Tuesday, November 24, 2015


On Author’s Circle today, meet author and doctor, Madhu Vajpayee, to talk about writing, life and her book, 

Hi Madhu! Thanks for dropping in and letting us have a peek into your life.

So, what’s SEEKING REDEMPTION about?
MV: The literal meaning of Redemption is “the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil.” My book besides being a love story deals with caste based reservation and corruption in the country. And the main characters of the book seek to redeem themselves from such an error that has the potential to destroy their future. PAUSE. Sorry, little heavy stuff but don’t worry, story is weaved around the central theme of love that can lighten any situation.

What’s your favorite line from your latest novel? Why?
MV: “She concluded that to be able to live without regrets, one has to let go of life that one has planned to give space to the life which has been destined.”
Somehow I feel that to be happy, we should learn to flow with the current of life rather than unnecessary getting miserable by countering it or complaining about it.  Not that we should not try to get what we want but if it’s not achieved, we should move on and enjoy whatever life has to offer.

Do you have any strange writing habits?
MV:Scribbling spontaneous writing ideas and thoughts that springs to my mind at the back of the book that I am reading. Also, at times, trying to write on the notepad of the phone while waiting at red-light while driving and then suddenly realizing that it has already turned green when get honked by the following vehicle.

What does your day look like?
MV: It used to be very hectic when I was working full time as a medical doctor but since I have opted for part time work it’s much relaxed and carefree giving me ample opportunity to write.

What’s your favorite book by another author, and why?
MV: Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It’s such a beautiful love story in a setting where you would least expect it to be. Perhaps because I belong to medical profession and I have seen hoe disappointing a cancer diagnosis could be. And in this story, the two young adults who are suffering from it are celebrated rather than being pitied upon. Their love blooms in spite of all the limitations. Its victory of their spirits over suffering.

If your book becomes a movie whom would you want to play the hero and the heroine?
MV: Perhaps Aditya Roy Kapoor as Aman, Shraddha Kapoor as Meera and Shahid Kapoor as Abhay!!!

How did you become a writer? In other words, tell us YOUR STORY.
MV: Perhaps one doesn’t become a writer. One is born as a writer. Passion for the writing can remain dormant or unexecutable for the time being but ultimately it has to be expressed. Precisely that is what happened to me. Although being a medical doctor living in a different universe, I always loved writing. The words that only had space in my heart or notebooks, diaries or computers eventually got life once I found the courage to give them a face that world could see and this is when my first book Seeking Redemption happened.

What is your best marketing tip?
MV: Not much idea except that “Don’t give up, just keep going”!!

Why write what you write? As in romance or suspense or thrillers?
MV: I love to experiment with different genre, preferable drama but love remains the core of my writings. Love is an essence of our existence and no one can remain unaffected by it. It may not necessarily be all the time romance only but any kind of love and care between any relationships for I believe that love is an enigma, that can never be solved and one can write infinite volume about the mystery that it is…… Why you love someone? What you can’t give up? Why you go through what all you go through?

Is there a certain scene you find difficult to write? Eg: Racy or action etc.? Why?
MV: Great question! I dread writing action sequence or any fight scene. Most of all I avoid them like anything but sometimes it’s imperative to include them for the sake of the plot. Ask me how I feel at those moments, I try to visualize the scene but it’s so difficult to give it a form!! I can’t explain why….perhaps I am just not good at that.

Is your writing character-driven or plot-driven?
MV: I would say, both! Although I start with a fairly well defined plot, sequences and the ending while at the same time creating the characters who are synced with the plot but most of the time I have realized that characters acquire life of their own and start demanding attention. The role is reversed, instead of me directing them, they start directing me.

Naturally, in part you are all your characters (they come from your head) but which of your characters is the most like you? Or resonates in you the most? Why?
MV: I would say Meera, the heroine of my book Seeking Redemption. Although the story of her journey, specific events of her life, problems faced by her was not exactly mine but her principles, belief and faith are mine. I saw myself in her dilemmas, in her pain, in her loss, in her triumph against her own demons.

What do you wish to convey through your writing?
MV: Love is a powerful force that shapes our lives. It’s not only happiness, ecstasy and dreams but also the pain, suffering, vulnerabilities and loss. As I said earlier, whatever I write, the central theme remain would remain love. And I wish to convey how love can transform our lives in different ways. Besides that I like to highlight the social evils still plaguing our beautiful country.

What can we expect from you next?
MV: I have already completed my next book, ‘I Owe You One’ that’s again a romantic-drama where I have tried to focus on Hindu-Muslim harmony as well as the divide in the country. Finger-Crossed, it’s under consideration for publication. The next that I am currently working on is a pure romantic story where nothing except love is felt, lived, suffered and eventually conquered. I am really enjoying writing it. To my surprise, most out of all three until now.

To end let's try a Rapid Fire round. Your answer should be the first word/s that pops into your head when you think of:

LIFE: Flowing River
PASSION: Go for it! That is where your salvation lies….
HERO: Be the hero of your own life!
LOVE: Essence of life!
HATE: We don’t need it!

Thank you, Madhu for being here and talking to me. It was fun!


Story of a girl Meera, who is unwittingly drawn into a conflict from where she finds it difficult to emerge unscathed. It's her journey from being a simple, medical graduate belonging to a middle class family to the uncharted territories of corruption and caste based politics. Her path is crossed by the two men, both compelling yet completely contrasting characters, who are forever going to change her life. If it is Aman who can challenge her ideals and defy her resolves, and makes her the person she finally becomes, it is Abhay's sublime love which enables her to go through the vicissitudes of life. It's also the story of her loss as well as triumph against her own demons to find her true self.




Dr. Madhu Vajpayee- the writer was born somewhere in those hospital corridors where she has spent the last two decades of her life. Witnessing life at such close quarters pushed her to capture its enigma in her words and slowly it became her passion. After writing several scientific papers and chapters in books, this book is her first step in literary world. 
Having done her graduation, MBBS from King Georges Medical University (KGMU), Lucknow she went ahead to pursue her post-graduation, MD from AIIMS, New Delhi. She was a consultant at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi having been associated with management of patients living with HIV/AIDS. She is now settled in Melbourne, Australia with her family, where she is devoting most of her time to writing, the passion that she couldn’t pursue earlier because of the demands of medical profession and commitment it requires.
When not creating stories, Madhu enjoys reading and travelling.

Contact the Author:

Monday, November 23, 2015


Author F T Camargo describes the settings in 

Shanti and the Magic Mandala.

This is a YA novel, it is a multicultural story with a mystical approach. 
The book is an adventure where fantasy and reality mingle. It tells the story of six teenagers coming from different cultural and religious backgrounds and from different parts in the planet. They are mystically recruited through a single alliance beginning a frantic chase for the sacred object that can stop the black magicians final plan. 
I visited all the places I have mentioned in the book and loved them. I am addicted to adventures. Also I did lots of studies in related areas in the book, such as mythology, astrology, sacred geometry, numerology, the kabbalah etc. As I’m a travel addict and we live in a globalized era, I decided to use different countries I have been to around the world, which could be involved in the same adventure. I find New York such a great, democratic and multicultural city for the plot to happen. I’ve been going to New York constantly since I was 16 and I really know the city well.
I have done a big research in Peru. I have planned a previous itinerary whose locations I would use in the plot. I have also traveled to Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Brazil. I have also lived many of the adventures narrated in the book, such as camel ride, trekking in the mountains, camping in the desert and so on… 
I will keep traveling to all the cities my future books will happen in. One of the most important features of my books is that the plot happens in many different countries. In fact I have already done a great research in other countries for my next book…

About the Book:
Shanti and the Magic Mandala is an adventure in which fantasy and reality are mingled. The book tells the story of six teenagers, from different religious and cultural origins and different parts of the world, who are mystically recruited to form two groups - one in the Northern Hemisphere, and one in the Southern. They eventually gather in Peru, and through a single alliance, begin a frantic chase for the sacred object that can stop the black magician's final plan.

Read an Excerpt:

Shanti was the first to smell the smoke. She paused in her frantic packing. “Do you smell something burning?”
“Yes, I do,” Lelê said, worried.
It was getting noticeably hotter in the room. “Look, there’s smoke coming in under the door!” Antônio cried. Black smoke was slowly seeping beneath the door and into the room. Lelê ran to the window.
“The door won’t open,” Shanti said, struggling with the lock.
“Neither will the window.” Lelê was close to tears.
“Let me try, Shanti.” Antônio grasped the doorknob, applying his strength to it. Even as he fought with the lock, the smoke and the heat were rising.”
“They did it. We're stuck in here,” Helena said, coughing.
Antônio hammered on the wall. “Nasir! Itai! Tadao! Help us!”
“They want to kill us,” Lelê cried, shaking with fear.
Looking intently at Helena, her voice ringing with determination, Shanti declared, “But we’re not going to let them succeed!”
“Get away from the door,” Antônio said, kicking at it.
Hearing Antônio's call for help, Nasir and Itai had rushed to the door, only to find it locked. Tadao tried the window. “It won’t open,” he said, fearful. “The window's locked.”
“We can’t get out. What’s happening?” Nasir said, with an edge of panic.
“It’s black magic,” Itai said, trying to help Nasir break down the door.
Just then, an image of the book came into his mind. He ran over to his backpack, still on top of his bed and upended it shaking everything out.
Suddenly there was a loud noise, like an explosion — the door swung open. Flames and gouts of heavy, black smoke poured into the room. The whole hallway was on fire.
Tadao pushed at the window again, but it defied his efforts to open it.
Itai reached for his book. It was illuminated once again. He stood up and held the book with both hands, opening it. A bright light shone forth from the page it had opened on and he saw another name, formed with three Hebrew letters. Seitel, another of the 72 names of God. Itai knew that the Angel Seitel was able to create a protective shield. He closed his eyes, forming an urgent prayer, reaching out to connect with the angel, shutting out the mayhem around him for a few moments. Opening his eyes he gazed at the three letters from right to left for a few more precious seconds. Then he closed the book, replaced everything else in the backpack and hoisted it on his back. He picked up the book, holding it in his right hand. “Grab your backpacks and follow me.”
Nasir stared at him with an expression that clearly showed concern for his sanity “Itai?”
“Follow me,” Itai repeated with certainty.
“What? What do you mean?” Tadao almost shouted.
Nasir took his backpack and positioned himself behind Itai. “May Allah protect us!”
Watching Nasir, Tadao did the same. Itai took the closed book in both hands, pointing it towards the fire, as they approached the door. The book emitted an increasingly intense light. Gradually, a large shield began to form, surrounding the three boys.
“Wow! It's a light vehicle, a merkaba!” Nasir said, reverently, his gaze locked on the intense white light of the forming shield.
“Incredible!” Tadao said, forming his own silent prayer, Thank you, Lord Buddha.
Steadfastly Itai moved towards the door now engulfed by large flames. He advanced out of the room, into the hallway, the light shield in front of him, and as he moved, he created a clear path, the shield pushing away the flames, heat and smoke. He stopped in front of Shanti’s bedroom door. The wood was charred and blackened and the ancient lock had popped free, leaving the door swinging brokenly. Their friends had crowded at the back of the room, near the window, trying to get away from the thick, choking smoke. “Grab your backpacks! Get behind Nasir and Tadao!” Itai shouted.
“We’re coming!” Antônio said, grabbing his backpack and walking swiftly towards the door.
Lord Ganesha, please open those paths, Shanti prayed, putting all of her faith into the prayer.
Within moments, the three were in place. The light shield began to grow sideways, eventually forming a large cube of light, protecting all of them. They crossed the hall, safe from the flames. As they went down the stairs, they heard the roof collapsing behind them. The reception area had been completely destroyed by fire, but again they passed through the devastation completely shielded from the heat and flames. They reached the door leading to the outside. Itai wasted no time in pulling it open and they poured out of the burning building.
As soon as the last one of them stepped onto the street, the old pension began to collapse, turning into a huge bonfire.

About the Author:
F. T. Camargo is an Italian Brazilian living in Sao Paulo, Brazil. An award winning architect and author, he also studied Arts and Media and has a post degree in Economics and MBA in e-commerce. He is a vegetarian because of his love for all animals and has been deeply involved in causes for their protection and freedom. He is a world traveler adventurer, outdoor sports lover, speaks 4 languages and has published a travel book “Rio, Maravilha!”
For many years he has been practicing yoga and meditation and studying the Kabbalah. His exploration of spiritual teachings motivated a commitment to self-development which in turn created a new path and goal in life. Shanti and the Magic Mandala was born from his inner journey.

Contact the Author:

Awards & Recognition for the Book:
- Winner of 2014 London Book Festival in the category “Young Adult”.
- 2014 Moonbeam Children's Book Awards: Bronze Medal at “Young Adult Fiction – Spirituality” category
- 2014 New England Book Festival in Boston:  Honorable Mention in the category “Young Adult”.
- Winner of 2015 Paris Book Festival in the category “Young Adult”.
- Winner of 2015 International Book Awards in the category “Fiction / Young Adult”.
- Winner of 2015 New York Book Festival in the category “Young Adult”.
- 2015 Los Angeles Book Festival – Runner-up in the category “Young Adult”.
- 2015 San Francisco Book Festival – Runner-up in the category “Young Adult”.
- 2015 DIY Book Festival in Los Angeles: Honorable Mention in the category “Young Adult”.

Check out the Cover Reveal Event

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Achy-breaky BOOK LIST 2015

Here are the top 3 achy-breaky heart books I recommend you read...if you haven't already:

Why read it?
It'll make you cry and want to hug your lover. It'll make you want to live like there's no tomorrow.

Why read it?
So you see a world full of color and contrast. You get to know a woman who lives life on her own terms, and isn't afraid to spend it alone.

Why read it?
Because it'll break your heart. Because it celebrates love in all its ugliness. Because you'll love falling into it.

Next week, I'll recommend some SFF/ SFR books.

Saturday, November 7, 2015


~ Book Blast ~

About the Book:
The Third Yuga is slowly drawing to a close. Nam – the greatest Empire on Janani – is going to face some fierce winds of change. Seers foresee omens of death and destruction in the return of the Banished One – A God who will claim the ashes of this world as revenge. While out in the streets, rumours abound - of older forgotten powers stirring.

Caught in this maelstrom of a power struggle between Gods are three ordinary lives: General Fateh, the most celebrated soldier in Nam who starts to question his faith, Ishan – a gifted orphan who struggles to comprehend his destiny and Abhaya – a young monk in search of truths about this world. Their choices and actions will shape the destiny of this scarred world that becomes the playground for vindictive Gods.

In a world where Rakshasas arise out of left-over traces of Maaya and twilight forms the portal to countless worlds around us for Daityas and Yakshis to dance through, a God is only as powerful as those who believe.And when Gods rise, faith of men will be tested…And broken.

Buy Links:

eBook: Newshunt * Google Play

The Big Idea (Story of the inspiration behind Faith of the Nine)

Visualize a big planet. Like Jupiter. And the rings of Saturn thrown together, revolving slowly. Slow enough for our mind to comprehend that it is actually revolving. And the voice that booms out in the background claiming, “I AM….TIME!”
That is obviously an anthromorphic personification of time – but that is the scene I had in mind when I thought of the name of my series, Wheels of Janani. A ginormous wheel of time rolling along unstoppably towards the end of a world.
Indian mythology has this concept of the Trimurti – or a triumvirate of power. Focused on Three Gods who are entrusted with the cosmic functions of “creation”, “sustenance” and “destruction”. Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. And Vaishnavism claims that this yuga or epoch known as the Kali Yuga will end with the appearance of Kalki, the tenth avatar of Lord Vishnu – the world ending in an apocalypse leading away to the next yuga.
The world Janani is rolling on towards the end of its third yuga – and the Wheels of Janani or time portends an impending apocalypse that would destroy this world. A child of the Ancient Nine (an avatar – that is the descent of the divine to the material realm) is prophesied to be born into such a world on the brink of its destruction. While the over-arching theme is borrowed from the same concept as the end of Kali Yuga, I put a spin to this situation.
What if the prophecy is unclear? The avatar’s appearance in the world can either plunge the world into ashes and blood and destruction or save the catastrophe. And what is the cost of ‘saving’ the world? 
At the heart of the conflict of my series is religion. And digging a bit deeper, it’s emotional failings. Emotions for which we have no control over getting the better of reason and causing irrational behaviour leading to disastrous consequences.
So I set out to write about a thriving flourishing empire set in this world – built on a sequence of lies and deceit ruled by a set of high priests directly in communion with their God. A set of tyrannical paranoid rulers who would exterminate anyone not willing to believe their faith. Or practice Maaya (Magic!) born of the older tenets of faith.
Into this setting I slowly wanted to build the picture of a set of survivors who doggedly stick to older beliefs waiting for the arrival of the “prophesied” child who can save them. And the world. A set of unbelievers who start to question their faith and loyalty – and slowly discover a hidden set of reality.
Cue the bugles of war.
As we hurtle towards the end of this world, will the child of the Nine save Janani or speed up the prophecies of doom?

About the Author:
Sachin discovered Tolkien in his teens, alternative rock as a new adult and digital marketing in pretty much his late twenties. These still form a large wedge in his circle of life. Travel, radio and theatre have also figured in that ever-expanding and diminishing circle.

On perhaps a more prosaic note, he is an engineer from BITS Pilani and holds an MBA from Indian School of Business. Attribute the love for numbers and pie-charts to this. He is currently based in Bangalore and happily married to Harini. He spends an inordinately large amount of time chasing after his two dogs (who love the free life a bit too much) when he is not busy dreaming up fantasy worlds full of monsters. And beautiful Yakshis, of course.

He can usually be found ranting on twitter under the handle @xenosach, devouring books and talking about them on his blog. You can always stalk him online at his official website