Love: Capitalism's Best Seller

Cover design by Hamda Al Kuwari and Fatima Al Salat

We hear songs, watch movies, and yes, read books about that most elusive of emotions: love. No matter if your culture practices arranged marriages (Indian/Arab) or not (the west). No matter if your parents are divorced (fell out of love) or not. No matter if you are married (harder to stay in love?) or not. I could tell you how at one point in human history marriage was thought of a business transaction, a way to consolidate wealth within families or across countries. Or that modern society has not eased up on women to have a man (and a baby or two) in order to think we have it all. You’re smart. You know these schemes around the world’s most sought after prize — finding one’s soul mate.

Love is at the core of contemporary culture. Despite your best efforts, there’s no way to avoid it. From Bollywood to Hollywood the themes are the ones passed to us by the Bard himself, William Shakespeare. Star crossed lovers; repudiated love; timid love; the plot lines are as familiar as the headlines for celebrity breakups. Were, for example, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes ever in love? Or was it a career furthering scheme drafted in the cold light of day between agents? What will happen to Suri Curise, the tiny fashion maven?

Those are questions for a very different story than the one I wrote inspired by the dreams, wishes, and desires of young people living in Qatar.

Love Comes Later is my second novel, a meditation on how non-western people of this generation will find happiness. I’m excited to say the book is now available for purchase on

As a writer I’m not immune to the questions of the commercial love machine. After all romance readers account for a large portion of book sales year round. Romance writers are like country singers; they come out with albums on a yearly basis and their fans make them best sellers. I’m not sure if I’m going to become what’s called a genre writer and stick only to romance from now on. This story, of three protagonists, Abdulla, Hind, and Sangita, came to me as a love triangle.

I can tell you that based on the five books I’ve released this year, the novel is the one everyone gets excited about. Short stories and essays may get a passing look, but a novel still seems to inspire more wonder and likelihood of risk on a new author. This new project will help me further test my hypothesis… or you can share your thoughts on my theory and enlighten me.

If you like your romance more visual than textual, then have a look at the book’s YouTube trailer. As always, writers need readers, so please take a second and let me know what you think!



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Why 1,195 Facebook Friends May Mean You're a Loser

facebook (Photo credit: sitmonkeysupreme)


On this blog I’ve mediated a lot on the nature of friendship and also described the shortcomings of being an expat in a constantly shifting community. Becoming a self published author has ratcheted up the nature of this long standing inquiry towards larger questions about the nature of friendships in the 21st century. Friendships that make up networks which are supposed to be the backbone of a distribution channel. If people mystified me before I started publishing ebooks, I’m out and out stumped now. I”ll give you three case studies as to why.

1. Voting

In the nearly two years since I’ve been a blog tour host, I’ve never won the traffic breaker poll. To win, a blogger has to get people over to a poll to click their blog name. That’s all. There’s no merit involved. The average winner has 100 votes. The most I’ve ever had is 3. According to my network stats, the goal of 100 should be fairly easy to reach as this is about 1% of my “friends” on Facebook.

2. Liking

During a Skype chat, my mother admitted she hadn’t yet liked my page for a newly released title. My own mother. No wonder the goal of getting to 50 likes on Amazon was a monumental task, even for someone with a newsletter distribution of 75 people.

3. Winning

Perhaps you’re not that compelling, you’re thinking  and it’s an idea that has occurred to me as well. Imagine our surprise when our son was a finalist for a “Beautiful Baby” contest sponsored by a photo studio. Here surely was a cause that our friends and family would rally around. Well, he has yet to break 100 and the winner has nearly 400 votes. And yes, someone in our family went to the voting page and actually like another baby. (Voting is open until the 25th, so give the kid in the blue a like).

4. Kickstarting

As someone who has funded friends to walk/run marathons, produce their own music, or live their dream at a certain moment, imagine my surprise when at least these same people didn’t join a Kickstarter campaign to fund a pilot for a TV show I was working on. I didn’t want to push, since of all the examples, this is the one that is tied to money. But the mailing list of another Kickstarter campaign sent me weekly updates on their fundraising. Updates that included a “we did it.” Sadly, my campaign could not say the same.


SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 15:  Facebook founder...
SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 15: Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a special event announcing a new Facebook email messaging system at the St. Regis Hotel on November 15, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Facebook will launch a new messaging system aimed at enhancing it's social media product to its 500 million users. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

So what is it? What is that the others who are getting the likes, winning the traffic break, the mamma whose kid has 400 fans, what are they doing I’m not? I don’t quite know but I do know that the answer will be important to me as I continue to write, market, and promote my work. There are dozens of articles telling us not to spam people with our links or requests. But how else to explain the phenomena of in a world of online voting?

The last two activities are the ones that make me cringe. Self promotion has never come easy. After all work should speak for itself. Apparently not in the era of social media. Relentless self promotion is how to mobilize. Perhaps irritating someone is better than people not knowing that a contest is even happening (as two of my friends professed on the baby contest at lunch this weekend). What do you think? What makes you give a click? Where is the line between friendship and support?

One thing is certain: indie authors rely on the kindness of strangers who often become friends. I’m hosting Michelle Cornwell-Jordan today and her cover reveal for Night School for this very reason (and why I have the Writer’s Studio). Michelle’s solo debut YA title Night School: Vampire Hunter Bk.1 (Angel) releases March 31st 2012. The first in a trilogy, Night School mixes a little of Michelle’s favorite obsessions: Twilight versus Buffy the Vampire Slayer! (Amazon,, Smashwords &Goodreads). Read more about the heroine Dasheen and Michelle’s work below.
Dasheen Bellamy has lost everything. Now with just her brother, they enter Ame Academy. Soon her only family is threatened… That’s unacceptable… Dasheen enters Night School…where the monsters play…. Angel is born… She is a Vampire Hunter and also…Angel is like any other kid…except the monsters are afraid of her…

Twitter: @mcjordan37Michelle Cormwell Jordan



Books on Sale

Michelle  is a book lover, with YA paranormal adventures as her favorite genre, although she can be a glutton for any young adult title. Michelle’s other love is writing, Michelle has been writing about as long as she has been a bibliophile! Losing herself in a fantasy world that she or others have created is how she loves spending her spare time. Along with author Danny Jones, Michelle Cornwell-Jordan completed, a YA paranormal called Reahket, which is available on,, Smashwords and Goodreads.

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A Prologue Preview

Photo by Abdulrahman al Subaiey

Last week you helped me narrow the cover concept for  Love Comes Later a novel I’m working on

The book is a meditation on love, set in Doha, Qatar (with the plot taking readers back and forth to London as well).

I’m sharing an excerpt of the prologue below so you get a feel for the characters, as well as the setting. Both are very interesting but foreign to me. We follow Abdulla, the first protagonist, inside a Qatari home, and then further, into his thoughts.

As always feel free to leave feedback, ask questions or make suggestions. Sign up for my newsletter and you’ll know when the book is launched!