Friday, April 26, 2019

Open Your Eyes to a New Day - Poem



Lightly, nimbly, let's forget
The sad dream we dreamt in the night
Like the darkness that fades in the morning rays
Let's forget…


And then let’s open our eyes
To the morning light
Let the rain fall on our skin
And wash our souls within
Let’s awaken anew
With purpose and strength
Let’s open eyes
To a new day




A friend posted the first part and it inspired my reply. I later learnt that this first part was part of a Korean song from the late 1970s. The part in green is entirely my own.

The original is in Korean, so I'm guessing "Lightly, nimbly, let's forget/The sad dream we dreamt in the night/Like the darkness that fades in the morning rays/Let's forget…" is a translation. But here's the song via YouTube: Song Çang Şig- Unutalım


Special thanks to my friend Sara Ahmed for bringing these words and this song to my attention. Thank you for the inspiration :) 

Monday, April 22, 2019

Interview with Sharon Pape - Blog tour for Magickal Mystery Lore



Today, I'm excited to be featuring paranormal cozy mystery author Sharon Pape and the fourth book in her Abracadabra Mystery series Magickal Mystery Lore through an exclusive interview.

I previously reviewed the first book in the series Magick and Mayhem here on the Nadaness In Motion blog. It sets the scene for the humor and mystery. Got an instant 5-star review from me.
The books can be read as standalones. In the interview, Pape talks more about both the Abracadabra Mystery series and her other books.

Happy reading!

Book: Magickal Mystery Lore
(An Abracadabra Mystery) - 4th in Series
Author: Sharon Pape
Genre: Paranormal Cozy Mystery
publisher: Lyrical Underground
Publication date: 16 April 2019

Number of pages: 317 (including a sneak peek into book 5)
ASIN: B07FS2GCW3


Synopsis:

This spells trouble . . .

The New Camel Day Fair is a fun-filled event for residents of this upstate New York town. Kailyn Wilde, a modern-day witch of ancient lineage, leaves her potion shop, Abracadabra—and her feline familiar, Sashkatu—to attend with her fortune-telling Aunt Tilly. Joining them is legendary wizard Merlin, who’s discovering new pleasures of time-traveling to the modern world, including curly fries and kettle corn—but the appeal of the Tilt-a-Wheel is beyond his mystical imagination.

The real wild ride begins later, when neighboring sweet shop owner Lolly rushes into Abracadabra with news about a dead body. The victim has one of Lolly’s fudge knives stuck in her back, but in spite of the sticky evidence, Lolly is only one of several suspects with ample motive and opportunity. Meanwhile, Merlin’s research into old family scrolls and electromagnetic ley lines is causing some unusual mix-ups. As the two investigations collide, Kailyn will have to do everything in her power to prevent disaster…

Interview by Nadaness In Motion

On Books and Writing

How many books can you write at the same time?
Sharon Pape: I’ve found that I’m at my best when I concentrate on writing one book at a time. Having said that, my subconscious is always busy working on other ideas.      

How many edits do you go through to reach the final version of your books?
Sharon Pape: I’m one of those writers who edits each chapter before I go on to the next - can’t help it. I edit the whole book after I finish it. My beta reader gets it and we go over everything she finds, so that’s another edit. I send it to my editor who may still find a few mistakes – so that’s 4 edits.

What authors – new or old – have inspired you to become a writer? And particularly a mystery (or cozy mystery) writer?
Sharon Pape: I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. I’m sure most of the authors I read throughout my life have increased that desire. As a kid, I loved reading mysteries like the Dana Girls, as written by Carolyn Keene and The Famous Five books by Enid Blyton. I fell in love with the paranormal in books by Stephan King and Dean Koontz. Gone with the Wind made me a fan of historical fiction. James Michener and Leon Uris were among the writers who nurtured that love. I’m a fan of all the genres as well as mainstream literature and wish I had the time to write in every one of them!

Do you feel that the cozy mystery genre has put some restraints on your writing? (For example over-the-top or adult romance is frowned upon, the same with explicit language or even minor cursing)
Sharon Pape: No, each genre has to be taken for what it is. If I didn’t like the restraints, I’d write a different kind of mystery. However trying to write believable characters, especially criminals, without using even minor cursing does present a challenge.



The Abracadabra Series

If you could pick an actor to portray Merlin from the Abracadabra books, who would it be?
Sharon Pape: In the Abracadabra series, Merlin is an old man with scraggly white hair and beard. Christopher Lloyd from Back to the Future immediately comes to mind. There are many character actors who could fit the bill with a little help from the hair and makeup people.

How many parts are you planning for the Abracadabra book series?
Sharon Pape: The 4th book, Magickal Mystery Lore, debuts 16 April 2019. I’ve just finished book 5 and I think that will probably be the final one in this series. I have another series spinning around in my head, begging to be set free.

Other Books by Sharon Pape

What excites you about writing each of your series? (What is your favorite thing about each series that makes you want to write more books in it)
Sharon Pape: Initially I’m excited by the concept of each series and the ways in which I can explore that idea. Over time, it’s generally a particular character or characters in the series that make(s) me want to write more books. In A Portrait of Crime, it was Zeke Drummond (think Sam Elliot a couple of decades ago.) In Abracadabra, it’s Merlin and aunt Tilly. That’s not to say that I don’t want to write more about the main character in each series, but I often have more fun with the secondary players.

What can you tell us about your Crystal Shop Mysteries? Why is there only one book in that series?
Sharon Pape: When Penguin and Random House merged, they took an axe to most of their cozy series and Crystal Shop was one of the victims. Unfortunately most publishers won’t take on a series when the first book is already published. I would like to continue the series someday – there was so much left undone, but I’d probably have to self-publish it. I also loved the setting in Sedona, one of my favorite places in the world.


Can you give readers a larger or more detailed synopsis about your book "For Everything A Season"? (Is it horror? Paranormal? Romance? A combination? What can you tell us about it since it appears quite different from your usual writing)
Sharon Pape: It was my first published book back in the ‘80s. At that time, there was no paranormal or supernatural genre, so the publisher, Pocketbooks, changed my title to Ghost Fire and put it in the horror section, where it didn’t really belong. When the rights reverted to me, I reissued it as an ebook under my original title, For Everything a Season. I always considered it to be paranormal, but some readers have called it a gothic mystery and romance. The book starts off in the seventeenth century, during the Salem Witch Trials, moves to the 1980s and ends in the year 2022.  I think a more detailed synopsis might give something away.

Here's the synopsis to For Everything a Season
Not all the witch trials took place in Salem. And there are people in nearby Rachael Crossing who believe the abandoned old house in their midst has roots going back to those awful times.

Determined not to be spooked by vague rumors, Deborah Colby leases that house for the summer and when she meets Ethan Burke, she's certain she's made the right decision - certain her whole life has been leading her there to him. And she may be right, but for all the wrong reasons.
The book was condensed by Redbook Magazine, the first paperback original they had ever condensed.
I’m in the process of making it available in paperback for those readers who prefer a “real” book, like I do!

Bringing Sharon Pape into the Picture
If you can travel to any five countries in the world what would they be?
Sharon Pape: I’ve already been to a number of my favorites, France, Italy, England and Spain along with a few others. I’d like to visit Switzerland, at least one of the Scandinavian countries, one of the Eastern European countries, Portugal and Australia (with a side trip to New Zealand while I’m down under.)

Last but not least, if someone were to go through your latest research for your book(s), what would they find?
Sharon Pape: They’d find interesting facts about marmots, medieval vocabulary, herbs and poison – don’t worry, the marmots and the poison never meet. J



As part of the blog tour, there is a GIVEAWAY. Enter using the widget or Rafflecopter link below

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Keep up with the rest of the tour including book reviews, interviews, spotlights, and guest posts here.

About the Author

Sharon Pape describes her writing career as having two stages. Back in the dark ages, before computers were in every household, she had three paranormal books published. The first one was condensed by Redbook Magazine, the first paperback original they had ever condensed. Around the same time, Redbook published her first short story.

Then life brought her an unexpected challenge that went by the name of breast cancer. When her treatment was over, she became a volunteer for the American Cancer Society's Reach to Recovery Program and went on to be the program's coordinator for Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. Several years later, with the help of her surgical oncologist and two other survivors, she started her own not-for-profit organization to provide information and peer support to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients.

Once the organization was running smoothly and didn't require as much of her time, she returned to her first love - writing. During this second stage of her career, she's been writing cozy mysteries with a paranormal twist and a splash of humor.

Connect with author Sharon Pape via her Website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Purchase Magickal Mystery Lore by Sharon Pape via Amazon or B & N


Friday, April 19, 2019

Lost in a Quatrain by Adiela Akoo – Book Review


April is National Poetry Month, so I managed to squeeze in a couple of poetry collections to review.

The first is Lost in a Quatrain by South African author and poet Adiela Akoo. It is a collection I'm glad to have come across. There are many poems I could relate to and many I'd love to quote "whole".

The 65-page collection begins with the short but inspiring poem "Within" which I felt spoke to me as a writer and poet. "Empty Chairs," whose beginning is the same as its ending, leaves the reader aching. It's a painful poem of memory and loss; it also strikes a chord with me because in the past 45 days there have been four deaths in the family. It also reminds me of my poem "The Picture".

Back to Lost in a Quatrain, there were a few political and spiritual pieces, including "Know Thyself".

"Cape Town 1990," which tackles the issue of white versus black skin, is painful to say the least. Similarly, "New Apartheid" is a must read. And while I don't think my country had much of the skin problem, I related to this poem.

"Only to find a new apartheid walking in
That now wants to condemn us
For the way we are praying!"

"@2pm" is an interesting piece on the time 2 pm, where a lot of things are being done by different people. It gives a sense of togetherness and aloneness at the same time. Though a short piece, it's an idea that is definitely worth thinking about.

"What's Up?" is a hilarious story and conversation within a poem. I loved it!

Lost in a Quatrain includes several deep pieces such as "Not Enough," "Broken Winged Bird," "Are YOU Ready?" "As the Rain Pitter-Pattered," "Wrapped Up," just to name few. There are many and I enjoyed them all.





"Hormonal" is a powerful womanly poem about – you probably guessed it – women's monthly period. I appreciated that Akoo wrote about this and included it in her collection.

"Coupling" is poem about writing and I totally relate to it! I felt that Akoo was reiterating my thoughts about words and poetry that come to me in the middle of the night. This is a five-star piece.

One of the poems that I had me thinking a lot was "You Are a Woman, You Must Learn to Live with Being Sore" which Akoo says was a grandmother's advice. The poem tackles a contrast about women having to be strong but in pain in a way. They need to take care of their homes and husbands but at the same time they need to be strong. It's a poem worthy of study and being included in syllabi. I get the idea; I would assume my grandmother thinks the same way. I know I have a few points I'd argue about as would many young and older women nowadays. Still, it's worth reading and thinking about.



The language in Lost in a Quatrain is simple but the imagery and flow were amazing. Some were like songs and others were experimental like the one-sentence poem which I felt should be extended into a full short story. Meanwhile, the poem with the same title as the book, "Lost in a Quatrain," comes late in the collection but I adored its flow. Each quatrain tells of a situation or short story. I felt that if were longer, it would make a beautiful song.

Overall rating for Lost in a Quatrain by Adiela Akoo: 4.5 stars. A must-read and a collection to be remembered. Thank you for bringing to my world, Adiela.

Note: I received a free copy of Lost in a Quatrain from its author Adiela Akoo in exchange for an honest review.



Wednesday, April 17, 2019

2 Officers by Essam Youssef - 2 ضباط - Arabic Book Review



كُتب هذا التعليق عام 2013، للنسخة الإنجليزية يرجى الضغط هنا.

تتناول رواية 2 ضباط للكاتب عصام يوسف حياة كل من وليد سامي الضابط بالأمن المركزي وشريف بيومي الضابط بشرطة المباحث. تبدأ فصول الرواية الأولى بتقديم الشخصيتين الرئيستين قبل التحاق كل منهما بالشرطة وأسباب التحاقهم بها وتفوقهم وعلاقتهم بالآخرين وحياتهم بعد الالتحاق بكلية الشرطة والعمل في هذا المجال.

يبدأ عصام يوسف برسم شخصياته بدقة بالغة من خلال تعاملاتهم وحوارهم الذي يعطي بعداً لكل شخصية ويغرزها في عقل القارىء الذي يستطيع بعد قليل توقع ردود أفعال الشخصيات في المواقف المختلفة. على الرغم من أن هذا الوصف الدقيق يجعل الجزء الأول من الرواية بطيئاً بعض الشيء فإنه يعطي كافة المعلومات التي يحتاجها القارىء لتكوين فكرة عن شخصيات الرواية كما أن القارىء على يقين أن حياة كل منهم الرغدة لن تبقى على هذا الحال كثيراً وأن العالمين سيصطدمان في وقتٍ ما. تتبادل فصول الجزء الأول من الرواية بين حياة وليد وشريف حتى بعد زواج كلٍ منهم.

شريف بيومي هو أخر العنقود المدلل وأناني، يمتلك والده معرض سيارات مما يعطي شريف خلفية ممتازة عن كل ما يتعلق بالسيارات والتجار الأخرين. يبدأ شريف تكوين العلاقات حالما يبدأ عمله بالشرطة وسريعاُ ما يسعى إلى تحقيق طموحاته التي لا نهاية لها وجمع الأموال والتفاخر أمام غيره وعند تدرجه في الوظائف سريعاً ما يرتبط اسمه بالفساد خاصة بعد زواجه عندما يكون له ظهر قوي يستند عليه.

أما وليد فيأتي من عائلة بسيطة، يتسم بالولاء والوفاء حب الخير للجميع مما يجعله نقيض شريف ولا يدري القارىء متى أو كيف سيلتقي مثل هذان النقيضان.

تعد فكرة السلطة وقدرتها على التأثير على الأحداث أحد أهم أفكار الرواية – إن لم تكن الفكرة الأساسية فيها، إذ تأخذ الرواية منعطفاً جديداً وشيقاً عندما يصطدم عالم وليد بعالم شريف المليء بالكذب والفساد والعلاقات مع الكبار. ويحاول وليد سلك الطريق القانوني لأخذ حق زوجته وأخيه ولكنه يفشل بسبب علاقات شريف. ويعيش وليد صدمة أن اتباع الطريق الصحيح لا يجدي نفعاً ويدرك أنه إذا أراد الحق فعليه أخذ حقه بيده.

بعد اصطدام العالمين المختلفين تتوالى فصول الرواية بسرعة فائقة مما يجعل الجزء الثاني من رواية 2 ضباط شيّق وممتع جداً وتحتوي الجزء الثاني على الكثير من الحوار مما يزيد من سرعة أحداث الرواية.

يروي عصام يوسف روايته باللغة العربية الفصحة السهلة في حين أن الحوار باللغة العامية ويحتوي على بعد الأفاشات والتهكم في بعض المواقف. ويساعد الحوار على زيادة سرعة الرواية.

وعلى الرغم من الرواية تركز بشكل أساسي على شريف ووليد ولكن هناك عدة شخصيات ظريفة ولها دور فعّال في الرواية مثل عمرو صديق وليد وصاحب النكات والأفشات ومغازي الضابط الصعيدي بالأمن المركزي الذي يلعب دوراً رئيسياً في مساعدة وليد على أخذ حقه.

تعد رواية 2 ضباط هي الرواية الواقعية الثانية للكاتب عصام يوسف، إذ سبقتها رواية ¼ جرام، وقال عصام يوسف – في 2013 - إنه بصدد بدء كتابة روايته الثالثة قصر البارون والتي ستكون رواية رومانسية.

تحديث: حتى مارس 2019 لم يصدر لعصام يوسف روايات جديدة


Sunday, April 14, 2019

The Blank Page by Nada Adel Sobhi – Poem



The blank page
Stares at me
Taunts me
It knows I'm blank inside

I call words to my mind
But none land on my page
They slip through,
My hand unsure;
They don't fit,
Unlike Cinderella's glass slipper

I watch the waves before me
But they too offer naught
They water spray attempts to hinder me
But I am adamant,
Pen in hand,
Resolute.

I will not falter
Before the blank page
Before my lazy muse
Before my tired body

You will not deter me
From my quest
To fill a page,
Fill the void

I call upon the ancient power
Of the mighty sea
Fill me with your words,
Wisdom spoken to thousands before me,
Philosophers and storytellers

I know you bear the power,
Give me an inkling of it.

The pen moves
Words flow
I lose control
Like a trance
An avalanche
Fills my page

Finally
I lay my pen down
Close my eyes
And breathe.

I open them
To see pages upon pages
Of words and wisdom

A gentle wave at my feet
Reminds me whom to thank
I bow my head,
Whisper my gratitude

I have conquered
The blank page!


By: Nada Adel Sobhi



Tuesday, April 9, 2019

2 Officers by Essam Youssef – English Book Review



2 Officers is the second novel by Essam Youssef. It begins by introducing the characters of Sherif Bayoumy and Waleed Samy, their families, backgrounds and ambitions. Then, we see the scenes and chapters alternating between these two characters, who are worlds apart with the exception that they both joined the police force.

Sherif is spoilt, ambitious and used to getting what he wants. He is willing to go beyond the limits to fulfill his endless ambition and lust for money and power, and all the world has to do is succumb to him. He does not care for anyone but himself. His selfishness is sickening.

One of the major themes, in 2 Officers, is that of power and what this power is used for. Sherif seeks to increase his connections to gain power and riches through illegal means. Not only that, as an officer, he deems himself entitled to getting anything and everything. As an officer, who is supposed to provide security by imposing the law, Sherif is a law-breaking citizen who has a reputation for breeding fear the in the hearts of others, not safety.

Waleed Samy, on the other hand, comes from a simple family. He is used to working in teams through the Central Police Force. He is loyal to the law, his comrades and his family.

When the distant worlds of these two officers collide, all hell breaks loose as we see the Sherif surrounded by similarly corrupt people and others not corrupt but who do not care to get to the bottom of things and simply make room for more of Sherif’s corruption. They let him get away with things to avoid a headache.

Waleed is stupefied when the law is not on his side, despite filing all the necessary papers to see his right – and that of his wife and brother – returned and to see justice served. Only then does he finally believe his brother and realise that if he wants to see justice served he must take things into his own hands.

The novel moves at a fairly slow pace as the chapters alternate between the two officers. The pace picks up immensely after their worlds clash. Then, it is impossible to put the book down.

2 Officers is written in simple but formal Arabic with the dialogue in colloquial or spoken Arabic. The dialogue is done well as it alternates light humour and important information. It also gives the reader space to see the characters in light of their speech and reactions. Furthermore, it quickens the pace of the novel.

Although the novel focuses on Sherif and Waleed, there are other characters, who though play minor roles, play important parts in the construction of the novel itself. These include Amr, one of Waleed’s three best friends, whose jokes and sense of humour are endless and very much needed in this serious novel. Other characters from places in Upper Egypt are funny with their simplicity and in the way they speak, like Moghazy, who is both funny and intelligent and is crucial to Waleed’s plans.

Overall, 2 Officers is very different from its predecessor ¼ Gram. Both take place in Egypt and deal with social issues. ¼ Gram deals with youth and drugs, whereas 2 Officers takes the reader to the world of police officers, enforcing laws and breaking them. It also takes the readers down the path of men, where some have a humanitarian side, while others have destructive ambition that will bite them in the end.

Overall, 2 Officers is yet another great novel by Essam Youssef, who tends to disappear for a while and reappear with a bang.

In 2013, Youssef said he would begin working on his third novel The Baron’s Palace, which he expects to be a romance novel.

2019 update: Youssef has not released The Baron's Palace nor has he discussed any updates in this regard.