Just a beggar

Hey peeps, today I’m here to beg, again, for your vote for my book.

Most votes last time didn’t go through due to their precaution (against cheating) system, and the votes are about to close on august 20th. I’ve been on the lead since April, and I wasn’t going to post about it again, but today I discovered I’m in a tie with another book.

Please help!

Here’s a step by step instruction on how to vote:

1- Click on the link below

2- Go to page 8, fantasy category (there’s a 1/16 with arrows to go back and forth through the pages. Click on the arrows until you get to 8/16)

3- Click on my book, Heir of ashes by Jina S. Bazzar

4- Choose which platform you want to use to vote – Twitter or Facebook

5- Confirm your vote by clicking on your account name


Once you’ve done those steps, your vote should’ve gone through. There’s no need to create any accounts or sign up for a newsletter.


If your vote went through the last time, two things may happen when you click on my book:


1- You’ll be sent to page 9 to vote in that category.

2- You’ll be shown the number of votes I have.

Link: https://www.tckpublishing.com/2019-readers-choice-voting-page/


I really appreciate any support I get at this stage.

Thank you very much!


Back from the grave – urr, the cave

Schools are out and summer is here and most are already going on trips, or to the beach, or hiking and camping, enjoying a vacation – to say it better: having fun.

But me? I’ve spent the most part of the past two months inside a cave… my editing cave.

Edits and revisions have never gone slower for me. I decided early on last month to change my tactic, which was to attack my manuscript top to bottom over and over. Seeing I wasn’t doing much progress with that approach, I decided to simply create a new file. Then, on to the manuscript, select and cut the first chapter, paste it on the new file. Then edit and revise that chapter to an inch of its life. What I did, exactly, was this:

1-Read and revise whatever I felt didn’t sound write.

2- Correct all the spelling and grammar.

3- Delete anything extra that wasn’t adding to the sentence – that, a, just, the -ly words and so on.

4- Rewrite sentences that could be shortened.

5- Read the whole thing until there was nothing left to add, delete or change.

6- Take my mind off the story by reading something else – so I could start in the morning fresh.


Once done with that chapter, I’d head back to the manuscript, select the next chapter, cut and paste it on that new file. Rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat…

My RISD (Revisionitis Intolerance Syndrome Disorder) is still going strong, but I’m managing it. So far, I’ve done more than half of the manuscript, about 65k words from 110k+ yes, I’m still on round 1.


Still, as you can imagine from #6 in that list, I’ve read quite a number of books this past 7 weeks, and here’s a list, in no particular order:

My reviews can be read on goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/63306583

  • Muse of nightmares (Strange the dreamer #2) by Laney Taylor


Well, I admit I put off reading this one so long because of the way that book one ended – I mean, that ending? I could practically write book 2 from it. But, I needed to read something that wouldn’t give my tortured brain shock waves, so I picked this one (after all, didn’t I already know what was going to happen?) Boy was I wrong.

Well, not entirely wrong, mind you, this book started exactly the way I’d thought it would. Had I not been in the mood for this sort of predictability, I’d have put it down on the first few pages.

But then things started evolving, and shock and shock, it wasn’t what I was expecting, and I ended up at the edge, wondering when that twist was going to happen and all my premonitions would come true. But it didn’t and I ended up enjoying this one more than the first, save for one little thing – SPOILER AHEAD! And yeah, I didn’t like that Sarai remained as she was in the end, but there was enough doubt thrown at the end to make one believe there was hope for her still.


  • Nothing But Trouble (Malibu University #1) by P. Dangelico


Nothing really special about this one, but that’s because I’ve read so many romance books, this one is just another one. It was a normal good read though, and I have no complain to make.


  • Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik


I read Uprooted by Naomi Novik a while back and enjoyed it very much – especially the length. So when I found this one, I pounced, ready to enjoy another great read. And yes, it was great, but not as great. Maybe it was the thrill of that first book, the knowledge of the danger from start to finish, maybe it was the magic of the world building of the first … Actually, no, there was magic in this one as well, and the words were captivating too. Maybe it was the fact that the reason for the endless winter in this one came too late in the story? Still, all in all, I enjoyed it very much.


  • Diary of a Bad Boy by Meghan Quinn


Very well written, but I don’t like the part where girl falls for the guy who treats girl poorly. There’s no reason for him to be an ass aside from the fact that he’s an ass.

I mean, come on to this side of real life. A guy acts like a jerk? You slap him and walk away, not fall in love. But I actually read this one through to the end – well, I listened to it all the way through, and if I fell asleep on some parts, it was still ok.


  • King of Scars (Nikolai Duology #1) by Leigh Bardugo


Alright, I actually enjoyed this one very much. I’m not a big fan of Bardugo – gasps – but I don’t have anything against her either. I did read the first book in the Grisha, Shadow and bone, and I did like it, but I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. I started reading the second book there, didn’t feel the mood and let it go for a later time (that still hasn’t come). My second book by this author was Wonder woman, and yes, enjoyed that one too. But I gotta say this one takes the cake. It was really good – and I did recognize a few names from Shadow and bone, enough so that the references made me want to go back and finish the Grishah trilogy? Series? And yes, intend to, sooner than later.


  • Blood of the Earth (Soulwood #1) by Faith Hunter


Did I ever say I was a fan of Jane Yellowrock? I was, and when the last book in the series (#12), was released, I was… sad to read it, knowing there wouldn’t be any other coming.

So when I realized Faith Hunter had started another series in Jane Yellowrock’s world? My first instinct was not to pick it up, knowing it wasn’t going to be as good. Well, it wasn’t as good, but different enough that I ended up enjoying it nonetheless. I already have book 2 in my cue to be read next.

I’m curious about Nell and who she’ll end up with, as well as about Rick – because, and this is probably an unpopular opinion, I wanted him to end up with Jane. So now I’m wondering if Nell and Rick are meant to be?


  • The Culling Trials (Shadowspell academy #1, #2, #3) by Shannon Mayer and F. Breene


This is a 3 book short stories that I read, one after the other. I enjoyed it, but I admit, I don’t like when convenient things happen when the protagonist is facing a difficult situation, and it did here, on all three books. But I like the adventure and obstacles that were thrown on the way, and the story was written for a much younger audience (teens and probably mg) so I took that in consideration. And all three were intriguing enough to keep me going all the way. I think though both authors should have made the three into one full novel.


  • Obsession in death (Naked in death #40) / Devoted in death (Naked in death #41) / Brotherhood in death (Naked in death #42) By JD Rob


Sometimes I have a penchant for police/detective work and JD Rob never fails to deliver. Romance – check. Action – check. Great visualization – check. Humor – check. Dark – check. A little fantasy – check.

Yes, it ticks all the boxes, hence the reason I’ve read 42 books in the series so far.


So that’s that. I see myself doing more of the above for the next month, unless someone manages to fish me out of that cave – by force – to do something else. So, readers – have you read any of those books or any books by those authors?

Authors? Do you have a different way for editing your work?




It’s terminal!


Well, maybe it’s not terminal, but it’s permanent. My diagnosis came through. I’m suffering from RISD. It may not be lethal, but it’s definitely frustrating.

This new illness – RISd – Revisionitis Intolerance Syndrome Disorder, means that my tolerance for revisions is very low.

So, because you won’t find RISD in any search engine, I’ll define it here for you:

RISD, or Revisionitis Intolerance Syndrome Disorder, is a chronic illness that plagues writers, often causing them to have little to zero tolerance to revise or edit their current work in progress. This disease can be mild, giving the writer at least a few hours to work on their wip, or acute, leaving the writer with no option but to work in bursts and fits.

There are stages for RISD, and this is how it starts:

1- Procrastination.

Every time I finish the first draft of a book, I flounder. The need to get the story polished is there, but I find a million other things to occupy my spare time with.

2- The loss of focus.

After the first stage, RISD progresses to the loss of proper focus. Sentences that need re-writing will go unnoticed, as well as details I’d know, but can’t figure out at the time unless a certain amount of rest goes by.

3- The need to desperately fall asleep.

If I keep on pushing, eventually I start dosing off. Sometimes I just grit my teeth and go back where I think the loss of focus began and start again. However, RISD is very sneaky, and things become so repetitive they turn into a lullaby.

4- Mushy brain cells.

Whenever I get determined to get at least a certain amount of pages done, I’ll force myself from that wonderful nap, grit my teeth, drink my coffee and force my attention right back where I’d stopped. And my brain cells turn into a soggy mush, or, depending how hard I’m working, get fried to the point I have trouble – for a second or two – recalling the names of my kids. Note: This final stage is the nailer. If I let myself get to this part, my tolerance for revisions are shot and I need to put my wip aside for a few days (weeks if the cells get fried).

**So there it is, my new diagnosis for a new illness in my long list of disease collection. My RISD is acute and it’s not fun. I have no trouble while I’m drafting a story, I can write well into the night. But when the revisions and editing begin, I simply lose my rhythm. I’ve learned that my tolerance level is anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour and a half.

What about you, do you have RISD? Can you work on your draft, revising, editing and pecking away as long as you’d like, or do you have a limit?


When Dreams Crash With Reality

Every time I try my hands at poetry, something morbid comes out. No springy flowers here.

This is just a little poem I wrote a while back. Hope you enjoy!


I thought I was unique, one of a kind, something new.

I thought I was different, always happy, never blue.

I was a determined person, and I had enough ambition to see my goals through.

I was a dreamer, and so I had many dreams I wanted to pursue.

I would see them to fruition and nothing and no one could block my view.

I had enough faith in myself; I believed that there was nothing I couldn’t do.

Oh, I was realistic enough to know there’d be obstacles in my path too.

But I believed if I never gave up, there was no problem I couldn’t outdo.

I was wrong, and disappointment came and decided to take root.

I learned that dreams are complicated creatures, full of phases and masks askew.

And that they don’t always come true.

Sometimes I can almost see the face of my dream, overcome a phase or two.

But I do know now that many dreams are built with nothing but hay and bamboo,

Strong at times, but easy enough to subdue.

Am I still unique, with all the dreams I never outgrew?

Inwardly, I still believe in the things I can no longer do.

But enough external obstacles keep me standing still, shackled, with my feet glued.

Sometimes I backtrack and try other paths, and here dreams have a different hue.

Sometimes, all I find are other obstacles, and here I falter and review.

Will my dreams ever realize, or are they nothing but taboo?

But a dreamer has nothing without dreams, and so I backtrack and renew.

Again and again I’ll take my cue, until my dreams finally come true.


I want to thank everyone who voted for my book, Heir of Ashes on the TCK Readers Choice award. And thank you twice to everyone who did it twice for the vote to register.

If you didn’t vote but would like to, votes are still open.

Check my last post for instructions: https://authorsinspirations.wordpress.com/2019/03/18/help-me-win-this-award/

And thank you!


Social Media Inept, Expert, Or Just Clueless?

I’ve been trying to get more active on social media lately. It’s harder for me on twitter and facebook, seeing that neither likes me very much.

I’ve been known to write a message to someone on facebook, only to press enter and realize that the comment went to someone else. Imagine one time when I asked my cousin to come over because my back hurt and I needed a massage? That message, sadly, went to a friend of a friend’s timeline.

After countless of those blushing moments, I kind of gave up on facebook.

Then I was told I needed to get an account on twitter. So, like the good follower I am, I did. That was in December of 2017. So far, I’ve managed to confuse myself a few times, get a little lost here and there and wonder how people keep up with hundreds of thousands of followers when I haven’t been able to keep up with a little more than a hundred (Note there are no thousands there).

A while back, I was told to try on Pinterest. I did sign up, I did share my amazon page to it. That was… about two, three months ago. I have two pins, and I think 3 followers.

I still haven’t figured out a way to pin something that isn’t a share from another page, or even how to follow someone else.

Yesterday I was told I needed instagram. My answer? A flat out “hell, no!”

I’m envious of how people manage to have an account on all these platforms, write and still manage a life – it makes me wonder if I should’ve been born a century ago.

Meanwhile (and my SM ineptitude aside) I’ve finished the first draft of the third and final book in The Roxanne Fosch Files trilogy – which will be called Heir of Fury.

Time to start plugging holes, rereading side notes and comments I left all over the place, fixing bad dialogues, adding details – smells, feelings, impressions, thoughts, and so on – and yes, helping my English teacher to stop writhing in her grave by fixing my bad grammar and spelling mistakes… all that and to keep up with SM. I know that being blind and managing platforms riddled with images are harder for me than others, but do you have trouble managing social media and still have a normal life outside of cyber space?


* Publication on feb. 20th – see note below*


Roxanne Fosch has joined the Hunters.

She no longer has to run and hide, but other problems have surfaced. Her clan has other plans for her, and even the combined might of the hunters might not be able to save her.

To survive, Roxanne will have to choose between being labeled a traitor and cast out as a rogue – or join hands with the darker powers to save her life, and the lives of her friends.

To achieve her goals, she’ll have to risk her life. But can she control the powers she’s still learning to use and fears so much?

Amazon link: http://mybook.to/HeirOfDoom

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39902049-heir-of-doom


Now, on to the next step:

I’m looking for readers interested in a copy of the book in exchange for a review on Amazon and Goodreads.

Anyone interested leave a comment or contact me directly at jina.salameh1@gmail.com

If you have any questions or suggestions, let me know!

Help me choose

So, it’s the time in my writing where I have to decide on a catchy enough blurb to entice readers to pick the book up.

Back in the day I never gave blurbs much thought – because blurbs weren’t a factor in my choosing to read or not. For me, blurbs rarely did right by a story, so if I ever happened to read it, it’d be after I read the book – or was already committed to reading it.

Now-a-days, I’ve come to realize that skipping blurbs is not a common thing, but in fact a major factor on whether a reader wants to read that story or not.

Last year I posted here two blurbs for Heir of Ashes and the blogging community helped me create a third. This year I’ll be posting two blurbs for Heir of Doom, the second installment in The Roxanne Fosch Files, and hope you’ll help me choose – or come up with a third.

A simple #1 or #2 in the comments will do – but if you’d like to elaborate, I’ll appreciate that as well.

book cover

So, without further delay:





Now that Roxanne Fosch is a member of The Hunters, she no longer has to worry about running and hiding. She can relax and enjoy life as much as an ordinary person would – or as much as a preternatural with a dangerous job like hers can.

But her clan has other plans for her, and Roxanne realizes that to survive their demands, she’ll not only have to risk her life, but the life of others… on the abilities she’s still learning to use and fears so much.



Being a hunter member means Roxanne no longer needs to worry about running and hiding. She can finally relax and enjoy a normal, free life. That is, as much as she’ll allow herself to do.

But her clan has other plans for her, and not even all the might of the hunters will be able to interfere this time around. Caught between a rock and a hard place, Roxanne will have to choose between being labeled a traitor and get cast as a rogue, or join hands with the darker powers to save her life and the lives of her friends.


A month of surfing, lazy naps and Ring a Ring o’ Roses

“No one burn their skin to save someone else’s these days. Bravery, my dear, is a sentiment long forgotten, even by the heroes.”

Heir of Doom (The Roxanne Fosch Files 02)

After an entire month of proofread – over and over and over – until I could no longer stomach the words, Heir of Doom, the second installment of The Roxanne Fosch Files was finally submitted to the publisher.

I’d have done it a lot faster if I didn’t keep falling asleep, or my mind didn’t wonder off to surf on the waves, or my kids didn’t go on winter vacation. But I did fall asleep a lot like an old nanny deprived of sleep, my mind kept wondering off and the kids were all home, bound inside from the cold and rain.

Now I’m biting my nails waiting for the publisher to finish reviewing the manuscript and start prepublication procedures.

While I wait, I’ll be posting snippets and scenes from Heir of Doom, and hopping around in the blogosphere. I can’t promise my Houdini days are over, but I’ll try to make a presence with more frequency.

For this first post of 2019, I chose a scene without much adventure, but one I hope makes an impression.


The throne room was empty of milling courtiers, save for the queen, Lee, Oberon and, of course, their guest of honor, Zantry, sitting beside a smug-looking Lee. They were all seated on colorful thick cushions on an alcove beside the dais. Brightly-hued tapestries fluttered in a breeze I again couldn’t feel, and the scent of lemon verbena was fresh in the air.

With the satin shoes on, my approach was silent, though my presence didn’t go unnoticed. The moment I entered the room through a side door, escorted by Drozelle and Crozelle, everyone stopped talking and glanced at me.

My stomach, already jittery, flipped and flopped and fell with a gurgling moan.

Zantry’s eyes met mine with interest, but there was no recognition there. For a moment I feared he had forgotten all about me and our deal, that arriving in this land had a sudden bolt of amnesia going over him. And then I met Queen Titania’s unforgiving eyes, just for a brief second, and I forgot all about him, my steps faltered, my legs almost buckling beneath my weight.

And we hadn’t even started anything.


That’s it for today, hope you enjoyed.

Ps: Thanks to Tyler Colins for pointing out all the grammar mistakes, bad punctuation, and all the typos. I swear my inner demon was just playing tricks with me, just to make me look illiterate. I did slap my forehead every time I found one I missed – I do have a red face to prove it.

Long is better – the long vs. short debate

What kind of a reader are you? Do you prefer books pertaining to a series, or do you like short stories?


I have a fetish for long books. When I was young , my criteria for browsing books was: On to the shelf of whatever genre I was in the mood for; Check the bindings of the longest books; read the titles of those long books; Pick the ones that sounds promising.

That’s right, I read the blurbs last.

And if the title had a number at the end indicating the book was part of a series, so much better. What can I say, I’m greedy this way.

Now that I’m limited to digital books only, I check the kb of the book first, then I check the number of pages, then I check to see if it’s part of a series. I did say I had a fetish, remember?

This of course, doesn’t mean I don’t read shorter works, or stand alones. I actually do read a lot of stand alones, most of which are from the romance/suspense genre.

But why long? Certainly because I have this insatiable appetite for storytelling, but it’s also because I like to get to know my protagonists. When the book isn’t that long, I’m left with an unsatisfied feeling, and I get restless.

When it’s short but still part of a series, this means I’ll get to see more of them, hear about their struggles, their worlds, and interactions with others… you get my point. It’s sadder when the series is over, I know, but isn’t the journey that counts?

That’s my opinion as a reader.

As a writer, I was shocked to learn that books for young adults have a specific word count constraint. When did that happen? Ideally, books targeted at teens and young adults should range between 55k and 80k, with a little more or less being acceptable.

I’d have never known that, by the way, if an agent hadn’t pointed this out to me earlier in the year. With Heir of Ashes around 130k words, there was no way I could snip 50k to accommodate that agent without changing the overall of the story.

Still, I did pick up Heir of Ashes and started cutting words and sentences out. By the time I was done, Heir of Ashes was 8k+ words lighter.

I could, of course, divide the book into two stories, but I figured that as much as the idea pleased me, I was not one of a kind. Maybe the average count for books targeting teens and young adults ranged between 55 and 80k words, but there are always the ones who want less, or more, like me.

I remember when I first decided to step out of the closet, I read that a book is too long when it’s over 160k words. Apparently that had been a very broad, general view, or the criteria has changed since. When do you think long is too long?

Heir of Ashes – The Roxanne Fosch Files 01

Starting today, Friday, December 14th and until Tuesday, December 18th, Heir of Ashes will be available for free on Amazon.


book cover


At the age of twelve, Roxanne Fosch had a perfectly normal life.

By the time she was twenty-two, she was being hunted.

After being trapped for years within the clutches of the Paranormal Scientists Society, Roxanne escapes and embarks on the dangerous quest for the truth about her past. Soon, she discovers that she’s not human – and a rarity even among her Fae peers.

Hunted by PSS scientists keen to exploit her extraordinary abilities, and dangerous factions whose plans she cannot fathom, Roxanne realizes that everything she’s ever known is a lie.

Praise for Heir of Ashes:

“Sci-fi adventure, fast-paced action with elements of paranormal and a strong, vibrant female main character who handles it all. An exciting debut by a promising new author.” – SRL Review

“If you love the Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries or the TV show Supernatural, I highly recommend this book. This is a YA paranormal and sci-fi story full of non-stop action, unpredictable plot twists and mysteries that will keep you turning the pages.” – Stories To Live By Review



I had just finished chopping onions for Paul when the sky broke.


It wasn’t really a kaboom, but more like giant rocks tumbling down a hill. Like a giant avalanche.


On its heel followed the torrential downpour I’d been hearing about for the past few days. A sense of foreboding kept nagging at me, a feeling that I was missing something that I should know. Or see.


“Do you need anything else before I go?” I asked Paul as I hung my apron on a peg and tried to shake the sensation away. I could hear some of the crowd outside dispersing, going home to celebrate another weekend with family, friends, or just be alone after a fulfilling meal; and the booming laughter of those who lingered for a drink and latest gossip in the diner.


“That’ll be all,” he said, sending me a distracted smile over his shoulder.


I went inside Paul’s office and grabbed my purse, a huge monstrosity my friend Michelle had desperately tried to destroy, but inside were things I couldn’t leave behind if I had to make a hasty exit. Dr. Maxwell’s journal was also inside. It had helped me sort a lot of things since I had escaped, even if it hadn’t been the one I wanted, and I never went anywhere without it.


I slung the purse on my left shoulder and let it dangle on my right side, the easier if I needed to run, then let myself out from the back door of the diner. The downpour was like a water sheet in front of me, blocking anything farther than a few feet from view.


Already water was gathering on the street, herding the brown leaves that had gathered at the edges toward the drainage system.


It was unbelievably cold for October, but I’d only been there for three months so I wasn’t sure if this was the norm for early autumn.


I shivered involuntarily and tucked my gloveless hands inside my pockets. I loved autumn, when trees turned into that burnish gold color and animals scurried to gather supplies for the winter, but it seemed like here, in this small town, winter had already arrived.

Another flash of light appeared, just a few yards to my left, followed immediately by a loud kaboom! And the bucket of giant rocks down the mountain.

That sense of foreboding returned, and I glanced around, found nothing that felt out of place.