Palestinian Folktale: Nani, Daughter of Nani.

There was and there was not a king and queen who were childless. One day a dervish came by who was selling mountain apples. He cried his produce saying they would help the childless to conceive. The king asked the dervish about the apples.

“Will it really do as you say?”

“Indeed,” said the holy man. “You must eat half and the queen the other and you will have a splendid son. But there is one condition: you must make a river of molasses and a river of tahini flow through your city or the boy will die while he is still young!”

A son was born to the king and queen. One day on his way to school the prince met the dervish. “Son of kings,” he said. “Tell your parents to honour their vow or the voices will devour you.” He placed three pebbles in the boy’s pocket to remind him.

Now the prince, Hasan, was a very forgetful boy so when his mother found the pebbles he said nothing and she assumed he had just been playing with the other children.

A few days later, Hasan met the dervish again. “Son of kings,” he said. “Tell your parents to honour their vow or the voices will devour you.” This time he placed seven show heels in the prince’s pocket.

“What’s all this?” said his mother. “What have you been playing with?” Finally Hasan remembered the odd message. The king was reminded of his vow. “The Devil made me forget!” he cried. At once he ordered the rivers of molasses and tahini be constructed in the heart of the city.

Some years later, an old woman ventured out of her home. Umm Nimr was poor and seldom went outside her home. When she did, she was astonished to see the rivers of molasses and tahini and went back to fetch a bottle to fill.

She took a spoon, filled it, poured it into a thimble then emptied the thimble into the bottle. After a long time and much effort, she had nearly filled her bottle when a stone whizzed by and then another, and another.

A stone hit her bottle and it broke, spilling all of the contents. She looked around to see prince Hasan laughing, still holding his slingshot. “Prince,” she said. “I will not curse you, but I will offer up this prayer: may you be stricken with a passion for Nani, daughter of Nani, Lady of the Ghouls!”

And so it happened: just by mentioning her, the prince could think of nothing else until he returned to Umm Nimr and asked who Nani daughter of Nani was.

“Please forget about her, she is the daughter of a ghoul, they say, who rules over a wide kingdom of ghouls. But it is only a tale. I was cross when I uttered that prayer,” she said. But it was no use. Her attempts to dissuade him only made his obsession worse. It got so bad, the queen had to call doctors in because the prince was wasting away.

“You’re not sick,” said one of the doctors. “You’re in love!” And that’s when prince Hasan knew that he had to rely on all of his courage and skill to find this Nani daughter of Nani, Lady of the Ghouls.”

And so the prince took leave of his parents and ventured out into the world. He traveled east, not knowing where he should search but trusting God to guide his steps. Finally he came to the land of the ghouls. There was a huge ghoul standing near. Hasan greeted him.

“Greetings, my uncle,” said the prince.

“Greetings,” said the ghoul. “Had you not greeted me first, I would have broken your bones and devoured your flesh!”

“Let me wet your beard and shave you, uncle.” And so the ghoul let the prince shave him. Feeling refreshed the ghoul said:

“May God lighten your burden as you’ve lightened mine. Say what you wish and I’ll grant it.”

At once the prince replied: “I need to see Nani, daughter of Nani, Lady of the Ghouls.”

“I cannot take you to her,” said the ghoul. “But walk on for three more days until you come to my brother. Tell him that Bahlazaboul sends his greetings.

And so the prince walked on and greeted the ghoul as he roasted an ox over a fire. “If you had not greeted me, I would have broken your bones and devoured your flesh,” said the ghoul. “What do you want from me?”

“Your brother Bahlazaboul sends his greetings. Let me shave you as I shaved him.” And so he refreshed the ghoul. When Hasan told the ghoul that he wanted to see Nani, daughter of Nani, Lady of the Ghouls.

“I cannot take you to her,” said the ghoul. “But travel on for three more days and you will come to my brother who has more knowledge than I. Tell him that Baalazaboul sends his greetings.

