Month: October 2016






A children’s book about two different mental illnesses, depression and mania, Peter and Lisa makes it easier for children to understand these mental conditions. It is a story about two people affected with such illness and how they got better and recovered through the proper medication and necessary support by family and friends. Charles and Linda Baron Katz’s Peter and Lisa: A Mental Illness Children’s Story manifests the true essence of love and support to aid us overcome every storm that may pass.


One moment you are happy, so happy that you’re dancing all around and having a bunch of fun. But, you’re also in danger because, you think you’re invincible (that means, you think you can do anything maybe even fly) The next moment, you’re sad. Very, very sad. You lay around doing absolutely nothing except maybe cry. Sometimes you want to—

These are some of the things a person who has bipolar disorder experience. Imagine what that must feel like if you are ten years old and the person acting that way is your parent. Peter and Lisa is a picture book for children which discusses two mental illnesses bipolar and depression.

Peter and Lisa is a well written SPECIAL NEEDS read that shows the two illnesses in great detail, thus providing children with the information they need to understand and live with a person who has a mental illness. Yet, it was clear that a child could not handle a parent on their own by providing a support system for the parent.


Peter and Lisa is recommended for All Ages.

BUY IT HERE:  Amazon

charleslinda-katzBIO   Linda Baron Katz, co-author with husband, Charles Katz, of Peter and Lisa: A Mental Illness Children’s Story, raised in the Jewish faith, suffer from mental illness. Charles was diagnosed with depression and Linda with bipolar disorder as young adults. Both of them went through many difficult challenges they had to face as a result of their mental illnesses and struggled hard to reach recovery. Since then, Charles and Linda have been committed to the cause of educating the community about mental illness. Linda Baron Katz also known as Linda Naomi Katz, is also the author of her first book, Surviving Mental Illness, My Story. You can also find the book on Amazon.

Charles and Linda unable to have children of their own, decided through their writing, they could show how important it is for parents and children to understand that with the right kind of help mental illness can be treated and people can live normal, healthy, happy lives. When children read Peter and Lisa, it will brighten their eyes to a whole new level of education that they have yet to experience.







SCARED OF THE DARK is a rhyming picture book for children.

Shadows dance on your wall
Curtains flap in the breeze
Floorboards squeak in the hall
The wind whips through the trees

**Some children may find a small section (4 pages) to be scary but the section is easy to skip without affecting the story.

The dark can be scary, especially when you don’t know what you’re afraid of. But you’re not alone, most of us have felt scared at night and the dark’s not actually so bad. Discover some of the reasons for our fear, meet friendly animals who play in the night and learn to think of the dark in a new way. Oh and just in case some monsters are real…you’ll be reminded that you’re braver than you may think!


There comes a time in every parent’s life when they must deal with the monster in the closet, the whispers under the bed, and even “the Martians are gonna get me!” fear that every child experiences. Okay, that last one was me when I saw my first scary movie at the age of ten . In any event, I felt that SCARED OF THE DARK, was a visual way to help children overcome many frightening obstacles that they experience at night. It is also something they can read on their own thus providing a tool when dealing with this problem.

The question is will you be able to sleep through the SCREAMING, HOLLERING, and/or YELLING as they solve their problem. Of course we will, that’s what parents do. Okay, I know you wimps will be there every time they call. Get SCARED OF THE DARK, so you can get some rest.

The UNIQUE thing about SCARED IN THE DARK is that it’s a handbook for your child to use as they learn, in their own way, how not to be afraid of darkness.


SCARED OF THE DARK is recommended for First Time Readers (1-8) and Middle Grade Readers to age 10.

BUY IT HERE:  Amazon

carolline-l-thorntonBIO  Caroline L Thornton lives in Scotland. She loves animals, movies and all things vintage. She writes rhyming picture books and her first, Scared of the Dark was inspired by her own fear of the dark as a child. She wanted to write a book that she feels could have helped her and which may help others who feel scared in the night.






The weirdest, most horrible week in Toby Stevens’ life starts when he hears a voice no one else can hear. The voice tells him that he has been Chosen to fight in a thousand-year-long war. It says that he’ll be given a Gift, a superpower to help him save the world. Terrified, Toby tries to ignore the voice, to pretend that everything is normal. But his friends keep catching him talking to himself. And the voice keeps saying stranger and stranger things. It tells him that he has to go to the middle of the Nevernight Forest, the giant woods that surround Toby’s town. In the Nevernight, the voice almost screams, all of your questions will be answered.

By the end of the week, Toby can’t take it anymore. He jumps up in the middle of class, races past the school security guard and runs straight into the Nevernight Forest. As the shouts of “Stop!” and “Come back!” fade behind him, Toby almost runs headlong into a fight between an old man with a silver sword and a huge man with a black axe. The two men stop fighting long enough to turn to look at Toby. As they drop their weapons and start walking toward the frightened boy, Toby’s normal life ends and the Nevernight Wars begin.


Imagine sitting in your basement on a dark and stormy night secretly looking at a forbidden scary movie with your best friends Kirsten Roberts and Billy Delancy when you hear a voice. “You have to help her,” it pleads. You look around, did the others hear it? No, they are focused on the screen where Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street) is chasing some girl. In confusion, you wonder if this is part of the movie. No . . .it’s not his voice. Freddy’s voice is deeper and scary. This voice is soft and gentle and . . . it’s outside. Slowly you look towards the window. There’s nothing there but your backyard. Yet, beyond that lies—the Nevernight Forest. Someone in that forest is asking you to help her because, “she’s drowning.”

Who is she? Who’s talking? Why are you the only one that can hear him? Yes, that soft gentle voice is male. At your hesitation, it becomes commanding. “TOBY! LOOK OUTSIDE!” What are you going to do? What any curious sixth-grade boy would do. Ignore the wet and wild weather and step outside.

The brilliant thing about Jeff Trussell’s The Nevernight Wars Book One: Toby’s Gift, is:from the moment that you discover the voice in the woods is Cayman, a black man with a Jamaican accent who tells you the history of the Nevernight Forest, and the war that has been going on for centuries to save it from destruction; from the moment that Toby’s gift (superpowers to you), which is achieved by an ancient process handed down by the Goddess Isis, begins to grow and you find yourself trying to scrat—no, no, no–no spoilers from here; from the moment, the very touching moment (I’m a girl what do you expect), that Toby asks Billy, his best friend who is in a wheelchair to teach him how to use his gift, you are part of the story both mentally and physically.

The Nevernight Wars Book One: Toby’s Gift is a fantasy story with a little bit of science fiction and a lot of mystery thrown in. The way that Toby defeats Mr. Skinner, the antagonist, makes this a UNIQUE read. With the inclusion of Cayman (not to mention Isis, my favorite Goddess) and Billy, The Nevernight Wars Book One: Toby’s Gift is also an ETHNIC and SPECIAL NEEDS read. I can’t wait to see where the next adventure will take us.


The Nevernight Wars Book One: Toby’s Gift is recommended for Middle Grade Readers (9 – 12). First Time Readers (8 -12) with Parent assistance. Girls will also enjoy this book.

BUY IT HERE:  Amazon

jeff_headshot_smallBIO  Have you ever had a story you just had to tell? Something you ran home from school, burst in the front door and started blabbing to your parents before they even knew who was talking to them? The Nevernight Wars is that story for me. And like any good story, The Nevernight Wars has become more that just a story. In a weird way, and I wouldn’t admit this to just anybody, the characters are real. Toby, Kirsten and Billy aren’t real in the same way my wife Jennifer or baby Silas or our funny looking basset hound Luke are real. But real in the way Halloween or what you wish for on your birthday is real.

And for everyone who keeps asking when the next Nevernight will be ready, the answer is very soon. I won’t say what’s going to happen, but I will say that even I was surprised.







This is the third book in the children’s fantasy series featuring Max Hamby. The battle at Dunmere is over, the first two stones have been found, and Milo is safe. But, Milo’s mom and grandma are now trapped with Max’s parents in the Shadowlands. They will fade away and cease to exist unless the other stones can be found. Max, along with friends and family, prepare to journey to find the next stone, but his plans are thwarted. In a bold move, Isolde sends the Trith to Merrihaven with a message and two strange children are chased from the Downs by an enormous ogre. Birdie and Basil Salisbury have awakened from a two-hundred-year sleep with a dark secret. One is good and the other is evil. Both are set to become pawns to gain the stones. It is up to Max to find out who Birdie and Basil are and what they want.


Busby Stoop—that’s where the closest Elemental Stone lies, and Max Hamby has to find seven of them to save his parents from the Shadowlands; but as he makes plans to go there, the dangerous Trith, which turn out to be two innocent people under Isolde’s command, enter Merrihaven with harmful intensions. With magic, he removes the threat and returns to his plans to find the next stone.

In his bedroom, he is visited by his grandfather who gives him a bag that is limitless and two items (an hourglass and a watch) to help him on his journey. Then there is a commotion, and Milly Marietta shuffles by faster than they’d ever seen her move. That’s really funny because you know—it’s Milly Marietta! Wait…did she say there is an ogre infestation! First the Trith—now an ogre!!!

Let us not forget the kids, a girl named Birdie, and a boy named Basil. From the moment, they are saved from the ogre and enter Merrihaven, Max senses an evil presence. Not to mention what Alice thinks. Didn’t I say not to mention that!

As with Max Hamby The Blood Diamond Book 1 and Max Hamby The Emerald Hunt Book 2, Max Hamby and the Onyx Eyes Book 3 starts with a different character’s point of view. That’s the brilliance of Kathy Cyr and that’s what makes this book UNIQUE! This time, however, Max does not go on an adventure to find the stone hidden in Busby Stoop. In fact, as with the second stone, it comes to him…in two pieces. But—if he doesn’t go to Busby Stoop to get the stone, why is he there?


Max Hamby and the Onyx Eyes Book 3 is recommended for Middle Grade Readers. It is also a great book to read with older (6-8) First Time Readers.

BUY IT HERE:  Amazon


Kathy Cyr writes in an underground cave, but has her eye on a wizard’s castle.

On an average day, she’s usually surrounded by a dwarf with a curious addiction to coffee, a moody dragon and a pink pixie with a large sweet tooth.

When not writing books, she can be found daydreaming about faraway places, enjoying a cup of coffee with the dwarf, sharing a laugh with the moody dragon (when he’s in the mood) and sitting on a rainbow of treats with the pink pixie.







Patrice Smith, Donna Smith, Shannon Smith, Charity Smith, and Faith Smith

Illustrator/Artist Patrice Smith

Editor Jermaine Smith


5-4-3-2-1 Ringgggggggg


The school bell rings and school’s out. It’s time for summer! You rush out into the hall, say goodbye to your friends and run to the school bus. You just can’t wait for summer to begin. But for these four girls, it’s the complete opposite…

Meet four sisters:  Diamond, Sheila, Crystal, and Felicity

Nice girls who loofa school and dread summer. Yeah, you heard right dread summer. Read about this comical tale of how their mother makes their lives miserable during their “fun” summer.



Many, many, times over the last 23 years, my son has accused me of being from another planet. However, there have been too many times to count that I’ve wondered if that was true about him. Okay, yeah, I was there when he was born so,iIn reality this is just the difference in thinking between parent and child. The Struggle: Mom and the Summertime Blues is about such a difference. It is written by four sisters (age 10 – 13/14) who hate summer vacation. Really! They hate summer vacation. Why, you wonder? Everyone knows that summer is all about fun.. You have all these plans in your mind that you’re gonna do this and you’re gonna do that but then Mom has all these things for you to do. Right?

As you start reading Diamond’s story, you find yourself laughing a few minutes later. This theme of gut busting laughter continues on through Sheila, Crystal, and Felicity. Felicity—Oh, I have to stop, no spoilers here.

I will say this, the one thing that makes this book UNIQUE, is that it’s based on fact. As I mentioned before it’s quite hilarious and a lot of fun to read. Kids will identify with everything that has been written by their age appropriate counterparts while parents will enjoy Mom’s redemption.

Another thing I found interesting about The Struggle: Mom and the Summertime Blues was how after being given the project of writing a book about their summer, each girl took on a different identity, and made mom the villain. Why is it always the moms? I guess it’s because we give out the orders, schedule the activities, make the food choices, and—well the list goes on.


Here is a little insight for you kids of eight to thirteen, Mom, in this ETHNIC read featuring African-American characters, gives you a warning to let you know that an adult is now writing the book.If you want to know what your parents are thinking and how they come to some of the decisions they make about your life. READ ON!


The Struggle: Mom and the Summertime Blues is recommend for Middle Grade and Young Adult Readers to age 14. However, parents will love it too.

BUY IT HERE:  Amazon


authors-in-whitedpi300BIO(S) The Smiths (Patrice, Donna, Shannon, Charity, and Faith r – l) are a Christian family that reside in the south.

Faith Smith-She is the writer for the character, Felicity. She is 10 years old and a Fourth grader who loves to draw and have fun. She also likes to read books and watch movies.

Charity Smith-The writer for the character, Crystal. Charity is 11 years old and a Fifth grader who loves math, trivia, origami, reading, writing, and dancing.

Shannon Smith-The writer for the character Shelia. Shannon loves all things fashion and like her character, she enjoys playing her clarinet. She also loves to eat almonds every day. She is 13 years old and a Seventh grader who can’t wait until she can buy her own house. She also likes to read in her free time. Arts and crafts are her favorite things to do.

Donna Smith-The writer for the character Diamond. Donna loves fine arts like singing, acting, dancing, and cooking. She is 14 years old and in the Ninth grade. She is a very outgoing and creative person who loves to create new things, meet new people and write songs and poems.

Patrice Smith-The writer for the character Mom. Much like Mom, she is a wife and mother of four. She loves to learn and make new things. She is also interested in healthy living, gardening and technology. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Champaign Urbana with a B.S. in Human Resources and Family Studies where she studied Marketing of Textiles and Apparel. She is a Master Cosmetologist, an author and a health coach.

dashs-busy-dayDASH’S BUSY DAY

Written and Illustrated by:



Learn basic direction concepts and counting as Dash the dragonfly flies left, then right, and all around the pond seeing several other pond inhabitants along the way. Simple, brightly colored, engaging character checking out the environment in which it lives, counting as it goes.


For people like you and me, a pond is a small body of water usually sitting off to the side in someone’s back yard. But, to those that live there, especially if you’re someone like Dash, it’s as big as the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean. You know whatever ocean is near you. You don’t have an ocean? Okay, Lake Michigan.

Getting back to the story, Dash is a little guy, so his pond is very, very big! He isn’t your usual dragonfly. Noooo, no way does he spend his days hanging out in the reeds. He likes to keep himself busy. How, you might ask? By zipping here, zagging there, and even flying over there. No set routes for him; and each time, he has a little adventure as he introduces you to the pond’s other occupants. Seeing this world through the eyes of a Dragonfly is what makes this a UNIQUE read.


Dash’s Busy Day is a very humorous counting adventure for kids between the ages of one and eight. It also makes a great bedtime story. “The original illustrations were done in ink and watercolor and scanned into computer for final touch up and addition of text. 24 page picture book,” say Terrance M. Perrin as he gives us a small insight as to how this book was developed.

BUY IT HERE:   Amazon

terry-perrin-at-nightBIO  Terrance was born in Kansas with his school years split equally between there and California. First job was engraving trophies for a bowling supply house when he was 14. He enjoyed drawing when younger and poetry and photography in his mid to late teens, growing more creative in his early 30’s. Many work meeting note pads would have just as many doodles as notes on them. Terrance had spent most of his adult working days in manufacturing and construction, until departing from a career of 13 years in 2014 to pursue artwork and photography as a full time endeavor. He has wanted to try his hand at writing children’s books for as long as he can remember, in part because his creative father had always talked of doing that someday, and 2016 marks the year that he finally put pencil, ink and paint to paper. The result is Dash’s Busy Day. He resides in Colorado with his wife, dogs and finches. He is currently working on a video version of the book.



Copyright © 2016 Thomas Fulkerson. All rights reserved

The elevator doors closed and, with their mirror finish on the inside, Holly inspected her disguise carefully. The red wig, covering her own graying hair, looked natural. It should for the price she paid. And the tasteful navy pantsuit fit the image perfectly, all very professional. Just as she wanted it. Her clipboard looked official, her gloves, the case. Everything in place.

It really is a shame it’s come to this.

The bell rang as the elevator stopped on the ninth floor, and Holly’s reflected image split in half as a hallway opened up before her. Near the end of the hall was a cart of cleaning supplies. Just what she had been looking for.

On top of the cart was a small transistor radio. Probably Japanese, she thought. They’re always making electronic trinkets these days. Blasting out of the little speaker were the opening bars of ‘Gimme Shelter’. Out of the open door next to the cart came a kid who looked like just the type to be listening to that noise: a greasy-haired young man, whose vacant stare snapped into surprise when he saw her. His name tag read ‘Joey’.

“Is something wrong, ma’am?” he said, looking at her bag and clipboard, his right hand clutching his spray bottle, while his left held a damp rag.

“Not at all,” she said, “you’re just in the room I’m to inspect. I trust the front desk was correct in saying that it’s not occupied?” “Oh yeah, it’s totally empty. Just got done cleaning it myself, so there shouldn’t be anything wrong on the inspection, ma’am.”

Joey looked nervous. She couldn’t have a nervous kid getting in her way.

“My inspection has nothing to do with your cleaning, Joey, though I’m sure you’ve done a fine job. This concerns California State Regulations on hotel rooms. An associate of mine will be up here shortly, as well.”

He nodded his head in understanding, his long hair flopping around as he did so. Where did they hire these people? “No problem, ma’am. You have a good time with your inspecting, then.”

He went on about his business, nodding, and listening to those Rolling Stones of his, taking his cart further down the hall to a room on the other side. It really is a wonder, she thought, how easy it was to get past him. Is a clipboard and pantsuit all it takes for these bums?

The room was 918. She went in, closed the door with her gloved hand, locked it, and sat her black, faux-leather case down on the bureau. She took note of where everything was. The window was across from the door, and at this height, and time of day, it was very unlikely anyone would be able to see inside from the street.

Scanning the room, she took notice of one of the beds. She strained as she lifted up the mattress without disturbing the newly-laid linens as best she could, which were of a garish red. Another stroke of good luck. If any blood should get on them, it would probably not even be noticed, provided it was blotted away quickly. Underneath the bed and box spring was ample space for his small frame, and with the bed skirt across the bottom, nobody would see anything.

In the bathroom were fresh towels, which she gathered up and sat on the bed. Two large ones, two hand towels, and four washcloths. All of them orange. It would probably be enough. It would have to be, in any case. The throw-pillow was dense and thick, which was good. She figured that if he sat on the bed, facing the window, the shot would exit his head and end up somewhere in the corner where a small hole likely wouldn’t be found.

Quickly, she looked outside to see if the No. 6 bus was pulling up. Checking her watch, she still had six and a half minutes, and that’s if it were exactly on time. Ten minutes, then.

Holly went back to her case and unzipped it. From it she pulled the Beretta 70, its magazine, and a silencer. She double-checked the chamber. A gun is always loaded, especially when it isn’t. Seeing that it was clean, with smooth action, she screwed on the silencer, inserted the magazine, and pulled back on the slide to bring one .32 ACP round into the chamber, waiting to do its grim business in less than twenty minutes, give or take.

She hid the gun carefully under one of the pillows near the towels, where Stan wouldn’t see it. Handle toward her for ease of access. Everything was in place.

She would fire, catch his head on the pillow, and wrap the towels around him to stop the blood from getting everywhere. Then, difficult as it would be, she’d get his body under the bed, hope that the gunshot – though suppressed – wouldn’t have aroused suspicion, and make sure everything looked completely normal. With the satchel of money and her own black case, she would exit the room, head straight for the elevator, and leave Los Angeles. And good riddance.

