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Tuesday, January 8th 2008

8:24 PM (4847 days, 3h, 55min ago)

A dose of idealism tempered with realism

Change is the operative word of the day.
Indeed friends, indeed we need change.
But I am not yet convinced that Obama is the viable agent for it. He is charming and talks the talk, and perhaps somewhere in his files he has a marvelously prepared, step-by-step agenda about how he is going to help fix our floundering economy (the sinking stock market, the incredibly steep decline of the American dollar vs other currencies, the stupendous rate at which our jobs are outsourced to the far reaches of the globe--hey, by the way, outsourcing might soon stop, for what with the disappearance of labor unions and countless steady jobs, we'll all work for such low wages that outsourcing becomes expensive), well, to make a long story short, Obama might just have the roadmap to our deliverance, also how to get us out of Iraq without leaving a horrific civil war in our wake as the tribal heads and the Sunnis and the Shiites go on a rampage  to amass power, also, surely Obama has a plan to kiss and make up with Al-Qaida and Hezbollah, also nicely convince Iran to refrain from nuking Israel or God forbid, us, also bring peace to Pakistan, prosperity to Afghanistan so they stop growing poppies and grow grain instead....
Ahhhh, be still my heart!
But yes, somewhere, indeed somewhere, there is Obama's wondrous plan to make America great again! And fix the borders and beef up the inspection of imported goods that are so easily dancing flooding our markets and poisoning us with lead and such, oh, yes if only Obama would not keep his cure-all plan such a secret from us...
I am a journalist and novelist, an American who's lived in Europe and the Middle East, I am a registered Independent, and I support Hillary Clinton. I confess that I somewhat identify with her, we are about the same age, so, call us old bats, we are Scorpios -- hey, Scorpio is the Phoenix, the bird that rises from the ashes ) --, but also, I am a once-upon-a-time starry-eyed idealist, whose naivete is now tempered with hard-nosed realism. Realism brought by hands-on experience earned through trials and tribulations by fire. At the very least, Hillary is a realist and sure has experience.
Is she the cure-all person? No. Our situation is too complex. Our problems severe.
But she has the knowledge and experience to give it a shot. I did consider McCain. Am still considering him. He is a bonafide hero and has accomplished a lot. Though there are a few things we differ on. Mitt Romney and Huckabee and let's not forget Guliani, are all candidates with a rucksack full of experience. Also, let's not forget Bloomberg, the New Yorker, rumored that he may or may not, join the frey. I hear he has whipped New York into shape. Might this not be a good credential for a President?
But I still am hooked on Hillary.
True, I consider her a two-fer, as in Bill and Hill. Also, she sure is a tough woman, and I don't give a flying figleaf that she is not as cute as Obama.
I respect her for her mature age, her knowledge of the issues on hand, and I feel proud that after a Q & A session in New Hampshire, she had the grace to shed a few tears.
Yet, to be honest, I gotta admit she seems to be going down. I watched many a political commentary about her in the aftermath of Iowa, and all I heard was an army of pundits who are almost giddy as they race with each other to hasten her demise.
My pendulum predicts that Obama will be the next President of the United States of America.
We are in God's hands. Let's pray that Obama will walk the walk. Hope Springs Eternal in the Human Breast.
If I could run into Hillary Clinton on the street, I'd grasp her by the hand and cry: "You are a woman, let them hear you ROAR!"

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Thursday, December 27th 2007

9:22 AM (4859 days, 14h, 57min ago)

Farewell and rest in peace, Benazir Bhutto!

I am stunned.
I shouldn't be, for she had been skating fast to her death from the moment she had boarded the plane to Pakistan, back in October.
Common sense surely had warned her that there was no way in hell or on earth her opponents would let her live. She stood for everything they are sworn to destroy. A highly educated woman, a charismatic leader, with mass appeal, and adding insult to their injury, seemingly sincere.
Plenty has been said about that she was party to corruption, that she lined up her own pockets while in power, and so on. And I would concur on that she might not have been innocent. I think no one at that level of power ever is, or to be fair to her, CAN. At least not fully. Those around him or her, will not allow this.
So why would she willingly place herself in the waiting, open jaws of the lion? Was she so determined to be a martyr? Or was this the inexplicable and unavoidable summons of her destiny/kismet?
Hmmm, must be the latter.
Indeed, the region's destiny and her own personal karma drove her back. It was a summons she could not disobey.
I do not doubt that her martyrdom will reverberate throughout the world. For better or worse, remains yet to be seen.

