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Thank you for stopping in to visit. Feel free to look around and drop me a line or two, just to say hi and/or leave your comments. Don’t forget to join my email list for special events, contests, updates on my novels, etc.  Happy Reading! Have an awesome day!

C.A.S. Photography

UPDATE – The Ties Which Bind Us

Hello all. I’m just stopping in with a quick but exciting update. Originally, The Ties Which Bind Us was a single novel. However, it is morphing beautifully into a four-book series, titled the same, where each book will have its own unique title that captures the theme’s essence.

More details will be forthcoming very soon. Happy reading!

A Beautiful Surprise

Oh My Goodness, look at what just arrived in the mail!!! My dear friend Renu Bhundia from CreativeKrafts surprised me with these exquisite hand-painted gifts!! You can see the textured bookmarks, both their fronts and backs with gem tassels. My favorite color purple is on one, and my favorite peacock feather is on the other. Renu knows me too well. lol

She even hand-painted the gift box they came in! Then there’s the coaster with my business/website logo, which fits under one of my favorite mugs perfectly! WOW!! All the work that was put into these pieces is amazing! Check out Renu’s FB page CreativeKrafts to see and purchase her awesome, intricate artwork. I love the tagline – “Where tradition inspires modern art.”

In Loving Memory of a Dear Friend

On July 11, 2021, a dear friend and colleague lost her life due to a car accident the week before. Today, was her memorial service, which was heartbreakingly beautiful. Meeta was a beautiful soul and would do everything in her power to support others.

In Meeta’s memory, family and friends are continuing to support others as Meeta did, by raising funds to benefit kidney patients at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust including dialysis patients at the Hamilton Unit in Leicester, which was very close to her heart. Please consider donating if you can. Thank you in advance. Meeta Madhani Fundraising/Donation Page

Progress Report on The Ties Which Bind Us

I can’t believe how much has been added to this manuscript in just a short time. Maybe it was because it hadn’t been announced, so procrastination set in. It’s easy to procrastinate when no one else knows about what you’ve been writing…or not in this case.

For me, I think the push to work on and finish the manuscript, was a little thing called accountability. Once broadcast to my readers that a new novel was on the way, complete with title and description, and the positive response came back to me, the feeling of accountability to them lit the fire. Excitement also got the creativeness flowing, and it made me feel good about writing it again.

So, from many pages of research notes, ideas, and only a few chapters completed, as of today, there are ten finished chapters, and four still being worked on. Three of those chapters go in between the finished ones, and one is the last chapter. There are two additional chapters I haven’t started on yet. There may end up being a couple more, we’ll have to see how things play out. Sometimes as you work on one chapter, it gives you an idea for another one.

I’m loving the historical pieces that are interwoven, some were already known, others came to me while researching. I’m hoping you will enjoy them too. As always, there is the armchair traveling experience with at least five countries which you’ll be taken to in this novel.

Here’s hoping it will be finished and ready for publication very soon. Updates will be forthcoming as they happen.

Thank you so much for your interest in my writing. Have a great day and happy reading!!

Novel Update

Good evening my dear readers. I just thought I would stop in and post before going to sleep (as it is after 1 AM). It’s just a quick update on my newest historical fiction novel.

You can check out the details here. I’d love to know what you think of the title and the description. Once I get the ideas for the cover, I’ll be posting them to get your votes on which one I should use. So, stay tuned. Have a great evening, and as always, Happy Reading!

My Whirlwind Weekend in London, England!

I can not believe this was 3 years ago today!! Oh, to be back in London!!!

Thursday – 6/21/18  After a day of work (after getting up at 4 AM), I was on my way to Logan Airport in Boston to take flight across the pond to London, for a weekend I would not soon forget. Without mentioning the airlines, I failed to realize that my 7-hour flight (starting at 9:20/21:20) did not include any sleep as part of the itinerary. Apparently, the flight attendants had their clocks mixed up and thought it was 9:20 AM rather than PM and talked and laughed all night long.

Friday – 6/22/18 Arriving at Gatwick Airport at 8:30 AM, the various modes of transportation were about to begin. (Good thing I bought my Oyster Visitor Card ahead of time.) I quickly found the Gatwick Express train to London Victoria Station. From there, I entered the underground (tube system) and took this very crowded means to London Paddington Station where I retrieved my TEP unit, a.k.a. Mobile Wi-Fi Internet, so that I could “remain connected on my trip while avoiding all those ugly roaming charges”. So glad I had this with me the entire time, as it also included a proper charger which I could use for my cell phone and tablet.