Standing by the window, she had nothing else to do but wait for the bus to come.
One of the new 71 Cadillacs drove by. Bright, shining red. Maybe she’d get one of those when she’d settled down and the smoke cleared.

After all, it was the least Stan could do for her after those years, all those things they’d done. It’s not like she’d even wanted to do it, but he was always so persuasive. “Just think of the quality of life,” he’d say when talking about the ransom money, “no more worrying about anything at all. You’ll have your balcony, overlooking the ocean, fresh sea breeze filling our lungs. It’s all within our reach, honey!”

And, stupidly, she believed it. That persuasiveness was one thing she was happy to have learned from him, and it almost made her laugh that it would be used against him.


The business was far too serious, and far too prone to go wrong for her to start laughing now. If she was to have any freedom, any of life of her own, any kind of distance between past and future, then everything had to go one way and one way only. Sure, part of her hoped that he’d been caught at the drop off. But knowing him, he’d pin her as an accomplice and soon the police would be on her, too. At least she wouldn’t go down alone.

Either way, if he didn’t come off of that bus with satchel in hand, she would leave the hotel immediately and drive for as long and far as she could. She would not be taking any chances.


At 4:12, the bus finally arrived. White with its thin red and yellow stripes across the middle, it stood out among all the other traffic like a big white whale. Several people got off, while Holly looked intently. She counted the people getting off. Three, four, five – where is he? Other people are already beginning to get on. For a second, it was beginning to look like she would need to resort to plan B, but just as a group of three old women were stepping on, there went Stan, awkwardly pushing past them on his way out, satchel in hand.

Holly felt a coldness run through her as she saw him, and once he was close enough to the hotel, she put the radio up to her mouth.

“I’m in room 918,” she said.

He gave a little wave to show that he’d heard her through his earpiece and went into the hotel lobby below her.

Another quick inspection of the room, another ‘play-though’, in her mind of where she would stand, what she would say, and how she would direct him. She breathed heavily, feeling for the first time that it may actually work.

There was a knock at the door a few minutes later. Holly saw Stan through the peephole and opened the door for him, locking it back up after he brushed past her. He was out of breath and sweating in his stark black suit.

“Did you take the stairs up here?” she asked.
“No,” he said, “it’s just nerve-wracking carrying this thing around.”

He slumped the old, brown leather satchel on one of the beds and proceeded to open it. If it was all accounted for, Holly was looking at $750,000 in cash.

“You can see if it’s all there,” he continued, wiping his face with his handkerchief. “I obviously didn’t have any time to count it since the drop. I gave it a quick looking-through to make sure it wasn’t just a few hundreds on top with nothing below. I wasn’t followed, as best I could tell. No funny business like last time, but still, I shouldn’t have chosen a bus. You know, taking public transportation in this town with all of this was taking an awful risk, Holly.”

Indeed, it had been a ridiculous idea, but he was so certain, at the time, that it was better than having a car that could be recognized and remembered. She’d argued against it, but he was already set in his mind. Nothing else she could do.

“Then why did you do it?”

“I couldn’t think of anything else and we were running out of time. But shit, Holly, you have no idea how many people were staring at that case. We’re going to have to rethink our whole system after this one, that’s for sure. This haul will give us plenty of time, though.”

“Just as soon as we figure out where we’re going,” she said. He let out a heavy sigh.

“Holly, why do you think we’re here? Have you been doing anything at all today except sitting around and waiting for me to come? We’re supposed to be a team, remember? And if you can’t get your head together on this, then we’re going to have a problem. A serious problem.”

Holly got up and shut the case, taking it off the bed and making note of how he was sitting, which was facing the bureau with his hands folded. He wasn’t in a good enough spot and she’d have to move him.

“We can discuss it right now,” she said. “Clearly you haven’t thought of anything, either, other than your famous ‘drive to Mexico’ plan, which I’m almost certain is nowhere near as easy as you make it out to be.”

“Damn it! Will you quit hounding me on that? How am I supposed to get anything done if you’re going to be here shooting down every idea I have?”

“And how are we supposed to not attract attention with you yelling like this? Keep your voice down, Stan. It’s dangerous.”

He let out another impatient breath. “Why do I even bother asking you? It would be much simpler if I just took a map and found a place on my own. But no, you have to have some say in it, too. And you absolutely insist on everything waiting until the very last minute. How’s that for dangerous?”

Holly sat down on the bed next to him and lit herself a cigarette.

“You and I both know,” she said, blowing smoke into the rest of the room, “that if you think about something for too long, you worry yourself to death and are liable to make a mistake. I’d give you more time if you could be trusted with it, Stan.”

Stan shook his head as he stared off blankly at the wall.

“You don’t think that having to risk our freedom, and my life, on these pick-ups isn’t enough to earn your trust? Holly, you know I love you, but let’s just get this over with and be done with it. I can’t handle this any more. I don’t even know why I listen to you in the first place!”

Stan got up and paced around the room, wiping his face with his hands in frustration. She couldn’t use this. She had to get him to sit in just the right spot, otherwise one little slip-up could ruin the whole thing. Her stomach was already in a knot, and with every little nervous tic from him, it twisted that much more.

