Let’s Talk Embroideries

No wait. It is not what you think it is.

Embroideries need patience. In fact, tonnes and tonnes of it. And I don’t have that reserve of patience in me. What I am talking about is the book of the same name by Marjane Satrapi.

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Image Source: Amazon.com and I hold no rights to it.

It is not a book per se, but a graphic novel and a fine one at that. A quick read, you can actually finish this brilliant piece at one go. On a flight, on a long drive or on a day when you want to take a break from everything and need a change. It is rib-tickling and there are moments that would make you laugh out loud. Really LOUD.

I am afraid of giving away spoilers and hence, I steer clear of penning down more words and not including any quote. You have to enjoy it one word at a time. All I can say is that the book is a masterpiece and this is only the first of her many books that I have picked up to read.

I have targeted her book Persepolis next as a friend highly recommends the same to me.

Have you read Embroideries? What do you like about the book/graphic novel?

 

 

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Beginner’s Luck: 7 Books To Have In Your Collection When You Start Reading

Look what I found! 😀

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Image Source: Flickr Image Source: Flickr

Reading is a hobby that gives joy second to none. More often than not, beginner level readers are clueless as to how they can build up their book collection or which books should they start reading first. Here is a new series in my blog – Beginner’s Luck and I will start with a list of 7 books that every beginner should have in their collection.

  1. Classic: There are so many classics out there that you will surely be spoilt for choices. However, in my opinion, you can settle for quick classics such as – The Animal Farm or The Old Man and The Sea.
  2. Chicken Soup For Soul: I have not read any of the books in this series. But if you want to get started with non-fiction, this is the best series that you can try. There are many variants of the book such as…

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I Never Read Non-Fiction, Almost…

Non-fiction is the dark sheep of my reading expeditions. Biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, self-help books etc. are never picked up by me from the shelves, apart from gifting purposes.

Not that I never tried reading them, or haven’t ever read them. But beyond a few pages, I start yawning and can’t seem to focus. My heart and soul wanders away and I long to pick up a work of fiction as soon as possible.

Such is my condition.

Till date, the only non-fiction works that I read (and remember) are :

  • You Can Win by Shiv Khera
  • Who Moved My Cheese
  • The Diary Of Anne Frank (Read it numerous time)
  • Timepass by Protima Bedi
  • Letters from a father to a daughter
  • Ogilvy on Advertising

And I guess that’s all.

I am still figuring out the WHY of non-fiction aversion. And I have concluded that it is because of the fact –

  • If I can learn it from a story, why read someone else’s account?
  • Self-help never motivates me and I find it to be a bit “preachy”. I don’t like being “preached”.
  • I feel lost. Every single time I pick up a non-fiction work. Sometimes, I feel I am losing my identity and questioning everything when I read excerpts. Whereas, I am overall a very optimistic person who never compares and contrasts her life with others. So, no.
  • I can’t visualise anything when I read a work of non-fiction! I can’t imagine a scenario where person X and person Y meet at an office and then person Y becomes the bigshot and blah. No. Not happening. Give me names! Give me imaginary setups please.

Having said that, I believe that I have learnt more from Harry Potter or The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants than from a Men are from Mars. I learn more from Jodi Picoult and Jhumpa Lahiri than the who’s who of non-fiction world.

I know I am biased, but this is how I function. Hopefully, I do aim to read more non-fiction in the coming days (one book is already shortlisted), but I am not promising that I won’t wander off! 😉

What about your equation with non-fiction works? Suggestions are most welcome.

 

 

Author Interview: KSR Menon

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Hello Mr. Menon. Please tell us a bit about yourself and your journey as a writer?

I have been a news agency journalist for most of my life.I was posted as the correspondent of the leading Indian news agency, the Press Trust of India in Dubai. That experience gave me an opportunity to base my novel in Dubai. As a wire service journalist,I have been schooled to write with brevity, clarity and accuracy which feature, I believe, is reflected in my style of writing and also in my thriller,Desert Hunt.

You’ve been a journalist and a writer. Could you tell us the difference between the two? How were your experiences as both?

As a journalist you are not at liberty to take a purely subjective view of events. A journalist at best is only an interpreter of events.  A writer is not bound by such rules. However, after being a journalist for so long, I cannot exercise that writer’s freedom to see things only in any one perspective. When I write about a people or a region, I am conscious of the fact that it is my responsibility to see situations from a wide angle.

What is your book about? How did you come up with the plot and the characters?

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Desert Hunt” has terrorism as the theme which is very topical today. When I conceived the idea of a Dubai-based novel, I wanted to write something unique. As far as I know, no novel has been published by an Indian expatriate author based on this kind of a terror plot unfolding in the Middle East region, particularly Dubai. This emirate is at the crossroads of East and West and also of opposing ideologies. What is foreseen in the novel is something that is waiting to happen. Once the theme was decided, the characters fell into place. It was as if I knew them in real life.

Who or what inspires you to write?

That is a difficult question. I had done creative writing a couple of decades ago. But in the interregnum, try as I may, I could not produce any fiction, not even a short story. But then one day, I decided to write again. It was part destiny that I succeeded.

What are the qualities, which you think is needed to become a successful writer?

First and foremost one should have the felicity of expression. Language is your tool, and proficiency in language does not come about in a day. One has to be observant of people and places that one has been associated with, as all that will find a place in what one writes. Then there is this endless churning in the mind, which ultimately leads to creative writing combining all other elements and a lot of imagination.

Give our budding writers some tips on how to write well and get published.

Read, read and read. Write, write and write. Earlier, one had to be in an exclusive club, or very luckyto get a book published. Now, thanks to Amazon plus other self-publishing platforms, and social media, anyone can write, and quality and effort can sell.

As a writer, what are your pet peeves?

I have none. But I always wonder why I had a writer’s block for a long time and how why the synapses opened suddenly.

What are the books, apart from your latest release, that you would like to recommend all the bookworms out there?

I now read books of many of my fellow authors who are on, say, goodreads or other similar sites. I must say many of them write very well and are waiting to be discovered. Selection may be decided by the genre one likes. Of course, step into other genres and see what is happening there once in a while. You may enjoy that too and get motivated to be an author.

Given a choice, what would your ideal writing space look like?

I will be alone, all by myself. Plus my laptop, books mostly of the same genreas the one I am trying to write, reference works, and dictionary. I read dictionaries by the way. Keep your cell phone; but switch it off.


Desert Hunt is for all your thriller lovers out there! Do read the book and share your thoughts with us!

Repost: “Ugly” by Warsan Shire — johncoyote

Originally posted on Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again.: UGLY Your daughter is ugly. She knows loss intimately, carries whole cities in her belly. As a child, relatives wouldn’t hold her. She was splintered wood and sea water. They said she reminded them of the war. On her fifteenth birthday you taught her how to tie…

via “Ugly” by Warsan Shire — johncoyote

Giveaway on Goodreads: Myth by Erin Ritch

Hello folks!

I have news. Erin Ritch, the author of Myth is hosting a giveaway on Goodreads. If you are interested, then head straight to Goodreads and enter the giveaway! You can always get lucky! 🙂

The Giveaway ends on October 12th, so hurry up!!!!! And don’t forget to tell me if you win! 😉

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Myth by Erin Ritch

Myth

by Erin Ritch

Giveaway ends October 12, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Author Interview: Erin Ritch

Hi people, this is yet another Author Interview this week and I have more lined up for you! 🙂 This time is it Erin, who has an absolutely pleasant demeanor. Say hello to her and read the interview. You can also show some love to her latest release The Myth, which by the looks of it, seems to be a delightful read!

Just by the way, Erin is also hosting a giveaway for her wonderful book for book lovers like you and me.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Myth by Erin Ritch

Myth

by Erin Ritch

Giveaway ends October 12, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway


1. Hi Erin! Could you please tell us a bit about yourself and how did you become a writer?

Hi Sucheta – thank you so much for having me on your site! I’m an author/blogger from rural Oregon where I live on my little farm with my family. I’ve been writing since I was twelve years old and it started because I had fun traveling to different times and worlds vicariously through my characters – and that has continued to this day!

2. Your new release is “Myth”. Why did you choose the title and what is it all about?

“Myth” is my Fantasy novel about a young woodsman and a girl with powers from the sea who join to save their home from an evil spreading across the world. The two main characters, Shogun and Madigan, have to solve an old myth in order to stop the darkness. That’s where the idea for the title came from since this myth is the key to everything.

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3. Getting rejected by a publisher is probably the worst nightmare for any upcoming author. How would you tell them to deal with rejections?

Read the rejection, thank the publisher for their time, and move on. Whatever you do, don’t dwell on it. File the rejection away or move it out of your inbox. Rejection is certainly part of the job and it will sting at first, but the most important part is to rise above it and keep writing.

4. Who do you consider your biggest critic and why?

I actually think my spouse is my biggest critic – and I’m happy about that! I value his opinion and we’ve built a trust that I won’t get offended by his honest critique. In fact, I depend on it! He’s always the first to read my next story.

5. From where/whom do you get inspiration from?

Many of my stories start with a random image or thought that I keep exploring until I build a story from. Sometimes the story will be a piece of flash fiction and sometimes it will be a full-length novel. Another source of inspiration for me is that I love to write to music, specifically Celtic music!

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6. What would your ideal writing space look like?

Great question! If I could design my ideal writing space, it would have a huge desk and a big comfy chair with one window that overlooks the ocean and one that looks right into the forest. Oh yes, and an espresso machine. Maybe one day I’ll get it!

7. If you were to read only one book for a lifetime, which one would it be and why?

I think it would have to be “A Red Heart of Memories” by Nina Kiriki Hoffman. I was very influenced by this story when I first read the novel in my late teens, just when I was starting to experiment with my own style of writing. One of the characters in the book has the ability to communicate with inanimate objects. That was an idea I was trying out myself and it was very exciting to see it work so well for an established author. That book really gave me the confidence to try out the ideas that I was afraid were too obscure or different.

8.  The epic question. How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I’ve found when I suffer from Writer’s Block, it’s usually because I’m taking the story in the wrong direction. Going back through the last chapter in the story and trying out different options will usually solve the problem. I keep the deleted material in a separate document just in case I need it later in the book.

9. What are the books you grew up reading and how did they shape up your writing career?

When I was growing up I read everything I could get my hands on but found that I was really drawn to Fantasy and Sci-fi books such as Star Wars. As a teenager, I read a book on writing by Brenda Ueland called “If You Want To Write.” That book truly gave me the confidence to trust my voice and embrace my own style of writing.

10. Give our budding authors some tips that they can use.

Remember that your voice is unique and there is no one else like you! Embrace your own style and explore the stories that interest you. When you finish a story, wait a few weeks before you go back and revisit it, editing will be much easier when you’ve had a chance to step away. Lastly, if you’re interested in publishing your work, remember there are so many options available to writers nowadays – whether it’s traditional publishing, self-publishing, small presses, e-zines, blogs, etc. Connect with or follow authors who write books similar to your’s and see what they are doing to achieve success.

11. What other work(s) do you have in the pipeline?

Right now I’m working on a book called “The Reanimation of Robert” that I’m calling a Paranormal Literary Fiction! It’s about a man that cheats death and gains supernatural powers. I am very happy with how it is turning out and plan on releasing it before the end of the year!


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You can contact the author via these links:

Website: http://erinritch.com/

Myth is available to purchase internationally in print or e-book on Amazon. Link to Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2cwGjLf

Book Review: The Vigil and Other Stories

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There are stories that you read once and forget.

There are stories, which remain with you always.

And then, there are stories that you never expect to turn out that great, but they ooze a certain kind of warmth and never leave you.

This is what I learnt from many Sudha Murthy stories. I am glad to add one more name to the list today and that is of Gita Reddy, author of The Vigil and Other Stories.

To be honest, I sometimes DO judge a book by its cover. Mainly because I belong to the IT industry and often, I have to work in close quarter with design. So, when I received the copy of the book, I was a bit skeptical about how it will turn out to be, what sort of stories will it contain, reviewing shall anyway be done but will I actually love the book and read it with acute interest?

As you might have guessed by now, I did love the book. The collection of mostly women-centric short stories, the book strikes a chord. It has been written in a simple language and keeps you hooked on every sentence, every page. Saying anything more will just spoil the book for you.

Read it at your own pace and make others read it too!

Click here to take a look at the book on Goodreads.

 

Author Interview: Eva Snowden

Eva Snowden is an extremely warm and jovial person and I am glad to have interviewed her. Instead of me yapping endlessly about her, why not read what she has to say! 🙂


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Hi Eva! It is nice to have you on the blog. Please tell us about yourself and how did writing happen to you?

Hello, My name is Eva A. Snowden and I am the author of NamuH, a science fiction novel released this past August.  I have always loved story telling. When I was in elementary, secondary and later college I was always telling stories.  To me it was the best hobby.  I could take any picture, look at any group of people or any object and develop a story around them.  It came in handy in later years when raising my daughter.  I made up stories and told them to her every night and encouraged her to be creative and explore.  It was only after I retired from work that I was able to devote full time to my writing and this novel, which had been roaming around in my mind for years, came to life.

What according to you are the qualities needed to become a writer?

To be a writer you need to unleash your imagination.  Allow your thoughts to wander and to wonder.  A writer needs a sense of discover to create the uncreated to unearth new ways of communication and tell a story.  I want my stories to evoke emotion and perhaps a new perception of ourselves and others.

What or whom do you take inspiration from?

I am inspired by nature.  The absolute marvel of  creation and knowing I am cared for by a loving God encourages me daily.  I also find great inspiration from reading other writers.

How easy or difficult was it for you to get published?

After I wrote my novel, I spent a few months sending query letters to both agents and publishers with no success.  There are so many authors seeking to be published and unfortunately very few that are picked up commercially. That doesn’t mean publication is impossible.  Because of the internet self-publication is very affordable and practical.  I decided to use Create Space and they were very helpful in getting my book in print and on-line.

What would your ideal writing space look like?

Everyone has a different learning style.  I think that is also true for writing.  Some people write better in a quiet office, but that’s not me. I like to write in the middle of my kitchen on a kitchen chair with my laptop on the kitchen Island.  I like the smell of coffee and hearing the sounds of nature outside and the bustle of my house.  I take long walks nearly every day; and while I’m walking I work out plots and dialogue.

Give us an idea about your new book, the plot and the characters.

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My novel is dystopian fiction.   In 1968 a third grade teacher named Jane Elliott conducted a phycological exercise with her third grade class.  This happened  shortly after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.  She wanted the children to experience the irrational nature of prejudice and discrimination.  She told the children that the blue eyed children were smarter and better than the brown eyed children and separated the children based on their eye color.  By the end of the school day the blue eyed children had done better on all their tests and were  better behavior while the opposite was true of the brown eyed children.  They acted that way not because of fact but because of what they had been told. That is the insidious evil of discrimination.  My novel takes that idea and expands it to a civilization based on prejudice and discrimination.

The main character is a girl named, Dara.  She is born into privilege as the daughter of circle elder, the supreme commanders of the civilization.  The life of the Circle people is  fraught with peril.  There is a disease, the Luza plague which is first detected in newly born babies.  Infants infected with the virus must be euthanized to prevent the deadly plague spreading.  The circle elders are also responsible for the Namuh, a humanoid species that were once savage and preyed on the circle people.  The circle elders have over time domesticated them and they are used as farm laborers and domestic servants.  In the mountains surrounding the circle complexes are bands of marauders composed of circle deserters and their luza infected children as well as escaped Namuh.  They terrorize the circle villagers and are a bane  to the eldership.

While on an archaeological dig with her father, Dara encounters a ferocious reptile and is saved from sure death by a young soldier of the band.  Severely injured she is nursed back to health by the band.  It is with the band, Dara discovers the truth of who she really is and the evil of the circle elders.  She then must decide what to do with what she knows.  There are many twists and turns as the novel unfolds and the mystery of the Namuh is revealed.

What are the books you grew up reading? What is the earliest memory that you have on reading?

I have always loved science fiction especially dystopian fiction.  I loved George Orwell and Mary Shelley and also enjoy Stephen King and Carrie Ryan.  I am also a fan of books about space fiction especially the works of Michael R. Hicks.

 Give our budding writers some tips that you picked up while writing your book.

If you wish to be a writer you have to have patience with your imagination   Some days the words just flow out and other days you have to let the book talk to you .  To me it is important to edit often.  It helps me get a feel for the flow of the book.  I also find that enlisting the help of several beta readers gives me a better perspective and forces me to stay on track.

The book has a Facebook page, http://www.facebook/Book of Namuh.  I welcome your reviews and comments there.  NamuH is also listed on Goodreads.

NamuH is available on line at  Amazon, both in print and in e-book formats.  It is also available on line at  Barnes and Noble.

https://www.amazon.com/Namuh-E-Snowden/dp/1535127554/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474312240&sr=1-1&keywords=Namuh

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/namuh-e-a-snowden/1124386150?ean=9781535127554

 

Guestpost: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Review by Nam H Nguyen

About Nam H Nguyen

Nam H Nguyen is a Melbourne based freelancer. His publications can be found online at The Australia Times magazine and on his personal blog, Scratches and Scribbles. An Australian by birth, Nam is a major in Creative Writing and English literature. He can be found perusing Melbourne’s many laneways blanching at the prices of tea.

Do visit his blog to read more write-ups: www.scratchesandscribbles.com


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 We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves By Karen Joy Fowler

Published 30th May, 2015, by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

ISBN 0399162097 (ISBN13: 9780399162091)

310 pages

Man Booker Prize Nominee (2014)Nebula Award Nominee for Best Novel (2013)PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction (2014),California Book Award Gold Medal for Fiction (2013)John W. Campbell Memorial Award Nominee (2014)

Specsavers National Book Award for International Author of the Year (2014)

“In the phrase ‘ human being,’ the word ‘being’ is much more important than the word ‘human.’ ”

Imagine if your father operated your childhood as a social experiment. That is the life of the younger Rosemary Cooke, a life of the apathetic notes and scientific assertions. Now older, her twin sister, Fern has disappeared and her older brother, Lowell, has run away – leaving her with only her mother and father. Weeks after having finished the novel, I still stare at its cover and her voice still echoes with her grief.

Awkward and lonely, Rosemary hides from many things in life, but she doesn’t shy away from everything – and it’s with this determination, that she won’t lose her parents, or herself too.

Author of the 2004 critically acclaimed Jane Austen Book Club, now a film, Karen Fowler has again brought to us a modern work of art.Interspersed with her natural charm, Rosemary Cooke makes for an endearing protagonist. With such talent that couldn’t be done otherwise, she comes too readers as isolated, and then ordinary – and suddenly she leaves you unique and profound. Now older, her voice she echoes with youthful jubilance, and her intelligence and wit leaves you with observations that you can take with you for life.

It’s this complexity –Rosemary’s voice and Fowler’s skill that reshapes your typical family drama into something more relevant today. Readers would forgive the authorsdiscourse, only because it integrates so seamlessly into the structure of the narrative.

What happens when you remove the word human from human being? That’s what half the people I knoware today. Humans or beings, both aspects are important to the modern representation of humanity. Fowler’s greatest achievement is not her innovation on family drama itself – but rather how she sets about asking questions which otherwise are so heavy handed.

Ultimately, the narrative asks us to accept the reality of the world which we live, but leaves us with emotionally charged knowledge to decide our own.

 “I didn’t want a world in which I had to choose between blind human babies and tortured monkey ones… that’s the sort of choice I expect science to protect me from, not give me.”

It’s through novels like these, where we can ponder a little bit, and put the word ‘human’ back where it belongs – right beside the word ‘being’.