Click to read my February Newsletter
Wolves in sheep's clothing
Vanity publishers contact me, and I assume they contact as many authors they can find, from time to time either on my website or on the phone (which supposedly hidden on social sites, but I guess made accessible to those who pay for the list)
They hire great salespeople, I have to give them that!
I had a message and a pleasant female voice stated that she read my book, loved it and would like to offer a publishing contract. Not knowing where she was calling from I called her back.
"Which book did you like?" I asked.
I heard papers shuffling and keyboard clicking and then she said, "The Ancestors' Secrets trilogy."
"What did you like about the series?"
"Uhm… I really like the story and I'd like to publish it for you. It has great potentials and you will make a large profit after we publish and market your book."
It was obvious she knew nothing about my books and was trying to find a naïve and willing pigeon to make a large profit.
Lately, since self-published or first time publishing authors are more aware of the pitfalls of vanity publishers, they often pose as a traditional publisher.
When asked, they vehemently deny that they are vanity publishers.
"We don’t accept everyone who submits their manuscript." They'd say.
Yeah, right! They're hounding authors all over the net.
"We don't ask authors to pay for publishing but you're required to purchase a certain number of books!"
Their profit is coming from the 100 to 500 books sold to the authors. Why would they worry about selling books to readers?
Vanity publishers rely on the authors to pay for everything, therefore, they have little interest in selling books to other than the authors.
A few facts
A vanity publisher that poses as a traditional publisher.
They don’t mention their fees on their websites or when they contact you, you find out that money is due only after you submitted your manuscript.
They claim to share the cost:
Terms like “co-op”, “joint venture”, “partner”, “subsidy”, or any other phrase that suggests the publisher will be matching your investment with its own. They will not, their profit comes from the fees its authors pay and the books the authors buy.
Glowing referrals from literary agencies or freelance editors.
Reputable literary agents and freelance editors don’t work with vanity publishers. Period.
A promise (usually implied) of a profit.
They provide a nice sales projections chart supposedly showing that you can make thousands of dollars by selling X number of books.
A setup fee or deposit.
"You’re not paying to publish, you just contribute to the cost of preparing your book for printing."
A fee for some aspect of the publication process other than book production.
They ask you to chip in for editing, or for cover art, or for publicity (real publishers provide these things as part of the publication process, at their expense).
Fees for “extra” services over and above the basics of publication.
They offer you the opportunity to pay for expedited editing, or special website placement, or inclusion in book fair catalogs, or enhanced marketing. Because they say these services are optional, they can claim that they're not making authors to pay to publish.
A claim that your fee is only part of the cost, with the publisher fronting the rest.
They're making you feel better about paying a large amount of money. Their profit comes from the fees authors pay and the books the authors buy, rather than from book sales to the public.
Refusal to provide a firm price and detailed information.
The exact amount you are expected to pay should be stated and included in the contract with any extras such as warehousing or marketing. You could be hit with enormous additional fees.
Verbal promises that aren’t included in the contract.
If the publisher is willing to promise something, it should also be willing to include it to the contract.
They might say that they can’t risk a regular contract for someone who hasn’t yet published anything, but would be willing to split the costs and profits of the book. Or they may tell you that they’ve used up their traditional publishing budget for the year, but would be glad to work on a “co-op” basis. Or they may promise to publish your second book without charge if the first book does well.
They want to hook you quickly, before you change your mind. They might tell you that its offer is “limited time only" or if they feel hesitation on your part, they put you on hold for a few seconds and come back: "I talked to my supervisor and we can offer you a $$$ drop of the fees."
Run! Either find a traditional publisher that don't charge any fees, or self-publish your book with KDP, Nook, Smashwords, D2D, iBooks, Google etc.
A list of known vanity publishers
AuthorHouse is, according to the (BBB) Better Business Bureau just one of the alternative names for Author Solutions, LLC. Other alternative names include:
Trafford Publishing, LLC
Author Learning Center
Content Distributors, LLC
PublishAmerica, also known as: PublishAtlantica
PublishBritannica (not to be confused with the encyclopedia company)
Tate Publishing & Enterprises
Need help with self-publishing?
Click and view the GBBPub portfolio
Tips from a writer who tried, failed,
Short stories about life’s humorous, happy, and dark moments.
Some of the stories are from my years in nursing, Steve's clumsiness and my cooking disasters might make you spit out your coffee laughing. The stories of my pets will put a warm smile on your face, and the stories about life's darker moments might make you wipe a tear or two.
Rainbows and dark clouds are part of life,
Without darkness there can be no light.
Without moments that make us cry,
We can’t enjoy moments that make us smile.
Without moments that make us laugh,
We can’t get through moments that make us sad.
~Erika M Szabo
The Rainbows and Clouds by Erika M Szabo is a collection of fun anecdotes, heartwarming stories, and slice-of-life tales that evoke a wide range of emotions. It's impossible to choose a favorite story because I loved them all, particularly the tales that explored the challenges of having a pet. There are several stories within this collection that explore the best - and the worst - of humanity. We are reminded that not everything, or everyone, is what they appear to be and that the best things in life are often surprises. I would absolutely recommend this book to everyone! It truly is something special.
A large man in the ER screamed bloody murder after two nurses tried to insert an IV in his arm and failed. The guy threatened to call his lawyer and sue the hospital. He called the nurses incompetent fools, so, because I was the supervisor on that shift, they called me to deal with the angry man.
I walked into his room, introduced myself and told him, “Sir, I’m going to try to start your IV.”
He yelled, “This hospital is full of ******* idiots! I hope you know what you’re doing!”
I put my nurse’s face on and said in my soothing nurse’s voice to break his foul mood, “Don’t worry, sir, I just watched a video on YouTube and learned how to start IVs.”
The surprised look on his face was priceless and I heard the nurses taking sharp breaths outside the door, ready for another angry eruption.
“What? You’re kidding, right?”
I just smiled at him and started preparing the IV kit.
“Okay, you get one shot!” he replied somewhat calmer, but there was a calculating look on his face as if he was already counting the money he would get from a lawsuit. He watched me like a hawk, and I saw his wife from the corner of my eye holding her phone and recording my every move.
After I started his IV and adjusted the IV fluid drip he said calmly, “You did alright.”
I left his room and one of the younger nurses gave me a fist bump and said, “I didn’t believe it when they said you’re a patient whisperer, but now I know.”
Money can get you anything, right?
It is a nice feature on this site because when the authors and website visitors share the voting link, the books might have a chance to find potential readers who might never see these books otherwise.
So, like a good little author, I shared the link on my social sites when the voting started on Nov. 1st. On the 2nd of November I got a message on my profile offering unlimited votes for $1 each.
Right! Why would I buy votes? It's unethical, unfair to the contestants and misleading to readers.
Today I got a message on my website:
Some highly competitive authors might take advantage of this to win contests, but is it fair to the other contestant who don't want to win by cheating, or even if they don't mind cheating, they don't have the financial freedom to pay for votes.
I'm not buying votes, I'm just grateful for the promo this marketing site provides for my books. If my books are not shown to readers, they will just sit at the bottom of the virtual bookshelf, collecting virtual dust.
"It's little things that mean so much"
She loves coffee, writes absolutely beautiful poetry, and her favorite color is purple.
After I sent her the picture, she wrote this beautiful poem for me that made me cry.
It's little things that mean so much
A kind word, a gentle touch
Handmade treasures filled with love
Or surprise gifts, just because
When life seems hard and hope is lost
Hearts feel thoughtfulness, not size or cost
The smallest gesture of a dear friend
Sparks belief the darkness will end
Rainbows start shining through the rain
Life's Garden begins to bloom again
~By Cindy J. Smith
It made me happy to make something nice for her and it made her happy that I thought about her. And then, she made me cry happy tears when she wrote a poem, just for me.
Do something nice today for someone
There is so much misery, jealousy, cruelty and suffering in our world, brighten someone's day if only for a minute, and put a happy smile on their faces.
Cindy is a great poet, her life experiences provide her with inspiration.
Wife, mother and grandmother, she has a myriad of beautiful memories to draw from. Never having been good at playing the part of "starving artist", she has had many careers. Recently she retired from being an over-the-road truck driver with her husband, Dave, which provided different perspectives of the world in which we live. Cindy has published five poetry books (with two more coming out in December) and a children's book. More of her poems appear in various anthologies as well as several books by fellow authors.
You can find Cindy's poetry books on AMAZON
Her page on FACEBOOK
And on TWITTER
And three of her eBooks on many sites:
Because I couldn't finish this story to little Johnny
Today I will share a painful memory with you
As a young nurse, I worked in the pediatric unit for a short while. Johnny was a nine-year-old cute as a button little boy who had leukemia. The medications and treatments wiped him out physically and emotionally but he still had a sweet smile for everyone who entered his room.
Restrained sobs choked me every time I saw his pale, angelic little face and heard him say, "Hello, beautiful. Give me that shot quickly and tell me a story." (his father was a flirt and he imitated him by calling the nurses beautiful or gorgeous.)
Our storytelling sessions started when he had a very bad day and the medications didn't work to suppress his nausea and headache. All I could do was sit by his bed, hold his hand and wait for the stronger medication to kick in. To break the silence and get his attention away from heaving and pain, I started reciting a fairy tale, "Once upon a time..."
As I continued the story, his breathing slowed and he hung onto every word seemingly forgetting his pain and mystery for a few minutes. The story with medicine became our routine and one morning, because I didn't remember any more fairy tales that I had read as a child, I started telling him my childhood memories.
One of my fondest memory was how my best friend and I saved four drowning kittens when a cruel neighbor threw them into the river.
Johnny grew weaker and weaker and could listen to the story only a few minutes at a time, but he remembered the next day where we left off. When we got to the part where my mom prepared a wicker basket for the kittens, Johnny's eyes lit up and said, "A kosarnyi kiscica" which means "A basketful of kittens."
When I wrote this story into a children's book last year, in memory of little Johnny, I gave the title to the book he came up with: A Basketful of Kittens.
I never had a chance to tell him the end of the story. There were only a few minutes left to tell him how Daniel and I dealt with the neighborhood bullies, but when I entered little Johnny's room the next morning, his bed was empty.
This book is for you little Johnny!
Bianca and her best friend, Daniel, grew up together under the watchful eyes of Peanut, Bianca’s St. Bernard. The huge dog was their babysitter, playmate, and bodyguard. They were inseparable, so people started calling them the BFF Gang. When summer vacation came, Bianca and Daniel decided to go swimming in the river when they were confronted by Mark and his cronies of the Wolf Pack Gang. Find out how Peanut told Mark, in his own doggy language, how much he dislikes brute bullies. When Bianca and Daniel finally got to the river and were happily splashing in the cool water, they heard Peanut’s angry bark, and they saw an old woman approaching the riverbank with a basket in her hand. When the woman reached the edge of the river, she took a tiny, meowing kitten out of her basket and threw it into the river as far from shore as she could. The kitten flailed in the air, desperately crying, and then splashed into the water. Find out what happened to the kittens and how the children dealt with the bullies.
Read a few pages from the book
Creepy Hollow Adventures
My best childhood memories are the bedtime stories my parents read to me before I fell asleep. Although dad knew the Spiffy Goose word for word after reading it 300 times, he was a good sport and kept reading it with me over and over.
Later, when I learned to read, I quickly discovered the "flashlight trick" and read my favorite stories under the cover way into the night.
Joe Bonadonna and I wrote this fantasy story for children 8-14 which is a great read-along for children 6-8 as well.
Read a few pages from the books
Golden Book Award Winner, spooky and funny heroic fantasy adventure for middle-grade children and younger adults. A great read-along for children 6-8 as well.
Nikki and her impish cousin, Jack, find a mysterious black pumpkin in the forest on Halloween. A wise talking skeleton, Wishbone, tells them that the ghosts of the Trinity of Wishmothers are trapped inside the pumpkin and can’t be freed without their wands.
The children offer their help, so the skeleton takes them on a journey to the world of Creepy Hollow to retrieve the three wands he hid long ago in Red Crow Forest, the Tower of Shadows, and the Cave of Spooks. Ghoulina, the beautiful vegetarian ghoul, and Catman, who was once a man, join them on their quest.
They must face danger and conquer evil every step of the way as they search for the Wands before the wicked Hobgoblin and his henchman, a Tasmanian Devil, can get their hands on them. This is a fun, humorous and touching story for kids, with plenty of character interaction woven into a backdrop of scary danger, heroic action and lessons to be learned.
Nikki and Jack return to Creepy Hollow in this new, action-packed fantasy adventure for middle-grade children and young adults.
On her 13th birthday, Nikki discovers she has magical powers. During a surprise attack by the giant Mutanto, his henchmen Howler and a gang of Werewolves, Wishbone, Ghoulina and Catman arrive to save the kids and tell them about Evila the Grim Witch’s plans to conquer Creepy Hollow.
Nikki also learns the truth about what happened to her parents twelve years ago. She and Jack go back to Creepy Hollow with their friends to help them defeat Evila. Jack discovers he can talk to animals when they meet a herd of Wild Horses and he becomes friends with Champ, the clumsy young colt, and Sparky, the orphaned dragon.
Together, Nikki and Jack conquer their fears and gain courage, and in the final battle against Evila and her minions they grow into the warriors they were destined to become.
The series is also available in one book
as paperback and hardcover
A few illustrations from the books
"Not only does this tale—perfect for ages six to young teens--entertain, it teaches important lessons on how to work with others to accomplish goals, how to face fear, the importance of safety, and how to make difficult decisions. A cast of endearing (and some not so sweet) characters, non-stop action and plenty of twists and turns engages and delights."
