Friday, May 28, 2010



A Romance
Authored by David McLain

Sean Edward La Roux, AKA Shrimpy, whose life bears an uncanny resemblance to a certain knight of the round table, is just twenty-four years old when, with the help of four friends, he engineers one of the greatest crimes ever committed- the embezzlement of eight million dollars from a bank outside of Boston. Shrimpy heads off on an incredible journey, one which takes him across the country and around the world, but no matter how far he travels he can never leave the memory of Jenny, the only girl he ever loved behind him. When Shrimpy meets the exotic Elanya at a hotel in Venice, it seems like he may finally have a chance to leave the past behind him, but a phone call from Jenny informing him that his best friend has been arrested may mean that it's time to do the unthinkable- turn himself in. It's a long road to redemption, but anyone can get there, even a devious little Shrimp.

About the author:
David McLain graduated from Purchase College, where he directed a production of William Shakespeare's The Tempest. His stories have appeared in over a dozen magazines, including Harvard's Dudley Review, The Paumanok Review, Grumble, Bellowing Ark and Nite Blade Magazine. The Life of a Thief is his first novel. He lives in Western Massachusetts.


Quantum Earth
By Julie Achterhoff

A team of metaphysical scientists is dedicated to finding out why the Earth is in crisis. The rate, size, and destructive power of hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions is out of control. All of these acts of nature have become more devastating to human life than ever before in history, but why? Is the Earth cleansing itself of humanity? Or could it be that human thought is the true cause? This is what the team is asking; the hardest question of all: Do we create our own reality?

Review by Danni Milliken:
It's not an easy thing to offer to review the work of an author you don't know very well. If it's a good friend that's one thing, because you can say something honestly if you find that you don't like it. But, if it is someone who you don't know very well, it is a scary thing to offer to do, because the thought screams loudly in your mind, "What if I don't like it?" But, one day I know that it will be me out there pimping my work. So, with that knowledge in mind I found I had to put my hand up. Because, one day I hope someone will put their hand up for me.

Still, it was with trepidation that I opened the ebook and began reading the prologue. By the end of the first two paragraphs I made a very happy discovery. This is a good book. From two paragraphs I could tell that Julie Achterhoff is a quality author. Her writing style is extremely easy to read and the scenes are painted so that you can envision their detail easily without the over the top page wasting some lesser quality authors are prone to spend setting the scene. I could have written a review based only on the first few chapters, but this book was so good that I wanted to finish all of it for the sake of my own enjoyment. An exceptional achievement on the part of Julie Achterhoff there, as I rarely read novels to the end anymore.

Quantum Earth is a unique story where a group of scientists use new age beliefs to examine whether or not humanity creates its own tragedies. As natural disasters escalate, this team of researchers use a number of methods to collate data including trance, hypnosis, and dreams prior to the event.

This is a fantastically unique story and it is incredibly well written. At the current price of $15.99, you are getting a real bargain. I have no doubt at all that Julie is a future bestseller, and you won't regret the short time it takes to enjoy either Quantum Earth, or her new book "Deadly Lucidity" which has just recently been released to

Available from:
All Things That Matter Press

Deadly Lucidity
By Julie Achterhoff

Caught in a tangled web of dreams and nightmares,
Marie Reilly is being hunted by a psychopath in the
dream world she can't escape. Her single ally, a
Ranger named Murphy, may be her only hope. He
must help her reach the great Fortress, where
they've been told there is a way back to her reality.
Together, they fight their way through the twists
and turns of Marie's mind so she can have her life
back. But what of their burgeoning passion for each
other? How can she leave the man she has come to
love behind in this nightmarish world he has called
home as far back as he can remember?


Official Apex Reviews Rating:
Caught in a dream world from which she can’t escape, Marie finds herself
hunted by a dangerous psychopath. Her situation is far from hopeless, though, as
a handsome Ranger named Murphy vows both to protect her and help her find a
way back to the real world. Over the course of their shared adventures, Marie
looks very much forward to getting her life back to normal – but her growing
passion for Murphy makes the prospect of leaving him behind an increasingly
difficult choice to make...
Skillfully crafted by author Julie Achterhoff, Deadly Lucidity is an engaging
suspense thriller. In it, Achterhoff has crafted a compelling alternate nether world
straight out of the darkest regions of any imagination. In addition, as Marie wends
her way through a series of increasingly perilous events, you find yourself rooting
not-so-silently on her behalf, turning each fresh page in rapt anticipation of
precisely what fate awaits her as the story progresses. Furthermore, the genuine
affection that she and Murphy feel for one another adds a layer of palpable
tension to the overall tale, drawing the reader in even more as this modern twist
on the age-old tale of good vs. evil plays itself out in fantastical fashion.
A dynamic, riveting thriller with a host of intriguing twists, Deadly Lucidity
is a recommended read for lovers of well crafted fantasy suspense tales.

Available from:
All Things That Matter Press:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

In Search Of...The Meaning Of Life


In Search Of...The Meaning Of Life
Authored by Scott E. Hardy

Designed to guide and inspire those who may be in search of answers, this book of thoughtful quotes from eminent people around the globe, and touching photographs associated to each quote, offers insight into the deepest questions about life meaning for human kind.

About the author:
Making his home in southern coastal Maine, Scott Hardy's first priority is his wife Nicole, and two daughters, Brielle and Amelia. In addition to writing books, Scott manages a customer service team for a well known outdoor retailer. Other joys in Scott's life include his extended family and good friends, his passion for sea kayaking and sailing the Maine coastline, and his love for the game of tennis. Scott also has served his community as a Big Brother with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Portland, Maine. To learn more about Scott and his work, or to contribute to the enlightenment of your fellow man and woman around the world, visit Scott's website and blog at



Adam's War
Authored by Timothy N. Stelly Sr.

The biggest threat to MAN.

Daron Turner leads his small army of thermal war survivors in a cross-country battle to Big Springs, Nebraska. Their hope is to rebuild America as members of a larger human colony known as The New Frontier. The colony is led by megalomaniacal J.D. Cooks, who has other plans: To male himself the ruler of a burgeoning world empire.

Cooks and Turner engage in an epic clash of wills, and when Daron reveals that his nemesis is collaborating with aliens to destroy human life, the MMD again prepare for war. This time the army is led by Daron's son, the now twenty-one year-old Adam. After a fierce battle at Big Springs, Adam leads his charges south of the border to engage in a showdown that will determine whether or not mankind survives.

About the author:
Timothy N. Stelly is a poet, essayist, novelist and screenwriter. HUMAN TRIAL II: ADAM'S WAR, is the second part of an epic sci-fi trilogy that began with 2009's, HUMAN TRIAL He is also the author of Snakes In The Grass, a short story that appears in the AIDS-themed anthology The Shattered Glass Effect.

Mr. Stelly resides in northern California with his three youngest children-Dante, Kimberly and Lawrence. He is currently putting the finishing touches on a coming-of-age novel, People Darker Than Blue.


Thursday, May 20, 2010


Ora and the Gem Star by Jack Cowardin

Ora begins her journey as an innocent sixteen-year-old daughter of the local fishing village’s chief—having the liberty to go freely on her way each day, swimming the turquoise lagoon and reveling in the undersea beauty which nature delivers. She suddenly discovers that the Gods have bestowed a powerful Gem Star—a magical gift from the heavens—upon her shoulders, forever changing her destiny. Ora's Mayan heritage and adventurous spirit inspires her to capture the flashy, fiery ball. She absorbs all the energy and enlightenment it pours forth, setting her life and village into a new direction. In a time when women were of a lower class and denied spiritual participation, Ora breaks these bonds and begins a journey of discovery and adventure, empowerment, and, eventually, leadership to save her people from the scourge and enslavement by the mighty King of the great City of the Gods, Teotihuacan.


