Thursday teaser: A Silent Prayer

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A Silent Prayer coverThis week’s teaser is from the first paranormal romance

By Samreen Ahsan

Is that really her? Is she the same woman who cast the spell on me?

“Sylvain, get in here immediately,” I say to my personal assistant in a very unpleasant manner, without looking at her. She follows me into my office.

“Is something wrong, Mr. Gibson?” she asks in a motherly tone.

“There is some breakfast meeting or get-together going on in sub-basement…umm…in the Maple Room. Find out all the details about it—who is holding it; what it’s about. Ask the security department to fetch me the list of all the invitees along with the pictures from their security badges.” I have never been so insistent about anything.

Sylvain leaves immediately. I sit down behind my huge dark wooden desk and swivel my leather chair to face the view outside. It has started raining again. My office is on the fifty-fourth floor. It feels powerful to take in the view and own a place so high, yet I felt so weak in front of that girl.

What is in her that I couldn’t articulate?

She is undoubtedly the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, and it was quite unsettling to me that the charm that other women usually see in me was completely invisible to her. Is she truly an enchantress from some other world, or is she a part of my fantasy that I have conjured? I am spellbound. A human can’t cast a spell. There must be some witchcraft going on.

At the sight of her, my heart had begun beating like a drum. It’s the same feeling I had eight months back when I met the woman dancing passionately in that old building. I can never forget how those ebony eyes looked at me from behind the mask, how she was trying to catch her breath, her breasts resting on me.

Is she the same girl?

No, she can’t be. Rania is an ordinary girl, doing a regular job. There was magic in that enchantress, in her eyes, in her lips, in her movements, yet the same magic exists in Rania’s eyes too. And her fragrance, it was so familiar. The same aroma that intoxicated me that day, when I lost my mind. I lost it today too. The spark that I got when her hand touched mine, did she feel the same sensation?

I look at my hand carefully to check if it has turned blue due to the electrical current. Nothing like this has happened to me before.

What the hell is wrong with me?

A Silent Prayer

The Prayer Series, Book 1

WINNER OF 2014 LOS ANGELES BOOK FESTIVAL.
WINNER OF 2014 PARIS BOOK FESTIVAL.
HONORABLE MENTIONS, 2014 NEW YORK BOOK FESTIVAL
“An intense, joltingly modern love story.”—Kirkus Reviews

Adam Gibson is a young and powerful Toronto millionaire. Despite his many blessings, he is an atheist, though he has an altruistic soul. He denies there is a God—until he meets a beautiful stranger in a place that does not exist for anyone but him.

Rania Ahmed strongly believes in God, but has lost hope she will ever find her soul mate. Endowed with hypnotic beauty and cursed by a brutal past, Rania has no idea she has cast a spell on Adam, who has never received more from a woman than physical pleasure. As Adam slowly discovers the true meaning of love from Rania, he begins to face his demons and reconsider his beliefs. He learns to love, forgive and repent. But as Adam grows closer to Rania, a series of strange, unexplained events threatens to drive them apart. To keep her from being destroyed by her past, he must persuade her to trust him with her deepest secrets.

In this spiritual romance, an atheist embarks on a path of enlightenment with a tormented soul who may just have the power to change everything he has ever believed to be true.

About Samreen Ahsan

History, art and literature are my passions. I love digging out information about prophecies, divine miracles and paranormal events that are mentioned in history and holy books, that don’t sound possible in today’s modern world.

Since childhood, I have been into reading and writing—and yes, it can’t happen without imagination, which luckily has no boundaries. Dance and music are also pastimes I enjoy, as well as reading romance fiction. I love to travel and explore historical cities.

A Prayer Series” is my first Multi-Award-Winning Series about paranormal events, based on Islamic concepts.

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Life Imitating Fiction: I Married an Alien

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By Raine Thomas

When I found out that our group was tasked with writing posts about something we’ve experienced in our lives that imitated our books, I puzzled and puzzled over it. I’m a fiction writer, after all. I don’t generally write about things that happen in my real life or that I ever think I’ll personally experience. I write about fantasy and sci-fi worlds; in my contemporary fiction, I write about hunky baseball players and rock stars. None of which, I’m afraid to say, is my reality.

If I really stretch this blog concept, however, I can loosely relate my reality with the characters in my award-winning sci-fi romance Ascendant series. Kyr and Ty are aliens who travel great distances to be together. Similarly (although here on Earth), I married a man from another country who then became a permanent resident alien here in the U.S. And trust me, there was a lot of travel required before we ended up married and living together.

