Monday, April 28, 2014

Exclusive Excerpt: Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn by Danielle Ackley-McPhail & Day Al-Mohamed

Come, Best Beloved, and sit you by my feet. I shall tell you a tale such as sister Scheherazade could have scarce imagined…

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 his success.

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

“Rich with steampunk, magic, and an enchanting setting, this story casts a spell and won’t let go until the very last page!” —Maria V. Snyder, New York Times Bestselling Author

“Readers of steampunk and Middle Eastern-inspired fantasy alike will adore this lush foray into a world seldom explored by the genre. Buckle up for a wild ride across the deserts of your imagination!” —Tiffany Trent, award-winning author of The Unnaturalists

“A charming retelling of the famous classic [...] Whether you are a fan of steampunk, of exotic fairytales, or just of good writing, this story should delight.” —L. Jagi Lamplighter, award-winning author

"Beautifully evocative of the fairy tale tradition in parts that the modern, steampunk nature of the tale is completely encapsulated in a wonderful adventure.” —Luke's Reviews


Ali dropped the box on his bed. He opened his eyes, letting only his gaze touch the object, his mouth moving soundlessly in a prayer for protection. What magic is this? The scrollwork had vanished leaving smooth sides, the interlocking plates marked only by his name and an engraving on the base. Ali knelt beside the bed, bringing his eyes level with the box as he peered closer. His twisted knee ached at the motion but Ali barely noticed as he examined the etching: a lion before a radiant sun, one paw raised as the plume of its tail lashed the air. He frowned. It was a symbol of Persia. Ali recognized it from the carving on his grandfather’s staff, which Ali’s father had given to him when he left for England. Ali was sure of it, but this image was different. Balanced on the lion’s paw—which should have clutched a sword—the engraver had scribed a different mark, one that looked similar to a spanner. He briefly considered pulling the staff from its place under the bed but found that he was far more intrigued by the mysterious symbol.

He gave in to the impulse to touch, running a finger over the etching. Even as he watched, the metal blazed until the air itself grew hot and the scrollwork crept back over the box, obscuring the marks once more. Dropping to the floor, head bowed toward the Holy City of Mecca, Ali’s prayers were no longer silent, tumbling from his lips in frantic pleas for deliverance from whatever demons plagued him. He prayed without ceasing, long into the night.

Author Bios

Her published works include five urban fantasy novels, Yesterday's DreamsTomorrow's MemoriesToday’s PromiseThe 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,

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 WashingtonDC 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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