July 13, 2024

Mastering Self-Regulation: A Book Guide

  • Book Guide

Self-regulation. Maybe you’ve heard of it or maybe this is your first time even hearing the word. Regardless, let’s get into the basics – what even is self-regulation?

Self-regulation is basically how we manage our own emotions, thoughts, and actions, especially when things get tough. Imagine you’re feeling really stressed out or upset, but instead of letting those feelings take over, you find a way to stay calm and focused. It’s about controlling impulses, like resisting the urge to snap at someone or procrastinate on important tasks. By practicing self-regulation, you can work toward your goals more effectively, handle challenges with a cool head, and maintain better relationships. It’s like having a personal toolkit for navigating life’s ups and downs with resilience and patience.

Now…how can I start? Is it even possible to start right now? Don’t worry, we got you! Check out this book round up on authors who have mastered self-regulation.

A Parent’s Guide to Self-RegulationParents guide to self regulation

This book will demystify the concepts of dysregulation and parental self-regulation, and will normalize prioritizing these skills for parents, before bringing the concepts into parenting children. With this book’s step-by-step framework, you will learn how to mitigate tough parenting moments, develop self-regulatory skills, and read real accounts from other parents. From addressing societal myths about dysregulated parenthood to tips on re-parenting yourself for better regulation and everything in-between, this book will serve as both a friendly companion and a source of solid, evidence-based advice.

A Parent’s Guide to Self-Regulation is written by Dr. Amber Thornton, a clinical psychologist and mother of two, who knows what it feels like to struggle with dysregulation and self-regulation as a parent.

More here.

The Self-Regulation Workbook for Kids

Help your child identify, understand, and take control of their feelings with the kid-friendly cognitive behavioral therapy and self-regulation exercises in this easy-to-use workbook.

The Self-Regulation Workbook for Kids allows kids to explore and express their feelings, guided by a relatable character and reinforced through interactive worksheets and proven exercises. The CBT-based activities and advice in this workbook will empower children with concrete coping skills and techniques that they can return to each and every time they start to feel upset or stressed.

Check it out here.

The Self-Regulation Workbook for 3 to 5 Year Olds

Discover play-based activities, CBT exercises, and coping strategies to help children ages 3 to 5 with social and emotional functioning, attachment patterns, and handling anxiety and other strong emotions!

Activities within the workbook are play based to help young kids foster a healthy self-image and develop self-regulation skills necessary to manage stress, anxiety, and other big emotions. Additionally, the activities will include reflective opportunities for adults to help strengthen their relationship with the child. The reflective process is necessary for co-regulation, an essential aspect of self-regulation. These activities can be utilized repeatedly and adapted across ages and settings, as well as assist in navigating social and emotional developmental milestones.

More here.

Break Free from Reactive Parenting

Wherever you are in your parenting journey, there are ways to improve, connect, and find calm in the chaos. Instead of repeating the same patterns, feeling overwhelmed or uncertain of what to do next, today can be the day you let go of the guilt and shame around feeling like a “bad” parent or telling your child they’re being a “bad kid.”

Break Free from Reactive Parenting offers up a new approach toward self-regulation and child expression, focusing on the family as a whole to create a calmer, more equitable home environment. From addressing the issues that cause and result from being reactive to implementing a more effective parenting approach, this book serves as your support system as you seek to bring meaningful change into your home.

Best golf courses in the U.S.
July 8, 2024

Best Golf Courses to Play in the United States

  • Book Sample

Golf Bucket ListTired of playing the same eighteen holes every weekend? Then this book is for you. The Golf Bucket List will introduce you to new ways for you to enjoy the game of golf, from the 10 most unique golf experiences you should try, to the 10 knee-knocker tee shots you need to hit, to advice for how to play at the most exclusive U.S golf clubs.

Whether your golf game is on par with the pros or you’ve only just picked up some clubs, The Golf Bucket List is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the world of golf—and have fun while doing it!

Below, check out an excerpt on the best golf courses every golfer should play in the United States.

* * *

Ten Best Golf Courses to Play in the United States


Had the wee Scottish golf pro Donald Ross not emigrated to the United States and taken up residence in the Sandhills of North Carolina, perhaps the area would still be the barren wasteland it was at the turn of the twentieth century. You could certainly make an argument that without Donald Ross’s imprint, the region around Pinehurst may still have golf, but not the golf it has. Ross was a talented player brought to Pinehurst by the town’s founder, James Tufts, a decision that changed golf not only in Pinehurst but throughout America.

During the 1880s, Tufts, tired of brutal New England winters, used the profits of a successful soda fountain business to head to the warmth of southern places like Florida or the Bahamas. Concerned that working-class New Englanders didn’t have the resources for such a trip, he looked for a place where he could re-create everything rich and charming about New England, minus the winter cold. He was a regular on the north-south train route, getting off at various destinations, until one day in 1895 he disembarked in Southern Pines. He met brothers Henry and J. R. Page, and they cut a deal for 4,703 acres of sandy loam, thick with towering pines but thin on promise. Tufts had just sold his share in the American Soda Fountain Company for $700,000, a pittance of which he used to pay the Pages’ asking price of $1.25 per acre, although some locals said he was swindled, claiming the land was worth only 85 cents an acre.

Tufts, not a robust man physically but quite robust in business, probably didn’t care about the price per acre. He heard the Sandhills had a natural healing quality and was determined to build a town where New Englanders, many of whom suffered from tuberculosis and other ailments, could come to get healthy.

The oddity of the topography of south-central North Carolina—beach-like sand sprouting towering longleaf pine trees—would be otherwise insignificant if it weren’t for the fact that the terrain, like the linksland of the British Isles, is so ideally suited for golf, which was no more in Tufts’s original plan than a 16-story hotel. But Tufts’s love of the wholesome, small-town virtues of New England transplanted into the more hospitable climate of North Carolina would evolve to become one of the world’s great golf destinations.

He commissioned Ross to build four courses at his new resort in Pinehurst, and the young pro found his calling. Today, those four courses, including US Open venue Pinehurst No. 2, remain the centerpiece of golf at the resort that has grown to 10 courses while his work at nearby Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club, Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club, and Southern Pines Golf Club create the attraction golfers gravitate to, complete with the charm of New England and the hospitality of the South. Thankfully, Ross ventured out from the Sandhills to design courses around the country, including all-time greats like Seminole Golf Club in Florida, Oakland Hills Country Club near Detroit, Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York, Aronimink Golf Club near Philadelphia, Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio, and East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. In all, Ross designed about 400 courses around the county.

Since his death in 1948, dozens more modern courses have been built to supplement Ross’s Pinehurst classics. Places like Talamore Golf Resort, Mid South Club, Tobacco Road Golf Club, and Legacy Golf Links have all become great complements to the main features. And it all started inadvertently when Tufts lured Ross to what was once considered a sandy, god forsaken wasteland.


