Guest Post and Giveaway from Irving Podolsky

Today we have Irving Podolsky, author of the Irv’s Odyssey Trilogy. Book One: Lost in the Looking Glass: Book Two: To the Light and Beyond: Book Three: Seeking the Way Home. Two lucky winners will walk away with the whole E-Book Trilogy! I, for one, can’t wait to delve into Irv’s world. Even though these books are not my usual type of read, the covers drew me in and the author himself snagged me the rest of the way.

Review Snippets:

“A perfect introduction to this coming-of-age trilogy of one young Jewish man in the midst of the era of sex, drugs and rock and roll.”

“My plan was to take Lost in a Looking Glass with me so I could read it on our cruise. But I finished it before we even left. What a page turner “
Gregor Wossilus – film critic, content producer and story analyst for the Bavarian Broadcasting Network

“The story had me laughing and groaning, with a distinct voice and a somewhat naïve approach to life and sex, Irv’s immersion into the world of porn films was penned in a conversational first person style, that often felt very much like a series of screen shots  of a day in the life.”



Irving H. Podolsky resides in the mind of this writer, and within the trilogy, Irv’s Odyssey.  As your host, I wish to remain in your hearts as that forever-young YOU seeking love, joy, wisdom and adventure. 

To learn more about Irv and his books, go to or


 Dear Readers,

Cynthia gave me absolutely no restrictions regarding what I should write about.

Well…there was one. She reminded me of that Golden Rule of Blogging. Write unto Others as you would have them write unto you, but not over 650 words.

A very important rule, ‘cause on the internet most of us don’t read more than 300 words about anything.

I break that rule. A lot. I have this crazy idea that you’ll stay with me for five minutes, reading my stuff to the end.

But I may be delusional. I could be boring and no one is telling me….out of KINDNESS.

There’s a lot of kindness out there and we’re all awarding it. Here’s an example.


I’m visiting my folks now, and last night they invited me to the Acropolis Restaurant and there we met Dave and Estelle, my parent’s best buddies and the other half of our small gathering. I’ve known Dave and Estelle for eight years. Estelle is engaging. David is not.

Three of us chose the garlic “House” dressing and that kicked Dave into reciting a yarn about a very old man who ate those stinky cloves everyday. The set up: Why did the garlic let grandpa live to be one hundred? The punch line: Because every time the Angel of Death came to visit, the old man would say, (Dave continued with a breathy exhale) “Whoooo are you?” You guessed it. The old codger’s garlicky breath chased the angel away.

Joke delivered, Dave laughed, our cue to join him.

I darted a quick glance at Estelle, who I’m sure had heard this yawn a thousand times. She grinned with a hint of a giggle. Mom and Dad politely chimed in next. I followed with a feigned smile and an approving nod.

Dave was boring and we were his enablers. No one wanted that job, but who was gonna tell the man his humor sucked, even for the second grade? Okay, his wife. But that wasn’t happening. She was kind.

From that point on my opinion of Dave locked in. The guy was not reading the room, and clueless about the difference between funny and stupid, which I assumed would apply to anything else he might say.

So when he related another story about early booster rockets, I didn’t believe him when he emphatically stated that the Jupiter C never put a man into space. I thought it did and he curtly corrected me.

When I got home I looked it up. Guess what? David was right. The Jupiter C tested various nose cones, (Who knew?) and the Redstone M lifted the Mercury astronauts into orbit.

And I got to thinking. Telling a bad joke can bust your credibility, and yet how many friends advise us to can the gags? They don’t. They pretend we’re funny. They’re being kind.

This kindness sets up bad novels too. When you write your best and give it out for review, how many people tell you it’s crap? (Agents not included.) Okay, maybe it’s not crap, but maybe your style is rough, or you’re overly wordy, or your tension isn’t working. Do your readers tell you you’re not the writer you think you are? And that your breath stinks, you slump and you’re conceited?

They don’t? Humm. Could it be…dare I say it…that you really, deep down inside DON’T WANT TO KNOW?

Because if you don’t want the truth, that leaves the one thing you DO want – validation. And consequently friends and strangers, out of kindness, will give you just that – PRAISE (the kiss of death to any writer if it’s not justified).

