30 September, 2014

#SpecialFeature :: Introducing #Author Neil Grimmett

Under "Special Feature" every month I feature a Special Author. 
During this month I put up 4/5 posts about the Author/Book, including Interview / Review / Excerpt / Guest Post / Author Bio / Fun Facts or whatever else we can come up with. Also on the first day of the month we will  launch the Giveaway contest along with the first post and will announce the winner on the last day of the month.
So be sure to check out my blog every 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th of every month for something new :)

Now Presenting:
*** SPECIAL FEATURE - October 2014 ***

About the Books
A young couple arrive on the Greek island of Crete and begin prying into the execution of a beautiful English woman during the German occupation sixty years before. They enter a labyrinth of forbidden love, betrayals, murder, greed and vendettas, old and new. 
Then they disappear. 
A feisty Scottish woman and an irascible, Zorba-like Greek form a reluctant allegiance in a desperate attempt to find and rescue them. They both have very different motives for their involvement. Their search will take them to hidden rituals, ceremonies, remote gatherings, famous monasteries and villages abandoned after decades of vendettas. To the remote island of Gavdos and finally back to a place that, “Even God does not know exists”. 
They will encounter characters good and evil; some modern and pragmatic, others ancient and magical. 
All the time they are being stalked by the sons of man who seeks to complete the crimes of his father and sate his own greed and insane desire for vengeance. These men are more animal than human and have been raised in the remote mountains for the sole purpose of carrying out the brutal will of their father. 
The mystery of the real, hidden Crete runs deep, and THE THRESHING CIRCLE explores some of the myths and romance while not shying away from its often violent nature. 
By the end choices will have to be made. If such actions are really possible on an island where many Cretans still believe that: “The Cycle of Blood”, can never stop flowing.

The Hoard is a thriller set in the secretive, dangerous world of a Royal Ordnance Factory; a vast, surreal place full of some of the most volatile elements on the planet. 
Thirty years before the main story, the nitration house at the ROF in Bridgwater exploded in a fireball that could be seen for miles around. The entire crew was killed, and the source of the explosion was never found; authorities claimed that the charge in the nitrator had gone critical and that the chargehand was unable to stop a lethal cook-off. But Gunner Wade, the man the nitration crew sent for help that day knows differently: they were murdered; and he was branded a coward. 
Now Byron, the son of one of the victims, enters the sprawling Gormenghast-like compound of the top secret factory to discover the truth about his father's death. But what he finds in the dark heart of this world is a hidden hoard of super-high explosives; illegally produced and drenched in the blood of those killed to conceal its existence. As the threat of discovery mounts, Byron finds himself at the centre of a struggle between good and evil; both to prevent a destructive force from being unleashed again and to bring the sadistic mass murderers who killed his father to justice. He is aided by an unlikely alliance of helpers, including the beautiful widow of a murdered chemist and Gunner Wade. Against them are the original perpetrators and their new legion of evil acolytes. 

Inspired by a massive explosion that killed six men at the real-world ROF Bridgwater facility in 1951 - no cause was ever found - The Hoard is a gripping, grim novel that offers a glimpse into a self-contained apocalyptic landscape scarred both by the birthing of the materiel that fuels war, and the hearts of evil men who would do anything for greed.

About the Author
Neil Grimmett has had over eighty five short stories published. In the
UK by among others: London Magazine, Stand, Panurge, Iron, Ambit, Postscripts Magazine, Pretext etc. Australia, Quadrant, South Africa, New Contrast. Plus stories in the leading journals of Singapore, India, France, Canada, and the USA, where he has appeared in Fiction, The Yale Review, DoubleTake, The southern Humanities Review, Green Mountains Review, Descant, The Southern Review, West Branch and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. He has appeared online in Blackbird, Plum Ruby Review, Tatlin's Tower, Web Del Sol, In Posse Review, m.a.g., Word Riot, Blue Moon Review, 3AM, Gangway, Eclectica, The Cortland Review, Segue, The Dublin Quarterly , Ducts, Sugar Mule, Mysterical E, Thuglit and over thirty others. His stories have also appeared in the anthologies: ENGLAND CALLING, BOOK OF VOICES and Italy’s ISBN’s Top International Stories. He has made the storySouth Million Writers Notable Short Story list for the last three years. In addition, he has won the Write On poetry award, 7 Oppenheim John Downes Awards, 5 major British Arts Council Awards, a Royal Society of Authors award and has been awarded two major grants from the Royal Literary Fund.  He has been signed over the last ten years by twelve of the leading literary agents in both the UK and USA. His current agent is Jon Elek at United Agents.
His first thriller, THE THRESHING CIRCLE, was published on Amazon KDP Select. Followed by the second, THE HOARD.

1 Digital Copy of The Threshing Circle & 1 Digital Copy of The Hoard up for grabs for International Readers!
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29 September, 2014

#Spotlight :: Drenched Souls (Moonlit Matinee #2)

"And when it rains, I think of us," she said. There's magic in the pitter patter of raindrops. Doesn't it feel heavenly when the soothing water touches your skin? Doesn't it feel even more amazing when you witness the rainbow sitting in the lap of your beloved? For some, rain brings back memories. For some, it's the storm that rips their life apart. For some, there's ecstasy in getting drenched in the arms of their partner. For some, there's joy in just watching the drizzles by the window side as they enjoy a cup of coffee with their better half. Let some love pour this season. Let's soak in the drizzle of love with Drenched Souls, an anthology carrying the element of rain in its stories. With the blessings of the Rain God, we bring to you tales of love, pain, recollections, thrill, bliss, sorrow and charm by some amazing writers in town. Get drenched in the saga of love this monsoon."

'Forbidden Love' is a 1,295-words fairy tale for all age. Barkha and Badal share a chemistry they cannot deny - and a love they cannot ignore. Even though great love stories seldom bear fruition, they do not perish as well. An uncertain future and a haunting past sums up the soul drenched journey of two immortal beings who must fight despair while nurturing a hope beyond achievement.

Jonali Karmakar is a fiction writer with a Masters in English. Writing is not just her passion but her way of dealing with life. She loves being able to escape into the worlds she creates. Everything that she writes becomes a part of her and she wants her readers to know the woman behind those words. She published her first poem while still in high school. Her short stories have found their place in several anthologies soon to hit the market. Before turning to writing full time she looked after one of their many family businesses and prior to that she worked as a Medical Transcriptionist. She also teaches English to underprivileged kids. Currently she spends most of her time writing and when she isn't doing that, she's either doodling or keeping a keen eye on the stock market.  She is an avid reader and feels that reading and writing are the flip sides of the same coin.

Buy the Book
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#SpecialFeature :: 5 signs you want to be a writer by Vikrant Khanna

Now Presenting:
*** SPECIAL FEATURE - September 2014 ***

A sailor by profession and a writer by passion, Vikrant has penned two novels before this. He lives in Delhi with his family.

5 signs you want to be a writer

Writing is a very noble profession, in fact, to me, one of the noblest. It’s exciting, too – devising fresh and original stories, creating immortal characters that readers love, and putting them together for over 300 pages, compelling hundreds and thousands of readers to flip them. It can be pure pleasure if the writer gets totally immersed in the story, the way I like to do it.

Come to think of it almost all of us have a story to tell – it could be ours, of someone we know, or a complete figment of our imagination, but a story, nonetheless. We pledge to ourselves that someday in the near future this story would see the light of the day. Some of us do go ahead and pen it down, while others wonder if they have a writer in them.

My suggestion to all debut writers would be to go ahead and start whatever it is in your mind. Just put pen to paper, and the story, if clear in your mind, would begin to take shape with little meddling from your side. The important thing is don’t think too much – just start.

If you are still wondering is there a writer in you, here are 5 clear signs:
1. Everything around you is a story – an article in a newspaper, an incident you heard, a vacation you took, everything. You get this power where you transform the real world into a fictional one, and you do it on a regular basis.
2. When you meet people you begin to think of them as your future characters. Any interesting or quirky habit of theirs excites you because it’ll make your story interesting.
3. Time to time you get these ideas and you pen them down. You plan to use them for future stories. (There are a lot of these ideas.)
4. You read a book or watch a movie and something suddenly clicks in your mind: “What an idea!” “What a story!” “What an amazing character!” You stop watching a movie to get entertained, instead now you want to learn how to get these things done.
5. You read a lot more books than you used to previously. You watch a lot more movies as well. You want to be surrounded with stories for the ease of creating your own.

Can you relate with the above points? I’m sure if you want to be a writer, you would. 

The bottom line to writing is this: You are never fully prepared to begin. A story is never completely ready. A character is never thoroughly developed. They all happen when you start writing. So pick up that pen and make it flow on the paper. Deep down you already know you are a writer, you need a validation from anybody else. 

So go ahead and just start! 

So you think your love can last forever…? Get married!

Eighteen year old Ronit falls madly in love with Aisha the moment he meets her at his graduation day from a naval college. He believes he has found his perfect soul mate, and come what may, his love for her will last forever.
Seven years later, he gets married to her. Big mistake!
A week later he completely hates her and believes she has turned into a devil. 
But his perception about love and life change when he hears the poignant love story of Shekhar, his Captain, on a ship that later gets hijacked by the pirates of Somalia. 
As they are left fighting for their lives they confront if love truly can last forever…? But does it get too late?

2 Paperback Copies of Love Lasts Forever by Vikrant Khanna for Indian Residents Only

28 September, 2014

#Release Day Post : THE LAST ONE by Tawdra Kandle


The anticipated spin-off series of THE POSSE is finally here!

Meghan Hawthorne is restless. The last year has been a roller coaster: her widowed mother just married a long-time family friend. Her younger brother unexpectedly became a father and a husband. Everyone's life is changing. . .except for hers. As she begins her final summer of college, Meghan's looking for excitement and maybe a little romance. Nothing serious; this girl just wants to have fun.

But the only man for Meghan turns out to be the last one she expects.

Sam Reynolds doesn't need excitement, and he doesn't want romance. Fun is out of the question. He's been the steady, responsible one since his parents were killed, and serious is his way of life.

When Sam rescues Meghan alongside a dark Georgia backroad, she falls hard for his deep brown eyes and slow drawl. But making him see her as more than just a party girl won't be easy. Sam's tempted by the fiery young artist, even as he realizes that giving into his feelings will mean radical change. . .maybe more than he can handle.

Nobody ever said love was simple.

"As an almost strictly paranormal romance reader, it takes a certain type of author to convince me to dive into straight romance. Tawdra Kandle is one of the few authors I will make an exception for. Her writing style is so easy and relaxing that I have to really keep an eye on the time or I’ll stay up all night to finish one of her books." Carrie Williams, Goodreads Reviewer "Wow. Talk about romance with an edge. From the beginning the characters were so real that I was completely invested in them. The sexual tension woven into the story added so much value to the relationships. I will be reading this book many times just so I can spend more time with Meghan and Sam." Cheryl Garrett, Goodreads Reviewer "I'm in love with this book!!" Leah Fennick, Goodreads Reviewer

Buy it now at Amazon/iBooks/Barnes and Noble/Kobo/Smashwords

Watch the trailer here!


Tawdra Kandle writes romance, in just about all its forms. She loves unlikely pairings, strong women, sexy guys, hot love scenes and just enough conflict to make it interesting. Her books run from YA paranormal romance (THE KING SERIES), through NA paranormal and contemporary romance (THE SERENDIPITY DUET, PERFECT DISH DUO, THE ONE TRILOGY) to adult contemporary and paramystery romance (CRYSTAL COVE BOOKS and RECIPE FOR DEATH SERIES). She lives in central Florida with a husband, kids, sweet pup and too many cats. And yeah, she rocks purple hair. Follow Tawdra on Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram Visit her Website and subscribe to her Newsletter for special content and giveaways!

