Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dr. Öz

image via
Everybody knows Dr. Oz is Turkish, right?

Mehmet Cengiz Öz, who we all like to call Dr. Oz,
is actually Turkish-American. He was born and raised in the US, and he retains his Turkish passport. Culturally, he retains every bit of his Turkishness, which I find extremely cool. You need to look to see it though.

He walks that TCK walk with such confidence, I'll bet my yogurt soup that most Americans don't even know he speaks another language. (Turkish - not the medical jiberish he sometimes throws at us.) 

Whether you've followed his skyrocketing career or not, you have to be impressed with his achievements:

  • Harvard - undergrad; University of Pennsylvania, TheWharton School - MD/MBA; Columbia University Professor; Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine Program, Director at New York Presbyterian Hospital
  • Discovery Health Host; Oprah "Allstar"; Tuner Private Networks Host; The Doctor Oz Show, etc., etc., etc.
  • Time magazine ranked Oz 44th on its list of the 100 Most Influential People in 2008 and Esquire magazine placed him on its list of the 75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century. He was called a Global Leader of Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum[and one of “The Harvard 100 Most Influential Alumni” by 02138 magazine. He won the Gross Surgical Research Scholarship. He was listed in “Doctors of the Year” by Hippocrates magazine and in “Healers of the Millennium” by Healthy Living magazine. Oz is annually listed in the Castle Connolly Guide of the top United States doctors, as well as other ranking groups. - heck, just go to his wikipedia page if you need to know them all.
Writers and other frequent bookstore visitors might also recognize the New York Times bestselling series of  books Dr. Oz co-authored with Dr. Michael F. Roizen. You know, YOU: The Owner's Manual, etc.

Dr. Oz has taken personal health to a new high-profile, high priority level. My gosh! The other day he even had PAULA DEEN on his show. Yes. The Queen of Butter visited The King of Better. It was kind of a showdown.

The real controversy come in where his spirituality is concerned. He practices transcendental meditation, which wouldn't be a problem except he also believes in the healing powers of positive thinking. Not a bad thing really, just an unusual position for an MD to embrace. In public.

Overall, I think he does so much more good, encouraging people to take a more active role in their own health; telling people there's arsenic in apple juice. Well, so what if that's another one of his controversies. I want to know if there's arsenic in my apple juice. Don't you?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Kelebek Vadisi - Butterfly Valley

I'm attempting to be a WriMo still, but I thought you could use an escape, even if I'm tied to a chair.

A friend of mine was blogging about her trip to Butterfly Valley recently, and I was inspired to use in in my WIP as a setting for some challenging climbs and general boyish, adrenaline fueled adventures. (I'm writing an MG boy book.)

Daytrippers arrive by boat from Fethiye to trek the narrow valley, visit the waterfalls, and hopefully see some Euplagia quadripunctaria - leopard butterflies. Many types of butterflies flock there to enjoy the abundance of wildflowers, and naturalists stalk the winged creatures at all hours.
Brave paragliders inspired by all those wings float down to the beach pretty regularly. You can hop off the top of these cliffs too, for a reasonable fee, and with a qualified guide. You won't catch me doing it, I'm afraid. The only flying I do is in an airplane.

I do take inspiration from the waterfalls and the trails, though. There's no escape from the valley (insert sinister laugh) except up a verrrry steep path to a small village. Funny how I can take such a beautiful place and twist it around to suit my needs.
image via
Turkey issued a postage stamp for it's favorite flying friend. It's a collectible now, if you have one.

Here's a decent video clip for you:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Turkey - The Bird

image via wikipedia
You may be wondering why I posted a peacock photo.


A) Someone spiked my Thanksgiving punch with Wild Turkey bourbon. I live in the south now, you know.


B) There's a moral to this story.

(You know it's B, or maybe it's C - all of the above.) *ahem*

In Turkey (the country), turkey (the bird) is called"hindi" and I always wondered why. Hindi refers to India, meaning the Turks believe the turkey is from India. The turkey is a native north American bird.

Long story short, since I'm doing NaNoWriMo:

Europeans trading in India picked up the Tamil word "thukki" for the peacock. (I wonder where the name peacock comes from...but this is the short story.)

Then, Christopher Columbus thought he found the route to the East Indies when he landed here. Some believe he found birds which he thought were a type of thukki. (A fact he he may have used to confirm his landing in India.)

When the turkey finally came to Turkey, Turks recognized it/mistook it for a cousin of the guinea fowl and peacock, which they already called hindi.

....and Europeans were just generally confused some more by Turks selling guinea fowl.

Turkey... thukki... What's the difference? 

Look fast:

If I was drinking Wild Turkey straight, I guess I might confuse the two....

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Related Links

How the Turkey Got Its Name What's in a Name - TURKEY

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Kangal Dog

Taner (my mc in Mist of Kavala) needed a dog. He needed a loyal, patient, protective dog. He needed a big dog with expressive eyes. A dog he was really, really, really sad to leave behind.

I can't have a dog (allergies), but I've always admired the Kangal.

This Turkish breed hails from Kangal, near Sivas, way out in Anatolia. It's a type of mastiff,  a working class shephard dog, sometimes known as the çoban köpek. (There are other breeds that fall under this name too).

A pair of Kangals stays with a flock of sheep and almost blends in, except for the curled up tails. Wolves, wildcats and bears are no match for it. Owners outfit the dog with a formidable spiked collar and at 30 miles per hour, it's been trained in some countries to guard against cheetahs.

Puppies are so cute with their dark muzzles and ears, but at a height of 30 inches high (at the shoulder) and about 130 lb, this is a dog that requires an enormous backyard. If I had a farm, I'd want one, otherwise it would be cruel punishment for the dog to stay cooped up on my minuscule acreage.

Kangal dogs are the national breed of Turkey.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Kına - Henna

image via
I've never had the chance to use kına in my writing, but an opportunity just arose. I have a girl being sent off to the palace. :)
In the middle east, women adorn themselves with henna for holidays and special occasions, or even just to feel pretty. In Turkey, the custom is usually reserved for weddings now.

This is a more elaborate design than I've seen there. It might just be a case of where I lived though, since I snagged this off a Turkish website. The version I saw was basically a finger dipped up to the knuckle, or a blob placed inside the palm. Very basic.

Since I like the concept of the designs left behind, I'm thinking to use henna in a more modernistic way, but the details haven't worked themselves out yet. Stay tuned for the rough draft!

I used to use henna when I lived in Abu Dhabi. I still have some in my makeup case. There it was no big deal. Here: You should see the look on people's faces when I open my hand. Hehe. I guess I'm not as conservative as I pretend to be.

Henna lasts about two weeks on the hands. I don't like to get it on my fingernails because it takes forever to grow out. On the foot, designs can last for months.

Henna in the hair is another post.... I have a cute story for that one.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Yurt Kidding Me!
I've got a yurt in chapter 10. It's nothing like this one from Neiman Marcus, but then they're channeling Barbara Eden.

Which is not to say I haven't seen anything like it...

I lived in Abu Dhabi, and when you said party - and there was an important looking guest list - you got a big deal tent draped in gorgeous material just like this. With air conditioning, and red carpets, and biryani like you've never tasted. Even the invitations came embossed with gold calligraphy on velvet, practically screaming: Pull out your princess slippers!

However, that wasn't  a yurt. That was a big deal. And lavender wasn't usually in the color scheme.

My nomadic yurt is draped in woven kilims, filled with floor pillows, lined with tassels tied up in bright skeins of wool. The outside is plain felt. In my head it's rough, black goat felt, but it could be white sheep's felt. Either way, the whole thing can be packed up and loaded onto a pair of horses in a couple of hours.

I think you'd need white glove service for the $75,000 lavender fantasy up there. No, I'm not kidding you. $75.000.

via wikipedia

What Recession? Neiman Marcus Christmas Catalog Offers $75,000 Yurt

Friday, November 11, 2011

String Bridge

Today is THE day to help Jessica Bell's debut, STRING BRIDGE, hit the bestseller list on Amazon, and receive the all-original soundtrackMelody Hill: On the Other Sidewritten and performed by the author herself, for free!

All you have to do is purchase the book today (paperback, or eBook), November 11th, and then email the receipt to:


She will then email you a link to download the album at no extra cost!
To purchase the paperback:
To purchase the eBook:
To listen to samples of the soundtrack, visit iTunes.

If you are not familiar with String Bridge, check out the book trailer:

Rave Reviews for String Bridge:

Jessica Bell’s STRING BRIDGE strummed the fret of my veins, thrummed my blood into a mad rush, played me taut until the final page, yet with echoes still reverberating. A rhythmic debut with metrical tones of heavied dark, fleeting prisms of light, and finally, a burst of joy—just as with any good song, my hopeful heartbeat kept tempo with Bell’s narrative.~ Kathryn Magendie, author of Sweetie and Publishing Editor of Rose & Thorn Journal
“Poet and musician Jessica Bell's debut novel String Bridge is a rich exploration of desire, guilt, and the difficult balancing act of the modern woman. The writing is lyrical throughout, seamlessly integrating setting, character and plot in a musical structure that allows the reader to identify with Melody's growing insecurity as her world begins to unravel … String Bridge is a powerful debut from a promising writer, full of music, metaphor, and just a hint of magic.” ~ Magdalena Ball, author of Repulsion Thrust and Sleep Before Evening

Jessica Bell is a brilliant writer of great skill and depth. She doesn't pull back from the difficult scenes, from conflict, pain, intensity. She puts it all out there, no holds barred, no holding back. She knows how to craft a scene, how to develop character, how to create suspense. This is an absolutely brilliant debut novel. I look forward to reading her next novel, and next and next.” ~ Karen Jones Gowen, author of Farm Girl, Uncut Diamonds and House of Diamonds

Please TWEET and/or FACEBOOK this post using #StringBridge!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Rumi Inspiration

I only have time for a quick post because I'm NaNoWriMoing. The italicized lines are all Rumi, taken from Goodreads this time.

When I write, I remember:

Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.

When I have to revise my revolting rough draft, I remember:

How do the birds make great sky circles...
They fall and falling they are given wings.

When I get a critique and I need to make sooo many changes, I remember:

If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?

When I get a good rejection letter, I remember:

The wound is the place where the Light enters you.

When I sigh and think I'll never find an agent, I remember:

What you seek is seeking you.


Do not be satisfied with the stories that come before you. Unfold your own myth.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Yogurt Soup - Yayla Çorbası

image via
It's officially NaNoWriMo for me, so I'm cheating on my blog and posting recipes.

An easy one that I like to make is Yayla Çorbası, which means peasant soup, or technically mountain village soup - aka yogurt soup.

For this you'll need:

One 32 oz package (4 c) of PLAIN yogurt.
Not Greek yogurt. Not vanilla yogurt. Plain. Preferably low fat, as opposed to nonfat. I use Dannon. A full cream organic like Stoneyfield Farms would be a waste of calories, IMHO. I'm picky about my yogurt.

1/4 cup flour
1 egg
1/4 cup of dried mint
1/2 of medium grain rice, rinsed
Two 32 oz cartons (8 c) chicken stock

To prepare:

Empty the yogurt into at least a 4 quart pot. Whisk in flour, egg, and dried mint. Add stock and rice. Stir frequently over medium-high heat, until the mixture almost comes to a boil. Bubbles look like they want to come through at the edges. Don't let it boil! The soup separates if it boils. Reduce heat to a simmer for about 15 more minutes, so the rice can cook through.

Serve with red pepper flakes.

I've eaten this cold. I've eaten it without red pepper flakes. I've eaten it with a splash of tabasco. Sometimes the yogurt isn't sour enough and I'll squeeze in a little lemon. Actually, this is a perfect dish to use up that container of yogurt you forgot about in the back of your fridge.

Or, if you're rushed and NaNoWriMoing like me, you can buy the mix.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Bartle Quotient

image via
You know I'm a gamer. But what kind of gamer? Betcha didn't know there's DNA involved, as in gamerdna of the Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology.

That's me on the right: The Queen of Spades.
Called “Pallas” on the French deck, possibly after the Greek goddess Athena. She faces left, and is seen in profile. On the English deck, she is the only queen with a scepter. She faces forward, a little to the right.

I can identify with that.

Queen of Hearts, I am not. Nope. Not enough pink ink in my manuscripts. Everything I encounter is analyzed and shelved for future reference. Very Athena goddess of wisdom,/strategy/justice-like. Yup. Spades is definitely the right camp for me.

Must be why I love characters like Rowena Ravenclaw (Hogwarts) and Annabeth (Percy Jackson series. Loved the library in the cabin and the whole grey/white color scheme. I digress.)

So this all relates to the MMORPG: Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game - which I technically do not have any time for this NaNoWriMonth.

According to the Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology (at, there are four categories a player trends into, with tendencies leaning in all directions in various percentages. These are my stats.

I'm going to translate this into blogging, just for fun. Hope my blogger buddies don't mind me nominating them for head of their camp.

Socializers: aka Hearts - (LeighTMoore) Spreads the love and enjoys interaction just for the experience. Involved in activities for the good of the group, such as a guild. Yes, LTM is definitely the Queen of Hearts.

Explorers: aka Spades -  Analytical. Likes to discover glitches, uncover things like the hidden easter egg. Should be an archeologist, or some kind of "ologist". I think Sarah Fine probably fits best here. Hey, what do you know? She's a psychologist.

Achievers: aka Diamonds - Eyes on the rare prize, such as the 8 million point christmas cracker. I'm thinking Matt MacNish has a high score here. Example: He wants to get 1,000 followers before he queries. He's probably got a high score in the socializer category too because of his quest to aid queriers everywhere. I thought he'd prefer the King of Diamonds, since knowledge is the rare prize we seek when we visit him.

Killers: aka Clubs. Try to affect their environment, control markets. Usually have minions. Who is this? I'm stumped. I don't have any one blogger in mind here, but I know we all have this to some degree. It's our competitive streak. Probably an attorney would be a good fit here, but I don't know anyone who writes legal thrillers. Slytherin, anyone? Maybe someone like Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. What they do is important and good, but can easily go the wrong way. A good trickster, IMHO.

How many books have I read that tap into this theory? A bunch.  Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Divergence, to name a few that are top of mind.

Which camp/suit/category do you fall under? 

And hey! The new Uncharted came out yesterday. Did you get your copy yet?


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