Friday, January 18, 2019

The Perils of Online Dating #OurAuthorGang

The Perils of Online Dating

Joe Bonadonna

  Glenn Close, from “Fatal Attraction”

Today I’m going to depart from my usual blogs about movies, books, writing and publishing, and write about something a little more personal.

First, I’m 67 and single, and at my age it’s hard to meet single women with whom I share common interests, goals and lifestyles. I don’t attend church socials, singles’ groups or singles’ dances. Frankly, I don’t care for the music that’s played at such events. While I grew up on the rock and roll and pop music (Top 40) of the 1950s and early 1960s, I prefer the music that came in 1964, ushered in by The Beatles. I still listen to them, The Rolling Stones, Hendrix, Pink Floyd, for example, and the music that followed over the course of the next 5 decades. I try to keep up with what’s happening in music today, partly because of my being an ex-guitarist in rock and roll bands. I like and have seen such bands as Florence and The Machine, Muse, Mumford and Sons, and The Lumineers, to name four, and I’m usually the oldest person in the room (or concert hall) when I go see such bands and even hard-rocking local bands. I’m not really into heavy metal, but I still crank up the AC/DC, Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and other really kick-arse bands.

All that being said, after a devastating break that not only shredded my heart but ended an over 5-year friendship — or what I thought was a friendship until I learned I had been played for a fool for the past year. This experience wounded me so deeply that I fell into a deep depression filled with anxiety; I started smoking again after having quit two weeks earlier, and I had to ask my doctor to prescribe something to get me past all this. So I’ve been on Xanax and will remain on it until the end of this month. After that, if I still need something, he’ll prescribe something that is not addictive. 

Well, last November I joined the 5 most popular and largest online dating websites; a couple of them even advertise on television. I won’t mention their names, just to be safe from any legal issues. After 3 weeks, because I didn’t get one single nibble, I left one site before the month was over, so I could get my money refunded. But I stuck with the other four and have had some interesting, embarrassing, disappointing, depressing, stressful and disillusioning experiences. I’m going to tell you about a few of them — each woman claiming to be a widow whose husbands (and son, in one case) had all died tragically. But first, let me tell you that every drop-dead gorgeous woman who has contacted me first turned out to be scam artists: women with Hollywood or porn film star looks and bodies never give me a second look in real life. So.....

Now the area codes of the cell phone numbers these women gave me all checked out, but the problem with cell phones is that the area code is not fixed, like a landline. I have friends who live here in who have cell phones with area codes ranging from Arizona to California; they had purchased their phones either while living or vacationing there. The other problem with cell phones: burner phones, used by scam artists all over the world.

So I set up five new email addresses, to use just for dating correspondence. Most of my "likes" and "views" and "flirts" have been from women living in other states. Many are too young for me or too old. I'm sure both men as well as women are posting old photos of themselves and lying about their age. Here are a few tips I was given by veterans of the Online Dating Scene:

Beware those who will not chat on the website and instead ask for your email address right away. 

Beware those who live in states (or countries) other than your own. Stick with prospects who live in areas you're familiar with so you can question them about their neighborhood, their town, their suburb.

Beware those who will not exchange cell or landline numbers with you, who won't actually talk to you on the phone. 

Beware those who come on strong, hot and heavy, and then talk about how they prayed to God that they'd meet someone like you!

Beware those whose dating profiles mysteriously vanish as soon as they make first contact with you.

Tips online dating sites advise to avoid scammers who: 

Ask you to talk or chat using an outside messaging service or email account.

Vanish mysteriously from the site, often after being caught and removed.

Talk about "destiny" or "fate" when meeting you.

Claim to be recently widowed.

Ask for your address or contact info under the guise of sending flowers or gifts.

Make a lot of grammatical and spelling errors.

Say they live in the U.S. but are currently traveling abroad.

Always eventually ask you for money.

Most of my Likes and Flirts come from women who do not live in my state, from gals 30 years younger to 20 years older. Apparently, the websites' computers think these people are good matches for me while totally ignoring my preferences and parameters. I don't think people even read the profiles. It's like they're just clicking on every photo that catches their eye. 

Now, on with some misadventures in this brave new world.....

