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American Fries: A Queer Farce

American Fries: A Queer Farce by [Tom Beattie]

American Fries: A Queer Farce is Tom Beattie’s fun play where he explores how Molière’s playwright style could have been if it had included some queerness in it. Marriage equality and same-sex love are the main aspects dealt with in his play, all done in a fun and hilarious way that will leave its readers constantly smiling and giggling at every turn of the page.

The book includes two different plays. The first one, American Fries, based in seventeenth-century Paris, follows the friends Bayonet and Heavyset as they conspire to find a way to pair and marry each other’s kids. However, the girls Crepsuzette and Anisette, and the boys Pirouette and Leatherette, may have some different plans of their own. Although it is a period play, it is told in a modern way with modern humor, making it very enjoyable to read. The second play included in the book, Once Married, goes back to modern day to follow the lives of Tom and David, a gay couple from the United States in their early sixties, with the deep wish of having the freedom to marry each other without fear.

The plays included in the book were fun and easy to read. Even though the book deals with serious themes such as same-sex marriage, the author expresses his story and his feelings in an entertaining and natural way. I was constantly smiling throughout the different plays, highly appreciating Tom Beattie’s humor. Even the names of the characters made me laugh every time that they appeared on the page, they had such an unique and creative touch to them. The stories told were not only funny but also endearing, being able to portray by the end the significance of companionship and love regardless of gender, a very powerful message in this day and age.

I found the first play, American Fries, to be unique and would love to see a longer one in the future with the same style of writing and humoristic attitude. The deep feelings of love are portrayed in a simple, yet powerful manner, allowing the reader to feel connected to the characters and understanding the depth of their emotions. I only wish that the plays had been longer, there is still some potential that can be explored further with the characters that were introduced throughout the story.

American Fries: A Queer Farce is a fast paced and easy read with entertaining humor and an overall imaginative and creative style. Author Tom Beattie gives readers such an endearing and enjoyable reading experience.

Pages: 143 | ASIN:

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How Ferris Wolfe Got Fired – Book Trailer

Ferris Wolfe is flying high. Having just pulled off a major marketing coup for his small magazine, Ferris feels his star finally rising. But beneath his feet, his company is crumbling. For Aquatic Hobbyist is a publication that rewards slackers and punishes its most dedicated staff. And when a mysterious act of sabotage rocks its offices, clues point to an inside job. Someone is gunning for Publisher Wolfe. Suspects abound, but is something more going on? As crises escalate and Ferris stumbles to the end of his publishing career, the company confronts a karmic siren song that will make every office worker howl.

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A Revenge Fantasy

Beverly Garside
Beverly Garside Author Interview

How Ferris Wolfe Got Fired follows a corporate employee whose star is rising as the company crumbles amid sabotage. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I am a retired office worker. Most of the characters in Ferris Wolfe are inspired by real people I have worked with throughout my life. Their story represents a revenge fantasy of many dedicated employees who are oppressed by their own co-workers. The total disconnect between senior managers’ impression of their organization and the realities on the ground is also quite the norm and a phenomenon worth exploring.

Ferris Wolfe is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Wolfe is typical of many successful executives – his interest is in advancing himself, and it does not extend much further than that. Wolfe also suffers from insecurity in the shadow of his more successful younger brother. These flaws blind him to the rot that has engulfed his company and render him helpless when calamity ultimately strikes.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

First and foremost I wanted to present a realistic office populated with real people. I find Hollywood’s stereotypes of office workers as either pathetic losers or high-flying schemers in designer suits to be stale and insulting. Most office workers simply run the gamut of ordinary folk and our stories are rarely told in fiction. I also wanted to introduce a fantasy with a hint of magic that would celebrate the people who manage to keep things running despite the obstacles and abuse that too often arise in any workplace. Finally I hoped to create a different, more natural approach to office humor. There are more than enough real human foibles in office life to get a good laugh without resorting to the demeaning stereotypes that have prevailed for too long.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

This is still to-be-decided at this time.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website

Ferris Wolfe is flying high. Having just pulled off a major marketing coup for his small magazine, Ferris feels his star finally rising. But beneath his feet, his company is crumbling. For Aquatic Hobbyist is a publication that rewards slackers and punishes its most dedicated staff. And when a mysterious act of sabotage rocks its offices, clues point to an inside job. Someone is gunning for Publisher Wolfe. Suspects abound, but is something more going on? As crises escalate and Ferris stumbles to the end of his publishing career, the company confronts a karmic siren song that will make every office worker howl.

Orange City

Orange City by [Matthew Goldberg, Lee]

Orange City by Lee Matthew Goldberg is an exciting dystopian thriller and pretty much a one-of-a-kind experience. It’s about Orange City: a bizarre place where its inhabitants are kept firmly under the control of the Man. Here they toil away for faceless organizations and use petty distractions to not drown in the misery of their jobs. Here, Graham Weatherend is placed in a unique position– he has to decide whether he will work for a dangerous and addictive new product, innocuously named Pow! Soda or whether he will take up the more risky path of finding out exactly what is going on in a world where he can trust few.

Graham is an introverted and humorous character with neat tricks up his sleeve in the most unlikely situations. His quest is to find out the truth about the soda while avoiding being banished to The Zones. All the while navigating the unexpected effects of Pow! Soda. There are some other difficult topics also addressed in this book– especially surrounding Gayle’s situation. The abuse of power and free will are central to the characters’ motivations and behavior.

I kept trying to anticipate the next twist of the plot but I could never guess where this book was going to go- the book is not only a few steps ahead of me, it simply does not follow regular science fiction rules. Which is not a bad thing at all- I was strapped in for a fun romp and ended up with a substantial and thoughtful novel. There’s probably thousands of science fiction books and movies in the world but the best of the lot have always been the ones that are adjacent to reality. The sweet spot in the uncanny valley where if the universe were merely a few degrees askew the characters’ lives would be our lives. This is what happens here.

The writing is sharp and cool- it has a neo-noir thriller vibe to it that wouldn’t be out of place in a movie where a tortured Ryan Gosling runs around town saving people while being drenched in moral ambiguity. Meaningful prose and intense drama ensues.

Orange City is a great read for anyone who enjoys science fiction thrillers or just cool and atmospheric books in general. Just be prepared to have a mini-existential crisis about where our world is headed!

Pages: 231 | ASIN: B08R96Z37G

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What Would Rocket Do?

What Would Rocket Do?: Volume 1 by [Kim Slone]

Want a glimpse inside your dog’s head? Want to see what he’s thinking? If so, this is the book you need to read! Meet Rocket. He’s a bulldog Shih-Tzu mix that lets you into his world through what he writes. You can learn about his likes and dislikes as well as getting to know his mommy, daddy, Jojo and Dougie. It can get crazy sometimes because they have a full house, so it’s never dull. He walks you through his playtime, his walking, when his mommy gets irritated at him for chasing the cats, and so much more. Come look inside Rocket’s life, and you might wonder what your pet is thinking!

What Would Rocket Do is a cute book that will keep you entertained with various candid photographs and a charming story. Reading the part where Rocket’s mommy was watching Star Wars, and he says that he loves the Ewoks and Chewbacca and he loves Yoda because he believes that he would be able to understand animals was such an entertaining section to read. This is indicative of the delightful humor throughout this book. Author Kim Slone has done an amazing job conveying Rocket’s thoughts and ideas in a way that seems so much like what a dog would actually think about. The reader is able to connect with Rocket by getting an inside look at what Rocket is thinking and what made him love his life. There are photographs of Rocket on nearly every other page of this book that bring the story to life. The photos remind of an Instagram feed where it captures the day in the life of a dog. The author’s writing is clear and the story is smooth and definitely something you can read over quickly and be left smiling.

