The Reading Update – June

  1. Maus 2 – Arthur Spiegelman
  2. House Rules – Jodi Picoult
  3. The Jungle Book – Rudyard Kipling
  4. When Darkness Falls and Other Stories – Ruskin Bond
  5. Malgudi – R.K.Narayan
  6. House of Cards – Sudha Murty
  7. The Color of our Sky – Amita Trasi
  8. Toba Tek Singh – Sadat Hasan Manto
  9. The Room on the Roof – Ruskin Bond
  10. The one and only Ivan – Katherine Applegate
  11. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

 

Now that I am confident and got my reading mojo back, how about taking up more books 🙂 Most of these are Indian classics, which I ought to have read during my school days. But better late than never.

The books in bold have less pages and consist of short stories. But they will need time as the stories are rich and every word counts. No skimming there!

Let me know what you think of the list. 🙂 Au revoir!

How To Lose Friends By Reading Books!!

Call this insane. But I have seen this happen with my own two eyes. You can lose friends by reading books. Not that you SHOULD. But I digress. Here is how you tend to lose friends as you read books:

  • Books on your to-be-read list outnumber the friends you currently have in your life.
  • You’d rather curl up in your bed or couch with a comforter, book, torch and coffee/tea than go out with friends on a weekend.
  • When someone attempts to snap you out of your reading phase, you mentally cut them off, even if its only for that very instant.
  • You love the smell of books – old and new, more than you love the smell of people!
  • You don’t dream of matching curtains and bed covers. You dream of a room full of books and reading nooks.
  • You gravitate towards people who are as obsessed with books as you are.
  • You often judge people based on your current read or a book you read in the recent past. This doesn’t go down well with them I suppose!
  • Nobody can understand bookspeak.
  • Books are your BAE. Period.

Currently Reading

  1. Maus 2 – Arthur Spiegelman
  2. House Rules – Jodi Picoult
  3. The Jungle Book – Rudyard Kipling

These are on my reading list. To be honest, the reading list is long. But I have just started again, living my life through books. So here you go.

What are you reading?

9 Valuable Tips For Turning A Non-Reader Into A Reader

A classmate of mine was a non-reader. For a long, long time, he had aversion to the world of words. One day, he discovered the joy of reading and there was no looking back for him. He was in his mid-twenties when he started.

Takeaways?

A. It is never too late to begin reading.

B. With the right books, anyone can become a reader.

So, how do you make the transition? How do you go to the other side of the fence and have all the green grass? Maybe, these points will help you.

  1. Physical book vs Ebook. And the debate rages on. I would suggest you to opt for the former. But if you are more comfortable reading on a screen, invest in an Ebook reader such as Kindle, for distraction-free reading. But if your will-power is strong, then you can always read on a tab or any other device.
  2. Become a member of a local library. This way, you can get access to each and every genre of book without spending all your life’s savings!
  3. Or read online. Archive.org, Project Gutenberg and a number of other websites allow you to read books or sample chapters online for free. Go for them!
  4. Choose a reading nook. Where no one can come between you and your book. Just saying! 😀 Any place where you can comfortably sit and read at a stretch will do.
  5. Dedicate a time of the day for reading. Go for a digital detox and  indulge in reading. Even if it is for fifteen to twenty minutes, dedicate yourself for reading completely. Over the time, you can always increase the duration.
  6. Choose a book by its cover. If dull and drab book covers don’t make you feel interested in reading, switch to books with a lovely cover design. Or maybe, you can switch to a different edition of the same book with a different cover design. Hey! Cover designers get paid for this! 😉
  7. Read books based on movies. This will get you interested, somewhat. Goodreads has a list and so does Listchallenges. Take your pick.
  8. Read fanfics. Reading fanfics is a fan-tastic exercise. It gives you a fresh perspective and answers a number of ‘what-ifs’ you always had in mind. Best part is, you can read them online for free!
  9. Read books that have lesser number of pages. When you complete a book, you get a sense of achievement. So, why not begin with books that can be completed easily?  Here are some lists:

Want to add to the list? Be my guest.

The Captain Didn’t Abandon The Ship

Yes. I know. I know.

It has been ages and this blog is gathering dust and cobwebs and all that.

But trust me, I was busier than the busiest. Still am.

The Captain didn’t abandon ship though.

Stay tuned for a revamped site with a new twist.

That’s all folks.

🙂

 

 

Reader’s Nook: QA with Jody

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

About Jody: I have been a keen reader since as long as I could remember. I was a late bloomer when it came to learning to read. Once I did, I ate books for breakfast. I spent the first thirteen years of my life on a tiny island in the Shetland Islands, so our school only had about ten students and that was across all year levels for primary school. We had a very limited book collection there, no actual library, but I would regularly borrow from there and I spent all my pocket money on books. I am also a keen artist of many mediums and I began to illustrate from my dreams and imagination, and from there stemmed a vast collection of books I have written that has only grown with time.

I am hoping in the future to publish all the books I have written, but I expect it to be a few years before these can hit the shelves as my kids are still young and I need the time to be able to write long into the small hours of the night otherwise I lose my mojo!

I currently live in a remote area of Western Australia, which is in the middle of a desert. I live next to the biggest open pit mine in the world (I think!), and in summer temperatures can reach over 50C and winter, you can see frost on the grass!


 

1. Name 5-10 of your most favourite books

This is a tough one! my fav books are in no particular order

1 Dietland

2 The Way We Fall

3 A Year of Marvelous Ways

4 Shamsuddins Grave

5 Mango Girl

6 The Bone Collector

7 Einstein’s Beach

8 The Immortal Empire (it’s a trilogy)

9 Priests of Mars

10 The Lovely Bones

2. A book that you have re-read the most

Earthsong would have to be the most re-read book I have, I read it when I was very young, and I read it again recently.

3.Favourite authors and why

It’s hard to pick my fav authors, there are so many! Kate Locke, Kylie Chan, Jacob M. Apple are some of my favs though.

4. Genre you dislike

I haven’t yet found a genre that I haven’t enjoyed, it really depends on the author. There is always the potential for even the best genre to be awful if it isn’t written well.

5. Character crush

Character crush? It has to be Vex from the immortal empire trilogy.

6. Character you strongly identify with

I think most of the main characters in books I have read, I have been able to identify with in some shape or form. The older I get the more life experience I collect, so I always find a piece of myself in characters.

