#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @annecater / #QandAs : The Ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue #CurmudgeonAvenue – Samantha Henthorn @SamanthaHfinds

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Ghost Curmudgeon Avenue BT Poster

Today I’m on the ‘The Ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue’ blogtour, organised by Random Things Tour.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Samantha Henthorn Author PicSamantha Henthorn was born in 1970something in Bury, England. She has had short stories and poetry published in magazines. Her books include the Curmudgeon Avenue series (The Terraced House Diaries and The Harold and Edith adventures). ‘1962’, ‘Quirky Tales to Make Your Day’ and ‘Piccalilly’.
She has two cats, one dog, one gorgeous grown up daughter and one husband. When not reading or writing, she is listening to heavy metal and would be thrilled to bits if someone read her books.

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Synopsis :

• Paperback: 251 pages
• Publisher: Independently published (2 Oct. 2019)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 1696877938
• ISBN-13: 978-1696877930

Ghosts Front CoverThe house on Curmudgeon Avenue should be happy now, the nincompoop residents have all met their sorry ends. But they haven’t quite left… now that a new family move in can the house find peace? Or are the ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue going to interfere with the goings-on, romance and dramas that new residents bring?

Amazon

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
Thank you for inviting me on to your blog! I am Samantha Henthorn- author of uplifting comedy-drama novels, but everyone calls me ‘Sam’ for short. I have lived in Bury near Manchester (UK) all my life. I have one dog, two cats, one grownup daughter and one husband. I often feel as though I am living in a sitcom – and this is reflected in my writing style. How I became an author is a long story, brace yourselves! Ever since I was a little girl, I have always noticed life’s quirky and funny occurrences. For example, when I was four years old and just about to set off for school, the telephone rang. My mum spent a long time in conversation, then put the phone down and said ‘You can’t go to school today because a lorry with an elephant inside it has crashed into the school’. No elephants were harmed during this incident – although the school’s front railings were severely squashed. I remembered this many years later and checked with my mum that it actually happened – it did, and so a version of this became the start of the Curmudgeon Avenue series. Professionally, I worked as a nurse for the NHS for twenty years but had to accept ill-health retirement because I have MS. This was in 2014 and I had not even reached my fortieth birthday. Leaving nursing was a huge disappointment, so to help me get over this I turned to my love of reading to find an occupation that I could do while sitting down, for half an hour at a time.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
Great question, I could be here all day talking about favourite books. Roald Dahl, I would say was my all-time favourite – The Twits, in particular, especially the bit about ‘A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly.’ I also loved books about witches, or as they are called now ‘Witch lit.’. The children’s books I loved from this genre were Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch and Witchdust by Mary Welfare – which was about two witches living in a little cottage together with their cat, how appealing is that? I think my attraction to books about witches started when I was told that I have a ‘witch’s name’ (Samantha) on a family day out to Pendle when I was about seven years old. I could go on, I certainly loved books as a child. As an adult, again, how long have you got? Reading for me is something I do to relax – I think it’s better than mindfulness. I have been reading mainly independently published books for the past three years. I like nothing better than to escape into the pages of an uplifting romance. My favourite three authors of this genre are Sharon Booth, Jessica Redland and Lizzie Lamb. I am currently studying a Creative Writing and English Literature degree. The current module is about novels and I have rekindled my adoration of Thomas Hardy and also enjoyed very much reading Ali Smith and Arundhati Roy.
Given that I like to read the opposite of what I write, I have been known to dip my toes into the thriller pool. I recently read The Hive by Jane Holland. I haven’t reviewed it yet but it is creepy in a remarkable way, and well worth a mention. It would be tough to choose an all-time favourite loved book, but if asked I always say Richard Adams’ Watership Down, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird anything by Stephen King, oh! And what about The Color Purple by Alice Walker. While we’re on to that subject, The Ballad of Lee Cotton by Christopher Wilson is also a favourite. See, I told you, I could go on all day about books…

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Of course, there is! Wow, I would ask Victoria Wood CBE – Bury’s own literary hero and dearly departed comedy genius what made her choose scriptwriting over novel writing. I’m not saying she should have abandoned scriptwriting – Dinnerladies was a gift I think we can all agree on. The reason I would love to have this conversation is that my Curmudgeon Avenue series is currently being made into an audiobook, the narrative really lends itself to spoken word. This makes me wonder if I am a scriptwriter hiding in a novelist’s skin…
I recently read that multi-award-winning author Ali Smith suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome. After telling her how much I enjoyed reading her novel Hotel World, I would ask her for her tips on coping with fatigue while trying to complete a book!

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
From my own books, I would invite sisters Wantha and Toonan Rose. They are right up my street. First, I would crack open a cold bottle of Aldi Prosecco, then I would ask sassy Wantha to give me a makeover (as long as I didn’t have to wear a lycra bodystocking). Then I would ask Toonan to read my tarot cards – as of The Ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue, Clairvoyance is Toonan’s new vocation. From Roald Dahl’s The Twits I would ask Mr Twit what tricks I can play on my husband. I would not invite Mr Twit to my house though, I would arrange to meet him in the pub – and I would probably have to get the beers in!