If Myrtle Beach is a smorgasbord of cheap seafood restaurants and gentlemen’s clubs, perhaps it’s only because the South Carolina coast needs a balance to the abundance of classy establishments of Charleston and Hilton Head Island. I’m not knocking Myrtle Beach, I’m just saying it’s different. Clearly, its formula for drawing groups of golfers year-round has worked for decades. It is time-tested and proven, and without Myrtle Beach, American golf would lose a major appendage. But the entire coast of the Palmetto

State is an attractive destination to the golfing population of the Northeast, Canada, and beyond.
Along the Grand Strand, which includes the entire Myrtle Beach area and even spills into southern North Carolina, there are more than 80 courses, although that number is down from more than 100 at Myrtle Beach’s peak at the beginning of the century. Those left in the culled herd are largely the ones proven to be the best over the decades, from the historic Pine Lakes Country Club, which opened in 1927 as the first course in the beach resort area, to the wonderful Dunes Golf and Beach Club designed by Robert Trent Jones in 1949, to modern gems like the four courses at Barefoot Resort and Golf and the Mike Strantz–designed Caledonia Golf and Fish Club. The Grand Strand’s deep bench, improving food scene, and always prevalent nightlife keeps it among the world’s greatest golf destinations.

The southern extreme of the Grand Strand almost melts into the northern reaches of Charleston, and if there is a classier city, I haven’t been there. Charleston teems with history, museums, fine dining, beaches, and a downtown area with something interesting on every corner. Even the golf seems to be more stylish than in most cities.

That’s largely thanks to three islands:
• Kiawah Island is famous for its Ocean Course, which hosted the famous “War by the Shore” Ryder Cup in 1991, and its four supporting layouts are outstanding as well.
• Seabrook Island is more subdued and home to the Robert Trent Jones–designed Crooked Oaks and the more modern Ocean Winds, both of which roam through marsh, maritime forests, and centuries-old moss-hung oaks.
• On the Isle of Palms, the Links Course at Wild Dunes Resort rolls through dunes to the climatic oceanside finish. The Harbor Course isn’t quite as wild but a fun routing nonetheless.

The mainland is anchored with courses like Dunes West Golf Club, RiverTowne Country Club, and the Links at Stono Ferry. And if there’s any way you can possibly finagle a starting time at the private Yeamans Hall Club, you won’t be disappointed by the reinvigorated Seth Raynor design from the 1920s.

Everything is considerably more modern on Hilton Head Island. It was 1969 when Jack Nicklaus helped a former insurance salesman from Indiana clear golf holes through the maritime forests of the island to create Harbour Town Golf Links at the Sea Pines Resort. It became a classic almost from the time the first tee shot was hit. The Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA) Tour event now known as the RBC Heritage has been played on the course since its opening. Much of the rest of the land on the island, which is a little more than half the size of Nantucket, is crammed with 29 courses and there’s not a slouch among them.


Hindsight being what it is, I now realize it was a mistake for me and three friends to fly across the country two days after New Year’s Day for a tee time at Pebble Beach. The post-holiday crowds at the airport and the burden on the airlines to get everyone home caused lengthy delays I should have anticipated. Of course, it was my own fool self that booked a flight into San Francisco when San Jose is the appropriate and closer airport to the Monterey Peninsula. It all added up to a late-night landing, rental car fiasco, and drive into the small hours of the morning to a cheap hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

I can’t remember the name of the hotel, but there was some sort of tree involved, and approaching 2 a.m., it was finally in sight when the lights on the sign flickered out. By the time we’d negotiated the last traffic light and pulled up to the lobby door, it was dark inside and locked up tight. Unsure what to do, we drove a full lap around 17 Mile Drive, pulled into the parking lot at Pebble Beach, and tried to get some sleep.

I’m quite sure it’s not among Fodor’s travel tips to spend the night before your tee time at one of the world’s most famous courses, hoping sleep will come in the bucket seat of a rental car. Fortunately, the rest of the trip went well. We got Pebble Beach on a glorious blue-sky day, and I made par on all of its seaside holes except at No. 8, where I made an “X.” Spyglass Hill was the surprise of the trip.

A course just up 17 Mile Drive from Pebble and Cypress Point is no afterthought, and the Links at Spanish Bay is a surprisingly delightful nature links along the Pacific.

It will be among the most expensive bucket list trips you make, but these days that’s the norm with bucket lists.


We East Coasters who are all privy to at least one major international airport can fly to the British Isles as quickly as we can get to the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. So the question was always, “Why trade authentic links golf for an American impersonation?” But when you get to Bandon Dunes, you’ll realize this isn’t an impersonation of the linksland courses where the game began. It’s true, pure, American links golf. It’s a different ocean and a different style, but it’s not hard to argue that it’s every bit as good. If the soul of the game belongs to Scotland, the definition of what it inspires is found along this stretch of the Oregon coast.

The massive resort includes six courses that, like the great British Isles links, live in harmony with the land. Catch the sixteenth of the Bandon Dunes course on a clear late afternoon as the sun sets over the Pacific, and you’ll know why you travel to play the game.

The Sheep Ranch course has nine oceanside greens. Pacific Dunes may be the most natural of the courses, with fairways that roll and greens that fit perfectly among the sometimes-massive dunes. The Old Macdonald course, a tribute to the great classic-era designer Charles Blair Macdonald, celebrates classic design concepts and pays tribute to the traditions of the game. Bandon Trails works its way from atop a massive dune into maritime forests and back into the dunes. Bandon Preserve is a 13-hole par-3 course.

Other courses call themselves links courses, but they are the impersonators, mere attempts to copy what the game looks and feels like in its ancestral home. They always fall short. But Bandon Dunes, four hours south of Portland, is different. It makes no effort to be like anything other than Bandon Dunes. You can go expecting a taste of the old-world courses, but that’s not what you’ll find. If there is more scenic beauty in American golf, I haven’t come across it.


The most famous hillbilly other than the Hatfields and McCoys struck it rich in the Ozark Mountains, and his kinfolk said, “Jed, move away from there.” So, he moved to California. Johnny Morris struck it rich in the Ozarks and decided to stay, and golfers are thankful his kinfolk didn’t make the same suggestion. The Bass Pro Shop founder didn’t move to Beverly (Hills, that is). Instead, he poured some of his billions into grandeur and golf at the Big Cedar Lodge, where the luxury is the antithesis of the Clampetts’ pre-oil-strike Ozark lifestyle.

Few who get into golf development have Morris’s resources (Forbes estimates his wealth at $8 billion). He went out and got Tiger Woods to design the flagship course at Big Cedar Lodge. Payne’s Valley is the first public-access course created by Woods’s design firm, but all five of Morris’s courses at the resort are so spectacular that in just a few years this wilderness resort in the United States’ only rugged terrain between the Appalachians and the Rockies has become one of the world’s best. Each course was built by a marquee designer and blends into the timberland here much more easily than the Clampetts blended into Beverly Hills. In addition to Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, Ben Crenshaw, Bill Coore, and Gary Player have worked Morris’s Ozark land into the marquee courses of Branson, Missouri, which has become known as one of Middle America’s best golf destinations.

Morris began his road to fortune as a kid selling bait and tackle out of the back of his father’s liquor store, and he’s always been keen on connecting people with nature. Golf is one way, but so is fishing in the creeks and lakes deep in the Ozarks and a lengthy list of other outdoor activities. Indoors, Big Cedar is one of those opulent no-detail-overlooked places without being ostentatious. So, after a day on the courses, there is plenty of pampering to be done inside.

If golf were bubblin’ crude, this would be the place to drill. Sit a spell, take your shoes off, and have a heapin’ helpin’ of Morris hospitality.

Y’all come back now, y’hear?


When a man buys a piece of land, with it comes the right to call it whatever he wants. So, if Everett Kircher wanted to call his 552-foot vertical drop a mountain, even though in the alpine world that’s more of a molehill, then so be it. It was 1947 when Kircher bought his “mountain” in Northern Michigan for $1, giving it a place alongside the Louisiana Purchase and Manhattan as one of the greatest land deals of all time. He bought the mountain with the intent of introducing skiing to the area, and he did. In fact, Kircher became an innovator in the ski world, leading the way in snowmaking in the 1950s and in chairlifts over the next few decades.

But snow melts and skiing go dormant in the summer, even farther north than the frozen tundra of Green Bay. So Kircher climbed aboard his father’s aging Ford farm tractor and tilled up a ninehole golf course he called Hemlock. That sufficed for a while, but as interest in golf during Northern Michigan’s short summers grew, the region needed more. Kircher built more at his Boyne Resort, which now includes 10 fine courses over three separate resorts. But others also recognized the opportunity, even if last call on the golf season is a couple weeks before Halloween. Golf exploded around the small town of Gaylord, where the Gaylord Golf Mecca includes Treetops Resort with its four great courses and one of the best par-3 courses in the country; four courses at Garland Lodge and Golf Resort, and two at Ostego Resort. Traverse City is the “Cherry Capital of the World,” but the pickings for golf aren’t too slim. Shanty Creek Resort has five courses, Grand Traverse Resort and Spa has three. The treat of Northern Michigan is Forest Dunes Golf Club, a 36-hole course built on sand dunes in the middle of the state.

The whole of Northern Michigan is knitted together by a plethora of small-town courses, some public, some private, but all wonderful experiences. The granddaddy of them all is the exclusive Crystal Downs Country Club, on a bereft piece of land between Lake Michigan and Crystal Lake. It may be nowheresville, but the course is ranked alongside Winged Foot Golf Club, Pebble Beach, Muirfield Village Golf Club, and Los Angeles Country Club. Don’t turn down an invitation.


Sometime in the late 1980s, David G. Bonner, CEO of the Retirement Systems of Alabama, had this outlandish idea to diversify the fund’s assets by investing in golf. His thought, that investing in Alabama would mean a stronger Alabama retirement system. But golf?

What seemed like an off-the-deep-end idea wasn’t just to build a golf course, but to build 378 holes of golf on eight sites across the state. And he didn’t want to build them one at a time. So, sometime in the early 1990s a brigade of bulldozers started reshaping land around the Heart of Dixie into golf courses. Like many great innovators, he was ahead of his time. But if some slightly off-center guy in Iowa could build a baseball field to drive tourism, maybe golf could do the same thing for Alabama. And it did.

By the late 1990s golfers were pouring into the state to play golf on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. These weren’t run-of-themill layouts; they were designed by one of the game’s great course designers on sites with spectacular terrain that appeared made for golf. And they were built to a scale beyond what was appropriate for the day, some stretching more than 8,000 yards. Golfers loved them, so they built more. Now, in the 384 miles between The Shoals in northwest Alabama and Lakewood Golf Club on Mobile Bay almost to the Gulf of Mexico, the unique trail of golf courses includes more than even Bonner imagined. There are 11 sites along the trail, some of which include hotels, luxury resorts, spas, restaurants, and residential developments. There are 26 courses (468 holes) on differing sites, each its own masterpiece carved from hills, valleys, marshes, and flatlands to provide a much wider variety of experiences than other destinations.

Some of the courses are named after geographical features, like the three at Hampton Cove (Highlands, River, and Short). Others make you wonder what you’re getting yourself into—Fighting Joe and Schoolmaster at The Shoals or Mindbreaker, Heartbreaker, and Backbreaker at Silver Lakes. Others just pay tribute to their location, like the Legislator, Senator, and Judge courses of Capitol Hill just north of Montgomery.

More than half a million rounds are played every year on the trail, many by golfers outside Alabama, who spend their money not just on green fees but in hotels, restaurants, and shops. It all spurs Alabama’s economy and ensures the state’s pension fund will provide retirees everything it promises.


After years of winging our way to Florida for the annual respite from the brutalities of a Northeastern winter, my aging group decided we were getting too old to constantly fight the wind and the threat of rain, meaning we’d have to hang around the hotel together (entirely unacceptable). The Sunshine State doesn’t always live up to its billing in January. Someone suggested the desert.

The flight is longer and the time change is annoying, but the courses have more geographic interest, with fairways lined by desert rather than the water and condominiums of Florida.

In the desert, maybe you can’t remember your name, but you can certainly forget winter. That first year, we booked tickets to Palm Springs, which averages 350 days of sunshine each year. Streets in Palm Springs run due north-south or due east-west, sectioning the Coachella Valley into boxes like your Super Bowl betting grid. Some boxes are bigger winners than others. One square at the intersection of Frank Sinatra Drive and Bob Hope Drive contains Rancho Mirage Country Club. Another contains Desert Willow Golf Resort.

Many contain exclusive private clubs in this fashionable resort area that became a celebrity escape from Los Angeles. The squares start to fall apart as they nudge up to the Santa Rosa Mountains, and the golf gets even better at courses like Indian Wells Golf Resort and PGA West, an annual stop on the PGA Tour.

In case you haven’t noticed flying over these states, the Southwest desert is vast, and though golf plays just a small role in it, there are many green oases. Scottsdale is a hotbed for trendy shops, restaurants, and upscale resorts where course designers have creatively used the desert as hazards between holes and as forced carries to get from fairway to green at outstanding courses like Greyhawk Golf Club, Quintero Golf Club, and We-Ko-Pa Golf Club.

Las Vegas is known for its nightlife, but there are plenty of daylight hours to idle away, and the golf can be awesome. Shadow Creek Golf Course and Wynn Golf Club are two of the most expensive courses in the world to play, and while they will be two of the best you will ever play, whether they’re worth the price is up to you. There are plenty of more affordable courses around town and in other desert destinations like Mesquite, where courses like Falcon Ridge Golf Course and Wolf Creek Golf Club showcase the drama of the desert rolling right up to the edge of the playing surfaces.

The weather, scenery, outstanding courses—I’ve found many reasons to love desert golf.


Had things gone slightly differently, the spectacular land alongside Lake Michigan that Pete Dye bulldozed into one of the country’s greatest golf courses would be churning out nuclear power instead of triple bogeys. The property just north of Sheboygan was an abandoned airfield when Wisconsin Electric bought it in the 1970s and proposed the Haven Nuclear Power Plant. Local residents opposed the idea of generating great power along this great lake, and so the land’s owner eventually gave up and sold the land to the Kohler Company, the iconic plumbing-products company founded by John Michael Kohler in 1873 that is still in the Kohler family.

It’s hard to find a path from faucets to world-class golf, but Herbert Kohler, grandson of the founder, plumbed his way to a four-course destination. The marquee course, rugged and windswept Whistling Straits, has held two PGA Championships, the United States Golf Association (USGA) Senior Open and the Ryder Cup, making it one of just a few US courses open to the public on which the Ryder Cup has been played. The course is built along two miles of the Lake Michigan shoreline, exposing your shots to the sometimes-brutal weather that has caused more than 600 shipwrecks on the lake. It’s sibling, the Irish Course, is a more manageable inland layout, another Dye design that while much less decorated is still a worthy resort course. The 36-hole Blackwolf Run property, which has twice hosted the US Women’s Open, is also part of Destination Kohler.

More than just golf, the Kohler experience includes spas, fine dining, five-star hotels and remote cabins, and plenty of après-golf activities. But the draw is to play the Straits Course, which has taken down some of the best players in the world like a ship in a storm.


If any of our states were a bucket-list destination—golf or otherwise—it would be Hawaii. Yes, it’s overdone and over-commercialized, but isn’t just about everything in golf?

The Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club is one of the country’s best courses open to the public, and we see it every January on television, as the PGA Tour opens each season with the Tournament of Champions. Built on the slope of the 5,800-foot Puʻu Kukui mountain, we watch every year as drives roll down steep fairways for 25 seconds, ending up sometimes more than 400 yards from where they were struck.

The course was built in the early 1990s but often has the feel of a classic Northeastern layout. You’ll never confuse it for that, as you’ll spend much of the round gazing out over the blue Pacific hoping to catch a glimpse of a whale in the distance. There are plenty of downhill shots to make you feel like a big hitter. It’s a big course with wide fairways to accommodate the wind and excessive roll, but there is still plenty of opportunity to hit a shot off the playing surface and into trouble among the trees and scrub brush of the craggy volcanic bluffs. Along the way you’ll find a punchbowl green and bunkering that resembles early-US course architecture.

The Bay Course at the resort is a much more manageable challenge, but this is Hawaii. There are ocean beaches to bask on, cuisine to enjoy, whales to watch, and waterfalls to discover. And if you’re the serious adventurer, you can venture up 10,000 feet to the summit of Mt. Haleakalā for the jaw-dropping beauty of the sunrise. But don’t forget the golf.

* * *

How many of these courses have you played? For more ideas on how to make the most of your golf experiences, check out The Golf Bucket List by Jeff Thoreson, available now!


Golf Bucket List

Experience the glorious game of golf in a whole new way with this ultimate bucket list that spans the globe, for everyone who lives for their nine iron to the fan who loves watching The Masters played on TV. Tired of playing the same eighteen holes every weekend? Then this book is for you. The Golf Bucket List will introduce you to new ways

Learn more
New release
the cloud
June 25, 2024

The Cloud Sample Stories

  • Book Sample

With The Cloud you can create your own story as you make your way through this wordless picture book about how to handle big feelings and emotions like anxiety, grief, and fear, perfect for children ages three to five. Find two sample stories below!


The Cloud – Sample storyline (basic version) 

*This story is a work of fiction and is intended to inspire readers of The Cloud to create stories of their own. 

One day, when Mateo was playing in his room, a fluffy little cloud floated in through the window.

Curious, Mateo reached up to poke it, but it was just a little bit too high! 

So he tried jumping. It swooped up out of reach!

He tried again, and again the cloud lifted high above his head where he couldn’t touch it. 

Hmm, Mateo thought. Maybe I should just ignore it. But when he looked back at the cloud, it seemed even bigger than before. 

He opened his bedroom door. The cloud slipped out and drifted down the hallway. 

Mateo followed it into the kitchen. It was definitely getting bigger. There was no way he could ignore it!

In the living room, the cloud grew as big as the couch! 

This is no good, thought Mateo. Mama and Papa will not want a giant cloud in the house. I have to get rid of it somehow. 

The cloud was now so big and heavy, Mateo could push it through the door. He huffed and puffed and used all of his strength. Finally, with a thud, Mateo was able to shut the door. 

Phew! he thought. I’m glad the cloud is gone. 

But then, he felt something…something very much like a shadow.

He looked up. “The cloud!” he shouted. It was huge! 

Mateo felt a little scared with the giant cloud hovering over him. For a while he didn’t know what to do. Then he thought of something his Mama and Papa once told him: “Work through it, not against it.” 

Well, he thought. I’ll try going through it, then. 

So he placed his hands upon the big, heavy cloud and found a little gap. 

He climbed inside. 

It was dark and blue and never-ending inside the cloud. Mateo felt very alone. 

The shadows crept like ghosts! Mateo took several deep breaths and reminded himself to keep working through it. 

Even though it was scary, Mateo kept moving through the cloud. 

Just when he thought, I’ll be trapped like this forever! Mateo fell right out of the cloud and onto the ground of his bedroom. 

“Whoooaa…oof!” exclaimed Mateo. He looked up at the cloud. 

Somehow it was even bigger than before! He could barely see any of his bedroom. 

“I won’t let you keep hanging over me like this!” Mateo said.

He took a colored pencil from the floor and gave the cloud a great big poke. 

Boom! Clap! All of a sudden, it started raining in his bedroom! 

Mateo shouted in surprise and covered his head.

He realized that the more it rained, the more the cloud was disappearing. He could see more and more of his bedroom! The sight made him want to jump for joy. So he did.

Then he noticed light coming in through his window, growing brighter and brighter. The rain was stopping. 

“I did it!” Mateo said as the last raindrop fell. Soon, warm sunshine filled his room. 

Mateo knew that the next time he encountered a cloud, he would know exactly how to handle it. 

The End 

The Cloud – Sample storyline (specific version) 

*This story is a work of fiction and is intended to inspire readers of The Cloud to create stories of their own. 


Mateo was playing in his room, trying to avoid the fact that he was feeling nervous. Mama and Papa had told him that he had a doctor’s appointment tomorrow, and he did not like going to the doctor’s office! He was trying to focus on fun things, but the nervous feeling just wouldn’t go away. 

It was like having a little cloud hanging over his head. No matter how he jumped and waved his hands, the cloud of nerves would not go away!

Ignoring the cloud didn’t work either. In fact, each time he looked up at the cloud, it seemed even bigger than before! 

I’ll just leave it in the room, Mateo thought. But when he opened his bedroom door, the cloud slipped out and down the hallway. 

“Hey!” Mateo said. He followed it as it slid into the kitchen. It was definitely getting bigger. There was no way he could ignore it!

In the living room, the cloud grew as big as the couch! Mateo could feel the nervousness expanding in his tummy and his chest like it was taking over. This was not a nice feeling.  

This is no good, thought Mateo. I have to get rid of the cloud somehow. 

The cloud was now so big and heavy, Mateo could push it through the door. He huffed and puffed and used all of his strength. Finally, with a thud, Mateo was able to shut the door. 

Phew! he thought. I’m glad the cloud is gone. 

But then, he felt something…something very much like nervousness. “Oh no…”

He looked up. “The cloud!” he shouted. It was huge! 

Mateo’s heart was pounding. Now he felt both nervous and scared. For a while, he didn’t know what to do. Then he thought of something his Mama and Papa once told him: “Let yourself feel your emotions. Don’t push them away.”

Well, he thought. I’ll try to feel it, then. 

So he placed his hands upon the big, heavy cloud and found a little gap. 

He climbed inside. 

It was dark and blue and never-ending inside the cloud. Mateo felt very alone, very nervous, and very scared. 

The shadows were like  ghosts inside Mateo’s head, saying, “What if…what if…what if…” and imagining scary things that might happen at the doctor’s office. Mateo took several deep breaths and reminded himself to keep working through his emotions. 

Even though it was scary, Mateo kept moving through the cloud. “What ifs aren’t real,” he reminded himself. 

Just when he thought, I’ll be trapped like this forever! Mateo fell right out of the cloud and onto the ground of his bedroom. 

“Whoooaa…oof!” exclaimed Mateo. He looked up at the cloud. 

Somehow, it was even bigger than before! He could barely see any of his bedroom. 

“I won’t let you keep hanging over me like this!” Mateo said.

He took a colored pencil from the floor and gave the cloud a great big poke. 

Boom! Clap! All of a sudden, it started raining in his bedroom! 

