Saturday, February 29, 2020

The AutHer Awards 2020 Longlists for Best Women Authors by Times of India

The AutHer Awards 2020 Longlists for best women authors in Fiction, Non-Fiction, Children’s Literature and Debut were announced today by a panel of 12 eminent judges. The Times of India received a whopping 850 entries submitted by both publishers and individual authors for the coveted national award, the first of its kind in India.
The AutHer Awards – a joint venture between JK Paper and Times of India -- are a celebration of women authors who have added value and creativity to the literary space. The jury considered books by women published in India between December 2018 and November 2019.

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).



Talking about women's writing in literature, Shobhaa De says, "Women's voices in Indian literature today are exploding several myths and stereotypes. They are speaking a new language which is honest, irreverent and out there. There is enormous confidence and talent emerging through their work. It is our job to acknowledge and reward the best! It has been a fantastic process of reading all these wonderful women authors sharing their stories with so much verve! Good luck to the winner. And a big thank you to all participants."

While sharing her experience of the AutHer Awards, Bulbul Sharma says, “I really enjoyed reading these amazing new books for children by women authors. Each book painted a vivid picture of a new facet of our society and dealt bravely with different, somewhat difficult concerns. What a variety of prose and rich ideas; what a long way we have come. We must thank TOI for taking women writers on a most exciting journey ahead.”

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).

Sharing his experience of being a part of the AutHer Awards, Ashwin Sanghi says, “I am delighted to be part of the jury panel for The Times of India’s Women AutHer Awards 2020. It has been a painstaking process to read and review the final selection to arrive at the longlist. Jaishree Misra and Gitanjali Chatterjee (my fellow jury members) and I have burnt the midnight oil in attempting to ensure that we look at each book holistically. We too have gained by being part of this terrific initiative because we all ended up reading books that we may have otherwise missed. In fact, even determining the Longlist was difficult because there were several more that deserved mention.”

Actor and author Sonali Bendre, who also hosts her own book club for fellow readers, called it an "enriching experience". Sonali Bendre says, "Going through the AutHer selection was such an enriching experience. From the 21 non-fiction books that we read, these 9 were the ones that stood out and unanimously got voted in to be part of the AutHer Longlist! It's been a pleasure discussing these books with Yasser Usman and Manimugdha Sharma... it's been a smooth and thoroughly enjoyable journey."

The books under consideration went through multiple layers of screening before reaching the final jury. The Times editorial teams were helped in the initial screening by authors Kulpreet Yadav and Sujata Parashar, Write India winner and teacher Vasudha Gulati, and Dr Anjana Neira Dev, Associate Professor of English, Gargi college.


Vinita Dawra Nangia, Literary Director of the Awards , says, “It has been an eye-opener to see the range of books submitted for the Awards and the process through which our judges painstakingly selected the best. Our effort is to be all-inclusive and neither dismiss any genre, nor favour another. The Women AutHer Awards have been launched to recognize and encourage the contribution of women writers, and to acknowledge their unique space in the literary arena.”


The AutHer Awards Shortlist will be announced tomorrow.


The AutHer Awards winners will be announced at a grand ceremony on Sunday, March 8, at Taj Palace, New Delhi. A prize worth Rs 1 lakh each will be given to the top winners of all four categories and a Lifetime Achievement Award will be given to a woman author for her lasting contribution in the field of literature.


For the Longlist, please log on to : https://autherawards.in/




My Heart's Regret by Shilpa Suraj from Something Old, Something New - A DRA Production



Seven bestselling authors. Seven incredible second chance romances. One epic anthology. 

What would you do for another chance with the one you love? 

Something Old, Something New - a unique novella anthology - tries to answer this question with fantastic, different, desi dramas. 

Whether it is shapeshifters or shifting interracial relationships, single moms in small towns or rich alpha heroes, friends-to-lovers or passionate ex-husbands; this anthology has something for everyone. 
Something Old, Something New explores the many different facets of love, forgiveness, fated mates and more in seven, distinctly Indian tales!

My Heart's Regret by Shilpa Suraj

All they had was love...would it ever be enough?


Samaira Reddy, the girl in the big house, the Bade Sahib's daughter, only wants one thing and one person...a life with her childhood sweetheart, her Rags.
Raghav Cherukuri has always been known as the driver's son. And has also always loved his Sam, the girl he can never have and never forget. And so, he leaves her and his life in Hyderabad behind.
But now, Raghav is back. A Chief Officer in the Merchant Navy, he is the success he’s always wanted to be. And yet, he has failed. 
Samaira is meeting the ‘perfect groom’ her family approves ofA man whom Raghav can never be.
Can it finally be their time to be together? Or has their happy-ever-after passed them by?

Read an Excerpt from My Heart's Regret


“So, where does that leave us?” she asked.
“Nowhere, Sam,” he exhaled. “That’s exactly what I’ve been trying to tell you.”
“Bullshit.” Anger, hurt, frustration, a whole gamut of furious emotion swept through her. She turned to him and balled her hands in his shirt, yanking him forward. “You have no business giving up on us, this way. You have to give us a chance.”
Sam,” His voice was gentle and so were his hands as they pried hers from his chest. He cupped the back of her head and pressed a kiss on her forehead. “We never had a chance. Our families would never accept this. I’m your driver’s son, for God’s sake.”
“You’re the man I love.” With a low groan, she grabbed his face and kissed him. 
Raghav froze in her arms.
She poured years of pent up emotion into the kiss and the bloody statue she loved so much still didn’t respond. Humiliated tears pricked her eyes as she wrenched herself out of his arms and stood. There was nothing left to do but accept defeat. Raghav may love her but he didn’t want her in his life. 
Sam forced herself to turn her back on him and walk away.
She’d made it a bare two feet before she was grabbed from behind. He pulled her flush against him, her back to his chest and buried his face in her hair. It took her a moment to realize his tortured breathing and harsh gasps were not desire but tears. 
He was crying. Slow, silent tears that wet her hair and soaked through her shirt.
Her heart breaking, Sam turned and wrapped him in her arms. They held each other, fierce and unyielding, the past and present swirling together to form a protective cocoon around them.
“God help me,” His tortured whisper destroyed her. “But it kills me to let you go.”
“Then don’t,” she whispered back. “Please, Raghav.” 
He kissed her then. His lips melting against hers with a mix of passion, fury and need. A dam burst inside her and Sam rose to meet his kiss with all the love and desire bursting through her. 
Her hands fisted in his hair, pulling him impossibly closer. Soft, mewling sounds escaped her.  He swallowed them as he tilted her head back to deepen the kiss. 
His hand crept up and clasped the soft mound of her breast, just as a distant sound shattered the moment and its poor illusion of privacy. 
They pulled apart, chests heaving, the sound of their harsh breaths mingling and spreading until it felt like that was all she could hear. 
In the distance, his mother appeared on the verandah outside their room. She waved to him frantically, screaming at the top of her voice.
“Raghav, come fast.” Her panicked shout had him running even before she was done
Samaira closed her eyes in despair. This nightmare of an evening wasn’t over yet.


About the Author:

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.


Giveaway:

First Prize - A Kindle
Second Prize - 6 Months Kindle Unlimited Subscription

the Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, February 28, 2020

Never Stopped Loving You by Ruchi Singh from Something Old, Something New - A DRA Production



Seven bestselling authors. Seven incredible second chance romances. One epic anthology. 

What would you do for another chance with the one you love? 

Something Old, Something New - a unique novella anthology - tries to answer this question with fantastic, different, desi dramas. 

Whether it is shapeshifters or shifting interracial relationships, single moms in small towns or rich alpha heroes, friends-to-lovers or passionate ex-husbands; this anthology has something for everyone. 
Something Old, Something New explores the many different facets of love, forgiveness, fated mates and more in seven, distinctly Indian tales!

Never Stopped Loving You by Ruchi Singh

Will they be able to put aside their differences and come together to fight the unknown enemy?


Bad memories surface, as Radhika steps back into big bad city Mumbai. A budding fashion marketeer she doesn’t have any option but to deal with her inner demons and make a name for herself. 

A chance encounter puts Radhika in Arjun’s path once again. To his acute disappointment, he finds that she still had the power to affect him in the worst possible ways. 

As both fight their feelings for each other, a secret comes to light which blows their world apart. 

Read an Excerpt from Never Stopped Loving You


All of a sudden, he turned around and faced her. “Radhika, this is not the right place to talk. Something has come up. Please have dinner with me whenever you are free. We have to talk!”
“About what?”
“About us.”
“There is no us.”
He blanched as if she had slapped him. 
“Lance was the person with you that night at the resort.”
She staggered back and caught hold of the chair-back.
“He told me everything last Tuesday. Karishma misled… me. I don’t know what to say. Sorry seems so lame in the light of… in the light of how I reacted and treated you.”
So that was the reason! Mighty Arjun Singh Tomar, the hotshot lawyer, had come to know the truth and now wanted to apologize. A sliver of anger ran through her. A mere dinner and an apology couldn’t erase the torment she had gone through. She wanted to rant and shout at him, to inflict the same wounds on him that he had given her. But she did nothing. What would that achieve? She had Yash. He was coming to pick her up in the evening and she didn’t want this to linger on.
“Radhika, I… I don’t know where to begin—”
“It’s not required. Apology accepted. You don’t need to do anything else. Please leave now.”
He stared at her, looking uncertain again. “Radhika?”
“It’s okay. I have moved on. You should marry Karishma. She loves you. You both will be perfect for each other.” 
His face contorted distastefully. “Like ACP Yash Kelkar is perfect for you?” he sneered. “Is he the reason you want to get rid of me? Is he coming today? Are you guys going out for dinner again?”
To her panic, he came around the table.
“Does he make your pulse go wild the way I do?” He caught hold of her hand and jerked her to him.
“Arjun!” She struggled against his grip. His familiar perfume made her pulse go really wild. What was wrong with her? She was now equally angry with herself too and lashed out, “If nothing works, bring it down to sex. Is that what your modus operandi is now?”
His grip relaxed but he didn’t let her go. “I have never been myself when I’m around you.” He trailed a finger from her cheek down to her throat.
She jerked her head away. “Great! So, blame everything on either Karishma or on me.”
To her surprise, he let her go. “Do you love him?”
“Do you really expect an answer to that question?” She glared at him. 
He sighed. “No. But I’m done with Karishma. I never realized she would go to this length to separate us. Radhika, pl—” Thankfully his phone rang, taking his attention off her, else his affectionate demeanor had begun to unnerve her.
She watched his back as he spoke over the phone about some case and she noticed his wrist that caused a memory to jiggle back into her head. He was wearing the watch she had gifted him on their honeymoon. She closed her eyes. Why was he doing this to her? Disrupting her life again with little gestures of affection. The way he had done in Panchgani—playing with the kids, going on treks with her, including her in the conversation with their grandmothers.
He concluded his call and turned around. “Listen Rads, this needs my attention. I have to go. But I’m not giving up. I’ll call you later, so please, do answer the phone.”
“I won’t.”
He smiled, a bit sadly and a bit in amusement, saluted her and left.


About the Author:
Author of the bestselling romantic thriller ‘The Bodyguard’, Ruchi Singh is an IT professional and novelist. Her other notable published novels are ‘Jugnu (Firefly)’ and ‘Guardian Angel’. Winner of TOI Write India Season 1, Ruchi also publishes short stories under Hearts and Hots’ series, besides being a contributing author to many anthologies. For more visit her Website.

Giveaway:

First Prize - A Kindle
Second Prize - 6 Months Kindle Unlimited Subscription

the Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, February 27, 2020

My Warmest Sorrow by Preethi Venugopala from Something Old, Something New - A DRA Production



Seven bestselling authors. Seven incredible second chance romances. One epic anthology. 

What would you do for another chance with the one you love? 

Something Old, Something New - a unique novella anthology - tries to answer this question with fantastic, different, desi dramas. 

Whether it is shapeshifters or shifting interracial relationships, single moms in small towns or rich alpha heroes, friends-to-lovers or passionate ex-husbands; this anthology has something for everyone. 
Something Old, Something New explores the many different facets of love, forgiveness, fated mates and more in seven, distinctly Indian tales!

My Warmest Sorrow by Preethi Venugopala

What would you do when you come face to face with your past? 


When Ajay, now an IAS officer, is added into his college WhatsApp group, he is welcomed warmly by all his classmates. Except by Diana.
Diana is still living with the repercussions of what had happened in the past. She is thrown into despair by Ajay's presence in the group. 
Diana and Ajay were inseparable while in college. Their relationship had transitioned from being best friends to love overnight. But then fate had intervened in the form of Diana's tyrant father who had separated them ruthlessly. 
Five years of silence has created a wall of sorrow between them. Their interactions in the class WhatsApp group are nothing like what they once used to be. Every moment is churning out more anguish and unpleasantness.
How much have they changed?
Is love still hiding underneath their public facades?
What are the lies they are hiding?

Read an Excerpt from My Warmest Sorrow


Diana had been online for the last hour. I had checked her last seen almost every hour obsessively. But she had gone offline without even writing a welcome message in the group. I had, in fact, hoped that she might send me a personal message. I felt crushed. No reaction from her even after reading about Anjali. Married life had certainly changed her. 

  I don’t know if meeting Avinash at the Delhi airport had been a stroke of good luck or bad luck. We had talked for just five minutes, but we had exchanged numbers. The next thing I know, I was added to the class WhatsApp group. My first instinct had been to quit. For sure, I would not be able to spend time chatting with friends once I joined work. I would be inundated with work. But the enthusiastic welcome of my former classmates and the humongous yearning to hear from Diana had made me stay put. 

Even hours after I joined, Diana hadn’t come online. Why I had saved her profile picture, I have no idea. Perhaps, old habits die hard. I still treasured all the pictures of us together. Even after I had decided to let go of the past and chase a happy, unappealing future, I couldn’t get myself to part with her photos. They were safe and secure in my cupboard at home in an album hidden at the bottom of an old trunk. Whenever memories came to haunt, I would pull out the old trunk and immerse myself in those memories. I wished I could do the same now. But here, in Mussoorie, where my training was coming to an end, all I owned were books and clothes. 

I turned to WhatsApp again and reread the one paragraph Ashima had written about Diana. To my dismay, she hadn’t mentioned if she had any kids yet. The only info was that she was now settled in Bangalore and worked in an international structural design firm. 
Bangalore! Was God being ruthless by throwing me again into her path? My first appointment after training was to be in Bangalore as SDM

At the time when I put down my options, it had seemed like a neutral place. I had not given Kerala as my first option because I didn’t want to run into old acquaintances, especially, I didn’t want to be anywhere near Diana. It had taken me years to forget her betrayal. 

I had quit my job and travelled the world after working for a year, looking for solace in strange places and people. I hadn’t even called home or kept in touch with my family regularly. But they knew, especially my mother, that I needed that break. After a quick trip through Europe, I had finally settled in Bali for a while. It was during that time that I began dreaming of becoming an IAS officer. I had become friends with a Malayalee IFS officer, Rajneesh, who worked at the Indian embassy there. Like me, he had been a civil engineer and he had become my guide. My initial aim was to take IFS and settle away from India. India still held painful memories. But when the results of the Civil Services examinations came, I was among the top 100 in the country. When he questioned my reluctance about taking IAS, I had told him the reason.

“Don’t let the past become your burden. It has already happened, right? Let it go. Build a bright future instead by accepting what God has bestowed on you. IAS is a dream not many achieve,” he had said.

From then on, I had begun to consciously give attention to my present and future instead of a long-gone past that carried along with it nothing but pain. Even though the urge to dig for information about Diana or search for her presence on social media raised its neck quite often, I forced myself to not to surrender to the need. 


About the Author:

Preethi Venugopala stepped into the world of words during a sabbatical from her hectic civil engineering job after the birth of her son. She began as a blogger and wrote fiction to pass time. Her debut novel ‘Without You’ came out in 2015 and was received well. She was then mentored by eminent author Anita Nair at her writing platform ‘Anitas Attic’ in 2016. Since then, she has published 7 novels on Amazon and more than 15 short stories in various anthologies and platforms.

Giveaway:
First Prize - A Kindle
Second Prize - 6 Months Kindle Unlimited Subscription

the Rafflecopter giveaway