Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Bollywood Affair Review

 I had the great pleasure of reading an early copy of A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev. I was excited to find an Asian author, an Indian/Bollywood type story, and a pleasant and diverse stray from the common, white, everyday plots and characters in mainstream fiction. For quick reference on what I loved and disliked, I've broken down my opinions, which are merely that.
 First, the plot: Mili is an Indian from a small village in Rajasthan that practices child marriage. At four, she was married to twelve-year-old Virat and has waited twenty years for him to claim his bride. In the meantime, she groomed herself to be the perfect wife. Educated, pretty, poised, somewhat traveled, religious, and humble. She's even taken care of the grandfather of the runaway groom (his mother took him and his brother and fled the grandfather), as horrible as he was (the grandfather, not the groom) and revered him until his death. She sends Virat a letter, and until that letter, he had no idea he was still married. His mother had the marriage annulled a year after the wedding, but of course grandfather intervened. Virat is now happily married to the love of his life and expecting their first child. After an accident, he's unable to hunt Mili, who's gone off to America for a year-long course in higher education, and sends his younger half-brother, the Bad Boy of Bollywood directors, Samir. The brothers think this village girl has ulterior motives, but one clumsy, infatuated scenario after another, Samir finds not only the script-writing jump he so desperately needs, but sincere feelings for this neurotic, accident-prone girl. All he has to do is get her to sign the annulment papers and be on his way, but he takes advantage of his new muse and finds himself going out of his way to help her.
  The few "negative" takeaways (I quote the word because there's a meaningful balance to counteract it): Mili is a naive girl, but then again she's from a village and bravely pushes herself to become more modern and educated in a social structure where finishing high school isn't all that important for girls. Good for her! Mili also cries...a lot...as in twenty-five percent of the book and it gets annoying, but once her tears dry, the reader, and a certain Bollywood-ish hero, knows there's possibly no fixing the situation. Mili is also very accident-prone, which isn't a bad thing. It makes her imperfect and relatable, however she seems to fall into the hero's arms quite a lot. Ridhi, Mili's flatmate in America, can be annoying in her immaturity but adds comic relief. Finally, if you're not into the f-bomb, it's best to skim over some parts in Samir's POV.
  The great stuff: Dev's prose is excellent and lyrical. She has fleshed out characters who are all different in wonderful ways. Mili and Samir couldn't be further apart. I loved how Samir slipped into a Shah Rukh Khan type character during the roti scene. I have no idea if Dev intended that, or perhaps I was just pleasantly reminded of the biggest of Bollywood heroes, but it put a smile on my face. I smiled a lot, in fact. The romance is sweet and there's an explosive scene, but the story revolves around fighting these feelings when Mili believes she's still married to another man without making her sound preachy or elevated in her thinking.
  Do I recommend this book? Yes. Of course. Not because it's different or a part of my culture, but because it's a good read.
Available 10-28-14
Mili Rathod hasn’t seen her husband in twenty years—not since she was promised to him at the age of four. Yet marriage has allowed Mili a freedom rarely given to girls in her village. Her grandmother has even allowed her to leave India and study in America for eight months, all to make her the perfect modern wife. Which is exactly what Mili longs to be—if her husband would just come and claim her.
Bollywood’s favorite director, Samir Rathod, has come to Michigan to secure a divorce for his older brother. Persuading a na├»ve village girl to sign the papers should be easy for someone with Samir’s tabloid-famous charm. But Mili is neither a fool nor a gold-digger. Open-hearted yet complex, she’s trying to reconcile her independence with cherished traditions. And before he can stop himself, Samir is immersed in Mili’s life—cooking her dal and rotis, escorting her to her roommate’s elaborate Indian wedding, and wondering where his loyalties and happiness lie.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Mountain of Light Review

The Mountain of Light by Indu Sundaresan  
  The Kohinoor diamond is a thing of beauty, majesty, myth, drama, and adventure. The Mountain of Light captures the exquisite tale of this diamond's journey between the hands of royals, stealth, and entanglement as it travels from India to near and distant countries to eventually land in the hands of the British.

  As I've come to expect from Indu, she brought her masterful story telling of old India, and with it, vivid culture and surroundings. She took history and weaved an entertaining story just as she did for the Taj trilogy, which I thoroughly enjoyed. This is not a quick, easy read, but if you want world-building, a lesson in overseas history, detailed imagery, and descriptive settings, then this is a must-read.

"From the internationally bestselling author of The Twentieth Wife, a novel based on the tumultuous history of a legendary 186-carat diamond and the men and women who possessed it

As empires rose and fell and mighty kings jostled for power, its glittering radiance never dimmed. It is the Mountain of Light, the Kohinoor diamondand its facets reflect a sweeping story of love, adventure, conquest and betrayal. Its origins are the stuff of myth, but for centuries this spectacular gem changes hands from one ruler to another in India, Persia, and Afghanistan. In 1850, the ancient stone is sent halfway around the world where it will play a pivotal role in the intertwined destinies of a boy-king of India and a young queen of England, a queen who claims the Mountain of Light and India itself for her own burgeoning empire, the most brilliant jewels in her imperial crown. 

The Mountain of Light is a magnificent story of loss and recovery, sweeping change and enduring truth, wrapped around the glowing heart of one of the world's most famous diamonds."

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Book Deal and Announcement!

  As you know, I signed with an agent last month, and last week, I signed a book deal with Entangled. My multicultural contemporary NA will be published next year with their new Embrace line! I've had my eye on Entangled for a while, and it's like when that guy I've crushed on for years finally said, "Hey girl, you kinda fly." :-D So, we're going to be fly together.

   I won't be very active here, anymore, or as Kaylie Austen. See, I've switched gears. I went from sci-fi and fantasy, which I will always love, to multicultural contemporary, which apparently I'm good at. I love incorporating my Indian heritage into writing and want to continue doing so. 

  On that note, I am now writing as Ayesha Patel and getting back to my Indian roots. I hope you'll read what I have to offer and I hope you'll like it. I hope it does my culture justice and open reader's eyes to a very vibrant and rich world.

  You can read more about my book deal here and please follow if you'd like to continue with me on my writing journey. I'm also on Twitter @ayeshapatel17 and Facebook

  How's everyone out there doing? Any news? Any plans for the month? I'm hitting Victoria again this weekend. Holiday tea at my favorite tea room!! Dinner and music at my favorite Irish pub, which ironically has the best Indian curry soup I've ever had. It's going to be cold, like below 15 degrees and possibly snowing cold! Brrr! 

Friday, October 11, 2013

I Have An Agent!

 I've thought about this blog post for a long time. I've read countless others' experiences and joy, including many of my friends. The query process is tough, no doubt, and a few make it with ease while others suffer and yet others throw in the towel. I almost quit several times, but the words and the stories kept coming, thrashing around in my head until I caved and gave them an edited draft. I think my muse almost pimp slapped me the last time I thought I could quit. That's what a true writer is. They don't write for fortune and fame. They write because it's their heart and soul. Quitting is not a realistic option.
 I wrote many books over the past few years, and when I go back to look at them, I clearly see the progress. Maybe that's what I needed. Maybe the querying process forced me to take a long, hard look at my writing. What was I doing wrong? And it forced me to read a lot more. In the process, I met some amazing people, authors, editors, publicists, and readers. My writing improved dramatically, and some books even made it to print.

 I vaguely remembered Veronica Roth saying you have to write what's in your heart. Don't get me wrong, I love sci-fi and fantasy. This time, for the first time, I wrote something cultural, emotional, and based on my life events. I literally cried writing scenes in this book. I cried when I edited. I cry just thinking about it. Because it's so close to my heart. I'm certain a rather large and unsettling part of me would die if this book didn't find a home.
 I needed someone to say they LOVED it. Well, someone did say those exact words to me, more than once even. Yep. I woke up early last week because my phone beeped to tell me I had email. I thought, before I ever opened my eyes, it's October. My favorite month, my favorite season, and it's going to be darn good. 
 Why? Well, The Walking Dead is back, duh. I can finally drink a pumpkin spice latte and not feel weird. Pumpkin everything, really. I love autumn colors. I like leaving the heat behind and getting into my scarves, boots, and coats. I knew I'd hear back from a lot of important people this month.

The Email
 I opened my eyes and smiled. It was going to be a good month. I saw the email that woke me up was from an agent from one of my top agencies. I wasn't going to feel hurt this time because I was in a good mood already. I expected to see the words "unfortunately, not quite right for me" at any point. Instead, she asked to set up a phone call the following day to discuss possible representation.
 I smiled some more. I didn't flip out like I always thought I would. Maybe those past few years of rejections and lost hopes humbled me to the point where I can relax about it all, and if something great happens, that I'd be happy and grateful, and if nothing happened, I was chill enough to not let it bother me (as much).
 It could've been a revision and resubmit request, although I think that should be stated in the email. I've heard of it happening. It could be a way of telling me I SUCK and never to write anything again, although not likely. Or, it could be THE CALL. One of the most anticipated calls in the life of a writer. Someone loves my work and they want ME.
 I didn't get all anxious and excited. I played it cool. We set it up.

The Call
 Tomorrow came. It was going to be a good day because I had a pumpkin spice cupcake that I'd bought the day before and my milkman was going to bring me pumpkin cheesecake muffins, pumpkin breakfast cookies, and pumpkin cookie dough that day. All was good. I told myself it's probably an R&R. That was better than a rejection.
 I answered the phone at 8 am sharp. Dream Agent loved my book, and she wanted to rep me.
 I smiled. Big time. Ahem, hecks to the yeah.
 We talked and we clicked and she was excited and I was getting excited. I'm very reserved and quiet, even around people I know and am comfortable with. But with Dream Agent, I might've babbled and maybe she needed to interrupt me at some point. Then I spent the next half hour sending off emails to all the agents who had my material. I knew I would go with her, but I had questions and she had answers. 
That day, my friends, family and author friends who'd gone through this were hyped, more excited than me. They told me I should be more excited, but I kept my cool because I learned not to expect the great things they were doing. I'm happy to make it this far, and I'd keep reaching for my dreams. It's not a race.
 I'd compiled a playlist that inspired and enveloped the emotions of this book. I told myself I wouldn't play it until it found its place in the world. It did find an agent, and that was cause for celebration. So I played that forbidden playlist…and I almost cried.
 The songs are linked to such strong emotions, the same that made me cry in the book. I teared up because I was excited, anxious, elated. Landing an agent is only the beginning. There's a long road ahead of me that requires a lot of hard work and dedication. There will more rejections, more editing, more revisions. 

 I knew I wanted this agent from the moment I found her. I have her now, and that's a major milestone. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Zombie Mermaids Part 4

It's here, people. Zombie. Freaking. Mermaids.

Remember them? It was an insane flash of ideas that only a crazy person should have years ago. There were so many who wanted it. So, I wrote it. The silly joke of an idea turned into one heck of a creepy story, and then it found a publisher. Now, the time has come. Amid the zombie craze is my whacky story. Song of the Sirens releases Nov. 1, 2013!

Step into Anita’s world as she tags along on her father’s expedition in search of Atlantis. Since the arrival of the team’s newest member, the hotness known as Riley, an unexplained song haunts Anita’s dreams, and soon thereafter her waking hours. The siren’s song, a sweet and hypnotic melody, unleashes zombie-like mermaids turned human bent on revenge and plagued by madness. 

When the sirens lure the mortals to the labyrinth tomb of Theoisis, Anita faces the demons from her nightmares. Trapped underwater and at the mercy of an undiscovered race, Anita must fight in order to save her father. A series of horrific murders set the pace for an unprecedented escape from the siren’s hold as Atlantis’ protector, Riley, struggles to imprison the sirens before they reach land. 

Check out the Song of the Sirens tab above for an excerpt. Add it on Goodreads where there's a giveaway!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Trust in Me Cover Reveal and Giveaway

 Remember in my last post I mentioned I'd fallen in love with J. Lynn's (AKA Jennifer L. Armentrout) NA fiction? It was Wait For You. I'm so excited to be a a part of the official cover reveal for Trust in Me, from Cam's POV. I bet he's just as yummy reading from his perspective.

It’s Wait for You as you’ve never seen it. Trust in Me lets you in on Cam’s side of the #1 New York Times Bestselling story.

Cameron Hamilton is used to getting what he wants, especially when it comes to women. But when Avery Morgansten comes crashing into his life – literally – he finally meets the one person who can resist his soulful baby blues. But Cam’s not ready to give up. He can’t get the feisty and intriguing girl out of his head.

Avery has secrets, secrets that keep her from admitting the feelings Cam knows she has for him. Will persistence (and some delicious homemade cookies) help him break down her barriers and gain her trust? Or will he be shut out of Avery's life, losing his first real shot at the kind of love that lasts forever?

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/9ed26d0/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

J. Lynn's Frigid

 Many of you recognize #1 NYT Bestseller, J. Lynn (AKA Jennifer L. Armentrout  of the Lux series). I began reading her NA romances just a couple of weeks ago. All I have to say is WOW. Intense, romantic, and emotional stories that made my face hurt from all the laughing, giggling, and smiling. I'm very excited to be a part of her official trailer release for Frigid.

For twenty-one-year-old Sydney, being in love with Kyler isn’t anything new. They’d been best friends ever since he pushed her down on the playground and she made him eat a mud pie. Somewhere over the years, she fell for him and fell hard. The big problem with that? Kyler puts the ‘man’ in man-whore. He’s never stayed with a girl longer than a few nights, and with it being their last year in college, Syd doesn’t want to risk their friendship by declaring her love.

Kyler has always put Syd on a pedestal that was too high for him to reach. To him, she’s perfect and she’s everything. But the feelings he has for her, he’s always hidden away or focused on any other female. After all, Kyler will always be the poor boy from the wrong side of tracks, and Syd will always be the one girl he can never have.

But when they’re stranded together at a posh ski resort due to a massive Nor’easter, there’s nothing stopping their red-hot feelings for each other from coming to the surface. Can their friendship survive the attraction? Better yet, can they survive at all? Because as the snow falls, someone is stalking them, and this ski trip may be a life-changer in more ways than one.

Available NOW on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.
Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen.
She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

 Also, Jennifer's having a contest, so check that out, too.