When the events of a sudden, terrifying eclipse show young Ora the location of the tiny, yet powerful Gem Star, the sixteen-year-old is suddenly charged with the daunting mission of retrieving the precious jewel - by none other than the gods themselves. Though her subsequent journey is fraught with peril, Ora receives the support of key allies along the way as she strives to prevent the Gem Star from falling into the hands of the ruthless King Chan, who intends to use it to serve his own selfish purposes. With such a grave responsibility resting squarely on her shoulders, Ora must summon a courage she’s never known to protect the fate of the world from the malice of evil hearts. Intriguing, creative, and with a flair for the magical, Ora And The Gem Star is an engaging fantasy tale. Skillfully crafted by author Jack Cowardin, Ora takes the reader on a vicarious journey through a time long since passed, well before the contrived “adventures” of video games, virtual reality, and other modern technological advances. A genuine fantastical thriller, Ora also doubles as an edifying guide to the beliefs, customs, and practices of cultures that thrived and prospered long ago, ultimately helping to foster a deeper appreciation of the cultural folkways and mores that preceded our time. Furthermore, in Ora herself, Cowardin has created a rather admirable heroine, one who rises to the considerable challenge of a task that requires her to step outside of her own comfort zone for the sake of countless others. Such a feat is not an easy one to fulfill - particularly for a sheltered sixteen-year-old unaccustomed to danger and with a nod to grand, sweeping cultural epics, Ora And The Gem Star more than holds its own as an imaginative fantasy tale in the proud tradition of Tolkien and Herbert. A recommended read.
Join in the adventure of “Ora and the Gem Star.”
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Thursday, May 13, 2010




Widow’s Walk by Kenneth Weene tells the story of Mary Flanagan and her search for meaning, life, and love. It is also the story of her Irish roots and her immigration to America, her marriage, her husband’s life and death, and the lives of her two children. And it is the story of her relationship with Arnie Berger, a man who is totally different in background, religion, and approach to life. Theirs is a deep and meaningful love that gladdens the heart. If only things could always flow along with such ease. But they do not, and Widow’s Walk becomes a powerful tale of human pain and emotional conflict.
Recently released, Kenneth Weene’s new novel, Memoirs From the Asylum, is a comi-tragic tale of madness and sanity, of desperation and hope, of possibilities and fate. Set in a state hospital, Memoirs From the Asylum focuses on three main characters, a narrator, who has taken refuge from his terror of the world, a catatonic schizophrenic, whose mind lives within a crack in the wall opposite her bed, and a young psychiatrist, who is dealing with his own father’s depression. This is a book that will have you laughing, crying, and discussing.

An Excerpt From Widow’s Walk

People like Danny O’Brien don't just wash their cars – they bathe them with deliberation. First they get ready, which starts with the right clothes. Danny always changes into his cutoff jeans, the last pair he has left from college. He has to suck in his stomach to snap them shut, and they have long ago stopped feeling comfortable, but they represent his youth so he won’t throw them out. He doesn’t tuck his Grateful Dead T-shirt in. He probably wouldn’t have anyway, but with it hanging out no one can see if the snap on his shorts has opened. His old tennis shoes go on his bare feet, and he feels like he is ready to go back in time and play Frisbee in Hollis Quad.
His equipment, too, is laid out carefully. Sponges, clean rags, a plastic pail, the garden hose, Turtle Wash and Wax, a Dust Buster, and finally cleaners for the glass, the vinyl, the leather upholstery, the chrome, and especially the tires – the car will not be to his liking until the tires gleam – not like new, but shining beyond newness. Even the placement of the car is – to his mind – just right. It is carefully parked in a specific spot so that he can get maximum efficiency from the hose.
His neighbor, Harry Brown, is tending flowerbeds. Not particularly a lover of nature, Danny leaves that task to the gardener. "Hey, Harry, how's it going?" he calls to the neighbor, who is busily weeding around the azaleas.
"Damn weeds just keep growing." It is a ritual exchange. The two men aren’t close, but they have as many rituals as any fraternity. That is one of Danny's special qualities; his every relationship has rituals built in: little sayings or a special piece of body language that makes the other person feel that theirs is a special relationship
Danny is aware of a change in the light. He looks up and sees Kathleen watching him. He smiles. “Hi.”
She half smiles in response. Embarrassed by his notice, she starts slightly as if to move away.
"Do you like cars?" He isn’t sure where, but he knows that he has seen her before. “She’s cute enough,” he thinks. “Might as well chat her up.”
Kathleen, not having really taken a step, feels she has to respond. She smiles shyly – not flirtatious but friendly. "Actually, I don’t know much about them. I’ve never even learned how to drive."
"Seriously?" Even while he is saying this, Danny is wondering if he shouldn’t perhaps take a more serious tone, one more appropriate to the classy young woman he perceives her to be.
"Why? Is there something wrong?" She can feel herself tensing, pulling back, becoming defensive. "I always wanted to learn, but I never had the chance."
He takes another look at Kathleen and decides that she might be worth his time. "I tell you what. You help me wash, and I'll give you a driving lesson."
"I don't even know you," Kathleen responds with hesitancy.
"Harry here will vouch for me. Won't you Harry?"
"Lady, I'd stay far away from that crazy Irishman. You should never trust a man who doesn't garden."
"I don't really think I should," her voice conveys doubt and a hidden wish.
"Suit yourself. If you ever change your mind, stop by any weekend. If I'm not home, my mother almost always is. I'll tell her if a beautiful woman named …" He pauses.
At first Kathleen doesn’t understand why he is waiting. Then she wonders if it’s ok for her to answer. Finally she stammers, "My name is Kathleen, Kathleen Flanagan."
"Pleased to meet you, Kathleen Flanagan. Danny O’Brien at your service." Danny winks at her, and Kathleen feels a rush of confusion – her face flushes. "We Irish folks have to stick together especially around a Brit like Harry." Danny’s sweeping gesture toward his neighbor sprays her with soapy water from the sponge he’s holding.
The cold tingle of the water makes her laugh lightly.
"Good. A sense of humor is the thing to have, but I am sorry." He offers her a clean rag.
"That's all right! I'm sure I'll dry before I get back."
"Back where?"
"Subtle, boy," Harry comments.
"I live at the hospice, the one near the Star Market, in the staff housing."
Danny smiles broadly. "The freckles on his forehead seem to dance when he smiles," Kathleen observes to herself.
"Would the nuns be upset if I were to drop by some day?"
"That would depend on your intentions."
"Better than they were when I went to Saint Edward's."
He grins again, and Kathleen is struck by the sparkle in his eyes. She waves as she walks away.
"That's a nice girl, Danny." Harry remarks as Kathleen leaves. “Not a bad looker either.”
"That's for sure." Danny turns back to the car, but his mind is following Kathleen down the street.