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Yes, I either go to physiotherapy or hydrotherapy in the morning, then I have a rest. Then, when my house is reasonably tidy (I cannot write amongst clutter), then I write. I have to make sure, though that I am not sitting in front of my laptop for too long because I get neck pain and fatigue.
I used to write whenever the moment took me – but creeping downstairs at 3am to write another chapter is no good for anyone!

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Hahaha, no one needs to worry at all… my ideas well, they come from my imagination. I have always been an observant person plus twenty years working as a psychiatric nurse and even my eventual retirement taught me a lot about people. I may remember something, exaggerate and change the story and then let the characters take over. That said, one of the most irritating questions I have been asked while writing is ‘Oh, is that one a true story? Or based on such-a-person?’ ‘No’, I answer, ‘I’m an author, it’s my job to make things up’ (And then write them in any way but kill them off horribly on page 95). Only joking! (Or am I?)

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I would say I’m a plotter. I’ve had to be with the Curmudgeon Avenue series – so many characters I had to keep track of what they’re all up to, who they’re in love with and so on. That said, there have been times when I have let the characters tell the story. For example, I had no idea that Patchouli was going to meet and fall in love with former rock star Gil Von Black when she escorted her daughter to a speed dating event at the local pub. But the characters did meet, and this has opened up a whole new thread of storyline.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Yes. Firstly, I would say GO FOR IT there is nothing to stop you writing.
Secondly, I would say, don’t take my advice, that’s my advice. Do what is right for you, back yourself, because ultimately, if you want to be a writer, you will do it.

What are your futureplans as an author?
I am glad you asked. I have two more books planned for the Curmudgeon Avenue series. Excitingly, the entire series is being transformed into audiobook by the talented voice-over actor Lindsay McKinnon.
I have written my half of another short story collection The Grit and The Wit this is in collaboration with my writing buddy Maggie McGee.
I have plenty of ideas for some standalone women’s literature including a ‘witch lit’ and one set in Cuba.
My physiotherapist and my daughter have suggested I write a book about my experiences of having MS, I’m not sure how I feel about writing non-fiction – but watch this space!

Last, but not least: Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
As you know, The Curmudgeon Avenue series is narrated by the grumpy, yet proud Victorian terrace – passing judgement in brackets. Now that the nincompoop residents have all died due to a series of fatal household accidents, here is a snippet of when Ghost Edith tries to help her son, Ricky Ricketts when an intruder is suspected:

But there was no time for that, Harold, Edith and Edna heard a loud banging noise at the back door.
‘Hide!’ squealed Edith.
‘Don’t be ridiculous, Edith, no one can see us’ said Edna ‘Harold, you go downstairs and see who it is!’
‘Why me?’
‘Harold! Be quick!’
Harold flew down the stairs and arrived at the back door where he came face to face, not with Big George, but with Shania Goatshed his sister and one-time enemy.
‘Sharon’ Harold said. (Don’t forget she changed her name to Shania)
Shania started to sniff the smell of Ghost Harold. What’s that smell? She said to herself. Now, where would I find their wills?
‘Wills? We didn’t have wills you stupid cow!’ Harold’s bravery was mostly down his sister not being able to hear him – not too old for a game of why are you punching yourself?
Shania made her way through the house, rummaging through drawers and cupboards. Ah! This will do nicely! No wills? I’ll just have to print a few out and forge some signatures… Oh! Fancy! Shania chuckled to herself when she recognised Edna Payne from her passport photo. (Don’t forget Harold and Edna dated briefly back in the day).
‘Oh shit!’ said Harold ‘I think she heard me saying we didn’t write a will’ (Don’t worry, Shania noted that because she could not find them)
‘Oh shit!’ gasped Shania when she heard Ricky Ricketts walking through my front door; she legged it out of the back door, from whence she came.
‘Hello!’ shouted Ricky Ricketts, Matteo crouched behind him, having heard a noise from the upstairs flat to Genevieve’s next door, they crept around (slowly) to investigate the potential presence of a miscreant.
‘Anyone there?’ Ricky quietly said.
‘We should make a loud, banging noise to make us sound like more than one person’ whispered Matteo.
‘Good idea’ whispered Ricky. ‘Make a loud, banging noise then.’
‘Hello love, I’ll do it for you’ said Edith, floating just inside the vestibule of heartache. Edna rolled her eyes, Ricky and Matteo could not hear anything the ghosts said – or did. Or could they? Edna was wrong to doubt her sister. Edith flew into the front room and knocked the silver poppy vase onto the floor – it did not make any noise on the carpet, so she picked it up again and threw it on the floor in the kitchen.
‘Shiiiiiiiit’ they gasped at the sound of clattering in the kitchen, Ricky and Matteo grabbed each other in the hallway, where they were still pussy-footing about.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Terri Nixon.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

 

 

 

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

 

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @annecater / #QandAs : You Beneath Your Skin #YouBeneathYourSkin – Damyanti Biswas @damyantig @SimonSchusterIN @projectwhydelhi @stopacidattacks

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free.

You Beneath Your Skin BT Poster

Today I’m on the ‘You Beneath Your Skin’ blogtour, organised by Random Things Tour.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Damyanti Biswas Author PicDamyanti supports Project WHY, a programme that provides quality education to underprivileged children in New Delhi. Her short stories have been published in magazines in the USA, UK and Asia. She also helps edit the Forge Literary Magazine. Her work is represented by Ed Wilson from the Johnson & Alcock agency.
Damyanti’s reading journey started at the age of 3, and the obsession continues. Her most precious memories of her childhood are of summers spent reading books of all sizes, for all ages. Her favorite authors form a never-ending list that features names like Truman Capote, Kate Atkinson, Lionel Shriver, Margaret Atwood, Anton Chekov, Tana French, Jodi Picoult, Jo Nesbø, Amy Hempel, Toni Morisson, Gustave Flaubert, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Even as a child, she has always been intrigued by the lives behind the faces, the contrasts between appearances and reality. Most of her stories happen at a point of crisis in a character’s life because it is then that the layers peel away and the real person emerges. She’s been a reader of true crime, and books like ‘In Cold Blood’ by Truman Capote inspired her to write crime stories — narratives that would document the unravelling of characters, their relationships, and the society they are part of.
Apart from being a novelist, Damyanti is a blogger, animal-lover and a spiritualist. Though she loves dogs, her travel schedule doesn’t permit her one. She contents herself with keeping fish and is able to take care of them enough for them not to die on her watch. Except once, when someone happened to turn off the oxygen pump. There will be a story about it someday.
Damyanti enjoys working out of busy cafes and food courts, as that helps her focus. When not pottering about with her plants or her aquariums, you can find her nose deep in a book or baking up a storm.
Her ambition has always been to live in a home with more books than anything else, and she continues to work towards that.

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Twitter

Synopsis :

All author proceeds for the book go to @projectwhydelhi and @stopacidattacks

You Beneath Your Skin CoverLIES. AMBITION. FAMILY.
It’s a dark, smog-choked new Delhi winter. Indian American single mother Anjali Morgan juggles her job as a psychiatrist with caring for her autistic teenage son. She is in a long-standing affair with ambitious police commissioner Jatin Bhatt – an irresistible attraction that could destroy both their lives.
Jatin’s home life is falling apart: his handsome and charming son is not all he appears to be, and his wife has too much on her plate to pay attention to either husband or son. But Jatin refuses to listen to anyone, not even the sister to whom he is deeply attached.
Across the city there is a crime spree: slum women found stuffed in trash bags, faces and bodies disfigured by acid. And as events spiral out of control Anjali is horrifyingly at the centre of it all …
In a sordid world of poverty, misogyny, and political corruption, Jatin must make some hard choices. But what he unearths is only the tip of the iceberg. Together with Anjali he must confront old wounds and uncover long-held secrets before it is too late.

Book Trailer
Goodreads

Amazon

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Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I started writing 12 years ago, with my blog Daily (w)rite. It started as a daily ritual, and I wrote freelance articles for a while. When my editors said my writing was too poetic for the articles I wrote, and I should go to a workshop to get rid of this ‘writing bug,’ I did. The rest is history. Most of my training has come from workshops and online writing classes–I’m not a formally educated writer.
My short stories have been published in anthologies and journals in many countries, and You Beneath Your Skin is my debut novel.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
My father was a reader, so I had a very early introduction to Shakespeare as a teen. That I was the time I also read the complete works of Bernard Shaw, a fair bit of Chekov, I sneaked Anna Karenina behind my science texts, and the same with Madame Bovary. The book I keep going back to even today is Old Man and the Sea.
I’ve mostly read fiction: short stories by Italo Calvino, Primo Levi, Garcia Marquez (his novels, too), I loved reading Elena Ferrante, Margaret Atwood, Ali Smith, Isabel Allende, Adiche, and so many more. I have a weakness for Japanese fiction so a lot of Murakami, Ogai Mori, Yasunari Kawabata, Mishima, and lately, Hiromi Kawakami. I’ve read Indian authors as well, from classics like Rabindranath Tagore and Munshi Premchand to Jhumpa Lahiri, Anita Nair, Vivek Shanbag. I’m currently reading Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I’m ambivalent about this—there are so many writers I’d love to listen to—not specifically for advice, but to pick up bits and pieces from their journey that are meaningful to mine. Sometimes, at a random talk at a gathering, an authr’s words resonate. I remember once confessing to the wonderful Deborah Levy that her book Swimming Home made me want to stop writing. It was so gorgeous, and what was left for me to say? There’s a place for all voices, she replied, for all perspectives. You have something to say, so say it. That has remained with me, and often speaks to me on dark days when the words wouldn’t come.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
I don’t want to have tea with any of the characters from You Beneath Your Skin because I’ve had dozens of teas with them already in my mind—that’s how I managed to write them. That is how I learned of Jatin’s misogyny, of Maya’s insecurities about her appearance, about Sakhi’s longing for her mother.
For an interesting chat over tea, a pair of characters that occurs to me is George and Del Cossa, from Ali Smith’s brilliant novel, How to be Both. It would make a fab conversation, because of who they are—their apparently fluid gender identities, how separated by space, time, ages and language they are, but united by their losses and ideas.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I either put in ear plugs or listen to white noise. Sometimes, when I’m stuck, I write by hand. There’s some manner of tea involved.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
I never start with an idea. It is often a sensory input like a smell, a sound. At times, it is a voice. You Beneath Your Skin started with Anjali’s voice, who went on to become one of the protagonists. She kept appearing on the page in my writing exercises, and I kept asking what ifs. For instance, what if this woman obsessed with perfection is given only imperfect things in her life?
Like with most writers, characters who appear on the page have had some version in my real life—but they change completely over various drafts. I pick up mannerisms I’ve seen, habits I’ve noted, appearances– but never from one person—in the end the character becomes an independent unit, and I know her as I would a friend or family member, feel her joys and sorrows, be moved by her, and write in her voice.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
My writing life began as a pantser. That’s still the way I write my short stories. I ended up drifting into crime writing, though, and that meant knowing the sequence of events. I’ve now developed a method of plotting via index cards—but it is a very fluid thing. I call myself more of a plantser now: I plot, but also write by the seat of my pants and it all somehow (easily, or painfully, depending on the story) comes together. Not sure if the process will hold for all the novels I write, but this is where I’m at right now.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
This always gives rise to a lot of laughter at my book events, but my primary question is how long have you been writing? If only for a few months, there’s still time to back out!
I say this because the writing life is hard, and many writers come into it with unrealistic expectations. Very few writers have all three: fame and money, peer approval, self-satisfaction, and yet we all seem to think we all must have these or we’re failures. So asking yourself why you’re beginning the writing journey is important. Acknowledging honest answers prevents a lot of future bitterness, and helps you work towards the kind of writer you want to become.
The most clichéd responses have proven to be the most useful to me: read a lot, write a lot—there’s no easy way to master writing. You have to discover your own writing goals, your own writing process, your own voice, and the only way to do that is to persevere. There’s no one-size-fits-all advice for all writers.

What are your future plans as an author?
No fixed plans. I’ll keep writing—whether it is novels or short stories or flash-fiction, mostly because I can’t help it. I envy authors for whom writing is a source of unbridled joy, and who love writing—I’m firmly in the camp of ‘I love having written.’
Over more than a decade of writing, I’ve come to understand that it has come into my life to stay and there isn’t much I can do about it. So I guess I’ll keep writing short stories and hoping to place them, and keep writing novels, hoping my agent can sell them–but I’ll keep writing irrespective.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?

CHAPTER ONE

Anjali Morgan wanted to get hold of Nikhil and smack him. He could have hurt himself jumping out of the moving car.
I told you he’ll be the death of you one day, Mom’s voice played in her ears. You never listen.
‘Get back in the car,’ she yelled at Nikhil, but he’d disappeared, leaving Anjali stranded at the narrow, sloping exit tunnel of the capital’s largest shopping mall. Two drivers honked behind her. She wanted to turn and yell at them but held back. You know better than anyone else he can’t help it.
She needed to clear her head before she spoke to him again. He wouldn’t go far. Deep breaths. She leaned out of the car door and inhaled, only for the petrol fumes to hit her, along with the smog and that dusty smell unique to New Delhi. She forgot it most times, but now she choked on it and coughed.
Anjali stepped out of her car, the yellow overhead lights blinding her for a moment. Five cars now queued up behind hers. The driver in the first car had seen a teenager throw a tantrum in front of his harried mother. He slammed the horn and the rest followed suit. She spotted Nikhil’s gangly form down the slope, cantering away.
‘Madamji.’ A short Nepali guard in a beige uniform hurried up the slope towards her, his whistle shrieking. ‘Yahan parking allowed nahin hai.’
‘I’m sorry.’ Anjali tried to remember the Hindi words, but they’d fled, along with her composure. ‘My son has run away.’
She was about to sprint after Nikhil when the guard overtook her and blocked the way.
‘No parking here.’ He pointed at the cars queuing up behind her. ‘This is “Exit”.’
Down the slope behind the guard, Anjali watched in horror as Nikhil turned into the parking area and disappeared. The cool air of a November evening made her shiver.
‘I need to go get my son. What part of that can’t you understand?’
Anjali loosened the scarf about her neck, parted it from her jacket. In her last therapy session with Nikhil, the two of them had been taught to cup their hands and take deep breaths when in a trying situation. She tried it now, but terror clogged her throat. Her breaths came gasping, short.
‘Big boy only, mil jaega.’ The Nepali guard gestured towards the main road and spoke in a mixture of Hindi and broken English, ‘Make one round and come back. Where will he go?’
How was she to explain to this man that she couldn’t afford to lose sight of Nikhil? By now he might have tripped and fallen down an escalator, screaming like a horror movie hostage, or thrown a fit when a stranger brushed against him in the evening crowd.
‘Move your car.’ Another guard appeared, his eyes trained at her chest instead of her face. ‘You are making jam.’
A supervisor. Making jam, indeed. Strawberry or apricot?
She needed to get past the honking cars, the petrol fumes in the exit tunnel, and this cranky supervisor eyeing her up.
‘Get into car, madam,’ the supervisor continued. ‘Gori memsaab,’ he muttered under his breath in Hindi, ‘samajhti kya hai apne aap ko?’
The sight of a light-skinned, blonde-haired woman, taller and broader than him, had clearly pissed this man off. Twelve years in Delhi and it still got to her. The guard didn’t know she understood his comment: ‘What does she think of herself?’ and the way he chewed on the words ‘gori memsaab’ behind his moustache. White Madam.
She wanted to punch his face, show him what a big ‘white madam’ might do, but that wouldn’t get her any closer to Nikhil. Quite the opposite. Two more guards jogged towards her from the parking lot.
‘I will find him, madamji,’ the Nepali guard spoke up in order to be heard over a renewed spate of honks, ‘you go and come back. I saw him. In black t-shirt and jeans, hai na?’
‘Yes. But please don’t touch him, he gets upset.’
Anjali scrabbled through her bag. ‘Here’s my card. Call me, please, when you find him.’ She dropped it. ‘Sorry!’ she snatched it up again. ‘Oh, his eyes are blue.’
The cars blasted their horns, and the supervisor edged towards her. Anjali stepped back, her hands shaking. Would she lose Nikhil the evening after his fourteenth birthday? She slid back into her car and drove off. Speed-dialling Maya, her landlady and best friend, she crashed her gears. Maya might not have found a taxi near the mall entrance yet. She could help look for Nikhil.
Anjali tried to steady her fingers on the steering wheel. Stuck amidst other cars in the afternoon traffic on Mandir Marg, with bikes edging past her and picking their way to the front of the congestion, it would take at least another ten minutes to turn back into the mall’s parking lot. She prayed for Maya to find Nikhil before he got into trouble.
Should have checked the child lock on his door, Mom’s voice piped up inside her head. But how was she to know Nikhil would run? No point in worrying about that now—she needed to breathe through this. Anjali had grown up with Mom’s voice, and even though she had moved thousands of miles away, Mom still lived within her. Anjali counted her breaths, which took her back to Lamaze classes, days with Nate Morgan sitting behind and breathing right along, days when Nikhil was a part of her and couldn’t kick other than from inside her belly.
She could no longer shelter her son within her body or absorb his punches and tantrums. Even as a baby, he’d refused to nurse. Later, he lay alone, keeping his gaze on the red toy airplane buzzing in circles over his crib, unhappy when Anjali picked him up for a nappy change.
Anjali watched a woman stirring a pot on the pavement not five feet away from the traffic, her baby’s feet hovering over the fire. Be careful, Anjali wanted to tell the mother, please be careful. Despite the cold, toddlers ran barefoot, in torn sweaters. Wrapped in wide, shaggy blankets, elderly men sat smoking beside flimsy homes fashioned out of tarpaulin and cardboard. Pedestrians sidestepped makeshift beds and hurried past migrant children who came to the capital in search of a better life: outsiders, like her, only far less fortunate. Behind them, a huge, lighted hoarding showed pale-faced models in tuxedo suits and gowns next to large television screens.
Sweat beaded her upper lip. She didn’t feel very fortunate right this minute, merely stupid. Why hadn’t she taken that guard’s mobile number? Like an idiot, she’d told him about Nikhil’s blue eyes. Nikhil usually kept his gaze to the floor—what if that guard tried to get a look at Nikhil’s eyes and he freaked? We’ll find him, Maya had assured her on the phone not ten minutes ago, don’t panic. Maya was more family than friend and good with Nikhil, so she was a good bet to locate him. Anjali tried to reach Maya again and listened to the unanswered phone. Instead of a ring, Maya had downloaded a caller tune, a peppy Punjabi number.
Catching sight of her face in the rear-view mirror, Anjali flinched. Faded make-up, wrinkles under her eyes, greasy hair. Mom would have cackled had she seen Anjali like this. Stay with the face God gave you. Vanity is a Sin. Nikhil had aged her by a dozen, no, twenty years. Long work sessions at her Bhikaji Cama clinic, taking him for group therapy sessions with Dr Bhalla, and now this shopping trip from hell. She thumped her hand on the horn, emitting a series of sharp honks to hurry along the cars at the green light.
What if this was her punishment for letting him skip lunch today, following a tantrum? Dr Bhalla said she must remain consistent, not give in when he went into a meltdown during his daily routine. Nikhil was bound to be hungry by now, after a chocolate shake and not much else for lunch that afternoon. No, Anjali, focus. Find him first. She sighed and dialled her friend again.
Maya finally picked up as Anjali turned into the mall parking area.
‘Can’t find him, Anji. I’ve looked everywhere. He’s not at the toy shop. Should I call Bhai?’
Anjali sprinted up the escalator, two steps at a time, sweating despite the chill. If they didn’t find Nikhil soon, she must get the mall security to make an announcement. He might have lost his way to the toy shop, a long walk and three floors up from where they’d parked. Trying to look calm, she approached the handbag-check, where the lady guard in a khaki saree delicately swirled the metal detector through her bag, as if stirring a curry. Wanting to scream with each wasted second, Anjali crossed through the sliding doors and headed for the information desk. She had taught Nikhil to look for one if he got into trouble. Would he remember?
Reaching the main courtyard, Anjali squeezed past a bevy of perfectly-coiffed women in salwar-kameezes, laden with shopping bags. Out of breath, she stopped beside Nando’s, where a family sat with two kids about Nikhil’s age. To manage an episode, Dr Bhalla said, use the right aids, at the right time. Nikhil did not allow touch. Anjali grabbed a smiley squeeze ball and his favourite blue blanket out of her handbag and scanned the crowd for a skinny boy with tufts of hair jutting up at the crown, a shambling walk, hands fisted.
She spotted him near a hair salon. She wanted to call out his name, but that would scare him into running or throwing a tantrum.
He started when she touched his sleeve, but the face was a lot older, filled out, with a moustache. Not Nikhil but a salon employee, a bright red tag on his black tee-and-jeans uniform. Anjali blurted out a stream of hurried apologies and sprinted on.
Nikhil wanted to get to Hamleys and buy that airplane. He already owned one in black, but he wanted the red one, he’d said, and the blue. Anjali should have said yes, instead of handing him a squeeze ball and showing him his schedule for today. It specified that he could stay in the mall from 6.30 to 8.30 pm, pick one slice of Black Forest cake at the pastry shop to eat after dinner, and buy one airplane of his choice. Not two, or three, just one.
She called Maya. ‘Did you see him?’
‘Not yet. I’m at Hamleys. I think you should go to the information desk.’ Maya paused. ‘Bhai called to ask if I was on my way. I had to tell him.’
Great. Within minutes of each small crisis in her life, one of Delhi’s top cops knew. Mr Jatin-Worried-Bhatt, Maya’s doting older brother, would call any minute now. Please, not him, not now.
She cut the call. Stopping to catch her breath, she closed her eyes. She needed to collect herself, not panic. A low whine floated up, but once she opened her eyes there was only the buzz from the throng of shoppers around her.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Damyanti Biswas.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

