Saturday, August 24, 2013

Guest Post : Time To Write That Book by Jane Tara

It is said that everyone has a book in them. Certainly in my experience this appears to be true. When people ask what I do for a living, and I tell them I’m a writer, most will inform me that they’ve always wanted to write a book. Some even tell me what the book is about. Most will admit that they really want to write the book … but simply don’t have time.
It’s at this point that I roll my eyes. I don’t mean to. (I apologise if I’ve done it to you.) But am I one of those blessed people who was born under a 24 hour clock while others got ripped off with only 15 hours a day? How can I find time to write when others can’t? Or is it possible that everyone has enough time to write a book?

I understand that everyone is busy. I am too. I run a business. I’m raising four boys. I also have a massive problem where I love a clean house but don’t have a cleaner … I’m thinking about making all my sons live in one room only, which will cut down on housework.

Life is a constant juggle, but I jam as much writing as possible into any spare minute I can. I write when my sons are asleep. Or when I’m waiting for my kids to finish jujitsu / swimming /drums. While other mothers chat, I sit in the corner and edit pages. I regularly stare into space as I ponder how to move forward with my plot (no doubt many people think I’ve lost the plot).

There is always time for that book if you really want it.
Do you watch TV? Turn it off. There, you have time. Spend hours on the Internet? You could be writing. Do you commute to work? I have a friend who writes all his novels on the Tokyo subway.

Naturally there are certain things I’ll never find time for, despite knowing I should. I’ll never find time to volunteer for canteen shifts at my son’s school. I’ll never find time to clean up my iPhoto, or make proper albums for my kids, or write in my diary, or read A Course in Miracles, or clean out the front shoe cupboard. But anything I’m truly passionate about, and anything I really want to achieve … well there’s always plenty of time for that!

- Jane Tara

We thank the writer for taking time out to write such a passionate piece for us in spite of her hectic schedule.

Jane Tara spends most of her time wandering the world and writing. She has over twenty children's picture books published in Asia, and has written travel articles for many publications worldwide. She has lived in Tokyo, London, Vienna, New York and various parts of Australia. She recently transformed her  itchy feet into ITCHEE FEET, which publishes travel books for kids. Jane is the author of the Shakespeare Sisters Series. Both FORECAST and the sequel, TROUBLE BREWING are 
available on Amazon. Jane lives with her partner Dom and their four sons in Sydney, Australia.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

In the quest for books!


One of the real treats of the city is its abundance of activity. Quaint old buildings coupled with modern skyscrapers, the city has its charm for tourists. But there is the quiet corner of the city's inhabitants who are neither moved nor awed by the various treats of the city. Their aim, goal and destination are one of the numerous book shops that are aplenty and scattered all through the city. These treasure troves are situated in nooks and crannies of the city, where only the regulars feel comfortable.

Yes, the city has its swanky malls and new bookshops. There are your Landmark, Odyssey, Higginbotham’s showrooms. And yes, the thrill of purchasing a new book is always there. But budget concerns and the thirst for classics push the book nerds towards these lesser heavens. Not as swanky, not as glittering, but still just as alluring! Many people say that the smell of books has no compare. But the feel of a well thumbed book gives by itself, a sense of comfort! A happy memory of another book lover who had already gone through the same pages...

My recent quest for books started when my dormant bookshelf stared at me alarmingly one morning. I realised my supply of paper backs was dwindling and therefore I just went through the books I had been reading and re reading. And finally I realised that another trip to my comfort corners was due. So with determination I set off toward the local book shop which sold second hand books at a deal. My mind was busy listing all the authors I would like to read and I have not yet had the chance to come across. Before long I found myself at the platform where the familiar sight of books pleased me like an appetising display of chocolate cake! (No food references allowed, I guess, I will move away from the topic).

There was some unidentified happiness blossoming at the sight of the old uncle who managed the bookshop greeting me with a smile. And his innocent enquiry as to why I had not dropped by for six months to which I just shrugged. Mumbling flimsy reasons and of course the clichéd "I have been busy and had no time..." I proceeded to check out what he had on display. Seeing the books stacked in the display board in neat orders gave a strong wave of nostalgia. Much like greeting old friends, I soon made myself at home and started my determined ploughing through the rows and rows of books.

I knew my way through the racks and the books stacked according to their prices. I talked as I searched and belted out the names of authors I had in mind. Uncle speeded up and brought out 6 of the ten books I named. The other four books, he promised to have ready and call me when they arrived. But I was far from disappointed. This uncertainty is the charm of these bookshops. You can never get every title you have in mind, but as I soon discovered, (Once again, every time, it happens always.) I started choosing books I had never thought about.

Before long the 'helpful' uncle started taking out packed crates with a grunt and a resigned sigh, with his almost clichéd, 'these display books are never enough for you. Here, these books might interest you'. I couldn't help the reluctant grin that spread across my face as I remembered the initial days when I mistook this gesture as a ploy to sell me more books. But before long I understood that the uncle was choosing books based on my favourite genres. He was, contrary to popular belief, quite knowledgeable about the various authors and books and the general trend and mood of the other patrons.

Knowing that his suggestions were almost always good, I proceeded to dust out the books out and discovered fourteen more books "I just had to buy". The ever helpful owner provided a grand total and discounts. But still, the sum far exceeded my budget and I had to part with a few. This filtering process is the hardest. You never know what to take and what to let go. Finally I chose a few books that I couldn't avoid. And with requests to keep those aside for another day, I finally totalled the books and loaded my treasure in the bag I readily carried.

The uncle fervently nodded and assured me that he will set those books aside and I knew he would. The number one benefit of frequenting a local shop is that you can get such concessions. So I filtered out the six books, which in addition to my earlier six made a total of twelve, and kept aside four books with promises to return. The weight of the books was a comfortable load on my back as I trudged my way back to home, much richer than I was before. I came back home and bragged about my exploits and made my mother go 'oh no. Not again' but with a smile on her face.

In another two days I had forgotten my trip to the bookshop and pushed the books I had kept aside to the back of my mind. They belonged to the 'near future'-- one other weekend when - no, If- I found the time. So with this totally unprepared mind I trudged home after a long day at office. And lo and behold what do I find? But the four books I had meant to buy. Knowing every book I own by heart and understanding that these four books here couldn't be a lucky coincidence, I stood staring at them in awe. My mother came forward with her usual won't-you-ever-get-enough-of-this stare. I tried a tentative puppy face and grin while she just shook her head and rambled on, "The book shop man told me you had kept aside these four books. So I just thought I must pick them up before someone else does."

I could see her stern expression slowly morphing into an indulgent and understanding smile. But her next words were lost in the bear hug I gave her. And oh, did I mention? There is another benefit of purchasing at your local shop; the shop owners are familiar with your whole family, and who knows? Your surprise book package may arrive with your mother or the not so distant cousin whom you introduced to that uncle once. The pleasure of passing on a legacy, I say!


Friday, August 2, 2013

In The Company Of Wolves - James Michael Larrinaga: A Review


BOOK TITLE: In the company of wolves

ISBN: 9781478320418

AUTHOR: James Michael Larrinaga

GENRE: Mystery/Thriller


FORMAT: Adobe DRM edition


REVIEW BY: Dhivya Balaji

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Another net-galley offering.


A thrilling novel set in the backdrop of corporate companies, a cold climate and even colder criminals and a deranged protagonist, ‘In the Company Of Wolves’ proves to be a page turner for odd reasons. Much like a cloudy evening with a slight mist, the book moves at a slow pace but still manages to interest the reader enough to be a page turner.

          Hallucinations are the main concept dealt with in the book. The protagonist is joining his job as an intern on the prestigious viatical settlement firm. He soon learns more about the job than he bargained for. With thrilling comparisons to the wolf pack, the insurance world and its inhabitants are just as calculating and shrewd as a pack of wolves. There is the alpha boss, his beta right hand security man, and the underdog omega wolf that is looking for a chance to prove his mettle to the leaders.

          On his first day at his new job, Quin Lighthorn witnesses a death—unsure whether it was a murder or a forced-due-to-circumstance shooting. The mirage of safety slowly dissolves as more and more secrets of the company are divulged. The mysterious disappearance of two former employees at the company is still not investigated and the company is busying itself to capture a big settlement worth ten million dollars, looking for investors who would cash in on the life insurance of an already dying person.

          The protagonist finds too many warning calls from mysterious ravens that appear only to him and he decides to play the Good Samaritan to the lady whose policy is being fought upon. Because of one secret he knows, or rather suspects. Convinced though he is that he is doing the right thing in protecting her, the subject proves to be difficult to convince. Sooner than he imagined, Quin is asked to find investors for the big settlement and he chooses to cash in on this opportunity.

          With the ignored underdog, Quin hatches a plan to save both the lady and his investor’s money. But before long, in a quite dramatic twist, his dark past catches up with him and he is forced to go into running. How he manages to achieve his goal of saving the innocent and how he manages to bring justice forms the rest of the story. The book emphasises all through, the concept of “The end justifies the means”

WHAT I LIKED: the thrilling scenes, setting, insights into the Indian culture, delusional but do-gooder protagonist, excellent placement of twists scattered throughout the book.

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER: confusing storyline, unsatisfying finish (but quite practical), teetering towards the surreal sometimes.

VERDICT: read this one on a thoroughly rainy afternoon if twists and page turners are your forte. Wait for the sequel for better grasp.