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” I used to love reading as a kid. Tinkle and Amar Chitra Kathas were my favourite.”
                                                                                                                             – Arti Metroreader

 

After a long hiccup I am back with chat and coffee, my guest blog post, where we talk about the person, her passion, her dreams and her journey. Today we have with us the ace book reviewer, Arti Metroreader. She blog anonymously yet is winner of many hearts who follow her book reviews.

 

  • Please tell us about yourself ?

Hi! I’m Arti and I am based in Delhi. I am a qualified doctor and love reading.

  • How did you go on to become an ace reviewer besides your profession?

A- It occurred to me that there are books which, if I read reviews of, I may not even have bought let alone read. So I thought that as a reader, if I can review the books I read, write the review and post it on my blog, it would benefit those who are interested in the genres I read and could pick the books they want. So I started blogging in February 2013. I have posted reviews of over 1000 books on my blog of various genres such as contemporary fiction, memoirs, romance, chick lit, even mills and boon, Indian authors, short stories, etc.

  • Tell us how books made their way into your life?

I used to love reading as a kid. Tinkle and Amar Chitra Kathas were my favourite. My father was posted at places where there was not much to do in the evenings and the days were small, so my sister and i would go to the library and borrow books. Even when my parents went to watch a movie, they would get us ACKs or other books on return.

During the summer vacations, on our train journeys to Delhi, we would carry books and even buy from A. H.  Wheeler at the railway station.  And at my grandparents home, our cousins would take us to their library. Being the youngest of all cousins on both sides of the family, we inherited books from our older cousins.

So you can say, I actually grew up reading.

  • Tell us about your journey as a book reviewer and blogger?

A-  With studies, my book reading lagged behind and I started reading smaller books and magazines.

Then marriage and kids, so the books took a backseat.

And then one day, my student and now my friend gave me this idea of writing reviews of the books I had read. And thus started my journey as a book reviewer and blogger.

  • You have a very unique name for your blog?

Metroreader because i read mostly on the way to work and back in the Metro.

  • What kind of books you love to read?

I love happy endings.

  • Which books has remained with you forever?

My favourite fairy tale is The Princess and the pea. And Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite books.

  • You have read many books so far. Who is your favourite author?

I have read many authors but have now started liking Indie authors. Maybe it is age catching up.

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Catch up with her @

 

Follow her blog

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Once more I am starting the guest post series about new books, awesome characters, book reviews, authors and all that makes the life chatpata, entertaining.

So to honour my blog today we have with us the most popular Romance author whose Royal series is making waves in the romance reader circle, Devika Fernando. Today she is going to tell us about the main characters of her latest book, The Indian Prince’s Scandalous Bride.

Over to you Devika.

Thank you for having me on your fabulous blog, Paromita.

And for letting me chat about the protagonists of my latest romance novel “The Indian Prince’s Scandalous Bride”. I have to confess that I fall in love with every main character I ever write, and inevitably also wish every heroine could be my friend… Here’s a closer look at the two MCs of my new release.

SHE is Ashley Davies from England. Almost 30, with red hair. Together with two friends, she has her own wedding planning business, specializing in destination weddings round the globe. If her friends had to describe her, they would say she’s creative, determined and independent. But Ashley has a softer side that makes her believe in dreams and feel joy when she can make others happy. That’s why she wouldn’t want to trade her job for anything else.

Ironically, although she provides others with their ‘happily ever after’, she’s unlucky in her own love life. This is the first time she’s traveling to India and organizing a royal wedding, and a lot depends on her.

 

If I had to find an actress for a movie adaption of my novel (hey, I’m allowed to dream! *wink*), I would cast Lily James.

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HE is Prince Vivaan Arjun Dewar of Yogeshpur (a fictitious city in Rajasthan), an Indian royal. Roughly 30, tall with chiseled features. He’s the younger of two princes and the one with the business mind. Although he fulfils his obligations, he’s always had a bit of a rebellious streak and feels more at home traveling the world than lording it over others and suffering through ceremonies. His brother Manish is about to enter into an arranged marriage—not exactly the right time and place for Vivaan to fall head over heels in love with the English wedding planner. Once she learns about his true identity, all bets are off…

The Prince doesn’t really have friends, but those who know him would probably describe him as dedicated, intelligent and open-minded.

I didn’t picture anyone specific while writing the hero, but I’d love to cast Varun Dhawan as this irresistible Indian prince.

