Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2015 blog plans & 2014 recap

2014 ends in a day, and I hope 2015 will be a more fruitful year for everyone.

I'm not going to recount all that happened this year, simply because I don't remember much but I did, however, write some 26 reviews, give or take, though I haven't posted all of them on the blog but I think I posted around 20.

I did not complete my reading target, due to several changes this year, but I realised I had set one too big for me. I originally planned to read 50 books, and was progressing well till June. I cut my target to 40, but I practically finished around 36.

I started a reading challenge that even I couldn't commit to till June; but I have better plans for 2015.

I saw two poems published this year; one in Scripting Change's new volume Beyond the Words, and also in Paragram's anthology Remember.

I have been mulling this over and over; I want to start a weekly writing prompt – something similar to VisDare, five-sentence fiction and Flash Friday, only like the first two it will not be contest but a simple picture to prompt me and others to write.

This prompt will be open to all, English and Arabic writers, whether poetry, flash fiction or just artistic prose. More details to be posted when I have jotted them down better. But I must say, artists are welcome to send me their work to be featured as the weekly prompt.

I will need your help for publicity, tweets and retweets, and of course writing.
I'll be taking part in blog tours in January and February.
I will be posting a massive giveaway in January as well, so stay tuned.

Another blog highlight? I passed 25K views! Thanks to all!

Have you written your New Year's resolutions? I'm finalising mine and will post them soon.


Until then, Merry Christmas, to those who celebrate on 25 December and to my friends who celebrate on 7 January, and Happy New Year to all!


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Keeping your teeth healthy

Something different for a change, especially with the upcoming Christmas holidays.
This will keep your teeth safe and healthy.
Merry Christmas!



Friday, December 19, 2014

Call of the Sea


The wind caresses my face, my hair, my whole being. Merging with the sea, the salty wind brings back memories of a long forgotten past. A tear falls to the never-ending expanse of water before me.

Then I hear him calling; the sea to me:

'Let go,
Come to the sea,
Let go,
Be forever free.'

Oh how I long to succumb to your call oh mighty Poseidon!
How I have missed our home!

The water flows cold at my feet. It comes to the shore, slowly trying to pull me back within. If only I can let go… If only… but I cannot; not now.

We will be together soon. I will be free and so will my baby.


Don't break my heart
For I will return;
And in the darkest night
My freedom will shine bright,
Bursting from your depths within
Shine, will our bright-coloured fins



This piece was originally written for one of the Flash Friday! contests

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Will Power - Cover Reveal

Will Power by Laura Catherine
(Djinn #0.5)
Publication date: January 26th 2015
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult

Synopsis:
Ever wondered how Will, Pyke and Mia were given the job to find Kyra?
How did they track her down?
What was Will doing while Pyke and Mia watched Kyra at school?
Go back to the beginning and find out what Will’s life was like before he met Kyra. See the struggles he faced that no one knew about and get a better understanding for his relationship with Kyra.
See just how strong his will power truly is in this short prequel to the Paranormal Romance, Djinn.



About the Author:
Laura Catherine is Young Adult author focusing on Paranormal Romance, Dystopia, and Fantasy.

She writes stories full of action, secrets, and magic. She loves creating worlds where anything is possible and everyone has a story to tell. She has an over-active imagination, spends a lot of her time daydreaming, and wishes pokemon were real so she would have one.

Laura Catherine lives in Melbourne, Australia.

Author links: 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Searching for the Fire

  
My fire is faltering,
My soul smouldering
But into a failing haze
Not a bright flagrant blaze

Foggy eyes despite the light
Tear-blurred vision,
A faltering will to fight,
No choice, no decision

The bells chime
As the cage door unseals;
It's time for the mountain climb
But there I stand; from progress I reel.

***

Darkness soothes me,
But not this kind,
For there are two.
I'm stuck in stale darkness,
Not fluid and free

I need air
To blow me away
I need fire
To burn it all into oblivion
To keep me warm
Amidst sight-blurring change

I need…

To become me once again.


Alpha Fighter Cover Reveal

Alpha Fighter by Ava Ashley
(The Alpha Fighter Series #1(
Publication date: December 15th, 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Synopsis:

Savannah Santos is on the run, almost out of options and cash. The daughter of a motorcycle club king, she fled everything she ever knew to get out of an arranged marriage to a rival club’s prince. Her plan is to follow her career dreams and not endanger anyone by getting too close. But she wasn’t expecting her new roommate to be her dream guy.