I then got on another train, and at the correct stop, I would find the bus that would take me to my hotel around Hayes called ‘Grapes’! (I don’t know why they call it that, but I will find out.)  UPDATE It was just revealed to me by a good friend there that ‘Grapes’ is the name of the pub. Go figure, I didn’t even notice there was a pub. LOL

I arrived 2 hours early but thankfully the room was ready. Time to shower and take a nap before getting ready for the event I had traveled there for … Navin Kundra’s first ever U.K. concert Voice of Legends! Ok, so I was too wound up to sleep at this point. Instead, I would iron the sari and pray that I would wrap it correctly. Because I don’t wear a sari often (only for special occasions), it took watching several videos and a few hours before I got it “almost right”. I seriously considered wearing something else at this point, but later was glad I didn’t give up. (I think, lol)

Fast forward to 6 PM (1800 hours) when my friends Amita and Vijay, who were also going to the concert, arrived and we were on our way to Beck Theatre for the SOLD OUT (600 seats) event!

The Beck Theatre is beautiful and everyone in their colorful outfits made it even more so. I soon met Navin’s beautiful family (who, at the heart of his supportive team, put this event together and worked tirelessly to make it a huge success), his close friends and the NKVIPs, all for the first time.

The next thing I knew, I was asked to do the honors of going on stage just before intermission to present Navin with flowers. What? Who me? I was absolutely blown away and humbled by this request, as I had no idea anything like this had been planned. Now, all I had to do is hope I would not come unraveled (mentally or literally, as the fringe from my sari did get caught and wrapped on one of the dancers sequins backstage) or fall as I walked ever so slowly across the stage whispering “don’t trip” all the way until I presented them to Navin and walked back behind the curtains without looking out to the 599 people in the audience who were watching … mission successfully accomplished! Although, in my nervous state, I forgot to take the flowers out of the box. OOPS!

Namaste
Presenting Navin Flowers

The concert was brilliant, one-of-a-kind like I had never experienced before. I say experienced because that is exactly what happened. It was a show where everyone was part of it. For three and a half hours we laughed, we cried, we sang, we danced, we cheered, and created wonderful memories! The evergreen songs were by the legends of Bollywood music – Kishore Kumar, Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Mukesh, Asha Bhosle, and Jagjit Singh, brought to life in a way that you’ve never heard before, emotionally and beautifully sung by Navin and Ambika Jois, with special guest star singers Ketan Kansara, and Shin DCS, set to the music of the 515 Crew and graced by the dancers from the Shiamak London Dance Academy. Navin also sang one of his #1 (for 12 weeks) love songs, ‘Tere Liye’ (‘For You’) and his brand new love song, ‘Ishq Humara’ (‘Our Love’). The latter being accompanied by an amazing choreographed dance by the Shiamak team.

Navin not only set that stage on fire but also raised the bar on what a genuinely great musical show should be! What made this musical experience so incredibly special is not only his talent but his uniqueness and passion for music and his goal to touch people’s lives and hearts with it! He drew us into the experience and took us along on his journey.

Navin singing passionately from his heart as always – Chithhi Na Koi Sandesh

Everything was so beautiful from the songs to the sets, the band, singers, and the dancers! He pulled out all the stops to create such an amazing night that everyone who was privileged to attend will cherish forever!  When the finale concluded to a standing ovation, we all wished the show was just starting so that we could immerse ourselves in it all over again.

A meet and greet session followed the show, and we were able to get Navin’s autograph and have photos taken with him.

Navin and Me at his very 1st Voice of Legends 2018

The after party was quiet and consisted of family and a close circle of friends, so it was nice to get to meet and speak with everyone. By the time I arrived back at my hotel to crash, the birds were singing …. 4:30 AM!!!! (exactly 48 and a half hours, since I had gotten any sleep and boy did I need it!)

6/23/18 Saturday was a rest day, to say the least. Although I would have loved to go out and see the sights, the furthest I managed to “travel” was the Beefeaters restaurant next door for lunch and the shopping center across the street for some gluten-free items, once it got cooler. So much for being adventurous.

