J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the tag “b00k r3vi3w Tours”

Book Tour – A Barren Heart

A Barren Heart

by Shilpa Suraj

b00k r3vi3w Tours Presents_-2 copy

About the Book:

A Barren Heart copy

When having it all isn’t enough…

Aman and Rhea seem to have the perfect marriage. They are madly in love – with each other, with their own careers and the home and life they are building in a quiet Mumbai suburb.

Rhea is a successful interior designer with a thriving business while Aman is a commercial pilot who is at peace with his life, on the ground and in the skies! What could possibly be lacking in their picture-perfect marriage?

A baby.

Like most women, thirty plus Rhea Chakraborty, wants to hold her own flesh and blood in her arms. And Aman too wants the same.

Or does he?

After another unexplained miscarriage that takes a severe emotional, physical, and psychological toll on them, Aman isn’t sure if having a baby will complete them or destroy them.

Suddenly, Rhea and Aman find the fabric of their stable marriage fraying beneath the strain of their failed conceptions. Where once they were a team with a common goal, they now find themselves on opposite sides with shifting goalposts.

A Barren Heart is set in so-called modern India and is the story of the struggle of an affluent, educated couple who are still fighting the shackles of societal indoctrination and expectations and losing each other in the process.

Book Links:

Amazon * Goodreads

Read an Excerpt from A Barren Heart

“Aman.”

He powered off his kindle at the sound of her voice. He hadn’t yet made peace with the concession he’d made this morning, but he knew it was the only way forward for them. As a couple. As a family.

“Amannnnn,” she yelled out again. He couldn’t miss the excitement in her voice.

“I’m in here,” he called out. She appeared in the doorway of their guest bedroom a second later. Her hair was a mess, her clothes damp which meant she’d gotten caught in the sudden downpour that had hit earlier that evening and she looked…incandescent. His heart throbbed, the hurt a silent reminder of how much he loved this woman.

“You are not going to believe what happened today.” She launched herself into his arms. He caught her, the motion more reflexive than anything else. Setting her back, he looked at her glowing face. “What happened?”

“Sakshi Garewal, my client from hell recommended me to a friend of hers.”

It lightened his heart a bit to see her so excited about something as normal as a new project. It had been a very long while since she’d found joy in the simple parts of their life. “Congratulations,” he said.

“Guess who it is,” she squeezed his hand.

“Someone famous?” he smiled, her happiness was contagious. “Bollywood or cricket?”

“Bollywood with a bang.” She flopped back on the bed her arms spread out like she wanted to hug the room. “Amyra Sareen.”

“You’re joking!” A low whistle escaped him. “That is the big time.”

“Yes, it is.” She pumped a fist in the air. “I’m going to be designing Amyra Sareen’s apartment. I’ve finally broken into the big league.”

“Congratulations,” he said, again. He was so proud of her. She’d worked her butt off to get to this point.

“We should celebrate.” Rhea shot up from her prone position. “Get ready. We’re going out to dinner. My treat.”

She was halfway to the door when she slowed. “Why are you in the guest bedroom?”

It had taken so long to penetrate. Curiously numb, he watched her as she turned to face him, a frown marring the smooth lines of her brow.

“Aman?”

“I just needed a little space.” The numbness was turning icy now that he had finally said the words.

“Space?” she repeated. “Space from me?” Confusion warred with anxiety as she took a step forward. Aman didn’t answer.

“If this is about the appointment with the doctor, we don’t have to go.”

“We do,” he said, gently but firmly.

“Why? It’s obvious you don’t want to go and I won’t force you.”

No, she wouldn’t. Not overtly. She wouldn’t realise it, but it would fester and she’d resent him. And it would kill him to see her love for him turn into something else. To see her turn into a bitter, frustrated shell of the vibrant, joyful woman he loved.

“We’ll go because you want to.” He stood up from the bed and moved towards her. “Set it up for tomorrow. I have a flight to Dubai scheduled day after.”

“No.” She shook her head, tears standing in her eyes, her earlier excitement leaching away. “I don’t want it enough to lose you.”

“You’re not losing me,” he said, his chest feeling like someone had tightened a vice around it. “I just needed a little space to clear my head.” And he couldn’t do that surrounded by her and her emotions all the time.

“I haven’t left home or you, Rhea. I’m right here. Just in another room for a couple of days. I need to think and I can’t do that clearly if we’re in each other’s faces.”

A single tear slipped out, trailing down her cheek. He cradled her face gently and wiped it away with his thumb. “Go get ready. We have to go out to celebrate.”

“I don’t feel like it anymore.” Rhea pulled back, looking lost and confused. “I think I need to clear my head too. I’m going for a walk.” She left before he could say another word. He heard the front door shut a minute later.

Be careful what you ask for, people often said. As Aman stood alone in the silent, darkening room, he realized that he had all the space he’d asked for, but he wasn’t sure he wanted it anymore.

He wanted to call her back. To bring back the excitement, the happiness she’d come home with. He wanted their life to go back to what it had been before this whole baby story began. He wanted his wife back. The wife who’d radiated joy, whose ambition had driven her to reach for the stars, whose love for him had been his anchor.

But he didn’t know how to turn back time. He didn’t know how to recapture that shiny bubble they’d lived in. He didn’t know how to go back to where they’d been before this whole baby story had taken over their life. So, he took the space he’d asked for and used it to think. To figure out where they went from here, because they couldn’t go back to the past and the present was a ticking time bomb.

About Shilpa Suraj:

Shilpa Suraj-2 copy

Shilpa Suraj wears many hats – corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.

Shilpa on the Web:

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Release Day Blitz -A Barren Heart

~ Release Day Blitz ~ 

A Barren Heart by Shilpa Suraj

b00k r3vi3w Tours Presents_ copy

RELEASING TODAY!
Get Your Copy NOW!

A Barren Heart copy

When having it all isn’t enough…

Aman and Rhea seem to have the perfect marriage. They are madly in love – with each other, with their own careers and the home and life they are building in a quiet Mumbai suburb. 

Rhea is a successful interior designer with a thriving business while Aman is a commercial pilot who is at peace with his life, on the ground and in the skies! What could possibly be lacking in their picture-perfect marriage?

A baby. 

Like most women, thirty plus Rhea Chakraborty, wants to hold her own flesh and blood in her arms. And Aman too wants the same. 

Or does he? 

After another unexplained miscarriage that takes a severe emotional, physical, and psychological toll on them, Aman isn’t sure if having a baby will complete them or destroy them. 

Suddenly, Rhea and Aman find the fabric of their stable marriage fraying beneath the strain of their failed conceptions. Where once they were a team with a common goal, they now find themselves on opposite sides with shifting goalposts. 

A Barren Heart is set in so-called modern India and is the story of the struggle of an affluent, educated couple who are still fighting the shackles of societal indoctrination and expectations and losing each other in the process.

RELEASING TODAY!
Get Your Copy NOW!

Releasing On 29th May! (1) copy

About Shilpa Suraj:

Shilpa Suraj-2 copy

Shilpa Suraj wears many hats – corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.

Shilpa on the Web:

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

 

Cover Reveal – A Barren Heart

~ Cover Reveal ~ 

A Barren Heart by Shilpa Suraj

ABH Cover Reveal Banner copy

Coming to Your Kindle on 29th May
Pre-Order your copy NOW!

A Barren Heart copy

When having it all isn’t enough…

Aman and Rhea seem to have the perfect marriage. They are madly in love – with each other, with their own careers and the home and life they are building in a quiet Mumbai suburb. 

Rhea is a successful interior designer with a thriving business while Aman is a commercial pilot who is at peace with his life, on the ground and in the skies! What could possibly be lacking in their picture-perfect marriage?

A baby. 

Like most women, thirty plus Rhea Chakraborty, wants to hold her own flesh and blood in her arms. And Aman too wants the same. 

Or does he? 

After another unexplained miscarriage that takes a severe emotional, physical, and psychological toll on them, Aman isn’t sure if having a baby will complete them or destroy them. 

Suddenly, Rhea and Aman find the fabric of their stable marriage fraying beneath the strain of their failed conceptions. Where once they were a team with a common goal, they now find themselves on opposite sides with shifting goalposts. 

A Barren Heart is set in so-called modern India and is the story of the struggle of an affluent, educated couple who are still fighting the shackles of societal indoctrination and expectations and losing each other in the process.

ABH Shorty copy

Coming to Your Kindle on 29th May
Pre-Order your copy NOW!

About Shilpa Suraj:

Shilpa Suraj-2 copy

Shilpa Suraj wears many hats – corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.

Shilpa on the Web:

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

 

Book Blitz – The Songbirds of Alif

TS Banner copy

About the Book:
TS Cover copy

The Songbirds is a literary tale that goes to the heart of what’s ailing today’s world and tries to find the answers to our most pressing questions.

Amidst poetry and the innocence of youth, the love story of Kasim and Sumera sprouts in the romantic settings of Bada Ghar, the mystical house of a long-gone but not forgotten poet, Bulbul Baba, their mutual ancestor. To carve a better future for Sumera and himself, Kasim migrates West. But, once there, an increasingly westernised Kasim begins to see his for love for Sumera as taboo. So, instead, he tries to find fulfilment in London, forcefully burying his love.

