Friday, April 29, 2016

The Story of Lucius Cane - Book Review


The Story of Lucius Cane by Vanya Ferreira is a novella – or short story – introducing the ancient vampire Lucius Cane, who meets an unlikely and strange foe.

An introduction to a series, the story consists of a prologue and seven short chapters.

The novella is quite short and does not leave much room for character development. It does, however, give a good description of both Lucius Cane and his opponent.

The story alternates between Lucius and Jack, also known as Jack the Hound, mostly for his rugged and vicious appearance. Jack, too, has a paranormal side to him, although he is not a vampire.

"He noticed that his eyesight had improved and that he could see perfectly no matter how dark, his sense of smell had become so acute he could smell a break baking at the bakers over a mile and a half away…"

There is also the mystery of a secondary voice inside Lucius' head. Although we are told that that is for another – much longer – story.

"You have to be quick about it, Lucius." Spoke a dusty voice but Anne did not hear it.

I like how the story unfolds. Some of it may appear as cliché, one man asked to kill another, but the ending – I definitely did not see that one coming.

"One day he came to the belief that there isn't anything quite as thrilling as hunting man, the most dangerous animal of all."

Overall, The Story of Lucius Cane is an interesting and quick read. It certainly makes you want to carry on with the rest of the series.


Overall rating: 3 stars.


Note: I received a free copy of The Story of Lucius Cane from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Takhayyal #writing prompt 34: Several prompts

Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen, Artists, Poets, Writers, Authors, Dreamers, Friends and Family; Welcome EVERYONE to Nadaness In Motion's bi-weekly picture-prompt writing challenge Takhayyal.

Today I'm featuring author and photographer - among other things - Mahmoud Mansi. There are three images, feel free to use one, two or all of them in your piece. Take them where you will.

Flowers by Mahmoud Mansi



For Sale by Mahmoud Mansi


Slow by Mahmoud Mansi



Feel free to use the image(s) on your blog or website while crediting the photographer if it inspires you.
If you want to learn more about Mahmoud Mansi, check out his newest project HR Revolution Middle East Magazine.

Arabic for Imagine, Takhayyal is a challenge for writers of all ages and genres; a place to spark creativity and explore new genres.
Your post can be in English or Arabic, prose, poetry, short story, flash fiction; you name it and write it.



General rules:
·        No nudity, violence, and/or abuse.
·        Leave the link to your post in comments below OR post your piece as REPLY to this post
·        Your piece MUST be inspired in some way or other by the above picture
·        Multiple entries allowed
·        It is not required but it is a nice and encouraging gesture to comment on others' pieces.
·        Feel free to add your Twitter handle (@....) so I can tag you in my tweets!

Let's IMAGINE!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Excerpt from The Flight of the Pickerings by John Grayson Heide


Today, I'm featuring author John Grayson Heide and his dramedy novel The Flight of the Pickerings. Hope you enjoy reading the excerpt below.  


Book: The Flight of the Pickerings
Author: John Grayson Heide
Publication date: 10 January 2016
Genres: Dramedy (drama and comedy)


Synopsis:

Guy Pickering has the biggest problem of his life. Dorothy, the only woman he’s ever loved, suffers with pain and dementia and has only weeks to live. Years ago, she made it clear to Guy that he is expected to put her out of her misery if she ever got to this stage. And he just can’t bring himself to do it. With love and honor in heart and a dread of loneliness, he decides to go with her and saunter into the afterlife beside his wife.   A plan is hatched, but Guy is not good at this sort of thing and everything is further complicated by a rebellious teenage grandson that shows up unexpectedly and a fame hungry reporter that chases them in front of a world-wide audience. Much to Guy’s frustration, Life keeps getting in the way of death.

The Flight of the Pickerings is a love story that wrestles with end of life issues and our right for self-determination.  Filled with tender moments and comic twists, this book engages the reader in one family’s final journey, a voyage all of us will take, sooner or later.


