Review: Glossolalia

“Tantra Bensko’s novel, Glossolalia, is a complex and most compelling read that I have ever laid eyes upon…the book consists of several different genres and combinations that make it a powerfully engaging read.  Suspenseful, check. Conspiracy, check. Political thriller, check. Science fiction fantasy double-check. Alternate universe double checked. Readers worldwide can find a little of everything within this stunning novel. This tale is full of action and intrigue from page one to the last page. Mind control, murder, and sex. All of these interesting things woven into a surprising story that will blow readers’ minds away. I just finished reading this and now, I am looking forward to the next brilliant adventure by the talented writer.”

Read more of the wonderful review at Urban Book Reviews: Review: Glossolalia


Glossolalia by Tantra Bensko

Don Sloan


Nancy is a young woman held hostage by her own mind in the intricately layered and darkly entertaining book Glossolalia.

She sleepwalks through a shadowland of conspiracies and secret societies, snake-handling churches, and the evil intentions of a maker of forbidden chemicals.

There’s danger aplenty — actual and imagined — in this fictional story laced liberally with references to real-life incidents, people and black-ops agencies. Nancy and the fascinating ensemble cast of characters tread a treacherous road that often oversteps reality.

In a Pentecostal church several blocks from Nancy’s house, a mysterious girl named Emily watches with precocious eyes the feverish religious activity whipped up by the Reverend Terry Crank. She whispers gleefully into the floppy ear of her enigmatic spring-headed toy named Dog, describing the Glossolalia — the speaking in tongues — that swirls through the sanctuary.

It is this kind of skillful foreshadowing that elevates Glossolalia far…

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Glossolalia: Psychological Suspense Novel is Released

Glossolalia_Cover_for_KindleThis high octane thriller explores the brilliantly dark side of the secret agents who are vital to maintaining the country’s status. Like the sensation, Stranger Things, this suspense novel references MKULTRA and other government mind control program history and speculation.

A magkical child named Emily responds to the Elizabethan spy code, Enochian, and when she plays Enochian chess, it’s an international event. She has a special relationship to Reverend Terry Crank’s church. Crank’s entire life is an international event. And he wants to make sure Emily’s remains that way too.

Nancy wants to stop a crime she sees in progress, and that takes her down the rabbit hole of political intrigue, money laundering, drug running, the collusion of church and state, and surprises galore about people around her, including her own reflections. Glossolalia turns the traditional spy thriller on its head and shakes it down. When Nancy looks down at the mirror on the floor where the evidence has shaken out of the pockets of the agency, she starts to understand. And it’s shocking.

Until amnesia overtakes her once again. She must break through the mirrors on the ceiling and the floor to see outside the box they’ve created for her, and out of her.

Angela Ageless wishes she could have sex one day for its own sake, not for her job. But she’s core to the conspiracy. How could she be anything else?

What would you do if your subconscious determined the fate of nations?

Read the release Composed by Press Release Distribution, at Inside Bay Area, Aug 4 2016

Succeeding in Genre VS Literary

Let me first qualify this post by saying I definitely believe people should be writing. Lots of Genre writers are making a killing and lots of Literary writers are happily due to publications able to have careers teaching and editing manuscripts. Other people are writing and reading for free in online groups where they make friends interested in the stories they write and post on the subway on their cell phones.

Whether your writing makes money or resonates with the masses or you have the wherewithal to do a big marketing push, go for it. There are cascades of magazines and anthologies hungry for your work and the interactions with their publishers are excellent. The imaginative arts redeem humanity. Sort of. Taking the raw material of life and turning it with mad skills into something ecstatically exciting for you and your readers is exquisite. Do it.

If anything, this post is meant to comfort if you aren’t succeeding the way you expected to, not to dissuade. Let’s look at what that means.

The methods and benchmarks of “making it” are quite different in Genre and Literary fiction, though some authors merge the two styles, in spite of being warned against it by experts who say it’s a no man’s land financially. Yes, it probably is, but some of us are just like that. Stubborn. Thus, the frustration in our rants. But that juncture is still beautiful and full of promise.

