Is your productivity dependent on someone else being busy?

I, like most of us, like to maintain good relations with my work mates. We often take breaks together, have tea and catch up of each other’s news. But every so often, we spend time talking and one thing leads to another subject. That piece of news that you have to give an opinion on. That rule of the management that you have to rant on, and so on. I didn’t realize I was taking so much time off until one day, I found myself thinking, today so and so will be busy, so I will save time from chatting and get xyz done.

We often find it hard to tear ourselves away from that cosy chitchat, but if you find you are losing time in which you could have got things done, accomplished your goals, then do something about it.

What can you do:

1) Set up an alarm:

This is the most effective way that I have known to work. You want to take a doughnut break, fine. Give yourself a reasonable time interval and set an alarm. Easy to do with the phone these days. Discipline yourself to heed it and get back to work after it rings. If you planned to write or do some task, schedule a time for it and at least get started on it when your phone beeps.

2) Tell each other to keep it short:

You can ask your workmate to nudge you a reminder that so and so tasks are pending. You can return the favour.

3) Make lists

List making is always useful. At the start of your day, make a list of five tasks you must get done. When you have work looming over you in the form of an item waiting to be ticked off, you will find yourself hurrying to get it done.

Find what works for you and most of all, keep track of your time.

You don’t have to isolate yourself to be efficient, but every now and then, do try to distance yourself from indulging in gossip and keep things from joining the procrastination list.

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#review #Afterthefuneral by #AgathaChristie #whodunnit

This is Agatha Christie’s 29th book, maybe 30th as listed in some of the lists. If you enjoy Poirot’s mysteries, there is no reason to miss this one.

​I picked up this book because of the intriguing blurb and, of course, because of Poirot too. It didn’t disappoint. I had read the dentist one earlier (One, two, Buckle My Shoe) and found it a bit far fetched, in that the detective knew special facts which were outside the reach of the reader. In such a situation, the reader can’t be expected to have a surmise of their own. However, in this book, the facts are laid out and you can even make your own guesses. Without actually steeping up the action, Christie manages to increase the anticipation of revelation towards the end. Quite unputdownable and interesting as it provides an interesting theory of how others see us as compared to how we see ourselves. Also the tricky role of mirrors in our life.

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

#Review The Courage to Love Her Army Doc by Karin Baine

The Courage to Love Her Army Doc by Karin Baine is a medical romance from Harlequin.

The heroine, Dr Emily Clifford is a dedicated medical professional who has been oversensitive about her birthmark all her life because of a bad parent. Her failed marriage makes her even more emotionally scarred. She seeks refuge at a beautiful Fijian island where she takes her medical skills but is surprised to find another doctor already there. Dr. Joe Braden has his own personal demons to fight.

One of the hallmarks of the book is that it is thoroughly researched. The medical and cultural backgrounds are firmly blended together to form a realistic picture. I liked the portion about dengue and what the author put in as dengue remedies because the disease and the remedies are quite prevalent in India and shows how much thought author has put in the research.

Emily is vulnerable yet strong. Damaged hero Jason is worth drooling over. Both are confused by their mutual attraction and even more complicating is when her brother comes to learn of it. The author has handled it sensitively. When they get stranded on the island, Jason’s determination yet uncertainty about saving them from storm makes him very human. Emily learns new strengths as the book progresses and how she overcomes her weak self image forms the crux of discovering romance.

All in all, a well written and tender romance.

Guest Post by author Adite Banerjie #TheBookClub

Mixing two genres or subgenres in fiction can be difficult and challenging task for a writer. I have done it and I know. I write historical romance fiction. It’s a challenge to get the era right and side by side keep the focus on the central romantic pair. Today I have the spotlight on another book which mixes categories. Adite Banerjie’s newest book No Safe Zone belongs to the romantic suspense genre. I asked author Adite Banerjie, what is her advice for writing a romantic thriller. Here are her ten tips for writing romance suspense.

Over to Adite…

Ten Tips on Writing a Romantic Thriller

Most romance writers gravitate easily towards sub-genres like romantic comedies and chick lit.  Mixing romance and thrillers might seem like a bad idea. For one, thrillers are plot-driven while romance thrives on character and relationship development. Can the two meet? In my experience, they make for an unlikely but perfect match. And writing one has more than its share of thrills.

Here are ten tips on writing a sizzling romantic thriller.

