Sunday, February 14, 2016

My Last Love Story V-DAY EXCERPT

Happy Valentine's Day, My Dears!

And because you deserve a gift besides my ongoing love and thanks, here's a peek-a-boo at...

Quick #MLLS FAQs: 
This novel is not like WORDFREAK or the BEAST
It's a romance, but it's not light or flirty. I like to describe it as a cross between P. S. I Love You with the husband still alive and a desi version of Me Before You.

Note: The title My Last Love Story is not a karmic statement. I will write many, many more love stories for a long, long time.
Release date: May 2016

Stay tuned for more news, contests, giveaways and general shenanigans HERE

INFO ABOUT #TellMeALoveStory Contest HERE

Now without further ado, I bring you My Last Love Story

Chapter 1

“Love is a dish best served naked.”

As a child, those oft-quoted words of my father had me rolling my eyes and pretending to gag at what I’d imagined was my parents’ precursor to a certain physical act. At thirty, I’ve long realized that getting naked wasn’t a euphemism for sex.

Neither was love.

It wasn’t my father wording the meme just now but my husband. Nirvaan considered himself a great wit, a New Age philosopher. On the best days, he was, much like Daddy had been. On the worst days, he was my tormentor.

“What do you think, Dr. Archer, interesting tagline for a vlog? What about ‘Baby in a Petri Dish’?” Nirvaan persisted in accruing a response from the doctor and/or me for his ad hoc comedy, which we’d been ignoring for several minutes now.

I wanted to glare at him, beg him to shut up or demand that he wait in the doctor’s office like he should’ve—like a normal husband would have. Khodai knows why he’d insisted on holding my hand through this preliminary check up. Nothing of import would happen today—if it did at all. But I couldn’t perform any such communication, not with my eyes and mouth squeezed shut while I suffered through a series of uncomfortable twinges along my nether regions.

I lay flat on my back on a spongy clinic bed sheeted with paper already wrinkled and half torn. Legs drawn up and spread apart, my heels dug punishingly into cold iron stirrups to allow my gynecologist’s clever fingers to reach inside my womb and check if everything was A-Okay in there. We’d already funneled through the Pap test, stomach and chest checks, and like them, this test too was going swell in light of Dr. Archer’s happy approving hums.

“Excellent, Mrs. Desai. All parts where they should be,” he joked only as a doctor could.

I shuddered out the breath I’d been holding, as the feeling of being stretched left my body. Nirvaan squeezed my hand and planted a smacking kiss on my forehead. I opened my eyes, focused on his beaming upside-down ones. His eyelids barely grew lashes anymore—I’d counted twenty-seven in total just last week—the effect of years of chemotherapy. For a second, my gaze blurred, my heart wavered and I almost cried, “What are we doing, Nirvaan?” What in Khodai’s name were we starting?

Nirvaan stroked my hair, his pitch-black pupils steady and knowing and oh-so-stubborn. Then his face rose to the stark white ceiling and all I saw was the green and blue mesh of his gingham shirt—the overlapping threads, the crisscross weaves, a pattern without end.

Life is what you make it, child—another one of my father’s truisms.

So, I swallowed the questions twirling on my tongue and focused instead on why I was here. I’d promised Nirvaan this if he agreed to another round of cancer-blasting treatments. I'd bartered for a few more months of his life. He'd bartered for immortality through our child.

Dr. Archer rolled away from between my legs to the computer station. He snapped off and disposed the latex gloves and began typing up notes in soundless staccato clicks. Though the examination was finished, I knew better than to sit up until he gave me leave. I’d been here before. Done this before, two years ago, when Nirvaan had been in remission and the idea of having a baby had wormed its way into his head. We’d tried the most basic procedures then, whatever our medical coverage had allowed. We hadn’t been desperate yet to use our own money. Which we shouldn’t be touching even now—we needed every penny we had for emergencies and alternative treatments—but try budging my husband once he’s made up his mind.

I’m a businessman, Simi. I only pour money into a sure thing, he rebuked when I argued.

I brought my legs together, manufacturing what poise and modesty I could, and pulled the sea green hospital gown bunched beneath my bottom across my half-naked body. I refused to look at my husband as I wriggled about, positive his expression would be pregnant with irony if not fully smirking, and kudos to him for not jumping in to help me like I would’ve. The tables had turned on us today. For the past five years, it had been Nirvaan thrashing about on hospital beds, trying in vain to find relief and comfort, modesty or release. Nirvaan, who’d been poked, prodded, sliced and bled as he battled aggressive Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I’d been the stoic spectator, the supportive wife, the incompetent nurse, the ineffectual lover.

