Tuesday, August 30, 2016

"Road Tales" by Darragh J. Brady

EXCERPT and INTERVIEW
Road Tales
by Darragh J. Brady


Author and musician Darragh J. Brady stops by today for an interview and to share an excerpt from his memoir, Road Tales.

Description
Singer-songwriter and Music Producer Darragh J Brady has been travelling the globe promoting the ancient art of storytelling through Music, a passion which has driven him literally to the edge and back. From a bumpy bus ride with a machete-wielding South American, to playing one of his heroes on screen, Darragh tells all in this incredible series of yarns documenting life on the road. This superb story-teller pulls you into his tales of wonder – whether on a dusty Australian road or flying alongside him on a hallucinogenic ride. Inspiring characters leap off the page – you will be humbled by the stoicism and self-belief of an injured mandolin player and will fall in love with the beautiful and compassionate Cockney Angel. Climb aboard the magic bus for a trip of a lifetime!
Road Tales is a crazy trip across the world and documents a period of time in a British musician's life, when all that mattered was the music and the road ahead.
It is a testament to other peoples' stories, rather than the writer, and digs into the mantle of what makes people tick, while some people thrive others dive.
The author was intrigued by the amount of different tales he was hearing from the Aboriginal stolen generation pushed back to a meagre existence on the fringes of society, to Guatemalan community leaders who would risk their lives to save the greater population of their native people.
Each chapter is bound with a tinge of a rock musician on the edge of chaos finding himself in the strangest locations and situations, like having a gun pointed to his head in a Guatemalan rainforest, to causing mayhem entering the United States, though he always seems to find the beauty in the frail story of human existence.
Road Tales consists of 15 chapters, each one a different character from a different part of the world, each with their own archetype that seeks to give insights into the complicated tale of human nature.
Each tale asks questions like, "what is altruism?", "what is faith?", "what is guru worship?" and "what makes certain people reach up from adversity and succeed in being a better person through the challenges they have been given?"
Read it if you are looking for an amazing read that takes you on a journey and at the end hopefully allows you to say, "You know what, if they can get through their challenges then maybe I stand a chance with mine."


Excerpt
Chapter 1 Don Juan
The BA Flight to Mexico City was nearing its landing point, turning across the huge expanse of buildings and people below us like a miniature world that was getting bigger with every second of the descent. The plane turned sharply to the left in order to steady its incoming position and people were shuffling about, restless after being stuck in the air for 10 hours, when BOOM!
A huge gasp from all the passengers was let out like an orchestra hitting the same note and filling the cabin with fear and amazement by the fact that the plane was still intact.  A twisted line of electricity bellowed out of the sky, hit the right wing bang on, and made the plane shudder as if we’d been hit by a missile. The pilots felt the judder, but in true British fashion they carried on steadying the plane into its descent.
‘Welcome To Mexico! We hope you had a pleasant flight with us. Excuse the slight judder. It was just a random bit of lightening and nothing at all to worry about. The time is 10am local time. We look forward to seeing you again soon.’
The relief at those words made me feel like kissing the ground and the pilots for that matter as we touched down. I was not the greatest flyer in the world and any little bit of noise made me nervous. However, I had a good strategy. My flight survival plan went a bit like this:
1. Check bags in.
2. Get to Departure lounge bar.
3. Order bottle of Champagne.
4. Drink Bottle.
5. Check time and boarding info.
6. If more time, repeat numbers 3 and 4.
This would go on till the last call to board the plane when I would make a mad dash to the departure gate and try to sweeten up the check in attendants with some drunken charm. I would find my seat, wait till the plane took off and when the belt light went off I would order another bottle of fizz. I would end up so loaded by the time I landed that I played catch the luggage at the baggage collection turner and then tried to walk in a straight line past the customs crew.
I once flew to Atlanta to do a couple of shows in a place called Athens, home to REM and the B52’s, and was so out of it that I forgot what I was actually there for. That was a real mind blank moment. This was after the second invasion of Iraq which meant that things had stepped up a gear in terms of paranoia and the US was on high alert. I wandered through passport control like a lost soul looking for redemption only to find a hyped up Afro-American lady asking what the purpose of my visit was? Being completely wasted, I told her that I had not got a clue, but thought she looked hot with her gun and uniform thing going on. She asked me again, and this time my manager at the time stepped in and told her that I was a British musician doing some shows in the Athens area and promised that I would cause no threat whatsoever to the American people.
That was not an isolated event. In fact I think that over a ten year period of flying around the world, I was not once of sane mind when I landed. This flight to Mexico was to be no exception to the rule of intoxication, and the routine of grabbing bags from the baggage recovery lounge commenced. ‘There it goes; next time round it’s mine.’ People were stepping away from this fully loaded freak that was looking worse for wear at 10.30am on a Wednesday morning in Mexico City’s international airport. Thank God for sunglasses; the standard kit for all wasted musicians living out a hyped up and fuelled rock n’ roll fantasy.
The reason for the journey was a simple one. I would head down to Acapulco and play some gigs. Nothing was booked or planned so I would just see what would happen when I got there. I had just spent 6 weeks doing a stint of gigs in Egypt, Bahrain and Lebanon, playing R + B cover versions with a mad West Indian girl from South London which meant that I had money in my pocket and the need to play some original music to a totally different crowd.
If I was writing a confession of a musician, the first chapter would be based on the fact that we just love to play, and in my line of work you get to go to places that some people could only ever dream of going to.
We get to see the dark side of town while most holiday makers stay close to the pool and the bar to avoid getting kidnapped and held for ransom.
Not that this doesn’t happen so I guess if you give a damn about your own safety then you best stay in the hotel complex. However, if you like a little bit of dancing on the wild side then you best come with me.
Mexico City is one of the wildest cities on the planet with no shortage of eye openers to be seen and experienced. I spent a few days finding my bearings and checking out the pyramids and Aztec ruins. It was all here, history, depth, people, culture, danger, and a celebration of life that only those that live on the edge will feel.
I was sitting in the Centro Historico, downtown Mexico City, watching the world breeze past. Everyone was on a mission to get something and somewhere, like anywhere in the world, but here you could see things that you wouldn’t see anywhere else.
A man walked passed carrying a full statue of the ‘Mother Mary’ on his back, which told a story of a million words as he passed me by. The passion of people who struggle to make their daily bread and yet hold so much belief in the reverence of religion never ceases to amaze me. This individual was bearing a heavy church statue for whatever reason, which I was not certain of, and it was biblical as he bowed under the strain of its weight in the midday sun of a Mexican afternoon.
Did the suffering make him feel that he was doing something to gain a better life after this one? Was it some re-enactment of the slaughter of Jesus Christ, only this time he was carrying his mother rather than a cross?
I always thought this kind of thing was a big risk to take. Paying penance now for a better after life gig never really sat well with me. I’d rather take my chances and negotiate later. The guilt of a Catholic religion was still buried deep in my subconscious. They had done a good job on all of us in making us feel like we should live our lives in a box. If you dared stepping out then hell and damnation would follow you. Even writing this makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong, but in truth we really only have this one chance to have as much fun as we can before the lights go out.
As long as you look after the planet and everyone around you then all the bases are covered in my book.
Money is not the root of all evil, it is a means to an end and if you use it right then you can work miracles.
Sex is something to be enjoyed, and as long as you do it with someone you love, then what’s the big deal?
Killing is an obvious no no, as well as stealing things you have not earned, and of course so is lying.
The rest of the sins are open to question, such as gambling for example, but even that, if you feel it and can handle the loss, the choice is yours. The ‘Ten Commandments’ are all negative commands in my eyes, and should have been balanced up.
There should be another ten stating:
11. ‘Thou Shall Have Lots of Fun While You Have the Chance’
12. ‘Thou Shall Hold Back for Nothing’
13. ‘Thou Shall Laugh at Every Opportunity’
14. ‘Thou Shall Rock Hard’
15. ‘Thou Shall Not Believe a Word Anyone Who Works in Government Says’
16. ‘Thou Shall Not Get Wound Up by Idiots’
17. ‘Thou Shall Not Be Afraid to Strut Thy Stuff’
18. ‘Thou Shall Dance Like a Crazy Thing’
19. ‘Thou Shall Not Worship Money, but the Ideas to Make the Cash’ (as long as they do not damage the planets or anything that live on them)
20. ‘Thou Shall Not Give a **** What Other People Think of Them’.
We have been conditioned to fear everything, as if there isn’t enough to keep you concerned by nature imploding on us, we have to fear that if we don’t worship this thing in the sky that looks like an old man, then we are, how do you say in French? ‘Buggered’.
I have total respect for people who hold their beliefs in statues and buildings as it gives them something to hold onto in times of trouble, a rock that inspires hope, but as regards to the whole ‘Believe in my God thing or else!’ it is a turn off for me.
Mexico City was really quite an eye opener. There were no go zones that I seemed to end up in at the end of the night when the more normal places closed. It was as if I was on a mission to push my existence to the edge and then see where that led. Places and scenarios that you only see in movies were being acted out in a real life drama in my waking reality. These were places where you could end up with a bullet in your head for just being there.
After spending a night on a street somewhere on the north side of the city where anything goes if you have the money, I decided it might be an idea to cut loose and head to Acapulco for some beach action.
The journey down to the Pacific coast was again like being in a western movie; dry arid landscapes, beating hot sun, huge cactus trees and mountains that said loudly, ‘I’ll give you an adventure if you want one.’ All that was missing was Clint Eastwood and his cowboy buddies.
I kept looking out of the windows in a reflex state in case bandits on horseback came flying down the range to high-jack the stage coach. It wasn’t that far off the mark. They just didn’t use horses anymore. The further south you went the more likely it was that your vehicle would get pulled over at gunpoint by bandits or government rebels called the Zapatistas.
The Zapatistas had been fighting a civil war with the Mexican government since 1995 over land rights and the fact that the Mayan people had been getting a bad deal since the Spanish turned up in the 1500’s.
It was only fair that they would use any means necessary to make themselves heard, and as the saying goes ‘Power concedes nothing without demand so praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.’
For now that was a distant dream. All I had in mind was going ‘Loco down in Acapulco’ as it was a place which I fancied staying in a little too long, and that was the master plan for now.
On arrival at the Bahia De Acapulco, I was welcomed by a Mexican in a fine sombrero and his well-rehearsed lines flowed effortlessly. ‘Senor, welcome to the best town in the world!’
I thanked him, thinking yes mate, this is it!
‘I have accommodation that overlooks the Bahia.’
With an offer like that how could I say no? ‘Si Senor. Muchas gracias,’ I replied.
Within a split second I was whisked into his waiting jeep and we sped off into the main drag where the beach was and people were waiting for the night to come around.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Interview With the Author
Darragh J. Brady joins me today to discuss his new book, Road Tales.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
Anywhere from 16 to 90!
What sparked the idea for this book?
I got the idea from touring as a musician for fifteen years around the world and meeting amazing people who all had 360 tales to tell.
So, which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the book?
Characters and situations give me ideas for storylines.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
Finishing it was the hardest part of the process.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
The book contains positively uplifting stories to allow the reader to believe that miracles can happen.
How long did it take you to write this book?
Six months.
What is your writing routine?
Get down to it early and knock out some pages before hitting the studio to make some music.
How did you get your book published?
Hustling hard.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Do it.
What does your family think of your writing?
Rubbish, no they love it!
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
It was a bit broken. To be fair, father died when I was nine and I grew up in a house of alcoholics. I left school early, got a job in a factory, left after a week, joined a band and went on tour for fifteen years.
Did you like to read when you were a child?
Yes.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I first started writing songs, then I had a couple of short stories published when I was around 16 years old.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Yes. I'm not sure you can't be influenced by all your experiences.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
So far, just that I have a mad imagination, but that's just my life.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I'll have a new album out next year and some short stories, plus a new book called The Rise And Fall Of Rock n Roll Band.
Anything else you would like to add?
Words put together in the right way can change the world.
Fantastic! Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, Darragh. Best of luck with your future projects.

About the Author
Irish-born Darragh J. Brady is a rock steady musician and writer who is not afraid to go out on the edge if it means bringing something good back from it.
Dar.Ra has graced the UK national charts and dance charts with two top 40s and two number one dance records with acts signed to EMI, BMG, Festival Records (Australia), plus remixed legends like Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Tears for Fears, Urban Harmonix ft Rachel Brown (Faithless, Groove Armada), and many others along the way.
He has lived his life in recording studios around the world making some amazing sonic masterpieces along the way, from Dance to Rock to World Music and back again, and runs his own record label, Kusha Deep Music.
His first solo album Soul Hours released in 2010 made album of the week of Spain’s Heart FM as well as received support from BBC Radio, playing to over 1 million people in one on air live show.
His follow up album Battle Hymns has been used on various TV and Film projects from BBC’s Match Of The Day to US ABC TV films starring Hilary Duff.
Dar.Ra wrote and produced the music for US documentary City of Hope, which told the story of the street kids of São Paulo and how two Americans set up one of the most successful schools, with literally no money.
He has also recently been asked to join the writing team on the strength of his first book, for a new film project set in Wales about the Welsh Uprising against Edward 1st in the 12 century, which will have a Game Of Thrones feel about it.
Road Tales, Darragh’s debut novel, follows his adventures on the road as a touring musician, opening up a whole new dimension by introducing us to amazing people from around the globe to gain insight from their life challenges. Each chapter explores the realms of possibility and what it means to be alive in the 21st century, asking questions such as what is faith, what is altruism what makes people do amazing things while they are here on the planet, while others settle for a life more ordinary.
There will be a collection of short stories titled Caught Short released later this year, with a new novel and solo album planned for next year

Links

Monday, August 29, 2016

"Avendui 5ive" by P. K. Tyler

NEW RELEASE and REVIEW
Avendui 5ive
(Jakkattu Shorts Book 1)
by P. K. Tyler


P. K. Tyler has just released her new short story Avendui 5ive, a companion to the Jakkattu series of sci-fi thrillers. You can read my review below. Keep an eye out for more shorts in this series as well as the first full-length novel, The Jakkattu Vector, coming November.


More books and stories by this author: White Chalk (read my blog post), Dead Girl (read my blog post), Heaven's Vault (read my blog post), Alt. History 101 (read my blog post), UnCommon Bodies (read my blog post), Mosaics Volume 2 (read my blog post), CLONES: The Anthology (read my blog post), UnCommon Origins (read my blog post), and Book of Lilith (read my blog post).

Description
Biomechanically enhanced Humans called Series Teks are cogs in the machine of a distant future world. Each Series serves a purpose and Teks are designed, enhanced, and genetically coded to fulfill that role. When Avendui 5ive finds herself unable to perform to expectations, what will become of her? What is the fate of a broken machine, even if they are, underneath it all, still people?

Excerpt
Click below to read an excerpt.


Praise for the Book
"As a fan of this author, I'll read just about anything she writes. I have yet to be disappointed. Avendui 5ive is a great quick read that makes no sacrifices even in its brevity. If you like sci. fi. or lit fic, definitely give this one a try." ~ Jessica
"An excellently compiled short story, after which you will want to beg the author to write more of this world. [...] Excellent writing, and a great story which pulls you in from the first sentence." ~ Kay Smillie
"The story is quite an interesting take on a world where humans are no longer in control. [...] I loved it and I'm looking forward to read the up coming novel which will be set in the same amazing world." ~ Fizza Younis
"P.K. Tyler has great imagination and a deft touch at pacing and description. I recommend this story and the upcoming series to all fans of hard sci-fi. This is an author that is so good that she deserves to more famous in the sci-fi community." ~ Diana in SC
"Tyler uses her ability to draw readers to her characters by giving them qualities that resonate, putting them in situations that force action and reaction and hinting at the world and it’s management, it is a wonderful 'tease' for the upcoming title." ~ Gaele

My Review


By Lynda Dickson
Avendui 5ive (Avi) is a tek, born human but given implants and coding to make her a worker for the Mezna, the alien race that has taken over Earth. With the other series 5ive teks, she works underground. But she is different to the rest of her series because she has found forbidden love with Virgil 9ine.
The author cleverly builds her world, introducing us to the different tek series and the Mezna, who live in a city patrolled by guards and run by nuns and priests. With a few well-chosen words, the author shows us that the teks are still human, capable of love, humor, compassion, and fear. The fledgling love of Avi and Virgil is captivatingly beautiful and heartbreakingly fleeting. I cried when Avi and Virgil hold hands and her simple touch starts breaking down Virgil's mineral composition. Hints at a flaw in the tek system promise plenty of excitement to come.
I look forward to reading the rest of this series.

About the Author
P. K. Tyler is the author of Speculative Fiction and other Genre Bending novels. She's also published works as Pavarti K. Tyler and had projects appear on the USA Today Bestseller's List.
Pav attended Smith College and graduated with a degree in Theatre. She lived in New York, where she worked as a Dramaturge, Assistant Director and Production Manager on productions both on and off-Broadway. Later, Pavarti went to work in the finance industry for several international law firms.
Now located in Baltimore, Maryland, she lives with her husband, two daughters and two terrible dogs. When not penning science fiction books and other speculative fiction novels, she twists her mind by writing horror and erotica.

Links

Saturday, August 27, 2016

"Intriguing Women" by Lakshmi Raj Sharma

REVIEW and EXCERPT
Intriguing Women
by Lakshmi Raj Sharma


Author Lakshmi Raj Sharma joins me today to share an excerpt from Intriguing Women, a book of short stories. You can also read my review.

Description
Intriguing Women is Lakshmi Raj Sharma’s third work of fiction. After the success of his debut novel The Tailor’s Needle and his first book of short stories Marriages Are Made In India, Sharma now publishes a second, masterly collection of stories about women in all their infinite – and intriguing – variety. Male readers may learn something useful too ...
The stories have international and Indian settings. We visit Europe, we travel to Afghanistan and we celebrate the rich variety of the Indian continent. These are women who may seem superficially normal, but might not be, and women who strive for normality at all costs. Sharma also raises questions; can a woman reconcile herself to terrorism? How do we react to a woman who kills several of her husbands? Definitions of femininity are examined and magnified through the prism of fiction.
We meet women who despite years of oppression, are smart enough to ride the 21st century successfully, while others are left behind, unable to handle the complexities of modern life. These stories report, reflect and examine the feminine nature.
What is it like to be born a woman, most particularly an Indian woman?
Intriguing stories indeed ...

Book Video
Watch the seven-part video of the book launch for Intriguing Women by Lakshmi Raj Sharma.


Excerpt from "Bonding"
As she travelled with her newlywed husband in a coupe compartment from the heat of her premarital home in Jaisalmer, her heart ached for Pallavi. Pallavi had everything – hope, charm, untiring energy, confidence, song, dance, the list was unending. With her life was so complete, so exhilarating. Things could never be the same without her. Suparna’s heart wept, responding to the rhythm of the shaky carriage. How could a husband give her anything in comparison? Be born a daughter and you were always another’s burden; first your father’s and then your husband’s. As the train sped through, leaving behind the living sands of the desert, towards the lifeless greens of the world beyond, Suparna wondered why it was so necessary to get married. Marriage was society’s mode of ending the revels of life; it’s method of ensuring that all good things came to an end.
Himanshu could see that his bride wasn’t satisfied with the deal. He tried to smile at her but that seemed to only bring forth the flood of tears that she had dammed inside. He held her hand but she jerked him off. He closed in towards her putting his arm round her and that was too much for her to bear. She pushed him away and stood up in a fury.
‘If I have married you, it doesn’t mean I am sold to you. You and your people have given me no dowry, okay? Just stay away from me!’
‘You seem really angry and hurt, Suparna! Have I offended you?’
‘Offended me? You have ruined me. Why was it so necessary for you to marry me? Were all the other girls dead?’
‘Who could have guessed that I was marrying someone who disliked me so much? Neither my parents nor yours.’
‘But you jumped at the idea, when my parents sent the proposal. A decent man would wait a week at least before plunging into marriage.’
‘How did you get to know that?’
‘Durga Aunty told Mummy everything. If you hadn’t jumped for joy at the idea of the proposal, my parents would have thought a little before tying me up with you.’
‘Durga Aunty wasn’t there when your father pleaded that I marry you. He was ready to give anything we wanted but my mother said she only wanted a good wife for her son and a decent daughter-in-law for herself. Anyway, you are tired. Rest till it is time for lunch. Nothing is lost yet.’
‘Nothing is lost for a wretched man who is carrying away a bride. The loss is always ours.’
‘Ours? You surely don’t mean both of us? Have you started considering you and me, us?’
‘No, my dear! Don’t have hopes. I mean the female species. I can never team up with a man. I am a woman first and anything else later. And I think I was born to set things right for women! Let it be clear from the beginning that I consider you my natural enemy.’
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
"Wonderful stories of individual experiences in love, loss, and relationships, and in finding a place in a world where the expectations of others might not match one's own. The author does a great job of putting the reader in the minds of the characters, who are complex and often conflicted individuals struggling to find the right compromises in life. Very interesting book with relatable themes." ~ Diane Kelly
"A wonderful modern collection that reads a little like the literary classics. Well-written, colorful and thought-provoking." ~ Robin Gregory
"Each story explores romance, lust, sex, wit, deception, manipulation, infidelity, same-sex love, domestic dispute, murder, and war. With the many twists and turns, secrets, and shocking revelations, these stories are a mirror of the world, and readers will, surely, identify with some of the characters because they could be your next-door neighbor, friend, co-worker or relative." ~ Vivienne Diane Neal
"If you like to read a collection that takes you into the consciousness of people, both women and men, this is the book to read. I could see what it is to be contemporary after reading these stories. The pain and anguish of today's relationships are very well balanced with a subtle humour. I laughed through this collection and enjoyed every page of Intriguing Women. Don't miss reading this book of stories." ~ abhijeet pandey
"No doubt Lakshmi Raj Sharma is a master story teller. Intriguing Women is a must read short story collection. There is much variety in these stories, no two stories are alike. The stories contain women of several kinds but are interesting for men and women alike. I am amazed to find how different it is to Lakshmi Raj Sharma's novel, The Tailor's Needle. India is shown as it actually is and so are the other countries in this collection. I strongly recommend this book to lovers of fiction." ~ abhimanyu pandey

My Review


By Lynda Dickson
Intriguing Women is a collection of 23 short stories, all featuring intriguing women. What makes them so intriguing? You'll have to read this anthology to find out.
In "Contemporary Woman" Anwar Sheikh is an Indian novelist who travels to England to research the contemporary woman for his new novel.
In " A Visit to My Home" Vinita and Vinoy are from different provinces in India, but they marry for love. Everything goes well for twenty years but, when Vinoy's father dies, everything changes.
In "The Literary Agent" Shubha is a literary agent whose author client shows her just how important the job of a literary agent can be.
In "Bohemian" Supriya and Niloy are married but both are having affairs. The arrangement suits them both, for a little while at least.
In "17-B Englishia Lines" Aruna returns home after twelve years and feels the presence of her dead mother and father, as well as that of a man she has never met. Who is this stranger?
In "Ever Met Such a Woman?" Amit, a reporter, interviews Dan while he is in the hospital. Dan is in India for his wedding and honeymoon, but what went so wrong?
In "A French Bite" Om and Shalini are struggling in their marriage of eighteen years. Shalini meets a charming Frenchman at the market and introduces him to her husband. But does she have an ulterior motive? And what about the Frenchman himself?
In "The Park" Sajid and Sameena marry in haste in London, then move to Paris to take care of her sick father. Only two months into their marriage, Sajid discovers that Sameena has a lover.
In "A Man is for Burning" Gita is a powerful woman who has more than one man under her control.
In "A Postulant Demimonde Existence" a kind man has an encounter with a homeless woman.
In "Bonding" Suparna marries Himanshu by arrangement but is not happy to leave her friend Pallavi behind.
In "Madam Sosostris" Preeti marries Mohan but divorces him soon after. She moves on to Vinod, but will she ever be happy?
In "The English World" we follow the lives of the manager and employees of The English World store during a visit by their prize customer.
In "The Wedding" a man contemplates marriage during the wedding of his ex-wife.
In "A Letter from a Dead Man" Supriya likes meeting powerful men and using them for her own purposes. What happens when she doesn't get the promotion she is expecting?
In "The Company Garden: A Tale about Rebirth" Yogesh and Vipin visit a construction site at night in order to meet the woman of Vipin's dreams, literally.
In "War Drums in Afghanistan" Firoza is trapped in her own home under the watchful gaze of her brother Aibak. When Aibak is away, he arranges for his friend to act as her caretaker.
In "Ah Taj!" Raman and his wife Isabella are visiting the Taj Mahal Hotel in Bombay when an explosion strikes.
In "My Neurosis and Hers" a man traveling by train meets a woman accompanied by two children.
In "Save Our Ponds" Suchitra lavishes all her love on her animals, while her workmate Prateeka is passionate about powerful men. What happens when both women set their sights on Rajan?
In "Bold, Brief and Brilliant" Treena and Manish's marriage is falling apart and Treena tries to sabotage Manish's new relationship.
In "The Skies" Bhasker wants his daughter Nandini to be a star. But at what price?
In "That Empty Feeling" Prabha dwells on the fact that she has recently been widowed.
All of these stories revolve around the common themes of modern ideals, independence, love, marriage, and family, woven through with domestic violence, alcoholism, and infidelity. The women are usually portrayed as the heroes, while the men are depicted as the villains. It's interesting to note the contrast, from story to story, between emerging love and the failing marriage. While the author's prose is wonderful, the dialogue is a bit forced, making those stories with little to no dialogue the best. Some stories end rather abruptly and are more snippets of life than true short stories. There are also a few editing errors. My favorite story: "A Postulant Demimonde Existence".
As the author states in his story "Contemporary Woman", "his novel had to reveal the flesh and blood, not merely the skin, if it was to make even the slightest ripple." In Intriguing Women, author Lakshmi Raj Sharma has accomplished just that.
Warnings: sexual references, domestic violence, coarse language, sex scenes.

About the Author
Born in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, in 1954, I have been educated in Allahabad. I have taught English at the University of Allahabad since 1979. I was selected for the Indian Civil Services in 1978 but chose to be a teacher. I married Bandana, my colleague in the English Department in 1982. We have a son, Dhruv, who is an etymologist.
Presently I am a Professor of English at the University of Allahabad. I have taught Literary Theory, Literature and Society, and Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama at the postgraduate level. I was the Head of the English Department for a two-year term which was over last year. I have several scholarly books and articles to my credit in Indian and foreign journals. I wrote The T. S. Eliot-Middleton Murry Debate (1994), the very first book on the subject. The second book on this subject was published from Oxford six years after mine.
My first novel, The Tailor’s Needle, first published by Picnic Publishing Limited, UK, has now been published by Penguin Books India in December 2012. This is also an ebook.
My first collection of short stories, Marriages Are Made In India, was published by Writers’ Workshop, Kolkata, in 2001. This collection has now been published by Publerati (USA) in May 2012 as an ebook.
My short story, "Company Garden: A Story of Rebirth" has been published by Sonar 4 Publications, USA, in an international anthology of stories entitled, Whitechapel 13, in September 2011.
My story, "He and She" was published in an American journal called, Gather Kindling published from Washington DC in 2011.
My story, "A Postulant Demimonde Existence", has been published in [Vol. 1] Brooklyn, an American journal, recently.
My article "Charles Dickens and Me" has been published by the Oxford journal, English, in August 2012.
I was invited to the Brasenose College, Oxford, during the J. Middleton Murry Centenary, in 1989.
I have written and directed several plays which have become an annual feature at the Amaranatha Jha Hostel of the University of Allahabad.
Currently, I am writing four literary novels, one of which is a young adult novel.

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