Friday, February 28, 2014

"India Was One" by An Indian

India Was One
by An Indian


Jai remembered the first time he saw her like it was yesterday. He was sitting in the college canteen (cafeteria) with his friends Bunty, Subra and Punk, drinking (chai – tea). From where they were sitting, they could see the main road across from the canteen where people were passing by. It was drizzling. A few students were walking hurriedly towards the college under an umbrella, while some were wearing hooded jackets with their bellies looking big from the books they had tucked inside their jackets. Others were holding newspapers to cover their heads and had folded the legs of their trousers to keep them from getting wet as they tip-toed around the puddles that had formed.
Some hawkers were selling hot (bhaji – fritters) in a top-covered cart open from all sides. Steam emanated from their woks as the wet battered (bhaji) hit the hot oil, making a sizzling sound. As soon as they came out of the frying pan, the hawker sprinkled them with a generous portion of dry spices. A few customers were savoring them while the others were just taking the shelter of their covered carts to stay dry.
Suddenly, an auto-rickshaw stopped on the road. Its tire splashed into a small puddle that the driver had tried unsuccessfully to avoid. A hand jutted out, holding a small red umbrella. The fingers pressed a button on the umbrella extending and unfolding it, and a woman stepped out quickly, attempting to avoid the rain. She was wearing faded blue denim jeans and a crisp white shirt, with her hair tied in a pony-tail, and she carried a tan colored leather bag. Jai choked on his tea when he saw her. He had not seen a more stunning girl before. She looked lost since it was her very first day. It was Jai’s first day too but he was confident as he had the company of his three friends. She, on the other hand, was all alone. His eyes followed her as she disappeared in the college doorway.

India Was One Artwork

India Was One is not an easy read. It is not a love story, a mystery/thriller an adventure, a travel book or anything that fits into a structured genre. But India Was One is all of those things and so much more.
Looking deeply into the culture and mores of a country that most Westerners don't understand, it takes the reader on a journey that is at once heartbreaking and life affirming. This novel will take you to the heart and soul of both the geographic land that is India and the richly diverse culture that is its people.
While none of us can fully understand a people or a culture unless we are part of it, it does open the doors to more comprehensive knowledge of why India is at a crossroad politically and economically.
But this isn't a history book or a travelogue, it is a story of people who love. Living their lives as all of us do. Working, laughing, joking and taking care of themselves and their families. As they celebrate festivals and buy homes you will see people who are living their lives much as we do. Falling in love as we do.
But there is an undercurrent in this rich and warmly penned story. What if India were divided physically? How would that change the lives of the people of India who live there and the lives of those who now live, work and contribute to so many other countries? Are the cultural divisions that are happening so radically in India akin to a physical division. What if there was a wall or a fence dividing India?
For those readers who want a love story and an understanding of a rich diverse culture India Was One will deliver that with warmth and skill. For those that want to understand why India is at such a cross-roads, why so many people are leaving India and emigrating to other countries you will find many of the answers here.
I am glad I read this novel. It increased my understanding and I enjoyed the story. I was disconcerted all the way through the novel by the italic words explaining every native East Indian term used. It took away from the flow of the novel and if the author really felt it was needed a list could have been added to the end of the novel. Most of the words used are not so difficult to figure out in context and for most readers they are not unfamiliar. Other than that and a few editing errors, it was well written. It does use British English so those readers not familiar with usage and spelling will find some differences but they are minor.
It is high on my recommend list.

About the Author
The author was born and raised in Mumbai, India. He came to the US in 1989 to New York. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.
The author's conscious decision to remain anonymous makes a political statement and intends to communicate the insignificance of a particular sect, religion, region or gender over a common identity, i.e. an Indian. Asked about the same, the writer responds, "It's more important to me that this book was written by an Indian. For readers who are non-Indians, sectarian differences are secondary. Although the book is based on India, people around the world identify with the message".
For further insights, read a short interview with the author.


"12x12: Guide to Social Media" by Kai Viola

12x12: Guide to Social Media
by Kai Viola

12 x 12 is Kai Viola's first release in a series of nonfiction books designed to help people, especially writers, deal with social media. This book launch is brought to you by The Finishing Fairies. The author stops by today for an interview and there is also a giveaway to enter. Please be sure to visit the other participating blogs as well.

12x12 - Your social media Primer
Looking for support for Facebook, Twitter, Triberr? How about G+?
This book covers everything that you need to know about the very basics of each network. Exercises to give you a chance to try your learning out, hands on.
Each of the tutorials is designed to be as easy as possible to access.
Originally started a set of articles for a website, the tutorials have evolved into a go to guide to the simple, quick way to build an usable, safe profile online.

From the Author
One of the few things that people talk about, when talking about brand and social media is that it's a minefield. People talk about everything from being completely overwhelmed, to not knowing what to do with their profiles. And so, I wrote 12 tutorials (and a couple of bonus exercises to help people.
Each tutorial contains an introduction, the 'basics', the exercise, and then a bit about what your 'solution' should be. They're not designed to be the be all and end all of each network, but they are designed to support you if you're struggling, or aren't sure that you've covered everything.
I've keep the price low so that you can enjoy the book without feeling like you've had to pay a fortune for just a couple of tips, too - though I could have priced it higher, I feel $0.99 is the right price for this.
Launching on 28 February, until it's available, you can pre-order from my blog page at Warpaint Marketing.

There are no reviews as yet for this NEW RELEASE.

Interview With the Author
Hi Kai, thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book, 12x12 Marketing – your social media primer.
For what group do you recommend your book?
I think this book is very firmly aimed at people who are really struggling to get to grips with social media and find it difficult to know where to start. The tutorials included are basic ones – to help set up, understand or use specific elements that are easiest to access, or give the most back for use.
What sparked the idea for this book?
Originally, the book started as a set of articles. We ran a couple of them on a lovely blog, but the series was never completed (partly my fault – I’ve struggled a lot these last few years with various health issues, predominantly the grief from multiple miscarriages and possible secondary infertility), and they just sat on my drive until Kriss and I were talking about the work we do with authors – just the groundwork, before we start campaigns and I rewrote them and resurrected them. The book was the result. The Finishing Fairies, mine and Kriss Morton’s company, then used to teach some of this, so I thought it might be easier just to write it all down and just give it to people.
What’s the biggest takeaway from your book?
I hope it’ll help authors and those building their brand that are thrown ‘in the deep end’ understand more about social media, and find their own unique voice on there. Too many people believe that because the loudest volume of postings on groups and pages is ‘buy my book’ that these people are the norm and making sales, and that’s really not the case. Social media is social first. Make the connections, have a bit of fun, and book sales should follow, though it’s not something you can plan for.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
I think the hardest part was making sure that people understood what I was talking about. Keeping it current, with everything that changes on social media is going to be tough too, but I think I can keep it fresh and ensure it makes sense.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope it’ll help readers with the questions they keep saying, in private, ‘this is a dumb question but …’ I hope it will help them get a grip on what they should be doing, and make them both safe and savvy on networks. A lot of books about social media don’t talk about the cost of making mistakes, nor how to protect your logins, or what to do when hacked. Mine does.
How long did it take you to write this book?
I started it three years ago with those articles, then picked it up again four months ago. Originally I was trying to complete my Writer’s Almanac, but it turned out that I needed to do these tutorials, and the Ten Hour social media plan first. This book helps with the basics, the Ten Hour social media plan covers a weekly ten hour plan to make the most of your social media, and my Writer’s Almanac covers daily tasks, if that’s the sort of thing you like. The Ten Hour social media plan will be available April 2014, and the Almanac in time for the summer holidays. In the interim though, to make sure people get the help they need, I’m keeping a marketing blog – I love blogging!
Do you only write non-fiction?
Actually, no. I’m supposed to have published a fiction book already which seems to live under a perpetual curse which stops it from being published. In all honesty, the stuff going on with my family has been really hard on us, and I haven’t pushed probably as hard as I should have. Glass Block is going to its final editor this month, and then it’ll go up without further ado. I also write poetry, mostly a hold-over from my University degree.
What did you study?
I studied Creative Writing and Psychology. I keep joking with interviewers that it’s the easiest way to work out what someone’s going to do and use language to encourage or discourage that. Ideally though, I want to go study Forensic Linguistics and Cybersecurity. It’s really expensive to get a Masters in the UK though, let alone a PhD, and we’ve got a wedding and if we’re really lucky, a new addition to the family to fund first, so it’s a pipe dream for now.
What is your writing routine?
I get up in the morning, grab a cup of tea and write 750 words most days (I use a site called 750 Words). Then, I do what I need to do for the day. I work in PR and marketing, so I’ve usually got client calls, or emails/blog posts to deal with. Then, if I’m lucky, I get to write for a little while in the afternoon.  I’m also always ‘off’ one day a week, just to write. When I’m needed ‘onsite’ I take everything with me and get the earliest train/bus possible and do my writing on the commute. Or I read my Kindle and write on breaks.
How did you get your book published?
I’ve been helping other people get onto KDP and the other platforms now for so long that it just seemed like the right way to go. I’ve kept the price as low as Amazon will let me so as many people as possible can access it. Later I might make printed copies of the books with checklists integrated, but for now people need to get the book, join the mailing list then download the additional material.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Write from your soul, then let someone else edit. Don’t be afraid to ask for professional support, budget to pay said professionals, and be as social as you can.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Of course, I read. I’m going through between three and five books a week right now, and on a zombie fiction kick right now. I’m a gamer. I play games like Deadzone, which is a tabletop strategy/battle game. I play computer games like Hearthstone and GuildWars 2, and I take photos.
I don’t watch much TV, but I love The Blacklist. As a family, we go on daytrips, and play board games together – my partner and I share a lot of the same gaming interests, and I’ve got two teens that are loving learning all of our favorites from OUR teens. Though, even when not writing, I’m always thinking about writing.
What does your family think of your writing?
It’s always just been something I do. I used to write fiction all the time as a child – I wrote my first (horrible!) novel at 13, and moved on from there.
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I grew up in Edinburgh (Scotland) in the 80’s and 90’s, on the edge of the city. We lived in the perfect place between easy access to the wider city itself and having a little greenbelt not far from our house. I grew up a tomboy, always up trees or hiding in bushes, or running riot over vast green fields that still remain to this day. We used to get tadpoles from the canal and go for long walks in a place called Colinton Dell.
My mum raised us with the help of my uncle and other family members, and we had a very happy, book filled childhood.
Books have always been a part of my life, mostly because I was bullied and beaten up by other kids for being intelligent, a redhead and wearing glasses. I was diagnosed as depressed at 17, and bipolar at 21. I think it shaped a lot of my childhood too, but my mom never let it hold me back. She was really good to me and with me and I think that’s why I don’t look at my childhood as bad, despite having been beaten badly by other children at various times in my late tweens/teens. I went to the cadets at 15 too, so I learned a lot about the Army, and how to handle myself and a big gun J. I was very good at orienteering, target practice, stripping the gun and first aid.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
Loved it. I was bullied as a child, so it was easier to hide in books (or in the library where the kids couldn’t get me). I was always pretty precocious anyway, according to report cards, and books were a form of entertainment I didn’t need to wait for anyone else for. And after Judo, every week, mum would take us to the library.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always been a writer. There was no realize, it’s just something that’s always been there. I’ve always written, even when sick/in intensive care after having my daughter.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
A bit. Being picked on taught me to be stubborn and go for what I believe in, no matter what. I went to Judo, so a lot of the combat I used to write for my gaming campaigns was based on that. Funnily enough, I never used it to defend myself – that just seemed wrong. I read a lot of fantasy growing up though, and it is one genre I rarely ever touch. I got into horror at 13 though, and then there was no looking back. I also quite like to write outcasts/transgressive stuff dealing with societal norms and how we handle our interactions with one another – it feels kind of natural to be helping people understand social media and promotion.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
I’d like to think that I learn something from every book I read, though my favourite writers are Terry Pratchett, Alistair Reynolds, Stephen King, Asimov, Tolkien, and James Herbert. More recently, I’ve been enjoying all of The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Mostly ‘gimme the rest of Glass Block!’. LOL. I’m really quite engaged with my community because I guest blog and keep myself pretty visible. I moderate two massive writer’s groups on Facebook (neither of which allow advertising so the conversation is wonderful!) so I get to chat to readers and potential readers all the time.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
Glass Block WILL be out at some point, though I’ve given in promising when, just because every time I say it we have a disaster of some sort. The last four times (backwards), my cat died the day it was due out, we were in a car accident four days before it was due out, I miscarried and I fell. Before that, it’s closed presses, been accidentally uploaded by other people, pirated from said upload … it’s a ‘bad luck’ book. It’s a really good story though, I think, so it’ll all be worth it in the end.
Other than that, there’s the other two books from this series to help with marketing, and I’ve got four horror books in various stages of ‘out with editor’ coming back to launch before Halloween. I keep track of *all* of this stuff at Books by Kai, Author Interrupted, or on my Facebook page. I’m basically all over social media though, so you can find me almost anywhere J.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, Kai. Best of luck with your future projects.

About the Author
Kai Viola is a veteran online marketer. She started in internet marketing, writing content for others, along with copywritten sales pages, then moved on to the indie writer's community when KDP hit. She's been self-publishing since 2004 (mostly poetry), and has spent the last three years or so in the community, helping others with social media, writing tutorials and articles all over.
When not writing non-fiction, Kai's planning novels, travelling for work and having a bit of an adventure in her life. She's the mother of two parents, owner and parent of two kittens, an artist and a dreamer.
As the book is about social media, you might want to follow Kai to find out some extra tips. Below are the various places you can follow her - remember too that these count as entries in the giveaway!

Enter the shared giveaway for a chance to win the grand prize or a $25 Amazon gift card.


"Fathoms of Forgiveness (Sacred Breath Book 2)" by Nadia Scrieva

Fathoms of Forgiveness
(Sacred Breath Book 2)
by Nadia Scrieva

Fathoms of Forgiveness, the second book in Nadia Scrieva's Sacred Breath series is currently ON SALE for only $0.99. Also available: Drowning Mermaids (FREE; read my blog post), Boundless Sea, Abyssal Zone, Sacred Breath Boxed Set (Books 1-4), Tides of Tranquility, and Maelstrom.

This book blitz is brought to you by Reading Addiction Book Tours. Please be sure to visit the other participating blogs as well.

Meet the brave and fearless Visola; a woman unlike any you've ever encountered. Her wit and humor take her through the darkest of dangers with a smile always on her face - and her smile only grows larger as the odds become more impossible. With no concern for her own safety, Visola dives headfirst into the throes of battle to protect the people and country she loves, even if it means facing her worst enemy - the one man who can get inside her head and break her down like no other: her own husband ...
There is no divorce in the undersea kingdom of Adlivun. Marriage is a bond that lasts until death - even if death comes in several centuries, and in that time your spouse happens to become your sworn enemy. This is the conflict that General Visola Ramaris faces when she learns that the mighty Vachlan is behind the attacks on her kingdom. She has sworn to protect Adlivun with her life, but long ago, she also swore to love and honor her husband ...
Visola must choose whether she will destroy Vachlan once and for all, or attempt the hardest thing conceivable: communication. After two hundred years of desertion, she knows she can never forgive him. When he threatens the person dearest to her, she must take action. Confronting Vachlan on enemy territory would be nothing short of suicide. She knows that if she falls into his custody, the deranged mercenary would relish torturing her and making her lose her own sanity.
Princess Aazuria forbids Visola from taking matters into her own hands. She will do anything it takes to protect her friend from the man who wants to crush her. Alas, Visola is a crazy, uncontrollable warrior with the blood of Vikings in her veins. Why would she ever consider doing the safe and predictable thing?

When Aazuria entered the room, her eyes were immediately drawn to Visola’s wild red hair, which had recently been a lustrous mass of audacious curls. Now, her hair was limp. It hung against her head flat, frizzy and defeated. Aazuria’s eyes darted to the warrior’s sunken cheekbones and gaunt face. She saw the bruises on Visola’s neck before her eyes traveled further to the withered, wasted limbs. Every visible part of her friend’s body was covered in fresh scars. She saw the bandaged hands. Visola had been starved and tortured.
Perhaps in these modern times, even under the surface of the sea, kings, queens, and the aristocracy had close to zero significance. Perhaps the words and decrees which left Aazuria’s mouth would have minimal consequences. No one in the throne room felt this way as they awaited Aazuria’s judgment with bated breath. Sionna was standing aside, with her arms crossed. The newly-crowned queen gripped her husband’s sword tightly in her fist as Trevain and Elandria entered the room behind her.
Aazuria shifted her eyes to the man standing beside her friend. Her face was expressionless.
“Approach me, Vachlan,” she whispered.
The man began walking toward her. Although his stride was dignified, there was hesitation on his face. Visola began speaking, pleading words which Aazuria could not hear over the sound of her heart pounding in her ears.
When Vachlan was close enough to strike, Aazuria gazed at him with death in her eyes.
“Kneel,” she commanded him. Her chest was rising and falling perceptibly.
Vachlan knew that this would be a very unwise thing to do, but he owed it to Aazuria. He owed it to Visola, and to Adlivun - the nation he had once called home. He lowered his head and dropped to one knee before the queen, saluting her across his chest. His eyes were level with the sword she held, and he could see the veins bulging through her translucent pale skin from how tightly she clutched it.
“It would be futile to order you punished,” she said slowly. “No one can even attempt to hurt you as much as you have hurt her.”
“I know,” he answered quietly.
“But it is my duty to try.”
She struck out with her sword, slicing the air until the blade collided with his face, knocking Vachlan off his knees and onto the floor. Aazuria could vaguely hear Visola screaming for her to stop, but she was already standing over Vachlan and forcing the tip of her sword between his teeth. Her previous strike had resulted in a huge bleeding gash along the side of his handsome face, but it had not been enough to kill him. She was poised to finish the job.
Vachlan moved his tongue against the steel, tasting the freshly-sharpened metal edge garnished with the metallic taste of his own blood. It is rare that the wine so perfectly accompanies the main dish, he thought as he swallowed the coppery fluid accumulating in his mouth. Kind of like a German Pinot Noir. He looked into the azure eyes of Adlivun’s queen and realized that this was no longer the innocent, charitable philanthropist he had known hundreds of years ago. She was hard. He wondered what percentage of the tempered rage behind her eyes he was responsible for generating.
“One reason.” Aazuria was demanding. “Give me one convincing reason that I should not thrust my blade directly through your skull.”

Halfway through this story, there was a moment where I realized that I had fallen in love with Visola. You get to see her lowest moments, but her lowest moments are also her highest moments. I don't know how to explain this other than to encourage you to read it for yourself. Visola is a real woman. She is amazingly strong and sensitive at the same time. I was happy to spend my Saturday afternoon reading about a noble warrior instead of reading about your average boring housewife!

About the Author
Nadia Scrieva is fantasy writer who believes her Anthropology degree is best applied in creating compelling subterranean or extraterrestrial life forms. She also has deep fondness for double-edged, pointy objects. Nadia lives in Toronto, Canada with no husband, no kids, and no pets. She does own a very attractive houseplant which she occasionally remembers to water between her all-consuming writing marathons.