Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Judaism deconstructed! This seminal work by Danish philosopher Andreas Simonsen, beautifully translated by Per K. Brask.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Why Ralph Hancox Wrote The Fabufestan Exposés

A Social Conscience
by Ralph Hancox

In a few small group sessions of old dodderers like me, a couple or more years ago, we concluded that the illicit drug trade, people trafficking, and the abuse of a worldwide aging population were three of the major social horrors confronting humanity in this coming century .

I was asked, as former journalist, if I could write articles exploring these societal phenomena, dealing with the magnitude of savagery they entailed. I told them my days of writing such commentaries had long since passed and, furthermore, any such articles written by an amateur like me would be ignored .

I did some research into the subjects, accessing the authoritative international data and statistics freely available on the Web. This research confirmed the kind of concerns we had discussed among the group, but I was convinced that any critical analysis by me would have little impact.

Even so, I had the guilty feeling that I was evading a personal responsibility to do something about it all, given the information I had gathered . These misgivings have haunted my thoughtful moments ever since.

How could it all be put across to an indifferent audience by the experts themselves? My conclusion was that it could be done through a fictional setting of one kind or another.

Hence the first two books–Con Job and Scandalous–that covered, using the literary device of a documentary crew, the essential authoritative basic research on the first two issues. I have virtually completed research for the third book, on elder abuse.

Download Con Job by Ralph Hancox in your favourite digital format.  Download Scandalous by Ralph Hancox in your favourite digital format.

Sunday, April 26, 2015


Jewish Book for Kids interviews Janet Ruth Heller about the source of her inspiration for The Passover Surprise, recently published by Fictive Press

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


In this interview, Janet Heller, author of The Passover Surprise, talks about her sources of inspiration and her connection to Judaism. 

Q. What is the source of your inspiration?

A: I am 65 years old, and I taught English and women's studies courses at various colleges and universities for 35 years, so I have many experiences to draw on for my writing. I also served as a teacher and principal for two Jewish religious schools. I organized a successful faculty union at one university. Sometimes, I adapt stories that friends have told me about problems that they faced. I love nature, so I include birds, animals, trees, and flowers in my work. I have four younger brothers and sisters, and I began writing stories for them when I was about nine years old. I also write for my former religious school students and for my parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, and great-nephews. Often, I write about a problem that troubles me. I usually feel better and understand the situation better when I can articulate my feelings in words.

Q. What brought you to use midrash as a source for your work?

Friday, April 10, 2015


Author Janet Ruth Heller describes the personal story behind The Passover Surprise in this blog interview.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for The Passover Surprise, and why did you incorporate the Passover holiday into the story?

A: The Passover Surprise is based on a real-life problem that I had when I was nine years old. I did not ask adults or friends for help. I was deeply hurt by favoritism within my family. However, I wanted Lisa to get help from wise adults in my story.

I set The Passover Surprise during Passover because it is a time of miracles and reversals of fortune: slaves get freed, but masters get smitten with plagues. A small miracle happens for Lisa when she persuades her father to listen to her perspective. ...

Read the full interview in Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Just in time for Passover – a chapter book for children 8 -12 years of age

Delighted that Fictive Press's newest title is available just in time for Passover.

Lisa and her little brother Jon enjoy collecting stamps. But when their father holds a contest to decide which child will get a new large stamp album, Lisa has to solve a difficult problem.

This chapter book for ages 8 to 12 (grades 3 to 6) takes place around 1960 and portrays a Jewish family celebrating Sabbath and Passover. It also includes details about the experiences of American soldiers during World War II and the early days of the Civil Rights Movement.

The book contains a handy Glossary of the Hebrew words and difficult terms used in the text, as well as a Discussion Guide to help parents and teachers explore the issues raised by this book with their children and students: sibling rivalry, bullying, discrimination, and Jewish traditions.


"A sweet period-piece that weaves the longing for a coveted prize, sibling rivalry, and a firm foundation in Jewish traditions and faith into an appealing and morally uplifting tale."—Yona Zeldis McDonough, author of The Doll Shop Downstairs and The Cats in the Doll Shop

"A good look at a loving family dealing with the issues of fairness and sexism."—Shutta Crum, author of Thomas and the Dragon Queen, Dozens of Cousins, Spitting Image, and Thunder-Boomer!

"A nostalgic tale about a Passover past that evokes strong feelings of family and tradition. A warm, inviting read."—Tara Lazar, author of The Monstore, I Thought This Was a Bear Book, and Little Red Gliding Hood

Sunday, February 1, 2015


Get the inside scoop behind Tucson Jo and many of Carol Matas' other books in these fascinating interviews:

on Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb

on Jewish Books for Kids with author/blogger Barbara Bietz

on The Whole Megillah by author/historian Barbara Krasner

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


New imprint garners National Jewish Award nomination.

January 20th, 2015, From BC

Although Manitoban Carol Matas has more than forty titles, she turned to her friend Morri Mostow on Gabriola Island to produce Tucson Jo.

Tucson Jo by Carol Matas is inspired by the first Jewish mayor of Tucson.
Although Carol Matas had a track record for writing award-winning stories pertaining to Jews and the holocaust for children and young adults, mainstream commercial publishers rejected her manuscript for a book inspired by the life and times of the first Jewish mayor of Tucson named Charles Strauss. That’s when she turned to former Reader’s Digest writer Morri Mostow to publish her novel for middle grade readers, Tucson Jo (Fictive Press, 2014), set in the Territory of Arizona in 1882.

Mostow’s fledgling imprint for e-books operates from Gabriola Island in B.C.

Morri Mostow at lauch for Tucson Jo.
"Morri offered to publish the book because she believed in it and loved the story,” Matas has recalled. “For me, choosing to publish with Fictive Press was a huge departure, since Fictive is a small digital print-on-demand publisher and therefore that meant an entirely new business model for me. Once we’d agreed on a contract and made it all official, we went to work. Morri pushed me on some story points—and here I thought I might get off easy because she was my friend but it was quite the opposite. That’s when I suddenly rewrote the entire back half of the book and it all came together. Or so we thought. Morri, of course, did the heavy lifting re the publishing, the cover, the review mailings, etc. But all decisions were made together. When we finally saw the final version we were really happy with the result, although we were unsure how this experiment would work out.”

Much to the surprise and delight of both Matas and Mostow, Matas subsequently became the only Canadian author nominated in the category for Children’s and Young Adult Literature for the 2014 National Jewish Book Awards in its 64th year of competitions. The National Jewish Book Awards are sponsored by the Jewish Book Council, based in New York City. It is touted as the longest-running program of its kind in North America... FULL STORY

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Tucson Jo's cover has a new addition  a finalist's seal from the prestigious National Jewish Book Awards.

We are thrilled and proud that Carol Matas's newest Fictive Press book has joined the ranks of the very best of Jewish literature for children.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Tucson Jo Makes Holiday Gift Pick List

The Winnipeg Free Press has just featured Tucson Jo, Carol Matas's newest historical for Middle Grades, on its list of holiday gift options for young readers.