My Egyptian Short Stories Collection needs a Cover Artist!

I am planning more than I am doing.

And one of things I am planning on doing is: writing a collection of short-stories set in Ancient Egypt. No mistake there. I am writing, NOT illustrating this collection. But why not? Come to think of it, if writing comes to publishing, I’d need a cover, and all the serious writer-bloggers who’ve self-published recommend that we must never make the cover ourselves. We must shell out some moolah and hire a good cover artist for our books. I agree whole-heartedly. I mean, if all writers began illustrating their own book covers, we’ll be soon out of business.

Note that a lone eye like the one below isn’t something that I am going to put on the cover. It merely tells that the artist who did this was lazy.

Egyptian Eye - Artwork for short story "The King's Chamber" by shafali.

So stretching the main logic some more and spreading it quite thin, when I write a book, I must hire a cover artist to do the cover. Hiring myself is beyond my own modest means, which means that I must find another. However, my mean-means would allow me to get only stick-figure artists!

Do you see my dilemma?

I think I’ll try to haggle with myself and try to get me to reduce my fee, but I know that my charges are very reasonable, and I’d feel terrible about bringing my own price-points down.

Do you realise that this is a Catch 22?

I think I should sling my camera around my neck, get into my time-machine, go to ancient Egypt, and shoot some pictures for my cover.

But another writer’s blog recommends that illustrated covers sell better than photographic ones, especially for the fantasy and historical fiction genres; and the fuel-bill for the time machine would burn a whole in my already quite hole-y pocket.

Have you noticed that I am stuck? 

And this is why I must plan the whole thing again! Meanwhile, if my author/artist friends shared their experiences and suggestions, I’d be grateful. I am serious about this short-story collection, so please take me seriously.

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Creativity Carnival: Faces

Dear blogger friends,

Welcome to the fifth edition of the Creativity Carnival.

This has been a busy and tiring month for me, but I’ve loved creating the cue-arts for the carnival. I wait for Fridays. After spending the whole week reading your wonderful takes on the previous week’s cue-art and thinking of what I’d be creating next, I spend my second half of Thursday or the first half of Friday drawing that week’s cue-art for you. I draw for a story or a poem that I’d like to read; I draw for a picture that I’d like to see; I draw for an experience that I’d like to share. And it makes my drawing that much more meaningful for me.

I loved reading your interpretations of the gun-art. You wrote poetry that tugged on my heartstrings; crafted stories that catapulted me into a different time and world; and drew comics that made me laugh.  This week, among the wonderful responses on the Gun Carnival, I discovered a story and a poem – I marveled at how well the story “Hidden Murder” by Ruth Lakes  connected with the cue-art. The poem that touched my heart was  “Adieu…” by RS.

I’d also like to thank Stu for her post. If you want to visit the sites of the bloggers who have participated in the previous 4 carnivals, please click “Roll-up (Creativity Carnival Round-up Links.) on Stu’s blog

Creativity Carnival - Blogging event for WordPress bloggers.

 

My Cue-art for this week isn’t an object. It’s a concept. There’s a mystery in it, which you can unravel at your leisure. As always, this artwork belongs to you this whole week.

Women faces in profile on the pages of a book - pen and ink drawing for creativity carnival by shafali.

 

The Rules are Simple.

    1. Your cue is the artwork above.
    2. You have a week to get creative and make a post that connects with the cue.
    3. You are welcome to do anything creative with the cue. Here is a list of possibilities:
      • Write a Story (tiny/short/long…whichever works for you. A tip: Shorter Stories, more reads.)
      • Share an Anecdote
      • Write a Poem
      • Draw a doodle
      • Paint a picture
      • Some other creative craft that I can’t think of – but it must explore and even extend the portrayal in the artwork.
    4. Include the cue-art in your post.
    5. Link back to this Creativity Carnival Post so that a ping back is registered. It will help other bloggers (including this caricaturist) can visit your post, like it, love it, and comment upon it.IMPORTANT:

1. Links to the pages and the home-page of a blog don’t result in a ping back.
2. Links created through an image (linking an image to a post) don’t create a ping back. (Thanks, Meghan.) 

For more details (mostly superfluous) please visit the Creativity Carnival page here.

Do tag your posts “creativity carnival”. So if you start following the tag, you’ll find the newest carnivals in your Reader.

I will look forward to visiting your blogs 🙂

And now – what inspired me to create the gun-art and what that picture means to me.

About The Gun.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Nancy, bought a new gun. We were talking and she brought the gun out and we talked about it. For some inexplicable reason, an image of an engraved gun that I had seen somewhere, flashed in my mind. I asked her if she remembered such a gun and she said that it must have been a Colt. Now those guns were things of beauty. They weren’t just machines made for killing – they had a certain vanity associated with them. Right then when we were talking, I decided that I wanted to draw a gun.

