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You’ve been Summoned!

It’s so exciting when a book gets published. For the majority of authors, even if they’ve been published before, it’s not an easy task. Even for authors like Stephen King or Neil Gaiman who are sure to get published, it can feel like an uphill battle of creating a story that people want to read. You need captivating characters, a story that can hold readers interests for hundreds of pages, it has to be well written, and unique.

But for debut authors, they’re doing something entirely new. They’re going through the process for the first time, which makes everything feel 10 times as hard. They’ve landed an agent and that agent has sold their book! What could amount to many years of work got a new author to a point where their words will be read by other people. People that aren’t just family or critique partners or beta readers. At this point, the book has been through the depths of editing hell and has come out a shiny polished gem.

If you couldn’t tell…publishing a book is sort of a big deal. Which is why I’m SOOOO excited to showcase debut author M. A. Guglielmo and her debut book ‘Summoned’! It’s an adult contemporary fiction work, that treads on aspects of fantasy, moroccan culture, queer romance, and so much more. Tule Publishing calls it a Romantic Fantasy! How much fun is that?!

About ‘Summoned’

Zahara, party girl of the paranormal, floats up out of a lamp in Daniel Goldstein’s apartment ready to trick an evil sorcerer into giving up his soul. But Daniel, whose Moroccan grandmother has reached out from beyond the grave to command him to raise a jinn, wants to do good—by stopping a vengeful fallen angel.

The nymphomaniacal, shopping-obsessed Zahara isn’t the otherworldly ally Daniel had in mind. A do-gooder with a dangerous quest isn’t what Zahara’s looking for, either. Stuck in a magical contract with each other, the two travel to Morocco, where Zahara’s handsome friend Zaid, a jinn who’s converted to Islam, reluctantly joins their quest. As Daniel and Zaid struggle against jinn-hunting mercenaries and their attraction to one other, Zahara is forced to join forces with the fallen angel’s gorgeous but infuriating brother to stop a cataclysmic war between the human and jinn worlds.

If that synopsis does’t get you wanting to read this book, I’m not sure anything will. Except maybe the cover!! So, without further ado…

You can preorder Summoned on the Tule Publishing website, Amazon, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Google and Kobo. I’ve included their links for convenience right here!

Tule Publishing

Amazon

Apple iBooks

Barnes & Noble

Google

Kobo

About M. A. Guglielmo

Born and raised in Rhode Island, M.A. Guglielmo is the proud mother of two wonderful daughters and works as a neurosurgeon in academic practice. Drawing on her life-long love of imaginative fiction, she writes stories based mostly on Middle Eastern and Southern European mythology and legend.

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Take a Leap of Faith

What am I doing? Can I really do this? Should I?

Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre – Honor Among Thieves

I have been reading a lot of magical fantasy books lately, as noted by every book I’ve written about thus far. So this week, I’m writing about a different kind of book. One with no magic in it at all. However! What it does have, is space whales!!! Literal space whales! Yes, it’s every bit as awesome as it sounds!

I read Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre, a book about young Zara Cole, who grew up a child who hated rules, and ended up staying in the slums of New Detroit, rather than go with her family to Mars. To a “better” life. She’s gritty, she’s fierce, she has amazing street smarts, and she’s a criminal. Until one day fate decides to snatch her up and take her on a journey through the stars on a living alien ship, named Nadim (he’s the space whale).

This book is fantastic! It’s fun from the get go, and there’s enough mystery to keep it interesting throughout. The unique worlds that have been crafted, are so much fun to learn about. The journey to find out why a criminal from the slums was chosen for a coveted seat to the stars is such a fun ride I couldn’t put it down.

At one point, Zara questions what she is doing, and if the right thing to do, is go on this journey. There’s very real dangers on Earth should she stay, but she doesn’t feel equipped to go to the stars either. Things are confusing for her, and nothing really seems to make sense and she can’t get any real answers from anyone. “You were chosen for a reason” is a common phrase in her life. This parallels what a lot of trans people go through. The common trope that someone who is trans should know from the time their a kid is all too commonly not accurate.

Looking back at my own life, there were absolutely signs when I was young, but I had no idea what they meant, or how to express them, in a world where you’re taught “you’re a boy, this is what boys do”. So many trans people go through long, extended periods of denial, repression, and questioning, before they can admit to themselves they are trans, let alone others. Which is why the quote I chose this week is so accurate. I wondered the same things for months as my transition started. It never stops either. I was questioning if I was doing the right thing when I came out to myself, when I went to the doctor to get a prescription for hormones, even when I had been on hormones for 3 months and I realized my breasts were big enough to be real! It’s always scary, and you always wonder if you can continue.

But that doesn’t stop me, because like Zara, who kept getting the answer “You were chosen for a reason”, I have to remember that I’m transitioning for a reason. I was unhappy with my life, even with all the good, there was a lingering feeling of emptiness, constant depression and sleepless nights. I hated “being a man”, and I was so upset that I lost the coin toss of what gender I was. Just like Zara took a leap to avoid the dangers on Earth, I took a leap to try and fix my own problems, and life has rewarded me greatly with my courage. I get to finally live a happy life, one that I enjoy, one where I’m ok being myself, and almost all of my mental health issues have practically vanished.

When you’re presented with an opportunity to take a leap of faith to make life better, even if you don’t feel equipped to handle it, you should take it anyways. You never know how strong you are until you overcome your burdens and prove to yourself what you can do.

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Always remember who you are

The more masks you wear, the harder it is to remember who you really are beneath them all.

Katherine Locke – The Spy with the Red Balloon

I love this quote so much. It comes from the book The Spy with the Red Balloon by Kathrine Locke. It is the incredible sequel to The Girl with the Red Balloon, that I wrote about a few weeks ago. It is about two siblings who get recruited to the manhattan project, due to their magical blood. There’s magic, and espionage, and queer relationships!!! What’s not to love about all of that! It takes everything that was great about the first book, and makes it better. I absolutely loved it from start to finish. Absolutely go check it out and give it a read. It stands on its own because it’s not a direct sequel, but is definitely boosted by having already read the first book.

I really love the quote I pulled for this week. I think it’s something everyone can relate to on some level. Everyone ends up putting on a mask at some point. Some people put on a mask to hide their fear. If they show to the world they aren’t afraid, people will look up to them. Others put on a mask to hide from the world. As a trans woman, I put on a mask of masculinity for years and years, just to survive. I was afraid growing up to accept who I really am. I thought “men do this”, “men look like this”, “men talk like this”. So I put on the masks, and pretended to be a man.

Growing up in the 90s, and being in high school and college in the 2000s, being trans wasn’t something you heard about, at least in the midwest. Because of this, my mask of masculinity helped me make it through childhood, my teens, and young adulthood. I was able to pretend to be someone else, and people liked me because I was “normal”. But it was so limiting too. I lost sight of who I was. I played video games to escape reality. I was extremely introverted so I wouldn’t have to show the world I didn’t know who I was. I felt like I had nothing to offer the world.

The problem was the masks. I had lost myself behind them, and the only way out was to rip them off and let the world see who I was. So I came out as trans and began my journey to where I am today. In that time, I’ve learned that I have things to offer the world. I’m more than just that kid that played video games and didn’t socialize much. I’m a strong woman, I love to crochet, and I’m writing about my experiences to show other trans people that there is hope, it’s not all darkness. These are all things I wouldn’t have known, had I hid behind the masks for the rest of my life.

Not all masks are bad all the time. Someone who is introverted has to put on a mask of confidence when in a social setting, but that helps them connect with others! It helps them come out of their shell! Other times, a mask of fear is ok. If you need to spend a night hidden under the covers crying because school or work feels overwhelming, that’s ok! But remember to take the mask off at some point, so you don’t get buried in the negativity that it can bring. Don’t ever forget who you are, because you are amazing, and the world deserves to know that!