contest entries

Game of Blogs – Midway Through The Heart!




Getting Together

A million thoughts whizzed passed his mind, as Cyrus got down from the train at Kochi. He knew that Jennifer was a decade older than him, and she followed a different religion, both major hurdles if he was going to think of any long term relationship with her. He was aware that the society would never understand their relationship, his own family would raise a storm if they ever found out he was thinking of a Christian lady who was a decade older than him. But, his worries, his concerns, everything just disappeared when he heard her voice. He had fallen irrevocably in love with her, and all he could do was hope that she felt for him the same way.

Jennifer had said she would pick him up from the station, but there was no sign of her. A beep on his cell phone told him he had received a message. Pulling it out from his trouser pocket, he saw that it was Jennifer, she would be a bit late as she was struck in the traffic.

Cyrus sat down on the bench nearby and his thoughts, just like they always did, went towards Jennifer. This time he found himself reminiscing about how they came so close. How the occasional messages on his blog, had lead to adding each other on social networking sites.

How the likes and the comments lead to chatting..and how chatting lead to sharing of numbers and before he knew he and Jennifer had started being constantly in touch.

Suddenly someone came up from behind and closed his eyes.

“Guess Who?”, her playful voice sounded even more melodious in person. She smelled of fresh lilacs.

“Since I have a few girlfriends here, it’s hard to guess exactly who it is, na?” Cyrus said copying her playful style.

“How Smart!”she said, giving him a slight slap. Cyrus got up to face her, and she was every bit as he had expected. Her dusky complexion was glowing with happiness. As she adjusted a fringe of her hair, he noticed the tattoo on her right arm, and just like everything else about her, it too looked better in person.

“So, what are the plans now?” he asked as she drove them to her home.

“I have booked us a table at my favourite restaurant for dinner, then I supposed you would be tired with the travelling so did not make any other plans.”

“Sounds Good!” said Cyrus, smiling to himself. He loved the fact that Jennifer was so considerate of others. When he saw her photographs for the first time, it was quite evident that she was a smart, independent person, and he too had made the mistake of stereotyping her to be inconsiderate and heard hearted, the person who cared only about her independence and nothing else. But, as he got to know her, his opinion on her changed. He realised that just because some girl is strong, independent and career minded, did not mean she was not compassionate and caring.

Jennifer had booked a restaurant that had an amazing view of the Arabian Sea. Cyrus noted with glee that she had booked a candle light dinner for them. On their way, he could not help but be awestruck by the majestic beauty of Kochi. It was drizzling slightly, everything was so green and fresh. “Perfect for a romantic getaway” Cyrus thought eyeing Jennifer at his side. There was always mild flirting going on between the two of them, and the way Jennifer acted with him, he was quite sure that she too had feeling for him.

At dinner, he told her all about the International Symposium he had attended in Mumbai. The business class flight, the majestic Hotel, his suite with Jacuzzi, the conference and the people he had met. She was quite animated in her responses, prodding him to give her more details about it. As he started talking about his meeting with Aryan Ahuja, and his discovery about his knowing Shekhar, he saw Jennifer flinch.

“What happened? Something wrong?” he asked.

“Nothing, forget it.” she said, but her voice was no longer carefree.

Arre, just tell me what happened, I know there is something, please”

“ It’s just that this Shekhar that you are talking about, I used to know him once.” She said, there was a strange look in her eyes. A look of longing and sadness.

“Seriously? God! How come you never told me? I am a huge fan of him!” In his excitement, Cyrus missed Jennifer’s look.

“I guess, it never came up in our conversation.”

“Can we meet him? Can you please arrange a meeting with him? His work has inspired me so much, it is one of my dreams to meet him.”

Jennifer smiled as she saw his excitement. It was this excitement, this happiness in his eyes that made her say “Well, I have lost touch with him, but let me see if I can contact him. If he says yes, we could go meet him.”

She was not sure if meeting Shekhar after so long was a good idea or not, but right now she knew that it would make Cyrus happy, and Cyrus’s happiness meant a lot to her.

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at #CelebrateBlogging with us.”


Game of Blogs – Midway Through The Heart!




Journeying Into Hearts

A wee bit late in answering the phone and it got disconnected. Maybe, Cyrus suddenly decided not to talk to her…… Or, had she delayed in answering him…? She had already delayed once before in her life. Not again.

I’ll call him…

Cyrus’s heart beat increased instantly as he saw the number. He looked at the flashing number on his screen for a full minute before answering.

He and Jennifer had exchanged numbers in last night’s chat. All day he was thinking of the reasons he could call her for, playing different conversations in his head, but somehow, he lacked the courage to make that call. And, when he did make that call, he just couldn’t wait…

Having her number had in a way taken their friendship to another level. It signified that they were more than just online friends.

“HHello” Cyrus mentally slapped himself for letting his nervousness be so obvious in his voice.

“Hey Cyrus. Sorry. Before I could take your call, it had got disconnected. Hope I am not disturbing you.” Jennifer’s voice was exactly like Cyrus had imagined it, confident and sweet.

“No, not at all, I was thinking of calling you all day, but somehow did not.” Her laughter at hearing this made Cyrus forget his nervousness. He always found himself being brutally honest with her. In their chats he had been able to tell her things that he had not told even his closest friends. There was something about her, he felt she understood him.

The rest of the conversation was a breeze. They ended up talking for about half an hour. Later

Cyrus could not recollect what they had talked about; he just remembered feeling very light, happy and relaxed post the call.


Jennifer was elated when Cyrus finally asked for her number while chatting. She expected him to call immediately. When he did not, she was mildly disappointed.

However, time had taught her to be patient and not reckless, something she had been once when she was much younger, causing her to lose something close to her heart. The next day, when Cyrus had called, she felt light and happy – a sensation she had not felt for a very long time. He sounded a bit nervous at first, but as the conversation carried on, they hit it off immediately. He was every bit as charming on call as he was on online chats!

That one call opened the floodgate of calls, messages and video calls between them. Before she knew it, she and Cyrus were constantly keeping in touch with each other. Everything was just perfect. Jennifer loved waking up to see his “Good Morning” and going to sleep while on call with him.

The age gap did not matter as much to her as it did before.

So, when one day Cyrus was acting a bit aloof, not picking up her calls and giving one word answers when he did, tired with this behaviour, she told him to either tell her what the matter was or just become normal.

He called her that night. She had half the mind to not pick up the call, but her curiosity got the better of her.

“Sorry, really really Sorry” was the first thing she heard which brought an unexpected smile to her face.

“That’s fine, but at least tell me what the matter is.”

“I just had the most horrible day.” He sounded extremely frustrated.

“I wish I could just get away from all this frustration for a while.”

“Well, why don’t you?”


“Why don’t you make a trip to Kochi? Kerala is the most relaxing and exotic of places. People from afar come here and feel refreshed. Why don’t you come here when I am there for you?

Why don’t you take a few days off and relax? I would love to be host.”

There was silence for a while.

“You there Cyrus?”

Regaining his voice, he asked, “You seriously mean it? You really will go out of your way for me?”

“Sure. Why not?”

The frustration in Cyrus had somehow vanished. He was extremely excited at the prospect of meeting Jennifer. The rest of the call had them both discussing the probable plans of the meet up.

After the call, Jennifer could not stop smiling and thinking about the trip.

“It’s going to be amazing!” She thought to herself and switched on her laptop to finish up with the day’s work.

[Read the next part of the story here]

Me and my team are participating in the Game Of Blogs at
#CelebrateBlogging with us.

Feminism, TED Talks

Devdutt Pattnaik on Women in Mythology

Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik, a trained medical practitioner, studies the writing of sacred stories, symbols and rituals and their impact on culture. Watch his passionate delivery on some of the nuances of Indian mythology.

Here is a list of books you might enjoy if you liked this talk:

Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik (born 11 December 1970) born and brought up in Mumbai and completed his MBBS from Grant Medical College. After working for 14 years i


The Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormoran Strike #1): Book Review

Author: Robert Galbraith (Pseudonym), J.K. Rowling

The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1)

Book Blurb:

A brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel’s suicide. After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.
Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasures, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.
You may think you know detectives, but you’ve never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under an investigation like this.


My Review:

The main and the only reason I picked this book was because it was written by J K Rowling. I enjoy her characterizations, her writing and her the worlds that she writes about.

This is her first Adult Mystery book Series and as with J K Rowling’s other books, her writing and her characterizations are just fantastic. But, she has a very different voice here than Harry Potter or the Casual Vacancy, so if you do pick it up, read it as something different, do not try to compare, and you’ll enjoy it!

Cuckoo’s Calling is not some fast paced, action packed novel. Lula Landry had died three months before the start of the story, the Police had done the investigation and pronounced it a suicide. So, when Lula’s brother comes up to Strike to ask him to investigate, his major motivation is the money, as due to his breakup and sad state of finances, he was living on noodles and staying in his office.

Strike goes on interviewing everyone who was in touch with Lula, and through each interview, we come to know a different fact.

Now, I do not know if it is because of reading far too many mystery novels, but the person I thought would be the killer, turned out to be true.

The book needs to be read mostly because of the interesting characters and the fabulous writing style that just draws you in it. Each character has their own back story that somehow made it more real.

I really like Cormoran as a detective and as a person. The awkwardness, the fierce pride to hide the obvious state of his living, his way of thinking, his cool, calm demeanor. Just perfect.

But more than Cormoran, I loved Robin’s character. She had always fascinated about the detective line of work, I liked how smart and witty she is.  I somehow feel she would end her engagement with Mathew in the next book, but if not for anything else, I’ll be picking up the Silkworm to know more about Robin.




contest entries

Game of Blogs – Midway Through The Heart!




Age and Proximity

Memories are strange; one could live without as much as a thought about someone, but one little incident can open the floodgates of emotions. Emotions as fresh and raw as if the incidents happened a few moments ago. The only difference is that the happy moments bring with them a twinge of sadness, a longing of what once was.



Jennifer, still busy giving finishing touches to the photographs, smiled and checked the time.

11:30 pm.

She shifted the tabs on her browser and there it was, the mail she had been waiting for.

“[New Post] Cyrus Daruwala has posted a new blog Post”

Quickly clicking the link to the blog post, Jennifer started reading. He had written a very thought provoking article on the state of Juvenile law in the country. As she read, she was impressed with how deep and meaningful his arguments were. Even though he was almost a decade younger than her, she felt he was quite mature for his age. She admired his writing style, his passion for what he was doing, the earnest and almost naive belief that he would change the world.

She distinctly remembered the first time she had chanced upon Cyrus’s blog. She had started off looking for inspiration for her latest photography project. One site led to another, and before she knew it, she found herself reading one blog post after another by a young law student.

His posts were so precise and verbose, the way he wrote his feelings, she could not help but be drawn to his words and had consequently written to him. This had opened a floodgate of communication between them, they had so much in common and yet, they came from different walks of lives, had different experiences which lead to a lot of discussions and conversations.

Even though she did not want to admit to herself, she knew that one of the main reasons she was attracted to Cyrus, was that she was reminded of someone who once meant everything to her, and yet, someone who now had become a stranger. Cyrus’s writing evoked a deep longing in her. A longing for what once was hers, of what she had given up thinking that there were other things more important. Ever since that fateful day that she had read Cyrus’s blog post, she could not stop herself from re-visiting her past. A past, that she thought was now too far away to haunt her. How wrong she had been! The pain was gone though, that was a good thing. She no longer felt that gut wrenching pain when his carefree smiling face slashed before her eyes. Time might not have erased the memories, but it had successfully erased the pain.

Shekhar had the same way of expressing his feelings via words. Just like Cyrus’s words, she would be lost in the worlds that were created by Shekhar’s pen. The same earnestness, the same naivety, same offhanded carelessness, Jennifer often found herself wondering if what she had with Cyrus was the result of what she had with Cyrus or was it because she had suddenly started missing and actually longing for a relationship that she had with Shekhar?

Is it really fair to Cyrus, if she kept looking for someone else in him? Was she looking for someone else? Why this sudden need to know what Shekhar is up to?

Sighing to herself, Jennifer decided to just go to sleep. She knew that if she would start to analyze and over think this, she would just end up in a mess of emotions.


“Damn the Delhi Traffic!”

It had taken Cyrus two hours to reach home from his college.

After a quick bath, he ordered Pizza for himself and opened his laptop.

This was the best part of the day for him, all the tensions and the worries just melted away when he started to write. For Cyrus, writing was his way of relaxation, he could feel all the pent up energy leaving his body by the way of words. It was eleven thirty by the time he was finished with the day’s blog post. His half eaten pizza lay cold beside him on the table.

Taking another piece from the box, he opened his social networking site. After briefly scrolling through his timeline, he found himself on Jennifer Joseph’s page. He had developed this habit of visiting her profile almost every time he opened his laptop.

These days anyone with a digital SLR camera called themselves a photographer, but Jennifer’s pictures had a distinct charm of their own. Each picture had a story of its own, and the writer in Cyrus was intrigued by these stories. He remembered the day she had first contacted him, he had reverted with a polite response to her message and briefly glanced at her profile. A lady almost a decade older to him, he had never thought they would become such close friends.

The clock told him it was almost forty five minutes since he had uploaded the post. Cyrus felt a twinge of disappointment pass through him. There were a couple of likes and comments, but the one person’s reaction that he wanted to see had not come. He could not exactly pinpoint why this sudden disappointment. What did Jennifer mean to him? She was just a friend after all. But then again, he did not feel this disappointment when his other friends did not acknowledge his blog. How could he even think that anything with Jennifer was even a possibility? The age difference made it impossible, why then was he feeling thus?

His head swimming with these thoughts, he refreshed Jennifer’s profile. No new update.

Shaking his head, Cyrus shut his laptop for the day.


Click here for the next part of the story.

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

Feminism, movies

What Kind of Censorship is this?

This question is plaguing me for quite some time now, ever since I saw The fault in our stars movie, I guess.

I have read the book, loved it and so when the censor board decided that I was not fit to view the Amsterdam scene, I was quite uncomfortable.

Now, as some people decided that that was a scene that I should not watch, I have not been able to see how it was portrayed, but in the book it was this cute, awkward, extremely clumsy scene between Hazel and Agustus. It was their one way of finally accepting their relationship, knowing well how short lived it would be. It was at this weird time when Agustus also finds out about his disease. The scene I felt was important because it showed the bond between them.

But apparently, others disagreed.

The question that arises is if that scene is inappropriate, how are other scenes/songs like this appropriate?

1) Katrnia Kaif being clad in just a bed sheet surrounded by a group of men on a bed, thrusting her chest in the most awkward way at the start of Sheela ki Jawani?

2) Shahid Kapoor tells the girl he falls in love with to shut up and deal with his stalking and that because he likes her he has a right on her, in the song “Agal Bagal” song?

3) Too many Item Songs, Remix Songs, etc. with raunchy lyrics and highly objectified women and somehow fully clad or at least comparatively more clad men?

4) Casting the likes of Sunny Leone just to keep inhaling deeply while wearing shortest clothes possible and prancing around the men without almost no significant role in the movie.

4) Almost any Imraan Hashmi movie?

And many more…

I find these much more uncomfortable to watch, and did not feel any level of discomfort reading the fault in our stars?

My question for Censor board is:

How do you decide what I can or cannot watch? And if the fault in our stars’ scene was so ‘vulgar’ that it needed to be censored, why the above points acceptable?

Is it because the TFIOS scene did not objectify Hazel from weird angles?

I must add here that I do not approve of censorship of any kind, I feel each person has a right to decide what he or she wants to consume, be it movies, literature or movies.

But I do have a problem when even a U/A passed films have almost naked women singing and dancing to horribly double meaning songs, glorifies eve teasings,  have songs that approves of stalking, graphic violence, rapes, etc., but when the same audience is not considered mature enough to watch a scene of real, meaningful and consensual sex.



Books, world war heros

The Book Thief: A Book Review

Author: Markus Zusak

The Book Thief

Book Blurb:

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

My Review:

As I completed the last words in this book, I just sat for a few minutes. That’s always been the power of great books, they force you to think and reflect on everything. Damn, Markus Zusak, What did you do to me?

This book just makes you appreciate the goodness of Humanityit feels strange even writing these words. For God’s sake, this is a book about Germans living in World War 2 and is narrated by none other than Death.

O yes, you heard that right, this is a book that is from Death’s point of view, how he goes about picking up souls while trying to distract himself from his job by noticing the colours of the sky. He does not enjoy his work, but you know, it’s a job that he has to do, and he does it.

This book was different. In more ways than one.

Apart from its extremely unexpected narrator, the book starts at the ending. And death even lets you know what to expect in the end “to soften the blow”, but, even though you know what is going to come, and you think you have come to terms with it, the end just blows you apart, softly and gently, just as death’s cold hands dive into the warm bodies. And when the book ends, you just know something has been added in you, and that something is an experience.

The book is also about words. The value of words, the way they can calm a person, comfort a person, make them forget their fears, troubles, and worries.

The characters People in this story are not just someone you read about, they are your close friends, the people you meet regularly and drink coffee and discuss the general affairs with. You are invested in them, they are flesh and blood. You are as interested in what Hitler’s next war strategy is as them, your heart beats as fast as theirs in the basement while waiting for air raids. You are as worried about the fates of their loved ones as they are.

A few rare books are like this, and I am glad I came across this. A big thank you to John Green for mentioning this book in his videos, which made me pick this up!

Buy The Book Thief


Timeless Jokes-Ageless Wisdom: A Book Review

Author: Awdhesh Singh

Timeless Jokes-Ageless Wisdom

Book Blurb:

There is a great similarity between humour and spirituality because both deal with the conception of the world, which can’t be perceived by sheer common sense. From ancient times, great spiritual leaders have been using jokes and humours to explain wisdom to the common people. We are all familiar with the stories of Mulla Nasruddin, which are used the world over by Sufis and Masters to explain to us the deepest wisdom.

Every good joke has a spiritual message and wisdom in it, if we can really understand its spiritual meaning. The greater is the punch in a joke, the deeper is the wisdom contained in it.

However, most authors are still using the jokes created many centuries ago in different contexts to explain the spiritual wisdom. The modern generation is generally not able to connect with such jokes or stories, which they find as incomprehensible. The book uses old and new jokes in this book to convey the wisdom of ages to the modern generation.

This book contains several jokes and humorous stories to help us understand the deepest truths of life. Since we don’t forget good jokes and good stories easily, we also never forget the wisdom contained in these jokes.

My Review:

It had been quite a while since I read a good humour book.

This book had a lot of Mullah Nassruddin, Akbar Birbal etc Jokes that brought back memories from my childhood. I used to have books of such jokes as a child, so most of these were already known to me, it was still a great refresher.

The author also gives his views that very quite interesting. The little things we can learn from each joke if we put a tad bit of an effort.

Many mistake spirituality for religion, so for them I’d like to clarify, this book does not cater to any specific religion, it deals with the common knowledge and intelligence.

The cover design is excellent, it gives you a kind of soft, happy feeling when you look at it.

It is a small book of just 105 pages, a simple, light but insightful book.

P.S. I’d like to thank the author Dr. Awdhesh Singh for sending me a surprise package of two autographed books! 🙂

Because of Reading The Fault in Our Stars

There is this wonderful series “Because of Reading” on Instagram (original account here) and I had blogged about it here.

But as a lot more wonderful pictures are coming up, I thought better separate the learnings from each important book.

First Up, fault in our stars by John Green (Book Review: Here)

If you like The Fault in our stars , Click here for a list of books you might like as well.

Because of reading...

Because of reading...

We sadly do know all because of the legendary Augustus Waters :') ~Ema

Because of reading...  #okay #TFIOS #movie

Book titles should be italicised and or underlines. But maybe its different for imaginary books.

Because of Reading

The Fault In Our Stars

Because of Reading

Because of reading

Because of reading

Because of reading... #TFIOSThe Fault In Our Stars

Because of Reading

Because of Reading

Because of Reading

TFIOS, the fault in our stars, john green, young adult novels

Because of reading...

Because of reading...

Because of reading...

Because of reading






Author Interviews, Books

Quest for Honor: An Author Interview With David Tindell

Displaying quest.jpg

About the Book

“I love the name of honor, more than I fear death.” Julius Caesar.

Jim Hayes lives a quiet life in Wisconsin, training in martial arts and studying the warrior ethos. Unable to prevent the murder of his wife six years earlier, Jim is determined that the next time he is called upon to act, things will be different, and he can restore the sense of honor he believes he has lost.

His estranged brother Mark, an Army colonel commanding a firebase in the mountains of Afghanistan, sees his career winding down and wonders what lies in store when he comes home. After years of dedicated service to his country, he fears nothing else will measure up when he removes the uniform for the last time.

In lawless Somalia, al Qaeda chieftain Yusuf Shalita, tired of endless jihad, has decided to defect, in one last attempt at redemption. But Shalita has only met one American he has ever trusted, so he tells the CIA he will surrender himself to Jim Hayes, his old friend from their college days in Wisconsin. That demand will bring the Hayes brothers back together in a way they never imagined, as they fight to prevent a new and devastating terror attack on the very heart of America.

Where to purchase Quest for Honor?

Amazon – Kindle, Amazon – Paperback and B&N – Paperback

Interview with the Author:

Displaying david.jpg

1) Tell us something about yourself.

I was born into a wealthy family in a large American city, but lost my parents tostreet mugging at age 7. Raised in our large home by the family butler, I dedicated my life to avenging my parents and protecting the innocent….Wait, no, that’s another guy.

My start was a little more prosaic and not nearly as tragic. I was born in Germany, where my father was stationed while serving in the Army. I was raised in southern Wisconsin and attended college at UW-Platteville, my parents’ alma mater, majoring in broadcasting with the goal of becoming the announcer for a big league pro team. But life often takes some unexpected turns, and so it was I found myself living in northwest Wisconsin, in a log home on a lake with my wife, a Yorkie and two cats, working for the US Government by day, and by night training in the martial arts, studying foreign languages and writing thriller novels.

2) What got you into writing?

I was inspired by two great English teachers when I was growing up in Potosi, a beautiful little town on the Mississippi in the southwest corner of Wisconsin. Mrs. Millman and Mrs. Leonard, I am forever indebted to you for introducing me to literature and teaching me how to write. Mr. Peake, thanks for your geography class, which introduced me to foreign lands and cultures. My first novel, still unpublished and probably deservedly so, is about a time traveler going back two millennia to ensure the crucifixion of Christ. I put the pen aside for some time while raising two kids and then starting my martial arts training, but in the last ten years or so I’ve been able to take up the pen (actually a keyboard) once again. The results are two thriller novels published and more on the way.

3) Do you face writer’s block? How do you overcome it?

I don’t know of a writer who hasn’t faced it. My way of overcoming it is to stick to the plan. In other words, the outline I have already done for the work-in-progress. Some outlines are very detailed, others bare-bones. I lean toward the latter approach. I know what the story is going to be about, how I want it to begin and end, and the challenge is getting from point A to point B. Some writers just flail away and go back later to clean it up, but I tend to wait till I have a clear path in mind for a particular chapter. Oddly enough, the dam usually cracks while I’m swimming. Three mornings a week I begin my day with a trip to our municipal indoor pool, and I can always count on an idea to arrive while I’m in the water. When I get to my office I jot it down and get after it that evening.

4) Tell us something about your book.

Quest for Honor’s genesis came to me several years ago. I was reading a news story about a Westerner who had been kidnaped by Islamic terrorists in the Middle East and whose execution was being showcased on their website. It was terrifying and gruesome, and I thought to myself, What would I do if that was me? The story that came out of that is about Jim Hayes, a widower from southern Wisconsin who was unable to prevent the murder of his pregnant wife several years earlier. Since then he has trained in the martial arts and studied the warrior ethos, preparing for the next time he will be called upon to act, when he hopes he will be able to regain the honor he believes he has lost. Jim’s younger brother Mark is an Army officer commanding a firebase in Afghanistan. The brothers have grown apart since their parents’ deaths.

Mark is facing his own challenges, as his retirement from the military is looming and he is very unsure about life as a civilian. He wonders if he will be able to keep the sense of honor he has found in uniform. They’re going to be brought together in a way neither could ever have imagined. In Somalia, an al-Qaeda chieftain has tired of jihad and decides to defect to the Americans. The terrorist has intelligence about an imminent and very devastating attack on the US homeland, but he tells the CIA that he has only met one American he has ever trusted, a man of honor he met years ago while attending university in Wisconsin, a guy named Jim Hayes. Bring him here and I will surrender myself, he says. So Jim gets his chance at redemption, but things don’t go according to plan.

5) Why did you choose to write about this?

I have been studying the warrior ethos and the concept of honor, and those are the overall themes of the book. What is a warrior? How does one become a warrior, and are they really necessary anymore? I think events in the world since the start of the 21st century have shown us that we certainly still need them, perhaps now more than ever.

A true, ethical warrior has a sense of personal honor that supports not just himself but his group. Honor checks our narcissism, builds community, creates meaning. Without it, nobody cares what you do. Merit goes unnoticed, good goes unrewarded, evil goes unpunished. Without honor a society is eventually overtaken by mediocrity, corruption and incompetence. I think we are getting dangerously close to that in modern-day America and the West. Our adversaries have a sense of honor, albeit one that in our view is twisted and morally corrupt, but they are at the gates and we had better do

something about it. We desperately need ethical warriors. The book is about Jim’s quest to become one.

6) Describe your book in one sentence.

To restore your honor, how far would you go?

7) What are you working on next?

My first novel, The White Vixen, was published in 2012, and I am now working on its sequel, The Red Wolf. My protagonist is Jo Ann Geary, a Korean-American martial artist and linguist who serves in an Air Force special operations unit. The first book takes place in 1982, when she is tasked by the CIA and British intelligence to go undercover in South America to discover the real reason why Argentina is going to war with Britain over the Falkland Islands. She discovers a threat that was thought to be long dead, a chess master who is moving the pieces toward World War III. The sequel takes place five years later. Geary is now a member of a new special ops unit, Pallas Group, and their first mission is to travel behind the Iron Curtain to prevent the assassination of Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev by a rogue KGB operative.

8) Which are your favorite books?

In my high school English class, Mrs. Leonard assigned us Alas Babylon by Pat Frank. It was about a small Florida town in the late 1950s that survives a nuclear war.

The town’s residents are ordinary people thrust into a very extraordinary situation, and that started me thinking seriously about writing stories about those types of people. I’ve read a ton of thriller novels and would be hard-pressed to name the best of them, although if pressed I would have to say Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October, along with Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield, a truly epic book about the battle of Thermopylae in ancient Greece. As for inspirational books, the Bible is at the top, of course, but I must also cite the biographical trilogy on the life of Theodore Roosevelt, one of my personal heroes, written by Edmund Morris: The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, Theodore Rex and Colonel Roosevelt. Great books about a great man, written by a great writer.

9) Who are your favorite authors?

I really enjoyed the early, original work of Tom Clancy, who is rightly credited with being the father of the modern techno-thriller. The best series I’ve read is by David Poyer, whose protagonist is Dan Lenson, a young officer in the US Navy. Poyer first introduces us to Lenson when he’s fresh out of Annapolis in the mid-70s, assigned to a destroyer about to embark on a routine mission to the Arctic Ocean that turns very dangerous on many levels. A dozen or so novels later we find Lenson at the Pentagon on 9/11, and I’m anxious to read the latest installment, which is due soon. Close behind that is the Scot Harvath series by Brad Thor, whom I had the pleasure to meet recently, and the Bob Lee Swagger books by Stephen Hunter. I also enjoy the work of Vince Flynn and Barry Eisler. I’ve mentioned Steven Pressfield, whose work brings the ancient world to vivid life, plus the Cork O’Connor mysteries of William Kent Krueger. As for non-fiction, I’ve cited Morris, and I also really like the work of Dick Couch, Stephen Ambrose and Doris Kearns Goodwin. Last but certainly not least, I recommend the work of Marcus Brotherton, and I’m pleased and honored to be on his team of “allies” for the release of his first novel very soon.

10) Where could we find your book? Will it be available in other countries as well?

Both of my novels are available as print and e-book on Amazon, at and Print copies are in bookstores up here, but that might be a hike for many of your readers. You can also check out my website,

This interview is a part of the Quest For Honor Book Tour. It was supposed to be out yesterday, so appologies for posting it a bit late..


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