Sunday, December 31, 2017

Our Guest Today is Author Phil Hall #OurAuthorGang

Let's welcome Phil Hall to our blog today.

Born and raised in Iowa, corn-fed and happy! When I'm not writing, I'm a systems administrator/network administrator for a company in Iowa City. When I'm not working,  I'm with my lovely wife and spending time with my beautiful granddaughters. (I never thought I'd be a Grandpa!)

In my authorly persona, I'm just a guy with a simple dream: tell a story people like. I hope I've accomplished that with my first two novels: Memories of the Dead, and Minimal. For me, it's not about the reviews, it's about connection with others. There's nothing better than when someone reads my stuff and says "Wow!" I live for that. I hope they'll like my next work, too...and the one after that...and the one after that. (I have more than a dozen ideas in little folders on my computer. I can only hope to get to them all)

I'd love to visit with you, so feel free to contact me.
(for mature readers 18 yrs and older)

Lorcano, when he was a boy of sixteen, was envious of vampires: they were elusive, immortal, strong and powerful. But that was when he was foolish and young; and now, knowing what he knows, he understands that they are nothing but a plague on humanity--a disease that needs to be removed. He despises them because of the things they did, and continue to do, to the unknowing populace: treating humanity like nothing more than cattle. And, for that, they must be destroyed. This, his private journal--his memories--left for those who may find and read it, is a living record of the time when his destiny was first intertwined with unspeakable evil.

(for mature readers 18 yrs and older)

The Count is unleashed!  A serial killer has the police on edge. The Count's victims are identified by the tags he's left draped around their necks bearing a single designation: a number. Each removed organ was carefully wrapped in plastic, labeled, and the piecemeal corpse was left to be purposefully found. Previously, victims One and Two were located, Four has just been discovered, and pretty, young Bree Wilson has just disappeared.  Could she be next? With precious little to go on, Detective Zac Toumille and his partner, Jenny Clark, are dragged along in a media circus as the nightmare continues--all in the hope to end the reign of The Count and free the missing Bree before it's too late--before she is reduced to just parts--before she becomes--MINIMAL.

MINIMAL is free for a limited time on Kindle Unlimited (KU.)

Guess if our blog will reach 100,000 by December 31st
If you guess correctly, you could be the lucky winner of a great prize package of ebooks and/or signed print copies.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Friday, December 29, 2017

We All Have Stories To Tell #OurAuthorGang

Joe Bonadonna

I watch PBS NewsHour almost every night. Besides the fact that I like their coverage of the news and the days’ events, and the journalists and politicians they feature as guests, I love that they often have a segment called “NewsHour Bookshelf,” where they interview authors — young, old, new, and established. They’ve featured authors such as Jesmyn Ward, Rebecca Eaton, and Robert Hillburn, and even actors like Tom Hanks and Alec Baldwin.

Recently they interviewed best-selling author Amy Tan, who talked about how her life, and especially her childhood, infuses her work. Even the ghosts she writes about come from her own life; we all have ghosts and skeletons in the closets in our lives and in our families. I’m sure there are many elements in JK Rowlings’ “Harry Potter” novels inspired by her own childhood, and school years. Stephen King put a lot of his own childhood in what I consider his masterpiece, IT, and I once read that Pet Sematary came about partly from his greatest fear — losing a child. His near-fatal accident from some years ago found its way into Duma Key. Anne Rice struggled with and questioned her Catholicism for many years, especially after the loss of her husband, and the tragic death of her son. Much of that struggle, many of those questions found their way into her vampire novels, and also in her novels about Jesus Christ. JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings was surely influenced by his experiences in WWI and WWII; Mordor being the “enemy in the east,” and Mordor having its roots in the German word for murder — “mord.” Like Amy Tan, drawing from my own life and experiences infuses my own stories and novels: the fantasy and space opera I write come from what I enjoyed reading and watching on TV and in the movies when I was a kid, even from the way I played, the games and the toys. The two children’s novels I wrote with Erika M Szabo have a lot of elements of books, television and movies I enjoyed as a child. Basically, I write what I’ve always enjoyed reading, although nowadays I read mostly history and biographies of actors, directors, and musicians, as well as crime and mystery novels, which often inspire the  stories of my “legacy character,” Dorgo the Dowser.
 Write What You Know About. That’s what I was always told.

No matter what genre you write — romance, fantasy, science fiction, horror — there is always something from our own lives we can draw upon and put into our stories. What life events affected you? Changed you? Helped you to grow? What childhood and adult experiences have you had that can be used in your plot or to add depth and reality to your characters? School years can be transformed into a character studying to be a wizard, a warrior, an intergalactic traveler. A love affair, broken heart, marriage, divorce . . . these can all be recast to fit the needs of your plot and your characters. Military service, careers, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, hobbies, likes and dislikes, as well as parenting, vacations and travel, even the food you like to cook and eat can all be used in your stories. Grief is a major theme in most of my work, because I live with it every day. There is usually at least one character in my stories who is dealing with grief or loss of some kind. The loss of family and friends, riches, honor, love and trust — all these permeate my first published work, Mad Shadows: The Weird Tales of Dorgo the Dowser; and the themes of grief and loss were not written with a “conscious effort.” No, those found their way into that book without purposeful into. Even though one brief scene, where one character holds the hand of another who is dying, was drawn from the night my Mother passed away, the themes of grief and loss were not apparent to me until I was doing the final proof-read. It amazed me, how those themes, and others, too, had crept into my work without my knowing it. It was quite a realization. The same thing happened while writing Mad Shadows II: Dorgo the Dowser and the Order of the Serpent, where I write about the loss of a child, a young boy losing his mother, parental abuse (which was not drawn from my own life), racism, and betrayal of many kinds. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that my stories of Dorgo the Dowser, for the most part, are written in the first-person, and that Dorgo’s personality, his attitude, are so much like my own. In the Dorgo novel I’m currently working on, the main themes are loss of faith, questioning one’s religion and place in the universe, disappointment and, once again, betrayal.

Everything, big or small, that happened to you, that you experience, can be turned into stories. Use your characters to define your plot, let your characters and their thoughts, emotions, attitudes, past experiences, and motivations speak to you and guide you in the direction your plot should take. What happened to you when you were a child? What did happened to you during your teenage years that affected you deeply, changed you into what you became in later years? What have you experienced, what events are you currently experiencing as an adult that you can use in your stories?
Sure, writing about things we know nothing about can be rewarding. The exploration of new ideas, themes, and concepts, the sheer joy of doing research and attaining knowledge of things we never before knew about is very enlightening. But it’s your heart, your soul that you are pouring into your work. Remember: your life is a well; draw the water from it.

After all, we all have stories to tell.

Guess, Vote, and Win!!!

Guess if our blog will or will not reach 100,000 views by December 31st. If your guess is correct, you could be in the running to win an eBook package or signed physical editions in this exclusive giveaway by our authors.

Click on the link for more details.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Muffin's Ear-drops #OurAuthorGang

A short story by

Muffin’s Eardrops

Charlie and Mary got a Labrador puppy from their friend. They never had a dog before, so they were very excited. They treated the puppy like he was their own baby. They chose the best puppy food for the little guy, and they bought lots of toys for him to play with.

Naturally, the puppy preferred to chew their slippers to shreds and ignored the squeaky toys. Mary was knitting doggy sweaters for the winter, and Charlie bought three different doggy beds for him to choose the one he liked the best.

Of course, the puppy chose to sleep on the bathroom rug.

One afternoon Charlie called me and said, “I took Muffin to the vet because he was scratching his ear and cried. The vet said that he has ear mites in his right ear and they gave him ear drops.”

“Okay…” I answered wearily because knowing Charlie, I never knew what to expect when he called. A childhood illness left him with a mild cognitive disability and Mary wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed either. “Did you put the ear drops in his ear?” I asked.

“I can’t decide which one is his right ear!” Charlie replied.

“Umm… what do you mean” I asked, feeling confused. “There is only right ear and left ear. Why is it confusing?”

“Well, when I’m facing Muffin, I touch his right ear with my right hand, so it must be his right ear. But when I stand behind him, I get confused because the ear I touched is now on the left.”

Oh, boy! - I thought - How on Earth am I going to explain this to him over the phone?

“Well, stand behind the dog and touch his right ear with your right hand.” I prompted him.

“Got it!” he answered.

“Now put the phone down and put the ear drops in his right ear.”

“Okay, but don’t hang up!”

“Don’t worry; I’ll stay on the phone.”

I heard rustling, whispering then muffled cursing, and then Charlie picked up the phone and said, “I don’t get it! I can’t put the drops in staying behind Muffin because he keeps turning his head to look me.  But when I face him, I’m confused again about which ear is the right, and which ear is the left.”

Not knowing what to say or how to explain without further confusing him, I had a brilliant idea. “You know what Charlie? Just put the drops in both ears!”

“Are you sure it’s okay? The doctor said his left ear doesn’t have mites.”

“Yes, I am sure. Just put the drops in both of his ears, it wouldn’t hurt him. My friend, Marie is coming up the driveway, Charlie. I must go now, but good luck. I’ll call you later.”

“But wait! Can you come over?"

"I can, but not right now, Charlie. I haven't seen Marie for months and I want to spend some time with her, but I'll go over later."

"Oh... okay," Charlie sighed. "I'll just do it myself. But are you sure it's okay?"

"Charlie, just put the bloody drops in both ears."

"Okay, don't shout! I'll do it."

I felt guilty saying no to the sweet guy but I missed my friend and I was eager to spend some time with her. I'll go over when Marie leaves, I thought and went out to greet her.

I thought the problem was solved and Muffin got his medicine because my phone didn't ring for about an hour. I enjoyed Marie's visit, we had a lot of catching up to do. Then the phone rang and I heard Charlie’s excited voice, “I still wasn’t sure and decided to call the vet. He tried to explain, but then he told me exactly what you said. He said ‘put the bloody drops in both ears’. I did, and Muffin was a very good boy, he let me do it.” He announced happily.

“Fantastic!” I replied feeling happy that the doctor's firm words saved me from spending time with my friend feeling guilty.

Read about me and my books: 

Guess if our blog will or will not reach 100,000 views by December 31st
If your guess is correct, you could win an eBook package or signed print in this giveaway by our authors.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

#Music, My Muse: part 1 by Toi Thomas #OurAuthorGang

I don’t like to use words out of context, but if I’m being honest with myself, I do it all the time. I’m working on not calling every cool thing ‘awesome’ and have always been diligent about not saying ‘I hate’ something that I simply don’t like or agree with… But, when it comes to things that make me happy, bring me joy, or fill me with glee, it’s difficult not to shout from the mountaintops that ‘I love it’, even when I just kind of like it.

With that said, I do, wholeheartedly, love music. I cannot imagine my life without it. If I had to live in a world without music, I can almost guarantee, that I’d be a different person than I am now. In my last series, I talked about angel lore and made the deduction that most major religions and cultures has some idea or variation of angels as part of their doctrine or theology. It’s one of those ideas, that to me, crosses cultural lines. That’s what music is as well.

Music is a movement, an idea, a form of expression that truly can cross language barriers, cultural and racial divides, and even political lines. It brings people, alike and different, together. And the best part of it all; it’s unlimited. There are so many genres and variations of music that there are musical forms that haven’t even been invented yet. Whether ancient, classical, modern, pop, or futuristic, music has and always will inspire, motivate, and convey emotion in a way that even written words can’t sometimes accomplish.

I’ll be exploring the various genres of music I listen to in the series installments to come, and with each article will explain how my work as a writer and blogger has been affected by music. I’ll talk about mood music, playlists, character and setting development, and some interesting responses from other authors when asked about their connection to music.

I hope you’ll join me.

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.

#playlist, #moodmusic, #muse

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Let there be light- part two - Foxfire

Foxfire is the stuff of magic. A strange eerie glow found in forests in the depth of night has both enchanted and baffled people who saw the colourful illuminations on dead trees, or in caves, for centuries. From an article in PhysOrg where they describe what Foxfire is,  "...nutrient-sipping threads of the honey mushroom give off a faint but eerie glow in rotten logs…Desjardin said. "People are mostly afraid of them, calling them 'ghost mushrooms.'"

Read more at:

When I saw images of these spooky lights I knew I had to use them in the apocalyptic prequel to my sci-fi/dystopian series The Song of Forgetfulness. I wanted a way for survivors to be able to have light other than just burning wood. But I needed to know about this wondrous spectacle. I do love research.

It wasn’t until the 19th century that biologists were able to identify the strange light as a fungal growth on rotting wood. Now more commonly known as Bioluminescence, this light source can be found throughout the animal kingdom. Fireflies use it, fish use it as do many forms of mollusc and plankton.

Click on the link to view some glowing organisms.

In my prequel, The Chronicles of Mayer, survivors of an ecological disaster need to find ways to lighten their gloomy world. It was not my intention to recreate the shining forests in the film ‘Avatar’ just to somehow use actual scientific research to give credibility to my narrative. Some scientists in my story, stumble across glowing mushroom type organisms in the rotting bark of a tree. They inject it into living trees and when it is dark they glow. In the passage below, Janet, one of the scientists, attempts to explain how they did it.

“Using a design reproducing transform cycle we created the light emitting DNA on a laser printer. Then injected the trees with the DNA of the luminous mould. As it spreads throughout the sap, it causes them to light up at night. Although it’s found mostly on dead trees, with a few tweaks at a molecular level, we managed to make the fungus work symbiotically.”

I’m not the only author to use this Foxfire in literature, Aristotle, Pliny the Elder, and Mark Twain were familiar with it. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer uses the fungal phenomenon to bring light to a dark tunnel.

My representation of what Foxfire mushrooms look like, I couldn’t find any royalty free images.

The concept of being able to light our world without the use of fossil fuels, exciting and would benefit third world countries too. From an article in The Guardian: “This would be a key breakthrough in, for instance, designing a genetically modified tree that could glow in the dark and act as a sustainable source of street lighting.”

You can read the full piece here:

I researched different types of naturally occurring brightness in organisms and not only discovered some amazing creatures, but some amazing scientists working on creating ‘night-light’ type small trees that have this bioluminescence fungus placed into their DNA. The company called their research The Glowing Plant Project and back in 2013, the idea of self-illuminating trees caught the imagination.

Although The Glowing Plant Project gained sufficient funding for their research development, they were unable to deliver the plants and are now working on glowing moss.

Such a shame, I was half hoping they would manufacture self-lighting Christmas trees. Wouldn’t that be wonderful to have a living tree in your room that sparkles without the need to unravel all of those annoying fairy lights that become inexorably entangled when put away after the holiday festivities. Until that day arrives I’ll do my best to reduce the hacking down of fir trees to adorn our homes by using a twig tree. First steps in having an environmentally friendly Christmas.

More tips here: Ethical Xmas trees Friends of the Earth:

All photos copyright of the author.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Pick a Book Day at #ourAuthorGang

Paranormal Romance series by:
Toi Thomas
Eternal Curse Series Book 1

“You have plenty of time to change your mind. You have not yet seen the monster I can be.” 

Giovanni has been waiting his whole life to meet someone like Mira, someone from the outside world who might be able to help him. He wonders if there really is help for him as he continues to hold tightly onto dark secrets and even darker memories. Giovanni wants to be hopeful and he wants to accept Mira’s help, but first he has to look himself in the mirror and face what he truly is- and that is a reality no one is quite ready to accept.

Searching for new purpose and meaning in her life, Mira meets Giovanni online and an exciting and, in some ways, scary friendship is developed. Mira decides one day to meet Giovanni in person, at his secluded country home, in order to aid him on his journey of self-discovery. What these two are able to discover will not only test their strength and will, but it will stretch the limits of their minds and catapult them into a world where earth, Heaven, and Hell collide.

Giovanni’s Angel is the story of a man who may just be the answer to a spiritual war swiftly heading his way- but for now, he just wants to be a man.

The start of an epic fantasy in eBook form

Heroic fantasy series
Golden Book Award Winner, spooky and funny heroic fantasy adventure for middle-grade children and young adults. Click on this link to read excerpts from the books:

Historical, romantic fantasy, magical realism series
Love, ancient tribal legends, secrets, time travel and magical powers collide in a compelling fantasy series, hailed “Original, Mystical and Unique.”
Click on this link to read excerpts from the books:

Paranormal Fantasy

Winner of Literary Titan Gold Award and Independent Author Network Finalist in Action/Adventure
For Their Sins is a first person narrative following the life of a very unconventional 300 year old vampire. Alexandria Diego was Born in 1707 as a Venandi, a descendant of angels. Her people were charged by God to send the worst sinners to judgement. That included the soulless Mordere that are turned into vampires by more traditional means. Although Alexandria chose the path of the hunter she always longed for a quiet life. Destiny had other plans. One simple choice irrevocably changed Alexandria’s life and soon all of her people knew her name. When a war broke out between her people and the Mordere Alexandria suddenly became her people’s last hope of survival. Alexandria is lost and confused under the sudden weight. After agonizing over the problem she faces it head on. But when her true love is captured by the enemy nothing will stand in her way of getting him back. The only question is: is it too late?


Cook like you live in Cali!
Ruth de Jauregui

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Our Guest Today is Author Joanne Jaytanie #OurAuthorGang

Please welcome author Joanne Jaytanie to our blog today. So glad you could join us.

Joanne was born and raised in Sherburne, New York.  She writes in the romantic suspense, as well as Paranormal and Contemporary romance genres. She submerges herself in the world of her characters, living and breathing their lives and marveling at their decisions and predicaments.

Joanne is a member of Romance Writers of America and Past President of the Peninsula Romance Writers, the latter being author Debbie Macomber's home chapter.  Currently she resides in Washington State with her husband and beautiful doberman, Maya.  She loves hearing from her readers and may be contacted at the links below.

Joanne's novels are for mature readers of 18 years of age or older.   Website  Blog   Facebook Goodreads   Twitter Pinterest  LinkedIn

BOOK 1 of The Winters Sisters Series

Everybody's Chasing Victory: a power-hungry scientist, a corrupt conglomerate, and her own government.

Victory Winters is on the run. A world-renown geneticist, her mission involves conquering disease and improving quality of life. But, a co-worker has been murdered, putting Victory and her mission in danger. Chasing her are all sorts of men who want to recruit and control her, manipulating her genetic secrets and research for their own corrupt purposes.

Naval officer, Tristan Farraday, is undercover investigating Biotec, a conglomerate that trumpets a better tomorrow in its bright, shiny annual reports. But, Tristan's bosses suspect that beneath Biotech's carefully managed exterior lies more than simple violations of a few experimental protocols.

Farraday is following a trail of murder, kidnapping, and blackmail. The trail leads him to Victory, who's been forced into Biotec's world. Can Tristan chase down the truth and win the race for Victory?

Please check out the other books in this amazing series.

DON'T FORGET!!! Submit your guess for a chance to win a prize package from all of Our Author Gang authors.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Book in the Spotlight: "Pirates in Hell" #OurAuthorGang

Pirates in Hell

Joe Bonadonna

Cover by Roy Mauritsen

Avast, ye readers! Here be Pyrates! Feast yer eyes on the cursed treasures before you! Hoist the skull ‘n’ crossbones! Walk the plank with Hell's sorest losers! Join the damnedest buccaneers and privateers ever to sail infernal seas: Attila the Hun, Anton Lavey, Daemon Grimm, Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare, Frank Nitti, Admiral Nelson, Captain Henry Morgan, and a cast of thousands! Twelve tales of piracy in the Heroes in Hell universe, created by Janet Morris and spun by Janet Morris, Chris Morris, Nancy Asire, Paul Freeman, Larry Atchley Jr, Rob Hinkle, Michael H. Hanson, Andrew P. Weston, S.E. Lindberg, Jack William Finley, and me . . . Joe Bonadonna.

What's happening in Hell, you ask?

Well . . . the seas, oceans, and rivers of Hell are threatening to combine. Hell’s geography is moving; old landmasses crumble while new ones rise to take their place. Some places are flooded, some are bone dry. Pirates take advantage of the chaos, offering safe harbor at exorbitant costs, but the magnetic Flux under Ocean and the Deep yawning to swallow all makes hellions wonder if Hell could be completely flooded — and whether Erra, the Babylonian god of Plague and Pestilence, and his Seven Sibitti warriors are at fault. But Erra is no Moses. There’s no ark big enough for the Damned, nor would he help them if he could, and no way to tell which course is safest. The depths of Hell chill the boldest sinner as damned souls learn why the deeper in Hell you go, the colder it gets.

My novella, “The Pirates of Penance,” stars Victor Frankenstein and his assistant, Quasimodo. Along for the ride are Errol Flynn, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr, Jean Harlow, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Johnny Appleseed, and a host of the famous and infamous from all eras of Earth’s history.  This time out, Frankenstein and Company set sail to film a movie titled “Captain Blood: Vampire in Hell,” the sequel to one of Flynn's most famous movies. But that's just a front for what they're really doing: sailing for the Isle of the Damned, which they believe will lead them up and out of Hell. Problem is, something is haunting their ship, preying on the cast and crew . . . something which may be a real vampire. What? One of the blood-sucking Undead among the Dead and Damned in Hell? Preposterous! Impossible! Or is it? Find out what happens in Pirates in Hell — volume 19 in the eternal-infernal shared universe of Heroes in Hell, created and edited it by author Janet Morris, and published by Perseid Press.

 Heroes in Hell/Pirates in Hell named among these TOP 10 SF STORIES & WORKS
TL; DR version:
(10) James Erwin - Rome Sweet Rome
(9) Janet Morris (Perseid Publishing) - Heroes in Hell
(8) Thomas Disch - Josie and the Elevator
(7) Harlan Ellison - I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream
(6) David Brin - Thor vs Captain America
(5) George R.R. Martin - Sandkings
(4) Omni Magazine
(3) James Tiptree Jr - The Screwfly Solution
(2) Robert Sheckley - Options
(1) Ray Bradbury - Martian Chronicles

Pirates in Hell . . . don’t set sail without it!

#piratesinhell  #heroesinhell  #perseidpress  #bangsianfantasy  #horror  #janetmorris  #joebonadonna

A Small Gang of Authors New Contest!  Guess, Vote, and Win!!! 

Guess if our blog will or will not reach 100,000 views by December 31st. If your guess is correct, you could be in the running to win an eBook package or signed physical editions in this exclusive giveaway by our authors.

Click on the link for more details.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Magic Rules #OurAuthorGang

Rich Feitelberg

Magic has rules. It’s your job as the author of your story to know what those rules are. Consider for the moment, the different types of magic. Sympathetic magic requires you have a likeness of something to affect the thing that the likeness represents. Alchemy follows rules and the alchemist has books on what to combine to achieve a specific effect.

Sorcery, on the other hand, is magic by repetition, chanting the same phrase over and over again. Rituals also follow a specific pattern of words, movements, and actions to yield a result. And Thaumaturgy is observational magic. The wizard sees how something is done and then mimics it.

You can, of course, make up your own rules for all of these forms of magic or do a little research and base your rules on real beliefs. You can even make up new forms. For example, perhaps magic requires a rhyme or a little song and dance. Or perhaps it is sacrificial requiring something be destroyed.

Often knowing the true name of a thing lets a wizard control that object. When combined with sorcery, you might be able to summon something by chanting its name repeatedly. And some forms of magic, say necromancy, are probably banned by most ethical wizards.

You are also going to need rules for when a wizard can use magic. Wizards aren’t above the law. So they can’t cast fireballs and lightning bolts causing property damage unless they want to be hunted for destruction of property. They can, of course, defend themselves. Other uses are probably in a gray area, say reading someone else’s thoughts. Are there laws about this? That’s up to you to decide.

Finally, you need to decide whether magic requires the use of an external item, like a wand, or whether words and gestures are enough. Alchemy requires physical components like lead or sulphur, by other forms may not. Again you’ll need to decide what works for you.

Above all have fun with it and look for new ways of doing magic. This will keep your story fresh and engage the reader.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Pick a Book Day at #ourAuthorGang

Nonfiction novel-companion series by:
Toi Thomas
eBook cover and title is slightly
diffenernt from the paperback
Eternal Curse Companion Book 1

Everything you want to know about the book Eternal Curse: Giovanni's Angel with out reading the book.

If you love extra features and behind-the-scenes footage of your favorite movies, then you will love this official companion guide to Eternal Curse: Giovanni’s Angel. 40 Days and Nights of Eternal Curse breaks down the first installment of the Eternal Curse Series with writer’s notes, excerpts, character profiles, outline details, and special tidbits that you won’t find anywhere else. This companion guide isn’t just all info and no fun; this is a fulfilling and interesting read all on its own. At only 97 printed pages, this is an easy and inviting read in any format, and will prompt your mind to wander and wonder of things to come.

The start of an epic fantasy in eBook form
 Heroic Fantasy for kids 8-17
By Erika M Szabo and Joe Bonadonna

Golden Book Award Winner, spooky and funny heroic fantasy adventure for middle-grade children and young adults. Nikki and her impish cousin, Jack, find a mysterious black pumpkin in the forest on Halloween. A wise talking skeleton, Wishbone, tells them that the ghosts of the Trinity of Wishmothers are trapped inside. The children offer their help, so the skeleton takes them on a journey to the realm of Creepy Hollow to retrieve the three wands he hid long ago in Red Crow Forest, the Tower of Shadows, and the Cave of Spooks. On her 13th birthday, Nikki discovers she has magical powers. Nikki and Jack return to Creepy Hollow. They conquer their fears and gain courage, and in the final battle against Evila and her minions they grow into the warriors they were destined to become.

"Humor abounds, with three stooge-like goons (Poo, Goo, and Boo) and Dragon Rocks (a.k.a. scat, or poop) playing essential roles. Plenty of righteous motivations drive Jack and Nikki: they protect the weak and confront evil directly. It is fun to see them grow. Some of the bad guys are just too bad to save, but others are open to redemption. In short, Szabo and Bonadonna make a great pair. Their Creepy Hollow Adventures is a perfect starting point for young children making the leap from "kids books" to "novels."
~SE Lindberg

Epic Fantasy for Adults

By Rebecca Tran

When a sinister mage murders Mara Coryanda’s father, she trades her privileged existence for one devoted to vengeance by any means necessary. Soon her tireless quest leads to frustration. 
The mage proves to be a formidable opponent, who will stop at nothing to ensure his master plan comes to fruition…unless Mara locates the magical artifacts that could twist fate and help her raise an army to save her homeland.
Will her quest prove to be too much to bear or will fate intervene on her behalf?

“The Rashade has similar tones to books such as Deltora Quest and Game of Thrones as the main characters set on an adventure where there are tombs, priestesses and sword fights that will leave the reader on the edge of their seat in anticipation. Epic battles crossed with a burning desire to destroy an evil man will mean the reader will be captivated until the very end.” - Literary Titan

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Christmas in Camelot ~ Part 2 #Christmas #Arthurian #Legends #OurAuthorGang

By Mary Anne Yarde

Gustave Doré's illustration of Camelot from Idylls of the King 1867 ~ Wikipedia

In Part 1 of Christmas at Camelot I took a look at the food that you may well have found on an early medieval table, but today I want to look at what they did for entertainment in those long winter nights.

In the 14th Century, a poet — whose name has been lost over time, but is now referred to as The Pearl Poet — wrote an epic Arthurian poem. This is how The Pearl Poet described Christmas at Camelot.

“…then they brought the first course, with the blast of trumpets and the waving of banners, with the sound of drums and pipes, so that many a heart was uplifted at the melody. Costly and most delicious foods were carried in. Many were the dainties, delicacies and fresh meats, so great was the plenty they might scarce find room on the board and table-cloth to set all the silver dishes. Each helped himself as he liked best, and for each of two guests were twelve dishes served, with a great plenty of beer and bright wine…”

According to The Pearl Poet, Arthur knew how to throw a party! One would expect a feast at the Midwinter/ New Year celebrations, but perhaps not on such a grand scale.

There would have been music and entertainment at such a feast. I should imagine there were jugglers and those with what we would call Circus Skills!

Tom 1068 ~ No attribution required ~ Pixabay

 Bards would tell wonderful stories to entertain the guests — perhaps they told stories of Arthur and his Knights — and as the evening wore on, old men would become philosophical, as they contemplated mortality.

But there is one story about a Christmas feast that every Arthurian enthusiasts will of heard of, and that is...

Gawain and the Green Knight.
by The Pearl Poet

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (from original manuscript, artist unknown) ~ Wikipedia

If you not familiar with the story, then read on for a very abridged version with a little of my own poetic licence thrown into the mix!

New Year's Day, Camelot

The Knights of Camelot were celebrating the New Year in Arthur's Great Hall. Food was a plenty, and the mead was freely flowing. Friends and family gathered around the fire pit to listen as a bard wove the most fantastical tale.

Sir Gawain was content to sit and listen to the bard. There was nothing that needed his attention. This was a time to relax and rejoice. The New Year promised to be a good one. The Kingdom was at peace, for the most part, and everything was as it should be.

But this tranquillity was soon quashed when someone pounded against the great oak door of the Hall. The door rattled on its hinges. The bard fell silent, as did everyone else. All eyes turned towards the door and everyone held their breath.

The door opened and there, on a horse the colour of spring grass, was a giant of a man. The giant's skin, like that of his horse, was an unnatural shade of green. Without a by-or-leave, the giant rode his horse into the Hall and dismounted. In his hand was a monster of an axe. This Green Knight narrowed his eyes and looked around him with a contemptuous sneer.

"Is this Arthur's court?" the giant asked, his voice was so loud that some of the women shrieked. "Are these his Knights?"

"It is," Arthur said, rising to his feet. "They are. What can we do for you?"

The Green Knight smiled, showing a perfect set of green teeth. "Your knights are the bravest in the land, or so I am told, and the most chivalrous. Well, we will see about that. I wonder if there is any knight amongst you that would be brave enough to accept a challenge from me."

All the Knights looked to Arthur… But one.

"I will accept your challenge," Sir Gawain said, rising from his seat.

"Gawain, no,” Arthur ordered under his breath.

"Brave boy," the Green Knight snarled. "Or a foolish one. Take my axe, Sir Knight, and chop off my head."

"Why? Do you not like life?" Gawain asked, taking the axe from the Green Knight. The axe was so heavy that Gawain had a job to lift it.

"I do not fear for my life, but perhaps you should fear for yours."

A block was brought forth, and the Green Knight knelt.

 "Aim true," he stated.

Shaking his head, Gawain lifted the axe and then with a sickening thud, he took the head from the Green Knight’s shoulders.

The silence that followed was deafening. But then something strange happened. The Green Knight’s headless body stood, and his hands reached for his severed head.

"Meet me at the Chapel Green this time next year, so that I can return the favour," the decapitated head said, and then he left.

Gawain watched as the door closed behind the Green Knight. He turned to face his King with a look of horror. What had he done? There was no way he could survive such a strike.

The year that passed was uneventful, but each day Gawain knew he was a step closer to his death. As the leaves turned from green to brown and the first snow began to fall. Gawain tacked up his horse and, with a heavy heart, he set out for the Chapel Green.

God's Speed by Edmund Blair Leighton 1900 ~ Wikipeida

After many weeks of traveling he happened upon a castle, and there he was greeted by Bertilak de Hautdesert and his beautiful wife. Berilak asked Gawain why he was here and Gawain told him only that he had promised to meet someone at the Chapel Green on New Year's Day. Bertilak assured him that the Chapel was just two miles away. Bertilak then, very kindly, invited him to stay with them. Gawain thanked Bertilak and took him up on his generous offer.

The next day Bertilak went hunting. But before he departed he told Gawain that he was more than welcome to stay as long as whatever he might gain during the day, he gave back.

Gawain frowned at such a riddle, but later in the day, all became clear.  Bertilak's beautiful wife began to tease him. Gawain had never met anyone like her. She was intoxicating. So very beautiful. Gawain found himself clenching his fists to stop himself from reaching for her. One kiss, he finally allowed, when he could not take it anymore. Just one kiss. I will take nothing more, for Bertilak is my host.

Lady Bertilak at Gawain's bed ~ from original manuscript, artist unknown ~ Wikipedia

When Bertilak came back cold and muddy from his hunt, he asked Gawain if he had gained anything this day and if so, he must remember to give it back. So Gawain kissed his host. Sir Bertilak looked confused by the kiss, but he did not comment upon it.

The next day, Bertilak went hunting again. And once again Bertilak's wife began to tease. This time, Gawain allowed two kisses and just like the night before, when Bertilak returns he gave back what he had gained.

On the third day, like the previous days, Bertilak went hunting. This time Bertilak's wife gave Gawain a girdle of green and gold silk. She told him that if he wears it, he would stay safe from harm. They then shared three kisses. That evening he gives Bertilak the three kisses, but keeps the girdle for himself.

The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse,1880 ~ note the girdle around her waist ~ Wikipedia

The following day Gawain, with a pounding heart and the girdle wrapped around his waist, set out to meet the Green Knight. He found the giant sharpening his blade outside of the Chapel.

"So you have come?" The Green Knight stated with a look of surprise.

"I accepted the challenge," Gawain stated with a bravery he was not feeling.

"The kneel and place your neck upon the blog, young Knight of Camelot."

Gawain closed his eyes briefly and prayed to God for courage. He knelt and bared his neck. The Green Knight raised his axe. And despite himself, Gawain flinched in fear.

"I should have known," The Green Knight jeered. "You are a coward, and you bring shame to your King."

"Swing again," Gawain growled, "And I will not flinch."

The Green Knight raised his axe and feigned a strike.

"Be done with it," Gawain ordered. "Do not tease."

"I was merely testing your resolve," the Green Knight stated.

The Green Knights raised his axe again, and Gawain closed his eyes. The blade cut through the air, but instead of taking his head it only scratched his skin, although it drew blood.

"That was for the lie you told me, for you are wearing my wife's girdle. Rise, Sir Knight," the Giant stated. "The challenge is over."

With unsteady legs, Gawain rose to his feet and turned to look at the Giant, but the Giant was not there. In his place was his kind host, Bertilak.

"What is this?" Gawain asked, thoroughly confused.

"A test, young knight, from Arthur's sister. She thought you would fail. I am pleased to say you passed, for you are indeed chivalrous, brave, and for the most part... Honest."

Sir Gawain and Sir Bertilak parted on good terms. When Gawain finally made it home from Camelot, he was greeted with a hero's welcome. And from that day on the Knights of Camelot wore a green sash around their waist in recognition of Gawain's quest and a reminded to always be honest.

Copyright © 2017 Mary Anne Yarde

The Vigil by John Pettie, 1888 ~ Gawain represented the perfect knight, as a fighter, a lover, and a religious devotee ~ Wikipedia

It beats a game of Cluedo and Guess Who? I suppose. Although, I think I will celebrate Christmas and see in the New Year with a couple of board games and a verse of Auld Lang Syne.

War is coming to Saxon Briton…

Read the multi award-winning series for FREE with 
Kindle Unlimited