Words of Praise for Widow’s Walk

“Here is a story whose breadth of vision is exceeded only by the depth of its characters.” (Jon Tuttle, author, The Trustus Plays)

“This story includes the passions of everyday life that will touch you in a special way.” (Abe F. March, author, To Beirut and Back, They Plotted Revenge Against America, and Journey Into The Past)

“Written in the present tense, Widow's Walk achieves the difficult balance of urgency and character-driven action possible with this technique. With deft humor and unexpected turns, universal dilemmas and unique perspectives, I believe Widow's Walk captures all the elements of great fiction.” (Jen Knox, author, Musical Chairs

An excerpt from Memoirs From the Asylum

Arthur and I are pacing up and down the dayroom. That way the aides don’t notice. As long as we look agitated, they don’t care about our conversations. They figure we must be ourselves: the simply crazy. If we were to sit down on the bilious green Naugahyde and chrome chairs and couches that have long since deteriorated to junkyard quality and talk like normal people, then they’d get pissed off. They count on us to be psycho, to appear nuts. It’s like the cops and the criminals. The criminals might not want the cops around, but the cops need the crooks so they have jobs. And, if the cops disappeared then everyone could commit the same criminal acts so there’d be no payoff for being a crook. So, bottom line, the staff needs us to keep getting their paychecks, and we need them to keep getting our rubber-rooms, straightjackets, and butts full of Valium.
But, the numbers are changing. The psycho drugs have reduced the size of all the hospitals. The staffs have shrunk; now they’re resisting every discharge. No normality here! Nobody should get out. That’s the rule.
So we are pacing and discussing the alleged newest member of our very nonselective club. Of course, it is all rumor and conjecture. The rolling TV never plays the news; it’s considered too upsetting.
Newspapers and magazines only make an appearance when an infrequent visitor happens to bring them, which is always well after they’re better suited for wrapping fish. Visitors are few and far between. We who have survived the medication boom and still live on the wards have few family members interested in us. The aides and nurses do bring gossipy magazines that they share with each other and then leave around for us. We always know the latest tittle-tattle from three weeks ago. We can always tell that our bleached out castaway clothing isn’t the latest from Paris.
“Maybe. But, then what’s to stop them from frying every nut case,” I pause for effect, “including us?”
“Would you do something like that?”
“Well, neither would I.”
“Of course not, but you did attack those people.”
He giggles nervously. “God told me to.”
“I know, but maybe God told him.”
He raises his voice, always a foolish thing to do, but theology is always a hot button in the day room. “God would never tell him that – not something like that!”
One of the aides looks up at us. I catch her out of the corner of my eye, the one that I always keep directed at the nurses’ station.
“Sshhh,” I hiss at him. But he is way too far-gone. God’s prophet is on the pulpit, and nothing else matters. It only takes a minute before they drug him, wrap him, and carry him off to restraints.
They might decide I should get it, too, that I have been provoking him, that I might get others started – that I might be the “King of the Crazies” – and they talk about our paranoia. I walk away as fast as I can.
Too late! They have grabbed me and wrestled my ass to the floor. I’m not resisting. There would be no point. They still rough me up. One aide, this big hulk of an idiot, a sadist too afraid to take on anyone who can fight back, smacks me in the face – no reason, just his pleasure. My nose starts to bleed. They hold me down so that I’m coughing and choking on my own damn blood. One of the nurses brings the syringe. The big V to the rescue.
I wake up the next day on the medical ward. There is a hole in my throat where they inserted a tracheotomy tube. The bastard has nearly killed me. God, is my throat sore. I get to suck on ice chips and suffer. The bastard got to go home for his dinner.
A day later I am back on the ward. One of the women patients sidles over to me. “We heard they had to give you shock treatments,” she hisses.
“No,” I croak back pointing at my throat.
“I thought your brains were up here,” she says pointing to her head.
I try to laugh and then think better of it. I pat my ass. “No, down here,” I tell her.
She is still cackling as one of the nurses came out from behind their counter with the medication tray. My pills are different. I look at them and then at her. “Take your meds,” she commands firmly.
“They aren’t right.”
“The doctor changed them.”
“Ask him.”
“Come on, at least tell me why,” I plead, afraid of the side effects.
“We want to make sure that you behave yourself. No more incidents like yesterday.
I want to cry, but I just nod. I try to hold some of the pills in my cheek to spit them out once she has gone, but she checks my mouth and makes me take a second cup of the horrible juice they use. It tastes like a combination of the bug-juice they serve at summer camp and some powdered fruit drink straight from the army, and filled with saltpeter.
“Be a good boy,” she says as she walks away. I feel like I’m a dog being patted absentmindedly on the head by a totally indifferent and unfeeling clerk in a department store. “You really shouldn’t have your dog in here, mister; but keep him under control and we won’t shoot you full of meds.”
“Yes, ma’am; yes, ma’am, three bags full.”
No matter how fucked your head, you’ve got to hate the drooling and the shuffling. I try to control the tics and that damned unending pill rolling. I try, but I fail – failure is in the chemistry.

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Vic Fortezza, Brooklyn Author


A Hitch in Twilight is a compilation of stories of The Twilight Zone-Alfred Hitchcock variety. Most involve ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. Lucifer appears in two. Most are set in New York, particularly Brooklyn. They are designed to make entertain and to foster thought. They are 20 tales of Warped Imagination.


Beneath the Boardwalk, somewhere along the Brighton Beach side, leeward of a dune formed by the bitter winter winds, lay a long, narrow cardboard box around which rats were scurrying. There was a restless, troubled murmuring within it. Suddenly the flaps flew aside and a man inside sprang to a sitting position like a jack-in-the-box, casting pages of a newspaper, his blankets, aside in his wake. He fought to regain his breath, muttering angrily, fearfully.
His attention was snared by a click. His paroxysm had been vanquished. His senses had never seemed so alive. He peered beyond the dune, past the small gap between its peak and the underside of the Boardwalk. A cigarette lighter flickered briefly, illuminating a hard though handsome face that featured a thick, neatly-trimmed black beard.


Vic Fortezza writes about the trials and tribulations of life. Be it fiction or reality he captivates his audience with hard-boiled characterizations that catapult readers through drama and intrigue, at times with a touch of humor. Vic’s words flow with strength – he tells it like it is – through the eyes of a powerful, seasoned writer. By the time you’ve read the last page of A Hitch in Twilight, you’ll feel like you’ve lived each story.
Victoria Valentine, Editor Skyline Review.

This review is from: A Hitch In Twilight: 20 Tales of Warped Imagination (Paperback)
Through thought provoking and imaginative plots, Vic Fortezza takes his readers on a roller coaster ride of emotions. He captures your attention with his gritty writing style and keeps you intrigued with powerful characterizations and stimulating story lines without being overly dramatic. By the time you finish this book, you will be longing for more!

To purchase A Hitch in Twilight, go here:

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