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Posts from — April 2015

Sensitivity – Unto Others and Yourself

When it comes to sensitivity we have both ends of the spectrum in our house. We have both – be sensitive unto yourself and be sensitive unto others.

I sensitivity as two types, one in which you are sensitive to what others are going though, feeling, experiencing and the like. Where you sympathise and empathise with someone who is suffering or in pain.

The other level of sensitivity is the one that make you touchy, makes you react to what people do to you, to what you are experiencing, to what people are saying. In this one you tend to growl and snap at people under the right circumstances.

And like I was saying we have an example of both in our house. Both examples are mongrels, only 6 years apart.

Cuckoo has always been a touchy dog. She doesn’t like certain things at certain times. Like try telling her to get away from the gate and come in when there is a cat out there and you’re going to see some fireworks.

Or when she sleeps. She likes to curl up at tummy level and expects you to curl up around her, but, but but but, you cannot curl up tight or touch her paws in any way. This she will not tolerate. When it happens accidentally (we’ve been trained well) she will growl, jump out of bed and promptly paw your face to get do it right all over again.

Cuckoo is super sensitive but then so is Elu, only at the other end of the spectrum. She isn’t a touchy dog, rather she is in tune with people around her. Super sensitive to whats happening to her people.

When Che or I get even mildly upset, hurt or we are unhappy for any reason, it is amazing to watch how Elu picks up on i and will be immediately by your side. Nudging, licking and trying to find a way to distract you and make you feel better.

In her head, I think Elu thinks her cuteness can override any bad thing. And it’s true, Elu can make you smile no matter what. Her immediately attention when I’m am down and out is one of the most wonderful things I have experienced. It makes you bounce back and how.

For me, there is something to learn and take away from both…

April 22, 2015   No Comments

The Calling by Amber Foxx: Mystical Mystery Bundle Giveaway

Discover a touch of the mystical and an innovative take on mystery from an international trio of authors. Australian Virginia King, American Amber Foxx and British Marion Eaton – all B.R.A.G. Medallion winners – have teamed up for a giveaway and over a week of discounts from April 21 – 30.

The Mystical Mystery Bundle is up for grabs at discounted prices from the 21st to 30th of April. But from the 21st to 26th of April you have a chance to win it for free. Scroll down for more details on how to participate in the giveaway.

Before I tell you more about The Calling, Amber Foxx and the giveaway, here’s a question I asked Amber about her book.

Mae Martin-Ridley in your book The Calling has the gift of ‘the sight’. What do you think of this psychic power, is it a gift or a curse?

For Mae, it’s both. The first few things she does with the gift seem undeniably helpful—finding a lost person, a lost pet—but she runs into problems because she can know things about others that they’d rather keep from her. Some of the things she accidentally discovers disappoint her deeply. Some of her experiences frighten her. It’s a challenge to learn how her ability to see the past or a distant event in the present in an ethical and compassionate manner. She has to learn to balance and control this gift, and has no one to teach her.

People who don’t have psychic abilities often imagine it must be wonderful. I have a different ability than Mae does—I dream the future, and sometimes get sudden intuitions about the future. Once I dreamed that the academic department at the college where I taught was going to be closed. When it happened, I was ready. But dreaming about an aunt’s terminal illness was troubling. I didn’t want to be right, and didn’t tell anyone in the family. It would have been less burdensome not to know in advance. When I shared foreknowledge with someone I thought it could help—a warning of an impending stroke—he laughed it off. Months later, it happened. These experiences helped me create my psychic character with empathy for her conflicts, but I made her gift unlike mine on purpose. Mae isn’t based on me, and it seemed better for the mystery plots if she couldn’t see the future.

 

Summary: The Calling

Obeying her mother’s warning, Mae Martin-Ridley has spent years hiding her gift of “the sight.” When concern for a missing hunter compels her to use it again, her peaceful life in a small Southern town begins to fall apart. New friends push her to explore her unusual talents, but as she does, she discovers the shadow side of her visions – access to secrets she could regret uncovering.

Gift or curse? When an extraordinary ability intrudes on an ordinary life, nothing can be the same again.

 

About the Author: Amber Foxx

Amber Foxx is the author of the Mae Martin psychic mystery series, and an avid reader of mysteries, thrillers, nonfiction, literary fiction, and paranormal fiction that doesn’t have vampires in it. She has worked professionally in theater and dance, fitness, and academia. Amber’s training and academic studies in various fields of complementary and alternative medicine, as well as her personal experience and travels, bring authenticity to her work. In her free time she enjoys music, dancing, art, running and yoga. She divides her time between the Southeast and the Southwest, living in Truth or Consequences during her New Mexico months.

 

Giveaway: Win a Paperback of Each Book

Enter the drawing below to win a paperback copy of the first book in each author’s series.

You can also buy ‘The Calling’ (only US $1.99 during sale from 21st to 30th) – Amazon.in | Amazon.com

In the Rafflecopter widget below choose which series you would like to learn more about. This will enter you in the drawing. To get an additional entry, click on the option to tweet the give-away. The giveaway will run from April 21 (midnight US Eastern time) to April 26 (midnight US Eastern time). The winner will be announced on April 27, 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Just in case the Rafflecopter widget isn’t showing, click here.

All the Best!!! :)

April 22, 2015   No Comments

Resilient – Bounce Back, Slowly but Surely

William and Max came to Bangalore about three years ago. Bringing them here was a decision we made in a split second and we have never looked back since.

On a routine call with Che’s parents we heard about how they had found out that the dogs were being abused. My In-Laws are doctors and they run a hospital. William and Max had come as pups into the premises and had had a good life.

Growing up they had a large space to play in and spend the day and at night the entire hospital compound became their play ground. They ran about, hunted and generally had a ball. This though lasted only for a little over 6 years, then the old security guard and their caretaker passed away.

There on things took a down hill turn. Caretakers changed often, none were patient and kind, and it seems a couple hit them and put the scare of people into them. Their temperaments had changed, they were becoming different dogs, and difficult to handle.

We brought them over and put them up at Happy Tails, a boarding rehab, while we searched for a bigger house that would accommodate 5 dogs. It took us close to a year to find a house and bring our pack together.

As I was saying yesterday Max is all about food and sleep (the pic above is Max at the kitchen door) and it seems like he had found a way to separate from the abuse in his head. He wasn’t as regressed as William but he wasn’t open either. Over the last year and a half he has blossomed and is almost his former self. A dog that demands food and attention, likes to cuddle and allows us to touch him all over.

William is a stickler for routine and cleanliness. He would bark when he needed to go out and instead of being taken out he would be punished for barking and would get tied up. The abuse impacted him the most, to a point where he was wary of every human being, he flinched a the slightest change in tone or volume and got defensive if you had anything that resembled a stick in your hand.

When William first came home, the only person he trusted was Che. He was always watching me from the corner of his eye, ever watchful, ever wary. He’s a big dog and when he did his mock charges, it made me jump out of my skin. It made me ever watchful, ever wary too. 😀

It’s taken a year and a half for William to learn to trust me and me him. We aren’t bum-chum pals like Che and he but we have our own little equation. He has learned to listen and believe in me and I have learned to read some of his moods and language. He has come a long way but he also still has a long recovery ahead.

Considering what these two have gone though (and the fact remains that a lot of it is still a mystery, we don’t know all that happened to them and maybe we never will), their resilience amazes me. Their ability, to withstand their past and recover from it to find themselves again, is a testament to their strength and hardiness.

The dictionary defines resilient as “able to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed” and this so is them. Fast in Max and slow in William but yet a case in point for resilience.

April 21, 2015   4 Comments

The First Lie by Virginia King: Mystical Mystery Bundle Giveaway

Discover a touch of the mystical and an innovative take on mystery from an international trio of authors. Australian Virginia King, American Amber Foxx and British Marion Eaton – all B.R.A.G. Medallion winners – have teamed up for a giveaway and over a week of discounts from April 21 – 30.

The Mystical Mystery Bundle is up for grabs at discounted prices from the 21st to 30th of April. But from the 21st to 26th of April you have a chance to win it for free. Scroll down for more details on how to participate in the giveaway.

Before I tell you more about The First Lie, Virginia King and the giveaway, here’s a question I asked Virginia about her book.

Your character Selkie Moon was named after a Celtic fairy tale. Why did you choose this folklore? How has it added to the supernatural element of the book?

The selkie myth has haunted me for many years. When I worked for a children’s publisher, I helped put together a collection of myths from around the world and I got hooked by their symbolism. The selkies are the seal people who peel off their skins to dance in the moonlight on human legs. In the myth, a fisherman falls in love with one of the selkies as he watches her dancing and steals her skin so she must marry him. She’s never quite herself and when she finds where he’s hidden her skin seven years later, she returns to the sea without looking back. The First Lie is not a retelling of the selkie myth but I’ve played with it to add supernatural layers to the mystery of a modern woman. Selkie Moon has run away to Hawaii and landed in the middle of a series of bizarre happenings that are tangled up with both Celtic and Hawaiian mythology. Selkie has been living a lie without knowing it – The First Lie. And just like the selkie whose pelt was stolen, her very life depends on finding what she’s lost – by returning to the place where it all began, without looking back.

 

Summary: The First Lie

Selkie Moon is a woman on the run. In a mad dash for freedom she’s escaped her life in Sydney to start over again in Hawaii. But her refuge begins to unravel and she’s running from something else entirely. A voice in a dream says that someone is trying to kill her. Not that she’s psychic, no way. But the messages and threats escalate until she’s locked in a game of cat and mouse with a mysterious stalker. Entangled in Celtic and Hawaiian mythologies, the events become so bizarre and terrifying that her instinct is to keep running. But is she running from her past? Or her future?

 

About the Author: Virginia King

Virginia King has lived most of her life in Sydney, Australia, but has travelled to many places. She’s been a teacher, an unemployed ex-teacher, a producer of audio-books, a writer of over 50 children’s books, a writing workshop presenter and an award-winning publisher. The First Lie is her debut novel for adults, the first mystery in the Selkie Moon series. These days Virginia lives with her husband in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney overlooking a valley full of birds. Most mornings she does some yoga, watches the French news (even understands some of it), then sits down and writes till late in the afternoon. Bliss.

 

Giveaway: Win a Paperback of Each Book

Enter the drawing below to win a paperback copy of the first book in each author’s series.

You can also buy ‘The First Lie’ (only US $1.99 during sale from 21st to 30th) – Amazon.in | Amazon.com

In the Rafflecopter widget below choose which series you would like to learn more about. This will enter you in the drawing. To get an additional entry, click on the option to tweet the give-away. The giveaway will run from April 21 (midnight US Eastern time) to April 26 (midnight US Eastern time). The winner will be announced on April 27, 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Just in case the Rafflecopter widget isn’t showing, click here.

All the Best!!! :)

April 21, 2015   No Comments

Quality and Quantity – The Eternal Battle

We’ve been taught repeatedly that it’s quality over quantity. That quality is more important than quantity and I agree, it’s true. However does it have to be more important?

Having a labrador in the house has forced me to change perspective. Maximus or MaxiTaxi as I love calling him has only two priorities in his life. Eat and sleep.

He likes doing other things too, like going for walks, killing lizards (yep he has that nasty habit) and playing sometimes but these aren’t the things that rock his boat. What he cares about most is eating and sleeping.

And when it comes to eating and sleeping, it’s all about quantity. Max does not choose between meat, chicken, kibble or anything else as long as it’s food. All he’s interested in, is finding out how much of it is there.

The more the quantity the happier he is. The rest of my pack may turn up their noses at what is given sometimes and also turn away after a certain amount but not so with Max. He’s all about getting the most out of the box.

To Max, and maybe to most labradors quality and quantity are the same. Push come to shove quantity will be more important than quality. And in some cases I think he has it right.

Making the most of something, or getting all that can be got from something, is a worthy lesson.

April 20, 2015   No Comments

Book Review: Warrior by Olivier Lafont

 
Title: Warrior
Author: Olivier Lafont
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books India(November 24th 2014)
Genre: Mythological Fantasy
Read: eBook
Stars: ****/5
Buy On: Amazon | FlipKart

Summary: (Goodreads)

In Mumbai, driven to its knees by a merciless blizzard, Saam the watchmender is cornered into an intolerable position. As Shiva’s only earthly demigod child, it falls upon him to stop his indomitable father. Bred to war, son of destruction, Saam rides with six extraordinary companions into the horror of a crumbling world to face Shiva. He is forced to join hands with Ara, his half-brother he can never fully trust and take with him his own mortal beloved, Maya, on this desperate attempt to stop the End of Days. But his path is littered with death, danger and betrayal. Interweaving mythology, epic adventure and vintage heroism, this enthralling novel will change the way you see gods, heroes and demons.

My Review:

Note: Thanks Olivier Lafont for offering me your book to read and review :)

Cover: Eye-catchy!

Paper and font: Easy on the eyes.

Readability, language: Fast read with some big words.

Why did I choose this book: A demigod story based on Indian Gods and set in India was a must read, no?

The world as we know it is coming to an end. Shiva the destroyer has started the process of the End of Days. But the Gods have human children or demigods and Saam who is Shiva child has the potential to save the world. Can he and how he does it is the story.

The title doesn’t really say much about the story, however the blurb does catch the eye and sow a seed of interest. The cover reminded me of samurais and such, but not bad I’d say since it caught my eye.

The plot is new but very clearly inspired by Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series. However there are a lot of elements that are different and new too. The main storyline is about saving the world but there are a lot of sub-plots too that explore Saam and his six companions past to build a complete jigsaw.

The story starts in present day Mumbai and then moves across India, across dimensions and between worlds as Saam and his party try to follow clues and undo the unravelling. Lamont has done a good job of describing the each location both real and fantasy and it is easy to visualise as your read.

Saam and his half brother Ara are the main characters of Warrior. They have a love-hate relationship and a past with many a story. Lamont explores the siblings relationship as the story unfolds unveiling their past a little bit at a time. There are a fair number of other characters too who are also well-fleshed and rounded to support the story and take it forward.

The objective of the story is clear within the first 10 or so pages of the book. Lamont then goes ahead through the tale to attain it. Though there are many sub-plots in the story, Lafont ties them all up well with the main storyline and leaves no loose ends.

He builds the narrative well and ups the pace towards climax, such that I was hooked to the book after a point. Warrior starts out really slow and then picks up pace and gets action-packed. If you can hold out for the first 20 or so pages, you’ll be stuck till the end.

Though the style of writing is somewhat inspired by Percy Jackson, the story is too Indian to hold on to Percy for long. Intwined intricately with Indian mythology and Gods, Lafont has done his research well and paints a vivid picture.

A very good effort for a debut novel. I’m going to be looking forward to more books from Lafont. Suitable for all ages except maybe kids, due to the blood and gore. If you are someone who loves mythology, especially Indian mythology and likes action-packed thriller type books, you must read Warrior.

About the Author:
Olivier Lafont is a French actor and author living in Mumbai, India. He has acted in Hindi films as well as over 80 television commercials. Apart from acting Lafont has also written the screenplay for the film Hari Om and is a regular columnist for MW and Men’s Health magazine. You can find out more on his website

Buy On: Amazon | FlipKart

April 19, 2015   No Comments

Play – It’s Not Just for the Young

I got Cuckoo and Senti when they were puppies but the years have rolled by unnoticed and they are now 6 years old. That’s middle age in a dogs life!

They used to play a lot when they were younger but over time the playing reduced and we hardly noticed it since it happened gradually. The other three in my pack came to us when they were already middle aged and they preferred to lounge than run about playing.

This was the state of affairs in our household last year. The only times I saw a lot of activity in the dogs was when walks were about to happen or food was going to appear. At all other times they lazed about and sometimes investigated a toy lying around.

Then came Elu. When we first thought of adopting Elu, we were in two minds about it. All our dogs had crossed the five year mark, and we didn’t know if the dogs would want a young one around. Neither did we know if a puppy would fit in, if she would be happy in the pack.

We had a lot of questions but we went ahead anyway and Elu came home. And things were never the same again. She slowing and relentlessly won each one over. The old boys didn’t make it easy but slowly and steadily she wormed her way into the pack.

She was playful like a puppy should be, a bundle of energy always wanting to be doing something and she got everyone involved. The oldies seemed to get a new lease of life, they were suddenly playing and running about again. It was like they had rediscovered their puppyhood.

Elu changed the dynamic of our pack, she taught us to play again, unhindered, unrepentant, and unleashed. To play for only one reason – the joy of playing!

April 18, 2015   No Comments

Opportunity – Grab It

The one lesson from the dogs that is always in my face is grabbing opportunities. They don’t miss any when they come by and sometimes even create the opportunity.

It doesn’t matter whether it is food, toys, a good scratch, a cuddle, a walk, or anything else. When they get a chance they don’t think twice and they don’t dilly-dally either, they just go for it.


Buddha gets digging the first chance he gets.

 

The ‘Go For It’ isn’t in half measures either. When they get started they do it with their full 100 percent. No holds barred, no holding back, they play the game as all or nothing.

Of course they never walk away with nothing and a lot of times they don’t even get it all but I’m yet to see them not do something because of that. They still do the same thing with their full heart again and again, every time.


Neither does Buddha miss an opportunity to grab my spot on the bed.

 

They are extremely opportunistic and I love my opportunistic dogs even when they apply this attitude to the things they shouldn’t do… like destroy my house, my clothes, my shoes and everything else that appeals to them. 😛

April 17, 2015   No Comments

Naughty and Nice – Makes for Some Spice

The old Santa song asks if you have been naughty or nice and it forever seems to have imprinted ‘or’ between these words. But when I see Gubbi I know it’s possible to put these two words together with an ‘and’.

Gubbi is almost as old as Elu, a little over a year old and like Elu she is all puppy and all energy. Constantly playing and charging around, but unlike Elu she just doesn’t rest. Even Elu with all her puppy-energy takes breaks but not Gubbi.

A friends dog, Gubbi visits off and on and when she is home something is always happening. She and Elu get along like a house on fire and there is always some mischief afoot. And when it’s not mischief with Elu, Gubbi is up to something with someone else.

With a little mean streak Gubbi believes is playing hard and playing rough. A hyperactive dog who just can’t sit still, who is always jumping and is everywhere all at the same time; Gubbi is a little devil.

And yet she is also an angel. She can be oh so cute and kind when she wants to. She is this loveable and adorable thing at times who does things that make you go ‘awww’ and you can’t help but wonder.

I’ve known Gubbi since she was just over a month old. I’ve watched her grow from a bumbling puppy to a long legged beauty and she has turned out to be a beautiful bundle of good and bad.

She’s that marvellous mixture of naughty and nice that would leave even Santa perplexed. 😀

April 16, 2015   2 Comments