Do you believe in vampires? Guest post by author Maya Tyler

Today I have on my blog, Maya Tyler, paranormal romance author. She’s here to share the truth about researching vampires.

Over to Maya.

………………………

Do you believe in vampires?

Good fiction is believable, introducing the possibility of truth to the reader. How to create believable fiction? An author can use history to authenticate a fictional story. What if there is no basis in reality? My paranormal world—filled with angels, vampires, wizards—is not real and cannot be based on fact. What, other than fact, can be used to persuade a reader to believe?

Vampires are (most likely) fictitious, yet an astounding amount of information exists out there—scores of books, TV shows and movies, and websites—each source with their unique take on this fascinating creature. The sources vary—from true believer to complete skeptic—and are often contradictory. How can a vampire both burn, and walk, in the sunlight? As I looked deeper, I uncovered a compelling world rivalling even our own reality. Still, I faced the dilemma of selecting which combination of traits would make up my vampire—

Marisa’s mind raced… “This is unbelievable.”

“What?” Corgan smirked. “The little you actually know about vampires?”

“For your information, I can tell the difference between truth and the Hollywood version.”

Corgan looked at her with a raised eyebrow.

“I can,” she insisted. “No coffins, blood with healing properties, flying, super speed, super strength, immortal, mind-reading, fortune-telling, death by sun…”

— From A Vampire’s Tale

—and determining the customs, rituals, and laws of this ancient culture.

Research, imagination, and a bit of common sense led to the creation of my vampire, Corgan Halton. I approached the process conservatively, not wishing to re-invent the wheel or introduce new “unbelievable” elements, but to present a clearly defined and realistic being that inspired readers to ask “what if?” And, with that question, to take a leap of faith. Are vampires real? Believe in the impossible.

…………….

Thanks, Maya. Believe in the impossible, indeed. Where paranormal is concerned, possibilities are endless. I’m sure readers are anxious to know something about the book. So here goes.

A Vampire’s Tale

The best laid plans…

Marisa Clements was never satisfied writing the ‘gossip column’ in the local paper and she quit her job to follow her dream of writing fiction. Floundering in an unforgiving industry, she wrote about vampires, a popular subject she considered fascinating but as real as unicorns, to pay the rent. 

Corgan was tired of human misconceptions about vampires and ‘living’ as a vampire. He planned to tell Marisa his story and end his existence. It was no coincidence Corgan selected Marisa to write his story. With the ability to see the future, he knew she would be a major part of it. He knew if they met, she would help him die, but in doing so, she’d be doomed to the same fate. Once they met, their futures would be irrevocably intertwined. 

Corgan began to care for Marisa and finally revealed the truth to her. He admitted his quest to atone for his past sins had put her in grave danger from a nest of revenge seeking vampires. Corgan must claim her for her own protection. But claiming her is not enough, he must ask for help from his wizard friends and his maker in order to destroy his enemy or Marisa will never be safe. 

Available now:

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About the author:

Maya Tyler is a romance author, blogger, wife, and mother. She has a degree in Commerce, but writing is her true passion. Her short story “Just for Tonight” is included in an anthology called With Love from Val and Tyne and her debut paranormal romance novella was Dream Hunter, published in December 2014. Her second paranormal romance novel A Vampire’s Tale released on March 22, 2017. She writes paranormal romance with a twist and all her books have a common theme – happily ever after.

You can find Maya on the web at the following locations:

Twitter | Facebook | Website | Blog

Getting Your Facts Right – Guest post by Mills and Boon author Karin Baine

Heads up, folks! Today I have with me on my blog the lovely Karin Baine, Mills and Boon Medical author. She’s here to share about the big R of novel writing, namely Research. Having read her The Courage to Love Her Army Doc, I was curious to know how she can cover such minute details of the setting and the medical side of the story. Luckily, Karin is here to share her process.

Over to Karin.

………

Getting Your Facts Right – Karin Baine

The biggest fear I have as a writer is getting the details wrong. There’s nothing that will drag you out of a story quicker than incorrect information. As a writer for Mills & Boon’s Medical line, research is a vital element of every book.

Sure, the fun part is spending time getting lost in exotic locations for the setting, or finding inspiration for the characters. I mean, those Pinterest boards full of hot leading men don’t just set themselves up!

If you want your story to have real authenticity, though, you have to put the work in and there are loads of ways you can do this without ever having to leave the house. Take your hero, for example. What does he do for a living? Whether he’s a cardiologist or a meteorologist, familiarise yourself with the position. What qualifications does he need for that job? What does a typical work day involve? It’s relatively easy to find this information online and give your character some depth beyond a job title.

There are a myriad of resources available on the internet to ground your story in reality. I make use of online surgical videos, and tutorials to understand the practicalities of my medical scenes and read available personal blogs to get an idea of what’s going on in the heads of the patients and staff. I’m also lucky enough to have a lovely nurse friend who beta reads for me to ensure all the terminology and procedures are correct. It’s always good to get an informed second opinion!

Of course, locations are always a fun subject to research. Even better when you can see the sights yourself. When I was asked to be part of ‘The Paddington Children’s Hospital’ series I was very excited. London is a fabulous city and I set to work immediately searching for fun things that foster mum, Quinn, and five-year-old Simon might do together. London Zoo was top of the list, of course, and though I had maps and photographs for reference, I was lucky enough to go there in person. I was able to picture Quinn, Matt and Simon as they made their way around the exhibits and plan out their entire journey. Even their arrival by water taxi!

It’s not always easy to put yourself in the heads of your characters but I’ve found the more background work you do, the more real they become to you, and your readers.

……..

Thank you, Karin. It’s great to get the inside of how a medical romance author gets such tough detail right.

One copy of Karin Baine’s latest Falling For The Foster Mum is up for the grabs. One lucky commentator can win this exciting Mills and Boon Medical romance. So, don’t forget to leave a comment below.

 About the author:

Karin Baine lives in Northern Ireland with her husband, two sons, and her out-of-control notebook collection. Her Mother and Grandmother’s vast collection of books inspired her love of reading and her dream of becoming a Harlequin Mills & Boon® author. Now she can tell people she has a proper job!

You can follow Karin on Twitter, @karinbaine1 or visit her website for the latest news – karinbaine.com

Falling For The Foster Mum

Burns specialist Dr Matthew McGrory is finally living the bachelor life after years of responsibility raising his siblings alone. But he can’t ignore the pull he feels towards beautiful Quinn Grady, foster mum to his favourite young patient.

Having learned the hard way that you can’t rely on other people Quinn is uber-protective of little Simon, and her heart. But as Matthew’s hero-status grows in the eyes of her young charge she just might find he’s the hero she’s dreamed of too…

Check out this lovely cover:

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Excerpt from the book:

When he’d planned this day he’d convinced himself he’d be glad when it was over, his responsibility to the pair outside the hospital over for good. Now that they were coming to the last stages, he was beginning to have second thoughts. He could honestly say this was one of the best days he’d had since moving to London and that was entirely down to the company. It would be stupid to end things here and now simply because there was a child involved. There’d always been children in his life. Children who weren’t his. If Quinn was willing to be brave about it, then so was he. A relationship didn’t have to mean a family and he was sure he could keep the two separate. Especially when the arrangements were all so fluid.

When they’d eaten their fill they headed to the indoor exhibits they’d bypassed in favour of some of the more exotic creatures.

‘We are now entering the Rainforest Life,’ he said in the style of a nature documentary voiceover artist.

Simon ran ahead into the tropical wilderness, hopped up on mini-desserts and fruit juice.

‘He’s going to have one hell of a crash when that sugar rush wears off.’ Quinn attempted to scold him but he knew she’d savoured every mouthful of that lunch. Each heavenly groan and lick of her lips attested to her pleasure as well as increasing his discomfort. He’d heard those sounds before and intended for her to make them again soon, somewhere more private.

‘Look at him!’ Simon was off again, following the path of a bright blue bird flitting through the plants and vines.

‘He’s pretty.’ Quinn was observing the exotic display from the balcony beside him, unaware she was adding to the beauty of it all.

Never mind the rare birds flying overhead or the small monkeys swinging freely through the vines, this was all about Quinn for him. The pure delight she took in her surroundings was refreshing and contagious. He’d been so caught up in material possessions and showing he could cut it as a single man in the city, he’d forgotten what it was to just enjoy life. The barrier he’d erected to protect himself had become as much of a prison as that council flat in Dublin.

