Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Bookspotlight on Truly Madly Crazily in Love by Esha Pandey


What happens when you can't let your first love go? What happens when you keep hoping that the one that got away, will be yours again...forever?

Sue is short, vivacious and dreamy. Viv is tall, spirited and focussed. Dressed to the nines on School Social, she bewitches him. He kisses her. She kisses him back. They fall in love. But the kiss that should have sealed their love, becomes their undoing. 

Sue is truly, madly and crazily in love with him. There is no one like Viv. She pines for him, but he can't be hers. Days go by and she isn't over him. 

When she finally lets him go and is ready to start over, he walks into her life again. 

Hearts are broken. Promises are shattered. Lives are wrecked. Love is tested. 

In a tale transcending time, Sue and Viv weave a story of love like none other. Will hope, trust and love win the test of time? From Lucknow, to Delhi to London, will Sue finally have Viv forever? 

Author Bio :

Esha Pandey, is an author and a police officer. She made her debut as an author with her book I Will Meet You There, a collection of short stories.

Esha is an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the 2010 batch. She 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/

twitter: @PandeyEsha

Insta: @eshapandey27

Links for buying the book  : https://www.amazon.in/dp/B08DMJ7HCN

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Falling for Cinderella : An Excerpt

Chapter 1


Every once in a while, when books transported me into unknown worlds, I gathered impossible dreams from them and weaved my own little fairy tales. Through them, I opened magical portals that led me into lands where life was a long, thrilling adventure. But in reality, my life was filled with nonstop misadventures that never seemed to end.

What was currently happening promised to be the perfect recipe for a disaster. I shouldn’t have agreed to this. But was there even another option?
I winced as one of the hired beauticians worked on my untouched eyebrows. I had never felt the need to trim them. Two others were waxing my legs and arms, respectively.

“Hurry up! We don’t have all the time in the world. The party begins at eight.” Neeru Aunty snapped at the beauticians.

It was only six now. What was the hurry?

Once she completed shaping my eyebrows, the beautician set out to work on my hair, trimming them into layers and styling them. My hair felt soft like silk, courtesy of the multiple hair treatments I had sat through. I might have loved this experience if the very thought of what awaited me in the next few hours didn’t make my knees go weak.

Whenever someone entered the room we were in, through the open door, I glimpsed servants hurrying past carrying flowers, fruit bowls and vessels, getting things ready for the party. Parties at Malhotra Mansion were not new to me. Never had I been a part of such celebrations, nor had I wished to be a part of them.  
Ever since I remembered, Malhotra Mansion, situated in the city of dreams Mumbai, has been my home. When Grandmother was alive, the cosy little bedroom on the second floor had belonged to us. The day after she died, I had been asked to shift to a small bedroom in the annexe attic. My old bedroom had been converted to one of the four guest bedrooms in the mansion. That was three years ago.

 According to Grandma, if God hadn’t been so cruel, my life would have been different. I would have inherited the Malhotra Group—or the Venus Group as it had been once called. When my father had founded it twenty years ago, it had been a small-scale textile industry. Within ten years, he had turned it into a public limited company with profits increasing manifold every year. But tragedy struck in the twelfth year of its existence.

 Ratan Malhotra, the son of Grandma’s sister, had become the major shareholder of the Venus Group after the untimely death of my father. He renamed it overnight to give it a face-lift after the scandalous death of its founder.

Apparently, plagued by losses, father had taken the shortcut to escape from his troubles. I only have vague memories of that fateful day at the resort in Bali. But sometimes, I still woke up in the middle of the night, choked by tears and guilt weighing like lead inside my chest. Survivor’s guilt. I should have died along with my parents. Hadn’t they planned just that?

“I owe a lot to Ram bhaiyya. You will continue to stay with us. I will take care of you from now on.” That was what Ratan Uncle had told me on the day Grandma passed away.

Of course, he took care of me. I was packed off to the annexe the same day. From then on, the Malhotras, who were renowned Scrooges, forced me to earn my keep. Once I returned from college, I became their all-round help. I had to step in for whatever was the pressing job at the time. These days, I was a part-time gardener one day; on another day, I was doing chores in the kitchen and on yet another, I would be housekeeping. I ate food with the other staff and hardly found time to study.

When Grandma was alive, after she fought yet another time with Neeru Aunty, she would curse me and blame me for my parents’ death.

 “You are an unlucky girl, Chandni. Else, why would my son kill himself? Ever since you were born, his business started to fail. You shouldn’t have wandered out that day; you should have died with them.”

The very next minute she would apologise and cry.

“Devil take my tongue. That wretched Neeru gets on my nerves every single time. If my Ram had been alive, he would have raised you like a princess,” she would say as she wiped her own and my tears. 

I had grown up wearing hand-me-down clothes of Lavanya, the only daughter of the Malhotras, and cherished playing with her discarded toys. We were good friends in childhood and had remained so until money induced disparities started corrupting the bond we shared. The glue that bonded us was Grandma. But the bond started to weaken due to the quarrels between Neeru Aunty and Grandma.
Grandma’s fights with Neeru Aunty were always on the same topic. According to Grandma, the Malhotras were living off the efforts of her son. In retaliation for this accusation, Neeru Aunty treated Grandma like trash. She never missed a chance to humiliate her in front of her guests, after insisting on Grandma’s presence at her kitty parties. Neeru Aunty loved boasting about how she and her husband were taking care of Ram Khanna’s old mother and daughter. After each fight, their hostility increased. I often begged Grandma to not attend them. Grandma, however, found peace if she could hurl a few insults back at Neeru Aunty whenever she got an opportunity. She loved keeping scores.

Caught in between, I found solace in my books and studies. 

“You got your father’s brains, child! Didn’t he singlehandedly build the Malhotra empire? You make me proud.” Grandma had hugged me tight when I got the 9th rank in the 12th board exams.  My rank had helped me land a seat in my dream college in Mumbai. That too with a scholarship provided by a charity foundation that had tied up with the school I attended.

Neeru Aunty hated that I had gained admission into the same college as her daughter. Grandma had passed away during my final semester in college leaving me completely at the mercy of the Malhotras.

Luckily, Ratan Uncle had stepped in when I graduated with a high rank and granted me one of the educational scholarships given by the Malhotra Group for talented students. The scholarship helped me enrol for an MBA course in the same college. But after class, Neeru Aunty made sure I helped in the kitchen, ran errands and cleaned bathrooms and toilets while Lavanya, who was my classmate, roamed around the town partying. By the time the day ended, I would have energy only to crash into bed.

Somehow, I managed to do all the college work early in the morning and studied during lunch hours. My friends, Vani and Shweta, who knew my predicament helped me with assignments and exams whenever possible.

College would have been fun if Lavanya wasn’t a bitch of the highest order. Taking a cue from her mother, now a days, she didn’t lose a chance to insult me in front of our classmates. She would hurl snide comments at me randomly and she would often make me carry her things. If somebody questioned her, she would say, “Oh she is used to that. After all, she is our servant.”

It didn’t help that the Malhotras, who used to be filthy rich, were now going through a very bleak period financially. But they always tried to prove to the outside world that all was well. Neeru Aunty had by now relinquished all hopes that her ageing husband would revive their slowly dying business. She had pinned all her hope on Lavanya.

“She has to marry into a rich household. That’s the only way.” That had become her mantra nowadays.

Lavanya was beautiful and would certainly snag a rich man as a husband. She had the looks and with a mother like hers, who paraded her like some hallowed jewel, she was not far from landing herself a priced groom. But it was an almost open secret that she was a drug addict. Last night, she had gone out with her friends and had to be hospitalized after a drug overdose.

The media had got scent of the news and had hounded the Malhotras for an update.

“What rubbish! Lavanya is fine. I don’t know where you guys get your info from. She will be the hostess for her birthday party happening at home tonight. We will be sending pictures to the media and posting them on our social media handles as well.” Ratan Uncle had declared to the media right from the courtyard of the Malhotra Mansion today morning as I was leaving for college.

When I arrived at the mansion after college, Neeru Aunty had simply told me what had to be done.

“You will take Lavanya’s place at today’s party. She will be at the recovery centre this whole week. Be ready to pay back all the kindness we have showered on you.”

---Read more here:

Saturday, May 9, 2020

~ Book Blitz ~ The Songbirds by Alif

About the Book:
The Songbirds is a literary tale that goes to the heart of what’s ailing today’s world and tries to find the answers to our most pressing questions.

Amidst poetry and the innocence of youth, the love story of Kasim and Sumera sprouts in the romantic settings of Bada Ghar, the mystical house of a long-gone but not forgotten poet, Bulbul Baba, their mutual ancestor. To carve a better future for Sumera and himself, Kasim migrates West. But, once there, an increasingly westernised Kasim begins to see his for love for Sumera as taboo. So, instead, he tries to find fulfilment in London, forcefully burying his love.

