December 20, 2011

# 43. # 44 RandomMusings For The Day

Why are they called millionaires and billionaires.....is the polluted air they breath that potent?? 


Kim Jong of North Korea, the 'Central Brain' is dead....will his son, his successor be called 'Vacuum Left'??
December 17, 2011

Creative Fibbing

"Mom, my friends will tease me. I told them we have one."
"How many times have I warned you ‘no fibbing’?" walking away.
"She is a child, you were the same."
"It doesn't have to be that way"*, covering the edible tree with shiny paper.
'Where was Santa when needed?'

* I used the prompt from last time's missed session.



For Saturday Centus at Jenny Matlock's blog...any genre, P.G as far as possible, not to exceed 50 words based on a picture prompt this time round. Check the others decorations there.
December 07, 2011

The Writing Journey - Reflection Of Our Growth? - IWSG


The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day for participating blog owners who may be professional or amateur writers. (All you need is the passion and output, published or not). Started by Alex Cavanaugh the author of the sci-fi space opera CassaStar and upcoming CassaFire, it is a means for writers to talk about their fears big and small. It is also an opportunity to connect to other writers who may have conquered these or are sailing in the same insecure boat as you.

Writing Growth












                   

There are things, small changes I have noticed lately, related to my favourite past-times involving music, books and movies.


Been noticing that the works I loved even a decade ago are something I can't stand and even cringe at nowadays. I used to love hard rock which, now, often seems like noise. Authors like Danielle Steele, Sydney Sheldon, Indian authors like Shobhaa De, Salman Rushdie (India born and educated) even Ayn Rand whose books I used to gobble up in my late teens and early twenties are largely ignored.


Which got me thinking, does our writing reflect the change/growth in us as we age,  just like our evolving tastes in arts and other things? How often do our own personal experiences or that of acquaintances turn into short stories and novels?
Can even non tamperable genres like fantasy and sci- fi incorporate our ideologies, prejudices, dreams?
 How far is it practicable or proper to do so?
December 03, 2011

A Young Dream Broken

For Saturday Centus at Jenny Matlock's blog...any genre, P.G as far as possible, not to exceed 16 words excluding the prompt in bold to create an autobiographical story...with a picture option this time round.



Sixteen in 1990 – Andre Agassi’s striking mane, my heart flutters…
2010 – find out, was a bloody wig!!! 


*The picture for those who don't know/remember

Agassi has admitted the long hair he sported in the '90s was a wig. (AAP)


December 01, 2011

A Journey Through A Fairytale - Book Review


   The Iron Tooth - Prithvin Rajendran
 Lead Start Publications  
 Genre - Fiction/ Fantasy (Children/ Middle Grade/Young Adult)
 Paperback, Pages 218, Price  INR 195/$ 8 (available at Amazon.com)

‘The Iron Tooth’ is a fantasy set in the fictional continent of Goodabaiya and aimed at children and young teens. It starts with the prologue of a young, unmarried and pregnant girl from the land of Sumrak thrown out of her home and forced to find shelter at a remote area in the foothills of the Mala Mountains.  There she gives birth to two babies – a human boy and one troll girl which form the basis for events which are revealed only at the end of the story.
  The book then takes us to the land of Dashter, a great and mighty kingdom ruled first by a good king, Dashtum and later by his equally strong but evil son Darum. It is Darum’s eldest daughter Nova’s vanity driven behaviour that leads to her imprisonment and suffering of her people cursed by the powerful magician Faerum; till their redemption at the hands of Princix.
 Three main Characters emerge at this point, the protagonist Princix whose unknown heritage is revealed with other clues that tie up the prologue with the tale. The imprisoned Princess Nova who by then, regrets her part played in the curse becomes his love interest keeping in line with the fairytales we have grown up with. Finally the evil Wizard rather sorcerer  Faerum who enlists the help of six powerful fellow wizards and the Custodian Of Light in his cruel, malicious act of revenge on Dashter . The book then introduces us to the kingdom of Greatix, which is also the home of our protagonist and his family. Princix, who is both kind and brave, on an quest for fame and wealth wins magical weapons that enable him to become the Champion General for the kingdom of Greatix.
Princix’s duty as Champion General is to find out what ails the neighbouring kingdom of Dastur and help alleviate it. He journeys with two Imperial Guards, Candelbre and Hammil faces his share of battles and adventures  and discovers the all-important iron tooth.

