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Lots of news, giveaways, and fun in this newsletter. Oh yeah -- four of my novels launch in new formats from August 20 thru October 10th. MEG: Origins, the new MEG prequel debuted in e-book format, along with the original MEG, followed this week by GRIM REAPER in mass market paperback, to be followed next month by the long-awaited hardback of PHOBOS: Mayan Fear, part three of the DOMAIN 2012 series. I know many of you do not own e-readers and really want to read MEG: Origins. Two options: First, the file can be downloaded on your personal computer using a free app at Amazon. Or you can wait until MEG 5: Night Stalkers (I will try to add the prequel as a bonus we'll see). For now, the best bet is to borrow .99 cents and a p/c and enjoy the story! --Steve Alten

MEG: Origins bonus material for teachers

If you read the e-book you may have noticed the promise of bonus material for each chapter. This is forthcoming, but I decided to use the format for teachers in the Adopt-An-Author program to encourage teens to read. Sometime in the coming weeks curriculum materials will be added in the way of vocabulary lists and questions. This won't appear in the story, just the bonus section.

Living Tips: $2,500 gift from the IRS.

Whether you're a recent graduate going to college for the first time or a returning student, it will soon be time to get to campus - and payment deadlines for tuition and other fees are not far behind. The Internal Revenue Service reminds students or parents paying such expenses to keep receipts and to be aware of some tax benefits that can help offset college costs. Typically, these benefits apply to you, your spouse or a dependent for whom you claim an exemption on your tax return. American Opportunity Credit This credit, originally created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, has been extended for an additional two years - 2011 and 2012. The credit can be up to $2,500 per eligible student and is available for the first four years of post secondary education. Forty percent of this credit is refundable, which means that you may be able to receive up to $1,000, even if you owe no taxes. Qualified expenses include tuition and fees, course related books, supplies and equipment. The full credit is generally available to eligible taxpayers whose modified adjusted gross income is below $80,000 ($160,000 for married couples filing a joint return). For more info, watch this video.

GRIM REAPER: End of Days

The novel that took me two years to write has been improved and debuts this week in paperback.


At the beginning of Alten's classic hero's journey of good versus evil, transformation and redemption, a microbiologist develops a new strain of bubonic plague (called Scythe). A Christian zealot, she is convinced she has been chosen to launch Revelations. Her plan to release the plague on the Iranian delegation at the United Nations goes horribly awry and instead it is unleashed on all of Manhattan. Three million people, including the President of the United States, are trapped when the island is sealed off to stop the disease from spreading. As the pandemic races through the city, a crippled U.S. soldier who served four tours of duty in Iraq gets his hands on the Scythe vaccine and embarks on a desperate and deadly journey to save his estranged wife and daughter who are trapped in locked-down Manhattan. While his journey parallels the horror, death and destruction of Dante's 'nine circles of suffering,' it also becomes a time of spiritual awakening and soul-cleansing when he is forced to face truths about his own actions during the war, and the disturbing realization that mankind will ultimately destroy itself.

Recipe: Chocolate Trifle

Ingredients 1 (19.8 ounce) package brownie mix, 1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix, 1/2 cup water, 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk, 1 (8 ounce) 1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed, 1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed, 1 (1.5 ounce) bar chocolate candy

Directions: Prepare brownie mix according to package directions and cool completely. Cut into 1 inch squares. In a large bowl, combine pudding mix, water and sweetened condensed milk. Mix until smooth, then fold in 8 ounces whipped topping until no streaks remain. In a trifle bowl or glass serving dish, place half of the brownies, half of the pudding mixture and half of the 12 ounce container of whipped topping. Repeat layers. Shave chocolate onto top layer for garnish. Refrigerate 8 hours before serving. IF YOU HAVE A RECIPE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE, please e-mail to me at [email protected] Put RECIPE in the subject line.

Just when you thought you heard it all


Marines in Afghanistan have reportedly been told not to pass gas around Afghans to avoid offending the indigenous population. That's right, now any leatherneck who lets one rip on patrol with Afghans nearby could receive a talk from his superior officer. The new flatulence restriction was first picked up by the Military Times and has since become fodder for online discussion ranging from the curious to the ridiculous. A few military bloggers have taken it seriously and found the ban to be indicative of a trend among military brass of bending over backwards to avoid offending the locals. Others have pointed out that a culture that has allowed stoning, various forms of execution, and amputations as penalties for criminal offenses should be able to withstand a little passed gas. The new regulation is not covered in the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the military has not even confirmed it exists.For now, the "fart ban" appears to be simply a guideline for good manners while Marines are out on patrol. MANY THANKS TO RANDI BRIGGS FOR THIS ARTICLE. (PERSONALLY I THINK THE BAN STINKS.)

Have you read a story that borders on the ridiculous? Send it to Steve Alten at [email protected]

Exclusive for Alten Newsletter Readers

Josh Viola is one of my Writing Coach clients and has recently finished his first novel entitled, THE BANE OF YOTO. Josh is also the Creative Lead at the video game company Leviathan Games and Leviathan Games is developing Playstation 3 Dynamic Themes and interactive graphic novels for the iPhone (available this winter) based on his novel. As a gift to Steve Alten readers, the first BANE OF YOTO Playstation 3 Dynamic theme can be downloaded for free (exclusively to you) here: Those of you who own a Playstation 3 just need to visit the link, download the file and follow the simple instructions for installing the theme to your console. Comic book artists Tyler Kirkham (Fantastic Four, The Darkness and Green Lantern) and Nick Runge (Ghostbusters and Angel) contributed to the incredible art for this theme.

Joke of the Month

A husband emerged from the bathroom naked and was climbing into bed when his wife complained, as usual, "I have a headache." "Perfect," her husband said. "I was just in the bathroom powdering my penis with aspirin. You can take it orally or as a suppository, it's up to you."

*IF YOU HAVE A JOKE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE, please e-mail to me at [email protected] Put JOKE in the subject line.

Stay well, stay safe and know this author really appreciates you. And please purchase copies of GRIM REAPER: End of Days. I guarantee you will enjoy it!


Steve Alten, Ed.D.