Chaotic Alleys #ShortStories by Mahesh Nair

Please welcome my author buddy Mahesh Nair who has recently released his debut book – ‘Chaotic Alleys: Collected Works.’ I was enthralled by this book as Mahesh’s short stories unfold like opening a treasure chest; you have to delve deeper to find the gems hidden in the corners – such is his style of writing.

Chaotic Alleys: Collected Works is a fiction compilation of micro, flash, and short stories published, shortlisted, longlisted, and anthologized in journals and magazines.

“I appreciate expression that provokes my senses, causes my gut to rise or settle. If the words remain with me as images, it’s a winner. Mahesh’s writing has done this,” says Bela Johnson — Editor, Writer, & Former Host of Alternative Currents on WERU-FM

Purchase link

My Review:

True to its name, ‘Chaotic Alleys’ escorts you into turbulent lanes of life that diverge into unimaginable proportions. Some of them open into positive vistas but much depends on your own perspective and interpretation. Fresh and poignant, Mahesh Nair’s flash fiction says volumes in just a few words, each one loaded! His stories are close to reality yet unpredictable. They compel you to ponder, as the depth of his words is mysterious.

This book is divided into three parts: flash fiction, short stories and micro-fiction. You could finish it within an hour or keep returning to fathom some profound and chilling truths. Read how callous compassion is, what a sham some wishes are, what a mockery people make of their existence. These stories would shake you to search the exact meaning of life; the elusive realities would unfold with an alarming authenticity. 

‘The Budding 90s’ is layered in the mystery of words; it doesn’t speak about the relationship shared by Amit and Samir but lets you discern what his “walking partner” means to Amit. The symbols of ‘heat’ and ‘rivulets of rainwater’ may seem paradoxical but they add a brilliant dimension to the story. ‘Water’ that trickles from the window and ceiling complete the societal and religious constraints that threaten to weaken their souls.

A subtle comment on the plight of couriers, ‘Alert, Alert’ unravels the truth about parsimonious people. Do they even know what is gratitude? Could they ever understand what compels the couriers to keep going despite the callous attitude of those who sit in the comfort of their offices and get served with the food of their choice? The flashbacks of Samaira’s life add a touch of poignancy to her struggle.

‘A Distance Away’ stunned me, as it is completely unpredictable. Written in an unusual style, it sounds like a normal cruise date, as Randy seems to love Jane. Like a meandering stream, their thoughts don’t give any inkling where they are going to lead each other. This one is my favorite! No guessing would lead you to the truth that unfolds. 

While I sympathize with Samaira, ‘Breathlessly Yours’ left me spellbound. I smiled at the optimism of Jon; would his dreams of wooing a woman, two decades younger than him come true? You’ll have to read to find out.

Nair’s characters exude dynamism but something hides behind their persona that raises the story above the mundane. Whether it is Randy or Jon – two entirely different men, they are well defined and memorable; they may seem realistic yet they are not! The hallmark of Nair’s stories is variety and tone, so different from the traditional ones. Highly recommended.

Meet the Author:

Mahesh Nair studied creative fiction at New York University. He won Strands International Flash Fiction Award, was shortlisted for Bath Flash Fiction Award and Micro Madness NFFD New Zealand, long listed twice for Reflex Fiction prize, and highly commended twice at London Independent Story Prize. His work has appeared in Barren Magazine, Literary Orphans, The Bookends Review, Smokebox, Paragraph Planet, 101 Words, AdHoc Fiction, BlinkInk Print, and Crack the Spine, and is featured in three anthologies. He was a contributing author for a CNF anthology, Lady by the River.

Connecting links:

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Thank you for your lovely support. Please share this post at your favorite networks.

Balroop Singh.

#NewRelease: Slivers: Chiseled #Poetry

on the wings of words
glistening with halcyon hope
my new book is here!

