Saturday, December 29, 2012

Editing and Coming up in a new avatar

2013 is just round the corner...Time for new resolutions and new reading challenges. Sadly, most of my reading challenges remain unaccomplished. I could read only 11 books and my target was 100 books. It was not as I completely lost interest in reading but I got a 24*7 job to attend. (  I am a journalist by profession). But that should not shove off my passion for reading to the back burner. But then I realised that it was not my job alone which is putting hurdles in giving proper inputs in my blog. I sat back and thought for a while.

It has been two years since I started this blog, I still remain a beginner ( as suggested in my blog description) when it comes to book reviews. I did only three interviews of writers, though I got pretty much good response for it.I got the back drop for my blog very recently. It was then only I realised what should my blog contain. Why did I take too much time to realise it? I felt like floating, not able to put my foot firmly in the ground. I felt detached while writing anything in the blog. ( You should be detached while reporting but should not be so when it comes to writing your own blog.

There is only one answer to all these misses. I was emulating other bloggers. I was not giving anything which is my own contribution. When I started this blog on books, I was clueless on getting it started. Hence I went through many blogs. Knowingly or unknowingly I stuck with other bloggers' style. So I am going to undo it and start all over again. ( Background will be retained. I got it after many search and I feel it is perfect for my blog ).

I have embellished the fringes of my blog with a lot of reading challenges which will be removed and only those will be retained which I think I can fulfill.

Agatha Christie, Mary Higgins Clark and Alfred Hitch cock will be retained. They are somebody without whose company I can even survive in this blogging world. There will two new additions.Margaret Atwood, though I have not read any of her books, I feel she is of my type when I leafed through her books. The other addition will be biographies and autobiographies.

I have done three author interviews. But with the same questions asked to different persons, I feel the style a bit monotonous. Hence I am thinking of writing them as feature stories. But interviews will be there. Besides I will be trying to bring in more Indian English writers.

There will be an attempt to read classics but will not participate in any of the challenges.

Though I have not reviewed any movies, this year my blog will also see some nice movie reviews. ( Alfred Hitchcock movies tops the list ). Long and short, ' Passion drops' will strive to meet the expectations of 2013.

I pledge efforts will be there to cull out previous flaws and come out with fresh new contributions.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

' Almost Single by Advaita Kala

December 11

After a considerable long gap, I was able to read a book - Advaita  Kala's ' Almost Single'. For the first time, I realised that be it  Bhatinda or Kerala, the mothers of single women nearing 30 speaks
 almost the same language. ' Mama Bhatia ', the mother of Aisha Bhatia, the protagonist resembles my mother too strongly and there are times I  had to pinch myself to make sure that it was not my mom who was  speaking.

I never had the intention of buying this book when I came across it. I  used to frequent book stores when I am depressed and I chanced upon this  book during one such visit. Went through many books and  the huge amount printed on the cover literally threw cold waters on my  strong inclination to buy a book. But this one was different. It's  title lured me like anything for my age. Besides the price was comparatively low  that I had no other alternative other than succumbing to my  inclination. That's how I bought Advaita Kala's ' Almost Single'.

I would definitely not call this a master work or great piece of art. It is a book which has been written in a simple language and  absolutely apt for casual reading. There is no plot as such. It is the  story of Aisha Bhatia from Bhatinda along with her two friends who are  on a groom hunt, to be precise, it would not be wrong if I say ' NRI  groom hunt'. ( One friend just got a divorce from her husband and the  other is on a search ).

 As far as Aisha is concerned, unlike her  friends she did not want to flow with the age old tradition of groom  hunting whether it be through social networking sites or by  conventional methods. Her faith eventually triumphs at the end as she  falls for Karan, an NRI. The story concludes with hero and heroine  coming together just like a typical bollywood movie.

If you are somebody who needs food for thought after reading a  book, Almost Single is just not for you. You wont get anything serious  out of it. Keeping all those seriousness aside, if you need a light  reading while you are travelling or mired in depression, this could be  a perfect remedy.

My marks – 5/10.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I got an award....:D

Hai blogger buddies,

I am happy to announce 'Absolutely Not Sure' has  nominated my blog  ' passion drops' for the 'Liebster Blog award'. I am on  ' Cloud Nine '...Thanks Ani for nominating me and also congrats for your award.

I am supposed to do this after winning this award.....:D

I need to answer 11 questions, write 11 random things about me, and nominate other bloggers.
Questions and also nominate 5 blogs.

1. What makes you blog?
The answer is simple.I always wanted to write. The world of blog was opened to me at a time when  by one of my friend who is also a wonderful blogger spoke to me about the vast opportuinities for writing. One of my short term goal is to review book.  I am giving reviews
through my blog but not satisfied. Dreaming of those when I can review a by closing my eyes....chuckles

2. Which part of your life inspires you the most?
  Right from the begnning of my life....Not an exagerration but a fact.

3. Who is your favorite author?
      Since I love mysteries, Agatha Christie is all my favourite. I am also a huge fan of Mary Higgins Clark . But I love to read all kinds of stories.

4. Which day is most memorable for you?
      Yet to come

5. Which song describes you most?
     I am sorry. I do not have any idea...

6. If given, which will be your last wish?
  If I die before materialising the dream of becoming awriter, I would like to write a book which could bring in accolades and awards. And dance before a packed  audience.

7. What makes you feel blessed?
     That I am always under the wings of God almightly. I am speaking from my experience.

8. Beaches or mountains?
   Beaches of course. But would like to see ' Himalaya'

9. Your favorite item in your closet? sad nothing I cannot live without.    

10. Your most desired birthday gift?
   hmm.....may be a shelf  full of mystery books.

11. Why you loved this award?
  This award means a lot to me. This is my first award for this blog. It came at a time when I was feeling too depressed. I did get an award for my other blog ' Rain Drops'
www.thedoveandthe when I was feeling too low and was too cynical about my writing career. Surprisingly, the award which received  was titled ' Life is Good' award. Surprisingly, my life became more good after that. I hope this award would also bring me luck.

12. 11 random things about me :

Drama Queen :D
Absolute foodie
Love my nose pin.
Loves Jesus and Lord Krishna
Love to Dance which is my passion.
Wearing Mehandi ( Mailanji in Malayalam) in traditional South Indian style...
Do not like reading self help books but always resort to one when I feel low.
Believes that life started changing miraculously when read Shiv Khera's ' You can win' for the first time.
Love to be cooker ( I mean Cook)...But yet to become one.
Here I am nominating 5 blogs for the aforementioned award 
(I was supposed to select 5 blogs. But I am adding one more to it....)
Congratulations to all the winners... I love their blogs....

Friday, August 3, 2012

While my pretty one sleeps by Mary Higgins Clark

Since January, I haven't posted a book review. Though I was not too lucky with the book I started, I thought I could break my reader's block by reading a Mary Higgins Clark. Her books always helped me in that regard. Even then, I took several months to finish her book ' While my pretty one sleeps'. There could be two reasons for it. Perhaps, I was suffering from a serious reading block or her book did not inspire me to read at a stretch. Nevertheless, I will always remain her ardent fan.

I am glad that I could complete it and come up with yet another review.

Ethel Lambston, a best selling author who was famous for articles which exposed well known personalities had disappeared all of  a sudden. But nobody was bothered about it but Neeve Kearny from whose boutique Ethel purchased almost all of her costumes. Ethel was living alone. Except a nephew who was a parasite and an ex husband who was tired of paying alimony to her were the only close persons with whom she was in close contact. But neither of them noticed her disappearance.

The real twist in the story comes when Ethel was found with her throat cut which reminded of Neeve's mother's death. Her mother Renata was also killed in the same manner. Her throat was slit. Neeve's father who was an ex commissioner was worried about Neeve as he had a strong intuition that like his wife some one was after his daughter. But as the suspects in his list got eliminated one by one, he brushed aside his fear. But Neeve was not ready to accept that. Her hunch was proved right in the end when the real culprit whom she was very fond of was nabbed for the murder.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


I am so confused. I have got lots of books spread on my floor.( Don't worry. I have neatly arranged it. There are suspense books (my all time favourite), serious books and non- fictions. But I am cluless on what to read. It's been months since I posted on my blogs. Yesterday I spent some time with one of my neighbour ( Lakshmi Aunty). She was so insightful and well read that I could n't help thinking that I should give more priority to do things which I really like. In my effort to make a sudden change, I have started reading a non -fiction ' An intimate Seshan'. Though I was sleepy all along while reading I could atleast console me for having finished a chapter of the book. I still remember what I read so far. I could write a review of this book but not in this blog but in my other blog as the book is a pure non fiction stuff  and suits this journo blog. But that alone wont work.  The new books and reviews on various blogs always tells me where I am and what I should do.I miss reading all those reviews and enjoying their companionship of my fellow bloggers.

Please do tell me. What Should I Read first - Suspense which is my all time favourite or Non - fiction which I also love reading, but could not review it in my two favourite blogs. Or should I read both books Simultanously.

Expecting a suggestion.

Friday, May 25, 2012

My Passion

' Passion Drops', this blog is my favourite.
This is not my first blog but second. Initially, it was not called passion drops
and was of course not blog that dealt with books. But the link was named as
such. It was called Shalet's creative expressions where I used to post my works
as a copy writer. When I quit that job, I had nothing to post. But I did not want 
to delete it as I have gained some followers. It is too hard to get followers when
 you start a blog and I gained them somehow.I did not want to lose them. This
 made me surf through various blogs and found numerous blogs that dealt 
with one of my passions - Books. I said (one of my passions)as I think there 
are many more unravel by itself.

I knew that I loved books. But what sort of books? Which books would excite me?
I started off with Enid Blyton and Nancy Drew Series. Loved them. Each book made me hungry to read more and more Enid Blyton and Nancy drew stories. Now I am 30. But I still could read those books with same intensity I had when I was 16. For two years, it was them who gave me company. Then I turned to serious books. Though I had the gratification that I was reading serious books.It never excited me. It took many years to realise that I love mystery and suspense.It would not have been possible without this particular blog. Though I chose the name ' Passion Drops' in a hurry, I believe I was not wrong in choosing it.

So I just want to tell that I love this blog.....:D
Since It's about suspense I wanted it to look like one. I kept on changing the backgrounds.
After a long search I think I am satisfied with this one.

DO you like it. Please tell me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Writer's Interview - Jo Schaffer ( YA author, poet, essayist and lots more)

My fourth interview with a wonderful writer JO Schaffer. I was a bit apprehensive before sending questions to her. Because I was on a hiatus from blogging. It's been four months since I published my last interview and I felt like I was doing it for the first time. But Jo's quick response put me at ease.

Jo talks about herself

Grew up in a big family with two creative and smarty pants parents in California. Have traveled a lot in US and Europe and most recently Costa Rica and will do more. Enjoyed BYU and changed majors from Archeology to Humanities to English with an emphasis on writing.
Have three sons and we have a blast.
Don't eat sugar or refined grains and stay very socially active. I read a ton. I like power yoga and taekwondo.
I miss the beach. Adjusting to snow.
Am writing my second novel and want to keep it up!
Belong to an amazing writing group called Writers Cubed. We run the Teen Author Boot Camp at UVU.

Jo Schaffer is a YA author and ' More than Karma' is her work.

Here is author Jo Schaffer exclusively for you.

What kind of a person is Jo Seable- Schaffer?

I was born and raised in the Bay Area of California in a big family and later lived in LA so I’m sure I have a lot of California in me.
I guess you could say I’m a conservative bohemian? Haha! (= I’m the typical Sagittarius in some ways. An informed optimist. I love travel, learning, people, and exploring. Spirituality is important to me and so is intellect. I really enjoy knowing people deep down and I have a desire to make the world a better place.
I like back nail polish, multi- colored hair and health food. I love my kids and being an empowered mom and my husband is my best friend. We foster creativity and expression in the home—he’s a filmmaker and I write—and our kids have found passions and hobbies that we support. The last couple years I’ve started working on getting my black belt in taekwondo with my son. It has been an amazing experience.

Tell us about your book ' More Than Karma' and characters.

I have one book being shopped around in New York right now. The working title of my book is More Than Karma. My main character, Karma, feels like a curse because bad things happen to the people around her when she’s upset or have been wronged in some way. Her Hindi father died when she was a baby and there is so much about her childhood and father’s culture that she doesn’t know. Karma’s mother is an emotionally intense woman with frightening secrets. Karma is a lonely child—taken in by friendly neighbors Michelle Bender and her family. They become BFFs. Michelle’s big brother, surfer boy, Steven, becomes Karma’s ultimate crush. But she has so much to learn about herself and the past before she can really understand the nature of love. Many people come into her life on her journey to self-actualization, including mysterious bad boy, Bram McKay who share her “power” and wants to manipulate how she uses it. It gets intense.
I really enjoyed writing it and the characters really came alive for me.

How did writing occur to you?

I’ve been writing all of my life. I love exploring people and life through the written word and to tell stories that people can relate to. About five years ago I decided to write a full-length novel based on my experiences as a student in London. So I did—it wasn’t awesome but I finished. And then I started Karma’s story and met a group of awesome writers and we became Writers Cubed. Having a good critique group has really helped my writing so much! I’m writing up a storm these days.

What were your struggles in becoming a writer and also the person you are today?

I think the struggle to become a writer was wrestling my muse and making time for writing. And a lot of things get in the way of that. It takes commitment and passion to write. Luckily I have both for the time being.
The query process was my least favorite, but I ended up with a fantastic agent, Rubin Pfeffer of East/West Literary Agency and I feel like I’m in good hands. Just never give up if you want to write as a career.
So many of my life experiences have helped my writing. Traveling, being involved in the community, having a special needs child, suffering through various life lessons and hard times as well as enjoying so many of life’s miracles.
Writing is 95% thinking—something I enjoy doing. (=

Which is your favourite genre that you would like to write a book on?
For now I enjoy writing YA. All of my current works are pretty different—but they all explore the lessons and lives of teens and what a pivotal time of life that is. I like a little supernatural sometimes, thriller, romance and suspense. Every story should be a journey that entertains and gives the reader something good or interesting to walk away with.

Tell us about ' White lies'?

White Lies is a short story I wrote for a short story compilation by Writers Cubed called The Storm available as an ebook on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. All the participating authors wrote a story that involved a freak snow storm in San Francisco and used it as a device or metaphor in the plot. It is fun to see what everyone came up with.
Mine is about saucy, Lizette Munoz. A latina girl living in a poorer neighborhood in Oakland. Her boyfriend Edgar didn’t come home the night before—again. And we get to find out what she does about it and how she learns that not everything is as it seems.

Tell us about your new website ' Writers Cubed'?

The group is always working on new ways to reach out to other authors and writers to offer help and support. We have several projects in the works to make this objective easier and more accessible. The website will help us network and interact with other writers.

You write a lot - Poems, blogs, essays, reviews and the like. Do you have a special liking for any particular genre.

I like writing just about anything, But one of my first loves was poetry—not sure if I am any good—but I enjoy expressing myself that way. Also I like interviewing authors, filmmakers and artists to see what makes them tick.

How do you pick and choose topics to write?

From my life experiences and anything that interests or inspires me. It is important to me that the things I write have an honesty or truth in them even when it’s ugly. I want to give a piece of humanity to the reader in a way that is entertaining and thought provoking.

You have produced a handful of good poems. Which one is your
favourite and why?

Oh. That’s a tough one. I guess I really like the one called Sons because it says so much about me and my life as a mother and an individual—in a short concise way:

Sons...more like the moons of a mother planet they orbit around me
I pull them toward me as they turn away
Which keeps them moving around and around
And I turn and turn to keep my eye upon them...
And to do my own dance

I should probably post more on my poems on my blog—it’s been a while.

What are your tips for writing?

Do it all the time. Don’t give up. Learn as much as you can about it. Join a critique group—go to writing conferences. Then find your own way of doing it and be true to yourself and your voice will emerge. Let it flow.

Tell us about Teen Author Boot Camp you attended this year and
memorable experiences you had?

I co-founded the Teen Author Boot Camp with the other members of Writers Cubed because we wanted to provide a writing conference for aspiring teenaged writers.
We all grew up loving to write and would have been so thrilled with an opportunity like this to be taken seriously and given some quality instruction and mentoring.
We provide hundreds of teens with the opportunity to attend classes given by the published authors that they read. From topics ranging from plot and characterization to dialog and voice. A whole Saturday of classes and a yummy lunch, plus, a lot of free prizes.
Last year our keynote speaker was Kiersten White of PARANORMALCY—she was hilarious and insightful the kids loved it! This year our keynote was Brandon Mull of FABLEHAVEN, and the kids went nuts over him.
We’ve been blessed to have so many authors support this and donate their time to teaching these kids in all day seminars. It is fun and educational. And it puts the authors in direct contact with their target audience in a meaningful way. Win, win.
So many memorable experiences—we are excited for next year.
The kids are amazing. Our first chapter contest winners are so impressive. The future of writing is in good hands! You can check out who our authors have been at

Share some of your beautiful moments associated with writing?

So many. I laugh and cry with my characters. But, one particular experience happened as a student. I was in the Lake District in England visiting the home of William Wordsworth—one of my favorite poets. I strolled his beautiful grounds overlooking Lake Windermere, breathing in the soft English air in the same place where so many of his poems were written. I had this moment of peace and heightened awareness of my surroundings. Like my soul lit up. And I knew I wanted to write. Hard to explain but it was a pivotal moment for me.

Have your ever thought of any other job other than writing?

Yes, I have taught art and creative writing. Also, I did consider going into social work—in particular counseling for troubled teens. I have worked with teens as the president of a youth organization and can really appreciate teens and where they are in that stage of their lives.

Could you give us tips on how to review a book and a movie?

Hard to say—it is so subjective. Go with your gut. Explain how it made you feel—what you liked and didn’t like and try to assess how well the creator led you along their path. My husband works in the film industry—so if you watch a movie with him be ready to hear everything that is lame or good about the movie as you watch. Haha!

Do you write a book with both the readers of east and west in your mind?

I suppose most of my stories are based on my experiences being raised in a western culture. But my associations and travels have hopefully opened up my themes to something somewhat universal. My story about Karma probably explores that the most—as she is half Indian and has family who are Hindi.

When did you start blogging?

Eight years ago? It has been a fun way to interact with people from all over the world. I probably should blog more often than I do but I’m writing so much for my agent these days that I haven’t the time.

Do you buy books you need to read or just collect books to read in future?

Both. And now that I have a kindle it is chronic and compulsive.

Did blogging help you in your writing?

Yes. I think so. The more you write the better. And meeting other writers through their blogs has been inspiring all along.

What are your hobbies apart from writing?

Travel. Friends. Yoga. Taekwondo. Singing. Reading. Hiking and Camping. Health recipes.

Your 10 favourite books and 10 favourite movies?

Oh snap. I can’t possibly choose … there are too many. But here are a few worth noting:
Books: Of Human Bondage, Jane Eyre, The Apothecary’s Daughter, Outlander series, I Capture the Castle, The Believers, (anything by Austen, L.M. Montgomery or Louisa May Alcott, Dickens, Henry James or Dean Koontz)
And that’s only some of the fiction—I read a lot of nonfiction as well.
Movies: The Artist, Lars and the Real Girl, The Mission, Pieces of April, Moulin Rouge, The Fugitive, Bourne Identity series, Return To Me, Nacho Libre, Star Wars (original 3), Room With A View, Princess Bride, Rocky, anything Jackie Chan, and several awesome Bollywood musicals-- especially Lagaan.

I’m also a huge fan of classic and black and white film—including silent film. I could make a huge list of movies—of all genres.Anything Joss Whedon writes for TV or movie is genius.

How would you like to see you after five years?

With a few published books under my belt and still doing what I do. I like my life.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tami Hoag's STILL WATERS, January 26, 2012

Elizabeth Stuart had a very rough time with her life. After going through a terrible divorce, she decided to settle down, with her son in Still Creeks, a place which was known for its calmness. Elizabeth thought it would be an ideal place to live as she would not be identified by  people. Her divorce with her second husband Stuart had made her life topsy- turvy and she did not want to bring the baggage along with her. But that was what exactly she did, though unintentionally .

In Still Creeks, totally unaffected by the turmoil of the outside world,the natives were leading a mundane life. Elizabeth 's arrival had created a stir as she was not only alien but also they felt that her vibrant nature was a complete mismatch to their mundane world. Besides, her divorce was something she could not gloss over in Still Creek. An anti-neighbourhood and her troubled teen-aged son made her life hell. The story, all of a sudden assumes another dimension when a dead body literally falls at her feet.

Though Sheriff Dane Jantzen, the other predominant character in the story could not believe at the outset that Elizabeth had nothing to do with the murder, he gradually trusts her.

So a murder has happened and somebody should hunt for the murderer and if the murderer has seen any witness the former would hunt the latter. In 'Still Waters'- nothing happened. A body was discovered and Elizabeth literally stumbled on it and there come Sheriff and what really between is the real sexual heat. There are many times I felt I was not reading a suspense but a mills and boon. There was no correlation and the main plot. The introduction of an Amish character always gives the cue to the reader that he is the culprit because of his dubious and suspicious ways.

Honestly, I am not satisfied with my first book of 2012. But I really would like to read her more..