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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Short Story: Seven Days With Nature, Away From World And Virtual World


Top post on IndiBlogger.in, the community of Indian Bloggers


I never had imagined I would be reaching at this isolated, barren and unexplored island. That too in this condition - no laptop, no mobile, none of my gadgets with me. I don't believe it could happen this way. I had just decided to go to swim on the sea shore near to my home and hence didn't even take my mobile phone with me. It was just me wrapped inside my track suit. The beach was almost vacant being early morning hours. In half an hour there would be morning walkers and joggers. I had just stepped in the water and there was a huge wave that engulfed me inside and took me deeper in water. I didn't get even a second to shout for help though there was nobody around.

Later I realized that it was not a tide, or a huge wave, it was some huge sea animal that had engulfed me inside and spitted out me here on this barren land without harming me in any other manner. But this was not less than any serious harm. I was here, nobody around, and no means to contact anyone as I didn't have my laptop, mobile, dongle. Now what. I decided to take a walk inside the the dense jungle of trees on the island. The wind was quite soothing. Initially the path was wide but gradually it became narrow as the density of trees increased. I raised my arm to check time in my wristwatch. The arm was barren as much as the island. Oh! I had not  bothered to wear it in the morning. It would be around 10 AM, i thought. The sun was at the top but filtered sunlight coming through trees was not enough to provide enough light and it was almost dark. I decided to turn back and walk towards the direction from where I started.

I felt I should have some water and something to eat. But how and from where? I decided to find it out on my own as there was no one to help and I had to survive. My mind started running fast and whole universe was of no means to me here except the ecosystem here. I found a long stick and a short tree with some kind of strange fruits handing. With the help of that stick I was able to grab some of those fruits. I took a bite of one of those fruits and it was as if something tastiest I had for the first time in my life. It was full of juice and pulp that satisfied my thirst and hunger in one go. So the fear of food was gone. Now I had to think of safety so that I by night I would be able to sleep.

The surroundings were so calm and soothing. Wind was blowing and trees were dancing in a rhythm. It was a kind of slow dance. I started enjoying it by now. Soon I saw some birds - small ones, and having different colors. As if the nature was talking to me now. Trees dancing, birds chirping and I was totally away from my virtual world of mobile and laptop now. It was as if I had reached a wonderland helping me in finding and knowing myself. As the day passed, I decided to take a sleep near the shore by leaving my safety in the hands of God.

Didn't know how many days had passed but with everyday routine of having those fruits, seeing trees dancing and talking to birds, my time had passed with no connect to the world. I started marking on a tree with the help of a sharp stone the nights. Before every sleep at the time of day end, I would put a mark on that tree. Moonlight and sunlight were the only source of my light.

This was seventh mark I had put on the tree and after that I slept, as usual. Early morning there was a huge uproar of sea waves and the water had reached near to where I was sleeping. All of a sudden there was the same high tide (in fact the same huge sea animal) that came near to me and engulfed me once again. And by the time I try to realize and think of doing something to get out of it, I was thrown back on a shore. I quickly jumped on my feet, and found, it was the same beach where I had decided to take a bath seven days back. It was the beach near to my home. 

And so I was back home, after 7 days of break for the world and virtual world, into a different world, the real world, full of nature.

Author Interview: Regan Walker: Her Stories Take You to Another Time and Another Place for History, Adventure and Love

She didn't start out as a romance writer but she always had a wish to become a bestselling author. And she always believed that dreams do come true – sooner or later. 

Welcome Regan.


 Please share some of the best memories of your childhood

My mother taught me to read when I was four, and I remember each Saturday morning we would go to the public library together to pick out books to read. I read out the fairy tale section of the library by the time I was eight.

I also remember my mother baking banana cream pies. She was a good baker and I loved her homemade pies. Alas, when I asked her she couldn’t find (or recall) the recipe, so it is lost. I’ll have to recreate it one of these days.

About your education?

Undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley in Biological Sciences/Ecology, and a JD from Boston University Law School.

What career did you plan during your education days?

Well, I had thought to be a scientist, but one of my professors steered me towards law.

What languages you can speak and write?

English and a little French



What is your biggest source of inspiration in life?

My faith.

What hurts you most in this world?

The cruelty of other people and the tragedy of those who do not recognize God’s love for them.

If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?

Mary Queen of Scots on a good day.

What is your favorite genre and why?

Historical romance because I love the history, but I also need the love story and the happy ending. Too much of this world disappoints, so when I’m at leisure, I want something that leaves me feeling good.

When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?

I’ve been writing all my life, but only began writing historical romance in 2011. I write to bring joy to others and because I enjoy the creative process.

Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?

I have 4 novels, one novella and two short stories published: three of the novels comprise the Agents of the Crown trilogy, which is Regency romance. The novella and short stories are also Regencies. The 4th novel is my new medieval romance, The Red Wolf’s Prize, book 1 in the Medieval Warriors series).

What are your forthcoming writings?

I’m writing the prequel to my trilogy, set in France and England in 1782, an adventure and love story with pirates, privateers and spies during the last year of the American Revolution.

What are your future plans?

I plan to write more in the deep past, medieval Scotland and  England. I like the period and the research is fascinating.

What is generally your preference in reading – a paper book or ebook? And why?

I prefer paper, but I also read on Kindle, often when I’m in my book reviewer mode. Variety is the spice of life, after all.

What top four things do you take care of while writing a book?

Research, characters, story and emotion.

How much real life goes into fiction writing?

More than you might expect. One’s life experiences, philosophy and emotions contribute, which is why it helps to have lived some before you set out to write a story.



Is a high level of imagination important to have for an Author?

It’s essential if you write fiction. After all, I’m making this stuff up.

Your dream destination on Earth?

I have many. I just got back from two weeks in the Scottish Highlands and loved it. I could live there. But there are other places to see.

Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed. What best things you liked in these countries around the globe?

I was born in America and I’m very proud to be an American. My country has many beautiful spots and I’ve been to most of them. I particularly like the Rocky Mountains and the California coast. I have traveled to over 40 countries, some more than once. I like meeting new people, breathing new air and seeing God’s creation from another vantage point.



Your favorite time of the day?

That depends on where I am, but typically it’s late afternoon.

Your favorite color and why?

Red, ever since my great aunt gave me a red velvet dress when I was a child. I loved it and regretted the day I had grown too much to wear it again.

What is the last book you finished reading? What is the current book you are reading?

October is medieval month on my Historical Romance Review blog so I’m reading medieval romances. The last book I reviewed was Keeper of the Dream by Penelope Williamson. Next book up is Castles in the Air by Christine Dodd. Both are classics.



Your favorite movie and why?

Pride and Prejudice (the Keira Knightley version). A great love story with beautiful cinematography and a nicer ending than the book.

Your favorite food?

French with a good wine and cherries jubilee for dessert.

Your favorite sports?

The Winter Olympics. 

What comes to your mind when you think of India?

Exotic locale to which the Irish missionary, Amy Carmichael gave her life.

Some quickies:

Sun or Moon: Moon
Laughter or Smile: Smile
Morning or Evening: Morning (though I’m a night owl)
Coffee or Tea: Used to be coffee; now it’s green tea
Mountain or Sea: Sea
Long Drive or Short Drive: short
Silence or Conversation: depends on who’s talking. To be safe, I’ll take silence.
Water or Fire: Water
Air or Earth: Earth
Mars or Jupiter: Mars
Tulip or Rose: Rose
Red or Blue: Red (but then you knew that!)
Left or Right: Right
Glance or Stare: Glance (so much more subtle)
Fame or Money: Fame
Boy or Girl: boy
Day or Night: (is this a repeat from morning vs. evening? A test? This time, I’ll take night.)
Tree or Plant: Tree
Love or Passion: love
First thing you do in the morning after waking up? Brush my teeth and let the dog out.
Last thing to do before sleep? Close my book

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote. 

I like the one at the beginning of my new work in progress, To Tame the Wind:

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.

--From a headstone in Ireland


Links & other relevant details:

Twitter: @RegansReview (https://twitter.com/RegansReview)



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Author Interview: Steve Lundin: The Manipulator: How To Be A Celebrity Nobody

Steve Lundin is the Chief Hunter and Gatherer of BIGfrontier, a Chicago media strategy boutique. He is an award winning marketing professional, journalist and pop culture anthropologist. He has written hundreds of feature stories for a diverse assortment of regional and national publications including the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, International Watch and Aviation History. As a marketer he has had extensive experience successfully revitalizing consumer and business to business products and services for companies ranging in size from Fortune 100 to two guys in a garage.

In 2000 he founded the BIGfrontier event series, a regional marketing/technology thought leadership showcase that has hosted over 70 significant national speakers.

Lundin is formerly trained in Journalism/Cultural Anthropology with graduate work in clinical psychology; his métier has always been research driven measurement of human motivation, tempered with creative gut instinct. He has also worked as an artist, photographer, made television commercials, published a comic strip newspaper and may hold the record for the greatest number of published Mickey Spillane interviews. If he could do it all over again he'd be a PI.

