Friday, July 31, 2015

Coming Soon--Prisoner of Belief by John Van Dixhorn, PhD - What's Happening at Book Readers Heaven...

In 1971, I read a book that started to change my thinking process... In those days, I was reading a lot of self-help/how-to books, many of them Christian-based...

This little book was fun to read and although I don't remember much about the actual content (it's now been updated and republished), I remember that one of the main points was that I could be a Christian without being religious... To me that meant, mostly, the dogma of the Church and to some extent, the Bible...

I became somewhat addicted to buying such books and still have many on my bookshelves! Some I have even read, but felt a need to have them--of course, I now recognize that I love having books surround me and as long as I can pick out something that might be of interest at any given time, that I have not already read, then, I am happy...

But it was not until I became publicly an independent book reviewer--that is, I had reviewed many books before then, but had never shared my availability to accept and read, then write, reviews... The first few books that challenged my belief system were extremely hard to do. But I was committed to my desire to be as objective as I could be in creating my reviews. I remember the first book I reviewed...I was disgusted but had to figure out how to review the book...In fact, the basic theme was that a former Christian had changed his profession to psychologist...the same as Dr. Van Dixhorn. That book, however, did nothing but write about all the negative things that was wrong with Christianity and then declared, more or less, that you should follow his footsteps...  

Not so, with the book I'll be showcasing soon, Prisoner of Belief. Watch for it shortly after 8-1!

The last two days have been spent in dealing with medical issues...feeling much better... All of my long-term medications have been changed! I was floored! Apparently it is possible that medication becomes toxic after some period long-term use. The buildup from the toxicity was slow over a year and I didn't realize what was happening until I was almost unable to lift my feet... Would you believe that the day after, and on a new medication, the heaviness went away!? I'm telling you this because some of you may have similar experiences with medication and this might be something for you to check out with your doctor--or maybe even a new doctor!

It's been a good month with a lot of great books, don't you think?! Hits for the month for both blogs was 18,536 with more visits from South Korea! Cool, right! It's great to have visitors from all over the world, some of who become regulars... I notice that different types of books brings in different and new individuals, hopefully some staying for more than the book they've become interested in...

But back to the review and discussion with Dr. Van Dixhorn. The last similar discussion with Lee Harmon drew over 1000 hits...People are interested in this topic, just as I am! This next one is different since it is in the form of a memoir and shares personally on how he reached the decisions he ultimately made. His book doesn't try to persuade, it merely states the facts from his own life--a fascinating one, I might add... I do welcome and hope you join us as we discuss how an individual becomes a prisoner of may discover that you, too, may be a prisoner and need to escape...

Special shout-out thanks to the expert who calmed my fears and then helped me understand what an echocardiogram was all about...This poor woman daily has her body abused by helping others gets their bodies in the correct positions in our need for detailed heart information... I am eternally grateful!

More soon!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Assault in Forgotten Alley from the Scotch and Herring Mystery Series, by David Kaumann Added to Personal Favorites for 2015!

McCallum squatted catcher-style next to the victim. The kid was fifteen at most. Black.
Why was a teenage Negro assaulted in a forgotten alley in a neighborhood mostly Jewish? McCallum could think of three reasons, none of them good.
He looked at the kid more closely. Not much he could do before the ambulance came, but even a guess at the injuries and a survey of the victim might help.
The face was beautiful. The kind girls swooned over. And guys wanted to punch out.
As perfect as the face was, the rest of him looked a mess. The kid was huddled over, moaning , clutching his rib cage. His jeans were torn at the calf, and blood drops were crystallizing on the exposed skin. The kid struggled to pull away, the fabric ripped. Might have been a school insignia, one of those achievement patches. The stitching threads, taut in the frigid air, reminded McCallum of the brown-red strings trailing after a picked-too-early scab...
"He was beaten pretty bad. Whoever did it knew what he was doing..."
McCallum touched the boy's shoulder--lightly. The kid moaned, curled tighter, shivered. He winced as he breathed...
McCallum looked at the kid again, shivering and wincing and too out of it to even moan now. He took off his overcoat and laid it around the kid like a blanket...
"One thing I don't get." O'Malley said, "Why'd he leave the kid's face alone?"
"Too pretty to bust up," he offered.

Assault in Forgotten Alley

By David Y. B. Kaufmann

How do you decide that an author will be a favorite by his first novel? For me, it's easy...the writing itself is great, but, more importantly, the story line and characters blend together into a perfect combination of topics that interest me and are presented in a time period that brings back memories and also exhibits the character development that reveals a like-minded attitude of the writer.

I think the most intriguing part of Kaufmann's stories is that, along with a very complex mystery to solve, there is also glimpses of some traumatic event(s) that has occurred, but is only provided by tantalizing teases referring to, normally, James' feelings.

Silence, then a whispering in the statis--the skritch of a needle. The DJ changing the record, not realizing he should also be talking to his audience.
McCallum opened a drawer and fished among the pens, paper clips, pieces of paper, and other odds and ends until he found a pack of cigarettes. He widened the top and counted. Ten left, shoved the pack--crinkling cellophane and all--under some unopened envelopes, pulled out the box of kitchen matches, and struck one
The skritch turned into notes. A solo piano. Familiar. He stood, listening a moment too long, and had to shake out the match quickly. Chopin. The Fantaisie Impromptu? It had been a long time since he'd listened to it.
A long time.
He twisted the radio's knob to off, so hard the radio slid iinto the toaster. He crushed the cigarette and threw the strands into the sink.
It wasn't his fault. He knew that. Drew had even said as much. More than once.  Drew comforting him, when it should have been the other way around. As they stood over Lou Aldala's bullet-ridden, bleeding body. Again at the funeral. And when McCallum had come to pay a condolence call--when others had wanted to turn him away, Drew had insisted he be allowed in.
He could not have known. But he still felt guilty.
And he still had promises to keep. Actually, it was in effect the same promise, to two fathers--one dead, the other in exile.

The main character, Detective James McCallum, is Scottish and calmly speaks of his personal opinions to others, letting them know they are wrong about what they are saying or doing, but not necessarily in a critical manner. Readers can respect him, admire him, and enjoy getting to know him. Especially in relation to his best friend, Drew Aldala... Please check out yesterday's review of the introductory novella, Rampage on Rogers Avenue to learn more.

"Not sure what it has to do with your case, but
I'm an honest guy. We listen to their music,
they play ball like nobody's business, they
bleed red--didn't Shakespeare write about that?"
"About a Jew."
"As long as they work hard, mind their busiiness
follow the law. Live and let live."
McCallum nodded again. The victim's Negro.
Found in an alley over by Ford and Crown."
Tooney whistled low. "You think it might be
McCallum shrugged. "I don't know what to
"Don't tell that to Trosero. He already has
doubts. 'What kind of detective doesn't know
what to think?' he'd say...
McCallum was able to make a connection with the injured boy, Trevor. He stuttered and didn't talk much because of that, but James was able to win him over and at least discover his identity. 

There had been very little evidence in the Alley...a trumpet mouthpiece,  a broken record and a string that had been wound round Trevor's fingers, protected as if it was very important to him... But why? what could a string be used for that was so important?

Finding enough pieces of the record, they were able to consider that it might be Tucker Wilson, who played jazz in Harlem. But as they continued the investigation they found that Tucker was scheduled to play in a nearby club and that Trevor was going to be given a guest slot. Now that would be impossible...

Trevor had been only one of a group of students who were receiving private lessons on various instruments. But Trevor was undoubtedly the most skilled. Could his attack be personal, out of envy or hatred?

In this second novel, we meet Stacey, a close friend of James. Actually, the instigation for the four to meet came from Drew's wife, so James hoped that agreeing would help further the relationship that was developing as James once again began to closely interact with Drew.

No matter at what stage of the case from James' standpoint, Drew will force a recapitulation of all that has transferred thus far. For readers, we quickly learn about the case, the clues and the individuals involved...But it is only when Drew has mulled it over and has then arrived at acceptable options will he share with James! It's kinda fun to see James' frustration and yet, the amazing conclusions from Drew always fits all the pieces together!

Aldala smiled. I think 'Smoke Gets in Your Eyes' would be appropriate."

Stacey, with an encouraging  pat from Faigy, stood and walked, a bit nervous, across the stage. She sat at the piano--an old upright--and pushed back the cover...Stacey played the first few notes of "Fly Me to the Moon." After a quick glance at McCallum, she checked with Tucker Wilson, who circled with his finger, motioning for her to continue.
She started softly, but those nearly shushed each other and the hushing spread.
After a few bars, Tucker Wilson stood and started playing accompaniment, encouraging Stacey to improvise. She finished the song and started to rise, but Tucker Wilson motioned her back as he played the first notes of "Misty."
Stacey got up, curtseyed, and sashayed back, accompanied by some whistles and more applause.
She rejoined them, grinning broadly.
"Aye, and the Cheshire Cat's a wee jealous," McCallum said.
She returned Faigy's embrace with a big hug.
"My mother would be so mortified," she drawled the smile turning wicked..."

With Leroy's arrangement to play for Tucker Wilson, James and Drew decided to take their lady loves out to hear him and hopefully talk to him about Leroy, seeing whether he knew any possible reason for him being attacked. While there, Drew watched as drugs were sold nearby in a corner...and naturally drug dealings became a prominent issue for their investigation...

But no matter all the different options that were being discovered, there was still one question that haunted all those involved... Why was that alley called "Forgotten Alley and who had put up a sign with that name?

I loved it! The book is mostly character driven with some really well-defined individuals that readers will get to know very slowly, by the looks of it! This book, as well as the first, had mysteries which proved to be complex enough that readers will probably have to wait until the ending to know what has really happened... As least I did and you know that's the kind of mysteries I most enjoy! Hopefully, this posting will give you enough to consider whether you are interested in reading the book... My advice is Yes! Do check it out further!


David Kaufmann has a PhD in English and has taught several courses in Literature, Composition, and Jewish Studies. In addition to his fiction, he has written numerous essays, articles, and poems. He has also edited a wide variety of material from medical texts to chess books, and much in between. He writes a weekly blog, which can be accessed at Assault in Forgotten Alley is the first novel-length Scotch & Herring Mystery. He previously published Rampage on Rogers Avenue, which introduces the series. He is also the author of The Silent Witness, a young adult book set in pre-Katrina New Orleans, and Trees & Forest: A Mystery, a post-Katrina mystery set around Tulane University. David Kaufmann and his wife have seven children. They live in New Orleans.

By the Way, I've joined the Fan Club at the author's
web site and
immediately received a short story, 
which I'll tell you about sometime in the future!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Rampage on Rogers Avenue Begins New Favorite Series, for moi, by David Y. B. Kaufmann

When I had the chance to read Assault in Forgotten Alley and realize there was a novella that started the series, A Scotch and Herring Mystery, I immediately downloaded Rampage on Rogers Avenue to meet the main characters right from the beginning. I am certainly happy I did! 

As soon as I started reading, I was reminded of two of my favorite long-time authors, Jonathan and Faye Kellerman... Jonathan is know for his Alex Delaware series, with two men as a team, Alex being the outside "partner..." Where, in this case, the main character is the police officer and his outside "partner" is a Rabbi...

How did Faye's writing come into play? Well, the Rabbi's wife is a strong character and is the one who brings in the Jewish religious issues as part of the daily living of the group. 

Perhaps I was reaching to connect both authors, but I believe the merge of Jewish life is much more prominent in this new series, than that of Jonathan's series, so Faye's work had to be predominant in the comparison. If you enjoy one or both of these great writers, then I highly recommend you consider reading David Y. B. Kaufmann!


The parchment of the Mezuzah

“My husband prefers his Hebrew name now. Beryl.”
 “I’ll try to remember,” McCallum said, hoping he sounded sufficiently agreeable, yielding. “But I’ve known him as Drew since we were kids. Maybe I should stick with Rabbi Aldala.” He smiled, hoping she’d take it as a joke. 
“If that’s easier for you.” Had things gotten so bad that it mattered if he called his best friend by his English name rather than his Hebrew name? McCallum hadn’t known about this custom until Aldala’s Bar Mitzvah. Two names, one for insiders, one for outsiders. Sort of like a secret language. Or handshake. Had Drew ever used his Hebrew name - what was it again? - until he got married, until his wife insisted he use it?
 “Come in,” she said. He’d been standing there like some mindless robot. She opened the door and stepped back, allowing him to enter. He wiped his feet on the mat. He ignored the hat and coat rack on his left and followed her down the narrow hallway...

She was such a small woman, was Faigy Aldala, barely five foot. But she was a force to be reckoned with. Anyone who could keep up with Drew - keep ahead of him - had to be one strong woman...