(Okay, I said it was a stretch. Work with me, people!)

I met my husband in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. We were both attending with friends and ended up staying in the same place. Rather like when Kyr sees Ty at the beginning of Return of the Ascendant, there was an immediate sense of awareness and familiarity between us when we first saw each other. I simply can’t explain it. I’ve read about moments like that one in romance novels…that instant spark between two people. To have it happen to me felt otherworldly.

So that’s the “life imitating fiction” moment that I decided to share with all of you. I’m happy to say that after that first meeting in New Orleans and a couple of years of long-distance dating, I married that “alien.” We just celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary…and we couldn’t be happier!

I thought it would be a fun touch to include the scene from Return of the Ascendant where Kyr (or Kyra when she’s on Earth) first sees Ty. Enjoy!

Kyra wondered how he’d known what she was thinking. She shook her head, figuring he’d just made a lucky guess based on the circumstances.

They walked for several feet before her sanity kicked in. She tried to remove her arm from the man’s grasp, but he just held her tighter. While the action should have alarmed her, it didn’t. It sure as hell annoyed her, though.

Giving him a more careful study, she tried to place his face. What little of it she could see as he studied their surroundings seemed familiar. Had she met him at a party? Was he in one of her classes last year?

That didn’t seem likely. She’d surely have remembered someone as hot as he was.

His gaze moved sharply to hers. She found herself catching her breath as she looked into the most startling silver eyes she’d ever seen. No one could possibly have eyes that color.

“Who are you?” she whispered.

Grab your copy of Return of the Ascendant on any of these platforms:

Raine Thomas

is the award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction. Known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination, Raine has signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen. She’s a proud indie author who is living the dream.

Raine is a hopeless romantic with a background in the fields of mental health and wedding planning…two areas that intersect far more than one would think. Her years working with children and young adults with emotional and behavioral challenges inspired her to create protagonists who overcome their own conflicts. When she isn’t writing or glued to e-mail or social networking sites, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.

Where to find her

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Tumblr  |  Instagram  |  YouTube  |  Goodreads  |Linkedin  |  Tsu

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When weather imitates words

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weather imitates writing in the Czech Republic - on BestSelling Reads

The wind ruffles the surface of the Tepla River in southern Bohemia, Czech Republic, just before the dark clouds roll in—very similar to my 2011 short story, Dark Clouds: The Mandrake Ruse.

Travel always inspires me with ideas for new stories and novels. That’s one reason I like to travel to different places, especially where their history is easy to observe. The old stories are worth retelling, and from them new stories spring like flowers along a country road.

I am going to travel again in September and I’m really looking forward to new experiences, foods, people and ideas.

But events during a trip my wife and I took last year seemed to have been inspired by a story I wrote.

Shadows reach down from the sky

Last year, my wife and I traveled to the Czech Republic. On our last night there, we had supper on a patio overlooking the Tepla River in southern Bohemia. Darkness came early, presaging a summer storm.

We had thankfully finished our dinner and were enjoying the last of our wine when I looked up and across the river. Dark clouds had covered most of the sky, but under them, a lighter-coloured cloud was moving fast, like a carpet unrolling—straight toward us.

The ragged edges of the cloud reached for us, some like ragged fringes, others like grasping tendrils of an undersea predator.

The sight unnerved everyone on the patio that night—not just my wife and me, but also the group from Poland at the table next to us. I could see gusts ruffling the river’s surface into flotillas of tiny ripples that dashed from one strand to the other.

Never open with the weather

That’s what Elmore Leonard said, but sometimes it’s the right thing to do.

The second work of fiction I published was called “Dark Clouds: The Mandrake Ruse.” It opens with wind spinning weather vanes around. Soon after, the heroes see a dark cloud moving fast toward them, across the sky. When the cloud reaches the protagonists, the son and daughter-in-law of the Witch Queen, it throws up a storm of dust and pebbles, blinding and stinging the couple.

In Bohemia that night in June, the strange dark cloud continued to unravel over our heads—but if it had been unrolling, the rolling motion was counter to the movement of the overall cloud, itself.

When it hit us, the wind whipped a napkin off my lap and a glass bottle off the table. My wife stood up to move indoors, and her chair flew off the patio, landing three metres away, then sliding down three stone steps.

The wait staff reacted immediately, picking up napkins and cutlery and small items, sweeping up broken glass before the wind scattered the pieces. We guests retreated indoors and watched the clouds come lower and closer.