THE FLIGHT OF THE PICKERINGS
By: John Grayson Heide 
2008

 PROLOGUE
JUNE, 2007
FIFTEEN MILES DUE EAST OF DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA

“Damn!” Guy glanced sideways out his cockpit’s left window and winced at the roaring chop of a Navy Seahawk helicopter keeping pace at an aggressive distance. High above the bluegreen waters of the Atlantic, Guy’s stalwart but aging Beechcraft Bonanza four-seater fretted forward like a nervous mackerel beside the efficient shark-like chopper.  The helicopter’s pilot miraculously maintained the threateningly close distance between the weaving aircrafts while glaring back at Guy from behind dark wrap-arounds and steadily jabbing a finger at his earphones.  Over the Beechcraft’s radio, an insistent message shrieked.  “November niner niner seven zero two, do you read me?  Repeat! Do You Read Me?” 
Further back along the fuselage, the chopper’s cargo door window framed the contorted face of a uniformed man waving and bouncing as if he were on a mini trampoline.  
   Guy’s hand reached to flick on his microphone, but
hesitated in mid-air and instead pounded the steering wheel. 
“Shit!” he yelled out.  

At this same moment, in this same space, the living song of a different, but not so different reality/paradigm also is heard…
    From beneath the sound of the humming engine, in a voice that saints, shamans and angels can clearly hear, the Bonanza airplane's essence spoke from the depths of its soul.  I’ve never seen Guy like this. He doesn’t know what he’s doing!  Every rivet in Guy’s long trusted aircraft, the stouthearted nineteen sixty nine vintage Bonanza, shuddered with the reluctant embrace of the inexplicably complicated situation.  Those helicopters are so close! Just keep going…  This is terrible!  Nothing to do but keep flying.  Keep going. 
 
   The sound of another chop-chop-buzz blind-sided Guy’s attention and he craned his neck over the right wing.  Trailing behind and two hundred yards off to the right, flew a second helicopter—a Bell 407.  A bold red logo announced ‘Channel Seven News, your local On the Spot Source.’   The words ‘On the Spot’ were cleverly arranged around a circular side window.  Framed inside this window were the screaming faces of his daughter and his grandson.  No need to hear their words, Guy already knew the message.  “Shit! You’ve got to be kidding me,” he slapped his forehead.

“Guy Pickering!  What are you doing? Where are we?”  Dorothy’s voice skewered him from the passenger seat mere inches away. “This certainly seems to be taking a long time to get there.”   Grimacing, he turned to face his wife. Random tufts of grey hair stuck out from under her headphones.  On her forehead, a lopsided red blotch marked how hard she had pressed her head against the window in a vain attempt at seeing any form of land below.  Her left brow arched high over a piercing eye and her lips were slightly pursed.  After nearly fifty years with Dorothy, Guy well knew the signs; time was running out.  She waited.  He didn’t have an answer. 

The thin metal skin of the Bonanza rumbled and vibrated as the impatient Navy pilot, intent upon recognition, maneuvered even closer.  Guy patted Dorothy’s thin knee and swiped a sleeve across his forehead, “We’re fine, Honey,” he called out above the din. “It will all be… uhh, we’ll be there soon.”  Guy’s voice faded as he stared straight ahead.  A grey haze on the horizon mimicked his thoughts, obscuring the thin edge between sky and water and intent and reality.
“Oh…good,” Dorothy settled back into her seat, pulling the shawl tighter around her shoulders.  She pointed over to the Navy helicopter and nodded in their direction, “Are they coming too?” she said while wagging two fingers to the pilot who remained motionless and grim behind anonymous mirrored lenses. 

As if a puff of otherworldly ethers startled him awake, Guy turned and with innocent wonder beheld the face he had loved for so long.  Dorothy’s eyes softened—a trace of a strained smile.  She reached across and laid a hand on his thigh. 
 Guy sat transfixed, confused by his swollen heart.  For a brief moment, the intense presence of the Navy helicopter and the channel seven newscast helicopter faded away, right along with the whole damn plan.  