“First you’re going to have to calm down,” she said. “I am calm!”

“You know you need to calm down before we talk about something serious. You need to pay exact attention, remember everything clearly, and be willing to keep your cool when it’s time to act. Right now, though, you’re too agitated, and when people get agitated, they make mistakes. And when people like us make mistakes, it all falls apart. You understand?”

Stan nodded, but he still kept pacing and looking off into space. She got up, snuffed the half-smoked cigarette in the ashtray, and held him in her arms. Even having to do so felt strange to her, as though through her touch he’d feel what it was she was going to do to him. Would he feel her nervousness? Would he react and somehow see her betrayal?

But he didn’t. He softened in her touch, even as far as letting her take off his jacket, and she knew that’s when she could guide him. “I want you to sit down,” she said, indicating one edge of the bed nearest the window, “and look out there.”
Despite the impatience on his part, Stan did as he was instructed.
“So what am I supposed to be looking at?”

“Just relax, Stanley. I know you’re upset, and I know this has been terrible and difficult, but you have to let yourself be calm. I want you to breathe slowly, and look out the window.”
Stan’s breathing began to slow, and she watched him intently. The wrong movement at the wrong time could throw everything off.

“Look out there,” she said, pointing through the window, “what do you see?” “The sky?”
“And what’s significant about that sky?”
“I don’t know, it’s just the sky. It’s clear, I guess.”

“Exactly,” she said, inching towards the pillow on the other bed behind him. “It’s clear, and if you let yourself feel clear, then your future will be clear.”

He swung around quickly to look at her, which made her heart skip a beat. She showed nothing on her face. “Have you been talking with that hippy kid outside?”

She smiled. “Don’t be ridiculous. Keep looking, Stanley. You need to have a clear head or else this whole thing may come crashing down on us. Do you trust me?”
There was an uncomfortably long pause between her question and his answer, which made her blood run cold.

“Yeah,” he said, turning back to the window, “sorry.”

“It’s all right. Just keep looking out there. Or close your eyes. Whichever. Just imagine how nice it’ll be when we’re off in some little town where no one knows who we are, not having to worry about a single thing, because it’s all done. It’s all behind us, without anyone to tell us what to do, where to go, or anything.”

She saw his eyes close as he breathed much more slowly. Without any more hesitation, she gripped the handle of the Beretta 70 in her right hand, and took the pillow firmly in her left. His eyes were still closed. The angle would be just about right.

“Can you see it?” she said, as she raised the gun and pillow into position.

“Yeah,” he said, “I think I can.”

The time had come, as though everything had come down and converged on this one point, with all signs blaring and flashing to do it.

Don’t waste any more time.

Don’t let him turn around, just do it.

As she put her finger on the trigger, there was the sound of the lock being opened and within a second, the greasy-haired cleaning kid came barging through the room.

“Sorry guys, I just forgot my—“

Without thinking, Holly instinctively swung the pistol around and fired at the kid.

The report from the suppressed pistol was still loud, like a car door being slammed, but far quieter than it would have been otherwise.

Two shots missed as he scrambled out the door, but one hit him square in the shoulder. At least that’s what it looked like for what brief a time she saw him. And for a split second, she forgot about Stan.

Suddenly, there was a hand around hers, and she felt Stan up against her, pushing his weight against hers, trying with all his might to wrest the gun away from her.

“What the hell are you doing!?” he yelled as they fell to the floor.

In the struggle, two more shots rang out, one hitting the bed and another shattering the sink in the bathroom. For the tiniest moment, she could see the silencer smoking.

He slammed her hand against the bureau until she finally let go of the pistol. He kicked it away, and though she made a lunge for it, he was already there to knock her, stunned, across the room, where she hit the wall hard.

“So this is how you thank me, huh?” he said, as he got up to his feet, picked up the gun, but saw that it had somehow jammed. He tried to free the slide, but to no avail, and threw the gun into the hallway. “Son of a bitch!”

At this point, Holly knew that it was over, but that was clearly not the case for Stan. His eyes were wild as he darted for the satchel of cash, running out of the room so haphazardly that he even slammed his shoulder into the doorway before racing off down the hall.

Her face stung, but there was more than that. All of the anxiety was long gone. Even the adrenaline from what had just happened was starting to fade, and what she was left with was a confusing emptiness that she didn’t know how to deal with. On top of that, the awkward aftermath was coming down on her, with people in the hallway clamoring to help the young man who had been shot, while hotel security came in to find her sitting in the corner where she’d landed. Once they were there, though, they didn’t seem to know what to do, and just stood watch until the police came.


Stan was caught three blocks away. He’d overestimated his ability to run, especially from two young officers who were more than happy to bring him down. He put up a childish fight, but lost quickly. That’s the way the mind gets in a panic, though, Holly reflected. She, on the other hand, went in calmly and with no words, no melodrama.

It was definitely a kindness on the part of the police to put them in separate cars as they went to the station, though. Looking out the window of the police car, she watched everything go by, the hotel as it disappeared, the cars shining more brightly now, for some reason, and people who had no idea what was going on. And still with that strange emptiness inside, knowing that it would be a very long time before she’d ever be out on a city street again. If ever.

But among all of that, there was something else. It was small, and wasn’t calling much attention to itself, but it was there. At the very least, she wouldn’t have to listen to him anymore. Wouldn’t have to listen to his ridiculous goals, go through with his terrible plans, or even see him again. In that way, she felt that she still got what she wanted. And that was infinitely more than what could be said for him. So, she smiled.







Monkfish Maggie and the Bungalow Stairs is an illustrated adventure story for all ages. CatchphraseDan collaborated with the tremendous Norwegian painter Berg Norcross for this story, who has packed the book full to the brim with over 50 illustrations, and they look fancier than a chicken in a raincoat. An honest review will help to spread the word about the book, and get more people reading instead of shoplifting tubs of delicious strawberry ice-cream!


This bedtime, daytime, nap time story starts off as a common folktale about a fisherman and his wife. Or is it about the wife and her fisherman husband. Let me see now, the book is entitled Monkfish Maggie and the Bungalow Stairs. Oh yeah, it’s about the wife. Anybody can see that. So what exactly happens in this story. I’m not sure, I’ve never dealt with evil stairs. But, your children, will be able to tell you everything that’s going on, and they might even read it to you. Especially if they can read it themselves. There so many twist and turns in this story that will keep them entertained for hours and hours. But, BE WARNED! If you’re reading it to them, just as they are falling to sleep, one of those twists will pop up bringing them back to full awakeness, dang! (awakeness, um I think I just made up a word). A little advice read the section you plan to cover before you read to your child. That way, you’ll know when to stop.

The UNIQUE thing about Monkfish Maggie and the Bungalow Stairs is… Let me see, where do I start? Hmm, the title? The villain is a staircase? The explanations? The twists? My, my there are so many. You decide.


Monkfish Maggie and the Bungalow Stairs is recommended for First Time Readers (Infant to 8).

BUY IT HERE:   Amazon



Well, I was born naked and screaming, and I like to spend at least half an hour a day doing that for old times sake – usually at lunch time. The name CatchphraseDan was given to me in high school, when I discovered that my true calling in life was answering Roy Walker’s riddles correctly, and notching up Catchphrase points like there was no tomorrow. I’m pants at it now, but in my prime I would eat my greens and people would offer me looks of astonishment, envy and sometimes pity.

Once I realised that I wasn’t destined to appear on TV and win £80, I turned my attention to talking flannel and drawing pictures. This was probably for the best – you can’t buy a horse and a hat for the horse with £80. You could probably buy some trousers for the horse, but I haven’t Googled that yet so I don’t know.

I try and cram as much stuff into the day as possible. See, a day is like a medium sized round of hot buttered toast – you can keep on buttering, and it’ll all get absorbed until you get chest pains. I wake up and shower for a while, thinking long and hard about leaving the shower. Then I pack myself a bowl of gruel and think about all of the things that I’m gonna draw, paint, make, break, eat and betray.

I like drawing things and putting ‘em on the internet. It makes me feel warm inside and once it made my feet turn into beets and then into sheets. Follow me on social media – I once said something relevant. Stay cool, eat well, and ring your Mom from time to time.

You can find CatchphraseDan on social media using the following links:

Ello – @CatchphraseDan   Twitter – @CatchphraseDan   Facebook – CatchphraseDanArt Instagram – @CatchphraseDan    Tumblr – CatchphraseDan

Berg Norcross – Illustrator

The mysterious Berg Norcross rose from the ocean on a cold Monday morning and by lunchtime he’d just about finished his first painting. Berg speaks Norwegian, English and Lobster. You’ll find him in his windmill, unless he’s not in his windmill in which case he could be anywhere…

You can find Berg Norcross on social media using the following links:

Ello – @BergNorcross
Twitter – @BergNorcross    Instagram – @Berg_Norcross”

(Note:  Due to the recent loss of data, These links are no longer active)






This is a heartwarming story about the power of a mother’s love; truly an ode to women and mothers all over the world. It is a captivating and emotional story that talks about love and loss!

Follow Yetunde as she narrates her mother’s ode to her grandmother. It is the Yoruba praise poetry for a mother known as Oriki Iya. Yetunde is also thrilled and delighted by the ancient Yoruba tale passed down to her by her mother about Labakẹ, a young maiden who was kidnapped to be forced to marry a warrior king. Will Iya Labakẹ save her child in time? Is Iya Labakẹ just a simple defenseless mother? Or . . . ?


The most fascinating thing about this book is that Yetunde, is nine-months old and very, very funny. On this day, she’s playing with the computer when she notices her mother’s sadness. Being the girl she is, she toddles over and tries to cheer her up. Beaming proudly that she made it on her own, she grabs her mother’s leg.

Looking down on her beautiful child’s face, what mom isn’t going to sweep her up into a loving cuddle after such a big accomplishment. But, looking into her mother’s eyes, Yetunde sees that she is still sad so she takes her mother’s face in her hands and gives her a little kiss. It was so precious, and….

However, this moment led up to an even more heartwarming and touching event…storytelling. Yes, Yetunde’s mother cradled her on her lap and passed on one of the many folktales that her mother had shared with her to honor her mother’s passing.

Yetunde – An Ode to My Mother, brought back so many pleasant memories of storytelling with my mother, as I’m sure it will for you. It seems to be the backbone of African culture as it is with many others. Naturally, Yetunde – An Ode to My Mother is an ETHNIC read. But, it is also UNIQUE in the way Segilola Salami marries both Yoruba words with English.


Although the main character is nine months old, I recommend Yetunde – An Ode to My Mother for all children from the ages of infant to twelve years old.



africa-writes-july-2016-me-aloneBIO  From the dawn of time itself African folktales have been passed from generation to generation – in a way that’s almost as timeless as the stories that have survived through the same centuries.

Where once the village fire was the lynchpin to the fables spoken around it and from adult to child, author Segilola Salami now uses the written word to do the same – with first her novel Yetunde: The Life and Times of a Yoruba girl in London.

With the rise of digital media in this most technological of ages, Segilola goes against the grain and vanguards traditional storytelling through Yetunde. In the same way that African folktales have helped prepare young people for their life ahead, so does the novel by the way of life as seen through the eyes of 6 month old Yetunde.

Nigerian born and London bred author Segilola Salami intrinsically knows the heartfelt stories woven through her eagerly awaited novel. With an undeniable heritage and unwavering passion to pass on the tales, she began compiling African stories to tell to her own then new born daughter.
With interest mounting from Nollywood investors, all talks are still open and enquiries still welcome for those wishing to turn the book into a 3D animation.

Even in these heady times of increasing success Segilola stays true to both her roots and passion of writing. She is available to hold book reading events and give creative writing workshops to those budding writers that wish to follow in her footsteps. Similarly she is now available to take speaking engagements and write custom pieces for enquiring publications.

Since releasing her first book Yetunde: The Life and Times of a Yoruba Girl in London in 2015, Segilola Salami now has a number of other books under her belt and is the host of her own podcast show called The Segilola Salami Show. The show is a round table discussion where she has a number of other self published authors discuss the business of self publishing and review a self published book. If you would like to be a guest on the show or be in the audience, then please contact her now. Segilola Salami is also a self-publishing strategist and provides one to one support to aspiring authors to self publish their own books and make a success of it. Over a number of weeks, she helps aspiring authors navigate the minefield that is self publishing to enable them publish their own book successfully.






Do you wish you could get better grades? Do you struggle with certain subjects and believe that maybe you’re not cut out for them? Do you want to spend less time studying and still get good grades?

Anyone Can Get An A+: How to Beat Procrastination, Reduce Stress and Improve Your Grades is a conversational, down-to-earth guide for high school and college students on how to maximize their learning and get the grades they want. This book draws on research from the fields of psychology and neuroscience, and gives students practical advice that they can implement right away, to overcome procrastination, make the most of their study time and improve their grades significantly.


The first half of Anyone Can Get An A+ explains the dynamics of learning by splitting it into two categories: growth mindset, believing that you can improve, and fixed mindset believing that you are stuck with what you have.

In thirty-nine steps, Anyone Can Get An A+: How to Beat Procrastination, Reduce Stress and Improve Your Grades sets down a UNIQUE and strong foundation for your child to change from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset by developing skills and adapting positive abilities for learning while still participating in your regular activities and getting plenty of rest.. One the steps presented is Interleaving, which is spending time learning one thing, taking a break and moving on to something else. This process gives you a chance to learn more rather than spending lots of time on something you’re having problems with.

Three skills that I would love to have and that I think would be beneficial for any student are:

Clunking – Breaking what you have learned down into smaller parts, mastering them and then putting them all together), deliberate practice;

Deliberate Practice – Practicing a skill repeatedly, fixing any errors, and getting feedback; and,

Mapping – When this skill was presented in Anyone Can Get An A+: How to Beat Procrastination, Reduce Stress and Improve Your Grades, I pictured a history class. where I made a map placing each battle in the order it was fought. What a great way to learn dates.


This book is primarily recommended for high and college students. But, I think Anyone Can Get An A+: How to Beat Procrastination, Reduce Stress and Improve your Grades, is for all children especially in Middle School, but with Parental supervision.




I grew up in India, spending my early years in Kolkata, and then attending high school in New Delhi. I attended the University of Warwick, United Kingdom, to read law as an undergraduate, and went on to get a Masters’ in Public Administration from Cornell University, US. I research and write on issues of international law, transitional justice and business and human rights.

My first book, “Seamus Heaney: Select Poems”, is in its 6th edition currently, published by Rama Bros. India. I have written five other books, with my latest on study skills – Anyone Can Get An A+: How To Beat Procrastination, Reduce Stress and Improve Your Grades. In my spare time, I love to read as many books as possible, write on this blog, and catch up on endless episodes of whatever latest TV shows I am obsessed about.

I have also recently started another blog, on the topic of my recent book. You can check it out here: