Sunday, November 19, 2017

Death at the Emerald, historical mystery by R. J. Koreto - Guest Post

Death at the Emerald: A Frances Ffolkes Mystery
Author: R. J. Koreto
Genres: Historical Fiction, Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publication date: 7 November 2017
Hardcover: 272 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683313373/EBook ASIN: B06XWF3K5Z

One-named stunning actress Helen mysteriously vanished 30 years ago. An elderly family friend is unable to bear not knowing any longer and commissions Lady Frances Ffolkes to track her down. Taking on the role of Lady Sherlock, with her loyal maid Mallow drafted as her Watson, Frances finds herself immersed in the glamorous world of Edwardian theater and London’s latest craze—motion pictures.

As Frances and Mallow make their way through the theaters, they meet colorful figures such as George Bernard Shaw and King Edward II. Tracking the theaters seems like a dead end. That is until one of Helen’s old suitors is suddenly murdered. With the stakes raised, Frances and Mallow work quickly to uncover a box of subtle clues to Helen’s whereabouts. But someone unexpected wants that box just as badly and is willing to kill to keep it shut.

The stage is set for murder and Frances and Mallow are determined to unravel the decades-old conspiracy in Death at the Emerald, R. J. Koreto’s third installment in the captivating Lady Frances Ffolkes mysteries.

Character Guest Post by R. J. Koreto

I am Lady Frances Ffolkes, whose adventures in turn-of-the-century London have been recounted in three books written by R.J. Koreto. As this is a blog devoted to books, I thought it would be a good idea to present an annotated collection of some of my favorite books.

1.     Middlemarch, by George Eliot. With more than 300,000 words, it's not everyone's cup of tea. But the richness of the characters and Eliot's uncanny insights into the human condition make every one of those words worth it. It's a pity Eliot had to publish under a man's pen name to be taken seriously.

2.     The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Arthur Conan Doyle. I count Sir Arthur as one of my friends, and we once spent a most entertaining afternoon discussing different ways to poison people. I suggested to my invaluable maid and assistant June Mallow that she may want to read some Sherlock Holmes stories. She said she was happy to help me solve murders, but didn't want to read about murders in her spare time. I sympathize.

3.     A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. Few authors are more entertaining to read out loud than Dickens. Last Christmas, I read it out loud to Mallow. She knew the poverty Dickens describes more than I ever could, and was deeply moved. I confess we both cried at the end when Scrooge was converted and Tiny Tim lived.

4.     Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain. It was my great privilege to be born in London, the most civilized city in the world. So I think of the last lines a lot: "But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me and I can’t stand it. I been there before." I did get to meet Mr. Twain (actually, Mr. Clemens) briefly while I was in America and enjoyed discussing the book with him. My fiancé, Hal Wheaton, says this is his favorite novel. Young Finn has a point: It might be fun to not be civilized.

5.     Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. There's no question that women have insights into characters men don't. This was another book I read out loud to Mallow. She never did warm to Mr. Darcy and said he wasn't very pleasant, which is no doubt true. She said if she had her choice, she'd rather marry Mr. Bingley, and I'm not sure she's wrong. I told Mallow that Hal was like Mr. Bingley, only intelligent, and she said, "I'm sure you're right, my lady."

As part of the tour there is a GIVEAWAY!
(Open to US residents only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About The Author

R.J. Koreto is the author of the Lady Frances Ffolkes mystery series, set in Edwardian England, and the Alice Roosevelt mystery series, set in turn-of-the-century New York. His short stories have been published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine.
In his day job, he works as a business and financial journalist. Over the years, he’s been a magazine writer and editor, website manager, PR consultant, book author, and seaman in the U.S. Merchant Marine. Like his heroine, Lady Frances Ffolkes, he’s a graduate of Vassar College.
With his wife and daughters, he divides his time between Rockland County, N.Y., and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

Connect with R. J. Koreto via his Website (includes a sign-up form for his weekly newsletter), Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter.

Purchase Death at the Emerald: A Frances Ffolkes Mystery by R. J. Koreto via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and Indiebound.

Keep up with the rest of the tour.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Interview with children's author Patricia Furstenberg

Today, I'd like to welcome Romania-born South African children's author Patricia Furstenberg, whose children's books I've enjoyed as an adult. Animals are a common element in Furstenberg's writings but there's more to that.

In this exclusive interview, Patricia Furstenberg answers lots of questions about her books, writing, family, and how all of this comes together in her books.

What's Patricia Furstenberg written?

Check out Nadaness In Motion's five-star book reviews for Joyful Trouble, a historical fiction, children's book about a dog named Joyful Trouble who becomes enlisted as ordinary seamen in the South African navy! And Puppy, 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles, which tackles the first 12 months of a new born puppy's life.

But the truth is, she's written tons of children's books! She talks about several in the interview below. 

Nadaness In Motion: Are you a full time author? What do you do when you're not writing, marketing, or working on your books?

Pat Furstenberg: I see my life as fulfilled; writing my books helps me balance my family life. When I am not writing I am a mother and a wife. I don’t know if I could write full time as having a family keeps me grounded and fuels my desire to create, to plan my writing life and to succeed.

Nadaness In Motion: Have any of your books been translated? If you could pick only one book or one series to be translated, which would it be?
Pat Furstenberg: This is a wonderful path that I plan to follow in the near future. I would like to see my books translated in my native language, Romanian, as there is a market for them over there, especially for Happy Friends. If you grow up picking up acorns and building snowmen then you can definitely establish a connection with Little Tail the dog and his desire to meet Snow, or with the acorns spread all throughout my first children’s book, Happy Friends.

Nadaness In Motion: You've used South Africa as a setting in Joyful Trouble, how has your country and its history influenced your writing in general?

Pat Furstenberg: I have lived in South Africa for almost two decades now. Living in one place means so much more than being alive and going through your day by day life. You absorb the sense of that place, the rhythm of its lifestyle. Bits of the country’s history stick to you, speak to you - especially if you have an interest in history and research like I do.

Getting a sense of South Africa as a country is evident in Joyful Trouble as well as in my last three books, The Elephant and the Sheep, The Cheetah and the Dog, The Lion and the Dog.

South Africa is nicknamed “the rainbow nation” and with good reason. There is a fantastic mix of cultures, lifestyles and people; it is a place of utmost inspiration for a writer.

Nadaness In Motion: How old are your children? At what time during your book's publication do you let your children read your upcoming books?

When I began writing my books my children were the right age to enjoy them, which they did. Right now they are a little bit too old to read children’s stories. My daughter though, with her sharp teen observing eye and blunt point of view helps me proofread parts of my stories.

Nadaness In Motion: Do your children inspire your writing in anyway? Can you tell us how or give an example?

Pat Furstenberg: My children are my first source of inspiration. All throughout their lives we fashioned make-believe scenarios or imagined how different animals would talk and act, especially our dogs! What goes through their minds and what their mimic can mean… This was a great source of inspiration for me when I wrote Puppy, 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles.

For example in A New Name for Puppy, I thought of the days when we got our dogs. What an exciting time it was for my children to think of an appropriate name. Then I asked myself, what were these puppies thinking of us? We adopted them from the local kennel where they shared a cage. And suddenly, they had a whole family and love, while still being together.

In Waiting for Snow, I thought of the times when my children experienced snow, in my native Romania. And you know what? No matter their age, they get excited when the first snow falls and are ready to go out and embrace it at any time in the day.

Nadaness In Motion: Have you considered writing books outside the children's genre? What do you have in store for readers?

Pat Furstenberg: I most definitely did. I have the plot ready for a historical novel and I am so looking forward to writing it. I have also been thinking to breech into the Young Adult genre as well; I have a few ides in mind, perhaps a series.

Nadaness In Motion: From your list of publications, I know you have a special spot for dogs and puppies, particularly since you've lived with many of them for most of your life. What other animals have you written about or are planning to write about?

Pat Furstenberg: You cannot live in South Africa and not write about lions and elephants! A cheetah also walked the pages of one of my books; a lizard and a squirrel too. Even a bee, but she was a friendly bee.

Nadaness In Motion: In your biography, you said you became a writer through reading. What book(s) inspired you to start writing?

Pat Furstenberg: It must have been An Autobiography by Agatha Christie. It was reading about the woman sitting at the writer’s desk. Although I was in my teens when I first discovered this book, an idea began to grow in a corner of my mind. Being a writer was not a myth anymore; writers were actually human beings, women too!

Nadaness In Motion: What advice can you give aspiring authors looking to write children's books?

Pat Furstenberg: Read a lot, then find the child in yourself. Sit on the floor and look at life from a child’s eye-level. Don’t lose hope and be persistent.

Nadaness In Motion: What countries are on your bucket list? Will you consider using any of them or their history as setting in your upcoming books?

Pat Furstenberg: I have been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit in my youth. Romania is always on my bucket list, it is a magical place, both modern and drenched in history.

Italy would come next, I have never been there and I would like to write something set in Venice. I have an idea that’s been with me for many years, it is probably time I allow it to grow.

Turkey would be next; its history is so entwined with the past of my native country that I cannot write about one without mentioning the other. Besides, I am still waiting to taste the real Turkish coffee!

Venice. Image found online.

Nadaness In Motion: If you can tell your readers, old and new, one thing, what would it be?

Pat Furstenberg: Read, it’s magical!

A note from Patricia Furstenburg!

Thank you, Nada, I thoroughly enjoyed answering your interview questions. I hope we will collaborate again in the future; it is an honour being featured on your website, Nadaness In Motion.

More about Patricia Furstenberg and how to connect with her:

Patricia Furstenberg came to writing through reading. She is known to carry a book or pen and paper everywhere she goes.
Patricia enjoys writing for children because she can take abstract, grown-up concepts and package them in attractive, humorous, child-friendly words and pictures, while adding sensitivity and lots of love. What fuels her is a need to write and… coffee, “None. Plus? Five cups.”
After completing her Medical Degree in Romania, she moved to South Africa where she now lives with her husband, children, and their dogs.

Connect with author Patricia Furstenberg via her Author WebsiteAmazon UKAmazon USHuffington Post SAGoodreadsTwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

Check out Nadaness In Motion's book reviews.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Takhayyal writing prompt 75: Uncage Me

Welcome back 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.

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

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


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Mid-NaNoWriMo? Progress Is Progress - Blog post

Is it truly 15 November? Whoever invented the term/idea that "time flies" wasn't joking!

We're mid-month, mid-NaNoWriMo and I'm way behind on my word count!

I must admit, I wish I weren't working full time to I could at least catch up.

There were days when I didn't write at all, when I just desperately needed to sleep! There were a couple of others when I sat in front of the laptop screen not sure how to continue from the point I had reached.

But here we are the 15th that's two weeks in with 17,500 words out of 25,005 words!

But do you what's the best thing about this?

In these 15 days, I've almost accomplished what I had accomplished in my other writing project in the past three months!

Between August and October, I wrote around 18,500 words in Darya's story. In my NaNoWriMo project I've jotted down almost as much with my 17,500 words. Can you believe that? Or better can I believe that?

It means I can do it! And I will do it!

It also means I can raise my target, build on my accomplishments and enjoy writing and seeing my projects grow.

I'll be doing another post on 1 December with my overall NaNoWriMo word count accomplishment(s) and provide more updates in the novel I'm currently working on. All I can say now is that it's a paranormal cozy mystery.

If you don't know what a cozy mystery, it's a sub-genre of mystery that's lighter and where the protagonist, or main character, is usually not a detective but an amateur sleuth looking to solve a murder.

Find out more about the cozy mystery genre in Kirsten Weiss' joint article titled "What is a Cozy Mystery? How have Arab readers been introduced to the genre?"

Feel free to check out my book reviews of other cozy mystery books I've read.

If you're taking part in NaNoWriMo, feel free to share your progress updates below so we can support each other.

For those who are unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, it stands for National Novel Writing Month, and takes place every November. It is a time when authors huddle behind their computers, ditch the housework, and work on writing 50,000 words in a month. 

No an easy feat, I assure you!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Mad Magic by Nicole Conway - Excerpt & Giveaway

Mad Magic
Nicole Conway
Published by: Month9Books
Publication date: 14 November 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Mad Magic is a beautifully dark and rich Young Adult fantasy from Nicole Conway, bestselling author of the Dragonrider Chronicles. 
Josie Barton is a high school student living in terror. Invisible creatures torment her everywhere she goes, constantly getting her into trouble at school, and even haunting her apartment. But just when Josie thinks things couldn’t get any worse . . . she meets the guy from across the hall. 
Zeph Clemmont is a changeling with enemies in all the worst places, fighting to undo a curse that threatens to end his life. Survival means he will have to swallow his pride and trust Josie with all his darkest secrets. 
With the help of a gun-slinging shaman and the enigmatic Prince of Nightmares, Zeph and Josie are only a heartbeat away from defeating one of the most diabolical faerie villains their world has ever known.
“Magic is like water. It’s required for all things on this earth to live and it cycles through the world to be reused over and over again. Some things, even some people, soak up more of it than others or require more of it to live. Children are usually more attuned to it than most. They soak it up like little sponges.” Each word from his lips carried a weight I could feel hanging in the air. “Any being on earth is capable of using it, although humans lost interest and forgot how to do that a very long time ago. Most of them can’t even see it or feel it anymore. Their minds have turned to things of metal. It can be that way for faeries, too. In fact, a lot of us have fallen from our former glory to be fed by the machines of the modern world.”
A strange, wild hunger rose up in me so suddenly it made my body stiffen. If magic was real, then surely it had something to do with all the strange things that had been happening to me. I needed to know more—I needed to understand.
“Where does it come from?”
“The moon.” He paused, holding a liquor bottle in each hand as he turned to look me in the eye. “Or at least, that’s what the old songs say. No one knows for sure. But magic is raw energy that we can use as we choose. Even a small amount can accomplish miraculous or even terrible things.”

Author Bio:
NICOLE CONWAY is an author from North Alabama. She graduated from Auburn University in 2012, and has previously worked as a graphic artist. She is happily married and has one son as well as a cat and a dog. She enjoys blogging, traveling, cooking, and spending time with her family.


Sunday, November 12, 2017

October: The Month of Lazing & Writing

In September, I talked about author's pride and how that has hindered me in my writing. In October, I did the dumbest thing ever. I was proud with myself for a couple of days then Lo! And behold! We were at the end of the month and I had only written some 2,000 words!

I made a challenge to myself that I could finish 8,500 words in 4 days. Naturally, I failed. I could have succeeded and was moving at a great pace with around 2,000 words per day, but because of the short time span, when things pop up you're literally at odds with yourself. You want to do everything at the same time, and that simply doesn't work.

No matter how hard you try and no matter how much you reprimand yourself. Doing everything at the same time just doesn't work. As humans we can multi-task but not forever.

My new notebook at Ain Sokhna. Photography by Nada Adel Sobhi

Luckily, I was able to snatch a couple of days as a short holiday in October. I did some creative writing with inspiration coming out of nowhere after a friend and cozy mystery author Cathy Ace post pictures of her garden in British Columbia, Canada. Inspiration took hold of me and I just had to write.

You can check out my piece inspired by Ace's pictures (along with the stunning garden) in my blog post titled Underestimating Autumn.

Photography by Cathy Ace, which inspired Underestimating Autumn

I was also able to write a short chapter in my NaNoWriMo project and a few poems – most of which I have not copied yet!

So what is my overall word count for October?

Let's see the numbers!
Photography by Nada Adel Sobhi.
Notebook, nail polish and the beach

Darya's story: 6249 words

The November project: 2190 words

Articles, posts, including Underestimating Autumn: 1174 words

Poetry: 4 poems

Book reviews: 3 done

Overall word count for October: 10,324 words!

Check out reviews for short story collection Rusticles by Rebecca Gransden, horror novella The Die-Fi Experiment by M.R. Tapia, and children's picture book Puppy, 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles by Patricia Furstenberg.

More good news?

I made a roundup of all the words I've written so far in Darya's story and guess what?

What? You say.

I've passed 18,555 words in the story that's been stuck in my head for over a year!

18,555 words! Do you see this number?

I'm thrilled, excited, and just in love with this number.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Underestimating Autumn

I have always viewed autumn as the tasteless season. A season with no character. Just grey skies, jittery weather; you never know if summer has ended or winter has started. You feel like you’re unsure what to wear and always end up with the wrong guess. You wear something light so it ends up being cold; you take a jacket or something heavy - because winter is coming right? - and it’s too warm.

But then I saw ‘her’ garden. I was struck, not by lightning, but by beauty, by colour.

Colours I had never seen in nature before. Colours no painter’s palette can ever bring to the canvas. Colours that breathe life into your being.

I have often read descriptions of autumn, where yellow and orange leaves litter the sidewalks. The descriptions were enticing. But that’s what I had often assumed they were: descriptions.

Photography by Cathy Ace - Her Garden of Inspiration

Here, in Egypt, there are no yellow-and-orange leaves. The dull greens fall and the trees become bare in autumn and winter. The sky wavers between grey and sunny, unsure what the day will bring, like it is trying to maintain a level of suspense. But as time passes, this suspense wears away and everyone is just bored.

I admit: I never liked autumn. The bland season. The prelude to the cold. Not until I had seen these images. I felt my eyes open.

I was seeing another - stunning - world for the first time, an enchanting one.

I stared at - and shared - the images before me. I wanted the world to see them, feel them, bask their beauty. I could almost feel a slightly cold breeze, smell the damp grassy garden, and see myself sitting amidst the flowers and trees, reading, writing, and above all living.

I look at the pictures again and understand why authors abroad write such beautiful books and settings. Because their views are different. Colourful. Vibrant. Alive.

Cathy Ace's garden in full colour and force. Photography by Cathy Ace

I know the garden will turn white with snow when winter comes, but for a moment I lived.

Writing by: Nada Adel Sobhi/Nadaness In Motion
Photography by: Cathy Ace (originally a cozy mystery author.) Find her on Facebook and Twitter

I saw these pictures by Cathy and the words just started flowing out of my mind and pen.