“Oh, that’s not me,” you say, “I can handle criticism.”

Me too. So when I gave out my first drafts of Irv’s Odyssey, I insisted on brutal honesty. Sure, that first editing pass was deadly unpleasant. But it made me a better writer (after Mr. Ego settled down). I then developed my style and found a “voice” – Irv’s voice; and then another  – this voice. I strive to keep it frank, open and honest.

Still, I can’t stop being kind to lame jokesters.


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Buy Links:






ENDS 2/15


Posted on February 13, 2013, in GIVEAWAYS and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. Thanks so much, Cynthia, for inviting me here, and including reviews that are not your own. That’s classy.

    Take care,

  2. What was your inspiration to become a writer? Also have you written other books?
    I became a friend and a fan on goodreads.:)

  3. Hi Natalie,

    I appreciate your question and your support on Goodreads.

    I don’t participate very much on that social media site (maybe I should), but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about connecting with you and others. For future reference, just email me at: and I will always respond to you.

    What inspired me to become a writer?

    I wanted to be a Hollywood director and one of the ways into that profession, is through selling a screenplay. So for ten years I learned about structure and the economy of words for description. I did sell one screenplay but it never made it to production and I got frustrated. So for another ten years I gave up writing to concentrate on my film career in other ways and on my drumming. (I’m a drummer.)

    Then I wrote this trilogy which began as a treatment for another screenplay. I had never written a novel before and found the process liberating and fun. So much fun, that the story just kept going and that that first Irv’s Odyssey book became three.

    Although the reviews have been fantastic, the over-all exposure is slow to come. If I can get some notoriety and “Street Cred” from this first series, I’ll have the leverage to push another comedic but serious novel about love and marriage, from the point-of-view of two transgender candidates.

    Obviously it won’t be a genre story. I find it difficult to write for formula.

    If you read “Irv’s Odyssey”, I’d certainly welcome your published thoughts about it on Goodreads and Amazon.

    Thanks for checking in.


  4. My family keep encouraging me to write a book, which has always been a dream of mine. However, the fear of rejection and harsh criticism is what is holding me back. How do you get past the fear, and handle it if it comes?

    • Well Morgan,

      I no longer fear rejection, but I still don’t like it. Not one bit. And it’s not because I’m losing. It’s because I’m not winning. In other words, getting turned down by an agent or a traditional publisher doesn’t make me less of a writer, but it doesn’t help to get me noticed either.

      Rejection is one thing, harsh criticism is another, and I’m glad you mentioned both reactions. Let’s look at the difference.

      As I said, rejection of a creative work doesn’t mean it’s bad, although it may be bad. More often, rejection a writing material usually means the agent or publisher is looking for something that fits the trends and is an easier sell. Everyone wants the same thing: Getting the most payoff with the least effort. If your book falls into the “Least-effort” category, you’ve got an open door.

      I don’t write for genre. I face closed door all the time.

      Okay…harsh criticism. Receiving critical feedback is part of the creative process. Discovering what doesn’t work is just as important as realizing what does. Both types of information leads to discovery and shapes future choices.

      But here’s the secret: Write in short sections and give them out step by step. That way, if you get off track, you’ll know it before you’ve invested a year of your life in the great American Novel. Every professional writer needs the help of an editor and so do you. But this cooperation applies to everything in life, almost all important choices could use another opinion.

      Remember: The results of your creative task is not YOU. Your project is a series of decisions, which you can change at any time.

      If someone says your novel sucks. YOU don’t suck. What your reader is telling you, is that she would have made different writing choices. Her expectations of what she wanted to read were different than what you delivered. Now it’s up to you to decide if her point-of-view aligns with your message and style. It’s just one opinion.

      Now if everyone agrees with the same assessment of your work, then you better thank them and readjust your direction. I did and it made me a better writer.

      Rule #3 of bunkhouse poker: You can’t win if you’re not at the table.


  5. Following him on Goodreads 🙂

  6. Thank you for sharing your stories with us. You mentioned honest criticism. Were you more successful getting brutal honesty from readers/reviewers you didn’t know personally?

