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26. Parenting

माता पिता की भूमिका हर मायने मे महत्वपूर्ण है. अगर बच्चा पढाई या किसी अन्य क्षेत्र मे जुडा हुआ है तो इसलिए कि उसका ख्याल रखना, देखभाल करना ताकि उसे अपने क्षेत्र मे सफलता मिले और अगर नतीजा अच्छा ना आए तो वो भूमिका और भी ज्यादा महत्वपूर्ण हो जाती है.

कारण यह है कि आज बच्चे बहुत भावुक हो गए है. सफल ना होने पर उसे दिल से लगा लेते हैं और मायूस होकर बैठ जाते है जैसा कि इंडियन आयडल मे सिलेक्ट ना होने पर हमारी जानकार अमीषा के साथ हो रहा है. उसने कसम खा ली है कि वो कभी नही गाएगी और एक अन्य उदाहरण मे अनिकेत का आईआईटी मे नही हुआ तो उसने खुद को नालायक की पदवी दे दी कि वो आज की दुनिया के हिसाब से वो फेल है उसके जीने का कोई फायदा नही.ऐसे मे अविभावको को बहुत समझदारी से काम लेना चाहिए ताकि बच्चे के मन से ऐसे नकारात्मक विचार निकल जाए… !!! उफ!!!!

ऐसे मे पेरेंटस को भी पेशेंस चाहिए !!! तो हुई ना उनकी महत्वपूर्ण भूमिका !!!

The post Parenting appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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27. Home Sweet Home

कामना न्यूयार्क एयरपोर्ट पहुची. आज वो अपने होम स्वीट होम यानि भारत आ रही थी. कुछ खाली समय था तो टहलने लगी. जेब मे हाथ डाला तो दो चार फालतू के कागज थे. फेकने लगी तो को कोई कूडादान नही दिखाई दिया.उसने उसे वापिस जेब मे डाल लिया.समय बीता. कुछ ही देर मे उसका जहाज नई दिल्ली पहुच गया था. अपने सामान का इंतजार करते करते उसका हाथ फिर अपनी जेब मे गया. वही बेकार कागज पडे थे. उसने तुरंत उसे जमीन पर फेक दिया. इतना ही नही पर्स मे भी कुछ फालतू का छोटा मोटा सामान पडा था. वो भी उसने ऐसे ही जमीन पर फेक दिया. अब वो अपने “होम स्वीट होम” मे जो आ चुकी थी

The post Home Sweet Home appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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28. Holidays/ hobby classes

छुट्टियो का नाम लेते ही दिल मे बस एक ही बात आती है मौज,मस्ती और शरारत !!! पर आजकल छुट्टियो की भी समझो छुट्टी हो गई है. माता पिता बच्चो को हाबी क्लास ज्वाईन करवा देते है. फिर हर रोज वह आना जाना. कुछ देर पहले दीपा मिली.वो अपने बच्चो को डांस क्लास मे लेकर जा रही थी. जबकि उसके बेटे की ना तो डांस और ना गाने मे रुचि है. उसे बिजली का समान खोल कर उसे जाचना ,देखना बहुत पसंद है. घर मे अगर कोई बिजली ठीक करने वाला आ जाता है तो वो बहुत ध्यान से देखकर समझता है.

वही नेहा बहुत दुखी है उसने बताया कि दो साल पहले उसकी बेटी ने स्केटिंग क्लास ज्वाईन की थी. पिछ्ले साल शौक बदल गया और संगीत सीखा इसलिए उसे महंगे वाला कैसियो खरीद कर दिया. पर इस साल वो कहती है कि तैराकी सीखनी है. दो साल के शौक बेकार गए.

दसवी मे पढने वाले दीपक को लग ही नही रहा कि छुट्टियां है क्योकि दिन मे तीन तीन ट्यूशन मे जाता है वो भी अलग अलग जगह. बारह साल की दिव्या कही नही जाती सरा दिन घर मे रहती है पर मम्मी से सारा दिन डांट ही खाती है क्योकि ना नाश्ता समय पर न लंच समय पर और कोई भी सहेली किसी भी समय टपक पडती है और जब वो चुपचाप बैठ कर दोस्तो को मैसेज करती है या फेसबुक खोल कर बैठती है तो भी डांट

तो हो गई ना छुट्टियो की छुट्टी !!!

The post Holidays/ hobby classes appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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29. Bloom: Evolve

Hi folks, welcome to the blog. I'm writing a continuing series called BLOOM this month. It's all about how to make your work bloom. Not always an easy task. This week I'm going to chat about how blooming is really evolutionary process. Writing a book definitely starts a  with a spark of an idea and slowly over time a complex book appears.


Be confident in this process, my creative friends. Keep working and the work will get better. This is the most honest truth that I can tell you.  You are a unique creature on this planet. Your major adaptation is that you thrive in change. Don't allow yourself to stagnate in any way.  It's when you apply the pressure of change to yourself that you will find your work blooming. 

One way you can stagnate is by sitting on one project too long.  If you have been working on that first chapter for 10 years, it is time to put the project away and move to the next one.  I'm not saying you can never go back, but this particular project has drawn you away from your need to change. You must push yourself into dynamic work. It's messy. It's painful. It's exhilarating. It's unsure. Yes, you will bloom in the midst of chaos. Have you ever thought about about how that winter ends and spring bursts forth with life? Let the winter of your work end and allow everything to change. Today. 

Another place that will keep you from evolving as a creative person is to be stuck in a rut. You may have ended up writing romances but you always wanted to write gritty thrillers. You keep churning out those romances. The work has lost the gloss of the early times.  It is not blooming at all. It is not evolving into something better.  This state of affairs has you down.  Clear off the desk and take a new path.  Oh, now you are terrified. Good. You will evolve. You will bloom. 

Here is a third way to stir up the creative pot. You want to bloom.  Are you hiding in the shadows? Keeping yourself safe from critique, safe from rejection, safe from failure? That works for a while. When the work is young, it needs to be kept safe, but when your work is ready to bloom it needs conditions that force it to bloom.  The nutrients of critique, the water of experience, and sunlight. Exposure. Are you lurking in the shadows? Seeking that connection with others is important. You must be brave now,

I hope this helps you on your journey!  Come back next week for one more in this series,  Also remember that my book PLUMB CRAZY is out.  Please consider adding it to your shelves or the shelves of your local library. Here is a link.

Here is a doodle. Oregon Plains

Finally a quote for your pocket.

It is paradoxical, yet true, to say, that the more we know, the more ignorant we become in the absolute sense, for it is only through enlightenment that we become conscious of our limitations. Precisely one of the most gratifying results of intellectual evolution is the continuous opening up of new and greater prospects.
Nikola Tesla

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30. Be Positive

कई बार हम किसी को उत्साहित तो करते नही  उल्टे कुछ ऐसा बोल देते है कि वो बेचारे निरुत्सहित ही होकर बैठ जाते हैं.एक मेरी सहेली ने कार सीखने की इच्छा जताई तो पति और बच्चो ने साफ साफ बोल दिया कि हम तो उस समय कार मे बैठेगे नही जब आप चला रही होंगी … अभी मरने का शौक नही है. वो बेचारी अपना सा मुहं लेकर बैठ गई.

वही एक बच्चे के बोर्ड मे 90% अंक आए तो पिता बोले अब ट्यूशन पर इतना खर्चा किया, इतना आराम दिया तो इतने नम्बर तो आने ही थे वैसे भी इतने नम्बर तो किसी के बिना पढे भी आ जाए. कौन सा तीर मार लिया.

वही एक देवेन हैं 7 क्लास मे पढता है. उसकी आदत है कि सुबह नाश्ते से पहले ब्रुश जरुर करता है चाहे छुट्टी हो या ना हो. घर वाले उसे चिढाते रहते हैं पता नही कहां से पंडित पैदा हो गया हमारे घर.वो बेचारा कुछ नही कहता

रंजीता को अंग्रेजी पढने का बहुत शौक है वो जब भी बाहर जाती है तो कपडे या अन्य समान खरीदने की बजाय अंग्रेजी की किताब खरीदती है. इस पर उसी के परिवार वाले बहुत मजाक बनाते हैं कि बडी आई अंग्रेजी पढने वाली … ऐसे गिट पिट बोलती है जैसे विदेश जाएगी … स्वाभाविक है कि उसका मनोबल टूट गया .वैसे आप तो ऐसे नही है ना !!!अगर हैं तो जरा नही बहुत सोचने की दरकार है ….

The post Be Positive appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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31. Extra Facts in Picture Books

Remember, in picture books, you can always show those fascinating facts in the illustrations or mention them in the back matter.

http://picturebookbuilders.com/2015/03/those-fascinating-facts-keep-or-cut/

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32. Free First 5 Pages Workshop Opens June 6!

The First Five Pages May Workshop has come to an end.  The participants worked so hard, and did a great job with their revisions. A big thanks to our guest mentor, Diana Renn, and our guest editor, Georgia McBride, both of whom provided terrific comments and suggestions, and of course to all of our fabulous permanent mentors!  

Our June workshop will open for entries at noon, EST, on Saturday June 6, 2015. We'll take the first five Middle Grade, Young Adult, or New Adult entries that meet all guidelines and formatting requirements.  Click here to get the rules. I will post when it opens and closes on Adventures in YA Publishing  and on twitter (@etcashman), with the hashtag #1st5pages.

In addition to our talented permanent mentors, we have Shaun Hutchinson, author of The Deathday Letterfml, and The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley.  And we have Tina Schwartz as our guest agent, founder of The Purcell Agency. So get those pages ready!

June Guest Mentor – Shaun Hutchinson

Shaun is a major geek and all about nerdy shenanigans. He is the author of The Deathday Letterfml, and The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley. He currently lives in South Florida with his partner and dog and watches way too much Doctor Who.


Andrew Brawley was supposed to die that night. His parents did, and so did his sister, but he survived.

Now he lives in the hospital. He serves food in the cafeteria, he hangs out with the nurses, and he sleeps in a forgotten supply closet. Drew blends in to near invisibility, hiding from his past, his guilt, and those who are trying to find him.

Then one night Rusty is wheeled into the ER, burned on half his body by hateful classmates. His agony calls out to Drew like a beacon, pulling them both together through all their pain and grief. In Rusty, Drew sees hope, happiness, and a future for both of them. A future outside the hospital, and away from their pasts.

But Drew knows that life is never that simple. Death roams the hospital, searching for Drew, and now Rusty. Drew lost his family, but he refuses to lose Rusty, too, so he’s determined to make things right. He’s determined to bargain, and to settle his debts once and for all.

But Death is not easily placated, and Drew’s life will have to get worse before there is any chance for things to get better.

June Guest Agent – Tina Schwartz


Agent Tina P. Schwartz, founder of The Purcell Agency , admits to being a reluctant reader as a child. In fact, she says she is still very picky when it comes to choosing a book. When not reading manuscripts, marketing website, social media, or industry blogs, you can find Schwartz on her laptop enjoying her own writing time. Tina is an active member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI), and is the Co-Rep for her local chapter.

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33. #BookADay | THE YETI FILES: MEET THE BIGFEET by Kevin Sherry (Scholastic)

Yetis! In Canada! What's not to love?

More info about Kevin Sherry.

More info about the book.

---------------------
More info: Donalyn Miller's Summer Book-A-Day Challenge | Archives of my #BookADay posts

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34. Illustration Challenge #2

Take two ideas that don't go together and put them together. For instance, flying pigs. Cows in space. Giraffes on wheels. Get the idea? Have fun!

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35. Another gorgeous Violet Mackerel story from Anna Branford


Violet Mackerel’s Formal Occasion by Anna Branford, illus. Sarah Davis, Walker Books Australia
This is another one to add to my collection of Violet Mackerel stories – which is being kept for a couple of years until my granddaughter is old enough to enjoy the books. They are delightful little stories that tick all the right boxes – short, easy to read, focusing on situations involving family and friends, illustrated with lively pen and ink pictures, and sporting bright, eye-catching covers. Because they’re hardback they look extra-special and would make excellent presents. This particular story looks at a topic close to the hearts of most little girls – getting dressed up and going out somewhere special. I think this is the eighth book in the series, and I heartily recommend them for newly-competent readers of about six to eight.

ISBN 978 1 925081 09 1 $24.99 Hb

Reviewed by Lorraine Orman
 
 

 

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36. Have Patience

एक जानकार हैं दिव्या. बहुत समय से समाचार पत्र मे लेख भेज रही हैं पर छ्पते नही थे और धन्यवाद सहित वापिस आ जाते. सहन शक्ति कम होने के कारण उसने उस अखबार की बुराई करनी शुरु कर दी कि बेकार है,सिफारिश चलती है ना ही इसमे ढंग के लेख आते हैं. सम्पादक बिका हुआ है. तभी अचानक उसकी कहानी प्रकाशित हो गई और उसकी बोलती बंद.आज वही उस समाचार पत्र की तारीफ करते नही थक रही.

वही दिल्ली के एक नौजवान हैं उन्होने डांस शो मे हिस्सा लिया और काफी आगे आ गए तो न्यूज चैनल वालो की लाईन लग गई उनके घर के आगे. पडोसी भी अपना हक समझ कर अपना इंटरव्यू देने के लिए आगे आने लगे  कि उन्हें तो  पहले ही विश्वास था कि जरुर आगे तक जाएगा. बचपने से देख रहे है पूत के लक्षण पालने में ही नजर आ जाते हैं … बहुत मेहनती है. पर वो जैसे ही आऊट हो गया तभी पडोसियो का नजरिया ही बदल गया. कहने लगे … इतना आसान थोडे ना होता है डांस. बहुत मेहनत करनी पडती है. पहले ही पता था कि वो इतनी आगे तक जा ही नही सकता.ऐसे ना जाने कितने उदाहरण भरे पडे है.” वैसे इसमे सरकार को दोष नही दे सकते. दोष हमारा ही है”.

यकीनन आप तो ऐसे नही होंगे है ना !!! अगर हैं तो जरा नही बहुत सोचने की दरकार है !!!!

The post Have Patience appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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37. Irises

Van Gogh painted irises
That everyone admires.
In gardens, very often,
They’re the flower that inspires.

I, however, am not swayed
By any iris charms.
To me, they look quite evil,
Setting off my brain’s alarms.

Though irises have many fans,
I’m sure I’m not alone,
Which proves that famous saying’s truth –
That is, to each his own.

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38. Seeking Certification

We got our new jackets on Friday – don’t they look snazzy?! I’m SO BLESSED to work with such incredible people!!

Work is going well. I continue to work my ass off but I’m starting to feel more and more comfortable with what I’m doing. There are moments when I feel like I’m sort of flying by the seat of my pants and thank goodness I think quick on my feet and can ooze fake confidence when I need to, but for the most part, I’m settling into the medical assistant position.

I’ve been a medical assistant for a little over one year now. That sort of blows my mind when I stop to think about it. I honestly feel like I still just stumbled into this gig and I’m BSing my way through every clinic. I’m confident on the phones and handling the scheduling part of the job, of course, but the actual medical part of this job still sort of scares me a little bit.

I guess I’m going to stick this out. I had thought, at one time, I might just hang it up and move on to something else, but this past year, though terribly challenging, and continues to challenge me every day, has been one of the most rewarding years in my life. There’s something deeply satisfying helping people and it’s such an HONOR to work with some of the top 1% of the doctors in the country!

I’m pretty sure this is my last job. I will likely retire from the medical field. Which is so crazy for me. I never, once, in my whole life, aspired to be in the medical field. I wanted to be a writer, a paralegal, or a medical transcriptionist, which true, is in the medical field, but more on the outskirts of the medical field, not in the trenches actually interacting with patients.

And yet, here I am.

I have spent hundreds of dollars on scrubs. When I started as a scheduler, we wore a different color each day of the week. So I spent $200 just on that my first week of work. Now that I’m a medical assistant, our colors have changed again – navy, black and gray. And I have added on to my scrub collection as I’ve gone along because I get bored with one brand, I find something just a little cute/different and/or the fit is unflattering that I can’t force myself to wear them anymore.

Scrubs are NOT cheap. I just recently bought another scrub “outfit” for just under $70.

One scrub top. One scrub bottom.

So. There’s that investment.

And now I’m getting ready to spend another $150 in order to become certified. And another $50 bucks to purchase the study guide and an online test so that I can prepare for this certification process. BUT. If/when I do this, I will automatically receive a $1 raise which means I will have paid for my investment in three weeks and ultimately make more money.

Not to mention, being certified carries more responsibility and more opportunities.

And I’m motivated to do this because the government has implemented yet more strangling meaningful use policies and I’m no longer able to do a few tasks like I used to be able to do. However, I can do these tasks if I’m certified. So OF COURSE, I have to become certified because nothing frustrates me more than NOT being to do something or do my job to my maximum ability.

I will learn everything there is to know about being a medical assistant. I honestly have no intention of going any further than this, at this point. But if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I have an uncanny knack for sort of falling into things so who knows where I’ll be five years from now.

I never imagined I would be where I am now five years ago.

As far as the people … my nurse still drives me nuts – in fact, there are days I would gladly punch her in the face. But she’s sweet and funny and we’re all getting used to her, I suppose. Her personality is just so ABRASIVE! AARGH! And everything about her rubs me like sandpaper, her tone of voice, the way she treats patients, the way she has to include herself in EVERY SINGLE CONVERSATION THAT GOES ON AROUND HER, whether she’s included or not, her obsession with food, her butt crack. Yes, her butt crack. She was a size smaller when she came to us from the hospital but she refuses to allow herself to buy bigger pants, so she wears these tight t-shirts and low-waisted scrub pants and when she bends over – HELLO MOON. Our nurse manager actually came by her one day, yanked down her t-shirt and whispered in her ear loud enough for me to hear, “your butt crack is showing again.” AAARGH She’s just so immature and self absorbed … drives me nuts.

However. I don’t see her going anywhere any time soon so I guess I just need to suck it up. I’ve worked with my doctor for over a year now and I’m the “veteran” on the team since his nurse started with him in October and his PA started with him this past January. Even though I’ve worked with him over a year now, I still feel pretty shy around him. We’re both loosening up around each other now and I am starting to see a lot more of his personality. I’m VERY FORTUNATE to work with a laid back, easy-going doctor. He rarely loses his temper (in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him lose his temper), but you can tell when he’s annoyed. I just try and make his clinics run as smooth as possible, even if that means I make other people in the clinic mad at me because I INSIST they do their jobs.

Go figure.

We’re supposed to be moving into our new home in July. The hospital is adding onto the main building and neurosurgery will be taking over the 7th floor. My doctor was on the planning board for this move so he views it as his baby. I’m really looking forward to moving to our new digs. Not only will it be “new”, it will be next to the hospital and Kevin and I are already planning on meeting in the hospital cafeteria for lunch. (They actually have pretty good food for cheap). Parking will be a challenge as it’s already a challenge at the hospital as it is now, let alone when our clinic starts going over there every day, but we’ll find our new normal, we’ll just have to endure the speed bumps along the way.

The building we’re in now is embarrassing. It’s so old and ever since the announcement was made that we would be moving to the hospital, there has been very little motivation to fix or maintain our building and it’s starting to show a lot of wear and tear.

Oh. That reminds me of a story.

Our air conditioner went out – again. Our air conditioner goes out about every other month, it’s so annoying. So our HVAC guys showed up to take a look at it and found that the wires had been yanked out. Apparently, some homeless guy was living in the area, (the area is enclosed by a privacy fence) and he had cut out all of the copper wiring presumably to sell it. This is what happens when you have a crappy economy and more and more people are out of work – desperate times call for desperate measures.

There is now a lock on the fenced-in area. (There probably should have been a lock on it to begin with but you don’t think about things like this until they happen).

There are always weird situations that crop up in this business, but the latest weirdness happened a few weeks ago. A nine-year old boy came into the clinic for scoliosis. Though I’m not sure how the referring doctor came up with this diagnosis considering there were no films on file to show he had scoliosis. The boy’s guardian was his grandmother, who couldn’t read. So the boy’s mother came with them, but could barely read herself. So getting someone to fill out paperwork was a challenge.

When I approached the front desk to get the boy’s chart and show him back to a room, one of the girls pulled me aside and told me that the boy had gone into the mens’ bathroom and pooped on the floor. Why he didn’t poop in the toilet, I don’t know. (I found out later that the nine-year old boy still wore pull-ups. Not because he couldn’t control his bladder/bowels, but because his guardians were tired of dealing with his rebellious I will poop and pee whenever and wherever I please attitude). When I called the boy back, the mother started to stand and told the grandmother she was to stay in the waiting room. I nixed that suggestion in the bud.

“Is she the boy’s guardian?” I asked.

When the mother quietly nodded, (I can be quite intimidating when I need to be), I shook my head and said, “she will have to come back with him since she’s the guardian.” (It’s a legal issue).

In addition to the boy, the boy’s little sister came back, too. They were both the wildest children I’ve ever been around. They talked a mile a minute and they would not sit still. I had to get the pediatric cuff in order to take his blood pressure and I had to get firm with him because he wouldn’t sit still. When my doctor’s PA went in there next, (she interviews new patients first before the doctor goes in), I heard her raise her voice a few times telling the boy to sit down and be quiet. And when my doctor finally went in there, he was in there for two minutes, (because there was nothing he could do for the boy since we didn’t have any films on him – he’s a doctor, not an xray machine), the little boy followed him out and looked at my doctor like he was a god or something. I’m sure the boy didn’t have a male role model in his life judging from the way he was following my doctor around like a little lost puppy.

In addition to being sad, the whole situation was pretty disgusting, too. They were Medicaid and though I’m trying very hard not to judge people who have Medicaid, more often than not, they are people who were referred to our clinic without a proper workup and it’s a waste of everyone’s time and money simply because the boy’s primary care physician didn’t fully do his/her job. I’m assuming the boy’s PCP simply referred him to our office to get the boy out of his hair.

It’s a terrible abuse of our Medicaid system.

I could go on and on with examples, I don’t want to sound too preachy or judgy, but just know, there’s a REASON why Medicaid patients are cast into a stereotypical mold, because many act exactly the way we expect them to. It’s very sad, to be honest.

Our nurse manager is moving on to another position. We’re all pretty shaken by this news. She’s AWESOME and she will be SORELY missed but we can’t fault her for wanting to further her career. In the meantime, management has formed two committees, (sounds like something management would do, lol) in order to help interview her replacement. I didn’t volunteer for the position, I wasn’t sure I wanted to put myself in that situation, but when they came to me and asked me to participate I couldn’t really say no. This is going to be doubly challenging considering we’re getting ready to move and we won’t really have a “captain” to guide us.

I have a feeling this summer is going to be crazy busy for us.


Filed under: Work Stuff

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39. let the Ego go

कुछ लोगो मे इतना “इगो” भरा होता है कि बस ..!!! अरे!! क्या हो गया अगर बच्चे से या अपने से छोटे से कुछ सीखना पड रहा है! मेरी सहेली मणि को अपने नए मोबाईल के काफी फीचर इस्तेमाल करने नही आते थे तो उसने अपने बेटे से सीखने शुरु कर दिए हालाकि बहुत डांट भी पडी अपने बच्चे से कि क्या आपको एक बार मे समझ नही आता पर वो मैदान मे डटी रही और आज उसे बार बार किसी से पूछ्ने नही जाना पडता.ठाठ से इसे इस्तेमाल करती है अब.

वही एक महाशय है उन्होने बैंक की नौकरी इसलिए छोड दी कि बैंक मे कम्प्यूटर का इस्तेमाल करना जरुरी हो गया था. बहुत सीनियर पोस्ट पर थे इसलिए एक इगो थी कि कैसे सीख ले अपने से छोटो से कि क्या समझेगे वो कि उन्हे ये भी नही आता !!! बस छोड दी नौकरी. मेरे विचार से नए जमाने से कदम ताल मिलाना है तो अपने “अहम” को छोडना ही होगा… इन बातो मे कुछ नही रखा…

 

वैसे आप तो ऐसे बिल्कुल नही होंगें … अगर हैं तो …   !!!!

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40. Exhibit Review: Benjamin-Constant in Montreal

"Marvels and Mirages" is more than an exhibition about Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant (1845-1902), and it's more than a show about Orientalism. It's a loving embrace of the broader themes of exoticism and storytelling and an ambitious revival of a lost world of picture-making.


Benjamin-Constant Self Portrait, gouache
The exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Art, curated by museum director Nathalie Bondil, is the first major retrospective of Benjamin-Constant in recent times. It borrows from over 60 private and public lenders, including many regional museums in France. Several paintings were restored and reframed for the show. 

Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant, The Pink Flamingo, 1876
The exhibit designers made an effort to evoke the mystery of the Near East. As you ascend the stairs into the show, Moroccan music plays softly and light filters down, influenced by shadows cast by latticework-patterned gobos.

Several glass cases show drawings, engravings, and prints. The show is divided into various themes: The Studio, the Salon, the Alhambra, Tangier, and Colonial Diplomacy. It takes some time to absorb all the captions, because there's so much exposition: political events, timelines, historical contexts, and biographical details. Woven throughout the writing are some great lines, such as "between a mirage of seduction and the veiled realities of a colonial republic." 

Unfortunately—and this has nothing to do with the curation of the exhibit—there are reasons why Benjamin-Constant is not an "artist's artist." He doesn't have the psychological penetration of Repin; nor the sensitivity to color of Gerome; nor the archaeological conviction of Alma Tadema; nor the brush fluency of Sargent; nor the exquisite surfaces of Vibert or Meissonier. Some of Benjamin-Constant's paintings are frankly out of perspective, a fault that is usually hard to find among academic painters. He'll often spend a great deal of effort with background patterns without really working out the faces or the human story. Some of the paintings are huge, which magnifies their problems even more.

Unlike many other academic and Juste-Milieu painters of his time, Benjamin-Constant failed to embrace the innovations of plein-air painting. He called Impressionists "daubers" and their work "the oculist's art." That's too bad, because he would have benefited by incorporating the lessons learned from thoughtful plein-air study. For example, in the painting above, Benjamin-Constant uses a blackish dark for the farthest arch, when it really should be lifted up in value because of the intervening illuminated atmosphere. 

Fortunately the show includes some of Benjamin-Constant's contemporaries. One of the standouts is the watercolor portrait by Josep Tapiro y Baro, whom I have spotlighted in a previous post. 

There's also a rare chance to see some history paintings by Jean Paul Laurens. In "The Late Empire: Honorius," he shows the young emperor outmatched by his position. It's a magnificent example of subtle storytelling.

There were also several Henry Regnaults, including this watercolor (detail), which is a riot of cool reds and blue-greens over solid figure drawing. The show includes some fine examples by Gerome, Fortuny, Jose Villegas y Cordero. 

But I wish the curator had included some other notable Orientalists, such as Rudolph Ernst, Frederick Bridgman, Gustave Bauernfeind, Vasily Vereshchagin, Hermann Corrodi, Leopold Carl Muller, William Logsdail, Frederick Leighton, Edwin Lord Weeks, and Ludwig Deutsch. Even though they weren't French Orientalists, their work would have raised the overall quality level of the artwork in the show.

In all, though, the museum is to be commended for rediscovering an artist who has been largely overlooked, and putting his work in context. I hope they will give a similar treatment to other neglected French artists, especially Jules Bastien-Lepage. Like the Waterhouse exhibit from a few years ago, this one provides quite a stimulus for artists. If you want to see it, it's only up until the end of the month.


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41. Amy Butler Greenfield, author of CHANTRESS FURY, on the importance of a logbook in her writer’s toolkit

CHANTRESS FURY is the final novel in the Chantress trilogy by Amy Butler Greenfield, and we're excited to have her stop by to chat about writing.

Amy, how long did you work on CHANTRESS FURY?

I had to write CHANTRESS FURY in less than a year – a real challenge for a slow writer like me! I’m a big believer in doing multiple drafts, so I gave myself three months to get a first draft down. It was a very stressful time, but I’m glad I did it that way. It gave me plenty of opportunity to revise, and that meant I wasn’t afraid of making big changes. With each draft the story got stronger.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

It taught me that I really can write fast! It helped that I first did an outline and scene notecards in Scrivener. Sometimes as I wrote I’d come up with a new plot twist, and I’d need to change my outline, but when I sat down every day I had a pretty good idea of where I was going. The outline also served as an early warning system: I could see pretty quickly whether new plot twists would work, or whether they were going to lead to a big mess later on. I kept track of my daily word count and set weekly word quotas, and I tried not to get bogged down in line-edits. “Write now. Fix it later” became my mantra.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I usually start by writing in my logbook. It’s where I jot down ideas and worries about my WIP, where I let myself grumble or celebrate, and where I settle on that day’s writing goal: to flesh out a scene, sharpen a conflict, or fast-draft a chapter.  I make a new log for each book, and it’s probably the most indispensable part of my writer’s toolkit. A timer is another essential, and tea and chocolate make the process easier.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

Thanks to the internet, we’re awash in information about publishing trends – who’s buying, what’s hot, what’s not. That’s really useful when it comes to selling a book, but try not to pay too much attention to buzz when you’re writing! If your WIP is bang on trend, that’s great, but the best books often break the mold. Write what you love. Write the book that’s truly yours, the one no one else in the world could write. That’s the book we need most.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Chantress Furyby Amy Butler GreenfieldHardcover
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Released 5/19/2015

The sea is coming. We are coming. And we will drown you all.

