Archive for February 15th, 2016

Vasudev Murthy Final - CMYKVasudev Murthy lives in Bangalore, India and writes on music, humor, management and crime. He has been published by Poisoned Pen Press, Bloomsbury, HarperCollins and Sage. His work has been translated into Portuguese, Korean, Japanese and Kannada. He is otherwise a Management Consultant and violinist with a passion for animal welfare.

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Sherlock Holmes, the Missing Years: Timbuktu. To begin with, can you give us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it?
A: In the Sherlock Holmes Canon (the compendium of stories), there is a period between 1891 and 1894 that’s called the Missing Years. This is a period where Arthur Conan Doyle stopped writing after killing off Holmes at Reichenbach Falls. He resurfaced in 1894 in the story – The Empty House. There is considerable conjecture about where he might have been in the interim.

My first book about this was Sherlock Holmes, the Missing Years: Japan, where I claimed that he was in Japan. In this book, encouraged by my excellent editor, Barbara Peters, I placed him in a mystery in Timbuktu, or more correctly in Africa, with the center point being Timbuktu.

Q: What do you think makes a good thriller. Could you narrow it down to the three most important elements? Is it even possible to narrow it down?
A: This is only my view, of course. I think it’s the following:
1. An unpredictable plot
2. Finally etched characters one can visualize as someone in flesh and blood
3. A sense of closure – because we need to feel that good finally prevails over evil.

9781464204524_FCQ: How did you go about plotting your story? Or did you discover it as you worked on the book?
A: I have the key milestones more or less ready when I start writing. But since this kind of book involves a great deal of complicated historical research, I do face the challenge or temptation of trying to incorporate something I discover along the way. An occasional rewrite is needed. An example of that might be the very interesting story of the Cathars of France, the details of which I used in my Timbuktu story.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist and how you developed him or her. Did you do any character interviews or sketches prior to the actual writing?
A: In my case, I have a different challenge. The protagonist, Sherlock Holmes, has already been sketched well and is often known to the reader before the book has been opened. That means I need to constantly adhere to the expectation of the user. But yet, it would be quite boring to have exactly the same persona unchanged since 1891. A little variation is needed – both to Sherlock as well as to the expected story line.

Q: In the same light, how did you create your antagonist or villain? What steps did you take to make him or her realistic?
A: I think there are no true villains. Moriarty has, of course, an aura of utter villainy, but his is a character that must not be exposed too much. Other villains in this book remain hidden for extended periods, and then surface. The villainy comes from the expression of extreme views, a certain contemptuous cold-bloodedness. And yet, a villain might show sparks of being a normal human being – you can’t expect him to be nasty 24 x 7.

Q: How did you keep your narrative exciting throughout the novel? Could you offer some practical, specific tips?
A: A chapter must end with an unresolved situation, usually via a completely unexpected event. You can keep the suspense going by refusing to proceed in a linear manner. In other words, you can help in delayed gratification. I think conversation, usually clipped, adds spice and creates a sense of involvement.

Q: Setting is also quite important and in many cases it becomes like a character itself. What tools of the trade did you use in your writing to bring the setting to life?
A: A historical novel must refer correctly to events in history and make the characters appear to be involved in them. Then the physical setting is also needed – the desert, the sea, the heat – we need to talk about this because it affects our characters. In this novel, I have done exactly that.

Q: Did you know the theme(s) of your novel from the start or is this something you discovered after completing the first draft? Is this theme(s) recurrent in your other work?
A: I did have an approximate plot but things did change along the way as I uncovered new historical facts. And no, this is a unique theme and does not recur. At best, I might say that both novels have travel intrinsic to the plot.

Q: Where does craft end and art begin? Do you think editing can destroy the initial creative thrust of an author?
A: What we do is assemble some clumsy blobs of writing. It comes to life in the hands of an editor who you trust and whose motives are quite sincere. I hope that answers both questions. I am not in agreement with the notion that a writer has descended from the heavens as a supremely gifted angel.

Q: What three things, in your opinion, make a successful novelist?
A: Stamina – to write and revise. A thick skin – to ignore pointless criticism and an apparently indifferent market. Interpersonal communication – learning how to ask for opinions in the right way and allowing others to feel part of the writing process; they would then be your book’s ambassadors.

Q: A famous writer once wrote that being an author is like having to do homework for the rest of your life. What do you think about that?
A: I don’t understand the question and will respectfully pass.

Q: Are there any resources, books, workshops or sites about craft that you’ve found helpful during your writing career?
A: Not really. It changes constantly. In this specific case, it was always useful to refer to the original stories to remind myself of the tone and language of the era.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers about the craft of writing?
A: I think writing in different genres is stimulating. Writing in only one genre is likely to make your writing predictable, though it may garner a loyal set of fans who become fanatical about imaginary characters.

Read Full Post »

Inside the Book

Reflective LeadersTitle: Reflective Leaders and High-Performance Organizations

Author: Nick A. Shepherd and Peter J. Smyth

Publisher: iUniverse

Genre: Business and Economics

Format: Ebook/Paperback

An organization operating in the twenty-first century is different from one that operated during the Industrial Revolution. Today’s focus is on optimizing human potential; people are the enablers of most aspects of intangible value. People develop relationships with suppliers, customers, distributors, and other third parties through which work is executed. In Reflective Leaders and High-Performance Organizations, authors Nick Shepherd and Peter Smyth take an integrated view of organizational performance that blends a focus on both outcomes and relationships.

Reflective Leaders and High-Performance Organizations suggests a framework for developing and applying an improved approach to organizational leadership and management. In addition to philosophy and conceptual approaches, it presents tested practical tools and direction. It also delivers case studies of organizations that have applied Shepherd’s and Smyth’s ideas and realized measurable improvements in the day-to-day activities of the organization, along with measurably improved outcomes from the organizational activity.

Using over twenty years of practical consulting experience as well as careers in management, Shepherd and Smyth demonstrate how effective leaders can maintain a focus on organizational tasks and outcomes and do this while building and enhancing human relationships.

Reflective Leaders and High-Performance Organizations is available for order at

Guest Post

“My boss is such a moron – she only occasionally listens to what I have to say and even then seems to ignore my ideas.” Sound familiar? While we may not have uttered the words directly it is quite possible that we may have heard it from others. How true is it?

The reality is that many people get promoted into leadership positions – not on their ability to lead but on their ability to get the job done. Yet once in a leadership position they often come to realize that they rise or fall based not on their own efforts but on the work of others; the result can be that they constantly hound their staff for results – thinking that is their job. Yet this creates dissention, unhappiness and an overall loss of morale.

What do effective managers do? In our book “Reflective Leaders and High-Performance Organizations” we share ideas developed over 25 years of working with individuals and groups. We describe how effective leaders must start by understanding their own personality and behavior and how this seen by others. Many of us see ourselves in a different way than others see us – and are surprised when we receive feedback that fails to match our own perceptions of ourselves. What “I think about myself” in my reality but unfortunately it may not be the reality of others!

Effective leaders learn to “look in the mirror” so as to start understanding how they are seen by others and how that determines how others respond to them. So to be an effective leader starts with the willingness to:

a. Have an open mind about opportunity for personal improvement;
b. Be willing to receive feedback from others in a “non-defensive” way, and
c. Be willing to take the feedback, learn from it and seek ways to improve.

People who are placed in leadership positions hold both the success of a department or an organization in their hands. It is almost a “sacred trust.” They have the potential to grow and develop other people in a way that maximizes their potential and brings the greatest benefit individually and organizationally. This is a critically important opportunity – there are no successful organizations only successful people – and successful people are encouraged and developed by effective leaders.

Meet the Author

Nick A. Shepherd has more than forty years of business experience. Since 1989, he has owned the management-consulting and professional-development company, EduVision Inc., which provides management-consulting and development services to public and private sector organizations.

Peter J. Smyth has over thirty-five years of experience in the fields of adult education and organizational consultation, counseling, psychology, social work, and mental health. He holds numerous qualifications in the areas of teamwork, leadership, coaching, emotional intelligence, and personal and organizational assessment.

Shepherd and Smyth have worked together for over twenty-five years facilitating workshops and helping clients enhance their teams and leadership capabilities.

Read Full Post »

 Viral Justice Book Banner

Inside the Book:

Title: Viral Justice
Author: Julie Rowe
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Format: Ecopy

As a general’s daughter, Alicia Stone has fought twice as hard for everything she’s earned in the military. A Special Forces consultant with black belts in three martial arts, she’s as strong as her surname implies. No one dares call her Alicia—no one but Colonel Robert Maxmillian, head of the Biological Response Team.

With Alicia at his side, Max must lead the team into northern Iraq to investigate a virus—or is it a weapon—killing the area’s population. Charged with guarding his body, she can’t help wanting his hands on her body. Max would be the perfect fling. But he demands more.

The heat builds between them, but danger quickly follows. As the two get closer to the source of the virus, they’ll have to risk their future to outsmart a scientist with nothing to lose.


 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpgB&N

Meet the Author

Julie Rowe
Julie Rowe’s first career as a medical lab technologist in Canada took her to the North West Territories and northern Alberta, where she still resides. She loves to include medical details in her romance novels, but admits she’ll never be able to write about all her medical experiences because, “No one would believe them!”.
In addition to writing contemporary and historical medical romance, and fun romantic suspense for Entangled Publishing and Carina Press, Julie has short stories in Fool’s Gold, the Mammoth Book of ER Romance, Timeless Keepsakes and Timeless Escapes anthologies. Her book SAVING THE RIFLEMAN (book #1 WAR GIRLS) won the novella category of the 2013 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. AIDING THE ENEMY (book #3 WAR GIRLS) won the novella category of the 2014 Colorado Romance Writer’s Award of Excellence. Her writing has also appeared in several magazines such as Romantic Times Magazine, Today’s Parent, and Canadian Living.
You can reach Julie at http://www.julieroweauthor.com , on Twitter @julieroweauthor or at her Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/JulieRoweAuthor

facebook (2)


Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: