Spotlight: Kima by A.H. Amin


32068901Kima
By A.H. Amin
Release Day: December 16, 2016
Summary:

Christmas Eve 1928 gave birth to a yearly phenomenon in South Africa. A herd of false killer whales were found beached upon the shore. It has also given birth to the story of two young children who meet an old woman named Kima. Kima somehow knows why this has happened, but that’s not all she knows. The children, Alex and Alice, realize that there is more to this woman that what meets the eye, and ear. She will reveal to them a tale, a mysterious story she claims was passed on to her by a mythical Black Seagull.

Derived from both historic tales and figures, Kima is a fictional character portrayed in a way that makes her become real.

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6040327A. H. Amin
was born in Iraq, and he had lived most of his life in Kuwait. He studied dentistry in Emirates in his first years and then he continued in Egypt.

He had first came across to his talent when he had met a group of students in Emirates who were discussing the making of a movie. After seeing how his ideas had impressed them, he started to take a little intrest in literature.
He started finally after he came up with the idea of a new fiction thriller book, Psychs, which was his first published book, after he received good criticism about his new idea.

At present he continues to write the Psychs’ series and planning for the next one.

 

Release Day Buzz: Solomon’s Bell by @miclowery77


SOLOMON’S BELL

solomons-bell-cover

To save her family, Ginn uses her newfound genie powers to transport herself and her friends to 16th century Prague. Only one thing there remains the same as at home:  she can’t let anyone know what she really is.

The Emperor of Prague and those closest to him are obsessed with magic. In pursuit of it, they’ve waged war on the citizens of their city. In the citizens’ defense, someone has brought to life a golem, a dangerous being with connections to an artifact capable of summoning and commanding an entire army of genies. Can Ginn escape the notice of the Emperor as she attempts to discover a way to defeat Prague’s golem in time to save her family from a similar creature?

Solomon’s Bell is the sequel to Heir to the Lamp and the second book of the Genie Chronicles series.

***Praise for the GENIE CHRONICLES series***

“An exciting new spin on a genie tale. Virginia is a feisty main character who I would love to have as a friend. Captivating!” — Melissa Buell, author of the YA fantasy series, The Tales of Gymandrol

“Filled with magic, curses, and mystery … a spellbinding journey I couldn’t put down.” — Kelsey Ketch, author of Daughter of Isis

“Heir to the Lamp is Anne Rice meets Harry Potter: delicious writing, mysterious Southern Gothic, and an inventive, magical world for tweens, teens, and the young at heart.” —Susan Abel Sullivan, author of The Haunted Housewives of Allister, Alabama, Cursed: Wickedly Fun Stories, and The Weredog Whisperer

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | iBookstores

Book 1

heir-to-the-lamp-cover-art

About the Author

michelleMichelle Lowery Combs is an award-winning writer and book blogger living in rural Alabama with her husband, one cat and too many children to count. She spends her spare time commanding armies of basketball and soccer munchkins for the Parks & Recreation departments of two cities. When not in the presence of throngs of toddlers, tweens and teens, Michelle can be found neglecting her roots and dreaming up the next best seller. She is a member of the Alabama Writers’ Conclave, Jacksonville State University’s Writers’ Club and her local Aspiring Authors group. Check Michelle out at her website MichelleLoweryCombs.com.

Gods of the Dead: A Comparison of Anpu (Anubis) and Ah Puch


Looking at how different cultures perceive death, we can start to understand how they embrace it. Especially when it comes to how they shape their afterlife, the gods who run it, and the roles those gods play in everyday life. From first glance, one can detect several similarities between ancient Egyptian and ancient Mayan perspectives of the afterlife. For instance, the fact that in both cultures one must travel through a hellish netherworld to reach paradise.

The real difference is how they constructed their gods and their role in the underworld. In ancient Egypt and ancient Maya, it is Anpu and Ah Puch.

Anpu (Anubis)

Anpu is his Egyptian name, while Anubis—the name which is most commonly known—is his Greek name. He is the god of the underworld, embalming process, and funeral rites as well as the patron of lost souls and the helpless. He is also one of the oldest gods of Egypt, even before Osiris came into power over the underworld. In appearance, he is depicted as a black canine, usually a jackal, or a muscular man with the head of a jackal. Rarely, he appears as a man. Black symbolizes the fertile soil of the Nile River and rebirth in the afterlife.

Before the rise of Osiris during the Middle Kingdom, Anubis was known as the First of the Westerners, or king of the dead. He watched over proceeding from start to finish, guiding each soul and determining their fate. Even after stepping down so Osiris may rule the afterlife, Anubis still presided over mummification and the Weighing of the Heart. He acts as a guide to the dead and helps them find Osiris, leading the innocent on to a heavenly existence and abandoning the guilty to Ammit.

Ah Puch

Ah Puch is the Mayan god of death, darkness, disaster, childbirth, and beginnings. In Quiche Maya, he is the ruler of Mitnal, the underworld. In Yucatec Maya, he was just one of the lords of Xibaba, their term for underworld. In either case, it is a place of fear. Ah Puch is depicted as a skeletal figure with protruding ribs and a skull head, or a bloated figure that suggests decomposition. He often wears bells tied in his hair—a sound one never wanted to hear. He is associated with owls and dogs, and even today, the legend persists that when an owl screeches, someone nearby will die.

Ah Puch likes to surface at night and skulk around. A haunting figure that stalks the houses of the sick or injured. The only way to escape his attention is to howl, shriek, moan, and scream. At which point, he will assume the person is already being dealt with by some of his lesser demons. Only then will one prevent Ah Puch from taking someone down to Mitnal, the lowest level of the Mayan underworld.

Conclusions

From one god who protects the dead to one god who preys on the living. These gods’ depictions in each society reveal how the ancient Egyptians cherished death as they did life and how the ancient Mayans feared it. Unfortunately, unlike the many texts written about Anpu, there are hardly any in depth references to Ah Puch and how he played in everyday life of the Mayans. What was his roles as the god of childbirth and beginnings? Were sacrifices made to him? Were depictions placed on scared grounds? Or was he really just a menacing demon that hungered for death? Compared to Anpu, Ah Puch is an ancient mystery. A dark presence—or fate—no one wishes to think about. In either case, the gods of these two cultures reveal one truth: how we perceive death determines how we live our lives.

Sources

Allen, P. and Saunders, C. (2013). Ah Puch. http://www.godchecker.com/pantheon/mayan-mythology.php?deity=AH-PUCH
Cline, A. (2016). The Mythology of Ah Puch, God of Death in Mayan Religion. http://atheism.about.com/od/mayangodsgoddesses/p/AhPuchMayan.htm
Hill, J. (2010). Ancient Egypt Online. http://www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk
Oakes, L., and Gahlin, L. (2003). Ancient Egypt: An illustrated reference to the myths, religions, pyramids and temples of the land of the pharaohs. New York, New York: Barnes & Noble, Inc.
Mark, J. (2012). The Mayan Pantheon: The Many Gods of the Maya. http://www.ancient.eu/article/415/
Mark, J (2016). Anubis. http://www.ancient.eu/Anubis/
Miller, M. and Tube, K. (1993). An Illustrated Dictionary of the Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya. New York, New York: Thames & Hudson

{Guest Post} Michelle Lowery Combs (@miclowery77): Magic & Miracles: Genies vs. Golems


Lovers of fantasy may be familiar with the mythic golem of Jewish folklore. Examples of the clay figure, brought to life by Kabbalistic magic, have appeared in recent years as a Marvel Comics character, on television’s X-Files and Sleepy Hollow, and in Jonathan Stroud’s Bartemeaus children’s book series. When I began exploring the idea of a golem as antagonist for the second installment of my Genie Chronicles, Solomon’s Bell, I was captivated by the opposite yet compatible qualities of the folk figure in comparison to the series’ djinn, supernatural Arabian and later Islamic creatures of mythology and theology anglicized as genies.

According to the Quran, genies are born of a smokeless but scorching fire. They exist in their own realm, but can be called forth to interact with us. Like humans, they can be good, evil, or neutrally benevolent. In Western lore, they are shape-shifters, jokesters, and tricksters who will exploit any mistake made by a master if it means a chance at winning freedom. The genies I encountered in my earliest research resented their captivity and felt no love for their masters. There was nothing they wouldn’t do to be rid of them. Their tenacity at freeing themselves by any means necessary, I decided for my work, is what led to the “three wish” myth, and Genie Chronicles main character Virginia “Ginn” Lawson deduces that by the time a master has made three wishes, a genie has found a way to win his or her freedom to the detriment of the master. Ginn eagerly throws herself into the “be careful what you wish for” trope. Wish for a “ton of money” and boy are you gonna get it…right on top of your head!

From my point of view, golems, molded from cold clay and being—at least initially—devoid of emotion or motive, save fulfilling their masters’ commands, posed a sharp contrast. A golem was created to serve and did so blindly. Forget about free will: many of the golems in the oldest source materials I found weren’t thought to possess a soul and couldn’t even speak. (My thirteen year-old girl genie was going to have a field day!) It was the golem’s absolute devotion to fulfilling the will of its master that ultimately led to the golem’s destruction in many of the stories I explored while researching for Solomon’s Bell.

Perhaps the most famous of golem stories is the story of the Golem of Prague. Created from clay from the Vltava River by rituals and incantations performed by Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel, Prague’s golem was brought to life to defend the Jewish ghetto from anti-Semitic attacks. Versions of the story of the Golem of Prague end differently, but all of them badly with one event or another leading to the utter destruction of the golem, almost always because the golem is unable to exert even the smallest amount of free will or self-control.

As with genies, I discovered golem folklore crosses cultural lines. There are examples of djinn in many cultures; whether Anglo-Saxon fairies, sprites, and leprechauns, or Hebrew angels, each of these creatures share an origin story with genie mythology. Likewise with golems, the Gingerbread Boy and Frankenstein’s Monster are each a kind of “improvised” golem and share similar mythos. I had a lot of fun playing with the older versions of golems, weaving them into the backstory of my narrative’s Order of the Grimoire, and contrasting them to an evolved specimen: one Malory Clay, practically perfect in every way, a new girl in Virginia’s life who she refers to, when she’s feeling most generous, as Malibu Malory. In Malory Clay I found my antagonist and a catalyst for propelling Ginn into 16th Century Prague, where she hopes to discover, by learning the secrets of Prague’s golem, a way of defeating Malory and rescuing her unsuspecting family from the clutches of the Grimms.

The shared magic and miracles of genies and golems—creatures whose souls burn for freedom pitted against others formed from inanimate matter with souls in question—have made for fascinating research and have been a joy to write for Solomon’s Bell. I hope readers will find they make for a captivating story.

SOLOMON’S BELL

solomons-bell-cover
To save her family, Ginn uses her newfound genie powers to transport herself and her friends to 16th century Prague. Only one thing there remains the same as at home:  she can’t let anyone know what she really is.

The Emperor of Prague and those closest to him are obsessed with magic. In pursuit of it, they’ve waged war on the citizens of their city. In the citizens’ defense, someone has brought to life a golem, a dangerous being with connections to an artifact capable of summoning and commanding an entire army of genies. Can Ginn escape the notice of the Emperor as she attempts to discover a way to defeat Prague’s golem in time to save her family from a similar creature?

Solomon’s Bell is the sequel to Heir to the Lamp and the second book of the Genie Chronicles series.

***Praise for the GENIE CHRONICLES series***

“An exciting new spin on a genie tale. Virginia is a feisty main character who I would love to have as a friend. Captivating!” — Melissa Buell, author of the YA fantasy series, The Tales of Gymandrol

“Filled with magic, curses, and mystery … a spellbinding journey I couldn’t put down.” — Kelsey Ketch, author of Daughter of Isis

“Heir to the Lamp is Anne Rice meets Harry Potter: delicious writing, mysterious Southern Gothic, and an inventive, magical world for tweens, teens, and the young at heart.” —Susan Abel Sullivan, author of The Haunted Housewives of Allister, Alabama, Cursed: Wickedly Fun Stories, and The Weredog Whisperer

Goodreads | Amazon | BN | iBookstores

Book 1

heir-to-the-lamp-cover-art

About the Author

michelleMichelle Lowery Combs is an award-winning writer and book blogger living in rural Alabama with her husband, one cat and too many children to count. She spends her spare time commanding armies of basketball and soccer munchkins for the Parks & Recreation departments of two cities. When not in the presence of throngs of toddlers, tweens and teens, Michelle can be found neglecting her roots and dreaming up the next best seller. She is a member of the Alabama Writers’ Conclave, Jacksonville State University’s Writers’ Club and her local Aspiring Authors group. Check Michelle out at her website MichelleLoweryCombs.com.

Cover Reveal: Lies We Tell by @kellyhashway


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Lies We Tell by Kelly Hashway

Release Date: April 10th, 2016

Summary :

Madison Kramer thought her past was behind her. With a new name and a career as a best-selling author, what could go wrong?

She never expected Trevor Lockhardt to walk into her book signing, offering his services as her publicist, or that she’d end up falling for him. But what she really didn’t expect was a stalker sending her messages, both written and in the form of dead bodies.

Madison can’t escape her parents’ murder any longer. But is it their killer coming to finish what he started fifteen years ago? How long can she keep her past a secret before her lies come back to get her?

Add to your Goodreads List

ashelyn drakeKelly Hashway grew up reading R.L. Stein’s Fear Street novels and writing stories of her own, so it was no surprise to her family when she majored in English and later obtained a masters degree in English Secondary Education from East Stroudsburg University. After teaching middle school language arts for seven years, Hashway went back to school and focused specifically on writing. She is now the author of three young adult series, one middle grade series, and several picture books. She also writes contemporary romance under the pen name Ashelyn Drake. When she isn’t writing, Hashway works as a freelance editor for small presses as well as for her own list of clients. In her spare time, she enjoys running, traveling, and volunteering with the PTO. Hashway currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter, and two pets.

Hashway is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

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Book Tour: Fading into the Shadows by @kellyhashway


Title: Fading into the Shadows

Author: Kelly Hashway

Genre: Young Adult

Release Day: January 16, 2017

Blog Tour: January 23 – 29

About Fading into the Shadows

When sixteen-year-old Ella Andrews’s best friend, Avery, goes missing, she’ll do anything to get him back—starting with punching the no-brain cop who couldn’t care less about the disappearance.

Ella’s convinced Avery’s been kidnapped, and she tries everything to find him—even following a strange shadow to another world where the constellations are real-life figures in the sky. But three star groups have fallen and are destroying the world.

The fallen constellations are not the only enemy. Melanie, the princess of Stellaris, is forcing Ella, Avery, and an army of other kids kidnapped from their world to fight the rogue constellations, even as the land is draining away their life. The longer they stay, the more they fade into substanceless shadows—a fate worse than death.

Can Ella save Stellaris before there’s nothing left of her and Avery?

Buy Now

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Excerpt

I had to figure out what this place was and find someone who could help me get home. I had no clue if Avery was really here either, but I wasn’t going to find out staying in one spot.

Keeping my head down to shield my eyes from the sun, I climbed over the boulders to an area filled with bare trees. If it were winter, this wouldn’t have been weird. But it was July. The trees should’ve been green and full of leaves. These trees were blackened like they’d been burned. I looked up at their singed branches and saw an enormous pair of eyes staring back at me.

“Oh!” I stumbled backward, tripping over a pointed rock, and did the exact opposite of a belly flop onto a large boulder. My spine felt like someone had taken a hammer to it, but I was grateful I hadn’t hit my head. I sat up slowly, and that’s when I noticed the sky. Or should I say, the sky noticed me?

Even though it was night, the stars weren’t twinkling lights shining down on me. They were actual living, breathing forms. All the constellations were figures in the sky. Solid figures. A bull, which I guessed was Taurus. A goat for Capricorn. And some other constellations that weren’t exactly alive but were still objects, a crown or a shield, instead of stars. I stared at them in amazement. Sure stars were beautiful and I watched them every night before I fell asleep, but this was seriously awesome. As a kid, I always daydreamed about playing in the clouds, and it kind of looked like that was what these constellations were doing here. I forced my eyes to get used to the brightness as I studied the figures.

By the arrow pointing in my direction, I knew it was Sagittarius, the archer, staring at me through the branches of the tree. He held his bow firmly, but he smiled at me. I couldn’t help staring at him. I’d seen pictures of centaurs in Greek mythology books and in movies, but that was nothing compared to seeing this larger than life image hovering above me in the heavens. Sagittarius had thick, dark wavy hair and a beard that perfectly matched his long flowing tail. He looked like he was solid muscle, both his human upper body and his horse lower half.

He raised his right hoof slightly in front of him, and I got the impression he was trying to wave to me. I wasn’t about to offend a guy pointing an arrow at me, so I gave a small wave in return. I checked out the rest of the sky. Amazing! Like someone plucked creatures and people and other things right off the ground and placed them in the sky. I was so mesmerized by the constellations that the sound of rocks falling behind me didn’t register as possible danger until it got so loud I knew I was in trouble. Something was coming toward me. Something big.

 

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About Kelly Hashway

Kelly Hashway grew up reading R.L. Stein’s Fear Street novels and writing stories of her own, so it was no surprise to her family when she majored in English and later obtained a masters degree in English Secondary Education from East Stroudsburg University. After teaching middle school language arts for seven years, Hashway went back to school and focused specifically on writing. She is now the author of three young adult series, one middle grade series, and several picture books. She also writes contemporary romance under the pen name Ashelyn Drake. When she isn’t writing, Hashway works as a freelance editor for small presses as well as for her own list of clients. In her spare time, she enjoys running, traveling, and volunteering with the PTO. Hashway currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter, and two pets.

 

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