And now? What role was I to play now?

As always, thinking about our life left me feeling even more naked than I was in the open-fronted robe. I turned my face to the wall, my eyes stinging, as fear and frustration bubbled to the surface. Flesh-toned posters of laughing babies, pregnant mothers and love-struck fathers hung from the bluish walls. Side by side were the more educative ones of human anatomy, vivisected and whole. The test-tube-like exam room of Monterey Bay Fertility Clinic was decorated in true California beach colors—sea foam walls, sandy floors, pearl-pink curtains and furniture—bringing the outdoors in. If the decor was meant to be homey or home-like, it wasn’t having that effect on me. This room, like this town and this country, was not my natural habitat and I felt out of my element in it.

I’d lived in California for seven years now—ever since my marriage—and I still didn’t think of it as home. Not like Nirvaan did. Home for me was India. And no matter the dark memories it held, home would always be Surat.

“All done.” Dr. Archer pushed the computer trolley away and stood up, smiling. “You can get dressed, Mrs. Desai. Take your time. Use whatever supplies you need. We’ll wait for you in my office,” he said none too soon.

Gooseflesh had erupted across my skin due to the near frigid clinic temperatures that doctors tortured their patients with—like a patient didn’t have enough to suffer already. Medical facilities maintained cool indoor temperatures to deter inveterate germs from contaminating the premises and so it’s vast flotilla of equipment didn’t fry. I knew that. But knowing it still didn’t inspire any warm feelings in me for the throng of professional sadists with a god complex. I quoted my husband there.

Nirvaan captured my attention with a pat on my head. “See you soon, baby,” he said, preceding the doctor out of the room.

I scooted off the bed as soon as the door shut behind them. My hair tumbled down my face and shoulders at my jerky movements. I smoothed it back with cold, shaking hands. Long, wavy and of a deep chestnut shade, my hair was my crowning glory. My one and only feature that was lush and arresting. Nirvaan loved my hair. I wasn’t to cut it or even braid it in his presence, and so it often got hopelessly knotted.

I shrugged off the clinic gown, balled it up and placed it on the bed. I wiped myself again and again with antiseptic wipes, baby wipes and paper towels until the tissues came away stain-free. I did not faint. I didn’t allow myself to freak. I concentrated on the flow of my breath, the pounding of my heart, until they both slowed to normal.

It’s okay. It was oh-kay.

I reached for my clothes, slipped on my underwear. They were beige with tiny white hearts on them—Victoria’s Secret lingerie Nirvaan had leered and whistled at this morning. Silly man! Typical Nirvaan, I corrected with an eye roll.

Even after dressing in red-wash jeans and a full-sleeved sweater, I felt cold. My womb still felt invaded and odd. As I stepped into my red patent leather pumps, an unused Petri dish on the workstation countertop caught my eye. Is that what had triggered Nirvaan’s impromptu comedy? Despite major misgivings about the Hitleresque direction my life seemed to be taking, humor got the better of me and I grinned.

Silly man! Baby in a Petri Dish, indeed!


One thing I’ve come to love and respect about doctors is their ability to remain unruffled in the most bizarre circumstances.

A large mahogany work-desk headlined the length of Dr. Archer’s office. I took my seat, my stomach twisted into Twizzlers. Nirvaan sat on my right, gregarious and talkative like always, as if all was right in his world. As if he had every right to reweave the very fabric of my existence forever and ever. But there was an animation in him today I hadn’t seen for some time now, and I let that wash over my qualms. If I overlooked the thinning hair, the tired curve of his spine and the melting muscle beneath his shirt, he almost looked like the man I’d married.

For better or worse, Simi. I can’t say no to you.

He’d always been there for me. Always. No matter what I’d asked of him. Did he not deserve the same courtesy from me?

My husband caught me staring. He winked, grinning wolfishly, and my lips responded to his charm with a helpless smile.

Dr. Archer cleared his throat and began his spiel. He skimmed over our options, from the cost-effective natural fertilization via Intra Uterine Insemination to the more expensive ICSI—Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection. A method that involved injecting a single sperm—Nirvaan’s—directly into my extracted egg in order to fertilize it. He explained how my eggs would be extracted and the zygote reintroduced into my womb for gestation.

