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Monday, May 30, 2011


Show me a long weekend and I'll show you a do-it-yourself disaster zone. Sure, we all mean to sleep in, go on vacation, take a break, but somehow we're sucked into Home Depot and the results are disastrous -- or maybe that's just me? I have grand plans and absolutely no DIY skills. Do NOT let me hang wallpaper, although I can just about manage to strip it!

One of the joys of writing fiction is the effortless interior decorating. I outfit whole mansions without bruising a thumb or getting paint on my new t shirt. Most recently, I imagined the renovation of a ruined Crusader castle in Syria into a luxury hotel. Honestly, three wishes from a djinni are priceless! If only real life were that easy. I want to live in a five star hotel with linen sheets and silk draperies, splashing fountains and mosaic floors, and all with the fabulous backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea.

I made up my hotel, but since then I've gone looking at real life examples ... and oh my, breath-taking. This is Oia Castle, Santorini (by MySantorini,

Oia Castle Hotel in Oia

Researching Syria's history and ancient landscape for Three Wishes was pure delight.

When LSR gave me a guest spot on a long weekend, I just knew I had to share some of the home decorating tips, Syrian-style that I learned.

You won't find many Syrian-style guides, but you will find an abundance of Moroccan interior design books (such as Moroccan Style), and the similarities of colour, Mediterranean setting and Islamic cultural influences will set your imagination tingling.

Coloured glass lamps are an obvious starting point. Floor cushions and handwoven carpets. Room dividers or screens. Bold patterned pottery, lots of terracotta. I have to admit, I have a weakness for water fountains that incorporate an urn or olive oil jar -- tacky or chic? I love them. Perhaps it's because I live in a climate of long, hot, dry summers. Water is precious.

I like to conjure the sense of an ancient trading city, like Damascus, with its spices (scented candles are your friend, here!) and hidden courtyards, intrigue, romance and danger; the sense that you're inviting guests into a private world of comfort and luxury.

So, how about you, any DIY dreams -- or disasters -- you're willing to share?


She is the Bringer of Death

Cali, a djinni, has sworn to twist the wishes of humans so they die by their own greed and evil. Her latest master is arms dealer David Saqr, a man Cali believes deserves the fate she has in store for him. But this time she finds herself up against Andrew, David’s guardian angel.

 He is a Protector of Life

Andrew believes David can yet find redemption. He fights Cali for the man’s life, even as he tries to persuade her to give in to the sizzling attraction between them. He shows Cali another side of David, and invites her to trust again, to hope. But centuries of being enslaved have hardened Cali’s heart—it’s going to take all of Andrew’s love to convince her to open it and let him in.

from Carina Press


You can find Jenny at her website, on Twitter and Facebook and indulging her love of pretty pictures on Tumblr. She is the (sometimes) proud owner of a golden retriever whose ambition is to carpet the world in fur. Her favourite nonfiction book is London. A Biography by Peter Ackroyd.

1 comment:

Jenny Schwartz said...

Thanks for the chance to guest post. And I hope everyone's had a lovely, DIY-disaster-free long weekend!