Sailor’s Psychology: A Methodology on Self-Discovery Through the Tale of a Semite in the Squall by Chester Litvin, PhD is a study in the fragmented identities of humans. Litvin uses the metaphor of sailors to equate to anyone on any sort of journey or voyage, either physical, spiritual, or psychological. Litvin examines many psychological splits present in people. He also explores self-awareness, finding completeness and wholeness of the human spirit, and provides navigation to sailors on how to get there.
The book appears to be a companion book to Litvin’s Escape from Kolyma: Aborigin is a Bear Region. It delves deeper into the story of Professor Stepan Kryvoruchko, PhD and the other characters from that book, and uses those characters to teach readers about the human psyche. In Sailor’s Psychology, Litvin refers to Kryvoruchko’s story often, so I think it would be beneficial to have knowledge of the aforementioned book before diving into this one. Without previous knowledge of the characters, readers may find themselves lost.
Litvin writes about a myriad of issues, but one thing that I picked up on in Litvin’s work that felt very poignant and important to our current society was his thoughts on religion. Litvin explained that very religious people felt as if they were the protectors of their own religion. They felt the need to hang onto tradition and preserve and protect the principles and belief system of their religion. In doing so, they ostracize new people and create an us vs. them mentality. This causes a rift between the very religious and those who are on the perimeter questioning whether to join or not. This system leaves out anyone who is forward thinking or looking for spiritual growth beyond the concrete dogma. The walling off of new parishioners by religious leaders was one of many self-contradictory practices that is examined.
Outside forces as well as personal ones are explained as the source of pscyhe fragmentation. Internal elements, both conscious and subconscious contribute to the wholeness, or lack thereof, of a person. Interpersonal relationships, family history, and other contributors are also at play. Litvin explains how Kryvoruchko’s family history of Nazi domination led to his multitudes of fears. He also explains that Kryvoruchko was self-aware enough to recognize and diagnose those issues and face them head-on.
This is a book that I think may be taken best over time, such as in a Psychology class or an extended study. As a study taken a section at a time, the load of the book would seem less daunting. It is heavy, complex and will take some thought to digest.
Pages: 250 | ASIN: B0792Y9K3V
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Chester Litvin, PhD has woven together an Orwellian world of doctrine, dogma, and propaganda in his book, Escape from Kolyma: Aborigin is a Bear Region. Psychological warfare has run rampant in the form of super-viruses that attack the psyche. Citizens are forced to beg, steal, borrow, and worse just to get by. Concentration camps and dictatorship have come back into fashion, and the people of Aborigin are suffering. The super-viruses are turning good people bad, and stripping the people of their personalities. They are being brainwashed and turning on each other. Professor Kryvoruchko is aware of the widespread infection, and may be Aborigin’s and the world’s only hope.
Many parts of the book are reminiscent of Hitler’s Germany, complete with propaganda and concentration camps. The cultural rift present is also indicative of a Hitler-like state. Convince one man he is better than another and he will let you pick his pocket. Give him someone to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you. That’s a paraphrase of a Lyndon B. Johnson quote about racism, but it applies here. Readers will draw many similarities between the culture of Litvin’s Aborigin and racism and “otherism” still found present all over the world. This is a divide-and-conquer mentality that worked wonders for Hilter, and still works in politics and socially in other areas.
The book is scary to me in its realism. I don’t believe that these are things that could never happen. I think psychological warfare isn’t a half-step from where we are now. In America, in particular, racism is still alive and well. People still continue to look down on groups of people they see as “less thans.” In the book, groups of people are stripped of every possession and jailed. They are killed. This kind of hatred for others is contagious. This kind of infection continues to spread if it isn’t stopped. I’m afraid we are closer to this kind of thing happening than I’d like to admit.
A part of the book that particularly bothered me was the children emulating the adults that they watched. Apparently, the children were also infected. They, too, were brainwashed. They mimicked what they saw being done before them down to raping and killing others. The children became thugs. There seemed to be an entire loss of innocence. This may be disturbing for readers, but it’s important. Children become what they know. They imitate what they see. This serves as a reminder for people to be worthy of emulation.