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About The Book

 

TitleThe Indian Prince’s Scandalous Bride

Series: Royal Romance (Romancing the Royals Book 4)

Blurb:

Wedding planner Ashley Davies has left England behind to organize a royal wedding in India. She’s expected a cultural shock and lots of unforgettable memories – but never in a million years would she have thought she’d fall in love. When the mysterious and irresistible Vivaan turns out to be none other than an Indian prince, it’s time for her to make a decision: risk everything for the sake of what feels like so much more than a holiday fling, or resist their forbidden attraction and save her job as well as her heart?

Prince Vivaan of Yogeshpur certainly doesn’t want to get involved in the organization of his brother’s grand wedding, but then a free-spirited and smart redhead from England captures his interest. Suddenly he finds himself eager to get to know a woman who would never receive his mother’s royal seal of approval. Should he give in to his feelings or stay away from the ‘scandalous’ wedding planner?

royal romance - book 4

Available on Amazon

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Ever since I started writing royal romances, I wanted to set one of the stories in India. Now I’ve made this dream come true. “The Indian Prince’s Scandalous Bride” is the 4th book in the Romancing the Royals series, and I can’t wait to share it with you all. Here’s the cover and blurb. The book is due for release next month.

 

royal romance - book 4

 

BLURB

 

Wedding planner Ashley Davies has left England behind to organize a royal wedding in India. She’s expected a cultural shock and lots of unforgettable memories – but never in a million years would she have thought she’d fall in love. When the mysterious and irresistible Vivaan turns out to be none other than an Indian prince, it’s time for her to make a decision: risk everything for the sake of what feels like so much more than a holiday fling, or resist their forbidden attraction and save her job as well as her heart?

 

Prince Vivaan of Yogeshpur certainly doesn’t want to get involved in the organization of his brother’s grand wedding, but then a free-spirited and smart redhead from England captures his interest. Suddenly he finds himself eager to get to know a woman who would never receive his mother’s royal seal of approval. Should he give in to his feelings or stay away from the ‘scandalous’ wedding planner?

 

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THE SERIES

 

Have you read the other books in the series yet? The first three novels are each set in a fictitious kingdom as well as in a real country such as Maldives and Germany. They are sweet contemporary romances and can be read as stand-alones with happy endings. Click on the links to find out more. Book 1 is a free download in most countries!

 

The Prince’s Special Bride | The Prince’s Stubborn Bride | The Prince’s Surprise Bride

“I wanted to tell the story of a woman who went away, and explore why, despite her life seeming so perfect on the surface of it, she never came back.” – Kiran Manral

Today on our blog guest post we have with us the multi-talented and award winning SKP_1568author Kiran Manral, the author of Saving Maya and The Face at the Window besides several other books. Her recent release,  Missing, Presumed Dead, is getting rave reviews from critics and readers alike. Let’s find out what this book is all about.

What is the inspiration behind your recent release, Missing, Presumed Dead?

Many a times, inspiration strikes you when you least expect it. You don’t even think of it as inspiration. At others it marinates within you, settling deep within your brains, snaking its tentacles around your thoughts until you can’t help but write the story that demands to be written.

For me, Missing, Presumed Dead was the second. It all began, I think with the Chinese whispers of a woman of distant acquaintance, who one fine day out of the blue, upped and left home. She never returned. She was never found, nor did the husband attempt to find her. No missing person’s complaint was filed. She left behind two children, both rather young. The son was a toddler, the girl was older. The grandparents moved in to take care of the children, the husband didn’t get married again. Of course, we moved away from that neighbourhood, and that story went the way all stories go, into the filing cabinet of my brain. It wasn’t until much later, when I was married and had a child of my own that one fine day I thought about what must have compelled a woman to go away and leave her children behind. It was something incomprehensible to me. What made living with her husband and children so unbearable that she would rather disappear to never be found again, what was her story, why was there no attempt to track her, was there something, we, the onlookers didn’t know, was it an amicable separation, was it a loveless marriage, was there sexual incompatibility, was there emotional abuse, or was there someone else she loved and went away with.

Women’s stories are often secondary in a marriage. Their stories are told through the prism of being a wife, a mother. I wanted to tell the story of a woman who went away, and explore why, despite her life seeming so perfect on the surface of it, she never came back.