    So far, I have only had people read my work who either know me as a designer or know me personally. I have not sent it out to a complete stranger to get honest feedback. Of course, I always hope that people who know me will give me their honest opinion, but as you say, they tend to be too kind with the fear that they may hurt my feelings.

    Also, (and I hope it’s okay to ask more than one question) what inspired you to write about the porn industry? Are your stories autobiographical in any way?

    • You can ask as many questions as you want, Rene.

      When I sent out my initial drafts, I really needed to know if I was wasting all of our time. I didn’t want the book to be a vanity thing. So I asked a few professional people I knew if they would give my MS to readers they knew. They did, and those first blind responses were positive enough to keep me writing. One of those reviewers, Carla, became my primary editor, and we had never met. She was great. But I’ll admit that her initial notes used more words that I had typed on my pages.

      My first reaction was… But that’s not my style! So I let my Ego calm down for a month or two and then I re-read her suggestions and thought… No, that’s not my writing style. But maybe I should change it.

      AND I DID. And in the process I found an inner flow that became my own “voice”.

      Regarding the porn business. I lived it, which is why I could write about it.

      “Irv’s Odyssey” was the first time I authored fiction based on my own experiences and I think that’s why the words came alive. The books were much easier to put together than my earlier stories where I started from scratch to build the characters and plot.

      Ultimately though, the saga is not about what people DO, but about what they ARE, and the contrast between those two elements can be quite interesting. Finding the soul of the characters is where I shaped the story: building a theme that asks: WHAT IS REAL?

      By the way, Irving Podolsky is my pen name. I have another identity and profession which I keep separated from my writing life. I don’t want one to be influencing the other. You may want to build yourself a writing identity as well.

  7. I too, am too kind to tell someone their jokes are horrible. I also shy away from giving bad reviews in public. If it’s bad, I will tell the author privately what I thought and not give a public review. What was the worst thing a reviewer ever said about your work?

    • Dear Terri,

      For me there’s a difference between offering suggestions through the writing process and giving or getting a review once the work is completed. As long as I’m still in the writing mode, there’s no such thing as a bad review. All criticism is constructive because it shows me alternate points-of-view regarding my work. If I’m off course, I need to know that asap.

      Sometimes though, the feedback is useless, where the reader is not on the same page I’ve written. That’s okay. My writing and yours, is not for everyone.

      So far reviewers have been very kind to me. But some friends have ripped me apart. One did it in public on my blog. He commented that I didn’t professionally deserve to be publishing anything on the internet. I privately responded with an email asking him why he personally attacked me. He came back with more public abuse, which I did not delete. I couldn’t understand why he was punishing me, but I had invited an open forum and I felt it would be cowardly to censor his words, or ANY words.

      Needless to say, his kicks resulted in a falling out. He has since apologized and I accepted it. But the friendship lost the bond of trust.

      Still, I accept the rules of authorship: If one wants to write stuff that others read, one must be prepared for confrontations. That’s what artists and leaders do: They take risks.

  8. how do you choose the names of your characters??

    • Hi Jo,

      Sometimes I scan my books and DVD movies and randomly put names together that I read on the credits. Sometimes I look up baby names and sometimes I name characters from people I know, but change it enough so it’s not exactly their name.

      Ultimately though, the name has to fit the character.

      Irving Podolsky had to be a really dorky name because that character hates his name. My grandfather’s last name was Podolsky and Irving seems like a lame enough name to match it. (I apologize to all the Irving’s out there, and the Podolsky’s.)

      “Irv’s Odyssey” is a fictitious memoir told in the first person by the character, Irving. After the series was published, I decided to keep the name for further writing and blogging.

  9. followed and befriended on Goodreads

  10. thanks so much for your answers to my question as well as the others – i find it refreshing that you don’t give a one or two sentence answer but go into great detail – thank you again

  11. I agree with Jo. It is nice to get real answers 🙂 I can’t wait to read Irv’s Odyssey! As a former owner of an adult chat room who’s seen just about everything, I think the books will be right up my alley 🙂

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