Thursday, April 30, 2015

Takhayyal writing prompt #10


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.

UPDATE: The prompts are now every TWO weeks, so everyone can have time to write.

UPDATE 2: If you have any new artwork or photography you'd like to share please send it me for the upcoming weeks.

And for our feature presentation:

Untitled. Picture provided by Sara Ahmed


Arabic for Imagine, Takhayyal is a means to get inspired and spark our writing once more.
Your post can be in English or Arabic, prose, poetry, short story, flash fiction; you name it and write it.

General guidelines:
·        No nudity, violence, and/or abuse.
·        Deadline: Late Wednesday
·        Word count: No minimum, but 300 should be enough so others can have the chance to comment on various works (not going to be too strict about this bit)
·        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 kind and encouraging gesture to comment on others pieces.
·        Add your Twitter handle (@...) so I can tag you in my tweets!


Let's Imagine!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Stolen Art excerpt and giveaway


Title: Stolen Art
Author: Ruth Silver
Publisher: Lazy Day Publishing
Release Date: 28 April, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi Romance


Blurb:

Sixteen-year-old Madeline has been living on the streets, biding her time until she's eighteen. With little to no money, she takes on a heist in hopes of making ends meet. What could possibly go wrong?
Everything.
Getting caught is just the beginning of Madeline's adventure as she meets Weston and discovers the secret of where she came from.

Fans of Orphan Black, The X-Files, and Fringe will fall head over heels for Stolen Art.

Recommended Ages: 15+

Add Stolen Art to your Goodreads to-read list



Excerpt from Stolen Art


I rush back up the dark stairwell, shoving the key into the doorknob. It takes a minute for the lock to click and I push myself inside the apartment, securing every lock and deadbolt. I can’t stay here in Hutchinson, Kansas any longer. Pulling my phone from my purse, I text Weston.
Tatiana is here. It’s not safe for me.
I grab the few belongings that have any value to me, sentimental or otherwise, and shove it into my shoulder bag, including the stolen silver necklace. It has value and if I’m forced on the run, I’ll need money to survive.
I know.
What did Weston mean he knew Tatiana is at the bar? Had he seen her? Is he there?
What do you mean, you know? I type into the phone. If he saw her, why didn’t he warn me? I can’t go down out the front door and it’s only a matter of time until she finds me just a few feet away. I grow restless waiting for an answer.
The phone buzzes and displays an incoming call from Weston. "Wes, tell me you’re here." The only thing to do is hop in his car and drive into the night, far from Kansas.
A female’s voice bubbles with laughter. "Oh he’s coming darling, but you should know he won’t get here in time. Amazing how easy it is to clone a phone number and steal his service. The advancements Stem Tech has made is encouraging."

About the Author:

Ruth Silver is the best-selling author of the Aberrant trilogy. With a passion for writing and a love of story-telling, Ruth is actively writing multiple series under her name as well as the pen name Ravyn Rayne. Her interests include traveling, reading, and photography. Her favorite vacation destination is Australia. Ruth currently resides in Plainfield, Illinois.

Follow Ruth here





Checkout the Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Memory – flash fiction


I closed my eyes; I knew the crypt was below. A light shone vividly, dispersing the black shadows in my mind as a song played somewhere.
Note upon note, I knew it but could not put my finger on it.

It played until it got stuck in my head then it slowly began to fade around me, a vanishing song of memories I thought were too old to exist.



Just wrote this short piece in the first session of a new writing course. It should have been shorter but oh well.
As always comments are highly appreciated and encouraged.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Beyond the Sea - Cover Reveal


Beyond the Sea by Emily Goodwin
(Beyond the Sea #1)
Publication date: 28 April, 2015
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Synopsis:
Stay away from the surface. Remain hidden at all times. Never fall in love with a human…but rules are meant to be broken.
After the brutal murder of her sister, Melia is forced to flee from the only place she’s ever called home, the Pacific Ocean, leaving her life as a merrow behind and pretending to be human.
Peter Anderson is just trying to get through college when Melia walks into his life. He knows there is something different about her, and it’s not just that she lives alone in a mansion overlooking the ocean, spending all her time with Jamie Forester, the only goth girl in the sunny town of San Morado.
Worlds collide when Melia must make a life or death decision, and risk being seen in order to save Peter from drowning. Knowing that falling in love with a human is forbidden, Melia resists her attraction to Peter, but soon she finds herself in love with him…and in danger.
Melia knows love might not be enough to protect them from the dangers that lurk in the deep waters she once called home.
They say love knows no boundaries, but can it survive the darkest depths of the ocean?


