29 February, 2016

2 videos trending in social media

I see these 2 videos trending in social media recently and all for good reasons.

First one is Our HRD minister Smriti Irani's speech and the second one is the Ariel detergent ad about gender equality.

I used to follow Smriti from the days she started acting in TV serials. I loved her acting. One fine day, I saw an interview and astonished listening to her. She is very knowledgeable on many topics relevant to the contemporary problems. She talked about solutions in a matured manner. I didn't knew at that time that she will join politics. I became a fan of her from that day. I read another article about her last year in facebook about her kind heart , ideals and helping nature.



Most of us who want to see a good change in the country are pissed off by the politicians and her speech came at the right time bringing more hope about future India.

Women in India are studying and working equal to men, but gender inequality is deep rooted in our society. We were told by elders that there are few works which men only have to do and a few which women must do. Even though environment and conditions around us changed, some people are still stuck with those old rules. You know, what I mean. The rule was the same from thousands of years. Men are primary breadwinners and women are primary caretakers of the family. This ad shows the change in the thought process of a father watching her daughter.



I am glad that these videos are trending in social media. I feel, Our society is changing for good. What do you think?

Until next time,






Linking this to #MondayMusings hosted by Corinne from EverydayGyaan.


28 February, 2016

The mobile Phone by Pankaj Suneja

Book details:
Title: The Mobile Phone
Author: Pankaj Suneja
Publisher: Cinnomon Teal
No of pages: 94
Source: A free review copy from the author




Blurb:

The Mobile Phone is a story of connecting with the child within. The story is set in Delhi and deals with the lives of Rohit, a tutor, and Prabhu, a child he teaches in the city. The author uses “the paper mobile phone” as a symbol to connect with someone who is absent. Someone we seek or someone who could hold us in our helplessness. The novel makes an attempt to understand death and deal with mourning. It looks at child’s play and fantasy life. It also looks at adults who are evolving in relationship.


My Review:

The mobile phone is a story which touches different aspects - pain when someone dies, the emotional struggle within to overcome the pain and mind substituting that loss by some other object. This book talks about the child within every adult.

There are 2 parallel stories in the book. One story is about Rohit who is a tutor, a gay, loves his roommate Kumar, an introvert and who loses his mother in the childhood and couldn't come out of that past. Another one is around a child Prabhu, who is a student of Rohit. Prabhu also loses his mother as she dies suddenly with cancer. This incident makes him fantasize a paper mobile phone, which he uses to connect to his favorite tutor Rohit or even talk to God. Emotions and inner struggle of each character are portrayed very well. We empathize Prabhu on the loss of his mother and its impact on him.

This is a quick story, but I felt, the narration is very confusing as it moves between first person and the third person very quickly. Most of the times, I couldn't understand what the author is trying to say - Is the character really saying something or assuming or fantasizing or wanted to say it. Even though the concept is good, it might have been written well.

Overall, a good read for people who love psychology related books.

My Rating: 2/5

Purchase Links:


Flipkart



Until next time,



PS: I have received a free review copy from the author in exchange of a review and this is my honest opinion on the book.

27 February, 2016

Gratitude list - Feb 2016

It's tough to write a gratitude post this month. Though there were a few good things happened, there were also a few things which didn't turn out as planned.

But, showing gratitude for every small thing is what makes us positive to overcome difficulties with good spirit. So, here is my list for this month

1. A birtday Party!
It's my son's birthday party this month. As usual, I planned and prepared some good food, did some party shopping like new dress, return gifts and party material. Overall, kids happily enjoyed.

2. Good work make my day better
Yes, I love working. Challenging and interesting work always keep me going. Small appreciation and more involvement in strategic decisions kept me busy and happy this week.

3. Variety of books in my library
Read different varieties of books this month - A mythology, fiction on transgenders, book on pschychology and a romance. An unusual combo, right?

4. More time with kids
Yeah! More play time with younger one and serious study sesion with older one. Exam time, right? No time for crafts though, will try that in the next month for sure.

So, what you are grateful for this month? Join the #GratitudeCircle by Vidya Sury.
I am feeling better after writing the gratitude list. This is what happens everytime and I don't want to miss this. Thanks to the fellow bloggers who started this wonderful idea of creating a gratitude list :-)

Until next time,








Image courtesy: From google images labeled for non-commercial reuse.

The Samsaric by G W Lwin - Book Spot light and A giveaway

An interesting Genre! 

History + Fantasy + Horror


Historical Fantasy Horror
Date Published: November 17, 2015



Book Description:

SAMSARA: The cycle of birth, death and rebirth within the realms of existence ...

The plague of 1918 A.D.
The mortal world is in a state of devastation.
A woman wakes up in an abandoned temple of Kali, the goddess of darkness, in the ancient city of Gaya.
She does not know where she is.
She does not remember the events leading to this.
She only hears the familiar voice of a tormented man who has haunted her dreams.
He tells her a story - of a time of souls and suffering, of immortality and gods, of life and death.

This, he says, is Mesopotamia.

The SAMSARIC is a fast-paced fantasy-horror novel full of history, horror and vampirism from an ancient era.

