You are now entering the world of my thoughts.

This blog is my diary of works in progress. The only way a writer can improve upon her skill is to practice, practice and practice some more. Here, in this place of quiet peace, I pen to paper my thoughts and creativity. Welcome to my world.

Copyright © 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 SN Taylor, All Rights Reserved

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Little Moon



“I’m bored,” sighed little moon, “I want to play.”

He looked around to find someone to play with. He saw the earth, spinning around and around. That looks like fun, he thought.

“Can I play with you?” he asked Earth.

“Oh, I’m not playing,” earth said. “If I stop spinning, there will be no day and night; plants and animals will die because nothing will be able to grow.”

Earth continued to spin while Moon looked for a friend.

Soon, Uncle Cloud and Auntie Rain floated by.

“Greetings Uncle Cloud and Auntie Rain,” moon said politely. “Can you play with me?” he asked.

“I’m sorry little moon,” Uncle Cloud replied, “we can’t. I have to carry Auntie Rain to the towns and farms.”

Moon looked sad. “Just for a little while,” he asked hopefully.

Auntie Rain smiled. “Perhaps another time Little Moon. If we don’t go now, the land will become dry and the crops will die and man will suffer hunger and drought. You don’t want that do you?” Auntie Rain asked.

Moon thought about it, “No, I don’t,” moon replied.

Uncle Cloud and Auntie Rain said goodbye and continued on their way.

Moon continued his search for a playmate. Moon saw some stars dancing and twinkling in the distance. Some were bright and some were faint. Moon waved, jumped and yelled to get the stars attention, but they were much too far and busy playing to see or hear him. Moon sighed. Suddenly a streak of like caught his eye. It was a comet passing by.

Moon shouted to the comet. “Hi friend, do you want to play with me?”

The comet had a long glowing tail. “Sorry moon,” she shouted, “I’m on my way home and I must not be late” she said with out stopping or slowing down. “Maybe next time,” she said.

Once again, little moon was alone.

A bright glowing ball peeked around the earth. Moon smiled. It was Sun.

“Why do you look so sad little Moon?” sun asked.

“I’m bored and no one wants to play with me,” he said grumpily.

Sun chuckled, “Don’t be sad Little Moon,” he said, “I’m sure they want to play with you, perhaps they are a little busy with important work. We all have important jobs to do, even you little moon.”

“Really?” he asked. Little moon wasn’t so sure. “But what do I do that is so important?” he asked. “I don’t give heat, I’m not very bright, and I can’t help things grow; I’m just a boring little rock in the sky,” he said frowning causing one of his craters to deepen. “That’s why no one wants to play with me!” he pouted.

Sun smiled. “You are not boring at all. You are also very important. You reflect light from me and provide light for night travelers. You also cause the ocean tides to ebb and flow. That is especially important to many small sea plants and animals. You help the people keep track of time and seasons.”

“Hmm, I do all that?” Moon asked in awe.

“Yep,” said Sun, “you do all of that!”

Little moon smiled. He wasn’t so boring after all and he had an important job just like earth, sun, cloud and wind.

“Well, I’m still bored,” he said, “couldn’t you play with me just for a little bit,” he asked sun.

“Well, I guess I can stay for just a little bit,” sun chuckled.

And for a moment in time, little moon was as happy as any little moon could be.


Clip art from: clipartheavean.com

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Classroom poem

I wrote this poem to add to pictures my toddler students painted and gave as presents to their parents. It was a fun project to do with them and the parents loved it! :)


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I'm Happy You are My Mommy and Daddy

For all the times you spend with me,
For all the yummy treats you make for me,
For all the sleep you lose for me,
For all the hugs and kisses you give me,
And for all the patience you have with me,
I'm happy you're my mommy and daddy.

For all the wonders you help me see,
For the little person you let me be,
For all the things you do for me,
For all the care you give to me,
And for all the love you shower upon me,
I'm happy you're my mommy and daddy.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Autumn Song-Red Glow

This is the result of a 15 min nano word sprint :D got to love twitter!
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Autumn Song-Red Glow

I stepped out my door for the first time in months after the accident. I took a deep breath. The air was refreshing. Despite my fear of every sudden move or sound, I loved the freedom of moving air around me. It came as a bit of a shock when my foot crunched on a few dried leaves. I looked out at my yard. The trees were no longer green. A crisp breeze made my bones shiver. I stood rubbing my hands and looking at the yard. As the sun set, my trees looked like they were on fire with their red and gold leaves sweeping and swaying in the breeze. A red leaf detached from a branch nearby. The wind blew it towards me. As it swirled and danced gracefully in the air, I reached for it. I took a small feeble step forward but jumped back as I realized I would have to step off the porch. I looked around to see if anyone was around, if anyone saw my fear or hesitation. I looked for the leaf. It was still in the air dancing for me. I limped once more to the edge of the porch. The breeze getting a little colder, forced the red leaf towards me again. My leg did not hurt as much, whether it was due to the chilling breeze or the fact I was so captivated by the dancing leaf I did not feel the pain as I stood on it. The leaves on the trees rustled as the wind sang through them. The chimes on the porch added to the autumn ensemble. I leaned on the porch post and once again reached for the leaf. It was just out of reach. Was it mocking me? Was it enticing me, encouraging me to be bolder like it’s new found color? I took a deep breath and stepped down off the porch. On wobbly legs, I stepped onto a granite block. A stone skipped making my heart skip a beat, but the red leaf was much closer. It danced to the song of the wind. The trees behind it glowed reddish gold. I smiled, forgetting my fears, my pain. I stepped on to another granite block, then another, turning, circling, and lifting, on my good leg. For a moment in time, I danced with the red leaf to the song of autumn’s red glow. As the sun disappeared, the breeze passed and the leaf fell into my hands. I hobbled back into my safe, cozy cave and closed the door behind me.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Books and Technology

Where will the digital world take us? While sitting here checking email, updating my facebook status and reading tweets, I came across a tweet that asked, "what will libraries look like?" in the future as we move forward and e-books become more popular and accessible. I realized that it has been ages since I set foot in a library, this coming from a girl who was practically raised in our small town library. Granted, the last time I went to the library, which wasn't that long ago, was in search of some board books for my classroom, but I'm talking about sitting down amongst thousands of books and spending hours reading.

The thought brought back floods of memories and sensations. I can almost remember the smell of my hometown library. The smell of the books, the carpet under my feet (yeah, I used to take off my shoes when the librarian was not looking :D), the hard seats when the more comfortable chair was already taken, the smooth covers of the books as I shelved books and the goosebumps I'd get when it got a bit too cold. The only sounds heard were the hushed whisperings of patrons, tapping of typewriters and the turning of pages. Being home-schooled allowed me an opportunity to spend hours and hours at the library. On a good day, I spent more than four hours. I even learned how to use library system to help others check out books, input returned books and even shelve returned books. One summer, I held the title, junior assistant to the librarian. It was such a great experience.

Then comes technology, giving us the e-book. Not sure how embracing I am of the thought of e-books. I love holding books, smelling books and the simple sensation of turning pages. Just how will e-books transform the library culture and way of life? What will the library of the future look like? I can only imagine some hallowed room with nothing but glass and colorless, streamlined computer stations where people can hook their ipads, kindles, laptops and other e-readers to charge and download books, information and there will even be automated librarians. The room will have a more sterile smell due to problems dust can create for the library's computer mainframe. There will be no intimacy between person and book or person and library. People will interact with machine instead of other humans.

Who knows what the future has in store for books and the library, but hopefully we still have a long time before the written word becomes obsolete. I'm a die-hard book fan and hopefully enough of us will keep the book and library culture alive. At least for the next 7 generations! :D

Friday, October 1, 2010

Autumn Thoughts

Autumn Thoughts

This morning I woke up to the buzz of my alarm clock.

It was barely light outside and a bit nippy in the room.

I drew my arms around me as I rushed to the bathroom to turn on the hot water for a shower.

The warm steam woke me up.

An hour later, I stepped outside and took a deep breath of fresh air.

Cool, a tad breezy and moist, it had a light smell of newly fallen droplets of rain. Here in Seattle, autumn had arrived.

How I love autumn.

When long, hot summer days bade us farewell.

Most birds embark on their annual migrations.

Insects and critters get ready for hibernation.

Soon, local trees will be crowned majestically with red, orange and yellow leaves. Crisp winds will carry away any that fall.

The sun will play peek-a-boo behind clouds high in the northwest sky.

The smell of pumpkin spice and everything nice like nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice will be the official aroma of homes and bakeries.

I will find my warm, cozy red fleece throw to decorate my bed with.

And on those brisk autumn nights, I look forward to warm spicy cider, my autumn throw, and an exciting new novel to curl up with.

Autumn my love, how I love thee!

You are my season.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Practice Writing: Showing vs Telling.

So, I joined this free online writing class where they send you lessons to your email. http://www.creative-writing-now.com The exercise: Harry and his wife Angela (feel free to change the names) visit a new house they're thinking of buying. Angela is enthusiastic about the house, but it's really a terrible place. Harry hates the house but is afraid to say what he really thinks. Show the scene. But... do *not* tell the reader explicitly that the house is terrible. Do *not* say outright that Harry hates it. Do *not* have Harry directly tell his true feelings about the house to his wife. Instead, try to make the reader see and feel what's going on. 10 min exercise. (Names have been changed.)

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Adil and his wife, Hanan pulled up behind the black sedan of their real estate agent, Sarah Gigs. Hanan looked out the window.

“This is it,” she said grinning and bouncing in her seat.

She jumped out the car before Adil turned off the engine. He looked at the house and frowned. The house was smaller than it looked on the picture Sarah showed them and there was a lot to be said about the old, worn-down pathway leading to the porch and the dried up grass and dead shrubbery that littered the front yard. Hanan beamed as Sarah explained the features of the house while unlocking the front door.

“It has four rooms, a living room and dining room. It has a cute nook between the kitchen and foyer. It has a huge backyard that I think you are going to fall in love with and has a Gazebo the last residents built.”

Hanan went from room to room giggling. She always giggled a lot when she got excited.

“Look at this place, it’s amazing. Just think, this will be ours,” she smiled squeezing Adil’s arm.

All Adil could do was crack a smile that was more of a grimace than a smile. He could not believe they were looking at the same house. The rooms were small, damp and had a faint smell of mildew and smoke.

“Oh, a good scrub and nice coat of paint will make this a great office,” she said cheerfully.

The kitchen reminded Adil of a grim scene in a horror movie. The floors and walls were stained; the dishwasher was ancient and the rusted kitchen sink dripped. He could not concentrate on what the “perks” of the house were.

“Follow me,” Sarah sang.

Hanan danced then spun out of the room. Adil waited till she left before rolling his eyes and following her. He joined them onto the terrace or so Sarah called it.

“Eeep, I’ve always wanted a huge backyard,” Hanan clapped. “I love it! What do you think, Adil, isn’t this place a dream?”

