Tuesday, March 29, 2016

She Carries the World - Flash fiction

"It is said that Atlas carried the world on his shoulders as punishment for going against the gods," Sarah said during her English presentation. "While others claim that he carried only the heavens or the sky," she continued pointing upwards.

"People can argue all they like. But what I am sure of is that mother earth held and continues to hold the earth till today," she said her voice rising with pride.

"And can you prove that, oh wise one?" Mocked Ed from one of the backseats in the classroom.

"Actually, I can." Sarah answered confidently, shutting him up. "But I will have to extend my presentation to beyond the classroom."

Murmurs erupted in the previously silent room.

"Well… er.. clap your hands for Sarah, everyone," Mr. Oakman said uncertainly, clapping slowly.

"I wasn't joking about the evidence. I can show you after school today."

The teacher had no idea what she was talking about but – under unchallenged persistence - agreed to do a quick field-trip with the rest.

After classes ended, Sarah invited her classmates, all of whom had continued to talk in hushed whispers about her strange request and possibly weirder presentation.

"It's a bit of a walk since we don't have a school bus, nothing you can't handle though," she informed her classmates, directing them towards the edge of a nearby forest.

"We're going into the forest?" Ed questioned, his tone uncertain.

"Yup!" Sarah answered confidently and led the way. "You can turn back if you want but you won't see what I have to show you," she said over her shoulder.

Not wanting to be doubted over his manhood or be called a 'scaredy-cat', Ed followed along with Mr. Oakman and the rest of the class.

"How much farther?" Whined one of the girls a few minutes later.

"Not much. We're almost there," answered Sarah.

"I think we're lost," Ed said.

Sarah turned sharply at him and responded "We are not lost. And if you're scared you should go back, in which case, you will get lost. Now stop trying to create panic."

"I'm not-"

"Yes, you are and yes that's what you do when you're not in charge," she snapped at him, her eyes almost glowing with anger.

"We're almost there. I promise," she called aloud to the others trailing behind.
As promised, they reached a clearing. Huffing and puffing, most of the students bent over, their hands on their knees to rest, even those from the football team.

Clearly not as athletic as they claim to be, Sarah thought.

"Well?" said Ed, panting and not looking up.

"You need to look up," Sarah answered, her voice filled with excitement.

Before them stood a large waterfall.

"Look closely behind the water," she instructed.

Mr. Oakman followed her gaze, accompanied by several other students. Gasps followed as they began to see what she meant.

Behind the falling water were patches of pink, blue, green and red, hanging on top of finger-line mountain ridges.

"Look further up," Sarah continued.

Above that they saw houses seated at the top of another ridge. In the centre of the ridge was an opening, marking the source of the waterfall.

"It looks like-" began one of the girls.

"A hand carrying the houses, and the water coming from its centre or heart," continued the teacher.

Sarah smiled proudly and mouthed "I told you so" to no one in particular.

Completed on Tuesday, 29th of March 2016. This piece was inspired by Takhayyal prompt no. 32.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Lyrics and Such - Poetry Collection Book Review

Book: Lyrics and Such 
By: Layden Robinson
Genre: Poetry Collection
Publication Date: 19 April 2015

Lyrics and Such by Layden Robinson is a collection of 58 poems, songs and lyrics on a variety of topics and themes with different ideas, tones and messages.

The collection is divided into several parts, with pieces taken from the author's various lyric and poetry collections. Each of these is mentioned here and underlined.

I felt that there was a need for punctuation especially in terms of commas that would better help with the flow of several pieces. There was also an overuse of 'within' to mean 'in'. I would have preferred the use of the latter.

While, I would like to mention my comments on all, I will just note a few recommended pieces to read in this collection:

Part 1: Songs from "Verse:
"Epitome (Wishing)" is a lovely piece; dark with lots of imagery (just the way I like it); however, I did not like the repetition at the end. Four stars to this one.
As smooth as glass our love should have lasted
Lasted, through the miles of time
Amongst the tragedy, across the tides
In the distance the sculptor rides

"Already There" has a good refrain but I felt the last line was a bit confusing, while the piece titled "Now" enjoys a good rhythm and word choice.
So now let us forget yesterday
And indulge within the now
The future will have its say
But the now still needs to be found

"Angel from Above" is a five-star piece. A must read! Similarly, the final piece in the first part of the book is titled "Unity" and is brilliant. Five stars for this one as well!

Part 2: Songs from Music Meets Emotion
"Become Free" is a beautiful song. Reading it I could feel and hear the words "become free" being said by a chorus. I enjoyed this one a lot.

Part 3: Songs from Adversity
"Mother's Side" is an emotional and beautiful piece dedicated to mothers. However, I felt the second half of it was a bit confusing. Still it's a good read.
"Disarray" is an enjoyable dark-ish poem. The conclusion is powerful and I would love to hear this recited out loud someday. Meanwhile, "Confession" is a super short piece. I did not feel the confession part as the title suggests and I wanted to read more. The opening line, however, took hold of me and I couldn't stop reading it "Dance within the masquerade as your virtue attempts to discover".

The poem "When We've Won" is a hopeful with a strong feel to the words in it.
Short, hopeful and enjoyable, "Strength and Love" is another recommended read, followed by the holding-on-themed piece "Before You Leave". The words are just full of love.

Songs from "Within"
"Forbidden" is a deep and emotional poem. A must-read, while "Floating" is an interesting piece, although I did not like the ending.
On the other hand, "Rest for Me" is a staggeringly beautiful piece. I love the music in it and would love to hear it sung or recited someday. Five stars to this one.
"Claim the clouds
The vision of the shining sun
All wrong has become undone
A romantic and his warfare
His theme and his crushing tears"

Words from The “Blues Love Undiscovered” Days
"The Moment" is five-star must-read (and sing-to) lyric. Loved it!
"Dirty Mama" is a fun song. I listened to it on YouTube and enjoyed the lively metal-ish music.

Song Lyrics from "The Vault"
"Free the World" is a stunning song and poem. A must-read that reminded me a bit of Michael Jackson's "Heal the World".
I enjoyed the piece titled "Where" with its rhythm and sense of searching.
I was once the hunter
But now I am the prey
Have you ever wondered?
Where is the way?

Other recommended pieces from Lyrics and Such Poetry include:
"Fade (I don't know)"
, "Life and Death", "Starlyn", "Wishing on a Rainbow", "Rise", "The Other Way", "Answers", "Warmth", "You Are" and "Better".

Overall rating: 3 stars.

Find the book on Goodreads here.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The World You Write In - Guest post by R. Michael Phillips - Between Good & Evil blog tour

By: R. Michael Phillips
Genres: Crime - Mystery
Publisher: Sunbury Press, Inc. 
Publication date: 24 January, 2016
ISBN-13 for hardcover: 978-1620066607
ISBN-13 for paperback: 978-1620067291




Years after the Willis Asylum closed, the secrets of its past lingered in its decaying halls as a reminder to the good people of Auburn Notch—when Evil closes a door, he also opens a window. Sheriff Promise Flynn was new to the town, and she was about to find out some windows should never be opened.
Promise Flynn is an overly impulsive Metro Detective whose disregard for procedure finally resulted in her being shot and left for dead during an investigation. To repair her bruised ego and splintered confidence she abandons the callous dark alleys of Chicago to patrol the quiet, birch-lined streets of Auburn Notch—a favorite vacation spot of her youth. For two years everything was idyllic, until the body of a young girl found in the abandoned asylum outside of town awakens the insecurities she thought her new life would insulate her from.
As the new Sheriff she begins her investigation refusing to accept the similarities between the young woman’s death and her own case, oblivious to being unexpectedly recognized and penciled in at the top of a clever murderer’s To-Do list. Her internal struggle intensifies when a discredited crime reporter from the past suspiciously arrives in town to resurrect his threadbare reputation, along with an FBI agent chasing down a lead in a cold case. Both men quickly become entangled in Flynn's investigation and her attempts to finally put her past to rest.
Flynn reluctantly accepts the murder of the young girl might be the work of the two men responsible for her hasty departure from Chicago, but Agent MacGregor insists the evidence points to a man he’s been chasing. As the rising current of her past threatens to pull her under, Flynn finds herself unprepared for option three.

The World You Write In
By: R. Michael Phillips
Author of Between Good and Evil

It may sound easy, but it takes a good deal of imagination to create the world characters in a contemporary mystery novel live in. Your plot, characters, conflicts, etc. are going to take up most of your gray cells, so when you start creating your environment I’ve found it best to stay as close to a real place as possible and get the details down on paper. You allow your memory to do the bulk of the work, while your imagination fills in the details.
Between Good And Evil is the first book in a new mystery series set in a small New England town. When I decided to start the new series I went through the usual steps to create a strong protagonist, antagonist, and an assortment of secondary and tertiary characters. All this is accomplished with character mapping. This is an interesting topic for discussion also, but I’ll leave that one for another post. What I will tell you is, you can use the same formula for mapping the characteristics of the town in your novel.
 Auburn Notch is the name I chose for the town in the new series. It’s a town I made up, but based on my memories of a couple small New Hampshire towns I spent a good deal of my youth in. The memories are as fresh in my mind as they were years ago, and I took creative license where needed to fill in the rest. As a result, I describe the town this way in the book:
As small New England towns go, Auburn Notch could certainly be the picture below the word “quaint” in the dictionary. It’s a rural New Hampshire community, quietly nestled equidistant from the base of the White Mountains, the Atlantic coast and every shop not specializing in flannel. It’s the type of town you would see featured in the travel section of the Sunday paper laying in a neat pile on a wicker table on the front porch of your favorite aunt’s house. It’s the type of town Time pats thoughtfully on the head as it passes by, promising to return some day with marvelous stories of the future world. But mostly, it’s the type of town mentioned in articles about maple syrup and snowy tree lines—but never in the same article with murder. They always seem to leave those articles out of the travel section.
A large portion of the 1,586 households lie across from each other on thin, birch-lined roads dissecting Collier Avenue, the main thoroughfare through town, like a fish skeleton; the largest concentration being behind the gills—that area of town surrounding Town Hall. The remaining homes can be found along the two meandering roads at the edge of town; Maple Way, leading out to Route 16, and Lakeview Drive, circling Lake Auburn. A fortunate few—families well established in town through generations—have primary or secondary homes on the east side of the lake, accessible by private drives off the main road. Auburn Notch is just a sleepy New England town where 2015 looks remarkably like 1955, which looked remarkably like 1915, and that’s just the way they like it.

It’s a brief description, but it is enough to set the mood of the town my characters live in. As the book progressed, I added in additional descriptions, citizens, and town officials. Even though I made this town up, it still needs everything a real town has. From here, and with a little help from Adobe illustrator, I take all this information and make a digital map of the town. I indicate the mountains, the lake, main roads, etc. As I write the book I’ll add in important landmarks (real and imagined), incidents, and roads. It may sound a bit anal, but because this book is part of a series this mapping is extremely helpful to me as each new book comes along. You certainly don’t want to call the main road through town Collier Avenue in one book and Maple Street in the next. I can’t tell you how much I referred back to this map as I was writing the second book. As time goes on, you develop an entire town, with shops, homes, recreation areas, everything a town map would have. That takes care of a fictional town.
Then there is using a real city in a book. It’s done all the time, and really helps to establish the story. Using a familiar town diminishes the need to go into any detail about the particulars; the reader will already have a preconceived notion of the basics. In my Ernie Bisquets Mysteries I use contemporary London as the setting. I’ve spent a great deal of time there, so I know the city pretty well. I like accuracy in my books. I think it’s important. I work off a street map of London when I’m writing those mysteries. Some of the street names are changed where needed, additional shops or buildings are added/taken away, or a fictitious event is developed for the plot, but I try to stay true to the basic layout of London as much as possible. It’s such an incredible city with a remarkable history. It really becomes a character in itself when portrayed right.
Whether you make up the town, use a common city, or some combination of both, it’s still located in a work of fiction and is the product of the author’s imagination. Writing a book is both tough and rewarding, and creating a town from scratch is one of the more enjoyable aspects of the task.

Note from Mike to Nadaness In Motion and Readers:
Thanks so much for inviting me to your site. It’s been a delight to be here and I’m thrilled being able to share a few of my thoughts about the writing process with your readers.


As part of the tour with Lori Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, there is a giveaway that you can enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Keep up with the rest of the tour here.


RMP_Profile_RGB_2016Michael is a classically trained artist turned mystery writer. By combining his creative talents with a passion for mysteries he conceived his first series—The Ernie Bisquets Mysteries. It introduced Ernie Bisquets, a retired London pickpocket who decided he was going to assist the London police with their most difficult cases—whether they want his help or not. Michael has completed 3 books in the series, and has plans for at least five additional books.
Michael travels a bit, especially to Great Britain, but also has a fondness for New England. He spent many winters in the shadow of the White Mountains, skiing and enjoying the beautiful countryside. Those fond memories are the backdrop now for the new Auburn Notch Mysteries being published by Sunbury Press. The main character is Sheriff Promise Flynn—an ex-metro detective who left a dark past and her big-city detective shield behind and moved to a small New England town. What follows is anything but therapeutic.
When he’s not painting or writing Michael is an avid antique collector, filling his current home—an 1894 Queen Ann Victorian he, his wife, and son are restoring—with an assortment of antiques from around the world. Michael also enjoys cooking, working in the garden, and playing in the yard with their two rescues, Beau and Pup.

Author Links

Website- http://www.rmichaelphillips.com
Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/R-Michael-Phillips-104782886282707/?ref=tn_tnmn
Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2995205.R_Michael_Phillips
Twitter- https://twitter.com/rmpbook
A Fifer's Blog- http://rmichael-fifer.blogspot.com

Purchase Links


More Books by R. Michael Phillips

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Takhayyal writing prompt 32: Carry the World

Welcome 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.

Picture titled Handscape. Found online. Artist Unknown.

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!


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Spotlight and Giveaway for Secrets in the Stones

Secrets in the Stones
(A Dr. Thomas Silkstone Mystery)
by Tessa Harris
Genre: Historical Mystery
(6th in Series)
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Kensington (23 February, 2016)
ISBN-13: 978-0758293411

Within the mysteries of the body, especially those who have been murdered, 18th-century anatomist Dr. Thomas Silkstone specializes in uncovering the tell-tale clues that lead towards justice…
Newly released from the notorious asylum known as Bedlam, Lady Lydia Farrell finds herself in an equally terrifying position–as a murder suspect–when she stumbles upon the mutilated body of Sir Montagu Malthus in his study at Boughton Hall.
Meanwhile Dr. Thomas Silkstone has been injured in a duel with a man who may or may not have committed the grisly deed of which Lydia is accused. Despite his injury, Thomas hopes to clear his beloved’s good name by conducting a postmortem on the victim. With a bit of detective work, he learns that Montagu’s throat was slit by no ordinary blade, but a ceremonial Sikh dagger from India–a clue that may be connected to the fabled lost mines of Golconda.
From the mysterious disappearance of a cursed diamond buried with Lydia’s dead husband, to the undying legend of a hidden treasure map, Thomas must follow a trail of foreign dignitaries, royal agents–and even more victims–to unveil the sinister and shocking secrets in the stones…

Add the book on Goodreads here.

As part of the blog tour with Lori Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, there is a giveaway of one PRINT copy of Secrets in the Stones by Tessa Harris. Enter using the rafflecopter below.
The giveaway is open to those residing in the US ONLY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow up with the rest of the tour with reviews and interviews here.

Since leaving Oxford University with a History degree, Tessa Harris has been a journalist and editor, contributing to many national publications such as The Times and The Telegraph. She has also acted as a literary publicist for several well-known authors. Readers can visit her website at tessaharrisauthor.com.

Purchase Links 
Amazonhttp://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=dollycsthoug-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B00Y6RB0SY   B &N          GoodReads        IndieBound

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum by Kirsten Weiss - Book Review

The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum
(A Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum Mystery)
By: Kristen Weiss
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Publication date: 8 March 2016
No. of pages: 288

When Maddie Kosloski’s career flatlines, she retreats to her wine-country hometown for solace and cheap rent. Railroaded into managing the local paranormal museum, she’s certain the rumors of its haunting are greatly exaggerated. But a new ghost may be on the loose. A fresh corpse in the museum embroils Maddie in murders past and present.

With her high school bully as one of the officers in charge, Maddie doubts justice will be served. When one of her best friends is arrested, she’s certain it won’t be.

Maddie grapples with ghost hunters, obsessed taxidermists, and the sexy motorcyclist next door as outside forces threaten. And as she juggles spectral shenanigans with the hunt for a killer, she discovers there truly is no place like home.

Book Review by Nadaness In Motion

The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum by Kirsten Weiss is a fun possibly paranormal cozy mystery, and the first installment in a series under the same name.
The novel opens with Maddie Kosloski and her friend Adele, who owns the Paranormal Museum and the second half of a building, which the latter is remodeling into a tea shop. The two women are confronted with the dead body of a not-so-likable acquaintance, Christy, in chapter one.

Christy, it seems, had a knack for making enemies. While reading, you can't feel sympathy for the dead woman. It also appears as though everyone had a motive to kill her.

"Mother always told me to stay positive. But I can't help feeling like another shoe is about to drop."

Maddie has significant faith that the police will handle the case with care and find the killer. However, she soon discovers that the school bully, Laurel Hammer, is one of the detectives in charge of the investigation, and it seems she has a grudge against Maddie.
The first introduction we get of Laurel, apart from reminder of Maddie's friend Harper, is this:
"Laurel Hammer banged open the door to the interview room. "So which one of you two idiots killed her?"

Maddie constantly tries to get people to tell the police what they know, and tries to do the same herself, but the police look at her as a likely suspect, especially when a second body appears; another fairly dislikable acquaintance. Even after they arrest her friend Adele, Maddie tries to be the good citizen and help the detectives.

The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum is narrated from the first person perspective of Maddie, who gets many funny and entertaining thoughts. She is also down to earth and realistic, so it is easy to imagine her and imagine being in her place. Also, we go deeper into her character as she hesitates about managing the Paranormal Museum, while job hunting after being fired from her previous job.

"Dion Fortune's scrying mirror." [said Herb]… "Of course, I'm asking ten thousand."
I coughed. "Dollars?"
"But for you, five."
"Thousand?" I wouldn't pay five thousand for Ali Baba's mirror. There was no way anything in the museum cost that much.

The overall pace is fairly quick. There is constant moving and events, but in terms of solving Christy's murder, things are a bit slow. There was also the GD cat, a recurring theme in paranormal novels, although I couldn't understand that cat or its intentions.

The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum is home to second mystery, one which Maddie stumbles upon, immerses herself in and takes it upon herself to solve. The mystery revolves around the picture of a woman named Cora, who is accused of murdering her husband.

I truly enjoyed the mystery within a mystery, and how Maddie goes about in order to search for two killers, one dead and one alive.

Another thing I enjoyed is how Weiss constantly made the reader think and doubt if the Paranormal Museum can live up to its name by being haunted – or not. Up until the end of the novel, the reader has doubts.

"The atmosphere thickened, choking. The quiet stretched, the only sound my own harsh breath, breath I could see in the air. It was a nails on a chalkboard silence, a deep silence that tightened my throat, made me tremble."

I particularly liked the development in Maddie's character, a trait not often seen in mystery novels. When we first see Maddie, she has low self-esteem, and who can blame her after nine months of job hunting with no development in getting a job. But as the novel ends, we see a significant change in her character, both in her attempt to catch the killer and in her negotiation skills.

The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum is a quick, well-written and light read, with a mystery within a mystery and possible ghost.

Overall rating: 4 stars

Note: I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour.

Keep up with the rest of the tour for more reviews, interviews and guest posts here.

Purchase links for The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum:
Amazon and B&N

Update: Check out Nadaness In Motion's book review of the next book in the series, Pressed to Death. Note: It doesn't contain any spoilers AND the books can be read as standalones.

About the Author:
Kirsten Weiss grew up in San Mateo, California. After getting her MBA, she joined the Peace Corps, starting an international career that took her around the fringes of the defunct USSR and into the Afghan war zone. Her experiences abroad not only gave her glimpses into the darker side of human nature, but also sparked an interest in the effects of mysticism and mythology, and how both are woven into our daily lives.
She writes paranormal mystery and suspense, blending her experiences and imagination to create vivid worlds of magic and mayhem.
Kirsten has never met a dessert she didn’t like, and her guilty pleasures are watching ghost Whisperer re-runs and drinking good wine.

Connect with the author via Twitter, and her website.