The Author Prithvin has faithfully adhered to the fairy tale style and tried to create a tale that displays his creativity in the process. There is a assortment of languages in the book including the one invented by the author, the language of the Bak. Both old and modern English have been used throughout the book and a bard style of rendition of opinions and conversations finds a place. A multitude of characters in the form of mythical creatures like vampires, trolls, Medusas, fairies, an immortal Custodian, zombies, ghouls and creatures of the author’s own imagination  like the elite soldiers, the Baks are found throughout the pages.
 I liked the addition of appendices which include a chronology, maps, a translation of the Bak language Nivthrip.
I felt that the cast of characters was overcrowded with the mythical beings have very little to do. The prologue will baffle readers till the end, which I wish had been addressed in the form of a retelling in the early or middle part of the book.
At times the book felt like a series of short stories leaving this reviewer with an ambivalent feeling. The tenderness between Princix And Nova didn’t inspire either nor did Faerum come across as that cruel or foreboding.
The book overall has good continuity and flow but doesn't suck you into its world making you want to read more. Some stereotypes are inevitable because of the genre and do not detract from the book, but a tame  Nova who does nothing but repent her actions was a bit of a dampener for me.
Some of the opinions were demeaning to women. They shouldn’t find place in a book whose primary audience is to be those between 9-13 years.
The book doesn’t clearly mention the exact genre rather coded only as a mystery on the back cover. This being the author’s first novel, hopefully his next novel will be worth more than the 3/5 star rating  given for the debut attempt.


This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.comParticipate now to get free books!

 Personal Disclaimer: Though this book was a free copy received for the purpose of review, the post in entirety is my basic impression after reading the book. It is not based on intervention by the author, publishing house or the blogging forum.

November 22, 2011

I Dream About

Being able to say 
what you want to
without the "voice" at the back
reminding, 
someone is sure to get offended.


Putting those words on  paper 
before she says "lights out".
prose or verse doesn't matter 
as long as a part of me, thoughts
and emotions get reflected.


That scene that would make for 
images to come back to,
the vision needed to enable
those pictures speak a thousand words.


These tiny dreams are for everyday
to breathe and sustain.
the bigger ones remain elusive
food, water, clothes; 
the three basics for all.
throw in some shelter, 
a bit of education and some empathy,
sisterhood and peace
to make others dreams come true.





"This post is an entry at Blogjunta Dreams Contest to be judged by Jyoti Arora, author of Dream's Sake"


Added To Gooseberry Goes Poetic
November 10, 2011

This And That And Some NaNo

I haven't purposely neglected my dream journal...just that life is a tad more interesting at this point. My fingers in so many different pies....a big mess of time and vacation if you ask me.


I  am having an awesome time with my nephews, yep, April and November are two months of the year my life gets topsy turvy....real life pulling me with  two pairs of tiny hands in one direction and my writing pulling me in the other. Tough....for this hermit to come out of her shell bi-annually and find herself in the fast lane. (my darling brother insists that I book my tickets to Bangalore else he will have me kidnapped from the dark comforts of my room) 


 For those few friends wondering about my NaNo...well, good news and bad news...I am writing everyday but realise that am a slow writer and the deadline kills my world and character building not to mention leaving me uninspired to continue.  It has rekindled my love for writing short stories and saved our relationship (mine with < 2500 words).
So 30000-35000 words is what I am aiming for. A far cry from 2009 when I couldn't write more than 8000 words before I finally quit. Of course that was the year of the 'great event' that has left me legally single though not blonde, I don't hate my black hair (I know black is an optical illusion provided by our eyes, that makes us wizards right?)  but would love brown, glossy hair ( is it even real?)...


How I wish, that scientist  in the news would discover a laser procedure for permanent hair colour and texture change....why the hell would I want to turn my very dark brown eyes to blue only to have it contrast funnily with my light brown tanned skin. ;D Could make for a good fantasy story though....
 But the news today that our solar system was most likely, the aftermath of a supernova makes my sci-fi planet creation plausible. Can you see me jumping around...you say, you cannot?....well then, leave you with a picture of the current me....yes...because the weight loss program I have enrolled in, will hopefully leave a better looking me next time around. 


I will catch up with your blogs and rants starting today evening...don't mind!!!


 The real, hassled me without make up  (don't use much anyway)
.. taken by my 4 yr old nephew Sid last week.

November 02, 2011

The Art Of Dialogue Writing For Stubborn Mules - IWSG

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day for participating blog owners who may be professional or amateur writers. (All you need is the passion and output, published or not). Started by Alex Cavanaugh the author of the Amazon top ten sci-fi space opera CassaStar, it is a means for writers to talk about their fears big and small. It is also an opportunity to connect to other writers who may have conquered these or are sailing in the same insecure boat as you.



Dialogue Writing


Dialogues how much is too much or too little?

I write short stories and poetry (making a living on them will take another post, hell, seven lifetimes - seven being an auspicious number for Hindus, forget Voldemort's seven horcruxes please!!)

Short stories generally can be written with fewer dialogues, mine has just the bare minimum...poetry is a dialogue with myself and the rare listeners, so I can get away with almost anything even dark or erotic.
My insecurity stems from lengthy dialogues needed for my NaNoWriMo (International November novel  month)  in progress ( I say, two days is progress). Given that I am attempting space opera style, soft sci-fi makes it a doubly daunting task.
 I am bad at dialogues, I openly admit. Does it have something to do with the fact that I can't converse just for the sake of it?...it has to be meaningful/useful interaction even if it's about which mascara doesn't run or whether it's going to rain in the evening, know what I mean? And as one of the commenters on a recent blogfest pointed out, when I do use them they turn out to be full of unnecessary details....

 Is there a magical recipe for perfect dialogues? How does one avoid too much or too little of it?
October 31, 2011

Eventful Halloween

Halloween elsewhere
has witches and vampires 
coming out of their lair.

Our halloween 
had the metal kings* 
burn up the green city.
The racing cars* added their 
zoom to brighten up 
 a lazy sunday afternoon.

No tricks but treats,
not candy to taste
but for the eyes to feast

the snow in New York 
dampened not the protesters'*
heart or soul
The holiday this year  
marks the birth of
the seven billionth heir* 
to the chaos and order 
that goes by the name 
Planet Earth.


* India's  first F1 Grand Prix was held on Sunday in one city while Metallica rocked us in Bangalore.
Today the Wall Street protests continue in New York while the seven billionth Earthling is born elsewhere.

October 29, 2011

I Paint Words


For Saturday Centus at Jenny Matlock's blog.. any genre, p.g as far as possible, not to exceed 25 words excluding the prompt in bold. A story on a picture again....
Criticize the other black words there.




October 23, 2011

A Story Grows


For Saturday Centus at Jenny Matlock's blog.. any genre, p.g as far as possible, not to exceed 100 words using the prompt in bold to create a story on the picture this time around....
Water the other saplings there.



I saw him there, busy with his axe slicing through the branch he was seated at the edge of. I screamed almost,  ‘you will fall down, you dolt!!’ The watch could only let me stay not change. 
Countless retelling didn’t prepare me for gravity’s working. He fell; branch, the weapon and all.

Could he be the Master, history proclaimed him to be? The language he choose, as classical as his imaginative works.
Were they even his? Didn’t the skeptics say The Bard too was a fake?
I would prove them wrong. I planted a little story seed and out sprouted "Of Shakuntala recognised by a token"*.