I will say that the book is complex. This wasn’t an easy Sunday afternoon kind of read, and with its subject matter, it shouldn’t be. I found myself re-reading parts that I didn’t understand. It was not always easy for me to follow. It requires some time and thought to get through. With that being said, sentence structure, grammar, and spelling were pretty impeccable.
Litvin delves into some unpleasant scenarios for the sake of opening eyes it seems to me. He gives some reminders about how easily it is for us, as humans, to lose our humanity or to follow blindly as sheep. He keeps some underdogs in there for us to cling to as we grapple through the book. It’s not an easy read, but serves as an important reminder. As Churchill once said, “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” This sentiment echos through these pages.
Pages: 432 | ASIN: B07N3SXLYV
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All Your Fears follows Kim, a seemingly normal person, but something sinister returns from her past. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?
The inspiration for All Your Fears comes from different sources. The plot is loosely based on a crime that occurred in the UK some year ago. In order to create a compelling novel I needed to look at alternative ways to drive the narrative, make it interesting and keep the reader guessing. Hours of research furnished me with material gleaned from paranormal events and case studies centered around psychological disorders, particularly with reference to the emotion of fear and what causes it.
Kim is an intriguing character that continued to develop as the story progressed. What were some driving ideals behind her character?
The novel portrays the main character, Kim Robins, as a deeply troubled young woman with a huge emotional burden. She is basically a ‘good’ person: forgiving, compassionate and trustworthy. Most of all, though, she is vulnerable and therefore wary of people and their intentions. Kim’s mental state quickly deteriorates as the novel progresses, and reaches a point of no return. She does, however, possess an inner strength that enables her to fight on, as it were, in the search for spiritual release.
This novel expertly delivers mystery and suspense. Was the story planned or did it develop organically while writing?
Before I began writing the novel I planned the beginning and the end. I formulated several chapters, wrote them, and decided where to go from there. I found that ideas came to me during the writing. The characters, once fully formed, started to ‘speak’ to me; they take on a life of their own. As an author, you have to make sure you don’t deviate away from the plot otherwise it loses focus. The novel has a moral side to it and hopefully will ask the reader to make their own judgements on various aspects of the characters’ motivations.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
I am taking a break from writing and pursuing my other interests. I do, though, have an idea for another novel entitled, Chapter 13.
Kim Robins lives a contented life in a peaceful market town. One evening, she encounters a maniac driver who narrowly misses running her over. History teacher Jay Yeldon drives by moments later, takes her home and examines her sprained ankle. A romantic relationship soon develops, but as the weeks progress Kim is plagued by disturbing, bizarre incidents and mounting fear. Trusting nobody, she seeks spiritual help, only to be cruelly deceived.
Fearful that Kim will come to harm, Jay turns detective and discovers the shattering truth about the woman who loves him.
Someone is out to destroy her and will stop at nothing.
Jay faces a moral dilemma and becomes isolated. Undeterred, he conceives a daring plan to expose her enemy, but nothing prepares him for the unexpected, horrifying climax that changes his outlook on life forever.
Posted in Interviews
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All Your Fears, a novel by Peter Hodgson is a riveting story of a troubled woman. Kim lives in a small town in England. She works in a hotel cleaning rooms and lives on her own with her Labrador, Smarty. From the outside, she lives a regular life by anyone’s measure. Underneath the surface, though, there is unrest. Kim hears voices and has hallucinations. Only small clues are given about her past and personal life. Is Kim struggling with a past that is haunting her? Is she, herself being haunted by a ghost or some other sinister force? Is she strung out? Is she suffering from a mental illness? The answer to these questions unfold as the story progresses.
Hodgson has spun together a masterful work laced with mystery. I love a good mystery, and Hodgson kept me guessing until the very last chapter. Nothing can be taken at face value and no one can be trusted. I suspected everything and everyone. Is something really happening or is it a nightmare or hallucination? At times, the reader won’t know until Hodgson decides to reveal the answer. Protagonist, Kim, often doesn’t know the answers herself. She doesn’t know up from down or real from imaginary.
I got invested in the characters from the start. I got wrapped up in Kim’s story and her relationships with the people around her, especially Jay. The characters were well-developed as layers were peeled back a bit at a time. Hodgson keeps his cards close to his chest in some areas to build the mystery and drama. Anyone who has been shocked to find out something about an acquaintance will sympathize with the story. I think that fits us all. We have all known someone who turned out to be someone far removed from who we thought they were.
I like Hodgson’s style. Even without giving the book a first person voice, the reader will be able to get a feel for the characters’ thoughts and feelings. Dialogue and the exposure of personal thoughts lets you delve into the characters’ minds. I also enjoyed how Hodgson set the scenes of the book through his meticulous descriptions. He makes the reader “see” the old streets crawling between weathered buildings. He describes old cottages in a way that makes you smell the damp air. His use of language makes you feel like you’re there in the town with them.
Hodgson’s well-crafted sentences kept me interested from the start. It is an edge-of-your-seat kind of read. I’d love to read more of his work.
Pages: 344 | ASIN: B07L4SXNFL
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Hustling is a means of survival in London Bentley’s world and unknowingly she finds her self ensnared in it’s grips. London’s over trusting nature will have readers shaking their heads in disbelief. Consequently, her desire to please others will undoubtedly be her demise. London will nearly loose her mind trying to unravel from her mother who is a masterful marionette, her man who is a monster and her god who is make believe. The hustle will be exposed and she will find out the truth about everyone including herself and God. Ultimately, at death’s door London will have to decide if she will out hustle or drop the hustle.
Available January 2019
Posted in book trailer
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Encore is Book 3 in the Agents of the Nevermind series brought to you by author, Tantra Bensko. Tantra Bensko does a fantastic job writing a story line that intertwines themes of history, myths, politics, psychology magic, cultism, religion and romance. A clever author that sets out to achieve a contemporary love story with a touch of Gothicism. The author does a marvellous job at blending themes and motifs together in order to build up tension and create an epic dark read. This is a book that provides everything you would expect from a psychological suspense story – guaranteed to keep you firmly on the edge of your seat.
The narrative of Encore is imaginative and unique, which allows readers to really think about the importance of different aspects of their lives. The plot of this book mostly revolves around Colin, a Bennu performance troupe’s hypnotist who abducts Susan and takes her to a castle. This weird relationship sees Colin slightly fixated with Susan’s character, pretending to be her husband to solidify their romance. However, the story unfolds with lots of twists and mysteries that are questionable to the reader. The reader is constantly left wondering what is happening and why. This is a great feeling for a reader of the paranormal genre. What more could you possibly want?
The plot throughout this book is strong, creative and imaginative. Bensko structures her book clearly and it’s easy to follow. I think that paranormal activities are apparent throughout the book, which makes for a great read. Tantra Bensko does a fantastic job at trying to write something for her readers that takes them out of their comfort zone and into something quite edgy and Gothic. Her writing is exceptional throughout the book and allows readers to fully engage with the topics being explored.
Having read this book, I believe it clearly captures the paranormal and suspense genres to an exceptionally high standard. I was hooked right from the opening chapters and was left overwhelmed and intrigued when I put the book down.
Encore is a dark read with dark characters and an ever-evolving plot. I think the author has done a great job at creating all sorts of emotions from the ideas of love as well as complete fear. This is a unique contribution to the world of Gothic literature and I look forward to reading more from this author.
Overall, Encore is an exciting and intriguing read that has opened my eyes to the world of the paranormal genre. I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the paranormal world. Even if you aren’t that interested, I think it’s worth a shot, as I think you too will be impressed with the story of Encore.
