Friday, November 30, 2018

Click and Read Day at #OurAuthorGang

Click & Read Day

Today we spotlight some of the Author Gang authors' books.
Click on the Amazon links below the books, read about our authors, and take a look at their books.
Enjoy browsing and we hope you will find a book or two that you like.


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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Lewis Carroll: Frabjous

Lewis Carroll: Frabjous

Christina Weigand

Hi Chris here. My next few posts are going to be about authors that have inspired my writing. Besides giving a biography I will also try and spotlight something that may not be known about the author. I was going to take a look at J.R.R Tolkien first, but decided to take a look at Lewis Carroll. He was alive and wrote his books before Tolkien and Tolkien took some of his inspiration from Carroll. So I only thought it fair to take a look at Carroll first.

Lewis Carroll was born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson on January 27, 1832. He came from a long line of army officers or Church of England clergy. This is a tradition that Carroll would follow although he never took the step of becoming a priest, but remained a deacon throughout his life.

He died of pneumonia  following influenza on January 14. 1898.

I did a little research on the man and discovered along with his most widely known books, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, The Hunting of the Snark, and  Sylvie and Bruno.

He also wrote books on Mathematics such as: The Game of Logic, and Euclid and his Modern Rivals. 

Besides writing, which included his books and poetry, he was also a photographer, an ordained deacon, a mathematician, logician and inventor. He invented The Wonderland Postage-Stamp Case to encourage letter writing. Later he developed a writing tablet called a nyctograph that allowed note taking in the dark.

By Noah Slater - Sent by Noah Slater to the uploader, CC BY 3.0,

What writer out there today wouldn't give anything for one of those. There are many other things that he developed, including a forerunner to the game of Scrabble and two ciphers for cryptography.

Lewis Carroll was a man of many talents and it was fascinating to read about his life and works.

Frabjous means Splendid, Fine. Lewis Carroll coined this term and when I think about his works that word makes perfect sense. Lewis Carroll's biography in Wikipedia says that  "he is noted for his facility at word play, logic and fantasy."  What a wonderful description.

I had a Frabjous time exploring the man behind Alice and all of her friends. You can read more about Lewis Carroll  here and have a Frabjous day.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Stocking Stuffers

The best present for young children

Reading is a valuable tool to expand a child's knowledge, trigger their imagination, and learn valuable lessons without sounding preachy. 
The best presents I remember when I was a young child weren't dolls, clothes or toys, but my eyes lit up when I've found books in the Christmas stocking. My mom knew how to keep me quiet, therefore, she got me books for every holiday. I wasn't underfoot, I didn't run around the house breaking things, I was quietly reading by the fireplace.
If you have a child or grandchild who likes to read, take a look at the selection below.

Heroic fantasy for children 6-14
Joe Bonadonna and I had a lot of fun writing this story.
The readers said:
"I’m unable to do justice to the wealth of detail and action Szabo and Bonadonna managed to pack into this book."
~Fletcher Vredenburgh
"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."
~S E Lindberg
Audio book

Storybook for children 4-12
Becky Robbins and I paired up to bring this fun, educational book for children 5-12 about acceptance, friendship, family, dealing with bullies, and moral values such as not judging others by their appearances before getting to know them. With Sudipta Dasgupta's wonderful illustrations and Lorraine Carey's professional editing, the story based on an old legend of the haunted bakery comes to life.

Illustrated storybook for children 4-12
When Bianca, Daniel, and Peanut, the St. Bernard, are confronted by Mark and his cronies, the children stand up to the brute bullies with the help of Peanut. Their adventure continues when they see a woman throwing four tiny, meowing kittens into the river. Can the BFFs save them? Find out what happens to the kittens.

Bilingual storybook for children 4-12
Sarah, Emma’s mom, promised to bird-sit Pico for two weeks but soon regrets her decision because the noisy parrot keeps screeching and squawking all day, annoying her family and the neighbors. When Pico makes a mess of Emma’s room, Emma gets very angry, but her friends help her. Charlotte notices that Pico seems sad, and Pedro finds out why Pico is shrieking so loudly all the time. The parrot is frustrated because nobody pays attention to him, and nobody understands what he wants.
The story delivers a message that when we don’t take the time to listen to each other, we tend to judge others quickly before we get to know them. 

Storybook for children 4-12
A little girl teaches her family and her friends how to relate to someone who is hearing impaired.
When Grandma Rosa lost her hearing, Sandra and her parents became frustrated and sad. They didn’t know what to do and how to learn to communicate better with Grandma Rosa.
It became an everyday struggle for the family, and they missed the comforting family conversations at dinner time.
Sandra finds a website for hearing impaired people that explains how deaf people communicate. They start learning sign language and to “talk” with their fingers. Sandra and Grandma Rosa find realize that with compassion, love, and hard work, they can overcome the obstacles of disability. 

Storybook for children 4-12
Terry is sad because she can’t find her precious music box that was a gift from her Grandmother. With the help of her dog, Pansy, and the wise hedgehog, Oliver, they cross the portal to the magical world and Pansy leads them to Wolfgang’s cave. Terry finds out why she has the ability to talk to animals and why the good witch enchanted her music box so long ago.

Spanish storybook for children 4-12
Sandra enseña a su familia y amigos a comunicarse con personas con discapacidad auditiva.
Este divertido libro ilustrado  lleva un importante mensaje para los niños, como aprender a no juzgar o burlarse de alguien sólo porque es diferente.  La vida de algunas personas con discapacidad no es divertida y vivir con una discapacidad conlleva muchos retos, pero nosotros podemos hacer sus vidas más fáciles en vez de más difíciles.

Children's picture book for ages 2-6
Terry is struggling to learn numbers. Pansy, Terry’s dog, and Pansy’s best friend, Oliver, the hedgehog, want to help but they don’t know how. In the morning, Terry tells her mother that the fairy showed her the numbers in her dream. Her mother doesn’t believe her, but Grandma says, “Maybe there is a Number Fairy, Sweet Pea… Maybe there is.”

Children's picture book for ages 2-6
Penny always wants to do what her big brother does. She imitates his every move and constantly tweets, “Me, too.” Spike is angry at his sister and threatens to name her Metoo, but when the two young chickens face danger, Spike realizes how important family is and happy to have a sometimes annoying, but loving and brave little sister. 

Thank you for your interest, and happy reading!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Ain’t Nobody Got Time for Book Reviews in the Spotlight

Hi there, Toi here. I’m back to share another new release with you today. This is one for the teen and adult book lovers of the world. It’s an opinion piece I’ve written to shed some light on book reviewing culture.

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.

Check out these two, variant mock-up covers that didn’t make the cut as you enjoy this excerpt.

“I have this theory that if people treated book reviews like food reviews, we’d have more of them. Of course, I do understand that while everyone eats, not everyone reads. I also recognize that eating is a basic human need, and that reading is a form of entertainment, a tool of education and development, and a method of rehashing or discovering history. However, for those who love to read, books are usually a high priority. My question is, why not write book reviews?

When someone walks into a restaurant, they do so with the intention of spending money. In fact, I’d say it’s more than an intention. People go to restaurants to pay for a meal, just as people go to theaters to pay to watch movies. After paying for their meal, people often feel compelled to let other people know that the food was good or bad, that the service was good or bad, and that the price and ambiance were balanced or unbalanced.

This is not the case with books. For people who actually buy books, not just the people who only download free ebooks (This book probably isn’t for them anyway, but I’ll touch on this later.), but the people who pay money for ebooks, print books, and dare I say it, audiobooks- there is no guarantee that these paid for items will ever get read; a library patron will pretty much always read the books they obtain. Still, if by some chance a book is read, a small act of God or, whatever you believe in, may have to occur before the average reader will share their experience. They’ll keep it to themselves whether the plot was good, the characters were likable, and the setting was believable or realistic. No, no, no, a book lover will not go out of their way to write a review for a book they liked and will only write a review for a book they don’t like if they feel a need to warn people against it….”

Ain’t Nobody Got Time for Book Reviews © 2018 Toinette J Thomas, published as Toi Thomas.

If you liked this, please consider giving this book a look and check out my Lit Carnivale dream. 

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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Monday, November 26, 2018

Women in Science Fiction -- Anne McCaffrey

Ruth de Jauregui
The Harper Hall Trilogy - Kindle Editions
With the seventh anniversary of the passing of science fiction author Anne McCaffrey (April 1, 1926 – November 21, 2011) just last week, I wanted to talk about this amazing author. Her 46-year career in science fiction has led to her books filling science fiction fans' shelves, beginning with the fantastic Pern books.

Anne McCaffrey at Worldcon 2005
Picture taken by Szymon Sokół
McCaffrey, who was born in the US, moved to Ireland with her youngest two children after filing for divorce in 1970. Her 20-year marriage with Horace Wright Johnson had failed. With the change in Irish tax laws to exempt resident artists and her own Irish ancestry, it was a prudent move. While she stayed busy writing, her little family struggled for several years. It was the Pern-based Harper Hall Trilogy that freed her from her financial woes. As Todd, her middle son, wrote in 1996, McCaffrey "first set dragons free on Pern and then was herself freed by her dragons."

McCaffrey's first story "Freedom of the Race" was published in Hugo Gernsback's Science-Fiction Plus magazine in 1952. Her second, "The Lady in the Tower" was published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction as well as The Year's Greatest Science Fiction anthology.

Several more short stories followed before McCaffrey wrote her first novel Restoree (1967). The stand-alone novel was inspired by her desire to write a strong female character. Todd quoted her as saying "I was so tired of all the weak women screaming in the corner while their boyfriends were beating off the aliens. I wouldn't have been—I'd've been in there swinging with something or kicking them as hard as I could."

The Pern novels, like many of her books, began with a short story. "Weyr Search" was published in Analog Science Fiction and Fact in 1967. It took the 1968 Hugo Award for best novella. The following year the second Pern story "Dragonrider" took the Nebula Award for best novella. These two stories, plus the unpublished "Black Dust Crack Dust" became the first of the Pern novels, Dragonflight (1969). With input from famed science fiction author Andre Norton regarding the white dragon, Dragonquest (1971) followed, then several years later, The White Dragon (1978). The White Dragon was the first science fiction book by a woman to make the New York Times best-seller list. The Harper Hall trilogy was started before the publication of The White Dragon. Dragonsong (1976) and Dragonsinger (1977) were published before McCaffrey finished the Dragonriders trilogy. Then McCaffrey completed the Harper Hall trilogy in 1979 with Dragondrums.

McCaffrey wrote a number of other Pern books, plus several other series and stand-alone books. Among her other popular series were the Brain & Brawn, Crystal Singer, Dinosaur Planet, Doona, Talent and Tower & Hive books. While she did write a few fantasies, she was firmly set in the science fiction genre. Despite the misconceptions of some sci-fi and fantasy fans, her Pern books were definitely not fantasy; the dragons were developed from the native fire lizards by genetic manipulation.

She was honored many times in her long career, including induction into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2006 and receiving the Robert A. Heinlein Award in 2007. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America named her the 22nd Grand Master in 2005.

Although McCaffrey was scheduled to appear at Dragon*con in 2011, Todd posted on her blog in August about the cancellation. "Mum very specifically asked me to apologize to those who had hoped to see her there, saying: 'Sorry that old age came up and bit me on the a**.' The Directors at Dragon*con have said that she’s to rest and get better so she can come next year.” Sadly, McCaffrey didn't make it to the next Dragon*con; a stroke took her in November.

McCaffrey's last book, Sky Dragons, was co-authored with Todd and published posthumously in 2012.

Amazon: Anne McCaffrey's Author Page

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Books in the Spotlight #8 #OurAuthorGang

In the spotlight today

A Dystopian Urban Fantasy
Desperate times have come to Emma Maya Ando’s country. A totalitarian regime with no tolerance for deviation has marginalized thousands. Neither physical exceptionality nor freedom of thought has a place. All is conformity. But Maya doesn’t conform, and time is running out on her ability to conceal her condition. Can Maya find a cure before she is swept up in a purge… or will she take her secret to the grave? 

Historical romance
Diana Corbett’s childhood was plagued by unceasing dreams of smoke and flames. The nightmares went away, until the noted travel writer’s first night on assignment in Louisiana … when they returned with a vengeance. Could the handsome Cajun, Amos Boudreaux, be the key to unlocking the secret of BAYOU FIRE?
Award-winning author Sharon E. Cathcart presents her first full-length historical paranormal tale, set against the backdrops of modern-day and 1830s New Orleans. 

In Barcelona, a womanizing photographer unleashes the full force of his charm on the small-town Texas librarian, Sarah Brown, a heady cocktail that threatens to steal her heart, a prize he admits he doesn’t want. Still, she can’t resist him, and finds herself experiencing the heights of ecstasy and lows of heartbreak as her lover disappears without a word. In Berlin, a handsome Dutch Lothario seeks to seduce her, but his sordid past catches up, ensnaring Sarah and her new friends in a twisted family feud. When one of them goes missing, dark secrets are revealed, sparking an international manhunt. Will they expose the predator before it's too late? 

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