29 March, 2019

#SpecialFeature :: #Interview with Mehak Daleh, #Author of And the Roses Bled


*** Special Feature - March 2019 ***

Quick Recap:

You can also check out my Review of  And the Roses Bled


About the Book:

What happens when the dead come back and can’t let go?

A catastrophe occurs in what was meant to be a fun-filled day for Nina and Alisha. Minutes ago, they were on the swings in the Rose Garden and now, Alisha is standing alone, while the help runs frantically. Her sister, Nina, has disappeared, never to be found again.
But the bond between them withstands even death. Nina’s ghost circles the house.
Is she here just to comfort her now lonely and distraught sister or is she pointing the way to unravel the mystery of her disappearance? the questions remain unanswered until six years later.
Another ghost is reaching out to Alisha from the beyond, a ghost only she can see and she has no idea why.
Battling the horror, the blood and the nightmares that follow her in this macabre turn of events, will Alisha be able to emerge from the whirlpool that the other side is trying to drown her in?



Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon

Interview with the Author

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
I don’t think I ever ‘aspired’ to be a writer, simply because since the beginning I thought it was natural for people to read and write stories. So, it was always there, for as long as I can recall. 
I believe this was a consequence of the environment I was brought up in. There are many die-hard booklovers in my family.

What inspires you to write?
Everything around me does. There are stories everywhere!

What kind of research goes into your book?
The stories I have written so far are more intimate than they are technical. Therefore, for backdrops, I tend to pick places that I am familiar with, because that is something that I believe needs to be accurate. So I research if my development of the backdrop is accurate.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story? 
The horrors we read about in the newspapers that some children are subjected to these days was a major prompt. Trust is so often abused. Then there was the curiosity about how a child might actually cope with a tragedy and if at all they would be able to come out of a situation with their psyche unscathed… all this led to what became ‘And The Roses Bled’.

How Many drafts did it take to reach to the point that the book was ready to be published? How different if the final draft from the first draft?
The major elements of the story were in place in the initial draft itself, but lots of editing went into it of course. Frankly, I believe I’ve lost count of drafts. However, the story itself is pretty much the same as it was in the first draft. The edits mostly involved putting events in the best possible sequence and tightening the plot.

Please share three interesting facts about the characters in your book.

  • Alisha bites her nails. 
  • Appearance wise, she is quite thin and bony as a kid but plump as an adult. 
  • Arun Mehta does not really have a lisp. He pretends to have one.

If you could pick any famous author to review your book who would you pick and why?
Ruskin Bond for sure, for a couple of reasons. One, he is my favourite Indian author. Second, his stories are set in the hills and I’d like to know if he thinks I have done any justice to a story set in the hills.

Name three things that you believe are important to character development?
I believe it’s important to know where the character is coming from, experience wise. It helps to see why they react they way they do. It’s also important to put characters in varying situations and observe what they do. They tend to reveal a lot about themselves that way.

What part of the writing process do you enjoy the most?
I love doing the first draft because it’s like reading a new book. I never really know what I am going to get. Sometimes, the characters surprise me. It’s fun.

Do you know the ending of your books before you finish writing them?
No, I never quite know how it will end. Or where.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
The same advice I got--- Write as much as you can and don’t worry about making the first draft perfect. There will always be areas where one must improve. So just sit down, and write.
Also, read a lot. It’s as important as writing.

Anything else that you would like to share with your readers?
I would like to share my Instagram handle- @mehakdaleh
Of all my social media accounts, I am most active on Instagram and would love to connect with readers there. 

About the Author:

Mehak Daleh lives and works out of Chandigarh. She started working on ‘Roses’ on a cold December day in 2012, giving in to an image of little girls walking to a graveyard which had been stuck in her head for months. This image became the centre around which the manuscript grew.
Mehak relishes dark folklore and mythology along with contemporary fiction. Her stories, born where the everyday meets the extraordinary, are usually set in the hills where she grew up, and where she developed a penchant for the mysterious and macabre.
And the Roses Bled is her debut novel, and she is currently working on her subsequent manuscripts.



Connect with the Author:
Twitter * Instagram


Giveaway:
Two lucky Indian Residents can win a paperback copy each of And the Roses Bled
a Rafflecopter giveaway

25 March, 2019

#Spotlight :: A Twist of Fate by Summerita Rhayne

Title: A Twist of Fate
Author: Summerita Rhayne


Blurb:

"I want to find him. And when I find him, I will destroy him." 

