August 17, 2012

A Magical Journey

My  late...late entry for the WHAT IF? Fairytale Madness BlogFest! 
·          Best Love Story

Sadat seemed pleased as he turned to me. His long, delicate fingers created butterflies in the air and as usual in my gut.
"The Sultan, may the merciful one give him long life, has agreed to annul our wedding. But..."
I knew it! The greedy, 'honey with noodles' loving character hadn't changed in all of my 17 years on this dwelling of humanity. 
Sadat, my gazelle eyed beauty, was harping about the other crook in our lives, his father - the vizier. 
"Two marble palaces with walls encrusted in precious stones?"  Did I hear that right? The ethical djinn world was restive as it is with the marked lack of Arab spring out here. 
Sometimes, I wish I hadn't found the lamp. At least, Jasmine was out of Sadat's life. What was she thinking, flirting with my boyfriend in a transparent two piece?...Shaitan forbid, even my djinn has picked up her silly song as his welcome tune. I linked my coarse, browner hand in Sadat’s and sighed...
His face was adorned by an enchanting smile that revealed his pearly whites. Time to wake up the 'A whole new world' guy.  Rubbing the magical lamp never felt so good.

"Well, well, well! What have we here?" Imhotep ran his fingers over this shiny, bald pate. The crystal had revealed more than he had hoped for. His naughty 'nephew' was alive and the magic lamp--so near and so far. His eyes took on a glassy look, his pupils dilated and he drew a sharp breath at the sight of the pretty boy seated next to the thief.
'The temple of Anubis would be barren without this jewel.' He rubbed his ring. 
“My Akka, your wish my command." 
“Kublai Khan's Palace,” resonated through the empty chamber.

*Shaitan - Satan *Akka - Master 
* Imhotep -  High Priest, Egyptian architect, engineer and physician elevated to demigod, given evil traits in novels and myths.  "A greedy immortal here".

*Kublai Khan - Grandson of Mongol Leader Genghis Khan, created the Yuan Dynasty of China and played host to the Italian traveller Marco Polo.

Wc 290
* Got tired of writing hetero romances...

August 12, 2012

A Kick Ass Conversation

As the Olympic Games 2012 drew to a close in the morning (IST) we close in on an author who's recently released book is set in the backdrop of the London Olympics. As a part of her month long blog tour she has consented to an interview in the dream chronicle.
The fear of getting kicked by a black belt in Wing Chun kung fu is a good antidote to flowery prose from my end. And our show begins without further delay...

She talks a bit on the characters and settings in the book:
 Are any of your main or supporting characters inspired from real life/ literature or are they purely products of imagination?
I think my characters are an amalgamation of the characters I meet everyday, with some fictional traits thrown in. Detective Kurt Lancer, for instance, was created to reflect the multi-ethnicity of modern London: a half-English, half-Nigerian police detective who grew up in the East End. To add further layers to his character, I gave him some complexities and almost conflicting traits: for instance, he practices Wing Chun kung fu, a ‘soft’ martial art, instead of relying on his considerable size and brawn in a fight.

 Does your martial arts knowledge get incorporated in the book in any form?
Yes! My protagonist, Detective Lancer, practices Wing Chun, the martial art I teach, and I have used some of my self-defence knowledge in writing a handful of fight scenes in the book.

 Is this a standalone novel or is there a planned series that follows?
I am currently working on a second book featuring Kurt Lancer. Hopefully good news for any Lancer fans. ;)

 For a peep into her writing techniques and habits: 
What kind of research was needed for the book?
Obviously, the majority of the research centred around the places near Olympic venues. Apart from that, I also researched the history and origins of the Games, a bit of Greek mythology, and (you’ll find out why when you read the book) death by electrocution in water, various medical conditions, and bomb-making. that last one most probably got me blacklisted by Homeland Security! :)

 How does the writing pan out? Is it slow draft and fast revisions or fast draft and slow revisions?
I’d say it was a slow draft and slow revisions! Although I believe revisions were easier and less painful because I’m a hard-core plotter: outlining the entire story before I begin writing minimises plot holes, so revisions are mainly a matter of correcting typos and rewording sentences.

You have written short stories, how easy or difficult is the transition to novels and back?
Short stories and novels are two completely different beasts. The straightforward plot allows me to write short stories without an outline, but with novels, I need an outline to help consolidate multiple sub-plots ... and to ensure I don’t accidentally give a blue-eyed character green eyes later on!

Now, treading carefully on personal ground ;)
Your book is scheduled to be released during the London Olympics. Do you plan to watch any of the events live or cheer the participants from the living room?
I did try to get tickets to some of the live events, but alas they sell out so quickly. :( So I’ll be cheering on my team from the comfort of my living room!

The book in question - Oracle
Oracle-FrontCover-500px.jpgWith London gearing up to host the Olympics, the city doesn't need a serial killer stalking the streets, but they've got one anyway.

Leaving a trail of brutal and bizarre murders, the police force is no closer to finding the latest psychopath than Detective Inspector Kurt Lancer is in finding a solution for his daughter's disability.

Thrust into the pressure cooker of a high profile case, the struggling single parent is wound tight as he tries to balance care of his own family with the safety of a growing population of potential victims.

One of whom could be his own daughter.

Fingers point in every direction as the public relations nightmare grows, and Lancer's only answer comes in the form of a single oak leaf left at each crime scene.
Purchase Links: Amazon US Amazon UK Barnes & Noble

About the Author
Author Photo 2 s.jpgJ.C. Martin is a butt-kicking bookworm: when she isn’t reading or writing, she teaches martial arts and self-defence to adults and children. 

After working in pharmaceutical research, then in education as a schoolteacher, she decided to put the following to good use: one, her 2nd degree black belt in Wing Chun kung fu; and two, her overwhelming need to write dark mysteries and gripping thrillers with a psychological slant. 

Her short stories have won various prizes and have been published in several anthologies. Oracle is her first novel.

Born and raised in Malaysia, J.C. now lives in south London with her husband and three dogs.
Contact: Website Blog | Twitter | Facebook

August 10, 2012

A Coincidence?

Time for another round of  RFW - Romatic Friday Writers

Challenge 42- I need a change.

I wandered into the balcony tempted by the cool breeze and the tantalising view of the golden sands. Sips of the invigorating cup of spiced tea while listening to the melody of the small town rousing itself from sleep formed my daily routine. I enjoyed hearing the slapping sounds of pigeons from adjacent cottages and the clanging horn of children’s bicycles as they passed by.
Peace proved elusive today and the noise grated on my nerves. This trip hadn’t turned out as well as I hoped, even my daughter’s imminent arrival from London failed to cheer me up.
His indifference hurts. It went back decades and I am used to it. Why did it nag me now?
Sundar is a liberal man, but his modernity extends to the children alone. For me, he is the husband cast in the mould of my father and grandfather before him. Disciplined men yet rigid in their set ways. My husband is in Singapore trying to solicit new customers for our knit wear factory.
 The textile industry has taken a hit given the global slowdown. With the high labour turnover and the power crisis in our state we may have a white elephant on our hands. The workers won’t be getting a bigger bonus, if they received one.
I took another sip and let out a sigh. I had an easy life. I shouldn’t be complaining.
He had been more enthusiastic than me over our ladies club’s week long sojourn to Goa. Why didn’t he take me with him? As the chief merchandiser, I could scout their retail markets while he attended the trader’s meet. I hadn’t visited our office in a month. The three projects on hand were on schedule, and the juniors competent enough to oversee the day to day activities. They kept me in the loop with emails and calls.
“Anita, a package for you.” My childhood friend, Dina‘s voice filtered through. Who could it be?
“Go on, open it.” My friend seemed to be onto the secret. “It from him,” she whispered.
What an age to turn romantic. Was my college sweetheart returned to me? I almost tore open the envelope in my haste.
 The papers fluttered down from my hands. My friend raced against the wind to retrieve them.
I watched, as her light coloured cheeks turned crimson. “Bastard,” was all I heard before my head hit the floor.

 Wc 400
 FCA - full critique acceptable

* Do visit on the 12th  to catch J.C Martin's, author of recently released mystery thriller Oracle, interview...there is a  Giveaway with three prizes for 3 winners that runs till Sept 2. 
August 08, 2012

RandomMusings For The Day #48

Now that the Mars Rover has landed and it time to rephrase the cliché : Curiosity kills the Little green men??
August 02, 2012

RakshaBandhan And IWSG - The Connection

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day for participating blog owners who may be professional or amateur writers. (All you need is the passion and output, published or not). Started by Alex Cavanaugh the author of the sci-fi space opera CassaStar and sequel CassaFire, it is a means for writers to talk about their fears big and small. It is also an opportunity to connect to other writers who may have conquered these or are sailing in the same insecure boat as you.

 Aug 2 2012 is Raksha Bandhan literally means bond of protection, a festival that celebrates the sacred bond between brothers and sisters - could be cousins even neighbours and friends for whom you feel a sibling like love.  It is famous in north and western India, the south has other names and rituals for the said concept. 
 The most famous of the origin stories that dates back to 1535 c.b.e is that of the Hindu widowed, Queen Karnavati of Chittor, who sent a silk, beaded thread to the Mughal Emperor Humayun, a Muslim, to save his "sister's" kingdom from the invasion of Bahadur Shah (ironically, another muslim ruler).  (I often wish that my right wing Indian brothers and sisters,  both majority Hindu and minority Muslim would look at the positive ascepts of our history and interactions). He  arrived a little late to save her life though he helped her son get back the throne, and that particular full moon day in August was celebrated as Raksha Bandhan. We even have a similar story of Alexandar's wife Roxanne and King Porus before the battle.

Growing up in Bombay, I first tied the thread to my brother's wrist as a 11 year old and then to my cousins living nearby. (Teenaged boys dread this day since the girl they like may end making them brothers, nipping the romance in the bud.) ;)

It's been 27 years that I have continued this practice and today, my IWSG post uses this aspect to show my heartfelt thanks for his support and encouragement.

To the one who had dreams and high hopes for his sister - personally and professionally,  
to one who sat in the balcony of our second floor flat in Bombay on a summer night, explaining to his (1.6 yrs younger) sister in layman terms why the sky we see is the past life of the Universe and why star trek is improbable if not outright impossible, 
to the elder brother who told his sis - it was ok for good Indian girls to be infatuated with their college mates - as long as it didn't affect her studies or she didn't act on it, 
to the then-recently married bro who accompanied her and attended all the meetings with her divorce lawyer, having been her confidant during the turbulent days of marriage, 
to one who encouraged her to get back to writing, who takes time out of his busy schedule as a management-software consultant to read and offer constructive feedback on every poem, story or non fictional writing she emails him, 
who reads her blog whenever he can, who dreams of seeing his sister as a published author, who hates her pessimistic and self doubting/pitying attitude...
thank you for the faith in me even though I have more failures and hardly any success in my tag sheet.
Happy Rakhi :)

Your motivation, support and confidence has rubbed on me, has made me stick to writing Your reward for now, this year:
A first draft of a 32000 word romance novella which I feel will be better as a short novel.
A free poetry and flash fiction book to be uploaded sometime in August/September. 
Creating my non-fiction writing pages at Squidoo and Hubpages.
Getting back to submitting to online mags from October onwards with fresh, better work.

Don't give up on me bro, I will try my very best to make the promise of treating you to a "veg meal" in the trendiest eating spot in Singapore or more likely Dubai (since it's one place you haven't visited yet) on my 45th bday, come true. :) (If my first book/collection ever gets traditionally published) 

* sorry for the saccharine sweetness of the post... :D
* my internet connection has been acting up, so I will be checking your blogs in the evening. :(
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