Excerpt:

1

REINCARNATION


Gaya, India – 1918 A.D

W
hen I wake, there is darkness, and nothing but it.
I am drowning in the endless blackness, as pain joins its partner and wraps itself languidly around my shaking frame.
Breath is a heaven I just can’t quite reach, and my heart rams itself into my chest, sending waves of terror through my veins.
I open my eyes. Suddenly, all is still.
“Where am I?” I whisper. I do not recognize this voice of mine, weak and wheezing, pulling at my very core with each word.
I reach out with grabbing fingers, hoping to grasp at something, anything, that might help jog my memory, but all I find is endless dust and an unbreakable wall that parts my mind.
A shuffle.
A breath.
A flicker as a silent candle lights the air. Fear courses through me, my pulse incessantly pounding in my ears.
“Who’s there?” I squint through the dim light, eyes burning. I scuffle for my awareness, but fatigue plagues my body and I can hardly bring my legs up from under me.
The Plague.
I blink as the word of death enters my mind, bringing a vague sense of familiarity with it, but the moment of clarity is gone in an instant.
I shiver as I realise—I don’t even know my own name.
“Who’s there?” I repeat. Though this time, I can’t mask the sliver of fear that has snuck into my voice. Exhaustion threatens to pull me under its hood again, but I fight it as hard as I can.
“Inanna?”
I scream and force myself to shrink away from the strange voice arising out from the darkness. Who is that? A murderer, probably, or a kidnapper, or … my breath comes in shaking gasps of terror, and hysteria threatens to tip me over the edge. I’m going to die, I’m going to die, and I don’t even know my own name.
“Please, it-it’s all right. You’re going to be fine,” comes the voice again, as if he’d heard my thoughts. The voice, I hear now, is distinctly male, soft and gentle—tentative.
I relax only slightly—he doesn’t sound much older than I am.
My vision starts to recede as darkness seeps its way into my core, but I blink any leftover hysterical tears fiercely away and silently begin to search around me for anything sharp or even remotely dangerous to use as a weapon.
“I-I’m not afraid of you,” I yell out vaguely into the dark void. Exhaustion fills my voice, and my bones shake with fatigue, but my resolve is stronger.
A low chuckle from the other side of the room makes the hairs on my neck rise in fear.
“I believe you,” the voice calls out in response.



About the Author:

I love anything that comprises the old and the ancient full of rich history and spirituality. For me, reading and learning from our ancient past is truly a beautiful, unique and intriguing journey.


From a young age, I have felt that there were two versions of me: the old spiritual one and a young soul who still lives in his fantasy world.

However, both of these versions share one commonality - my interest in vampires from the ancient mythology and beliefs. I was mesmerised by their folklore since young.

The need to express is very strong within me. Writing, for me, provides this gateway and helps me to grow as a person. It is a life-long learning path that I gladly embark.

As a writer, I would like to improve each and every stage of writing, to possess the art of crafting words to communicate the emotions that arise from within to the readers ... a vision shared by many authors.

Contact Links

Website: www.greglwin.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GWLwin/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/greg_lwin

Blog: www.greglwin.com


Purchase Links

Amazon: http://bit.ly/TheSamsaric

Give Away:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Until next time,

25 February, 2016

Happy Homicides 2 - Cozy Mysteries - A Guest Post


Love is in the air! Valentine's day just crossed on Feb 14th and Isn't it the right time to read these 13 cozy mysteries to know how deadly love can be?

Happy Homicides 2: Thirteen Cozy Mysteries

~Crimes of the Heart~


Cozy Mystery Collection
Print Length: 597 pages
Publisher: Spot On Publishing (February 14, 2016)
ASIN: B01B3FKGOU


About the Book:

Love can be deadly. As proven by these traditional mysteries, cunningly crafted by thirteen bestselling and award-winning authors. Nearly 500-pages of heart-warming, brain puzzling, and character-driven reads. Your purchase includes a free gift, a file with recipes and craft ideas sure to put you in a romantic mood any time of the year!


Included are!

Stupid Cupid: A Cara Mia Delgatto Novella by Joanna Campbell Slan—Cara Mia’s search for love gets her involved in a star-crossed, homicidal romance.

A Heart for Murder by Teresa Trent—An expensive family heirloom is stolen from a local jewelry store, and Betsy Livingston Fitzpatrick would love to figure out who’s responsible.

For the Love of Dog by Neil Plakcy—A young woman’s death causes a man to consider the many aspects of love. Is it ever a justification for murder?

Wedding Knife by Elaine Viets—A groom learns to take his vow–Till death do we part—very, very seriously.

Death and a Dozen Roses by Annie Adams—Plucky florist Rosie McKay is reunited with an old love, thanks to complications that happen when she tries to deliver a dozen roses.

The Sodium Arrow by Camille Minichino—The love of a student for a favorite teacher drives a freelance embalmer to seek out justice.

Sweets, Treats, and Murder by Nancy Jill Thames—The love of a woman for her godson puts her in a position to meet a young store clerk, who is murdered shortly thereafter.

Dying for Valentine’s Tea: A Beach Tea Shop Novella by Linda Gordon Hengerer—The three Powell sisters want their friend Thelma to find true love, but they’re having trouble believing her fiancé has her best interests at heart.

The New Normal by Kathi Daley—Although her own dreams have been shattered, Ellie Davis finds it impossible to quit loving an old friend, even after he’s accused of murder.

