Lost Girl of the Lake

It was the Summer of 1961 and young Mark Gaitlin was on vacation with his  family in Lake Livingston Texas. Mark was like any other 15-year-old, his body was changing, his family was driving him nuts and he was obsessed with sex. His dream of meeting a girl comes true one night when a mysterious girl invites him to go skinny dipping. Mark is on the verge of becoming a man and everything is about to change.

Mark is starting to see the social injustices in the world and also realizes that Lake Livingston is a mysterious place. He’s surrounded by abandoned villages haunted by family secrets and finds evidence of a cult of religious backwoods snake handlers. As he journeys into manhood he finds the world is more complicated than he thought and wrong decisions may cost him his life.

Lost Girl Of The Lake by Joe McKinney and Michael McCarty is about how a series of odd events shape a young man’s life. The passage that really hooked me into this story was early on when we hear Mark being introspective as an adult about his childhood. He states that “the man and the boy don’t speak the same language anymore.” He then describes the difference between how an adult thinks compared to how a child’s mind works. The beginning of this coming of age tale had a Stephen King feel to it that made me want to keep reading.

What I enjoyed most in this story is how a lot of it is open to interpretation. The authors paint a picture by the way they describe the setting. Also the use of imagery like the butterflies that gather at the lake, the abandoned town, the Copperhead snakes and the dreams that Mark is having are metaphors and they all shape the man he will become. It’s up to the reader to wonder what the meaning behind everything and how it affects the characters in the story.

For a short novella there is a lot going on in this book and every little detail seems to have a deeper meaning. I enjoyed the references to pulp fiction magazines in the story and since at points it felt like the pulp fiction that Mark reads I thought it was a good metaphor. Another scene I liked that illustrated what its like to be on the edge of adulthood was when Mark and his friend are heading to the lake to look at “spicy” pulp magazines and have to keep a look out for anyone who may get them in trouble for having them. At one point Mark tries to walk away but his friend urges him to stay which leads to something that illustrates what 15-year-old boys are like.

Whether you like this book or not will depend on what you’re looking for. If you’re expecting a good horror story or a tale with a lot of supernatural activity you may be disappointed. On the other hand if you are into coming of age stories that make you think about how certain events shape your life then you will like this novella. This is a story of the loss of innocence, the road to adulthood and how your reaction to what’s happening around you affects your life.


For a Glimpse Beyond the Terminus

When you think of Terminus you think of the end of line. You also think of the ultimate end which is death. In For a Glimpse Beyond the Terminus Jordan R. Anderson gives us Nine stories having to do with death, cosmic horror and the paranormal. These stories are hard-core and give a serious look at what truly scares us.

My favorite story in this book was Under And In And So It All Begins. This story is simply enough about the beginning of the apocalypse. It all starts with a recently divorced man who is down on his luck and just happens to have a portal to another dimension under his car. What makes this interesting is it’s like two stories in one. In the beginning it’s just a man who is dealing with his own depression over his failed marriage, he finds an opportunity to be a hero but everything goes horribly wrong. The end of this story turns out to be an all out gore fest. As simple as it was my favorite part of this story was when the man decides to go into the other dimension in order to save a life and he wonders what his ex-wife would think of him now. He’s doing what he needs to do and wants to be a hero but the despair over his wife divorcing him never leaves his thoughts. This story had a real Lovecraft feel to it with an awesome ending.

Another story I really liked was The Harem Within. You have to give this story points for originality. The star of it is a sexually awkward man who has a unique power. When he finally has the opportunity to have sex with someone he absorbs them into his body and the victim lives inside of him. His new power turns him into an addict and he wants to take as many souls as he can. I enjoyed the concept here and  how the main character keeps referring to himself as a fiend. I love how the character sees himself at the end and the reader is left to wonder was he really a fiend? Or was he just a lonely man with no idea what was happening to him.

For a Glimpse Beyond the Terminus was a mixed bag for me. The book has the feel of being written by someone who hasn’t been professionally writing for very long. There are some great ideas and content here but some situations and settings get over described which takes you out of the story. That being said I found the book entertaining and thought there were some great concepts and good content here. Jordan shows he has a passion for writing horror and I think his writing will get better in the future. I ‘m looking forward to seeing what he will write about next.


An Interview with Rod A. Walters

What inspired you to write Golden Gremlin?

A dream one night.

Kidding. Don’t believe people who say that.