 

 

 

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

 

Born Slippy #BornSlippyNovel – Tom Lutz @TomLutz22 , an #Excerpt @RepeaterBooks @CoriolisCo

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

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Today I’m not on a blogtour, but I’m sharing an excerpt of “Born Slippy” written by Tom Lutz to promote this book.
Before I let you read it, I’ll first post some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Tom LutzTom Lutz is a writer of books, articles, and screenplays, the founder of the Los Angeles Review of Books, and is now Distinguished Professor at UC Riverside. His books include American Book Award winner Doing Nothing, New York Times notable books Crying and American Nervousness, 1903, the travel books And the Monkey Learned Nothing and Drinking Mare’s Milk on the Roof of the World, and coming on January 14, 2020, Born Slippy: A Novel.
He has written for television and film, and appeared in scores of national and international newspapers, magazines, academic journals, and edited collections. He is working with a Los Angeles-based production company on a television show set in the 1920s, is finishing a third collection of travel pieces, a book on the 1920s (The Modern Surface), and is in the early stages of a book on global conflict along the aridity line.

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Synopsis :

BORN-SLIPPY-FINAL-600x909Title: Born Slippy: A Novel
Author’s name: Tom Lutz
Genre: noir, thriller
Publish date: January 14, 2020
Publisher: Repeater/Penguin Random House
Page count: 296

A provocative, globe-trotting, time-shifting novel about the seductions of – and resistance to – toxic masculinity.

“Frank knew as well as anyone how stories start and how they end. This fiery mess, or something like it, was bound to happen. He had been expecting it for years.”

Frank Baltimore is a bit of a loser, struggling by as a carpenter and handyman in rural New England when he gets his big break, building a mansion in the executive suburbs of Hartford. One of his workers is a charismatic eighteen-year-old kid from Liverpool, Dmitry, in the US in the summer before university. Dmitry is a charming sociopath, who develops a fascination with his autodidactic philosopher boss, perhaps thinking that, if he could figure out what made Frank tick, he could be less of a pig. Dmitry heads to Asia and makes a neo-imperialist fortune, with a trail of corpses in his wake. When Dmitry’s office building in Taipei explodes in an enormous fireball, Frank heads to Asia, falls in love with Dmitry’s wife, and things go from bad to worse.

Combining the best elements of literary thriller, noir and political satire, Born Slippy is a darkly comic and honest meditation on modern life under global capitalism.

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Excerpt :

2013

The blast was felt for blocks. The concussion, the shattering glass, the rip of steel, the roar of falling concrete. The thick, evil odor lasted for days, as crews dug through the rubble and gathered debris-encrusted body parts. Passersby choked on the dust. Frank, when he first saw the images online, felt like he had been there, like the explosion was memory, not a photograph.
He had seen the building, the Credit Lyonnais branch in Taipei, only once, months before, during a brief, very distracted visit to see Dmitry, who was the head of their office there, or head of the region. It had been his first time in Asia. They had stopped in front of the building on Frank’s way out of town, that was all.
But when the Taipei Times website came up on his normal breakfast internet rounds, he immediately recognized the “before” picture. He felt shredded, felt the guilt of all survivors, obsessed with the cruel idea that he could have prevented it.
Which was ridiculous, he knew. Only Dmitry could have.
Something had caught up with him, Frank thought later that day — Dmitry’s voracious rapacity had finally met its match. He didn’t know how, or who, but he knew its karmic inevitability. Al Jazeera turned up some shaky video the next day, accompanied by the idea that separatist Xinjiang Muslims were responsible, which Frank thought unlikely — Dmitry had, by his own account, made many enemies, lots of them much closer to home. The video showed smoke blowing out of what had once been ten or twelve gleaming stories, now not much more than a maw, spewing black and noxious billows.
Did he see it coming? Like sharks and chum, like the Three Stooges with a ladder, like falling in love where you shouldn’t — Frank knew as well as anyone how stories start and how they end. This fiery mess, or something like it, was bound to happen. He had been expecting it for years.
He blamed himself, if not for everything, for not doing better. After all, he was the one who pretended to be Dmitry’s conscience. He was the one not paying attention, the one who had forsaken his duty, the one who had reneged on the implicit bargain he had made those many years earlier, without telling anyone, without telling Dmitry — without even telling himself. He was supposed to fix Dmitry. But he didn’t. He was inconstant.
He was, after all, the one who fell in love with Dmitry’s wife. He’d set some kind of bomb, too.
Frank Baltimore had first met Dmitry Heald on a building site in the Connecticut hills a dozen years earlier, when the eighteen-year-old Dmitry had come to America — in his Liverpudlian accent it sounded like Ameriker — trailing whatever dusty innocence he might still have had, looking for a little work, wanting to earn some quick money and then wander around for the rest of the summer doing a low- rent grand tour, reeling through the Big Lonesome West, as he always called it. Then he’d fly back to England for university: Leeds or Reading, Frank could never remember which, and didn’t know what the names meant, where they were on the status hierarchy — Ivy League-ish? Loserville? Frank had never gone to college. He had tried once, failed, quit. He had a chip on his shoulder about it, he knew.
He was a kid himself back then, having just turned twenty-eight. Like many people approaching thirty he was haunted by a sense that time was short, that he might remain an irredeemable failure into the flaky, moldy decrepitude that lurked around the bend. This house he was building was his big break, his move up from what he had always called a remodeling business, even though he had been nothing but a glorified handyman. This new house, nestled in the woods at the advancing edge of Hartford’s northwestern insurance-executive suburbs, had been his move into actual contractorland. He never made billions, like Dmitry did, but in the end he did all right. And, he said to himself, looking at the mayhem on his computer screen, he did it without killing or maiming anyone, either.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #PromoPost : A Messy Affair – Elizabeth Mundy @ElizabethEMundy @LittleBrownUK

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

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Today I’m on the ‘A Messy Affair’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a some ‘basic’ information for you.

About the Author :

OHjgNsIkElizabeth Mundy’s grandmother was a Hungarian immigrant to America who raised five children on a chicken farm in Indiana. An English Literature graduate from Edinburgh University, Elizabeth is a marketing director for an investment firm and lives in London with her messy husband and two young children. A Clean Canvas is the second book in the Lena Szarka mystery series about a Hungarian cleaner who turns detective.

Social Media Links :
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Synopsis :

77104916_10157256855585379_6264720296733835264_nThe only way is murder…

Lena Szarka, a Hungarian cleaner working in London, is forced to brush up on her detective skills for a third time when her cousin Sarika is plunged into danger.
Sarika and her reality TV star boyfriend Terry both receive threatening notes. When Terry stops calling, Lena assumes he’s lost interest. Until he turns up. Dead. Lena knows she must act fast to keep her cousin from the same fate.
Scrubbing her way through the grubby world of reality television, online dating and betrayed lovers, Lena finds it harder than she thought to discern what’s real – and what’s just for the cameras.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

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#BlogTour #LoveBooksTours @LoveBooksTours / #GuestPost : Waves Break (on Unknown Shores) – Barry Litherland @BWLitherland

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Waves Break

Today I’m on the ‘Waves Break (on Unknown Shores)’ blogtour, organised by Love Books Tour.
To promote this book I have a guest post written by its author, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Holiday May Grimsby, D and G etc (121)Barry Litherland is an author living and working in the far north of Scotland, not far from John O’Groats. He writes in a variety of genres but has achieved greatest success with his recent crime and paranormal crime thrillers, Waves Break on Unknown Shores, The Hand of Ronan Hawke and Turbulence. He is an avid reader and loves classical novels, modern literary fiction and self-published books. When he’s not writing or reading, he likes photography, at an amateur level, cycling, and walking the mountains and coastlines of the Northern Highlands. Some of his photographs are shared on his website bleaknorth.net.
After a successful and rewarding career in primary education, he now considers writing his new vocation, and writes a new book each year. He has two new novels awaiting proofreading prior to publication and – a new venture – two Middle Grade children’s novels (for 8-12 year olds.)
He is married to Susie, has three children, a grandson, Harry, and two springer spaniels, Ziggy and Daisy.

Synopsis :

Waves-Break-on-Unknown-Shores-original5Past events cast shadows you can’t outrun. Wayne and Phil knew that better than anyone, after Stevie died, way back when they were children. A pebble dropped in a pool. Ripples spreading outwards. Who knew where they would end?

Amazon

Guest Post :

Dear Reader.
Is there an author alive who doesn’t want readers? I know I do. I want their approval and appreciation far than I want the money generated by sales. I want to know that someone spent enjoyable hours in the company of my characters, engrossed in my stories, and engaged by my themes. I want people to be entertained by my writing style and choice of words.
These things are in my mind whenever I start to write.
I cannot expect my readers to engage with Phil Tyler or Wayne or Tina (in Waves Break) unless they believe in them. Nor can I expect readers to have much concern about what happens to them in the course of the narrative unless they care about them. The success of a character like Wayne, who is initially a far from appealing individual, is that within a short time the sympathies of the reader are engaged. He was a particularly interesting character to write about precisely because of this developmental arc. The same, I think, is true of the detective, Slattery, who emerges by the end of the novel in a way the reader could not have anticipated.
The same feeling of reality is important in my storylines. I want my readers to feel satisfied that the story I tell has an internal consistency and plausibility which leaves them with no doubt that these events are real. It is particularly important to me that the ending ties together every loose end, and that it provides a satisfying conclusion. There is nothing worse, I think, than finding, after hours of reading, that an ending lacks conviction, and leaves the reader disappointed.
Whilst Waves Break is clearly a crime thriller, I don’t want it to fit too neatly into a genre. Because of the first-person present narrative, it moves very quickly. This should not mean it lacks depth, reality or complex characterisation. I would love my readers, on finishing the book, to pause for a moment of reflection, emotionally impacted, before moving on with their day.
A recurring theme of my novels is the intractability of past events. In Waves Break on Unknown Shores, a series of events in childhood lead to a tragedy which has a lifelong effect on those involved. Even in adulthood, past events are shackled to their ankles, like the chains on Marley’s ghost. Wayne, in particular, is haunted by the past, and the book traces the arc of his life, and how he comes to terms with the past.
I want my readers to leave the final page satisfied that reading the work has been a moving, engaging and worthwhile experience.
I hope they do.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #PromoPost : Legacy of Light – C.D. Tavenor @tavenorcd

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

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Today I’m on the ‘Legacy of Light’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a some ‘basic’ information for you.

About the Author :

AhAL42x4C. D. Tavenor is a science fiction and fantasy author based in Columbus, Ohio and the Director of Editorial Services for Two Doctors Media Collaborative!
He’s excited to tell stories that engage readers beyond a desire for entertainment, whether through philosophical inspiration or social inquiry. And he’s a firm believer in connecting every piece of fiction to reality, whether through their themes or their settings.
When not writing, Tavenor enjoys the more than occasional board game, his favorite being Eclipse.
To stay in touch and receive some great free books, go here.

Social Media Links:
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Synopsis :

qsRDbKKwIf only they knew us as more than accursed.
The Holy Empire hates the People of Light. Maripes, arriving in its capital, seeks to save his people from certain destruction. The Inquisition seeks theocratic justice, and it will stop at nothing to rid the world of those it considers evil.
Still, Maripes must try. For if he fails, doom will certainly befall his people. Standing in his way? The High Inquisitor, the Empress, and a million subjects all indoctrinated to believe he is evil incarnate.
Should be an easy task.
Otherwise, his son Mono, a soldier in the legions of their people, will face the fight of his life . . .

Universal Book Link for Legacy of Light

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#CoverReveal #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources : Cloth of Grace – Rachel J Bonner @RachelJBonner1

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m super pleased to be on the blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources, to reveal the cover of

Cloth of Grace - Cover Reveal

But first some information

About the Author :

indexRachel J Bonner is the author of the compelling and enthralling four book Choices and Consequences series. The first book in the series, Strand of Faith, was published in November 2018. Book 2, Thread of Hope, released on 2nd May 2019, followed by Weave of Love on 24th October, and Cloth of Grace at the end of February 2020.
Getting a degree in engineering, followed by a career in accountancy is probably not a conventional path to becoming an author, particularly in fantasy or romance. Rachel says that, although accountancy isn’t anything like as boring as everyone thinks, writing is a lot more fun. When not writing, she can be found walking in the beautiful countryside near where she lives, which has influenced much of the scenery in her books, or shooting things with her local archery club. Shooting targets only, honest. Nothing to worry about. (Okay, sometimes we shoot Polo mints. Or cabbages. Still nothing to worry about.)
She also enjoys swimming, eating chocolate chip cookies and growing aromatic herbs, especially thyme and rosemary. It’s no coincidence that her heroine likes the same things.
You can find out more about her books and sign up for Rachel’s newsletters at www.racheljbonner.co.uk.

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Synopsis :

When the fate of the world rests on your shoulders, how do you choose between what you ought to do and the only thing you really want?
Leonie finally knows who she is. But now she needs to decide who she is going to be. Her choice will affect not just her family, not just those she knows, but tens, hundreds of thousands, millions of people that she doesn’t. And every path that’s open to her will put Perry under the pressures that caused his breakdown before. How can she do what she must and still protect Perry?
Perry desperately wants to make things easier for Leonie. Somehow he has to find the strength to face the things that all but destroyed him in the past. But every way he turns, some aspect of his past lies waiting to pounce – even during his happiest moments. And he can never forget that Leonie’s life is in danger from someone, somewhere.
Gabriel has managed to negotiate peace, at least in theory. Now he must put that into practice and reunite Leonie with the family she never knew she had. Then disaster strikes right in the middle of his own sanctuary. Can he still protect those he loves, or has he been harbouring a villain the whole time?

After this great teaser I hope you are still excited for the cover reveal, because this is happening

right now!

Cloth of Grace final front

Did this all pique your interest in reading this book? It will be released February 29th, 2020, but it’s already available for pre-order on Amazon and other retailers.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds