read it and, perhaps, reblog it here to share with others.
Write [and Read] on!
So, I just created a new page called “Writing Resources” where I’ve listed all the books in my library that I consider as resources critical to my self as a writer. Check it out – hopefully you’ll find some use out of it. And I’m always looking for new books to further my development so hopefully you’ll visit the page and post in the comments section resources you find critical to the development of your own writing self.
Out of all the books listed on the page, this inspiring little book, without a doubt, has had the most influence on me as a writer.
As you may be aware, Paul’s work is not unfamiliar to this site, as his THE WILD HORSES OF HIROSHIMA is reviewed here and is my favorite Indie Author read to date.
I strongly encourage you – it’s for your own good, believe me – to visit with Paul at both his literary review site and at his author site paulxylinides.com to check out the intellectually intriguing work he does. Make sure you follow his sites so you don’t miss out in the future.
To read my review of THE WILD HORSES OF HIROSHIMA, click here.
To read more of Paul’s writing found on this site, enter “paul xylinides” in the search box.
Short Verses & Other Curses
(Haiku, Senryū, & Other Poetic, Artistic, & Photographic Miscellany)
A Warrior Poet’s Hard-Won Epiphanies
Self-made and/or naturally insight-endowed, Kurt Brindley has the soul of a poet; further, he has the soul of a warrior poet. He makes passing reference to the martial tradition that has also been a part of his life in the poem “If I Were A Samurai:”
I would know
when to bow
and when to ignore
when to speak
and when to be silent
when to eat
and when to fast
when to think
and when to meditate
when to advance
and when to hold
when to strike
and when to parry
when to kill
and when to die
All writers — the serious and the not-so-much — inevitably find themselves in a battle, as often as not Biblical in proportions, for the human…
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It’s less than easy to articulate why I like…
You may have heard that Dr. Wayne Dyer has died.
And you may have seen several of my posts where I discuss how much Dr. Dyer has meant to me over the recent years.
And you may have noticed that I often referred to him, this man who has meant so much to me and whose wisdom and guidance I so heavily relied upon, as the Greatest of Gurus and as my own Personal Pope.
And you may be aware, if you, too, are an admirer of Dr. Dyer, that he did not regard death with fear; instead, he looked at death as an opportunity for our everlasting soul to expand out of and away from this material, finite vessel we call our body, and return to and within the infinite and everlasting Soul of the Single Song (aka, the Universe (uni-verse – get it?)… Or something to that effect.
And you may understand, then, why I am a bit conflicted. One the one hand, I celebrate the release of Dr. Dyer’s Soul back into the infinite wild of its original and natural habitat. While on the other, me being a normal, irrational human being who can’t escape his Ego, ergo, he can’t escape his damning Desire nor his fear of Death, I am very bummed that he is no longer here on Earth, in his aged and deteriorating vessel of the human kind, being all sagacious and wise and a bit more than slightly goofy.
And you may predict, and rightly so, that, because of all this, I would want to try find ways to stay as close to the Essence of Dr. Dyer’s broad and deep Message and Meaning.
And you may realize, had you an opportunity to look over the submissions for this volume of the Indie Author Book Selection & Review, that several of the books are closely aligned to Dr. Dyer’s out there way of thinking.
To be honest, had Dr. Dyer still been with us, I probably would have selected G. N. Boorse’s DON’T TOUCH THE GLASS. Not only do I love the cover and his website and his write-up on the back of the book, I was also ready to read something as edgy and obscure as his book sounds. See, as advertised down below at my #Amreading widget, I #amreading Maupassant’s ALIEN HEARTS. And it’s all about (too much so) love and the psychological implications of infatuation. In other words, I’m having a hard time finishing it. And it was because Boorse’s book seems to be completely opposite from what I am now reading that I was planning on choosing his. That and, to be honest, I was also intending to choose his because, even though I occasionally write it, I rarely read poetry or abstract writing, such as K.D. Rose’s appears to be (it’s all too hard for my feeble mind to grasp), nor do I read, despite my affection for Dr. Dyer, “New Age” (for a lack of a better term) or self-help books, such as Avril Meyler’s appears to be.
But now, as things stand, the kind of books submitted by Meyler and Rose are exactly what I am yearning to read.
And out of the three books (two by Meyler – A MULTIDIMENSIONAL PARADIGM and A NEW HUMAN) and one by Rose – HEAVY BAGS OF SOUL), I am selecting for this volume of the IABS&R A NEW HUMAN because it looks to be the closest in content to what it is I want rattling around my brain right now.
