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Work in Progress

You’re probably wondering what happened as there haven’t been any posts this week. That’s because I’ve been working day and night to get my book finished. I started writing in October last year, and I feel like I haven’t stopped since. It took me about a month to write the story, but then the editing process took forever. Like with my second book, the editor of my first book didn’t have the time to help me out, so I did it on my own with all the help I could get. I felt confident I could pull it off this way as I learned a lot since writing Book 2 (in 2015). I still have a lot to learn, but I’m getting better at it all the time. Hopefully, it shows in this book.

I’ve now got to organize the promotion for the launch next. I’ve never had a good launch for a book. The first time I was such a noob and had no idea about launches. I put it on Amazon and watched its ranking plummet into the depths. The second time, I did try to promote it, but everything went wrong. The person I hired to advertise on Twitter didn’t do it, and instead of buying a FreeBooksy ad, I bought a BargainBooksy ad. By the time I realized this, it was too late to change, so there was no ad at all. This time, I’m hoping to do it right 🙂 . Keep your fingers crossed for me!

PS: This means I’ll also be too busy to post a weight loss update or a new short story. Sorry guys!


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I wrote some grammar articles for One Stop Fiction last year, and I’m going to share them with you. This week I’ll start talking about the subject of a sentence.



Most sentences have a verb and a subject. The subject of a sentence is the person, animal, place, thing, or idea that is ‘doing’ or ‘being’ the verb.

There are multiple forms of subjects. Have a look at this table from Wikipedia:

Noun (phrase) or pronoun The large car stopped outside our house.
A gerund (phrase) His constant hammering was annoying.
to-infinitive (phrase) To read is easier than to write.
A full that-clause That he had traveled the world was known to everyone.
A free relative clause Whatever he did was always of interest.
A direct quotation I love you is often heard these days.
Zero (but implied) subject Take out the trash!
An expletive It is raining.
Acataphoric it It was known by everyone that he had traveled the world.

A subject can be a simple subject, a complete subject, or a compound subject.

Simple Subject

Example: I read a book.

In the above example, the verb is read. To find the subject, ask ‘who or what does the reading?’ The person in this sentence who does the reading is I. Therefore, I is the subject.

The subject in this sentence is called a simple subject; there are no modifiers of the subject noun. The subject isn’t always a single word though.

Example: What he wanted to learn about writing was not going to be found in the library.

What he wanted to learn about writing is the subject of this sentence, not just he or writing or what he wanted to learn. Even though it consists of multiple words, it’s a simple subject as there are no modifiers.

Complete Subject

The complete subject contains all the modifiers of a subject.

Example: The hardworking, persevering, tenacious writer finally published her first book.

In the above example, the subject who does the publishing is the hardworking, persevering, tenacious writer. It is the complete subject as all together they describe who does the publishing. The simple subject in this sentence is the writer as hardworking, persevering, tenacious are modifiers of the simple subject.

Compound Subject

A compound subject is a subject consisting of more than one element. This could be pronouns, noun phrases, and noun clauses. The individual subjects are put together with the help of coordinating conjunctions (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so).

Example: She and I are collaborating on a book. (pronouns)

Example: Imagination, typing skills, and perseverance are needed to be a writer. (noun phrase)

Example: Whoever publishes my book shall not be disappointed. (noun clause)

When using ‘and’ as the coordinating conjunction, the subject can be replaced by ‘they’ so use the verb that goes with ‘they.’

Example: Joe and Jane work together.

The Proximity Rule

When using ‘or,’ ‘neither/nor,’ ‘as well as,’ or ‘alongside,’ the verb used goes with the subject that is closest to the verb. This is called ‘the proximity rule.’

Example: Joe or Jane is writing the story.

Example: The Smiths as well as the Joneses are preparing the picnic.

Example: A novel or a maximum of two short stories are accepted.

