Pleasure and Power by Doug Brendel

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How far are you willing to go for power, pleasure, justice, or revenge? Book Cover 275

May 2018 | Ipswich, MA |Set in rural Ohio in the 1950s, in a world before #MeToo, Pleasure and Power explores the weight of race, secrets, and the misogyny and sexism that women face in a white man’s world. Seductive and unsettling, the novel traces the intertwined fates of three people. Ruby, a black teen, wants to protect her helpless older sister. Jake, a charming white salesman, dreams of political prestige. Conservative Alice clings to her virtue and values. When a mixed race baby is born inside a mental ward, their lives are thrown together in desperately complex ways, setting events in motion that incite deep questions of right and wrong. Ruby, Jack, and Alice each have secrets to protect. Ultimately, revenge may be only way out.

Author Doug Brendel’s simmering novel veers from the humorous commentary he’s known for as the author of a blog and popular book series that focus on the quirks of small-town habits and politics through the lens of a newcomer in New England. But Brendel says his new book also has a basis in social and political observation and experience.

“For years, I had this dark, complicated story lurking inside me and finally I had to exorcise it,” Brendel says. “The drama and characters come first, but in this novel I’m also asking critical and current questions — not only do black lives matter, but also do half-black lives matter more? Or less? And how much is a person worth if he or she doesn’t know who their father was?”

Such questions are personal for Brendel, who has a mixed race family. He and his wife Kristina adopted a son and daughter, before giving birth to their third child. “Our eldest child, Natalie, is African-American. Our son, Kristofer, has blue eyes and blond hair. So questions of racial harmony and issues revolving around birth parents have been part of our family for three decades,” Brendel says. “Pleasure and Power raises those issues, but is by no means autobiographical. This is a story that challenges readers to decide what they believe about justice and revenge.”

Doug Brendel is a writer, speaker, and humanitarian. He blogs at and is the author of the “Only in Ipswich” books, which include his cartoon illustrations. Doug works professionally as a copywriter of direct mail fundraising letters for nonprofit organizations. Some of his books deal with this industry. He previously served as a clergyman for 15 years and led a drama ministry. Pleasure and Power is the author’s debut novel. He lives in Ipswich, Massachusetts with his family.

Pleasure and Power: A Novel, Dragonhead Press, March 2018, ISBN # 978-1-984923844, Paperback, 236 pages, $14.99, Kindle edition, ASIN: B07B92B74M, $2.99,

On the Radio with Faren Siminoff

Radio Show GTE 45+

Author-historian Faren Siminoff wonders about what will happen to American society if our current simmering political and economic climate persists. She’s concerned and thinks other people should be too. In her debut novel, The Transformation: GTE 45, she explores themes of liberty, truth, history, and disenfranchisement in an eerily familiar world.

Set 45 years in the future, Siminoff’s disturbing dystopian political novel takes place in a re-branded Corporate States of America after the collapse of the Republican Party as we’ve known it, a transformed new far-right regime rules over complacent citizens in a reality they call “the Great Transformation.”

High-ranking professor Layla Saenz navigates a perilous and twisted love triangle with Paul Gaugin, a classified Wage Earner, and Isaac Freeman, the charismatic and powerful leader of the Church of the Revealed Saints. When Layla is suspected of uploading an unofficial history of the events leading up to the Great Transformation, her status is placed in jeopardy. She makes a dangerous decision and risks revealing her own secrets from the past.

Tune in to listen to a radio interview on The Authors Show on June 7th. The show will be available all day. Note: Scroll down and click on the title in blue.

Which Mad Dog Character are you?

Mark Rubinstein has written another riveting psychological drama. From the shots fired in the first pages to the final haunting and shocking ending, Mad Dog Justice will draw you into its character’s world-and never let you go.
- E.J. Simon, author of Death Never Sleeps

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Danny and Roddy were blood brothers, sworn to support one another since childhood, yoked by the shackles of a dark secret hidden even from the women they loved. When an unspeakable event from their past threatens their families and their lives, they are thrown into a maelstrom that will stretch the steel bonds of their friendship to the snapping point—and beyond.
Mark Rubinstein, master of the thriller with a psychological twist, returns with MAD DOG JUSTICE (Thunder Lake Press, September 2014) the sequel to his wildly popular debut novel, MAD DOG HOUSE. Fans have been clamoring to find out what happens next to accountant Danny Burns and his best friend, Dr. Roddy Dolan, a surgeon with a hair-trigger temper. Readers are in for another nail-biting page-turner when Danny is shot late one night in his office during what appears to be a typical robbery. Or was it? Detective Harvey Morgan has his suspicions. When another, less fortunate, victim is killed with the same gun used to shoot Danny, Morgan knows for certain the two friends are hiding something big.

Drawing on his expertise as a psychiatrist and expert witness, Rubinstein plunges through the depths of terror and paints of picture of psychological motivation and primal urges in his sharply defined characters. As the line between predator and prey blurs and secrets and lies tear apart a marriage, Rubinstein reveals the dangers that come not just from outside but from within a friendship as well.

A gripping psychological thriller reminiscent of the masters of the genre, MAD DOG JUSTICE examines what happens when society’s values are pitted against raw survival in this breathlessly paced, high-octane thriller.

Operation Mockingbird Builds Suspense Right to the Very End

Mocking Bird Front medsm
Operation Mockingbird mirrors today’s headlines with its stunning revelations about the dark recesses of media manipulation.

Miami journalist Matt Connelly returns home from the Middle East eager to resume his once successful writing career. He soon learns that a powerful public relations firm is manufacturing the news and feeding this propaganda to an unsuspecting public. Reporters who don’t go along are being intimidated, tortured – or worse. Matt Connelly vows to expose the truth as well as the unholy alliance among business, the government and the media but soon finds himself on the run from those determined to silence him.

A University of Miami School of Law graduate, Linda Baletsa has been a corporate lawyer for close to twenty years. Linda was raised in Miami, Florida and currently resides outside of Boston, Massachusetts with her husband George.

Operation Mockingbird, (Spratt & Co. LLC, paperback edition, ISBN 978-0-9894461-0-5, Kindle edition, November 2013, 314 pages, 14.99,, is available in online bookstores and bookstores nationwide. Author interviews and review copies are available.

“In the tradition of Baldacci and Flynn, Operation Mockingbird is a smart thriller and an even smarter reading choice!” –RICK CHESLER, Author of Solar Island and Wired Kingdom

Psychological Horror of Great Relevance to the Socioeconomic Turmoil of Today

Dreamer Front Cover The world-renowned author Daniel Quinn’s deep-seated interest in abstract expressionism, which first came to light most clearly in his 1988 novel, Dreamer, has once again come to the fore in the reissuing of this cult classic. Despite his intentions that were voiced most adamantly up until a decade ago that he was not overly keen on having the work republished, undoubtedly at least in part being due to its fairly sluggish initial reception, he has now allowed it to be so, as a result of his urging from his strong fan base, which has largely been drawn to his work by his much more widely acclaimed, Turner-award winning novel Ishmael.

Unlike the serious, educative effort of said later novel, Quinn’s debut novel is more of a deeply disturbing psychological thriller, in which the major protagonist drifts from sleeping into waking and back again in a cycle of deepening despair and soul-searching. Having much in common with two of Quinn’s later novels, The Holy and After Dachau, the anguish experienced by Greg Donner (his subconscious self, revealed in sleep) embodies the existentialist negativity and sense of destructive psychosis that beleagures and belabours modern man, in his search for self and integrity. The identity of Richard Iles (the protagonist’s waking self) is held captive, firstly, by his turbulent marriage to the emotionally draining and demanding Ginny Winters, and, secondly, by his incarceration in a sanatorium for those suffering from emotional and mental breakdowns. But who is Greg Donner, and who is he not? As his sleeping and waking personae mesh into one, and nightmare seems to become his everyday existence, the real person struggles to emerge from the imagined one, bringing a realization of being to the central character that is both insightful and intriguing.

Set in Chicago, in which city Quinn spent over two decades working in editing and publishing prior to his completion of the novel, Dreamer is imbued with the spirit of the place, to which reference is made throughout the novel, but which exemplifies any modern, over-commercialized city in America. Its “dark, deserted streets” bear echoes of other crass cities that essentially rob one of one’s soul if one fails to have the presence of mind to resist their undermining of the spiritual components of one’s being. In a sense, Dreamer figures forth the Everyman of the modern day, and thus has relevance for all those living within a Westernized environment and milieu.

The economic collapse of the present-day world, concomitant with the shattering of the dreams of so many, has come to make Dreamer as relevant today as it was when first issued over two decades ago. Perhaps it is now that its importance as a seminal novel of provocative thought and questioning of the existing status quo will be recognized, in keeping with Ellen Datlow’s listing of it as one of the year’s best in her annual review of works of fantasy and horror, and its inclusion in the New York Review of Science Fiction’s “Horror at the End of the Century.”

Reviewed by Lois Henderson
South Africa

Six Books | Six Authors | Six Available Guests

True Stories Affirming Life Goes On
by Elissa Al-Chokhachy

Does love ever die? Will we ever be reunited with loved ones? Heartfelt testimony to the eternal nature of the human spirit can be found in this collection of eighty-eight true stories from people who have seen, heard, and felt love from their family, friends, and acquaintances in spirit. The author, a hospice nurse, shares the wisdom she has gained from nearly twenty years of working with the dying and bereaved.

Llewellyn Worldwide, 2010, ISBN-13: 978-0-7387-2122-4, Body, Mind & Spirit/Bereavement


    The Legacy of the Expansion Bracelet
    by Suzanne Beyer and John S. Pfarr

    Why would an established attorney, with a successful law practice, agree to work on a contingent-fee basis for a group of strangers who found his name on the Internet? And why would he take on case that had a snowball’s chance in hell of winning?

    This book is a true story about what happened when an estate lawyer agreed to help a group of distant cousins known as the “Mighty Nine” secure an inheritance from their Great Uncle Art Hadley, inventor of the expansion bracelet — and how it turned into a six-year roller coaster lawsuit that that changed everyone’s lives.

    Book Publishers Network, January, 2011, ISBN-13: 978-1-935359-53-3, Non-Fiction


    A Medical Murder Mystery
    by Paul Davis, MD

    Dr. Alan Mahew is a retired cruise ship doctor who’s about to go on – a cruise! He’s grieving the loss of his wife, and his family feels a cruise is just what he needs to move on—to take his mind off of missing her. Once on board, he meets some of the eclectic folks that make up the passengers and the crew including Tiffany, the beautiful cruise ship director. With her, Dr. Mayhew helps solve a series of on board crimes, including a murder. Yes, there’s also a steamy romance!

    Dr. Paul Davis is a retired Cruise Ship Doctor. His experience is reflected in his work and the effortless way he turns the cruise ship into a self-contained social universe with deep secrets and seemingly infinite possibilities among the passengers on board.

    iUniverse, 2010, ISBN –13: 978-1-4502-1227-4, Fiction, Mystery


    by Elizabeth Atkinson

    Elizabeth Atkinson’s new book for middle readers, I, EMMA FREKE, is a charming story about smart, shy, nearly six-feet-tall, 12-year-old Emma, who feels like a misfit at school and at home. It doesn’t help that her name said aloud sounds like Am a Freak.

    This rich story of self-acceptance offers readers much to think about: contrasting family patterns, appropriate schooling for very bright children, conformity, and respecting differences. Heart-warming, self-affirming, funny – a book for the freak in each one of us.

    CarolRhoda Books, A Division of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc., 2010 ISBN-13: 978-0-7613-5604-2, 2010, Preteen, Fiction


    The hidden passions behind the double assassination of George Moscone and Harvey Milk
    by Mike Weiss

    Why did San Francisco Supervisor Dan White kill Mayor George Moscone and fellow Supervisor Harvey Milk? How did he literally get away with murder? What happened to the main “players” 30 years after the assassinations, and how the killings changed San Francisco irrevocable. Double Play provides often-shocking answers based on years of research and hundreds of interviews. This edition includes dozens of previously unpublished photos, plus a DVD providing television interviews with Moscone and White, police recordings and the never-before-available recording of White’s gut-wrenching confession.

    Vince Emery Productions, 2010, ISBN-13: 978-0-9825650-5-6, Non-fiction, Mystery

    Code Name Cobra
    by Leo J. Maloney

    Leo J. Maloney, a former Black Ops contractor, penned his first-time action thriller, Termination Orders: Code Name, Cobra, as a quasi-memoir about the dark but arguable necessary side of intelligence that the government officially denies. The book spans the late sixties through 2001, depicting events witnessed first hand by the author embodied in the hero, Dan Morgan. The result is a masterly blend of Black Ops intrigue interwoven with imaginative sequences of fiction.

    The storyline is comprised of counterterrorism, hostage rescue, and target reconnaissance, in a crescendo of events set across three continents from a fireside ambush at a Kandahar village pig roast, to the vast inner halls of the CIA, to a window-ledge view through a sniper scope aimed at Kaddafi in Libya.

    Independent Publishing House, 2011, ISBN-13: 978-0-615-41988-6, Fiction, Action Thriller.


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