Add the book to your Goodreads to-read list: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13494641-beyond-the-sea?ac=1


About the Author:
Emily Goodwin is the author of the award winning Contagium Series published by Permuted Press as well as many independently published novels, including the internationally bestselling novel, STAY. Emily writes in a wide variety of genres, from horror to romance. She holds multiple degrees in psychology and nursing and has worked in mental health and general healthcare. Emily resides in Indiana with her husband, daughter, and German Shepherd named Vader. Along with writing, Emily enjoys riding her horse, designing and making costumes, and Cosplay.

Author links:



Friday, April 24, 2015

Riding the Self-Publishing Learning Curve - Guest Post



By: Jennifer Carole Lewis

I still remember the first time I read a book and thought “I can do better than this” to myself. At first, I dismissed the idea as rampant hubris. Everyone knows writers are specially bred from some kind of mad genetic combination of Shakespeare and Tolkien and then trained from birth in a specialty crèche system. Regular people can’t possibly become writers, much less have someone pay them for their stories.

Yet somehow I still couldn’t shake this idea that maybe I might have the skill to become a writer. I started taking my writing more seriously. I wrote my first manuscript and joined a writers group. I realized how much I still had to learn and started working on another manuscript.

As I started to finish the new manuscript, which eventually became Revelations, I realized I had to think of more than just writing the book. I had some very serious decisions to make. Did I want to pursue traditional publishing with the New York publishing houses or did I want to self-publish? I was hearing some very encouraging news from self-published authors about the amount of money they were making and the freedom they had. As Teresa Morgan, author of Handcuffed to the Sheikh, put it: No one can tell you “no” anymore. She had been turned down by the major houses but discovered a rich niche market when she self-published her first sheikh novella.

I was also hearing a lot of discouraging news about the New York houses. How they were no longer promoting and building new authors. How it was getting harder and harder to find an editor or agent without a substantial author-built publishing platform. How difficult and complex (and sometimes opaque) the system of advances and royalties could be.

I went back and forth and in the end, I decided to self-publish. If I was going to have to do the work, I reasoned, I wanted the reward to go with it. I knew it would be a lot of work and that I would have to distinguish myself from the mass of badly written amateur fiction. Before I published, I took Revelations to an editor and spent six months ripping it apart and rebuilding it until I felt I had the best possible manuscript. I got a professional cover. I did all the steps and work to ensure I had a quality book to offer.

Through my research I had discovered that 15,000 books is the standard run for a first-time author. It’s the basis for most advances. I had heard of self-published authors selling ten or twenty thousand books a month but I decided to give myself a more modest goal: 3,000 to 5,000 in the first year. If I sold 500 books, I would break even on the costs of the editing and cover. Only 10% of my modest goal and 3% of a standard print run. I’ll be honest and admit that my imagination and heart were dreaming much bigger but I am a prudent soul when it comes to a business plan.

And if I had been publishing three or four years ago, I probably would have had no trouble. But since Kindle Direct Publishing opened its doors, they have been flooded with people lured in by the promise of easy money. Individual authors are getting lost in the din and readers are expecting more from them.

Since releasing Revelations in January, I’ve had to give myself a crash course in self-promotion. I’ve had to learn how to effectively use Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter (a work in progress but coming along). I’ve heard many debates about the effectiveness of tools such as giveaways, contests, mailing lists, blogs, review sites, and personal appearances. Everyone has their preferred techniques. Some are free, and those ones tend to be flooded. Some are paid services and have strict standards and their effectiveness vs the cost is sharply argued. Some are paid services which are scams, delivering few or no sales to the author in the long term.

I’ve had people tell me to break up my story into shorter novellas and release them serially. I’ve had them tell me to get any material I have up as quickly as possible. I’ve been told to take my time and make sure I’m delivering quality over quantity. I’ve been told certain sites are sure fire hits and been told those exact same sites aren’t worth the time or money it takes to use them. I’ve been told that I don’t need to worry about promotion, word of mouth will separate the good from the bad over time. I’ve been told that I need a detailed marketing plan with a budget of several hundred a month if I ever want to sell a single book.

After listening to all of this, I’ve come to the unsurprising conclusion that there is no magic formula to follow to be a successful author. Whenever someone begins to have success with a certain technique, then lots of people jump on it and dilute the effectiveness.

