Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Takhayyal writing prompt 108: The Beast

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.


It's been a couple of months since I was able to post a writing prompt. Life is getting back to normal – in a way.  So, I hope this new picture will bring you out of your shell and help you get creative.

Note: This image is not mine. Found via Deviantart.com.

Look at the image and let it speak on the page.



 

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, an imaginary situation, an artistic thought; you name it and write it.

 

General rules:

·        No nudity, violence, and/or abuse.

·  Use the image for inspiration and write your piece in the comments below or publish it on your blog and leave the link to it in the comments

·        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 or tag me @NadanessSobhi and I'll retweet you :)

 

Let's IMAGINE!


Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Journeys Through Faladon: The Titan Divide – Excerpt & Guest Post

 


Today, I'm featuring an interesting kind of book and novel. I want to introduce you to Journeys through Faladon: The Titan Divide. I won't go into detail but will leave you with a short introduction and guest post by the publisher ForgeFiction and an excerpt from the novel, which was published on 29 July 2020.

So here it is... 

 

Writing is often thought of as a lonely activity, a singular person sitting behind a typewriter, paper and pen, MacBook, or what have you.

But one book has set out on a mission to change that. Journeys through Faladon: The Titan Divide is an epic fantasy novel created by over 40 people.

 

It tells the story of Ürbon, treasure-hungry raider of the western seas, who unwittingly finds himself chosen as champion by Bjarl, the rune axe of legend. Stepping forth on a quest he never asked for is Ürbon truly the one to vanquish the approaching darkness? Or could the legendary axe be mistaken, dooming Faladon to its fated destruction.

The idea to create a collaborative fantasy novel took root at ForgeFiction, a platform for collaborative writing. It allows for its users to add to a book, either by writing a chapter or adding elements to the stories universe such as locations, characters, races, etc. 

Uniting together to collaborate on this book, the creators of Journeys through Faladon: The Titan Divide together form the Ruinsong Order. The first novel in a trilogy is available on Faladon.com and Amazon.

 

 

Excerpt from Journeys through Faladon: The Titan Divide

As Ürbon reached the middle, he found the mysterious object to be a block of ice. How did a block of ice come to be in the heart of a volcano? And how did it not simply melt on the spot? Ürbon could not know. He gazed in wonder at the mysterious thing, marveling at how it kept its form despite the heat. What also gained his attention was a handle sticking out of the block. Upon further inspection, he noticed the transparency of the ice and a curious shape within. He thought he could see a large horned head and rows of teeth bared at him. The edges and hairline cracks of the icy container amplified a certain power.

Ürbon did not know why he grasped the protruding hilt. It could easily have been either an act of fate or simply the enactment of childish fantasy; the hilt being the arm of a blade of yore, and he, Ürbon, the legendary hero to lay claim to the fable.

But no amount of fable or legend could have prepared him for this.

As his hands gripped the leather, a white flash engulfed his vision. He tightened his grip to keep himself steady. An ear-splitting crack rang through his ears, the white flash growing stronger. He closed his eyes to escape the blinding light, but it was no use. He felt himself engulfed by it, lost in its freezing glare. He shuddered from the icy light, and, for the first time, Ürbon felt fear, gut-wrenching, heart-stopping fear. 

The flash dissipated as suddenly as it began, and Ürbon opened his eyes, still dazed from the blinding light, to find himself in darkness once more. The icy blue glow was also gone, and where once was a block of ice now was an empty space. Yet he still held the hilt in his hand, free of its icy lock.

What was now in his hands was an axe of ice and steel, the haft wrapped in soft leather. He recognized the steel of the axe’s pole. It was a metal used by Jödmun craftsmen, a formula of steel and a rock substrate, creating a virtually indestructible material. What was more impressive, however, was the ice sculpted atop the pole, a visage of a wyrm, whereas the wyrm’s fiery breath was of steel, forming the blade.

Ürbon knew this axe but could not believe it to be in his hands. There was only one such weapon in existence. Bjarl, the rune axe of legend, crafted by the greatest blacksmith of the Jödmun, Volstagg the Mad Smith himself.

He looked at the axe in awe. He could not avert his gaze, its wonder and beauty captivating him. This was a true legend within his grasp. How it ever came to be here, so far from home, he could not fathom.

His eyes barely tore away from the legendary weapon as a scorching fire erupted in the darkness. Ürbon saw red and orange flames, coiling and twirling around a great horned head. It rose amidst a rumble of rocks. Two blazing eyes glared at him as its mouth opened in a snarl, the flames burning ever stronger. Sharp black scales peeked out from behind tendrils of flame which flowed out from a large jaw lined with pearlescent teeth.

As if one legend within this cavern was not enough, Ürbon held back a gasp as yet another rose from the darkness. Any Jödmun would know well what creature this was, for only one could breathe flame, and they were revered as the most terrifying yet majestic of all. It's cold-blue eyes stared as Ürbon stood his ground, holding Bjarl firmly in his grip. Fear would only inflame a full-grown dragon. 


Purchase Journeys Through Faladon: The Titan Divide via Amazon.


Follow Forge Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Thursday, June 18, 2020

The Legend of Gasparilla and His Treasure by Carolyn Arnold – Book Review


Book: The Legend of Gasparilla and His Treasure
Author: Carolyn Arnold
Publisher: Hibbert & Stiles Publishing
Publication date: 16 June 2020
ASIN: B07YNWSW5W

What a read and what a ride!

The Legend of Gasparilla and His Treasure by Carolyn Arnold is the third standalone installment in the Matthew Connor adventure series.

"You can't seriously be thinking that we'd hop on a plane in pursuit of a treasure that might not even exist."
Matthew grinned. "That statement pretty much sums up exactly what we do."

I've previously read The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh, which is the second book in the series, and loved it!

The book opens with archaeologist and adventurer Matthew Connor attending an exhibition that's meant to get people excited about his book series about his adventures.

The truth is Matthew is procrastinating the writing process and I loved how Arnold portrayed the procrastination process. As a writer, I totally related to Matthew then and there.

After the exhibit, Matthew is approached by a Professor Mel Wolf who claims he found an ancient diary by famed pirate Gasparilla. After much debate, Matthew agrees to Wolf's proposition and drags his friends Robyn and Cal along to search for Gasparilla's treasure.

"I expect you to succeed in securing this diary for me. Do we have an understanding?"
"Yes, ma'am."
"Very good. do whatever you have to do. Kill whoever you have to."

As soon as they decide to embark on the journey, the trio and the Professor are attacked by armed men who chase them across Washington D.C., which makes the search for Gasparilla's treasure a personal matter for Matthew. Not to mention, going on a new adventure means delaying writing his book.

Here's a writing tip from Arnold and Matthew's editor ;)

"His editor, Riley Zimmer, had told him more than once, "People like danger, Matthew. It sells books. That's why thrillers are the number one genre out there."

Like its predecessors, The Legend of Gasparilla and His Treasure is narrated in several third-person perspectives, primarily Matthew's but the view point include those of Robyn and Cal as well as Detective Colin Doyle and the bad guy.



As Matthew and his friends head for Spain, we learn that there is some back history to Mel Wolf and the diary and that during the Washington chase a woman was killed in her bed by a rogue bullet, which brings into the story a Detective Colin Doyle.

One of the things, I liked about The Legend of Gasparilla and His Treasure is the character assembly. We have the trio from the previous books, some backstory to each, and we meet Daniel, who is the aide for Matthew's father but also a deep and well-connected character who may have been some kind of Special Forces agent at some point in his life.

Matthew's friend Cal is the constantly sarcastic one, offering tons of humor despite the evident and endless danger. I also felt that Cal and Robyn are more mature characters than Matthew, whose character flaw is impulsiveness, which puts his friends in danger. Still, the trio acts as each other's backbone.

I was a little confused by the names when it came to the pirates and their first mates. Each had a name or two. But that didn't stop me from enjoying the book.

"You are a dreamer, Matt. You really want to hop on a plane for Spain, on the word of man you just men, in pursuit of a mythical pirate's treasure? We don't even know where in Spain."

The scenes travel between the United States, Spain, Canada and I won't tell you where else but it's one hell of an amazing ride.



I could easily lose myself for a couple of hours reading The Legend of Gasparilla and His Treasure and an exhilarating couple of hours they were!

There are lots of flashbacks from the first book in the series City of Gold, a book I plan to read.

Overall, I loved Carolyn Arnold's The Legend of Gasparilla and His Treasure. The book is full of travel, adventure, wild chases, danger, mysterious people, and everything in between.

"When you set out after a legend, nothing is for certain, but we weren't left with much choice. As the saying goes, we were between a rock and a hard place. If we didn't try, Sophie was dead."

Oh by the way this series including The Legend of Gasparilla and His Treasure would make for a great movie!

