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Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Even More Free Ebooks Through KU/KOLL

Free with Kindle Unlimited subscription. Free to borrow in Kindle Owners Lending Library. Prices reflect the retail price to buy the book.




Monday, September 03, 2018

Farewell to My Parents

I'd not mentioned we scattered my parents' ashes on Monday, August 27th. Since my father died in 2013 and mom died in April of this year, we figured we should get to it before the weather turned.

Anyway, because of wildfires, we abandoned our original plan to bury their ashes together in the forest. We decided that the West Eugene Wetlands would be a nice substitute so Darrel Perkins, Adam Perkins, John Dasef, and I went to the Checkermallow Access off Royal Ave. Of course, I forgot to take pictures, but nobody else remembered either. I went back today to get a few shots of the area.

Because I'm me, I had to have a few words to say for each of Adam, Darrel, and me to say. Here's the text of what was said, who read it, and what it means.

For Mom: When mom was born her father was away somewhere doing his work as an engineer (not train, but construction or something or other). When he heard of mom's birth, he sent a telegram to his family. Adam read it when we scattered the ashes.

The Birds have a "hope" for the spring time.
The Bees have a "hope" for them too.
And, I, like the others, to make this rhyme,
"Iva Hope" and it's you.

I think that's an incredibly sweet and creative rather than "Heard daughter born. Name her Iva Hope."

Next, Darrel read from "The Stag" by Robert Burns. Mom had to memorize this poem when she was in school. She was proud of the fact that she could remember most of it nearly 80 years later. She even wrote it out on her yellow pad. She'd also listed all the states on another page. She knew if she didn't work her brain, it'd quit on her, so she did crossword puzzles and challenged her memory. That's why we included a part of this poem for her. Darrel did this reading.

The Stag Hunt
Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832)

From “The Lady of the Lake,” Canto I.
THE STAG at eve had drunk his fill,
Where danced the moon on Monan’s rill,
And deep his midnight lair had made
In lone Glenartney’s hazel shade;
But, when the sun his beacon red
Had kindled on Benvoirlich’s head,
The deep-mouthed bloodhound’s heavy bay
Resounded up the rocky way,
And faint, from farther distance borne,
Were heard the clanging hoof and horn.

I could have read any of the Tales of the Texas Boy stories for my father, but those were all from his childhood. I had also written this poem. It was published in a magazine for retired military. It's around her someplace. But I did have the text, of course. I read this.




Signin' Up

"Free school" the sign said. I never heard of such a thing.
But Red and me, we moved on. We picked tomatoes in the fields.
We drove from place to place, seein' what we could.
Across Highway 66, we seen a lot along the way.

My brand-new Ford ran smooth, but after awhile we heard the news.
Germany didn't look too good. Pa said there'd be war.
So, we went off to Denver with those two blonde-haired gals.
I handed them the keys and told them take the car to Amarillo.

Me and Red joined up, but Pa said don't sign 'til they told me what I'd do.
Red signed ahead of me and he went off and peeled potatoes.
Me, I just hung around 'til they said, how about San Antone?
That was good with me, so I signed on the line and got the uniform.

I ended up on a ship, heading out to Manila Bay.
But, it was December 7th and the ship turned round along the way.
Nobody said what was goin' on, but they give me a coupon for the train.
I headed up to Seattle and, along the way, I heard the news.

I might've got to the Philippines and been killed on Corregidor.
As it is, I watched for the Japs along the Pacific shore.
And that girl seemed just right to marry.
So at the end, I ended up in Oregon workin' the big trees.

If it hadn't been for Pearl Harbor, where would I have gone?
Maybe that free school down in Fresno.
Maybe I'd signed up to ride fence down at a ranch.
Maybe I'd worked the oil fields like my uncle John.

But the world was what it was and I married that Oregon gal.
I saw the big trees and I liked the logging.
I stayed and sent money to the folks. Come on up, I said.
Where would I have gone, if it hadn't been for Pearl Harbor?

Thursday, August 30, 2018

New Paperback Through KDP

I'd never bothered creating a paperback for my kids' book "Lemons: And Other Kid Tales." It was too short. However, I thought I'd try out the new paperback creation system on Kindle Direct Publishing.

The ebook is 99 cents (free to KU and KOLL subscribers). I set the paperback price to $6.99 because I can't set it any lower and still make some pennies in royalties.

I don't expect anybody to buy it (it'll be available in a couple of days). It was an experiment with the new system starting a paperback from scratch. I already uploaded a couple of my other paperbacks to the KDP system, but they were already formatted and ready to go.

First off, the print book is 24 pages because that's the least pages you can make a paperback book. It would run 15 pages using the same format as the ebook. I had to add 9 pages. I did this by upping the point size of the font to 16pts, which made it eligible for Large Print. As a large print book, somebody might even buy it. It is a color pages book, which is why it's so expensive for its length. It's illustrated by photos I found free on the internet. It worked out pretty well since people like to post pictures of their dogs, cats, horses, mules, sheep, and an eagle. Yes, all those critters have a color photo in the book. Here's the cover. I kept it simple obviously. Oh, look, there's of the horse photos I borrowed from somebody. I did check if all photos were put out there for freeloaders. No copyrighted photos were used on purpose.

Blurb:
Lemons: Karen is horse crazy. One day, everything seems to go wrong.

One Fine Dog: Dogs weren't just pets, but working members of the family. Some, they could do amazing things and perform feats almost like magic.

Practical Cat: Boots wanted to explore outside, but finds out there's no place like home.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Dog Days Specials: #Free Ebooks

AUGUST 23RD AND 24TH - FREE ON AMAZON


The Tales of Abu Nuwas - SETARA'S GENIE 

A girl, a genie, a few demons. What could go wrong?

Abu Nuwas sits in the bazaar on his threadbare rug; a cup and sign proclaim him a teller of tales. For one small coin, he bids passers by to listen. A poor girl, Najda, sells spices from a tray. Would he, she asks, trade a tale for a packet of spice? Abu Nuwas agrees and begins the epic adventures of a girl and her genie.

As did Scheherazade before him, Abu leaves Najda hanging in the middle of each yarn to keep her coming back. Between stories, he questions the girl about her life. He discovers that she’s been promised in marriage to an old man whom she hates, but she must wed him to save her sick mother’s life. The rich bridegroom will pay for the doctors the mother needs. Meanwhile, Najda sells spices in the market to earn enough money to keep her mother alive.

He relates the adventures of Setara, the bored daughter of a rich merchant, and her genie, Basit, as they encounter the creatures of legend and folklore: a lonely cave demon seeking a home; a flying, fire-breathing horse who has lost his mate; a dragon searching for his family; an evil genie hunting for the man who put him in a lamp; and a merboy prince cast out of his undersea kingdom.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Audio Books

If you start a free trial on Audible using the links to my books, then I get a bounty. Since I make very little on these books, do both of us a favor and start your free trial with one of my books (free!)
Note: If you buy the ebook on Amazon, you can get the audio book for $1.99. With Whispersync, you can switch back and forth between reading and listening. Or, you can listen while you read.


Amazon $6.08 (Regular price $6.95) NOTE: This price should drop soon when the ebook and audio books are synced together. If you buy the ebook, then the price for the audio book is drastically reduced.

Tales of a Texas Boy $6.95
Amazon  $1.99
Audible  

Missing, Assumed Dead $14.95
Amazon  $7.49

Bad Spelling - Book 1 of Witches of Galdorheim $14.95

Midnight Oil - Book 2 of Witches of Galdorheim $19.95
Amazon  $7.49

Scotch Broom - Book 3 of Witches of Galdorheim $19.95
Amazon  $7.49

Friday, August 10, 2018

Upcoming Deals

August 23rd-24th - Tales of Abu Nuwas: Setara's Genie will be free on Amazon. It is currently free for Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners Lending Library users.

The Tales of Abu Nuwas - SETARA'S GENIE 
A girl, a genie, a few demons. What could go wrong?

Abu Nuwas sits in the bazaar on his threadbare rug; a cup and sign proclaim him a teller of tales. For one small coin, he bids passers by to listen. A poor girl, Najda, sells spices from a tray. Would he, she asks, trade a tale for a packet of spice? Abu Nuwas agrees and begins the epic adventures of a girl and her genie.

As did Scheherazade before him, Abu leaves Najda hanging in the middle of each yarn to keep her coming back. Between stories, he questions the girl about her life. He discovers that she’s been promised in marriage to an old man whom she hates, but she must wed him to save her sick mother’s life. The rich bridegroom will pay for the doctors the mother needs. Meanwhile, Najda sells spices in the market to earn enough money to keep her mother alive.

He relates the adventures of Setara, the bored daughter of a rich merchant, and her genie, Basit, as they encounter the creatures of legend and folklore: a lonely cave demon seeking a home; a flying, fire-breathing horse who has lost his mate; a dragon searching for his family; an evil genie hunting for the man who put him in a lamp; and a merboy prince cast out of his undersea kingdom.


Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Get a Free Book with a Free Trial at Audible

If you start a free trial on Audible using the links to my books, then I get a bounty. Since I make very little on these books, do both of us a favor and start your free trial with one of my books (free!)
Note: If you buy the ebook on Amazon, you can get the audio book for $1.99. With Whispersync, you can switch back and forth between reading and listening. Or, you can listen while you read.


Amazon $6.08 (Regular price $6.95)

Tales of a Texas Boy $6.95
Amazon  $1.99
Audible  

Missing, Assumed Dead $14.95
Amazon  $7.49

Bad Spelling - Book 1 of Witches of Galdorheim $14.95

Midnight Oil - Book 2 of Witches of Galdorheim $19.95
Amazon  $7.49

Scotch Broom - Book 3 of Witches of Galdorheim $19.95
Amazon  $7.49

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Last Day!

This is it! Final day, end of sale. You snooze, you lose. Two books featuring the master storyteller, Abu Nuwas. Only 99 cents each either on Amazon in Kindle format or at Smashwords in all ebook formats.

FAIZAH'S DESTINY Kindle Ebook ~ Smashwords All Ebook Formats


TALES OF ABU NUWAS 1: SETARA'S GENIE
A girl, a genie, a few demons. What could go wrong?

Abu Nuwas sits in the bazaar telling stories to the passersby he can tempt to pay. He relates the adventures of the bored daughter of a rich merchant, Setara, and her genie, Basit, as they encounter the creatures of legend and folklore: a lonely cave demon seeking a home; a flying, fire-breathing horse who has lost his mate; a dragon searching for his family; an evil genie hunting for the man who bottled him; and a merboy prince cast out of his undersea kingdom.

TALES OF ABU NUWAS 2: FAIZAH'S DESTINY
The gods are at war and only a farmer’s daughter can save the world from Armageddon.

The village magician has gone missing. His students search for him, but are caught up in a war between the forces of light and dark. The magician's best student, Faizah, is chosen by Anahita, the goddess of light, to lead the humans into battle on the side of good. Can a simple farm girl stave off Armageddon?

Monday, July 23, 2018

The Gods Must Be Crazy

Get both Tales of Abu Nuwas ebooks for only 99 cents each. 
Sale lasts through the end of July. The books are on Amazon and Smashwords.

Okay, I'm an idiot. Nobody wants these books for 99 cents each. However, I've promised they'll be at that low price for the rest of this month. I'm not one to break promises. So, get 'em if you haven't read them before. They're both very entertaining.

The Gods (and I) Must be Crazy

FAIZAH'S DESTINY borrows heavily from Persian mythology, but the gods pretty much match up to the Roman and Greek gods. Essentially, every civilization re-uses the same gods, but give them different names and their own special flavor.

The heroes are often the mighty warrior types: Hercules, Gilgamesh, Samson. Since I’ve written this book for kids, my heroes are teenagers, not at all like the legends (might become legendary themselves). But they’re not in mythology, so you’ll just have to read "Faizah's Destiny" to find out about them.

As usual, the “real” info is from the Encyclopedia Mythica (http://www.pantheon.org).

Ahura Mazdah

In Persian belief, Ahura Mazdah (“Lord Wisdom”) was the supreme god, he who created the heavens and the Earth, and another son of Zurvan. Atar, his son, battled Azhi Dahaka, the great dragon of the sky (note that Azhi shows up in “Setara's Genie”), and bound it in chains on a high mountain. The dragon was, however, destined to escape and destroy a third of mankind at the final reckoning, before it was slain. Ahura Mazdah was the god of prophetic revelation, and bore both Ahriman and Ormazd.

As leader of the Heavenly Host, the Amesha Spentas, he battles Ahriman and his followers to rid the world of evil, darkness and deceit. His symbol is the winged disc.

Anahita

The ancient Persian water goddess, fertility goddess, and patroness of women, as well as a goddess of war. Her name means “the immaculate one”. She is portrayed as a virgin, dressed in a golden cloak, and wearing a diamond tiara (sometimes also carrying a water pitcher). The dove and the peacock are her sacred animals.

Anahita was very popular and is one of the forms of the ?Great Goddess’ which appears in many ancient eastern religions (such as the Syrian/Phoenician goddess Anath). She is associated with rivers and lakes, as the waters of birth. Anahita is sometimes regarded as the consort of Mithra.

