Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mohana Rajakumar - AN UNLIKELY GODDESS 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 Book: AN UNLIKELY GODDESS


Author: Mohana Rajakumar


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 Writes.com

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.

An Unlikely Goddess
By Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar
Winner of the SheWrites New Novelist Award, 2011

…The Hindu goddess, Sita, is said to have been born from the Earth. King Janaka discovers the beautiful infant and in her beauty, believes in her divinity. He raises her as his own daughter……


Unlike her namesake, Sita's first mistake was being born.

A girl, her mother thought, eyes dark in abject terror. What if he leaves me? She swallowed, increasing the dryness in her post-delivery mouth, the stiches across her abdomen itching. No water. Only ice chips until her bowels passed the tests. Mythili pressed back against the pillows. She closed her eyes, pushing her fingers into the sockets until the darkness was punctuated by bone-white stars. She wished she could as easily tune out the gurgles of the baby in the bassinet beside her.

Yet, even premature and unwanted, Sita was obliviously happy to enter the world, beaming her infant smile at anyone or anything she saw: the nurse, her aunt, her mother's back, the noxiously-pink cement walls of the Madras hospital in which she found herself. Several pounds underweight, she was otherwise fine—a petite, brown-skinned baby with tufts of black hair crowning a smooth scalp. How could she be expected to know that from her first breath she was, and always would be, a living reminder of her mother's failure to produce a first-born male heir?

Though swaddled and placed in the bassinet immediately after delivery, her eyes were alive with motion. She blinked up at the faces of passersby, but they were admittedly few, so instead, she followed the blinking lights, the creeping shadows and the occasional appearance of a nurse.

Everything about the world kept her busy with delight until sleep washed over her little body.

“Look at that smile,” the young nurse said, cradling Sita against her flat bosom.

“Aamam,” Priya, the childless aunt, agreed, rubbing a forefinger across the baby’s somewhat wrinkly face.

Instead of replying, Mythili, Sita’s mother, pulled a see-through blue sheet up to her chin and turned her face away.

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

Website: Mohadoha
Author's Blog: YouTube Channel - Mohana Rajakumar
Twitter: @moha_doha
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest

Author Description: Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar is a South Asian American who has lived in Qatar since 2005. Moving to the Arabian Desert was fortuitous in many ways since this is where she met her husband, had a baby, and made the transition from writing as a hobby to a full time passion. Her work has been published in AudioFile Magazine, Explore Qatar, Woman Today, The Woman, Writers and Artists Yearbook, QatarClick, and Qatar Explorer. She has been a guest on Expat Radio, and was the host for two seasons of the Cover to Cover book show on Qatar Foundation Radio. She was the Associate Editor of Vox, a fashion and lifestyle magazine.

She has also published six e-books including a mom-ior for first time mothers, Mommy But Still Me, a guide for aspiring writers, So You Want to Sell a Million Copies, a short story collection, Coloured and Other Stories, and a novel about women’s friendships, Saving Peace. Most recently, From Dunes to Dior, is a collection of essays related to her experiences as a female South Asian American living in the Arabian Gulf. Her second novel is set in Qatar which explores if this generation of people believe that Love Comes Later. Since she joined the e-book revolution, she dreams in plot lines.

Mohana has a PhD from the University of Florida with a focus on gender and postcolonial theory. Her dissertation project was published as Haram in the Harem (Peter Lang, 2009) a literary analysis of the works of three Muslim women authors in India, Algeria, and Pakistan. She is the creator and co-editor of five books in the Qatar Narratives series, as well as the Qatari Voices anthology which features essays by Qataris on modern life in Doha (Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing, 2010). Her research has been published in numerous journals and anthologies. She was a winner of the She Writes We Love New Novelists competition.

Currently Mohana is working on a coming of age story about a South Indian girl growing up in the U.S. She writes because words can help us understand ourselves and others.

Author's Book List
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.

Order the Book From: Amazon
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.

Order the Book From: Amazon
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.

Order the Book From: Amazon
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?

Order the Book From: Amazon
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.

Order the Book From: Amazon - 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?

Order the Book From: Amazon
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.

Order the Book From: Amazon
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
Order the Book From: Amazon
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.

Order the Book From: Amazon - 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 and HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle
Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for hosting James! I hope your readers learn something new about South Asian culture and if they check out the book, let me know their thoughts. Writers love readers!