“Well, it has, it may, I don’t know. Maybe we should keep…” “We’ll take it,” Hanan squealed.

“Yeah,” Adil said with a sigh, his chest dropping, “we’ll take it.”

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Mat'hool Prophecy

The Mat'hool Prophecy

From the Novel: The Sahabeeyeen

Year Date: 10,000 years ago

Place: Original Changeling Home Planet, Mat’hool

A windstorm raged outside the Sanctuary of the red caves. Red sand clouds swept across the vast desert planet, then slammed against the mountain range. The storm howled savagely, but deep inside the dark red chambers of the sanctuary, a low hum vibrated. The chambers were the result of ancient water streams that once flowed through the mountain as it rose from the ancient seabed. Neither light of day or night penetrated the caves deep in the belly of the mountain, but a luminous glow filtered from a cave, the Cave of Remembrance. The red walls glowed as a central pool of a glowing white liquid rested at the lowest part of the cave. The humming continued, sending ripples through the pool. For a brief moment, the pool trembled, and then it stood still. The liquid slowly rose from the red cave floor and took the form of lonely figure cloaked in a white luminous coat. The figure removed the hood covering his head; he was an elderly Mat’hool, a race of shape shifters. Haddi lifted his head to the ceiling of the cave, and then bowed deeply. “I hear and obey, my Lord,” he said. Haddi ascended the long winding path through the Sanctuary of the red caves.

A desolate and secluded place, Mat’hool monks often sought spiritual enlightenment in the protected caves. He exited the cave. With only the light of the full moon, he made his way home to his people. He walked for days, under the blazing sun and the glowing moon. He finally reached a sand dune that reached over 100 feet. He climbed the dune, when he reached the top; he looked down on a massive lake. A lake that was surrounded by only sand and rock. The lake was not made of water but the same liquid substance of Haddi. He had made it home to his people. He descended the hill. He placed his feet into the pool. Small waves rippled across the surface of the lake.

“I have returned from the Cave of Remembrance. After forty days and forty nights, my Lord has given me a vision, a vision that will test the endurance and belief of our people. He has showed me a race of beings that will come to us in need of help and protection. My Lord has commanded us to guard them even if it means our death and destruction.”

“How will we know them?” his people asked.

“They will come to us being pursued by enemies. They will call themselves Muslims. These Muslims will be the living descendants of an ancient messenger’s closest companions from the planet Earth,“ he answered. “We will help them reclaim their freedom from their enemy and their ancient city, Makah, of planet Earth.”

“We hear and obey,” his people answered in a slow but steady ripple across the massive lake. As the ripple traveled across the lake, Haddi felt a disturbance. He raised his eyes in concern, but as quickly as the disturbance appeared, it vanished beneath the waves of echoes.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Free writing exercise

Dear little me,

I know it has been a while, but my have you changed. It has been a long road since I last got a good look at you. So many things have changed; you would not believe it. Remember the old haven, the wooded area behind our farmhouse? I remember spending hours there with little Sue and cousin Ray in the shade of those tall raggedy trees. Well, we had to find a new one. After the fire incident that killed little Sue, the haven was cleared away and a garage was built on top of it. Some years later, another fire raged through the garage. Some people started spreading rumors about the haven being cursed, but we paid no attention to that kind of crazy talk. We finished high school and like you promised, we left the dingy old stale town. But for some odd reason, we kept coming back. It's like, one moment we were in New York City, the next, we were on a train coming into town. It's not like we had anyone left in town, little Sue dead, Mama and Papa died during the farmer’s flu epidemic. Actually, like half the town fell to the virus. The worst cases were found near our old haven. Well, it took ten years but the city bought the old haven, cleared away the burnt down garage and built a fire station on top of it. We went to the grand opening. I remember it like it was yesterday. We had just completed college and had no idea what we wanted to do or be. We were broke, about to be evicted and owed a lot people a lot of money. We sat at the broke down table in our rusted kitchen. The water dripping from the faucet, hahaha, how it use to annoy the mess out of us. No matter what we did, the leak would not stay fixed. Well, that was the day we got a call from Mayor Manrowe. He needed workers at the fire station, but people were reluctant, crazy superstitious folks. He offered us a job, housing and medical insurance. Once again, we were on the next train out of New York City, only this time, it was our choice and we weren't going back. The town had changed. There were new buildings everywhere. Downtown had a new council building and police department, there was a new bank and shopping plaza, a new library and even a new school. Yeah, they got rid of all the classroom trailers and built a 'real' school. Well, on the day of the opening ceremony, only a hand full of people showed up, mostly folks warning and protesting using the old haven. For a few months, we were the only ones who stayed in the station. It was a quiet, eerie few months. We use to think we could hear little Sue laughing or crying. One night, on the eve of her death, we heard a scream. We found Mrs. Taper out back trying to burn down the station, but somehow, she caught on fire. She claimed it was the ghost of little Sue, but a nut case like her would say anything to keep from going to jail. After a few newcomers to town, we had a station crew of six. It was nice having others around. For a while, all was well. The station and crew kept the town fire free. In fact, we held the record for getting to a fire without significant lost of property or life. Things got even better. We met someone, a very special someone. Gotta say, the day he proposed, took us by storm. We were married at the station and even took our honeymoon there. Well, neither one of us had anytime off so we just made do. One night, we were called out to Farmer Taper's house. It was a false alarm; we told him and his wife to clean out his fireplace. On our way back, we saw a huge billow of smoke coming from the station. Luckily no one was hurt, but the station was destroyed. After a thorough investigation, they could not find any foul play or cause of the fire. Nothing! It was like the fire just appeared. It was claimed an accident, insurance was claimed and the station was torn down. We got another job working downtown as a secretary. For a while, things went back to normal. We had two children, sweetest little boy and girl in town. Sigh! We always thought they looked like mama, but their dad swore they took after him! Then, just when we thought things couldn't get better, the worse happened. The economic crash. Hubby lost his job along with half the town. We struggled quite a bit on my meager income. The stress of it all wrecked havoc on our marriage. Finally he couldn't take it any more, he ran off with a waitress taking our kids with him. We have not seen them since; some say he left the state, but who knows. We were depressed for a while, waiting, wondering. Then a moment of truth sparked life in our withering soul, we filed for divorced. We've put on some weight since then. But on the bright side, we've done pretty well. We worked hard and got promoted to CEO of the company, a long way from being a secretary ;) Bought a car. Have taken quite a few vacations outside of the town, we even visited New York City for a few days. Our old apartment was gone. We saved up money and bought our old Haven. We saved even more to build a house to call our own. One day, the kids may want to come back and they will have a nice four-bedroom home to come to. As I sit here writing you, little me, I just want to say, things have turned out fine for the most part. Keep your head up and never let others bring you down. Sniff, sniff. What's that smell? It smells like........