Overall rating for The Legend of Gasparilla and His Treasure by Carolyn Arnold: 5 stars.


Note: I received an Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) of The Legend of Gasparilla and His Treasure by Carolyn Arnold from its publisher Hibbert Stiles in exchange for an honest review.



Saturday, June 6, 2020

The Case of the Broken Doll by Alison Golden – Book Review


Book: The Case of the Broken Doll
(Book 4 in The Inspector David Graham Series)
Author: Alison Golden
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Number of pages: 230 pages
Publication date: 3 December 2016
ASIN: B01N6D4GKY


Can anyone give a book 10 stars? Because that's what this book deserves!

The Case of the Broken Doll is the third book in the Detective Inspector Graham Series by Alison Golden. The book can be easily read as a standalone.

Inspector David Graham is a tea-loving detective in the small British island town of Gorey. He heads the Gorey Constabulary which includes three other members: Sergeant Harding and Constables Roach and Barnwell.

The Case of the Broken Doll is different from the rest of the books in the series as Graham stumbles on a cold case that has pained the citizens of Gorey for years. Graham learns that 15-year-old Beth Ridley had disappeared one morning on her way to school almost 10 years ago.

"People don't just vanish into thin air, Marcus. I know the world is a strange and mysterious place, but I'm still a big fan of cause-and-effect when it comes to explaining what people do and why."

Graham decides to sleuth around the case but ultimately reopens it. He discovers a story Beth had written featuring animal characters but soon Constable Roach determines that the characters represent people in Beth's life and attempts to solve the mystery of who is who and Beth's deductions and secrets about the people around her.

One of the things I like about the series is seeing how the sergeant and two constables are developing. Graham is already a developed and insightful character. In The Case of the Broken Doll, Graham acts as a kind of teacher to his constables. I liked the way he explained that the evidence they had would not be admissible in court and so on.

"You're culpable of putting two and two together and getting seven. Fascination doesn’t equate criminality. Obsession doesn't connote murder. And his preoccupation with Beth Ridley shouldn't lead us to assume guilt." (Graham to Sergeant Harding)



Soon after this comment, Sergeant Janice Harding realizes her mistake and tells Roach – on a similar note pertaining to the case: "We've both been fixated on the person and not on the evidence." This is character development within the course of the book and it's excellent!

In addition to the mystery of the missing Beth Ridley, there is a second minor mystery at play, where Graham instructs Barnwell to investigate. This adds to the already-suspenseful novel.

I literally couldn't put The Case of the Broken Doll down. I gobbled it up in 24 hours! I stopped doing everything else – including work – and just had to read and finish it. It's been a while since I've found a book I couldn't stop reading like that. Thanks Alison Golden!



What Graham uncovers in The Case of the Broken Doll will leave you gaping and stunned. The story is amazing, unputdownable and the best in the entire series!

Overall rating for Alison Golden's The Case of the Broken Doll: 10 stars.

Add the book on Goodreads.
  
Other book reviews in this series:

The Case of the Missing Letter

Start reading the first book in this series, The Case of the Screaming Beauty when you subscribe to Alison Golden's newsletter. I downloaded The Case of the Broken Doll when the author made it free for a week as part of her #StayHomeReadBooks series.




Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Takhayyal writing prompt 107: Take Me There


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.

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

I hope you are all staying safe and taking all necessary precautions. The world is beginning to open and realize that we will have to live with this corona virus but it's important to remember that we need to take care of our health no more than ever.

As the world opens up, people, myself included, feel like Summer 2020 will be a different experience. That said, I always look at pictures I took on my phone to transport me to places.

That's why when I saw this picture posted by friend, author, and poet Erin Al Mehairi, I immediately asked for it and decided it would be the writing prompt for June.

It spoke me to and I hope you find it inspiring!



So without further ado, meet the June writing prompt… 

Picture taken at The Twinsburg Ledges in Northeast Ohio. Photography by Erin Al Mehairi


Look at the image and let the words flow. It's not important WHAT you write. What's important is that YOU WRITE!

Your post can be in English or Arabic, prose, poetry, short story, flash fiction, an imaginary situation, an artistic thought; you name it and write it.


General rules:

·        No nudity, violence, and/or abuse.
·  Use the image for inspiration and write your piece in the comments below or publish it on your blog and leave the link to it in the comments
·        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 or tag me @NadanessSobhi and I'll retweet you :)



Let's IMAGINE!

