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,…

Book Review: Gaza Writes Back

     Need to feel inspired about writing?  Order a copy of Gaza Writes Back, a collection of short stories written by young writers in Gaza.  The collection features fiction written by young people who have lived through the current blockade…

The Enchanting Peri of Persia

The Peri are a class of mythological beings in Persian lore akin to the Western concept offaerie.  Like fairies, the original version of a Pairika was far more malevolent than later incarnations. In earlier incarnations, the Peris…

Kohl Rimmed Eyes...

A popular cosmetic, eye medicine and protective ward against the evil eye, kohl (كحل  in Arabic) has been in use since 3100 BC.  It was used by by Egyptians of noble rank to cover the upper eyelid, while green malachite was used for…

Ancient Beats

Stringed instruments have been used to entertain for thousands of years.  The oud, an ancient pear-shaped stringed instrument, is still a popular instrument used in Middle Eastern music.  It's thought to be the descendent of the lute.  Both…

Desert Animals Part 1: What Does the Fox Say?

Below is a picture of a Fennec fox, the smallest of the fox family and a common predator found in the Northern Sahara.  This animal was captured by local children and is being shown off to tourists for tips.  The children lure the animals…

The Jinn Part I: Aisa Qandisa

The Jinn of Middle East and North Africa legend bear little relationship to the Western caricature of a bare-chested figure arising from an oil lamp to grant wishes.  Created before the race of man from smokeless fire, the Jinn, like humans,…

Supernatural in the Souk

Deep in the heart of the souk of Marrakech, small shops sell darker goods than colorful sandals and clanging tea sets.  The stall pictured above has items for sale to aid in the casting of magic spells, both light and dark.  In the middle…