Monday, June 5, 2017

Becoming an author

My current headshot - will be updated this summer!

In the literary world, one is only an author when one has written and published a book. You can write magazine articles, op-eds, poems, and short stories until you fill a room with manuscript pages, but you are not an author until your work is put into a book.

If you use that definition, I have been an author for a long time. Back in the 1990's I published a very small print run of a history of the US Consulate General in Saudi Arabia. But I never used that title, perhaps because it was never released publicly.

When I started the quest of publishing my novel A CARAVAN OF BRIDES, I learned that the title author is reserved for those who have climbed the mountain from writing a book to publication.

So here I am. Publishing through the small Loon Cove Press, I'm managing the process myself. I've hired editors and designers, revised and revised the manuscript. My to-do list is long and I feel like I'm riding a big old bicycle up a hill, picking up speed each day.

Today I took the step of setting up an 'author page' on facebook. It's a big day for me, daring to declare publicly that I am indeed, an author. So here is the link to my new author page. Feel free to stop by and 'like' it if you wish.  Thank you for reading my little blog, and I plan to write more about this part of the process as the time grows near.

Here is the link:  My Facebook Author Page


Friday, April 7, 2017

Robin Practices Spring

Winter has now passed in Maine, though at our place we still have snow here and there, including a respectable snowbank at the end of the driveway.

As a certified bird call fanatic, I listen every spring for the first robin's full song. It was two days ago that I heard it, full volume. But a few days before that, I heard and watched a robin 'practice' the spring call.

It was in the afternoon. I had taken a break from my long hours of desk work, and strolled out to our little farm pond, listening for any signs of the robins' song. And wouldn't you know, a very rotund robin with a bright red breast (perhaps a Canadian robin who wintered down here), sat on the fence rail on the far side of the pond. He or she was all puffed out. The next day we were expecting the last snowfall of the season. I must say I was a little down, wishing for it all to be done and for spring to start.

As I stood still, afraid to frighten it, this little robin started clucking, but at a very quiet volume. The bird seemed like it was practicing all its calls, the warning 'chip chip', some other little cheeps, but very quietly. Then it even started up its full song, but so quiet I could hardly hear it. I kept watching the bird to see if it might be coming from another bird far away, but no. This bird was literally practicing its spring call. Perhaps it, like me, was worried that it would be 'bad luck' to declare it spring just yet. It seemed like it was puffed up with the joy of spring, but was holding it back until the time was right.

This morning, I stepped out near dawn and was overwhelmed with an orchestra of robins in the forests all around. Later, a flock of raucous red-winged blackbirds came through. And the juncoes seem to have left, save a few stragglers. So it's here at last.

Maybe there's a lesson in the practice of spring. Maybe we all need to do it!


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Novel in progress - A CARAVAN OF BRIDES

It is with pride, excitement and a great deal of nervousness...that I let my loyal readers know that I've decided to self-publish my novel about Saudi Arabia, with the title A CARAVAN OF BRIDES.  In the last year I hired a developmental editor and have been finalizing revisions ever since. Now I am searching for a copy editor and a book cover designer.

My goal is to have the book ready late this summer, on Kindle and hopefully other e-book platforms, as well as a small print run.

This book has been in the making for two decades. It started out as a series of short stories about my time living in Saudi Arabia, and it gradually morphed, through many iterations, into its current form, which is a multi-generational saga focused on the friendship between two Saudi women: a college graduate and an elderly storyteller.

Even writing this blog post seems to mark a milestone. So, as I proceed in the process I will keep you updated.

In the name of God the Merciful the Beneficent. May it begin!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

14th session of the Arab Dance Seminar filling up

Once again, I'm posting about the upcoming Arab Dance Seminar. It doesn't take place until November 3-5, 2017, but registration just opened up and it always sells out quickly.

This year it's taking place in Dearborn, Michigan at the Arab American National Museum. The area is filled with Middle Eastern eateries and culture, and participants will be able to enjoy a more 'organic' cultural experience. In addition, Dearborn/Detroit is a fabulous airline hub for travelers. If you are thinking of signing up, don't delay!

This year's theme about the dance of minorities will be really interesting for me to tackle since I focus on the dances of women of the "Gulf" (Arabian Gulf). I want to include some really amazing roots dances that are rarely studied and performed. It is easy to think of the Gulf countries as monolithic desert societies, but they are varied and are influenced by minorities who have lived there for many years. The Gulf is geographically at a global crossroads, bringing people in from all over.

14th Arab Dance Seminar Link to website to register

Here is a recent video of the Arab Dance Seminar, with some clips from my classes teaching "Khaliji" dance.