For Cooper Quin, being any girl’s dream man, is nothing new, but he’s determined to stay exactly that: a dream. His focus is on killing it in the brutal MMA ring. A former Navy SEAL with a dark past of pain and betrayal, falling in love is the last thing he intends to do. But his sexy new roommate is nothing like one of his usual one-night stands. With her, it feels safe to let his guard down.

Cooper knows a little about running from the past; Savannah’s is still looking for her. He can’t leave her alone, but pursuing her might be the MMA fighter’s undoing. She knows she can’t stay forever—not with two outlaw gangs searching everywhere to bring her back.




About the Author:
Amazon bestselling author Ava Ashley may look like the girl next door, but her steamy romances reveal a very naughty side. Raised in small town Ohio and now living in Homer, Alaska it’s amazing that she hasn’t increased the average temperature in her area of the state with her steamy writing. And she loves reading new adult romance novels as much as she enjoys writing them.

Ava likes spending time outdoors and does a lot of hiking and cycling with her husband and four children. When she can get away on her own, she’ll often take pen and paper along, find a secluded spot and let the environment inspire her. Of course, that inspiration frequently results in characters tearing each other’s clothes off, but you would expect nothing less from a romance writer.

Author links:





Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Lebrus Stone - Excerpt & Giveaway


The Lebrus Stone by Miriam Khan
Publication date: November 28th 2014
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult

When Eighteen-year-old orphan, Crystal Valdez, accepts an invitation to the small town of Blacksville, West Virginia, she hopes to have a summer to remember and a chance to learn more about her parents, to also get to know the family she never knew existed.

But the Lockes begin to act strange and erratic; eerie movements in the night fuel her vivid and gruesome nightmares. To complicate her summer further, she becomes attracted to the menacing yet handsome Cray Locke: her none blood related cousin who seems determined to keep his distance. The only bonus seems to be the Housekeeper and Gardener.

And when a local informs Crystal of the secrets buried at Thorncrest Manor, the kind consisting of a forbidden relationship and a war between hidden worlds, and witchcraft, she must decide whom to trust. Even if it means leaving behind those she has come to love.

Excerpt from The Lebrus Stone

I lay back and tried not to over think things to calm the storm in my head, but a knock on my door moments later interrupted it.



"Come in!" I called out, sitting up to retrieve my book.
Syd entered, carrying in what looked like a sandwich and a glass of her homemade lemonade.
I could have done with a hot soup.
But I blew a sigh of relief it wasn't one of the Lockes.
"Isobel said to make sure you had some lunch by now," she said, placing the tray on my bedside cabinet.
"Thanks, Syd."
"Any reason why you're hiding in here?" she asked as she sat on my bed.
I tensed. Being told I was hiding annoyed me, but I wasn't annoyed at Syd, just at myself. I had come too far in life to start acting like a coward, especially over something clearly in my head.
I fingered the dog-eared cover of my book.
"I think I just need a quiet day to myself. It could be some type of…delayed jet lag." It could be partly true, I thought. It had taken two flights to get from Salt Lake City to Blacksville; six hours in total. I smiled, pleased with the conclusion. Exhaustion could have been why I had such a freakish dream.
"I see," Syd said, seeming unconvinced. "Well, do you think you'll be joining the Lockes for dinner?"
"Do I have to?" No matter how much I was becoming fond of Syd, she worked for the Lockes. They could try and make her tell me what do.
"No." She chuckled. "But I think you should try to interact. Cray's alright, by the way. A little scratch like that won't do a boy like him any harm."
Boy like him?
So, I had hurt him. My chest tightened.
"Oh, don't look so beat up about it, honey. The boy is as tough as old boots." She chuckled again. "And luckily for you, he's not as vain about his looks as you would think. He won't hold what happened against you." She patted my hand.
I gulped. "Has he…said something?"
"No. He left early this morning. He didn't say where he was going, and Isobel never dares ask these days. He's a very private person, as you've probably noticed. She respects that. We all do." She looked lost in thought for a moment, then smiled in her sad little way, and asked, "So, are you ready to talk about what happened last night?"
My mouth felt too clamped to begin
"I have to say, not many girls would have left home to meet so many strangers. I admire your courage."
Her comment only made me sound irresponsible. I gritted my teeth.
"I don't feel very courageous," I admitted. "I feel pretty stupid right now."
Thanks for the added comment to make me feel even more naive, I wanted to add.
"I don't think five months was long enough to think this through," I said.
She nodded. "Maybe. But everything happens for a reason. You followed your heart. It's all you can do in life. It's your only real compass."
I wanted us to keep talking. When Syd wasn't nicely pointing out my flaws, she had a way of calming me until I felt optimistic about my trip again. But she had dinner to prepare, so she reluctantly left me after insisting I get ready to face my evening with the Lockes.
Something about her was becoming familiar. It could have been the warmth in her eyes and how they reminded me of Selma. She had always been as hospitable and over helpful.
I still missed her. Talking to Syd was like getting back something that had been cruelly taken away, too. It wasn't just my parents I'd lost, but my pride, self-worth, my best friend, at times my composure. It had been an uphill struggle this past year or so. But I was finally feeling on top of things…I think.
I sure wasn't going to let it keep me down.
Coming to Blacksville was my new start as the new and improved me. I really had to keep believing that.





Purchase:


About the Author:


Miriam is from Cheshire, England and a family of six siblings. Her love for creativity led to acting at her local theatre before being a lead vocalist in rock bands. During those years, she often found solace penning her thoughts and feelings through lyrics or poetry. She chose not to continue singing in 2006, and two years later she woke up with the idea for The Lebrus Stone and began typing. revising and editing it for the next six years. She is now eager to see what readers will think.

Enter the International Blitz-wide giveaway for a chance to win an ebook copy of The Lebrus Stone.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Token - Excerpt & Giveaway

A Breed Apart: The Token by Natasha Rogue
Publication date: December 2nd 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Synopsis:

Callie Michaels isn’t pretty or popular, but her singing more than makes up for all she lacks. And as long as she focuses on what’s really important, she can survive high school. But how can she focus with all the drama? Between her best friend’s odd issues and a daily dose of weirdness from the social elite, she’s starting to wonder if she’s the only normal one around.

He pulled the front door open. “That’s how it’s done.”

I rolled my eyes and made my way through the crowd that had spilled into the hall, muttering. “That’s how it’s done. Yeah? Where? In the jungle?”

“Yeah.” James’ breath on my nape sent a chill down my spine. “Something like that.”

Just as her life begins spiraling out of control, the answer comes to her in a dream. In exchange for a token of blood, a demon will give her everything she desires. She says “yes.” From that point on, she finds herself changing, becoming something far from normal. Something dangerous.

No one is what they seem—least of all her. While the supernatural creatures around her struggle to maintain their humanity, Callie slowly loses hers. She doesn’t even know what’s important anymore. Friendship, the future, love? And is there anyone who can make her care?

Excerpt from A Breed Apart: The Token:

A long soak in a bubble bath, hot enough to give me a head rush when I first submerged my whole body under the steaming water, did wonders for stiff muscles and stiffer resentment. James had been with me for days. He was entitled to a break. I was not going to be a pathetic, needy girlfriend. I was a strong, independent young woman, perfectly capable of fending for myself.
That conviction lasted the whole ten steps between the bathroom and my room. When I opened my bedroom door, I became someone who needed and was needed. And nothing could make that wrong.
A large, black cat stretched across my bed. James had come back at some point during my bath. While waiting, he'd fallen asleep. All I could do was stare. The beauty of him left me in awe.
Careful not to wake him I inched past the door, pulled it closed behind me, and turned the lock slowly to muffle the click. Every sound amplified in my ears as I tried to make my way across the room without waking him. My socks were like sandpaper on the carpet. My shallow breaths like heavy gasps. I heard it all, as I was sure he would. Humans were noisy things.
One black ear twitched, and I stopped and bit back a curse. The velvet of his fur glistened in the dim light as he stirred, but his eyes stayed closed. His huge form covered my bed, draped from one corner to the other, a piece of the exotic laid out in stark contrast to my very ordinary room. So alien to the surroundings, yet somehow so right.
I didn't want to wake him up, but at the same time I couldn't fight the need to get closer. Instinct flared up in warning, demanding I stay where I was. There was no denying the potential danger. Claws the size of my fingers peeked past his huge paws, little black daggers hooked into the delicate threads of my comforter. Without meaning to, he'd torn little holes in the cloth. Those claws would pass just as easily through flesh.
One step and then another, each one a struggle not to turn and run the other way. Again and again I reminded myself that this was James. He would never hurt me, not even in this form. He had control I couldn't match, and truthfully, I was the more dangerous of the two of us. All his life his family had taught him how to deal with what he was. There was no one to teach me how to deal with what I'd become.
Not seeing myself as a frail, helpless thing got me past the last few steps. Careful to avoid his tail dangling over the side, I eased myself onto the bed and curled up beside him. The warmth of his big body seeped over me, his familiar presence stealing away the fear of having sharp fangs inches from my face. I laid my hand over one massive paw and placed my head on my arm so I was facing him. Lids still closed, James shifted his head and rested it over my hand. Enveloped in perfect comfort, I prepared to surrender to the night.