  1. Start the action as early as possible. Unlike a pure romance novel where you get to see the protagonist in his/her own world and start at an easy pace, in a romantic thriller you need to begin the story with some action.  So, if you start with a murder on the first few pages, you have to keep in mind that as the plot develops the stakes have to keep growing. Build the tension as you go along instead of starting it at a very high level of tension.
  1. Character and plot development need to go hand in hand. Make every scene do double duty. Conflict and banter between the lead pair can often be pegged to something that is going on with the plot.
  1. A thriller is usually a story where the reader has a fairly good idea about who the bad guys are. But the tension revolves around how the protagonists will save their own skin and bring them down. Mysteries, on the other hand, are about finding out the identity of the criminals. Whatever you go with, bursts of high tension need to be offset with a calm period. This is a cue for the writer to focus on the romance bit.
  1. Try and end every chapter on a ‘cliffhanger’— that is, a point where a new question is raised, the answer to which the reader can find out only by turning the page and reading the next chapter. These questions could be related to dangerous situations, a crisis related to the plot or emotional conflict.
  1. Always try to create multiple smaller threats apart from the main one. As the story progresses, these smaller threats can be resolved which is also useful in growing the romantic relationship between the hero and heroine.
  1. Romantic thrillers work best when the stakes keep rising at regular intervals giving play to the ‘fear and hope’ angle. Fear that the hero and heroine are in big, big trouble that they can’t get out. And hope that they will be able to overcome the challenges and get to safety.
  1. Keep things unpredictable by adding a surprising twist or two. However, the plot twists should not come totally out of the blue or they will seem implausible. Leave vague hints at an early stage that can be exploited later.
  1. Fear and tension are significant devices in increasing the intimacy between the hero and heroine. However, placement of love scenes is crucial. Having them make out in an attic or a cupboard while gun toting bad guys are lurking around is a big no-no.
  1. Make things as difficult as possible for the Hero and Heroine before they resolve the crisis. Making it easy for them only denies the reader an opportunity of a great thrilling ride.
  1. Have fun. Writing a romantic thriller can be as much of a thrill for the writer as for the reader!

Thank you for sharing these fabulous tips, Adite.

Find out more about Adite’s book.

 

 
NO SAFE ZONE 
by
ADITE BANERJIE
 



Blurb

 
Qiara Rana will do anything to save her mentor and their non-government organization from ruin. Even if it means visiting the city she had vowed never to return to. But within a few hours of landing in New Delhi, she is being chased by a gunman and is a potential suspect in the murder of a high-profile businessman. 
 
The only person she can turn to for help is Kabir Shorey, the man who stood her up ten years ago. Past and present collide in a deadly plot of crime and greed that moves from the cosmopolitan streets of Delhi to the bazaars and villages of Rajasthan. 

Excerpt from #NSZ


 

Kabir couldn’t take his eyes off the game in progress. The sight of the polo players astride their horses, moving as a seamless entity, while steering the ball away from their opponents made him restless. He hadn’t ridden a horse or held a polo club in his hands for years. He had to use all his self-control to stop himself from rushing on to the field, pulling down one of the players and laying claim to his horse.
The memories came galloping back from the deepest recesses of his mind—Chetak with the brilliant white star in the middle of his forehead. What a dream team they had made. Chetak could anticipate his every move on the polo field even before he could think of it. They had never lost a game, making their perfectly matched combination the envy of every player in Rajasthan. If only they hadn’t been such a success on the polo turf…maybe things would have been different. Kabir’s heart burnt with longing and regret and the emotions bubbled within him like a dormant volcano beginning to stir up again.
Taking a deep, self-sustaining breath he raised his telephoto-lens equipped camera to his eyes, more to hide the dampness in his eyes. He focused on the spectators stand as he tried to reorient himself to his mission. He was here to get information on Ranveer Khanna, a known polo aficionado. It was the final day of the annual championships hosted by the Army Polo Club and Khanna was bound to show up.
Suddenly, two men appeared in the camera’s view finder. One of them was definitely Khanna while the other was a taller, stockily built man in his mid-twenties.
Kabir snapped a few pictures in quick succession. The younger man seemed to be agitated and was waving his finger threateningly at Khanna. He also didn’t quite fit the typical characteristics of a polo enthusiast. His attire was a little shabbier than what the other patrons of the club sported at such an elite affair. Perhaps, he was a chauffeur or a helper? His attitude though was far from servile. In fact, Khanna looked a trifle intimidated. After a couple of minutes, Khanna said something and turned to go inside the club.
Kabir took a few more random shots as he saw a waiter approach Khanna and say a few words to him.
Just at that moment Kabir’s cell phone beeped in his shirt pocket. It was Zayed—his new partner! Smirking at the thought, Kabir answered the call.
“Our man is here. Found out from the concierge, Khanna has recently acquired two stallions and is also a patron of a polo team in Argentina. It seems like he is either partnering with some other loaded investors or is a front for them.”
He waited to hear out Zayed’s response and swallowed the oath that sprang to his lips. “Zayed, if you already knew it, why you didn’t tell me?” Seconds later Kabir burst out, “Don’t give me that bullcrap. You and I are supposed to be on the same team, remember? If you had any doubts about my capabilities you should have spoken up at the meeting. If we have to work together, we share information, got it?”
Kabir felt his blood pressure rise up a notch as Zayed disgorged some more intel. Apparently, the NCA had informed him that Girls Rock! might be a money laundering front for Khanna.
“Someone from Girls Rock! is supposed to meet—hello? Are you there?”
Kabir cursed as he checked the screen of his phone to find the network signal had dropped. Moving away from the bleachers, he walked towards the club, trying to reach Zayed. He paced around a bit outside the entrance, waiting for the network signal to show up. Not even one blasted green light. He stormed into the club house in search of a landline phone. What else was Zayed not telling him? Clearly, Zayed’s reputation of not being a team player was quite accurate. It seemed like he needed to lay down some ground rules with his partner soon or else this investigation was doomed.
Scanning the lounge area, he spotted Khanna talking to a woman whose back was turned to him. After a few seconds, he saw her get up and follow Khanna out.
Kabir’s glance froze on the woman. She was petite, with the same china-doll-like figure, the same sexy gait, the same sway to her hips that made his heart pump harder. He raised the camera to his eyes, zooming in on her face to get a closer look but she was looking away. Nevertheless, he got a couple of shots before she disappeared down the corridor towards the inner sanctum of the club.
Was it her? Watching a polo match after all these years had sent his mind into throwback mode. He must be hallucinating! Get real, Kabir! 


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About the author




Adite Banerjie discovered the wonderful world of books at an early age which sparked her interest in writing. After a fulfilling and exciting career as a business journalist she turned her attention to fiction. Her latest book is a romantic-thriller No Safe Zone, published by Harper Collins India. She has penned two books for Mills & Boon (The Indian Tycoon’s Marriage Deal and Trouble Has a New Name) and written several screenplays. When she is not grappling with her current work-in-progress, she enjoys spending time with her writer husband and watching back-to-back movies. 

Media Mentions:

Click Here to read the article in The Hindu Metroplus

Click Here to read a book review of No Safe Zone in Millennium Post

Click Here to read the article in The Big Thrill magazine

                  

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Guest post by author Varsha Dixit #TheBookClub

It is often said (wrongly) that women don’t have much sense of humor. In fact, much of it gets lost because most women carry a lot on their minds. I think we are making mental lists most of the time. But laughter definitely needs a place in life, no matter how busy you are. At times when you lose your sense of humor, creative works can restore it to you. Romcoms are my favorite type of movies to relax with. Today I’ve asked author Varsha Dixit to talk about the role of humor in women’s fiction. Let’s hear her take on it. Please welcome Varsha Dixit, the author of Right Fit Wrong Shoe, Wrong Means Right End, Xcess Baggage and Only Wheat Not White. The last part of her ‘Right and Wrong’ love trilogy will be out in Summer 2016.

Over to Varsha

Humor in Women’s Fiction

When I think of funny women, I think of Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling. Thankfully for an avid reader like myself, they also wrote books. Books rich in humor, observations and opinions! I would like to share with you some quotes from their books.

“Once a woman turns 40 she has to start dealing with two things: younger men telling her they are proud of her and older men letting her know they would have sex with her.” – Amy Poehler, Yes Please

“In most cases being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way.” ― Tina Fey, Bossypants

“I just want ambitious teenagers to know it is totally fine to be quite, observant kids. Besides being a delight to your parents, you will find you have plenty of time later to catch up.” ― Mindy Kaling, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

What makes people laugh is wit and wit can only come from a person who is smart, observant and has struggled.  All that we women face growing up; lack of equal opportunities, lack of sexual freedom, born in families that makes decisions for us based on society’s expectations rather than our desires, lack of equal pay and the ultimate – the feeling of guilt when we like to work as much we like to have kids.

Tragedy I feel makes for great comedy especially when you look back at it, a drink in your hand sitting on a balcony overlooking something big and powerful as oceans or mountains.

Women writers have a large source to draw their inspiration and ironic reflections from  – each of their lives. A sexy woman is not frightening but a woman with brains and humor is deadlier than a live bomb for she will get your job and make it seem your fault.

Women writers don’t hold back on anything. They go after age, sex, job, men, children, society the world and even god. That’s what makes them so good at their job, they see the whole chessboard.

……

Thanks for sharing your views, Varsha.

I agree that humor comes from deep understanding. That is why jokes are often relevant with culture. These days, I’m very involved with humor through sarcasm. Sarcasm always carries humor in it, though it is snide in its way. I often use it with my students who are not doing the tasks, of course not the sharp type of sarcasm. But telling them I don’t like you and don’t want to see you around next year makes them laugh while taking the point that they might flunk if they don’t shape up. Though they get confused what to say when I ask them, do you like the class so much you want to stay here next session? It can’t be answered in a yes or no 🙂

Do you love to read humorous fiction? Which are your favorite reads? What do you think about humor in women’s fiction?

This post is part of blog tour for Varha’s book, Right Fit, Wrong Shoe.

 

Right Fit Wrong Shoe
by 
Varsha Dixit 
Blurb 
Right Fit Wrong Shoe, begins at a point where all love stories end. The tale weaves around Nandini and all that is important to her, with two contenders gunning for the top spot; Aditya Sarin and Sneha Verma.
Aditya Sarin, the man Nandini is madly in love with, yet compelled, for some unsolved reason to shun.  Aditya, on his part, in the past declared Nandini to be a ‘millennium bhehenji (conservative girl)’ and ‘lassi (yoghurt drink) in a wine glass’. Yet he fell for her  . . . hard! However, some mysterious episode caused the lovers to, acrimoniously, part.
Now, Aditya is back in Kanpur,  all his guns blazing (the real and the imagined), determined to devastate her life. Fortunately for the readers, and unfotunately for Aditya, Nandini is determined not to‘bite the dust’ oh so quietly. Wonder, in the battle royal, who wins or who loses it all?
Sneha Verma, the other contender, is Nandini’s BFF, that one friend who knows us better than we do. The one we trust more than Stayfree or Clearasil. Sneha maybe headstrong, hammer fisted and stern mouthed, but for Nandini, she will willingly stand in the path of imminent lightning bolt or a nasty tornado, even if it’s named Aditya Sarin. In standard X, Sneha took Nandini under her wing and that equation hasn’t changed much. Sneha, a recent wife and even more recent mom, appears to be fighting some unknown demons of her own.
Right Fit Wrong Shoe, observes and opinionates the society, affected and amused. It fleetingly touches on issues; fleeting as watching discourses (courtesy Astha Channel), is trendier and quicker, than reading them.
The book is an AAA (anytime, anywhere, anyone) read. It promises to make your day better, and a bad one not any worse.
Grab your copy 
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About The Author 

 

Varsha Dixit, the best selling author of four successful contemporary romance books. Her debut book, Right Fit Wrong Shoe was a national bestseller for the year 2010. Varsha was a part of the Indian Television Industry and worked as an assistant director and online editor. She considers herself a dreamer who thinks deep but writes light. Even though creativity is gender free, Varsha feels blessed and enriched to be a woman. Currently, with her family, Varsha resides in CA, USA.

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Special #Valentinesday offer. Buy one get one #free

Romance day is around the corner and you can’t escape the sight of red heart shaped balloons and roses. What better time to indulge in some romance reading? Which is why you get a special offer for this special occasion, no matter if you celebrate it with a romance book mate or your soul mate. Whether you like contemporary genre or historical or even short stories, check out the books in the poster. Click on the Home page at this site or follow the link below for book details. Buy one and you get the next one free. All you have to do is tell me which one you’d like via the Contact Me page of this site.

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http://www.amazon.com/Summerita-Rhayne/e/B00MZQ0PUC

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Wish you all a Happy Valentine’s!