Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Number of Your Years...

I'm honored to have Danielle and Day by today to share about number of years we have conquered from the Middle Eastern cultures. I found this rather interesting to learn. I hope you take time to look into their new steampunk release they wrote together.

Thank you Danielle and Day!


The Number of Your Years, Not the Day of Your Birth

Recently my co-author, Day Al-Mohamed and I have been immersed in the Arabic culture. As we wrote Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn—a steampunk retelling of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves—it was an interesting experience, seeing the difference and the similarities both.

One thing I was not aware of as a difference until now, when I was asked to write this post, is that many Middle Eastern cultures do not have a tradition of celebrating birthdays. In fact, even today, some in those regions don’t know the date they were born.

Some have adopted the western tradition of birthday celebrations and there is even a Middle Eastern version of the happy birthday song adapting regional lyrics to the traditional tune, which you can listen to here:

And here are the lyrics in Arabic:
Sana Helwa ya Gameel (cha cha cha)
Sana Helwa ya Gameel (cha cha cha)
Sana Helwa, Sana Helwa
Sana Helwa ya Gameel (cha cha cha)

Sana Helwa ya Gameel (cha cha cha)
Sana Helwa ya Gameel (cha cha cha)
Sana Helwa, Sana Helwa
Sana Helwa ya Gameel (cha cha cha)

And in English:
Happy Birthday Oh Beautiful One,
Happy Birthday Oh Beautiful One,
Happy Birthday, Happy birthday,
Happy Birthday Oh Beautiful One.

Happy Birthday Oh Beautiful One,
Happy Birthday Oh Beautiful One,
Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday,
Happy Birthday Oh Beautiful One.

Now, while birthday parties and such are not originally found in the culture—some individuals even find being wished a happy birthday a distasteful reminder they are another year closer to death—one thing I noted while doing research for our book is a great reverence for age. Not the anniversary of the day you were born—when you yet knew nothing—but your survival over years and decades and all the inherent wisdom it is presumed allowed you to do so. Great reverence is shown to elders in the Middle East.

So…great reverence to you, My World In Words and Pages, for surviving five years and harvesting great wisdom over that time!

Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn
Come, Best Beloved, and sit you by my feet. I shall tell you a tale such as sister Scheherazade could have scarce imagined. A tale of wonders, of deeds both great and grievous, of courage that defies description, and above all, Child of Adam, I shall tell you a tale of love.

The night is for the telling of tales to which the morning may bear Truth. In the oldest of days and ages and times, there was, and there was not, a great evil that reached across the desert and beyond…

In the Nejd there is nothing at all…except secrets. A band of thieves wish such secrets to remain hidden.

In England, far from his desert home, Ali bin-Massoud serves as apprentice to the famed Charles Babbage. One night a mysterious box is delivered by a clockwork falcon and Ali’s world is never the same again. Heartache, danger, and thieves mark his journey as Ali is summoned home at the death of his father.

It will take faith, knowledge, and yes, love to realize his destiny, and more than a little skill with steam-driven technology. Can he unravel the mystery of the puzzle box and the clockwork djinn before it is too late? An ancient legacy and Ali's very life depend on it.

Hear you the tale of Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn.

Author Bios:
Award-winning author Danielle Ackley-McPhail has worked both sides of the publishing industry for longer than she cares to admit. Currently, she is a project editor and promotions manager for Dark Quest Books.

Her published works include five urban fantasy novels, Yesterday's Dreams, Tomorrow's Memories, Today’s Promise, The Halfling’s Court: and The Redcaps’ Queen: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale, and a young adult Steampunk novel, Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn, written with Day Al-Mohamed. She is also the author of the solo science fiction collection, A Legacy of Stars, the non-fiction writers’ guide, The Literary Handyman, and is the senior editor of the Bad-Ass Faeries anthology series, Dragon’s Lure, and In an Iron Cage. Her work is included in numerous other anthologies and collections.

She is a member of the Garden State Speculative Fiction Writers, the New Jersey Authors Network, and Broad Universe, a writer’s organization focusing on promoting the works of women authors in the speculative genres.

Danielle lives in New Jersey with husband and fellow writer, Mike McPhail, mother-in-law Teresa, and three extremely spoiled cats. She can be found on LiveJournal (damcphail, badassfaeries, darkquestbooks, lit_handyman), Facebook (Danielle Ackley-McPhail), and Twitter (DMcPhail). To learn more about her work, visit,, or

Day Al-Mohamed is author for the upcoming novel Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn, written with Danielle Ackley-McPhail. Day hosts the multi-author blog Unleaded: Fuel for Writers, and in addition to speculative fiction, she also writes comics and film scripts.

Her recent publications are available in “Daily Science Fiction,” Crossed Genres anthology "Oomph - A Little Super Goes a Long Way," and GrayHaven Comics' anti-bullying issue "You Are Not Alone." She is an active member of the Cat Vacuuming Society of Northern Virginia Writing Group, a member of Women in Film and Video, and a graduate of the VONA/Voices Writing Workshop.

When not working on fiction, Day is Senior Policy Advisor with the U.S. Department of Labor. She has also worked as a lobbyist and political analyst on issues relating to Health care, Education, Employment, and International Development. She loves action movies and drinks far too much tea. She lives in Washington, DC with her wife, N.R. Brown, in a house with too many swords, comic books, and political treatises.

She can be found online at and @DayAlMohamed

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Blodeuedd said...

I could try to sing that but I'd forget the words ;=)

Danielle Ackley-McPhail said...

LOL...people would pay me not to try. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed :)

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer said...

Ooo if I sang my family would run..LOL

Jennifer @ Bad Bird Reads said...

Love it. I am so trying to sing that song, hehe.

Danielle Ackley-McPhail said... and me both, Kim. Fortunately I have other talents, because I would starve if I had to sing for my supper :) Thank you for reading!

Danielle Ackley-McPhail said...

Thanks for reading, Jennifer! Let us know how the singing goes. About the only part I can manage is the cha-cha-cha ;)

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Oh what a great post. I didn't know that about the b-days and the Middle Eastern culture!

Danielle Ackley-McPhail said...

Thanks, Melissa. Neither did I until we started to research birthdays for this post. As with many things Western culture is infiltrating, but only with select portions of the community.

Thank you for reading. I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

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