Literary writers have jobs. Or at least they want them. The most common ideal is teaching in universities, which is the reward for being authors. Their writing sure as heck isn’t likely to support them directly, unless they’re the exceedingly rare breed of authors established back in the old days when the major publishing houses did marketing and spent serious money on it.

So, they’re adjuncts. And they live in a closet or an enclosed porch, perhaps. Those are always nice.

Even now big publishers have to pay huge fees to bookstores to place books in the best locations and they need a lot of faith in sales to do that. Publishers must ship 20,000 books to stores to be taken seriously, and they have to expect many returned books. A book has a fraction of a percent chance of being stocked in a book store, anyway.

So most Literary fiction is put out by the small press with no thought of stores, or even selling much. And nothing in stores. They have no budget for marketing. They’re probably losing money to put out people’s books out of generous passion. They know what it’s like because they’re authors too.

The marketing comes from a few reviewers who submit their reactions to the books to Literary magazines, usually without pay other than sometimes a free book, because they are passionate about the work. Facebook writers network by sharing links to online magazine stories their friends have published, once in awhile, if they really like them, or hope their work will also be shared due to good karma. They might make the “best” or “most anticipated” yearly lists. They might get a few reviews on Amazon if they work it.

The more avant-garde the book is, the more it’s doing well if it sells a few, usually to other experimental authors who understand the ambitious concepts and are part of the exciting dialogue of innovation. And truly, each reader who gets it is wonderful and cause for celebration. That’s success.

If it’s short stories, forget about it. Makes a good Christmas present for Mom. On the other hand, no, Mom doesn’t know what experimental short stories are, and she wants to keep it that way. No need to scare her. How about chapbooks? Hahaha! Yeah, right. What the heck are those, says everybody.

Only somewhere around five percent of book sales are Literary. Without the author having the money, personality, health, time, confidence, and skills to do the majority or the entirity of enthusiastic and energetic promotion, his books are not going to create an International sensation and they won’t be one of the twenty Literary authors who carry most of the sales in that style.

Mostly, they will give local readings if they live in that kind of place, and maybe sell a book at a small percent of those events. They might have three minutes to read, or if they score big, ten minutes. The rewards are different from money. It’s like the old tribal tradition of telling each other stories beside the caves, by the fire. It’s having the voice heard, understood, appreciated by the community, and an identity and reason for one’s obscure eccentricity established. It’s like howling at the moon.

However, they may be able to afford to apply for grants, may be able to afford to send their work to contests. Usually if they can, they don’t win, and there’s the rub. But if they do, woohoo! They still might not have many readers, but they have a good line on their resume to get the fourth adjunct job needed to survive, and maybe even a good chunk of cash to use to submit to more contests. And they can feel valued by the people who read and chose their books as worthwhile.

The thing is, the numbers of people reading any kind of books are declining. In Alabama, for example, it’s only thirty four percent. No wonder people looked at me funny when I lived there.

This quote gets its own paragraph. “Only 6.7% of American adults read poetry last year.” Let me say that again. “Only 6.7% of American adults read poetry last year.”

The number of books being written which are competing with those slots is exploding, particularly due to POD and e-book self-publishing, which is where the real money is these days for Genre and non-fiction. Lots of non-fiction and a hefty number of Genre authors are becoming millionaires,  even multimillionaires, and they are making a tons of money by telling people how they did that: what tools they used, what productivity hacking methods, what marketing ploys. That’s become the new mark of success. Some of these methods are free, but most cost money.

Who is actually making money with books? They’re young, usually Caucasian, healthy, business minded energetic men. In fact, they generally write non-fiction. No, actually, they buy PLR (written by someone else with the ability to change the author name to their own) or they outsource the writing. They’re affiliate marketers for the tools they share in their newsletters. They put on webinars which funnel into online courses, they give away free reports as lead magnets, have subscriptions, exclusive Facebook groups, become speakers at events. Because every writer wants to learn how to make more money. The books and courses that sell best are about how to make money as a writer. Often the people who have succeeded as authors did so only by writing those books. I know. Weird.

