Articles for the Month of December 2017

The Book of Angels: Twin Flames Rising by Maya El


An insider’s view of racial profiling in Chicago.







This exciting, yet tantalizing mystery is set in Chicago, the author’s home town. What makes this story very special is that it is a story which the author feels has to be told. The backbone scene setting of this book comes from the past memories, and personal experiences to this day of Maya El and her family, and gives an amazing insight into what it was, and is like to live as people of color in Chicago. From there the story takes flight into an exciting mystery, one which will keep its reader engrossed until the very last page.

At the time this story begins, Chicago is a city in lockdown. Backed by a president intent on making America safe, its police force make their own rules, and have unofficial carte blanche to terrorize and control its people of color.

At the largest black Baptist church in Chicago, the camera loving, outspoken, successful pastor Carson Parker, is a shining light for his flock, helping the community, providing hope and strength, a force to be reckoned with.

Living in a beautiful house, his wife Natalie is safe and secure, she’s in a perfect marriage as far as the outside world is concerned. However Natalie’s husband is a very different man than the caring, charismatic pastor, he is controlling, violent, and terrifying! Natalie knows she must do something, but how, and who is the sexy mysterious man who haunts her dreams?
As this clever police thriller morphs into a mystery, romance, murder, and then a horror story, this talented author takes the reader on the rollercoaster ride which is Natalie’s life.

This book has an absolutely riveting storyline, and yet it is so much more. The character of Natalie shows such strength in the face of adversity that she is empowering, and her journey of self-discovery shows us that there are forces out there which we do not understand, and yet they are there, and their powers can shape our destiny…

About the Author: Maya El was born and raised in Chicago, IL, and has witnessed the racial profiling of her brother and sons firsthand by law enforcement. Her father was a local political activist and raised awareness of racial profiling of young men of color in the 1990s. Maya is a Registered Nurse, the mother of four, and grandmother of one.

About the Book: A city on lockdown. A nation in turmoil. A president promising to “Make America a safe place to live again.” A secret so ugly, it could destroy everything… Natalie Parker is the pastor’s wife at the largest black church in Chicago. From the outside, she seems to have it all: a gorgeous house, a beautiful pool, a powerful husband. But things aren’t always as they appear from the outside. Natalie knows something isn’t right with her husband, and the truth is worse than she ever dreamed. In a city full of lies, coverups, and injustice, can Natalie uncover the truth in her own marriage before it’s too late? And what about the hauntingly seductive mystery man who keeps appearing in Natalie’s dreams?

Available from Amazon in Paperback

and Kindle format  


Unedited! (Because life is): Recipes, ramblings and a few creative ideas from the kitchen at The Cosy Pigsty by Kati Barr-Taylor



A wonderful and entertaining cookery book raising money for a good cause.

The title of this wonderful book draws you in doesn’t it, and then as soon as you read the introduction you realise that this is not going to be your run of the mill cook book, it is one which you will treasure forever! Unedited! (Because life is) was conceived because of a request from Kati’s oldest daughter Lilly for a book of her recipes, and as any mum knows that’s a great compliment!

However, because of a tragic family incident the author could relate to the plight of the victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster, and decided to help the survivors in her own way by publishing this book and donating half the money to the Grenfell community.

This book is so much more than a cookery book, interspersed with the wonderful eclectic variety of recipes are family memories and stories, glimpses into the author and her families lives, both past and present. As an expat in France she has also helps others who have made the leap the other side of the channel by adding the French words for some of the ingredients, and also anecdotes which every expat can relate to when you arrive confidently speaking high school French to find that the ‘natives’ didn’t read the same text books as you did, and haven’t a clue what you are saying.

There are a wide selection of recipes for all the different meal times, times when you just fancy something nice/warming/comforting, and even a lovely selection of ideas for edible gifts. The recipes come from all over the world and are her own family’s favourites.

I highly recommend this wonderful cook book as a great reference for recipes, entertaining reading, and I hope many people will support the author by buying this book and as a result donating to the Grenfell Tower community.

