The Unity Game & The Woman Behind the Waterfall by Leonora Meriel GUEST POST!

Creating Magic in Fiction 

Leonora Meriel 

Since Harry Potter became a publishing phenomenon in 1997, followed by Twilight, it seems that every book is filled with magic. Wizards, werewolves, vampires, spells, eternal life, transformation – all these fictional devices are now cramming the pages of books in bookstores on- and off-line around the world. 

And yet, not only is magic not a new device in books, but it is one of the very oldest there is.  

Let us go back to the great novels that were old even for the ancient Greeks: Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. These books, which tell the tale of the Greeks’ war with Troy and the subsequent journey home, are filled with magic and strange creatures. There is a cyclops, a jealous witch, sirens who drag sailors into the sea, men transformed into pigs, characters enchanted over and over again. These two books, which could be called the fathers of western literature, have set the tone for hundreds of years of writing and storytelling, and even James Joyce’s seminal work in 1922 Ulysses, was based on its ancient predecessor. 

Moving forward from the ancient Greeks to the Romans, to another book that has been hugely influential on modern literature: Metamorphosis by the poet Ovid. Ovid was a high poet (even the Romans had different levels of literature and many different styles, from war reports to bawdy plays to biting satire), and his work was regarded as both the most elevated of the time, and also representative of the spirit of literature. For Ovid’s work features the world of the Roman gods, the world of men and the world of nature all intertwined, and is filled with fantastical transformations – gods into nature, men into gods, all forms merging into others in story after story. These techniques and the literary tradition of transformation and magic was a direct descendent of Homer’s work centuries before. 

Skipping several hundred years and focusing on the last two centuries, the Victorians (if we put aside their partiality to fairies and the occasional vampire) were more concerned with the world of societies and structures. Literature at that time was also strongly influenced by the developments in science that went hand-in-hand with the industrial age, leading naturally to decades of realism and modernism, where writers experimented more with literary forms than with spells and potions. 

However, in the last few decades, we have seen the most wonderful return to the traditions of the Greeks and Romans. Starting with the tentative steps into magical realism of such writers as Gabriel García Márquez and then Salman Rushdie; and the surreal horror of Kafka’s Metamorphosis, literature has been moving closer and closer towards a state where human worlds and magic worlds are accepted to be irrevocably interconnected. The latest winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Kazuo Ishiguro. wrote a beautiful novel, The Buried Giant, that combined pixies, trolls, magic, wonderment and legend – and has been acclaimed as the highest literature of our age. 

As we look around the bookshops filled with vampires, cyclopses, witches, enchantments and transformation, it might be possible to say that, at last, western literature has returned to its wondrous and entirely magical roots.  

I, for one, couldn’t be happier. 

Leonora Meriel has written two books filled with transformation and magic: 

The Woman Behind the Waterfall, a Magical Realism novel, was published on 1 October 2016 

The Unity Game, a Speculative Science Fiction novel, was published on 1 May 2017 

 

 

The Unity Game” is science fiction with philosophy 

 

The Unity Game_Cover 

WHAT IF THE EARTH YOU KNEW WAS JUST THE BEGINNING? 

A New York banker is descending into madness.  

A being from an advanced civilization is racing to stay alive.  

A dead man must unlock the secrets of an unknown dimension to save his loved ones.  

From the visions of Socrates in ancient Athens, to the birth of free will aboard a spaceship headed to Earth, The Unity Game tells a story of hope and redemption in a universe more ingenious and surprising than you ever thought possible.  

Metaphysical thriller and interstellar mystery, this is a ‘complex, ambitious and thought-provoking novel’ from an exciting and original new voice in fiction. 

 

Goodreads * Amazon 

Reviews for The Unity Game 

“A complex, ambitious and thought-provoking novel.” ~~ Kirkus Reviews 

“Elegantly written, expertly crafted and a moving message. I found this book very hard to put down. Moving and poignant.” ~~ Lilly, Amazon US reviewer 

“An engrossing, unique, and totally bizarre tale! I could not stop reading it once I started. Such a beautiful take on the afterlife, and its connection to those still living. A unity game, indeed!”~~ Brenna, Goodreads reviewer 

 

 The Woman Behind The Waterfall_Cover

The Woman Behind the Waterfall” is literary fiction and magical realism 

 Heartbreak and transformation in the beauty of a Ukrainian village. 

For seven-year old Angela, happiness is exploring the lush countryside around her home in western Ukraine. Her wild imagination takes her into birds and flowers, and into the waters of the river. 

All that changes when, one morning, she sees her mother crying. As she tries to find out why, she is drawn on an extraordinary journey into the secrets of her family, and her mother’s fateful choices. 

Can Angela lead her mother back to happiness before her innocence is destroyed by the shadows of a dark past? 

Beautiful, poetic and richly sensory, this is a tale that will haunt and lift its readers. 

Goodreads * Amazon * Barnes & Noble 

  Reviews for The Woman Behind the Waterfall 

“Readers looking for a classic tale of love and loss will be rewarded with an intoxicating world” ~~ Kirkus Reviews 

“The language is lyrical and poetic and, in places, begs to be read repeatedly for the sheer joy of it… A literary work of art.” ~~ Fiona Adams, The Richmond Magazine 

“Rich and poetic in detail, it is an often dreamy, oneiric narrative rooted in an exaltation of nature… A lovely novel.” ~~ IndieReader 

 

 

About the Author 

 Leonora Meriel grew up in London and studied literature at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and Queen’s University in Canada. She worked at the United Nations in New York, and then for a multinational law firm. 

In 2003 she moved from New York to Kyiv, where she founded and managed Ukraine’s largest Internet company. She studied at Kyiv Mohyla Business School and earned an MBA, which included a study trip around China and Taiwan, and climbing to the top of Hoverla, Ukraine’s highest peak and part of the Carpathian Mountains. She also served as President of the International Women’s Club of Kyiv, a major local charity. 