7.One character you want to bring to the real world

Too many to be able to pick a single character.

8. What is your ideal reading space/environment

Best reading space is the hammock on a nice spring day after dosing myself up with coffee.

9. Must-have books in a collection

All my favs I’ve listed, and then some 😀

10.Earliest memory of books and reading

I remember being the only kid at my school of 10 kids (I was raised on a small island in Scotland) that liked reading as much as I did. I was always borrowing from our limited collection, and would spend all my pocket money on books, Animal Farm was my fav series. I used to record all the books I read, and today, we have goodreads to do it for us! I wish I still had that list!

11. Weirdest book or reading experience

Forty Bibles and Forty Dictionaries. Absolutely bizarre, made no sense and I never finished reading it.

Reader’s Nook: QA with Edvin

Image Souce: Flickr

Image Souce: Flickr

Bio: I’m a young guy from Sweden, running the blog As the oatmeal swell, and I publish posts about things I find value in. I devour simple and granted things and make them complicated and long, and the opposite. I post social criticism and paintings. I philosophise about things I’m not sure about. Why? Because I think that nothing exist. And, I call myself an artist, and my works focuses on delivering something in a ‘raw’ way. Or something completely different. I dream about doing performance art!


Name 5-10 of your most favourite books.

Thank you so much for allowing me to choose more than one. You know bibliophiles well! Stoner (novel), Capital, Silmarillion, The Tolkien reader, Momo or the Grey gentlemen, Power Systems, Goya and Anders Petersen (1966-1996.)

A book that you’ve reread the most.

Darn… I don’t reread, because I have a good memory, but Silmarillion.

Favourite authors and why.

J.R.R. Tolkien, because he made a very large impact on me; his stories has engraved themselves in my heart, and they are intertwined with many things I do, John Williams because he can embrace the reader and create a bond between them and the story and Noam Chomsky because he delivers his messages in an upright and clear way, while also complicating them in a way that is challenging for everyone.

Genre you dislike.

Horror. I’m scared shitless out of those things.

Character crush.

I really don’t know.

Character you strongly identify with.

Niggle. He is and artist valuing loneliness, and above all his art. People in his surroundings takes distance from him, and it seems like he is not of the world. It results in sad things happening to him, but he still shrugs his shoulders; he knows they have no importance. Niggle finds comfort in himself!

One character that you want to bring to the real world.

Master Secundus Minutus Hora. He is a very interesting man, because he has seen the roots of time, and since he doesn’t have the , he can delve deeper into other things, and he values thinking and waiting.


Like the questions? Why not participate in it? I am all up for it 🙂 Just drop me an email.

 

Author Interview: Melinda

Author photo

It is lovely having you with us Melinda. Tell us something about yourself. And because this is such a boring question, why not spruce it up with some random facts ? J

Hi Sucheta! Thank you for having me on your blog today. It’s actually rare that people want to know more about the author behind the books, and you’ve obviously done your research about me, which is admirable. I’m a more or less ordinary person, with an extraordinary love of books. Ever since my mom taught me to read at age four, I’m having a passionate love affair with literature of all kinds. I also love classical movies, music and walks. And even though I’m a tidy little housewife, I hate ironing, cooking and cleaning. My husband and I don’t have children yet, but our house is pretty much off limits to guests, because often I hide myself behind my fictional characters and avoid doing housework. Hubby sighs and orders pizza. He is a wonderful man, who’s been supporting me for ten years and puts up with each of my oddities. We’re pretty much solitary people, who prefer sitting at home instead of going out with friends. Think of us like Morticia and Gomez Addams. It’s a perfect comparison.

What made you a writer? Tell us about your writing journey so far.

It was actually a sad fact that started my writing career, but as it turns out, I’m grateful for it now. I was a professional target shooter for more than a decade, but a few years ago I started having health issues and was forced to give up this sport. Naturally, I fell into a state of depression and was at a loss on what to do next. Then my father gave me the idea to start writing. I’ve been a journalist since I was eighteen, but it never occurred to me to write fiction until the age of twenty-three. So that’s how Rendezvous, my first novella, was born. From that moment, writing became my purpose in life. Writing is who I am and who I’ll always be.

Since it is the beginning of your writing career and you are mostly into romances, could you tell us what makes you love this genre and in the future, what other genre of writing can we expect from you?

Currently I write in two main genres: Suspense Romance and Romantic Comedy, also known as Chicklit. I love Romance because it’s optimistic, it’s fun and it’s what every person dreams of, deep inside. I will always write stories with a happy ending, maybe because life isn’t always like that, and readers – especially me – need to escape from reality in a better world. That’s what Romance is to me. No matter what genre an author writes in, there always has to be a love story. Love is what makes the world go round, and the most beautiful thing in life.

Which is your native place and what do you like about it? Does it have any influence on your writing/writing style?

I was born in Romania and currently reside in this same country. I adore its history, for which every Romanian is proud, its gorgeous and picturesque landscapes, and our magnificent food. I mention the Romanian food often in my books, and people always tell me or write in reviews that reading my books gives them an appetite for rich European food. I even put up some traditional Romanian recipes on my blog now and again.

What is your inspiration for your books and the characters in them?

I get my inspiration everywhere, but mostly I think I have so many ideas because I read a lot. I have thousands of books in my library, books I like to read and re-read, and I think that broadens my horizon. As for my characters, I usually get inspiration from real people, people I know, or even from myself. I try to put myself in the place of each character, to imagine how I would react in a certain situation, and how I should develop the plot, so it would be plausible.  

What is the USP of your books according to you?

I think one of the things I have going for me is the surprise element. Readers never know what to expect for me next. I always like to experiment, and unlike most authors, I don’t want to limit myself to a single genre. I just wrote a book with a dark, psychological plot, whose heroine was a victim of human trafficking and whose hero was a thief. In total contrast to the story of these two misfits, now I’m working on a Romantic Comedy that makes even me laugh out loud when I write or read it. I guess the secret is to be original and always offer variety to readers. Something for each taste.

How difficult or easy was it for you to get your works published? Any tips for budding writers on getting published?