So I have to keep thinking and listening and trying new things to see what I can do. I’m limited in both time and budget, so I’m careful and try to research as much as I can. I’m lucky to have a mentor, S.M. McEachern, who has been incredibly successful with her YA trilogy, Sunset Rising, and is generous enough to share her tips and contacts. But in the end, it boils down to getting your book in front of people who will read it and start to tell other people that they should read it, too.

Right now I’m running a Goodreads giveaway for two print copies of Revelations and a draw for a $20 Amazon gift card.
I did a massive blog blitz when Revelations was released and I am looking for a suitable organizer to run a second blog tour later this year. I will be running Kindle Countdown Deals and am looking into affordable advertising options. For social media, I’m sticking to Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter for now. I have a twice-weekly blog at www.pastthemirror.com and I’m setting up a mailing list. I have a short story set in the lalassu universe to be released in September and, if all goes according to plan, the sequel to Revelations, Metamorphosis, should be released in early 2016.

I’ve been enjoying connecting with my early readers and reviewers. There is nothing more thrilling than hearing someone say that they loved your story, that it made them think, that it took them away from ordinary life for the space of a few hours. In the end, I like to believe my natural stubbornness will help me to make it through. Because I believe that dreams do come true, and even though they are a lot of work, it makes them all the sweeter in the end.

About the Author:
Jennifer Carole Lewis is a full-time mom, a full-time administrator and a full-time writer, which means she is very much interested in speaking to anyone who comes up with any form of functional time-travel devices or practical cloning methods.  Meanwhile, she spends her most of her time alternating between organizing and typing.
She is a devoted comic book geek and Marvel movie enthusiast.  She spends far too much of her precious free time watching TV, especially police procedural dramas.  Her enthusiasm outstrips her talent in karaoke, cross-stitch and jigsaw puzzles.  She is a voracious reader of a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction and always enjoys seeking out new suggestions.

Check out the first chapter of Revelations here.

UPDATED: Check out my five-star review of Revelations here.

Get in touch with Jennifer:
https://twitter.com/jclewisupdate
www.facebook.com/pages/Jennifer-Carole-Lewis/266116980245327
http://www.pastthemirror.com/



Links to Authors mentioned:
S.M. McEachern: http://smmceachern.com/

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Beloved Egyptian Poet Abdel-Rahman El-Abnoudi Dies at 77

by: Marcia Lynx Qualey


Abdel-Rahman El-Abnoudi, renowned Egyptian poet, has died at 77:

عبد_الرحمن_الأبنوديAccording to reports from multiple news sources, El-Abnoudi, legend of colloquial poetry, has died. As a poet, writer, activist, and public legend, El-Abnoudi was well-loved across Egypt. As Mona Anis wrote in 2008:
If the poet Abdel-Rahman El-Abnoudi gives you an appointment for an interview in a public place, you are well advised to think twice. The likelihood of holding his attention for more than few minutes, much as you both might try, is almost next to none. Such an interview, however, is a good opportunity to get first-hand experience of El-Abnoudi’s popularity and of his immediately recognisable public persona.
El-Abnoudi told Anis that he was proud of his movie-star-like popularity:
“I have elevated the status of poetry and poets among the poor and among the fellaheen who wear galabiyyas,” he says. “In the past, they used to think a poet was a poor wanderer telling folk tales to the accompaniment of his rababh. I grew up as a poor peasant myself, tending sheep, drawing water, fishing in the Nile and tilling the land, while all the time listening to the songs people chant while working. I know how to give voice to their sorrows and their joys in a way that goes straight to their hearts.”
Born in the village of Abnoud in Upper Egypt, and originally called Abdel-Rahman Mahmoud Ahmed Abdel-Wahab, the self-renamed “El-Abnoudi” was a poet, a writer, and a researcher into popular literary forms.
El-Abnoudi’s Death on the Asphalt was listed as one of “Africa’s Great Books of the 20th Century” by a panel of judges at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair, although not much of his work is available in translation.
Poems by El-Abnoudi in translation:
The Prisoners’ Laughter, translated by Aisha El-Awady and Ahdaf Soueif
The Usual Sorrows, translated by Ahmed Aboul Enein
Al Midan, translated by Samia Mehrez’s “Translating the Revolution” class
Ebb and Tide, translated by Mona Anis
Writing, translated by Mona Anis
Interviews and profiles:
Mona Anis in 2008: “An Upper Egyptian Odyssey
Youssef Rakha interviews al-Abnoudi: “Our Revolution”

Note: This article was originally posted at: http://arablit.org/2015/04/21/beloved-egyptian-poet-abdel-rahman-el-abnoudi-dies-at-77/#comment-29539  (permission was taken from its author to repost/reblog)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Takhayyal - writing prompt week 9

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.

With so many beautiful pictures online, I didn't know when to post this. But at long last, here it is. Feel the picture, feel the wind beneath your wings; feel it and write it!

Looking forward to all your beautiful works for this sweet and soothing picture.



Arabic for Imagine, Takhayyal is a means to get inspired and spark our writing once more. Your post can be in English or Arabic, prose, poetry, short story, flash fiction; you name it and write it.






General guidelines:
·        No nudity, violence, and/or abuse.
·        Deadline: Late Wednesday
·        Word count: No minimum, but 300 should be enough so others can have the chance to comment on various works (not going to be too strict about this bit)
·        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 kind and encouraging gesture to comment on others pieces.
·        NEW: Add your Twitter handle (@.....) so I can tag you in my tweets!

Let's IMAGINE!



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Different Kind of Hero - Guest Post



By: Jennifer Carole Lewis (author)

I have been reading romance novels since I was a teenager.  I quickly learned to find the hidden troves at my friends’ houses and over and over I fell in love with the dark, brooding romantic heroes.  I imagined countless scenarios of being swept away by some lovely lethal man.  A guy who knew what to do if being attacked by terrorists and could single-handedly scale castle walls, that was my kind of guy.  If he could also have a tortured soul where he constantly strove to overcome his perceived sins, even better.

Between comic books, action movies and romance novels, I had my fill of dark heroes to pick from.  But then there began to be a shift.  More and more kick-ass women began appearing as the heroes, not needing any man to show them how to handle a roundhouse kick or firearm.  I shifted from wanting to date the heroes to wanting to be the heroes.  Buffy, Xena, Karen McCoy from The Real McCoy, Huntress from the Batman universe (and I realize I am revealing more than I want about how old I am), all of them were strong, capable women with quick wits and faster feet.

But there was something a little unsatisfying in my new-found revelry.  I have always been a romantic at heart and the romantic entanglements of my favorite heroines bothered me.  Either they stayed solo (any guy who loved them died before the closing credits) or they were paired with alpha males who regulated them to the sidelines in an effort to keep them safe.  If they did find a supportive male, the relationship was often doomed to fail.  Sometimes it was even explicitly stated that their boyfriends couldn’t handle being less than them in a relationship.

Picture found online


It got me thinking.  Could there be a romantic hero who was strong and capable but able to accept a woman who might be stronger and more competent than him?  Otherwise, weren’t these stories still reinforcing the old worn-out advice that women have to be less in order to get a man?

I got at least part of my wish with the television series, Castle.  The hero, Richard Castle, is a writer who brings his ability to make wild leaps of faith and unseen connections to help Kate Beckett, an NYPD detective.  Beckett is stronger than Castle in almost every way.  She’s better with a gun and she doesn’t get tripped up dealing with dangerous suspects.  Part of Beckett’s appeal to Castle is that she strong.  I loved it.

But I still wasn’t completely satisfied.  Finally, I created my own hero, Michael, a child therapist with martial arts training, an enthusiasm for comic books and the ability to pick up emotions and information through touching the people and objects around him.  He’s no weakling or comedy sidekick, but his strength is in his heart and faith.  He sees all the darkness in the world, all the terrible secrets we hide from each other, but still manages to be idealistic and optimistic.  He’s the perfect counterpart (if I dare say so myself) for my dark, brooding heroine, Dani, who tortures herself for her past mistakes.

One of the things I love about romance novels is how they are continually evolving.  Forty years ago, it would have been unthinkable to have a heroine who wasn’t a virgin, let alone one in her forties and fifties.  The heroes used to be criminally violent and now they range from sweet boys next door to the powerful alpha males.  The stories they tell plumb every aspect of human existence.  They’ve branched into fantasy and science fiction sub-genres (and many others, but those were the ones I got particularly excited about).  They offer every level of sensuality, from sweet to scorching.  I’m proud to have added my own variation to the classic tale of boy-meets-girl.


Jennifer Carole Lewis is also the author of Revelations. Check out the first chapter of her novel here.

About the Author:
Jennifer Carole Lewis is a full-time mom, a full-time administrator and a full-time writer, which means she is very much interested in speaking to anyone who comes up with any form of functional time-travel devices or practical cloning methods.  Meanwhile, she spends her most of her time alternating between organizing and typing.

She is a devoted comic book geek and Marvel movie enthusiast.  She spends far too much of her precious free time watching TV, especially police procedural dramas.  Her enthusiasm outstrips her talent in karaoke, cross-stitch and jigsaw puzzles.  She is a voracious reader of a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction and always enjoys seeking out new suggestions.

Author links:

Friday, April 10, 2015

Cover reveal for Ruth Silver's Stolen Art



Stolen Art
By: Ruth Silver
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Adventure
Expected Publication Date: 4 May, 2015
Published by: Lazy Day Publishing


Blurb:
Sixteen-year-old Madeline has been living on the streets, biding her time until she's eighteen. With little to no money, she takes on a heist in hopes of making ends meet. What could possibly go wrong?

Everything.

Getting caught is just the beginning of Madeline's adventure as she meets Weston and discovers the secret of where she came from.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Nadaness news, updates & giveaways


I've wanted to do a sort of quarterly report on my reading progress and keep my readers/fans/friends updated on Takhayyal and other ongoing bits on the blog.

This week, I decided to make my Takhayyal prompts once every two weeks instead of weekly to give myself and others time to write.

Takhayyal Week 7 and Week 8 both got more responses when the prompt was extended. (updated note)

I'm feeling optimistic and excited about the prompt for week 8, which was posted last week. So starting that, prompts will be two weeks long.

As for my reading progress, I've crammed myself so much in March to the extent that it was hectic and tiresome for me. But luckily, my reads were amazing and made up for my mistakes.

Although I read or finished around four books in March, Goodreads has me at "One book behind" in my reading challenge for 2014.

I must say, I'm lagging behind on The Sham by Ellen Alan, which is very embarrassing. I signed up for several tours and these are bound by dates, so I had to put Ellen's book aside for a bit till I can meet my deadlines.

I also haven't started on my New Year's Resolution of reading Arabic books – again this because of book tours and review requests, all of which are in English.
Hopefully, I'll have more time to do my Arabic readings in May and June. (I don't think I'll have time in April, which is almost half way through).

I want to thank authors, who accept my delays and postponements in posting reviews. Recently, someone asked for a review and I told them I'm book till June – which is true – and they said they didn't mind. It really made me feel appreciated.

Here is a list of the reviews of books I read in March:

Seasons of Time by Miriam Khan
Bound by Spells by Stormy Smith
Just Pru by Anne Pfeffer
The Outcast Star by I.M. Tu

I recently announced a massive YA giveaway. Yesterday, I won two books from the giveaway! More on my to-read list but I just couldn't miss the opportunity.
I hope others have won what they wanted too.

I compiled a list of ongoing giveaways, while the massive YA one has ended, the others are still in progress, so hurry up and get a chance to win one or more of these amazing books. Check them out here.

Several of these giveaways are via my blog so you have a bigger chance of winning.

Having read 8 out of 36 books in my 2015 reading, I have so far covered 22% of my target, which I was hoping to take up a notch to 40 books – but that's for another time.

This week I started reading Sun Tzu's The Art of War. This is the first paperback I've held – to read - in almost a year (buying from bookshops and the book fair don't count as holding). It feels strange when you want to highlight something and you're afraid you'll spoil the book. I got used to highlighting and writing notes on my Kindle.

My upcoming reviews for April are: (in particular order)

The Sham by Ellen Alan
The Huntress by Nadja Losbohom
Family Secrets by Kat Nicols (less than a week before the giveaway for her book ends, check the above link)


I almost forgot!
In March, I hosted our first Poetry Recital for 2015 at Cairo University.
In April, I'll be moderating a seminar with scholar and translator Samah Selim also at Cairo University on Thursday, 16 April, 2015. The theme of the seminar is "Why We Translate: Some Notes on Love, Loss and Longing".
Wish me luck!
Check out the Facebook event here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/420375108123935/



I am also considering revamping the Book Reviews Page. It is currently divided according to the type of book, but I'm thinking of doing it in alphabetical order of book titles (or authors). What do you think?
The thing is, I review novels, novellas, short stories, poetry collections and anthologies, so I wanted to have things separate but I feel that it looks weird.
Feedback would be highly appreciated!


I'm doing another call for artists and photographers who might be interesting in sharing their work on my blog as part of the Takhayyal series. Rules can be found here.

There are several interviews in the pipeline. So stay tuned!

I'm not sure what else I wanted to add in this "quarterly" report. But that's all folks!