Thursday, April 19, 2018

Dodging Dorcas—A Vampire's Tale of Woe, Part VI

Author, S.R. Karfelt, Stephanie Karfelt, Vampire, Story, Book,
The Glitter Globe/ 

“Chick’ns afore they hatch,” one snickers.

          “Oi! Where’s Jack?” says the other.

          Intention oozes off people like sweat. Poppy’s is curiosity, a vibrant enthusiasm for life. These men drip wastefulness. They’re takers, bored with lives that will evaporate before they live. They approach Poppy with a surly lust she should fear. She stands with fists balled. “I kicked ‘is balls up into his belly. Want me show you how?”

They rush her.

I pull years from both. They’d waste it anyway. Poppy knees Chickens on his way to the floor. His friend falls and cracks his head on a pew.

Poppy stands over the men. “Damn, Drake! Wait. Did you do that?”

          Their time flows through me. It’s a heady narcotic feeling. My mouth waters for Poppy. I flit my eyes over her curves. A darkness around the edges of my mind thrills.

          Hurt her.

          No! That’s what they were going to do! 

          Not since the beginning have I taken so much at once. This is what has made Dorcas rot. It’s darkly tempting and I drop to sit, stomach churning. Poppy rushes toward me.

“No! Back off!” I can smell her from here. I want her. Like a vampire.

         “Drake, you’re scaring me!”

  Poppy’s words make me laugh. She’s perceptive.
            Images flicker through my mind.
   Drugged women.
   They’ve done this before, at my church!

          “Did Jack give you something to drink?” 

          “No. Well, he tried to give me some of the church’s wine—out of a box. So gross.”

          The communion wine. I will myself to vomit. It’s dotted with Christmas cookies. Poppy backs away.
          I’ve been roofied. No wonder my glamour didn’t work on Poppy.

          The urge to attack Poppy stays. I think it will until I’ve used the time I took from those dirty bastards.

          “Drake, are you okay?”

          “I took so much energy from them I can feel their thoughts.” I shut my eyes trying to push dark urges away. “Poppy, these guys and your friend Jack had plans for you tonight.”

          “What? What do you mean?”

          I open my eyes. “The wine was drugged.”

          “What!” Poppy runs over to the unconscious men and starts kicking them. She’s wearing boots.

          “I really don’t care if you kill them, but it might bother you later.”

          “No, it won’t.” She continues kicking. Hard.

          “I’m pretty sure Jack’s the mastermind.”

          Poppy and her boots head for the office.

Votadini Warriors of ilu, Karfelt, Author, Writer, Covenant Keepers
S.R. Karfelt with Kahtar
It's writing season here in The Glitter Globe. I'm working on two books simultaneously. One is Votadini Warriors of ilu—the first book in a trilogy from the world of Covenant Keepers. The other is A Vampire's Tale of Woe. Installments of that novel are published here on The Glitter Globe. Check them out and let me know what you think!

A Vampire's Tale of Woe
Parts I-V

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A Matter of Chance—An Interview with Novelist, Julie Maloney

Women Reading Aloud, Julie Maloney
The Glitter Globe/S.R. Karfelt

Women Reading Aloud founder Julie Maloney tackles fiction after a lifetime dedicated to the arts  

Debut novel portrays a distraught mother’s search for her missing child.

When eight-year-old Vinni Stewart disappears from a Jersey shore town, Maddy, her distraught single mother, begins a desperate search for her daughter. Maddy’s five-year journey leads her to a bakery in Brooklyn, where she stumbles upon something terrifying. Ultimately, her artist neighbor Evelyn reconnects Maddy to her passion for painting and guides her to a life transformed through art. 

Detective John D’Orfini sees more than a kidnapping in the plot-thickening twists of chance surrounding Vinni’s disappearance, but his warnings to stay away from the investigation do not deter Maddy, even when her search puts her in danger. When the Russian Mafia warns her to stop sniffing into their business, Maddy must make a choice whether to save one child―even if it might jeopardize saving her own. 

“Beautiful and sensitive…effortlessly readable” ~ Christina Baker Kline, author of the New York Times best-selling “Orphan Train”

This novel is one I'm thrilled to share with you. You're going to want this book on the top of your TBR pile. Over the last few years I've had the pleasure of hearing Julie Maloney's writing and it is beautiful. 

If you read my blog you probably can't escape my love affair with Greece and the annual writing workshop I attend there. Julie Maloney is an author and the genius behind Women Reading Aloud, and she was kind enough to answer my questions.  

Julie, over the years I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying your writing. I’m looking forward to this book. What is the main thing you hope readers take away from this story? 

Julie Maloney, Novelist, Orphan Train, Writing Retreat, Greece
Julie Maloney, Writer
Life isn’t neat. In my debut novel, “A Matter of Chance,” (She Writes Press), the protagonist, Maddy Stewart, continues even when her life has been traumatized by the disappearance of her young daughter. I want the reader to see how things are rarely, if ever, “black and white.” I want the reader to realize how compassion necessitates forgiveness.

 What inspired you to write this book?

As a former dancer/choregrapher and artistic director of my own modern dance company in NYC, I had a home life with three young children and a husband. Balancing all of that was near to impossible…and yet what happens to a woman who cannot give any of it up? Who refuses to accept that a choice must be made? I selected from my experiences, even though it is fiction. Stephen King says: “In fiction lies the truth.” I agree wholeheartedly.  I wanted to write a story about a complex woman—aren’t we all—who had to face who she was amid heartbreak and devastation. The publishing industry wanted a “kidnapping” story, but I wrote about the woman/mother left behind…it is Maddy Stewart’s story. My question is: What happens to those left behind? How do they cope? What do they discover about themselves? 

What would surprise the reader to know about the research you did for this book? 

I traveled to Germany to see the work by Germany’s most renown artist—Kaethe Kollwitz. There are two museums dedicated solely to Kollwitz’s work—one in Cologne and one in Berlin. I traveled to Cologne. It was an emotional experience to walk in and see a life-size portrait of the artist right inside the front door. Initially, I discovered Kollwitz at a chance visit to the Morgan Library in New York City. Immediately, I was enchanted. I knew she was my muse for “A Matter of Chance.” Her images honor the downtrodden and the poor. I also drove through Bavaria and took in the landscape. I had to find the ending to my story and I did. Also, I worked with an undercover DEA agent in New York. Retired, he was willing to speak with me over several conversations about crime—and how easy it is to get away with it.

I love to read. I know you do too. What are some of your favorite books/authors. Are any of them in any way similar to this book? 

This is a hard question to answer. I love to read. I grew up around the corner from the local branch library. It was my greatest childhood joy to go to the library. I am a huge fan of Joyce Carol Oates and Elizabeth Strout. I have read Strout’s “Olive Kitteridge” five times. I also love “Stoner” by John Williams. Then there is the wonderful literary mystery writer, Kate Atkinson. And how can a writer not mention the masterful Stephen King! It’s all about storytelling and he is the king of it. I have just finished reading “Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee and loved it. I have read “The Great Gatsby” many times. My childhood favorite is “The Diary of Anne Frank.” I love Anne Enright, too. Of course, the poets! I cannot forget the poets who inspire me, as I have written and published many poems. I love Robert Frost and Linda Pastan, Audre Lord, Gerald Stern, Jane Hirshfield, Edward Hirsch, Ellen Bass…so many poets I love. Their words slip inside me when I need something wonderful to fill me.

As if hosting workshops all over the world and writing novels isn’t enough, what’s next, Julie? 

I have written the second novel—a sequel—to “A Matter of Chance.” It needs editing galore and I must find time to do this. I wanted to give a secondary character from my debut novel her own story…and now she has it. I have to refine it. The working title for this one is: "THE LIGHTBOX.” It is written in the voice of Tuba Schwimmer and her daughter, Gitta. Tuba is from “A Matter of Chance.” 

Also, I would like to put more of my poems into another chapbook. I enjoy giving poetry readings but I’m showing up to readings with lots of loose papers and they need to be collected between two covers. But . . . and this is something I’ve realized lately: I want to speak more to the world . . . to audiences of all sizes . . . to women in their living rooms and to men and women in lecture halls . . . to tell them to live with passion. I want to remind the world that time does not stand still. I want to hold the hand of someone who questions herself and say to her, “You are beautiful. You have a voice. Use it. Discover your inner language. Write down your words. Now sing."

You radiate serenity and encouragement at your workshops, and inspire your women writers to do the same. It’s a beautiful thing when we support each other. Is there any chance you’ll someday put that magic into a book on writing? 

Thank you for asking this question. I am seriously thinking about this…although the premise is so simple: Practice Kindness. I could offer so many instances of how far a simple act of kindness has gone to encourage a woman writer to go deep and let her voice soar. Once, during a retreat in Greece, a writer was having a very emotional experience as she read her work. She was sitting next to me. Although I always instruct everyone to allow the voice and the writer space…I felt this writer needed an extra “touch.” So I simply linked my arm inside hers as she read. I did not say one word. She continued reading to the end. Had she stopped reading, she—as well as the listeners—we, the readers, would have missed out on something glorious. Tone matters. We hear about this on the page all the time…but what about how we speak to one another? I like to remind participants to speak from their lower belly. Often, at the beginning of a retreat, I’ll hear a writer speak high from inside her throat, but as the days progress, with encouragement, she’ll begin to drop her voice into a more authentic range. As her work goes deep, so does the pitch of her voice and her TONE relaxes and resonates.

Women Reading Aloud, Greece
It's interesting how positive reinforcement and encouragement can bring out the best in us. The very first year I went to Women Reading Aloud in Alonissos I remember telling Julie ahead of time that I might decide to stay in my room and write some days. I didn't see how the premise for the workshop—writing and reading it aloud, would teach me enough to justify spending the entire day at it. I thought I'd probably want to spend half that time writing alone. 

Julie in her infinite wisdom simply said, that would be fine but I encourage you to come to the workshop and try it first. So I did. After that I never missed a session and attended every extra evening class she generously offered. 

Each year I find I discover something new, deeper, and unexpected in my writing thanks to this workshop. This amazing woman and writer helped me find my authentic voice, and I can tell you that you're going to love the sound of hers.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Dusty and Disorganized—The Old Egyptian Museum in Cairo, A Priceless Treasure!

S.R. Karfelt, travel, Egypt, Cairo, Study Tour, The Glitter Globe, Blog, Article, news
Egyptian Museum Cairo

Treasure of the ages awaits you at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. The building housing that treasure is nearly as wonderful as its dusty contents. Arched windows stand open to let in the breeze, floor fans blow warm air, grimy skylights slant desert sun over artifacts. Sometimes bits of paper typed in English and Arabic tell you what you're looking at—they appear to have been typed around WWII. 

Imagine you had an Great Aunt who'd been an archaeologist around the 1920's. She lives in an old Art Deco mansion in Egypt. You get to roam her house and look through a lifetime of artifacts. She never dusts. This museum is like that only it contains the treasures of the centuries. More than your ancient aunt could have collected. 

At the outside entrance to the museum you'll pay for your ticket (pay extra for the pass to take photographs) and you'll go through security. You'll go through security again upon entering the building. That's just how it is in Egypt. I was relieved to have been allowed to keep my water bottle. It's dry and as I've mentioned repeatedly dusty. Am I emphasizing the dust? Can you taste it yet? You will. 

Don't for one minute think I'm criticizing. This was my idea of heaven. 

This Cairo Museum is spectacular!

Scribes like me

My first visit here I had the opportunity to see the exhibits with an Egyptologist. When there was no note card explaining what I was looking at, she did. When the cards were incorrect, she knew. Because I'm a writer, she kindly pointed out and explained a scribe's place in Egypt and I thrilled at all the various depictions of those Egyptian writers. I memorized the word scribe when referred to in hieroglyphs. 

Scribe in Hieroglyphs (above the bird,
the dongle traffic light thingy, the Egyptologists would be so proud
of me getting all technical here. I can feel them cringing.). 

This is like no museum I've ever seen, and I loved it.

 Antique cabinets house row after row of sarcophagus's and coffins, canopic jars (they're the ones holding mummy guts), there are wooden statues over 4,500 years old—the pharaohs did try to take it with them, including entire armies of warriors to protect them on the other side. 