Connect with the Author via his Website and Facebook page.

Purchase The Flight of the Pickerings via Amazon.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Rebecca Chastain celebrates Magic of the Gargoyles with a new cover & giveaway


Today, I'm featuring author Rebecca Chastain on my blog once again with a new cover for her Magic of the Gargoyles novella, which began as a short story, then a standalone novella and has now morphed into a full-length trilogy. Publication dates for books two and three have not been announced yet.

Rebecca is also holding a giveaway to celebrate the new cover. Check out the Rafflecopter widget below.

Synopsis:
Mika Stillwater is a mid-level earth elemental with ambitions of becoming a quartz artisan, and her hard work is starting to get noticed. But when a panicked baby gargoyle bursts into her studio, insisting Mika is the only person she’ll trust with her desperate mission, Mika’s carefully constructed five-year plan is shattered.

Swept into the gritty criminal underworld of Terra Haven, Mika must jeopardize everything she’s worked so hard for to save the baby gargoyle from the machinations of a monster—and to stay alive…




EXCERPT FROM MAGIC OF THE GARGOYLES

1

            With one last twist of a filament of earth magic, I fused together the delicate seams of the quartz tube. Slumping forward, I braced my elbows on the table and rested my cheekbones on my palms, cupping my weary eyes in darkness. Six down, six finicky tubes to go. The specifications of this project taxed my substantial skills with quartz magic, which was the point. This project would launch my business and prove that even though I was only a midlevel earth elemental, my quartz skills were equal to or better than more powerful full-spectrum elementals. These fussy tubes would fund the down payment on the lease for the shop I coveted in the Pinnacle Pentagon Center. I could finally quit my demeaning job at Jones and Sons Quarry, be my own boss, and begin a career creating one-of-a-kind quartz masterpieces I could take pride in.
            My entire future rested on these fragile vials, and they were due tomorrow at four.
            Dull pain pounded my back muscles. Night had crept over the city while I worked, and my jerky movements as I stood and stretched were reflected in the semicircle of bay windows in front of my worktable. Purple smears of exhaustion beneath my green eyes were exaggerated in the dark windows, and my pale face floated above a dirt-smeared navy shirt. I checked the clock: almost midnight. Sixteen hours until my deadline, and eight of those would be taken up by my Jones and Sons workday. There was no time for a break. If anything, I needed to work faster.
            Groaning, I redid my ponytail, tucking shorter wisps of strawberry-blond hair behind my ears before giving my hard wooden chair the stink eye. Mentally chanting, Pinnacle Pentagon, to motivate myself, I reached for another seed crystal.
            Frantic tapping shook the glass in the balcony door. I pulled the door open, knowing it was Kylie, my best friend and the tenant who shared my second-floor apartment balcony. “I really can’t talk. I need to finish—”
            “Help! Help! They’ve got—”
            Something small and hard slammed into my stomach. I staggered backward into my chair and crashed to the floor. A small boulder skipped across the wooden floor and smashed into the wall.
            “You’re a human!”
            I shrieked. The voice came from inside my room. I twisted, scrambling onto my bed.
            Against the wall, the rock moved.
            Beautiful blue dumortierite quartz veined with green aventurine twisted into a winged panther no bigger than a house cat. A pissed-off, solid-stone, magical, winged house cat. A gargoyle—no, a baby gargoyle. A hatchling.
            Her eyes glowed feverishly. Long polished blue claws gouged into the floor when she launched into the air. Her agile stone wings unfolded with a soft gritty sound.
            I lurched backward across the bed until I was pressed against the wall. The mattress shook when the hatchling pounced on the space I’d just vacated. Sharp claws bunched in my yellow bedspread. She raised her muzzle, mouth open, and sniffed the air.
            I eased toward the foot of the bed, readying my escape into the hallway.
            “It’s you! Your magic smells so good. I thought—”
            My magic has a smell?
            The gargoyle’s eyes darted to the open door, then back to me. She arched her stone back and hissed at me, the sound dying to a hair-raising growl. The tip of her stone tail slashed back and forth, gouging my wooden headboard.
            “I need help.”
            “My help?” Gargoyles—even baby gargoyles—didn’t interact with midlevel elementals like me, and they certainly didn’t ask for our help. “There’s a full-spectrum elemental just—” I started to point up the street but froze when she snarled at me.
            “No other humans! Before it’s too late.” The gargoyle’s words were smooth coming out of her rock throat, with just a hint of a lisp from her tongue working around enormous teeth.
            I stared into her glowing blue eyes, seeing past the bared fangs and agitated movements, reading her fear for the first time. I reached for her, then pulled my hand back when she shied from me.
            “Too late for what?”
            “You can save him. Hurry!”
            “Save him? Save who? If someone is hurt, I can send for a healer.” Where were this gargoyle’s parents?
            “No. I need you.” Large blue eyes implored me. “Please!”
            A thousand reasons I should find someone else to help the gargoyle crowded my mind, but the hatchling’s urgency was contagious. Someone was injured. I didn’t want to waste time arguing with her, but was I really the best choice? I could work earth, but healing usually took someone talented with all five elements.
            “Are you sure you don’t want me to get—” someone stronger? I started to ask, but she cut me off with another sharp, “Please!”
            Gargoyles were creatures without guile, and this baby was obviously terrified for someone’s life. If she thought I could help, I had to try. I took a deep breath. “Okay. Let’s go.”


Enter to win one of five copies of Magic of the Gargoyles by Rebecca Chastain


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Magic of the Gargoyles can be found at:
Amazon US, Amazon everywhere else.


About the Author:

Rebecca Chastain is the international bestselling fantasy author of A Fistful of Evil, A Fistful of Fire and Magic of the Gargoyles. She has found seven four-leaf clovers to date, won a purebred Arabian horse in a drawing, and once tamed a blackbird for a day. Dreaming up the absurd and writing stories designed to amuse and entertain has been her passion since she was eleven years old. She lives in Northern California with her wonderful husband and three bossy cats.

Connect with Rebecca Chastain via her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


Read Nadaness In Motion's five-star book review of A Fistful of Evil here.

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Library - Flash fiction



The odour of burnt wood and paper lingered in this once-upon-a-time library. My eyes teared up at the sight, even though it wasn't mine.

"I know this heartbreaking for you," Alex said, not joking with me for once. He knew how much I loved books, and it was one of the few things we shared. He wouldn't spill it out loud, but he too loved reading.

I trudged amongst the blackened bookshelves, a lingering finger here another there; my heart breaking with every step.

There were torched down chairs, splinters of wood and of course long forgotten and abandoned books, bits and pieces of written and empty parchment. A worn out chandelier hung from the ceiling. It looked old, must have been the type lit with candles for the wax seemed to have melted and dried again till it became stone-like.

"The keeper outside said this library has been abandoned for hundreds of years," I heard Alex tell me over the bookshelves.

"Too bad no one has ever considered coming here to rebuild it or salvage what was left," I answered back.

"May be it was for the best they didn't. They would have probably brought it down to the ground and by modern standards built a mall or something."

I shuddered at the thought. A mall – or worse – instead of a library. I don't know but modern times seem to have lost all the glory of modernity and buried the essence of antiquity and beauty. At least that's what I thought.

I reached out for a book. Its cover was dark red. I believe it would have been a much livelier red if it weren't for the fire and the lingering smoke. I couldn't make out the title. Too blackened. I coughed after blowing out some of the dust. My eyes becoming waterier.

The pages were so soft they could break to smithereens in my hands. I had to be careful. It was a medium-sized volume. The English was old but readable, although it was mixed with what I assumed to be old German and bits of ancient Irish or Scottish.

There was something else to it. At first, the book weighed a lot but as I began to read, it seemed to get lighter, welcoming me to go on. There was a lot I could read but not understand, although I felt tied to the pages and not in the I-can't-put-it-down sense but like it's a part of me.

