Category Archives: Unexplained

Jinni Caught on Camera

--from Emirates 24/7 News service.

–from Emirates 24/7 News service.

It was nearly a year ago that Saudi news reports acknowledged that an eerie figure caught on security cameras could be a jinni. The sighting occurred in Makkah (Mecca) in October 2013, right before the sacred pilgrimage of the Hajj, when Muslim faithful journey to this birthplace of Muhammad. That’s right…just a year ago. The presence of the jinni is still accepted in a civilized land. And why not? The rest of the world generally accepts the presence of the otherworldly in the form of spirits, angels, ghosts, and fairies. The report also noted that the unidentified figure could be a ghost. There is a type of jinni known as a ghul that appears in ethereal, rather ghostlike, form. Ghuls are recognized to be generally harmless, though they can be mischievous. Jinn, which are mentioned in the Qu’ran, are also believed to have the capacity for devotion to Islam. Perhaps they, too, seek to pay their respects to their faith.

What is amazing to me is that the Emirates 24/7 News reported this story along with a photograph. They linked the appearance to the impending Hajj. This year, Hajj occurs between October 2nd and 7th. We are less than a month away from the pilgrimage. I don’t know about you, but I’ll stay tuned to Arab media for more reports about the “jinn on the go.”

Read more about the jinn and how they might live and love in my books. Start with my 101 Nights series! The first book is To Have and To Hold, followed by Reluctant Rapture, Ties That Bind, and Dangerous Devotion.  You can also meet the classically conceived jinni, Zubis, in The Genie Ignites, from Boroughs Publishing Group.

Best Wishes,


What’s the First Thing You Notice about Someone?

The first thing I notice about somebody is their eyes. Not necessarily what color they are or how clear and unblinking (that might strike me, actually, because it would be a bit creepy.) No. What I notice is HOW they look at me…direct and steady or dim and dodgy. I write about this whole process of how we engage with people through visual appeal in my column for BTS Magazine. The column is a regular feature called Forever Young. This month’s title is “The Eyes Have It.” 

Check it out. What’s the first thing you notice about someone?

My YA column Forever Young: The Eyes Have It appears in BTS Book Reviews [July-August issue] on page 141.

I’m a Genie, now wish.

Originally posted on sethsnap:

There’s this old rundown junk yard looking place just off the bike trail.  There are quite a few odds and ends lying around there, including some fancy old cars.  For some reason, when I see the place, it makes me think of the Djinn.  Perhaps I imagine there is an old bottle with a big strapping genie inside, waiting for a rub.  Then I think of the wishes I’d be granted.   How about you? Pretend I am your genie, what are your wishes?


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A House of Jinn in Syria

A massive avenue in Palmyra, Syria

A massive avenue in Palmyra, Syria

As I do my research into what is known about the realm of the jinn, I’m always on the lookout for archaeolgical links to places that may have a mysterious history; locations whose lore or legends lend themselves to jinn occupation. Mazraat Beit Jinn in the foothills of Mount Hermon is such a place. Translated from Arabic, Mazraat Beit Jinn means Farm in the Jinn House. There is a nearby town simply called Beit Jinn, which means House of the Jinn. Why? Why would residents of long ago give such a name to this windswept, sparsely populated desert outpost? Were the jinn here? There’s no answer now. Beit Jinn is a small village among a cluster of small villages southwest of Damascus having a total population of just over 2,000 souls. At one time, however, it sat along the route of the Silk Road. Once it was vibrant. Once, it might have hosted the jinn.

Beit Jinn translates as House of Jinn

Beit Jinn translates as House of Jinn

Not far from Beit Jinn, northeast of Damascus, lies Palmyra. And here, there are more remnants that lore credits to the handiwork of the jinn. Although located in the arid center of a desert, Palmyra employed a system of elaborate dams and cisterns 2,000 years ago to bring water to more than 100,00 inhabitants. A pretty big feat. Unless you have some jinn working for you. And here’s some literary evidence to support that theory:

“Rise up and go into the world to release it from error and send word to the Jinn and I will give them leave to build Tadmur with hewn stones and columns.” ~God said to Solomon according to the pre-Islamic Arab poet Nabigha al Dhubyain.

Tadmur is the Arabic name for Palmyra.

Here’s my theory. The jinn were active in the desert thousands of years ago. They claimed it as their own. They helped humans to build magnificent cities to provide respite from the heat. They didn’t care that conditions could be harsh and inhospitable. They were the jinn: great engineers. They tapped into the wadi, reservoirs of water beneath the sand; they erected cool marble halls; they brought elegance and civility to the desert. They worked with humans, but humans became more numerous. When Solomon was given control of the jinn nearly three thousand years ago, the game changed. They built his temple (there are allusions to this in the Christian Bible) and some other cities (Petra and Meda’in Salah among them). Here, we get back to Beit Jinn. While the jinn moved about from such locations as Palmyra in the north to Petra in the south, they would have resided at towns along the way. Towns that would forever bear the memory with such names as Beit Jinn and Mazraat Beit Jinn. But the jinn were seen increasingly as a threat. They were no longer needed. They withdrew. Where are they now?

You can certainly find them in my novels. Check out The Genie Ignites and 101 Nights for some fictional insight on what the realm of the jinn might be like. Sadly, to travel to Syria now is to risk getting caught in the civil strife there. News accounts report that the ancient citadel of Palmyra and those in Aleppo have been damaged by mortar fire. Hopefully, a resolution will soon be found so that this wonderful history isn’t lost forever.

Get The Genie Ignites on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Kobo. Smashwords. Diesel. Apple iBooks.

Get To Have and To Hold of the 101 Nights series on Amazon. Barnes & Noble. Kobo. Smashwords. Diesel. Apple iBooks.

Best Wishes,


The Truth about Genies, by Kellyann Zuzulo


A Reader’s Review blog hosts me and my genie obsession today. Go check out it and follow the blog for great book recommendations!

Originally posted on areadersreviewblog:

Today we welcome author Kellyann Zuzulo to share with us the truth about genies….. Over to you Kellyann!

The allure of the desert, whether it’s Vegas or the Sahara, taps some primitive heat in all of us. I know it does for me.  The jinn, or genies, have been around for thousands of years. The Thousand and One Nights (also known as The Arabian Nights) brought these entities out of oral myth and into literature. Eventually, Western society got wind of these freeflying phantoms. Unfortunately, we turned them into bluish cartoons when all the research (yes, there is research on genies) says they are very similar to humans. 

genieignites_full-17942442_std[1]What a perfect antagonist for a romance! A guy who’s smart, powerful, alluring, and magical. That’s the basis for a heartthrob if ever there was one. In my novel The Genie Ignites, Zubis is that hero. Did you know that…

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Did the Jinn Destroy Hattusa?

The great temple of the storm god, Teshub, once dominated the Lower City at Hattusa. Was the storm god angry? Was the storm god actually a jinni?

The great temple of the storm god, Teshub, once dominated the Lower City at Hattusa. Was the storm god angry? Was the storm god actually a jinni?

This is how I find the seeds of a new novel…as well as fodder for my theory that the jinn once dwelt more fully on earth. Crazy? Maybe not. As you know from reading my blog, I frequently reference the scholarly and religious sources for the existence of the race of jinn. Here’s an article in my favorite magazine, Biblical Archaeology Review, that discusses the mysterious destruction of the city of Hattusa. Before the city was engulfed in a “consuming conflagration”, there was a frenzied spate of construction. According to legend, the jinn were the consummate builders, able to erect massive monuments that could last millenia. Were they the contractors on the Hattusa job? As so many contractors are, were they dissatisfied with their compensation and therefore destroyed their work and the city?? Who knows. But I have a theory…. I’ll let you know when that book is ready. Meanwhile, read about Hattusa and what happened to it. This excerpt sums it up.

 The evidence of widespread destruction by fire on the royal acropolis, in the temples of both the Upper City and Lower City, and along stretches of the fortifications, suggests a scenario of a single, simultaneous, violent destruction in an all-consuming conflagration.

[Keep in mind that the jinn are creatures of fire…”forged from flame” according to the Quran.]

The Last Days of Hattusa

The Mysterious Collapse of the Hittite Empire

Trevor Bryce   •  02/08/2013

**This article by Trevor Bryce appears as it was printed in Archaeology Odyssey. Full citation below. The BAS Library includes the complete version of every article published in Archaeology Odyssey.**

A helmeted god stands guard over one of the principal entrances to ancient Hattusa. From the 17th to the early 12th century B.C., Hattusa served as the capital of the Hittite empire. Credit: Gianni Dagli Orti/Corbis

From his capital, Hattusa, in central Anatolia, the last-known Hittite king, Suppiluliuma II (1207 B.C.-?), ruled over a people who had once built a great empire—one of the superpowers (along with Egypt, Mittani, Babylon and Assyria) of the Late Bronze Age. The Kingdom of the Hittites, called Hatti, had stretched across the face of Anatolia and northern Syria, from the Aegean in the west to the Euphrates in the east. But now those days were gone, and the royal capital was about to be destroyed forever by invasion and fire.Did Suppiluliuma die defending his city, like the last king of Constantinople 2,600 years later? Or did he spend his final moments in his palace, impassively contemplating mankind’s flickering mortality?

Neither, according to recent archaeological evidence, which paints a somewhat less dramatic, though still mysterious, picture of Hattusa’s last days. Excavations at the site, directed by the German archaeologist Jürgen Seeher, have indeed determined that the city was invaded and burned early in the 12th century B.C. But this destruction appears to have taken place after many of Hattusa’s residents had abandoned the city, carrying off the valuable (and portable) objects as well as the city’s important official records. The site being uncovered by archaeologists was probably little more than a ghost town during its final days.1

From Assyrian records, we know that in the early second millennium B.C. Hattusa was the seat of a central Anatolian kingdom. In the 18th century B.C., this settlement was razed to the ground by a king named Anitta, who declared the site accursed and then left a record of his destruction of the city. One of the first Hittite kings, Hattusili I (c. 1650–1620 B.C.), rebuilt the city, taking advantage of the region’s abundant sources of water, thick forests and fertile land. An outcrop of rock rising precipitously above the site (now known as Büyükkale, or “Big Castle”) provided a readily defensible location for Hattusili’s royal citadel.

Excavators at Hattusa found this five-inch-high, 15th-century B.C. ceramic fragment that may depict the cyclopean walls and defensive towers that surrounded the acropolis. Hirmer Fotoarchiv Muenchen

Excavators at Hattusa found this five-inch-high, 15th-century B.C. ceramic fragment that may depict the cyclopean walls and defensive towers that surrounded the acropolis. Hirmer Fotoarchiv Muenchen

Although Hattusa became the capital of one of the greatest Near Eastern empires, the city was almost completely destroyed several times. One critical episode came early in the 14th century, when enemy forces launched a series of massive attacks upon the Hittite homeland, crossing its borders from all directions. The attackers included Arzawan forces from the west and south, Kaskan mountain tribes from the north, and Isuwan forces from across the Euphrates in the east. The Hittite king Tudhaliya III (c. 1360?-1350 B.C.) had no choice but to abandon his capital to the enemy. Tudhaliya probably went into exile in the eastern city of Samuha (according to his grandson and biographer, Mursili II, Tudhalia used Samuha as his base of operations for reconquering lost territories). Hattusa was destroyed, and the Egyptian pharaoh Amenhotep III (1390–1352 B.C.) declared, in a letter tablet found at Tell el-Amarna, in Egypt, that “The Land of Hatti is finished!”

The most illustrious phase in the existence of Hattusa itself, however, did not come during the floruit of the Hittite empire under Suppiluliuma, his son Mursili II (c. 1321–1295 B.C.) or grandson Muwatalli II (c. 1295–1272 B.C.). At this time Hattusa was no match, in size or splendor, for the great Egyptian cities along the Nile—Thebes, Memphis and the short-lived Akhetaten, capital of the so-called heretic pharaoh Akhenaten (1352–1336 B.C.). Indeed, during Muwatalli’s reign Hattusa actually went into decline when the royal seat was transferred to a new site, Tarhuntassa, near Anatolia’s southern coast. Only later, when the kingdom was in the early stages of its final decline, did Hattusa become one of the great showplaces of the ancient Near East.

This renovation of the city was the inspiration of King Hattusili III (c. 1267–1237 B.C.), though his son and successor, Tudhaliya IV (c. 1237–1209 B.C.), did most of the work. Not only did Tudhaliya substantially renovate the acropolis; he more than doubled the city’s size, developing a new area lying south of and rising above the old city. In the new “Upper City,” a great temple complex arose. Hattusa could now boast at least 31 temples within its walls, many built during Tudhaliya’s reign. Though individually dwarfed by the enormous Temple of the Storm God in the “Lower City,” the new temples left no doubt about Hattusa’s grandeur, impressing upon all who visited the capital that it was the religious as well as the political and administrative heart of the Hittite empire.

