30 September, 2016

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

Lies, Love & Redemption 
By Kelli A. Wilkins
www.KelliWilkins.com

Hi everyone,
Today I’m sharing an exclusive excerpt from my new historical western, LIES, LOVE & REDEMPTION. This full-length novel is set on the Nebraska prairie in 1877 and blends a steamy romance with mystery and danger.

Here’s the summary:

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


A mild excerpt:

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

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

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

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

A stranger covered in blood leaned against the doorjamb.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Order your copy of Dangerous Indenture here:

In a future blog, I’ll share an inside look at the making of the book and a steamy excerpt.

Happy Reading!
Kelli


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

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

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

Catch Up with Kelli:



29 September, 2016

#SpecialFeature :: Interview with #Author Shatrujeet Nath


*** Special Feature - September 2016 ***

Posts So Far:


About the Books:

VICTORY IS TEMPORARY. THE BATTLE IS ETERNAL.

Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine have fought valiantly to repel the rampaging hordes from Devaloka and Patala – but Avanti has been brought to its knees. Ujjayini lies battered its citizens are scared and morale is badly shaken. Meanwhile, the barbaric Hunas and Sakas are gathering on the horizon and cracks are emerging between the allied kingdoms of Sindhuvarta.

The only silver lining is that the deadly Halahala is safe. For now.

Bent on vengeance, Indra is already scheming to destroy Vikramaditya, while Shukracharya has a plan that can spell the doom for the Guardians of the Halahala. How long can the human army hold out against the ferocity and cunning of the devas and asuras? And will Vikramaditya’s love for his queen come in the way of his promise to Shiva?



The deadly Halahala, the all-devouring poison churned from the depths of the White Lake by the devas and asuras, was swallowed by Shiva to save the universe from extinction.
But was the Halahala truly destroyed?
A small portion still remains – a weapon powerful enough to guarantee victory to whoever possesses it. And both asuras and devas, locked in battle for supremacy, will stop at nothing to claim it.
As the forces of Devaloka and Patala, led by Indra and Shukracharya, plot to possess the Halahala, Shiva turns to mankind to guard it from their murderous clutches. It is now up to Samrat Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine to quell the supernatural hordes – and prevent the universe from tumbling into chaos!
A sweeping tale of honour and courage in the face of infinite danger, greed and deceit, The Guardians of the Halahala is a fantastical journey into a time of myth and legend.



Three commandos of the Indian Army’s elite Unit Kilo—Major Imtiaz Ahmed, Captain Shamsheer Suleiman and Lieutenant Rafiq Mehmood—are chosen for a one-of-a-kind ops mission: to enter Pakistan and eliminate dreaded underworld don, Irshad Dilawar. However, somehow, the Inter-Services Intelligence and Dilawar always seem to be one step ahead of them, foiling every plan they make. It doesn’t take long for Major Imtiaz to realize that something is amiss—the operation has been compromised. Will he be able to successfully complete his mission, or are he and his men, like Abhimanyu, entering a trap they cannot make their way out of? Set in the world of covert operations, where double-crossing and diabolical mind games are the norm, The Karachi Deception will keep you hooked till the very end.






An Interview with the Author


Why did you use “Veergatha” as a series descriptor instead of something like Chronicles or Legends?
The moment Sandhya (my editor at Jaico) and I realized that this series would end up as four and not three books, we knew we’d have to change the series descriptor from Vikramaditya Trilogy to something else. ‘Quartet’ was obvious, but neither of us liked it. So we began looking at other options – chronicles, saga, legends etc. The problem with all these extensions were that they had all been done many times before, so there was no novelty in left. Not to say that the earlier ‘trilogy’ was very original, but somehow trilogy worked where the newer options weren’t. We had run through all options and were thoroughly dissatisfied when ‘veergatha’ suggested itself as a possibility. The word literally means ‘a narrative or poem of valour’, and is commonly used in many Indian languages to describe epic narratives. It is a uniquely Indian word, which was quite in keeping with the uniquely Indian tale that I am telling. It’s a word most Indians would intuitively understand, and it put alongside ‘Vikramaditya’ it had the alliterative quality that sits well with descriptors. And it was novel, so we went ahead with it. At what point did you realise that this series would be more than three books long? As I was finishing Book 2 (The Conspiracy at Meru), I began coming to terms with the fact that I would, in fact, end up writing four books in the series. The thing is that the scope and scale of the story broadened dramatically while writing Book 2 – or maybe the scope and scale was always broad and I just didn’t see that before. Whichever be the case, it became obvious that to accommodate the story, we would have four books now. From what I gather from readers who’re fans of the series, they are more than happy if the series swells to even five books. The Game of Thrones started as a trilogy as well, but ended up as 6-7 books. Your series is now into 4 books. Do authors have even the slightest idea of what they are getting into when they start writing an epic story? Or do they only feign confidence and knowledge when in reality they are as clueless as the next person? The simple and obvious answer to whether authors have the slightest idea of what they are getting into – no. See, the reality is that most authors embark on a story with little more than a concept that would fill, say, four to six pages. In fact, it is a minor miracle that authors actually produce 70,000-word stories out of the threadbare ideas they start with. When I started writing Vikramaditya, I estimated that I had enough material to fill three books. Once I began writing, however, new tracks and sub-plots emerged that I hadn’t taken into account earlier. These grew from the story organically, and as they were good for the story, I kept them. Now I have to take all such tracks and plots to their logical conclusion, and that has expended the scope of the narrative. I suspect this is also what must have happened with George RR Martin – on a much bigger scale, of course. Who is your favourite character in the Vikramaditya series and why? Shanku. From the time her character first took shape, Shanku has fascinated me. For starters, she is the archetypal underdog – her father is a traitor languishing in Avanti’s dungeons, while her gypsy mother killed herself out of shame – and survivor. But what intrigues me more is that Vikramaditya saw something in her that made him appoint her as a member of his respected council. And all her fellow councilors respect her as well, which means there’s something special in her, despite her lowly birth. Yet, Shanku herself is diffident, ever conscious of her background. There is a simmering, unresolved conflict within her that I think even perceptive readers can sense. But what I really admire about Shanku is her fierce loyalty to Vikramaditya and the people of Avanti. She is also extremely brave, and will go an extra mile for her king – we see this in The Guardians of the Halahala, where, despite Vetala Bhatta’s orders not to leave the city, she leaves the protection the city walls to engage the Ashvin cavalry in battle. This also shows a rebellious, independent and non-conformist streak in her, which I love. Why do you think there is a lack of fantasy storytelling and mythological ‘retellings’ are popular in India? I think ‘lack’ is a strong word – I would much prefer shortage. The reason for this shortage could be the the rich storehouse of mythology and legend we have in India, tales that are still very much alive within and around us. These tales are so fantastical in spirit and character that probably the need to find and tell other fantasy stories has not been strongly felt by storytellers so far. That could explain the myriad retellings of our myths. The fact is also that for many Indians, there is comfort in reading or watching or listening to familiar fare. From the time BR Chopra brought the Mahabharata to Indian television in 1988, we have had some four retellings of the epic on Indian TV channels. The same story four times? Really? Forget that, during the 1960s and 70s, every second Bollywood movie was about two (sometimes three) brothers getting estranged and growing up as strangers. Every one of those movies followed the same plot, and yet they all worked to varying degrees. It’s just the way we are, I suppose. Having said that, I do think fantasy as a genre separate from mythology is slowly evolving in India. There is Sukanya Venkat’s Dark Things, there is Tantrics of Old by Krishnarjun Bhattacharya. I believe these are also rooted in Indian folklore, but these are departures from mythology. In fact, even my Vikramaditya Veergatha series is more fantasy than mythology as 95% of it is pure fantasy fiction, while only 5% draws from existing myths. You have written a contemporary spy thriller and now an epic fantasy. Will you write books in other genres as well? I would love to. I have a good idea for a historical fiction series, and I would love to explore horror. I would like to try my hand at satire too, someday. But ultimately, it’s less about the genre and more about the story. If the story fascinates me, I really don’t care what its genre is. I will work on it.

About the Author:

Door-to-door salesman, copywriter, business journalist & assistant editor at The Economic Times; Shatrujeet Nath was all this before he took to writing fiction full-time. He debuted with The Karachi Deception in 2013, followed by The Guardians of the Halahala and The Conspiracy at Meru, the first two books in the Vikramaditya Veergatha series. At present, he is writing volume three of the series. Shatrujeet lives in Mumbai, but spends much of his time in the fantasy worlds of his stories.


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Giveaway:
4 Lucky Winners can win 2 Books each (Set of The Guardians of the Halahala and The Conspiracy at Meru) this month. 
Enter the Giveaway Here: USE this GOOGLE FORM
Note: All the answers are in the Special Feature Posts this month. Links to other posts are given at the beginning of this post.

