Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Sacred Sistrum of Ancient Egypt



In Khamsin, The Devil Wind of The Nile, this ancient instrument is described as being used for worship as well as entertainment.

Excerpt:
With expectant stillness at its height, [the High Priest of Ptah] intoned the old sacred chants, his rich baritone echoed by the pure high voices of his temple chantresses. The simple notes of a lonely flute rang out, a harp adding its melodic strings.

Sistrum-players rattled their papyrus stems. The beat quickened. With nothing more than belts around slim waists, the undulating chantresses mesmerized the crowd; it often fell to these lithe servants of the gods to keep the beer-drowsed audience alert.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Jim Bennett's New "Fortress: Poems 6"



At last, Canadian Poet Jim Bennett has published a new poetry book, Fortress: Poems 6. 

I was delighted to receive a copy from the author. Below is my Review of this delightful (and as usual, challenging) volume and I am proud to add his special poetry to his previous five.

 My Review:
After an extended hiatus, we can finally welcome another volume, the sixth, in Jim Bennett’s poetry collection. This one, I felt, was earthier than the previous ones, lusty and even outright sexy. There is also a bit of political tongue-in-cheek, as in ReForms of Intelligence. All encompass Bennett’s usual complexity of thought. Through his mastery, he makes one think, imagine a parallel to one’s own life. He is sly in his choice of words and verse, forcing you to re-read those poems until you get it – sometimes maybe not.
Starting out with Possession, I felt I had gone home again without estrangement of place or time. Silence is brief and profound, whereas Chorus adds a dose of sex; as do several other poems.

The book ends with Fortress of Solitude. To me, a contemplation of a waning life: reflective, sad even, resigned, yet gratified to have been witness to it.

And that is how my first reading of this 70-poem volume left me: Gratified – and most glad that I can add Poems 6 to Bennett’s previous five poetry books on my shelf. But it won’t gather dust there, for the depth and complexity of those poems cry out to be re-read and re-discovered time and again – as they will be for sure.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Now Available Everywhere

Once Again,
 the Legends of the Winged Scarab Series 
is widely available 

(for more, check your preferred e-book provider)


Barnes&Noble (Nook Book)
KOBO (you may have to search by title, author)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

A Tribute to Harriet Doerr

Invited to write about one of my favorite authors, I chose American writer Harriet Doerr; one of many I could have singled out for Helen Hollick's Discovering Diamonds blogspot.






Doerr's sparse yet descriptive style fascinates me as it is as captivating today as it was when she wrote about these Mexican adventures.




Here is my Tribute to Harriet Doerr:

Also, check out Helen's interesting Home Page
for recently reviewed and Discovered Diamonds by contemporary Indie authors:


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Charmer, Conman, Kidnapper

Edward, My Bad Boy,

also appears in 4 of the
Legends of the Winged Scarab Novels

He charms in Sirocco, Storm over Land and Sea

He cons in After the Cataclysm

His bad side crystallizes in The Crystal Curse

And what happens in The Nile Conspiracy,
well -- you'll just have to read about it.

Even in Shadow Love, he is remembered
with some regret about what could have been...

How did he get to be that way?

This short novella here shows how he
spirals from charmer down to criminal.





Excerpt
Helen, a high-powered executive and consummate professional when not enthralled by tall Brits, informed him she had to take an early morning flight to Europe and that her generosity, alas, could not extend to her home, her Mercedes and her treasured sailboat while she was away.
Edward understood, being the perfect gentleman. He returned her key, kissed her good-night, promised to call her in two weeks.
That Sunday morning, the normally fastidious Edward did not shave. He dressed in the midnight blue silk pajamas and brown leather slippers—gifts from a nice woman in Newport Beach—and confidently drove up the Silver Strand that connects seedy Imperial Beach to affluent Coronado.
A couple of homes down from Helen’s, he spied a yellow-hulled San Diego Union in a driveway. Slowing down just enough, he expertly scooped the Sunday paper up. Then he drove to a lone beach emergency-telephone he had scouted out the day before. Smoothing out a sheet torn from his motel’s Yellow Pages, he dialed the number of the first-listed locksmith. No answer. Second: No answer. The third promised to meet him at the given address within thirty minutes.
“Can you imagine? Here I am, out in the street in my pajamas. I come out to pick up my Sunday paper and the door slams behind me.” Edward’s speech is colloquial and friendly, without a trace of his usual Eton-tinged accent.

“It happens all the time,” the locksmith commiserated. “I’ll have you back in your house in no time.”
* * * 



Saturday, March 11, 2017

A Curse for Egypt - The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam?

The monster dam is set to open "sometime in 2017" along the Blue Nile in Ethiopia, the largest hydroelectric project not only in that country but in the whole of Africa.


 (Photo: Ghetty Images)
Its conflict with Egypt over water rights forms the basis of


The Nile Conspiracy.

Egypt receives 80% of its water. Will the filling of this monster reservoir threatens to strangle the Blue Nile?

Needless to say, the Egyptians are very worried - especially as it will take 5 to 15 years to fill the huge catch basin from the Blue Nile flowing out of Lake Tana.



Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Axe, The Shield, and The Triton - A Discovered Diamond

Author James M. Hockey was born on the slopes of the Iron Age hill fort of Ham Hill. During the Roman period the IInd Legion had a camp here. This fort is only eight miles from the Cadbury hill fort, the favored if speculative location for Camelot and Arthur during post-Roman times. It is in this countryside that Alfred the Great hid and plotted the defeat of the invading Danes.
Moving just two miles down the road Hockey spent the early years of his life under the shadow of St. Michaels Hill, the scene of one of the last abortive rebellions against the Normans after 1066.
It is hardly surprising that history is in his blood and that his writing is set in this historic countryside.
 
Read my review of Hockey's Book 1
The Axe, The Shield, and The Triton 
of his 3-book
Tales of Bowdyn Series 
on Helen Hollick's Discovering Diamonds website.
It is easy to see why this dark ages novel
was honored with the coveted
Discovered Diamond
Award

 Treat yourself here to Hockey's complete series: