Now Available for Pre-Order

THE GOOD KILL

A former Navy SEAL turned vigilante hitman already in the crosshairs of corrupt Russian agents finds himself in even deeper trouble after rescuing a sex trafficking victim against her will just as she is about to be delivered into the hands of an unscrupulous corporate mogul, an impetuous and dangerous man who will not be denied his purchase. . .

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#TGK #dark #violent #thriller

   
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A First-Rate Fish Tale of a Thriller: USA, Inc. – A Review

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”

The Profits

With words full of mystical might
Wise Prophets forebode unto thee
Thine future of terrors and frights
For only a nominal fee
 

#prayforthespindoctors

 

Transgender Community* Trumped by the Arc and Bent of Autocratic Politics

My fury throughout the whole last campaign to and through the election until now has never been much about politics.

Politics in this country, while they have been expanding outward toward the wacky fringes leaving the mostly moderate radicals (the rarity of moderates these days makes us rather radical) like myself quite lonely, have always, and hopefully will continue to, arc this way and that.

Because if our politics are not forever fluid and free to flow this way and that depending upon the tides of our national temperament, then it must mean that someone must have dammed up our river of democracy.

Metaphors… sigh.

Anyway, I don’t know if you’ve read my about page but there you will see in one sentence how I feel about politics and politicians…

To me, politics is simply acting for ugly people. Pretty actors go to Hollywood; ugly actors go to Washington DC.

Consequently, as our politics arc to and fro in this country, our politicians arc right along with them…only always just slightly behind the arc as they forever fail in their efforts to try to predict its toing and froing.

No, my fury for the most part has been directed solely at Trump and his bent towards authoritarianism; which means then that the more he contorts himself into a true to life autocrat, the more he is strengthening his power at the expense of my freedoms…

Continue reading “Transgender Community* Trumped by the Arc and Bent of Autocratic Politics”

“Post-apocalyptic fiction has been moved to our current affairs section”

HEROES OF DYSTOPIA
HEROES OF DYSTOPIA

I wish I were smart enough to be able to claim this post’s eye/brain-catching headline as my own. But, alas, I cannot because I got it from this read-worthy #longread of an article written by John Feffer, a journalist and author who, with his read-worthy article, attempts to (in subtle sublimity) — and in my view does — make the case of why we should purchase his new near-future dystopian novel which spookily mirrors the current dystopic, Trumpian events of today, and who, Feffer, got it, the headline, from a friend on facebook in the form of a viral photo of a sign in front of bookstore in Boston.

A whole lotta fortuitous and fast-moving mechanics behind that headline up there, wouldn’t you agree?

To paraphrase/abuse a popular insurance company commercial from several years past that was trying to get us to fork over the beans for their coverage so we would be covered/prepared for any disastrous potentiality…

Continue reading ““Post-apocalyptic fiction has been moved to our current affairs section””

Due to the current political climate, I’d like to draw your attention to…

usefule-idiots

…excerpts of two rather aged yet seemingly, and sadly so, germane posts of mine. They are quite lengthy so to read the full posts, click on the “more” links.

****

The first is a political poem I penned long ago:
 

RISE UP!

It’s the bottom of the ninth.

We’re down and in desperate need of a two-out rally.

So what are we waiting for? Should we go
for the win and swing for the fence?

Or should we just drop our bats,
grab our crotches,
and wait?

Just wait for someone else to come along and bat clean up?

Just wait for them to come along and clean up all of the shit
our silence has created?

Should we wait?
Just wait for the president and the congress and the
governors and every other sleazy politician to knock
the dirt out of their spikes and lead the rally?

Or should we, instead, wait for Wall Street and the
chambers of commerce and the boards of directors
and the unions and even the goddamn Junior Achievers
to… more

****

The second is a satirical attempt at humor by poking fun at the U.S. military and the American way.
 

IN DEFENSE OF THE AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE

It always struck me as completely ironic (and if I think about it too hard it verges on the sardonically so) how so many Americans join the military to defend the American “Way of Life,” and, as a reward for their patriotism and service, they are provided for by the American government and funded by the American tax payer with a “way of life” that is so completely different and diametrically opposed to the “Way of Life” they gave up to defend.

Once someone joins the military, their new “way of life” becomes part of one of the most successfully socialist ways of life that has ever existed on this irrational planet of ours…more

[NOTE: this article was written when I was thick into my GVHD issues and strung out on prednisone and dealing with steroid psychosis. While it rambles greatly, I think there still are some relevant points to be found somewhere within. Maybe?]

So here’s my conundrum… update #3

Okay… of course we knew Hillary Clinton wasn’t going to get indicted. And I don’t think Bill meeting with the Attorney General to ensure she didn’t get indicted really mattered. Elites don’t get indicted. Period.

And, who knows, maybe a typical Intelligence Community peon being investigated for the same crime wouldn’t get indicted either.

But we all know the IC peon would at least lose his or her access to classified material and/or his or her clearance, which would mean that he or she would be out of a job.

‪‎Hillary‬, of course, won’t lose her access, her clearance, or her candidacy for the president.

What a farce.

#‎elitelivesmatter‬…most

 
 

Finally! A Relating to Humans Archive System

Like I am currently in the process of doing for my taxes, I had until recently also been procrastinating heavily on setting up an archive system for the Relating to Humans feature.

However, yesterday, I finally got my proverbial butt in gear (I would really really like to know who came up with that saying…think about it…butts…gears…yeah, weird) and set up all the required archive pages and moved all the submissions to the feature that were out of cycle (You may recall from the Submission Guidelines that submitted work will stay posted on the feature for three-month cycles, after which time they will be archived. This allows the feature to stay fresh, so to speak, with new content.) and now we finally have a proper archive system.

So, if you submitted your work to the feature more than three months ago you will now be able to view it on its appropriate archive page.

This is a one-man operation here so I cannot guarantee that posts will be archived exactly at three months; but they’ll get moved somewhere there abouts.

Now that I finally got my you know what in gear, you’ll find that we are in need of some new work. Consequently, I encourage all of you to consider submitting your talents to one of the Feature’s features, if you know what I mean.

There’s a lot going on in our pretty but oh so petulant world for us to discuss and I would love to know what your thoughts are on all the major issues.

And please let me know if you have any suggestions for how we can improve the feature. I would truly appreciate that.

That’s all for now; however, there will be some new and interesting (at least to me) things going on soon so please stay tuned for future updates and announcements.

Now, if someone could please tell me what gear my you know what needs to be in for me to get the motivation up enough to complete my taxes…???

Three Men Walk into a Bar… [Satire Saturday Prompt]

First off, you may have noticed that today’s prompt is not of the #SonnetSaturday sort as originally advertised.

Yeah, about that…

See, I did me some literary math and took the total number of participants to date and subtracted that number by the presumed difficulty level, which I presume is pretty high, in sonnet composing and concluded that we just don’t have the mathematical heft to support a #SonnetSaturday. And to be honest with you, I’m a little worried about the long-term survival of this Daily Prompt thingie in general. But we’ll make that decision at a later date.

So, instead we now have #SatireSatuday, which may be a bit more mathematically attainable…

So, three men, the President of the United States, the “President” of Russia, and the Pope, as well as each of their cadre of bodyguards, walk into a bar, an underground transgender bar, hidden off a back, unassuming alley in an highly flamboyant basement of an unassuming building in the highly assuming city of Moscow…

You can take it, and by it I mean the satire, from there, utilizing any literary or art form you wish; however it must contain the words or spirit of the words: “the president’s secret fantasy.”

Roger that?
Roger that.

Submissions close at 7PMish and my selection will be posted at 8PMish.

The purpose of these exercises, in my mind, is to practice our skills and network a little bit. So, if you have the time and desire, please submit something; however, if you’re just a dedicated reader, please take the time to “Like” the submissions you like and, as we cannot allow any comments other than the submissions, please visit the sites of those daring to submit and find something to enjoy and comment on there.

To help get us in the proper frame of the prompt I share with you Antony Hegarty of “Antony and the Johnsons,” one of my favorite singers, as a reminder just how talented and worthy of our respect our transgender brothers and sisters are. And they are worthy of our respect not because of their gender choices or wardrobe choices or smooth skin, but for the same reason anyone else is worthy of our respect, which is, of course…just because.


 

For more on Antony, there’s this.

Peace and have fun…

Roger that?
Roger that.

 
 

Haiku You, Haiku Me – A Newsletter Love Contest of Sort Selection and Guest Author Presentation

Icy white mountain
Snowflakes gust to azure sky-
singing flock of doves.

As announced in Newsletter Love 004-15, this visually beautiful and flowing haiku is our selection for what came to be known as the inaugural (which suggests there may be more) Newsletter Love Haiku Challenge, formally entitled Haiku You, Haiku Me ~ A Contest of Sort.

Our contest of sort had seven participants, each submitting their work in an effort to fulfill the spirit of the contest, which was to “write a haiku that focuses on the temporal nature of all things material.” This challenge was met effortlessly by all the participants, their haiku transcendent and unique each in their own special way.

While all participants easily met the spirit of the challenge, Shmatala, Esq. with her visually beautiful and flowing haiku was able to conjure within me “that same sense of connection to the Elements, to the Earth, to the Universe, as I [feel] when I walk my country roads during the cold, when the snow swirls across the fields like tornadoes in miniature and with the sky so blue in its surreality. And I hear those same singing doves come spring. It is in both the morning and the evening that their song of mourning calls.” Consequently, it is her haiku I was compelled to select.

There is so much I would like to say about each haiku entry, but, as I am eager to introduce Shmatala, Esq. and her moving essay, I will simply say to all participants, thank you from the bottom of my heart. What joy and inspiration you all have brought to our little salon-like space of a newsletter full of love, and to me.


Shmatala, Esq. is a self-described quintessential Canadian, who over the past decade has went from Halifax to Vancouver and, now, back to her hometown of Montreal. She is a lawyer by profession but had to give it up for the time being to care for her father – and his business, which is in the “rag” trade or “shmata” in Yiddish. As is evidenced by her website’s powerful and socially aware haiku and other poetic reflections, we take her completely at her word when she tells us that “I am doing my darndest to bring some light into this world any way I can.”

It is my pleasure to present to you more of the flowing power and grace with which Shmatala, Esq. is lighting up our world.
 

SUBLIMATION
Shmatala, Esq.

All things are temporary. Eventually we will loose everything: all the immovable and movable property that we collect, everyone we know, and ourselves. The only certainty is change but many, on a fool’s errand, try to resist or avoid change in pursuit of certainty. We try to convince ourselves that we have some form of permanence by collecting as much as possible, imagining that our existence will extend if only we collect enough money, notoriety or Facebook friends. We hold on to everything tightly, convinced that we can control everything and some how guide change (or maybe stop it altogether) through our stuff. Ironically, ceasing to change is, literally, to cease to exist.

We can see this struggle in our political landscape. We so fear the flow of change that we have managed to keep the same people in power, the wealth in the same pockets, and the poor, mentally ill and destitute in their place and generally out of sight. We do not trust that tomorrow will still come, that there will be more (at this point, we have enough resources on the planet so that everyone can eat and become educated), but we are afraid to pull the trigger, afraid of loosing, afraid of what’s next and that we might be left behind.

Existence in a cycle of sequential endings and beginnings: Constant change. One thing must end to give rise to the next. Winter turns to Spring, the solid mountains of snow and ice will melt into the earth, nourishing new seeds. Shorter days will become longer, new life will come. One period must end for the next to begin. At the end, when we cast off our physical forms, we will all fly away, singing our freedom, cascading over a cold morning sky, redeemed: a flock of singing doves.
 