27 September, 2014

#Giveaway & Interview :: Summerita Rhayne, #Author of Against All Rules

Summerita Rhayne loves to write sensual and emotional romance. There's no knowing when some quirky - or sometimes even not so quirky - happening in daily life might trigger her right brain and then she's off craving a new story. She loves writing characters who learn and grow and find their way out of their troubles and emotional hang-ups. Hot, sensual heroes and sassy but sweet heroines mostly fit the bill in her stories. She also believes that a touch of humor never goes amiss in a book.
She divides her time between family, job and writing - and loves winding down with music, movies and the internet!
Email her at summeritarhayne@gmail.com
Or follow via Twitter @SummeritaRhayne

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
I just loved to write when I was in school. I used to write poems and articles. And because I was a voracious reader, stories began to spin out in my brain before I knew it. The next step of penning them down was inspired by the wish to emulate the many authors I admired. 

What inspires to write? 
The wish to see my name emblazoned up there with the globally established authors! But more realistically anything odd or out of way I see in daily liife flips a switch that sends imagination rolling :)

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
The idea was with me for quite a while. When I began to write after finally deciding to work seriously on a book, all the story ideas I came up with were too grand. I didn't have the nous to write them. So I was looking for more relatable characters and got back to this story’s premise. It was pretty mundane - a spin on the idea of a PA being in love with her boss. However Tahir, the boss, had a bad marriage behind him and exploring that - why it occurred - led me to two very well defined and grounded characters who hooked me to writing this story. So much that the story which was initially 50k words in length, went on to 70k+

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day? 
Well, many of them. I have about 9 manuscripts I need to rework and revise before they can reach publishng level. I’m working on one of them now.

Tell us about your writing process.
 I usually start with an idea. But I have found that it soon peters out if it’s not backed by solid characters. Tthe knowledge of writing craft tells me that iI should know my characters fully before I start writing. This can sometimes delay the start of an otherwise awesome premse. So sometimes I just start writing and that makes the characters develop and evolve slowly in the mind. Then research helps in adding more twists in the story. Once I'm into the story I can write quite quickly unless interrupted by 'life' happenng. 

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why? 
There are many but I like this beginning scene when the awareness between them is just starting to bother them. Here’s a snippet to give you some idea:

‘That wasn’t meant as a suggestion.’

But it might have been… 

Why was he looking at her with that speculative light in his eyes? 

‘Do you think I took it as one?’ she demanded. Brave words. 

‘Then we are good.’ His gaze fell on her…he was looking at her. Checking her out? She wasn’t sure because Tahir didn’t do it. He was so strictly professional that she usually had trouble keeping up. She’d felt guilty often when her attention changed from a PA to that of a woman. Which was why she had gone the other extreme…tried to conceal every wish to look more feminine…more enticing to him. Pride had made her wrap those wishes, the feminine wiles and impulses and put them away. She had tried to be every bit computer efficient to his work driven attitude. 

Now his gaze ran down her legs and dropped to her feet, stretched out in front of her. She resisted the urge to curl her toes. Could feet blush? Hers would in a second!

You have very trim ankles,’ he said. Enclosed in black straps circling them, they lay crossed and now tense and vulnerably exposed to his lingering gaze. ‘So slender and delicate.’ He added.

Was he finding her ankles sexy? After hoping for his attention – starving for it – she didn’t know if she should be pleased or annoyed that he was fixating on her ankles!

What is your most interesting writing quirk? 
That I type on my blackberry while travelling. 

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style? 
I read a lot of romance as it’s my favourite genre to write as well. So Georgette Heyer, Nora Roberts, Penny Jordan have been read in heaps. I really like the gripping story telling of Sidney Sheldon and the way of weaving a story till you feel you’re in there that is typical of Agatha Christie.

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date? 
Always think why not? I’ve found that it helped me to delve into the motivations of the characters deeply and hence make them more real.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing? 
Think twice about why you want to be in writing. If it’s for any other reason than that you want to write, quit right now. 

The efficient PA out of her depth...
Samara knows getting attracted to Tahir is like asking for trouble. Not only is he her boss but he's got divorced recently and has sworn off any commitment. Short term is not on her list but temptation has never been stronger...
The man who doesn't have faith in rainbows anymore
Tahir doesn't believe in enforcing a code of conduct he cannot follow. But Samara might just make him make an exception! An affair at the office might seem a solution to his troubles but how can he avoid treading uncharted territory...?

Against All Rules
...when fire is set, it's hard to avoid the blaze... 

Buy the ebook at :
Amazon.com I Amazon.in I Amazon.co.uk I Amazon.com.au


Coming into her office to ask if everything was ready, Tahir stilled as his gaze found the woman with her neck arched back in abandon in the chair. What the...his jaw went slack focusing on the darting tip of a tongue moistening soft pink flesh and the expression of pure sensual enjoyment on her face. 
This wasn’t his usually staid and prim PA. Muscles clenched low in his body witnessing the sensuous slide of that tongue tip. Like he’d wandered into the live filming of some erotic edgy scene. It only needed her hair unconfined and the prim buttons on her top loosened for the picture of sexy siren to be complete. With her head thrown back like that and her chest thrust forward, full curves straining the buttons, she wasn’t less than a siren now. His gaze moved back to the promise of her lush parted mouth and it required no imagination to picture the feel of it beneath his, to picture capturing that errant tip... He inhaled. Blood rushed through his body at double the speed, surging strategically southward.

Samara became conscious of something different in her surroundings and sat up, guilt flooding her skin with warmth as she saw Tahir looking at her from his six foot vantage point, narrowed brown gaze focusing on her face. The dark brows lifted sardonically, his well shaped mouth with that velvet sheen it had, curving oh so slightly. 