6/24/18 Sunday was the day to travel to Amita and Vijay’s house. Amita took me on a beautiful walk in the unusually hot weather for London (record heatwave actually), and we toured the historic Harrow Museum.

We drove to and walked around Trafalgar Square, felt the cool breeze from the Thames River with its many boats, saw the NEW Scotland Yards (only from the outside lol), the famous red telephone booths, and the London Eye. We traveled across the statuesque Tower Bridge (not to be confused with the London Bridge which is a half mile upstream), twice no less. We just missed touring the London Tower, as it was closing when we arrived. We walked through town, and after striking out at being able to dine at the Bombay-style cafe Dishoom (due to an exceptionally long wait), we ate at NANDOS!! Finally, I was able to try the only heard of Peri Peri sauce! What a nice late-night treat before we went back to their house for the night!

6/25/18 Monday came too fast, as the weekend was gone, and it was time to make my way via fewer modes of transportation this time (only car and bus) to Gatwick to travel back to the U.S. with beautiful memories and gifts that I will cherish forever.

To sample some of Navin’s amazing talent for songs of all genres and languages, as he sings in English, Hindi, Punjabi, and a bit of Spanish, please go to his YouTube channel and subscribe. You can also find him on Facebook. Here is his official website too.

Voice of Legends Photos Courtesy of Hiten Ondhia Photography Photography by Surjit Pardesi of #PardesiPhoto

Here are mine and Navin’s posts about the concert.

I can’t wait to be back there for Voice of Legends (VOL3) concert in the future!!

Contest Giveaway

Are you ready to win a signed copy of my newest book Journey into the Soul, and some ice cream to boot? If you are, please head on over to Contest Pearl and enter. Don’t forget to share your unique referral code with your family, friends, and fellow readers. When they enter the contest, please make sure they use your special code. This way, if they win, so do you! The more those with your code enter, the better your chances are of winning! Cool, right?

When entering the contest, if you include your email address, you will be put on my mailing list so that I can send you updates on other contests, book signing events, and the publication dates of future books. Your name and information are kept private and will only be used for this purpose, and of course to give you the exciting news if you win.

I hope to see you there. All the best! Happy Reading!

What’s Your Inspiration?

Do you write, paint, create music, or have a craft you work on? What gives you the ideas for it? What inspires you?

There is usually music playing in the background when I am writing, especially if it is a novel. Often I listen to the type of music that would be playing in the era or location that is the subject of the story. Music also inspires me to write, even helping me out of writer’s block.

I find that having a corkboard nearby with inspiring ideas and pictures helps too. Another thing is an inspirational writing space. Various objects, photos, and cards from loved ones, along with plants inspire; but have you given thought to the color of your walls in your space? I admit, I never really considered it until recently. My walls are gray. Nothing wrong with gray, but they don’t really lend themselves to awakening my muse. Thus, the proverbial lightbulb went on several weeks ago while trying to decide on a color to repaint the room.

I was drawn to a light shade of my favorite color purple, but the décor is South Asian, and although purple is one of the colors in the accessories, I didn’t want the whole room the same and then change everything else. Also, besides the room needing brightening, it also needed to be a mood lifter and something that would inspire me.

After a trip to a paint store with pictures of the wall hangings, drapes, accessories, and a book on colors which enhance the South Asian style, I came home with several swatches to tape on the wall to see which looked best. Strangely enough, not one of them did what I needed them to do. However, when looking through my wallet later that day, the color of a coupon for an online store stood out. Go figure. I taped it to the wall next to one of the tapestries, and what do you know? It was just the inspiration I was looking for!

I purchased a small sample can of paint from the store and covered only a small section near my desk. After intervals of staring at it during meetings and my writing sessions, I felt it was the one. So, this morning I used up the sample and painted the rest of the section and the one on the other side of the windows in between the first and it. Not sure how many times I have gone in and out of the room and put the overhead light and desk lamp on and off to see the difference. Oh, and this afternoon the sun finally appeared, adding more light to the cause. Needless to say, I had the windows open the entire time I was painting anyway, despite the gray skies which matched the walls. One must always have sufficient ventilation when painting.

Now, I have the before pics and will take the after pics once I’m finished to show you what it looks like and get your opinion on it. In the meantime, I would love to know your inspirations and ideas. Feel free to share them in the comment section below.

Have a great weekend and Happy Reading!