Pages: 376 | ASIN: B07HQYNL7K
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Jagdlied is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a satire, drama, and erotica as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
I began this project in 1991 with no intention other than to sketch out a salacious five- or six-page short story as a brief diversion from other more ambitious musical projects I was engaged in at the time. It grew into a twenty-page story, at which point I decided to set it aside as a “completed” work, even going so far as to affix an opus number to it in my otherwise (mostly) musical oeuvre. I moved on to other projects. When I returned to the story about eleven years later, I was dissatisfied with what I had written. I felt the characterizations were flat and the use of language too bland and conventional to suit my tastes, so I performed some deeper edits and revisions until the piece transmogrified into a novella of approximately 60 pages. Vaguely satisfied with what I had done, I set the text aside for another eight years or so and when I returned to it I thought it might need a few additional minor edits. Little did I know then that I would be embarking upon the creation of a 230,000-word magnum opus containing 290 graphic scores, an elaborate system by which musicians could extemporize against the text while it’s being narrated, as well as 108 Youtube links to performances of my musical compositions to enrich the piece even more. To answer your question: I never know in advance exactly how a work (whether literary or musical) will turn out. It happens, as you say, organically while it’s being created. I learn more and more about the characters of a novel as the situations and dialogues are interpolated into its structure. My own life experiences inform the transformation of a work’s gestalt to a certain degree. There are many creative people who plan their pieces meticulously in advance of writing anything down. Such an approach has seldom (if ever) been my mode of operation.
The characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?
Thank you. My favorite, perhaps, is one of the more unmitigatedly evil characters in the novel: Chief Justice Dizzy O’Nance. He oversees a kangaroo court in the “Hall of Injustice,” where the questionable protagonist Melody is put on trial without any form of due process. He is a veritable Dr. Crucifer, Judge Holden, and Iago compounded into one.
This book was a collective effort between you, Dolly Gray Landon, and Lon Gaylord Dylan. What was the collaboration process like?
Were we actually three separate entities, the collaboration would have been a much happier one. I think your question tongue-in-cheekly references the anagrams I devised as the two separate pen names I employ for the author and illustrator (I go my own name as the composer). It is difficult to compartmentalize writing text, composing and performing music, drawing graphic scores, and even making original films of one-man performances of this piece. I am now very much in a temper to collaborate with other performers (perhaps a narrator other than yours truly) and a variety of instrumentalists. I enjoy participating as both narrator and pianist simultaneously but I don’t mind engaging (read: luxuriating) in only one of these roles. Pantomimists, dancers, and culinary artists are an extravagance that would require a massive budget. Intimate chamber groups of, say, three or four musicians, are far more practical.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be published?
I have another magnum opus that has been on and off the burners for upwards of 24 years. It is entitled Venge Art, and is, in certain respects, even more megalomaniacal than Jagdlied insomuch as the improvisational cues are interpolated within—as opposed to being separated from—the text, as are the conventionally notated scores, some of which require super-virtuosic skill on the part of their executants. I am hoping to return to Venge Art to revise and round it off some more. It is a text piece of approximately 300,000 words and 500 pages of notated music (including a 2-hour long string quartet that was my Harvard dissertation back in 1989). A book on my idiosyncratic harmonic method is also in the works. At this point in time, however, I am more interested in tying up some loose ends: various chamber works awaiting completion, a couple of plays in verse, and numerous other projects. It is, unfortunately, impossible for me to give you a precise timeline.
Jagdlied officially goes on sale August 30th, 2018 and will become available in several printed versions. One should be able to pre-order it by August 15th, if not sooner.
This musically and graphically enriched chamber novel is an over-the-top black and blue comic extravaganza about the conspiratorial undoing of a teenage entitlement princess. The story throbs throughout with an undercurrent of apocalyptic motifs related to the extinction of art, fall of empire, and coming of the Antichrist. It is an epic farce that reads like an erotically supercharged psychological suspense thriller. The narrative takes the reader/audient on a veritable boomerang roller-coaster ride (with multiple inversions) through a reputational strip-and-whiptease of the novel’s malignantly artful (albeit ingenuously doe-eyed) protagonist: a wealthy young heiress and socialite who boasts an exclusive claim to her progenitors’ munificent estate. Her inheritance comprises an immense fortune amassed through shareholder investments in the world’s largest employment recruiter: the multi-national temp agency behemoth known as the Pleasant Peasant Corporation.
