Press Release for The Athena Protocol: Charity Initiative for Headwaters Relief Organization

Press Release


Disclaimer: Press Release (for immediate release) provided by: Megan Beatie


Award-winning Novelist Partners with Nonprofit Organization to Build Awareness of Human Trafficking

A portion of the proceeds from Shamim Sarif’s new YA novel, The Athena Protocol, will help fund Headwaters Relief Organization’s comprehensive awareness programs


About the Initiative

Around the world—and close to home—as many as four million people each year are trafficked for forced labor and sexual exploitation. Sadly, about 50% of those are children. Now, Headwaters Relief Organization, an international non-profit disaster relief organization, is teaming with award-winning novelist Shamim Sarif to raise funds to educate communities about these risks, and support those who have experienced trafficking.

“We have encountered trafficking nationally and internationally in our disaster work,” comments Headwaters Relief Organization Founder Rebecca Thomley, PsyD, whose organization supports the needs of families and communities after tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, fires and man-made disasters. “Traffickers may take advantage of children and families made vulnerable by these conditions.”

Thomley stresses that education and awareness are key to protecting loved ones from becoming victims.

“Traditionally, services have been developed to support people who have been victimized by trafficking. We intend to focus on prevention by providing education to children and their families about the risks as well as harmful social and cultural practices that can support trafficking.”

Using literature to educate as well as help victims build coping skills and develop resiliency was a strategy that drew the attention of author, screenwriter and director Shamim Sarif, whose stories often encompass social justice. Her new novel, The Athena Protocol, a YA thriller which HarperCollins will publish on October 8, 2019, addresses trafficking as a global issue. In the book, Athena is a top secret, socially conscious, all-female organization that combats injustice against women and children around the world. The protagonist, Jessie, is a young, hot-headed agent embroiled in a daring mission to take down a human trafficking operation in Belgrade, Serbia.

Like Headwaters, Sarif believes in the impact of storytelling.

“Stories can be empowering, giving us characters we identify with and a framework to understand our own lives and humanity,” she says. “I hope to build awareness amongst young adults who read The Athena Protocol and perhaps motivate them to make a difference with this global problem.”

Sarif will donate 100 percent of the affiliate fees she receives for each book purchased through Amazon and IndieBound links on her author website to Headwaters Relief Organization.

“We are keenly aware of the need to educate potential victims, families and community leaders about the possibility of trafficking and to further support those who have experienced trafficking,” says Thomley. “What excites us about partnering with Shamim Sarif is that it promotes our vision for reaching young people who are our future for positive change.”


Awareness tips and strategies to protect against trafficking

Thomley encourages families to talk with their children about simple safety strategies. Some of these tactics include:

  • Monitor those in close contact with your family. “People who approach those in need may not always have good intentions.”
  • Never allow children to travel alone to or from school or activities.
  • Tell them where to go, and who to trust, should they feel uncomfortable or threatened. “Teach children to use a sign or word when they feel uncomfortable, as a cue to let family know they need help.”
  • Parents should routinely check children’s emails and phones. “This is often how children are approached.”


To learn more about how Headwaters Relief Organization is trying to prevent human trafficking around the world, visit

Athena Protocol Cover.jpgAbout the Book

Award-winning novelist, screenwriter and director Shamim Sarif writes stories featuring courageous female characters who break cultural boundaries. Her books and films have earned wide critical acclaim and numerous accolades world-wide.  Now, she makes her YA debut with THE ATHENA PROTOCOL, the launch of a new thriller series which HarperTEEN will publish in hardcover on October 8, 2019.  The film version of the novel is already in development.

The story is told from the perspective of Jessie, a young, ambitious and hot-headed agent at Athena.  Named after the goddess of wisdom, it’s a top secret, socially conscious, all-female organization that recruits brilliant, strong young women and trains them in skills from coding to weaponry to combat injustices against women and children around the world.  Athena’s leaders, one of whom is Jessie’s mother, have a strict policy that their agents never kill, so when Jessie loses control on a job and compromises the secrecy of the agency, she’s kicked off the team, with her own mother dismissing her without a second glance.

But Jessie’s work for Athena and its mission is her identity, and she’s not going to stand by as her former colleagues set off to take down a human trafficking kingpin in Belgrade. Desperate to prove herself, Jessie launches her own investigation—but going rogue means there’s no one there to watch her back as she gets closer to the horrifying truth behind the Belgrade operation. And in spite of herself, she’s falling for a woman who is likely behind the very evil she’s striving to take down.

THE ATHENA PROTOCOL is a riveting action thriller with an emotional core, addressing a tenuous relationship between mother and daughter, the bonds of friendship and love between women, and the desire to strive for a better world, even at a cost.

To order The Athena Protocol, visit


Additional Information:

About Headwaters Relief Organization

Headwaters Relief Organization is a non-profit disaster relief collaboration of volunteers that supports the needs of families and communities after disasters. Headwaters provides public health, psychosocial and medical support as well as disaster debris clean up and rebuilding in partnership with other organizations.


Dr. Rebecca Thomley 

Dr. Rebecca Thomley is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Orion Associates, a management organization providing management services to related and unrelated, for-profit and non-profit companies primarily in the social services field. Dr. Thomley also developed a non-profit, Headwaters Relief Organization, to promote volunteerism and provide disaster relief to communities and those affected by natural disasters.


About Shamim Sarif 

Shamim Sarif is an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, and film director. Her new book, The Athena Protocol, is an all-female contemporary action thriller released by HarperCollins as the first in a series. Her feature films as writer/director include Despite the Falling Snow (starring Rebecca Ferguson and Charles Dance), I Can’t Think Straight and The World Unseen, all based on her books. Shamim has spoken at events worldwide, including TED, INK in India and DLD in Munich.  She lives in London with her wife.

Social Media Links:
Twitter: @shamimsarif
Facebook: @shamimsarif
Instagram: @shamimsarif
Bookbub: @shamim2

Press Release: In The Gleaming Light

Press Release

In the Gleaming Light
By: HR Moore

What happens when the robots steal our jobs? Speculative fiction novel “In the Gleaming Light” gives a much needed plausible imagining of the world thirty years from now.

Automation, robots, and job stealing are topics that capture the imagination of many, but the big question is this: what’s to be done when these things start to have a meaningful impact on our lives? Universal Basic Income, the favoured solution of entrepreneurs and academics alike, has been creeping into the press, but if you stop someone on the street and ask them about it, the chances are you’ll get a blank look.
“In the Gleaming Light” gives an engaging, pacey, intrigue-filled look at the world thirty years from now, complete with a clear representation of the complex and controversial political issues that underpin it all.

in the gleaming light cover.png

Here’s the blurb:
It’s 2048.  Automation has stolen vast swathes of jobs, and the government pays everyone a no-strings-attached income, enough to live on, in order to keep the economy going.  Society is split into those who can get jobs; engineers, managers, creatives, and those who cannot.
Iva Brooksbank, Senior Investigator of the Enforcement Office, has made a career of taking down corporate moguls who flout the rules, and now she has Guy Strathclyde, CEO of Cybax Technologies, firmly in her sights.  She’s sure he’s up to something, and races to find evidence that will stick, before her time runs out.
Lulu Banks, a world famous artist, uses her work to highlight the deep inequalities and injustices the world now faces, perpetuated, she thinks, by the relentless march of technology.  But when she finds herself the object of Guy’s affections, she has to decide if she can trust his intentions, or if he’s just the same as all the other corporate big dogs.

HR Moore, author, explains:
“In the Gleaming Light was born out of my experience and observations in life and at work, and also through a general interest in the not-too-distant future of our world.  With a background in financial services and change management, I’ve seen first-hand the unrelenting pace of change and drive towards automation, that is having, and will continue to have, a significant effect on everyone.

The changes that have taken place in the last twenty years are mind-boggling, and there’s no evidence of the pace slowing down.  Indeed, automation is predicted to put significant numbers out of work, and, if that happens, the social consequences will be extreme.
Automation and Universal Basic Income (UBI) as a solution, are areas gaining a great deal of traction, with entrepreneurs and academics shouting about the need for governments to step in, governments running UBI trials in response, and the media starting to step up their coverage.  However, the topic is currently stuck in (relatively boring) academic and political channels, and I think there’s a real need to bring these important topics to life through engaging, fictional portrayals.  In the Gleaming Light aims to do this in a plot and relationship-driven way; it’s book club fiction, designed to stimulate conversation, with drama and romance throughout.

Importantly, “In the Gleaming Light” is not passing judgment on the march of technology, or UBI as a potential solution, but I feel passionately that this is a conversation that effects everybody. The more that can be done to get people involved from all backgrounds, now, as opposed to after the fact, the better.

And given the gender skews of people working in technology, I’m especially passionate about engaging women in this conversation. The workplace is biased, and it’s important that women utilize technology to help level the playing field. The worst case scenario would be a future world that’s dictated (passively and accidentally) by a relatively small handful of (mostly) men. Now is the time for us to talk about these issues, and it’s essential that the debate is equally open to all.”

In the Gleaming Light will be released on Amazon on 1st March, 2019 in both eBook ($4.99 / £3.99) and paperback ($10.99 / £7.99) formats.

The eBook is currently available for pre-order on Amazon:

Lulu flopped to the ground as she crossed the makeshift sprint finish line in the sand, her chest heaving as she tried to regain her breath. It was a glorious morning, even at this early hour, the sun reflecting furiously on the flat calm of the sea, playing about as the water moved gently up and down, slivers of silver light trying to fool onlookers into believing it could be warm. Tiny waves lapped lightly at the beach, the sound calming Lulu’s exhausted body, helping her settle her racing heart.
‘Darling, you’re a little distracted this morning,’ said Bertie Baqua, her slight, Asian fitness instructor, as he caught up with her. He was renowned the world over and in great demand, but he and Lulu had been friends for years, Lulu having attended his classes before he was famous, their friendship secured on the dance floor of a dubious Salsa club in Brighton.
‘I opened my exhibition last night,’ she replied, as though this were enough.
‘And?’ he replied, clearly requiring more.
She thought about keeping Guy a secret, but knowing Bertie, he probably already knew. ‘And Guy Strathclyde came.’
‘Did he indeed?’ flounced Bertie, laughing with his eyes.
‘He keeps asking me out,’ she shrugged, as though this were obviously a problem.
‘And, I thought he was a typical corporate mogul. I mean, he was obviously given his job by his dad.’
‘Which is frowned upon these days,’ said Bertie, frivolously.
‘Which is illegal these days,’ snapped Lulu, rolling over and propping herself up on her arms.
Bertie raised an eyebrow and a shoulder simultaneously. ‘Touchy,’ he said. ‘You must really like him.’
‘I don’t know him. But I was surprised about his opinions on certain topics.’
‘In a good way?’
‘Well, what’s the problem then?’
‘I just never thought I’d even entertain the idea of dating someone like him. And I think he might be dangerous.’
‘Isn’t that a little prejudiced?’
Lulu rolled her eyes. ‘Maybe,’ she pouted, playing with the grains of sand between her fingers.
‘What harm can come from going on a couple of dates? If you like him, then great; you’re not breaking any rules by dating him…apart from ones you’ve perhaps created for yourself for no good reason.’
Lulu huffed as she brushed the sand away. ‘I suppose so.’
‘You’re welcome,’ he said, reaching down to help her up.
‘You’re insufferable,’ she said, refusing his hand and throwing a towel at him instead. Bertie snickered, and didn’t stop. ‘What now?’ she asked, not understanding the joke.
‘Looks like you’ve got company,’ he said, nodding up the beach.
Lulu’s head whipped round. ‘Oh God,’ she breathed.
‘I’ll say,’ said Bertie, nodding his head in approval.
Guy reached their workout spot and held his hands up; they were full of coffee and paper bags. ‘Hungry?’ he asked hopefully. She paused, considering another refusal. ‘Oh, come on,’ he said, ‘of course you’re hungry; you’ve been working out for ages.’
Bertie nudged Lulu towards Guy. ‘I’ve got another client, so I really must be going,’ he said, as though the breakfast invitation had also been extended to him, which of course they all knew it hadn’t. ‘Have fun,’ he said, suggestively. He stuffed dumbbells, balls and elastics back into his bag, hoisted it over his shoulder, and headed back up the beach, throwing Lulu a double thumbs up, complete with accompanying indelicate head nod behind Guy’s back.
Lulu ignored him. ‘You’ve been watching me work out?’ she asked, not sure whether to be flattered or a little bit freaked out.
Guy laughed. ‘Not really. I’ve been working in the café up there,’ he said, pointing to the beach’s edge where a Chutney Café stood, the chain that had gained supremacy when it innovated the old players out of the market by replacing humans with robots. ‘They’re not technically open yet, but the manager took pity on me and let me in early.’
‘Charmed by your smile, no doubt.’
‘I am very charming,’ he said, flashing her his best grin. ‘I’m so glad you’ve noticed.’

in the gleaming light author pic.pngAbout the Author:

Harriet was born in Germany in 1987, her family returning to the UK, to Dorset shortly afterwards. She lived there until she was 5, her grandfather teaching her the basics of cheating at cards and swindling chocolate, her mother starting to instil a (some would argue) unhealthy relationship with cake, and the neighbours demonstrating that some people don’t understand cherry blossom is there to be picked, mixed with mint and water and sold as perfume.

