29 January, 2018

#SpecialFeature - #Reviews garnered by Then the Doorbell Rang

*** Special Feature - January 2018 ***

About the Book:

One fine morning, Jane wakes up and stands upon the ledge of her 18th floor flat in Dubai Marina. Till a few years back, she was everything that would make anyone jealous – beautiful, rich and successful. But then the wheels of time turned. Today, she is miserable and lonely. Would she get over a deception? Can she forgive herself for deserting a friend? Would she ever find true love? Will karma get the better of her or will life give her another chance to correct the wrongs? 

Then the Doorbell Rang is about Jane’s roller-coaster journey as she explores the mystical phenomenon called Life.


Goodreads * Amazon



Reviews garnered by Then the Doorbell Rang:







About the Author:
In July 2016, when Capri's career was at an all-time high, he quit his job and decided to pursue one of his under-40 goals and that was to pen a novel. His first novel - "Then the doorbell rang", which is in fiction genre, has been published by Leadstart Publishing. His book has been released on Amazon and has received great responses. 
Capri's philosophy in life is simple - Plan your life rather than follow a plan. Whilst this might sound contradictory, if you re-read the statement you would be able to understand the subtle difference. Planning is a continuous process whilst a plan is a static one. At different points in one's life, one must be able to revisit his life and re-sync it with life's changed priorities and circumstances.
And to be successful, it is very important to be passionate about what you do. "Passion is elixir for the soul" is something he truly believes in. This coupled with the right mentoring leads to an assured success.
Capri is keen to share his perspectives with the world through his writings and talks. 

Goodreads * Amazon


Giveaway:
2 Paperback Copies of Then the Doorbell Rang by Capri Jalota for Indian Residents


26 January, 2018

#BookBlast :: The Immortality Trigger by Douglas Misquita

~ The Immortality Trigger by Douglas Misquita ~
a Luc Fortesque adventure thriller


1945 
Allied paratroopers raid a secret Nazi research facility. The operation is reported as a success. But, the lone survivor, Benjamin Ezra, knows otherwise. 

2014 
A drug lord, El Fantasma threatens to plunge Colombia into an era of bloody drug wars. DEA Country Attaché, Zachary Mason is in charge of a covert operation to remove El Fantasma, with the help of a vigilante, El Angel, and a retired undercover agent, Raymond Garrett. 

In Naples, INTERPOL agent, Sabina Wytchoff, is investigating the death of her parents, when the Wytchoff family’s association with an ancient cabal comes under investigation. 

After the events of The Apocalypse Trigger, Luc Fortesque, is scouring the world for the man who tested experimental drugs on him. 

Wei Ling works for a shadow Transhumanist faction within China’s State Council, developing drugs that will enhance human longevity. 

Their paths will converge… violently… and conclude the mission that began in 1945.

The Immortality Trigger is also available at all leading eBook retailers


Reviews for The Immortality Trigger:

"...with a storyteller of Misquita’s caliber, you just may need Dramamine before the first chapter is done." - Bestthrillers.com

"For fans of the fast-paced and modern tale with global reach that dabbles in history, this is a perfect storm." - Lydia Peever


"The Immortality Trigger cemented in my mind why Douglas Misquita is my favourite Indian thriller author." - Newton Lewis


Other books in the series:
         



Douglas Misquita is an action-adventure thriller writer from Mumbai, India. He hammered out his first novel on the keyboard of a laptop with half-a-working-screen, and has been churning out literary entertainment to the tune of a book-a-year. His books have been praised for their pace, locales, intertwined plots, research and visuals - it’s almost like watching a movie… only, this one unfolds across the pages of a book! 





Giveaway:
One Paperback Copy of The Immortality Trigger by Douglas Misquita
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22 January, 2018

#SpecialFeature :: #GuestPost - How is writing about a protagonist different from writing about an antagonist by Capri Jalota

*** Special Feature - January 2018 ***

About the Book:

One fine morning, Jane wakes up and stands upon the ledge of her 18th floor flat in Dubai Marina. Till a few years back, she was everything that would make anyone jealous – beautiful, rich and successful. But then the wheels of time turned. Today, she is miserable and lonely. Would she get over a deception? Can she forgive herself for deserting a friend? Would she ever find true love? Will karma get the better of her or will life give her another chance to correct the wrongs? 

Then the Doorbell Rang is about Jane’s roller-coaster journey as she explores the mystical phenomenon called Life.


Goodreads * Amazon




How is writing about a protagonist different from writing about an antagonist:

It is a very interesting question. Frankly, I never thought about the question till you asked me this question. Now, that I think more about it, definitely writing for a protagonist is very different from writing for the antagonist.

There are three underlying differences. First, we need to make sure that the readers get to understand the various facets of the protagonist and also, their rationale to act in a certain way. On the contrary, we have to give only a uni-dimensional view of the antagonist. Their actions never need to be justified.

Another very important aspect is that the antagonist keeps changing in life. Unlike Hindi movies where there is only one villain, life is very different. Our villians keep changing. And even in my novel, there are a few antagonists. So, we don't need to build their character as thoroughly as that of the protagonist. 

And lastly, we need to make sure that the character of the protagonist evolves continually through the novel. Till the last page of the novel, the reader should feel that I don't know the protagonist adequately. So, avoiding predictability is important but at the same time, ensuring some consistency in behaviour and character traits is important. It is a fine balance. However, for antagonists, we don't have worry about any such things. As long as they act in diametrically opposite way to the protagonist, they serve the purpose.


Having said so, while writing my novel, wherever possible, I have tried to show the other side. I firmly believe that there are no antagonists in life. A conflict in opinion, thought or action doesn't mean that we need to divide people into protagonist and antagonist. My book - Then the doorbell rang has several antagonists like the protagonist's father, mother, husband, etc. But when Jane, the protagonist, tries to understand rationale for their actions, they are no longer the antagonists for her. Ditto for life. Every person has a certain reason for why they act in a certain way, it is upto us to accept their reasons or reject them.


About the Author:
In July 2016, when Capri's career was at an all-time high, he quit his job and decided to pursue one of his under-40 goals and that was to pen a novel. His first novel - "Then the doorbell rang", which is in fiction genre, has been published by Leadstart Publishing. His book has been released on Amazon and has received great responses. 
Capri's philosophy in life is simple - Plan your life rather than follow a plan. Whilst this might sound contradictory, if you re-read the statement you would be able to understand the subtle difference. Planning is a continuous process whilst a plan is a static one. At different points in one's life, one must be able to revisit his life and re-sync it with life's changed priorities and circumstances.
And to be successful, it is very important to be passionate about what you do. "Passion is elixir for the soul" is something he truly believes in. This coupled with the right mentoring leads to an assured success.
Capri is keen to share his perspectives with the world through his writings and talks. 

Goodreads * Amazon


Giveaway:
2 Paperback Copies of Then the Doorbell Rang by Capri Jalota for Indian Residents


19 January, 2018

#BookReview :: End Game (Will Robie #5) by David Baldacci

As he started out the plane window, he knew the next twenty-four hours could possibly be his last ones on earth.

Will Robie, highly trained assassin and the US government's most indispensable asset, is called to London. 

An imminent terrorist attack threatens the Underground and with the US next in line. Robie is the perfect choice to stop it before it begins. 

He knows he has one chance to get it right. One chance to save London lives. One chance to make it safely home to find out what has happened to fellow agent Jessica Reel following their last deadly mission together. 

But Robie is about to learn that even if he succeeds, the worst is yet to come.

The game has started. Now only he can end it...


There’s a terrorist threat that is suspected to target the London Underground. There’s a possibility of a similar attack on US soil as well. Robie, a highly trained assassin, is put on the case. One would think that taking down the group in London would be enough to nip it at the bud. But no, Robie’s boss, a highly placed officer with a lot of top-secret information goes missing. So, Robbie has no choice but to follow the trail… What or who is waiting for him at the end of that trail?

David Baldacci has a knack for writing mind blowing opening scenes. A reader has no option but to get on the journey that each of his books offer after that. This was one of those books where I was hooked right at the beginning. Since I have not read the four books that came before in this series, I had no idea of what to expect from Will Robie. When we think of deadly assassins, we think of anonymity and a penchant for blending in, but Will Robie felt quite different to me. He has a flair for drama and a style to go with it. Jessica on the other hand does have the ‘femme fatale’ air about her when she wants to show it. The contrast in their personalities is interesting. As the leading characters they both have certain eccentricities that made me like them quite a bit. However, there was a bit too much drama between them. There must have been a build up over the series that I have missed. Had I read the first four books, I may have had a different perspective, though I doubt it. I love thrillers for the thrills and mysteries, not personal drama of the romantic kind.

I liked the plot, but loved the narrative. I quite enjoyed as clues and information were revealed step by step and tension built up before the climax. With an air of mystery, some action and some drama, the book kept me entertained. It was fun trying to resolve the mystery along with the protagonists. I am pretty sure that I would have enjoyed the book a lot more minus the personal drama.


Review Copy received from Pan Macmillan India


16 January, 2018

#Interview with Sunil Mishra, #Author of Transit Lounge

About the Author:
Sunil is a software professional with over two decades of experience in the field of banking technology. Currently he is working with Infosys in India. He has earlier worked with McKinsey, Accenture and I-flex solutions. His work required extensive travelling to different parts of the world and this constituted the basis of his current book. He travelled to more than 30 countries across six continents and engaged with senior managements in different client organizations. 
Sunil is an MBA from IIM-Lucknow and holds a B.Tech from IIT(ISM), Dhanbad. He completed his schooling in Bokaro Steel City, a relatively small town in Jharkhand, India. Sunil has avid interest in writing and has actively blogged on various platforms in the area of banking technology, consulting, leadership and changing role of media in the digital world.

Contact the Author:


An Interview:

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
I was fortunate to travel to so many countries as part of my work. I used to write personal notes of individual travels, anything that I would find interesting. As I started blogging about some of these travels, I received positive reviews from my friends and well-wishers. It is then that the idea of collating this and publishing it as a book occurred to me. 

What inspires you to write?
Writing is a learning process in itself I think. It happens as part of creative reflection on events and incidents around us. There is a joy in writing that I believe most authors are inspired by.

How did you come up with the idea for 'Transit Lounge'?
The book is travel memoir of 30 countries. Most of these were business travel as part of professional work. Though I had some interest in writing, this book was quite accidental. It covers a travel of 15 years compiled over last 5 years.

What are your favorite moments in the book? Why?
The travel memoir has many interesting incidents.

I recall our business trip to Tbilisi sometime in 2005. One evening, we were informally invited by the hotel staff to join their anniversary party. Only one lady in the group spoke broken English. One of the ladies, I was surprised to hear, knew some old Hindi songs – of Raj Kapoor’s era. She sang those songs verbatim, it was great to hear. I had read that Indian cinema was popular in Russia but it was quite surprising to see a Georgian girl singing when she could hardly speak English.

Another incident I recall was our business presentations in Tehran. An English translator was hard to find. The best we could find was a local partner, who spoke good English but was a veterinary doctor by profession. He would translate every word after I spoke and he would take at least thrice as much time and a lot more sentences to explain. After sometime, I got suspicious if he was only translating what I was saying or adding his own story. It was tough for him to explain banking terms being a veterinary doctor. Every time he brought a book of English dictionary for our presentations and meetings. He would refer to them during meetings as well. He took some 15 minutes to explain "interest" and I was told he used some medical terms to explain that.

There was a mugging incident in London which could be surprising to some. Though the city is safe in general, in pockets, incidents like these happen. I was deceived on one occasion while walking into a kind of pub. It was scary as they took all my money and even noted my credit card number. I was relieved to come out unharmed on that occasion.

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
I read books but not as many as I would have wanted to read. Some of the classics I like, are Siddhartha by Herman Hesse and Animal Farm by George Orwell. I also like books on Indology. Among the contemporary writers I like Sanjeev Sanyal’s writing.  

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
Write like no one will ever read, edit like everyone is going to read. Don’t edit when you are writing first few pages, just write.

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
Possibly, writing. I do blog on LinkedIn and sometimes write articles on digital technologies. I have also written a few articles on the changing role of mainstream media in the new digital world.
From a traveler’s perspective, all my travels have given me great learnings. So, it’s difficult to call out favorites. I enjoyed visiting the less traveled to countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Iran, Georgia, Croatia and Venezuela, to name a few. 

What do you have in store next for your readers?
I enjoy writing in my spare time. The reaction to my first book has been truly encouraging and I do look forward to writing more books. I am currently working on a fiction, though it is yet to shape up fully.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
"The world is a book, and those who don't travel only read one page." – St. Augustine 

Another one on traveler versus tourist – "The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see." - G.K. Chesterton 

My attempt to write the book has been to capture the traveler’s account, I enjoyed writing it and I hope it is equally liked by the readers.


About the Book:
"Transit Lounge" is a contemporary book consisting of short incidents, observations and reflections while travelling to 30 countries across six different continents during the last 15 years. 
The book is a personal account of travels to places in Africa (Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt and Mauritius), South America (Venezuela and Argentina), Asia (China, Iran, Kuwait, UAE, Singapore, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Thailand), Europe (UK, France, Italy,Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Georgia, Turkey, Croatia and Romania), USA, Australia and New Zealand.  
It was interesting to observe all these different cultures and people from an Indian perspective. The book is a compilation of small incidents and events during such travels; it includes losing an air ticket, dealing with difficult custom officials or getting mugged in a prime location in a foreign country."


15 January, 2018

#SpecialFeature :: #GuestPost - Books and Authors that have inspired me over the years by Capri Jalota

*** Special Feature - January 2018 ***

About the Book:

One fine morning, Jane wakes up and stands upon the ledge of her 18th floor flat in Dubai Marina. Till a few years back, she was everything that would make anyone jealous – beautiful, rich and successful. But then the wheels of time turned. Today, she is miserable and lonely. Would she get over a deception? Can she forgive herself for deserting a friend? Would she ever find true love? Will karma get the better of her or will life give her another chance to correct the wrongs? 

Then the Doorbell Rang is about Jane’s roller-coaster journey as she explores the mystical phenomenon called Life.


Goodreads * Amazon




Books and Authors that have inspired me over the years:

Khalid Hosseini and Jean Sasson are two authors who have deeply inspired me over the years. One can almost relive the pain of the protagonist even though the events have happened in unknown geographies, several thousand kilometres away and decades in the past. And I think the key is their amazing ability to picturize the scene so vividly for the readers that one almost teleports into those places and situations.

And it has influenced me so much that when I started writing, somewhere back of my mind, I was always trying hard to create the same magic.  I keep receiving feedback about my novel from book critics, friends and other readers. While I have consistently received some amazing feedbacks, the most common feedback that I have received is "Loved the way I have picturized the scenes and can relate to the protagonist so very well"

I cant stop smiling every time I hear this and it is my small tribute to the wonderful authors who have enthralled and amazed me with their writings.


About the Author:
In July 2016, when Capri's career was at an all-time high, he quit his job and decided to pursue one of his under-40 goals and that was to pen a novel. His first novel - "Then the doorbell rang", which is in fiction genre, has been published by Leadstart Publishing. His book has been released on Amazon and has received great responses. 
Capri's philosophy in life is simple - Plan your life rather than follow a plan. Whilst this might sound contradictory, if you re-read the statement you would be able to understand the subtle difference. Planning is a continuous process whilst a plan is a static one. At different points in one's life, one must be able to revisit his life and re-sync it with life's changed priorities and circumstances.
And to be successful, it is very important to be passionate about what you do. "Passion is elixir for the soul" is something he truly believes in. This coupled with the right mentoring leads to an assured success.
Capri is keen to share his perspectives with the world through his writings and talks. 

Goodreads * Amazon


Giveaway:
2 Paperback Copies of Then the Doorbell Rang by Capri Jalota for Indian Residents


12 January, 2018

#Interview with Wil Gesler, #Author of Missionaries And India

About the Author: 

Wil Gesler was born in India of missionary parents during the Second World War and was educated there through high school at a school for missionary children. He spent most of his working life as an academic human geographer at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Since his retirement, he has lived with his wife in England, most recently at the edge of the Lake District. 





An Interview with the Author:

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
I wanted to write stories ever since I was a teenager, but I never thought of writing as a career.  I did win honorable mention in a short story contest my first year at college, but then I did not turn to writing in earnest until I retired from my last post as a university professor.

What inspires you to write?
I feel a strong inner urge to tell other people a story about something that (usually) happened to me.  But I want the story to mean something, to be focused on a central theme or themes.  The act of writing and revising gives me great pleasure and satisfaction.  It makes me feel that I have the possibility to communicate my experiences, thoughts, and feelings to others with the hope that they resonate with them.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
Throughout my life I have often recalled with great fondness my early years in India as the son of Protestant missionary parents.  I began to remember incidents that I either experienced or heard about that made a strong, lasting impression on me.  I ended up with material for a dozen or so tales that I felt epitomized this time in my life.  The result was not a novel in the usual sense, but an episodic or picaresque novel.  I knew that somehow I wanted to portray interactions between Indians and missionaries in the 1950s, as viewed by a teen-age boy, in as honest a way as possible.  I wanted to show that these interactions were examples of universal themes such as cultural clashes, inclusion and exclusion, fantasy versus reality, order versus chaos, or taking risks.

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?
As I was writing Missionaries and Indians, I also began to write some short stories based mainly on other experiences I have had.  There are half-a-dozen stories with settings in the United States, West Africa, France, and Afghanistan.  They reflect my interest in social and economic inequalities, power relations, and coming-of-age.

Tell us about your writing process.
I am usually daydreaming, sitting in a comfortable chair, lying awake early in the morning, or out on a walk when an idea for a story comes to me.  When I next have the chance, I make some notes.  Then I think some more and make some more notes.  When I have what seem to be enough ideas, I begin to write.  I am afraid I am not a very disciplined writer; that is, I do not have set times during the day, every day, when I sit down and write.  But once I get started on a story, it usually flows along and the first draft pops out fairly quickly.  Then I spend a long time, months maybe, making revisions as I read the story over and over and new ideas come to me.
The process is somewhat analogous to the method I have read that Leonardo da Vinci used when he was painting a picture such as the Mona Lisa.  He would lay down a base layer of paint and then meticulously lay down thin layers of paint (sometimes over a period of many years) that incorporated such things as perspective, light and shade, anatomical structure, matching facial expressions and body movement to express the same emotions, and so on.  For my stories the base layer is the first draft that tells the main story or theme.  Then I add background context, side themes, descriptions of setting and character, sections of dialogue, snatches of humor, bits of local color, and so on.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
I will say it comes in the chapter titled “Uncle Jim Kills a Monkey.”  Missionary Jim, a somewhat feckless fellow with a heart of gold, fatally shoots a sacred animal by accident.  The people in the village where Jim works are, with good reason, outraged.  Jim comes to the narrator’s father for help and he suggests that they ask Pastor Timothy, a Brahmin convert to Christianity, to help resolve the clash of cultures.  The scene is Pastor Timothy and Jim sitting with a group of villagers under a large banyan tree negotiating a peaceful settlement.

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?
The narrator, Ben, is most like me.  He is a rather shy teen-ager, but loves to get involved in adventures such as being caught up in a political riot or hunting a man-eating tiger in the dark of night.  My perceptive niece asked me if the seven-year old Wally in the story might also be based on my young self and I had to say, “yes.”  Wally is a science nerd, perhaps a bit autistic, socially awkward, but always tells the truth.
Was there a subconscious identification with my school nickname, Willy?  Sometimes the views and actions of characters other than Ben reflect my own ideas on such things as religion and politics.  For example: Uncle Wilhelm is my ideal missionary, able to live in the world of his parishioners as well as his own.  Uncle Frank, on the other hand, who puts down local culture and religion, represents what I deplore in a certain type of missionary.  I favor those who seek to tolerate and include as opposed to those who are intolerant and exclusive.

What is your most interesting writing quirk?
Perhaps it is the fact that I came to write in earnest rather late in life, starting in my mid-sixties and only being published in my mid-seventies.

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
I read a great deal.  Many of the books I read are non-fiction and cover a wide range of subjects in the arts and sciences. For my writing style, I am inspired by reading and re-reading a handful of what are considered to be classics in literature.  Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, my favorite novel, does it all: furious action and high adventure mixed with deep contemplation, a heady concoction of metaphysical flights of fancy and absorbing details of the lives of whalers, a sense of the mystery and unkowableness of life, on and on.  I admire Robert Penn Warren’s All the King’s Men for its throbbing narrative drive and its unique combination of theme, plot, and characterization.  Huckleberry Finn serves as a model for my picaresque novel; also, no one is better than Mark Twain at injecting humor into stories.  Poets like William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge can be read for the obvious rhythms of the language and ability to elicit a whole range of emotions.  I enjoy a novel like The Sot Weed Factor by John Barth for its exuberance, raucous humor, and intricate plot.  Thomas Hardy is rarely equaled in his ability to create an overall atmosphere (Return of the Native) or to set up scenes with the use of vivid imagery (Far From the Madding Crowd).  The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann is exceptional in its ability to meld large ideas like the meaning of life and death with the everyday lives of its characters.  And then there is perhaps the archetypal coming-of-age novel The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.  Many of these influences are quoted or referenced in Missionaries and Indians.

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
Write about things that seem to come from somewhere deep inside you.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
It is a cliché to say follow your passions, but I say it anyway.  Someone I know who was not a missionary child told me my love of India and growing up there comes through to her in my book.  Write about things you can get emotional about, that have meaning for you.

What would be the Dream Cast for you book if it was to be turned into a movie?
I think I will pass on this one.  I know very few film actors who are currently in movies.  
 
If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?
I am tempted to say, given modern technology, that I would take solar-powered equipment to enable me to read my favorite books, play my favorite classical and popular music, and watch my favorite movies, but that would probably go against the spirit of the question.
So I will say a bag of books, including those mentioned in question 9; a good telescope to help me navigate the clear night skies; and snorkeling equipment to explore the reefs along the coast.

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
Most of my free time is spent reading fiction and non-fiction books.  In the evenings I watch an hour or two of T.V., good quality nature, history, music, and news programs.  The best place for me to unwind is walking in the fells (mountains) of the English Lake District, just a few miles from where I live.

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
These are all things I will probably never dare to do or have the chance to do, but they are potentially doable:  hike to Everest Base Camp; do a sky dive, spend a season going to good plays in a city such as London.

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.
I climbed over 800,000 feet (more than two dozen Everest’s) over the last ten years in the English Lake District.  Several years ago, during an operation to remove prostate tissue, I enjoyed watching the procedure on a T.V. screen above the hospital bed: it was like seeing water rushing down a stream, forcing rocks to tumble along.  At age 75 I joined some friends, a father and his two young sons, in a Go Ape! high-wire adventure in a nearby forest; I had never done anything remotely like that before. 

What do you have in store next for your readers?
As mentioned in question 4 above, I have written several short stories that I would like to see published.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
I have worried that some readers of Missionaries and Indians took the book too seriously.  Perhaps they thought a book about missionaries was a mainly religious book and they should keep a poker face when reading it.  Not so.  I have tried to inject humor into the story whenever possible, sometimes obviously, sometimes a bit obscure.  Please laugh when you read it.  People and the situations they get themselves into are funny.