Tudhaliya also constructed massive new fortifications. The main casemate wall was built upon an earthen rampart to a height of 35 feet, punctuated by towers at 70-foot intervals along its entire length. The wall twice crossed a deep gorge to enclose the Lower City, the Upper City and an area to the northeast; this was surely one of the most impressive engineering achievements of the Late Bronze Age.

Hattusa in ancient days.

Hattusa in ancient days.

What prompted this sudden and dramatic—perhaps even frenetic—surge of building activity in these last decades of the kingdom’s existence?

One is left with the uneasy feeling that the Hittite world was living on the edge. Despite outward appearances, all was not well with the kingdom, or with the royal dynasty that controlled it. To be sure, Tudhaliya had some military successes; in western Anatolia, for instance, he appears to have eliminated the threat posed by the Mycenaean Greeks to the Hittite vassal kingdoms, which extended to the Aegean Sea.3 But he also suffered a major military defeat to the Assyrian king Tukulti-Ninurta, which dispelled any notion that the Hittites were invincible in the field of battle. Closer to home, Tudhaliya wrote anxiously to his mother about a serious rebellion that had broken out near the homeland’s frontiers and was likely to spread much farther….

There’s more to the article in the Biblical Archaeology Review. Read the rest of it here.

What do you think?

 Best Wishes,
Read more about the world of the jinn in The Genie Ignites from Boroughs Publishing Group.

Ghosts vs. Genies

I love the cultural expression of the unexplained.

  • A fairy spilled the milk!
  • A dybbuk must have caused my rash! 
  • I threw that plate at your head because I was possessed!
  • The devil made me do it!

Each culture has a supernatural patsy. But really, the elements for an invisible perpetrator don’t vary that much. Since I write about genies, I’m  always on the lookout for an account of a jinni encounter. I came across the story below in the Emirates news outlet 24/7. Because of my cultural background, everything about it moaned, “Ghooooost.” But all the witnesses shriek, “Geeeenie.”


This is a demon who desperately needs a manicure.

In the Middle East, some people perceive the jinn as having ghost-like qualities. Still not the same though. In the Western world, ghosts are the vaporous manifestation of humans who have died. In Eastern culture, genies are very separate from humans. My point: Genies and ghosts are two very different things. (I say that from my superiority throne of the Genie Research Kingdom. It means nothing. Just a little ego massage.) Who knows what’s going on when people report things like what’s reported in this story. Genies? Ghosts? What do you think?

Jumeirah jinns giving residents a spookfest

Tenants, gardeners and maids report mysterious apparitions, doors slamming and things moving on their own

By Bindu Suresh Rai
Published Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It’s 3am and footsteps can be heard echoing across the upstairs landing. A chill seeps into the room as a long dark shadow uncurls across the staircase, reaching out into the inky black darkness.

If this was a scene from a Hollywood movie, Ghostbusters would only be a short call away.

But for the many residents of Jumeirah 2 and 3, this everyday reality spins a spooky yarn of its own.

Over the last one year, cases of ghostly sightings and eerie and unexplained happenings have surfaced across residents of villas across the district.

The Jumeirah 2 neighbourhood, behind Choithrams supermarket in particular, has given several families sleepless nights.


This is a ghost. Mildly irritating but mostly friendly.

Kate Naomi, a former Jumeirah resident wrote on the forum: “I consider myself a non-believer. But we moved into a house in Jumeirah, quite an old house actually, and all kinds of strange things started to happen. We tried to think up rational explanations but couldn’t seem to find any.

“There were a number of incidents – a plate sliding across the table on its own (heavy china one), there was nothing near it and the table was not wet. The gas cooker kept turning on; my sons toys kept activating themselves (remote control car driving round when no one is near the controller).”

If that wasn’t enough to give people the willies, she added: “My husband who is a complete non-believer told me he saw someone sitting on the stairs, a woman, and both of us have seen a small boy several times… It has happened in front of others too with my best friend sprinting for the door and wouldn’t come round after she witnessed some strange goings on. [sic].”

Kate went on to state that she later learned that no tenant has stayed in the house longer than six months.

Since her posts began, the family has moved homes and are relieved that incidents have not followed them into their new residence.

Kate’s experiences are not isolated. Another Jumeirah resident, Kitty, has also narrated similar experiences, saying: “We are living in Jumeirah three near Choithrams and also have odd things happening. The kitchen tap starts running around 10pm. I can hear footsteps upstairs when I know the kids are asleep. I also get the feeling that I am being watched and then the dog starts barking always in the same place where I feel the watching is coming from. Thankfully it does not seem to be a threatening presence.”

Another Expatforum poster, Wrinkly has a similar story to tell. “We live behind Safa Park and for the past six years have been having this ‘uneasy’ feeling in the house.

“My friend and her daughter came to visit and the daughter told us she saw a shadow in the house and a woman’s figure. Our neighbours never stay longer than a year and the people previously in our house also just stayed for a year and the people before them… I don’t know if it’s just my imagination going wild or there might be something more

A former burial site?

Stories have long since circulated over the Dubai grapevine that the Jumeirah district was once a burial ground for tribes over a century ago.

Kate is a firm believer in that, saying: “I know for a fact that there are a few old burial grounds in Jumeirah; I am pretty sure my house was located on one.”

Sophie, who is also a Jumeirah resident took to the online forum to talk about her maid complaining of seeing spirits, which soon propelled into a state of spooky incidences.

She wrote: “My daughter started with these stories of “friends” telling her “secrets” so I just chalked it up to imaginary friends, although she said one of them was “scaryman” and that has been a whole discussion with her. I am overly cautious with her TV to the point that there is no cable connection in the playroom…”

But when Sophie’s maid started to complain that spirits were haunting the house, all rationality went on pause mode.

“My villa is over 20 years old and the house next door is empty a lot and in the past five years has had a few different families,” she said. “But I also know that parts of Jumeirah are on top of old archaeological sites.”

This is a genie. (In my narrative anyway.)

This is a genie. (In my narrative anyway.)

Head to UAE interact and the government website confirms that Jumeirah was once a caravan stop for a trade route connecting Iraq and Rumoured grave sites having been covered over the decades have also made the rounds, but no one has ever confirmed the urban legend.

When ‘Emirates 24|7′ investigated, several similar stories cropped up with one Pakistani gardener, Shoaib Khan, saying: “I have worked in the area for seven years and there is a house here that all of us avoid walking past.

You feel a cold chill the minute you enter its compound and the dogs also bark incessantly when they approach it.

“No one has stayed in the villa for years and sometimes if you are out at night, you hear noises coming from it. I am telling you, there is an evil jinn in the house.”

Khan refused to escort this reporter to what he referred to as “bhoot villa” or “ghost villa”, nor would he divulge in its whereabouts.

Surprisingly, three others verified Khan’s story and all paled at the idea of divulging the address.

In Arabic folklore and Islamic teachings, jinns are supernatural beings that reside in a parallel world to humans. Jinns are known to be good, neutral or evil.

“The ones here are not good. They are evil,” said Liaqat Hassan, an Afghani driver who resides in Jumeirah three with his employers. “We have seen her, a woman who walks with her feet twisted. Anyone who looks her directly in the face goes mad.”

While Hassan’s dramatic story cannot be proved, his fear seemed genuine as he immediately started to recite verses from the Holy Quran and walked away.

Resident Sophie did ultimately end up employing the exorcism route to cleanse her home of any spirits, mischievous or of the evil kind.

She said: “The maid has not said anything about any spirits of late. It could also be that she was making it up and thought better to stop or my husband got a bit angry with her and scared her more than the spirits.”

Best Wishes,

Pick up THE GENIE IGNITES to see  how real genies act.

When Jinn Ruin Marriages

A nightmare or a dream?

A nightmare or a dream?

No, this is not a blog about how my husband is fed up with me staying up late to write about genies. He’s quite tolerant and very supportive… especially if I sometimes wear a high ponytail and a filmy thing. But I digress.

Marriage can be a wish come true or a spell gone wrong. And when a jinni is involved, sparks are bound to fly. That may sound like flap copy for my next book, but it’s actually a summary of a real-life situation I came across in my research. I’m writing a new book about a guy and a  female genie who agree to marry as diplomatic detente between the two races. He’s intrigued but reticent. She’s willing but suspicious. Passionate but prickly. Anyway, more on that later.

I needed to find out what sort of stressors serious cultural differences could cause in a marriage. So, I did a search on “jinni marriage.” And do you know I actually came upon a message board where some poor sap was looking for advice on his own ruined marriage. Ruined by a female jinni! The more I learn, the more true is the adage, Truth is stranger than fiction.

Everyone knows about the I Dream of Jeannie series on television that highlighted the relationship between adorable Jeannie and stoic Major Anthony Nelson. Then there’s an amusing 1945 film with Cornell Wilde based on and called A Thousand and One Nights. Evelyn Keyes stars as a redheaded genie who comes between Aladdin and his princess. (Seriously, though, when will Americans stop making genies goofy.) My book is neither of those things. I wanted something more intense, more real. As you may already know from my previous posts on this blog, the jinn are a real and accepted part of many, many people’s cultural awareness. I think that’s cool. And a great springboard for stories. Thus, the google search. This is an excerpt of what I found on the message board:

Not all jinni brides are cute-as-a-button.

Not all jinni brides are cute-as-a-button.

“I write this message in great distress. What I have been going through for the past 8 months or so, I would not even wish it for the worst of my enemies. To some of you, this might be hilarious and you may laugh or even make mockery of me. However, only my Allah knows that whatever I am going to state here is true and a harsh reality.

I, my mother and brother live together. My father passed away long time back. I am 28 years of age now. When I was 26, I often had dreams in which I used to have an intercourse with different women. These women were very beautiful and attractive. When I got up, I felt satisfied and my clothes were all wet. Since I was young, I assumed it as my body’s natural lust for sex. Nevertheless, I had a feeling that these dreams and the sexual activity that occurs in the night had something unusual about it. At that point of time, I did not pay much attention to it and the daily hustle and bustle of life kept me away from the issue. I discussed the matter with friends and they made mockery of me. The mockery and fun made me reluctant to discuss the matter with anyone else.

A year back, I got married to the daughter of my mother’s cousin. Prior to the marriage, I had seen a woman in my bathroom. She was average in looks and dressed in black. She had a smile on her face. Her feet were huge and all turned; not like humans. I literally fainted and screamed. My family members rushed to my rescue. I told them the matter.

On the first wedding night, my wife behaved in a way which I could have never anticipated. She got rude and pushed me away whenever I wanted to get close to her. I got upset and discussed the matter with my mother. My mother talked to my wife. Astonishingly, my wife said that she didn’t even knew what she had done with me the last night.

Things started to go worse. Me and my wife started to hear screams from the bathroom. We also use to hear a woman laughing loudly outside my bedrooms window. Moreover, whenever I used to go for intercourse with my wife, I used to see horrifying faces in front of my eyes. I used to hear screams mostly. My wife has now left me and asked for divorce. My wife’s relatives and parents are accusing me that I am impotent and not fit for marriage. I have been socially victimized.  At this point, my matrimonial life has been completely ruined. What I have been hearing, no man can bear to hear.

It is bitter to say, but, the Shaitan has won. My marriage is dissolved.”

When a genie ruins a marriage, as depicted in A Thousand and One NIghts with Cornell Wilde.

When a genie ruins a marriage, as depicted in A Thousand and One Nights with Cornell Wilde.

Poor guy. Can’t help but feel sorry for him. Could be mental or it could be a jinni. The point is that he believes his troubles have been caused by a female jinni. As a writer, I see a fascinating story here. So much of what happens to us in our day-to-day life is a result of our perceptions. For me, that’s an interesting concept to keep in mind as I write my book. Yes, there are cultural differences between my two main characters…a divide that may be too wide to cross. But tenacity and, yes, love can conquer so many problems. Remember, I write romances. Meanwhile, the fella with the jinni problem may need more help than that. He should check out my earlier blog about how to get rid of a jinni.

 Best Wishes,
While waiting for this new book, please read THE GENIE IGNITES from Amazon.
Or download to any ereader from Boroughs Publishing Group.



Do Breasts Sell Books?

Her name is Rosie. Her breasts help to sell bras for Victoria's Secret.

Her name is Rosie. Her breasts help to sell bras for Victoria’s Secret.

Of course they do. Breasts can sell anything. Put a pair on a product and sales pick up…or at least temporary interest picks up. We can’t help it. We are a mammalian species. Men and women love to look. Women, you say? Sure. We like to assess, maybe compare. “Hmm, would I really want breasts that big?” “Do my breasts look like THAT?” “How can I make my breasts look like that?”