But a lone gun has no story, except that of death, and a death without reason doesn’t inspire a story, nor a poem or a piece of art! A death with love at its heart; a death with revenge at its core; or even a death brought about by jealousy or greed – those deaths give us stories and poetry; art and drama.

This is the story of the birth of the cue-art “The Gun.”

I’ll look forward to your take on this drawing 🙂

Creativity Carnival: The Gun

Dear storytellers, poets, artists, writers, bloggers,

Welcome to the Creativity Carnival.

Thank you so much for your wonderful response. I loved your interpretations of the Mystery Chest so much that I visited many of the posts twice. I want to mention a response that’s going to stay with me for a while. It’s a short-story by Lydia, which you can read on her blog here.  For other fabulous responses please visit the Mystery Chest post.

Creativity Carnival - Blogging event for WordPress bloggers.

 

This week’s cue-art is a little different. After the nostalgia of the pocket-watch, the romance of the bell, and the mystery of the chest…this artwork might appear somewhat…dark. For this whole week, this gun is yours. Handle it with care. I’ll share my reason for drawing this gun with the next Creativity Carnival post.

Pen and Ink Art - Gun Drawing black and White for the Creativity Carnival.

The Rules are Simple.

    1. Your cue is the artwork above.
    2. You have a week to get creative and make a post that connects with the cue.
    3. You are welcome to do anything creative with the cue. Here is a list of possibilities:
      • Write a Story (tiny/short/long…whichever works for you. A tip: Shorter Stories, more reads.)
      • Share an Anecdote
      • Write a Poem
      • Draw a doodle
      • Paint a picture
      • Some other creative craft that I can’t think of – but it must explore and even extend the portrayal in the artwork.
    4. Include the cue-art in your post.
    5. Link back to this Creativity Carnival Post and then click on it so that a ping back is registered and other bloggers (including this caricaturist) can visit your post, like it, love it, and comment upon it 🙂

For more details (mostly superfluous) please visit the Creativity Carnival page here.


Do tag your posts “creativity carnival”. So if you start following the tag, you’ll find the newest carnivals in your Reader.

I will look forward to visiting your blogs 🙂

And now about the mystery chest that found its way into your hearts.

About The Mystery Chest

The concept of a mystery- or a treasure chest have always intrigued me. When I draw a picture, I usually have a story or at least a setting in mind. This is why you don’t see just one object in the image. You see other objects too. For instance in the mystery chest, you see an open locket with two portraits, a star-fish, some gold coins, and…something that nobody noticed. The Cryptex. It’s not easy to recognize a Cryptex, especially if you haven’t read/watched the DaVinci Code. It’s rumored to have been developed by Leonardo Da Vinci. So the mystery chest was indeed a treasure chest – and the Cryptex contained a coded message, which could be anything that your imagination would want it to be 🙂

I’ll look forward to reading your posts and visiting your blogs 🙂

Creativity Carnival: The Mystery Chest

Dear storytellers, poets, artists, writers, bloggers,

Welcome to the Creativity Carnival.

Creativity Carnival - Blogging event for WordPress bloggers.

Here’s this week’s cue-art 🙂 As always, I’ll share my thoughts about this cue-art next week. This whole week, this artwork is more yours than mine. Save it to you computer/mobile device and do something creative with it. Tell a short-story or narrate an experience, write a few lines of poetry, draw or paint something inspired by it…and then share it with the world.

Creativity Carnival - The treasure chest. A pen and ink drawing.

 

Here are a few easy rules 🙂

    1. Your cue is the artwork above.
    2. You have a week to get creative and make a post that connects with the cue.
    3. You are welcome to do anything creative with the cue. Here is a list of possibilities:
      • Write a Story (tiny/short/long…whichever works for you. A tip: Shorter Stories, more reads.)
      • Share an Anecdote
      • Write a Poem
      • Draw a doodle
      • Paint a picture
      • Some other creative craft that I can’t think of – but it must explore and even extend the portrayal in the artwork.
    4. Include the cue-art in your post.
    5. Link back to this Creativity Carnival Post and then click on it so that a pingback is registered and other bloggers (including this caricaturist) can visit your post, like it, love it, and comment upon it 🙂

For more details (mostly superfluous) please visit the Creativity Carnival page here.


Do tag your posts “creativity carnival”. So if you start following the tag, you’ll find the newest carnivals in your Reader.

I will look forward to visiting your blogs 🙂

About the Bell

The bell was inspired by a bell that hangs in my terrace. In fact, I sat a few feet from it and drew it – but I changed the context a little. I also added that little spider, because for me romance and thrill can’t exist without each other. A bell symbolizes a call for anyone, for someone. It could be used to establish a connection between two people or even between two worlds. The creeper that you see in the artwork is a stylized representation of honeysuckle – and the spider at the center of the web, waits patiently for the bee to arrive. Beyond the apparent symbolism of the bell, exists the more mundane concept of the food-chain.

 

 

The King’s Chamber (A Short Story) – Weekly Challenge: Literary Lion. King.

Egyptian Eye - Artwork for short story "The King's Chamber" by shafali.

Intef turned to change his side and felt sweat trickle down his back.  The heat roused him from his slumber. The first thing he noticed was the darkness. His chamber was never completely dark. He touched his bed. The sheets were of silk and the pillow was made of dove-feathers.
This wasn’t his bed.
Then he remembered. He was now King. He was the Pharaoh of Egypt, and he was sleeping in the King’s chamber. His father Pharaoh Akhnaten was no more. He had died thirty days ago, and the period of mourning had ended just yesterday when his embalmed body was finally taken to his pyramid for burial.
For some odd reason, his memories were choppy. It must be the heat, he thought, and swung his legs down the bed. His leather slippers were right where he had expected to find them.
Intef slipped his feet into the slippers and called the servants. His temper was now rising.
Where were they? And why were the curtains drawn close?
He tried recalling the layout of the King’s bed-chamber. It wasn’t easy, because he had never slept in there, never before last night.
“Where were those lamp-sconces?” he murmured, trying to focus on what he remembered of the Pharaoh’s chamber.
The pictures began forming. He saw himself in the royal chamber a week before his father’s death. Sekah-seshat, his sister was there too. The sky had already darkened outside but the Pharaoh’s chamber was lit bright with a dozen sconces, each of them holding a dozen oil-lamps. Two of these wall-sconces were right near the headboard of the Pharaoh’s bed.
Intef turned left. Moving against the edge of the bed, his outstretched hand touched the wall. He moved his hand up along the wall. There it was. Now he needed a flint-lighter.
Where could he find one?
He tried focusing on his memories again. Perhaps they would help him locate the lighter. In his imagination, the Pharaoh’s chamber lit up again. Sekah was asking the Pharaoh her father, for a boon. She didn’t want to marry Intef, her brother – as she was destined to. Sekah was her father’s favorite, and when the Pharaoh had smiled at her, Intef’s heart had sunk. He knew that Sekah was in love with Khamose, their cousin, and Pharaoh’s smile had confirmed that she now had his blessings for her marriage with him. His sister always got her way with their father.
Intef shook his head. Those memories won’t help him. Right now, he must focus on finding the lighter.
Where in the name of Osiris were the servants? He bellowed again. There was no answer. Something isn’t right, he thought as his voice echoed through the place.
He ran his fingers around the edge of the sconce once again, and his fingers hit something. The lighter. A wave of relief washed over him. He hated the darkness. It had been dark when he had stolen into this very chamber that night and poisoned the jug of water that stood on his father’s bedside table. The explosive mix of anger, jealousy, hatred, and fear had driven him to kill his father, the King, the Pharaoh of Egypt.
He released the clasp of the flint lighter and put it to the wick of a lamp. An unearthly yellow glow filled the chamber. Intef heaved a sigh of relief, and set about lighting the other oil-lamps.
Tomorrow he’d punish those servants. Hanging them alongside Khamose will be a good idea.
“But Khamose will die only after he has seen Sekah get married to me, the new Pharaoh of Egypt!” he chuckled.
The lamps burned casting a steady glow. They didn’t flicker at all. There was not even the slightest breeze in the chamber.
He pulled a sheet from the bed and wiped his face and neck. “let me draw the curtains myself,” he whispered wiping off the sweat that had accumulated on his brow, and turned to face the windows.
There were no windows.
He stood facing a wall that was painted in blue, yellow, and gold; a wall that told the story of Pharaoh Akhnaten’s rule. Blood drained from his face and he felt a chill run down his spine. Very slowly, pivoted on his spot, he turned again.
His father’s tomb, hewn out of a single block of marble and inlaid with gold and precious jewels, and within which his embalmed body lay, stood proudly in the center of the room. He stood inside the King’s burial chamber which was sealed shut after the ceremony had ended and he had left the pyramid.

Note: This story was written for Weekly Challenge at iSmithWords.com. This specific challenge was “Literary Lion. King.” The challenge required us to write a story in 400 words or less. This story has exceeded the word-limit, and so it doesn’t fulfill the requirements.  I tried my best to squeeze it down to 400, but couldn’t.

However, since I had taken this challenge as an assignment for Blogging101, I think I’ve managed one of the two things that I had set about accomplishing – I’ve finished my assignment 🙂

The Egyptian eye above can be seen sans-makeup here.

 

December 2010 Story Carnival – “Walking in Circles” – A Short Story by Oorvi

Well…well.

Finally my dog shook off her sloth, got out of her bed, and posted her story.  You know how lazy she is…and so it shouldn’t surprise you that she’s posted her story as a .pdf.  The good news is that the .pdf also includes the caricature, and so if you click the download button, you’d get something more than the WiseK9’s Twisty Tale “Walking in Circles”!

Do read the story to figure out why you can’t control everything, and why Sid keeps walking in circles.

That’s all for now…

And yes, please let me know if you’d like the Blog Carnival to continue…because I am not sure 😦

 

 

Amunet – The Harlot of my Dreams – Caricature/Cartoon – A Polymer Clay Sculpture and a Short Story.

Amunet – The Harlot of my Dreams

(A Short Story and a Verbal Caricature – by Shafali The Caricaturist)

The Year: 2020 A. D.

Brice checked the machine once again. Everything appeared to be in order – but Brice wanted to be sure. On his last trip into the past, his time machine had developed some sort of engine trouble, and it had delayed his arrival back. Technically you could never be late in arriving back into your time as you could program the machine to bring you back as soon as you had departed – but when you spend 2 years of your time in the World War II Europe, trying to fix your machine, you age. Those worry-lines on Brice’s forehead weren’t there when he had walked into the time travel machine for that last trip!

So after Brice had ensured that the machine was in good shape, he stepped into it, set the time dial to 5:30 PM, July 1725 BC, and typed in the longitude and latitude of the place of his dreams. It was time of inundation; it was the time when the androgynous goddess of fertility Hapi rode the Nile and made the land fertile; it was also the time that he had been dreaming of, every night of the last three months – it was the time of Amunet!

—ooo—

The door closed behind Brice. It would take the machine about 3 minutes to reach its destination. Brice closed his eyes and memories from his dreams rushed to fill his mind. The beautiful almond eyes outlined with kohl, the full red lips, and the dewy freshness of her skin – the way he had been seeing Amunet all these months. He also saw the banks of the swollen Nile; and he almost felt the happiness that came with the flooding of the Nile. Brice was a time travel scientist, he wasn’t a historian; but that girl in his dreams made him spend hours of his time researching not time-travel, but the history Ancient Egypt. She had become his obsession, and he had to find her – and if he really did, he might even stay back in time…Love makes you do strange things.

A sharp beep told him that the time machine had arrived into the past, at his destination – the City of Thebes on the eastern bank of the river Nile. Everything was as he had visualized…except the landscape. What were they? Broken Chariot wheels?! The Hyksos had brought the chariots to Egypt, and they hadn’t arrived until 1700 BC! Something wasn’t right – but then everything else wasn’t a lot different from what he had seen in his dreams! He hid his time machine, and looked around…if Amunet were there he’d see her because nobody else could be as beautiful!

And then he saw her…on the steps of the ruins. The steps, on which she sat, looked like they belonged to the beautiful fountain that he saw in his dreams. It was the same place – and there she was – the same almond-shaped eyes, the same sideways glance…but she looked different with all that makeup! And her jewelry was mostly blue…Lapis Lazuli. He looked again. She sat there laughing, talking to drunken men, who’d pay her and then stagger over to one of the younger girls and…Brice could watch no more. He turned and ran, trying not to vomit – the girl who he had seen in his dreams was now the much older harlot who sat on those steps – she and all the other girls, wore the blue Lapis Lazuli stone on their foreheads or in their hair – he had read in the history text s that the law in Ancient Egypt required that the harlots announced their calling to everyone by wearing the blue stone on their foreheads.

The caricature, cartoon, sculpture, 3D image of an egyptian harlot.

Amunet, the Egyptian Harlot. A Polymer Clay Model – 3″ tall, 1.75″ wide, 1.5″ deep.

Brice ran across the fields towards his time machine. He couldn’t understand it at all. What went wrong? And then it occurred to him…the history books that he had read during his research and based his calculations on – were wrong! They were at least 25 years off the mark!

The time machine was still there. Brice thanked his stars, climbed into it, and reset the dials! He was going back to his home in the time-space – never to return!

—ooo—

The Year: 2025 A. D.

After his Egyptian fiasco five years ago, Brice decided to junk his job as a time-travel scientist and decided to become a computer programmer instead. Now he programs computer applications that drive people nuts by asking them for updates twice a day!

 

Special Thanks to:

  • Nancy Johanson, Dewey’s Gram who inspired me to dabble with clay.
  • Wilbur Smith my favorite author, who helped me time travel to Ancient Egypt through his Egyptian series.
  • Oorvi’s Cameo who photographed the Harlot 🙂