Farewell, and rest in peace in the Light, Benazir Bhutto!
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Monday, December 17th 2007

6:34 AM (4869 days, 17h, 45min ago)

KORINNA MADE IT TO THE EPPIES! Finalist in Historical Fiction


I got the news just in time for Christmas about Korinna's latest win.

I say, the POW! Award was a birthday present from my late parents, the EPPIE Finalist news is their Christmas present.

Thank you, Mama and Papa! i pray that you are waltzing in heaven.

And thank you, Rob Preece, author, good friend, and esteemed publisher of KORINNA, for your support along the way.

A very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to Everyone!

Kristina O'Donnelly
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Friday, November 16th 2007

10:01 AM (4900 days, 14h, 18min ago)

What exactly is Women's Fiction?

Hello, Friends.
Yesterday, with great joy, I shouted out the news about the POW! award won by my historical novel, KORINNA.

Based on comments I received, I'd like to delve into what Women's Fiction entails.
Yes, KORINNA - DAUGHTERS OF THE FIRE, I, is Historical Fiction. But I entered it in the Women's Fiction category. This category is not ROMANCE, per se, although it may very well contain a love story.

By the way, I understand that while publishers do have a category called Women's Fiction, bookstores do not, and place these novels in General Fiction area. In addition, due to being placed in this section (a practice I agree with, for this way we can appeal to readers of both genders), publishers and book sellers cannot quite analyze its sales.

According to Wikipedia, Women's fiction is an umbrella term for a wide-ranging collection of literary sub-genres that are marketed to female readers, including many mainstream novels, romantic fiction, "chick-lit"  and other sub genres.

Well, as I've said before, I do not see Women's Fiction as of interest to only female readers. Women's Fiction is more about the empowerment, or lack thereof, of women, delved upon in a thought-provoking story that might be placed in the past or the present. This genre reflects the female trial and tribulations throughout the ages, her rise and fall in the social strata of humanity in general, from the distant, misty past, to the Bronze Age and forward, but also, how the female's standing affects the lives of men.
Yes, truth is, while men might be from Mars and women from Venus )), we are closely interrelated, and the overall female empowerment or lack thereof deeply influences the fortunes of the men in any given society.
Let me make a simplified statement: Dumbed down women, give birth to and raise, dumbed down sons.
All right, yes, this is a simplified statement. Better said, women who, generation after generation, have been robbed of their personal and intellectual freedom, raised in a society as chattels and servants of their men, forbidden -- be it through lack of money or tolerance -- from having an education, or a skill with which they can earn the means of financial independence, who are forbidden to be in charge of their own lives/destiny, are forced to breed children who grow up to  be cheap slaves and soldiers. Interesting how everything boils down to The User and the Usee.
KORINNA's tale is an intense tour-de-force into the history of Ancient Greece, Rome, Anatolia, but also, mirrors the plight of women in those times. Women who had no say in the running of their lives,
existing only for their men until they were killed in battle.
Proud of and motivated by for being named after Korinna, a 5th B.C. Greek poetess, our heroine is driven to defy a woman's traditional, unquestioningly subservient role in order to be independent, and  battles to chart her own course in life. ........

To be continued
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Thursday, November 15th 2007

9:55 AM (4901 days, 14h, 24min ago)



Hello, Friends!
For the third year in a row, on November 10, my BIRTHDAY (amazing coincidence) I received the news of an award for one of my novels, this time,
Korinna - Daughters of the Fire, I (Daughters of Fire). Truly the timing is incredible! Perhaps this is one way my beloved late parents are sending me a birthday card from heaven.....

Of course I'd like to grasp this wondrous occasion and tell you all about KORINNA, but first, I want to tell you what the POW! Award is all about.
Caryn Day-Suarez, an author and Owner/President of POW! describes her organization thusly: " Yes, POW! is Promoting Outstanding Writers, but we do so much more. POW! is all about promoting, writers, performers, artists, photographers, anything and anyone to do with the arts. We're what's happening now! We pack the punch that sells and gets YOU known. It's all about building a rep, making money, having fun, mingling, canoodling, friendship...."
Caryn’s written three award-winning books, and an award winning screenplay (for
  Living Crazy Like Fly  . You can find out more about Caryn here:

A very important aspect of the POW! Award is that while POW! is the sponsor, the judging is done by a panel of anonymous judges from the FCCJ (Florida Community College, Jacksonville), led by Dr Dana Thomas, Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences. By the way Dr. Dana Thomas is an author as well.

To be continued ....
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Tuesday, November 6th 2007

8:45 AM (4910 days, 15h, 34min ago)

The Horseman - The Republic of Turkey - the PKK - President Bush and Turkish PM R. Tayyib Erdogan


Dear Friends.

Yesterday, I watched with dread-filled fascination, the TV-broadcast of a press conference with President Bush and the Turkish PM, Rejep Tayyip Erdogan. First thing that struck me, was President Bush's body language, or to be fair, what I read in his body-language: awkward, uncomfortable, seeming as if he were wishing he was anywhere but here ....
Today, however, rather than writing about my own feelings, I've decided to post a Washington Times editorial by Turkish journalist Tulin Daloglu.
Ms. Daloglu is a seasoned professional who writes succinctly and with a cool, calm voice.

Turkey's unified front

November 6, 2007

By Tulin Daloglu - "I looked the man in the eye... I was able to get a sense of his soul," said President Bush after his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. As awkward as it sounded then, Mr. Bush's soul is precisely what Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan must have been trying to understand at the White House yesterday.

Politicians rarely ever characterize meetings as unsuccessful. But this one could be different. Soon we will learn how Turkey responds to increasing Kurdish terrorist attacks initiated mainly from Northern Iraq. The United States's cooperation or lack thereof with Turkey on this matter will have a lasting impact for decades.

Turks genuinely suspect that American policies are targeting their country's territorial integrity. The essence of yesterday's meeting for Turkey was to test that suspicion. It was no accident that Erdogan was accompanied by Deputy Joint Chiefs of Staff Ergin Saygun, at the White House. Between the military, which serves as the guardian of Turkey's secular government, and the political rule of the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP), Turkey is conveying a unified front in dealing with the Kurdish separatist threat.

Now the Turkish establishment will make a crucial assessment: deciding whether to continue to trust the United States, their NATO ally, or to test a regional effort to deal with the matter that would include Russia and Iran.

At the moment, Kurdish nationalists have played their hand, demanding that their gains be maximized in the face of changing dynamics in Iraq and in the region. They used the PKK as a proxy to force Turkey to negotiate the political status of Kurds in the region. As much as the Bush administration plays down the Iraqi Kurds' desire for an independent Kurdistan, "Kurdish television and newspapers are rife with incitements to unrest, often referring to Iraqi Kurdistan as 'South Kurdistan,' thereby implying that large chunks of Turkey must be 'North Kurdistan,' " wrote Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in March.

When Sen. Joe Biden's proposal to soft-partition Iraq along ethnic and sectarian lines was accepted in the Senate, only the Iraqi Kurds seemed to welcome the idea. While such affirmations in Congress increase Turkey's suspicion about U.S. policies, there also remains the question of whether the United States can control Iraq's final destiny.

That is the challenge causing a rift in U.S.-Turkey relations. The trouble goes back to the first Gulf War, which created an autonomous Iraqi Kurdish region. Turkey has supported U.S. and British policies, allowing its Incirlik air base to be used for more than a decade to protect these areas from intervention by Saddam Hussein. Now Turkey's leaders feel threatened by Iraqi Kurds' experience with an autonomous region, and they worry that Turkey's Kurds under their political leadership will demand a similar area for themselves.

Yet Turks invest in Iraqi Kurdistan's economy, helping to build a functioning nation state. Although the gap is wide between Turkey's trust in its Kurdish originated citizens and its fear over the Kurdish secessionist threat, Turks generally believe that U.S. policies have pushed them into a corner. The Iraqi Kurdish leadership suspects that Turkish policies target their independence rather than the PKK — and there's some truth to that. Alas, Turkey's Kurdish political leadership have begun signaling that they want more than a functioning democracy — they want a federal, autonomous region and status as become co-partners in the constitution.

Turkey's EU accession talks mean little to the Kurds in the region. They deny admitting any constructive change in Turkey and continue parroting about the old mistakes. Kurds are convinced that Turkey under its former president, Turgut Ozal, made a strategic mistake by allowing an autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan after the first Gulf War. Since then, they believe they reached a point of no return for their ultimate dream of an independent Kurdistan.

Interestingly, they seem worried that the United States may put them down again. It is possible that Kurds have misread U.S. policy. It is also possible that Turks in general have misunderstood it as well, in thinking that the United States is targeting Turkey's territorial integrity. On the other hand, what they think could be the reality.

Whatever Mr. Bush and Mr. Erdogan say after their meeting is not important. What is important is for Turkey to figure out its next steps — and then, how the United States will react. The dance will start soon, and it will ultimately determine whether Turkey remains allied with the United States, or whether it embarks on new adventures. Kurds have played their card; now we must wait to see Turkey's next move.

Tulin Daloglu is a freelance writer.


THE HORSEMAN is explosive, controversial, ethnically diverse, unforgettable epic novel that is timely and very much alive. Written with a you-are-there immediacy. Revolving around a dynamic American heroine, The Horseman is a gripping, epic tale of intense passion, politics, spirituality, esoterica, as well as the roots of the current clashes between the Turks and the Kurds. Complete with magnificent and diverse settings from Turkey and Mecca to Ireland and the United States of America, THE HORSEMAN presents an intense, multi-cultural love triangle with indomitable characters united in their quest for social justice.
As Ariadne, the American, Burhan, the Turk, and Mehmet Ali, the Kurd,
emerge from the mists of 8,000 BC and reunite in 20th Century Turkey, they play out their star-crossed destinies upon an explosive stage of upheavals and changes. The Fourth Edition, published in 12/2006, contains the bonus abridged version of "Bianca - Constantinople, My Love," an historical novel based on the Fall of Constantinople in 1453. THE HORSEMAN will be published in Turkey, in 2008.

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Saturday, October 6th 2007

9:57 AM (4941 days, 15h, 22min ago)

Soon - Revisiting Lands of the Morning

Soon -- flying back to the Lands of the Morning ---

Dear Friends,
I've been counting the days for weeks now... counting the days to d-day, when my husband Michael and I will be embarking the plane to revisit LANDS OF THE MORNING.
Yes, the leaves of the calendar are turning faster now, whipping past one after the other, and d-day is only 4 days ahead.

I am excited. Very much so! Not only will I be reunited with my loved ones, but also, I will be running down the proverbial memory lane, reconnect with feelings, senses, and even ghosts.
Naturally, of course, I will write, write, write .... do so happily! ... not only continuing another novel in my series, but also work on the translation of my next novel to be published in Turkey.
And as an aside, write Part II of my last blog posted here, about

Recent election results in Turkey - Headscarves - Soul Search - The Horseman

While I am still pondering this second installment, just now I came across a quote by Ataturk, Founder of the modern Turkish Republic, and am stunned by its relevance to my "soul search", i.e. the part about: "... and as an American, do I, in fact, have a right to opine about  Turkey and the direction the majority of her people want to march on? On the other hand, we live in a global village. “From Celtia to Anatolia” our actions influence each other’s existence in real time. Besides, Turks opine about my country, the United States of America, all the time, and criticize us aplenty."


 Well, here is that quote by Ataturk:

"Humankind is a single body and each nation a part of that body. We must never say 'What does it matter to me if some part of the world is ailing?' If there is such an illness, we must concern ourselves with it as though we were having that illness." (bold-red faced emphasis mine)

Oh yes, indeed! Humankind IS a single body and each nation a part of that body... and truly we must never say 'What matters to me if some part of the world is ailing?'

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkish soldier and statesman, was born in the Ottoman city of Salonica (Selanik) on March 12, 1881, and passed away on November 10, 1938. But I can see that his thoughts and ideals are as fresh as 'every morning.'

And here is a personal quote -- about his inner-self -- by Ataturk:  "There's a place in me that can really relate to being the underdog.  I'm always fighting to overcome the obstacle. I can really understand what that is about."

Hmmm. Now I have a window into his soul. Ataturk was a Pisces. Pisces is also associated with the Greco-Roman god Poseidon/Neptune and sometimes also the gods Zeus/Jupiter, Morpheus, and Thor and the goddess Tyche/Fortuna. By the way, I’ve always likened Ataturk to Hector, the noble defender Troy, for unlike Achilles, who fought for glory, Hector fought to defend his parents, wife and child, and with equal fervor, his fellow citizens.

Aggh, am already upset that my visit will be too brief, no time to return to Troy in Canakkale a.k.a Gallipoli .... I wanted to talk )) to Hector and Andromache ....
Oh, well, next time around.
For this trip, we will spend most of our time in Bodrum, a.k.a. Halikarnassus. And here is what's awaiting me there:
www bodrum dash altinkumsunrise dot com

Oh, joy! Slainte and Hallelujah!

Blessings to you all, Friends. Enjoy life and the company o
f your loved ones.
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