‘I – I was just...’

She stopped, unable to explain and unable to decipher why she felt the temperature of the room increase till a wave of heat bounced around her body. 

He stood feet apart, every inch the inflexible, demanding boss man that he was. He was also jaw dropping handsome, looking like a honed and toned version of a male deo model. Forget the choc√≥, I could settle for a bite of that anytime. That well shaped mouth, with a fuller sensual lower lip, dark eyes, the colour of ground coffee, thickly lashed. Those spikes, he gelled his hair into as a concession to trend. No wonder women chased him any and every chance they got. 

‘I don’t pay you to indulge your time fantasizing in my office.’ He ground out, a curt edge to his deep voice, his eyes still narrowed on her face. 

One Random Commenter on the post will win an ebook copy of  Against All Rules.
Giveaway open Internationally. So leave a comment to this post, with your email id, for a chance to win!
Giveaway closes on 15th October, 2014

26 September, 2014

#Interview :: Ann Swann, #Author of Lilac Lane

Ann lives in Texas with her husband and rescue pets. She loves libraries and book stores and owns two e-readers just for fun. Ann writes what she likes to read. Her paranormal book series centers around a couple of teenage ghost-magnets: 
Stevie-girl and the Phantom Pilot, 
Stevie-girl and The Phantom Student, 
Stevie-girl and The Phantom of Crybaby Bridge 
have all been on Amazon’s bestseller lists for scary tales and ghost stories.

Ann also writes a Romantic Suspense series for 5 Prince Publishing: 
Book One is Stutter Creek (Amazon bestseller), 
and Book Two is Lilac Lane. It was just released in July. 
Book three will be out in 2015. 

Ann’s other published novel is All For Love, a women’s novel of heartache and hope. It has also been an Amazon bestseller for Literary Fiction. 

Ann’s story, Soul Gardener, was originally published in Timeless, an anthology of paranormal love stories. She has also published short fiction in The Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, The Binnacle, The Rusty Nail, and several local magazines and anthologies. She also has an apocalyptic horror novel coming out in 2015. 

Public contact information of Author
Blog I Facebook I TwitterAmazon Author Page 

Debdatta, Thank you for always supporting Indie Authors. And thanks for allowing me to take over your blog with my ramblings. ~ Ann 

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller? 
I was a preteen when I wrote my first story. 

What inspires to write? 
Everything seems to inspire me. From snippets of conversation to rocks lying in the middle of my walking trail in a pattern suggesting a buried skeleton (those made it into a story called Skeleton Rock – original title, right?).

How did you come up with the idea for your current story? 
Lilac Lane is set in the same place as Stutter Creek, my previous suspense novel. But that is as far as the similarities go. In my “day job” I do research for an online journal specializing in legal cases. That means I go to various courthouses in my area and look up information. Unfortunately there is no shortage of domestic violence cases. And I always knew I would write about such a story. Only in Lilac Lane it becomes more of a revenge story…

Is there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day? 
I have tons of stories that have never seen the light of day—even a novel or two. Someday, when I run out of anything else to do, I plan to revise some of them. There is one in particular that nags at me to be rewritten. It’s a little horror story.

Tell us about your writing process. 
I am a planster. That’s a cross between a plotter and a panster. In other words, I write a brief plot idea complete with main character descriptions and backstories, and then I let the characters run. I love to have marathon writing sessions, hours upon hours. Some of my best writing is done when I’m half-asleep (I’ll come back to it the next day and think, did I write that?). But usually it’s catch as catch can. I have lots of irons in the non-writing fire (kids, grandkids, elderly parents, part-time job). But recently, I found that I CAN write on my laptop in the car while hubby drives. I used to get carsick if I tried to do that. But now I’ve learned if I look up every few seconds—and stop at the first sign of nausea—I can do it. This made our most recent weekend trip seem very short indeed.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why? 
My favorite scene in Lilac Lane is when Ella is searching the house for the source of the noises she keeps hearing and comes to her bedroom closet. It gave me shivers writing that scene. I think something did touch the back of my neck at one point.

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks? 
Oh, yes. A little of me is in every character—the good ones and the bad ones. Ella’s lack of self-esteem is a prime example.

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
I read all the time. I started with the usual books like Little Women and Call of the Wild and moved up from there. I love any book or story that makes me want to open it and start reading it again as soon as I finish. That doesn’t happen often. I have to say Stephen King’s early work did that to me—I reread The Dead Zone, The Shining, and The Stand several times. I love the scares in those books, but it isn’t just that—I also read Jaws and The Exorcist and I never wanted to read them again. I think Stephen King’s lure, for me at least, is his ability to create stay-with-you characters. He firt grabbed my attention with his short fiction—One for the Road, The Last Rung on the Ladder, and The Woman in the Room are three stories that have stayed with me over the years—and those last two aren’t even in the supernatural vein. But speaking of veins, Anne Rice has that same character-creating ability. I must have reread Interview With the Vampire three times—in quick succession. Is it any wonder I don’t write about vampires? Between King and Rice, I thought it had been done! But having said all that, I have to admit that my first love was Edgar Alan Poe, the master of the macabre. His Black Cat story, and novels The Masque of the Red Death really wowed me. Then there was The Tell-Tale Heart. Need I go on? Oh, yes, John Steinbeck. I am still in awe of his work. Read The Chrysanthemum. It’s one of the best short-stories ever. And Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine, and Shirley Jackson . . . okay, I’ll stop now. I could go on though. What writer doesn’t love to talk about books? No, I have to say one more thing; I love nonfiction, too. National Geographic still has the best pieces on our changing world. And I don’t want to imply that I don’t read Indie books, I do. But I’ve been criticized for championing my author friends so I don’t do that anymore even though some are TERRIFIC writers. (You know who you are). But trolls can be vicious. I think sour-grapes rule a lot of those small minds.

