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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Next Project

I'm not sure if I mentioned this before, but I plan on offering a new project in the coming days. Unfortunately, we've been having some trouble putting it together. I hope we can work these things out by the weekend.

National Treasure Book of Secrets

National Treasure follows the story of Benjamin Franklin Gates and his uptight father, genius girlfriend, and nerdy buddy Riley, as they try to prove Ben's ancestor was a true hero. Like the first movie, the plot primarily centers around the search for a lost treasure, this time a city of gold.

Despite the historical inaccuracies and the impossible storyline, I found National Treasure Book of Secrets mildly enjoyable. There were some funny moments and a few exciting parts. Overall, the movie a little less that what I expected.

Some of the escapades just made the whole thing too unrealistic. Ben kidnaps the President for goodness sakes! In part one, he managed to steal the Declaration of Independence. Even though that seems just as impossible, it seemed more believable than the stunts in part Book of Secrets.

I found the character of Ben to be a little annoying. He was just a little too sure of himself in this movie. Whereas, in part one he was a geek who used his knowledge of history and US government policy to steal the Declaration, in Book of Secrets, he's like a secret agent who can do whatever he wants with only the slightest bit of planning.

I like movies and stories that leave open the possibility of a sequel without overdoing it. National Treasure Book of Secrets does that as well. And considering the boatload of money this film grossed, it's probably safe to assume one will be made in coming months.

What I liked:
Riley, Ben's assistant
Historical references
Funny dialog

What I did not like:
Incan pyramids in North America
No conspiracy
Unbelievable story
Ben Gates new cockiness and self assuredness.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Added a new page on the site

I finally got the first chapter embedded into the website. I also added a new page about fantasy creatures. I'm most please to find some of my pages make it onto Google's first page. It was extremely gratifying to see some of my hard work pay off. Granted, these are probably not the most competitive words that I'm ranking so high on, it's still proof that my SEO skills are coming together.

I've also finished a story I started writing months ago. I only wanted this story to be about four or five pages long, but it wound up being eleven.

Now, I'm going to start working on putting together a short story CD. This CD will include several short stories that I've written over the years. I hope to offer it for a very reasonable price; no more than $5. Once that's done, I'm going to focus on finishing up the fantasy section, recording more chapters for The Jinn, and marketing, marketing, marketing.

Monday, June 16, 2008

First Podcast

Hit a little snag today. The podcast is ready, but unfortunately, I can't open my website editor with There is a link to the audio on this blog, but so far, I haven't been able to add the first chapter to the site. Hopefully, this will be resolved by the morning.

In the meantime, Chapter One of The Jinn can still be heard by clicking on that gray box to the left. And you can still download the podcast here. Make sure to click on original if you want to download it to the desktop.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Adding Podcasts

I've been working on adding content to for quite some time. But now that the fantasy creatures section is done, I have to add some product or do something different. There are still many things I need to do with this site before I can say that it is done.

I will probably do The Jinn as a recurring podcast. I'm not sure if I'll do the entire book or just a portion. I guess it all depends on the business demands.

This switch doesn't mean that I'm no longer adding content. Quite the contrary. It's just that I've been writing articles almost nonstop for almost a month, and I've gotta do other things now. I have to do something to bring in more traffic, and the written content just isn't enough right now. Podcasts were always part of the plan anyway, so it's not like I'm deviating. And there's no reason why I should wait until all of the articles are finished before making a podcast.

Tomorrow, well actually today's since it's almost 3 in the morning, podcast will be the first few pages of The Jinn. Luckily, I've already recorded a good chunk of this already.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Finished all of the Fantasy Fiction creature articles

I've finally finished the creature section of the fantasy fiction portal on Still not really seeing too many of my pages place high enough on Google. I think the highest ranking page I've seen so far was the werewolf page. However, I should mention that many of my pages aren't even indexed yet.

Still trolling for links. I've just found out that links from guestbooks don't mean a thing, and might even be bad. I've sent a couple of emails out today requesting links to my dragon page, but so far no responses.

I can't wait till I can finally start recording my stories. I'm hoping that taking that step will be the necessary move to drum up sales. However, I won't get any sales if I don't get more visits. But it's still too early to fuss about visits yet. I've only had the website up for about a month.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Eye

I watched the The Eye starring Jessica Alba on DVD last night. I classify this movie in the horror of the demonic sub-genre of horror movies.

What I liked:
Good cinematography
Good acting by Jessica Alba
Kept up the suspense
Tongue in cheek reference to The Sixth Sense

What I did not like:

Simple plot; feels like I've seen it before
The supposedly scary moments became redudant
The ending was not to my liking

This movie is not groundbreaking stuff. It's okay. It's not bad, but overwhelmingly great either. If you want to watch something mildly unsettling to pass the time, this movie will do. But it won't keep you up at night, and you'll probably forget about it the next day.

The Jinn Excerpt

It's very late, but I'm glad I've finally started the Fantasy section of I've added a page on the jinn, and now I have to start working on a page for witches or dragons.

Really, doing all of this research is pretty fun. It's like I'm studying the evolution of literature. This is more than just a hobby; I actually feel like I'm in college again.

Now that I've finished the jinn page, I'm starting to have concerns about my novel again. The Jinn contains lots of references to Arab culture that I'm not 100% familiar with. I'm very familiar with Muslim culture, but all Muslims aren't the same. That being said, I wonder if anybody who is familiar with Arab culture can verify if the following passage from The Jinn sounds authentic. If you can point out anything that's definitely out of place, by all means let me know.

Though she had regained consciousness, she was sleeping when Ahmed arrived. He sat by her side for at least two hours before she cracked her eyes a little. She smiled as best she could when she saw him, and gave his hand a squeeze. Ahmed smiled back at her and leaned down to kiss her forehead.

Salaam Alaikum ibnee,” she whispered in a dry, cracked voice. Peace be unto you my son.

Wa alaikum Salaam ummee. Keefek?” And upon you be peace my mother. How are you?

She continued to smile. “Anaa mureed.” I am sick. Her reply was blunt yet kind.

“The doctors are doing everything they can,” said Ahmed in Arabic.

“I like that Doctor Fatima. She is a good person. But there is nothing she can do for me. My time is near.”

“Don’t speak like that mother. Modern medicine is very good.”

“You put too much faith in science. I will probably return to Allah today or tomorrow. I have accepted it. You should also.”

Ahmed did not answer. He was afraid of saying the wrong thing and upsetting her.

“I’m sorry you had to come all the way from America just for me.”

“It wasn’t bad. The arrangements were very easy to make.”

“I want to be buried next to your father. Do you remember where his grave is?”

Naam.” Yes.

Many years ago, when they still lived in the village of Darul Shams, his mother would take him to visit his father’s grave at least five times a year. After they moved the visits became less frequent, until they stopped going altogether. The last time Ahmed visited his father’s grave he was fourteen years old.

“And have Sheikh Nazeem perform my janaazah.”

“Sheikh Nazeem is dead mother. He died years ago.”

She frowned in confusion, and then laughed. “Then I guess he won’t be available, will he?”

The short conversation took a lot of strength and she closed her eyes again and fell silent. Her breathing was slow and labored. Ahmed thought she had fallen asleep again, but then she started speaking.

“All these years, Ahmed, it was just me an you. I tried to give you the best. I tried to be a mother and a father. I’m sorry I failed you son.”

“You did not fail me mother.”

“Pray for me.”

“I will.”

Al-an. Pray for me now.”

Al-an? Hunna?” Right now? Right here?

Naam.” She held up her hands as if she was trying to cup water. “Pray for your dying mother.”

Ahmed closed his eyes and tried to remember a prayer or supplication from his youth. But he came up blank. “I can’t.”

Her hands dropped back to her sides in disappointment. “That’s how I failed you.”

“Mother, I will graduate from school with honors. I am at the top of my class. I already have some good job offers and I’ve won many awards. One of my papers is even being published in a science journal. I have accomplished all of this because of you. You insisted I get a good education and I have. Your son is going to be a successful scientist. Or maybe I’ll go to medical school and become a doctor. But you have done a lot for me, and I owe everything to you.”

With great effort, she turned her head to look at her son. “But you cannot pray for your dying mother. May God forgive me.”

For those of you familiar with Arab culture, please let me know if this passage sounds right. If you think I westernized the scene too much, let me know. I eagerly await your comments.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Just Started the New Section

I've finally started the newest section at I'm starting to work on the fantasy section. It's a little difficult, but I'm remembering some great stories I read as a kid. I'm still hoping I can get my work Lost Causes finished. That's probably the closest I have to real fantasy.

I read an interesting post today about the perception of self published authors. From the sounds of it, SP's are kinda looked down upon by most people in the publishing industry. I can understand that sentiment, especially if the authors are rather obnoxious.

Reading some of that information makes me consider actually becoming a publisher rather than just a writer. Heck, I've got one complete novel and 3 complete children's books, why not? It's just a thought for now, but one I'm seriously considering. But the issue is not what to publish or how to set up the company. The issue I face is how to distribute and market my work.

That's what separates the SP's from the real published authors.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Horror Section is Finished

I finally finished the last article in the horror section of I can now begin sending links exchange requests to other websites and basically begin the marketing of my website. I feel good that it's finished and I'm excited to begin the next section, which will probably be either sci-fi or fantasy.

While writing this last article, I had to do some research on classic horror authors like Poe and Washington Irving. I read a large section of The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow and all of The Raven. I tell you, those are some great pieces of literature.

While reading Sleepy Hollow, I was amazed at the flowery and descriptive language. The last time I read that story I was ten years old, so I've forgotten a lot of it. Even though the writing was beautiful, I understand that kind of writing wouldn't fly with today's readers. It was just too burdensome. Lover's of literature might appreciate it, but it's not for the casual fan.

I now have my plan for promoting The Jinn in the future, Inshallah. As soon as I get that Economy Stimulus rebate from the government in two weeks, Inshallah, I'm going to get myself an ISBN for The Jinn. has them available with their starter package for only $99. I don't know if that's a great bargain or not, but it sounds good to me.

Once I have that ISBN, I can work on getting my book listed in Amazon. And hopefully, once it gets on Amazon, that might start the ball rolling. I don't expect thousands, or hundreds, or even dozens of sales just yet. Of course, I dream about getting those numbers, but I know it's unlikely. But I'll be happy when just a few people finally read the book and give their honest feedback. I just want to get this book to the public and see what happens.

I think it's a great book, but I'm supposed to think that. If I didn't think it was great, I would've never wrote it. My wife also think it's great, but I know I've gotta take that with a grain of salt.

I just pray this all works out. The bills are piling up, and it's getting harder and harder to stay afloat. In the end, it all rests with God, and I can only say that at least I gave it my best shot. At least I gave it a shot at all.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Beginning

I have a website called I'm using this website as a vehicle to promote my writing and express my love of fiction in both movies and books.

Despite the website's name, it's not just about horror. The site is actually about all the major genres. That's because I generally love them all. If the story is good, that's all that matters.

Right now it's almost three o'clock in the morning. I can't write anymore. But I will continue tomorrow.