22 September, 2017

#SpecialFeature :: #GuestPost - A complex book of two parts by Chrissie Parker




*** Special Feature - September 2017 ***


About the Author:

Chrissie lives in Devon, UK, with her husband. She has published five books including Integrate and Temperance (books one and two of The Moon Series), Among the Olive Groves, Nabataea and The Secrets, a collection of Poems and Short Stories. Other work includes articles for the Bristolian, The Huffington Post, The Zakynthos Informer, Epilepsy Awareness Squad and Epilepsy Literary Heritage Foundation.
Chrissie’s poem Maisie was performed at the 100 poems by 100 women event at the Bath International Literary Festival in 2013. In 2016 Among the Olive Groves won an historical fiction award in the Summer Indie Book Awards.
Chrissie is passionate about Ancient History, Archaeology and Travel, and has completed two Egyptology courses and an Archaeological Techniques course with Exeter University.



Contact the Author:

A complex book of two parts

Writing a book is one of the most challenging things someone can do. I do believe that everyone has a book in them, everyone has their own story to tell and I would never discourage anyone who wanted to write a book to do so, but there is so much more to it than just writing. There’s planning, researching, characterisation, spelling, grammar, punctuation, plot and scene development, as well as copious amounts of editing. Ultimately writing a book is more than just writing a story, it’s about all the many elements that all go together to finally form the end product and it can be a lot of hard work.



The final version of Among the Olive Groves is actually the third version of the book that was written, after a lot of trial, error and frustration.

When I first began writing the book the story was set in World War Two only, and told from Elena’s point of view, with Kate’s side of the story not being revealed until the very end of the book. Even though the story made sense I didn’t like it, something about it felt wrong. It was as though the book needed more too it, as though Kate’s story needed to be bigger and more prominent throughout it somehow, so I changed it. 


I went back and started to re-write the whole story, which was incredible difficult, as it meant pulling the first version to pieces and reassembling it like a big word filled jigsaw. This second version of Among the Olive Groves changed dramatically. It became s story told from two points of view Angelos’ and Kate’s, in the modern era, with Elena’s story and the war years appearing as Angelos’ thoughts and retellings to Kate. 
This also didn’t feel right, the story had gone from one extreme to another with Elena being sidelined for the other two characters. It was as though all three characters were fighting to have their say in the story as lead characters.



I sat there with no idea of what to do. I had two very different books, both good, but both not quite good enough. All three characters wanted to be in the book in equal part and have their say, so in the end after much thought I pulled the books to pieces in order to create a new and third one, choosing to set the story in two different time periods, with Kate and Elena having their own stories, with Angelos appearing in both stories. Thankfully, this time it worked and the end I was very happy with the end result.



Many authors say that even though they have story ideas and plans, the books they write often take on a life of their own with characters dictating what happens. This is very true of Among the Olives, but I’m glad that the characters of Elena, Kate and Angelos fought so hard to be heard, as I think the final version works well, and the story is all the better for it.



About the Book:
It is 1938, and a young Elena Petrakis lives on the small Greek Island of Zakynthos. Life for Elena is quite, traditional and typically Greek. One day she meets a local young man, Angelos Sarkis and they strike up a friendship. Soon their friendship turns to love, but when Elena falls pregnant Angelos's father is furious and he bans Angelos from seeing Elena again, and forces Angelos to marry another woman. 
World War Two breaks out and Zakynthos is unable to escape invasion. Islanders are pitted against each other under the watchful eye of the Italian D'Aqui division. Elena hates the war and everything it stands for. She joins the resistance to fight for what she believes in, her freedom, and her daughters right to live in a peaceful world, but Elena finds herself drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse. In the end Elena realises that the only way through the madness of war is to makes the greatest of sacrifices. 
Decade’s later, in 1991, a young Cornish woman Kate Fisher is celebrating her 21st birthday. Her happiness is short-lived however when she finds out that she is adopted. The news shakes her and her world falls apart. She argues with her best friend Fletch, and they stop talking, which makes things worse for her. Kate tries her best to carry on, but finds it impossible. 
Ten years later Kate has moved from her home in Cornwall to Bristol, having tried her best to re-start her life, but she is stuck in a rut and unable to move on, her adoption and loss of her friendship with Fletch still haunting her. In the end Kate flees to Zakynthos, in Greece where she is finally forced to face the harsh reality of her past. What she discovers completely changes her life. 

Buy Links:

Giveaway:
Signed Paperback Copy +  a Greek Eye necklace to an UK Winner.
E-copy (all versions available) of the book for an international winner.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

20 September, 2017

#Interview with Stephen Puiia, #Author of Lucky Duck Cola

About the Author:



Steve was born and raised in Prince Edward Island, Canada. He makes his living as a Yoga instructor and trainer and is presently based in Shanghai, China.






An Interview:

What inspires you to write?
I’m inspired to write by my insecurity. I have a low self esteem and need to be validated all the time. I look at writing like making a friend. Usually, when you’re making friends with someone you tell them a secret, then they tell you a secret, then you trust one another and become friends. When I tell someone a humiliating story and they  are ok with it then I feel reassured. 
Writing is similar but on a larger scale. I do it to give people the opportunity to reject me. I’ve been lucky and often when I’ve been weird or tried to alienate myself people have accepted me. This has shown me that it’s ok for me to accept myself and has given me many good feelings throughout my life.