28 September, 2016

#BookReview :: King of the Friend Zone (Power of the Matchmaker) by Sheralyn Pratt

Esme Taylor has an amazing fiancé, a lifelong best friend, and a problem. The problem stems from the fact that her best friend is named Hunter and, well. . .he’s kind of (totally) hot. It’s hate at first sight when her fiancé, Jon, and Hunter meet. Jon’s convinced that Hunter is in love with Esme, and that Hunter must be out of the picture if their upcoming marriage is to succeed. 
Esme thinks Jon is paranoid. 
The truth is, Jon’s not that far off. Hunter is in love with his best friend and always has been. What Jon has wrong, however, is that Hunter never had any plans of ruining Esme’s happily ever after. Hunter wants what’s best for Esme, even if that’s not him. 
When Jon pushes hard to end Esme and Hunter’s friendship, opposition comes from the most unlikely of places. It’s an eccentric lady with a cookie cart who suggests a different solution to Esme’s problem: Hunter and Esme should give each other a chance. 
They’ve both thought of the possibility over the years—of course they have. But with a ring already on Esme’s finger and a heap of hurt feelings and broken trust in the mix, there hasn’t been a worse time to explore the depths of their feelings for each other. 
Both Esme and Hunter think it’s time to move on and leave childhood crushes in the past. The question is: Can one woman and the taste of one cookie change their minds? 


Esme and Hunter’s mothers are best friends and as such they were pretty much brought up together like family. In turn Esme and Hunter are best friends too and they are like peas in a pod. So when Esme turns up to announce that she is engaged to Jon, a man Hunter had never met, it was bit of a surprise for everyone around them. When Hunter and Jon meet things go the wrong way and neither of them approves of the other. But things turn for the worse when Jon, who thinks Hunter is in love with her, asks Esme to stay away from Hunter and she agrees. The truth is that Hunter IS in love with Esme but he never fessed up because of his insecurities and the fact that he wasn’t ready to risk his friendship with her. The question is whether Esme and Hunter love each other enough to risk everything and find their way to each other?

I liked the two lead characters – Esme & Hunter. Esme infuriated me for most part because of her relationship/dynamics with Jon. The whole relationship seemed instable to me given how little they knew about each other when they got engaged. Plus I really did not like Jon’s attitude towards Esme’s career either. However, she does redeem herself when she holds her own not only with Jon but also with Hunter. Hunter on the other hand creeps into the readers’ heart from the very beginning as we know exactly how much he loves Esme. Also, it doesn’t hurt that he is hot and witty as well. The additional characters in the book are also quite great. The whole family and friend circle is tightly knit and they always cover each other’s back. You cannot help but love them all. The author has also done a great job in keeping the language simple and the flow of the story smooth. It was pretty easy to get into the story once Esme and Hunter’s camaraderie sets in with the readers.

I have one problem with the book though. I didn’t buy the ‘old Asian lady with magic cookies’ thing at all. While the rest of the book was pretty much acceptable, the presence of the ‘magical element’ just felt off and out of place to me. But overall, this is a nice and clean romance that turned out to be more enjoyable than I expected.


Review Copy received from Kathy @ I am a Reader




26 September, 2016

#BookReview :: The Sleeping Prince (The Sin Eater’s Daughter #2) by Melinda Salisbury

Ever since her brother Lief disappeared, Errin's life has gone from bad to worse. Not only must she care for her sick mother, she has to scrape together rent money by selling illegal herbal cures. But none of that compares to the threat of the vengeful Sleeping Prince whom the Queen just awoke from his enchanted sleep.

When her village is evacuated as part of the war against the Sleeping Prince, Errin is left desperate and homeless. The only person she can turn to is the mysterious Silas, a young man who buys deadly poisons from Errin, but won't reveal why he needs them. Silas promises to help her, but when he vanishes, Errin must journey across a kingdom on the brink of war to seek another way to save her mother and herself. But what she finds shatters everything she believed about her world, and with the Sleeping Prince drawing nearer, Errin must make a heartbreaking choice that could affect the whole kingdom.

Goodreads I Amazon



This book is the story of Leif’s sister Erin and how her life is affected by everything that is going on in the kingdom. With the Sleeping Prince back and looking for vengeance, there are only so many places where Erin can go, especially with a secret that she cannot reveal. What with her secret she has had to relocate once already. But now that her village is being evacuated, she has no idea about where to go or what to do. All she has is the support of a stranger, Silas, who happens to discover her secret. When Silas disappears on the eve of their journey, Erin has no other option but to take on a journey of her own that will lead her to more danger and trouble than she could ever expect. 

