Today, author Monica Sagle Zwikstra takes over my blog about her debut short story, ‘Storm House,” appearing in the anthology A Haunting of Words (which also features my brand new short story, “Jimmy’s Shadow”)
Tell us about your story “Storm House”
Storm House is about a house that, with every storm, sees the ghostly re-enactment of a murder. A wife killed by her husband. In recent years, the wife has managed to change things and now they take turns killing each other. This time, she thinks she may have found a way to sleep through those annoying storms altogether.
How long have you been a writer?
I have always written little stories for myself. However about four years ago I decided to take it seriously, learning as much as I could about the craft and art of writing. I joined a critique group for my novel work and I am a member of several on line critiquing groups.
What genre do you associate most with in your writing?
I generally say that I am a fantasy writer. Although some of my short stories are Sci Fi and speculative fiction.
What are you working on now?
I recently finished my first novel, (I 'm looking for an agent at this time,) and I have started a new novel.
What advice would you offer to new writers?
Learn the craft, then the art of writing, and be prepared to be learning for the rest of your life, as the learning never ends. And find a good critiquing group, either physically or online, to help you hone your craft.
List links where people can connect with you?
People can find me at www.facebook.com/MonicaZwikstraAuthor/ or @monicasaglezwik on twitter.
You can purchase A Haunting of Words (available in paperback and eBook) through the Scout Media online store at:www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/a-haunting-of-words and get an exclusive companion soundtrack CD, or through Barnes & Nobles, Target, Books-a-Million, and Amazon.
Dear Book Lovers,
This is the Book Blitz of Finding Anya by Sundari Venkatraman. This is my stop and we have many bloggers who are sharing the love for this book. This tour is organized by The Book Club.
Name of the book: Finding Anya
Author: Sundari Venkatraman
Format Available: Kindle / Paperback
Also available on Kindle Unlimited
No. Of Pages: 182 Pages
Anya Chhabria wakes up in a hospital room with no recognition of who she is and where she belongs. In her troubled times, Anya finds her anchor in a handsome stranger. But is he really unknown to her?
Dev Wadhwa's past finds him when he sees Anya lying unconscious in the middle of the road. Not willing to let go of her one more time, Dev takes her to the hospital and later to his farmhouse, where he helps her recuperate.
Sparks fly and Dev and Anya fall for each other! But the feisty Anya refuses to commit herself to marriage as her loss of memory looms larger than life.
Things aren’t easy with an ex-husband, not-so-understanding parents, and a jealous neighbour thrown into the mix. What if Anya’s memory never comes back?
Will Dev and Anya get a second chance?
Or will circumstances force them apart, yet again?
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About the author
Sundari Venkatraman is an indie author who has 15 titles to her name, all Top 100 Bestsellers on Amazon India, Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada and Amazon Australia in both romance as well as Asian Drama categories. Her latest hot romances have all been on #1Bestseller slot in Amazon India for over a month.
Even as a kid, Sundari absolutely loved the ‘lived happily ever after’ syndrome as she grew up reading all the fairy tales she could lay her hands on, Phantom comics, Mandrake comics and the like. It was always about good triumphing over evil and a happy end.
Soon, into her teens, Sundari switched her attention from fairy tales to Mills & Boon. While she loved reading both of these, she kept visualising what would have happened if there were similar situations happening in India; to a local hero and heroine. Her imagination took flight and she always lived in a rosy cocoon of romance over the years.
Then came the writing – a true bolt out of the blue! And Sundari Venkatraman has never looked back.
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I was thrilled to be asked to review Finding the Angel via a copy provided by the author, because I had read the “Look Inside” section of the book and was already intrigued. And I was not disappointed. Set in contemporary Bombay and in the royal palace of the Ranaut family, this debut novel is a sizzling interplay between a feisty heroine and an arrogant hero. Shefali is an art curator who falls in love with Aryan, the Prince of the Ranaut dynasty while cataloguing their artifacts. But just as the love (lust?) becomes too much for her, she runs away. Unfortunately, her sudden departure coincides with the disappearance of The Angel, the Faberge which has been in the Ranaut family for generations. With the burden of being considered a thief and the resultant effects of the company she works for, Shefali must find a way to redeem herself in the eyes of the man she loves, who is sure of her guilt.
