22 November, 2019

#SpecialFeature :: #GuestPost - The Modern Thriller by @sourabhm_ofcl


*** Special Feature - November 2019 ***


About the Author:


Sourabh is the author of two psychological thriller novels The Colours of Passion: Unravelling Dark Secrets behind the Limelight (Readomania) and  In the Shadows of Death: A Detective Agni Mitra Thriller (Srishti Publishers and Distributors); Romance Shorts, a collection of dark-romance short stories; a 2-part series Beyond 22 Yards (Srishti Publishers and Distributors) on stories of Love and Crime from the world of cricket and a 7-part series of short stories titled It’s All About Love (Srishti Publishers and Distributors). The titles in the series are The Gift, The Cookery Show and a Love Story, A Special Day, Masks, An Autumn Turmoil, The Hunt, The Death Wish.

A keen observer of human behaviour and cultural diversities, Sourabh loves travelling and has travelled widely across five continents. An avid reader of fiction, Sourabh is equally passionate about photography, movies and music.



Contact the Author:


The Modern Thriller:

A story for me is also a vehicle to talk about issues that matter to me. In my first novel “In the Shadows of Death”, I spoke about several topics that are usually considered ‘taboo’ and are best pushed under dusty carpets. I talked about the sexual harassment of the male child in the supposedly secure confines of home. I talked about the politics of sexual exploitation and sexual favours, as well as the ‘reverse’ sexual harassment of men at the workplace. I painted a stark picture of adultery and infidelity rampant in the modern urban society with changing ways of life and tried to find plausible causes without being judgemental.

My second novel “The Colours of Passion” was about alternate sexuality, and how social taboos drive an individual down the murky path of crime - an issue that continues to fuel passionate debates across the world, especially in India.

Thrillers these days are rarely about stolen antique or rare jewels. Thrillers today are more about human psychology. They are about the complicated dynamics of human relationships. They reflect the society and the times we live in. And that is what draws me to a thriller as a reader.

Today, we are consuming crime stories from all quarters – TV, news, movies, the internet. And it is probably getting harder and harder for the mystery writer to conjure an unexpected ending. There is so much of true crime we are reading about and watching around us that it is often difficult to deliver jaw-dropping twists. Also, readers like me who read lots of crime books every year get used to spotting hints and clues in the narrative as they read along. 

Therefore, for me, when I read a thriller today, whether I was kept guessing about the identity of the antagonist till the last page, is no longer the most important thing. What I look for in a modern thriller is how we get there, how deep we go into the psyche of the characters. I want the narrative to be intriguing and satisfying to the extent where I feel it is all real, where I can relate to the characters and everything that is happening to them. These days, that is primarily the expectation I have from a thriller. 



About the Book:


Vikram Oberoi is found dead in his penthouse. A few hours ago, his involvement in a sex scandal in NexGen Technologies made headlines across the world.

Who is behind the sinister conspiracy that destroyed Vikram Oberoi, the philandering India Head of NexGen? Rivals within and outside the firm? One of his many jilted lovers or the miffed wife? A mysterious conspirator laying out honey traps to sabotage his plans? Or, is it the ghost of a sinful past that continues to haunt the Oberois? 

The Sinners is a fast-paced thriller with a shocking twist that unravels against the backdrop of corporate warfare, illicit relationships and ruthless seduction games.





Book Links:

Giveaway:
1 Paperback Copy of The Sinners
1 Paperback Copy of The Colours of Passion

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21 November, 2019

#BookReview :: The Treasure Syndicate by @jatinkuberkar

Check out the book on Amazon

Well, who doesn’t like a treasure hunt story? For me, most of the times it is about the chase and the adventure of it all that makes it interesting. The value of the treasure rarely make any difference, after all, I am not going to get a cut, am I?

Jatin kuberkar tells us the story of a curse put on a King which resulted in assigning a guardian and forming of a group which is, now in the modern days, known as The Treasure Syndicate. Acharya Neelkanth Agnihotri is the current Guardian of The Treasure Syndicate and he has a team who help him hunt for hidden treasures. Jabbar, Kumar, Srikanth and Mahesh are the four other players in the story who each play their parts to add different flavours and bring a form to the overall plot.

