Serving Hot – Sizzling September Stories

Aloha Readers !

We bring you a sneak peak into our sizzling hot releases of September- fill your shelves !

 Indian Writing – Mills & Boon Romance 

A Perfect Mismatch- Leena Varghese

 What’s The Story…

 Once, Armaan Malhotra was Zara’s secret teenage fantasy. Now, they find nothing right with each other! Zara is a spirited woman, fiercely guarding her hard-earned independence as a chartered accountant. An orphan, her mother’s indiscretion has haunted her life. Armaan is a celebrity artist, with a deep-rooted aversion to commitment. Born in an old business family, his father’s infidelity has rocked his beliefs. Zara finds Armaan callous and insensitive. Armaan finds Zara stubborn and rebellious. Both find it impossible to trust anyone. When under pressure from Armaan’s mother, they agree on a short term arranged match, things turn chaotic. Soon the undercurrent of tension and attraction turns into skirmishes, flaring up into a full-fledged battle on their honeymoon. Could they let go of their fears and let desire transform into deep abiding love forever?

 

 Meet the Author

Leena Varghese lives in Mumbai with her husband and two boisterous kids. Amidst the cacophony of a tumultuous household and managing her illustration work, she squeezes in the time to give vent to her creative passions such as writing and painting. She loves to experiment with various media including oils, watercolours and pastels. Leena firmly believes that everyone comes into the world equipped with an umbrella for the rainy days. Anyone can be creative enough to turn lemons into lemonade, topped with iced pragmatism. A life spent in learning and doing new things even when failure stares you in the face, is a life well lived indeed. So trying your hand at just about everything that comes your way is a good idea to keep yourself alive and kicking! Her mantra for happiness is to never be complacent and always keep evolving. This is Leena Varghese‘s debut book for Mills & Boon®!

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#Bubble Wrap unique story of two #FriendsForLife by @kalyanirao09

Hello Readers!

We hope you are enjoying the festivities  – a time of togetherness & fun -a time to rejoice with your family and friends and create memories !

No technology can ever replace the warm circle of family & friends who will see you through your happy and sad moments…they are the ones you can count on when everything turns out wrong and everybody else has turned their backs on you…

They truly are our Bubble Wrap…

We bring you today an excerpt from a suitably named title -Bubble Wrap -a poignant tale of the life of a child bride set in small town Rajasthan. The tale traces the journey of the twelve year old as she negotiates the world she lives in accompanied by Gudiya, the fifteen year old widow of her cousin. The story, while dealing with a difficult subject, is ultimately a celebration of love and friendship.

BUBBLE WRAP FRONT COVER

Synopsis of the book:

Twelve-year-old Krishna Singh who has been married off to Shyam Singh of Rokhagadh, Rajasthan.Before the wedding, Krishna’s grandmother gives her a box filled with exquisite jewellery, telling her to sell it in times of trouble, but otherwise to hide it from her parents and in-laws. Accompanied by Gudiya, the fifteen-year-old widow of her cousin, Krishna realises that her cold marital home is a far cry from the loving one she left behind. The world outside has modernized and is beamed via television into her home. But she is not allowed to go to school; instead a female tutor comes home to teach her. A dubious father-in-law, a husband away at boarding school, and a mousey mother-in-law clearly show Krishna what is a woman’s place in this family. An unfortunate incident leads Krishna and Gudiya headlong into a series of events that change their lives forever. As they deal with one situation after another, the girls discover each other and learn much about the world they live in. Bubble Wrap is a story about their fight for survival against impossible odds in a shallow male-dominated society.

 Excerpt:

The entertainment troupe had come. They were busy settling their musical instruments on the floor. I went to the dancing lady and asked her if she could teach me a few steps. Her kohled black eyes looked at me. “Of course, aren’t you the bride?” I nodded. She turned towards an old man with a big bright orange turban and asked him to play the harmonium. He started playing and singing folklore. The dancing lady started to circle around and her bright pink ghagra started twirling. I followed her and moved my fingers to add some extra charm. The sky looked like a giant spinning umbrella. I liked the sweet clinking sound made by the dancing lady’s glass bangles.

All my merriment came to an end when Gudiya came running towards us and pulled me aside. My head was spinning. Gudiya’s round face looked blurry. Gudiya is the wife of my dead cousin. She is sixteen years old. Her mother-in-law, my aunt, had not spoken to her since the day my cousin died in a freak accident (he was rolling marbles on the street and didn’t see the monster truck coming from the other side and he also rolled along with his marbles under the truck).

“Krishna!! What are you doing? Don’t you know that your mother is looking for you? She wants you to come upstairs right this moment.” Gudiya gave one of her characteristic side-faced dirty looks to the dancing lady (I guess she thought giving a stern sideways look would intimidate the other person but somehow she always failed in her effort as her big round cheeks made her look less intimidating).

Gudiya and I are friends but she is always scolding me and is very protective towards me. Most of the times we like to disagree with each other. I used to think she was jealous of me because I got to wear nice coloured clothes and play with whomsoever I wanted to and she had to wear this thick black ghagra and had to always cover her head with the end of her black stole. She could go out of the house once a day and had to keep away from all the religious functions. She was always grumpy but she played with me. She had made the best doll house for me. Maa had told me that she was sending Gudiya with me to Rokhagadh. She had said that Gudiya will ‘take care’ of me till the day I turned fifteen.

Gudiya dragged me towards the staircase. I slapped her chubby arm to free my hand. I ran to the entertainment troupe and quickly picked up DadhiSaa’s jewellery box and wrapped it in the Pashmina shawl. The dancing lady smiled at me and patted my back. I sneakily looked under the light-weighted Pashmina shawl and held the heavy jewellery box tightly. Gudiya shot one of her side-faced dirty looks towards me. I ran upstairs and shut the door on her face. Maa was inside the room.

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For more  – grab your copy of Bubble Wrap : Flipkart.com ; Amazon.in ; hqnindia.com 

Author of Bubble Wrap – Kalyani Rao

 Meet Kalyani- Author of Bubble Wrap 

Kalyani Rao likes to describe herself as a travel junkie who writes. She believes that she has learned most of her lessons in life while traveling. Kalyani is based out of Pune where she also runs a theme-based Travel Company. A big fan of Haruki Murakami, she also blogs and some of her writing can be found at twinklingpebbles.wordpress.com. Bubble Wrap is the debut novel of this young entrepreneur.

Happy Reading !

An excerpt from #WhenHariMetHisSaali by @HarshTalkies

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Enjoy an excerpt from “When Hari Met His Saali” by Harsh Warrdhan 

Chapter  1 – ‘Jab They Met’,  page 6 –

‘“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,

it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,

it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,

it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness,

it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,

we had everything before us, we had nothing before us ……’”

This was Dickens. How apt, Tia thought.

The story of her life in six lines.

 

Chapter 1 – ‘Jab They Met’ ~ Page 32~

‘Those sound like a three three-hour-long endurance test. Can’t we watch a Hollywood flick?’ he tried again.

Tia clicked the remote to bring up the menu on her TV screen.

‘You wanna watch P.S. I Love You?’ Tia asked without looking at him … because she knew that he would … convulse.

Hari almost jumped from the couch as if a spider had got under his T-shirt. He was shivering and had sweat beads on his forehead. He was convulsing.

‘No! No! No! Please not P.S. I Love You, anything but P.S. I Love You.’

Hari’s eyes were rolled inside his head. He looked like he was having an anxiety attack. It looked like he would probably need medical assistance if “P.S. I Love You” was mentioned one more time. He was hanging by a thread here.

 Tia rolled her eyes. ‘OK, OK, relax. Don’t be so dramatic. It’s a nice emotional film yaar. It’s a human story. You just don’t have good taste in films. It has Gerald Butler in it, I thought you liked Gerard Butler!’ She was not going to let go so easily.

‘I would watch Gerald Butler running around naked with a sword, like in the film 300 three hundred times before I’ll watch that … that!’ Hari still couldn’t say P.S. I Love You even though he was breathing normally again.

Hari figured he won this round. Hari was usually wrong about such things…

Book yourself A Hilarious Ride Now !

Book available on major platforms including – HQN ,Flipkart, Amazon, Homeshop18 & Infibeam 

Books Take You Places – as does Bootie & The Beast by @F2tweet #Holidayreading

The Bootie and the Beast novel Travel-scape by Falguni Kothari

 With the impending promise of summer and the thought of lazy and long vacations or short, sweet holidays (whatever floats your boat) I thought I’d take you, Dear Reader, on a journey through the landscapes of my Harlequin Mills & Boon® April release. The story unfolds in Texas, and ends in Saudi Arabia after making a pit stop in Mumbai. Several other cities/countries are mentioned throughout the book as the heroine, DiyaMathur is a supermodel flitting about the globe for fashion shoots and shows and generally having a ball.The staid and happy-to-be-in-one-place hero, KrishMenon, also has a decision to make. Stay in the Dallas-Forth Worth Metroplex or move to…Wisconsin. But that’s enough about Beauty and the Beast and their woes. This blog post is about Travel, so let’s tread a path through the cities in the story.

 

Bootie and the Beast begins at the Dallas Executive Airport, where Krish “the Beast” Menon awaits the arrival of Diya “Beauty” Mathur.

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Dallas.com:Brash, stylish and cosmopolitan, Dallas is a city with a well-earned reputation for fashion, luxury shopping and flashy prosperity. With one of the world’s most impressive collections of 20th Century architecture, its soaring modern skyscrapers and palatial mansions are anything but subtle. Yet Dallas as a city possesses a Southern grace, Texas style. Its districts, from soulful Deep Ellum to eclectic Victory Park, add range and texture to the Dallas urban experience. With world-class performing arts groups, a vibrant culinary culture and the Dallas Cowboys, the city is full of discoveries.

 

What Wikipedia has to say about:The Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area, the official title designated by the United States Office of Management and Budget, encompasses 12 counties within the U.S. state of Texas. The area is divided into two distinct metropolitan divisions: DallasPlanoIrving and Fort WorthArlington. Residents of the area informally refer to it as the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, DFW, or The Metroplex. It is the economic and cultural hub of the region commonly called North Texas or North Central Texas and is the largest land-locked metropolitan area in the United States.

 

Krish compares Diya’s flamboyant lifestyle to the Cannes Film Festival.

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What Wikipedia says about:Cannes (French pronunciation: [kan], in OccitanCanas) is a city located in the French Riviera. It is a busy tourist destination and host of the annual Cannes Film Festival and Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. It is a commune of France located in the Alpes-Maritimes department.The city is also famous for its luxury shops, restaurants, and hotels.

 

As part of her worldwide publicity tour, Diya has recently schmoozed with Europe’s fashion elite at a garden party in Milan.

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Italylogue.com:Those cobbled medieval streets you have been dreaming about? That’s not really Milan. Neither are the Roman ruins or quiet public squares. Milan remains, however, an important Italian city in both banking and fashion. It also can be said that Milan embodies the Italian notion of la bellafigura – behaving well and looking good doing it – better than any other Italian city. In that sense, it’s absolutely Italian, Medieval cobblestones aside.

Sheherazade’s headquarters are in Istanbul, a city Diya is seriously considering relocating to.

 

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Istanbul.com:Istanbul is among the special cities of the world with its position as a bridge between Europe and Asia.At the south of Istanbul the Marmara Sea, and at the north the Black Sea are situated. The Western part of the city is in Europe, and the Eastern is in Asia. The important watercourse that divides Istanbul is the Bosphorus. As a seaport both the closest Asian city to Europe and the closest European city to Asia, and the passage of all commerce ways from here, increases the importance of Istanbul.

