Friday, October 18, 2013

Katrin’s Chronicles: The Canon of Jacquelene Dyanne, Vol. 1

Katrin’s Chronicles: The Canon of Jacquelene Dyanne, Vol. 1
Author: Valerie C. Woods
Genre: Psychic Girl Detectives, Middle Grade


On the verge of entering high school, precociously eloquent 13 -year-old Katrin DuBois feels it’s never too soon to start an autobiography. She decides to set the record straight about the outrageous rumors concerning certain adventures that began when she was in sixth grade. That’s when her elder sister, 8th grader J. Dyanne, began exhibiting extraordinary detecting skills, and emerging psychic abilities.

Set during the latter half of 1968, these African-American tweens live in a working class neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. They manage to thrive in a world of social change with multi-generational family support, creative quick-thinking and fearless inquisitiveness. The dog days of August find them prohibited by their parents from visiting the Central Library downtown because of the riots during the Democratic Convention. However, there’s plenty of adventure in their own neighborhood as they become swept up in family mysteries, neighborhood political schemes and the discovery of a surprising legacy of psychic, even supernatural, talent.

Katrin’s Chronicles: The Canon of Jacqueléne Dyanne, expands the girl detective genre to include these smart, sister sleuths.

Meet the Author

An avid reader while growing up on Chicago’s South Side, Ms. Woods began writing when, as a struggling actress in New York, she couldn't find suitable audition material for women of color. This led her to write a book of audition monologues, Something for Everyone (50 Original Monologues). The book was initially self-published and is now published by renowned theatrical play publisher, Samuel French, Inc. (

After adapting an average play into a better screenplay, Ms. Woods was awarded a Walt Disney Screenwriting Fellowship and followed that up with writing and producing on network and cable drama series such as Under One Roof, Touched By An Angel, Promised Land, Any Day Now and Soul Food.

But fiction, her first love, compelled her to enter the world of prose. She had always written bits of fiction, short stories and a little poetry here and there.

In November 2012, Ms. Woods founded a micro -press: BooksEndependent, LLC ( to support her work and the work of other new, independent authors of fiction and non-fiction.

The first title was Ms. Woods’ novella, I Believe ... A Ghost Story for the Holidays. Then, what began as a gift became her second publication.

Several years ago, needing a birthday present for her sister Ms. Woods wrote a short story about a girl detective -- a highly fictionalized autobiography of the adventures she and her sister experienced in childhood. Another story was written for Christmas, then one for Mother's Day. That’s when Ms. Woods realized she was writing the kind of novel she and her sister would have loved to read as children, but which didn't exist – the adventures of African-American Girl Detectives!

The result, Katrin's Chronicles: The Canon of Jacqueléne Dyanne, Vol. 1 is now available in paperback and Kindle edition at


Many people still believe that it was J. Dyanne who, in March 1968, prophesized the accident that resulted in the broken leg of one Derek Fremont, the then thirteen-year-old delinquent who lives three houses down. But what do you expect will happen when you ride backwards on the handlebars of a handmade, motorized bicycle? Even I could have predicted the result and I only possess the vision afforded by the glasses I have been forced to wear since the 4th grade.

Granted, the specificity with which J. Dyanne was able to identify the location, number and severity of the fractured bones, as well as the fact that it was indeed his right leg and not the left that was put in a cast, may have fueled the rumors of prophecy. But really, she’s just very observant.

But at the time, people were prone to believe anything.

It was Chicago, August 1968, a time of extraordinary things, when the unbelievable turned out to be very believable after all. Therefore, I will, through these official chronicles, do my humble best to clarify the chaos and set the record straight. If I don’t, who will?

As Grand Anne says, “If you don’t write your own history, someone else will make it up for you.”

Although there are many instances of J. Dyanne’s intellect and expanded awareness recounted among family and close friends, my goal here is to formally archive with as much accuracy as memory will allow, the true canon of Jacqueléne Dyanne — her life and work. So far.

I will return to the beginning. A time when I was a regular sixth grader, innocent of what I now know was a turning point. It all began on a fairly ordinary day on the South Side of Chicago in a neighborhood of modest homes and two-story apartment buildings, on tree-lined streets and fenced backyards. That day culminated in the first of a series of events to which the local press gave the fanciful title of “The Strange Case of the South Side Seer.”

Nonsense, of course, but the media does like a fantastic story to feed the frenzy.

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