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.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Death by Committee by Alexis Morgan - Book Review & Interview


I first encountered Alexis Morgan's books while strolling a Barnes & Noble bookstore in my second trip to the US. I found My Lady Mage, which swept me up in a word of fantasy and passion. I immediately picked up Her Knight's Quest after and patiently waited for Honour's Price (but was unable to get it because it's not shipped to Egypt).

It's been a dream to interview Morgan and now I get to not only get to exclusively interview her but also read and review the first instalment in her new cozy mystery in the Abbey McCree Series titled Death by Committee.

This post contains the book blurb or synopsis, book review, the exclusive interview, and tour-wide giveaway. So be sure to check'em all ;)

Book: Death by Committee
Book 1 in the Abby McCree Mysteries
Author: Alexis Morgan
Publisher: Kensington Books
Number of pages: 304
Publication date: 29 January 2019
ISBN:  978-1496719539


Blurb:
When Abby McCree suddenly inherits her favorite relative's property in small town Snowberry Creek, Washington, she soon realizes that the ramshackle home comes with strings attached--one of which is tied to a dead body!

After a rough divorce, Abby McCree only wants to stitch up her life and move on. But other loose ends appear after her elderly Aunt Sybil passes away, leaving Abby to tend to a rundown estate, complete with a slobbery Mastiff of questionable pedigree and a sexy tenant who growls more than the dog. As Abby gets drawn into a tight-knit quilting guild, she makes a twisted discovery--Aunt Sybil's only known rival is buried in her backyard!

Despite what local detectives say, Abby refuses to accept that her beloved aunt had anything to do with the murder. While navigating a busy social calendar and rediscovering the art of quilting, she launches an investigation of her own to clear Aunt Sybil's name and catch the true culprit. The incriminating clues roll in, yet Abby can't help but wonder--can she survive her new responsibilities in Snowberry Creek and still manage to patch together a killer's deadly pattern without becoming the next victim?

Book Review by Nadaness In Motion

"Tell me, Miss McCree, do you have any idea how your aunt's archrival, Dolly Cahill, came to be buried in your backyard, wrapped in one of Sybil's quilts?

Death by Committee by Alexis Morgan is the first book in the Abby McCree cozy mystery series. We are introduced to Abby who has inherited her favourite aunt Sybil's home and responsibilities in the small town of Snowberry Creek along with handsome, moody former war veteran and tenant, Tripp Blackston. Abby chances upon the dead body buried in her backyard and later learns that the body was a nemesis to her late aunt.

With little faith in the police and a lot of sleuthing, Abby takes it upon herself to uncover the killer, especially since it also means clearing her aunt Sybil's name.




Death by Committee has a second mystery within, that of the 12 missing quilts that the town's Quilting Guild had planned to use to bring in donations. While I enjoyed reading this, I felt that this secondary mystery took more focus than the original mystery.

"Snowberry Creek was a pretty town with lots of nice people living in it. But [Abby] shivered as she passed each neat and tidy house, because, despite the warmth of the sun overhead, she had to wonder which one sheltered a cold-blood killer."

I enjoyed Abby's reflections on who might have wanted to kill Dolly. Her interactions are realistic and humourous. She's an overall relatable character and so is her moody tenant and often saviour Tripp. I would like to see more of them in coming books.

One of my favourite characters in Death by Committee is Zeke, Abby's massive grey Mastiff, which she also inherited from her aunt Sybil. Zeke has a presence and character of his own in the novel. Though he cares for Abby and constantly ensures her safety, he is often seen wavering between who he'd like to spend time with, Abby or Tripp. Their dog walks become excellent excuses for Abby to explore possible suspects.




"Abby felt like she should be earning frequent flier miles with the Snowberry Creek Police Department."

One of the things that bothered in Death by Committee, however, was the repetition of events. Something would happen with Abby and the town's sheriff Gage would question her about it. Instead of re-mentioning it briefly or saying something like "Abby relayed the events as they happened", she would repeat everything exactly. Personally, I felt it this was redundant and just added pages and word count.

Having said that, I still enjoyed Death by Committee by Alexis Morgan. It's a good start to a fun series with loveable characters.

Overall rating: 4 stars

Interview with Alexis Morgan

Q: Was entering the cozy mystery genre a major change from the romances and paranormal romances you write? Can you tell us about the ups and downs you faced when changing genres (or when writing a new genre)?
Alexis Morgan: Writing my first cozy mystery did present some challenges for me. In any genre, storytelling involves weaving a lot of different threads together to create a cohesive whole. Some of the threads I used this time were familiar, but others were definitely new to me. In the romances I’ve written, I routinely used multiple points of view to tell the story—the hero, the heroine, and at times even the villain. However, in Death by Committee, I limited myself to seeing the world solely through the eyes of my amateur sleuth, Abby McCree. I definitely stretched a few new writing muscles learning how to do that.

Q: How many parts are your planning for the Abby McCree series? And how many have you already signed up for?
Alexis Morgan: At this point, I’ve completed the first three Abby McCree stories. I also have ideas for at least three more books in the series that I would really love to write. I’m currently working on fleshing out the details for those stories.




Q: You've written prequels and mid-way novellas for your previous series. Do you think they have helped with your book sales?
Alexis Morgan: I think that prequels and especially mid-way novellas can help keep readers connected with a series in between releases of full-length books. They can also be used to tell stories about favourite secondary characters, which romance readers especially seem to love.   

Q: What books and series are you currently working on? Which can readers expect to be published in 2019?
Alexis Morgan: I’m currently focusing on my Abby McCree books. Death by Committee, is out now. The second one, DEATH BY JACK-0’-LANTERN will be released later this fall, and the third book is in the beginning steps of production and scheduled for release next year.

Q: Where do you go for inspiration?
Alexis Morgan: I’m lucky enough to have a great brainstorming partner, romance writer Janice Kay Johnson. She was the first published author I ever met, and she’s the one who encouraged me to write my first book. We’ve been meeting for lunch to brainstorm new ideas for each of us for far more years now than either of us likes to admit. Tossing ideas back and forth over burgers and fries is so much fun. I always come home both energised and inspired.

Q: With over 20 books written, what do you think is the most difficult thing about writing a book?
Alexis Morgan: For me, the hardest part is figuring out not just what the characters do but why they do it—the motivation behind their actions—and how to convey that information to the readers. That’s especially harder when the story is told through the eyes of just one character.  


Q: If you can pick only one series from those that you've written to become a movie or a series of episodes, which would it be?
Alexis Morgan: Boy, that’s a hard question to answer. Like most writers, my characters are all very real to me, so that’s like asking me to pick a favourite child. Having said that, I think the stories I’ve set in Snowberry Creek would make a great series, which includes both romances and now cozy mysteries.

Q: What countries are on your bucket list to travel to and perhaps find inspiration at?
Alexis Morgan: I would love to spend time in Great Britain, especially in England and Ireland.

Q: Is there anything you'd like to add?
Alexis Morgan: Just that I consider myself to be very lucky to have the opportunity to pursue my dream of being a writer. No one works in a vacuum, and I’ve had the good fortune to have the support of so many people along the way: my family, my friends, industry professionals, and my agent. But in the end, it’s the connection with my readers that has made the whole experience extra special.


GIVEAWAY


As part of the blog tour, there is a Giveaway for 3 print copies of Death by Committee by Alexis Morgan. However, this is open to people in the US only (Sorry rest of the world!) 
Enter using the widget or link below.




About the Author:

Alexis Morgan has always loved reading and now spends her days imagining worlds filled with strong alpha heroes and gutsy heroines. She is the author of over 45 novels, novellas, and short stories that span a variety of genres: American West historicals (as Pat Pritchard); paranormal and fantasy romances; and contemporary romances. Alexis has been nominated for several industry awards, including the RITA, the top award in the romance genre.

Find Alexis Morgan on social media via Facebook, Twitter, her website, and blog.
Keep up with the rest of the tour including more book reviews, interviews, and guest posts here

Purchase Links:
Buy Death by Committee by Alexis Morgan via Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, GooglePlay, or IndieBound.

Don't forget to check out Nadaness In Motion's book reviews for My Lady Mage and Her Knight's Quest.
Note: These reviews may be longer and different from what I tackle now in each review as I was still at the beginning of my book reviewing and bookblogging days.


Friday, February 1, 2019

Takhayyal Writing Prompt 93: Dark or Magical Love?


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/Imagine.

Welcome the month of love and romance, or as many people in Egypt believe… a short month that's heavy on the heart and an overall bad omen and experience… I don't know about you but that sounds like the premises for dark romance writing or horror pieces.

Hence, I think you'll enjoy the Takhayyal writing prompt for February, which gems and precious stones designer and artist Wild Nocturna has kindly agreed to let me use for February.


Photo credit: Wild Nocturna via Instagram


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


Your post can be in English or Arabic (since these are the two languages I can fluently write and read in), prose, poetry, short story, flash fiction; you name it and write it.



Feel free to follow or browse through Wild Nocturna's shop on Instagram. Even if gemstones aren't your thing, you'll probably just love looking at the images she posts.


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!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Abigail by Jess Heileman - Excerpt & Giveaway



Abigail by Jess Heileman

“A beautiful coming-of-age story with just enough romantic tension to keep you reading late into the night.”

Since the death of her mother, Abigail Blakeslee has lost all desire to become a debutante and enter Society. But now, foregoing her first Season has brought an unwanted invitation to join her aunt and cousins for a summer at Timpton House, the large estate of the Stanton family.

Reluctantly accepting, Abigail is thrust into the vexing world of social propriety and matchmaking she had hoped to avoid. More vexing still is her cousin’s suitor, the young Timpton heir—Edwin Stanton. Moody and distant at times, remarkably endearing at others, Edwin seems a puzzle she can never solve, but can never quite put away. Bet then, Abigail has her own secret to hide—her own mystery to conceal. Perhaps such puzzles are better left unsolved, or perhaps love can find a solution.


As part of the release blitz for ABIGAIL by Jess Heileman, there is an excerpt from the novel

The library was filled with books, and it reminded me of the one at Easton Manor with overstuffed shelves, large windows, and numerous seats for reading. I grabbed a thin book off a nearby shelf and held it in my hand. I traced my finger over the title, The Tempest. It had been sometime since I’d picked up a book. Mother taught me to read and had given me the joy of new worlds and unforgettable stories. I’d spent countless afternoons tucked in a chair in our library, unable to stop reading; but when Mother died, I found little delight in anything, including the things she’d taught me to love.

“Have you read it?” Edwin asked peering over my shoulder.

“Of course!” I answered placing it back on the shelf.

“And I presume you enjoyed it?”

“Very much. I admit I am easily satisfied by a happy ending.” I kept my eyes searching the books, having little desire to receive the look of censure awaiting me. “The Shakespeare writings I enjoy most are those that end well—Twelfth Night, Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew—the ones where love is victorious.”

“A common ideal among ladies, I believe, and the reason his comedies are so popular.”

I turned towards him, “Life has enough of tragedy and grief, is there something wrong with finding satisfaction in love and happy endings?”

“There is,” he said. “The harm is believing in something that isn’t real, Miss Blakeslee.” He stepped closer, and my feet faltered. “Love only brings misery. To think otherwise is foolish. You just declared life is full of tragedy—”

“And that is why love is needed!”

“And that is what love causes!”

Neither of us moved and I could feel his warm breath on me. It was only then I realized how close we stood, my neck craning to look up at him, but I had no desire to move away.

“You do not understand love then,” I whispered.

The resentment in his gaze caught me by surprise. “And you do?”

“Yes! Love has saved me.” His eyes searched mine, “The love I know has the power to lift and to heal, to see past weakness and turn it to strength.”

“Love is fickle and will fail you.”

“Never.” I said shaking my head as tears stung my vision. “I do not know what counterfeit you describe but the love I have found is faithful and unconditional.”

He said nothing and after a moment his eyes drifted from mine in contemplation. After taking a deep breath he looked down at me again. He wore the stern expression I knew so well and took a step backward. “I hope you are correct in your judgment,” he said with a brisk nod. “Thank you for telling me.”

As he turned from me I wanted to call out to him, but I was too confused to contrive a response. I followed him to the study in a daze. Edwin positioned himself near the desk with his eyes cast to the floor as Diana glanced between us bewildered.

“How is it you’ve found something to quarrel about already? You were in there less than five minutes! Perhaps I should take on the role of mediator instead of chaperon for the two of you.”

Neither Edwin nor I smiled.

“This will not do! What was the disagreement this time?”

“There was not a disagreement,” Edwin said. “Well, at least that is not what caused the discontent.”

Curious what the cause had been I glanced in his direction, anxious for him to finish. A knock interrupted his revelation.

Diana shot to her feet and reached out her arm towards me, “We will go out the library.”

Edwin blocked our retreat, “You are fine to leave out the study door.” He shifted his gaze at the repeated knock, “Come in!”

The butler opened the door, his eyes gliding over Diana and me, “The Slytons are here to see you, Mr. Stanton.”

“Show them in.”

The Slytons? I was familiar with the name, but surely they were not the same as I had known. My heart picked up pace regardless of what I told myself. The door opened again and a tall, wiry lady and a shorter, burly man stepped through the door. They were older and somehow uglier, but it was them. My knees nearly gave out, and I tightened my hold on Diana’s arm for support.

“Mr. and Mrs. Slyton, I am pleased you finally agreed to make the trip to Timpton. This is my sister, Mrs. Ellis, and our friend, Miss Abigail Blakeslee.”

Mrs. Slyton nodded in our direction but abruptly turned her attention back to Edwin. “With such a gracious offer, how could we resist?” Her scratchy voice brought a slew of memories that made my body tremble.

I cautiously turned to find Mr. Slyton inspecting me through squinted eyes. Did he recognize me? I hadn’t seen him since I was a little girl, and I hoped the years had done their job adequately enough to disguise me. I lifted my chin, attempting to appear unaffected by his presence and was relieved when Mr. Slyton turned towards Diana, appraising her with the same disgusting grimace he’d given me. I looked to Edwin and found him returning my gaze, a peculiar expression on his features.

Edwin moved to my side and placed a firm hand around my waist, guiding me to the door. My ears were ringing, and I was confident he said something to me, but I couldn’t be sure. As we walked from the study, his touch retracted, and Diana took his place directing me back down the corridor.

I was uncertain where I was being led and soon found myself seated in a distantly familiar room. “Bring refreshment at once!” Diana’s voice echoed through my mind. My head was spinning, and I rested it against the chair as my vision faded into blackness.







Praise for Abigail by Jess Heileman

This outstanding novel was intelligent, fun, and romantic. I read it twice and had as much fun reading it the second time as I did the first time, if not more. The author is not only creative in developing a believable story line, but the character development kept me engaged and entertained. This was probably one of my favorite romance novels of all time; it lacked nothing. The romantic tensions kept me wondering how conflicts would resolve—creative and unpredictable twists abound. It plays out like a great movie in my mind. More from this author would be a super gift to us all; keep it coming!! – Emily, ID

I loved reading Abigail! The writing was witty and descriptive, providing a beautiful, vivid, and deep world to visit in my mind as I read. The characters were real and relatable, causing me to suffer or swoon as occasion permitted. A perfectly clean, charming yet profound, wonderful novel! – Kim, AZ

Abigail is one of those stories that sweeps you into another world and won’t let you put it down. It’s a beautiful unlikely love story that you’ve never heard before. The storyline is enchanting, and you will easily see part of yourself in Abigail’s character as she explores the world beyond the walls of her precious Easton Manor. – Wendy, NV

Most definitely a book that keeps you reading, even past your bedtime. Helps you forget about all your responsibilities in life until the last word, on the last page. – Larissa, UT

This book took me by surprise. It hooked me at the prologue. Abigail had me laughing out loud, tearing up and blushing. It was my “show” that I couldn't wait to get back to. It was a clever, easy read that had me guessing: what could possibly happen next? A perfect escape! Time for a sequel! – Julie, CA

I enjoyed Abigail so much. The characters were developed in such a way that you felt like you were there with them, like you knew them. Surprising plot twists, charming characters and a well thought out storyline made this book one that I didn't want to put down. I highly recommend Abigail! – Jamie, AZ

I loved Abigail! I couldn’t put it down and read into the night. Great plot and character development. I hope there’s more books to come! – Carrie, AZ

Abigail is an enchanting look into a historical time period full of tradition and social propriety. As Abigail struggles to fit into that society, she stands out for her willingness to be herself. I was quickly drawn into the story and a desire to follow Abigail through her adventure built quickly. The story does not disappoint. The visual images of places and events created in my mind were amazing. It was so engaging I couldn’t stop reading. – Kim, ID





Author Jess Heileman

In kindergarten, Jess won a first prize ribbon for her original creation Pigs in Wigs. It was a solid storyline: there was this pig that wore a wig--and it rhymed. Not impressed? Neither were her children when shown the very masterpiece that influenced her to become an author. "You won a ribbon for that?" Yes. Yes, she did.

Thankfully, life has since exposed her to a thorough education with its share of awards and accolades--and, more importantly, to the trials and human experiences that form the heart of a storyteller and the substance of great stories.

Besides her love of writing, Jess is an avid reader, shameless people observer, international café loiterer, and partially retired photographer. She loves being a mother to five amazing humans and a wife to the greatest man she knows.


Giveaway Details

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 2/15/19

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from Clean Wholesome Romance and is sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 21, 2019

Unveiling a new thesaurus book from Writers Helping Writers


Have you ever held onto a secret you've been dying to share, and then finally...you can?





For the last few weeks I've been helping Angela and Becca at Writers Helping Writers keep a BIG secret...what the next book in their thesaurus series will be.

It might seem strange to not tell one's readers what book you're planning to release...unless you happen to write books on Show, Don't Tell like Angela and Becca do! They couldn't resist the opportunity to show, not tell, by waiting for the cover reveal. They even created a *REDACTED* cover for it, which you might have seen floating around.

We're revealing the cover at long last!


*drum roll*

The next book in the descriptive thesaurus series is The Emotion Thesaurus Second Edition!


It's been 7 years since the original Emotion Thesaurus hit the shelves. Many writers have credited this unusual book with transforming their writing. This guide is packed with helpful lists of body language, thoughts, and visceral sensations for 75 different emotions, which makes it easier for writers to convey what characters feel.

Since 2012, many have asked the authors if they would add more emotions, so that's what Angela and Becca have done. This new edition has added 55 more emotions, bringing the total to 130.


There are other new additions to the book and in fact, it's almost doubled in size! I recommend checking out the full list of emotions (and some sample entries) HERE.

Here's a bonus tip from the new book, which has not been released yet BUT it up for pre-order (links below)



And more good news: this book is available for pre-order! You can find it on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks.and IndieBound.

One last thing: go grab some FREE writing education!

Angela and Becca are giving away a FREE webinar recording of one of their popular workshops on Emotion. So, head over if this is an area of struggle for you. It might really help!


Last but certainly not least, it gives me great pleasure to tell you that I've received an Advanced Reader's Copy AND I'll be providing a book review of THE EMOTION THESAURUS Second Edition in February.


Friday, January 18, 2019

Lost Within/Catharsis - by Nada Adel Sobhi


The wind blows upon my face. Eyes closed, I'm lost in my mind, memories, jumbled. I stand in the midst of a storm. Thoughts, ideas, dates, people, all flitting through, passing me by.

I stand still, not wanting them to take notice of me.

Let them pass, fly, run… disappear.

I feel the air caress my face, reminding me that I can withdraw from the dark depths within at any time.

I keep my eyes unfocused lest the flurry of my thoughts ceases its movement and hammers me down like a million arrows.

Cold.

Is it in my mind that I feel so lost, lonely, cold? Or it the outside world?

The wind picks up. I feel it. But it's not cold. Just suitable.

My head aches.

How?

I thought I was in my head. And yet there is that tinge of pain. A prelude to a migraine.

Then comes a buzz. A fly or a bee.

The wind picks up again, driving them away, restoring my surrounding peace.

At least there is peace somewhere in my world.

Faces; some I know, some I don't pass my vision.

Words: some kind, others harsh.

Gestures, emotions, situations, distant places… a waterfall, Niagara?

An avalanche. What? Where? I've never been to such a place!

The avalanche turns to black. My darker memories. Pains, regrets, fears, anger, all hurling towards me.

I duck, cover my head with my arms, brace myself for the crash, the fall, the darkness.

But there it is again. An orange butterfly passes me by; the wind pushes my hair away from my eyes, guides me to the light, to life, to the garden before me.

I open my eyes.


By: Nada Adel Sobhi

After writing Catharsis/Lost Within, I took a pic of the view.
Photography (not amazing) but by Nada Adel Sobhi

This piece can be called Lost Within or Catharsis or both, because that is what was - or is - for me.

I've been keeping it aside for some time, not sure when or if I should share it. But I finally decided to publish it and share it with the world. Because we all need to experience that sense of being bathed from within.