Sunday, March 24, 2019

Why I fear reading self-help books by Nada Adel Sobhi



For a long while, I've wanted to read self-help and development books, particularly those on the writing craft. BUT I had a problem. And because of it, I kept postponing reading those books.

Eventually, I picked up one and then the other. Two years later, and not as many books as I would have liked done, I still have that fear.

So what is it?

Well… it's not just one problem. They're several and all linked together.

Self-help books contain lots of information and that freaks me out.

For starters, my memory isn't as good as I would have liked it to be. It's a little better than Dory's in Finding Nemo, but close enough, especially when it comes to things I 'really' need to remember. Even back in school, I couldn't get high grades in certain subjects because I couldn't memorise stuff.

Even if my memory were good – I won't say impeccable - it's hard to remember everything you read.



When you read fiction, you don't have to remember "everything." You can read 300 or 500 pages and come out with a plot, characters, a few events, and some ideas. Even if you forget that you read a novel, nothing happens, since you're often reading for your own leisure or for fun. But when you read a self-help book, for me, the situation is different.

I want to read this or that book so I can apply the content to my daily life or to my writing, or both.

The multitude of information simply scares me. How on earth would I remember all of this? And how would I begin to apply it if I can't remember it?

Solution?

As I started reading, I realised that unless I had a photographic memory, I would never be able to remember everything and most likely a lot of people won't either.

So, I've resigned myself to the fact that there is no way what I read would stick, whether I read the book once or several times even.

Instead, I'll:

-        highlight the bits I think are important (and use different colours)
-    write notes whenever and where I need. These should help me remember what I was thinking when I read that particular comment or idea.
-   add bookmarks in places where I've written down notes or highlighted something important so I'd know where to go when I need something specific.

-       "maybe" write a summary and/or book review that can help as well. 

Another important thing I learnt is that with books on the writing craft, don't try to read more than a few pages in one sitting. You'll end up with a headache and whatever little might stick in your mind, won't.



I love to constantly develop myself but let's face it, being surrounded by a tonne of knowledge can be scary. So, baby steps and trying to avoid perfection are key. Something I'm trying to remind myself, while also making progress.

If this isn't enough, I'll be starting a new project - well actually job - that heavily relies on self-help books! Talk about facing one's fears, right? 

Below are some self-help writing-related books I've read



Currently reading and to-read

The Art of Fiction by John Gardner  
How to Write Your Book in a Flash by Dan Janal
The Emotion Thesaurus: Second Edition by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi


Friday, March 15, 2019

TwoSpells by Mark Morrison - Book Review



Book: TwoSpells
Author: Mark Morrison
Publication date: 21 February 2018
No. of pages:


Blurb:
Sarah and her twin brother Jon are heirs to an ancient magical realm and its most valuable treasure, an enchanted library. The library endows readers with the supernatural means of crossing into the uncharted inner-sanctum of the second dimension, inhabited with peculiar and sometimes perilous creatures.


The children are emboldened with a wondrous mystical gift that no other being has ever possessed. But fate intervenes and triggers a disastrous inter-dimensional war that disrupts the fabric of time and space spanning multiple universes, tearing destiny a new and savage pathway.

The two must rescue their world from a phantom hybrid alien race controlled by a demented dark-wizard, Jeremy Sermack. They will either assimilate or be exterminated.

Will they be the saviors the prophets spoke of, or will they retreat to the perceived safety of their distant homeland?



Book Review by Nadaness In Motion

I've been delaying the writing of this review for some time now, a few months actually. But here goes…

TwoSpells by Mark Morrison is a bit of an odd fantasy middle grade novel. Sarah and Jon are twins visiting their strange grandparents. Their mother leaves shortly after they arrive and the grandparents begin telling a tale that sounds like a bed-time story rather than "history." The events and the way they were told aren't believable.

I have mixed thoughts about TwoSpells. On one hand, the pace was really quick but the action and the magic itself took a while to occur. Until half of the book, no real magic had taken place and the reader is unsure how exactly Jon and Sarah are special. True, their mother has many secrets of her own but how are they special? What are their abilities? And, until the end of the book it's not clear what those abilities are.

Was reading while waiting for a doctor's appointment. Photo by Nadaness In Motion

I felt that the author was trying to cram too many genres together; fantasy with a bit of science fiction and some steampunk. I think it was too much and it didn't help me visualise a few scenes. It also stretched some scenes more than necessary.

However, the interesting part is that they visit a library where readers can join the characters within the books they're reading, provided that they don't alter the events of the book. The parts Jon and Sarah experience entering a book for the first time and their do's and don'ts was fun to read.

"To leave the story, simply open the book to any point in the story and begin reading backward. Finally, the most important rule of all: you are witness only. Do not participate. Do not attempt to change the story. You may end up trapped in there-or worse."

Overall, I think TwoSpells could be a good book but it needs a lot of work. Some comments or quotes that came in the end should have been made at the beginning. Things need to be clearer about Sarah, Jon and their strange but magical family. How does that magic work in this world… among other things.

Overall rating for TwoSpells: 2 stars

Note: I received a free copy of TwoSpells from its author Mark Morrison in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Broken Bone China - Interview with Laura Childs






Broken Bone China
(A Tea Shop Mystery) by Laura Childs

Broken Bone China (A Tea Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
20th in Series
Publisher: Berkley 
Publication date: 5 March 2019
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 0451489632
ISBN-13: 978-0451489630
Digital ASIN: B07DMZPLWY



Theodosia Browning serves tea and solves crimes in Charleston, a city steeped in tradition and treachery in the latest Tea Shop Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.

It is Sunday afternoon, and Theodosia and Drayton are catering a formal tea at a hot-air balloon rally. The view aloft is not only stunning, they are also surrounded by a dozen other colorful hot-air balloons. But as the sky turns gray and the clouds start to boil up, a strange object zooms out of nowhere. It is a drone, and it appears to be buzzing around the balloons, checking them out.

As Theodosia and Drayton watch, the drone, hovering like some angry, mechanized insect, deliberately crashes into the balloon next to them. An enormous, fiery explosion erupts, and everyone watches in horror as the balloon plummets to the earth, killing all three of its passengers.

Sirens scream, first responders arrive, and Theodosia is interviewed by the police. During the interview she learns that one of the downed occupants was Don Kingsley, the CEO of a local software company, SyncSoft. Not only do the police suspect Kingsley as the primary target, they learn that he possessed a rare Revolutionary War Union Jack flag that several people were rabidly bidding on.

Intrigued, Theodosia begins her own investigation. Was it the CEO's soon-to-be ex-wife, who is restoring an enormous mansion at no expense? The CEO's personal assistant, who also functioned as curator of his prized collection of Americana? Two rival antiques' dealers known for dirty dealing? Or was the killer the fiancée of one of Theodosia's dear friends, who turns out to be an employee—and whistle-blower—at SyncSoft?

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!




Exclusive Interview with Laura Childs by Nadaness In Motion



Nadaness In Motion: Having written 20 books in the Tea Shop Mystery series, what has been your favorite thing about the books and/or writing process?
Laura Childs: The absolute coolest thing is that I’ve never run out of ideas. There are so many delicious ways to kill someone that I’m always anxious to start the next book. I also love developing a “theme” I can carry through the entire book. It can be something like wine tasting or Halloween or a hurricane – a kind of hook that weaves its way through your storyline.

Nadaness In Motion: How many years have elapsed between book 1 and book 20?
Laura Childs: It’s been 19 years and book 20 has just come out. I’m also halfway finished with book 21 and have notes for book 22.

Nadaness In Motion: How many books do you write per year?
Laura Childs: It varies between 1 and 4 books. Last year was a super busy writing year with 4 books, this year I’m slacking off and writing 2 books.
  

Nadaness In Motion: Has your writing process changed over the years? For example, have you picked up new hacks that have helped you write better or faster?
Laura Childs: I think I write better and faster because I’m doing it constantly. The imagination is a powerful muscle and the more you bend and stretch it, the more flexible and responsive it becomes. The other thing I do is read constantly – sometimes 3 books a week. It’s amazing what you can learn (plotting, pacing, twists, etc.) by studying other writers!

Nadaness In Motion: Has your former role as CEO and Creative Director of a marketing firm helped you with your books? How so?
Laura Childs: I’m lucky in that I developed the skill to be creative on demand, despite the pressure of tight deadlines. I also have a distinct knack for knowing what appeals to an audience. And I’m pretty darn good at figuring out how to market a product – even when it is my own.

Nadaness In Motion: Since your books can be read as standalones, what aspects do you have to remind your readers of between books?
Laura Childs: Actually, not that much. I do a bit of backgrounding on the main characters, of course. Then I re-introduce some of the secondary characters and then quickly move on to following up with hints or suspicious that I planted in the previous book.


Nadaness In Motion: When you’re not writing or researching something for your books, what would you be doing?
Laura Childs: Traveling, shopping, having lunch with friends. But please realize, I usually write six days a week.

Nadaness In Motion: If you could pick up only one of your series to be made into a TV series, which would it be – and why?
Laura Childs: My Tea Shop Mysteries have already been optioned twice for TV (I’m still waiting), so I think the Scrapbooking Mysteries would be perfect. Since they’re set in New Orleans, the plots could be quite exciting (Mardi Gras, bayous, vampires!) and I’m positive the camera would love the city’s spooky, ethereal atmosphere.

Nadaness In Motion: Apart from book tours, what else do you do to market your books?
Laura Childs: My rule of thumb is that an author needs to do at least 50 different things to publicize a book. My publisher handles about a dozen things (ARCs, contests, press releases, Book Bub, interviews, etc.), so that leaves me doing blog tours, guest posts, Q&A’s, library visits, bookstore visits, book club talks, presentations to librarian groups, web contests, public relations, media relations, industry book show appearances, running print ads and radio spots, promos on Shelf-Awareness.com, Bookclubbing, Facebook posts, Facebook ads, Bookmovement, DearReader, Kindle Nation, and a whole bunch of other things. It’s exhausting – it almost kills you – but it works.



Here’s the Cliff’s Notes on Laura Childs’s newest mystery Broken Bone China.

After catering a formal tea at a hot-air balloon rally, tea shop maven Theodosia and her tea sommelier Drayton bask in a hot air balloon ride. But as the skies darken, a rogue drone buzzes in and strikes a nearby balloon, causing an enormous, fiery explosion. People are dead and one of them is Don Kingsley, software bigwig and owner of a rare Revolutionary War Union Jack flag.

As Kingsley’s widow presses Theodosia for help, suspects abound in the form of rival antiques dealers, museum representatives, and private collectors. Five million dollars is also missing from the software firm and the fiancé of Angie Congdon (Theodosia’s dear friend and B and B owner) also becomes a prime suspect.

In the midst of all this drama, Theodosia still has to charm her tea shop guests, manage the photo shoot at Drayton’s historic home, and pull off a Beaux Arts Tea, her most elaborate tea party yet. In the tradition of all Laura Childs’s previous New York Times bestselling thriller-cozies (thrillzies!), Broken Bone China delivers a breakneck pace, heart-warming moments, and recipes that include Eggnog Scones, Strawberry Butter, Banana Pudding Pie, Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms, and Sea Scallops with Brown Butter.