Pages: 125 | ASIN: B089GB9Y6M

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A Surreal, Absurdist, and Grotesque Fiction

Victoria Ray
Victoria Ray Author Interview

The Pearl Territory follows the survivors of the Earth that seek a life outside their restrictive colony and may find it on an enigmatic planet. What was the inspiration for the setup to this compelling novel?

I would prefer to call them the chosen survivors because most of them (advanced and primitive) left the Earth before the gamma-ray hit it. Their escape was calculated; they had been preparing for that kind of situation.

It’s true, they are looking for the ninth planet in the hope of building the new world, the place of their dreams. The advanced are looking for new territory; the people of power – for crystal, the sacred gate between different dimensions and universes; the primitive, or people of resistance – to break free from AI. Everybody has their own agenda, but there is only one planet – the beautiful, full of water, green Pearl. How would they share it, if they ever did? Is it possible for them all to live in peace? Is Pearl a habitable place? Or is this planet only an illusion?

The story is the sketch of our society, filled with murderers, doctors, religious fanatics, kids with superpowers, mutants, demons, famous painters, witches, Egyptian Kings, magical books, AI-police, addictions, and endless sexual (often ridiculous) rules.

I’m also trying to peek into the future by analyzing such sensitive theme as partition into two primary races: advanced and primitive humans. Who knows, it might be our reality in 2718 (if we survive until then), when the worlds and the planets will be divided between nano-people (conscious robots with feelings) and good old homo sapiens.

Please don’t take this novel too seriously – this is a surreal, absurdist, and grotesque fiction full of adult humor.

Ah, about the inspiration! It is always the silence. Every novel of mine is always born from the silence…

I enjoyed the array of characters you’ve created. Who was your favorite character to write for?

I don’t have a favorite character.

The book consists of 60+ heroes. It might be challenging to follow; that’s why I’d advise you to read it in two or maximum three sittings, preferably as a paperback, in the span of a week. It shouldn’t be that hard, the book is only 200 pages long.

I’d like to mention, though, the character called Mara – the Queen of the Surreal Kingdom, hidden beneath the murky waters of Pearl (the ninth planet). She or He, or both, is the ruler of the demonic powers, the yin and the yang of the Magical Universe, the catcher of Time. I often ask myself, what would I do to stop the time? Would I be as cruel as Mara? Who knows?

Unfortunately, the most powerful people are often showing signs of cruelty, especially when they are too close to achieve or find something they dreamed of for so long…

There’s also a couple of funny metaphysical characters in my book: Mister Time himself – a horny old man who is spending his eternal life locked inside of the closed zone; and his lovely Elsa-chair, which is an actual chair that can talk, walk, and joke.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

As I already mentioned, this novel is a sketch of our society. I tried to glimpse into the future without going deep into psychology, relationships, political fights, and the danger of artificial power. I tried to show as many typical characters of the Earth as possible.
One of the themes, of course, is the search for happiness. People are always searching for something, they are never satisfied, and this kind of dissatisfaction, as we see, leads to a lot of problems.

It doesn’t matter which theme or question you are going to pick, there’s an answer or a hero to that in ‘The Pearl Territory’.
The book is written in two formats: 50% private journals and 50% dialogues.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m working on a book called ‘The Secrets of A-Ria’, the second book in the trilogy Child of Illusion, for young adults. Genre: metaphysical fantasy, absurdist. I’m writing humorous fiction for adults, so I find it quite challenging to write for teens.

I see it as a separate book, which means you don’t need to read book 1 to understand or follow the story in book 2. The plot revolves around Codes’ land, called A-Ria – the place unseen and inaccessible by humans. The main character, Aileen, is the Code of Death, who regulates the normal flow of life on Earth. But, as always, the Earth is in danger, as well as the Land of A-Ria. The Black Creeper is coming…

The message of this book: monsters don’t always look like monsters.

It will be available in the summer of 2021.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website

After humanity was wiped off the face of the Earth by an unexpected gamma-ray, humans built their lives on Titan inside a colony they call “Netericus.” There were 1296 original survivors.

“Netericus” has 19,347 strict and 6,980 flexible rules. The people feel trapped… Loneliness is spreading between members of the community, which is divided into “primitive” and “advanced” humans. The list of rules grows, as does the fear. A team of scientists finally makes a long-awaited breakthrough about the location of the Pearl, the 9th planet. The desire to start a new life and finally breathe outside awakes in many hearts again.
Pain Berchpull, a former pilot and one of ‘the primitive,’ has been sent on a mission—to the enigmatic Pearl. Her team has been in the most dangerous and frightening places in the Galaxy, and they have seen and done things that would make your skin crawl, but their arrival on the Pearl is the beginning of The End.

The book contains fun or gross erotica and elements of violence. Only for adults (18+)!
Genre: absurdist fiction, surreal fantasy, dystopian comedy.
This book is written in two formats: 50% – a play or dialogue and 50% – the journals.

A Key Enigma For Our Time

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Larry Lockridge Author Interview

The Cardiff Giant follows an investigative reporter searching for the missing Cardiff Giant where he wades through some wild theories to get to the truth. What was the inspiration for the setup to this riveting story?

The plot was conceived in a eureka moment when I visited the Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown. The sculpture of the Cardiff Giant is so crude (quite unlike Marcia Scanlon’s projective cover design) that it seemed preposterous to me that so many people, including the scientific community of Boston, could have fallen for the hoax—that it was an ancient human fossil. This set me to thinking about human gullibility in general, certainly a key enigma for our time. The fictional circumstance came to me right then and there, as I peered at the homely Giant laid out in a shallow pit: what if this large piece of gypsum were to disappear? Would people, with their various belief systems in place, jump to conclusions, especially that the Giant has been reanimated and is roving the community? In short, yes.

Jess Freeman is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?

Jess Freeman, the investigative reporter, occupies the middle between his gullible new acquaintances and Thor Ohnstad, the relentless skeptic. In the beginning he wishes to set aside his own humdrum skepticism for the greater excitement of belief in something exotic or paranormal. Three encounters with the thudding Giant suffice to make him, if only in some measure, a believer also, hopefully setting aside his investigative objectivity. The novel takes an added and, I hope, deeper twist when it is revealed that Thor Ohnstad, hardly an exemplar of the Enlightenment, is psychologically deranged. The novel avoids any simple conclusion that the faculty of reason can always prevail against passionate and misguided commitments. Jess Freeman, himself for a time deranged by sexual jealousy, comes to recognize in Thor Ohnstand his unnerving double.

I felt like this novel was high in social commentary. What were some themes you wanted to explore in this book?

Yes, there are key themes of social import that I explore in THE CARDIFF GIANT. The novel ends when a redneck marries a transsexual! The theme of sexual identity is high on the list, but beyond this is human identity itself. The important characters (there are only seven) define themselves in terms of their ideological commitments. The New Age believer in prior lives, for example, knows herself to be one-fourth Native American and is attempting to become one-hundred percent. The believer in kabbalistic numerology is attempting to expunge her one-half non-Jewish parentage, an odious father, and become wholly Jewish. In the end, these characters settle for the identity they already have and put aside their stretchers. E.g. The believer in kabbalistic numerology reverts to mainstream cultural Judaism. But the phantasmagoric ending unsettles any easy fallback that everyone, including Jack Thrasher himself, has settled into a comfortable, recognizable world.

This book is part of The Enigma Quartet. What can readers expect in the next book?

The four novels of THE ENIGMA QUARTET are described in full on my website, from which I draw a bit here. I’ll say something about all four. (The first chapter of the novel set in Cyprus is found in the back matter of my Giant and is an overture to the novel as a whole.) They do not have recurring characters or plot strands but are united in how characterization relates to plot structure and in recurring themes. THE CARDIFF GIANT satirizes human gullibility. THE GREAT CYPRUS THINK TANK satirizes utopian ideals. OUT OF WEDLOCK satirizes the nature versus nurture controversy, centering on human identity. And THE WOMAN IN GREEN satirizes key aspects of American history. Whatever these shifts in emphasis, human identity is the largest thematic connection. And in each I launch a small cast of singular humans confronted with puzzles or enigmas who set out to resolve them. They suffer entanglements within the ranks and external threats but ultimately prevail in their quests through buoyancy, pluck, and affection. THE ENIGMA QUARTET is a testimony to human resolve and intelligence, despite a large dose of counterevidence. As Malachy McCourt writes of THE CARDIFF GIANT, “this fierce, upbeat novel is a timely restorative in a dark season.” I’d like to think this true of all four.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

The Cardiff Giant, set in Cooperstown, New York, has up its novelistic sleeve Puck’s profound declaration, “Lord, what fools these mortals be!” Jess Freeman, investigative reporter, arrives on the scene to look into the weird disappearance from the Farmers’ Museum of a huge human figure. He had been unearthed in the late nineteenth century near Cardiff, New York. Jess confronts locals and outsiders who all have a theory, including that the giant has been reanimated and is lurching throughout the community. They are enmeshed in self-punishing belief systems such as alien abduction, astrology, kabbalistic numerology, New Age rebirthing, and religious dogmas reduced to literal absurdities. The fast-paced action centers around episodes where they pay a sorry price for their beliefs. But skeptics don’t fare much better, susceptible as they are to mental disorders that show the faculty of reason is fragile indeed. These characters group and regroup, with romance always on their minds, and finally come to recognitions at once surprising and moving.

The Cardiff Giant

The Cardiff Giant is a hilarious novel first novel, in a series of four, that is set in Cooperstown, New York in 2003. Written by Larry Lockridge, the short novel is narrated by Jack, an investigative journalist dispatched to Cooperstown to investigate the disappearance of the Cardiff Giant.

Lockridge gives an informative and entertaining description of the Cooperstown setting. In some detail he describes the physical appearance of the town and the many tourist attractions such as the Baseball Hall of Fame. There is also a breakdown of the town’s cultural diversity and a brief history on how it came to exist. This sets the scene well for the rest of the story and hints at some of the action to follow.

Intense and complicated characters are an integral part of the novel. Jack is open minded investigative journalist and is prepared to find paranormal experiences in his mission to discover the secret of the missing Cardiff Giant. He soon finds himself in a town with an interesting community that includes such diverse characters as Tarbox the town sheriff (and pig farmer) sisters Sheila, a set designer, and Esther, a psychotherapist, Thor Ohnstad, head of the local Chamber of Commerce (and inn keeper).  Each character has their own motivations and unique voice, including beliefs in alien abduction, rebirthing, astrology, psychokinesis and kabbalistic numerology. Jack, the main character, even becomes entangled with the characters and their beliefs. Their belief systems often compete with other’s beliefs, which Lockridge brings alive with intense and occasionally absurd dialogue between the characters.

The story is organized into three parts, with numerous chapters in each. Despite the numerous characters, themes and romantic twists and turns, the story is well structured. It is very easy to follow and flows well.

Despite the outlandish characters and sometimes wild situations, author Larry Lockridge manages to cleverly couple this with some serious themes of love, jealousy, envy and pursuit of self-identity. These themes are obvious at the start of the novel and are cleverly carried through right until the end of the novel.

I highly recommend The Cardiff Giant. Author Larry Lockridge’s writing appealed to my sense of humor, but I also enjoyed the deeper underlying themes of the novel. The Cardiff Giant also gives the reader an opportunity to examine their own belief system, and self-identity – if one feels the need to read the book for more than just entertainment value. This is a satirical psychological thriller unlike any other book I’ve read recently.

Pages: 164 | ISBN: 1771804246

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