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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Characters we love to hate: Bestselling authors talk about villains

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J.J. at the English language Wikipedia. Licensed under Creative Commons.

We admit it: authors love creating villains, the characters readers love to hate. It’s a lot of fun! Over the next couple of weeks, some of your favorite bestselling author s will reveal the secrets behind the nastiest, creepiest, meanest and scariest people you’ll be lucky to find only between the covers of books.

This week, mystery author Gae-Lynn Woods and paranormal-romance-fantasy author Samreen Ahsan dish about the evil.

Which villainous character did you have most fun writing about?

Gae-Lynn Woods: The first character that popped into my mind when I heard this question was not one of my murderers or even one of the all around baddies in Forney County. It was a police officer named Hugo Petchard, and funnily enough, he’s the character people tell me they most love to hate!

Samreen Ahsan: Villains play a major role in any story, both in books and movies. If there is no villain, then we don’t see the importance of hero as well. In my books, villains are as important as main characters. I show my villains as more powerful than my main character. The hero doesn’t have to win against the villain all the time.

So far, the villainous character I enjoyed writing most is King Stefan from Once Upon A [Stolen] Time. He is a manipulative, mean and self-centered person who wants to break down his son to make a diabolical copy of himself.

How did you make him detestable?

Gae-Lynn Woods: Hugo Petchard is an absolute snot. Despite the grand name of Hugo, he’s small in stature, which bothers him mightily. Petchard is in his job because his daddy has money and the Forney County Sheriff owes Daddy for making significant campaign contributions. Deep down, Petchard suspects that he doesn’t have what it takes to be a real police officer, and that unacknowledged insecurity makes him show off in ways that inevitably lead to embarrassment for himself, his fellow officers, and occasionally the entire sheriff’s department.

Samreen Ahsan: King Stefan wants his son to be as ruthless as himself, not being able to love at all. As the [Stolen] series advances (coming soon), his character grows darker and darker, until my readers would hate him so much that they’d wish to kill him. But that’s not just the end. He will be there till the last book of [Stolen] series until everything around him is destroyed, including his son and his lover.

Why was it so much fun writing about him?

Gae-Lynn Woods: Hugo Petchard is the kind of person we’ve all worked with who thinks he’s more important / intelligent / better looking / funnier / and all around sexier than he really is. He’s that co-worker the boss tolerates despite his incompetence, that one person the boss refuses to fire. It’s a blast to put him in positions where he has the potential to succeed, but because he can’t contain his ego, he ends up falling on his face. It’s also fun to put the Forney County Sheriff in the position of having to defend Petchard’s stupidity to keep the campaign dollars flowing.

Samreen Ahsan: My villain is always more powerful than the hero in my books. They control minds, they hold more power and they have the ability to create destruction for all the main characters. I loved writing him in installments as he became more ruthless and vicious as you read further.

Which book is this villainous character in?

Gae-Lynn Woods: Petchard appears in The Devil of Light, Avengers of Blood and A Case of Sour Grapes, and you can bet he’ll worm his way into the novel I’m working on now.

Samreen Ahsan: Readers already have a glimpse of this cruel character in first book of the series, Once Upon a [Stolen] Time, and he will appear in the next volume,

Gae-Lynn Woods

Author of three mysteries featuring Forney County police detective Cass Elliott, bestselling author Gae-Lynn Woods makes her home on a ranch in East Texas, with her husband, British jazz guitarist Martyn Popey. When she’s not busy being a ranch hand or roadie, she’s working on the next Cass Elliot mystery and the next companion novel featuring Cass’ best friend, Maxine Leverman.

Get to know more about Gae-Lynn on her BestSelling Reads author page. You can also find her at Amazon, or her own website.

Samreen Ahsan

Since childhood, bestselling author Samreen has been into reading and writing—which can’t happen without imagination. Her Prayer Series, A Silent Prayer and A Prayer Heeded, have won numerous awards from critics and readers in North America and Europe. Samreen is hard at work on her new [Stolen] series from her home in Toronto, Canada.