When I stumbled upon haiku – a Japanese form of poetry, I scoffed it away, thinking it to be too short and easy to write. My hubris got a setback when I was challenged to write it! My earlier efforts show how I struggled with the syllables that could convey a meaningful message. Slowly I discovered this art form, which I revere now. I’ve taken some liberties with the rules though.

The poetry in this collection is not traditional haiku and tanka but inspired from them. This collection focuses on micro-poetry, inspired from haiku, senryu, tanka and acrostic poems. Brevity and discipline is the hallmark of these poems.

I would like to express my gratitude to Colleen M Chesebro for reading an ARC and extending her invaluable guidance about these forms of poetry.

Purchase link


US
UK DE FR ES IT NL JP BR CA MX AU IN

Paperback link

Promotional price for one week: $ 0.99

Excerpts:

sun spreads divine gold
creates fusion of colors
illumines life

~

serrated peaks kiss
a demure dawn is smiling
scattering some cheer

~

dusk trots complacently
knocks supremacy of the sun
smiles of stars follow

~

full moon still lingers
trees delight in divine light
blissful spectacle

© Balroop Singh

I am extremely thankful to all my author buddies and blogger friends who always spread a word about new releases. Please feel free to re-blog this post and share at your favorite networks. I look forward to your support.

Balroop Singh.

Welcome my guest @jansikes3 #NewRelease

I am delighted to welcome Jan Sikes, (my author buddy) with her new release ‘Ghostly Interference.

BOOK BLURB:

Jag Peters has one goal in his quiet comfortable life—to keep his karma slate wiped clean. A near-miss crash with a candy apple red Harley threatens to upend his safe world. He tracks down the rider to apologize properly. Slipping into a seedy biker bar, he discovers the rider isn’t a “he”, it’s a “she”, a dark-haired beauty.

Rena Jett is a troubled soul, who lives in a rough world. She wants no part of Jag’s apology, but even while she pushes him away, she is attracted to him. When he claims to see a ghost—her brother—can she trust him? And could her brother’s final gift, a magical rune stone with the symbol for “happily ever after” have the power to heal her wounds and allow opposites to find common ground—perhaps even love?

GROWING UP IN FOSTER CARE

 Rena Jett’s mother died of a drug overdose when Rena was a baby. As no relatives could be located to take her and her brother, Sam, they went into the foster care system. 

I drew from my own experience of having worked for the Texas Child Protective Services for several years. There is an average of 30,000 children brought into the foster care system per year in Texas. That’s a lot! Not all foster homes are kind and loving. Not all are bad. In fact, I’d say there are more good than bad. But for my story, I needed lots of bad to develop this character. 

Rena has built walls around her heart to avoid more hurt. She’s tough as nails and rides the big red Harley like a pro. She needs no one. And, now that her brother is gone, she’s even more determined to protect herself. Throughout the story, she reveals to Jag incidents that’s caused her to build this shell around herself. 

Excerpt:

“You seemed to click with Mattie and Sheila. Did you ever have a dog?”

She frowned and stiffened. “There was this little stray once. I’d sneak food out to him when I could.” Her voice broke.

After a long pause, Jag asked softly. “What happened?”

“The foster dad caught me and whipped me, then killed the dog and made me watch.” A sob caught in her throat. 

“Oh,Rena.” Jag gently wiped away a stray tear. He wanted to hold her and make all the bad memories go away. “I’m so sorry.”

She sniffed. “After that, I never tried to have another dog. I do really like them though.”

Jag searched for words of comfort. The horrors she’d endured were beyond his comprehension. It didn’t seem fair that any child should have to suffer so much. And yet, under all of that, was a beautiful sweet girl just waiting to be loved and cared for. He swallowed past the lump in his throat.

“You’ll never be mistreated like that again as long as I’m alive.” 

“I can damn well take care of myself. I didn’t survive all of that shit by being weak.”

Excerpt 2:

“Jag, can I tell you something?”

His eyes widened. “You can tell me anything. I hope you know that.”

She looked down at the amber liquid in the bottle. “One time I was sent to this foster home over in Rigsby. They wouldn’t let Sam come with me. He’d gotten into trouble for fighting and they sent him to detention.” Her voice trailed off. 

