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The "Affair" Continues... Part III

When I opened my eyes I saw sunlight streaming in through the single window over Elaina’s bed and noticed that she was already gone. I rolled out of bed feeling like I’d been hit by a truck and began rummaging through my luggage for some clothes. One of the guys from my new team knocked on my door around quarter to seven and offered to walk me to the chow hall, a gesture I was thankful for since everything looked totally different in the daylight and I had no clue how to get to breakfast. He introduced himself as Kyle and as we made our way to the chow hall he told me he’d arrived in Iraq three months ago. We met up with the rest of the team at the for breakfast and Tom introduced me to everyone. Aside from Tom, who was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force, and Kyle, who was a Sergeant in the Marine Corps, there were four other guys on the team – Seth, an Army Sergeant; Kevin an Air Force Sergeant; Robert, a retired Naval Reserve Captain; and Josh, a young NSA civilian employee. I wa…

The Affair Continues... Part II of "A Foreign Affair"

I was scheduled to fly a commercial airline out of DC’s Dulles International Airport to Amman, Jordan with a brief layover in Amsterdam; then continue on to Baghdad via military aircraft after spending a night in Jordan. Shawn drove me to the airport and our "goodbye" reminded me of a scene from one of those sappy romantic movies where the lovers part for what is to be a simple summer abroad but ultimately fall out of touch and never see each other again.
“Kick some ass over there girl,” Shawn said as he hugged me. “Take care of yourself and remember, shoot first and ask for forgiveness later.” “I’ll call or email when I can to let you know I made it there okay,” I replied, and then I walked away. My flight departed relatively on time and shortly after takeoff I got to chit-chatting with my seat mate - a young girl who looked to be about 18. I learned she had just graduated from high school and was on her way to spend the summer in Amsterdam with her older sister who was there a…

A Taste of the 'Affair'

So I am beginning to get a little discouraged that we'll never find a publisher willing to take on my book. Millions of books go unpublished every year so it's not like I had my hopes too high anyway. But that is the beauty of the internet - you can publish anything you want anytime for all to see. I decided I'd start making installments with snippets of each chapter of my book to hopefully spur some interest and perhaps encourage a publishing of my memoir "A Foreign Affair". I don't plan on "giving away the entire farm", but enough to hopefully peek interest in any reader who stumbles upon my blog.

So, without further ado, here is Snippet #1 - enjoy.

“Sometimes, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairytale.”

- Anonymous
You live only once. You breathe in. You breathe out. The days go by, each seeming like a replica of the one before, but it isn't. You will never see the day you just lived again. It is gone forever - a speck…

Grapes of Wrath - 21st Century Style

Well, it's the final countdown. In less than 96 hours the family and I will bid goodbye to our middle-America life here in Ohio and begin our journey to southern California. Like the Joads in "The Grapes of Wrath", we hope to find a brighter future and more opportunity in the golden state - specifically in the San Diego area. We aren't exactly leaving behind the Depression era dust-bowl existence the leading family in Steinbeck's masterpiece escaped from, but the economic atmosphere in southern Ohio isn't exactly conducive to those looking to prosper in these tough times.

I also get the notion that Fadi and I are perhaps simply nomadic by nature. Considering I haven't lived in my native Florida since "escaping" at age 17 in 2000, and Fadi has been displaced from his native continent for six years now, moving and starting over in a foreign land is nothing new to either of us. We do feel a little guilty about uprooting our six-year-old daughter - …

Excerpt from New Manuscript "Voicing the Eagle"

