Saturday, May 15, 2021

Our Last Post

 The Author Gang is Saying Goodbye


It has been a long run with many authors participating in the blog with 792 interesting blog posts since 2017. The blog had 379,998 visitors who left 1248 comments.

However, three of our blog posts had been reported as malicious content and removed yesterday without warning the admins of the blog and without explanation. There is nothing wrong with censuring and flagging dangerous or malicious content, God knows there are plenty on blogs and social sites. However, when the authors don't even have a chance to find out why their posts had been removed without warning and what could have been offensive about the posts, it goes a step beyond censorship. It also really takes the fun out of writing new blog posts.

Although the posts had been reinstated, our enthusiasm to connect with readers on this blog is gone.

Therefore, The Author Gang is saying goodbye

Please visit our websites, follow our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OurAuthorGang/ and read our older posts.

 

 




 

The Author Gang


Erika M Szabo

Erika became an avid reader at a very early age, thanks to her dad who introduced her to many great books. Erika writes epic fantasy, alternate history, sweet romance, romantic suspense, dystopian and cozy mystery novels, short stories, as well as fun, educational and bilingual books for children ages 2-14 about acceptance, friendship, family, and moral values such as accepting people with disabilities, dealing with bullies, and not judging others before getting to know them.


Cindy J. Smith

Cindy has written poetry, and with every experience in life, she has found inspiration. Wife, Mother, and Grandmother, she has a myriad of beautiful memories to draw from. Never having been good at playing the part of "starving artist", she has had many careers, but her current one, an over-the-road truck driver with her husband, Dave, has provided amazing opportunities for inspiration in her later years.


A.L. Butcher

British-born A. L. Butcher is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet, and a dreamer, a lover of science, natural history, history, and monkeys. Her prose has been described as ‘dark and gritty’ and her poetry as ‘evocative’. She writes with a sure and sometimes erotic sensibility of things that might have been, never were, but could be.


Alan Zacher

After many years of being a "struggling" actor in LA, I turned to writing. I have had several novels published: "I'm No P. I."; "A Ghoulish Good Time"; "The 13th Hour"; "Being a P. I.--Again". I have had MS for serval years now; I know physical and mental pain; so I need much laughter to endure it. Hopefully, my novels do just that--give much laughter.


P.J. Mann

Paula J. Mann lives a double life. She is a geologist by day and a novelist by night. She's best known for writing psychological thrillers and crime fiction. She also writes historical fiction and paranormal suspense. She loves traveling and shares her experiences on her blog: http://paperpenandinkwell.blogspot.com


Christina Weigand

A writer, wife, mother of four, and Nana to five. She lives in Pennsylvania and has three published YA novels, a woman’s Bible study, and two MG Fantasy.

A.J. Park
A.J. Park has embraced a lifelong passion for writing and reading. There is nothing better than a really good story, and she feels compelled to keep creating. Fantasy has always been her favorite genre, because it represents the world of imagination in fiction.

    

Friday, May 14, 2021

Book Friday: Palace of the Twelve Pillars

 Young Adult Christian Fantasy

"I wanted to know the backstory to a character in another book I wrote. For that book, I wanted to explore what would happen if the son of a farmer woke up one morning and discovered he was a prince and a wizard."



Christina Weigand

A writer, wife, mother of four, and Nana to five. She lives in Pennsylvania and has three published YA novels, a woman’s Bible study, and two MG Fantasy.

Monday, May 10, 2021

The Sword of God

 Hun Legends by Erika M Szabo

Image by azboomer from Pixabay

According to the legend, the Sword of God was created by Hadúr the blacksmith god. It was forged from a meteorite and given to the Scythian people to conquer the world and won by the Magyars and Huns when together they defeated the Scythians.

The legend says that the Huns wanted to go one way, and the Magyars another, so they gave the sword to a blind man to spin. Where it landed, they would go. But a gust of wind took the sword out of sight towards the west, and it was lost.

