Tag Archives: short stories

Publishing News: My story “Mia” in Outpost 28 Magazine’s Halloween Issue. #Outpost28 #amwriting #shortstories

I have several of my own writing announcements I’ve been lax in getting shared here to my own site. I’ll start with this one since I’m super excited about it. My dark fiction short story, “Mia,” is in Issue 4 of Outpost 28 print magazine published by Dean Kuhta.

Mia story plus illus

My story “Mia” with illustration by Michael Brack. Taken by Dean Kuhta (those are his hands!)

This particular story was inspired after watching an episode of Ancient Aliens on the star Sirius, which is the brightest star in the night sky, and the Dogon tribe in Africa. This story’s main character is LGBTQ+ and my first attempt at a character (and a teen character) who is a lesbian, so I hope it resonates. Of course, it features my particular love of ancient religions, spirituality, cultures, and archaeology as I often write these in to my stories, but it also has a touch of time and/or place slip. I am very proud of this one and I hope you like reading it as much as I enjoyed researching and writing it!

I appreciate my college-aged son Nassem helping me with development of it as well as to one of my best friends, the author Duncan Ralston for his amazing edits and suggestions that helped it shine.

It’s accompanied by a lovely illustration created by Parisian artist and illustrator Michael Brack. It really captures the mood and feel of Mia and I couldn’t be happier. This marks the first time I’ve had a full illustration done for one of my stories so I’m making milestones all over the place!

full Mia illustration.jpg

I’m especially excited also because I get to share a table of contents in this issue with my good friend, author Christa Carmen, as well as another writer friend I admire, Cina Pelayo! It’s full of stories, art, interviews with musicians, a comic, and more. I applaud Dean for a job well-done and I’m looking forward to getting my own copy.

The vibrant cover art below is by the creative and interesting artist Gunsho. It’s bright and fun and interesting, I think! It’s a little in your face, but stuff like that is growing on me (though be advised he does have his middle finger up so I can’t be held responsible for other content in the mag might be as such haha!). All his artwork and comic art is this unique brand of what he does and I think that’s cool.

Outpost 28 Issue 4

The magazine is out now in time for Halloween 2019, and you can order it off the publisher’s website here.

Back of Outpost 28 issue 4

It has been so much fun to be a part of this Halloween Edition! I hope you can check it out too. If you do, let me know what you think of my story “Mia” and the rest of the magazine!

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Cover Reveal: Ribbons of Scarlet (Women of the French Revolution). And it’s GORGEOUS! #histfic #frenchrevolution

 

I have who I consider to be some very talented, creative writerly friends who pen historical fiction that is now gracing the New York Times, USA Today, and other charts as well as earning awards and acclaim. These amazing women are intelligent, savvy, and write with flourish, but I also adore and admire them for their tenacity, independence, and grit. And as always, their humor.

Today, in honor of women in hisotry month, I’m very excited to show you the cover of an endeavor by the six of them, who you’ll meet below, with publisher William Morrow – stories about ladies of the FRENCH REVOLUTION!! One of my favorite things in which to get lost reading.

Check it out for yourself – coming in October 2019 but you can pre-order now.

Have a great evening!

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Six bestselling and award-winning authors bring to life a breathtaking epic novel illuminating the hopes, desires, and destinies of princesses and peasants, harlots and wives, fanatics and philosophers—six unforgettable women whose paths cross during one of the most tumultuous and transformative events in history: the French Revolution.

 

RIBBONS OF SCARLET: A Novel of the French Revolution, releases October 1, 2019! Check out the amazing cover below and pre-order your copy today!

 

 

About RIBBONS OF SCARLET: A Novel of the French Revolution –
(Coming October 1, 2019)

Ribbons of Scarlet is a timely story of the power of women to start a revolution—and change the world.

In late eighteenth-century France, women do not have a place in politics. But as the tide of revolution rises, women from gilded salons to the streets of Paris decide otherwise—upending a world order that has long oppressed them.

Blue-blooded Sophie de Grouchy believes in democracy, education, and equal rights for women, and marries the only man in Paris who agrees. Emboldened to fight the injustices of King Louis XVI, Sophie aims to prove that an educated populace can govern itself–but one of her students, fruit-seller Louise Audu, is hungrier for bread and vengeance than learning. When the Bastille falls and Louise leads a women’s march to Versailles, the monarchy is forced to bend, but not without a fight. The king’s pious sister Princess Elisabeth takes a stand to defend her brother, spirit her family to safety, and restore the old order, even at the risk of her head.

But when fanatics use the newspapers to twist the revolution’s ideals into a new tyranny, even the women who toppled the monarchy are threatened by the guillotine. Putting her faith in the pen, brilliant political wife Manon Roland tries to write a way out of France’s blood-soaked Reign of Terror while pike-bearing Pauline Leon and steely Charlotte Corday embrace violence as the only way to save the nation. With justice corrupted by revenge, all the women must make impossible choices to survive–unless unlikely heroine and courtesan’s daughter Emilie de Sainte-Amaranthe can sway the man who controls France’s fate: the fearsome Robespierre.

Here is a cool video cover reveal done by one of the authors, Sophie Periot!

 

✭✭✭PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY OF RIBBONS OF SCARLET TODAY✭✭✭

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Apple Books | Kobo

Add to Your Goodreads

About the Authors –

Kate Quinn is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction. A native of southern California, she attended Boston University where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice. She has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance, before turning to the 20th century with “The Alice Network” and “The Huntress.” All have been translated into multiple languages. Kate and her husband now live in San Diego with two rescue dogs named Caesar and Calpurnia, and her interests include opera, action movies, cooking, and the Boston Red Sox.

 

Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | BookBub | Goodreads

 

Stephanie Dray is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today bestselling author of historical women’s fiction. Her award-winning work has been translated into eight languages and tops lists for the most anticipated reads of the year.

She lives near the nation’s capital with her husband, cats, and history books.

