Novel Prologue Reading of FORBIDDEN, by F. Stone

BUY ON AMAZON

Performed by Elizabeth Rose Morriss
1. What is your novel about?

Synopsis:  Gunfire echoes within the walls of a Middle East police compound. Screams of terror are brutally silenced. Police captain Hashim Sharif captures one survivor, Eliza MacKay.

Sharif becomes the reluctant keeper of his city’s bloody secret – and the witness, MacKay. His corrupt superiors have a gun rammed against his skull – maintain the cover-up. Disloyalty to the mayor will be rewarded with being buried alive.

Whatever the cost, his government’s honor must be restored. Secretly, Sharif hunts forensic evidence. Who is responsible for the murder of fifteen American volunteers? And, why did MacKay lie about her identity? He can’t trust her. Her mental illness is going to get both of them killed.

When he receives orders to dispose of MacKay, his Muslim faith is tested. Murder an innocent in cold blood? He will suffer Allah’s eternal wrath.

CIA Agent Hutchinson has the lying Sharif in his cross hairs. Sharif dodges the agent’s traps almost as easily as the hitman on his tail. When Sharif discovers the shocking truth, he loses all hope of survival.

What is worth dying for? Perhaps it’s not bringing a madman to justice. Could it be saving the life of a woman who kick-started his numb heart? On the knife edge of risk, Sharif plots an act most forbidden and fatal.

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

Suspense is the dominant genre in Forbidden. American visitors have been viciously murdered. Sharif’s struggle to survive gun battles with Omega’s hitmen permeate each chapter. While abiding by his superiors’ orders, dodging the CIA agent intent on arresting him, and controlling a prisoner with mental illness, his life has become one deadly night shift after another. Even his usual informants are too terrified to talk. The plot moves swiftly capturing the reader with a kidnapping, helicopter assault, assassination, murder and search for forensic evidence.

Woven in are the genres of terrorism, thriller, mystery, and love/romance. Who is responsible for the death of the Americans? When Sharif discovers the truth, he knows there is no chance for him to survive. He is overwhelmed with the need to ensure his prisoner, MacKay, survives and returns to her home. Both Sharif and MacKay are hunted and are forced to face their enemies without weapons and armor. Readers will be shocked with the pairs transformation, overcoming the crippling burden from past tortures.

3. How would you describe this story in two words? 

Intense
Exciting

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

Dances With Wolves had me returning weekly to the theaters for as long as it was showing in our city. I still watch like to watch it over and over again. The characters were fascinating, and the plot kept me engaged every second. The entire movie was an emotional roller coaster. I’ve often hoped their might be a sequel.

5. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

The Power of Love sung by Celine Dion. No other songs have brought tears to my eyes, or feel the ache in my heart like The Power of Love.

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

My favorite book is actually a non-fiction story. The title is Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage. It is the most incredible true story of survival against all odds. It has been my inspiration to never give up.

7. What motivated you to write this story?

Terrorism motivated me to write Forbidden. Since the terrible 911 event, fear and hatred has seduced many non-Muslims to see Islam as a threat. My research into Islam and the culture of the moderate Muslims proved to me that the farmer in the Middle East is very similar to my farming Christian parents. As I continued to study the history of the Middle East and Islam, I was inspired by the tenacity of the region’s tribes, and their passion for family values and quest for scientific knowledge. At the same time, my creative DNA began to weave what I was learning into a vision of a struggle for survival. Two main characters, Captain Sharif and Eliza MacKay, came forward showing me the horrors. the corruption, and their readiness to sacrifice everything – except their soul. They told the story of Forbidden.

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

The first person that comes to mind is Red Skelton. I love his sense of humor and ability to make people laugh without the need to belittle anyone and without use of profanity.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

My passions are many. Highest on the list are the well-being of animals, especially my four furry friends; two bouncy Shetland Sheepdogs, one feisty long-hair domestic cat, and one short-hair mouser. My neighbors have gotten used to me walking my dogs and cats together – everyone on leash. It’s a frustrating, yet fun challenge. No one agrees on which direction we are going. Leo, the mouser, usually gets his way. By the time we return home, I’m exhausted and thoroughly grounded. I’ve learned a few things while at the other end of the leash. First, don’t be in such a damn rush; and second, it can be fun to just roll around on the grass.

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed? 

Marketing is not my strong suit. Recently I attended an author’s convention wherein it was advised to enter the novel in as many contests as possible and get over the shyness of ‘exposing’ myself. Yes, I am blushing. Since then I’ve been on the hunt for opportunities that will put Forbidden in front of adrenalin-charged readers. Thank you for this awesome opportunity.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

The number one tip is to join a writer’s group, both online and in the flesh. It may take a while to find the group that’s right for you. You need to feel comfortable to share your story with strangers (you won’t be strangers for long), and the group should be serious about writing excellent stories. The second tip would be to take courses on writing, editing, publishing and marketing. I also took several courses at our University – night classes. The feedback from classmates gave me much needed confidence. The third tip is to be prepared to slug it out in the trenches for a long time. You can’t rush perfection. My first novel took ten years. Forbidden took almost five years – including the years of research. The final tip? Never bloody give up!
 

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Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

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Novel Transcript: Is it over yet?, by Naila Amin

Performed by Elizabeth Rose MorrissWhat is your novel about? 

What is your novel about? 

My novel explores forms of personal growth, the process of healing written in a creative fantasy style. It’s intention to find paths beyond conventional ones to heal inner trauma of child sex abuse and generational toxic patterns, which go unnoticed in Muslim, Pakistani families. The novel is a discovery of self, life, love and hope, which dies at the hands of obligation and cultural conformity. The novel intentionally seeks to exist outside of ‘preferred’ expectations and the awakening of sleeping souls.

What genres would you say this story is in? 

It is written in the hope to encourage self development, spirituality, healing and fantasy. So, I would say it was a unique blend of genres.

How would you describe this story in two words?  

Enchanting truths

What movie have you seen the most in your life? 

I have always been fascinated with Alice in Wonderland. It is my go to comfort film.

What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?) 

Recently, I have been listening to London Grammar more frequently. Their music speaks to my soul.

https://youtu.be/pkeDBwsIaZw

 

https://youtu.be/hS06Fn8v1yQ

Do you have an all-time favorite novel? 

Kafka on the shores! This book just appeared in my life at a time, where I was rather lost. I love, love, love Haruki Murakami.

What motivated you to write this story? 

My inner child was pretty persistent and something in my soul felt compelled to artistically speak my truth. For my buried voice to be spoken. I was over therapy and being dismissed as a label. “Survivor of abuse” did not define or describe me so I eventually I realised the only person who could author my story, was my own voice. Ultimately, I became tired by others definition, perception and expectations about my well being and growth. Thus, writing was like a noisy calling, it wouldn’t go away. Eventually, I started to write, which freed me in ways I never imagined possible. I began to hope my experiences could give light to others. A reminder we are not alone, all connected in one way or another.

If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

Picking one is a challenge! I am tied between Malcom X and Hitler. The psychologist in me, always wanted to understand Hitler’s mind and his madness. Malcom X is inspirational in his way.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about? 

Humanity. First and foremost. I believe we have a collective responsibility to heal humanity in positive, altruistic, creative ways. I feel our souls are alive in this present moment in time and in order to build a more inclusive holistic world, we had to confront our individual fears before we can help others.

What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?  

Fear.

Challenge.

Change.

I have been writing since 2006, I felt I was hiding behind my insecurities about always being told I was no good, no one would care or like my writing. Then, I realised that I didn’t start to be afraid. And I had to challenge myself outside my ‘norms’ to change the past, I was desperate to heal from. When I found your website, I understood that I could do this. It was an excellent chance to push myself further and learn from feedback. I cant grow as a creative artist, if my work gathers dust on my bookshelf. I desire to create awareness and if no one sees my capabilities, then what really am I contributing? And also I wanted to have some fun with different art mediums. So, here we are. Testing the exciting waters of the unknown.

Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Behind the veil of words unspoken, life stirs.
Sleep walking awakenings prevailing.
From one page to another, ink bleeds.
The now, knowing.

Set your intention, then honour it to your best ability with commitment to your own version of “success”. Be that, simply to capture your version or to being a high profile author, for me, it begins with intention and the power of fulfilling it. In the end, we are having an experience, the writing process is just that- a way to find growth in our personal strengths and limitation. And be brave, its much more exciting to be innovative, quirky, a misfit rather than being the “norm”. I know, which books I would much prefer to buy. Trust yourself to evolve as time passes and so will your work.

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Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

Short Story Reading: TONGUE IN CHEEK, by Lionel Walfish

Performed by Elizabeth Rose Morriss

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Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

Novel Reading of Priestess of the Forest: A Druid Journey, by Ellen Evert Hopman

 

Performed by Elizabeth Rose Morriss

BUY on Amazon: https://www.amazon.ca/Priestess-Forest-Ellen-Evert-Hopman/dp/0738712620

Get to know the writer:

What is your novel about?

It is the first book in a trilogy that spans from second to fifth century Ireland and Scotland. It describes what happened when the very first missionaries showed up in Ireland (from Gaul), written from the point of view of the Druids. The main characters are female Druids who are herbalists and healers. There are also warriors, battles and ancient Celtic spirituality and poetry as well as a glossary of Old Irish terms.

What genres would you say this story is in?

This is a spiritual work as well as a work of historical fantasy. People who are interested in Celtic history and spirituality will find it interesting.

How would you describe this story in two words?
Celtic spirituality.

What movie have you seen the most in your life?

I have watched the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter movies several times.

What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

I don’t have one. I like Beethoven and traditional Celtic music played on accoustic instruments.

Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

A book that I have read many times over my life is “Saki” by H.H. Munro.

What motivated you to write this story?

I have been a Druid for over thirty years. After several trips to Scotland and Ireland the characters began to speak to me and I basically wrote down what they did and what they showed me. Some say the books are “chanelled”. What I can say is the first book (Priestess of the Forest) came out in February of 2008 and I was writing it for nine years before that. In the book I describe a funeral using the herb Artemisia. In April of 2008 archeologists announced the discovery of the first confirmed Druid grave. When they opened the grave they found a container that had last held the herb Artemisia. That was a nice little confirmation for me.

If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would
that be?

I’d love to meet a second century Irish Druid and ask her about her beliefs.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I live in an oak forest and I have to be out in nature every day, rain, snow or sunshine. I care about the fate of the land and the animals, the health of the waters and the purity of the air.

What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

My hope is to reach a wider audience. Many Americans are fascinated with the Earth Religion of Native Americans. They don’t realize that our own ancient European religions were very similar. If our indigenous European Nature Spirituality could be better known, perhaps people would take better care of the planet.

Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

You can’t “want” to be a writer. You can only “write”. If you are really going to do it a lot has to be sacrificed. It is a craft that takes immense time and solitude. Be prepared to put in years of your life for very little monetary reward (usually). That said, for those who are born to the craft, it is one of the most satisfying ways to live.
 

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Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

Chapter 1 Reading of Killer Conversations by Stephanie Parker McKean

Performed by Elizabeth Rose Morriss

BUY ON AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Killer-Conversations-Just-Thought-Stranger-ebook/dp/B00TINB9B4

Get to know the writer:

What is your novel about?

Never Judge another person: there but for the grace of God go I.

What genres would you say this story is in?

Killer Conversations was named one of the best mystery novels of 2017, but it also falls into the Romance, Suspense genre.

How would you describe this story in two words?

Choices matter.

What movie have you seen the most in your life?

The musical “Brigadoon.”

What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the
most times in your life?)

God Is In Control

Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

“Sea Jade” by Phyllis A Whitney

What motivated you to write this story?

A lone walker who made the same circuit every day, never looking at anyone or speaking to anyone. He was young and slim, totally anti-social, and seemed to walk with the weight on an enormous burden holding his feet to the ground. Since he was so non-communicative, I began inventing stories about who he was, why he was the way he was, and what had carved out his life. My conclusion was that he was a serial killer, tormented by guilt.

If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would
that be?

Jesus

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Animals, enjoying nature, walking with God.

What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

Being informed that it had been named one of the best mystery novels of 2017.

Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Don’t write to get rich. Write because it is a fire shut up in your bones, and you must get the words out to stop the flame from consuming you.

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Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

Short Story Reading: Initiation Season by Sean McElhose

Performed by Elizabeth Rose Morriss

Get to know the writer:
 
What is your short story about?

There’s this sort of frustration I have surrounding certain initiation rituals and in-group thinking. The idea was to create a specific emotion as an example.

What genres would you say this story is in?

It’s fiction without skewing to far from a simple reality.

How would you describe this story in two words?

Expressive indignation

Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

Yes

What motivated you to write this story?

Anger

If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

Jack Kerouac

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Painting, reading, flying, mountain climbing, and learning new things.

What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

Curiosity

Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

The trick to writing is in using words in a certain order that makes a sort of sense.

 

 

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Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

 

 

Prologue & Chapter 1 Reading of BODIE by Anne Sweazy Kulju

Performed by Val Cole

Get to know the writer:

 What is your short story about?

A woman’s murder in the most violent town in our nation’s history…Bodie, California.

What genres would you say this story is in?

Western/Historical Fiction/Paranormal

How would you describe this story in two words?

Paranormal Western

What movie have you seen the most in your life?

Dumb and Dumber (my daughter and I can recite the whole movie!)

What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

I’m Into Something Good, by Herman’s Hermits

Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Suzanne

What motivated you to write this story?

A dream. The recurring dream that the sisters experience in reality belongs to me and my sister. This is our story, with tons of research and a bit of creative drama thrown in.

If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

Clint Eastwood (fingers crossed he’d bring Scott along…)

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Rescuing Pit Bulls, Up-cycling junk into Franken-furniture (I call the business “Twice Upon A Time”), and the beach, of course.

What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

Just shits and giggles. It sounded like fun.

Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Just as important as what you know, is who you know. Work at making smart connections.

 

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Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Mary Cox