However, with time, Kasim realises that the West doesn’t have the answers he is looking for and his yearning for Sumera returns, becoming stronger than ever, but a huge barrier now stands between them. Not only that, but time could also be running out because, back home, Sumera has gone on to become a fiery blogger over controversial issues, earning herself many enemies, possibly one too many.

“A meditation on love’s complicated intimacies...A stunning literary tale!”

To the free bird in all of us...

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon

Read some Snippets from The Songbirds

~ Snippet 1 ~

The study room at Bulbul Baba’s Bada Ghar. To me, it is the most magical room in the whole world, for it has the poetry of the heavens. There, year after year, I see many bulbuls sing, competing with each other to see who has the sweetest song. There is one, in particular, a young bulbul, whose chirps rise like the scented petals of jasmine caressed by the breeze and touch the heart.

~ Snippet 2 ~

Ironically, years ago, I had taken a big leap to reach where I now precariously stood. I hadn’t known then that the hand I had leapt for would turn out to be a mirage. Not only that but in making that leap, I had let go of the only hand which had truly ever anchored me; I had let go of her hand.

Now, as my hands flail in desperation, she is the only one who can save me. However, the distance that separates us is the distance which separates the Moon from the Earth. Still, impossible as it may seem, I have to reach for her hand.

Though, there is also a fear that she is no longer there, waiting for me. For all I know, it could be another mirage beckoning me, but I have to find out. I have to leap back to her; only this time it is a leap of faith. My faith in love.

Download a copy on 8th or 9th May!

About the Author:
 I write because silence is not an option. At the   same time, my novels brim with hope in   addition to having a riveting plot. My debut   novel, which was published by a boutique   publisher in Europe some years ago, was seen to be refreshing.

My recent novel Guns and Saffron has received exceptionally good reviews on Amazon, NetGalley and Goodreads saying that it is addictive, fresh and enlightening. The Songbirds, a literary tale, is my latest novel.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Book Spotlight on 10 literary works by B S Murthy

BS Murthy

BS Murthy is an Indian novelist, playwright, short story, non-fiction 'n articles writer, translator, a 'little' thinker and a budding philosopher in ‘Addendum to Evolution: Origins of the World by Eastern Speculative Philosophy’ that was originally published in The Examined Life On-Line Philosophy Journal, Vol. 05 Issue 18, Summer 2004.

Born on 27 Aug 1948 and schooled in letter-writing, by 1983, he started articulating his managerial ideas, in thirty-odd published articles. However, in Oct 1994, he began penning Benign Flame: Saga of Love with the ‘novel art' and continued his fictional endeavors in ‘plot and character’ driven novels, Jewel-less Crown: Saga of Life and Crossing the Mirage: Passing through youth. 

Then entering the arena  of non-fiction with a ‘novel’ narrative in Puppets of Faith: Theory of Communal Strife, possibly a new genre, he ventured into the zone of translations for versifying  the Sanskrit epics, Vyasa’s Bhagvad-Gita (Treatise of self-help) and Valmiki’s  Sundara Kãnda (Hanuman’s Odyssey) in contemporary English idiom. 

Later, ascending Onto the Stage with Slight Souls and other stage and radio plays, he returned to fictional form with Glaring Shadow - A stream-of-consciousness novel and Prey on the Prowl - A Crime Novel to finally reach the short story horizon with Stories Varied - A Book of Short Stories. 

While his fiction had emanated from his conviction that for it to impact readers, it should be the soulful rendering of characters rooted in their native soil but not the hotchpotch of local and alien caricatures sketched on a hybrid canvas, all his body of work was born out of his passion for writing, matched only by his love for language, which is in the public domain in umpteen ebook sites https://g.co/kgs/q6fp5o

Some of his published articles on management issues, general insurance topics, literary matters, and political affairs in The Hindu, The Economic Times, The Financial Express. The Purchase, The Insurance Times, Triveni , Boloji.com are  at https://independent.academia.edu/BulusuSMurthy 

He, a graduate mechanical engineer from Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, Ranchi, India, is a Hyderabad-based Insurance Surveyor and Loss Assessor since 1986. 

He takes a keen interest in politics of the day, has an ear for Carnatic and Hindustani classical music and had been a passionate Bridge player. 

 He is married, to a housewife, has two sons, the elder one a PhD in Finance and the younger a Master in Engineering. 

1_ Benign Flame:Saga of Love

Roopa marries Sathyam, hoping that he would help her become a doctor but as he fails her, feeling let down, she insensibly seeks lesbian solace in her friend Sandhya’s embrace. Soon, in a dramatic sequence of events, Tara, a suave call girl, tries to rope Roopa into her calling; Roopa herself loses her heart to Sandhya's beau Raja Rao, and Prasad, her husband’s friend falls for her. And as Prasad begins to induce Sathyam to be seduced by whores to worm his way into her affections, Roopa finds herself in a dilemma. But as fate puts Raja Rao into Roopa’s arms in such a way as to lend novelty to fiction, this ‘novel’ nuances man-woman chemistry on one hand, and portrays woman-woman empathy on the other.

Who said the novel is dead; 'Benign Flame' raises the bar as vouched by -

The plot is quite effective and it’s a refreshing surprise to discover that the story will not trace a fall into disaster for Roopa, given that many writers might have habitually followed that course with a wife who strays into extramarital affairs - Spencer Critchley, Literary Critic, U.S.A.

The author has convinced the readers that love is something far beyond the marriage tie and the fulfillment of love can be attained without marriage bondage. The author has achieved a minor revolution without any paraphernalia of revolution in the fourth part of the novel – The Quest, India.

The author makes free use of – not interior monologue as such, but – interior dialogue
of the character with the self, almost resembling the dramatic monologue of Browning. Roopa, Sandhya, Raja Rao and Prasad to a considerable extent and Tara and Sathyam to a limited degree indulge in rationalization, trying to analyse their drives and impulses – The Journal of Indian Writing in English.

Overall, Benign Flame is a unique attempt at exploring adult relationships and sexuality in the contemporary middle-class. All the characters come alive with their cravings and failings, their love and their lust. Benign Flame blurs the lines and emphasizes that life is not all black and white - it encompasses the full spectrum of living. - Indian Book Chronicle. 


2_ Crossing the Mirage - Passing through Youth

If passing through youth was like crossing the mirage of life for Chandra and Nithya, it proved to be chasing the mirage of love for Sathya and Prema though for plain Vasavi, Chandra's pitiable sibling, it was the end of the road.

As life brings Chandra, who suffers from an inferiority complex for his perceived ugliness, and Nithya, who was bogged down being jilted by Vasu, together, they script their fate of fulfillment.

And as poetic justice would have it, Sathya, who caused Prema's heart burn, himself was led down the garden path by Kala, doing a Sathya on Sathya.

Just not that, life has in store just deserts for Vasu owing to Nithya's retribution as he tries to stalk her. Besides, after many a fictional twist and turn, the way the story ends, challenges the perception that fact is stranger than fiction.


3_ Glaring Shadow - A stream of consciousness novel

In a stream of consciousness mode, ‘Glaring Shadow’ is the self-account of the life and times of a man, who liquidates his immense wealth only to consign it to the flames. The agony and ecstasy of his life as he makes it big in our materialistic world and the way he loses his soul in the bargain, only to regain it when tragedy strikes him makes one ponder over the meaning of success in life. This philosophical ‘novel of a memoir’ is a compelling read that is conducive to contemplate about the nature and scope of human relationships.


4_ Jewel-less Crown: Saga of Life

It's perilous penning this blurb. It's fine when a man is modest about his work. It even affords him the aura of an invisible crown!

But what about his work?

Were it an art or craft, it is there for all to see. What of the literary work of an unheralded author? Well, lauding the same might raise one's eyebrows. Failing to praise wouldn't make a 'jewel-less crown' either!

Why not see, if this is the great Indian novel.

This is the story of the rise and fall of an ambitious man, the decline, and the decay of his conniving wife, the trials, and tribulations of their wayward son as well as the grit and gall of a spirited woman, who enters into his life.

This depiction of their life and times not only pictures the facets of ambition and achievement, intrigue and betrayal, compulsion and compromise and sleaze and scandal, trial and sentence, but also portrays the possibilities of repentance and resolution, love and empathy coupled with compassion and contribution, leading to the spirituality of materialism, and that makes it the saga of our times.
The story of a lifetime, truly.


5_ Prey on the Prowl - A Crime Novel

Who could have poisoned Ranjit the realtor, Shakeel the Inspector, Pravar the criminal and Natya his accomplice?

Well, the needle of suspicion tilted towards Pravar that was till he perished with his mate, but then who was the one? 

Could it be Radha under the scanner for her role in the death of her husband Madhu and his mistress Mala, Pravar's sister? Or was it Ranjit's spouse Kavya, who owing to Stockholm Syndrome, takes to Pravar her kidnapper.

As these deaths by poisoning puzzle Dhruva, Radha, who worms her way into his life, avers that Kavya had the motive and the means to kill her spouse, her paramour and his wife beside the cop.

However, Dhruva begins to look around for the culprit reckoning that when the ill-motives of the natural suspects to commit a murder are an open secret, someone with a hidden agenda might be tempted to use that as a camouflage for his subterfuge.


6_ Stories Varied – A Book of Short Stories

This collection of Indian short stories deals with women's dilemmas in the Indian social milieu accompanied by unique denouements.

While 'Ilaa's Ire' contrasts woman's lot of the day with her eminence in the Vedic Age, '201' Qualms" depicts her predicament, torn between personal loyalty and citizen's responsibility.

As "?" addresses woman's marital stress in an alien land, 'Cupid's Clue' is about her acting on rebound in her native place.

Even as 'Autumn Love' lets woman discover the marital void in her life, 'A Touchy Affair' makes her amenable to her man's other woman.

Just as 'Love's How's That' inflames woman's old flame, 'A Hearty Turn' brings her innate lesbian leanings to the fore.

If 'Love Jihad' bridges lovers' religious divide with a secular plank, 'Tenth Nook' creates her marital gulf on the materialistic ground.

While 'Eleventh Hour' is about woman's lust for love, 'Twelfth Tale' underscores her zest for power.


7_Onto the Stage – Slighted Souls and other stage and radio plays

A compendium of the author’s stage and radio plays: "Slighted Souls" is a poignant love story set in rural Telangana, beset with feudal exploitation of the downtrodden dalits. Besides forcing the dalits to toil in the fields as bonded labor without impunity, the land owning doras had no qualms in reducing the womenfolk of this ilk as sex slaves in the gadis.

"Men at work on Women at work" is a tragic-comic episode depicting the fallout of sexual harassment at the workplace in the Indian urban setting with its traditional cultural underpinnings.

"Castle of Despair", built on the slippery ground of man's innate urge for one-upmanship, portrays its facade of falsity on the grand stage of human tragedy.

The radio play, "Love on Hold", lends voice to the felt anxieties of a man and a woman as their old flame gets rekindled and the dilemmas of possession faced by the couple in a conservative cultural background.


8_Puppets of Faith: Theory of Communal Strife

This thought-provoking work, besides dissecting the anatomy of Islam, steeped in the Quran, seeks to depict the psyche of the Musalmans, shaped by the proclivities of their prophet, vicissitudes of his life and the attitudes of his detractors, which the mechanism of their umma perpetuates. More to the point, aided by “I’m Ok – You’re Ok”, the path-breaking work of Thomas A. Harris and Roland E Miller’s “Muslim Friends–Their Faith and Feeling”, this book, for the first time ever, psycho-analyzes the imperatives of the Muslim upbringing, which has the potential to turn a faithful and a renegade alike into a fidayeen.

Also, apart from delving into the ironies of the faiths that affected the fate of the peoples, eclipsed the cultures of communes, altered the course of history and afflict the politics of the day, this book examines how the sanaatana 'Hindu' dharma came to survive in India, in spite of the combined onslaught of Islam and the Christianity on Hinduism for over a millennium. This book is for those who wish to be aware of the follies of their faith and the foibles of others to lighten the burden of dogma and reduce the baggage of prejudice postulated in its thirty-four well-structured chapters.

Possibly in a new genre, this free ebook is a book for our times.


9_ Bhagvad-Gita: Treatise of Self-help

Bhagavad-Gita is the most beautiful, perhaps the only true philosophical song existing in any known tongue’ so opined William von Humboldt.

In this modern rendition, the beauty of the Sanskrit slokas is reflected in the rhythmic flow of the English verses of poetic proportions in modern idiom even as the attendant philosophy of the song that is the Gita is captured in contemporary idiom for easy comprehension.

The general consensus is that the in vogue Gita of 700 slokas has many an interpolation in it, but no meaningful attempt has ever been made to delve into the nature and extent, not to speak of the effect of these on the Hindu society at large. The methodical codification of interpolations carried out here puts the true character of Gita in proper perspective. Identified here are hundred and ten slokas of deviant nature and or of partisan character, the source of so much misunderstanding about this book extraordinary, in certain sections of the Hindu fold. In the long run, exposing and expunging these mischievous insertions is bound to bring in new readers from these quarters to this over two millennia old classic besides altering the misconceptions of the existing adherents.


10_ Sundara Kãnda: Hanuman's Odyssey 

While Mahabharata's Bhagvad-Gita is taken as a philosophical guide, Ramayana's Sundara Kãnda is sought for spiritual solace; many believe that reading it or hearing it recited would remove all hurdles and usher in good tidings! Miracles apart, it's in the nature of this great epic to inculcate fortitude and generate hope in man for it’s a depiction of how Hanuman goes about his errand against all odds. Besides, it portrays how Seetha, on the verge of self-immolation, overcomes despair to see life in a new light? With rhythm of its verse and the flow of the narrative this sloka to sloka transcreation of the canto beautiful of Valmiki's adi kavya - the foremost poetical composition in the world, Hanuman's Odyssey that paves the way for Rama to rescue his kidnapped wife is bound to charm the readers and listeners alike.  Interestingly, as the following verse illustrates, it was the forerunner of the magic realism of our times – “Gripped she then him by shadow / Cast which Hanuman coast to coast, Recalled he in dismay then / What Sugreev said at outset / That one fiend had aptitude / To grip its prey by mere shadow.”


~ Blog Tour ~ A Stolen Heart by Kayelle Allen

About the Book:

An abandoned half-human child.

An immortal warrior whose villainous past keeps him in hiding.

Two monsters in need of a family.

A Stolen Heart transports science fiction fans to the fantastic Tarthian Empire in the distant future; a wealthy but deliciously seedy corner of the galaxy. Here, powerful immortals comingle with genetically-enhanced humans and animals, aliens and androids, and secret societies are commonplace.

After rescuing a half-alien / half-human child who's running for his life on the planet Kelthia, a glorified space pirate turned entrepreneur named Luc Saint-Cyr stumbles onto a conspiracy at the highest levels of the powerful Thieves' Guild.

Complicating matters, the king--Luc's immortal ex--might be involved.

As if that's not enough, an unseen enemy is undoing every good thing Luc accomplishes.

But, when it comes time to give up the child to a family who can care for him, how will Luc bear to part with the adorable little boy who has stolen his heart?

Goodreads * Amazon

Read an Excerpt from A Stolen Heart

 The word arcane conjures up magic and sorcery, but its definition is "requiring secret or mysterious knowledge." To Luc, who's an Arcane Master in the Thieves' Guild, those secrets are the lifeblood of the skill. Here, he explains one of the basic rules to Senthys, who is three.
In this scene, Luc and Senthys are riding in Luc's hoversine, a limousine that flies right above the ground.

Arcane Secrets

Senthys swung his feet, which, on the short rise of the hoversine's safety seat, meant he kicked the main seat with his heels.
That was already old and it had just started. Luc leaned down close to distract him. "Let's learn some thief rules."

"Why?" Senthys tilted his head. "Don't you already know them?"

Luc stopped himself from reacting. After all, he was talking to a child, not that different from talking to Pietas. "Yes, I do, and I'm going to teach them to you. I told you there would be two rules inside the store and if you obeyed them, you could pick out a toy."

"Oh. I 'member." Like Luc, Senthys folded his hands before him. "Ready."

"You are to stay next to me at all times. You may hold my hand if you like, but do not leave me to look at things, or to see things unless I give you permission. Is that clear?"

"Yes, sir."

"Say it back to me."

"Um..." The boy fidgeted. "All of it?"

Luc decided against counting--to any number. "Tell me what you understood."

"Stay with you."

"Good! That's perfect."

The child bounced in his seat.

How delighted this boy was to do well. Luc must encourage that. "The other rule is not to steal anything in this store. Say it back to me."

"Don't steal in the store?"

"That's right!" Luc patted his hands together. "What a good job."

Senthys clapped, grinning.

"I'm going to tell you something and I want you to always remember it. Honorable thieves do not steal unless under contract. If an honorable thief cannot afford something, then he must work a regular job to earn the money." Luc placed a hand on the boy's arm. "My Deshai are honorable. They do not take things without a contract. Understand?"

"Yes, sir. Can I have a contract?"

"You can have one when you reach level thirteen. At that level, you can be hired professionally."
"Are you level thirteen?"

Luc brushed at his sleeve. "I'm level forty-eight."

"Oh." The boy nodded as if impressed. "Is that better than thirteen?"

Amusing, however deflating that might be. "Quite a bit better," Luc told him. "It's the highest in the Guild. Arcane Master."

Senthys cocked his head. "Then that's what I want to be. A Arcane Mister."

"Master," Luc corrected, smiling. "Arcane Master."

"Arcane Master. I want to be that. Brinn says I can be anything."

True words. Luc held up a hand, reached across the seat, and Senthys high-fived him. "Your brother is absolutely right."

A Stolen Heart, sci fi from Kayelle Allen

Want to know when this book is available? Like to have a free read before it's out? Join one of Kayelle's reader groups. You'll also get free starter books right away. https://kayelleallen.com/reader-groups/

Kayelle Allen writes Sci Fi with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She is the author of multiple books, novellas, and short stories. She's also a US Navy veteran and has been married so long she's tenured.

Friday, April 17, 2020

~ Book Tour ~ Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters by Shilpa Suraj 10th to 30th April

About the Book:

She believes in love, family and…squiggles!

Alisha Rana is not your typical single desi girl. For one, she is on the wrong side of 30.  For another, she is divorced. And last but definitely not least, she is still, gasp, a virgin!

Alisha doesn’t want much. But what she does want is that elusive thing all women search for – A man who gets her…but a man who gets her hot! She calls it “feeling the squiggle.”

Enter Dr. Vivaan Kapoor, cute, hot, squiggle-worthy. The younger brother of her cousin's prospective groom, he’s got the squiggle factor in spades. The only catch? He's never been married and is years younger than Alisha. Basically, completely off-limits.

And then there is Arjun. Widowed, older than her by the right number of years and a genuinely nice guy. He's Vivaan’s cousin and a so-called perfect match for Alisha. The problem is, Alisha’s squiggle-o-meter refuses to budge for him.

What will Alisha choose? A lifetime together with the 'right' man or a chance at happiness with the 'wrong' one?

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon

Read an Excerpt from Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters by Shilpa Suraj

Alisha was dreaming about tiny babies crawling all over her when a tinny, buzzing noise filled the room. Struggling awake, she located her phone on the side table and squinted at the display. Vivaan. At this hour? It was close to two in the morning.
Heart pounding, she answered the phone. “Are you okay?”
Silence was her only reply. Checking the phone’s display to see if the call had been cut off, she frowned when she realized he was still on the line.
“I get it now.”
The quiet words had her flopping back against her pillows in relief. He didn’t sound like he was hurt or in pain.
“Get what now?” she asked, staring into the darkness of her room. There was something frighteningly intimate about lying in bed, enveloped in darkness with only his voice on the other end of the phone anchoring her to the moment.
“Everything you said. About the way people think. About the way they behave.” He sounded sad. Alisha wanted to soothe and comfort but didn’t know exactly where this was going. Instead, she waited.
“I want you to know,” he stopped for a minute and then continued, “No, I need you to know that you’re incredible. That you can smile, you can laugh, God, the fact that you can love and live in the face of the incredible assholes who make up huge chunks of our society is beyond incredible.”
A single tear rolled down Alisha’s face as she let his words wash over her. They soothed her in places she hadn’t known were still hurting.
“Are you there, Alisha?” His voice reached out to her again bringing her back to the moment.
“Yes.” She could never let him know it but for him, she would always be there.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
“I don’t remember you doing anything that needs apologizing for,” she answered.
“For not taking what you said seriously. About people and society. For dismissing it the way I did.”
His words had pain knifing through her. If he finally understood, he also understood there was no future for them. A sense of loss swept through her at the thought of Vivaan no longer wanting her. It was what she’d wanted, what she’d pushed for and still….it was devastating.
“Alisha,” he whispered her name, recalling her to their conversation. “I’ve never wanted you more.”

About Shilpa Suraj:

Shilpa Suraj wears many hats - corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.
An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.

Shilpa on the Web:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Friday, April 10, 2020

~ Cover Reveal ~ A Stolen Heart by Kayelle Allen - Antonello Brothers -

An abandoned half-human child.An immortal warrior whose villainous past keeps him in hiding.Two monsters in need of a family.

A Stolen Heart transports science fiction fans to the fantastic Tarthian Empire in the distant future; a wealthy but deliciously seedy corner of the galaxy. Here, powerful immortals comingle with genetically-enhanced humans and animals, aliens and androids, and secret societies are commonplace.

After rescuing a half-alien / half-human child who's running for his life on the planet Kelthia, a glorified space pirate turned entrepreneur named Luc Saint-Cyr stumbles onto a conspiracy at the highest levels of the powerful Thieves' Guild.

Complicating matters, the king--Luc's immortal ex--might be involved.

As if that's not enough, an unseen enemy is undoing every good thing Luc accomplishes.

But, when it comes time to give up the child to a family who can care for him, how will Luc bear to part with the adorable little boy who has stolen his heart?

A Stolen Heart, sci fi from Kayelle Allen

Want to know when this book is available? Like to have a free read before it's out? Join one of Kayelle's reader groups. You'll also get free starter books right away. https://kayelleallen.com/reader-groups/

Kayelle Allen writes Sci Fi with misbehaving robots, mythic heroes, role playing immortal gamers, and warriors who purr. She is the author of multiple books, novellas, and short stories. She's also a US Navy veteran and has been married so long she's tenured.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

AutHer Awards 2020 declares its top winners

It was an exhilarating evening at Taj Palace, New Delhi that saw a heart-warming celebration of women on Women’s Day. Times of India and JK Papers joined hands to celebrate women authors who have added value and creativity to the literary space. The AutHer Awards 2020 was attended by the who’s who of the town and the hall jam packed with authors, academicians, publishers, bureaucrats, politicians, artists and book lovers, cheering at the winners was a sight to behold.

And the awards went to……..

The awards were handed over in 4 categories and consisted of a trophy and cash prize worth Rs 1 lakh each. There was a Lifetime Achievement award and a Popular choice award too.
In the category Fiction the award went to Madhuri Vijay for her book, The Far Filed (Harper Collins Publishers India)-(Literary Fiction) and Sutapa Basu for The Curse of Nader Shah (Readomania)- (Historical Fiction).
The Best Author Non-Fiction award went to Saba Dewan for her book Tawaifnama (Westland).
The Best Author Debut award was split between Rudrakshi Bhattacharjee for This is how it took Place (HarperCollins Publishers India) and Rehana Munir for Paper Moon (HarperCollins Publishers India).
The award was given to Rudrakshi posthumously who passed away at the young age of 16. It was an emotional moment for the entire gathering when her parents Debasree Bhattacharjee and Ratnadip Bhattacharjee received the prize on her behalf and said how happy and incredulous she would have been to receive it.
Bijal Vachharajani was given the Best Author Children’s award for her book A Cloud called Bhura (Speaking Tiger).
The Popular Choice Award went to Sutapa Basu for garnering maximum number of votes online.
Legendary author Nayantara Sahgal was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award that was received by her daughter who read out a soulful message by Nayantara, thanking TOI for giving her an award that she had never received earlier-a Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution as a woman author.
Times Group CEO Raj Jain who graced the occasion with his presence, emphasised on the need of focussing on the contribution of women and said, “Since times immoral women have always played an integral role in all aspects of life and indeed have been at the forefront of the creation and origin of existence. Sadly though, they have always been praised out of fringes and have never been a part of the mainstream social and historical narrative.”

 The journey of the awards

The books were chosen, post multiple layers of screening, out of a whopping 850 entries submitted by both publishers and individual authors for the coveted national award, the first of its kind in India. The jury considered books by women published in India between December 2018 and November 2019.

Eminent writer and politician Shashi Tharoor who was the Chief Guest of the event, said: " Of course, things have changed very much, but the fact fundamentally remains that too much of our history, too many of our stories have been written simply by men and if you look at the global picture, the vast, vast majority of published writings have not just been written by men but by white men. Therefore the literate public have looked at the world or have been shaped and conditioned by perspectives of these men."

The jury

The chairs for the AutHer Awards jury consisted of author Ashwin Sanghi (Fiction), actor and author Sonali Bendre (Non-Fiction), columnist and author Shobhaa De (Debut), and author Bulbul Sharma (Children’s books).

The other jury members were author Jaishree Misra (Fiction), author and former Deputy Secretary, Sahitya Akademi Gitanjali Chatterjee (Fiction), author Yasser Usman (Non-Fiction), author and journalist Manimugdha Sharma (Non-Fiction), author and comic writer Arjun Gaind (Debut), Co-founder of ScoopWhoop Rishi Pratim Mukherjee (Debut), actor, compere and Director of The Study School Shivani Wazir Pasrich (Children’s books), and author Ramendra Kumar(Children’s books).

Vinita Dawra Nangia, Literary Director, AutHer Awards beautifully summed up the need for having a special award for women authors, “Why should there be an award for women authors? This is to encourage them and recognise their talent because men still seem to have a disproportionate advantage in the field of publishing. It was 174 years ago that Bronte Sisters wrote under the pseudonym of a man because it was felt women writing fiction would not be acceptable in men and although a lot has changed after that, but women continue to use pseudonyms and initials and men dominate the bestselling lists. We need to change all that.”

The AutHer Awards was hosted by popular stand-up comedian Papa CJ who interspersed his conversation with humorous anecdotes and added a lively nuance to the gala evening.