Dangling Gandhi is a series of 12 short stories written by Jayanthi Sankar about people living in Singapore, India, and Asia. Each character has a different goal or belief. Many of these stories take place during colonial times. Struggling for independence during a time where not many women had a voice. Told from several different points of view, Dangling Gandhi gives readers a look at how different people live their unique lives. The title story has the metaphor both in the title and the story.
Each of the stories has a different tone and theme. This book of short stories is an inspiring read that, although some stories are more engaging than others, they all taught me more about how people live their lives in countries in Asian, such as India and Singapore.
I like the way in which Jayanthi writes passages with deep prolific language that immediately hooks readers into the story. One of the themes that were prominent was perseverance. My advice to readers while reading Dangling Gandhi is to read it slowly and with an open mind. The story left a deep impression on me most especially the chapter ‘Did Churchill Know?’ How we react in tough situations says a lot about who we are. I have not stopped to think about my own reactions in situations for a while now and this section opened up my mind.
The title immediately attracted my attention before I started reading. The whole message behind the title of the book is that life won’t always go the way that you expected it to. You have to look at life upside down which is what happens most of the time.
I would recommend this story to those who have started studying culture in school. Dangling Gandhi by Jayanthi Sanker is a stirring read that will educate and inspire you.
Pages: 317 | ISBN: 9388860039
Winter Chills is a collection of seasonal ghost stories that entertain and spark the imagination. How did the stories in this collection come together?
This collection was a collaboration between 4 writers who met through the #WritingCommunity on Twitter. I (S.J.) was in the process of starting up 8N Publishing, and a conversation with D.B. Carter led to the idea for this book. Derek R. King and Natalie Reeves-Billings were invited to contribute because I’d seen some of their work and was very impressed with it. I thought our individual styles would mesh well to create a cohesive overall book.
Winter Chills was born.
The Holiday Party was my favorite story from the collection. What was your favorite story from the book?
Thank you so much! It took me a lot of false starts before I was able to write The Holiday Party, so it really makes me happy to know you enjoyed it so much.
It’s hard to pick a favorite. Each story is special to me for different reasons. I think they all work well together, as a whole, even though we wrote them separately without knowing what everyone else was writing.
I’m very proud of how it all turned out.
What was the inspiration for your story, ‘The Holiday Party’?
I have a friend who’s a paranormal investigator. I’ve gone on a couple of public ghost hunts with him and it was a fascinating and peaceful experience. It really made me wonder ‘what if?’
I took that feeling and tried to apply it to the progression of the story.
Do you enjoy writing short stories, or do you prefer to work on longer novels?
It had been years since I’d written a short story, so trying that out again was a bit of a challenge for me. Every word and action has to count in a short story. You don’t have the luxury of tens of thousands of words to build up to the climax. You only have a few thousand. If you don’t start in the right place, or relay the right events, it won’t work. It was a challenge, but I really enjoyed it.
I’m working on a new series of novels now, but also starting a short story for a future collection. It’s good to keep the writing skills sharp by trying different things from time to time.
In the spirit of seasonal ghost stories, this wintry collection will send a tingle down your spine, but may also warm your heart.Six short stories range from waiting for a mysterious midnight train, attending a party with an unexpected guest, a life-changing reunion for a miserable family, receiving a holiday greeting unlike any other, a visit from an unusual group of carolers, and a journey through a blizzard with a twist. Grab a blanket, your favorite hot drink, and settle in for some Winter Chills.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: anthology, author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, Derek R. King, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, horror, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, paranormal, read, reader, reading, S. J. Lomas, short story, story, supernatural, Winter Chills, writer, writing
Somewhere Enchanted is an incredible book that is beautifully narrated with an expressive and emotive writing style that is delivered with a mellow tone, making it easy to follow the story and trust the narrator.
J.F.T.’s Somewhere Enchanted tells a mesmerizing tale of a man whose love for his people makes him do the unexpected just to see those he cared about live comfortably. We follow Grettos, an intriguing main characters in the story, in his quest to look for more living space for his village and its declining people that are in trouble due to overpopulation. What I admired about the man was his will to do right by his people, sometimes by sheer force of will, even willing to break village rules and possibly sacrifice himself.
The forest is a forbidden area and is portrayed with a mysterious undertone that never really left me. Danger and risk loom, but does that stop Grettos? There is the fear of the unknown that always lingers throughout the story. His determination and persistence made him a wonderfully heroic character in this intrepid story where danger and risk are ever present. The narrator did an amazing job developing dynamic characters that are consistently intriguing. One could feel the difference in the narrators voice and tone when speaking about different characters and their roles. Somewhere Enchanted is a thrilling and adventurous story that is easy to follow. I recommend the book to fantasy enthusiasts who enjoy audio books that get begin quickly and are superbly narrated.
Listening Length: 37 Minutes | ASIN: B07YP11QS7
Winter Chills is a collection of provocative short stories. The greatest thing about this compilation is how every story is distinct and consistently entertaining. Every author wrote wonderfully, creating captivating characters and engrossing stories. In any collection of short stories there is a balance between brevity and detail. Winter Chills is able to balance conciseness with intrigue through the use of excellent writing. Every author is engaging and great when narrating events. Winter Chills is an exceptional book that is perfect for short bouts of reading that will awaken your curiosity about ghosts and how humans relate with them.
‘Departures and Arrivals’ was the first story I read. We follow Holly as she goes to the train station. The beauty of this story was how raw the author was. ‘Departures and Arrivals’ by D. B. Carter is that kind of story that makes you feel every emotion the main character in the story experiences. The text is fresh, and the events are authentic. Holly went to a train station that was anything but a comfortable place. The reader stays with her as she waits for the train to come. Something happens, and spirits from the past surface while terrible events get exposed. The story is chilling and scary. I enjoyed the narration regardless as I found the plot to be freakish and genius. The first story in the book sets the right mood for the other stories.
The third tale, ‘The Holiday Party’, was my favorite of all stories. I enjoyed this particular story the most because of the combination of suspense and a little action in the story. Nick and Marcy are headed to a Christmas party where, like any other typical party, everything was expected to be pleasant. I anticipated the party to go well as friends and acquaintances get together, have fun and make merry. The story flowed well, with compelling conversations and a supposedly happy tale. I was not ready for the twist that would come when Marcy took a break from the party, only to get back and find something else going on. The author had me with the new development. S. J. Lomas ingenuity and imagination had me completely fascinated.
‘The Carolers’. ‘Go With The Wind’, ‘The Christmas Card’ and ‘Defying Convention’ were equally captivating stories. The reader gets drawn into the characters’ lives, and I found myself completely engrossed.
Each author bring their own style and inventiveness to the book. I especially appreciated how diverse the authors are, even when narrating somehow similar stories. Reading this book was an enjoyable experience. I recommend Winter Chills to readers who love short and exciting stories with some macabre themes.
Pages: 156 | ASIN: B07ZTT5KTR
Somewhere Enchanted is a short story by J.F. T. focusing on the troubles of the village Elnubrium. For generations, tales have been passed down about the forest surrounding the town. Suspicions, enchantment, and sheer fear keep anyone from entering the forest, thus preventing an ever-expanding community from thriving. That is until one day, one heroic warrior tires of watching his village crumble before him and sets out to dispel the myth once and for all.
This is a quick read, but this reduction in pages certainly does not detract from a well-written story. An almost fairy tale/mythical retelling but one aimed at the adult reader, what’s not to love?
I genuinely loved this tale. Initially, I had expected it to be somewhere cheesy, as are many re-tellings and morally led stories you read as an adult. However, this was well constructed, delivered, and excellently paced to match.
The description of the forest and what waited for Grettos was equally as enjoyable as the prose itself. Grettos is a well-drawn character, even in just a few short paragraphs. He emulates the strength and masculinity of a strong protagonist, alongside a caring nature not only shown to his wife but to the wider village.
A fun tale that highlights the problematic power of rumor, Somewhere Enchanted started perfectly and left me with a smile on my face after the last few lines. It’s a tale that I won’t forget anytime soon!
Pages: 28 | ASIN: B07Y6Q71KW
Before Ramesh Sahay stepped foot in the furthest corner of Odisha, he never would have considered a different kind of life. Then he met Peter whose demeanor and very existence nagged at him. They do not like each other. However, count on fate to bring these two together in the most unpredictable of ways as Ramesh turns over a new leaf.
The Conflict of Desires: A New Rhythm in the Tangle presents a crisis of conscience everyone has every once in a while. The writer has done a great job of letting the weight of that crisis shine through. I found this book to be very enlightening with regards to difficult life choices and well needed changes in life direction. The writer has a good command of vocabulary and effectively utilizes simple but powerful prose. The dialogue between different characters is sufficiently entertaining, and occasionally engrossing, throughout this short story.
I thought that the book could have flowed better form scene to scene. And I would have appreciated more clarity during the abduction scene.
Otherwise, this is an enjoyable short story that dissects the choices one makes in life and shows the effects it has on life. Very entertaining!
Pages: 30 | ASIN: B07TZW2396
Burn Marks is a collection of fictional short stories that give readers a unique perspective on historical events. Why was this an important collection for you to write?
- Fort Worth Star: The public only saw and heard about what Lee Harvey did. Nobody ever got to feel how Mrs. Oswald absorbed it.
- Ethel: The public heard and read what the government said she did. No one got to hear Ethel’s side of it.
- The Jumper: Sure, we know the skyjacker jumped from the plane with the money. What about that which his daughter went through.
- The Conductor: Of course, there were sympathetic whites in the south who opposed slavery. Her was one who had his own solution.
- It went without saying, Leopold & Loeb were the worst of the worst. What about a young women, hanging out with them, who was just as bad?
The stories are all engaging and well developed. Did you write them over time or did you write them specifically for this collection?
Each story is the result of an individual thought process. It was not until the last story was completed when I realized the similarities; the letters. That was when I decided to make a book from them. The first story that I did was about Ethel Rosenberg. For the longest time, I had been fascinated by how Ethel Rosenberg maintained her silence. She was eventually offered a deal by the prosecution: tell on your husband, Julius, spend minimal prison time, then be reunited with your children. She remained stedfast, silent. From that truism I was compelled to speak for her. When “Ethel” was completed, I knew that I had to venture out and speak for others who historians recorded differently.
My favorite story from the collection is Deja’ Blue. What is your favorite story from the collection?
Ethel is my favorite. For me, there is something nice, almost romantically innocent, about writing to Santa Claus in the face of the hardships that she suffered through. In a somewhat odd way, I found myself relating to that type of pen pal relationship—comforted in a canal of calm while in the center of a whirlwind chaotic storm.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am working on a sequel to Burn Marks. Jack, Siobhan and Deja resurface. What is easy about the sequel is that readers need not have read Burn Marks to grasp the full flavor of my second book.
I Have Demons is a collection of stories following three characters grappling with the demons in their lives. What served as your inspiration while writing these stories?
Fiction is usually built at the crossroads where self-reflection, your surroundings as you perceive them, and your imagination meet. I Have Demons is character-driven and each protagonist is an amalgam of people I have met–even if for fleeting moments–creative license and of me. The idea for the first story, “An Alpine Lodge Special,” was sparked from my observations of the regular patrons who frequent a Canadian coffee shop chain and a restaurant located a few blocks from where I live in Ottawa’s historically Francophone east-end. It seemed as though the same elderly people would congregate here on a regular basis; merely by their presence they would add colour with their rich memories and lived experiences to an otherwise humdrum and drab restaurant franchise. More often than not, everyday people are, in fact, extraordinary.
The story “David and Franco” is probably something to which most people at the cusp of their adult lives can relate. I think we were all David once: we begin adulthood with idealism and grand ideas, perhaps even a missionary zeal of sorts, as we tend to have some very definite ideas of ethics and the world around us. It can be exciting, overwhelming and full of promise, even when we don’t have money, and when a good job and a proper livelihood seem difficult to attain. But does life experience temper our idealism and compromise our values?
The story that stands sandwiched between these two and provides the title for the anthology is also the “heart” of my book. I am not a priest, but I have been involved quite closely with the Catholic Church for many years and I can relate to the protagonist, Fr. Solomon. I’ve encountered Father Solomons along the way. This thirty-something priest is also the character that probably includes more fragments of my own personality than any other in the book.
Each character has their own challenge they must face. What were some themes you felt were important to capture?
Sometimes people we don’t expect to be marginalized in contemporary society do, in fact, live on the peripheries. This does not mean that they perceive themselves to be victims of oppression, even if they are forgotten or disadvantaged. In their own way, perhaps with limited success, they display a degree of agency as they journey towards the centre and attempt to make their voice heard.
I find that, while writing, writers sometimes ask questions and have the characters answer them. Do you find that to be true? What questions did you ask yourself while writing this story?
Creating characters and building narratives with them can be a process of discovery for the author. Inevitably, you begin to see the world around you through eyes other than your own. No character is completely divorced from the author, who is after all the creator of these people and their worlds. Yet if the goal is to tell a story credibly, the author must make a best effort to walk in the shoes of others.
One of the questions I asked myself is whether or not the Divine still exists in a mostly secular society. As the Catholic Church and mainline Protestant churches become more marginal to, and even absent from, the lives of the majority, where does that leave the concept of a Divine presence in the world–if, indeed, there is one? Writing these stories helped me better imagine the possibility of the Divine’s implicit and mediated, yet real presence in the world, through every living creature. This isn’t a new concept at all. The idea that everyone we meet, whether friend, foe or stranger, represents part of the image of God, is the fundamental underpinning of the Catholic and Christian faith, and the Jewish tradition too. Yet it can be a hard teaching to embrace. Fiction can help.
What is the next story that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m working on my first novel, which will see a return of Fr. Solomon. I feel he’s a character with still more potential and room to grow. As for when this work may be available–I fear that I would make for a very bad clairvoyant, so I’ll have to give an evasive answer to this question. Scene by scene, I have been working on this new story since the spring. Once I’m done, my fate, and that of my novel, will rest in the hands of potential publishers.
A jaded young priest of a dwindling parish faces a man with a terrible secret. A lonely pensioner spends a Thanksgiving she’ll never forget at a local diner, served by an acerbic waitress who has finally found her ticket out of there. A recent university graduate from small-town Ontario leaves home with nothing to his name but the hope of a new life in the city and places all his trust in a charismatic yet dubious life coach.
Lyrical language, at times haunting, and moments of dry humour weave through the three novellas in this collection. Set in and around Ottawa, Ontario, these stories examine the peripheries of society. In the characters’ journey toward the centre, they navigate flawed human relationships, seek to encounter a divine presence that is at once implicitly present yet dreadfully distant, and struggle to negotiate the conditions of redemption.