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Sunday, September 9, 2018

What Makes My Heart Beat Faster by K.H. Mezek - Guest Post & Giveaway



About K.H. Mezek


Karen Hunt aka KH Mezek is, more than anything else, an adventurer. For the past two years she has been traveling the world, from the minarets of Istanbul, to the Sahara Desert, to the jungles of Costa Rica, writing her YA Urban Fantasy series, NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES.

Karen is the co-founder of InsideOUT Writers, a creative writing program for incarcerated youth, and the founder of the MY WORLD PROJECT, connecting youth in remote areas through art and writing. 

She is a 2nd degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, a first degree brown belt in Eskrima, and a boxing and kick-boxing trainer. Her love of travel and adventure started as a child when her family escaped out of Egypt right before the 6 Day War, lived in a 17th century castle in Switzerland and smuggled Bibles into communist countries, along with many other exploits. 

It’s hard to say where her adventures will lead her next, but her bag is packed, her passport is up to date and she is ready to go. 

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Books by K.H. Mezek

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What makes my heart beat faster 
Guest post by K.H. Mezek

What makes my heart beat faster? That's easy: Traveling, Boxing and Mohamaden.

Three years ago I put everything I owned into storage and began traveling the world, seeking inspiration for my urban fantasy series, Night Angels Chronicles. I'm a single mother, my children were finally grown and I had vowed long ago that one day I would leave the United States and live somewhere else in the wide world. All I need to get up and go is my backpack with my electronics and a small bag. I am not one to put great store in material possessions.

I've been everywhere from the Moroccan Sahara desert, to the minarets of Istanbul, the jungles of Costa Rica, the Andes of Bolivia and beyond. In February 2018, I landed in Luxor, Egypt and immediately thought to myself, I could stay here. The last time I'd visited Egypt, I'd been ten years old. In 1966, my dad had heard the voice of God telling him to give up his successful business career and become a writer. We'd left Los Angeles behind, boarded a plane for London and proceeded to travel in a VW van wherever God took us.

Teaching art in the village school, Sahara Desert, Morocco, a program I created called My World Project 

We made our way to Egypt in June of 1967, just days before the 6 Day War erupted. In Luxor, we stayed at King Farouk's Winter Palace, dragging a mattress out onto the balcony at night to escape the heat. I never forgot that time. Listening to the howl of wolves across the Nile, watching the magic of the lights play across Luxor Temple and the great Mountain where the Pharaohs were buried made me shiver with happiness, despite the mosquitoes and sweat running down my body.

I remember asking my dad how it could be that all the amazing people we'd met during our travels were going to hell when they were as devout as we were, just because they were of a different religion. It was the beginning of my doubts, which led to me rejecting man-made religion and respecting the faiths and cultures of all people. Those experiences did much to inspire my writing. In fact, the history of my vampires and the denizens starts with a Pharaoh and his Queen and their tragic tale. 

Returning to Egypt was an important moment in my life. What I never imagined was that I'd fall in love. All those years, caring for my children on my own, I'd become fed up from the lies and physical and mental abuse I'd suffered from my two husbands. Of course, I'd had my share of opportunities since my divorces and had taken some of them. But no one had touched my soul. I didn't trust in my ability to pick a good man--if there were any out there. Indeed, I'd felt nothing for so long, it was a shock to see this man coming toward me in the restaurant, looking like a Pharaoh himself, noble and proud with his high cheeks bones, full lips and golden skin, his slightly slanted eyes locking onto mine. Incredibly I could fee my heart beating faster. I was alive again, just like that.

On the boat Amira Sudan, Nile River, Luxor, Egypt with my husband, Mohamaden

He invited me out one night and I rode with him on the back of his motorcycle to a restaurant on the Nile. We talked and talked. after that, we were together as much as possible. We rode horses through the villages and the wheat fields, to the edge of the green where the yellow desert and the mountains began. We sailed on the Nile in his boat. I found out that he owned the restaurant and the air bnb where I was staying. Crazy as it may be, after knowing each other for less than a month, we got married. We celebrated on the Amira Sudan, a boat that is bigger than a felucca and looks like something out of the Arabian Nights. We ended up living on that boat for ten days, the most romantic days of my life. 

My husband has never been outside of Egypt. The prejudicial laws of other countries make it extremely difficult for him to visit. I am hope one day I can show him the world. Meanwhile, he is showing me his world and it is a fascinating blend of darkness and light. It is a world I have been completely ignorant about until now. A Muslim world of traditions and beliefs, some of which I strongly disagree with, others which I thought I would abhor but that I am surprisingly learning to be tolerant of. In the villages life goes on as it has for hundreds of years. 

My husband is slim and strong. He can climb a palm tree and a ship's mast, race a camel. He has worked since the age of ten on the boats. We say that between the two of us, we are two halves of a complete whole. He is more than twenty-five years my junior. The great thing about being a "woman of a certain age" is that I am free to do whatever I want and feel no guilt about it. I am answerable to no one but myself. I figure, if I can have one moment of passion, I will seize it because nothing is forever and there are all kinds of love and it's best to hold onto it when you find it. And yes, I am living my dream right now and as with many things in my life, it isn't ordinary and many would say it's controversial. 

Total romance

But then, I'm not your ordinary woman. I am a boxing and kickboxing coach, a full contact boxer, a 2nd degree black belt in Tang Soo Do and a first degree brown belt in Eskrima--Filipino stick and knife fighting. I've brought the first boxing bag to Luxor and I intend to teach here, especially women and children. My boxing bag hangs on the terrace. This is no small thing--a woman bringing a boxing bag to the village. I also run along the Nile and through the villages, the only person, male or female to do this. Men yell, "Good sport," and women smile and wave. Children have started to run with me, one boy races me on his donkey. I am especially happy to see the girls running after me--at first they didn't but they are getting braver. "You will start a revolution in the village," Mohamaden says and he laughs. We shall see. 

Teaching kickboxing in Costa Rica

I think back to the night of my marriage, sitting on the boat, looking across the water at Luxor Temple and the Winter Palace. I could feel my childhood self looking back at me, smiling with approval. My life has come full circle. It is indeed an adventure. Opening myself to new experiences has always been the way I live. Right now, this experience of living in Luxor with my husband makes my heart beat faster than it ever has before. Always live each day as if it is your first and last. 

Giveaway

One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive paperback copies of the complete Night Angels Chronicles series by K.H. Mezek: Key of Mystery, Book of Angels and Cave of Secrets.

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.

24 comments:

  1. Great guest post. I would love to visit Egypt one day.

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    1. Hi Solange!

      I hope you will be able to visit Egypt one day and experience its magic. I've had a few friends and family visit and they all love it. One of my friends is moving here to stay!

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  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Judy! I hope you have the adventurous experience of reading them!

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    1. Thanks, Ruth! I hope you will be able to read the series and enter this magical world!

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  4. Awesome guest post. Look like fantastic reads.

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    1. Thanks, Sandy! I'm working on the fourth book now, Land of Talismans, then it's only two more. I hope everyone enjoys them!

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  5. Replies
    1. Thanks Melanie! It's always fun being introduced to new readers!

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    1. Hi Kim! It's nice to meet you and I hope you will have a change to enter the magical world of the Night Angels!

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  7. Thank you for the wonderful travel pictures. You certainly are widely travelled.

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    1. Hi Mary! Traveling is one of my passions--or did I mention that already? So many places I still haven't been!

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  8. Thank you so much for such a very generous giveaway, I have my fingers crossed. :-)

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    1. HI Eliza! Nice to meet you here. Good luck and Salam from Egypt!

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  9. I was having a look at your travel posts on your websites - looks like you are living such an amazing adventure! Your books sound great too! :-)

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    1. Traveling opens the door to so many adventures--it's been amazing! I hope you have a change to enter the magical world of the Night Angels!

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  10. It looks like her adventurous life has influenced and informed her fiction!

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    1. Hi John! You are absolutely right. This series has its dramatic ending in Egypt, right where I am now. I couldn't have written this series without the inspiration of my travels. I've lived in many of the places that are a part of these stories so I talk about them from a place of love and knowledge!

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  11. Very interesting guest post! Thanks for sharing!

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  12. Karen, you are breaking down the barriers for women in Egypt! Good on you and keep it up.

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    1. Thanks Angela. I am so blessed to be able to do what I do. It is incredibly rewarding to teach boxing to girls here. I'm also learning a lot, there's much to learn from other cultures and people around the world.
      Salam!

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  13. What a lovely post. It's great that you've made your way back to Egypt.

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