lunes, 10 de marzo de 2014

Shadows of Damascus: amor en tiempos de guerra + sorteo

SHADOWS OF DAMASCUS, de Lilas Taha, es una novela sobre el amor entre personas de culturas opuestas, el honor, el dolor de una vida en guerra, y las oportunidades que surgen de las circunstancias más oscuras. La autora nos cuenta cosas sobre ella misma que son tanto sorprendentes como tiernas.

10 curiosidades sobre la autora
10 things most people don’t know about you

1.     I didn’t know that my first name is Lilas until I was five years old. Up to then, everyone called me by the nickname, Lulu. On my first day of school, a teacher tried to convince me that my name is indeed Lilas, and I remember crying all day because of it.

No supe que mi nombre es Lilas hasta los cinco años. Solían llamarme Lulu que es mi apodo. Mi primer día de colegio, un profesor trató de convencerme de que mi nombre de verdad era Lilas, y recuerdo que me pasé el día llorando por eso.

2.     I was born a lefty. My parents taught me to use my right hand for eating and writing. Everything else, I use my left hand for.

Soy zurda de nacimiento. Mis padres me enseñaron a usar mi mano derecha para comer y escribir. Utilizo la izquierda para todo lo demás.

3.     I like to watch horror movies. Not the silly meaningless bloody movies, but the ones with believable plots that send my heart rate to the roof.

Me gusta ver pelis de terror. No las tontas sangrientas, sino las que tienen tramas creíbles que hacen que el corazón me lata a toda velocidad.

4.     I took private piano lessons for many years. I eavesdropped on my teacher when she finally convinced my mother to stop wasting her money. I lacked talent, she had said. Unfortunately, she was right. I can read music notes and play them, but it’s a mechanical process for me.

Recibí clases de piano durante muchos años. Pude oír cómo mi profesora consiguió convencer a mi madre de que dejara de malgastar el dinero. Me faltaba talento, dijo. Desafortunadamente, tenía razón. Puedo leer partituras y tocarlas, pero es un proceso mecánico para mí.

5.     I can’t stand repetitive movement. If I am in a room with a wall clock, the ticking drives me crazy. If someone sits next to me and starts pumping their leg, or clicking a pen, I fight the urge to steady them with my hand. Most of the times, I change seats.

No puedo soportar los movimientos repetitivos. Si estoy en una habitación con un reloj de pared, el tic tac me vuelve loca. Si alguien sentado a mi lado empieza a balancear una pierna, o si da golpecitos con un bolígrafo, tengo que controlar el impulso de pararles con la mano. La mayor parte de las veces me cambio de sitio.

6.     I can switch from one Arabic dialect to another with ease. Egyptian dialect, for example, is very different from Syrian, which in turn differs from Palestinian dialect. Kuwaiti accent is very unique and sounds like a completely different language compared to other dialects. The same goes for Moroccan and Algerian accents. The deviations are more prominent than switching between American, British or Australian pronunciations. I find it easy to make the switch, and I sound convincing in most dialects.

Puedo cambiar de un dialecto árabe a otro sin problemas. Por ejemplo, el dialecto egipcio es muy diferente del asirio, el cual dista del palestino. El acento kuwaití es único y suena totalmente distinto de otros dialectos. Lo mismo ocurre con los acentos marroquí y argelino. Las distinciones son más marcadas que cuando cambias entre las pronunciaciones del inglés americano, británico o australiano. Me resulta fácil ir de uno a otro, y sueno bastante convincente en la mayoría de dialectos.

7.     I don’t like to pick flowers from a garden. But love receiving an arrangement of flowers every now and then.

No me gusta coger flores de un jardín. Aunque me encanta recibir un arreglo floral de vez en cuando.

8.     I can’t stand seeing a bird in a cage. I don’t think that’s a way to keep a pet, and I don’t think birds are pets. They were born to fly. I’m very old fashioned this way.

No soporto ver a un pájaro en una jaula. Creo que no es forma de tener a una mascota, ni que los pájaros lo sean. Nacieron para volar. En ese sentido soy muy anticuada.

9.     I don’t like to say “I don’t know” about anything, which is a huge problem to anyone who asks me a question and expects an accurate answer. I grasp general concepts, but let go of the details.

No me gusta decir que no sé algo sobre cualquier asunto, es un problema cuando alguien me pregunta y espera una respuesta exacta. Entiendo los conceptos generales pero se me escapan los detalles.

10. I can stomach crime scenes. Blood doesn’t faze me.

Puedo tolerar escenas del crimen. La sangre no me incomoda.



Bullet wounds, torture and oppression aren’t the only things that keep a man—or a woman—from being whole. Debt. Honor. Pain. Solitude. These are things wounded war veteran Adam Wegener knows all about. Love—now, that he is not good at. Not when love equals a closed fist, burns, and suicide attempts. But Adam is one who keeps his word. He owes the man who saved his life in Iraq. And he doesn’t question the measure of the debt, even when it is in the form of an emotionally distant, beautiful woman. Yasmeen agreed to become the wife of an American veteran so she could flee persecution in war-torn Syria. She counted on being in the United States for a short stay until she could return home. There was one thing she did not count on: wanting more. Is it too late for Adam and Yasmeen?

Lilas Taha is a writer at heart, an electrical engineer by training, and an advocate for domestic abuse victims by choice. She was born in Kuwait to a Syrian mother and a Palestinian father, and immigrated to the U.S. as a result of the Gulf war in 1990. She earned a master’s degree in Human Factors Engineering from the University of Wisconsin- Madison. There, Lilas met her beloved husband and true friend, and moved with him to Sugar Land, Texas to establish a family. She is the proud mother of a daughter and a son. Instead of working in an industrial field, she applied herself to the field of social safety, working with victims of domestic violence.

Pursuing her true passion for creative writing, Lilas brings her professional interests, and her Middle Eastern background together in her debut fictional novel, Shadows of Damascus.


Damascus, Syria

Summer 2006
The seductive fragrance of Damascus roses drifted through the open window and flirted with fifteen-year-old Yasmeen’s olfactory senses. The potent flowers in her neighbor’s yard delivered the best awakening. She loved beginnings, especially early, mid-summer mornings like these. Stretching across the bed, her imagination raced with possibilities for the promising day.
Thursday. The day her older brother’s friends visited and stayed well into the evening. Yasmeen ticked off potential visitors in her head, dashing young university students who loved to talk politics with Fadi. Today, she would do her best to discover the name of the quietest member in the group, the thin one with round-rimmed glasses. On her nightstand, the sketch she worked on during the last visit waited for his name, and more details around the eyes.
Peeling off the covers, she tip-toed to the window. Lively noises matched her optimistic mood. Nightingales sang greetings. Clanging dishes and pots resonated from surrounding houses beyond high walls. Mothers called out for their daughters to get breakfast ready. Men’s deep voices describing fresh fruits and vegetables with tempting traditional phrases drifted above hidden alleys. One vendor claimed his cucumbers were small as baby fingers, and likened his ripe apples to a virgin bride’s cheeks. Another boasted his plum peaches shed their covers without enticement, and his shy eggplants hid well in a moonless night.
Yasmeen succumbed to the enlivening chaos spilling in from her bedroom window, her own special and personal opening to the world. Tilting her head back, she exposed her face and neck to the sun, allowing its invigorating rays to paint her cheeks.
Today, her mother told her she would be allowed to take a coffee tray into Fadi’s room once all his friends arrived. What would she wear? She should tell her best friend Zainab to stop by earlier than usual to go through her wardrobe. She could help her decide. Perhaps one of Fadi’s friends would notice her. More than one? Why not?
Draping her arms on the windowsill, she looked at the neighbor’s yard, counting the blooming roses, a ritual she performed each morning since the season started. In the north corner of the largest flowerbed, two violet buds grabbed her attention, their delicate petals about to unfold. Once they came to full bloom, their deep purple color would dominate the landscape.
A knock sounded at her door.
“I am awake.”
Her father walked in. “Good. We have work to do.” He held a hammer in one hand and a couple of boards in the other. “Move aside, Yasmeen.” He approached the window.
She stepped away and pointed at the boards. “What do you need those for?”
Her father closed the windowpanes, locked them, placed one board across the frame, and hammered it in place.
“What are you doing?”
“This window is not to be opened again, child.”
She could not believe her ears. “Why?”
“Neighbors moved out last night.” Her father nailed the second board in place. “Mukhabarat took over their house.”

tour here
• One randomly chosen commenter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card.

• Two randomly chosen hosts will each receive a $25 Amazon/ gift card.

La autora ofrece un sorteo doble entre todos los comentaristas del tour. Cuanto más comentéis a lo largo del tour, más posibilidades hay de ganar ;o) The author generously offers two prizes for commenters throughout the tour. Comment away!

Feliz semana, arrebatadores :o) Y si antes de iros, queréis decirme una curiosidad sobre vosotros mismos, adelante. Una curiosidad sobre Babel sería... que siempre estoy pensando en comer algo dulce. ¡La tentación me puede!

Babel en un palacio exótico (donde debería estar siendo mimada como merezco).

19 comentarios:

Mary Preston dijo...

I prefer to leave the flowers in the garden too. I'm impressed with your ability with the dialects.

Goddess Fish Promotions dijo...

Thanks for hosting! Gracias!!

msevilla dijo...

Participo con mucho gusto

Elise-Maria Barton dijo...

I identify with pont 9; I too find it almost impossible to admit I don't know something. Hence my pursuit of the written word, any and all written words lol. My kids think I am a walking talking version of Wikipedia because I know so many random facts lol


Lilas Taha dijo...

Thanks for hosting me today. I'm excited to spread my wings!

Lilas Taha dijo...

Mary, Don't flowers look more beautiful in their own environment? Like every thing else in life? Thanks for the backup :)

Lilas Taha dijo...

Elise-Maria, If only I can claim i collect facts. I really don't. I know things in general, and my kids always hound me for concentrating on the facts. I do when it counts, of course :)

Pinkiland dijo...

Pues no lo conocía :)

Rob APEXEnterprise dijo...

Really interesting to read all this. Really awesome

Lilas Taha dijo...

Pinkiland, Gracias!

Lilas Taha dijo...

Rob, I hope you get to enjoy the book too. Thanks.

Lilas Taha dijo...

Msevilla, Good luck.

kelika dijo...

lo que mas me gusta es el sorteo sin duda, gracias.

Caminante dijo...

10 curiosidades muy curiosas! me ha hecho gracia la primera porque me pasó algo parecido. Siempre me habían llamado por mi primer nombre, pero a cierta edad (no recuerdo cuándo) me enteré de que tenía un segundo nombre y me frustré bastante, me negaba a creérmelo. Ahora me gustan mucho ambos nombres, aunque siga usando el primero. =)

Margari dijo...

Tampoco soporto el tic tac de un reloj. Me pone de los nervios! Y no me gusta nada arrancar una flor de un jardín... ¿Para qué?

Lilas Taha dijo...

Carminante, I believe a name defines the character. Good luck.

Lilas Taha dijo...

Margari, my ultimate nightmare would be a clock shaped like a flower with a bird chime :)

Lilas Taha dijo...

Kelika, wish you best of luck.

Maria_cazadoradesyl dijo...

¡Que buena pinta! <3 <3 tengo ganas de saber más de este libro, además que haya una historía de amor entre dos culturas me atrae mucho más.
Me molestan los ruidos como el tic tac o un movimiento constante también como a la autora.