Latest Reviews, Guest Posts, and Waterfalls

in_search_of_waterfalls-background.jpg

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

It’s Rather Simple Really: A Nomi Network Post

knee

Happy Monday Morning, everyone. I know many of you have been losing sleep over the cut on my knee from the other day, just dying to know what happened? Well the wait is over! Read the deets over at Nomi Network and be prepared to take another walk around the block of my u-turn directional life. I don’t know about you, but when life keeps U-turning me to the same message, something tells me I need to wake up and pay attention. Just sayin…

***

And in other news…

More about Nomi Network!

A MegaGiveaway that is still Brewing!

Swimming Through Clouds still the best deal in town for only $2.99 at Amazon!

***

Someone, anyone, wanna come over and rake some leaves with me? Leaf Pile pics are calling my name. It’s that time of year when I need to decide just how criminal I’m gonna get in the name of tradition. :)

Pink Boxing Gloves – Four Years Free

AMC_8415If you’ve followed my blog from the beginning, you know a little about my sister’s battle with Breast Cancer. I wrote Pink Boxing Gloves and Pink Boxing Gloves-Three Year Later, because my sister’s favorite color is Pink. And she’s a fighter!

This October marks her four-year anniversary since she got the clear that she’s  free, and each time she gets a check up, there’s the holding her breath moment right before the doctor says, “We’re good. See you in six months.”

Saw a woman the other day wearing a baseball hat over her completely bald head and was instantly reminded of that time, not that long ago, when my sister lost her hair due to chemo. And if you’re a girl, few things compete with the loss of your crown, your hair, a woman’s glory. Continue reading

Gravity. And Things That Ground Me.

photo-44On a spontaneous Saturday afternoon date, Hubs and I jumped into a “borrowed” dark silver Mini and sped down side streets to catch a 3:20 showing of the new movie, Gravity. Our friend, the owner of the Cooper, left her car in exchange for our SUV to accommodate our kids for a girls afternoon of baking creme brule, eating pizza and watching Cars Two. [Thanks, Ruby!] And when the kids were away, the parents, who could be productive, chose to play.

 

And Clooney and Bullock delivered, Sandra stealing the show. Of course. After enduring the many minutes of silence in Tom Hanks’ Castaway, Life of Pi was a huge step up between the Tiger and the brilliant narration, but in general, I’m wary of movies where a single character must carry the bulk of the scenes, flying solo. And in the case of Gravity, Sandra Bullock was literally flying solo in her topsy-turvy Survivor meets Lost meets Lost in Space. [Okay, Lost might be a stretch, but I like to think that the theme/phrase, “We have to go back!” kinda worked itself in there, so I’m going with it. :) ] Continue reading

I Might Not Be Miss America, But… Part Two

photo 3We have to go.

 

This is the text that came through while I was out-of-town last week. Hubs telling me we need to fork out a few Benjamins for an event that he has to appear at. It’s the “politically” right thing to do.

 

Sure. I type back. Charge it. Not like we have the cash lying around. In fact, this particular event cost beaucoup bucks last year. They brought the price down this season, but anything times two is more, and Hubs insists I come with him.

 

A day before the event, Hubs sends me another text. Someone bought us 2 tix. We’re going for FREE! Nothing like that four letter word that brings a smile to my face!

 

And before I rub the sleep from eyes the next morning, a friend texts to say she’s free to hang out. Sorry, we have plans, I text plan. She responds, Okay, I’ll take the girls for you. Babysitting fell in our laps, and as I blow dry my hair, I imagine my fairy Godmother saying, “See, it’s all gonna work out. Now about your dress…” Continue reading

Would Cinderella say, “Call me, maybe…?”

High Res cover Cinderella Rule-1Here with the lovely Bethany Jett, today. And super excited to share this fun interview with you. Because, Bethany is a doll, both inside and out, and she has such a heart for teens and healthy relationships, two of my heartbeats. I think that’s why we clicked right away when we first met. I knew from our first conversation that she didn’t have all the answers, but she has some pretty challenging insights on the whole madness of dating. And I, for one, think her new book The Cinderella Rule is worth a read if you’re in the midst of Dating Daze, a parent of teens, or someone who works closely with high school or colllege students.

 
So please allow me to introduce you to Bethany Jett. Now. :)
***
Raj: Another book about dating! What makes this one different, in your opinion? And when should a teen read this? Before or during a relationship?
 
Bethany: The Cinderella Rule is all about how to be pursued, and teaches how much access to give a guy during the various stages of dating. I think teens should read this book immediately!–regardless of where you are in your dating life. If you haven’t dated anyone, it’ll help you avoid some common dating mistakes and teach you how to make a guy want to chase you. If you have dated, or are dating someone, it can help you assess your relationship and give you a basis for where your relationship is headed.
 
Raj: So your favorite Disney Princess is… Cinderella? Are you implying that every girl has a Prince out there waiting for her? Unpack the title a little for me! :) Continue reading

To Eye Contact or Not To Eye Contact

Free Stock Images

Free Stock Images

What did you learn growing up about Eye Contact?

Were you in the hard knocks school of “Look me in the eye, Son!” or did you hear “Never look a person in the eye” from your social mentors?

And when you fell in love. The first time. Was it in her eyes that you found yourself? And could he see right into your heart when he gazed into your baby blues? Or in my case, the brown-eyed girl?

Attended a marriage seminar several years back called PAIRS where the first lesson shared the importance of body language, encouraging couples to establish a focused position before talking. Knee to knee. Eye to eye.

But not everyone does the eye contact thing naturally. Personally, I get a tad distracted if I’m concentrating too hard when I look into someone’s eyes. My mind begins this peripheral dialogue that sends me into a zone all by itself.

“He’s looking into my eyes. I’m looking into his. He’s holding his stare. Holy cow, he hasn’t blinked. In a really long time. Wait! Which eye am I looking in? Left? Right? Both? Yikes! Who will look away first? [I do… then return, and…] He’s still looking. Right into my eyes. Wow. What was I saying? What were we talking about?” Continue reading

Shattered Glass Vase… An Easter-ish Story

http://www.stockfreeimages.com/

 

[A contemplative EASTER piece of sorts]

This is what I want to say to you, If I had one chance to tell you something…You are loved, more that you can imagine.” Rebecca St. James,

I got a paper cut the other day, and that little stinker just stung right up into my brain. Every time that part of my finger rubbed across anything for a day or so, I was paralyzed with pain. When the scab finally showed up, my other fingers would carefully but confidently stroke over it, remembering how it happened, and at least for a few days, slowing down before grabbing another sheet of computer paper.
Then the day came when I wanted to save a dish. Do you ever do that? How rational is it to think keeping that one dirty dish out of the sink is really going to make your life a bazillion times less busy.
Well, I chose the cutting board that night as my choice for, “You will remain standing clean and pristine against the wall” and ventured to cut up the salad in my hand.

I must have been distracted, and the next thing I knew, the tomato in my hand was sliced along with the palm it was in. Ouch! Continue reading

Valentine’s Dad

DSCN4576

When you’re the father of four princesses, Valentine’s Day can be quite intimidating. The girls are watching you. What will Daddy get for Mommy this year? Does he buy her the quality long-stemmed roses or the cheap bouquet from the grocery store? And does he remember the chocolate. Cuz Mommy loves her chocolate.

And did he do the same thing as last year? Or did he attempt to be a little original? Does he get her a teddy bear, or give her extra kisses that  morning? And does he pick out the perfect card? And write her a poem or pour out his heart with as many words can fit on the inside of the card? 

Truth be told, as much of a romantic as I am, Valentine’s Day is not the most important day in my year, and I hate that everything costs more the week leading up to the day: flowers, chocolates, and cards as well. But a day later and everything is 75% off? Hmmm. Does that mean somehow that timing is everything and the price tag on one’s love is slashed if you’re a day late?  Continue reading

“The Other Night”

 

FreeStockImages.com

FreeStockImages.com 

Today’s post is found on MidLife Collage. My short vignette is in this week’s contest and you could pop over there, leave a comment, and hit the FB like option to help me win $100 shmacks! With that kind of cashflow, I might just have to buy hubby some roses! :) And just think, you might have missed voting for American Idol, but you can still vote for me! :)

And before you read it, I want you to know that I really thought about this story before I put it out there. During this season of Valentine’s, when all you hear and see are kisses and cuddles, roses and chocolate, life still happens. Lovers fight. Marriage is not easy. And relationships are perhaps more challenging than ever if they want to thrive.

The actual event the story describes happened a year ago. So for the record, we are so over it. And chances are, hubs might not even remember it. Wish I could say it was the first and last bad fight we ever had, but then my love story would be a fairy tale. And truth be told, it’s so much better than any fairy tale I’ve ever read. Simply because tested love produces real love. And I prefer the real deal over the fluff stuff any day. And every day.

Happy reading and huge cyber hugs for voting for me!! :)