Thursday, 11 June 2020

Book Feature: A BARREN HEART by Shilpa Suraj

A Barren Heart by Shilpa Suraj

About the Book:
When having it all isn’t enough…

Aman and Rhea seem to have the perfect marriage. They are madly in love - with each other, with their own careers and the home and life they are building in a quiet Mumbai suburb. 
Rhea is a successful interior designer with a thriving business while Aman is a commercial pilot who is at peace with his life, on the ground and in the skies! What could possibly be lacking in their picture-perfect marriage?

A baby. 

Like most women, thirty plus Rhea Chakraborty, wants to hold her own flesh and blood in her arms. And Aman too wants the same. 

Or does he? 

After another unexplained miscarriage that takes a severe emotional, physical, and psychological toll on them, Aman isn't sure if having a baby will complete them or destroy them. 
Suddenly, Rhea and Aman find the fabric of their stable marriage fraying beneath the strain of their failed conceptions. Where once they were a team with a common goal, they now find themselves on opposite sides with shifting goalposts. 

A Barren Heart is set in so-called modern India and is the story of the struggle of an affluent, educated couple who are still fighting the shackles of societal indoctrination and expectations and losing each other in the process.

Book Links:  Amazon * Goodreads

Read an Excerpt from A Barren Heart


He powered off his kindle at the sound of her voice. He hadn’t yet made peace with the concession he’d made this morning, but he knew it was the only way forward for them. As a couple. As a family.

“Amannnnn,” she yelled out again. He couldn’t miss the excitement in her voice.

“I’m in here,” he called out. She appeared in the doorway of their guest bedroom a second later. Her hair was a mess, her clothes damp which meant she’d gotten caught in the sudden downpour that had hit earlier that evening and she looked…incandescent. His heart throbbed, the hurt a silent reminder of how much he loved this woman.

“You are not going to believe what happened today.” She launched herself into his arms. He caught her, the motion more reflexive than anything else. Setting her back, he looked at her glowing face. “What happened?”

“Sakshi Garewal, my client from hell recommended me to a friend of hers.”

It lightened his heart a bit to see her so excited about something as normal as a new project. It had been a very long while since she’d found joy in the simple parts of their life. “Congratulations,” he said.

“Guess who it is,” she squeezed his hand.

“Someone famous?” he smiled, her happiness was contagious. “Bollywood or cricket?”

“Bollywood with a bang.” She flopped back on the bed her arms spread out like she wanted to hug the room. “Amyra Sareen.”

“You’re joking!” A low whistle escaped him. “That is the big time.”

“Yes, it is.” She pumped a fist in the air. “I’m going to be designing Amyra Sareen’s apartment. I’ve finally broken into the big league.”

“Congratulations,” he said, again. He was so proud of her. She’d worked her butt off to get to this point.

“We should celebrate.” Rhea shot up from her prone position. “Get ready. We’re going out to dinner. My treat.”

She was halfway to the door when she slowed. “Why are you in the guest bedroom?”

It had taken so long to penetrate. Curiously numb, he watched her as she turned to face him, a frown marring the smooth lines of her brow.


“I just needed a little space.” The numbness was turning icy now that he had finally said the words.

“Space?” she repeated. “Space from me?” Confusion warred with anxiety as she took a step forward. Aman didn’t answer.

“If this is about the appointment with the doctor, we don’t have to go.”

“We do,” he said, gently but firmly.

“Why? It’s obvious you don’t want to go and I won’t force you.”

No, she wouldn’t. Not overtly. She wouldn’t realise it, but it would fester and she’d resent him. And it would kill him to see her love for him turn into something else. To see her turn into a bitter, frustrated shell of the vibrant, joyful woman he loved.

“We’ll go because you want to.” He stood up from the bed and moved towards her. “Set it up for tomorrow. I have a flight to Dubai scheduled day after.”

“No.” She shook her head, tears standing in her eyes, her earlier excitement leaching away. “I don’t want it enough to lose you.”

“You’re not losing me,” he said, his chest feeling like someone had tightened a vice around it. “I just needed a little space to clear my head.” And he couldn’t do that surrounded by her and her emotions all the time.

“I haven’t left home or you, Rhea. I’m right here. Just in another room for a couple of days. I need to think and I can’t do that clearly if we’re in each other’s faces.”

A single tear slipped out, trailing down her cheek. He cradled her face gently and wiped it away with his thumb. “Go get ready. We have to go out to celebrate.”

“I don’t feel like it anymore.” Rhea pulled back, looking lost and confused. “I think I need to clear my head too. I’m going for a walk.” She left before he could say another word. He heard the front door shut a minute later.

Be careful what you ask for, people often said. As Aman stood alone in the silent, darkening room, he realized that he had all the space he’d asked for, but he wasn’t sure he wanted it anymore.

He wanted to call her back. To bring back the excitement, the happiness she’d come home with. He wanted their life to go back to what it had been before this whole baby story began. He wanted his wife back. The wife who’d radiated joy, whose ambition had driven her to reach for the stars, whose love for him had been his anchor.

But he didn’t know how to turn back time. He didn’t know how to recapture that shiny bubble they’d lived in. He didn’t know how to go back to where they’d been before this whole baby story had taken over their life. So, he took the space he’d asked for and used it to think. To figure out where they went from here, because they couldn’t go back to the past and the present was a ticking time bomb.

About Shilpa Suraj:

Shilpa Suraj wears many hats - corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.

Shilpa on the Web:

Friday, 29 May 2020

BOOK RELEASE: SOLANGE an ebook by Linzé

Will she get the future she wants?

M/F/M Erotic vampire romance (18+ only)

  Solange knows that she is not like the average woman who frequents the bar of her two vampire lovers. When the vampire king's messenger stirs everything into a near disaster, she knew things were about to change forever.

  She knows that being human in a threesome that includes two deadly and powerful male vampires will take everything she has to keep them together. 

  Solange never lacked courage or intelligence, and demanding to see the king could result in something that she may not be prepared for: the enforcement of the centuries-old execution decision.

  The history behind the decision made her even more determined to prevent their relationship from being destroyed over a long-dead woman's mistake.

  Is her courage and commitment to this relationship enough to convince the king or is there another way to get what she wants?

Buy links

Smashwords     Apple Books    B&N    Kobo

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Art Journal 2020: The Stoic Virtues

I should probably have started my Stoic art journal entries with the four cardinal virtues, but for some reason I couldn't decide how I wanted to do them. But this week I did, and here they are: courage, justice, temperance, and wisdom.

As usual I also added a quote for each virtue from one of the stoic philosophers.

I kept the background plain, and made the decorations with stamps, and permanent markers. The numbers were done with a stencil and coloured with a Caran D'Ache Luminance black colour pencil. The background to the numbers were done with a stencil and ink.

art journal image of stoic virtues courage and justice, quote from Seneca, quote from Epictetus, artist Linzé Brandon

art journal image of stoic virtues temperance and wisdom, quote from Marcus Aurelius, quote from Epictetus, artist Linzé Brandon

Until the next entry from my stoicism series in my art journal, stay safe!
💜 Linzé

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Art Journal 2020: Resilience

I think this art journal entry speaks pretty much for itself. Took me a while to find the right quotes from the Stoics. It is an ink drawing over a gouache painted background.

Stoic quotes on a gouache painted background with bare ink drawn trees, artist Linzé Brandon

Until next time!
💜 Linzé

Thursday, 30 April 2020

A to Z Challenge: Day 26 - Z

Zucchini flower by Linzé

Not one of my favourite vegetables, but I have to say that I do like eating the flowers. But here is a gouache painting (using it like watercolour paint) on watercolour paper.
gouache painting of zucchini flower and leaves on watercolour paper, artist Linzé Brandon

And with this painting, I have to say goodbye to the #AtoZChallenge for 2020. I hope you enjoyed all the creative posts and that you will remember to pop around in future for more posts about my creative life and those of other authors and artists.

Until next time!

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

A to Z Challenge: Day 29 - Y

Yellow Fungus by Linzé

This yellow fungus appeared after a few days of rain in September 2017. It grew out of the wooden structure supporting one of our rainwater tanks. I have only seen it that once and never again.
Drawing done with Caran D'Ache museum aquarelle pencils on white paper.

colour aquarelle pencil drawing of yellow fungus growing on wood, artist Linzé Brandon

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

A to Z Challenge: Day 24 - X

X-stitch by Linzé

I found this little cross-stitch kit in a magazine. I cannot remember when or which magazine, sorry. I did think that it would be a good project (and appropriate) for this time of isolation and it is small enough that it can be completed in a few hours.

So I stitched it, made the background as per the instructions and now it is hanging on my pin board right next to my table in my workshop where I spend my time drawing or painting.

Good vibes only cross-stitch project mounted on green felt, stitched by Linzé Brandon

Book Feature: A BARREN HEART by Shilpa Suraj

A Barren Heart by Shilpa Suraj About the Book: When having it all isn’t enough… Aman and Rhea seem to have the perfec...