Showing posts with label Blogging rants. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blogging rants. Show all posts
June 05, 2013

Are You A Blog Rat?

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.

I won't be boring you with sad talks and usual insecurity rants.
My question is simple. Should you cut back on blogging or abandon it altogether? I haven't updated in a month, haven't done my rounds though I want to.
Starting today, I plan on just 2/3 posts a week one of which will be a book review. 
I am going to stick to a select group of old blogger friends and interact with new ones at memes and blog hops. 

Sounds like a good plan to me. What do you say?

Now for some sales talk. :) I am hosting an American soldier cum social worker based in Afghanistan on June 16th. We will be discussing her non fiction book based on her time there. Would love it if you could find time to visit and show your support and appreciation for her and others' efforts. to make a better world.

Until my next post and visit - Live Long and prosper.
April 03, 2013

C: Clarification, Conscience And Confidence - IWSG

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.

I ddin't join the A-Z bandwagon this year, not with the temperatures up in the 100s (37 C) and climbing. But, if I had, this would have been my entry for C. It could also fall under P:Paid reviewer.

C: Clarification Now, before you rush to the comment tab to bombard me with your opinions, hear me out, especially if your thoughts are in sync with this gentleman.

To read more on this, read this link

Yes, I have recently joined a company that pays me for reviewing books. And, no, it doesn't mean I will never review books for free as I won't be getting more than one or two assignments a month.
I will continue to do 4-5 free reviews every month, a review a week. I will stop reviewing for the said company the day they they ask me to pad up my reviews. I have been honest all my life and I am not going to sell my conscience for a few dollars.

C: Conscience
Those who have been with me on this blogging journey know me fairly well. Those who have read my reviews know that they are detailed analysis of the book in question with my inputs as a reader. When I joined this book review group, I had some questions twirling in my mind.

My checklist was :
Will I be allowed to post honest, unbiased reviews? Yes.
Will I be expected to bluff and fluff up my review? No.
Will my review be worth the money? Yes. The authors may differ on this, but my reviews are as detailed and honest as before and long ones too.

The Company's FAQ

What do you guarantee?

We are going to monitor the site and we randomly select reviewers to monitor and track their jobs and check quality of reviewers if they don't get the reviews in a timely fashion.
We want to be clear that we do not guarantee a positive review. In no way will we tell the reviewer what to write. We want our reviewers to have the freedom to be honest and xxxxx will not work under unethical conditions. Also, we can't guarantee a 5 star review. We ask the reviewer to give their own personal thoughts and opinions of what they read. Remember, it may not be exactly what you wanted or expected but it will be from your reading audience. Honest reviews go much further with the readers than a fluffy, raving review. You can earn our "seal" of approval on your book when the reviewer rates it with 5 stars. Our seal can be used on the author's site or blog or be posted directly on your review.
We do not assign books to the reviewers; you choose the reviewer to review your book(s). Carefully evaluate the reviewers, look at their prior reviews and check out what they like to read to ensure it's a perfect match. If you have questions, you can send them a message on the portal. Reviewers have been encouraged to keep an unbiased outlook on all reviews.
xxxxx highly recommends you ensure the reviewer will be a "good fit" for your book by reading their bios and looking at their samples thoroughly.

C: Confidence

What are the benefits of entering a controversial arena? 
Kirkus's paid freelance reviewers and paid newspaper reviewers are respected but not an individual reviewer who  rarely finds opportunities to be compensated for  the time and effort spent reading books, and some really bad ones at times.

I get paid for doing something I like, something that keeps me mentally stimulated.
I get a entire day off from writing blog posts and web articles for money - to read other books  and my own collection - and provide free reviews for bloggers, indie authors who can't pay, with two such reviews - as an Indian earning in dollars.

It may not be Kirkus or Publishers Weekly that I am working with; it isn't even 1/10 th of what they charge an indie author for a negative, bashing blurb they call reviews. What it does is supplement my income, and keeps my insomniac mind at ease knowing that neither am I a generic five-stars-for-all-books kind of reviewer nor a sock-puppet for an author bashing up another's book.

Don't believe that honest paid reviews are possible, just wait till my review gets posted.

The only thing I can guarantee with both types of reviews is that the book will be read without any bias. Free reviews of three stars and above will  continue to get posted within one-three months on this blog, and I will continue to beta read when asked to and have no time constraints. 

PS: Did you know which one of my review samples got me this assignment - my review on CassaStar.

If you choose to unfollow me or stop visiting my blog, you are free to do so.
March 07, 2013

Time And Tide Wait Not For This One - IWSG

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.

My insecurity is a simple one - a race against time that seems to move in just one direction - forward - atleast in our space dimensions. 
There are dozens of stories floating in my head with little time to capture them all. I don't quite know how others manage it, juggling so many different roles in life.

 I work from home, am single with limited social obligations/opportunities, and yet, I can't seem to find time to put together a small book. When I do make time for the stories that my heart longs to reveal, I end up with a blank page.

Do I deserve to be called a creative writer when I have hardly written in the last six months? Poetry has eloped from my mind garden with Dreamer. I see her sometimes, just a wisp of thin air that drifts away when I utter her name.

Is time alone to blame or is there a dark force at work that I am blissfully unaware of?
So many questions and fewer minutes to answer them.
February 06, 2013

Writer's block or Writer bollocks- IWSG

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.

A month has passed since I lasted updated this site and Google gave me a thumbs down for my so called writer's block - they called out on my bollocks (bullocks if that makes you feel less threatened) by downgrading my page rank from 3 to 2. Not that I mind, as this blog was a personal outlet for anger and frustration - which turned into a sort of showcase for my limited talent. Just that the freelance writer can no longer point out, with a fair amount of pride, to this beautiful home production on professional networks for quite a while.

Which brings us to the moot question, does writer's block really exist or it just an imagined state of mind used as an unwilling, unwitting scapegoat to cover up our laziness or preoccupation with other areas of life?

Can't I just say, I am so tired from writing crap copy for little more than peanuts, maybe dates, that my brain pretends to have a stroke when it comes updating this blog, forget about working on my fiction or poetry?
Truth be told, I have been missing this baby like a heroin addict just out of a failed rehab effort. While writing in isolation is still mandatory, blogging in isolation is no longer an option, not when I have a supportive community of writers that I call friends.

Relocating from cool Bangalore to pleasant for now Chennai hasn't been easy either, more withdrawal symptoms and then the farewell gift - finding that your best friend from college no longer wants to meet you in person.
The questions come pouring in, do my blog friends want to me meet me via these pages, do my characters miss me, and then Eureka, it hits I miss all this?

I do, I do and so...before I chase you away, there is no writing block, not for me, just a matter of carving an hour or two and  pressing some buttons or keystrokes till something gives. A blog schedule helps too as does creating this toon...

July 04, 2012

A Book Review And the Gut Wrenching Question - IWSG

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.

Today's post is a wee bit different. In keeping with the July 4th fireworks, a book review of the Ninja Captain's CassaStar and the introspective question that results. 

(Book one of the CassaTrilogy)
Publishers -  Dancing Lemur Press
Genre - Speculative Fiction - Soft Science Fiction - Space Opera
Ebook - Novel - Paperback - 246 pages 
Price Rs 731 - 800 (Actual Rs 914) /$15.95  - $10.00
Available at Amazon Kindle Store and Flipkart(India)/IndiaTimesShopping

To pilot the fleet’s finest ship…
Few options remain for Byron. A talented but stubborn young man with a troubled past and rebellious attitude, his cockpit skills are his only hope. Slated to train as a Cosbolt fighter pilot, Byron is determined to prove his worth and begin a new life as he sets off for the moon base of Guaard. 

Much to Byron’s chagrin the toughest instructor in the fleet takes notice of the young pilot. Haunted by a past tragedy, Bassa eventually sees through Byron's tough exterior and insolence. When a secret talent is revealed during training, Bassa feels compelled to help Byron achieve his full potential.
As war brews on the edge of space, time is running short. Byron requires a navigator of exceptional quality to survive, and Bassa must make a decision that could well decide the fate of both men. Will their skills be enough as they embark on a mission that may stretch their abilities to the limit?