Welcome Lundin! 

Your real name and pen name?

Steve Lundin, ditto. Only the IRS calls me Steven.

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood

Attempting to start and drive my father’s 1962 Porsche 356B at the age of ten. It was a stick and started rolling as soon as I began fiddling. The GI Joe jeep that I trained on didn’t prepare me for a real transmission. Thank God we didn’t have any neighbors across the road.


About your education?

UW Madison – ran for student senate and briefly held the office; worked for both student newspapers as a cartoonist and reporter. Degree in English, emphasis in creative writing. Master’s work in counseling psychology at the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago. My real education, however, came from reading EC comic books.

What career did you plan during your education days?

I didn’t, so I wound in in advertising, then meandered into journalism and back into marketing when I had to pay the rent.

What languages you can speak and write?

English and Spanish (if I’m Rosetta Stoning)

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life?

Pets, they know what they want: food and sleep.

What hurts you most in this world?

Rampant acceptance of celebrity nobodies, incompetence, prevaricators and inferior products and work. Oh, and ISIS, Ebola, Ferguson, Fox news, anything related to reality shows or the Kardashians and the biggie: losing lottery numbers.


What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?

Starting a business. I got fired and had no choice.

If you had to live a day of your life as a living or dead personality, who would it be and why?

JFK. You need to ask why?

What is your favorite genre and why?

Satire with an authentic understanding of politics, crime and espionage. Think Wag the Dog. I am drawn to speculative fictions that push the envelope – just slightly – of what is currently happening. Expect absurd human behavior and you won’t be disappointed. Read my book and you’ll see what I mean.

When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?

I begin in Jr. High, when I published the school’s first ever paper, the Franklin Final. I got serious when I was 15 and returned from Spain and started working on a book surrounding the experience called Beyond the Womb. One of the chapters was good enough to get me into a graduate level class at the local university and took a class in Melville. The professor gave me an A-. I don’t think he had it in him to give a 15 year old an A when he was giving grad students in the class B’s and C’s. As for the purpose? To open people’s eye’s to a new perspective through the introduction of ideas in an entertaining and fun manner. Kind of like satire.


Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?

I have written about 400 feature stories and articles for the following publications:
About Time
Antique Trader
Aviation History
Big Reel
Chicago Magazine
Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Tribune
Cinefantastique
Connected World
Femme Fatales
International Wristwatch
In Sync
M2M
Power
Talkers
Wristwatch Magazine
More that I don’t remember.
I have regular columns in:
Commpro.biz
Mediapost
I published:
Faux: The Magazine for Phonies
Wunderkind: Chicago’s All Comic Strip newspaper
I edited and illustrated:
When Smart People Work for Dumb Bosses
I wrote:
Rogue – Sci Fi novel – unpublished
Swines of Chicago – Screenplay – for a production company that went under (go figure)
The Manipulator: Currently published

What are your forthcoming writings?

The Manipulator II
How to be a celebrity nobody: a guide to social charlatanism
A pulpy period action novel – character driven – probably another series

What are your future plans?

Paying bills, breathing and enjoying single malts, watching my kids grow up and enjoying more single malts, in that order.

What four top most things you take care of while writing a book?

Writing stories worth reading in a style that makes them readable. Surprising. Offending. Typos.

How much real life goes into a fiction writing?

100%. But you only have to make up about 25.

Is high level of imagination important to have for an Author?

Either that or experience. However the audience can smell inauthenticity.

Your dream destination on Earth?

The bank, with a check for $100,000 or more.

Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed.

Chicago. Hot places. I tend to avoid the cold. Except for the UK.

What best things you liked in these countries around the globe?

They weren’t my home office


Your favorite time of the day?

Anytime I can get away with a nap

Your zodiac/ sunsign?

Huh? Are we still in the 70’s?

Your favorite color and why?

Red – it means revolution – change – a call to attention. It is anything but calming.

What is the last book you finished reading? What is the current book you are reading?

Launch – Jeff Walker. History of the CIA – Tim Weiner

Your favorite book and why?

Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut. The book can be read on many levels – as a satire or sci fi. The main character provided a particle of inspiration for the main character in The Manipulator. Read both and see.

Your favorite movie and why?

Planet of the Apes – the original with Charlton Heston, screenplay by Rod Serling. It’s a truly character driven black satire that is not as overt as Strangelove but offers just as much social commentary. And Heston has some great lines: “I’m sure there’s something better than man out there,” and “get your hands off me you damned dirty ape!” I think it was my father’s favorite movie as well.

Your favorite celebrity and why?

Dead – Stanley Kubrick. He had a great sense of style, timing and vision. Living – as in who would I want to hang out and drink with? Tom Wolfe.

Your favorite food?

Paella.

What comes to your mind when you think of India?

Call Centers and curry.

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote:

Writer's block was invented by people who drink too much to write or don't have to write for a living 

The last line of your autobiography would be…

And I left the clues to finding a 1962 Corvette convertible somewhere in one of my books; you’ll have to buy them all to put the pieces together.

What made you interested your genre –

My father was the on staff psychoanalyst for BBDO – an ad agency – in the 1960’s, we were a very politically involved family and lived a block away from the Playboy mansion. Put it all together, how could you possibly not see the world as a rolling joke waiting for the right punch line?

Links:
Twitter handle: @bigfrontier

Amazon link: tinyurl.com/phjcv2w 







Author Interview: Jalpa Williby: Debut Chaysing Dreams, then Chaysing Memories and now Chaysing Destiny

In September when I interviewed author Ginger Gelsheimer she mentioned Chaysing Memories by author Jalpa Williby as the last book she had just finished reading and as per her the moment she decided to call the story out, she got the rollercoaster.

Jalpa Williby immigrated to the United States at the age of eight. Faced with many obstacles in the “new country”, including learning English, Williby pushed herself to overcome all of the challenges. A voracious reader, Williby’s adolescence was marked by a promising academic career. After graduating with a Bachelors of Science from the University of Illinois, Williby went on to earn Masters in Physical Therapy from Northwestern University. Her passion for helping her patients led her to a specialty in neuroscience, focusing on children and adults with neurological impairments. Juggling her time as a wife, a mother, and working full-time, her love for books never subsided. Some of her favorite books have been The Hunger Games Series, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Twilight Series, and Water For Elephants.

Never the one to shy away from any challenges, Williby’s most recent endeavor is to conquer the literary world. Williby’s novels, Chaysing Dreams and Chaysing Memories, have been successful and received multiple five star reviews from Readers’ Favorite, earning the five star seal. Recently, both books won the Gold Medal from Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest. With both novels being Amazon best sellers, Williby is now feverishly working on the final installment, Chaysing Destiny.

Welcome Jalpa! 


Your real name and pen name? 

My real name is Jalpa Pandya. My author name is Jalpa Williby.

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood: 

I came to America when I was eight years old. It was very overwhelming at first. So really I cherish my memories as a young girl in India. I had a big family so it was always lots of fun spending time with my cousins there.

About your education: 

I have a Bachelors of Science in Psychology and a Masters in Physical Therapy.

What career did you plan during your education days? 

I originally was in Pre-Med. But then I changed careers and became a physical therapist. I am a physical therapist by day and an author by night.

What languages you can speak and write? 

English and Gujarati

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life? 

My patients have inspired me the most. Even when things look bad for them, they find the strength to fight to get better. They teach me every day not to take things for granted and never give up.

What hurts you most in this world? 

When innocent people/animals suffer. It kills me to see something helpless hurting.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? 

I’ve had to make some pretty big life-changing choices—choices that my family did not necessarily support. It was very difficult to feel alone and hurt.

How did you overcome it? 

I reminded myself each day that I had to do what I believed was right. I shouldn’t be living my life for fear of what others thought of me. At the end of the day, if I could still look in the mirror and liked what I saw, then that’s all I needed.

What is your favorite genre and why? 

I honestly can read most genres. But if I have to choose, I’ve always been a sucker for a good love story.

When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?  

I started writing approximately two years ago. Initially, it was just to challenge myself…to see if I can actually write a novel. But when I finished Chaysing Dreams, I loved the story and the characters so much, I knew I had to publish it.

Which of your work has been published so far?

Chaysing Dreams, my debut novel, and the sequel, Chaysing Memories, have been published.

Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?
What are your forthcoming writings? 

I am currently working on Chaysing Destiny, the final installment of the Chaysing Trilogy.

What genres you write in and why? 

To be perfectly honest, I’m kind of all over the place. Primarily, I’ve been saying that the trilogy is romance/suspense. But truly, these books are so much more. There’s a bit of coming of age, sci-fi, and paranormal. The books tackle the family as well as the friendship dynamics. There’s tragedy, yet perseverance, action and mystery, and finally love and passion.

What keeps you motivated towards writing? 

Actually, it’s the readers that keep me going. When I get a little message that says how much they enjoyed the book, or they can’t wait for the next one to be released, it gives me another boost of energy to continue my writing.

If Writing a Book is taken as a project, What are the key essentials you take care of in Project Management? 

To be honest, writing is not too bad for me. It’s the marketing I can’t stand. But writing does have many essential elements. Character development is a must. I’m a true believer that you have to write with your heart and soul- hold nothing back. I think it’s imperative that the readers are right there with the characters… you know, feeling every emotion. Once the story is done, then revise it a thousand times, send it to an editor, and revise it a thousand more times. Make it as perfect as you possibly can. Your name is going on as an author, so give it everything you’ve got.

How do you plan, schedule and monitor your writing commitments? 

I work during the day and I have three kids so it’s hard. But I try to put in a few hours in the evenings for writing and marketing.

What are your future plans? 

I want to publish Chaysing Destiny and then try to market the series. I haven’t done too much of that. And if a vision of another story emerges, then I’ll start writing again!

What is generally your preference in reading – a paper book or ebook? And why? 

I love the feel of a paperback. But, eBooks are way cheaper. These days, I read mostly eBooks.

How much real life goes into a fiction writing? 

I do try to use some things from real life. For example, I have a teenaged daughter, and in the first book, Tess (the main character) is a teenager. So I could definitely use some scenes from real life. But mostly, it’s all completely made up from this crazy head of mine.

Is high level of imagination important to have for an Author? 

Absolutely, especially for fiction.

Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed. What best things you liked in these countries around the globe? 

I’m originally from India. I’ve been to Costa Rica, Canada, and Jamica. I reside in the United States.

Your favorite time of the day? 

When I sleep because my mind finally rests.

Your zodiac/ sunsign? 

Virgo

Your favorite color and why? 

It really depends on my mood. I don’t have one favorite color.

Your favorite book and why? 

A Thousand Splendid Suns. It’s truly a beautiful story.

Your favorite movie and why? 

I have so many movies I love. Right now, I’m really into the Outlander series. It’s on Starz. For big screen movies, I’ve enjoyed The Hunger Games, Water For Elephants, Lord of The Rings, Twilight Series, and the Harry Potter series. Last week, I just saw Dracula Untold, and that was pretty good as well. Yeah, the list is endless really.

Your favorite celebrity and why? 

Again, I have a lot of faves. I love Brad Pitt and Robert Pattinson as actors. I love Christina Perri as a singer. 

Your favorite food? 

Pizza

Your favorite sports? 

I’m not very athletic, but I enjoyed watching my kids play soccer growing up.

What is the force that drives you? 

Life is too short. If you want to follow your dreams, do it before it’s too late.

What comes to your mind when you think of India? 
Being carefree, running through the fields, friendly people. I remember being happy.

Some quickies:
Sun or Moon: Sun
Laughter or Smile: Laugh
Morning or Evening: Evening
Coffee or Tea: Tea
Mountain or Sea: Sea
Long Drive or Short Drive: Long drive
Silence or Conversation: Silence
Water or Fire: Water
Air or Earth: Earth
Mars or Jupiter: Mars
Tulip or Rose: Rose
Red or Blue: Both
Left or Right: Right
Glance or Stare: Glance
Fame or Money: Too much of fame or money is probably bad so neither.
Boy or Girl: Girl
Day or Night: Night
Tree or Plant: Tree
Love or Passion: Love and passion

What three words come to your mind for each – 

Technology (necessary, useful, complicated)
Life (good, happy, short)
God (mystery, powerful, good)
Humanity (pure, hope, humble)
Terrorism (scary, destructive, brutal)
Racism (unacceptable, cruel, exists)
Childhood Abuse (sick, wrong, evil)
Love (happiness, heart, unconditional)  
Parenting (important, precious, gift)
Old age (unavoidable, life, fight it)

First thing you do in the morning after waking up? 

Turn my alarm off and pet my dog

Last thing to do before sleep? 

Write or read

If one fine morning you wake up and find your sex changed to opposite, what will be your first reaction? 

Go back to sleep because it’s probably just a dream.

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote : 

Life is short, so live it.

The last line of your autobiography would be… 

She helped change the world one person at a time.

The title of your autobiography would be… 

Perseverance

Links & other relevant details:
ISBN-10: 1478703091
ISBN-13: 978-1478703099
ASIN: B00EMMQSO4
Publisher: Outskirts Press








YouTube video “In Jalpa Williby’s Words”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MotxNK-L454


Chaysing Memories trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7DWXWRNIrw