The sword is also known as the Sword of Attila, so clearly the legend doesn’t end there. Much later, a shepherd found it buried in the ground, after the tip nicked the leg of one of his sheep, causing it to bleed. He could see it was powerful, and presented it to Atilla, insisting that he was the only one worthy.

Atilla used the sword in battle, despite that Huns preferred bows and axes. And while he died before the sword’s magic could help him conquer the entire world, he certainly conquered a decent portion of it.

Attila was the ruler of the Huns from 434 until his death in March 453. He was also the leader of a tribal empire consisting of Huns, Ostrogoths, and Alans among others, on the territory of Central and Eastern Europe. He was the only king from 434 AD to 453 AD and became one of the most feared rulers, especially among eastern and western European empires.

Unlike what most people believe, Attila didn’t have an impoverished childhood and was born in a financially comfortable household. In fact, Attila and his older brother Bleda received training fit for a prince.

While there are very few accounts of what Attila looked like, King Priscus’s records show that Attila was a short man with a wide chest and a large head. He had small eyes, a thick black beard, and his skin was tanned.

Attila’s father, Mundzuc was a clan chieftain and was a brother to Hunnish kings Octar and Ruga. After Ruga's death, Attila killed his older brother, Bleda, to acquire the kingdom left to the both of them. According to King Priscus’s accounts, Bleda was assassinated by Attila, after a long conspiracy in 445 AD.

In 447 AD, Attila attacked the Eastern Romans at the Battle of the Utus, after which he carried his famous Balkan invasion, which allowed him to create a solid Eastern European stronghold.

Despite being a despotic ruler and famous for his large collection of gold, Attila preferred a simple lifestyle.

Watch the movie about Attila's life, with Gerald Butler


Friday, May 7, 2021

Book Friday: War's Ending

 A romantic fantasy novel

FREE today


"I wrote this book because I wanted to explore the idea of people who hid their faces from outsiders. The book is about Shalyrie’s journey to understand them and their culture. She does eventually discover their secrets and is pushed into a terrible position between the opposite sides of the conflict. As she spends more time with them, she grows to respect and admire them, especially their young leader. His dedication and kindness make a deep impression on her. They grow closer until she can’t imagine leaving him. But unless she finds a way to stop the fighting, he will be killed and his people destroyed. 
I wanted to create a story that explored new scenery and cultures. Shalyrie’s nation is sea-faring, native to an island, and she’s never seen horses before. What would you think of a horse if you’d never seen one before? The book is all about her efforts to stop the fighting between her people and the horsemen. I hope you enjoy War’s Ending."
A.J. Park

About the story

Royal Blood. A floor length gown. Neither is any use in a battle...
Shalyrie accepts an invitation to tour the colony with the charming young governor. Instead of site-seeing, she is injured in an unexpected raid. Captured by the enemy, she struggles to stay alive among masked horsemen who don't speak her language and refuse to show their faces.
As Shalyrie attempts to understand their culture, she discovers that the war is not what it seems. An attempt on her life by one of her own people reveals that someone has a compelling reason to continue fighting and they don't care if she is killed in the middle of it.

A.J. Park
A.J. Park has embraced a lifelong passion for writing and reading. There is nothing better than a really good story, and she feels compelled to keep creating. Fantasy has always been her favorite genre, because it represents the world of imagination in fiction.


Monday, May 3, 2021

Black Dog Myths: Part 1 - Shuck

 Old Shuck

Photo credit: Steve Bidmead from Pixabay 

Britain is a land of myths and legends, from giants and dragons to St George and Headless Horsemen.

Black Dog spectres are nocturnal apparitions, often foretelling deaths and sometimes linked with Satan, although some are protectors. From Grim, Padfoot, Barguest, and Shuck, these nocturnal hounds walk the byways and lanes of Britain. Appearances differ – although they are always large, some have no head, a human-looking head, fiery eyes, chains, or blooded fang; they walk in silence and howl with spine-chilling cries. 