 

Diya will be visiting Dubai and offers to take “Suitable Man” Neil Upadhyay’s niece to lunch there.

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DefinitelyDubai.com: Dubai is one of the few cities in the world that has undergone such a rapid transformation – from a humble beginning as a pearl-diving centre – to one of the fastest growing cities on earth. Dubai today is a tourism, trade and logistics hub and has earned itself the reputation of being the ‘gateway between the east and the west.’ It is also considered as the dynamic nucleus of the Arabian Gulf region.

Last but never least, Mumbai, home-of-their-hearts to both Diya and Krish.

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MapsofIndia.com:Mumbai is the seat of Bollywood cinema, shopping mall, bhelpuri on the beach, red double-decker buses and huge traffic jams. Mumbai is the commercial capital of India.The best time to visit Mumbai is between the months of September and April. The weather is then relatively dry and cool. From June to September there is immense shower, very often with fearsome results. We all know that the floods of 2005 took about a thousand and made thousands more homeless. You should also try to avoid the months just before the monsoon sets in, for then the temperature can be as high as 140°F.

And that’s it for the novel-scape. Hope you’re tempted to visit these places with my characters in the book…or visit these places in actuality at some point…or just visit places.

 

On a personal note, I love to visit different places but most profoundly dislike the process of travelling. If I can do away with car and plane rides, I’ll be a happy traveller.

 

Did you know the term for the fear of flying? Pteromerhanophobia. A mouthful, isn’t it?

 

With love and affection,

Falguni Kothari

 

Read romance to create romance – By Tanu Jain

Barbara Cartland, Georgette Heyer, Betty Neels, Madeleine Ker, Margaret Pargeter, Daphne Clair, Rebecca Stratton, Sally Wentworth, Jessica Steele, Penny Jordan, Margaret Way, Jayne Anne Krentz, Sara Craven, Carol Mortimer, Michelle Reid, Lynne Graham, Sarah Morgan, Julia James, India Grey, Olivia Gates.

Every romance addict would recognize and bow down before these names in a trice. All these names, my dear readers, belong to highly acclaimed writers, those fabulous writers whose books peopled my imagination, fuelled my dreams and ignited my feelings. I’m Tanu Jain and the topic of today’s blog is ‘Do readers make better writers?’

I would like to share a few of my reader traits. I was and am a romance junkie. All my pocket money and extra money that I could lay my hands on was spent on books and especially romance novels! My long suffering mother had thrown up her hands in despair and laid down just one condition – that for each Mills and Boon that I bought, I would buy a classic as well. So, while the classics would be read grudgingly, the Mills and Boon would be devoured and gorged upon.

Reading introduced me to an entire gamut of characters, to the possibilities of plot and storyline, to the beauty of words and nuances of language. At the mundane level, reading improved my grammar, amplified my vocabularyand augmented my knowledge.

I learnt foreign words – Ma Cherie, querida, bellisimo, giada mia, mon amour, mio amore, Tesoro, caro, delizioso, amado, mon ange, je t’aime, ti amo.

I learnt some important statistics — French heroes are a study in sophistication, Italian heroes flirt outrageously, Greek and Arabic heroes have deep reaching family roots and the newly arrived Russian heroes have larger than life figures.

I gained knowledge of the world – Paris is the love destination; numerous Greek islands are privately owned by tycoons and jetsetters and St. Tropez, Ibiza, Cote’ d Azur are ‘the’ places for romantic wooing.

I met myriad heroines. Barbara Cartland’s ethereally beautiful heroines; Betty Neels no-nonsense nurse heroines; Jessica Steele’s slightly distracted heroines; Penny Jordan’s wronged heroines; Lynne Graham’s good but woefully misunderstood heroines; Margaret Way’s slight but spirited heroines and Julia James and Sarah Morgan’s feisty but in dire straits heroines.

And in hindsight, I would like to think that I because I was a voracious reader I was able to write better than I otherwise would have written.

I knew the plots that appealed to me, the kind of characters that touched me, the pace of story that I wanted and the language I wanted to use.

I had liked Margaret Way’s beautiful descriptions of the Australian outback; Penny Jordan’s cruel but delicious heroes; Lynne Graham’s steamy descriptions; Sarah Morgan’s sizzling encounters and Julia James’ story twists.

When I sat down to write, the disparate threads of what I liked and what I didn’t like in a book came together. And when I stood with the manuscript in hand, I remembered Henry Adams who said,

“A TEACHER AFFECTS ETERNITY; HE CAN NEVER TELL WHERE HIS INFLUENCE STOPS.”

So it was with all the books I had read. ‘His Captive Indian Princess’ is also a tribute to the countless Mills and Boon that I have gobbled and wolfed down. Reading definitely made me a better writer I proudly admit.

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The Art of Mindful Reading – By Adite Banerjie

Have you ever had that wish-this-book-did-not-end feeling after you finished reading it? That’s exactly how I felt after I’d devoured Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh. For several days, I couldn’t get the characters out of my head, and I longed to resume the fantastic voyage across the Indian Ocean the author had taken me on board the ship Ibis.

Books tend to mess with your mind. You can’t stop thinking about the characters, plots,  locations and the atmosphere. At times, the author’s style is so riveting it grabs hold of you and won’t let go! You often remember snatches or lines from a book you read a long while ago and you never quite forget the wonderful feelings they evoked in you. Re-reading a much loved book is like meeting up with an old friend and picking up a long forgotten conversation.

Then, there are other books that are totally forgettable reads. Even so, if you’re a writer reading is never a waste of time. I’ve cherished an invaluable piece of advice that was given to me by my mentor when I was still a wet behind the ears trainee journalist: a bad book can be a good teacher to a writer.

If you’re a writer you probably do less and less of reading-for-entertainment and more of analytical reading. You tend to deconstruct books, much like dissecting a lizard in biology class. Yikes! That is sure to kill your enthusiasm for reading and would be a disaster! Because as a writer, you need to read. A lot. As Stephen King says, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”

So, is there a way to read-to-become-a-better-writer and not kill all joy of reading? I practice a method called ‘Mindful Reading’. Here are some tips on how to do it.

Become a split-personality reader. Don your “lay reader” avatar and read the book, purely for the fun of reading. After you’ve finished, wear your “critic” glasses and go into review mode. Write a short review – I do it for my blog or for Goodreads.com – keeping the following questions in mind: why did you like or not like it; was it an entertaining read; how was the story paced; did you enjoy the author’s voice and writing style; was there anything you would have done differently as a writer. This approach helped me to read mindfully, be aware of the techniques the author used in his/her work and gain a deeper understanding of storytelling nuances.

Read within your genre. If you are a writer of fast-paced thrillers chances are you also have read most of the top authors in the genre, be it James Hadley Chase, Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy or John Grisham. The more books you read in your preferred genre of writing, the better your grasp of story structure, plot techniques and pacing. And what could be more fun than reading a genre that you love!

Read outside your genre. It also helps to read genres that you are not too familiar with. A thriller writer could learn some tips and tricks from a romance writer or the latter could end up developing a new skill by reading non-fiction. Reading outside your genre is a great way for cross-pollination of ideas. For instance when I started developing my plot for “The Indian Tycoon’s Marriage Deal”, I threw in a little bit of mystery to jazz up the romance angle.

Expand your reading universe. Go beyond your usual reading habits. Why not read a screenplay? Or poetry? They can enhance your writing in ways you would never imagine. Scripts or screenplays, for instance, are minimalist in their use of words. Less is more, in screenwriting. As a result, every written word in a script must be worth its weight in gold. Reading (and writing) scripts has enabled me to visualize scenes in a cinematic manner and add a new layer to my novel writing.

Ultimately, mindful reading is all about sparking your creative energies, exploring different types, styles and facets of writing without losing any of the fun.

How has reading made a difference to your writing? Do share your thoughts.

Adite

 

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