Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Long Goodbye

I am leaving in a few hours to Stockholm! The past week or so has been rather hectic as I ran like a headless chicken trying to put this trip together. I am catching the 1am Gulf Air flight to Frankfurt, where I will have a very lengthy layover for no less than EIGHT hours. Then I will fly, via Amsterdam, to Stockholm.

This is to attend a four day conference I was invited to by the Sodertorn University. Visit the website to learn more about the conference. I will hopefully get the chance to present my work during the event, but more importantly, the final day of the conference will conclude with a screening of Models of Success. This will be the very first time the film is shown in Europe, so hopefully it’ll go well and will receive positive response.

I’m also looking forward to spend a few days in Frankfurt with Karen, who I’ve not seen in months and who I dearly miss. I need the break. So, there probably won’t be any updates till I get back from the trip. Till then, stay safe and be good.

Stardust in My Eye

As shooting begins for the upcoming adaptation of Stardust – and especially with the emergence of these recent images from the location – I can’t help but feel overly excited. I got this way about Mirrormask when I first heard about it. But this is different. This will be the adaptation of my most favorite of Neil Gaiman’s novels. I love Stardust. I’ve read it at least twice. Which says a lot since I don’t often complete the books I start reading, let alone reading the more than once!

What’s worrying me more though is the fact that it has a “star-studded cast” – you get Robert DeNiro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Clare Danes etc – and is directed by Matthew Vaughn, of Layer Cake, a film I didn’t rate highly. But alas, Mr Gaiman himself has great faith in Vaughn and I’m sure (and hoping) that it’ll be a cracking film.

Come 2007, quick!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Something to Digest

The screening at the school went pretty well. The response we and the film received was positively encouraging. We had about 70 students and teachers, and a few quests, attend the screening at the school’s learning centre.

Following the screening, students and faculty members were asked to fill in surveys regarding the MoS film. The Q&A session, with myself, Art Jones and our young and bubbly production assistant Sarah Ibrahim, was very interesting and enjoyable as well.

Thanks again for the students of the Muharraq Secondary School for Girls and especially for Ms Naeema for being so enthusiastic and helpful.

In other news, on impulse I decided to enter the 75th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition with my award-nominated story, The Red Hand of Ottoman. I’ve never entered a Writer’s Digest competition before. Results won’t be released before October!!! That’s gonna be a long wait.

You can also read my author’s profile and a new interview at Authortrek.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Life is a Song

It was brilliant.

The talk at the Muharraq Secondary School for Girls couldn’t have gone any better. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Once I got settled in, things flowed and I’m thankful that the response I got was very positive.

I started off by reading my award-nominated short story, The Purple Rose, and then spoke about my writing background and experience, including QuixotiQ, from how it started, to how it got published.

I’ve never been inside a school since I graduated from high school 10 years ago. I used to be sitting on the other side of the desk, on the receiving end. But there was no need for me to be nervous or anxious. Both teachers and students (about 50 of them) were pleasant and seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say.

The interaction during the Q&A session though was the most rewarding. I was impressed by some of these students and the fact that they seemed to have an interest in literature and writing. Afterwards teachers and students huddled around to get their copies signed and take photos and to chat.

So thanks to specifically Naeema for putting this together, and for students Sarah and Latifa, for helping out and looking after me (and for the lovely ‘purple’ rose they handed me at the end), and everyone else who had attended.

All in all, a wonderful experience that I’m more than happy to repeat in the near future.

In fact, I will be back at the same school this coming Tuesday for a screening of the Models of Success film. The screening will be followed by an open discussion with writer/director/producer Art Jones and myself.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Back To School

On Saturday morning I am supposed to give a talk on writing fiction at the Muharraq Secondary School for Girls. This will be my very first such talk. I’ve never stood in front of a group of teenage students and addressed them before!!! This is gonna be fun.

The ‘talk’ will mainly focus on my background, work experience and writing career and shed light on the elements of writing and suchlike. I will also be reading a short story or two throughout the event.

I’m actually looking forward to it. With some luck, I won’t screw it up.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Nature's Law

I haven’t really had a great deal of development on the writing front these past couple of months, something that I’m very disappointed with. Apart from MoS, I barely had the time, energy and frame of mind to focus on my other writing projects.

But it seems I’m finally getting my groove back. Over the past week or two I managed to get a little bit of fiction written. Notably the 903 words I put in on Buried in two days. I’ve not touched that in a long time, so it felt a little odd but comforting going back to it. There are still plenty of plot holes to fill. I’m just eager to finished the first draft of the manuscript, the last thing I want is to spend another five years completing this (my second) novel.

Other than that, I started a new story, aptly titled Pillow. I love the title, and I love the idea of the story. This would be my first proper children’s book and I’m hoping to have it illustrated as well. What I have in mind is a cross between Wolves in the Walls and Coraline, both Neil Gaiman children’s books. I wrote 909 words on that so far.

As soon as the MoS book is done and released, I will return my attention to the collection ‘Moments’ which I’m getting eager to publish. I know I know, I’ve been saying that for god knows how long! But it’ll happen, trust me. Have some faith. Be patient.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Silence Is Easy

We are in the proofing and editing stage of the ‘Models of Success: The Journey’ book and that’s proving quite frustrating actually. It’s going at a very slow pace and there are, let’s say, some style differences. But it’s interesting, to say the least.

I have no doubt it’ll work out fine in the end. Especially now that we’ve found a publisher who seems very interested and excited about the project. Al Maseerah Printing & Publishing House agreed to publish the book for us and after a very positive and fruitful meeting yesterday we are confident we’re going to have a pretty good result at the end of the day.

More details about the book and its publication will be released within the next few days so stay tuned. But if all goes according to plan, the printed book should be in our hands within the next two weeks!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Gmail Saga Continues (and other updates)

You can now also read the follow up new piece written by Ingrid Marson at ZDNet UK about the mysterious disappearance of my gmail account, in which I am quoted that finding out what happened to my account from Google was ‘futile’.

A few updates…

Great news! It looks as if we’ve found ourselves a publisher. A potential publisher is very excited about the project and has expressed interest in publishing the book. A special announcement will be made as soon as all the details are finalized.

The copy for the Models of Success book has been completed and we are now moving into editing. Sam, Art and I got together tonight to work more on the layout and design for the interior pages.

The whole book should be ready to go to press by the end of the week. If things go smoothly, we should have the book released before the end of the month, in time with an upcoming conference in Scandinavia later this month. I will share details on that with you shortly.

Models of Success is now in CyberSpace! Log onto to learn more about the project, the film, the book and those involved. Sam has done a good job of designing and creating the website and there are tons of more features coming soon. So bookmark the url for future updates.