The first woman I made contact with was, supposedly, from an area just south of where I live in Chicago. She had some lovely photos of herself and we corresponded via the dating site for about 2 weeks. She then told me that she was in Mexico on business and would be back in town by Thanksgiving. She even gave me her cell phone number, and the area code checked out, although as already stated, that means nothing. Well, one day she told me that she and a bus load of tourists had been stopped, held at gun point by members of a drug cartel, and robbed of cash, jewelry and credit cards. She had no one to loan her money and no way to get home. My thoughts were: if she had indeed been robbed by a drug cartel they would have probably killed her, too.  So she asked me if I could send her a few hundred dollars to help her out, and she would repay me upon her return. When I casually asked how she wanted the money, she told me to send her a Gift Card for 300 dollars, scan the front and back and send the images via email. Ding! Dong! The alarm bell sounded. You never send money to anyone, and the Gift Card is an old scam because you pay for it and therefore, it’s just what it is — a gift. Well, bye-bye, I told her, and that was the end of it. I then went back to the website to check out her profile, and it was there: either she had deleted it or it was reported by someone and the site removed her. But about a week later, she contacted me and asked me if I was still interested in her. She was still in Mexico, of course, and once again asked me for money. Ha!

Woman #2 contacted me, claiming to be from a nearby suburb, and of course her cell number area code checked out. So we corresponded for about a week and she told me she was from Toronto, originally, and also said she was the CEO of an exterior design corporation. When I checked out the business website, there was her photo, listed as CEO. She even sent me a short “video” telling me she was in Istanbul on business and would be home December 20, but her accent sounded very middle-eastern, and was quite hard to understand. Well, we corresponded for a few more days and then she said that her company had run into some tax problems and she couldn’t leave Turkey until the tax situation was settled. She asked if I could help her out in any way, that she needed $6, 500 dollars. This time she sent another video, explaining the situation, and showing her sitting in a room surrounded by stacks and stacks of money. I figured only drug dealers or some other sort of “villains” would have that much cash lying around. Bye, bye, I told her. A few days later she had the nerve to contact me again, begging for help. When I went back to the dating site, her profile was gone. Deleted or removed? Your guess is as good as mine. Also, the corporation’s website is now different: her photo is not there, although there is a photo of a different woman by the same name, listed as CEO.  

Pretty interesting, right? There must be some school for scoundrels and scam artists I don’t know about. I've talked with a few women who have been on or are still on dating sites, and they told me of similar encounters and experiences with men. So these scammers and all the other BS involved happens to both sexes. 

Photo courtesy of Google Images

But wait, there’s more!

Since these two experiences, there have been others.

One woman from the south side of Chicago claimed to be living in California but had a house in here; she even gave me the address. She also claimed to be a widow and runs her Dad’s construction business. After a number of dating site conversations, she told me she needed $244.00 dollars to fly here to meet me. I asked her if she had a credit card and she said yes. I told her to charge the airfare and once we met I’d give her the cash. Never heard back from her again. One other claimed to be in Florida and would like to come up here to meet me but could not afford it. Guess what? You got it — she asked me for money! Needless to say, both their profiles are no longer on the dating website.

Are these actually different women? Or just one woman using fake profiles? Your guess is as good as mine.

I have also talked with three women: one sounded like a witch and was of a nasty temperament. Another had a Polish accent so thick she couldn’t converse well in English and had nothing to say! One other had a Russian accent that was also almost unintelligible, and she wasn’t interested in any of the things that interest me. None of these women answered any of my questions regarding famous places and landmarks where they lived.

I’ve actually met with 2 women. One claimed to be 60, then confessed that she was actually 65 but looked like an 80-year old bag lady. She was nastily opinionated, had no sense of humor, and didn’t even offer to pay for half the pizza or even leave the tip - then had the nerve to ask me to drive her home . . . 1/2 block away! She popped up on another dating site, under a different username and using a profile pic that must have been taken when she was in her 20s!

The other lives 10 minutes down the street from me: a divorcee with a 25 year-old daughter and a cat. After many conversations on the dating site and then a few phone calls, we finally met on January 6, had a nice time and, as of this writing, will probably get together again, although I don’t think she’s for me. 

I was also conversing with a woman who lives not far from where I grew up, in the Logan Park District, near Humboldt Park. She knows the city and suburbs near me, having answered all my questions - and we even hung out at the same beach back in the 1960s and 1970s: Foster Avenue Beach. However, after a few on-site chats she ghosted me; must have decided we weren't a match. She is still on the site, so I feel good about the fact that she wasn't another scammer.