Actually, it wasn’t so hard to get published. I wrote my first novella, Rendezvous, in Romanian, but oddly enough, I had no chance of publishing it here in my own country. So I decided to translate it in English and submit it to a few dozen American publishers. About fifty rejection letters later, I received a contract offer from a small, new publisher. That’s how I entered the international literary world. I’ve learned a lot in the two years since I’ve been a published author, and I’m always improving my writing style. As I said before, the first thing an aspiring author needs to do is read. A lot. After that, learn the basics of the genre you want to approach, and write. And submit. And no matter how many rejections you’ll get – because you will – never let it discourage you. Write, read, then write some more. I believe this is a quote from one of my favorite authors, Sandra Brown. 

Where do you want to see yourself as a writer in the near future?

Well, at twenty-nine I’m pretty much proud of what I’ve accomplished so far, but I still have a long way to go to reach my goal. For the moment, I have my books published internationally in English, and I’m happy to say that in September my books will begin to be published in Romania as well, and be distributed as paperbacks in bookstores and book shops. So for now, I plan to become a local celebrity (LOL), and then an international one. After that, the sky is the limit. My biggest dream at the moment is to see my books turned into movies. Watch my blog to see when that happens: http://melindadeross.com/


This was Melinda for you 🙂 I thank her for appearing on my blog. If you are an author and wish to get featured, drop me an email and I will get back to you.

Reader’s Nook: QA with Cherrie

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

There is something about Cherrie 🙂 And you can read it in her bio:

I live in the centre of Amsterdam, with my husband, a 9-year-old daughter, a cat, and about 600 books. I work in IT, but my real passion is travelling (a passion I share with the family) and books. If I’m not travelling, sailing our own boat, or busy making plans for upcoming trips, I will be sitting somewhere reading. I have always been a reader, and I read for the same reason I travel; they satisfy my curiosity about the universe, while at the same time let me escape into other places and be in other people’s skins.  When in need of some excitement, I enjoy a bit of adrenaline rush doing rock climbing, bungee jumping, sky diving, go on a tree top zip line, or hang upside down doing some aerial yoga. I just love the sensory feeling of being higher than the grounds, which is probably a compensation of me being short.

If I won the lottery, I would spend the money to sail around the world, build a library (or two) somewhere in the world that needs it, and buy designer chairs for my house.

I write about my travels in my travel blog: https://deliciouslydoingnothing.wordpress.com


  1. Name 5-10 of your most favourite books

This is a hard question for me, but in no particular order:

Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt

The Road – Cormac McCarthy

The Hunger Angel – Herta Müller

Battle Royale – Koushun Takami

Hideous Kinky – Esther Freud

The Reader – Bernhard Schlink

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

Genome: the Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters – Matt Ridley

  1. A book that you have re-read the most

The Shrinking of Treehorn, by Florence Parry Heide, illustrated by Edward Gorey. I picked it up from a library when I was 3, not even yet able to read. We never returned that book to the library (I’m such a criminal!), and I love to the book so much, rereading many times after I could read, even into adulthood when I’m able to get more from the story and the underlying dark humour. This book was also the reason Edward Gorey became my favourite illustrator and later on led me to discover his other, more grown up works.

  1. Favourite authors and why

The thing is, I don’t have a favourite author because for me, limiting my reading to favourite authors is like travelling to the same place over and over while there are many other destinations to go to. I tend not to seek out a book from the same author even if I loved their books (with the exception to series). But if I have to choose a favourite author, it will be Frank McCourt. I can’t help getting drawn into his words, his genuine personality that shone through all his books, and the Irish charm that makes me want to invite him over for tea.

  1. Genre you dislike

Romance, because I find it mostly boring and formulaic. Self-help and inspirational books, because, well, I don’t like being told what to do.

  1. Character crush

I thought long and hard about this question, but the truth is, I never had a character crush. Perhaps because the best books I’ve read tend to have flawed characters, which make for great storytelling, but not so much as a crush.

That being said, I wouldn’t say no to a date with Mark Watney from The Martian. An intelligent, cool headed and resourceful man is always sexy.

  1. Character you strongly identify with

Emily the Strange. I could really relate to this brooding introverted girl with poker face and her anarchic tendencies. In fact, I had the exact same hairstyle as a kid.

  1. One character you want to bring to the real world

Pippi Longstocking. It would be interesting to find out what kind of adult she grew up to be (even though I always imagine Lisbeth Salander as a grown up and darker version of Pippi).

  1. What is your ideal reading space/environment

I can read pretty much anywhere, from a noisy public transport to a secluded beach, but nowhere is as comfortable as my own bed.

  1. Must-have books in a collection

When I was 8 or 9, my grandmother gave me this huge Random House College Dictionary, and I thought it was the best book ever. Not only it contained word definitions, but it also includes illustrations, diagrams, the full periodic table under ‘element’, a language tree of Indo-European languages, and several different alphabets from around the world. In the pre-internet days, it became my go-to resource for a lot of things. Today, whenever my kid asked me the meaning of some words, I told her to look it up in the dictionary even though she could also Google them. There is something about searching for a word in a physical dictionary and along the way found some other beautiful or weird words that you haven’t known to exist before, and there is always something to discover. Mine is an old one now, and you wouldn’t be able to find more modern words in it, but I think every household should have at least one very good quality physical dictionary on the shelf.

  1. Earliest memory of books and reading

My parents took me to the library as a toddler, and I always loved the library and I would pick books I found interesting for them to read for me at home. And that was how I came to my answer for question no.2

  1. Weirdest book or reading experience

I love reading weird and random books! From Alice in Wonderland, a book narrated by a bowl (The Collector Collector – Tibor Fischer), the story of the invention of currywurst (The Invention of Curried Sausage – Uwe Timm), the history of the screwdrivers (One Good Turn: A Natural History of the Screwdriver and the Screw – Witold Rybczynski), a hyper-detailed narration of a game of Go (The Master of Go – Yasunari Kawabata), to a book containing 99 identical stories told in various writing styles (Exercises in Style – Raymond Queneau). The weirdest of all was probably The Curious Sofa by Edward Gorey. It was supposedly written as a satire to The Story of O, in the truly wicked and bizarre Gorey way.

Writing Guide

Hi Readers!

Today, I am going to introduce a series on my blog known as – The Writing Guide or TWG. This will cover my expertise as a writer and maybe, other experts to write and give you tips once I get to convince them to participate. If you are a writer and have tips to share, please get in touch with me through my contact page.

