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Character Quote from Living In The Backup Plan, Part 2 by JD Holiday

drawers and mirror 8-3-16 finished_bak

Joe and Cyril from Living In The Backup Plan, Part 2 by JD Holiday

Joe said. “Can you call your greek banker friend and ask for a safe deposit box account to store the money in?”

              “Will do,” Cyril denoted. “Stay safe. Ah, I looked into that woman. Though, I suppose it can wait now.”

              “Go ahead. What’d you find?”

              “Sure, her full name is Geordana Catherine Torderelli. There are two brothers who she was caring for, parents both are recently dead. Her mother’s family sued her for custody of the brothers and Danie lost. The three kids were left about three hundred thousand dollars each and split the money from the sale of their family house worth half a mill. Get this, she lives off the dividends and interest from her own money. It’s most in index funds, CD and some stocks. She’s a smart cookie”

              “Is she still at the Pondham Hotel?” Joe asked.

              Cyril did not miss his friend’s interest. “I don’t know. Is that where you met her?”

              “At the bar next door, will you see if she is still there?”

              “So this is personal!” Cyril added with a smirk.

              “No!” Joe denied with strenuous force half dreading Cyril’s teasing. But he scoffed at himself. Why not admit it? He added before ending the call, “Yeah, it is. I’ll call next when I can.”

              Still smiling, Cyril didn’t bother with the umbrella in the pouring rain and trotted home to get to work.

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Living In The Backup Plan: Part 2

         France was a cockup. Joe did not realize he’d applied a slang he acquired from his drawers and mirror 8-3-16 finished_bakBritish friends and associates. He walked briskly in the late evening rain using back streets. He needed to put distance between him and the hotel and lose anyone who might be following.

              From the start, he should have recognized that dinner with Caminski and Bilko was frivolous. Non-essential. Caminski could have said all that nonsense in London. Returning to his hotel room paid for by the ‘company,’ he found a subtle change though only a slight repositioning of his travel bag on the bed. Joe searched through it. Marked and sequential thirty-thousand US dollars wrapped in foil lay under his shirts. A frame to ensnare him to get him out of the way using treason and taking bribes from anyone of the USA’s enemies. Russia, China, Iran, it wouldn’t matter which.

              Joe dumped his company phone in the bathroom trash and grabbed a towel. On the bed he took the money out of his travel bag, stacked and wrapped it in the towel and stuffed it into his tumbled leather briefcase he’d carried with him to the meeting in the hotel dining room. One last glance around Joe picked up his briefcase and left the hotel by the back staircase.

              First chance Joe got he ducked into a sports store, grabbed a blue rain jacket, a black baseball cap, paid cash and put them on. Down the block was a convenience shop where Joe bought a pre-paid phone. While walking the mile to the auto repair shop and car rental service which a drinking buddy of his, Raulf owned Joe phoned him. Joe plan was to rent a car but Raulf insisted on driving him with no explanation professing that if Joe needed to get out of France that’s enough for him.

         Joe found himself focusing on the rain pelting the car’s windows mulling over what happened and why. It was half-past eight in the evening on a warm Saturday night for October and people on the streets, some under umbrellas, were hurrying to their destination. What happened had everything to do with Caminski and what was done to Rener in Istanbul. Joe guessed Caminski was haunted by Mark Rener’s death four years earlier and Ginnie Mira’s imprisonment for it. And now with her getting a new trial Caminski wanted loose ends tied up. Joe knew he was that loose end. All this time Joe could only surmise that Caminski shot Rener. Joe heard a shot, and raced to the end of the building, maybe three seconds, and there was Rener on the ground and Caminski was standing over him, his back to Joe. Caminski turned and seeing Joe said he, himself had just arrived and asked had Joe seen anything. Joe stated he had not. But clearly, Caminski feared Joe had seen him do the killing.

              Joe left Istanbul that night on a scheduled flight to Japan to work with the PSIA, Public Security Intelligence Agency Japan intelligence agency on a newly forming terrorist group. By the time his part in the operation in Japan was over, Ginnie Mira was tried and convicted for murder as a star-crossed lover. So he had to be deft with in Caminski’s view. What better way than to frame him for treason to discredit him.

              Why haven’t I seen this coming, Joe grimaced glancing at his briefcase at his feet? The thirty thousand dollars inside had to be hidden. He decided on a safe place.

         While they drove toward the outskirts of Paris he phoned Aeton Drakos. Aeton agreed to leave right away from his home in Greece to meet Joe once Raulf got him into Austria. Few people would do what he was asking of Raulf and Aeton. This was going to be a straight run, a long road trip for all of them.

              Joe hated calling in favors but he had no choice here. Aeton would do anything to help him after Joe, Cyril Jones and Meka Hebib, another detective from the Rimble’s Detective Service tracked the child traffickers who had taken Aeton’s three-year-old daughter from Aeton’s mistress’ house five years back.

         Next, Joe spent some time going over his plan. When the Central Intelligent Agency recruited him from the Marines, Joe made up several scenarios and an end game for each including something like this happening. All he had to do now was make it foolproof. But his mind turned to the woman he met at the bar the other night. The wish he had to know more about Danie Torderelli shocked him. Then another thought followed. Joe phoned the Rimble’s Detective Service emergency phone. Seven rings, hang up and wait.

              Cyril heard the burner phone ring placed on his night table and hopped out of bed, got his trousers from the chair and hopped into them. Donning his shirt, socks, and shoes he raced down the stairs to the office. Once dressed Cyril slipped the emergency phone kept in his locked deck into a pocket and headed for the back door. Out in the pouring rain, Cyril put as many blocks between him and the office as he could so the phone would not show up on the CIA’s radar. His umbrella fought the wind and rain along the way passed a second cell tower before Cyril stopped in front of a house where leaves of a large tree overhung an iron fence. He hit call on the phone and leaned against the fence letting the leaves shelter him like a canopy.

               Joe answered on the first ring. “Cyril, the worst has happened.”

              “Good heavens, I was hoping this wasn’t it,” Cyril replied.

              “Get everything out of the house, all traces of me, to a safe place as soon as you can. Especially my desk computer, the outer drive, and files the way we planned it. They’ve decided on a frame using espionage. It’s over what happened with Rener’s death and Ginnie Mira. I called Aeton. He’ll get to me in a few hours I should think. Guard this burn phone, Cyril. This is how we’ll communicate.”

              “I will. I’ll get it all done right away. Were you followed?”

              “No, I’m sure I made it without a tail. I assume they are looking for me, or they will be soon. And they’ll have the word out.”

              “I’ll tell them you’ve moved,” Cyril asked. “Can you tell me what went down?”

              “I came back from that imbecilic meeting in the hotel dining room and found marked thirty thousand US dollars planted in my travel bag,” Joe said. “Can you call your greek banker friend and ask for a safe deposit box account to store the money in?”

              “Will do,” Cyril denoted. “Stay safe. Ah, I looked into that woman. Though, I suppose it can wait now.”

              “Go ahead. What’d you find?”

              “Sure, her full name is Geordana Catherine Torderelli. There are two brothers who she was caring for, parents both are recently dead. Her mother’s family sued her for custody of the brothers and Danie lost. The three kids were left about three hundred thousand dollars each and split the money from the sale of their family house worth half a mill. Get this, she lives off the dividends and interest from her own money. It’s most in index funds, CD and some stocks. She’s a smart cookie”

              “Is she still at the Pondham Hotel?” Joe asked.

              Cyril did not miss his friend’s interest. “I don’t know. Is that where you met her?”

              “At the bar next door, will you see if she is still there?”

              “So this is personal!” Cyril added with a smirk.

              “No!” Joe denied with strenuous force half dreading Cyril’s teasing. But he scoffed at himself. Why not admit it? He added before ending the call, “Yeah, it is. I’ll call next when I can.”

              Still smiling, Cyril didn’t bother with the umbrella in the pouring rain and trotted home to get to work.

Copyright by J.D. Holiday 2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 

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Truth As Strange As Fiction: Walking A Mile In Her Shoes, Part 2


Left -SadieNichol, RuthDay, BabeBaron - James Brennan (with hat on)tennis champion
My mother is second from the left.

Walking A Mile In Her Shoes, Part 2

© 2019 Copyright by J.D. Holiday. All RIGHTS RESERVED.

My mother’s mother was forced on us each summer for two weeks. My father couldnt stand her and so my parents tried any way they could to get out of it. Many telephone fights with her siblings went on before and after each visit. One year we all had the german measles and that included my father. Measles is a very contagious disease caused by a virus spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. 

It fell on the week the ‘battle-ax’ was due for our summer visit from her. We lounge around in the living room where the TV was with our pillows and blankets, our father sat in the armchair. My mother came in from the kitchen and said in a worried tone, “We should tell them so someone else can take our turn. Old people can die from it.”

MOM (Ruth c Dunn Day) and me (Janice Day Amenta)1951
MOM (Ruth Day) and me

“Let her come,” my father said. “Maybe she’ll die and put an end to our misery.”

My mother threw up her hands, made a clicking sound and left the room. I was horrified he would say that until I learn of the abuse my mother had to deal with from her.

When I met my future husband, Buddy on a blind date when we were fifteen and sixteen, he came over after school before he would go to his part-time job at the supermarket. One time was while my grandmother was there and she wanted to sit on the porch. She was frail now and walked with a cane. Buddy help her to the porch carrying a chair and walking behind her in case she fell. When he left, my grandmother said to me, “He’s a nice boy. Too bad he’s Italian.” One of her daughters married an Italian and this had been a bone of contention. Later I told my father what she had said and he laughed. He never liked any of the boys I or my sisters brought home but this changed everything for me and Buddy! Buddy became like a son to my father.

I once heard my father and mother talking in a way I never heard them do before. My father used to take trips to Washington D.C. as the accountant on a team of negotiators for Curtis-Wrights Industries working on government contracts. My parents stood at the pantry door. Dad was saying, “Why Ruth? Why?” The pain in his voice. My mother had drank all the beer and to try and hid it, filled the bottles with water. I didn’t know for a long time what that conversation was about until my sister Doris told me all she knew of our mother’s alcoholism.