That’s what happens with my protagonist Aisha, she goes away, unwittingly, and never comes back. Her husband doesn’t file a missing person’s complaint for her. Her children, bewildered at the loss of a mother, pick themselves up and try to cope the best they can. What compelled Aisha to stay away, why did she never come back, how marriages can become stifling cages, her battle with mental illness, these and more make up the book, Missing, Presumed Dead.

missingpresumeddeadfrontcover (1)

 

PRESS RELEASE

oAWLWdXIpresents

a must read psychological thriller

Missing, Presumed Dead

by

Kiran Manral

“A gripping and sinister tale. Kiran Manral holds you with every page.”

– Ashwin Sanghi

 

Missing, Presumed Dead is a disturbing look into a broken marriage that has been torn apart by emotional distance and mental illness. The book takes us down scary pathways where we are forced to reckon with ugly truths about love and death, and the loss of everything we hold dear—including ourselves. The novel is a mystery cum drama, packed with all the elements that make a thriller.

 

The reader is left to keep guessing till the very last page!

 

Blurb:

 

In a dysfunctional marriage, it may seem convenient when the wife commits suicide, but things aren’t always what they seem…

Battling both a fractured marriage and the monsters in her cranium, Aisha leads a sequestered life on the outskirts of a bustling tourist town in the hills of North India. She struggles to stay functional, and tries to wean herself off the pills that keep her from tipping over the edge. Prithvi, the husband she loved once, seems as eager to be rid of her, as she is to flee from him. Only her children keep her tethered to her hearth.

One rainy afternoon, the last thing Aisha expects to see is a younger version of herself at the door. It is Aisha’s half sister, Heer, her father’s illegitimate daughter from another woman. Despite her misgivings, Aisha lets her into the house, and she stays over. Two days later, Aisha goes into town and never returns. Seemingly unperturbed, Heer slips into her missing sister’s shoes effortlessly, taking charge of the house, the kids, and even Prithvi, who responds to her overtures willingly.

A note found in Aisha’s wallet states that she has taken her own life, though strange happenings leave plenty of room for doubt. But, if she is not dead, where is Aisha? Is she really dead? Did she commit suicide as the note found in her wallet states? Has she been abducted, run away or in hiding? Why does Prithvi not grieve for his deceased wife? And why does Heer walk out of the house one fine day, leaving no forwarding address?

As it examines the destruction a dystopian marriage and mental illness leave in their wake, Missing, Presumed Dead brings us face to face with the fragility of relationships, the ugly truths about love and death, and the horrifying loss of everything we hold dear, including ourselves.

More about the author

 

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective, in 2011. Since then, she has published eight books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush, All Aboard, Saving Maya; horror with The Face at the Window and nonfiction with Karmic Kids, A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up and True Love Stories. Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey and Boo.

She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. She is a TEDx speaker and was a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017. The Indian Council of UN Relations (ICUNR) supported by the Ministry for Women and Child Development, Government of India, awarded her the International Women’s Day Award 2018 for excellence in the field of writing. Her novella, Saving Maya, was long listed for the 2018 Saboteur Awards, UK, supported by the Arts Council England.

 

For interviews, reviews and excerpts please call or email:

Megha Parmar, 9711404608, meghaparmar@manjulindia.com

 

PB | Fiction | 268 pp | Rs 350

Buying Links

 

 

“Writing and Marketing are two different things. As a writer, you must have worked hard…and you know how lonely the job of writing is…”

–  Mariyam Hasnain

Today we have on our guest blog post, romance author Mariyam Hasnain who is also the

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winner of the 2017 Times of India Write India Contest. Her short story “Portal Love” was one in the Top 50 short story entries of Write India Season 2. Mariyam loves writing dark and sassy romantic stories. She’s novelist, a short story writer, and a blogger. Her latest release The wedding planner is the talk of the town.

Today she will be sharing her best selling techniques with us. So

 

Marketing Hacks for Authors – Simple Tips to Market Your First Book

 

Okay, so you’ve written a book. Now what? Promotion and Marketing…? Phew!

A mere thought of marketing is strong enough to crush all your thinking process. (Think of writing another book with that…)

Writing and Marketing are two different things. As a writer, you must have worked hard…and you know how lonely the job of writing is…

But you love it and it’s your love for writing you prefer spending time with your computer than being in any other recreational activity.

But the hard truth is once you’re ready with your finished book, you need to reach your readers.

You may have written the best book. Got a professional cover, Hired an editor… Is that enough for getting sales or reads. What’s missing?

The answer is simple. Your book is just another needle in the haystack, It’s just another book among millions of other books. Who will read it? Where are your readers? Where do they hang out? How to reach them?

How about creating a buzz about your book that your readers automatically get drawn towards it?

Yes, you got to create a buzz about your book.

Quickly here are some ways to create a pre-launch buzz about your book:

  1. Cover Choice/Reveal: Ask whats better…Reveal the cover of the book before it’s launch. You can do this on your social media pages as well as in Facebook groups and on Goodreads.
  2. Exclusive Excerpt Reveal: Release the blurb and a short excerpt of the book a week or two before its release. Share it on your social pages, Facebook groups, and Goodreads.
  3. Offer FREE first sample chapter: This could be used as a lead magnet also. Get an opt-in landing page done where people can fill up the form. In return, they will get a free chapter of your book even before its release. You can intimate them as soon as the book is LIVE. And believe me, they will be first ones to go and download your book.

I got many signups when I started offering the FREE first sample chapter of The Wedding Planner weeks’ before its release.(On my blog)

So there you go with the pre-launch buzz. Now, once the book is launched, you got to create some after-launch buzz to attract more and more readers.

  1. Reviews: Get as many reviews as possible. The more reviews you have, the more chances of your book getting noticed by Amazon as well by the readers. Never ever try to get paid reviews or use paid platforms for getting reviews. Amazon is very strict in its review policy. The moment they notice something dubious is going on, they will delete all your reviews. So keep it clean 😊
  2. Giveaways: As much as people love ebooks, there’s nothing that can beat the feel of a paperback. To draw more and more readers, set up a paperback giveaway for your book.

Setting Up a Giveaway: You can offer both Kindle and Paperback books. But with the arrival of Kindle Unlimited in India, Kindle ebooks are not much desired by the readers. So it’s the paperback that can help you build a genuine list of followers.

Paperback giveaways are also the best approach to attracting new readers to your book, gaining followers on social media and developing a fan base.

If your book is self-published, you can go for POD (Print on demand) services to have a paperback version of your book. With POD you can even get a single copy printed.

Bookwins.com is a site that helps authors set up their giveaways, totally FREE. For now, the site is offering only paperback giveaways but soon the Kindle books can also be considered for setting up the giveaways.

The site gives readers a great shopping experience. Where your books are sold for FREE. (Or as per pricing strategy)

The reader has to add the Free books to their carts and check out. And at the end of the giveaway (say if the giveaway is listed for a month), you can choose the winners through a lucky draw.

You will see how many people have entered, who are they, and where you have to ship them their free copies.

You only got to decide how many copies of print books you’re giving away.

Once done, you can advertise your giveaway on your social pages and various other facebook groups. Besides this, Bookwins.com does offer author promotion services – Including landing pages, list building, Blog development and how to write a great copy for your book ad.

So, if you feel a little inclined to know more about Bookwins.com and its giveaways, click the link below and share your experience with your pals.

These are all organic ways of buzz creation. There are many paid ways as well. For instance, you can go for blog tours, Facebook ad campaigns and submit your book to paid book promotion sites like Bookbub.

Whatever you decide, but keep in mind that the success of any book depends on a balanced mix of organic and paid reach to the readers.

That’s it for now.

To set up your first paperback Book Giveaway and reach your reader’s FREE click here:

https://netmantis.lpages.co/your-book-promo/

Know  more about the author

Mariyam Hasnain is the author of Bestsellers “The Wedding Planners and Renegade. When not writing and marketing her books she indulges in baking and reading. You can know more about her on http://mariyamhasnain.com/

 

Buying links of her latest release

 

The Wedding Planner

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Amazon

“But to get to these fascinating nuggets, I need to combine the wide-eyed curiosity of a child with the patience of a saint.”- author Usha Narayanan

Today on guest blog post we have the popular mytho-fiction author Usha Narayanan whose latest release Prem Purana is gathering accolades among the readers. Usha Narayanan had a successful career in advertising, media and e5d29-ushancorporate communications before becoming a full-time author. She has written several books, including ‘The Madras Mangler’, a suspense thriller, and ‘Love,Lies and Layoffs’, a Harlequin romcom. Her latest is ‘The Secret of God’s Son’, the sequel to her bestselling book,’Pradyumna: Son of Krishna’, both published by Penguin. Today she will reveal to us the research method she uses for her books.

 

Mythological love stories are very fascinating and are enjoyed by all age groups. However, the information is not easily available. Please share with us your experience in researching your material.

Thank you, Paromita, for featuring me on your blog and for the lovely question! To me, a mythological novel like ‘Prem Purana’ resembles a Gandaberunda, a fabulous double-headed eagle with a glorious tail resembling a peacock’s! Both the story and the bird are powerful and spectacular. Also, both convey beautiful lessons that guide humanity in every age. Temple carvings portray the Gandaberunda’s role in the eternal chain of life and death. A deer is swallowed by a python which in turn is captured by an elephant. A lion attacks the elephant but it is devoured in turn by a Sharabha, a form of Shiva that is part lion and part beast. The Gandaberunda, a form of Vishnu’s Narasimha avatar, then subdues the Sharabha. This is quite an interesting and thought-provoking tale!

But to get to these fascinating nuggets, I need to combine the wide-eyed curiosity of a child with the patience of a saint. Libraries, research institutes, online resources, visits to temples and historical sites, shops near them that sell booklets in the local language – everything provides food for thought. I travelled to Pancha Dwaraka, the five cities associated with Krishna, in order to write ‘Pradyumna: Son of Krishna’ and its sequel ‘The Secret of God’s Son’. When I have assembled a mass of material, I sift through the various narratives in different languages and different puranas. Every curse, every battle, every birth often has twenty variations. For instance, Ganesha has no wife in the south, but two or three in the north. I chose to go with three wives – Siddhi, Buddhi and Riddhi so that I could create distinctive characters for each of them and also devise colourful challenges for Ganesha to woo and win them!

I always take the path that excites me, the one that is unfamiliar and therefore more interesting. Or I create my own story and fit it carefully into the puranic ones, like a bard adding his own flourishes to the narrative handed down by previous generations. The ultimate aim is to excite the readers, to keep them turning the pages and finish reading with a sense of satisfaction and a smile. I hope ‘Prem Purana’ has succeeded in doing this!

Readers, please remember to leave a few lines on Amazon and Goodreads once you have read the book. I’m waiting!

Know more about the author

When she’s not juggling travelling, writing and interviews, Usha reads everything from thrillers to romances, provided her cat isn’t fast asleep on
her Kindle.

To know more about her, visit www.ushanarayanan.com or email her at author@ushanarayanan.com. Find her also at www.facebook.com/writerusha or tweet @writerusha.

Know more about the book

be120-prempurana

“The only way to grab eye balls is to be different, to be unique. Offer the reader something that the existing books do not.” – T.F Carthick

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Today we have with us one of the most promising writer and blogger author T.F Carthick who has added another feather in his cap with his recently released debut book, Carthick’s Unfairy Tales. Carthick has been blogging since 2008. His paranormal thriller ‘Bellary’ was one of the three stories in the book Sirens Spell Danger, published in 2013. Six of his stories have featured in multi-author anthologies and literary magazines.

Today he would share with us his secret behind choosing such an unusual theme for his recent release.

Why did you Choose such an unusual theme for a debut book?

People have been writing books from times immemorial. And many of the books written in the last hundred or two hundred years remain with us and even the ones written earlier survive with us in some form. What chance one more book stand amidst the loud clamor of all these books to claim the attention of the reader? The only way to grab eye balls is to be different, to be unique. Offer the reader something that the existing books do not. Maybe the theme might cater only to a niche. But to them, it offers something the whole corpus of books written so far does not provide.

So, it was a granted that anything I write has to be unusual. I had other 4-5 other ideas that were equally if not more unusual – a retelling of Mayan mythology, management consultants in ancient Greece, a children’s tale like Enid Blyton’s faraway tree set in India, a tale of two unlikely heroes taking on the most dreaded of monsters from classic horror stories to name a few. Somehow this got written first before the others. The thing in this one’s favor was it had more instant appeal as everyone know fairy tales and has an opinion on them. It is a much smaller work giving readers chance to sample by writing with lesser investment of time.

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Other than the above two advantages, this book reflects most aspects of my writing – humor, philosophy and zany imagination. Some of my other works may have more of one and lesser of other elements and may not be full reflections of my writing style.

The idea of the debut book being a short story as such is not unusual as such. Many people prefer to write a collection of short stories before taking on a novel. But then often short stories revolve around emotions and relationships. The second popular choice for theme of short stories is para normal. Longer stories tend to explore many more variety of themes – science fiction, fantasy, humor, action, adventure etc. Even when there are short stories around these themes they usually form part of a potpourri collection having various kinds of stories often by multiple author usually having the word shades, hues or its variants in the title. These kinds of anthologies I feel just don’t work because there is no strong selling point – something you can tell in a single story why the reader will like the collection. Just a bunch of good stories on various themes by various authors hardly cuts the ice with a reader. Everyone will say their stories are good. Other than that, it tells nothing. It is a complete black box. Even multiple stories by the same author does not hold much weight unless the author is famous. I feel for a collection of short stories to sell, they must have a real strong unambiguous theme interlinking the stories.

This is why I took a single theme – that of fairy tales retold and further refined it further by having a similar kind of retelling – unusual narrators, not too many material changes to original story, no change in settings but bringing out completely new perspectives to the old tales. And every story a commentary on a theme of interest in contemporary times.

Know more about the author

T.F Carthick is an avid reader of Children’s Fiction, Science-fiction and Fantasy. Enid Blyton, J K Rowling, Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert, Neil Gaiman and Douglas Adams are some of his favorite authors. He has written over 50 short stories, many of which can be read for free on his blog www.karthikl.com.

He is an Engineer and MBA from India’s premier institutes IIT, Madras and IIM, Ahmedabad and currently works as an Analytics and Artificial Intelligence Consultant at one of the world’s leading Consulting Firms. He is based in Bangalore.

You can stalk him @

        

 

Know more about the book

Blog Tour by The Book Club of CARTHICK'S UNFAIRY TALES by T.F. Carthick

 

 
CARTHICK’S UNFAIRY TALES
by
T.F. Carthick
 
Blog Tour by The Book Club of CARTHICK'S UNFAIRY TALES by T.F. Carthick
Blurb

A damsel in distress. An evil dragon. A concerned father seeking a savior to rescue his daughter. A hero galloping off to the rescue – a knight in shining armor. Now THAT is stuff of fairy tales.

But what if the father’s real concern is for the dragon’s hoard; What if the damsel’s reason of distress is the marriage proposal by her pompous and vicious savior; and what if the story is told by the horse who bears not only the overweight knight but also his heavy, shining armor all the way to the dragon’s lair and back, facing certain death in the process?


What if there was more – much more – to all your favourite fairy tales than met the eye?


This book chronicles not one but seven such unfairy tales – tales told by undead horsemen and living cities. Tales of mistreated hobgoblins and misunderstood magicians. Tales of disagreeable frogs and distressed rats and bears baring their souls. Once you read these stories, you will never be able to look at a fairy tale the same way ever again.

 
Read an excerpt


This was wrong at many levels. The mayor’s despair and eagerness to solve the problem was understandable. But from what I have seen, no human problems come with quick fixes. Haste seldom helps. One requires patience to get to the depth of a problem and attack it at its root. A holistic solution does take a lot of time and effort but the benefits are long-lasting. Quick fixes, on the other hand, end up aggravating the situation. Take this situation of the rats itself, for instance. While the mayor may not have realized it, the fact was that the people of the town had brought this upon themselves. A few years earlier, people had complained of snakes. There were just a few of these reptiles, but still the people had complained incessantly. So, snake-catchers had been summoned to exterminate the snakes. Then, a few months’ later, stray dogs had become the object of the people’s ire.

“They keep barking all night. They just don’t let us sleep,” they had complained.

And they began to make a big fuss of how dogs were a public menace and exaggerated stories of dogs attacking humans started spreading, till finally the town council had to yield. Dog-catchers were commissioned and the dogs were done away with. With the elimination of their natural predators, wasn’t it natural that rats should multiply? But people just don’t realize these kinds of things. That is how people have been all the time. They wanted quick-fix solutions to all their problems then, and they want quick-fix solutions to all their problems now. They never learn.

Also, I suppose the mayor probably thought he would never be called upon to follow through upon his promise. So, he promised a grand reward just to appear to be doing something. That is another folly of humans, especially the leaders. They care more about perception than actually getting things done. And often initiatives undertaken to manage perceptions end up doing more harm than good.


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Today on the blog guest post we have the popular author Alka Dimri whose books  speak about the people in real life.

Her debut novel 45 Days in a Cancer Hospital was long listed for the prestigious Crossword Books award 2013. Her poems have been published in many magazines. She holds MBA degree in HR and worked with a leading MNC before turning to a full-time writer.

Born and brought up in Vadodara, a city in Gujarat, her roots hail from “Dev Bhumi” Uttarakhand. Apart from writing, she loves music, reading, traveling, and spending time with her two naughty kids.

Her latest release Beyond Secrets is the talk of the town. Let us get to know the author in her more and her writing journey so far.

You have been writing issue based stories. Your new book talks about broken heart and trust. But layered in a tinge of suspense. What is it all about and your expectation from the readers.

Paromita, first of all, I would like to thank you for featuring me on your blog.

Coming to your question Beyond Secrets is a story that can’t be restricted in one category, it revolves around so many issues that I had difficulty deciding it’s genre. It talks about issues of abandonment, broken trust, betrayal, child trafficking, religious issues and much more.

Sharing a bit about the plot:

Something is bizarre, Noel realizes the moment he steps in Aashiyana orphanage to volunteer as a counsellor. Aashiyana is a calm place and Noel enjoys his stint, but something is off. With each passing day he feels he is inching closer to the mysterious little boy from his childhood dreams.

Nidhi visits Aashiyana as a volunteer, and that’s how she wanted to keep it. Noel suspects something underneath her recluse behaviour and he is right. The more he learns about her, the more he is drawn towards her. And Nidhi? She isn’t allowed to love…as if love needs permission. Noel gets hopeful…

BUT…

An unexpected phone call and Noel must doubt everything he owned. The boy in his dream wasn’t a stranger after all. Suddenly he wants to escape. From truth? From love? From family? Maybe everyone. Nidhi, just healed is left back to fight new scars; alone. Forever? or will he return?

Noel thought unearthing the secrets would bring peace; he was wrong. There was a journey beyond secrets, a journey from denial to acceptance.

Beyond secrets is a novel with layers of suspense and different nuances of relationship. And one question that can’t have just one answer – How long does it take for a scar to heal?
My expectations from the readers?

My readers have left such heart touching reviews that I can’t ask for more. I am happy that people are able to connect with the characters of the story and they have felt the pain of the characters. Few of them had sleepless nights. That is the extent to which they have felt the emotions. What else can I expect? My precious readers are giving me much more than what I expected and I am really thankful to them. Just one request, please don’t give spoilers while writing a review, it takes away the charm of the story. And for the 0.5% reviewers who suggested editing, my manuscript has been edited by one of the top editors of the industry. English is complicated language and same thing can be written in many ways and we need to understand that. But then different people have different views and I respect that. Having said that, I am always open to improvement and thankful to all the reviews coming my way.

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BEYOND SECRETS
by
Alka Dimri Saklani
 
 
 
Blurb
 
Noel is a counsellor, risking his career for volunteering in an orphanage.
 
Nidhi is an engineering student on the surface, but deep down a broken girl in search of some unanswered questions.
 
Appu is a sweet little orphan, unaware of the cruelties of the world.
 
Despite being miles apart their stories interweave in “Aashiyana”, the orphanage. Their little journey together changes their lives in ways they never imagined.
 
One recurring nightmare, one unexpected phone call, one stolen diary, many lies and secrets, and a calling from the past are just the highlights. And when they depart, they are not the same anymore.
 
They didn’t hurt each other, it was a game of destiny. Will they ever be able to rediscover themselves and more importantly, will their paths ever cross again?
 
Beyond Secrets is a novel with layers of suspense and different nuances of relationships. And one question that can’t have just one answer – How long does it take for a scar to heal?
Read an excerpt:
10. A Different World

The classroom was in chaos when I entered. It looked like a mini battlefield of little soldiers bombarding each other with paper balls and paper planes. Before I could get a grip on the situation blackness seemed to engulf the scene before me, revealing another scene, hazy, like a dusty video film taking me to a different world where no colours existed except shades of grey; a classroom with empty first rows, far off, images of children yelling and flying airplanes… A wave of sadness crept in, a feeling of hollowness. Amid this chaos? Wasn’t it strange? Were these the same children who had forced their way into my thoughts when I was in the park? Were these known faces? Before I could become a part of the unreal the clamour faded as a strict commanding voice pierced through the din.

“Pranil!”

“Yes ma’m,” I said.

The scene dissolved and I found Simin staring at me in disbelief. “What happened?” she asked with a puzzled expression.

My head was spinning.

“Nothing, I thought you called me.” I said.

“I called Pranil. But what happened to you? You stood with your eyes shut. You ok?”

Oh, so that was her voice. Then why did I hear another voice, something from a distant, hazy corner of my mind? Or was it solely my imagination? Or a moment when imagination collided with reality?

“Yeah, am absolutely fine.” I said, looking away, not meeting her eyes.

“Pranil, I need to talk to you. Please come to my cabin after your prayers are over.” Simin said.

“Yes, ma’m.” The voice came from the last bench, from a boy with dishevelled hair, dark brown eyes and a dark complexion.

The dizziness made me uneasy and I couldn’t contribute much to the class that day. I walked to Simin’s cabin after the session.

I was not sure how I would collect the information. I wasn’t even sure what information I wanted. As soon as Simin saw me she started discussing a few things she wanted me to do.

“Noel, will you be able to go to… she paused. “You look disturbed. Are you ok?”

“Yeah.”

“You can tell me if anything is bothering you.”

“The boy you wanted to meet in the morning.” Not sure what was stopping me from speaking out his name.

“Pranil?”

“Yes.” I paused. “Pranil.” I tried hard to keep my voice steady.

“What about him?”

“Can you tell me something about him?”

“Like what?” She disconnected her phone that had just started ringing.

“Like…like…how old is he? Since when has he been here? Why did his parents leave him? Anything.”

“Anything. Hmmm.” She thought for a while. “Pranil is about 10 years old, he has been here since the last four years. His father died and his mother, who was a house maid, wanted to re-marry. The man she wanted to marry was not ready to accept responsibility of a son, therefore she left him here. But why are you asking all this?” She again silenced her beeping phone.

“I think I know him. Or someone by that name… or… or…” I didn’t know how to explain something I was still struggling to understand. I didn’t want her to disconnect her phone for the third time for my silly questions so I left the room leaving her gaping at me.

Later in the day I met Pranil. He was painting something when I reached him.

“Hello Pranil, can I sit here?”

He nodded.

“What are you doing?” I asked him.

“I am drawing a house.” He showed me the few scribbled lines in his notebook.

“Wow! This is a very good drawing.”

He smiled shyly.

I expected some connection to my foggy feelings as I talked to him. But no snapshots, no voices, no images followed. As if he was not the Pranil who played in my mind, the Pranil in my mysterious imagination was someone else, someone close to me yet far away, someone known to me yet a stranger. Something in my own self was unknown to me, an enigma and it was a terribly uncomfortable feeling. I just wanted to drag out the stranger from me but every time I tried the stranger gripped me tighter as if slowly becoming an inseparable part of me like my blood and my veins.

 
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“I discovered a whole new process of balancing creativity with authenticity.” – Saiswaroopa Iyer

Today, I would like to welcome Saiswaroopa Iyer, author of Abhaya, on my blog for a guest post.14706559

Formerly an analyst with a Venture capital firm, Saiswaroopa’s interests include Startups, Economics, Carnatic Music, Philosophy, Politics, History and Literature of India. She won a state level gold medal from TTD in rendering Annamacharya Kritis. She holds an MBA from Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur

She currently lives in London and loves to read and write.

Her new release Avishi is topping the bestseller charts on amazon. We want to know her secret.
 

How difficult is the research for your story especially when it is even older than Ramayana and Mahabharata stories?

Researching for stories from Ancient literature and civilizational past come is a unique roller coaster ride for an author. There is a euphoric feeling about ‘discovering’ this new character who is so less talked about. There is also this exhilaration that a writer feels when he/she gets ‘the calling’ from the character to write that unsung story. At the same time, there are challenges. My challenge was about re-imagining the ancient Vedic world, the society and the setting which was far older than Mahabharata and Ramayana.

I have to confess it was not easy; especially after writing Abhaya for which the research was already done by generations of stalwarts and all I had to do was read up and plug the story into the dense narrative of Mahabharata. Avishi on the other hand required me to dwell a lot upon the world and the times besides the actual plot. I remember the phase where I would stop at every line and wonder about the tools they used, the vegetation, the fabric they wore and the dynamics between people. Minor characters and their backgrounds had to be worked out in detail though their appearance wa35613023s only for a scene or two. But in hindsight, I am happy to have spent all that time and effort because at the end of the day, that was what increased my confidence. With each session of tough research/pondering, I became more confident about the story as well as creative assumptions going into the process.

That said, the fact that the story is so ancient also gave my creative wings, a new lease of life. For once, it felt exhilarating to discover that I, as the writer had so much liberty to reimagine the ancient world. The Rig Vedic sources mentioned the story only in about 6 shlokas of two lines each and the commentary by Sayana added to its interpretation. But writing a full length novel required me to deploy my creative abilities to the maximum. I discovered a whole new process of balancing creativity with authenticity. This is my biggest take away from the whole experience.

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