This is the first book in the series by Author and fellow blogger Alex Cavanaugh and works as a standalone novel.
The story is set in a far away, unnamed galaxy and revolves around a small, elite group of fighter pilots from the planetary race of Casaans. It focuses primarily on the training and inter relations between the pilots and their navigators, and in turn with their mentors.

The concept of advanced  mind powers and the ability to to enhance their flying skills is intriguing. It opens up a whole lot of possibilities in the application of the same in other areas of their life, something I am hoping is explored in the other books in the series.

The protagonist, Byron, whose attitude and behaviour often puts him at odds with those around him, possesses the said ability in its rarer state. His journey to the elite training camp at the remote moon base, his interactions with his navigator cum friend and instructor turned mentor help in his coming out of social isolation, albeit slowly. His flying abilities and new found temperament are further tested during the first assignment which finds him in the midst of an escalating war at the edges of their space. 

The story has been crafted with care, the technology not too far fetched, and the world though alien is painted with human like qualities and emotions. Friendship, trust, courage and belief in each other forms the crux of the story. The training scenes are well drawn and the few battle scenes are gripping. The final battle is reminiscent of Star Wars and the like.

My major grouse is the lack of female characters which I understand has been addressed in the next book CassaFire. 
Believable characters and scenarios make it a pleasant, fast read. 
The dialogue was stilted and formal in places but I construed it as to be peculiarity of that race. 

While the story doesn't offer much in terms of technology and world descriptions, and thus may not find favour with hard core science fiction fans, it's a well written tale appealing to readers of character driven plot lines, first timers to the genre, and fans of young adult fiction.

As an avid science fiction reader of both the soft and hard (I may not always understand the intricacies and theories) science varieties, and someone who prefers exploration and invention  to military action and description, I found CassaStar a pleasurable read. 
For the writing, the characters and the interesting premise, I give this a between 3.5 and 4 star rating.

Personal Disclaimer: This book was an original purchase used for the purpose of review, hence the post in entirety is my basic impression after reading the book. It is not based on intervention by the author or publishing house.

My IWSG question for the month. Forget the support system, the audience, the sales, will my debut book be as well crafted and interesting??

  Happy summer to many, happy autumn to a few and happy delayed monsoon to the rest. :)
May 16, 2012

Light Hearted Magick?

She giggled...Neeta struggled to keep a straight face lest they draw attention to themselves.
Zack frowned, his irritation increasing with every passing minute. He could barely wait for the demo session to end.

Cathy, awaiting her turn, tried to catch their attention, her efforts only drawing puzzled looks from the twins seated behind them.
"Is something wrong with your eyes?" one asked 
When she didn’t respond “Trying to seduce my little brother, are we?"
'Little?' sizing up the boy who needed an entire bench to stretch his never ending limbs.
"That must be understatement of the century" with a quiet chuckle.
"Shut up jokers!" the other one hissed,
"I'll turn you both into bats if I get pulled up this time."
They glared at him, about to resort when she giggled again.

Zack got up in a huff only to freeze in place. Her warm hands pulling him back never failed to elicit the familiar response. Small, almost black eyes reprimanded him for breaking their contact abruptly.
Master, who had ignored them all this while was now forced to acknowledge the distraction from the eastern end of the chamber. He was aware of every thought, hushed whispers or otherwise. Faced with no other viable option, squelching the rumours that questioned his authority was a priority.  The first step towards the goal demanded that they be punished.
Pity, the girls were his best friend's nieces. Reluctantly, he called the three of them over.

Zack wasn't sure he could keep himself from casting the 'bent back' hex on the girls, seeing their calm, detached expressions. He didn't want to, not her anyway. He was pleasantly surprised when Master handed them the after session chores.
Planting seeds, magical ones at that was boring but not hard.

The sulking part of him did not share in his relief. This is not we had planned. The reminder was dampener on his spirits. He had volunteered to be the telepathic medium for the girls with an ulterior motive...a desperate need to find a clue, a confirmation of her interest in him. And here they were, digging up the soil with dancing hands, where he could have been plotting his next move with the guys. He didn't find his love for the 'flying ducks' night suit funny, she obviously did.