The thing grew as different ideas & topics piled up. No exciting personal story here, just basic writer stuff: one essay at a time, one draft at a time, one edit at a time, 10 “final” proofs at a time.

What is the significance of the title?

The book was written by a wise-aleck senior writer, me, who often prefers his own company—a golden gremlin and happy misanthrope. I have noticed how most people, especially and shamefully me too, wear an invisible but obvious sign on their backs, “I don’t brake for seniors.” Well, bad for me, both ways. A small, vigorous push from us goldens with some timely experience to share, just might get a small audience to sit down and listen for a minute or two. If there’s a chair behind them. Or a beer on a nearby table. As I say on a “Gremlin” lead page, what good is your experience if you don’t help someone else with it?

How long did it take you to write Golden Gremlin?

A year and one-half, because I seem to edit everything 19 times.

Do you have a favorite story in the book?

Sigh. All the un-favorites got pitched into the trash bag before publishing. I suppose I’d give my Naughty Award to “When Hell Froze Over.” I suspect that many readers would not vote this one their favorite, though, as it pokes humor at some environmentalists’ exaggerations, and maybe worse, it’s longer than most of the other pieces. It truly brings out the gremlin boy in me. Still, I can’t imagine too many not letting a chuckle or two loose when reading it. Oh heavens, the piece can be read in only six and one-half short minutes, tops!

Well also, under duress, “The Vacuum is Mightier than the Pen” (or else). It’s a weensy three minutes to read.

What do you hope people will get out of this book?

Their wallets. Oh wait, I have that backwards.

Well, then, laughter. Above all, get some laughs out of “Gremlin”! Most readers will surely find that most of the pieces have humorous patches, because they are also true. Mostly. Anyone not finding something funny in the book should go get an immediate refund back into their wallet; with my blessings.

What was the hardest part about writing the book?

Finding a hard surface to write on. This is not smart-alecky. My first notes and drafts are all written with pen & legal pad. This makes a squishy writing surface useless, except for raising my temper, and that’s pretty useless too.

How long have you been writing?

24 years, at least intentionally.

What are some of the other books you have out?

Previous books have all been poetry (“Toxic Assets,” the last one), all nonfiction of course. People don’t buy poetry, so no more of that fun for a long while.

Are you planning another book?

Three, actually. “Captain [OF] America: Old Enough to Know Better—And I Do,” an equally poking look at the world’s greatest problems: Money, Politics, and Religion. [Summer, 2018]

“OPORD: Did I Kill Somebody?” composed of military-based essays built around the Army’s so-named “Five Paragraph Field Order,” or Operations Order—the OPORD. [Fall, 2018]

“A Cat’s Guide to Global Warming,” no subtitle necessary. Yet. [some time after the above 2]

Thank you for asking me that—you are my hero for life for a month!

Do you have a website?

Yes, www.ieWriter.com, but it truly sucks as of Feb, 2018. It will be improved by summer.

NOT kidding.


Thank you for the interview. It made me chuckle, and that makes you my hero for life for—all time.

Rod Walters lives in Rochester, New York, with his wife, and somewhat human step-cat. “Walters” is a writing name, but those who know him easily recognizes him from that mediocre head shot, improved by an excellent quality B&W film. He spent the first part of his working life as an Army officer, then a corporate engineer. Now he writes.



Golden Gremlin: A Vigorous Push from Misanthropes and Geezers

Golden Gremlin: A Vigorous Push from Misanthropes and Geezers by Rod a Walters is a book of essays, opinions, short stories and humorous anecdotes. This is one man’s observations on life, with opinions on nature, carbon footprints, business advice and kitchen advice. In the end you even get a few songs. To put it another way this is a book written from the viewpoint of a geezer and a misanthrope. That means it’s coming from someone that’s been around the block and prefers their own company instead of being in a large group of people. He may not care but he still has a lot to say about society and a lot of good stories to share.

Golden Gremlin is a hard book to describe. Going into it I wasn’t sure what to expect because I have never read anything like it. The way the book is set up is different from most books. The essays are fairly short and at the end of each one there is a link that will take you back to the beginning or sometimes to a different essay. The word that comes to mind for me as I try to describe this book is “interesting.” Some of it I didn’t fully understand but it has its moments and there are some funny parts in it. This book feels like the author was trying to say life isn’t meant to be taken seriously and he was trying to entertain himself first and foremost. If you try to sit and read this book from cover to cover you may not like it but if you read a couple of stories every day you will find it to be an entertaining read.