Old Shuck

Variously known as Black Shuck, Old Shuck, Old Shock, or Shuck, a ghostly hound is believed to haunt the coastline and countryside parts of Britain. Documents from the 16th-century record ‘sightings’ of this horrible hound, but records are believed to go back at far as the 12th Century. 

The most notorious reports of Shuck come from Bungay and Blythburn in the county of Suffolk, in England (1577). The great devilish hound is said to have burst through the church doors during a storm, killed a man and child, and causing the steeple to collapse. There are, apparently scorch marks still remaining on the door to this day. He then appeared in a separate church in the village of Bungay, killed some more congregants before disappearing. 

Title page of the account of Rev. Abraham Fleming's account of the appearance of the ghostly black dog "Black Shuck" at the church of Bungay, Suffolk in 1577: "A straunge, and terrible wunder wrought very late in the parish church of Bongay: a town of no great distance from the citie of Norwich, namely the fourth of this August, in ye yeere of our Lord 1577." (Public Domain )

In 1850 Revd Taylor of Ormesby wrote that he’d heard the tale of Shuck from many people in East Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. The great hound was described as ‘a black shaggy dog with fiery eyes, who visits churchyards at night’ (From Lore of the Land – Westwood and Simpson). The dog started at Beeston and walked Overstrand churchyard at twilight and his route crossed what is now Cromer railway station – and a local street was known as Shuck’s Lane. Another preacher heard from an elderly local parishioner that Shuck ran nightly over Coltishall Bridge. A local man had kicked at a large dog acting aggressively, the man’s foot when straight through the dog….

Shuck has now firmly become part of local folklore with manifestations of ‘Old Scarf’, ‘Old Shock’ and the ‘Shucky Dog’. A spectral dog known as Chuff was seen as late as 1980. Old Shock sometimes manifested as a calf, or had the head of a donkey, a goat, or even a ‘shug monkey’.

He is portrayed in many forms – including as a shapeshifting bogey beast. Headless or saucer-eyed creatures are traditional signs of the supernatural, and such beasts often had ‘skeffy’ or shaggy coats.

‘Shuck’ is derived from an Old English word – scucca –meaning fiend, ‘shucky’ is a Norfolk dialect for shaggy.  In Europe, a sixth of all dog demons are black poodles (Patricia Dale Green Dog 1966). Shuck’s ancestry may be hinted at from an account from St Margaret in the late 12th century, called ‘Alde Shuke’ – an unwight who appeared in animal form, and calls himself a ‘bitter beast’.

Some accounts state meeting Shuck means death within a year, oral tradition does not always support this. Shuck and the Black Dog of Bungay myths have merged, out of 74 sightings, only seventeen could be connected with death or misfortune. 

Other accounts have the Black Dogs act as guardians, escorted women along lonely lanes at night.  In 1998 one man recounted having to get out of the road at night due to a huge hound with flaming eyes standing in his way. This prevented him from being run down by a car with no lights.


Written by

A.L. Butcher

British-born A. L. Butcher is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet, and a dreamer, a lover of science, natural history, history, and monkeys. Her prose has been described as ‘dark and gritty’ and her poetry as ‘evocative’. She writes with a sure and sometimes erotic sensibility of things that might have been, never were, but could be.


Sunday, May 2, 2021

Bookish Magazine May 2021

Free Online Magazine 


In this Issue:
Poem of May
Stories from the Author Gang authors:
Your cat is a chatterbox
Fantasy creatures
Spring is in the Air
Resilience and Patience
Meet the GBBPub authors
New release books


Friday, April 30, 2021

Book Friday: The Ghost of Prince Akhmose

 Ghost fantasy in 3 languages


I've always been fascinated by Egyptian history. It's amazing how much we know yet how much remains a mystery of the people who lived thousands of years ago, built the pyramids, and left invaluable culture and art behind. I was reading about the 19th dynasty one day, and my mind wandered off. I thought about the post I added to Goodreads years ago about life and the afterlife, and it triggered an avalanche of thoughts in my mind.

I've been playing with the idea of writing a fantasy ghost story, so I thought, why not an Egyptian prince? I like cozy, entertaining stories, so there are no scary mummies in this one.
Of course, I needed an evil wizard to curse the prince, an unsuspecting woman to save him, and a funny redhead friend to make you smile as well.

Okay, I'm not going to spoil it for you, enjoy this short, action-packed story. You can read this story in English, Spanish, or Italian, whichever language you feel most comfortable with, or listen to the English audiobook.

A cozy ghost story

A powerful curse cast thousands of years ago by the Grand Vizier. Tanakhmet cursed Prince Akhmose to never enter the Field of Reeds, the heavenly paradise. Why did he want him to linger as a restless ghost among the living, forever?

By reading the hieroglyphs, Layla, a young Egyptologist, inadvertently breaks the curse and frees the ghosts of both Prince Akhmose and the Grand Vizier whose thirst for revenge is stronger than ever.

With Layla’s help, can Prince Akhmose finally cross into the afterlife? Or perhaps, because of the charms of the mortal woman, he doesn’t want to…

Spanish

Una acogedora historia de fantasmas.

Una poderosa maldición lanzada hace miles de años por el Gran Visir. Tanakhmet maldijo al príncipe Akhmose para que nunca entrara en el Campo de Juncos, el paraíso celestial. ¿Por qué quería que el príncipe permaneciera para siempre como un fantasma inquieto entre los vivos?

Al leer los jeroglíficos, Layla, una joven egiptóloga, rompe inadvertidamente la maldición y libera los fantasmas tanto del príncipe Akhmose como del Gran Visir, cuya sed de venganza es más fuerte que nunca.

Con la ayuda de Layla, ¿podrá el príncipe Akhmose finalmente cruzar al más allá? O tal vez, hipnotizado por los encantos de la mujer mortal, no quiere ...

Italian

Un romanzo fantasy storico.

Una potente maledizione lanciata migliaia di anni fa dal Gran Visir. Tanakhmet maledì il principe Akhmose per non entrare mai nel Campo delle Canne, il paradiso celeste. Perché voleva che rimanesse per sempre come un fantasma irrequieto tra i vivi?

Leggendo i geroglifici, Layla, una giovane egittologa, spezza inavvertitamente la maledizione e libera i fantasmi sia del principe Akhmose che del Gran Visir, la cui sete di vendetta è più forte che mai.

Con l'aiuto di Layla, il principe Akhmose può finalmente entrare nell'aldilà? O forse, a causa del fascino della donna mortale, non vuole ...

Audiobook


The author



Monday, April 26, 2021

The Doubts of an Author

 I Have Doubts

Image credit: Lukas Biery from Pixabay

Yes, I have doubts as to the quality of my writing. Is it any good or am I just fooling myself?

Every morning, early, —always about 5 a. m.—I rise from bed and begin writing. I’m always excited to begin the day writing, my heart pumping, and my creative juices flowing. On good days, I may write, off-and-on, for four or five hours. If it goes well, I’m elated; if it goes badly, I’m miserable. If I only hammered out two or three lines, I feel that I have wasted my whole day—for nothing! I pout and I feel anger for the rest of the day, and I wonder whatever made me ever believe that I could ever do a thing like writing a book, to begin with. Stupid! And for an Indie writer, this is even worse—you don’t have a publisher!

Well, and even having a publisher isn’t always a sure deal of the quality of one’s writing.

I have had many short stories and six novels published. My first novel was published by a man who owned a small publishing company. He kept telling me that my manuscript was one of the best novels that he had ever read. The contract that I signed with him was a 60/40 contract, with a 30% overhead charge—meaning that before the 60/40 kicked in, 30% was taken off first: I made little money.

So, I don’t know. Yeah, I have doubts. Even the King says—that’s Stephen King— “Don’t go into writing lightly. There are too many disappointments.”

Yet, when all is said and done, there are the occasional emails that I receive from people—total strangers! —thanking me for my writing putting a smile on their faces.

Yes, I have doubts, but receiving one of those joyful emails makes it all worth it.

Written by:

Alan Zacher

After many years of being a "struggling" actor in LA, I turned to writing. I have had several novels published: "I'm No P. I."; "A Ghoulish Good Time"; "The 13th Hour"; "Being a P. I.--Again". I have had MS for serval years now; I know physical and mental pain; so I need much laughter to endure it. Hopefully, my novels do just that--give much laughter.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Book Friday: Bittersweet Reality

 Poems and short stories

Choosing to ignore the reality of my publications' lack of success, I assembled another collection for public entertainment.  Gorged on the sincere praises of my editor and several fans, I have once again allowed my ego to lead me by the carrot of fame it dangles before my eyes.  How can you refuse to follow the advice to publish given by someone who even takes the time to come up with the perfect title?
Bittersweet Reality has become a reality thanks to the efforts of my editor, Cindy Calloway who encouraged me to share these works and named them.  The artistic and technical abilities of Erika M. Szabo of Golden Box Books Publishing, are evident when you see this gorgeous cover, the beautiful interior of the book in all its forms and when you watch  the video below which she created. 

This collection has stories as well as poems offering my view of the world before me without my rose-colored glasses.


Cindy J. Smith
Cindy has written poetry, and with every experience in life, she has found inspiration. Wife, Mother, and Grandmother, she has a myriad of beautiful memories to draw from. Never having been good at playing the part of "starving artist", she has had many careers, but her current one, an over-the-road truck driver with her husband, Dave, has provided amazing opportunities for inspiration in her later years.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Resilience and Patience


Last year the 30th of December I was surprised to see one of my garden plants starting to bloom. I have it there for enough time to understand that it starts to bloom between April and August. I remember having chosen it just because of its long blooming season and because the first pollinators could have soon something to eat after the long winter. 

For this reason, you can imagine my surprise when I saw it blooming in the middle of the winter. I was also worried because, although we didn’t have had yet any snow, I was sure it would have come quite soon, meaning the demise of the plant.

In fact, as I feared, after a few days the Finnish landscape turned white, and the only hope I had was that at least only those early blooms would have died out, leaving the whole plant alive ready to bloom once again at the right time.

Likewise every winter, the temperatures went far below freezing this winter, reaching -25 C. 


Every time I looked out of the window, I wondered about the well-being of those little flowers. Many times I have been tempted to dig them out from the snow and cover them with a cloth that could have protected them from the cold, but a little voice in my head told me that perhaps the snow cover could be just enough of a protection.

A few days ago, as the milder temperatures started to melt the snow cover, I thought I saw something worth my attention, and as I went to refill the bird feeder, I reached the place where the blooming flower was planted.

And I marveled…

Not only the plant survived the harsh and long winter, but under the snow cover, those flowers found a safe cocoon from where to find shelter from the cold weather. They patiently kept themselves alive, gathering the weak light filtering through the snow cover, feeding on the slowly melting ice, and counting the days to Spring.

It gave me a sense of hope and also a good lesson, about patience. Sometimes we all need to work and wait before we can harvest the fruits of what we’ve done, as nothing happens in a one-day timeframe. So the old say ‘good things come to those who wait’ isn’t so wrong after all.


P.J. Mann

Paula J. Mann lives a double life. She is a geologist by day and a novelist by night. She's best known for writing psychological thrillers and crime fiction. She also writes historical fiction and paranormal suspense. She loves traveling and shares her experiences on her blog: http://paperpenandinkwell.blogspot.com

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