Dunn sister - Ruth Day and Alice Bamper abt 1950s-see the washing machine behind them_edited-1
Ruth Day (left) and her sister, Alice -see the washing machine behind them

My mother was abused, persecuted as a child with a sick mother.

I wonder if she felt the beatings were her own fault. Was it the guilt her mother heaped on her. Maybe mom did feel being mistreated was her own fault; she was bad so that was why she deserved the mistreatment. Did all this lead to feelings that she had no room to talk or criticize others? Did she think she didn’t deserve to feel good about herself and so never talked about the good she’d done?

When she was twenty-three, she had a mental break-down. Her father who liked to drink gave my mother beer to get through it. So that was how she learned to cope with life.

I believe my father tried to take care of her in the best way he knew with the information and lack of support available to them. 

Mom and dad, Ira and Ruth Day 1967
Mom and Dad, Ira and Ruth Day, 1967

In the nineteen fifties and sixties alcoholics with treated badly to say it mildly. There was little support for those with the disease and their families. It would be a year or so after my mother’s death before alcoholism was declared a disease and the understanding we now give it.

My mother was persecuted by people which included her own family and my father’s mother. She received anonymous phone calls a few times a week as long as I can remember. All we knew about these calls were that they shouted names at her and she would be upset after one. In those days there was no way to find out who the caller was. I suspected it was a hostile friend of my father’s mother who did it at that grandmother’s direction. She was another piece of work.

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Truth As Strange As Fiction: Walking A Mile In Her Shoes, Part 1

Walking A Mile In Her Shoes, Part 1

Left -SadieNichol, RuthDay, BabeBaron - James Brennan (with hat on)tennis champion
My mother is second from the left.

© 2019 Copyright by J.D. Holiday. All RIGHTS RESERVED.

In the mid-1960s, my mother, Ruth, saved a toddler’s life when our family was at Lake Rick-A-Bear Lake, in Kinnelon New Jersey. She was heading for the snack bar on the beach and coming along the path of trees that ran beside the lake just past the picnic tables she saw it in the water apparently having fallen off the bank. No one else was around or watching the baby. She waded into the water and grabbed the child. I came along shortly after and one of the beachgoers rushed up to me and said, your mother saved that baby over there from drowning.” I didn’t say a thing while looking to the side. I couldn’t see the baby with the crowd of people huddled around, many of them talking loudly.
I kept walking back to your picnic table more off the path and in a secluded area of the woods. My dad was grilling burgers and chicken wings the rest of the family sitting either at the table or in Adirondack chairs smiling. For once no one was saying a word. I said to my mother, “someone said you saved a baby?”

Mom just continued to smile, she blue eyes shining and gave me a shrugged. That was her.
I discovered something else about my mother when I was in high school. I took French my first year from Mrs. Chackmanoff. She was a French Jew teaching in a Catholic school. The first day she called my name and asked me to stand. She told the class that she was honored to be teaching me because it was my mother who taught her English.
When I told my mother this after school she just said, Yeah,” with her smile, “she didn’t speak English. They lived upstairs from us when you were a baby. We babysat for each other. Her husband was a Russian Prince.”

We lived on Madison Avenue in Paterson and we had lived on this block once before eight doors up from where we were living in a block of terraced rowhomes. Mrs. Chackmanoff’s family had the apartment above ours.

At the end of freshman year, Mrs. Chackmanoff called me up to her desk and told me she was passing me even though I failed French because she used to change my drapers and for all my mother did for her when her family first came to this country. She told me she had been in a concentration camp in World War II when the Germans held France. When the Russian arrived her future husband was among them and they liberated the camp saving thousands. She later married him and came to America. At first, our two families could only wave and smile at each other. One day my mother went to the small grocery store on Market Street and found Mrs. Chackmanoff standing in the last aisle crying and looking at the change in her hand. My mother saw she was trying to buy bread and jelly. She pointed out the coins for the two items and from then the English lessons began.

Mom didn’t tell me any of that. She was like that. She didn’t talk about others as I remember it. I told my mother what Mrs. Chackmanoff said about finding her in the grocery stores and she did her usual shrug with a smile. I felt such admiration for her.

My mother never spoke badly about anyone. And she didnt talk badly about her own mother. There were signs I suppose along the way. Though what did we, her children, have to compare it with? We know only our own bubble, our small safe and comfortable albeit lower-middle-class sphere created by our two parents. My friends home life seen just like mine with else kids as far as I could tell. We had fun times at our house. Great holiday with wonderful meals. Getting ready for Christmas’ would be weeks of examining Sears and Spiegel’s catalogs to write our lists for Santa and then drives to toy stores to view what we wanted. Our father would come back later and buy the gifts though at times saving money cheaper versions. There were board or card games on Saturday night after my mom’s weekly great fried chicken dinner. Some Sundays, long car rides, four kids stuffed in the back seat elbow to elbow after the kids went to church and then for dinner, sandwiches and a bakery layer cake, the special treat of the week. This was followed by watching Bonanza and the Ed Sullivan Show. Thursdays were chili dogs, known in Paterson as Hot-Dogs-All-The-Way, and fries from any number of hotdog restaurants around the city. In the summer, day trips to the lake to swim and a week at the Jersey shore.

© 2019 Copyright by J.D. Holiday.

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Book trailer for JANOOSE and the FALL FEATHER FAIR

Book trailer for JANOOSE and the FALL FEATHER FAIR


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Living In The Backup Plan: Part 1

Living In The Backup Plan: Part 1

Copyright by J.D. Holiday 2019.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 

Why am I on a stool in this bar, Danie thought staring into her G&T in the East End drawers and mirror 8-3-16 finished_bakLondon? Why she was drinking a Gin and Tonic was easy. It was the go-to drink of her favorite detective character by B. C. Beaton. And she supposed this travel to London England was too, in a way. One of the planes leaving out of Philadelphia heading away from her life was to England. Agatha Raisin’s England. Britain or Italy were her choices having ancestors from both countries.
The pub was in a centuries-old darkish building with a wooden-beamed low ceiling and yet the candlelit lamps around the room gave it an attractive atmosphere. The place was crowded with thirtysomethings occupying both ends of the bar with her in the middle fitting right in being four years younger. Some of the tables had the seventies and counting ups crowd at them with a few tables sporting the in-between generations. She didn’t want to talk. Luckily the woman dressed for the kill and covered in jewelry on her left gave Danie her back as she was engaged with making a score with a guy in perfect business attired.
The large guy on her right wearing a shirt with a multi-color grid necktie tried chatting with her using an unusual line. “Where’d you get those clothes, sweetheart?”
Danie glanced down at her 1960’s ensemble; vintage white short leather jacket, Lambskin black Mod cap, black and white mini skirt and go-go boots. Bought in a retro boutique near Spitalfields Market while doing her own walking tour her guide book in hand. She was trying to obliterate her life from her mind by absorbing the amalgamation of cultures around. She had to admit, it didn’t work.
“This is the twenty-first century, sweetheart!” the man was saying, an open mouth grin on his face.”And your hair is all wrong. It’s too straight for that time frame. Are those dark roots?” he leaned in for a closer look. “Your blonde color isn’t really blonde, is it?”
Danie got rid of Mr. Notmytype when she said using a posh accent, “Piss off, dear.”
He turned away and Dannie sighed, maybe I’ll travel to the Cotswolds and buy a house like Agatha’s. That was followed by the thought she should get back to the hotel and hide out. Be alone.
Forgetting Mr. Notmytype she pictured her father as she remembered him. Then pictures of her mother going through her illness floored back followed by her brothers as she said bye to them in the courthouse. She was weary; worn out yet she felt the tears that come behind seeing all their faces once more. Danie’s body sagged as she leaned forward and put her head on her hands.
Movement next to her made Danie glance around. Mr. Notmytype was getting up and headed for the door. The two men were standing behind her talking. What was said make her glance at them?
The deep voice of one said, “Wait outside. When she leaves you go with her.”
Danie frowned, what’s that about? She eyed both men. One was thick-set in a dark jacket, light pants, and a cap. The man who talked moved into the vacated stool on her right. He was in a dark suit, had a full head of dark hair going gray. From his voice, Danie knew he was an American.
He turned to look at her. Danie quickly opened her purse and searched inside for a tissue. She closed her purse and wiped at her eyes with the tissue. She picked up her drink only to sit it down again.
GOD knows what will become of her two younger brothers. Forced to be divided and each moving in with a greedy aunt, their mother’s two sisters, who lied to the court. Her mother’s will giving them custody and power over both her brother’s money. They denied that they had promised their dying sister her last wish to disregard the will and let the boys stay with Danie living in their own home until they were of age and the estate would go to them directly. Danie told her mother she wouldn’t need more money than what she already had been given after the death of their father three years earlier.
Danie had run from the courthouse unable to bare the total ending of her family. It was all gone. Yes, hugs and kisses were sparse at home but that wasn’t all there is to love. There were kindness and lots of it.
A quick good-bye to the boys at the end of court she drove to Ben’s house. She ran from the hurt like escaping from an abusive lover. A place unknown to her other than what she knew from tv shows she saw and books she read. Some of them were places she’d like to see before making a final decision. All her belongings were packed in Ben’s car since he would drive Danie to the airport and sell her own car for her. He was already caring for her black lab, Reilly and would send him on to her once she found a place she could live. She was going to start over in the backup plan she had worked out.
Her brothers Skylar, age seventeen and Leland, fourteen, told her they would miss her but reassured her they would be okay since there was nothing any of them could do to change the situation. Skylar added they would think of it as a new adventure after all the sadness. They would still have their friends, a few cousins their own age and be in the same school. They were just trying to comfort her, she knew. The three of them spent the night before the final court hearing talking and making arrangements to keep in touch by texting and skyping.
Danie swiped at her eyes again, not caring that her smudged makeup was being totally swiped away.
“You’re not doing very well at drowning your sorrows,” the man now sitting in Mr. Notmytype’s seat said.
Danie looked his way. He was sitting facing her. She glanced at the half-full glass in front of her. “That’s not wise I’ve been told,” she remarked, liking the sound of her own British accent.
He kept glimpsing across the room at a table where a couple was having an engrossing conversation.”No, it’s not,” he said tilting his head to one side and meeting her brown eyes.
Danie hurriedly looked away slightly flustered and took a sipped from her drink.
“You live around here?” he was asking.
“No, I’m staying at the hotel next door,” she said darting a look his way.
But he was looking at that couple again.
“Your girlfriend? Why are you watching them?” she queried, now supposing that was the case and he was stalking the woman.
He turned to Danie and gave her a smile. “No, she’s not. I’m Joe. Joe Graydon. What’s your name?”
“Danie people call me.”
“Short for Danielle?” he pressed while once more surveying the couple across the room.
She studied his profile. “No,” she retorted, not liking his presumption. “That’s what everyone thinks! You didn’t answer my question.”
“About what?” he said transferring his gaze back to her. He scrutinized her not missing a thing.
“She’s not your girlfriend so why are you watching them?” Danie questioned, now with a strong interest.
Joe shrugged and the chuckled. “Let’s say I’m doing a job. Nothing more.”
“If your a spy you need to work on your technique,” she remarked.
His mouth fell open. “Really!”
“Unless you are trying to be obvious. Then you have it down pat. I heard cops sometimes do an open tail.”
He was looking across the room again. Danie did the same.
He said laughing out loud, “You get that phrase from a tv show?”

Copyright by J.D. Holiday 2019.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.   J.D. Holiday 

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THANK YOU, Fran Lewis for the Wonderful Review of SIMPLE THINGS!

Simple Things: J.D. Holiday
Review by Fran LewisImagine what would happen if there was a world where young teens or middle school children got along. Imagine what would happen
if kindness, understanding and true friendship weighed heavily above greed, material gain and bullying. Author J. D. Holiday introduces us to the Cameron children and their friend Carlos. Meeting them will endear you to the
entire family, including a special dog named Mitch. What happens when a young girl named Trisha comes into their lives? Magic, love, helpfulness and the true meaning of Christmas just might win out when presents take a backstage to help someone in need.
When a Trisha Johnson finds herself all alone when the only person caring for her dies, the events that follow will warm your heart to a group of teens that show kindness, understanding and true friendship an orphan named Trisha. Taking all the money that her Uncle John had before he died, learning about his death from the nurses in the hospital, Trisha is on the street with her dog, Mitch. Tying him to a pole to go into the mission, she comes out to learn he was stolen. Trisha is now all alone in this world, but miracles can happen in many ways as she becomes friends with the Cameron children and events might change it all. Hoping to find Mitch, her dog by going back into the mission and asking for help leaves her nowhere.
While this is happening Kirby. Phoebe, Tucker, and their friend Carlo are watching for a delivery van hoping it will bring them their Christmas gifts. But someone hits the driver and hijacks the van and the gifts or whatever was in the van is gone. Vic is cruel, hurts his dog and does not care about anything or anyone. Daring anyone to try and
stop his reign of terror little does he know he is about to come up against this feisty girl. Watching him pull and tug at his dog, somehow, they manage to get Bates and bring him safely to their home.

But their Gram seems to think that Vic can do no wrong so what will happen if they ask her for help with Trisha, to find her dog or should they call the police? But Trisha pleads with them not to phone the police because she realizes that shemight be in trouble with child services and be placed in a foster home. Hoping to find her real father and with a note from her mother that arms her with what she needs, she meets Phoebe and her brothers and immediately they bond, but daring, zealous and highly intelligent as each one comes up a plan or part of a plan to help Trisha find Mitch and have a haven in their home.
Gram learns about Mitch as her grandchildren tell her about Vic and something happens where they learn more about other missing dogs and the possibility of illegal dog fights as Trisha spots Mitch and other dogs in the back of a truck but she’s too late to rescue him.
What is important to most children at holiday time is receiving gifts and namely the ones that they want. Some people in Santa while others become jaded and think he does not really exist. However, believing in something is what makes the holidays
come alive and special for kids and even adults.
Vic is dangerous and as the reader and the kids get to know him and watch him with Bates and his actions with others, you come to realize that Gram has been blindsided
and does not want to face the truth about him. But, will this ever change, and will she come to terms with who he really is and help Trisha find her dog and act against him for his other deeds?
Gram did not want to believe that Vic was as dangerous as they were saying and then Trisha saw a sidebar on the news on the net stating that there was a dogfighting ring the police suspected operation in their city, leading her to believe that somehow
her dog might be in danger and that Bates the dog really meant BATE.
Things spiral out of control, but first, the author introduces us to Tom Frankel and something about him sends a flare in Trisha’s mind and could
this man be someone she needs to know if so why?
When the truth behind why Tom is interested in her comes out things take on a different and dangerous turn for all the children as they are determined to stop what someone
has put in place. Presents are important to everyone during the holidays and things spiraled out of control when the children asked to go shopping with their mother and the truth behind their reasons might have costed them
more than they ever would expect.
Betrayals, deceptions and a family and several friends that ban together to help one young girl, find the clues and reason for the dog’s being taken and hopefully restore their
faith in friendship, hope, understanding and family as the Cameron children teach everyone the true meaning of friendship and the spirit of the holiday season. But, what about Gran and her faith in someone? The intelligence
and ingenuity of the Cameron children and the faith they have in each other this book could lead to a series having them solve other mysteries and adding in Trisha and more about her and Tom. Characters that are well developed
and realistic and a plot that will keep younger teens and middle school children wanting to learn more about these children and even deciding in discussion groups how they would have handled helping Trisha and taking down
the dog fighting ring, this book teaches lessons in understanding, forgiveness, friendship, loyalty and love.
The future of many are at stake, but the one thing that I really loved is how author J.D. Holiday makes us all realize that it’s not riches, jewels, expensive cars and items that are important it is just plain and SIMPLE THINGS.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, textReview FRAN LEWIS can be found at: 

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Simple Things Book Trailer and Excerpt


Excerpt from Chapter 1:

              A tied-up Christmas tree leaned against the wall on the back porch where Uncle John left it. The two of them were going to put it up last night. But things have changed for Trisha Frankel.

               With Mitch, her black Labrador Retriever, on his leash behind her, Trisha closed and locked the door of the apartment. She lived here with her uncle for the past nine years in the mainly African-American neighborhood. People would soon be looking for her if they were not already. Before Trisha talked to anybody else she needed to do something.

               She stuck a note under her upstairs neighbor Nell Galock’s door saying, “she needed to see someone, and would come back later.” Last night she was surprised Nell let her sleep alone with just Mitch for company in her own apartment. During the waking hours of the night, she made her plans. She knew she couldn’t stay long with Nell who was scheduled to move to a nursing home soon. Everyone worried about her failing health. Nell’s daughter came around to bring food and take her to appointments since the elderly woman fell last summer. Trisha saw Nell like a frail bird with a broken wing hopping along the ground out of its comfort zone.

              Wearing her backpack stuffed with food and carrying a duffle bag in case she didn’t return Trisha and Mitch kept a steady pace. They walked the long route along the snowy streets over the Seventh Street bridge passing many factories to River Street. Here and there someone shoveled a path on their long trek to the city. Stores were busy on Main Street and they jostled with holiday shoppers while avoiding mounds of dirty snow piles here and there. Trisha and Mitch waited to cross through the narrow path at a red light.

               After almost an hour in the warm sun, Trisha took off her hat and scarf. The storm yesterday dropped ten inches of snow. Though the wind driven air felt cold, the ice and snow on the sidewalks and streets started melting. Snow began slipping off slanted rooftops with a thud.

               Trisha realized they were almost there. After all, she knew the area a little. She and Uncle John would take a bus to Twentieth Avenue on weekends and then go to the Mart walking many blocks to get there. A schoolhouse at one time, someone converted the Mart into a sort of mini-mall or small department store. It was not far from there to her father’s neighborhood, she believed. A long time ago her mother, Anne, wrote the address down on the envelope Trisha kept with her.

On those trips with her Uncle John, she bought books at the Bookstand Bookstore. Uncle John would get a newspaper or crossword book and they would read at the cafe drinking cocoa.

              She and Mitch finally got to the street. Trisha glanced at the torn and smudged envelope. Her name was written on the front, along with the address and inside a letter from her mother. The other contents of the envelope were photos. Trisha treasured them. They were all that was left of her family. Pictures of her parents together, some of herself and a few of Uncle John.

              Mitch sat on the sidewalk, his tongue hanging out while Trisha sorted through some of the pictures. She came to one of her parents together. In it they were young. It was taken about fifteen years earlier. Trisha had no memory of her mother. In the picture, Anne was in a pink summer dress and sandals, her hair combed back off her face. Trying not to cry Trisha studied the boy in jeans and a T-shirt with short dark hair his arm around Anne. He was her father.

              Putting the envelope back in her coat pocket, Trisha sighed. “Come on, Mitch. If nothing else we’ll see what his house looks like,” she said heading down the block.

 At the address, she was looking for they stopped. No one was around so Trisha turned back and stood in front. The slender two-story home appeared to have an apartment on both floors and looked recently painted a light green. Sandwiched between its neighbors with narrow alleys, a closed metal gate on one side led down a cracked sidewalk. She stared at it trying to decide what she should do.

              She heard people talking and turned. In the middle of the block stood a large red brick building that looked like a restaurant with large front windows. On the shoveled sidewalk in front three men talked.

 Trisha decided to walk by them. One of them might be him, she thought. But then two of the men went inside the building and the third, a white man, walked past her. At the doorway, Trisha read the sign over the double doors, Day Mission.

              The doors opened and a woman walked out and passed her. Trisha glanced inside the door. Making her mind up, Trisha put down her duffle bag and tied Mitch to the drainpipe at the corner of the building. A beat-up orange truck pulled up and parked in front of the house next to the mission. A lean-built man with spiky short brown hair got out.               

              Turning to go inside she stopped when the man came over and stared down at Mitch. “That’s a nice dog,” he said.

              “Thanks,” Trisha said. Without glancing at her the man went down the alley between the mission and the house.

              “I’ll go in and get some water. If I get up the nerve I’ll ask if anyone knows him. After all, he lives on this street. When I come out we’ll have a snack. You be a good boy,” Trisha said to Mitch as she went into the building.

              Mixed smells permeated the large room. She recognized coffee and some kind of cleaner. People were waiting in lines getting food or eating at long tables that filled the sizable room. She roamed around until she saw a table along the wall where a large coffee pot, bottles of water and stacks of cups were organized. She took one bottle and a cup while looking around the room. No one resembled the young man plus fifteen years in the photo. She was about to leave when an older, stocky woman with puffed up cherry colored hair came up to her. The deep wrinkles around the woman’s mouth and eyes were more noticeable as she smiled. She asked Trisha, “Can I help you?”

              Trisha busied herself with slipping the bottled water and cup into her coat pockets. “I was looking for somebody but they’re not here,” She mumbled.

              “Who are you looking for? Maybe I know them,” the woman asked.

               Trisha met her eyes for a moment. She seemed kind, but Trisha just wanted to leave. “No, I see he’s not here,” Trisha said again a little sharper.

              She nearly ran from the building only to stop when she saw that Mitch was no longer tied where she left him.

               Her legs shook and her voice grew shrill as she called his name thinking that Mitch might have run out into the traffic. Trisha looked down the street, but she saw no trace of him. She rushed to the busy intersection. At the corner, Trisha strained to see him. But Mitch was nowhere in sight. Mitch never ran away and he always stayed where she told him to. Many times she tied him outside the food market on Seventh street.

              Horrible thoughts raced through her mind. The traffic on the street rushed past her. Not used to streets quite this busy, the noise and traffic might have frightened him enough for him to run.

              People stared, but she did not care. Trisha asked a few of them if they saw him. Those that answered said no.

               She ran back to the mission to look again. She almost expected him to be wagging his tail there waiting for her. But he wasn’t. Her duffle bag sat on the sidewalk by itself. A couple of people passed by going into the mission. She noticed that the orange truck was out front double-parked. Trisha went down the snowy side alley between the mission and a square three-story house next to it. She called Mitch’s name and whistling for him even though his paw prints were not in the snow. In the back, there were seven cars in the parking area behind the building. The doors to the garage behind the house stood ajar and the snow in front of it was ice encrusted. Mitch would come if he heard her, but Trisha picked her way over the ice to look inside the garage anyway.

              A man came down the alley. He was the same one who got out of the orange truck and spoke to her about Mitch earlier. Then she remembered. When she came out of the mission his truck was gone.

Seeing her in the yard he stopped. “What do you want?” he sneered. “This is my yard.”

              “You remember my dog earlier?” Trisha asked, pointing toward the street. “I tied him outside the mission. He’s missing now.”

               From the street, car horns began blasting. The man smirked at her. She noticed him closely now, with his rumpled clothes, and unshaven face, but his sarcastic demeanor gave Trisha the creeps.

              “No,” he murmured, turning to go into the house. “Your dog isn’t here.”

              “Well, my dog was tied out front. You and your truck were there when I went in. Did you see what happened to him?” Trisha said slowly, trying to sound calm.

              “No,” he snarled and went into the house.

              Trisha looked around at the cars in the parking lot. Then the man came out again nearly dragging a dirty looking beige dog struggling on a leash.

              He stopped and glared at her, laughing, “Does this dog look like yours?”

              He continued going down the alley toward the street all the while the small dog struggled, it’s head twisting, tail down. A sick feeling engulfed Trisha. Some tears ran down her face. Trisha wiped at them and hurried after the man. Thoughts were beginning to make a picture in her mind. That man’s truck had been moved when she found Mitch missing. Mitch was small for his breed and did not bite. This guy could pick Mitch up and throw him in that truck, she reasoned.

               At the truck, the man turned and noticed Trisha following him. She met his stare and waited for him to open the back of the truck. She wanted to see inside it.

              He gave the leash several hard pulls then grabbed the small dog’s collar and through clenched teeth, he said to the dog, “Get over here.”

              “Leave that dog alone,” Trisha shouted.

~J.D. Holiday

author, Cereal Authors, JD Holiday, Life, Truth, As Strange As Fiction, writer's life

Truth, As Strange As Fiction: Life In Riverside

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The Great Falls of Paterson, NJ

© 2019 Copyright by J.D. Holiday. All RIGHTS RESERVED.

Riverside is a larger neighborhood in Paterson, New Jersey. Its bordered on three sides by the Passaic River, hence its name. My husband Angelo grew up in Riverside on Fifth Avenue. Everyone in the neighborhood was familiar with the mob’s management style learned from fearful whispers. From the 60s through the 70s the mob was in control of this Italian neighborhood. Like other ‘families’ in other places, in Riverside, the mob owned most everything. They owned many types of businesses. Among them oil and textile, dozens of factories that had seen better days, the local lumberyard, a couple of bars and a few restaurants. Even the local laundromat and a whole lot of real estate – many run-down houses which crammed the city streets. It was far from an upscale area.

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This is what the house Angelo grew us it looks like today.

Random crime was not done in Riverside without the perpetrator facing retaliation to set an example. And the only killings, shootings and stabbings, were handled by the ‘family.’

Between the police presence and the mob it was safe to walk the streets. Joseph D. Pistone aka FBi undercover agent ‘Donnie Brasco,’ said that growing up in Paterson he learned how local mobsters acted as he saw them hanging around, gambling, doing ”the basic things that wise guys do.”

The street rules were, don’t meet their eyes if you could help it, or if you did, look away as quick as you can. And if spoken to, be polite. You could see them at their local hangout in the back booth and a nearby table in the pizzeria on River Street talking, smoking and reading newspapers or the daily racing forms.

During the race riots that followed the death of a great uniter Martin Luther King (1968) the Riverside area stayed untouched for this very reason. While Riverside escaped the turmoil, my part of town near Madison Avenue and Market Street wasn’t so luck. The riots brought nightly looting and fires to the businesses. We kept our doors locked and shades down through the curfewed nights. Each morning we’d wake and feeling jittery head out for school once the seven AM road barricades lifted.

National Guard lined the streets and manned the barriers while their military tanks (this was my first time seeing tanks) and jeeps parked nearby. My dad drove me to St. Joseph’s High School through these narrow cobblestone back roads. We meandered along those street to avoid any lingering problem passed an unkempt park. This whole area was hundreds of years old. I asked my dad how he knew about these street. They were new to me. He smiled. In his college days, he said he attended William Paterson college then located on twenty-third Ave and worked for a beer distributor. He would deliver beer weekly to the St. Joe’s rectory for the priest’s Friday night deliver on these very roads.

Any murders in Riverside were not gangland killings, those between mob families over turf. But of anyone who betrayed or inform on the mob. Their bodies left in the open over night as an example to others. A few major cases were of a guy knifed on Fifth Avenue and left at the bus stop for the morning commute. Another was a man shoot threw the windshield and his car backed into a parking space in the A&P lot, The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company-an extinct grocery stores chain. The third happened at 1:30 AM on October of 1966. A neighbor of Gabriel ‘Johnny the Walk’ DeFranco, (known for a limp when he walked), looked out and saw three men assail DeFranco on his apartment porch at the corner of Madison and 5th Avenues. DeFranco answered his doorbell to his killers. They beat DeFranco before slashing his throat. His killing would be later connected to an earlier murder of a young married woman shot twice in the head in February of that year. Her body dumped in a Garden State Parkway gully not far from her home. Her car was found in Newark doused with gas and on fire. Both murders were later connected to a wife-swapping club, amateur-porno shoots, and counterfeiting. Angelo was paperboy in the early 60s in the neighborhood and DeFranco was his best tipping customer.

Angelo rode his bike to do his paper route after school. One time a couple of mob guys stopped him. They ask him to take a bag and ride down a block and throw it into the open window of a black sedan. Angelo murmured, “I got to get home,” and rode off. He knew not to do anything of that source.

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Copyright 2019 ~JD Holiday

JD Holiday, Truth, As Strange As Fiction, Uncategorized

Truth, As Strange As Fiction: Truth, what is it?


© 2019 Copyright by J.D. Holiday. All RIGHTS RESERVED.

Truth, what is it really?  I don’t know that we would know the truth about anything anymore.

In William Bradford’s journey (William Bradford* 1590 – 1657 passenger on the Mayflower in 1620) you would find that the two groups, pilgrims and the Indians had a mutual friendship. The Indians did show them how to plant corn and after their second-year pilgrims held a feast and invited their friends to it. The story that the Indian saved the pilgrims their first winter is not true, yet this has made it into the history books and is told to our children as truth.

If the movie A Few Good Men were done today, Jack Nickolson could easily say, You wouldn’t know the truth! instead of You can’t handle it.

Whatever the truth was in the past today has become anything anyone says almost literally.

 Once there were rumors and the truth. Many people, not all, of course, would have judged others on their own. How another treated them, they would do in kind.

Sure, there were always followers – there has always been those who consign their thoughts to others – those willing to have one or two people do their thinking for them.

Now it seems people just believe what they read or hear based on others opinions as if its fact and not one side of a story taking it on as the truth. I don’t find that fact-checkers on one side or the other cuts it.

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~JD Holiday

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* William Bradford, 1590 – 1657 passenger on the Mayflower in 1620. He travelled to the New World to live in religious freedom. He became the second Governor of Plymouth Colony and served for over 30 years. Bradford kept a journal of the history of the early life in Plymouth Colony. It is called Of Plymouth Plantation