Literary books are successes depending on what the author decides feels good. That may change as he faces reality. It succeeds if it keeps his brain active rather than slipping into dementia in later years, if it transforms his painful experiences into art, if anyone reads it and likes it and even reviews it on Amazon or Goodreads or shouts out on Facebook.

It’s an expression of creativity. It’s a way of making every moment of life each finely honed sentence is written or read into something spectacular. Something exists that didn’t exist before. Maybe you pushed the concept of what can be done with literature in a new way never before seen. And it probably didn’t cost a lot of money. Time, yes, but what better way to spend it? Did you grow from it? Did you fall in love with the characters? Good.

Genre books succeed by being on the best seller lists. It’s harder to get onto the New York Times list, but even being in the Amazon top 100 is just dandy. If the book doesn’t do that, it tanks. People don’t see it. It needs good SEO to be found for popular keywords that aren’t already saturated. And authors are happy to sell you tools to do that.

With Genre, I’m sorry to say, after studying this extensively for years, success is about spending money. You might not make money. But you sure as heck spend it. Yes, there’s a lot of heck going on in the writing world.

This is the secret. Authors buy fake Twitter and Facebook followers. They buy Amazon reviews and buy reviews that demonize their competition. They have someone buy a truckload of books on launch day, to raise their ranking. They buy countless tools, endless software, much of it rather invasive and unfair. An author will pay 350,000 dollars a month in Facebook ads, month after month.

Not all of them do that. Some succeed honestly and without being rich. It takes all their time, and they’ve found just the right niche, and may be brilliant. They write a series with cliffhangers. They write Romance. They create groups of ardent passionate followers willing to review their work on launch day. They of course, like all the others, have great lead magnets to build their lists, like a free book.

How do people find the websites to know they want that free book? Because they read another of his free books on Amazon and it had a link to the splash page. The splash page is enticing because the author spent good money on it, and on tools to see how many people click the link if it has a red or an orange button, on the left or on the right, and how long people stayed on the site, what those people clicked on after they left the site, and what their social media profiles are.

Truly, people mostly find books because they belong to the humongous number of free or paid lists in which they are offered free e-books continually. They download them. They move on to the others in the list that day and the next and the next ,and the other lists. Do they have time to actually read them? How could they? But that brings the authors into the public eye briefly after the free period is done and so some people might buy them for a whopping 99 cents, of which the authors get 30 percent of the profit.

Genre authors don’t usually bother launching until they have at minimum 1000 people in their newsletter, and ideally 10,000 0 100,000 as a base number, with more obviously better. They have to give away a lot of lead magnets, run contests to give away cruises or a night in a castle, do free webinars in which they employ hard sales tactics, split test like a mofo, spend hundreds of dollars on covers even of the free books, guest post left and right and pay for the opportunity to people organizing blog tours. I haven’t begun to scratch the surface of what they pay for.

Do authors who can’t afford to do all that expensive marketing have a chance of competing for best seller status? Not really. But many authors who judiciously give away books while listing them with lots of services hit the best seller in their sub-niche for a day before sales tank. So they can claim that and get other benefits from that title.Maybe the next time they’ll be taken more seriously.

Or maybe the next series they’ll spend the money to fake it, and sell courses in how to do that and on how to make a business on the back end of book sales by selling courses on how to do that.


Amusement Park Ride or Museum

I jumped into an authors’ forum where a poster asked if anyone else was writing Literary fiction and found the answers fascinating. Many people in the thread didn’t know what it was. Others gave their definitions and their compare/contrast to Genre fiction. The forum was for all writers, not specifically for those interested in Genre. But the sense I got was that barely anyone answering that post had any love for Literary. At all.

Why is that? They saw it as narrative where nothing happens but pretentious whining about angst and nothing. Nothing to keep anyone awake or turning the page. Nothing being the key word. Whereas Genre stories were about stuff happening. Fun stuff. Entertaining stuff. Stuff being the operative word.

Posters seemed to be in agreement with Wikipedias definition: “In other words, they are works that offer deliberate social commentary, political criticism, or focus on the individual to explore some part of the human condition.” Well, good. But what about Genre? It doesn’t do that? Ever?

Yes it does. Or, it can. Can’t it? What do you think? Think being the key word. The posters said Literary makes us think and Genre doesn’t. It entertains us instead. Isn’t thinking entertaining? Can’t they go hand in hand?

Thinking is not parroting what we read or hear from one source. It’s considering other, contradictory sources, and looking at where the funding comes from, who benefits from covering up the truth. Thinking is being able to love discovering we’re wrong and celebrate letting go of our false ideas and having the chance to embrace more accurate ones.

The difference, one person cleverly said on the forum, was between the amusement park ride and the museum. I think we all know which kind of fiction is which.

But the problem is, Literary fiction is very community oriented, and a small community at that, in which the writers are usually academics, and networking on social media, propping each other up with encouragement, sharing their publications, reading each other’s links whether they really feel like a short story or poem that day or not, because they care about their buddies, or they try to, because that way someone cares about their writing in kind.

They recommend each other for awards, publish each other, put each other on year end lists, review, interview, and guest post with each other. What about when someone says something controversial about the world, shares obscure information that might shatter the unity of belief among the Literary crowd if they dared read it?

What if someone disagrees with the Literary heroes and re-posting of what they hear on CNN? What if someone were, say, a Republican, for example? Guess what the key word becomes? OTHER. No longer any each other happening. Simply Other.

I’m not personally a Republican, though I learn as much useful information about the world from them as I do from members of  other parties. If I were one straight up, I probably would not have been accepted by the large number of Literary folks I have. What does that say about the Literary group? It says some degree of political stance is OK in Literary fiction– but only if it’s 100 percent common ground with the perceived beliefs of the rest of the crowd. Otherwise, you’re outta here!

So people who have a different world-view that the unified bunch – where do they go with it? According to this forum, the non-Literary, (Genre) is not a safe haven either. Because readers don’t care. The implication is that they want to also parrot what they hear on the news without questioning its veracity. They want to accept cultural heroes as true heroes without looking beneath. They want to avoid taking the time to peer under the surface of our social structure, into challenging areas of a corrupt society that might need some bold reframing.

But is that really the case? I’d say probably it is, in some of the genres. I wouldn’t expect readers of steamy Romance novels about Catholic school girls to get out of the feel-good moment and contemplate the issues with propaganda and social engineering, or how, for example, Pope Francis allegedly trafficked 300,000 children of political prisoners through Vatican Catholic Charities. Many orphans were thrown in a Spanish mass grave.

How many readers settling in with hot cocoa and an addictive Cozy Mystery solved by a trusty CIA officer would want to consider how from the 1930’s to the 80’s the thousands of Duplessis Orphans in who were tormented and murdered as part of a CIA program with children knowingly given to them by Catholic orphanages?

But I would expect some readers of Psychological Thrillers to be interested in bad guys like those mentioned above, who use manipulation to create illusions to torture and hide the evidence by putting the surviving victims in mental institutions and gaslighting them. Yes, the fictional depictions reflecting such realist atrocities has to be done with fast paced action. And yes, nearly all the government, military, or Intelligence officers are the good guys in popular fiction, and if they aren’t, they’re rogue. Got to toe the party line!

There’s little chance of questioning those whole institutions as being dubious, with tainted histories of crime – and being sanctioned by the Big 6 publishers. And small press stay safely artistic these days, nestled in the unified world-view of Literary, unwilling to rock the boat with anything that could divide their already small audience.

But there are some authors who do successfully question the status quo, and look at the underbelly, at the real history, and some of them do have plenty of readers. They tend to be indie published, which is now more profitable than being traditionally published, so I expect outlier voices to become more loud year by year.


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Lance and James Morcan’s Orphan Trilogy is a great example. It begins with The Ninth Orphan. “Fast-paced, totally fresh and original, filled with deep and complex characters, The Ninth Orphan is a controversial, high-octane thriller with an edge. Merging fact with fiction, it illuminates shadow organizations rumored to actually exist in our world. The novel explores a plethora of conspiracies involving real organizations like the CIA, MI6, and the UN, and public figures such as President Obama as well as the Clinton, Marcos and Bush families.

“Tackling genetic selection, mind control and secret societies, The Ninth Orphan exposes a global agenda designed to keep the power in the hands of a select few. The novel’s antagonists are members of a shadow government acting above and beyond the likes of the White House, the FBI, the Pentagon and the NSA. Could something like this ever take place? Or, is it already taking place right now?

Ranked #1 in the Spy genre on and Amazon UK during Dec 2011-Jan 2012

So there. Certain people can enjoy thinking and challenging the status quo, and can enjoy the roller coaster ride of a great book in spite of the fact that it means they need to be thinkers who look below the surface of what newscasters, the CDC, and FDA are told to say by the CIA.

The Morcans run a Goodreads group called Underground Knowledge that is very interested in thinking rather than mimicking popular opinion based on hoaxes and falsified scientific results. They are regularly sharing their contradictory ideas about controversial questions to learn and analyze, polling and yet still accepting each other and discussing calmly in spite of differences.

There is hope for people who like their museums inside amusement parks. We like to see the funhouse mirrors reflect the maze of our society’s deceptions and misdirections. We are thrilled by good books that address such issues head on. Instead of having to put aside our awareness to be entertained, we can instead plunge into the enjoyment of the read more authentically when it acknowledges the reality so many people around us are afraid to uncover.


Reading/Answering Questions Live Today

Today at 1:00 PM Pacific Time, at THIS LINK, I’ll be one of three authors in the NovoPulp Volume III Launch Party Google Hangout.

I’ll read some pages from my SF story about the same topic that’s in my Psychological Suspense series, The Agents of the Nevermind — social engineering by Intelligence agents.

If you’re interested, you can watch and ask questions of any of us.

profiles in poetics and linguistics: Tantra Bensko

womens quarterly conversation


Tantra Bensko


In our ever increasingly technological trance how do we conflate or extrapolate public and private spheres of intimacy? Tantra Bensko is a writer and artist who strains the persona, our perspective, the presentation of our lives to each other, and the miscommunication of our communication. Questioning, “Multiple perspectives might involve openness to miracles yet also being aware of trickery, to see how proceeding in life through intuition can be freeing, and also create vulnerability to being used for someone’s agenda.” Where does information and disinformation allude and persuade our cognition? How do “we form interpretations based on varying patterns, anomalous experiences, scientific theory about the nature of reality, hidden potentials of our military, proof of psychotronics successes?” And how does this inform our own perceptions of self and identity? There is “fruition,” to as Bensko references Rimbaud, “systematically disorder our senses.” At times we must step…

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Social Engineering and Psychological Suspense

My psychological suspense series, The Agents of the Nevermind, to be published beginning in January (Insubordinate Books) consists of independent, stand-alone books, with the theme of resisting social engineering. In this series, the social engineers are the Agents.

Social engineering is a perfect topic to pair with psychological suspense, as that genre involves characters struggling to wade through terrible manipulation of their thoughts and emotions as they try to navigate the illusions they suffer from. While sometimes they are deluded because of naturally occurring amnesia from brain damage, for example, usually another force is deliberately immersing them in a false reality.

Social engineering is a ubiquitous practice in governments as a means of controlling the populace for an agenda. Counterintelligence is designed for that purpose. For example, if the military wants to hide advanced technology so their enemies don’t have a chance to prepare for it, or if they want to cover up covert testing on civilians or animals, they can create the belief that aliens are doing those things. Never mind that many materials used are easily identifiable as earthly, some even stamped with brand names.

If they want to create a gullible public willing to take the blame for creating their own reality rather than calling out perpetrators, whom they forgive because they were only playing the bad guy role they chose before incarnating, counterintelligence can orchestrate the New Age. British spies created its core, Theosophy, which, among other things, allowed their subversion of India in the 1700s, as they could produce enough opium to ruin China.

If they want to go to war with a country to take their resources and drugs and stop them from going off the dollar standard, they set off a fake terrorist attack inside their own borders and blame the other country, so people will support ruining them.

People are easily duped unless they are taught the rewards and methods of questioning everything, ideally from an early age. Countless people are waiting to gaslight whole populations and then train the ones who are successfully deluded into demonizing the people who catch on.

Psychological suspense can capture what it’s like for the characters to go through such traumas, and that encourages the readers to suspect people in their lives and study the kinds of tricks they use. Readers can vicariously go through the process of uncovering the truth, and helping others to escape the clutches of psychological manipulation.

I write in my blog, The Engineering of Society, about this topic. I hope that people who read the blog will also find the fiction interesting and vice versa. I like my antagonists to be worthwhile characters to scare people with. Tension and fear can have some tangible benefit in that case besides just adrenal over-stimulation for its own sake.







Stepping Naked into Genre

I never considered writing Genre most of my life, partly because I’ve always seen myself as speaking to an obscure group of readers something like myself. Genre requires having a common world-view and behavioral patterns as the majority, and I don’t necessarily fit in with a political party, religion, or any other group as I’m an independent thinker.

Then, I realized I don’t ultimately feel that much in common with Literary readers particularly, either when it comes to worldview and our interpretation of “the news.” I decided a good method was to write Genre which would be considered by large numbers of people, and within those numbers would be its niche. Someone would be like my books and be interested in topics such as social engineering by duping the public through propaganda.

Ironic, just the opposite of my original plan. I saved my most controversial and hard hitting material that speaks of real world issues that divide people for the Genre books. There aren’t many people to chose from in the entire Literary set compared to the fraction in the huge Genre readership who would ideally be open to these challenging ideas in books that require thinking.

The key is to get the books in front of large numbers of people without resorting to the tactics so many best selling authors do. Yes, I know what they’re up to, those rascals. They not only spend a lot of money legitimately, they spend a lot to have huge numbers of people buy their books. They buy “likes” from fake accounts. They buy reviews and pay people to write negative reviews of their competitors.

This is a daunting challenge, though I’ve studied the marketing methods in depth. The first book might take some time to take off; we’ll see. That slowness can sometimes tank a whole series. But at least I will have produced the series which I believe is a major work, after working up to it with my more minor works my entire life. I will have achieved my gift to humanity, there for the taking if people find it and want it. I hope they do.

It’s sweet to feel the embrace of the Literary crowd. In the day since I posted my announcement on Facebook about being nominated for a Pushcart (my seventh, I think) I have 150 “likes.” But I’ll be stepping out of that loving crowd and into the huge world of strangers the end of January with my first full length Genre work. I have plenty of Genre short stories in magazines and anthologies, but this will be like going naked on a stage the whole world can see.

All I can do is take a deep breath and love.


Catching Up

I haven’t posted here for a long time. I’ve been posting extensively elsewhere, though, such as at The Engineering of Society. My focus in my fiction is the psychological suspense series called The Agents of the Nevermind, which I plan to start releasing, though Insubordinate Books, the end of January. The series is all stand-alone books in which the Agents commit crimes related to social engineering, all referencing something in the real world. The blog directly addresses the manipulation of people’s beliefs and thus their actions, which is the core of the fiction series.

This blog is primarily for readers of my Genre fiction, so while I fudge the boundaries quite a bit in the posts, including a bit of the Slipstream, I do try for the most part to leave the dastardly Literary fiction for elsewhere. However, I’m happy to say I found out last night I was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for one of THOSE sorts of stories.

I’m going to be interviewed about one of my solidly Sci Fi stories Dec. 13th online with two other participants from NovoPulp, so I’ll try to keep this updated in time for those details. The story is called “Place Theory.”

It’s now about time to start signing on with bloggers to do guest posts, interviews, and reviews related to my first book in the series coming out end of January, Glossolalia: A Psychological Suspense Thriller. If you or anyone you can think of might be interested, please let me know. I can discuss the book and series, social engineering, collusion of church and state and other such topics within Glossolalia, the writing of psychological suspense genre (I’m a fiction writing instructor with UCLA and elsewhere), moving from writing Lit to Genre, from being published by others to indie.