Given the chance he’d swap his fancy car to travel on a barge anywhere if she was part of the deal. It was as if he was recapturing that lost childhood of his too, by being with her.

He’d been forced to grow up too quickly. From his mother walking out on her family, through his father’s illness, and ultimately his death, Matt had never had time for the mischief and fun other kids had experienced. With Quinn he didn’t have to be embarrassed in his joy at a puppet show when she was here spinning around, letting the mist fall on her face and telling the sloth how sleepy he looked. Matt had had enough of being the adult and there was plenty of room for his inner child, not to mention the randy teenager.

They stepped out of the light and moved into the nocturnal area. Faced with the creatures of the night, including giant rats and flitting bats, it wasn’t long before he found Quinn cuddled up next to him.

‘I don’t know how Simon is enjoying this.’

‘He’s a boy. We like gross stuff.’

‘I don’t want to stay in here,’ she whispered, fear pitching her voice until only the bats could probably hear.

Matt felt her hand graze by his knuckles as she fumbled for his reassurance in the dark. He took hold of her and turned so she could make him out in the dimmed light.

‘I’ll keep you safe.’

In that moment they were locked into their own world, staring into each other’s eyes and holding hands like lovers who’d just sworn their lives to one another. The rest of the group had moved on, leaving them alone so the only sounds he could hear now were scurrying animals and the frantic beat of his heart for Quinn.

He cupped her face in his hands and found her mouth easily with his, honing in as if she was a beacon of light guiding him home. This time, instead of pushing him away, she wound her arm around his neck and pulled him closer. He dropped his hands to her waist as she sought him with her tongue and leaned her soft curves against him.

‘Have you seen this? He’s got really big eyes’ The sound of Simon’s voice from across the room somewhere broke through the darkness, alerting them to his presence and throwing a bucket of cold water over them.

‘I think that’s a bush baby.’ Matt’s breath was ragged as he fought to regain control so Simon wouldn’t think anything was amiss.

‘We should probably follow the rest on to the next exhibit.’ Quinn was already backing away from him.

‘We’ll talk about this later,’ he whispered, low enough so only she would hear.

‘I’m a mum. I have mum things to do.’ That uncertainty was back in her wavering voice and Matt fumbled for her hand again in the blackness. He didn’t want the guilt to start eating away at her for enjoying a moment of her own.

‘Don’t forget, the adult fun starts after the real dark.’ This wasn’t over and although she couldn’t see him wink, he was sure he sensed her smile.

Somehow they’d find a way to be together without compromising their roles in Simon’s life.

His peace of mind depended on it.

Quinn stumbled back out towards Simon and the rest of the visitors tripping out of the exhibit. Her unsteadiness on her feet was more to do with Matt’s epic bone-melting prowess than the unfamiliar territory. He had a way of completely knocking her off balance when she was least expecting it.

Yes, she’d encouraged him with a few flirtatious gestures, but phew, that had taken hot to a whole new level. Wrapped in his embrace she’d forgotten who she was, where she was or what day of the week it was, and let the chemistry consume her.

Dangerous. Irresponsible. Intoxicating.

It only made her crave more.

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Book Blitz: Ponni’s Beloved by Sumeetha Manikandan – a translation of Kalki Krishnamurthy’s classic Tamil novel Ponniyin Selvan

 

Blurb
 

Kalki Krishnamurthy’s Ponniyin Selvan is a masterpiece that has enthralled generations of Tamil readers. Many authors have written phenomenal books in Tamil literature after Kalki Krishnamurthy, but Ponniyin Selvan remains the most popular, widely-read novel. It has just the right mixture of all things that makes an epic – political intrigue, conspiracy, betrayal, huge dollops of romance, infidelity, seduction, passion, alluring women, unrequited love, sacrifice and pure love.

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Excerpt


“I have brought important information for all of you. That’s why I asked the noble Sambuverayar to invite us all here. Maharaja Sundara Chola’s health has been steadily deteriorating. I secretly asked our royal physician, and he says that there is absolutely no chance of his health improving. His days are numbered. And it is up to us, to think about the future of the royal throne.”
 
“What do the astrologers say?” asked one of the noble men.
 