He turned and smiled. Standing before him was his best friend - half an inch taller, twenty pounds lighter, with blondish hair and a beard. “How are you Drew?” He extended his hand. Drew Aldala ignored the hand and gave James a hug, but withdrew quickly. 
“Sorry,” James said, referring to the gun. “Even out of uniform, I have to wear it. Part of the job...”

Aldala half-smiled and his eyebrow went up. “What have you got?” McCallum relaxed, pulling the manila folder out from his trench coat. “Breaking and entering. Robbery. Assault and battery, possible attempted murder.” “Of Lazar Doninger, the pawnbroker.” McCallum nodded. “What have you got?” “One diamond cuff link, a gold plated switchblade that looks like a Swiss army knife, no cash to speak of, an unrifled cash register, a lot of broken trinkets, and a trashed establishment.”

Aldala scratched his eyebrow. “It’s Shabbat. I don’t work on Shabbat, unless it’s life or death. This isn’t.”
 “I know. But if you could take a detour on your way home and walk by the pawn shop...just to take a look before who knows who gets to it and makes a mess of the mess. I can’t cordon it off for twenty-four hours.” 
“You could...”

McCallum swallowed. “Well, the first thing I noticed was the door frame, of course.”
 “Really? What about the bubble gum machine?” “The bubble gum machine?” 
“Yes. It had stood outside the left-hand side of the store - there was a circle the size of the base that had a quarter inch of snow in it, compared to the several inches piled up around it haphazardly. It had been moved almost, but not quite, in front of the grocery store on the left.”
“I didn’t see a bubble gum machine...

“The door frame?” 
“I saw you examining it,” McCallum said, taking a fish cake - without horseradish. “The mezuzah was missing,” Aldala said. 
“Hmmm. The horseradish kills the taste. These are quite good plain. How do you know it was missing?”
 “The discolored wood, the splinters, the bent nail. It had been there and ripped out.”
 “So?” McCallum shrugged. “Maybe Doninger had a change of heart - you did. He just went in reverse. Or was embarrassed. From what I remember of the mezuzah, it doesn’t mix well with a pawn shop.”
 “A mezuzah belongs on every door of every Jewish house,” Aldala said earnestly.


Rampage on Rogers Avenue:
A Scotch & Herring Mystery

 by David Y. B. Kaufmann

There is a mystery within the mystery regarding the relationship between James and Drew. They had been friends since they were very young, but something had occurred within the past few years that caused their separation. This is an ongoing issue that continues into the next book, and perhaps will enter future novels. 

In this first mystery, we enjoy the first encounter of the two friends. Drew is now married and has become a Rabbi. His father was a police officer, killed in the line of duty... Although James had known about some of this, and had even attended events in the background, they had not spoken...

Eight forty-five. Good thing Drew had a late-start

 congregation. With luck, he’d have fifteen
 minutes with his friend - and partner of futures past.
 He hefted the manila folder. 
“Consulting with Sherlock Holmes.”

I wasn't quite sure whether James had taken advantage of the Jewish connection of his latest case in order to contact his old friend, and partner. Readers will begin to find little tidbits out that add a personal flavor to the series...Especially the development of Faigy, Drew's new wife...

Especially enjoyable is the interaction between the two friends as it relates to a case... James, by the way, had Drew's father as his mentor while Drew listened and observed his father in action as he handled his cases. Of the two, Drew is the Sherlock Holmes to his Watson, James McCallum... 

James has an interesting background which will be explored more fully in the novel--review coming next. Apparently, James' father was on the other side of the law, BUT, was very good Friends with Police Officer Aldala, allowing the two young boys to become close friends. However, James has yet to be totally accepted as the new, and only, detective in his precinct and creates some prickly situations when he refuses to condone any type of prejudicial slurs against the Jews living in the community...

Another little tidbit, quite surprising, is the Rabbi's interest and collection of hero action comic books! I look forward to seeing how this is worked into the upcoming books!

A pawn shop has been broken into, the owner beaten...normally I wouldn't do an excerpt about the victim, but in this case, it brought back a fun memory from my childhood...

McCallum watched the two leave, then entered the back room. It looked like an expanded closet. A desk, a wheeled chair, a folding chair, and a man slumped, half-sitting, face up against the back wall. Doninger was dressed in a suit, shoes shined,
thinning hair brylcreemed. 

McCallum knelt, felt the man’s chest, then the pulse in the neck. He listened to the man’s breathing. Steady. He scanned the body, checking for broken bones. Note to self, he thought, take the rest of that CPR course already. 
He felt around the man’s head, gently, and found the lump. His hand came away sticky. A surface cut, as far as he could tell. He tensed in frustration. The same frustration he felt every time he saw a victim, any victim. The same frustration that had fired him when he was ten and solving the mysteries of the Hardy Boys, Batman and Holmes, but always, always after someone had been hurt. Just once, he wanted Mike Barnett to open the door before the victim got machine gunned. It never happened. 
He knew detectives didn’t prevent crimes, they solved them. He’d become one anyway. Something else he owed Aldala’s father.

This mystery is not anywhere near the complexity of Assault in Forgotten Alley. It does a great job, however, of seeing  the clues gathered by James, then Drew, and then readers listen while the two regurgitate the details almost ad nauseum as is sometimes the case for difficult cases. I enjoyed the back-and-forth banter and quickly decided this author had a new fan! Actually, you see, readers will either being learning new things, or being reminded of the symbols of the Jewish Religion while working to solve a difficult mystery! Loved it!


Friday, July 24, 2015

The End of the Bitter Game - Final in Trilogy, Patchwork Pieces, by D. B. Martin

Nowhere wasn't a real place. It was the idea I associated the place with - Wimbledon Common. The uncultivated expanse of tree and scrub on the edge of the city - not manicured like Hyde or Green Park, but lush and natural and for me, redolent as much of solitude as calm - what I needed most now. The only time its all-encompassing peace had been destroyed had been when Margaret and I had come across a lone piper deep in the center of it once on one of our walks. The only time too we'd been in mutual concord other than to propel my career forward. That Margaret recently, although not on that day. That day she was virtually as she was the last time I'd seen her, only a day ago.
Presumably the piper had been practicing a for a concern or recital. We didn't ask. The mournful wail of the bagpipes rapidly dispersed wildlife and humankind alike at the time. No peace on the common that day.
"Nowhere," Margaret had said.
"Nowhere that I want to be right now!" I'd agreed, steering us onto the path leading off the common and back to the car.
"No, the piece is called 'Nowhere'," she replies, impatiently. "It's usually a strings arrangement. Unusual for the pipes." I raised my eyebrows in mock tribute but ignored her inclination to linger. We found the tree on the way back because I took a wrong turning on one of the circuitous pathways in my impatience to escape.
So nowhere was here, where the Margaret I'd thought I knew wasn't. And indeed, everywhere was beginning to feel like that now. On an impulse I went in search of the tree, retracing what I could remember of our trajectory off the common that day - a short way from the centre, skirting the scrubby lake overgrown with bulrushes and waving grass. It was on a track seemingly leading nowhere too; Margaret had always liked those best. Apt, in fact - then and now. It took several attempts before I found it again but I didn't mind. There was no piper today, and very few walkers. There was space to think, if only I could force my addled brain to work logically...
The tree was at the end of an overgrown path between thick rows of shrubs... She smiled - that smile she had for when she knew she'd irritated me and found it amusing..."It's amazing, and look, it has a letterbox too. To leave messages for the gods," she paused, "or their handmaidens," The smile twisted a little tighter...
...I'd forgotten the exchange - occurring only weeks before she'd "died" - until now... Dammit! How much else of what she'd said had I misunderstood?

Patchwork Pieces:
Sometimes Natural Justice is the Only Justice...

By. D. B. Martin

OMG, this is one of the most complicated books, and trilogy, that I've ever read. Readers will be just as confused as the main character, Lawrence Juste. The author gives little to help us through the maze that Juste travels. The ending? well, it could not have been any different, even though it will be a total surprise, I guarantee it! I was tense throughout the entire last book--who can Juste trust? Who can I, the reader, feel confident enough about to know whether to believe any of the individuals that surrounded Lawrence. At the end, I realized I totally believed only Mary, Lawrence's sister, who had been declared insane many years ago... A suspense thriller like no other...

If you have not previously known of this trilogy, I highly advise you read my reviews for Patchwork Man and Patchwork  People  to become somewhat acquainted with the story. The trilogy follows Kenny, who later changes his name, from his childhood through to the present. Kenny's family was torn into pieces by the courts and Kenny grew up on state care, only to be later taken into the home of a prominent man who lavishly took care of him, for favors...

The money that had been given to Kenny is now being demanded back by family representatives and, Lawrence, who is himself now a man of the courts, is fighting for his life, by going back into his early life to try to figure out and gather information about what has happened.