However, with time, Kasim realises that the West doesn’t have the answers he is looking for and his yearning for Sumera returns, becoming stronger than ever, but a huge barrier now stands between them. Not only that, but time could also be running out because, back home, Sumera has gone on to become a fiery blogger over controversial issues, earning herself many enemies, possibly one too many.

“A meditation on love’s complicated intimacies…A stunning literary tale!”

To the free bird in all of us…

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon
TS (1) copy

Read some Snippets from The Songbirds

 

~ Snippet 1 ~

The study room at Bulbul Baba’s Bada Ghar. To me, it is the most magical room in the whole world, for it has the poetry of the heavens. There, year after year, I see many bulbuls sing, competing with each other to see who has the sweetest song. There is one, in particular, a young bulbul, whose chirps rise like the scented petals of jasmine caressed by the breeze and touch the heart.

 

~ Snippet 2 ~

Ironically, years ago, I had taken a big leap to reach where I now precariously stood. I hadn’t known then that the hand I had leapt for would turn out to be a mirage. Not only that but in making that leap, I had let go of the only hand which had truly ever anchored me; I had let go of her hand.

Now, as my hands flail in desperation, she is the only one who can save me. However, the distance that separates us is the distance which separates the Moon from the Earth. Still, impossible as it may seem, I have to reach for her hand.

Though, there is also a fear that she is no longer there, waiting for me. For all I know, it could be another mirage beckoning me, but I have to find out. I have to leap back to her; only this time it is a leap of faith. My faith in love.

TS Free copy

Download a copy on 8th or 9th May!

About the Author:

Alif copy

I write because silence is not an option. At the same time, my novels brim with hope in addition to having a riveting plot. My debut novel, which was published by a boutique publisher in Europe some years ago, was seen to be refreshing.

My recent novel Guns and Saffron has received exceptionally good reviews on Amazon, NetGalley and Goodreads saying that it is addictive, fresh and enlightening. The Songbirds, a literary tale, is my latest novel.

 

Book Blitz – Karma’s Dilemma

~ Book Blitz ~
Karma’s Dilemma
by Karma

KD Banner copy
About the Book:

KD Cover copy

Karma, a young man, knows very well who his soulmate is. Or so he thinks.

But, really, who is the one?

The posh Angela who he worships. Or is it Sana, the wild racer, who drives him crazy. Or is it Simi, the sensible psychologist, who puts him back together.

Or maybe there is no one for him because Karma’s deeds in his all-consuming quest as he scours the world have broken so many rules that, one day, karma, the immortal and unrelenting collector of soul-debt, comes calling for Karma, the mortal, himself.

The novel demonstrates the lengths one is willing to go to, the rules one is willing to break and the soul-debt one is willing to accumulate in the quest for a soulmate. Truly, everything is fair in love, even if not in war.

Will Karma the mortal outwit karma the immortal? Or will karma wipe Karma away…

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon

KD Review copy

Read some Snippets from Karma’s Dilemma

~ Snippet 1 ~

Every once in a while, Grandfather would muster enough strength to pick up his stick and take a walk to the orchard, along with me, whenever he needed a fix; Lalita’s husband was his supplier.

Grandfather would pay for the joint of marijuana, once Lalita’s husband had prepared it for him. After that, we would sit under the shade of a mango tree, while Grandfather took lazy puffs from his joint, a big toothless grin spreading across his face and making him look like a laughing Buddha, except Grandfather was thinner. Once the Marijuana had taken full effect, he would close his eyes, lean against the tree trunk and talk about the good old days; the days of his youth and strength, when he had led our townsfolk in the freedom struggle. He talked proudly of the time spent in the local prison along with fellow patriots. He often mentioned a letter which Mahatma Gandhi himself had written, personally thanking Grandfather for his efforts, though no one else in the family had ever seen that letter.

The only other freedom fighter I knew of was a young toffee seller, a dark-skinned and handsome man, Veerasamy. Tied to an upright stick, attached to his bicycle, was a toffee doll, dressed in an old pink frock. He would pull some toffee from the doll, fashion it into a watch, a ring or a bird and sell to children in town. While moulding our toffees into the shape we desired, Veerasamy talked about equality; for the poor, for women and the children. What we needed was evolution and not revolution he would say. In his free time, he did solo acting plays at the town centre, being for a while the oppressor and for a while the oppressed. A police constable had whacked him with the cane once for being a nuisance in public, which was when the toffee man’s performance had held up traffic. 

~ Snippet 2 ~

Something else happened during this time to increase my determination further; I fell in love for the first time in my life. I fell in love with Angela Matthew. I first saw her a few months into my second year at college. The first time she walked into the class, I stopped breathing. When I did breathe again, it was only to inhale her scent, a scent of roses, as she walked past. It was as if the queen bee herself walked into the hive the classroom was. Her family had moved from Muscat in the Middle-East when her father had decided to return for good to India to set up his own business of supplying spare parts for the car industry. As Angela introduced herself to the class, I wanted to walk up to her, hold my fingers to her lips and feel the sweet music flowing out of her mouth. When she smiled, the delightful dimples on her cheeks captivated my attention, like the rotating concentric circles used by a hypnotist do. 

KD (2) copy

Download a copy on 2nd May!

About the Author:

Karma copy

Dear Readers,

Before I tell you more about myself, I want to answer a question that might arise in your mind. Given there are already so many writers (some might think too many), the question is: Why should I write at all?

Simply, I write because I was not allowed to write. Or read, any book which had the word love in it. In my family, it was believed that reading about love lead to rebellion. I myself picked up the pen when my only child was six-months old. At that time, I was without a job. I wrote because there was a lot that I wanted to tell my child, even if one day in the future, to make sense of this world. Writing also helped me keep hope alive, one page at a time, as I went from one fruitless interview to another.

As my child took first steps, I reached a milestone of my own. I completed my first book; the story of a young man’s quest to find answers to life’s questions. A boutique publisher in Paris loved it and translated my work into French. I even found a job soon after.

I am choosing to write under a pen-name because I am at a stage in my life where I prefer and love anonymity. Once my child is older, I intend to write under my own name.

Many thanks for reading my post and I hope you enjoy reading my novels.

Happy Reading!

Karma

 

Blog Tour – Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters

 Book Tour ~
Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters 

by Shilpa Suraj

10th to 30th April

About the Book:
She believes in love, family and…squiggles!

Alisha Rana is not your typical single desi girl. For one, she is on the wrong side of 30.  For another, she is divorced. And last but definitely not least, she is still, gasp, a virgin!

Alisha doesn’t want much. But what she does want is that elusive thing all women search for – A man who gets her…but a man who gets her hot! She calls it “feeling the squiggle.”

Enter Dr. Vivaan Kapoor, cute, hot, squiggle-worthy. The younger brother of her cousin’s prospective groom, he’s got the squiggle factor in spades. The only catch? He’s never been married and is years younger than Alisha. Basically, completely off-limits.

And then there is Arjun. Widowed, older than her by the right number of years and a genuinely nice guy. He’s Vivaan’s cousin and a so-called perfect match for Alisha. The problem is, Alisha’s squiggle-o-meter refuses to budge for him.

What will Alisha choose? A lifetime together with the ‘right’ man or a chance at happiness with the ‘wrong’ one?


Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon


Read an Excerpt from Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters by Shilpa Suraj

She closed her eyes and let the nippy breeze cool her flushed cheeks. This moment of solitude in the middle of all the chaos felt like heaven.
“Private moment? Or can I interrupt?” 
Resigned to her fate, Alisha looked up. “Are you stalking me?”
“No.” Sitting down next to her and stretching his long legs out, Vivaan laced his hands on his stomach. “It was getting a little stifling in there, so I thought I’d come out for fresh air. I saw you sitting here alone and figured I’d see if you wanted some company.”
“Terrible,” she said, narrowing her eyes at him.
“What?”
“Your excuse for being out here is terrible. If I wanted company, I would have stayed in there. And the only thing stifling you in there were the women throwing themselves at you.”
Grinning, he pointed out, “You weren’t.”
Tossing her hair, she said, “I have taste.”
“Ouch.” Wincing, he straightened from his slouch. “That hurt. I don’t know if I’ll ever recover from that.”
“Oh please. Go in there and let one of those girls slobber all over you. You’ll be fine in minutes.”
“All those tasteless girls in there? No thanks. I think I prefer the discerning one out here.” Reaching out to touch a lock of her hair he twined it around his fingers and watched her reaction.
“Cut it out.” Slapping at his hand, Alisha stood up. “You shouldn’t be flirting with me.”
Rising with her, he faced her. “Why?”
“Because I don’t cradle snatch and I certainly don’t intend to start with my younger cousin’s brother in law.” She tried for both their family’s sakes to take the sting out of her words but knew she’d failed when she saw the expression on his face.
“How old do you think I am?”
Alisha sighed. “Do we have to do this?”
“I’m trying to understand,” Vivaan said. “The age thing matters so much?”
 Alisha stared past him to the crowd now leaving the bar and yelling out goodbyes to each other. Drunk, happy and carefree. She felt every inch of her exhausting thirty three years at that moment.
“For the record, I’m twenty nine years old.” His low murmur had her closing her eyes. Twenty nine. Shit. 
“I don’t think we should be having this conversation,” she said, starting to walk past him to the foyer.
Vivaan caught her hand as she crossed him and yanked her back, his grip firm and compelling. “Answer me. My age matters so much?”
“Yes,” she said, finally.
“Why? Does it make that much of a difference to who I am?”
“Why? What do you mean why? I’m older than you and divorced to add to that. You need any more reasons?” Giving her hand a slight tug, she groaned when his grasp only tightened. “Let go of my hand.”
“Does being older and divorced mean you can’t be friends with me?” 
“It means I can’t stand around holding hands with you.” Staring pointedly at their hands until he released hers, she stepped back and started to move away.
“What makes you think any of it matters to me?” His question had her stopping in her tracks and turning to look at him. “I don’t care, Alisha. I like you.”
“It doesn’t make a difference if none of it matters to you. All of it matters to me.” This time when she made her way into the crowd, she didn’t look back.

About Shilpa Suraj:

Shilpa Suraj wears many hats – corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.

Shilpa on the Web:

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Release Day Blitz – Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters

~ Release Day Blitz ~
Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters
 by Shilpa Suraj

Banner copy

Releasing Today on Amazon!

About the Book:

Love-Marriage-Tablet-template copy

She believes in love, family and…squiggles!

Alisha Rana is not your typical single desi girl. For one, she is on the wrong side of 30.  For another, she is divorced. And last but definitely not least, she is still, gasp, a virgin!

Alisha doesn’t want much. But what she does want is that elusive thing all women search for – A man who gets her…but a man who gets her hot! She calls it “feeling the squiggle.”

Enter Dr. Vivaan Kapoor, cute, hot, squiggle-worthy. The younger brother of her cousin’s prospective groom, he’s got the squiggle factor in spades. The only catch? He’s never been married and is years younger than Alisha. Basically, completely off-limits.

And then there is Arjun. Widowed, older than her by the right number of years and a genuinely nice guy. He’s Vivaan’s cousin and a so-called perfect match for Alisha. The problem is, Alisha’s squiggle-o-meter refuses to budge for him.

What will Alisha choose? A lifetime together with the ‘right’ man or a chance at happiness with the ‘wrong’ one?

Book Links:

Goodreads * Amazon

Enjoy the Quotes from Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters by Shilpa Suraj

LMaOD RDB (1) copy

LMaOD RDB (3) copy

LMaOD RDB (2) copy

About Shilpa Suraj:

Shilpa Suraj-2 copy

Shilpa Suraj wears many hats – corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.

Shilpa on the Web:

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

 

 

Cover Reveal – Love, Marriage, & Other Disasters

Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters
by Shilpa Suraj

LMAOD Banner (2) copy

Front-SS-Lay-03 copy

About the Book:

She believes in love, family and…squiggles!

Alisha Rana is not your typical single desi girl. For one, she is on the wrong side of 30.  For another, she is divorced. And last but definitely not least, she is still, gasp, a virgin!

Alisha doesn’t want much. But what she does want is that elusive thing all women search for – A man who gets her…but a man who gets her hot! She calls it “feeling the squiggle.”

Enter Dr. Vivaan Kapoor, cute, hot, squiggle-worthy. The younger brother of her cousin’s prospective groom, he’s got the squiggle factor in spades. The only catch? He’s never been married and is years younger than Alisha. Basically, completely off-limits.

And then there is Arjun. Widowed, older than her by the right number of years and a genuinely nice guy. He’s Vivaan’s cousin and a so-called perfect match for Alisha. The problem is, Alisha’s squiggle-o-meter refuses to budge for him.

What will Alisha choose? A lifetime together with the ‘right’ man or a chance at happiness with the ‘wrong’ one?

Read an Excerpt from Love, Marriage, and Other Disasters

She closed her eyes and let the nippy breeze cool her flushed cheeks. This moment of solitude in the middle of all the chaos felt like heaven.

“Private moment? Or can I interrupt?” 

Resigned to her fate, Alisha looked up. “Are you stalking me?”

“No.” Sitting down next to her and stretching his long legs out, Vivaan laced his hands on his stomach. “It was getting a little stifling in there, so I thought I’d come out for fresh air. I saw you sitting here alone and figured I’d see if you wanted some company.”

“Terrible,” she said, narrowing her eyes at him.

“What?”

“Your excuse for being out here is terrible. If I wanted company, I would have stayed in there. And the only thing stifling you in there were the women throwing themselves at you.”

Grinning, he pointed out, “You weren’t.”

Tossing her hair, she said, “I have taste.”

“Ouch.” Wincing, he straightened from his slouch. “That hurt. I don’t know if I’ll ever recover from that.”

“Oh please. Go in there and let one of those girls slobber all over you. You’ll be fine in minutes.”

“All those tasteless girls in there? No thanks. I think I prefer the discerning one out here.” Reaching out to touch a lock of her hair he twined it around his fingers and watched her reaction.

“Cut it out.” Slapping at his hand, Alisha stood up. “You shouldn’t be flirting with me.”

Rising with her, he faced her. “Why?”

“Because I don’t cradle snatch and I certainly don’t intend to start with my younger cousin’s brother in law.” She tried for both their family’s sakes to take the sting out of her words but knew she’d failed when she saw the expression on his face.

“How old do you think I am?”

Alisha sighed. “Do we have to do this?”

“I’m trying to understand,” Vivaan said. “The age thing matters so much?”

 Alisha stared past him to the crowd now leaving the bar and yelling out goodbyes to each other. Drunk, happy and carefree. She felt every inch of her exhausting thirty-three years at that moment.

“For the record, I’m twenty-nine years old.” His low murmur had her closing her eyes. Twenty-nine. Shit. 

“I don’t think we should be having this conversation,” she said, starting to walk past him to the foyer.

Vivaan caught her hand as she crossed him and yanked her back, his grip firm and compelling. “Answer me. My age matters so much?”

“Yes,” she said, finally.

“Why? Does it make that much of a difference to who I am?”

“Why? What do you mean why? I’m older than you and divorced to add to that. You need any more reasons?” Giving her hand a slight tug, she groaned when his grasp only tightened. “Let go of my hand.”

“Does being older and divorced mean, you can’t be friends with me?” 

“It means I can’t stand around holding hands with you.” Staring pointedly at their hands until he released hers, she stepped back and started to move away.

“What makes you think any of it matters to me?” His question had her stopping in her tracks and turning to look at him. “I don’t care, Alisha. I like you.”

“It doesn’t make a difference if none of it matters to you. All of it matters to me.” This time when she made her way into the crowd, she didn’t look back.

About Shilpa Suraj:

Shilpa Suraj-2 copy
Shilpa Suraj wears many hats – corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.

Shilpa on the Web:

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

 

Cover Reveal – Murder in the Chowdhury Palace

~ Cover Reveal ~
Murder in the Chowdhury Palace
by Sharmishtha Shenoy

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Murder in the Chowdhury Palace Cover copy

About the Book:

What if someone you loved… was murdered? How far would you go to bring a killer to justice?

Orphaned in her childhood, Durga has always longed for wealth, security and, above all, a sense of belonging. She finds it all when she marries Debnarayan Chowdhury, heir to an immense, multi-crore estate. But the Chowdhury family has been under a curse that dates back to the British era. The first-born of each generation dies young, purportedly killed by the spirit of Kadambari, a young woman murdered by the notorious Shankar Dakat, the founder of the Chowdhury family and their Zamindari. When her father-in-law Birendranath dies unexpectedly, Durga and Debnarayan come down to the ancestral home in Kakdihi, a small village near Kolkata. The moment Durga enters her new palatial home, she crosses a threshold of terror. She loses her husband within a month of her marriage and finds herself a widow in a house full of strangers. Are Debnarayan’s and Birendranath’s deaths accidental? Everyone in her new family and the neighborhood appear to be friendly. Most of them have a motive to kill her. A well-meaning neighbor tells her, ‘Run from this place. You have no friends here.’ Is she, the current owner of the estate, now on the murderer’s radar? 

Read an Excerpt from Murder in the Chowdhury Palace

The trees were denser beyond the pond on the northern side, and the area was unkempt and full of thorny bushes and nettles.  Debu remarked, ‘Not many people venture into the northern part of the woods from this point because the haunted house is less than a mile from here. So this part of the estate is in a rather wild state.’

‘Yes, I can see that nature has completely taken over this part. But still, let’s go there.’ I said excitedly.

‘Some other day…,’ Debu murmured. His face was slightly pale.

‘Debu! You really seem to believe in these ghosts and all that nonsense…,’ I said rather incredulously.

‘No… no… of course not!’ Debu exclaimed.

‘Then prove it! Let’s go and visit the house.’

‘Look… it won’t be very safe. The walls are crumbling, and I am sure that bats have made their home there.’

‘Please, Debu, let’s go, I have never seen a haunted house,’ I said, cajolingly. I gripped his hand and almost dragged him towards the house.

We came upon the abandoned temple first. The plaster was coming off the walls, and the aerial roots of a huge banyan tree had encroached upon the temple and gone in through the walls causing rainwater to leak into the walls and damage them further. The house was located a further quarter kilometer away.

There was a strange, sinister silence all around. Even the birds did not twitter in this part of the woods. The house with its closed shutters and peeling walls was a one-storey medium-sized building. It was dark and uninviting, steeped in shadow due to the jungle of trees that had flourished around it. Darkness echoed and folded upon itself. I walked resolutely to the main door, only to find it locked. 

‘Where is the key to this door?’

‘I don’t think anybody has it.’

I was in a naughty mood. ‘Then let’s break it open. I really want to see what’s inside.’ 

In spite of Debu’s protests, I picked up a heavy rock and hit the rusty lock with it. The lock broke easily.

We stepped inside a large hall. It was full of cobwebs and broken dilapidated furniture. Suddenly, a bat swept past my face. I let out a startled cry and drew back. I would have fallen to the ground had Debu not caught me.

‘Let’s get out of here. You shouldn’t be so adventurous in your present condition. The baby might get hurt,’ he said in a quavering voice. 

‘Oh come on… please Debu…let’s explore a bit more.’

I went further in and switched on the torch of my mobile to see better. At the center of the hall, were the remains of a havan done a long time back. The bricks used for the havan were blackened, charred and crumbling with spiders spinning their webs over the layers of dust. There was a portrait of Shankar Dakat and another of a woman on a wooden platform near which the havan had been performed.

‘This is, of course, Shankar Dakat’s portrait. And this must be Kadambari…,’ I said. ‘Who painted this?’ The painting of Kadambari mesmerized me. She was little more than a young girl in a green sari, worn without a blouse in the traditional fashion. Her big eyes were strangely life-like and sad and her long, thick, curly hair cascaded down her bare shoulders like a cloud.

‘I don’t know who painted this, nor do I care. Let’s go, Durga. I feel really uncomfortable here.’ Debu said a little impatiently. I started coughing because of the dirt. ‘Durga, you know you are allergic to dust. Come away now. I don’t want our baby to get hurt.’ He clutched my hand in a death grip, and almost dragged me out of the house.

The fear in his voice was contagious. Also, to be honest, the life-like painting had spooked me. We hurried back towards the pond. As we almost ran back and neared our home, there was a shout from the ground-floor east-wing balcony. It was Kanak. She shouted, ‘Who goes there?’

About Sharmishtha Shenoy:

Sharmistha Shenoy copy
Sharmishtha Shenoy is the author of the Vikram Rana Mystery series. The books under the series are “Vikram Rana Investigates,” “A Season for Dying,” “Behind the Scenes” and “Fatal Fallout”. She has also published a book of short stories, “Quirky Tales.”

Her short stories have been published in efiction magazine and Woman’s era. She loves writing murder mysteries, the kind of books that she likes to read. Her favorite authors are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie. She also likes the work of Satyajit Ray – especially the Feluda Series. 

Before starting to write, she had been an IT professional and had worked in TCS, Satyam, Infosys, and Microsoft. 

She is a big foodie and enjoys Biriyani (both Hyderabadi and Awadhi versions) and rasgullas like most Bengalis. She is also a lusty singer of the bathroom singing variety.

Though she is happily married to Mr. Shenoy in real life, in her fantasy world she is wedded to her creation Vikram Rana.  You can get to her blog by typing the word “Sharmishtha Rana” into Google. No, seriously, try it.

She was born in Calcutta. She is an M Tech from the University of Reading, Great Britain and had received a 100% British Government Scholarship to study there. She lives in Hyderabad.

Sharmishtha on the Web:

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * YouTube 

 

Release Day Blitz – Something Old, Something New

Just in time for Valentine’s Day! A compilation of seven bestselling authors, with seven romance stories. Check it out!

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Something Old, Something New
– A DRA Production

Something Old, Something New Cover copy

Seven bestselling authors. Seven incredible second chance romances. One epic anthology.

What would you do for another chance with the one you love? 

Something Old, Something New – a unique novella anthology – tries to answer this question with fantastic, different, desi dramas.

Whether it is shapeshifters or shifting interracial relationships, single moms in small towns or rich alpha heroes, friends-to-lovers or passionate ex-husbands; this anthology has something for everyone.

Something Old, Something New explores the many different facets of love, forgiveness, fated mates and more in seven, distinctly Indian tales!

My Warmest Sorrow

by Preethi Venugopala

Something Old Something New Creative (5) copy

What would you do when you come face to face with your past?

When Ajay, now an IAS officer, is added into his college WhatsApp group, he is welcomed warmly by all his classmates. Except by Diana.

Diana is still living with the repercussions of what had happened in the past. She is thrown into despair by Ajay’s presence in the group.

Diana and Ajay were inseparable while in college. Their relationship had transitioned from being best friends to love overnight. But then fate had intervened in the form of Diana’s tyrant father who had separated them ruthlessly.

Five years of silence has created a wall of sorrow between them. Their interactions in the class WhatsApp group are nothing like what they once used to be. Every moment is churning out more anguish and unpleasantness.

How much have they changed?

Is love still hiding underneath their public facades?

What are the lies they are hiding?

Read an Excerpt from My Warmest Sorrow

My mobile phone rang as I unlocked the door to my flat. Who was calling me now? It was eleven o’clock on a Wednesday night.

As the project deadline was looming near, I had stayed back in the office till nine to complete the chunk of work I had scheduled for today. Structural designing demanded full dedication, even for a small-scale project. And my current project was unbelievably complex.

Wearily, I slumped onto the couch and rummaged in my bag to locate the phone.

“Diana, you won’t believe what happened today. And, where were you? I called you so many times,” shrieked Ashima, my engineering classmate, the moment I answered the phone.

I rolled my eyes but a smile curved my lips. Ashima had a flair for theatrics. What was it now?

“Go slow. I just returned home after a gruelling day. We have a deadline this Saturday.”

“Eek. Be like me and find a government job. The perks of a government job are endless. Private jobs suck, ” said Ashima.

“Now, now… you must go to that magnificent job tomorrow, right? Why are you staying up all night?”

Ashima had been like our dorm room alarm while in college. She dozed off at exactly nine and got up at five in the morning, every day, without fail. What had kept her awake today? Or had her so-called relaxing job altered her lifestyle?

“Idiot, check your WhatsApp messages. I don’t want to spoil the surprise. Thank me later. Goodnight for now.”

No! I wasn’t in the mood to drown in some WhatsApp group debate she might have started. Mostly, she called me for some additional support when she was on the verge of losing. Who was she arguing with today? Rahul or Avinash?

Most of my classmates were politically active and any new government decision or policies would undergo acute post-mortem inside our class WhatsApp group. Rahul was a devout follower of the Congress party, Avinash was a self-confessed Modi Bhakt and Ashima was a red comrade entirely. On some days, their arguments would last long into the night. I didn’t have the energy to jump into another such nonsensical discussion. All I wanted to do now was eat and sleep till the alarm rang at seven tomorrow morning.

I switched on the geyser to take a quick bath. Then I transferred the biryani I had bought into a plate and placed it into the oven to reheat it. In the present Bangalore climate, nothing stayed warm for long. I was not fond of the winters. It wasn’t the cold that bothered me, though. The winter season brought back long-lost memories, making me long for the warmth of a specific loving embrace. It also reminded me of my twenty-two-year-old self who had almost given up on life.

By the time I returned from the bath, there were two more missed calls from Ashima. What was wrong with this girl today?

As I dug into the tasty biryani, I turned on my phone data. Notification beeps began. I swiped left till I found the WhatsApp icon. I had 1200 plus unread messages just from the 2013 Civil Gang, my class WhatsApp group. Some serious discussion must be happening. I groaned inwardly. I was certainly not in the mood to drown in nasty arguments. But Ashima would probably kill me if I didn’t hop in and speak my bit.

Avinash and Ashima had sent me private messages as well. What was so urgent?

Curious, I opened the group chat. Avinash had added a new member. Though our class had a total strength of 60 students, there were only 45 were members in the group currently. Many of my former classmates were pursuing higher studies whereas some had landed jobs in distant lands. Hence, we had lost contact with many of them in the five years that had elapsed after graduation. Occasionally, a new member would be found and added by one of the admins. Then there would be a mad rush to get reacquainted with the new entrant.

The name of the person added today drove away all my lethargy in a second. I blinked twice to confirm if I had correctly read the name mentioned in Avinash’s welcoming message. Ajay Menon. Ajay… after all these years?

About the Author:

Preethi Venugopala copy

Preethi Venugopala stepped into the world of words during a sabbatical from her hectic civil engineering job after the birth of her son. She began as a blogger and wrote fiction to pass time. Her debut novel ‘Without You’ came out in 2015 and was received well. She was then mentored by eminent author Anita Nair at her writing platform ‘Anitas Attic’ in 2016. Since then, she has published 7 novels on Amazon and more than 15 short stories in various anthologies and platforms.

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