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.

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


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

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

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

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."

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Book Spotlight from Erika M Szabo #OurAuthorGang

Bilingual children's book
Written and illustrated by Erika M Szabo

Online stores EBOOK:

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 purpose of this English and Spanish bilingual book is to show children the beauty of another language and that learning a new language doesn’t have to be boring, it could be fun. The story also 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.

Sarah, la mamá de Emma, prometió cuidar de Pico durante dos semanas pero pronto se arrepiente de su decisión porque el ruidoso loro se pasa todo el día parloteando y chillando, molestando a su familia y vecinos. Cuando Pico desordena la habitación de Emma, ella se enfada mucho pero sus amigos la ayudan. Charlotte se da cuenta de que Pico parece triste y Pedro averigua porqué Pico está chillando tan alto todo el tiempo. El pájaro está frustrado porque nadie sabe lo que quiere ni le presta atención.
 La propuesta de este libro bilingüe inglés y español es mostrar a los niños la belleza de otra lengua y que aprender un nuevo idioma no tiene que ser aburrido, y puede ser divertido. La historia también transmite el mensaje de que cuando no nos tomamos tiempo para escucharnos los unos a los otros, tendemos a juzgar rápidamente antes de llegar a conocernos.

Watch this short video

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Our Guest Today is Author Matthew Davenport #OurAuthorGang

We're delighted to welcome Matt Davenport to Our Author Gang today.

Matt and his beautiful wife, Ren, reside in Des Moines, Iowa. He spends his time writing, reading, and working to promote and support writing communities in Iowa through his company, Davenport Writes, LLC. His most recent works include the sequel to his super-hero adventure series, BROKEN NIGHTS... co-written with his brother, Michael. He's also working on a horror novel SATAN'S SALESMAN, as well as the next book in his ANDREW DORAN ADVENTURE SERIES. Matt enjoys interacting with his readers and may be reached at

Dr. Andrew Doran has been out of touch with the major civilizations for quite a while. When an emissary from his Alma Mater demands his assistance, Andrew is in such a state that he has no choice but to help. The Nazis have taken the Necronomicon from Miskatonic University's library. With it, they could call upon every form of darkness and use the powers of the void to destroy all who stand in their way of unlimited power. 

For years, Doran has been at odds with Miskatonic University. Putting his negative feelings aside, Andrew takes charge and heads straight into the Nazi-controlled territories of Europe.

Along his journey from America and into the heart of Berlin, the dark Traum Kult, or Dream Cult, has sent beasts from the void between worlds to slow his progress.

This is adventure and monsters unlike anything the anthropologist has ever experienced, and only with the assistance of the trigger-happy Leo and the beautiful Olivia, both members of the French Resistance, does Dr. Doran have any chance of success.

A sane man would flinch. Dr. Andrew Doran charges in.

Friday, November 17, 2017

My Legacy Character, Part 5 of 5 #OurAuthorGang

My Legacy Character

Part 5 of 5

Joe Bonadonna

Cover by Erika M. Szabo 

So now we come to the final chapter, where I introduce you to Mad Shadows II: Dorgo the Dowser and the Order of the Serpent . . . Golden Quill Award Semi-Finalist

 In the first story, The Girl Who Loved Ghouls, Dorgo falls in love with Valuta Jefoor, a “Wikku” witch who practices Earth Magic and is the guardian of a small tribe of ghouls. Valuta adopted the ghouls after the death of her young son many years earlier. She has become a surrogate mother to the ghouls, who are being framed for a series of murders in the village of Widow’s Fell. So with Valuta I deal with the loss of a child and how a devastated mother dedicates her life to protecting harmless, innocent creatures that prefer not to have anything to do with mankind. Now, we meet a number of disabled veterans who live in Widow’s Fell, and through them we learn what true courage is all about. One other character, the sleazy Lord Balambo Mogg, has a secret and murderous agenda born of the fact that his father took him away from his mother when he was just a child, and didn’t discover the truth behind her death until he was an adult. So here we deal with child abduction and a character that has “mommy issues.” This fuels the story and sets the plot into motion, and introduces three brothers who will play a short but pivotal role in part two. I haven’t neglected the “tropes” of heroic fantasy, not by a long shot. There is plenty of magic, murder, mystery, mayhem and monster as Dorgo battles creatures from another dimension and meets one very special cat named Crystal. It’s also the first time he hears about the ancient death cult — the Order of the Serpent.

Part Two is called The Book of Echoes, and it’s a pretty straightforward story: “a little knowledge can be a deadly thing” is the main theme, with such minor themes as (again) loss, as well as revenge. Like The Maltese Falcon and a number of films directed by Alfred Hitchcock, this story isn’t so much about this mysterious book as it is about the people who will do anything and stop at nothing to get their hands on it. It all starts on a cold winter’s night when a young woman is murdered and a strange book of arcane lore is stolen from her. This is where the three characters introduced in The Girl Who Loved Ghouls enter the story and play out the roles that destiny has assigned to them. Along the way Dorgo is joined by Praxus the satyr and Heegy Wezzle, known as The Big Dwarf, both of whom were introduced in the first Mad Shadows. And let’s not forget Cham Mazo, Captain of the Purple Hand Constabulary in the city of Valdar, where Dorgo lives; Mazo has figured prominently in almost every Dorgo story to date. Dorgo also encounters a number of other characters who are seeking The Book of Echoes for their own agendas: a femme fatale named Teela Darp, a drunken lowlife named Balu Zill. We meet other characters, too, such as Quarik Lhaney, the gargoyle who rings the bells at the cathedral of Sahn Andor, who has some insight into the book. There’s also a strange man from another world known simply as The Mask, who is the key to the riddle of the book. Not only does Dorgo discover that the book is a priceless relic from another world, it has a power, a magic all its own. It also has a life of its own, and reading it without using a special lens called the ocuvista has dire, dangerous and horrible consequences. As the story progresses, Dorgo learns more about the snake-worshiping Order of the Serpent. But first he must battle both humans and demons in order to find The Book of Echoes. But if he gets his hands on it will he keep it or destroy it?

Finally, we come to part three, The Order of the Serpent. When called upon to help a young girl named Jivvy Trenovis trapped inside an evil spell, Dorgo must confront fiends born of dark sorcery as he tries to save her life. Found lying in a deserted part of a forest by the ever-present Captain Mazo, Dorgo discovers a piece of paper clutched in one of her hands. On this paper are written two words: Ophidious Garloo. Is that someone’s name or the words to a spell? That’s something Dorgo sets out to learn because he’s sure it’s the key to what happened to Jivvy.  This story deals with parental abuse, abortion, love, betrayal and incest. But fear not, for once again I give you plenty of mayhem, murder, magic, mystery and monsters to go around. Besides the ever-present Captain Mazo, there’s large cast of characters populating this story. We meet a number of Dorgo’s underworld cronies, such as a gangster named Vorengi Deega, a 9-foot cyclops who controls all the gambling in the city of Valdar. Then there’s the booze-addled, two-bit mage, Hajir Basim, who knows more than he lets on. We’re introduced to Lisera Icari, a Sahlyra, or Spellbreaker who uses healing crystals and metaphysical tools in her work. Then there are the ill-fated lovers — Jivvy’s brother Vaddo and his fiancé, Erula Sarforn. Erula’s father, Pulo, is a frail scholar who has a fondness for reptiles and was once romantically involved with Jivvy. He’s accompanied everywhere he goes by his strange butler known only as Stealth. And finally, we have a pair of sick and sadistic satyrs named Quarg and Zulo. We also learn a bit more about the nature of Dorgo’s dowsing rod, its metaphysical origins, and how it works.  The climax is weird, wild and brutal after Dorgo discovers that Ophidious Garloo is an ancient, powerful and undying warlock, and how he manages to maintain his near immortality. The climax is weird, wild and brutal as Dorgo and Lisera battle to destroy the leader of the Order of the Serpent and his hell-spawned minions.

Well, there you have it — the history of Dorgo the Dowser. I hope you enjoyed reading this, and I hope I’ve intrigued you enough to check out the first two volumes of Dorgo’s adventures. The third volume, Dorgo and the Heroes of Echo Gate, is already in the making. This time I’ve done something I swore I’d never do — write a long, full novel where not only is Dorgo’s world in jeopardy, but so is the Past, Present and Future of every parallel world of the multi-dimensional cosmos I call the Echoverse.

But you know what they say . . . “Never say ‘never.’”

 You can check out both Mad Shadows: The Weird Tales of Dorgo the Dowser, and Mad Shadows II: Dorgo the Dowser and the Order of the Serpent, as well as my other novels and anthologies by clicking on the link to my Amazon Author page. Thank you!

My Amazon Author page:

#heroicfantasy  #swordandsorcery  #horror  #supernatural  #paranormal  #joebonadonna

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Those Pesky Email Scams #OurAuthorGang

You Got Mail

I've been using my email account for a long time and I receive a lot of junk mail. Some are from spammers, others are from scammers, or phishing emails trying to sneak into my computer and steal my personal information. 
It's impossible to find out how they get a hold of email addresses. Maybe from social sites, or from websites where we use the email address to sign up, or perhaps from companies we buy something from.
All I know is that if I would open every email that comes to my inbox, I could be in a whole lot of trouble. Cyber-criminals are constantly trying new methods to scam us.

You can spot most of the scam, spam, and phishing emails, I have a few tips for you: 

Don't trust the name listed in the email title:
If you receive an email that has your bank's name in the address such as and not it is definitely a scam email. You should look at the domain name after the @ rather than the name before it.

Scammers use well-known company, website, or bank names in the title of their emails. Before you click on any email to open it, hover over the title of the email. A box will pop up and the hypertext will show the address of the email. If it's different than what you'd expect by reading the title, it is a scam, spam, or phishing email.
You would think you got a legitimate offer from the ADT Home Security System company, right?

This is what this scam email looks like when you hover over the title:
You would think you got a legitimate offer from the ADT Home Security System company, right? Although the title says it's from a legit company, the hypertext reveals the sender's identity. An address with a bunch of random letters and numbers. I don't even know how the inside of these emails looks like because I never open them.
This is a legitimate email:
This hypertext shows that the email was really sent by Goodreads, a well-known social site. When you open this email, it contains a message, signature, link to the sender, and some information about the sender.

A few more scam email examples:
The email title:
eCoverage Fidelity® Life
The hypertext shows:
Okay, so I happen to have Fidelity, so at a quick glance, I might that they might have new information or a good deal for me and I'm tempted to click and open the email. But when I hover over the title and see the address, I smirk and say, "Guess what buddy? You're going to spam and you will be reported to my email provider."

The email title:
US Clinical Trials
The hypertext shows:
Yeah, clinical trials from "dealdelux"? What are they trying? Testing my stupidity meter?

The email title:
Accredited Debt Relief
The hypertext shows:
I can imagine a lot of people in a desperate financial situation would open this email hoping for a loan that their bank denied. But, check the hypertext and be safe.

“Congratulation! You’re a winner!"
Yeah, right! I’ve won a contest I don't even remember entering. Be wary of any email that offers congratulations for something you haven’t done.

And, of course, the good old email that has been circulating for years informing you that you inherited a large sum of money or a multi-billionaire is giving millions away. Seriously!
Or a sappy email message begging for donations to pay for a kidney transplant or something. I bet they're sitting on the beach somewhere sipping pina colada and sending out emails from their laptops. 

Who wrote this email?
If you see spelling mistakes and badly written sentences in the email, you should think twice before clicking on the links. Most likely these emails are written by people who translate the text with Google translator from Arabic or Chinese and they don't speak a word of English. They either want your money, they want to infect your computer, or they want to install a spyware on your computer and get your personal information.

When the alarm bell sounds in your head
"Ding-ding" sounds the alarm in your head if they ask you for any personal information, particularly bank account details, passwords or credit card numbers.

If scam emails have attachments they most likely contain malware. Until you know that the email is safe, do not click or download any attachments.

It is normal for legitimate emails to include contact details, especially legitimate company emails. The absence of contact info should make your internal alarm bells ringing as well.

I hope you found this post useful. If you have time, click and visit my website

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Angel Lore: part 3 by Toi Thomas #OurAuthorGang

From Pinterest via Etsy (link no longer active).
Today, in part 3 of my Angel Lore series, I’ll be sharing more angel knowledge with you from K – O, as I work my way through the alphabet (see part ONE and part TWO here). But first…

One of the most fascinating aspects of angel lore, for me, has been discovering the many different types and individual angels of mention in the various religious texts and folklores. This discovery of angels prompted me to create, and even mash-up, a few of my own, when writing my Eternal Curse Series. Still, even though I had fun creating new and blended versions of angels, I also enjoyed incorporating some of the more commonly known ones. On to the list…

Kakabek, a holy angel or a fallen angel? The lore isn’t clear; however, this angel is said to be in charge of the stars and is the reason people have astrology.

There’s no way I could briefly mention the things I’ve learned about the most famous angel, Lucifer, so I’ll mention another lesser known one. Especially known as a kind of trouble maker in the Jewish faith, Lahash is said to have tried to stop Moses from sending a prayer to God. Still researching this story to find out why.

While Michael is probably the second most famous angel, I’m not going to talk about him either. I’m going to tell why I think, Malik, of the Muslim faith is one of the coolest angels I’ve come across. He’s described as a wicked angel, but not necessarily fallen. Tasked with guarding the gates of hell, he taunts and tortures the souls that beg to be released. Not that torture is cool, but hey, the guy is literally just doing his job- punishing and detaining the damned.

 Anyone here like giants? Wondering what giants have to do with angels? Ever heard of the Nephilim? The idea of the Nephilim and their descendants (Anakim and Raphaim) are a major influence in my Eternal Curse Series. These are the offspring of pure, yet rogue, angels who took human wives. They grew to be giants and taught humans many new evils, such as the art of war.

Orisha are complicated entities to briefly explain, but here I go. These beings stem from Yoruba, an African religion, and others like it. This is both a monotheistic and polytheistic faith similar to the structure of Hinduism, where orshia are the souls of humans who lived noble lives who are then exalted in death (risen to a godlike status) and function much like guardian angels…

Well, that's all I have for today. Stick around this blog so you don't miss part 4 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.

#cursescanbebroken, #angels, #wings, #Pinterest

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

When Life Imitates Art #OurAuthorGang

My Dystopian series, The Song of Forgetfulness, set in a post-apocalyptic world where rising oceans and disease has wiped out most animal life, is a work of fiction, right? Wrong.

When I was researching the consequences of the melting polar ice caps, the destruction of the rain forests, the surge of new and deadly diseases, I realised my books were based not on science fiction, but scarily, science fact.

The shocking truth is, that global warming and the harmful effects of pesticides on pollinating insects and animals, is far worse than we thought. A case in point is the humble bee. In the UK their numbers have decreased at an alarming rate due mostly to the use of pesticides and pollutants commonly used in agriculture.

These creatures are vital to the fertilisation of many crops and plants that in turn provide food for other animals and ultimately human beings. If their numbers continue to decline, then the fragile ecology system of our planet will be compromised so severely that extinction of many species is inevitable. That has consequences for people to, for without these species we will not survive as the fauna that feeds on these plants, cows, sheep, pigs etc. will also die out. Meaning humans who eat such animals and plants will starve.

"The impacts are potentially high for otherwise healthy people, animals and plants," the reporter states. 'Higher temperatures will lead to an increased risk of the Asian tiger mosquito, the vector of Chikungunya virus, dengue fever and Zika virus. The current risk remains low, but may increase in the future."

Most of mankind is, of course, in denial. We don't want to hear the truth. So when things start to go bad, and they have, droughts, followed by flooding and mighty tornados, which have devastated some parts of the world, are soon forgotten. Things gradually get back to a kind of normal and like pain, the memory of it is diluted. The result is that if we continue to look the other way, forget the tragedies, we will become increasingly unprepared for the consequences of an even bigger environmental disaster.

In The Chronicles of Mayer, a prequel to The Song of Forgetfulness series, the female protagonist has such a discussion with her father:

Floods and terrible diseases were wiping out many local farms. I remember when a neighbour lost his business. It was the first time I'd seen my dad upset. 'You know Brian?'
'Sheila's uncle?'
'Yep. Well you know they have a small holding?'
'Lost all their cattle and sheep to some ancient bug thingy. Had them all shot dead. They'll be bankrupt.' I stared at my father. He shrugged and said, 'Well, there you go. That's life I suppose.' he turned on the television, sat and watched the news. He shivered. 'Turn the central heating up, love.'
'Don't you care?'
'Don't start, I'm trying to wind down.'
I stood in front of the screen, he leaned to one side and waved his hand at me. 'Move.'
'Can't you see what is happening? Nature is trying to fix things. She's resurrecting some ancient bugs. Anthrax is back. That's what the reporter is saying, or aren't you listening?'
'Of course I am.'
'Anthrax, Dad. What next?'
He turned the volume up and shoved me out of the way. 'Who cares? Whatever, we'll survive. We've still got a bit of ozone layer. We're fine, for now.'
I stiffened. 'Really? Are we?'

Such potential catastrophes are happening in the UK. In recent years the weather has taken its toll on agriculture. In the region where I live, farming has suffered from poor crops due to rain erosion and poorly managed drainage systems.

Here is an extract from a similar story in the Guardian newspaper. Link to the full report:

The UK is poorly prepared for the inevitable impacts of global warming in coming decades, including deadly annual heatwaves, water shortages and difficulties in producing food, according to the government's official advisers.

'Already 85% of the rich peat topsoils of East Anglia has disappeared,' said Krebs.

However, not all is doom and gloom. Very recently the UK government announced a total ban on pesticides that harm bees, being used in farming.

On a smaller level we can do our part to encourage the survival of bees by creating a bee garden. If you have the space, you can let a part of your yard/garden go wild again. Plant some bee-friendly flowers such as, borage, marjoram, chives, lavender, honeysuckle, crocus and sage. If you don't have an outside space, you can plant flowers in tubs/containers and leave them on your windowsill, porch or pathway.

Well, it's a start. Perhaps my stories will be just that, stories, and our future will not be so bleak. Besides, in my Dystopian world mankind does survive and some even try to make the world a better place. Oh no, I've given too much away.

If you want to know more about The Song of Forgetfulness series, please visit my website:

Or go to my Amazon Author page:

All photographs copyright of the author Nicola McDonagh