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Seeing Through Stones

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BARNES & NOBLE

   

 

Awards for Swimming Through Clouds

Finalist (2nd Place) NORWA (YA Fiction)
Finalist Women of Faith Full Manuscript
Finalist Wisconsin RWA Honorable Mention (YA Fiction)

“A work of art…”
-USA Today, Happy Ever After writer Serena Chase

 

“Tough and touching, resilient and raw…”
 -Tosca Lee, NY Times bestselling author of
HAVAH and The Books of Mortals series with Ted Dekker

 

 ”A poignant but realistic tale ~Sheila Wray Gregoire, Syndicated Columnist, Canadian National Award-Winning Speaker, Blogger, and Author of  multiple books on Marriage and Intimacy

“…Characters who come to life in each page.Diana Mao, President of Nomi Network

“…Will leave you gasping for air, reaching for something  steady to lean on…”
~ Jennifer Murgia, author of the ANGEL STAR series & 
BETWEEN THESE LINES

 

“…Difficult to read but even more difficult to put down.”
~Brown Girl Magazine
GoodReads Book Review

 ”Should be read by everyone … men and women, the young and the old.”~Masala Mommas Book Review by Angie Seth

“…This patient, subtle romance is intimate and enticing.”~Talking Cranes, Book Review by Viveka Kymal 

 ”This is not a bubble-gum, high school sweetheart kind of story.” 
~Laura Anderson Kurk, author of
GLASS GIRL and PERFECT GLASS

  

                           

Top Ten Reasons to Remember 9/11

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Some say you shouldn’t dwell on the past. Others say why bring up the sad moments. Move on. Let’s talk about happy things and not keep bringing it up.

I used to call myself an optimist, looking for that positive spin on everything. Now, I’m more of a live-life-ist. Because every day will not run to the beat of #Happy. But we have to keep going. Keep living. And still value each day and each other.

Here are my TOP TEN Reasons to Remember 9/11:

  1. WE came together to mourn. If all the tears shed the days and nights those first year filled the valleys of the Rockies they would reach the peeks and overflow. Many times.
  2. WE came together to search. For weeks on end, firefighters, police, and lay people spent day and night, enduring smoke inhalation and the dangers of the rubble, hoping to find even one survivor. Beds were set up at hospitals across the city and Brooklyn. We didn’t want to give up.
  3. WE came together to comfort each other. I don’t know how many strangers I hugged during those weeks in NYC. And many hugged me.
  4. WE came together to care for those left behind. Donations were taken up for survivors and those who lost loved ones. Meals were shared. We gave and gave, even when we knew we couldn’t replace the greatest loss.
  5. WE came together to rebuild. When the dust had settled, and the search was called off, we began the painful process of rebuilding. Two incredible reflecting pools lay where the towers fell and the Freedom Tower soars above the NYC skyline, an emblem of endurance.
  6. WE came together to rethink things. What does it mean to be safe? How can we keep each other safe from future attacks? How can be more aware of those around us and be there when we see someone in trouble.
  7. WE came together to learn what it means to stand up and fight back. Especially from people like Todd Beamer.
  8. We came together to remember what we value. Not tall buildings. Communication. Family. Friends. Neighbors. Each other.
  9. We came together to live again. Even in the face of fear. We chose and we continue to choose to keep going. And endure.
  10. We came together.

**

If you lost someone during 9/11, my heart goes out to you. None of us will ever forget that day. Where we were. When we first heard. How we saw the towers fall. But I hope, after thirteen years and for all the years to come, as we reflect on this tragedy in our history, we will also remember one thing:

We came together.

***

Rajdeep Paulus, Award-winning author of Swimming Through Clouds and Seeing Through Stones, decided to be a writer during her junior year in high school after her English teacher gave her an “F” but told her she had potential. She studied English Literature at Northwestern University, and she writes masala-marinated, Young Adult Fiction, blogging for MasalaMommas, Brown Girl Magazine, Playlist Fiction, Nomi Network and her own site at rajdeeppaulus dot com.

TOP Ten Things to FEAR While Biking Across the Country

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At the beginning of the summer, the thirty second videos started rolling in. Then celebrities began jumping on board and tagging other celebrities. And then by mid summer, I think more than half my FB posts were images of ice water dumped on beautiful dry heads. And then screams. And water exploding from my screen, it’s a wonder my laptop didn’t short-circuit. ;) The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Summer will stay with us forever. And all for such a great cause! We have lost some very dear friends to ALS and like many diseases, would love to see the cure found in our lifetimes.

So, if you’re like me, you’re wondering what the next BIG thing will be on Facebook. The NEXT Challenge if you will? Well, we over here at C4C2015 have been searching high and low to come up with something everyone can do that would be a fresh symbol of the fight against human trafficking. But nothing beats the X across the back of your hand. That’s pretty loud and clear. And we thought about asking the public to put a cupcake on their head and bike one hundred feet without losing that tiny bit of yummy goodness. BUT not everyone has a bike. And you have to bake a cupcake just to watch it sail off your head to the world of dirt and grime. Welll, that is just a bit much to ask of anyone, in my opinion.

Instead. We’re gonna make it easy for you. No bucket. No ice. And no cupcakes. Just a few minutes of your time and that cash laying around the house that you would have blown at Starbucks anyway. Would you think about these INSANE CHALLENGES the C4C2015 team will face next summer and give a small donation to the team? Even $10 makes a difference. 

TOP TEN THINGS TO FEAR WHILE BIKING ACROSS THE COUNTRY:

1. Flat Tires. It will most likely happen, with all the miles that these bike tires have to cover every day. So the test will be on dismounting timely so the frame doesn’t get damaged and the bikers don’t get hurt. And then finding the puncture and patching it up and getting back on the road quickly.

Or Chains Falling Off. On an uphill. Or even worse, a mountain. Where the edge of the road is a cliff with a crazy drop off. That will be more than frustrating. SO the guys need to gear shift in a timely fashion and help each other out in those moments.

2. Potholes, gravel, and litter on the road. Would love to believe that all the roads the team will bike over are newly paved and in stellar condition, but that would be naive. So they guys need to look down. Once in awhile and make sure they’re not about to run over broken glass or broken roads that ressemble black diamond level moguls on a ski hill. It’ll be interesting to hear the team’s POST-ride report of Top Ten Strangest Finds on the Side of the Road while Biking Across the Country. Something tells me Chicago will have the coolest find. But I guess I’m a bit biased. :)

3. Deer. And Goats. And Bears, Oh My. Seriously hope they see some cool wildlife while treking across the country. And catch some footage on a GoPro camera without crashing. BUT I also hope they don’t have too many Close Encounters of the dangerous kind. Because I’m pretty sure bears can move faster than bikers. Especially on an uphill.

FOLLOW LINK TO c4c2015.com for the rest of the LIST! :)

 

 

Top Ten Things to Expect When in Nashville

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As a New Yorker, surrounded by a diversity of cultures and lifestyles, I love traveling just to experience the way things are done differently and to meet and chat with people who have done things differently their whole lives. After a few days in hot and humid capital of Tennessee, I came up with my Top Ten things to Expect when visiting Nashville, AKA Music City.

 

When in Nashville, EXPECT

 

  1. To be serenaded by a future country singer in the airport. At the hotel. At every restaurant you walk by or step into. I was actually surprised there wasn’t a girl with her guitar singing in the restroom.
  2. photo 2-2To have a side of BBQ sauce. With everything. I think they even pour it over their eggs in the morning. Jack’s BBQ is a great authentic BBQ experience, I might add.
  3. To say, “Howdy.” At least twice. When you walk into a cowboy boots store and when you walk out with hat and boots on. Then expect to say it to everyone who passes by.
  4. To own something with a guitar on it by the time you leave. A t-shirt, key chain, mug or bottle of BBQ sauce. Even found guitar-pick earrings made of recycled vinyl records. Continue reading

Save The Date (Fall 2014)

Hi!! Just wanted to give Everyone some SAVE the DATES!

Next Thursday, Aug. 28th, in NYCSubcontinental Drift – NYC is hosting an open night! Come out! I’ll be reading and selling books.

SCD

 

 

 

 

 

September 25-28, I’ll be at Kriti Festival in Chicago. Hope to see you there!

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And November 7-9, looking forward to being part of Indo-American Arts CouncilLiterary Festival celebrating South Asian Fiction in NYC. Time and Details to follow.

IAAC

Try Something New – A Guest Post by Author Laura L. Smith

 

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Ever feel that itch, that urge, that tug inside to change something? It could be your scenery, your haircut, maybe you crave a new identity, even a new phone cover would help at this point. Ever been bored, or exhausted or numb, from your current set of circumstances?

 

Maybe you just finished up your school year and you’re not sure what summer has in store for you. Or maybe your summer already seems to be dragging out like a long string of the same hot day over and over again, like in the movie Groundhog’s Day.

 

Well, you don’t need to be Jason Bourne and grab a different passport from your safety deposit box to jazz things up. But it is up to you to get out of your rut. Sitting around wishing things would change won’t do the trick.

 

Now some of you change your address or hair color as often as others of us change our socks. To you, there’s no need to make drastic changes, you already do that, daily. But for the rest of us there’s something refreshing, maybe even daring about trying something new. Summer can be a lazy time to fall into old routines, or a chance to change your perspective and relight your inner spark. It’s up to you. Which one is it going to be?

 

Here are a few ideas to get jump-started: Continue reading

Latest Reviews, Guest Posts, and Waterfalls

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So I’ve been blogging here and there and feels like everywhere some days, but I didn’t want you to think I quit writing or anything. Here are a few places you can find me, reviews on my books and the occasional interview that was posted in the last couple of months. Thanks, always, for reading and telling your friends about my crazy Masala-marinated YA world.

On USA TODAY, Serena Chase reviewed Swimming Through Clouds, calling it “Must Read YA,” saying, “It is no wonder this novel has received so many award nominations and has garnered praise from critics, bestselling authors, and readers, alike. It is a work of art.” Serena is a YA Author herself so her opinion is valued and valuable!

At Brown Girl Magazine, I did a little ditty on my writerly life and the crazy Cinderella life I lead.

On MasalaMommas, I wrote about a special moment when my seven year old blew me away with her celebration of the family. Through a fashion show. :)

And Masalamommas shared the recent blog with HUFF-POST Canada Living on Top Ten Ways to be a Contagious Parent. Thanks to my seven year old who keeps giving me material!

At The Write Conversation, I guest-posted a Ten Step, Crash Course on how to navigate Instagram, hoping to trend #MaryPoppinsLeap by the end of the week, so pop on over and post yours!

My young blogger friend, Saloni of My Fantabulous Bookshelf, who I met at YAFest, recently posted an author interview and fun VLOG-review of her May Reads which included a sweet shout-out to Talia, Jesse, and Lagan!

Oh, another little Instagram post for authors and readers over at Kim Vandel’s blog.

This Girl Reads A Lot (aka Jazmen) wrote up a pretty dizzying review on Swimming Through Clouds and added a fun little Instagram love too.

AND there are more, but I thought this would suffice for now.

What else? I’ve been enjoying a book club chat here and there and I love having the face to face about my books with readers. The conversation invariably starts with the daring first question, “How did you come up with such a cu-razy story?”

To which I answer, “Yeah. I’m still taking meds to recover from chapter two of Swimming Through Clouds. Kidding. But ya know, sometimes I wonder if I should get my head checked out.”

AND… kinda fun, okay BLOW-MY-MIND-AWAY fun to have two interactions this week with people of influence. For someone who feels like I’ve been one or two degrees of separation from someone famous for the last couple of years, it’s nice to make real contact with real people. The first came from a surprise email from a gentleman who works for Amazon. Sure, no big deal, right. Except that he was searching for a success story of a self-pub’d author and the reviews on Swimming Through Clouds made him stop and skim. Then he kept reading. And reading. And finished the book! Next he emailed me to chat and at first, I wasn’t sure if he was legit or just a salesman trying to get me to buy some expensive marketing product. To my surprise, he was legit. And we’ll see what comes of that.

The second was a shot in the air. Like a fishergirl, I throw out my line here and there and everywhere and wonder if anyone will bite. Yep. I’m the girl that mailed First Lady Michelle Obama my book. Ya never know, right? And she actually sent me a post card to say, “Thank you for the gift.” I hope she reads it. But the fun news of today was a tweet from the Executive Assistant to the Editor-in-Chief (say that five times fast) of Seventeen Magazine, requesting a copy of my book. Yes, I asked. A week or so ago. But when I didn’t hear back, I assumed my request got swallowed in the Bermuda Triangle of tweets. So I popped it into the mail and, once again, we’ll see what will come of that.

Little by Little. That’s how it seems to work. Like so much of life, and I’m okay with that. More than okay.

Happy Swimming, all. And Seeing too.

Best,
Raj

Spring Fling GoodReads Giveaway!! Signed Copies of Both Books!

FOUR MORE DAYS!!

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Seeing Through Stones by Rajdeep Paulus

Seeing Through Stones

by Rajdeep Paulus

Giveaway ends April 30, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

R.I.P. Nelson Mandela – My Hero

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I first learned about the atrocities of Apartheid when I was in sixth grade. Many moons ago. But I remember the awakening as one that cost me many nights of sleep. I struggled with how at a time in history after so many racist episodes like Hitler’s Nazi Germany or American Slavery had been long abolished, Apartheid could exist. And persist.

As a young person, I felt helpless to know how to change the world, but I began by educating myself. Finding all the resources available at the library (life before Google,) I devoured all the books, memoirs, novels, and movies on the topic of South Africa. Two will always stay with me: Sarafina that starred Whoopi Goldberg as a South African teacher and a Barbara Walters’ 20/20 special interviewing white and black Afrikander children. The latter blew me away as these young white kids spoke about their black neighbors as if they weren’t even human. Simply put, Mandela coined the truth when he said, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of their skin… People must learn to hate.”

As a high school peace-junkie of sorts, I marched against Apartheid, wrote letters to the newspapers, and penned the words, “Free South Africa” on my jean cut-offs. And I recall like it was yesterday the time when a fellow student jeered at the words on my shorts, asking, “Free them from what?” and then laughing because he never wanted to know the answer. He just wanted to poke fun and embarrass me.

I didn’t respond. Not verbally anyway.

Mandela and his choice to stay in prison even when he could have complied with the government moved me more than any modern-day act of peaceful rebellion. Because his freedom meant little if his people were still mistreated and imprisoned by a system that denied basic human rights.

One of the highlights of my short life thus far happened shortly after the news of Mandela’s release from prison. With my dad and best friend, we attended Mandela’s speaking event at Tiger Stadium, and I cried the moment he emerged from the curtains and took the podium. Before he spoke a word, I cried like a baby, because he symbolized something far greater by being there than even his words could say.

He was walking freedom. A million prayers answered. And hope alive.

President Obama said it well when he described Nelson Mandela as a man who showed what a life led by hope instead of fear can look like. Mr. Mandela, your life lived for others and your quest to not give up will stay with me forever. Rest in Peace, man of peace.

You are loved. You will be missed.

May the lessons you taught—with your words and your life—live on.

Tis the Season to Go Swimming!

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Looking for GIFT ideas for a friend or family member? Got any teens in your life who need a Good Read this Season? Want to stuff someone’s stocking with CLOUDS!! NOW AVAILABLE IN PRINT!! Just in time for Christmas!! 

AVAILABLE on Amazon! Less than $10. Tis the Season to go Swimming

Facebook Confessions 101

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These lists that circulate Facebook, requesting audience participation, connecting friend to friend, kind of like Tag meets Truth or Dare,  are…AWESOME. For the most part. Every once in a while, they annoy me. Like when someone comes up with those, LIST all the friends in your box, and come to find out you’re the one running around the loony bin. Um. Nekid. Yeah, even spelling the word makes me squirm.

 

But the confessions by the number dealio I kinda like. I don’t know about you, but I enjoy reading all the, “And I never told anyone, but …” peeling back of layers of surface. I feel like I know all of you better. Okay, most of you. Okay, not really. But it’s still been fun.

 

And, because I’m a writer who nearly always wears her heart on her sleeve, I find it natural to LIKE nearly every post I read with the number sharing facts UNTIL… a comment wasn’t the only thing that got you pinned as the next victim. Someone did a switcheroo and typed, “If you LIKE this, I’ll give you a number.” And I did. Like several. In my ignorance, I didn’t read the fine print. But somehow, and if anyone get’s the award for the most frequently glitched user, it would be me, I didn’t get tagged.

 

So, instead of pouting all alone on this side of the screen, I thought I’d post one anyway, in an act of rebellious participation. How’s that for the coined oxymoron of the week? :) Continue reading