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Eight female led crime TV shows you must watch
 Smita Bhattacharya  
 14 March 2018  

I love, love, love watching crime shows and love more Nordic noir and the temperamental detective, where the moods are as erratic and dark as the plot. Here is a list of a few I watched over the last year which has strong female leads. A few of them are incredibly edge of the seat with a fantastic plot and cast to execute them. And thankfully, the women at the center are not seeking or falling in love with the nearest good-looking man as a respite from (and sometimes at the cost of) their detective duties. They are middle-aged with children or are single and unapologetic about it, much flawed and human, yet brilliant and unwavering in their goal. Check them out and let me know others. This genre, I wish, would grow in multitudes1.The Fall: Gillian Anderson returns to the small screen as Stella Gibson and how brilliant is she? We know both the hunted and the hunter in this slow, moody, psychological thriller and yet, the cat and mouse game is less than predictable. The plot: when a Belfast murder remains unsolved, Stella Gibson (Anderson) is brought in to catch the killer. DSI Gibson soon fears that a murder spree is underway in Belfast and a killer is on the loose. An equally brilliant Jamie Dornan plays serial killer Paul Spector whose identity is known within a few minutes of the first episode, but hey, watch it and tell me if that makes it any less exciting.2. The Killing: Who killed Rosie Larsen (and other questions answered). The Killing is based on the Danish television series Forbrydelsen (The Crime) and stars Detective Sarah Linden and her loyal love-to-hate-you-hate-to-love-you sidekick Stephen Holder (I admit, I fell a bit in love with the damaged piece that was him by the end of it). Each episode ends with a cliffhanger that points of a possible killer who doesn’t turn out to be the one in the next (but of course!). In essence, the show follows the investigation of the murder of local teenager Rosie Larsen but is intertwined with others: the police investigation into the murder, the Larsen family's attempts to deal with their grief, and the fluctuating electoral fortunes of a political campaign that becomes embroiled in the case.3. Happy Valley: Oh, how much do I LOVE BBC’s crime productions? There are five on this list (barring The Killing) and I say without hesitation they have mastered the art (or science or what have you). Happy Valley is set in the Calder Valley and Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) plays a strong-willed police sergeant, still coming to terms with the suicide of her daughter, Becky, eight years earlier. She is now bringing up Becky's young son, Ryan, the product of rape. Catherine hears that Tommy Lee Royce, the man responsible for the brutal rape that impregnated Becky and drove her to suicide shortly after Ryan was born, is out of prison after serving eight years for drug charges. Catherine becomes obsessed with finding Royce, unaware that he is involved in the kidnapping of a young girl—Ann Gallagher. Things get worse as the kidnappers try to hide their tracks and Catherine grows neurotically persistent.4. Vera: Based on the Vera Stanhope novels by bestselling author Ann Cleeves, Vera (starring Brenda Blethyn in the titular role) is an employee of the fictional Northumberland and City Police. She is obsessive about her work and driven by her own demons. She plods along in a constantly disheveled state but has a calculating mind, and despite her irascible personality, she cares deeply about her work and comrades (-- from Wikipedia). Everything about her screams motherly and cantankerous, yet she is a formidable force to watch. And you will grow very fond of her by the end of it.5. The Honourable Woman: Not a detective series this but I couldn’t help adding it to the list. THW is a political spy thriller which is so nail-bitingly good, you have to watch now. It features Maggie Gyllenhaal in the title role (isn’t that the new, happy trend: small screen revival projects for the out-of-work or fading big screen stars?). She won a Golden Globe for it. Totally deserved, may I add? Gyllenhaal plays Anglo-Jewish businesswoman Nessa Stein who eight years earlier became the new head of the Stein Group after her brother abruptly stepped down. As she continues her work to maintain the Middle East peace process, old secrets come to the fore and bodies pile up. The stakes are raised high when Kasim, the son of Atika, Nessa's friend as well as Ephram Stein's Palestinian housekeeper, is kidnapped.6. Top of the Lake: Okay, to be honest, this is not one of my favorites. I thought the plot fell a bit flat towards the end. But the characters and the settings are quirky and unique and the whimsical style of storytelling reasons enough to watch. The drama stars Elizabeth Moss (someone I admired in Mad Men and will, till the end of life, know as Peggy Olson). She plays Detective Robin Griffin, a Sydney police officer returning to her remote New Zealand hometown of Laketop, facing the crimes surrounding the pregnancy and disappearance of a local 12-year-old girl, Tui.7. Spiral (Engrenages): Another one to add to the list is the French BBC Drama - Spiral: Engrenages - broadcast on Canal+. It stars two powerful female characters: a quirky, obsessed, but brilliant female Police Captain Laure Berthaud, and a ruthless, corrupt and beautiful female lawyer Joséphine Karlsson, both caring less about the many feathers they ruffle. These female characters are primary to the plot and rarely was their gender invoked in relation to their job role or position of power. This feminist observation apart, the 12 part series is gripping: the characters etched out in great detail (I felt for each of them in their individual disasters and triumphs), their relationships and challenges realistic, and the three subplots cleverly executed and tied together. A minor quibble was the need to look at the subtitles constantly, but I swear by end of it I could speak a little bit of French myself.8. Marcella: Err... another British television crime noir detective series. Yeah, mea culpa, but I do like them so much! They are astonishingly atmospheric—a trait I look for in everything I read or watch—the cast and setting need to grow on me. The series stars Anna Friel as Marcella Backland, a former London detective who is asked to return to work to investigate an unsolved case from eleven years ago involving an unidentified serial killer who appears to have become active again. What I love best is she is un-coplike, almost vulnerable and thus, very relatable. Series 2 started airing in Feb, 2018 and I can’t wait for it to come to Netflix.Homeland and House of Cards are the other two wildly popular series with strong female leads. Might I also dare add Game of Thrones season 6? Finally, we have women sailing to conquer worlds and play both the hero and the villain. We have come a long way.But you know what else I wish for now? That the victims of these murders are not women! YES, let’s write a book or make a TV series where the victims of the serial killer is not a WOMAN? Yes, yes, please? I know, we make a pretty picture no matter what, but let’s not have any more cowering and whimpering. Just for a change.About the writer: Smita Bhattacharya is an author based out of Mumbai. She has a particular soft spot for psychological thriller novels and TV series. Her latest novel, Dead to Them, was released in January 2018 and is currently garnering rave reviews. Her other two books, He Knew a Firefly and Vengeful, have ranked among the top 100 Asian Literature & Fiction on Amazon. Several of her short stories have appeared in Indian and international publications over the years, making her a very happy person indeed. More about her at: www.smitabhattacharya.com

Courses for various kinds of writers
 Sukanya Basu Mallik  
 3 April 2018  

(Based on my personal research, March 2018)Throughout my journey, from an aspiring writer to be a contributor of 8, and being on contract for a debut solo; what I realized is that we all need a mentor. The one thing I wished I’d had when I was starting out as a coach, a mentor, a guide - someone who had braved the turbulent waters I was about to set sail on, and come out flourishing and thriving on the other side. In our information age, somebody needs to produce that information, and it can’t all be pictures or videos (try as YouTube might). Luckily, there are a variety of free online courses available for all types of writers and aspiring writers. I’ve listed some of them below:Creative Non-Fiction: Write Truth with StyleIn this class, Susan Orlean, best-selling author, and New Yorker staff writer lead us through her crafting process for transforming regular subjects into incomparable stories. She reveals how she prepares to write and delves into why curiosity, revision, and collaboration are at the heart of being a writer.English Composition I: Achieving Expertisevia Duke University.In this class, one will gain a foundation for college-level writing valuable for nearly any field. The syllabus highlights on important topics like how to read carefully, write effective arguments, understand the writing process, engage with others’ ideas, cite accurately, and craft powerful prose.Secret Sauce of Great WritingThis is an introductory course that will give a powerful new framework for writing. It is the basis of a unique writing system designed to massively enhance your skills in as little as a few weeks. The course reveals information that will have an immediate impact on the quality of your prose.Creative Writing: The Craft of Plotvia Wesleyan UniversityIn this course, aspiring writers will be introduced to perhaps the most elemental and often the most challenging element of the story: plot. We will learn what keeps it moving, how it manipulates our feelings, expectations, and desires.Blogging BasicsThis class will provide you with the information you need to start blogging on the right foot. Perfect for beginning bloggers, this is a crash course for those who want to learn more about blogging before diving in or who aren’t sure what to consider before starting a blog.Start writing fictionvia The Open UniversityThis hands-on course helps you to get started with your own fiction writing, focusing on the central skill of creating characters.Telling Your Truth Through Writing — A ConversationNYT bestselling author Ayelet Waldman dives into her approach to constructing narratives, focusing on the challenges and opportunities of memoir writing. Starting with the importance of authenticity, she’ll address the most common choices writers make during the creative process.Creative Writing for All: A 10-Day Journaling ChallengeAuthor Emily Gould walks you through a 10-day creative writing challenge. Filled with inspiring examples, observation prompts, and clever revision tricks. Commit to writing 10 minutes a day for 10 days and, on the final day, revise one entry into a finished piece. Use this class to ban writer’s block.Study.comMany schools offer free online courses and materials through OpenCourseWare (OCW) projects. While formal admission isn't necessary to access lectures and other materials, these courses don't usually award college credit. Students looking for the same ease of access and the opportunity to apply their study time towards a degree or certificate program might want to consider courses that can lead to credit through Study.com. Students trying to improve their writing can check out English online classes like English 104: College Composition. Chapters in this course include: Conventions in Writing: Usage, Parts of an Essay, Essay Writing, How to Revise an Essay, Using Source MaterialsStorytelling Fundamentals: Character, Conflict, Context, CraftJoin urban fantasy writer Daniel José Older for a 40-minute drive into the fundamentals of narrative storytelling. This class is for creative writers (both aspiring and established), and everyone who wants a deeper understanding of what makes a great story so captivating.English for Journalismvia University of PennsylvaniaThis course is designed for non-native English speakers who are interested in developing the skills needed for a career in modern journalism.New Jersey Institute of TechnologyThe New Jersey Institute of Technology is a scientific and technological university that offers OCW courses and materials. Technical Writing is geared toward the advanced writer. In this course, which consists of about 40 videotaped lectures, students apply theory to analyze and solve complex communication problems. Course topics include audience awareness, document design, ethics, gender equity and rhetorical theory.  Sukanya Basu Mallik

Everything you need to know about Prabhat Ranjan
 StoryMirror Feed  
 14 April 2018  

Prabhat Ranjan is a Hindi novelist from Bihar. He entered the writing scene with his debutnovel With You; Without You in the winter of 2017 and since the launch of his debut novel,his popularity as an author has only reached new heights.A less talkative person, Prabhat Ranjan comes from a family with a political background andhis father is a senior politician. An engineer by profession, Prabhat has been writing shortstories and poems way before he finally decided to enter the field of writing formally with afull-length fiction. Nevertheless, as an engineer, Prabhat did not let himself be aloof ofliterature - he is a serious reader as well as a serious author and he wants to contributemore and more with his pen.Already finished his second novel, Prabhat Ranjan's writing style is very different from otherfiction writers out there. He has uniqueness! His writings are not only meant to create abestselling fiction; he has his purposes in every word he writes. Even with the first novel,which subsequently became a bestseller, he had a very good message to deliver to the reading audience. The novel is not only about love and friendship, it is also about the depths of relationships. With You; Without You shares a message with the readers that the need of family and the need of good company in life can never be substituted with anything!To put things in a better perspective, Prabhat is from that old school of writers with hisimagination not limited to a certain theme or story. He does write with the purpose but hedoes not limit himself to write only the moral stories which seem like a preacher's sermon;his stories do have the elements which make them contemporary and offer the youngreaders something to relate to.In developing characters, Prabhat does have a speciality! In his first novel, he has proved tothe readers as well as to critics that his characterisation is unique and he gives ampleopportunity to his characters to converse, indulge, move on and eventually change. In thevery first novel, his character Nishind has impressed the readers a lot. The character ofNishind is designed in such a way that readers know he might be doing something wrongbut instead of denouncing his acts, readers develop a kind of sympathy for him. This is thebeauty of his character. Another character that impresses the readers is of Rashmi Desai -an independent working woman who braves the bad relations of her parents and the wrongdeeds of her friends but still manages to fulfil her dreams and reach the heights that she hasimagined for herself in the very childhood.In the terms of plot construction, nonetheless, the readers can surely expect somethingbetter only. As the author has himself admitted in many of his interviews, With You;Without You was just a staircase that he has used for himself to write something bigger - hisupcoming story, Priyanka - A Pakistani Girl. Therefore, the plot in his first novel does notimpress as does his story or his characterisation. Still, his plot is there to certainly be calledgood and it helps the construct of the novel; it surely holds the story and the characterstogether but can certainly be improved to betterment.Putting Prabhat Ranjan's entry into Hindi literature in a larger perspective certainly gives thereaders something new as a concept of Hindi literature. More and more young and energetic writers are coming who are willing to write in Hindi and offer the readers the works which deal with the issues other authors, in the past, did not wish to write. Prabhat's dealing with the issues like sex, love, divorce, family issues in vivid perspective is certainly new and encouraging for the overall contemporary Hindi literature. One can certainly argue that there were the authors who wrote on all these issues, but one must remember that they did not write as freely as the modern authors are doing. And it is certainly very good because of the modern readers want to read everything!And to conclude the contribution of Prabhat to Hindi literature and his current one, WIthYou; Without You, it can safely be said that he has a long road to go. Only after two of threemore of his works, a person will be in better position to judge him as an author and evaluatehis skills at writing. Nonetheless, assumptions can certainly be made based on his novelwhich has already been published and has become a bestseller! The debutants who becomebestsellers certainly require a scrutiny and one similar attempt has been made here. Wehope that we will soon have another book by Prabhat Ranjan to read!

Book Review: Seductive Affair by Rishabh Puri
 Ayushi A Nair  
 1 September 2018  

Book Title: Seductive AffairAuthor:Rishabh PuriFormat: Paper BackTotal Number of Pages: 184Language: EnglishPublisher: Srishti Publishers & Distributors;Publishing Date: 10 July 2018ISBN-10: 9387022277ISBN-13: 978-9387022270Prisha Khatri is a regular college graduate, focused on her career, desperate to finally move out of her parents’ house and freshly dumped by her successful fiancé. When she lands a job at a prestigious media house, she’s glad to have something to take her mind off her heartbreak. What she doesn’t expect is to be landed on a business trip with a famously fiery reporter Rajesh Lagheri. He’s travelling to a business conference for a story and doesn’t seem impressed by her involvement. But as soon as they’re out of the office, things change and it becomes clear that there is more to Rajesh’s trip than meets the eye. As Prisha is drawn into the story he’s trying to hide from their editor, their hunt for the story grows more intense and she finds herself growing closer to Rajesh. As their chemistry threatens to overwhelm them and Prisha is pulled deeper into the Seductive Affair, she must decide what matters most to her matters of the head or of the heart.My TakeStarting from the cover and title is enchanting. I expected it to be a dark romance thriller but it's a simple love story based on career and love. The title is misleading there is no seduction in the plot. The book is a bag of emotions, love, hate, relationship, passion, separation, trust, bond, joy, happiness, family, relationships, life, sadness, betrayal and many more. This is the story about main protagonist Prisha Khatri. Prisha getting ready for the first day of her dream job and remembering her past where her ex-fiance Aditya ditched her because she wanted to work and he wanted a wife who will sit at home, cook, raise children and take care of them. Breakup with her ex-fiance due to his insecurity, she is all set to enter corporate world, her dream job. She joins The Chronicles as in one of the leading newspapers of the country. She is attracted to Rajesh a senior reporter. Rajesh and Prisha travels for a businesses  conference in Mumbai where they find themselves getting close to each other while covering a story for their article. To find out more read the book.Language of the book is lucid and written in a simple way to comprehend for any kind of reader. I have read the author's previous work i have much expectation from this book too but i'm disappointed this time. Plot becomes predictable sometimes. The story is faced. Narration was simple and okey. The characters are good but could not able to connect with them. A few typographical errors here and there need to be rectified. If the edit was done properly, the story would have sounded much much better.I'll recommend this book to beginners for a light read.  Overall Ratings 2/5 StarsGrab the book here- Amazon.in Amazon.com Amazon.co.ukAbout the AuthorRishabh Puri is a highly accomplished entrepreneur with a flair for writing. Contributing to his family business since the age of 18, he makes his home in Lagos, Nigeria and Dubai, UAE. He has previously authored the bestselling novel Inside the Heart of Hope.

Book Review: You Are the best thing That Happened to Me by Sushil Kumar Rana
 Ayushi A Nair  
 13 September 2018  

Book Title:You Are the best thing That Happened to MeAuthor: Sushil Kumar RanaFormat: Paper BackTotal Number of Pages: 208Language: EnglishPublisher: Redgrab booksPublishing Date: Second edition (31 July 2018)ISBN-10: 9387390403ISBN-13: 978-9387390409Sushil: A successful writer and an engineer from a Middle-class family.Anjali: A gorgeous and smart girl. Anyone can fall in love at the first sight of her.Aashish: Sushil's Best friend, who loves Anjali one-sided.Anuradha: A journalism Student and doing research on Writer.Sushil Pandit is a mechanical engineer. He is also an author of two bestselling novels. Now, he has everything in life, except his love, Anjali. Love is a blissful and everyone has to experience it once in a lifetime. Love makes life lively and also give a reason to live. There was a time when these two lovebirds were an example of two bodies, one soul. But a turning point in their lives sets them apart, with their soul still united and strong. Experience a roller coaster of emotions in this story. Find out how Sushil changed into a successful person from an ordinary boy.My TakeStarting from the title of the book You Are the best thing That Happened to Me gives the hint’s to readers it’s going to be a love story. The title is apt according to the plot.  It’s been said that never judge a book cannot be judged by looking at its cover alone but I personally feel cover can be much better to catch attraction among readers.The story starts with an award function where our protagonist Sushil Pandit receives an award for best employee of the year 2016. Sushil Pandit is a mechanical engineer by profession and author of two bestselling novels. He has achieved everything in life except the love of his life. After the function on his way to home he happens to meets Anuradha a journalism student who doing some research on authors. Anuradha wants to know more about Sushi’s life after achieving everything in life he is incomplete.  Then the story enters into the flashback memories of when he was in school. Sushil joins a coaching center with his friends to improve grades in subject. There he meets Anjali for the first time and felt attracted towards her. Later Anjali and Sushil become best friends who can understand each other well. Sushil was confused with his feelings towards Anjali is it love or attraction? Ashish and Anjali are they both equally important to him he can’t even think of losing one for other. On the other hand Ashish had a crush on Anjali. To know more what happened next to Sushil read the book.The author had beautifully weaved the struggles of every middle class family, the family bonding, surprise birthday celebration of Anjali at tuition center, hang outs with friends, decision to choose between career and love, struggles after college, job hunt and many more incidents. I love how cunning crafted the mother and sons bonding.Language of the book is lucid and written in a simple way to comprehend for any kind of reader. A book which won’t require the use of a dictionary, a book which evens an amateur reader would love to get indulged in. The pace of the story is slow and kept dragging at some time. The characters are well developed and one can easily relate them.  Narration of the book is simple and engaging. A few typographical errors here and there need to be rectified. If the edit was done properly, the story would have sounded much better. If the Hindi dialogues were translated into English it was much better since everyone will not able to understand it.I recommend this book to the readers who are seeking for a quick read or a light-hearted romantic novel.Overall 3/5 StarsGrab the copy here- Amazon |FlipkartAbout the AuthorSushil Kumar Rana is a Mechanical Engineer work in an MNC company in Odisha. He belongs to a middle class family, was born and brought up in Bolangir District, Odisha. He always tried to inhabit the life in his way and his parents always support him. He is an aspiring author, contributed in an anthology is published by Purlit (Rainbow of Womanhood). A second anthology is “ Twisted Tales” published by the Authors ink publication. He is the author of “In Search Of Happiness” Anthology. He was in the habit of writing a diary which consisted of his college experiences and memories. Currently working on his second novel based on crime thriller. Apart from writing, reading and book reviewing, he is a music and movie geek. His motto in life “never give up your dreams for others, be happy and spread happiness”. Currently he resides in Sambalpur District.You can reach at him @ Twitter |Instagram |Facebook |Website