Fiction & Literature

Just One More


A thrilling multilayered book enriched by keen psychological and emotional insight. —Book Talk

An emotionally resonant thriller, Merrill's mastery of dialogue and character development combined with a propulsive plot makes for a book you won't be able to put down. Tense, riveting, and suspenseful, Just One More is one of those stories where every page reveals a new twist.—AZ Republic

A roller coaster ride of a thriller. Harriet Blimm is the serial killer you will want to hate but learn to love. The plot is compelling and energetic, racing from one event to another as it forces the reader to consider the unimaginable. The bitterness and cold reality of what is love versus what is hate and how quickly emotions can change will make the reader cringe even as the friendship between Harriet and her crows warms their hearts.  A story of contrasting emotions. Tense and suspenseful, Just One More, chapter after chapter, coerces the reader to turn the page and then the next. —Readers Favorite

For precocious, self-reliant, ten-year-old Harriet Blimm, life is complicated. An absent father and a negligent mother have placed Harriet in an untenable situation. She never planned to murder anyone, but things changed one ugly afternoon when Harriet kills to protect herself.

Excelling in school helps Harriet thrive until she finds herself frightened and living alone in the family home at age eleven. As the situation deteriorates, she befriends two crows who become her companions.

Fear causes Harriet to kill again—this time, in anger. Now with no family and only the friendship of the crows, Nevermore and Morrigan, it appears that Harriet is bound for the foster care system.

The plot twists and turns as rescue appears, disappears, and appears again. Harriet struggles to understand her own emotions and those of the people around her. However, for Harriet, killing to solve a problem seems like a logical solution.

As Harriet matures, she is soon caught in a web of her own making, and the only way she can see to find happiness, security, and love is to kill again and again.

As suspicion grows, Harriet must cover up her trail of murders. She can see only one way to remain undiscovered—she vows to kill only one more time.

Just one more—and she will be safe.

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Fiction & Literature

Things to do on Planet Earth

A collection of thought-provoking ideas and concepts. Nonconventional and unexpected.

Fiction & Literature

What Killed Downtown? Norristown, Pennsylvania from Main Street to the Malls

In 1950, the classic American downtown of Norristown, Pennsylvania, centered on the six blocks of Main Street, was the bustling commercial heart of central Montgomery County, and had been for over a century. With depression and war in the past, downtown merchants looked forward to an extended period of prosperity. It was not to be.

By 1975, downtown's core stood largely shuttered and deteriorating, with 99 storefronts vacant and countless others lost to the wrecking ball, as first shoppers and then the merchants fled Main Street.

What Killed Downtown? Was it...

  • The Malls? Commercial wisdom points to the King of Prussia Mall as the prime suspect. But were there accomplices?

  • Municipal Government? The Main Street merchants always believed that the Borough Council was the culprit--and with good reason.

  • The Downtown Merchants themselves? Did the shopholders blind themselves, then step into the firing line, ignoring the threats of a changing world?

  • Or was it something else...something more fundamental?

Historian Michael E. Tolle's extensive research into the collapse of downtown Norristown reveals not only the answers to these questions, but also recreates the classic American downtown shopping experience, long an American characteristic, but now largely foreign to anyone below middle age. In so doing, Tolle lays bare the fundamental incompatibility between the urban grid and the automobile, as he recounts how a middle-sized American city struggled -- and failed -- to solve the the issues of traffic flow and parking, issues that are no closer to solution today, regardless of the size of the city.

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Fiction & Literature

Vinegar Hill Blues

A wounded musician shipped home from WWII finds his mother has died and his old Brooklyn neighborhood obliterated by a housing project. Always poor, he now wants to succeed as a jazz musician but he also wants money. He thinks the only path open to him is to rejoin his prewar friends and become a thief. One of those buddies, now a cop, makes the decision easy.

Fiction & Literature


Adventure erupts around a boating couple, after they stumble upon drug runners and mystical ancients in the Bahamas Islands.

Fiction & Literature

The Pandemic Report

When a reporter is sent to investigate a mysterious illness at a military base in Kansas, he unknowingly stumbles upon the origins of the 1918 influenza pandemic that killed 50 million people around the world, in less than two years' time. Upon returning home from Kansas, he discovers that he's been drafted and is being sent to Europe to fight the Kaiser. However, a tragic accident soon sends him back to the states with a handicap, yet despite his new limitations, he resumes his old job at the newspaper and begins traveling the back roads where he reports on the killer flu that's spreading like a prairie fire across the land. Before the 1918 pandemic was declared to be over, hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life were carried to their graves, or burned on the funeral pyres, with some children left to wander the streets with no parent remaining to care for them.

Here is an excerpt from this 314 page book, The Pandemic Report.

"..No sooner had we pulled away from the train station when the Professor twisted around in his seat and turned a crank behind the driver’s seat that raised a window of thick glass between the soldier and us. He then turned to me and said: “One can never have too much privacy where such a thing is concerned. Wouldn’t want to cause a panic you know.”

I imagined that he’d been working around the military for too long, yet I was anxious to hear what he had to say, even if he was a crackpot as I first supposed. He yelled something at the driver through the glass partition to satisfy himself that he couldn’t hear a word we might say, and then he turned his attention back to me and continued.

“It was first discovered about three weeks ago, and it’s caused no small amount of panic I can assure you of that. At first, it was all quite routine you see, but then it quickly escalated into a full-blown quarantine situation.”

“Wait a minute Jenkins, all that because a few guys came down with the flu?”

“That’s Professor Jenkins if you please. While I’m willing to make some allowances because of your age, youthfulness is no excuse for a lack of professional courtesy!”

“My apologies Professor, I assure you that it won’t happen again. Now then, you were saying. About the flu?”

“My word man, didn’t they brief you on anything in Washington?”

My ears perked up when he said that, and I knew in an instant that I was the wrong person in the right place at the perfect time to get a scoop for my newspaper.

“Umm, yes, Washington. I’m still a little unclear on the details and think it best if you filled me in, from your perspective. Oh, and could you start from the beginning and bring me up to the current status, you know, so that I can compare notes with what they told me in D.C.?”

The look on his face was enough to tell me that he expected such things from ‘we Americans.’

“Right then, from the beginning.”

Though agitated, he was cooperative none the less.

“As you are probably aware, operation Night Shade was a project that King George and your President thought best if worked on by both of our governments. It’s very hush-hush you see, top-secret and classified and all that jazz, which is why I take every precaution possible whenever talking about it.

The Germans, as you know, have been doing extensive research, attempting to develop a variety of chemical gases designed to target the nervous systems of our soldiers on the battlefield, while their own troops would be protected by new types of gas masks made specifically for such gases. We know this of course and are taking our own measures to counter such actions, developing our own gasmasks and whatnot.

The problem, however, is that recent intelligence out of Europe suggests that the Germans have been pursuing biological alternatives to their chemical weapons program; ‘germ warfare’ if you please. I don’t have to tell you the kind of trouble that could be. Can you imagine what that could mean to us? Or to anyone really, who dares to try and oppose them.”

I shook my head as if I knew, but to be honest, I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. As much as I hated to admit it even to myself, most of what he was telling me went over my head. I’d spent the previous few years simply trying to make it through college, and because of my friends in combat, I hadn’t been following the war in Europe very closely, even after America joined the fight nearly a year earlier. While there were brief occasions when I considered signing up myself, I imagined that they had enough Dough Boys already in the fight, so they didn’t need me tagging along simply to become cannon fodder.

“This single endeavor, should they pull it off, could mean world domination for the Germans. The bloody Kraut’s could rule the world! Imagine that one if you can. They could enter the battlefield wearing masks designed for a specific pathogen, release the biological agent into the air, and everyone who comes into contact with it would succumb to mass bleeding of the internal organs, almost like a full-body hemorrhage.

But wait a moment, it’s not over yet. The field medics and all those who come into contact with the dead soldiers could also contract the illness from any of the victim’s fluids. They could then carry it to others who were not yet infected, sort of like walking time bombs you see. Why, they possibly wouldn’t even display any symptoms until days later after contact. It could cause a death toll of pandemic proportions if it were ever to get out of control, and I don’t think the Germans realize just how dangerous such a thing could be, to their people as well as to our own.”

He stopped speaking and appeared deep in thought about something, so I gave him a few moments before bringing him back.

“Um, Professor? You were saying… about the flu?”

“Hmm? Oh, right then. Sorry about that old bean, not been getting enough rest you know. Now then, where was I? Oh yes… So, we thought it best if we worked together to counter anything the Germans might throw at us. London and Washington both agreed on that one. We’ve been trying everything, as you might well imagine, looking for anything of value towards building a more extensive arsenal of medicines and antidotes, as well as experimenting with new gas mask designs.

Then out of the blue, one of our team members gets notified of some sort of trouble here at Fort Riley, Kansas, where more than a hundred of your boys fell sick all on the same day. On the surface, it was only a minor flu really, but we didn’t want to leave anything to chance you see, because that many men suddenly falling ill on the same day, why, that’s absolutely unheard of.”

All of a sudden it began to get interesting. Mister Jackson never mentioned that so many had suddenly and mysteriously gotten ill, and it was becoming clear to me why he sent me to Kansas. It was finally beginning to smell like a story. As one of my Professors once said to me: ‘If something doesn’t smell right, a good reporter will put a clothespin on his nose and dig into the dung heap to find the story inside.’

“You’d mentioned ‘Pandemic’ Professor?”

“Yes, that’s correct, but of course that’s only speculation on my part you see. Unlike an epidemic that’s confined to a more localized area, a pandemic would be an epidemic that covered the whole of the world, and then, well… will you listen to me going on. I do apologize for my ramblings, Doctor. I’m sure that a man of your background doesn’t need me to tell you anything about pandemics.”

His words startled me and there was a moment of silence before I responded.

“Huh? Oh no, no, of course not, I was just checking to see if I’d heard you correctly.”

What I was wondering was if I’d heard him correctly refer to me as a Doctor. While I thought myself a pretty fair reporter, and more recently a pretty good liar, I’d never considered myself much of an actor, and I was most certainly not a doctor. I realized immediately that I’d have to be careful about what I might say in future conversations once we arrived at the base.

“One of the physicians from Fort Riley called a member of our team to ask his advice after the first twenty or so lads came to the infirmary complaining of coughing, fever, and severe physical distress. He said he was quite certain that it was the flu, only this flu was behaving differently than anything he’d ever encountered before. While he was still speaking on the telephone to our man, he told him there were several dozen additional men now trying to get in through the front door with what appeared to be the same ailment. We of course dispatched a team immediately and have been here ever since the second week. As it stands right now, there have been over 1,100 soldiers stricken with this peculiar illness. It’s most remarkable really.

In the beginning of course, we feared the worse; that perhaps the Germans had attacked us right under our very noses. But things seemed to have calmed down quite a bit since then, and most of the young men have already been released to bed rest in their own quarters after showing signs of improved health. Many of them are still suffering the lingering effects that a normal flu might bring; muscle aches and joint pains for several days to a week afterward, but we simply don’t have the room to house them all while they convalesce.

It would appear that whatever it was that struck them down has pretty much gone away, and at this point, I don’t believe it to be the work of the Germans at all, and if it were, it proved to be quite unsuccessful. Not to throw caution to the wind, however, we’ve decided to maintain tight security measures on the chance that we could be wrong about the Kaisers' involvement. It’s still a rather curious incident, and I’ve alerted London to keep an eye out for similar symptoms as we’ve encountered here. Basically, I’d say that whatever it was, we were very fortunate that it went away on its own.”

“So, the problem is pretty much over then?”

“Well yes, I’d have to say so. The death toll from this incident has been just under 50 men, though it would’ve been much worse had the hospital not taken such quick action to isolate the infected soldiers before they left the confines of the base. Other than those still housed within the infirmary, I believe we can safely say that the malady has run its course. We do feel however that we should take this opportunity to fine-tune how we might handle such a crisis, in the event that next time it’s discovered to be a deliberate act of aggression.”

“Yes, yes of course. I completely agree Professor.”

Jenkins turned around to look ahead of us as we approached the entrance to Fort Riley, at which time he held his security badge up to the window which allowed us to pass through the checkpoint of guards posted at the front gate. He refrained from speaking any further until the car came to a full stop in front of a small building within sight of the laboratory.

“That’s it just up ahead, but we’ll be getting off here for now, and I’ll continue once we’re safely inside.”"

Fiction & Literature

The Slave's Diary

After a boy name Kimbo is kidnapped from the jungles of Africa while on his first hunt with his father, we learn about his arduous journey from boyhood to adulthood through his book of recollections, starting with a walk through the jungle to a trading post; to a slave island; and then onto a crowded slave ship through the middle passage of the trade triangle where he lands in 19th century Virginia and the slave trade.

As an old man, he describes the life that he led in America as the slave of many masters, showing us the good and the evil, until the day that he gains his freedom with the help of a minister who becomes his dearest friend.

Let me encourage you to read the reviews from those who've read it, and to give you a taste, here is an excerpt from the award winning book called: The Slave's Diary:

"She stopped rocking and pulled the pipe from her mouth and held it in her wrinkled hand.

“Well, now, how do you s’pose you’re gonna eat it if ’n yer hidin’ in them there woods?”

Leaving the safety of the brush, I walked slowly up to the porch and told her my name.

“Hmmm. Rastus, is it? I like it. It’s a good strong name. I knew a Rastus once. A good man he was, an’ kind to animals too. Well, what are ya standin’ there like a lump fer? Come on up here and set fer a spell an’ tell me about yerself, Rastus.”

“Thank ya, kindly ma’am, don’t mind if I do.”

“You might jest as well call me Miss Owens. Evrabuddy else does.”

She patted the chair next to her and told me to sit for a while and talk with her.

“So tell me about yerself, young feller.”

I told her my story, and I mean everything. Well, almost everything. I told her about how I was a boy when I came to America from Africa, and then about Jed an’ Miss Kassie, and all about the Masters I had. But I didn’t tell her anything about Lizbeth ’cause it just didn’t seem like a good idea.

She seemed real interested when I talked about the draft horses I used to work with, and laughed when I told her some of the things that happened while I lived with Miss Kassie and Jed. But when I told her that I was a set-free man, she tipped her head and looked at me over top of her spectacles, almost as if to say out loud that I was a liar. I don’t know how she knew it, but I could tell that she knew. But instead of calling me out on it, she started to tell me about herself.

She was married for a long time to a man called Wilbur, but he died almost a year before from something called the pox.

“Tain’t been an easy road, son, but this homestead’s been paid for in bitter coin. If it wasn’t the Injuns, cold weather, or poor crops, there was always some kinda illness tryin’ to git us to move on. My man Wilbur was a fine man, Rastus, an’ I think he’d a liked you. Did I tell you Wilbur was a horse man jest like you? He’d go on an’ on about it, always talkin’ about raisin’ them dang horses and makin’ it big by sellin’ ’em to the rich folks in the Bay Colony. A course he never got around to it other than all the talkin’, but a man has to have his dream now, don’t he, Rastus?”

She stopped talking and looked at me as if waiting for me to speak.

“So tell me, young feller, what’s yer dream about?”

I didn’t know what to say. I wasn’t sure I even had a dream apart from being free, which I already lied and told her I was.

“I don’t reckon I have a dream Miss Owens. Leastwise, nothin’ I kin think of. An’ tha’s okay ’cause I don’t aspect a whole lot outta life other’n what I already got.”

She looked at me kinda serious like and told me that that was just crazy talk. Then she leaned her chair toward me and pointed that corncob pipe my way and shook it at me.

“Now you listen to me, Rastus, ’cause I’m an old woman an’ I know what I’m talkin’ about. If a body don’t want much outta this life, then by golly that’s usually all they’s ever gonna git! Not much! Now you got to reach down deep inside yerself an’ think on what makes ya happy. An’ what it is that makes ya happy that you ain’t got yet, well, that kin be yer dream. Can ya see what I’m sayin’, boy? A body hasta have dreams. It’s what keeps us goin’.”

She put the pipe between her lips again as I lowered my head and thought about what she said for a bit before saying anything. Her words made a lot of sense, and I thought about it hard for a few minutes more before a smile came onto my face.

“Well then, I has a dream, Miss Owens. I think I wants ta go home. Yes, that’s what I wants. I wants ta go back home to Africa someday.”

She pulled the pipe from her mouth and smiled at me.

“Now that’s a good dream to have, Rastus, a real good dream, an’ I hope ya git it one day. An’ soon too.”

She stood up after some effort and asked me if I’d like some of that apple pie. “For it goes to spoil,” she added..."

Fiction & Literature

Crude Intent

Corruption, greed, sex and revenge…unseen EVIL forces are at play in Crude Intent, the riveting sequel to Silent Partners, and the second book in the Alex Sheridan series. Is a suspicious explosion at one of Alex Sheridan’s oil wells in the Colorado national forest just an accident or part of a diabolical plan? Where is her long-time partner and estranged lover, Colt Forrester, who has gone missing? What sinister forces are trying to destroy and steal her valuable business, and will the rugged and charming Angus Hawthorn, who leads her fire-fighting team, seduce her heart? A brilliant and beautiful entrepreneur, Alex Sheridan calls on loyal friends, Detective Carter and his aide, Lafayette, to find the TRUTH, but they must find a killer before Alex is accused of MURDER and her dreams destroyed. In the aftermath of the fire and tragic investigation…will LOVE rise from the ashes?

Fiction & Literature

Repressed Feelings of Self-Portrayal you ever felt emotions or desires, especially those that could be considered by some as shameful or depressing? We are all a product of our environment and we each repress feelings in hope that they will subside. As humans, we have all experienced these feelings at one time or another. This book is a collection of poetry surrounding the topics of Self - betrayal, confession, self-discovery, rejection and love.

Fiction & Literature

The Unwanted Wife

Your wedding day is meant to be one of the happiest days of your life, a time where unbridled love and connection abound. But family secrets and hidden fears may impede the happiness of that day. For most, marrying the love of your life is where the fairy tale begins, but on some odd occasions, it is the beginning of a nightmare. The Unwanted Wife is one womanís story about everything other than what marriage is supposed to be. Loveless, abusive, and soulless. Arranged marriages are part of many cultures, and most are unwilling participants in a game of power, one-upmanship, and positioning between families. The story is about one brideís journey from a life filled with fear, abuse, terror, anxiety, unmentionable situations too shocking to be spoken about and how she used the power of positivity to make life-changing decisions that lead to her strength, resilience, and endurance. Take a walk in her shoes as she left Guyana to live in Canada with a family she did not know, to a man she did not know or love, and how she adapted to a whole new life. It is her courageous tale of how she survived the toughest of times, facing a multitude of obstacles and disillusions and disappointments, for the sake of her children and how, after finding her strength, she was able to find true love.

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