Have You ever received unexpected Positive Reviews?

A to Z stories

Stories from A to Z

Two years ago, I wrote a collection of Flash Fiction: A to Z Stories of  Life and Death, which started from Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.

That was in 2011. I appeared in a few blogs for interviews and guest posts hosted by a few very kind blog friends, made sundry posts on Facebook, then stopped. It was an experiment in publishing an ebook, and that’s where I left it. Till date I have no idea how many copies have sold on Amazon– those excel sheets intimidate me, and since I figure I can’t be making more than the price of a dozen or so coffees, I’ve let sleeping dogs lie. (I’ll never make a successful Indie author, I can see that, sigh.)

Imagine my surprise when I received a tweet recently, from a reader who was recommending my book. On a whim, I googled up A to Z Stories of Life and Death, and these are the reviews I found:

At the Conscientious Reader by Stephanie Hasty: “I gotta tell you, I’m pretty impressed with these stories and they remind me a lot of Annie Proloux’s Wyoming Stories and Sue Miller’s book Inventing the Abbott’s and Other Stories. They are sparse and true and sexy and tragic. They are about life and each one has a taste of bittersweet.

At Echoes of the Pen by Paul Ruddock: “As a European reader, I was captivated by the author’s accounts of life in other cultures, many of which are saddening and hard to comprehend; our (European) notions of poverty and depravation are quickly turned on their heads by the honest and sensitive way in which they form the backdrop to the stories. Elements of the storyline in each case often deliberately remain unwritten, i.e. implied or hinted at, forcing the reader to use their imagination and interpret each story in their own way and really think about what they are reading. Some of the stories conclude with a glimmer of hope for the future set against the harrowing circumstances of what’s gone before; others do not, which for me really gives them added authenticity – life isn’t all about happy endings.”

At Keep Calm and Write On by Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie:” Twenty-six bite size stories comprise A to Z Stories of Life and Death by D. Biswas. In just a few paragraphs, Biswas manages to tell a complete, captivating story.”

At Different Frontiers by Fabio Fernandes: “She decided to blog not posts, but short narratives. Narratives of love, death, pain and hope. If you like flash fiction, this collection was made for you. Biswas’ stories are short, (very) sharp shocks – cultural, emotional shocks.”

Animal My Soul by Martin Raybould “Damyanti describes herself as someone who “lives more in the head than the world” but these stories are far from being disengaged from the real world. They tell of people torn by indecision or intent on some desperate course of action, of abusers and victims ….and of fish!  In P for Perilous, a character seems to speak for her:  “The stories I have told you, they’re quirky no doubt but they’re real, somehow”.

In book form you can set aside a few minutes to sample these “bite-sized stories” one at a time or binge on them all at once. To savour their flavour best, I’d recommend the former .

My favourite opening line is  “Raju woke up each morning to the sight of his mother’s rear end” in O for Okay and the story I liked the most is I Have A Secret , the story of a 50-year-old woman isolated by unexpressed homosexual inclinations who painfully reflects “I know now why no man’s body could ever satisfy me. Not even my husband who gave me three children”.

Whatever the subject matter, the compassionate voice of the writer draws you into these worlds and, like all the best short stories, what she leaves out is as important as what is included.

I have seen reviews of the book before on Amazon, Smashwords and Goodreads, but the ones above are new and completely unexpected because I put no effort into promoting the book beyond leaving them in the sidebar of this blog and Amlokiblogs.

I’m so thankful to these readers who found the book who knows how, read it, and devoted time and effort in publishing a review on their blogs. This gives me so much hope– that my writing perhaps has a life beyond my pen and paper.

It makes me feel happy that someone, somewhere, read my stuff, and liked it enough to spend time writing about it– with no effort or knowledge at all on my part! I see writers and reviewers at odds everywhere, but my reviewers, thankfully and incredibly, seem to have only kindness for me.

Makes me wonder– I have flash pieces lying here and there, should I collect them, or edit and write new ones and make another book? On this blog I have these that I could find that aren’t already in the collection: Hymn of Faith, Shadow of Your Smile, The Last Day of a Southern Summer, Beautiful Eyes, Let’s go for a walk– You and I, It wasn’t her fault. Then there are the 26 stories I wrote for the A to Z Challenge in 2012.

Maybe after I’m through the second draft of my WIP, I’ll find all these scattered stories, cull them, replenish them, and do another collection of A to Z Stories.


Have you ever received unexpected positive reviews? Do you write or read flash fiction? Would you buy a collection like A to Z Stories of Life and Death?

4th Anniversary- Daily (w)rite Turns 4!

Book of Short Fiction

Book of Short Fiction

I started writing fiction nearly four years ago, in April 2008, and that was the year I also started this blog, as a place where I would post something every day—ah,well, as often as possible.

I was going through my old anniversary posts and here’s what I said over the years:

2011,  I said: It IS nice to go back and read my old posts, and comments by readers, and I hope I can carry this blog another year!

2010, I said: There would be light and shade, and at least 20 posts a month! (sigh…tall order) And there would be travel posts, mixed up with writing posts, depending on where I go, and what I do. So, hopefully, I’ll have a third anniversary post, eh, and other anniversaries afterwards? :D

2009, I said: I want to keep up this blog for as long as I can; and I want to watch myself grow, become a little smarter, a little wiser, more intuitive, with each day, each month, each year, each post.

So here I am, and this is how the blog did last year.

This year I made more of an effort, wrote a fair bit of fiction on the blog as well.

I took part in the A to Z Blogging challenge, which means I blogged 26 days in April. That adventure, surprisingly enough, led to the book: A to Z Stories of Life and Death, which, to my utter amazement, continues to sell to this day, without much promotion, if any.

2011 was a long year, personally, and an average year, writing wise.

But I’ve stuck to fiction, written bunches, published some.

And just like I did three years ago, I find myself eager to ‘watch myself grow, become a little smarter, a little wiser, more intuitive, with each day, each month, each year, each post.’


Do You Hold On to Your Anger?

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. Gautam Buddha


Hold on to Your Anger

Hold on to Your Anger

Anger is a negative emotion. All the saints and all the scriptures, and of course, all the anger management gurus say so.

To an extent, I agree.

But if you hold on to anger not because you want to punch someone in the face, but because you want to remember never to be a victim again, is it such a bad thing?

If you hold on to anger against injustice, and express it in song, in art, in writing is it such a bad thing?

Do you hold on to anger, or do you let it go? Or does it depend on the circumstance?



Bite-sized Stories of Life and Death

Bite-sized Stories of Life and Death

Today, Kelley at Writtled is hosting my interview about the process of writing and about A to Z Stories of Life and Death. My thanks to Kelley, and hope some of you will come chat with me there!

Bad Movies Give Birth to Fiction

Alex J Cavanaugh decrees in his blogfest:

On Monday, September 19, post a list of up to ten of the worst movies you’ve ever had the misfortune to watch. Films that just oozed awfulness and featured plot holes so big you could drive a bus through them.

Worst Movies Ever Blogfest

Alex's Worst Movies Ever Blogfest

So without further ado, I present the 10 worst movies ever, imho, but instead of writing about them, I’ll use as many of their titles in a piece of flash fiction (that would hopefully make more sense than the movies it was inspired by, lol.) Hopefully Alex forgives the liberty I’ve taken…(* I’ll run hide under the table right after posting this*

So here are my 10 worst picks:

1.   Heaven’s Gate (1980)                           2. Mommie Dearest (1981)

3. Showgirls (1995)                                     4.   Battlefield Earth (2000)

5. Sweet Home Alabama (2002)              6. Gigli (2003)

7.   The Room (2003)                                 8.   Derailed (2005)

9.   Alone in the Dark (2005)                   10.  I don’t know How she does it (2011)

So, ahem, now for the flash fiction:

Mommie Dearest, M.D.

Mommie Dearest, M.D.

Mother to Son, Mary Gallagher Stout

I don’t know how she does it, but Mommie dearest manages to derail my life every time she steps into it, which is often. By Mommie dearest, or MD (as I call her when I’m alone in the dark), I mean my wife Gigli’s mother.

Mine, bless her, gave up the ghost when I was still a fairly runt-sized boy, and just about the only thing I remember of that woman is the smack of her hand on my bottom.

MD uses big words like Heaven’s Gate, Hellfire, the Earth as a Battlefield Between Good and Evil. I’ve grown up with small words like cold, hunger, roof, money, food, knife, rain, dark, sun, blood, water, hate, winter, and done just fine.

So MD’s words are lost on Gigli and me, who, unknown to her mother, is a showgirl at a gig I got her in the next town, Muck City, in our sweet old state of Alabama. Gigli is what they call her there, and what I call her ever since I married her ten years ago. MD calls her Gertrude.

Just yesterday, MD stopped by, and tried yet again to take me to church, being Sunday and all. She calls herself my soul-doctor.  It has always been like that in my marriage; me, Gigli, and MD makes three.

I left, of course, so Gigli could deal with her mother like she always does. I got drunk as a skunk, and came back home hoping MD had left. Not.

So I went to The Room, where I take all ladies who remind me of MD, to be alone with them in the dark. Knife, blood, Heaven’s Gate, we did it all, as usual—me and the woman I found. I left her in a trash bag, the letters M and D scrawled on her pitted bottom.

I’m tired now, and if you know me, you’ll know I’m a man of few words. I like it straight and narrow. So the next time MD stops by, she comes with me to The Room, and I don’t care what Gigli has to say about it. I’ll make an honest, spiritual M.D. out of her yet.


A to Z Stories of Life and Death

A to Z Stories of Life and Death

If you liked this piece and would like to browse through more of my work, check out  A to Z Stories of Life and Death, available on Kindle and Smashwords.

P.S: The story came from the movie titles and the picture, and I took it down as it came. It is not meant to offend sensibilities.

I’m a Guest at Tossing it Out!

I seem to be getting out and about in blogiverse: 200 followers on Amlokiblogs, the Rule of Three Blogfest, and now, guest posting at Arlee Bird’s excellent blog where I discuss the A to Z Challenge, and the inevitable A to Z Stories of Life and Death!

Come chat with me there, guys!

Also, I’ve been up to my neck in THINGS TO DO, the topmost being: FINISH REVISING STORIES.

Ah, I know I’m shouting, but that’s is to get my own scatterbrained, wooly-headed attention.

What is the topmost thing on your Things To Do List? (Would make me feel feel better to know you guys have TTD lists too!Lol)

Now head over to Tossing it Out, and leave me a note, a pat in the back, anything you fancy :)

Show me a Rhythm and Love me a Dance

Crystal Blue Angel Wing by Shadoweddancer

Crystal Blue Angel Wing Copyright Shadoweddancer

Each morning I write, sometimes days based on word prompts,  picture prompts on other days. Here’s the picture and the piece I wrote in the last ten minutes:


Show me a rhythm and love me a dance, he said to her, his feathers ruffled against the cold breeze.

Now why did he say that? He had forgotten sensation in the time he had spent away from the human world, which could be an year, an aeon, or a few seconds in the silly vocabulary they use to measure the immeasurable, which is a point, after all, a line, a circle, a sphere, a spring all at the same time.

They sat suspended between times, between worlds, and it is this that intrigued him, that he could feel it all–how cold it was outside the cave, the softness of her skin embedded on her soul, the taste of her last meal of asparagus and wine, just before she left her world in his arms, this famous singer-dancer-entertainer.

He sensed it all, but could not decide if he liked it. He had moved so far away from like and dislike, from the polarities of that world.

But there was nothing for it, he had to wait before the gates opened again, and in this wilderness between worlds, this cave was all he could manage. Not much harm in letting the sensations take him for this breath of time, and then he would carry her to the gates, and return to pick up his next charge.

But that is not what happened.

The singer-dancer-entertainer woke up in her home, a few seconds later, coughing up wine, startling her guests who had begun to mourn her.

He found himself in the dark, reduced to a dot of existence, a cellular tissue of awareness. A mistake. All angels knew feeling was a mistake, they’re not supposed to feel, just be.

Now he must be born into this human world. Must learn, through pain and sensation, to rise above both. He must remember.


A to Z stories

A to Z stories

If you’re intrigued by this story, look up A to Z stories of Life and Death,my ebook of short stories just like this one. Many thanks to Rachel Morgan and Alex J Cavanaugh for featuring this book on their blogs. I’m overwhelmed by the generosity of the blogging community, and would like to thank all those who visit my blog and cheer me on. Writing is sometimes a hard, lonely job, and I’m happy that other than the satisfaction that comes from the process of writing, I’m fortunate enough to be given so much love.

How do you judge a teacher toying with the sexuality of her teenaged student?

That is how my book A to Z Stories of Life and Death starts off on Smashwords.

Next step is Kindle, of course.

Just wanted to take a minute to tell my blog-friends who’ve bought the book already how grateful I am for their support.  Thanks also to a fellow-writer who reviewed it. I’ve never met any of you…so my only conclusion is I’m very lucky, and that writers are the nicest bunch of folks, who support each other.

I’ve received support in spadefuls, and I just want the opportunity to be grateful.

Here are the folks who inspired and helped me with the book, and I’d like to send a copy of the book to them to just express my million thanks in a minuscule way.

So, here goes, in no particular order: (Please tell me if you prefer not to receive a copy, because I don’t mean to intrude, only express my appreciation). Most are amazing writers and bloggers, some are super-talented photographers and designers. All are worth the visit and the follow.

DarcKnyt  Marian Allen  Petra Hefner 

Nutschell  Nicole/MadlabPost  Dafeenah 

Bornstoryteller  PencilGirl Patricia 

Christina Majaski  JL Campbell Corinne O’Flynn 

Claire Goverts  Anna Tan  Indigobunting 

Talli Roland India Drummond AlexJCavanuagh

Gladys Hobson  Arlee Bird  Bronxboy55

Priya  KCWoolf  Marcel Heijnen  Jake Garn 

TobyWNeal   Andrew Graeme Gould

A thousand thanks to each one of you. Some of you read the book and helped edit it, some inspired it, and others cheered me on. To each and every one of you, I’m grateful. Let the A to Z Stories of Life and Death ebook experiment begin! :)