Up Close and Personal with K. Madill, Author of ‘The Stolen Herd’

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00068]Title:  The Stolen Herd
Author: K. Madill
Genre: Young adult fantasy
Paperback: 181 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (February 20, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1482640023
ISBN-13: 978-1482640021
Purchase at http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00GBQ9V8O


Mandamus is only a foal when his herd is captured by the terrible Rakhana Army. Rescued and raised in secrecy, he knows nothing of his heritage until a dreadful incident in the woods brings him to the attention of the Forest council – and everyone else. Sent away for his own protection, he is determined to seek help on behalf of the many animals who have gone missing from the forest, including his own family.

With the help of a troubled man and a stout-hearted bat, can Mandamus save his fellow creatures before it’s too late?

Up Close

The thing about me is that I – love to rescue things. Even teddy bears out of the garbage! I just adopted an emaciated horse from a rescue center and although her history is tragic, her future with me shines like the sun.  It is probably the best feeling I have ever had in my life, to be in a position to help her.  Now, that being said, it turns out she’s doing as much for my sense of well-being as I am (hopefully) doing for hers. I call her Sahasa, which, I am told, is the Hindi word for courage.

When I first get up in the morning, I try to avoid stepping on an animal. I seriously have so many pets that it’s like Disney’s Cinderella – only in reverse.  They don’t help me get dressed while I sing…the dog usually takes off with my socks while the ferrets steal out of my backpack. 

The most important thing in my life is to be as true to myself as I possibly can be. I have found that only by being brutally honest internally, can I truly be any good to and for the people and animals around me. I went through a period where I lived alone and took a lot of time to really look at who and what I was. I found the strength of my writing grew and life improved immeasurably.

I love to travel to Vancouver Island.  To me, it is one of the most breathtaking spots on earth.  You can’t ask for anything more lovely than a spot where the leaf of the forest meets the emerald ocean. Many a setting of the Mandamus and Luco series have been inspired by that stunning place.

In my spare time, I write! Read anything I can get my hands on.  Ride horses, practice roller derby, play my guitar, hang out with my animals, research for my next book, dig the sunsets, spy on outerspace through my telescope.

One thing I learned about life is it is constantly shifting. You either embrace that instability or face being very unhappy.

The sole mission I am on this earth is to write books about animal and human rights and publish them. Even if no one reads them, I know that I tried to make a difference.

One little known fact about me that might surprise you is I am extremely insecure about my writing and although I seem very social, I am quite introverted. I’m perfectly happy in a room by myself making things up.

My favorite time of day is…well, depends on the day. During the week, it’s when I pull up to my house after work and I know I’m getting a hug from my guy before I head to the stable. On weekends, it’s early morning, listening to my horse chew her hay.

I love to write about animals. With this genre (YA fantasy) I have the freedom to create all these animal characters with different histories and personalities.

The most difficult aspect about writing is my constant need for re-writes. I agonized over my first chapter. I must have re-written it no less than 15 times.

My most favorite aspect about writing is character building. Mandamus, Arkas, Luco, all of them – they’re so real to me. I have pages of history, backstories and family trees for every character.

When I became a published author for the first time, I drank champagne and celebrated – it was also my birthday!

The inspiration behind my book comes from my need to acknowledge that this world can be a very hard place. People and animals face destruction of their homeland, displacement and starvation. How Mandamus came into being was the oddest thing that’s ever happened to me – I clearly saw him standing in front of me one day. Crazy, I know.

The most asked question about my book is what is it about?  I tell people that, yes, it is a story with talking animals, but the bigger picture (there’s always a bigger picture, isn’t there) is that it is a tale of courage, love, and finding yourself.


Karai MadillA chronic “head in the cloudser” K. Madill lives in a rickety house on a well treed street in British Columbia, Canada.  When she’s not hanging out with her best equine friend in the woods she can be found trying to stay upright on her roller skates or mediating the affairs of her various furred and feathered friends that rule the aforementioned rickety house. 

K. Madill’s website: kmadill.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/K-Madill/161159890706088

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KaraiMadill1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20643483-the-stolen-herd

Pump Up Your Book and K. Madill are teaming up to give away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms and conditions:
o By entering, you confirm you are 18 years of age or older.
o Raffle runs from 12:00 AM EST on June 2 through 12:00 AM EST on June 28, 2014.
o Winner will be selected randomly by Rafflecopter.
o Winner will be notified by email and has 72 hours to claim the prize before a new winner is selected.
o Prize will be sent via email from the author’s representative.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Book Excerpt: Crossed Out by Kim Baccellia

Title: Crossed Out
Author: Kim Baccellia
Paperback: 212 pages
Publisher: Lachesis Publishing
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1897562683
ISBN-13: 978-1897562680

Following the light can’t be that hard, right?  So why don’t the dead just do it and leave Stephanie Steward alone?  However nothing is ever as simple as it should be as Stephanie learns when her hidden ‘gift’ becomes more than a nuisance, quickly turning into a liability.  If she can’t learn to trust someone with her secret, the world as she knows it will go to hell.  Literally.  But if she doesn’t choose wisely, she might just end up learning firsthand how hard it is to follow that light.  Because she’s next on the list to be crossed out.


Book Excerpt:

I couldn’t deal with Mom and her holier-than-thou attitude about decorating crosses. If she had any clue why I needed to do this, maybe she’d back off. I pushed my hair aside and looked down at the wooden beams. My box of paints and Sharpie pens lay close to my side. I had to get the design just right. Roses, or something plainer? It didn’t help that it was so cold in the garage.

Why was it so hard to help the dead go to the other side? It’d be a whole lot easier if they told me what they wanted on their crosses. Dead girl comes, asks for help, and tells me she’s into pink roses. Yes, that would make my job a lot easier.

But one thing I’ve learned is, life isn’t easy. Cliché, but true.

Figures, this was how I’d spend my time on a Saturday – sitting cross-legged on the floor in our garage, worrying about finishing a cross for some dead girl. In a few hours, Mom would drag me to Mrs. Swanson’s house for a sleepover. I didn’t really have time to decorate a cross.

And each time I tried to sketch, thoughts of the meeting drove any thought of the design out of my mind. I mean, how could I even think of helping others – albeit dead ones – when my own life was such a disaster?

I didn’t want to go. But Mom was using the whole sleepover as a way to get me to be around Hillary, whom she thought would be such a good example for me. But I couldn’t tell my mother the truth – I hated Hillary. Yes, we’d once been close, but it wasn’t as if we were BFF anymore. No, Hillary made sure of that when I’d been stupid enough to trust her with my secret. A secret that was better left hidden. No one believed the dead could talk to you.

According to my last counselor, the only way that could happen is through serious Steven Spielberg special effects.

When I admitted to seeing one of my dead friends, he didn’t freak. No, he did something worse. He ended up suggesting to my parents that I needed to see a counselor – for serious psychological help. I mean, only crazy people see the dead.

And, I hate to say this, but his anti-anxiety and antidepressants don’t keep them away.

Sometimes I wished the drug cocktail could just erase them. It sure would make my life a lot easier.

Sighing, I decided to go with pink roses. What girl didn’t like pink?

A sudden coldness permeated the garage. Jeez, did Dad forget to close the back door again?

I pulled my hoodie tighter. Working in near darkness was bad enough without the drop in temperature.

Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh.

I dropped my black Sharpie.

Over in the corner of the garage loose papers and dust whirled around – a funnel growing larger and larger.

A light shone next to Mom’s holiday plastic boxes, illuminating some Christmas ornaments, tinsel, and wrapping paper.


The childish voice grew louder. A chill went up my back. I know that voice!

I blinked once and when I opened my eyes I saw the girl. Her long dirty blond hair was clumped into two pigtails, and her bikini top and cut-off Levis brought back memories of the YMCA pool three years ago where I’d spent my summers.


Omigod! I pushed the wooden cross aside. A tingling sensation burned through my whole body. Once I helped a dead person cross over, that was supposed to end the whole rescue scenario. The bright light appeared and poof! Well, not this time.

I scooted away, over the rough, cold pavement. This didn’t make sense. Though I was used to visits from the “other” side, having Allison reappear scared me. I didn’t know what to do.

“Allison, why are you here?” My voice broke.

She took a step toward me. Her lips trembled.


Danger? Did that mean her murderer was out of prison? Just the thought of that perv touching or killing someone else made me want to hurl.

“No… another….”

Someone else?

“Allison, what are you trying to tell me?” I slowly got up off the ground. “Is the guy who killed you, out?”

Allison shook her head. It still freaked me out how much the dead looked like us, not fuzzy or semi-transparent like they show on TV. The ones I helped still looked the way they had when they’d been killed, complete with all the blood and stuff.

Yet here was Allison. She should be in Heaven singing in one of those heavenly choirs Mom always talked about.

I bit my hangnail, ripping it off. I couldn’t deal with this. Not now.


The wind picked up, tossing loose papers everywhere. None of this affected Allison.

I had so many questions to ask her. I missed her. I knew she’d understand me, even when others – including my mom – were clueless.

“Allison, what’s it like to be…?”
The wind howled drowning out her answer.

And just as quickly, Allison left.

I felt as if something had punched me in the stomach. I pushed back the sickness threatening to escape. What was going on? But even worse, I didn’t know what to do. One thing had been made perfectly clear. The rules had all changed and no one bothered to give me the new players’ guide.

Crossed Out  is available to order at Amazon. To learn more about Kim Baccellia, visit her website at www.kimbaccellia.com..

DIARY OF A MAD GEN Y ER by Marcus Dino

Diary of a Mad Gen Y er

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Author: Marcus Dino
Title: Diary of a Mad Gen Y er
Publisher: Smashwords
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Language: English


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Perhaps more of a prequel than a sequel to Marcus Dino’s electrifying Hollywood novel, Fifi Anything Goes in the Doubles Os (Iuniverse 2003, Airleaf 2005) Diary of a Mad Gen Yer focuses on the hilarious adventures of 21st century actress/heroine Fifi Larouche; her silly poems, her silly stories, her silly blogs, during her days working as a waitress while pursuing her dreams of Hollywood fame.

‘Gen Yer’ also introduces colorful new characters such as Alocki, the alien from the planet Zatoris and ‘the smartest person Fifi ever met,’ Flifi, Fifi’s’ ‘fairy alter ego’ from the ‘Alternate Earth’ who gives people advice but has a little stinger on her tail and stings people who do wrong (they feel itchy) and throws pixie dust on people who do right, and dick, an evolutionary scientist who enjoys arguing religion with Fifi and is a ‘proud atheist.’

Of course many of the major characters in Fifi such as Biff, Fifi’s bohemian actor/software engineer boyfriend and Charles, Fifi’s domineering college professor father who thinks Fifi is ‘wasting her time in ‘ala land ‘and needs to come back to her hometown of Des Moines Iowa to work as a banker, are back in ‘Gen Yer.’

While Fifi tended at times to focus on Fifi’s serious side, ‘Gen Yer’ almost exclusively focuses on Fifi’s comical adventures and her ‘silly thoughts’ and will keep readers laughing from beginning to end.

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Perseverance, that’s what my name is. This compilation of stuff about my daily struggles, adventures, and thoughts thru blogs, short stories, and silly poems, well that’s what my game is. You people want to read these silly stories, poems, and blogs, well that’s up to you. You people think “Naaaaaaaaaah this is just more silly stuff coming out of Fifi’s head, I’d rather buy that lottery ticket that I get in the email which says, ‘Congratulations you have already won the Scottish/Ugandan lottery of 5 million pounds, just ‘purchase’ the lottery ticket with your winning number on it and give us all your personal information and we will send you a cashier’s check,’” well that’s up to you. You people would rather walk your pet boa constrictor or pet tarantula around the block than read my stories, well that’s up to you.