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date? 
Get a good editor. 

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing? 
Read everything, write all the time. Get a good editor. LOL.

What would be the Dream Cast for your book if it was to be turned into a movie? 
For Lilac Lane, I would cast a young Sandra Bullock as Ella because SB has that girl-next-door thing down pat. Her son, Nick, would be played by a kid named Ty Simpkins, he has that slightly-haunted quality Nick would need. As for the bad guy, Anson, how about Rob Pattinson? Shocked, you say? Check out this pic from a recent movie he filmed. I think he’s got that crazy look needed to play Anson. The question is, does he have size twelve boots?  Wait a minute, RPat could also play the love interest, Chet Boone. Oh my, what a dilemma! But so could Mark Wahlberg, he looks tough but tender. He also seems to be a good dad, that’s what the Chet character needs to convey.

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind? 
Yes, my walking trail. I have pics posted on my blog

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
I want to visit my ancestor’s old castle. I was told it was stripped from the family when King Henry split from the Roman Catholic Church.

What do you have in store next for your readers? 
I am working on book three set in Stutter Creek. I won’t say the title; the last time I did that, my title appeared on another book while mine was still in the editing phase. I’m sure it was coincidence, but it still makes me leery of putting it out there.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers? 
Yes, to keep up with my latest releases, just go to Ann Swann’s author page on Amazon and click the button that says “stay up to date.” Easy-peasy. Oh and visit me on FB or on my blog. As you can see, I love to chat.

Ella and her son survived her ex-husband's drunken wrath. They are starting a new life in a new town, Stutter Creek. She's even met a real man. A gentle wild life biologist named Chet Boone. But now, her ex has been released from prison early. Is that him driving past their new house late at night? Is he the one causing the strange sounds and flickering lights? Can they survive a second round with a madman? 

25 September, 2014

#Interview :: Tejeshwar Singh, Author of Tamanna

I am Tejeshwar Singh. I belong to a family of scholars, scientists, educationists and people who were always proud of their achievements. And I was kind of black sheep in the family – the least literate one!!! And I strongly feel that education is forever bereft of any kind of word knowledge. I was clueless about what my life would be. I tried, I prayed and I struggled hard to find the best suited thing for me. It took me long 18 years to realise and accept the strong suggestions of my inner voice…and the day I heard it intently, I knew I had my calling. I had umpteen questions about life, about the sorrows, happiness and the circumstances that it gives to people. I went to my room, closed the door and started speaking on the cassette recorder. That day I poured out every unsaid word that was staying in my heart in the form of suffocation since ages. That was the start of my first book in 2007. I started my new profession exactly at the same time. As if the destiny had planned the new life for me. I am happily running my own software consultancy firm….Happily, yes…!!!
I wrote 1st book (I've Had Enough…God!!!) published by Rupa in 2009, then came 2nd (Poor boy from Pakistan) which was a biography and was majorly a private release. The latest book (Tamanna…a true story of forbidden Love) comes from the deepest confines of my conscious.

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
I was 17 when I started writing random paragraphs arising out of my own experiences of life at that time. But unpredictable turn of events led to the comatose of my talent, which finally awakened at 34. 

What inspires to write?
The impermanent nature of life, my attempts to canvas it permanently in pages, my own instincts and happenings around myself…these are the things that continually inspire me. 

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
It was almost auto-writing. I was struggling to write a story based on my own teenage. I had no idea that my burning desire of writing a great story and turn of events of real life in my life will invariably make me the character of my own book. I had then no control over my hands. It was smooth sailing after that. It was clearly some higher power that guided my pen. It gave me the insight that every life is designed by some unseen super natural force, and opened the doors to the mystical hidden aspects of one’s own emotionality and life. 

Is there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?
Yes, indeed, there are!!! One is the story based on my own teenage, which I was trying to write, at the time when I hadn’t even thought of writing my current novel. Likewise, there are many small stories written by me and kept in my book shelf on A4 size sheets that are waiting to be expanded. 

Tell us about your writing process.
I write all the time. My cellphone is my writing pad. I never miss an opportunity to save my thoughts on my cellphone. Same thoughts never emerge again, and hence I keep writing my thoughts. Sometimes I stop my car on the road side, I even go out of the meeting room to save my thoughts. But the best time to write is the night time. Thoughts emerge more freely when the city is sleeping and noise is minimal, else in the utterly noise and maddening day time one even tends to forget whether actually living or not. 

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
Well, hmmmm…the whole book is close to my heart and is a portion of my life. The scene where Tamanna is talking freely to Arjun for the first time, when Sahnis come for dinner and Arjun’s unpredictable encounter with Jyoti (Eunuch) is shared by Sangini with all others. After trying Tamanna’s phone for atleast 50 times Arjun was damn tired emotionally. His childlike impatience, his guilt and his love towards Tamanna was getting tested to the limits. But that day during dinner Tamanna’s doubts vanish and she opens the door of her friendship and concern wholeheartedly to Arjun. That was the first day when both looked into each other’s eyes and talked at length. Arjun’s happiness was immeasurable that day but were his delusions regarding his feelings for Tamanna. All this shows mysterious nature of human life to a great extent. This scene is probably the closest to my heart. 

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?
Well, a writer’s conscious rises to mystical limits while creating a novel. And this is what I did in my first novel. Many a times a writer mixes and matches many lives and binds them in one character. But strangely and mystically speaking, as I said earlier, this book comes from my own life, so gathering some courage, I would say that Arjun is almost me. 

What is your most interesting writing quirk?
Ha ha ha ha ha…. This is easy… I can write and reproduce ideas anytime and at free will. Since I have a knack of typing then and there in my mobile phone, I waste no time in bringing out whatever is there in my mind, word by word. And I mostly write things that are closely related to my own life. 

What is your usual writing routine?
I mostly prefer to write in the middle of the night or early morning. That’s the time when I get least disturbed by the usual chores of family life. 

