Tag Archives: Spirit of Destruction

Review of HOOD by Evan Pickering

I don’t usually read a lot of dystopian thrillers, but I heard about it from a friend and picked it up. I really enjoyed the book – the characters are interesting and well developed, and as the reader, you can really feel their plight. I especially liked the moral gray area that the author explores. What would you be willing to do to save your family? 

Although the setting of the book is incredibly dark and scary,  the author does a good job of lightening up the plot with occasional bits of humor. Overall it was a great read and I’m looking forward to the sequel!

HOOD by Evan Pickering is available on Amazon at http://smarturl.it/Hood.

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Learn more about me at my website www.pujaguha.com.
Sign up for my newsletter to learn about new releases, contests and more! http://bitly.com/1sIlG3h

My books –

Spy thriller AHRIMAN: THE SPIRIT OF DESTRUCTION (Book I of The Ahriman Legacy) is available as an ebook at and a paperback at Amazon.com. http://smarturl.it/ahrimanIntl

Family drama THE CONFLUENCE is available as an ebook at and a paperback at Amazon.com. http://smarturl.it/Confluence.

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Baking #GBBO recipes – Cob loaf

I recently discovered the Great British Bake Off. I binge watched the first season on Netflix in less than a week and have devoured all of the episodes available on Youtube.

I first got into baking with my good friend Mollie. She’s an expert baker and a little of her passion rubbed off on me, which led to baking the occasional cake for friends’ dinner or birthday parties. Watching the show amped up that passion to the nth degree and I came up with an idea: My plan is to bake every recipe released from the show, starting with the first season at http://british-bakers.com/the-great-british-bake-off-series-1-recipes/. I’m excited about trying it all out, including stuff that I could never fathom making like macaroons, souffles, and all kinds of bread, and learning from the successes and failures that come out of that process. Baking is definitely a way for me to create, relieve stress, and have a great time doing it.

I kicked it off by trying out Paul Hollywood’s cob recipe – a basic white bread loaf http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/paul_hollywoods_crusty_83536. The first time turned out okay, but it didn’t rise enough. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of it, but I’ve reattempted it a couple of times.

The second time turned out much better, but I forgot to make the slashes and put steam in the oven.

cob-1

Third time was the charm a couple of days later. The loaf looked a lot more like a regular boule. The crust was crispy and it tasted amazing. I’m still having trouble with shaping the loaves though. Youtube videos make it look so easy but my loaves still tend to go both outward and upwards. Hopefully that will abate as I get more experienced working with bread dough. I could just start using a tin to shape the loaves, but I want to actually learn how to do it.

cob-2

Since I had some pretty good success with this basic white bread boule, my plan is to try some other shapes and then start mixing up the different recipes, with some new fillings. So here it goes today with a basic bloomer or oval shape. My first shot at shaping it flopped as it oozed outward all over the plate. I knocked the dough back again and reshaped it twice. The final product isn’t bad, although I think that I should have let the dough rise a little bit longer.

bloomer

Any feedback or comments? I would love to hear them!

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Learn more about me at my website www.pujaguha.com.
Sign up for my newsletter to learn about new releases, contests and more! http://bitly.com/1sIlG3h

My books –

Spy thriller AHRIMAN: THE SPIRIT OF DESTRUCTION (Book I of The Ahriman Legacy) is available as an ebook at and a paperback at Amazon.com. http://hyperurl.co/ahriman.

Family drama THE CONFLUENCE is available as an ebook at and a paperback at Amazon.com. http://bit.ly/ConfluenceIntl.

 

Back to blogging

After a couple weeks off while I was traveling in Kuwait, I’m back home for the holiday season and settling back into my blogging schedule. It’s been a tough transition back from vacation to work, especially given that it’s the start of the holiday season. In a way this is a huge luxury. With the reduced pressure of deadlines, I can relax for a few days before returning to work and writing.

The extra time around the holiday season gives me time to reflect and get my “house” in order. Today I spent a couple of hours going through clothes in my wardrobe and discarding a number that I haven’t worn in ages. My kitchen has never been cleaner – at least not on a regular basis, especially when I’ve been cooking regularly. My husband and I have tackled a couple of home projects and there are a couple more in the works that we hope to have done by the end of the holiday season.  I only hope we can get everything done. I would love to have those things out of the way so that all I have to focus on in January is my writing and other deadlines.