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The following is an excerpt from the book I am currently working on documenting Fadi's experiences as a local translator working for U.S. forces in Iraq from 2003-2009.
“TAKE COVER!!!” The Major screamed as the echoes of AK-47s and small arms fire rung out across the field. The seven Marine’s of Major W’s Civil Affairs team along with me, their translator, all hit the ground. We were in a cattle pasture on the outskirts of Ramadi when, once again, it seemed we were being attacked by ghosts. Bullets rained down on our position from God knows where. We were all flat out on our bellies as rounds pinged off the humvees behind us. As usual, no one could see who was shooting at us, we only had a general idea from which direction the fire was coming.
“Allen! Get your ass in one of the humvees!” The Major shouted to me. Allen isn’t my real name, but Americans struggle to pronounce my Iraqi name so they all called me “Allen” instead. I crawled to the closest humvee and scrambled inside as q…

I Finally Read the Jessica Lynch Book

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Well it only took me nearly ten years to get around to it, but I finally read the book recounting the infamous story of 2003 Iraq War P.O.W. Jessica Lynch. I had some free time on my hands last week, thanks to end-of-year state school testing that led to my being pretty much locked in a room with middle schoolers for two days straight while they did their best to prove to the state that they can read, write, and conduct math calculations at a level suitable to warrant extra funding for their school district, err... I mean, advance to the next grade level. Don't get me started.

Ok, back to the book. It was easy, fast reading (my favorite kind) and obvioulsy an engaging story as I completed the book in a matter of hours. Like most Americans, I am intimately familir with the Jessica Lynch ordeal, and was one of the millions glued to the t.v. in 2003 when she was taken captive and held for nine days before being snatched from an Iraqi hospital by U.S. Special Forces. It was especiall…

Something Brewing in the Pot Soon

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It has been six months since I completed my debut book A Foreign Affair – my memoir documenting my time serving in Iraq and falling in love with my native Iraqi husband – and I am itching to get back to writing. I probably shouldn’t put the cart before the horse here and jump into writing another book before I even have the first one published, but I try not to let too much grass grow under my feet. (I know – how many idioms can you squeeze into one sentence?) I have decided to focus on my husband for my next project (no that wasn’t a euphemism for something naughty) and will be working on HIS memoir. He has a treasure chest of interesting experiences and stories from the six years he spent working, at first, as a local translator for the "invading" American Army, and later as a U.S. Permanent Resident and D.O.D. contractor deployed alongside American forces in various locations throughout Iraq. It is, again, a unique perspective not heavily documented or presented to the ge…

"Olympus Has Fallen" Movie Review

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I’m going to change gears a little here and attempt my hand at a movie review. The husband and I broke down and went to the movies last weekend for a long overdue “date night”. Considering we had our cable cut off a couple of months ago and have been subsisting on NetFlix reruns of “How I Met Your Mother” and “The Walking Dead” for the past several weeks we were kind of beginning to feel like our Amish neighbors culture wise – bad analogy I know. Anyway, having dumped $15 on tickets and another $10 on, literally, a bucket of Pepsi (no lie -Fadi needed two hands to hold the cup) and a brown shopping bag of popcorn (a considerable splurge for our very thrifty ways), I just desperately hoped the movie we chose wouldn’t be a snore fest. Fadi had heard about a new movie starring his “300” hero Gerard Butler and suggested we see that one – “Olympus Has Fallen”. Sure, whatever, sounds cool – at least it’ll get me out of the house.

Before I delve into the movie I am going to caution you up fro…

Is the World Ready for "A Foreign Affair"?

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After a seven year journey, I've FINALLY completed the manuscript for my Iraq War memoir A Foreign Affair. It's a book I primarily wrote for myself and for my daughter. Something to leave behind and pass down through the generations. My personal story of war, injustice, and an epic romance.

Although my story is pretty unique, the question constantly at the back of my mind while writing it was, "Will anyone aside from my family and close friends find it interesting?" I guess this is a lingering question in every author's mind - especially when it comes to their debut work. Another question that swirled around in my mind throughout this seven-year process was, "Do I really want to share the intimate details of this book - basically two years of my diary - with complete strangers?"
Living this story was nothing short of an emotional hell on earth - even writing about these events years later was still emotionally tumultuous for me. There were numerous occa…