Showing posts with label literary fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label literary fiction. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

"A Better Place To Be" by David Wind

GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY
A Better Place To Be
by David Wind

A Better Place To Be by David Wind

A Better Place To Be by David Wind is currently on tour with Silver Dagger Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


For another book by this author, please check out my blog post on Born To Magic (currently FREE).

Born To Magic by David Wind

Description
A story about life, though perhaps not the one you would choose to live.
inspired by the characters from the Harry Chapin song of the same name, A Better Place To Be is a story of love, loss, and the ability to overcome the worst that life can throw at someone and come out the other side.


Excerpt
Smiling at her from across the table, John pushed aside the niggling worry lurking at the edge of his mind, a whisper of something ‘off ’. Instead, he waited for the waiter to finish pouring the coffee. When the waiter finally walked away, he reached across the table to take her hand in his.
“You know how much I love you, yes?”
Claire held his gaze for a moment before nodding.
“And you know I always keep my promises?”
Her eyes, still locked with his, turned questioning.
“I made you a promise eleven years ago, when you said you would marry me. Do you remember it?”
The corners of her lips quirked up. “We both made a lot of promises to each other.”
He turned her hand palm up and placed the small wrapped box in her hand.
She stared at it, then back at him. “What?”
“Open it.”
She looked back down at her palm. The tip of her tongue flicked across her lips. She stared at the fancy paper covered box for a full minute before carefully unwrapping it to reveal a black velvet case. Again, her eyes flicked to him. He nodded once, she opened the top, and gasped.
He watched her, a smile on his face while she took in what lay on her palm.
“I...”
He took the box from her, and lifted the ring from it. The diamond spit shards of multi-colored light, reflected from the small candle on the table.
“Take off the band for tonight, tonight you are engaged again.”
She stared at the ring even as she slid the white gold wedding band from her finger and continued to stare when he slipped the engagement ring gently along her finger and settled it in place.
He watched a single tear slip from her eye and roll down her cheek. “I—”
She placed a finger across his lips. “—It’s more beautiful than I could ever have imagined.”
He wiped the tear away. Before he could speak, she said, “Take me home, now.”
“The coffee?”
“Now!”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“Wow. That word just comes to mind over and over, in regards to this book, along with the phrase, heart-wrenching. It's good though - incredibly, in a makes-you-feel-things-and-think-things brilliantly good. […] Wind puts it all so simply and so realistically, it's like nothing I've ever read or am likely to read again.” ~ J.L. Redding, Reviewer
“This is a story about life. A message for us all. The cold reality that life does end and the living must go on living.” ~ Amazon Reviewer
“David Wind doesn't disappoint with A Better Place To Be as he brilliantly reverse engineers a Harry Chapin classic song. The story stands alone even if you've never heard the song. [Wind] has a wonderful ability to paint mental pictures with his writing.” ~ M. Kauf
“An amazingly beautiful story of love, death and depression. Hitting bottom and rebounding to a place not so terrible. The Chapin song sets our hero up for a memorable night. Put this at the top of your to be read list!” ~ A. Keeran
“A moving story that is thoughtfully composed and beautifully written. Worth reading for the poetic nature of the author's prose alone, but the story will not disappoint either.” ~ Bella

