Features, Mentions, & Interviews

FROM THE HEART -A Journey of Love released on October 16, 2014 by Hope and Life Press Publications. Available on Amazon and with major Booksellers worldwide.

 Features, Mentions and Interviews

Featured in the January 1, 2016 Issue (#132) of the online magazine: Be a Bestseller

Author Interview by VEMA (October 2015 edition, page 15 -featured interview)

Author Interview by Hope and Life Press

Featured in Arab Woman Platform

My poem, Prayers for Humanity also featured in Arab Woman Platform

Video Interview & Feature by Wormhole Riders News Agency

Podcast Interview in The Moving Icon on Orthodox Christian Network (OCN)

Author mention with the Chicago Tribune

Author mention with ArabAmerica.com

 Amazon Accolades

Amazon New Hot Releases -in Middle Eastern Poetry October 16 – November 16, 2014

Amazon Best Sellers -Women Authors in Poetry #92 November 28, 2014

Amazon Best Sellers in Middle Eastern Poetry #4 (Amazon Canada) March 9, 2015 (On list from March 9 – October 16, 2015)

Amazon Best Sellers in Poetry by Women #41 March 13, 2015

Hadel’s Corner – Poetry 2009-2014

“FROM THE HEART A Journey of Love”

 by Hope and Life Press 

Publication Release on

October 16, 2014 on Amazon

Background photo of the famous 6th Century Mosaic Map inside St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church in Madaba, Jordan where I was baptized. 

Below images are of front and back cover of book. 





The wind hurls among the Olive trees
Unchanging its path through the brittle leaves
Murky waters unsettled by the sands
And red lobsters do their usual dance
The lonely wind makes a wave
As it passes the hallowed cave
Untouched by time and
No sound or chime
The reddish sun hides in the distance
Like the unchanging wind without resistance.


Am tired of everything around me
Am tired of everyone beside me
Am truly tired.

Am tired of living in this world of hate
Am tired of giving too much into fate
Am frankly tired.

Am tired of dropping my face
Am tired of hiding my race
Am honestly tired.

Am tired of the world’s double standard
Am tired of children being battered
Am simply tired.

Am tired of dogma used as a weapon
Am tired of God’s holy name used in vain
Am just tired.


Written and By Hadel S. Ma’ayeh

©Copyright 2015, All Rights Reserved

Please note for my followers and friends; I had to remove all my previous poems due to the contract with my publisher. I am allowed to publish two of them (as shown above) that were already posted on two blogger’s sites. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

James A. Toups – Author, Business Thought Leader, and Speaker

James A. Toups

Adversities are conquered by strength and courage to weather the storm and triumph, by means of oneself, family, friends and local community; however, most of all, spiritual faith, that grows stronger with every pain and joy in life.

James A. Toups is such a man who has shown such resilience and great faith in times of adversity during Hurricane Katrina in the Deep South in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, and engrossed in the Christian culture, James witnessed misfortunes and sufferings, but through all the strife whether personal or from natural disasters, James’s devotion in God lifted him out of the depth of darkness and into the light. His powerful devotion in God gave him great fortitude in times of discord. In return, James brought this spirit and belief to his New Orleans community in crucial moments in their lives.

James is a devoted husband, a father of six and grandfather who is a motivational public speaker who helps his clients to grow by the economic theory of distributism. He also, served on various parish and school boards while active in Evangelization with the parish of his church.

From life’s anguishes to celebrations, James has brilliantly written 22 different stories about his formidable upbringing in a small town in the Deep South. His published book, The Storm: A Time of Mercy, Choices and Hope is a journey through childhood to adulthood that shapes James’s devout Catholic faith over five decades with his family. This pilgrimage from James’s private accounts, takes his readers through heartaches, laughs, jubilation and intimate memories that is relived in James’s compelling words. He does well in reminding his readers that God the Father would not and has not abandon His faithful during crises.

Most importantly, James’s 22 stories offer his readers hope when all things seem lost.

It is a wonderful privilege to have James A. Toups part of my Arts and Entertainment Features and I would like to thank him, personally, for taking the time to share his life and works.

Tell us about yourself?

To know me is to know my family. After my faith, they are my source of joy and motivation. God has blessed me with a wonderful and supportive wife for nearly 28 years and six children, four girls and two boys, between the ages of 26 and 6; and a granddaughter who has just turned two years old. I grew up the entirety of my life in the Deep South in New Orleans, Louisiana immersed in the Christian culture. Time on the Gulf Coast of the United States of America gave me unique opportunities to witness storms of great proportions, both meteorological and societal.

We currently live in Lafayette, Louisiana, to where we evacuated after Hurricane Katrina, then made our home and re-established our business. We have a small, family business management consulting company in which we have intertwined the philosophy of distributism and bring that to implementation with our clients, showing them how to grow and prosper in unison with their employees and community.

Your first book The Storm: A Time of Mercy, Choices and Hope is a Catholic nonfiction book, Can you tell us more about your book?

Front and Back Cover of Toups’s Published Book, The Storm: A Time Of Mercy, Choices And Hope

In The Storm are presented 22 different stories about our family and the various storms and joys of life over five decades. In it is chronicled not only the lives of the people involved, but also the quickening changes of our society and how, if we allow Him to do so, God will lift us out of our storms, strengthening us and preparing us for future battles.

The book, written in the third person, reads much like an adventure novel drawing the reader into the story. It is my hope that each reader can find their own story in the pages of The Storm and thank God for all He has done for them.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I always chuckle a little bit when asked that question. God decided that for me through a series of events that culminated in my writing the book during the summer of 2015. To be honest, I did not realize I had it in me to write a book, yet God has a way of accomplishing with us what we would have previously thought impossible. I found the process of writing both rewarding and challenging.

Where did you get your ideas for your book?

The Storm: A Time of Mercy, Choices and Hope was first prompted in a moment of divine consolation. I was in our backyard, watching my family swim, and felt a profound desire to praise God the Father for all He had done in my life. At that moment, I began writing The Storm. Through much prayer and time in Adoration, what was initially a journal turned into a book. My wife was extremely helpful in her critiques and adding missing details. In the end I came to know with all my soul that if we allow Him, God can truly do wonderful things through each one of us.

What is the most memorable comment(s) you heard from your readers/fans about your book or as a writer?

I have to say it has been a humbling experience to allow God to work through the book and touch lives. One of the most memorable comments came from a person who read the book and through tears told me it helped them to heal past wounds and learn to forgive. They came to understand that forgiveness is our choice. When we forgive, through the grace of God, we heal our souls and find peace.

What gives you inspiration for your books?

I have always been an observer of human nature and our reactions to joy and suffering. I find the faith, toughness and resiliency of the people I meet in my travels to be incredibly inspiring, as well as how in the most difficult times they find ways to give God praise.

Are you working on another book and what is it about?

Toups’s New Published Book Out In October 2016, The Cajun Storm: God’s Servant First

Yes, I am very excited about it and am to be released before the US general elections. My second book is titled The Cajun Storm: God’s Servant First. South Louisiana has just suffered a 1-in-1000-years flood. In the book is shown the great response that arose from the Christian faith community in Louisiana after the flood, amid the failings of national leadership to respond adequately. The book makes the case for strong Christian leadership, while cross-sectioning Catholic Social Doctrine and the economic philosophy of distributism.

Please, if possible, to share an excerpt from your first book The Storm: A Time of Mercy, Choices and Hope?

One of my favorite excerpts comes at the very end of the book as I observe a lady that has been severely burned over her entire body:

“Humbled, the latter bows her head and prays, “Lord Jesus, we ask You to bless our sister, sustain her, and heal her in her injuries. She loves You and she is Yours. In Your name, we pray, Our Father, Who art in heaven.”

Dumbfounded, the man thinks, How can she be so joyful?? He can understand with great clarity the excruciating pain she must be in. In a momentary prayer, he internally says, Lord, heal her. She is a beautiful soul. And at that instant, whispered into his heart and impressed upon his inner being, come the words, Son, she has Me. She has all she needs. Be joyful; you have Me, you are Mine. Bring hope and joy wherever you go. Be a man of hope. I will sustain you through all your storms. The world needs hope.”

Author page on Hope and Life Press

Book available on Amazon

Intro written and edited by Hadel S. Ma’ayeh ©Copyright 2016, All rights reserved.
Images provided by Hope and Life Press ©Copyright 2016, All rights reserved.

Home For Autumn

blogautumnPumpkin spice scent drifting through corridors
Frost is felt within morning brisk breeze
Yellow and auburn leaves twirl over red tile floor
A puff of burning amber fills air without seize.

Caramel green apples sprinkled with crushed peanuts
Halloween attire and seasonal orange bags bought with glee
Set to eat buttered sugar cookies garnished with coconuts
Children in fanciful garb ask for sweet goodies then flee.

Plans are laid out for turkey, ornamentation and fresh cranberries
Designer dinnerware primed and silver utensils polished beforehand
Relax in family sitting room and sip warm tea while gazing at flurries
Thank and praise God above with prayers for bountiful heartland.

Written by Hadel S. Ma’ayeh ©Copyright 2016, All rights reserved.
Image by Northbridge Times ©Copyright 2016, All rights reserved.

Christopher Villiers, Author, Poet and Theologian

Christopher Villiers

Since the recorded history of the Christian faith, poems have been written to articulate devotion and love of God, in such works from the New Testament, Gospel of Luke, Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis; and also Biblical poems are noted throughout the psalms from the Hebrew Bible.

In the 20th century, many modern and contemporary Christian poets emerged to reiterate their adoration and passion for God from various denominations; for instance, Catholic poets, Annie Dillard and David Craig; Orthodox poets, Scott Cairns and Anna Akmatova; and Protestant poets, Lionel Basney (Calvinist) and Calvin Miller (Evangelical) are some of the widely popular Christian poets of their day.

Profoundly, in the 21th century, Christopher Villiers with his well-spoken and raw enduring talent of writing poetry, he may mature into a notable Christian poet. By his humbleness and from his devout faith, Christopher’s beautiful sonnets speak of love for God, and redemption.

Christopher is not afraid to explore the weakness and temptations of humanity and discovering God’s love and mercy that are wonderfully depicted in his new book of 52 icons of poetry, Sonnets from the Spirit.

Christopher Villiers is an award-winning theologian and British poet from North-Devon, England. He holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Theology from Durham University, United Kingdom. His specialty is in the history of Christian doctrine and writes for ecumenical theological journal, Sobornost as well as a freelance writer for academic and popular publications.

Christopher has been writing poetry since his teens and from the encouragement by his colleagues and friends, he continued to write poetry deep from his heart.

Christopher’s idealistic presence of God magnifies and uplifts his readers to move closer to the Father of Heaven. He reawakens the eagerness to prayer, forgiveness, and to love as God loves the world.

Christopher’s sonnets are ecclesiastical lines that keep his readers enthralled by each rhythmical sentence until the end. His clever word choices and expressions along with descriptive relations to scripture stories from the New or Old Testament, allow his readers to literally gasp and palpitate as they absorb each backdrop like the torture and crucifixion of Christ. On top of, accompanied with the sonnets are stunning illustrations of major works of sacred art. 

Christ and Pilate in What is Truth

I wholeheartedly would like to introduce Christopher Villiers to my Arts and Entertainment Features and to thank him for his gracious time.

Tell us about yourself?

Hmmm, what’s there to tell?

I am an Englishman living in North Devon, a coastal south-western region of my country which is very nice when it’s not raining. I am a Catholic who studied Theology at Durham University on the other side of England in the North-East, specializing somewhat in Patristics (my M.A. thesis was on St. Cyril of Alexandria).

After graduation I ended up, in lieu of anything more lucrative, doing little book reviews and suchlike for religious publications whilst fantasizing about becoming an accountant (sadly I can’t count so that dream will never come true).

I started writing poetry again for fun at the start of last year for the first time since my teens, so I suppose that I can be called a poet (I’ve been called a lot worse).

You are an author of a book of 52 icons in poetry, Sonnets from the Spirit; tell us about your book?

Sonnets from the Spirit began in Lent last year as I tried to write religious poetry as a spiritual exercise. It is a series of Biblical meditations beginning with Adam first beholding Eve in the Garden of Eden and ending with the coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary as the woman clothed with the sun in the Book of Revelation.

The concentrated and formal structure of sonnets gave my work much needed discipline and intensity. They are mostly imagined reflections by Biblical characters spanning both Testaments like Noah, Pilate and even Judas. I try to show them as human, often all too-human figures through whom and/or in spite of whom God’s will are done. I tried to avoid plaster saint piety and I hope that I have succeeded.

Front Cover – Sonnets of the Spirit by Christopher Villiers

When you write your poems, are you inspired by your faith and beliefs?

Of course, Sonnets from the Spirit would not exist without them!

These poems emerged from my attempts at a prayer life, and in so far as there is anything good in them that is the work of the Holy Spirit. My faith in God gives me the strength to keep writing and gives me ideas for my writing.

The Transfiguration

I wrote these sonnets to God in response to his loving kindness to me, a sinner. Many of the narrators in my sonnets involve “sinners” and outcasts, they meet God’s mercy when it is least expected and I hope this will speak to my readers. I am seeking to write more poetry in that vein, though perhaps less explicitly and more implicitly religious in style.

How did publishing your first book change or amend your process of writing poems?

For a start, it made me want to write anything except another sonnet!

I was so sick of the form by the end. I am experimenting with other forms, such as the five line Japanese Tanka poem and I am thinking about writing a longer poem.

I also felt challenged to find new subject matter. Many of my newer poems are about nature, seeing God’s presence in his creation without lapsing into sentimentality. I am also writing love poems, where I explore the analogy between human and divine love (and also when the analogy breaks down and our efforts at love are rather different from God’s love).

As a poet, how do you stay original?

I agree with T.S. Eliot’s saying,

“Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.”

You have to be open to inspiration everywhere, from a crowded bus-stop to an old hymn you start remembering for no apparent reason. You have to take it, build on it and make it your own (which is VERY different from mere plagiarism).

Rubens – Feast of Simon the Pharisee

William Blake made a living engraving other artists’ work, but he drew on this experience to create some of the most original art the world has ever seen. The most important thing is to pay attention, there are fresh ideas all around you so long as you keep your eyes and ears open.

Who influences you the most as far as poets or poems?

I have had many influences, at the moment I am really into poetry by William Blake and W. B. Yeats, they are really helping me to develop as a poet with a lyrical edge.

The poems by the seventeenth century Anglican clergyman, George Herbert, have a great religious beauty that makes me love poetry more and more; though I still adore John Donne as well (the seventeenth century was a great time for English poetry).

I also can’t get enough of Gerard Manley Hopkins, I wish that I could write with his lovely “sprung rhythm” and sense that there lives the dearest freshness deep down things (God’s Grandeur) and in that freshness we meet our God.

You are currently working on a new poetry book, what can you tell us about it?

My new book, Petals of Vision, is a wide-ranging collection of poems that should be published in January, 2017. The poems vary from hymns to God, to reflections on unrequited romantic love, and owls campaigning for political office.

There’s something in it for everyone!

Please, can you share an excerpt from your book, Sonnets from the Spirit?


Cheap perfume masking scent of cheaper men,
Towards my redemption, I approach,
Braving hypocrisy’s white-washed den,
Its scorn and lust curdle as reproach,
I enter, eyes of flint cut judgement’s mark,
But I kneel down and set upon my task,
Of adoration, though Pharisees bark,
And snicker, at the blessings from my flask.
He defends me, the first to take that strain
In my whole life, gives love’s redeeming gaze,
Over lifelong landscape of shame and pain,
Wiping out tears of despairing days.
I go away, accepted by my Lord,
While others stay, and reap their own reward.

Mystic Nativity

Read more about Sonnets from the Spirit

Sonnets from the Spirit Trailer Video

Sonnets from the Spirit on Amazon

Back Cover – Sonnets from the Spirit by Christopher Villiers 

Written (intro) and editing by Hadel S. Ma’ayeh ©Copyright 2016, All rights reserved.

Illustrations by Hope and Life Press ©Copyright 2016, All rights reserved.

Rupert Grech, Author, Writer and Musician

Rupert Grech

On a individual note, as a child I have listened to stories by my parents about family and life growing up in Jordan or in the Middle East in general especially during wartime.

Discovering another individual who is inspired by his surroundings and family stories is a rare find and to use a cliché, a kindred spirit. Rupert Grech is the sole owner of a box of treasures, but in this case, treasured memories.

The (Re) Gifted Ones

Rupert Grech is a gracious author who generously shares his amazing narratives that are both comical and witty. He earnestly takes his readers into his personal life and everyday circumstances, and to use another cliché, life is funnier than fiction.

Rupert is a Maltese-Australian writer who earned both a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Diploma in Education from the University of Sydney. Rupert’s careers have spanned several vocations from acclaimed school principal to landowner & farmer, café owner, Radio announcer and performed as lead vocalist & played the guitar or bass in various bands.

Rupert desired to learn more about his Maltese heritage so after years of employment in Australia as a teacher, he visited Malta for the first time. Later, settling both in Valletta, Malta and Blue Mountains, NSW (New South Whales) while trading equities on the Australian Stock Exchange, and developing property. In the meantime, he continues to write.

Rupert is a modest writer who relishes the chance to share poignant everyday occurrences in both worlds of Australia and Malta that are a side-splitting roller coaster ride for his readers who willingly participate along with Rupert in his antics and jests; a life “to do about nothing” can be a funny life after all.

I am delighted and grateful to have acclaimed author, Rupert Grech, to be part of my Arts & Entertainment Features and to personally thank him for his valuable time.

Tell us about yourself?

Well, if I died tomorrow I would be happy to have an epithet on my tombstone that read,

“Did OK for a Little Immigrant Kid from the Inner City.”

I have been fortunate enough, but I don’t say “lucky” (well, maybe a bit lucky) to be what I would call successful financially and in my career, as well as having successful stints at a variety of other things. My education comprised of a Bachelor of Economics (Hons.) and my substantive career was in public education where I finished as a school principal, ironically, in a community that had a similar socioeconomic status as did the place where I started my schooling.

At various times I have also played semi-professional football, played and sung in pub bands, farmed beef cattle, written a weekly newspaper column, been a radio announcer on commercial radio and developed property on a small scale (I subdivided my 114-acre farm into semi-rural building blocks).

Rupert at his place in Blue Mountains, Australia


These days I live for half of each year in Valletta, Malta and the other half in the Blue Mountains, a couple of hours west of Sydney, Australia, while I trade equities and ETFs on the stock market, do the odd musical performance in bars and where I have more recently embarked on this writing adventure.

Your recent published book, “Musings and Mutterings of A Maltese Misanthrope” is full of whimsical anecdotes with humorous sketches; Can you share with us more about the book?

The new book is a collection of thirteen short stories that I wrote over one summer while staying at my home in the Blue Mountains. This is the ‘blurb:’

“A grumpy, middle-aged man moves house and during the process gets his old record player working again, after it had been inoperable for many years. While listening to cherished LP’s of his youth and polishing off an entire bottle of good red wine, certain songs and record albums retrieve dear recollections of formative events in past times and memorable people known. Meanwhile, funny and frustrating days keep occurring in his contemporary life that often expose a very Maltese set of sensibilities. These memoirs and peculiar days are related in thirteen short stories that are sometimes poignant, often funny and always engaging.”

Front Cover of Grech’s Newly Published Book by Hope and Life Press

Who or what inspires you to write?

When I’m in the mood and I make a start on something, I find writing very easy. I’m a bit of a commitment-phobic though and that’s the rub. Usually, I get an idea for a story from something that has happened and think about it for a while (read, procrastinate) before actually committing to writing. Once I’m committed, it’s easy.

I believe there is a short story in just about anything. While writing Musings and Mutterings of a Maltese Misanthrope I was challenged twice and accepted twice to write short stories about single events. One was buying a pair of socks and the other was a particularly bad meal back in my student days. 

Tommy Who?

As mentioned above in the blurb, this last book was inspired by a red wine infused late night listening to old LP records – that and recognising the funny and ridiculous nature of things in everyday life. My sense of the ridiculous has necessarily become more and more developed over the years. I like to joke that, “I used to be high on life…but I’ve built up a tolerance.”

I am always inspired when I read good writers. And daunted as well.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

The Refrigerator

I have always gained great satisfaction in writing when it turned out well, in the past, before I even thought about attempting creative writing. But that was all about reports, submissions, polices, programs and my column in the local newspaper which was about reviewing live bands. It was not until I enjoyed writing my first book so much and the subsequent publishing adventure that I thought that I may like to become a “proper” writer.

When did you write your first book and what’s it about?

My first book Stories My Parents Told Me: Tales of Growing up in Wartime Malta is about my parents as children during World War II on the small Mediterranean island nation of Malta. The reason I started writing that was to record a story my mother had told me about when she was a young girl in Malta during the war.

I always thought it was a truly amazing story but when I told it to people, I rarely got the reaction from them that I thought the story deserved. They would look at me in a peculiar way when I would start to tear up. I suspected that I must not be doing the story justice by telling it orally, so I decided to flesh it out and write it down as a short story.

I encouraged my parents to tell me other stories about their childhood during the war in Malta and wrote them down as well. It is very satisfying these days to hear people say how they were moved to tears by my mother’s story as this was the original motivation for writing it down. Mind you, editing was murder as I got teary every time I had to review the story!

What do you think makes a good story to write about?

I think a good writer can write an engaging story about anything. There are stories full of interesting characters and events all around us every day. Even a seemingly mundane event and the seemingly uninteresting person all have an interesting story in them somewhere. I am reminded in this of the Seinfeld sitcom motto “A show about nothing.” It is more a case of detailed and sensitive observation, along with how you tell the story, I believe.

Musings and Mutterings Poster


What valuable advice, for potential authors, in how to become an established author or a better writer?

Gee, I’m not so sure I am in any position to offer suggestions or advice to other writers, but I can say what works for me. I think you have to be what Australians call “Fair Dinkum.” Broadly speaking, that translates to the genre of creative writing as writing from the heart, maintaining integrity and being honest to yourself. I do not try and write like anyone else and probably could not even if I wanted to.

I don’t think I could write for a specific target market, either. I know that I hate any kind of affectation in writing when I see it – or in anything else for that matter. The other thing I must do is read and reread my stories many, many times over and try to improve them as I go along. Sometimes it gets silly though and when you start changing things back to the original, then you know you’ve had enough.

If all possible, to have an excerpt from your newly published book, “Musings and Mutterings of A Maltese Misanthrope” for your readers to enjoy?

Here is an extract from one of my stories, “Music and Nostalgia” of the thirteen short stories:

Music and Nostalgia 

“That night in the old house was an extraordinary night of music and memories. At some stage during that night’s journey into past sensibilities, I just had to play the LP record City to City by Gerry Rafferty. Most people recognize the second track on that album: the hit song and FM radio favourite Baker Street. It has that killer sax intro by Raphael Ravenscroft that is also the lead break after the first and second verses, combined with a screaming guitar solo by Hugh Burns after the middle eight; brilliant arrangement and mix. I have always felt a strong connection with that song.
I was working as a barman at the Café Royal at Piccadilly Circus, London, with an older Spanish guy called Pepe. He told me a story about when he used to work as a waiter in a famous Chinese restaurant on Baker Street (the name of the restaurant escapes me right now). He remembered Gerry Rafferty going in for a meal every now and then. He also told me about the rather large and muscular doorman who was a habitual womanizer and heavy drinker. This doorman liked to tell everyone how he was looking forward to the day when he would stop fooling around with women, make some real money and move on. He used to tell anyone who would listen how sometime soon, he was going to buy some land, give up the booze and the one-night stands, then settle down in a quiet little town and forget about everything. I have always wondered if that doorman ever achieved his dream and if he knew that the song Baker Street was written about him. I wonder what happened to that boozy, womanising doorman. I wonder if he sits in a little cottage somewhere in the English countryside, late at night, after his loving wife and young children have gone to bed, and listens to that record while wearing a big, fat, satisfied grin on his face. Or is he a lonely, broken man who could never give up binging on alcohol or chasing after women, and who habitually travels the pubs of Britain, drunkenly bragging about how a famous song was written about him to people who do not believe his story or know the song?
I think it would be interesting for anyone to write a series of personal short stories that were linked with famous songs. For instance, I feel sure that everyone who has ever even remotely enjoyed music and has also been in love, would have a good story to tell that is associated with a specific piece of music. I bet that everyone has a song that reminds them of a special time, person or event in their lives.
Pepe also told me a funny story about when the Rolling Stones went into that same restaurant on Baker Street to celebrate a birthday. The newly arrived Yugoslav waiter, who was serving them all night, did not know who they were. The waiter became so concerned over the expensive champagne tab that those dishevelled-looking young louts were building up that he refused to bring them any more bottles of the exclusive wine. The waiter could not comprehend that people who looked so unkempt could have that much money to spend. Pepe took the waiter to the Stones’ table and explained to him who the group of young ruffians were – right in front of them and much to the amusement of Mick Jagger and the boys.”

Learn more about Rupert Grech on his personal blog Stories My Parents Told Me

Book Trailer of Musings and Mutterings of a Maltese Misanthrope

Book available on Amazon and with Hope and Life Press

Editorial Reviews & Author Bio of Rupert Grech by Hope and Life Press (Back Cover of Musings and Mutterings of a Maltese Misanthrope)
Written & Edited by Hadel S. Ma’ayeh, ©Copyright 2016, All rights reserved.
Images by Rupert Grech, ©Copyright 2016, All rights reserved.


Nicky Hari, Artist & Singer

Nicky Hari

When you admire and appreciate the art world from painters to musicians and singers to ballet dancers you take in language that is universal to mankind.

I am fortunate enough to meet such a young & lovely talented artist and singer, Nicky Hari. She is an inspiration for the Asian youth who too, inspire to sing dance or paint.

Nicky is from the booming city of Mumbai, India. Since the young age, Nicky has doodled in painting, sketching, and has personally enjoyed listening to Hindi singers on screen and off.

Immersed by her surroundings, Nicky desired to shift her interests into a vocation that she truly loves and rejoices in. Encouraged by her artistic mother, Nicky set out and was determined to earn an impressive degree in animation and as a visual effects (VFX) artist. On top of, continues to attend hard-core singing lessons in old-style Hindi songs & methods as wells as voice modifications in Hindi and in Korean languages. This led her to a remarkable journey of K-pop singing competitions that has compelled Nicky Hari to become one of Asian community’s idolized Hindi singers as well as abroad.

In this feature, I am confident, readers will take the time to listen to Nicky’s harmonic voice and naturally authentic tone that elevates one’s soul to dream, hope, and pursue their passions.

I would like to give a warm introduction to Nicky Hari a pictorial artist and soulful singer.

Bird in Watercolor

Tell us about yourself?

Thank you so much Hadel for giving me this great honor of being featured by you!

I’m twenty-three years old and I’m from Mumbai, India, the land of Bollywood and India’s City of Dreams. I knew in my heart that I was into all types of art forms so I earned a degree in animation and visual effects that led me to work on a few Bollywood films like Shamitabh, Chinese movie, Monk Comes Down the Mountain and Hollywood projects, including an episode of Game Of Thrones ( Season 5 episode 9 the Dance of Dragons), as a visual-effects artist.

At the age of nineteen, I also participated in Korean singing competitions. I loved singing on stage and discovered then that I didn’t get stage fright so I decided to seriously give professional singing a shot.

Cupcake in Watercolor

I joined a rigorous Indian classical singing class which involved voice modulation, correct pitching, Hindi pronunciation, and proper breathing techniques that really helped me widen my singing range.

Currently, I’m a professional singer who dabbles in visual effects, digital art, traditional art and a bit of creative writing on my blog.

You are a multi-talented individual, tell us about your artistic side?

I believe that life is too short so do everything you want to do.

Art is endless, it’s beautiful and what attracts me the most about art, that it is not definitive; art is freedom to me and I love it.


Glamorous Lips – Colored Pencil Sketch

There are some days when I feel like painting with watercolors and then there are some days when I want to do riyaaz (singing practice) for hours on end. Other days I feel like painting fan art via digital media on Photoshop, or I like to relax with just a pencil and a drawing book.

Rihanna Fan Art Pencil Sketch

Music inspires my artistic side; and I try my best to continue to practice both my artistic and musical side of my art forms.

Tell us about your extraordinary singing career?

Extraordinary is a big word, but I am extremely fortunate to have some of the opportunities come my way plus I’m constantly learning and working my way up.

I participated in the first ever all Indian & Korean singing contest, commonly known as K-pop (Korean pop), in 2012, I was a first prize winner which entailed a round-trip ticket to South Korea. It was my first time abroad and I had earned this myself; I felt ecstatic. Stage singing allows the performer to get an audience response instantaneously and that’s thrilling for me. 

Won the first prize (an LG Television) in the regional round of Korean singing contest.jpg
Won 1st Prize (LG Television) in the 2012 Regional Round K-pop Contest

I also participated in a K-pop singing contest, again, in 2015. I came in third, a bronze winner. I was judged by actual K-pop stars and it was an exhilarating experience.

Won the bronze prize at the finale...jpg
K-pop 2015 Bronze Winner, Third Place

Korean singing is a niche in India and it’s still growing little by little.

I also realized in India to be a professional singer, you must have a strong command of the Indian classical roots so in 2015, I began taking singing lessons in this art form and I hope to continue learning the rest of my life.

Who or what influences you in the world of art & music?

In the world of art, I am influenced by my mother who was an art teacher for grades 1 to 4 and presently, she tutors art for kids between the ages of 6 to 10 years old; my mother has been a constant supportive figure in my life and I owe a lot of my art skills to my mother.

Ariana Grande fan art sketch.jpg
Ariana Grande Fan Art Pencil Sketch

In addition to, I am influenced by hundreds of artists on Instagram and deviantART page sites. I know, I should’ve said Van Gogh or Leonardo Da Vinci, but what really strikes me about individual artists showcasing their artworks are their range of artistic styles. Each artist has their own unique techniques of drawing and painting that stands out from the rest and it genuinely makes me at awe with their art pieces.

Regarding music, I have been greatly influenced by evergreen Indian singers (singers and music from old Hindi movies) such as Asha Bhosle, Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar. They had perfect voice modulation, throw of voice and incredible voice acting, made me fall in love with old Hindi songs of the golden era.

I am also a huge fan of English music and pop singers. So another influence as far as singing is Beyonce, who I believe is the best performer I have ever seen in my life. I wish someday I may get to experience her talent live in concert. 

Beyonce Fan Art Pencil Sketch

Any of your recent artwork on display?

Radha Krishna acrylic painting.jpg
Radha Krishna Acrylic Painting

The world of social media has given self-taught artists like me a platform. On my art Instagram, @nicky_artworks, I have some of my pencil sketches and watercolor paintings on display. I also have acrylic paintings plus oil paintings of Hindu Gods Ganesha and Radha Krisha as well as some fan art of Angelina Jolie and Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson and others.

Angelina Jolie as Maleficent Fan Art Pencil Sketch
Dwayne Johnson fan art sketch.jpg
Dawyne (The Rock) Johnson Fan Art Pencil Sketch

Where have you performed as a singer thus far?

Apart from performing in Mumbai for regional levels and Siri Fort Auditorium in Delhi for the K-pop competition finale, I have done a few corporate shows singing in Korean.

Performing at Kpop contest finale in Delhi, India.jpg
Nicky Hari Performing at K-pop contest finale in Delhi, India (Picture credit: Vinita Sethuraman)

Recently, I sang a Hindi song at an auditorium, a tribute to late Indian singer Kishore Kumar on his birthday. Also, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity of performing for senior citizens on the occasion of Indian Independence Day, on 15th of August 2016.

Performing at Kishore Kumar tribute concert.jpg
Nicky Hari Performing at Kishore Kumar- Birthday Tribute Concert in 2016

Any good advice for your readers who has ambitions in art or music career?

I am not experienced enough to give advice, I’m still learning myself. However, the best tip that I have received from my teachers that I would like to pass on to the readers, CONSISTENCY and PRACTICE are key to success.

It’s definitely not easy, sometimes you will procrastinate; if you overcome those obstacles, if you consistently work hard, make connections and keep getting better at what you are doing then you will get opportunities and succeed. It’s all up to you!

Connect with Nicky Hari online at the following links:


The Nicky Blog


Art Instagram

Listen to Nicky’s Soulful singing on Youtube:

-In Hindi with English subtitles: Main Tenu Samjhawan Ki (Unplugged)

-On stage at a 2015 K-pop competition (in Korean): Contest India – Nikita Hariname

-Evergreen Hindi Song: Zara Haule Haule Chalo Cover


Written & edited by Hadel S. Ma’ayeh, ©Copyright 2016, All rights reserved.
Photos provided by Nicky Hari ©Copyright 2016, All rights reserved.


Ivan Kovalčik Mileševac, Iconographer, Painter, and Restorer

Hadel Poetry Prose Arts and Storytelling

Ivan_Kovalčik_Mileševac_Avatar                                                          Ivan Kovalčik Mileševac

Icons are mandatory in all Eastern Orthodox Churches and are called the windows to heaven, since the belief under the Orthodox faith; icons are a glimpse of eternity with Christ. Icon means “image” taken from the Greek word “Eikon” and Icons usually depict Christ, Virgin Mary, Angels, Saints and significant details of their lives that the upholders celebrate during Orthodox holidays.

It takes a skilled icon painter with theological knowledge as a visual guide for the faithful to behold the unseen spiritual world interpreted through the artist’s tools, and paints in pure vibrant colors. Although most painters are gifted artists especially for Iconographers who must dig deep into their heart and soul to be able to…

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Ivan Kovalčik Mileševac, Iconographer, Painter, and Restorer

Ivan_Kovalčik_Mileševac_Avatar                                                          Ivan Kovalčik Mileševac

Icons are mandatory in all Eastern Orthodox Churches and are called the windows to heaven, since the belief under the Orthodox faith; icons are a glimpse of eternity with Christ. Icon means “image” taken from the Greek word “Eikon” and Icons usually depict Christ, Virgin Mary, Angels, Saints and significant details of their lives that the upholders celebrate during Orthodox holidays.

It takes a skilled icon painter with theological knowledge as a visual guide for the faithful to behold the unseen spiritual world interpreted through the artist’s tools, and paints in pure vibrant colors. Although most painters are gifted artists especially for Iconographers who must dig deep into their heart and soul to be able to paint masterpieces for the faithful followers; on the other hand, Iconographers are usually in a sense, spiritual artists who have the task to awaken religious emotions in the hearts of the observers and in accordance with the strict regulations of the Orthodox church in the presence of the glory of God and His Saints.

In Serbia, they have discovered a masterful Iconographer and painter by the name of Ivan Kovalčik Mileševac, who magnificently created beautiful icons for the Serbian Orthodox Churches, Monasteries, Museums, Bishops, and people from all walks of life.

Ivan is a professional artist and master builder iconography along with, a specialist in mural paintings, Iconostasis, wood carvings, gilding and stone mosaics.

The iconostasis for the Church of St. George in Guke near Pljevlja (Montenegro), oil on canvas laid on board, author of the iconostasis: iconographer Ivan Kovalčík Mileševac, 2011.
The Most Holy Trinity in the church of St. George in Guke near Pljevljia, Republic of Montenegro, oil on gold plated canvas by Iconographer Ivan Kovalcik Milesevac, 2011

Ivan was born on March 3, 1968 in Prijepolje, Serbia and under apprenticeship of Serbian teachers, painter Milan Minic and Professor Zoran Puric; he mastered the basic skills in painting and graphics. In a short time and with great commitment, Ivan is a self-taught Iconographer and he has a detailed eye to the fine study of the Byzantine rules of painting icons and frescoes to perfection; and he has become a prime master as an Iconographer.

Holy Archangel Michael - North Gate Monastery Guke - Pljevlja Montenegro, oil on canvas laid, 102x46 cm, 2011.
Holy Archangel Michael – North Gate Monastery Guke-Pljevlja, Montenegro, oil on canvas by Iconographer Ivan Kovalcik Milesevac , 2011

Ivan brilliantly painted for the Serbian Orthodox Churches (SPC) in the Dioceses of Milesevo for over 25 years, such works as The Baptism of Christ, St. Archangel Gabriel, Nativity of Christ, Holy Trinity, St. Nicholas, St. Prophet Elias, Saint George and many more icons. Also, for over 30 churches and monasteries, Ivan composed icons for the church’s walls & altars, including church murals throughout Serbia and Montenegro.

Kumanica Monastery (Serbia) - City Hall spiritual center, Mr. Fresco Great Arhijerej- Deisis author: Ivan Kowalczyk Mileševac, 135x100 cm, 2015.
Fresco in the Spiritual Center of Kumanica Monastery (Serbia), Hierarchal Jesus Christ (Jesus Christ the King), by Iconographer Ivan Kovalcik Milesevac, 2015

With the generous support of well-known art critics and experts of Byzantine art, among them former director of the National Museum in Belgrade Mr. Jefta Jeftovic and Dr. Ivan Djordjevic, a professor at the Faculty of Philosophy Department of Serbian medieval art; and Mr. Slobodan Mileusnic, SPC Treasury Manager, Ivan’s Icons emerged from religious circles and opened up to the wider public. Before long, the Icons painted by Ivan, are not only hung on the walls of Serbian Churches, but also on the walls of many institutions, private collectors across the country and abroad. His lovely painted icons represent the word of God and the Gospel.

St. John the Baptist-Birth, and hand-carved wooden frame by Iconographer Ivan Kovalcik Milesevac, 2001

More importantly, Ivan’s involvement in significant projects of the restoration and construction of several Nemanjics churches and monasteries in the Raska region of Serbia under the supervision of Mr. Veljko Vuckovic from the Republic Institute for Protection of Monuments from Kraljevo, Serbia. Ivan has masterfully manufactured hand-painted frames and icons for Davidovica Monastery dating from the 13th century, and Kumanice Monastery dating from the 14th century, which graces the walls and altars until this day.

Queen of Heaven, and hand-carved wooden frame by Iconographer Ivan Kovalcik Milesevac,  1998

On top of, Ivan is skilled in wood carving and he has appended artistry of hand-made carved chandelier with 24 icons with the images of Serbian Saints for Davidovica monastery in 2000 and similarly, in 2016 for the Kumanica monastery. Likewise, Ivan produced a uniquely decorated coffin for St. Gregory of Kumanica as a gift to the Kumanica Monastery.

Crucifixion of Christ the church of St. Nicholas of Zhicha near Prijepolje, Serbia. Oil on cavas mounted on a hand-carved & gilded wood by Iconographer Ivan Kovalcik Milesevac, 2009

The most precious gem of all of Ivan’s frescoes and icons is a richly carved and skillfully painted Crucifixion in the Mileseva Monastery dating from the 13th century that still adorns the altar wall; a similar crucifix, but slightly larger, hangs in St. Nicholas of Zhicha located in Kolovrat, Prijepolje, Serbia.

Kumanica Monastery (Serbia) - summer chapel dedicated to St. John the Baptist. Composition: Adoration of the Holy Hierarchs Lamb, author: Ivan Kowalczyk Mileševac, 2015.
Adoration of the Holy Hierarchy’s Lamb in the Kumanica Monastery (Serbia) – chapel dedicated to St. John the Baptist, by Iconograper Ivan Kovalcik Milesevac, 2015

Another exceptional and distinctive creation by Ivan is the hand-painted icons for the royal doors in the Church of the Nativity in Zlatar near Nova Varos, Serbia. A mosaic of Saint John the Forerunner of the same name as the church from the 9th century in Zaton near Bijelo Polje, Montenegro; and frescoes in the chapel of St. John the Baptist in the Kumanica Monastery. In addition to, Ivan has reproduced a number of times, well-known White Angel of Mileseva, of equal quality as the original fresco from the 13th century.

White Angel-Resurrection oil on canvas by Iconographer Ivan Kovalcik Milesevac, 2013 
In the 16th century, the White Angel was over-painted with another fresco, and so was hidden until the 20th century when the fresco was restored. 

Since 2006, Ivan lives and continues to paint lovely Icons and frescoes in Novi Sad as well as working on the restoration and conservation of the frescoes in the Church of the Nativity of the Holy Virgin from the 18th century, in Sremska Kamenica, Serbia along with colleagues, painters & restorers, Mr. Djuro Radisic and Mr. Mario Vuknic under the supervision of the Institute for the Protection of Monuments of Vojvodina.

A Fresco of Saint Jovan Krstitelj in Kumanica Monaster (Serbia) – A Chapel dedicated to St. John the Baptist of the Lord by Iconographer Ivan Kovalcik Milesevac, 2015

Ivan’s Icons have opened the windows to heaven for the Orthodox followers. With such grand and angelic Icons such as these painted by Ivan, it is an extraordinary task that uplifts one’s spirit and heart. And so, I am grateful for Ivan’s exceptional gifts and graces in my lifetime & the great opportunity to view his artworks of Orthodox Christian Icons.

Moreover, Ivan has graciously permitted me to share his story and exquisite icons in my Arts & Entertainment features. Due to his busy schedule and demand as an Iconographer, this feature is not an interview.

List of Ivan’s major works by year:

1998. – The iconostasis for monastery of the Baptism of the Christ – Davidovica XIII century, in Grobnice at Brodarevo. (Nemanjic’s endowment)
1998. – Obeisance icon of the Baptism of the Christ – the Epiphany, the Davidovica monastery.
1998. – The Crucifixion of Christ on the altar rail Milesevo monastery, XIII century, in Milesevo near Prijepolje. (Nemanjic’s endowment)
1999. – Three icons (Deisis) – Icon of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin and St. Arch. Gabriel, 3m x 1m Kumanica monastery. (Nemanjic’s endowment)
2000. – Depicted chapel, dedicated to St. Filaret Merciful, into the Bishop’s Palace at the Diocese Milesevo in Prijepolje.
2001. -Obeisance icon of St. Basil of Ostrog and obeisance Crucifixion of the Christ for the cathedral in Prijepolje.
2002. – The iconostasis for the monastery St. Archangel Gabriel – Kumanica, XIV century, in Vrbnica near Bijelo Polje – Montenegro. (Nemanjic’s endowment)
2002. -Obeisance icon and carved coffin for St. Gregory of Kumanica in the Kumanica monastery.
2002. – Painted and handmade carved chandelier, with 24 icons of Serbian Saints, 30cm x 20cm, in the monastery Kumanica.
2004. – The iconostasis for the Church of The Nativity of Christ in Zlatar – Panorama near Nova Varos.
2005. – The iconostasis for the monastery of Holy Trinity – Dubnica, XIV century, in Bozetici village near Nova Varos. (Nemanjic’s endowment)
2005. – Procession icon of St .Basil of Ostrog, 2m x 1m, for the cathedral in Prijepolje.
2008. – The iconostasis for the church of the Presentation of the Christ in Rance Polje near Pljevlja, Montenegro
2008. – The iconostasis for the church of St. Archbishop Sava in Sopotnica – Jadovnik.
2009. – The iconostasis for the church of St. Nicholas of Zhicha in Kolovrat near Prijepolje.
2010. – The iconostasis for the church of St. Prophet Elias in Jabuka near Pljevalja, Montenegro.
2010. – Icon of St. Prophet Elias, 2.4m x 1.2m, above the entrance to the church of the same name at Jabuka.
2011. – The iconostasis for the church of Saint George in Guke near Pljevalja, Montenegro.
2011. – Icon White Angel, 1.2m x 0.8m, for His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej.
2011. – Icon White Angel, 60 x 50 cm, for the Prime Minister of Russia Mr. Vladimir Putin.
2012. – The iconostasis for Monastery of St. Joachim and Anne – Janja in Rutosi – Kokin Brod near Nova Varos. (Nemanjic’s endowment)
2012. – Four icons of the Old Testament Prophets, to existing iconostasis in the Church of St. Nicholas of Zhicha in Kolovrat near Prijepolje.
2012. – The icon of Saint George, 115 x 65 cm, for the Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic.
2013. – Icon White Angel, 60 x 50 cm, for actress Monica Bellucci, which was presented by the Prime Minister of Serbia Ivica Dacic, at the Film Festival “Kustendorf” of Serbian film director Emir Kusturica.
2013. -Chandelier with 12 icons of the Holy Virgin, 30cm x 20cm, in the monastery of St. Joachim and Anne – Janja Monastery, in the village Rutosi near Nova Varos.
2013. – The iconostasis for Monastery of Holy Trinity, located between Prijepolje and Nova Varos in Gornja Bistrica.
2014. -Three frescoes in the dining hall of the Kumanica monastery – Holy Mother of God of Jerusalem, The Last Supper and Our Savior Jesus Christ, 1.20 x 1 m.
2015. – Three frescoes in the hall of the spiritual center of the Kumanica monastery. Frescoes: The Lord Great Archbishop and the adoration of Saints – Deisis, 1.35 x 1 m.
2015 – The frescoes in the summer chapel of the monastery Kumanica, dedicated to the St. John the Baptist. Composition: Adoration of the Holy Bishops to The Lamb, 2.5 x 7 m.
2016 – The mosaic of stone and glass, of St. John the Baptist, above the entrance to the church of Sv. John the Baptist (IX century) in Bijelo Polje (Zaton) – The Republic of Montenegro, 45 x 90 cm.
2016. – Polyeleos (Horos) in Davidovica Monastery (XIII century), the Republic of Serbia. Hand-carved wood with 24 icons 34 x 20 cm. Acrylic on canvas lay on panel, 27 x 40 x 76 cm, with a diameter of 3 meters. (Nemanjic’s endowment). 

13th Century Davidovica Monastery located in Serbia

To learn more about Ivan: 



Written by Hadel S. Ma’ayeh ©Copyright 2016, All rights reserved.
Images and Bio written & provided by Ivan  Kovalčik Mileševac ©Copyright 2016, All rights reserved.