One of my favorite parts was when he was poking fun at how absurd Facebook and twitter is and says what his first tweet would be: “If U don’t follow me, U won’t hear if I really do have purple undies on 2day. Another part I liked was when he talks about the joys of being a misanthrope.  Some of the benefits are not caring what others have to say and having more time to yourself because your time is your own. Some of his opinions will put a smile on your face, such as when he points out that all decisions in society should be made by the young or the old and not by the people between the ages of 20 and 50. If you are looking for a book that’s a little different from someone who has seen it all and doesn’t take himself too seriously then give this one a try,


An interview with Gabriel Valjan

How did you do research for your book?

I read history books, books by or about artists of the era. In addition to learning context and circumstances, I found you start to ask yourself questions. For instance, jazz was all the rage during Prohibition, Big Band music during the war years, then, in the 1950s, jazz reappeared as the music of rebellion. Why is that? In my research for the novel, I had to revisit the roles of women during the war, and how it must’ve felt for these ladies to work in munitions plants, be single parents in some cases, and then be asked to forfeit their jobs, their first taste of financial freedom, and return to domesticity. I read about the GI Bill, which got veterans back on their feet by subsidizing their education and mortgages, yet the current GI Bill can barely get a young veteran through a community college.

Research helps convey fidelity to the historical period in the writing, provide the accurate detail, but it should provoke questions. I read diary entries and interviews about the men who fought in Europe and the Pacific. The late actor Charles Durning’s accounts of the Battle of the Bulge and D-Day were harrowing. I read about nurses and women spies. In doing the legwork for The Good Man, I got to know the era that my grandparents had lived through. One of the critical lessons I learned is that men who had survived combat did not – for better or worse — talk about their experiences. The prevalence of wartime memoirs that we have today, writing about battle exploits, would have been offensive to them, and, in their view, disrespectful to their lost comrades. You did your duty and you came home. It’s a very macho, a John Wayne, attitude, but that was how they were.

There are many books out there. What makes yours different?

The Good Man is a hybrid of historical fiction and noir crime fiction. The story is set in Vienna as the Cold War is about to begin. A real CIA operation inspired the plot. Where I differ from, say, Phillip Kerr, who has written the Bernie Gunther series, is that my novel involves a team of operatives and not one individual. Kerr’s stories start in 1930s Berlin in the thick of Hitler’s SA and SS and moves incrementally through the war, whereas as The Company Files series is anchored in post-war Europe and moves stateside in the sequels. My writing is, I believe, atmospheric and focuses on the relationships between the characters. I portray the homophobia, racism, and sexism that were engrained in the era in ways that may surprise readers, while maintaining historical accuracy.

Do you ever get writer’s block? What helps you overcome it?

No. That’s not to say I don’t have self-doubts or the experience of writing myself into a corner, or that I don’t struggle with solving plot points. I realized a long time ago that everything has been said or written at least once. Decades of reading should convince you of that fact. The challenge is to say it better, write it better, and challenge yourself as a writer. A library card is a passport for your imagination.

Do you write every day?

On average, I write daily and if I’m not writing, I am editing.

What is your next project?

I have an editing and writing project ahead of me in 2018. I plan to edit the five books I’ve written about a 1970s Boston-based PI. Inspired by Breaking Bad writer Vince Gilligan and his team, I want to edit the long arc for the principle characters. The writing project is to complete books 3 to 5 of my series set in Shanghai.

Bio: Gabriel Valjan is the author of the Roma Series and The Company Files from Winter Goose Publishing as well as numerous short stories. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where he enjoys the local restaurants, and his two cats, Squeak and Squawk, keep him honest to the story on the screen.

Website: www.gabrielvaljan.com

Blog: https://gabrielswharf.wordpress.com

Purchase link: Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2COa5HY 


The Company Files: The Good Man

World war 2 has ended and everyone’s life is changing. Now a new conflict is starting to take shape as both the Russians and the United States are looking to recruit former Nazis in search of information. They aren’t the only people looking for Nazis though, someone is hunting and killing them.

Jack Marshall and Walker served together during the war and now work in Vienna. Along with fellow spy Leslie they are taking on the task to find the killer and bring former Nazis to their side. The problem is that in this new post war world, no one is who they appear and everyone has something to hide.

The Company Files: The Good Man by Gabriel Valjan is an old fashion Noir spy thriller set in the early days of the cold war. The story is what you would expect from a spy novel, It’s complex with twists, turns and surprises along the way. What really makes it a great read is how it gives you a history lesson by way of realistic characters that feel like they were really there. For example in the beginning you see the Russians as villains but as you get to know the characters you see that they are shades of grey and they don’t trust Americans. any more than Americans trust them. We meet Russians that are doing what they need to do to keep the communist government off there backs. We have one fleeing from the government and another who just wants to live a normal life and not be involved in the cold war or politics. There are no real villains in this book, instead everyone is just doing what they need to do to survive. Right and wrong is in the eye of the reader.

As much as I loved the story in this book I loved the use of the time period and the character’s backstories even more. You feel for Walker as he keeps having flashbacks of combat in World War 2, but you also hear of his life before the war and how he can’t get over being in battle or what happened to him before that. We also hear about a character named Sheldon and how he survived being an officer in the concentration camps. We also learn that the female spy Lesile knows several different languages and infiltrated Hitler’s inner circle.  Despite her accomplishments in the intelligence field she still doesn’t get the respect she deserves because she’s a woman. In one scene her fellow male spies comment that she may be a woman but she thinks like a man. This is an attitude that probably all women in this period had to face.

The Company Files: The Good Man is well researched and makes the time period come alive. At this point in history we had just gotten rid of one enemy and were getting a new one The atomic age had begun and the world was becoming a different place. This is a period of history that I didn’t know a lot about but Gabriel Valjan made me feel like I was there. He gives you a good look at what’s going on in his character’s heads as you hear about their pasts, their regrets and their hopes for the future.. There were times when I was reading this that I couldn’t help but hear the popular jazz of the day playing in my head. If you ever wanted to know what it’s like to be transported to another place in another time then get this book.


Book Spotlight: Change Your Personality In 30 Days

Book Details:

Book Title:  SNAP! Change Your Personality in 30 Days
Authors: Gary Small, MD, Director UCLA Longevity Center and Gigi Vorgan
Category:  Adult Nonfiction, 224 pages
Genre: Self-Help / Personality / Health, Mind & Body
Publisher:  Humanix Books
Content Rating:   G

Book Description:

New York Times bestselling author Dr. Gary Small’s breakthrough plan to improve your personality for a better life!

For your chance to win a free copy click here: https://goo.gl/5nDT6k

Experts in psychiatry and psychology have long believed that our personalities are essentially set from early childhood and remain consistent throughout life. However, the latest scientific research contradicts this long-held assumption. New compelling evidence indicates that we can change our personalities – either on our own, with the help of a therapist, or a combination of the two – and meaningful personality change can be achieved in a snap! – as quickly as 30 days. These groundbreaking findings have shattered the false belief that we are locked into our negative personality traits – no matter how much they hinder our potential happiness and success.

As you read SNAP! you will gain a better understanding of who you are now, how others see you, and which aspects of yourself you’d like to change. You will acquire the tools you need to change your personality in just one month – it won’t take years of psychotherapy, self-exploration or re-hashing every single bad thing that’s ever happened to you. If you are committed to change, this book will provide a roadmap to achieving your goals and becoming a better you.

From New York Times bestselling author, head of the UCLA Longevity Center, and expert in neuroscience and human behavior, Dr. Gary Small, a practical look at the key components of personality development and tools and techniques for bringing the positive aspects of your personality to the forefront so you can become more successful, attractive, happier, and psychologically healthier.

Meet the authors:​

Gary Small:
Dr. Gary Small, (Los Angeles, CA) is a professor of psychiatry and director of the UCLA Longevity Center* at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior. His research, supported by the NIH, has made headlines in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Scientific American magazine named him one of the world’s leading innovators in science and technology. Dr. Small lectures internationally and frequently appears on the Today show, Good Morning America, PBS, and CNN. He has written six books, including the New York Times best seller, The Memory Bible.

Gigi Vorgan:
Gigi Vorgan (Los Angeles, CA) has written, produced, and appeared in numerous feature films and television projects before teaming up with her husband, Dr. Gary Small, to co-write The Memory Bible, The Memory Prescription,The Longevity Bible, iBrain, The Other Side of the Couch, and The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program. She lives in Los Angeles with Dr. Small and their two children.

Connect with the authors: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Youtube