I picked up this book without even reading the blurb because I had really enjoyed the first book and absolutely needed to know what happens next. So, not surprisingly, for the first few pages I thought that I was reading about Twylla living a new and disguised life as Erin. But the confusion was momentary. Once I got over it and realized that this was going to be from the POV of Erin, I was even more interested in the book. It is not very often that we see a series from multiple POVs and parallel timelines.

With Erin’s heritage, we discover more about the world setting and how things work in this world. A world where alchemy is real and the myths need to be looked at closely. Erin herself is a very strong character. She is so practical and creative that I loved her for being to adapt to any situation that she was thrown into. At places she felt stronger, braver and clearer headed than Twylla. Silas is a character whose charm flows easily. The mystery around Silas’s character that the author built was unfolded slowly yet it was easy to feel like we knew him from the very beginning. But the best part of the book is how the author weaves the parallel stories of Erin and Twylla together to make them converge towards the end. 

There are certain twists that I didn’t see coming and as such this book (and in turn the series) turned out to be interesting, entertaining and pleasurable to read.



24 September, 2016

#Interview with Kiran Chandra, #Author of The Corridor of Uncertainty

About the Author:


Kiran Chandra is a Bangalore based author, an alumnus of two of the best institutions in town Christ & St. Joseph’s. He works in the financial services industry after completing his masters in finance. He lives in Bangalore with his wife & two children. The field of creative arts has always been his passion having been part of plays presented by multiple theater groups. The corridor of uncertainty is his first book.




Contact the Author:
Facebook * Facebook Page * Twitter

Interview with the Author:

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
As a kid I regularly wrote stories to Tinkle. I was successful to be published on one occasion though. That writing experience, the reading habits built dreams in me of being an author. I was active in dramatics & plays in college which helped me build knowledge & experience in creative arts.

What inspires you to write?
‘Pen is mightier than the sword’ is a quote that has inspired me to be a writer. There have been historical movements in the past that have been achieved through writings. Literary movements were created in the past by Basavanna, Akka Mahadevi, Kabir. I envision creating a similar contemporary movement in writing as today’s writing is less storyline, moral & more sensual.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
I wanted to write sports fiction that would bring out the importance of sportsmanship & fair play. Many sports do not inculcate this in their coaching manuals. I have drawn parallels to cricket (considered to be a religion by itself) & the preaching in different religions, sportsmanship & righteousness.
The protagonist Karna draws his inspiration from his namesake from the epic Mahabharatha He also learns from the mistakes Karna commits in the Epic Mythology. The rest of the story evolved as I wrote.

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?
There are a couple of them I began to write & will continue as my next project. One is a Fiction on Romance & another is a Crime Thriller.

Tell us about your writing process.
The story is set in the 90s of Bangalore and revolves around the time when the whole nation was ripped apart due to communal clashes. How cricket as a religion fights all the odds against the true systems of faith & evolves victorious is the theme of the novel. I had to research about the city in the 90s, how Bangalore was affected during the nationwide strike, various epics, mythology & scriptures. Having played cricket all my life the research on the game was easier.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
My favorite scene in the book is the final over of the game between Lalnagar & Shanthinagar. That is the turning point of the story in the context of ‘The corridor of uncertainty’, a term very famous in cricket but common in our day-to-day lives.

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?
Yes! I will keep the readers inquisitive and find out when they read :)

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
I used be an avid reader until I joined college, after which life took a different turn. I have begun to pick up books now in the last 3-4 years. Paulo Coelho is my favorite. The Alchemist has had a great influence on my inspiration to write.

What would be the Dream Cast for you book if it was to be turned into a movie?
I would cast Salman Khan (Sherkhan the cop) & Aamir Khan (Nawab Khan the mentor) in pivotal roles of the story although they would not be the lead roles as the protagonists are young adults.

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?
Tools to build a hut & catch fish, a mini library of books & a few bottles of wine.

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
There is no specific place that I unwind. I like to travel to different places, understand different cultures and cover every nook & corner of the world. I unwind playing cricket, football and a few indoor games with my children.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
The corridor of uncertainty is not just about Cricket. It’s a sports inspirational fiction with sports, love & drama all in one. So readers who are thinking if they should pick up the book check the reviews on Amazon.

About the Book:


A story set in the 90s of Bangalore about a bunch of boys growing up on a sport & religion called 'Cricket'. Karna's love and passion for Divya is as much as for the game. Karna & his friends, worshipers of the game, go through a pious and adventurous journey of conflict.They are guided by the principles of righteousness, sportsmanship, ethics and fair play by Mr. Iyer & most importantly the confidence instilled by their mentor Nawab Khan. They have to gain self belief, which leads them to introspect. They recognize the true sense of Arthur Schopenhauer's quote 'Honor has not to be won; it must only not be lost.' They ultimately win many hearts, but will Karna win the only heart he longs for? 
In a country where this game unites all where true religion divides, what happens when the cult of cricket collides with the real systems of faith? Will there be a further rift?




Buy Links
Amazon * Flipkart * ShopClues



23 September, 2016

#Interview with Aparna Sinha, #Author of Ashvamedha: The Game of Power

About the Author:

Aparna Sinha wrote her first poem when she was seven, which she recited on All India Radio.  Since then, her literary work and industry specific articles have been published in various mediums, including reputed business magazines across Asia.
Equipped with a Master’s in management, when she was forced to quit her lucrative job because of a chronic disease, she focused on her sole passion – writing.



Contact the Author:
FB Page * Twitter

Interview with the Author:

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller? 
I have been telling stories since I started to speak, I guess. It is in my genes. Both mother and father are very well read and inclined towards writing, while my father’s books are academic in nature (He was head and Dean, Law faculty, in University of Allahabad) my mother’s books are literature (she equaled the record of Sarojini Naidu for being the youngest 12th pass out).
I have been writing since the age of seven with a dream that I will publish my novel one day.

What inspires you to write? 
I express myself better in writing, as I mentioned it is in my genes, everything around me inspires me: pain, mirth, beauty of nature, people, places, everything. 

How did you come up with the idea for your current story? 
The idea of story came to me long back after a discussion with my husband.  He was cooking up a story and the idea clicked and remained for two years. I took his nascent idea and made a story out of it. Besides it was practically becoming difficult to ignore the dramatics in Indian politics and its reach to the youth through media, so I thought it is the right time to share the story on politics and power. 

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day? 
Many. I have been writing for 25 years now, many poems, plays and stories are still yet to find an audience. My first complete collection of stories was finished when I was in 2nd Std (8 years) My mother has kept it, still. 

Tell us about your writing process.
I let the idea develop and then write continuously for as long as 17 hours a day, taking only occasional breaks (2-3 breaks).

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why? 
The negotiation scene between the terrorist and Ashwin Jamwal, is one of my favorites, wherein the terrorist spoke the unsaid truth- power comes at the cost and wellbeing of innocent citizens, it can be named terrorism or political strategy, result at many times is same.

“And yet we are no different,”’ the man added calmly. “You too have weapons. There are treaties restricting your usage of deadly weapons, still you develop a deadlier one almost every year, better and deadlier than last. We both are killers of the same league, except you justify your killing by calling it political.” 

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks? 
Yes. The protagonist and his continuous fight with himself on right and wrong. Female lead Adya, loves to eat and dress casually- I advocate the same. 

What is your most interesting writing quirk?
Fan and AC disturbs me. I write without switching them on. After the long session of writing I am exhausted and sweaty. 

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style? 
I read a lot. I have list of favorite writers for each genre. For Crime and thriller it is Robert Ludlum, Michael Crichton,  Alistair Mclean (I have all their books in my book shelf). I love Russian literature, and I admire most of the authors of its golden era. In Hindi besides my mother, my favorite author is Harishankar Parsai. Kahlil Gibran, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, John Keats… it is a very long list of authors and books that are rich in words and literature- I will end up using all the space :)
Yes, each one of these very strong thinkers and writers has influenced me in a way or other.

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
From my mother: A talent will go waste if you don’t work hard.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
Write. Never give up.

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?- My phone with charger (of course kindle installed, with hundred unread books) 
- Food and Water
- Books for the time when I am charging my phone

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
I am a new mother, as of now I hardly find any free time. I see my son smile and that is all I need.

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
As of now
- Quitting Nicotine (gave up in 2015)
Writing a novel
- Becoming a mother

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.
- I meet people, complete strangers like I know them from ages
I always slip/fall on most un-slippery and simple terrains
- Oh God. I am so boring

What do you have in store next for your readers?
A mystery novel, called Rijisha. Loosely based on true events that happened in Manchester during 1963-65. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers? 
Reading is common; walk through bookstores and purchase is decreasing. People prefer to have free copies; they borrow books, rather than invest in books. It is a request to promote book purchase around you. 

About the Book:


"You have to dethrone a powerful man to become the most powerful. I was itching to defeat the single most powerful person, but there wasn't any. I was left with only one choice — to create one."

Little does Ashwin Jamwal know that the last twenty-five years of his life have been controlled by a master manipulator, who wanted to make him the most powerful man on earth, though for a reason! Ashwin steps up to take oath as the youngest Prime Minister of India and is unknowingly thrown into a vortex of power and authority as the entire world is threatened by a faceless enemy — Hades.
The world starts to look up to Ashwin as the savior, but he was just a pawn, reared only to be sacrificed in the end.
A story of greed, lies, deceptions, manipulations and corruption, Ashvamedha is a thriller revolving around the infamous game of power in a maddening bid to seek absolute control.




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22 September, 2016

#SpecialFeature :: Read an #Excerpt from The Karachi Deception


*** Special Feature - September 2016 ***

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About the Books:

VICTORY IS TEMPORARY. THE BATTLE IS ETERNAL.

Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine have fought valiantly to repel the rampaging hordes from Devaloka and Patala – but Avanti has been brought to its knees. Ujjayini lies battered its citizens are scared and morale is badly shaken. Meanwhile, the barbaric Hunas and Sakas are gathering on the horizon and cracks are emerging between the allied kingdoms of Sindhuvarta.

The only silver lining is that the deadly Halahala is safe. For now.

Bent on vengeance, Indra is already scheming to destroy Vikramaditya, while Shukracharya has a plan that can spell the doom for the Guardians of the Halahala. How long can the human army hold out against the ferocity and cunning of the devas and asuras? And will Vikramaditya’s love for his queen come in the way of his promise to Shiva?



The deadly Halahala, the all-devouring poison churned from the depths of the White Lake by the devas and asuras, was swallowed by Shiva to save the universe from extinction.
But was the Halahala truly destroyed?
A small portion still remains – a weapon powerful enough to guarantee victory to whoever possesses it. And both asuras and devas, locked in battle for supremacy, will stop at nothing to claim it.
As the forces of Devaloka and Patala, led by Indra and Shukracharya, plot to possess the Halahala, Shiva turns to mankind to guard it from their murderous clutches. It is now up to Samrat Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine to quell the supernatural hordes – and prevent the universe from tumbling into chaos!
A sweeping tale of honour and courage in the face of infinite danger, greed and deceit, The Guardians of the Halahala is a fantastical journey into a time of myth and legend.



Three commandos of the Indian Army’s elite Unit Kilo—Major Imtiaz Ahmed, Captain Shamsheer Suleiman and Lieutenant Rafiq Mehmood—are chosen for a one-of-a-kind ops mission: to enter Pakistan and eliminate dreaded underworld don, Irshad Dilawar. However, somehow, the Inter-Services Intelligence and Dilawar always seem to be one step ahead of them, foiling every plan they make. It doesn’t take long for Major Imtiaz to realize that something is amiss—the operation has been compromised. Will he be able to successfully complete his mission, or are he and his men, like Abhimanyu, entering a trap they cannot make their way out of? Set in the world of covert operations, where double-crossing and diabolical mind games are the norm, The Karachi Deception will keep you hooked till the very end.






Read an Excerpt from The Karachi Deception


May 7. Commune III, Bamako, Republic of Mali

Le dessert est servi. Oumar stared at the message that had just been delivered on his cell phone, his eyes adjusting to the screen’s brightness in the darkened interior of the car. For a moment he sat still, allowing the significance of the message to sink in. Dessert had been served at Le Cercle d’Or. In under a quarter of an hour, the man he had been hired to kill would emerge from the hotel. Oumar and his partner Youssouf would have less than a minute to finish the job. Kill number twenty-eight. Oumar dropped the phone on the empty seat beside him, drew a deep breath and cranked up the car’s air conditioning. As blasts of cold air surged through the vents, he sat upright and gripped the steering-wheel with both hands. Knitting his brows, he squinted down Route de Guinée towards the Bamako Imperial, where dessert had just been served. ‘You’ll get only one chance, so give it your best shot.’ Oumar wasn’t sure if the rasping, sun-dried voice on the other end of the phone had chuckled at the pun. But he knew there had otherwise been little mirth in the voice as it went through the routine one last time, late last night. The owner of the voice hadn’t introduced himself, but Oumar guessed he was talking to Algerian warlord Musa Zawawi. Though why Zawawi had picked English over French or his native Kabyle was beyond Oumar. One thing was certain, though. Zawawi personally overseeing the assignment meant the stakes were much higher than Oumar had previously imagined. Not that he laboured under any illusions about his target—Irshad Dilawar. The man was wanted by the Interpol for organized crime, counterfeiting, and the shipment of narcotics to the United Kingdom and Western Europe. There was evidence that he was in close contact with the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan-based terrorist groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba. The dossier said that he had even established links with al-Qaeda’s charismatic leader Osama bin Laden. The United States Department of Treasury had designated the man a global terrorist, and he also headed a list of most wanted men issued by the Indian government. Oumar didn’t know who wanted Irshad Dilawar dead or why. He never bothered asking. Indiscreet questions didn’t take one far in his line of business, and Oumar had travelled quite a distance. Twenty-seven people killed in cold blood in fifteen countries across three continents. What mattered was the money, and Zawawi and Olaf were prepared to shell out astronomical sums to have the man, presently having dessert at Le Cercle d’Or at the Bamako Imperial, eliminated. ‘Accept this job and there’s no going back,’ Olaf had growled darkly, as they stood leaning on the railings of the wind-blown Pont des Martyrs and gazing at the broad sweep of the Niger River. ‘And even if you succeed, you might not come out of this alive to enjoy the things all this money will buy.’ That was four months ago, and now as he sat hunched in the car, Olaf ’s words suddenly took on an ominous, prophetic ring in Oumar’s ears. Soon, the waiter at Le Cercle d’Or would send his second message, and minutes later it would be over, one way or the other. Oumar leaned back and glanced at the rear-view mirror. Down the sunny street, a grey Citroen was parked unobtrusively in the shade of a giant baobab tree. If those idiots were slow off the block, Oumar knew he and Youssouf didn’t stand an ice-cube’s chance in hell. * * * La cible se déplace. The second message from the waiter at the Bamako Imperial had just come in. The target was on the move. Starting the engine, Oumar threw the car into gear, took a deep breath and pressed the accelerator. As the car nosed up the empty street, Oumar looked briefly at the grey Citroen drawing away in the mirror and sent up a quick prayer. The first time was always difficult. Then it got easy, they said. Oumar had learnt that it never did. Umpteen dry runs had shown that at a leisurely pace, the 400-metre drive to the parking lot of the Bamako Imperial would take him under two minutes. In forty-five seconds, Oumar was at the hotel’s main gate, and after a perfunctory security check, the guards lazily waved him in. Oumar eased the car past the fountain in the courtyard and manoeuvred into the parking lot. Taking care not to pick a space too close to the exit, he parked the car and stepped out. In his light grey suit and matching grey Ray-Ban Highstreet, Dell laptop bag in his left hand and a bulky business daily in his right, Oumar could have passed off as one of the many local businessmen or mid-level corporate executives who frequented the hotel. Retracing his steps towards the hotel entrance, Oumar transferred the newspaper to the hand carrying the laptop, reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone. Flipping it open, he punched a couple of keys and held the phone to his ear. Meanwhile, his eyes took in the sight of a black limousine drawing up to the hotel’s door. A dark green Toyota Land Cruiser followed the limousine closely. ‘J’ai besoin d’argent,’ Oumar spoke into the phone, before switching to English. ‘If you do not make the payment in the next two days, I will not be able to source the computers for you. And that will mean more delay.’ Walking slowly, Oumar pressed the lifeless phone to his ear as he took stock of the situation outside the lobby. He observed a hotel employee drive an electric mopper into the courtyard from the opposite direction, their eyes meeting briefly. Youssouf was in position. Turning slightly, Oumar saw the grey Citroen slowly approaching the hotel gates. The large revolving door of the hotel slowly spun around, discharging five men into the courtyard. Oumar’s eyes instantly locked on the man he had been hired to kill. Irshad Dilawar, standing less than five-and-a-half feet in height, stocky, a thin black moustache covering his upper lip. Even at this distance, Oumar could see the distinguishing scar that ran down his left cheek. Watching Youssouf slowly begin manoeuvring the mopper towards the limousine, Oumar nodded and spoke into the phone. ‘Merci. I shall wait for two days. Bon jour, monsieur.’ Snapping the phone shut, Oumar deposited it into the inside pocket of his jacket. Youssouf was just twenty feet away from the group in the courtyard. Their target was still some distance from the limousine, smiling at something one of his associates was saying. His guards were spread around, but two of them were already moving towards the Land Cruiser. Oumar saw Youssouf unhitch a hose attached to the machine and slowly point the nozzle in the general direction of the guards. Breathing in deep, Oumar began moving towards the group, the fingers of his left hand feeling the contours of the lightweight Kel-Tec PF-9 nestling in the folds of the newspaper. Oumar turned one last time to glance casually towards the gates of the hotel. His jaw dropped and his heart skipped a beat. A large, yellow refrigerated truck stood rumbling at the gate. Two security guards were methodically shoving the large mirror under the truck’s carriage, while a third was talking to the truck’s driver and writing something in a long notebook. The grey Citroen was barely visible behind the bulk of the truck. The truck, which was clearly making deliveries to the hotel, had somehow swung into the gate ahead of the Citroen, and Oumar and Youssouf, intent on getting into position, had failed to notice this development. Oumar cursed and looked frantically at Youssouf. His partner had his back to the gate and was oblivious to the truck blocking the Citroen’s path. With eyes widening in dismay, Oumar saw Youssouf raise the hose and point it at the men closest to the Land Cruiser. Oumar was acutely aware of the sweat running down the back of his neck and the emptiness in the pit of his stomach. There was no way he could warn Youssouf about the truck without drawing attention. And there was no way the Citroen was going to make it to the courtyard in time. * * * The first two shots that Youssouf fired from the hose attached to the specially designed electric mopper hit one of the guards standing right next to the Land Cruiser. The next two went wide, one hitting and shattering the Land Cruiser’s window, the other smashing into the car’s door. The group by the limousine instantly swung into action. Three of the guards moved between Youssouf and the target, using their bodies to shield their boss, even as they pulled their guns free. The other guards began scattering in all directions, making it hard for Youssouf to decide where to fire. He randomly fired another volley, hitting one of the guards. Oumar, his mouth dry as sandpaper, looked at his target. The man was running quickly towards the limousine, his body bent at the waist. Oumar realized that all the guards were looking at Youssouf, their backs to him. He also saw that his target would be inside the limousine in a matter of seconds. As the guards opened fire on Youssouf, Oumar heard Olaf’s voice in his head. ‘Musa has staked his reputation on this one. Botch it up and he will make sure you run out of places to hide. And once he finds you, death will be sweet mercy.’ Oumar reached into the newspaper in his left hand and his fingers wrapped around the grip of the Kel-Tec PF-9. Pulling the gun loose, Oumar raised his arm, aimed at Irshad Dilawar and pulled the trigger. As the gun bucked gently in his hand, Oumar stared in surprise. Instead of hitting the target, the bullet had been intercepted by one of the guards who had chosen to climb out of the limousine at that very moment. As the guard toppled forward, dead before he hit the ground, Irshad Dilawar lunged through the limousine’s open door into the car. Oumar rapidly fired two more rounds at the car’s window, but he knew it was futile. The bullet-resistant glass would ensure the target got away. Awake to the new source of threat, some of the guards swivelled towards him as the limousine’s engine roared. Oumar turned and broke into a run, zigzagging towards the parking lot. The nearest car was ten metres away. He fired twice over his shoulder, desperately hoping to keep the guards down. He heard the squeal of tyres and knew the limousine was making a getaway. Musa Zawawi would be extremely pissed, Oumar thought idly. The protective bulk of a Honda Accord was just two metres away when Oumar heard two shots go off behind him. Almost immediately, he felt a searing pain in his lower back, just to the right of his spine. He also felt a warm fuzziness in his head as he felt himself being lifted and hurled towards the Honda Accord. The last image to register in Oumar’s mind was a light shower of blood splattering the shiny, silver hood of the car. Then, as he cannoned into the car head first, darkness descended.


About the Author:

Door-to-door salesman, copywriter, business journalist & assistant editor at The Economic Times; Shatrujeet Nath was all this before he took to writing fiction full-time. He debuted with The Karachi Deception in 2013, followed by The Guardians of the Halahala and The Conspiracy at Meru, the first two books in the Vikramaditya Veergatha series. At present, he is writing volume three of the series. Shatrujeet lives in Mumbai, but spends much of his time in the fantasy worlds of his stories.


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Giveaway:
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