The character-driven narrative of Jagdlied explores themes of jilted love, misinterpreted motives, paranoid ideations, bombastic egos, ghoulish envy, smoldering jealousy, unconscionable revenge ploys, extravagant public humiliations, ruthless power games, insatiable greed, pernicious corruption, feigned moral outrage from all sides, and even (Heaven forfend!) coldblooded murder—all the type of stuff pre-calculated to magnetize your run-of-the-thrill-seeking bookworms and bibliophiles.
A rich repository of tongue-in-cheek nonce words, malapropisms, neologisms, archaisms, spoonerisms, slanguage, and whole swaths of unintelligible nonsense, the text of Jagdlied is also replete with irreverently lurid, salacious, and scatologic elements, which serve to set it in motion as a formidable contender for the distinctive cachet of being regarded (by cultivated aesthetes of omnifarious persuasions) as a momentously serious dirty book. It is targeted towards percipient readers and audients in possession of a well-seasoned sick and—dare it be said—cruel batch of funny bones inflected with a gallows-cum-smoking-room bent.
Whilst the plot of this story (grotesquely absurd as it will undoubtedly be esteemed) embraces reflexively cringeworthy sadomasochistic motifs, its author would hesitate to instyle it as porn, yet he would not be wholly disinclined to characterize it as a farcical parody thereof. And whilst at the same time its author is admittedly predisposed to eschew ascribing labels of any kind to this opus (especially seeing as what he has concocted is so rarefied in its formal structure that it cannot be facilely pigeonholed), it may not be altogether off the mark to view it as a form of literary neurotica (if, indeed, there is such a genre) as opposed to the more boilerplate literotica—or what in sex nazi circles is dysphemistically adverted to (in no uncertain squirms) as “filth.”
Whilst the text of Jagdlied may be read in silence as a novel in the traditional sense, it is ultimately written for the purpose of being recited by a skilled elocutionist to the accompaniment of extemporized music by ad hoc variable ensembles in relatively brief, self-contained or—depending on how one looks at it—semi self-contained episodes with the aid of a do-it-yourself improvisation kit provided in its appendix. This “kit” is likenable to a Baroque-style table of ornaments, albeit comprehending specific sets of chance operations for each and every participant involved in renditions of individual fascicles of this work. Aside from entailing a professional narrator and musical extemporizers, the score discretionarily calls for pantomime actors, dancers (hence choreographers), set designers, culinary artists, and even members of the audience itself.
Posted in Interviews
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With Undercurrents in Time, Pamela Schloesser-Canepa offers readers a second novel in the saga of Professor Milton Braddock and Tabitha, his assistant turned wife. While the characters and time-traveling adventures in Undercurrents may feel familiar to readers, the novel is completely different from its predecessor when it comes to themes and plot action. Undercurrents is a well-written, thoughtful, and emotional work, lacking only in that it must be compared to Detours, which created such a fantastic series of adventures between a vibrant pair of protagonists that it is hard to match.
Set two years after Detours, Undercurrents’ present-day is set in 1999 as citizens prepare for Y2K, which will certainly elicit a laugh from readers of a certain age. The novel once again focuses on the dynamic duo of Milt, a quintessential frazzled scientist, and Tabitha, now his wife and mother of their son, Peter. The novel focuses this time, though, on Tabitha much more than Milt, which will likely disappoint some readers yet delight others. A new mother, Tabitha is understandably feeling overwhelmed as she tries to balance being a good mother and wife with her desire for independence – oh, and don’t forget that there’s a time-traveling car tempting her in the garage. Schloesser-Canepa follows Tabitha as she sets off on some of her own adventures to try to understand what will happen to her family in the future and to attempt to thwart the sinister Dr. George Mahoney, a rival to Milt who was introduced in Undercurrents. As in Detours of Time, Schloesser-Canepa dedicates a balanced amount of time on both action and emotion, as she skillfully lets readers into Milt and Tabitha’s psyches, yet never bore, and always has a surprise waiting around the next page.