Marketers long ago discovered that sex sells. That means any image that connotes sex will be used in their ads; even if the product is a type of car that will be primarily purchased by men. Scratch that. Especially if the product is a product that will be purchased by men: rifles, rods, reels, workboots. Romance novels would be a natural showcase for breasts. You would think.

This is an erotic title. Breasts don't usually show up so proudly on romance novels.

This is an erotic title. Breasts don’t usually show up so proudly on romance novels.

Turns out, not so much. In the bestselling romances of the past week, not a single breast is in sight. And these are romances! Let’s look to the top selling romances of all time. Nope. No breasts. Really, the only books on which I found a bodacious bounty of breasts were on erotica titles. And even then, the covers mostly depict torsos gleaming and clutching, frequently with a bare-chested heroine. But then her slim (flat) back is the only skin exposed to the reader. Obviously, her breasts are pressed against the chest of her paramour. But you’ll only get that explanation, and what comes after, when you start reading.

Breasts selling cars

Breasts selling cars

Unlike in the world of commerce (cars, guns, and fishing equipment), even the books targeted to men forego a cover that busts out. On most of the thrillers, you’re going to get a silhouette of an angst-ridden hero, a cosmopolitan city skyline, guns and ammunition. So, what’s the formula for selling a romance novel by its cover? Well, it definitely has to be appealing. But what does that mean? In my own anecdotal survey, seems to be that best-selling covers allude to a couple intent on

Her breasts are selling the shampoo Pantene.

Her breasts are selling the shampoo Pantene.

love, whether that’s just showing a couple near a lighthouse…or just the lighthouse. People love romantic images. They don’t necessarily want overt images. Even the sexy books aim to be subtle. 50 Shades of Grey shows a necktie, for God’s sake. A necktie. Not even a necktie dangling between two large breasts. Just the necktie. However, the theme is implicit with that one necktie. Readers like to use their imaginations. That’s why they read. Ultimately, what people want from a book is a well-written story.

And that’s my 75 cents for the day (take it and buy a copy of my romance, which does have breasts on the cover, but not as a featured product. More of a tableau item.). Why have I exhibited all these breasts here? To make a point, I guess. Breasts may not sell books, but they do get hits on websites. I’m going to milk that for all its worth…excuse the pun.

 Best Wishes,

Harvard Doc Dies & Flies in Afterlife

I’m hoping the clothes are updated in the afterlife. Maybe a nice clingy, jersey blend…less drag.

…were those genies he saw? Depending on your background, you’ll say they were angels, cerebral neurons firing off, or genies. When a neurosurgeon named Eben Alexander, III, (who has taught at Harvard Medical School) fell into a meningitis-induced coma in 2008, he claims that he visited a place he can only explain as heaven:

“According to current medical understanding of the brain and mind, there is absolutely no way that I could have experienced even a dim and limited consciousness during my time in the coma, much less the hyper-vivid and completely coherent odyssey I underwent,” Alexander writes in the cover story of this week’s edition of Newsweek.”

As a scientist, he recognizes that our rational minds will seek to debunk his claim. He’s thought about that. He’s a neurosurgeon. A smart guy. And he doesn’t have a good explanation, especially for this vision (which is reported in Yahoo! News):

Alexander says he first found himself floating above clouds before witnessing, “transparent, shimmering beings arced across the sky, leaving long, streamer like lines behind them.”

I love this. This is what I imagine the afterlife is like. Total freedom, exuberance, exploration without fear, and unassisted flight. That’s the coolest part of this story for me. We’ve all had the dreams where we fly without wings. Granted, sometimes I don’t get more than four feet  off the ground and I’m windmilling my arms like crazy, but the effect is, nonetheless, liberating. Whooosh! Imagine doing that miles from the nearest surface and with flying companions festooned with shimmery, silvery streamers. This must be heaven. I will say that I think it’s a parallel plane where angels may tread, where the soul soujourns, and where–maybe, just maybe–we get to cavort with our ethereal neighbors, the jinn.

Check out Dr. Alexander’s own description of his near-death experience. Alexander also has written a book about his experience called Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife. I’m going to believe it just because it’s so darn cool. What about you?

Best Wishes and Happy Flying,


Zubis does some flying in The Genie Ignites from Boroughs Publishing Group.

On Kindle. On Nook. 


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