And so the prince met, greeted, and refreshed the third ghoul telling him that his brothers Bahlazaboul and Baalazaboul sent their greetings. “Reaching Nani daughter of Nani will require courage,” said the ghoul. “Do not fear, no matter what happens for fear leads to misfortune. Do exactly as I say: take this bobbin and walk on until the thread stops. Then you should be under the window of Nani. Call out ‘Nani, Nani!’ in a loud voice. You will sink up to your knees. Do not fear, but cry out again “Nani, Nani!” You will sink to your waist. Cry out again “Nani, Nani!” and you will sink to your shoulders. Nani will be looking out of her window and will then let down her hair which will wind around you and draw you up to her.”

Hasan did exactly as the ghoul said. Nani was beautiful, more beautiful than Hasan had imagined. She let down her hair and drew him up. When he got to the top they embraced and she offered him refreshment.

“I will turn you into an apple and put you on that shelf so my mother cannot find you,” she said.

“Do as you wish,” said Hasan. “I am in your hands.”

And so he turned him into an apple. Her mother swept into the room sniffing around. “I smell a human,” she said.

“Where would I get a human from?” said Nani. “You probably brought the smell in with you.”

“I have a longing for apples,” said her mother. “Let me have this apple on the shelf.”

“That apple is not for eating,” said Nani. “It’s just an aesthetic.”

“Very well, daughter,” said her mother as she left.

That night Nani undid her spell and she and Hasan talked together pleasantly into the night. The next day she turned him into a kitten.

“I smell a human again!” said Nani’s mother sweeping into the room.

“Where would I get a human? You probably brought the smell in yourself,” said Nani.

“Very well, but give me this kitten for I am fond of cats.”

“It was a present from my grandmother,” said Nani. “I can’t let anyone take it.” Her mother chased Hasan around the room but she couldn’t catch him with Nani using her magic to fling him this way and that.

The next day Nani turned him into a bowl. “Give me this bowl,” said Nani’s mother. “I want to make kibbeh.”

“You have bigger bowls,” said Nani. “Use one of them.”

“Very well, but I’ll be back again tomorrow…”

When her mother was gone, Nani undid the spell and said: “we can’t keep tricking my mother like this. What if I couldn’t hide you? We should run away… Can you swim?” Hasan assured her that he could. And so they escaped out of the window and down to the river where he swam like a fish with her on his shoulders.

Nani’s mother saw them and cried for her servants but none of them would help her because they hated her. They all feigned incompetence and said they couldn’t swim.

“Very well, Nani!” she cried out the window. “You’ve deserted me; you’ve forgotten your own mother, Nani!”

Nani and the prince made haste back the way he had traveled, passing in turn all of the ghouls he had met who congratulated him and refreshed his supplies in thanks for his kindness to them. Finally they emerged from the lands of the ghouls. Eventually they made it all the way back to Hasan’s home city.

“I want you to have a proper grand procession when you come to meet my parents,” said Hasan as he came to a fountain. “Wait here in this tree until I come back.”

“Do as you wish, I am in your hands,” said Nani.

What do you think but no sooner had Hasan been feasted by the court than he forgot all about Nani… Totally forgot she existed!

Now there was a servant girl named Fitna whose job it was to gather water. She went to the fountain and as she bent over she saw a reflection of a beautiful maiden in the water. Distracted by her own beauty, as she thought, she dropped the pot and it broke. Her master scolded her and sent her back with a tin pot that couldn’t break. This time it only thudded, which made Nani laugh. The girl looked up and realized the whole thing.

“Who are you?” the girl demanded, embarrassed. Nani explained that she was the bride of prince Hasan waiting for him to return and present her.

“Let me put your hair up with these clips,” she said. “You will look more presentable.” And Nani got down from her tree and allowed the girl to dress her hair. No sooner had she placed the clips than Nani turned into a white dove.

“Now wait for the prince!” said Fitna. “That’s what you get for cheating a poor servant girl!”

For days Nani survived by eating crumbs the royal baker gave her.

“Is the baker to his master’s service bound?” said Nani.

“Yes, dove,” said the baker.

“And is your master sleeping sound?”

“Yes, dove.”

“Is the prince of matchless might?”

“Yes, dove.”

“Has he forgotten the Nanis quite?”

“Yes, dove.”

By this time, the meal was burned. The poor baker was scolded by the prince for his negligence. In his defense, the baker told him about the dove and Hasan at once remembered everything. Hasan waited in the bakery until Nani returned.

“Change back to what you were!” he cried.

“I can’t for I did not change myself but was put under a spell by another. Remove these clips from my feathers and I will transform.” Hasan removed the clips and Nani at once returned to her true form. Hasan was overjoyed and apologized profusely for forgetting her but Nani only said “God in his wisdom reveals the weaknesses of men.” The king and queen celebrated Hasan’s marriage to Nani and they all lived happily ever after.

This story was adapted from Abu Jmeel’s Daughter and Other Stories: Arab Folk Tales from Palestine and Lebanon by Jamal Sleem Nuweihed. You can read more about this book on my blog here.

2021 Published Work

Hey, it’s time for an awards eligibility post; my first proper one! Without further ado, let’s get to the stories, shall we?

“From Whole Cloth” is a queerplatonic riff on the Palestinian folktale ‘A Story That Begins and Ends With Lies.’

ArabLit Quarterly: FOLK is available in print, EPUB, and PDF formats.

“Muneera and the Moon” is a sapphic tale inspired by Palestinian folk religion and djinn lore.

FIYAH’s Special Issue of Palestinian Speculative Fiction is available here.


I reviewed Sonia Nimr’s Wondrous Journeys in Strange Lands for Strange Horizons.

2022 Anthology/Collection Reading List

I’ve decided I to do a little challenge in 2022. I’ll be reading a bunch of speculative fiction anthologies and collections. Some were recommended on Twitter, or elsewhere, and some I’ve had on the shelf for too long. Putting them down here will help me stay accountable to myself, ~hopefully. Here they are in no particular order, with their Goodreads blurb.

The Tangleroot Palace: Stories, Margorie Liu

New York Times bestseller and Hugo, British Fantasy, Romantic Times, and Eisner award-winning author of the graphic novel, Monstress, Marjorie Liu leads you deep into the heart of the tangled woods. In her long-awaited debut story collection, dark, lush, and spellbinding short fiction you will find unexpected detours, dangerous magic, and even more dangerous women.

Briar, bodyguard for a body-stealing sorceress, discovers her love for Rose, whose true soul emerges only once a week. An apprentice witch seeks her freedom through betrayal, the bones of the innocent, and a meticulously-plotted spell. In a world powered by crystal skulls, a warrior returns to save China from invasion by her jealous ex. A princess runs away from an arranged marriage, finding family in a strange troupe of traveling actors at the border of the kingdom’s deep, dark woods.

Concluding with a gorgeous full-length novella, Marjorie Liu’s first short fiction collection is an unflinching sojourn into her thorny tales of love, revenge, and new beginnings.

The Haunted Quill: An Anthology of Historical Speculative Fiction ed. Kate Francia.

A young girl in a mining town hears three knocks at her door on a dark night. Two Viking warriors, haunted by grief, enter a cursed forest of iron trees. A mysterious orphan girl hides in the rafters high above the stage of the Opéra le Peletier. A widowed mother and a ghost fight to save her homestead.

The Haunted Quill contains eight short stories and original illustrations that explore the strange and uncanny corners of history. Featuring original stories and reprints from new and established writers of speculative fiction, including: Jordan Taylor, Laura Hennessey DeSena, Stephen K Pettersson, Henry Herz, LH Moore, Jane Nightshade, Colleen Ennen, and Caren Gussoff Sumption.

Reworlding Ramallah: Short Science Fiction Stories from Palestine ed. Callum Copley

Critical science fiction, on its most basic level, is an opportunity to experiment with new ways of existing in the world; imaging different, economic, political and social structures. Within its pages, science fiction holds the space to test ambitious projects without the fear of failure. Reading and writing science fiction is, in all its imaginative and disruptive potential, something which I believe is valuable to anyone living under conditions which they wish to change.

‘Reworlding’ is the name given to a concerted effort to reimagine the places and spaces we inhabit, by generating a multiplicity of futures with which to affect the present positively. Reworlding takes the notion of worldbuilding beyond any ostensible purpose as art or entertainment and deploys aspects of it as a radical tool to instigate change in the world.

The stories compiled in this book were the outcome of a writing workshop series led by Callum Copley in a town called Birzeit, a few miles north of Ramallah, Palestine. From alien experiments, to fortune-tellers and telepathic conspiracies; the stories compiled here represent visions of the West Bank and beyond, reworlding both the local and the interplanetary. Although the contributions in the collection vary in form, length and style, all join a rapidly growing but comparatively small niche of Palestinian science fiction.

Robots vs Fairies ed. Dominik Parisien

A unique anthology of all-new stories that challenges authors to throw down the gauntlet in an epic genre battle and demands an answer to the age-old question: Who is more awesome—robots or fairies?

Rampaging robots! Tricksy fairies! Facing off for the first time in an epic genre death match!

People love pitting two awesome things against each other. Robots vs. Fairies is an anthology that pitches genre against genre, science fiction against fantasy, through an epic battle of two icons.

On one side, robots continue to be the classic sci-fi phenomenon in literature and media, from Asimov to WALL-E, from Philip K. Dick to Terminator. On the other, fairies are the beloved icons and unquestionable rulers of fantastic fiction, from Tinkerbell to Tam Lin, from True Blood to Once Upon a Time. Both have proven to be infinitely fun, flexible, and challenging. But when you pit them against each other, which side will triumph as the greatest genre symbol of all time?

There can only be one…or can there?

Laughter at the Academy by Seanan McGuire

From fairy tale forest to gloomy gothic moor, from gleaming epidemiologist’s lab to the sandy shores of Neverland, Seanan McGuire’s short fiction has been surprising, delighting, confusing, and transporting her readers since 2009. Now, for the first time, that fiction has been gathered together in one place, ready to be enjoyed one twisting, tangled tale at a time. Her work crosses genres and subverts expectations.

Meet the mad scientists of “Laughter at the Academy” and “The Tolling of Pavlov’s Bells.” Glory in the potential of a Halloween that never ends. Follow two very different alphabets in “Frontier ABCs” and “From A to Z in the Book of Changes.” Get “Lost,” dress yourself “In Skeleton Leaves,” and remember how to fly. All this and more is waiting for you within the pages of this decade-spanning collection, including several pieces that have never before been reprinted. Stories about mermaids, robots, dolls, and Deep Ones are all here, ready for you to dive in.

This is a box of strange surprises dredged up from the depths of the sea, each one polished and prepared for your enjoyment. So take a chance, and allow yourself to be surprised.

Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond ed. Bill Campbell.

a groundbreaking speculative fiction anthology that showcases the work from some of the most talented writers inside and outside speculative fiction across the globe—including Junot Diaz, Victor LaValle, Lauren Beukes, N. K. Jemisin, Rabih Alameddine, S. P. Somtow, and more. These authors have earned such literary honors as the Pulitzer Prize, the American Book Award, the World Fantasy Award, and the Bram Stoker, among others.

Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements ed Adrienne Maree Brown.

Whenever we envision a world without war, without prisons, without capitalism, we are producing visionary fiction. Organizers and activists envision, and try to create, such worlds all the time. This book brings twenty of them together in the first anthology of short stories to explore the connections between radical speculative fiction and movements for social change. The visionary tales of Octavia’s Brood span genres—sci-fi, fantasy, horror, magical realism—but all are united by an attempt to experiment with new ways of understanding ourselves, the world around us, and all the selves and worlds that could be. The collection is rounded off with essays by Tananarive Due and Mumia Abu-Jamal, and a foreword by Sheree Renée Thomas.

Long Story Short by Jodi Taylor

Now in print for the very first time, this unmissable collection brings together seven short stories from the internationally bestselling Chronicles of St Mary’s series, and one special guest tale from somewhere completely different.

**Includes brand-new St Mary’s short story When Did You Last See Your Father? and original introductions from the author**

From riotous misbehaviour in Victorian London to ingenious feats of scientific invention (powdered water – just add water!), and from a chaotic Nativity play starring a vengeful Angel Gabriel to an illegal expedition to Mars, Jodi Taylor knows how to spin a good yarn.

 Never Have I Ever by Isabel Yap.

“Am I dead?”

Mebuyen sighs. She was hoping the girl would not ask.

Spells and stories, urban legends and immigrant tales: the magic in Isabel Yap’s debut collection jumps right off the page, from the joy in her new novella, ‘A Spell for Foolish Hearts’ to the terrifying tension of the urban legend ‘Have You Heard the One About Anamaria Marquez’

Silk & Steel: A Queer Speculative Adventure Anthology ed. Janine A Southard.

Princess and swordswoman, lawyer and motorcyclist, scholar and barbarian: there are many ways to be a heroine. In this anthology, seventeen authors find new ways to pair one weapon-wielding woman and one whose strengths lie in softer skills.

“Which is more powerful, the warrior or the gentlewoman?” these stories ask. And the answer is inevitably, “Both, working together!”

Herein, you’ll find duels and smugglers, dance battles and danger noodles, and even a new Swordspoint story!

From big names and bold new voices, these stories are fun, clever, and always positive about the power of love.

There is No Death, There Are No Dead ed. Jess Landry.

The spirits of the dead exist, and they want to communicate.

First appearing in the late 1800s, spiritualism became a religious movement that swept the nation. Under the assumption that the dead live on in the afterlife, spiritualists believed that contact with the dearly departed was not only possible, but something those who crossed over longed for. Contact was usually made through a medium, a person who claimed to have the ability to speak with the dead.

There Is No Death, There Are No Dead is a horror anthology that tackles all aspects of the spiritualist movement: from the true believers to the nay-sayers, the hoaxes to hauntings, the real mediums to the scam artists. From ghosts to possessions, from profound loss to insurmountable grief, these short stories explore limitless genres (historical fiction, Gaslamp mystery, modern horror, and everything in between) with a diverse cast of characters challenged at every corner.

There Is No Death, There Are No Dead includes new work from some of the most talented and respected authors in the horror and dark fantasy genres, featuring stories from Gemma Files, Helen Marshall, Kathe Koja, Lee Murray, David Demchuk, Lisa Morton, Gwendolyn Kiste, S.P. Miskowski, Seanan McGuire, Catherine Lord, Chesya Burke, Nadia Bulkin, Michelle Belanger, and Laird Barron, and edited by Bram Stoker Award winner Jess Landry and Aaron J. French.

The dead are speaking. Will you hear?

Sword Stone Table: Old Legends, New Voices ed. Swapna Knishna.

Featuring stories by a bestselling, cross-genre assortment of the most exciting writers working today, an anthology of gender-bent, race-bent, LGBTQIA+, and inclusive retellings from the vast lore surrounding King Arthur, Camelot, and the Knights of the Round Table.

Here you’ll find the Lady of the Lake reimagined as an albino Ugandan sorceress and the Lady of Shalott as a wealthy, isolated woman in futuristic Mexico City; you’ll see Excalibur rediscovered as a baseball bat that grants a washed-up minor leaguer a fresh shot at glory and as a lost ceremonial drum that returns to a young First Nations boy the power and the dignity of his people. There are stories set in Gilded Age Chicago, ’80s New York, twenty-first century Singapore, and space; there are lesbian lady knights, Arthur and Merlin reborn in the modern era for a second chance at saving the world and falling in love–even a coffee shop AU.

Brave, bold, and groundbreaking, the stories in Sword Stone Table will bring fresh life to beloved myths and give long-time fans a chance to finally see themselves in their favorite legends.

Fairytales from the Holy Land, 2017

I found this gem while looking for printings of Hanauer’s Folk-lore of the Holy Land. There are only six tales but they are told with much passion and vivacity. They really are a delight, besides my joy at finding Palestinian fairy tales I haven’t read before. Some were similar to ones found in other collections. Jana the Atraj Virgin, for example, is a variation of Nani, Daughter of Nani. For my part, I find Jana to be more engaging.

This book is available on Kindle here.


  • Jana the Atraj Virgin
  • Qalanswa
  • Tamara
  • Prince Baldpate
  • Shattir Hasan
  • The Forsaken Queen

Contes populaires de Palestine, 2003

This little book contains stories found elsewhere, in collections such as Speak, Bird, Speak Again! and Arab Folktales, but there are a few that are new.


  • Le roi des oiseaux [The King of the Birds]
  • Jloûkoum [Jloukoum]
  • La ruse d’Abou l-Housayn [The Cleverness of Abou Housayn]
  • L’oiselle demoiselle [Little Miss Bird]
  • Châhîn [Shahin]
  • Celle qui avait le mieux compris [She Who Understood Best]
  • Hassan le rusé [Hassan the Clever]
  • Dâwoûd, le prince banni [Dawoud the Banished Prince]
  • Abou l-‘Adas, le mangeur de lentilles [Abou ‘Adas, Eater of Lentils]
  • Mon fils, mon mari [My Son, My Husband]
  • Crotte de Bique [Dunglet]
  • La Justice de Qaâqoûch [The Justice of Qaraqouch]
  • Le pet des riches et le pet des pauvres [The Rich Man and the Poor Man]
  • Petite marmite [Little Cooking Pot]
  • Le chameau fiancé [The Camel Husband]
  • Graine de Granade [Pomegranate Seed]

Arab Folktales from Palestine and Israel, 1998

Arab Folktales from Palestine and Israel by Raphael Patai. There is a lot to unpack with this one. I could simply say that it is of its time but that wouldn’t really suffice. There is a lot of orientalism here, even at first glance. In general, the approach seems to be that if you read these tales in the literal translations provided you will gain insight into “Arab Culture.” As I said to someone just now: “what is Arab culture? I do not know what ‘Arab culture’ means.”

As for Palestinians, the phrases “Palestinian Arabs,” “Israeli-Arabs,” and “Arab tribes in Israel” appear.


Part One: 1910-11

  • The One-Eyed Ghoul
  • Allah’s Dispensation
  • The Jinn’s Gratitude
  • The Price of the Bride
  • The Virtuous Maiden
  • The Banished Prince
  • The Emir’s Daughter
  • The Unfaithful Wife
  • The Two Blind Women
  • Each Man Suffers Disasters

Part Two: 1946-47

  • The Lightest of the Light, the Heaviest of the Heavy, the Fattest of the Fat
  • Talaja of the Twenty an the Chicken
  • Cunning…and Cunning
  • The Locust and the Sparrow
  • Tambar Titi
  • The Return of the Light
  • The Bird of Power
  • The Dull-Witted Fisherman

Part Three: 1982-84

  • The King and His Wife
  • Ghouls in Switzerland
  • The One-Eyed Giant Shepherd
  • Hasan the Sharp-Witted
  • The Prince Who Turned Into a Deer
  • Pomegranate Seed
  • The Uncles and Their Nephew
  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
  • Wadi’ah
  • The Two Hunters

#AuthorToolBoxBlogHop and… Fairy Tales

Last night I thought that I glanced at a writer’s craft book all about how to transform fairy tales into original fiction. I was wrong, but it did give me an idea for this week’s #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop. 🙂 How *do* you fracture a fairy tale anyway?

Take some tips from storytellers, via Vladimir Propp’s Morphology of the Folktale.


Something that I like to do when working with folktale material is to create a beat sheet from a particular telling (written or oral, as I remember it). Forcing myself to remember the story helps to reduce it to its essential plot points. For storytellers, reduction often happens accidentally by forgetting details between tellings but it can also be a powerful tool for authors, especially combined with…


If reduction involves paring a tale down to the essential points, expansion is when the teller elaborates on that skeleton. Most authors can do this naturally, adding colour, specificity, and detail to the story beats we gained through reduction.

And finally…


Several times I have found myself troubled by several stories that seem to hold so much potential but something critical about their essential beats just does not work. They work as anecdotes, sometimes, but don’t have the depth of a well rounded tale. What to do? Reduction only reveals the underlying problem here, and expansion can only do so much to hide the flaws. What I like to do, and what many storytellers do naturally, is assimilate related or similar tales into one. In this way, the strengths of each story get to shine in a whole new tale!

Have you ever written your own fairy tale, or fairy tale retelling using established folklore as a base? How did you go about it? Or maybe you’ve been wanting to give it a try. Let me know either way in the comments! 🙂

Les Septs Crins Magiques et Autres Contes de Palestine, 2011

Les Sept Crins Magiques et Autres Contes de Palestine, by Praline Gay-Para and Louise Heugel is a delightful little book. The stories were told originally by Fakhri Habib Ghnayyim of Beit Jala, Taghrid Abou-Srour from Bethlehem, while others are from collections by Inea Bushnaq and Sonia Nimr.

Sommaire/ SUMMARY

  • Les deux frères [The Two Brothers]
  • L’ogre Ghaddar [Ghaddar the Ghoul]
  • L’ami reconnaissant [The Grateful Friend]
  • L’homme paresseux cherche sa chance [The Lazy Man Seeks His Luck]
  • Le jasmin qui danse, l’eau qui chante et l’oiseau avisé [The Dancing Jasmine, the Singing Water, and the Wise Bird]
  • Le dromadaire et l’âne [The Camel and the Donkey]
  • Les sept crins magiques [The Seven Magic Hairs]
  • Le partage de l’héritage [Sharing the Legacy]

#AuthorToolBoxBlogHop and… Marketing Baby Steps

Marketing is our topic for today’s #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop. Well, this topic seems really strange to me; I’m one of those people who hates marketing. As such, I think it might be useful to talk a little about what holds us back and how we can get ourselves acclimated to the wonderful world of community building.

I picked up this book on Marketing: The 1-Page Marketing Plan and I kind of hate it. I hate marketing and it’s a book about marketing so what did I expect? I did not expect to find it so salutary. There is a lot that I bristle at in this book but it can’t be denied that its tips really do the trick, at least for me.

The greatest lesson this book taught me is how there is a three phase process, like a three act play structure, of people coming in cold to your work and becoming fans or customers. Each act or phase has its own challenges and goals.

Something that was holding me back all this time was that it felt all kinds of wrong to treat people like customers right out of the gate; and this is something I see a lot of other authors of all levels doing. It comes through as we plead with people out there to notice what we are working on, and hopefully to buy books (if you are published). And I was right; that’s the wrong way to go about it.

It’s okay to slow down and build a community– something that I love. I love bringing people together over shared interests. Relax, be yourself, socialize– and this is coming from an introvert. I am very pleased with the small group of people who choose to interact with my posts, to follow me on social media. I’m over the moon when they strike up a conversation. All of this is good marketing, and I haven’t hated a minute.

That’s all from me today. It’s my birthday! So I’m off to do some much needed R&R.

Please comment if you can relate at all to hating marketing, or struggling with it as I have. Or maybe you love it and have some sage words of advice for me. Drop me a line in either case; I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

An Illustrated Treasury of Palestinian Folktales Vol. 1, 2014

These stories are a delight. There are princes, princesses, village beauties, jealous cousins, magic, genies, and more all in one tiny book! I immediately told these to the pleasure of my audience who asked if there were more, and there are! This is only the first volume of the collection. I am unsure if the second volume is available in English but an Arabic version is available. The introduction mentions tales which are not in this volume, including some quite philosophical ones like “Where is the Mind?” I am looking forward to tracking down the second volume!

The foreword includes two statements, one by Charis Waddy and another by Issa Boullata. The most exciting feature of this little book is that it includes small biographies of the narrators– the women who told the author their folktales in the 1940s. Each one also includes a biography of sorts for the narrator’s home village, sketching it in words for the reader. There is even a short discussion of the role that the Palestine Broadcasting Station (PBS) played in early attempts to collect Palestinian folktales and the subsequent censorship by Israeli authorities which hampered this project, while spurring on the author to collect what she could.

This book is dedicated to… Palestinian women in recognition of their suffering and their steadfastness, their inestimable contribution to binding together Palestinian society and, most of all, for their unwavering courage and hope despite relentless Israeli efforts to tear asunder the fabric of family, community, and society.

I unfortunately must say that the quality of the book itself is lacking. The text contains a lot of typos and printing errors to the point that it is bothersome to read aloud.


  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • The Narrators
  • The Folktales
  • Daughter of the Rose and the Jasmine
  • Jbeini
  • The Sultan’s Daughter
  • The Bride’s Mahr
  • The Lentil
  • Flower of My House
  • A Promise Fulfilled
  • The Merchant of Damascus