Then the rain hit like surf crashing on a beach. When the lightning began, it illuminated the forested tops of the rides and hills surrounding the hotel. It continued flashing for hours, light filling the dark hotel room, providing entertainment unmatched by any summer blockbusters.

Living what I write

It was a memorable moment, a memorable night. Even my wife said “It’s like your story, ‘Dark Clouds.’”

It’s always been important to me that my writing is as realistic, as believable as possible. That’s why I do so much research about the settings of my stories and the history behind them. It’s why I describe little details about the places, the furniture, the light and, yes, the weather. It helps put the reader into the story, helps them understand and, ultimately, experience the story.

Because that’s why readers enjoy books: they take the audience out of their everyday reality, and allows them, in a small way at least, to experience the exotic, the fantastic or the downright impossible.

So when something happens to me that echoes so closely what I described six years ago, I have to admit—it’s gratifying.

When has your life reflected art?

Tell me about something that happened to you that seemed to echo something you read or saw in a book, film, song or picture. Leave your description in the Comments, and I’ll send you a copy of Dark Clouds.

About Scott Bury

Scott Bury just cannot stay in one genre.

After a 30-year career as a journalist and editor, Scott Bury published a children’s story, and a story that bridged the genres of paranormal occult fiction and espionage thriller. Since then, he has published 12 novels and novellas without regard to staying in any one genre: fantasy, satire, mysteries, thrillers and biography.

In 2012, he published his first novel, the historical magic realism bestseller The Bones of the Earth. His next book, One Shade of Red, was a satire of a bestseller with a similar title.

From 2014 to 2017, he published the Eastern Front Trilogy, the true story of a Canadian drafted into the Soviet Red Army in 1941, and how he survived the Second World War.

He wrote four Hawaii mystery titles for Toby Neal’s Lei Crime Kindle World; Jet: Stealth for Russell Blake’s Jet Kindle World, and two for Emily Kimelman’s Sydney Rye Kindle World.

He has also launched a new mystery series with Wildfire, featuring the smart and passionate Tara Rezeck.

Find out more about Scott and his writing:

And follow him on Twitter @ScottTheWriter.

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Monday musings: Three under-appreciated indie authors I’d like to invite to dinner

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by Raine Thomas

The indie author community is both very large and very small. We pursue our passion from all over the world and find each other through author events and on social media. I’m happy to say that I’ve been a part of this community for almost seven years now and in that time I’ve met some incredible people, both virtually and in person.

If I could, I’d host a huge party and invite all of the wonderful indie authors I’ve gotten to know over the years. For the purposes of this post, however, we’re narrowing our invite list down to three. That’s a tough task, but here we go!

The first author I’d invite to dinner would be Amanda Jason. Her popular book Lucky Number Four was one of the first indie rom-cams I’ve ever read, and it had me laughing from the very first paragraph. I also happen to know that Amanda Jason is the pen name of a truly beautiful soul named Carol Kunz. Carol also co-writes with her son, Adam, as under-appreciated indie YA author C.A. Kunz. If I could count them together as one author, I’d for certain have them both to dinner!

My next invite would go to Michelle Cornwell-Jordan. Michelle is one of the kindest, most supportive people I’ve ever known. Michelle has numerous books, most of which are YA paranormal or steampunk and all of which are (in my opinion) under-appreciated. One of the things I love about Michelle is what she does to support the indie author community, from sharing posts across her blog and social media to reading and reviewing ARCs and even hosting her own podcast. She is a force to be reckoned with, and it would be an honor to have her over for dinner.

The last dinner invite I would extend to an indie author I haven’t yet met in person would go to South African author, Deborah Leigh. Deborah’s first book, a hard-hitting romance called Firebird, was intense and powerful, clearly written from the heart. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Deborah through social media and I have a sneaking suspicion we’d get into all kinds of trouble if we had dinner together!

There are many, many other indie authors out there who I’d love to meet in person. Hopefully one day that will happen! Until then, I can live in my fantasy world and think of what fun I’d have if I could sit the above three authors down to dinner.

Raine Thomas

is the award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction. Known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination, Raine has signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen. She’s a proud indie author who is living the dream.

Raine is a hopeless romantic with a background in the fields of mental health and wedding planning…two areas that intersect far more than one would think. Her years working with children and young adults with emotional and behavioral challenges inspired her to create protagonists who overcome their own conflicts. When she isn’t writing or glued to e-mail or social networking sites, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.

Where to find her

BestSelling Reads author page  |  Amazon Author page  |   Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Tumblr  |  Instagram  |  YouTube  |  Goodreads  |Linkedin  |  Tsu

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A Fantasy-romance teaser: A Silent Prayer

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This week’s teaser is from the fantasy-romance, paranormal thriller first book in the Prayer Series

By Samreen Ahsan

A Silent Prayer coverWhen I reach my destination, I exit the station and notice that it is not raining anymore. I walk down the entire block and see the Gibson Enterprises sign on the opposite side of the street. It is a tremendously tall building, fifty stories at least, touching the skies above. Outside the building is an ostentatious stone and marble entry with the company’s name etched on it. It makes me smile, wondering how much money has been spent just to carve the marble. As I continue toward the main entrance, my bag gets stuck on one of the decorative bolts sticking out of the wall. Everything spills out of it like spring showers.

Damn! Why do things like this always happen to me? And always in the wrong place? I free the strap on my bag and begin to pick up my belongings.

Thank God it’s not raining, otherwise my Kindle would have been soaked by now. I realize someone is gazing down at me intently, and I look up to meet the most beautiful dark green eyes I have ever come across. I look away and continue picking things up, cursing my handbag and the decorative bolts and wondering why the hell he is not helping me pick up the stuff. I look up again and the emerald eyes are still on me, apparently dumbfounded. They are not just eyes; they are like two precious gemstones with all four Cs: Color, which is composing my soul, Cut, which is ripping my clothes off to expose me, Clarity, as if he is looking through me, and Crystal, like he is an open book, with nothing to hide. Each emotion is visible from his eyes. As if he has not seen anyone like me. As if I am the only woman on this planet at this very moment.

Or is he enjoying my misery?

I get up and look at his blank face, then head to the door.

We were told two days ago that since the main office of Greenway Advertising is also located somewhere in this building, we are authorized to go through the turnstile by swiping our badges. I check the time: 8:55 a.m., still five minutes to the start of the meeting. I would have arrived early if not for the bolts. I reach the turnstile and slip my hand in the front pocket of my bag where I always keep my badge.

It’s not there. Damn! Where is it? Did I lose it when I dropped everything?

I curse myself and turn back so as not to block other people coming through. My body slams into a tall strong masculine form, causing me to lose my balance. He holds me tightly by my waist. I meet those amazing eyes again as he swipes the badge and propels me through the Plexiglas door into the building.

Whoa! What was that?

He releases me and I see a silent smile curving his lips. He has not spoken yet. The security guards are looking at me with ‘it’s okay’ expressions on their faces. What kind of security do they have here? I am here for the first time and they let the green-eyed man bring me through the high-security door without any questions. Why didn’t they check his ID?

He finally condescends to speak, hiding his smile. “You dropped this when you were struggling with the bolts.” He hands me my badge.

So you were enjoying the sight and didn’t have the courtesy to give it to me earlier?

“Thank you for picking it up for me.” I don’t hide the sarcasm in my voice. I leave the doorway, as people are passing through the turnstile and it is not appropriate to stand here and gaze at this alluring man. I move toward the elevator and take out my phone to confirm where the breakfast meeting is actually happening. The invite says “The Maple Room,” but not where it is located. I read the email again and again to make sure I am not missing the floor number. I should ask the management or those guards if they know.

“You look lost. May I help you?” I look up from my phone and meet those green eyes again. This time he is actually smiling. His bright shiny teeth look like they belong in a toothpaste commercial. For the first time, I notice that he is not only the owner of beautiful emerald eyes but he has a charming physique—the kind of guy who can seduce a girl with his sexy body. Along with a beautiful smile and magical eyes, he has a really charming face with a little bit of stubble, but very neatly trimmed. He is hot. Just like a Hollywood celebrity.

Control yourself, Rania.

About A Silent Prayer

About A Silent Prayer

A Silent Prayer is the Book One of A Prayer Series

Adam Gibson is a young and powerful Toronto millionaire. Despite his many blessings, he is an atheist, though he has an altruistic soul. He denies there is a God–until he meets a beautiful stranger in a place that does not exist for anyone but him.

Rania Ahmed strongly believes in God, but has lost hope she will ever find her soul mate. Endowed with hypnotic beauty and cursed by a brutal past, Rania has no idea she has cast a spell on Adam, who has never received more from a woman than physical pleasure. As Adam slowly discovers the true meaning of love from Rania, he begins to face his demons and reconsider his beliefs. He learns to love, forgive and repent. But as Adam grows closer to Rania, a series of strange, unexplained events threatens to drive them apart. To keep her from being destroyed by her past, he must persuade her to trust him with her deepest secrets.

In this spiritual romance, an atheist embarks on a path of enlightenment with a tormented soul who may just have the power to change everything he has ever believed to be true.

A Silent Prayer is the multiple award-winning title.

  • Winner  2014 Los Angeles Book Festival
  • Winner  2014 Paris Book Festival
  • Winner  2014 Hollywood Book Festival
  • Honorable Mention — 2014 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards
  • Honorable Mention  2014 New York Book Festival
  • “An intense, joltingly modern love story.” Kirkus
  • “This is a love story with a twist – perhaps one of the most unusual love stories I have ever read.”—Raheel Raza, freelance Journalist & documentary filmmaker
  • “I think A Silent Prayer by Samreen Ahsan is destined to become a classic in the romance genre.”—Readers’ Favorite
  • “A powerfully written modern day romance with a strong spiritual element. Highly recommended.”—The Wishing Shelf Awards
  • “Samreen Ahsan gives their love story a series of obstacles, but a love as powerful and inevitable as gravity pulls them together. Five stars!” — Scott Bury, Author of Army of Worn Soles
  • “Once I started reading this book it was very hard to put down.” — Books and Beyond Fifty Shades Blog
  • “Samreen Ahsan’s A Silent Prayer gets 5 stars hands down!” — Julies Book Review

About the author

History, art and literature are my passions. I love digging out information about prophecies, divine miracles and paranormal events that are mentioned in history and holy books, that don’t sound possible in today’s modern world.

Since childhood, I have been into reading and writing—and yes, it can’t happen without imagination, which luckily has no boundaries. Dance and music are also pastimes I enjoy, as well as reading romance fiction. I love to travel and explore historical cities.

A Prayer Series” is my first Multi-Award-Winning Series about paranormal events, based on Islamic concepts.

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Six ways to choose your next read: Monday musings

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By Raine Thomas

Woman hoping her next read is worth the effort

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

I’ve seen a common complaint on social media lately, one I’ve experienced myself as an avid reader. The complaint is about finding a book to next read. It’s getting more and more difficult to find affordable, well-written e-books. I know you’ve been there: you download a book that has a great cover and blurb and hundreds of reviews, you dig into it, and you promptly realize it’s got a flimsy plot and tons of proofreading errors.

Frustrating, right?

With the market getting more saturated by uploaded e-books every day and some unscrupulous authors buying or farming reviews, how can we as readers choose books that we’re most likely to enjoy? Here are a six tips to choose your next read:

Ask your friends to help you choose your next read

There’s usually at least one person in your life with a reading passion similar to yours. Exchange feedback with him or her about books you’ve each read and take their advice on the best ones to add to your Must-Read list.

Join groups on social media

You’ve likely found that people tend to be quite opinionated and frank on social media, which makes it a potentially solid place to get honest feedback about books. Find groups with similar interests to yours and see which books get the best buzz. Don’t be shy about asking whether people in the group have read a book you’re considering downloading. Most people would be happy to answer!

Read the free excerpt

Most e-book retailers offer the option to take a peek inside the book before you buy it. Take a few minutes to read the free excerpt to get a gauge of the author’s writing style as well as how well edited it is.

Revisit authors you’ve enjoyed in the past

Most authors produce at least a book or two a year. Go back through your reading history and find authors whose books you enjoyed. Find them on book retailers or social media to see if they’ve released anything new. Better yet, sign up for their fan page and/or newsletter to make them tell you about your next read.

Follow reputable book bloggers

Book bloggers are wonderful sources of information about books. Seek out bloggers with an established reputation who point out elements in their reviews about things like storyline and grammar issues to help guide you on your purchasing decisions.

Check out the reviews

Before purchasing a book, read the reviews … both positive and negative. Be sure to read the reviews objectively to avoid being swayed by “trolls” who try and reduce an author’s sales by leaving unjustified negative remarks. You want to look for consistency in the content of multiple reviews to best judge the book’s content.

Do you have a method for choosing your next read? Let us know about it in the comments here or on social media!

Raine Thomas

Bestselling author Raine Thomas is careful about choosing her next readThe multiple award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction, Raine is known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination. She has signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen.

She’s a proud indie author who is living the dream. When she isn’t writing or glued to e-mail or social networking sites to find her next read, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.

Where to find her

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