I want to thank so very much all three authors for their submissions. I am very honored and humbled to be in such a position. And just because only one book has been chosen for this exercise of a literary contest of sorts, it doesn’t mean that I won’t read and review the others. I truly intend to do so.
Now, I’m not sure when my review of A NEW HUMAN will be posted – I still have to finish my current read, as hard as that may be, and review it (it was my intention to review it anyway – we’ll see…). Regardless, I will try to get things expedited and completed the best I can.
Again, thank you to G.N. Borse, K.D. Rose, and Avril Meyler.
And thank all of you for allowing me to use this opportunity to express my love and appreciation for the life and work of Dr. Dyer. May he enjoy all the infinite and everlasting heavenly rewards he so greatly deserves.
I was going to post this on Saturday, seeing that August 8 was the last day for submissions to this volume of the Indie Author Book Selection & Review, but when I went to check my post office box – something I do only infrequently or when one of you kind folk email me to tell me that your book is happily on its way to me – and what to my wondering eyes did appear on the door to the office but a sign advising that the joint closes at 11:00 am on Saturdays. It was 12:30 pm. Unfulfilled me…
And so I went and checked again yesterday and found my box chock full of, not books, but junk mail.
My intention was to then come home to write this post; however, I got bullied over by all the nastiness in the news and ended up writing what I wrote… That gun thing.
So here we are. And below, I present to you four very fine looking books written by three assuredly fine writing authors. For the next couple weeks or so I will peruse them, mull over them, perhaps sacrifice a pencil or two to the Writing Gods, and then eventually come to a decision as to which book will be selected to receive the Full Monty review treatment as advertised and promised by me (read over various IABS&R pages to get an idea of just what a Full Monty review treatment may possibly entail).
So, in the interim, how about you also check out the four submissions by clicking through their respective book reveals, the guest posts by their respective authors, and maybe even purchasing one or all of them.
And if you do happen to purchase one or all of them, it would be pure awesomeness if you were to also write a smoking hot review of those that you read and post it on your site and on Amazon and on Goodreads and on any other place you can think of that will hark a clarion call to all readers of the world what you, yourself, have witnessed.
Can you dig?
Because that’s what this is all about…
Supporting and perhaps even celebrating Indie Authors.
So here they are as advertised and promised by moi:
Check out Kurt’s new Literary Consultancy Service:
Visit now for a free consultation
I love caustic writers. They write how I think except they’re more witty. And incisive. And, um, better writers.
Here’s an example of what I mean. Check out Chuck Wendig’s piece called Dear guy who is mad because I wrote a gay character in a book.
Or try John Hartness, entitled: Why your self-published book looks like a pile of ass and won’t ever make you any money.
Or read any part of Kurt Brindley’s blog.
Just as important, and sometimes forgotten in bouts of unabashed sarcastic glee, behind the blunt force acerbic trauma these writers actually give a damn about other people. See Chuck Wendig’s week’s long thread where he offers advice to any question from other writers; look at the reveals and reviews that Brindley does and the opportunities he offers for guest posting and exposure; look at what John Hartness is doing underneath seeming asshattery– the advice in that post is golden.
I just don’t have that cred yet. Or maybe it’s balls. Okay, I literally don’t have balls, but what I mean is I don’t have anything to back up my opinions, and you know what they say about opinions…
I’m not sure how this devolved into genitalia.
Some of my writing meets acerbity half-way while trying to point out trends. The Re-emergence of the Book rightfully lambasts publishers but somehow lacks that arrow through the heart. Here it is republished most recently on Literative. The Next Big Thing in Tech asks similar questions on a different forefront. Here it is in Startupdope.
The title to the post your reading of course is a play on words from the great Harlan Ellison, still one of the best in-your-face writers I can think of. Why did I write that last sentence? Because someone might not get the title. Is this really writing? Or do I just write and forget people who don’t get it; they can just take the writing at face value. Welcome to Heavy Bags of Soul.
But why would someone who likes authors who don’t pull punches write a book like Heavy Bags of Soul? Half the book is codes.
Delving deeply into systems of belief requires codes no matter how one chooses to write about them. Each system has its own language, often meant to describe the very same principles or experiences as another system, though you’ll get a swat on the hand with a ruler if you say that out loud.
Metaphors are also codes. Live with it.
But I guess it doesn’t matter because everyone hates poetry, right?
I don’t think or write like many. I contemplate my world in a non-linear way. Putting it all together to make sense to someone else is tough. It’s not even like puzzle pieces; it’s like an invisible puzzle that changes shape depending on the connections you make and the analytical lines you can draw among them, and then you have to draw it for others… And then finally you
have to: SPELL OUT THE CONNECTIONS.
“But I guess it doesn’t matter because
everyone hates poetry, right?”
Because I think and write like the Tasmanian Devil. You know. The cartoon one. Only…friendlier.
See? Doesn’t that tornado look friendly albeit slightly confused as to how it’s going to make sense of all the convoluted ideas it pulls in? Actually it looks pretty damn stressed out. Freudian much, KD?
When I do a shitty job at connecting these streams of what amounts to analytical dots (I was an analyst for the government), the writing is scattered and readers go “huh?” When I do a decent job, you get one of the articles like I mentioned above. When I do a brilliant job, you get a book so tightly connected that no one understands it. Welcome to the world, Heavy Bags of Soul. Welcome to obscurity, K.D. Rose.
I guess I really am a Jackess of all trades. Ah, you gotta love homonyms.
If you like that last bit, you’d like Heavy Bags of Soul.
I wanted to write a blog post titled: “When Sex Doesn’t Sell.” When you don’t use the words people have come to expect, when you don’t write to titillate but to translate, sex on the page can seem as obscure as Peter Higgs before March 2013. Insert supercollider sexual innuendo here. One day I’ll have to count and find out just how many poems in the book are actually about orgasms.
I revel in the succinct. Not just succinct but short and dense. And by dense I mean, packing mountains of information or wisdom into forceful passages that stand like mountains in slim volumes of work. Why? Back to the difference in thinking habits. Long and drawn out is the linear norm. A takes us to Z through a series of stops along the way that build upon one another to the conclusion. Slim volumes on the other hand—poetry is one key example— build vertically, with ever expanding circles, tangents, and some linear thrown in. Dense.
Have you heard of Steganography? Steganography is derived from the Greek words “steganos” and “graphein,” meaning covered writing. Overlay and overlay of information. I liken dense works to steganography and other forms of covert communication, such as the ability to reduce a large amount of writing to a simple point like a dot. Dense works are not covert by intent, their innate structure simply reveals layers underneath. Rimbaud’s entire life’s work could probably be displayed in 50 pages. The Upanishads, a sacred Sanskrit instruction on the entirety of the universe is about 100 pages. The point is sometimes the most efficacious way to communicate complexity and remain effable is to ingrain mountains on each individual word. Terse. Succinct. Vigorous. Forceful.
There is a very slim book called Flatland. It contains and explains dimensional concepts beyond its format of simplistic satire. The book created a cult following. Check out the brilliance sometime.
“One day I’ll have to count and find out just how many
poems in that book are actually about orgasms.”
Here’s some of the starkness that is my voice, encapsulated in a picture also currently in print.
But who wants to read poems of mourning or grief? No one. Who should? Everyone. It’s one of those unspoken things we all go through and never talk about. TO GET YOU THROUGH. This one won Reader’s Favorite International Silver Medal Award for poetry. Which doesn’t mean a damn thing. Writing that just now made me feel like a talk show host. I may need to shower.
When my first book didn’t sell I started writing mainstream and got contracts with a publisher. Although my first contract was for an NA series, I found out the publisher really wanted romance. I learned about heat levels and equating them to specific naughty bits. I literally had to find a sex scene to read to figure out how to write one.
When the publisher went out of business I took out the sex though it was kind of hard to do considering each story centered on a sexual situation. The driving force for each was not actually sex, however. Hence the title: Anger’s Children. I have anger now and good reason for it, but I don’t want to release the Kraken so it was interesting to think of how others might experience that energy, tension, and release. The stories are still risqué though. There’s a lot of passion in anger.
Recently, I took my own advice on new technology, so right now I’m writing an interactive story called Kill Chain. Readers vote on what happens at the end. Chapter 1 is up so far. I managed to work myself into a corner in only one chapter.
These are free reads on a platform called Storyshift. I wrote an article about the platform and what it attempts here. Beware. The article is written in my “happy writer” voice. Somewhere along the way it became “the voice” everyone online uses. Non-offensive and perky, it makes me want to slit my wrists. After Heavy Bags of Soul, I turned from my own voice on the advice of the rest of the world online. Enter happy writer voice; superficial blogger voice, and Prozac delirium advertising voice.
I can write kind of normal in a way that doesn’t suck my soul into the abyss of lost credibility. It only took a forced topic for me to do so. Yet, it’s not really me.
I have an authentic voice. I’m not an exclamation point type of gal. Nor am I a smiley face emoticon breach from a Stepford psyche. My most recent book, The Brevity of Twit is a collection of three years of Tweets. If you dropped twenty believing it’s not the authentic me you’d lose that bet. It’s a thin volume. Apropos, the underlying point shows that communication, even deep understanding, can be conveyed within those 140 character bits. At my best I’m pithy and piercing.
Heavy Bags of Soul is also piercing. It is the collection and curation of thirty years of work. Maybe one day I’ll break it down and sell pieces to Reader’s Digest.
I learned today something worth remembering to me. To me, I say, because I relate everything to quantum physics and watch over science like a hawk. Insert your own joke there to make it Hawk-ing. You’re welcome.
“At my best, I’m pithy and piercing.”
Anyway, they finally found the answer to a question that had been posed since the 1600’s: when two pendulums are hung next to each other, why do they end up swinging in opposing directions within 30 minutes? The answer is sound waves. If you think this meaningless or unrelated to other physics or even, say, Focault’s Pendulum, scrounge up that term on Wikipedia and watch how fast the science moves from Focault’s original pendulum theory in the 1800’s to Minkowski space-time.
I make a Minkowski joke in one of my dialogues in Heavy Bags of Soul. It’s from what could be considered the most intellectual piece in there. My favorite though is an absurdist short story starring Heisenberg and Schrodinger. I wrote it based on the premise of an old joke but physics humor scares people off. You really only have to go skin deep though to enjoy it. It’s an absurdist play for god’s sake. Not that it’s an absurdist play for the sake of god. Erm, you get the idea.
Too much of that talk above could get me labeled as a screwball if it hasn’t already. I try to stay away from that. Here’s some down-to-earth science you might want to take an interest in: The Really Big One. “Down-to-earth” would be a joke, but now you’ve read the article so it’s not funny. Really not funny.
In the meantime, I’ll let physics explain why there is a slight possibility that the chair you’re sitting in could turn into a mushroom at any given moment. Then, as a non-screwball type, you can explain to me why, as I’m writing this, Trump is ahead in the GOP poll at 22%.
There. I think I’ve got it all out. Being a Tasmanian Devil Tornado and a pantser to boot, I never know the point to which I will arrive, only that I will get there. Despite doubts, upon arrival there is a cogent thread underneath. So shall we sum up?
- Skewer Your Readers
- Erotic Romance Sells
- Read Heavy Bags of Soul
- Campaign for Absurdist Humor
That was it, right?
You must excuse me now, I have to go learn the MFA voice. It’s all the rage.
K.D. Rose is a poet and author who currently has published “Heavy Bags of Soul”, “Inside Sorrow”, “I AM”, “Erasing: Shadows”, “Anger’s Children: Three Shorts That Will Blow Your Mind”, “A Taste for Mystery: Two Novellas” and her new release, “The Brevity of Twit”.
Her poetry has been published in Candlelit Journal, The Voices Project, The Drabble, and showcased in the Tophat Raven Art and Literary Magazine. K.D.’s book, Inside Sorrow won the Readers Favorite 2013 international Silver Medal for Poetry. With fellow authors around the globe, KD was also a founding member of the e-magazine, INNOVATE.
K.D. has an eclectic mind and loves language, physics, philosophy, photography, design, art, writing, symbolism, semiotics, spirituality, and Dr. Who. KD Rose is an avid supporter of music, the arts, cutting edge science, technology, and creativity in all forms.
I’m very happy to say that we have yet another submission to ponder over for Volume IV of the Indie Author Book Selection & Review. And by what I’ve seen of the book so far, it appears to be quite the submission, indeed. And I’m very very happy to say that this may not even be the last volume submission. I have it on good authority from Author Erica Miles that I just may receive yet one more book prior to August 8, 2015, our cutoff date for submissions to this volume. And if by chance it, or any other book submission for that matter, doesn’t make it by our cutoff date – no worries, we’ll just include for the next volume.
But regardless whether we get to check out Erica’s book in this volume or the next, you can check out what she has going on right now at authorericamilesblog.wordpress.com.
It is now my pleasure to present to you…
I’m always humbled and very appreciative of the kind notes and inscriptions you all write for me in the books you send my way. I wish I would have (because I certainly should have) mentioned it before. However, along with the book K.D. Rose sent me, I received not only a very nice hand-written note (handwriting is such a rare occurrence anymore that in and of itself deserves acknowledging), but also one very cool diddy of an inscription that goes a little like this:
You can say you got a masterpiece for free —
Then toss it in the garbage.
How Zen is that?!
– KD Rose
Oh yeah – very Zen.
So Zen, in fact, I shall clap in honor of its Zen-ness with one hand.
From the back cover:
It is half past dark and we are in a graveyard orbit. Travelers have lost their way. Mankind is hard of hearing. We have abandoned insight and revelation for commerce and merry-go-rounds of distraction. But wonder is still in the palm of our hand. Wisdom is everywhere when we pay attention. We hold the key to orchards in camouflage and we are charged with the task of taking vision and making it into reality–beyond anything that exists and beyond what others say can be done. Learning this is an absolute requirement to survival.
WHAT YOU DO NEXT, IS UP TO YOU.
All I have to say about that is…
Aesthetically speaking, HEAVY BAGS OF SOUL is a very eye-appealing book and there is a lot of mystery and intrigue going on with its cover; which is good because I suspect there is a lot of the same going on with its content, as well. Flipping through its pages I see poetry and stories and what looks to be asides of this and that. I can’t say for sure yet which book will be the selection for this volume but I can say for sure that this book has definitely captured my interest…
Stay tuned for K.D. Rose’s Guest Post — it’s gonna be a good one…
This reveal comes from the second package of books I received the other day from my significant haul at the PO Box. The first package of which I revealed here. Subsequent to this haul I received another package from author K.D. Rose, so I will be revealing her book sometime next week. In the interim, you can check out what she’s got going on by visiting her website at authorkdrose.wordpress.com.
Brindley, Bradley…it’s all good. :) Throughout my life I’ve been called many things. The G-Rated names being those such as Bradley, Bremley, Brentley, Brinely, and of course Brinkley. Like the old saw goes: I don’t care what you call me as long as it not late for supper. But in case you were wondering, Brindley originates from a son of a noble family that William the Conqueror brought over to England from Normandy. When the son was married he was given some land that was known locally as the “Burned Leigh,” which, in an effort to be accepted by some of history’s very first French-despising Brits, he took on as his own family name, or something like that. So, essentially I’m a Viking by way of England via France. Long live Rollo!
Anyway… Enough about me.
The first thing I noticed about these books are their beautiful blues and purples that brings with them a universal, spiritual vibe. Which is appropriate, because although these books are rather diminutive in size – A Multidimensional Paradigm clocks in at a svelte 70 pages; and A New Human a bit huskier at 157 pages – they both promise some pretty heavy content.
A selection from the back cover of A New Human:
A New Human describes the soul’s journey through the awakening of her spirit in human embodiment. This experience sees her perception of life on Planet Earth undergo a major evaluation as she makes a bridge between her human self and her soul…
A selection from the back cover of A Multidimensional Paradigm:
Many people are undergoing a huge transformation as they begin to awaken and understand how Orwellian our world is becoming. In the past 30 years the Author has been shown past, present and future; possible futures, impossible presents made possible by mankind’s paralysis in the face of a fast changing world…
Does that rock or what? And I’m talking here a very heavy rock to accommodate the very heavy content of the books…
Anyway, she had me at “Orwellian.”
I know you’re completely intrigued by what’s been revealed to you today so you will be happy to know that tomorrow we’ll have a guest post from the author. Right on?
Write on, my friends…
Author Avril Meyler is a qualified Aroma therapist, Counsellor and Hypnotherapist who devotes her time to travel, volunteering and writing. You can learn more about her and her work at her website:
Oscar Wilde, in his famous preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray begins, “The artist is the creator of beautiful things.” But I’ve been struggling to understand what he means by that.
Do all artists create beauty? Are all of those who create beauty artists?
E. L. James recently published another book in the Fifty Shades of Grey series, merely titled Grey—the story as told by Christian Grey himself, and not through Anastasia’s eyes. According to the Los Angeles Times, following the first four days after its release, Grey had already sold 1.1 million copies, so her publisher printed a few million more.
Yet we cannot attribute James’ success to a particular artistry or cleverness with words. She appeals to the baser desires of the public, and they snap at the bait. Grey is a butchery of the English literary arts, but it sells copies.
Meanwhile the rest of the writers struggle to chain three words together in the hopes that they might find something beautiful, that their words resonate deeply from the heart. And in the rare event that beauty occurs and blooms like a violet in a pit of mud, it falls unnoticed by the wayside.
I’m not saying that you can’t find good writing on the New York Times bestseller list. I’m just saying you’ll have to look very hard.
Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love commented in a TED talk on questions she’d been asked by fans as to what she was going to do now that she’d met with some success in her creative endeavors. In her talk, which is well worth listening to, she explains a fear that so many writers and creative people have—that either the best of their art is behind them or that they will never reach their full potential.
The pressure to improve, the burden of producing something marketable—these things hold back the artist like a bit restrains a horse. Try to write something beautiful and the dining room table goes empty while estimated retail value determines the speed, direction, and content of dime novels. No money, no bread. But if there isn’t a dollar in art, where does the industry fall? Places like Christian Grey’s apartment, I would assume.
So is there hope for the modern publishing industry? When will excellence win out?
Honestly, I don’t know, but we as both readers and writers have a duty to pursue the unmarketable art. Prose that speaks from the depths of the soul. Quality; not light reads. The involved reading projects, the memoirs and novels and elaborate space operas that maybe no one will ever pick up other than the writer’s girlfriend and his parents.
Gilbert suggests that we channel a creative genius greater than ourselves, and Wilde remarks, “It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.” Bare your souls, artists, and pen not the shallower mass-produced stock. Instead weave your own story on the page, heeding not the agents and presses and houses and focus groups that expect the same plot canned and recanned in shiny packaging. Dare to write selfishly, for the satisfaction of the artist and not the critic. Slave away years on a single sentence to make it perfect or jot down a novel and keep it that way.
But don’t ever feel that you have to write to please the people. It couldn’t matter less whether they get the bigger picture or not: popularity isn’t the goal. Don’t mimic E. L. James to collect Twitter followers.
You are a writer and an artist, and your job is to make something beautiful.
G.N. Boorse is a writer and blogger currently living in the central part of New Jersey. He recently published his first book, Don’t Touch the Glass, on March 3, 2015. Other works of his have been featured in numerous places online. You can learn more about the author at his website asotherswere.me.
Well, we kind of kicked off the IABS&R Volume IV with this, so what do you say we go ahead and get this party started?
We’ll start off by revealing DON’T TOUCH THE GLASS by author G.N. Boorse in this post, and then we’ll reveal the other books in the haul at a later date. I will say now, however, that the other books are by author Avril Meyler and you can get a head start as to what to expect from her by checking her site out at multidimensionalreality.wordpress.com.
I was going to publish this book reveal earlier this morning and then publish a guest post by the author later this evening. However, the sons and I decided to make a quick day trip to New York City (jealous, ain’t ya) so I am publishing this from the road and I will publish the guest post tomorrow some time, Inshallah.
A record-breaking mudslide traps seventeen people behind the glass front of a superstore. Food and supplies abound, but they yearn for freedom, debating the risks of smashing the windows and breaking free. The days grind on, and Audrey Frost’s nightmares won’t seem to leave…
Does DON’T TOUCH THE GLASS look rockin’ or what? Yes, indeed it does. The fun and excitement continues so stay tuned for tomorrow’s guest post by Author G.N. Boorse…
And remember, we’ll leave submissions open for this volume for about a month or so, so if you want your book considered while also receiving a reveal treatment such as this, let me know soonest.
BOOK | FICTION | LITERARY
HAWSER by J Hardy Carroll
RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★
To one who considers some of his favorite literary works to be those about World War II – SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE and CATCH 22 being the obvious ones – the war seems to be very present for me, when in fact it is now eighty years in our past. With it now so far removed from us, and with the space filled in by so many countless other wars, it really is quite an accomplishment that author J Hardy Carroll was able to bring the period back to us in such a vivid and entertaining way.
HAWSER, our selection for Volume 3 of the Indie Author Book Selection & Review (IABS&R), is a finely weaved, fascinating tale of Hawser (don’t bother asking him his real name) as he recounts his time as a B-17 bombardier during the Allies’s bombing campaign against the Germans.
We meet Hawser in a prisoner of war camp and it is from there he recounts for us all that has happened to him in the war before that point. We learn how he washed out as a pilot to become a bombardier, how he had to abandon his unit because of a murder, how he was abandoned as a child, how he met his arch nemesis, how he became trained in subversive warfare, how he became an expert bombardier, how he became burnt out and disillusioned by the war, and finally, how he tragically became a Nazi prisoner. From there we pick things back up from the present time in the story and we go along with him until the book’s conclusion.
Within that very rough sketch that I just laid out of the novel, there are so many – too many some may argue – different plot twists and sub plots filled with suspense and murder and love and passion and discovery and deceit along the way that several times throughout the course of my reading the book I had to stop to marvel at Carroll’s ability to manage it all so seamlessly and with such intrigue, all the while bringing out some of the larger and more poignant lessons learned from the war: mainly of the incalculable death and psychological and material devastation that the war wrought across the entire globe, as well as teaching us – or reminding us – that war isn’t always honorable and that not all people go to war to be heroes…some go to war simply because they want to kill.
And I was equally impressed with all the military and war jargon with which Carroll was able to flavor the story. It it his description of the B-17s and all their guns and ammunition and flight formations, and his knowledge of England during the war and its pastoral settings and its pubs and its quirky dialects that truly bring the story to life. Now I don’t know how much research Carroll had to do – my guess is a lot – and I don’t know how much of the detail he writes in the story is accurate – my guess is all of it – but I don’t really care. I don’t care because it all seems so real and so accurate that it significantly enhanced the story’s ability to pull me into that zen-like space of blissful verisimilitude.
In the end, the only flaws to be found with the book are in its ambition and achievement. At times the sub plots pull back the tempo of the story and I never really felt that there was that one thing, that one element of the story that had enough heft to bring an immediacy, an urgency of discovery, from the beginning to the end of the tale. But I see that more as a good problem for an Indie Author to have, as it is always better to have too much material to work with than not enough.
So I say congratulations and thank you to J Hardy Carroll for writing such a powerful story that both entertains and reminds us just how much effort and expense throughout history we silly humans have invested in our seemingly never ending quest to kill and conquer each other.
★ = UNREADABLE
★ ★ = POOR READ
★ ★ ★ = AVERAGE READ
★ ★ ★ ★ = OUTSTANDING READ
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ = EXCEPTIONAL READ
It’s been a while since I have shared a submission from the Relating to Humans feature and I so pleased to get things started again by sharing this hauntingly beautiful piece from our Philosophical Issues feature by Philip A Green.
As a quick update, on Wednesday evening we’ll have a much anticipated (certainly by me) Guest Post by author Manizha Sepas (bedvilledadventurer.wordpress.com) and next Friday evening I will post my review of our IABS&R Volume 3 pick HAWSER by author J Hardy Carroll (jhardycarroll.com).
THE GHOSTS OF THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT
by Philip A Green
I worked in an ER once with old wooden doors on the rooms. The patterns created by the grains in the wood became a Rorschach test for patients- some saw mountains, some saw animals, some saw nothing at all. But room nine, directly across from the trauma rooms, was different. Something in that door frightened patients.
It was the schizophrenics who first made me aware of it. God, they hated that room when the door was closed. I lost track of how many times the crash of that door being kicked open shook the department. The wall behind it had a fist sized hole from the handle punching into it. It finally reached the point where I had to make a rule, no psych patients in room nine.
I blew it off for years as a strange quirk until one morning, about three am, when I was interviewing a patient. In a sleep deprived stupor I sat on the stool next to the room nine bed, the gurney with the patient on it between the door and myself. The door was closed to give us some privacy. I was talking to the patient when the hair on the back of my neck began to rise.
There were faces in the door watching me. They wavered back and forth between a pattern in the wood and the Lost staring me down. I sat afraid, frozen in place, unable to understand what they could want from me. Finally, my patient on the gurney before me gave an awkward cough, and asked if I was ok.
That was a long time ago. I’ve moved on since then. Other ER’s, other towns, other stories. I never told anyone at work that I too, could see the faces. I’ve often wondered if a few of my nurses saw them as well. More than once during a trauma I’d catch a nurse staring off at the door on room nine across from us. The nurse and I would make eye contact, both waiting for the other to acknowledge the impossible. In the end, we never spoke of it, some things in the ER best being left alone.
The roughest part of what I do is getting out of bed each day, knowing an onslaught of suffering is barreling towards me. As I wake, so too are my patients. Perhaps we all drink coffee, sitting at our own breakfast table, chatting with our families about the day ahead.
I can’t help but think if only there were some clue, some way for me to warn them. Today is the day we will meet in the ER. Do not glance down at your phone on the way to work. Stay off Division Street. Wait, just one extra second, that’s all, just one second, before you step into the crosswalk in front of the school.
I imagine myself a ghost. Begging, pleading, screaming at them to stay home. Yet as a ghost, no one can hear me. My words have no meaning, my warnings no heed, my panic no justification. Nothing has happened yet. Today is starting out like every other day has started out, and those days were fine.
So instead we all get up, we go to work, and the day begins. I arrive at the ER, knowing my warnings have been unheeded. All I can do is prepare.
I walk through the department at the start of my shift. Airway equipment, check. Central lines, check. IV equipment, check. IV fluids, check. Room by room, item by item, I mentally touch and confirm each tool. As I see each item I make a quick practice run in my mind, so that when I need it I don’t have to think or feel. I can become pure action and resuscitation when need be.
Step by step I approach readiness, while somewhere, step by step, someone else approaches disaster. Like two planets whose gravitational fields pull them together, we begin on a collision course, gathering speed and momentum, neither of us yet aware of the other. I know a crash is coming but not who or what or where. My day is 10 hours of bracing for impact.
The buzzer on the radio squawks out through the department that a car has hit a pedestrian. The victim is unconscious on scene, rigs 7 and 12 are responding, and I know our planets are about to collide.
A hush falls over the ER as we listen to the call. They are on scene now, it’s bad. The victim is a child. She is critically injured. The car was speeding through a school zone. The quiet ding of a cell phone text has once again changed the course of the universe.
The medic phone rings and through the chaos and the static of the call there is only one thing I hear- the shakiness of the medic’s voice. ETA two minutes, he says, extensive facial trauma, chest trauma, maybe a collapsed lung. IV established, patient being bagged, not intubated.
My job now is to drain the department of all emotion. I become a human black hole. We cannot afford to feel. A child is dying. Feeling is for later. Now, we must focus. We must move. But we must not feel, or we will lose focus and fail.
My voice is calm, business like. As if we are getting a shipment of broken computer parts that require nothing more than reassembly in our shop. Part A will attach to Part B will attach to Part C. Nothing more.
I sound confident and ready, even to my own ears. It’s so convincing I almost believe it. Yet inside I feel it. The sheer terror. There’s no other word. The faces in the door of room nine show up in force for the show. They stare out at us, watching, observing, grading us. I try to ignore them as I prepare myself to once again bear witness to the horror of life tearing apart before me.
I take in a deep breath and push it down. Somehow I find a little space left inside to cram some more suffering. I shove one more round of fear into it, knowing at some point it’s going to break, but hopefully not today, not now.
We scramble to get the trauma room ready. There is motion everywhere. People run. Voices shout back and forth. Tubes are prepared, drugs are drawn up, machines are wheeled about through the department. Bright yellow gowns and blue gloves are handed out like bullets and helmets before a battle.
Everyone knows their role. The techs prepare the monitors and gurney. The nurses draw up meds one by one, laying the drug filled syringes out on the counter in a row, ready for whatever the enemy throws at us. Pastoral services arrive with a Bible. I stand off to the side, my head racing through protocols, doses, tube sizes, and back up plans. There is an excited buzz in the air as we prepare. Then it happens. We achieve readiness.
A silence settles over the room like a lens focusing us into existence. Nothing moves. Each of us alive and vivid and real and anxious and excited and terrified at what’s coming. The colors of the room seem brighter, my friendships with the nurses feel stronger, my mind feels sharper as I breathe air that suddenly feels cleaner. I can feel my heart in my chest, my hands, my skin, every part of me.
The medics come crashing through the door, CPR in progress, and once again motion returns. As they roll into the trauma room time slows. I focus all of my being onto the child sprawled on the stretcher before me. She is twisted and broken like a flower that has been stomped part way down into the soil. I know this battle has been lost before I even touch my stethoscope to her blood-covered chest.
The next several minutes are holy and private and terrible. And they shall remain that way forever. That is the one small power that I do have. Suffice it to say there is another face that stares out from the door in room nine, watching, waiting, perhaps remembering.
Weeks later, months later, years later, her face comes to me. I will be camping alone in the desert, as far from another human being as I can get. The door of room nine will rise in my mind, and I can feel the faces out here with me.
The desert, the stars, the heat, the desolation, the emptiness are not enough to keep them away. They follow me everywhere. That womb of stuffed down fear and horror inside me has to give birth eventually somewhere in my life.
I stare into my small campfire, the smoke twisting like ghosts rising to the night above. I wonder. Do the stars know? Does God know? Does the dirt know? What is this place, this life, this brief flash of light before we fall back into the darkness again from which we arose?
I watch the fire dance and the smoke rise for hours. The faces sit with me. I can feel it. They too wonder at it all. Finally, my fire burns out, the smoke stops, and the sun rises. In two days I have to go back to work. But now I understand.
The faces will always be with me.
Waiting. Watching. Making sure that I’m never alone when the next trauma comes.