* It was among the first Sanskrit works to be translated into English . Written by Kalidasa,  believed to have lived around 4th century CE and sometimes referred to as the "Shakespeare of India".
October 18, 2011

A Romantic Journey Through Music - Review Of Live From London


 Live From London - Parinda Joshi 
 Publisher  - Rupa Publications  
 Genre - Chick Lit - Contemporary Fiction - Women Fiction
 Novel - Paperback - Pages 204 
 Price - INR 195/$ 19.95 
 Available at Amazon





This book is not just a journey from India to England. This is a crossing over from a  carefree, fun filled days of growing up to the pain and trials filled life of a grown up. It is not about going back to the roots rather about escaping the harsh realities of one world to nurture broken dreams in another.
 This story of an aspiring singer who loves her red guitar starts with her first major failure and a humiliating one at that. Anyone who had watched or been a part of reality talent shows know the trauma of failing under watchful, snickering eyes of millions. Nishi Gupta experiences this with a  false start in TV reality talent show "British’s Got Talent". This, coupled with the fact that the debut is an unplanned one makes it a double jeopardy in terms of her future career.
The tale unfolds with her trying to drown the nightmarish memory in the cacophony of an internship in one of the dominant record label companies in the U.K - Hues. Accompanying her in the roller coaster ride is a trio of friends Riya, Sarah and Zac (as different from each other as cheese, chalk and beer), a rigid boss turned friend Lynette and loving parents, who in typical Indian style of parenting, are unable to cut off the apron strings. 

It’s a kind of reverse karma that a Britain’s Got Talent reject’s first breakthrough comes from the generous, underhand plans of the American Idol runner up. The new import from USA on the UK horizon is initially the current big client material for her company but goes on the become the love of her life. The half Canadian, half Indian musician boyfriend Nick Navjot Chapman dominates a major part of the story. Nick and the well meaning but flirty friend Arjun provide the necessary drama and entertainment.
This tryst with fame causes a major upheaval in Nishi and Nick’s personal lives and she returns to India, to Mumbai, where her father is currently stationed. The search for success continues its often lighthearted and crazy journey till it meets the open gates called "co-host" for a reality TV show Indian Rockstar Season 5.

The boyfriend is initially too good to be true, but becomes more human with the classic touch of falling for (well almost) a seductive and tempting colleague. The nerdy, bossy Sarah who spearheads Nishi’s dormant desire for success is a typical alpha female whose affair with goofy, witty but less smart guitarist Zac is doomed to failure. Riya, the typical rich, happy go lucky romantic who falls for men with looks comprises the third of the band of close friends. Nishi's support system comprises of  a mom who shows her love through food and well meaning but oft rejected advice, a civil servant father who is torn between treating her as an adult and his na├»ve child and a rigid female boss who becomes her mentor. Arjun, an RJ for the popular FM Channel "Radio Mirchi", who at the onset is annoying but gradually becomes a good friend is added to this collection of interesting characters.

Nishi, the protagonist, comes across as a little heartless and insensitive to others feelings. I didn't quite feel her pain and her success in a short span of 6 months is a bit unsettling. I wish her character had been better rounded but I guess a 21 year old can be granted some leeway.

I loved the “unfinished” ending which leaves room for more possibilities even a sequel.
I liked the concept and the fact that the author has done the necessary research to provide an authentic description of the music scenario in London and Mumbai.

A major grouse I have with other chick lits or expat writers (a reason why they don’t form a major part of my reading) is the excessive caricature and stereotyping of characters. In the case of Live From Londonwhich I have rated at 3.5/5, I am glad to say the book manages to escape that quite well.

The author, Parinda Joshi, captures the moments with candid humour that often belies the tribulations and heartbreak beneath. The conversationalist style coupled with a fast paced storyline makes for a quick, entertaining read.

I would recommend this book  for those looking for a modern fairytale with its sad moments. This is not a book for those interested in an extensive study into human relations and emotions or looking for depth in characters.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.comParticipate now to get free books!


 Personal Disclaimer: Though this book was a free copy received for the purpose of review, the post in entirety is my basic impression after reading the book twice. It is not based on intervention by the author, publishing house or the blogging forum.
October 05, 2011

Random Musing of An Insecure Writer - IWSG


 Nokia tag line says "We connect people" but the ones who contacted me the most were Tele marketeers...The TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority Of India ) now says, 100 sms/texts per Sim card is enough for a day from October onwards....which means my cellular service  provider can't connect to me even for billing. 

 This is so reminiscent of my writing journey this year. True the quill had gathered dust for years, the words lost in yellowing journals. Patience is the key....but insecurity strikes a blow to the tender bruised ego with every rejection...
On one hand writers say you need publishing credits to launch your short story collection....on the other hand even free e zines feel my work would stain their esteemed cyber pages. And in the second most populated country in the world; where every other educated person is a closet writer, maybe my work is not good enough. This toon below expresses my fears adequately


Insecure Writer



















And yet, every time I hear that a fellow blogger has broken the glass 
ceiling of the publishing world, I am gladdened and  feel hopeful
One such blogger Gail  M Baugneit has published her Pepper Bibeau 
mystery,"FOR EVERY ACTION There Are Consequences" in both 
trade and e book format. Do drop in at her blog. You may even win 
the Smashwords coupon for the remaining 3 free copies of the novel.

Since, a lot of people have blogged about her Novelette launched, 
I felt it would seem like old news.
 M. Pax a writer of short stories and novelettes in science fiction 
(one of my favourite genre) has launched her E book , 
a Space opera "Semper Audacia". 
It is available at Amazon and also at Smashwords for .99 cents. 
Check out her free short stories, especially "Small Graces".
the links available on her blog M Pax Author .





September 30, 2011

A Haiku For A Fitting End

Artwork Courtesy Penny Smith/Alias Jinksy

Haiku everywhere /
See all thoughts and emotions /
Colourful template //



5-7-5

Added To Haiku Heights For the Height Of Haiku Challenge 
Added to In Tandem
September 27, 2011

An Incantation

The stairway to heaven 
wouldn't find use here
needs, darker than a black soul
lost in the empty pages of time
forgotten lives for the killing
my soul seeks you Lucifer 
entwined, entombed serpent coils
Embrace the vile in me and rejuvenate

September 25, 2011

A Random Musing, A Rant And A Conversation Thrown In.

When life drops you a mango or two, Make a milkshake, and that's not quite your style Try a mango souffle....better still use the seeds to grow a tree, your grandchildren may end up saving their precious money and send you off, into the beyond, in style.


On to serious stuff (I am perfectly healthy, no worries there)....just pruning my blog tree list...realised that I have many who have abandoned their camps long ago, far too many poets to my liking, very few writers, book reviewers and movie/music review blogs. Those who find themselves at the short end of the chopping knife will hardly notice, they don't venture into the "dream" camp anyways. 
Serious writers will help me realise how my own pathetic writing is good enough for the E publishing world...given that I plan to come out with my ebook collections of short/flash fiction and poetry soon (six months, soon enough?). That scary task is not to appease the writer in me (maybe a wee bit) but for my mom and brother who have been my pillars of strength for longer than I can remember...I mean 37 is a long time isn't it to have your memories as pristine and crystal clear as they show in the movies?
 At the very least, my nephews and nieces can say their aunt was a published author even if nobody outside the family downloaded her .99 cents books (just hyping up myself for the eventual failure that is the story of my life.) 
 Centusians who have braved all the crappy words above, succour is in sight because my dialogues are based on this very future scenario. Happy reading. ;)



“Can I take your order, m’am?”

“Will have three of these, four tikka platters and chocolate brownies. Later, when the others have arrived.” “A coffee latte now, thank you”
…….
“Long time, no see” "Have been really busy."
“Reks, you haven't changed a bit since I last you”  “where is this new friend you raved about, that ex neighbour?”
“Caught in traffic, she will be here soon.” 
 “I am famished.” “Shouldn’t we wait?”
“Go ahead, she won’t mind.”
…….
 “So what’s this news?”
“You are having an affair!!” 
“Affairs are for the married remember”
You are marrying again?”
“Bah!!” "Once bitten twice shy, should listen to old songs more often!!" “ Much better deal , I sold my first 100 books.”
Finally, you did it!!” 
“I told you, you were good” “Are you seriously ordering another martini?”
“Hold your horses, the first outside sale so far, 99 were bought by family and you, my awesome friends!!!”


*Tikka - a  North Indian delicacy eaten as dry starters or gravies with Indian breads


For Saturday Centus at Jenny Matlock's blog Off On My Tangent
September 22, 2011

An Ancient Story Retold


The Snake Charmer, Henri Rousseau, 1907
Image Courtesy Magpie Tales

She lay by the lakeside; in the moonlight casting no perceptible shadow  against the glistening waters.  Strangely restless and content, weaving and unweaving  her matted coils…some stangled and twisted to hideous effect or laid as they were. Dark, tangled strings that reflected the  surrounding gloom.
He had escaped far too often, she had let him live the ignorant dream…. his scent deadly yet irrestible …his high notes ripping her apart…
 Letting him believe to be the victor in this ancient game she had perfected into an art. The night was their timeless friend, eternal enemy; bewitching , betraying, bespoken….rendering them puppets to mutual desire and hatred.
A secret dance,  feverish  glance lacking tenderness….wine and viper, stillness and motion,  beast and prey circling  in vanity and pride.
Soft footfalls, shodden grass groaning under the slight strain….picture perfect. They waited, glinting eyes and forked tongue for the sweet song to soothe and succumb to, for a little while.
 Medusa and the nightly visitor, her  lover and foe, evenly matched but tonight one would fall , the other would savour a shallow victory…..as he played his magical notes, the coils unravelled….inhabiting every inch of the tiny meadow that was their’s alone to claim.

Added to Magpie Tales 83

September 18, 2011

May I??

TwinkleLittleStar spoof


Based on 32 word Saturday Centus requirement by Jenny Matlock at her blog Off On My Tangent...a melody which rhymes with Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
Check out the others nursery songs out there. 


Added to the meme In Tandem by Penny Smith aka Alias Jinksy where one uses words- poetry or tale to bring the image (an art work by her or other bloggers) to life. 
 * The background artwork in the Toon is her own . Do visit the other interpretations.
September 12, 2011

Haiku - 20



Enthralling, ethereal sight /
Magical flood lights for some /
Sunsets, my pleasure //


For the Heights Of Haiku Challenge
Added To Haiku Heights

September 10, 2011

# 40 RandomMusings For The Day


Image courtesy Magpie Tales
What does this remind you of??....a past that is best stuck where it lies or a mirror image of your present?? Or a future warning to stay off muddy roads bereft of good samaritans??

 On a happier note, you can make a verse or tale of it...or vintage shaded to show off your photo editing skills.

BTW, sept 15 will be this blogger baby's first birthday...does it warrant a celebration?? maybe a trip round the sun??
August 22, 2011

Wave The Flag

Ignite the fire, 
the blue of transparency
Let the streets burn 
in the fierceness of your passion
The mighty cower and hide
covering their tracks in vain
People's power where it truly belongs
not in the hungry corridors of parliament
 in you and me who put them there
Not for avarice and mindless ego trips 
 to make our lives a better fare.
Remind them time and again
 of the people, by the people, for the people
 is still the clarion call of Democracy








* This is my BLUE contribution to the fight against corruption - a people's movement that has erupted all across India, asking their elected representatives not to forget what they are here for.


For Jinksy In Tandem 6Gooseberry Goes Poetic

July 27, 2011

An Unfulfilled Last Wish

At Saturday Centus...there is only one thing that's constant and that is change....
hence a 15 words or less centus with an optional picture (which got me all excited)!!!
Here we go....with Harry Potter and my final adieu to the movies....
my imagination and Jenny's inspiration....Apparate and glide over the other magical spells at her blog Off on my tangent...
 Before I forget...the prompt was "...Before I die I want to..."


Harry Potter
July 18, 2011

Time To Hit The Gym??

Having been AWOL for 2 weeks without the headmistress' Jenny Matlock permission..thought I'll use humour to appease her.
Enjoy /sympathise with other age related joys/woes at her blog..off on my tangent 


"...I'm not getting any younger...", she cribbed, huffing their way up the stairs....
''Need any help?'', asked her 75 year old uncle, his booming laughter echoing as he overtook her. 
June 27, 2011

A Chinese Dilemma



Why are the metallic monsters coming towards us, xien sho?
Must be the white tribe's tribute to thee; exalted highness, "son of heaven"!!







( An imaginary conversation between one the terracotta Ming soldier and his king while being transported from the Beijing Museum)
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