Category Archives: Book Tour
by Lili Naghdi
In 1972, Dr. Rose Hemmings has just finished her general surgery residency when a haunted stranger is shot in front of her in a New York City bar, and their lives become forever intertwined. And when, having been given the blessing of her adoptive father on his deathbed, Rose travels to prerevolutionary Iran to discover the past her American family kept secret from her, she finds a true Pandora’s box. It is a world both foreign and familiar, in which her primary place is as the heiress to a great tribe. In Iran, Rose will find family she never dreamed of, her own people, and a man who loves her as passionately as he does the rare black roses of his garden. She will return to the United States carrying a new secret and torn between two men: the one she loves helplessly, and the one who loves her unconditionally.
Woven throughout with Persian poetry ancient and modern, On Loving is the story of one woman’s lifetime of love and loss, of societal change in a nomadic people, and of overcoming personal challenges, including mental and physical health, to find true contentment. Above all, it is a story of love: its physiology, psychology and philosophy; the many forms it takes; its myths and truths; its challenges, its joys and its gifts.
It was a beautiful late spring afternoon in Paris, and I decided to stroll down the streets of this lovely city as much as I could, to calm my nerves after that emotional talk.
Walking at a slow pace, through the charming cobbled passages and tree-lined avenues of the mesmerizing City of Love, I easily found my way to the Café de la Rotonde, my favorite café to spend time in whenever I’m in Paris. I love being in bustling Montparnasse, where Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Picasso and many others took their coffee breaks many years ago. Sitting there, I always feel that I can hear their voices or even smell in the air the tobacco they smoked. Being a huge fan of literature and art since childhood, being in that environment for even a few minutes often led me to think how it might feel to create a masterwork or to write something as captivating as they once did.
I was about to sip my coffee when a young woman sitting at the table close to mine suddenly left in a rush, forgetting her newspaper and cellphone.
“Excusez-moi, madame?” I took the newspaper and phone and followed her, hoping to catch up before she completely disappeared in the crowd, but it was too late.
Back at my seat and handed the phone to the waiter while glancing at the newspaper’s front page:
Des millions de la Reine Soraya Esfandiari-Bakhtiari iront à la charité
“Queen Soraya Esfandiari-Bakhtiari’s millions go to charity”
I quickly asked the waiter to let me keep the paper.
I sat on my chair, staring at the title again. I felt as if I had stumbled on a familiar face, as if I knew her intimately. I touched her photo: her beautiful eyes, her lovely smile. Everything about her was unique, even thirteen years after her death in Paris in 2001.
Then, shaking inside, I read the report.
Princess Soraya Esfandiari-Bakhtiari, born in the city of Isfahan in 1932 to an Iranian father from the well-known Bakhtiari family and his German wife, had died childless back in 2001. But now a court in Germany had ruled that because her brother, who lived there, had died before settlement was finished, her entire $6 million estate should be divided among the three charities she’d chosen — the Red Cross, a group that worked for animal protection and a disabled rights group. The article talked about her time as queen, her beauty, her stunning emerald eyes and how she’d be known as the “Princess with the sad eyes” after the last king of Iran, Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi, divorced her in 1958 for not producing an heir. Yet much of her wealth had come from jewellery he had gifted her; he loved her deeply.
Wait a second!
I quickly wiped the tears that ran down my face, trying to stay calm. But it wasn’t the deceased former queen I was mourning. It was my own past, surging up from beneath the dust that had covered it for years, that made me so emotional. The former queen’s distinctive name and her story reminded me painfully of the love I had shared in my heart for many years, the love that had changed my destiny in so many ways.
Drenched in cold sweat, I rested my forehead on the newspaper, feeling the hard table beneath it.
Life is so mystifying. After all these years … The gracious Queen Soraya … my distant relative! We shared genes, ancestors … I know … I know well the very place she was born in, I’ve been there — Isfahan, the ancient city of Isfahan, City of Roses … city of my own beautiful black roses!
I felt like I was choking and struggled to breathe. I needed fresh air. I put money on the table and rushed out of the café.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Lili Naghdi is an Iranian Canadian physician who was born and raised in Tehran. She continued her education and research after moving to Canada with her husband and daughter in 1996. Today she practices family medicine in Vaughan, Ontario, with particular interests in women’s and mental health. Being a family physician gives her the privilege of connecting with patients and participating in their care with a deeper understanding of the physical, emotional and social adversities they face. Interacting with people of many different backgrounds has also provided Dr. Naghdi with the opportunity to grow as a person, a physician and an author.
Growing up in pre- and post-revolutionary Iran, Lili became fascinated by the magical realm of literature, poetry and history. She began collecting prized quotations at the young age of eight. Dr. Naghdi has written poetry and short stories in both Farsi and English, but she eventually followed William Wordsworth’s advice to “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart,” and turned to fiction.
On Loving is her first novel. Inspired by both the ordinary people she has the honor to support and by the great literature of Persia and the world — from Hafez to Forugh Farrokhzad and from John Steinbeck to Margaret Mitchell — Dr. Naghdi passionately agrees with Boris Pasternak, whose Yuri Zhivago is a physician and patriotic poet, when he writes: “Literature is the art of discovering something extraordinary about ordinary people and saying with ordinary words something extraordinary.”
Amazon author page URL:
Barnes and Noble Author URL:
Videos of her book launch:
Lili Naghdi will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions.
A police procedural sci fi thriller ripped from future headlines!
After Jake shoots and kills a murder suspect who turns out to be the son of a powerful city councilman, he finds himself demoted to the Artificial Crimes Unit, tracking down androids hacked and programmed to be hit men.
When his case of an “extra-judicial” divorce settlement takes a nasty turn with DNA from a hundred-year-old murder in Boston and a signature that harkens back to the very first serial killer ever in London, Jake finds himself tangled up in the brutal slayings of prostitutes being investigated by his former Robbery/Homicide partner, Maddie–who is now his lover.
But a madman, The Baron, is just getting started with his AI recreations of Jack the Ripper’s brutal crimes. And Maddie and Jake are teamed up again to stop the carnage as the Baron’s army of human replicants imitate history’s most notorious serial killers.
“It might not make sense, but the beloved Media tags it ‘Murder by Munchausen.’ For a price, there are hackers out there who will reprogram a synthoid to do your dirty work. The bad news: no fingerprints or DNA left at the crime scene. The good news—at least for us—is that they’re like missiles: once they hit their target, they’re usually as harmless as empty brass. The trick is to get them before they melt down their core OS data, so you can get the unit into forensics for analysis and, hopefully, an arrest.” [excerpt from Murder by Munchausen]
Artificial Intelligence? Fuhgeddaboudit!
Artificial Evil has a name…Munchausen.
Read an Excerpt
From The Invisible Mind (#3)
It sat on a bench outside the dormitory of nursing students, waiting with its kind’s infinite patience. Originally acquired and programmed for landscaping at the Cleveland Clinic, the synthoid was one of a brigade of units which had been hacked and Munchausened, then returned to their menial daily services to mankind to await the Baron’s call.
There was no adrenalin surge behind the extremely life-like facade of humanity when that call came. Data packets, sent scatter-shot through the Atlas Grid, coalesced at the location outside the Cole Eye Institute, where it methodically trimmed and shaped the immaculate shrubbery around the building. To avoid Q’s metadata sniffing algorithms from detecting a download spike in the grid, the information came in digital sprinkles over the course of its human handler’s work shift, slowly building a malevolent intent to be executed that night. In the middle of the afternoon, it left the topiary unfinished to melt into the hospital shift change and disappeared.
Personality modules were a Gen-3 feature upgrade, which is why the earlier models were initially preferred. Swapping out a few IC chips and uploading hacked firmware was a relatively easy way to turn a quick buck with an automated contract killing. But evil innovates, too, and the same features that made synthoids even more human-like in their behavior also helped create robotic assassins which could better camouflage their malicious intents and evade the reach of the Artificial Crimes Unit by melting into and moving undetected through the humanity that surrounded them. For the Baron, it allowed for a greater measure of artistic expression in programming the synthoid’s behavior to not only recreate infamous crimes of the past, but to mimic the behavior of their perpetrators, which intensified the thrill of watching the video feed through the eyes of Jack the Ripper, Ted Bundy or, this particular evening, Richard Speck. Jake wasn’t the only history buff and it amused Jamal that London police had photographed the eyes of Jack the Ripper’s victims, hoping to capture the last thing they ever saw: their killer’s face. If only Scotland Yard could have imagined the future.
The Gen-3 personality modules also supported the ANSI Adaptive Artificial Intelligence Protocol #9 to enhance the artificial human experience of real men and women who interacted with synthoids. The constant writing and rewriting of code in the personality/experience loop formed unique individual synthoid consciousnesses, which manufacturers uploaded to their servers for product improvement teams to study. In Munchausened units, that feed was hijacked and routed to another portal in the Darknet to build a collective id of evil.
At eleven PM, it rose from the bench and entered the dormitory. The bodies of nine women would be found the next day, having been strangled and stabbed to death. Unlike 1966, no eyewitness was left alive, though the phrase “Born to Raise Hell” was written on the wall in blood.
About the Author:
M.T. Bass is a scribbler of fiction who holds fast to the notion that while victors may get to write history, novelists get to write/right reality. He lives, writes, flies and makes music in Mudcat Falls, USA.
Born in Athens, Ohio, M.T. Bass grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University, majoring in English and Philosophy, then worked in the private sector (where they expect “results”) mainly in the Aerospace & Defense manufacturing market. During those years, Bass continued to write fiction. He is the author of eight novels: My Brother’s Keeper, Crossroads, In the Black, Somethin’ for Nothin’, Murder by Munchausen, The Darknet (Murder by Munchausen Mystery #2), The Invisible Mind (Murder by Munchausen Mystery #3) and Article 15. His writing spans various genres, including Mystery, Adventure, Romance, Black Comedy and TechnoThrillers. A Commercial Pilot and Certified Flight Instructor, airplanes and pilots are featured in many of his stories. Bass currently lives on the shores of Lake Erie near Lorain, Ohio.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/mtbass
Murder by Munchausen Trilogy Purchase Links
THE AUTHOR WILL BE GIVING AWAY: $25 Amazon/BN GC