New Year, New Book! Launch Day for Under Stone

What better way to start the new year than with a brand new book? Under Stone, the fourth instalment of my Ambeth Chronicles, is now live on Amazon! Get your copy here.

‘Help will come to you, Alma, you will not be alone.’

Accepting her new powers hasn’t been easy for Alma. Nor has finding out the truth about her father. And she’s still not sure about the prophecy, or about going back to Ambeth. But the Dark are gathering, Denoris on her trail. Deryck hasn’t forgotten about her either… Events past and present converge on a small Welsh town as Alma, and the Dark, choose their path. Who will reach the Cup first?

I’m thrilled to be starting the year with a new title and, for those of you who are new to Ambeth, Oak and Mist, the first book in the series, is 99p/99c to download in the Kindle store, but only until the end of January.

So what are you waiting for? New year, new series – take a journey to Ambeth.

 

The Wheel Turns, and a Cover Reveal!

Today was the shortest day, the moment when the wheel of the year turns towards light again. In the old ways it was called Yule, and marked a time of hope, when a spark of light would be lit both symbolically and literally to celebrate the turning of the year.

I love this time of year. I love the sparkling lights on the houses and in the trees, the clear high sunsets and cold nights, the shimmer of frost and the crack of ice. I especially love the idea of hope, of change, of finding the spark within.

It’s interesting that the past week has seen a turning of the wheel in my own life as well. I now have a new plan for the year ahead, and am excited to get back to writing once more. So, to celebrate both the solstice and my rejuvenated writing plan, here is the cover for my next release, Under Stone, the fourth in my Ambeth Chronicles series!

I’m thrilled with the finished product, and think it goes very well with the others. Under Stone will be released very soon, and pre-release copies are available for review – please contact me if you’d like one.

Wishing you all a happy solstice!

#keepersbooklaunch – Keepers Is Here!

In case you haven’t heard, Sacha Black has just released Keepers, the first in her Eden East YA series. Sacha has been a blog friend for a while and I’ve been reading about the progress of this story for the past couple of years, so it’s really exciting to see it finally completed!

Eden’s life is balanced…until her soul is bound to her enemy. When her parents are murdered, the realm of Trutinor is threatened. Then a mysterious human arrives and changes everything. As Eden’s world spirals out of control, she doesn’t need a charismatic Siren from her past returning to complicate life. Now, saving Trutinor is the last thing on Eden’s mind.

Three boys.
Two murdered parents.
One deadly choice.

Whew! I have to say, I’ve read it already, and it’s a great story with plenty of twists and turns, all wrapped up in beautiful cover art. I was lucky enough to attend the launch this past weekend – check out these amazing cupcakes!

You can get your copy of Keepers here. Huge congratulations, Sacha – can’t wait to read book two!

 

30 Day Writing Challenge – Day Fourteen – Home

IMG_1122It’s day fourteen of the 30 Day Writing Challenge, and today’s prompt is: Home.

I’ve been at home for most of today, which I’ve enjoyed. It’s a busy time of year and, as a bit of an introvert, home is where I go to recharge.

It’s also where I write. Even though I’m *supposed* to be sorting out Under Stone, the fourth Ambeth book, today I’ve been going through Silver and Black, my vampire novel. And I found this little passage that seems to fit the prompt quite well:

The sun is starting to slant towards the west, the blue sky striping with gold and red as I see the familiar gates of home. They are closed. F*ck. Of course they are. Locked and bolted too, I bet. I can’t climb them, either. I start to cry, the disappointment at being so close to home, yet unable to get in, overwhelming me. I cling to the wrought metal then sink down, my legs folding under me. I just can’t stand any more. Wrapping my arms around the metal I rest my head against it, waiting. I have no anti-feed left, so I’m basically a sitting duck. I can only hope the guards find me and realise who I am before they attack. The sky is a flaming bowl above me, the trees shading to purple against the red and gold and blue. It’s completely glorious, yet I feel nothing. It’s as though everything I had is gone from me, drained out by the night’s events and the day’s walk. I stare at the clouds, but I see nothing. Gradually, my head droops, and I slip into a doze.

A hand grabs my arms, squeezing tight so I wake up. ‘Ow!’ I squeal. The squeal becomes a scream as my arm is yanked upwards, pulling me with it, my shoulder twisting painfully.

‘Who are you?’ The guard on the other side of the gate snarls at me, his fingers digging into my arm.


If you enjoyed this post, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJ,  Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon.

New Release – The Spirit Well by Charles Yallowitz – Return to Windermere

Return to Windemere in THE SPIRIT WELL!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Born from the light and darkness, Dariana can no longer avoid her fate.

The final corrupted temple stands between the champions and Baron Kernaghan having their great battle. Only one problem: the Compass Key refuses to work with Dariana, who long ago wiped all memories of the Spirit Well from her mind. Now, they are forced to follow a trail of clues that Dariana’s former self left behind centuries ago. It is a path that will lead the champions into a part of their friend’s past that could tear them all apart.

Will the bonds of friendship be stronger than the call of blood?

Grab it on Amazon!

Add it to your Goodreads ‘To Read’ List!

Excerpt: I’m Sorry . . . Again

“I’m sorry, but I told you that my powers make the Compass Key argumentative when it comes to the Spirit Well,” Dariana sheepishly explains while rubbing her clear ring. She smiles when Fizzle lands on her head, the drite’s cool tail running down her spine. “This is very scary for me. None of the champions have made it to this temple, much less the final battle with my father. It’s hard to take in after this destiny being my entire life for so long. I used to always dream of how I would handle my temple, but things are different now that it’s no longer a distant dream. What if I make a mistake and get someone killed?”

“We trust you, my friend, and know that you will not fail,” Timoran whispers as he slides the Compass Key across the table. He is confused when the relic sparks at her touch and gets pushed back into his hand. “That is fairly disheartening. If you cannot use the Compass Key then there is no way to find this Spirit Well. Perhaps it does not like your physical touch and will respond to your telepathy. I wonder why the gods would create this obstacle.”

“It’s possible that we did this,” Delvin suggests while using one of his enchanted rings to create a delicious cup of coffee. He gestures for the barbarian to throw the relic over to him, but the red-haired barbarian refuses. “You’re right, Timoran. Probably not a good idea to toss something like that around. Anyway, we had the Compass Key warded against agents of the Baron. They aren’t able to see it, which means they can’t find or use it. The decision made sense at the time, but things are different now. Maybe our spell has a small effect on Dariana. Not saying you’re working with the Baron, but there could be enough of an aural touch to cause this problem. Do you think we should cancel the spells, Nyx?”

The channeler heats up a cup of tea, which she sips at while considering the possibility of her magic being the issue. “They should stay because I don’t think they’re the problem. Dariana said this has happened before, which means the gods made a mistake. Sorry for how that came out. Gabriel, who better not get angry at this conversation, created the Compass Key first and then turned Dariana into a champion. He couldn’t fix the problem thanks to the Law of Influence, so it’s remained all this time. Though he had to have created something to help us move on.”

“Maybe we have to find Isaiah and he’ll lead the way,” Sari says from the couch. Flipping to her feet, she joins her friends and immediately takes a strawberry off Luke’s plate. “He hasn’t been much help since the first temple, so one has to wonder what his purpose is. I doubt we need his protection any more, which means he has to have another role to play. What do you think, Dari?”

The telepath rubs her temples while scanning the city for a sign of the fireskin, part of her praying he is not nearby. Dariana finds evidence that Isaiah has been spying on them until recently, but the caster is long gone. She considers tracking the faint trail and goes as far as the outer wall, which is where the psychic tracks make an odd leap into the sky. The strain of following Isaiah any further makes Dariana pull back and return to find that everyone is staring at her again. Realizing that she can no longer delay the inevitable, she gets out of her chair and kneels to her friends. Fizzle is still clinging to her head, which makes the apologetic bow both amusing and awkward.

“I know I say this a lot, but I really am sorry, my friends,” Dariana states while keeping her forehead pressed to the stone floor. She looks up at the sound of rustling feet and is surprised to see that everyone is approaching her. “Long ago, I managed to avoid being put back to sleep long enough to track down the Spirit Well. My curiosity got the best of me and I wanted to know where my path would meet its end. I was still forced to wipe my memory of the location, but I do know that I left a map behind. There are a few clues that I buried in my subconscious where even I could not dislodge them after erasing the original discovery. More may come to me as we get closer, but all I know now is that we should go to Rodillen. I was hoping the Compass Key would work and we could avoid this extra journey.”

“Like our luck would be that good,” Nyx mutters while she helps Dariana stand.

