December 05, 2012

IWSG - A Rejuvenated ME

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 first post in over two months.

No insecurities just some blog changes given my two year journey.
I am at a better place than I was when I started out two years ago, I have never written more words- fiction or otherwise even in my so called heydays or heady youthful days.

I no longer fervently aspire to get some hard nosed Ezine to publish my work or despair at my lack of productivity in terms of a published book.

I am publishing, and on my blog (full creative control, if you ask me). I hope to make it a proper outlet with a domain name et al...have more guests telling their stories, doing more book reviews and goofy/smart musings on the quirks of life and thought.

Enjoy this Bangalore Sunset while you are here.

Thanks to everyone here who made me feel special...this blog will go on as long as I can write words and entice or entrap a few visitors along the way. ;P

September 14, 2012

Magic Realism And Three Women - A Review

Fractured LegendFractured Legends -  Kranthi Askani
Publishers - APK Publisher
Genre - Speculative fiction - Contemporary fantasy - magic realism - women's fiction
Novel - Paperback - 200  Pages
Price: Rs 192
Available at  (India)

We are like the moths that follow invisible spiral loops to go round and round a flickering flame before jumping into the center leaving in their wake, a glowing red sore in the eye of the flame,” says the narrator, a temple slave. Priyambada makes up her mind to leave the temple where she melt into flesh at night and froze into statue by the morning. She renounces her immortal chalices, the temple facades, for a mortal life, for a life in flesh... But the tangles of life in flesh – marriage and bearing children – thrust her into a world of tribulations that cast her off into the past, sealed past, frozen past...
Nandhini, a professional assassin, is plagued by an assignment to retrieve a mysterious manuscript that is smeared with a rope of blood across its pages. She finds herself in the midst of a complex game of deceit and rivalry between two factions... Pravalli is drafting a very long letter to her mother. She is grieving, glowering, repenting, atoning....
Fractured Legend is the story of these three women who are sailing away from their turbulent pasts, the denouement puzzlingly curling them all together into one tight ribbon of hope...

This narrative follows the lives of three women - Priyambada who as a temple slave is immortal, but forgoes it for a human life and goes through the cycle of marriage & childbirth. Though she can't make a clear break from her past; she is happy in her new life. Nandhini is a trained assassin eliminating people for a price. She is entrapped by a close relative to kill someone related to her job, and for the first time in her life wonders at the futility of it all. Pravalli, on the other hand, is estranged from her mother Priyamvada over the secrets of the past, and is writing a letter of forgiveness and trying to come in terms with her mother's behaviour. The story progresses through the eyes, actions and reactions of the three female protagonists.

I liked the use of magic realism to get the tale across. That the book is based on a female perspective focusing on the trials and tribulations of Indian women (some of these aspects have universal connotation) makes it interesting enough to plow through the slow first 1/3 of the book.

The author had tried to portray the heroines (each of them is one in their own right) in a humane, understanding and empathic manner. He has attempted to infuse a vintage feel to the grey of contemporary realities. The concept is intriguing enough, and comes as breath of fresh air among all the college romances and chick-lits floating on the Indian book scene. It shows a side of India, applicable to many regions of the world, where women are struggling to assert themselves, while being bound to often well meaning but grossly misused traditions and customs.

 If you can leave aside all rational expectations of the world we inhabit, the book has the ability to move you with the sadness, pain and loneliness of the three women. The secondary characters, especially the husband - Priyamvada’s and son - Nandhini’s stand out, though their presence in the book is limited. The women move back and forth through their memories, dream a lot and often traverse between the real and surreal world. The author has left us with an open ended story, maybe a sequel is in line. 

 On the flip side, the author uses a dry narrative style of storytelling throughout the novel. The lack of dialogues makes it a very distracting read. For someone used to books, even long winded classic ones, with flowing conversations, this can be a difficult book to attempt and read through. The sentence structure  is awkward, and the overuse of adjectives and adverbs could have been avoided.

I am not sure I could recommend this book to a reader in its current version despite descriptive and detailed analysis of the lives of contemporary women and use of magic realism. A major review of the language usage and a rewrite would do wonders for this book. 

I would give this book a 3/5 rating basically for the debut effort, for attempting a book without the prejudices of the male point of view and for choosing a difficult women's related story.

Personal Disclaimer: This book was recieved 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, publishing house or the blog review forum.
September 08, 2012

One Sigh Too Many

 I forgot my IWSG post this month, and I almost forgot this...having been away from my blog for over two weeks. 