During her years in Ukraine, she learned to speak Ukrainian and Russian, witnessed two revolutions and got to know an extraordinary country at a key period of its development. 

In 2008, she decided to return to her dream of being a writer, and to dedicate her career to literature. In 2011, she completed The Woman Behind the Waterfall, set in a village in western Ukraine. While her first novel was with a London agent, Leonora completed her second novel The Unity Game, set in New York City and on a distant planet. 

Leonora currently lives in Barcelona and London and has two children. She is working on her third novel.  

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The Guardian by Anna Del Mar

Title: The Guardian
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Author: Anna del Mar
Publisher:
Mermaid Press
Purchase links:

From the Amazon Bestseller author of The Asset and The Stranger, comes The Guardian.
Game Warden Matthias Hawking is a decorated ex-SEAL engaged in a grueling fight against ruthless poachers in Africa. He’s short on resources and long on enemies. There’s a price on his head. The last thing he needs is the unexpected arrival of a beautiful but stubborn journalist threatening to uncover his secrets, an alpha female challenging his alpha male and getting into trouble, a hurricane wearing boots.
Jade Romo is a veteran of several different kinds of war. She’s survived her heroin-addicted mother, the foster care system, and the conflict in Afghanistan. Jade’s tough, confident, cynical, and self-reliant, a woman who doesn’t believe in forevers. But when she defies the poachers and lands at the top of the warlord’s kill list, she’s forced to rely on the skilled, attractive but supremely infuriating game warden who has captivated her body’s undivided attention.
Haunted by his past but driven by his courage, her mysterious guardian will do anything in his power to protect the woman who has captured his heart.
About the Author:

Amazon Bestselling author Anna del Mar writes hot, smart romances that soothe the soul, challenge the mind, and satisfy the heart. Her stories focus on strong heroines struggling to find their place in the world and the brave, sexy, kickass heroes who defy their limits to protect the women they love.
A Georgetown University graduate, Anna enjoys traveling, hiking, skiing, and the sea. Writing is her addiction, her drug of choice, and what she wants to do all the time. The extraordinary men and women she met during her years as a Navy wife inspire the fabulous heroes and heroines at the center of her stories.
When she stays put—which doesn’t happen very often—she splits her time between Colorado and Florida, where she lives with her indulgent husband and a very opinionated cat.

Anna loves to hear from her readers. Connect at:

Lean in to Relationships by Rishabh Jhol

About the Book:

Doubt has pivoted many a relationship across the centuries. Whether it is Othello suspicious of Desdemona or through the rise of paranoia as a trope in twentieth century writings. While paranoia naturally suggests the vulnerability of individual mind to social rhetoric, it is also the space for deep interrogation of the individual that renders him/her to paranoia. This novel presents that doubt has the potential to be a space of liberation.
Madeeha works in Jordan to rehabilitate Syrian refugees. Zehen, a political analyst from India, meets her in the US during their social impact program. He is intrigued and charmed by her, and falls deeply in love. But the world political climate, with its accompanying cultural narratives about terror and pain, infects Zehen’s mind. Zehen begins to suspect Madeeha as a possible mujahid. Will he find his truth?
Fear doesn’t devastate; it stirs the inner pot. It is a tender love story that triumphs heartbreaks and sets the foundation of deep lasting future relationships – a delightful emancipation from social intrigues and cultural constraints.


Read an Excerpt:

Zehen was experiencing sweet joy in his heart. Memories bustled in the head.
When did he first see her? Zehen searched his head madly. Orientation session? Corridor to the classroom? However, he tried, he couldn’t pinpoint the moment. A whirr of images, of moments, yet-to-be collaged. And a heart that already had a narrative, waiting to be inset.
We imagine that all romantic stories will have a sigh-worthy romantic beginning. But beginnings are when the heart awakens, when the soul remembers. A presence stills and emerges from the shadows of time.
His first memory was when she introduced herself in the class. They had gathered at Presidium University for a one-year course on Social Impact Leadership. Outside, the white fringe tree was laden with its grape-like fruits. The pine, oak and spruce waited for winter to tell the world how unchangeable they were. And the old Redwood stood proud like the institution itself. Inside, in the warm classroom, students from various cultures across the world had gathered. Icebreaker session was on and the usual round of introductions.
Introduction is a ritual. A cumbersome ritual. How does one reduce the tapestry of one’s entire existence, the colors, and the many weaves into a single palatable thread?


The Book is Free on Amazon on 29th & 30th September. Grab it here: Amazon
Anecdote
I published my first book in 2015 and my second book in early 2016. I was single at the time and using dating apps to meet other single people. I met a girl in mid-2016 who took fancy to my dating profile, especially that I am an author. After a couple of meetings, She demanded that I write about her. I jokingly told her that I am a Phoenix writer, i.e., I fall in love, get dumped, and write about my failed relationship. She broke-up with me, and still invariably pings whether I am including ‘her and our relationship’ in my upcoming book(s).
———————-
The genesis of this book came about while I was on a cross-country train ride in the US. I met Mark who had been a successful marketing professional with considerable international marketing experience. He had travelled to all of Asia and understood the regional peculiarities.
He was later diagnosed with lung cancer. By the time, it was detected, it was stage 3. He was put under radiation and intensive chemotherapy. He went in for three other opinions. All of them agreed that the cancer was aggressive and spreading fast. He searched for the latest treatments and sought to enter clinical trials. The process lasted for two years.
In the meantime, the cancer advanced. The doctors said the cancer was incurable and he didn’t have long to live. It took him weeks of denial to come around to the truth – he didn’t have long to live.
He returned home from a long walk one evening and asked himself a crucial question: “If I am going to die, then I might as well die straight away. What is point of waiting for death to show up?”
That evening he ate well, watched a movie with his girlfriend, poured himself a rare scotch and sat at his study. It was time. He wrote out his letter – love and wishes to his family, loved ones and friends, his last wishes about funeral, information on his will, and a general note thanking all. He placed it in an envelope. He planned to kill himself early morning. He finished his scotch, brushed and went to bed.
In the middle of night, he woke up to a noise. The light was on in the study and he could hear sniffles. He walked cautiously up and there in the study, his girlfriend was holding his suicide letter and crying. He watched her as her body crumpled and sink into chair. Her face contorted in agony. In her face, he saw what was the consequence of his action. The penny dropped.
I paled and listened in horror. Mark continued, “I realized that our life is never ours. We are nothing but a bundle of emotions for the people who love us and the people we love. The meaning of life is to optimize for the happiness of such people. There’s nothing more to living.
That day on, I have been living for maximizing the happiness of my loved ones”
That’s how I stumbled on lean in to relationships; it has become my life philosophy.
About the Author 