Charulata wants revenge. She seeks to spill the blood of the man who ruined her. He married her and left her after one night. The diktats of her society declare only one place suitable for the woman rejected and deserted by her husband – the abode of the concubines. Charulata faces ruin and now lives and breathes for one purpose...the only purpose keeping her alive. How to track Deva – and kill him.

Deva knows he had earned the wrath of this woman. Embittered and devastated, he's a wounded lion hunting his enemies. Regrets and softer feelings are long gone from his life. He encounters Charulata with all the arrogance of his forebears. Yet the fire of hate is mixed with the fire of attraction between them. Rage and passion have become inseparable...

A Twist of Fate follows the entwining fortunes of Charu and Deva in the post Vedic ancient India. Greed, treachery, and deception feature highly in this story of royal suspense. Can love have a hope of surviving amid such intrigues?

To be a courtesan in ancient India was a fate far worse than slavery. This is the second book written on the theme by the author. Also read Against The Tide, the story of the royal concubine, the first book with the same theme.


Excerpt: 

Her curved brows arched a little more – the mobile movement betokening the agility of a dancer’s expression. 'Mayhap the tall form of my cousin pleases you better than a moderately built one like mine.' At this, her eyes brimmed with humor before her lashes became cast down to hide it.
He resisted the urge to go over to her and tip up that firm looking chin. 'I can't tell what pleases me until I've held the form in my arms.'

He'd succeeded in having her gaze back to him, tangling with his and now her mouth curved in enjoyment of the sparing.

She said in a low well-modulated voice. 'You certainly have your ideas clear in your head, swami.'
He made a gesture of half of impatience and half dismissal. 'Don't call me your master. It's a slave more likely.' His mouth twisted at the admission. The clink of ornaments sounded and Charulata came closer to him. Her hands were held in front of her, fingers tightly interlocked. He reached out and pried them loose, clasping each. They trembled in each of his like trapped birds. Their gazes locked. His pulse increased its pace. He thought his insides trembled also and couldn't reason why.
'Do you really wish me to be so brazen as to step in your embrace?'

He gazed down into her eyes, conscious again of that mixture of humor and the shyness of a bride. He surely didn't wish her to come any closer. His blood pressure might not sustain it.
In direct contradiction, he said, 'Do you want to?'

Her eyes widened a little, but he had to acknowledge she didn't lack for comprehension. Two slim arms like the snakes of temptation wreathed round his neck and her warm curves pressed against his – what now seemed to have been destitute - body.

He felt definitely a tremor run through him. Instinctively, his hands reached out resting at the niche of her curving waist... She fit against him perfectly. His arms must have been made to hold her, her body to mold against his. His mind jumped to hope, to curiosity, the insistence how perfect would be the ultimate union with her –

Conscious of two impulses drawing him equally strongly in opposite directions, he tried to clear his mind. The urge to flee, to put distance between them, to remember why he was here – a lowly deception that clawed at him – was tossed against the second, as powerful wish – to take her to the folds of the silken sheets of the rose-petal strewn marriage bed.

A Twist of Fate is up for PreOrder at a low discount price of 99 cents.

About the Author:
Summerita Rhayne writes contemporary and historical romance with lots of emotional conflict. She first got published in 2013 and has won contests with prestigious publishers such as Harlequin and Harper Collins India. Her pet belief is, if the inspiration is strong enough, the story characters will find a way to make the writer pen them down, even when writing time is in short supply. When cerebrally confronted with the sizzling interaction of two Alpha characters, the only way to get peace is write their book!

At heart, she's a family person and even though she loves her teaching profession, she happily becomes a homemaker when not at work. She loves winding down with music, romcoms, cricket (strictly watching only) and social networking.   

#GuestPost :: Creating a Rough Road to a HEA by #Author Kelli A. Wilkins




Hi everyone,

My name is Kelli Wilkins and I’m a romance writer who loves torturing my characters. Why? So I can get them back together for a happily-ever-after (HEA) ending!

Let’s face it, romance readers know they are going to get a HEA before they pick up a book. The hero or heroine isn’t going to die—unless you’re reading a paranormal and someone turns into a vampire, and even then, it just makes the story more interesting!

People read romances for different reasons: for great storylines, to live vicariously through the characters they care about, and to know that whatever obstacles these lovers face, they’ll overcome them together.

