18 November, 2017

#GuestPost :: Lies, Love & Redemption by Kelli A. Wilkins

Lies, Love & Redemption 
By Kelli A. Wilkins

Hi everyone,

One day, I was thinking about nothing in particular when this popped into my mind:

A man limping along the prairie. He’s been shot and left for dead. He’s bleeding and hurt bad. And thirsty. So thirsty. It’s hot and he wants to rest, but he knows he has to push on. If he collapses again,  he’s not going to get up and he’ll die here. But maybe he’s already dead and this is hell. Or maybe not...

That was my introduction to Sam, the hero from my historical western, Lies, Love & Redemption. That was also how I introduced readers to Sam—lost and hurt and wandering along the prairie.

Here’s the summary:

Shot and left for dead, Sam Hixton stumbles into a general store on the Nebraska prairie and collapses into the arms of Cassie Wilcox.
Cassie’s world is turned upside down when the handsome stranger drops into her life. Sam is another complication she doesn’t need: her business is dying and her trouble with the townspeople is escalating. Yet she’s determined to keep the store open — no matter what the cost.
As Sam recovers from his injuries, he hides the truth about his identity and convinces Cassie to let him work in the store. He’s attracted to her and admires her independent nature but quickly realizes Cassie’s in way over her head. They fight their growing attraction, and Cassie questions whether she can trust her fragile heart to a mysterious stranger. Will he accept her once he knows about her troubled past?
Cassie resists Sam’s advances and represses her feelings until one fateful night when they give in to their fiery passion. Together, they work out a plan to save the store but find their efforts are thwarted—and their lives endangered—by the locals.
Sam’s secret returns to haunt him and pulls him away just when Cassie needs him the most. Will he regain her trust when she learns the truth? 
Cassie has everything invested in the store—can she save it and find true love with Sam before it’s too late?


Believe it or not, that first scene came to me several years ago. When I got the idea for the book, I did all the initial research and wrote a very rough draft. Then the manuscript just sat around. I’m not exactly sure why so many other book projects came ahead of it, but they did. The story was always there, but I guess I wasn’t ready to revise and edit it. 

When I started working on the book again I found that although the basic premise still resonated with me, I wanted (and needed) to make a lot of changes. I always had the opening scene of Sam walking across the prairie in my mind. I knew where he was going (to Cassie’s store), and I had the general idea of how the story would play out and who the characters were, but I didn’t have the specifics of each scene. 

As I got further into revising the book, the details became more solidified. I added new scenes, deleted others, and generally gave it a complete makeover. Now it’s a much stronger (and better) book than it was originally.

But before I started writing, I did a lot of research. First, I had to decide when and where the book would take place. I knew it would be on the prairie somewhere (Kansas? Nebraska? Iowa?) and set after the Civil War. Once I picked a time period and a place I researched everything I could about it: what was going on in the country at that time, how people traveled, what their occupations were, what they ate, how a general store was set up… 

I enjoy reading about history and exploring what life was like in different time periods, so doing the research part of a historical romance is interesting—but time consuming. I was always scribbling notes about details I could use in the book. I never used them all, but adding realistic details helps draw readers into the world of the characters, even though it might be very different from how we live now.

Although I have written a lot of historical romances, the time periods are always different. I’ve used Medieval (A Most Unusual Princess), Scottish (The Viking’s Witch) and Colonial (Dangerous Indenture) settings. When I’m writing a historical romance, I never know when (or where) the characters will take me. Lies, Love & Redemption is set on the Nebraska prairie in 1877 and blends a steamy romance with mystery and danger.

Here’s a mild excerpt:

Cassie dusted off a can of apricots and restacked it on the shelf. “Why do I even bother?” she muttered as she picked up the next can.

Another week had come and gone, but her days were always the same. Get up at dawn, sweep out the store, dust off the cans, and . . . wait. Her few customers strolled in on Saturday and Sunday afternoons to buy odds and ends, but nearly everyone bought their bulk goods at the general store in Baxter. Townsfolk came here only when they wanted something quick—or on credit.

The bell above the door jangled, but she didn’t bother to turn around. “That you, Luke? You’re up early. I bet you haven’t seen this side of ten o’clock in—” 

She glanced over her shoulder and shrieked. The can of apricots slipped from her hand and rolled across the floor.

A stranger covered in blood leaned against the doorjamb.

She rushed to his side. “Who are you? What happened?”

The man locked his blue eyes onto hers. “Help me.”

He held a battered leather satchel out to her. “Hide this,” he said, then collapsed forward.

Cassie caught him around the waist and eased him to the plank floor. Was he dead? She felt the side of his sweaty neck. His heart was beating, but he looked like hell. His clothes were coated in blood and dirt, and his face had a sickly white hue to it. He was lucky to be alive. Someone had shot him full of holes.

Where had he come from? Holloway was in the middle of nowhere with no railroad connection, and it wasn’t on the stagecoach line. She hadn’t heard a horse out front, and he couldn’t have walked here from Baxter, could he? That would be suicide.

Wild ideas raced through her mind as she stared down at him. Maybe he was a fugitive or a bank robber. Decent people didn’t get themselves shot for no reason. Whoever shot him could’ve been following him, looking to finish him off.

Her gaze settled on the satchel. What was in it? Money? Gold? The deed to a silver mine? Why did he want her to hide it?

Cassie brushed her hair away from her face and frowned. What the hell was she supposed to do with him? Why had he wandered into her store, of all places? The last thing she needed was a half-dead stranger complicating her life. His being here would only stir up trouble—and she already had more than she needed.

Maybe she could— With a start, she realized he hadn’t moved. She shook his bloodied left shoulder.  The man remained motionless. “Damn it to hell.” She yanked the satchel from his grip, then ran behind the counter and stuffed it in the bottom drawer. There wasn’t time to look inside and see what the stranger was hiding. Whoever he was, he needed help—fast.

Order your copy of Lies, Love & Redemption here:
I hope you enjoyed this inside look at the making of Lies, Love & Redemption. I welcome comments and questions from readers. Be sure to follow my blog for the latest updates and visit me on social media!
All through November I'll be highlighting my Medallion Press historical romances on my blog and Facebook pages. These full-length romance novels are available on several ebook platforms and all are just $2.99. If you haven’t read any of them, why not give them a try?

And… FREE READS from all of my romances (all genres) are now on my Manic Readers page: http://www.manicreaders.com/KelliAWilkins/

Happy Reading,


About the Author:
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 95 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels. 
In 2016 Kelli is re-releasing her romances previously published by Amber Quill Press. Visit her website and blog for a full title list, book summaries, and other information as it becomes available.
Her writing book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction is a fun and informative non-fiction guide based on her 15 years of experience as a writer. It’s filled with writing exercises and helpful tips all authors can use.

If you like to be scared, check out Kelli’s horror ebooks: Dead Til Dawn and Kropsy’s Curse.

Kelli posts on her Facebook Author Page and Twitter. She also writes a weekly Blog
Visit her Website to learn more about all of her writings, read book excerpts, reviews, and more. Readers can sign up for her newsletter HERE.

Catch Up with Kelli:

17 November, 2017

#BookReview :: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. 

I am a more recent John Green fan as I discovered TFIOS shortly after its release and since then I have read all the books by John Green. I must admit, when the details of this book were first unveiled, I wasn’t impressed. Both the title and the cover felt underwhelming and the blurb only confused me. Plus, I kept asking myself whether it is even possible for the author to top TFIOS or Looking for Alaska. So, I held off on reading it till a trusted friend had read and reviewed the book.

I am happy to report that not only has John Green done it again, but this is his best work till date. I absolutely loved it.

As the book blurb states, Daisy enlists her friend Aza’s help to solve the mystery of the fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett. But the story is obviously a lot more than that. It smoothly incorporates the lives of two best friends who have insanely opposite personalities. Aza, our protagonist, is a person who deals with OCD/anxiety and as such she is mostly caught up in her own life and what she terms as her ‘thought spirals’. Daisy on the other hand is an extrovert and a very bright personality. Their friendship is unique and extraordinary. I have to admit that there were moments when Daisy felt really mean and rude. But on the other hand, whatever it is and however it is – their friendship works. There were quite a few additional characters like Davis, Mychal and Aza’s mom. They each add to the story in their own way and was given enough attention. They were developed well enough for the readers to be interested in their characters as well.

What overwhelmed me at times was Aza’s ‘thought spirals’. They felt frustrating and intriguing at the same time. It was frustrating because these patches were taking Aza away from everything else that was going on. Also, not always did I catch on to the triggers immediately. But intriguing as well because these were the moments that truly reflect what it is like to be dealing with a mental illness. For a relatively normal girl (some would dispute that though) it was fascinating to me to see how Aza’s mind worked. We do not really understand what a person with mental illness goes through and this book just provides a window to a kind of it. 

I also loved the ending of the book. It doesn’t tie up all ends to give us a happily ever after. Instead it gives us a reality check and HOPE.

NOTE: For those of you, who like me, felt the cover and the title felt underwhelming, I would like to report that both the title and the cover will make 100% sense once you read the book.

16 November, 2017

#BookReview :: Radius 200 by Veena Nagpal

What if a nuclear powered neighboring nation was to ‘steal’ an entire river from under our eyes?
What if a top-ranking Indian General was to take a unilateral decision to strike back, thereby triggering a cataclysmic reaction? 
What if, in the aftermath of the nuclear attack, India was left with a devastated Exclusion Zone, 200 kilometers in radius?
And what if your love was stranded inside the Exclusion Zone…

Goodreads I Amazon

Radius 200 is a story that incorporates love and war together set in a not so distant future.

Imagine a not too distant future where people are disfigured and have to scavenge for their livelihood. Then imagine a situation in that setting where a country decides to ‘steal’ a whole river from their neighboring country and a high ranking military personnel of the said neighboring country decides to take matters into his own hands and fight back… it could lead to war. And if both the countries have nuclear power then that war could be devastating. Now imagine an exclusion zone as a result of the aforementioned situation and your beloved stuck in that exclusion zone! Would you forget him, or would you move heaven and earth to find him?

The book makes a mark on two levels. First, the setting where our natural resources have been depleted and people have resorted to rationing water and foraging lizards and snakes for food. It may seem fantastical, but in a way, it made a lot of sense to me. The way we are exhausting our natural resources, that day may come sooner rather than later. Second was the effect of war on people and the varied human emotions and reactions revolving it. I certainly enjoyed these aspects of the book. Coming to the romance aspect of the book, I wasn’t really convinced of the two relationships involved in the storyline as I didn’t ‘feel’ any real connection between the characters. Which in turn made the intimate scenes feel forced and disjointed. A similar experience with the characters as well… While the character of Kyra felt very clear and well developed; the character development fell short for Om and Arjun. In the end the author’s lucid language and narrative style made it easy to get into the book and turn its pages till the end. 

Overall, I feel that the plot had good potential but just fell a little short of being a full-blown entertainer. 

Review Copy received from the Author

15 November, 2017

#SpecialFeature :: Fun Facts About The Celeritas Files by Ishan Majumdar

*** Special Feature - November 2017 ***

About the Book
me> Experience the story of Shaina Desai, who finds herself in the middle of a sinister plot to steal her prized invention, which happens to be the principal subject of valuation for a multi-million dollar cross-border investment in what could be termed as one of the most brutal attempts at intellectual property theft in the history of corporate India.
Will she be forced to give up her dream to save her son’s life? Or will she lose him to the ruthless kidnappers?
A tale of professional pride and the heart-breaking choices forced upon the individual, of love and betrayal, and the dark games ruthlessly played in the corporate world, under the veneer of professional ethics…

Goodreads * Amazon * Flipkart

Book Trailer:

Fun Facts About The Celeritas Files:

*** The first two chapters of THE CELERITAS FILES talk about a kidnapping and a murder taking place in Hauz Khas Village on Christmas Eve. Interestingly, the author himself was present in HKV on the night of 24th December 2016 and had seen the massive crowds of youngsters on the street which gave him this idea.

*** Being his first book, the author, Ishan Majumdar was extremely worried about his own ability to finish writing the book which is why he pushed himself to write a minimum of 1400 words per day. He managed to average about 10,000 words per week and took hardly three months to finish writing and proofreading the first draft. In terms of dates, the conceptualization of THE CELERITAS FILES started around end November; Ishan started writing from the end of December and the first draft was ready by the first week of April. 

*** The reason for the title THE CELERITAS FILES is that the R&D project associated with the development of the breakthrough technology was called Project Celeritas (“Celeritas” being the Latin word for “speed”). The idea of using this word came to the author because of a common practice of naming companies within the Venture Capital fund in which he works. In India, it is much easier to register a company whose name is the direct translation of a foreign word as it bypasses name availability issues with the Registrar of Companies. The same logic was used for Bliksem Technologies (“Bliksem” being the Dutch word for “lightning”)

*** The author, Ishan Majumdar, considers Michael Connelly and Lee Child as his favorite authors within the field of crime fiction. He believes that their ability to write fast-paced novels without compromising too much on the descriptions and the back-stories aspects is truly amazing. His favorite books are The Brass Verdict, The Fifth Witness, The Crossing (by Connelly) and The Hard Way, Gone Tomorrow, Bad Luck and Trouble (by Child).

*** Originally, the technology associated with THE CELERITAS FILES was going to be around the field of Virtual Reality. It was halfway through his research that Ishan realized that it was extremely complex and would possibly make the readers lose interest. He had almost hit a roadblock until one fine day when one of his best friends spoke about an Indian girl studying in MIT who developed some kind of battery that can get fully charged in a few seconds. It was at that moment that Ishan got the idea of the MaxCharge technology for mobile phones. 

About the Author
Ishan is a qualified Chartered Accountant and holds a Master’s degree in Management from HEC Paris (Grande Ecole). Born and brought up in the suburbs of Mumbai, Ishan went on to complete his graduation from Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics and moved to Europe for further studies. He has a rich corporate exposure, having worked in investment banking and strategy roles in multinational companies such as BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole and Danone.
Ishan is fluent in six languages including French and Spanish, as a large part of his working life was spent in France and Spain. He currently works with a venture capital fund based in New Delhi, India.

1 Paperback Copy of The Celeritas Files for an Indian Resident
3 eBooks of The Celeritas Files for International Winners

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#CoverReveal :: You Came Like Hope by Jyoti Arora

~ Cover Reveal ~

Title: You Came Like Hope
Author: Jyoti Arora
Word length: 53,000 words
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Contemporary Romance

“I heard them mourn my death. I lay in the next room. Motionless, silent, and staring at the ceiling.”
“When it comes to a broken person, some of them are expert at blinding you. Spend an entire evening with such a person, but you may still not know how he is crushing inside.”
“Who would say no to him? He is smart, intelligent, super handsome, rich, suave and sophisticated. He’s perfect!”
“Pooja gave no explanation. She asked no forgiveness. She just arrived in his home, resenting him for being her husband.”
“He had smiled as if nothing was wrong.
He had behaved as if he still had his dreams and hopes.
He had pretended as if it didn’t hurt.
But it did.”
Does Destiny hold the key to our happiness?
Is it always the feeble that is the victim?
Love can be the embrace of heaven. But what happens when it unleashes hellfire?
Lose yourself in the intense narrative of You Came Like Hope as it unleashes a rollercoaster of emotions, uncovers some bitter truths, challenges widespread prejudices, and forces you to reconsider your beliefs.

Releasing on 23rd November 2017!

About the Author:
Jyoti Arora is a novelist and blogger from Ghaziabad. You Came Like Hope is her third novel, coming after Dream’s Sake and Lemon Girl. She is Post Graduate in English Literature and Applied Psychology. Besides reading and writing novels, Jyoti enjoys checking out latest technological innovations, watching movies, and listening to old Bollywood songs.

13 November, 2017

#GuestPost :: Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups by Andrew Joyce

About the Author:
Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written five books, including a two-volume collection of one hundred and fifty short stories comprised of his hitching adventures called BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWN-UPS (as yet unpublished), and his latest novel, YELLOW HAIR. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, tentatively entitled, MICK REILLY.

Website * Twitter

Hello, my name is Andrew Joyce and I’m here today to try to sell a few books.

I have a new book out entitled Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups. It is a collection of short stories I’ve written over the years. Inside Bedtime Stories you’ll find tales of fiction and nonfiction. There are all sorts of genres within its pages, from westerns to detective stories to love stories and just about anything else that you can imagine. One of my stories—included in the book—was granted the honor of being included in a print anthology entitled The Best of 2011. Some of the stories are dark and some are lighthearted, but I hope you’ll find them all captivating.

There’s a whole lotta material in the volume—700 pages; enough to make sure you get your money’s worth … and enough to keep you reading for the foreseeable future.

Anyway, here’s one of the shorter stories from the book.

Good-Bye Miami

For the first time in my life, I’m in love. And I think she feels the same about me. That’s the good news. The bad news is that we may have to break up … sort of. Shit happens. Allow me to explain.
Her name is Jill; we met early on a Sunday morning. I was jogging along the beach at the water’s edge one minute, and the next I was splayed out in the sand. I had tripped over a woman’s recumbent body.

After the requisite apologies, we started talking. One thing led to another and we ended up having lunch together. That was eight months ago and we’ve barely been out of each other’s sight since.
Today is another Sunday much like the one when Jill and I met, but things are a little different now.
I’m an FBI agent assigned to the Miami Field Office. I was awakened at five o’clock this morning by an urgent phone call to report in immediately. There was a terrorist threat. Hell, this was the granddaddy of all threats. At 4:00 a.m., a local television station received a call stating that there was a nuclear bomb planted within the city, and at exactly 4:00 p.m., it would be detonated unless certain demands were met. The caller said there was a package sitting in the parking lot of the North Miami office of the FBI that would authenticate the threat.

It turned out to be a small nuclear bomb, which is also known as a suitcase bomb. An attached note informed us it was exactly like the one planted in downtown Miami. It also stated that if there was any effort to evacuate the populace, the bomb would definitely go off the instant word hit the media.
Every law enforcement officer—city, state, and federal—was called in. We were given gadgets that register radiation, and all personnel were assigned grids. Each person would drive his or her grid. If the meter went off, a team would be dispatched with equipment to pinpoint the emanations. Then the eggheads would dismantle the bomb.

That was the plan.

We were ordered to tell no one of the threat, but there were many surreptitious phone calls made that morning, telling family members to drive to West Palm Beach for the day. I made my own call, telling Jill that I had planned a romantic day for the two of us and asked if she would meet me in Boca Raton. I gave her the name of the hotel where I had made a reservation before calling her, and said I’d be there in the early afternoon. She readily agreed, and now I know that she is safe.
So here it is nearing four o’clock and we’ll soon see if it was a hoax or not. The clock on the dashboard reads 3:59 … 4:00 … 4:01 ... 4:02. Nothing! I’ll be damned, the whole thing was a ...

About the Book:
Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups is a jumble of genres—seven hundred pages of fiction and non-fiction … some stories included against the author’s better judgment. If he had known that one day they’d be published, he might not have been as honest when describing his past. Here is a tome of true stories about the author’s criminal and misspent youth, historical accounts of the United States when She was young, and tales of imagination encompassing every conceivable variety—all presented as though the author is sitting next to you at a bar and you’re buying the drinks as long as he keeps coming up with captivating stories to hold your interest. 

Comprised of 218,000 words, you’ll have plenty to read for the foreseeable future. This is a book to have on your night table, to sample a story each night before extinguishing the lights and drifting off to a restful sleep. 


08 November, 2017

#SpecialFeature :: Read an #Excerpt from The Celeritas Files by Ishan Majumdar

*** Special Feature - November 2017 ***

About the Book
Experience the story of Shaina Desai, who finds herself in the middle of a sinister plot to steal her prized invention, which happens to be the principal subject of valuation for a multi-million dollar cross-border investment in what could be termed as one of the most brutal attempts at intellectual property theft in the history of corporate India.
Will she be forced to give up her dream to save her son’s life? Or will she lose him to the ruthless kidnappers?
A tale of professional pride and the heart-breaking choices forced upon the individual, of love and betrayal, and the dark games ruthlessly played in the corporate world, under the veneer of professional ethics…

Goodreads * Amazon * Flipkart

Read an Excerpt:

The candidate was a reasonably good-looking man who seemed to be in his early thirties. As he stood up to shake hands with Shaina and Sivakumar, she noticed that he was slim and slightly shorter than Sivakumar who was six feet in height. His skin tone was extremely fair for an Indian and his facial features looked to be quite Arabic. Shaina quickly glanced at his résumé to recall his name as she seated herself opposite him. She read the words ‘Amaan Sayyed’ written in bold and underlined as the title of a nicely formatted résumé.

“First, I would like to introduce ourselves,” began Sivakumar after seating himself, “I am Harrish Sivakumar, the Founder and the Managing Director of Bliksem India and this is Shaina Desai, the Head of Research and Development.”

Amaan nodded at her with a half-smile.

“I believe you had a detailed telephonic discussion with our Chief Business Officer, Mr. Rishabh yesterday,” Sivakumar continued, “Also, I think that he has already carried out your assessment with respect to all the technical aspects required for the job and with respect to your prior experiences in the field of finance with companies like Wulfram Electronics. The objective of our meeting today is to assess your fit within our organization.”

He paused for a moment and looked down at the résumé

“First, let us start with your sabbatical. Could you explain to us why exactly you have taken one full year off from working?” he asked.

Amaan took a deep breath.

“Well, this was one of the first questions that Mr. Rishabh asked me,” he replied plainly. “I will be very honest in my answer. I lost my wife in November last year. She succumbed to lung cancer. Post her demise, I wished to take a break from everything. I spent the year re-visiting the places we had visited together and spent the entire period of time in nostalgia, trying to relive all the wonderful moments I spent with her inside my head.”

Both Sivakumar and Shaina were taken aback a bit, by the response. It sounded like an extremely honest answer but not the kind that they would have expected in an interview.

“We are indeed very sorry for your loss, Amaan,” said Sivakumar, “Since you are being so honest in your responses, I want to ask you one question very bluntly in the same context. And I want you to answer that honestly.”

He turned to Shaina and then turned back to Amaan and continued.

“Why do you want to work for us? You have worked for a giant like Wulfram at a senior role in finance. We are much smaller than them, both in terms of size as well as pay packages and you are well aware of this fact. Considering your qualifications and your experience, you could land a better role despite the one-year sabbatical gap.”

“I couldn’t agree more with you Mr. Sivakumar,” Amaan replied coolly, “But my reason to prefer the role here over going back to becoming a wannabe-finance-hotshot in some multinational giant is also personal.”

He paused for a moment, trying to frame his response in his head.

“First of all, I seek a reduction in my work pressure with more of a work-life balance and have more time for myself after work,” he continued with a straight face, “From what I discussed with Mr. Rishabh, the role has relatively limited responsibilities as compared to what I was always used to handling which perfectly fits my need. Secondly, electronics as a sector is my comfort zone as I have worked in the sector before and I am well aware of the budgeting and compliance processes. I do not wish to move out of this comfort zone. And lastly, with respect to the lower salary part, I am not monetarily ambitious. My family wealth coupled with my savings from my earlier employment are sufficient for my expenses. Overall, you can say that my quest for comfort and lack of monetary ambition are my biggest motivations for this job.”

Both Sivakumar and Shaina raised their eyebrows. They were shocked to hear such bluntness during an interview and even more with the straight face with which Amaan gave the answer. The man was blunt but his facial expressions and his body language conveyed nothing; it was impossible for them to read him.

“That is a dangerous answer,” said Shaina, finally breaking the awkward silence in the room after Amaan’s answer, “Companies seek ambitious, hard-working and dynamic individuals in their workforce. You seem to be confidently unambitious and comfort seeking. Aren’t you worried that this answer would lose you this opportunity?”

“Probably,” Amaan shrugged, “Yet, I prefer being absolutely blunt about my approach in the interview itself, or else I feel I would lose the job in the long term anyway owing to my employers’ displeasure towards my attitude. I believe it is better, to be honest from the very outset with respect to my attitude towards the company and the job.”

Sivakumar chuckled.

“What is intriguing me now is what answer you gave, for this question in your other interviews,” he 

“You are the first and the only company I have interviewed within this period,” Amaan replied truthfully, “The last interview I appeared for was two and a half years ago and at that time, my expectations from life were very different than what they are now.”

“Why do you say that?” asked Sivakumar curiously, “What do you think has changed?”

“I am sorry Mr. Sivakumar but answering that question would involve disclosing more of my personal life than what I would be comfortable with.”

The words came from Amaan’s mouth like arrows shot from a bow.

“The only thing I can say is that the difference lies between the ambitions of an individual who has a family with a growing need for comforts; as compared to the ambitions of a loner,” he said after a short pause.

Sivakumar smiled.

“Fair enough, Amaan. We understand and respect your privacy,” he said.

About the Author
Ishan is a qualified Chartered Accountant and holds a Master’s degree in Management from HEC Paris (Grande Ecole). Born and brought up in the suburbs of Mumbai, Ishan went on to complete his graduation from Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics and moved to Europe for further studies. He has a rich corporate exposure, having worked in investment banking and strategy roles in multinational companies such as BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole and Danone.
Ishan is fluent in six languages including French and Spanish, as a large part of his working life was spent in France and Spain. He currently works with a venture capital fund based in New Delhi, India.

1 Paperback Copy of The Celeritas Files for an Indian Resident
3 eBooks of The Celeritas Files for International Winners

a Rafflecopter giveaway

02 November, 2017

#BookTour :: The Kitchen Mistress by Kathleen Shoop

For every woman who’s had to choose between the secrets that protect her and the people she loves the most…

1892—Des Moines

Katherine Arthur and her family are back and it’s time to collect the money Mrs. Mellet left them in her will. The tidy sum will allow the family peace of mind and a future that’s stable and fulfilling. But when things don’t go exactly as planned, Katherine steps up to do more than her share. Hired as a kitchen mistress, her intuition (with the help of a mysterious recipe book), cooking prowess, and work ethic make her the perfect partner for the enigmatic, wealthy woman next door. Then Aleksey Zurchenko arrives.

Violet Pendergrass is a well-heeled, progressive woman with half a fortune in one hand and a plan for enduring prosperity in the other. Resourceful, shrewd, and tough, Violet doesn’t realize her one and only weakness leaves her vulnerable as she attempts to solidify her independence. She sees unparalleled value in Katherine’s gifts and does her best to keep the girl close, to keep her true work secret from her mother and the world.

Katherine’s loyalties to her mother and Violet grow strained and soon her commitment to both frays even further as her feelings for Aleksey grow. Katherine must decide if pursuing her work with the formidable Violet and protecting her family are more important than following love. Can she do it all? Love, hope, joy, secrets buried in walls and hearts; all are threatened by those who claim to care about the Arthurs. Can Katherine separate what’s right and true from what it takes to survive? Are they even different things?

The Last Letter Series of novels by Kathleen Shoop is set in the Midwest of America in the late 19th and early 20th century. Shoop takes readers on an emotional journey through love, loss and redemption. Inspired by family letters, the novels pull from historical events and places and feature the life and times of the fictional Arthur family as they make their way in the world.

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"Kathleen Shoop is a master of emotional depth and creativity."  - K.C.Finn, Readers’ Favorite Reviewer

"The Kitchen Mistress is a beautiful story beautifully told. Kathleen Shoop is a master storyteller with a great gift for the first-person narrative, a voice she harnesses so well to create a dramatic effect on readers... One of the things I enjoyed about Shoop's writing is her mastery of the conflict. It is introduced very early in the narrative and it escalates pretty fast. I read the story nonstop, waiting eagerly for the satisfying denouement." -- Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite 

"The Kitchen Mistress is a beguiling story, with characters that feel so real the reader could almost believe they walk the same road with them. The protagonist has a complex world to navigate and it is interesting to see how she deals with her secrets, faces the challenges of her relationships and her work, and how she connects to herself. The Kitchen Mistress is delicately written, with a beautifully imagined plot, great prose, and memorable characters. I was seduced by the expert writing and could not stop reading until the last page." -- Arya Fomonyuy for Readers' Favorite

Letter Series Book 1 - The Last Letter

Katherine wouldn't have believed it if she hadn't found the letter...  
In the summer of 1905 Katherine Arthur's mother arrives on her doorstep, dying, forcing her to relive a past she wanted to forget. When Katherine was young, the Arthur family had been affluent city dwellers until shame sent them running for the prairie, into the unknown. Taking her family, including young Katherine, to live off the land was the last thing Jeanie Arthur had wanted, but she would do her best to make a go of it. For Jeanie's husband Frank it had been a world of opportunity. Dreaming, lazy Frank. But, it was a society of uncertainty--a domain of natural disasters, temptation, hatred, even death.  

Ten-year-old Katherine had loved her mother fiercely, put her trust in her completely, but when there was no other choice, and Jeanie resorted to extreme measures on the prairie to save her family, she tore Katherine's world apart. Now, seventeen years later, and far from the homestead, Katherine has found the truth – she has discovered the last letter. After years of anger, can Katherine find it in her heart to understand why her mother made the decisions that changed them all? Can she forgive and finally begin to heal before it's too late?  

**Independent Publisher Awards** 
2011 Gold Medal, Best Regional Fiction-Midwest 

**National Indie Excellence Book Awards** 
2011 Finalist Award-Historical Fiction 2011 Finalist Award-Regional Fiction 

**USA Best Books 2011 Awards** 
Winner, Fiction--Western Finalist, Fiction--Historical Finalist, Best New Fiction 

**International Book Awards** 
2011 Finalist Award-Historical Fiction 2011 Finalist Award-Best New Fiction

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Letter Series Book 2 - The Road Home

Find your way home...

1891—Living separately for three years, fourteen-year-old twins, Katherine and Tommy Arthur, have done their best to make each boarding house feel like home. But unrest grows as they are driven to questionable actions just to survive. Meanwhile their desperate mother is confronted with breaking yet another promise to her children. Then a miracle descends. Hope rises on a cold, rainy night and changes everything. If Jeanie could just get word to Katherine and Tommy, she knows she can set their lives right again. Agitators, angels, and dangerous “saviors” illuminate the Arthurs’ unmatched determination and smarts.

1905—Though she tries to forget the awful years that hurt so much, the memories still haunt Katherine. Now, tearful mourners at her mother’s funeral force her to revisit a time in her life that both harmed and saved her in the most unexpected ways. Tommy grieves his mother’s passing as well. He too is thrust backward, compelled to rediscover the events in his life that shaped the man he has become. Will he commit to reconstructing his broken life? The Arthurs come to understand that forgiveness is the only way back to hope, the only way to find all that was good in the misfortune that transformed their lives forever.

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The Family Letters
Luckily for author Kathleen Shoop, her ancestors kept hold of letters that are now between 100 and 120 years old. The first set of letters was handed down to Shoop from her mother. They appear in the collection called My Dear Frank. They are sweet and hopeful love letters written to Frank Arthur from his then-fiancé, Jeanie Scouller. My Dear Frank only contains Jeanie’s letters to Frank, as his were lost or destroyed at some point. However, for readers who love to bask in the past, Jeanie’s letters make it easy to understand much of what Frank had said, as she responds as quickly as she possibly could. (Read more about My Dear Frank.)

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The second set of letters, Love From Mama, was written in the early 20th century. This collection is larger than the love letters as it contains correspondence by Jeanie, Frank, her children, some friends and also relatives. This non-fiction look into the past is a treasure for anyone who loves history in its raw, but real form! (Coming Soon)

About Kathleen Shoop
Bestselling author, Kathleen Shoop, holds a PhD in reading education and has more than 20 years of experience in the classroom. She writes historical fiction, women’s fiction and romance. Shoop’s novels have garnered various awards in the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY), Eric Hoffer Book Awards, Indie Excellence Awards, Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Readers’ Favorite and the San Francisco Book Festival. Kathleen has been featured in USA Today and the Writer’s Guide to 2013. Her work has appeared in The Tribune-Review, four Chicken Soup for the Soul books and Pittsburgh Parent magazine. Kathleen coordinates Mindful Writing Retreats and is a regular presenter at conferences for writers.

I adore writing historical fiction (The Letter series, After the Fog and Donora Stories that are coming soon!) but am having a blast writing romance like Home Again, Return to Love and Tending Her Heart (Endless Love series). Thank you so much for the time you take to read.

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01 November, 2017

#SpecialFeature :: Introducing Ishan Majumdar, #Author of The Celeritas Files

Under "Special Feature" every month I feature a Special Author. 
During this month I put up 5 posts about the Author/Book, including Interview / Review / Excerpt / Guest Post / Author Bio / Fun Facts or whatever else we can come up with. Also on the first day of the month we will  launch the Giveaway contest along with the first post and will announce the winner on the last day of the month.
So be sure to check out my blog every 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th of every month for something new :)

*** Special Feature - November 2017 ***

About the Author

Born in suburban Mumbai, Ishan did his schooling from Utpal Shanghvi School in Juhu and went on to pursue his Bachelor’s education in Commerce from Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics, one of the premier institutions of business education in India.

Since both his parents are Chartered Accountants, Ishan was pushed along the same career path and he pursued Chartered Accountancy simultaneously along with his Bachelor’s degree. At the age of 22, he was a qualified B.Com and a first attempt Chartered Accountant, ready to enter the industry.
However, his lack of interest in Accounting, Audit and Taxation coupled with his love for foreign languages made Ishan pursue the French language at Alliance Francaise de Mumbai. He acquired full professional fluency in French and simultaneously got admission in HEC Paris, a top ranked European business school, for its flagship Masters in Management program.

Ishan spent four years in Europe during which he completed his education at HEC Paris and also went on to work across multinational companies such as BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole and Groupe Danone. During this period, he also got the opportunity to work in Barcelona, Spain and get exposed to the Spanish work culture. Ishan not only learnt Spanish but also acquired a large Spanish friend circle during this period. He considers his time spent in France and Spain as the best years of his life and also tries to infuse this part into his writing by bringing in French and Spanish characters.

Currently, Ishan works for a private equity fund based in New Delhi called TIW Private Equity. He works during the daytime and spends his evenings and his weekends writing books.

About the Book
Experience the story of Shaina Desai, who finds herself in the middle of a sinister plot to steal her prized invention, which happens to be the principal subject of valuation for a multi-million dollar cross-border investment in what could be termed as one of the most brutal attempts at intellectual property theft in the history of corporate India.
Will she be forced to give up her dream to save her son’s life? Or will she lose him to the ruthless kidnappers?
A tale of professional pride and the heart-breaking choices forced upon the individual, of love and betrayal, and the dark games ruthlessly played in the corporate world, under the veneer of professional ethics…

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1 Paperback Copy of The Celeritas Files for an Indian Resident
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