All I want to do is Read UNCommon Bodies

Instead, here’s a new release post of what I’m sure are lots of great stories. I know the first three are awesome.

Review later.
Maybe I’ll get to read on the plane.

NEW RELEASE: UnCommon Bodies is a collection of stories curated by Pavarti K. Tyler that span across genres to explore the lives of the odd, the unbelievable, and the impossible

UCB CoverSUMMARY: Step right up to the modern freakshow — We have mermaids, monsters, and more. You won’t be disappointed, but you may not get out alive.

UnCommon Bodies presents a collection of 20 beautifully irreverent stories which blend the surreal and the mundane. Imagine a world where magic exists, where the physical form has the power to heal or repulse, where a deal with the devil means losing so much more than your soul.

PRE-ORDER NOW for Release on 11/24. FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

INCLUDES STORIES BY: Philip Harris, Sessha Batto, Robb Grindstaff, Brent Meske, Sally Basmajian, Robert Pope, Keira Michelle Telford, Jordanne FullerMichael Harris Cohen, Deanne Charlton, P.K. Tyler ,Bey Deckard , Vasil Tuchkov, Laxmi Hariharan, Samantha Warren, Rebecca Poole, Daniel Arthur Smith, S.M. Johnson, Kim Wells, Christopher Godsoe, and Bob Williams

You can see the full summaries of all the stories on GoodReads:

To Celebrate, the authors are hosting a Facebook Party on 11/24 Join the Fun!

And there’s more! What? Yep! The Authors are also giving away a Kindle! Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mohanalakshimi’s Migrant Report, Read for Tomorrow’s Future

It’s me again, I haven’t had a lot of time to read, or do practically anything else lately, but at least I managed to get through this wonderful book.

I’ve been avoiding social media. The distorted views and inflammatory comments on everything from food to war and peace are just too much to look at. So I took a break, made a few status posts so people know I’m alive and did most of my job through Hootsuite by scheduling posts rather than looking at the actual sites.


Because I see pain in the world, and reactions to it, and I can’t fix the world. So I choose not to add to an already (mostly) destructive conversation. I know positive and good conversations exist, but I swear the Facebook algorithm is only bringing up the negative and inflammatory.

Instead, I read The Migrant Report.

I started pre-Paris attacks, and finished post Paris.

It made me feel hopeful. It came from across the ocean, from a different perspective, and it gave me something to latch onto in a dark world.

There are dark bits though, and things  that will make you sad, and angry.

Around all of that, though, there are cultural idioms, references to tons of things I had to look up like:

abayas: a loose-fitting full-length robe worn by some Muslim women


recalcitrance: stubbornly refusing to obey rules or orders

It’s been a really long time since I learned a new word. It’s been an even longer time since I read a book that kept me interested from start to finish without a pause.

I loved the narrative and the cultural pieces that worked in and were explained in the most natural ways. Mohanalakshimi obviously writes what she knows and writes well. The prose is fragrant and flowing, the story lines succinct and easy to follow. The message underneath crystal clear.

I needed a book to lift me up and remind me that we are all humans again. Life is pretty awful sometimes. People die who shouldn’t, youth are homeless, and jobs suck, especially when you can’t do the important work and are stuck going through the motions becuase you have to pay bills and not end up homeless yourself.

Mostly I identified with Ali, and my younger self longed for the days of Maryam.

All in all it was a pleasurable read I never would have picked up unless it had been offered on a tour. (That’s almost a lie, because I really like her writing and have read a bunch of her other books, but if it doesn’t show up on Google+, twitter, Facebook or good reads, chances are I forget about it.)

In other news, I’ve been obsessed with reading grrm’s journal on Live Journal. Yes, it exists, and I have a new appreciation for him as a person over and above (gasp) Game of Thrones. And, yes, Live Journal. There are places on the internest people like me still go. We have after all been on here since 1996 or so.

About the Book – About the Author – Prizes!!!

About the prizes: Who doesn’t love prizes? You could win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards or an autographed copy of The Migrant Report! Here’s what you need to do…

  1. Enter the Rafflecopter contest
  2. Leave a comment on my blog

That’s it! One random commenter during this tour will win the first gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win–the full list of participating bloggers can be found HERE. The other two prizes will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form linked below or on the official The Migrant Report tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!

About the book: The penalty for stealing is losing your hand. No wonder Ali can leave his wallet overnight in his office. Crime hovers on the fringes of society, under the veneer of utopia. Police captain Ali’s hopes of joining the elite government forces are dashed when his childhood deformity is discovered. His demotion brings him face to face with the corruption of labor agencies and also Maryam, an aspiring journalism student, who is unlike any local girl he has ever met. Ali and his unlikely sidekick must work together to find the reason so many laborers are dying. Against the glittery backdrop of the oil rich Arabian Gulf, Ali pursues a corrupt agency that will stop at nothing to keep their profits rising. As the body count rises, so does the pressure to settle the source. Can Ali settle the score before the agency strikes again? Get The Migrant Report through Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the author: Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar’s award winning books have focused on various aspects of life in the Arabian Gulf nation of Qatar. From Dunes to Dior is a collection of essays related to her experiences as a female South Asian American living in the Arabian Gulf and named as Indie Book of the Day in 2013. Love Comes Later is a literary romance set in Qatar and London and was the winner of the Best Indie Book Award for Romance in 2013, short listed for the New Talent award by the Festival of Romance, and Best Novel Finalist in eFestival of Words, 2013. She currently lives with her family in Qatar, where she teaches writing and literature courses at American universities. Connect with Mohanalakshmi on her website, Facebook,or Twitter.

Tell Me a Story, About all the Banned Books that Warped My Mind

Tell me a story, Tell me a story
Tell me a story, before I go to bed.
You said you would, you promised you would
Now tell me a story, and I’ll be good
Tell me a story, before I go to bed. 

~American Folk Song

Obviously, I did the brain warping all on my own. A lot of the books my family read to me as a child, and I read when I started reading on my own were banned. Clearly, this is the entire reason for my skewed perceptions of the world.

I kid, but I kid with a point.

I have loved reading for as long as I can remember, whether being read to by my parents and grand parents, cousins, aunts and uncles, or reading to myself. I was, and still am, a very imaginative child. For as long as I can remember, a book has found a way into my hands at all times.

Some of my fondest memories of being read to involve my Grandma. As a child, going to Grandma’s house was exciting, and sometimes my Mum and Dad even let me stay over night! When I reflect on this, it seems to have happened more frequently right before my baby brother was born…hmmm.

At Grandma’s we always had time to play outside, go for picnics, play the piano and finally just before bedtime, we had time for a story. In the TV room was a tall shelf filled with children’s books that were once my mum and her brother and sister’s. The stories were old, classics, many of them now banned books, but I loved them. I don’t think it was a bad idea to have them read to me either. As a very curious child, I had lots of questions, and each book whether it was ‘appropriate’ or not brought up some very good conversations between my Grandma and I. We read from the Big book of Animal Stories by Thornton W. Burgess the most. Grandma introduced me to Beatrix Potter, J.D. Sallinger, and Margaret Laurence. At home, we had a case full of westerns, crime novels, Agatha Christie, and Stephen King. There was always an imaginary world to escape into whenever I wanted (which was pretty much all the time).

After I started reading on my own, I tried to force reading down my little brother’s throat most of the time. He’s never been a voracious reader like I am, but I fondly remember many days of ‘school’ with The Bernstein Bears, Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys. He loves stories, but prefers someone else do the work of reading the words. His first daughter may change all that, and I’ll do everything I can to open her up to a love of reading just like my aunts, uncles and grandma did for me.

I think back to the days of reading with my Grandma quite often, and I wonder how I can foster a love of reading in the kids I work with everyday, my niece, and children in my community.

I always comes back to music, as did my Grandma. You see, we not only sang songs before stories, but after them too. Often we would turn the pages of a book into a non-sense song sung as I was drifting off to dream of the worlds within the pages of whatever we happened to be reading.

I sing to the kids at the market sometimes, and always feel terrible when I’m too busy to read. I encourage them to bring me new books each week, and often when I’m reading to the market vendor’s kids, we gather a small crowd of other kids visiting the market with their parents. We probably look pretty amusing to some of the people passing by, but in the end, all the funny looks are worth it. The children I read to keep coming back, keep learning more each week, and have started reading to me and telling me their own stories.

I’ve learned that kids love questions, and have lots of them rattling around in their brain. Reading one short story with or without pictures often takes much longer, and results in many imaginative discussions about the characters in every book. When I sit down to read, I make a commitment to make each book the most exciting book it can be whether I’ve read it hundreds of times, or just once. I Read in different voices, ask questions about the pictures, but most of all, I try to let the kids I’m reading to know they’re part of the story too. Their stories are just as important, and what they think is happening is often fascinating and fun to talk about.

Can I do more? Probably, and I’m thinking about implementing a story circle for next year’s market. I just need to find myself some more volunteers to help read stories while I’m busy running around coordinating things. Maybe I’ll even put up a sign.

Tell Me a Story 2
(Click title below for pdf version of music score.)