For quite recently, the wife who he had just buried, had begun to send him messages... A key point to remember is that everything that Lawrence, and you the reader, will learn, will come to you in pieces...His life, by now, has broken into so many pieces that he's not sure patches can ever help... Indeed, trying to get over your spouse's death has just begun when his whole world turns topsy-turvy...

And a young boy is a major reason why... His Social Worker becomes another individual who has unfortunately also gained a piece of his heart and they begin an affair. Soon, however, he begins to doubt her as trustworthy. And, soon, he begins to realize that the boy is probably a member of his family...but how and who is his
Appearance had done their job. I was the perfect caricature of the loser - and almost not a lie, because without an emotional rudder, that was exactly what I was becoming. The fling with Kat had been my middle-aged swansong but I'd even failed in that. How did you cultivate love based on lies, or a relationship based on a chasm? Neither of us had been honest enough with each other to bridge the gap, and the claim to Danny that I was invincible had been born out of the work Margaret had so diligently toiled at for me over the years. I was the perfect patchwork, painstakingly pieced together out of her works, social steering and careful grooming. The empty space I'd acknowledged existed in my life when she went wasn't merely because her routines were no longer in place to keep me rigidly in check, it was because she was no longer there to fill it. I'd been blind about that too. I didn't just miss her. I needed her, or someone like her. Without her, My patchworked life would be no more than prayed pieces of threat before long.

In the midst of the personal crises that were entering Juste's life, including the loss of his car and home through vandalism, there were many legal issues that surrounded him, all of which he was suspected for, or was a "person of interest..." There was the theft of the majority of the money from the law firm of which Lawrence was a member... Then there was the trouble that Kat's, his lover, brother got into and was being used for a bit of blackmail. Then one of Lawrence's sister was murdered, a woman who was supposedly Danny's mother but wasn't... and who Lawrence had been accused of being intimate with to father the boy... Then Win, his older brother, was accused of that murder, so Win needed his brother to act as his solicitor...

In the meantime, his dead wife, now back, was using Danny to send Lawrence messages. and at one point was kidnapped for millions in ransom...

There is no way I'm going to even try to tell you the "story" as it moves forward, but if you pay close attention, you will be able to follow everything, even if you don't pick up any clues about what's happening. At one point, you may even question whether Lawrence is indeed guilty of some of what he's being accused of... But, no matter what, you will easily determine that somebody, or more than one person, is out to ruin Lawrence...and has been doing a wonderful job in totally discrediting him professionally, if not personally (for everybody, that is). Because one person--Danny--believes in him... And, for Lawrence that is enough to make him do what he had to do, to ensure Danny was ultimately safe.

And what we do know is that money is at the root of all that is evil!

"What's mine is yours, as long as what's yours is mine." He winked and threw that the car keys. "And given what you got, that's a lot - but I'll still skin you if she comes back dented," he shuffled off, whisling tunelessly. It sounded like "Money, Money, Money," or an off-key version of it - much like my plan...

"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I  know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." --1 Corinthians 13:12

I've said it before and I'll finish with it again...This is a brilliantly  plotted trilogy, full of intricate planning that is full of obfuscating activities until only, as the final book is ending, that the main character has begun to understand, even if he doesn't know the full truth yet, that, finally, readers will know it all, even as he learns, and accepts, the total truthful amazing story! Simply fantastic!


I people watch. I always have.

Whatever I’m doing and whoever I’m with, a little part of me is watching and secretly wondering - what did that mean? Why did they do that? What might happen next? It was inevitable I would eventually put all those observations together into stories; but what happened next, and why, is never quite what you expect – as in real life, of course...

Born in leafy Surrey, I moved to the forests and shores of Hampshire as a child and I’m now people-watching amongst the dreaming spires of Oxford and its surrounding countryside. And I still have much, much more to put into words …

Debrah is a B.R. A.G. Medallion honoree for Patchwork Man, the first in her Patchwork People thriller series, and also the 2014 Chair of the Wantage (not just Betjeman) Literary Festival. She is widowed with two daughters and a mud-loving dog - all helpful in keeping her feet on the ground even if her head is in a book. 

I'm always pleased to hear from readers. You're who I write for!

Contact me on Also writing YA under a different name...

Thursday, July 23, 2015

More Love Sayings - Marriage! Enjoy!

Samantha Thompson

I wonder if the screwing I'm getting 
is worth the screwing I'm getting.
--Lana Turner

Marriage is a great institution but I'm not read
for an institution yet. Whenever you want to
marry someone, go have lunch with his ex-wife.
--Shelley Winters

The trouble with some women is that they get all
excited about nothing - and then marry him.

Elenora Pulcini

I have learned that only two things are necessary
to keep one's wife happy. First, let her think she's
having her way, and second, let her have it.
--Lyndon B. Johnson

Marriage is popular because it combines
the maximum of temptation
with the maximum of opportunity
--George Bernard Shaw

Sue Gardner

It's a funny thing that when a man
hasn't anything on earth to worry about,
he goes off and get married.
--Robert Frost

We sleep in separate rooms, we have dinner
apart, we take separate vacations--we're doing
everything we can to keep our marriage together.
--Rodney Dangerfield

Traci Hallstrom

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

YA/Adult Contemporary Romance, Every Glance, by Sylvie Nathan, Set Against Today's World...

“I’m sorry , babe. I just got really scared, and I really don’t think fighting in public with people that stare at us and make comments towards us is the best way to handle it— but I know that your hands were kind of tied, and it was your reflex to go after that guy. So I understand, and I’m sorry,” Britney said timidly. 

Dez situated herself under the sheets and pulled the cord to shut off the lamp on her bedside table. With the room lit only by the lamp on Britney’s side, she leaned over and faced her girlfriend. “It’s okay Brit. I’m sorry too, I shouldn’t have gotten physical and that was really bad form. I just couldn’t hold my tongue anymore. But to be honest I don’t know if I would take it back or ever be able to handle it differently . I’m not cut out for this, having people stare at me or laugh at me— I just can’t sit by and let it happen, it’s too painful.”

 Britney knew that they hadn’t settled the issue, and that it may never be settled because Dez was stubborn when it came to most things. She flipped over to face the wall and turned off her own lamp. “I know Dez, I know,” she whispered. 

They both laid there for minutes before even attempting to go to sleep, both still shaken from the night’s events. Britney’s throat swelled and ached from the tears that she was so desperately fighting back, and she made sure not to make a sound when the tears did start free falling from her eyes.

Every Glance

By Sylvie Nation

It may be accepted nation-wide for homosexual marriage, but we all know that there will always be those who will not accept it. At the same time, those who are homosexual are the ones who are judged, harassed...and watched...

Sylvie Nation tells of a young girl, Dez, who had fallen in love with Britney and had become a couple. But Dez was having a hard time with accepting the attention that was made every time they went out together. All they had done was go out to dinner... But a group of men had watched them all through the meal and then followed them when they left...

Dez hailed a cab and held Britney closely in the light breeze while they waited for a cab with its lights on to pull in front of them. Neither of them noticed as the men came outside and lit cigarettes behind them, resuming the stares that they had become quite practiced at in the restaurant. Hearing voices, both girls glanced behind them and seeing the men they quickly turned around and held onto each other tighter. Not because of the weather, but because of a desperate desire to be left alone and be safe at home. 

The men started whispering and chuckling loudly obviously trying to get a rise out of either of the girls . Dez had to physically bite her lip in order to keep from saying anything. But because they weren’t getting the reaction that they were looking for, it didn’t take long for the guys to make their snickers verbal. They yelled from where they stood, “Hey dyke!” and “I’ve never seen a lesbian that looked so normal!” to Britney. They laughed back and forth until Dez could no longer contain herself. She broke loose from Britney and charged at the group...

Most of us have known people who were in same-sex relationships...Most of mine have been in a business environment or in a group situation where you don't think about their personal choices...

This story, therefore, for me, was an eye opener. We've all heard of cruel harassment or even worse, but normally that is told to us second-hand. I applaud Sylvie Nathan for writing this short that will surely be of help to young teens who are already or will begin to face this sad and hurtful type of discrimination...

Britney was able to have those hurtful feelings slide off her back, without making a scene. Not so Dez... And when it caused trouble between them, Dez chose to not go out as a couple again...

Obviously, that was not the answer...

So Britney decided to give her an ultimatum!

This is a heartwarming, sad, and, finally, victorious story that is well worth your time. It's a short story with a big message for both straights and homosexuals as well. It's time to accept the world's people as they are... Love is a beautiful story in itself...


