‘Beautifully Different’ – Teaches Children to Embrace Diversity

Beautifully Different
Dana Salim’s latest picture book Beautifully Different teaches children that being different is beautiful. It is the second book in the Yousuf’s Everyday Adventures series.
Synopsis:
Yousuf wonders if being different is a good or a bad thing. Kids who are different get teased, bullied and picked on. It would be a lot simpler if everyone were the same. Yousuf’s dad suggests that he play the Time Travel game to see if he can find some answers. Yousuf loves that game. He settles back in a comfortable position, closes his eyes, clears his mind of distracting thoughts, and before he knows it, he is on a boat heading towards a far-away island.
Why are people different?
Why can’t we be the same?
Find out with Yousuf,
in the Imagination Game.
Get yourself ready
to sing, swing and shout!
The Weeds are coming,
and there’s only one way out.
Praise:
“Beautifully Different offers children a fun-filled and enlightening fable wherein Yousuf learns why being yourself is special and perfect, even if you’re not like everyone else in school. I loved following Yousuf as he travels over the waves and learns for himself the importance of celebrating diversity. He sees how if different people join together, they become strong enough to stand up to the bullies, and, in their unity, become even more special. The illustrations in this book are marvelous! Each panel is bright and cheerful with bold colors that pop off the page as Yousuf plays his Time Travel game and discovers that being different is beautiful, and that appreciating everyone’s differences is best of all. Beautifully is most highly recommended.” –Readers’ Favorite
Dana SalimAbout the Author:
Dana Salim loves singing silly songs, standing in the breeze and eating chocolate cake. But most of all she loves spending time with her son, Yousuf, and her husband. From row-boating, walking on frozen lakes, hiking to caves and waterfalls, to reading new books and learning new things; everyday holds an exciting adventure for the family!
Her first children’s book Dreamland with Mommy, the first book in the series Yousuf’s Everyday Adventures, was published in August 2015.
Dana’s childhood adventures were split between Amman, Jordan and Vancouver, Canada. She finished Industrial Engineering at the University of Jordan before moving to Ohio, which was home for four awesome years. And now she resides in McAllen, Texas where she is always on the lookout for new adventures with her family.
Dana founded DS Publishing, LLC with her husband in August, 2016. Their mission is to provide products that instill and encourage diversity, acceptance and confidence in one’s self and dreams.
And if there’s one thing she would want to tell you right now it would be “Believe in yourself and go after your dreams, it’s never too early or too late. Right now is the best time to do it!”
To learn more, go to http://www.danasalim.com/
For more information, or to request a review copy, please contact Kelsey at Book Publicity Services at (805) 807-9027 or Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com

Dreamland with Mommy

Dreamland with Mommy Dreamland with Mommy is a children’s picture book, by Dana Salim, recommended for ages 4-9. It is the first book in the Yousuf’s Everyday Adventures series.
Dreamland with Mommy is the perfect book to read before bedtime. An exciting adventure filled with colorful illustrations and an amusing rhyming riddle, the story takes readers on a magical journey to dreamland.

Synopsis:
Bedtime is here, it’s time for a game,
Yousuf and his mom decide.
Adventures are waiting to be explored,
as reality and Dreamland collide.
Come join them on this journey,
to a land where dreams come true.
From musical birds to a wacky pirate,
take our hand and join the crew!

Praise:
Parents around the world have been creating wondrous bedtime stories and songs for their children for centuries… those stories and songs fade away like dreams as kids get older and tuck themselves in at night. Dreamland With Mommy reawakens memories of the crazy, cozy homespun bedtime stories many of us heard from our own parents and elder siblings. It provides children with a new way of looking creatively at the world, while also providing adult readers with the inspiration to keep the tradition of storytelling alive.” — Dawud Wharnsby
“Dreamland with Mommy by Dana Salim is a wonderful book ideal for bedtime. I picked up the book for my three year old and it is much cherished by myself and my son. Combined with stunning illustration by Pavel Goldaev, it takes us on a magical journey to dreamland where we get to meet elephants, singing birds and a pirate on a boat on wheels!”— S. Jaleel
My daughter and I love reading this book together! The story is exciting, fun and easy to read. My daughter loves the pictures in this book and stops to talk about everything she sees on the pages. It’s a great book that will keep your child engaged the whole time.” – Ashley Kline
“My 4-year-old daughter loved this book! With each page she found herself engaged in an unexpected yet very exciting adventure. I have never seen my daughter so taken by a story like this before. I can’t believe she has put aside all her favorite princess stories and keeps asking me to read her this one instead!! Can’t wait for the next book to come out!” — Amazon Customer

Dana SalimAbout the Author: 
Dana Salim loves singing silly songs, standing in the breeze and eating chocolate cake. But most of all she loves spending time with her son, Yousuf, and her husband. From row-boating, walking on frozen lakes, hiking to caves and waterfalls, to reading new books and learning new things; everyday holds an exciting adventure for the family! And now she has made her dream of being an author a reality by writing her first children’s book “Dreamland with Mommy”. It’s the first book in the series “Yousuf’s Everyday Adventures”. The second book “Beautifully Different” will be coming out February 2017. (So stay tuned!)
Dana’s childhood adventures were split between Amman, Jordan and Vancouver, Canada. She finished Industrial Engineering at the University of Jordan before moving to Ohio, which was home for four awesome years. And now she resides in McAllen, Texas where she is always on the lookout for new adventures with her family.
Dana founded DS Publishing, LLC with her husband in August, 2016. Their mission is to provide products that instill and encourage diversity, acceptance and confidence in one’s self and dreams.
And if there’s one thing she would want to tell you right now it would be “Believe in yourself and go after your dreams, it’s never too early or too late. Right now is the best time to do it!”
To learn more, go to http://www.danasalim.com/

Weave A Murderous Web by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks

Weave a Murderous WebWeave A Murderous Web is a mystery novel by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks. It is one of three books in the Jane Larson series, published by Melange Books.

Synopsis:
No good deed goes unpunished. When Jane Larson—a hot-shot litigator for a large firm in New York City—helps out a friend, she is sucked into the unfamiliar world of divorce and child support.
Jane’s discovery of the deadbeat dads hidden assets soon unravels a web of lies, drugs, and murder that keeps getting more dangerous.
Soon, Jane is involved in a high stakes race to recover a missing suitcase of cash and catch the murderer before she becomes the next victim.

 Praise:
A sleuthing lawyer returns to the streets of New York in this mystery of drugs, murder, and financial skullduggery… the husband-wife team of Rothman-Hicks and Hicks has again produced a fast-paced, engaging story… overall, this is a satisfying read. An enjoyable romp involving a shady attorney and the mob that should make readers look forward to the next Jane Larson caper.”Kirkus
“The action is breathtaking and the writing beautiful. Weave a Murderous Web: A Jane Larson Novel is a story that reminds me of the characters of John Grisham’s Gray Mountain… Jane Larson is the kind of character that will be loved by many readers… The plot is well thought out and masterfully executed, laced with numerous surprises to keep readers turning the pages. This is one of those books that should occupy an enviable place in your shelf if you are into fast-paced thrillers and compelling investigative stories.” – 5 Stars, Ruffina Oserio, Readers’ Favorite
“Weave a Murderous Web is a classic whodunit with classic New York City characters.” Gimme That Book
“Weave a Murderous Web is an enthralling murder mystery. It gets your heart pounding with action and passion, while simultaneously entangling your mind with its ambiguity. The dynamic duo has done it again. The husband and wife writing team of Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks pens another on-the-edge-of-your seat murder mystery. Engaging. Witty. Fast paced. I love the Hicks’ contemporary writing style. The narrative is full of delightful metaphorical statements. The setting takes you into the heart of New York City – it reflects just the right amount of ambiance… As the plot progresses, the intensity heightens, catapulting you into a surprising twist, then plummets you into a sudden, yet satisfying end.” – 5 Stars, Cheryl E. Rodriguez, Readers’ Favorite
“Weave a Murderous Web involves a hotshot Wall Street lawyer who is a sassy, cynical New Yorker through and through. To help out a friend, she gets involved in a seamy matrimonial case that quickly pulls her into a vortex of murder, drugs, and dangerous games of deception.” – The Big Thrill
“Weave a Murderous Web is a smart and entertaining mystery by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks that will leave lovers of the genre anxiously waiting for another installment starring the intrepid protagonist, Jane Larson… Weave a Murderous Web has plenty to keep the reader engaged as Jane digs in her heels, determined to get to the truth. Witty dialogue, supported by great writing and some understated humor, makes this book not only a must-read – but also a darned good one!” – 5 Stars, Marta Tandori, Readers’ Favorite 

