Review of "The Wrath and the Dawn" by Renee Ahdieh

The Wrath and the Dawn is a YA retelling of 1001 Arabian Nights. Or, I should say, a retelling of the Arabian Nights' frame story, of a brave young woman who volunteers to be the bride of a serial killer ruler who murders his new brides…

Persian Demonology

Demons in the Persian tradition go by many names, such as Div and Daeva, and are a class of supernatural creatures associated with wickedness and deceit. In some texts, the land of the Div is known as Mazandaran, not to be confused the…

Review of "Hearts Before Diamonds" by Bryan Fields

A rollicking tale of adventure and love set in an alternate steampunk Asia, "Hearts Before Diamonds" is a short story revolving around Edward Wallace, an American expat in India who works as a 'problem solver' for a fee. When Timir, a new…

Review of "Desert of Souls" by Howard Andrew Jones

A wonderful sword and sorcery tale set in medieval Baghdad, "The Desert of Souls" is close to historical fiction in its beautiful detail about everyday life in the Islamic golden age. The action is fast-paced and gripping. The historical notes…

Persian Dragons

Dragons in the Persian tradition differ from both the Western conception of an evil, flying monster breathing fire and the Far Eastern image of a powerful but often benevolent creature resembling a giant snake. Although Persian dragons more…

A Bureaucracy of Magic: A Review of The Bartimaeus Trilogy

Jonathan Stroud’s 'trilogy', featuring the wise-cracking djinni Bartimaeus, is actually four books, counting the prequel “Solomon’s Ring". A YA series, the books detail the development of a young boy, Nathaniel, who is taken from…

Hackers, Tyrants and the Jinn: A Review of G. Willow Wilson's "Alif the Unseen"

In a near-future city, Arab-Indian hacker Alif (the first letter of the Arabic alphabet) sells his illegal skills to the highest bidder while dreaming of a future he can't have with his aristocratic lover. Meanwhile, the devout, niqab-wearing…

Is an On-Line Writing Class Right for You?

At the start of my writing project, blissfully unaware of the challenges involved in putting down words on a computer screen without deleting them all in horror moments later, I had no idea of the vast industry that's grown up around budding…

Novel update 12/6/14

After a fun break where I took a stab at writing a paranormal romance for Nanowrimo, I'm back editing drafts and looking forward to a January writing class to do more workshopping. Also, this blog now has a FaceBook page.

Karkadann: Persia's Killer Unicorn

Although the translation of the word Karkadann is "Lord of the Desert", the word is often used as a synonym for the Persian unicorn. Although the myth of the Karkadann has some similarity to Western unicorn lore, such as the beast's ability…

Like Drops Through the Water Clock: Ancient Time-Telling Inventions

While the hourglass and the sundial are familiar pre-industrial inventions in the West for telling time, a different device in the ancient Middle East, the water clock, used the power of water to measure units of time. In its simplest form,…