Since January 5 I have been conversing with a fashion designer who claimed to live in a suburb just west of me. Her photos were stunning and although she claims to be 61, she actually looks at least 10 years younger, if not more. She’s from Poland, also a widow, and we actually have a lot in common. She told me she will be leaving for Poland on business and will return in 2 weeks. Being as suspicious as a Chicago cop questioning a suspect, I reported her to the website. A short while later her profile disappeared: did they take her down or did she remove it? I'll never know. 

However, later that day I asked her why I can no longer see her profile on the dating site. She replied, "Because God answered my prayers and sent you to me." Yeah, right. 

Then, just as I expected, on January 11 I heard from her. She gave me a huge song and dance about her business and all sorts of problems with her business, telling me her credit card had expired and she has no other way of paying the Team that packed and shipped her cloth and other material. She asked for $1800.00. I "laughed" at her and told her I was going to pull the same scam on her. She actually had the nerve to message me that it's not funny, it's not a scam, and that she's very disappointed. "Hey, lady - don't try to guilt me out," I told her. "You didn't know my Mom, who was Queen of Guilt Trips. Besides, I'm Sicilian: I have no conscience and I am well connected, if you know what I mean." Never heard back from her after that.

To date I have had eight women try to pull this exact same scam on me. I know these dating sites can't and don't do criminal background checks. But they should. At least they can charge people extra if they want a criminal check done on one or more people.

So beware and be careful out there. Online dating can be stressful, depressing and anxiety inducing. I don’t like this “new tech age” we’re living in and in many ways I’m glad I’m on my way out. I prefer the good old days of meeting women. Whether or not there will be a follow-up to this blog remains to be seen: depends on what kind of experiences I have and if they're worth writing about. 

Maybe it's me and not them. Maybe I'm not exciting enough, handsome enough, active enough or rich enough. Maybe the word SUCKER is stamped on my forehead and everyone but me can see it. Well, whatever. Oh, I'm still on the dating sites, but if you want me, I’ll be at the corner bar where I know the only reason women are conversing with me is because they're drunk. Or maybe I'll just head to Las Vegas because you know, what happens in Vegas.....

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Would you read this? Vol.4 #OurAuthorGang

Welcome back. See volume 1, 2, and 3 of this series at the links provided.

I’ve written a lot of short stories in the last few years. Some have been published in a collection while others are simply awaiting their time to shine. As I considered how to organize my collections, I began to wonder if the stories themselves are worth reading on their own. As a collection, these short stories have the benefit of being part of something greater, but I want to know “would you read these stories?” if they were presented on their own. That’s also when I begin to consider that I write blurbs for the books I release, but I don’t write blurbs for individual stories in a collection, a tagline usually does the job. Well, that’s about to change. In this series, I’ll be sharing unpublished blurbs to stories that may or may not yet be released. These blurbs are not meant to be used to pitch or sell these stories. This is just a practice on the concept of writing a blurb? I just want to know if the blurbs are any good. I may also offer some ideas of what cover designs for these stories may look like. I hope you enjoy this adventure.

For the fourth post in this series, I thought I’d start with a blurb for my first attempt at a contemporary piece. It, like the last story, is included in my collection, Legend of the Boy, In the Window, and Other Short stories.

Our Place is a story derived from a prompt. I don’t remember all the specifications, but I do remember the story had to be less than 1k words, contain some type of bug, and feature a mystical element (not necessarily magic)- remember, it’s supposed to be a contemporary. Sounds easy right. Well, I knew right away I wanted to write a sad story that had an element of hope toward the end. For some reason, I ended up with the tragic story of three childhood friends.

Below is the proposed blurb for the story (all three parts) and two book cover mock-ups for you to vote on. These are rough drafts that will never be produced, but I’d still like to know your thoughts on making them better, if you have any.

The old Funhouse was the epitome of summer fun and she was the center of their world. They were three friends, as thick as thieves. 

When the years and the discovery of attraction catches up to them, Lewis and Billy understand- they can’t both have her. 

One night of passion will change everything, for better or for worse.

Don’t be shy. Your feedback is welcomed, but please be nice. 😌

Find out more about me, my work, and my inspiration at the following links:

Amazon | Goodreads The ToiBox of Words | YouTube | See a list of my other posts here.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Why Do Authors Write?

We asked authors on our Facebook page:
Why do you write?

