Monthly Archives: June 2015

Turkey’s Border Crisis

This week I’ve continued work on the third book of the Ancient Elements series, The Phoenician Coin, as the main character, Sam, nears his goal of finding his Uncle Zim in Tyre. Sam’s father, Dagon, also takes further steps toward his goal of seeking revenge on Sam and Sam’s uncle (Dagon’s brother) for the misfortunes Dagon believes they have caused him. As I completed a chapter that saw Dagon and his Babylonian caravan travel west and then south from the area now known as northern Syria, drawing closer to his destination of Tyre, I included the caravan’s course on this map, as seen below.

Dagon'sRoute

Then, just this morning, I saw the geographic area I’m writing about come to life as I viewed the news. Today’s news took me to a picture from two weeks ago that shows a man carrying a girl as Syrians fled the war in their town of Tal Abyad in northern Syria and tried to pass through a broken down border fence to enter Turkish territory illegally. This occurred near Akcakale’s border crossing (Akcakale forms a divided city with Syria’s Tal Abyad) on June 14 (BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images). If you look at the modern-day map of this area and compare it with Dagon’s caravan route, you can see that the towns of Tel Aybad and Akcakale are just north of Dagon’s route.

Map_of_Akcakale_and_Tell_Abyad

Here’s an image of Syrians from Tal (Tel) Abyad trying to cross over into Turkey two weeks ago

Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 10.50.11 AM

This morning, I viewed a VOA news clip showing that, as of June 25, these refugees began to return to Tal Abyad, since coalition bombings and fighting from the Kurds and Syrian rebel forces helped to oust ISIS from Tal Abyad. (The pic from the video is not a hot link. Here is the video link: http://www.voanews.com/media/video/syrian-refugees-return-to-tal-abyad/2837176.html).

Syrians returnI miss teaching social studies to middle school students, especially when current events relate to areas covered in the curriculum. Students study ancient civilizations, including this area of Ancient Mesopotamia, during 6th grade social studies. Since I’m not in the classroom anymore unless I get to do an author visit, I relish the opportunity to write books for this age group, such the Ancient Elements series.

If you haven’t read book one of the Ancient Elements series, The Bronze Dagger, we’re having a drawing of three free books July 25 for those who enter below. If you’ve read it, send the link and encourage a friend to enter. Book two, The Alabaster Jar, is now in the design stage as the publisher works on the cover. Hopefully The Alabaster Jar will be out by the end of July. Book three, The Phoenician Coin, should wrap up its writing stage by mid-July, then move on to the editing stage, with a possible publication date by the end of the year. Sign up below to enter the free drawing, and encourage friends to do the same!

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Blog Hop – The Silver Coin

BD height330Ever heard of a Blog Hop? No, it’s not a new dance. I’m joining one today where several writers post 400 words or less from their current, unpublished “work in progress”, and then view and comment positively on several of the posted blogs. Below is mine for this Fiction Friday Blog Hop. It’s from the third and final book in my middle grade historical fiction series, Ancient Elements, titled The Phoenician Coin, set during the time of Hammurabi (1780’s BC). We don’t have a cover designed yet for book three, and book two’s cover is still in the design phase, so I’ll use book one’s cover as a placeholder.

coin_boatBefore long, five men with long hair and short beards descended the ladder. Each had a sword strapped to his waist. Like most of the Phoenician sailors, the Mycenaeans had bare chests and wore kilts.

            The sick Phoenician captain struggled to his feet and approached one of the Mycenaeans. “I am the captain of this ship,” he said. “State your business here.”

            The Mycenaean unsheathed his sword and placed its tip underneath the captain’s chin. “You ain’t the captain here no more,” the short, stocky man said. “We’re pirating this ship and loading all of your goods onto our vessel. If you’re smart, you won’t put up a fight.”

            The young woman cried out. “Are you going to leave us stranded out here on the Great Sea?”

            The Mycenaean laughed and waved his sword in the air. “Oh, no, lady. We have other plans for you. You’ll all soon be slaves of rich Mycenaeans!” The stocky man laughed again and then turned to the other four pirates with him. “Load all of this cargo onto our ship. Make these passengers help. If they give you any trouble, run ‘em through with your blades.”

            Sam and Keret, along with the other passengers and Phoenician crewmen helped the Mycenaean pirates carry the cargo of jars, ivory and crates up the ladder and onto the Mycenaean ship. A heavy fog hung in the air, restricting vision beyond a few yards, but the winds and the rains had stopped.  

            As the last of the cargo and passengers boarded the Mycenaean ship, the stocky Mycenaean shouted to one of his men who still remained on the Phoenician ship. “Burn it all.”

            Sam watched as a clean-shaven Mycenaean torched the Phoenician ship’s sail, its rigging and the wicker railings.

            The Mycenaean captain laughed and addressed his prisoners. “This way, there’ll be no record of what happened to you. By the time people realize you’re missing, you’ll all be slaves of Greek merchants or landowners. And I’ll be that much richer!”

            A loud crash, followed by a jolt, interrupted the Mycenaean pirate’s gloating, almost knocking him off his feet. Sam turned to see a warship pulled up alongside the Mycenaean vessel. A large ramming device on the front of the warship had punched a hole through the side of the Mycenaean ship.

Christian Fiction Friday is a weekly blog hop where authors post short (400-word or less) snippets from their current works in progress. It is hosted by Alana Terry and Hallee Bridgeman. – See more at: http://www.hallee.bridgemanfamily.com/#sthash.YrDWdniq.7VOY7TqL.dpuf

To enter a drawing for a free copy of Ancient Elements Book One, The Bronze Dagger, sign up below. Three names will be drawn July 25, 2015.

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ACFW - DFW CHAPTER a.k.a. DFW Ready Writers

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"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

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Author, Educator, Consultant

ACFW - DFW CHAPTER a.k.a. DFW Ready Writers

"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

ACFW SFBayArea

Northern California Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers

Letters to Noah

Spoken words are fleeting, but written words last beyond a lifetime.

Sontag Writing Dreams

"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

marsha ottum owen

I make Children's Books

Under His Wings

"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

Cathleen Armstrong

"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

A Writer's Diary

Author, Educator, Consultant