"Erika Szabo and Joe Bonadonna, share a great talent and imagination when it comes to write children's stories. They take kids and young teens on a magical reading journey that will keep them glued to the pages. I recommend this book for young teens. It is the perfect story for Halloween time. It's like Cool Whip on a pie!"
"Szabo and Bonadonna’s story crackles with action and excitement. Their storytelling moves with the speed of lightning, but never lets the reader get lost. The atmosphere is just spooky enough to be fun but never enough to be too scary."
Erika M Szabo
"Erika became an avid reader at a very early age, thanks to her dad who introduced her to many great books. Erika writes alternate history, romantic fantasy, magical realism novels as well as fun, educational, and bilingual books for children ages 4-12 about acceptance, friendship, family, and moral values such as accepting people with disabilities, dealing with bullies, and not judging others before getting to know them. Erika also likes to encourage children to use their imagination and daydream about fantasy worlds.
“Much like Erika, Joe’s dad introduced him to books, as well as movies and music, at a very young age. He was encouraged to write as soon as he could hold a pencil. While Joe writes mostly Heroic Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery, Horror and Science Fiction for an older audience, he decided to reach out to a younger audience and write something entertaining, as well as educational. This is his first collaboration with Erika, and his first children’s book.”
They called me chicken one too many times...
As kids, we did a lot of crazy and stupid things. although I was scared silly, I hated that the kids called me chicken because I shrugged off too many dares, so I thought I had to accept this one.
As young teenagers, we always traveled in a pack. We did a lot of stupid things together and dared each other to do more stupid things. Well, we didn't eat Tide pods, jumping out of a moving car, sucking on shot glasses or anything that stupid, but we were pretty inventive too.
Usually, I made a joke out of it when the others dared me to do dangerous things such as jumping into the icy river but that mid-November evening they called me a chicken one too many times so I gave in.
The dare was to walk across the cemetery that only had two gates and was surrounded by stone wall. There was only one gate in and one gate out, there was no chance to cheat. Two older kids who did the dare the previous year became the self-appointed judges and walked to the opposite gate to wait for us rookies as we walked across one by one.
My friend, Steve, was brave enough to go first. We saw him for a little while walking down the close to a quarter-mile path between the tall headstones and dark mausoleums in the eerie light of the full moon. Then we heard a loud thump and his muffled cry that gave us goosebumps. We looked at each other ready to go after him when he yelled out, "I'm okay! Just tripped over a bench."
A few minutes later we heard a cheer from the other gate and one of the older kids yelled, "Who's next?"
Okay, let's get this over with, I thought and crossed the gate. I was scared. Walking across the cemetery was a shortcut on the way home from school and I'd used that shortcut a lot, but the headstones looked a lot taller and a whole lot scarier than in daylight.
I kept walking throat constricted and knots in my stomach, but I kept walking. Suddenly, I saw a dark shadow from the corner of my eye. I turned my head and there it was, back-lit by the moon, a werewolf. I saw it clearly as it raised it's head and howled. I froze and couldn't move a muscle. Although I screamed in my mind, I couldn't make a sound.
Read the full post HERE
Gary's Bookshelf Review at MBR Bookwatch
Gary Roen's review
"Bullies get their due in "the Haunted Bakery of Seven Pines" The authors bring together characters into a most interesting situation combining a haunted mansion with a bully who wants to prove he is not afraid of anything by spending the night in a vacant home that has had many legends told about it for many years. The solution to the aggressive behavior of certain kids is handled in a most unique way that makes for an interesting read that is enhanced by the artwork of artist Sudipta Dasgupta. There are many symbolic renderings for readers to pick up on in "the Haunted Bakery of Seven Pines that increase the enjoyment of this work for all ages to appreciate."
About the story
Best friends Albert and Timmy were mean bullies, and nobody liked them. One day a group of children that were fed up with the daily torture of name calling and pushing and shoving, dared them to go into the old building at night to see if it's really haunted. Albert accepted the dare and although Timmy had his doubts, he went along with his best friend.
What will they find in the old bakery?
Is the legend true and they will disappear forever as many children did who had entered the building?
Literacy Enrichment Kit included
The background of the story
Becky had the rough outline of a story of two boys who went into the bakery at night, on a dare. When Becky showed the rough manuscript to Erika, she accepted the challenge of making the sketchy ideas into a great story together with Becky.
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.
A few more reviews from Amazon
It's not cool to be a bully
June 24, 2018
By Grace Augustine
Albert, the school bully, talked his friend Timmy into being just like him. They were the "cool" boys...always calling other classmates names, and puffing out their chests. That was until one day one of the other students challenged Albert and Timmy to prove they weren't just the words they slung at others. This challenge led them into more trouble than they were already in...an abandoned bakery, an evil witch, and boys who were scared spit-less fill the first half of this epic children's novel. This is a classic tale of the good kids against the bullies, important life lessons are learned in an unconventional way through an unlikely ally. The Haunted Bakery of Seven Pines is a lovely story for elementary and middle schoolers.
June 25, 2018
This book melds history and fiction while also weaving a moral into the story. Hauntings from Becky Robbins’s childhood are resurrected, and incorporated into a children’s book that is based on an actual “haunted” bakery in Virginia, but is a vessel to intrigue and instruct readers. Anti-bullying literature must grab the reader’s attention early on, and the Haunted Bakery certainly delivers. The book has a lesson to teach but is also light hearted and fun...and scary!! Love this little book filled with history and histrionics and a lesson to be learned.
This book was a fun read and had a wonderful lesson for 5-12 year-olds
June 25, 2018
By Christina Weigand
This book was a fun read and had a wonderful lesson for 5-12 year-olds. When the school bullies are challenged to visit a haunted house they are surprised at what they find. They will learn a valuable lesson about bullies.
Five to twelve year-olds will learn valuable lessons about bullying. This can be a good tool for teachers and parents to be used in teaching children about bullying without being preachy or having it look like they are being taught a lesson.
Children will enjoy this fun tale of mystery and intrigue as the bullies take up the challenge and learn a lesson.
5.0 out of 5 stars
This is a fun story that teaches an important lesson.June 30, 2018
This is an important book. The fact that it's a fun story with lovely illustrations is just a bonus. It's obvious that the central theme of this story is bullying but there's more to it than that. While the main characters of the story are, Albert and Timmy, two school bullies, there are other characters in the story who could also be considered bullies as well. Plus, there's also a witch worth mentioning.
At the beginning of the story, we see Albert and Timmy bullying the other kids, but it's pretty clear that this isn't a behavior that they do simply out of spite. Both boys have experienced some form of bullying themselves in the past and therefore they’re simply ‘beating the other kids at their own game.’ I think this is a wonderful dynamic to explore in children's fiction. I think it's a good idea to explore in any type of fiction. I think too often people feel that a bully is just a bully, but often there's more to the story. And then there's the evil witch. Perhaps there's more to her story as well.