Sylvie Nathan was born in Toronto, Canada. Sylvie lives in Seaforth, Ontario with her wife, their child and two cats (George and Darya). Sylvie is an author of lesbian romance and thrillers. In her free time, she likes to meditate, read, draw, clean the house and go on trips with her family.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Are You a Cool Kid? What Makes You One? Check out Cool Kids Wear Glasses by Teddy O'Malley...

Kayla sat in a semi-circle with Yumi, Nia, and Allison. A few other kids who were deemed “uncool” by Mandy joined the circle as well. “Today, we hereby form the Cool Kids Club.

We'll be real and true cool kids,” Kayla explained. “We'll stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves. We won't back down to bullies. We'll celebrate our differences.”

 “Here here!” the other kids shouted. Kayla, who was almost as well known for art as she was for standing up for the innocent, handed each kid a badge made of construction paper.”

“Cool Kids Club, Member Alex,” Alex read. “I like it.”

 “What's the meaning of this?” Mandy demanded as she walked toward Kayla. “I formed a club. It's called the Cool Kids Club. You don't have to be cool by Mandy-Standards to be a member . You just have to help others and stand up for those who are bullied.”

“You can't just decide who is cool and who isn't. That's my job!” Mandy protested. 

“We're not. We're just called the Cool Kids Club. You can't stop us from using the title.” Kayla smiled. 

Mandy ran back to her girls. She wasn't sure what to do now. Kayla Littlebe kept making her look bad. If anyone was a bully, it was Kayla Littlebe, that's for sure.

Cool Kids Wear Glasses

By Teddy O'Malley

Author-Illustrator O'Malley hits hard into an issue that confronts most children--if they are the least bit different... Of course, being different means that you are different from the bully that claims you are, right?

Sometimes a child, in this case Mandy, might not really know that they have turned into a bully. A child might have some basic leadership skills that has resulted in her having friends that seem to automatically follow and accept what she says. Sometimes that is based upon their beauty, or that they wear the right clothes... Once Mandy was deemed a leader, she proclaimed herself the coolest kids in school. The problem was that she immediately started placing herself as the model upon which "cool kids" were accepted to be her friends.

“Write that down, Tasha,” Mandy ordered.
 “Kayla Littlebe is not cool.”
 Tasha quickly scribbled ,
“Kayla Littlebe = out” in her journal.

“Pshaw, cool kids have to be this tall.” Mandy held her hands up way above Allison's head. Allison broke into tears and ran away crying.

Kayla walked up to Mandy. “Do you know what you're doing?”

...“Yes, I'm deciding who is in and who is out,” Mandy explained. 

“Do you even know what the word cool means, Mandy? You're not friendly and nice to others. You're not cool at all. You're making fun of people who are different. Someday, you'll be different too. Then somebody will make fun of you for it. You'll be the one in tears.”

“As if,” said Mandy. “Oh , by the way, Kayla, you're officially not cool.”

 “I would never want to be your definition of cool,” Kayla said and walked away..."

Kayla was  somewhat of an activist--if Mandy didn't change, she would counter her actions with her own. She formed a "Cool Kids Club" for everybody that Mandy had declared uncool! Hey, a very cool idea in my opinion! Kayla was also a leader, but that came because she was always nice and tried to help people. And she even tried to help Mandy, but Mandy just wouldn't listen... 

But...was it too late... According to her own rules, Mandy was about to become "uncool!"

The illustrations in the book are line drawings, colored, which I thought matched the story line, since Kayla was into art as well. You will meet most of the main characters in pictures throughout the 62-page book. The writing is of particular interest since the author has matched the style of talking to age-appropriate children who will probably be reading the book themselves!

O'Malley has actually slid in a great lesson, while providing a great story that most children will immediately relate to for one thing or another... Mandy quite easily decided what made a child "cool," including height, whether they wore glasses, and other simply silly things that hurt when you're the brunt of being declared uncool! By simply being Kayla, as she was, the story comes full circle with everybody, including me, quite satisfied!

Better check it out and find out who the really cool kids are! Highly recommended...


Teddy O' Malley was born in in Saint Louis, Missouri. She has traveled all over the United States and enjoys learning about new things and other cultures. She has enjoyed studying Spanish, German, and now Italian as well. She dreams of visiting a foreign country. Teddy O'Malley has also worked as a nurse assistant, aiding the disabled and the elderly.