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Picture Book Editing Check List

I found a really nice article (check list) to use when editing pb manuscripts. I will try to use it the next time.

http://cbiclubhouse.com/2010/06/try-this-picture-book-editing-checklist/

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Cave of Crystals: continuation

Twenty-four hours earlier…………

Muna’s face flushed red as she listened to her father over the net phone. She sat in disbelief.

“I know you can make the climb, Muna,” he said, “I just don’t think it is wise for you to do so.”

“But dad…”

“Listen, we don’t know anything about the caves or crystals or if they even exist. Many men have lost their lives making that climb. It is just too risky, especially in your condition. It would be too dangerous. You have a team of able-bodied men; let them to the climb. That is what we are paying them for.”

My condition? She thought to herself. He was not still harping about her decision to wear hijab was he? Muna was from a very liberal and progressive Muslim family. For one, they believed that faith was in ones heart, not on their heads. As long as they believed in Allah, there was no real pressure to follow “old, outdated” rules such as hijab. They were very disappointed when she came home one day from college donning a cream colored Pashmina wrapped gracefully around her head. She let the comment slide, she did not want to start another battle with her dad, after all, he was a major contributor to the funding of her project.

“Dad, I’m the head scientist and geologist, not to mention the lead archeologist here, I need to be present at the site if we find it. So much hangs in the balance here. Do you realize the implications of such a find? There is no way I’m leaving critical analyzing and documentation to a bunch of contracted ex-marines who don’t care about scientific exploration. I need to test the actual site, check ground composition, environmental atmosphere and pressure. Documentation is key. I can’t have these guys ruining the samples or making mistakes in the documentation.”

Muna leaned in her chair close to her opened laptop. She saw his brows furrowed to the middle of his forehead as he studied her.

“We are making history dad. No one has ever found the Bhutah Crystal site and I’m this close.” She held her thumb and forefinger close together. “I need to be there,” she said.

Muna’s father’s let out a long, heavy sigh. He rubbed his forehead and cheeks. He sucked his teeth then shook his head. Muna’s chest fell. Why was he being so obstinate? Their eyes met for a brief moment, but more than words passed between them. Muna seemed to understand her father’s apprehension. Her parents were never meant to have children. Age and a critical accident took away her father’s ability to have children. A chemical explosion near a uranium plant left many women barren in the nearby towns and villages, including her mother. After decades of operations in every country, all types of medicine, hoping and praying, Muna, and her twin brother, Rashid, were born. Muna sat back in her chair. Yes, she kind of understood why he refused to see the possible importance of such a find like that of the Bhutah Crystals. She heard a soft click behind her. Rashid entered the room. She let out a breath, her eyes were pulled down and her chest sunken as she shook her head slightly at him.

“Let me talk to him,” he said softly placing his hand gently on her shoulders, “go get a cup of coffee or something and some fresh air.”

Muna turned to the screen and looked at her father. The wrinkles under his eyes were profound, his hair silver and thin. She nodded her head, “Okay, dad,” she said softly, “I will talk with you soon. Here is Rashid. Salaam, please send my love to mama, okay?”

Her dad gave a wary smile; relieved she’d given up the fight, for now. But he knew his daughter far too well. She would not give up so easily. “Salaam Muna. I will.”

Muna got up and left the room, closing the door behind her and leaving Rashid and her father alone.

Twenty-two hours earlier….

Muna stepped down off the makeshift steps of her office. She began to flap her cotton scarf, creating a flow of air briefly cooling her sweaty neck. She checked the temperature on her watch. It was 34 degrees Celsius and it was only 11 o’clock. She held her hand over her eyes to shade them from the glare of the desert sand and gravel. The air was dry, very dry. It was a really hot summer this year at the base of the Licancabur Volcano, record temps as high as 30 degrees Celsius. Today topped it. She hurried across the compound to the air-conditioned trailer. It was a small trailer, equipped with a medium sized couch, an old black and white TV set, three small tables, a small refrigerator, a microwave, a toaster and a leaking coffee machine. Muna found Hashim and his wife, Maria, going over some reports.

“I really think entry point should be here,” Maria said pointing to a spot on a map she had spread across the table. “It will reduce our rate of decline into the mountain’s cavity. Radar pictures show a smoother decline from here where a lava tube or stream may have flowed. This side,” she waved her hand over the western side of the map, “is mostly rugged rocks and stone.” Hashim sipped from his cup and frowned. They had been pouring over the radar pictures and maps for days trying to find the safest way into the cavity that would hopefully lead them to the Bhutah crystals. So far, there were only two possible ways in, from a lava tube at the top of the mountain, or blast a hole in the side of the mountain to enter down into a tunnel leading to an open cavity. Both possibilities posed dangerous risks. The volcanic shaft entry was at the top of the mountain under a lake. Pressures at the height would be tremendous, not to mention, they did not know how deep the lake was or if the lake would still be frozen over. Making their own entry posed possible threats as well, for one, they could cause structural damage in the mountain, collapse the tunnel or cause the volcano to rupture.

Muna got a cup of coffee, grabbed a month old paper and dropped it on the table across from Maria and Hashim, then plopped in her chair.

“Conversation with dad didn’t go too well?’ Hashim asked shooting a look at his Columbian wife. Maria slowly folded the maps and sat down next to her. Muna stared at her paper, shaking her head. She pursed her lips and raised her left eyebrow. “No, not quite,” she said tapping her fingers on the table, looking off into space. Maria grinned and looked up at Hashim. They both knew what that look meant. Muna was scheming a way to convince her father to let her join the expedition team on the climb. She took a sip of coffee, “Okay, show me what you got.” Maria stood up, brushed back her thick black hair and opened her map again.

“Here. We should detonate the explosives here. Granted we will have to climb at least 5500 feet up the mountain, but this area is structurally stable enough to withhold the blast and still create a hole deep enough to intercept the lava tube we need to reach the cavern.”

Muna nodded. “Good work.”

Maria looked up at her husband and grinned.

Hashim shrugged his shoulders, “I don’t know. I still think explosives are too dangerous. At the top, we have a much better picture of the main lava tube. There has been some unusual activity causing a lot of interference, we don’t know if the satellite pictures are accurate. I’m just saying,” Hashim, continued, “we should weigh both options carefully, both are equally dangerous.

“Fine,” Muna stood up, “I will talk this over with Rashid and Dr. Jones, by the way, where is Dr. Jones, did he get back from San Pedro with the supplies and license to proceed with the expedition?” No sooner had she asked, they heard a truck pull up to the trailer. Muna’s face lit up as she peered through the window blinds to see a large built man with a hat and sunglasses, stubby chin and tanned arms jump out of the truck. He and the driver, Ray Howard, immediately went to the back of the truck and began to unload the contents.

Thirteen hours earlier….

A low rumble filled the night sky. Winds began to pick up around 9 that evening. Above was a clear night sky though she could see clouds forming over the tip of Licancabur’s peak. Nowhere else did she see such a spectacular sight, such a clear sky and the only single cloud gathered at a single point. She prayed for clear weather the next day. They were already four days behind schedule. A lightning bolt flashed through the cloud mass over the mountain. A sudden gust of wind blew through her window scattering her papers around the room.

“Shoot!” she muttered scrambling around to gather them up. She heard two guys laughing and approaching her trailer office. Rashid and Dr. Anthony Jones blew in with another gust of wind.

“Hurry up and close the door,” Muna shouted as she continued to gather her papers. Rashid laughed and Anthony quickly began to help Muna pick up her papers.

“Sorry about that Dr. Hadi,” he grinned handing her a few papers. “You wanted to see us?” he asked her.

“Yes, what took you two so long,” she said trying to look grumpy then smiled at Anthony. Rashid sat down in her chair; he had a package tucked under his arm. “Well, first we had to finish unloading the truck, then we had to get the equipment and suits ready for tomorrow’s, then Hashim decided to recite as much of Surat Baqarah in Salatul Maghrib as he could remember…”

“Which is quite a lot, I must say,” Anthony added. “One of these days, I hope to memorize as much Qur’an as Hashim.”

Muna smiled, “Don’t worry, one of these days you will get there, all you have to do is just keep reading and keep learning.” She admired Anthony’s perseverance and dedication. She remembered the day he converted. It was before she actually became more observant herself. In fact, it was Anthony that inspired her to reconnect with her Islamic heritage. Rashid took a minute and observed the two before handing Muna the package.

“What is this?” she asked. Her face lit up, she loved surprises. She unwrapped the package. It was a pressurized coolant suit for the climb with a matching hijab that had the team logo on it. Muna squealed. “He finally agreed!” she said.

“Yes, apparently mom pulled all the right strings,” Rashid said.

“I knew mom would come through for me, not to mention a ton of duas.” Muna gave a her brother a quick hug, “Thanks Rashid, I know you helped too.”

“Yeah, yeah, enough already,” he said playfully pushing his sister off of him aware Anthony was watching them.

“So, what did you want to talk to us about?” Anthony asked her.

“Hashim has some concerns about using the explosives. Dr. Jones, you have more experience in this area, I want you to take a look at Maria’s radar maps and see if her proposed entry point is safe enough to go ahead with the scheduled detonation. Muna handed him the map and her reports. She watched as he poured over the papers. Rashid read over the reports. An hour later, he and Rashid came to the conclusion that though there was definitely room for error, blowing up an opening would be faster, and they would not have to carry all their equipment up the mountain then down again into the cavern.

“Well, then, it is settled. Insha Allah we gear up tomorrow. You guys get a goodnight’s rest.”

“Goodnight,”

“Night sis.”

The door closed behind them. Muna picked up her suit, hugged it and said a quick prayer of gratitude. She heard a rumble in the night sky again. She tossed and turned that night but could not sleep, something kept bothering her, nagging at the back of her mind. Finally, four hours later, slumber overtook her.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Picture Prompt: The Cave of Crystals

http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photo-of-the-day/crystal-cave-pod/

Muna adjusted her breathing mask. It was getting harder and harder to breathe as the exploration party climbed deeper into the cave. At first, the climb was a rather gentle slope, then, after about six miles, they came to a steep climb.

“Hurry up, Muna” her brother shouted down at her. “I don’t want you getting lost or left behind.”

Muna took a few more breaths, deep and slow and then continued the climb. She grabbed on to the rope and began hammering spikes into the rock. Each pound echoed in the dark gave.

“Muna!” he shouted.

“I heard you, I’m fine. I just needed to take a breather.”

She looked up. Her brother’s helmet light was beginning to get dimmer and dimmer. She had to keep up. She had to push on. Muna needed to prove she was capable of being a competent member of the research team. Though she was an excellent scientist and geologist, her father had forbidden her to go on the search for the legendary cave of crystals, and since it was his money funding the project, she had to abide by his request. With the help of her mother and brother, Rashid, however, she was able to convince her father that her being present would best serve the success of the project. Muna stopped thinking about her father and continued to climb, one step after the next.

“Clink, clink,” the metal to rock echoed around her. It was getting hotter in the cave. She wiped a trickle of sweat from her brow and loosened her scarf a bit. She checked her thermometer. It was reaching 53 degrees Celsius, humidity 100%. She had six more hours of air coolant and her suit still had over 75 % of its ice cubes sealed in the lining of her suit to help keep her cool. She needed to reach the site in less than 2 hours, if she was going to get accurate testing results and samples of the legendary Butah Crystals.

Just as Muna lifted her spike to hammer in another nail, she felt a slight tremor. The rope swayed a bit and a few small rocks loosened sending specks of dirt falling onto her head and arms. Moments after the tremor, she heard a low rumble. A moment later, another tremor rocked the cave. This time, one of the spikes came a loose sending Muna swinging along the face of the stone rocky cavern. She banged against the rock face a couple of times until she caught hold of a protruding rock. She clung to the rock, breathing heavily, gasping for air.

“Muna!” she heard her brother call. “Muna.”

She could not see anything and she was beginning to loose air in her suit. She could hear a low hissing sound as the air seeped out of as a result of crashing into the ragged rocks. She felt a tug on her rope. She was moving, upward.

“Hurry, Rashid,” she barely whispered.

Her eyes slowly closed as the air in her suit hissed. The last thing she saw was a dim light approaching her.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cool site for writing prompts!

Found a nice site with a lot of writing prompts! Let the creative fun begin :D

Sunday, April 11, 2010

In My Eyes


In my eyes

I am a believing woman,
obedient to my Lord.

I am a strong woman,
confident in my choices.

In my eyes,

I am a tall woman,
forever reaching great heights.

I am a responsible woman,
I own up to my mistakes.

In my eyes,

I am a noble woman,
expectant of dignity and equality

I am a simple woman,
grateful for my good life

In my eyes,

I am a reliable woman,
I do what needs to be done.

I am an outstanding woman,
I aspire to achieve my goals.

In my eyes,

I am a wise woman,
I use my knowledge with purpose.

I am a sensitive woman,
I sometimes cry, pout and fuss.

In my eyes,

I am a cautious woman,
My trust must be earned

I am a sensible woman,
I don't expect the universe.

In my eyes,

I am a nuturing woman,
full of love and compassion.

I am a righteous woman,
Faithful to my Creator.

In my eyes,

I am a social woman,
I love rolling with my sisterhood.

I am a free woman,
I own my life, my body and my mind.

In my eyes,
I am a woman.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Night Sounds

Night Sounds

Sun down.

Moon bright.

Stars twinkle in the night.

Crickets chirp.

Owls hoot.

Wolves howl at the moon.

Frogs croak.

Mice squeak.

Winds whisper through the tree.

Mommies hum.

Daddies snore.

Babies drift to sleepy-time shore.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Everything in Creation Says, Ameen.











Everything in Creation Says, Ameen.


From the trees bowing in the winds, to the birds beating their wings.

Everything in creation says, Ameen.


From the humming birds hum, to the rolling thunder's drum

Everything in creation says, Ameen.


From the sun shining bright, to the stars blinking lights.

Everything in creation says Ameen.


From the creepy crawlers, to the moonlight callers.

Everything in creation says, Ameen.


From the volcanoes eruptive glow, to the seas ebb and flow.

Everything in creation says, Ameen.


From the early morning whisperer, to the faithful and humble worshiper.

Everything in creation says, Ameen.


From the East to the West, from the North to the South.

Everything in creation says, Ameen.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Allah Knows

Allah Knows

Jamaal and his father stood side by side in the last row of the prayer line.

"As Salaamu Alaikum Wa rahmatullahi wabaraktu," they said after the Imaam. After prayer, they greeted the other men and boys at the mosque, put on their shoes and started the journey home.

“Grumble, grumble.” Jamaal felt his stomach. “I’m really hungry,” he said to his dad.

“Didn’t you eat before we left for salaat,” his dad asked.

Jamaal looked down at his feet.

“No,” he said, “I forgot.”

In fact, he had been so busy playing his video games, he did not hear when his mother called him down for lunch or when his dad called him to get ready for salaat. His dad sighed and searched his pockets. He felt some coins and a few dollar bills in his pocket.

“Maybe we can stop at the vending machine just outside the community center around the corner,” he said winking his eye at Jamaal and rubbing his head. “But next time I want you to be a little more mindful of your duties,” he said.

“Okay, I will,” Jamaal, promised as he took off around the corner. “Last one there is a rotten…” Jamaal stopped in his tracks. By the time his dad caught up with him, he was still standing in his spot, wide-eyed and his mouth open.

“Subhan Allah!” his dad gasped, “what happened here?” Jamaal turned to his dad and shook his head.

“It was already like this when I got here,” he stammered. His dad grinned, “Jamaal, I know you didn’t do it.” They both looked at the vending machine outside the community center. The metal grating was gone and the glass casing was smashed. There was glass all over the ground.

“Looks like someone vandalized the vending machine,” his dad said.

“But they didn’t take all the snacks,” Jamaal said shaking his head. Why would someone go through all the trouble of busting it open and then leave everything behind, he thought to himself. His dad fumbled through his pocket to find his phone.

“Hello, police? I would like to report a vandalized vending machine at the Odan Community Center on 3rd and Wilshire Road. Yes, sir, I can stay until you get here.” His dad hung up the phone. He reached in his pocket again and pulled out some money. “Well, what would you like?” he asked Jamaal. Jamaal eyed the snacks greedily. He picked out a handful of items.

“Whoa,” his dad said, “put some of that back, I don’t have enough money for all that, besides, we are going straight home and you can have a proper lunch.”

“But, dad,” Jamaal said, “this stuff is free. We should take whatever we want before someone else comes and get it.”

“Jamaal, this stuff is not free just because someone broke it open. We still have to pay for it, or, we will be stealing,” his dad said.

“Even though no one is here? It is not like WE broke it open, so it is not really stealing. No one will know,” Jamaal tried to reason with his dad.

“Allah knows and sees, Jamaal. These items belong to someone, taking them without paying for them is stealing, and then, you would be no better than the person who vandalized the machine,” his dad said sternly, “Now, do you want something or not? Pick one thing, then pay for it, “ his father said handing him a dollar and seventy-five cents. Jamaal chose a bag of chips and put the rest back. He inserted the money just as two officers walked up.

“We appreciate you calling this in. Since the center has been closed for the week, we have had quite a few break in’s around here.” The officers roped the place off, removed the food items, then left. Jamaal and his father continued home.

Jamaal leaned back against his bed as he played his video game. Really, how bad would it have been if they took a few extra snacks, it’s not like the company was broke or anything. They would not have missed a couple of snacks worth four bucks! Then he remembered his dad’s words,

“Allah knows and sees.”

“Well, it was a good thing you didn’t take any extras,” his little brother, Hakeem, said, “because the cops would have grabbed you, handcuffed you and taken you to jail!”

Jamaal rolled his eyes; he could not believe his dad told everyone he wanted to take a few extra snacks. His mom raised her eyebrows at him, but didn’t say anything. Jamaal and his brother played video games until the living room Adhan clock went off.

“Allahu Akbar Allaaaaahu Akbar!”

“Get ready boys, we are going to the masjid in 5 minutes,” their dad said poking his head into the room. Hakeem jumped up and ran into his father’s bathroom to make wudu. Jamaal slowly put his things away.

“Jamaal,” his dad shouted from downstairs, “Let’s go!”

“Coming!” Jamaal said putting on his jacket. He was still wet from splashing water around as he made wudu quickly.

It was time for Maghrib, so they were driving to the masjid instead of walking. Jamaal sat in the front seat, looking out of the window.

“Allah Knows and Sees.”

“Huh?” he said turning to face his dad.

“It’s cold, roll down your sleeves,” his dad said.

“Oh.” Jamaal’s arms were dry now, so he rolled his sleeves down. He turned back to stare out the window. They arrived just in time to get the last free spot in the masjid parking lot. They jumped out and grabbed their prayer rugs. Their masjid was a small prayer house. Usually, men and boys had to pray in the yard because there were too many people to fit inside. For some reason, they were always late for Maghrib and had to pray in the yard.

“Allah Knows and Sees.”

“Huh?’ Jamaal said turning to Hakeem.

“I touched your nose, now you’re a bee,” he giggled touching Jamaal’s nose and running off to catch up with his dad.

“Argh, seriously Hakeem? That was funny when you were two, grow up!” he said grabbing his prayer rug and closing the trunk. Jamaal trudged along towards the masjid. He passed the last car in the lot, then something caught his eyes. It lay on the ground flapping around in the cool breezy evening. Jamaal bent down to get a closer look. It was a dollar bill! His heart skipped a beat. But when he picked it up, he got an even bigger surprise. It was a hundred dollar bill! He quickly looked around, but no one was in sight. His dad and Hakeem had already entered the masjid.

“Does this belong to anyone?” he asked looking around. He remembered in class, “if a person finds something, he must ask if it belongs to anyone before taking it.” I asked he said smiling to himself, then stuffed the bill in his pocked. He rushed into the masjid just as the Imam said the first takbir. It was hard to concentrate during salaat. He fidgeted quite a bit as he thought of all the things he could buy.

“Allah Knows and Sees.”

Jamaal stiffened. Who could that be? No one should be talking during salaat except the Imam. He listened again

“Allahu Akbar,” the Imam said.

Everyone went to ruku. Maybe I was just imagining it, he thought to himself.

“Allah Knows and Sees.”

Jamaal almost jumped out of his skin. He tried to look around without moving too much, but he still could not see anyone speaking.

“Allahu Akbar,” the Imam said.

Everyone went to sajdah. This was getting to be too much for him. After salaat, he met up with his dad and Hakeem.

“You okay Jamaal,” his dad asked, “you were doing a lot of fidgeting in salaat”

“I don’t know, I don’t feel to well,” he said holding his stomach. Halfway back to the car, he heard it again.

“Allah Knows and Sees.”

Jamaal stopped in his tracks. He felt the bill in his pocket and decided what he had to do. He turned around and ran back to the masjid.

“Jamaal?” his dad called after him.

Jamaal ran up to the Imam as he was talking to another man who looked extremely worried. He tugged on the Imam’s thobe.

“Excuse me? As Salaamu Alaikum Imam,” he said softly. The Imam looked down.

“Wa Alaikum As Salaam. What can I do for you Jamaal,” he asked.

“Imam, I found this money outside in the parking lot, I think someone may have dropped it coming in,” Jamaal said, handing the bill to the Imam. The Imam took the money then smiled at him.

“Masha Allah,” he said. “May Allah (swt) reward you for your honesty.” The Imam turned to the man he was speaking with, it was one of the officers Jamaal and his dad saw at the Odan Community Center.

“Your duas were answered Brother Dawuud, your money has been returned to you. This young man found it and brought it just now.”

The Imam handed him the hundred-dollar bill. Jamaal’s dad walked up just in time to see Brother Dawuud and the Imam shake Jamaal’s hand.

“Jamaal?’ his dad said.

“Your son just returned my money he found on the ground,” Officer Dawuud said, “Masha Allah, you have taught your son well. I pray Allah rewards you both for his honesty. I’m afraid any other kid would have probably put it in his pocket and ran off with it.”

“That is because it would have been considered stealing to take the money without trying to find its owner. Besides, Allah Knows and Sees everything,” Jamaal said with a smile as he picked up his jacket and prayer rug.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Submission Call: Muslim American Girl magazine

As Salaamu Alaikum Here is a wonderful writing opportunity for young muslim girls everywhere!! Muslim American Girl magazine is seeking submissions for a unique online magazine for muslim girls growing up in America. It was created by a 14 year old muslimah, Shabnam M, to help young muslimahs feel like they are not alone, that there are other young muslimahs out there going through some of the same obstacles that young muslims go through growing up in America. MAGazine will give young muslimahs an arena to showcase their creativity and share their experiences and grow to be upstanding muslim women leaders in the future. Website http://www.muslimamericangirls.com/ submission categories: http://www.muslimamericangirls.com/categories.html submission guidelines: http://www.muslimamericangirls.com/submissionguidelines.html Send submissions to: muslimag@gmail.com I highly encourage mothers, especially those who home-school, to encourage their daughters to submit to this unique magazine. There are a wide variety of topics needed, crafts, photography/art, recipes, school, faith, health, book reviews, letter to the editor, and so much more!! Check out the website with your daughters! It is a worthwhile adventure!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Personal Tips from a Novice Amateur

Personal Tips from a Novice Amateur


Writing is fun when your imagination is on a roll and your pen (or keyboard) is writing away. But every once in a while, a writer slams into a wall of blanks. That wall is called writer's block, a massive blockade that subdues creativity, drains imagination and tires the pen (or keyboard.) But every block is meant to be overcome. Every writer, amateur or professional, has his or her own way of creatively getting pass writer's block. Here are a few of my techniques of over coming the creative blockade.



* Find your writing zone. I like to find a comfortable place to be in before I write.

Everyday is different. Sometimes, I like to write in my room curled up on my bed

where it is quiet. Other times, I like to be in an open area where I can find

inspiration all around me.


* Try to write everyday, even if it is in a journal. Writing everyday allows you to

keep your creativity at its maximum. I write about everything, that happens at

work, things I see in my day, or sometime I even describe a pretty flower or cute

animal.


* Write about things you like or are familiar with. Writing about something you

don't like or have no knowledge about can be a chore and sometimes

unpleasant. I try to write about things I like, usually stories, poems or activities

geared towards children as I am a teacher of young children. But if you have to,

give yourself adequate time to learn as much as you can about the subject you

are writing about before you start writing.


* Read other writings for inspiration and motivation. Sometimes, I find it beneficial

and helpful to read other writings. Reading is very important to the writer. You

can't be a good writer if you are not a good reader. Read writing that is both

similar to your genre and writing that is different. I like to write children's fiction,

but I love to read fiction for adults and non-fiction. The satisfaction of reading a

good book, story, poem or article also reminds the writer why they should keep

going!


* Use writing prompts when you hit writer's block. Writer's Block is bound to

happen, so don't let it get you down. If you happen to find that you don't know

what to write about or that you just don't have anything to write about, use

writing prompts to give you a jump start. Prompts can also be a lot of fun and be

wonderful starts to other writing projects.



* Give yourself writing incentives. Writing incentives are great and fun! I love to

buy new writing pads and pencils or pens. I have also taken writing classes to

motivate me to write more and even started blogs and a website to share my

work. It is important, however, to make sure your incentives are important to you

or else you wont be motivated by them.


* Surround yourself with positive reinforcement and encouragement. Nothing is

more important that being around like minded people who support and

encourage you. Join writing groups and clubs. It is a wonderful way to meet

other writers and share writing tips and advice from both amateurs and

professionals. I belong to a few writing groups that have proven very beneficial.

Everyone gives constructive criticism and encouragement to help me

increase my writing skills.


* If all else fails, take a break from writing. There are times when no matter what,

your brain just does not want to cooperate with your creativity and imagination.

When that happens, don't force it; take a break. Relax your mind; enjoy other

activities or, one of my favorites, simply take a nap. God has given your body

rights over you, that includes your brain, where your creative processing occurs.


Happy Writing!


Member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators