Monday, 19 March 2018

Contemporary Romance in Indian Fiction

Recently I was invited by SheThePeopleTV to participate in a panel discussion on Contemporary Romance along with other authors at the Women Writers Fest. It was an interesting session and threw up some fascinating insights into how authors (and editors) approach the topic of romantic love in fiction writing.

Are darker themes replacing feel good romance? This was one of the issues that was debated.

Real life love stories often have a gritty edge to them. We read about women being stalked, being killed by jealous lovers. In the age of instant gratification and Tinder-dating, where does that leave romance and more importantly fictional romance? Is lust more relevant than love to readers?

The concept of romance has always been shaped by mainstream commercial movies and the classics. Romeo and Juliet is the ultimate love story and it ended in tragedy! But can it be classified as romance?  Love and romance, though often used interchangeably, they are actually not one and the same thing. Romance is what happens when a couple is sexually attracted to each other; it's the dating game, the push and pull of emotions, the surge of oxytocin. In 2012, researchers actually found high levels of oxytocin (often called the love hormone) in people who were in the first stages of romantic involvement.

Dating however is not an end in itself. Biologically, we are hard wired to find the perfect mate. Someone with whom we have that special bonding and without whom our lives would not be 'complete'. Call it what you will...but to me it sounds like Love. The subtext of it all is to find a Happily Ever After (HEA). And for that reason alone, HEA will never go out of fashion in contemporary fiction!

What are your thoughts on the issue? Please do share....

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Holi Book Launch - Sharvari by Ashvini

Hope you all had a fantastic Holi. May your life be painted with all the colors of Holi in the days and months to come.

On this festive occasion, here is a sneak peek into a romance novella written by Ashvini. Set in ancient India, Sharvari is the first standalone novella in the Royal Romance Collection. If you love intriguing and steamy romances with a guaranteed HEA, do grab your copy from Amazon

Sharvari (Book 1 of Royal Romance Collection)

Betrayed in love and war, Sharvari makes one final attempt to save her people by offering herself to the victorious rival King of Sindh, Brihadrath. The handsome king gives her hope of a new start. But life at her new home is ridden with challenges. While she is coping with a slew of palace intrigues and assassination attempts, the man from her past haunts her. Can Sharvari overcome the hurdles and find love again?


“Move!” The goad hit her shoulder. She heard another soldier forbid the first one from hitting her again. It did not matter. She had grown numb to the pain. The second soldier caught hold of her bound hands and yanked her back to her feet. Many pairs of eyes stared upon her dusky hued limbs, a feast to eyes, for the wolf skin tunic that had made for the most of her clothing had been cast off long before. Save for the ragged jute that covered her breasts and her loins, her youth was on a display.

Modesty was the last of things on her mind as her legs gathered whatever strength they could to walk in to the court. Her lips quivered at an odd lewd word she heard while walking ahead, the ropes still pulling at her hands. But her eyes stayed fixed on the ground, on the marble flooring of the court hall, on the art that adorned the floor, on the flowery carpet that covered the stairs to the throne seat and on to the feet that wore the intricately carved sandals.

The Victorious King! Her gaze froze there. A cheer erupted in his name. “Long live King Brihadrath!”

Sharvari felt her limbs go numb. With an effort, she lifted her gaze to sight the blue silken Dhoti held in place by an ornate golden waist band. She then saw the garland of flowers around his neck, a whiff of their fragrance swept till where she stood. Strings of precious gems shone against the sunlight. King Brihadrath knew to groom himself! Or at least he knew what it took to impress a woman at the first sight.

Is what I heard about him correct? She prayed it was. As disgusting as the idea was, that was the only way she could save them all.

Her eyes met his. Sharvari saw them widen for a second before his lips parted as he signalled to the general to come closer.

“Were women captured and dragged along?”

The forbidding frown that momentarily passed on his forehead locked her gaze upon his face. Sharvari thought fast. She was ready for this. At least she thought she was.

Found the excerpt interesting? Download the book here: Buy Link:

About the author

Ashvini is a management professional turned storyteller. She loves to dream history and waves romantic fantasies set in ancient India. She lives in Bangalore with her husband and daughter.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Cover Reveal of Reet Singh's new book 'No Escape From Love'

Hi Everyone,

Today, I'm very excited to showcase my friend Reet Singh's new book cover. The title of the book is "No Escape from Love". And the cover is just as gorgeous as the title.
But before you get to it, here's what Reet has to say about her new book.... Over to her...

Tejopur, Punjab

Will the demons from their past tear them apart?

After personal tragedy strikes, Mohini Kapoor runs away from the city to her grandparents home in a village in Punjab. Though she manages to pick up the pieces of her broken self, and even builds a life for herself, the horror of her experience is difficult to forget. She buries it deep down inside her subconscious mind until the arrival of a stranger threatens to resurrect the old demons.

Reputed photojournalist, Aalok Ahuja, has to hide out for a few days to escape circumstances beyond his control. When his friend recommends Tejopur, a remote village in Punjab, Aalok expects life to be simple there and, perhaps, even boring - instead, his world is thrown into chaos by a woman more desirable, and vastly more complicated, than any he has ever known.

When their destinies collide, attraction flares, but secrets threaten their new found feelings. 

Here is an excerpt - a few hours after Mohini and Aalok meet for the first time

The dinner tasted like ashes. In any case, Mohini barely noticed what she ate, her whole being focused on keeping her gaze averted from the acres of bare skin on display.


The man was large - and tanned and muscular - and almost indecent in short shorts and a sleeveless T-shirt, this time his own.

She hoped Tejopur's famed mosquitoes would make a meal of Aalok - but while she swiped one away every now and then, he seemed unharmed.


Mohini sniffed and, displeased at the blatant bias, smashed an errant mosquito against her wrist with unnecessary violence, then returned to pushing the food about in her plate.


 And now for the fabulous cover of No Escape from Love ....



Isn’t Mohini gorgeous – and doesn’t she seem pensive?
Aalok is clearly getting to her. Does she get to him, too?

Pre-order it from Amazon here!

The book releases on 3rd March and is available at a reduced price now.
It's free on Kindle Unlimited!

It should serve as the perfect companion as you recover from the festival of colors.
Happy Holi to all my friends and fans. Thank you for your love. -- Reet Singh.


Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Updated: Winners of Valentine Month Contest - #ShadesofLove

To celebrate the Festival of Love this year I am hosting a fun flash fiction contest along with eight of my author friends. I invite all aspiring romance authors to participate. Here are the details.

Shades of Love Flash Fiction: Nine authors. Nine Prizes to be won!!

All you have to do is write a story based on any of the listed books’ titles and characters. To know more about the books, check out the Amazon links listed below.

1. You can write the story on your Facebook timeline or your own blog and post the link as comment on the Shades of Love facebook event page.  Do mention the book that you have selected as the inspiration for your story.

2. You can send in one entry or multiple entries based on any of the titles.

3. Your story needs to be inspired by the storyline/characters of the book(s) you pick. You can do a spin-off based on the characters. Use your imagination and wow us with a wonderful new scene.

4. You can use the banner for your posts on your blogs and/or Facebook timelines.

5. Maximum word-count: 500 words.

6. Open for India contestants only.

Contest Starts: 14th Feb 2018

Contest Ends: 28th Feb 2018

Prizes to be won: Amazon vouchers worth Rs 2250/- to be won.

There will be 9 winners and each author will pick one winner. Rs 250 voucher
for each winner.

And don’t forget to check the Facebook event page for updates from the authors about their books & characters, inspiration quotes and more…

Happy Writing! And look forward to reading your entries!!

Amazon Links to Books:

Adite Banerjie's Destiny Girl

Reet Singh's The Cure was Love

Preethi Venugopala's A Royal Affair

 Devika Fernando's Tantalising Temptations

Sudesna Ghosh's My Singapore Fling

Esha Pandey's I Will Meet You There

Ruchi Singh's Jugnu

  Saiswaroopa Iyer's Avishi

 Paromita Goswami's The Santa's Gift 

Thanks to all who participated. It was fun to read your take on the characters/storylines that we authors created. And now.... HUGE CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNERS!!! 


Sunday, 4 February 2018

Cover Reveal of New Edition of My Book -- Destiny's Girl

Five years ago, my first book was published by Harlequin/Mills & Boon with the title "The Indian Tycoon's Marriage Deal". It was an exciting moment for me as a writer and I will always cherish that memory.

Strange thing is that I get to do a re-run of that moment. But this time as a self-published author. I am hugely excited at the opportunity to revisit Krish and Maya's story and bring it to my readers with a new cover and title. There could be no other month more appropriate for the re-launch of a romance than the Month of Love -- February!

The story is now called Destiny's Girl. And it has a brilliant new cover... I am sure you will agree with me!

I did wonder if I should update Krish & Maya's story. But as I went through the manuscript, I realized that my protagonists are now not merely characters in my book, but they have their own fictional lives within the pages of the book. Who am I to change that? So, their story is presented as is, complete with its flaws and foibles -- in real life we don't get a chance to change our past, do we?

If you have read their story, I hope you will enjoy revisiting it again when  Destiny's Girl goes online as an e-book on Amazon (stay tuned for the announcement). And if you haven't read it, I'd urge you to do so!

And now... for the C.O.V. E. R.    R.E.V.E.A.L.  <Drum Roll, please!> :)

So here comes DESTINY'S GIRL....




Would love to know what you think of the cover.

And wait.... there is some more news. Destiny's Girl will have a sequel soon. It will be the Happily Ever After story of two characters you meet in Destiny's Girl -- Rohan and Natasha.

So, keep your eyes peeled for more updates on the release of Destiny's Girl and its sequel....

May Valentine's Month be full of love and happiness for you all!

The ebook is available at #Amazon and is free on #KindleUnlimited.. Do check it out!

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018

Photo by Norwood Themes on
It's time to say goodbye to yet another year. The end of the year is always a good time for reflection and anticipation.
For me, 2017 will always be a milestone year for two reasons. One of my feature screenplays made it to the semi-finals of the Nicholl Fellowships. Yet another highlight was the making of my short script "7 Lives" into a film. I also had the good fortune to interact and meet with fellow authors and readers at the Noida Lit Fest.

Perhaps the biggest learning for me is this: Every writer's journey is unique. Just like the stories we tell are different, so also are our experiences. While we all  chase "success", it can be interpreted in a myriad ways. Trying to set our own individual goals and go past them is perhaps the whole point of writing. Whether that comes in the form of book sales, write-for-hire projects, or getting your script made into a film, every milestone, every goal counts. So, looking forward to another series of adventures in Writing Land in 2018. 
I hope 2018 will be the best-ever for you too. Have a fun-filled and safe Holiday and don't forget to check out this wonderful short film that my filmmaker friend, Runjiv Kapur, has made on the Joy of Giving. I hope it will inspire you to do your bit when it comes to the "joy of giving". Wish you all a Very Happy New Year!

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Trailer of 7 Lives - A short film on #OrganDonation

Dying is a topic that no one wants to talk about. It's not surprising then that organ donation, which needs to be discussed in every family, gets brushed under the carpet.

Come to think of it, organ donation is perhaps the only act that can enable a human being to live beyond death.

Robert Test encapsulates this thought through his beautiful poem, To Remember Me

At a certain moment a doctor will determine that my brain has ceased to function and that, for all intents and purposes, my life has stopped.
When that happens, do not attempt to instill artificial life into my body by the use of a machine. And don't call this my 'deathbed.' Call it my 'bed of life,' and let my body be taken from it to help others lead fuller lives.
Give my sight to a man who has never seen a sunrise, a baby's face or love in the eyes of a woman.
Give my heart to a person whose own heart has caused nothing but endless days of pain.
Give my blood to the teenager who has been pulled from the wreckage of his car, so that he might live to see his grandchildren play.
Give my kidneys to one who depends on a machine to exist from week to week.
Take my bones, every muscle, every fiber and nerve in my body and find a way to make a crippled child walk.
Explore every corner of my brain. Take my cells, if necessary, and let them grow so that someday a speechless boy will shout at the crack of a bat and a deaf girl will hear the sound of rain against her windows.
Burn what is left of me and scatter the ashes to the winds to help the flowers grow.
If you must bury something, let it be my faults, my weaknesses and all my prejudice against my fellow man.
Give my soul to God. If by chance you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or word to someone who needs you. If you do all I have asked, I will live forever.

The long wait to the release of 7 Lives is almost over!

As I wait for the release of this short film, I would like to share the trailer with you. Hope you will share it with your friends and family and encourage them to discuss the life affirming gift of organ donation.