Q and A with D.G. Kaye Featuring Author Lisa Thomson – The Wine Diaries

Welcome to Q and A with D.G. Kaye interview series. Today I’m happy to introduce here, friend and fellow Canadian author, Lisa Thomson. Lisa is mostly a nonfiction writer who shares lots of herself and her anecdotes and empowering advice for women going through divorce. But her teachings, in conversational writing, invite anyone to read her wisdoms as she has lots of life experience to offer. And her teachings can easily be applied to any kind of loss in life. Let’s get on with the show!


Lisa Thomson


About Lisa:

Lisa’s passion for writing began during her divorce and has blossomed into more
creative pursuit without losing that drive to help others. Her two self-help books,
The great Escape; A Girl’s Guide To Leaving a Marriage and A divorce Companion,
help economically-dependent women going through divorce.

Hearts Unbroken-short stories, is her first published fiction. A collection of stories
featuring characters facing tough decisions. Finding love, losing it, and remaining
faithful to their hearts, these characters will show you the power of love.

Lisa’s new release, The Wine Diaries: Musings on Divorce Paired With Wine, is a
collection of personal stories surrounding the author’s divorce journey and
ensuing life lessons. Each diary entry is paired with a wine that suits the mood and
emotions in the writing. This lovely collection of stories will inspire anyone going
through divorce or a dramatic life change. The reader is encouraged to write in
their own diary with writing prompts at the end of each essay. A decidedly
hopeful book, viewing the glass as half full. Wine therapy included!

Lisa resides in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She was featured in “B.C.
Book World News” as an Indie author to watch. This mom of 3 can be found
practicing Yoga, painting, and junk journaling when she is not wine tasting or




The Wine Diaries is sure to please those who love to snoop in someone’s diary. If you are navigating divorce or unexpected life changes, this essay collection is bound to comfort and satisfy. With each diary entry paired with a wine suggestion, you will remain quenched in heart, mind and palate. Grab your wine glass and join Lisa for a virtual wine tour of the heart.


Now let’s get to know Lisa a little better:


How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite of your books and if so, why?

I’ve written four books. It’s hard to choose a favorite (kind of like choosing a
favorite child). If pressed, my first book, The Great Escape: A Girl’s Guide To
Leaving a Marriage, would be my favorite. It’s my original divorce self-help guide,
and memoir style book written for economically dependent women. The sweat
and tears I put into it, plus, the fact that it almost didn’t see the light of day makes
it even more special to me.

D.G. – I can empathize with your gruel Lis.


Do you have a difficult time choosing titles for your books? How do you choose your titles?

Not really. I have almost always chosen the title before writing the actual book.
The titles pop into my head shortly after the book idea itself. There was one
exception though, where my working title did not end up being the official title.
The Icing on The Cake: Short Stories became Hearts Unbroken: Short Stories.

Amazon search engines will sometimes have us re-think our working titles, right?
The Icing on The Cake came up with cookbooks. This would be misleading for my
target audience. Nevertheless, I love a good working title. I can’t get motivated on
a manuscript if it hasn’t got a great title. For example, current WIP’s on my shelf;
Borderline Hysterical, Polarized and Daughter of the Moon. I love all of these titles
but they may eventually change, of course.

D.G. – A lot like me Lis. I’ve always had a knack for titles and headlines. Maybe it comes easier for nonfiction writers?


Do your books have messages in them? If so, what are the messages you feel are well received by your readers?

Yes. Female empowerment. Coming out of the fire of divorce, healing after break
ups or major losses, and love wins in the end. Even my fiction carries that same

D.G. – As one who has read some of your books, I will confirm that!


Is there a particular time period in your life that has influenced your writing most?

Definitely. My divorce had a major impact on me emotionally and physically. But
it wasn’t all negative. There were plenty of positive results and learning
experiences that have propelled my writing.

D.G. – I think it’s great that you summoned the courage to share your own experiences to help others.


Do you agree with the general consensus that writers are loners?

Not exactly. I mean, we have to get ‘out there’ to get ideas. I believe most writers
have extremely exuberant personalities. Think of Hemingway. He was famous for
partying and enjoying the company of other writers. Sure, it created competition
between him and his buddies but I doubt we would have A Moveable Feast if he
was truly a loner. I could go on with examples but suffice to say I think it’s a myth.

Of course, us writers need some down time to do our thinking, brain storming and
cerebral work. That’s not something non-creatives necessarily require. When
we’re staring into space, we’re using our minds…some people find this hard to
believe. Let’s keep them guessing!

D.G. – Lol so true. Nobody knows what lurks in our minds as we sit in silence. A writer’s mind is never silent!


Do you edit and proofread your own work solely or do you hire an editor?

I always hire an editor. It’s crucial in my opinion. I’ll add, too, that having beta
readers is also an effective way to get feedback and make improvements on your
stories. After the professional editing though, there is still a tremendous amount
of work to do. When it comes down to the final draft, your instincts will
sometimes override suggestions. Keeping your voice and original purpose in your
book is key.

D.G. – I agree 100%. It’s essential we keep our voice recognizable.


If you could have any of your books made into a movie, which one would you choose and why?

I love this question! Borderline Hysterical (still a WIP) was originally drafted up on
a spoof to shed light on how ridiculous the divorce process can be. I dreamed of it
being an HBO series. Haha!

I would love to see one of my short stories from Hearts Unbroken, made into a
Hallmark movie. Does that sound silly?

In “Sarah’s Decision”, the MC takes a road trip to deal with her growing
uncertainty of her marriage. What happens along the way is a quiet recognition of
what’s missing in her life. Meeting random people, eating at diners, taking a rest
at a cemetery…all lead her to come to a conclusion and finally lose her constant
companion of regret. It has all the ingredients for a Hallmark film; young woman
on the brink, looking for love, pies, and a road trip.

D.G. – Well, I for one would definitely be watching. I really think your divorce stories could actually make a great HBO series!


Can you tell us about your new release, The Wine Diaries?

Well, it’s my most personal book to date. I share experiences related to my
divorce and how I got there. Where my journey to separation began and how I
knew when my marriage was over. In addition, I write about some of the signs
that I ignored during my marriage.

I almost didn’t publish this one out of fear. My fear was that of being vulnerable.
I’m putting my life out there even more than I did in my first book. I spent many a
night contemplating the pros and cons of publishing this book. In the end,
obviously, publishing won out. Ultimately, I hope to help those who are going
through divorce right now, or perhaps in an unhappy marriage or relationship.
Also, I believe this book will help people going through a major loss or life
change…because the emotions involved in these scenarios are very similar.

The best part of this book is the wine, of course. While we deal with some heavy
topics, we pair each one with a suitable wine. As I explain in the introduction,
wine is a tonic to our difficulties in life. Enjoyed responsibly, wine can act as a
stress reducer and a be a lovely evening ritual.

D.G. – I am looking so forward to reading!


Find Lisa at these Gin Joints:

Her website https://www.lisathomsonlive.com/blog

Amazon Author page https://amzn.to/33oDEwQ

Twitter https://twitter.com/lisalisathom


© D.G. Kaye and DGKayewriter.com, 2014 – 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to D.G. Kaye


Q and A with D.G. Kaye – Featuring Damyanti Biswas

Welcome to the first of my November interviews. Today I’m happy to be featuring Damyanti Biswas. Damyanti has an impressive resume. She is author of the newly released and gripping crime novel – You Beneath Your Skin, which I just finished reading and will be reviewing next week. Damyanti is also the creator of the We are the World Blogfest – #WATWB, where writers contribute by posting something good going on in the world to deflect from the negativity, on the last Friday of each month. Please read on to learn more about Damyanti and the projects and organizations she supports, which led to the writing of the book.


Author Damyanti Biswas


About the author:

Damyanti Biswas lives in Singapore, and supports Delhi’s underprivileged women and children, volunteering with organisations who work for this cause. Her short stories have been published in magazines in the US, UK, and Asia, and she helps edit the Forge Literary Magazine.

Damyanti Biswas volunteers for the non-profits, Project WHY and Stop Acid Attacks. She speaks passionately on the subjects of gender, violence, and poverty.

The narrative of Damyanti’s new novel, You Beneath Your Skin (Simon and Schuster) releasing this September, has been shaped by her years of interaction with women and children in these two organisations. Using a framework of a crime thriller, she conjures in this book an authentic portrayal of poverty, misogyny, and political corruption. A woman from Delhi upper classes suffers an acid attack, and this case is investigated amid the backdrop of a crime spree. Unclad bodies of slum women are found stuffed in trash bags, their faces disfigured with acid.

Project WHY’s journey began in 2000 with 40 children who wanted to learn spoken English and a handful of volunteers. Over the years, as the number of children increased, their demands multiplied, new teachers were discovered within tiny jhuggis and lanes, and ad-hoc classrooms found. They started their first after-school support programme at Giri Nagar for children coming from underprivileged homes, and today through seven after-school support centres, they reach out to over 1100 children, 200 women and have created 50 job opportunities for people from the community. Their aim is to bridge the education gap for underprivileged children and improve their learning outcomes in a safe environment, as well as life-skills and all-round development for women.

Stop Acid Attacks (SAA) is a campaign against acid violence. This organisation has been actively campaigning for the cause of acid attack survivors by continuously creating dialogue with the political and legal system, to bring about a social change. The survivor of an acid attack requires immediate medical, financial and psychological support on human grounds. But, the judicial procedures in this country do not assure any such intervention or help to the survivor until a court announces it. It is this loophole in the procedure of justice that they work on, by generating immediate medical and final support for the victims and providing them and their families the needed psychological and legal support. Using the visual medium, and engaging with their supporters worldwide through social media and the internet, they aim to sensitise and educate people about the gruesome nature of this crime, and the oppressive injustice of a gender-biased society.

Damyanti’s dedication to both the causes has led her to ensure that her proceeds from the book You Beneath You Skin go to Project Why and Stop Acid Attacks. Earlier drafts of this novel were long-listed for the Mslexia Novel Competition and the Bath Novel Award, and the writing was helped by a grant from the National Arts Council of Singapore. Damyanti’s short stories have been published in anthologies and journals around the world, including Litro, Griffith Review, Bluestem and others. She’s also one of the editors of the Forge Literary magazine.

Her book was launched at the IIC Delhi on the 17th of September, where she was in conversation with well-known journalist Shutapa Paul.

On the 22nd September she was invited to the Odisha Literary Festival to speak on a panel with Ravi Shankar and Kishwar Desai, about crime novels that tackle social issues. She has also attended a panel with Gita Aravamudan, noted journalist, author and feminist where they discussed about crimes against women.




‘Gripping…crime fiction with a difference. This is a novel full of layers and depth, focusing on class and corruption in India with compassion and complexity.’


It’s a dark, smog-choked new Delhi winter. Indian American single mother Anjali Morgan juggles her job as a psychiatrist with caring for her autistic teenage son. She is in a long-standing affair with ambitious police commissioner Jatin Bhatt – an irresistible attraction that could destroy both their lives.

Jatin’s home life is falling apart: his handsome and charming son is not all he appears to be, and his wife has too much on her plate to pay attention to either husband or son. But Jatin refuses to listen to anyone, not even the sister to whom he is deeply attached.

Across the city there is a crime spree: slum women found stuffed in trash bags, faces and bodies disfigured by acid. And as events spiral out of control Anjali is horrifyingly at the centre of it all …

In a sordid world of poverty, misogyny, and political corruption, Jatin must make some hard choices. But what he unearths is only the tip of the iceberg. Together with Anjali he must confront old wounds and uncover long-held secrets before it is too late.

The book has already received a fantastic early praise:

‘Biswas’s masterful You Beneath Your Skin is an intelligent page-turner that mixes a thrilling murder case with a profound psychological and sociological study of contemporary India.’ – David Corbett, award-winning author of The Art of Character

‘You Beneath Your Skin is a gripping tale of murder, corruption and power and their terrifying effects in New Delhi. Highly recommended.’ – Alice Clark-Platts, bestselling author of The Flower Girls

‘Suspenseful and sensitive, with characters negotiating serious issues of society, this crime novel will keep you awake at night!’ – Jo Furniss, bestselling author of All the Little Children and The Trailing Spouse

‘Gripping…crime fiction with a difference. This is a novel full of layers and depth, focusing on class and corruption in India with compassion and complexity.’ – Sanjida Kay, Author of psychological thrillers, Bone by Bone, The Stolen Child, My Mother’s Secret and One Year Later

‘You Beneath Your Skin – beautiful writing, strong characters and a story that will stay with me for a long time. Set in New Delhi, this novel tackles important issues as well as providing a tension-filled read.’- Jacqueline Ward, Bestselling author of Perfect Ten


You Beneath Your Skin is an indubitably disturbing novel. It holds up an ugly mirror to a deeply entrenched misogyny in Indian society that manifests itself all too often in gruesome crimes against women. This decade has been particularly frightening, and 2012 marks a defining moment in it: the heinous gang rape of Jyoti Singh Pandey in a moving bus in Delhi by six men made India sit up and take note.

There was extensive media coverage of the incident and its aftermath (including unprecedented nationwide protests and changes in India’s criminal law); the years that followed also saw a controversial BBC documentary on the subject (India’s Daughter, 2015), and a fine Netflix series in 2019.

