Defying the Ghosts
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A teen without a home. A dangerous residence.
Can she survive one terrifying night to secure her future?

Charlene Griffin never thought she’d be without a home. But when she’s kicked out on her eighteenth birthday, she has no choice but to sleep inside an ominous Victorian mansion. And with the owner offering the estate to anyone who can spend a full night in the haunted property, Charlene decides to risk life and limb to get off the streets.

Refusing to heed the warnings of those sent running in fear for their lives, Charlene is confident she can last from sunset to sunrise. But she’ll need all her wits about her to withstand the hours of terror, because these ghosts are determined to get rid of her.

Will Charlene outsmart her supernatural foes and make it to dawn?

Defying the Ghosts is an eerie YA haunted house story. If you like heart-racing action, fearless heroes, and survival adventures, then you’ll love Joan Marie Verba’s thrilling tale.

Buy Defying the Ghosts to explore forbidden shadowy corners today!

A ghost needs space to haunt, and a teenager kicked out of the house by a mother unable to love, lacking money for a rental, and looking for a safe place to stay doesn’t have it to offer. But the haunted house offered to Charlene if she can last the night has lost its original family, driven other would-be claimants out by the aggressive late residents, and Charlene is too determined to give up on the only option she’s been able to find. Instead of exorcisms or high-tech spirit guns firing special-effects rays, she tries a simpler method for dealing with ghostly threats: compassion, fueled by stubbornness and courage. Joan Marie Verba’s Defying the Ghosts offers the eerie dangers expected of ghosts, but works through to a slime-less conclusion offering an elegant win to both the living and the dead. —Ruth Berman, Minnesota Fantasy Award recipient, Midwest Book Award winner for Bradamant's Quest

5-star review by Amy Powers for Readers' Favorite
5 stars
 

Defying the Ghosts by Joan Marie Verba tells the suspenseful story of a young woman's creepy night in a haunted house. After her mother kicks her out of her house on her eighteenth birthday, Charlene spends the next few weeks scouting homeless shelters and camping out in the back room of the bookstore where she works. Charlene thinks she might be in luck when she hears of a challenge: anyone who can spend the entire night in the local haunted house gets to keep the house. It seems simple enough, but Charlene will soon risk her life on the most horrifying night of her life as she faces the multiple ghosts who do not want anyone else in their home.
 
For any reader who is looking for a new kind of horror story, Defying the Ghosts is a great choice for both teens and adults. I never knew it was possible to write a book that was simultaneously terrifying and heartwarming, but Joan Marie Verba has flawlessly managed to do just that. Charlene's story is eye-opening and brings to light the everyday problems and prejudices that...people face when they are trying to survive. The spooky moments of the haunted house are fast-paced, suspenseful, and overall fun to read. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time Charlene was in the house, and I could not put the book down. I can't wait to see what other horror tales Verba has in store.

Boldly Writing
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Discover the rich, untold history of early Star Trek fandom. Learn how the fans kept interest in the show alive through conventions, clubs, zines, and newsletters after it was canceled and through the times when new movies and series were produced.

Curious about the circumstances behind the cancellation of The Original Series and how viewers worked to bring it back to the large and small screens? Searching for insights into the development of the Trek fandom? Looking to connect with the originators of some of your favorite phrases? Joan Marie Verba has been a Star Trek fan since the very beginning, both as a dedicated watcher from the show’s premiere and as a formative member of the burgeoning community as far back as 1969. And now she’s here to share her compelling retrospective of how two decades of pre-internet passion for the show built a fanbase destined to live long and prosper.

Boldly Writing: A Trek Fan and Fanfiction History, 1967-1987 is an extraordinary chronology of the amateur creations used to keep the story of Star Trek going when hopes for a revival were dim. With twenty years of collected zines and insider context, Verba brings to light the powerful grassroots movement that put the starship Enterprise back on the air. Grab your copy of Boldly Writing and see exactly what it was like living as a dedicated fan before it grew into the most famous science fiction series of all time.

In Boldly Writing, you’ll discover:

  • How zealous viewers fought to bring their beloved series back after it was canned and helped preserve this part of TV history
  • Rare material and print production driving the fanzine explosion that created a loyal following like no other
  • The dedicated, widespread operations taken to organize Trek clubs and conventions.
  • Origin stories from this groundbreaking series for everyday catchphrases
  • Humorous anecdotes relating to fan special interest groups, successes, and much, much more!

Boldly Writing: A Trek Fan and Fanfiction History, 1967-1987 is your straight-to-the-point source for the impressive underpinnings of the long-living Star Trek fandom. If you like carefully crafted chronicles, stunning revelations, and surprising true stories, then you’ll love Joan Marie Verba’s fascinating book.

Buy Boldly Writing to relive those exciting events today!

From the 2003 edition:

Before the Internet, before PCs and MACs became common household items, at the dawn of the era of VCRs, Star Trek fans were making history. In Boldly Writing, Joan Marie Verba chronicles the development of Star Trek fanfiction, Star Trek conventions (the first Star Trek convention may not be the one you're thinking of), Star Trek clubs, and Star Trek revival efforts. Boldly Writing tells how the term “Mary Sue” came into being, and follows the fan and fanfiction discussions and controversies of the era. At a time when fan communication was conducted largely through the mails, and fanfiction circulated through fanzines printed on spirit duplicators and mimeographs and offset printers, Star Trek fans created a lively and active fandom that continues today.

From the 1996 edition:

WhenStar Trek began in 1966, it instantly captured the attention of science fiction fans, and gained an attentive audience. When NBC threatened to cancel the show after the second season, the fans wrote in, demanding that it be returned to the air. After the third season, Paramount, NBC, and industry experts felt Star Trek was past. But the fans did not. They started clubs, organized conventions, published newsletters, and kept writing to Paramount to ask that Star Trek be revived. Through these actions, they kept interest in the show alive and flourishing. At last, fan efforts resulted in theStar Trek movies, and Star Trek: The Next Generation. Currently, Star Trek lives on in five series—and the adventure continues.

Boldly Writing chronicles all of these fan efforts, and recognizes the most valuable resource of Star Trek: its fans. The trends, obstacles, hard work, and success of the revival efforts are detailed through the first 20 years of fan publications. Author Joan Marie Verba has been an active fan since the very beginning of Star Trek, and a zine reader, writer, publisher, and collector since 1969.

Henry Jenkins, author of Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture

This book pulls together an incredible amount of information about the history of fandom and does a major service for anyone who either wants to relive those exciting years or to better understand how Star Trek emerged as such a national and international phenomenon. I'll give you a clue. If Star Trek lives, it's because of what early fans like Verba made of it. I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in fandom (which increasingly means anyone interested in popular culture).

Siddig El Fadil/Alexander Siddig, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Joan Marie Verba brings back to life the heady days of Star Trek fandom, chronicling the fight to revive the original series and detailing the controversy and the gossip that fueled the first twenty years and gave birth to generations of wonderful poets and writers. I couldn't stop myself from dipping into this fascinating history.

Andrew Robinson, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Thank you for your Boldly Writing. I found it most informative, especially in light of where [the] Star Trek fanzine is now. It’s come a long way. Congratulations and continued success.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg, co-author of Star Trek Lives!

Yesterday ... the galley proofs to Boldly Writing by Joan Marie Verba arrived in the mail .... I had no idea her fanzine history was such an ambitious work. I advise any Star Trek fan who wasn’t around in 1969 to order a copy .... She has taken the amorphous welter of material that came off the fan presses and revealed a sharp, clear, and most of all, documented, print. She has shown us how Star Trek fandom was a force that gathered in, energized, trained, and produced people who have since then racked up an astounding list of achievements.... I have nothing but praise for this monumental work!”

Jean Lorrah, author of The Vulcan Academy Murders, The IDIC Epidemic, Metamorphosis, and Survivors

Little did I know on September 8, 1966 that watching a new television show would profoundly change my life. Star Trek has been inextricably woven into my existence ever since. In Boldly Writing, Joan Marie Verba chronicles the height of the fanzine phenomenon.... Joan's book is an amazing reminder of all those stories we shared, those dreams we dreamed, as we went where no fandom had gone before.

Voyager: Exploring the Outer Planets
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In 1977, NASA launched the space probes Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 to explore Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. This book tells of what was known about those planets and their moons before the Voyager missions, as well as what Voyager discovered about those planets and their moons. This book is written for the middle-grade reader, and can be enjoyed by readers age 12 and up.

Booklist

Verba's account is crammed with information about the moons, rings, atmospheres, temperatures, and orbits of these planets . . . the large quantity of information makes this a worthwhile resource. . . .

Science Press

Joan Marie Verba has written a wonderful tale of the craft that have gone where no one has gone before. . . . Geared toward the intermediate student, the books is well written . . . and brimful of information.

Science Books and Films

NASA launched Voyager 1 and 2 in 1977. These flights of exploration greatly expanded our knowledge of the outer planets of the solar system. Verba gives a concise but fairly thorough description of the Voyager project from conception through the completion of the probes' photographic mission. Voyager begins with a brief discussion of the exploration of the solar system prior to the project. . . . Each of the chapters on the outer planets begins by describing what was known before Voyager, followed by what new things we learned as a result of Voyager. . . . The material is appropriate for interested 5th and 6th graders, but the vocabulary level is more at the 7th- and 8th-grade level ... this is a good account of the flights of Voyager 1 and 2 and what we learned from them.

Revenge, Denied
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A story of magic and triumph over hardship, with a shocking ending. At 6300 words, this story is a perfect short read.

Marlys, excited about being accepted as an apprentice sorceress, is astonished to find that the other apprentices bully her mercilessly. No matter how hard she tries, no matter what she does, she isn’t good enough. Worse, no one seems interested in teaching her sorcery. Can she become a sorceress despite this, and, if given the chance for revenge, will she take it?

Sword of Queens
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The kingdom of Somerlie has been in the grip of the evil overlord Tashtalon for over 500 years. No one has ever seen Tashtalon, but he puts the kingdom to sleep every night, and during the night, people disappear, never to be seen again. Gill has spent her life thinking these things could not possibly by changed, until strange events point her to the only thing that can defeat Tashtalon…a magical weapon called the Sword of Queens. To prevent its use, Tashtalon made a law saying that any woman wielding a sword will be put to death…and he enforces that law savagely. Can Gill summon the courage to find the sword and use it before Tashtalon kills her?

Harriet Klausner, Midwest Book Review

For over five centuries, Tashtalon the overlord has ruled the patriarchal kingdom of Somerlie with an evil iron fist. No one has ever seen Tashtalon but everyone knows of his presence especially at night when sleeping is dangerous. Each evening, Tashtalon puts his subjects to sleep two hours after sunset; and awakens them each morning two after sunrise with some vanishing overnight. No one has any hope of overthrowing this invincible malevolent God.

Twentyish Gill is like everyone else living in fear of the evil ruler; wondering if she will disappear next and knowing how helpless it is as nothing can defeat Tashtalon. Gill wonders why the overlord's most enforced law is that no woman will yield a sword with the penalty of breaking his code instant death though she assumes it has to do with females being subservient to males. As she begins her required quest year "To Find Herself", Gill thinks of her elderly grandma's tales of life before Tashtalon. On her journey Gill learns that the magical Sword of Queens can destroy Tashtalon.

Sword of Queens is an excellent coming of age quest fantasy starring a likable heroine. The vibrant Verba world of magic seems real while the vile villain is made even stronger and eviler by the fearful whispers of his subjects. Sub-genre readers will enjoy Gill's adventures in an engaging good and evil thriller.

Wondry Dragon Finds a Home
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When Rhea goes with her mother to the animal shelter, they return home with a dragon! Rhea and her family find out what Wondry Dragon eats, where she sleeps, and what she needs when going out on a walk. Almost everyone in the neighborhood is friendly to Wondry, except the neighborhood bully, Johnny. However, Rhea and Wondry have a surprise for him!

Midwest Book Review

Do you like dragons? Follow the adventures of Wondry Dragon as she finds a new home with her new human friend, Rhea, in Joan Marie Verba's delightful story, "Wondry Dragon Finds a Home." Rhea and her mom and dad have never had a dragon in the house before, and they all learn what Wondry can and cannot do. Rhea and Wondry play together, help out their neighbors—and try to stay out of trouble. Rhea can never tell what Wondry will do next because Wondry is always surprising her with what dragons can do. Wondry will surprise young readers ages 6 to 8 as well! A children's chapter book story suitable for students in grades 1-3, "Wondry Dragon Finds a Home" is very highly recommended for both community and elementary school libraries. For children's personal reading lists it should be noted that "Wondry Dragon Finds a Home" is also available in a Kindle edition

The Arachne Portal
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Their goal is to make the world a better place. One billionaires’s obsession may turn their altruism into destruction.

Jay Ecklund is desperate to belong somewhere. Rejected by his family and former employer, he really needs this job as a receptionist at an up-and-coming tech corporation. He’s astonished when he discovers the all-woman staff is secretly developing a portal capable of instantaneous transport to anywhere on Earth.

Thrilled to be part of a company designing innovations to help others, Jay is excited when the machine is at last operational. But he worries about it falling into the wrong hands when an ambitious billionaire hell-bent on accumulating power makes a bid to get it…at any cost.

Will the portal be used as a rescue device as intended, or will a relentless manipulator warp it to a more sinister purpose?

The Arachne Portal is an electrifying standalone science fiction novel. If you like fast-paced adventures, phenomenal science, and thought-provoking themes, then you’ll love Joan Marie Verba’s compelling story.

Read The Arachne Portal to open a gateway to the future today!

Previous description:

The women at Modern Surprises LLC, needed someone to answer the phones. Jay Ecklund was hired. From the very first day, he found this was no ordinary company: the science division there had secretly developed a portal that would allow them to go to anywhere on Earth. Madeline Chang, a military veteran and owner of Modern Surprises, had a plan: to use the portal as a device to help those in need. However, billionaire industrialist Charles Vance found out about the portal, and was willing to lie, cheat, and steal to get it for himself. But Madeline, Jay, and the rest of the team were not about to let him have it.

A note from the author: if you enjoy television shows that show how science works, Modern Surprises is for you. I definitely had fun with the novel, and intended for the characters to have fun, as well—because I believe science is fun (I have a physics degree). Through the novel, readers experience how technology needs to be tested, how there are are unexpected effects, and how technology doesn’t always work in the way the original design indicated it might (and that can be delightful). When the characters find that the portal, Arachne, responds to music, it adds yet another dimension to the technology. I hope you’ll have fun with the story, too.

Paul Cornell, author of London Falling, The Severed Streets, and Who Killed Sherlock Holmes?

Joan’s prose is always cool, it’s a majority female team and that’s such a good title.

Keith R.A. DeCandido, IAMTW Grandmaster, author of Dragon Precinct

Modern Surprises [is] a delightful adventure story. This book is tremendous fun, and has a lot of really strong, fascinating characters, most of whom happen to be female. Really groovy stuff, and you should check it out.” —

Autumn World
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Leah came to Autumn World only to observe. But when her survey ship crashes, and the other survivors, traumatized, run away, she finds herself in the midst of a political and religious struggle on an alien world she barely knows.

Midwest Book Review (Philip E. Kaveny)

The novel is well-crafted and a very good read with lots sf world-building detail which takes place on a heavier-than-earth-gravity planet with some really neat aliens. It is a lot better than 90% of the stuff that you can find on a rack at...the big chain bookstores.

Mythprint (Laura Krentz)

This is a complex and fascinating science fiction story with a well-developed but very alien world. ... Some of the aliens are extremely alien compared to humans, though they usually have understandable motivations. The book would appeal to young readers as well as adult readers.

Autumn World cover

Previous cover, artwork by Terry Miller and Rita Miller at ImagiMation 3D

Something has fallen from the sky. Could it be the Sky Dwellers, as the Old Religion foretold? If so, bloodletting is at hand: the Veen, the New Religion, will destroy anyone and anything that threatens their hold on the capital.

Something has fallen from the sky. Could it be sentients from another world? The Knowledge Brokers have recovered lost technology and used it to send signals, but it could be a Veen trap.

Something has fallen from the sky. Does it matter what it is? The local Veen prelate wants it and everyone who’'s seen it destroyed—except that Knowledge Broker Thiele and her beautiful, beautiful feet.

Their ship has fallen from the sky. Was it sabotage? A human survivor faces an alien world, combating religions, rival philosophies, telepathy between twins, a lost alien race, and an impossible connection with a soldier terribly, horribly orphaned by being a single.

Created Worlds
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Short Story Collection

The Wisest Wizard: Who will be the next Wisest Wizard? Maybe not who you think.

The Sum of the Parts: Susan Page is a pacifist, who is attacked repeatedly by a criminal who evades arrest. Will she need to compromise her principles to defeat him?

This One Time: Allira Elhalyn-Alton, and her daughter, Bruna, have always been protected by the men in their life. Can they stand on their own in a crisis?

Death’s Scepter: Brothers Regis and Stefan Hastur have always been close. Will politics make them turn on each other?

Mind-eater: Domenic MacAran seeks shelter in a house where the residents are terrorized by a bully. Can they turn the tables on him?

The Honor of the Guild: A murder is committed and the Renunciates are blamed. Can Janna n’ha Cassilde solve the crime and restore the reputation of the guild?

An Invitation to Chaos: Gwynn Alton has harbored resentment of his father since childhood. Will their simmering conflict mean danger for the Domains when the Towers experiment with their powers?

The Mystery Woman of the Kilghard Hills: Young Kennard Lanart encounters a mysterious young woman in the woods, but his family is skeptical of his story. Will he, or they, uncover her secret?

Safe Passage: Orain, a peddler, is beaten and robbed and left in an approaching blizzard. Can he get his merchandise back and evade the determined robbers?


“Safe Passage” was originally published in the Darkover anthology Snows of Darkover, January 1995. Reprinted by permission.

“The Madwoman of the Kilghard Hills” (retitled “The Mystery Woman of the Kilghard Hills”) was originally published in the Darkover anthology Towers of Darkover, July 1993. Reprinted by permission.

“An Invitation to Chaos” was originally published in the Darkover anthology Leroni of Darkover, November 1991. Reprinted by permission.

“The Honor of the Guild” was originally published in the Darkover anthology Renunciates of Darkover, March 1991. Reprinted by permission.

“Mind-eater” was originally published in the Darkover anthology Domains of Darkover, March 1990. Reprinted by permission.

“Death’s Scepter” was originally published in the Darkover anthology Four Moons of Darkover, November 1988. Reprinted by permission.

“This One Time” was originally published in the Darkover anthology Free Amazons of Darkover, December 1985. Reprinted by permission.