I particularly liked the warmth of Aryan’s relationship with his mother, and Shefali’s with her Auntie, and the subtle secondary character of the Ranaut family servant, Harilal.
The attraction, anger, lust, and repartee between the protagonists, as well as the spicy and sizzling love scenes are sure to whet your appetite if you like romances set in contemporary India, with a bit of ‘royal’ intrigue thrown in. It will carry you through ups and downs of a thrilling romance and lead to a satisfying end.
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FINDING THE ANGEL
All She wanted was love...
Shefali is a die-hard romantic. Having lost her parents at a very tender age, she is in search of a place which she can call home. Her passion for Art lands her a job as an art curator to the famous artifacts of the Ranaut Dynasty. When she meets the scion, Aryan Ranaut, she feels that her dream might come true until…
All He wanted was to trust…
Living the life of a modern day Prince is no easy task for the young and dashing Aryan Ranaut. Having lost his father to a rapacious woman, Aryan has severe trust issues. But upon meeting Shefali, he feels he could let down his guard. Until…
All They need is to find The Angel…
Just as Aryan realizes his love for Shefali, one of the most precious artifacts, The Angel, goes missing from the Ranaut collection. All fingers point towards Shefali—more so because she leaves the palace without telling anyone on the very night of the theft.
Finding the Angel is a story where duty clashes with love and lack of trust overrides passion. Under these circumstances, can The Angel bring the star-crossed lovers together?
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About the author
Rubina Ramesh is an avid reader, writer, blogger, book reviewer, and marketer. She is the founder of The Book Club, an online book publicity group. Her first literary work was published in her school magazine. It gave her immense pride to see her own name at the bottom of the article. She was about 8 years old at that time. She then went to complete her MBA and after her marriage to her childhood friend, her travel saga started. From The Netherlands to the British Isles she lived her life like an adventure. After a short stint in Malaysia, she finally settled down in the desert state of USA, Arizona. Living with her DH and two human kids and one doggie kid, Rubina has finally started living the life she had always dreamed about – that of a writer.
You can stalk her @
HER SECRET HUSBAND
(Marriages Made in Heaven Book #3)
The Maheshwaris are back, a little secretly this time!
What do you do if you find a man who looks like chocolate, speaks like warm syrup, looks at you like you were the most precious cake ever created, and he can bake too? You marry him, even if in secret.
Ruma Malhotra falls head over heels and a little more in love with Lakshman Maheshwari, but her parents insist that she marry a rich businessman of their choice. When Ruma's only option is to marry Lakshman in secret, she is left torn between her love for her parents and her passion for Lakshman. Is a secret marriage the solution or will it lead the way to a public disappointment?
Lakshman Maheshwari falls in love with Ruma Malhotra the first time he sets his eyes on her in Ranveer's office. Will he agree to marry Ruma in secret even if it means betraying his parents?
Psst... Those who have read THE MALHOTRA BRIDE might be happy to reconnect with Sunita & Akshay Malhotra in this one.
*MARRIAGES MADE IN INDIA is a five-novella series that revolves around the characters you have met in The Runaway Bridegroom.
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Read an excerpt from #HSH
âWhatâs up?â he asked, trying to keep the situation light.
She winked at him. âShouldnât I be asking that question?â she asked, looking pointedly down at his lower body.
Reacting to her flirtation, his manhood immediately sprang to action, making Lakshman swear. âCut that out, Ruma,â he growled, sidestepping her as she wouldâve wrapped her arms around him. âI need a shower,â he insisted, not meeting her eyes. He went into the bathroom and locked himself in. The place smelled of Ruma. Cursing, Lakshman stood under the cold shower to tame his libido. She looked like she meant business. How could he convince her to wait till they got married? He dried himself with the towel that was on a rack, glaring at the mirror. He needed a shave. But no, they werenât going to make love, so it didnât really matter. Just then he realised that he would have to step out in the towel as his clothes were in the wardrobe. Swearing again, Lakshman walked into the bedroom.
âLaki,â called out Ruma, eyeing him avidly. Fascinated, she got up from the bed and walked up to him. He appeared like a Greek God with his chiselled body that was still damp from the shower.
She stood close to him and raised her left hand to caress his rough cheek. Her right hand was hooked into his towel as if she was going to pull it off him any second. Lakshman clamped his hand on hers, his fingers holding the towel firmly. âNo!â
âHuh?!â She looked deeply into his eyes, her brown gaze like melted cocoa, inviting him to make love to her. Her mouth was pouted deliciously, glistening wetly, begging for a kiss. Lakshman groaned deep in his throat, letting go of her hand to wrap his arms around her. He placed his lips on hers, sucking her upper lip. She tasted as sweet as honey, driving him crazy. His right hand moved down the curve of her hip to touch a thigh. He traced the curve, working his way under her nightshirt to encounter her bare bottom.
âRuma.â He deliberately removed his hands off her and raised his head to look at her.
She stared back at him with slumberous eyes. âWhat?â A small frown puckered her forehead.
âWeâll make love after we get married,â he declared.
âWhat if I donât agree?â
âIâll have to beg, right?â he grinned weakly. âPlease, my love. You know your parents wonât agree to a marriage between us. Doesnât it make sense to wait until after the event?â
âWhat if I want you desperately?â She nuzzled his neck, her teeth taking a sharp nip.
Lakshman groaned again, his arms crushing her to his chest. âDo you love me or just lust after my body?â
âCanât I do both?â
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About the author
Her Secret Husband is the tenth book authored by Sundari Venkatraman. This is a hot romance and is Book #3 of the 5-novella series titled Marriages Made in India. Book #1 of the series is The Smitten Husband & Book #2 is His Drunken Wife. Other published novels by the author are The Malhotra Bride, Meghna, The Runaway Bridegroom, The Madras Affair and An Autograph for Anjaliâall romances. She also has a collection of romantic shorts called Matches Made in Heaven; and a collection of human interest stories called Tales of Sunshine. All of Sundari Venkatramanâs books are on Amazon Top 100 Bestsellers in India, USA, UK, Canada & Australia under both #romance & #drama categories.
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Q: You have written a series of romances based on the members of a large family. Are they based on your family or someone you know?
A: Hi Sunanda,
First of all, thank you so much for hosting me on your blog.
While reading books in English, I could get my hands on many from UK and USA. What I found common to most of them is that I could get to know a lot about the local cultures and flavours. This is something that’s become deep rooted in me. When you read books based on a particular place, it’s possible to learn a lot about the people’s lives there.
Well, as you must be aware, large, joint families are still very much a part of the Indian culture. I grew up with my grandparents and my uncle’s family along with my parents and four sisters.
Growing up in a big family could be awesome, but could also get awkward. There are any number of permutations and combinations to explore. I find the whole idea fascinating, at times in a morbid way too.
The Maheshwaris of the Marriages Made in India series fame were originally introduced in my novel The Runaway Bridegroom. When I wrote this novel, I had never given a thought to writing about Chanda’s (the heroine of TRB) brothers. That came much later and the series was born.
The characters are not based on any particular family or person I know. As for characteristics, yes, I obviously pick some from here and some from there. Otherwise, Laxman Maheshwari is absolutely a fictitious character born of my imagination.
MY REVIEW OF “HER SECRET HUSBAND”
The story is the third in a series about the love stories of the Maheshwari clan, but the spotlight is stolen by the feisty Ruma, the love interest of Lakshman Maheshwari. In a short novella such as this one, there isn’t a lot an author can do in terms of character development. And yet, the book succeeds in serving its purpose: it is, at its heart, a light hearted, steamy romantic novella. The book breaks norm from the ‘traditional romance’ sequence of boy meets girl, they fall in love, they cannot be together, then they can. In this book, while the boy and girl fall in love, they do marry and find love (and lust!). The sweet thing is that the very forward and break-the-mold Ruma turns shy after marriage. Lakshaman is hot, sweet and charming, making for a very interesting dynamic between the protagonists. I enjoyed reading about Lakshman's bakery business, as well as the scenes in Delhi.
The unwitting villain is the girl’s mother, who wants Ruma to marry a rich guy. I’d have liked to see Ruma try to reason with the mother and tell her she loves a richer guy, only to find out her mother will not budge. Of course, we know that society puts a huge pressure on girls and a girl may decide she has no option but to hide her true feelings from her parents. The book succeeds in showcasing that social norm. I loved the character of Ruma’s gramdma and her uncle (who, I believe, has a book of his own).
Most sisters I know (including me and my sister) are very close. And a sister would be the first to know of a secret marriage. Ruma and her sister Saloni do not appear to share that bond, but perhaps it was mentioned in another book of the series?
If you’re looking for a serious read about social issues and intellectual contemplation, this isn’t your book. But if you’re looking for a light, easy, entertaining (and steamy) read, definitely pick this one up. You won't regret it. Sundari Venkatraman is a prolific author who can definitely draw you into the hearts of her characters.
Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes, uncertain. People, irrational. But love…well, that makes everything complicated. And when you are caught in a tangled web of secrets, lies, and complex affairs, someone is bound to get burned.
Emily Stevens is a spunky, spirited college girl whose life gets turned upside-down when she realizes she's in love with her best friend of fifteen years, Derek Thorpe. As Emily prepares to confess her feelings to Derek, something happens one night which changes her life forever. Five years later, Emily finds herself in Boston, alone and heartbroken. Will she ever be able to forget the past? And what will she find when she returns home...to the man she left behind?
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About the author
Veronica Thatcher is an exciting new contemporary romance author. Ever since she was very young, she’s dreamed of becoming a doctor when she grew up. While still forging ahead with that, majoring in pre-med in college, she unwittingly stumbled upon a new dream—becoming a published author. Some may call her an introvert or a wallflower, but she has always found she could express herself better in written, rather than spoken, words. However, never in her wildest dreams had she envisioned she would pursue writing as a prospective career, not just a hobby. Her love for writing goes hand-in-hand with her love for a good romance novel—whether it be a feel-good, sweet romance or a dark, suspenseful one.
When she’s not studying, reading, or writing, she is usually found blasting her favourite songs, sometimes singing and dancing along to them. She dabbles in a number of activities, including painting, karate, singing and dancing. She is a huge chocoholic – probably the biggest – and she is an ice-cream junkie too. She considers herself technologically handicapped forever and has no shame in admitting that. She also deems chocolates her boyfriend, Patrick Dempsey the love of her life, and Friends her life!
Her first book, A Way Back Into Love, is slated for release in February 2017, and she hopes readers will enjoy it as much as she enjoyed writing it.
You can stalk her @
Most female authors are comfortable with creating interesting female characters, the heroines, or the MC (main characters). But compared to a male MC, there are certain characteristics specific to females.
Females think more (and often worry more), they are more demonstrative with their facial expressions and body language, and they talk in long sentences compared to their male counterparts. Your female MC can be feisty, adventurous, brilliant, haughty, humble, or shy. But she will have a lot of inner thoughts, conflicts, and self-deprecation or self-doubt.
Two important features are Characteristics (what she thinks or does) and Descriptions (how she looks).
Each female character should have her own unique characteristics, highlighted via dialogue, inner thoughts, and actions. In this situation, the reader cares about what she is like rather than what she looks like.
If your MC is witty, she’ll have interesting comebacks in her dialogue. Short, crisp and incisive.
If your MC is shy, she’ll hesitate with ums and ers.
If your MC is conflicted or under-confident, she’ll obsess about what others are saying or doing, wondering how she should react, thinking she is being too forward, worrying about what others feel about her. If she is confident, her inner monologue with be what she anticipates other people will say. If she is shy, she will try to blend into the background and try not to express her thoughts and feelings.
The shy, nervous one will wring her hands together, knit her eyebrows, drop her gaze or sit with her feet crossed, hands in her lap. The haughty one will stick her chin up, her eyes flashing. The angry one will clench her jaw or tap her foot. The one in love will look into her guy’s eyes, her pupils dilated, her lips parted.
While the reader is happy enough knowing what your MC is like, they like to imagine what she looks like. Not every female MC must be a stunning blonde, blue eyed beauty. So, how do you show what your character looks like? Don’t fall for the cliché ways like looking in the mirror and describing how she looks. She knows she has blue eyes. She knows she has dark hair. It’s better to slip it in surreptitiously in dialogue, actions, or inner thoughts.
For minor characters, a quick way is to cut short description by telling important details: Her blonde hair was now peppered with grey (she is getting old). In two inch heels, she towered over most men (she is tall). She stuck a strand of silky black hair behind her ear (Her hair is black). She gets sunburnt in ten minutes and envies those who tan (she is pale). The dress that fit her well last year now stretched across her hips (she is putting on weight).
For more important characters, try to blend the descriptions with dialogue, inner thoughts, or actions.
Someone can mention, “You couldn’t have missed her. She was at the party. The platinum blonde. White as porcelain, red collagen-infused lips, baby blue eyes.”
Or you can slip in something like: “He bought me a sapphire ring to match my eyes.”
He can give her a peck on her nose and say, “Love those freckles.”
Inner thoughtsShe can think: “Why wasn’t he attracted to her? Did he hate brunettes?”
She can think: “If only her hair was like her mother’s golden waves. But she was stuck with straight black hair, falling like a curtain around her face. No amount of heat treatments or curlers gave it a kink.”
To describe brown hair, pointed chin and full lips: “He tucked a stray strand of her brown hair behind her ear and ran his finger down the side of her face, coming to a stop at her pointed chin. Then he pulled her closer and pressed his mouth against her full lips.”
Instead of “She was voluptuous”, you can write: “She slipped into a clingy dress which emphasized her curves, the low neckline showing off a cleavage models would kill for.”
She put on the padded bra and looked at the sides, wondering if the mastectomy scar would show.
Finally, a good writer combines characteristics with appearance to make memorable, interesting female characters, be it the curly-haired, witty, brilliant Hermione, or the toad-in-pink soft-voiced, wicked Dolores Umbridge.
I am pleased to interview Courtney Cannon, the cover designer of my upcoming novel The Blue House in Bishop
Check out her work at her website. They provide many services for authors.
What got you into book cover design?
I have been doing graphic design on and off for 11 years. I started out small on my fansites for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Harry Potter. Then I started manipulating photos to make money on some freelance sites. Then last year, my friend Janae needed a cover made for her debut book, so I tried my hand at it and fell in love with book design and editing.
What other services do you provide?
Currently, I am providing the following services:
• Editing (copy and developmental)
• Beta reading
• Cover design
• Book trailers
• Promotional images and teasers
• 3-d mockups
• Likes on your author page
• FB event and rafflecopter setup
• WordPress design and set-up
• Promotional voice over
• Audio-book narration
I hope to soon offer newsletter services that you can run your free and discounted books in.
What genre do you like to write?
I like to read and write fantasy and paranormal, but I also do love stories from time to time. Most of my writing focuses heavily on character development and how their decisions shape their relationships with others. I write a lot about friendship and sibling bonding.
1. Bani Jain
2. Alisha Patel
3. Kapil Awasthi
Have you ever met a pretty girl in a suspicious condition with blood stained hands lying in a hotel room where you are staying in?
Can a love story see its acceptance in the Indian society when the boy is from slums and the girl is born in a rich family?
How many of you have met those girls who were molested by their known ones when they had not even crossed the age of 14? Isn’t forced and unwilling sex after marriage similar to a rape?
Whether the prayers offered in love strong enough to bring back someone’s lost beloved from PoK?
How many of you know a person whose deeds are completely ideal, something which only a God can do?
Whether religion, caste or community should really be a parameter in deciding the hierarchy and dominance of people living in this world?
God and his girl-friend is a mercurial story about two youngsters, from entirely different backgrounds who strive hard against their comfort to live with their passion. A boy from the slums and a girl from a rich lavishing family set out on an embarking journey to touch the moon. This takes them through many tests, eventually tying them up in love, followed by an unforgettable service to the nation as true stalwart patriots.
You can buy the book @
‘The HINDU’ calls Priyank’s books, which has stories inspired from real life to be perfect in portraying the power of love.
Bollywood film maker Imtiyaz Ali conveyed his words to Priyank at a literary event in Delhi that he could see Priyank emerging out as a potential story writer from his city Jamshedpur.
Priyank is an author, a start up lover cum aspiring entrepreneur, a story teller and a motivational speaker. He is a gold medal winner in creative writing at the National level. He was named as the Best Debut Author of 2014 by Aagman Literary Organization, a Delhi based literary and cultural house for his novel ” I am dead but my heart beats. ”
He completed his Engineering from BIT Sindri, Dhanbad in 2015. He has delivered story telling sessions and motivational talks across many organizations in a short span of one and half year. He is the founder of Embellish India, a start-up he kicked off while in college. Currently, he works for a Delhi based funded start up after resigning from his first MNC job at TCS.
Born in Amethi (Uttar Pradesh) on 29th October, in a Maithil Brahmin family and brought up in Ghatsila (a small town near Steel city Jamshedpur in Jharkhand), Priyank’s dream is to bring changes in the country and make it a better place to live in. Writing was never his passion nor his goal. It happened to him by chance, by destiny, in an attempt to fulfill someone’s dream. He loves cricket, travelling, sleeping and trying out new delicacies.
This Tour is Hosted by
Click here to get a free copy from the giveaway BEFORE the book launches. Hurry while the offer lasts.
Here's what others are saying about this new romantic suspense:
“Brilliant! I have loved all of this author's books and this one is no exception. Expertly plotted, beautifully written, fast paced, with characters who leap out of the page and take residence in your heart, staying there long after the book is finished. Another wonderful story from this very talented author.” ~ Renita D’Silva, Author
“Chatterjee weaves an emotionally gripping tale of flawed characters wanting nothing more than to overcome a past filled with shadows. Their quest for self-realization and redemption unities them in a gradually building, meticulously executed showdown in the ‘Blue House in Bishop’ where every little detail matters.
An intense and intriguing tale with characters that couldn’t be more different yet all strive for the same things just out of reach: self-realization, and a way to rid themselves of the ghosts of their dark past.
At once dark and sensitive, fast-paced and multifaceted, THE BLUE HOUSE IN BISHOP takes the reader on a journey alongside several characters that come alive during their quest for peace of mind. The book touches on immigrant issues, the international drug problem, and social stigmata – and yet it is above all an entertaining and stimulating, even inspiring, read.”
“I thoroughly enjoyed this book… The book would make a really good film with visual descriptions and plenty of sub-plots alongside the main romance. Well done!” Becky Packer, Author
“Gripping page-turner...” Ruchi Singh, Author
“What a thriller! Kept me on the edge!” Ruchira Khanna, Author
Want to learn how to write fiction? Check out these helpful books.