The heart-collector by Kavita Rao

India has been in my thoughts for the past couple of years, the urge and the desire to be able to visit her and to see with my own eyes, all the places I’ve read about is something that hunts me every time I have a quiet time enough to let my dreams control me. Mumbai is the city I would like to see first. I often search the net for videos or articles to learn more about this enchanting place, but whatever the story or the pictures, it will never be the same experience as the actual, face to face meeting with the charming lady Mumbai. My very good friend, Kavita Rao, had a poem posted about her home town Mumbai on her blog How I write, is mine…How you read, is yours, and I absolutely loved it, longing even more to “Drown in her sweltering heat”, to add my heart gladly to the collection of her admirers. Here are Kavita’s thoughts and poem, enjoy!

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Kavita -**Mumbai, Bombay, call her what you may, she will always remain what she has always been – a mystic lover, a heart stealer, a soul quencher! For a person (like me) born and raised in her arms, there exists no better place on this fabulous planet (other than NYC perhaps)! This poem is my heart’s snapshot at how I felt about her when I lived there, how I felt about her on my most recent trip there, how I feel about her now, and how I will always feel about her! They say good things are better shared… So here I am, sharing a little bit of my Bombay with all of you… **

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“Marine Drive- Mumbai” by Kavita Rao

The heart-collector

  by Kavita Rao

With her translucent veins
invariably spilling commuting sighs
With her Arabian waves
magically forming a quixotic mist
With her thumping heart
thrusting life into her slender body
With her sultry skin
attracting a rush of excited nerves
With her monsoon scent
injecting doses of moist earth
She stands there
– poised –
Eyes inviting
Arms outstretched
Smile bewitching

And all one can do is
Succumb
to her incomparable charm
Drown
in her sweltering heat
Melt
before her yielding embrace
While only hoping to chant
the syllables of her tuneful name
…Bom-bay…

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Higher hell

 

“… what you believe may not be what you believe it is.” ~David Cummins

 

This post is dedicated to David Cummins and his book “Higher Hell”, published on his blog “Higher Hell”. In one of his latest posts David says that from 2009, when he created the blog, to 2011 there was “non-existent” response to his posts with the chapters of the book. I know how every beginning is difficult, I had angels who guided me to make my blog work, I guess David didn’t have any help. But since December last year “Higher Hell” has received many likes, comments and followers and that is absolutely deserved, because it offers an interesting story and sense of humor you don’t find easily. I started reading the story about the demon Casmiel few months ago, I haven’t finished it yet, because there is a little time for sitting in front of the computer, but I am completely charmed by his writing and some of the themes he has included definitely give you food for thoughts.

This post is to spread the word about David and his book, visit “Higher Hell” and enjoy the dark, amusing ride. But before that, I’d like to share few words from David:

Who David is?

– I’m 40 years old and I’ve lived my whole life in the rural farming country of western New York State, USA.  All my life I’ve wanted to be a writer, musician or artist.  I started writing before I even knew how, by dictating stories for my mother to write for me.  During and shortly after college, I wrote as a freelance journalist for a small local newspaper.  I had a couple of poems published in 1997, and in 2008 I had a research article published in a regional history magazine. Music has always been a passion of mine, and my tastes in music have filtered their way into my writing with HIGHER HELL.  On a more personal level about myself, I’m a divorced single father with a 13 year old son.  Though divorced, my ex-wife is my absolute best friend in the entire world, which some people find odd.

About the idea of the book and the process of the writing?

– The idea for HIGHER HELL came about in 2008.  Lots of things came together that year to inspire the idea for the story.  My son and I watched the anime series Death Note repeatedly that year.  I spent that summer reading the book “Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail” by Christopher Dawes and the books “Zaregoto: The Kubikiri Cycle” and “Death Note: Another Note” by Japanese author NisiOisiN.  I was also watching a lot of TV documentaries about early Christianity and religion in general.  Somehow, all of these things came together to spark the idea for HIGHER HELL. I started writing in October 2008 while sitting in my car, smoking on lunch breaks at work around 3 o’clock in the mornings (I work over night).

I had the general idea for the story mapped out in my mind, but I didn’t plan much out in advance.  I just wrote whatever came to mind really.  I’ve never made much use of outlines and such for my stories.  I just plan out what I want to see happen in the story in my head.  Before HIGHER HELL was finished, I already knew I wanted to make it a series and keep writing more stories about the lazy,  foulmouthed demon and his goth chick friend.  It was just so much fun to write, I didn’t want to stop!  So I started planning out the ideas for the second and third books shortly before I finished the first.

I love punk rock, goth rock and both punk and goth style, so I infused those into the books.  The title comes from the song “Higher Hell” by Echo and the Bunnymen.  Several chapter titles throughout the series are taken from songs by bands like The Clash, Bauhaus, Rob Zombie, etc., and song lyrics by The Jesus and Mary Chain, Electrafixion, Marilyn Manson and others are quoted or paraphrased in dialog throughout the books.

What would you think the readers should extract as a message?

– The first thing that comes to mind is friendship.  All through the series, the characters form friendships they never expected.  Even cynical, lazy Casmiel discovers he has friends and that he would do anything to protect them.  The other message hidden in the story is that what you believe may not be what you believe it is. The Bible has been re-written and re-edited countless times over the centuries, in Roman times, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, etc.  Like in a game of Telephone, who can say just how much of the story has changed over the years?  Many elements in my books are purposely meant to twist around what is commonly believed about Heaven, Hell, angels, demons, etc. to show that just maybe the things we believe we know are true are actually something misheard, mistranslated, missing parts that were forgotten, or just plain misunderstood.  I certainly don’t mean to challenge anyone’s faith or tell them they’re wrong, but I think it is healthy food-for-thought.

Favorite part from the book?

I’m my own worst critic and for me, personally, I think the best parts are in the second and third books.  But I guess my favorite parts of the fist book would be either when Casmiel first meets Gabby in the alley behind her apartment building, or when Gabby poses for Cas to make himself look human and he accidentally ends up naked.  I love the part where she asks what his t-shirt says and he tells her “I spent an eternity in Hell and all I got was this lousy t-shirt”.  I’ve actually thought about making my own shirt that says that in rune-like letters…

That would be all for now! Visit  “Higher Hell”  and spread the word about it through your blogs!

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“Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.” Mark Twain

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© 2012  Broken Sparkles

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Winter is past

A very dear friend of mine and an incredibly talented writer, Victoria C. Slotto, has her first book published. It is an honor to introduce you today “Winter is Past” by Victoria C. Slotto and to share her success even on a little post at Broken Sparkles. When you hear about people close to you and their steps ahead, you gain hope that one day the same might happen to you, Victoria’s book gives me encouragement and a feeling that I should continue writing, no matter what!

“Winter is Past” is the story of a woman who has dealt with a subtle fear throughout her life. She’s unaware of the reason behind her anxiety but when she’s faced with her best friend and kidney donor’s health crisis–cancer in her remaining kidney–she must uncover and deal with her fear of loss.

I haven’t read the book yet and I will, once I have it, but Victoria says, in one of her blog posts at liv2write2day , “the book will appeal, for the most part, to women and to those who read authors such as Jodi Picoult or Nicolas Sparks, to health care providers and those dealing with issues related to organ transplantation. It is written with an eye to stimulating discussion in book clubs and similar formats. While it is not Christian fiction, it will speak to those who read that genre. It has a message of hope and survival.”

Cover image by David Slotto

I asked Victoria about the process of writing and here is what she shared with me:

“I began writing “Winter is Past” in 2003. I inintially wrote by hand and had absolutely no idea where the characters would lead me but they did. I had no outline. With the help of workshops and writing critique groups I began the grueling process of revision, hundreds of them/I was using the computer by then/.

I like to begin my writing sessions by reviewing the work I did the previous days, it works best for me to revise as I go along. Beginning in 2007, I sent out a huge amount of query letters before the novel was really ready and, of course, received plenty of rejections, before putting it aside. In 2009 I knew what I needed to do to make it better and did another revision. I signed with the first agent who wanted it after only 3 queries, which turned out to be a mistake as she wanted to sell it in the Christian fiction market and it’s really general/women’s fiction. I do believe readers of Christian fiction will enjoy it, though. I met my publisher (Lucky Bat Books) soon after I “broke up” with that agent at a friend’s book-signing.

My second novel came to me in my sleep. I got up and scribbled a rough outline and this time spent a week creating a detailed outline of where it would go. It was a faster process but I’ve let it gestate now for over a year and hope to begin revision soon. This was an entirely different experience, although, even with the outline, the characters dictated the story and led me in different directions.”

For anyone who is interested in purchasing the book, the link HERE will take you to Victoria’s site and Buy Winter is Past page. And if you like to learn more about Victoria and her book press HERE or visit her blog liv2write2day.

Victoria, all the best with your first book and I hope there will be others to come!