Ahurani

Ahurani is a water goddess from ancient Persian mythology. She watches over rainfall as well as standing water. She was invoked for health, healing, prosperity, and growth. She is the daughter of the great god of creation and goodness, Ahura Mazda. Her name means “She who belongs to Ahura.”

Dev

In Persian mythology, Dev is a demon of enormous power, a ruthless and immoral god of war.

The Gods’ Roles in Faizah’s Destiny

I use Ahura more or less as described in the mythology site. Because he was the leader of the Amesha Spentas (the good guys), I decided to portray him like Zeus or Thor, just another god amused at the foibles of humankind, but rarely steps into the action. He is also equated with Mithra, so I have him married to Anahita. Ahura shows up in only one chapter (“Demons and Deities”) and he chats with Anahita about the progress of the heroes. He claims to have set up the whole situation (just like a man).

I made Anahita my main character’s supporter. She appears to Faizah hovering over a lake. She tells the girl that one or more of her companions (three boys, wouldn’t you know) will be seduced to the dark side by demons. In typical godly fashion, she can’t give Faizah a straight story; she only hints at what might happen.

I also include a guest appearance by Ahurani, another goddess associated with water. One of the boys is in need of motherly advice, and Ahurani provides it for him. To say anything else would be a spoiler.

Finally, Dev is the villain of this book. As a god of war, his purpose is to create chaos and disruption. He feeds off anger and strife. He’s just downright mean and Evil is his middle name (if he had one). He’s the god who sends the lesser demons to tempt the boys to his side in the first skirmish of the upcoming battle between good and evil, Armageddon.

Excerpt:

Each time the light dimmed, it returned brighter than before, pulsing in time to the beat of her heart. As the shape within the light grew more and more distinct, a part of Faizah’s mind wondered if she should be afraid. Somehow she wasn’t. Instead, she felt a strong attraction to that glowing figure and walked to the lake’s edge to get a better look.

The apparition hovered a few inches above the surface of the lake. Faizah could now see, through the shimmering aura surrounding her, the figure was that of a woman. She was looking out over the lake to the point where the shooting star had disappeared over the caldera rim. Clad in a golden cloak, a diamond tiara adorned her brow, and two small lions lay at her feet. The figure turned slowly to look directly at Faizah, and a gentle smile curved her lips.

Faizah gasped in sudden recognition. This was the goddess Anahita! She did exist! Faizah stood entranced as the patroness of all women, the goddess of water and fertility, and of war, came gliding smoothly over the surface of the lake toward her.

As the figure halted before her, Faizah glanced quickly over her shoulder at their campsite. The boys hadn’t moved, and she could hear Menog’s rumbling snore. She turned back to face the goddess.

“They will not awaken, Faizah,” Anahita’s lilting voice sounded in her ear. “I would speak to you alone.”

“Why...what...why have you appeared to me, Goddess?” Faizah stammered, her voice trembling.

“My husband has listened to your thoughts, Faizah. Ahura favors your purpose. He sent Menog to guide you through the cavern.”

Faizah’s eyes widened as she struggled to grasp what she was hearing. Ahura, too?

“Ah...we are grateful to Ahura for his favor. But...but, if he is protecting us, why did the boys become ill? Why didn’t I get sick, too?”

Anahita’s musical laugh was the tinkling of bells in a breeze. “Pazuzu of the southwest wind controls this valley. He guards it jealously and blows illness toward all who enter. This is why no one lives here.” Her smile widened. “And I might have had some small part in keeping you from getting sick.”

“I have read that Pazuzu can kill,” Faizah ventured, “yet the boys only have a cough. Did you do that, too?”

“No. That was your doing. Pazuzu can indeed kill. The medicine you made is what saved the boys. There is magic in you, Faizah, which is stronger than you know.” Anahita looked over Faizah’s shoulder at their little camp then back at Faizah. Her smile vanished, and her look became serious.

“I, too, favor your journey. But your friends,” she continued with a gesture toward the sleeping boys, “have lost their purpose. Be always on your guard, Faizah, for powerful forces oppose you.”

“If you favor our journey, Goddess, can you not tell me where to find Master Wafai?”

“A fair question, but the answer, I’m sorry to say, is no, I cannot.”

“But...but, you’re a goddess! Surely―”

“Master Wafai is safe; you needn’t worry about him. You are destined to follow a different path.”
Faizah’s brow wrinkled with concern. Why would she be selected by Anahita? She stammered, “What path?”

Anahita’s gaze lowered. “Many no longer believe in us, the gods and goddesses. As their belief wanes, so does our influence in the world. I, my husband, Ahura, my brother and sister goddesses, none of us are as strong as we once were. There are those, like your Master Wafai, who serve us still, and so we retain some of our strength. Even you doubted our existence, but your hope that we were real allows me to appear to you.”

“I’m sorry I ever doubted, Goddess,” Faizah whispered. “What must I do? Is it right that we go first to find the Simurgh, or should we be doing something else?”

“So many questions!” Anahita’s musical laugh drifted across the water. In the distance, a peacock’s raucous shriek seemed to answer her. “Listen, my pet calls to me,” she said. Then her smile faded, and her eyes mirrored the seriousness in her voice.

“Know this, Faizah. I will protect you as much as I can and lend you what assistance I am able. Even so, your success or failure depends on you. Your own wits and your own strength are far more important than any aid I may give you.”

* * *

TALES OF ABU NUWAS 1: SETARA'S GENIE
A girl, a genie, a few demons. What could go wrong?

Abu Nuwas sits in the bazaar telling stories to the passersby he can tempt to pay. He relates the adventures of the bored daughter of a rich merchant, Setara, and her genie, Basit, as they encounter the creatures of legend and folklore: a lonely cave demon seeking a home; a flying, fire-breathing horse who has lost his mate; a dragon searching for his family; an evil genie hunting for the man who bottled him; and a merboy prince cast out of his undersea kingdom.

TALES OF ABU NUWAS 2: FAIZAH'S DESTINY
The gods are at war and only a farmer’s daughter can save the world from Armageddon.

The village magician has gone missing. His students search for him, but are caught up in a war between the forces of light and dark. The magician's best student, Faizah, is chosen by Anahita, the goddess of light, to lead the humans into battle on the side of good. Can a simple farm girl stave off Armageddon?




Saturday, July 21, 2018

What is a Simurgh?

Get both Tales of Abu Nuwas ebooks for only 99 cents each. 
Sale lasts through the end of July. The books are on Amazon and Smashwords.


Okay, I'm an idiot. Nobody wants these books for 99 cents each. However, I've promised they'll be at that low price for the rest of this month. I'm not one to break promises. So, get 'em if you haven't read them before. They're both very entertaining.

On to other business. So, what is a Simurgh? If you don't know, then here's a bit of info on the mysterious bird of legend.

What the Heck is a Simurgh?

An early reader of “Faizah’s Destiny” asked the question. When I wrote the book, I was definitely under the impression that everybody in the world knows what a simurgh is, but I guess I was wrong.

If you’ve read the 1001 Arabian Nights or even saw the movie with John Leguizamo as the genie (brilliant!), you’ll be familiar with the intelligent Big Bird. From the Encyclopedia Mythica, http://pantheon.org), my favorite source for all things mythic:

In Persian legend Simurgh is a gigantic, winged monster in the shape of a bird; a kind of peacock with the head of a dog and the claws of a lion. Its natural habitat is a place with plenty of water. According to legend, the creature is so old that it has seen the world destroyed three times over. In all that time, Simurgh has learned so much that it is thought to possess the knowledge of all ages.

I pretty much stick to the traditional description here except for that dog head and lion claws thing. Considering that the Simurgh know everything (really, not like that annoying guy at work who just thinks he knows everything), then it seemed logical to me and my heroine Faizah to ask them where to find Wafai the missing magician.

The boys in the little band of rescuers scoff at her, but it all works out anyway. The search for the bird does get them into the mountains where they need to be to save the world from Armageddon. You’ll have to admit that is just a teensy bit more important then finding an old magician. It’s all good, though. The magician finds the kids and the birds.

Illustration: This is a real page on the Simurgh from a real Arabic text dating back to circa 900 AD. I don’t see any dog’s head or lion claws. Do you?

Excerpt:

Faizah felt the sunlight on her cheek. Morning. She kept her eyes closed, savoring the warmth until something blocked out the sun. At first she thought it a cloud, and she opened her eyes a slit to check for rain.

A huge bird stood motionless over her, regarding her with a steady, unblinking gaze.

Her eyes flew all the way open. The Simurgh was as tall as Master Wafai, the biggest bird by far that she had ever seen. It looked like a giant peacock, save that its beak did not come to a point. The eyes were different, too. Instead of beady black eyes like a peacock, the Simurgh’s matched the iridescent spots on its tail. It also sported a spray of upright feathers on its head, giving it a jaunty appearance.

Was this the only one, she wondered, or were there more? Turning her head slightly, she saw out of the corner of her eye there were, indeed, more. Four more, in fact. One stood by each sleeping form.

“Hello,” she managed to say and wondered what to do next. Sit up, or remain as she was? Would movement frighten them? This last question was quickly answered by Harib leaping out of his blankets with a startled yelp. Faizah laughed as she sat up―the Simurgh standing over Harib hadn’t even flinched.

The Simurgh beside her spoke. “Good morning, Faizah. Welcome to our home.”

“Thank you,” she responded then struggled to her feet and bowed to the bird. Curtseying wasn’t something she did very often, and she thought it a poor time to start now. “We’ve come a long way to find you. It turns out we didn’t need to after all, but here we are.”

“Yes.” There was humor in the bird’s voice. “You sought our counsel on the whereabouts of Master Wafai.” The bird revealed it had both arms and wings as it gestured with one feathery limb toward the magician.

As well as possessing both arms and wings, Faizah noted the bird’s beak did not prevent it from speaking clearly. Looking closely, she saw the Simurgh’s beak was quite flexible, more like pointed lips than the beak of the birds she was familiar with. This accounted for the bird’s precise speech.

By this time, all of the travelers were up and variously gawking or grinning at the birds that stood before them. Master Wafai drew himself to his full, magisterial height and settled his robes about him before addressing the Simurgh in his most formal tones. Faizah couldn’t help but smile. The fact he was practically vibrating with excitement spoiled the effect a little.

“I have spent my entire life waiting to meet a magical creature such as yourselves.” He waved his arms in circles. “This is most exciting! Most exciting indeed!”

“Had you stopped waiting, Magician,” the Simurgh facing him replied, “and started searching instead, you might have met us sooner. Creatures of magic do not often seek out mortals, but they can be found if you seek them. As close to you as the valley on the other side of these mountains lives a young woman who keeps company with a djinn and a flying horse. You could have met her after only a short journey, had you cared to make it.”

“Setara! Yes, I’ve heard of her.” Wafai’s shoulders slumped. He nodded eyes downcast. “You are right. I sat and waited for the magic to come to me. I should have gone to it.”

The giant bird nodded. “Oh, one other thing. The plural is Simurghs, Master Wafai.”
Wafai’s cheeks reddened above his white beard, and he bowed his head. “I’ll correct that error in my texts.”

“Never mind,” the Simurgh replied, “that doesn’t matter anymore. You are here now, and we will tell you your fate if you wish it.”

“How does this work? Do you see the future?”

“We see all the possible futures. You move from one future to another, depending on what you do in the now.”

“Do you mean that what you tell us may not happen?”

We will tell you the future that lies ahead of you on the path you now travel. If you choose a different path, you will have a different future.” The Simurgh standing before Wafai nodded, indicating the other birds. “We will also tell you of a few things to avoid.”

* * *

FAIZAH'S DESTINY
The gods are at war and only a farmer’s daughter can save the world from Armageddon.

The village magician has gone missing. His four pupils think he has left a clue to his whereabouts in the Magicalis Bestialis--the book of magical creatures. They must seek the help of the elusive Simurgh, the mythical birds who know all the secrets of the universe.

However, this is not an easy camping trip into the mountains. Spirits, gods, and demons confront the four friends, who are not aware they’re being set up by otherworldly forces for a much larger task.

A farmer’s daughter, Faizah is chosen to lead the humans in the battle. She must persuade a slave, an orphan, and a rich merchant’s son to join in the battle on the side of good. Although divided by Dev, the evil god of war, the teens must band together to find the Simurgh, rescue their teacher, and stave off Armageddon.


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Coupons for #Free Audio Books

So, when an audio book is released, Audible.com gives the author a bunch of coupons which they can give to whoever they decide.

Sometimes, it by a contest or just a "please, may I have one" or holding one or more of my kids hostage. The last would be a little difficult since they're both grown men. Their respective wives may also object. I can guarantee your that the two Mrs. Dasefs married to my sons will kick your ass from here to next Sunday. Also, the two Ms. Dasefs (my granddaughters) could also kick your ass and enjoy doing it.

So, let's make it the easiest way. Just write a comment or reply on this blog or where it is referenced (Facebook, G+, and Twitter) which says, "Please, may I have one." Easy, right?

So, get to commenting, replying, or even emailing me. I've got seven audio books from which to choose and a big bunch of coupons waiting to be claimed.


Monday, July 16, 2018

Meet Master Wafai

Get both Tales of Abu Nuwas ebooks for only 99 cents each. 
Sale lasts through the end of July. The books are on Amazon and Smashwords.

The Village Magician
The four teen adventurers in “Faizah’s Destiny” are all students of the village magician, who also serves as teacher for the children who have some time to expend on schooling. Master Wafai is an all-round teacher, covering the academic topics such as mathematics and writing. As a magician with minor skills, he also loves to impart his knowledge of magical beasts that roam the earth.

Master Wafai wants more than anything to meet the elusive, all-knowing Simurgh. He feels it’s very important for his students to learn about magic, even though there is very little to be found around their tiny village. Of the Simurgh, he says:

“The Simurgh is a tutelary creature.” Wafai looked meaningfully at Bahaar’s tablet. The boy quickly applied chalk to good use. Wafai continued. “It is so old, according to legend, it has seen the world destroyed three times over.” Wafai folded his long fingers around the chalk, holding his hands against his chest. “Many believe it has learned so much that it possesses the knowledge of all the ages―a great teacher and a guardian. The Simurgh simply are. In the past for all of eternity and in the future for all of eternity.”

One day, Master Wafai isn’t at his little school. His four pupils are puzzled and concerned. Why is their teacher gone without leaving word? A possible answer is found on a page of the Magicalis Bestialis. The book was left open to the text describing the Simurgh.

Faizah, a farmer’s daughter and Wafai’s favorite pupil, knows how much the Master loves the Simurgh, she immediately believes the open page is a sign that she and the boys who are also students must seach for the home of the Simurgh.

The boys scoff at the silly idea, but agree to searching the nearby mountains for signs of Wafai’s whereabouts. They only decide to go on the search when they find the adults in the village are content to send word to the Sultan and have troops sent to search for the missing teacher.

Excerpt:

Master Wafai sat at the small table that served him for both dining and desk. One of his prized books, the Magicalis Bestialis lay on the table before him, open to the section on the Simurgh. If only they were real. Wafai sighed. His advancing years never dimmed the hope that someday he would know for certain such magical beasts truly existed.

The stories he had heard of the flying, fire-breathing horse stabled in the Sultan’s palace, helped to keep that hope alive. Still, he longed to meet such a creature, to see it with his own eyes.

He sighed again and stood. He moved into the bare kitchen and carried a bowl of fruit back to the table. In this tiny village, there was not much chance of seeing anything magical. Wafai had long ago accepted the fact he would never be a great or powerful mage. A competent magician in an average sort of way, he could cure most common ailments, cast a spell to clear the air after a sandstorm, find lost livestock, and sometimes water. He could even generate a few small curses, though he seldom chose to do so.

Peeling an orange, he stared, unseeing, at his whitewashed walls, smudged with ochre chalk. His students provided the greatest joy in his life. A mediocre magician though he might be, Wafai was a born teacher. His pupils made jokes about him ‘putting on his teaching voice,’ but when he did, they listened. Although Wafai had always longed to meet a magical creature or two, what he really wanted was for one or more of his students to have the opportunities he had missed.

He thought about his three students and wondered about the new boy. Would any of them become adept? Would any of them ever meet a flying horse, a demon, or a Djinn? Most of the village children came to his school only until they were eight or nine, and then family duties called them away.

Harib, the son of a rich merchant, was the only one free to do as he pleased. He attended school to be with his friends. Left mostly to his own devices when his mother died, Harib had come to the school out of curiosity and boredom. He met Faizah and Bahaar there, and the three of them soon formed a close friendship. School was easy for Faizah and Harib, however Bahaar struggled a bit. They had all mastered the basics of reading and arithmetic and were now engrossed in learning what they could of the magical arts.

Wafai looked down at the Magicalis Bestialis and picked up an orange pip he had dropped. He closed the book and put it aside.

* * *
THE TALES OF ABU NUWAS: SETARA'S GENIE
A girl, a genie, a few demons. What could go wrong?

Abu Nuwas sits in the bazaar telling stories to the passersby he can tempt to pay. He relates the adventures of the bored daughter of a rich merchant, Setara, and her genie, Basit, as they encounter the creatures of legend and folklore: a lonely cave demon seeking a home; a flying, fire-breathing horse who has lost his mate; a dragon searching for his family; an evil genie hunting for the man who bottled him; and a merboy prince cast out of his undersea kingdom.

THE TALES OF ABU NUWAS: FAIZAH'S DESTINY
The gods are at war and only a farmer’s daughter can save the world from Armageddon.

The village magician has gone missing. His four pupils think he has left a clue to his whereabouts in the Magicalis Bestialis--the book of magical creatures. They must seek the help of the elusive Simurgh, the mythical birds who know all the secrets of the universe.

However, this is not an easy camping trip into the mountains. Spirits, gods, and demons confront the four friends, who are not aware they’re being set up by otherworldly forces for a much larger task.

A farmer’s daughter, Faizah is chosen to lead the humans in the battle. She must persuade a slave, an orphan, and a rich merchant’s son to join in the battle on the side of good. Although divided by Dev, the evil god of war, the teens must band together to find the Simurgh, rescue their teacher, and stave off Armageddon.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

What's a Story Without a Camel?

Get both Tales of Abu Nuwas ebooks for only 99 cents each. 
Sale lasts through the end of July. The books are on Amazon and Smashwords.
THE CAMEL is an extremely minor character in the book, "Setara's Genie." It's just a bit part, so the poor guy doesn't even have a name.

The camel is known as the ship of the desert and is one of the most common draft animals in the middle east. A 1001 Arabian Nights style story like Setara's Genie must have a camel somewhere in the mix.

In one chapter, Setara is attempting to learn to ride a camel. She doesn't see the purpose since she had a perfectly wonderful horse, Nasreen.

We looking in from the outside know something Setara doesn't. A tradition of the Sultan of Semidor (the area in which Setara lives) says young girls coming to a marriageable age (sixteen) ride into the city on the back of a pure white camel. Sort of a Debutante Coming Out Party.

Setara doesn't add two plus two and realize that the ceremonial arrival marks her as a woman ready to be wed to some merchant or even the Sultan's son (who's in the market for a bride).

The spice girl, Najda, who is the listener to Abu Nuwas's tales about Setara, is in the same predicament. She's on the verge of a forced marriage to an old man. As a fourth wife, she knows she will not be treated very well by wives 1, 2, and 3. But she's stuck in a society which gives her no choice on her potential bridegroom.

This all comes back to the camel Setara must ride the camel to display herself as a possible member of some man's harem.

Excerpt

Setara screamed and flung herself from the saddle. “Ow! Ow! Stop! Whoa! Stop!” She dropped six feet, right on her tailbone, screamed again, and burst into tears. Setara’s faithful companion, Sheik, ran circles around her, alternately barking at the camel and whining at his mistress.

Dukak, the camel driver, rushed over and grabbed the dromedary’s reins. He tapped the big camel’s knee, and the beast obligingly folded its long legs. On his knees, the camel turned his head to face the crying girl. He drew his head back then snaked it forward, spitting a huge wad of cud between Setara’s shoulder blades.

Mistress, you should wait for the camel to kneel. You fell from so high, no wonder you are hurt.” The camel driver pulled out a handkerchief and plucked the wad from her back.

Setara stopped crying and struggled to her feet. Dukak offered his hand, but she ignored him. She glared at the camel, which continued chewing his cud. “He stinks, too!”

Are you injured?” Dukak’s brow furrowed with concern.

Not much,” Setara said, rubbing her abused backside. “A horse is a much finer means of transportation, Dukak. I fail to see why I need to learn to ride a camel. They sway and bounce around too much and that saddle! Why is it made of wood, not padded leather?"

Dukak ignored her question and waved his hands as if fending her off. “It’s expected, Mistress Setara. Women must enter the sultan’s palace grounds on the back of a pure white camel. So it is written, and so it shall be.” Dukak spoke as if this explained it all.

* * *
TALES OF ABU NUWAS: SETARA'S GENIE
A girl, a genie, a few demons. Would could go wrong?

Abu Nuwas sits in the bazaar on his threadbare rug; a cup and sign proclaim him a teller of tales. For one small coin, he bids passers by to listen. A poor girl, Najda, sells spices from a tray. Would he, she asks, trade a tale for a packet of spice? Abu Nuwas agrees and begins the epic adventures of a girl and her genie.

As did Scheherazade before him, Abu leaves Najda hanging in the middle of each yarn to keep her coming back. Between stories, he questions the girl about her life. He discovers that she’s been promised in marriage to an old man whom she hates, but she must wed him to save her sick mother’s life. The rich bridegroom will pay for the doctors the mother needs. Meanwhile, Najda sells spices in the market to earn enough money to keep her mother alive.

He relates the adventures of the bored daughter of a rich merchant, Setara, and her genie, Basit, as they encounter the creatures of legend and folklore: a lonely cave demon seeking a home; a flying, fire-breathing horse who has lost his mate; a dragon searching for his family; an evil genie hunting for the man who put him in a lamp; and a merboy prince cast out of his undersea kingdom.