I will tell you that life is short and perhaps we only get one shot to live on God’s green Earth, after that kaput! Of course you will meet your good friends or loved ones at the pearly gates when the time comes and they’ll tell you “Did you ever read Diary of a Mad Gen Yer when you were down on Earth? It’s one of the silliest books I’ve ever read,” and you’ll answer……regretfully………..”Well you know my pet boa constrictor got rather impatient and I always needed to walk him……I just never had the time to read that kind of nonsense…..”

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Marcus Dino has had an interesting professional career, first as an Aerospace engineer, next as a passionate math teacher teaching in urban Los Angeles which he currently still does, and finally, as a part time literary fiction author. It is Mr Dino’s being a die hard movie buff that led him to writing Diary of a Mad Gen Yer in addition to his first novel, Fifi, Anything goes in the Double Os, first published in 2003. Mr Dino is a graduate of Chapman University and he also has Masters Degrees in both Education and Electrical Engineering. Diary of a Mad Gen Yer and Fifi can be found at www.smashwords.com and http://www.summertimproductions.net. Mr Dino’s personal website which includes numerous blogs, short stories, and poems involving his central character Fifi Larouche, which helped inspire him to write his anthology, Diary, can be found at www.authorsden.com/marcusdino.


The Pyewiz and the Amazing Mobile PhoneAuthor: Herbert Howard Jones
Title: The Pyewiz and the Amazing Mobile Phone
Paperback: 532 pages
Publisher: YouWriteOn
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Language: English
ISBN: 9781849230278


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Journey to a frozen planet to find a long lost twin. An amazing crystal phone with incredible powers. A cunning old pirate wizard who must be stopped.

Schoolboy Terry Mctrain thinks the new tenant in his parent’s guesthouse is strange. Stranger still is the reason why she is here. Then Terry learns about a twin brother he never knew he had, kidnapped by a pirate wizard years ago. Baffled by all this, Terry realizes there’s a mystery to be solved, and a secret to be uncovered. But when he discovers that the fate of the world is also in his hands, he wonders..

Could this turn into the adventure of a lifetime?

Perhaps, but unless Terry and his friend Will travel to the other side of the solar system to solve this puzzle, there’s a danger that the world would be destroyed, and his twin brother lost forever.

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Herbert Howard Jones was born in London in 1955, and went to Eccles Hall, a boarding school in Norfolk. He left after a couple of years and attended IIford County High School in Barkingside where he where he met Bram Tovey, now conductor of the Vancouver Symphony orchestra, and pianist Derek Smith who later played with the Johhny Dankworth ensemble. They inspired Jones to take up music, which he still practices today.

Jones attended Lisburn college in Ireland and then worked in a wide variety of occupations. These included in law, as a porter at the BBC, in jewellery manufacture, publishing, and commercial art. As a BBC porter he was required to hump equipment between studios and could be spotted riding shotgun around London in the old green BBC vans of that time. He was eventually sacked for lateness!

He then found a job in a Hatton Garden jewellery firm in London. As an apprentice jeweller he was required to assemble twenty-two 14 carat gold gate bracelets a day. In the two years he spent in the business he had personally made nearly 12000 bracelets, which was quite a feat, but was mind numbing work, and not something he wanted to do with the rest of his life. At this stage he didn’t know what avenue to go down next.

But the clue lay in his early life. As a young boy, he showed an early interest in the arts, particularly writing, musical composition and painting, and has pursued them as interests ever since. At this time he met the daughter of the captain of the Titanic, which sank in 1912, and consequently became obsessed with the myth which surrounded the subject. Jones remembers handling Titantic artifacts in the lady’s cottage country, and thinking that they made beautiful art ornaments! They inspired Jones to start creating collages using old bric-a brac, attaching small objects to canvas and applying paint to them.

In his teens, Jones lived with the family of author Julian Branston, whose mother was a close confidant of British comic Kenneth Williams. They introduced Jones to writer and poet John Pudney, famed as the author of wartime poem ‘For Johnny’. As busy as he was, Pudney would give kindly critiques of Jones’ earlier writings, urging Jones to say ‘more with less’. Jones described his writing efforts at this time as pretentious and undisciplined, and was frankly lucky, that ‘Pudney gave him the time of day,’

Jones found John Pudney fascinating as, among other things, he knew Pablo Picasso personally, having met him as a reporter during the war. To the aspiring and awe struck Jones, this was all glamorous grist for this artistic mill. At this time he became fascinated by celebrity, which was hardly surprising considering that his benefactors frequently had prominent people down to dinner, including the Bishop of Liverpool and others.

When Jones worked for a firm of ‘showbiz’ solicitors in London, he ran errands for screen star John Mills, and composer Tony Hatch, but felt that life as a London commuter just wasn’t for him, and so he ‘dropped’ out and went to live in Deptford. Jones justified this to himself by saying this was his ‘down and out in Paris and London period’.

Jones moved around South London and finally settled in some lodgings in Lewisham which were also being occupied by the now international artist David Mabb, presently Head of Masters at Goldsmith’s college, from whom he acquired wonderful discarded art pieces. Mabb’s charismatic and confident personality had an inspiring effect on Jones who began to look at art in a new light. In Jones’ eyes, David Mabb was ‘one of the solid group of British artists who are exponents of a new kind of socially responsible art, which is dynamic and very much at the cutting edge.’ In Jones’ view, Mabb’s art not only succeeds powerfully as a room decoration, but it invokes a strong visceral response in the viewer. If Jones was going to paint, he wanted his art to be as eloquent as Mabb’s! At the time of writing, Jones is still struggling to achieve this goal. Jones cites US artist Ron English, as his other influence.

Meeting well known people and those active in the arts and entertainment industries had the effect of shaping Jones’ view of the world, and he vowed that one day, he too would make a contribution. It was only in his fifties that Jones has seriously sought publication. The Pyewiz and The Amazing Mobile Phone is his first book.

At the present time Jones is busily writing his second book and is painting. He hopes to have his first exhibition of art in London in the near future.

Jones’ most thrilling life moment: ‘being six feet away from Frank Sinatra when he came to the London Palladium!’

You can visit his website at www.science-fiction-fantasy.com.

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“Ouch!” Terry McTrain screwed up his face in agony. The sharp point of the other boy’s cutlass nicked his shoulder, and blood oozed through the jagged tear in his shirt. His mum would go crazy!
The boy he was fighting was a good swordsman. If Terry wasn’t careful he would end up with another wound.

He swished his own weapon ambitiously through the air, but missed his opponent by a mile. It gave the strangely familiar boy a chance to jab him in the belly, and this time it really hurt. Terry dropped his own cutlass in shock. More blood, even redder than before, oozed through his shirt.

Shaking, he reached down to unbutton it, but found himself grabbing the edge of the blanket instead. With a start he sat up in bed and looked round. He had been dreaming!

Still shaking slightly, he let out a long slow relieved breath and glanced over at the clock on the desk by his bed. It was nearly seven, time to get up. Then almost against his will, his eyes came to rest on the mess of papers next to the computer. Homework! Tons of it and his form master wanted it handed in today.

But this was simply not possible, unless he did it on the bus. Unfortunately the journey to school only took twenty minutes, which was hardly enough time to think about the homework, let alone do it. Terry got out of bed, his mind pondering. He would just have to think of an excuse.

“Where is it?” said Mr Ibsen, his form master, after class had been dismissed that afternoon.

“Where’s what, sir?” said Terry playing for time and gaining three more seconds.

His form master grinned humourlessly. “Don’t be cute with me, McTrain. You know what.”

Terry was just going reply but Mr Ibsen interrupted him. “I’m afraid it will have to be detention for you, young man. This is the third time this week that you haven’t handed in any homework!”

“But Mr Ibsen, sir,” replied Terry worriedly. “I had to help my parents clear out a room in our guest house for a new tenant. I was going to do the essay on the bus this morning, but I was too tired.”
His form master glared at Terry in a most horrible way. “Did you say on the bus?”

Terry face reddened.

Mr Ibsen shook his head. “You’re not supposed to do your homework on the bus, now are you? Homework is work that you do at home. Schoolwork is work that you do at school..”

“Yes Mr Ibsen..”

“If we wanted you to do your homework on the bus, we wouldn’t call it homework, now would we?”

“No sir,”

“You had a week to do the essay on Victorian children’s classics,” continued Mr Ibsen. “And it was easy enough, to compare any two popular children’s stories of your choice. And I only wanted a page.”
Terry nodded, badly wishing he had done the essay last night, instead of watching that talent show with his best friend Will.
“You’ve got one more chance McTrain,” said Mr Ibsen rising from his desk and packing his briefcase. “I want the essay on my desk promptly at nine am tomorrow, or you’ll be kept behind to do it in your own time.”

“Yes sir, thank you sir,” said Terry.

“And what’s the matter with your left eye?” demanded his form master giving him a strange look. “You don’t wear mascara, do you?”

“Mascara, sir? No!” said Terry completely bemused by his teacher’s comment.

Mr Ibsen frowned. “Its your eye, its gone a funny colour!”

“Has it?” said Terry rubbing his eyelid.

“Go and wash it off!” said Mr Ibsen striding out of the classroom with his briefcase. “And read my lips, homework on my desk, nine o’clock tomorrow, no excuses!”

“Yes sir,” said Terry. He followed Mr Ibsen out of the class room and then went home.

ACROSS THE POND by Barry Eva (aka Storyheart)

across-the-pond Author: Barry Eva (aka Storyheart)
Title: Across the Pond
Paperback: 120 pages
Publisher: Xlibris (October 2008)
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1436371767
ISBN-13: 978-1436371766

First Sentence: Burrdonk! The wheels locked as the plane descended toward the airport.

barry-evaBorn in Barnet, Hertfordshire, Barry Eva, also known as “Storyheart,” left his beloved England in 2000, moving to the USA to be with the woman he’d met and fallen in love with on the Internet.

Better known for his short romance stories on the net and in his book “Stories from the Heart”.Barry is popular for narrating his stories on local TV or as a guest on other media stations,where his whit, oratory, and old-fashioned English charm make him a popular interviewee.

At present, Barry is living in Connecticut, with his wife and two children.

You can visit Storyheart’s website at http://www.across-t-pond.com.

across-the-pond3Finding himself packed off to friends in the USA, fifteen-year-old English born Fred Squire is not happy. Then he meets Brittany.

Struggling with his feelings for Brit and the language, Fred is further confused when he meets Brit’s flirtatious friend, Angel.

Escaping from a confrontation with Steve Harris, the neighborhood bully, Brit tells Fred her dark secret about Harris, and Fred’s world is turned upside down.

Life continues to throw Fred a curveball when he catches a baseball worth a small fortune. Further run-ins with Harris, a crazy family BBQ, and a chase through a mall all add to Fred’s American adventure.

“Brit and her Brit”, know that their young love will be followed by heartache when Fred has to return to England. But not before some final twists in the tale.

With believable characters, exciting events, humor, first love, education and a little sport thrown in for good measure. Across the Pond is read and enjoyed by people of all ages from the young to the young at heart.

Soon they were out of the airport and in the car park, or “parking lot” as Phil called it. They stopped at a very large car, or at least large compared to the ones Fred was used to.

“I’ll help you put the luggage into the boot.” Fred said.

Brit looked at Fred, her nose wrinkling in a quizzical manner, “The what?”

Phil laughed, “Fred means the ‘trunk’, it’s called the boot in England. Your Dad e-mailed me about some sort of school project you have to work on while you’re here Fred, about the differences in the languages, right?”

“Yeah,” Fred said with a grimace. “I don’t want to do it, but a new X-Box is the bait for me to do a good report.”

Brit rolled her eyes again, something Fred found quite attractive about Brit. That, and the way she wrinkled her nose.

“A school project?”

“That’s what my teacher said, anyway,” Fred gasped as he struggled with his suitcase. “Gotta make a list of all the words I find that are different in this country.” He kicked an imaginary stone. “Of course my parents thought it a great idea… Some holiday!”

Fred got into the car and sat next to Brit, feeling a little self-conscious about being so close to her, hoping he didn’t smell too bad after his travels. He felt very tired as the jet lag of the journey started to wash over him. Yawning, he struggled to remove a notebook from his pocket.

“Here, sleepy head, let me,” said Brit taking the book from Fred, who was too tired to complain. “No time like the present to start your list. What have we got so far?”

Carefully she drew a line down the center of the page and wrote.



Phil never seemed to stop talking during to drive home. Soon the endless chatter and journey had Fred’s eyes almost closed. Suddenly Brit jabbed her elbow into Fred’s ribs, making him jolt awake.

“What the… Err… Pardon…” Fred said trying to come to.

Phil laughed, “Okay Fred, I guess you really must be tired after your long trip. And of course your body clock is still working on English time. I just asked if you found it funny driving on the right hand side of the road.”

“Nahh.” Fred said trying to wake up. “We’ve driven in Europe loads of times, and they all drive on the right.” Suddenly he grabbed the seat “Bloody Hell!”

Phil stopped the car and looked round.

“Are you all right?” Brit asked.

“Err, sorry” Fred replied sheepishly. “But, you just drove through a red light.”

Phil laughed and started the car up again. “It’s okay Fred, in the U.S. unless is says not to, you can turn right at a red stop light, or traffic light as you call them.”

“Sheeesh,” Fred said. “My parents have enough trouble with round-a-bouts in France; they’d have a conniption with people driving through red lights.

Brit sighed. “Okay Fred, what the heck has a round-a-bout to do with driving, I thought it was like a merry-go-round?”

Phil let out another of his “told you so” chuckles. “Brit, we call them rotary’s over here. That will be another couple of words for Fred to put in his book.”

The teenagers looked at each other and smiled.

At that moment they passed a group of boys standing at the side of the road. Brit’s smile faded from her face and she shrank down in her seat in an effort not to be seen.

It was a tired and slightly puzzled Fred who fell into bed a short time later.

A strange country, where people drive through red lights and half the language is different. A girl who can make me smile just by rolling her eyes. And what is it with Brit and that group of boys?

Purchase Across the Pond at Amazon!

The Truth (I’m Ten, I’m Smart and I Know Everything)


The Truth (I’m Ten, I’m Smart and I Know Everything)

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein

Teen/Tween Fiction

The Enchanted Self Press

112 Pages

My new book, THE TRUTH, (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) is a delightful, humorous secret diary, written by a girl who is 10-11 years of age. She is wise and yet so innocent. She makes us laugh and cry and know that we are secretly heroines.  This easy read for girls, (the mother’s edition has a different introduction, different questions at the end, and some pages that are slightly more sophisticated)  has within it a psychological message for girls, that they can and must hold on to the best of themselves as they grow up.  Girls love the book and so do their mothers.  Girls recognize themselves and finally feel totally understood while their moms remember themselves, feel closer to their daughters and everyone has lots to talk about.



Dear Diary,                                                                        date:  September 20


I am in love.  I thought I would fall in love when I was much older, maybe 15 or 16.  Not today.


I was sitting in class, reading a social studies chapter, trying to answer an awful question at the end of the chapter, “Which state has the most coal mines,” when the door opened and a new kid walked in.


There he was!  I knew as soon as I saw him.  He was wearing a cute plaid shirt and he had brown hair and brown eyes.  I could imagine kissing his lips.


My heart felt like it turned over in my body.  My pulse started to race.  I couldn’t concentrate.  I felt excited, like I suddenly had a big secret.  “Our eyes locked.”  I read that in a book that my mom had by her bed.  It was true.  When I looked into his brown eyes, I felt we had known each other forever.  Looking at him made me feel all fluttery inside.


I wanted him to sit near me so badly I could have died.  But he sat in the row in front of me, a little to the right.  Not too bad.  Now I can look at him all day.  My best friend, Angela, sits beside him, to his right.  I hope she doesn’t fall in love with him too.  He’s mine!  His name is Paul.




Sam’s Quest: The Royal Trident by Ben Furman

Sam’s Quest: The Royal Trident

Ben Furman

YA Fantasy Adventure

BlackHawk press

240 pages

Guided by an unseen evil force, Pax hordes invade the World of Bergeron, destroying a thousand years of peace.


Samantha Costas, called Sam, a descendent of the Originators, the keeper of the Crimson Crystal, and the savior of the Awokian people, is the bridge to the World of Bergeron and its lands of good and evil.


Prince Buznor, an Awokian from Innerworld on a diplomatic mission, is seriously wounded during a surprise attack. He calls out to Sam as he falls into a raging river and is swept away. The Crimson Crystal glows, alerting Sam that her friend is in danger. She descends to the World of Bergeron where she comes face-to-face with the most powerful evil she has ever encountered. This evil must be defeated or all is lost.

Sam ran into a huge cavern that was filled with sunlight, and on the far side was the cave exit! She and Patch raced to it and stopped a few feet away. A thin, wispy waterfall fell past the outside opening.

“It’s like a wavy, moving window, Patch.” Sam carefully inched through the spray of the waterfall. She was getting soaked and her glasses were fogged from the mist. She quickly rubbed the lenses clear with the dry cuff of her jacket and peered over the shear ledge. “Wow. We’re really high up, boy, and I don’t see a way down.”

“You are three thousand, four hundred, twenty-two feet, and one-quarter inch above the Green Sea, to be exact.” The voice was deep and the words were spoken with perfect diction.

Sam whirled around at the sound of the unexpected voice. She spied something hidden in the shadows, sitting on top of a tall rock column. She brushed her long, wet hair off her face and peered into the dark, trying to figure out who or what had spoken.

A giant head with short legs? Or maybe no legs! It was the oddest-looking creature she’d ever seen. She could make out two large horns curling back, and scaly skin. Its large red eyes were set far back from the tip of its long, pointy nose.

The head stirred and moved upward. Sam’s mouth dropped open. Whoa! The head is attached to a neck as long as a giraffe’s. Heavy footsteps pounded and shook the cavern floor. The giant, bright red form moved into the light, and shuffled toward her.

It’s got four scaly legs with claws and wings like a bat’s! Sam stumbled backward until she was stopped by the cave wall. Her heart pounded as she watched the creature draw closer. Patch jumped into her arms and ducked his nose under the crook of her elbow.

A dragon. It’s a DRAGON!

Sam’s mind whirled trying to come up with some way to escape. They’d have to jump through the waterfall or run back into the caves.

“Who…are you?” Sam asked meekly.

“I am Telegu the Magnificent, the Exalted Ruler of the Black Dragons and the Gate Guardian to the World of Bergeron,” he declared with a very precise clip to his voice. “I am the most intelligent, most handsome, and most fierce of all that exist.” He fanned his wings, ruffled his iridescent red scales in a flash of dazzling color, and flared his nostrils. “Am I not stupendous?” he asked as he looked down his long nose with an air of superiority.

“Well…yes. Yes, you are.” Sam was scared, and she didn’t want to be rude, but she had never met anyone as full of himself as this Telegu creature. Then she realized that if he was really the guardian of the gates, she would have to get his permission to pass. He might be her only chance of finding her way home.