Please visit with and follow Shmatala, Esq. at
writofrags.com

 
 

Crossing One Thin Line After Another

History shows us there is a thin line between outrage and unrest, between unrest and riot, and between riot and revolution. And it seems lately that we are constantly crossing these lines, that we are constantly on the edge and on the verge of being pushed to the limit, that every day, somewhere in the world, individuals, families, communities, countries, and regions are fluctuating and transitioning from one point of frustration to the next, even more frustrating point.

From the economy, to the environment, to intractable politics, to intolerance, to technology, to terrorism, to any number of other issues, who knows what will trigger the next outrage, unrest, riot, or revolution.

While there will always be multiple known and unknowable factors behind any tumultuous event, historians and analysts have come to a consensus that it was increasingly rising food prices, and, more specifically, the high cost of bread that pushed a region over the line and triggered the Arab Awakening.

And there is evidence showing that throughout the ages it has been the rising costs of basic food staples that pushes even the most civil minded citizens into becoming violent revolutionaries for change.

As the most cursory of searches reveal, the cumulative effect of the world’s many crises, coupled with the continuance of extreme weather patterns and resultant droughts, flooding, and other climate change unknowns, 2015 may be a year of severely rising food costs.

If so, it may prove to be quite the year, indeed.

 

☠☠☠☠

Hercules Gone Mad

Hercules Gone Mad – Part One
Rebels for Love

Read an Excerpt

 
 

TOTAL WAR OR TOTAL PEACE – A Relating to Humans Political Issues Feature

I do not have much to say as an introduction to this powerful topical essay by Paul Xylinides, our IABS&R Volume 2 selectee, other than to compel you to go take a look at today’s headlines. There you will unfortunately witness once more what brutality we humans are willing to inflict upon other humans in an effort to further our own goals, be they political, religious, or whatever cause it may be that motivates us into a frenzy of fanaticism and murderous hate.

My prayers are with Pakistan as I mourn the lost lives of all the innocent children.

Paul will also be contributing a guest post for us tomorrow.
– 8:00pm (EST), Wednesday, December 17, 2014


TOTAL WAR OR TOTAL PEACE
by Paul Xylinides

The concept of total war has been especially widespread in execution in the twentieth century. It means just what it says, that is, the decision by one or both sides in a conflict to use all and every means in order to prevail. War crimes become unavoidable and are a matter of course under these scenarios. Moral and legal concerns are completely set aside. Intended to prevent or, at best, minimize carnage directed towards the innocent, the rules of war are effective only so long as one side enjoys vastly superior capacities and thus the luxury of choosing how to conduct itself in an engagement. Recent comments by Vladimir Putin as to his country’s continued possession of a nuclear arsenal illustrate what recourse a threatened nation feels justified to employ. Today, the United States is able to act militarily within the rules of war. Should the day come that a figure such as the present Russian leader were to carry out his veiled threat, it is not conceivable that the United States would not respond in kind.
Continue reading “TOTAL WAR OR TOTAL PEACE – A Relating to Humans Political Issues Feature”

Well, maybe it’s not as dramatic or inspiring or indelible as the heroic images of the purple-stained fingertips of the courageous voters from the nascent democracies of the Middle East and South Asia we’ve seen over the past few years…

I-Votedbut it is an image that represents my vote, and, to me, it is a vote that is just as important as any vote ever cast in the history of all votes ever cast.

Plus, it gives me full and legitimate authority to complain heartily about how screwed up my country’s system of government currently is.

If you are an American of the US and you didn’t exercise your right to vote in this election, then keep your pie hole shut*. I don’t wanna hear any complaints outta ya.

 

*Of course this wrath of a restriction of mine does not apply to those who could not vote due to reasons beyond their control, i.e., health limitations, etc.