About the Author:
Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop MysteriesScrapbook Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fundraising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.
Laura specializes in cozy mysteries that have the pace of a thriller (a thrillzy!) Her three series are:
The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. Theodosia is a savvy entrepreneur, and pet mom to service dog Earl Grey. She’s also an intelligent, focused amateur sleuth who doesn’t rely on coincidences or inept police work to solve crimes. This charming series is highly atmospheric and rife with the history and mystery that is Charleston.
The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans’ spooky above-ground cemeteries, jazz clubs, bayous, and Mardi Gras madness make their presence known here!
The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. Business is good but murder could lead to the cafe’s undoing! This series offers recipes, knitting, cake decorating, and a dash of spirituality.

Connect with Laura Childs via her Website and Facebook.

Purchase Links

Amazon B&N Kobo Google Play

Don't forget to enter the giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Keep up with the rest of the tour, including reviews, more interviews, guest posts, and spotlights!

5 March - The Avid Reader – REVIEW & Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
6 March - Reading Authors – REVIEW & fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT
7 March - A Holland Reads – REVIEW & Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
March– My Journey Back-The Journey Back - REVIEW & A Wytch's Book Review Blog – REVIEW
March – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW & Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
10 March - Cozy Up With Kathy - REVIEW & StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
11 March – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT & A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW
12 March – Nadaness In Motion – AUTHOR INTERVIEW & I'm Into Books – SPOTLIGHT
13 March – The Book Diva's Reads – SPOTLIGHT & Valerie's Musings – REVIEW
14 March – The Book's the Thing – REVIEW + GUEST POST & Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
15 March Community Bookstop – REVIEW & View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT
16 March– Here's How It Happened - REVIEW & Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
17 March - A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW & Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
18 March – Melina's Book Blog – REVIEW & The Montana Bookaholic – GUEST POST & Lisa Ks Book Review – REVIEW


Sunday, March 10, 2019

Spotlight & Giveaway for Murder Once Removed by S. C. Perkins





(An Ancestor Detective Mystery)
by S. C. Perkins
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: 19 March 2019
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1250189039
ISBN-13: 978-1250189035
Digital ASIN: B07D2BJ2JT


S.C. Perkins' Murder Once Removed is the captivating first mystery in the Ancestry Detective series, in which Texas genealogist Lucy Lancaster uses her skills to solve murders in both the past and present.

Except for a good taco, genealogist Lucy Lancaster loves nothing more than tracking down her clients’ long-dead ancestors, and her job has never been so exciting as when she discovers a daguerreotype photograph and a journal proving Austin, Texas, billionaire Gus Halloran’s great-great-grandfather was murdered back in 1849. What’s more, Lucy is able to tell Gus who was responsible for his ancestor’s death.

Partly, at least. Using clues from the journal, Lucy narrows the suspects down to two nineteenth-century Texans, one of whom is the ancestor of present-day U.S. senator Daniel Applewhite. But when Gus publicly outs the senator as the descendant of a murderer—with the accidental help of Lucy herself—and her former co-worker is murdered protecting the daguerreotype, Lucy will find that shaking the branches of some family trees proves them to be more twisted and dangerous than she ever thought possible.

GIVEAWAYS!

Yes you read right. There is more than one giveaway. As part of the tour, I have an exclusive giveaway where you can win ONE copy of Murder Once Removed by S.C. Perkins. Giveaway is open to US residents ONLY! (Sorry author rules)


a Rafflecopter giveaway



There is a second giveaway for the whole tour by Lori Great Escapes, enter using the link (or widget) below

a Rafflecopter giveaway



About the Author


S.C. Perkins is a fifth-generation Texan who grew up hearing fascinating stories of her ancestry and eating lots of great Tex-Mex, both of which inspired the plot of her debut mystery novel. Murder Once Removed was the winner of the 2017 Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery competition. She resides in Houston and, when she’s not writing or working at her day job, she’s likely outside in the sun, on the beach, or riding horses.



Connect with S.C. Perkins via her Website, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Purchase links
Keep up with the rest of the blog tour featuring interviews, giveaways, spotlights, author interviews and guest posts.

March 5 – The Power of Words – REVIEW, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY 
March 5 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
March 6 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 7 – The Book Diva's Reads – GUEST POST
March 7 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
March 8 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 8 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT
March 9 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
March 9 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
March 10 – Nadaness In Motion - SPOTLIGHT, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY
March 10 – That's What She's Reading – REVIEW
March 11 – Carole's Book Corner – SPOTLIGHT
March 11 – A Wytch's Book Review Blog – REVIEW
March 11 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
March 12 – Valerie's Musings – REVIEW
March 12 – This is my truth now - REVIEW
March 13 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
March 13 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 14 – Baroness' Book Trove – REVIEW, RECIPE POST
March 14 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW
March 15 – Here's How It Happened – REVIEW
March 15 – Laura`s Interests – SPOTLIGHT
March 16 – MJB Reviewers – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 16 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 17 – Reading Is My SuperPower - REVIEW, INDIVIDUAL GIVEAWAY
March 18 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
March 18 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Takhayyal writing prompt 94: Wailing Winter Wonderland


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

Arabic for Imagine, Takhayyal is a challenge for writers of all ages and genres; a place to spark creativity and explore new genres.

For this month's prompt, I'm borrowing the image from cozy mystery author Amy M. Reade, whom I've previously featured on Nadaness In Motion in a guest post on writing titled "Researching a Book in a Far-Flung Setting."

The image just spoke to me – probably because I've never been in a country with snow before… I think many across the United States have seen storms this year, so this is your opportunity to tell the world about them and shed them off onto the page (and this blog post).

Oh, and the prompt title "Wailing Winter Wonderland" was a line in Kamelot's amazing song "Temples of Old."


So, are you ready for the writing prompt?

Grab your pen and let's WRITE!

Winter Wonderland - Image by Amy M. Reade



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 & WRITE!

Friday, February 8, 2019

Pottermore releases Harry Potter audiobooks in Arabic via Storytel

Harry Potter fans in the Arab world are in for a big surprise this year as European audiobook firm Storytel is set to release the Arabic audio versions of the Harry Potter books.

According to a press release by Storytel, the Arabic audiobook debut was to come in the Cairo International Book Fair, which ran from 23 January until 5 February 2019.


Sweden-based Storytel, which has partnered with the Wizarding World™’s digital publisher Pottermore, said that the Arabic audio format is narrated by top voice-over artist Samaan Ferizali.

The Arabic audiobook of The Boy Who Lived will be offered exclusively via Storytel’s platform.

“The collaboration is expected to expand Storytel’s audience and bring the Harry Potter series to listeners in the Arab world,” Storytel said.


“We are very pleased with Ferizali’s work in this project. It took us several months of auditions and evaluations as well as a series of surveys among Harry Potter fans before we arrived at our final decision. Ferizali is doing a fantastic job in bringing over 150 characters to life in the series,” commented country manager for Storytel Arabia Ammar Mardawi.

He went on to say that the Harry Potter phenomenon has helped many people around the world become regular book consumers by captivating their imagination and emotions.

Storytel will begin with the first book in the series Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and will continue to release the remaining books throughout 2019.

“The debut of the Arabic audiobook version of Harry Potter is a major milestone for Storytel Arabia as it will introduce them to the audiobook experience for the first time. We are announcing the Arabic audiobooks of Harry Potter at the Cairo book fair because of the outstanding Harry Potter fan base among Egyptian young people,” Mardawi added.

Personally, I’ve been to this year’s Cairo Book Fair and haven’t seen any major announcements about the Arabic Harry Potter audiobooks but then again with the fair being relocated from its usual spot to an off-the-beaten-track location, I wasn’t searching for it. Besides, I’ve read all the books in the series in English. But I will try to pursue this and see what people think.

I have, however, read bits of Nahdet Misr Publishing’s translation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone a while back and was highly unimpressed. The translation is more of an abridged version. I’m not sure if there are other Arabic versions of the book and if so, which one Storytel would be using.

But I must say I agree with Mardawi that the Harry Potter books were a world of adventure for me that only brought about the bookworm hiding within.