“Why ask the astrologers? Haven’t you seen the comet that has been appearing in the sky, for the past few weeks? They say whenever a comet appears, there will be death in the royal family,” said another.
 
“I have asked the astrologers as well, and they say that the king might live for some more time. Anyway, we will have to decide who should ascend the throne next,” said Pazhuvetarayar.
 
“What is the use of discussing that now? Aditya Karikalan was made the Crown Prince two years ago,” said one of the noblemen.
 
“True. But before he took that decision, did Sundara Chola consult any of us? We all have stood by the Chola Kingdom with loyalty and have sacrificed our sons and grandsons in the battlefield. Even now warriors from each of our clans have gone to Elangai to fight for the Chola Kingdom. Don’t you think we deserve the right to be consulted about who should be the next heir to the throne? Even King Dasaratha asked his council of ministers, before deciding to crown Rama. But our Sundara Chola didn’t think it necessary to consult anyone…”
About the author
 
 
“Sumeetha Manikandan is a top bestselling romance author whose novellas ‘Perfect Groom’ and ‘These Lines of Mehendi’ (which was published as a paperback novel called ‘Love Again’) have been on the top of Amazon India charts ever since its publication. A bookaholic, thinker, feminist and a daydreamer, she reads across genres and is a crazy fan of history, romance and science fiction novels.
An avid reader of historical novels, she has been translating Kalki Krishnamurthy’s classic Tamil novel Ponniyin Selvan for the past ten years and hopes to translate more of his novels to English.
Sumeetha is married to filmmaker K.S. Manikandan and lives with her nine-year-old daughter in Chennai.”
 
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#Spotlight Finding the Angel by Rubina Ramesh #TheBookClub

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FINDING THE ANGEL
by
Rubina Ramesh
 
 
 
Blurb
 
All She wanted was love…
 
Shefali is a die-hard romantic. Having lost her parents at a very tender age, she is in search of a place which she can call home. Her passion for Art lands her a job as an art curator to the famous artifacts of the Ranaut Dynasty. When she meets the scion, Aryan Ranaut, she feels that her dream might come true until…
 
All He wanted was to trust…
 
Living the life of a modern day Prince is no easy task for the young and dashing Aryan Ranaut. Having lost his father to a rapacious woman, Aryan has severe trust issues. But upon meeting Shefali, he feels he could let down his guard. Until…
 
All They need is to find The Angel…
 
Just as Aryan realizes his love for Shefali, one of the most precious artifacts, The Angel, goes missing from the Ranaut collection. All fingers point towards Shefali—more so because she leaves the palace without telling anyone on the very night of the theft. 
 
Finding the Angel is a story where duty clashes with love and lack of trust overrides passion. Under these circumstances, can The Angel bring the star-crossed lovers together?
 
Grab your copy @
 
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About the author

 

 

 

Rubina Ramesh is an avid reader, writer, blogger, book reviewer, and marketer. She is the founder of The Book Club, an online book publicity group. Her first literary work was published in her school magazine. It gave her immense pride to see her own name at the bottom of the article. She was about 8 years old at that time. She then went to complete her MBA and after her marriage to her childhood friend, her travel saga started. From The Netherlands to the British Isles she lived her life like an adventure. After a short stint in Malaysia, she finally settled down in the desert state of USA, Arizona. Living with her DH and two human kids and one doggie kid, Rubina has finally started living the life she had always dreamed about – that of a writer.

 

 

 

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Spotlight on 1857 Dust of Ages by Vandana Shanker #TheBookClub

 

 
1857 DUST OF AGES VOL 1:
A FORGOTTEN TALE
by
Vandana Shanker
 
Blurb
 
1857. The rebellion erupts in India. Despite its attempts to stay aloof, NAVGARH, a small town near Delhi, is drawn into the conflagration. And at its heart are Princess Meera and Captain Richard Smith, with their strange alliance made for the throne of Navgarh.
 
2016, Shiv Sahai, a young Indian art historian and Ruth Aiken, a British scholar discover an excerpt from the journal of an anonymous British soldier, searching for his wife in the chaos of 1857 Delhi. As they begin investigating the scandal, they become aware of the vague rumours that are told in the bylanes of Navgarh – about a princess who married a British soldier to save her kingdom.
 
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Read an excerpt from the book…

 

 

 

Prologue
Camp, Delhi Cantonment, 16 August, 1857.
Things have changed forever. A day spent in the company of my old friend Knox made it clear. These distances can never be bridged.
The pole of his tent snapped in the storm yesterday; and for the sake of old friendship, I offered Knox my humble abode. But his rancour was jarring. His determination to teach the enemy a lesson, the unshaken belief in the rightness of our mission– such bitterness asks too much of friendship and duty.
Earlier we went over the battlefield. One of our regiments was destroying the village near the bridge to prevent the enemy from getting cover in it. Elephants were pulling down the walls. The villagers stood by as their houses turned into mud while the monsoon clouds gathered on the horizon. Unfortunately, they were the Jats, who, for the most part, are our friends. We decided that the destruction of their homes and fields was necessary. Twenty-three men – their countrymen – were lying together in the ditch at the back of the village; we weren’t sure if they were the rebels. A party of Rifles killed then en masse, just to be sure.
We left the village with our bags swollen like raisins in water. And who can blame our light-fingered gentry? Armies are said to travel on their stomach.
At some distance from our camp, I can see the sun setting over the fort of Delhi. It isn’t much different from the first sunset I witnessed here years ago. How things have changed! We came with a mission – to know this exotic land, to bring the light of knowledge and civilization to its darkness. Now the memory leaves me embarrassed. These massive red walls made me uneasy even then. Today they mock our camp again. Whatever be the outcome of this devil’s wind, it has revealed the banality of our mission.
Knox’s bitterness is an expression of the anger in the camp. When the cannons are quiet, the silence resounds with confusion, with terror, with rage, but most of all with the question ‘Why?’ As we sit around a small fire every night, the question rages in every mind. ‘Why the mutiny? Haven’t we brought the glory of civilization to this land of superstition?’ These thoughts simmer as we deal with hunger, heat and rain.
But soon these questions will be forgotten. The winners will annihilate the other side. Already I see the madness in the eyes as rumours reach us from other places – Cawnpur, Jhansi, Lucknow. Madness will soon be let loose.
I often feel that the answers that elude me today were within my grasp a short while ago. They are somewhere near, yet unreachable, like the time gone by.
I promise to look for them once I have found her again. For she, I feel, holds a part of it.
So every evening, I try to escape this madness by thinking about her, Princess Meera of Navgarh, a rebel soldier and my wife. It is the third year of our marriage. Three years of tenuous links and fragile understanding. It was only a matter of time before an explosion happened. And it happened that eventful week when Navgarh too burnt in the fire raging all across India. The news that the sepoys in Meerut had rebelled spurred both of us. Did I expect Meera to be a dutiful wife when all her beliefs, her convictions pulled her in the opposite direction? Was I surprised on knowing that she was in Delhi, amongst the rebels? Would she be surprised on knowing that I have followed her as an enemy… a British officer? And as I follow her, I stand here once again, after five years, outside the walls of the Red Fort in Delhi.

 

 

 

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About the author


Delhi-born Vandana Shanker is the author of the series 1857 Dust of Ages, a historical fiction set in the year of the great uprising in India. A PhD from IIT Delhi, Vandana is passionate about history, storytelling and art. Apart from writing, she teaches literature and creative writing in Malaysia. She has also taught in Universities in India and Vietnam. She currently lives in Kuala Lumpur with her family and wants to travel the world. 

 

 

 

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Guest post: Vandana Shanker, author of 1857 Dust of Ages #TheBookClub

Please welcome Vandana Shanker, author of 1857 Dust of Ages. Vandana is here to share her views on research for historical fiction.

Take it away, Vandana.

Question: How difficult was it to manage the research? Did you innovate to fill up the gaps or stick to facts throughout?

As I wrote and researched for my book 1857 Dust of Ages, I learnt that writing historical fiction is different ball game altogether. And I had no idea, no formal training and I had plunged straight into it. On the way, I learnt a lot of things. I would try to put them together in Rules of writing Historical Fiction.

  1. Read a lot of stories. They could be fictional or non-fictional but they would create images of the era in your mind. When researching for my book, one book that stands in mind is William Dalrymple’s ‘The White Mughals.’  That had the germ of the story – an interracial romance. The rest of it came from various other fictional works, diaries and stories that I had read and heard over the years.
  2. Take notes. Lots of them and let there be gaps. They don’t have to be accurate. The notes would give you the larger picture whereas the gaps are the places where your story would evolve.
  3.  Study old pictures and paintings. This is essential for evocative writing- words that evoke the senses. Since there aren’t many photographs of 1857, I turned to paintings of the British in India and Mughal era miniatures. I have integrated many of these paintings in my story – as clues to the past that Shiv and Ruth unearth Pictures give the details that writing often misses out.
  4. Go to the location. For me it was the Hop on, Hop off around Delhi. Being a Delhitte, I could capture the bustle of the city, but to see it from the point of view of an nineteenth century character required more. As I went around, I learnt so much more about Delhi. For the last scene of the series, I visited Roshanarabagh and QudisiaBagh. Despite living in the city all my life, I had never been there ever before.
  5. Use the Internet. That goes without saying. I read a lot of old diaries and letters because they were so important in the nineteenth century. Most of the archival access was through the Internet. The events of 1857, the little things like rumours and gossip, minor skirmishes, bigger battles – Google is where I found most of the information
  6. Find a balance. You are not writing history. It is fiction and it is meant for the contemporary readers. I spent a lot of time recreating the diaries and letters in the language that would not put off the readers. Some places I have taken some liberties with the facts though I did stick to the broader details.
  7. Start writing. There is a time to stop the research and start writing because research is so seductive. As one delves deeper, it becomes a distraction especially in the day and age of the Internet. But we aren’t here for a history lesson. So as you do research, keep write simultaneously. That is the real job. Once you have the picture in mind, close your eyes and imagine and then get down to recreate it in your words

……

Thank you, Vandana. It was enlightening to hear your views. As an author of historical fiction, I agree that it won’t do to turn your research into a history lesson, and holding a deep interest in history as I do, I know it’s all too easy to get immersed in delving the details of the bygone eras. Indian history is so rich and engrossing a subject that one cannot help it. At the same time, it’s really important to get research done accurately to give an authentic feel to the era. I myself love the 500ADs and write about Maharajas and princesses, but I look forward to reading about the Rule in your book. It was lovely having you here.

 

Book Blitz: Thwarted Escape by Lopamudra Banerjee #TheBookClub

 

THWARTED ESCAPE: An Immigrant’s Wayward Journey
by

Lopamudra Banerjee


 
Blurb
 
 
How far can one truly go away from his/her ancestral roots, filial ties and the claustrophobic grip of traditions and the reminiscence of an emotionally fraught childhood and puberty? The book begins with this particular quest, and it is this quest which gains momentum as a woman seeks the essence of herself-identity ten thousand miles away from her Bengali hometown.
With the lens of a time-traveler, her narrative journey encompasses her first sexual abuse, her first tryst with death, austerity, the strangeness of rituals, the inexplicable feelings of puberty and also her surrendering to love, procreation, motherhood. In herself-chosen exile in the US, she discovers that deep within; her ancestral roots are also the wellspring of her psychological, spiritual existence. In the process, she keeps on oscillating between assimilating and disintegrating, which forms the core of her journey.

 

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About the Author
 
Lopamudra Banerjee is a writer, poet, editor and translator, currently based in Dallas, USA. She is the co-editor of Defiant Dreams: Tales of Everyday Divas, published by Readomania in collaboration with Incredible Women of India. She has also been the Creative Editor of Incredible Women of India and Deputy editor of the e-zine Learning & Creativity.Thwarted Escape, her debut nonfiction novel/memoir has been First Place Category Winner at the Journey Awards 2014 hosted by Chanticleer Reviews and Media LLC, USA. Her literary works have appeared at numerous literary journals and anthologies (print and online), both in India and the US. Her poetry, fiction and nonfiction and also translation works are regularly published in Setu, the international bilingual journal, Cafe Dissensus, Different Truths, Readomania.com and other publications. She has received the Reuel International Award 2016 for her English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s novella Nastanirh (The Broken Home) instituted by The Significant League, a renowned literature group in Facebook.


 

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 https://www.facebook.com/lbanerjee.author/   https://twitter.com/rooafza   https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14199698.Lopamudra_Banerjee
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