Need to catch Legends of Windemere from the beginning? Then click on the covers below!

You can start for FREE . . .

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Or grab the $4.99 ‘3 in 1’ bundles!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen 3D Conversion by Bestt_graphics

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
3D Conversion by Bestt_graphics

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

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Also Available in Single eBooks:

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover art by Jason Pedersen

Cover art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Interested in a new adventure? Then grab your Kindle & dive back into the world of Windemere! Don’t forget an apple for Fizzle.

Author PhotoAbout the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com

Published! A Thousand Rooms

screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-09-25-592Yay! I’ve made my way through the tangle of formatting and emerged on the other side ready to hit the big red Publish button. A Thousand Rooms, my fourth novel, is now available to purchase through Amazon.

A stand-alone novel, A Thousand Rooms follows the story of suddenly-dead Katie and is set in Sydney, Australia, where I lived for a couple of years.

You don’t wake up expecting to die…

Katie is thirty-two, single, and used to work in advertising. She’s also dead. A lost soul hitching rides with the dying, trying to find her way to… wherever she’s supposed to be.

And whoever she’s supposed to be with.

Heaven, it seems, has a thousand rooms. What will it take to find hers?

I’m thrilled to finally have A Thousand Rooms out, almost two years to the day I started writing it. I’ve had a lot of help along the way, and really do appreciate all your support. I’ll be visiting a few blogs in upcoming weeks to talk about the book a little more and in the meantime, if you decide to treat yourself to a copy, thank you and I hope you enjoy it!

Guest Post: Legends Of Windermere Author Charles Yallowitz on Character Sacrifice

Today Charles Yallowitz is stopping by with a post on the idea of sacrifice in story-telling, and how to make it effective. As a story element, sacrifice needs to be handled carefully, and Charles makes some excellent points on how to do so while keeping the reader engaged. Take it away, Charles!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

A big thank you to Helen for having me for a guest post to help promote my newest release, Legends of Windemere: Tribe of the Snow Tiger. This is the 10th installment of this fantasy series and the stakes are going to be pretty high for several characters. A core aspect of the story involves the concept of sacrifice and how far a person is willing to go for either a person or a belief. Turns out that this is a very debatable topic among authors and people in general because everyone has different views on sacrificing. In fact, I’ve seen some pretty big arguments on if it’s even a sensible decision.

One of the biggest hurdles with a sacrifice is to convey to others that it is worth doing. Most times this is a crucial part of a story too, which means a lot is depending on the scene. This is an act that you cannot take back and the character might not even live to see the associated positive/negative outcomes. As an author, you really need to think about writing a sacrifice scene and make sure it is the best decision for the story and character. Most importantly, you need to have it be believable. If a reader feels that the character dying to save the others is a fool and the sacrifice was pointless then you could lose them for the rest of the story.

That risk is a big part of why I’ve heard some authors try to steer clear of them. Personally, I like writing those scenes, but I’m careful to make sure they have impact. I’ve also learned that what hits me hard could miss the mark on someone else. The reason for this is because a reader and author may be working off different interpretations of the character motives, personalities, and the concept of sacrifice in general. This is human nature since you have some people who would jump in the way of a moving car to save a child and others who would simply upload the accident on YouTube. Yes, it does come down to morality and how much weight a person puts
on sacrificial gestures.

One thing I’ve noticed is that you can put this spectrum into your characters as well, which can help connect to a variety of readers. For example, say a supporting hero sacrifices himself to allow the others to escape a dungeon with the weapon needed to defeat the main villain. If you have every survivor act the same toward the sacrifice then you can alienate a reader who thinks differently. So have some be angry, others be sad, and even one or two that thinks the deceased was a fool. Try to run even a small gamut of emotions because that is what can bring the scene home. An act of sacrifice is really defined by the impact it has on the rest of the story instead of how amazing it was in the moment.

So, what can you do to make a sacrifice scene work?

1. Relax and let it flow naturally. You don’t’ want to force something like this to happen. It might even reveal itself to be unnecessary.

2. Foreshadowing isn’t necessary, but it shouldn’t be ignored. Some readers don’t like the unexpected shock scene, so putting in even a single clue can help soften the blow. This is especially true if the sacrifice is being done by a favored hero.

3. Think ahead to make sure the sacrifice has an impact on the story. In the previous
scenario, the ultimate weapon not working means that hero died in vain. Might be funny or exciting, but you weaken that earlier scene. So consider the pros and cons of
minimizing something that is typical an emotional moment.

4. Focus more on the aftermath than the actual death. If a character dies then it should
change the mental and emotional dynamic of those they were connected to. For example, the Fellowship showed sadness and crumbled after Gandalf died. It became a driving force in a way. On the other end of the spectrum, you have Chiaotzu self-destructing against Nappa in Dragonball Z. The attack didn’t work and then his friend did a similar sacrifice with the same result and let’s just say DBZ is rather infamous for the failed sacrifice maneuver.

5. Finally, you really do need for there to be consequences both good and bad. I know I
keeping pointing at the death sacrifice, but that is the most common. Still, giving up a
belief system, a loved one, a future, or anything has two sides. One is that it should help
the heroes (or villains if they’re on that side) continue on their path, which is the good
part. The other is that it causes pain. Reader and author have to remember that this is the giving up of something precious. A feeling of loss is probably more important than any other result.

Now, I’ve said all this from my own opinion, which means some may disagree. That’s the
challenge with this topic because it works off what we may do or how we would judge those who sacrifice. So, it’s really a concept that I find better to discuss than dictate because it’s just so different for every person. In other words, feel free to voice your opinion on sacrifices in the comments and let’s see how many angles we can look at this from.


Thank you, Charles, for an excellent and thought-provoking article. So what do you think? Have you ever read a story where a character’s sacrifice has put you off reading the rest? Or where it’s resonated so strongly you can’t stop reading? Or have you written a sacrifice scene of your own? Looking forward to the comments 🙂

Need to catch Legends of Windemere from the beginning?  Then click on the covers below!

You can start for FREE . . .

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Or grab the $4.99 ‘3 in 1’ bundles!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen 3D Conversion by Bestt_graphics

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
3D Conversion by Bestt_graphics

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Also Available:

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Interested in a new adventure?  Then grab your Kindle & dive back into the world of Windemere!  Don’t forget an apple for Fizzle.

Author PhotoAbout the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com

Meandering Monday Musings

IMG_1188

The past few weeks have been quite busy, as I mentioned in a previous post, mainly because I’ve been working through the final edit and finicky formatting of my latest book, Hills and Valleys. Once that was released, my body then decided to go into meltdown with a nasty head cold, just in time for the Bank Holiday weekend. The head cold has now moved to my chest, and yesterday I had one of those days when I wasn’t even sure what day it was, when time seemed elastic, as though I could travel back and forth through the years by simply by thinking about it. No hard drugs, I swear. 😉

I’ve been this way, on and off, for a while now. I had pretty major surgery last summer (don’t ask 🙂 ), and I think maybe this is still part of the healing process. I was pretty ill when I went in for surgery, and I think the recovery, both from the op and the preceding ill health, has taken it out of me.

Still, I’m all right. There are plenty of people worse off than I am. It’s just getting a bit frustrating, that’s all. I said to my husband the other night that I can vaguely remember a time when I felt really well, but I couldn’t tell him how long ago that was. So I’m going to take a look around and see what I can do to make a difference. Kick my health back into shape (no martial arts puns intended). I’m pretty active – walking every day, karate twice a week, Pilates, zumba. I like to keep moving. And I eat pretty well, most of the time. So these endless head colds and coughs and chesty things and blocked ears and general malaise are starting to get me a bit down.

Having been so busy with the book this past little while, I’m a bit behind on keeping up with everyone’s blogs, only having time to dip in and out. I’ve also had a few new followers recently, and I just want to say ‘Hello!’ Thank you for choosing to follow my blog – you’re very much appreciated.

And, last but definitely not least, I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who’s supported the release of Hills and Valleys on WordPress, Twitter and Facebook – I’ve been really thrilled by the number of tweets, reblogs and posts, as well as all the lovely comments. Setting a new book free can be a challenging time, so all your support has made it so much easier – thank you!

And that’s about all for my Monday Musings – wishing you all a good week! Time to go and find the cough medicine again, I think…

 

New Release – Hills And Valleys (Ambeth Chronicles #3)

Hills_And_Valleys_Cover_for_Kindle

Yay! I’ve been a bit busy these past few weeks working on the final edit and formatting for Hills and Valleys, the third book in my Ambeth series. And now I can happily say…. drum roll… it’s published!

Available on Amazon and part of KDP Select (so you can read for free as a Kindle Unlimited member), Hills And Valleys continues Alma’s story:

‘Sometimes things call to us until we can no longer ignore them. And Ambeth is calling you, Alma.’

After the events of the Harvest Fair, Alma is finished with Ambeth – they can find the missing Cup and Crown without her. But Ambeth is not finished with her. First the mystery of her dead father comes back to haunt her, then the Dark reach out, hoping to trap her once more.

And then there’s the strange power she seems to have…

If you’ve been reading along already, you know why she might be finished with Ambeth. If you haven’t? Well, it’s a long weekend, so head over to Amazon and check out the series 😉

Hills_And_Valleys_Cover_for_Kindle

New Release – Charles Yallowitz Legends of Windermere – Tribe of the Snow Tiger

Now Available on Amazon for Pre-Order!
Coming to your Kindle on June 1st!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Timoran Wrath has a shameful secret that is about to see the light of day.

The noble barbarian has always been a constant source of strength and wisdom for his beloved friends. His loyalty has been unwavering and they know that he would never hesitate to lay down his life for them. Even in their darkest hour, the champions know that Timoran will come through and fight to the bitter end. Now they must return the favor as he reunites with his tribe and willingly faces the executioner’s blade.

Is it possible that the honorable Timoran was nothing more than an illusion?

Don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads ‘To Read’ List too!

Excerpt: The Snow Tiger

“The snow is too bright and level for me to see anything clearly,” the barbarian growls. The sound of shuffling and mild cursing draws his attention to Nyx who has sunk up to her nose in snow. “What are you doing, fire sprite?”

Nyx shivers while squinting into the distance, her eyes coated in bronze energy. “The reason you can’t see anything might be because you’re too tall. I’m trying to see if there’s anything that breaks the level ground. My eyes are enhanced right now, but I don’t . . . wait a second . . . I think there’s something buried out there. A beast of some kind? It’s a very subtle up and down motion that reminds me of something breathing. It just stopped moving, but I don’t know what that means. I’ll lead the way.”

Not waiting for a response, Nyx pushes through the thick snow and uses wind magic to gradually shift the powder out of her path. She does her best to move quietly and avoid disturbing whatever they are approaching, but the crunch of frozen grass beneath her boots makes the half-elf cringe with every step. A violent sneeze threatens to erupt from her nose, stifled quickly by a silence spell around her nostrils. Rubbing at her cold legs, Nyx is thankful when Timoran puts a vest made of black fur over her. The Ifrit hair warms her body and drives away the looming cold that has been brewing in her chest for the last few minutes. With renewed energy, the channeler walks a little faster and adds a simple heat spell to the wind that is steadily clearing the path.

“Wow. Such a beautiful creature,” she whispers when she steps into a circular clearing that surrounds the dead beast.

The enormous snow tiger’s blue and black fur is thick, the hairs sparkling when touched by direct sunlight. It has long incisors of glistening white that jut out of its mouth due to their size and sharpness. A slender tail lies limp in the exposed grass and still twitches as the muscles continue to lose their tension. Powerful legs and massive paws are splayed on the ground, giving the body the appearance of having peacefully died in its sleep. The gaping wound in the gorgeous snow tiger’s side is the only sign of an attack, the surrounding fur matted with aromatic blood.

Timoran’s rage boils when he spots the three cubs that are mewling and pushing against their dead mother. Judging from their size and faint, black stripes, he assumes they are no older than three months. Rusty manacles are attached to their back legs, the chains running to a stake that has been driven into the muddy earth. Restraining his anger, the barbarian moves within reach of the animals and gently breaks the metal bindings that are bruising their ankles. Scared and confused, the cubs cower against the still warm corpse and hiss whenever one of the adventurers comes close. One of the snow tigers bravely charges at Timoran and bites his boot, proudly returning to the others when the towering figure moves away.

Need to catch Legends of Windemere from the beginning?  Then click on the covers below!

You can start for FREE . . .

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Or grab the $4.99 ‘3 in 1’ bundles!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen 3D Conversion by Bestt_graphics

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen
3D Conversion by Bestt_graphics

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

 

Also Available:

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Interested in a new adventure?  Then grab your Kindle & dive back into the world of Windemere!  Don’t forget an apple for Fizzle.

Author PhotoAbout the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com