Wednesday, May 18, 2016


Today, MBB welcomes Dayna Steele, who faced a situation many of us will have to one day, if we haven't done so already - caring for an elderly parent who is slowly forgetting who she is and what she's here for and even, who her kids are. Dayna faced the challenge with what she describes in her own words as 'friends, Facebook and a really big glass of wine'. Now her Facebook posts on what could have been seen as a tragic situation but turns into something which can be faced with love and even humour, are available for readers in book form.

What was your relationship with Alzheimer’s disease before your mother’s diagnosis? Did you have any preconceptions about the illness before you started this journey with her?
I like to think I am a fairly well educated and informed person. I knew what Alzheimer’s was and I knew it was called “The Long Goodbye.” Then the diagnosis – and I realized I had no idea how stressful, sad, irritating, confusing, etc this disease is. No one tells you the really rough stuff like the possible violence or cleaning up your own mother’s feces or any number of things like this. You also don’t realize how all encompassing it becomes physically and mentally until you actually have to live it.

 How did the support of your Facebook community impact you through this hard time?
Facebook became my support group. My Facebook community gave me ideas, information, suggestions and laughter and love. And, once I wrote a particularly hard post, I would let go of the negative emotions. It was very cathartic to write and share.

When did you get the idea to turn your Facebook posts into a book?
Literally when so many people started commenting. “I hope you put this in a book.” In fact, the first couple of pages in the book are those words of encouragement from so many followers.

What are you hoping readers will get out of Surviving Alzheimer’s?
Someone once said to me there isn’t a users’ manual on what to do or what is going to happen when you get this diagnosis. I hope this book does become the manual for what to do and how to do it for caregivers everywhere.

SURVIVING ALZHEIMERS - with Friends, Facebook and a really big glass of wine by Dayna Steele

With unfiltered observations and sometimes dark humor, author Dayna Steele chronicled her mother's journey with Alzheimer's on Facebook. This collection of Alzheimer's updates posted on the social media network includes biting humor and raw emotion as Dayna carries you from the diagnosis to the inevitable end. Also included are sections from a neurologist, Long Term Care insurance specialist, other caregivers, documents expert, elder care attorney, and an assisted living advisor. This is a journey way too many of us are going to experience in one way or another. If you have to experience Alzheimer's and chances are you will - do it like Dayna with love, wit, and wine. 

Get this book here:  Amazon

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Guest Post - Inspiration Chaos by Sumana Khan, author of ENCOUNTERS - SOMEONE IS ALWAYS WAITING

In my post on inspiration for Encounters (you can read it here), I touched upon the birth of each story. In this post, once again I’ve been asked to give my take on my inspiration for Encounters. So I thought I’ll focus on the sub-title – Someone’s Always Waiting.

This is going to be a nerdy post. I’m sure all of you have heard of Chaos Theory.  For the uninitiated, let’s start off with simple, predictable systems around us. For example, water boils at 100 deg Celsius. Irrespective of the initial temperature of the water – whether it was ice cold, at room temperature or  lukewarm – it reaches boiling point at 100 deg Celsius. That’s a predictable system. If you plot a graph of temperature of the water (y-axis) against time taken to reach boiling point (x-axis), you’ll probably see a neat slanting line, indicating that temperature increases linearly as time spent on the heat increases. This is an observable phenomenon all over the world. It is linear, predictable, and there is no randomness. In general Newtonian physics that is so ingrained in our education and everyday observation largely deals with such predictable systems. Thus, it is termed as deterministic – you are able to determine results based on past conditions. Or, given the present condition, you can deduce the past condition. You know that if you throw something out of the window, it will only go downwards. You can fairly guess how much force you have to exert to move the sofa. You can fairly predict the time you’ll take to get to a place, based on traffic conditions and how fast you can drive. All this gives us a sense of security. A false sense of power over our environment.

 However there are systems which are seemingly unpredictable. This is because the outcome of the system is extremely sensitive to the minutest parameters of its initial state. Even minute changes in the initial state of the system can cause disproportionately large results. For example, weather is a dynamic system. Unlike the boiling water, there is no saying two similar cloud patters will have the same results. Cricket. There’s no saying what’s going to happen in the next ball, even if you know the pitch, the swing in the ball, the stance of the batsman. Golf. Same story. Stock market. Same. So all these are nonlinear, dynamic systems. The batsman will not score proportionately increasing runs the longer he stands at the wicket – 2 runs in over 1, 4 in over 2 and so on. The chaos theory pertains to such systems. Mind you, it is not that these events are random – they only appear that way. Underneath all that randomness, they are still governed by laws of physics. It’s just that we are not advanced enough to take into account the million initial states, work out the permutations and combinations and predict accurately. This theory was first proposed by a meteorologist, Edward Lorenz. In 1972, He presented a lecture poetically titled as, “Predictability: Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?” (You can read it here). Thus, the notion of Butterfly Effect took shape.

I believe our lives are ruled by Chaos Theory. We are constantly facing options, sometimes binary, sometimes too many. Every time we make a choice, our lives are altered minutely. It’s like a massive maze – there are seemingly many paths to the exit.  Sometimes, the chaos is so overwhelming – there is too much noise, too much movement and we feel everything is beyond our control – bad relationships at home, at work, no results and so on. And suddenly, everything quietens up. Everything clicks as if a jigsaw puzzle has been rearranged. Everything makes sense. When we reflect on these episodes, we’ll be able to pinpoint a person, or a place, or a choice we made that set off changes in the right direction. Indeed, a change can also take place simply because one read a story floating on the internet, or heard a moving song. Which makes us question – is anything really random? Perhaps we were meant to meet every single person who came into our life – from close relationships to fleeting acquaintances. Some are pleasant, some unpleasant. But at some point, there is a sense of “it was meant to be.”

It is a notion that I believe strongly in. Consequently, how much ever “useless” or lonely one may feel, I do think there’s always a circuit waiting to be connected – where you find yourself at the doorstep of someone’s life, and knowingly or unknowingly your presence makes it better for them.  At the core of my stories, this is what I set out to “inspiration”! 

Someone's Always Waiting
Sumana Khan

ENCOUNTERS is a potpourri of five sumptuous stories involving a motley crew of protagonists. Skating along the borders of fantasy and paranormal themes, the stories track incredible and poignant journeys of self-discovery, tracing the cathartic aftermath of fleeting encounters.

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You can get this book directly from the Publisher


Sumana was born and raised in Bengaluru, Karnataka, where she went on to graduate with a BSc in Electronics, much to the surprise of her teachers, and relief of her parents. In what can only be described as a quirk of fate, she ended up as an IT consultant - a role she essayed for more than a decade. She then moved to the UK where she quit her job and pursued academic and literary interests. The result of this pursuit has been two Masters, one published book, quite a few manuscript drafts, and above all, being stone-broke perpetually.

She currently lives in the UK with her husband and several books.  

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Monday, May 16, 2016

SPOTLIGHT: RUKHSAT: The Departure by Sujit Banerjee

Where a story stops, another one begins. The thing with them is, they never walk alone. They always walk with a group of friends. Each reaches its own climax. Then with a final gasp of mortality and despair, fade away. No, they never die, they multiply. To the extent that the original gets lost and new ones are born. Over and over again. Yes, they get lost. No, they never die. They live on, permanently etched in the book of time. And from there, we borrow them and bring them alive. Again. And again. Here are twenty six of them, some standing alone and some chatting up with their long lost friends. When they depart, they leave a lingering fragrance of nostalgia and curiosity. What happened then?

Twenty-six alphabets, twenty-six names, and twenty-six short stories. Each exploring one unique emotion, taking you into the dark recess of the mind. Some frothy and most of them dark. Most standing alone and some facing a mirror, where the same story comes alive in two different ways, through two different protagonist . Meet myriad characters - from the single-minded prostitute to the man on the railways station bereft of any memory; a woman desperate for a biological child to a dead man's trial. Meet a jealous lover with a twisted brain and a gay man's memory of a one-night encounter. Meet twenty-six such characters arrested and sentenced for life inside the pages of a book. Each one leaving an indelible mark on your soul.

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Meet the Cast 
Abhimanyu – In the Beginning

I felt the poison of anger raging around me, inside me, pulsating like an entity; anger at the one who betrayed and the one who took advantage of this betrayal. The anger of not being able to stop both. Then the flash of knife and the flowing blood, shimmering in the flames of the torches inside the chamber. Screams followed by hushed voices; bodies being dragged down a flight of stairs. The sound of digging and burying. Later, ruins all around as empires fell and one intrigue chased another through time while swords sliced and arrows whiz past, seeking hearts. Who was I and what was all this about? Why were most of the images that flitted through my head always dark and tinged with red? Rarely, very rarely were they warm and loving. So rarely were they, ever like the sun shining on a cold and shivering memory.

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Born to Bengali parents in Lucknow, I grew up in Patna where I finished my post-graduation in Psychology and ended up becoming a tour operator instead of a Psychologist! Which was 
good since a Bengali born in UP and reared in Bihar does not make a great Psychologist! Am I now glad to be in tourism? It has taken me all over the world including places you would have never heard of. Eh? How about Tlacotalpan? It’s in Mexico.

Destiny had other plans as well so I became a reluctant healer. A crazy Shaman in Mexico set the ball rolling and it has rolled all the way to Delhi. Today I both heal as well as read Tarot cards. My wife thinks I am mad. My friends think I am weird. I guess I am both. 

My first story was published in a magazine when I was seventeen. The Editor made such a hash of it that I stopped sending out my stories but I continued writing. Then I broke my heart and started writing poems; first in Hindi and then in English. All personal collection. They still remain personal. I do shudder when I read some of them! Then the short stories came back and written over two years - now is a collection.

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A Dog Eat Dog-Food World 
C. Suresh
A Fablery Publications 


A hilarious pseudo-history of marketing management, which explicitly denies resemblance to any actual history, and which will be horrified if some semblance be found. ‘A dog eat dog-food world’ is the story of a man who discovered that the path of life is strewn with treadmills and, if you get on one by mistake, you could keep running all your life to stay in the same place. The story of how just minding your own business can lead to unexpected consequences, guided by the ‘invisible hand’ of long dead economists. Anything you learn from the book – be it the basics of marketing management or a satirical view of Society – you do at your own risk.

The tale only dogs the doings of Spike Fortune who only sought to feed dogs and Jerry Fortune who, being fortuneless, gets dragged helter-skelter by his uncle Spike’s careening pursuit of commercial success; Spike’s rival Tom Rich, who is unwillingly dragged into upstaging Spike and tries to do it by teasing the palates of cats, helped by the bumbling efforts of his nephew, Jasper Rich who would rather be chasing girls than chasing cats.

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Fiction has been an addiction but the need to make a living took Suresh through Chemical Engineering and a PGDM at IIM-Bangalore and, from thence, to a long 16 year stint in the area of finance with specific expertise in fertilizer subsidies and a further two years as consulting expert in the same area. That, in his words, about sums up the boring part of his life, except for the people he was privileged to meet.

Otherwise, he can be described as a mess of contradictions – a bookworm but avid trekker; alone but never lonely; enjoys solitude but loves company; lazy but a perfectionist, the litany is endless. Trekking, which side-tracked him from the writing for which he quit his job, is a major passion and he does, at least, one trek in the Himalayas every year in addition to numerous local treks.

He reignited his passion for writing with a fairly popular blog The blog has been rated among the Top 5 humour blogs in India, twice in succession - in 2014 and 2015 - by BlogAdda, and has also been listed third among the Top Humour Blogs by Baggout.

He also has a short story published in a collection “Uff Ye Emotions” and has edited and written a novelette in an ebook anthology “Sirens spell danger”

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Spotlight on Rachael Thomas - New Release THE SHEIKH'S LAST MISTRESS

Today's post is a day late owing to connectivity problems, but definitely worth the wait. MBB welcomes back Rachael Thomas, author of thrilling Harlequin contemporary romance, who has come to talk about her latest release, The Sheikh's Last Mistress, which is set in the equestrian world.

Rachael Thomas on the web:

Website      Blog     Facebook     Twitter       Goodreads

Where do you go for inspiration?
Inspiration is everywhere. It could be something someone said or a place I’ve visited which will spark off a new idea. Once I have the germ of an idea I file it away in my mind and let it grow. That’s the fun bit.

Where did you get the idea for this story?
I’d been to the local annual horse festival and had seen some spectacular stunt riding on magnificent horses and a sheikh with a problem horse slid into my mind. Then, a few days later, I heard the name Destiny on the radio and it immediately stirred my imagination and the sheikh’s horse whisperer heroine was born.

What’s your daily routine when writing?
As I also work on the family farm, having a routine is vital to being able to write. I spend an hour each morning, writing and then it’s time for farm jobs. I will then come back to my writing desk in the afternoon and spend as long as I can there.

Does life ever get in the way of writing? What do you do when it does?
Oh yes! I have to be firm with myself and make sure I schedule in time at my writing desk but sometimes it’s just not possible, so then I will take myself away for at least a few hours and find somewhere like a cosy cafĂ© to lose myself in the world of my characters. It’s the perfect escape.

Sum up new release in a Tweet
The past is hanging over Sheikh Zafir Al Asmari but can he let go of it for Destiny - the only woman he truly wants?


Promoted to Princess! 

Destiny Richards knows she is playing with fire when she accepts charismatic Sheikh Zafir Al Asmari's job offer, but it seems like a fair price to pay to start her life over again. Until the temperature reaches the boiling point and Destiny finds herself spending one out-of-this-world night with the sheikh! 

When powerful Zafir seduces English rose Destiny, he never anticipates she'll hold the title of his Last Mistress. But their scorching affair has shocking repercussions. Now, before their nine months are up, Zafir must convince Destiny to make their arrangement more permanent!
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Friday, April 22, 2016

THE PASSOVER SURPRISE by Janet Ruth Heller. a fiction novel for younger readers.

As a Christian who's had a lifelong fascination with the Jewish roots of my faith, I'm happy to celebrate the 2016 Passover by reviewing THE PASSOVER SURPRISE by Janet Ruth Heller. This book, written for children, is set  during the Passover time,  during the era when the Civil Rights movement in the USA was making an imprint on the consciousness of the modern world. While it's set in a particular culture, during a particular time and place, its message is, in fact, universal.

Get this book here: Amazon


Lisa and her younger brother are in competition to see who will win the brand new stamp album. Lisa's father's decision to give the album to her younger brother hurts her a lot. But she decides to win her father over to her point of view by learning to understand him better and speaking to him when the time is right. Meanwhile, the family prepares for the Passover Festival with great excitement and joy. This story celebrates positive traditions like family and religlious festivals, while promoting universal values like love, understanding, respect for elders and family. At the same time there's a firm but gentle insistence that daughters are just as valuable to a family as sons are. A truly delightful read which will resonate with young Jewish readers, while educating non-Jewish readers about the traditions of one of the world's oldest religious festivals. It's a short read, but beautifully and simply written.

This book is also highly recommended for people who are interested in learning more about the USA during the Civil Rights struggle.

Friday, April 15, 2016

An Autograph for Anjali - Spotlight on the new release from Indian Author SUNDARI VENKATARAMAN

Sundari Venkatraman


Jayant Mathur is found murdered in his bed, shot at point-blank range with his own revolver. Though she’s extremely disturbed by his death, Jayant’s wife Anjali is way more upset about something else. Who stands to gain by killing the multi-millionaire businessman?

Parth Bhardwaj is a friend and neighbour of the Mathurs. Parth is an author who goes by a pseudonym. He appears more than a friend to Anjali; while he’s also on good terms with her son Arjun who lives and studies in the UK. What role does he play in Anjali’s life? Jayant’s relatives are curious to know.

Jayant’s brother-in-law Rana is convinced that Parth and Anjali are the murderers. But Inspector Phadke has his own doubts about this theory. In comes Samrat, the private detective who appears as quiet as a mouse. Will he be able to find the murderer?

Will Anjali find happiness and peace?

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In 2014, Sundari self-published The Malhotra Bride (2nd Edition); Meghna; The Runaway Bridegroom; Flaming Sun Collection 1: Happily Ever Afters From India (Box Set) and Matches Made In Heaven (a collection of romantic short stories).

2015 brought yet another opportunity. Readomania came forward to traditionally publish this book - The Madras Affair - a mature romance set in Madras.

An Autograph for Anjali, a romance with a touch of suspense, is also a self-published novel. Going a step further, the author has published the paperback version through Notion Press.

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