If you are as lazy as me, here is the contact detail – sucheta dot scribbles at gmail dot com

I am open to suggestions. The more the merrier.

🙂

Reader’s Nook: QA with Kritika

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

Bio: Hello, everyone. I am Kritika Vashist from the blog, From the Soul to the Nib of the Pen. I am from India and an economics graduate. I am a lost soul finding a purpose and my pen is helping me in this journey.

Someone asked me once, “What would you choose; writing or reading?” My answer was, “There is no writing without reading. If you don’t stimulate your brain with some reading, how will your thoughts ever grow or how will you ever think? I will read and then I must write, for without it I feel incomplete and worthless.”

I was much surprised when Sucheta told me that she wants me to be a part of her Reader’s Nook. I haven’t been invited for something like this before, so I was excited and nervous at the same time. I want to thank her for inviting me and giving me an opportunity to share my thoughts and likes on books and reading.

We all have a different taste and perspective and that is what makes us explore more about books. My journey with books, reading and writing hasn’t been normal. They all have entered my life at odd times, yet I feel that anytime is perfect and right when it comes to reading and writing.

There are a lot of books that I haven’t read and haven’t known. Life seems too short when I think about it. However, I try to live a moment in all those books that I have and I can read. The number of books to read and to buy is quite high and I won’t mind if you add one that you think I must read. Thank you very much.


 

1. Name 5-10 of your most favourite books
Ans: My Journey by APJ Abdul Kalam
Rumi: Bridge to the Soul
White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
A midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
The Fault in our Stars by John Green
2. A book that you have re-read the most
Ans: White Tiger By Arvind Adiga.
Rumi: Bridge to the Soul is that one book I have re-read while reading it for the first time.

3.Favourite authors and why
Ans: First is Rumi because as I say he is mystical. He digs deep into his soul and his words and metaphors give me Goosebumps. If one hasn’t read him yet, they must, right now or after reading this.
Second would be my true inspiration, APJ Abdul Kalam; he wasn’t a writer by profession, but I love how he manages to attract his readers with his simple yet motivational words of wisdom.

4. Genre you dislike
I don’t have a dislike for any genre. If I am enjoying reading a book, I will continue to read, even if it is a horror (because I usually avoid reading horror.)

5. Character crush

Ans: Leo from The vow

6. Character you strongly identify with

Ans: I don’t think I have come across any. However, I remember reading The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and a couple of lines made me go like, “Hey, that is so me!”

7.One character you want to bring to the real world

Ans: Hermione Jean Granger. Do I need to give reasons? I think Harry Potter is more about her than Harry. She is the real hero and heroine as well.

8. What is your ideal reading space/environment

Ans: I can read while I am travelling by a bus or train. The ideal reading environment would be silence, pen and a notepad or my phone (that has a Memo) I have a habit of writing down lines that I love or would want to read again and jotting down few notes of my own.

9. Must-have books in a collection

Ans: All that I mentioned under my favorite books.

10.Earliest memory of books and reading

Ans: I had Panchatantra, little books about fairytales, David Copperfield by Charles Dickens and Tom Sawyer; these are books that are still with me, safely and neatly . There are also lots of children magazine.

11. Weirdest book or reading experience

Ans: I was once reading a book completely unaware of its genre and storyline. I was experimenting with myself. The book was Valentina by Evie Blake. I was in the metro and reading it, and if my memory serves me correctly, after chapter two I realized that it was an erotica. It was weird because people were staring, and I was reading an erotic novel around 8:30 in the morning while heading to my college! I wanted to attend the lectures with all attention, so I closed that book, and never again thought of experimenting.


How about giving Reader’s Nook a try? Get in touch with me and I will feature you here 🙂

 

Reader’s Nook: QA with Michael Noss

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

About Michael: Married, four children, grew up in Idaho, currently a contractor living in Colorado, former officer in USAF, first time author who challenged myself to simply see “can I actually write a full-length novel” as part of the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in 2013; completed a year later as part of NaNoWriMo 2014, published this past April. Originally wasn’t going to bother getting published, just have a copy for myself and my mother (avid reader who inspired a love of reading in me), but wife’s online friends begged for copies of their own so I went through CreateSpace to self-publish. Very limited sales thus far (~55), but very positive feedback from those who have read it.

My novel is a fantasy novel about a human girl who discovers she is descended from dragons. Now her draconic blood will allow her to travel to Draco Keep to help stop a war from breaking out between dragons and the rest of creation. Along the way she has to learn about her dragon heritage, but ultimately it’s her humanity which helps to save the day.

Dragon Born is available on Amazon or at dragon-born.com.

1. Name 5-10 of your most favourite books

Ender’s Game, Armor, Starship Troopers, Magic the Gathering: Arena, Elfstones of Shannara, Time/Test/War of the Twins (trilogy), and of course Dragon Born (my novel) 😉

2. A book that you have re-read the most

Scions of Shannara.

3. Favourite authors and why

Terry Brooks and RA Salvatore. Beyond their characters, their style of writing is less like a college professor giving a one-way lecture, and more of a round-the-campfire storyteller. I modelled my own writing after their styles.

4. Genre you dislike

Mystery — it’s such a copout when the author reveals a crucial detail just pages before the end of the book to conveniently explain something which you, the reader, couldn’t possibly have known all novel long.

5. Character crush

Drizzt Do’Urden and Raistlin Majere (not romantic, just my favorite characters of all time).

6. Character you strongly identify with

Andrew “Ender” Wiggin.

7. One character you want to bring to the real world

Professor Xavier.

8. What is your ideal reading space/environment

Living room, late at night, single light on in house.

9. Must-have books in a collection

Trying to complete my collection of Shannara books by Terry Brooks, since I recently agreed to read his prequel series as well.

10. Earliest memory of books and reading

My grandfather worked for NASA, he once visited with some junior astronomy books when I was very young. He read them with me, all the excitement of wonder in his voice, and I was hooked on both reading and astronomy (got my degree in astrophysics).

11. Weirdest book or reading experience

I forget the title, but as a fan of both Star Trek and X-Men, I once found a novel which had the two worlds join together for an adventure. Let’s just say I think I prefer the two separate.


Found the questions interesting enough? How about you answer them? Feel free to drop me an email for the same at sucheta dot scribbles at gmail dot com.