Purchase:



About the Author:
Natasha Rogue is a Canadian author who's been writing for most of her life. After penning novels behind math textbooks all through high school, she attended Dawson College in Creative Arts with dreams of becoming a screenwriter. The best teacher she ever had took her aside and told her to go back where she belonged. To her roots with the books she loved to write.

Eternal Neverland (Steps Before the Fall) was one of her first complete novels. There are seven books in draft form completed in the series, but they gathered dust until experience and contacts with the right editors and crit partners gave them what they needed to be shared. However, A Breed Apart: The Token, was released through a small press in 2012. The book will be rereleased shortly.

You may find Natasha at several signings throughout the year as she writes multiple genres. Don't worry, she doesn't bite. But she will happily chat with you about the hotties who do. And shamelessly admit to liking Charlie way more than she should.

Author links:

Courtesy of author Natasha Rogue, each blog will host a giveaway – open internationally – for one ebook copy of her first book Eternal Neverland: Steps Before the Fall.
To take part in this giveaway, simply leave your name and email as a reply to this post, saying you want to win (and you may add any recommendations to make this blog better).
I will do a random draw in the first week of January and select the winner, who will receive their prize after January 8th.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Great news & November recap


I have been withholding some good – awesome – news for a while now just until the release dates. It gives me great pleasure to announce that two of my poems have been published in two anthologies, both of which are coming out this month!

As some of you may have seen or read, my poem "Words" was published in Scripting Change's new anthology Beyond the Words. It is a small collection of short stories and poetry by various authors. All proceeds from the sale of the book go to charity organisations, with a focus this year on literacy.

Another poem titled "Remember" has been published in Pragrammer's poetry anthology by the same name. I believe it will available on Amazon and other outlets soon. It's a print-only edition, though.

Blog update: Another month has gone and I have succeeded in committing to my bi-weekly posts of Friday and Tuesday, with some additional bits and pieces here and there. I did fail to keep track of certain days and ended up doing my post on a Saturday and Wednesday in one week though – how embarrassing! Lack of sleep can do that.

In November, I took part in my second blog tour and my first with Xpresso Book Tours. I have officially taken part in several cover reveals, book blitzes and giveaways for them and I must say it's been a fun and enlightening experience that I intend to keep going.

I'm still lagging behind with my reading but what I promised will be done in 2014 shall be done as such - *fingers crossed*

I sadly did not finish all my intended reads for November, though whatever is lagging will come out in December or depending on my agreements with the authors.

I hope some - or all - of you have had the time to visit the blog and see the makeover. Let me know what you think!

Book reviews posted in November: 

Hand of Fire by Judith Starkston
Krymzyn by BC Powell
Strings by Darren Gallagher (a short story collection)
The Duality Principle by Rebecca Grace Allen (Blog Tour, 28 November)






I have decided not to disclose which books I'll be reviewing in December simply because there have been so many changes added to my lagging behind; so, I'll just have to surprise you as I go.

I'd also like to wish all my readers and friends a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Revive - Cover Reveal


Revive by Tracey Martin
(Redzone #1)
Published by: Samhain Publishing
Publication date: May 19th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Science Fiction

Synopsis:
Alone in a train station bathroom, Sophia Hernandez has no memory of who she is or how she got there. All she’s certain of are three things: her college ID is a lie, bad people are coming for her, and no one can be trusted.

The only clue to her past is the fellow student who finds her. Although Sophia’s gut tells her Kyle is lying when he claims he can’t help her, his touch makes her heart race. Is it because of a red-hot natural attraction, or a missing memory of something far more dangerous?

As two mysterious, menacing men chase them from the station, Sophia’s memories return in frustrating fragments. So do deadly skills she didn’t know she had. In the next forty-eight hours, a loved one’s life will be on the line as she sifts through a mounting tangle of secrets and lies.

Including the most heart-wrenching secret of all. Not only isn’t she a normal college student, she isn’t even a normal human.

Warning: Contains one girl who is more than she seems, one boy who knows more than he’s telling, and enough twists to give you whiplash. Expect explosions of all kinds.


About the Author:
Tracey Martin grew up outside of Philadelphia, the lucky recipient of a drama-free childhood, which is why she spent so much time reading about other people's lives. It was while she was working on her doctorate in psychology that she had an epiphany--imaginary people are way more fun than real ones. And so she began writing. Never able to choose just one of anything, she currently writes both urban fantasy for adults and contemporary stories for teens.

She likes her coffee simple, her music epic, and her movies to contain explosions. A city girl at heart, she doesn't understand how she and her husband ended up living in New Hampshire, but writing keeps her off the mean, small town streets. You can find her online at tracey-martin.com.

Author links: