28 February, 2014

#SpecialFeature :: #Interview with #Author Priyanka Baranwal

*** SPECIAL FEATURE - February'14 ***

In a nation where most women are taught to be submissive at every stage in life, Maya stands out. In a society that finds fault in women for heinous crimes like rape, Maya stands up.
Maya and Rajat fall in love while they study at IIT Kanpur; their daughter Sejal only makes the bond stronger even after years of marriage. Life is almost perfect when two petty criminals decide to make her fairytale life a tale of horror and fear with their intention of molesting her. 
Will she be able to fight her fate while Rajat is away and save herself and her five-year-old? Will she be able to undo all stereotypes and face the male-dominated society after that fateful night? Will Rajat stand up with her as she decides to battle her fears and take the culprits to their just punishment? 
It’s Never Too Late is a story of every woman who decides to fight her fears and even destiny; of every human who chooses the right over the easy; of every wife who shoulders all responsibilities of the house; and of every mother who is unwavering in her resolve to ensure that her daughter grows up in a safer world.

Interview with the Author

Tell us a bit about ‘Priyanka Baranwal’ at home :)
I will answer this question based on the times when I do not write. At home, I am just myself. I do things as per my convenience as I am not so good at following a fixed schedule. If I am not writing, I enjoy watching movies, read books, take a walk, sometimes cook something special, go out, listen to music, go over to some neighbor’s house or call my family for a chit chat. Amidst all these chores, I keep thinking about the next move on my current project so that when I start writing, I don’t have to invest too much of time in thinking. But I get such non-writing times very rarely. In short, I enjoy my non-writing face.

Now tell us a bit about ‘Priyanka Baranwal’, the Author
As an author, I am highly dedicated to my work. Days and nights are filled with perpetual writing work. Whether I am tired or dying, I do my best to meet deadlines on the daily basis. I am so absorbed in my work that I often dream about it. I also read different genre books, usually two books every day. One belongs to fiction/non-fiction genre and other belongs to motivational, inspirational sort of books. See! I equally enjoy my writing face too.

When and how did you first decide that it was time to take that chance to publish your work?
When I had started writing, I was already determined to get it published. Once the goal sets in, you get the journey fixed and then it is wise to make moves.

Tell us your experience of writing ‘It’s Never Too Late…’ Why choose such a Bold and less explored topic instead of walking down a well trodden path for your debut novel?
It is not like I deliberately chose such serious topic for my debut book. I am always a believer of doing things differently and also, once I am decided to do something, I do not care whether the path down the aisle is less traveled, more traveled or not at all traveled. I discover my own path, chisel it with my own steps and do my best to fulfill my dreams. But yes…my journey is always incomplete without my family. Once my family enters with me, nothing can stop me.
As for the experience while writing my book, it was altogether different; a pleasant one on that note. For the first time, I came to know about my author self. It was fabulous and journey so far has been great. So much of hard work, new things, fresh start ups, settling in with new schedules and deadlines have indeed chiseled a better out of me. 

Do you have some unpublished work that’s lying in some old box or unopened drawers?     

From conceiving an idea to marketing the book – it’s a long process. Which part of it did you enjoy the most?     
Everything! I enjoyed every part of the journey towards my book and still enjoying a lot. Agree that it has incredibly invited lots of struggle, hard work, juggling on personal and professional fronts but what is a journey without all of these? I am a hard working person and often dare myself to face the challenge. I push myself over the edge to get the best out of me. I tend to enjoy every part of my work and life.

When you write, do you get into the character and decide the course of events or do you shape them as the plot requires them to be?     
As a writer, if I need to describe a character aptly, I have to put myself in my characters’ shoes. In my previous interviews, I have said that while torturing Maya by the hands of those criminals had made my hands tremble and heart wrenching with pain in reality. I could not write for few days. Every time I started writing, I just could not move my fingers on the key board. This happened because I had placed my own self in the situation, not my character, Maya.
And now when people tell me how strikingly and beautifully narration I have done, I feel satisfaction. I feel content that yes…I am able to think as per my characters live on. Story always moves on the shoulders of your characters. Therefore, a plot can only be completed if you shape your characters as per demands.

All writers are readers first! So who are your favourite authors and what are some of your all-time favourite books?   
Yeah. I agree. I am also a reader and I own a library of my own. There is no such thing as my favorite author but yes…I prefer reading some. As I read Hindi and English both genres, I have got some cherry picks from both the literary worlds. 
In English, I prefer Nora Roberts, Sydney Sheldon, Robin Sharma and Eric Segal. Dan Brown’s books too I have always enjoyed. In Indian context, Amish Tripathi’s Shiva Trilogy.
In Hindi, Shivani, Premchand and Gurudutt are my all time favorite literary giants.

Do you think your favourite authors have influenced your style of writing?
With every book, I learn something but I do not let them affect my writing style. I am more about detailing. Describing things with miniscule details make me go to an extra inch to justify the story line. At times it happens that I am reading a book that is slim and not all about detailing but I learn how to keep things crisp and concise. Sometimes when I read a thick book, I learn ways the author has given number of turns to the events. In short, with every book there is something to take away but when I come into my own writing territory, sorry! No one is allowed there.

There is always ‘someone’ who doesn’t like your book. How do you handle it?
Criticism is a part of any profession. In fact, in my opinion, it shapes your persona in a very attractive and different manner unless you take it positively. So far, some of my readers have criticized me for only one thing that the first half of my book that involves the journey of Maya and Rajat from their college life to married life is sort of common. There is hardly anything new in this phase to talk about. I listen and thank such people as they have told me what-not-to-do in any of my next project. You see! Basically you learn and grow with every criticism. I do not let them downsize me.

Some rapid fire questions:
Your favourite movie: list is long
Your favourite genre of Music: I don’t need a genre to enjoy myself with music. Music overall is my favorite.
Your favourite Cuisine:  I am a foodie and prefer everything but veg only.
Your first celebrity Crush: Shahrukh Khan and Rahul Dravid. I still have a crush on Rahul. Sad that he got married to someone else without giving me a chance. (Chuckle)
Top thing on your Bucket List: Living happily with my family ever after with a huge library of my own written National and International bestsellers.

What would you like to say to the people who haven’t read your book yet but are contemplating on whether to pick it up or not?  
I believe from several feedbacks that the cover of my book itself is pretty engaging. People also say the theme and the story line are first of its kind in this genre and it’s very inspiring. If you want to know how it’s never too late to find a solution and to win over the battle against your biggest enemy, fear, read it. 

Buy The Books

You can connect with her on:
Blog I Author Page on FB I Book Page on FB I Twitter

Author Signed Copies of It's Never Too Late 
Giveaway open to Indian Residents only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#CoverReveal :: Catch (Broken # 1.5) By Michelle Congdon

Broken # 1.5
By- Michelle Congdon
Genre- New Adult Contemporary

***Recommended for ages 18+ due to mature situations, sexual content and language***

Even the best fall down sometimes…

Ryan Fox thought he had it all: money, women, fast cars, and a stellar baseball career. He also thought he could hide the memories of his dark past behind the witty charm and the devilish smile. Truth is, he had almost everyone, including himself, fooled. But the past cannot be ignored forever and eventually it finds a way of catching up.

When it all came crashing down, one girl was there to mend the broken pieces. Evangeline Montgomery. Not only did the troubled heiress turn Ryan’s world upside down but she helped him to see what’s most important: It’s not the past that defines you.

In Slide, we heard from Evangeline. It’s now Ryan’s turn to share his story about the girl who stole his heart and changed his life forever.

About the Author-
Michelle Congdon resides in Sydney, Australia. She has a Dalmatian named Jett, who to this day continues to hold an 8 year grudge against her after she had to leave him with her parents when she moved to the big city- this only proves animals are much like their owners. Michelle enjoys reading books of all sorts of genres, watching way too many movies and TV shows (and Disney cartoons), singing out aloud to her favorite hits and going on adventures involving food and travel. Michelle is loud, talks a lot and shares an ever-growing list of fictional husbands with a friend. From when she was a small girl, she has always had an overactive imagination and has tried to put it to good use by sharing her stories with anyone willing to listen.

26 February, 2014

#BookReview :: The Prophecy of Trivine by Tnahsin Garg, Srivatsan Sridharan, Pulkit Gupta

An emissary of an advanced alien race travels to the Earth to undertake responsibility of an experiment that has gone out of control. The outcome of this fateful experiment, which was conceived millions of years ago by her species, now rests in her hands. As she prepares to deliver her final judgment, she comes across three young men in a sacred forest who change her life forever. 

These three men- a scientist, a hacker and an artist, happen to take refuge in that forest, trying to escape from the oddities of their own unfair lives. Struggling with their dreams and demons, they begin to explore the dark and paranormal behavior of the forest by forging a companionship. From the rare flora and fauna breathing alive on the ground to the deadly wide expanse of the whimsy black sky, everything they find is yet another puzzle unsolved. 

Little did they know that four of them hold in their hands the future of mankind and much beyond imagination, they are connected through an ancient Prophecy that was long lost in the sands of time.

While on one hand the Indian Market is being flooded by formula stuff – Lust stories, campus stories, love on campus stories… and scaring me off from checking out the Indian Fiction section in bookstores, few new generation authors are slowly starting to step out of the crowd. When I was approached by Tnahsin Garg to read and review this book, I promptly accepted even though I am not a big fan of sci-fi books. I read them and like quite a few of them, but usually pick up the ones that come heavily recommended by friends. I made an exception with this book because I feel that I am ready to read variety in Indian fiction – irrespective of the genre.

The Prophecy of Trivine, is a sci-fi novel that follows the story of three humans men and an alien lady. When Xona, an emissary of an alien race, lands on Earth with one goal she had no idea what was waiting for her. Phil is a temperamental hacker who is on the most wanted list. Siv is a very dedicated research scientist and Arty is an artist who loves art and literature. Little do they know that they were the only hope that mankind ever had…

Alien race and prophecies – they are so different concepts for me. I am yet to read a single book that brings these two popular ingredients of sci-fi and fantasy together and as such it was the first thing about this book that caught my attention. Also, the authors have so expertly put in their work to highlight various aspects of human emotion that ranges from love to hatred, from empathy to selfishness and compassion to greed. The book forces us to think and consider a lot of aspects of our lives.

The characters are beautifully created and well developed. There are so many shades of humanity (and alienity – if that’s even a word!) have been painted in through a handful number of characters. Also, the narration is so seamless and compelling. This book also clearly highlights the creativity of these three authors who have built a amazing adventure world for us readers.

Special Kudos to the three dynamic authors for taking a step towards sci-fi genre and standing out of the crowd that churns out average quality work and yet become top-sellers. This is certainly a page turner and I hope they do sell a lot of books so as to encourage more youngsters to take the creative road instead of following the formula way. I will be looking forward to the sequel/s. 

25 February, 2014

#BookReview :: Winning Over Skylar (Those Hollister Boys) by Julianna Morris

Skylar Gibson isn't the rebellious teen she used to be. Aaron Hollister, on the other hand, is still the entitled rich kid who betrayed her. And if he thinks she'll let his business plans threaten her town, well, he'd better think again. But her first priority is protecting her secret—their fourteen-year-old daughter. 

When the truth comes out, Skylar is shocked by Aaron's reaction. Could there be more to this golden boy than she'd thought? It'll take more than a trip down memory lane to prove he's changed.... 

Skylar Gibson and Aaron Hollister have a shared past and they rather have that history buried in the past - especially Skylar. They have long since moved on with their lives and have stayed out of each other’s ways. But when Aaron comes back to town, with his half-sister Melanie in tow, and take over the family business, it is but a matter of time before their paths cross each other. As Melanie and Karin form a bond, they bring Skylar and Aaron closer too. When sparks start flying, Skylar tries to resist it since she has a secret that can change everything for everyone involved.

I particularly liked this book. First of all the characters are all very independent and are fleshed out in a manner that they bring the story together without ever losing their individuality. Skylar is a strong character - as she is a single mom who is doing a pretty good job of raising her daughter, running her  dead husband’s family business and maintaining a loving relationship with her in-laws. Aaron on the other hand is kind of a contradiction to himself. At times you can see why he had an image of a ‘rich spoiled kid’ but how he has grown over that. He is now a responsible guy. Then on one hand he shows strength while handling his family, yet his vulnerability when it comes to Skylar, Melanie and Karin. But the Melanie-Karin duo takes the cake with their charm.

There is not much ‘wooing’ in the book. It is more like Skylar and Aaron were gravitating towards each other right from the beginning. Melanie and Karin give the much needed push. There is not too much mush and I really enjoyed that. The author narrates the story well to capture the reader's’ attention throughout the book.

Overall this is an awesome book for a couple of hours of light-blissful read.

24 February, 2014

#BookSpotlight :: Falling From The Sky by Nikki Godwin

Falling From The Sky
Title: Falling From The Sky
Author: Nikki Godwin
Date of Publication: February 21, 2014
Genre: LGBT contemporary YA
All stability in sixteen-year-old Ridge McCoy’s life crashed and burned in the plane crash that killed his dad. This summer-long basketball camp is his chance to improve his skills and escape his problems back home. But his summer plans take a turn in an unexpected direction when he meets Micah Youngblood, the guy who runs the carousel at the local mall and has a reputation for devouring straight boys’ heterosexuality for breakfast, alongside his chocolate chip pancakes.
Ridge needs a way to avoid the guys at camp, whose only quest for the summer is to drown in beer and hook up with girls. So when Micah offers to explain how the ten unique horses on the carousel are significant to his tribe, Ridge takes him up on it. Still, Ridge can't decide if this is a bad thing or not. All he knows is that he hasn’t felt this alive since his dad fell from the sky, and as the horse adventures come to an end, Ridge finds himself falling as well – for Micah.
Purchase from Amazon | B&N | Smashwords

About Nikki Godwin
Nikki Godwin is a Young Adult/New Adult author. She is a city girl who can't live without Mountain Dew, black eyeliner, Hawthorne Heights, and candles from Bath & Body Works. When not writing, she's not-so-secretly stalking her favorite bands. She may or may not completely love One Direction.


21 February, 2014

#SpecialFeature :: Special Contest - It's Never Too Late

*** SPECIAL FEATURE - February'14 ***

In a nation where most women are taught to be submissive at every stage in life, Maya stands out. In a society that finds fault in women for heinous crimes like rape, Maya stands up.
Maya and Rajat fall in love while they study at IIT Kanpur; their daughter Sejal only makes the bond stronger even after years of marriage. Life is almost perfect when two petty criminals decide to make her fairytale life a tale of horror and fear with their intention of molesting her. 
Will she be able to fight her fate while Rajat is away and save herself and her five-year-old? Will she be able to undo all stereotypes and face the male-dominated society after that fateful night? Will Rajat stand up with her as she decides to battle her fears and take the culprits to their just punishment? 
It’s Never Too Late is a story of every woman who decides to fight her fears and even destiny; of every human who chooses the right over the easy; of every wife who shoulders all responsibilities of the house; and of every mother who is unwavering in her resolve to ensure that her daughter grows up in a safer world.

Special Contest!

Hello my dear readers! This Saturday, I bring a contest for you. I am presenting 5 interesting questions which you have to answer and submit by 28th February,2014. The questions are entirely based on my novel, It’s Never Too Late, which is altogether based on family, relationships, friends, and emotions like love and care for each other. These things make our life complete and hence, give us immense happiness that is rare to find otherwise. I hope you will enjoy answering my questions. All the best! :)

The winner with the best answers will receive It’s Never Too Late Customized Coffee Mug.

1. Maya is a strong woman who firmly believes in the concept of Family. She can do anything for its well being. In your life, who can you relate to Maya and why? It can be male or female.

2. In my book, Maya deals with a big trouble and somehow decides to tackle it in her own way. In your life, how have you solved a trouble that looked overwhelming to you? 

3. Romance is also a key part of my book and love never fails to surprise us. What is the most romantic thing you have done in return when your partner threw you a loving surprise? 

4. The most heart touching gesture you have done for someone (apart from your family members/relatives).

5. The part of my book that you liked the most.

Email your answers to priyanka11382 (at) gmail (dot) com with "It's Never Too Late..." as the subject line. Contest open to Indian Residents only!

Buy The Books

You can connect with her on:
Blog I Author Page on FB I Book Page on FB I Twitter

Author Signed Copies of It's Never Too Late 
Giveaway open to Indian Residents only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

20 February, 2014

#GuestPost :: Mat Shea, Author of Elmo

Title: Elmo
Author: Matt Shea
Publisher: Virtualbookworm  August 14, 2013
Length: 162 pages
Sub Genre: Family-Oriented, Small Town USA

Guest Post

“Elmo” is a traditional American story where men unite to save the small town where their families descended. The harsh economic times that plague our nation were now taking their toll in the isolated town of Miner. 

There was a cavalry though. At the edge of town stood a vintage building that housed “The Men Of Miner Fellowship Hall.” This was a charitable congregation, which held every local man as a member; these were the unsung heroes that used their strength, courage and love to keep the heart of Miner beating. 

Times were hard with the fellowship members' backs against the wall. Jobs, donations and government funding were dissipating fast with drastic measures needing to be taken. The lone freeway ramp across the street seemed to be the last resort. It was time to gamble at panhandling, a desperate tactic that was no longer restricted to big cities.

This average American town of baseball and apple pie would discretely change with the times. Their values, however, would never compromise. Women, children and especially seniors were painted a totally different picture. All were given the illusion that it was just another winter. 

Initially, the dads kept a smile on their face during the day and secretively took turns at night holding a sign while wearing a hobo outfit. This strategy proved to help supplement the cause, but for how long?

A weak link in security unveiled their nighttime activity to the town's most popular teenager: Sam Skates. This rude awakening propelled the high school senior to join the cause, forcing him to become a man. The promising baseball star got a first-hand reality check in life. This jolt made him take a deeper look at the town he hailed from, making him more aware of the contributions his father and grandfather had made -- contributions that guaranteed the town would exist yet another generation.

In time, the boy would understand that it was now his turn to carry the torch. He would grow up a bit more and show allegiance to the town by changing the course of his life. The latest in a line of 'Skates baseball fame' would now apply a baseball scholarship to get an education and return home with it.

The story has twists and turns that test the strength of these good men. Like any small town, these trials only made them stronger.

There are two elements that I need to point out. Throughout the story, prayer sheds new light, giving direction and eventually answers. This story also remains within the very town of Miner, never once leaving it. It was important to stress that such All-American communities do face harsh challenges and never get defeated when the township unites as one.

I feel that this story shows a common thread, which has always been used throughout our heritage.