Undercurrents in Time is full of interesting futuristic characters and quick witted dialogue, but fans of Schloesser-Canepa’s earlier novel may miss the charming yet somewhat awkward Milt, as Tabitha ventures alone in much of the story. However, Schloesser-Canepa introduces several characters who are begging for a novel of their own, including the mysterious Ellie, who I will not describe at the risk of revealing too much, and the hired actor Malachi, whose coolness is undeniably intriguing.
Readers who have not read the first installment, Detours in Time, may feel a little lost upon occasion, as Schloesser-Canepa does not spend much time rehashing the past (or future, depending on how you look at it! This is a science fiction novel, after all…), so I recommend reading Detours before beginning Undercurrents.
Schloesser-Canepa closes this novel saying she does not anticipate a third installment in the series. While Undercurrents in Time came to a natural close, it felt almost as if it ended with a fizzle, and readers of both Milt and Tabitha novels are certainly craving a bang. As a standalone novel, Undercurrents in Time is a very thoughtful, enjoyable, and unique combination of science fiction and motherhood. But, when read as a sequel to the fast-paced Detours in Time, it may leave some readers craving more high-speed journeys into the future. But, who knows – maybe Tabitha and Milt will delight readers with a surprise reappearance down the line in other stories by Schloesser-Canepa. You never know what the future will hold!
Pages: 299 | ASIN: B07DCCQS3N
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Ashley Mercer, a college student in San Dino, is brutally murdered in the middle of the night, outside her apartment. Alex, her homicide detective brother, and his partner, Stoll, follow a web of death and deceit to find her killer unofficially. An underground cult starts to show its face, taking justice into their own hands, murdering all the people who did not help Ashely the night she was murdered outside her apartment building.
Rose, a new homicide detective takes over Ashley`s case, but what the department does not know is that he is more involved in the case than anyone could have ever imagined. Not only was Rose involved with Ashley but also has close ties with the cult that is involved with all the murders surrounding Ashley`s death. Trying to avenge the fact that no one helped his love, things in San Dino get messy, complicated, and no one knows who to trust or who to work with.
Spare No One is a psychological thriller that captures you from the beginning. From beginning to end the story takes so many twists and turns that at times you think you have it all figured out, and then a new event, perspective, or character is tossed into the story and it completely debunks what you thought you had figured out. The list of characters at the beginning of the book helped as a clarification as to what character fits where in the story. Over all the intricacy of the characters stories was well written and it was clear what role each character played in the story. The end was my favorite part especially because I did not see the story turning out the way that it did. How the past and the present were written together was well executed with little confusion when the switch happened.
There are very few things I would change about this story. Even though the switches in time periods throughout the story were over all well executed I would have liked if the title of the chapters were a little more distinct. There were times where I was so engrossed in the story and then a change in the time line would happen and I would have to pause and go back. The other thing was I would have liked a little more of was why the tenants of Ashley`s building didn’t help her. What was a little more of their back story the night Ashley was murdered.
Over all it was a great story that captivates the reader from the beginning and keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire book. I would advise anyone who likes psychological thrillers, dramas, and books of the like to read this. It will be worth your time.
Pages: 322 | ASIN: B07CYNN4NZ
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Figures of the One Must Go is a book that dares you to read it. This modernist philosophical work adopts a playful attitude with the words within. Words evolve, multiply, surprise, and delight in this chronicle of the four different paths of life. Are you brave enough to walk down the philosophical path, the psychological path, the political path, and the lyrical path? Each one presents challenging ideas about the nature of life and the long history of the human race. While these ideas have serious ramifications, author Victor Living never loses his love of language. His unique voice keeps the conversation going and makes the speaker feel like an old friend.
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