Thursday, November 30, 2017

Healing and Relaxing Medicinal Baths #OurAuthorGang

Hungary is called "The country of Thermal Waters"
http://www.authorerikamszabo.com
There are over 500 known thermal baths in Hungary where the water temperature is higher than 30 Celsius degree which is 86 Fahrenheit.

Thermal waters have different types of positive effects.
The physical effect: relaxes the muscles and blood vessels improving the circulation. People with damaged or diseased joints can move their limbs more easily due to water’s buoyancy.
The chemical effect: is due to the high mineral content dissolved in the water. The minerals can easily be absorbed into the circulation through the skin which helps to strengthen the immune system and promote self-healing.
The psychological effect: is due to the baths' and spas' special relaxing microclimate.

These are some my favorites thermal baths
Eger: the medicinal water has the highest radon (has great painkiller effect) content in Hungary and has positive effects on rheumatic symptoms, musculoskeletal diseases, muscle and peripheral nerve problems.
Héviz: the lake and the town are located near the southwest corner of Lake Balaton. It is the world's largest biologically active natural thermal lake.
The water and mud are perfect for preventing or treating osteoporosis. It also has positive effects on rheumatic symptoms, musculoskeletal diseases, muscle and nerve problems, as well as gynecological disorders.
Sárvár: this medicinal water contains hydrogen carbonate and salt, and is effective against skin diseases and gynecological problems.
Végardó: the medicinal water is effective mainly for musculoskeletal and rheumatic problems as well as gynecological problems.
Hajdúszoboszló: the thermal water has a natural healing effect mainly for degenerative diseases, musculoskeletal and rheumatic problems, after orthopedic surgery or stroke, and neuritis.
Miskolctapolca: this is a natural cave system filled with body relaxing thermal water which is the same temperatures all the time.

A few thermal baths in Budapest:



In my Golden Quill Award Winner romantic historical fantasy series magical things are happening in the long forgotten past when my ancestors lived in Jurtas and traveled on horseback.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Angel Lore: part 4 by Toi Thomas #OurAuthorGang

From Pinterst via
I'm actually a bird.
Today, in part 4 of my Angel Lore series, I’ll be sharing more angel knowledge with you from P – T, as I work my way through the alphabet (see part ONE, part TWO, and part THREE). But first…

In a series like this, questions of faith, belief, and religious preference are always lingering in the background. While I make no attempts to hide my faith, my interest in angels goes beyond that. I have too many questions and inquiries about the world to not reach out. My study of angel lore is just one way for me to cope with and understand the world and all its peoples. I appreciate other faiths and their ideas, or lack thereof, concerning angels because it’s all part of the process to gain knowledge, and possibly enlightenment.

On to the list…

Powers are said to have been the first angels God created, though not the highest in the angelic hierarchy. They are said to be the protectors against demonic forces.

I got nothing for ‘Q’. Perhaps, think about how angels move around so quietly; no one sees or hears them. 😉

How many angels have a name that begins with the letter ‘R’? A lot. So, I give you one random angel, Raguel. While briefly shunned by the Roman church in 745AD, this “friend of God” is said to watch over the good behavior of other angels.

Shaitans are kind of like demons, derived from ancient Hebrew and Arabic mythologies. It is said that when Muhammad encountered a shaitan, he read to it from the Koran in hopes that it would reconcile with God.

Thrones are probably the most fascinating angels I’ve learned about. Said to be the ones who carry out God’s decisions or justice, these creatures are described as fiery wheels, constantly in motion.

Well, that's all I have for today. Stick around this blog so you don't miss part 5 down the road.


Be sure to check out my Eternal Curse Series.

Book 1:
Giovanni is a creature out of time. Mira is a doctor trying to classify him. Beauty and the Beast meet Jekyll and Hyde in this paranormal tale with romantic and biblical influences.


Book 2:
A tale for fathers, sons, and daughters, this epic saga touches the past and future. The story of Giovanni will bring you to tears as loss and duty blur the lines of hope for what is to come.

The Eternal Curse series was my first book and series I ever wrote and to know that someone liked it meant the world to me. It's currently unavailable pending a rewrite in order to align it with new developments in the 3rd installment. If you'd like to read the first two books and offer me your feedback, please consider joining my email list to receive a free digital copy. 

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.

#cursescanbebroken, #angels, #wings, #Pinterest

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Cloak of Invisibility #OurAuthorGang

I love to write science fiction. It is a genre where you can really let your imagination fly. From creating futuristic or other worlds where anything can happen, to inventing all kinds of amazing gadgets that can do incredible things. Like flying cars, characters with super human powers, clothes that make you invincible, and or, invisible, to name but a few. None of this exists but wouldn't it be fabulous if it did?

Well, technology is quickly catching up with the wacky notions that spring from authors of sci-fi and fantasy. One such incredible idea is the cloak of invisibility. A thing of myth and legend, it has fascinated writers for centuries. Rightly so, for it allows the wearer the freedom to come and go undetected. A powerful tool indeed. Armies who possessed this robe could easily defeat their enemy by stealth and surprise attacks. For us ordinary folk the idea of not being seen is tempting. Imagine being able to listen in on conversations that you would normally not be privy to, or walk anywhere you wanted? You'd never have to pay to go to the cinema, or your favourite concert, sports event, ah, the list is endless.

The idea of an invisibility cloak has been around for thousands of years, sorry J.K. Rowling, but you weren't the first author to come up the notion. Folklore and fairy tales such as Culhwch and Olwen, a Welsh prose tale from 12th Century about a hero who is connected to the legenary King Aurthur, has a 'Mantle of Invisibility'. The Brothers Grimm have one in The Twelve Dancing Princessess, and in Wagner's opera DAs Rheingold, Alberich dons, Tarnkappe, and disappears.


Today, scientist have created a material that can render the wearer invisible. Inspired by nature from animals such as cuttlefish, octopus, and squid, this cloth can change colour so that it appears invisible when it matches the hue of its surroundings, "...by using dielectric elastomers, stretchy polymers that expand when hit with an electrical current. To mimic the squid's colour-changing muscles.' 



Known as biomimicry, it has potential for military and everyday usage. As suggested in a 2012 article by the BBC: "This could help us create a whole host of new technologies, ranging from active camouflage and clothes that change colour and pattern, to a smart second-skin that can cool you when you are hot and keep you warm when you are cold." 

You can read the full article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17925309

A Canadian company, Hyperstealth, has produced a camouflage material that can hide people as well as objects. It already issues uniforms and coverings for military vehicles.

"Quantum Stealth is a material that renders the target completely invisible by bending light waves around the target. The material removes not only your visual, infrared (night vision) and thermal signatures but also the targets shadow."

You can see the material in action via CNN YouTube video:

Needless to say, I have used this idea in my work. Here is a snippet from A Silence Heard,  book 3 in the Song of Forgetfulness series:

The moon shone bright. A shock-faced ball in the black sky that looked down on the three of us as if to shout, "Prevail. Stand steady." The wind whipped around our feet and legs and a swirl of ash and dry earth spiralled up before us. I coughed and spat out the filthy soil that bore the taste of Agro boot.
And through the cloud of churned up dirt came the sound of Agro army.
"Where are they? Where?" Brennu said and blinked.
"In front of us."
"Wa? But, Adara, I see nowt. Is it magic they use?"
There was a ripple in the landscape before us.
Four figures appeared and walked steadily up the gravel path that led straight to where we stood. They halted. Behind them, the scenery shivered.
I stared all in wonder as shimmering into view came row after row of Agro soldiers dressed in the same black shirt and troos. They wore black peaked hats and below the brim identical round black-eyed faces looked out. In each cloned hand was a black stick-like weapon.
They stood still as a forest.
A blast of dusty wind hit my face and I shuddered.

For more information about the series please go to: http://www.thesongofforgetfulness.com/

Hyperstealth are hesitant to reveal exactly how their wonder fabric works, but perhaps one day we will be able to purchase it and make our very own invisible cloak.


All images are copyright free.




Monday, November 27, 2017

Plotter or pantser – What's your writing style?

By Ruth de Jauregui


Writers have their own methods of working their way through the story and getting the words on the page. Some authors plot every element before they begin and build character studies that detail the main and secondary characters. Others, like me, start writing and the words evolve into a tale.

After I get started, I do engage in a little plotting and somewhere in the first 10,000 words, the end comes to me and I write it out. Then I fill in the rest of the story, twisting and turning and returning to the various threads as the story leads me. I do have a mental list of things to return to and resolve before the tale ends.

I can't speak for every writer, but I do have a vision of my main character when I begin. Despite my plans, all too often she seizes the keyboard and the next thing I know, she's described herself or a scene that was merely a passing thought an hour or three ago. I admit it, I don't always know exactly where the story is going until I'm driving, washing dishes or doing some other mundane chore and boom, the next scene hits me.

One thing that I do that's often discouraged by more experienced fiction writers (my currently published books are all nonfiction) is when I change some detail in the story, I search back through the already written chapters and change the earlier details to ensure consistency. It is a pet peeve to have some detail pop up as I'm reading a book and I say, "Wait a minute." I have literally went back and searched through the pages to find that earlier inconsistency. Obsessive? Yes, yes, I am.

While I'm forcing myself to write "Bitter Nights" in chronological order, my other work-in-progress "Hunters Moon" has scenes that haven't been worked into the story yet. I sat down and wrote chapters as they came to me, and I haven't finished weaving the story together yet. I was working away on "Hunters Moon" and then Bitter stepped into my head and demanded that her story be written first.


There really isn't a right or wrong way to write your story. More important is to sit down and get the words on paper. You can always edit it later to clean up those rough edges, and then turn it over to a professional editor and proofreader to fix up your small grammatical and punctuation errors.

Just keep writing!

#RuthDJ  #writing #Bitter  #ASmallGangOfAuthors

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Book Spotlight #OurAuthorGang

Author Grace Augustine


Things are buzzing in Acorn Hills as the community prepares for the annual holiday celebration. A huge parade in the New District, the ceremonial tree lighting in the park, the caroling along the river walk, and a feast for friends and family that you won't want to miss.  Join your favorite characters as they play a game of hide and seek and find what was in front of them all along.


An excerpt from Holiday Hide & Seek, Book 4 of The Acorn Hills Series (this series is for mature readers 18 years of age and older)

"AND SO, IT BEGINS


     “That should just about do it, unless there are any questions.”
      Jordan looked around the room at The Art Galleria Administrative Board. No one said a thing.
      “Good. You know if you have problems, need anything, or have questions, I’m always available. Thank you for giving up your Saturday afternoon to get the ball rolling. This holiday season will be upon us sooner than we think. I want to make sure it’ll be unlike any other in the New District of Acorn Hills.”
       The meeting disbursed into the reception room of the Galleria. Jack Everling, pushed his walker, ambled slowly toward his son, and extended his hand, which Jordan grasped firmly.
       “Son, you’ve done a great job with this place.  I’m glad it all worked out. I’m proud of you,” Jack smiled and looked around the grand room.
       “Well, Dad, all thanks to you and Louis. I’d almost given up finding a job.”
    “Sounds like you have a lot of great plans for the holidays, a lot of great things happening here,” Jack smiled.
     “Yes, I want this to be the best, most different, most elegant, most holiday season Acorn Hills has ever seen.”         
       Jordan’s excitement extended through his arms as he kept opening them up each time the word most came from his mouth. He sported a huge grin which made his eyes twinkle.
        “Is Ginger on board with your plans?”
        Jordan chuckled. Knowing his lovely wife, she would have things well in hand long before the nights they were needed.
        “Dad, Ginger’s a micro-manager when it comes to events.  She’s been doing this for years. What I’m worried about is not having enough jobs for everyone to do. The interest in this by the businesses, owners and employees has been phenomenal.”
          Jack reached for his coat and Jordan held it as his father put his arms in the sleeves.
         “You know your mom and I will do whatever we can to help. All you have to do is ask.”
  Jack gave a brief hug to his son as he headed for the door.
      “I’m counting on you to be Mr. and Mrs. Santa.  That’s your official duty, Dad. Always has been!”
          Jordan looked at the lines around the eyes of his aging father made more prominent by the delightful smile from his son’s words. Realizing there weren’t going to be too many more holidays together saddened Jordan." 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Our Guest Author Today is Maggie Adams #OurAuthorGang

Today, we warmly welcome Author Maggie Adams.


Maggie Adams is an Amazon Best-selling contemporary romance author. She's the recipient of the Dayreader Review's Best New Series award in 2015 for her Tempered Steel series. Her series has launched the tiny town of Grafton, Illinois into international recognition. When Maggie isn't writing, she enjoys traveling (usually to the grocery store) dancing (around the kitchen to avoid cooking) and relaxing with her family (aka taking a nap while watching a movie.) She loves to chat, so make sure to look her up.

http://www.maggieadamsbooks.com
https://www.facebook.com/maggieadamsbooks
https://www.amazon.com/author/maggieadams

(The Tempered Steele series is for mature readers 18 and older)

Meet the Coalsons...
   A few years ago, the tiny village of Grafton, Illinois, nestled along the banks of the mighty Mississippi River, was almost completely destroyed by a flood.  Rather than pull up stakes and move elsewhere, many residents vowed to rebuild their hometown, making it bigger and better than ever.
   One resident was Mac Coalson, eldest son of Hank and Ginny Coalson. Mac, together with his parents and six brothers, set about the arduous task of clearing, cleaning, and repairing what could be saved.
  Not everyone was happy to be rebuilding the town. When vandals strike the new construction sites, it's up to Mac and his brothers to catch the culprit before anyone is hurt.
   The brothers: Mac, Sam-an ex-Navy SEAL, Chance-the Cassanova, Lawrence "Lucky", Brandon, Nick, and Tanner...are in for some wild shenanigans as they protect Grafton and those they love.
   As you read through this series, you will fall in love with strong male characters who long to protect their family, romance that blossoms for each Coalson brother, and a family bond stronger than the gold rings on Hank's and Ginny's hands


In Book 1 of The Tempered Steel series, we find Mackenzie Coalson determined to rebuild his hometown after a flood all but destroys Grafton, Illinois. He has no time for a relationship...or all the romantic junk that goes with it. He has a vandal to catch and no sweet-smelling bundle of femininity is going to sway him.

Dixie Harris charged into the County Sheriff's office with a sassy sway and a smart mouth, eager to give the sheriff--and anyone else--a piece of her mind. When she locks horns with the devil himself, in the form of Mac Coalson, she quickly learns he has a temper that rivals hers (even if he is the living epitome of her sexual fantasies.)

When the two unite to catch a potential murderer, it's in everyone's best interest to keep it "business only." But, that's hard to do when their combined attraction is volatile enough to burn down the town.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Deserts and Tundra #OurAuthorGang

Rich Feitelberg

[Author's Note: While my series of posts on world-building is complete, I forgot to include this one, as promised. To correct this, here's the missing information for all you world-building fans. Enjoy.]

Deserts are unique places you'll want to include in your world-building plans. They occur where there is little to no rain to support grass and moss. Where there is rain, dry grasslands or scrub land result. So it makes sense to place desert next to scrub land or where the land is so broken (like the American Southwest) that only the hardiest plants and animals can thrive.

But all deserts are not the same. They are as varied as forests and grasslands, with their own ecosystems. We'll talk about placing animals and other resources soon enough, but when placing a desert in your world, think about the type of place it is and what lives there.

Consider our own world. The Sahara, with endless dunes is a very different desert from the American southwest which is rockier and full of cacti. In the Sahara, you have oases with palm trees, camels, and humans. Elsewhere there are hyenas and jackals scavenging for food. Snakes and scorpions are also common. If you want this type of desert in your world, think about what else might inhabit the sands.

The American Southwest, on the other hand, is home to some amazing geological formations. It is dry and rocky. Images of the Grand Canyon or the Mojave Desert come to mind as example for these types of deserts. Here, there are snakes and lizards, but there are also tortoises, spiders, cougars, ravens, owls, hawks, and ground squirrels. Since the desert in this area are not on the equator (like the Sahara) they have more of a seasonal fluctuation in temperature. They don't have seasons as most days are dry and warm (or hot) and nighttime can get very cold.

Tundra is another ecologically unique place and if your stories take place in the far north or on mountain plateaus, you should consider add tundra to your world. If you decide to include this type of terrain, place it in far northern climates. On our world that is north of the Arctic circle and on high mountains plateaus beyond the timber line.

Like desert, tundra has very specially plants and animals that live there. Let's look at our own world for examples. In the far north of Alaska and Canada, where it is too cold for trees to grow, tundra begins. Here the land is covered in grass, moss, and lichens. The land is flat here making it a good place for herd animals, such as caribou, reindeer, and musk oxen, to graze. Arctic hares, arctic foxes, migratory birds and polar bears also roam the tundra. Farther north are the ice caps of our world and as the weather turns colder, the snow and ice of the Arctic invades the areas of tundra for the fall and winter burying the grass until the spring thaw.

Tundra also occurs in high mountain plateaus, such as in the Alps, the Andes mountains, and the Himalayas. If you select a more mountainous site for tundra, then the plants and animals living that may differ from the ones I listed. For example, there won't be polar bears, but there are likely to be mountain goats and mountain lions. Adjust the ecosystem of your world as well, placing the most appropriate plants and animals in this cold and harsh locale.

Also feel free to research both types of environments for more detailed looks at them. I've given only a quick sketch here of each type of terrain. You'll want to be more though and when you combine these terrains with other types of vegetation and terrain, deserts and tundra give your world a realistic feel.

While they can be hard to place, I encourage you to do so.




Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving from #OuAuthorGang

From all of us 
The authors of our gang share a few stories:

Nicola McDonagh, Haiku Thanksgiving themed poem:

Brown leaves drift on the
Scent of pumpkin pie bringing
Eager mouths to feast

White sky’s tepid sun
Shines faintly on the supper
Warming cold kinship

Can the moon look down
And change its surprised look to
One of thankfulness?

Ruth de Jauregui

We do a family potluck at Thanksgiving, so we have everything from the traditional turkey and ham to macaroni and cheese to a variety of sweets and pies, including my own sweet potato pie. 
Dad was allergic to mushrooms, so no “toadstools” allowed in the house!! The thundering herd (teens) always had to wait until Grandma, Dad and guests had helped their plates, then the teens could inhale the rest of the food. The Macy’s parade, football, and hours of HGTV filled in the rest of the day. 
Stuffed to gills, I usually have to leave that evening because Black Friday isn’t just a big day in the stores -- we sell a lot of gift items through the call center. So hi-ho, hi-ho, home I go so I’m ready to get up at o’dark thirty and head out for work. 

Erika M Szabo

Growing up in Europe, Thanksgiving was a religious holiday with a big feast. My mom was an excellent cook, so most of the family members kind of invited themselves to holiday dinners. We were expecting about ten guests on this particular Thanksgiving Day when I was thirteen-years-old, but mom had to go on an unexpected business trip and she wanted to cancel the dinner, but my dad said we can handle it. Mom was a bit skeptical but told us that everything we needed was in the fridge and cupboard, so it would be easy to cook the feast. Soon dad realized that he made a very foolish promise when he checked the fridge. There was no goose in it that mom had planned to roast. She forgot to tell us that we had to kill and pluck the goose ourselves.
Dad scratched his head, grabbed a knife and said, "We're going to kill a goose."
My blood froze when I remembered seeing mom catching and killing a chicken so I sad, "No way! I'm not going to and I will not even watch you do it!"
Dad sighed and headed out to the fenced backyard where we kept the chickens, ducks, and geese. I turned the volume up on the TV to block the frightened sounds of the birds.
A few minutes later dad came back empty-handed and told me, "I couldn't do it. As I held the goose, it looked at me with those eyes... I swear that bird knew what I wanted to do. I'll go to the butcher and buy a goose."
He did and we cooked and baked all day feeling pretty good about ourselves. Mom made it home just in time to quickly wash up before the guests arrived. Dad and I set the table, got the pastries, that mom baked the day before, ready, and the goose was still roasting in the oven.
The guests arrived and when everyone was ready to eat, dad started carving the goose at the small table in the corner of the dining room. He suddenly stopped, glanced at me and motioned to me to come over. He whispered, "Did you put stuffing in the goose after you washed it?"
"No, dad, it was in there," I replied.
"Then do you mean it was in there?" he 
"Well, there was a neat package inside the bird, so I thought it was the stuffing wrapped in paper and we were supposed to bake it with the goose."
"Oh, crap!" he said. "It must be the gizzards and we were supposed to take it out. Your mother is going to kill me!"
"Not if she doesn't find out," I whispered glancing at the table where mom was entertaining the guests with a story.
"Nobody is looking, give me that package. It's cooked, so I'll give it to Mop."
Dad's face lit up, "Right! He'll get rid of the evidence." He winked and reached inside the bird with a fork and moved a little so the guests would not see what we were doing.
In my haste, I didn't think and just grabbed the package and with tears in my eyes, I walked out of the dining room. The wrapped gizzards were so hot that it took all my strength to fight the urge to drop it. In the mudroom, I shook out the gizzards from the wrapping paper into my dog's bowl and he happily gobbled it up.
The dinner was a success, everyone enjoyed the food. After dinner mom went to feed the dog but came back and said, "Something is wrong with Mop. He sniffed his food but he doesn't want to eat."
Dad flashed a quick smile at me and said, "We fed him before dinner." 

Joe Bonadonna

Thanksgiving Day when I was a kid was always a big affair. While we celebrated in the usual way, with turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, vegetables, cranberries, pumpkin pie, and such, being Sicilian, my family also served lasagna, stuff shells, meatballs, Italian sausage, cannoli, anisette cookies, and other pastries. I remember my Dad, always filling bowls with fresh fruit and nuts -- all kinds of nuts: walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, Hazelnuts, almonds, and pecans. And olives, plenty of olives. Some of my female cousins would fill bowls with cream cheese, add a different food coloring to each, stir them up, and then fill short stalks of celery with different-colored cream cheese. Of course, there was always a lot of loud conversation and arguing going on, before and after dinner. The men would go off to watch football, the women would sit around and tell stories, and we kids would watch the Macy's parade. If it was nice outside, we'd go out and play. The best part was always the day after: Black Friday. That was a no school day for us, and one of my aunts used to take us kids into downtown Chicago to enjoy all the decorations on State Street and the window displays of all the department stores. Of course, we hit every toy department we could find, and we always had lunch at the old Marshall Field's, around their huge Christmas tree. It was an all-day affair, starting at about 8 AM until about 4 or 5 PM. Sometimes we'd even take in a movie at one of Chicago's grand and elegant movie theaters, before returning home to eat leftovers. But that was then, before grandparents, and first-generation aunts and uncles began passing away before older cousins got married, before both my paternal and maternal families started moving from the city to distant suburbs, and to other states. While my Mom's family keeps growing and growing, my Dad's family, with whom I lived and grew up with, has dwindled. There is only a handful of us left now. The holidays don't mean as much to me since my parents passed away, and I have no wife, ex-wife, kids or grandkids, but I still celebrate with a cousin, her husband, their two sons, and two granddaughters. Sometimes a girlfriend or two join us. The food's the same, although not as much of it. The conversations and arguments are the same, but instead of football and movies, we end the day watching movies on Netflix, and I usually end up spending the night. But I cherish my childhood memories, and I am most thankful for those, for the family I had, the family I have, and the many blessings that I never stop counting.
https://www.amazon.com/Joe-Bonadonn...

Toi Thomas

My husband and I are stuck in a perpetual family tug-o-war. We spend one holiday with his family and the other with mine; the next year we alternate. There was one year though when a bit of magic occurred. Somehow, we were able to get away, just the two of us, so we decided to head to Atlantic City.
I know Atlantic City doesn’t scream Thanksgiving, but it was just what we needed. We rented a timeshare so I could have access to a kitchen, where I prepared our couples Thanksgiving feast. The weather was just on the verge of being cold, the nice kind of cool that requires a scarf and jacket, but no need to bundle up. 
We ate out the first night and then headed to bed since I’d worked that day and needed to wake early to plan our feast. I prepared a Garlic Apple glazed chicken, a rosemary potato and apple medley, honey and roasted garlic glazed carrots, green beans, and served a store-bought sweet potato pie. 
The next day when we decided to visit The Pier, boardwalk, and casinos, we learned that an Asian Cultural festival was happening. It was so much fun. All the diverse Asian people asking us to take pictures of them and wishing us a Happy Thanksgiving. As much as I truly enjoy those special moments, of glee and even frustration spent with family, plus all the homemade casseroles and desserts, I’ll never forget the peace and romance of that one couples’ Thanksgiving my husband and I were able to experience. 

Grace Augustine

Everyone has a favorite holiday…some the more traditional, others the more obscure. Thanksgiving is and always has been my favorite holiday.
I grew up in Northern Montana, an only child. My father died when I was nine years old, and my stepdad a couple years after that. Most of my growing up was spent alone with my mother. She was a fabulous cook. We always had turkey, homemade dressing and gravy real mashed potatoes, green beans, and pumpkin pie with real whipped cream. 
The day began with her putting the finishing touches on dinner and us sitting down to watch the Thanksgiving Day parades…Macy’s parade from New York, Gimbel’s parade from Philadelphia, J.L. Hudson Parade from Detroit with its smattering of mummers, and my favorite of all—the Eaton Santa Claus Parade from Toronto, Ontario Canada. 
Dinner would be served around noon. After dishes were done, we’d spend the afternoon playing canasta or some other card game until I got bored and retreated to my room to do my own thing. Usually, after a dinner of leftovers, Christmas decorations would find their way to the kitchen table.
As a young 30+ adult with two growing boys, our tradition was much the same, except we usually had a house filled with friends and family…all fighting over who was going to get the legs of the 25# turkey I’d cooked! 
Now, in my silver years (to some old age!), family is down to just me. My sons do their own thing and I usually have a friend for dinner and we sit and visit the afternoon away. 
In this season of my life, it’s no longer about the food or the companionship, but rather about me taking stock in the many blessings in my life. You know, those things that we have that we need to be thankful for. I’m thankful for a safe living space in a beautiful neighborhood, for knowledgeable/competent physicians who truly care about their patients, for friends who’ve become family, for talents and gifts—writing, knitting, painting, public speaking. It’s about being thankful and finding ways to be kind and compassionate to those around me. It’s relying on my faith foundation to stoke my flames and carry forward the peace that’s in all of us.
Take a moment to reflect on Thanksgiving 2017…on all the moments up to this point and utter a word or two of gratitude. Gratitude changes attitude. It truly does. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Merlin and the Legend of Stonehenge #Arthurian #HistFic #OurAuthorGang



By 

Briton has always been a land of myths and legends. From St George and the Dragon to Robin Hood. Dick Whittington and his Cat to the Loch Ness Monster. But nothing had capture the imagination of the populous quite like Merlin, King Arthur, and his Knights.

Today I am going to head over to Wiltshire and tell you the story of a King, a great Sorcerer, and some Standing Stones.



Once upon a time, there was a great but terrible battle. King Ambrosius lost over 3,000 of his noble Knights. As he looked upon the carnage of the battlefield, his heart felt heavy.

With tears in his eyes, he turned to his most trusted advisor — a young boy whose name was Merlin.


"I will not have their noble sacrifice forgotten," King Ambrosius said. "I want to build a monument, so all who pass this way will remember how they gave their lives for this Kingdom."

"I know just the thing," Merlin said, smiling for the first time that day. "Have you heard of The Giant's Dance, Sire?"

"No," King Ambrosius stated.

"The Giants Dance is a circle of stones. It is said they are magical, some even claim they can heal the sick."



"Then we should bring The Giant's Dance here," King Ambrosius said as he turned his back on all the dead.

"There is just one problem," Merlin said, a frown on his brow. "The Giant's Dance is in Killaraus—"


"Ireland?" King Ambrosius sighed unhappily. "I do not have the men to go to Ireland."

"But Sire," Merlin persisted. "These stones will stand as a monument forever. No one will forget the deaths of our most noble knights. These stones will stand as testament."

King Ambrosius thought on this. Finally he said, "You can go to Ireland with 15,000 knights and bring the stones back. Uther will accompany you."

Uther, Ambrosius brother, had just walked up to them, his face was splattered with blood, as were his clothes. He yawned with fatigue. "Where are we going?" Uther asked tiredly.


"Ireland," King Ambrosius informed him. He smiled and patted his brother on the back before walking away.

"Ireland?" Uther asked, looking at Merlin for an explanation.

"It was his idea," Merlin said, pointing to the King.

What Uther said next isn't suitable for this blog...!

The crossing of the Irish Sea was no picnic. The tide was high and unpredictable. By the time the coast of Ireland came into view, even Merlin was wondering if he had been a little hasty at his suggesting The Giant's Dance as a monument.

Along the top of the cliffs, an army watched their progress. The Irish knew the Knights of Ambrosius would only cross the sea for one thing and one thing only. But if they thought they could come here and take the sacred Stones then they had another think coming.


But as the Knights of Ambrosius departed from the boats, the Irish realised the fragility of their numbers. There was no way they could win. So with heavy hearts, they dropped their weapons and walked away. The Stones would have to take care of themselves.

Meeting no resistance, Merlin and the Knights made for the Stones. But try as they might the Knights of Ambrosius could not move the Stones. Merlin sat down in the grass and watched with barely concealed enjoyment.

Defeated, Uther sat down next to him.

"My brother is deluded if he thinks we can bring theses Stones back to Briton."



"I wouldn't say deluded, " Merlin said, rising to his feet. And then with a few softly spoken words, the Stones began to tremble. Ambrosius' Knights stepped back and looked at the Stones with panic.

Merlin walked confidently forward as the Stones still trembled. He raised his arms in the air and continued to chant. To the astonishment of everyone gathered, the Stones began to rise slowly into the air.

"To the boats," Merlin said with a grin to the Knights who were stood watching the Stones with opened mouths.

"Why didn't he just do that in the first place?" One of the Knights asked Uther.

Uther shook his head and breathed out unsteadily.

The sea was calm during the crossing back, but Merlin, who continued to chant, looked tired and drawn. By the time they reached Salisbury, Merlin was supported by Uther and another Knight, but still, he continued to chant. When they came into the presence of the King, Merlin allowed the Stones to fall softly to the earth.

“You did it,” King Ambrosius said, grinning like a fool.

Merlin was too exhausted to reply.

King Ambrosius immediately summoned the clergy and his people to celebrate the erection of the monument. Merlin once again began to mutter under his breath and the Stones once more lifted into the air, but this time when they landed, they were in their rightful positions, just as they had been in Ireland.



That night saw a great celebration, but Merlin was too weary to even drink his mead. He fell into a deep sleep, content in the knowledge that this monument would stand forever.

Copyright © Mary Anne Yarde 2017

References:
All images can be found on Pixabay


Catch up with the Award Winning Arthurian series, The Du Lac Chronicles, for Free with Kindle Unlimited Subscription.









Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Book in the Spotlight #OurAuthorGang


Three Against The Stars

by
Joe Bonadonna

Cover by Laura Givens. Interior illustrations by Pedro Cruz

An old-school, traditional space opera with a modern sensibility.

“Bonadonna has constructed an empire and galaxy that largely escapes the looming shadow of Star Wars and Star Trek to exist as an original work in its own right. Three Against The Stars is a rip-roaring adventure ride.” — William Patrick Maynard, Black Gate Magazine, author of Lawhead, The Terror of Fu Manchu, and The Destiny of Fu Manchu.

On the distant alien planet of Rhajnara a conspiracy created by the fascist Khandra Regime is set into motion to overthrow the rightful Rhajni Republic and instigate a policy of ethnic-cleansing.  The conspirators are cunning and it seems nothing in the universe can derail their mad apocalyptic scheme.  Nothing, that is, but three rambunctious Space Marines from the Third Regiment Company E of the United States Space Marines assigned to Rhajnara with the Terran Expeditionary Force.  Sergeants Fernando Cortez, Seamus O’Hara and Claudia Akira are the most unlikely trio ever to don starhead camouflage and become military heroes.  To their superiors they are wild, reckless and incessant troublemakers always in the thick of things.  Yet their courage, loyalty and devotion to duty prove them to be the toughest Devil Dogs in the Corp.  Now, with the aid of a Medical Corpsman named Makki Doon, a young Felisian native proto-feline humanoid, these three futuristic musketeers are about to become the one factor capable of exposing the traitorous Khandra coup.  But to do so they will have to put their lives on the line one more time and risk all to save the day facing off against incredible odds.  To save an empire they will truly become … Three Against The Stars.

Published by Airship 27 Productions, Three Against The Stars is available worldwide in paperback, Kindle, and audio book editions.

If you’d like to read William’s entire review, just click the link to Black Gate e-zine.

#jobobooks  #spaceopera  #sciencefiction  #joebonadonna  #airship27productions

Monday, November 20, 2017

Thanksgiving Remembrances #OurAuthorGang

by Grace Augustine, Author
(photo courtesy of freecreatives.com)

Today, preparations begin for the feast of all feasts in America on Thursday... Thanksgiving. I'm sure you have your turkey thawing, your cranberry sauce made, as well as several other delectable desserts. The foods that have become tradition in your households will grace your tables as you gather with family and friends. Or, maybe you go out to eat at one of many Thanksgiving buffets in your community. Or, maybe your place of worship hosts community meals.

In years past, my table has held as many as 20 and as few as 1. It was laden with turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, dinner rolls, fresh cranberry relish, and of course fresh coffee and pumpkin pie with a spritz of whipped cream. In more recent years, I've gone the non-traditional route and served ham balls and scalloped potatoes with a tossed salad.

(photo courtesy of Pinterest)

Whatever you choose to eat or do on this day, please remember to give thanks for the incredible gifts you are given...that can be a loving family, a warm house, food to eat, the chance to rest alone, visit with others, or volunteer at a shelter serving a meal. We often forget to take a moment and be thankful. It is with a heart of gratitude that our attitudes change.  From my little family to yours, may your turkey be juicy, may you toast to many new blessings, and may your Thanksgiving be filled with much love.


Acorn Hills is getting ready for the annual holiday parade and the group of friends you've come to know and love is preparing a holiday get together at The Art Galleria. Join your favorites...Richard, Jillian, Denise, David, Jordan, and Ginger as they enjoy the festivities of the season. New characters, Brad Davidson and Eve Braden, have some surprises of their own, including a community hide and seek for shopper dollars. (The Acorn Hills series is for mature readers 18 yrs and older)

Here's an excerpt from Holiday Hide & Seek:
  "Brad Davidson held the door open with his foot as he maneuvered the dolly with the boxes on it inside The Acorn Hills Chronicle. Two women, at different desks, were typing furiously and the almost too loud Christmas music hit his ears immediately.
   "Where do you want these?" Brad asked loudly, directing his words to the woman at the first desk.
   "Let me ask Eve."
   The woman picked up the phone and pushed a couple buttons. Soon she was asking the editor of the newspaper about the delivery and where it was to go. Before the woman placed the receiver back on its cradle, Eve appeared, confidently walking toward the front counter where Brad stood.
  "Hiya, Handsome," Eve teased, flashing a flirty smile.
   "Miss Braden," Brad nodded. "I have seven boxes today. Where would you like them stacked?"
   "Do you mind taking them directly to the print room?" Eve asked.
   Brad made his way to the back room with the dolly stacked with boxes. His heart was beating a bit faster than he liked, but it seemed to do that whenever he spoke to this woman.
   Eve was beautiful. Her blonde hair was cut in a cute, sassy style that suited her. Her clothing accentuated her petite figure. Today she wore a forest green sweater dress that was belted at the waist. Her earrings and bangle bracelets matched the large link gold choker that encircled her neck. The stacked-heel black suede boots hit her mid-calf and completed her professional look.
   Brad hadn't seen anyone in his travels that compared to her. She was always smiling, always had a smart-ass comment, and always seemed to flirt with him. Brad smiled.
   Maybe I'll just have to start flirting back."