Simple Things Book Trailer and Excerpt

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.

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


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 handled the 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 another cuts it.
Then there’s condemning others. Its one thing to indict those who have been convicted of a crime in a court but condemn people with no proof using half truths and innuendo is another. To damn someone or a group on hearsay just because they don’t believe as you do or don’t agree on something you want them to would have been considered wrong not that long ago. There are those will use this tactic to cover up something they don’t want others to know about themselves or about what they believe in by ridiculing those on the other side of the argument, and the way they see it, lying is the answer. All the more if others think and repeat it for them. I seen this over and over again.
Sadly, this is where we are here in the U S of A today. What use to be decent can be made indecent in a flash. One person not agreeing with the other is a crime.
If someone says something you disagree with why not dismiss it and walk away instead of confront them? After all, not one of us is more important (or godlike) than the other.

* 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

The Book Report: Charlie Chan as written by Earle Derr Biggers

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I have finished reading the Charlie Chan books and some of the other books by Earle Derr Biggers, (August 26, 1884 - April 5, 1933,) an American novelist and playwright. I can't say enough about Author Biggers. He was a superb writer and his well structured stories have great pacing. Though many of his works were written in the early part of the Twentieth  Century, around the 1920's and 30's, and not at the time historical, today Biggers stories give the readers a great sense of the times they were written in and yet the characters could easily walk the streets today with no problems other than their old-time way of speaking. Being an old movie buff I've seen all the Charlie Chan movies and like them no matter who played Charlie, but they are nowhere as good as the books. Not even close in my opinion.
Image result for book collection cover of the charlie chan Besides his books, Earle Derr Biggers wrote plays and theatrical adaptations and short stories some of which became films. I read there might have been forty films featuring detective Charlie Chan alone.  
Charlie Chan came to being when Biggers read an article in the newspaper about a Hololulu detective named Chang Apana he decided to model his own detective character after him. He reasoned, "Sinister and wicked Chinese are old stuff... but an amiable Chinese on the side of law and order had never been used."  
Image result for books by earl derr biggers
The father of many children, 11 or more, the character Charlie Chan lives in Hawaii in his home on Punchbowl Hill. But this don't stop the character from finding his way around the world and in his own way root out killers. Charlie is sometimes treated with the lack of dignity and respect due to his race that was common to books of the era they were written in. But Charlie overcomes the prejudice by outwitting those carpers and earning respect. There is always a touch of romance between the young characters the author lines up to help Charlie foil the murderers.
Image result for books by earl derr biggersThere are six Charlie Chan original: House Without a Key, The Chinese Parrot, Behind That Curtain, The Black Camel, Charlie Chan Carries On, and The Keeper of the Keys. 
A few other books by Biggers worth mentioning are: Agony Column, Love Insurance, 7 Keys to Baldpate.  I recommend all.  
Image result for books by earl derr biggers Earle Derr Biggers suffered a heart attack in 1933 and died. He was cremated and his ashes scattered in the San Gabriel Mountains. He left for us Charlie Chan to Carry On. Biggers once said, "I am quite sure that I never intended to travel the road of the mystery writer." 

Character Quotes: from Simple Things by JD Holiday

Character Quotes: Simple Things

Simple Things cover DONE copy church in it  Kirby craned his neck as the truck drove down the street. Then the Speedy Delivery driver limped down their front stairs shouting, "Hey! Hey!"
Shaking his head, Kirby went to the front door wondering what to say to Gram. She would not believe this.
The doorbell started ringing as his grandmother came into the living room. Her cherry color hair bobbed and her bony arms outstretched while wiping her hands on a dish towel.
The bell rang again as Gram reached it. At the door, Kirby stood to one side while she opened it. The deliveryman leaned against the doorjamb and holding his head. "Someone stole my truck," he said.  Kirby winced thinking this will not end well.

A Christian, Christmas middle-grade novel.
 #books with a #Christian worldview

Truth As Strange As Fiction: A Troubled Reflection

A Troubled Reflection 

One evening when I came home for dinner after hanging out with my friends around the ten block area we called our neighborhood I found that a murder had taken place having to do with the nursing school across the street from us and my family was very disturbed about it.
The eighteen year old young woman, just four years older than me, didn't go to school there but she attending classes at the nursing school located behind the then Paterson General Hospital. It was also a dormitory where many of the girls lived while going to school there.
Alys obtOne of my mother's sisters who lived next door to us in the block of row homes on Madison Avenue stood on their front porch talking to my father who sat in one of the two Adirondack chairs on ours. My younger brothers Ike and Dave where also there, sitting on the steps while and one of my older cousins stood at their doorway, and other neighbors along the block were also outside all watching the large commotions going on at the school.
When I came around the corner of twenty-third Street onto Madison, I saw a group of car, a few double parked, in front of the school even with the usual city traffic trying to get by. Two or three of them vehicles with Police. A lot of girls, some in the nurses uniforms, others in street clothes on the wide stone bifurcated staircase leading up to the Nursing School's wide white columned porch. All appeared to be crying as they stood or sat some in pairs, a few in a group hugging one another. The next day we learned that the police flashed pictures of the dead woman at them which sent them out of the school in tears.
As I walked up the walkway to the house we rented for the last two years my younger brother Ike said, "A girl's been murdered yesterday."
Like most of my reactions in my young life to everything I heard for the first time seemed to stun me into silence. This was the first time someone in my sphere, though not someone I knew was murdered. City sounds drowned out from around me as a dumbfound silence filled my head.
Looking back on this event to me my mind froze as my brain moved along each words I heard before they jellied into one blurry image since I'd never pictured a person murder before. It still produced a hideous picture cloaking me into continued silence, almost as if I never learned to talk at all.
obit AysSo I just listened to the talk around me. My mom came out of the front door with beer for her and my dad and sat in the other chair. She joined the conversation with her sister and my dad about what happen.
For weeks the girl's murder was covered as it was big news for our area in northern Jersey, a thirteen miles drive to the George Washington Bridge. There were two local papers in Paterson, the Morning Call and The Evening news.
My parents read all about it and what was reported about it on the TV and radio. Some times the reporting would be contradictory. The story change depending on where you got your news either from the TV or print. So the facts were hard to follow.
One account saying she was beaten and raped, and others making it clear that she wasn't raped but her clothes were in disarray and that she was stabbed either eighteen times or up to sixty times. Another problem was the contradictory report that there was a dog in the house that did not bark so the dog must have known the murderer, to there was no dog in the house and still no barking. And then it was said it was a crime of passion but she could have stumbled into a home burglary of her house. Some said she told her school she was leaving early to go to a funeral for her great aunt's funeral in New York with her father and were to meet at their house for the journey, her mother having got ahead. And another account mentioned she didn't tell the school she was leaving. But a few things that reminded constant thorough out; that it was a chase and a fight thorough the house ended in the dining room in front of the French style doors to the family's back patio in her Fair Lawn home.
A fact that haunted me was that her father was the main suspect. It seemed the police questioned why the father had her cremated within days of her murder. This was unimaginable to me and frighten. I knew my Dad. And that made it clear to me, in my young mind, this had to be an impossibility. They just had to be wrong. Of course, it time I would learn that almost anything is possible with humans.
Was it her father? A stranger? Or someone else she knew? 
Alys EberhardtI waited for months for a conclusion with none coming and the girl's life slipped from many memories. For years this murder has got unsolved. It's not often but once in a while I remember this sad event.
For me I settled on that it was an intruder, possible someone she knew from somewhere or around her neighborhood, there, to rob the house. But he or she turned into a murderer when recognized and it was a vicious killing because they had to wrestling her to death.
She graduated from high school in June of that year and entered nursing school two weeks before her murder. She had an interests in music and liked to ski. Her name was Alys Jean Eberhardt.
Copyright 2018 by JD Holiday

Character Quotes: SIMPLE THINGS

jd-Simple Things ad-downsized_large“We do say our prayers at“We do say our prayers at night and the whole family goes to church on Sundays but we’ve come to think of Christmas as just a time to get gifts, kind of forgetting that it’s to remember Jesus and what HE said to do for others. You know, to help other people. People in situations where they don’t have anything at all. Some of them probably only think about having simple things that we have. And those are things that my family don't give a thought to not having. Christmas is really a time to really think about all the people in need and to remember that those of us that have everything are lucky. I forgot that stuff,” Phoebe finished and looked over at Trisha who was sound asleep. ~

Phoebe to Trisha from SIMPLE THINGS by J.D. Holiday

Simple Things by JD Holiday is
a Christian, Christmas middle-grade novel.
 #books with a #Christian worldview



This is a wonderful story which is all about family at Christmas time. I felt like I knew these characters. The story has that hope that Christmas brings. I’ve read it twice. My favorite character is Kirby who is the story’s guiding force. ~ review by A Amenta

A great read for middle school aged children. Serious issues dealt with in an age appropriate manner resolving in a happy ending. Shows children behaving responsibly and choosing to do the right thing. ~ from E. Woodhouse

My Latest Book is out for Christmas: SIMPLE THINGS

SIMPLE THINGS, written and published by JD Holiday,

is a Christian, Christmas middle-grade novel. This story is about realizing what is truly important in the lives of others and knowing when to put those interests ahead of your own. 

Dedicated to my parents, Ira and Ruth Day,  in Simple Things, the Cameron children worried they will not get the toys they asked for this Christmas because their mother is a last minute shopper. The uncle Trisha Frankel lived with most of her life has died. The only option she has is to find the father she does not know. Trisha takes her dog, Mitch to search out her father. Along the way, her dog is stolen. The most likely suspect in the dog’s disappearance is a man connected to the Cameron children Phoebe, Tucker, and Kirby. Phoebe, Kirby and Tucker Cameron are busy trying to figure out if their Christmas gifts will arrive. Helping Trisha makes them realize sometimes the problems of others are more important than their own interests.

Simple Things by JD Holiday
A Christian, Christmas middle-grade novel.

Truth, As Strange As Fiction: Betsy Wetsy - The Back story for Simple Things

The year my brother Ike crawled around the house barking was a trying one in many ways.

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" Dad asking with a chuckle to my 3 year old sibling on all fours in front of the now antiquated tube tv. Ike told everyone in that toddle outlook the job he wanted was being a dog. The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, the law and order dog with this orphan friend, Rusty racing to help the troops at Fort Apache on the twelve inch screen similar in size and shape to the very first Apple 1 monitor created years later.
The Christmas in 1956 a truck delivering gifts from the Spiegel catalog company caught fire on route to New Jersey the week before the holiday. My parents ordered the toys from it that year. Once informed by mail that the accident occurred my parents must have been in a panic. After all, they spent all the money they had alotted for Christmas on that order. But Spiegel, one of an American direct order catalog company at that time founded in 1865, assured them they would make good on their delivery, even if some of the items would not be exactly what was ordered.
 The Spiegel along with the Sears catalogs consisted of numerous pages devoted to toys for the Christmas season which us kids poured over from the time the catalogs arrived in the mail thorough the Christmas season until that wonderful Christmas morning. My parents, to make the excitement last for us, or maybe them, they liked sharing the season's enthusiastic passion with us. For the whole month of November up until my parent acquire the expected toys would take us to the 2 or 3 local toy stores several times to observe the items we fancied. They would either go back and buy what we liked or
order from either the or SEARS catalogs. I wanted the Betsy Wetsy doll that drink and wet, bottle and diapers included! The Betsy Wetsy dolls were originally issued by the Ideal Toy Company of New York in 1934. It "drink-and-wet," and was one of the most popular dolls of its kind in the Post World War II baby boom era.
We were about to get ready for bed Christmas eve when commotion began outside the single family home we rented in Totowa, New Jersey on the same block a the town cemetery. The surprise of this intrusion changed the nightly routine. The family was sitting around our living room as people did in the 1950s just to watch the beauty of our decorated and lit tree. The door bell rang to the front porch of the house. My father got up and went to look. “No one look out the window,” he commanded.
He was clearly expecting something to happen. We would learn much later that he and my mother were not so sure the toys would actually make it by truck from the companies headquarters in Chicago.
My father closed the door behind him as he went out onto the porch where muffled voices began followed by a lot of bumping and crashing sounds.
Our mother scurried to get us upstairs to our rooms and into bed leaving us children unsure of what was occurring.
Christmas morning, I was thrilled to see all the wonderful looking packages under the tree. That is until I ripped open the box to see my Betsy Wetsy doll. But it wasn't her. It was a doll I haven't seen before. I received a knockoff.
I cried throwing the baby doll to the floor, “It's not her!”
But she's a baby,” my father said, with a sympathetic facial expression for the rubber baby. He bent down and picked up the doll and rocked it while holding it tenderly.
I don't want her. I want Betsy,” I told him.
But look. I think the baby's hurt,” he said, mocking more sadness.
I looked over his arms to see the baby's face. She didn't seem to be hurt, but just so cute. I took her from him and hugged her. My Betsy. I was five.

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