Visit her Bestselling Reads page to get to know her better. You can also find her at Amazon, or her own website.

Next musings: BestSelling authors Toby Neal and Seb Kirby on their favorite villains.

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Pre-Valentines teaser: 7 romances for you

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Valentine’s Day is less than a week away. Romance is everywhere this time of year, including  with your favorite BestSelling authors. Seven members have put their romance stories on special prices this season, so you can still enjoy a great read and have enough money left for flowers, wine and chocolate.

Back Side of a Blue Moon

Romantic mystery by Caleb Pirtle III

What happens when a man with a checkered past comes face to face with a woman whose past is as mysterious as his? “A riveting tale.”

Get it on sale.

Becoming

YA romantic fantasy by Raine Thomas

On her 18th birthday, Amber Hopkins learns why she has power surges.

“Phenomenal!”

Get it on sale.

 

The Crazy Girl’s Handbook

Romantic comedy by DelSheree Gladden

Longest. Weekend. Ever. Embarrassment for Greenly Kendrick turns into mortification, a head wound, and being patch up by her amused knight in shining armor.

“Just perfect!”

Get it on sale.

Once Upon a [Stolen] Time

Historical romantic fantasy by Samreen Ahsan

Myra Farrow has been obsessed with medieval castles. A new job awakens dark powers and binds her to a romance spanning the centuries.

“A heartwarming read that will make you realize that true love holds no bounds.”

Get it on sale.

One Shade of Red

Sizzling-hot romantic spoof by Scott Bury

University student Damien takes on a new summer business, and a romance that may be too much for him to handle.

“Funny, deep and sexy.”

Get it on sale.

The Poppy Fields

Military romance by D.G. Torrens

Emily struggles to come to terms with her tragic loss. James, a military physiotherapist, avoids love at all costs. When they meet, their lives are changed forever…

“An emotional rollercoaster.”

Get it on sale.

A Case of Sour Grapes

Romantic crime thriller by Gae-Lynn Woods

Maxine Leverman, lover of expensive shoes and beautiful handbags must unravel the links between a forgotten folk punk band, an international drug cartel, and the tangled history of a missing polygamist to keep his multiple duped wives alive.

“A delightful caper of whodunit.”

Get it on sale.

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Thursday teaser #excerpt: A Silent Prayer

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This week’s excerpt comes from the first volume of the Prayer Series.

By Samreen Ahsan

As I stare out over the city, a sound catches my attention. It’s music, but not the music from the restaurant. It’s magical-sounding. I try to determine where it’s coming from. I see a door and head toward it. It feels like it has not been opened for years; in fact, like no one has ever opened it at all. I struggle with the rusted knob and finally get it to turn and open the door. I am expecting another set of fire stairs, but instead there is a passage. There is nothing to the right or left and I follow the passage; or rather, I follow the magical music.

…The sound of the music is so warm and comforting that I realize I am not feeling cold anymore. I take a few more steps and what I see freezes me, just like the weather outside. There are no doors, no stairs in this piece of architecture. It’s nothing but a spiral passage leading down to ground level. I look down to the bottom and my heart comes into my throat. A girl is dancing to the music. From here on the sixth level I can’t see her face clearly, but the way she moves takes my breath away. I feel as if the dance and the music are casting a spell on me. The girl is lost in her dance, not caring about anyone watching her. I see the shadows of other people dancing with her, but since the light is on her, I am unable to see more than shadowy figures. For the first time in my life, I feel my soul is pulling me…toward her.

…I start walking down that spiral passage. The music becomes clearer and melts in my ears, in my body, in my soul. I have never heard of anything like this. How can mere humans create such a heartwarming composition?

Why can’t I take my eyes off her? This has never happened to me before. Or perhaps, I have never seen anyone like her.

…The violins behind me accelerate, and so does her body. She moves round and round with the music, unaware of my presence until all of a sudden, she crashes against me. I hold her by her waist tightly to give her support. The music stops, and so does her dance. Our eyes meet. Under the pink mask, her big eyes, darker than ebony, catch my attention. She looks at me as if she is looking directly through my soul. The madness in her eyes rips my existence and peels off my flesh and bone to search my soul. The darkness in them draws me to let her devour my presence, insanely and willingly.

…I want to touch her skin, but its softness and tenderness scares me in a way I have never experienced. Instead of touching her, I raise my hand to take the mask off of her beautiful face, wondering if it is as perfect underneath as it looks. She backs off and releases herself from my grip. The lights grow dimmer. The music fades. It is just me and her, staring at each other in consternation. I watch her stepping back, but cannot follow her; it’s as if my feet are frozen to the ground and I cannot move at all. I see her pick up her bag and look back at me, and then she leaves me in the darkness that she has cast on me with her one last look.

…I stand there numb, not sure for how long.

…I rush out of the spiral structure to catch my breath. Inside my body, my heart is skipping from one place to another. I feel like I have caught a really high fever. My body is trembling, and I can’t even stand properly on my own feet.

…I turn around to look back, and I’m flabbergasted. There is no spiral structure behind me. It twists my mind completely, wondering where I saw that beautiful girl, and where I came out from.

…I had never seen such an alluring woman in my entire life. A refinement that surpasses all levels of beauty and grace. An artistic existence so pure that even the angels would envy it. How could someone make your heart beat so fast, without even touching, without even kissing, without even making love? The urge to see her again is unexplainable.

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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What to give the fantasy reader on your list? A BestSelling Read!

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It’s getting to crunch time in the gift-buying season. What can you get the fantasy reader on your shopping list? A BestSelling Read, of course. And this it the perfect place to find great fantasy reads.

Samreen Ahsan

Samreen Ahsan’s award-winning A Prayer series is a romantic fantasy based on Islamic themes. Her new series, starting with Once Upon a [Stolen] Time, combines fantasy, science-fiction and time travel in a powerful love story that spans centuries.

Frederick Lee Brooke

The Drone Wars trilogy is a fast-paced, thrilling and chilling science-fiction series that peeks a few very short years into the future civil war that tears the United States apart.

 

Scott Bury

The Bones of the Earth breaks the mould of fantasy. Set in the real sixth-century Byzantine Empire, it tells the story of a young Sklavene named Javor who needs to find out how a dagger and amulet he inherited from his great-grandfather is connected to deep forces bent on erasing humanity from the face of the earth.

DelSheree Gladden

The Something Wicked This Way Comes series tells the story of young godlings finding their way in a world that doesn’t believe in them—and facing forces that want to destroy them,.

Her Twin Souls trilogy evokes Native American mythology in a reader-favorite series.

In the Aerling series, beings who are not ghosts depend on Olivia to guide them to their destiny.

DelSheree goes to the world of actual ghosts in her Ghost Host series, where poor Echo Simmons needs to learn what to do with the ghosts that haunt her YouTube channel.

Her Destroyer series tells the story of Libby, who’s person capable of destroying the world—so it’s no big surprise when she ends up with a Guardian blade at her throat.

Toby Neal

On the island of Lanai, teens from very different worlds must find a way to survive when all technology is destroyed, aided by a mysterious `aumakua dragon that may or may not be imaginary.

 

Raine Thomas

Raine Thomas

Raine Thomas has crafted several fantasy series. Each book in the Daughters of Saraquel series focuses on one sister who has to learn what it means to Become, and how to live on the Estilorian Plane.

The Firstborn trilogy traces the story of the descendants of Saraqael as they embark upon their own thrilling adventures and race against time to save the Estilorian plane…battling for love along the way

The Ascendant series are New Adult novels intended for audiences over 17 years. It tells how secret lovers Kyr and Ty must save the planet of Alametria, even while its inhabitants are trying to kill them.

Subscribe to get this blog by email to keep on top of all the best new fantasies, mysteries, romances and thrillers that the avid readers on your gift-giving list will love.

 

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Monday musings: Can you ever please a literary agent?

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By Samreen Ahsan

I’m an indie author and I published my first book, A Silent Prayer, in February 2014. Before publishing, I tried to pitch many literary agents, but unfortunately received only rejections because (obviously) no one cares for an unknown author. I was advised that I should self-publish, get some reviews and accolades and then come back again with another query letter.

So, I accepted the criticism as their wisdom words and published through an independent publisher―a lot of cost was also involved. Of course, nothing comes free. Writing and publishing a book is a tedious business, which requires lots of effort, unwavering dedication and money.

Success grabbed my hand and I kept winning awards and recognition one after another, receiving five-star reviews by readers and appreciative feedback from some editorial critics. I kept sending query letters to agents. I received nothing but rejection. I’ve even lost count now.

Then, I read some blogs where authors discussed: you need to work on the query letter. Again, I took this advice and worked on my query letter. I thought maybe my query letter was not good enough. I hired professionals who helped me make query letters. I got a few responses. The positive ones from agents asked me to send the first few chapters and a detailed synopsis.

Again, after three months of waiting, I was still let down by the agents. I don’t care how much money I’d earn after selling my booksall I want my book is to be available in every bookstore, broadening my readership. And this won’t be possible without coming under the umbrella of a large publishing house, which is

not possible without pleasing an agent.

So how do you do that? Honestlyno answer.

They read your first three chapters and decide the book is not good enough for the mass market. I’ve read some crappy books that became NYT bestsellers―whose initial chapters did not gain my attention as a reader, and whose reviews were also not worth discussing.

I don’t know exactly what intrigues the agent. Is it the writing style, the story, the character depth―I don’t know. I’ve seen books with skyrocketing sales that have no plot, no depth in the characters and a very predictable story-line with abundant sex scenes that sound ridiculously impossible in reality. Sex in an elevator, on a kitchen counter, over an office deskreally? I want to meet those couples in real life.

So I thought maybe I have issues with my story. It doesn’t matter if it has more than fifty five-star reviews or seven awardsmaybe the story is not fit for the mass market. For a test, I uploaded my book for free on Wattpad to see how readers would take my story. The response was unbelievable. Within two months, more than hundred thousand subscribers read my book, liked it, voted it and purchased the second book of the series from either Amazon, B&N, Smashwords or Kobo. My sales increased―my readership increased. Still, everyday I receive messages through Wattpad how amazing the book is, people begging me to upload the second book of the series since, in some countries, the ebook is not available and it is not available in their bookstores where they could just go and buy it.

That is why I wanted to publish through a large publishing house: to make it available for readers, bringing my story to the shelves of all bookstores. I know: not everyone carries a tablet or e-reader. There are people on this planet who still like to feel the book and prefer a paperback.

Interestingly, I still receive rejections after tremendous support and positive feedback of my readers. First agents say: you need to get reviews and recognition (which is not possible without publishing a book) and then they say…oh! we see you’ve already published it. Come back later with a new unpublished manuscript. (Huh! What a nice approach to reject!) And it seems like a recursive process.

Apparently, one of the agents told me that despite being good reviews, they want to see if I’ve good sales as well. It made me chuckle when they said they’d only pick my book if the Amazon sales is at least 50K per year. Really? If I were making this much amount of money from my one book, why would I need an agent to take all my book rights and give me only 2% of the sale?

And all they say is: it just needs one agent to like your book. So, I’m waiting for the right agent to like it. If you’re writing a book or planning to query the agents―be prepared for rejections but don’t think your work is bad. Every author has a different voice―you can’t compare apples and oranges―likewise, you can’t compare Nora Roberts and Dan Brown.

So, just be patient, keep querying agents and hope for the best.

After all, you need only to please one!

Samreen Ahsan is the author of the multi-award winning Prayer series.

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. I live in Toronto, Canada.

The Prayer series, comprising A Silent Prayer and A Prayer Heeded, is my first story about paranormal events based on Islamic concepts. My new series begins with Once Upon a [Stolen] Time.

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