Mateo shouted in surprise and covered his head.

He realized that the more it rained, the more the cloud was disappearing. He could see more and more of his bedroom! He also noticed the bad feelings in his tummy and chest fading away. This made him want to jump for joy. So he did.

Then he noticed light coming in through his window, growing brighter and brighter. The rain was stopping. 

“I did it!” Mateo said, as the last raindrop fell. Soon warm sunshine filled his room. 

Mateo knew that the next time he felt nervous or scared, he would know exactly how to handle it. 

The End 


The Cloud

Create your own story as you make your way through this wordless picture book about how to handle big feelings and emotions like anxiety, grief, and fear, perfect for children ages three to five. The main character of The Cloud discovers one day that he’s being followed…by a cloud! It starts out small, but soon it grows and grows until all

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New release
a parents guide to self regulation
June 17, 2024

Conquering the Second Shift: Strategies for Overwhelmed Parents

  • Health

Discovering the “right” way to parent a child is hard and utterly impossible. Everyone has their tactics and techniques, but the truth is the same: we all get overwhelmed. That is why Dr. Amber Thornton has curated the perfect tool for overwhelmed parents to help them navigate the ins and outs off parenting. You can find her book A Parent’s Guide to Self-Regulation: A Practical Framework for Breaking the Cycle of Dysregulation and Mastering Emotions for Parents and Children everywhere that books are sold!

Parents guide to self regulation


The final work email is sent, the laptop is shut, and a sigh escapes your lips. Relief washes over you for a fleeting moment, quickly replaced by the daunting reality – the “second shift” has begun. This period, stretching from the end of the workday until bedtime, is the unsung battleground for countless parents navigating the ever-present need to juggle dinner prep, cleaning, homework battles, and precious moments of family time. It’s no wonder so many parents feel utterly overwhelmed when that second shift bell rings.

The Burden of the Second Shift

The challenges parents face during this time are multifaceted. Often, there’s a simple lack of time. Between errands, preparing a healthy meal, packing lunches for the next day, and tackling the ever-growing mountain of laundry, precious time melts away like ice on a hot stove.

Exhaustion from a long day bleeds into the evening, making it difficult to summon the patience and energy needed for quality interactions with children.

The problem is further compounded by a lack of support. In many households, the responsibility for the second shift falls primarily on one parent, creating a sense of unfairness and resentment. The constant demands and sensory overload, from the cacophony of children’s voices to the flashing lights of screens, can quickly push even the most patient parent to the brink of overstimulation.

The Toll It Takes

The impact of a chronically overwhelming second shift extends far beyond feeling a little frazzled. It can lead to an unequal division of labor within the family, creating tension and resentment between partners. The constant feeling of juggling work and personal life can disrupt work-life balance, leading to dissatisfaction in both domains. Perhaps most importantly, the stress and exhaustion can take a significant toll on a parent’s mental and emotional well-being.

Understanding Our Triggers: Overwhelm and Overstimulation

To develop effective strategies for tackling the second shift, it’s important to understand what triggers our feelings of overwhelm and overstimulation. Imagine a cup overflowing with water that’s overwhelm. Each additional task or responsibility is another drop that spills over the rim, leaving you feeling utterly swamped. Overstimulation, on the other hand, is like sensory overload. Imagine your eyes bombarded by flashing lights, your ears assaulted by loud noises, and your mind constantly buzzing with demands – that’s overstimulation. Both situations can trigger similar responses:

  • Fatigue: Feeling drained and exhausted, both physically and mentally.
  • Difficulty Concentrating: Finding it hard to focus on tasks or conversations.
  • Irritability: Snapping at children or feeling short-tempered with family members.
  • Decision-Making Difficulties: Feeling paralyzed by the sheer number of choices and decisions that need to be made.
  • Isolation: Withdrawing from family interactions and social connections.

Conquering the Second Shift: Strategies and Tools

The good news is that you’re not powerless against the second shift. By employing a few key strategies and reframing your perspective on this time period, you can reclaim your evenings and turn them into opportunities for connection and family fun.

1. Setting Firm Boundaries Between Work and Family Life

The first step is to create a clear separation between your work life and your family life. This may require setting boundaries with your employer. Avoid checking work emails or taking calls outside of work hours, especially during dinner or family game nights. Utilize tools like “Do not disturb” modes on your phone and consider creating a dedicated “work zone” in your house that’s off-limits after work hours. This helps reinforce the mental shift and allows you to be fully present for your family when you’re at home.

2. Creating a Schedule and Routine

Having a structured schedule can help bring order to the chaos of the second shift. This doesn’t have to be a rigid itinerary, but rather a general framework that provides a sense of control.

Allocate specific time slots for activities like dinner, homework help, playtime, and relaxation. This helps manage expectations and provides a foundation for smooth transitions. Involve your children in creating the schedule, giving them a sense of ownership and making them more likely to cooperate.

3. The Power of Delegation and Collaboration

You don’t have to be a superhero who tackles everything alone. Delegation is your friend. Distribute age-appropriate chores amongst family members. Older children can help with setting the table, younger ones can sort laundry. Even young children can be taught to put away their toys or clear the dinner table. This not only lightens your load but also fosters a sense of responsibility and teamwork within the family. Collaboration goes beyond chores. Brainstorm ideas for dinner together, involve everyone in the cleanup process, and plan family game nights where everyone contributes to the fun.

4. Prioritizing Relaxation and Connection

Remember, the second shift isn’t just about crossing tasks off a to-do list. It’s also about connecting with your family and creating lasting memories.

  •  Schedule Relaxation Time: Just as you schedule time for chores and homework, schedule time for unwinding.This could be a shared family activity like reading a book together, watching a movie, or taking a walk after dinner.It could also be individual relaxation time for each family member – you might enjoy a quiet bath while your partner reads to the children or your children have designated “quiet time” with coloring books or puzzles.
  • Focus on Quality over Quantity: Don’t get caught in the trap of feeling obligated to fill every hour with structured activities. Sometimes the most meaningful moments arise organically. Building a pillow fort for a family movie night, playing a spontaneous board game, or simply snuggling on the couch with your children are moments to treasure.
  • Practice Mindfulness: The second shift is a prime time to practice mindfulness techniques as a family. Take a few deep breaths together after a busy day, or engage in short, guided meditations before bedtime. This helps everyone calm down, reduce stress, and become more present in the moment.

Embrace Imperfections and Let Go

Sometimes, the second shift throws unexpected curveballs. A spilled dinner, a homework meltdown, or a last-minute work call can quickly derail your carefully crafted schedule. Remember, you’re not aiming for perfection. Embrace the chaos, laugh it off together, and focus on creating a positive and supportive family environment. Let go of the guilt of not completing everything on your to-do list.

Communication is Key

Open communication with your partner is crucial. Discuss the division of chores and responsibilities. Talk about your expectations for the second shift and what you both need to feel supported. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, express your needs clearly. Your partner may be willing to adjust their schedule or lend a helping hand if they understand your struggles.

Seeking Additional Support

Don’t be afraid to seek additional support. Consider hiring a part-time housekeeper for some tasks, or explore childcare options to lighten the load on busy evenings. Talk to extended family or friends to see if they can offer help with dinners or childcare a couple of nights a week. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – it’s a sign of strength, not weakness.

Reframing the Second Shift

Instead of viewing the second shift as a chore-filled marathon, try to reframe it as an opportunity for connection. It’s a time to strengthen bonds with your children, create lasting memories, and build a foundation for a happy and healthy family. Remember, quality time spent with your children doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. It’s the simple, everyday moments of shared laughter, warmth, and love that truly matter.

Additional Resources

If you’re looking for further guidance on managing stress and overwhelm, consider reading my book “A Parent’s Guide to Self Regulation: A Practical Framework for Breaking the Cycles of Dysregulation and Mastering Emotions for Parents and Children.” This book provides practical strategies and techniques for managing your emotional well-being and fostering a calmer, more positive household.

This journey of conquering the second shift is an ongoing process. There will be days when you feel like a master chef and a superhero parent, and there will be evenings that leave you longing for a quiet corner to hide in. But by implementing these strategies, cultivating open communication, and prioritizing connection with your family, you can transform the second shift into a time of joy, laughter, and meaningful moments that will last a lifetime. Remember, you are not alone in this journey, and with a little planning and support, you can reclaim your evenings and build a strong, happy family unit, one second shift at a time.

Dr. Amber Thornton
Meet the Author

Dr. Amber Thornton

Dr. Amber Thornton is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and strong advocate for the mental health and well-being of parents. Dr. Amber loves writing and creating content online that will speak to the everyday struggles of ...

May 21, 2024

Navigating Parenthood: Overcoming the 5 Biggest Concerns of Dysregulated Parents

  • Book Sample

Parents guide to self regulation

When it comes to emotional regulation during parenting the topic always can be a little overwhelming. Being a parent is already hard and dealing with our own emotions plus the big emotions of our tiny humans, can make it even harder. Dr. Amber Thornton, a licensed Clinical Psychologist and strong advocate for the mental health and well-being of parents and Ulysses Press author explains in this article the biggest concerns of dysregulated parents! You can find this and more advice on self regulating emotions and becoming a better parent in her newly released book A Parent’s Guide to Self-Regulation: A Practical Framework for Breaking the Cycle of Dysregulation and Mastering Emotions for Parents and Children.


Parenting isn’t easy. We all experience moments of overwhelm, frustration, and self-doubt. I’ve struggled with these emotions myself – feeling overstimulated, irritable, and inadequate at times. However, through my research and personal experiences, I’ve realized that I’m not alone. Many parents out there are grappling with similar feelings, wondering if they’re doing enough for their children and questioning their own abilities.I’m not alone and neither are you. I’ve been there, too. Through my work and research with parents, I’ve discovered that there’s a way forward – a way to break free from the cycle of dysregulation and become the parent you’ve always wanted to be.

I’m thrilled to share some game-changing insights from my upcoming book, A Parent’s Guide to Self-Regulation: A Practical Framework for Breaking the Cycle of Dysregulation and Mastering Emotions for Parents and Children. Writing this book has helped me to reflect even more on my own journey as a parent and the hurdles I’ve overcome along the way.

In my book, I tackle five common concerns that many parents face when it comes to managing their emotions and their children’s. These concerns can weigh heavily on us, causing doubt and anxiety. But they don’t have to define us. With the right tools and strategies, we can transform these challenges into opportunities for growth and connection.

1. Am I inadequate as a parent?

This is a question that haunted me for a long time. I used to feel like I was failing my children because I couldn’t always keep my cool or handle difficult situations with grace. But as I’ve delved deeper into the topic of self-regulation, I’ve come to understand that every moment with my children is a learning opportunity. Even the mistakes and mishaps are chances for growth. In my book, I encourage parents to shift their perspective from feeling inadequate to recognizing the progress they’ve made and the lessons they’ve learned along the way.

Furthermore, I’ve learned that embracing imperfection is essential to fostering resilience in ourselves and our children. By acknowledging our shortcomings and openly discussing them, we create an environment where growth and self-improvement are celebrated. It’s not about being a flawless parent; it’s about showing up, learning from our experiences, and continuously striving to do better for our families.

2. Am I setting a bad example for self-regulation for my kids?

As a parent, I’ve often worried that my struggles with dysregulation would negatively impact my children’s ability to manage their emotions. But what if I’m not setting a bad example at all? What if, instead, I’m showing them that it’s okay to be human and to make mistakes? In my book, I explore the importance of modeling self-compassion and resilience for our children, even when we’re facing our own challenges.

Moreover, I’ve realized that by openly acknowledging my struggles and actively working on self-regulation, I’m teaching my children valuable lessons about resilience and growth mindset. They see that it’s normal to experience emotions and that it’s possible to bounce back from setbacks. Instead of striving for perfection, I aim to show them the power of self-awareness and the importance of seeking support when needed.

3. Am I repeating a pattern of parenting that I grew up with?

This question hits close to home for many of us. We’re often keenly aware of the ways in which our own upbringing influences our parenting style, and we may worry about perpetuating harmful patterns. But what if we’re not doomed to repeat the past? What if we can break free from those cycles and create a new, healthier dynamic with our children? In my book, I offer strategies for recognizing and challenging these patterns, paving the way for positive change.

Additionally, I’ve found that understanding the roots of my parenting behaviors has been instrumental in breaking the cycle. By examining my own upbringing and the patterns I observed, I’ve gained insight into why I react certain ways and how I can choose different approaches for my own family. It’s empowering to know that I have the power to rewrite my parenting narrative and create a more nurturing environment for my children.

4. How will I ever learn to self-regulate when times are always hard?

Parenting is tough, and life is full of challenges. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and wonder if we’ll ever be able to get a handle on our emotions. But what if every difficulty is an opportunity for growth? What if we can learn to navigate life’s ups and downs with greater resilience and self-awareness? In my book, I provide practical tools and techniques for managing stress and regulating emotions, even in the face of adversity.

Furthermore, I’ve come to see challenges as opportunities for personal growth and transformation. Instead of viewing difficult times as insurmountable obstacles, I approach them as chances to develop my self-regulation skills and strengthen my resilience. By practicing mindfulness, setting boundaries, and seeking support when needed, I’ve learned to navigate even the toughest situations with more ease and grace.

5. Will my dysregulation cause a lasting impact on the relationship with my family or their mental health?

This is perhaps the most heart-wrenching question of all. We want nothing more than to provide a loving, supportive environment for our children, and we worry that our own struggles will harm them in some way. But what if our efforts to repair and grow actually strengthen our relationships in the long run? What if our children learn resilience and empathy from witnessing our journey? In my book, I emphasize the importance of repair and accountability in maintaining healthy family dynamics, offering guidance for nurturing strong, resilient connections with our loved ones.

Moreover, I’ve found that by acknowledging my mistakes and taking responsibility for my actions, I’ve deepened my connections with my family. When I apologize and make amends, I show my children that I value our relationship and am committed to fostering trust and understanding. Through this process of repair, we not only heal any wounds caused by dysregulation but also strengthen the bonds that hold us together as a family. Through my own experiences and the stories shared by other parents, I’ve come to believe that self-regulation is not just a skill – it’s a journey of self-discovery and growth.

And while it’s not always easy, it is possible to cultivate greater emotional resilience and create a more nurturing environment for ourselves and our children. So if you’re tired of feeling overwhelmed and unsure of yourself as a parent, if you’re ready to take control of your emotions and create a more harmonious family dynamic, then this book is for you.

Join me on this journey as we explore the power of self-regulation and discover how it can revolutionize your parenting experience.

I invite you to order A Parent’s Guide to Self-Regulation: A Practical Framework for Breaking the Cycles of Dysregulation and Mastering Emotions for Parents and Children, and join me on this journey toward growth and self-discovery. Together, we can create a more nurturing and supportive environment for ourselves and our children.

Thanks for tuning in today, and I’ll catch you next time. Take care!

Dr. Amber Thornton

Learn more about Dr. Amber

Dr. Amber Thornton

May 8, 2024

Serial Killers of the 80s

  • Book Sample /
  • True Crime

serial killers of the 80sTake a deep dive into the rise and fall of some of the most notorious serial killers of the 80s, including Jeffrey Dahmer, Joseph James DeAngelo, Dennis Lynn Rader, and the Night Stalker.

Neon leg warmers, big hair, rock band T-shirts, and mix tapes — 1980s’ nostalgia at its finest. But just below that saccharine facade lurked a seedy underbelly of inconceivable human monsters like no decade before had ever seen. The Golden Age of the Serial Killer brought a sharp increase in violent crime, panic, and terror, which in turn sparked a chaotic race between serial murderers and law enforcement officers tasked with both stopping the killings and delivering justice to victims and their loved ones. The Big Book of 1980s Serial Killers is for the true crime fanatic who wants to investigate these cases and discover the ins and outs of how crimes like these are solved.

Drawing from meticulous research, contemporary journalistic accounts, and trial transcripts, this book traces the various ways in which law enforcement cracked some of the most challenging serial killer cases in history. Serial killers included:

  • Doug Clark and Carol Bundy (Sunset Strip Killers)
  • Jeffrey Dahmer
  • Joseph James DeAngelo (The Golden State Killer)
  • Larry Eyler (The Interstate Killer)
  • Lonnie David Franklin, Jr. (The Grim Sleeper)
  • Samuel Little
  • Gary Leon Ridgway (The Green River Killer)
  • Dennis Rader (The BTK Killer)
  • Richard Ramirez (The Night Stalker)
  • Tommy Lynn Sells
  • Arthur Shawcross (The Genesee River Killer)
  • Aileen Wournos

Are you ready to hunt the worst serial killers of the 80s?

* * *

Serial Killers of the 80s: Why Were There So Many?

From Jeffrey Dahmer and the Golden State Killer to Richard Ramirez and BTK, serial killers seemed to populate the 1980s like no other decade—and that statement isn’t one of those “When I was young” remarks that end with telling kids to get off your lawn.

The data, unfortunately, backs it up.

The 1980s capped the height of a three-decade surge in serial murders, which then began a steady decline through the 1990s and the first two decades of the 2000s.

Radford University psychology professor Dr. Mike Aamodt has been compiling and analyzing serial killer statistics for decades. His information shows that a staggering nearly 770 serial killers were operating throughout the United States between 1980 and 1989. More conservative estimates put the number at closer to 300; differences in the definition of a serial killer (number of murders, time frame, etc.) can result in raw number discrepancies, but a sharp increase in serial murders in the 1980s is evident using any metric.

Victimhood statistics follow a similar trajectory. The worst year for victims, according to Aamodt’s data, was 1987, when 389 people were murdered by serial killers. From there, the number of victims per year began dropping, and by 2011 serial killers claimed the lives of under 100 people in the United States annually. That number may grow if remains are found of other missing individuals and linked to serial killers, but the trend is moving in a positive direction.

Investigative advancements likely increased the number of identified serial killers in the 1980s. More sophisticated methods of evidence and data collection along with better information sharing processes allowed law enforcement to link murders to the same perpetrators, especially across jurisdictions, in ways that hadn’t been possible even a decade before.

Meanwhile, in the decade of decadence, big hair, and neon everything, a sharp overall increase in violent crime coincided with a prevailing atmosphere of panic and terror—all occurring within a unique time in American societal history.

While there are many things from the 1980s to be nostalgic about, serial killers and the circumstances that aided their proliferation are not among them.

Life in the 1980s

The 1980s saw a restitching of the country’s social fabric, and several of those moving threads placed some individuals directly in harm’s way and exponentially increased their odds of falling prey to serial killers. Many of these same phenomena also helped serial killers escape capture.

  • Sex Work
  • Cocaine Epidemic
  • Women’s Movement
  • HIV/AIDS Epidemic
  • Runaways, Hitchhiking, and Partying
  • Racial Tensions
  • People Moving Farther From Home
  • Stranger Danger and Satanic Panic

Catching 1980s Serial Killers

Taken all together, when a serial killer was on the loose these cultural factors created a tense, terrifying atmosphere that sparked a chaotic, dramatic race between killer and law enforcement, who were tasked with both stopping the killings and delivering justice to victims and their loved ones.

Who would win?

Law enforcement ultimately did prevail against many of the deadliest and most horrific serial killers of the 1980s. All of those featured in this book were eventually brought to justice, even if, in some cases such as BTK, the Grim Sleeper, and the Golden State Killer, that justice took decades, requiring advanced DNA testing and new investigative techniques such as genetic genealogy to finally enable investigators to catch up with the scant clues left behind by the murderers.

Some of those advances and techniques may be why the number of serial killers has dropped and why, as Dr. Harold Schechter, serial killer expert and professor emeritus at Queens College, told Slate in 2011, “The golden age of serial murderers is probably past.”

Drawing from meticulous research, contemporary journalistic accounts, police reports, court opinions, and other primary source materials, The Big Book of 1980s Serial Killers looks back on ten of the most challenging and fascinating serial killer cases in history, placing them in the unique historical and social context of that most peculiar decade: the 1980s.

* * *

Can’t get enough true crime? Check out The Big Book of 1980s Serial Killersbelow, as well as our other fascinating (and freaky) serial killer content.


Photo by Octavian Dan on Unsplash


The Big Book of 1980s Serial Killers

Take a deep dive into the rise and fall of some of the most notorious serial killers of the ‘80s, including Jeffrey Dahmer, Joseph James DeAngelo, Dennis Lynn Rader, and the Night Stalker. Neon leg warmers, big hair, rock band T-shirts, and mix tapes — 1980s’ nostalgia at its finest. But just below that saccharine facade lurked a

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New release

Calling All Armchair Detectives

All True Crime
Mother's Day
May 7, 2024

Mother’s Day Gift Book Guide

  • Book Guide

As Mother’s Day approaches, it’s time to celebrate the remarkable women who have shaped our lives with their boundless love, wisdom, and unwavering support. How can we ever begin to thank our mothers, step-moms, grandmas, mothers-in-law, and other maternal figures? While we should celebrate them year-round, let’s give them a little bit more love this Mother’s Day. Check out some of the Ulysses Press approved book gifts perfect for any book-loving mom.

Want to make her Mother’s Day even sweeter? Make some quick and easy French-Toast, it’ll be the perfect in bed breakfast while she enjoys her new books.

For our musical moms:

The Official Britney Spears Coloring Book: This official coloring book is the ultimate way to pay tribute to the Princess of Pop and the perfect gift for any Britney fan. So hit that Britney playlist one more time, grab your pens, and get coloring!

2Fish: 2Fish is a collection of intimate poems (and a few short stories) written by Jhene Aiko from her adolescence to adulthood.

For our romance loving moms:


Romantasy Coloring Book: Featuring 24 illustrations inspired by all the best parts of romantasy books, this captivating collection will have you bringing mythical creatures, magical landscapes, and ethereal characters to life through color.

Build Your Own Romantic Comedy: Live the cheesy rom-com love story of your dreams with this hilarious mix-and-match adventure through adorable meet-cutes, fun montages, and grand romantic gestures. . . all leading the way to the final kiss.

For our moms that love to cook:

50 Things to Bake Before You Die: This heavenly collection of dessert recipes—gifted to us from the greatest bakers and chefs from small-town café owners to fancy restaurateurs to TV show hosts—is a call to arms, to action, to revolution! Or, at the very least, a call to turn on the oven. Because who has time for the third-best brownie recipe or so-so Nutella-stuffed chocolate chip cookies?

The I Love Trader Joe’s® Snack Boards Cookbook: Create stunning boards, creative charcuterie, and delicious spreads for every occasion with 50 recipes featuring your favorite Trader Joe’s® products.

For our crime junkie moms:

Cold Cases: Discover the fascinating true crime stories of JonBenét Ramsey, the Black Dahlia, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum theft, the Amber Alert case, the Cleveland Torso Murders, and more. A must-read for murderinos, armchair detectives, and online sleuths of all kinds!

Serial Killer Trivia: Perfect for any true crime junkie or connoisseur of macabre tales, this fact-packed book quizzes readers on their true crime knowledge and offers fascinating stories of well-known murderers as well as lesser-known, but just as nefarious, killers.

The Big Book of 1980s Serial Killers: Neon leg warmers, big hair, rock band T-shirts, and mix tapes — 1980s’ nostalgia at its finest. But just below that saccharine facade lurked a seedy underbelly of inconceivable human monsters like no decade before had ever seen.


Musical Loving Moms:

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Romance Loving Moms:

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Kitchen Loving Moms:

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True Crime Loving Moms:

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April 23, 2024

1990s Coloring Book – Downloadable Page

  • Book Sample

1990s Coloring Book

Dude, the ’90s were totally rad, like, seriously! Why would I want to live in the 2020’s? The ’90s music was off the hook. The music scene? Killer! Grunge was in full swing, and hip-hop was blowing up the charts. And if you missed your favorite show? Bummer! No streaming back then, just good ol’ VHS tapes. And when it came to fashion, baggy jeans and flannel shirts were the bomb. Those were the days, no doubt about it.

OK maybe we can’t necessarily time travel to the 1990’s, but we can try to. Introducing our re-editioned 1990s Coloring Book. We’re giving readers a free downloadable page. Who can forget the absolute star power of these pop icons?

Share your creation on socials and tag us @ulyssespress! Happy drawing.

Catch you on the flip side, later gator!

* * * * * *

Click Here to Download!



More 90's Trends!

1990s Coloring Book

Relive the best decade ever with this most excellent coloring book featuring some of the greatest hits of the '90s, including the Spice Girls, Full House, Beanie Babies, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jerry Springer, Baywatch, and more! Calling all '90s babies! Dust off your scented markers and get ready for a blast from the past—it’s time to

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New release
ticket to ride railroad
April 11, 2024

Ticket to Ride™ – The Official Cookbook Sneak Peek: Thimbleberry or Raspberry Brownies

  • Cooking /
  • Recipes

Game night is finally here and it could not be completed without a delicious dessert to go with a fabulous fun game of Ticket to Ride™. Before you prepare what routes you will be embarking on tonight, make sure you try these mouth watering brownies that can be found in the newest and only Ticket to Ride™ – The Official Cookbook. 

Thimbleberry or Raspberry Brownies from Ticket to Ride™ – The Official Cookbook

If you’re lucky enough to have access to thimbleberries, the subtle, tart-sweet Midwestern berries similar to raspberries, try them swirled into a pan of rich, fudgy brownies. This recipe uses berries in three forms: fresh, freeze-dried, and jam—to really highlight the fruit flavor.

Makes: 8 servings | Active time: 15 minutes | Total time: 1 hour


1 tablespoon plus 1 cup softened unsalted butter, divided

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 cup self-rising flour

3⁄4 cup cocoa powder

1 cup dark chocolate chunks

1 cup fresh thimbleberries or raspberries (see note)

1⁄2 cup freeze-dried raspberries,crushed

1⁄4 cup raspberry jam


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 12 x 9-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the 1 cup butter, eggs, sugar, flour, and cocoa powder with an electric mixer or by hand until smooth.
  3. Gently fold in the chocolate chunks and fresh berries.
  4. Pour the batter into the greased pan and top with the crushed freeze-dried raspberries and dollops of jam.
  5. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting.


Thimbleberries are very delicate so they’re rarely produced commercially. Feel free to use raspberries for an almost-as-good result.



Enjoy game night with Ticket to Ride™ – The Official Cookbook and these brownies and remember you can pre order the Official Cookbook today! 

Ticket to Ride Cookbook

Perfect for Game Night or Movie Night

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Ticket to Ride™ Hot Chicken
April 11, 2024

Ticket to Ride™ The Official Cookbook: Hot Chicken

  • Cooking

Ticket to Ride CookbookAll aboard! We’re going to our next destination.

How was Washington D.C.? Did you enjoy those delectable Half-Smoke Sausage Bites? I bet they were absolutely delicious. Now, get settled and get your Destination Tickets ready, we’re heading to Nashville! As part of our sneak peek series to the Ticket to Ride™ The Official Cookbook, we’re loading the train and heading South! So, gather your ingredients, don your chef’s hat, and get ready to turn up the heat in your kitchen as we make this Southern classic… Hot Chicken!

Brace yourself for a fiery adventure with this Nashville Hot Chicken recipe from Ticket to Ride™ The Official Cookbook!

* * * * *

Hot Chicken from— Ticket to Ride™ The Official Cookbook

Nashville’s best-known poultry is sweet, spicy, crispy, and juicy. After the chicken is fried to a perfect golden brown, it’s slathered in a coating made from leftover frying oil, cayenne pepper, chili powder, and brown sugar. This combo of sweet and spicy ingredients is sure to make things steamy as your route takes you through Tennessee.

Makes: 4 servings | Active time: 40 minutes | Total time: 2 hours 40 minutes


1½ cups dill pickle juice
8 or so bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (thighs, breasts, legs, wings)
2 cups flour
¼ cup cornstarch
3 tablespoons Creole seasoning
1½ cups buttermilk
⅓ cup Southern-style hot sauce, such as Frank’s RedHot
2 quarts neutral oil, such as peanut or vegetable
⅓ cup ground cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt


1. Pour the pickle juice into a large ziplock bag. Add the chicken pieces and let them sit in the brine in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight.

2. Set out two shallow dishes. In the first, mix together the flour, cornstarch, and Creole seasoning. In the second, pour the buttermilk and hot sauce.

3. Dunk each chicken piece into the flour mixture, then the buttermilk mixture, then back in the flour mixture. Place the breaded pieces on a wire rack set on a baking sheet.

4. Pour the oil into a large pot—it should come about a third to halfway up the pot sides—and heat over high heat until the oil reaches 350°F. (To check the temperature, use a cooking thermometer dipped into the oil or clipped to the side of the pot.)

5. Use tongs to carefully place half the chicken pieces in the oil. Fry for 7 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces (small thighs will cook faster than large breasts). Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces, then turn off the heat.

6. To make the spicy oil for the chicken, transfer at least a cup of the used cooking oil into a heatproof bowl. Add the cayenne pepper, paprika, brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt, then mix everything together. Use a brush to coat the cooked chicken pieces with the spicy oil.

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