This is my first foray into publishing my writing, and I believe the title encompasses the scope of the work included within these pages. Perhaps my critics will squeal with glee, when offered the words 'impaired,' 'demented' and 'untidy' with which to describe my efforts and, to me, the words suit the arrangement of stories and the diversity of the subject matter.

     Humour is the favored arrow in my quiver and you will find it in many of the stories I write. Some are stories about gay experiences and, although not overtly sexual in tone, the label of 'homosexual', which is so often used to describe our difference, hardly allows us to remove all sexual content from the concept. If you seek lust and perversion you will find disappointment in this book. However, if you seek a perspective on love and grace, then you will not be disappointed - provided that I have actually done my job properly. Only you can determine that for yourself.

     If you would like a preview of the stories in this book, I invite you to read the excerpts available below and, if you like the snippets offered on this website, I invite you to order my book.


Review by Blake Fraina, author of "King of Cats":

   Although not obvious at first blush, the repeated theme connecting the stories in this charming debut collection is the symbiotic relationship between callow youth and older, sometimes wiser, father figures. On offer here is deceptively lighthearted fare often underscored by a more serious message, for those who care to dig a little deeper. And the author, who only identifies himself as KJ, commands a seemingly limitless breadth of literary styles.
    Certainly the highlight of the book has to be the delicately humorous "A Mischief of Monumental Proportions," in which the author creates an atmosphere that might be described as "Jane Austen-lite." But for my money, the prickly, gossipy denizens of the hamlet of Bradbury (with surnames like Blessing-Derby, Mumford and the Reverend Picklenose) seem to hearken straight out of Elizabeth Gaskell’s quirky tales of Cranford. "Oasis," which takes place over the course of one lonely evening in a roadside honky-tonk in some dusty desert backwater, is a complete 180 in terms of tone and atmosphere. The grizzled barkeep, sage farmer Emmett and the silent, exotic young man known only as Crystal cast their drowsy, sensuous spell over the reader as much as they do the narrator, a world weary traveling salesman. While I found aspects of this one a bit too pat to be believable, overall the mood outweighed any plot contrivances. Taken together, these two stories represent the ends of KJ’s impressive stylistic spectrum. In between, there is a humorous short piece (from which the book gets its title), a contemporary tale of upper-crusty British noblesse oblige ("Horsehair, Mettle and Would") and a deeply romantic story about a first childhood crush captured for the ages by the hand of a perceptive painter. Throughout, the author exhibits a knowledge of music and art that enriches the stories without, for the most part, overwhelming them.
   All in all, this is a delightful and rich collection. I will be eager to see what the writer has up his sleeve in the future.


Review by David Paris:

     It gave me great pleasure to be asked to give a review of KJ’s "untidy compilation of short stories and essays" and not just because I feature as a cover boy for the book! The word "untidy" is quite incorrect, though. In fact, this collection is a refreshing breath of fresh air from start to finish! Each tale is around 10-20 pages in length, making for ideal on-the-go reading. However, you may unwittingly find yourself caught up with KJ’s multi-dimensional characters, who consist of jocks, boys-next-door and an assortment of androgynous, and often mysterious pretty boys.
     Perhaps the greatest commendation for those tired of the almost-Mills-and-Boon-style novels which permeate throughout gay literature is that author KJ weaves us through the stories with sizzling erotic undertones, yet without the sleaze which is often a feature of this genre of writing. We get to know and relate to the cast of characters through their thoughts, hopes, fears and flaws on their journey of self-discovery, rather than a quick shag in the bushes!
     One complaint however: one is almost disappointed when each story comes to an end. One becomes so absorbed that you, too, may wish to stay with the characters, as I did, and continue with them on their journey. My personal favourite was the second of this collection, entitled Oasis, set in a dusty, Texas public bar. A young salesman relegated to this God-forsaken job in the middle of nowhere spies "a boy of questionable gender, with shoulder-length, wavy blond hair and a face I would have wanted to get close to, if instead he had been his sister." What transpires after this observation is... well, I can't give away the story, can I?
     I cannot commend this collection more. Treat yourself to this literary feast, and you have my personal guarantee that you will not regret it!

Review by Patty Hose:

     One does not need to suffer from any sort of impaired sense to enjoy Impaired Ocular Acuity and Other Demented Synapses, by author K.J., although being a bit demented, and bent, does help immensely. It also helps to have an appreciation for the obvious theme: Beautiful young men.
     K.J. bounces us back and forth across The Pond in his collection of seven short stories that celebrate male youth, beauty, and love. This collection begins in the States, always rural, but takes one mischievous journey through time to early twentieth century Great Britain, all the while K.J. shifting his writing effortlessly from American teen-speak to Texas drawl and even a style of English today only attributed tongue-in-cheek to the British Royals. We’re transported to these places and relate to the characters because we imagine them speaking the way K.J. weaves their dialog.
     Once the reader is swept up in each story the end becomes clear, almost predictable, but Impaired Ocular Acuity and Other Demented Synapses is not about the destination; it’s about each journey and what can be learned along the way. We know the characters; they’re young, male, beautiful in various ways, whether they be pretty or handsome, and on a journey of discovery the author invites us to join. To the youthful reader they might long for a similar journey of their own. And for those who have already aged gracefully into the comfort of their own sexualities, they will be reminded of the eureka moments of their lives when they first took a fancy to a lovely face or a rhythmic sway of a tight bottom and wondered what they were looking at and what the strange warm feeling that came over them really meant.
     The entire collection is a quick read that keeps us engaged in the discovery process. The first, Impaired Ocular Acuity, is a satisfying ‘gotcha’, but the longest, The Aroma of Coffee, is much more about erotic discovery and the love that may spring from it. And the reader must be prepared for an unsuspected surprise at the end of Sotto Voce, which, like some of the other stories, has an underlying theme that celebrates the love of music.
     Author K.J. wraps his collection up with nine short essays; thoughts he calls The Preponderance of Evidence. Although not necessarily on theme with the short stories, they are thought provoking nevertheless, so in that sense the entire enterprise is meant to make us think. K.J. helps us ponder our youth, the beauty of young men, discovery, loss, music and how we best enjoy the use of our senses.