About the Book: 

Unedited! (because life is) was originally a selection of recipes and anecdotal ramblings compiled as a Christmas gift for a massive audience of three; my children. However, whilst writing it, my mind turned inevitably to those who would have little to celebrate this year. Suddenly, just pleasing my kids didn’t sit well. I wanted to do something for others too. With that, Unedited! took on a life of its own, becoming a family cookery book with a difference, to make a difference.
The difference; randomly dropped between tried and tested yummies is a selection of creative ideas and life-recipes that have helped my family and me move on from our own difficulties.
To make a difference; I am donating half the royalties of this ‘cheap and cheerful’ book to The Grenfell Tower Fund allied to the Kensington and Chelsea Foundation.
My book connects readers with the Grenfell survivors by combining two resources we all need, whether now or in the future: the comfort of shared meals, and small but significant ways to find a meaning in our own lives.
Unedited! will to appeal to people cooking on a budget, and those juggling busy lives. It will resonate with readers who have crashed and bumped around the block a few times too. As a French resident, I have made Unedited! fellow-expat friendly, with translations next to the ingredients. And for readers who want real value for money, this go-to book is sprinkled with common-sense inspiration for achieving a more fulfilling life without breaking the bank.
Bon appetit!

unedited (Because life is) is available from Amazon in Paperback

and Kindle format



NEIGHBORS: The Yard Critters TOO by George Held

Discover which critters could live in YOUR neighborhood.

After reading the beautifully written and highly entertaining NEIGHBORS: The Yard Critters, Book 1, I was really looking forward to sitting down with my granddaughter to read this, the second book in this series. As I looked at the cover, before I even opened it, I could tell I was not going to be disappointed.

Yet again George Held has done a wonderful job writing enchanting rhyming verse which not only captivated my little one, but also taught her many interesting things about some more new critters which she might find in her yard, or neighborhood.

Being a family of nature lovers, this book with its beautiful illustrations is a wonderful way to introduce her to the natural world and it very quickly captured her attention.

Included were some critters which are common, like the ladybug, sparrows and crows, and there are others who although not rare, are shy, like shrew and field mice. There are night time owls, and prickly characters like the porcupine, cheeky chipmunks, nasty ticks, beautiful humming birds and of course the crafty coyote, each described in the author’s wonderfully magical way.

I love the way this book brings the natural world around us to life, offering amazing insights into our animal friends, also, I love that it gently teaches the reader that all nature has a place in this world.

I highly recommend this book for parents, grandparents, and care givers to read to their young charges, and also for the children themselves to read, enjoy, and treasure, when they are able to.

About the Author:
George Held
GEORGE HELD, poet and writer, is a seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee. He has published seventeen poetry collections, including a trilogy of chapbooks on nature themes, and he has served on the board of the South Fork Natural History Museum in Bridgehampton, New York, since 1991. His work appears in such publications as The Philadelphia Inquirer, Notre Dame Review, Confrontation, and The Writer’s Almanac (Garrison Keillor). Educated at Brown (B.A.), University of Hawai’i (M.A.), and Rutgers (Ph.D), he was a Fulbright lecturer for three years and is a former professor at Queens College, City University of New York. He lives in New York and Sag Harbor. 
About the Illustrator:
JOUNG UN KIM, illustrator and designer, is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. She has illustrated many picture books for children, including The Grasshopper Hopped [Golden Books/Random House]; Hen Hears Gossip [Greenwillow/Harper Collins]; and the first book in this series, NEIGHBORS The Yard Critters Book 1. She lives in Southern California.
About the Book;
Children’s picture book, with collaged illustrations and short, accessible poems about some of the wild animals, birds, and insects we often find in our suburban yards, city streets, and country house landscapes. Included are the Ladybug, Crow, Sparrow, Coyote, Shrew, Hummingbird, Tick, Field Mouse, Owl, Skunk, Porcupine, and Chipmunk. Companion to NEIGHBORS The Yard Critters Book 1. Underlying message again is that all critters have a place in nature.

NEIGHBORS: The Yard Critters, Book 1 by George Held


A wonderful way for children to learn about the critters in their yard.









As soon as I received this book I knew it was going to be something special. I sat with my little granddaughter who loves animals, and together we enjoyed this wonderful selection of poems written by George Held, and beautifully illustrated by the talented Joung Un Kim.

Yard Critters: Book 1 is an enchanting way for children to learn about the animals who live in their own back yard or neighborhood. The author has cleverly incorporated into each lovely poem, in a fun way, a wealth of information about some of the creatures the reader could come across.

Without even trying, and with a smile on her face my granddaughter learnt about squirrels, rabbits, deer, raccoons, possums, robins, earthworms, bats, garter snakes, and groundhogs. She also discovered another animal in the book, one which wouldn’t fit in her yard, but, I’m not going to tell you what it is, you will have to read the story and find out for yourself…

As a parent and grandparent, what I really loved about this book is that it teaches children a very important lesson, one which tends to be forgotten these days, that this earth is for all creatures and every one of them has a place on it.

I would recommend this wonderful children’s book to parents, grandparents, and care givers, to read to their children, and for the children themselves to read when they are able to.


About the Author:

GEORGE HELD, poet and writer, is a seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee. He has published seventeen poetry collections, including a trilogy of chapbooks on nature themes, and has served on the board of the South Fork Natural History Museum in Bridgehampton, New York, since 1991. His work appears in such publications as The Philadelphia Inquirer, Notre Dame Review, Confrontation, and The Writer’s Almanac (Garrison Keillor). Educated at Brown (B.A.), University of Hawai’i (M.A.), and Rutgers (Ph.D), he was a Fulbright lecturer for three years and is a former professor at Queens College, City University of New York. He lives in New York and Sag Harbor


About the Illustrator:

JOUNG UN KIM, illustrator and designer, is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. She has illustrated many picture books for children, including The Grasshopper Hopped [Golden Books/Random House] and Hen Hears Gossip [Greenwillow/Harper Collins]. She lives in Southern California.


About the Book:

Children’s picture book with collaged illustrations and short, accessible poems about the wild animals we often find in our suburban yards, city streets, and country house landscapes.Included are the Squirrel, Possum, Deer, Raccoon, Bear, No Elephant, Bat, Rabbit, Turtle, Garter Snake, Earthworm, Robin, Groundhog — with collaged illustrations and a special poetic form for the Raccoon: the Racku. Primary age group is 6-7 — but children as young as 3 can be read to and can appreciate the illustrations. This is the first book in the NEIGHBORS series. A companion, NEIGHBORS The Yard Critters TOO is also available. The underlying message of both books is that all creatures have a place in nature.


NEIGHBORS: The Yard Critters, Book 1 is available from Amazon in Hardcover 


Barnes & Noble


Fall of Shuruppak: Harappa 2 (Harappa Trilogy) by Shankar Kashyap


A must read for anyone interested in Indian history.









This fascinating journey into Indian history is set in the third millennium BCE. Through the author’s thorough investigation into this era, and extremely descriptive writing, these splendid days of the Mesopotamian and Indus Valley civilisations are brought to life for his readers.

In this the second book of the Harappa series we join the friends Upaas (a physician), his wife Lopa, Parthava and Elaamite Prince Shushan as they continue their journeys, travelling far and wide through unknown lands satiating their thirst for knowledge.

In this adventure they find themselves agreeing to help the grief stricken Emperor Gilgamesh of Sumer find the great Sage Ziusudra. Gilgamesh believes that the sage will answer a question he is compelled to ask, and through the answer he will find an end to his torment.

Armed with the help and advice of Sage Vasishta, magic potions, and amulets for protection they set off on a quest unlike any other they have undertaken. Their travels take them through unknown lands, where they battle mythical beasts, demons, and many unimaginable creatures, but will they succeed and will Gilgamesh find the answer he seeks?

After seeing the Sage they return to Shuruppak as war breaks out, and with battles raging and thousands lying dead or dying they escape by ship, taking those they can. Little do they know that a higher being has decided that mankind needs a lesson, and what happens next is one of the most well-known of all biblical stories…

What I love about this story is that for those of us who are not Indian, yet have a great interest in Indian history, the legend behind the grief and torment of Gilgamesh, and others, interwoven into this epic adventure, adding immeasurably to the enjoyment, and fascination of this book.

I am looking forward to reading Dasharajna: The Battle of Ten Kings (Harappa Trilogy Book 3).

About the Author: 

Shankar N Kashyap is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon working at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead, UK. He was subjected to a life changing ordeal with potential for disastrous consequences. Some of his colleagues jealous of his popularity, success as an innovative and extremely talented surgeon, cooked up spurious allegations against him and reported him to the regulatory body, the GMC. He had to face the prolonged ordeal of a trial conducted by a group of incompetent individuals with no knowledge of his work in the hospital. He faced destruction of an internationally renowned reputation through this trial.
He has published extensively in peer reviewed scientific journals over the years, including a Thesis. This is his first foray into literary field.
The traumatic events of the trial made him write his first book, A Kangaroo Court published in Kindle as well as print format through Createspace.
He has extensive knowledge of History, particularly of Indus Valley civilisation, Mesopotamia and Elam. He has used this knowledge to write a series of books set in third millenium BCE in the Near East and Middle east. The first book of the Harappa series was released in November 2013. It is full of action, adventure and sorcery revolving around real characters, events and places in the Indus Valley and the Vedic scriptures. The second book of the series, The Fall of Shuruppak takes our hero to the shores of Mesopotamia. He gets involved with internal strife of Sumer and helps the famed emperor Gilgamesh in his pursuit of immortality. He, along with his friends, helps Gilgamesh when the Shuruppak is attacked by the Gutians and later witness the great flood which nearly ends the Mesopotamian civilisation. This was released in October 2014. The third book of the Harappa series, The Battle of Ten Kings is due for release in 2015. It deals with the epic battle of good against evil as depicted in the seventh book of Rigveda. If the outcome of the battle was any different, both the great epics of India – Ramayana and Mahabharat – may not have occured or if they did, they would have been completely different.
He lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK with his wife and three children.

About the Book: 

The third millennium BCE saw the glory days of the Mesopotamian and the Indus Valley civilisations. There were extensive trade links between the two places despite the fact they were hundreds of miles apart. The great Epic of Gilgamesh from Sumer is now well-known and often considered as the basis of the story of the biblical flood.
The Fall of Shuruppak traces the adventures of the hero, Upaas as he travels across to Sumer with the famed Sage Vasishta. Along with his friend Shushun, the Elaamite prince in disguise, he helps the emperor in his quest to find Sage Ziusudra. Follow our daredevil physician as he fights his way through this epic adventure, while seeking answers to his own questions about life. As the group of travellers move from one peril to another, we recognise our own hidden desires in their search for truth and immortality.
The author has used archaeological and literary evidence of both civilisations to bring to life the great untold stories of trade links between the two.

Fall of Shuruppak: Harappa 2 is available from Amazon in Paperback

and Kindle format


Barnes & Noble in Paperback


Philippe The Black Sheep/Philippe Le Mouton Noir by Joan Dupont


Philippe proves that dreams really can come true!

This is an enchanting story about a courageous black lamb called Philippe, he’s not your ordinary lamb, no following the flock for him, he knows what he wants out of life!

You see Philippe wants to become an artist, he loves to paint and dreams of escaping to Mont Saint –Michel where he imagines himself sitting under its bell, painting.

However, it is one thing to have dreams and another to follow them through, and in this enchanting story we discover if Philippe is successful. We follow his intrepid journey as he bravely works out how to escapes from the mundane life the other salt marsh sheep live, and eventually arrives in France, ready to embrace his new life.

Of course, there is one important little thing that Philippe has overlooked though – in fact he has probably not even considered it, it is that he is a lamb, and for a lot of people his future will have already been decided.

Undaunted and no doubt unaware of the above, Philippe is confident that with hard work his dream will come true, and so he sets out to find a job in the land of his dreams. Determined to succeed he sets out to prove how hard he can work, despite the taunting of Chef Louis the Cruel.

Through his exciting adventure the author, Joan Dupont, teaches the reader some important life lessons, that if you believe in yourself, do what you know is right, and help others, dreams really can come true.

My little granddaughter absolutely adored this delightful story which is not only beautifully illustrated throughout by Ellen Shires but lovely to read as it is written in rhyming verse.

I know this story will be a firm family favourite for years to come.


About the Author: Joan Dupont, author, writes on film and the arts and is known for her interviews in the International Herald Tribune and The New York Times. This foray into children’s fiction was inspired by a visit to the bay of Mont Saint-Michel. Ms. Dupont, originally a New Yorker, lives mainly in Paris.

About the Book: This is the story of Philippe, of France, a Salt Marsh Lamb with artistic ambitions. After an arduous journey, he ends up in a Mont Saint-Michel kitchen with a cruel chef — until he’s freed to do his art. The underlying message is to follow your star. With blurbs by Jacques Pepin, model Carmen Dell’Orefice, librarian Katharine Branning of the French Institute Alliance Francaise in New York, and ballerina Karin von Aroldingen. Easily held and shared by parents, caregivers, and teachers eager to explore France, food, and dreams of the arts with their children and students.


Philippe The Black Sheep is available from Amazon in Hardcover

and Kindle format

and Kobo as an eBook

and Philippe Le Mouton Noir is available from Amazon in Kindle format

Barnes & Noble in Hardcover