I write stories based around characters who find each other, fall deeply in love, and live happily ever after—but not without going through some emotional ups and downs. Although my characters love each other, everything isn’t always roses and sunshine. As they work through their challenges, they have to learn a few lessons about themselves, trust, honesty, or whatever their personal internal struggles are.

For example, Sherrie and Curtis, in my contemporary romance, Trust with Hearts, have to work through painful issues in their pasts before they can open up and learn to trust again. In my historical fantasy, A Most Intriguing Temptation, Elara and Dalton learn important lessons about temptation and fidelity. And in my gay romance, A Secret Match, Everett struggles to come to terms with his sexuality and be open about who he really is. These trials and emotional hardships are realistic challenges that people face in their lives. Once the characters have learned what they need to, they can live HEA.

But sometimes love can be a surprise. In some of my books, the characters aren’t looking for love—it’s the furthest thing from their minds—but there it is. Brian was taking in the waves when he found his true love on a deserted beach in Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover. Although these types of relationships are uncommon, the characters focus on commitment and “being there” for the other person for the long haul, no matter what.

Many of my characters find true love when they are willing to open their hearts and risk sharing their deepest emotions, darkest secrets, and intimate desires—and then discover that the other person loves them even more for it. David and Jack from Four Days with Jack are an excellent example of how opening up and risking rejection can lead to true love. Claudette, from A Most Unfortunate Prince, has a checkered past and is hesitant to confess her secret to Allan, but when she does, she finds true acceptance.

One of the things I like about writing romances is that I can make life miserable for the main characters and keep readers wondering: How are they going to live happily-ever-after? How will they get past this? For me, the how is the fun part.

In my books, I make sure the characters get on each other’s nerves, and I add lots of conflict (external and internal) to pull them apart. The conflict can be anything that will destroy their happy world: maybe he won’t compromise; his parents don’t approve because she’s from a different ethnic background; the hero finds out the heroine has a secret; the man he loves cheated on him (or so he thinks); his beloved princess was kidnapped; or a blackmailer wants her dead.

Whether you read historicals, fantasy, gay, paranormal, or contemporary romances (or a combination of genres) you’re always guaranteed a great story, troubled characters you can’t help but root for, some steamy love scenes, and a happy-ever-after ending. Because in the end, love conquers all, and that’s how it should be.

Here’s a look at my latest releases, Cupid’s Schemes - Volumes 1 & 2. These mini-romances are all about new beginnings that lead to happy endings!

Cupid’s Schemes - Volume 1
A Collection of Sweet Romances

In these 16 flash fiction vignettes, Cupid’s arrow hits the mark and ignites a spark between two strangers—whether or not they’re looking for romance. Their unusual meetings lead to new beginnings and new chances at love.
Sweet stories of couples falling under Cupid’s spell include:
* a Medieval knight courting a pretty lady
* two neighbors discover that romance can happen when you least expect it
* a dehydrated mermaid rescued by a handsome stranger
These lighthearted mini-romances are perfect reads for a quick lunchtime escape or an after-work indulgence.

Order your copy here:

And don’t miss Cupid’s Schemes - Volume 2
Another Collection of Sweet Romances

In these 12 mini-romances…
* a photographer falls for a sexy cowboy in a supposedly abandoned ghost town
* new neighbors discover that romance can happen when you least expect it
* a long-lost love returns in an unexpected setting

Order Cupid’s Schemes: Volume 2 here:

Happy Reading!
Kelli A. Wilkins

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, 5 non-fiction books, and 2 online writing courses. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.
She published the second half of her flash fiction series, Cupid’s Schemes, in early 2019. These two volumes of lighthearted mini-romances are perfect reads for a quick lunchtime escape or an after-work indulgence.
Kelli released her latest Teachable mini-course, Fiction Basics: Finding Ideas in February 2019. She authored Fiction Writing for Beginners through Teachable in 2018. These courses are perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to write. Visit: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/ for more details.
If you like horror fiction, don’t miss her latest novella, Nightmare in the North.
Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.
Visit her website www.KelliWilkins.com and blog http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/ to learn more about all of her writings.


23 March, 2019

#GuestPost :: How do You...? by Victoria Landis

About the Author:
Victoria Landis is a professional writer, editor, and artist. A 16-yr member, and former board member, of Mystery Writers of America, she Co-Chaired the SleuthFest Writers Conference from 2015-2018.

She's taught at SleuthFest, the Authors Academy at Murder on the Beach, and the Alvin Sherman Library at Nova Southeastern.

Her newest novel, Jordan, is a thriller with a magical realism/paranormal element and a cautionary tale of human nature and how it hasn’t changed in thousands of years.

Her suspense novel, Blinke It Away, set on Oahu—where she lived for twelve years—was chosen as a Reviewer's Pick on BookRooster.com.

Her 2nd novel, Alias: Mitzi & Mack, is a humorous crime dramedy set in South Florida, in the fictional town of West Sago Beach.

She's written a humor column since 2008, and her latest title is A Little Bit Sideways, a compilation of humorous essays about life.

As an artist, along with special effects and canvas painting, she does graphics and especially loves designing book covers.

Her three adult sons are her best accomplishment and make her so proud she could burst. She lives in Key Largo where she's working on her next novel while staring at gorgeous sunsets on Florida Bay from the martini deck.

Find more information about her and her books, including ‘character interviews’, on her website www.VictoriaLandis.com

Follow her on:
Facebook * Instagram * Twitter

HOW DO YOU . . . ?

At my book events and workshops, people ask certain questions more than others. One of the most common is, “How do you come up with your ideas?” Some have confessed, as they stare blank-faced at me, that they have zero story or book ideas. They love to read someone else’s, but come up with nothing if tasked to try it themselves.

I found that as surprising as they find my endless supply of stories to tell—until I stopped to think about it.

First, let me allay the fears of those who think they have no ideas. They do, they just don’t know it yet. Storytelling is as old and natural as humankind. It all starts with what if?

Once the brain begins engaging in the world of what if, the old and crusty—unused for eons—gears complain and wheeze as they crank to life. The occupant of said brain declares that they are really trying, but nothing’s coming. And they give up. Shut down the machine before the gears have even warmed to the mission.

But that’s not how it works. Think about it. That’s not how learning to do anything works.

Do you play an instrument? How foreign did it feel to your mind and your fingers the first time you attempted a few notes? Was it comfortable? Probably not.

What about learning to dance? In Dirty Dancing, remember Jennifer Grey rapidly stamping her feet in furious frustration while trying to keep up with Patrick Swayze?

For that matter, you’ll recall that even learning to read happened one letter, one word, and one sentence at a time.

So it is with letting your creative side have a little fun. You may not have time for it right now. Lord knows, I didn’t for many years. I loved writing as a kid, but it went away through my young adulthood. There were too many other things that needed my attention, not the least of which was single motherhood. If you’re concentrating on bringing your children up to be productive, happy adults—that alone is an all-consuming task—much less adding a full-time job to it all. A brain can only concentrate on so much at one time and do it competently.

I began to take writing seriously when I was in my forties. The kids were older, and I was able to spend some time learning. At first, my brain did the cranky gear thing, too. The more I brainstormed and wrote over time, the more freely the ideas came.

Now, I’m bombarded with ideas. I keep lists of the titles and ideas that come at me constantly. I have the absolute best book titles, at least fifty of them, waiting for me to assign them a story. Unfortunately—or actually, quite fortunately—I still have a day job (I do editing and graphic design), and I’m not able to write my novels as fast as I’d like.

Do not despair if you’d like to contribute your unique slant on life to the universe of stories out there, but can’t seem to move it along. One thing I know for sure is—when a person really wants something, they will make it happen—sooner or later.

Some advice:

1.      Understand that your first one or two, or possibly more, manuscripts will be god awful. It/they will not be the new messiah you will believe they are at first. They will be the proverbial ones you hear authors talk about—the ones that live in the bottom desk drawer, never to see the light of day.

2.      Buy and read the writing advice books by good authors. Go to workshops and seminars, and believe the experienced people when they tell you basics like don’t open with the weather or a dream, get rid of ly adverbs, etc., etc., etc.

3.      Practice, practice, practice. Write, write more, then write more.

Until you’re ready for all that, we love that you read our books. Oh . . . and leave a review on the various reading/book sites, please? You have no idea how much that helps us!


Thank you.


About the Book:
When Petra Simmons and her brother, Andy, help a seemingly homeless woman, it immediately changes their lives forever. Within days, it's clear the woman, Jordan Crissman, possesses an amazing ability - perhaps the most miraculous ability of all.

They realize in the current world of viral social media, they must be careful. How best to employ the miracle without causing havoc? They plot a strategy. Despite their plans, word gets out too fast, and the world comes running - invading and overwhelming South Florida - along with serious danger.

Television talking heads pontificate. Pundits opine. Some claim she's a messiah. Others insist she's the devil. Massive crowds gather, demanding to see Jordan. Everyone wants her. There seems to be nowhere to hide. Horrible rumors take hold. Protest groups march and riot. Mass hysteria reigns - and people are dying.


Buy Link for Jordan


22 March, 2019

#SpecialFeature :: #GuestPost - Top five fictional characters by Mehak Daleh


*** Special Feature - March 2019 ***


About the Book:

What happens when the dead come back and can’t let go?

A catastrophe occurs in what was meant to be a fun-filled day for Nina and Alisha. Minutes ago, they were on the swings in the Rose Garden and now, Alisha is standing alone, while the help runs frantically. Her sister, Nina, has disappeared, never to be found again.
But the bond between them withstands even death. Nina’s ghost circles the house.
Is she here just to comfort her now lonely and distraught sister or is she pointing the way to unravel the mystery of her disappearance? the questions remain unanswered until six years later.
Another ghost is reaching out to Alisha from the beyond, a ghost only she can see and she has no idea why.
Battling the horror, the blood and the nightmares that follow her in this macabre turn of events, will Alisha be able to emerge from the whirlpool that the other side is trying to drown her in?



Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon

Top five fictional characters

Pip from Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, for being so confused and divided and real.
The Clown from IT by Stephen King for being absolutely scary and wild and revolting.
Yevgeny Onegin by Alexander Pushkin, again, for being flawed and fallible, yet oddly charming.
Heidi by Johanna Spyri, for being the absolutely lovely essence of childhood.
Katie Scarlett O’Hara Hamilton from Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, for her ability to move on.



About the Author:

Mehak Daleh lives and works out of Chandigarh. She started working on ‘Roses’ on a cold December day in 2012, giving in to an image of little girls walking to a graveyard which had been stuck in her head for months. This image became the centre around which the manuscript grew.
Mehak relishes dark folklore and mythology along with contemporary fiction. Her stories, born where the everyday meets the extraordinary, are usually set in the hills where she grew up, and where she developed a penchant for the mysterious and macabre.
And the Roses Bled is her debut novel, and she is currently working on her subsequent manuscripts.



Connect with the Author:
Twitter * Instagram


Giveaway:
Two lucky Indian Residents can win a paperback copy each of And the Roses Bled
a Rafflecopter giveaway

21 March, 2019

Challenging Myself to Blog Daily with a Blogging Challenge in April 2019


I have received quite few concerned messages in the last few months from the people who follow my blog on a regular basis. Why you ask?

Well, I have been really lagging behind on reviewing and blogging in the last few months. Quite a few factors had contributed to my disenchantment with the blogging world. But I think it is high time that I move on from all the negativity that it brought on because end of the day, the book blogging world has given me immense pleasure, amazing experiences and a bunch of friends that I am really thankful for.

As a way of easing myself into a schedule for my blog, I had signed up for Blogchatter's Basic Blogging Course back in January. Completing A to Z Challenge in April is a part of the course. So, of course I have to do it and since I am doing it for Blogchatter, I thought why not sign up for the original A to Z challenge as well?



 

The concept of A to Z Challenge is to publish a post everyday, except on Sundays. So, 26 posts in total written based on a particular theme (to be chosen by individual blogger) and in the chronological order of A to Z.

Have you heard of the A to Z Challenge before? Have you participated in this challenge before?  You can learn more about the challenge HERE 


The first step of the challenge is to decide on a theme and do a reveal post.


 

My theme for the challenge is... Well, it's Books! What else am I going to blog about? šŸ˜œ The books that I am going to review/feature through the challenge are either review copies that I have read but been procrastinating when it came to reviewing them, or they are the books that I finally knock off my very long TBR.

For this theme reveal though, I decided to go one step further. As a bookworm, I realise that not every book is according to everyone's reading preferences. April is going to be a busy month with all the reading, writing and blog hopping - so I have already chalked up my A to Z books and I am listing them here so that you can decide beforehand about which days you want to drop by my blog. 

Take a look:






Now, do not forget to drop by in April and leave a few encouraging words or your thoughts on the book of the day!















19 March, 2019

#BookReview :: And the Roses Bled by Mehak Daleh


What happens when the dead come back and can’t let go?
A catastrophe occurs in what was meant to be a fun-filled day for Nina and Alisha. Minutes ago, they were on the swings in the Rose Garden and now, Alisha is standing alone, while the help runs frantically. Her sister, Nina, has disappeared, never to be found again.
But the bond between them withstands even death. Nina’s ghost circles the house.
Is she here just to comfort her now lonely and distraught sister or is she pointing the way to unravel the mystery of her disappearance? the questions remain unanswered until six years later.
Another ghost is reaching out to Alisha from the beyond, a ghost only she can see and she has no idea why.
Battling the horror, the blood and the nightmares that follow her in this macabre turn of events, will Alisha be able to emerge from the whirlpool that the other side is trying to drown her in?


Goodreads * Amazon

It had been a while that I had read a horror story and as such I jumped at the chance to read and review this book.

It was supposed to be a simple fun filled day for sisters Alisha and Nina. Yet it turned into a black day for Alisha as Nina disappeared mysteriously only never to be found again. Escaping into the life of a boarding school was supposed to bring discipline and structure to Alisha’s upside down life, but when you lose a twin who was your partner-in-crime, how do you go back to ‘normal’? Are the eerie happenings and weird dreams that follow Alisha just her imagination and her defense mechanism at work or is there something more?

I quite enjoyed the plot which had an element of mystery about it and it was all the incentive that a mystery buff like me needed. What really happened to Nina? And would the perpetrator ever be caught? Questions like these kept me immersed in the story. Elements loss, of bond between twins or bond between sisters, friendships and the ever curious minds of kids was peppered through the plot. The plot was complimented by the narrative style and language used by the author. Simple yet dramatic just at the right moments. The details of the graveyard will stick with me for a while.

The author clearly had the plot layered well. However, I found the fact that not all the pieces of information provided were relevant. It bothered me a bit in the end as I was considering everything as relevant only to find out that they were not. If some of them had been used as red herrings, it would have been a different matter. They were just irrelevant and could easily have been excluded.

Overall, the book sure made for an interesting and entertaining read. I would recommend it to people who are spooked easily as it may be a bit too simple for hardcore horror lovers.


Review Copy received from Fingerprint Publishing


15 March, 2019

#SpecialFeature :: #GuestPost - If I could change three things in the world… by Mehak Daleh


*** Special Feature - March 2019 ***


About the Book:

What happens when the dead come back and can’t let go?

A catastrophe occurs in what was meant to be a fun-filled day for Nina and Alisha. Minutes ago, they were on the swings in the Rose Garden and now, Alisha is standing alone, while the help runs frantically. Her sister, Nina, has disappeared, never to be found again.
But the bond between them withstands even death. Nina’s ghost circles the house.
Is she here just to comfort her now lonely and distraught sister or is she pointing the way to unravel the mystery of her disappearance? the questions remain unanswered until six years later.
Another ghost is reaching out to Alisha from the beyond, a ghost only she can see and she has no idea why.
Battling the horror, the blood and the nightmares that follow her in this macabre turn of events, will Alisha be able to emerge from the whirlpool that the other side is trying to drown her in?



Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon

If I could change three things in the world…

The first would definitely be terrorism for obvious reasons. That kind of mindless violence just should not exist. There can be no place for it in a sane world. So, if somehow I could change it, I would.

The second thing I would like to change is violence against children. This might be the second point, but to me it is as important as the first. Childhood is such a fragile state. Even the slightest imbalances introduced into a person’s childhood can ruin their life forever, and consequently the future of humanity itself. There are so many revolting crimes against children committed on an everyday basis. The papers are chock full of them, so much so, that it is difficult now to read a paper first thing in the morning without feeling utterly disturbed. So, this must change. Our children should be safe.

Finally, the third thing. If I could, I would make it mandatory for everyone to reserve one hour for reading. I would wish for reading to become an essential element of everyone’s lives, especially that of children.


About the Author:

Mehak Daleh lives and works out of Chandigarh. She started working on ‘Roses’ on a cold December day in 2012, giving in to an image of little girls walking to a graveyard which had been stuck in her head for months. This image became the centre around which the manuscript grew.
Mehak relishes dark folklore and mythology along with contemporary fiction. Her stories, born where the everyday meets the extraordinary, are usually set in the hills where she grew up, and where she developed a penchant for the mysterious and macabre.
And the Roses Bled is her debut novel, and she is currently working on her subsequent manuscripts.



Connect with the Author:
Twitter * Instagram


Giveaway:
Two lucky Indian Residents can win a paperback copy each of And the Roses Bled
a Rafflecopter giveaway

13 March, 2019

Enchanted by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

“I am buoyant and expansive and uncontainable--but I always was so, only I never knew it!” ~ Palace of Illusions


Author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni was at Zee JLF 2019, promoting her latest release ‘The Forest of Enchantments’; Sita’s version of The Ramayana.

I have been enchanted by the author ever since I read ‘Palace of Illusions’ which I read sometime in late 2008 when I had just started my first job. Chitra B. Divakaruni’s portrayal of Draupadi had me enamoured with the protagonist and the story - telling. In the Epic, it had been always about the Pandavas, the Kauravas and Lord Krishna to some extent. Getting a look at the lady who left her hair down as a reminder of the insult she had to endure was interesting to say the least. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s Panchali was fierce, independent and someone who never stepped back from taking things in her own hands. In short, a heroine in her own right in the epic tale of the clash between the heroes and the villains. The narrative and language of the author was enthralling to say the least. It is no surprise then, that I put Palace of Illusions as a standard when it comes to mythological retellings.

As I was trying to get my hands on ‘The Forest of Enchantments’ and preparing my questions for this dynamic author, only one thing was clear to me. I admired the many aspects of the author’s works, but what I loved the most was the way she portrayed the strength of women through her words and storytelling and I wanted that to be my first question to her.


Sita and Draupadi

On the Strength of Women:

Women can be strong in many ways. For instance, Sita in The Forest of Enchantments has a quiet strength that adapts to the situation around her. She doesn’t fight unnecessarily or go headlong at her problems, but she works a way around them. I think that’s a good quality for women to have when they want to be strong and effective in the world.

On writing from the POV of the most famous women of the epics:

I feel compelled to write about women like Sita and Draupadi because I feel that they have been misunderstood and misrepresented in the talks about the epics down the age. Not in the epics themselves, but the popular retellings show them as either too meek or too aggressive. What I feel they are is that they are strong and they are themselves. They give so many opportunities for women today to also be strong.

On the Mystical Elements in her books:

I have always believed that this world has a whole mysterious level to it. Mysterious / Mystical /Magical... and I am attracted stories that bring that out.  So, be it ‘Queen of Dreams’ or ‘Mistress of Spices’ or the retellings of the great epics in ‘Palace of Illusions’ and ‘The Forest of Enchantments’, I am very interested in being enchanted.

On challenges of redefining epics & Bringing the Surreal elements in modern scenarios:

Each one is challenging in a whole different way. When I am creating a whole new story of my own, I have to think about the plot and I have to think about how the magic is going to come into that world. When I retelling the epics, I am delighting because I already have a story and I know the magical elements in it. The challenge there is telling it in a new way; in a way appropriate for our age and our readers right now.


It was such a pleasure to meet Ms.Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni! She is so humble and friendly and had a smile for all of her readers through the festival. She has spun webs of magic through her books and she managed to only reinforce my respect not only for her, but also for the power of words. Her words have influenced a lot of readers over the years and her words have made a lot of readers fall in love with literature all over again. 

If you haven’t read her books, you must get to them at the earliest. And to her fans - which is YOUR favourite book by the author?

The Ramayana, one of the world’s greatest epics, is also a tragic love story. In this brilliant retelling, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni places Sita at the centre of the novel: this is Sita’s version. 

The Forest of Enchantments is also a very human story of some of the other women in the epic, often misunderstood and relegated to the margins: Kaikeyi, Surpanakha, Mandodari. A powerful comment on duty, betrayal, infidelity and honour, it is also about women’s struggle to retain autonomy in a world that privileges men, as Chitra transforms an ancient story into a gripping, contemporary battle of wills. 

While the Ramayana resonates even today, she makes it more relevant than ever, in the underlying questions in the novel: How should women be treated by their loved ones? What are their rights in a relationship? When does a woman need to stand up and say, ‘Enough!’




Special Thanks to Jaipur Literature Festival & Teamwork Arts for making this possible. 
 

11 March, 2019

#BookBlitz :: WEST BEGG by Mari.Reiza

~ Book Blitz ~
WEST BEGG by Mari.Reiza
Humour / Satire

About the Book:
A hilarious yet dark novel on how power, and the lack of it, shapes people. 

Luca’s job is being a punch bag, a tea towel, a toilet bowl, to the undeniable and unbreakable king of egg power proud of averaging two hundred flights a year to visit chicken markets around the world. 

Anna moved to Catania to work for caper queen Madame Sicily, fulfilling varied tasks from picking up CĆ©line swimwear before it hits the runways to recovering badly parked Lamborghinis. 
La RevoluĆ§Ć£o dreams through buildings but builds parking spaces, when she’s not helping launder money for her boss’s dad’s dodgy charities. 
And finally, Carolina is out to conspire with Paquita who met their boss the German in a red lit booth, to understand why the man has to drain the passion out of everything. Their fates will inevitably collide. The question is, will their bosses get what they deserve? 

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon


The setting:
The headquarters of a poultry business in northern Italy. A family led cucunci-drinks company in Catania. A rail transport pressure-group based in Brussels. A bogus architectural project at a UNESCO World Heritage site in a heavenly island off the Americas. A doomed working village in a made-up dodgy country called Altania and a palatial villa, not too far from it, extravagant in all the wrong places, where it’ll all go BOOM!

Meet Luca
He works in poultry equipment for the most ruthless of the Macco brothers who’s not a scared chicken but a proud cockerel, a real paratrooper. ‘I want to eat them,’ Luca constantly listens to his boss shout about their competition, with eyes like a slot machine hitting the jackpot. He’s expected to nod. Also when his master complains of enemies de-compensating him, even if the man would have to be compensated for it to hold true; when he claims to love his wife effusively despite rumours he keeps a mistress ready at his office in Altania. And through Luca’s loyalty he remains but cannon fodder to his employer, expendable in the face of enemy fire. Constant long business trips leave him with colds from the plane’s air conditioning, and hangovers from the number of gin and tonics he drinks in order to stand hours in his tiny seat. And what of his plane fear? When he thinks of it he just takes another Valium. He has no choice as his own uncle refused him a job in his own company. After that he had told himself he would never come back to Italy, he would never return to his small town, would never work for a family business... Never say never.

Meet Anna
She sticks out like a sore thumb on her bike her red curls to the wind, racing through the streets of Catania running deviant errands for Madame Sicily, the queen of cucunci; her company deals in a special type of caper and hit it rolling with a refreshing carbonated drink a few years back. If Madame wants something she calls Anna and screams at her. And nothing ever starts or stops unless Madame wants it, then it does so very quickly. But something is going on in the company, something big: these are uncertain times. ‘Why am I here? Where am I heading?’ Anna is too busy to stop and think, even if admittedly it’s a fake busy, busy doing stupid things. ‘Why do I work for this mad woman?’ she asks herself. She had followed her husband to Sicily so he could fulfill his dream toying with Indian technology to produce electric cars at a disused Fiat plant outside Palermo, only for her to end on the opposite side of the island. At least, from the rooftop of her little terrace she can see the volcano.

Meet La RevoluĆ§Ć£o
She’s a dreamer, dreams through buildings. For her, it’s all about people. She wants to make buildings that save people. She wants a new world of new buildings. Until she accepts work at a famous studio in Geneva, where her first project is two hundred and fifty garage units, in the underground of a luxury development by the lake. After a small amount of time she has given up. Then she reads about Queen Tinea Foundation; ‘Our yacht Live the Dream will anchor in Fernando for the next three years. We aim to preserve one of the most important eco-regions of our planet.’ She’s in. But when she arrives the boat is empty, the crew have oddly taken over the best hotel in the island which belongs to the father of one of the foundation partners. This is when she first meets IrajĆ”, which means beehive, and IrajĆ” baptizes her La RevoluĆ§Ć£o, calling for a revolution.

Meet Carolina
She’s crying on Paquita’s shoulders, can’t face seeing him again and it’s only Monday. Paquita’s the one who really knows him. He’s a viking, with a raw face like a bad cut of meat, so colourless you would think he lives in a cave. German. Lives to work. ‘Ruthless on the outside but miserable in the inside,’ according to Paquita. Carolina’s his Communications Officer. Her job seemed interesting because it came at a vulnerable time, when she suddenly acquired a surprising number of black fillings in her mouth and ringings in her ears, when her girls were urging her to swap her Mazda, with moss growing on the windows, a thorough cover of dog hair on the seats and a floor of crisp packets. ‘I should have realized we would never get on, him and I,’ she knows now.


About the Author:

Mari.Reiza was born in Madrid in 1973. She studied at Oxford University and worked as an investment research writer and management consultant for twenty years in London, before becoming an indie fiction writer. Also by her, Inconceivable Tales, Death in Pisa, Sour Pricks, A Pack of Wolves, STUP, Mum, Watch Me Have Fun!, Marmotte’s Journey, West bEgg, PHYSICAL, Room 11, Triple Bagger, Opera and the Retreat, all available on Amazon.



Author Links:
Twitter * Instagram