Excerpt:
Chapter One
I was in my office at Adams & Ridge talking on the telephone when Francine entered. At the moment, my friend, Lee, was on the other end of the wire, yakking up a storm in my ear. Her rant covered already familiar terrain. My man, my David, was drifting dangerously away from me while I did nothing to win him back. As we say around the courts, Oy.
Francine tiptoed forward and placed on my desk a two-day-old copy of The Daily News opened to the item concerning Mark Samuels’ death.
“I gotta go, Lee,” I said.
While Francine waited for me, she had backed into a corner of my office, leaned against the wall, and tried to make her six feet of lanky body less noticeable. Two large metal buttons were pinned to her heavily braided cotton sweater. One read Stop Fracking New York and the other protested against the annual Canadian seal hunt with a scarlet X through an image of a baby seal whose brains had been battered to a pink pulp.
I pointed at the newspaper and gave her a questioning glance, but she quickly averted her eyes to stare at the floor.
“Have you been listening to me at all?” Lee demanded. Her voice rose to a kind of exasperated wail. “David has been dating someone. I think he may be getting serious.”
“David was born serious, Lee,” I said.
“Stop it, Jane,” she shouted so I had to hold the phone away from my ear. Even Francine raised an eyebrow. “You know what I mean.”
“I’m sorry, Lee.”
“I don’t understand why you’re taking this so nonchalantly. You know you still love him. You could get back together in a heartbeat if you’d just spend a tenth as much time on a relationship as you spend on your career.”
“I’m a lawyer, Lee. Not a—”
A sharp intake of breath followed. “Not a baby maker?” Lee demanded. Anger replaced the plaintive wail. “Is that what you were going to say?”
Would I ever admit that the word had been on the tip of my tongue?
“No. I was going to say, ‘not a librarian’, or the owner of some other nine-to-five job. The hours come with the territory, Lee. David knows that, but deep down in that wonderful heart of his, he also thinks the hours spent at the office are A-okay for the guy, but not for the girl. In any event, Martha didn’t raise her daughter to compete over a man.”
The sound of a whale breaching the surface erupted from the phone. “You’re maddening, Jane.”
“No, I’m busy,” I replied.
Lee sighed. “Well, I have to go too. Laurie is home sick and I’m taking her to the doctor. We’ll talk more later, Jane. I’m not going to sit back and let this happen to my two best friends in the world. I’m going to fight, Jane.”
“Goodbye, Lee.”
She disconnected.
Actually, I wasn’t busy at all, or I wouldn’t have spent even that much time on the phone being lectured by Lee. She’s an old friend from Columbia Law, but enough is enough.
A major litigation I had been working on had settled just a day before and the client and powers-that-be at Adams & Ridge were very happy with me—especially Seymour Ridge. The old man himself had hammered out the settlement shortly after I made the CEO of the party suing our client look like a doofus on the witness stand. So, I had some time on my hands until I was given another assignment.
More to the point, I wanted to know why Francine was still standing in my office, staring at the tips of her shoes. She was a legal assistant with the firm. I had gotten her the job. However, she didn’t work on any of my cases. That was a rule I had laid down from the beginning.
“Hello, Francine,” I said.
“Hi, Jane.” She looked up shyly, smiled her timid smile, gave a meaningful glance in the direction of the paper and resumed looking at her shoes. I had known her for so long that she was more like a relative than a friend, in the sense that one does not choose one’s relatives. She was really really shy but also effective in getting her way with me. I read the article.
It was as depressing as I had expected. Mark Samuels was a single practitioner who worked out of a small office above a bodega on 116th Street. He wasn’t married and had no family to speak of. The exact date and hour of his demise were uncertain. The body was discovered only after fellow inhabitants of his East Village apartment house reported a foul odor during the last week in June when a heat wave had sent temperatures rising into the high nineties. Those same conditions had made his remains swell like a balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
How can a person die without anyone knowing for a week or ten days? Did he have no friend or family member who cared to check on him? Were all of them as completely egotistical as he was?
The cause of death, however, was easy to determine. When the cops broke down his door, three short fat lines of cocaine were still in place on the old-fashioned hand mirror Mark used to chop the drug fine enough to snort. The coroner confirmed Mark died of severe heart arrhythmia, which is to say his ticker skipped a few too many beats before stopping altogether. Testing of the merchandise showed the stuff he’d inhaled had been nearly pure—several times the strength of what is normally available on the street. As the cops put it, either he had chosen to depart this green orb flying on nose powder or he was inordinately careless. I suppose it didn’t much matter which alternative was true. The result was the same. An overdose had killed him.
I looked up warily, unwilling to reveal I had the slightest interest in the entire subject.
“Why are you showing this to me, Francine,” I asked.
“Didn’t you know Mark when you worked for Legal Services for the Poor?”
Did she expect me to burst into tears?
“Yeah,” I said, “and he was just as big a screw-up then. They put him in the Family Law area because he could do the least harm there. At least no one could lose their apartment or get sent to jail because of him.”
Francine winced. You might think this resulted from a superstitious aversion to speaking ill of the dead. You would be wrong. Francine had an aversion to speaking ill both of the living and the dead.
