Category Archives: Women’s Fiction

Interview with Dilruba Ara, Author of A LIST OF OFFENCES

We’re talking today to Dilruba Z. Ara, author of the women’s fiction, A List of Offences, to find out more about her writing life and tips for getting published.

A List of OffencesThanks for this interview, Dilruba.  I love to find out how authors got their start. Is it true you had your first story published for the first time at 8 years old?  Would you like to tell us about that?

Thank you. And yes, it’s true.

When I was a child, there was a monthly magazine called “Sabuj Pata”, which was targeted at young readers. This magazine also used to hold literary gatherings for children, every second month, where well-known writers would come and encourage us. It started so easily, and I was not even aware that I was writing. And then, when my teacher encouraged me at school, I started writing stories, and I submitted one I felt comfortable with. It was about a girl who had been longing for a special frock as her Eid (the first day of celebration after Ramadan) present, but she gave it away to a beggar girl on Eid day.

When did you come up with the idea to write A List of Offences and is this your first book?

When you live inside a society, you tend to be blind to its realties. But when I moved to Sweden, and I started to look at  my  society with different eyes. I began to evaluate it. I also began to question myself why Bengali/Indian girls allowed themselves to be black-mailed into accepting their lot. One of my friends from Bangladesh was in love with a Hindu boy, but her family forced her to marry her cousin. Ultimately, she stood up, divorced him, and now lives in Sweden with another man. Her family has disowned her. Then Fadime, a Kurdish girl, was murdered, in Sweden by her father, and it occurred to me that the big problem is the inherited mindset of traditional families ‒ it follows you wherever you go. This perverse trend is becoming a global illness. Girls from traditional families are bullied, beaten and, in the worst cases, even murdered if they try to break with accepted family patterns, no matter where they are. But it’s worse in the developing countries, where the state is not concerned for your welfare. That welfare depends on your family, and very often families misuse their power. I wanted to highlight that, through the story of Daria.

And yes, this is my first book.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

Five years.

What did you find most challenging about writing this novel?

The hardest part was establishing a connection between the harsh realities of Daria’s life and the beauty of the country.  And also to try to cast light on the plight of millions of girls through the story of one girl.

How did you publish it?

Well, I had sent the finished manuscript to a few literary agents in the USA.  Within a few days, three of them called back.  I chose the most passionate one, Doris Michaels.  She loved the book, and sent it out to quite a few publishers in the USA, who all found it very beautiful, relevant, etc., but slow-paced.  I had worked very hard with each word, so I did not want to cut it down to fit their demands.  In the end, I took it to The University Press Ltd, the leading publishing house in Bangladesh, and met the publisher myself.  Upon reading the letters from various US editors, he took the manuscript from me and asked me to wait outside the closed door.  After about three hours, he reappeared with a contract.  This is how it started.  Then it was sold to Spain (Maeva) and Greece (Oceanida).  In parts of South America, it even hit the top ten list, along with The Kite Runner and A Thousand Spendid Suns.  Even though only a few English copies were available, the book was reviewed in different newspapers and magazines, including The Chattahoochee Review.  A review of it can be read on the Law Faculty’s homepage on the Ecuador University site.  I have been happy about all this attention, but at the same time I have been concerned that the English version had not been available to general readers outside Bangladesh.  Hence, I decided to have my rights back.  My publisher is a kind man, and understood me.  Now I have published it independently.  By the way, only a few weeks ago, I heard from my Spanish publisher (Maeva) that they would like to renovate the pocketbook and e-book rights of the title.

Any lessons learned along the way?

That to get published in the UK or USA, you have to choose a subject matter that is very topical, and different.  And you have to be both steadfast and fast paced.

Is it available for digital download as well as print?

At the moment, it is only available in print, but within the month it will be digitally downloadable as well.

Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

Trust yourself.  Choose a top that you are familiar with.  The harder you work, the luckier you will get.

Thank you!

You can visit Dilruba’s website at www.dilrubazara.com.

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Book Spotlight: The Moses Quilt by Kathi Macias

The Moses Quilt Banner

The Moses Quilt cover

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ABOUT THE MOSES QUILT

The Moses Quilt is a contemporary novel that bridges racial and generational divides. With a realistic and compassionate look into a twenty-first-century dilemma, multiple award-winning author Kathi Macias introduces readers to a confused and apprehensive young woman, Mazie Hartford. Facing major decisions about the love of her life and her future, she must also wrestle with a nagging question about her family’s past. She finds the answer to her questions in a most unexpected way—her great-grandmother’s Moses quilt. As her great-grandmother begins to explain how each patch represents a story of courage and freedom, Mazie must decide if she has the courage and freedom to overcome her own personal fears and prejudices.

“The Moses Quilt will hold you mesmerized until the final page…”

–Anne Baxter Campbell

Watch the trailer on YouTube!

CHRISTIANBOOK.COM | AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE

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ABOUT KATHI MACIASKathi Macias photo

Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 40 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) and was the 2011 Author of the Year from BooksandAuthors.net. Her novel set in China, Red Ink, was named Golden Scrolls 2011 Novel of the Year and was also a Carol Award Finalist; her October 2012 release, Unexpected Christmas Hero, was named 2012 Book of the Year by BookandAuthors.net. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband.

WEBSITE | TWITTERFACEBOOK

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The Moses Quilt Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule

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Monday, February 4th

Book spotlight at Cheryl’s Christian Book Connection

Tuesday, February 5th

Book giveaway at The Busy Mom’s Daily

Thursday, February 7th

Book trailer featured at If Books Could Talk

Friday, February 8th

Guest blogging at Freda’s Voice

Monday, February 11th

Book trailer spotlight at The Writer’s Life

Tuesday, February 12th

Book spotlight at WV Stitcher

Wednesday, February 13th

Book spotlight at Jody’s Book Reviews

Thursday, February 14th

First chapter reviewed at The Book Connection

Friday, February 15th

Guest blogging at Literarily Speaking

Author interview and giveaway at ASC Book Reviews

Monday, February 18th

Book spotlight at The Borrowed Book

Tuesday, February 19th

Book teaser at 4 the Love of Books

Wednesday, February 20th

Book reviewed at S.A.G.A.

Thursday, February 21st

Book reviewed at Rambles of a SAHM

Friday, February 22nd

Book reviewed at By the Book

Monday, February 25th

Book reviewed at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Book reviewed at ASC Book Reviews

Tuesday, February 26th

Book reviewed at Deco My Heart

Wednesday, February 27th

Guest blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

Tuesday, March 5th

Book reviewed by Café Lily Book Reviews

 

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Filed under Christian fiction, contemporary fiction, Women's Fiction

Christian Contemporary Women’s Fiction ‘The Moses Quilt’ by Kathi Macias on Virtual Book Tour

The Moses Quilt coverThe Moses Quilt is a contemporary novel that bridges racial and generational divides. With a realistic and compassionate look into a twenty-first-century dilemma, multiple award-winning author Kathi Macias introduces readers to a confused and apprehensive young woman, Mazie Hartford. Facing major decisions about the love of her life and her future, she must also wrestle with a nagging question about her family’s past. She finds the answer to her questions in a most unexpected way—her great-grandmother’s Moses quilt. As her great-grandmother begins to explain how each patch represents a story of courage and freedom, Mazie must decide if she has the courage and freedom to overcome her own personal fears and prejudices.

“The Moses Quilt will hold you mesmerized until the final page…”

Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 40 Kathi Macias photobooks and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) and was the 2011 Author of the Year from BooksandAuthors.net. Her novel set in China, Red Ink, was named Golden Scrolls 2011 Novel of the Year and was also a Carol Award Finalist; her October 2012 release, Unexpected Christmas Hero, was named 2012 Book of the Year by BookandAuthors.net. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband.

Visit Kathi online at www.kathimacias.com 

Kathi is taking with The Moses Quilt on a virtual book tour from Feb 5 – March 5.  Follow her tour at http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2013/01/18/pump-up-your-book-presents-the-moses-quilt-virtual-book-tour/

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Filed under Announcements, Christian fiction, contemporary fiction, Women's Fiction

Book Spotlight: Next Year in Jerusalem by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein

You may be wondering why I chose the title Next Year in Jerusalem! for my new novel.

Why not Forbidden Romance or Romantic Travel or Spiritual Awakenings or Lust, Memories and Old Friends on Facebook? After all Natalie and Maggie are two women, both caught up in issues that many of us face: a somewhat dull but faithful husband; a bad marriage leading finally to a divorce; a desire for adventure; unsatisfied spiritual longings. They have a great friendship with each other, something research keeps confirming, keeps us young and emotionally happy, but life is far from easy for either women.
So again, why would I focus on a strange title that comes out of a book written thousands of years ago?

Here is one of the reasons. Next Year in Jerusalem! is actually a phrase that shows up at the end of the Haggadah. Those of you who are not Jewish may wonder what that is. The Haggadah is a book that the Jews have used for thousands of years to celebrate and relive the Passover experience. Many people know that the central theme of the story is how the Jews, who were slaves in Egypt, were finally able to escape and began their long journey of 40 years to get to the promised Land, which was Israel. However, what a lot of people don’t realize is that this theme is universal and can be taken metaphorically for all of us. That is why when the Haggadah ends with the fourth glass of wine being drunk, and the words, Next Year in Jerusalem! the phrase becomes so significant.

Read an excerpt!

Natalie didn’t tell David (her husband)about her other dream, the one about Jack, the Jewish fellow from Chicago who’d been around to save her from despair after she decided she wasn’t moving to Iraq. A diamond salesman, Jack now lived in London and traveled back and forth to Israel all the time.

Natalie prided herself on staying in touch with lots of people from her past. Jack was one of them. Occasionally they e-mailed and he’d friended her on Facebook two years ago. Although they hadn’t written recently, if he read her Facebook page he would know she was going to Jerusalem. What if he tried to see her? What if there was still an attraction? Would she tell David? Would he care? Would she act out?

Her life with David was so good and stable and predictable. And boring!

Did I just say boring?

No, she must have meant solid. Or did she mean solid?

Oh, I’m a wreck. I’m miserable and I can’t sleep, she continued to obsess. What about that cute secretary at the college? The one who has a sparkle in her eye whenever she talks to David? How old is she? Forty-two? Divorced and sexy. How would I know if something’s going on there?

I’m going crazy lying here, she began again. Where’s the Xanax? Already packed. Oh, that was dumb.

Purchase Next Year in Jerusalem at Amazon!

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, internationally known positive psychologist, inspires thousands with her ENCHANTED SELF®. Around the world people benefit from her techniques to enhance well-being, and to live up to their potential. Known for her ability to make complex psychological concepts easy to understand and to implement, she has now turned her talents to novel writing. “A great fiction read is a great escape, and yet, it is more! It is the gateway to new ways of thinking and behaving.”

Dr. Holstein received her Doctorate in Education from Boston University and her BA degree from Barnard College. Dr. Holstein has been a school psychologist and taught first and second grades. She is in private practice with her husband, Dr. Russell M. Holstein, in Long Branch, New Jersey. Find her at www.enchantedself.com and www.next-year-in-jerusalem.com.


Her previous books include:
THE ENCHANTED SELF, A Positive Therapy
Recipes for Enchantment, The Secret Ingredient is YOU!
The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything)
Seven Gateways to Happiness: Freeing Your Enchanted Self.

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Filed under Mystery, Psychology, Women's Fiction

On Strike for Christmas by Sheila Roberts

On Strike for Christmas
Author: Sheila Roberts
Rating:
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Reviewed by: Rebecca Camarena

Christmas is right around the corner, but in one small town there is the fear of not celebrating the day at all. The women of Holly want more appreciation, more help and want to be able to enjoy this wonderful time of year. Like a scene from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, starring Jimmy Stewart, these women want their loved ones to have an epiphany and realize that it’s a lot of work for one person to do all the work involved in hosting parties, preparing for school events, buying and wrapping gifts, trimming the tree, sending out Christmas cards and doing holiday baking along with their daily jobs and regular housework. Bah humbug!

In a small little knitters group Joy and her friend Laura decide that the only way their husbands and families will appreciate them is for them to go on strike. They feel that if their husbands and families want Christmas then they will have to do it themselves. As Laura and Joy enjoy the first moment of quietness and respite from the hectic time of year they watch as their husbands handle things in a man’s world. To their astonishment they realize that the men don’t put the same emphasis on all the things they treasure and neither do they find the husbands handling things in quite the same way as the women. 

A newspaper reporter catches the story and fueled by her articles the boycott soon takes on a life of its own. As Christmas day approaches and the men of the town are up to their limit in what they can handle Joy, Laura and their husbands work to confront bigger issues in their marriages. However, when more than one disappointments will bring the season to a halt it seems everyone could use a little holiday magic.

Sheila Roberts has created a wonderful example of what the spirit of Christmas is all about. Her characters bring to life all those issues between women and men and holiday celebrations. But, she takes it one step further and proves that with a little holiday magic, the sparkle of Christmas can be seen and felt by all.

  

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Filed under Holiday-themed titles, Women's Fiction