What I loved the most about the book was the plot and the pace of the book. The author has added a little bit of mythology to give a certain depth to the plot and while this certainly isn’t a mytho-fiction in any way, the little details and pieces of information does help give the plot a dimension to it that just adds to the readers experience of the adventure that lies in the pages of this book. The narrative pace also helps keep the readers engaged throughout as there is always something ‘happening’ to keep them curious and reading. The characters in the book are interesting too. While I found the Acharya to be most interesting of them all, their varied personalities sometimes caused friction and sometimes complemented each other.  The author’s unpretentious language and simple narrative is a plus as it makes it very easy to get into the story and into the lives of these characters.

The book has enough adventure to make it a lively read and with a few red herrings thrown in the thrills just add to the experience. It turned out to be a ‘quick’ (well, I could not put it down and finished in one sitting) read that had my attention from the first page to the last word.



Review Copy received from the Author




20 November, 2019

#WeOnlyTalkBooks - Episode 2: Books about Books - @WeOnlyTalkBooks



We are back with the second episode where we talk about some books about Books & reading and some special focus on the book - End of Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe.




Books Mentioned in the episode -

An uncommon Rader by Alan Bennett
I'd rather be reading by Anne Bogel
End of Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
The library book by Susan Orlean
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Matilda by Roald Dahl
Too much Happiness by Alice Munroe
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

Go on... tell us what you guys think. Leave a comment on the BLOG or TWEET to us!


19 November, 2019

#BlogTour :: Over the River and Through the Woods - @beckvalleybooks




A holiday pastiche from the authors of Mindful Writers Retreat, sure to light your festive candles!

From a Thanksgiving snow storm that mends old feuds… to the family misunderstandings that fuel new ones… a quirky elf and some romantic stardust will get you ready to go Over the River and Through the Woods on a journey through time!

Proceeds benefit Ligonier Camp & Conference Center Home of the Mindful Writers Retreats, Ligonier, PA

Available at....








Book Excerpts

LIMITED TIME OFFER
by Phil Giunta



***


A GIFT
by Lori M. Jones




***

Also available in the Mindful Writers Retreat Series...


Into the Woods is the title and theme for this assortment of short stories, poems, essays, music, and one walking meditation. Each piece is unique in tone and genre and the result is that the collection captures the fascinating, frightening, fun, healing, and fantastical wonder of time spent in the woods. The twenty-six contributors who attend Mindful Writers Retreats in the mountains of Ligonier, Pennsylvania, are donating one hundred percent of the proceeds to support the research and work of The Children’s Heart Foundation.

Available at....






Mindful Writers Retreat Authors 
Many of the writers who contributed to the anthology. 
The retreats happen at Ligonier camp and conference center in Ligonier, PA. 


Twenty-one Mindful Writers Retreat Authors contributed to OVER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE WOODS. The group consists of bestsellers, award-winners, first-time authors, seasoned veterans, poets, memoirists, essayists, musicians, journalists, novelists, and short story writers who are traditionally, self and hybrid published. At Mindful Writers Retreats the labels don’t create a hierarchy, but instead reveal the richness of those who attend. Every single writer contributes to the magic and the fun that results from meditation, walking in the woods, and hour upon hour of mindful writing.

“Thanksgiving Traveler” – Janet McClintock
“Solstice” – Eileen Enwright Hodgetts
“Magic Sleigh Bed” – Michele Savaunah Zirkle 
“Tidings of Comfort and Joyce” – Kimberly Kurth Gray
“The Bridge on the River Obi-Wan” – Ramona DeFelice Long
“Reminiscing on the Nostalgia of Happier Times” – Amy Morley
“Christmas Pearl” – Demi Stevens 
“Once Upon a Life Well Spent” – Hilary Hauck
“The Christmas Tree” – Kathleen Shoop
“Tink” – Abigail Drake 
“Limited Time Offer” – Phil Giunta
“Cranberry River” – Lorraine Donohue Bonzelet
“The Christmas Angel” – MaryAlice Meli
“A Gift” – Lori M. Jones
“Stars of Peace” – N.J. Hammer
“Fathers and Daughters” – Jennifer Diamond
“The Day the Magic Died” – James Robinson, Jr.
“Shaping Christmas” – Denise Weaver
“Buon Natale” – Cara Reinard 
“First Nativity” – Larry Schardt
“’Twas a Hard Day’s Night and Another Auld Lang Syne” – Sherren Elias Pensiero

Many of the writers who contributed to the anthology. 
The retreats happen at Ligonier camp and conference center in Ligonier, PA. 

Find the Mindful Writers Retreat Series on Facebook HERE



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NOW FOR THE AUTHOR'S GIVEAWAY
Winners Prize - 
$50 Amazon.com Giftcard plus Over the River and Through the Woods paperback
Second prize - Over the River and Through the Woods paperback
Open Worldwide
Ending on Sunday 8th December at 11.59pm EST


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#Interview with Jatin Kuberkar, #Author of The Treasure Syndicate

Check out his latest book THE TREASURE SYNDICATE


When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
It was at a family party. It happened when I was entrusted the duty of looking after some pesky kids while their mothers were busy in arrangements. To engage them, I tried cooking up a story about a ‘magical pot’ which, to my surprise, became a hit with the lot. In fact, I was surprised with my own ability of cooking up a story so fast. After that, I started to write short stories for kids. I really don’t remember when it transformed into a passion and here I am…

What inspires you to write?
There is not direct answer to this question.
Inspirations come in strange little bottles, some with a label and some just too transparent.
Rarely, they come with a lid so that I can test them and use only what is required; but for most of the times, they just need to be cracked open at my own risk.
The last I checked, a moment in waiting, a crazy lot of co-travelers or an uneducated cab driver with a strange story about a treasure hunting gang can inspire someone to write a book!

What kind of research goes into your book?
Having an idea or a concept or rather an abstract inspiration is not enough to write a book. There is a tremendous amount of research that needs to go in and that too ‘relevant’ research.
My story has its roots in a conversation with a cab driver. During our talk, he went through a lot of keywords that needed research.
Some of the keywords he had for me were, ‘Snakes’ and their connection to treasures, particularly the Red Sand Boa!
‘Unyielding treasures’ – he spoke about them and said that a cursed treasure could spell doom. When I research about this topic, I found many stories that connect treasures and curses.  ‘Black magic and Vashikaran’ was another topic that I didn’t know about. One can always disregard them as blind faith but is that the final answer we’ve got? Well, that is where I see an intriguing tangle!
Treasure hunting in itself is a vast topic, but I am proud to say that it has not been explored or experienced with the perspective that I have presented/projected in my book.

What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on a collection of short stories and a non-fiction. Both of these are still in very early stages.
Apart from this, I am also working on a story that seems to be a potential candidate for the next Treasure Syndicate’s mission!

Please share three interesting facts about the characters in your book.
Acharya is like the central character in the book. This was a character I didn’t have any reference to. Moreover, I did not want to depict a stereotype astrologer…while I was in search for an inspiration, a scene from one of the Amitabh bacchan’s movie rolled on the TV. That is when I got a reference for describing the character of Acharya Neelkanth Agnihotri!

Kumar is an adaption of the Cab driver who narrated me the story. The only thing that changes there is, the original guy cursed his ‘luck’ for being trapped in this treasure tale, whereas, the one in the book is actually an angel of Luck, without whom the Syndicate is not complete.

The character Srikanth is a vague representation of my own self. You see, the catch is, if I am one of the characters, then I can better imagine and plot the story.

Have you read any books that have inspired you to improve or change yourself in any way?  
I was not at all a reader until I read ‘Wise and Otherwise’ by Sudha Murthy. Before that, only comics and Chandama, Chacha Chowdhari etc was on my reading list.
Then, the book that changed my thinking was The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari – Robin Sharma. This is by far the best self-help book I had come across.

Name three things that you believe are important to character development?
1. Knowing your character well. Not confusing it with the plot or the story. Characters are part of the story.
2. Choose between describing a character step by step v/s describing them at once.
3. Always referring to the character outline so that you don’t err during the story. (just so that a bald character does not carry a comb! 😊)

Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so what helps you to get over it?
I experience writer’s block quiet often… but over the period of time, I’ve realized that it is more of an indication that this is not what I should be writing. A percent of books that are incomplete in my list are all due to this. I guess, the god in me wants me to complete what he thinks is best for me… 😊

Do you know the ending of your books before you finish writing them?
Depends on the book/story that I am writing. For this one, I had not less than 5 climax sequences. None fitted well. Then, one fine day, I got an idea which matched perfectly and it was done!

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
The best advice was from a friend who said – you should probably express yourself in a more relatable and ‘reaching-out’ manner than writing poetry which is a more higher form of expression and is not easy for a casual reading.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
Do not be in a hurry to publish your work. Give you ideas enough time to mature. Let them evolve. Find meaning in them… read, re-read your works critically and then, you will yourself know when it’s time to get it published.



#BlogTour :: Alee by @NicoleLoufas - @XpressoTours


Alee
Nicole Loufas

Publication date: November 19th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Young Adult

With just weeks left before her high school graduation, Alee dumps with her sunshine stealing boyfriend in epic fashion – by sleeping with his best friend.
Since bad things happen in three, becoming the school slut is just the beginning.
A mass shooting steals the life of Alee’s Olympic-bound best friend and a homeless drug addict turns out to be the father who abandoned Alee as a child.
With a backpack full of daddy-issues and a bucket list of broken dreams, Alee searches for light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
Will the man who broke her, be the one who saves her life?




EXCERPT:

Funeral food is like every other party food. Pinwheel sandwiches, mini-meatballs in a brown sauce, wilted salad, and an assortment of cheese and crackers. Laine plucks a cucumber from the tray. He dips it in ranch then shoves it in his mouth with an inappropriately timed sexy smile.
“Bryn hates baby carrots. She said there was something unnatural about them.”
“Toss them.” Laine points to the trash receptacle. “She’s right, they look like fat little baby fingers.” He inspects a dried out digit shaped carrot.
I pick up the tray and carry it to the trash. “This is for Bryn.” The carrots make a raucous as they spill into the bin. A few people glance my way, not for long. Too much eye contact and they’ll have to acknowledge me, speak me, console me.
Laine tosses his carrot in from a few feet away. “Bryn for the win.” He holds pose a few seconds the way Steph Curry does when he hits a three.
We return to the buffet where Frances is speaking to Bryn’s English teacher. She was an honor student so we never had classes together.
“Bryn was smart,” I tell Laine because he’s the only one here who will listen. “She had a 4.0 for, like, ever.”
I remember watching her study, wondering where all that information went. She was like a sponge, absorbing everything around her. Bryn immersed herself in life. She was always moving, always busy with practice of some kind, volunteering, studying, me. I was a project too. She tried like hell to get me involved, get me out of my shell. My spirit animal is a crab; shells are my thing.
Laine and I move to the stage on the other side of the room. A bunch of unattended kids run back and forth squealing like baby pigs. Laine knows a couple of them. They jump on him as soon as he sits down and beg for piggyback rides. He obliges. Laine is a nice guy. I like Laine. That’s probably why I fucked him.
“Are any of these yours?” It’s a joke, but you never know. “That one kind of has your eyes.” I point to the little girl clinging to his back. He gently lets her down and she runs off.
“I volunteer at an after-school program at the rec. At first, it was just something to add to my college applications, but I liked it so I stayed.”
“You really are a good guy, aren’t you?”
“You say that like it’s a bad thing.”
“I owe you an apology, for that day. For sucking you into my shit show. You didn’t deserve that.”
His shoulder leans into mine. “No apology necessary. Honestly, I could tell you and Benny weren’t gonna make it.” Laine is Benny’s best friend, he knows all about Benny’s side chicks. Maybe that’s why he did it. I wonder if Bryn knew it too.


Author Bio:

Nicole was born and raised in California. She claims to be a San Francisco native, however she's lived in both Northern and Southern California. She credits her creativity to the fact that she attended 12 schools between kindergarten and her senior year in high school. Her nomadic childhood allowed her to reinvent herself often. Some might say she was a liar. While others see the stories she told as a coping mechanism. Twelve schools, in six cities, in twelve years - give her a break. Today she channels her storytelling ability into writing novels. Long story short - kids that lie become writers.



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18 November, 2019

#BookReview :: Dara Shukoh: The Man Who would be king by @avik_chanda

Check out the book on Amazon


I was hoping for a fictional story to tell me about the life of this ‘could-have-been-king’ prince when I picked up the book. Instead what I found between the pages was a non-fictional but well researched biography. It was my fault as I overlooked the genre mention in the review request email. However, I it turned out to be a happy mistake as I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and looking up places and people while reading it.

The author has presented the biography in a way that almost makes you feel that the stories / incidents are being told by someone who had witnessed it all first hand. Right from the first chapter ‘Rites of Passage’, there was a feel of storytelling in a way that you would expect in a fiction. It has this feel of ‘let me tell you the story of the life of this Prince’, rather than ‘here are the facts and the research to back up those facts about the life of the Mughal Prince’. As such the narrative of this biography made it a very engaging read.

Historians have often debated about the course of history and the fate of our country had Dara Shukoh prevailed and has ascended to the throne as Shah Jahan intended. The main reason for this debate is that Dara Shukoh was known to be more interested in arts and philosophy than he was in military pursuits. He was also considered to be liberal and unorthodox Muslim with an interest in religion and tolerance towards other faiths. The truth is that we will never know what could have happened as we cannot change history. However, author Avik Chanda makes a good case on his view and if you are trying to guess which way he is more inclined, then the title he uses for Dara should give you a good indication.

In addition, the author has provided detailed notes, charts and photos to supplement the readers’ experience. Even if you are someone who knows very little about the dynasty, it will be easy to follow the timeline and understand the life that Dara Shukoh lived and died.



Review copy received from Harper Collins India



17 November, 2019

#BookTour - The Speaking Stone by @RatnadipAcharya

The Speaking Stone by Ratnadip Acharya

~ Book Tour ~

11th to 17th November



About the Book:
Mumbai, December 2016: 
A young man found an ancient-looking piece of stone with strange images and Sanskrit inscriptions. A quest to know the origin of the stone brought him to the distant part of the country. 

Chandannagar, December 2016: 
A young vivacious historian woman read an old book on a century-old secret story about a little known part of the country. Her curiosity got the better of her as the book disappeared mysteriously before she could complete it. She reached a sleepy quaint state of the country to satiate her curiosity. 

Eventually they both met and their search began from the city museum to a far-flung rock mountain which revealed a century-old story of a seductive danseuse, her enigmatic lover, a string of her admirers, a painter with a photographic memory, a bird that could speak in many voices, a benevolent king and a gruesome conspiracy. And the most important clue to decode the final secret was with the missing part of The Speaking Stone. But in the process of unearthing old secrets their lives were also in danger… 

Book Links:


Read an Excerpt:

Prologue

A pigeon fluttered its wings impatiently as if to give a signal to its beloved that the setting sun would soon glide down and disappear somewhere behind the western rim of the sky. That soon a diluted darkness would envelop the place where they had made their home for a long time; that soon the full moon would sail up in the sky, unhurriedly, transporting the little world around them into a magical land.

She was happily perching on the tall branch of a tree because from up there it could easily say goodbye to the last shaft of sunlight in its own way. It fluttered its wings again after a while but on this occasion not to invite her mate but in an effort to puff up the layers of her feathers for she knew that the approaching evening would bring another guest with it. It was fog. The darkness of the night
encouraged it to descend more vigorously upon the earth. Once she puffed herself up it helped her ward off the chilling cold of the night considerably.

She looked around, moving her nimble neck gracefully. But her mate, the other pigeon, was nowhere in the immediate vicinity. She looked at the moon now. The pale full moon of the late afternoon was slowly gaining its full glow as sunlight had already dimmed.

Suddenly another pigeon came flying and settled on the same branch beside her. This pigeon was slightly larger in size and its feathers white with occasional light brownish patches whereas the other pigeon, smaller in size, possessed spotlessly white feathers which accentuated its immaculate beauty. The larger pigeon now rubbed its neck against the smaller one and both the pigeons closed their eyes as a feeling of pure ecstasy filled them.

An inaudible moan escaped the smaller pigeon now. It was her way to tell her beloved that the entire night was left at their disposal for love-making and that for now, they must witness the beauty and calmness of the rising full moon.

Her mate must have been well-versed in understanding the words of her heart from just a little shift of her head or her muffled squeak. It also looked at the direction she was gazing.

And there, in the distant sky, the full moon of the foggy evening was rising up. As the moonlight became a little more intense it manoeuvred through the mist and reached the forest, the trees, the pigeons and the gigantic rocks of the mountain right behind the tree where the birds perched. There was a pleasant nip in the gentle wind, blowing almost in silence. The leaves of the trees were shaking languidly; they were longing to be covered with a layer of mist; something they felt they deserved after being scorched by the sunlight throughout the day.

The entire mountain was peacefully silent. All one could hear was a pastoral music that issued from the deep ravine a little ahead of the lines of trees when the wind blew through it. But this enchanting music had no effect on the mighty mountain and its rocks and stones, standing motionless, expressionless and silent, weathering the elements, wearing a stoic look for time infinity. A thick growth of vegetation made its way from different cracks of the rocks. Yet there were many large rocks, standing speck-less for eternity. On those rocks, many strange images were carved. Hundreds of large-sized stones were also found lying scattered around and the images of gods and goddesses were carved on many of them, too. No matter how desperately the thickets and vegetation around tried to cover those images on the rocks and stones, some mysterious force always foiled their effort as though those images cut on the rocks and stones must not be obscured by bushes or obliterated by time.

The moon glided a little up in the sky. Its tender light penetrated the fog, girdling the mysterious mountain in its bosom, and touched the rocks and stones softly. Its magic touch made the images on the stones and rocks alive in a strange way.

The pair of pigeons could never discern as to why they loved to feast their eyes on those rocks of the mountain where so many unusual images were engraved. They would spend no less than an hour on every full moon night, watching the play between light and life on those rocks and stones. And then they would return to their nest in silence as peace stole their heart.

Now a pleasant quietness and stillness descended upon the mountain before a mild footfall broke its sublime tranquillity. Suddenly appeared there an old monk with long flowing white beard, clad in two pieces of thin saffron cloth; one was his loincloth and the other one he wrapped around his chest and upper arms. The chill of the winter night seemed to have no effect on him. There were prominent wrinkles under his eyes and on his forehead, his hair snow-white, but yet his agile movement and backbone, as straight as a ramrod, didn’t qualify any visitor to the mountain of rocks to hazard a guess at his age. To be on the safer side they all called him ‘Ageless Saint’.

However, there was a certain reason behind it. The visitors to this mountain of rocks claimed that for decades they hadn’t witnessed any change in his look or stature. They were actually pilgrims to the mountain of rocks. In spite of the repeated efforts of many of them, nobody could ever make him speak. All he would do as a response to their questions was to reward them with a benign smile and an assuring nod of his head. Some of them even doubted that he was speech-impaired. It was not easy to meet him either. Apart from a few auspicious days never did he visit the mountain during the daytime. They claimed that he visited the mountain only when darkness fell and no one was around. It was also rumoured that he worshipped and meditated in front of the largest image on the rock at midnight.

It was a 40 feet tall image of the head of Lord Shiva. Here it was widely known as Kaal Bhairava. Like all other images of the rock mountain, it was also a low relief type of sculpture with a ten-foot-high embroidered headdress. It had a prominent third eye and its earlobes were decorated with circular earrings. On his headgear, small images of celestial figures were carved out and looking carefully at the image of Kaal Bhairava one might feel that those tiny celestial bodies were desperate to be one with Kaal Bhairava. Kaal Bhairava was a fierce manifestation of Lord Shiva associated with annihilation. The deity was called upon as a protector as he guarded the eight directions of the universe. Bhairava was also described as the protector of the timid.

All that they knew about ‘Ageless Saint’ was that he lived in a small hut, deep in the valley, near a stream, far from human habitat and didn’t encourage any visitor to his place. They considered themselves lucky if they bumped into him on an auspicious day in the mountain of rocks for it was an open secret that as soon as pilgrims started thronging in the mountain, he disappeared in silence. But the more elusive Ageless Saint became the more curious the natives were to know about him. Yet none of them dared to invade the shroud of mysterious silence about him. It was whispered that there was some secret treasure hidden in those majestic rocks, those rock-cut and stone carved images of gods and goddesses which was only known to him.

Ageless Saint walked ahead slowly, taking in everything around him. He searched for those two pigeons. They had disappeared for the night. The remembrance of the pigeons brought a small smile to his lips. There was something common between those pigeons and him. Though long back he had stopped counting his age and years, he was pretty certain that this pair of pigeons had been here for many many years. Probably he was a young boy when he had seen the pair of pigeons for the first time.

Their unusually long life didn’t astound him and he had accepted them as a part of the mountain and rocks as the mountain had accepted him as a part of it, with the fullest trust, unquestioningly, with the love of its caring touch for the last many decades.

Ageless Saint reached near the rock where a gigantic image of Kaal Bhairava was carved. He touched the rock. It was cold to touch. Involuntarily his eyes closed when he felt a kind of calmness, serenity and peace from the rock filling his body.

He sat cross-legged on a piece of stone in front of Kaal Bhairava and meditated for long hours. Once he opened his eyes the night was about to end. The darkness was slightly liquid. He passed a long glance at the huge rocks and stones scattered around him. They were in hundreds. The images of many gods and goddesses were engraved on them. But the images of Lord Shiva monopolized, followed by those of Parvati, Lord Ganesha, Nandi Bull and a few more. Joining his hands, Ageless Saint gave a respectful pranam to all the images.

Even though no one knew who made those images, how and when those images had come into existence, Ageless Saint found himself deeply connected to them. He was thankful that visitors here were few and far between, barring on a few auspicious days. He had heard that no more was the princely state, whose part this mighty mountain was, ruled by kings. A few years after the independence of India this tiny state joined the independent India.

But it made little difference to him and the rock mountain. Only a handful of people knew about the mountain of rocks; probably, because it belonged to the most neglected part of India.

As the first shaft of light of dawn touched the mountain Ageless Saint retraced his steps towards his cottage, a few kilometres away from the mountain, when the chirping birds and whispering trees reclaimed the rocks and the mountain.

One of the strangest things in life is that the secrets and treasures of the world open their arms to embrace you only when no secrets matter to you anymore and the treasure you have found within yourself is more precious than any other worldly treasure, a thought passed through Ageless Saint’s mind. A pair of birds squeaked from a tree nearby as though they were seconding his thought.


About the Author:


Ratnadip Acharya is the author of two successful novels, Life is Always Aimless... Unless you love it and Paradise Lost & Regained. He is a columnist for the Speaking Tree in The Times of India. He contributed many write-ups in different collections of Chicken Soup for the Soul. He lives in Mumbai with his wife, Sophia and son, Akash.




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15 November, 2019

#SpecialFeature :: Meet the #Characters from @sourabhm_ofcl's The Sinners


*** Special Feature - November 2019 ***


About the Author:


Sourabh is the author of two psychological thriller novels The Colours of Passion: Unravelling Dark Secrets behind the Limelight (Readomania) and  In the Shadows of Death: A Detective Agni Mitra Thriller (Srishti Publishers and Distributors); Romance Shorts, a collection of dark-romance short stories; a 2-part series Beyond 22 Yards (Srishti Publishers and Distributors) on stories of Love and Crime from the world of cricket and a 7-part series of short stories titled It’s All About Love (Srishti Publishers and Distributors). The titles in the series are The Gift, The Cookery Show and a Love Story, A Special Day, Masks, An Autumn Turmoil, The Hunt, The Death Wish.

A keen observer of human behaviour and cultural diversities, Sourabh loves travelling and has travelled widely across five continents. An avid reader of fiction, Sourabh is equally passionate about photography, movies and music.



Contact the Author:


Character Sketches:

The Sinners presents an eclectic mix of interesting characters.

Central to the story is Vikram Oberoi, the head of India Operations of NexGen, which manufactures smart devices and has stood up to competition from global players. He is handsome and charismatic, a ruthless go-getter, and notorious for his dalliances outside his marriage with Manvi Oberoi. Vikram gets into a relationship with Sonal Verma, a new intern in NexGen, much to the chagrin of his secretary Aarti Bansal, with whom he had a very public affair.

The suave Ashwin Saxena, Vikram’s subordinate in NexGen, was his classmate in Management school, who also used to be Manvi’s boyfriend. We also meet a mystery woman laying out honey-traps for vulnerable men in positions of authority or in the possession of confidential company information like Rakesh Behl, who heads Product Engineering, and Agastya, who works in the Networks and Systems Division of the company.

NexGen was set up by Devesh Nair, who, after working for close to thirty years for Alpha Tech, one of the largest global manufacturers of consumer electronics, left the company when his innovative business ideas were belittled by Arun Sundaram, country head of Alpha. In seven years since its inception, those same ideas have taken NexGen to unprecedented heights. Arun Sundaram will only be too happy to see the downfall of his arch rival Dev.



About the Book:


Vikram Oberoi is found dead in his penthouse. A few hours ago, his involvement in a sex scandal in NexGen Technologies made headlines across the world.

Who is behind the sinister conspiracy that destroyed Vikram Oberoi, the philandering India Head of NexGen? Rivals within and outside the firm? One of his many jilted lovers or the miffed wife? A mysterious conspirator laying out honey traps to sabotage his plans? Or, is it the ghost of a sinful past that continues to haunt the Oberois? 

The Sinners is a fast-paced thriller with a shocking twist that unravels against the backdrop of corporate warfare, illicit relationships and ruthless seduction games.





Book Links:

Giveaway:
1 Paperback Copy of The Sinners
1 Paperback Copy of The Colours of Passion

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14 November, 2019

#Spotlight :: Romance Every Weekend: 104 Fun Ways to Express Your Love - @KWilkinsauthor






Hi everyone!

I’m announcing the release of my non-fiction guide to romance, Romance Every Weekend: 104 Fun Ways to Express Your Love.

Whether you’re just starting out dating, in a committed relationship, newlyweds, or you’ve been married for twenty years, Romance Every Weekend will show you how you can strengthen the bond between you and your loved one and deepen your relationship.

Romance shouldn’t be reserved for Valentine’s Day, birthdays, or an anniversary. Why should people wait for a special occasion to show someone they love that they care? Love can (and should) be expressed every chance you get.

Romance Every Weekend features 104 fun and easy ways you can express your love to that special someone in your life. Perfect for men or women, it focuses on tender, everyday gestures that let your partner know how much you love him or her.

Everyone has his or her definition of “romance.” Some people like to send mushy cards, while others are more practical. But however you define it, romance is more than giving flowers, buying a box of chocolates, or getting frisky in the bedroom. Romance is all about making tender, everyday gestures that let your partner know how much you love him or her.

They say “It’s the little things in life that count.” and I believe that’s true. A simple expression of love can go a long way to cheer someone up, make them feel special, and show you care. And let’s face it—everyone wants to feel loved and appreciated.

Romance Every Weekend contains 104 romantic suggestions designed to make your weekends sparkle. Why 104? There are 52 weeks in a year, and two suggestions per weekend will keep you and your partner busy. If your schedules don’t give you a lot of free time on the weekends, that’s okay. You can do these any time during the week.

Some suggestions include:

* Today, tell your sweetheart: “I knew I loved you when…” Sharing your feelings and expressing your love verbally has a deeper meaning than giving a gift or sending a card.
* Break out of your comfort zone. It’s time to try something new with your mate. Sign up for a class being offered today, in person, in your local area. It can be anything: cooking, Pilates, yoga, swimming, dancing, painting… Take the first class you find and run with it. (Whatever happens, remember, you’re in it together.)
* Watch the sun set together. No talking. But you can certainly hold hands. 

If you're looking for ways to keep your romance fresh, this is the book for you!

Romance Every Weekend makes a great holiday gift for you – or for your sweetie! Why not order it now and set a New Year’s resolution to try all 104 suggestions in 2020?

Get your copy here:


I hope you (and your partner) enjoy the suggestions. You may even be inspired to come up with a few of your own!

Kelli A. Wilkins

About the Author
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, 6 non-fiction books, and 2 online writing courses. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.
In November 2019, she released Romance Every Weekend: 104 Fun Ways to Express Your Love, a non-fiction guide to romance. The book features 104 fun and easy ways you can express your love to that special someone in your life. Perfect for men or women, it focuses on tender, everyday gestures that let your partner know how much you love him or her.
Kelli published Extraterrestrial Encounters, a collection of 18 sci-fi stories, in August 2019. If you like horror fiction, don’t miss her disturbing novella, Nightmare in the North.
Her historical romance, The Viking’s Witch, was released in June 2019. This full-length novel takes place in Celtic Scotland and blends a sensual romance with paranormal elements. 

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.
Visit her website www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings.