Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Vetala: A Novel of Undying Love [ Guest Post by Phillip Ernest]

The Vetala: Purchase Links
Publisher's Website

Amazon India
Amazon US
Amazon Canada

The Vetala, my first novel, arose out of my relationship with Pune like the return to consciousness of an almost forgotten love.

When I first saw Pune in 2005, I had already known for some years that I was destined to go there. While studying Sanskrit in my home city of Toronto, Canada, I became obsessed early on with the Mahabharata, and soon came to know that Pune was the home of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, historically the greatest centre of Mahabharata studies in the world. After my marriage to a Punekar in 2006, I had the honour of working in the Institute’s Mahabharata department for a couple of years, but was forced by necessity to take a more remunerative job at the nearby Dilip Oak Academy, just down Bhandarkar Road from the Institute. I was grateful for the job, but I knew I was losing touch with my svadharma. I could actually see the Institute from the Academy’s window, like a beloved ghost from a longed-for past. 

The Vetala: a novel of undying love is itself a story of the remembering of a forgotten life, a love story that spans many rebirths. The protagonist, a woman professor of Sanskrit at the University of Zagreb, Croatia, has for more than twenty years been translating an obscure Sanskrit manuscript on the Vetala. In fact, it was a vetala that long ago killed Nada’s lover and fellow-scholar, setting her on this path of obsessive scholarly revenge with the goal of destroying the monster through the knowledge the book embodies. When her mentor and collaborator in Pune dies, the vetala suddenly reappears, emboldened, determined to seize the manuscript at last and neutralize the threat it poses. His opposition grows increasingly desperate as Nada nears the text’s conclusion, and with the help of an enigmatic pandita and two fellow-scholars struggles to decipher its climactic secret—a secret which would allow her to exorcise the vetala at last, and release not only the mysterious man whom he has possessed for centuries but also her own forgotten self, and its denied and forgotten love.

I now think that The Vetala unconsciously reflected my own longing: for a lost Pune of my past and my imagination, and more broadly, for the possibility of somehow reclaiming a life in which I had lost my way, and forgotten myself.

  One evening in 2014, as I was walking home from the Academy, I stopped at a raddi shop to check out their used books. Among the English books, there was almost a whole shelf of novels from the new generation of vampire fiction that had developed since I left Canada in 2004, and of which I knew almost nothing. I also saw Bram Stoker's Dracula, which I had actually never read. I left the shop without buying anything, but what I’d seen had stuck in my mind. Over the following days I found myself brooding: my academic ambitions had failed, my literary ambitions had failed, my life was going nowhere, I was a disappointment to myself and others... I had a sudden inspiration: maybe, from my strange perspective as a non-Indian sanskritist living in India, I could write an Indian novel of the supernatural that would appeal to readers everywhere. Maybe I could, after all, despite so much failure, finally achieve something.

I went back to the shop and bought Dracula, and began to read it in spare moments at work. One day, after reading a few pages, the essential plot of The Vetala came to me within a few minutes, almost automatically. But it didn’t seem to owe anything to Stoker’s novel. It arose instead out of my remembered experiences and dreams, and the Sanskrit literature that had never stopped obsessing me. And as I wrote it—for an hour a day before dawn—it surprised me to see how much love of Pune was coming out.

I had almost forgotten.

About the Author:



Phillip Ernest grew up in northern Canada and lived in Toronto until the age of thirty-four. He earned a BA in South Asian Studies at the University of Toronto and a PhD in Sanskrit at Cambridge University, England, where he met his future wife, a Punekar. Since their marriage in 2006, they have lived first in Pune and now in Bengaluru.

He blogs at https://phillipernest.weebly.com 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

The 3 Whys Behind Writing Royal Romances Guest Post by Devika Fernando

Today we have Devika Fernando, one of my favourite romance writers, on the blog. She will answer one particular question her readers often ask her. Why does she write Royal Romances? Curious about what the answer is? 
Over to you Devika!




Thanks for having me on your blog, Preethi. Feels extra special because you write royal romances too.