"Delia, where are you?!" I heard Alex call out, bringing me out of my trance.
Somehow the volume wasn't as big as I thought it was the moment I held it and I slipped in to my bag. "Stay here," I told the book, which didn't seem to mind. Why would it?

"I thought I lost you in here," Alex said when I appeared from between two burnt out rows.

I smiled, gently patting the book in my bag.

He led me out. As he did, I turned back and made a silent promise to return and explore the library some more.


The Ruined Library by J. P. Wilder


This piece was inspired by the first image in Takhayyal prompt 31. Click the link to read more amazing pieces. 


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Ninja and Bunny's Great Adventure – Book Review & Tour



Today I’m hosting this stunning Children’s Picture Book about two sisters.  It’s appropriate for all ages, boys and girls, and will delight parents as well with its message and gorgeous illustrations.


Check out my review below and make sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post with special prizes that fit the themes of adventure, fantasy, and heroism included in this book.


Book: Ninja and Bunny's Great Adventure
Author: Kara S. Tyler; Illustrations by: Sarah Pacetti
Publisher: Evolved Publishing
Publication Date: 15 December 2015


Ninja and Bunny's Great Adventure by Kara S. Tyler is a fun, magical, adventurous children's picture-book story.

The story is about two sisters, the older one Ruthie tells her younger sister Marian that they have to go save the fairies. Marian, thinking it's one of her sister's make-believe games, dresses up as Bunny and follows her into the woods near their house.

There, Ruthie shows Marian how to enter fairyland and together they save the fairy queen.

I was surprised by and later liked the reversal in roles at the beginning of the story, where Marian appears to be wiser than her older sister.

"For a moment, Marian wondered if Ruthie remembered this was just a game."

I particularly liked the author's take on fear and how standing up to it will banish it away. Also, how sometimes prolonging our fears may turn them into something they are not.

"There was nothing to be afraid of…but running away made it seem so much scarier."

The pictures, by illustrator Sarah Pacetti, are beautifully done and portray the wording well; the colours are vivid as are the characters of Ninja and Bunny.

"Magic wrapped around them, transforming them into their fairy selves, making them truly Ninja and Bunny."

Speaking about her story at the end of the book, author Kara S Tyler reveals that the "The Adventures of Ninja and Bunny first came about because of a fabulous conversation overheard between Kara's two children during a very long car ride. The two young girls spent over two hours debating the various aspects of Fae politics and social structure. Without realising it, the girls were building a world so read, Ray Bradbury would be proud."

Overall rating: 5 stars



Note: I received a free copy of Ninja and Bunny's Great Adventure in exchange for an honest review as part of a blog tour.




GIVEAWAY TIME!

Click the link below to enter the giveaway.

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2e77192102/


About the Author

Kara S Tyler is the real world name of author Pavarti K Tyler.  As Pav, her books have spanned genres and won many awards, however, they are geared toward an adult audience. Now that she’s writing children’s books, Kara has decided to use her real name. 
The Adventures of Ninja and Bunny first came about because of a fabulous conversation overheard between Kara’s two children during a very long car ride.  The two young girls spent over two hours debating various aspects of Fae politics and social structure.  Without realizing it, the girls were building a world so real, Ray Bradbury would be proud.


Kara lives in Baltimore with her husband, two children and two terrible dogs.  She is a full-time author and mother.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Grey Forest – Book Review


The Grey Forest by Maureen Griswold is a collection of nine short stories, spanning several genres from realism to the paranormal to social criticism and current issues. The stories are beautifully written and the style is fairly consistent throughout the collection.

The stories are titled "Nelson's Mandala", "Visio Novus", "Denouement on K Street", "Illuminata", "Dead Man's Mail", "The Neighbour's Girl", "Courting Glory", "The Stand-ins" and "Soulmates".

As is with short story collections, some stories struck out more than others. For me the star of The Grey Forest is "The Neighbour's Girl", which was inspired by the US entering Iraq under various pretexts. The little girl may have almost been silent throughout the story but her silence spoke volumes. The Neighbour's Girl" is by all means the most profound piece in the collection. 10 stars for this one.

The collection opens with "Nelson's Mandala", a short story that contrasts father and son, materialism versus spirituality. The story opens with "Conrad Nelson Winstead relished his name. During his lifetime he placed it on as much as he could, anywhere he could, including his only child: Conrad Nelson Winstead II."

Meanwhile, when we are introduced to Conrad Nelson Winstead Jr., we are told that he owns a shop called Namaste and is interested in Mandalas. I enjoyed the descriptions and constant contrast between father and son in this piece. A must-read.

"An essential meditation, an essential teaching of a sand mandala, is the lesson of impermanence."

The piece titled "Visio Novus" is about a nurse who gets mental imagery and words, a kind of sense about people she meets. The story evokes a sense of the paranormal as she can read people in a psychic kind of way. The story needs a bit of a patient reader, but its idea is fresh and interesting. Griswold keeps you hooked and wondering about the nurse's abilities – especially since they prove to be correct readings of people.


A story of persistent marketing, "Dead Man's Mail" appears to be a serious story but is in fact a funny five-star one. Well serves'em right.

"Denouement on K Street" tackles the issue of gun ownership in America – a sensitive issue. Griswold shows through Kurt Robey, the Director of Public Affairs for Americans for Firearm Rights, how companies deal with the issue. Emotional and full of sarcasm, the story is powerful and makes you think; an eye-opener even. Another must-read. Griswold also includes her own comment on the matter after the conclusion of the story.

"The Stand-ins" is another interesting piece in The Grey Forest, which handles the lives of another father and son through the news that is written about them. The characters don't have names, which I felt was rather confusing sometimes, but overall the story was a good read.

Concluding the collection is the story titled "Soulmates". The piece contains to alternating points of view, although both are narrated in the third person, and becomes filled with raw emotions towards the middle and end. Another must-read.

"Now, she saw, she understood, as his eyes held her, that by the Great Fall and all lost with it, she was truly enriched. Less was more for this second life, this second chance, for she had learned what was illusory, impermanent, insignificant, and the precious little which was not."

Overall, The Grey Forest has several intriguing stories, although many of the characters in those stories don't have names. There wasn't a lot of imagery, but the collection evokes various strong emotions in its readers.   

Although I did not like the cover of the collection at first, on closer inspection I realised it might not be pretty but it is certainly the most suitable as the collection makes you think.


Note: I received a free copy of The Grey Forest from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

About the Author:
Maureen A. Griswold has authored fiction and nonfiction. She resides in northern California.

After serving in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, she returned to her alma mater, San Jose State University, and earned her journalism degree. She was senior editor for the (former) California Nursing Review, a bimonthly magazine for California RNs and eventually worked as a medical writer in the pharmaceutical industry.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Takhayyal #writing prompt 33: Ruins

Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen, Artists, Poets, Writers, Authors, Dreamers, Friends and Family; Welcome EVERYONE to Nadaness In Motion's bi-weekly picture-prompt writing challenge Takhayyal.

I pinned this picture via Pinterest several months ago and keep getting notifications for more people adding it. I don't know where the place is but it's time I share it with you because I find it gothic, magical, historical and above all inspirational.

Look at the picture and unleash your Muse!





Arabic for Imagine, Takhayyal is a challenge for writers of all ages and genres; a place to spark creativity and explore new genres.
Your post can be in English or Arabic, prose, poetry, short story, flash fiction; you name it and write it.

General rules:
·        No nudity, violence, and/or abuse.
·        Leave the link to your post in comments below OR post your piece as REPLY to this post
·        Your piece MUST be inspired in some way or other by the above picture
·        Multiple entries allowed
·        It is not required but it is a nice and encouraging gesture to comment on others' pieces.
·        Feel free to add your Twitter handle (@....) so I can tag you in my tweets!

Let's IMAGINE!