Thursday, April 18, 2019

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

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The Vetala: Purchase Links
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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 

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: (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 and .

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: