Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Mohana Rajakumar - No Place for Women is featured in the HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

The Showcase is a special feature of the Author's Spotlight. It is designed to highlight Spotlight author's NEW releases and their soon to be released novels.

The HBS Author's Spotlight SHOWCASES Mohana Rajakumar's New Book: No Place for Women. 

Award-winning Author Mohana Rajakumar is an author based in Qatar. She has a PhD and has been involved in various foundations supporting young writers.

No Place for Women

Crimes in Arabia Book 2

Author: Mohana Rajakumar


Finding a missing construction worker makes Ali a good man but not a stellar detective - at least not in the eyes of the national intelligence unit. His assignment to a new vice squad could be the road to redemption. When his undercover agent discovers the dead body of an expat teacher, what began as a safe bet puts his reputation on the line. Soon the burned remains of another woman are found in the desert, and Ali and Manu have no choice but to enlist the help of his fiancee Maryam to explore how the two murders may be connected. Do they have the country's first serial killer on their hands? And, if so, how can they ever hope to stop him? Set against the backdrop of the Arabian Gulf, readers are drawn into a world of intrigue, romance, and danger.

Excerpt from No Place for Women

Chapter Twelve

“I want to know what happened to my daughter!” The door clanged behind a petite woman, dressed in all black, wearing socks with sandals.

Not now.

“Who’s in charge here?”

Ali stood.

The woman, Lauren’s mother, eyed the three of them. Out of uniform in slacks and a button-down shirt, he thought plain clothes would set the ex-pats at ease and get them to open up. But in her eyes, the two men in uniform were the figures of authority.

“Ali,” he said.

She stuck out her hand.

He put his on his heart to indicate he didn’t touch non-related women.

Hers dangled in the air for a moment, like a fish gasping for air, before fluttering to her side, her eyebrows knitting in confusion. “You’re a policeman?”

“I am. I am a detective.”

She crossed her arms. “Why haven’t we been given any information? Why don’t we know what’s happening?”

“We are trying.”

The guards pressed back in their chairs against the wall.

“I want to know what you know.”

“And I would also like to know what you know.” Ali kept his voice even. He motioned to the clubhouse. “Please, join me.”

She followed him. Their eyes flared in the sunlight and took a minute to adjust to the interior.

“Water?” He offered her a bottle from the cardboard box.

“Yes, thank you.” She sat across from him.


“Martha.” She took a big gulp of water. “Call me Martha.”

Across the table, he saw the purple shadows under her eyes, the whites of which were criss-crossed with red veins.

“This is supposed to be a modern country!” Martha pounded on the table. “What is being done to get my daughter justice? What?”

Ali placed his sizeable palms on the table, focusing on his fingernails rather than the woman’s face in front of him, which twisted with a myriad of emotions: anger, sadness, fatigue.

“Women here aren’t safe!”

“They don’t hurt women in your country?”

The tirade of complaints halted. Martha blinked at him. Ali kept his gaze steady as the lines around her eyes deepened.

“No, of course, women get hurt everywhere. Lauren wouldn’t hurt anyone.” Martha gazed over his shoulder out the window on the street.

“What do you know about any boyfriends?” He asked a question that would insult any local mother.

“I mean, she saw people.” Martha fidgeted with her collar. “I’m not supposed to say that, right? Dating is illegal here.”

Ali folded his hands over the notebook. “I don’t blame your daughter for dying.”

“That’s a funny way to put it.” She took a shuddering breath, her eyes darting to his. “Considering someone strangled her in her own home.”

“Boyfriends?” He repeated.

“Well, she met one or two men on Tinder. But I don’t think she used it very often.”


Martha blinked again this time in a rapid series, like something was caught in her eye. “It’s an app. For dating.”

He pulled out the evidence bag with Lauren’s phone, passing it along with a pair of gloves to the mother. “Please. We can’t get in without the code.”

She wiggled her fingers into the gloves as Ali also put on a pair before plugging the device in to revive the battery.

Martha frowned in concentration, the tip of her tongue emerging between her teeth. “Probably her birthday?” The phone buzzed, rejecting the code.

“We tried that.”

“Hm, maybe my birthday?” Another little shake - no - from the device.

“Okay. Okay. Lauren’s memory is terrible. She uses—” Martha took a shuddering breath, “she would have used something easy to remember…” Martha’s fingernails drummed the table. “Last four of her social? … Yes!” The phone unlocked, going to a home screen showing Lauren sitting on the pavement, a black kitten in her lap. “Oh.” Martha’s breath came out in a whoosh. “Oh.” Her hands flew to her chest.

“Tinder,” Ali said. He took the phone back, nudging over a box of tissues. He scrolled through the apps, stopping at the one with the flame over the letter ‘I’. They certainly didn’t believe in subtlety. The app opened to a bare-chested man reclining on the beach, the azure blue of the Arabian Gulf behind him. “What the hell…” Ali said. The shadow of a beard belied the man’s Arab roots, that and the shock of hair curling across his pectoral muscles. Hassan? Now he knew how his cousin stocked his stable of girlfriends.

“You swipe right if you like him,” Martha said, propping her elbows on the table for a closer look.

“Did she swipe right on this guy?” Ali tossed the phone back to the other side of the table as if it were contaminated. “Did they go out?” His stomach twisted at the thought of Hassan dragging him further into this mess.

“No. The app brings up everyone registered in your city,” Martha said, tapping the screen. “He’s a new user. Besides, she stayed clear of Arab guys.” She cleared her throat, eyes flitting away from Ali.

He wrote it down, ignoring her discomfort. “And then what?”

“You wait to see if he swipes back.”

Ali scribbled more notes, asking for Lauren’s stats on the app. Thirty matches. They would take ages to track down. He tapped the pen against his lip – did Khalifa know that ex-pats were using this app inside the country? Should he include it in his brief? Confusion clouded his focus.

“Wait, I’ve seen this guy on the compound.” Martha turned the phone around to display a picture of another man’s face, close up, blue eyes sparkling but a hint of a double chin wobbling in the bottom right.

“Ralph.” Ali said. “She passed right for him?”

“Huh?” Ali mimed the action that said you liked someone on the app.

“Swipe,” Martha corrected. “No, this is in her photos.”

Ali took the phone back. The photo featured a close-up of Ralph. Peering at the screen, Ali made out the fine mesh of the window. A second floor apartment. Ali took out his phone to duplicate the photo.

“You think this is important?”

“We are doing everything we can,” Ali said. He stood to escort her to the door.

“Is this the man who killed my daughter?”

“Everyone is a suspect until we clear them.”

Martha pulled her elbow out of Ali’s grasp. “You find who did this. If he’s on that app, he could be after someone else next.” She clutched her bag.

A frisson of worry raised the hairs on Ali’s arm. “I’ll keep that in mind,” he said.

Martha dabbed at her eyes. Ali jerked his head, summoning the waiting security guard to escort the woman from the clubhouse. With the door closed, his attention returned to the phone. For the first time since the case opened, he felt the sorrow of the woman’s life ending. Not, as the local community said, a mindless woman alone. But a person with a mother. And a man who habitually watched her movements. He mentally assigned more points to the column of an unrequited lover.

He dialed his cousin. No answer. You delete that profile right now. No more SWIPING, Ali texted. The prohibition would ensure a call back within twenty minutes of Hassan waking. His cousin’s fascination with ex-pat women spelled disaster. All he needed was his relative’s name to end up on the suspect list. Khalifa’s henchmen would have a field day with that knowledge. Ali turned his attention back to Lauren. Those she knew confided in her. A sign that she led others along as well without ever knowing it.

Author Genre: Essays & non-fiction projects with young adults

Website: Mohadoha - Modern Mother, Writer, Scholar
Author's Blog: YouTube Channel - Mohana Rajakumar
Author Amazon Page
Twitter: @moha_doha
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Post with Profile + Interview: HBS Author's Spotlight

Amazon Author Profile

Author Description: Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar's award winning books have focused on various aspects of life in the Arabian Gulf nation of Qatar. From Dunes to Dior is a collection of essays related to her experiences as a female South Asian American living in the Arabian Gulf and named as Indie Book of the Day in 2013. Love Comes Later is a literary romance set in Qatar and London and was the winner of the Best Indie Book Award for Romance in 2013, short listed for the New Talent award by the Festival of Romance, and Best Novel Finalist in eFestival of Words, 2013. She currently lives with her family in Qatar, where she teaches writing and literature courses at American universities.

After she joined the e-book revolution, Mohana dreams in plotlines.

Author's Book List
The Migrant Report - Book One, Crimes in Arabia Series
Against the glittering high-rises of the capital, Manu, a recent arrival from Nepal, drips his days away on a construction site, cut off from the world outside the labor camp. His sister despairs of finding him among the thousands of migrant workers flooding into the Arabian Gulf to build the country’s infrastructure. Manu and Sanjana must keep their younger siblings out of poverty, even if at their own expense. Police captain Ali's hopes of joining the elite government forces are dashed when his childhood deformity is discovered. His demotion brings him face to face with a rising pile of unexplained dead bodies and also an aspiring journalist who is unlike any local girl Ali knows. In danger of flunking out of university, Maryam is searching for an original story that will appease her professor and keep her family’s machinations for marriage in check. Can the unlikely trio fit the pieces of the puzzle together before agency thugs get to Manu?

Book Trailer: The Migrant Report

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Love Comes Later
Hind is granted a temporary reprieve from her impending marriage to Abdulla, her cousin. Little does anyone suspect that the presence of Sangita, her Indian roommate, may shake a carefully constructed future. Torn between loyalties to Hind and a growing attraction to Abdulla, Sangita must choose between friendship and a burgeoning love.

A modern quest for the right to pursue love and happiness, even when it comes in an unconventional package, LOVE COMES LATER explores similarities between the South Asian and Arab cultures while exposing how cultural expectations affect both men and women. Identities are tested and boundaries questioned against the shifting backdrops of Doha, Qatar and London, England.

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Barnes and Noble

Winner of the SheWrites New Novelist competition 2011

"Mohana's entry, out of all of them, stood out for its story and for its distinct and engaging voice. Mohana made us want to read more…" Kamy Wicoff, author and founder of She

Sita is the firstborn, but since she is a female child, her birth makes life difficult for her mother who is expected to produce a son. From the start, Sita finds herself in a culture hostile to her, but her irrepressible personality won’t be subdued. Born in India, she immigrates as a toddler to the U.S. with her parents after the birth of her much anticipated younger brother.

Sita shifts between the vastly different worlds of her WASP dominated school and her father’s insular traditional home. Her journey takes us beneath tales of successful middle class Indians who immigrated to the U.S. in the 1980s.

The gap between positive stereotypes of South Asian immigrants and the reality of Sita's family, who are struggling to stay above the poverty line is a relatively new theme for Indian literature in English.

Sita's struggles to be American and yet herself, take us deeper into understanding the dilemmas of first generation children, and how religion and culture define women.

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The Dohmestics
Edna, Amira, and Noof are neighbors but that doesn't mean they know what happens behind closed doors or that they have anything in common with their hired help.

Maria, Maya, and Lillie live in the same compound as their employers but that's where the similarities begin and end.

There's never a dull moment for anyone in this desert emirate.

The unending gossip and unrelenting competition may be business as usual for expatriate communities but the unspoken secrets threaten to destroy life as everyone knows it.

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From Dunes to Dior
Called everything from the world's richest to fattest nation, Qatar has been on the breakneck path towards change for several decades. The capital city Doha, is where our family of three has lived since 2005.

FROM DUNES TO DIOR is not the stuff of newspaper headlines (they made their money from oil! Thirty years ago everyone was living in tents!) but real life stories about being a South Asian American who lives here (no, I don't have to cover my hair, and yes, I can drive).

I had no idea that living the life of my dreams (including a husband and precious baby) would coincide with the rapid development of one the smallest and safest countries in the world, an oasis of calm smack dab in the global hotspot of the Middle East.

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Saving Peace
You go to college to meet your bridesmaids," or so the saying goes in North Carolina, on the campus of the all female Peace College. But what happens when the friends you thought you were making for life, betray you? The same ones you'd be in the retirement home with aren't speaking not ten years later?

The ups and downs of women's friendships are tested in SAVING PEACE. Thirty years intervene in the friendships begun at the all female Peace College.

Sib, the local news anchor with dreams of going national. Mary Beth, the capable, restless mother of three. Kim, the college president who admits male students.

SAVING PEACE is the story of promises made and broken, love found then lost, and redemption sought for the past. Three women. Two choices. One campus.

What if there's nothing worth saving?

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Hip Hop Dance - The American Dance Floor
Rapping. Breakdancing. MCing. DJing. Beatboxing. Graffiti art. These are just some of the most well-known artistic expressions spawned from hip hop culture, which has grown from being an isolated inner-city subculture in the 1970s to being a truly international and mainstream culture that has taken root in countries as diverse as Japan, France, Israel, Poland, Brazil, South Korea, and England.

Stemming from its humble origin as a lifestyle of minority youth in New York City, hip hop dance is now a global phenomenon that has transcended ethnicity, nationality, and language. Today's hip hop culture is so popular and pervasive, the U.S. Department of State describes hip hop as "now the center of a megamusic and fashion industry around the world."

This insightful book provides not only an overview of hip hop's distinctive dance style and steps, but also a historic overview of hip hop's roots as an urban expression of being left out of the mainstream pop culture, clarifying the social context of hip hop culture before it became a widespread suburban phenomenon. Hip Hop Dance documents all the forms of street music that led to one of the most groundbreaking, expressive, and influential dance styles ever created.

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Barnes and Noble

Mommy but Still Me
Imagine a man volunteering to trade in his game nights for heart burn and back ache. Good thing there are women around to ensure the survival of the species. This hilarious look at the journey from high heels to high blood pressure, as a jet setter turns into a bed wetter, is what your doctor won't tell you and your own mother may have forgotten in the years since she was blessed by your arrival.

At our first meeting my future father-in-law waited until we sat down in the Thai restaurant, the oblong menus placed in our hands and the waiter was a distance away, tending to other diners, before turning towards me, his eyes glowing. This was the first time we were all seeing each other after his son had proposed to me. "When will I get to hold my first grandchild?"

For my father-in-law and everyone else, I have a question of my own: When will any of you be satisfied?

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So You Want to Sell a Million Copies?
You're trying to write a book; and you're not the next Shakespeare - not yet, anyway. You could be. But no one will ever know if you don't get those marvelous words out on the page (or screen). In easy to do, daily steps and exercises, Mohana breaks down the steps of getting started as a creative writer. From getting past writer's block (excuse of the weak!) to putting that blog to work (every body's got one), the tools of the trade are revealed.

If you've had a story idea in your head for a day, year, (or longer) that it doesn't seem to be writing itself, you may want to take a closer look at this book. Designed as a concise guide for aspiring writers, you'll find here the key principles of how to get started, keep going, and finish a manuscript, all told by a fellow accidental writer who took the long way developing a writer's formula.

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Coloured and Other Stories
What's it like being the ant in the ice cream? The characters in this short story collection will show you; experience life as they know it as transplants from across the world into American suburbia.

Adapted from real life anecdotes both her own and those of others, Mohana takes us into the world of the South Asian immigrant living the American Dream. Think of her as a cultural translator for those who you may not notice otherwise, living in the margins of our cities.

"What are a few inches when you know he will provide for you the rest of your life," her mother would have said, smacking her in the cheek.

The sight of his feet, white, broad toes, and clean, short-clipped nails startled her. Americans normally wore their shoes everywhere; they had special shoes to wear inside their houses, shoes specifically for their bedrooms. BABY

Book Trailer: Coloured and Other Stories

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Qatari Voices
Qatari Voices is the first anthology that represents 25 young creative Qatari authors. The anthology reflects concerns and aspirations of the young Qatari generation illustrated in essays and stories.

They are intimate glimpses of old reminiscence and longing to the simple past, as well as photos that show concerns of a challenging present and aspirations to the future. They also tackle sensitive issues such as arranged marriages and gender discrimination. Qatari Voices is a mirror of reality of the Qatari society from a young generation perspective.

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Barnes and Noble

Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
eBook Author’s Corner
Mystery Reader’s Circle

Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

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