 

SoundCloud – Be Warned, It Is Addictive

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

I tried SoundCloud for the first time today. There were so much noise about this app and I was anyway keen to try it personally. Now I know what the fuss was all about.

Ladies, Gentlemen, SoundCloud is ADDICTIVE.

Not only it lets you search for your favourite artists and bands and songs, but also gives you suggestions based on your taste in music.  I must mention that the suggestions are just so-so apt!

I am totally in love with the app.

Because I believe that too much of talking about apps spoil the fun, I leave you with some links to the SoundCloud web app (these are my faves). Give it a try please. Once. And then, it will be a point of no return 😉

One Republic – Counting Stars

American Authors – The Best Day Of My Life

Imagine Dragons – Demons

Poets Of Fall – Carnival of Rust

Agnes Obel – Riverside

Khuda Ke Liye – Bandeya Ho 

Haider – Bismil

Sanam Puri – Ishq Bulava (Unplugged version type)

7 Reasons Why ‘Buying Books’ Wins Over ‘Buying Makeup’ For Me

Nope. I am not against those who buy makeup and love it to the core. It is just that they are a different species and I am a different species. And after buying makeup with a friend, for the friend, I have come to a definite conclusion and that is – I rather invest in books than makeup. My reasons would be:

  1. Makeup has a poor shelf life. 3 years max. Books, well no such limit on them!
  2. Spending a grand on a makeup fetches you maybe a handful of products or just one product. Spending a grand on books, can fill up your entire shelf (if you purchase from sales and book fairs).
  3. You need to practice with a steady hand – how to apply makeup. No such skills are required to read a book.
  4. Can you multitask while applying makeup? I bet you can’t. Books allow you to multitask in more ways than one. 😉
  5. Makeup trends change with season and time. Books refuse to do so. That is why we have classics.
  6. You cannot inherit makeup products passed down several generations. With books, it is a possibility.
  7. Precision is a must for makeup. But books let you be an oaf.

These are my excuses of not investing in that perfect Marsala lipstick or the latest eye liner. I would rather have a rare copy of To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, plop on an unshapely bean bag and start reading it nonstop.

Author Interview: Jenny Harper

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Hello Jenny! It is nice to have you here with us. Now I know you are a retired journalist and a businesswoman. How did writing happen to you?

Hi Sucheta, thank you for hosting me today. Like many authors, I have been writing all my life. My mother must have noticed some kind of gift when I was a child, because she bought me a correspondence course, How To Be A Writer. But my love of creative writing was unexpectedly stifled when I chose to do a degree in English Literature – I could never be a Tolstoy or a George Eliot, so why even try? It took me a very long time to understand that not everyone wants to read such novels, and that I might find a ‘voice’ that today’s readers would enjoy.

You live in Scotland. Could you give us some insights on life in Scotland and the reading habits of the Scottish people?

Scotland is part of the United Kingdom, that also includes England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The population is around 5 million (compared to 60 million in England), and the land mass is almost as big as England, so the country is much less densely populated. There are reasons for this, mainly terrain and climate.

There are two large cities in Scotland, Edinburgh (the capital, where I live) and Glasgow (bigger, lively, but less historic), and six smaller ones. All are rich in history, with some fabulous buildings. The central belt is highly populated, but the rural areas can be quite desolate, especially as you travel further north (away from England!). Here, the sceneryis rugged and life can be difficult. Tourism and fishing are important, especially in the north west, while agriculture is easier in the east and further south. The scenery is amazing, particularly in the west Highlands and the islands (there are almost 800 islands off the coast). The climate is temperate, particularly in the south. In reality, this means that summers are mild (seldom hot) and winters also much milder than, say central Europe or Canada or America, where the land masses are huge – the sea that surrounds us has a mitigating effect. However, the wind can be very strong! In general, it’s a pleasant climate, with fresh and clean air.

I imagine that reading habits must be as varied as anywhere in the world. There is a proud tradition of Scottish writing – one that probably found its earliest popular voice in Sir Walter Scott’s tales of derring do. I’ve visited his house, a fabulous baronial mansion in the Scottish Borders called Abbotsford. It’s impossible not to admire his work ethic, and the amount of historical research he put in to his novels. You couldn’t just Google facts back then! He had to send off for books or borrow them, often from distant friends, then wait for days or months while they made their slow journey to his remote home. Nowadays a genre called Tartan Noir– crime fiction set in Scotland – is extremely popular. Ian Rankin is probably the best-selling novelist in this genre, though there are other notables such as Denise Mina and Val McDermid. Alexander McCall Smith’s gentle novels are hugely popular all over the world too. He has been kind enough to offer me a cover quote for my latest novel, People We Love!

You have written 15 books so far. Which one was your toughest job and which was a breeze? And why?

I started my working life as a non-fiction editor, for William Collins in Glasgow. When I turned freelance, they offered me the chance to research and write a book based on old postcards they had once published. This led to further offers, and before I knew it I had written three books on Scotland and Scottish life. Back then, I used to write longhand while a neighbour typed my work up for me! (I was working at Collins, however, when the very first computer-typeset book was published, amid huge excitement!).

The most challenging book was a history of childbirth called With Child: Birth Through the Ages. I co-wrote it with a friend, Therese Duriez, and we were so naïve we didn’t realize that we’d have to research the whole of the history of medicine before we could even start! Thankfully, it was very well received, and you can still find the odd copy on Amazon.

The easiest was a short children’s novel I wrote one evening, called The Sleeping Train. I found an agent and a publisher at once. Sadly, I didn’t make enough money back then to live on, which is why I began to turn more to journalism and the business world.

You write contemporary women’s fiction. What made you choose for this genre?

When I left business, I decided I wanted another go at writing fiction. It took me some time to ‘discover’ my voice – but I suppose, in reality, I write what I like to read. That is, well-written books (at least, I hope they are!), with vivid characters, strong plots that drive you forward, and compelling issues. Books that reflect the world about us and not some idealized version of it, and that show women as they battle the odds at home, at work and in their relationships.

If given a chance, which fictional world would you love to live in and why?

Difficult question! My favourite author is Dorothy Dunnett, a Scottish writer who, I believe, is the best historical novelist ever. Her books are set in the 15th and 16th centuries and span Scotland, England and much of Europe. Everything is there – politics, intrigue, scandal, life from court to cottage and, of course, romance. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in some of her scenes – but whether I’d want to live there is another matter. Too dangerous, too much disease, and far too smelly!

Could you elaborate about the Heartlands series? What is it all about and why should the readers add it to their shelves?

I decided to set my first novel, Face the Wind and Fly, in a fictional town, so that no-one would be able to say, ‘But that shop isn’t there,’ or tell me you have to turn third left, not fourth … The town is called Hailesbank, and it’s set just east of Edinburgh, but in a geographical context that’s recognizable. When my book finally found a publisher, they thought The Hailesbank Series didn’t sound right and asked me to come up with another. I liked the sound of The Heartlands, and post-rationalised it! Here’s a little of the explanation that appears in each book:

“The small market town of Hailesbank is born of my imagination, as are the surrounding villages of Forgie and Stoneyford and the Council housing estate known as Summerfield, which together form The Heartlands. I have placed the area, in my mind, to the east of Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh.

“The first mention of The Heartlands was made by AgrippusCentorius in AD77, not long after the Romans began their surge north in the hopes of conquering this savage land. ‘This is a place of great beauty,’ wrote Agrippus, ‘and its wildness has clutched my heart.’ He makes several mentions thereafter of The Heartlands. There are still signs of Roman occupation in Hailesbank, which has great transport links to the south (and England) and the north, especially to Edinburgh, and its proximity to the sea and the (real) coastal town of Musselburgh made it a great place to settle. The Georgians and Victorians began to develop the small village, its clean air and glorious views, rich farming hinterland and great transport proving highly attractive.”

I should say that the first four books in the series can be read as standalones. The next one (Mistakes We Make, due for publication next year) follows on from the current one, People We Love.

Why should readers add it to their shelves? If you like a great read, with strong storylines, characters you can engage with, set in Scotland, hopefully my books are for you!

As a seasoned writer, what are some tips that you would like to share with budding writers?

Believe in yourself. This is very hard if you are being knocked back by big publishers all the time, but have faith.

Keep writing. The more you write, the better you get.

Listen to criticism. But only from writers or readers whose views you trust. Don’t be seduced by praise from family or friends!

Push yourself. Dig deeper into your characters, cut unnecessary words or scenes ruthlessly, ensure every line pushes your plot forwards – and make sure your work is professionally edited before it goes public.

 


This was all about Jenny. You can take a look at an excerpt from her latest release – People We Love – an entire chapter by clicking on this link.

Book Excerpt: People We Love by Jenny Harper

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This is an excerpt from Jenny Harper’s latest release – People We Love. If you like it, please feel free to share your feedback here and with Jenny. You can also read her interview here.

Webpage       http://jennyharperauthor.co.uk/

Blog                http://jennyharperauthor.co.uk/

Amazon           Buy the book


Chapter One

Catalogue number 15: Child’s shoe. 16th-century? ‘Concealment shoe’. Found in rafters of agricultural worker’s cottage outside Hailesbank. Donors: Eric and Sheila Flint, Forgie. ‘Concealment shoes’ have been found concealed in wall cavities or among roof rafters of many old houses. They were thought to ward off evil.

When Jamie was alive, AlexaGordon wore hippy dresses in luminous colours and danced barefoot on the lawn at midnight.

When Jamie was alive, they ate drizzle cake and made scones heaped high with cream and jam.

When Jamie was alive, she had a future.

And then it all changed.

I don’t know what you thought you were doing,she saidsilently to her brother for the hundredth time, getting into that car that night. You might have accepted the risk for yourself. But you had no right at all to ruin everyone else’s lives.

She looked down at the bowl in front of her. Breakfast cereal stared back, sodden and limp. She pushed the dish away.

‘You must eat, Alexa dear,’ her mother Martha said, capturing a stray grey lock that was hanging in front of her face and twisting it round her fingers.

‘Don’t fuss, Mum,’ Lexie answered without thinking.

Martha bit her lip and hunched into herself as she pulled her tired-looking peach candlewick dressing gown closer round her thin frame.

Idiot, Lexie chided herself. It’s the anniversary of Jamie’s death. Think before speaking, today of all days.

The problem was that her mother’s tendency to fuss had become an obsession with her wellbeing. It was understandable, but sometimes hard to bear. Lexie looked down at her plate. She had barely touched the cereal.

‘It’s gone soggy,’ she said, trying to be conciliatory. ‘If I make toast, will you have some?’

Concern could run both ways.

She saw Martha’s mouth twitch at the corners. Whatever else she might be, her mother wasn’t stupid.

‘A little,’ Martha touched her hand lightly. ‘If you have time.’

Lexie stood up and cleared her plate from the table. Living at Fernhill again was both strange and stiflingly familiar. She was thirty years old and once believed she could build a career as an artist. Now all she had to remember this by was a tattoo round her thumb and hair the colour of a flamingo’s wings, plus a tendency to see everything in terms of how it might be captured on canvas.

Thanks for nothing, Jamie— 

‘Brown bread okay?’

‘Fine. Thank you.’

She cut two slices and pushed them into the toaster. Outside the tall sash window, the garden was blanketed in an early morning mist. In the far corner, by the pergola, she could just see the blossom on the cherry tree, delicate and wraithlike.

‘I do appreciate this, Alexa. Your being here, I mean.’

A blackbird took off from one of the branches and a small flurry of petals swirled softly towards the grass. Lexie pursed her lips. How could she fail to know this? Martha’s thanks were expressed ten times a day, their utterance a delicate trap. She was all her parents had left and she had to be there for them. This meant, she told herself, that she didnot regret marching into Patrick Mulgrew’s gallery in Edinburgh a year ago and telling him she was withdrawing her exhibition.

Even though it meant the end of their relationship as well.

Her throat swelled with unshed tears and she had to summon all her willpower to push away the hurt she still felt at their separation. Thinking about Patrick wouldn’t do any good. Instead, she retrieved the toast and rearranged her face into her customary jaunty smile before she turned round.

‘I know you do. Come on, Mum. Let’s eat. Then I must get to work. I take it Dad left early?’

She didn’t really need to ask. Where her mother was all dependence, Tom Gordon had turned into The Great Provider – strong, uncompromising and utterly resistant to any kind of conversation about his son.

Martha’s eyes glazed over.

Some family we’ve become, Lexie thought. Surely we weren’t always like this?

‘I’d better go, Mum. Dad’s called a special meeting.’

‘Please be tolerant, darling. I know he’s obsessive about the store, but it’s because he wants to show he loves us.’

‘I am tolerant. Most of the time, anyway.’

She and her father were two of a kind in many ways. They certainly both threw themselves into work as a diversion.

‘Will you be all right? What are you going to do today?’

Martha stood up. Her dressing gown hung off her body in loose, sad folds. Once she’d been a legal secretary – smart, efficient and very organised. Grief was eating her up.

‘I’m going,’ she said, ‘to do some gardening. I think.’

Lexie found the shifts in her mother’s character profoundly unsettling. And now she had to prepare to be unsettled all over again, because her walk to work would take her past Patrick Mulgrew’s house.

Ten minutes later, Lexie stepped through the front door of Fernhill and pulled it closed. It was eight thirty in the morning and she tried to leave the ache of loss behind her in the gloomy spaces that had once been filled with laughter. She tugged her old tweed jacket closer, glad of its warmth. There was no point in being bitter. It was a waste of time to think about the things that might have been.

Despite the obvious truth of this, there was no way of avoiding Patrick’s house. It took seven minutes to cover the distance between Fernhill and The Gables. Seven minutes of separation. For a brief time she and Patrick had both found it amusing that he lived in Hailesbank near her parents while she lived in Edinburgh, near his gallery. They hadn’t been together long enough to change that.

Three minutes. She reached the end of James Street and crossed onto Darnley Place. Patrick’s continued proximity was a fleabite that itched, she reminded herself, nothing more. She didn’t care about him now: she could never have sustained a relationship with Patrick because they were too different. The way she saw it, she put family first and Patrick thought only about profit. Better to find that out sooner rather than at some point in the future, when they might have become knotted together, like roots round a boulder, so that separating would tear at the fabric of life.

Six minutes. Patrick owned a smart art gallery – or, to be more precise two, one in London and one in Edinburgh. People saw him as either discriminating and astute or snobbish and arrogant. Lexie lengthened her stride. She found it impossible to forget Patrick because everything that mattered to her was so tightly entwined with him: ambition, career, and passion. Was that why she’d loved him so much? In the short time they’d been together, he’d taken her heart, her body and her brain – the complete package – and made them all his.

Seven minutes. There it was now, a million pounds’ worth of sandstone and lawn, the epitome of everything the man stood for – style, statement and substance. Crow-stepped gables, baronial turrets and an old Scots pine standing sentinel by the gate.

Lexieglanced down at the tattoo round her thumb. ‘Artbollocks’ it read – an indelible statement of belief about art and honesty.

‘Why disfigure your beautiful hands like that?’ Patrick had once asked, tracing the letters with his long fingers as they’d lain limb to limb, half drugged by ardour.

‘So that I never forget,’ she’d answered fiercely, ‘about pretentiousness.’

He’d lifted her thumb to his lips and kissed each letter, one at a time. Eleven feathery kisses.

‘You’re very different,’ he’d said, ‘but I think I might just be in love with you.’

His car wasn’t there, she noted, which was a relief. They’d learned politeness this last year, but kept their distance. Too many words had been spoken that couldnever be unsaid. Still – he didn’t know it – but  fending off the hurt she felt about their break-up was like rolling back the tide:­ impossible.

By the time she arrived at the Thomson Memorial Park, the mist was beginning to lift and the park was already alive with its quota of elderly dog-walkers and mums with buggies. She glanced right – a habit she had developed – to catch a glimpse of the river as it flowed past the foot of Fisher’s Wynd. She found the water soothing and it worked its magic again this morning because at last she was able to put Patrick firmly out of her mind and focus on Jamie. This was his day, after all, and despite her anger about his death, he’d always be a part of her.

Stay with me, bro.

When she reachedKittle’s Lane she turned right, so that she’d pass Cobbles. If Pavelwas in the shop already, she’d wave to him.

Lexie adored Cobbles. She loved the jumble of antiques Pavel seemed able to conjure up from nowhere. Each object, however humble, had a story to tell. A stone hot water bottle shivered out a tale of freezing nights in icy beds; a moustache cup in fine porcelain whispered of male vanity; a carpet beater, twisted from rattan into a Celtic knot, hinted at the hard labour that housework once was. Most of all, Lexie loved the vintage clothes that peeked tantalisingly from cubbyholes or begged for attention from serried ranks of hangers on rails at the back of the shop. She was addicted to vintage.

Half way down the lane, she spottedPavelSkonieczna sashaying out of the shop. He placed his sandwich board on the pavement and stepped back to admire it, his hands wafting up to his mouth with characteristic grace. Cobbles, read the elegant copperplate script, Antiques and Collectibles. Lexie smiled. Pavel(always dressed in vintage, always colourful) was the perfect advertisement for his own shop. Today he was smart in green tweed – his favourite suit – teamed with a mustard moleskin waistcoat and brown brogues.

She speeded up. ‘Pavel! Hi!’

Shoulders straightened and tweed turned. ‘Lexie. Darling. You’re early today.’

Lexie grimaced. ‘I know. Dad’s called a staff meeting before we open.’

Pavel shook his head. ‘You shouldn’t be working in that place. It’s not right for you.’

Spot on, Pavel. Like trying to shove a jelly through a sieve and expecting it to come out whole on the other side.

‘I know. But what can I do?’

‘Stand up for yourself. You always used to. They use you.’

‘It’s not that simple.’

She let her parents use her, because she had to. It was the only way she could think of to make things better. It was her way of helping herself as well.

‘You’re a good daughter.’

Lexie hesitated. Pavel confided recently that his partner Guy had died some years ago and he’d moved to Hailesbank to escape the sad memories. His only family now was a snake of a sister who had disowned him and, because he never talked about it, Lexie guessed how much it hurt him.

Pavel spared her the embarrassment of having to think about what to say.

‘Is it about that marketing plan?’

‘I expect so.’

She’d spent the last month working with Neil Taylor, the assistant manager at her father’s furniture store, on a plan designed to drag the old family business protesting and spluttering into the twenty-first century. Or rather, Neil had been working on it, in his careful, business-like way, and she had been attempting tomodernise the store by selecting more stylish stock and updating the layout. At least, that’s how she sawher role.Her father was proving resistant to change.

‘I’m a bit nervous, Pavel, to tell you the truth.’

‘Do you think he’ll veto it?’

Lexie shrugged and pulled her jacket across her chest. The sun might be dappling the river already, but it hadn’t dropped in on Kittle’s Lane yet.

‘You know Dad.’

Compassion glowed in Pavel’s eyes and Lexie looked away. Sympathy was always the hardest part of friendship to accept.

‘I must dash,’ she said. ‘Sorry.’

‘Good luck, darling.’

‘Thanks!’

The store where Lexie was heading was at the east end of the high street. It was part of a run of shops built in the mid-nineteenth century when Hailesbankhad been at its most prosperous. Her great-grandfather had taken up the first lease, and the sign he’d proudly commissioned to run above the entire shopfrontwas still there.

Gordon’s Furniture Emporium (Est. 1892)

The elaborate letters were painted in pure gold leaf on a forest green background and the whole sign was covered in protective glass so that, a century and a half later, it still announced its presence with undimmed glory.

‘The trouble is,’ Neil had observed when they’d studied the frontage as part of their research, ‘that sign is probably the last smart thing left in the whole place.’

He’d put his finger on the problem. Was there really any need to look further to discover why Gordon’s was struggling for survival?

Lexie pushed open the heavy oak door and marched in. A man was standing by the overstuffed chesterfield, the tartan one she particularly disliked. He was around six feet tall and strongly built, with wide shoulders and narrow hips, and he was casually dressed in a rugby shirt and jeans. One of the new guys from the removal firm, probably. She hadn’t seen him before.

Or had she? Although he was facing away from her, towards the back of the store, there was something disturbingly familiar about the figure.

‘Can I help you?’ she said, the nagging in the recesses of her brain making her voice sharper than usual. ‘We’re not actually open yet.’

He whipped round.

‘Christ! Where’d you materialise from? I didn’t hear you come in.’

Lexiewasn’t breathing. Why wasn’t she breathing? It should be simple, shouldn’t it? She did it all the time. She’d done it all her life, for heaven’s sake.

‘Cameron?’

The man stepped forward.

‘You haven’t changed a bit. Not even the hair, I ssee.’

Six years was a long time, yet it disappeared in an instant. Lexie’s lungs inflated with sweet oxygen before a sense of devastation caught the back of her knees. She was drowning in desire again, just as she always used to be. Shocked by her reaction, she forced herself to look amused – one humiliation by Cameron Forrester was enough for a lifetime.

‘Well, well, the wanderer returns. Have your folks killed the fatted calf?’

‘Nah. Mum won’t buy meat at the supermarket and the butcher’s closed since I was last here. She made apple crumble for me. I’ve missed crumble.’

His grin was just as Alexa remembered it: irrepressible. The smile faded as he scanned her face. He’d changed. Once, he would just have flashed a wink and cracked a joke; now there was something more observant – or was it more calculating? – in the way he was studying her.

‘Crumble, huh?’

The words emerged as a croak and she cleared her throat.

Cameron Forrester had been a member of the Hailesbank Hawks until injury had put him out of rugby for good. He still bore the scars: a broken nose that gave his face a lived-in look, and a scar under his chin from where a studded boot sliced it open in a hard-fought league game. ‘Badges of honour’, he used to say, when Lexie teased him about the nose or ran her fingers along the white seam of the scar.

‘You’re looking terrific.’

He took another step closer. Instinct made her edge away. How was it possible that he looked so like the Cameron she’d fallen in love with all those years ago?

‘Am I?’

Her reserve seemed to fluster him.

‘I’ve been away,’ he said needlessly. ‘Running activities for children on a cruise ship. Children! Me! Can you imagine?’

‘Not really, no.’

Questions scratched at her mind like horsehair. Does he know about Jamie? Does he know I’m back living in Hailesbank? Is that why he’s come?

‘So how are you, Lexie?’

He edged towards her for the third time. She clutched at a high-backed recliner, upholstered in gunmetal and steel blue chenille. The cloth felt coarse and unfriendly under her fingers, but this time she managed to stand her ground.

‘Why did you leave, Cameron?’

Why didn’t you write?

‘I heard about Jamie,’ he said. ‘I’m so sorry.’

‘Thank you.’

The stock response slipped out before she could stop it. It was what she always said whenever anyone offered condolences. Damn him! Using Jamie as a personal shield was unforgivable.

‘What a bloody waste,’ he blurted out.

People didn’t usually say things like that. They tiptoed round the subject, they never trampled right through the heart of it.

‘Oops,’ he said, seeing her expression, ‘Sorry. Me and my mouth. But honestly, it’s true, isn’t it? Jamie had so much going for him.’

‘Can we leave this?’

‘Shit. I’m not good at—’

Lexieswung away. She spotted a sagging cushion on a nearby sofa and grabbed it, bashing the middle to plump it up. What are you good at, Cameron? Apart from breaking hearts.

‘Did you want something? I’ve got work to do.’

‘Just to say hi. And see if you’d meet me for a drink after you’re finished here.’

Meetyou?’

‘Well,’ he muttered, dropping his head in a semblance of repentance so that all she could see was a mass of thick, sandy hair. She didn’t need to stroke it to remember how it felt.

‘I owe you an explanation.’

‘I really don’t want to hear it.’

Liar! She really didwant to hear it, but six years of hurt got in the way of admitting this.

‘No. Fair enough.’

The grin was back, but wry – another new trait. Cameron had never been one for navel-gazing. He was a physical contact man. A cheerful, generous, blunder-in-feet-first-but-in-a-well-meaning-kind-of-way man. The absolute antithesis, now that she thought about it, of Patrick Mulgrew.

‘Take your point.’

He ran his hand through his thatch so that it stood momentarily on end before tumbling, in the old way, down across his eyes again. When he turned to go, she was conscious of disappointment. At the door the grin reappeared, spiced this time with mischief.

‘It’s okay, I can see you need time to get used to me being back. It doesn’t have to be today, we can meet up tomorrow. I’ll call you.’

Infuriated by his presumption, her spirit returned and she hurled the cushion at him.

‘Don’t bother! I won’t change my—’

But it fell, softly, a yard short and the heavy oak door swung on empty air.

Six years of silence and now he was back. Where did this leave her, for heaven’s sake?