While the action of the story begins with a dare that sends Albert and Timmy on their adventure into the haunted bakery, there are underlying tones to the story that you might miss if you don't pay really close attention. To young readers, the fun, mystery, and adventure of the story will pull them in, along with the colorful images, but adults will appreciate the other significances of the story, hopefully prompting them to discuss them with the young readers.
Aside from the central theme of bullying, the story also touches on aspects of: asking and seeking help from others, accepting help from others, accepting others as they are and for their differences, and even acknowledging the changes in times. Considering the social climate of modern times, being able to look back at the past and see how things have changed and or improved is important. I feel more people should take time to look at the past for improvements while continuing to strive for even better in the future.
I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, which has in no way affected my opinion or overall rating.
I think this is a fun story that teaches an important lesson. I highly recommend it to elementary classroom teachers, parents, and anyone else seeking a way to help deal with bullying.
5.0 out of 5 starsBully Buster
July 2, 2018
The Haunted Bakery is a great book! It deals with bullying and I have two small children and their attention span is very limited. I read the book to them and they sat through the whole book and it was like they were mesmerized by the illustrations. I recommend this book and give it 5 stars.
5.0 out of 5 stars
A wonderful book to read to your small children.
July 2, 2018
A wonderful book to read to your small children. I work in a Pediatric dental office and I have this book in our office. A well written book and wonderful illustrations. A great price for a great book!!!!
Lessons and moral messages in stories
When my teacher asked that question after we finished reading a book, I wanted to sink into the floor and disappear. I didn't want to analyse the moral message of the story, I just wanted to enjoy it. But she was right, we learn something from every story we read.
Hidden moral lessons and messages are expected from children's books because that's what children's stories are about. They teach children without sounding preachy.
But what can you learn from a fantasy, romance or suspense story?
You would be surprised how much you can learn about yourself while relating to the characters.
Messages in my fantasy stories
Magical realism, historical fantasy trilogy
Don't be afraid to try new things.
Let your imagination take you to the fantasy world.
Be proud of your heritage.
Let every experience make you grow as a person and fine tune your personality.
Or just find out that you enjoy reading a genre you haven't tried before.
But magic happens on her birthday and she begins to remember things that were hidden in her memory as nursery rhymes. Reality collides with the hidden fantasy world and a new reality emerges.
A review from a reader, Carol Hanlon:
"Magical realism novels have not been one of my favorite reads. However, the title “Destiny” and distinctive cover of Erika Szabo’s new thriller captivated me. So, as a new Amazon Prime Member I sign up for it on my Kindle reader. I missed in the promo of “Destiny” it was the third book in the trilogy. To my surprise Erika’s excellent writing style made it enjoyable to read and the beginning pages gave me an understanding of what had happened in the first two books of the series. The story is a real thriller It held me spellbound. And kept me guessing to which side would win the battle between the forces of good and evil. as I turned each new page. The last page read I believe I’ve become a fan of magical realism. Thank you, Erika Szabo, for exposing me to a new genre with your latest FIVE STAR novel “Destiny."
Messages in my children's stories
Storybook for children 4-12
Message to kids:
Be kind to others.
Disabled people are just people who happens to have disabilities. Don't judge a person by the wheelchair, judge them by their personality.
People who doesn't speak your language are not dumb. You just don't understand what they're saying and they don't understand you.
Even if nobody else reads this book, this editorial review fro Brian VanBramer makes the countless hours I spent writing this book worthwhile:
"I received a copy of this book before publishing, and I can honestly say that this is by far the best children's story I ever read to my seven-years-old son. He hung onto every word and displayed a wide range of emotions throughout the story such as sadness, fear, excitement, and sheer joy. What I value most is when we finished the book he said to me, "Dad, I wish I had a dog like Peanut." At first, I thought that he's just like any other little boy is wishing for a dog, but then seeing his unusually sad expression, I asked him why he wants a dog like the one in the story. He said, "Because a dog like Peanut could save me from Connor." My heart jumped into my throat because I never noticed any sign that my son was bullied. When I asked him why he didn't tell us before, he said because he thought I would be mad at him not being able to defend himself. This story encouraged him to tell me and we are working on solving his problem together. "
Heroic fantasy for children 8-14
with coauthor Joe Bonadonna
Our message to kids:
Let your imagination fly and enter fantasy worlds where anything is possible.
Learn the difference between fantasy and reality.
Stand up and fight for what's right.
Help others without expecting a prize.
The ghosts of the Trinity of Wishmothers are trapped. The children offer their help, so the talking skeleton takes them on a journey to the realm of Creepy Hollow. Righteous motivations drive Jack and Nikki: to protect the weak, confront evil, conquer their fears, and gain courage. In the battle against Evila and her minions they grow into the warriors they were destined to become.
"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
Storybook for children 5-12
with coauthor Becky Robbins
Our message to kids:
Accepting a foolish dare can get you in big trouble.
Some bullies have their reason to be bullies, but they can change when they realize that what they're doing is wrong.
Not every boy's dream is to become a doctor, firefighter or policeman. Some boys want to become pastry chefs.
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.
Believe me, book reviews are important
Without reviews a book gets lost in the thousands of other books released every month.
With lots of reviews the books can stay in the spotlight and readers can find them.
If you like a book, but you don’t want to write a review, then you can up-vote positive reviews that you agree with. This gives these reviews more presence and makes them “worth” more to the Amazon algorithm.
Would you like to help to keep my books in the spotlight?
If you're not interested in the genres I write, you can still help by upvoting the reviews you like.
Thank you so much for your help!
Grammar mistakes and spelling errors
From blog posts to emails, news articles and tweets, if there's an error in there, someone's going to comment on it.
The fact is that our brains are wired in a way that makes us all susceptible to grammar slip-ups.
Just think about it for a second. Even the fiercest Grammar Police person and the bestest editor makes mistakes, I've seen it many time.
Common grammatical errors such a "their" instead of "there" or "your" instead of "you're" and so on doesn't always happen because people don't know which word is correct (well, some people don't but most of us do). It happens because we focus on the content more than on the correct spelling of each and every word.
Did this make you feel better? Good!
Now spot the mistake in this GIF and comment on my post.
Storybook for children 4-12
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.
They tried shouting, changing the tone of their voices or leaning closer to her ear when they talked, to no avail. Rosa could hear some sounds clearly, but certain sounds she couldn’t hear well.
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.
English & Spanish
Don't judge people by their appearance!
See the person inside.
I truly admire people who play instruments and passionate about music. I love listening to music but never learned any instruments and you definitely don't want to hear me sing.
This man is an inspiration to millions
And when you look beyond the exterior, you see the funny, compassionate, strong person. You see who he is.
His purpose in life?
To inspire others?
A beautiful mind and strong will
A young boy who loves to sing
His purpose in life?
Simply to bring pure joy to people's heart?
I'm having one of THOSE Monday mornings
I knocked over my my favorite ceramic statuette on the mantel and a sliver broke off on the back of the statue.
So, I quickly got the crazy glue and glued the broken piece back on.
Everything went well, I held the broken piece with a small rubber eraser until the glue set, but then when I was putting the statue back on the mantel, I noticed that I glued my thumb to the front of the statue.
I have no clue how I got the glue on my thumb, but there I was, not able to put the statue down, and then I broke out in laughter...
When I realized where my thumb was
So, I quickly Googled how to remove instant glue.
One site recommended nail polish remover, but I never paint my nails and don't have acetone in the house, so I search further.
Another site recommended soaking the finger in soapy water and vinegar.
I did, but it took about ten minutes to soften the glue enough so I could release the statue.
The lesson of this Monday morning stupidity, add acetone to the shopping list.
How's your Monday morning going?
The stone age beliefs about men & women
"Women are inferior to men because Eve was made from Adam's ribs, therefore, she belongs to him. Eve doomed humanity by committing a sin which by enticing Adam to eat the apple."
"A woman's brain is incapable of making rational decisions because she can't comprehend to the big picture."
"A woman should focus on raising kids, doing laundry, obey their husbands, and provide clean and comfortable homes for their families."
"We must keep women submissive because with equal rights comes chaos. They need constant reminders that their place is in the home."
"Women don't have the intelligence to make rational decisions because they're too emotional. Men must make decisions for women."
Right! My opinion?
These neanderthals need to hide under their comfy stones and be very quiet!
What say you?
I heard these as well
The woman says, "I do, two of them. They're called ovaries."
The man says, "But I can make babies with my balls."
The woman replies, "Without my balls, your balls can't make babies. It's called partnership. My balls make the egg and your balls fertilize it."
"Um... but my balls are more important. Without my sperm you can't make babies."
"True," the woman replies. "But if you keep wearing tight pants, keep your laptop close to your balls, carry your cellphone on your belt and eat junk-food all the time, your balls will shrink or explode and there will be no babies at all."
A salesman calls trying to sell windows. The woman say politely, "Thank you for your call but we're not planning to install new wind..."
The aggressive salesman rudely cuts her off and says, "Is the man of the house home?"
The woman's blood instantly boils but because she's a gentle person, she doesn't reply and hands the phone to her husband,"This bozo is selling windows and wants to talk to you."
The husband takes the phone and says to the salesman, "Listen! My wife is the financial genius in this house. She said no. Good bye!"
A man visits a couple for the first time and as soon as he's introduced to the attractive wife by the husband, he walks up to her attempting to pinch her face and says, "Aren't you a pretty thing!"
The couple's teenage kids watch the interaction.
The woman takes a step back and shouts, "Out! Don't you ever step into this house again!"
The man looks at the husband who opens the door and says to him, "My wife is my partner and you've disrespected her. get out, or I'll throw you out!"
We're getting there
Father and son sitting on a bench in the park. The boy is around twelve, happily licking his ice-cream.
A statuesque woman walks by and the father says to his son, "Nice piece of ass, huh?"
The boy looks at his father with a disgusted expression on his face and replies, "Dad, she's a person. You're an ass!"
Biologically and psychologically men and women have similarities and differences as well. The best thing about this is that we complement each other and able to form a great partnership by mutually accepting and respecting each other.
What is your opinion?
The imagination of a writer is limitless.
What would cats think or say if I'd read them my books?
Who says cats don't love stories?
I hope you will enjoy the cats' stories told in pictures as well as my books.
Creepy Hollow Adventures: heroic fantasy for kids 8-17
"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
Pico, the Pesky Parrot: bilingual storybook for kids 4-12
"As a former ESL teacher, I was impressed by author Erika M Szabo’s bilingual story about a pesky parrot and wondered why books like this one (written in both English and Spanish at many reading levels and interest ranges) were not available when I was teaching." ~Bette A. Stevens
Look, I Can Talk With My Fingers: storybook for kids 4-12
Who Stole Terry's Music Box?: storybook for kids 4-10
Terry and the Number Fairy: picture book for kids 2-8
Metoo, the Annoying Little Sister
A Basketful of Kittens: storybook for kids 4-12
Cursed Bloodline: romantic, historical suspense novella
Protected by the Falcon: romantic historical fantasy
Book 1 of The Ancestors' Secrets
“Erika has brought a new kind of fantasy story into the realm of fantasy fiction. The narrative is magnetic and entertaining.” ~seriousreading
Chosen by the Sword: romantic historical fantasy
Book 2 of The Ancestors' Secrets
Cameow sighs, "Man! They have no clue what makes a feline happy!"
“The characters felt real, and the secrets are alluring. You will get hooked in right away.” -Brenda Barry
“Szabo introduces readers to a fascinating world of ancient rights conducted by a secret order.” -J.E. Rogers
The end, hope you enjoyed this post!
Erika M Szabo
Okay, I'm game, let's play with this idea a little
I took screenshot of the article, you can read the original post by clicking on the pictures below:
So, what is Androgyne?
"Androgyny is the combination of masculine and feminine characteristics. Usually used to describe characters or persons which have no specific gender, gender ambiguity may also be found in fashion, gender identity, sexual identity, or sexual lifestyle.
In the case of gender identity, terms such as genderqueer, or gender neutral are more commonly used.
An androgyne is a person who does not fit neatly into the typical masculine and feminine gender roles of their society. Androgynes may also use the term "ambigender" or "polygender" to describe themselves. Many androgynes identify as being mentally between woman and man. They may identify as "non-gender", "gender-neutral", "agender", "between genders", "genderqueer", "non-binary", "multigender", "intergendered", "pangender" or "gender fluid". A person who is androgynous may engage freely in what is seen as masculine or feminine behaviors as well as tasks. They have a balanced identity that includes the virtues of both men and women and may disassociate the task with what gender it may be socially or physically assigned to. People who are androgynous disregard what traits are culturally constructed specifically for males and females within a specific society, and rather focus on what behavior is most effective within the situational circumstance."
Okay, this is clear. But let me play with the idea of writing genderless characters in fantasy and children's books.
What if I would rewrite my fantasy story with genderless characters?
This article says, " Readers would be able to connect to the character and imagine themselves playing the role."
Okay, I'm game, let's see how it would work with my fantasy book.
This is part of my romantic, historical fantasy novelette, Cursed Bloodline:
So, if I try to replace every gender specific word with word that doesn't refer to gender, what is this short excerpt would be like?
Oh, I’m so late; my mother is going to kill me, she thought, and prompted her horse to run faster. An old woman who was carrying firewood stopped and shook her head in disapproval. “These youngsters are riding like demons,” she mumbled, looking after Altona.
Altona reached her home. She slid off the mare’s back in a hurry and fastened the horse’s rein to a wooden pole. Her breaths came in short puffs, and her rosy cheeks glistened with perspiration. She patted the horse’s neck, gave her an armful of hay, and poured fresh water from a leather bag that hung on the pole into a clay bowl. She whispered, “I have to hurry, but I’ll be back soon, Willow, promise.”
She hurried up to the entrance of the tent-like building, called Jurta, with a few long strides. She parted her kaftan-like dark blue overcoat, pulled up her baggy trousers, and smoothed over it her white tunic that her mother had adorned with delicate flower designs. Altona pulled the leather entrance cover aside with a heavy sigh, and she braced herself mentally for the long lecture that she knew she must endure.
As usual, she was late for her herbal lessons with her mother, a beautiful, statuesque, dark-haired woman who slowly rose from a curved sofa-like piece of furniture. Soft light coming from the opening at the ceiling shone on her green, delicately-decorated calf-length tunic that she wore with loose black trousers. Her hair was braided with thin leather thongs and hugged her shoulders.
Altona took off her boots and placed them by the entrance. She winced when Mara’s high-pitched, angry voice hit her like a whip. “You are late, again, young lady! Didn’t I tell you to be home by the time the sun reaches the head of the Falcon? Look!” she pointed at the pole through the door.
Altona quickly let the leather curtain slide back to cover the door, dutifully bowed, and whispered, “Yes, Mother. Sorry Mother.”
She always wanted to please her mother, she really did, but she could rarely live up to her expectations. Luckily, Mara’s anger and lectures were as brief as summer storms, so Altona obediently stood by the entrance and lowered her eyelids to hide the playful twinkle in her eyes. Her long, black hair, which was braided in two rows, slid off her shoulders as she bowed her head, and she adjusted her delicately-woven horsetail headband that kept the stray hairs out of her face. Altona took a hesitant step forward on the thick, wool carpet that covered the dirt floor of the Jurta.
“Where were you?”
“We were… I was… I got some herbs, too. Look!” Altona hoped that she could divert her mother’s attention, so she quickly opened the leather pouch that contained some flowers that she had collected. Lying wasn’t in her nature, but concealing the truth a little by trailing the conversation away from the sensitive subject was widely used in her tribe, especially by teenagers.
Alright, let's try it with a story written for teenagers
According to the article, "Most of the time, children's books feature characters that are genderless."
Hm... let's see how it would work with a story that I wrote with my coauthor, Joe Bonadonna for kids 8-17, the Creepy Hollow Adventures.
Queen Evila, dressed in a long crimson gown, watched with a menacing glare of her dark eyes, which matched her raven-black hair, as the snake slithered across the stone floor, crawling toward her. Guarding their white-skinned Queen stood the monstrous Mutanto and his werewolf henchman, Howler. Behind them cowered the three dull-witted Wolfmen: Boo, Goo, and Poo. They watched as the snake reached Evila’s red shoes, stopped, and coiled its body before her.
“Cute snake,” Boo snickered.
“Cute? How can it be cute? It’s a slithering, ugly rope,” growled Goo.
“Watch out you guys! It might be poisonous,” Poo warned the others as he took a step back.
Evila glared at Mutanto, her red lips forming a thin line. “Must those three cowardly idiots stand here in my royal presence?” she demanded.
“They’ll not befoul your chambers again, Your Majesty,” said Mutanto and then jutted his chin at Howler. Howler got the silent message and growled at the three Wolfmen. “Get back to the basement where you belong and wait for further orders, you knuckleheads!” He held his breath in disgust as the stench of the trio hit his nose. “And take a bath, Poo. You stink like roadkill!” he instructed.
“But I took a bath in March—and it’s only October!” Poo protested weekly.
“Get out of my sight,” Howler growled, feeling frustrated.
The trio of werewolves hurried toward the door, trampling each other.
“She scares me,” Poo whispered.
“Me, too,” Goo replied, pushing Boo aside.
“Don’t push me!” Boo hissed, conking Goo on the head.
Goo growled, ready for a fight, but when they heard Howler’s booming voice, “Out!” they scurried out the door.
Evila rolled her eyes and asked Howler, “Can’t you find better help than those idiots?”
“They’re loyal and follow my orders blindly, Your Majesty,” Howler told her.
“Well, it’s your choice,” Evila said. She reached down and picked up the snake that was coiled up by her feet and held it at eye level. “So, my lovely little Slither has returned,” she said, kissing the serpent’s head. “And what have you found out? What news have you brought me? Is everything I’ve heard true?”
The serpent hissed, “Put me down, Your Majesty, and I will tell you.”
With an impatient sigh, Evila bent down and set Slither on the floor. She watched as the snake began to change its shape, transforming itself into a tall, scraggly man.
“Your Majesty,” he said, bowing to his queen.
“Well, Slither—or shall I call you what everyone else calls you?” she asked.
“You may call me whatever you wish, my Queen,” said the dirty, disheveled-looking man.
“What have you learned, Tattler?” she asked.
Only Queen Evila and her most faithful servants knew that the gossip of Springdale, Tattler, was a shapeshifter. Turning himself into a serpent was his only power, his only magical talent. But unlike the Wolfmen, who were also shapeshifters and chose to stay in wolf form, Tattler had no desire to remain a serpent permanently. He had bigger dreams than that.
“What you have heard is true, Your Majesty,” Tattler said. “The baby possesses magic that has not been seen in Creepy Hollow for more than a hundred years. She is strong and powerful, and she could be very useful to you.”
“Excellent!” said Evila. “How shall it be done? What do you suggest?”
“Bats are not affected by her, my Queen. So, here is what I think should be done…,” said Tattler, and then he told her his plan.
When he had finished speaking, Evila rubbed her hands together. Feeling excited, she turned to Mutanto and Howler. “See to our prisoners. Tell them they will soon have company. Then prepare for the arrival of our new guest.”
“As you command, my Queen,” said Mutanto.
Howler bowed and smiled with glee. “As you wish, Your Majesty.”
What do you think Joe?
However, maybe in my next novel or children's book I'll introduce andogyne characters.
Why do children need books instead of mindless games?
After a few minutes of anxious tapping, she cried out in frustration and threw her iPad which landed by the wall with a shattered screen.
Her mother yanked her arm angrily and shouted, "Now you've done it! That thing cost me a lot of money. What did you do that for?"
The little girl replied tapping her foot and wringing her fingers anxiously, "I was angry because couldn't get to the next level."
Playing mindless games
In my experience, working as a nurse with children, playing games does not relax children. It occupies them and parents think their kids are entertained, but, instead, kids become obsessed, frustrated, and angry.
Read with your children
I've never seen a child throw a book in frustration and anger. When parents read with young children, the kids snuggle up to their parents and feel relaxed.
Stories trigger the imagination of children, widens their vocabulary, prompts them to be confident and compassionate, teaches them family values, and acceptance of others who are different or have disabilities.
Mindless video games can't do that.
Give books to your children
Click HERE and take a look
Read my portfolio
Or on the picture below
So, you wrote a book and published it
It it all roses and rainbows from now on?
Are you going to be the center of attention?
Will you be an overnight bestselling author?
Only about one percent of the authors are lucky enough (I didn't say all of them good enough, though) to become celebrated bestsellers.
Well, the rest of us, no matter how good we are, we go through stages and keep on writing.
Read my opinion about the emotional stages that most authors go through:
The feeling of euphoria after publishing your first book.
I will never forget that euphoric feeling when my first book was published. I was walking on clouds and told everyone about my book. Of course, I expected everyone I know to be happy for me and buy my book, but then reality kicked in.
Denial and Avoidance
Denial and avoidance of the fact that you didn't become an overnight bestseller
Friends and family promised to buy your book, but never did, which deeply hurt your feelings.
Moreover, you sold only a few copies on publishing sites despite all the publicity you tried to stir up on social sites. You enter the stage of denial which is a defense mechanism that buffers the immediate shock and numbs your heightened emotions.
Yes, it comes as a shock that besides a few polite congratulations, you didn't get the excited reaction from people that you were expecting but you kept telling yourself, "They will read my book, they just didn't get to it yet."
Anger and "I'll show you" mood.
The book is still not selling as you've hoped and as the masking effects of denial begin to wear, reality and its pain emerge, "They don't care! They will never read my book because they don't give a s*** about me!" You may aim your anger at inanimate objects, complete strangers, friends or family.
At this stage you do extensive research into book marketing and you jump in with full force.
You doubt yourself and ask,
"Why doesn't it sell? Why they don't like my story? Nobody wants my book! It's my fault! I should have done more!"
The normal reaction to feelings of helplessness and vulnerability is often a need to regain control through a series of “If onlys” such as:
If only I had a better book cover made
If only I had paid for that expensive book release event
If only, if only...
You get into sad-mode, feel sorry for yourself, and you need a hug
Sadness and regret predominate this type of sad mood. You're ready to give up because nobody is giving you the much needed positive feedback.
"I worked so hard and nobody appreciates my work."
A bad review deepens your sadness but a good review or kind words about your book from a friend or stranger could instantly snap you out of this sad mood.
The realization of not becoming an overnight bestseller
This phase is marked by withdrawal and calm. This is not a period of happiness over the release of your book. At this phase you climb down of your self-made pedestal, look around and talk to other authors. They assure you that maybe one percent of writers experience overnight success and they advice you to keep writing.
You accept the things you can't change
By now you've published a few books and you're doing your best to promote them. You keep writing because you love it and the lack of sales and lack of interest by friends and family doesn't bother you too much anymore.
Keep on writing my friends, and write stories you would like to read.
Yup, I've been through the stages too
My fiction books
My children's books
My audio books
As I started reading what the hashtag is about and the personal stories I've read so far had opened my eyes to this widely accepted "boys will be boys" mindset for so long that it became part of our lives.
Those who started this movement deserve a huge thank you from all of us!
When I was growing up it was kind of expected from teenage boys to grope and "tease" girls, lift their skirts or unstrap their bras and nobody considered a sexual assault. Those boys who were decent enough not to do it were called sissies or pansies.
Girls felt humiliated, uncomfortable as well as violated, but complaining to teachers in school was futile because of the age-old excuse, 'boys will be boys" was so deep-seated that girls were blamed for bringing about assaults or even rape by dressing or acting too provocatively, being too pretty, and not being modest.
Yes, it does sound like the culture where women have to hide their bodies and faces under potato-sack-like clothes so they don't excite men, but they get raped, abused, and assaulted anyway. Sick bastards always find the excuse to degrade and assault women to 'keep them in their place" of ignorance and oblivion.
When I was a young teenager, even my own mother said, 'You're a pretty girl so boys pick on you. If you were ugly they wouldn't touch you or tease you." Nice, huh?
My dad and my protective brother got furious when I told them about the humiliating incidents. Having a macho image, they reacted violently. Once a boy about 3 years older than me snapped my bikini top off at the beach and while everyone laughed, I ran for cover. I was so upset, not only because he did that to me and exposed my just budding breasts but because everyone was laughing with him. I was shaking by the time I got home with a towel wrapped around me. I told my dad what happened. He had daggers in his eyes and after I changed, he asked me to go with him and show him the boy. When we got to the beach and I pointed out my attacker, dad walked up to him, stared him down and suddenly reached over and yanked his swimming shorts so hard that it ripped apart leaving the boy naked. He yelled at the frightened kid, "Touch my daughter again and I'll feed your pitiful looking balls to my dog."
The boy was humiliated and got a little taste of his own medicine. Moreover, because he wasn't as well equipped in the midsection of his body as other boys his age, the "peanut" nickname that someone yelled out while they were laughing at him, stuck with him for life.
Being a woman, I felt sorry for the boy. Yeah, we have a huge heart and we embrace everyone who gets hurt, we're just built that way.
So, instead of complaining or looking for help or sympathy, I learned to defend myself. I used witty comments when I could, I avoided situations as much as I could, and I admit, I kicked, clawed and punched a few macho boys in my time.
Sexual assaults didn't end with elementary school, it continued at work as well and the excuse changed to "men will be men."
As a young nurse, I experienced it quite a few times. My first day started in the surgical unit with a short, chubby, bald doctor slapping my butt and he said, "Aren't you pretty? We're going to have some fun here, you'll see." I looked at the charge nurse for advice and she just rolled her eyes, "He's a harmless old goat. Don't pay attention to him." she said.
Well, I did and it bothered me a lot that every chance he got this sweaty midget with foul breath grabbed me or tried to rub against me. One time he snuck up behind me when I was doing a urinalysis at the counter. He grabbed my waist and tried to hump my thigh. I turned and threw a cupful of urine in his face. He threatened to fire me but for some reason he didn't and left me alone after that.
I support this movement with all my heart!
Hopefully by sharing stories more and more men and women will open their eyes and start changing the mindset of society for our daughters and granddaughters.
Men or women, read the stories that women are sharing by typing the hashtag #metoo in social site search. Thank you for reading mine!
Give your Trick or Treaters candy
and a spooky, heroic fantasy story
“Szabo and Bonadonna’s story crackles with action and excitement. Their storytelling moves with the speed of lightning, but never lets the reader get lost. The atmosphere is just spooky enough to be fun but never enough to be too scary.”
On her 13th birthday, Nikki discovers she has magical powers. During a surprise attack by the giant Mutanto, his henchmen Howler and a gang of Werewolves, Wishbone, Ghoulina and Catman arrive to save the kids and tell them about Evila the Grim Witch’s plans to conquer Creepy Hollow. Nikki also learns the truth about what happened to her parents twelve years ago. She and Jack go back to Creepy Hollow with their friends to help them defeat Evila. Jack discovers he can talk to animals when they meet a herd of Wild Horses and he becomes friends with Champ, the clumsy young colt, and Sparky, the orphaned dragon.
Together, Nikki and Jack conquer their fears and gain courage, and in the final battle against Evila and her minions they grow into the warriors they were destined to become.
Coming to more stores soon
A short excerpt:
“Hello, my name is Jack,” he said, sitting down in front of the young dragon. “Can you talk? Can you understand me?”
The little dragon wiped his tears. “Yes, I do,” he said.
“Why are you crying?” asked Jack.
“It’s my parents’ Sadiversary,” replied the dragon.
Jack frowned. “What’s a Sadiversary?” he asked.
“It’s like an anniversary, but not a happy one,” the dragonet told him. “For us dragons, a Sadiversary marks another year since the death of our loved ones.”
“Oh, I’m very sorry,” said Jack. “How long ago did your parents die?”
“Almost thirteen years ago,” said the dragonet.
Nikki cautiously approached them, not wanting to frighten the baby dragon.
“Hello!” the dragon greeted her.
“I can understand you! I have the Gift!” she said.
“This is my cousin Nikki,” Jack told the dragon.
The dragon nodded. “Hello, Nikki,” he said. “I’m sorry to disappoint you, but you don’t possess the Gift. Dragons can speak to and be understood by humans, animals, and magical creatures, too.”
“Oh,” said Nikki, sounding a little disappointed.
Jack said to the dragon, “You said your parents died almost thirteen years ago. So, what happened to them?”
The little dragon frowned and his green eyes darkened. Wisps of white smoke floated out of his nostrils. “The Grim Witch murdered them!” he cried.
The dragon went on to tell them how Evila had plotted to enslave the great dragons who once dwelled in the northern realm of Dragon’s Den. Her plan was to use her magic powers to force the dragons to serve her, to fight for her, to burn the towns and villages of anyone who got in her way. The race of dragons, being a peace-loving species, fled south, across the Gonji Ocean. The dragonet’s parents were the last to leave their realm, moving slowly because they had a brand-new baby with them. So it was that when they stopped to rest one night, Evila and her minions caught up with them and killed them.
“My mom hid me in a cave, and she and dad tried to fight off Evila and her gang of witches and Wolfmen, but the Grim Witch was too powerful,” said the dragon. “I’m pretty sure she doesn’t know about me.”
“Well, we know all about Evila,” Jack said.
“You do?” asked the dragon.
“Yes,” said Nikki. “We’re on a mission for the Wishmothers—a mission to destroy Evila and rescue my parents and my friends’ baby.”
“Oh, wow!” said the dragon. “Can I come with you? Maybe I can help? I’ve been so lonely all these years, and it will be fifty years before I reach my full size and I can fly across the ocean to search for the other dragons. I still can’t fly very far. I’m only thirteen years old and I’m not that strong.”
“Sure!” said Jack. “I don’t see why not, and you won’t be alone anymore. Right, Nikki?”
“Right-O, Jack!” Nikki agreed. “And I’m thirteen years old, too!” she told the dragon.
“Oh, thank you!” said the dragon. He flapped his wings, rose into the air and flew over to Jack, landing on his shoulder. “I hope you don’t mind, Jack.”
“Not at all,” Jack told him.
“Looks like you have a new friend,” Nikki said to Jack.
Jack smiled, scratched the dragon behind his tiny ears, and stood up. “Come on, our friends are waiting for us,” he said.
Together they walked back to where their companions waited for them. The dragonet perched on Jack’s shoulder like a parrot on a pirate.
Champ, the young colt, rose to his feet and ran to Jack. When he saw the dragon on Jack’s shoulder, Champ whickered happily, bucking and prancing about with great joy.
“This is Champ,” Jack told the dragon.
“Hello, Champ,” said the dragon.
The little foal neighed happily, jumped straight into the air, kicked backwards with his hind legs, and then settled on his hooves again.
Jack introduced everyone to the dragon, and the dragon said hello to everyone.
“What’s his name, Jack?” asked Catman.
“I don’t know,” Jack said with a shrug of his shoulders.
“Everyone has a name,” said Wishbone.
Ghoulina turned to the little dragon. “What’s your name, little one?” she asked.
“Oh, my parents didn’t have a chance to name me, they called me by my baby name, Kicsisarkany,” said the dragon. “Can you find a good name for me, Jack? Dragons are named on their second birthday, but I’ve been all alone. There was nobody to find a good name for me.”
Jack thought about it for a while.
“Come on, Jack,” said Nikki. “We don’t have all day!”
“I’m thinking! I’m thinking!” said Jack.
Then, just as Jack turned his head, the dragon sneezed and tiny sparks flew from his mouth. “Oh, I’m so sorry!” he said.
Jack turned to his friends and smiled. Both his eyebrows were singed. “Oops, remind me next time not to stand too close to this little rascal. Sparky,” he said, wiping the snot off his forehead. “I’m going to call him Sparky.”
The little dragon clapped his wings and said, “Sparky, I like that!” Then he bowed his head. “Sorry about the eyebrows.”
“No biggie,” Jack said. “They’ll grow back.”
"Damn it!" I yelled watching the skidding and bouncing on the steps. It landed on the hardwood floor of the living room with a loud crash.
Of course! I thought as I harried down the steps. It had to happen at the worst time possible. Now I have to call the ER on the landline and then it will take who knows how long to replace the broken phone.
Then I heard a ping sound.
I picked up my phone that didn't appear to be broken and saw that I got a text message.
Then I came to my senses, Don't be stupid! I scolded my imaginative mind for coming up with such a stupid idea, it's Eva... it must to be Eva...
I took a closer look at the screen and there it was. Phew... it was Eva. I though feeling relived and burst out laughing.
Thank you Droid for building such durable phone!
Have you any stories when you thought you lost your marbles?
Share it, so I won't feel alone LOL
Erika M Szabo
Author of urban fantasy, magical realism novels and children's books,
10 Self-publishing Tips
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A Brand New Week
A Dear Friend Wrote A Poem For Me
Animals Always Find Me
A Sweet Christmas Tradition
Book Promo Fees Gone Too High
Book Review Craziness
Can You Recognize Narcissistic People?
Cats Love Stories Too!
CHILDREN LEARN HATE AND INTOLERANCE FROM US
Children's Books For Halloween
Complimentary Audiobooks: Get Your Copy
Critique Or Criticism?
Decades Late Apology
Emotional Stages Of Becoming A Writer
Every Life Is Precious
Favorite Internet Pastime
Fundraiser For Animals
Garage Sale Surprise
Genderless Characters In Books?
Good Old Fashioned Romance
Got Money? Buy Votes!
Help! I Can't Choose
High Hopes And Deep Disappointments Of A Writer
Holiday Book Sale
Hopeless Love - Secrets - Magic - Oh My!
I Love My Job!
I'm A Better Person Today Because...
I'm Better Than You!
Inferior Or Equal?
Is The Lovely Shade Of Romance Turning Dark?
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