Today is  International Flash Fiction Day in the U.K...decided to post my fiction here and not on their site. You can check the other fantastic stories here.

* I got into Pottermore this week...a cute, interactive site. And while I received an Alder-Phoenix...they sorted me into bloody Gryffindor. I wanted to join Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff since we all know enough about the red house. Incidentally, I was put in a red house during my schooling years till 10th grade. I always envied my bro's blue badge.

* My nephews are turning up next week...surprise, as my bro is off to London for two weeks and the elder one has summer vacation till June 13. So June 4 is the only day I will be posting during the first week. I will be using my birthday to thank the bloggers/ettes whose awards I still have to acknowledge and pass on to the rest of you. Do visit the post, as I will be passing on certain awards.

* Any comments on the story welcome, but polite put downs please.
April 04, 2012

Declining, The Better Way? Disinclination - Worrying Factor? - IWSG

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.

No cartoons this time, humour may or may not make an appearance. I started writing again 1 1/2 years ago. Happy to post my best pieces (you can beg to differ, no sweat) on my blog, being new to the chances in the publishing world, especially online. I realised albeit 5 months back, in Nov 11 that the tiny (OK, huge, colossal...I get the point) lack of knowledge meant that 75% of my work is now unfit for online publication, even if less than a dozen souls have read each of the works. 
Then I wrote some more,  submitted, followed by the rejections. Most were standard - we can't use it now, doesn't fit  in our style and so on kinds. The first one in Dec 11 made me cry for an hour...but the thick skin developed over time. 
Until two things happened, back to back.
 A poetry of mine got brutally dissected by three editors of an Ezine with comments like too general, can't understand the point, unreadable style.

Silent prayers for
success that eludes.
Journey back and forth
on an ever changing road.
Doing whatever it takes
to make time stop still,
if only for a few moments
to gather baggage and quilt.
Trudge across the finishing line,
the one, that loves playing vile tricks,
further down the road, it forever, spins.
Proclaim myself victorious,
to find, obstacles strewn across, 
newer, stronger, unexpected
Blasphemous messages to ancestors gone,
The mocking Gods roll over in mirth,
pointing at this "puny human" in distress.

Then a unfamiliar blogger writer added insult to injury by not just calling out to my punctuation (that's fine, I look out for genuine critique anyway) but dissed my self respect by sending me, without the courtesy of prior intimation, a 'not asked for' ebook on punctuation along with a left-handed compliment.
 I may be a struggling writer even a bad one but I can buy my own books, thank you!
Free books, good ones, I love them, who doesn't? - but that's what giveaways, contests, review forums, author approved/publisher or site sponsored  'free book' promotions are for.

Strangely, both have made me question my writing skills. As of now, I write because it's literally my lifeline in a lonely world, but publication is no longer my goal. 
 Which brings us to the title, is it better to get standard rejections? Is disinclination a death knell for my passion?

On the bright side, I am still going to create a free Smashwords chapbook of some my poetry pieces in June as a birthday gift to myself.
Much brighter, I am slowly getting out of the anaemic phase with my haemoglobin count going up. Hopefully, the clean bill of health, the magical 11.5 will come in a couple of months. Till then, my parents will have to bear the tired, irritable, forgetful Rek.
 Till then, my sensitive stomach will have to put with the iron and folate pills...sigh.
The brightest, next month's  IWSG will see a positive post, even a humourous one if I can pull it.

For the ones who still visit , a self created joke - do pamper the sick even if it isn't funny...
Why would vampires avoid the 'synthesised blood' banks?
 They prefer the organic variety to plastic.

March 20, 2012

A Race To Live Or Ruin - A Book Review

The Curse Of Gremdon - Ciara Knight
Genre - Speculative Fiction - Fantasy/ Adult Fiction
Novel - 282 pages, Price $ 7.99
Available at Amazon Kindle Store


In a world where marriage is forbidden, sex is only granted to male warriors, and the outer realm is full of murderous creatures, Arianna fights to protect the life of her only living relative, her brother.Tardon, an elite warrior, is granted anything he desires by the Elders, but finds little joy in the voluptuous women presented to him. Born for the bloodlust found only in battle, complicated emotions emerge when he discovers his equal in the alluring warrior, Arianna. Charged by the Elders with saving the castle from  attack, Tardon and Arianna risk the curse when they traverse the vast outer realm to retrieve serum from the Tree of Life. If successful, the Elders have promised Tardon the right to marry and Arianna the cure for her brother’s death fever. Will their love carry them through or will the discovery of a great deception be their ultimate demise

This is a fantasy set in the kingdom of Gremdon, basically a sword and sorcery style of story telling. The magic is not visible in daily life and yet is very much there in the background, playing a crucial part.
I liked the author's focus on the two main characters, elite warriors Arianna and Tardon allowing the readers to explore their interaction, romantic and otherwise. The world around them is created with painstaking detail and clarity that one feels a part of the narrative.
 The secondary characters are well developed and some of them linger on after the ending. Ex Warrior Saldor's feelings for Arianna vacillating between friendship and love, her brother's natural affinity towards the deprived and troubled, the enforcers and the apprentice's penchant for using their powers to control and subjugate enhance the progression of the story.
Despite the romantic tension, its not all rosy and their task to retrieve the sap from the tree of life is beset with obstacles and live threatening dangers.
 Though it does drag a bit in the beginning, it picks up pace fast enough. The twist and turns keeps one engrossed and at the edge of the seat unable to predict what comes next.
The superb twist in the end really catches the reader unawares, though the author leaves subtle hints throughout the book.
Some may find the dark, shadowy world a bit sexist with the male warriors being pampered by the Elders. Arianna is the only female warrior  where most of the women are engaged in other activities. But  this only makes the Elders ruled world that much more realistic.
There are strong romantic scenes which fall in the spicy category of romance rating - Sweet -> Hot -> Spicy.
I give this a 4.5/5 rating.
I recommend this enjoyable read to all fantasy lovers looking for a tale well told and surprisingly different.

I received a copy for review through the group Knights of the Round Table on Goodreads. 

Personal Disclaimer: Though this book was a free copy received for the purpose of review, the post in entirety is my basic impression after reading the book twice. It is not based on intervention by the author, publishing house or the book forum. 
March 07, 2012

Keeping Up On Writing Track Woes! - IWSG

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 just released 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.

Last week, at around 4 p.m  as I was dozing (almost) next to my desktop, when I was supposed to be fleshing out my characters, I was mauled...
They came with their gamma ray projectiles, their mind curses, their wails and tears, swords and bombs, acid dripping words, threatening to freeze my bank account (word bank).

I am a Ninja only in name, I could fend off a lean guy with a stout stick at the most, but them with an armoury that would make not just the Indian Army but the Western ones hang their heads in shame...not a chance in the universe.

Have you ever faced a 'characters assault'? Found yourself with fingers in too many pies unable to do justice to all?
Do you start a new story just to abandon it half way through, promising to come back when better plot lines and scenes surface?
Wake up one day; to realise your collections are only 3/4 complete and need to move your butt to have them ready, edited, embellished in a few months time?

Is it just a Gemini, there, everywhere, not a moment to spare...worse still, unfinished tales to sell?

March 05, 2012

A to Z Video And A Parting Shot

This is my entry for the video contest that serves as an appetiser before the main course of the A-Z challenge.
The blogfest, third year in running demands just two things:

A Prepare 26 posts for 26 consecutive days (except Sundays) based on the 26 alphabets in the English language.
Can be any topic in line with your usual posts or a particular area of interest like music, book, movies, sports, art, science, religion even your photographs, artwork, poetry and flash fiction (anything P.G rated, non racial and inoffensive).

B Comment on as many fellow A-Zers as you can or wish to, at least a dozen a day since there were over 1500 participants last time and may be more this time.

A great way to have fun, get out of the writing rut and make new friends, some of last year's A-Z friends still visit my blog. To join click on this Link on or before 31 March - A-Z Challenge

Now for Jenny Matlock's Saturday Centus...I missed it for almost a month.
Fellow Centusians have tolerated my crazy love for mixing challenges/ do bear with me as my centus is based on this first uploaded YouTube video of mine.

For Saturday Centus at Jenny Matlock's blog...any genre, P.G as far as possible, not to exceed 100 words excluding the prompt in bold. Based on the given picture, this time permission to add as many pictures granted.
Check the other adieus there.

She sifted through the growing collection, the idea slowing taking shape.
As she glanced at them, some evoked forgotten memories, some an unplanned smile, some leaving her feeling nostalgic and sad. Their expressions, bright colours, careful outlines were indeed deserving of more curious eyes, inquisitive minds.
It took her all day to choose the final pieces, yet some would not make it to the board. They would be discarded, often without a second thought.
After much chopping and crafting, were ready, each one decked in complimentary accessories.
It was time to create a video out of them and yet…saying goodbye was harder than she thought...

February 28, 2012

Cassafire Book Release party

 Catch Fire! Blog Party

Rek click on the play button to hear my, less than a minute speech.
 (And Alex, since you asked...that childish voice is definitely mine!) :P

Cassafire, the second book in the space opera trilogy by Ninja Captain and a very supportive fellow blogger Alex Cavanaugh releases today.

There is a blog tour, which runs from February 27 through March 9 – and anyone who comments on his blog posts during that time can win a special package from his publisher: a copy of both CassaFire and CassaStar, a large tote bag, and a mug.

And remember, don't make too much noise or get too friendly in the first meeting, our hero Byron loves his privacy...and he likes intelligence in a person, so go easy on the make up and high heels, they won't get you past the chip on his shoulder. 
How do I know? Elementary Telepathy!!  My Dear Watson.  ;) 

Alex , the author on the other hand, works in web design and graphics and is friendly. He has also worked with an adult literacy programme for a number of cool is that??
He loves to review movies and music on his blog and spent countless hours visiting other blogs. 
 He co-hosts a number of blogfests, the latest being the A-Z challenge in April and created the IWSG - the insecure writer's support group where writers and authors crib and lend a hand every month.
A self confessed Sci-Fi fan who is said to play a mean guitar and "looking around before whispering in your ear'" has a hopeless crush on Kate Beckinsale (yes, the Underworld babe).

 I started following his blog after last year's stalking of his blog posts process reminds me of Edward and Bella with roles reversed. But I don't blink and bite my lips incessantly nor does Guruji 'Sparkle' or do skycraper jumps (correct me if I am wrong).The misfit lurking on a successful author and blogger's cyberspace. It took me almost the end of last year to start commenting, and his responses helped me connect with the other heavyweights around and really enjoy the process of blogging. So I owe you and many others a vote of thanks for the dose of confidence.

Moving on to the matter at hand, a written and virtual tour of his current book-----

CassaFire by Alex J Cavanaugh.JPGA blurb of the book :

by Alex J. Cavanaugh

CassaStar was just the beginning…

The Vindicarn War is a distant memory and Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters are over. He has kept the promise he made to his fallen mentor and friend - to probe space on an exploration vessel. Shuttle work is dull, but it’s a free and solitary existence. The senior officer is content with his life aboard the Rennather.

The detection of alien ruins sends the exploration ship to the distant planet of Tgren. If their scientists can decipher the language, they can unlock the secrets of this device. Is it a key to the Tgren’s civilization or a weapon of unimaginable power? Tensions mount as their new allies are suspicious of the Cassan’s technology and strange mental abilities. 

To complicate matters, the Tgrens are showing signs of mental powers themselves; the strongest of which belongs to a pilot named Athee, a woman whose skills rival Byron’s unique abilities. Forced to train her mind and further develop her flying aptitude, he finds his patience strained. Add a reluctant friendship with a young scientist, and he feels invaded on every level. All Byron wanted was his privacy…

Science fiction - space opera/adventure
 $15.95,  paperback, 240 pages
EBook $4.99, available in all formats

Available at
Barnes and Noble - Cassafire
Amazon                -  Cassafire
Amazon Kindle     -  Cassafire

 A trailer of what you can expect from the book :

February 27, 2012

Evil Genius Blogfest

The Eagle's Aerial Perspective aka Golden Eagle turns two years old today!

 A flash fiction blogfest to celebrate the occasion...check the others there and vote for me if you like.
On the other hand forget entry gets lost among the writer crowds.

Create a story, in any format whether that's flash fiction or poetry, where the aforementioned character does something qualifying them as an evil genius. You can also choose an already-existing person, perhaps from one of your favorite books or movies--just tell us why you think they're the best.

He paced across the floor, impatiently awaiting the messenger’s return.
‘The fool of an imp must have left the mansion four hours ago, can’t these useless fools do one thing right?’
He dismissed his personal aide with a flick of the hand, causing the poor creature to crash onto the cold stone floor outside the room.
The crystal revealed nothing as yet.
‘The ancients had set strong wards…but not for long.’
The curse was almost ready. The final words of the mantra left, to be uttered on the blue moon night, two days hence.
Hidden by him in the old walls 150 years ago, it slumbered waiting the unleashing of its dark potency.
“Only the mad bat knows where…”
He chuckled loudly, scaring the Bagoons in the cages.
She had played her part well, all these years, and would soon be rewarded for her loyalty.
They would be ‘The Lord of the lands and his consort.’ with all the high born crushed under his heels.
The Council had exiled him over his dark aides as they called them. In reality, he knew that they were scared and envious of his newly acquired powers. The spineless cowards had been unwilling to break the ancient oath and grab at everlasting glory, proclaiming truth and light as the greatest gifts.
‘He would show them the meaning of greatness, true power.’
 A scrap at the open roof grabbed his attention, the vulture glided down, encircling the clustered room.
Casting a quick, non verbal spell; transformed the scavenger into the hideous shape of his slave.
Trembling hands handed him the silk scroll wrapped up in protective Kusha grass.
‘Remove the grass blanket!’ he thundered, pulling away his hand as though it had been singed.
If things went well, the hated Charis’, Shaks’ and Warriers’, in particular, would be graced by an ancient visitor on the next moonless night. The Green Dew would bring with it, this time, the Elder Borns’ decimation. 

Evil Genius

WC 327

* The villain from my Fantasy WIP- Restless, who won't appear before 20000 words at least.
* The story is basically set in India, loosely based on Indian Vedic magic and Arabic Magic.

February 25, 2012

A Review Of A Survivor's Struggle To Live

Cat And The Dreamer - Annalisa Crawford
Vagabondage Press
Genre - Contemporary/ New Adult/ Realistic/ Women Fiction
Novelette - 22000 words, Price $ 2.99
Available at Amazon Kindle Store
Barnes and Noble Nookbooks
Google Books/eBooks

A surivor

Today, I am reviewing 'Cat and The Dreamer', a novelette (though Wiki says its word count makes it a novella), a give away on a guest blog post. Technicalities aside, a contemporary + realistic women fiction as this blurb goes:

As a teenager, Julia survived a suicide pact, while her best friend, Rachel, died. Julia’s only escape from her guilt, and her mother’s over-protection, is her imagination. When Adam arrives in the office, Julia’s world takes a startling turn as she realises reality can be much more fun than fantasy.
Finally she has someone who can help her make the most of her life.
But can she allow herself to be truly happy?

The book is basically a first person narration by, the then 15 and now 29 year old survivor Julia, on life as it is now. 
It's a poignant, raw and very hard hitting portrayal of a woman trapped in a teenager's mind, who struggles her way through the art of living.
 The ghosts of the past, over protective parents and bullying co workers make it thrice as difficult to taste freedom of a normal life.
Adding to this deadly potion are her own fears and her penchant of seeking refuge in the dream world, she often inhabits. They resurface when her knight in shining armour Adam, literally rides his way through her office and personal life.
Will his protection and love be enough for Julia to start anew? Read it to find out...

I loved the wordplay, realistic conversations and the process of Julia's slow awakening to reality and freedom.
The book deals with the effects of bullying on young minds, covertly which works for it.
The supporting cast of Adam was most likeable, Cat made a good antagonist and the parents could move you to pity or anger depending on your my case they invoked both pity and a little resentment.

My only grouse is the length of the work which leaves you wanting to know more of Julia and  specially Adam.
An excellent choice for reading on a weekend that gets a 4.5 out of 5 rating from me...and of course, having a hardy heart goes without saying.

February 21, 2012

Nostalgia Attacks The Campus - A Book Review

Down The Road - Edited By Ahmed Faiyaz And Rohini Kejriwal
 Grey Oak Publications
 Genre - Contemporary Fiction - Short Story Anthology (28 stories by 16 authors)
 Paperback, Pages 216, Price  INR 195 
 (Currently for sale only in the Indian Sub-continent)

This collection takes a trip down memory lane into the campus experiences both high school and college.  Not  just about 'a carefree life and fun times' as many parents believe but also a journey through the pains and trials of soon to be grown ups.
As the blurb says:
An exciting and eclectic collection of short stories that bring out all those memories - unforgettable, warm, thrilling and at times embarrassing - of life and the times in school and college campuses.

The stories are broadly dived into four sections. The first category “Attendance Is Compulsary” deals with antics both within and outside the high school classroom. Most of these deal with teenage crushes and romances, some in a breezy manner with a quirky ending that made me do a high five like ‘Down The Road’ by Ahmed Faiyaz. A couple like ‘Rishi And Me’ by Ira Trivedi and ‘Sororicide’ By Paritosh Uttam twisted and pulled at the heart strings.

 The second grouping “Festivals, Elections And Placements” as the title suggests deal with other aspects of campus life. Some like the tale ending of ‘ Loves Me, Loves Me Not’ by Vibha Batra that made me laugh, ‘Between Friends’ By Paritosh Uttam which had me cringing. ‘The Cafe With No Name’ by Sneh Thakur, the endearing story that reminded me of the Irani cafes with their bun maska and chai that once dotted the Mumbai landscape. And the ‘Setting’ by Ahmed Faiyaz the brilliant, twisted ending of which, had me commiserating.

Further down the pages, “Lights Out” deal with the end of the golden days and career beginnings. Here ‘The Worm That Turned’ by Malathi Jaykumar was a inspiring read albeit the embarrassing beginning. Short and hard hitting ‘Bellow Yellow’ by Chinmayi Bali raised uncomfortable questions. 

The final section “Looking Back”  literally has, now well established  protagonists turning back to individuals from the school, who made a difference in their lives.Of these, the thought provoking 'Strangers In Strange Places'by Abhijit Bhaduri struck a chord. I enjoyed the very different read ‘Accidental Start’ By Kunal Dhabalia as well as the cheeky 'Remember Me' by Ahmed Faiyaz.
I found interesting, the well researched,  finale essays ‘Fiction On Campus’ by Sonia Safri and ‘Bollywood On Campus’ by Aseem Rastogi.

I loved the quirky, twisted endings which leaves room for possibilities an imaginative brain can explore.
I also loved the use of realistic settings and reactions which give many of the stories that personal touch.
Each of the author has a distinct writing style and some managed different writing voices effortlessly.

A major grouse I have with a few of the stories was the abrupt ending. A couple of them felt, with due respect, written by those who love to hoard their words rather than let them out. In some cases, I am sort of  unhappy with the stories, for the simple reason 'I didn't want them to end'. 

 Since this not the first publication for many of the authors, they have seemingly honed their craft to capture the moments with candid humour, subtle sarcasm, often exploring painful emotions with raw honesty. The conversationalist styles of most of the works coupled with  fast paced story lines makes for a quick, entertaining read. It earns in my capacity as a reviewer a 4.5 out of 5 rating.

I would recommend this collection for any one looking for  good stories well told, who want a fictional rendition of their own personal experiences. Not a heavy duty anthology though some of them would fall into that category.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.comParticipate now to get free books!

 Personal Disclaimer: Though this Collection was a free copy received for the purpose of review, the post in entirety is my basic impression after reading the book twice. It is not based on intervention by the authors, editors, publishing house or the blogging forum.

Other Books
A bloggette friend Annalisa Crawford has released  Cat & the Dreamer in the Genre: Contemporary Women / New Adult . Available from Amazon, B&N, and other places.
Here for links.  Do check it out.
Since I won her E book Novella at a blog guest review will be up this Friday or Saturday.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...