Published: In a Small Compass, Vol. 2 #Published #NewBook

Dear friends and readers,

Cover: In a Small Compass – Vol. 2
by Karen Oberlaender

My third book, In a Small Compass – Vol. 2, was published on November 22, 2019, as a multi-format ebook by Smashwords. The book comprises fourteen (optimised) short stories as well as three flash fiction stories. I hope you’ll take time to check it out at Smashwords or at one of the other retailers by following the link below. Among other locations, the stories will take you on a journey to Oakville, York, and even Norway. Enjoy your trip!

In a Small Compass – Vol. 2 is available at many retailers. Mobi format is available at Smashwords.

Buy/download links:

I hope that you enjoy reading these stories as much as I enjoyed writing them.

I am looking forward to your feedback and reviews.  🙂

Best wishes,



Fourteen contemporary short fiction and three micro-fiction stories with paranormal streaks take you on a journey to Oakville, York, Germany, Norway, Ireland, USA, and other places.

Find out more about:

– Ben and the wood.
– Cara and an eerie afternoon.
– Danny’s youth.
– A witty grandfather.
– Kenneth and the lake.
– Jonah and the chest.
– Valentina and the spring.
– Justin and the scent of cinnamon.
– Francesca and her dream.
– The hawk at the harbour.
– Michael at the museum.
– Gwendolyn’s call of duty.
– Sheriff Jim and the unpaid bill.
– Rose’s hardship.
– Lydia’s bliss.
– Martin and a tricky case.
– A teenage boy and a king.

Available ebook formats

epub, mobi, pdf, lrf, pdb, html


Spotlight: The Missing Fairy Princess by Walter Salvadore Pereira

The Missing Fairy Princess by Walter Salvadore Pereira

~ Book Tour~
11th to 17th August
About the Book:
“The Missing Fairy Princess” is the story of a 16-year-old fairy princess pitted against a powerful witch. The witch has stolen a potent new mantra developed by a colleague, ruthlessly snuffing out a brilliantly innovative mind.  She then hatches an elaborate plot to frame an adversary for her misdeed.  Her intention is to exact sweet revenge from her foe and at the same time, get away with the theft.  The victim, caught in her vicious web, is doomed to disgrace and a life sentence on a harsh penal colony. Meanwhile, the witch learns from her crystal ball, about an imminent threat from a fairy princess wearing a pink tiara.  To ward off that threat she kidnaps the fairy princess, wipes her memory clean and then turns her into a two-year-old girl.
Unfortunately for the culprit, she has goofed up by kidnapping the wrong fairy princess, Merlyn, instead of Ashlyn, her twin.  The mistake turns out to be the undoing of the witch because Ashlyn proves to be her nemesis.  The brilliant fairy princess exposes the cobweb of misleading evidence fabricated by the witch, ultimately unmasking her.
If you love mystery, whodunit, with a dash of magical realism and sci-fi, this book is for you.
Book Links:


“Cleanliness” ~ a topic which has featured so prominently in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speeches whenever he addressed gatherings across the country, Swachh Bharat!
Despite the rigorous drive by the central government, it is disheartening that except in small pockets, the larger picture that emerges is that there has been no appreciable improvement.
Why is it so difficult to inculcate the habit of cleanliness in us Indians?  This question gives rise to a plethora of others.  Is it inborn and so deep-rooted that it has become uncorrectable?  Have we been always like this and have fallen into a rut!
Certainly, not!  History attests that for bygone centuries India had an unblemished record as a much admired country.  Our hospitality matched our wealth and surroundings.  Our famed structures like Taj Mahal and Qutub Minar attracted visitors from all over the world, praising our land.  Given such a glorious background, how does one explain the degeneration to present abysmal depths?
Also, one mustn’t forget that the issues of overall cleanliness and environment damage although distinctly separate, are definitely correlated.  One has to take a look at the pathetic condition of our famed river of Ganga which at places reeks of raw sewage, despite 22,000 crores claimed to have been spent during the last four years.  In Mumbai, the Mithi river has been reduced to an open sewer and is an eye sore, again after humongous amounts of public money supposedly spent on cleaning it.
Those born in 30’s and 40’s would agree with me that the conditions in those days weren’t as pathetic like those one sees today.  There is a plausible theory that the industrialization was the cause of the fast deterioration.  If that indeed is the case, then it inevitably gives rise to a serious question; one of dereliction of duty. Unquestionably, the finger of blame points squarely at the watchdog authorities, including the governments at the centre and the states.  Were they so consumed in their eternal fights for power that ‘minor’ issues such as the blatant environment damage taking place so openly all over the country, were ignored overriding the persistent grave warnings from the environmentalists.  In the process, some of those politicians succeeded in turning the national calamity to their advantage, abetting the defaulters by fraudulent means by lining their own pockets.
I am sure we could discuss this issue for hours, but at the end, it would emerge as a classic example of the ‘fence feeding on the crop’!  The present policy of the ‘carrot and stick’ hardly has shown a worthwhile improvement.  It seems imperative that sterner and punitive measures are called for.
I cannot resist the temptation of quoting an interesting anecdote. There is the proven case of a tiny state in the Far East which was struggling to come to terms with filth and squalour and a true visionary leader transformed it into a country which is now proud of its environmental achievements.  Many years ago, a visitor stepped out of the International Airport and even as he was looking for a cab, succumbed to the habit of spitting.  In the blink of an eye, a marshal materialized and gave the man a receipt for 500 dollars in local currency, pointing to a prominent notice prohibiting spitting.  Apparently, there was further misery in store for the despondent visitor.  Another marshal handed him a pail and a groom and ordered him to clean a stretch of around 100 feet as a token punishment.
There is a colloquial saying that you cannot expect one’s hand to produce the results what a stick alone can do. May be it is time for our authorities to shift gears and adopt tougher legislation to discipline the legions of errant citizens blatantly spitting and littering.  Many years ago, it was a common sight to see people urinating at dark corners, with the result one had to block one’s nostrils while passing such stinking spots.  Subsequently, someone came up with a brilliant idea of putting up ceramic tiles with the picture of prominent deities at such places, the results were noteworthy.  Unfortunately, the idea didn’t have the desired results in curbing spitting.
Mere sloganeering will not help!  The change has to take place at the grassroots level. The parents and teachers have a greater role to play in moulding the young minds.  A recent advertisement on TV comes to mind where a child sees her mother throw a wrapper in a park and replicates it later at a public place.  The rebuke from mother has the kid saying the former did exactly the same thing in the park, causing acute embarrassing as well as realization of her folly in the mother.  It pains one to see even educated youngsters indulging in wanton littering from the trains, buses or cars involving plastic bottles, wrappers and plastic sachets with little regard to the environmental damage they are causing.  That also applies to the disgusting habit of spitting which we have formed maybe due to of our pan-chewing habit.
I can recall yet another significant effect of the role of the teacher.  My granddaughter was in the first grade then.  One day we saw her coming home inconsolable, tears rolling down her cheeks even though she had left her class a good 10-15 minutes earlier.  The reason as it transpired was that the teacher has explained to the class how unscrupulous builder were irresponsibly cutting down trees to make way for new buildings, thereby destroying what the nature has taken centuries to build.  Such was the impact on the young mind of a five-year-old that she was prepared to take part into a demonstration against the errant builders.
Precious moments are ticking and with every passing minute, the mankind is racing towards an inevitable tryst with doom.  The nature sounded a number of loud warnings, but if we stupidly continue to ignore them, we would be dropping the proverbial axe on our own feet.
About the Author:
After spending over 25 years in the Middle East, the author, aged 75, now leads a retired life.  He lives with his wife and son in Thane, near Mumbai. He has been passionate about writing from his early days.  His first book was a fast-paced sci-fi novel titled “This Nightmare is for Real”, was self-published. That was followed by a historical fiction titled “Bheem – The Sage of Madhavpur”, again a self-publication.  A third book, a fairy tale titled “The Missing Fairy Princess” which was published on Kindle Select during the first week of June 2019, while a fourth on the oft-discussed topic of cross-border terrorism titled “The Carnivore has a Heart” is slated for publication shortly thereafter again on Kindle Select.
Contact the Author:


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From Child Scribbler to Global Success: Art Inspiration in ‘Connectedness’ @SandraDanby

Connectedness is the story of Justine Tree, a globally successful artist who goes in search of the daughter she gave away when she was an art student. To get an idea of Justine’s success think Tracey Emin, Paula Rego, Tacita Dean, Phyllida Barlow. Key to Justine’s story is the risk she takes in searching for her lost daughter. She has built her career, her public image, her reputation, on baring her emotions for the world to see, of searching the depths of her soul and putting it into her art. Except she has been hiding a large secret for twenty-seven years.

In order to understand the adult Justine, I had to know how she started out as an artist. So I set her childhood in a location I know well, the East Yorkshire coastline where I also grew up. There are two key influences at this stage of her life.

The first, Pablo Picasso, is mentioned by her father when her attempt to draw a pigeon is proving a challenge:

The woodie was getting restless in his box in front of the Rayburn. He could move his wing and her mother was making noises about him being shifted from the kitchen to the shed. Justine wanted him to get well and fly again, but she wanted to keep him too. So far she had thirty-three sketches of him. On Saturday the touring library van arrived, and she quickly found a book about Pablo Picasso. She flicked through the illustrations and found one of a dove, but it was not what she expected. It was a black line drawing on a white background. Pigeons weren’t white. Davy Jones was mostly grey with a pink breast and two white patches where his collarbones would be, if birds had collarbones. Justine made a mental note to ask her father.

She closed the book with a bang.

‘Are you all right, dear?’ The lady who drove the library van was sitting at the tiny desk where she kept the wooden box in which were stored everyone’s library cards. They were little envelopes, really – blue for children, red for adults – into which the library lady slipped the ticket for each book borrowed. When you returned the book, the ticket was put back into the book, which was returned to the shelf.

‘Are you searching for something in particular?’

Justine was standing beside the adult section of the bookshelf, out of bounds to children.

‘I’m trying to find out about Picasso because my dad said he drew a pigeon and I’ve got a pigeon. Davy Jones.’ She waited for a reaction.

‘Davy Jones,’ she said again, ‘like the Monkee. The English one.’

There was no sign of recognition on the library lady’s face.

She started to sing ‘Hey Hey We’re the Monkees’, including some dance moves popular in the playground. The library lady did not smile. Justine stopped dancing.

‘He’s not a pet, he’s wild. But he’s injured and I’m trying to make him better. But,’ she held up the Picasso book, ‘this isn’t a drawing of a pigeon. It’s white.’

Maybe Picasso didn’t draw a pigeon after all, or maybe it wasn’t Picasso who drew it but another artist altogether. But her father was always right. He knew everything about birds: where swallows went in the winter; why owls sicked-up their poo; why a woodpecker’s beak didn’t break with all that hammering.

‘Well now, let’s have a look.’

They both leant over the page, studying the illustration.

‘Yes, I see what you mean. This is actually a print, a lithograph. The title is French for dove; it’s called ‘La Colombe’. Picasso made it in 1949 when he drew another very famous dove picture, ‘La Paloma’, which is also sometimes called ‘The Dove of Peace’. I know it’s confusing; two pictures of doves, made in the same year, one title in French and one in Spanish. But, you see, although he was born in Spain Picasso has lived in France for many years.’

The second influence on the young Justine is a real place, the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull. Justine visits on a school trip and is disappointed with the absence of Picasso works hanging on the walls. When she finds a picture of a tiger, it makes her reconsider what she is looking at:-

Justine trailed from room to room without a glance at her questionnaire or her study partner Susan Pratt. Painting after painting, wall after wall, room by room, it all seemed the same to her. Just like those sea paintings in the library at Brid. Dark brown and grey. Ships tossing on the sea. Fishermen pulling in nets. Mariners shipwrecked. And then she turned a corner into another room. It was empty of people; just four paintings but dominated by the largest. At first it made her think of a tiger, with a large eye, and green-striped fur. Then she thought it was a paper cut-out of a tiger, laid flat, like the dresses you could cut out of Twinkle magazine with tabs to attach to the body of the paper girl. Then she wasn’t sure at all what the painting was of, except that it definitely wasn’t a shipwreck. She read the small plaque on the wall. It read: ‘The Archer by Eileen Agar, 1967.’ That was all.

I was seven when this was painted.

She took three paces backwards and, with her arms folded and fingers neatly tucked in, studied the painting. Then with her sketch pad and best HB pencil, specially sharpened last night, she sat on the polished floor opposite the painting, her back leaning against the wall. She thought there was probably a rule saying ‘no sitting on floors’ but had purposely avoided reading any signs so, if caught, she could honestly say she didn’t know it wasn’t allowed.

‘The Archer’ had two outlines, one inside the other, which she drew. Each had shapes that were a bit like legs, a head, a mane. The outer shape was solid black and was the shape she imagined an animal skin would be if it was cut off the animal and laid out flat like a rug. What a disgusting thought. Surely that couldn’t be right. She concentrated on the inner shape. She sketched in the green tiger-patterned parts, though now she wondered if it was meant to be grass. At the top left, where the animal’s eye should be, there was a daisy.

She stopped and examined what she had done.

That’s not right.

She tore the page out of the pad, folded it into two once, again, and again, and then slotted it in at the back.

This time, she decided to really study the painting. To wait before drawing anything. To see what she could see.

She could see a tiger.


About ‘Connectedness’


Justine’s art sells around the world, but does anyone truly know her? When her mother dies, she returns to her childhood home in Yorkshire where she decides to confront her past. She asks journalist Rose Haldane to find the baby she gave away when she was an art student, but only when Rose starts to ask difficult questions does Justine truly understand what she must face.

Is Justine strong enough to admit the secrets and lies of her past? To speak aloud the deeds she has hidden for 27 years, the real inspiration for her work that sells for millions of pounds. Could the truth trash her artistic reputation? Does Justine care more about her daughter, or her art? And what will she do if her daughter hates her?

This tale of art, adoption, romance and loss moves between now and the Eighties, from London’s art world to the bleak isolated cliffs of East Yorkshire and the hot orange blossom streets of Málaga, Spain.

A family mystery for fans of Maggie O’Farrell, Lucinda Riley, Tracy Rees and Rachel Hore.


About the ‘Identity Detective’ series

Rose Haldane reunites the people lost through adoption. The stories you don’t see on television shows. The difficult cases. The people who cannot be found, who are thought lost forever. Each book in the ‘Identity Detective’ series considers the viewpoint of one person trapped in this horrible dilemma. In the first book of the series, Ignoring Gravity, it is Rose’s experience we follow as an adult discovering she was adopted as a baby. Connectedness is the story of a birth mother and her longing to see her baby again. Sweet Joy, the third novel, will tell the story of a baby abandoned during The Blitz.


Author Bio

Sandra Danby is a proud Yorkshire woman, tennis nut and tea drinker. She believes a walk on the beach will cure most ills. Unlike Rose Haldane, the identity detective in her two novels, Ignoring Gravity and Connectedness, Sandra is not adopted.


Author Links

Ignoring Gravity and Connectedness at Amazon

Author website

Twitter @SandraDanby





Photos [all © Sandra Danby unless otherwise stated]:

Book cover: Connectedness
by Sandra Danby

Photo: Sandra Danby, author
(c) Sandra Danby

Photo: Ferens Art Gallery
(c) Sandra Danby

Picture: Ceramic fragment of brick decorated with the face of a woman, Pablo Picasso, 1962 – Musée National Picasso – Paris
(c) Sandra Danby

Photo: “Three Doves” by Pablo Picasso, 1960
(c) Sandra Danby


The Halley Branch is Released Today!

Dear friends and readers,
Please take a closer look at this wonderful author’s new book.

Trent's World (the Blog)

The-Halley-Branch-Front-600An evil 300 years in the making.  A trap set 150 years in the past….

Yes, today is the day!  It is here!  I wrote, and posted, the first chapter of The Halley Branch just a little under 3 years ago (about 20 days short!).  And now it is here!

Order Here (or go to Amazon and search “The Halley Branch”):

View original post 289 more words

Recently published: Manual for a Murder by Goncalo J. Nunes Dias

Cover: Manual for a Murder
by Goncalo J. Nunes Dias


Synopsis (by Amazon)

Marina, a 38-year-old accountant in a crumbling relationship, falls in love with a charming colleague who is married with a son. The two begin a torrid relationship. One commits a murder.

Oscar, a homicide detective, is assigned to the case. He is a man dedicated to his work and to his family, and he likes to joke about and mock the typical American police series.


Links: 3VXTHL ok/manual-for-a-murder /show/40662434


Genre(s): Suspense
Series: n.a.
Length: 122 pages
Release date: 2018-06-24


“You know, Marina, I have worked in this profession for a long time, and I know that sometimes we think that the only solution is for someone to disappear, a mere accident, a murder, and, even though we know this idea is stupid and crazy, we are unable to see anything beyond that. It’s just like insects with light. On a summer’s night, we can watch these insects drawn to the light again and again. The insects know it will lead them nowhere – in fact, they can even get burnt and die – but it’s their nature. I think it’s called phototaxis, the internal substance that makes them attracted to the light. But I’m not sure; I’m no expert on animal fauna. But the point is that we humans also become obsessed when we cannot find a solution. We find ourselves in the deepest darkness, and when we see a light, even though we know that this light is a mirage, an illusion that will only harm us, we cannot stop thinking about it, and no matter how hard we try to forget about it, we cannot put it out of our minds; it keeps on coming back until we let it become the focus of actions. It was the light that blinded you, Ms Fonseca. And however much you thought you had committed the perfect crime, you did not. That is why you are here today.”


About the author

Gonçalo JN Dias was born in Lisbon in 1977, and graduated in Environmental Engineering and Natural Resources of the Polytechnic Institute of Castelo Branco. He lives today in the Basque Country, Spain.

The Good Dictator I, was his first novel. It became the most downloaded book in Portuguese last April, on Amazon, and it has now a good English translation.

Before writing the second part of the Good Dictator, he’s now writing a crime fiction

Besides writing he is a fan of birdwatching, cork trees, movies and running.

Connect with the author



Additional information

Translator:  Timothy Came

Original title:  Manual de um Homicídio

Synopsis in Portuguese:

Marina, uma mulher de 38 anos com um relacionamento desgastado, apaixona-se por um colega de trabalho, casado e com um filho. Os dois têm uma relação tórrida. Um deles comete um assassinato.

Oscar, um polícia de homicídios, é encarregue do caso. É um homem dedicado ao seu trabalho e à sua família, que goza e brinca com as típicas series policiais norte-americanas.

Dear friends and readers,
As I did not read this book (yet), please consider this an introduction.
Peace, coffee, and a cheesecake. 🍀