Bones and Arrows by Carolyn Haines—Intrepid Sarah Booth Delaney would rather face a gun than a party on Valentine’s Day. Not surprisingly, she’s decided that Cupid is a big phony. But is he a jewel thief, too?

Murder at Catmmando Mountain: Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery 1 by Anna Celeste Burke—Georgina Shaw loves her cat, chocolate, and cooking. When she’s framed for a crime, she’s forced to reconsider her priorities.

The Missing Jacket
by Randy Rawls—A golfing buddy offers Jonathan Boykin big money to retrieve a stolen jacket, but Jonathan suspects something else is going on.


Really, Truly Dead by Maggie Toussaint—Lindsey McKay has no desire to return to small town life. But her love for her father brings her back home when he’s accused of murder.

~ Bonus Story~

Impediments: A Kiki Lowenstein Short Story by Joanna Campbell Slan—Family problems and priestly politics threaten to derail a love match, until Kiki Lowenstein suggests a surprising solution.

A Guest post by Linda Gordon

Dying for Valentine's Tea

By Linda Gordon Hengerer


“Dying for Valentine’s Tea” is the second novella in the Beach Tea Shop series. I write about a tea shop because I love the rituals associated with taking tea. When I traveled to England and Scotland, having a basket with tea, oranges, and shortbread waiting in my hotel room was just the ticket to relax and warm up after a day of sight-seeing in cool, sometimes rainy, weather.

Pausing for tea is such a civilized habit. Last year Joanna Campbell Slan (a fellow anthology author) and I had afternoon tea together at the Biltmore Hotel in Miami, Florida, USA. A rolling cart brought us a selection of teas inside decorative tins. Sweets, savories, and scones on a three-tiered stand tested our willpower as they tempted our appetites. Music by a live harpist suffused the air, overlaying the sounds of guests registering or walking through the lobby. Taking an hour to unwind and talk with a good friend made a simple meal an occasion to remember.

Iced tea, either sweetened or unsweetened, is a staple in the southern United States. It's simple to make. You just let hot tea cool and pour it over ice. I like drinking unsweetened iced tea with a meal, but it doesn’t replace the delightful ritual of relaxing with hot tea and tea sandwiches.

I chose to write about a tea shop so that I could combine my love of cooking, specifically baking, with the pleasure I receive from having tea. The Beach Tea Shop series features three sisters: Danielle, Chelsea, and Alexandra Powell. As the oldest of three sisters in my own family, the dynamic among siblings is quite familiar to me. As for the setting, I live in Vero Beach, and my fictional town of Citrus Beach gives me the flexibility to use the areas I love and make up the parts where murder occurs.

I hope you’ll visit with the Powell sisters at Beach Tea Shop. An anthology is the perfect way to sink into stories by authors you already know, and discover some that are new to you. Happy Homicides 2: Thirteen Cozy Mysteries – Crimes of the Heart, is now available for only $2.99 USD. We’re also having a contest to give away a dozen roses, and a copy of the book.




Until next time,





23 February, 2016

Voice of the Spirit by Charlotte Raine - Book Spot Light & Giveaway

Here is a combination of Suspense and Romance. Participate in the rafflecopter and win prizes!

Book Description:
Tobias and Lauren have been together for four months since the end of Do You Want to Play. They’ve found rhythm in their relationship, but that rhythm comes to an abrupt stop when a body is found nailed to a cross inside Pious Church.

As they dig through possible suspects—from religious fanatics to resentful Satanists—they also find themselves reexamining their relationship, trying to figure out if two people with opposite beliefs can stay together. As time begins to run out for their kidnapped singer and the murders begin to pile up, they will have to find a way to resurrect what they had doubted and sacrifice what they had believed.


As they dig through possible suspects—from religious fanatics to resentful Satanists—they also find themselves reexamining their relationship, trying to figure out if two people with opposite beliefs can stay together. 


As time begins to run out for their kidnapped singer and the murders begin to pile up, they will have to find a way to resurrect what they had doubted and sacrifice what they had believed.

Buy the book: Amazon








Author's Bio:

Charlotte Raine is a best selling suspense author. Charlotte gets inspiration for her writing from the scenic mountains around her home near Vail, Colorado.

When she is not writing you will find her after a long day of skiing at one of the many lodges in Vail. She will most likely be next to a warm fire, drinking a glass of wine and telling stories.

Connect with the author: Website Twitter Facebook

Prizes:

Win 1 of 3 signed copies of Teacher Beware by Charlotte Raine (USA)


Giveaway:


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Until next time,

20 February, 2016

She : Ekla Cholo Re by Shayan & santosh - [Book Review]

Book Details:

Title: She : Ekla Cholo Re

Author: Dr. Shayan Haq, Santosh Avvannavar

Edited by: Rajashree Ghosh

Publisher: Authors & Hoffen


Blurb:

Set in the backdrop of 1990 Calcutta, She is a story about finding one’s own identity in spite of all odds. The story spins around the life of Kusum, a brave heart whose identity is often untitled and blurred; it does not belong anywhere, definitely not under the ‘he’ or ‘she’ bracket, thanks to our social conditioning. Will she be successful in her mission? Find out in She, an utterly absorbing read that derives inspiration from Tagore’s “Ekla Cholo Re” song, which urges everyone to move on despite the fear of abandonment from others.

My Review:

'She' is the story of a transgender Kusum, who is born as a male, but dominated with female traits. The story mainly focuses on how society treats transgenders. It shows how our society has set some expectations from long time based on gender. If someone is not fitting into either of the gender types, our society tries to ignore or avoid them and cannot accept and include them.

The book cover is designed well as per the story. The narration is good and easy to follow. The climax is very good. I don't know much about Rabindranath Tagore's song 'Ekla Cholo re' and its meaning until I read this book. This has some verses from that song with translation in English.

Even though it is a very short story, the author is able to send a clear message to readers about the discrimination on transgenders. Male or female or She-Male (that's what the term they used in the book :-)), everyone is human, they have their own aspirations and they are to be accepted as they are. The book ends with the quote -
You are what you choose to be

My Rating: 4/5

Purchase Links (Affiliate links):



Amazon: SHE: Ekla Cholo Re



About the Authors:

Santosh Avvannavar:

Santosh started his career as a consultant and Soft Skills Trainer. After his college education from NITK, Surathkal, he worked as a researcher at University of Eindhoven, University of Twente, and Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He was also the Placement President while working at IISC, Bangalore. He has over twenty-five publications of mostly research documents in national and international journals. He has also authored sixteen conference papers and regularly writes articles for a national and worldwide daily paper. He also works as an advisor for different organizations.

He also dabbles in fiction writing and is the author of Adhuri Prem Kahaniya; Dear Wife, Your Husband is not a Superhero, Second Heart and Get a Job WITHOUT an Interview; Be A B.A.; Surrogate Author. He likes to devote his personal time in writing for a website, namely the Amrita Foundation for HRD (www.amritafoundation.wordpress.com). He has conducted seminars and training sessions for more than 40,000 people in India and abroad over the last seven years.

Dr. Shayan Haq:

Shayan is a medical doctor and cosmetologist by profession working at Bijapur, Karnataka. He is born at Gaya, Bihar and spent his quality time at West Bengal and Bihar before he moved for higher education. In his free time he loves to drive, read, watch and discuss on movies, and a gadget freak.

Until next time,


PS: Received a free review copy from the author and this is my honest opinion on the book.






18 February, 2016

When our worlds collide by Aniesha Brahma - [Book Review]

Book Details:

Title: When our Worlds collide

Author: Aniesha Brahma
Publisher: General Press
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Source: A free review e-copy from the author

Book Description:


Akriti has led a pretty much sheltered life. 

Zayn has been shuttled from city to city when he was growing up. 

She is comfortable watching her life from the sidelines. 
He wants to feel rooted to a place he can call ‘home’. 

They meet each other quite by chance. And both seize the chance to be someone they both need in their lives: For Zayn, it’s a 'Partner-In-Crime'. 

For Akriti, someone who just knows how to be there for her… 

When their worlds collide, It is not what either of them expected it to be. Zayn has a steady girlfriend. And Akriti has a crush on him. 

What happens when these two become friends? The biggest adventure of their lives? Or the road to heartbreak? 
What happens when two completely different people collide? Do they become friends? Or, is their friendship doomed from the start? 

'When Our Worlds Collide' is the story of two twenty-three-year olds, Who are finally growing up and finding their feet in the world. A tale of friendship and love, crushes and betrayals, messes and second chances, Marriage and divorce… and the elusive happily ever after!

My Review:

This is the story of Akriti who is leading an isolated life without friends, managing her mom's cafe. Zayn is the boy friend of her school friend Nimmi. Akriti has a crush on Zayn and both share their common interest in poetry. Akriti lives with her mother who is a divorcee and hates her father who marries another woman. Akriti takes care of her mother's cafe, puts her all efforts to make it the most happening place in Kolkata. It is her story of crush, friendship, aspirations and the lessons that she learns from her life experiences.

It's a casual love story with the focus on each individual character and their identities. There is a quotation in each chapter and I loved reading all of them.

A few quotes from the book about one-sided love and crush that I loved so much

I’m 99.9% sure that you don’t like me. But it’s the 0.1% that keeps me going. —Anonymous

You know why they call it crush? Because that is what it feels like when they don’t feel the same way. —Anonymous

You know that amazing lightheaded feeling you get every time you see your crush? Well, that’s common sense leaving your body. —Anonymous
Loved this!
The narration is fine. Writing style is easy to follow. I loved the way each character is portrayed, especially Akriti - how she transforms into a matured individual by the end of the story. 

Not So good!
There are one or two grammar mistakes. Editing might have been better. The narration became boring when I completed around 75% of the book and I wanted to flip pages faster after that. The climax is good, but I am not very convinced on Akriti's decision about Zayn. I couldn't understand the relationship between Akriti and Ayub as well. 

Overall, it's a casual read.
My Rating: 2/5

Purchase Link: 
Grab the copy at Rs.179/- from Flipkart. (Affiliate link)

About the Author:

Aniesha Brahma knew she wanted to be a writer since she was six years old. She was schooled in Dolna Day School and went on to pursue B.A., M.A., and M.Phil in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur Univeristy. She currently lives in Kolkata, with her family and five pet cats. The Secret Proposal was her debut novel, followed by The Guitar Girl. She was a contributing author with her story The Difference, in the anthology: Voices, Old & New. When Our Worlds Collide is her third work of fiction, and first novella. 

She can be reached at: aniesha.brahma@ gmail.com, 
or drop by her website, at: www.anieshabrahma.com


Until next time,






PS: Received this free review copy from the author and this is my honest opinion on the book.

17 February, 2016

Busy life #WordyWednesday

Getting to a place of comfort can be uncomfortable

Indeed, it is. After a tiring day, slogging at work till 8 PM, going back to home in peak traffic and reaching after 2 hrs is of course not comfortable.

Rajiv returns home by 10 pm daily to see his kids sleeping and his wife frustrated by managing 2 active kids alone.

2 years ago, life was simple and happy. Less work, office nearer to home, more family time and no pressures. But, It didn’t satisfy him. He wanted more money, a higher position at work and more luxuries to their family. Not a big deal right? All his wishes were complete with some sacrifices – more work, more pressure, and more responsibilities. It followed with health problems, less family time and no peace. With the home loan and car loan hanging on his neck, he cannot go back to his simple life.

Being busy with everything, did he forget to enjoy simple pleasures in his life? Was he busy dying or busy living?


Linking this to #WordyWednesday hosted by Shailaja V. Highlighted are the sentence prompts.


Until next time,

16 February, 2016

To Be a Child by Debra Schoenberger - A Guest Post

A different book with pictures of smiling and playing kids. Interesting right? 

Read more about the book and the guest post by author Debra on travel tips.

Book Description:

Give a child a cardboard box and his imagination will turn it into anything but!

Today, it is less common to see children playing in the streets, especially in urban areas. The plethora of ready-made toys should make any child happy. What usually happens is that the box the toy came in becomes the toy!

This book documents children at play (and at times at work) from 10 different countries. A child's ingenuity never ceases to amaze me and I hope you will share these images with your children as well. 

Buy the book: Website Amazon

Author's Bio:

Debra Schoenberger aka #girl with camera

"My dad always carried a camera under the seat of his car and was constantly taking pictures. I think that his example, together with pouring over National Geographic magazines as a child fuelled my curiosity for the world around me.

I am a documentary photographer and street photography is my passion. Some of my images have been chosen by National Geographic as editor's favourites and are on display in the National Geographic museum in Washington, DC. I also have an off-kilter sense of humour so I'm always looking for the unusual. Plus I usually have a lot of scars on my knees. 
(le sigh...)

I live with my creative director, Miss Pickles (my budgie) in Victoria, BC, Canada.

Connect with the author: Website Twitter Facebook

Connect with the photographer's website: Website 

Guest Post by Debra Schoenberger



Advice for Someone Who Wants to Travel to Other Countries 

Plan at least a year ahead and do your research. Be prepared for last minute problems and don’t panic. Have a good travel / medical insurance. I once had two important flights on a 14 flight itinerary cancel at the last minute but because I had good travel insurance I was able to re-book with another airline (which happened to be way better) and the insurance company paid for the difference. 

Enjoy the culture you are getting to know. Things won’t be the same back home and that’s OK. Be patient and smile! Try to get to know a few words in your host country - people really appreciate it when you try to speak to them in their own language. 

Bring energy bars and snacks with you, instant coffee if you’re a coffee lover and plenty of baby wipes. Sometimes my backpack gets covered in dirt and grime so I use the baby wipes to clean it off. Pack light. Do a trial pack with your backback, put it on and walk around your home or outside for 15 minutes. If it’s too heavy, pack lighter. If you’re miserable because you’re tired, you won’t feel like taking pictures plus you could pull a muscle!

I find it much easier to fly around the world in one direction than back and forth across the Pacific ocean as I don’t feel as jet-lagged. Do your research - sometimes booking a flight in the country of origin will give you a better rate. If you are comfortable with booking your own flights over the internet, try different days of the week and different times of day to look for deals. I usually begin with 3 different airlines and hotels and work my way down from there. You will get all sorts of quotes but be patient, eventually a quote will come up that you will be happy with. Read the travel section of your local newspaper or sign up to receive specials from your favourite airlines. Frequent flyer points aren’t as good as they used to be but always try to use them. Air China, for example, partners with Air Canada so I was able to accumulate the Air China points on my Air Canada card. 

Until next time,








14 February, 2016

Last Vacation by Sarah Elle Emm - Book Spot Light

About the Book:

Seven days have passed since Naples real estate agent Megan MacKenna has heard from her twin sister, Madeline, who was vacationing on the beautiful, Caribbean island of St. Croix. Though authorities are not convinced there is a case to solve, Megan knows with all of her heart something happened to Maddy. When Megan receives a direct warning to leave the island or end up like her sister, she turns to the only person who has taken her seriously since she arrived, Gabe, a breakfast cook at a local diner. 


Undercover DEA agent, Gabriel Walker has been building his cover for months, waiting for the opportunity to work his way into the infamous Torrez crime ring. When Megan shows up asking questions and Gabe realizes her twin’s disappearance might be linked to the Torrez men, he has to convince her to go back to Florida before she becomes their next victim. 


The closer Megan gets to the truth, the more Gabe begins to suspect he is missing a huge piece of the puzzle. And someone is closing in on Megan…


Buy Links:

Fun Fact:

I grew up visiting the island of St. Croix with my family.
As an adult, I lived in the U.S. Virgin Islands, on both St. Croix and St. Thomas. I always wanted to write a fiction story that took place there, but I never took the time to write it until recently.

Excerpt:
Megan
peered out at the vast expanse of ocean gleaming in the bright morning sunshine
before her. The turquoise waters seemed to go on forever. From the Caribbean
Airways in flight map, she had noted theislands of Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and
St. John were in the far off distance. She had been told a faint view of the
densely populated St. Thomas could sometimes be seen on a perfectly clear day,
but no matter how she strained her eyes, she couldn’t quite see it today.


Had Maddy
hopped on a sailboat and continued her travels to another island as the police
officer had suggested? It wasn’t like Maddy not to check in. Her cell phone had
been going straight to voice mail since the last photo Maddy had sent, and
according to the cell company, the cell phone was out of service range.
Something had happened to her sibling. The last communication with Maddy had
been an unexplained picture of an iguana. No message, no text, nothing. Just an
enormous, slimy, dragon-resembling lizard. Megan sunk her head to her chest.
Where in the world was her sister?


“Everything
okay, Miss?”Startled from her hopeless thoughts, Megan sat upright at the sound of the low voice.
Her eyes scanned the length of the man standing before her, and she pursed her
lips together. She guessed he was probably about six-foot-two.


As she sat silently, observing him, the man repeated his question, “Are you okay?” His
tone bordered on cautious, but concerned.


“Everything’s fine,” she finally managed with a tight voice.

With a smile, his concern faded away, and he reached behind his back to untie a
grease-spotted apron. He folded the apron up, pulled out a chair at the table
right next to Megan’s, about a foot and a half from her, and sat down.


An internal alarm went off, making Megan feel extremely uncomfortable with his
proximity, and she fidgeted with her hands as he stared at her, finally forcing
them into her lap. How could a voice so soothing go with a gruff-looking
character like him? And what in the world was he doing sitting down so close to
her?
About the Author:

Sarah Elle Emm is the author of the HARMONY RUN SERIES, a young-adult fantasy and dystopian series, released in May 2012 by Winter Goose Publishing. (PRISMATIC, May 2012, OPALESCENT, February 2013, CHATOYANT, September 2014, NACREOUS, August 2015) Her debut fiction novel, MARRYING MISSY, was published by Bird Brain Publishing in October 2011. Sarah is a graduate of The University of Evansville, she has lived and worked in Mexico, Germany, England, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and has traveled extensively beyond. Sarah lives in Naples, Florida with her family. When she’s not walking the plank of her daughters’ imaginary pirate ship or snapping photos of Southwest Florida scenery, she is writing.





Stalk the Author:

Website I Facebook I Twitter I Goodreads I Amazon Author Page



Until next time,







In the belly of an elephant by Susan Corbett - Book Spot Light


Non Fiction / Memoir
Date Published: December 18, 2013
Book Description:

Everybody needs to run away from home at least once. Susan Corbett told people she was out to save the world, but really she was running — running from her home as much as to anywhere. Like many women, she was searching for meaning to her life or for a good man to share it with. In Africa, she hoped to find both.

Compelling and compassionate, In the Belly of the Elephant is Susan's transformative story of what happens when you decide to try to achieve world peace while searching for a good man. More than a fish-out-of-water story, it's a surprising and heart-rending account of her time in Africa trying to change the world as she battles heat, sandstorms, drought, riots, intestinal bugs, burnout, love affairs and more than one meeting with death. Against a backdrop of vivid beauty and culture, in a narrative interwoven with a rich tapestry of African myths and fables, Susan learns the true simplicity of life, and discovers people full of kindness, wisdom and resilience, and shares with us lessons we, too, can learn from her experiences.


An Excerpt:

Prologue 

Liberia--March

The first time I met Death was in a tiny bush-town called Foequellie. It was said that the bush devil who sometimes came to town, dancing to a chorus of drummers, was Death. But he was just a local man dressed in rags and a wooden mask.

On a blue morning of sailing clouds, I crossed the clearing that separated my house from the two-room clinic—the only health facility within a 20-mile radius of thick bush and rain forest. A breeze carried the voices of chatting mothers and crying babies. It was Under Five’s Day, the weekly clinic for babies and children up to five years old. Well into my second year as a Peace Corps volunteer, I worked there, giving nutrition demonstrations and vaccinating children.

Awake from my morning cup of Nescafé and ready for the day, I passed through the dappled shade of a cottonwood tree. This was the town’s Ancestor Tree where the ghosts of great-great-grandfathers, great-aunts, uncles, and cousins hid in the hollows of the trunk with the snakes and spiders, and high up in the branches among the leaves and the ricebirds. The Ancestor Tree loomed next to a red dirt road that twisted its way around the clinic, past my house at the end of town, and on through hillside plots of rice, potato greens, and cassava.

Women with babies tied to their backs in cloth slings gathered at the clinic door. They entered and stacked their yellow “Road to Health” cards in a pile that reserved their place, and then sat on benches to wait their turn and catch up on local gossip.

James, the clinic janitor and local translator, joined me in the waiting room, a 20-by-10-foot space with a dirt floor and mud-plastered walls that smelled of baby pee and sweat.

We said our good mornings; then James explained the causes and treatment of diarrhea. I stood in the center, squeezing oranges into a bowl. As I demonstrated the pinch of salt and teaspoon of sugar needed to make rehydration fluid, a woman came in with a round-faced little girl in tattered shorts and cornrow braids. The two of them sat at the end of the bench, and the little girl laid her head on her mother’s shoulder and closed her eyes.

Over the next few hours, James and I worked with Francis, the local physician’s assistant and clinic “doctor.” We weighed babies, treated skin and stomach ailments, gave out malaria medication, and vaccinated against smallpox, whooping cough, and tetanus. Morning cool gave way to the heat of day, and the rooms grew stuffy. Sometime before noon, I walked back into the waiting room to call the next in line.

The woman with the little girl took her daughter’s hand to lead her in. The girl, about five years old, tried to stand but collapsed. Her mother caught her, and I ran to grasp the girl’s arm. Her skin burned, and her lips were chapped and dry. She breathed out a rattled sigh, and her head lolled to one side.

“Frances! James!” I called, and they came in an instant.

James laid the little girl down, her skinny arms and legs limp against the floor. Frances bent his ear to her nose, then felt her wrist for a pulse. He looked up at us and shook his head. Her mother began to wail.

I knelt, unable to believe, unable to understand. In my two years at the clinic, this had never happened. I had never seen a person die. The spark of the little girl who had been with us only a moment before was gone.

Without thought, I propped her head back, pressed my mouth over hers, and blew my breath into her limp, dehydrated body. Her skinny chest lifted then deflated. Francis pumped her chest, and I blew into her lungs again, then again.

There was no ambulance to call, no emergency room to whisk her to. This was the only place. We tried for a while longer until Francis put his hand on my arm.

“She is gone,” he said.

Her black irises were dull, as if a door at the back of her eyes had shut, blocking out the light. But her skin was warm and smelled the way children smell, an earthy sweetness that no amount of dirt can hide. Francis gently pressed her eyelids closed. The bleat of a baby goat echoed across the clearing.

Amidst the mother’s wails and the silent grief of the other women, the muscles of my throat closed into a fist. The woman had brought in her child, sick with dysentery, dehydrated, dying, and she had sat and waited her turn. Why hadn’t I noticed when they first came in? Why hadn’t I done something sooner? I looked around at the faces of the women and children who still crowded the room, and I started to cry. The mothers all turned to me, eyebrows raised, mouths open, as if they realized for the first time that I, too, was made of flesh and bone.

A week later, several of my students put on a skit at a school gathering. A young man lay on the ground while another pantomimed blowing air into his mouth. Everyone laughed, inviting me to share in the jest.

Foolish Miss Soosan, thinking that by blowing, she could chase away death.

My flushed cheeks and blank face must have moved them. They patted me on the back and spoke kind words; the way one treats someone who simply doesn’t know any better.

Foolish Miss Soosan, crying because she could not make someone stay when they had already left.

About the Author:

A writer, community organizer, and consultant in program management, micro-enterprise development, family planning, and HIV/AIDS education, Susan Corbett began her community development career in 1976 as a Peace Corps Volunteer, working in a health clinic in Liberia, West Africa. In 1979, she joined Save the Children Federation as a program coordinator for cooperative and small business projects in Burkina Faso. In 1982, Susan returned to the States where she has worked with local non-profits in drug and alcohol prevention for runaway youth, family planning, homelessness prevention, and immigrant issues.


Susan has traveled to over 40 countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Pacific and Caribbean, and Central and North America and has lived and worked in ten African countries over the past thirty years (Uganda, Tanzania, Mali, The Gambia, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Mauritius, Tunisia, Nigeria, and Liberia). She lives in Colorado with her husband, Steve, her sons, Mitch & Sam, and her dog, Molly.

Contact Information
Website: http://www.susancorbettbooks.com/

Purchase Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/In-Belly-Elephant-Susan-Corbett-ebook/dp/B00HEXVXNE

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/noresults/in-the-belly-of-the-elephant-susan-corbett/1117760316

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/545653






Until next time,

12 February, 2016

City of Gold by Carolyn Arnold - Author Interview


I am very happy to publish the interview of  Carolyn in today's post. Read more..

CITY OF GOLD large banner6402

City of Gold
by Carolyn Arnold

CITY OF GOLD
City of Gold
(Matthew Connor Adventure Series Book 1)

Hardcover: 314 pages
Publisher: Hibbert & Stiles Publishing Inc (November 27, 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-1988064666
ASIN: B016LLDQIY
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Synopsis

Action-adventure books for the mystery lover. In this series, modern-day archaeologist and adventurer Matthew Connor travels the globe with his two closest friends to unearth treasure and discover legends the world has all but forgotten. Indiana Jones meets the twenty-first century.

Finding the Inca’s lost City of Gold would be the discovery of a lifetime. But failing could mean her death...

Archaeologist Matthew Connor and his friends Cal and Robyn are finally home after a dangerous retrieval expedition in India. While they succeeded in obtaining the priceless Pandu artifact they sought, it almost cost them their lives. Still, Matthew is ready for the next adventure. Yet when new intel surfaces indicating the possible location of the legendary City of Gold, Matthew is hesitant to embark on the quest.

Not only is the evidence questionable but it means looking for the lost city of Paititi far away from where other explorers have concentrated their efforts. As appealing as making the discovery would be, it’s just too risky. But when Cal’s girlfriend, Sophie, is abducted by Matthew’s old nemesis who is dead-set on acquiring the Pandu statue, Matthew may be forced into action. Saving Sophie’s life means either breaking into the Royal Ontario Museum to steal the relic or offering up something no one in his or her right mind can refuse--the City of Gold.

Now Matthew and his two closest friends have to find a city and a treasure that have been lost for centuries. And they only have seven days to do it. As they race against the clock, they quickly discover that the streets they seek aren’t actually paved with gold, but with blood.

Carolyn Author Photo 2013 Color

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

CAROLYN ARNOLD is the international best-selling and award-winning author of the Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher, and McKinley Mystery series. She is the only author with POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT.™
Carolyn was born in a small town, but that doesn’t keep her from dreaming big. And on par with her large dreams is her overactive imagination that conjures up killers and cases to solve. She currently lives in a city near Toronto with her husband and two beagles, Max and Chelsea. She is also a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

Connect with CAROLYN ARNOLD Online:

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And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter for up-to-date information on release and special offers at http://carolynarnold.net/newsletters.

Purchase Links



Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA Amazon AU
Barnes & Noble Apple iBooks Kobo

Author Interview:

What inspired you to write City of Gold?

A while back, I was searching for an action-adventure book to read, and I quickly noticed that most stories in the genre start off at a point long ago in history with people who never enter the story again after an initial prologue.  But I wanted to read something more in the vein of Indiana Jones, that started in the present day, with action right from the start that just keeps going. Who doesn’t remember the boulder scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when Indy is running for his life? Now, that’s what I’m going for!

You are primarily a mystery author. Why did you decide to write an action adventure?

I’m not sure whether I actually decided or was simply inspired. It is such a mysterious place, and people can’t seem to decide whether the city is fact or legend. The child in all of us wants to believe that a place like the City of Gold exists, but the grown-up in us tends to squash that curiosity. So when mine was piqued, I wanted to try my hand at going on an adventure along with my characters.

Many people have written about the Inca’s lost City of Gold. Why did you choose to write about it?

I chose to write about this particular legend because I find it absolutely fascinating! A city made of gold and treasure beyond imagining? How could I resist? I studied and researched to the point of obsession, and I even wished to be an explorer myself so I could set out in search of the city.

In fiction, the City of Gold is referred to by many names. The most common is El Dorado. But El Dorado actually referred to a ritual, not a place. Paititi is the true name for the lost City of Gold. Paititi translates to “city of the jaguar,” “all white and shiny,” and “white gold.” Many stories have emerged about the city and explorers have set out in search of it throughout South America, many losing their lives.

I examined the history of the city and explored the area on Google Earth. Plucking clues from different reference materials, I picked a spot where I think Paititi might actually be located. But who knows? What I do know is every story written about Paititi is unique and stands alone, and because Paititi hasn’t been discovered (yet?), there is a lot of room for play for a fiction writer.

What were some challenges you faced while writing the book?
As a mystery author who specializes in police procedurals, I found it hard to let myself go. With my regular genre, there are procedures that I need to follow. I need to know how real-life detectives and FBI agents would handle an investigation, how the forensics work, et cetera. So when it came to writing about what is, at this point, a fictional city, it was hard to open my creative mind. It almost felt like I had to literally discover the city in order to write about it. But with all the research and resources on Paititi—and some of it conflicting—I had to decide for myself what bits to incorporate into my story. I had to remind myself that I’m a storyteller, not a professor.

Tell us about the characters.

Twenty-nine-year-old Matthew Connor is the son of Toronto’s mayor, and while he’s educated in archeology, you won’t find him on excavations. His passion is hunting down treasure and legends the world has all but forgotten. While he feels the need to hide his true occupation from his father, this secret affects more than only him. Matthew’s two closest friends, Robyn and Cal, travel the globe with him and put their lives at risk to secure priceless artifacts.

What can readers expect from this book and this series?

This book and series is not your everyday action adventure. In fact, it’s been designed for the mystery lover. For example, in City of Gold, there is a kidnapping, a ransom, and a police investigation, as well as lots of action-packed adventure and exploration itself.

The series will follow that same kind of trajectory, with Matthew, Cal, and Robyn continuing to unearth treasures around the world. Think a modern-day Indiana Jones.

Does this book contain a special message for your readers?

Yes! I want people to believe again and realize that all things are possible. I want people to play more, explore his or her inner child, and live lives of passion and joy. When things are dark in our lives, what does it hurt to hope? Somewhere along the line of human history, it became foolish to believe in something without first seeing it with our own eyes. But what if we gave ourselves over to optimism and positivity? Maybe we’re afraid of being hurt or disappointed, but what harm does it really do to believe? I can speak from personal experience that keeping a positive attitude only added to my life and brought joy. While the end result to my situation didn’t bring happiness, it didn’t hurt any more because I held a positive attitude throughout the experience. In fact, I believe it even made miracles during that time possible.

So, if you’re looking for something to believe in, or if you just want to sit back and fall into an adventure, I encourage you to pick up a copy of City of Gold today.
  
Video on the painting for the cover:



Until next time,

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