My focus on this novel was to have a small town story that never leaves its boundaries. I wanted to exemplify on how these American communities stick to their traditional values by remaining strong and united. As always, their goodness prevails.

Thank you for your time and for allowing me to share my thoughts and writings with you.

                                                                      ~~ Matt Shea

About The Author

Matt Shea is a developing author having written five books. He is greatly inspired by the writings of Andy Griffith and marvels at the small towns this country was built on. His writings incorporate the values they hold and applies it to today's society. 

To view more of Matt Shea's books you are invited to go to: www.mattsheabooks.com. This site offers many free stories and allows comments for all viewers.


“Your grandfather attended my high school when I was there,” Ella said. “He carried the same respect your father did.” 

Sam took a dry swallow and began to fight tears.

Leaning closer the woman extended both her hands to hold Sam’s. Maintaining her sincere look she said something that the boy was not aware of. “Do you realize that everyone in Miner looks up to you with the same respect?” 

That comment gave Sam a jolt. He was not expecting any compliments and sat up wanting to hear more.

Ella stayed on course. “Your grandfather, Will was the man of our class,” she said. “He represented all of us by wearing our school uniform when he played baseball.” The youthful senior let go of his hands as she looked up to the ceiling. Her face contorted with joy as she went back in time. “He was the state's best baseball player with people traveling for miles to watch him play,” she recalled.

Sam listened in awe with a blank expression.

“When he stood on that mound we all looked at him as if he was our own father,” she said. Looking at Sam she gave a brief laugh adding; “But there were those of us that imagined being married to him one day...”

Sam nodded back with a smile.

With her arms wrapped around her head she looked up and covered more detail. “He received national recognition for winning a championship for the smallest town in the state. His feat put this town on the map with everyone knowing who we were,” said Ella as she playfully swayed back and forth. “He had a presence on that mound that was dignified. But there was so much more to him than being our star pitcher.”

At that moment she put her arms on the table and sat up looking at Sam. “He was a good man that cared for everybody,” she proclaimed.  “Will was still humble even though he could have had any girl he wanted. He was respected because he showed respect. Every student in school knew him as a friend that always put others first.”

Sam let the information sink in.

“He was like your father,” pointed out Ella. “My daughter and I would watch your dad play on the same field he did. I could see the similarities between the two and shared them with my daughter. They had the same class, same dignity and carried an equal amount of respect. We would compare stories about our high school years having a 'Skates' in our class. That's what every parent in this town wanted; to have their child be classmates with someone from your family.”

Sam was taken by her words and slid back in his chair. 

Ella had more to say. “Your dad was written up in the papers many times,” she said. “He even won a championship for us; just like you did.” 

Ella was hitting home with the boy.

“That's not why this town looks up to your family, though,” she expressed. “Skates aren't viewed as great baseball players who are great men; they are known as great men who are also great baseball players...”

Sam froze like a statue, absorbing the tidbit.

Parenting skills now came out of Ella. “Why do you think those boys out there hang out with you?” she questioned; giving the answer. “It's because they want your image.”

Sam looked off to the side realizing that she was right. 

Ella had more. “They act completely different when they're here without you,” she confided. “Tonight, they did things differently; they got you to be like them.”

Sam tensed up and turned 'beet-red'. It dawned on him what really happened that night. He slowly looked up with the foolish expression of a child caught in a lie.

Ella would now in drive the final stake. “Now about “Elmo,” she said. “Is he possibly someone out there who knew that the Skates family lived in this town..?”

That triggered Sam. He sat up straight and knew what to do. “I have to go now,” he said looking at her. “Thank you.”

“You are very welcome,” she said. “I have faith in you, Sam,”  

Sam Skates got up and left the kitchen with his friends anxiously waiting for him. He quickly walked up to the booth, picked up his jacket and started to leave. 

It occurred to Ryan that he was now top seed. He yelled out, “What's the matter; are you going to kiss Elmo?” Sam didn't have to prove himself. He simply walked out the door without saying a word. The other boys remained quiet. 

Sam was on a mission to righten what was wronged. This would however, require breaking a few eggs to make the omelet. On more than one occasion his father reminded him that at night he had boundaries. One of which being the last stretch on Main Street that led to the freeway ramp. “It's poorly lit with cars and trucks driving too fast,” would be his reasoning.  There was a bit more to it then that, but Ben justified leaving some things out. Until that evening, Sam never challenged his jurisdiction.

Sam couldn't forgive himself until he would come face-to-face with the dressed up panhandler and give his apology. From there; he would offer what he could.

He was two blocks from Elm street and entering forbidden territory for the second time that night. Sam quickly spotted what he came to see- with something being peculiar, The weary figure had left its corner and was straggling across the street. This gave him the impression that the homeless man actually had a place to go to. 

How right he was.

Sam walked down Main Street as 'Elmo' disappeared  going down Elm. The teenager walked fast to the corner of Elm Street just in time to watch something that added to the confusion. The midnight hobo entered The Men Of Minor Fellowship Hall, closing the door behind him. This was another place expressively forbidden by his father. Sam was well behind enemy lines and went for broke. It was as if he was answering a calling.

He walked to the edge of the illuminated plate glass that exposed the entire hall and peered inside. What he saw was a cluster of his dad's friends surrounding the man in the outfit. He held his breath as the black gloves came off and set on the empty table next to him. Strong hands that seemed familiar were exposed. The suspense mounted as the hat came off next and placed with the gloves. Now came the grand finale: it was time to see who Elmo was. 

The mighty hands reached up and grabbed the black ski mask. In one motion it was pulled off exposing an unmistakable bushy beard with graying hair. Sam was in shock with his whole world changed forever. 

 He found out who Santa Clause is.


19 February, 2014

#BookSpotlight :: The Making of Nebraska Brown by Louise Caiola

The Making of Nebraska Brown
The last thing eighteen-year-old Ann Leigh remembers is running from her boyfriend in a thick Nebraska cornfield. This morning she’s staring down a cool Italian sunrise, an entire continent from the life she once knew. The events of the eighteen months in between have inexplicably gone missing from her memory. All at once she’s living with Tommy, an attractive, young foreigner asking for her continued love. Though he’s vaguely familiar, she recalls a boy named Shane in America who she reluctantly agreed to marry. Juggling a new world while her old one is still M.I.A is difficult enough without the terrifying movie scenes spinning a dizzy loop in her mind: glimpses of a devastating house fire, a romance gone wrong, an unplanned pregnancy, and a fractured family – each claiming to be part of who she once was – a girl and a past somehow discarded. Ann Leigh must collect the pieces of herself to become whole again, but she doesn’t know who to trust especially when Tommy’s lies become too obvious to ignore. And above all, her heart aches to discover what became of the child she may or may not have given birth to. The Making of Nebraska Brown tells the story of one girl’s coming apart from the inside and the great lengths she’ll go to reclaim herself and find her way home.

As a young girl who spent her allowance on Nancy Drew mysteries, Louise realized that one day, she might have a story of her own to tell. Maybe even more than one story. After years focused on raising her children she eventually reconnected with her passion for creative writing. She soon began to craft a large collection of short stories which were published in the inspirational online magazine, Faithhopeandfiction.com. Shortly thereafter, she authored her first novel, Wishless, a contemporary YA, released in 2011. Louise devotes a portion of each day to honing her skills. She has several other novels currently in various stages of development. A confirmed bibliophile, Louise enjoys reading outdoors on a warm spring day and watching her pup chase leaves on a breeze. She looks forward to meeting others who share her love of the written word and invites you to visit her blog, her website and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

  Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 3/16/14 
 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Making Tour

February 20th 
I Am A Reader - Guest Post 
b00k r3vi3ws - Spotlight 
The Read Things - Review 
Musings of Immortals - Spotlight 
Victoria Simcox's Blog - Spotlight 

 February 21st 
Mythical Books - Spotlight 
The Book Bag - Review 

 February 22nd 
Bound 4 Escape - Review 

 February 23rd 
BookHounds YA - Interview 

 February 24th 
Amethyst Daydreams - Spotlight 
Cassandra M's Place - Spotlight 
Christy's Cozy Corners - Spotlight 

 February 25th 

 February 27th
inksugar - Review 
Mom Loves 2 Read - Review 

 February 28th

#BookReview :: Uff Ye Emotions 2 by Vinit K. Bansal

Like the lyrics of an old song, which keeps repeating themselves in our mind or a fever dormant in the blood or an importunate lover impossible to get rid of, the memories of love or 'love' itself keeps returning in our lives again and again at the oddest of times and the strangest of places.
Randomly, beautifully, haphazardly or passionately, love lives up again—for it has been waiting for you, waiting for this union, waiting to merge with YOU at last.
So, keeping the trend alive and after the roaring success of our novice, Uff Ye Emotions, we are back once again with Uff Ye Emotions-2.
With Love, comes many emotions—some of them being pain, betrayal, hatred, hope and friendship. We fall IN and OUT of love time and again, but we can never be tired of it—because it is one of the only few aspects of life we can’t keep ourselves away from, isn’t it?
Selected and edited by Vinit K. Bansal, this time again 11 touching stories from authors across the country, will be delighting the readers who swear by love stories. And for those who don’t read love stories much, come and discover why they are so engrossing.

Let me introduce you to an anthology of 11 short stories written by dynamic youth of today. When I picked up this book, I saw quite a few familiar names in the authors list.

The story that stood out the most ‘Moksha’ by Kunal Marathe – a story about love, passion and trust and I loved the way the author managed to create and build up the two major characters of the story. Also, Tarang Sinha’s ‘Dilemma’ touched my heart as he told the story of so many women through his lead character. Strength and character oozed through the pages as he explored the world of divorce, remarriage and adoption. ‘Hickey’ by Heema Shirvaikar is a true reflect of today’s society where women suffer the harshest judgments. It’s a story that that touches you and makes you wonder. NCERT of Love by Himanshu Chhabra and Udita Pal is a real sweet early teens’ love story that made me take trip down the memory lane… ‘Love and Sacrifices’ by Meghant Parmar & Heena Ahuja was another sweet love story that was somewhat predictable yet gripping. As its title suggests, it explores the relativity between love and sacrifices is crisply written and beautifully interwoven with lovely poetry. ‘When Destiny Strikes by Mahi Singla, ‘The Client by Vinit K Bansal, ‘120 Minutes’ by Saravana Murugan, ‘I’ll be there’ by Ishani Malhotra, ‘The Pale Pigeon by Siddharta Yadav, ‘The Woman who Waited’ by Shalini Katyal are the stories that complete this  anthology.

Each story in this anthology is unique and well written. The Title of the book does it justice as it is in fact full of emotions in every shade possible. I loved it and enjoyed every moment I spent turning its pages. 

18 February, 2014

#CoverReveal :: Touched With Fire by Christopher Datta

Welcome to the TOUCHED WITH FIRE cover reveal! This fabulous historical fiction has received a new look and it's going to blow you away. Now before we get to that, let's talk about Touched With Fire, a novel of the Civil War inspired by the true story of Ellen Craft.

Ellen Craft is property; in this case, of her half-sister Debra, to whom she was given as a wedding gift. The illegitimate daughter of a Georgia plantation owner and a house slave, she learned to hate her own image, which so closely resembled that of her “father:” the same wiry build, the same blue eyes, and the same pale—indeed, lily-white—skin. Ellen lives a solitary life until she falls, unexpectedly, in love with a dark-skinned slave named William Craft, and together they devise a plan to run North. Ellie will pose as a gentleman planter bound for Philadelphia accompanied by his “boy” Will. They make it as far as Baltimore when Will is turned back, and Ellie has no choice but continue. With no way of knowing if he is dead or alive, she resolves to make a second journey—South again. And so Elijah Craft enlists with the 125th Ohio Volunteers of the Union Army: she will literally fight her way back to her husband. Eli/Ellie’s journey is the story of an extraordinary individual and an abiding love, but also of the corrosive effects of slavery, and of a nation at a watershed moment.

The story tells of how a brave and resilient black woman went to great lengths to gain not only her freedom, but that of the man she loved.” - Amazon Reviewer Kelley McCormick 
“[A] deliberate and sincere historical fiction wends its way through this abject time in our nation’s youth...Touched with Fire is a welcome addition to the ever-increasing canon of Civil War fiction.” - E. Warren Perry, Jr., author, Swift to My Wounded: Walt Whitman and the Civil War

Read an excerpt:

Late Evening of September 20, 1862 Warren, Ohio Ellie rolled up tight in her blankets, as usual sleeping in the upper hayloft of the stable on a bed of straw. She stared out the open hayloft door at the stars glittering in the moonless night sky, her breath condensing into white mist in the cold September air. Only at this time of the evening did she allow herself the luxury of becoming a woman again. She thought about William, as she always did before sleeping. Was he still alive? If he was, was he right this moment gazing up on the same stars? She missed him every minute of every day, but she missed him the most as she lay waiting for sleep to take her to him in dreams. Her cousin Ann had tried to help after William was left behind at Baltimore, yet there had been a barrier that Ellie could never quite overcome, that never let her feel comfortable around Ann. She was white, and Ellie was black. It was simply not in her to trust a white. She could not help it, her fear and loathing of that race rooted in a lifetime of hard experience with its cruelty, starting with and most particularly including her very own father, the man who should have cared the most for her happiness and welfare and who instead kept her as property. Ann offered to buy William, and Ellie appreciated that. But out of sheer spite Miss Deb bought William herself to stop the sale. Even worse, she sent slave hunters north to find Ellie and bring her back. Foolishly not expecting Debra Collins to stoop so low, Ellie was caught off guard and nearly taken. The fugitive slave act required Mrs. Henderson to turn Ellie over to the authorities, and the slave hunters brought local police with them to Mrs. Henderson’s home, demanding she surrender Ellie, who was no more than stolen property in the eyes of the law. It was a narrow escape. Dressed as a man again, Ann sent Ellie through a hatch in the roof. From there, she stole across the tops of several adjacent row houses until she found a balcony she could safely drop down to. She nearly broke her ankle doing it, but from there used a fire escape to climb down to the street and disappear. She walked right past a policeman posted at the end of the block, but he was on the lookout for a woman. Once again, becoming a man saved her. After that, Ellie determined to stay disguised as a man. The slave hunters searched for a woman. As a white man, Ellie could go where she pleased and do what she wanted without arousing suspicion. Even a white woman did not have the freedom she now had. She blended in and covered her tracks so well it made her impossible to find. At least, she hoped so. With money Mrs. Henderson had thrust into her unwilling hand as she fled through the roof, she caught a train west, eventually stopping in Warren, Ohio, nearly broke. She started working for Mr. Craig as a stable hand, tending horses and fixing wagons. She slept in the stable except on the coldest of nights, and spent little of the money she earned. She had no desire to socialize and kept to herself, which suited Mr. Craig fine since he also had little use for mixing with folk outside of his business dealings. But every day she thought of William and the bitterness grew and burned inside her until she felt consumed by it. What she feared most, her separation from William by the white masters, had come to pass, and she hated them for what they did to her in the name of preserving “their way of life.” Most especially she grew bitter toward her white “family,” her father and her half sister Debra. She wanted so much to make them pay for their plain low-down meanness. She spent every night thinking on how to free William. She saved what she could against the time when an opportunity might present itself, and had accumulated five hundred dollars, but rack her brains as she might, nothing realistic ever came to her. But today what this Wilkins fellow said kept running through her mind. The only real hope she had of rescuing William was in the defeat of the South. At the opening of the war, from all she heard, Lincoln was perfectly content to let the South keep its slaves if it would preserve the Union, and she had set no hopes on the war bringing William back to her. But perhaps that was changing. If it was true Lincoln would soon make this a fight to end slavery, then maybe there was hope after all. But she doubted it. She found little support for the abolitionist movement here in Warren. Northern whites, on the whole, did not care one way or another about the welfare of Negros; they just wanted them gone. Even if Lincoln declared this a war against slavery, the North, she believed, would go back on its word in a heartbeat if keeping slavery reunited the nation. And then a thought suggested itself. Maybe the North would not, in the end, free the slaves, but the one thing the North had to do was to conquer the South. From one end of that infernal pest hole to the other, Union troops would have to strike down and occupy every inch of Southern territory. Ellie pursed her lips in the dark, thinking hard on that fact. She could join the army and fight her way into Georgia. At the head of an army, there was nothing any planter could do to stop her. And once she found William, they could easily escape to Canada where the slave hunters could never reach them no matter how the war ended. She jumped up, clutching the blankets close around her shoulders and pacing before the open hayloft door. Wilkins said the 125th Ohio was recruiting volunteers. She could join. What was to stop her? Her fevered mind thrilled at the excitement of finally having a plan, until all the reasons why it could not be done rained down on her like a thunderstorm on an open camp fire. It was one thing to play a man while escaping North, which had been for just three days and with the help of William to guide her, and quite another to be a man in the army. Of course, even now she managed it well enough, but she lived a solitary life. She had plenty of time by herself in the evenings to let her guard down and take care of womanly things as required. Even with that, Mr. Craig once found a bloody rag she discarded during one of her flows, and demanded to know where it came from. Had she injured one of the horses? She made up a story about losing a wisdom tooth. Concerned, he asked to look in her mouth to see, but she was able to attend to a customer who fortunately appeared at that moment. Being in the army would give her little to no privacy. Living in the constant close company of men, she would have to be a man all the time and never let down her guard. How would she bathe? How would she manage her cycles? What if she was wounded? In the army, the odds of being discovered multiplied a hundredfold. She sat down on a bale of hay, holding her face in her hands, despairing. She had looked at it a thousand different ways. If she slipped back into Macon on her own, even disguised as a man, she would certainly be recognized eventually. Even if she was not, and she found William, how could she free him? No white Southerner would dare take a slave North for any reason now. Everyone she met would demand an explanation she could not give. Joining the army was her only chance. She could not just wait for the war’s end and hope the North won, and in winning also abolished slavery. She lifted her face from her hands. She was tired of being alone. She was tired of feeling powerless to change her life and William’s. She was tired of despising her half sister and her father and the entire South without having the means to punish them. A grim determination filled her. She would join the army. She would carry a gun and she would fight. She would find a way to keep her identity secret, and if they found her out, she was no worse off than now. All they could do would be to send her back to Ohio. All she could do was try and trust to God. She stared up at the night sky, hoping William also looked up at those same stars, and she suddenly was sure of it. She could feel him reaching out to her, and she held out her hand to the lights in the sky, reaching back to him. “I’m coming for you, William,” she said out loud, her hand clutching into a fist. “I’ll find you, and as God is my witness we will never be slaves again.”

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