UPDATE: I’ve Been Cloned

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Wrong Way ... Way Wrong

Robert Fornal via Compfight

 You may recall a recent post wherein I discussed the fact that many of my blog posts, my picture, Bio, tagline, and logo had been republished blog style on another website. I was a bit mortified by this because I was never informed that this was being done and also because there was an open comment section, which itself is only problematic if I am unaware and thus unable to respond, defend, or censor in the case of vulgar language.

I contacted the editor of the website via email.  When I didn’t receive a prompt response I decided to write a post. I mean, if my site was being watched and reproduced, surely the culprit would see the post about them and feel compelled to respond.

Within hours of said post I received an email from Publici.com. On the face of it, the letter was polite and apologetic. I was informed that my posts had been removed. The editor pointed out that my Creative Commons license allows for free use as long as said work is unchanged and attributed to me.

Touché.

I responded in like fashion stating that had I been consulted I may have been more open to the idea. I thanked them for their prompt response and I was quite pleased with the eventual outcome.

Then oddly enough I received another note from the editor. The editor told me that she believed my voice unique, mature and gentle.  She stated that I had followers among the staff of Publici.com. Then she said “… may I dare to suggest you’ll give us a second chance, this time by operating your account directly? This way it will much better reflect your needs and requirements. Also, we’ll be happy to any suggestions, opinions or comments you may have regarding our site and our vision.”

Well, after my head shrank back down to normal size, I actually considered the offer. Briefly. Very briefly. The thing is, I work full-time and I have a family.  Free time for me is scarce. Committing myself to another writing gig, however small, is hardly something I can afford. But, during that brief period of consideration, I decided to check out this website.

What if they were doing something ground breaking and significant?

What if they were willing to compensate me?

What if this was something I simply could not pass up?

The first thing I noted is that the homepage is divided into sections: Media Watch, Social Movements, Arab Spring, Civil Activism.  And on the face of it, many of the posts appear to cover topics about Muslims. I thought, Well I’m Muslim. Then I noted that the website operates from Israel. Now that really intrigued me. I had these immediate delusions of grandeur.

What if they’re dedicated to unifying Muslims and Jews worldwide for peace?

What if they are dedicated to dispelling myths and stereotypes about Muslims and Jews and other misunderstood groups?

What if they are dedicated to outing offenders of the rights of marginalized groups?

Yes. Delusions of grandeur.

What I found instead upon closer inspection is that Piblici.com actually curates posts from all over the web and that said posts, based on the few I could stomach, were not at all as grand as I hoped. I won’t go into detail but this was my response:

Hello (editor’s name withheld),
I hope this note meets you well.
This was a kind letter to receive as are you praise but I must decline.
I am very particular about where and how I use my writing and it is important to me that I not be or appear to be aligned with anything or anyone whose moral outlook I can not reconcile myself with.
I understand the Publici curates content from all over the web and from differing perspectives, which in and of itself is great.  That said, I have seen multiple posts and opinions that have a distinctly bigoted outlook against Muslims (of which I am one) and people of color (of which I am one). While I certainly afford people the right to feel and think what they wish, I can certainly not imagine contributing on the same platform with people whose ideas I find inflammatory and offensive and who use untruth as a device to defame the group of people to which I belong.
Thank you again for the invitation.
Be well.

My last correspondence with the editor was about four or five days ago and I haven’t heard back, which is fine.  I guess I hoped she would respond.  I hoped she would tell me that I am wrong about the site.  I wanted her to tell me that they are dedicated to honest, balanced, inclusive writing that does not promote the continued marginalization of disparate groups.

I wanted to have that delusion of grandeur.

Search Terms

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Blogging Research Wordle

Kristina B via Compfight

 In about one month Khaalidah.com will be one year old, so I thought it would be interesting to review those search terms that have brought people to my website.  As my readership is fairly small, I figured most people stumble upon my site completely by mistake.  I was right to assume that, but I could have never imagined just how interesting this list would turn out to be.  I thought it would be fun to share a few of them.

