Poetry Contest

I don’t write poetry, however, I do care about the readers of my blog and I know a few poets amongst them. So I decided to share Kayla’s post here, on my page:))) I hope it will be useful for those bloggers who would like to showcase their poetic works.

KaylaAnn

Are you a poet? Do you enjoy writing poems until your heart is sore or until it soars?

Well, I happen to LOVE reading poetry so I would like to hold a poetry contest! Read the rules and prizes below!

Rules:

  • To be eligible for this competition you must be subscribed to my page (i.e. following and receiving emails.) Not subscribed yet? No worries! Go to my home screen and click FOLLOW (I’ll receive a notification when you do :D)
  • Leave your poem or a link to your chosen poem in the comments below.
  • I will be using a point system to chose the winner:
    • You will receive 5 points automatically for subscribing (everyone must subscribe to be eligible)
    • You will receive another 2 points for sharing the contest on your your own blog and linking back
    • Your poem will be rated on a 1-10 scale based on creativity…

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The Brotherhood of the World Award

   First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to @kaylaannauthor for nominating me for The Brotherhood of the World Award.  Kayla is new to the world of blogging (as well as I am), but her blog is engaging and already full of useful writing tips. I recommend you, guys, to check it out 🙂

 About the Award

I don’t know much about the award, all I know is that it is an award given to bloggers by bloggers.  This award is a way for bloggers to highlight their fellow-bloggers and discover more about them and the blogging process.

THE RULES OF THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE WORLD AWARD:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the questions sent to you.
  3. Nominate around ten bloggers.
  4. Create your set of questions for your nominees.
  5. List the rules and display the Brotherhood Of The World logo in your post (I put the logo on the top of this post).

Questions for Me:

  1. What do you primarily blog about?

My blog primarily consists of excerpts from my works, but also some news, interviews, blurbs, etc.  The main reason I’ve started it was to showcase my writing to the bigger audience. Such media like Facebook or Twitter has its limits. For example, messages in Twitter are limited to the certain wordcount.  Nobody would read a 2,000-word excerpt from a novella on Facebook, but they would do here, on the blog. For me, blogging is another great tool for promoting my writing and seeking feedback.

  1. What is your favorite movie adaptation from a book?

There are lots of them. These are only a few which I can recall straight away:“Angels and Demons” by Dan Brown, “The White Queen” by Philippa Gregory, “Wolf Hall”by  Hilary Mantel, “The Pillars of the Earth”by Ken Follett, “SS-GB” by Len Deighton,  and of course, the epic “The Lord of the Rings”by J. R. R. Tolkien.

In general, I love history and everything history-related, and I like historical fiction (books and films) which reflects the certain period of history in all details.

  1. What are your ultimate aspirations?

First of all, to get at least one of my books published. Also, it would be cool to create bigger audience of readers.

  1. What advice would you give to new bloggers?

Don’t stop! Even if you haven’t written anything for a long time. Blogging is a very time-consuming enterprise. When I started my blog, I’ve promised myself to write a post at least once a month. However apart from the blog, I also need to look after my Facebook page and, the main thing, to write my stories. So sometimes, I can post two articles per months, but some months I don’t post anything. I realised that the main things for blogging are consistency, patience, and determination. It’s not that easy to get a few hundreds followers for your blog (like for a Facebook page, for example), but even these couple of dozens I have worth hundreds 🙂

  1. What do you consider success when blogging?

I think, first of all, your own feelings about it. How do you feel about your blog? Do you want to come back to it more often? Do you see it as a tool for your professional development and promotion as an author? Does it help you to communicate with other fellow-bloggers/writers? The amount of followers is also important, especially if you want to build a career in it. It’s also an indicator of your content and how engaging and interesting it is for your followers.

My Nominees:

I would like to nominate the following authors:

www.herlostmango.com

www.kaylaannauthor.wordpress.com

www.homehugshuskies.wordpress.com

http://www.therandomnotebook.wordpress.com

http://www.unbolt.me

http://www.ashortconversation.com

www.scribescanvas.com

www.linaaquamarineblog.wordpress.com

www.thisisyouth.org

They all have wonderful blogs and invest lots of time and efforts into them.

Questions for my Nominees:

  1. What is the main purpose of your blog? Do you blog for a leaving, just for fun, use it as a tool to promote your writing, business, etc.?
  2. What are your favourite topics/genres of blogs and why?
  3. Do you have any topics you would never blog/write about? Do you have any taboos?
  4. What is your understanding of freedom of creativity? How do you express it in your blogs?
  5. In your opinion, should censorship apply to blogging/creative writing? If yes, who should be the censors and what criteria should they use to assess writing?

[Novella] His Personal Reich (excerpt)

 

England, 2016

   This was it—a tiny piece of paper with sloppy handwriting. Just a twelve digit number and a bank’s address—that was all that her mother had left after her death.

For the hundredth time, Andrea stared at the note without saying a word, and couldn’t believe the reality of what had happened. No calls, no letters, nothing.  Andrea hadn’t visited her mother very often at her care home, where she had been living more than half of her life.

What could she expect?

She wiped away her tears and started to enter the code on a deposit box’s screen.

An old yellowish envelope plumped up with papers appeared from the oblivious darkness of the deposit box.

Andrea pulled it out very carefully, as if she was afraid the envelope’s content might blow her up.

This was it. This was all what was left from her mum, from her childhood which she hadn’t even experienced the way like other kids had, from her family she had never known.

She made a deep breath, trying to get rid of heavy sadness which had continued to torture her for a few weeks since her mother’s death. Putting the envelope in her handbag, she left the bank and drove back home.

  It was late November, but there was almost no snow. Most of the shops, cafés, restaurants, and businesses of all kinds tried to create a joyful atmosphere, decorating their windows, facades, and porches with traditional Christmas’ themes.

Andrea caught herself thinking that this was her mum’s favourite time of the year.  ‘Oh mummy, you haven’t made it till this Christmas.’

Unlike her grandma, Andrea absolutely adored Christmas. For her, it was more about the atmosphere of warmth and joy than the holiday itself.

She felt like tears started to burn her eyes again, remembering her mother’s smiling eyes, when she had been watching the Christmas tree’s illumination.

She had never recognised her daughter. In fact, she had never recognised anybody. Andrea didn’t remember her mother speaking either. The doctors agreed that she could speak. There were not any medical reason or health issues. She just chose not to.

Being completely swallowed by her thoughts and memories, Andrea hadn’t noticed how quickly she returned back home.

She made herself a cup of tea and stared outside, at the autumnal garden. The days became shorter and shorter, and the darkness covered the naked trees with its dull greyish veil. The air felt cool and damp, but Andrea didn’t feel cold. In her recent financial situation, when she needed to save money on everything, including the central heating, she started to get used to the cold.

‘What can be worse than a job loss?’ she asked herself a month ago.

Oh, she was so naïve! It could be much worse.

‘Ah, the envelope,’ she reminded herself.

She must admit she didn’t know her own mum very well. She had always been a stranger to her. And now, this wrinkled yellowed envelope was the only link that connected her to her mother, to her family, to her past.

She opened it with a paper knife. A couple of old faded photos from the 70’s and 80’s. Her mum in a colourful long dress and a huge broad-brimmed hat smiled from the first photo which was made somewhere on the south coast. The sea breeze was blowing her red hair, and she smiled happily…so young, full of energy and life. This photo had been made long before her illness, long before Andrea was born.

She was looking through the pictures, examining them carefully, as if she hoped to find the answers to all her questions that had been screwing her mind for the last several years, after her grandma died, as if she tried to understand the real cause of her mother’s illness.

Another small long envelope with a fancy floral pattern slipped down on the floor and distracted her from the pictures. She opened it. What was it? She carefully unfolded a document.

A marriage certificate? But she was told that her mother had never been married to her dad. Grandma had never told her about the marriage; neither had she wished to talk about Andrea’s father.

21st of May 1982 

George Christopher Owen

Claudia Maria Zissman

‘Damn!’ Andrea read the document again and again, and still couldn’t believe that her own grandma lied to her, lied all her life.

She despised her father so badly that when she’d became Andrea’s only guardian, she gave the granddaughter her surname—Zissman. Why? Why did she hate her son-in-law so much, calling him nothing else, but “a useless dreamer” and “an English half-breed”?

She shuffled through the rest of the papers absently. Two pictures stuck together as they had got wet in her handbag. She separated them carefully.

One picture was a wedding photo which captured a bride and a groom surrounded by the guests. Andrea was examining the faces, trying to find her grandma or somebody she might’ve met before. Nobody.

The longer she had been staring at her mother’s white gown, the more she realised that…

‘Oh, God! She looks pregnant!’ she sighed finally, being afraid of her own guess.

The second photo, or better to say a half of it, revealed a figure of a tall man in his late thirties dressed in a ski suit. Andrea recognised these deep grey eyes and a straight nose—the features she inherited from her father. The endless snowy landscape transformed into a weird lonely mountain on the horizon, where it joined the greyish sky. But it was another figure in the picture next to him—a child, three-, four-year-old, not more. Andrea tried to figure out was it a boy or a girl, but the quality of 80’s photos was poor, an old cheap paper faded quickly, leaving wishy-washy patches all over the image.

The small figure was dressed in a navy blue ski suit and a funny blue fluffy hat which made it look like a little astronaut who had landed somewhere on a deserted frozen planet. It held a cuddly toy lion in its tiny hand.  Most likely, the figure was a boy. On the back side of the photo, she could distinguish her mother’s writing—faded but still visible figures “1985”—the year, when her dad died in an avalanche somewhere in the French Alps.

‘A boy. A brother? What had happened to him? Where’s he now? Is he still alive? Where’s the second half of the picture?’ Andrea felt dizzy.

She tossed the photos onto the table and leaned back on a chair. She closed her eyes, but the picture of the little astronaut emerged in front of her. She realised this would be her curse till the end of her life. Every single night the little funny astronaut with the cuddly toy would come into her dreams until…until she found out the truth.

[Novella] His Personal Reich (blurb)

Andrea Zissman was brought up by her strict grandmother and never knew the truth about her family. When her mother dies at a special care home, the only legacy she leaves her daughter is a mysterious envelope full of old photos.

Andrea finds out that her father, a scientist who studied the energy of Aurora Borealis, didn’t die in an avalanche in the French Alps, but was killed by members of some mysterious neo-Nazis’ colony somewhere on a remote Icelandic island. Moreover, she has an older brother she has never seen before.

Desperate to find her brother and bring to justice her father’s murderers, Andrea meets Leon Callais, a flamboyant, scandalous journalist, who is on the hunt for the Nazi’s super weapon “Nothung”, a device which can open a portal to other dimensions. He believes that death of Andrea’s father and “Nothung” are connected.

The investigation leads Andrea and Leon to Iceland where they are determined to discover the truth about the neo-Nazis’ colony, its secret weapon, and Andrea’s family. However, the colonists give them an extremely cold welcome.  Now, they need to fight not only for the truth but also for their own lives.

 

(image source: The Aurora Life )

 

An Interview for Double Decker Books.

My ideas go across the boarders Watch my interview for the USA-based magazine/YouTube channel Double Decker Books. My thoughts on writing process, freedom of expression, and my works in progress.

Follow Double Decker Books/KayCee K Books:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/doubled_books
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/doubledecke
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ItsDDB/?ref=
Website: https://doubledeckerbooks.blogspot.com

This is a brilliant platform for the writers to promote their writing, and for the readers to know more about the authors and their works.

 

[Non-fiction. Art] The Virgin and Child by Masaccio (1426)

Created in traditional for Gothic technique, using panel and egg tempera, this work, however, represents a turning point in the artist’s career.
In 1423 Masaccio travels to Rome, and from this point his painting frees from the influence of Byzantine and Gothic elements.
The golden background, the round halos of angels and the Virgin Mary refer to the traditions of old masters. Nevertheless, Roman and Greek influences prevail here. The pattern at the base of the throne is a replica of a design found on a Roman sarcophagus, its sides incorporate the three orders of columns from Roman architecture. The figure of the baby, naked and plump like a Roman putto, wears an elliptical halo and feasting on grapes, defines his position on his mother’s laps.
Mosaccio uses a single-point linear perspective, so the figures of Madonna and Child become the focal point of the painting.
(145 words)
 

 

 

 

 

[Short story]: The Son of Immortals (excerpt)

First Papyrus

I am the King of the kings, I am the son of the falcon-headed Horus, I am the beginning, I am the end, I am the one who will live forever, I am the personification of the King of Gods, Amun-Re, I am the greatest warrior who defeated the armies of thousands, who put the barbarian princes of Kush and Wawat[1] on their knees, forcing them to accept the law of Kemet’s gods. I am the one who is raising the biggest temple in honour of my divine father in the sacred city of Abdju.[2]  I am the ruler of ancient Niwt-Imn[3], the house of Amun-Re. I have hundreds of names, but only three of them can be pronounced by mortals. I am Nimaatre Smenkhare Meriamun, the live god of the land of Kemet[4].

The golden boat of Re has finished its way in the waters of the sky’s Nile and submerged into the darkness of Nun. I found myself wandering around the tombs of deceased kings who have already met Osiris in the Afterlife. I try to remember what I’m doing here in the middle of the night, but fails. The night is dark and quiet, Khonsu’s crown is shining brightly and lighting my path by its cold silver light.

My thoughts are interrupted by quiet voices. They sound from one of the tombs. Coming closer, I can see the dim light of torches, the voices sound louder. There is no doubt; I’ve met the tomb’s robbers.

Disgusting thieves, sons of dishonoured Seth, doomed to be punished in the Afterlife; their ba[5] will be eaten by Apophis, the gigantic serpent, and will be condemned to eternal death. They are who dare to steal from the kings, deserve nothing, but miserable death without a burial.

There are three of them on a doorstep of the underground tomb, ready to enter, to disturb the king’s eternal peace, ready to touch and grab, and smash everything, taking gold and jewellery and all other of the king’s belongings, throwing a mummy out of its golden coffin in their disgraceful passion for profit.

I’m going to call my guards to arrest the robbers. Instead, my mouth produces a weird, heart-stopping scream. This scream can belong neither to a man, nor to an animal. What is wrong with me? I can’t recognise my own voice.

One of the robbers turns around. His face becomes pale like linen, his eyes stares at me in horror; he drops his torch and runs, leaving his peers and screaming like a lunatic. His friend shouts at him, but noticing me just petrifies.

‘The king….The spirit of the king,’ he mumbles in shock.

‘How dare you, the son of a jackal, to touch the royal tomb?’ I shouts full of anger, trying to grab his shoulder, but my hand goes through his body and catches the air.

I see the thief falling down, his eyes are wide opened. I lean over him, trying to have a closer look. He doesn’t breathe anymore…He is dead!

I have no chance to stop the last one as he disappears in the darkness, following his friend.

I sit down on the ground in front of the tomb, examining my hands and wondering what has happened to the robbers, where my guards are, and what, for all gods’ sake, I’m doing here at night.

Struggling to follow the flow of my own thoughts, I start to read a writing on the tomb, guessing whom it may belong to.

It is a traditional plate with a name of a pharaoh on the door’s seal.

Oh Thoth, the Adviser of the kings, give me all your divine wisdom and knowledge! The king’s name on the plate is…. Userkaf Smenhkare Meriamun, the name of my brother.

And straight away, I see the face of Userkaf in front of me. He is the exact copy of me. Even our mother, the Great King’s Wife, queen Nefriru couldn’t recognize us. We are the same height, the same short black hair, the same big black eyes, the same straight long nose which we have inherited from our great father.

We were born together, but still I was the first who came out of the queen’s blessed belly. I was the one and the only heir to the throne. My brother, Userkaf, was brought up to become Chief Priest of Amun-Re, but he always desired more…Always jealous, always despising me, always wanted to be the first.

He’s been waiting, waiting for the whole life, for twenty five long years, when finally his time has come.

I remembers his face, but it’s blurry…it’s under the water. I feel the cold water fills my ears and mouth, I can’t breathe, I try to break free, but my brother’s hand is squeezing my throat tighter and tighter. I try to push him, to call for help, but my efforts are getting weaker and weaker. I’ m not a good swimmer. I’ve never been.

The grimaced face of my brother, like an agonizing blurry reflection of myself…and then…here I am. I am dead.

I’m crying, I’m cursing Userkaf who, like shameful Seth, killed his own brother to usurp his power.

Oh immortal gods, I call on you! Let me take my revenge, let me free the throne of Isis from the usurper, let me be judged by Osiris in the Underworld, let me travel together with Amun-Re in his golden boat in the skies and let the name of my brother to be forgotten forever.

Second Papyrus

This is very late in the evening. The light of oil lamps and torches is fading, and the whole palace is going to fall asleep. Only heavy steps of night’s guards in the corridors and the quiet murmur of  fountains in gardens break the silence of chambers.

I don’t remember how I appeared here. I think I just wish to come back home to my palace in Niwt-Imn, to see my wife, young and beautiful Mutnefert and our son, my only heir, Senenmut. I wish everything that has happened to me was a dream, a bad nightmare sent to me by demons of the night. I wish to wake up. I wish….to be alive.

Unnoticed, I enter my chambers and…oh Seth, pull my eyes out as I can’t bear to see my beloved wife in the arms of my brother, the murderer Userkaf.

Using our similarity, he took my throne, my name and now…he’s lying in my bed with my wife! She has been fooled as all others; she believed that it was Userkaf who drowned in a river, not me. It was an accident, the will of Hapy, the river god who took Userkaf to his underwater palace. That was a lie she’s been told.

My Mutnefert, my great queen, my little sister, my only love. I always loved her. I’ve been in love with her since I was ten, and she was only eight, but our brother desired her as well.

When our mother, the Great King’s Wife, died, our divine father took Mutnefert as his new Great Wife. The crown of Kemet should have been secured within the family, but he was too ill and too weak. As soon as he joined Osiris in the Underworld, I and Mutnefert got married.  Userkaf, the crafty son of dark demons, couldn’t control his passion, though. He tried to seduce our sister a few times, but she loved me, she has always been my most loyal wife.

I see her now, kissing him, embracing him, petting him, groaning in passion, giving him pleasure she used to give to me.

Oh Atum, the creator of the world and all people, who arose from the waters of the chaos, give me a body, and I will claim everything back from my brother. I will take my revenge! 

Third Papyrus

  I’m only ten, but I can read and write fluently. I’m short, but strong quick and agile. My father always took me hunting lions and panthers. I’ve even caught one for my own little zoo. My father told me that I was born to be a warrior, I was born to be a king, but I’m preparing for the life of a scribe.

The almighty gods have sealed my voice inside my throat, so I never could speak. I never could tell the truth. I never could tell that my uncle, nasty and crafty Userkaf, drowned my father and took his name and his crown.

I’m only a boy now. My life is under threat. I’m scared to death. Why, oh almighty gods? Why have you given me this body?

I’m sitting now at the reception chamber amongst three other pharaoh’s scribes and writing everything that is said at the king’s presence.

‘…And you are informing me about that only now, Great Vizier…’

The king is sitting on his golden throne. His head is crowned with a high fancy headdress. Tiny golden bees, colourful butterflies, and lotus’ flowers made from lapis lazuli with agates and emeralds move with each head’s movement. Long golden earrings shine in his ears; heavy wide bracelets are on his wrists and ankles. A golden balm is on his lips; he smells of lotus and rose’s oils, he is wearing my long robe and richly decorated sandals. He doesn’t hesitate to take everything from me.

Ineni, the Great Vizier and the major of Niwt-Imn, is on his knees. He is leaning lower and lower until his forehead touches the floor. Ineni is fat, old, and coward. His bald round head is shining of sweat. He is afraid to make his lord angry, but he believes in rumours.

‘I didn’t want to bother my king with the information that hasn’t been proved yet. I just wanted to wait to be sure that…’

‘To wait? To wait for what? When the prince of Kush and his allies will summon a new army? When their barbarian soldiers will stay at the city’s gates?’

The pharaoh is furious.

Ineni crawls on his fat belly, coming closer to the king, kissing his toes with gold covered nails.

The ruler only grimaces. The smell of sweat irritates His Majesty even more than the bad news from the boarders.

‘Do the prince and his chieftains remember that their sons were brought in Kemet by my father during his last campaign and have been living here since? Does he remember that his oldest daughter is one of my wives?’

‘It is something else, my lord, you should know,’ the vizier whispers barely audible, looking behind his back at me and other scribes.

‘What is it? Speak!’

Userkaf is impatient as usual.

‘I’ve heard that the rumours were spreading out in the city, Your Majesty. People keep talking…’ Ineni stammers.

‘What? Speak! Your king orders you.’

He presses his sceptre to the vizier’s head and raises his chin, looking into his eyes, looking for the answers.

‘My sources reported me, oh ruler of two worlds, that some of the high priests are involved as well. I’ve been informed that the kushite’s prince has offered a deal to the priest of Sobek, the governor of the South who believes that…that you, our divine Nimaatre Smenkhare Meriamun who shall live forever, have been killed by your own brother, the Great priest of Amun-Re.’

The pharaoh only laughs, but I see his face is getting paler.

‘Tell the priest of Sobek, honourable Hapuseneb, that his suspicions are absolutely baseless, and that I would like to talk to him regarding all these nasty rumours he dares to spread out about me. As for Beja, my kushite’s father-in-law, I think I need to remind him to whom he should be grateful for allowing him on the kushite’s throne.’

He smiles, and I feel a chill running down my backbone.

_____________________________________________

[1] Kush and Wawat—countries situated on the south-east of Egypt. Kush- ancient Nubia.

[2] Abdju—an Egyptian name for Abydos

[3] Niwt-Imn—an Egyptian name for Thebes

[4] Kemet— an ancient name for Egypt

[5] Ba—in Egyptian mythology—a soul of a deceased

“The Iced Asylum” is in “Stories in Colour” Collection.

It is arrived…finally! “The Iced Asylum” is going international :)))

The story has been shortlisted for the Eyelands 6th International Short Story contest and published in “Stories in Colour” collection by Strange Days Books. The collection was released in November, 2016 and available on  http://www.amazon.co.uk  and https://paraxenesmeres.gr/books/english/.

 

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It looks pretty good in print;))))

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With the letter from editors.

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“The Iced Asylum” has been shortlisted for the Eyelands 6th International Short Story Contest

   I still can’t believe it!  What can be better as a gift for the birthday?

   My short story “The Iced Asylum” has been shortlisted for the Eyelands 6th  International Short Story Contest. Eyelands is a Greece-based on-line portal dedicated to art and culture. Most of its content is in Greek language, however, it has got an English section as well.

Despite the editors put the work under my maiden name, I’m not upset about it:)))

Can’t wait to get a copy of the short stories collection in November.

The full details are here: Eyelands.gr English section