With a song, Lucy can control the wind and the water; she can bring castles and kingdoms to their feet. Since Lucy mastered her powers, King Henry has kept her close as he’s rebuilt England. She’s his best ally—and his workhorse. And now he’s called her to investigate attempted murder: His men claim they were almost killed on the Thames…by a mermaid. All Lucy can glean from the creature they’ve captured is a warning: The sea is coming. We are coming. And we will drown you all.

And then the floods begin. Swaths of London are submerged as the people scramble to defend themselves against the water—and the monsters—that are flooding their streets. As mistrust of Lucy's magic grows, the king relies on Nat, Lucy's great love, to guide them through the storm. But Nat is cold and distant to Lucy. He swore his love only a year before, and now he calls her “stranger.”

Lucy is determined to defeat this powerful new magic alone if she must. But then she hears an eerie song within the water…can it mean that she’s not the last Chantress after all?

Sweepingly romantic and crackling with magic, Chantress Fury triumphantly concludes the powerful Chantress trilogy.

Purchase Chantress Fury at Amazon
Purchase Chantress Fury at IndieBound
View Chantress Fury on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amy GreenfieldAmy Butler Greenfield was a grad student in history when she gave into temptation and became a writer. Since then, she has become an award-winning author.

Amy grew up in the Adirondack Mountains and later studied history at Williams College, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Oxford. She now lives with her family in England, where she writes, bakes double-dark-chocolate cake, and plots mischief.





What did you think of our interview with Amy Butler Greenfield, author of CHANTRESS FURY? Let us know in the comments!

Happy reading,

Martina, Jocelyn, Shelly, Jan, Lisa, Susan, and Erin

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42. Carta aberta aos que promovem linchamentos via redes

Eu sinceramente torço para que quem espalha boataria e acusações a populares na rede pense sobre as consequências – para toda a sociedade, inclusive vocês e suas famílias – do que estão fazendo aqui. Facebook não é tribunal, vocês não são juízes e muito menos assassinos executores. 
Não esqueçam de assumir depois a responsabilidade por tudo de ruim que advir. Inclusive inocentes que ocasionalmente possam a vir ser confundidos com a pessoa "denunciada" no post (que nem ao menos tem como comprovar se é de fato criminosa, ou o grau de envolvimento com o crime, e mesmo que fosse, não se resolve uma violência com outra).
A maioria cede ao medo e se blinda com ódio e ataques. Todos que ameaçam, agridem, esbravejam, o fazem porque estão com muito medo. Medo de morrer. Esse medo os está cegando para as soluções reais.
Parem, pensem, e procurem aprender mais.
A PAZ tem de começar dentro de si.
PAZ para TODOS. Sigam em segurança.


Na imagem, uma família que também foi vítima do ódio, da cegueira, do medo – imagem do bem, podem compartilhar à vontade. A autoria é minha, permto a reprodução acompanhada de meu texto sem edições. Arte inspirada na Madonna de Boticelli.



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43. Rakhi

बात राखी की …

कुछ् समय पहले राखी की दुकान पर एक महिला कार से उतरी और दुकान दार से बोली सबसे मंहगी राखी दिखाओ. राखी देखते हुए बोली पिछ्ली बार भी नग वाली राखी लेकर गई थी. भईया ने दस मिनट भी नही पहनी क्योकि उसके नग निकल गए थे कोई और अच्छी और महंगी राखी दिखाओ जिसके नग न निकले.  बहुत देर माथा पच्ची के बाद और ठंडा कोल्ड ड्रिक पी कर दुकान दार ने सबसे महंगी राखी देकर विदा किया.

.वही एक अन्य महिला आई और उसने खूबसूरत डोरी खरीदी. दुकानदार के पूछ्ने पर वो बोली कि पिछ्ले साल भी जो डोरी लेकर गई थी भईया ने बहुत महीने तक पहने रखी इसलिए डोरी ही ले कर जाऊगी ताकि भईया की कलाई पर ज्यादा से ज्यादा समय तक वो सजी रहे  .

सच, बात मंहगी सस्ती की नही ,प्यार की होती है. ऐसे में दिखावा न हो तो त्योहार मनाने का मजा आए

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44. Cover Reveal & Interview: Author Ashley Hope Pérez & Editor Andrew Karre on Out of Darkness

By Ashley Pérez and Andrew Karre
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

From the promotional copy of Out of Darkness (Carolrhoda Lab/Lerner, Sept. 2015):

New London, Texas. 1937. Naomi Vargas and Wash Fuller know about the lines in East Texas as well as anyone. They know the signs that mark them.

“No Negroes, Mexicans, or dogs.”

They know the people who enforce them.

“They all decided they’d ride out in their sheets and pay Blue a visit.”

But sometimes the attraction between two people is so powerful it breaks through even the most entrenched color lines. And the consequences can be explosive.

“More than grief, more than anger, there is a need. Someone to blame. Someone to make pay.”

Ashley Hope Pérez takes the facts of the 1937 New London school explosion—the worst school disaster in American history— as a backdrop for a riveting novel about segregation, love, family, and the forces that destroy people.

The starred Kirkus review of Out of Darkness called it “a powerful, layered tale of forbidden love in times of unrelenting racism,” and Elizabeth Wein, best-selling author of Code Name Verity, had this to say: “The beauty of Pérez’s prose and her surefooted navigation through the dangerous landscape of the East Texas oil field in the late 1930s redeem the fact that anyone who dares read this agonizing, star-crossed love story will end up in about six billion numb and tiny pieces. Absolutely stunning.”

Read on for a conversation between Ashley and her editor, Andrew Karre, who is now executive editor of Dutton Books for Young Readers. 

Ashley and Andrew talk about book covers, challenging boundaries in YA, what happens in the woods of East Texas, and the author-editor collaboration that made Out of Darkness possible.

Ashley Hope Pérez: Since this is also the cover reveal for Out of Darkness, can we start there? I love that we arrived at this design. What do you think it signals to readers?

Andrew Karre: I think it does the jobs of a book cover very well: it is visually arresting from the shelf, and it rewards deeper looks after you’ve read on in the book.

The image of the braid is lovely and intriguing, but once you’ve read the book, the layers begin to emerge.

I also love the uncomfortable separation in “Darkness.” It is not a comfortable cover—and it shouldn’t be.

AHP: I love that you mention the absence of comfort—right now I’m writing an article about the role of discomfort in YA reading experiences. So let’s linger for a moment on the topic of narrative elements that don’t sit easily with readers’ expectations.

Your particular vision of YA—which I’ve always taken as being focused on engaging or deconstructing various ideas of adolescence—gave me license to write the book without worrying about fitting it to a particular YA mold. You’ve never been interested any kind of filter for writing “at” teen readers and instead have gained this incredible reputation as an editor for choosing unusual, boundary-pushing works.

Did Out of Darkness give you a chance to scratch anything off of your boundary-pushing bucket list?

AK: I definitely got to put a check in the box labeled “historical YA that portrays teenagers acting on recognizable sexual appetites.”

AHP: Glad to have helped on that front. I think I was at least a little bit influenced by the workshop on sex in writing that you and Carrie Mesrobian did with teens last year and the insights that came from that.

I took a few items your compelling piece and the list Carrie compiled, and I thought about how they intersected with the private worlds and identities of my characters.

Portraying teen sexuality as a real part of the past was one of the contributions I wanted to make in Out of Darkness.

This is in addition to my general adamancy about the fact that teens are sexual people regardless of how they act on that fact. I find it maddening when people assume that the relative silence around sex in times past somehow amounted to a magical chastity or innocence among teens. That’s an assumption that especially gets applied to women in depictions of the past, I think. I enjoyed researching sexual matters of the period from the book.

AK: I distinctly remember my own delight at discovering some vintage condom packaging.

The kind of tins that held condoms in the 1930s. Image from www.collectorsweekly.com.

AHP: As do I… I think you gleefully tweeted a link to this article full of handy details about prophylactics of the past. For me, beyond the period particulars, there was also the pleasure of thinking about logistics for my characters. The woods in East Texas are notorious for being where you go to do things you don’t want others to know about, but I loved the chance to also show it as a space where a particular kind of possibility unfolds: an interracial love with a definite sexual intensity.

Although I didn’t want to idealize the physical aspect of Wash and Naomi’s relationship, which has an intensity that can be parasitic on their emotional connection at times, there’s also a sweetness to what they give each other.

So, we did some important work around the idea of teen sexuality in days gone by. What other boundaries do you see Out of Darkness testing?

AK: Well, the book pushed a bit at my personal definition of YA, which is novels about people experiencing the various social constructs of teenageness. For example, I don’t think Wash and Naomi are teenagers in the sense of your typical YA character. Because of their races, they’re not afforded the leisure we associate with teenagers. They are adults in many significant ways, but they do overlap with modern teenage-ness (in the form of all the white high school kids) and I found this deeply fascinating and illuminating. Your execution of these characters casts a bright light on the white privilege at the heart of that teenage-ness.

I also saw that you had set yourself an enormous challenge with the character of Naomi’s stepfather Henry. The book would fail if you let him simply be a racist monster. You had to make him a deeply flawed human who behaves monstrously—a considerably taller order and one that makes the book harder for some readers, though I think ultimately more satisfying.

AHP: I remember several important conversations with you that helped me to find and capture the humanity, however distorted, in Henry. I went through a similar process to uncover the complex character of the pastor who initially encourages him to bring the kids to East Texas and then has to buoy him up repeatedly in the role of father. The evolution of characters is more memorable, maybe, but the editorial back and forth was just as critical to the development of the narrative and stylistic choices that make this book what it is.

You’ve managed to be my ideal reader three times now. Each time we’ve worked on a book, the questions or challenges you presented me with opened the right doors for me in revision so that I could help the story grow into what it was supposed to be. Dark magic aside, how do you do that?

AK: I have no idea, but it’s my only useful skill, so I’m glad it works. Good editing is about building a little space where an author’s best work can happen. (And it has to be a little space, because books don’t happen by committee.) The minimum qualifications are understanding, nurturing, and—when necessary—reminding the author of the original vision.



AHP: That little space is a gift to writers. I think you must also have a kind of special sight that allows you to see submerged possibilities, both in a manuscript and in the writer herself. I feel like this was especially true in how you responded to Out of Darkness. I mean, it was such a different case from What Can’t Wait (2011) and The Knife and the Butterfly (2012)(both Carolrhoda Lab), both of which are contemporary realistic fiction and arrived to you somewhat resembling their final form. And then there was Out of Darkness…

AK: Out of Darkness is the best of what can happen when an author and an editor have a good working relationship. Honestly, if at any point after our first two books you’d told me about the school explosion and your eagerness to use it as an entry point for a story about race and class and love and family, I would have been in. I knew we could work well together, and I wanted to do so again.

At least 294 people were killed in the New London, Texas, school explosion. Chaos after the explosion and the destruction of all school documents made an exact count impossible. Image from the London Museum archives.

AHP: It’s true that you didn’t even flinch when my agent sent you a manuscript that filled a ream of paper. Or at least you didn’t let on that you flinched. I think the first complete draft weighed in at 200,000 words.

AK: I’m glad that you sent those 200,000 words. Even though I knew we were years away from a book, the scale of that draft gave me a sense of how committed you were to a project somewhat more ambitious than our first two. And I knew you would match my effort, so I didn’t worry about how much work it would be or whether you were prepared to explore some difficult places.

AHP: There was some serious cutting, reshaping, and expanding that happened over those years… and a ton of collaboration to develop the vision for what the novel would become. Did your expectations evolve over those years we went back and forth?

AK: I don’t think my expectations evolved much, given how high they were to begin with. This is a book that could obviously only exist on a fairly significant scale and scope.

As you know, I dearly love short, circumscribed stories of unusual individuals. This was never going to be such a book—or maybe better said it was several such books tightly braided together and making a still greater whole. My job was to see that from the beginning and work like hell to make sure we never compromised. (We didn’t.)

AHP: I’m grateful for that. I felt all along the way that I had just enough space to grow to be the writer who could handle whatever challenge we’d set for a round of revision.

Looking back, I realize that you probably read this manuscript at least five times as we were working through that process. Am I some kind of crazy outlier, or do you find yourself going through comparable iterations with other authors?

Ashley’s writing process. Crucial tools: writer’s notebook, Scrivener, paper, pen, scissors, and tape.

AK: You’re not a crazy outlier, except perhaps in terms of length of first draft.

With some authors, I’ve gone through more drafts, others fewer. Ideally, they all get a similar level of attention, but sometimes that attention takes different forms.

AHP: You also do this thing where you don’t force a change but you plant a seed that makes it possible for me, on my own, to wholly embrace that change. That probably happens dozens of times in a book, but I distinctly remember at one point discussing the author’s note for Out of Darkness.

There was this line in it that more or less sounded to you like an apology for the intensity and tragedy of the novel, and you gave me the courage to cut it. I think you said something like, “you shouldn't apologize for making your readers feel deeply.”

AK: The longer I do this, the more I’m convinced that the only reliable indicator of a book’s durability and quality is whether it elicits strong feelings in the reader. Whatever those feelings may be, if they are present, then the book is doing something right.

I get more upset by indifferent reviews than I do by strongly negative ones. A.S. King and I were talking just a couple weeks ago about a Goodreads review for her first novel, where the reviewer thinks she’s angry at the book—thinks she’s writing a bad review—but by the end of the review both of us agreed that the reviewer got exactly what we’d hoped from the book: very strong feelings. We didn’t take issue with a single point from the review.

Polite people generally apologize for causing emotional distress in others, so I’m never surprised to see a line like the one you cut. But I always try to remind the author that emotional distress is what the reader is paying for.

AHP: There’s an intensity and darkness to Out of Darkness that connects it to The Knife and the Butterfly, but I also feel like both novels leave room for hope, too. Does that resonate with you? Or do you see the works differently?

AK: I do absolutely find a hopeful quality in all your books. It’s hard earned and never more so than in this book. Brokenness and injustice are things I find in your work, but you also have a faith in human resilience that balances the brutality. That’s hope.

AHP: Hope is a thing with me. It’s literally my middle name, so how could it not be?

There are some books, like Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Simon & Schuster, 2014), that are so full of promise and hope that you can’t miss it. I mean, that’s a novel set in the 1980s where two gay, Mexican-American boys discover and embrace their love for each other in part because of the support they receive from their parents. Ben finds ways to tell stories that get to the heart of growth and healing without being sentimental.

In Out of Darkness, I’d say that the possibility for hope depends on a certain kind of commitment from the reader. Or maybe what the novel does is create an appetite for hope—an authentic desire for life possibilities that go beyond what the characters achieve. My characters improvise wholeness, cobble together a family, but it can’t hold.

AK: There is something so, so gorgeous in the magical little family Wash, Naomi, Cari, and Beto make for themselves. Yes, it cannot possibly survive, but the short spring of that incredible family is unbearably and eternally beautiful.

Sabine River and the East Texas woods where Wash, Naomi, and the twins improvise a family. Image by Michael Gras.

AHP: That does sound like grounds for hope. Readers might only wish for things to be different for Wash, Naomi, and the twins as they’re reading, but maybe that wish can turn into something like a broader awareness that an unconventional family can have a rightness to it that is just as fundamental as any biological family. That’s one possibility I see in the novel when I think about it as a reader or lit professor rather than a writer. I try not to do that too much because it’s not the lit professor in me who runs the show when I’m writing.

My academic work has a place in my heart and my brain, but the novels I’ve written take up a lot more space. They’re like houses I once lived in but have had to leave behind. Each one is unique, and I have a distinct sense of what it felt like to be inside them, what the building and repairs and maintenance cost me.

I have favorite spaces, too, passages that, at least in my imagination, are where I felt most at home as a writer, most myself.

Is there anything comparable for you when you think about the books you’ve edited? What’s their afterlife like?

AK: I find myself remembering the process more than the book itself. I mean, I can recall the books as needed, but the pleasant memories that come unbidden are more about the experience of working on the book—the editing on my own, the phone conversations, the emails, the lunches. It’s as close as I get to old army buddies.

AHP: I look forward to reenlisting for another tour of duty. I’ll take the pen over the sword any day.

Cynsational Notes 

Find Ashley online at www.ashleyperez.com, where her blog is full of writerly and readerly insights, or at www.latinosinkidlit.com, where she’s part of a team of bloggers working to get the word out about awesome kid lit by Latina/o authors or about Latina/o experiences.

Follow her on Twitter (@ashleyhopeperez) and on Facebook.

Also follow Carolrhoda Lab on Twitter (@CarolrhodaLab) and Facebook for news and reviews of Out of Darkness and other fantastic Carolrhoda Lab titles.

Andrew Karre keeps us all entertained and informed from Twitter via @andrewkarre.

Librarians, bloggers, booksellers, reviewers, and teacher types: don’t forget to go to netgalley.com by the end of July to request an advance read of Out of Darkness.

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45. Ghosts

आजकल बहुत सारी भूतों के सीरियल आ रहे हैं पर सच पूछिए तो डर जैसी कोई बात नही लगती . अलबत्ता कुछ बातों पर हंसी जरुर आती है जैसाकि दिखाया जाएगा एक बेहद बडा और शानदार बंगला है .. जहां हर तरह की सुख सुविधा है पर जब कमरे का दरवाजा खुलता है तो चू ssssssssssss की आवाज जरुर आती है … अरे भई इतना बडा घर करोडो रुपए  खर्च करके बनाया तो थोडा सा तो उसका लिहाज रख लो हारर ही डालना है तो कुछ और चीज  क्रिएट  करो … बेचारे दरवाजे पर क्यों …

और एक मजेदार बात … मेरी सहेली सारे horror सीरियल देखती है पर पता है कब ??? दिन में .असल में,  रात को वो  record  करके रख लेती है और सुबह ठाठ से सीरियल देखती है और अगर फिर भी डर लगे तो आवाज बंद कर देती है और अगर और भी ज्यादा डर लगे तो आखें बंद कर लेती है

ह हा हा … ओह अचानक दरवाजे पर खटका हुआ …. कौन आया होगा ???

The post Ghosts appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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46. Touch Screen

आज का जमाना टच स्क्रीन का जमाना है बस ट्च करो और …!!! मै अपनी सहेली मणि  से बात कर रही थी कि वो बोली टच वाला …  ये सिस्टम तो उनके पास बहुत पहले से है. उनका फ्रिज टच वाला है बस फर्क इतना है आज वाला टच एक उंगली से चलता है और उनके वाला पांचो उगलियो से याने एक जोरदार हाथ से चलता है. असल में, फ्रिज बहुत पुराना हो गया तो अक्सर चलते चलते चुप सा हो जाता है इसालिए जोरदार टच की दरकार रहती है फिर एक हफ्ते तक आराम से चलता है.

तभी सामने से एक कार जा रही थी उसे भी लोग टच से यानि धक्के से धकेल रहे थे.बाजार फोटो कापी करवाने गई तो उस मशीन को जब तक चार पाच टच ना जड दिए जाए तो चलती ही नही थी वही मेरा यूपीएस इतनी आवाज करता है जब तक जोरदार टच ना करो आवाज आनी बंद ही नही होती !!! रिमोट का भी यही हाल देखने मे आता है अक्सर …

वो बात अलग है कि हम आज के बच्चो को जरा सा भी टच नही कर सकते बाकि तो सारा वातावरण टचमय ही है … है ना

The post Touch Screen appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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47. Kishaz Reading Corner: The Sheikh's Proposal by Barbara McMahon

Disclaimer: I received no compensation from the author or publisher for this honest review.


About the Book

Marriage by royal command!

Sara Kinsale is stunned to be thrown together with a prince of the desert, and even more so to find herself unbelievably attracted to the elusive Sheikh Kahrun bak Samin... Especially as she's indebted to the sheikh and it's only a matter of time before he demands to be repaid!

Kahrun soon names his price -- marriage! He needs a trophy wife, and Sara is already living under his roof. But will she be the sheikh's bride in name only -- or will her marriage duties be a little more intimate....?

Buy the Book

Here's what I'm giving it:

Rating: 4 stars

Here's why:

Sara is a woman trying to prove herself and Kahrun is a king with a problem. When two very determined individuals have a run-in, an explosion of feelings was inevitable.

Kahrun really was a man in command while Sara was still trying to figure herself out and suffers from some major insecurity issues when it comes to herself and her family.

Watching the two of them learn about the other and about love was a sweet and sometimes funny journey.

Would I recommend this book? Yes.

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48. Hilary T. Smith, author of A SENSE OF THE INFINITE, on leaving readers feeling hopeful and less alone

We're happy to have Hilary T. Smith join us to share more about her latest novel A SENSE OF THE INFINITE.

Hilary, what was your inspiration for writing A SENSE OF THE INFINITE?

Every draft of this manuscript came out completely differently—different plot, different characters, different tense. It would have been impossible to convince anyone that they were even drafts of the same novel—you would have thought I was crazy! If I can point to a single inspiration, it would be my hometown of Niagara Falls, Ontario. I’d never written about the place where I grew up, and it was interesting to sift through all the sensory memories of train whistles, sumac, and waterfall mist, all those things I haven’t thought about much since I left.

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

I have so many favorite scenes in this book! One of them is the moment when Annabeth’s cousin Ava, to whom she’s barely spoken in years, meets her at the Greyhound station. When Annabeth was younger, Ava told her a terrible secret that left Annabeth deeply traumatized. Now, Ava becomes the older sister Annabeth never had—she really redeems herself, and that makes me so happy.

Another favorite scene is when Annabeth goes to the Curiosity Museum to look at the lithopedion on the day she finds out she’s pregnant. There’s a wistfulness about it—wishing for this magical solution, and simultaneously knowing that the museum is about to close, and she has to go back out into the snow.

As to the first question—every scene in this book was hard to write. Every single one! That’s why I basically fell down in exhaustion when the manuscript was finished.

What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?

Anything by Sarah McCarry; anything by Loren Eiseley; anything by Rumi or Hafiz; anything by Janet Frame.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

Writing this book forced me to confront a lot of anger—anger about gender, anger about the destruction of the natural world, anger about our culture in general. It was scary for me to feel so much anger. And scary to write about it. Even though the YA shelves are filled with dystopias, there aren’t a lot of YA novels that address the rage and sorrow of the industrialized society we live in right now. It’s no accident that Annabeth’s highschool in A SENSE OF THE INFINITE is located at an intersection across from a Burger King, an EasyCuts hair salon, and a funeral parlor. These are the things we’ve decided are important; these are the things for which we bulldoze forests, fight oil wars, and destroy native cultures. Are they worth it? Hmmmmm.

So yes, I figured out I was angry. And the challenge was to hammer that anger until it shone.

What do you hope readers will take away from A SENSE OF THE INFINITE?

I have the same goal for all my books—to leave readers feeling hopeful and less alone. Often we have feelings or instincts we can hardly name, and the right book can help us clarify those instincts and gain confidence in them. I know there are readers out there who are having the same struggles and questions as the characters in A SENSE OF THE INFINITE, and this is my way of saying, “You’re OK.”

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

Rumi says it best: “Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.”

ABOUT THE BOOK

A Sense of the Infiniteby Hilary T. Smith
Hardcover
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 5/19/2015

By the author of the critically acclaimed Wild Awake, a beautiful coming-of-age story about deep friendship, the weight of secrets, and the healing power of nature.

It's senior year of high school, and Annabeth is ready—ready for everything she and her best friend, Noe, have been planning and dreaming. But there are some things Annabeth isn't prepared for, like the constant presence of Noe's new boyfriend. Like how her relationship with her mom is wearing and fraying. And like the way the secret she's been keeping hidden deep inside her for years has started clawing at her insides, making it hard to eat or even breathe.

But most especially, she isn't prepared to lose Noe.

For years, Noe has anchored Annabeth and set their joint path. Now Noe is drifting in another direction, making new plans and dreams that don't involve Annabeth. Without Noe's constant companionship, Annabeth's world begins to crumble. But as a chain of events pulls Annabeth further and further away from Noe, she finds herself closer and closer to discovering who she's really meant to be—with her best friend or without.

Hilary T. Smith's second novel is a gorgeously written meditation on identity, loss, and the bonds of friendship.

Purchase A Sense of the Infinite at Amazon
Purchase A Sense of the Infinite at IndieBound
View A Sense of the Infinite on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hilary T. Smith lives in Portland, Oregon, where she studies North Indian classical music and works on native plant restoration. She is the author of Wild Awake.







What did you think of our interview with Hilary T. Smith, author of A SENSE OF INFINITE? Let us know in the comments!

Happy reading,


Martina, Jocelyn, Shelly, Jan, Lisa, Susan, and Erin

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49. Thank You God

धन्यवाद
हे प्रभु
इतना अपनापन दिया आपने
हमने आपको
आप नही “तू” का दिया सम्बोधन
धन्यवाद हे प्रभु
तुमने जो स्रष्टि रची
फल,फूल, पौधो का दिया
नायाब उपहार
धन्यवाद हे प्रभु
तेरे उस प्रतिबिम्ब के लिए
जो तूने धरा को दिया
“नारी” के रुप मे तूने
अपनी कमी को पूरा कर दिया
धन्यवाद हे नारी !!!
कभी मां कभी बहन
कभी सच्ची दोस्त बन कर
तो कभी विदा होती बेटी बन नम कर जाती नयन
साहसी है पर भावुक क्षणो मे कमजोर भी है
पर तू ताकत है इंसा की
क्योकि
प्रतिबिम्ब है तू उस अनंत अपार का
इसलिए
धन्यवाद,हे प्रभु तेरी इस अमूल्य सरंचना का
अमूल्य उपहार का …!!!

मोनिका

The post Thank You God appeared first on Monica Gupta.

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50. Two Happy Birthdays To Two Wonderful Writers

Today, May 23, is the birthday of Sean Williams, Aussie speculative fiction writer:

Publicity pic, seanwilliams.com

and the wonderful British children's/YA novelist Susan Cooper:

Profile pic from Goodreads


Both of them are massive bestsellers and both deserve it!

I must admit, I discovered Susan Cooper a long time before I had heard of Sean Williams. I stumbled on the first couple of novels in a series that became known as The Dark Is Rising, based on the title of the second book in the series, in which the young hero, Will Stanton, the seventh son of a seventh son, finds out on his eleventh birthday that he is the last of the Old Ones, destined to fight for the Light against the Dark, at the side of a Professor Merriman Lyon (yeah, he's Merlin). The sheer power and beauty of this novel has made it a classic. The author was already living in the US when she wrote it, but it's very British, based on the Buckinghamshire she remembered. Unfortunately, someone decided to make a dreadful movie out of it and I wasted a whole morning and $17 on seeing it. When it came out on DVD I refused to buy it even discounted.  But the book and the series were amazing and you wouldn't think she could continue to write wonderful books, but she has - The Boggart(a Canadian family bring home a desk from a Scottish castle and there's a boggart asleep in a drawer, poor thing!), King Of Shadows(American boy actor finds himself in Shakespeare's London), most recently Ghost Hawk, set in the part of the US where the author now lives, historical fiction and fantasy combined in a gorgeous story.

I remember writing her a fan letter, back in the days when you could do that by looking through a book of modern children's writers, which had postal addresses, and getting a reply. But when she came out here for a library conference in Hobart, I found myself tongue-tied, like the other teacher-librarians there - a bunch of fan-girls we all were!

I have  read and loved some of Sean Williams' short speculative fiction over the years, but more recently, I've had a chance to read his Trouble-Twisters series for children, written with Garth Nix, and great fun they are too, with children who have special powers that aren't always convenient. It's interesting to see how many SF writers have become very good children's and YA novelists in recent years. Sean Williams is an international bestseller who, like many other Australian writers, doesn't mind writing for local small press, which has published entire books of his short fiction over the years, and he had a story in an early issue of ASIM. 

Anyway, happy birthday, Sean and Susan! May your pens never dry up!


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