“Go on. I’m listening.” Jag slipped the pizza into the oven and sat the chips and dip on the bar. 

“It was a nice house like this and I thought I’d finally landed somewhere I would be treated good. Boy, was I wrong.The foster mom locked me in a closet for hours one time because I ate a piece of cold pizza from the refrigerator.”

Jag put his arms around her from behind and murmured into her hair. “I can’t even begin to imagine all that you’ve been through. It’s no wonder you don’t trust anyone.”

She twisted around to face him. She fought to keep her voice from trembling. “I wanted so badly to have a family. Someone who gave a damn if I lived or died. But, they never came. It was just me and Sam trapped in a system that was broken in so many ways it could never be fixed.”

***

Have you ever had any experience with the foster care system, or known anyone who grew up in it? I’d love to hear from you! 

BOOK TRAILER LINK: https://youtu.be/NHaLVSe_flI

Purchase Links:

AMAZON

BARNES & NOBLE

Connect with Jan:

Website Blog Facebook Amazon Author Page

Thank you, Balroop, for allowing me to use your blog space to talk about my new book, Ghostly Interference

Hiding Cracked Glass @jamescudney4 @Shalini_G26 and #BookReview

Amazon US

Please welcome my author buddy and blogger friend, who is launching a sequel to his book – Watching Glass Shatter. I am delighted to share the news. I’ve already read it! Thanks to Jay for sending me an advance copy.

About the Book:

An ominous blackmail letter appears at an inopportune moment. The recipient’s name is accidentally blurred out upon arrival. Which member of the Glass family is the ruthless missive meant for?

In the powerful sequel to Watching Glass Shatter, Olivia is the first to read the nasty threat and assumes it’s meant for her. When the mysterious letter falls into the wrong hands and is read aloud, it throws the entire Glass family into an inescapable trajectory of self-question. Across the span of eight hours, Olivia and her sons contemplate whether to confess their hidden secrets or find a way to bury them forever. Some failed to learn an important lesson last time. Will they determine how to save themselves before it’s too late?

Each chapter’s focus alternates between the various family members and introduces several new and familiar faces with a vested interest in the outcome. As each hour ticks by, the remaining siblings and their mother gradually reveal what’s happened to them in the preceding months, and when the blackmailer makes an appearance at Olivia’s birthday party, the truth brilliantly comes to light.

Although everyone seemed to embrace the healing process at the end of Watching Glass Shatter, there were hidden cracks in the Glass family that couldn’t be mended. Their lives are about to shatter into pieces once again, but this time, the stakes are even higher. Someone wants to teach them a permanent lesson and refuses to stop until success is achieved. 

 Purchase Links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Goodreads

Meet the Author:

Background

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College, an historic but small liberal arts school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with a degree in English literature and minors in Education, Business and Spanish. After college, I accepted a technical writing position for a telecommunications company during Y2K and spent the last ~20 years building a career in technology & business operations in the retail, sports, media and entertainment industries. Throughout those years, I wrote some short stories, poems and various beginnings to the “Great American Novel,” but I was so focused on my career in technology and business that writing became a hobby. In 2016, I refocused some of my energies toward reinvigorating a second career in reading, writing and publishing.

Author

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind and my body. At some points, it was just a few poems or short stories; at others, it was full length novels and stories. My current focus is family drama fiction, cozy mystery novels and suspense thrillers. I think of characters and plots that I feel must be unwound. I think of situations people find themselves in and feel compelled to tell the story. It’s usually a convoluted plot with many surprise twists and turns. I feel it necessary to take that ride all over the course. My character is easily pictured in my head. I know what he is going to encounter or what she will feel. But I need to use the right words to make it clear.

Websites & Blog

Website: https://jamesjcudney.com/

Blog: https://thisismytruthnow.com

Amazon: http://bit.ly/JJCIVBooks

Next Chapter Pub: https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/james-j-cudney

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/james-j-cudney

My Review:

Hiding Cracked Glass by James J. Cudney is a brilliant sequel to Watching Glass Shatter – the saga of Glass family, each member a complex human being yet realistic and benevolent. All of them are flawed, with secrets that they carry within their hearts but guilt gnaws at them the moment they try to introspect. None of them find life a swinging delight.

Olivia, the grieving widow of Benjamin William Glass buries the secret of her husband in her heart and chooses escapism. She goes to Italy on an extended vacation that had been planned with Ben but his sudden death had convoluted her life. When she returns, another turbulence strikes Glass estate in the form of a letter that becomes the center of discussion. Who has sent this threatening letter and for whom? True to his style, Cudney has created a plot within the plot to keep you guessing by pulling in each member of the family who thinks that the letter is for him or her.

A character driven story, it flows at a steady pace till it hits the boulder of past events, which have been narrated together. They bring the story to standstill and fail to blend in the present. The element of curiosity drowns in the details that each character shares from his POV. None of the characters could evoke my sympathy except Emma, the young sensitive girl who rides the roller coaster of emotions. Matt is still struggling to overcome the roadblocks that had haunted him. Olivia is intuitive enough to dislike the new housekeeper, the moment she sets her eyes on her. Cold, indifferent and haughty Olivia mellows down in this book and takes some sane decisions. 

I marvel at the way such a large cast of well-defined characters has been handled to create a gripping story. Thanks to James for providing an ARC to me even before the official release of the book. An enjoyable read.

– Balroop Singh.

Give-away:

Enter for chances to win Hiding Cracked Glass and Watching Glass Shatter!

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e5ee1a9220/?

Thank you. Please share this post at your favorite networks and support Jay, an awesome author.

Just Her Poetry #NewRelease

Just Her Poetry

I am delighted to welcome my blogger friend D.L.Finn to celebrate the release of her first poetry book, “Just Her Poetry Seasons of a Soul.”  You would be touched by realism in her poetry, which is inspired from Nature and seasons.

Finn Facts:

  1. I watch the Bachelor/Bachelorette shows, even when I announce I’m not going to. I hope for love to win, even in the strangest of circumstances.
  2. My favorite flower is a rose. Its beauty mesmerizes me, while its scent relaxes me. I always keep a bottle of rosewater with me.

Blurb:

Take a journey with D.L. Finn as she blends her love of nature with her deepest emotions. Sit with her on the forest floor observing its tranquil beauty, or stroll along the ocean’s shore admiring the vastness of its horizon. Here in these peaceful moments you’ll be able to experience her thoughts and feelings in the light—and in the darkness. This is a thought-provoking collection of poetry that invites the reader into all the seasons of a soul.

Excerpt FROM THE BOOK WORLD:

EVILDWELS MOVE ON

(based on This Second Chance and The Button)

Evildwels cannot exist where there is love.

But if there is doubt, fear, and hate they thrive.

They do their best to extinguish any love,

While feeding on the absence of it.

They only win with their own conquests.

Their hunger fed as they discard their victim.

Time is irrelevant to them…

As they search for the rage they need.

It seems to be in abundance for them.

They can pick their cream of the crop

…And then wipe it out.

The battle can be bleak and boundless

…Between good and evil.

But ultimately, it is evil that loses,

When good repairs the broken soul

…It is the stronger of the two.

It may lose the battle but always wins the war,

Then the good in love becomes the happy ending.

Evildwels move on…searching and waiting

For the cruel satisfaction of temporary hosts

In a moment where love is wiped away

Until love re-emerges…and the evildwel moves on.

Amazon Purchase Link

author_pic_smaller_sizeMeet the author:

D.L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to the Sierra foothills in Nevada City, CA. She immersed herself in reading all types of books, but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, being surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations vary from children’s books, young adult fantasy, and adult paranormal romance to an autobiography with poetry. She continues on her adventures with an open invitation for her readers to join her.

D.L. Finn Links:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Pinterest

D.L. Finn blog

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