Sunday, May 24, 2020

The Case of the Hidden Flame by Alison Golden – Book Review



Book: The Case of the Hidden Flame
(Book 2 in The Inspector David Graham Series)
Author: Alison Golden
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Number of pages: 130 pages
Publication date: 12 December 2015
ASIN: B019AO3EQ8

Synopsis:
A new cop. A murdered lover. An eccentric community.
Detective Inspector David Graham has just arrived on the island of Jersey, taking over a rag tag team of questionable commitment and skill at the Gorey Constabulary, a team that he is supposed to lead and develop into a cohesive investigative unit.
Within minutes, his first challenge presents itself when ex-soldier, Colonel Graves, finds a dead body on the beach. As the military man kneels down, he discovers it is his soon-to-be fiancé half buried in the sand…
In a small resort like Gorey, this event is monumental, and almost unheard of. The rumors swirl yet it is the new Detective Inspector’s job, with a bag still packed and travel dust on his shoes, to ferret out the clues and solve the case…while bringing his team along to assist.
With a Sherlock soul, The Case of the Hidden Flame packs humor and intrigue onto a small island of eccentric characters, roiling sea undercurrents, and deceptive coincidences – all accompanied by a fine cup of tea.

Book Review by Nadaness In Motion

"You know I've been here five minutes, right?"
"And you know we haven't had a murder here since the Newall Brothers axed their parents for their inheritance money, back when you were in college?"

The Case of the Hidden Flame by Alison Golden is the second book in the Inspector David Graham Series. The book brings back a few of the characters from The Case of the Screaming Beauty, along with new people. It can be read as a standalone.

I loved the charismatic – for me – Inspector Graham, who loves his morning tea, and who literally grows on you as you read these books (I read 3 books in the series consecutively!)

Graham leaves the busy London with its dark memories and settles in the small island town of Gorey. There he is to head the small police department, known as a constabulary, and three police misfits: Harding (the serious one) and Roach and Barnwell (the funny ones), "a rag tag team of questionable commitment."

Graham has to turn the three into mystery-solving and crime-fighting officers, which paves the way for lots of humor.



As soon as he arrives on Gorey, Graham is confronted with mystery after the other. In The Case of the Hidden Flame, Graham has to deal with a nearly-crippled doctor who is found dead and buried on the shore of the White House Inn, where he is to stay.

"Mrs. Taylor worked to find balance between helping the police and carrying out much-needed rumor control, lest her guests suddenly decide to check out en masse in a fit of panic and ruin the Inn's precious summer."

Graham and his team interview many people at the Inn, while some appear to have harbored ill intentions towards the late doctor, some don't seem to be related to the case at all. Graham and his team struggle to find the culprit in an Inn, known to be a home for the elderly and retirees.

In The Case of the Hidden Flame, it takes some time to determine whether the "case" is a murder or accidental death. Still, I enjoyed the story. It was a bit slow at first but picked up.


"The least welcome category of deaths for a detective [was] victims who were found alone, with little forensic evidence, no witnesses, and no immediate suspects or motives."

To the police officers, known as constables in the novel, Detective Graham acts oddly. But he plans to teach each one of them how to handle things and make them rise from merely taking tickets and processing mini-burglaries to solving crimes.

Having read subsequent books, I've noticed that Graham is an excellent leader, knowing how to utilize and develop each of his team's skills.

Unlike The Case of the Screaming Beauty which was a bit grim, The Case of the Hidden Flame has lots more humor, making it a fun read.

"[Mrs. Taylor] was proving to be quite the store of gossip, which made her an ideal source of information in a case like this."

The Case of the Hidden Flame is a different kind of cozy mystery in the sense that it's the police who are looking into the murder, as opposed to the norm where there is an amateur sleuth.

In terms of character development, Graham is already a developed character but the sergeant and two constables are the ones who see significant growth throughout the books.

The book was divided into only seven chapters, which made the chapters quite long.

I like how Golden uses Graham and pathologist Dr. Marcus Tomlison as tools to educate both readers and the police trio.

"Unlike most police officers, or even members of the general public, Graham was aware that asphyxia was a mode of dying, not ta cause."

Overall rating for Alison Golden's The Case of the Hidden Flame: 4.5-5 stars.

Add the book on Goodreads.

Other book reviews in this series: (All coming soon to Nadaness In Motion)


The Case of the Missing Letter




Start reading the first book in this series, The Case of the Screaming Beauty when you subscribe to Alison Golden's newsletter. I downloaded The Case of the Hidden Flame when the author made it free for a week as part of her #StayHomeReadBooks series.