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
I do read a lot. My first encounter with books happened at the age of 6. I used to read a whole world of comics. Then at 11 I noticed my sister (elder to me by 9 years) reading Mills n Boon novels. She also used to read Sydney Sheldon, Daniel Steele and some other authors. Likewise I also started reading them, though it was tough for me t understand them at that age. But I developed interest towards stories. In my 20s I read a lot of inspirational books such a Power of our subconscious mind, magic of thinking big. I also used to read biographies such as Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose, Swami Vivekanand. Each one had a distinct effect on my fertile mind. I started understanding that story telling is an art, which needs lot of concentration and dedication. My favourite author is Dr. Daisaku Ikeda. His books are like life anthem for me. 

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
Keep your ideas crisp…keep it short yet meaningful. Make the story intriguing, serious and humorous at the same time.” Ha ha ha ha ha …this is what I have been listening to from my wife since the day I started writing.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
Well….am I fit enough to give advice??? I will try sincerely though….. Writing means exploring your conscious, your existence, and your thoughts to the deepest core. A writer sees things that remain unseen by the other people. A writer has the gift of penetrating deep into the human consciousness and dig out marvelous hidden realities. Never cease any opportunity to ponder over the thoughts that come into your mind upon seeing or encountering any life situation. Treat your life as a work of fiction by some higher power. Infact we should treat every life as a work of fiction. This world is interesting and has so many shades. Everyday we encounter so many stories. So, as a writer we must surrender ourselves wholeheartedly to the situations that otherwise pass off as routines to most of people. 

What would be the Dream Cast for you book if it was to be turned into a movie?
Dream cast for my book??? Hmmmm…. Sushmita Sen and Deepika Padukone as the two lead acteess for my book, undoubtedly!!!! Sushmita as Sangini and Deepika as Tamanna. Actually Tamanna in my book has resemblance with Deepika Padukone.  

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?
Ha ha ha ha ha …… That’s tricky again….without thinking twice, I would carry 2-3 best satellite phones with GPS and reserved batteries. Some long lasting food items and ofcourse some essential medicines. 

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
I like to listen to old Hindi songs (particularly from 1970s period)….I also a great fan of Ananda Shankar and his mixes of Indian classical and western music. I prefer to sit at home on my favorite bamboo sofa, sip beer and listen to my favourite music. \

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
Well, I can only say that life is impermanent and passes by right in front of our eyes like a flash. We must never forget this. I remember this and try to document whatever happens around me or in my own life. Love I feel is a highly underutilized and least understood term. People get into the trap of attraction and later suffer. Attraction fades away with time. Love is a mystical phenomena. We must never shy away from our own feelings and must never live in an old stale mode, thereby wasting this precious gift of Mother Nature. 

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.
No.1. I laugh a lot. I laugh without reason and in some of the most delicate moments. The school boy in me is still alive, who would struggle to control his laughter during the period of the toughest and the most strict teacher. I am still the same….I can’t live without humour. Everyday I crack practical jokes and try and make others laugh. Wheter I am in office, or driving my car or sitting at home, I need my humour to stay healthy all the time……No.2. I still wear what I used to wear in my teens, like absolutely torn and self painted jeans, self painted T shirts, sport all kind of fashion colours on my hair, and I even wear these clothes in my office and official meetings…..  No.3. I am in love always and remain romantic always.

What do you have in store next for your readers?
Ha ha ha ha ha ….now what do I say here?? May be a book with a female protagonist…see, there are two worlds in this world…one belongs to males and the other to females.. There are two kinds of upbringings likewise… so, I am thinking on those lines. But currently working hard to make my present book the best seller.  

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
Life is precious. Even the whole treasure of this world is nothing in comparison to one extra day of life. Life has endless possibilities. Life is to be enjoyed, to laugh, to help others, to make others smile, to learn more about Mother Nature, to see the hidden potentialities of human life, and above all to maintain and make this place a better place for the coming generations. Ultimately we all are guests here. Even the mightiest of the mightiest will turn into dust within no time. What are we so proud of, then? Our arrogance, selfishness, our smiles, our love, our kindness and our life, will all vanish sooner than we even think of. But our acts can have catastrophic effects on the future generations. Why?? Let’s celebrate life everyday and spread smiles as far as we could.

True love is like a permanent state of madness, one that makes us end up doing things we always thought ourselves incapable of. The same happened with Delhi-based Arjun Singh. As a teenager, he made fun of romantic movies and love songs. Even when he got married, he only gradually fell in love with his wife—their love was mature and pure and had none of the madness that love stories are made of. But his story only begins here . . . One day at a party, he meets Tamanna, who looks breathtaking beside her overweight and pompous husband. Her arrival turns Arjun’s life around. He does everything love-struck teenagers are known to do—from writing poetry and letters to checking his phone every few minutes. He pines, he sings, he cries, he obsesses, he hyperventilates, he regrets, he scolds himself, he broods, he dreams, and he loves—truly and helplessly. And as time passes, the gradual revelation of Tamanna’s maturity, her thoughtfulness, and her witty personality leave Arjun completely awestruck. But his is not a usual love story, for he is married, and so is she. Heartbreaking and inspired by the author’s life story, Tamanna is a journey through a man’s heart, exploring, as it does, how it is possible to love more than one person at the same time, and how love heeds no reason and no boundaries . . . 

#Interview :: Holly Robinson, #Author of Beach Plum Island

Holly Robinson is a journalist, celebrity ghost writer, and novelist.  She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and has taught at both the high school and university levels.  A former magazine columnist and editor, she is also the author of several books, including the novels Beach Plum Island and The Wishing Hill.  Her articles and essays have appeared in The Boston Globe, The Huffington Post, More, Redbook, Parents and dozens of other newspapers and magazines. 

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
I think I was always a storyteller, starting when I was a child and my parents implored me to tell stories to my younger brothers to keep them quiet on car trips.  I made up fantastic tales—my favorite featured a talking bear—and I loved to read as well.  However, I didn't even consider being a writer until my last semester in college, where I was majoring in biology and planning to be a doctor until I stumbled into a creating writing class.  My life was transformed in that instant, and every job I've held since then has been in support of my fiction habit.

What inspires you to write?
Anything and everything!  Gossip, family stories, conversations overheard in restaurants, walking my dog through the woods, music...I think I'm always writing in my head.  I carry pocket journals for that reason, just in case some brilliant nugget manifests itself and I need to capture it on the spot.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
The kernel for the novel I published with Penguin this spring, BEACH PLUM ISLAND, is a family story.  My mom once babysat for a family and discovered a little boy locked in a back bedroom, apart from the other children.  The parents had specifically warned her not to go down that hallway and open that door, so they clearly didn't want the boy discovered.  I always wondered what his true story was, and finally created one to satisfy my own imagination and my longing for a resolution.

Is there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?
Oh yes!  I wrote six novels that all received agent representation and were rejected by editors at publishing houses.  Finally, I got frustrated and self-published my first novel, SLEEPING TIGERS.  It was a great experience, but two weeks after that, my agent sold another of my novels, THE WISHING HILL, to Penguin Random House, and I've been with them since.  I occasionally go back to those early novels, though, and lift favorite scenes and characters.  Everything you write is useful, if only for practice.

Tell us about your writing process.
Since I'm now with a publisher, my process is different than it used to be.  Whereas I once wrote the entire novel and tried to sell it, never mapping or outlining anything in advance, now I'm required to submit a synopsis of the entire story before the publisher will buy it and pay me an advance.  I resisted this idea—hated it, in fact—thinking it would rob the writing process of its magic and mystery.  But quite the contrary happens.  The synopsis is a liberating sort of blueprint, because I know where the story is going and the outcome I want ahead of time, so I'm free to play around with scenes as I move forward.  The characters still surprise me along the way.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
I think my favorite scenes all involve Elaine, who has been expressing her grief and fury over her family's chaotic situation and the unexpected reveal by her dad that there is a missing brother by acting out—she drinks, she hooks up with various men, and she says really outrageous things to people.  In short, Elaine does all of the things I would never, as a suburban mother of five kids, even think about doing!  I especially love the scene where she insults everyone at a funeral and then drives her car through the shrubbery on the front lawn.

What is your usual writing routine?
I take my youngest son to school, go out to my desk, and get started.  I make a living as a freelance writer, so first I write fiction for whatever time I think I have, then take a quick break (usually taking a walk) and turn to my nonfiction projects, which consist of magazine articles or celebrity ghost writing.  My workday ends at dinner time.  In the end, I probably end up spending a couple of hours each day on fiction.  I also take writing retreat weekends whenever I can, especially when I'm starting a new book. 

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
Never give up.  Oh, and always leave off writing a scene in a place where you know exactly where you're going next—I even leave scenes mid-sentence sometimes to ensure that I won't be stuck when I go back.

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.
I have a blended “yours, mine, and ours” family of five children.  My father had a gerbil farm with 9,000 gerbils housed in our back yard.  (Don't believe me?  Check out THE GERBIL FARMER'S DAUGHTER: A MEMOIR.)  I love reality TV shows—especially dance competitions.

What do you have in store next for your readers?
My new novel, HAVEN LAKE, comes out in April 2015 and features a woman who raises Icelandic sheep and her daughter, a child psychologist, who have been estranged since the mysterious drowning of a teenager and a tragic suicide tore their family apart twenty years ago.  It's an emotional family mystery set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War.

“Your brother should know the truth.”

These are the last cryptic words that Ava Barrett’s father says before he dies. But Ava doesn’t have a brother, as far as she knows, so how can she tell him the truth? She dismisses the conversation and dedicates herself to bringing her family together for her father’s funeral. This is no easy task, since her sister, Elaine, has been estranged from the family and still harbors resentment against their stepmother and half-sister, Gigi. Ava, on the other hand, is a single mother who sees Gigi as a troubled teen in need of love and connection.

Ava, too, could use more love in her life and finds it where she least expects it. But the biggest surprise of all is that Gigi holds the key to the mystery surrounding her father’s dying words, and joins Ava in uncovering a secret that rapidly unravels the very fabric of their entire family…

24 September, 2014

#Interview :: Maryann Miller, #Author of Doubletake

Maryann Miller, who hails from Winnsboro, Texas, is an award-winning author of books, screenplays and stage plays. The critically-acclaimed Seasons Mystery Series, that includes Open Season and Stalking Season, features two women homicide detectives in Dallas and has been described as "Lethal Weapon" with female leads. The books have received rave reviews from Publisher's Weekly and Library Journal. Her most recent release is Doubletake, another police procedural mystery set near Dallas. Boxes for Beds is an historical mystery set in Arkansas in the 60s when the mob ruled Hot Springs. 

As a freelance editor and script doctor, Miller has worked for Stephen Marro on the movie "Broadway's Finest" and other individual authors. References and rates can be found on her website - Maryannwrites.com

 Miller is the Theatre Director at the Winnsboro Center for the Arts, where she especially likes working with young performers during the annual Youth Drama Camp. When not directing, Miller likes to be onstage and has appeared in numerous productions. She was thrilled to play Martha Brewster in "Arsenic and Old Lace", Mildred in "Squabbles", and Mama Wheelis in "Daddy's Dyin' Whose Got the Will". Her most recent role was Big Mama in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." No, she did not appear on stage in her slip. That was Maggie.

When not working or playing on stage, Miller enjoys her time at "Grandma's Ranch" where she lives with one horse, one goat, one sheep, one dog, and four cats. The cats rule.

You can find her on her Website   * Blog    * Facebook   * Twitter  * Amazon Author Page

First I want to thank you for inviting me to be a guest on your blog, Debdatta. I do appreciate the opportunity to meet new friends and talk a bit about writing and reading and wonderful stories that capture our imaginations.

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller? 
Books have been my best friends since I was first able to read, and as a child I could read four or five books a week - sometimes more. My girlfriend and I would ride our bikes to a wooded area about a mile from home and sit under a tree to read. One day, when I had just finished a wonderful story by Albert Payson Terhune who created the series of books about collies made famous by "Lassie," I closed the book and told my friend I wanted to write a book like that some day and hopefully some other girl might fall in love with it. I never wrote a dog story, but my first fiction was about horses. Next to books, I loved horses best when I was 12.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
My latest release is a police-procedural mystery, Doubletake. I co-authored the book with Margaret Sutton, and we first started with an idea based on a news story about a rapist who was targeting suburban women. He was called The Blanket Rapist because he would throw a blanket over the head of his victim so she could not see him. Margaret and I took that basic premise and added to it, having the women get killed. Then Margaret came up with the idea of the "doubletake" at the end of the story. 
What is your favorite scene in the book? Why? 
One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Tom, the husband of the first victim, comes home and finds his wife dead. It is a powerful scene, both dramatically and emotionally. I remember crying when I wrote it, and I think I was able to get that emotion into it. Then Margaret added some elements that boosted the drama. That was one of the benefits of collaborating - we each had strengths we brought to the book.
What is your most interesting writing quirk? 
I cannot write a story that has no title. There are lots of writers who will start a project and call it "untitled," but I can't do that. It makes me crazy not to have a title, and I can't relax into the writing process until I do. 
Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style? 
Like most writers, I am an avid reader, and I have so many favorite authors I couldn't possibly list them all. When I first started writing police procedural novels - the Seasons Mystery Series - I read a lot of the 87th Precinct Series by Ed McBain (Evan Hunter). I wanted to see how an ensemble cast is handled in a police procedural mystery, and he was a master at that genre.
If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry? 
Food, water, and my Kindle that has over 200 books loaded into it. I wouldn't get bored, thirsty or hungry. 

How do you spend your free time? 
Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind? I love to do puzzles of all kinds and usually have a jigsaw puzzle on a table in the living room and a crossword puzzle on the kitchen table where I can work on it while I eat. To unwind, I go outside and take care of my horse and goat and sheep and play with my dog or take her for a walk. I live on 5 acres in East Texas, and there is always something to do to keep me outside in the sunshine for a while. One of my biggest pleasures is to be on stage, and I have had starring roles in several plays at a local community theatre. I also direct plays and run the annual summer drama camp for youngsters. It is always so much fun to work with the young people and see their creativity blossom. 

Can you share with us something off your bucket list? 
Oh, I love bucket lists. I do think we should all make a point to have one and try to do one thing off the list each year. One thing still on my list is a trip to Australia. I have always wanted to go there and hope one day to be able to do that. One item I have checked off is playing Martha in "Arsenic and Old Lace." I love that play and always wanted to play the role of one of those ladies who help gentlemen into their eternal reward.

Tell us three fun facts about yourself. 
I like to fly kites, go creek-walking, and I don't care if company drops in and my house is a mess.

What do you have in store next for your readers? 
The book I am working on now is quite a departure from what I normally write. I have always wanted to write a book about my mother and the challenges she faced in her life, but there were big gaps in what I knew about her early life. She was put in an orphanage as a young child, but she didn't know why. Nobody in the family wanted to talk about why her father left or why her mother chose to put my mother and her sister in an orphanage, so I never thought I could write the story. This past spring, my mother died, and one day two months later I sat down at my computer and started writing her story. I'm calling it Evelyn Evolving, and I guess it would be considered a fictional biography. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers? 
Just a huge "thank you" to everyone who has read my books and let me know that they enjoyed them, either by a note or a review on Amazon. This whole business of writing would not mean as much without that connection between writer and reader. This is why we do what we do.

Doubletake is the most recent release from Maryann Miller, written with Margaret Sutton.

Death sneaks in the back door of the peaceful town of Twin Lakes, Texas and nothing is ever the same again.  Homicide detective, Barbara Hobkins, is thrust headlong into the investigation. A product of the "new direction" in law enforcement, her strength comes from a degree is psychology and an intuition that has served her well. But will that be enough when up against a sadistic killer?

"WOW! Talk about a doubletake, the ending floored me. The story drew me in and compelled me to read more and more. Miller and Sutton's ease of introduction, yet fully characterizing each new character so quickly really added to the pace of the story adding urgency to the feel. Truly a book that builds the tension and frustration of the leads within you as you read their tale. I liked the flaws and insecurities of the main characters being proportionate to their strengths, they were real in depiction and easy to visualize. A great read!" 5Stars from Valerie.

"I could not wait to get to the next page...Read for almost 8 hrs...Could not put it down...Two thumbs up." 5Stars from Sherry.


Open Season
 "Try this debut mystery for its open treatment of current urban problems, clean prose, and realistic depiction of women working together. For readers who enjoy Robin Burcell and fans of police procedurals." --Library Journal

"Miller spins a tight tale that's a cut above the average police procedural in this first of a new series introducing Dallas police detective Sarah Kingsly." --Publisher's Weekly

Stalking Season
STARRED Publishers Weekly Review
" . . . gripping second mystery featuring Dallas, Tex., police detectives Sarah Kingsly and Angel Johnson. . . . The relationship between the women is just as absorbing as the search for the killer. Few readers will anticipate the closing twist."
"Dallas detectives Sarah Kingsly and Angel Johnson (Open Season, 2011, etc.) return to confront a case almost as gnarly as their relationship. ...So deftly plotted and paced that, although it's certainly possible to grow impatient with the protagonists' unwarranted impatience toward each other, they're appealing enough to keep the pages turning." KIRKUS