I loved that he spoke directly to me. He addressed Nirvaan only sporadically. Childbearing was a woman’s prerogative, after all. Though in my case, I’d hardly use the word prerogativeCoerced would be more apt.

My fingers hurt as I gripped the armrests of my chair. I wasn’t ready to be a mother. Not yet. Maybe I’d never be. The thought of being responsible for another person’s health and security scared me like nothing else. Nirvaan knew that. Or he ought to know it. I’d thought of children as waves crashing over a distant horizon. I’d discussed…or no, we’d never discussed having a baby, Nirvaan and I. Not before we got married. Not after. Not until Nirvaan was diagnosed with cancer and the option of freezing his sperm before his first chemo came up—a treatment that had left him irreversibly sterile.

I didn’t want to deny my husband his wish. But I did not want a baby. Not now. Not when our lives were in flux again.

“You have a good chunk of information to sort through.” Dr. Archer wound down at last. The walls in his office weren’t the calming colors of the Pacific Ocean. They were the no-nonsense white of his doctor’s coat. “Meanwhile, we’ll start monitoring your cycle. You need to come in for a detailed consult next week, Mrs. Desai. We’ll do blood work, a preliminary ultrasound. Narrow down the best route for you. Prescribe medications for maximum ovarian stimulation and so forth.” He glanced at his desktop monitor. “I have Monday afternoon and Thursday morning open. Or, you can call my assistant for later dates.”

“Monday’s great,” replied Nirvaan when I pretended to scroll through my largely appointment-less phone calendar.

Monday was only three days away. I could be pregnant by the end of the month.

My husband might be dead this time next year.

My breath turned to stone in my lungs. The white walls of the doctor’s office shrank. I thought I’d finally scream.

“Call whenever you’re ready.” Dr. Archer’s words were kind. His pale blue eyes were kinder. “Call if you have any questions. Any doubts. Your youth really is in your favor, and its not infertility we’re dealing with in your situation but extenuating circumstances. Even though we have a limited amount of your husband’s sperm to work with, we have an excellent success rate, Mrs. Desai. Rest assured.”

Hysteria bubbled up in my throat. He thought I was worried this wouldn’t work. How do I confess to him, to anyone, that I was petrified it would?

~ ~ ~

And that's the end of the excerpt from My Last Love Story. 

Don't forget to check out #TellMeALoveStory Contest for a chance to WIN some money...or ALL MY BOOKS.

SPOTLIGHT on Last Vacation by Sarah Elle Emm

About the Book:
Seven days have passed since Naples real estate agent Megan MacKenna has heard from her twin sister, Madeline, who was vacationing on the beautiful, Caribbean island of St. Croix. Though authorities are not convinced there is a case to solve, Megan knows with all of her heart something happened to Maddy. When Megan receives a direct warning to leave the island or end up like her sister, she turns to the only person who has taken her seriously since she arrived, Gabe, a breakfast cook at a local diner. 

Undercover DEA agent, Gabriel Walker has been building his cover for months, waiting for the opportunity to work his way into the infamous Torrez crime ring. When Megan shows up asking questions and Gabe realizes her twin’s disappearance might be linked to the Torrez men, he has to convince her to go back to Florida before she becomes their next victim. 

The closer Megan gets to the truth, the more Gabe begins to suspect he is missing a huge piece of the puzzle. And someone is closing in on Megan…

Buy Links:

Fun Fact:

I grew up visiting the island of St. Croix with my family. As an adult, I lived in the U.S. Virgin Islands, on both St. Croix and St. Thomas. I always wanted to write a fiction story that took place there, but I never took the time to write it until recently.


Megan peered out at the vast expanse of ocean gleaming in the bright morning sunshine before her. The turquoise waters seemed to go on forever. From the Caribbean Airways in flight map, she had noted theislands of Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. John were in the far off distance. She had been told a faint view of the densely populated St. Thomas could sometimes be seen on a perfectly clear day, but no matter how she strained her eyes, she couldn’t quite see it today.

Had Maddy hopped on a sailboat and continued her travels to another island as the police officer had suggested? It wasn’t like Maddy not to check in. Her cell phone had been going straight to voice mail since the last photo Maddy had sent, and according to the cell company, the cell phone was out of service range. Something had happened to her sibling. The last communication with Maddy had been an unexplained picture of an iguana. No message, no text, nothing. Just an enormous, slimy, dragon-resembling lizard. Megan sunk her head to her chest. Where in the world was her sister?