I was born into poverty. At the time of my birth, my parents shared a one -room hut with six other family members in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Delhi.
It was a hot day in the month of March 1995. I was in standard 4th and had an examination the following day. As was regular in that locality, we didn’t have electricity that day. I couldn’t study or sleep properly. One of the watershed moments happened when I came back from school the next day. We had an inverter installed at home. I knew we couldn’t afford an inverter. But my dad was always convinced that the way out of poverty for our family is through education. 
Despite an interest in creative writing, I chose to study a subject that society values more – Finance.  Later, I got into one of the top colleges for finance in the country. My first salary out of college (in 2007, when I was 20 years old) was higher than that of my dad’s salary at the time.
When I was 24 years old, I had everything that makes one happy – loving parents, great partner, close-knit group of friends, and career path that exceeded every goal. Yet, I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t sad either; but it never felt like my life. I had carefully and meticulously built that life though. Contextually, it was the safe thing to do.
Following year though, I had to deal with the loss of my 7 year old relationship and of my 5 year old job. My identity was crushed. My biggest lesson was that you can fail at what you don’t want, and what you consider safe; you might as well take a chance at what you truly want.
Next year, I got my ‘ideal’ job but walked away from it. Failure had taught me to be more ambitious and audacious. I had reached a point in my life where I wanted my work to have more meaning; and to stand for something more important than myself.
I started a political consulting company to maneuver social ascendance of marginalized communities by equalizing access to political capital.  I primarily did topical research for MPs for their debates in the parliament and on TV shows.  Partial project list includes:
1.  
Providing 108 rape survivors with medical,
legal, financial, and social support over six months through one of my client’s
NGO
2.  
Getting amendments passed in the communal
violence bill that tackle systemic bias towards Muslims
3.  
Helping three social entrepreneurs raise a
combined total of INR 43 lakhs from their MP for community initiatives
Along with running my own company, I focused on my passion for writing and traveling as well.  I solo travelled to all seven wonders of the world, and did two-cross country trips by train in India and in the US.  I have also written and published three fiction novels.


Soul Warrior (Age of Kali #1) by Falguni Kothari

★.•**•.★ Soul Warrior Book Blast ★.•**•.★ 
15th to 17th September, 2017


The Age of Kali is a series of mythic fantasy novels by international bestselling novelist Falguni Kothari. The first book of the series, Soul Warrior, introduces readers to a fictional law-governed Cosmos made up of heavenly, demonic and human realms and its protagonist, Lord Karna, the legendary guardian of the Human Realm, who is coerced into training six godlings into demon hunters against a rising demon army. The series arc interlocks into a war of domination between the Light and Dark forces of the Cosmos and the race to control the one soul capable of total cosmic annihilation, demi-god Karna’s and Draupadi’s secret child.


Get Your Copy from AMAZON




Praise for Soul Warrior:

“A beautiful exploration of fantasy and mythology, Soul Warrior (The Age of Kali) is the latest release from Falguni Kothari and by any stretch of the imagination she’s delivered an awesome story. Rich, enchanting, evocative, she effortlessly blends an ancient Indian epic and South Asian mythology with grace and quiet elegance to create the canvas upon which her miraculous world finds form…. Beautifully written and enviably imaginative, Soul Warrior proves an exemplary example of Fantasy Fiction. Definitely deserving of your attention it is recommended without reservation!”

   —Book Viral 



“I loved the writing which… hit that nice spot between being evocative and descriptive and still keeping the story moving….It has a huge cast of fascinating characters, a deep and rich world and definitely something I’m interested in following.”

   —Fangs for Fantasy 



“I loved the way Ms. Falguni has shown an eye for the details scattered throughout the novel…. Will I recommend this book? Oh yes, and be assured you will grab the next one too just to know more about the Soul Warrior.”

   —Global Asian Times 



“The plot is intriguing, much in the tradition of a modern thriller…. Precisely sketched and nuanced with quirky detail, the characters enrich the story they inhabit…. The vibrant characters in the multi-hued setting are the stuff superhero animation films are made of. Soul Warrior engrosses and enthralls. A thumping good read, I would say.”

   —Of Prose and Poetry blog 





Read an Excerpt:



SHUNYA: NOTHING AND EVERYTHING





Kuru Kshetra Battlefield.

        Day 17 of the Great Kuru War, seven thousand five hundred years ago.





Death is hot.



That surprises me. I’d imagined death as cold and brutal. Merciless. But in truth, death is hot as blood, and constant like a heartbeat.



Thrum. Thrum. Thrum. My lifeblood ebbs to the rhythm. My head ripped from its torso by Anjalika, the arrow of death that burns even now with the energy of the sun. Struck from behind like some novice. Felled in battle by that lily-livered usurper the Heavens smile upon—Prince Arjun. Brother Arjun.



What have I done?



I harness the thought. Cease all reflection and wrench free of my mortal body. I soar up, up into the gloaming, snapping the ties that tether me to life. Dead, I have no use for ties.



“A matter of perspective, Karna, O son of my godsire.” The unearthly words strum through the air, and I quiver like a plucked bowstring, overcome as much by the voice as its blasphemous claim. 



“Bonds of devotion nourish the soul, brother.”



There is that word again. Brother. Unpleasant laughter wells up in me. Alive, I am abandoned, denied my birthright—Celestial or royal. Death, it seems, changes everything.



A bright, nebulous light brings forth Lord Yama, the God of Death, atop his divine mount. His elephantine thighs ripple beneath a silken dhoti, ochre and crimson of color, as he guides the mammoth water buffalo to a halt. An iron medallion sways against the God’s powerful cerulean torso, its center stone an ethereal blood orange.



Hypnotic. Pulsing with life. I am drawn to the stone.



“Piteous waste,” Lord Yama mutters, surveying the carnage of war far below us.



I trace the trajectory of his gaze and behold the battered remains of my army drenched in the evidence of its mortality. Is it true? Have we died in vain?



Words form inside me and I will them out. “Shall we go, my lord?”



“Ha! Impatient to be judged, are you? Anxious to have your fate revealed?” asks the Judge of the Hell Realm. His red-black eyes burn with intelligence and compassion in a blue-tinged face that is long and lean and hard. “Rest easy, brother-warrior. You are not bound for the Great Courtroom.”

Not bound for Hell? Where then? Fear has eluded me for so long that I take a moment to recognize it. 



A hollow-bellied feeling it is, as annoying as a bone stuck in my throat.



“My lord, I have done bad deeds…terrible deeds in my life. I have waged wars, this horrendous bloodshed, and all because my pride could not—would not abide rejection. I have sinned. I must atone for my actions.”



Lord Yama smiles in a way I do not like. “You have redeemed yourself admirably, Karna. You forfeited your life for the greater good today. The deed far outweighs any misguided ones. Be at peace, brother, and enjoy the fruits of your karma.”



There is but one place to enjoy such fruits—the Higher Worlds.



I’d rather burn in Hell for eternity. I say so. “I won’t live amongst the Celestials.” Coexisting with the very souls who’ve spurned me is unthinkable. Watching her—for she would surely reside in Heaven soon—will be eternal torture.



Yama shakes his head, the horns on his crown slashing to and fro. “I thought you might say that. Relax. Your destiny lies elsewhere.”



“Am I to be reborn then? Am I to begin a new life, and forget the past?” Pain, sharp as a blade, lances through me at the thought. Forget my past? My family? Even her? Was that my punishment? To forget all that made me human?



It must be so. For have I not betrayed them as surely as I’ve betrayed my prince regent?



“Human rebirth is not your destiny, either. You are chosen, brother. Your war skills are needed for a higher purpose.” The God slips off his mount, his garments rustling in agitation. “This unjust war has pushed the Cosmos to the vortex of a cataclysm. Tomorrow, the Kuru War will end. Fearing its outcome, the Celestials rolled the Die of Fate and have unwittingly bestowed on Demon Kali untold powers.” Lord Yama bares his fangs in disgust at the foolish gamble. “Imagine the havoc that asura and his minions will wreak on the weak if left unchecked. The Human Realm must be safeguarded during Kali’s dark reign.”



I can imagine the horror only too well as I have battled with evil all my life. But I am done with wars. 

I am done with defeat. I won’t waste another lifetime fighting.



“With due respect, my lord, I am not the man for this task.”



“You are not a man at all,” Yama thunders, fists shaking. “You are the son of Surya, the Sun God. Accept that you are no ordinary soul.”



I say nothing. I think nothing. I feel something but I squash it down.



Lord Yama’s thick black brows draw together. “Demon Kali will try to pervade every particle of good that exists in the Cosmos, beginning with the corruptible Human Realm. Once he obliterates all of humanity, he’ll set his sights on the Celestials. Kali will not stop until he’s destroyed our way of life. But you can stop him. You are light to his darkness. Do you understand now why you had to betray him? Your beloved humans need you, Karna. I need you. Our father believes in you. Claim your rightful place in the Cosmos.”



Impatiently, Lord Yama removes the iron medallion from his neck and holds it out. The vermillion sunstone glows as if its soul is on fire. Nay! It is my soul that is on fire.



Indescribable energy curls through me. I gasp, though not in pain. I shudder and feel myself grow large, grow hot. Was this rebirth?



I am strong, full-bodied and lethal once more. Then I roar as light bursts forth from my very core and I throb with glorious, blinding power. When I come to myself, my world has changed again. Bubbles of color shimmer all around me: cobalt and saffron, azure and rose. By karma! They are souls. Infinite floating souls.



“Behold the spectrum of life: the worthy, the notorious, the righteous and the sinners.” The God of Death’s soul was a worthy sapphire blue with a tinge of silver. “Your duty, should you choose to accept the office of the Soul Warrior, is to hunt down the red-souled asuras and crush them. Whatever you decide, I wish you a long and successful Celestial existence, Karna,” Yama booms out and vanishes into the purpling sky.



The parley has stunned me. The world of color holds me in thrall. I was dead. Yet, now I am not. A new path lies before me. Unwanted, unwelcome, I insist on principle. I close my eyes. Open them to stare at the medallion cupped in my hand—a golden-hued hand at once familiar and not—and know myself for a fool. I do want this. It’s what I am.



Bastard-born. Rebel. Son. Husband. Father. Warlord. And protector. I fist the talisman, buoyed by its concrete warmth. This is who I am.



I am the Soul Warrior.



About the Author:


Falguni Kothari is a New York-based South Asian author and an amateur Latin and Ballroom dance silver medalist with a semi-professional background in Indian Classical dance. She’s published in India in contemporary romance with global e-book availability; Bootie and the Beast (Harlequin Mills and Boon) and It’s Your Move, Wordfreak! (Rupa & Co.), and launches a mythic fantasy series with Soul Warrior (The Age of Kali, #1)

I’m embarrassed to admit how many social media accounts I own :

Website * Blog * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads * Pinterest



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About the Book:

Seven days have passed since Naples real estate agent Megan MacKenna has heard from her twin sister, Madeline, who was vacationing on the beautiful, Caribbean island of St. Croix. Though authorities are not convinced there is a case to solve, Megan knows with all of her heart something happened to Maddy. When Megan receives a direct warning to leave the island or end up like her sister, she turns to the only person who has taken her seriously since she arrived, Gabe, a breakfast cook at a local diner. 

Undercover DEA agent, Gabriel Walker has been building his cover for months, waiting for the opportunity to work his way into the infamous Torrez crime ring. When Megan shows up asking questions and Gabe realizes her twin’s disappearance might be linked to the Torrez men, he has to convince her to go back to Florida before she becomes their next victim. 

The closer Megan gets to the truth, the more Gabe begins to suspect he is missing a huge piece of the puzzle. And someone is closing in on Megan…

Buy Links:


Character Interview with GABRIEL:

If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?

I’d pinch myself to see if it was real. My only mission since the night my family was murdered has been to bring to justice the man responsible for their deaths. Awake or asleep, my determination to bring down the Torrez Empire is always on my mind. But if I could spare a moment to enjoy myself, I would go for a swim at St. Croix’s Haypenny Beach. The turquoise waters and white sand are like something from a dream. Abuela always says the salt water can cure anything. Too bad it can’t bring down Torrez.

If you could spend the day with someone you admire (living or dead or imaginary), who would you pick?

Hands down, I’d spend the day with my Mom, Dad, and sister, Abigail. Ever since the night they were murdered, I’ve been haunted by the memories of them. What I’d do to see them. I wouldn’t even care about Abigail’s problems for once. I’d just enjoy seeing her. And our parents.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? And, what is your current state of mind?

Perfect happiness would be seeing Victor Torrez arrested and sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison for all of the deaths he is ultimately responsible for. Until that happens, I am not sure I can find peace…or be completely happy. It drives me, day after day, to keep trying to bust him. I won’t give up until it’s over.

What do you consider to be the most overrated virtue and why? 

Hhmm…maybe tolerance. Is that a virtue? I think tolerating ugly things about the world is almost like ignoring them. I wish my parents hadn’t tolerated the things my sister was doing when she first started running with a bad crowd. Maybe if they had intervened sooner, she might not have become an addict.  Maybe if people didn’t look the other way when Torrez or one of his guys does something illegal, he wouldn’t have become so powerful. 

Tell us 3 things about yourself that the readers do not know about.

Lately, I’ve been undercover, and no one would suspect that:

– I love to read. 

– I actually own clothes, nice ones, without holes in them, and I keep those back in Florida. 

– My lifelong pursuit to bring the Torrez Empire down is wearing me out emotionally and mentally. Still, I can’t let it go. And I feel like I’m close to something big happening. I won’t give up until it’s done. Period.

Read an Excerpt:

Gabe sighed as he glanced over the report again, wishing he could just make her leave the island. Megan was about to be way in over her pretty little head. Everything the DEA had dug up on the two sisters verified that Megan had been completely honest with him at Captain Sully’s. The twins were identical in looks and opposite in behavior. 

The missing twin, Madeline, had never owned anything, never gone to college, never had had a job for more than a few weeks, and a trail of travel receipts since the age of eighteen, revealed she had been all around the world, basically living out of a backpack as she went. Travel records showed a stop now and then back to her sister’s place in Naples, but Madeline never stayed for long. 

The report further revealed the tragic, mountain climbing accident of the twins’ parents when the girls were only eleven-years-old. The parents had left the twins in their paternal grandparents’ care, the MacKennas, six months of the year for their adventure trips. Until the accident, after which the grandparents were granted full custody. The remainder of their youth was spent living in a small farm community outside of Naples in Immokalee, Florida, at the farm their grandparents helped run. Two years earlier, their grandfather had passed away, and Megan had moved Lynn to the retirement home in Naples. 

It was easy for Gabe to conclude, especially after the brief conversation in Captain Sully’s, that Megan had chosen a calculated, rational existence not like the adventuresome nature of her parents, and Madeline had chosen to follow in her parents’ footsteps. Yet this time, her carefree lifestyle had landed her in the company of real bad guys. The kind that killed to protect their lifestyle. If he didn’t get this message across to Megan, she could end up like her twin. Missing. 

And more than likely, dead. Gabe noted Megan’s hotel and room number, then pulling a lighter from his pocket, set the report ablaze. He dropped the burning papers into the street barrel and made a decision. He was going to pay Megan MacKenna a visit. 

About the Author:

Sarah Elle Emm is the author of the HARMONY RUN SERIES, a young-adult fantasy and dystopian series, released in May 2012 by Winter Goose Publishing. (PRISMATIC, May 2012, OPALESCENT, February 2013, CHATOYANT, September 2014, NACREOUS, August 2015) Her debut fiction novel, MARRYING MISSY, was published by Bird Brain Publishing in October 2011. Sarah is a graduate of The University of Evansville, she has lived and worked in Mexico, Germany, England, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and has traveled extensively beyond. Sarah lives in Naples, Florida with her family. When she’s not walking the plank of her daughters’ imaginary pirate ship or snapping photos of Southwest Florida scenery, she is writing.



Stalk the Author:

Website I Facebook I Twitter I Goodreads I Amazon Author Page



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Avishi by Saiswaroopa Iyer RELEASE DAY!!

~ Release Day Blitz ~
Avishi by Saiswaroopa Iyer
12th August, 2017
Long before the times of Draupadi and Sita
Immortalised in the hymns of the Rig Veda
But largely forgotten to the memory of India
Is the Warrior Queen with an iron leg, Vishpala
Brought up in the pristine forest school of Naimisha, Avishi reaches the republic of Ashtagani in search of her destiny. When Khela, the oppressive King of the neighbouring Vrishabhavati begins to overwhelm and invade Ashtagani, Avishi rises to protect her settlement. But peril pursues her everywhere.
Separated from her love, her settlement broken, with a brutal injury needing amputation of her leg, can Avishi overcome Khela?
Read an Excerpt
“I am the Queen! This will be my throne!” The seven-year-old chirped leaping from the middle of the porch towards the broken mortar which served as a mock throne. “You will be my guard!”
“Guard?” the man pondered scratching his unkempt beard. 
“No.” He shook his head and smiled seeing her indignant eyes. “I will be the Queen’s elephant.” He beamed.
Sukratu stepped out of the house to see his daughter in action, perching herself on the tramp Loha’s back, pretending in all earnestness that he was her elephant. He smiled and was about to set out for his duty as the night guard of the King. A sudden lightning appeared in the eastern skies. Sukratu had barely walked a few paces when a deafening thunder made him instinctively turn towards home. He heaved a sigh, finding Loha shielding the girl as if he would, his own child. 
“Father, don’t go.” The girl pleaded. 
Sukratu smiled and shifted his gaze towards the sky. He saw dark clouds loom over the city. The monsoon winds had started to make their presence felt. He had to reach the palace soon. “Isn’t my little Queen brave?” He called out. 
The girl nodded. He saw the fear fade. From her eyes. From her heart. She knew she was the queen! Pride filled his heart. His mind ached to stay home but duty beckoned. Tearing his gaze away from the one he treasured the most in his life, braving the drizzle that would soon turn into a storm, he unwillingly walked towards the King’s residence. Sukratu’s house was in the third ring of the concentric structure of Vrishabhavati. In the centre, was the structure, that served as the residence of the king and as the centre of all trade activity of the city. Here no wealth or goods could change hands without the king’s knowledge and approval. The residences of the noblemen formed the two rings around it. The guards and soldiers forming the outermost circle with the citizens living around them. 
As per the protocol, Sukratu approached General Ugra’s residence quite ahead of his reporting time— an hour before the moonrise. He walked into the empty courtyard. But the rain made it impossible for him to stand there any longer. He knocked at the giant wooden door fervently. The doors creaked as a strange woman clad in a dark indigo garment opened them and glared at him with a frown on her forehead. 
General Ugra, Sukratu knew was never faithful to one woman. His superior’s romantic exploits were not his concern either. But something about the woman at the door disconcerted him. “Please let General Ugra know that…”
“He has already left for the palace!” The woman frowned before attempting to shut the door. 
“What? How ca…” Sukratu’s words hung in air as the door slammed on his face and the woman disappeared from his line of vision all of a sudden. Something did not feel right. He knocked at the door again. Firmly this time, as though seeking answers. Any change in the reporting time would have been announced the day before and he remembered that nothing of the sort had happened. His knocks went unanswered. Frowning and muttering under his breath, Sukratu hurried towards an empty cowshed three houses away from Ugra’s place hoping to catch his companions who he knew would be equally surprised. 
The first to arrive was Khela, the eighteen-year-old guard, holding a metal shield above his head. The newest addition to the King’s guard, Khela was related to General Ugra and Sukratu felt that his position in the King’s guard was largely a result of undue favours that Ugra showered upon an otherwise impudent boy. 
“Sukratu! By the great Varuna, I should have come to you earlier!” Khela hurried towards him. Pausing for breath, he added. “Our platoon has been given a relief tonight! It was a sudden decision and I personally informed all the others.”
“Relief for tonight? That happens only when…”
“Our guarding hours change from night to day!” Khela completed in a hurry. “Now, come with me.” He turned towards the western direction and the javelin he held started to sway dangerously and came close to grazing Sukratu’s arm. 
The older guard’s instincts made him dodge the cut. “Where?” Sukratu hissed, visibly annoyed, first with the fact that he was kept in dark about the change in guarding hours and then about Khela’s irreverent behaviour. “And watch who your weapon hurts, boy.”
Khela shrugged and changed the position of his weapon. “We are now going to the place.” He winked, stretching his hand in the direction. “Follow me, this is the only night we get to have some fun.”
Sukratu did not move. The place he knew implied the tavern where wine was served. “We cannot drink tonight, Khela. When do we have to report tomorrow? By sunrise?”
“You ask too many questions. The rest of us are there too!”
“That does not answer my question.” 
“Well, I don’t know, and I don’t care to. The palace is paying for the wine. Are you coming or not?” 
The last sentence sounded more like a threat than an invite. Sukratu had all the mind to give the youth a piece of his mind and storm back home. His daughter would be overjoyed to see him before she went to sleep. It gnawed at Sukratu’s heart every day to leave her under the care of Loha— the tramp who had begged him for shelter about six months ago and then became a part of his life. The girl liked him instantly and had begged Sukratu to let Loha live with them and he, despite his misgivings about the tramp’s origins and his unkempt appearance, could not refuse his only daughter. Over time, Sukratu felt grateful for Loha’s company. Now his daughter did not have to be all by herself every night. The guard’s home would have been unguarded if not for that stranger. Sukratu brushed aside these thoughts and had almost decided to go home when the thought of meeting other senior guards and clarifying the confusion struck him. He followed Khela’s lead, making no attempt to hide his displeasure. 
When they reached the tavern, Sukratu to his dismay, found many of his brothers in arms deeply drunk. “When did they reach here and when did they…”
“Quite some time before. I just forgot to tell you in advance!”
Sukratu’s eyes scrutinized the men and women of the tavern who were serving wine to the guards. There were no other citizens or travellers in the tavern. 
“Just for us, the whole night!” Khela said as if reading his thoughts, bringing him an earthen goblet. 
The older guard accepted the goblet taking his first sip with a sense of foreboding. 
“Where were you all the time, old friend?” The voice belonged to Tunga one of the senior guards in the platoon. 
The grin on his friend’s face brought a smile to Sukratu’s lips. “Tunga, what is this about the sudden change in our guarding hours?” 
“The King… that imbecile, has finally remembered that we are human too!” Tunga guffawed, emptying his goblet, waving vigorously at a woman of the tavern who obliged with a seductive wink. 
She approached them, skilfully distributing her attention between both the men, winking at Tunga and pouting her lips at Sukratu. Her brows rose at Sukratu’s filled cup. “Don’t keep the Sura nor this Sundari waiting, my love…” Serving Tunga his wine, she placed her fingers upon Sukratu’s shoulders, digging her nails into his skin for a moment locking her gaze with his and turned around swiftly, letting her light upper garment rest on his face for a fleeting moment. 
It was a wilful invitation and Sukratu knew it. His attention though was caught by the colour of the garment. The Indigo hued garment! All the women of the tavern wore clothes of the same colour. So did the woman he saw in General Ugra’s house! Was Ugra at home while the woman lied that he was at the palace? If the General and the whole platoon of the night guard were lying down drunk, who was minding the security of the King? Sukratu looked at the rest of the guards. No one seemed sober enough to talk. The only sober man Khela had disappeared!
“By the great Varuna!” Sukratu exclaimed aloud and rushed out, pushing the woman who tried to stop him away. 
He raced to the King’s residence, as fast as his legs could carry him. The huge wooden gates of the structure were closed and secured from inside. The rain lashed drowning his cries. Misgivings regarding the King’s welfare made him shudder. He had to meet General Ugra. Something told him that the General had his own reasons to send the whole platoon of guards to enjoy a drunk night. He was a guard who had sworn to protect the King with his life. The general owed him an answer. Sukratu rushed to General Ugra’s house determined to confront him. 
That, Sukratu realized was the biggest mistake of his life. 
At the gates of the general’s residence he saw a familiar figure hurrying out of his house, a heavy bundle on his shoulders. “General Ugra!” he called out, feeling relieved. 
The figure started, and the bundle fell to the ground. Sukratu came to a sudden halt as he realized it wasn’t a bundle after all, but a blood-drenched corpse. A stroke of lightning from the sky revealed the face and the very familiar greying curls. Sukratu froze for a long moment before he could speak.
 “K… King…”
Something hit him on the head even before he could utter the name. Sukratu staggered, reeling at the impact, clutching at his long sword in a vain attempt to defend the next move. 
“Finish him!” The General shout behind him. 
Before he turned around, Sukratu felt the cold metal tear into his back. Lightning struck revealing the contours of the person. Khela! The javelin stabbed him again. Thunder drowned his screams. Falling to the ground with the weapon still stuck to his back, Sukratu lifted his sword and managed to slash Khela’s palm though the latter, unlike him was vigilant and alert. Crawling away from the menacing duo, knowing very well that he could not last more than a few moments, Sukratu’s thoughts, went to his innocent daughter. She would now languish as an orphan remaining in dark about the monsters who killed her father. Or would they kill her too?
Sukratu would never know. 
About the Author:
Saiswaroopa is an IITian and a former investment analyst turned author. Her keen interest in ancient Indian history, literature and culture made her take to writing. Her debut novel Abhaya, set in the times of Mahabharata was published in 2015. Avishi, her second novel set in Vedic India explores the legend of India’s first mentioned female warrior queen Vishpala.
She holds a certificate in Puranas from Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. She is also trained in Carnatic Classical music and has won a state level gold medal from Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams. 

Vishwamitra by Vineet Aggarwal

Vishwamitra by Dr. Vineet Aggarwal
Indian Mythological Fiction
~ Book Blitz ~
11th August, 2017

When Satyavati, wife of Rishi Ruchik,
exchanges with her mother the magic potion for bearing a child, they change not
just their children’s destiny, but also the history of mankind. Born of this
mix up is Vishwamitra, the son of a Kshatriya, who strives to become a
Brahmarishi—the ultimate and most powerful of all Gurus.
Vishwamitra is the powerful story of a
brave but stubborn, haughty yet compassionate, visionary king of Aryavarta who
not only acquires material wealth through military conquests but also becomes
one of the most well-known sages of all times.
5 lesser known facts about Vishwamitra
Almost everyone would have heard the name of Vishwamitra and some may even know of his dalliance with Menaka, or the role he played in the Ramayan but even those who are familiar with his name, may not know these five things about him:
  1. Vishwamitra was born a Kshatriya prince and he reached the status of Brahmarishi, the highest possible rank for a Brahmin only through his tremendous effort!
  2. He is the discoverer of the Gayatri Mantra that is spoken by millions of Hindus even today all over the globe! 
  3. He is associated with two major Avatars of Lord Vishnu – Parshuram, the 6th incarnation was his grand-nephew while he himself became the Guru of Shri Raam, the 7th incarnation.
  4. Vishwamitra’s daughter Shakuntala gave birth to Bharat, the King who gave India its official name – Bhaarat.
  5. He is credited with the remarkable feat of creating actual star systems purely on the basis of his mystical powers & the stars he created can still be seen in the southern hemisphere as the Crux. 
About the Author
Dr. Vineet
Aggarwal is described by many as a doctor by qualification, manager by
profession and artist by temperament. Born in a family of doctors, he
successfully completed an initial stint with the family occupation before
deciding to venture into pharmaceutical management and currently pursues
writing and photography as a passion.
He is the author
of popular online blogs ‘Decode Hindu Mythology’ and ‘Fraternity Against
Terrorism and Extremism’ and the author of books ‘Vishwamitra – The Man who
dared to challenge the Gods’ and ‘The Legend of Parshu-Raam’


Avishi by Saiswaroopa Iyer COVER REVEAL!

~ Cover Reveal ~
Avishi by Saiswaroopa Iyer
12th July, 2017
Long before the times of Draupadi and Sita
Immortalised in the hymns of the Rig Veda
But largely forgotten to the memory of India
Is the Warrior Queen with an iron leg, Vishpala
Brought up in the pristine forest school of Naimisha, Avishi reaches the republic of Ashtagani in search of her destiny. When Khela, the oppressive King of the neighbouring Vrishabhavati begins to overwhelm and invade Ashtagani, Avishi rises to protect her settlement. But peril pursues her everywhere.
Separated from her love, her settlement broken, with a brutal injury needing amputation of her leg, can Avishi overcome Khela?
About the Author:
Saiswaroopa is an IITian and a former investment analyst turned author. Her keen interest in ancient Indian history, literature and culture made her take to writing. Her debut novel Abhaya, set in the times of Mahabharata was published in 2015. Avishi, her second novel set in Vedic India explores the legend of India’s first mentioned female warrior queen Vishpala.
She holds a certificate in Puranas from Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. She is also trained in Carnatic Classical music and has won a state level gold medal from Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams. 
This Cover Reveal is brought to you by Book Review Tours

Love, Murder, and Mayhem by Russ Colchamiro COVER REVEAL!!

~ Book Blitz ~
Love, Murder & Mayhem



About the Book

Love science fiction stories that all include
elements ofLove, Murder & Mayhem?


 

Then welcome to the latest anthology from Crazy
8 Press! This amazing collection from 15 all-star authors will delight you with
superheros and supervillains. AIs, off-worlders, and space cruisers. We’ve also
got private eyes, sleep surrogates, time travelers, aliens and monsters—and one
DuckBob!


 

With tales ranging from wild and wacky to dark
and gritty to heartbreaking and fun, take the deadly leap with authors Meriah
Crawford, Paige Daniels, Peter David, Mary Fan, Michael Jan Friedman, Robert
Greenberger, Glenn Hauman Paul Kupperberg, Karissa Laurel, Kelly Meding, Aaron
Rosenberg, Hildy Silverman, Lois Spangler, Patrick Thomas, and editor Russ
Colchamiro.


 

You’ll never look at Love,
Murder & Mayhem
 the
same way again—and that’s just the way we like it.


About the Editor
Russ Colchamiro is the author of
the rollicking space adventure, Crossline, the hilarious sci-fi backpacking
comedy series, Finders Keepers, Genius de Milo, and Astropalooza, and is editor
of the new anthology, Love, Murder & Mayhem, all with Crazy 8 Press.
Russ lives in New Jersey with his
wife, two children, and crazy dog, Simon, who may in fact be an alien himself.
Russ has also contributed to several other anthologies, including Tales of the
Crimson Keep, Pangaea, and Altered States of the Union, and TV Gods 2. He is
now at work on a top-secret project, and a Finders Keepers spin-off.
As a matter of full disclosure,
readers should not be surprised if Russ spontaneously teleports in a blast of
white light followed by screaming fluorescent color and the feeling of being
sucked through a tornado. It’s just how he gets around — windier than the bus,
for sure, but much quicker.



Breathing Two Worlds by Ruchira Khanna


About the Book:

Neena Arya, a Delhi-born goes abroad for
further studies and decides to settle down there. Determined to be a ‘somebody’
from a ‘nobody’ she blends with the Americans via the accent and their
mannerisms while having a live-in relationship with her European boyfriend,
Adan Somoza.

When illness hits home, Neena rushes to
meet her ailing dad. Tragedy strikes and amidst the mingling with relatives and
friends, she finds herself suffocated with the two different cultures that she
has been breathing since she moved to the United States. How will she strike a
balance between both the cultures as she continues to support her widowed
mother? Will she be able to do justice to her personal and professional life
after the loss?

Amidst the adjusting she bonds with an
ally and learns about ties beyond blood. On what grounds will she be able to
form an invisible thread that she has longed for since childhood?

Breathing Two Worlds ventures into
cultures and ethnicity allowing Neena to ponder upon her foundation and
priorities.

Available
on
Amazon

Book Trailer: 


Excerpt:

“Oh!” the Mom answered, but could not contain her curiosity with one hand holding the hyper toddler and the other on her hip she could not resist, “You two don’t look like brother-sister, hmmm. So, what is your relationship?” she inquired with a slight smile in a soft voice but without any inhibition. A handful of seniors sitting in the same room observed all the drama and nodded to each other while their fingers were moving on the Tulsi neck beads.

Neena rolled her eyes and thought to herself, “Jeez! We Indians are always darn inquisitive.”
Nikhil immediately got up and started walking towards the dining area. This was happening to them for the umpteenth time, and he was now tired of clarifying things. He had lived in this country for half a decade now and still he could never understand the fascination Indians had for marriage and children. 

Neena was confused at first because it was unlike Nikhil to be so rude. On the contrary, sometimes Neena referred to him on lessons in patience but today it was different. But then she didn’t have a choice; she felt it was rude to walk away from the young mother leaving the conversation unanswered. Moreover given Indian mentality in all possibility, she might even follow them till she had a convincing answer to her question. 




About
the Author:

Ruchira Khanna, a biochemist turned
writer, left her homeland of India to study in America, where she obtained her
Master’s degree in Biochemistry from SJSU and a degree in Technical Writing
from UC Berkeley.

After finishing her studies, Ruchira
worked as a biochemist at a Silicon Valley startup for five years. After the
birth of her son, Ruchira took a job as a technical writer, so that she could
work from home. Soon, she began doing freelance writing work as well.

Her love of writing grew and she started
working on her own books. After four years of freelancing, Ruchira published
her first book, a fiction novel for adults called Choices.

Then came the children’s book The
Adventures of Alex and Angelo: The Mystery of the Missing Iguana. She got a
thumb’s up review from Kirkus Reviews.

In January 2016, she has published her
second fictional novel Voyagers into the Unknown. It talks about the quest for
happiness as the heavy hearted tourists travel miles from different parts of
the world to Raj Touristry in Agra, India. Return to their respective home with
a healed heart. This book talks about their journey!

In Breathing Two Worlds, Ruchira talks
about ethnicity and cultures, and helps to strike a balance via a fiction-drama
novel as her characters breathe two worlds.

In addition to writing books, she is a
holistic healer associated with Stanford Healing Partners and also maintains a
blog of daily mantras on Blogspot, called Abracabadra. Ruchira currently
resides in California with her family.



Find
her on:
Website Blog