Tell us about your writing process.
I’d graduated from University and was working as a high performance athletic trainer and a yoga instructor in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. I’d always loved watching movies and making comedy/horror videos. Since entering school I’d wanted to write a novel and my profession allowed me the freedom to work on it. 
It took a few years of working on Lucky Duck Cola for me to realize how lonely writing it would be. It was a sad time. I started writing because I wanted to share myself with others but even when people read your work you can’t be there to watch them read it. Throughout the writing process I was starved for the emotional kick that you get while acting. I’d get someone to read the story, they’d have a really ambiguous reaction, and I’d become fixated on the cause. Did they think it sucked? Or was it because they were so removed from reading that they couldn’t recollect their feelings. Or were they withholding their feelings from me intentionally in order to hurt me?
After three years of working on Lucky Duck I became very suspicious no one was actually reading the story so I began paying people to read it. One of them told me that the story made no sense at all and that it made me look insane. I burst into tears. Afterward I became really obsessed with form. A hundred thousand word story was widdled down to thirty thousand. 
I thought things were finally on a good path and gave the story to a friend, (let’s call him…Ben Allain). He’d read it years earlier and I wanted to see how his perspective had changed. He said he’d liked it better before. Then proceeded to give me really true and harsh feedback which demolished my ego. He also insinuated that I was beneath writing a book. It’s very likely that that last part is a projection of mine. Either way I agreed agreed with him. I started over from scratch. 
Up to this point I’d been working on the story for about 8 years and was about to do a full reconstruction. My sense of failure was so overpowering I saw it reflected in all areas of my life. I found that the bad feelings I was having about the story were causing me to be a worse person in real life. The guilt of being a bad person compounded the shame. At this time I was dependant on many people, things and states of mind. I was haunted by suicidal thoughts. 
I ended a relationship I was in and moved to Taiwan. It was honestly a retreat on my part.  In Taiwan I worked a job I hadn’t done before, my coworkers didn’t respect me, and I hadn’t made enough money to relocate. I slept on the floor in a tiny windowless room that had a black mold infestation. I got mold poisoning. It was a truly low time for me. My neighbour (Luke Dailey) also got mold poisoning and, as fate would have it, was a novelist. He was at a similar stage in life and the writing process. 
The unbearable living situation provided me with the impetus to finish the story with or without a publisher just to move forward with my life. Luke’s objective but empathic perspective helped me to strike a balance between indulging wild ideas and using structured writing to make the story more reader friendly.
In the end I moved to China and shortly thereafter was fortunate enough to be published by Solstice Publishing.  This brings us to today. I feel relieved and like I can let my guard down a little bit but not the good feelings I’d anticipated. I often catch myself trying to contrive an emotionally cathartic moment but I haven’t managed to have one yet. Oh well, I’m sure it will happen when I stop wanting it to so bad.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
I would have to say it’s either the scene of Proctor’s death or the frying pan genocide scene. I love these scenes mainly because I get excited by the supernatural gore. There are other scenes that maybe mean more to me or that get me more emotional. But the supernatural slime and blood and guts are and have always been the consistency of the story and what I got the biggest kick out of creating.

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?
Although many characteristics were taken from people I’ve known, like my father or ex girlfriends, all of the characters trace back to various aspects of me. It was difficult in the early drafts to make distinct characters. They all sounded a little bit like me, the narrator, when they talked. In the end I had to go through the whole story and write down which words different characters tended to use. I’d give each character their own lexicon or at least a few phrases or words that they use and no one else does. My goal was to have it so that in the end I could read an isolated quote and tell who was speaking without any extra information. I don’t think I achieved this in all instances but had some good success. 

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
My friend and editor Luke once told me “This is a nice sentence but you haven’t earned it.” Objectively I don’t think it’s the best writing advice I’ve ever heard but as far as my writing is concerned it’s the most appropriate advice I could have received. I was very insecure at the time and I kept trying to fill the story with all the best sentences I had. I thought if I stacked up all the best sentences I could that eventually they’d add up to something meaningful.  This turned out not to be true. It made me invulnerable to the reader and made it hard for people to feel connected to the narrator. The whole story had to break around these groupings of words I liked and I was reworking plot lines and dialogue to preserve a certain sound or word combination. Needless to say this really hurt the plot.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
It’s important that the reader is able to see something of themselves in you. Write about things that mean something to you in a way you feel people will be able to identify with. Don’t focus too much on looking cool and being right. For a long time I thought about these things too much and it robbed me of the therapeutic benefits of writing. I didn’t see at the time the intimacy between the author and reader. If you can truly let them into your feelings it will deepen the experience for you as 

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.
- I’ve had many different jobs. Within the last three years I’ve worked as: a Yoga instructor, an athletic trainer, a Thai massage therapist, a juice bar attendant, a life coach, a bouncer, a writer, ESL teacher and a delivery driver. Often while writing Lucky Duck Cola I’d be doing three or four of these at a time. My favourite of these jobs was the delivery driving job.
- I once rowed a boat on television with Prince William and Princess Kate. I don’t have strong feelings about the royals one way or another but he gave me one of the best handshakes I’ve ever received. You could tell it’s his job to shake hands and that his hands are built to be shook. His hands were soft, clean and elegant but strong—good eye contact, good smile. I was left wanting to like him.
- There is a picture taken of Princess Kate. In it you can see the back of my head. It looks like her and I are sharing a joke or a laugh. But as I remember the moment we weren’t looking at one another and her eyes didn’t settle on me at any point.

About the Book:
Vonnegut meets Philip K. Dick in this dark and surreal, dystopian satire. 
Humania is in danger. Cola mogul, Joe Tornado and General Lenis Meanest are in control and want to kick someone’s butt. Their target is the most disempowered, ugly and stinky group in Hover City—the Humaniacs. One Humaniac, Pooya, stands a chance to stop them. Locked away in the top floor of Tornado Tower he continually balks at action. His self-esteem is weak and he is crushed beneath the weight of his mission. When faced with his own failure Pooya spirals into an abyss of compulsive masturbation, self-pity and binge eating. Can he stop abusing himself in time to save the lives billions? Lucky Duck Cola is the story of falling into and out of love set across a backdrop of monsters, gore, sex, political corruption, death, betrayal, blood, genocide and slime.


18 September, 2017

#Interview with Theodore Ficklestein, #Author of A Day In The Life

About the Author:
Theodore Ficklestein is an author, blogger and poet who has written three poetry books and runs multiple blogs. His first novel A Day In The Life is due out in 2017 and his poetry has appeared in Nuthouse and Avalon Literary Review. 

Contact the Author:
Website I Twitter I Facebook I Google Plus I Instagram 


An Interview:

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
I remember sitting alone in the college lobby thinking to myself, “This. This is a story.” I admit, I didn’t know what I meant by that, but I soon contemplated that the nothingness of college could be a story about self-discovery. A few times later during the semester as I walked around campus from class to class that same thought popped in my head again. “This. This is a story. A kid walking around college not knowing where he wants to go in life.” I was also attending a comedy class at the time so it felt natural to include that part to the story. A funny story about that is, I wrote the first few chapters of the book on my way home on the train from a comedy class. When I wrote them I didn’t’ really have a concrete outline for the book but I definitely knew it would be about a college kid going to classes and then to comedy clubs later that night. I stopped going to the class to focus on the book.

Tell us about your writing process.
I first write down any major parts or notes for the story that I have. So for my book it would be something like, “Kid walks around college. Add comedy to it. Remember that lobby feel.”It all begins with a very basic idea that needs to be developed. If I had thought of certain scenes already I would make a note on them. So for the scene with Nick and Carter talking it would be something like “Carter asks Nick about writing career.  Empty parking lot.” The first notes are just to get the initial book out of my head and onto paper. Then I separate the scenes, however many I have, into a plot. This is where it gets tricky because I am not at a full book yet, so I either work on the parts I wrote already, add more scenes to the outline, or work on characters to help the story. I continue with this until I reach a certain amount I am happy with and the story is at a point I feel I can no longer go anywhere with it.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
I enjoy the scene where Nick and Carter are talking in the school parking lot about Nick’s career. There is a hopelessness in that scene that is not in the others. It was like the characters were there, but not really talking to one another. They both had a lot on their minds, but did not want to talk to each other. The dark empty parking lot for me really makes the scene. They are barely talking and no one is around. The tone from that scene really separates it from others, in my opinion. That was one of the first scenes I told someone about. I said to them. “I think I have something here.”

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?
Definitely the sarcasm. I try to make all my characters have some wit to them. The main character, Nick, got the most of this trait. Also I realized when I was editing the book, that the main character had an anger in him that I had when I was attending school. I do not feel this way anymore, but I think it helped the story because the frustration from the narrator is real since I felt it when writing the story. 

What is your most interesting writing quirk?
I don’t like writing with other people around. I don’t understand how there are some who can go to a coffee shop with the music blasting and still write. I can’t. I also like to write out the first draft by hand, then I type it up. My first draft is never typed up. I have this weird thing I do with the characters if I do not know their name. Instead of giving them an actual name I name them P1 (meaning Person 1) and P2 (meaning Person 2). I do the same if I don’t know the main character’s name when writing about him or her by labeling them MC, for main character. Some of my drafts are only dialogue for these people P1 and P2. If you read only that, you’d be very confused.

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
There’s a lot. The most recent one is by a friend of mine who advised me of the following, “Don’t have a backup plan. There is no backup plan. Writing is the only plan.” Sometimes I see people who only put half of what they have into something, to not be ready to work hard for it, I try not to be one of those people. 

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
I try to read as much as I can. I actually saw somewhere that someone like Warren Buffet, or Bill Gates advised people to read five hours a day. I can’t do that. I like the classic authors like Poe and Hemingway. I’m impressed that a guy like Poe can still be so popular without having a signature novel. That speaks for the great writer he was. I also find it funny that Hemingway won the Pulitzer for a novel when he is known for his short stories. I try to read what I think will help me, whether it is a classic, a history book, or a how to book.

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?
A gun; in case of anything. A map; to the treasure on the island (I am going to assume that there is some sort of treasure on the island) and keys to my boat so I can get off the island.

What do you have in store next for your readers?
I am currently working on my next novel. It is contemporary literary fiction and I am about done with the outline. I’ll start to pitch it to publishers in the fall. I don’t want to give too much of it away but I will say that if you like cookies and humor, you’ll like. I would suggest for all readers interested in staying up to date with my writing to follow me on social media or my website. 

About the Book:
A Day In The Life is Theodore Ficklestein’s debut novel about Nickolas Cripp, a college student finding his way in the world. Although Nick won’t admit it, he is the main focus to a young adult book that follows him from his home to college to the city, where he wants to attend an open mic.
Along his path, he encounters a teacher who asks about the apocalypse, a drunk on the train and two friends who feel writing isn’t Nick’s strong point, among others. Nick soon finds out that the funniest things in life aren’t that funny at all, and the greatest comedians never go up on stage.
As he goes through his day, one oddball character at a time, Nick starts to question if the comedy club he dreams of being in, is really for him. Should he be who he wants to be? Or who the world thinks he should be? Neither of which, he is entirely sure about.
A personal journey of self-discovery through the eyes of a youth yearning for meaning in a meaningless world; Nick learns that in life, the joke is on you. 


17 September, 2017

#BookBlast :: Soul Warrior (Age of Kali #1) by Falguni Kothari

★.•**•.★ Soul Warrior Book Blast ★.•**•.★ 
15th to 17th September, 2017


About the Book:

The Age of Kali is a series of mythic fantasy novels by international bestselling novelist Falguni Kothari. The first book of the series, Soul Warrior, introduces readers to a fictional law-governed Cosmos made up of heavenly, demonic and human realms and its protagonist, Lord Karna, the legendary guardian of the Human Realm, who is coerced into training six godlings into demon hunters against a rising demon army. The series arc interlocks into a war of domination between the Light and Dark forces of the Cosmos and the race to control the one soul capable of total cosmic annihilation, demi-god Karna's and Draupadi's secret child.


Get Your Copy from AMAZON





Praise for Soul Warrior:

"A beautiful exploration of fantasy and mythology, Soul Warrior (The Age of Kali) is the latest release from Falguni Kothari and by any stretch of the imagination she’s delivered an awesome story. Rich, enchanting, evocative, she effortlessly blends an ancient Indian epic and South Asian mythology with grace and quiet elegance to create the canvas upon which her miraculous world finds form.... Beautifully written and enviably imaginative, Soul Warrior proves an exemplary example of Fantasy Fiction. Definitely deserving of your attention it is recommended without reservation!"
   —Book Viral 

"I loved the writing which... hit that nice spot between being evocative and descriptive and still keeping the story moving....It has a huge cast of fascinating characters, a deep and rich world and definitely something I’m interested in following."

   —Fangs for Fantasy 

"I loved the way Ms. Falguni has shown an eye for the details scattered throughout the novel.... Will I recommend this book? Oh yes, and be assured you will grab the next one too just to know more about the Soul Warrior."

   —Global Asian Times 

"The plot is intriguing, much in the tradition of a modern thriller.... Precisely sketched and nuanced with quirky detail, the characters enrich the story they inhabit.... The vibrant characters in the multi-hued setting are the stuff superhero animation films are made of. Soul Warrior engrosses and enthralls. A thumping good read, I would say."
   —Of Prose and Poetry blog 


Read an Excerpt:


SHUNYA: NOTHING AND EVERYTHING


Kuru Kshetra Battlefield.

        Day 17 of the Great Kuru War, seven thousand five hundred years ago.


Death is hot.


That surprises me. I’d imagined death as cold and brutal. Merciless. But in truth, death is hot as blood, and constant like a heartbeat.


Thrum. Thrum. Thrum. My lifeblood ebbs to the rhythm. My head ripped from its torso by Anjalika, the arrow of death that burns even now with the energy of the sun. Struck from behind like some novice. Felled in battle by that lily-livered usurper the Heavens smile upon—Prince Arjun. Brother Arjun.


What have I done?


I harness the thought. Cease all reflection and wrench free of my mortal body. I soar up, up into the gloaming, snapping the ties that tether me to life. Dead, I have no use for ties.


“A matter of perspective, Karna, O son of my godsire.” The unearthly words strum through the air, and I quiver like a plucked bowstring, overcome as much by the voice as its blasphemous claim. 


“Bonds of devotion nourish the soul, brother.”


There is that word again. Brother. Unpleasant laughter wells up in me. Alive, I am abandoned, denied my birthright—Celestial or royal. Death, it seems, changes everything.


A bright, nebulous light brings forth Lord Yama, the God of Death, atop his divine mount. His elephantine thighs ripple beneath a silken dhoti, ochre and crimson of color, as he guides the mammoth water buffalo to a halt. An iron medallion sways against the God’s powerful cerulean torso, its center stone an ethereal blood orange.


Hypnotic. Pulsing with life. I am drawn to the stone.


“Piteous waste,” Lord Yama mutters, surveying the carnage of war far below us.


I trace the trajectory of his gaze and behold the battered remains of my army drenched in the evidence of its mortality. Is it true? Have we died in vain?


Words form inside me and I will them out. “Shall we go, my lord?”


“Ha! Impatient to be judged, are you? Anxious to have your fate revealed?” asks the Judge of the Hell Realm. His red-black eyes burn with intelligence and compassion in a blue-tinged face that is long and lean and hard. “Rest easy, brother-warrior. You are not bound for the Great Courtroom.”

Not bound for Hell? Where then? Fear has eluded me for so long that I take a moment to recognize it. 

A hollow-bellied feeling it is, as annoying as a bone stuck in my throat.


“My lord, I have done bad deeds…terrible deeds in my life. I have waged wars, this horrendous bloodshed, and all because my pride could not—would not abide rejection. I have sinned. I must atone for my actions.”


Lord Yama smiles in a way I do not like. “You have redeemed yourself admirably, Karna. You forfeited your life for the greater good today. The deed far outweighs any misguided ones. Be at peace, brother, and enjoy the fruits of your karma.”


There is but one place to enjoy such fruits—the Higher Worlds.


I’d rather burn in Hell for eternity. I say so. “I won’t live amongst the Celestials.” Coexisting with the very souls who’ve spurned me is unthinkable. Watching her—for she would surely reside in Heaven soon—will be eternal torture.


Yama shakes his head, the horns on his crown slashing to and fro. “I thought you might say that. Relax. Your destiny lies elsewhere.”


“Am I to be reborn then? Am I to begin a new life, and forget the past?” Pain, sharp as a blade, lances through me at the thought. Forget my past? My family? Even her? Was that my punishment? To forget all that made me human?


It must be so. For have I not betrayed them as surely as I’ve betrayed my prince regent?


“Human rebirth is not your destiny, either. You are chosen, brother. Your war skills are needed for a higher purpose.” The God slips off his mount, his garments rustling in agitation. “This unjust war has pushed the Cosmos to the vortex of a cataclysm. Tomorrow, the Kuru War will end. Fearing its outcome, the Celestials rolled the Die of Fate and have unwittingly bestowed on Demon Kali untold powers.” Lord Yama bares his fangs in disgust at the foolish gamble. “Imagine the havoc that asura and his minions will wreak on the weak if left unchecked. The Human Realm must be safeguarded during Kali’s dark reign.”


I can imagine the horror only too well as I have battled with evil all my life. But I am done with wars. 

I am done with defeat. I won’t waste another lifetime fighting.

“With due respect, my lord, I am not the man for this task.”


“You are not a man at all,” Yama thunders, fists shaking. “You are the son of Surya, the Sun God. Accept that you are no ordinary soul.”


I say nothing. I think nothing. I feel something but I squash it down.


Lord Yama’s thick black brows draw together. “Demon Kali will try to pervade every particle of good that exists in the Cosmos, beginning with the corruptible Human Realm. Once he obliterates all of humanity, he’ll set his sights on the Celestials. Kali will not stop until he’s destroyed our way of life. But you can stop him. You are light to his darkness. Do you understand now why you had to betray him? Your beloved humans need you, Karna. I need you. Our father believes in you. Claim your rightful place in the Cosmos.”


Impatiently, Lord Yama removes the iron medallion from his neck and holds it out. The vermillion sunstone glows as if its soul is on fire. Nay! It is my soul that is on fire.


Indescribable energy curls through me. I gasp, though not in pain. I shudder and feel myself grow large, grow hot. Was this rebirth?


I am strong, full-bodied and lethal once more. Then I roar as light bursts forth from my very core and I throb with glorious, blinding power. When I come to myself, my world has changed again. Bubbles of color shimmer all around me: cobalt and saffron, azure and rose. By karma! They are souls. Infinite floating souls.


“Behold the spectrum of life: the worthy, the notorious, the righteous and the sinners.” The God of Death’s soul was a worthy sapphire blue with a tinge of silver. “Your duty, should you choose to accept the office of the Soul Warrior, is to hunt down the red-souled asuras and crush them. Whatever you decide, I wish you a long and successful Celestial existence, Karna,” Yama booms out and vanishes into the purpling sky.


The parley has stunned me. The world of color holds me in thrall. I was dead. Yet, now I am not. A new path lies before me. Unwanted, unwelcome, I insist on principle. I close my eyes. Open them to stare at the medallion cupped in my hand—a golden-hued hand at once familiar and not—and know myself for a fool. I do want this. It’s what I am.


Bastard-born. Rebel. Son. Husband. Father. Warlord. And protector. I fist the talisman, buoyed by its concrete warmth. This is who I am.


I am the Soul Warrior.



About the Author:


Falguni Kothari is a New York-based South Asian author and an amateur Latin and Ballroom dance silver medalist with a semi-professional background in Indian Classical dance. She’s published in India in contemporary romance with global e-book availability; Bootie and the Beast (Harlequin Mills and Boon) and It’s Your Move, Wordfreak! (Rupa & Co.), and launches a mythic fantasy series with Soul Warrior (The Age of Kali, #1)

I’m embarrassed to admit how many social media accounts I own :


Website * Blog * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads * Pinterest




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16 September, 2017

#Interview with Radhika Nathan, #Author of A Time To Burnish

About the Author:
Radhika Nathan is a juggler, a meanderer and a rolling stone. She believes in the miracle of words and the rain. Her favourite pastimes include reading, listening to podcasts and gazing at monsoon clouds. Her taste in books is eclectic ranging from anthropology to old fashioned murder mysteries, and if pushed she would name Jane Austen as her favourite author for her believable, eternal characters. Travel is something she enjoys and has been to more than a dozen countries- for the love of meeting new people and discovering new cultures. 
Radhika writes for her fascination of human beings, intrigued by their archetypal & atypical behaviour and the differences & similarities in all of us. Writing is a means that forces her to think and re-examine a point of view or a preconceived notion. ‘I grow as a person as I write’, she says and quotes ‘A well written sentence [a rare occurrence] is like soul chocolate.’
Radhika, believes in a spiritual approach to life that welcomes science. She believes in liberty, equality, personal responsibility and fair play.


An Interview:

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?
Oh absolutely! Many stories in various states of completion remain in almost forgotten folders in my computer.  Some written in now faded notebooks and diaries, sit inside a box up on a shelf.  From time to time, I think of salvaging them, but new ideas are more seductive. 

Tell us about your writing process.
I am not very disciplined about my writing. But I have realized I do follow a process of sorts mentally when I work on a story. I rarely begin without a semblance of a plot in my head. Then I do a lot of research; that’s the part I enjoy the most so sometimes I don’t proceed to the next stage at all. If something clicks, then I start working on my first draft. The first and the final drafts are the hardest for me. I work in short bursts and can never predict if and when I would finish the book. I am trying to school myself better with each finished work. 

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
It’s hard to tell since I am my own worst critic and can come up with flaws in every scene. I did have the most fun writing this one scene in ‘A Time To Burnish’ that I could call it my most favorite scene. Josh, the protagonist, having just discovered a critical unwelcome piece of information about the Chola bronze he is trying to track, is deeply disturbed. He goes to a bar and starts drinking, and his mood progresses from contemplation to belligerence to alcohol induced sadness. The scene is one of a group of scenes in the book that is used to bring about the different perspectives on art.  It was challenging to write the scene from Josh’s perspective but at the same time also show the reader he was quite drunk by the end of it. Most readers though seem to have liked a pivotal scene near the end of the book.

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?
Until I read the question, I wasn’t conscious of it. I drum my fingers on the table a lot, like when I am in deep thought or when I am impatient about something. Turns out I have my characters doing that too. I just noticed Josh and Tom drum their fingers in irritation!
Ashton, the protagonist of ‘The Mute Anklet,’ whistles from time to time. I could never whistle, and so it’s a quirk that I wish I had that my character inherited. It felt cool to have him whistle under his breath when he was concentrating on something else. 

What is your most interesting writing quirk?
I have a compulsive need to check if my characters are behaving ‘in-character.’ And if they aren’t then there has to be a rationale behind it. In my head, I need to make up an elaborate back story for them. I only use half of what I ultimately come up with, but unless I feel sure of the character I find myself uncomfortable to proceed writing. I am not sure if it is an interesting quirk, it sure is a pain.

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
From the movie ‘Midnight in Paris’, Ernest Hemingway’s character says, ‘Don’t be so self-effacing, it’s not manly. If you are a writer declare yourself to be the best.’

What would be the Dream Cast for you book if it was to be turned into a movie?
As far as I am concerned only Matt Bomer can bring justice to Tom. 

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?
A solar charger, tablet loaded with books and music and pictures, and a swiss army knife [I’d check if it comes with a magnifier or a fire-starter.]  The tablet would be a great way for me to record my, what would no doubt be profound thoughts, as I wander about pondering over the meaning of life. 

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
I wish I could say that I go for a run in Lal Bagh. But in reality, my idea of unwinding is sitting on my couch in front of the TV watching some vague documentary, gorging on chocolates. I read almost every day, but I don’t think of it as something that I do when I have free time. I make time to read.

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
1. Visit all the continents [Okay Antartica maybe a stretch, but with global warming who knows.]
2. Plant my feet on all critical latitudes and longitudes [Yes, I do know they are not real lines.]
3. Finish a marathon.


About the Book:
"Not too long before we can get as many of them 3-D printed."

That pretty much sums up Josh Winslow's feelings about classic artifacts. As a man of science and technology, he couldn't care less about old bronze idols. Unfortunately, his brother Tom has just made one such idol his problem.

Vidya Thyagarajan, a young banker from Chennai, didn't expect to chase the origins of old idols either. But her friend Tom has just entangled her in one such chase.

Along with Vidya, Josh reluctantly embarks on a journey to India to track the origins of a Chola bronze idol. Through the urban maze of Chennai, dusty roads of small towns in deep Chola territory, they discover clues that confounds them every step of the way.

During a short span of a week, the quest quickly becomes personal as the shadow of the past challenges their outlook toward life and love.

15 September, 2017

#FaveFiveFriday :: Books you wish had Sequels



#FaveFiveFriday is an initiative by Buzz Magazine




5. Fault in Our Stars by John Green


4. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier 

3. Another Day by David Levithan

2. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

1. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

#SpecialFeature :: #GuestPost - A book of two locations; Zakynthos or Cornwall? by Chrissie Parker




*** Special Feature - September 2017 ***


About the Author:

Chrissie lives in Devon, UK, with her husband. She has published five books including Integrate and Temperance (books one and two of The Moon Series), Among the Olive Groves, Nabataea and The Secrets, a collection of Poems and Short Stories. Other work includes articles for the Bristolian, The Huffington Post, The Zakynthos Informer, Epilepsy Awareness Squad and Epilepsy Literary Heritage Foundation.
Chrissie’s poem Maisie was performed at the 100 poems by 100 women event at the Bath International Literary Festival in 2013. In 2016 Among the Olive Groves won an historical fiction award in the Summer Indie Book Awards.
Chrissie is passionate about Ancient History, Archaeology and Travel, and has completed two Egyptology courses and an Archaeological Techniques course with Exeter University.



Contact the Author:

A book of two locations; Zakynthos or Cornwall?

I grew up in Bristol, in the west of the UK, it was where I spent my childhood and first started work. Many of our family holidays were spent going up and down the motorway to Cornwall, where we visited and stayed in lots of seaside towns. I remember those times fondly, and have been left with some incredible memories. Cornwall is beautiful, and filled with large sweeping beaches, turquoise waters and thriving attractions. There are so many exciting places for visitors to explore, such as the Eden Project, Jamaica Inn or the fantastic Minack thetare, and it’s a place that is close to my heart.



Travelling became a big part of my life once I had left school and started working, I backpacked through Europe to Germany, I’ve spent time in the USA and Canada, and visited the Middle East and Egypt. One of my favourite trips was in 2005 to a small Greek Island called Zakynthos, a part of the string of Ionian Islands to the west of the Greek mainland, for a friends wedding and to visit family.
Zakynthos was my first visit to Greece, and it exposed me to a country that I instantly fell in love with and still love very much. 
Like Cornwall, Zakynthos also has beautiful sweeping beaches, and is definitely blessed with turquoise sea, sometimes so bright that it looks unnatural. There are also lots of things to see and do so visitors are never bored, such as the famous shipwreck, a Venetian castle and a multitude of churches and monasteries.


When I wrote Among the Olive Groves I knew the book would be set in Zakynthos, as the inspiration for the story came to me during my visit there, but when I finally worked out that the story would be set across two time periods I needed to find another location that complemented Zakynthos. After a lot of thought I just knew that place had to be Cornwall, and I chose Newquay on the north Cornwall coast as the final setting.



Many readers ask me where I love the most, Zakynthos or Cornwall? 
It’s such a hard question to answer, a bit like asking someone if they love strawberry or chocolate ice-cream, both are just as nice, but equally different. 
The same applies to Zakynthos and Cornwall. They are two very special places that are thousands of miles apart and culturally very different, but that both hold their own appeal. 



Zakynthos is full of Greek charm and hospitality, it’s hot and sunny, the scenery is absolutely stunning and there’s so much to see and do. Cornwall is stunning, truly picturesque, the weather can be typically British at times, with rain in the summer and chillier nights, but it’s a welcoming place and full of history that will keep you more than occupied. 
So I find myself back at the original question;
Zakynthos or Cornwall?

Well in all honesty, for me it has to be both. I could never choose one over the other, despite their differences, as I have fond memories of both, and love so much about them. And it’s okay that I can’t choose between them because having the option of two amazing places to visit, is definitely better than just one!




About the Book:
It is 1938, and a young Elena Petrakis lives on the small Greek Island of Zakynthos. Life for Elena is quite, traditional and typically Greek. One day she meets a local young man, Angelos Sarkis and they strike up a friendship. Soon their friendship turns to love, but when Elena falls pregnant Angelos's father is furious and he bans Angelos from seeing Elena again, and forces Angelos to marry another woman. 
World War Two breaks out and Zakynthos is unable to escape invasion. Islanders are pitted against each other under the watchful eye of the Italian D'Aqui division. Elena hates the war and everything it stands for. She joins the resistance to fight for what she believes in, her freedom, and her daughters right to live in a peaceful world, but Elena finds herself drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse. In the end Elena realises that the only way through the madness of war is to makes the greatest of sacrifices. 
Decade’s later, in 1991, a young Cornish woman Kate Fisher is celebrating her 21st birthday. Her happiness is short-lived however when she finds out that she is adopted. The news shakes her and her world falls apart. She argues with her best friend Fletch, and they stop talking, which makes things worse for her. Kate tries her best to carry on, but finds it impossible. 
Ten years later Kate has moved from her home in Cornwall to Bristol, having tried her best to re-start her life, but she is stuck in a rut and unable to move on, her adoption and loss of her friendship with Fletch still haunting her. In the end Kate flees to Zakynthos, in Greece where she is finally forced to face the harsh reality of her past. What she discovers completely changes her life. 

Buy Links:

Giveaway:
Signed Paperback Copy +  a Greek Eye necklace to an UK Winner.
E-copy (all versions available) of the book for an international winner.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

13 September, 2017

#BookReview :: Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

WHO ARE YOU WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING?

When a beloved high schooler named Lucinda Hayes is found murdered, no one in her sleepy Colorado suburb is untouched—not the boy who loved her too much; not the girl who wanted her perfect life; not the officer assigned to investigate her murder. In the aftermath of the tragedy, these three indelible characters—Cameron, Jade, and Russ—must each confront their darkest secrets in an effort to find solace, the truth, or both. In crystalline prose, Danya Kukafka offers a brilliant exploration of identity and of the razor-sharp line between love and obsession, between watching and seeing, between truth and memory.

Compulsively readable and powerfully moving, Girl in Snow offers an unforgettable reading experience and introduces a singular new talent in Danya Kukafka.

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Girl in the Snow is a murder mystery about a girl called Lucinda Hayes. She is found murdered and left out in the snow. The story is told from the point of views of three major characters. First is Cameron, the boy who loved Lucinda from afar. He is known to have stalked her and as such some people have their suspicions about him. Then there is the fact that Cameron cannot remember where he was when Lucinda was murdered. Then there is Jade, a girl with a difficult life only made more difficult by her rebellious nature. She hated Lucinda – a girl who seemed to be loved by one and all. With her troubled home life, Jade always felt that Lucinda had the perfect life and she wanted it for herself. Then there is Russ, the officer in charge of the investigation. With a sketchy past and a promise to keep, Russ has a lot of things he must resolve in order to be able to work on this case properly. 

Who would murder the most loved girl in the school? Also, why would someone do it? And just how involved are Cameron and Jade with the case?

The author has done an exemplary job of developing the characters in the book. Each personality is very distinct and I loved the character of Russ the most. There was nothing extraordinary about him yet he stands out in a way that makes the very forgettable character unforgettable. Jade too was developed well – as a girl with a troubled life, it was easy to sympathize with her at many levels. Her confusions and convictions make her what she is. Her quirkiness is in some ways quite endearing. Cameron is probably the only character I couldn’t really connect to though by no fault of the character development. He has stalker tendencies and it makes sense to his character, but I just thought it was creepy.

The plot is well paced. The story takes off immediately and as the various aspects of it are slowly revealed, it becomes clear to the reader how the smallest and mundane details are important to the crux of it. The language and narrative worked well for the book. The author’s attention to details, especially for the setting, makes it easier for the readers to transport into the world.


Review Copy received via NetGalley


12 September, 2017

#BookReview :: Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6) by Sarah J. Maas

Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.

His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica—the stronghold of the southern continent's mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.

But what they discover in Antica will change them both—and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.


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I wasn’t expecting much from this book. Chaol Westfall is not one of my favourite characters, but I was expecting to see Yrene Towers again from the moment I realized that Chaol is heading towards Torre Cesme.

After the incident at the Glass Castle, Chaol was badly hurt. His agenda for Torre Cesme was not only to see if the legendary healers of Torre Cesme could heal him but also meet the Royal family there as the hand to the King. From the moment Chaol and Nesryn meet the Royal family, they knew that they had their hands full when it came to convincing the Southern Empire to join in the war. But there is something evil lurking there… whether it was awakened by Chaol and Nesryn’s arrival or something else entirely remains to be discovered. 

I expected quite a bit of politics in this book as it seemed to me that the Southern Continent, which is yet to be touched by Erawan, is so far away from the heart of all the action that they would need some convincing so as to what was really happening out in the world. Arghun, the eldest Prince, also known as the Prince of Spies already has some information on the happenings in Adarlan and Terrasen. And as news trickles in, the group – including Chaol, struggle to keep up to what is true and what is not. 

The book introduces quite a few new characters – Arghun, Sartaq, Hasar and Kashin among them. I took a liking towards Kashin at first who seemed more welcoming of the party from Adarlan than the others. But it was Sartaq who slowly built up a place of his own. I quite like the character of Hasar – who can be manipulative at times. But being one of the heirs, she has to be strong and manipulative if she wants to live in the long run. Nesryn got her fair share in the spotlight too. But it was Yrene who won my heart in this book. She is such a strong girl. It may not have been very apparent in The Assassin and the Healer, but she has some strength and light in her that makes her very likeable. And her experience with Celaena Sardothien only made her stronger.

I didn’t really feel the romance in this book. There are two sets of romantic relationships that played out in this book and both felt very sudden and forced. Also, the pace of the book felt really slow. There were things that felt too repetitive (especially reference to Yrene having tended to an injury similar to Chaol’s) and could have been done without.

However, that HUGE plot twist just about made up for the missed mark on romance and pace. Those of you have read it – can you believe it about Maeve? I always thought that there was some motive behind Maeve’s actions that we did not know, but I could not have imagined this in my wildest imaginations. Those of you from the ToG fandom who are wondering whether to pick this book up or not – please do. That one plot twist is totally worth it. It changes everything we know!

I am going to have a very hard time waiting for #ToG7!