Guest Post by the Author
Switches Genres: The Danger of Writing Something Different
When a writer begins to establish himself/herself in a specific genre, it sometimes become difficult to move to another genre and keep one’s readers happy.
I can tell you how daunting this can be to a writer wanting to expand horizons. I have a lot of readers for my sci-fi/fantasy novels, and I have very loyal readers who read my suspense novels, thrillers, and mysteries. Yet, when I mention my newest novel, A Better Place To Be, which is neither in the sci-fi or thriller genres, the readers seem to hesitate. I only hope that hesitation turns to a decision to take a chance and read the book.
When I sat down to create this novel, a novel I’d wanted to write the story that called to me from the moment I’d first heard the song, more years ago than I want to admit to. But it took years until I found myself in a strange place in my life. My son had died suddenly, and it seemed that my life (I will not presume to speak for my wife) was turning dark. 
Then I heard the song again, and in a three-day period heard it on two local stations and then again on SiriusXm radio, twice. I took this as a sign and sat down and began to write. When I finished the last word, I sat back and nodded slowly. I felt better, and I hoped my readers would.
I released the novel, A Better Place To Be, which is based on the Harry Chapin song, on December 1st, and I stepped into the world of contemporary fiction with a story of life, and the vagaries of that life. I believe this book has something to offer everyone. It is not a light read, nor is it a saga stretching through generations; rather, it’s a story about a man’s journey from absolute happiness with his life, to the depths of despair. A book about a person’s ability, or inability to cope with the punches life throws, and a story of how the people around the man relate to him, and perhaps give him a reason to survive.
It’s not a traditional type of story, with a great feel-good ending. However, I have been told by several readers that the end of the book made them smile and nod and think about how fortunate they are. I also decided to donate a percentage of my royalties to two organizations, Harry Chapin’s Why Hunger, and to pancreatic cancer research.
The first review that came in took me by surprise. Here is a part of that review. ”WOW! That word just comes to mind over and over, in regard to this book, along with the phrase, heart-wrenching. It’s good though - incredibly, in a makes-you-feel-things-and-think-things brilliantly good ... Wind puts it all so simply and so realistically, it’s like nothing I’ve ever read or am likely to read again.”~ JLR
Now it’s time for me to step back from being the “writer” to be the author, and to help tell the world about my new book. Since I’m doing that, perhaps you, the reader, could do the same. Take a shot, read the book, and if you like it, write a review, and then let your friends know about it. AND, if you don’t like the book, write a review, tell me in your review what you didn’t like, and why - or send me an email and tell me directly. My email address is in the back of the book.
I absolutely love reading reviews of my books. The good and the not-so-good. Why? Because it teaches me about my readers, it tells me what they like and what they don’t - reviews are a guide to help make my writing a two-way street.

About the Author
David Wind
David Wind has published thirty-nine novels, including science fiction & Fantasy, mystery, thriller, noir, and suspense novels. He lives and writes in Boynton Beach, Florida, and shares his home with his wife, Bonnie, and dog Alfie, a sub-standard poodle (email David for an explanation).
His newest novel is A Better Place To Be, based on the Harry Chapin song of the same name. Not his usual genre, this is a story of love, loss and facing to the worst life can throw at you and still be standing.
Born To Magic (currently FREE), the first book of his sci-fi fantasy series, Tales Of Nevaeh, was released in 2015. All three books have reached into the Amazon Top 100 best seller rankings in several categories including Young Adult. Both the second book of the series, The Dark Masters, and the third Book, Trinity: The Battle For Nevaeh, have all received high praise.
David's fantasy, Queen Of Knights, was a #2 best seller on the Amazon bestseller lists for historical fantasy and medieval fantasy, and his sci-fi paranormal, Infinity’s Doorway, has received wide acclaim.
When David formally left traditional publishing to become an independently published writer, he published Angels In Mourning, his “homage” to the old time private detective books of the 50s and the 60s. Angels In Mourning is a modern day take on the old style hard-boiled detective. In April of that year, Angels In Mourning, won the Amazon.com Book of the Month Reader’s Choice Award.
His previous suspense thrillers are The Hyte Maneuver (a Literary guild alternate selection), The Sokova Convention, and The Morrissey Manifest. David's mystery suspense novels include: And Down Will Come Baby, Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, and Out of The Shadows.

Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

Links

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

"Where's Sailor Jack?" by John Uttley

GUEST POST and EXCERPT
Where's Sailor Jack?
by John Uttley


Where's Sailor Jack? is currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author and an excerpt from the book. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
A family saga that takes in three generations of two families and all the struggles, tribulations and fireworks that you would expect as well as plenty you wouldn’t. Where’s Sailor Jack is the story of Bob Swarbrick’s journey from Northern-grammar-school-boy to business magnate through the break up of his marriage, the arrival of a new lover and an unhurried, consistent search for meaning in his life.
Bob and Richard are grammar school boys "done good". Starting life in similar working class homes they have progressively climbed the ladder until they are able to both sit comfortably as champions of industry, and look back on their achievements and failures with the keen Northern wit that never left them, even after years of exile life in the south.
As they reflect on their lives, loves and business decisions both try to find an explanation to fit their lives: Bob seeks purpose, Richard meaning. While soul-searching, the reader is witness to an exemplary part of British history - from their childhoods in post war Northern England to the boom years in a prospering South (before survivors guilt starts to bite in their latter years and they wonder just how their opportunities would have worked out if they were born a few decades later).
The book covers and takes a unique look at romance, religion, business sense and social mobility but does so with wry tongue in its cheek whilst looking for a laugh, not a deep and meaningful conversation.


Excerpt
Chapter One
On a Sunday soon after his move north-west, Bob was flying high on Virgin, to LAX, as everyone but he knew Los Angeles airport was called. His last long-haul flight had been on Atomic Futures’ business in the bulkhead with British Airways. At over six foot and heavily built, he could make good use of the leg room. In an unflattering lavatory mirror, he saw receding, greying hair and many wrinkles above a jaw line a boxer could break a fist on. He’d never quite understood how his rugged looks had charmed the several-to-many women along the way. The seating arrangement in Virgin’s best seats made the cabin look like a beauty salon, but he’d played safe and eschewed the offer of an on-board facial. The Journey Information on the monitor told him there was about an hour of the flight to go, confirmed by something looking like the Grand Canyon out of the window, though it looked bleak enough to have been the surface of another planet.
He was trying not to sleep on the way out, nor to go to bed until at least ten o’clock Pacific Standard Time. He’d flicked between the films on the in-flight entertainment system, and found nothing he’d wanted. He’d then settled down to listen to some music, first Elvis, then Ray Charles and finally Abba, who’d bounced along merrily at first until a cold sweat told him that he was the loser standing small alongside seventies woman. He switched Agnetha off to pick up the book he’d brought, Ian McEwan’s Saturday, which he immediately put down again. His eyes were tired.
He reclined the chair to be alone with his musings on his return to Lancashire. Blackpool was making a good fist of doing itself up, despite New Labour lousing up the Las Vegas style casino scheme, not that he’d ever really wanted it. In the evenings, the place was alive with young ladies joyfully, sometimes even decorously, celebrating their hen nights with like-minded friends. The folk who lived in St Chad’s hadn’t changed that much. The young people at church had the same freshness that he’d once had, full of their multimedia world and excited about their opportunities, though the ladder had been pulled up since his day, leaving cows from the Fylde fields with more chance of going through the eye of a needle than any ordinary kid entering the kingdom of riches he’d inherited. Lancashire wasn’t at the centre of things the way it had been back then, with Blackpool the Mecca for comedians, Liverpool the capital of music, the mighty Granada television like a second BBC, and the Manchester Guardian thinking about what the world would do tomorrow. He saw The Guardian moving to London as an even bigger betrayal than John Lennon’s sleep-in.
The summer of 1963 with Freewheelin’ on his turntable and the Mersey sound on every radio was forever to remain his Archimedean point. Martin Luther King was dreaming his dream accompanied vibrato by Joan Baez and civil rights were coming. Bras weren’t being burnt though. Much later Jane challenged him with why not. He’d answered that women’s liberation hadn’t come out of nowhere. She’d generously agreed that it was only fair for apes like him to have had their day in the sun before the real business got done.
He’d had a vacation job in Stanley Park and that had given him an affinity with the old codgers from the Great War who came for the brass band concerts. Though they were sitting in God’s waiting room, they were cheerful, talking for hours about space travel and the like but not of course about their health problems or the trenches. He thought of his never-liberated Grannie who died at the start of the pivotal year. She’d make him green jelly with bananas whenever he went round as a kid and had knitted most of the jumpers he was still wearing through university after her death. His sister had in her kitchen the old milking stool from Grannie’s farm-girl days, with more than a thousand years of history stored in its battered wood. Like the religion his ancestors had shared, its purpose had been endorsed by the long passage of time. To lose either would be to lose his soul. He didn’t want to live so long that his memory of Grannie dimmed.
He was off to LA to discuss the possibility of him chairing a solar technology company, The Northern Solstice Inc., looking to be floated on AIM, the small companies’ part of the London Stock Exchange. He’d created a portfolio of non-executive chairmanships since his nuclear demise; nice work if you can get it, he’d say. He’d had surprising success given that he was temperamentally stuck somewhere between public and private sector. On one venture, he’d helped rescue a telecoms company after the dotcom bubble burst, which he’d then sold to a trade buyer, a conglomerate chaired by Sir Charles, for a huge profit, a month before the market fell again. He’d found that the private sector was about living on your wits rather than on solid ground.
He hadn’t much knowledge of solar economics or if it was such a good environmental thing. He hoped that this opportunity could provide some atonement for his past environmental sins. As a nuclear man, he’d never been a denier of the greenhouse effect. He knew how expensive nuclear had been but could see no better option despite his lingering doubts on waste disposal, weapons proliferation and operational balls-up issues. He was as antagonistic towards wind power as most power engineers and ornithologists were.
The invitation to LA had come from a woman he’d got to know at Black and Robertshaw, an accounting firm working out of Bristol whose corporate finance arm had handled the telecoms sale. They were advising on the Northern Solstice flotation, acting as Nomad – shorthand for nominated adviser. Wendy Ballinger was already in LA and he was to meet her the next day with the acting Chairman and the CEO.
In the arrivals hall, the driver arranged by Virgin was holding up his name. All upper class passengers could have a limo for up to an hour’s journey. Anaheim was in the band. He was stopping at the Stonehaven there, near to the Northern Solstice factory in Yorba Linda as well as close to Disney. Wendy was upmarket and uptown, staying at the Westin. His mobile beeped a message as he reached his room. Wendy wanted a word. He was desperate for the lavatory, but couldn’t prevent himself from ringing her first. As he waited for her to answer, her face appeared in front of him on the screen in his brain (not on his phone, that was an early, basic model), almost elegant, with a distinguished nose. Her blonde hair looked natural enough but did owe something to a bottle. He found her both friendly and competent, a pleasure to do business with. She was a while answering and his internal camera panned slowly downwards. In her early forties, married without children to an older man, her bosom was worthy of the name; her long legs went all the way to her not insubstantial bum. And she was intelligent. He should have thought of that first.
She had bad news, disclosed in pure, gentle, Gloucestershire tones that could have belonged to a sixth former. She’d been at a pre-meeting with the acting Chairman, a guy called Peter Forster, along with the CEO, Emil Fares. Forster was a hard-nosed South African who owned Forster Capital, the largest shareholder. He’d told Wendy that they didn’t want her to handle the listing as Black and Robertshaw had no market strength.
Bob wanted to ask if that meant he’d wasted his time coming out, and if somebody would be reimbursing his expenses, but realised he’d better sympathise first. She didn’t need that, believing that her firm, although not a strong broking house, had done a pretty good job. “No first division broker would handle such a small transaction,” she asserted. “And there’s so little time before the date they want to float that they’d like to take a look at you. They’ll also want to know if you’ve any other ideas as to who else could act as Nomad.”
“I’d have no idea. I wouldn’t want the job now anyway,” he said, honestly enough as Wendy was a big part of the attraction.
“That’s up to you, but I’d be grateful for my reputation if you could hear them out. Perhaps Divinity might do it. They’re pitching hard into renewables.”
Bob became more interested. “Fancy that. An old friend of mine from my nuclear days, Richard Shackleton, told me over a round of golf that he’d just joined Divinity Partners. He said it was about time the Godhead had some new blood. Do you know him?”
Wendy did know Richard, who she called a terrific bloke. “Hey, thee, me and him could make a great team if they’d have us,” Bob reckoned. “Can’t we get him to do the broking and you to be the Nomad?” Wendy doubted Forster would agree to that idea but was happy for Bob to try it on.
Bob was already looking forward to Richard joining them and started to tell Wendy about his daft ideas. “Like me, he doesn’t think metaphysics should be a dry study of what can and can’t be said, but a licence to think insanely. According to him, we can’t actually change anything physical and all events rigidly follow the laws of nature. But we are free to make whatever we want of what happens. I remember a flotation meeting with loads of advisers. We took time out to discuss Schrödinger’s cat, as you do. Richard…”
“As you and Richard do, you mean. Tell me about that some other time,” she interrupted. “George Coulson, the CFO, will be in the hotel lobby at nine o’clock to collect you. We’re meeting in Emil’s office at nine thirty.”
Having at last managed to have a pee, he unpacked his case, lining up one shirt and tie, his suit, a pair of socks and shoes for the morning. He put pyjamas on the pillow, soap bag and razor in the bathroom, Saturday and the alarm clock by his bed, before he had had a quick shower, drenching the bathroom floor. At a quarter past nine PST, twenty two hours since leaving his London flat, he went to bed.
He quickly went to sleep, only to wake with a start at about two o’clock, gasping for breath. The heavy quilt was over his head. He pulled the quilt halfway down the bed and managed to sleep again. An hour later he woke again. This time he turned the air conditioning off. Sleep wouldn’t come. He tried to read for a while, propped up against the pillows. In the big mirror on the opposite wall, he caught sight of his gaunt face drained of colour. With a shock, he realised he was looking at his Dad, Jack Swarbrick, laid out at the funeral parlour. That Swarbrick big conk was a matter of pride.
Of course it wasn’t his Dad, but the embodiment of hard-wired genetics. Wendy’s face, and much prettier conk, had frozen on his internal screen. He slept through till 6.30am with her in view.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
"Where's Sailor Jack? is by turns romantic, poignant, and extremely funny, exactly what I want from a family saga. Like its hero, Bob Swarbrick, this novel is charming, charismatic and complex ... John Uttley's debut novel reminded me at once of reading Graham Greene on faith and Graham Swift on aging, with the sexual honesty of John Updike, the range of a John Irving family saga, and the quirky British humour of Nick Hornby ... Where's Sailor Jack? is a High Fidelity for the original baby boomers ... An utterly delightful book." ~ Stephen Carver, Blot the Skrip & Jar It
"People of the post- war generation from the northwest will find much to relate to in this novel. It’s a good read." ~ Janet Holmes
"Where’s Sailor Jack? is by turn, romantic, humorous, religious and business driven, with a large helping of normal family trials and tribulations. I enjoyed meeting the characters and getting involved in their storylines and the descriptive portraits of The Fylde and Lancashire was a treat to read as it is my homeground too. [...] John Uttley is an expressive writer and I hope there will be more to read from him." ~ Susan Heywood

Guest Post by the Author
Why there’s still room for philosophy, theology and religion in a contemporary fiction, family saga novel
My book has sold pretty well. It's had lots of nice things said about it. It was of course self-published. I could come out with the usual guff as to why I preferred that route, but rightly you wouldn't believe me. I tried loads of agents. A few commented on how well written the book was, but "it wasn't for them".
Both my editor and my subsequent publicist think two inter-related issues were the reason for this. The first was my age and background relative to the readers employed by the agencies. I'm seventy and if metropolitan at all, only by default. The second was the inclusion of philosophical and religious issues in a humorous and poignant family saga. A novel is not now expected to carry this baggage. No matter how non-judgmentally I had written this, "it wasn't for them". No matter how much the literary canon is full of such musings, with only a few decades ago Graham Greene's catholic guilt and the like being mainstream, "it wasn't for them".
I was writing about provincial early baby boomers, who are now approaching old age and the prospect of death with the Anglican innocence their mental life has always occupied. If I were not to have included these thoughts I would have been unfaithful to them. As much the last Victorians as the first boomers, they have grappled with the twentieth century and reached a liberal, tolerant world view. Religious considerations play a full part in that. The century has produced so much suffering and pain to challenge faith, but they see their own long lives as more blessed than cursed.
The main characters, having been grammar school and university educated, also have a good grasp of the intellectual developments of the century in philosophy and science. They understand the fundamental lack of determinism in the wave equations which not only Schrödinger's cat should fear and that Gödel has demonstrated there to be no ultimate explanation available in any equations. They thus want to consider if the physical and mental are so inextricably linked as present orthodoxy has it. And so do many real people of their and subsequent generations. It isn't irrational to examine if metaphysics and religion can say more. It's only in a story that this can be done.
Feedback from younger folk suggests that some do feel confronted by the ideas in my book, despite the open way they're presented. In most cases, they'll say it's not the world they're inhabiting. To them religion is archaic, about ritual or illiberal fundamentalism. It does not spring from philosophy. Challenging that isn't why I wrote the book, but it's a good reason to read the damn thing.
A novel must be entertaining. The several hours needed to go from cover to cover are a long time to be bored. Nobody has said they were as they read this one. They identify with the characters, they're amused by the dialogue, and they're caught by the story. That's what real life is about too.

About the Author
John Uttley was born in Lancashire just as the war was ending. Grammar school educated there, he read Physics at Oxford before embarking on a long career with the CEGB and National Grid Group. He was Finance Director at the time of the miners' strike, the Sizewell Inquiry and privatization, receiving an OBE in 1991. Shortly afterwards, he suffered his fifteen minutes of fame when he publicly gave a dividend to charity in the middle of the fat cat furor. More recently, he has taken an external London degree in Divinity while acting as chairman of numerous smaller companies, both UK and US based. This is his first novel. He is married to Janet, living just north of London with three grown children and dog.

Links

Monday, January 25, 2016

"The Real Estate of Things" by Nitin Deckha

GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY
The Real Estate of Things
by Nitin Deckha


The Real Estate of Things is currently on tour with Enchanted Book Promotions. Author Nitin Deckha stops by today to share a guest post and an excerpt from the book. You can also enter the giveaway for a chance to win an ebook copy. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
The Real Estate of Things is a comedic story about real estate, spirituality and politics in the sprawling, multicultural suburb of West York.
Fifty-something Shaku Sehgal is looking for a new lease of life. With two grown kids and a supportive accountant husband who gardens, she’s followed her best friend, Neelam, into the exciting world of real estate. While she dreams of becoming the premier realtor of West York City, a position currently held by the much envied, Ruth Leslie, Shaku’s languishing at her current brokerage, SuperStar Realty. 
To jumpstart her career, Shaku sneaks into a real estate conference and learns about a new redevelopment contest for a local derelict site. Part of the prize is to be an exclusive broker for the chosen new development. Shaku successfully pitches it to her brokerage, teams up with the young up-and-coming realtor, Jason Sevende, and they throw their hat into the contest. 
Soon, Shaku and Jason find themselves competing against teams across the city, including Shaku’s friend, Neelam and the doyenne of luxury realty, Ruth Leslie. Not only that, the contest draws the attention of global spiritual guru, Chakra Sahib, and the ire of a seemingly anonymous movement protesting and threatening to derail the whole redevelopment.
Join Shaku, Jason and the band of realtors as they confront obstacles and reflect on the meanings of success, love and friendship in this epic race amongst realtors, The Real Estate of Things.


Excerpt
Shaku felt Ruth’s careful appraisal, a flicker of tongue over teeth, before she deigned to speak. Meanwhile Shaku shook her hand, surprised by the taut firmness for such a bony appendage. It wasn’t the usual female version of a handshake that she had exchanged with Melissa. “Shaku, I’m Ruth. A pleasure.”
“That’s so kind, but the pleasure is mine, Ms. Leslie.”
“Please call me Ruth. I think we’re of the same generation, give or take a few years. I’ve got to get back in there; I’m making an announcement that might interest you. Stick around for a bit.”
Shaku watched Ruth cascade by, Melissa and the two men in tow. Except for a few dawdlers, the refreshment area had cleared. Shaku followed.
She wanted to sit down, and take it in. Alone with a hot cup of chai, with steamed milk and elaichi, Shaku felt giddy. She wanted to kick off the heels, change into track pants and savour this definite morsel of progress that had been thrown to her. She had just met Ruth Leslie, the grand maven of West York City real estate. Face to face. (Well, not quite, Ruth was a whole head taller, but nonetheless). They had shaken hands. Melissa might tell Ruth about her bus stop bench ad and perhaps, then, Shaku could ask for marketing advice. She was pulled back into reality by the commotion in the conference room and then she heard the slow, distinct tone of Ruth Leslie. She moved to the back of the room, sought a chair and sat down and pulled out her notebook, found a pen, and began to scrawl.
The mayor would be holding a press conference next week, where she would announce a contest. Contest. Shaku tried to tune out the ruckus escalating around her. The contest was to select the best real estate design and sales strategy for redeveloping the old Addison Mill, long sitting derelict near the shores of the West York River and north of Lake Forest Village. To build excitement and attract the best commercial and residential clients, the city was launching the contest to gain public approval and take West York’s redevelopment to a world-class level.
“Now I don’t have all the details,” Ruth explained over the din. “You’ll have to wait until the mayor makes the full announcement. In any case, I wanted to give you a heads up. I want to see as many teams from WYREC out at the press conference as possible. After all, we know what our residential clients want and what’s possible in West York City. Good luck everyone.”
Smartphone screens were lit as thumbs and fingers scrambled to catch the details of Ruth Leslie’s surprise announcement and locate any city missive about the upcoming mayoral press conference. The next speaker was waiting in the wings, silently fuming. It would be near impossible to get this audience, now more pumped than teenagers on Red Bull, to listen and pay attention.

Guest Post by the Author
My Inspiration for Writing this Book
Billboards and bus stop benches. Shining, happy, blemish-free faces beaming. The omnipresence of real estate transformations, from open houses and new constructions to teardowns and renovations.
I began getting the idea to write about the frenzy of real estate (re)development as emblematic of "how we live now" from (what I saw as) comedic billboards and bus stop benches of real estate "agents" in the suburbs in the city where I live. The agents – and I’ve learned since that the official term is either a broker (if the own the realty) or a sales representative - were a motley crew. Some were young and not-so-young, female and male, their names a smorgasbord of ethnicities and cultures. They seemed to symbolize what I was seeing around me – crops of condo towers and strip malls, burgeoning suburbs on former farmland, bulking, steroidal homes where once stood a quiet bungalow. Everywhere, it seemed, was being transformed by new real estate developments. Everyone around me, it seemed, was talking about real estate.
However, as much as I love the social novel, à la Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections, I knew that my style of writing would seek out the comedic. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I value comedy for its insight into contemporary issues and social change. The transformation of neighbourhoods and the whole megacity around me by real estate – and the various issues that were related to it – from traffic congestion, environmental impact, rising social inequality and debt due to rising house prices – were certainly contemporary. I wondered: How to create characters through which I could explore and describe these changes in ways that would be entertaining and funny?
So, I went back to the billboard and bus stop bench and created Shaku Sehgal, the unlikely, greying, fifty-something heroine of The Real Estate of Things, whose trying to prove to herself, her friends and family, and to colleagues at her realty, that she has what it takes to be a top-performing realtor in her neck of the woods. Originally, I was going to write more about Shaku, her husband and her adult children; interestingly, as I wrote, there was less and less about her family (although her husband, Yash, is present throughout the book). Rather, I was writing more about the world of real estate that Shaku found herself in, from her colleagues and competitors to her clients and her journey as part of team that strives to win the ultimate redevelopment contest, which is at the heart of The Real Estate of Things.

About the Author
Nitin Deckha is the author of a collection of short stories, Shopping for Sabzi (2008). His fiction has been published in magazines, edited collections, and chapbooks and he has read his work across Canada, the US and India. In 2010, he was featured as part of the Canadian Writers in Person lecture series at York University, Toronto. Nitin holds a PhD in Anthropology and has taught social sciences for over a decade. More recently, he completed certification in Adult Training and Development (MCATD, CTDP) and crafts and leads learning and organizational change. He lives in Toronto.

Giveaway
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