 Before I proceed my Friday Guest post at Misha Gericke's  Blog - guest post friday-rekha seshadri.html. Do  check it out. My first one. :)

RFW Challenge No 44 for Featured Writer/Runner Up titles . Post Any genre, any POV. Remember the romantic element. 

 My attempt at Prosetry for the prompt.

Wish I had kissed you then
When Chance hovered around, flapping her multi coloured wings. We were no longer just friends, but maintaining the status quo. So afraid of saying the word, so guilty of holding back.  
Now, empty words, emptier dreams, and emptiest memory that I alone drag along.

Wish I had kissed you then
A piece of You forever with me -precious and sacred, my secret visitation.
Nothing more than a Kodak moment,  a rarely visited spot on the shelves littered with books and stuff - your bored eyes proclaim. Is the spot taken by more significant others, old friends relegated to a rusting steel almirah at your parents retirement retreat?

Wish I had kissed you then
 Lost - the charmer, idealistic and innocent to the wolfish ways of the world. 
Found  - the expert rat racer, flipping through your black berry, revealing the unbridgeable chasm that separates us.
 Choosing what you once said never mattered, hollow words.  I see her by your side - tall, slim, vivacious yesterday as she was a decade ago, our proclaimed rose queen - every valentine.
Did you secretly wish to send her those 1001 roses her boyfriend deemed then, his exclusive right?

Wish I had kissed you then
Seeing you hand in hand -  in love? So easy for you with her, impossible for you with me. Was it me who keep you at a distance, or was I just an available backup while you waited for a chance with her?
Wonder if that ex boyfriend nursed hidden wounds in a dim lit pub, as I did in crowded escalators of the latest mall in the Metro.
I could never be her then, do I wish to be her now? Do I dare find unpleasant answers to  these mocking questions swirling all around me?

Wish I had kissed you then
These seven years past seem like seven lifetimes, the gulf between what we were and what you are, plain for unblinkered eyes to see. People change, it's oft said, oh, they do, not quite like you.
The real You before me in all his glory, kept well hidden from our unsuspecting hearts then, a pretender and a master of disguise? The simple, care free boy no longer, this one I'd rather not know.
Your smile is the same, but leaves no tugs on my heart strings, much to my surprise. Is it because I see with fresh insight, the smile of an all knowing flirt?

Wish I had kissed you then
On that watery night, taking refuge from knee high, black, muddy pools. The monsoon and her electric backdrop, sending shivers of a different kind amid much discomfort. 
Wished I had seized a stolen moment, that stolen kiss. 
No meaningless memories,  not wasted years of longing.  
My heart wouldn't have known betrayal. 
What we were - laughed way with tears of regret. 
What we could have been - unsolved mystery no more.
What we are - not evoking one sigh too many.

WC - 495  FCA

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. :(
July 30, 2012

Debut Novel 'Oracle' - Win A Signed Copy

Olympics-mania is at fever pitch!
 What better way is there to get into the Olympic spirit than a book set around the London Games?

J.C. Martin releases her debut novel, crime thriller Oracle, today! To celebrate, she's holding a month-long Oracle Olympics Blog Tour, with tons of games and prizes, including a possible grand prize of an iPad3 (for more details, visit J.C.'s blog)! 

And it all kicks off with today's Opening Ceremony!

Read on to find out how you could win a signed paperback copy of Oracle right off the bat!

So what is Oracle about, anyway? Here's the blurb: Oracle 

With 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 

 Intrigued? Here's your chance to win a signed copy of the book!

All you have to do is visit all the blogs in the Parade of Nations in order (for a complete list of blogs, visit Olympics HQ here), including this one! Each blog will have a secret letter. Collect them all to decipher the secret message. Then go back to J.C.'s blog and enter your answer in the Rafflecopter for your chance to win! Answer some additional bonus questions to multiply your chances of winning! 

 The contest will remain open till midnight EST on Friday 3rd August. The winner will be announced on J.C.'s blog! 

 So here is my secret letter : First Serve (from a tennis fan, India's best chance at a double's bronze medal) :)

 Click on over to  J.L. Campbell @ The Readers’ Suite  for the next letter! Good luck!

 That's not all, more prizes for pushing Her book up the Amazon top lists, and a chance to test your flash fiction skills (100Words story) and win a Book Depository Gift Voucher at J.C's Blog
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. :)
June 30, 2012

Why does being Stuck in the Middle resemble Climbing the Mountain?

Time for RFW - Romatic Friday Writers and Saturday Centus weekend combo. The devilish part of me  loved meshing two meme prompts often, earlier. Time to pay attention to the curve-tailed me!

I put the book down, awaiting the phone call. Mom came in and handed me a cup of coffee. The author's mind reader had nothing on her, sipping the still hot beverage.
TRING...I spilled the contents of my cup, enough to feel the burning sensation through the thin cotton of my salwar. 
"Mohit..." "David here.”
"Sorry, I was expecting Mohit's. What did he say?"
He cleared his throat. I didn’t need his jumble of words to know. I hated romances for a good reason.
"Are you ok?" I wasn't, but had to be...she would need strong shoulders to cry on.

*Salwar - leggings of the traditional South Asian wear salwar kameez.
*edited piece from my short story, the Ring of Finality being the ending.

June 28, 2012
June 19, 2012

An Adventure And A Romance - Book Review

Defying Gravity

Defying Gravity - Cherie Reich
(book one of the Gravity Trilogy)
Publishers - Surrounded by Books Publishing
Genre - Speculative Fiction - Soft Science Fiction - Space Romance
Ebook - Novelette - 60 pages, Price $ 0.99
Available at Amazon Kindle Store


A Futuristic Space Fantasy Novelette
Homesick upon the SS Perseid, Linia, a young linguist, thinks she signed up for a mission of peace, but her crew members have another plan: attack the planet Medusa.
Bored with his dying planet, Alezandros, a space cruiser pilot, joins the Medusan army in his quest for adventure.
When the SS Perseid clashes with the Medusans' cruisers, Alezandros and Linia's lives intertwine. Sucked through a wormhole, they crash upon a post-apocalyptic Earth and are captured by cannibals. In adjacent cells, Alezandros and Linia cast their differences aside for a common bond: escape. But when romantic feelings emerge between them, they might do the unthinkable because for a Medusan and a Persean to fall in love, it would defy gravity.

This is a novelette by fellow blogger and author Cherie Reich.
It tells a story that starts of with both, depressing aspects of a planet peopled below the surface and the sinister strategy of a enemy planet that seeks to launch an attack via a space mission under the guise of exploration.
The author interweaves Greek mythology with a battle in space with its own set of unexpected.consequences.
The protagonists, Alezandros and Linia's lives gets complicated as they end up travelling through a wormhole and landing on a hostile, damaged, old Earth.

How they end up prisoners in the same camp unknown to each other, wrestle their hostile captors and escape using their special powers, and the budding romance between them in the process forms the rest of it.

The author has clearly taken the effort to build different planet worlds, races, language while keeping  it all in sync with the basic characterisations of the myth.
She has created believable characters whom you can't help but root for.

This is a soft science fiction of danger and romance. The length of the work makes it difficult to create a more scientifically layered world. Hence, this may not appeal to science fiction aficionados of the hard and soft genres alike.

I would recommend this pleasure read to first timers to science fiction and to romance readers who enjoy varied settings specially out-worldly and other worldly. And lovers of short fiction would enjoy this.

For the writing and the interesting premise, the book gets a between 3.5 to 4/5 rating from me.

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.
June 15, 2012

The Perfect Ex - Romantic Friday Writers

Had to enter the fray, since this will be the last RFW entry till August for me.

Based on the prompt of the same name as the title, a story or poem in 400 words or less.

Puts away his clothes as usual.
the routine followed each night,
He stands by, saying nothing.
Adjusts the covers on the queen sized bed,
another of those things to be done,
 aware of his eyes on the movements made.

That night, they lie down together one last time.
she knows, he knows, pretend otherwise.
Hold her hand, promising another string of lies,
she believed them often, now, not one.

The dark, sleepless hours seem never ending,
her courage peaks and wanes.
The dawn should bring respite for both,
 She, for once, no longer plays
the imperfect specimen of the wife,
embarking on the new journey of a perfect ex.

Lost in the pride of his invincibility,
a blind heart in denial of the inevitability.
These six weeks past mark her revenge
 a small price for the six years he has stolen.

The house is clean, the fridge is stocked,
the dinner awaits him on the dining table,
most of her things, he claimed took valuable space,
gone from this house empty of her footsteps.
All that remain are the few material pieces
he boasted to be acts of needless generosity.

She leaves behind memories of the past,
could choke and strangle any feeling mortal.
 Takes along enough of a future,
 no share or meddling by him, afraid not, any more.

 wc 217

For Romantic Friday writers

Writing after a fortnight was tough, I struggled and barely pulled through.

I posted this just about managing to keep the friday score. Will be visiting the others tomo and also those kind ones that read my previous post.

June 04, 2012

Awards Nite

Since today is for celebrating my English birthday based on DOB with cakes and eating out, and tomo my Tamil bday (based on birth-star constellation in the horoscope) with traditional Indian food and visit to the temple ...decided on celebrating the duality of blog awards. Some long overdue thanks for awards received over 2011-12 and passing them on. They come with their own set of rules...but the birthday gal reserves the right to break them and offer them to anyone who reads this post and two awards for visitors all through June.

Special thanks for
 the Kreativ blogger award  received from Jan (recent follower) which demands revealing 7 things about me and passing it on to 7 people.

 The Versatile blogger award from
Treelight ( befriended during Campaign challenge),
Jayleigh Cape,
Seabell and Tiberbrite (from Jingle poetry group)
demanding 7 random info on me and passing on to 15 people.

 The Liebster Award from Nutschell for blogs  with less than 300 followers last June. (sheepish and sorry)

The Paperclip award from Traci Kenworth ....supposed to answer 12 questions not me...

 The Booker award from Christine for book bloggers or ones with 50% focus on reading or writing books.

So I choose my seven sins as I call it...
Clumsy till about 35...funny, while the sense of balance supposedly deteriorates with age...mine has improved with time... I used to choose the most crowded places to trip over nothing - the bus stop, the railway platform/bridge, the college canteen, the office corridor, the school ground, the busiest street, the airport/mall escalators. I guess, I craved the attention...another reason I broke up with high heels after just three years of casual dating.

 I have been wearing contact lenses for two decades now - not blind as a bat, but can only see blurred images without my glasses beyond six feet...that my glasses used to frequently threaten to slip off my bridge-less nose was one of the reasons, the other being childhood and teen years' taunts. So, next time you make fun or see someone making fun of people on the basis of appearance, please remember, it can have a life long effect on the victim's self confidence more so when the person is sensitive and shy to begin with. (like yours truly)

27 years of Bombay life has made me open minded, tolerant, cosmopolitan, multilingual, dreamer, creative, neutral-agnostic and much more. I love it, having lived through 16 years of bombings, a communal riot, a flood and a couple of earthquakes; the only city I call home even though I currently live hundreds of miles away.

Lover of all things English (read British) except the weather, superiority complex...and the food, all meat and too bland even for the likes of me....I dream, even sleep talk/scream in English (atleast that's what my mom and ex hubby said) though I am fluent in three Indian language among others....

Was married for 6 1/2 years so I can't really blame the 7 year itch for its ending, though nowadays, its supposed to be the three year itch.

 I am a reasonably good singer, and with training, I could have been much better. As a child, was too rebellious to learn anything that conservative-traditional girls from the Brahmin communities of South India were/are supposed to, like classical music, classical instruments, classical dance, cooking, religious stuff etc (lucky, my mom was liberal enough)...regret not learning music though.
Hell, this infidel even dreamt of a love marriage over an arranged family would have needed buckets of holy water (read river Ganges) to cleanse my mind, if I had found someone crazy enough to love me back.

passport with no stamps yet. Hope to rectify it on my 40th or 45 th bday by going to Dubai and/or Singapore. Unfortunately Eygpt, Italy and Greece will have to wait for the reincarnated me...if I manage to be born again on planet Earth.

 As rewards for your patience,
I pass on the Kreativ and Versatile blogger awards to all my followers and commenters.

I have a Reader appreciation award for those who read my posts and specially to participants of memes and blogfests who bother to visit me.

In order to accept this award need to do the following:

List something you’ve been up to lately
Nominate 6 other blogs (optional)

I leave you all with wishes for a great week ahead and a picture of the still fat ole me. (but I lost 4 kgs in 4 months not bad...12 more to reach my pre-marriage weight of 56 kgs. I still have two years to accomplish it)
We had a family cake cutting on the bed as my bro (stuck in his hotel room because of the jubilee celebrations of the Queen's reign) wanted to join in on web chat from london.

P.s. I will be skipping my IWSG post this wed as my nephews hog my time and comp. See you all from 9 or 10 June. 
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