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Writer Wednesday Welocomes: Amira Aly

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to a new indie author Amira Aly! Amira has stopped by here as part of her Wow! Women on Writing Blog Hop and she’s agreed to come and motivate us to Step Out of Our Comfort Zone. What brilliant advice!

About Amira:

Amira Aly lived in Canada up until her first year in university when she moved to Egypt to study medicine at the University of Cairo. It seemed she was on the traditional route of a medical career working as an intern and teaching assistant in the surgical pathology department. But then she discovered the wonderful world of freelance medical writing. And who could resist its charms?

Egypt: The Uprising isn’t Amira’s first book. There was that picture book she wrote when she was five years old. Sadly, publishers didn’t recognize its brilliance but it was the first step on a life filled with a love of writing.

When she isn’t writing Amira likes to read her favorite authors Anne Rice, Stephen King, and F. Scott Fizgerald. She also spends time dancing, playing video games, and eating her favorite food Molokheya (an Egyptian green soup). She’d like to squeeze in time to learn a fourth language. She already speaks English, Arabic, and French. Amira lives in Cairo with her husband, 7 year old daughter and 17 month year old son. Her children would like to add a dog to that list but Amira, still traumatized by the loss of a pet turtle, has sworn off pets. That, and she knows she’ll be the one walking the dog even though everyone promises they will.

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

by Amira Aly

Where I come from, women don’t write fantasy.

Strike that.  All over the world, a women’s name does not a fantasy book sell. Just look at J. K. Rowling who was advised by her publisher to use her initials rather than her name so as to not ” put off” male readers.

I had a fantasy story that needed to be told. A story about ancient Gods and modern pharaohs and teenage freedom fighters set against the backdrop  of the 25 January 2011 revolution. Everyone I spoke to when I was working on my novel scoffed at the idea.

“A woman of middle eastern heritage is expected to write certain types of books, you know.” said an old high school friend of mine.

“With your medical background, I bet you could write a medical thriller.” said another well- meaning friend.

What both these friends did not know is that I already walked the path of women’s fiction and medical thrillers because when I started writing, I was told, time and time again: “write what you know.”

It is great advice when you’re starting out, because you can focus on honing your technique and mechanics. It takes the heat off and makes writing easier. The trouble with this mantra is that it keeps you locked in your comfort zone.

What’s wrong with comfort zones you may wonder.

There is plenty wrong–because in the uncharted territories may lie your greatness. Your true talent. And you will never ever know until you try.

Writing “Egypt: the Uprising” and planning out the series the Battle for Maat was the most fulfilling venture of my career. I found myself in fantasy, and I intend to stay there for a while.

Had I dismissed the idea, had I chickened out and just lingered in my comfort zone, I would have missed out on the most rewarding experience of my career.

Do not write what you are expected to write. Write what YOU want to write. Step out of your comfort zone and take a leap of faith–it may just be the only thing standing between you and an enticingly fulfilling writing career.

 

Egypt: The Uprising

By Amira Aly

Aya is a teenage girl trying to live through the Egyptian Revolution of January 2011 with her brother and aunt without getting swept up into the demonstrations and violence. But fate has something else in mind for Aya. What starts out as an attempt by Aya to drag her brother and is friends away from the demonstrations transforms into a battle with ancient Egyptian figures who have returned from the past to take control of modern Egypt. Can Aya learn enough about her mysterious past and powers in time to save her world from the evil threatening it?

Egypt: The Uprising is a fascinating combination of modern events, historical figures, secret organizations with magical powers, and adventure that keeps readers on the edge of their seats.

 

You can learn more about Amira and her work online:

Author’s Websites:

http://www.battleformaat.com/

http://amiraaly.wordpress.com/

 

So, I’m in an Anthology

Well, I’ve never been published before. Not ever. So, I’m pretty happy with myself today. I’ve signed some contracts this year, but nothing will be available until 2012, so truthfully those feel fake. It’s just so far away. In February for example, I signed a contract for a three book deal with a small press, BUT book one in the series won’t be out until August 2012. That’s 18 months- a pretty hefty wait. Somewhere around the 6 month mark you think, “Wow, I still have another YEAR to wait” and you quit thinking about it. What’s worse is telling people in my real world I signed a book contract, only for them to hear the pub date and slide their eyes at me. “Uh-huh.” The look says. “Sure, I have one coming too – next year.” I know they think I’m deluded. They don’t understand the snail’s pace to which this industry moves like we do.

That said, I wrote a short sweet romance for the Summer Shorts Anthology published by the Turquoise Morning Press a couple months back and it is available! Sure, sure, my story is only about 10 pages long, but it’s HERE. I’ve never seen my words on actual paper I didn’t buy from WalMart in ream form. Better yet, there’s a picture of me  inside and my bio and a blurb & excerpt from my debut novella coming in January (ish). LOL.

This is a big day for me. A huge deal. Today I’m feeling less like a fraud and more like an author. I can add links to my posts and have a book on the other end! I did that. I wrote that. Those are my words. I’m feeling kinda proud of myself today.

Do You Take A Vaca From Writing?

I’ve gotta tell you, I don’t. Not really and never intentionally. I might not write something everyday, but I am working. Here’s what I mean. Some days I write thousands of words. Some days I revise, cut, and edit the words. Some days I spend hours reading pages from my critique group or friends I trade pages with. Some days are spent on social media. I get sucked in, chatting and ranting and laughing with authors and writers and friends, and the actual writing never happens. I blog. And I read. I read a LOT. So, do I take a day off? No. I love it, all of it and I find myself seeking time to do all of the above things. I can’t help it. I don’t schedule it into my day. It just happens. It’s my life. On the treadmill, I plot. To me, this is part of writing. While I make dinner, I lean over a book on the counter and devour an exciting new story.

I don’t condone this behavior. It’s completely obsessive. No one’s life should be so wrapped up in one thing….should it? I don’t know. I mean, it works for me. I’m as happy as I’ve ever been. If you tend to beat yourself up for not writing more, remember actual words on a page isn’t the only measure of your writing. To hone your craft, you must read. Reading is like food to writers. Reading published works, reading about writing, it all counts. Brainstorming counts too. Even if you’re sitting in a bubble bath thinking, “I wonder if my MC ever takes a bubble bath?” It counts. Keep those creative juices flowing. When you do have a minute to write, you’re less likely to spend it staring at a blank screen.

How about you? Do you take a writing/reading/blogging/industry vaca?

Another Reason to Meet Writers: Quotes for Your Book

Here’s something I never really thought of until a few months back. Now, I’m seeing it come up on blogs and in my yahoo groups. Once your amazing manuscript is purchased, you’re going to need a couple quotes from authors. Uh oh. Don’t worry. Now is the time to start building relationships. Before the edits with you publishing house and all the publicity work, now is when you should be meeting writers. When we’re in the writing process and the being rejected phase, on an agent hunt…these are the moments where camaraderie and encouragement are priceless. Then, later when our book is FINALLY going to print, and our editor says “can you give this to a couple authors to read and ask if we can get a quote for promotion?” You won’t stand blinking into your celly and thinking “Aw crap.”

So, get out there and network with writers! Writers are cool! Writers are fun! And if you never have to ask them for quotes, you’ll still have gained a super fun new bestie who understands what its like to be a crazy writer. Priceless.

Writer Wednesday Welcomes: Aubrie Dionne!!!

I am very excited to introduce you to an amazing new writer friend of mine, Aubrie Dionne! She absolutely wonderful and through the emails and chats I’ve had with her, I’m ready to dive into Sci-Fi. I mean if she’s into it– it MUST be awesome!

Meet Aubrie:

Aubrie is an author and flutist in New England. Her stories have appeared in Mindflights, Niteblade, Silver Blade, A Fly in Amber, and several print anthologies including Skulls and Crossbones by Minddancer Press, Rise of the Necromancers, by Pill Hill Press, Nightbird Singing in the Dead of Night by Nightbird Publishing, Dragontales and Mertales by Wyvern Publications, A Yuletide Wish by Nightwolf Publications, and Aurora Rising by Aurora Wolf Publications.  Her epic fantasy is published with Wyvern Publications, and several of her ebooks are published with Lyrical Press and Gypsy Shadow Publishing. When she’s not writing, she plays in orchestras and teaches flute at Plymouth State University and a community music school.

What is Your Paradise?

In Paradise 21, most of my characters find paradise, but they don’t all find it in the same place. Some find it in a place, and others find it with each other. You’ll have to read the book to find out who finds it where.
The question I raise is: what defines paradise?
In Merriam-Webster Online, “paradise” is defined as
a : edenb : an intermediate place or state where the souls of the righteous await resurrection and the final judgment c : heaven
2: a place or state of bliss, felicity, or delight
Interesting, because “waiting” for anything for me is hell. I’m so impatient. I’m not sure my paradise would be waiting for resurrection. But I do like the word bliss.
Have I felt paradise before? Yes. My whole family together at Christmas, and my vacation in Hawaii were bliss in totally different ways. Do I feel paradise everyday: no. But that’s okay. J There’s a little bit of paradise in eating a chocolate bar, or holding my sister’s new baby, or taking my dogs on a walk in nice weather. Little moments of paradise are sprinkled throughout each day.
People also use “paradise” as a catch phrase:
A candy store is a child’s paradise.
Or
Barnes and Noble is a writer’s paradise.
My question to you is: What is your paradise?

Paradise 21 by Aubrie Dionne

Aries has lived her entire life aboard mankind’s last hope, the New Dawn, a spaceship traveling toward a planet where humanity can begin anew—a planet that won’t be reached in Aries’ lifetime. As one of the last genetically desirable women in the universe, she must marry her designated genetic match and produce the next generation for this centuries-long voyage.

But Aries has other plans.

When her desperate escape from the New Dawn strands her on a desert planet, Aries discovers the rumors about pirates—humans who escaped Earth before its demise—are true. Handsome, genetically imperfect Striker possesses the freedom Aries envies, and the two connect on a level she never thought possible. But pursued by her match from above and hunted by the planet’s native inhabitants, Aries quickly learns her freedom will come at a hefty price.

The life of the man she loves.

 

Find Aubrie around the web!

http://www.authoraubrie.com
http://authoraubrie.blogspot.com

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