Regardless, the holiday season is a wonderful time to appreciate what’s most important. Time with family and friends, time for relaxation and a bit of indulgence, and time to catch up on sleep and recuperate for the New Year. I’m excited about what it will bring and my upcoming projects.

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Learn more about me at my website www.pujaguha.com.
Sign up for my newsletter for a free ebook, contests and more! http://bitly.com/1sIlG3h

My first novel AHRIMAN: THE SPIRIT OF DESTRUCTION (Book I of The Ahriman Legacy) is available as an ebook at and a paperback at Amazon.com. http://hyperurl.co/ahriman.

Humanity heading in the right direction?

A friend of mine posted a great picture from a couple of days ago that made me smile.

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My husband and I were celebrating our marriage with family and friends in Kuwait where I grew up. We had an amazing time with people who’ve seen me since I was a little kid, eating, dancing, and enjoying the atmosphere of a farm in Kuwait. Hard to believe, but yes they do exist.

The caption my friend put to this picture was: “A Chinese-American living in Singapore celebrating an Indian-Irish wedding in Kuwait. Tell me humanity isn’t heading in the right direction…”

That statement really made me smile. What a great way to sum up the occasion? We are so lucky that society is moving in a direction where situations like this will seem more and more usual. Thank you to our family and friends for being so warm and welcoming! I can’t wait to see this happening more and more.

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Learn more about me at my website www.pujaguha.com.
Sign up for my newsletter for a free ebook, contests and more! http://bitly.com/1sIlG3h

My first novel AHRIMAN: THE SPIRIT OF DESTRUCTION (Book I of The Ahriman Legacy) is available as an ebook at and a paperback at Amazon.com. http://hyperurl.co/ahriman.
99 cents sale from November 26 to December 12. Please help me spread the word!

The importance of vacation and rest

For the last few months, I’ve been hankering for a vacation. Not the kind with a lot of activity where you have enriching cultural experiences. Not the kind where you see lots of great people but have to be completely “on” to interact with them. What I’ve been dreaming of is a vacation where all I do is sit around, read, watch some movies, and spend time with my husband.

That isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy or seek out the other two types of vacations. I had a wonderful trip in Europe which fell into both of those categories. I traipsed from Paris to London to Hamburg to East Germany and had an amazing time. I just didn’t come back from the trip feeling rested. When I first got back, that didn’t matter much, but now, a few months later, I feel as if I’m hitting the wall. There’s only so many more days that I can push through and even small setbacks have been hitting me as if they were major ones. After one such occurrence on Friday, I sat back and analyzed the situation once I’d calmed down. Why was such a small thing bothering me so much? The answer is simple. I need a break. One where I can completely switch off. Without that, I’m going to hit the wall again and again.

I’ve known this for a while, but my plan was to keep up the momentum until Christmas when I would take my break. That isn’t that far away so I didn’t expect it to be an issue. This weekend I discovered that I could push no further. So I gave in and took a day off. I slept in today and relaxed. I did a few errands but nothing major. Now that the day is almost over, I can already feel my mental juices starting to recover. Unfortunately I can’t afford to take a whole week off at the moment, but just the one day has left me feeling more refreshed and much more likely to be able to push through to Christmas. I’m going to need that energy!

Starting on Wednesday I will be putting my book AHRIMAN: THE SPIRIT OF DESTRUCTION (http://amzn.to/1rJjjb0) on sale for 99 cents.  I’ll keep it at the discounted price for 2 weeks and then raise the price to $3.99 after December 12. I’ve been contacting people around to let them know about the sale, but if you have any ideas, I would really appreciate the help. Thank you in advance!

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Learn more about me at my website www.pujaguha.com.
Sign up for my newsletter for a free ebook, contests and more! http://bitly.com/1sIlG3h

My first novel AHRIMAN: THE SPIRIT OF DESTRUCTION (Book I of The Ahriman Legacy) is available as an ebook at and a paperback at Amazon.com. http://amzn.to/1rJjjb0.
99 cents sale from November 26 to December 12. Please help me spread the word!

The best thing about being a writer

One of the Goodreads author prompt questions is: “What’s the best thing about being a writer?”

I took it upon myself to answer it today. There are a lot of things I like about being a writer. I love creating new settings and characters. When I write, my imagination can go wild and I get to see what happens between all of the characters. Often what happens as I write is very different from what I expected. For each first draft, I don’t outline at all – I just start typing at my computer and see where the characters take me. Seeing where a story takes me is definitely one of my favorite things about being a writer.

When I was working on the first draft of Ahriman: The Spirit of Destruction, what surprised me the most was the role of the character Grant. He starts out as the boyfriend of the protagonist Petra Shirazi. I imagined him as a minor character but as the story developed he became increasingly important. Originally I’d named the character after a friend of mine but when my boyfriend (now husband) read the book – he reacted to the character name. “Why is her boyfriend named X?”

The comment took me by surprise so I ended up changing the name. None of the characters are modeled after people I know, although they do have bits and stories that I’ve adapted from real life into the story. Which brings me to what I consider the best thing about being a writer. Seeing your book in print. The concrete impact of your time in solid form.

That still gets me every time I pick up a print copy of my published book. I  only hope that I feel just as excited every time I publish a new one. I never want to lose that feeling of surreal excitement.

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Learn more about me at my website www.pujaguha.com.
Sign up for my newsletter for a free ebook, contests and more! http://bitly.com/1sIlG3h

My first novel AHRIMAN: THE SPIRIT OF DESTRUCTION (Book I of The Ahriman Legacy) is available as an ebook at all major retailers and a paperback at Amazon.com. http://amzn.to/1rJjjb0.

My first critic review

A couple of days ago, the email arrived in my inbox. My stomach was doing somersaults as I went to open it — to read my first critic review from the US Review of Books. A second later the text was open in front of me and I skimmed through it.

The first paragraph ran through the plot of my novel and the second paragraph got into the meat of things (included below). When I got to the last sentence I stood up and announced it to my husband who’d just returned from the gym. We had a mini dance party in my living room.

Afterward, I could barely focus as I continued to edit my second book, a family drama that takes place in Sudan. All I wanted to do was keep dancing around and celebrating. In that moment of exhilaration, I had to remind myself that while celebration is important, what supersedes it is the time and work that I put into writing everyday. As soon as I remembered that, it hit me like a sledgehammer. Since people seem to like my first book, what if I couldn’t replicate that in my second? Authors strive to continually improve – to always write something that is better that the book before. Now that I’m out in the ring for that fight, the thought made me shiver. Would I be able to keep up with that?

I’ve noticed this cycle happens in my psyche every few days. Sometimes I’m really happy about where I am, but other times, I’m afraid of taking another step. But not pursuing my writing scares me more, so I can never go back. I just have to recognize the cycles and ride them out. They are after all, natural human emotions. The upswing and subsequent return to reality that I felt after I got my review was just another example of that.

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I’ve included the text of the review here.

Inspired by great modern thriller writers like Grisham and Clancy, the author assembles an amazing action-packed narrative here that moves at the perfect pace throughout. Telling its tale in a disjointed chronological order, the audience learns everything necessary at the right time to keep the intrigue high and the story moving brilliantly along. For many readers, this book will prove to be one of the hardest to put down in some time. Fans of spy fiction, political intrigue, and real adventure will want to get in on this series’ ground floor in order to anticipate further outings with these characters. More than just a showcase for cool gadgets or smooth talking, this book shines among the genre simply through superb storytelling.” – The US Review of Books (reviewed by Michael Radon)

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Learn more about me at my website www.pujaguha.com.
Sign up for my newsletter for a free ebook, contests and more! http://bitly.com/1sIlG3h

My first novel AHRIMAN: THE SPIRIT OF DESTRUCTION (Book I of The Ahriman Legacy) is available as an ebook at all major retailers and a paperback at Amazon.com. http://amzn.to/1rJjjb0.