Monday, June 30, 2014

Great site for FREE classic audiobooks -- I found Nicholas Nickleby waiting for me there

I was up to about chapter fifteen in this beloved hardcover when it occurred to me that I might be able to spend more time with the text if I had it as an audiobook on my iPhone. (I love to listen to good books during my walks.)

A Google search yielded a FREE chapter by chapter performance, quite good. It's from

Turns out they have many, many classic audiobooks (my favorites) available for free (also my favorite). It's a volunteer arrangement: If you want to submit your own reading of a favorite book that's in the public domain, you can. What a find!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The pulsing tweetstream weighs in on JIHADI: A LOVE STORY

+Safie Maken Finlay, whose taste in reading material is beyond reproach, took part in a fascinating exchange on Twitter yesterday. 

No, I did not put her up to this. Thank you, Safie! 

Safie beta-read the most recent cut of the JIHADI: A LOVE STORY manuscript, which is currently making an international tour of elite slush piles. Visit Safie's site here. Check out her book THE GALIAN SPEAR here.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Follow #JIHADI: A LOVE STORY on Facebook.

Here's the link. 

The book has not been published yet. It hits editors this week. "Like" the novel on Facebook and you'll get all the latest updates.

I got a spiffy review from Publishers Weekly as part of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition:

Follow JIHADI; A LOVE STORY on Facebook.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Preparation for #Ramadan

Reminding myself first and foremost, I pass along this potent hadith:

Rasulallah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Fasting is not (abstaining) from eating and drinking only, but also from vain speech and foul language. If one of you is being cursed or annoyed, he should say: ‘I am fasting, I am fasting.” (Ibn Khuzaimah, Ibn Hibban)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

#Ramadan perspective check

If you're in the United States, and you're a Muslim, you're looking at a Ramadan fasting day that is placed quite close to the longest day of the year. That means a long fast: Muslims do not eat or drink during the daylight hours in the month of Ramadan.

But if you're tempted to start complaining about those 15-hour fast days ... consider the alternative. Suppose you lived in Sweden?

Saturday, June 14, 2014


The ABNA seminfinal list is out, and JIHADI: A LOVE STORY did not make the cut from 500 to 25. Congratulations to all those who advanced, and thank you to everyone who left a review! We move on now to the next phase, submission of the manuscript to editors. Stay tuned!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

By the Numbers

6: Years in on my novel JIHADI: A LOVE STORY. Current draft complete February 2014.

2: Number of times I made this novel the focus of my National Novel Writing Month efforts. (2012 and 2013. The second time was illegal. Sssh.)

400,000: Total words generated along the way (approximate)

116,508: Current word count

21: Number of beta readers who reviewed and critiqued all or part of the manuscript.

10,000: Number of initial competitors the novel faced in 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest.

499: Number of competitors the novel faces right now.

5: Days left until the judges announce the next cut, which will bring the field from 500 down to 25.

88: Number of reviews left on Amazon's US site, as of today, for the brief JIHADI: A LOVE STORY excerpt that is available here.

4.7: Average number of stars, out of five, the excerpt has received from these reviews.

43: Number of faces appearing in the on-line puzzle I created for the novel, each face representing a figure directly or indirectly referenced in the text.

0: Number of direct references in the novel, or its puzzle, to George W. Bush.

1: Number of shadowy characters in the novel referred to as "the Commander in Chief."

Landmark Forum Insight #5

We create our world with our language.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

4.7 out of 5.0: Average Amazon #ABNA rating for #JIHADI: A LOVE STORY

With a little less than two weeks to go before the judges announce the next cut, the novel excerpt is pulling consistently positive reviews, alhamdulillah. You can leave your review here.

Some people are a little thrown by the disorienting narrative structure -- that is a metaphor for war, friends -- but just about everyone wants to see more. I want that, too!

How Woody Guthrie felt about #drones

why do yr warships sail on my oceans why do yr deathbombs fall from the skies
I've Got to Know