25 May, 2016

Meet Simeen, Nirvaan & Zayaan from My Last Love Story by Falguni Kothari


About the Book:
Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes’s, Me Before You, My Last Love Story is a heartbreakingly romantic tale about the complexities of trauma and whether love can right a wrong.

I, Simeen Desai, am tired of making lemonade with the lemons life has handed me.

Love is meant to heal wounds.
Love was meant to make my world sparkle and spin.
Love has ripped my life apart and shattered my soul. 

I love my husband, and he loves me.
But Nirvaan is dying.
I love my husband. I want to make him happy.
But he is asking for the impossible. 

I don’t want a baby.
I don’t want to make nice with Zayaan.
I don’t want another chance at another love story. 


Book Links:

Character Chat:

DDS: Welcome to my Blog - Simeen, Nirvaan & Zayaan. I am currently reading your story and I feel like I already know you guys! What is it like to be Falguni’s brain child?
Nirvaan: I’ll go first since you two are clearly stumped by this question. It’s an honor, to be Ms. Kothari’s brainchild.
Zayaan: I wasn’t stumped, chodu. I was being a gentleman and allowing Simi to go first. Go ahead, Sims. Answer the question.
Simeen: It feels weird to be her brainchild, honestly. The whole story is from my perspective and I feel naked. Exposed to the world.
Nirvaan: But baby, Love is a dish best served naked! **grins wickedly**
Simi: Oh god, I knew that was coming…and stop. No jokes about coming…going or anything, Nirvaan. Zai, take control of this interview!
Zai: **laughing** See what you started? Okay, I feel honored, too, but I also feel relieved. A lot of issues that we’d been ignoring were sorted out in the story. It makes me happy that we’re all on the same page now.

DDS: What are your most marked characteristics? Do you wish that Falguni had given you some different ones?
Zai: Nirvaan’s an ass—that’s an irritating characteristic. Ms. Kothari could’ve made him smarter. Fuck. Stop hitting me, chodu.
Nirvaan: You wish I was an ass. I’m the star of this story, fucker. And, I’m the one Simi choose in the end. Isn’t that right, baby? The only thing I wish is that I didn’t have cancer. That wasn’t cool of Ms. Kothari. I would’ve invited her into our “games” if she’d been nicer to me and not planned to kill me off.
Simi: I wish I could leave the two of you here and vanish. Ms. Kothari could have made me taller, and beautiful…like Sandwich Anu. I hate that she gave me an imperfect nose. I don’t like some of her plot points as well. I didn’t need to suffer so much. Fine, it built my character but…come on! Why did I have to go through all of it? One or two traumatic experiences would have sufficed.
Nirvaan and Zai: You’re beautiful. You don’t even know how much. 

DDS: What is the one quality that you most like in a man/woman?
Simi: Acceptance. Nirvaan and Zayaan have always accepted me for who I am. There is no judgment in them. I’m not so accepting. I need to learn how to be nonjudgmental from them.
Nirvaan: Boldness. I like bold people. I hate cowards.
Zai: I think everyone has a redeeming quality to them—that one thing that makes them who they are. I look at that. I ignore the rest.
Nirvaan: Ugh. Stop being such a saint, fucker.

DDS: What do you most value in your friends?
Nirvaan: That they stand by you, no matter what. And I’m speaking for all three of us, right? 
**Simi and Zai nod their heads**

DDS: What is your most treasured memory?
Simi: The night I met the guys. Oh god. It was such a daring night and I never knew…never had imagined that boys could be that naughty!
Nirvaan: You’ve not seen naughty yet, baby **leers at Simi** We’ll show her naughty tonight, Zai, and make another spectacular memory. We’ll…
Zai: **clears throat** Keep it PG, man. And my most treasured memory is that perfect day we spent by the river when we were seventeen. We did nothing, remember. We ate, drank and swam and talked. We talked and talked and…it felt good. To be unrestricted, free of burdens…to just be myself with you two.
Simi: Aw. I remember that day, too. You guys tried to play hammock with me. I had bruises on my arms and legs for days!
**Nirvaan and Zai apologize sheepishly and a dozen years too late**

DDS: Now that your story is finally out in the hands of people, is there something you would like them to know? 
Simi: I think everyone pretty much knows me in and out.
Nirvaan: I think I’ll keep my thoughts a secret a bit longer.
Zai: Yes. That we are happy and at peace…in that field between right- and wrongdoing.

Thank you for your time! I know you guys are on tour right now and so I am thankful that you decided to stop by my blog. I hope people love and appreciate you and your story guys! Goodluck to Falguni too...

Read an Excerpt:


Dear Readers, thank you for coming along on the My Last Love Story Blog Tour. Here’s an excerpt to enjoy.

ONE

“Love is a dish best served naked.”
As a child, those oft-quoted words of my father would have 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’d long ago 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 of days, he was, much like Daddy had been. On the worst days, he was my tormentor. 
“What do you think, Dr. Archer? Interesting enough tagline for a vlog? What about ‘Baby in a Petri Dish’?” Nirvaan persisted in eliciting 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 done, like a normal husband would have. Khodai knows why he’d insisted on holding my hand through this preliminary checkup. 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-OK in there. We’d already funneled through the Pap test and stomach and chest checks. Like them, this test, too, was going swell in light of Dr. Archer’s approving happy hums. 
“Excellent, Mrs. Desai. All parts are 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 and 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. It was another one of my father’s truisms.
Swallowing the questions twirling on my tongue, I refocused my mind on why we were here. I’d promised Nirvaan we’d try for a baby if he agreed to another round of cancer-blasting treatments. I’d bartered for a few more months of my husband’s 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 of the latex gloves. Then, he began typing notes in near-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’d 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 have. 
The tables had turned on us today. For the past five years, it’d been Nirvaan thrashing about on hospital beds, trying in vain to find relief and comfort, modesty or release. Nirvaan had 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 would I 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, it wasn’t having such an effect on me. This room, like this town and even 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. “You can get dressed, Mrs. Desai. Take your time. Use whatever supplies you need. We’ll wait for you in my office,” he said, smiling. 
Finally, I can cover myself, I thought. Gooseflesh had erupted across my skin due to the near frigid clinic temperatures 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 its 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, following 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 shaking hands. Long, wavy, and 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 didn’t feel light-headed. I didn’t allow myself to freak. I concentrated on the flow of my breaths and the pounding of my heart until they both slowed to normal. 
It was okay. I was not walking out with a gift-wrapped baby in tow. Not today. No reason to freak out.
I reached for my clothes and 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. 
Such a silly man. Typical Nirvaan, I corrected, twisting my lips. 
Even after dressing in red-wash jeans and a full-sleeved sweater, I shivered. My womb still felt invaded and odd. As I stepped into my red patent leather pumps, an unused Petri dish sitting on the workstation countertop caught my eye. 
The trigger for Nirvaan’s impromptu comedy, perhaps? 
Despite major misgivings about the Hitleresque direction my life had taken, humor got the better of me, and I grinned. 
Silly, silly Nirvaan. Baby in a Petri dish, indeed.


About the Author:


Falguni Kothari is an internationally bestselling hybrid author and an amateur Latin and Ballroom dance silver medalist with a background in Indian Classical dance. She writes in a variety of genres sewn together by the colorful threads of her South Asian heritage and expat experiences. When not writing or dancing, she fools around on all manner of social media, and loves to connect with her readers. My Last Love Story is her fourth novel.






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24 May, 2016

#BookReview :: No Rest for the Wicked by Dane Cobain


When the Angels attack, there’s NO REST FOR THE WICKED.
Father Montgomery, an elderly priest with a secret past, begins to investigate after his parishioners come under attack, and with the help of Jones, a young businessman with an estranged child, Montgomery begins to track down the origin of the Angels.
The Angels are naked and androgynous. They speak in a dreadful harmony with no clear leader. These aren’t biblical cherubs tasked with the protection of the righteous – these are deadly creatures of light that have the power to completely eradicate.
When Jones himself is attacked, Father Montgomery knows he has to act fast. He speaks to the Angels and organises a final showdown where he’s asked to make the ultimate sacrifice.



Goodreads I Amazon


Angels. They are not what comes to your mind the very second you hear the Angels. The guardian angel with a serene look or the cherubs with a halo – that is what you think, right? But Dane Cobain, the author, has other ideas.

In ‘No Rest for the Wicked’ Angels are not the patient and forgiving creatures we imagine. Instead they are hell bent on punishing every single sinner – no matter how big or small their sins are. The story is told through the two protagonists Father Montgomery and Robert Jones. These two men couldn’t be more different. The elderly Father is experienced in life and has secrets of his own. Jones is a young businessman and experienced in the ways of life too. The wide arc that their personalities create makes for interesting and contrasting voices. When Father Montgomery’s parishioners are attacked he decides to take matters into his own hands. He starts looking in Angels and their origins and finds a helping hand in Jones.

The plot was really different from what I was expecting. Dane Cobain has a very imaginative mind and that is clear from the setting of this world. Things are so different in this fictional world, yet at certain points they feel eerily familiar. There is a saying that the best lies are based on truth and I find that the best works of fictions have pieces of reality in them. And Dane Cobain’s take on Angels is really interesting – that is all I will say here so as to avoid any spoilers. And talking of spoilers, there is a terrific twist in the tale that is disclosed right towards the end of the story. The author has a very descriptive narrative style that is quite engaging. That along with the quick pace makes this book a quick and entertaining read.

My only qualm with the book is that it turned out to be very one dimensional. I love it when as a reader I can discover the many facets of a plot… this one didn’t have much. What you see is what you pretty much get. Also, the book has some explicit and frightening descriptions and as such this book may not be for everyone. 

I found this book to be largely different from whatever I have read so far and as such it was a good reading experience.


Review Copy received from the Author



#Spotlight :: The Witches of Panay by Fayr Willow

   

Welcome to another exciting spotlight event with Novel Publicity. This time, with Author Fayr Willow The Witches of Panay! As usual, we've got a great slate of bloggers sharing their thoughts on this book, and some unique and super fun prizes in our rafflecopter contest!

First, we’d love to share a trailer with you 


As part of this special event, The Wtiches of Panay is on sale now for only 99c! Grab your copy on Amazon today!


About the Book

Magickal romance sizzled when teens Larissa and Jake, met again on Earth. Friends as children, they once lived on Panay, a planet of witches, good and bad. After the Dark Queen and her Empire Witches attacked Larissa’s village, she and her mother had no choice but to flee Panay and seek refuge on Earth. Then, at sixteen, Larissa found Jake in her region of Yorkshire, England. What began as a crush on this dashing boy led to something deeper. Their understanding of one another deepened and their thoughts, thought alike as they travelled through dangerous paths of Magickal Realms and through Earth’s Scandinavian section that is Norway.



  amazon.com




 
  Malika Gandhi is known as Fayr Willow, for The Witches of Panay series. She was born in India and brought up in the UK. She lives with her husband and her two boys in the East Midlands. Malika Gandhi is a part-time writer and has written three books that are based in India and the UK. The Witches of Panay is her first book for Young Adults and above. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/malika.gandhi Twitter: https://twitter.com/MalikaGandhi Website: www.malikagandhi.wordpress.com

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

23 May, 2016

#Interview with Dhirendra Tiwari, #Author of Punk Sunk Love

About the Author:

The soccer field was just a swamp of dirt; the art class a stinky place with clay and colors; but not that ledge on the dizzying twenty-thousand feet fort wall of my boarding school, for it was where it all began. The innocent escapade into a thrilling adventure called writing. 
Somewhere in my adolescence I came back to senses that life isn’t just dreams and I set out to excel in school, finished my engineering from Mumbai and even managed to sneak in a Masters from US. But, clearly, it wasn’t enough. So, I spent next Twelve years working at the biggest financial firms in New York and now I work with a Big Four consulting firm. But, that’s not why I am telling you all this. The reason I am telling you who I am, is because in between succumbing to the tyranny of my adorable wife and playing with my five-year-old boy, I have managed to write my debut novel.




Social Media Links:
Website * Facebook * Twitter

Interview with the Author:

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
I was 11 and I was in love. Of course, I didn’t even know what love meant, so I picked up the pen and started scribbling. Before I realized, I had finished almost 2 pages and then excitedly handed it over to the love of my life! She read it and said, it’s good but it has ten grammatical errors. Well, she was also my English teacher. 

What inspires you to write?
Everything in my life that is not routine - Frustration, anger, happiness, emotions, sadness, helplessness. It is my pill to rid me off the bad Segway in life and to treasure the good ones.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
Part truth, part fiction, a hell of an imagination; all centered around a grave but unaddressed issue of self-harm.

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?
This is my first full-length literary creation. I do have one script that I wrote for Anurag Kashyap many years ago.

Tell us about your writing process.
I travel a lot. That gives me an opportunity to interact with new people on a regular basis, also, when you are on a plane with no wi-fi, it’s like a perfect transit getaway to write. 
Regarding the process itself, I think I am a bit of a methodical man so I do follow a stringent process of storyboarding and then all the way through.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
There is this pivotal scene that I wrote, which I call the falling down moment of the book. It’s like Michael Douglas’s character in the movie “Falling Down”, where whatever that could go wrong, indeed does. It’s a complete fictionalized scene but it bores such a heavy parity to what each one of us, at least for once, have faced in our lives. What happens after this scene is something….well, read the book for that!

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?
I think it did. One of the character is a bit goofy like me, but some of his skills like the martial arts and stuff are diametrically opposite. 

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
I read a lot of thrillers by good ol’ authors like Dan Brown, Tom Clancy, Lee Child, Agatha Christie to name a few; then I also read YA fantasy/dystopian stuff from Suzanne Collins; and a few random bestsellers like Gone Girl, Fifty shades, etc.
I like Dan Brown because he made third person omniscient style cool, even though for my next one I am going with First person PoV.

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
Keep on writing. Writing is the fuel for creativity and it’s not the other way round.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
Discipline. Get in the discipline of writing regularly.

What would be the Dream Cast for you book if it was to be turned into a movie?
I know that Sona would be best played by Shraddha Kapoor or Alia Bhatt. The male actors, I would think Siddharth Malhotra and Abhishek Bachchan.

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?
Treasure map, Rum and a beautiful assistant.

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
There are plenty of places. I like Orlando, it’s really fun especially the universal studios. I like the vibe of Miami and at times I just check in a hotel at Times square, it makes me and New York City become one.

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.
I actually listen to women, I am ambidextrous and I follow god on twitter

What do you have in store next for your readers?
I am working on 2 manuscripts in progress and both are thrillers. One is a political thriller and the other one is a paranormal thriller.

About the Book:

Two men; two personalities; two slants of love; one destiny.
Roy’s tender heart is on a quest to find the holy grail of mankind – True love. But, the soft echo of feisty Monica’s whispering words - remember; remember; the sixth of September – will change everything, raining mayhem on him and everyone he touches.  
Shammi, a serial monogamist, thinks love is an urban myth – a ridiculous creation of the feeble hearts. As awe-inspiring beautiful Sona brisk through his life, the sublime aura of her love brews a raging battle within him - a battle between his objectivity and his heart.
Smothered by the haunting causality of love, Shammi’s life spirals down a path of retribution against his own demons, and, Roy’s life is sunk in a deluge of inexplicable state of affairs. Facing imminent danger, and running out of options, Roy suddenly finds himself cornered and isolated. Roy’s only glimmer of hope is by helping Shammi pull out of the dark tunnels of his inner demons; transforming his retribution into redemption; healing his agony with hope; and swapping his wretchedness with swagger - the swagger of love.


Buy Links:
Amazon * Infibeam

22 May, 2016

#SpecialFeature :: #ShortStory Stomach Bug by Ash Creedon and Stephen Oram


*** Special Feature - May 2016 ***



Stephen, I hear you’ve been collaborating on a story recently.

Yes, I was on holiday with my (very) young god daughter and her family a few weeks ago and she was telling me about some of her inventions. We got talking and decided that one of them would make a great near-future story. Over the past couple of weeks we’ve co-written something via email.

Do you often co-write with others?

I have on a few occasions. Recently, I wrote an article with another author about speaking at events and as one of the Clockhouse London Writers, I’ve collaborated on a few pieces. One of these - I Sing the Body Acrostic - is in the current edition of Sein und Werden.

Do you find it an easy thing to do?

Not really, I think it’s quite difficult. If you’re trying to write something so it seems as if it’s been written by one person, that’s not easy. I find that my stories develop as I write them and the original idea takes a different shape as the work is refined. When you’re collaborating that’s much harder to do.

Was it much different co-writing with a much younger writer?

Not particularly. I think the two main issues I mentioned above are the same whoever you’re writing with. In some ways it was easier because the original idea was all hers so the collaboration was mainly based around turning it into a story.

Can we read the story?

Of course, here it is for the first time in public…


Photo Credit: Jigsaw postcard via photopin (license)


STOMACH BUG

Co-written by Ash Creedon and Stephen Oram
from an original idea by Ash Creedon


The lunch bell rang and all the children closed their eyes.
Mrs Quander, their teacher, waited for them to be quiet. ‘Good,’ she said.
Robyn pushed her long black hair behind her ears and fiddled with her earing.
‘It’s time to think about your lunch,’ said Mrs Quander.
Robyn squeezed her eyes tight and imagined her favourite food – fish fingers, chips and beans. The bioengineering in her stomach made her feel as if she’d eaten a proper meal. It produced a balance of energy, vitamins and nutrients and, as if by magic, she could also smell the fish and taste the hot chips.
She opened her eyes and looked around at her classmates who’d also been given the stomach biotech implants when they’d started school at the beginning of the month.
It had taken a while to get used to; one funny moment had been when she’d been planning her eleventh birthday in her head and kept getting fuller and fuller each time she thought about crisps or sausages. Her mum had really told her off about that.
She closed her eyes again and conjured up ice-cream and doughnuts. Lovely.
Crash!
On the other side of the room, Isaac was on the floor writhing in agony.
Mrs Quander ran across to him. ‘Isaac, stop thinking about food,’ she shouted.
He clutched his throat and his face turned bright purple.
The children started to whisper. Isaac curled up and squeezed his belly. Mrs Quander then realised he hadn't been over-eating. She ran out of the room and grabbed a telephone.  
‘Emergency services,’ she said breathlessly. ‘We have a very sick child.’
Isaac’s friends got out of their seats and crowded round him. ‘What's going on?’ said a small girl with long pigtails tied in her hair.
‘Is he ok?’ questioned a tall boy in pointy shoes.
When Mrs Quander came back in the room, she had the paramedics following her.  One muscly man scooped up Isaac in his arms and carried him out of the classroom door.  
Robyn's dad worked in one of the factories where they made the implants, he would know about this, wouldn't he? So after school that day (school ended early because of the incident with Isaac) she went straight to her dad’s house to ask about any problems with the implants.
When she arrived her dad was at home – he’d been working on the night shift. ‘Hello,’ he said. ‘What brings you home so early?’
She tried to speak but started crying instead.
‘Hey, what‘s wrong?’
She sniffed back the tears. ‘Isaac’s really ill. It was at lunchtime. He got sick.’
Her dad stopped scratching his beard and held her shoulders.
‘What sort of ill?’ he asked.
‘Proper ill. All purple and holding his belly. It was horrible.’
‘Oh no,’ said her dad under his breath. He paced around the room, stopping to look in the mirror each time he passed it.
He sat down.
He stood up.
‘Not a child. Please, not a child.’
‘Dad, you’re scaring me,’ she said as she ran towards him.
‘What was he doing?’
‘We were thinking about food. It was lunchtime.’
‘Stupid. Stupid idea.’
He sat down again.
‘Would Isaac know what Tiger tasted like?’
She laughed. ‘Don’t be silly. Of course not.’
Her dad was breathing heavily and seemed to have forgotten she was there. He whispered to himself. ‘Enough poison for a fully grown adult. A child. We had to stop them somehow.’
She pulled his arm. ‘Dad? What?’
He held her hand. ‘Someone found out how to imagine eating endangered species. If people get a taste for it, who knows what might happen. They might even go and hunt the real thing. We had to stop them.’
‘No! Isaac would never do that,’ she said, as she pulled away.
He cuddled her tightly. ‘We never imagined a child would be able to copy them. He must have been taught by a grown-up.’
‘Dad?’
He looked straight at her and then stared at the floor.
She nudged his elbow.

‘We poisoned Isaac,’ he said, and began to cry.

About the Book:

It’s the week before the annual Pay Day when strata positions are decided by the controlling corporations. The social media feed is frenetic with people trying to boost their influence rating while those above the strata and those who’ve opted out pursue their own manipulative goals.


Amber is ambitious. Martin is burnt out by years of struggling. She cheats to get what she wants while he barely clings on to what he has.


Set in a speculative near-future London, Fluence is a satirical story of aspiration and desperation and of power seen and unseen. It’s a story of control and consequence. It’s the story of the extremes to which Amber and Martin are prepared to go in these last ten thousand minutes before Pay Day. 





Book Links:
Goodreads I Amazon

About the Author:
Hippie-punk, religious-squatter, bureaucrat-anarchist; I thrive on contradictions. The tension they create fuels my slightly skewed fictional worlds and the complex characters that inhabit them. It’s hard to describe the sheer delight I get from taking reality, nudging it out of kilter and seeing what happens.

I was a teenager in a small market town in the UK when punk hit the scene and its ethos and energy rushed through me and my generation. It felt as if we could stick two fingers up to the establishment and do whatever we wanted, however we wanted to do it. I’m sure that’s a familiar feeling for every generation of teenagers, but there’s no denying that punk provoked a reaction. It was also the era of free festivals and the peace convoy; to a teenager at a time when nuclear war threatened to end the world at any moment the free festivals like Stonehenge seemed truly post-apocalyptic. I loved them. The mix of hippies, hells angels and punks all co-existing (fairly) peacefully without the police was an incredibly formative experience. I’ve been to festivals every year since and still find them a great way to re-calibrate normal.


Being a squatter and being in a cult were both out there experiences but not as dissimilar as they might seem at first glance; they both had a strong ideological desire for non-conformity and strong, albeit different, moral codes. That’s the sort of realisation that makes me want to wobble the world to see what falls out.


I’ve had some fun on the journey from that punk inspired teenager to this anarchy inspired bureaucrat and more often than not I’ve had a foot in more than one camp at a time: as an unwelcome hippie at punk gigs; a religious cult member in the hedonistic squatter scene; or a would-be anarchist working as a bureaucrat. Even where I live in Fitzrovia we see ourselves as a village in the heart of London, as an enclave of difference standing out against the corporate onslaught of blandness (but close enough in case we need it).


That’s only a small insight into the inspirations and experiences that helped form me, Stephen Oram the author. And, if I’m asked why I write I have more than one answer; it’s a mixture of wanting to create something entertaining, thinking I’ve got something to say and needing something to keep me out of mischief. One thing is for sure though, I’d love to set off some small firecrackers of thought to light the world slightly differently inside your head!


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