“He kept doing matrimonial work after he left Legal Services,” Francine added. She nodded, as if agreeing with her own words, then fell into silence. Silence was her friend.
“And?” I said.
Francine pulled up her sweater, which was being dragged low by those protest buttons and exposing her collarbones and the top of her boney chest. Her stringy hair, a field mouse brown, had no discernible style. She had never chosen to master the art of makeup despite my efforts with pencil, rouge, and lipstick back when we were teenagers. The only jewelry she now wore was a pendulous locket with gold thread tying it together. She said she’d purchased it in a wild moment at an uptown thrift shop. Of course, those buttons and their slogans were a kind of jewelry, I suppose, in that jewelry also says, “Look at me. This is what I am.”
Francine smiled at her shoes and continued. “Well, he had a client, Gail Hollings, who is a very good friend of mine, Jane, and—”
Now I saw where this was going. “Would this friend of yours be in need of a lawyer?”
“She’s in an awful fix, Jane. She has a court appearance at two o’ clock this afternoon. She gave Mark three thousand dollars, which was all she could scrape together. She has no money left at all.”
“Ridge will be glad to hear that. No money. Great.”
Francine rummaged in the front pocket of her cargo pants, pulled out a wallet, and then drew from inside it a picture of a young child with long blond pigtails that dwarfed her diminutive round face but did not steal the scene from her toothy grin.
“She has a little girl,” Francine added, glancing from the snapshot to me and back again to emphasize her point.
“No money, no lawyer, and a kid. This just keeps getting better, doesn’t it?”
My mother, Martha, who insists I call her by her first name, always says Francine faces a bright future if Jesus’ prediction about the meek is really true. Believe me, the meek have power, especially over those of us with guilt. Martha would love that. Guilt. I was like a fish nibbling at a big juicy worm and getting closer and closer to the hook. Francine was the fisherwoman, waiting patiently for the slightest pull on the line.
“Look, you know I can’t take on this case, Francine. However, I have some free time today, so I can at least go down to court and adjourn the matter until we can find someone to help Gail and little…”
“Courtney,” Francine said with a rush of breath that made the name seem like a prayer. An expression filled her eyes that reminded me of an early Renaissance image of a martyr at the moment of supreme sacrifice, pain mixed with a kind of bliss that seems to make it all worthwhile.
The hook was set. That much was obvious. Francine had only to slowly reel me in.
I opened a drawer and pulled out a legal pad to record the names of mother and daughter.
“There’s just one thing maybe you should know,” Francine said.
My pencil poised in midair and then wrote “one thing” with an exclamation point. I still have that piece of paper in the top drawer of my desk.
“Yes?”
“Well, Carmen Ruiz has kind of taken an interest in this because of the women’s rights angle and what happened to Mark and all.”
“Carmen Ruiz? Last time I heard of her, she was spending time at a fat farm.”
This was code. Everyone knew that the ‘fat farm,’ as I had injudiciously put it, was also a place where people could lose other bad habits, such as drugs.
Francine winced again and swallowed hard. “That’s unkind, Jane.”
Chalk one up for the meek.
“You’re right, Francine. How is Carmen doing?”
“She’s got a new gig on cable. One of the local news stations.”
I nodded. I was safe from unkind remarks if I kept my mouth shut. At one time the cognoscenti had called Carmen the “female Wolf Blitzer” because she had enjoyed asking the hard questions, especially of men who were not used to being pushed around. The fact that she had the flashing good looks of a gypsy queen didn’t hurt, but now she was scuffling on cable news.
“She said she called you a couple of times.”
“Yeah, well, I’ve been busy.”
I was on the verge of getting back the advantage, never easy in a conversation with humanitarian types like Francine, especially if your mother always places such types on a pedestal, a very high pedestal.
Martha has not been affiliated with any organized religion since her mind began to function at age eleven. Still, she shares Jesus’ distrust of wealth and is fond of quoting both his advice to sell all you have and give it to the poor and his adage that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
“You don’t even believe in Jesus,” I argue.
“I don’t have to believe in Jesus as God to know he’s telling the truth,” she retorts.
When I had accepted the job at Adams & Ridge, Carmen had had some unkind things to say to mutual friends about my going for the gold. Her whole premise that Martha’s goodness had gotten lost in one generation to my grabbiness had cut a bit too close to the bone. I hadn’t forgotten.
“Carmen’s working on a series about children and the courts,” Francine said. “Kids falling into poverty are a very big problem.”
“I’m aware of the problem, Francine. I’ll skip over the question of what has made Carmen give a good hoot in hell about children all of a sudden. What does any of this have to do with that coke-head Mark?”
“Oh, nothing much. Nothing at all really.”
She was hedging, worried that the prospect of helping Carmen might have made me shut the whole thing down before it ever began.
“Go on, Francine.”
“It’s just… she knew Mark fairly well and doesn’t think his death was accidental. She says Mark did drugs too much to do something that stupid.”
“So she thinks he did it on purpose? Is that it? He committed suicide over the predicament of his client and child?”
“Not exactly,” Francine said.
In hindsight I can see clearly how nonchalant she wanted to seem, playing with the gold locket and dropping it inside her sweater, glancing in the direction of the window as if a pretty bird had alighted there.
“Carmen thinks Mark was murdered.”

Kenneth Hicks & Anne Rothman-HicksAbout the Authors:
Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks have been collaborating on books for forty-six years.  Their first joint effort was a student project while Anne was at Bryn Mawr College and Ken attended Haverford. Since then, they have written over twenty books together. They are members of International Thriller Writers. They live and work in New York City, where many of their books are set.
Their Jane Larson series of mystery/thrillers involves a high-powered New York City attorney with a penchant for getting involved in situations that she would be better off leaving alone. These novels have been praised by reviewers for their gritty portrayals of city life, lively characters, fast action, surprise endings and highly polished prose. Jane is cynical and rebellious, but she finds herself drawn to the simple life her deceased mother lived as an attorney who served women unable to afford legal services. The first two books in the series are Weave A Murderous Web and Praise Her, Praise Diana, both published by Melange Books, LLC. A third novel, Mind Me, Milady, will be published in early 2017.
Readers can connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
To learn more, go to http://randh71productions.com/blog/

Frank Cavallo’s Latest Novel ‘Rites of Azathoth’

Rites of Azathoth
Frank Cavallo announced today the release of his latest novel Rites of Azathoth published by Bedlam Press (An Imprint of Necro Publications).
Necro specializes in hardcore horror fiction and aims to bring the best in modern horror to the masses, publishing the best names in modern horror like Edward Lee, Charlee Jacob, Jeffrey Thomas, Gerard Houarner, Patrick Lestewka, Wrath James White, Mehitobel Wilson and dozens of others.
“Rites of Azathoth is an occult-thriller rooted in the H.P. Lovecraft tradition, or what is sometimes called the Cthulhu Mythos. It is a book that will appeal to general horror audiences, especially any fans of Lovecraft himself, as well as fans of Clive Barker, Peter Straub and Jack Ketchum,” says Cavallo.

Synopsis:
F.B.I. criminal profiler Diana Mancuso doesn’t do field work anymore. Not since a tragic mistake that cost innocent lives. But when notorious serial killer Luther Vayne escapes from prison and resumes his campaign of brutal murders, the Bureau convinces her to take one last case.
To catch him, she must understand him. She must delve into the arcana that fuels his madness, risking her life and her sanity to follow his twisted path.
The trail plunges her into a shadowy world of occult rituals and unspeakable horrors, leading to a secret cabal operating at the highest levels—and a plot to summon the darkest of all powers, to bring forth an evil that does not belong in our world—to enact the Rites of Azathoth. 

Excerpt:

 

Cleveland Police Department
Third District
2001 Payne Avenue
October 30, 1974
2:13 am
Transcript of Voluntary Oral Statement

 

Interrogation conducted by: Detective Edward D. Sadowski
Badge No.: 366
Suspect Name: Luther Charles Vayne
DOB: 10/16/1944
Ht: 5’11”
Wt.: 185
Eyes: None
Distinguishing Marks: numerous tattoos and brandings, scars on face and hands

 

OFFICER:      You have expressed your desire to waive the presence of counsel and to make a full confession. Is that correct?
VAYNE:           It is.
OFFICER:      This is regarding the murder of Anna Dressler and Eric Dressler?
VAYNE:           Yes.
OFFICER:      What is it you want me to know?
VAYNE:           As I mentioned to your desk officer, I killed them both tonight.
OFFICER:      What exactly did you do? Can you tell me that?
VAYNE:           I have done only what I was sent here to do.
OFFICER:      Sent? From where? By whom?
VAYNE:           The shadows that speak to me are of no concern. All that matters for you is that I killed the woman and her child. That is enough, is it not? I have no wish to hide anything anymore.
OFFICER:      Anymore? You’ve done this before?
VAYNE:         Yes, many times over the last year.
OFFICER:      You’ve been killing women and children for a year?
VAYNE:           Patience, detective. As I told you, I have no wish to hide anything. The facts of this and every one of my deeds are yours to examine now.
OFFICER:      You know who this boy and his mother were, don’t you? Mrs. Dressler was an heiress. She had quite a large fortune. That’s no accident is it? You targeted this kid, and his mother, didn’t you?
VAYNE:           I know who they were, and more importantly, who they were not. I know many things about them that you do not. Believe me detective, money was not involved, in this or any other of my recent acts. These were no mere children. At least until tonight, and for that I am very sorry.
OFFICER:      Sorry? Ok, that’s a start. Why don’t you tell me what you did here?
VAYNE:           I would have thought the act spoke for itself. If you’d like a narrative however, I am prepared to oblige. Simply stated, I cut the woman’s head from her neck. I drove an iron rod through her body, then through the body of her child. Just before I cut out his heart. [Pause] Would you like to hear about the others as well, detective? Or shall we take a break? You look like you might need some water.
OFFICER:      How many others are there?
VAYNE:         The boy and his mother tonight were the thirteenth.
OFFICER:      You’re prepared to confess to thirteen murders? Thirteen double murders?
VAYNE:           I am. That is why I came here tonight, to confess to everything, to every killing I have committed. At your convenience, of course. This will have to be the end of it. For now. 

 


Author Frank CavalloAbout the Author:
Frank Cavallo is a horror and dark fantasy writer. His previous works include Eye of the Storm, The Lucifer Messiah, The Hand of Osiris, and the Gotrek & Felix novella Into the Valley of Death.
Frank was born and raised in New Jersey. He graduated from Boston University with a degree in Communications in 1994 and he earned a JD from the Cleveland Marshall College of Law in 2001. His life-long fascination with the darker side of human nature has led him to devote most of the past 15 years to a career as a criminal defense attorney, at the Cuyahoga County Public Defender Office, in Cleveland, Ohio. There he has come face-to-face with some of the truest horror in this world. Murder, rape, burglary, drugs. That’s his bread and butter.
Readers can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
To learn more, go to FrankCavallo.com