There are jewels, scarab beetles, masks, chairs, sandals, mummies (they cost extra to see), paintings, reliefs, hieroglyphs, soul houses, beads, papyrus scrolls, enormous statues, tiny statues, mummified food (because what about when the dearly departed get hungry), mummified animals, am I getting too random? Get used to it, because that's how it is here. Everything you can imagine from Ancient Egypt, and quite a bit you can't—it's all there, displayed in dim corridors or brightly lit balconies, side rooms, and at the top or bottom of stairwells. 


Upon leaving my head felt heavy with the information it tried to store. On my next visit to the museum I didn't get the camera pass. I looked slowly and quietly and gathered data my way—as slowly and randomly as it must have been putting together this collection. 

My trip to Egypt was with a study tour, to gather information for a book I'm writing, but also to gather information for insertion into who knows what when the muse strikes, like this blog now. 

Details you might want to know when you go: the restroom/toilets/WC is to the right of the entrance. Go up the stairs, it's on the first landing. Have tip money. Please carry tip money in Egypt. Some people are paid entirely in tips, keep that in mind. A US dollar is worth seventeen Egyptian pounds. There's almost always someone working restrooms in Egypt, providing toilet paper and soap at the sinks. There is a gift shop, but it appears to consist mostly of various vendors selling their wares. There are some nice things. Negotiate.

Outside the museum there is a spot where you can get a drink. You might want to bring something for your lunch. I almost always picked up fruit and carried a cheese sandwich for mine. Carry water. You can go in and out of the museum building, but keep your tickets! I doubt you can leave the grounds and come back. Check if you want to.

S.R. Karfelt, well-dusted by Egypt
If you're crossing the road anywhere around the's brutally dangerous. Buses drop you off by the entrance so you don't have to do that. If I had to I'd find a local to help. I've found Egyptians to be friendly and kind. 

Getting to the Cairo Museum is part of the adventure. Cairo traffic has to be experienced to be believed. I have no words to describe it. They are building a new museum closer to the pyramids of Giza. It looks to be in the early stages and I wouldn't expect it to be finished anytime soon. But, again, inshallah—God Willing. Personally, I don't know why they'd change a single thing. It's perfect as is, dust and all. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Twenty Ways Travel Can Change You

See the world, travel, S.R. Karfelt, author, the glitter globe
The Glitter Globe/Twenty Ways Travel Can Change You!

Once I read that travel is the best investment you can make in yourself. I appreciated the legitimizing justification for what at the time felt like a purely fun and selfish thing to do.

My husband and I used to work together. Sometimes after a week spent at an engineering conference we'd manage to stay the weekend. Occasionally we'd even arrange a layover somewhere like Tucson in March, Portland in Summer, or drive from Vegas to the Grand Canyon while winter snows melted.

It felt like the supreme indulgence. Running your own business is often a dream many people have. The reality of doing it can be a nightmare. It is often seven day workweeks and sixteen hour days. Those trips we once took together were desperately needed and reminded us that, Hey, I remember you! You can be fun! 

  • Perspective is everything. If you've become a Human Doing instead of a Human Being, escaping your everyday can save a relationship, or possibly your sanity. 1. Travel can help you remember that your job isn't your entire life!
  • After a particularly brutal conference in San Francisco we decided to make the long drive to see the Sequoia trees down south. It was a bit of a hike to the Sierra Nevada from Northern California, but I had a map. (It was the olden days like ten years ago.) After about a couple hours it hit me that if I'm headed south, shouldn't the Pacific Ocean be on my right instead of my left? 2. Travel makes you better at geography. I now know exactly where the ocean should be at all times. I can drive from Tucson to Nogales Mexico in an hour. I know which countries border Egypt. Travel helps you know the world. I know I can walk from the Roman Colosseum to the Forum in about two minutes, and where the best pizza is at a gay bar because I got lost and hungry and wandered in, with my husband. 3. Travel makes you patient because you will mess up or someone else will and, 4. You can still have a good time when things don't go as planned, and you learn so much. (Hey, the pizza is fabulous, we should come back here! Look at that, redwoods are big trees too! They are also a lot closer than the Sequoias. Once you've seen the world you spot inconsistencies like not even James Bond can drive from Palatine Hill to the Spanish Steps that fast.)
  • Many people cautioned me about my trip to Egypt. None of them had been there. 
    • You will be in Africa!
    • Egypt is a Muslim country!
    • Traveling to those places isn't safe!
      • 5. Travel can teach you that 1.2 billion people survive just fine in Africa and you can manage it too.
      • 6. Travel can teach you that Muslims are peace-loving people. (And that there are plenty of Coptic Christians in Egypt too.)
      • 7. Travel can annihilate pre-conceived notions.
      • 8. Travel can make you question opinion and demand fact!
      • 9. Travel can make you braver. 
  • The last few years I've attended a workshop in Greece. I go out early so I can do some book research, see sites, and lay on the beach before the real work begins. I go by myself.
    • Things go wrong. Flights are cancelled. Ferries too. I've found myself scrambling for a hotel room at midnight and unable to make connecting flights.
      • Dammit. Looks like I'll have to be here in Greece an extra few days. Life is hard. YAS! *jumping up and down* 10. Wonderful things will happen back-to-back with the complications! (I've been stuck in Detroit too.) (It was fun.)
      • Just because you miss a flight or don't have a hotel, I promise you will not have to live there forevermore. 11. For one moment just fantasize that you've missed your flight and will now have to live on this island in Greece. Hot damn! Suddenly your fear has become pretty much a dream. 12. Travel will make you more self-sufficient. 13. Travel will make you more capable of taking care of yourself and more confident about doing it. 14. Travel will help you learn to roll with the punches because travel, like life itself, isn't perfect.
  • You will see things that surprise you. You could see things that might even shock you. 
    • Athens is the birthplace of democracy. Every time I go there are demonstrations. I've been in Syntagma Square to see the changing of the guard while television cameras focus on protesters there and tourists eat gyros, drink Mythos beer (the beer of unicorns), and take pictures in the same square. 15. News should be renamed Bad News. For all the bad things you see on the news, way more good stuff happened in the world today. Possibly on the other side of the news cameras. Obviously not always, but protesters are not inherently evil just because they're protesting.
    • Was it last year when we were all getting our tighty-whiteys into a twist over same sex bathrooms? Many countries have same sex bathrooms. You know how sometimes you stop for gas somewhere and they have a single bathroom for men and women? Sometimes it's just like that. Some places have a shared sink area. Most everywhere has actual walls and doors around the toilets. This is a huge improvement over the open-top open-bottom and wide-crack stalls we usually have in the US. 16. Travel can teach you that different isn't necessarily bad or frightening.
    • Bathrooms are different in different countries. Sometimes you can't flush any toilet paper—the ancient pipes can't take it, Greece, Egypt, Turkey, Bulgaria. 17. Travel can teach you how spoiled and lucky you are. Sometimes there isn't any toilet paper or a way to dry your hands or even soap. Paper and soap is a luxury you can't always count on having in some places, Egypt, Mexico. 18. Have you ever noticed how fortunate you are? Travel can show you that. If you can drink the water out of your pipes without getting sick and you can afford paper to flush down the toilet, you have it better than a whole lot of people.
  • It's a vague memory now, but flying used to scare me. I
    Egypt, Karfelt, Camel, Travel, Solo travel, Author, Writer
    Riding a camel to my beautiful life.
    remember wishing that the pilot wouldn't dip the plane to give me a better view of New York City. At some point I became the person sitting next to little kids explaining that roads in the air can be bumpy just like the ones your car drives over. Now I nab my drink when the propeller plane drops suddenly, and I chuckle if I caught it. Now I'll jump out of a perfectly good airplane because I love the way terminal velocity feels when I skydive. 19. Travel can help you realize you don't have to live in fear or worry. 20. Travel can help you find your beautiful life exists just outside your comfort zone. Go get it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Consuming Chaos of Cairo—Welcome to Egypt

Standing in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza this is Cairo.
The dust will someday make you forever nostalgic for this place.

Welcome to Egypt. This isn't going to be like anyplace you've ever been before. 

No photos can ever give you a true depiction of a place. It's difficult to capture the smell of dust, the feel of it on your skin, the magnitude of 9.5 million people in one city, the ancient co-existing with the modern, the Nile oases in a desert, the startling wild traffic, but I'll do my best for you.

Great Pyramid of Giza, far corner view. I love this picture of a vendor chatting on his mobile. It delighted me to see even people on their camels talking on their phones. Egypt is very much a contrast. 

Egypt caught me by surprise. My research, prep work, and YouTube videos couldn't prepare me for the sensory overload that is this land. 

So much of Egypt is ancient and dusty and disorganized, yet it may be the most spectacular place I've ever been. 

The people are lovely, kind, and polite.

Arriving in Cairo at night I peeked through the curtains of the minivan windows while we sped down a highway. I saw sights that I've never seen before. Cars parked alongside the freeway. People stood in groups, talking, smoking, eating. They crossed the road. So did children and dogs. If there were lanes, they were ignored. 

Eventually I'd find the rhythm of the city. Horns never stop blowing, but after a while they don't sound angry. They mean things.

     I'm coming alongside you.
     Watch out I can't stop.
     Do you see me?

That first night, that first week, I didn't see any order. Concrete barriers crumbled along the roadways, some buildings and roads appeared to be in similar condition. Ribar juts into the sky atop buildings, many don't have glass in the windows. (Later I hear that taxes aren't due until construction is complete. Tax law affects construction in many places.) Clothes and blankets hang over balconies. Raw meat dangles in the open doorways of butcher shops. So do bunches of bananas and bags of oranges. Donkey carts pull wagons of brilliant tomatoes or alfalfa. Trucks are piled sky-high with sugarcane. There are camel riders sharing the same roads in places.

Some people dress in western clothing. Most women cover their hair, some wear burqas. Adhan sounds. 

The call to prayer reminds me of the chanting of monks at monasteries, and I find it as beautiful as Egypt. It's not like anywhere else I've ever been.

It took me a week to adjust to Egypt.

Vendors at the pyramids do not take no for an answer, but they never stop smiling. Where you from? Welcome to Egypt. This is your home now.

The tourism isn't as slick and polished as most popular places. (Rome, London, New York.) That's not a bad thing. Marketing takes a far backseat to the genuine reality of Egypt and her people.

Breathe and take a good look around.

The north side of the Great Pyramid is the entrance. You have to purchase a separate ticket if you want to go inside. Go inside! You've come all this way! (Unless you're claustrophobic or can't crawl around. People are bigger now than 4,500 years ago. Take a flashlight. Sometimes the lights go out in these tombs.)

Don't be rude to souvenir sellers. No, thank you. La'a, Sho-krun in Egyptian Arabic.

They won't accept that, but be firm when you mean it.
Buy stuff from them. You have no choice anyway. Figure out the Egyptian pound conversion to your currency before you go. Right now a hundred pounds Egyptian is about five pounds British Sterling, about seven dollars fifty-cents American.

Splurge! You'll enjoy your dusty trinkets when you get home! 

Even the camel ride is going to be different. You don't just pay for a camel ride. You get to know the camel guy. Your people talk to his. Where you from? You negotiate price. How you doing? You meet the camel guy's cousin. He meets your friends. You're family now. It's a good thing. His son will help you when you turn the camel in the wrong direction and wander through some tombs. Get comfortable on that camel, you're going to be there some time. It's higher than you expect. Don't worry. It's going to be a great day. Inshallah. 

Inshallah. God-willing. Things happen as we wish, or they don't. 

Your camel's name is Moses. You kiss him.  Come on. Have some fun while you're here. Just choose the camel you're going to kiss wisely. 

Negotiation takes time. More time than money. Everything here does.

Welcome to Egypt. This isn't going to be like anyplace you've ever been before. Isn't that wonderful?

This won't be like home. 

Isn't that one of the reasons you travel? I hope so, because you have no choice.

Find Egypt's pace.

This is my camel, Moses. It wasn't a little jaunt past the pyramids.
Moses and I tooled around the desert for a long time. Then he took me to see the Sphinx.
I'd have happy-cried if I'd have had one drop of water in my body to spare.

Suddenly the pyramids can become exactly what you'd imagined. You're out of sight of the buses. There are camels and horses galloping around you. There are expanses of desert here. You're doing touristy things, but you might have slipped into an old pocket of time. There's a slowness in Egypt that I've never experienced anywhere else. It's a chaotic slowness which is difficult to explain. There is always a lot going on, but you don't need to hurry. 

See the Great Pyramid in the distance? This was my first glimpse. A guy at the hotel drove me to my block of rooms in a golf cart and pointed it out for me. It took me a while to see it. I wasn't looking nearly high enough. I have a thing for ancient sites. This is something I've wanted to see since I read about it at age nine, a dream come true.

While in Cairo my study group stayed within walking distance of the pyramids at the Mena House. The conversion rate is so against the Egyptian pound that we could afford it. The Mena House has been around since the late 1800's. Many people in recent history who visited Egypt stayed here. Peace talks in the middle east happened here. 

The Mena House is a compound. You don't just drive in and out of this hotel. Bomb sniffing dogs check your vehicle, armed guards watch. This is Egypt, get used to it. 

Most importantly, don't be afraid. It's highly unlikely you'll even get pick-pocketed in Egypt, but don't be stupid either. It's a very safe, very family-oriented country. Prepare to fall in love with this land.

The east side of the Great Pyramid. There's
plenty of desert to ride your camel in over here!

I fall in love so easily, with places, with views, forests, seas, and yes—with camels named Moses. My foray into Egypt took place in February and March. It wasn't quite dust storm season, but the dust is intense. From Alexandria to Cairo to Luxor it hung on the horizon (Cairo more so than the other places!). It lands on everything, including you. It can make you cough, a lot, but to be fair I spent most of my days traipsing the desert and crawling through tombs. 

This was one of the most intense trips I've ever taken. I'd go back in a heartbeat. Take your sense of adventure when you go and leave your expectations at home. You'll love it when you open your heart to it, I promise.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Dodging Dorcas—A Vampire's Tale of Woe by Drake Ahmemphis Part V

Almersham, Drake Ahmemphis, Fiction, Writer's Life, Poppy
The Glitter Globe/S.R. Karfelt

Poppy raises her eyebrows until they disappear under her bangs. “You love her?”
          I half-shake my head, half-shrug. “I don’t know that I ever loved Dorcas. Maybe the idea of her. You’ve seen her dark side tonight, but I’ve seen it since we married.”
          “Why did you stay?”
          “For political reasons when we were alive. Then we had children. Then we were dead.” I shrug again.
          “You have children?”
          “No. They died. It’s been many years.”
          “Oh, I’m sorry. But, Drake, I don’t understand why you don’t leave now. You said yourself she’s insane.”
          “I don’t suppose you could understand.”

“I understand abusive relationships,” says Poppy, “I was raised in one. You have to leave Dorcas.”
          “It’s not like in your world.”
          “We live in the same world, Drake.”
          That makes me laugh. “No we don’t. You’ll live to be ninety-eight or so. Most of your loved ones will die, but likely not your children or all your friends. I’ve been alive for centuries. I have no friends or family. Only Dorcas knows my history, or what this undead existence is like.”
          “Does she really though?”
          “As close as it gets. Without her I’d have no one—forever.”

I’m afraid Poppy is going to say something ridiculous like I do too have someone—her. If she does I’ll take time from her until she faints. Sometimes when I’m with a living woman, I talk. It’s easy. They won’t remember. This is different. In less than a half hour Poppy knows more about me than anyone.
          Why am I telling her so much?
          Why doesn’t glamor work on her?
          What if she remembers?
The last thought thrills me. Poppy kisses my cheek. “It doesn’t matter how long you have someone. You had them.”

“You don’t know how long a thousand years is.”
          The outside door to the church opens. I sense rather than hear two men enter and press a finger against Poppy’s lips.
If they see Dorcas, I’ll have to hunt them down. Motioning Poppy to stay, I open the door.
          They’re young and don’t belong in here at midnight. I’ve surprised them, but they approach with the confident swagger of two to one.
          “Wot? Jack selling poppin’ Poppy tickets?”
          “Excuse me?” Poppy marches into the sanctuary, dodging the dusty form of Dorcas in the dark. “What the hell does that mean?”

Karfelt, author, Nobody Told Me, Fiction, Non-Fiction, vampire
S.R. Karfelt
The Egyptian photograph above was taken at the Vatican in Italy. Ironic, no? It's a small world after all. I hope you've been enjoying Poppy and Drake's story. Let me know if you want more! 

Swing by Instagram if you want to see some photos of my current study tour to Egypt. You can also contact me on Facebook, S.R. Karfelt, Author, Twitter, here, or on my website