Thursday, December 28, 2017

Takhayyal writing prompt 78: Evil Santa?

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.


So, Christmas is kinda over but the season isn't. Did Santa visit you? Krampus or this evil Santa here?

If you've been suffering writers' block, this blue-eyed Santa here will probably inspire you! (Can't wait to read your work *evil laugh*)

(I wonder what the children are thinking or worse the bunny!)

Image found online. Artist unknown.

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

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!

Let's IMAGINE!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

2017: The Year of Reading Magora - Blog post


In 2017, I did something I hadn't done in a long time, not since the Harry Potter books were still being published.

I started a new series and I had no idea I'd get as hooked as I did.

The series, named Magora, is in fact meant for a Middle Grade-to-Young Adult audience. Written by painter-author Marc Remus, Magora is an artistic fantasy world, where children acquire magic paintbrushes and undergo a series of life-tests of friendship, love, and understanding, as well as schooling. As the novels progress, the books take on a slightly darker tone, as the protagonist, Holly, continues to battle the evil Cuspidor and his ever-growing batch of minions.

In May, I began the series by reading the second book, Magora: The Golden Maple, which I had been told could be read as a standalone. (It can). Immediately after I finished it, I picked up book 1, eagerly awaited book 3, and finally just bought and read book 4.

"Painting and writing are both products of creativity. Even though the two seem different, they are more similar than we think." - Marc Remus (Magora: The Golden Maple Tree)

The series comprises six books, all of which have already been written by Remus, but only four have been published.

The books in order (with Nadaness In Motion's review links, purchase links can be found after each review or via Marc Remus' Amazon page) are as follows:

Magora: The Woodspeople (not published)
Magora: The World Beyond (not published)





So if you're looking for a series to start, new books to read with your children, or just looking for a fantasy world to hide in, Magora is the place to be.

I don't draw but I love to colour and the series has a varying cast of characters, many of which people can easily relate to.

The protagonist, Holly, is creative, fun, and flawed, which makes her realistic and prompts her to push forward. My second favourite character is definitely the sarcastic and hilarious Brian.


“I loved the whole idea of a fantastical world where everything is about art. Magora is every young and old artist's dream!” (From Nadaness In Motion’s book review of Magora: The Gallery of Wonders)

Oh, and by the way, all four books have received five-star book reviews from me. I can be mean but the series is that good. It is not often that you find an author who is able to maintain their story and writing standard in a series, especially when books pick up after one another. 

Once you've started the series, I hope you'll join me in badgering Remus into publishing books 5 & 6 *angel's halo appears over my head*

About Marc Remus

Marc Remus has been a full-time painter for 20 years, which has prompted him to come up with Magora.
"I always wondered what it would be like to fall into one of my paintings," he says. "I have also painted the covers for all the Magora books, designed the logo, and did the interior layout."
You can check out his artwork at his websiteYou can also connect with Marc via FacebookTwitter and check out his TV documentary.

Author Update: Magora: The Gallery of Wonders (Book 1) is currently under translation to both German and Spanish. 


Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Negative Trait Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi - Book Review


The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Flaws by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi is one of six writers' thesauri books by the two authors and the first of the three I have.

I figured I'd start with The Negative Trait Thesaurus because I always have difficulty giving my characters, especially the main ones, negative attributes. So, it was a good start that opened my eyes to certain negatives that I had not considered before.

I must say one of the reasons this book took a long time for me to read was the fact that I was intimidated to start it. I've been kind of scared that I would not remember all of the content of the book and that it would house too much information, which was true.

The best way I would recommend for handling this book would be to read two or three traits per sitting. More than that, your mind will overflow.

“Flaws are traits that damage or minimise relationships and do not take into account the well-being of others. They also tend to be self-focused rather than other-focused.”

I enjoyed the intro and the writing tips at the beginning of The Negative Trait Thesaurus, which tackle the flaws needed for both the protagonist and the antagonist.

Each trait is accompanied by a definition, similar flaws, possible causes, associated behaviours and attitudes (often quite similar to the possible causes but are more varied), associated thoughts, associated emotions, positive and negative aspects (of the trait), examples from film, how to overcome this flaw in writing, and traits in supporting characters that may cause conflict.

Associated emotions are those that accompany each negative trait. For example, amusement and curiosity may accompany a childish character.
I often felt that the “Associated Thoughts” sections were too general. They are ideas that come in the character's mind.



The best parts in The Negative Trait Thesaurus are the examples from film and literature as there are many movies you can relate to or consider watching to see the negative trait in the characters, and the how your character can overcome their flaws section.

“Characters are all about self-discovery, finding meaning, and achieving goals…. Their flaws sabotage them, blocking them from gaining what they want both on a conscious and subconscious level.”

While reading, I could not help but pinpoint certain flaws in my character – me the blogger – and in friends and family, which was cool, entertaining, and sometimes a little scary.

Overall, The Negative Trait Thesaurus is an excellent writer’s resource and reference. There are many traits in the book that many would not think are negative but put in extremes, they can be quite disconcerting.

“To be worthy of challenging the hero, the villain must be as rich and complex as the protagonist himself.”

Overall rating: 4.5 stars.


Friday, December 22, 2017

Nadaness In Motion interviews book chatbot SipOf.Ink - Video

This December I was glad to attend the RiseUp Summit in Cairo, Egypt. RiseUp is a three-day startup-focused event, held annually, featuring new and current startups, along with talks, workshops, and lots of networking.

This year, I was attending for the first time and also reporting and conducting interviews.

As a writer and book blogger, I was more than glad to come across SipOf.Ink, who have created a chatbot that is meant to help readers or as their co-founder calls them “knowledge seekers” find their newest to-read.

So without further ado, let me introduce you to SipOf.Ink, their work, and how you can use their free service.




There is an upgrade for around $2 per month.

Special thanks are in order for AbdelRahman Mohamed for the photography and Remon Maher for the video editing.

Find SipOf.Ink on Facebook


The interview is conducted by Nada Adel Sobhi aka Nadaness In Motion.

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Most Demotivational Quote Ever (& How to Overcome it)


Sometimes you feel down and Google some motivational quotes to give you a power boost. At other times, you're on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or any other form of social media and they just pop up.

I do that. Often.

Then there was this one quote, I don't know who said it, that stuck with me. It's a motivational quote. Or at least I thought so.

I had just changed jobs but less than a month in the new one, I felt something was wrong. I was at the beginning of the burnout curve after only one month in my new job. How does that happen?

Anyways, I remembered a quote or part of one I had read that had to do with being able to get up in the morning and pursue whatever it is you want to pursue and googled "motivational quotes" along with a couple of words and found what I was looking for.

It read:

"No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, show up, and never give up."

I did that for several days may be even weeks. It gave me the motivation I was looking for, for just a few of those days.

But as the days passed and I kept "never giving up" and struggling against the challenges of this so-called new job, and what I had hoped would have been a promising one, I realised I was getting demotivated by the minute. I was literally struggling to get out of bed and work from the comfort of my own home.


I realised that what I had thought was "motivation" was actually "bringing me down". It literally stuck me in a rut of my own making.

I was sinking in a black hole. And kept falling further. Deeper.

I was sinking in regret of leaving my old job, feeling weak because the new one, along with the new manager, sucked, and the quote, it added to the wounds that no one could see.

I was suffocating.

I needed out.

And that's exactly what I did.

I quit.

And it was the best decision I had ever made.

Yes, the two-and-a-half months I had put in the new job left some psychological "trauma" for a few months after.

But I had made my decision. And it was the right one.

You know why?

Because there is NOTHING in the world that says you need to put with shit. I understand not many people can't quit their jobs or whatever it is that's keeping them from actually "living" in the spur of a moment, but they just have to find out what they need to do.

You don't have to "get up, dress up, show up, and never give up" no matter how you feel. That's weak. That, on the short or long run, will hurt YOU emotionally, psychologically, could even be physically or mentally or all of above.

And no one deserves that.

You deserve to live, love, smile.


I know life is never the picture we envisioned for ourselves but when you're down and you're feeling like you're just dying inside, that's when you know it's time to go: Time to leave these people or that place or even that emotion.

So, no matter how you feel right now, know that you can make things better for yourself. Yes, it might take time, money, sweat. 

If you really want to be happy, you don't have to suffer for it. You don't have to come out with emotional scars that no one will understand.


You can get up, dress up, and show them who YOU are and what you want to do with your life.



Thursday, December 14, 2017

Takhayyal writing prompt 77: Santa vs Krampus (2 prompts)

Welcome back Ladies and Gentlemen, Artists, Poets, Writers, Authors, Dreamers, Friends and Family; Welcome EVERYONE to Nadaness In Motion's picture-prompt writing challenge Takhayyal.

The holidays are almost here and I wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

We all know Santa, but what about a heroic Santa? Or Krampus? 

Believed to be of Austrian or German origin, Krampus is said to be St. Nicholas' (Santa's) evil counterpart who punishes children who have been naughty throughout the year (and puts them in sacks and hangs from a tree to eat them later but you can leave that part out if you wish)

The below image may or may not be Krampus. I'll leave that to you. 


Image found via Google.

Here's another Santa versus Krampus option. In case you were thinking the first one is a little over the top. 




I hope you'll find some time to write a piece, no matter how short.

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

Let's IMAGINE!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

28 Boring Words and What to Use Instead - Infographic

Today, I'm featuring freelance writer and blogger Jack Milgram, whose infographic on boring words and how to avoid them or alternatives to use instead is a great and quick resource to enhance your writing.

Whether you're writing a blog post, a short story, or a full-length novel, you'll enjoy this quick and easy-to-read inforgraphic.

How do you replace words like "nice" "happy" "sad"?

Find out below. 



28 Boring Words Alternatives - Improve Your Writing Infographic by Jack Milgram


Feel free to get in touch with Jack Milgram via Twitter or Facebook, or you can comment on the blog post itself. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Magora: The Uprising by Marc Remus – Book Review


Book: Magora: The Uprising
(Book 4 in the Magora Series)
Author: Marc Remus
Genres: Children's, Middle Grade, Fantasy, Art, Adventure


"Run, Holly. He's going to kill you!"

Magora: The Uprising is the fourth instalment in Marc Remus fantasy-art world Magora series.

Magora is a world that four children travel to through a painting. The main character Holly is accompanied by her three friends: Rufus, Amanda, and Brian.

The book begins right in the middle of a calamity. The Smoralls who adopted Holly several years prior are in a row and Ms. Smorall, who has always hated and mistreated Holly is begging the little girl to run.

Prior to this event, Holly had thought the Smoralls were ordinary people. But in Magora: The Uprising many secrets are revealed and many more questions arise.

"Why did all of this have to happen? Why did Grandpa Nikolas build a world that would fall apart?"

Suspenseful, the book barely allows the reader a quick breath before new events and troubles occur.

As the books progress, we see each of the characters develop in their own way. In the fourth book in the series, Holly has several hurdles and responsibilities thrown at her and she handles quite well. We see her, even at the age of 14, grow wiser and smarter. She is also creative, thoughtful, and kind.

When we last left Holly in book three, things were a mess in Magora, with the Unfinished increasing in numbers and attacking the island.

The Unfinished are incomplete people or animals that need blood in order to be completed. Otherwise, they would suck a person in front of them dry just to reach completion.

Unfinished painting by Keith Haring

In Magora: The Uprising, the Unfinished have multiplied in numbers, destroying places and are raging to kill people in order to be finished. We also learn that they are controlled by the Duke of Cuspidor, an illusive villain who has been trying to trap – and may be murder – Holly since book one.

One of the things I liked in the fourth book was the new side to Amanda that Remus gives his readers. In first book, I felt that Amanda was a love-hate kind of character, more hate and less love, because she was rude and haughty. But in Magora: The Uprising, we learn more about her and her family and why she acts the way she does. There is an embedded social comment in there.

"I thought that by bullying people, I could make them do what I want, and they'd be nice to me."

In book four, we also learn more about the Woodspeople, a species of people who came to Magora at some point but are believed to be extinct. (Book 5 is called Magora: The Woodspeople)

Holly by Marc Remus




I liked Remus' take on bookworms, which in Magora are real worms.
"Bookworms react to people. They were bred to sense if the book can help a person or not."

Overall, Magora: The Uprising is a must-read; I'd recommend you at least start at book two – although starting the series from book one would allow you to connect things better.

It's fast-paced, suspenseful, exciting, and most importantly magical with lots of creativity from both the characters and the author.

"I've finally found a home," said Amanda. "Magora is my home."



Check out my book reviews for the previous book in the Magora series.

Magora: The Gallery of Wonders
(Book 1)

Magora: The Golden Maple Tree (Book 2)
Magora: The Bridge in the Fog (book 3)


About the Author:
Marc Remus has been a full-time painter for 20 years, which has prompted him to come up with Magora.
"I always wondered what it would be like to fall into one of my paintings," he says. "I have also painted the covers for all the Magora books, designed the logo, and did the interior layout."
You can check out his artwork at his websiteYou can also connect with Marc via FacebookTwitter and check out his TV documentary.

Magora: The Gallery of Wonders is currently under translation to both German and Spanish.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Who’s a NaNoWriMo Winner? ME!


In November 2017, I challenged myself to write 50,000 words over 30 days.


What is this crazy-number challenge? It’s NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Nove Writing Month. Every November, authors from across the globe challenge themselves to completing a draft or book by writing 50,000 words over a 30-day period. This means around 1,667 words per day, which is not an easy task.

Last time I took part in NaNoWriMo was in 2013 and I only wrote around 3,500 words (give or take a few). Since then, Novembers came and passed and I didn’t take part in the challenge.

But in 2017, I decided I’d take the challenge and had an idea for a story that had been playing in my head for some time. What I call DeeDee’s story.


A mug and its matching coaster I bought in November. I loved drinking from it
while I was working on my NaNoWriMo novel 

On the first day, I passed the required daily count by 100 words. I was thrilled. The second day, let’s just say life got in the way, then the third. On the fourth, I made slow progress. A few days into the second week, I was over 10,000 words behind schedule!

I thought I’d settle for 30,000 words instead of 50,000 but then decided I would do my best to reach the original target. I had another 14 days to prove myself to ME!

Then, I took one day off work, glued my butt to the chair and started writing.

That day, I ended up with a little over 6,000 words! Can you believe that? 6,000 words in a single day! That was equivalent to what I had been doing for the past three months, the full months! I wanted to jump up and down in my room (but didn't in case any family members came in and thought I'd completely lost it!)

Also bought this in November.
Perfect for mystery writers, right?

Still, despite my leap in progress I was not on track - yet. So the hard work had to go on.

When I started the month, I just had some vague idea about certain parts of the novel along with some characters. So, I started writing, but as I progressed I realised that unlike my other writing project this one required an outline.

So, I sat down, picked out the full cast of my characters, and made an initial outline of at least the first three or four chapters along with some main events that I needed to cover. As the novel and I progressed, the events were allocated certain chapters, while other events just popped out in the middle, like romance knocking on DeeDee’s door and other characters looking to appear a second time and so on.

After much hard work, most – if not all – my gym workouts sacrificed and another day taken off from work. I was done. I closed the case and the mystery on the 28th. On the 29th of November, I made some more tweaking, added an actual concluding chapter and was done with 53,166 words!












That's 3,000 words over the target and one day ahead of schedule!

I couldn't believe it!

To corroborate my success, NaNoWriMo lets you put the full text – for confirmation – on their website. That done. I was given a CONGRATULATIONS! WINNER! And this lovely badge!



I have learnt a lot of things by doing NaNoWriMo this year. I know a few of things below are a bit obvious but sometimes you just need to prove to yourself that you can.

So what did NaNoWriMo 2017 teach me?

1)    That I can do it.
2)    That I had not been 100% serious the previous months when I had a 10,000-word target but barely managed 6,000 and once 8,000.
3)    I need to organise my time better.
4)    (A continuation of no. 3) I need to be able to work out, read, and write all in a month.

Throughout November, I was unable to continue reading the books I had started, or pick up new ones. I thought I'd be able to read or finish at least one book.

But I must say, it was all worth it. The sleepless time, the outlines and crossing-outs done (yes, I typed the novel but the outlines and basic ideas were handwritten), the abandoned workouts. DeeDee's story has been born.

The characters speaking in my head at all times of the day was probably the hardest part but it was a great experience.

And you know what?


I'M A NANOWRIMO 2017 WINNER!



Learn more about the differences between a tradition mystery and cozy mystery in this exclusive guest post by author Kirsten Weiss. It was a great reference for me both in learning and while writing.

Check out Nadaness In Motion's cozy mystery book reviews to learn more about the genre and meet some amazing books and authors.

There are a few authors who have unknowingly and indirectly helped me but don't know it. Here are two of them: Devorah Fox and Kirsten Weiss. Every cozy mystery author I've read has helped me one way or another. 

Special thanks to Marc Remus for his help with my second main character, Alexander, the painter.

And of course several close friends, who know who they are.

Oh! Have you seen my shiny certificate? 
(I don't have a novel title yet so DeeDee's paranormal cozy mystery will just have to do!)