Friday, January 24, 2014

Why I Could Never Write Fantasy

The green-winged ogre landed on my window sill, on the top floor of Druddigon Castle in the underground land known among the peasants simply as Moligan. I fought off the dragon's harsh bad breath to rise from my bed, drew my trusty dagger from its pouch, and went to face the ogre before it could capture the golden chalice that I had kept under my pillow through six hours of restless sleep.

Not exactly the most appealing prose, right? Well, that's because I just can't write fantasy. Or speculative fiction or science fiction for that matter. In my writing I am incapable of placing characters in strange, far-off worlds, where the culture and religion and history is so much different than our own.

Or can I?

Read the rest of my guest post on Alison Strachan's blog = Writing My Truth.

Monday, January 20, 2014

How to Cure Writer's Block

There is a disease that frequently strikes authors and writers and which occasionally may appear to be incurable.  A cerebral blockage prevents ideas from making their way via cortical and sub-cortical networks over a large part of the brain to a person's hand and finger muscles, where said ideas can be transferred via mechanical devices such as pens and keyboards to paper and/or computer hard discs. This disease is commonly known as Writer's Block.

Merriam-Webster defines Writer's Block as "the problem of not being able to think of something to write about or not being able to finish writing a story, poem, etc."

I like my definition of the medical condition better. And now, I can happily report, a cure for this disease has been found.

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Complicated Disappearance

Karen Glass arrives as part of a group of Americans and Canadians high school graduates to volunteer at a kibbutz in northern Israel. Mikki Dotan, a young kibbutznik who has just received his army induction orders, is ready to make his move on the beautiful blonde American, but instead of taking advantage of her, he falls in love.

On Karen's birthday, Mikki escorts her on a tour of the nearby Golan Heights. Stopping to fill up on gas, Mikki enters the station to pay the attendant. When he returns to his car, Karen has disappeared without a trace. The police, the army, and the Shabak are all called in, but there are no leads. Upon his arrival at the kibbutz, Karen's father exclaims, "You expect me to believe that the mighty Israeli intelligence service can't figure this one out?"

Monday, January 13, 2014

Tasting the Yemenite Quarter of Tel Aviv

Kerem Hateimanim, literally the Yemenite Vineyard, is an old neighborhood in central Tel Aviv, just off the busy Carmel Market. Once one of the city's poorest areas, Tel Aviv's Yemenite quarter is today enjoying a real estate boom; its picturesque streets are home to tasty Yemenite restaurants and even a boutique hotel.

My wife and I toured the Yemenite quarter on a course run by Zman Eshkol, the leading operator of leisure studies in Israel. Our guide is Or Rein.

The Carmel Market is an open air market where you can purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, household accessories, clothing, paper goods, music, candy, freshly baked bread and pastries, flowers, and much more. The market is particularly crowded on Fridays when shoppers are stocking up for Shabbat.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Dead Sea in Winter

When one thinks of visiting the Dead Sea, visions of floating on the salty waters and covering oneself in mud come to mind. Located at the lowest place on earth, and bordered by Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories, the Dead Sea is a unique destination, with dramatic vistas and memorable tourist attractions.

But what is it like to visit the Dead Sea in winter, when storm clouds fill the sky with new shades of color, in sharp contrast with the salty green and white of the sea and the brown sands of the shore?

Friday, January 3, 2014

Is Goodreads Good for You?

An email popped into my Inbox this morning. "Be my friend on Goodreads" was the subject line and in the body of the message I learned that someone wanted to add me as a friend on Goodreads. But wait - there was another email - another friend request. And another one. Every day I get invitations from five to ten people, none of whom I know, and they all want to be my friend.

I currently have more than 760 friends at the "world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations." I joined Goodreads a number of years ago in order to keep track of the books I was reading and to list an occasional review or two. My account lists 185 books, but I haven't been updating it lately with my latest reading accomplishments or opinions.

What I can't understand, and here I'm hoping that you can help me, is how to leverage Goodreads as a platform for a self-published author of fiction.