It's interesting to read so many different answers from authors who write in different genres. Click on the links and get to know the authors and their books:

Samantha Sandefur
It's hard to pick just one reason for why I write. I love giving a voice to the characters I envision and their worlds so that others can enjoy them too. I also write as an escape from my physical health problems and as a way to relieve stress.

Debbie Manber Kupfer
Because I have a whole world of stories inside of me and I need to know what happens.

William Schlichter
People act like writing is a choice. I don’t feel it is. Writing is something I have to do. All these stories, ideas and emotions, must flow onto the page. When I am not writing I feel incomplete.

Toinette Thomas
I write because I enjoy it. It's part of who I am as a creative person. Some people bake, some people sew, I write. I share my writing with other people because I want to make a connection; just like a painter displaying in a gallery. I publish my writing for a chance to reach a larger population and hopefully to entertain likeminded people with my stories. I know my writing isn't for everyone, but it does have a wide appeal. I write clean adult fiction (various genres) and nonfiction, as well as children's books, which I also illustrate.

Erika M Szabo
 The main reason I started writing is when on a rainy afternoon I couldn’t find any new book to read. My daughter had enough of my moping around and snapped at me, “Mom, stop whining! If you haven’t a book to read, then write one.” Her challenge shocked me, but I started playing with the idea and I’ve been writing stories ever since. Later someone told me I shouldn't write. "English is not your native language, you'll never master it enough to write enjoyable novels." My dad thought me not to let toxic naysayers kill my dreams, so naturally, I continued writing my first novel. I guess I proved the naysayer wrong because readers tell me that I'm a great storyteller.

PJ Mann
I guess this is the one million dollar question. At least for me, it doesn't have a single answer as there are many reasons why I do write. I do enjoy it, and because sometimes I like to tell people about the characters that are battling in my dreams or daydreams. I find it stress releasing and therapeutic, as exploring different points of views, I might also grow up myself understanding other people's way of thinking. Funny thing, I never thought about writing as something lucrative. It would be nice to earn something, but for that, I have at least my day-job.

Bette A. Stevens
I write to share the stories bubbling inside me--tales (stories and poetry) that can't wait to get out!

Pam Parten Atherstone
I write to release the stories in my head and the characters who are fighting to come alive. Their stories must be told, someone else must know about them. Writing keeps me sane.

Nicola Oldknow
The stories build up inside my imagination to a point where I can’t hold them in anymore. In a way the writing is a type of therapy but then there is the added bonus that people actually enjoy reading my work. I write because if I didn’t the story would never be told and that would be a betrayal of self.

Toni Kief
Keeps me out of the taverns.

Mary E. Fricke
I want to breathe. I've been writing longer than I can remember. Writing is as essential to my life as breathing. I cannot imagine not writing. Whatever the desire to do it is, was ingrained. I think I inherited the need to write from my mother. She was a published poet.

Julia Blake
Because the stories in my head have to come out or I would go insane, because the characters are more real to me than family or friends and when they take me by the hand and say "listen to me, I have a tale to tell and you must write it down" I have no choice but to comply.

Trisha J. Kelly
I'm not a great people lover if I'm honest! Don't get me wrong there are lots of lovely friends on Facebook, but not much else in the real world! Greed, corruption and hatred take up too much space. When I write it takes me to somewhere else entirely! I love writing middle-grade because of the magical elements and the adventure lacking in reality. I can write whatever I like. All things are possible. My crime books help me to get my own back on bad people without actually committing murder in the real world! The cozy mysteries I'm currently penning are everything I am inside. Competitive in a challenging sense. I want to outwit my readers by making them think and work out the clues! Writing is a way to balance the control of our lives.

Ruth de Jauregui
The stories in my head must be released. And I want to leave a legacy for my kids and grandkids.

Lorraine Carey
I started writing to engage younger readers as being a reading specialist I saw so many students that could not get interested in anything. They always seemed to be taken with magic so my first book was geared toward boys in junior high.

Tony Duxbury
Because I love it.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Women in Science Fiction -- Katherine MacLean

Ruth de Jauregui

Credit: SamuelDavidsSon
CC BY-SA 4-0  from Wikimedia Commons
In the science fiction world, the 50s was a transitional era, when authors began incorporating social sciences in a hard science scenario. One of the most influential of these writers was Katherine MacLean.

Born in 1925 to Gordon MacLean, a chemical engineer, and Ruth (Crawford) MacLean in New Jersey, Katherine MacLean discovered her love of science and science fiction early. Reportedly by age eight she was already reading Edgar Rice Burroughs and H.G. Wells. A few years later, while on vacation, she found a stack of science fiction magazines. As she recalled, she "read it, and I put it back and started reading another. I read at great speed, and in about four hours, I had gone through a foot and a half of these magazines."

Though she loved science fiction, the practical realities of life led her to working in a variety of jobs. By the late 1940s, she was working as a technician in a food science laboratory. She began writing her own stories and submitted them to the science fiction magazines of the era. While working and writing, she earned a BA in Psychology from Barnard College in New York City in 1950 and a Masters in psychology from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont.
While her first story "Incommunicado" was sold to Astounding Science Fiction in 1947, it was three years before it was actually published. Editor Joseph Campbell's assistant, Cheney Stanton, bet Campbell that the story was actually written by a (male) engineer. According to the story, Campbell tracked down MacLean's father and when he denied writing the story, Campbell refused to publish it. Eventually the truth came out and it became her third story published, in June 1950.

MacLean's first stories, both published in Astounding, were "Defense Mechanism" in October 1949 and "And Be Merry…" in February 1950. Her fourth story "Contagion" was published in Galaxy Science Fiction magazine in October 1950. While most of her work was published in Astounding and Galaxy, she was also published in many of the other science fiction magazines of the day.

Though her stories were set in a hard science environment, MacLean explored the social sciences, biological and genetic concepts in her work. She was also interested in L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics movement and added elements of it and psychotherapy into some of her stories.

Fellow science fiction writer and critic Damon Knight wrote of MacLean's work, "As a science fiction writer she has few peers; her work is not only technically brilliant but has a rare human warmth and richness."

Her books included collections of her previously published stories, Diploid and Other Flights of Fancy (Avon 1962) and The Trouble with You Earth People (Donning/Starblaze 1980). Her first novel was Cosmic Checkpoint (1962), co-written with Charles V. De Vet. Her first solo novel was The Man in the Bird Cage (1971), followed by Missing Man* (1975) and Dark Wing (1979). Dark Wing, a dark dystopian YA, was co-written with her third husband, science fiction author Carl West. Her last novel Second Game, also co-written with De Vet, was published in 1981. Her final story "Kiss Me" was published in Analog in 1998.

MacLean and co-author De Vet were nominated for a Hugo Award for "Second Game" (Astounding March 1958). She received the Nebula Award for Best Novella for "The Missing Man" (Analog Science Fiction March 1971) which was later expanded into the novel by the same name. The novel was also nominated for a Nebula Award for Best Novel. She was again nominated for a 1996 Hugo Award for her novelette "The Kidnapping of Baroness 5" (Analog 1995).

She was also named Special Author Emeritus by the Nebulas in 2003, and presented with the Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award in 2011.

Though she had stopped writing science fiction in the late 1990s, it was noted in the Scribner Writers series, Science Fiction Writers, second edition that “even after fifty years of science fiction writing, MacLean’s intelligence and wit remained as quirky and as keen as ever.”

MacLean called science fiction a teaching tool in a 2012 interview. She said, “…that’s what kids want. They want to learn to control their environment. That is why they read about pioneers and about fighters in wars. You want to be able to survive in all these situations, and you can’t work up to survive in them if you don’t know about them…it’s better that they should be reading science fiction about the future because that’s what they’re going to grow up into.”

*Note: I own a copy of Missing Man and HIGHLY recommend it to science fiction fans. I'm long overdue for a reread.

Amazon: Katherine MacLean Author Page
                Cosmic Checkmate
                Dark Wing
The Gutenberg Project: Books by Katherine MacLean

Monday, January 14, 2019

Cover Reveal by Erika M Szabo at #OurAuthorGang

New covers for The Ancestors' Secrets Trilogy

Since I first published The Ancestors' Secrets, a speculative fiction series, in 2012, the story went through a few changes.

Being an artist I get easily bored with the same old covers, therefore, I have changed the covers every year. I like the new covers for a while, and then I change them again.

The story itself had been changed and re-edited a few times as well. A lot of authors after they publish a book, they don't change anything and move on to the next story. I think this feeling of never been truly satisfied with anything originates from my artistic abilities. I feel that there is always room for improvement.

This time I put the story into Lorraine Carey's capable hands and she just finished the editing of the third book in the trilogy. Lorraine is not only a great author of many books, but being a teacher for many years, she spotted a lot of mistakes that were missed with the first and second rounds of editing. Thank you Lorraine for the great job! You can find her books on Amazon: 

I've been re-reading the story and I must tell you, I still enjoy it. Okay, I'm biased, but really, I'm amazed that I came up with this interwoven, complex storyline and secret society structure. You might not like magical realism stories, but this genre is my favorite so naturally, I enjoy it. However, I'm changing small things in the story as I go such as a few better fitting words or the reaction of characters.

The updated version of the trilogy box set will be available by the end of January but if the story piques your interest, you can purchase the books any time and it will be updated on your reading device when the updates are available.

When a young doctor, Ilona, starts to develop unusual powers, her life and her beliefs change. Thrown into a world of clan mysteries, traditions and secrets, she begins remembering her mother’s instructions concealed as rhymes.
Punished by the ancestors long ago, Mora has waited centuries for the chance to reunite with her beloved Joland. Now, she seeks to gain the power to rule the ancient clan with a strict hierarchy and deadly laws that still exist hidden among us. 
Ilona has been chosen by the ancestors to stop Mora and save the future of the clan.
Her birthright as a Healer runs alongside her desires as a woman. She has been in love with her best friend but is also drawn to the stranger who appears in her peculiar dream.
Ilona must save herself and her family from Mora’s evil plans, uncover ancient tribal secrets, and find her Destiny Box… the box that contains the message of the Ancestors. 

Does she have the strength to fight evil?

After her twenty-ninth birthday, Ilona’s life was turned upside down. She learned more about her ancestry and herself in three days than in her entire life.
Mora sends a man to destroy Ilona. His hateful, cold stare sends icy chills down the spines of all who see him. Ilona is no different. She feels a foreboding of evil and senses a dark force commanding him to destroy her. 
Ilona loves both her best friend and the stranger in her dreams, but which one is her true love?
In her quest to protect her family and the future of the clan, Ilona must activate her Chameleon side to obtain unimaginable powers. She can use her powers for absolute good or absolute evil; the choice is up to her.

Can she keep her sanity when discovering her magical abilities? 

 Ilona is a doctor and heals people, but the healing powers she inherited and the magical abilities she obtains are exciting as well as frightening. Mora desperately fights to stop Ilona from fulfilling her destiny and saving the clan’s future. But the evil Mora won’t give up her plan of changing the future and to gain power. In the final book of The Ancestors’ Secrets Trilogy, Ilona travels through time from the early years when her people were nomads, to the castles of the 14th century, to present day as she struggles to overcome the obstacles placed in her path. She finds the Destiny Box that contains the messages of the ancestors. Will Ilona accept her destiny? Can she find true love? Will she use her unimaginable powers for good or evil? 

Ilona is the main character of the trilogy.
She's a humble, honest, and in a way an innocent young woman who's about to discover that she inherited unimaginable powers.
 Bela is her best friend and Zoltan the stranger who captures her heart.
Which man will Ilona choose?
Mora had been exiled by the ancestors centuries ago and separated from her true love.
She's cursed with eternal life and lost her beauty but has the ability of mesmerizing people into not seeing as she is today, a shriveled, skin and bone old woman. If the Chosen One will be successful in changing the present and future of the Hunor clan, Mora will never have the chance to reunite with her beloved Joland and her beauty will never be restored. She will do everything in her power to stop her.

I write alternate history, romantic urban fantasy, historical suspense novels 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. I also like to encourage children to use their imagination and daydream about fantasy worlds.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Promo Day at #OurAuthorGang

Book Promo Sunday

We're starting a new tradition at #OurAuthorGang.
Every Thursday we'll add a book promo post to our Facebook page:

Image may contain: phone and text

We'll pick four books from the post to promote on our blog.
Enjoy this week's selection:
Heroic fantasy
Valdar is a city of swordslingers and necromancers, witch cults and halfhuman races. It's a city in a world of darkness, black magic and creatures of the night . . . a city where demonic entities serve the needs of any witch or magicman who can open a doorway into their domain.
This is my city. This is my world.
With a special dowsing rod, I can detect the ectoplasmic residue of any supernatural presence or demonic entity and sense the vestiges of odylic power and vile sorcery used in the commission of crimes. I hunt anyone and anything that poses a threat to the people of my city. My name's Dorgo. Folks call me the Dowser.
Have you ever wondered why it seems authors are often whining about book reviews? What's the big deal anyway? How much of a difference could your one book review really make? In this opinion piece, ten-time self-published author and blogger, Toi Thomas, discusses candidly why book reviewing culture isn't what it should be. 
This is not a book about how to write book reviews and it is not a how-to book for authors to gain book reviews. This is a book about reevaluating your thought-process and opinions about book reviewing culture. 
Toi Thomas clearly understands that "Ain't nobody got time for book reviews" when there are so many more important things for a book lover to do. Right? Plus, you can read this book from cover to cover in less than two hours.100% of proceeds go to support Lit Carnivale, a book fair in the making.
Ethan is a liar. He can’t help it, he doesn’t even realize he’s doing it, but he lies to everyone he meets, and he doesn’t know how to stop. 
Cut off from those around him, Ethan finds himself at the door of Dr. Wright, agreeing to a radical treatment. Ethan will leave his home of Boston behind to tour the world, and, given a plane ticket and a course of experimental medication, change his life forever.
But when, mid-treatment and a thousand miles from home, Ethan is accused of murder, how can he, or the embassy, or even his closest friends defend him? After all, Ethan can’t remember where he was the night the murder happened – all he knows for sure is he was with the woman just before she died.
With his freedom and sanity at stake, the truth seems to be further from Ethan’s grasp than ever. But then, if he wants to keep his freedom, perhaps lies are all he can depend on. 
Adult humor
Jim grew up in a house that has a lot of love, love of family, love of cars, love of technology. Now in his thirties, he wants to find the same love and passion he witnessed with his parents. His desperation to find that love has taken him down roads best left untraveled. Then he meets her, the woman he believes he can have that perfect relationship with. Their first date, takes off faster than his car, can he really keep up?

High Speed Hearts contains graphic language and descriptive content. Suggested for readers over 18.

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Saturday, January 12, 2019

Putting the Spotlight On: The Atlantis Grail

With the plethora of young adult dystopian books available today, one might think there's nothing new under the sun. Well, they'd be wrong!

Vera Nazarian
Two-time Nebula Award finalist and 2018 Dragon Award nominee Vera Nazarian has not only busted through the YA barrier, her wildly creative science fiction series, The Atlantis Grail, is still gaining traction in the genre. In fact, the series has been optioned for film!

The story begins with the discovery of a world-killing asteroid and the first contact with the Atlantians, who had migrated to a new world long before modern civilization began. But here, let's share the book description of the first of the series, Qualify:

You have two options. You die, or you Qualify.

The year is 2047. An extinction-level asteroid is hurtling toward Earth, and the descendants of ancient Atlantis have returned from the stars in their silver ships to offer humanity help.

But there's a catch.

They can only take a tiny percent of the Earth’s population back to the colony planet Atlantis. And in order to be chosen, you must be a teen, you must be bright, talented, and athletic, and you must Qualify.

Sixteen-year-old Gwenevere Lark is determined not only to Qualify but to rescue her entire family.
Because there's a loophole.

If you are good enough to Qualify, you are eligible to compete in the brutal games of the Atlantis Grail, which grants all winners the laurels, high tech luxuries, and full privileges of Atlantis Citizenship. And if you are in the Top Ten, then all your wildest wishes are granted… Such as curing your mother’s cancer.

There is only one problem.

Gwen Lark is known as a klutz and a nerd. While she's a hotshot in classics, history, science, and languages, the closest she's come to sports is a backyard pool and a skateboard.

This time she is in over her head, and in for a fight of her life, against impossible odds and world-class competition—including Logan Sangre, the most amazing guy in her school, the one she's been crushing on, and who doesn’t seem to know she exists.

Because every other teen on Earth has the same idea.

You Qualify or you die.

With the first three books in the series already published, the grand finale, Survive is well on its way to completion. Vera's 60,000+ followers on are eagerly devouring draft chapters of Survive as she writes the final book of the series.

While waiting for the last book of The Atlantis Grail series, readers can also enjoy her Cobweb Bride trilogy. Like The Atlantis Grail, the first book is permanently free on Kindle. Vera's lush writing style suits the Renaissance-era fantasy as Death seeks the promised bride.

In addition to these books, Vera has a number of highly recommended science fiction and fantasy novels and novellas available. Stop by her Amazon author page and check out this amazing author's books!

Amazon: Vera Nazarian Author Page 
The Atlantis Grail Official Website 
Perma-free Kindle editions:
     Cobweb Bride