Friday, January 21, 2011

It's a Mythtery! A study of Mythical Creatures and Legends: Genie/Djinni

photo from

A Study of Mythological Creatures and Legends

Welcome to another new segment of my blog. I've currently been doing a truck load of research on genies for my current WIP, so I thought it would be fun to share what I know, as well as research other mythical creatures throughout the year. I hate to horde all this genie knowledge and keep it to myself. There's plenty to go around for everyone! Who knows, if it works out well I may keep it as a staple here at Christy's Creative Space. We'll see how it goes. Let me know what you think. Are there any Mythical creatures or Characters that you would like to see researched in the future?

1)Modern day thoughts regarding Genies (truth is stranger than fiction)
2)Writers Toolbox; Association and symbolism
4)Six different levels or tribes of Djinni
7)Major Legends
8)Books about or containing djinn

Modern day thoughts regarding Genies: (truth is stranger than fiction)
While the majority don't believe in the existence of Genies, there are some who still believe they can be contacted and summoned. Below are some modern day examples:

1) People sell Djinn on e-bay. Most of them come as residents in jewelry and other trinkets.

2) There are You-tube video's claiming to have recorded genies.

3) A Saudi Lawyer wanted to have a Djinn testify in court.

4) A college student has a scare when a friend conjures up a Djinn

5)In 1998, Pakistani nuclear scientist Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood proposed in a Wall Street Journal interview that jinn could be tapped to solve the energy crisis. "I think that if we develop our souls, we can develop communication with them. ... Every new idea has its opponents, but there is no reason for this controversy over Islam and science because there is no conflict between Islam and science." (Wikipedia)

6) When a Djinn dies, its soul infuses the area of its death. If this can be somehow harvested, it can be used to create magic of great curative properties. It is said that such magic can raise the dead, greatly extend life, and bestow great powers. (

7) There are web-sites that sell the secrets to summoning an rituals so that you can have your very own Genie who can give you winning lottery numbers, dig treasure, and aid you in teleportation and grant any wish in the blink of an eye. (for a price, of course) Since I don't personally endorse rituals such as this I'm not going to provide any links. But, as a writer, I find this fact fascinating for its fictional possibilities so I thought I'd mention it anyway.

Writers toolbox: Association/Symbolism
-animals (especially birds, dogs, camels, worms, porpoise, horse)
-cyclones/dust clouds

-use of intelligence and cunning in order to escape bondage
-Anger (loathes anyone who enslaves them)
-killer (will destroy master if he finds a way to escape from his bond)
-treasure finder
-wish granter
-pain (being summoned is painful)

-grants masters bidding
-ability to travel to different realms as well as anywhere in the universe
-has free will (ability to choose good or evil)
-Can be summoned and bonded by use of the djinn's giving name along with a summoning spell.

Let's take a look at Genie history:
Djinn, Djinni, Jinn, Genii, Jinniyah. Jinn is the female singular form; Djinni being the male plural and Jinniyah, or Jineeyah, being the female plural form.

Origin: These supernatural beings have been a fundamental element of the magical and popular magnitude of the Islamic religion. Pre-Islamic society thought them to be nature spirits who could drive a man to insanity. Jinniyah that take the shape of a beautiful woman and seduces men are called succubi (sincular: succubus) , especially monks and men of religious stature, and usually kills the men at a later time. The male counterpart to the succubi is the incubus.

-The root of the original root of jinn is said to come from the Semitic root "JNN" which refers to hidden or concealed. The word genie in English is derived from Latin genius, which meant guardian spirit.

-Super-human beings made of fire and flames, capable of taking on a variety of forms.
-They are considered to be spirits, but lower in form than an angel.
-They can be good or evil.
-Believed to be made of smokeless fire by The Creator himself.
-Sometimes able to take control of a persons body.
-When the Djinn are not walking the deserts looking for those they can prey on, they are thought to live in mythical mountains that are believed to encircle the earth. In Islam this mythical range is known as the Kaf and here they stay along with other mystical supernatural demons and beings.
-Possesses free will
-Can fly
-Generally despise masters who bind them into slavery and are eager to destroy that master at the first slip up that will release them from their bonds or will seek to use their Master's words against them if possible.
-Sly and cunning
-some said that if a person refused to believe in Islam that they would become a demon or a Djinn.

Different Levels of Djinni: There are believed to be 4-6 different tribes/types of Djinn:
1)the True Djinn: mostly stayed neutral; is the largest, and therefore most influential tribe out of all six of them. They are closely related to the Efreeti tribe. Most of the True Djinn have now taken up sides of the Great War among the tribes, but the neutral ones are feral; attacking everything in sight, and people assume that they are evil. Within the True Djinn tribe, there are Aku Djinn, who were fierce and flesh hungry; Emberwilde Djinn, who ruled the fire plane; Ernham Djinn, the hunters that use their powers to make more of a chase for themselves in the forested areas; Juzam Djinn, the second most powerful Djinn, often rebelling against their masters (Sahirs), making it difficult to own or control one; Kookus Djinn, which the goblins of Jamuraan Mountains took it upon themselves to contain them and give them the unfortunate name that is pronounced "cook-us"; Ravnican Djinn, which were considered too dangerous to exist by the Guildpact, and the ones that were still alive at the decamillenium were forced into labor in the polar regions; and lastly there's the Serendib Djinn, extremely powerful, smart and strong, with the ability to grant wishes.
2)Djann: followed the path of truth, the second most common and second most dangerous of Djinn tribes. Known mostly as Fire Djinn, they embrace light more than any other tribe, but they are not constant friends with man. They normally defend those they find pure. Constant enemies of the Efretis, Nekrataals, and Ghuls. They normally hide in the desert in oasis's, and because of this, they were the first Djinn to make contact with humans. Caravan travelers tend to respect these Djinn since they may reveal or hide an oasis to the ones they deem worthy or unworthy. They often appear as white camels or soldiers, and usually disappear into sand cyclones. Because of their desert dwelling habits and avoiding cities, this puts them into contact with the Ghul Djinn tribe.
3)Efreet (Ifrit): chose to declare war on light. was mainly in charge. inherently evil and declared war on the Djann. Known mostly as Fire Djinn, they have been evil since ancient days and war against the Light tribes. Some of the Djinn in the Efreet tribe are Ifh-biff Efreeti, capricious and not quite as strong as their fellow Efreeti, can still unleash a vicious windstorm on an opponent; Junn Efreeti, the worst of their kind - they incite madness in their victims or control the weak by locking eyes with them; Serendib Efreeti, profane, cunning, and enjoying suffering; and the Wildfire Efreeti, main servants to the Emberwilde Djinn.
4)Nekrataal: chose to declare war on light. The longest living Djinn tribe. Mainly live in marshy regions and bring plague and despair to everything they touch. They are more known to appear as beautiful men and women, although they have been told to show as black camels. As they are the weakest of all Djinn, they resort to manipulation and trickery to reach their goals. Later on, in stories told in books, they became referred to as "human assassin", with a bug on their shoulder being the manifestation of the Nekrataal.
5)Marid: chose to declare war on light. the oldest, wisest, and most powerful tribe were allowed to choose as they saw fit; most of them tended to side with the Djann on their path of truth. The most respected Djinn tribe Perhaps because of their age, they are like ancients compared to the rest. Their numbers are few and scattered, but they are the most powerful of all the Djinn. They master weather, wind, and water, and because of this they tend to live near the coasts and appear in great waterspouts. Many Marids have ascended the mortal plane, choosing not to get involved with the Great War between the Djinn. Marids usually appear in the form of an old man, porpoise, or horse, to lead travelers to safer courses.
6) Ghul: chose to declare war on light. inherently evil and declared war on the Djann.
(three of these types can be found in the book The Arabian Nights). Within in the six tribes, they battle good and evil among themselves, much like humans do. The lowest order of the tribes falls to the Ghuls, who feed off of power from the dead. Despite being intelligent, they follow their feral instincts and act like animals when looking for food. They will commonly disguise themselves as pilgrims, and will attack random people if not shown proper hospitality. It's said that if you offer a Ghul salt, it will refuse to harm the giver and his household. Ghuls will fight each other for food, and it's not unheard of if they dig up a grave to desecrate the dead if food is scarce. Powerful Ghuls can take the form of vultures and follow lesser Ghuls into battlefields with dying and wounded soldiers. To pass through the desert with no trouble from Ghuls, it is suggested that you carry iron with you.

Their strengths:
-Can become invisible or take on the form of any animal or human.
-Some can travel between the human realm and the realm where angels reside.
-Can fly
-Can be invisible to humans

Their weaknesses:
-Sensitive to silver which can burn their flesh and possibly cause death.
-Can be tricked or coerced into having their powers weakened or preventing them from doing harm to a human.
-Can be bound into slavery by humans.
-Some are sensitive to iron.
-Their given birth name allows them to be summoned and

Major legends and Mythys:
1) It is told that King Solomon controlled many Djinn with a special ring. With the power of his ring he used the Djinn to build the Temple of Jerusalem as well as other splendid buildings and gardens.

2) The Djinn's powers were consistently fading away due to the constant warring between the tribes; King Suleiman decided to put an end to it. He took this chance to bind the spirits to his command. As he rose through the ranks of power, it is said he used a serpent staff, a cauldron, and a ring to capture seventy Djinn. The most powerful of all the ones enslaved was the True Djinn Shamir, who eventually took the form of a
meager worm.

3) Aladdin. Need I say more?

Books about or containing genies:
The Bartimaus Trilogy by Johnathan Stroud
The Genie Scheme by Kimberly K. Jones
The Arabian Nights
Delcare by Tim Powers is a spy story mixed with a djinn twist
The Sandman Collection: Fables and Reflections by Neil Gaiman (often refers to djinn)
American Gods by Neil Gaiman has an ifrit taxi driver
The Complete Encyclopedia of Mythology


If any genie loving experts out there are reading this blog and you feel like I'm missing info or have something that needs to be corrected, please send me a message and let me know. I don't presume this to be a perfect document. I'm happy to update.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Book Review: Undercover by Beth Kephart

UNDERCOVER by Beth Kephart
A review from a writers perspective

Imagine words pirouetting in a perfectly choreographed line straight into the depth of your soul. Along the way their magic softens calluses and sets free the hidden and the buried things that you've justified into darkness yet have managed to take root in your very core. The words breeze by, stir up the muck and set them free. This phenomenon may result in tears, relief, latent therapy or just made you take time to stop and think, but they've done some good none-the-less, in one way or another. That's what lyrical language does for me. That's what this book did. Beautifully written.

Why I picked it up? I went to and looked for reading suggestions. The description and the mention of "lyrical language" caught my eye.

The Story: The story in itself is simple: Girl (Elisa) with low self esteem and a crumbling home life likes boy. Boy dates another girl. What sets this book apart from other books with a similar story line is the materials with which it is woven into an intricate and thoughtful design. Kephart created a modern day, teen Cyrano De Bergerac (Elisa) and adorned her with a unique perspective on life and a love for skating that helps her step out of her shell so she can face her troubles with confidence and realize the beauty within herself.

The Characters: Most of the characters are well-rounded and well-done. The only Character that I think could have been more developed was Lila, the girlfriend of our main characters love interest. Lila's character is flat and since we know so little about what fuels her over-dramatic outbursts towards Elisa, it makes Lila's character and her excessive actions feel a bit forced.

The Voice: The things that make up the voice of this book: The lyrical language (of course) Even though this is a lyrical book Kephart is still able to maintain an authentic teen mindset and thought process, Elisa's unique perspective and contemplation about the world around her, strong use of symbolism with a statue, a lake and the change of seasons.

The Underlying Theme: What is going on beneath this regular girl with regular problems? She is learning to not give into her troubles and let them keep her from having what she wants just because she has always believed that she didn't deserve them.

I believe that the best of the best of the books out there have a sentence or a paragraph (usually found somewhere in the last quarter of the book that states or gives clue to the underlying theme of the book. Since it is written so well, I want to share this paragraph where I found (what I believe to be) the underlying theme.

Part 2 chapter 18
setting: Elisa is contemplating her honors English class study of Cyrano De Bergerac as he cares for Roxanne after the death of Christian, yet he never tells her the truth of his love and his letters, that the words that made her fall in love with Christian were really his words and his sentiments.
". . . . But what does he do, for fourteen years? He attends to Roxanne's fantasy. 'It is written/ that I should build for others and be forgotten . . .' he says. 'I stand below in dark--'tis all my story--/while others climb to snatch the kiss of glory.'
Here's what I think, when I think about it more: beauty is a cruel deception, true. But the greatest tragedy of all is letting invisibility win. It's choosing to give up the thing you want because you think you don't deserve it."

On a scale from 1-5 I give this book a 4. It's a great read and a ton of literary jewels for a writer to uncover and put in their little literary box of treasures.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

What you may not know about me . . .

Thanks to Katrina Lantz for giving this blog award to me.

Since I'm a very obedient person and adhere to all rules (a-hem) I will do what all who post this award must do; Post 15 things that you probably don't know about me.

1) I study 2 disciplines of martial arts; Taekwondo and Hapkido

2) I don't mind going to the movies by myself. I actually kind of like it when I feel like a need an "escape"

3) I have broken both of my legs and both of my arms, but not at the same time. This last broken ankle was the clincher. I'd really like to stop breaking bones now.

4) In 7th grade, my English teacher accused me of plagiarizing a poem that I had written for an assignment. (It was called Lead Foot Granny) I was so embarrassed that I didn't keep it. In hindsight, I wish I had.

5) When I was 16 I got to travel through France for a month with my French group.

6) My husband and I only knew each other for one week before we started talking about getting married. I was only 21 when we got married. The odds were against us, but we'll be celebrating year 18 this May.

7) I had some unusual pets as a kid such as; a turtle, an iguana and hermit crabs

8) I love turkey bologna.

9) My favorite Starbucks drink is a skinny vanilla latte.

10) I was hit by a car when I was 5 years old (see #3) with a broken arm, leg and my face split open, I was lucky I survived.

11) I was a gymnast and a figure skater when I was younger

12) I went to the same church with Clay Aiken a year before he went on American Idol. My jaw dropped the first time I heard him sing a solo from the stage.

13) I once went to a hard-core biker wedding. I went dressed in shorts and still felt over dressed.

14) I once had a friend who had a guinea pig that would do back flips after it ate broccoli.

15) I have a tattoo.

Now I'm supposed to tag people. The rules say it should be 15 people, but honestly by this point it's hard to find bloggers who haven't already had this award given to them. I'll just tag some people and not worry about how many it ends up being. I mean, there aren't any blogging award police out there, is there?

I am tagging:

Kelly Pollark, Rena Jones, Angela Ackerman, Bish Denham, MG Higgins, Cynthia Chapman Willis. Also, if I didn't post your name but you want to participate then consider yourself tagged!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Beth Revis Gives Encouragement to Writers

Happy Birthday
Across the Universe!

That's right. Today is the long anticipated birth of Beth Revis' brain child, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE

Congratulations Beth! I know the world is going to go gaga over your book.

I also thought this would be a good opportunity to start a new segment on my blog called "Encouragement for Writers from Authors, Editors and Agents." Who better to be my first Encouragement Interview than Beth!

So, Thank you Beth for sharing some words of encouragement for writers on your very special day.

Beth, Do you have a favorite saying, quote or poem that inspires you during times of discouragement?
I love Winston Churchill's quote: "Never never never never never give up."

Do you have a brief story about discouragement in your own writing career that you would like to share with us?
The truth of the matter is that I was rejected for ten years before I got a single acceptance. That sucked. There's no other way to put it. I was ready to give up, and very nearly did, but decided to give it one last shot...and that ended up being ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, the book that changed everything.

What words of encouragement do you have for people who have yet to publish their fist manuscript?
Keep writing. By this, I mean: write each novel like it's The One--revise it, edit it, work on it, and submit it--but if it doesn't work out, write the next novel. Don't let yourself stagnate. Keep writing.

What words of encouragement do you have for those who are published yet are seeking further publication?
Keep writing. The same principle applies to the published author as to the unpublished one. Keep working, keep striving, and never never never never never give up.

Anything else to add?
If you haven't read it, check out Paolo Coelho's novel, THE ALCHEMIST. It's a wonderful book about seeking and striving towards your dreams, and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to try to become something more.

Thanks for your encouraging words, Beth. You are an inspiration! Also, thanks for rec. the Alchemist. I'll have to check that out, but before I do, I HAVE to read Across the Universe first! I can't wait to get my hands on a copy.

Monday, January 3, 2011

I give a whole new meaning to "breaking a resolution"

It's only the 3rd of January and I've already broke my resolution. Literally.

OK, so it's not necessarily a resolution for the new year. I have an ongoing resolution to work on my health and fitness goals. It's pretty much a staple in my life. January just seems like a good time to renew that commitment. So . . . this morning I wake up at around 5:00. I'm feeling energetic and peppy, so I decide to take the dogs for a walk before waking the kids up for school. I bundle up. Walk out the door, walk down the driveway, slip on ice at the end of the driveway and break my ankle. I had to crawl up the drive and up the stairs to wake up my hubby to take me to the emergency room. To make a long story short, I have to have surgery on my ankle in the morning to have a metal plate put on my bone.

So, my new New Years resolution is to not take the dogs for a walk early in the morning. Nothing good happens that early in the morning. Sleep in people! It's the safest thing to do.

I'll be off my feet for about 6-8 weeks, so it looks like I'll have more time to dedicate to my writing. I'm thinking about doing a NaNo Break-mo. I've started an idea for a new book, so maybe it'll be fun to see what I can do with that for the next 6-8 weeks and an ample supply of pain killer.

On a more positive note, here's a link to my article that was published in the 2011 Charlotte Parent Baby Guide. Click here to see it.