The Netflix series – the seven-part Delhi Crime – based on case files, was very much on my mind while reading Damyanti Biswas’s debut novel. For two important reasons: First, at the heart of both is a crime that is particularly savage in its enactment. And second, the police investigation not only unravels a crime but also lays bare the dynamics of a fraught filial relationship – in the series, between a mother and teenage daughter (DCP Vartika Chaturvedi is hell bent on nabbing Pandey’s assailants not only to deliver justice to the victim but also to restore the faith of her own daughter in their city and the law of their country), and in the novel, between a mother and teenage son (psychiatrist Anjali Morgan, an Indian American, settles in Delhi to flee her past in America and has a hard time being a single mother to Nikhil, who has autism).

Mother and son

There is however not one but multiple fraught filial bonds in the novel – between Anjali and Nikhil, between Anjali and Dorothy (her mother), between Jatin and Varun (Anjali’s lover and his son). The most dramatic confrontation scenes are between the latter. But it is Anjali’s relationship with Nikhil that anchors the whole story.

It is difficult not to be moved by it. And by the daily challenge of their lives: The mutual stress, the difficult recalibration of their moods as advised by therapists, the enormous need of one to protect and of the other to be protected, the comparisons with other children that inevitably crop up in parents’ mind, the unpredictable behaviour that the slightest change in routine can provoke in the child… the list is endless. This bond – fierce, all-consuming – established at the very beginning of the novel, falls apart soon after. The rest of novel can be said to be a painful recovery of it.

Too much, too few

Just as there are multiple fractured relationships in the novel, there is also a surfeit of concerns, all radiating from Anjali: A single-mother with a challenged child, having had a traumatic childhood herself, in a long-standing extramarital relationship with a police commissioner (who happens to be both her father’s protégé and her bestie’s brother), sucked into a drug and prostitution dragnet that exposes both the misogyny and corruption of the society she lives in, and the hypocrisies hiding behind social norms. While they are inter-related, each one of these concerns could have had novels unto themselves. Anjali, one can’t help feeling, has just too much to bear!

You Beneath Your Skin is also a novel peopled with many characters and moves fast between different settings (though mostly within Delhi). It is difficult to give space to the exploration of relationships over time in such a scenario – but Biswas does manage to give us effective back stories through deft flashbacks. And for a novel that centres around violence, the most moving scenes, surprisingly, are small intimate moments.

“He hugged her from behind her. She stared at the picture they made, Jatin’s strong arm around her waist, his face on her shoulder, her hair tangled under his chin. She liked that he was so much taller than her five feet nine, and she liked him when he relaxed into her, lost his hard edges.”

‘I like that that you father gave your this love of poetry.’

‘He didn’t give it to me.’ Jatin’s eyes turned wistful. ‘I got it from him. I’m trying to do a better job as a father. Everything he never gave me, I’ll give Varun.’”

Alas, there are too few of these moments.

It is easy for a writer dealing with such an incendiary theme to easily slip into sensationalism, especially while writing in the crime fiction genre – where people expect “action-packed thrillers”, the “thrill” element coming primarily from the peddling of violence and sex. Biswas steers clear of that route with élan – giving us all the necessary details of what it means to be an acid attack victim (from the nature of the chemical through what it does to the skin to the painfully long and complex recovery process), but never allowing it to slide into a “thrill”.

Brutally honest and evolved selves

I really liked the ending of the novel. Both Jatin and Anjali have to own up to themselves and their pasts and cope with their failure as parents – as events spiral out of control and they face the greatest crisis of their lives. It is particularly hard for Jatin, as it is impossible for him to be fair to both his son and his beloved at the same time. He makes a heroic attempt to stand by his principles, but can’t… the residual guilt and sadness gnaws at him even as he tries to start over a new life.

Anjali begins as a vulnerable mother in the novel, but ends as a fiercely honest individual. Accepting life for what it is and embracing her true self.

Biswas manages to be realistic in her ending without giving up on either idealism or hope for the future. That’s a balance hard to achieve – but worth aiming for, both in life and fiction.


Now that you’ve read about some of the spectacular reviews for Damyanti’s new release, let’s delve a little deeper into Damyanti and her writing:


1. Where do your book ideas grow from?

Most of my book ideas grow from characters. You Beneath Your Skin came from Anjali’s character. Who she was, as a professional, as a woman, as a mother, as a daughter, as a friend, a lover. All of that created the rest of the novel—brought the other characters into the picture, made them real for me.

D.G. – As a reader who just finished this book, I can vouch for your making these characters very real!


2. What can you tell us you’ve gained from blogging as an author?

My blog started in 2008 as a way for me to write daily. I kept up the practice, and at the same time, I was fortunate enough to find a community of very supportive bloggers. We visited each other and formed bonds. I took part in challenges, and some of those (like the A to Z Challenge that I helped co-host for a few years) involved writing fiction. I gained readers over the years, and many many good friends. So I really became an author in the process of blogging.

D.G. – That is fascinating, but not surprising, as our blogging community has the most support for our writing.


3. How has writing changed your life?

Writing has made me look inwards. It has taught me reflection, empathy, an appreciation for both the beautiful and not-so-beautiful aspects of life. It gave me the ability to create and inhabit worlds, examine truths, explore various aspects of life, and of course, to try and understand why people do what they do.

D.G. – I couldn’t have said this better myself. 🙂


4. Do you prefer to only read books in your genre?

I read very widely, in many genres. Each kind of book gives different things to its readers. Some provide escape, others provoke thought, yet others provide knowledge. At any given time, I try and keep up with two books, a heavy read and a light one.

D.G. – So funny because I usually do the same – reading 2 books at a time – one heavy and one lighter fare.


5. Do you have any advice you can share for new writers?

This could come across as a bit of a joke, but I’m usually pretty serious when I say this: stay away from writing, get away while there is still a chance!

To those who couldn’t get away and are already consumed by it, there can be no specific advice. We are all different people, coming into writing from different backgrounds. What would be very good advice for me could be bad for you. We can’t all write everyday, or avoid adverbs, or show not tell, or write briefly or elaborately. Each of us have our own voice and must work to find it. We must listen to all advice, but pick what is good for us. The only universal advice for a writer, cliched and futile as it sounds, is to read a lot, write a lot, and trust their own voice.

D.G. – Sound advice indeed!

Damyanti is generously sharing an excerpt of her book:



Anjali Morgan wanted to get hold of Nikhil and smack him. He could have hurt himself jumping out of the moving car.

I told you he’ll be the death of you one day, Mom’s voice played in her ears. You never listen.

‘Get back in the car,’ she yelled at Nikhil, but he’d disappeared, leaving Anjali stranded at the narrow, sloping exit tunnel of the capital’s largest shopping mall. Two drivers honked behind her. She wanted to turn and yell at them but held back. You know better than anyone else he can’t help it.

She needed to clear her head before she spoke to him again. He wouldn’t go far. Deep breaths. She leaned out of the car door and inhaled, only for the petrol fumes to hit her, along with the smog and that dusty smell unique to New Delhi. She forgot it most times, but now she choked on it and coughed.

Anjali stepped out of her car, the yellow overhead lights blinding her for a moment. Five cars now queued up behind hers. The driver in the first car had seen a teenager throw a tantrum in front of his harried mother. He slammed the horn and the rest followed suit. She spotted Nikhil’s gangly form down the slope, cantering away.

‘Madamji.’ A short Nepali guard in a beige uniform hurried up the slope towards her, his whistle shrieking. ‘Yahan parking allowed nahin hai.’

‘I’m sorry.’ Anjali tried to remember the Hindi words, but they’d fled, along with her composure. ‘My son has run away.’

She was about to sprint after Nikhil when the guard overtook her and blocked the way.

‘No parking here.’ He pointed at the cars queuing up behind her. ‘This is “Exit”.’

Down the slope behind the guard, Anjali watched in horror as Nikhil turned into the parking area and disappeared. The cool air of a November evening made her shiver.

‘I need to go get my son. What part of that can’t you understand?’

Anjali loosened the scarf about her neck, parted it from her jacket. In her last therapy session with Nikhil, the two of them had been taught to cup their hands and take deep breaths when in a trying situation. She tried it now, but terror clogged her throat. Her breaths came gasping, short.

‘Big boy only, mil jaega.’ The Nepali guard gestured towards the main road and spoke in a mixture of Hindi and broken English, ‘Make one round and come back. Where will he go?’

How was she to explain to this man that she couldn’t afford to lose sight of Nikhil? By now he might have tripped and fallen down an escalator, screaming like a horror movie hostage, or thrown a fit when a stranger brushed against him in the evening crowd.

‘Move your car.’ Another guard appeared, his eyes trained at her chest instead of her face. ‘You are making jam.’

A supervisor. Making jam, indeed. Strawberry or apricot?

She needed to get past the honking cars, the petrol fumes in the exit tunnel, and this cranky supervisor eyeing her up.

‘Get into car, madam,’ the supervisor continued. ‘Gori memsaab,’ he muttered under his breath in Hindi, ‘samajhti kya hai apne aap ko?’

The sight of a light-skinned, blonde-haired woman, taller and broader than him, had clearly pissed this man off. Twelve years in Delhi and it still got to her. The guard didn’t know she understood his comment: ‘What does she think of herself?’ and the way he chewed on the words ‘gori memsaab’ behind his moustache. White Madam.

She wanted to punch his face, show him what a big ‘white madam’ might do, but that wouldn’t get her any closer to Nikhil. Quite the opposite. Two more guards jogged towards her from the parking lot.

‘I will find him, madamji,’ the Nepali guard spoke up in order to be heard over a renewed spate of honks, ‘you go and come back. I saw him. In black t-shirt and jeans, hai na?’

‘Yes. But please don’t touch him, he gets upset.’

Anjali scrabbled through her bag. ‘Here’s my card. Call me, please, when you find him.’ She dropped it. ‘Sorry!’ she snatched it up again. ‘Oh, his eyes are blue.’

The cars blasted their horns, and the supervisor edged towards her. Anjali stepped back, her hands shaking. Would she lose Nikhil the evening after his fourteenth birthday? She slid back into her car and drove off. Speed-dialling Maya, her landlady and best friend, she crashed her gears. Maya might not have found a taxi near the mall entrance yet. She could help look for Nikhil.

Anjali tried to steady her fingers on the steering wheel. Stuck amidst other cars in the afternoon traffic on Mandir Marg, with bikes edging past her and picking their way to the

front of the congestion, it would take at least another ten minutes to turn back into the mall’s parking lot. She prayed for Maya to find Nikhil before he got into trouble.

Should have checked the child lock on his door, Mom’s voice piped up inside her head. But how was she to know Nikhil would run? No point in worrying about that now—she needed to breathe through this. Anjali had grown up with Mom’s voice, and even though she had moved thousands of miles away, Mom still lived within her. Anjali counted her breaths, which took her back to Lamaze classes, days with Nate Morgan sitting behind and breathing right along, days when Nikhil was a part of her and couldn’t kick other than from inside her belly.

She could no longer shelter her son within her body or absorb his punches and tantrums. Even as a baby, he’d refused to nurse. Later, he lay alone, keeping his gaze on the red toy airplane buzzing in circles over his crib, unhappy when Anjali picked him up for a nappy change.

Anjali watched a woman stirring a pot on the pavement not five feet away from the traffic, her baby’s feet hovering over the fire. Be careful, Anjali wanted to tell the mother, please be careful. Despite the cold, toddlers ran barefoot, in torn sweaters. Wrapped in wide, shaggy blankets, elderly men sat smoking beside flimsy homes fashioned out of tarpaulin and cardboard. Pedestrians sidestepped makeshift beds and hurried past migrant children who came to the capital in search of a better life: outsiders, like her, only far less fortunate. Behind them, a huge, lighted hoarding showed pale-faced models in tuxedo suits and gowns next to large television screens.

Sweat beaded her upper lip. She didn’t feel very fortunate right this minute, merely stupid. Why hadn’t she taken that guard’s mobile number? Like an idiot, she’d told him about Nikhil’s blue eyes. Nikhil usually kept his gaze to the floor—what if that guard tried to get a look at Nikhil’s eyes and he freaked? We’ll find him, Maya had assured her on the phone not ten minutes ago, don’t panic. Maya was more family than friend and good with Nikhil, so she was a good bet to locate him. Anjali tried to reach Maya again and listened to the unanswered phone. Instead of a ring, Maya had downloaded a caller tune, a peppy Punjabi number.

Catching sight of her face in the rear-view mirror, Anjali flinched. Faded make-up, wrinkles under her eyes, greasy hair. Mom would have cackled had she seen Anjali like this. Stay with the face God gave you. Vanity is a Sin. Nikhil had aged her by a dozen, no, twenty

years. Long work sessions at her Bhikaji Cama clinic, taking him for group therapy sessions with Dr Bhalla, and now this shopping trip from hell. She thumped her hand on the horn, emitting a series of sharp honks to hurry along the cars at the green light.

What if this was her punishment for letting him skip lunch today, following a tantrum? Dr Bhalla said she must remain consistent, not give in when he went into a meltdown during his daily routine. Nikhil was bound to be hungry by now, after a chocolate shake and not much else for lunch that afternoon. No, Anjali, focus. Find him first. She sighed and dialled her friend again.

Maya finally picked up as Anjali turned into the mall parking area.

‘Can’t find him, Anji. I’ve looked everywhere. He’s not at the toy shop. Should I call Bhai?’

Anjali sprinted up the escalator, two steps at a time, sweating despite the chill. If they didn’t find Nikhil soon, she must get the mall security to make an announcement. He might have lost his way to the toy shop, a long walk and three floors up from where they’d parked. Trying to look calm, she approached the handbag-check, where the lady guard in a khaki saree delicately swirled the metal detector through her bag, as if stirring a curry. Wanting to scream with each wasted second, Anjali crossed through the sliding doors and headed for the information desk. She had taught Nikhil to look for one if he got into trouble. Would he remember?

Reaching the main courtyard, Anjali squeezed past a bevy of perfectly-coiffed women in salwar-kameezes, laden with shopping bags. Out of breath, she stopped beside Nando’s, where a family sat with two kids about Nikhil’s age. To manage an episode, Dr Bhalla said, use the right aids, at the right time. Nikhil did not allow touch. Anjali grabbed a smiley squeeze ball and his favourite blue blanket out of her handbag and scanned the crowd for a skinny boy with tufts of hair jutting up at the crown, a shambling walk, hands fisted.

She spotted him near a hair salon. She wanted to call out his name, but that would scare him into running or throwing a tantrum.

He started when she touched his sleeve, but the face was a lot older, filled out, with a moustache. Not Nikhil but a salon employee, a bright red tag on his black tee-and-jeans uniform. Anjali blurted out a stream of hurried apologies and sprinted on.

Nikhil wanted to get to Hamleys and buy that airplane. He already owned one in black, but he wanted the red one, he’d said, and the blue. Anjali should have said yes, instead of handing him a squeeze ball and showing him his schedule for today. It specified that he

could stay in the mall from 6.30 to 8.30 pm, pick one slice of Black Forest cake at the pastry shop to eat after dinner, and buy one airplane of his choice. Not two, or three, just one.

She called Maya. ‘Did you see him?’

‘Not yet. I’m at Hamleys. I think you should go to the information desk.’ Maya paused. ‘Bhai called to ask if I was on my way. I had to tell him.’

Great. Within minutes of each small crisis in her life, one of Delhi’s top cops knew. Mr Jatin-Worried-Bhatt, Maya’s doting older brother, would call any minute now. Please, not him, not now.

She cut the call. Stopping to catch her breath, she closed her eyes. She needed to collect herself, not panic. A low whine floated up, but once she opened her eyes there was only the buzz from the throng of shoppers around her.

Book Trailer



Connect with Damyanti:

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47634028-you-beneath-your-skin

To get shares, pls tag me at @damyantig on Twitter and Insta.

@SimonandSchusterIN : Insta

@SimonSchusterIN : Twitter

@Simon & Schuster IN: Facebook

@projectwhydelhi and @stopacidattacks on Twitter, Instagram and FB

Hashtag for all social media: #YouBeneathYourSkin


© D.G. Kaye and DGKayewriter.com, 2014 – 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to D.G. Kaye


#WATWB – We are theWorld Blogfest – Wrapped in Courage

For this month’s We are the World Blogfest contribution, I wanted to share a wonderful project called ‘Wrapped in Courage’. This campaign runs all year round but it’s particularly highlighted in the month of November for Women’s Abuse Prevention Month.


Wrapped in Courage campaign is organized by the Ontario Association of Interval & Transition Houses.  It was created in 2013. Every year throughout the month of November, supporters call on all Ontarian’s to show support for survivors of women abuse by purchasing a purple scarf from the local women’s shelters.

A campaign to end violence against women

The Courage of a Woman is NOT Enough

Now in its sixth year, shelters across the province are engaging the community to become more aware of the often overlooked issue of woman abuse in Ontario.

November is Woman Abuse Prevention Month. The purple scarf is a symbol of the courage it takes woman leave her abuser. However, the courage of the woman is not enough. It takes the strength of an entire community to end violence against women.


It is estimated that 20-30 women are murdered annually in Ontario by a male partner – current or previous, and is the number 2 reason for emergency police calls.


About Wrapped in Courage



Wrapped in Courage Campaign

Source: Wrapped in Courage


Every month a growing number of bloggers take part on the last Friday of each month to share some of the good things going on in the world. If you’d like to take part in sharing a post for #WATWB, you can add your link to your post HERE.


This month’s hosts for the WATWB are:    Shilpa GargInderpreet UppalPeter NenaLizbeth HartzEric Lahti.

Memoir Bytes: Escaping a Sexual Predator and the #WhyIDidntReport Movement

Vision perception - Memoirs



Last week I posted an article about the #MeToo Movement. This courageous coming out of women all over the world got me thinking about my own encounters with sexual harassment and sexual abuse.


As a memoir writer I’ve questioned myself many times, wondering if I would ever become brave enough to talk about my own experiences on this topic. And if you’ve read any of my books, you won’t find any of those stories I’ve shared in them because, I, like many women, chose to keep my silence and those memories far away from myself. I’ve kept those secrets buried for decades and only a few select people know about their existence.

Perhaps I’m still not ready to talk about them because some of the characters were too close to home and in one situation, out of the goodness of my heart I voluntarily allowed a male co-worker to come to my place for a cup of coffee one blizzardy winter night to wait off the storm before he could drive his long journey home, eventually offering him the couch to stay over on because of the treacherous road conditions. I was young and naïve to think that would be the end of the story. It wasn’t. But I’m still not ready to share what happened.

If I were to share what happened back then on that blizzardy night almost 30 years ago, I was sure I would have been accused of ‘getting what I deserved’ because I openly invited it in. And so, only my best friend knew.

I admire the brevity of women taking a stand now and calling out their abusers. It’s setting a new precedence, sending out a message loud and clear that we aren’t going to be silent victims anymore. We now have strength in numbers and our messages are being spread far and wide.

As the great Peter Finch once shouted playing the character of TV news anchor, Howard Beale in the infamous 1976 movie – Network – “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore” has become the same meaning for the motto in the women’s movement. I applaud those women speaking out. I can’t even pretend to imagine how much bravery it takes to stand up publicly to an abuser.

Perhaps my time will come when I will summon the strength to share my own stories on the subject. But for now, I will share another incident that happened to me. I’ll share it because it doesn’t involve someone I knew, and after I narrowly escaped what I was sure could have led to rape, I did call the police. And maybe my story can help someone else avoid getting caught in this same situation.


~  ~  ~


Get your ‘junk’ out of my face, I wanted to scream out loud. But I couldn’t. I was alone with a pervert in an elevator. It was only 8 floors, 8 very long floors up and I could get off, but could I get off?

I knew in my bones I was about to be raped so either I kept my wits about me and did some pretty quick thinking or I knew I was destined to become ‘that’ victim.


~ ~ ~


In my glory days of youthful fun and freedom I was happily enjoying life on my own in my very own apartment for almost a decade. I was a popular social butterfly out and about constantly, working, socializing, partying, nightclubbing – you name it, where there was action I was sure to be in on it. I was fearless. I never thought twice about the part when I would return home late at night and have to park my car in the underground garage and walk through the basement door to the elevators. It was the mid 80’s and ‘bad stuff’ wasn’t a familiar thing in my life or something I really considered ever happening to me.

But this particular day, I wasn’t coming home from anywhere. I was at home wearing a Tshirt and sweatpants when I ran down to the basement where our laundry machines were kept to throw my wet laundry load into the dryer. After doing so I scooted back to the elevator. The door opened and there was a biker-type looking guy in his late 20’s already on it. I thought nothing of it and stepped inside.

The door hadn’t yet closed when my inner alarm system could feel the penetrating stare from the man. Usually one to make eye contact and be friendly and say hello to fellow tenants, I knew instinctively not to make eye contact with the man who desperately craved my attention. In another split second as I could see from my peripheral vision, he whipped his penis out of his pants and began grunting in ecstasy as he furiously began stroking himself. He told me I would like it and I should try it as he laughed devilishly with his words. Truthfully, I can’t remember all the other disgusting and vile things he said. What I did know was that I would not allow my eyes to turn as I remained focused, staring at the elevator door plotting my escape and not giving him the satisfaction of me looking at him. I had to keep my composure, fearing he’d stop the elevator between floors and rape me. I was caught between fearing for my life and fighting for it or freezing up and becoming a rape victim. The ride up felt like an eternity and in that eternity, I had to think fast about how I was going to get off the elevator untouched.

The first logical thing I thought of was not to get off on my own floor. I didn’t want my potential rapist to know which floor I lived on. But I knew as the elevator passed each consequent floor and his breath grew heavier as he got closer to reaching orgasm, my window of escape was narrowing.

I mustered up every ounce of courage I could despite my legs feeling like rubber from fear and hit the next upcoming floor’s button. The door opened, and the pervert jumped in front of the door, taking a stand with hands and feet outstretched, blocking the opened door in order to block me from getting out. All I knew at that point that the open door was my one and only chance to escape and I was going to use it.

With the added strength from the power of rushing adrenalin, I plowed right into him with a body tackle, all the while screaming at the top of my lungs for tenants to hear me through the corridor. I ran down the hall and banged on a few doors in my petrified almost manic state of fear until the first door opened and let me in.

I explained to my fellow tenant what had transpired and asked him if he’d accompany me back to my apartment so I could call the police. He did. The pervert was nowhere in sight.

I called the police and they came right over and took down my description of the pervert and they spent a good while searching the building basement and stairways but never found him.

That day was a frightening awakening to me learning that bad things can happen anywhere, even in my own building which was in a safe neighborhood. But it became a huge wake-up call for me to become a lot more diligent in paying more attention to my surroundings.


What Did I Do Right?


– I was lucky I had the instinct to remain composed and didn’t antagonize or indulge the pervert while contained alone in the elevator with him. Most of the time perverts like that are desperately seeking attention. They enjoy the voyeurism of being watched while performing disgusting acts. I truly believe had I made eye contact with him that may have made him more excitable, provoking him to close in on me physically.

-I pushed a different button on the elevator to get off as soon as possible.

– Once out of the elevator I screamed and started banging on doors to stir up noise and alarm.

– I called the police when I became safe to report it to try and prevent someone else from getting in the same situation.

What Did I Learn?


– I learned to become aware of my surroundings, especially when alone in inconspicuous places like – elevators, parking lots and anywhere in public when not in a high traffic area.

– I learned to never enter an elevator alone in my building or anywhere else when there is an unsavory character in it. I wait for the next one. The same rule applies if I’m standing alone with one suspicious character waiting for the elevator with me. I just go back to my car and pretend I forgot something as soon as the elevator door opens.

– I always check the elevator before entering to assess who is on it.

– I’m not often alone at night walking to my car but when I am, I always keep my keys in my hand and have my mobile phone within easy access.


I was lucky that time to escape being physically violated but so many others are not that lucky. Besides being violated by strangers, so many women are violated right in their own homes by their partners or spouses.

I am also a survivor of date-rape and a survivor of domestic violence from a past relationship. I may decide to share those stories in future because I too have joined the ranks of women who tweet the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport . And this movement isn’t about a newfangled cause that women have invented. This movement is about women speaking out about sexual abuse with a new sense of comfort of knowing we are not alone and it’s okay now to speak our truth. Sadly, we are hearing about so many who have kept their secrets and shame for years, in fears of being blamed, ridiculed and persecuted by those who make victims feel responsible for what has happened to them. There is strength in numbers and support. And there are plenty of avenues available now where women can report, and shelters they can go to if they need to escape to a safe environment. We’ve come a long way through the decades. and finally, we’re being heard.


Note: This Thursday October 4th from 5pm EST to 10PM, some author friends and myself will be hosting a Facebook EventAuthors Against Domestic Violence where each author gets half an hour to post and chat with visitors about issues that arise in shared conversation. Some come to read and listen, some come to connect. This is the second year I’ve been invited to participate, and I know last year I met a few women who sent me messages and emails thanking me for helping them in some small way. I’m happy I could do that because if I can help just one person I know I am making a difference.


I’d love to see some of you drop by if you get the chance. And all posts and conversations will be available to see and read throughout the event in case you couldn’t make a specific time.

I hope to see you drop by. Here is the link to join the event. In order to come by the event, you must have signed up to join the group ahead of time so please join up. Thanks! 😊

#MeToo – The Right to be Heard on Sexual Abuse




The #MeToo movement is loud and clear and making a difference. How many centuries and decades had to pass before women who fought for their power and finally began to own their right to speak out against sexual harassment and abuse became heard?


We know the history of women’s rights so that question is basically redundant. But in the past almost two years, women have begun to stand up for their rights and speak out loud about crimes against their person and human rights.

Where did such brevity stem from? Without getting into politics, which I follow very closely, both in my own country Canada, and the U.S., I would have to say that women began to take a stand by speaking out louder and protesting first after the Bill Cosby molestings and increased when the new administration took over in the White House inspiring women all over the world to join in with their protests and stories. Many politicians and Hollywood names have been called out and have and are facing the repercussions for current and past bad behavior.

We’ve seen famous household names been named and charged for their crimes. So why has it taken so long for this movement to rise? Because every haystack has its breaking point – the point where just one more straw on the pile finally topples over and spills. This inspired women to come together and speak their truths – some hidden for decades, some still fresh. One voice alone couldn’t be heard, drowned out by naysayers and persecution for telling their truth. But strength in numbers has given women the voice of many to speak out and be heard. One spark of truth became an inferno, and this inferno became the catalyst for women to take back their power – a power they’ve always held under wraps, keeping their stories silent in fear of retaliation, more abuse, losing their jobs and fear of being called out as liars from their abusers, and often, the law.

It took strength in numbers to be heard. When several victims stepped forward with their stories, many calling out a common abuser, the world began to listen. Maybe it was the Bill Cosby victims then the Harvey Weinstein victims, well known politicians and other Hollywood names and the various members of the Whitehouse – not excluding the president, who were systematically called out by multiple women, inspiring women to unite to start make those people accountable for their actions. The big voices and big names allowed the less famous individuals who’ve been abused  feel safe in telling their stories and taking a stand. Cracking open one seed grew a forest of trees, giving women the nerve to join together and take back their power.

Whatever event it took to start this movement, it was a long time coming and an inevitable coming. One brave victim enabled others to freely shed their shame when they knew they were no longer alone. They knew their lone experience of shame and abuse could be spoken aloud and finally be heard without being chastised and hushed through means of blackmail and threats.

What inspired me to add to the conversation is the current controversy going on with the White House desperately trying to confirm a new Supreme Court judge who is accused of holding a lot of bias toward women’s rights, instilling for many American women, petrified that rights given to them that took decades to acquire may be overturned if this judge were to be seated on the Supreme Court. As if this event wasn’t big enough in itself, a former female classmate of this nominated judge has come forward accusing this judge of sexually attacking her when they were back in high school, and subsequently, other allegations have followed. The controversy grows as the republican’s agenda is to rush through his confirmation before the midterms and their insistence that these women’s claims coming forward doesn’t warrant an FBI investigation before appointing this judge for a lifetime seat on the bench.

I won’t elaborate on the politics behind this decision to ‘hurry up’ the judge’s confirmation. But similar controversy occurred in the early 90’s with the Anita Hill case against Justice Clarence Thomas—- during his own confirmation hearings, and Hill’s testimony of her allegations about the then judge, fell on deaf ears and created a sham of a hearing, ultimately allowing his confirmation to go through despite the allegations. And now with these new allegations from Professor Christine Blasey Ford et al against the behavior of nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh said to have occurred over 30 years ago appears to be questionable by the senate because republicans aren’t interested in investigating the matter further by calling in witnesses or the FBI to investigate their claims, not giving Dr. Ford a fair hearing to plead her case. After all, the event allegedly happened some 30 years ago so why come forward now?

That question brings me to my point about #MeToo. It doesn’t matter how long ago a person has been violated! It has taken some women a lifetime of silence and others, decades of carrying their shame, knowing they could not speak out because of the repercussions they feared even more so for some than when they were attacked. Time doesn’t make those memories go away, and time passed does not exonerate the abusers! There is no time limit on how long it takes a woman to muster the courage to speak out. There is no time limit for violators to be let off the hook. Only with the advent of the #MeToo movement have women been made to feel safe and heard calling out their abusers. Many of these stories of abuse and violation are old. They have rested dormant in the psyches of these victims. No time limits can be put on those events to deem them irrelevant or expired. When a woman, or any human being for that matter, is stepping up with their hurt and humiliation they are entitled to be heard! No person, no judge, no president should be exempt from being punished for their crimes.

   #WhyIDidntReport  this is a powerful hashtag trending on Twitter -There are now thousands of women who have gained the courage to speak out against sexual abuse and rape thanks to first, the #MeToo Movement and now a newer kind of movement has begun with women feeling the need to speak out after years of hiding their shame. It’s disheartening to learn just how many women have been raped and sexually attacked and abused. Why are they speaking now? Because they finally found a place where it’s safe among thousands of other women to speak out what some have buried for decades. They are finally being heard and taken seriously and just maybe, some of these abusive men will think a little harder before harassing or abusing another woman because the world is now listening.

It’s no different for a woman to speak out no matter how much time has passed since her abuse, just as many men are coming out recently with accusations of priests molesting them in Catholic churches. It’s never too late for anyone to speak out against such violations on their person. And it’s nobody’s right to tell a victim it’s too late, it didn’t happen or they asked for it. NO means NO!

Memoir Bytes: – The 10 Red Flags I Didn’t Pay Attention To – Domestic Abuse

Vision perception - Memoirs


“Oh c’mon Deb, you never give a guy a chance,” my bestie Bri lectured on. “You have too many stipulations about dating before you let anyone into your life.”


I was managing an office for a PR firm when I met ‘him’. He’d drop by once a week to pick up work as a freelance editor, After five or six visits and a couple of flirty chats with ‘him’ he’d asked me out for dinner and I accepted,

‘He’ was somewhat handsome and at least gave some interesting conversation. He mentioned his failed marriage and almost had me feeling sorry for him. But as I am ever the skeptic, I always believed there are two sides to every story. It only took me a few more months to discover why he was most likely the ‘dumpee’.

We continued to date despite my nagging little doubts about things I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but my inner alarm system signaled something was amiss with this man, yet, my curiosity got the better of me. So I continued to date him. ‘His’ personality went from hot to cold – sometimes acting affectionate and sometimes downright mean – a streak I learned to fear.

Almost a year had passed and as so many of us do in life, I got complacent. I was in my early thirties when I had brainwashed myself into thinking this was the lot I was dealt, so I better make the best of it, instead of asking, Is this all there is? Don’t I deserve some of those tingly butterflies in my stomach when I’m kissed by the man I’m supposed to be loving?

Six more years went by I spent with ‘him’. In the earlier stages I had resolved myself to thinking that if I left, maybe I’d never get married. I settled for a roller coaster relationship. I thought I could ‘fix’ him. I thought nobody’s life is perfect. I learned to dance around his moods and fits of anger with great caution. After all, I’d made my choice. And like many other women in my situation – women who feel compelled to stay in toxic relationships, I thought I was stuck in that relationship for life.

It took a good few years until I realized myself, and with the constant badgering of friends and loved ones that I became a shadow of my former self. I became quiet, complacent, and had lost any self-esteem I’d worked so hard my whole life to build by allowing a man to demean, threaten and possess me. I would spend the last three years of that relationship making plans to get out of it. But finally I was free. It wasn’t as easy as just picking up and leaving as there became financial issues involved and threats I had to weigh out – would he make good on his word that if I tried to leave he’d make sure that nobody else would have me?

After my escape, I never felt fully free to talk about what went on in that relationship. When I did manage to escape, I was stalked for another two years. That feeling of being watched never goes away.


Many women in abusive relationships stay because they don’t see any alternatives, Some are reliant on their abuser’s financial aid and trade off freedom for captivity because of it. Some women are made to feel so worthless that they feel they are almost deserving of their situation. There are many reasons why women can’t seem to walk away, or run for their lives from toxic relationships. But there is always a way. When I finally got away, the concerns about my financial situation and how I was going to get by with the bills became the size of a raindrop when I compared it to how it felt to be alive and free. Doors do open. People who care will stand by and help us. There are also government programs and shelters to help women in these situations.


Red Flags to Pay Attention to Which are Unacceptable for a Healthy Relationship:

  • Being demeaned
  • Threats or blackmail
  • Uncomplimentary
  • Bossing around – making all the decisions, uncompromising
  • Raising a hand to you (even once is a flag of things to come)
  • No regard for your feelings or thoughts
  • Telling you what you can and cannot do
  • Making you feel insignificant
  • Criticizes everything you do
  • Apologizes, cries, begs you not leave and after, continues to do all of the above


There is absolutely no logical reason for remaining in an abusive relationship no matter what we think we’re sacrificing if we leave. The only sacrifice is ourselves when we stay.- D.G. Kaye


Last month Sally Cronin put up a lovely post in honor of International Women’s Day. I highly recommend this read. And besides the article itself, there is much to take in from the comments as well. Please visit Sally’s post by clicking the link below.



****Don’t forget to vote for your favorite bloggers for the Annual Bloggers Bash. I’ve been nominated for ‘Best Pal’ Blogger. Please VOTE HERE for your favorite Bloggers. This is the last week to vote before voting closes!

All Things Writing – What’s Going on Around Blogtown this week?

Friday blogshare


Today’s post is an info share about a few interesting articles I came across in my blog reading travels this week. Three of these finds are time sensitive, so do check them out ASAP if you want to jump on the bandwagon.


The first fun contest I came across is Charli Mills‘ Rodeo Contest at the Carrot Ranch. The month of October is filled with opportunities to submit your writing and win prizes too! Norah Colvin is starting off the Rodeo today.


Carrot Ranch contest


The Flash Fiction Rodeo is 8 contests with 8 first place prizes and 0 entry fees! Each contest provides a different twist to a flash fiction prompt. The Rodeo takes place Oct. 5-31 with a new contest every Tuesday and Thursday.

It’s free and includes first place prizes in each category of $25. The best of all eight winning entries will be dubbed the All-Around Best Writer of 2017 Flash Fiction Rodeo and win an extra $50. You can enter one or all contests (it’s free).

It’s a contest, so enter your best, polished work. Quality over quantity matters.

Winners will be announced one contest at a time over 8 consecutive Tuesdays Nov. 7-Dec. 26. The All-Around Best Writer will be announced January 2. Prizes will continue to be given away at each winner post, so be sure to tune in and comment on the Winning Announcement Posts.

WATCH DEADLINES AND ENTRY INSTRUCTIONS: When each contest launches, read the instructions carefully. Everything you need to know to access instructions will be posted at Carrot Ranch midnight EST (that’s New York time if it helps you get aligned). You will be asked to enter a variety of ways, according to how each leader has set up entries. Deadlines will vary, too. If at any time you need clarification, contact The Ranch.

CONTEST PREPARATION: Click on the links below to meet the Rodeo Contest Leaders (and some of their fellow judges) to get a feel for the style of writing you might be called to pull off in a rodeo event! Continue reading Here for a list of contests and dates.


Next up is Sarah Brentyn’s Flash Fiction entry where your short entries will help earn a donation dollar towards hurricane victims – Hurricane relief – #Flash4Storms


Harvey, Irma, Maria… These hurricanes have hit hard, leaving massive damage in their wakes. Here’s how you can help:

Hurricane relief - #flash4storms


1. Write a piece of flash fiction in 50 words or less with the theme: Help 

(This can be any sort of assistance, support, encouragement, or a story of someone or something that needs help. You do not need to use the prompt word. Be creative! It can be 50 words, 15 words…even a six-word story. Anything goes provided it is prose up to 50 words. It doesn’t have to be sunshine and rainbows but keep it PG and friendly.)

2. Add a new post on your blog with your flash fiction and the hashtag #Flash4Storms in the title

3. Link to this post

4. Leave a comment here with a link to your post so I know you’ve participated

5. Help spread the word on social media with the hashtags:



I will donate $1 to hurricane relief for every flash that is posted (up to $50). Continue reading Here to read more and enter 


And this fun find I came across with a great idea from Deborah Jay to sneak in a little more dedicated writing time – The Pomodoro Method. 




I shared this technique earlier on Marcia Meara’s blog, THE WRITE STUFF, while Marcia continues her clear up after the destruction visited upon her home by Hurricane Irma.

I am not a full time writer. Like a lot of others, I have to fit my writing time around my full time business. And my business is VERY full time – I train and judge competition dressage horses at National and International level. It’s a fabulous job, but very time consuming, not to mention sometimes exhausting.

Me at work.
I don’t always look this glamorous, believe me.

When people glibly tell me that there is always time to be found in the work day, I know they have NO idea what my life is like. I can often be on the road by 7am, and not home until 10pm, having been either driving or working the entire time. Please tell me where I am supposed to find time to write in that schedule?

I’m not complaining, no sir, I’m just making a point. Not everybody’s life lends itself to a regular writing routine. Mine certainly doesn’t.

So what is my point?

Well, I recently followed a short writing course, largely because it had a great module on plotting (guess who is trying to learn more about plotting vs pantsing?). But what it also had, was a section on time management.

My first thought was, ‘here we go again, I’ve heard it all before’.

But I hadn’t! This course introduced me to the POMODORO TECHNIQUE.

If you haven’t come across it yet, it is a time management approach developed in the late 1980s, and named after the Pomodoro kitchen timer.

The reason I found this so useful?

Because I have always felt that there was no point starting to write unless I had at least a clear hour available. Anything less than that seemed to me to be unproductive, and I hate to get started only to find I have to give up.

The nub of the Pomodoro technique, though, is that you work for exactly 25 minutes. Continue reading Here



And Hot of the Press!

My friend Carol Balawyder is releasing her brand new book, The Longest Nine Months – women’s fiction, Friday October 6th. In honor of the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, she is offering her book FREE Oct 6th thru 10th. Grab yourself a copy! I’ve read all of Carol’s books and loved every one of them. To see my reviews just put Carol’s name in the search bar at the top of my page.

The Longest Nine Months by Carol Balawyder


Get this book on Amazon!

 And a friendly reminder, I’ll be chatting with fellow writers and authors at 2pm EST today Friday October 6th on Facebook , AUTHORS AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. I hope to see you guys drop by and join in the convo, or just to say hello. Please don’t forget to click on the page event (below) and hit ‘like’ in order to enter the event.


Happy weekend! 🙂

Join us this Friday on #Facebook for Author Against #Domestic #Violence

Authors Against Domestic Violence

Breaking the Silence Facebook Event


This Friday, October 6th at 2pm EST, myself along with fellow author Luna Saint Claire and Divorce Coach and blogger Heather Debreceni will be hosting an hour with chat, questions, answers and giveaways in the ‘Authors Against Domestic Violence’ Facebook Event.


The event will run all day with different hosts every hour. In order to drop in and visit, please click on the link before the day of the event and ‘like’ the page. Once you’ve ‘liked’ the page you have access to the event. Once you’ve ‘liked’ feel free to tick off in the box on the post if you’re ‘Interested’ or ‘Going’. Although it’s not necessary to inform us ahead of time, it helps to give us a general idea of how many will be visiting.


Click Here to land on the page event