The top five search terms that transport unsuspecting readers to my site are:

  • Moribito – I wrote a post about this anime several months ago.  It remains a favorite in my home because of the strong female protagonist, the refreshing lack of fan service and inuendo, and interesting unique storyline.
  • Bajoran – The Bajorans are a race of people from Star Trek: DS9.  I mentioned them in a post once when discussing the presence of religion and SF.
  • Fate Zero review – I wrote a somewhat lengthy review of Fate Zero a few months ago.  Have you seen the anime?  What do you think?
  • pretty white girls – While I did write a post by this name, I’m certain that the people, of which there were many, who typed this into their search engine were not actually looking or my post.
  • Sircarius Emperor’s Edge – Ah now… For this I have Lindsay Buroker to thank.  I caught up with the Emperor’s Edge podcast on iTunes over a year ago and became an instant fan.  I went on to read the next two books and become a fast admirer of Lindsay Buroker.  The EE series is fun and smart, steampunkish, and fast paced just like all of Lindsay Buroker’s books.  Let me expound a bit here.  Lindsay Buroker is an awesome author and cyber friend and I believe that I found her book by divine intervention.  I’d published my own novel but had done nothing to promote or network.  I was stuck and didn’t know how to become unstuck.  Lindsay inspired me.  An indie author herself, Lindsay is fairly successful at not only producing quality writing but at networking and selling her work.  In addition, Lindsay is the consummate professional and a lovely human being.  She agreed to an interview about my favorite character in her series named Sircarius, and she gave me an opportunity to write a guest post for her site.  Additionally she has produced a few how-to type podcasts directed at other indie authors and she keeps up an awesome website with loads of terrific information.  I’m going to send a shout out and many, many thanks to Lindsay Buroker.  I’d estimate that nearly 30-35% of the search terms leading to Khaalidah.com are in some form a reference to the Emperor’s Edge series or my favorite character Sircarius.  I guess I’m not the only one who loves the taciturn assassin.

The most interesting search terms that have guided people to my site are:

  • cool anime Muslim
  • albino teenager
  • i don’t understand ergo proxy
  • how to make a werewolf
  • too depressed to watch fate zero
  • fully clothed romance
  • nobody knew what Adam had in his suitcase – ?
  • what does take me to your leader mean – ?
  • im ready to take my faith to new levels by setting my mind on heavenly things – I wish this person much success.
  • light bulb worker – ?
  • angry white girl clothing – Is there a such thing?
  • harry potter and geds scar – I saw immediate similarities between Harry Potter series and The Wizard of Earthsea.
  • should i let my son watch fate zero – I love that someone actually asked this question.  As a parent I am very cognizant about what my children watch, even though two of them are technically adults.  I take a sincere interest in the things that interest them.  I watch anime with them and I play games with them in an effort to know and understand the things that interest them.  This is awesome.  My answer to this question would be, it depends on how old your son is and if you plan to watch Fate Zero with him.

Oddly or maybe not so oddly, there are several search terms to vulgar or inappropriate to mention so I won’t, but it makes me wonder what people are thinking, if it can actually be labeled thinking and why they are thinking that way.  But that would be another post.  Moving along.

This particular search term blows my mind a bit:

  •  who is Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali – I guess this person really was looking for me.  Heh.  Wow.

To those of you who have stopped by from time to time to read my posts, thank you and I hope to see you back again.

Revamping

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An Unproductive Woman is the title of my first novel.  I wrote it several years ago and the process of doing so was quite cathartic.  I learned a lot about myself through my main character Asabe.  Asabe is wise, patient, and has a will unlike anyone I’ve ever known.  Despite challenges she always remains steadfast and unflappable.

People who know me and who have read the book often try to liken me to Asabe, suggesting that if we could be superimposed, we’d be the same person.  I consider that high praise, despite the inaccuracy.   While writing An Unproductive Woman, I was consciously creating a character that I would be proud to emulate.

I published An Unproductive Woman in 2008, about 11 years after actually writing it.  I’m certain you can imagine that much has changed since then, both with me as a person as well as with  my writing interests and style.  That doesn’t mean that I love this book or the characters any less though.

It has been suggested to me in the past that because AUW is set in Africa and the characters are Muslim, that these are the only populations among which AUW could possibly have vigorous sales.   I never believed that.  Human beings are, well, human beings, and the vast majority of human experiences are not unique.  AUW tells the story of a family, of life challenges, hard choices, of faith and loss of faith, of love, of joy, and of life.

I’ve recently taken steps to revamp AUW’s reputation and image, increase exposure and hopefully sales.  I’m proud of the reviews AUW has received so far and hope there will be more in the future.  I wanted to share the new cover.  Starla Huchton did an awesome job of it.  Check out the stellar write up she did of it on her blog.

I hope some of you will check it out online, download a sample, hit the like button at Amazon, buy a copy, or tell your friends about it.  It really is a worthwhile story.