About  the Book:
This book is a fictionalized account of a teenage boy growing up in a community of Lutheran missionaries in India. It attempts to honestly portray his experiences there, steering a course between either eulogizing or condemning the missionary endeavour. Indian and missionary characters weather a cyclone and floods, try to make the grade as a missionary, send out mixed messages in sermons, have their ups and downs on a river trip on a houseboat, are taken to court, get caught up in a violent political protest, suffer through a little child's illness, kill a sacred monkey, become a fantasy spy, take positions on sex, hunt a tiger, and come together for a topsy-turvy retreat at the beach.
The stories told in the book touch on issues of perennial interest: the collision and integration of different worlds and cultures; interpersonal relationships among and between missionaries and Indians, between children and their parents, and between servants and masters; evolution and change; inclusion versus exclusion; religious beliefs; human-environment relationships; sex education; the real and the fake; fantasy versus reality; and taking risks.




09 January, 2018

#BookReview :: The Waystation: 'Cause Dead's Not Really Dead by Laurie Jameson

Welcome to the Waystation, a place where time has no meaning. Consider this your first stop after exiting your life. Everyone passes through here on their way to one place or the other (if you know what I mean). 
People die every day. They choose a life of crime, love the wrong person, see things they shouldn’t, or maybe they simply grow old. There’s no escaping it. Death comes to us all eventually, so there’s no point in running. But be encouraged; death is not the end.
Behind every death there’s a story of life, love, and sometimes tragedy. I’d like you to meet Cara, Rachel, Tony, Marco, Sarah, Samuel, Loreli and Wren…this is their story. Come on in and I’ll tell you all about them. Sit down and have a piece of pecan pie and a cup of coffee, or maybe a glass of sweet tea. We’ve got sandwiches if you’re hungry. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, just ignore that nasty smelling mist you see creeping along the ground. And don’t worry about the screams, they’re not here for you.
In a cross between hard crime fiction and a spiritual parable, The Waystation takes you on an odyssey from the darkness of this world, to the serenity of the afterlife. It carries you from the ugliness of the drug business, racism, abuse, and murder, to the joy that comes when all that ceases to matter anymore. Existing as a stopping point on the journey between life and death, The Waystation is a place to rest and prepare for your real life to begin.



The blurb of the book may be a lengthy one, but it did intrigue me. Some theories state that there is indeed a threshold that we need to cross before we ‘cross over’ to the afterlife. Having a plot set up in that threshold, or ‘waystation’ as the author puts it, made me wonder what it would be like.

I liked the way the author introduces the readers to the ‘Waystation’. It was quite interesting and had the hook in it. The concept of caretakers of the waystation also seemed quite appropriate. It fit. The book then moves on to tell us the stories of a few characters - Cara, Tony, Rachel, & Marco. Their lives are their own yet their stories are forever entwined. It is through their stories that the author raises quite a few social issues on the side as well, like abuse.

I will get one of my quirks out of the way here. I really do not like titles with a colon in it. It makes me think that the title isn’t enough and the author wants to convey more, yet unable to do it with just the title. I know it is a stupid quirk, but you know how we bookworms can get about our quirks.

I absolutely enjoyed the premise of the book. The way it was handled kind of resonated with me. And the cover image kind of resonates with the setting as well. The characters in the book felt real. They had both good and bad in them making them more relatable. In a way the stories of these characters in the given setting is what makes the book tick. The author’s narrative is inviting, which adds to the book’s charm.

There are two particular points that I would like to point out. One, you do not have to be a spiritualist to enjoy this book. Second, there is some violence in this book that may be trigger for some.

This book IS different. It is unlike anything I have read before and as a result I enjoyed it quite a bit.


Review Copy received from the Author




08 January, 2018

#SpecialFeature :: #GuestPost - Experience of writing my debut novel by Capri Jalota

*** Special Feature - January 2018 ***

About the Book:

One fine morning, Jane wakes up and stands upon the ledge of her 18th floor flat in Dubai Marina. Till a few years back, she was everything that would make anyone jealous – beautiful, rich and successful. But then the wheels of time turned. Today, she is miserable and lonely. Would she get over a deception? Can she forgive herself for deserting a friend? Would she ever find true love? Will karma get the better of her or will life give her another chance to correct the wrongs? 

Then the Doorbell Rang is about Jane’s roller-coaster journey as she explores the mystical phenomenon called Life.


Goodreads * Amazon




Experience of writing my debut novel:

I had the plot in mind for my debut novel since 2014 but somehow I couldn't dedicate adequate time for it. There were random writings here and there, but i wasn't going anywhere. But for a good two years, the plot failed to leave me. Every passing day, it grew over me. Finally, a day came that I decided to quit my job and write full-time. When I first mooted the idea of taking a break from work, it created a huge ruckus in the household - ours is a middle class Indian family - job security is foremost to everything else but then over a period of time, they understood my perspective and have been amazingly supportive throughout my journey of writing and publishing.

So, I took the hard call and quit my job. But staying at home and writing is far less fashionable than how most people perceive it. I had a fair amount of public dealing at work and usually would end up meeting dozens of people each day. Then suddenly, I was lonely - just sitting alone in a corner and writing. Budding writers - here is a piece of advice - writing is more about hardwork and perseverance than creativity. Ensuring consistency in storyline and ending the novel can give you enough and more sleepless nights than the fear of achieving steep targets at work.

But the experience of going through the entire process of writing, publishing and marketing the book was a highly satisfying one. I got to know myself better and i think i am far more balanced in my outlook towards life than I was an year back.

I loved writing my book, I have tried to pack it up with emotions, drama, happiness, sadness, poetry, etc. I sincerely hope the readers would like it too. 


About the Author:
In July 2016, when Capri's career was at an all-time high, he quit his job and decided to pursue one of his under-40 goals and that was to pen a novel. His first novel - "Then the doorbell rang", which is in fiction genre, has been published by Leadstart Publishing. His book has been released on Amazon and has received great responses. 
Capri's philosophy in life is simple - Plan your life rather than follow a plan. Whilst this might sound contradictory, if you re-read the statement you would be able to understand the subtle difference. Planning is a continuous process whilst a plan is a static one. At different points in one's life, one must be able to revisit his life and re-sync it with life's changed priorities and circumstances.
And to be successful, it is very important to be passionate about what you do. "Passion is elixir for the soul" is something he truly believes in. This coupled with the right mentoring leads to an assured success.
Capri is keen to share his perspectives with the world through his writings and talks. 

Goodreads * Amazon


Giveaway:
2 Paperback Copies of Then the Doorbell Rang by Capri Jalota for Indian Residents


05 January, 2018

#Spotlight :: The Viking’s Witch By Kelli A. Wilkins

The Viking’s Witch – Hot Historical Romance
By Kelli A. Wilkins
www.KelliWilkins.com 


Hi everyone,

Today I’m sharing a look back at the making of my first Medallion Press release, The Viking’s Witch.

The Viking’s Witch is a traditional historical romance with paranormal elements set in Scotland in 803 A.D. The main character, Odaria, is what they called a witch back then—nowadays we’d call her a psychic and a healer. Here’s the plot summary:

The Viking’s Witch




About to be burned at the stake by her fellow villagers, Odaria does what any betrayed witch facing certain death would do. She calls down a curse. Within seconds, rampaging Norsemen raid the village, capturing everyone except her.
But her reprieve is short-lived, and Odaria lands in the clutches of the Norse leader Rothgar. Can she remain true to herself and fight her growing attraction to this domineering man, or will she fall under his influence and be used for his ambitions?
After Rothgar witnesses Odaria’s powers firsthand, he strikes a bargain with her. The raven-haired beauty will use her magical abilities to help him with his quest in exchange for safe passage off the isle. But can this cunning woman be trusted, or is she using him to exact vengeance on her village?
Together they must fight bloodthirsty villagers, battle a mutinous band of Norsemen, find a missing Norse ship, and learn to trust each other…before time is up.



Interviewers and readers have asked what my inspiration was when I was writing the book, and are curious about how much research I had to do to create the unique characters and detailed setting.

Like many of my books, the idea for the story came to me out of the blue. One day, the entire opening sequences popped into my head and I knew I had to start writing. At the time, I had the basic plot (Viking warrior falls in love with Celtic witch), but I wasn’t sure about most of the details, like the character names, their backstories, and the subplot. All of that came later, along with the secondary characters, Brennan and Nordskog. (I’ll talk more about them in Part Two of this blog.)

Scotland is a beautiful place and I’ve always wanted to set a book there. (I still may write another historical set in the Highlands.) Having the story take place on the remote Orkney Islands added a sense of urgency and tension to the plot.

In a sense, Rothgar and Odaria are “trapped” on the island and are forced to deal with a pack of angry villagers and other Norsemen. The action is condensed into a few days on a very small island, so there’s really nowhere for the characters to go. They’re forced to work together in order to get off the island—and survive.

Before I wrote a word, I had to do a lot of research on where to set the story. I knew the book would take place in Scotland where the Vikings traveled in their early years of exploration, but I didn’t want it to be a populated location. Once I decided on the Orkneys, I had to pick which island to set the story. (There are 70 different islands, but today, only 20 are inhabited.)

I also had to research what life was like in that time period for Odaria and Rothgar. (What kind of clothes did they wear? What food did they eat? How did Norsemen travel so far? What were their ships like?) Odaria and Rothgar come from different backgrounds and technically would have been speaking different languages, so I had to blend their two cultures together in a way that flowed with the book.

After I got a feel for what everyday life was like for each of them, I weaved the details into the story. For example, Rothgar’s Norse background intrigues Odaria, and she is curious about their clothes, customs, food, how they travel, etc. Having Rothgar show her how he lives was a good way to introduce readers into the culture.

And of course, if you were living back in 803 with bands of Norsemen and crazy villagers, you could expect some measure of violence. Readers might think that there’s no place for violence in a romance, but I think that type of realism (when kept in check) enhances the story.

In 803, life was completely different from how we live now—especially on a remote island. People got hurt, took sick, and died. The Viking’s Witch features a violent man (Brennan) and a group of Norsemen with violent reputations, so including some violence in the story is necessary to move the plot along—while also helping the reader get deeper into the minds and lives of the characters.

I didn’t cringe when I wrote the “gritty” scenes; I was happy to include them. I like history and it drives me crazy when people in 1500 or 1870 are perfectly clean and neat, have perfect teeth, and look like they stepped out of a beauty salon. In The Viking’s Witch I included enough details to bring the story alive, yet showed how some degree of violence was necessary for Rothgar’s and Odaria’s survival.

I hope you enjoyed this “inside look” at The Viking’s Witch. I’m pleased to say that the book has received several excellent reviews and won a gold IPPY award for best romance ebook!

Here’s a mini-excerpt from The Viking's Witch:

Odaria scanned the cookroom and spotted a large table piled high with food. Brennan must have been planning a feast to celebrate her death. There would be plenty of meat and beer in the underground storage area. Men liked to eat. The Norsemen must be hungry from their long journey. Mayhap she could offer Rothgar a meal and strike a bargain with him.

“Are you hungry?” she asked, cocking her head. “I know where to find food and drink, wood for the fire, clean water, and—”

Hvat ist das plass?

She scowled at him, trying to decipher his words. A few seconds later, she understood. “This is a cookroom. Women in the village prepare meals here. See?” She waved at the iron pots, wooden pitchers, and other cookery items stacked on the shelves around the room. “They make food.”

Rothgar rolled his eyes. “Ja. Vat ist dat?” He pointed to the door behind her.

“The gathering hall. The men conduct business here. There is a room upstairs for sleeping. The larder, the food and drink, is below,” she said slowly, hoping he’d understand.

He nodded and inched closer to her. She tried to move away, but she had nowhere to go. Her back was pressed against the door.

Rothgar grinned and cupped her chin in his wide hand. Her heart fluttered. What was he doing? She stared into his eyes as he bowed his head. His rough beard grazed her cheek as his lips lightly brushed against hers.

Her entire body tingled, and the room spun and seemed to grow dim. As everything faded, she had a clear vision of wrapping her arms around Rothgar’s neck and eagerly pulling him close for a kiss. Dizzy, she pitched forward.

Rothgar caught her and clutched her to his chest. “Shh,” he soothed, running his hand through her loose hair. “I will not harm you, Odaria.”

She relaxed against his broad chest, letting him support her weight. His touch was calming, and she felt safe here, leaning against Rothgar as she would rest against a thick tree. She inhaled deep. Rothgar didn’t stink of rancid sweat like the other men. He smelled clean and salty, like the sea. The scent comforted her. She could almost fall asleep where she stood.

Rothgar curled his arms around her ribs. She didn’t protest. In spite of everything, he hadn’t harmed her and he had saved her from that horrible Norseman in the red tunic.

After a few moments, her dizzy spell passed, and she gazed at him. “You are not like the others. You are different, Rothgar.”

He smiled. “Ja, in some ways. But fear not, Odaria. I will not share you with the others. I wish to have you all to myself.” Rothgar chuckled and winked at her. “Now, show me this food.”

“Aye.” She had no choice but to obey Rothgar’s wishes—for now. 

Order The Viking’s Witch here:


About the Author:
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels.
Her paranormal-comedy, Beauty & the Bigfoot, was published in September 2017.
Kelli released Trust with Hearts, a contemporary romance, in July 2017. Her third gay romance, Four Days with Jack, was released in June 2017. Kelli’s trilogy of erotic romance novellas, Midsummer Night’s Delights, Midwinter Night’s Delights, and Ultimate Night’s Delights was published in spring 2017.
Loving a Wild Stranger was published in January 2017. This historical/pioneer romance is set in the wilds of the Michigan Territory and blends tender romance with adventure.
Kelli's third Medallion Press romance, Lies, Love & Redemption was released in September 2016. This spicy historical western is set on the Nebraska prairie in 1877.

Her writing book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction is a fun and informative guide filled with writing exercises and helpful tips all authors can use.

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.

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