Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Praise for JIHADI: A LOVE STORY from Texas Book Lover

Wow! Very kind words from Michelle Newby, a reviewer I have admired for a long time.

"Timely and spookily prescient ... a magical mystery tour through a labyrinth of competing ambitions and motivations, wherein truth and justice are matters for interpretation."

Thank you, Michelle!

My publisher ORENDA BOOKS has just released the ebook of JIHADI: A LOVE STORY. Order it here.

Fascist Leads GOP Polls; Primaries Just Weeks Away

No, really.

It's as if America has secured a time machine, whooshed back to 1951, given Joe McCarthy speed & steroids, and said, "THIS guy. Yeah." 

Or maybe even a couple of decades earlier. So as to curry the favor of a promising. up-and-coming orator making the rounds in Berlin.

My rant concerning RUBBER SOUL, practiced over many years ...

... may be found here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Coexistence is a conversation.

Wow. Instant LANDMARK FORUM refresher course!

This glossary from Wikiversity covers, I believe, all the bases. Essential reading if you've been through Landmark, and a good teaser if you haven't.

I should say here that I only finished my novel JIHADI: A LOVE STORY after Landmark Forum helped me clarify that one of the reasons I was avoiding completing the novel was that I didn't want to be responsible for it. One of many breakthroughs from that weekend.

Werner Erhard, the founder of this work, is a great contributor to the human race, and deserves to be acknowledged as such.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Free download of my short story A DEAL

My short story A DEAL is now up on the Orenda Books website

Take a look! Not sure how long it will be available there. It's a free download.

A different world from Jihadi: A Love Story, plucked from a bigger novel I'm working on.

JIHADI: A LOVE STORY ebook from Orenda Books is OUT!

No foundation to the rumor that we timed the release to coincide with the (thematically relevant) streaming of the Beatles canon on Spotify! That was pure synchronicity. Synchronicity: My unstinting collaborator on this project since 2007.

Each of the faces below is referenced directly or indirectly in the book. Order it on Amazon, then see how many you can identify.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Hemingway Standard

All I ask of a paragraph is that it be so crazily fantastic that Hemingway would nod and say, "Okay, son. Go from there."

7 Modest Proposals for the Self-Righteous Xenophobes Who Shut Down the School System in Augusta County, Virginia, Over This World Religions Homework Assignment

#1. Continue to be furious. Don't stop to ask yourself whether this is just a poorly chosen assignment meant to teach high school kids about world religions. Don't ask the teacher to provide an alternative assignment if this one seems inappropriate to you. (I'm a Muslim, by the way, and it seems inappropriate to me.) Assume nefarious intent. Make somebody the Enemy lurking around every corner -- we need more of those -- and then get as angry as you possibly can. Stay angry and get others angry, too. Good decisions and actions always follow.

#2. Set a great example for your kids. Make sure they grasp the point that the best way to feel good about themselves and their community is to close down institutions of learning and then hate on other people.

#3. Demonize Islam. That's more and more fashionable these days. Stay in step.

#4. Demonize Muslims, and in particular American Muslims. Make us feel just as welcome as you made Japanese-Americans feel in the early 1940s. Our citizenship is indeed inferior to yours, as theirs was to your grandparents'.

#5. Demonize Arabic language, culture, and history as a whole. Do what Fox News does. Play scary music whenever Arabic script appears. Some of the brighter kids may ask if that means they don't have to study algebra anymore, since an Arab invented it. Change the subject.

#6. Keep talking about preventing American Muslims abroad (like me) from returning to the land of their birth. In fact, make this a big campaign issue in the 2016 election cycle. So what if such a proposal shreds our constitutional rights? Constitution, shmonstitution. This is an idea whose time has come. And if the skeptics say that time is 1933, and the place is Berlin, well, don't let a bunch of pointy-headed intellectuals get in the way of a great night rally. Be sure to bring the torches.

#7. Keep the social media pressure on. While you're at that night rally, shoot and post a video in which you burn every book in which Arabic script appears. Mine, for instance.

P.S.: You have just answered the most twisted prayers of the senior Isis zombies, whose goal is to breed division.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Lost Beatles Song

I don't observe Christmas, but I do keep an eye on the Fab Four.

Okay, okay. It wasn't really lost. It comes from their 1966 end-of-year fan club record. But I'm guessing you haven't heard it before, Harold, so...

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

3 Things Shakespeare Taught Me about Writing Thrillers

What were they? Click here to see my guest post on LINDA'S BOOK BAG and I'll tell you.

Thank you, Linda!

Monday, December 14, 2015

In Which I Am Interviewed by a Cat

Click here. Or a cat will interview you.

Many thanks to Victoria Goldman's OFF-THE-SHELF BOOK REVIEWS blog. Read and follow her!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Safie Maken Finlay's THE SPEAR OF TIME

Honored to have had an early look at Safie Maken Finlay's sparkling debut. Wow!

With their parents lost at sea and their little brother kidnapped, two Irish kids must complete an epic Quest using a magic spear that navigates time and space.

Friday, December 11, 2015

A Native American response to the fascist who is currently leading the GOP pack

Some background: Donald Trump, riding high in the polls, has said he only wants to ban Muslims from entering the USA until the country's leaders figure out "what the hell is going on."

Apparently Native American elders have now called for a ban on European entry to North America until they figure out what the hell is going on.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Five Books I Am Reading (December)

The Holy Qur'an

Tess of the D'urbervilles

The Stand

Anna Karenina

Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Donald Trump and the F word

No longer amusing -- we need to acknowledge Trump is a fascist.

His latest idiocy is a proposal to prevent all Muslims from entering, or re-entering, the United States.

Fascism is corporatism bred with nationalism gone insane. And that's what we've got in the Republican front-runner.

I write about this xenopobic strain of the US political culture in JIHADI: A LOVE STORY. Truth is, yet again, stranger than fiction.

As an American citizen abroad, I should like to point out that the Donald's Nazi-esque restriction would mean I would be exiled under a Trump administration for exercising my First Amendment rights to worship as I choose. No, I am not making this up.

Fuck you, Mr. Trump.

Monday, December 7, 2015

If you are uncertain about Islam and Muslims, I understand

I was once just as uncertain.

My request is that we have a conversation. If we can keep it civil and respectful, I will keep the lines of communication open.

Friday, December 4, 2015

The message you want your publisher to tweet before the book goes to press

There has been so much terrible news out in the world over the last few days that I feel deep and abiding gratitude for all the good news that surfaces. So here it comes. My debut novel, JIHADI: A LOVE STORY, eight years in the making, launches on December 24 -- here is what my publisher had to say about it today on Twitter:

Wow. Thank you +Karen Sullivan !

Stay tuned, rest of the world. All the tweaking is over, here comes the final book, and I'm happy now to let it speak for itself.

San Bernadino

Deepest condolences to those who lost loved ones in this insane and shameful attack on innocent civilians.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

21 days until #JihadiALoveStory ebook comes out

A strange and mysterious circumstance, that a book I started writing eight years ago should be, on its release, so attuned to this particular global moment of extremism.

Perhaps a deeper global conversation about extremism is in order, and perhaps a thriller is as good a place to start it as any.

Preorder here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


And so do you.  Please post your picture with this hashtag to send a message via Twitter to Paris climate summit. #COP21