“Everything okay, Miss?”

Startled from her hopeless thoughts, Megan sat upright at the sound of the low voice. Her eyes scanned the length of the man standing before her, and she pursed her lips together. She guessed he was probably about six-foot-two.

As she sat silently, observing him, the man repeated his question, “Are you okay?” His tone bordered on cautious, but concerned.

“Everything’s fine,” she finally managed with a tight voice.

With a smile, his concern faded away, and he reached behind his back to untie a grease-spotted apron. He folded the apron up, pulled out a chair at the table right next to Megan’s, about a foot and a half from her, and sat down.

An internal alarm went off, making Megan feel extremely uncomfortable with his proximity, and she fidgeted with her hands as he stared at her, finally forcing them into her lap. How could a voice so soothing go with a gruff-looking character like him? And what in the world was he doing sitting down so close to her?

About the Author:

Sarah Elle Emm is the author of the HARMONY RUN SERIES, a young-adult fantasy and dystopian series, released in May 2012 by Winter Goose Publishing. (PRISMATIC, May 2012, OPALESCENT, February 2013, CHATOYANT, September 2014, NACREOUS, August 2015) Her debut fiction novel, MARRYING MISSY, was published by Bird Brain Publishing in October 2011. Sarah is a graduate of The University of Evansville, she has lived and worked in Mexico, Germany, England, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and has traveled extensively beyond. Sarah lives in Naples, Florida with her family. When she’s not walking the plank of her daughters’ imaginary pirate ship or snapping photos of Southwest Florida scenery, she is writing.

Stalk the Author:
Website I Facebook I Twitter I Goodreads I Amazon Author Page

Saturday, February 13, 2016


#TellMeALoveStory Contest will run from Valentine's Day 2016 to March 15, 2016.

TWO WINNERS and a choice of PRIZES

$50 Amazon/PayPal gift card OR All 4 of my books, signed.
$25 Amazon/PayPal gift card OR a signed ARC copy of My Last Love Story + Bootie and the Beast.

How to Enter and Win #TellMeALoveStory Contest:

  1. Write a Love Story of 250 words or less. OR
  2. Take/find a photo that tells a Love Story. OR
  3. Create an uplifting Love Story meme or GIF, combining words and image. 
You can do one or all three. Just be creative. Then, upload the love story and/or photo on Facebook and/or Twitter. 

  1. Visit and Like Falguni Kothari Author Page
  2. Post your love story and/or your photo and tag it #TellMeALoveStory
  3. Tag Falguni Kothari in your post, so I can track your entry. 
  1. Visit and follow @F2Tweet
  2. Tweet your love story and/or photo and tag it #TellMeALoveStory
  3. Tag me @F2Tweet so I can see your tweet
And that's it! Participating in #TellMeALoveStory Contest is that simple, folks.
Remember. Share your post. Generate likes and comments. Share on Pinterest and Instagram, if you want. But be aware that only the posts on Facebook and Twitter will be considered in the drawing of the winner.

#TellMeALoveStory Contest will run from Valentine's Day 2016 to March 15, 2016.

Who will determine Winner 1?
YOU: The Love Story post with the maximum likes, re-tweets and/or positive comments will win.

Who will determine Winner 2?
ME: as per my whim and fancy :)

***Some basic rules***
  • Be respectful of the public platforms and adhere to your common sense.
  • Posts that are in any way offensive to me or anyone else will be deleted and disqualified.
  • This contest is run by Falguni Kothari only, and is open worldwide.
  • Winners will be determined by March 16th and contacted via Facebook or Twitter for prize distribution.
Now scram. Go write that love story. Click a picture. Go viral. Make me happy. And win a prize.

Keep abreast of such contests, giveaways, deals and news by joining my mailing list HERE

Friday, February 12, 2016

Genre Hopping: A Pro/Con List by KATANA COLLINS

Genre Hopping: A Pro/Con List

Writers spent a lot of time in their heads. This might seem like an obvious statement, but it is no less important. Because while lost in those thoughts, many different ideas surface for many different kinds of books. Now, maybe this isn't for all writers. Maybe you’re sci-fi author and every budding book idea takes place within your genre. But if you are anything like me, your ideas run the gamut. One morning I might wake up having dreamt about writing an epic fantasy novel. But by that same afternoon, the story of the contemporary woman stuck in a haunted house might be consuming my thoughts.
Hopping genres can many times be viewed as a no-no. And we authors are faced with the challenge: do we follow our Muses wherever they may lead us? Or do we follow industry advice and stick to the genre our readers expect?

Now I think it's important to point out that this biased against genre hopping is fading more and more these days. It is way more acceptable now to write within new genres than it was before. I know that I as a reader will follow an author that I love into whatever worlds she or he wants to take me in. Especially in romance writing, I believe that genre hopping is less taboo.

In my short time as an author, I've bounced between writing paranormal romance, contemporary romance, erotic suspense, and soon adding to that lis—new adult. Granted, these are all still under the romance umbrella, but occasionally I've had to fight to keep using the same name for all of my books.

There are any number of reasons why an author would skip genres. For me, it was a matter of inspiration. Sometimes I just need a break from whatever world I've been writing in. For some authors, it might be a matter of diversifying, reaching new readers. For others, it may be a monetary choice. Whatever your reasons, there are pros and cons to each side.


Inspired Writing Yields Faster Results
This one’s pretty obvious. If you’re following your passion to tell a new sort of story and enjoying what you’re writing, chances are you’ll produce faster. And this inspired work may be your best writing yet.

Wider Reaching Readership
Switching from erotic suspense to new adult is a big jump, but it’s certain to bring in a wider, newer readership. Any time you branch out into a new genre, you are likely to engage and gain new readers. The key is keeping these new readers!

Much like a stock portfolio, diversifying your assets is always smart. Genres (especially in romance) ebb and flow in popularity. If you put all your eggs in one genre basket and then that genre hits a lull, sales might take a hit. But if you've diversified and have published books in different genres (or perhaps just have them finished and ready to submit to editors and agents), then you will have other potential income generators (maybe even in a genre that’s taking off!).

Keeping it Fresh
Creativity is a tool. And like any tool, you need to keep them sharpened, clean, and active so that they don’t rust out. By writing various genres, we are working out different areas of our brain and creativity. New ideas and new genres can keep us fresh and even enhance, influence, and inspire other stories.


Spreading Yourself Too Thin
By bouncing around too much, agents, publishers, readers, and industry folks might view you as flighty. Particularly if you’re not balancing the more strenuous writing schedule well and not meeting your deadlines.

Potential to Alienate Your Readers
I think this is one of my personal fears. So far, my readers have been amazing. They read the descriptions of the books I’m writing and if something’s not their cup of tea, they don’t (seem to) hold it against me. However, there is the potential for readers to pick up one of your books expecting a fast paced erotic thriller only to find a small town romance and be wildly disappointed—or even feel betrayed (particularly in romance when switching the heat levels of your sex scenes).

One easy work around for this is writing under a different name. Many, many authors choose this route when writing something vastly different than their known genre—JK Rowling, Nora Roberts, Sophia Kinsella, to name a few.

Higher Demands
This one goes hand in hand with spreading yourself too thin. The thing about writing is, when you do it successfully, you should be creating more of a demand for your writing within that genre. And if you’re now writing in four different genres, especially if you write series genre like I do, you need to be able to sustain a  schedule of delivery for each genre so not to lose or disappoint your loyal readers.

So, to wrap this all up, genre hopping is great for some people. I tend to be most productive when I’m writing two stories at once. But not everyone can do that. The key is to really keep readers in mind. If you have been writing erotica but you have a great idea for a young adult book? I still think you should write it…. but perhaps new branding or a new pseudonym is in order because of the age difference in readers.

Write on and enjoy! Maybe I’ll see you soon in Regency England or in a futuristic post-apocalyptic society soon!

Interested in winning a paperback edition of Capturing You by Katana Collins? Sign up for her newsletter HERE and be entered to win with the next email blast!  

Katana Collins is lucky enough to love her day job almost as much as she loves writing. She splits her time evenly between photographing boudoir and newborn portraits and writing steamy romances in a variety of genres -- paranormal, contemporary, new adult and suspense.
She bounces between living in New York and Portland, Maine, with an ever-growing brood of rescue animals: a kind of mean cat, a very mellow chihuahua, and a very not mellow lab puppy... oh yeah, there's a husband somewhere in that mix, too. She can usually be found hunched over her laptop in a cafe, guzzling gallons of coffee, and wearing fabulous (albeit sometimes impractical) shoes.

Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @katanacollins