Then there was Scotland; stealthy guinea pig breeding, riding horses, advanced cards, more cake, then to Devon and school in Exeter. She loved maths in the early years, but by the time she got to A Level, Sociology was her favourite subject, opening her eyes to things she’d never before considered, namely, nobody is really right, nobody is really normal and primary socialisation has a lot to answer for.
At the age of about 12, Harriet started rowing for Exeter Rowing Club. This quickly took over her life and before too long she was clad in lycra, training 6 days a week and competing at events around the country.
After finishing her A Levels, Harriet went to university in St Andrews, studying Philosophy for two years, then switching to Management. She was particularly interested in the change elements of her course and especially the areas concerning how people create and react to change. After four very civilised years by the sea, she ventured to London, to foray into the strange world of insurance (surprisingly, more interesting than you might think). She worked as a Project Manager on large change programmes before founding her own consultancy in 2015.
Harriet has since worked on a number of insurance related projects that helped influence and inspire In the Gleaming Light, specifically around the use of connected devices in the home, data collection and utilisation within financial services, and how automation can both reduce costs, and significantly improve vast swathes of tiresome, long-winded processes.
Harriet has recently moved from Bristol in the UK to Portsmouth in New Hampshire, with her husband Chris and two young daughters. When she isn’t writing, editing, eating, running around after her kids, or imagining how much better life would be with the addition of a springer spaniel, she occasionally finds the time to make hats.

Press Release: You Are The Everything

Press Release

From an award-winning author comes an emotional young adult novel about the romance between two survivors of a plane crash.


 You Are the Everything cover.jpg

You Are the Everything

By Karen Rivers


When Elyse Schmidt and her not-so-secret crush, Josh Harris, are the sole survivors of a plane crash, tragedy binds them together. They become superstars in today’s social media-driven world, and they move with their families to the wide open spaces of Wyoming for a chance to live their lives quietly, together. It’s as if their love story is meant to be. Everything is perfect, or as perfect as it can be when you’ve literally fallen out of the sky and landed hard on the side of a mountain—until suddenly it isn’t. Elyse’s whole world begins to unravel, culminating in a shocking conclusion that will have readers flipping back through the pages to reread this incredible story.


 “This is good choice for those who enjoyed E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars or books with pieces that only fit together after a surprising ending. Fans of unreliable narrators and twist endings will clamor for this story of romance and survival.”

School Library Journal, starred review

“Well written and emotionally resonant, this is an unusual and poignant story.”

Kirkus Reviews

 “A haunting, heartbreaking puzzle box of a book.”

—Elana K. Arnold, author of National Book Award finalist What Girls Are Made Of

Karen Rivers, one of Algonquin Young Readers’ most well reviewed and popular middle-grade authors, has been celebrated for her “star-bright stor[ies] of love, courage, and unflagging spirit” (Booklist) and for writing that “doesn’t shy away from the dark places but explores them with heart, humor, and light” (author Kate Messner). Now Rivers’s brilliant signature voice and narrative style are on full display in her first young adult novel for Algonquin. You Are the Everything (publication date: October 30, 2018; $17.95 hardcover) explores love and loss, dreams realized and unrealized, and how one’s life can change in a single moment—refracted through the unique lens of her inimitable protagonist, the funny, sensitive, artistic heroine Elyse.


You Are the Everything effortlessly blends tragedy and hope to create a stunning, urgent page-turner about love and fate that is perfect for readers of We Were Liars, All the Bright Places, and Since You’ve Been Gone. A starred School Library Journal review agrees that “fans of unreliable narrators and twist endings will clamor for this story”. Like her previous work, Rivers’s writing is lyrical and her storytelling is masterful, drawing readers in until the heartbreaking last pages.


karen riversKaren Rivers is the author of twenty-one novels for children, teens, and adults, including the highly praised The Girl in the Well Is Me, All That Was, Before We Go Extinct and A Possibility of Whales. She lives in British Columbia, Canada. Find her online at or on Twitter @karenrivers.   |  Twitter: @karenrivers |

Instagram: @karenrivers



You Are the Everything by Karen Rivers

Algonquin Young Readers / Publication Date: October 30, 2018

Price: $17.95; Hardcover; 272 pages; ISBN: 9781616208158 |

Follow Algonquin Young Readers on Twitter @algonquinyr or on Facebook at

Press Release: Once Upon the Longest Night

Press Release

Once Upon the Longest Night

Published by Once Upon Anthologies, an imprint of Ink House Books

Genre: Paranormal Fantasy Romance

Participating Authors:

Elizabeth Vaughan
Dan Stout
Linda Robertson
Sara Dobie Bauer
Charissa Weaks
Alice Black
Jodi Henry
Sybil Ward
Melinda S. Collins

Release Date: 12.21.18, the longest night of the year.

Back cover copy:

The longest night. A vampire’s delight.

The winter solstice, a time of birth and rebirth, life and death, waning light and rising darkness. A time when those who flee the sun and crave the taste of blood find their greatest solace.

But one never knows what the longest night might hold.

Once Upon the Longest Night, a collection of adult paranormal romances, features nine novelettes of lovers and their battles against one of the greatest legends of our time: the vampire. A 15th-century seaman and the love of his life come face to face with a vengeful manjasang. In ancient Rome, a hunted priestess captured by a loyal centurion offers her aid to the enemy. With the help of a handsome Royal courier, a reluctant Romanian princess braves the curse flowing within her noble blood. Danger awaits when a vampire in the far reaches of North Dakota must endure the lethal cold to protect the woman she loves. And in a future New York, a broken general returns home for the Longest Night Ball where he meets a young male witch who might change his life forever.

This anthology combines vampire mythos and affairs of the heart with the sacred symbolism and magic of the winter season.

Sit back and let us tell you a tale. Welcome to the Longest Night.

Story Summaries

Memories of Stone by Elizabeth Vaughan: Ercula is weary, tired of fleeing, considered a monster by the Romans. But the Solstice is sacred to her goddess and she will worship at the forgotten shrine, whatever the risk. The centurion who captures her has other plans.
The Lobster Trick by Dan Stout: Jacqueline doesn’t mind her job as an overnight security guard. After all, what’s the worst that could happen at a blood bank? But when an armed group invades the building, Jacqueline is forced into action to save a handsome lab tech… and discovers that his shy smile might hide a shocking secret.


Blooded by Linda Robertson: Miriana Jorgeta rejoiced when her distant and cruel mother, the Queen, sent her away from Romania to attend a girl’s school in England. For years, she lived a life so perfect she almost forgot about the duties of her heritage. But curses rarely remain hidden, and soon, with the help of her mother’s royal courier, Miriana must face the truth about what really lurks in her blood.


His Last Battle by Sara Dobie Bauer: Suffering from PTSD, vampire general Devlin Frost returns home from the war on Lycans and attends the historic Longest Night Ball. Here, royal witch Elijah Crow must choose three immortal suitors to compete for his love and power. When Devlin is shockingly chosen as one of the three, his immediate attraction to the young witch coaxes him into entering the fray, but this battle is for more than Elijah’s love. The broken general might also win back his ruined heart and bruised soul—if he survives the night.


Silver Heart by Charissa Weaks: 15th Century Italy. After a decade at sea and with an inheritance in hand, Cristiano Del Valle returns to his childhood home of Venezia in search of a new beginning. What he finds on the longest night is an ancient enemy who not only threatens the life he’s long desired but the love he thought he’d lost.


Her Blood to Bind by Alice Black: To escape the vampire who made her, a former dominatrix takes a job in Costa Rica as an English tutor to the children of a wealthy widower. What she discovers is that her new employer is just as dangerous as her pursuer…and twice as tempting.


Walk with Me by Jodi Henry: After a century of killing her own kind, Arianna Guerri retired to a place no other vampire dare go. In the deadly cold of North Dakota, she built a life for herself, and fell, secretly, in love with her best and only friend. When someone burns the small town, Arianna must face the mistakes of her past—and her feelings—if she hopes to survive the longest night.


Love on the Longest Night by Sybil Ward: Neenah and Robert are searching for true love in the same place for drastically different reasons. Can they find love together on the longest night when they’re trapped by the century’s worst blizzard and one of them is a 300-year-old vampire?


One Night In December by Melinda S. Collins: NYC artist, Micah Price, never believed in vampires or immortality. But after a year of researching Daniel Savoy, her family’s enigmatic annual houseguest and the only man she’s ever loved, the options surrounding the truth of his past are slim at best. When a bloody Daniel arrives on Micah’s doorstep, she refuses to leave any stone of the mystery unturned. But accepting that vampires exist is the least of her worries. Because sometimes it’s not the monsters we should fear. It’s what hunts them.