 

 

Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | BookBub | Dray & Kamoie Website

 

A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction, Laura Kamoie has always been fascinated by the people, stories, and physical presence of the past, which led her to a lifetime of historical and archaeological study and training. She holds a doctoral degree in early American history from The College of William and Mary, published two non-fiction books on early America, and most recently held the position of Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy before transitioning to a full-time career writing genre fiction. She is the author of AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER and MY DEAR HAMILTON, co-authored with Stephanie Dray, allowing her the exciting opportunity to combine her love of history with her passion for storytelling. Laura lives among the colonial charm of Annapolis, Maryland with her husband and two daughters.

Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | BookBub | Goodreads

 

Sophie Perinot is an award-winning, multi-published author of female-centered historical fiction, who holds both a Bachelors in History and a law degree. With two previous books set in France—during the 13th and 16th centuries—Sophie has a passion for French history that began more than thirty years ago when she first explored the storied châteaux of the Loire Valley.

She lives in the Washington DC metropolitan area with her husband, children and a small menagerie of pets.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | BookBub | Goodreads

 

Heather Webb is the award-winning and international bestselling author of six historical novels set in France, including the upcoming Meet Me in Monaco, set to the backdrop of Grace Kelly’s wedding releasing in summer 2019, and Ribbons of Scarlet, a novel of the French Revolution’s women in Oct 2019. In 2015, Rodin’s Lover was selected as a Goodreads Top Pick, and in 2017, Last Christmas in Paris became a Globe & Mail bestseller and also won the 2018 Women’s Fiction Writers Association STAR Award. Her works have received national starred reviews, and have been sold in over a dozen countries worldwide. When not writing, you may find Heather collecting cookbooks or looking for excuses to travel. She lives in New England with her family and one feisty rabbit.

Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | BookBub | Goodreads

 

E. KNIGHT is a USA Today bestselling author of rip-your-heart-out historical women’s fiction that crosses the landscapes of Europe. Her love of history began as a young girl when she traipsed the halls of Versailles and ran through the fields in Southern France. She can still remember standing before the great golden palace, and imagining what life must have been like. She is the owner of the acclaimed blog History Undressed. Eliza lives in Maryland atop a small mountain with a knight, three princesses and two very naughty newfies. Visit Eliza at www.eknightauthor.com/eknight, or her historical blog, History Undressed, www.historyundressed.com. You can follow her on Twitter: @EKHistoricalFic, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EKnightAuthor, and Instagram @ElizaKnightFiction.

Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | BookBub | Goodreads

 

Did you get your copy yet?

Erin

 

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Filed under Book Announcements, Cover Reveals, Uncategorized, women in history

10 Pieces of My Writing from 2018! And 8 That You Can Read for FREE!

Hi Friends!

Coming off the heels of the end of 2017 bringing about my debut poetry and fiction collection Breathe. Breathe., and contributor stories in the anthologies of Hardened Hearts and Project Entertainment’s My Favorite Story, I found myself writing even more in 2018! So what did 2018 bring in terms of my creative writing….

Not only did I finish, with paper and pencil of course, my next poetry-only collection (which will be in the typing and editing stages for early 2019), but I wrote many stand alone poems and stories for various magazines and projects, some which are already published and others which I’m working on submitting this year (I’ve already submitted two – fingers crossed!).

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Me trying to WRITE at the library with the crazy person pacing back and forth while rapping out loud to the music in his headphones! haha!

I wanted to share some of my writings from this year that are available for free at links below. A good portion are from a women in horror writing monthly challenge, which helped keep my juices flowing, so I have so much thanks for Nina D’Arcangela and her team for running this project and giving us a platform for our work.

I was also featured in several anthologies as a contributing author as well as a co-curating editor, and you’ll find more information on them at the links below too!

I want to remind people that some of these are horror or trend toward darker fiction, but some of them are fairytale, or fantasy, or just writings that anyone can read!

It was a strange year full of more personal and professional strife, changes, and issues – and most of all, some semblance of transformation. I don’t even know how I got done half of what I did! I appreciate so very much those who’ve continued to support me both personally and professionally, those that keep Breathe. Breathe. continuously alive online with reviews and praise, and to friends who’ve stood by me through it all. We live and learn who our friends are in this business, and what I’ve learned the hard way just might be fodder for a future dark fiction collection.

Read my Poetry and Short Stories FREE online at these links – 

Poetry:

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Chained by Love” – Enchanted Conversation: A Fairytale Magazine, Feb. 2018 Issue. (Note: As far as I can tell this poem is also eligible for Rhysling nomination in the over 50 words category and I’d be honored for any SFPA members to take a look at it.)

A Land of Autumns” – SpillWords Press, Nov. 2018. 

Life’s Shadow” – Spreading the Writer’s Word, Ladies of Horror Flash Project, June 2018 (Note: Should be eligible for Rhysling)

Sacrificial Invitation” – Spreading the Writer’s Word, Ladies of Horror Flash Project, Nov 2018 (Note: Should be eligible for Rhysling)

Mummy Poetry – You can read two of my mummy poems right here on my own site! They were two of my favorite to write all year!

Short Stories:

Purple Hex Society” – Spreading the Writer’s Word, Ladies of Horror Flash Project, May 2018

The Witch’s Cottage” – Spreading the Writer’s Word, Ladies of Horror Flash Project, Oct. 2018

The Insistent Reporter” – Spreading the Writer’s Word, Ladies of Horror Flash Project, Dec. 2018

Anthologies:

dark voices cover

Cover by Luke Spooner

Wrapped in Battle” – Poetry, Dark Voices Anthology, Lycan Valley Press, July 2018. I dedicate this poem in memory and honor of all my female family and friends who’ve fought cancer, as the proceeds of the anthology go to breast cancer research organizations. This is an all-female anthology and I am so thrilled to be a part of it with so many other fabulous women dark fiction authors. My poem finishes up the collection. It’s currently available in print only, but should be available in e-book later this year.

Purchase – Amazon

Add to GoodReads

haunted are these houses

Haunted Are These Houses” – co-editor, Gothic Poetry and Short Fiction Anthology, Unnerving, Sept. 2018. I read almost 600 poetry and short story submissions as co-editor of this anthology, had the great honor of bringing in and editing Catherine Cavendish’s short story to it (she’s one of my favorite women authors in horror), and was in final, the poetry editor, curating the poetry selections from some of the finest poets in the dark fiction and horror communities such as Bruce Boston, Stephanie Wytovich, Sara Tantlinger, Christina Sng, and more.

Purchase – Amazon

Add to GoodReads

If you enjoy my work, I love hearing comments and thoughts! Thank you so much for supporting me in my work in 2018. I am looking forward to an even more productive 2019 with my writing – stay tuned for a post on that soon.

Warm wishes,

Erin

Covers.jpeg

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Expanded Version of My BREATHE. BREATHE. Mixed Dark Fiction Collection is Here!

BreatheBreatheHey all, so today my mixed dark fiction collection, BREATHE. BREATHE., came out in its expanded edition and also in print and e-book format. When it first published in July, it was a handmade, limited edition chapbook from Unnerving (a Canadian magazine and book publisher), and it sold out. Now, I worked feverishly and and added 50% more poems and added three more short stories to accompany the previous two. I am really happy with how this turned out and how all the various themes mesh together under the large umbrella of breathing – through trauma, pain, murder, depression, anxiety, etc. And yet I also weaved folklore, history, mystery, and murder into it the poetry and the stories. There is also revenge, anger, fear, and madness tucked into the pages and wrapped in a Gothic atmosphere.

Selcouth Station remarked on the content in the limited edition that it was: “Raw, risky, and brave. Breathe Breathe could tear itself apart withthe amount of raw emotion contained in its fifty-seven pages. Al-Mehairi sheds light on difficult topics such as abuse, anxiety, loneliness, and love that hurts more than heals.”

I hope you’ll take a chance on my collection. It has a lovely foreword from the Bram Stoker nominated author Brian Kirk (We Are Monsters) to touchingly lead readers into the work. The response has been so kind and I am so humbled by the support and the thoughts on my work. I look forward to hearing from any readers who want to offer their thoughts too.

You can find it in paperback and kindle now on Amazon, or Kobo, but more online sites should pop up soon too. I’ll be back to offer more updates. And please do review or add my book to your TBR shelf on GoodReads too!

What’s it about?

Breathe. Breathe. is a collection of dark poetry and short fiction exploring the surreal depths of humanity. It’s a representation of how life breaks us apart and words put us back together. Purged onto the pages, dark emotions flow, urging readers into murky seas and grim forests, to the fine line between breathing and death.

In Act One, readers are presented with a serial killer in Victorian London, a lighthouse keeper with an eerie legacy, a murderous spouse that seems to have walked right out of a mystery novel, and a treacherous Japanese lady who wants to stay immortal. The heightened fears in the twilight of your minds will seep into the blackest of your nights, where you have to breathe in rhythm to stay alive.

In Act Two, the poetry turns more internal and pierces through the wall of denial and pain, bringing visceral emotions to the surface unleashing traumas such as domestic abuse, violence, and illness.

In the short stories, you’ll meet residents of Valhalla Lane whose lives are on a violent parallel track to collision, a man who is driven mad by the sound of a woodpecker, a teenage girl who wakes up on the beach and can’t find another soul in sight, a woman caught in a time shift pitting her against the Egyptian goddess Anuket, and a little girl whose whole world changes when her favorite dandelion yellow crayon is discontinued.

Amid these pages the haunting themes of oppression, isolation, revenge, and madness unfold through folklore, nightmares, and often times, raw, impulsive passion crafted to sear from the inside out.

With a touching foreword by the Bram Stoker nominated author Brian Kirk (We Are Monsters), Breathe. Breathe. will at times unsettle you, and at times embrace you.

Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, a veteran writer and editor of the written word, offers up a mixed set of pieces, identifying her as a strong, new voice in dark fiction that will tear the heart from your chest, all the while reminding you to breathe.

dandelion quote

Praise for Breathe. Breathe.

“It’s full of the unexpected – bits of lace cut through with the odd and the horrible and the beautiful. Through it all I sense the power of a survivor!! And I love that!”

  • Sue Harrison, internationally best-selling author of Mother Earth Father Sky

“In Breathe. Breathe., Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi employs sharp, jagged words arranged in sparse, disturbingly visceral clusters to force readers to “breathe” through the fear and pain of abuse and personal terror. It’s a sense reinforced by the deceptively quiet but disquieting story, “Dandelion Yellow.” Filled with sharp sensory detail, the highlight is “Life-Giver of the Nile,” an evocative circular time-shift tale in which an Egyptologist’s soul is required by Anuket, ancient and modern goddess of the Nile, for a greater purpose. Whether in poetry or prose, dark kernels nestled within horror tropes indicate that Al-Mehairi writes from the gut and from the heart but with the fierceness of a survivor, the soul of a fearless champion. This mixed collection is a fine introduction to a strong, intriguing new voice in dark fiction.”

  • W.D. Gagliani, Bram Stoker Finalist, author of Wolf’s Trap (Nick Lupo Series)

“Breathe. Breathe. is at times haunting, visceral, bittersweet, and tender. Erin Al Mehairi bares her soul and invites readers to devour it whole.”

  • Hunter Shea, author of We Are Always Watching

“Erin Al-Mehairi weaves a web of narrative and poetry both beautiful and nightmare-inducing in Breathe. Breathe., invoking heartache and the need to see through the shining masks life presents us to confront the darkness it truly holds.”

  • Michelle Garza, co-author of Bram Stoker nominated Mayan Blue

”I loved Dandelion Yellow.  I was hyperventilating at the end, but it was such a beautiful, painful and artful tale.  I’ll be saying that last line to myself for weeks at least. Just beautiful.  I’m re-reading the rest.  One read just isn’t enough because DAYUM.  Beautiful.”

  • Somer Canon, author of Vicki Beautiful and The Killer Chronicles

“A tireless champion of horror fiction, Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi breaks into the genre with her debut collection BREATHE. BREATHE. Her dark and vivid poetry and short stories will be sure to delight fans of dark fiction! “Night Stalked” is definitely one of the stand-out poems you will find within.”

  • Rich Duncan, The Horror Bookshelf

“Raw, risky, and brave. Breathe Breathe could tear itself apart with the amount of raw emotion contained in its fifty-seven pages. Al-Mehairi sheds light on difficult topics such as abuse, anxiety, loneliness, and love that hurts more than heals.”

  • Selcouth Station

“Wonderful writing that explores the dark corners of your mind, where fear grabs you, and you struggle to breathe.”

  • David Spell, The Scary Reviews

Erin, Biograpy –

Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi has Bachelor of Arts degrees in English, Journalism, and History. She has 20 years of experience in the communication fields and is currently a writer, a journalist, a publicist, and an editor among many other things.

She writes fiction, essays, stories, and poetry and is an avid reader of many genres. She has edited poetry anthologies, novels, fiction pieces, and other various non-fiction and journalistic pieces. As a journalist, she’s written, interviewed, and edited for various newspapers, magazines, media outlets, and online news sources at both ends of the spectrum in media and public relations.

As an entrepreneur, she owns two businesses: Addison’s Compass Public Relations and Hook of a Book Media, in which she acts as a PR/Marketing Consultant, publicist, and editor. She also handles marketing and PR for Sinister Grin Press, where she is also an editor. Her third pursuit is writing her own works for publication. She volunteers her time in the community and is the chairwoman on the board of directors for a local mental health center and rape crisis and domestic violence safe haven.

She is the mother of three school-aged children and a cat. She lives with her family in rural Ohio nestled in the forest—a place just ripe for nightmares. Her passions are reading, writing, book hunting, hiking, and entertainment such as movies/film, television, and music. Oh, and she bakes, because you can’t do any of that without cookies.

Erin is a co-host with her Marketing Morsels segment on Project Entertainment Network’s The Mando Method, an award-winning weekly podcast for new and veteran writers.

Breathe. Breathe., published by Unnerving, is her debut collection and a mix of dark poetry and short stories. She will also be featured in the upcoming anthology from Unnerving called Hardened Hearts coming in at the end of 2017. Many other works in various genres are in progress as well.

You can e-mail her at hookofabook (at) hotmail (dot) com and find her easily at www.hookofabook.wordpress.com. You’ll also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest where she loves new friends.

 

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My New Cover for My Expanded Collection, BREATHE. BREATHE.

I wanted to share with you that Unnerving Magazine will be publishing an expanded version of BREATHE. BREATHE., my dark poetry and fiction collection, at the end of this week. In July, they published it in limited edition chapbook and it sold out, and now, it will be available online at the Unnerving site, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. I am beyond thrilled and have written 50% more content for this expanded edition in both poetry and short stories. I welcome your support and thoughts. I am so excited and appreciate so much the publisher, Eddie, taking a chance on my work. He’s been amazing to work with. So without me writing too much more, I wanted to show you all the NEW cover, featuring a dandelion, just like the story in the collection, “Dandelion Yellow.” However, breathing is still such a steady theme throughout the book in so many ways. I hope you like it as much I do! The cover was done by Eddie himself!

More information to come about my collection on my blog soon. The book launches the end of this week! 🙂 Thanks to everyone who has been kind enough to support me!

Erin

BreatheBreathe

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Foreword Author Announced for My Chapbook BREATHE. BREATHE.

I’m SO SO thrilled to announce who wrote the foreward to my dark poetry and short fiction chapbook – BREATHE. BREATHE. It’s elegantly written by gifted writer, Bram Stoker finalist, and my good good friend Brian Kirk!! He’s been such a constant support of me and my work, and my poetry especially, and is always lending a listening ear and emotional and talented eye to my words and thoughts. To me, he was the perfect person to ask as his work has always touched me deeply as well.

brian kirk

Hi Brian!

Brian was nominated for a Bram Stoker award for his debut novel, We Are Monsters from Samhainand had a very heart-wrenching story, “Picking Splinters from a Sex Slave,” in the Bram Stoker nominated for superior achievement in an anthology, Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, from Crystal Lake Publishing, where his acclaimed story was read alongside Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell, Clive Barker, and more. He will also be in a highly anticipated upcoming anthology also from them called Behold! ⭐️⭐️⭐️ THANK YOU BRIAN for adding another layer of class to my chapbook!

Gutted-front-cover

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BREATHE. BREATHE. – by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi – 44 limited edition handcrafted chapbooks made in the wilds of Canada and available from Unnerving Magazine and publisher Eddie Generous! At the time of this posting there were only a few left of this special edition – a one time only buy and keepsake! PRE-ORDER HERE.

More news to come. Thanks so much for your support everyone. If you missed my last post with the mock-up of the cover and the information on the book, head HERE.

Red Brick Wall

Mock-up of Outside Cover Going on Handmade Books – I love it!

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Suspenseful Short Story Set In Modern Ukraine Written by My Son, Nassem Al-Mehairi

I was trying to re-blog my son’s short story from his own blog SEIZE THE MOMENT (www.nassemalmehairi.wordpress.com), but it seems to not have taken. So I’m posting a short story here that Nassem wrote last night, in an hour or two, that was inspired by the turmoil presently in Ukraine.  He really takes on, in short form, how our past can impact our future. Let him know what you think in my comment section below or over on his blog. He’d love to hear thoughts and encouragement!

Karma

This is a short story inspired by the current events in Ukraine.
by the author of Seize the Moment blog, Nassem Al-Mehairi

Kapma

All I ever was, was a doctor.

At least, that is what I had always thought.

My childhood was one of pain, suffering, and poverty. I was born in 1990, in Kherson. My father, forced to fight in the Red Army against his will, was there when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. My mother always told me my father died bravely, taking fire while saving his fellow soldiers, but, for some reason, I always doubted her.

My mother, born in Krakow, Poland, in 1965. She is a Pole to the bone, hating the Soviets, wanting to smash my father’s head in when he died for them. Her father, Andrzej, was in the Polish Army. He survived the German Invasion in 1939, only to be sent to a German prison camp.

My grandfather was Jewish. He worked at a grocery, handling produce, in Krakow. When the Germans seized Poland, he had to become a card-carrying member of the Nazi Party to protect his family. When it got so bad, where people were being lined up against the fences and shot, crimson blood flowing down the street wherever you went, he sent his child, a son, to Kiev. In 1944, a betrayer gave up Andrzej to the filth Gestapo, and he was sent to Bergen-Belsen. He told me stories of his time there, of the suffering, he having to see women be stripped and raped at the will of young Nazis from Berlin. When the British liberated the camp, you could he his ribs, the obvious oppression these, these dirt, caused on my grandfather. A few weeks before the camp was liberated, Andrzej, he told me once, met a young girl who wrote a diary of her hiding in a “secret annex” in Amsterdam. She died only a few weeks before the freeing of the inmates. After the war the only option left to him was to become a poor farmer in Ukraine, and had his daughter, my mother. His life was taken in 1969, when he was brutally run over by a tractor by his own wife. My grandmother, distraught over her killing her husband, shot herself the year after. The destruction, she set fire to her house before it, and when the flames reached her room, she put the barrel to her temple and pulled the trigger.

My mother was an orphan at the age of 5, and her only option was… Wait, I must be boring you with all this bland family history. Well, I am so sorry. I’ll just get to the part that sells.

I was born on May 4th, 1990. I lived for but 2 years in the Soviet Union, and do not remember any of it, but it would affect my life until the end.

I remember, for all of you looking for only the hardship, to laugh at my pain and mock it, the first event that led to my fate was on my computer in November of 2013. The President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, was in power, and I had always known he was corrupt, but never truly knew until I visited a secret chat forum. My friend Yuri had told me about it, about how those who opposed Yanukovych could connect with each other to take him down. I was sitting in my living room, in Kiev. As my computer started up, I took out a lighter and flicked it 3 times to light my cigarette. As I inhaled and exhaled the smoke, I typed in the URL Yuri had given me, along with the password. As I scrolled through the sight, I was amazed by what I read. One said,

“The Kremlin is ruling our country. We are Ukrainians, not Russians! We must exterminate the President now!”

One, cooler head, said,

“We must unite together to protest Yanukovych siding with the Russians. We are going to protest in Kiev, and die if we must.”

I was a doctor, working in a Kiev hospital. I knew that, because of the President’s brutality, he would kill anyone who rioted against him.

Until February 19th, there were no real riots in Kiev. But on that day, one that will live in infamy, the city of Kiev turned into a battleground. Molotovs were thrown, and as their blasts woke me in the darkness of night, I ran to the hospital. I knew the day of reckoning was upon us, and as I ran through shotgun fire raining down, I rushed in through the front door of the hospital.

I ran over to the secretary, and said, “Any injuries yet?”

She responded, “Yes, Maksym, but they are outside still. We cannot get them inside.”

I knew what I needed to do. I walked back up to the front door. I looked out, with the night sky illuminated by the fires raging through our historic city. I saw a man, clutching his chest, laying on the ground. I looked to my left, then right, and ran out. I crouched down next to the man groaning, and took his arms. I dragged him into the hospital, and yelled, “Get me a cot!”

As I picked him up, the secretary had set the cot down next to me. I laid the man down on it, and ripped open his Western-made shirt. I took a piece of gauze, and held it to his wound, gushing blood all over my hands. He said, very quietly, “What… what is your name?”

I said, “My name is Maksym Nowak.”

He, spitting up bile, said, “Nowak…What was your grandfather’s name?”

Confused, I said, “Andrzej Nowak. Why?”

Devastated-looking, he said, “My…my grandfather, was your grandfather’s friend. He was the one who gave him up to the Germans. I…I am…sorry for the disrespect my family inflicted upon yours.”

I always knew this would happen. The Soviet Union repaying its sins on this night in Ukraine, and the family who betrayed my grandfather doing the same. I could do nothing but continue, silently, to try to save his life. He died there, with me never knowing his name.

All I could do, was collapse. Karma truly always happened. Even on a dark night as a revolution to change the world was occurring. I went out, my mind occupied on that. As I looked for my next person to save, I felt a bullet hit my throat and throw me to the ground.

I thought, this was karma too. A son took the man in the hospital, and my father’s sins against the Afghanis killed me. Or was it my mother lying about him? It didn’t matter. I was dead no matter which.

-End-

See the original post here:
www.nassemalmehairi.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/an-original-short-story-by-nassem-al-mehairi-set-in-modern-ukraine/

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Short Story Collection by Delancey Stewart Looks “Through a Dusty Window” to Glimpses at NYC History

Brownstone townhouseWinding down late one night this weekend, I curled up with Delancey Stewart’s short story collection Through a Dusty Window:  New York City Stories 1910-2001.  This compilation of shorts focuses on the lives of many people who all possibly lived in the same brownstone apartment, but at various decades.

When we think about that concept, we ponder what must each of their lives have been like based on what was happening during each segment of history? Her collection gives us fleeting glimpses into this question. Of course it’s the very first story, but I actually liked “1910: The Hidden Legacy” the best.  I loved this one due to the fact that I am very into social justice. I like any stories or books that deal with class distinction and issues stemming from social stigma. This story dealing with a little girl and a doll really touched my heart. I loved the ending to it. It would be great to see this story turning into a longer novella or full-length novel.

I liked some of the other stories too, of course, and their tie-in with historical time periods, though some were terribly sad. I suppose in those cases, the time periods in that New York area was….however, some of the endings of the stories I felt came to an abrupt halt. I suppose maybe I just wanted more to the story and we can’t always have happy endings.  These slices told a day in the life of her characters and captured through their sadness the faults of the world seen through their eyes, or “windows.”

I also liked “The Harbinger: 1953” though probably due to being interested in women of this time period who were actually put in very terrible situations in mental hospitals due to slight depression. Misjudged and ironic as the cases were sometimes, Stewart brings this to light in the story. A slight more lengthy, this one had well-developed characters and she rounded out a thought-provoking ending.

The collection is a very quick read. Perfect for sitting down with a cup of tea for an hour.  I loved how Stewart gave us a bird’s-eye view of each family who passed life in this New York Apartment, then tied it all together in the last story of the collection.  But I don’t want to spoil it for you by sharing how she does it. You should definitely download this short story collection and see for yourself.

Stop by again tomorrow for an exclusive interview with Delancey Stewart where we talk about her stories, history, and women in history. See you then!

Through a Dusty Window: New York City Stories 1910-2001 Synopsis~

Publication Date: November 15, 2012
CreateSpace
Paperback; 108p
ISBN-10: 0615731023

It’s impossible to live in a city like New York without feeling the presence of those who have preceded you – on those streets, in those subway cars, in that apartment. The city thrums with vibrations of lives and eras passed, and traces of that history are left imprinted in tangible ways everywhere we look.

Through a Dusty Window is a collection of ten short stories spanning a century of lives inhabiting one New York City brownstone on the Upper West Side. They are the culmination of the author’s experience in that city, during which she wondered constantly who had occupied her apartment before her, and what stories they might have lived.

Ten vignettes offer historical perspective on real events from Prohibition to World War II; the Vietnam-era Summer of Sam killings to John Lennon’s murder.

Through a Dusty Window allows us to be voyeurs, seeing the fascinating lives of others as they experience the history that New Yorkers today hear whispers of around every corner.

Giveaway~

Enter to win one (1) free Kindle ebook of Through a Dusty Window! Leave a comment below with your email or email it to me at hookofabook@hotmail.com.

Also leaving a Facebook comment on my link to this blog on my personal profile or leaving it at  www.facebook.com/HookofaBook counts too!

For an extra entry, follow this blog. Get TWO more extra entries for following the Hook of a Book Facebook page.

Enter by 11:59 p.m. EST April 16, 2013.

Praise for Through a Dusty Window

“I found this series of short stories to be delightful and read them in one sitting. I was impressed with the author’s free flowing style which captivated me and drew me into the imagery of the book. I was particularly aware of the evolution of the social culture and I felt that the transition between the times of each story was handled well.” – Jean Roberts, Amazon Review

“Every story was very well written (my favorite involved the Hindenberg) and my only complaint is that a few of them, such as the last one, ended too soon. This is a compliment, however, because it means I wanted more, much more.” – John Darling (Author Jack Point) – Amazon Review

Delancey Stewart, Biography~

Delancey StewartDelancey Stewart is a fiction writer living in Southern Maryland. She’s a military spouse and the mother of two small boys. When not writing, she can be found ballet dancing, eating ice cream, playing video games or building with Legos.

For more information, please visit Delancey Stewart’s website. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Stop by the tour for more reviews, giveaways and fun at: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/throughadustywindowvirtualtour/
Twitter Hashtag: #DustyWindowVirtualTour

TADW Tour Banner FINAL

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Review of Short Story The Graveyard Speaks by Hunter Shea and Book Launch Party!

  • Review of Short Story The Graveyard Speaks by Hunter Shea
  • Book Launch Party on April 2 for Hunter and Jonathan Janz
  • New Hook of a Book Facebook Page Started

Lots of exciting things to talk about today as mentioned by the “official agenda” above! Hit each section for information you’ll want to add to your to-do list, TBR pile, and social networking “likes.” I can’t wait to hear what you think!

The Graveyard Speaks, by Hunter Shea~

the-graveyard-speaksWritten in short story form, you’ll definitely want to try out this FREE work of Hunter Shea, published by Samhain Publishing.  It’s on pre-order until April 2, but then it’s all yours.

Get it here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Graveyard-Speaks-ebook/dp/B00BUKRALG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364617988&sr=8-1&keywords=hunter+shea

The Graveyard Speaks takes place between Hunter’s first novel Forest of Shadows, 13 years later, but right before the sequel which publishes April 2 also, called Sinister Entity.  In fact, you really can read all of them as stand-alone, but if you read them together, you’ll see the tie-in is a young girl named Jessica, who in The Graveyard Speaks is a new to adulthood kick-butt heroine who’s led a fantastic childhood, if not life-altering (just read Forest of Shadows, or my review of that HERE) existence.

Jessica has NO FEAR. In The Graveyard Speaks she takes on a deranged ghost who is stalking his also dead ghost wife. Even in death, he can’t leave her alone. Her hovers around her grave in the cemetery.  Based on some personal life issues, the ending of this one really made me happy!! Jessica is woman who knows how to save the day in the paranormal world.

If you haven’t read anything else yet by Hunter, start here and get a taste. Trust me you’ll want Forest of Shadows AND Sinister Entity.  This man knows how to write a ghost hunting story for all of us that live in the everyday world called life.  I am loving his protagonist Jessica, and just to tease further….I am 25 pages from being done with Sinister Entity, which has just been an AWESOME entertaining read. I’ll have a review on that coming soon, as well as an exclusive interview with Hunter.

Synopsis~

Some secrets can’t stay buried.

 Deep in a dark, snow-covered cemetery, a terrifying, moaning apparition rises from the same grave night after night. Even the most hardened caretakers won’t go near the Spooner gravestone on their midnight rounds. Only one ghost hunter has the will to face the unknown, but at what price? In the chilling blackness, only Jessica Backman is prepared to answer the spectral cry from beyond when the graveyard speaks.

See biography of Hunter Shea at bottom of the post.

First Ever Book Launch Party on April 2~

thedarkestlullaby_v2-1

sinisterentitySpeaking of Sinister Entity, by Hunter Shea…we’ll be hosting a BOOK LAUNCH PARTY on April 2, 2013, with Hunter and fellow Samhain author Jonathan Janz, whose The Darkest Lullaby is available that day as well. The party will be from 9 to 11 p.m., with attendees able to ask Hunter and Jonathan any questions they want and receive immediate responses. These two authors are so personable and fun, you won’t want to miss the action. You can also order books or enter the giveaway. We’re giving away five free ebooks of each title mentioned, plus a few bonus items!

If you want to pre-ask questions, you can email me to hookofabook@hotmail.com (subject: Hunter or Jonathan question) and maybe they’ll have time to prepare an answer.  The night of the event, please also email me your question to that address for me to post during the party, or inbox message Erin Al-Mehairi at Hook of a Book Facebook page (below) or www.facebook.com/almehairierin.

You can RSVP or go to the event here:

  https://www.facebook.com/HookofaBook?ref=hl#!/events/129262197258956/

You also have to “like” the Hook of a Book page here:  www.facebook.com/HookofaBook (more on that below).

Hook of Book Facebook Page~

3040_booksWe’ve finally launched a Facebook Page to go along with our site.  I couldn’t be more excited!! We’ll post reviews and interviews from this site there, but it will also give us the opportunity to talk books with you more, feature upcoming covers and releases, post free or discounted books, and showcase books we have on list to review. We’ll talk about the book, publishing and writing industry. With degrees in Journalism, English, and History, we’ll probably also talk grammar tips and ask lots of questions, as well as post interesting historical articles, art, photos, and other things we find intriguing.

I hope you ‘ll join us. I am passionate books, and I get lonely at night, so please stop over and talk shop!

www.facebook.com/HookofaBook

Hunter Shea, Biography~

hunter-headshotI’m the product of a childhood weened on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. I don’t just write about the paranormal. I actively seek out the things that scare the hell out of people and experience them for myself.

My novels, Forest of Shadows, Evil Eternal , Swamp Monster Massacre and Sinister Entity are published through Samhain Publishing’s horror line. I live with my family and untrainable cat close enough to New York City to get Gray’s Papaya hotdogs when the craving hits.

I’m also proud to be one half of the Monster Men video podcast, along with my partner in crime, Jack Campisi. Our show is a light-hearted approach to dark subjects. We explore real life hauntings, monsters, movies, books and everything under the horror sun.

Feel free to contact me any time at huntershea1@gmail.com. Writing is lonely work.

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Cozy British Mystery Series by Helen Smith Offers New Female Heroine

Today, we are featuring London-based author Helen Smith and her novellas with a short review and an exclusive interview. If you read through the post, there will also be a giveaway for one person to win both novellas!

Invitation to Die, the first full-length novel in her Emily Castles mystery series, will be published by Thomas & Mercer in 2013. “To introduce as many people as possible to Emily, I’m doing a blog tour with the previous two novellas in the series, Three Sisters and Showstoppers,” author Helen Smith said. 

I know that I will certainly want to read her new full-length novel, and many more in the series, after reading these first two novellas.  These nicely priced e-book novellas are a great way to get started. Make sure you read Three Sisters first to be introduced to Emily.

Helen Smith Talks About the Emily Castles Mysteries~

Emily Castles is a twenty-six-year-old Londoner who lives in Brixton, south London, where I live. The London that you’ll find in the Emily Castles Mysteries has familiar locations and landmarks. But it has a village feel that is typical in cozy mystery books (and not very typical of a big city like London): neighbors know each other and help each other out.

I started out reading Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers, Ngaio Marsh and Arthur Conan Doyle, and I go back to their stories time and again, both on the page and on TV and film. Miss Marple has to be one of my all-time favorite characters in a book! More recently, I have enjoyed mysteries written by Charlaine Harris, Alexander McCall Smith and M C Beaton.

With the Emily Castles Mysteries, I wanted to create stories that use some of the enduringly popular ingredients from the golden age of British crime writing. But I have set them in the present-day, so there’s a little urban grit mixed in with the fun. Emily herself, with her dimples and her dark brown hair, her sweet nature, her good humor and her love of solving mysteries, is partly based on my daughter, who is around the same age. Unlike my daughter, Emily will never get older… only a little wiser, perhaps, and a little more adept at sleuthing as the series develops.

Like all my books, the Emily Castles Mysteries feature strong, interesting female characters, and plenty of funny lines. But unlike the other books, there’s no profanity. There are no drug references or sexual references. These are clean, comic mysteries that can be enjoyed by readers of any age. They’re slightly camp and very British. They’re not to be taken too seriously. I hope readers will enjoy them and keep coming back for more.

three sisters cover

Three Sisters Synopsis~

Twenty-six-year-old Londoner Emily Castles has been invited to a party in the big house at the end of her street. How could she know, as she left her house that evening, that she was making an appointment with death?

This is a 70-page comic mystery novella.

showstoppers cover

Showstoppers Synopsis~

When twenty-six-year-old Emily Castles helps out at a local stage school in London, she’s soon mixed up in murder. She teams up with eccentric philosophy professor Dr. Muriel to solve the case.

Showstoppers is a fast-paced 75-page novella.

Review~

Three Sisters and Showstoppers were stories that were fast-paced from the beginning, light-hearted, and complete with quirky British humor.  Smith’s mysteries were set-up with precise thought and executed with twists and turns that made them both very entertaining reads. I think that Emily Castles is the newest proverbial nosey eccentric character that British cozy mysteries are so popular for creating.

I chose to feature these books because I am a big fan of British mysteries and their subtle humor, clues, and spunky dialogue. Smith’s books delivered all this to me; they were the perfect ‘snuggle on my end of the couch with a cup of English Breakfast Tea’ type of mysteries. 

Anyone who is a fan of British mysteries will enjoy reading these novellas just in time for the first full-length Emily Castles Mystery to publish. This is one book series worth following as you’ll fall in love with Emily’s commentary, humor, and energy.  The character of Emily, as well as her supporting cast, will keep you wanting to make them a consistent part of your reading pursuits.

Purchase below by clicking on the links:

 
Giveaway~
 
One winner will receive e-book copies of Three Sisters and Showstoppers by commenting on this blog or my Facebook post. Make sure that you leave your email with your comment or email me to hookofabook@hotmail.com. Anyone can enter up until 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 25!  Since it is an e-book, this is open internationally.
 
For an extra entry, please follow this blog and let me know!
 
Interview with Author Helen Smith~
 
Hello, Helen, and welcome to Oh, for the Hook of a Book! I’d love for readers to get to know you a little better as I learn about you myself. Although I haven’t read any of your books yet besides your new novellas, I hear you’re a loved mystery writer and I do love my mysteries!

Hello, Erin. Thanks for inviting me here, and thanks for reading my novellas. I’m glad to hear you enjoy mysteries. I’m looking forward to answering your questions.

Let’s get started then!

Q: You live in London. Americans have a real obsession with anything British at the moment, but I’ve always had it. I was born there and my mom always enjoyed the culture so I grew up around it. In your opinion, why do you think that the words British and Mysteries always go hand in hand?

A: It’s funny, isn’t it, because here in Britain we’re crazy about America and anything American. I think that people are excited to read new British mysteries because the writers in the Golden Age of mysteries were British. Most of us have read at least a few Agatha Christie novels and remember the joy of moving from reading children’s books to books that had been written for adults. I really hope that readers will enjoy my mysteries; they’re set in present-day Britain and they’re a lot of fun.

Q: I read that you’ve traveled around in your lifetime and done some interesting jobs such as being a magician’s assistant! What do you love most about the UK?

A: Yes, I traveled all over the place when I was younger but now I’m settled back in London. I love the English countryside, with its patchwork green fields, rolling hills and thatched cottages. When you’ve been abroad and marveled at how gorgeous another country is, it’s still lovely to come back to London on a plane and see the familiar English countryside get closer as you approach the city through the clouds.

Q: How did you get started in writing? Have you always loved it?

A: I always loved reading and that made me want to be a writer when I grew up. I started writing my first novel when I was about twenty-nine. Around that time I had a short play broadcast on the radio and that was my first professional success as a writer, but I pressed on with the novel rather than writing more radio plays because I wanted to finish it and get it published.

Q: How did you begin the process of being published?

A: Once the book was finished I looked for an agent. There’s a book called the Writers and Artists’ Handbook that lists the names and addresses of agents and publishers here in the UK and in the US. You just have to go through it and find out which agents accept unsolicited manuscripts in the kind of genre that you write. One of the biggest agencies in London took me on as a client after reading what I had sent them.

Q: What advice do you have for other new women writers?

A: Just keep going, you’ll get there.

Q: Do you have a schedule or process to get your writing accomplished?

A: I try and write a thousand words a day. I can write more when it’s going well. Some days I write much less. I do find that real life gets in the way. I’d like to be able to do nothing but write. But it’s impossible, isn’t it?

Q: What is your new upcoming release? Can you tell us about it?

A: The first full-length Emily Castles mystery will be published later this year. It’s called Invitation to Die and it’s set at a romance authors’ convention in Bloomsbury, London, where I live.

Q: When will it be available?

A: The publication date will probably be some time in October 2013.

Q: Why did you decide to do the novellas?

A: I had the idea for a fun character who would solve mysteries in present-day London and I wanted to try her out in a few situations. I remembered that the Sherlock Holmes stories worked very well at short-story length, and it seemed a good way to start with Emily Castles. Short fiction works well for ebooks because it can be published at a reasonable price.

Q: What other novels are you known for? Can you tell us about them?

A: My first two novels, Alison Wonderland and Being Light, feature a private detective called Alison Temple who works for an all-female detective agency in London. They’re not really detective fiction, though. They’re off-beat comedies. The third novel, The Miracle Inspector, is a dystopian novel set in England in the near future. It tells the story of a young married couple, Lucas and Angela, who try to escape from London… with disastrous consequences.

Q: What is your favorite hobby besides writing and reading?

A: I like knitting, though I don’t do much of it these days.

Q: Where can readers connect with you about upcoming books?

A: Please sign up here for an email alert when a new book is published: http://eepurl.com/ssbf5

Thank you so very much for stopping by today and chatting with us. We wish you the best with your upcoming work and hope to feature you again!

Thanks, Erin. I enjoyed answering the questions. I’d like to wish you all the best with your writing, too.

 Helen Smith, Biography~Helen-Smith

Helen Smith is a member of the Writers Guild of Great Britain, The Crime Writers Association and English PEN. She travelled the world when her daughter was small, doing all sorts of strange jobs to support them both – from cleaning motels to working as a magician’s assistant – before returning to live in London where she wrote her first novel, which was published by Gollancz (part of the Hachette Group). She writes novels, children’s books, poetry, plays and screenplays, and was the recipient of an Arts Council of England Award. She likes dancing. but she doesn’t like driving. She also likes knitting.

Invitation to Die, the first full-length novel in her Emily Castles mystery series, will be published by Thomas & Mercer in 2013.  She’s the author of Alison Wonderland, Being Light, The Miracle Inspector and the Emily Castles Mystery Series, as well as several stage plays.

Find out more on Helen’s blog: http://www.emperorsclothes.co.uk/ or at the links below:

 
To read more on the tour with Helen Smith, click on the Blog Tour Button below:
Showstopper tour

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