Some people ask me why I chose this particular sub-genre of romance. I tell them that I didn’t choose it, it chose me. *wink* What I mean is that I suddenly had this idea begging to be written, and as I was aiming for a series anyway, I went ahead with it. Ever since, I’ve fallen in love with writing royal romance. Here are three reasons why.

1. Imagination meets reality
I love it when stories leave room for creativity but still read as if they could really happen. That’s exactly what’s so magical about a royal romance. These days, there are many real-life princes and princesses who find a partner among the ‘common people’. And somehow, that never loses its appeal. Perhaps because deep down, all of us want to believe that Cinderella’s dream is real.

2. Great potential for conflict
A book, even a romance novel, is only as good as its main conflict. And having a royal fall in love with a commoner is a great opportunity for conflict: What will the families think? Does the media get wind of it? Do they have dark secrets that could jeopardize everything? Will the rigorous rules ruin the budding love? Do they feel so out of their depth that they make grave mistakes? Can their affection and attraction withstand the burden of responsibility?

3. Fascinating settings

Royal romances give me the opportunity to make up a whole kingdom – or, as is the case with “The Indian Prince’s Scandalous Bride”, at least a palace and other settings. I get to decide on the rules, the landscape, the luxuries. Often, I imagine family members, histories and hierarchies for my royals too. It’s such fun, and I can let myself be inspired by real monarchies without being limited to actual facts.

Thank you, Devika! That was an intriguing post.
Have you checked out her latest Royal Romance?
Check it out here:

The purchase link is: mybooks.to/royalromance4 (universal Amazon link)

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Book Spotlight: Someone Exactly Like You by Esha Pandey


Synopsis of ‘Someone Exactly Like You’ by Esha Pandey

A chance encounter, a meeting of souls, a passionate kiss, a love of a lifetime… Someone Exactly Like You!

A beautiful young girl, drenched in rain, is being chased by a couple of goons along the narrow meandering roads of Landour, Mussoorie when a swashbuckling stranger comes to her rescue. She faints in his arms and on waking up realizes she is in the company of the “bad boy” of Bollywood – Veer Singh Tomar.

Natasha Kapoor, a film student, quickly scores an internship with Veer to learn the nuances of film-making. All the while her heart is singing a different tune; slowly but steadily she falls in love with Veer.  From learning the nuances of filmmaking to coming to terms with the ‘bad-boy-image’ of Veer, Natasha has her hands full. On a stupid, drunken night they kiss. A life-changing, earth-shattering kiss, but, nothing really changes. Veer brings Natasha to a party where they are surprised to find Amyra.

A married man, Veer is dealing with messy divorce proceedings and allegations of physical abuse from his wife Amyra, a top Bollywood actress. When Veer wins the National Award, she comes back to claim what is rightfully hers.

Veer is drawn to Natasha; he wants to give in to this strong pull of desire, but his ties to Amyra are holding him back. Through the process of scriptwriting and scouting for locations in picturesque twin towns of Landour-Mussourie, Natasha and Veer gravitate towards each other.  

When Natasha gets lost in the mountains, albeit very briefly, Veer realizes his love for her, that he has finally moved on from Amyra. An episode of paragliding over beautiful Dhanaulti cements his feelings for Natasha.

Life though has other plans for Veer. Amyra wants to give their marriage another chance. When she realizes that Veer is falling in love with Natasha, she decides to make it clear that for Veer there can be no one else but her.

Meanwhile, Veer finally confesses his love to Natasha but a cruel twist of fate takes him back to Amyra. What happens next? Will Veer and Natasha get together or will Amyra get her way?

In the quintessential Bollywood style, Someone Exactly Like You is an action-packed masala story. The protagonist is a career-driven young woman who has her mind and her values in place, but once in love, she starts experiencing change. She epitomizes every young woman in the twenty-first century who doesn’t judge, is a hard worker but craves love.  

The hero is the classical lover, in a confrontation with the ghosts within. He is a tall, dark, handsome, successful, proud and caring man, who treats women with the respect they deserve but is absolutely misunderstood. Like King Lear, he is “more sinned against than sinning”.  It is a soul-searching love story with a young peppy feeling which will pull at the strings of all young hearts. 


Esha Pandey
Esha Pandey, is an author and a police officer. She made her debut as an author with her book Kiss of Life and Other Stories, a collection of short stories.
Esha currently lives in New Delhi. She is an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the 2010 batch, serving as Deputy Commissioner of Police Traffic. Over the years, Esha has worked in various capacities and various territories. She was Superintendent of Police and Commandant IRBN in Lakshadweep during 2014-16, where she wrote her first book. In Delhi, she has served as Additional DCP in Central and North District. Her posting as DCP Special Police Unit for Women and Children, in Delhi, gave her an opportunity to understand the problems faced by women, first hand. During her tenure, SPUWAC trained the highest number of girls in Self Defense and established a Limca Record.   
Esha has a Masters in International Relations and Masters of Philosophy in American Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. Before becoming a civil servant, she dabbled with the idea of being a journalist and worked with Times of India as a copyeditor. She has won a United Nations FPA Award for Excellence for the Best Short Story.

Esha has kept her passion for writing alive through her tough assignments in policing because writing is music for her soul. Her TDH hero is her partner for life, her husband Rajiv, who supports her in all her endeavors. When she is not doing either, policing or writing, she is busy dealing with her two bundles of naughtiness, her sons.  She can be reached at twitter.com/PandeyEsha and https://www.facebook.com/EshaPandeyAuthor/ .

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

~Book Blitz~ Scepters of Empyrea: A Journey to the Andromeda Galaxy by Vignesh Ravichandran




About the Book:

Empyrea, an island in the Andromeda galaxy belonging to planet Vathura is serene. Everywhere your eyes turn, you will feast on the lovely birds singing their heart out in the lush green vegetation. Osiris Mysterio ruled the regions of Empyrea with his brother Tyrant Seth and with their children Pitheceus Babi, Kraity Wadjet, and Horus Mysterio.



5000 years ago, the ancient Egyptians were the only humans to receive the invitation to enter Empyrea. They gladly on-boarded into a Pegasus chariot and took their journey to Empyrea. Their journey is indescribable. Empyrea by itself was like a fairy-tale garden, an ocean of flowers and exotic trees.



As the Egyptians went further inside Empyrea, they saw its netherworld. They had mixed feelings when they saw the triangle shaped tombs and the bizarre headhunting people. Empyrea also had the blood-curdling creatures like the deadly dinosaurs, gigantic snakes, furious apes, ruthless rhino’s, massive mastodons and many other creepy creatures. This showed the power of the Empyrean Army and that no other army could survive their wrath.


Emperor Osiris and the kings ruled Empyrea with powerful Scepters. With those powers, they were not only considered as kings but also worshipped as Lords. The Lords with the help of their scepter had the crucial power to transform themselves into giant creatures.

Egyptians while departing from Empyrea was gifted with a shortcut portal to earth and also with some people and creatures of Empyrea to build the Empramids in Egypt. Overwhelmed with happiness they took the shortcut door and returned to Egypt.

However, the happiness was short-lived in Empyrea. The Empire of Empyrea was betrayed for ruling earth avariciously. Somehow the Emperor of Empyrea locked the shortcut portal and asked the Egyptians to safeguard it. The Egyptians, on the other hand, failed to safeguard the portal. And some gangsters accidentally opened the shortcut door in 2017 A.D, entered Empyrea, and inadvertently got access to the Lord scepters.

So, now the Earthians were left with no choice but to battle against the merciless predators and headhunting people in their heroic journey. Their ultimate fate lied in an empire beyond imagination. They would take their stand against the powerful lords, who brutally led their people to war against planet Earth.

Did the gangsters protect the earth from danger, or left the other world to accomplish their tyrant rule on Earth? Explore the world of Empyrea to unravel the truth behind this mystery.

Book Links:

Book Trailer:

War Arrays:




About the Author:


Vignesh Ravichandran is the author of the book Scepters Of Empyrea: A Journey to the Andromeda Galaxy. He  did his Masters in Business Administration from a leading Business School and  presently working as a Human Resource professional in a leading software organization in Chennai. He wrote this debut novel with the story line which he experienced in his nightmare 7 years ago.




Contact the Author:


Sunday, March 10, 2019

Cover Reveal: The Indian Prince's Scandalous bride by Devika Fernando

Today I have Devika Fernando on my blog to reveal the blurb and cover of her new book. 
Over to you for the details, Devika Fernando.


Dear Readers,

Ever since I started writing royal romances, I wanted to set one of the stories in India. Now I’ve made this dream come true. “The Indian Prince’s Scandalous Bride” is the 4th book in the Romancing the Royals series, and I can’t wait to share it with you all. Here’s the cover and blurb. The book is due for release next month.



BLURB

Wedding planner Ashley Davies has left England behind to organize a royal wedding in India. She’s expected a cultural shock and lots of unforgettable memories – but never in a million years would she have thought she’d fall in love. When the mysterious and irresistible Vivaan turns out to be none other than an Indian prince, it’s time for her to make a decision: risk everything for the sake of what feels like so much more than a holiday fling, or resist their forbidden attraction and save her job as well as her heart?

Prince Vivaan of Yogeshpur certainly doesn’t want to get involved in the organization of his brother’s grand wedding, but then a free-spirited and smart redhead from England captures his interest. Suddenly he finds himself eager to get to know a woman who would never receive his mother’s royal seal of approval. Should he give in to his feelings or stay away from the ‘scandalous’ wedding planner?



THE SERIES

Have you read the other books in the series yet? The first three novels are each set in a fictitious kingdom as well as in a real country such as Maldives and Germany. They are sweet contemporary romances and can be read as stand-alones with happy endings. Click on the links to find out more. Book 1 is a free download in most countries!




-Devika Fernando

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Remember When: An Excerpt



Excerpt:

The rain pattering on the window, leaving trails of silver threads shining in the morning light took her time traveling to that morning a decade ago. They had met on a similar damp morning seven years ago.

Tara was then in the second year of her bachelor's degree in English literature. Manu was a senior studying for an MSc in Zoology, a rank hopeful for the entire college. Their worlds didn't usually converge. The science stream and the art stream students belonged in parallel worlds that never ever collided. Yet it did for them, magically, amid the unorganized chaos of a bunch of teenagers trying to create music. Music had wiped out the prejudices that often kept the two streams apart. She was the lead singer and he the lead guitarist in the college band.

Manu had initiated their conversations every time they met. He talked to everyone. She often forgot words in his presence, her tongue tangled. Everything about him fascinated her. The light that animated his liquid brown eyes, lines that crinkled around his eyes when he laughed, his silky-smooth hair that fell lazily onto his forehead every time he moved his head. His broad shoulders that made her want to rest her head on them. And when his fingers, long and soft, strummed the guitar, every cell in her body hummed.

It had felt like a meaningless crush until that college trip. She had signed up for a trip organized by the Nature Club only because she knew Manu was the group leader. The trip had been to the interiors of the nearby forest reserve renowned for its rare species of flora and fauna. Her fascination for him did not go unnoticed by him for long. On the way to the reserve, his eyes had met hers often and she had found a question lingering in them.

Inside the reserve, while they were crossing a narrow bamboo bridge, she froze at the middle of the bridge, suddenly frightened and numbed by the chaotic vista of the wild stream that ran just meters below. Everyone had crossed the stream without any incident. Yet, she couldn't lift her feet the moment she had looked down at the white, frothy and raging stream. After the initial encouraging shouts, all had fallen silent. The bridge was too narrow to accommodate two at the same time.

Then Manu had walked back, encouraged her with kind words. Her fear had been replaced by a warmth she had never felt before. Yet it had not been enough to make her walk. Humiliating tears had streamed down her cheeks and he had wiped them wordlessly. Then, effortlessly, he had lifted her in his arms and walked to the bank. They had all cheered for them. Neither one of them wanted to be near anyone else after that. Sometime that night, while they had sat around a raging bonfire, silently holding hands while the others sang and danced, she had opened her heart to him.

She had traced the four letters declaring her love on his palm, her tongue still unwilling to cooperate. He had squeezed her palm in acknowledgment and then traced a heart-shaped loop on her palm repeatedly. Each stroke sent delightful rushes of pleasure to every inch of her skin. He had taken her hands in his and kissed the tips of her fingers.


Blurb:

A Poignant Love Story with the Chennai Floods 2015 as Backdrop

Dedicated to the volunteers who kept Chennai afloat  during the floods

On the outside, Tara leads a perfect life. A home of her own, a handsome husband, a doting son and a promising career as an author. 
But inside, she is a wreck. Her marriage is a sham and she hasn't succeeded in forgetting her one true love, Manu, the man she had wronged. The man she had almost married. 
Manu, now the senior editor with a science portal, firmly believes that he has left Tara where she belonged-in his past. But in reality, he hasn't forgotten anything. Not the love nor the hurt.
Their past and present collide when they accidentally meet in Chennai. The city has come to a standstill after facing the worst flood in a century. While nature is unleashing its fury on humans, they must make peace with their past. 
Will they have the courage to do that? 
Can they fight the attraction that still burns bright?
Or will the bunch of people they are with, teach them new life lessons? 
What is the secret that is burning Tara from within?



Amazon Book Link: mybook.to/RememberWhenANovel

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Book Spotlight: Draupadi – The Tale of an Empress by Saiswaroopa Iyer

Blurb : 

Being born a princess, and raised by a loving father and three doting brothers would make life seem like a bed of roses to any woman. Born out of the sacred fire, Draupadi is no ordinary woman, and her destiny cannot be to walk the beaten path. Witnessing estrangement and betrayal within her own family makes her perceptive and intuitive beyond her years. 

Complicated marital relationships, a meteoric rise and a fateful loss, humiliation unheard of and a pledge of revenge, all culminating in a bloody war—her ordeal seemed never-ending. Yet she stands up to it all—never succumbing, never breaking. 

One of the most unforgettable characters of the Mahabharata, Draupadi shows what a woman is capable of. Told with great sensitivity and passion, this book brings alive a character of epic proportions that resonates with every reader across space and time.



Excerpt :

An awestruck silence overtook them, each drowned in their own memory. Uttara was remembering her association with her enigmatic mother-in-law, and Janamejaya was thinking about Rishi Vaishampayana’s narration of the exploits of his ancestors and their much-celebrated queen. He saw Uttara fiddle with her silvery white plait, still long and lustrous, despite her ripe age of nearly eighty springs. 

‘You lost a lot in the great war, Grandmother,’ he murmured, shuddering while he imagined the dance of destruction at Kurukshetra. ‘Was there ever an occasion when you felt your life would have been better had you not married into the Pandava household?’ 

‘Depends upon how one defines the word “better”, Janamejaya,’ Uttara replied, still staring into space as if she was viewing the incidents of her past right there. 

Janamejaya moved closer, taking his place by her feet. ‘After listening to the most learned rishis of Bharatavarsha for days, I have still not been able to come to terms with my father’s death, Grandmother Uttara. How can I even dare to imagine how it must be for you who lost…’ he could not complete the sentence, partly out of the numbness his empathy generated.  and partly because he did not want to refresh her moments of bereavement. Uttara had lost her father, brothers, and a very young husband with whom she had hardly spent a year of marital life, to the war at Kurukshetra. Her unborn child, Parikshit, Janamejaya’s father, had escaped from an episode of horrific midnight slaughter. 

‘Everyone lost someone dear to them in the war, Janamejaya,’ Uttara sighed. ‘My marrying into this household at least gave me the satisfaction of bearing an heir to this empire. In fact, I am proud that the thought of unborn Parikshit gave the much-needed hope and strength to Uncle Yudhishtira to take up the reins of this devastated land. I had the good fortune of being a daughter to Mother Draupadi when she lost everyone born of her womb to that midnight slaughter.’ 

Janamejaya’s eyes filled with a sense of admiration. ‘Old men and women at Hastinapura still blame Empress Draupadi and her anger for their losses in the battle.’ With a pained shrug, he added, ‘The gap of understanding that exists between the wise and the mundane.’ 

‘As the emperor, it is your dharma to dispel misunderstandings surrounding the history of this land, Janamejaya,’ Uttara’s voice was stern. ‘The whole point of reciting the records of the past is to learn from the exploits of our ancestors, take pride in their valour, strength and courage, while gaining wisdom from the stories of their tribulations. If people judge their ancestors because of false notions about history, it is only a matter of time before the population is uprooted from the values their ancestors fought for, and falls apart.’ 

Janamejaya nodded. ‘That is the reason why I have impressed upon the rishis and acharyas to impart the timeless record of Bharata to students while they acquire education from their gurus. I have also appealed to the erudite disciples of Bhagavan Veda Vyasa to conduct recitation sessions in public gatherings during the festivities.’ 

Uttara smiled in satisfaction at his genuine attempts. ‘Janamejaya, lazy intellect puts the blame of the Great War on one person. Those who truly understood what led to the eighteen-day-long slaughter at Kurukshetra would reflect on the events and choices of three of the four generations that led the entire empire to war. Blaming someone like Mother Draupadi is not only foolish but also a disturbing sign of misogyny that would be frowned upon by the learned rishis who recorded history and composed the timeless story. Mother Draupadi, in fact, saved the empire from many disasters with the sheer power of her desire to protect this land.’ 

Janamejaya listened to her animated discourse and smiled. ‘Grandmother Uttara, I have never seen a woman defend her mother-in-law with the passion that you did just now. Pray, tell me the story again, this time through her eyes.’ 

Uttara rejoiced at Janamejaya’s undying enthusiasm to listen to the tale of his ancestors repeatedly. Very few were fortunate enough to carry the legacy that he did and even fewer realized and strived to live by it as he did. She was more than delighted to narrate the tale, especially from the perspective of the woman who had captured her respect, awe and love for this life and the lives to come—from the perspective of Draupadi. 


The book can be bought from:


About Author:


An Alumnus of IIT Kharagpur and an investment professional turned satisfied writer, Saiswaroopa is the best selling author of four novels, all based on legendary female protagonists from Ancient Hindu Literature. Her second novel Avishi, based on a Rig Vedic hymn, has been acquired for screen adaptation by a major studio. 

Saiswaroopa is passionate about Ancient Indian history, philosophy and literature. She holds a certificate in Puranas from Oxford School of Hindu Studies. As a trained Classical Singer, she has also been awarded a Gold medal by TTD (Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams). 

In her spare time, she likes to search for her next inspiration in books, pravachanas and historical temples. She lives in Bangalore with her husband and daughter. 





Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Book Spotlight on 'Guardian Angel' by Ruchi Singh

Excerpt:

As Ziya entered her apartment after a long day at the university the next Friday, the loneliness which had receded to the back of her mind during the workday unfurled its tentacles once again. Seeing Nikhil had put her on high emotional alert. She had expected him to appear by her side every second for the past three days, but he hadn’t obliged. 

Eating solitary dinners and feeling sorry for herself would not help her cause, she thought in sudden rebellion. Why couldn’t she go to the restro-bar down the lane and get to know the locals? The area was near her university, maybe she would bump into someone known to her from her first year.

Ziya scanned the restaurant but couldn’t spot an unoccupied table. So intent was she on having a good time as she made her way toward the bar, that she failed to notice a pair of eyes watching her cross the dining hall. Her back toward the diners, she settled on one of the stools. She flicked through the menu but couldn’t zero down on a drink to suit her mood.

“May I buy you a drink?” someone said.

She turned and stared. He looked just like she had pictured him—handsome in a navy-blue dinner jacket and light-blue shirt open at the neck.

He smiled. “Hi, I am Neal. Neal Mehra. May I join you?”

The bleakness of her life disappeared the very next moment. She wanted to launch herself into his arms. He, on the other hand, stood composed like a stranger who had a mild interest in this girl he had just seen. Sudden tears threatened to spill out from the corners of her eyes. She blinked and dropped her gaze to the mobile in her hands. 

“Are you alright?” he asked softly. 

She nodded and swallowed the salty liquid constricting her throat, then looked up again. “Actually, you reminded me of someone I had met a long time back,” she said.





Buy it from 




About the author



Author of the bestselling romantic thriller ‘The Bodyguard’, Ruchi Singh is an IT professional turned novelist. Her other published novels are ‘Take 2’ and ‘Jugnu (Firefly)’. Winner of TOI Write India Season 1, Ruchi has also published a short story collection, ‘Hearts and Hots', besides being a contributing author to many anthologies.

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