Author’s Blog & Excerpts from the Book

Stop George from continuing his pursuit of Poly

Stop George from continuing his pursuit of Poly

The pressure to do something—anything—to stop George from continuing his pursuit of Poly reached a fever pitch one day when Thanasis was approached by Mary, the wife of a poor shepherd, while at his fields in Maraveli.

“Linatsas,” she said, using George’s nickname, “told me he’s planning to divorce Panayota so he can marry Poly.”

Thanasis felt his blood boil. He had already discussed the issue with Polyxeni, Aggelo, and his other sister Papadia, who had insisted that he take the matter to Poly’s father. Aggelo, in fact, had already approached Panayota, who had denied the rumors and attributed them to malicious gossip. Thanasis had at first resisted the idea of confronting Poly’s father, who was his cousin, after all.

Yet here was Mary, not known as a gossip, confirming what everyone suspected. How could he not get involved?

Thanasis thanked Mary for her candor and then marched straight to his cousin’s house.

“I knew George was after my daughter,” Poly’s father said in an alarmed tone after Thanasis told him what George was doing, “but I had no idea he was actually planning on divorcing Panayota. I’m going to have a long talk with Poly.”

A few weeks later, Thanasis met again with Poly’s father after it had become apparent that his talk had not produced the desired results. George was still inventing ways to get close to her.

“I will either have to leave the village with her,” Poly’s father said, “or kill the bastard.”

This is a short excerpt from the book, “Better Dead Than Divorced”. Get your copy at Amazon.

The glassware was in pieces

The glassware was in pieces

Panayota could see the future already. She and George would entertain often, sharing their home and their bounty with the same people who had once threatened to chop her into pieces and toss her into the river. She would savor the delicious irony of her newfound domestic status as she poured each of her guests a refreshing drink from an exquisite glass pitcher. “More water?” she could imagine saying. “It’s fresh from the—”

A terrible crash behind her—and the sound of George shouting in alarm—jolted her from her reverie. She turned to see him standing beside his mule and staring angrily at the ground, where the box containing the coveted glassware now lay on its side. Judging by the percussive sound generated by its impact, the glassware was in pieces.

This is a short excerpt from the book, “Better Dead Than Divorced”. Get your copy at Amazon.

My Cousin is Tarnished

My Cousin is Tarnished

Thanasis was just leaving a cousin’s home next door to the Nitsoses when Maria Nitsos, George’s mother, called to him.

“Are you just going to stand there in the street, Thanasis?” she asked in a friendly voice. “Or would you like to come in and have a thimble of ouzo with Aunt Maria?”

Thanasis gladly accepted the invitation, and once inside, he only waited as long as politeness dictated before broaching the topic foremost on his mind.

“Aunt Maria,” he began, pausing to take a sip of the sugary, anise-flavored aperitif George’s mother had given him, “Your family and our family have always had good relations. I don’t want to do anything to change that, but you should know what has happened between George and Panayota.”

“I know,” Maria said with a perceptive nod. “I know the whole story.”

“Then you know what that means for a girl in our village,” Thanasis replied. “My cousin is tarnished.”

Maria frowned thoughtfully. “I know. I have girls myself, but listen, I don’t want you and your family to worry. George is going to do the right thing by Panayota. He was always going to.”

Thanasis cocked his head in surprise. He had no reason to doubt George’s mother. If she was right, then Panayota’s problem—the family’s problem—was solved at last.

This is a short excerpt from the book, “Better Dead Than Divorced”. Get your copy at Amazon.

Crooning a Love Song

Crooning a Love Song

Panayota, still leaning against the stone wall in the darkness, flinched involuntarily. The memory of her first virginity test still sent her flesh crawling. She had been so terrified during the test that the doctor had admonished her for her lack of proper cooperation, which he had said had marred the results. Not that anything had changed after the test. George, after staying away for a while to avoid further inflaming Panayota’s family as well as the Koinises, returned at the time of the wheat harvest. During the noonday siesta, he could be heard crooning a love song to Panayota:

“Vipers hissing venomous wrath
Keep my love and me apart.
But I’ll cross their spiteful path
To be with you, my sweetheart.” 

Panayota didn’t think her family or the Koinises were snakes, of course. They were merely trying to protect her honor, along with their own reputations as upstanding members of the community. The Koinises, intent on avoiding further scandal, had put in place several restrictions to curb Panayota’s behavior and had begun watching her closely. Just like her family, they felt impugned by George’s indecent behavior.

This is a short excerpt from the book, “Better Dead Than Divorced”. Get your copy at Amazon.

Aggelo stepped out into the darkness

Aggelo stepped out into the darkness

“Oh, my girl, my girl,” Paraskevi lamented.

“I’ll go and look for her myself,” Aggelo said. “All of you just try to keep quiet. And don’t start another round of weeping and swearing. You’ll have the whole village talking about this for months.”

“Do you need a flashlight, Aggelo?” Metsios asked.

Thanasis’s sister, still clearly peeved, rolled her eyes. “You think of everything, don’t you, Metsios?” she said in a sweet voice laced with acerbic undertones. “Now that you’ve taken care of all the other things, maybe I should just run this little errand of finding your sister before she kills herself.”

With that, Aggelo stepped out into the darkness.

This is a short excerpt from the book, “Better Dead Than Divorced”. Get your copy at Amazon.

Forced to Reveal a Terrible Secret

Forced to Reveal a Terrible Secret

From the moment she blossomed into a beautiful young woman, trouble seemed to follow Panayota wherever she went. And that trouble, I’m sure Thanasis would have insisted, had a name: George Nitsos. Charming, gregarious, slippery—George Nitsos had no regard for the conservative mores of rural Greece. He was the kind of young man who inspired fathers to keep their daughters under lock and key, the kind of young man whose smile said one thing while his eyes said another. After he took an interest in my aunt, it wasn’t long before she found herself the subject of village gossip.

Thanasis was serving as Panayota’s chaperone the night she was forced to reveal a terrible secret to her family.

This is a short excerpt from the book, “Better Dead Than Divorced”. Get your copy at Amazon.

“The bastard has killed her”

“The bastard has killed her”

I awoke with a start. Fearfully clinging to me—almost choking me—was my younger brother Panos.

“What’s happening?” he cried.

“I don’t know.”

Our tiny village of Kupaki had been reverberating all night with the merry din emanating from two parties—one at the Zakkas’s home, several houses down from us, and one at the Kumes’s home, which sat equidistant from our house in the opposite direction. Summer was drawing to a close, and on this mild September night in 1953, my siblings and I had drifted off to the sounds of music, laughter, and dancing, only to be woken minutes later by the menacing peal of gunshots.

Now voices could be heard shouting in the darkness. “George!” several partygoers hollered. “Is that you? Are you okay?”

“Help!” a man called back, his voice a distant echo in the tangle of narrow streets. “They are trying to kill us! They are trying to kill us!”

Mama! Baba!” I asked, unable to calm my quavering voice. “What’s going on?”

Panos and I, too afraid to leave the safety of our old, dilapidated bed, were soon joined by our older brother Kostas, who had also been calling to our parents. Now we gathered in the darkness, waiting for a response.

My parents didn’t answer, although I could hear them hurriedly dressing in their room.

“The bastard has killed her,” Thanasis muttered angrily before rushing outside with Polyxeni.

This is an excerpt from the true crime story. Get your copy at Amazon.

A Story of Forced Marriage, Infidelity, Domestic Abuse, and Judicial Corruption

A Story of Forced Marriage, Infidelity, Domestic Abuse, and Judicial Corruption

It didn’t take long to realize that, despite the remote location and nearly forgotten era, there was something universal about the story. The story started as a love affair followed by a forced marriage—and there is plenty of the latter still in our world today. My story contained marital infidelity, also very common. It was followed by domestic abuse, and I have and am still treating victims of such abuse. The marriage in my story was clearly marked by red flags, but love and societal restrictions did not allow these red flags to be acted upon. This, too, still happens today. There were honorable and committed people in my story, people who were willing to endure all manner of discomforts in order to uphold their resolve. Again, there are people like this today. My story revealed judicial corruption, which we frequently hear about today. In addition, family loyalty, marked by adversity, persistence, and forgiveness, is still a major part of today’s conflicts.

This is an excerpt from the book, “Better Dead Than Divorced”. Get your copy of this true crime story at Amazon.

Better Dead Than Divorced: The Trial of Panayota

Better Dead Than Divorced: The Trial of Panayota

A true riveting story, of a beautiful innocent young woman, whose path crosses with that of a charming playboy in a mountainous village. Like spring eases into summer, their fates collide into a love affair that ends in contract murder.

Set in the era just prior to World War II in Greece, the book provides a glimpse into the shame of forced marriage, the silence of domestic violence, justice corrupted then delayed, and the drive of the author’s father to uphold family honor and justice no matter the challenges.

Dr. Lukas Konandreas, who watched this horror unfold as a young boy, says, “This story, despite its time and place, is similar to events I’ve witnessed as the journey of life and my career took me to Toronto, Chicago, California, New York and Connecticut. It bears similarities with contemporary events in the Latin American world, as well as in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East as modern media shines the spotlight on these parts of the world. The story shows that human nature is human nature, regardless of geography, time or circumstances.”

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