Subject-Verb Inversion

Usually, the subject comes before the verb. Sometimes, however, the subject is mentioned after the verb. This is called locative inversion or subject-verb inversion. There are many situations when this is used. Here are a few:

Example: Did you finish reading the book yet? (question)

Example: Here is my version. (expletive)

Example: “Don’t do it!” said the girl. (attributing speech)

Example: More important is this particular reason. (give prominence)

Example: Never in my life was I so frightened. (sentence begins with adverbial phrase/clause or adverb)

Example: I don’t get it, nor does she. (negative construction)

Example: I get it, so does he. (after ‘so’)

Example: Doomed was he. (literary effect)

No Subject

Not all sentences have a subject. Statements, questions, imperatives (orders, commands, warnings, or instructions), and exclamations don’t always have a subject.

Example: Not a lot of writing today. (statement)

Example: Who published your book? (question)

Example: Write that down! (imperative)

Example: Great story! (exclamation)

Prepositional phrases

The subject is never part of a prepositional phrase (that part of a sentence starting with an indication of location; a preposition, and ending in a noun, pronoun, or gerund).

Example: Neither of these books is liked by the students.

You would almost think that these books is the subject of this sentence, but as it is part of the prepositional phrase of these books, the subject is actually neither (as is emphasized by the singular form of the verb).

Linking Verbs

Not all verbs convey an action. Sometimes they describe the subject and are called linking verbs. Am, is, are, was, were, seem, etc. are examples of these. They link the subject to something said about it.

Example: Jane’s book is excellent.

Excellent says something about the book, not Jane, hence book is the subject of this sentence.


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A Preview of Killing A Vampire

As I’ve been too busy finishing Killing A Vampire, I’ve not had the time to interview other authors or write a short story this week. Instead, I’m going to give you a sneak peek of the first chapter of Book 3, the last one of the Suckers Trilogy. Enjoy!



Wednesday Afternoon

My decision to go on national television meant all my hopes and dreams for a quiet suburban life would forever be lost. Yet here I was, my hands sweaty and my breathing deliberate. It hadn’t been an easy decision as there were more consequences. There had always been protesters, sucker-haters, but this time they had shown up in great numbers at the entrance of the studio, trying to prevent me from going in. The guards had to protect me and get me safely from the cab to the entrance. It would only get worse now. It would also mean I would be in the public eye more frequent than ever before. More interviews, more paparazzi, more work. Something Charlie didn’t agree with.

I picked up Sonny to distract myself from the anticipation, and, while cuddling him, I waited for the signal.

“Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Kate Clarke!” I heard the woman’s voice say.

The man with the headphones and clipboard pointed at me. He mouthed, ‘You’re on,’ and my adrenaline level peaked.

“Let’s go, Mommy,” Sonny said, a broad smile on his face.

I stepped onto the stage, sincerely hoping I wouldn’t trip with my son in my arms. The bright stage lights shone in my eyes and their warmth hit me with equal surprise. Emma waited for me at the white couches. I put Sonny down before shaking her hand. She ruffled Sonny’s hair. The three of us sat on the comfy two-seaters; Emma on one, Sonny and me on the other. I had expected Sonny to cuddle up with me, but he decided to occupy the other half of the couch, his legs just not reaching the end of the seating cushion.

Please don’t let his shoes make any marks on the white fabric.

He bumped his feet together, never sitting completely still. When he caught my eye, he smiled at me.

“So glad you could make it, Kate. I see you brought your son, Sonny. Hi Sonny.” Emma beamed an extra broad smile at him. I presumed to make him feel at ease.

“Hi, Emma,” he said to her. I was so glad he wasn’t shy at all.

“Sonny, why don’t you give Emma the drawing you made for her?”

Sonny eagerly moved off the couch, took the drawing he had made out of his pocket, and handed it to Emma.

“You’re not going to bite me when I take it, are you?” Emma said to Sonny. He hesitated to answer, turning to me for help. “Just kidding, kiddo.” She took the paper from Sonny’s hand and with her other hand ruffled his hair again. “Aw, thank you, sweetie. That’s so cute. It’s me holding hands with Kate and Sonny.” She showed the drawing to the audience. One of the cameramen ran up to take a close-up shot of the stick-figure drawing which instantly appeared on the big screen behind us. The audience ‘aw’d’ with Emma.

I patted the couch where he had sat a moment ago. Sonny climbed back onto the couch but cuddled up to me this time.

“You call him Sonny because he’s your son. And of course, it’s a good shortening of his full name, Nelson. Nellie would sound a bit strange.” The audience laughed. “He isn’t the son of your partner though, is he?”

“No, Sonny was conceived as a cruel experiment in the sucker internment camp.”

“That must have been a terrible experience for you. Good things have come from it though. One of them is sitting right next to you.” She smiled at Sonny again. “Isn’t he adorable, ladies and gentlemen?”

The audience agreed. I hugged Sonny as I completely agreed with Emma. “Another result of your predicament was that you became the head figure of SAM, the Suckers Acceptance Movement in Maine. Can you tell us a bit more about what SAM does?”

I shrugged as I let go of Sonny and leaned forward.

“SAM tries to help integrate suckers into everyday life. When the Succedaneum virus plagued the world during Black October thirteen years ago, a lot of lives were lost. People blamed suckers for it, but it was actually the government who was the cause of the sucker pandemic as they made the virus and failed to contain it. People infected with it had no choice but to act upon their bloodlust. They aren’t to blame. The vaccine they created eradicated most suckers from the planet, but there were cases in which it didn’t work, when vaccination was too late to have any effect. These people will always be suckers, even though they didn’t ask for it.

Most children conceived during Black October ended up in an internment camp, but some parents were able to keep their sucker children out of the hands of the government. They kept them in hiding from the public out of fear of retribution. These children deserve to have a normal life as well. Sucker children should be able to grow up, have friends, and have a happy future like any other child. SAM is trying to help people accept suckers into their communities and to not be fearful of them. They are normal people with a disease, a manageable disease. Suckers aren’t a threat to society anymore.”

“That’s so true,” Emma said, “and you, of all people, know this first hand because you have two sucker children, don’t you? Sonny, who is here with us today, and Sue, your older daughter. How old is Sue now?”

“Officially, Sue’s twelve years old, but because sucker children grow twice as fast, she’s already a fully grown adult. Sonny looks like he’s four, but he’s only two years old.”

“And they don’t display any of the aggressive behavior suckers did during Black October?” Emma asked. “Because that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it; people fearing we’ll have another Black October on our hands if we let suckers loose into the world.”

“Absolutely not. Sucker children need a strict upbringing, I don’t deny that. They need to be taught to be gentle as they are a lot stronger than other children. Otherwise, they are as playful, strong-willed, and cuddly as any other child. They still need to be loved.”

“What about the older suckers? The ones for which vaccination came too late? Are they a threat to us? I mean, I don’t want to walk next to one and he suddenly ‘fancies a snack.’” The audience laughed at Emma’s comment. I didn’t find it funny at all.

“There are still some suckers that have lived underground since Black October and haven’t changed their attitude. SAM is there for these people as well. Once these individuals are discovered, SAM will guide and counsel them. With the help of the Army, we rehabilitate them, so they can live in our society once more. As you know, there is a mandate for every sucker to register and requiring them to give a DNA sample, so that if a biting incident happens, authorities will be able to tell which sucker has been the perpetrator. This system for suckers is similar to the fingerprint system used by the justice department for virus-free humans.”

“That’s so comforting to hear. Now, I can’t keep my eyes off your son as he’s so adorable. He must be very special to you.”

“He sure is, Emma.” Sonny just sat there, taking it all in his stride. It always amazed me how ‘grown up’ he was. As if he was an old soul.

“He’s actually very special in a broader sense, isn’t he? What time is it now? Early afternoon?” Emma made a show of looking at her watch. “And you both came here by cab. No under-cover-of-darkness stuff.”

“That’s right. Sonny’s extra special because he’s a daywalker.”

“And not only a daywalker but also a half-blood which means he doesn’t drink blood but eats meat, or so I’m told. Is this correct?”

“Yes, it’s true. As a daywalker, he isn’t affected by sunlight, and because he’s a half-blood, his diet isn’t limited to blood alone. He can also eat meat, but only raw meats.”

“So, wouldn’t it be handy if all suckers become meat-eating daywalkers? Problem solved?”

“I wish it were that easy, Emma, but there’s only a small window during the incubation of the virus when suckers can become daywalkers. Unless their mother was a daywalker, children are born true suckers and photo-phobic for life. It lessens over time, but they will always be affected and move slower. There also aren’t many half-bloods around. Only a few special individuals appear to be immune to the aversion to mate with ‘the others,’ so to speak, and create a half-blood. I’m extremely lucky that both my children have come from such a union. They are both able to eat meat.”

“I can’t imagine what that would do to your grocery bill,” Emma replied, and of course the audience laughed again. “It’s better than getting blood from heaven knows where, though. Tell me, where do suckers get their blood from?”

“The virus changes the body, so, just like cats can’t be vegetarians, suckers need to drink blood to survive. Fortunately, suckers can survive on animal blood which has been a huge waste product from slaughterhouses, and until recently, only a part of it was used to make fertilizer and food additives for animal feed. Most of it was dumped in sewers or landfill. Now it fills a gap in the market. It’s treated to prevent the spread of diseases like mad cow disease, and bagged blood is currently available for human consumption in supermarkets, next to the blood sausages. It’s one of the major triumphs of SAM’s efforts.”

“I don’t know if you know this, but I’m actually a vegan, and I’ll tell you, my stomach content is churning with all this talk about consuming blood. I think it’s time we end this conversation. It’s been so nice talking to you and hearing about all the good work you’ve been doing with SAM for suckers. I wish you all the best.”

“Thanks, Emma. Thank you so much for having us on the show.”

Emma rose from her seat, and so did Sonny and I.

“Ladies and gentlemen, Kate Clarke and her son Sonny!”

I waved to the audience as they applauded. Sonny copied me. We followed the instruction we had received earlier to leave the stage on the opposite side of where we had come from. Once backstage, a woman took off my microphone and guided us to the room downstairs where our belongings were. I took off the make-up applied earlier and put my jacket back on. I then put Sonny in his jacket and gave him a kiss.

“Time for us to leave, Little Man. Let’s see if we still have a home to go to.”


Copyrighted (c) by Jacky Dahlhaus

Killing A Vampire will be available very soon!

Why not catch up with what happened to Kate before and check out Book 1. Living Like A Vampire and Book 2. Raising A Vampire? You can find them in on Amazon and on KOBO, but when you buy them from my bookstore, you’ll get a 20% discount! 🙂

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My Weight Loss Journey – Week 6

My Weight Loss Journey

Week 6


Something’s wrong. I’m not sure what. I was on the scales today and I lost weight. Yay! Not a lot, but we’re on a downward spiral. So what’s wrong? When I was compiling my photos for today, I had the enlightening idea of pasting a shadow of myself today over the photo I took when I started out. And guess what? Nothing has changed!!! That’s what’s wrong. Great disappointment.

I guess, like I said last week, my fat is getting less dense. Or I’m losing muscle. But nothing in my body shape has changed. At all. Very depressing. I’ve almost finished my book, just missed the deadline yesterday. I only had ten pages of correction to go still (also very depressing). But it means I will have more time to be more active in and around the house. I hope this will burn more calories than sitting on my butt behind the computer all day.


I weighed 76.2 kg this morning (11.99 stone) and my waistline hasn’t changed.


No change.


No change.

I haven’t been sticking to the diet either. On the weekend we went to the movies and I had a fast-food burger. I only found out afterward that it contained 1100kcal. 1100! And that was without the fries I had with it. I didn’t take a lot of photos of my meals this week as I have been too busy working on finishing my book. My husband cooked most of the time and, I’m afraid to say out loud, they weren’t the most conventional meals. I am grateful he did it without complaining, though. I love him to bits!

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I wonder why I starve myself if nothing is changing, but my weight is going down, so I keep on going. Maybe I’ll hit the gym this week now I have more time.

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What To Watch? The Shape of Water

This weekend we had a double whammy and went to see The Shape of Water first and The Greatest Showman straight after. Both were great movies. I actually don’t like singing in movies, so I’m not going to discuss the latter here. I do love a good romance story, so The Shape of Water it is.

The Shape of Water


Cast and Plot

This story plays in 1962 Baltimore when racism is the norm and homosexuality is still a taboo. Elisa Esposito (played by Sally Hawkins) is a woman who lives above a movie theatre and works as a cleaning lady in a secret government laboratory. Her neighbor, Giles (played by Richard Jenkins), is a homosexual artist, trying to make a living with his drawings. Elisa is mute. She appears to have been found as a child with strange scars in her neck like someone scratched her.

When an aquatic creature (played by Doug Jones) is brought into the facility, Elisa forms a bond with it. She is delighted to have found someone like her, someone who can’t talk, and she spends her lunchtimes with the creature. The agent in charge of the creature, Colonel Richard Strickland (played by Michael Shannon), is a very cruel man and delights in torturing it. The Russian scientist studying the creature (played by Michael Stuhlbarg) notices the bond between the creature and Elisa and realizes it is an intelligent being. He tries everything in his power to make his superiors see this without spilling the beans on Elisa.

What I liked

This is a wonderfully romantic story about an outcast who becomes a hero and finds true love. Who doesn’t like a story where this happens? The fact that is was nominated so many times probably has something to do with the fact that the movie puts a spotlight on all sort of social taboos; masturbation, homosexuality, racial discrimination, and physical disabilities. The fact that it plays in 1962 only highlights that a lot still needs to change.

I like the casting of the actors. They weren’t perfect, yet beautiful. In other words, not a typical Holywood cast. Michael Shannon was a particular well-cast actor, and I think we’re going to see more of him on the big screen.

I liked that Doug Jones, who played the creature, also played Abe Sapien in Hellboy, one of my favorite movies. The creatures aren’t the same, yet their likeness was the first thing that sprung to mind when I saw the creature for the first time (before I knew Doug Jones played both roles). Loved, loved, loved the outfit!

Abe Sapien from Hellboy vs. The Creature in The Shape of Water
Abe Sapien from Hellboy vs. The Creature in The Shape of Water

What I didn’t like

Even though it is a very romantic story, I missed something. Maybe it was the short time dedicated to the build-up of the romance, I don’t know. Questioning logistics issues, explained too late, took me out of the story sometimes. And of course the WTF-moments that always seems to happen. I can accept fantasy logic, but I won’t accept things that they pretend can happen in this physical world. It just isn’t possible from a earthly-scientific point of view. You can take the girl out of science, but you can’t take the science out of the girl 🙂


All in all a bloody good movie for Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Romance, and Thriller lovers. Go and see it!

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Eat, Sleep, Write, Repeat – That Crucial Comma, Part 3

I’m still busy editing my WIP. It’s nearly finished though, I’ve now printed it out and am working my way through it. I thought I’d only be looking for typos, but everything looks so different on paper, and I find myself changing at least five sentences per two pages (I printed two pages on a paper to save paper). But enough talk about my work, here’s the last part about commas for you to improve your work.

That Crucial Comma – Part 3


Use a comma near the end of a sentence to separate contrasted coordinate elements or to indicate a distinct pause or shift / to offset negation in a sentence

 Example: I read a romance, not a thriller, last weekend.

In this case, you still need the comma if the negation occurs at the end of the sentence.

Example: I read a romance, not a thriller.

Use a comma to separate a statement from a question.

Example: I can write, can’t I?

Use a comma to separate contrasting parts of a sentence.

Example: That is my book, not yours.

Also, use commas when any distinct shift occurs in the sentence or thought process.

Example: That was a fantasy story, perhaps even a dark fantasy one.

Use commas to set off expressions that interrupt the sentence flow (nevertheless, after all, by the way, on the other hand, however, etc.).

Example: I am, by the way, sure about this.

Use commas to set off all geographical names, items in dates (except the month and day), and addresses (except the street number and name)

Example: September 11, 2001, was a scary day.

Even if you add a weekday, keep the comma after 2001.

Example: Tuesday, September 11, 2001, was a scary day.

Example: Tuesday, September 11, was a scary day.

You don’t need to add a comma when the sentence mentions only the month and year.

Example: September 2001 was a scary month.

Example: I work at 666 Park Ave. South, New York, N.Y. 60606.

Example: Portland, Maine, is a wonderful city.

Use a comma to shift between the main discourse and a quotation

If attribution comes before the quote, place the comma outside the quotations marks.

Example: The reader said, “I read a book.”

If attribution comes after the quote, put the comma inside the quotation marks.

Example: “I read a book,” said the reader.

If the attribution is within the quote, put the first comma within the first quotation marks and the second comma immediately after the attribution, outside of the second quotation marks.

Example: “Why,” I asked, “won’t you tell me?”

If a quotation functions as a subject or object in a sentence, it might not need a comma.

Example: Is ‘I don’t mind’ all you can say to me?

If a quoted question ends in midsentence, the question mark replaces a comma.

Example: “Will you still be my friend?” she asked.

Use commas wherever necessary to prevent possible confusion or misreading

Example: I called you my darling.

Example: I called you, my darling.

Use a comma after certain words that introduce a sentence, such as well, yes, why, hello, hey, etc.

Example: Why, I can’t believe you!

Example: No, you can’t have a raise.

Use a comma before and after certain introductory words or terms, such as namely, that is, i.e., e.g., and for instance, when they are followed by a series of items.

Example: You may be required to bring many items, e.g., sleeping bag, tent, and a mat.

A comma should precede the term etc. Many authorities also recommend a comma after etc. when it is placed midsentence.

Example: You may be required to bring many items, e.g., sleeping bag, tent, mat, etc.

(Please note there is no extra full stop when the sentence ends with an abbreviation ending in a full stop)

Example: Sleeping bag, tent, a mat, etc., are required.

Use a comma to set off the name, nickname, term of endearment, or title of a person directly addressed

Example: My boss often asks, “Jody, is that article up yet?”

Example: Will you, Aisha, do that assignment for me?

Example: Yes, old friend, I will.

Example: Good day, Captain.

Traditionally, if a person’s name is followed by Sr. or Jr., a comma follows the last name.

Example:  Martin Luther King, Jr.

This comma is no longer considered mandatory. However, if a comma does precede Sr. or Jr., another comma must follow the entire name when it appears midsentence.

Correct: Al Capone Sr. is here.

Correct: Al Capone, Sr., is here.

Incorrect: Al Capone, Sr. is here.

Similarly, use commas to enclose degrees or titles used with names.

Example: Al Mooney, M.D., is here.

Use commas before every sequence of three numbers when writing a number larger than 999

(Two exceptions are writing years and house numbers)

Example: 10,000 or 1,304,687.

Have a Wonderful Writing Weekend!

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Another Short Story – The Apparition

Meldrum Writers Club

We didn’t have a meeting yesterday due to adverse weather conditions. There was a real blizzard blowing here, with the snow nearly going horizontal. There’s hardly anything left of it today, the ground not being cold enough for the snow to stay. But, as a result, I didn’t write anything. Not to worry, I found a piece I wrote last year that, for some obscure reason, I never posted. It’s called The Apparition and this should give you a hint on what’s happening in the story. Check it out here.

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Meet the Author… Sunanda Chatterjee

Meet the author

I’ve had the pleasure of getting acquainted with Sunanda Chatterjee through One Stop Fiction. I began reading her book Fighting for Tara and was immediately swept away with her writing style. Her words take you away to another place. So beautiful, so romantic! So, I didn’t have to think at all which writer to pick for you to meet on Valentine’s Day 🙂

Sunanda J. Chatterjee

Sunanda J. Chatterjee

Why do you write romance?

Thank you for the chance to share my work with your readers. I write both romance and women’s fiction. All my stories feature strong women. Despite what women go through in real life, we have many strengths that are often masked by society and family situations, and which shine through only when the situation is dire. My stories touch upon social issues but have underpinnings of love in all its forms.

Writing romantic stories fulfills me. Indeed, movies or songs about sensitive, romantic love bring me to tears. In addition to romantic love between two consenting adults, what fascinates me is social and family drama. Every family has secrets, relatives who make bad choices, and friends involved in scandals. I enjoy the dynamics that threaten to ruin the unstable equilibrium because these issues make for a great backdrop for family dramas.

In my current romance series called The Wellington Estates, all the stories are based on characters with connections to an exclusive community in the foothills of San Gabriel mountains in Southern California. They are privileged and wealthy, and of course, they fall in love with people who are deemed unacceptable in their social circles, for money, race, or profession. Each family has secrets, vices, scandals, and pasts that prevent the members from leading fulfilling lives.

These stories have a strong romantic element which drives the story. But other characters also get the spotlight and parts of the stories are told from the parents’ or friends’ point of view, a feature not usual in contemporary romance.

I like to call this genre as a romantic saga, bridging romance and women’s fiction.

Romance—including contemporary, romantic suspense, romantic thriller, and other subcategories— is the most popular and highest selling and highest earning genre, especially in the indie world. Some authors churn out a book a month, and readers devour a book a day. There’s a huge demand for romance authors. So if one can find a niche, one can find a following.

How much of your personal life is in your books?

In all my books, there is an anecdote or two featuring something that happened to me, to someone in my family, or to someone I know. I think it brings authenticity to the story. In Shadowed Promise, a young woman adopts her dying cousin’s baby and has to deal with the consequences in her marriage many years later. This happened to one of my friends. In The Blue House in Bishop, a cow dies in the front yard in a traditional Indian community, making the family targets for death threats. That happened to my family. In Jimmy’s Shadow, a short story I published in an anthology, the house, the swimming pool, and the backyard are exact representations of my own house.

What, in your opinion, makes a story a romance?

Romance features amorous love between two consenting adults. The essential elements are as follows: Boy and girl meet. Sparks fly. They deny their attraction for each other for some reason, OR They cannot be together for some reason. A crisis makes them realize that love can triumph. They get together. Happily ever after.

The hero can be an alpha male or a flawed, conflicted, tortured soul. All my heroes have past issues that prevent them from leading fulfilling lives, that is, until they meet the perfect woman. The heroine can be a damsel in distress or a spunky, I-can-do-it-all type. My heroines tend to be self-sufficient, feisty and bold, but with a tender, nurturing instinct, or a haunting past that threatens their future. The hero and heroine both help each other find fulfillment.

Do you write sex scenes and if so, where is your cut-off point?

I do write sex scenes with some descriptions. I write more for the emotional element. Sex is a very intimate and personal experience, and when two people are making love for the first time, the spectrum of emotions that goes through their minds can be beautiful to explore. I don’t mention body parts besides breasts *blush* but I do write the scene euphemistically to tell the reader it happened and how it was for both parties.

Would you write/have you written in another genre?

I write women’s fiction and romantic suspense as well, although lately most of my stories are romance. My book Fighting for Tara is about a child bride in India, whose husband dies and her new husband wants her to drown her baby girl. She runs away from home to save her baby, and a long journey brings her to America, where after a few years, she must fight for her baby’s life once again. There are strong emotional elements in this book, but she does find romantic love.

Which of your books is your favorite and why?

Fighting for Tara is my favorite book because it deals with love in all its forms: mother-daughter, husband-wife, friends, as well as romantic love.

Thank you, Sunanda, for taking the time to answer my questions.

If you want to read an amazing and romantic story this Valentine’s Day, pick one of Ms. Chatterjee’s books!





You can find all of Sunanda J. Chatterjee’s books on Amazon.


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My Weight Loss Journey – Week 5

My Weight Loss Journey

Week 5


It’s not been easy, and I haven’t lost as much as I hoped, but we’re on a downward curve again. What I noticed the last week or so, is that my skin has been itchy, especially around my hips. Could it be because I’m shrinking??? LOL! That would be great. I’m not feeling any smaller yet, but my belly fat feels softer. You know, when I started it was hard fat, now I can actually feel the muscles underneath the fat.


The yoga is also not as bad as I thought. I’ve been doing the new routine for two weeks now, and I haven’t had a problem with my hallux limitus at all. When I do the Lunge pose (see image above), I turn my foot slightly to put more stretch on my other toes and my big toe joint doesn’t hurt. When I began this pose, I actually cheated. I put my knee of the leg going backward on the floor instead of being on just my two feet. For the last two days, I have done it properly and, to my surprise, without falling over. It is a difficult pose, I’d even say the most difficult pose (for me), but I’m persevering. One day, I’ll be able to do it without any effort 🙂 . I still can’t get my leg to move from the Downward-facing Dog into the Lunge (in between my arms) without taking one hand off the floor. Not sure if that’s because my belly is in the way or my arms are too short. LOL!


As expected, no change in my waistline. I weighed 76.7kg (12.07 stone) yesterday (I did all the measuring and photographing yesterday, I just didn’t have time to put it online) which is almost a whole kilogram off last week’s weight.  I was worried I didn’t lose any, so I’m quite happy with this result.


I don’t know, but I think I’m beginning to get a bit of a waistline. It’s hard to see in the W0 photo, though, so not sure. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking.


Not much change in this view. Maybe a smidgen of fat off my back behind my arms (shoulderblade height). Could be my pose though.


I’ve not been sticking to my diet. I had carb cravings all the time! Caused by all that eating of nice food in Holland, I guess. I’ve been eating ice creams for dessert over the weekend, and had some alcohol-free beers. Not as bad as real beer, but still 50kcal per bottle. I’ve varied my nut intake, adding walnuts and pumpkin seeds to the mix. I’m curbing the walnuts a little as they contain quite a bit of fat.

My husband has also started to curb his carb intake! We’re all going to be so healthy 🙂 . I tried to make pancakes out of almond flour yesterday (Shrove Tuesday), but that didn’t work. First of all, it tasted like carboard. And it burnt before I could flip it over. So the pancake you see in the images below is a normal pancake (with bacon, raisins, and banana; mjam!). The Mediterranean vegetable pie was made by my husband.

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 Even though I was tempted by my family’s desserts, I did lose weight. Let’s see what next week will bring.

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What to Watch? Altered Carbon

We did watch one Amazon movie this weekend; The Rite, with Anthony Hopkins. You’d expect something good with him in it, but alas, it wasn’t. So, I’m going to talk about another series we binge-watched on Netflix: Altered Carbon.

Altered Carbon


Altered Carbon plays about three-hundred-and-fifty years into the future. Cars fly and people can live forever. How do they live forever? Everybody has a disc implanted in their necks, called a ‘stack.’ These contain the ‘essence’ of the human being it belongs to. When you’re not happy with your body anymore or it gets damaged, you simply take the stack out and place it into another body, called ‘a sleeve.’ Needless to say that if your stack gets damaged, you die. Unless you made a backup, of course.

The Plot

Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman, see the eye candy below) wakes up 250 years after his sleeve is terminated, and he is given the choice by Laurens Bancroft (James Purefoy) to either spend the rest of time in prison for his crimes (he was the sole surviving soldier, an envoy, of those defeated in an uprising against the new world order 250 years prior) or to help solve his murder. Everyone thinks he committed suicide, but Bancroft thinks otherwise. His backup was done almost forty-eight hours before the murder, and his memory during those last two days was lost. Takeshi reluctantly takes on the job.

The Cast

Now here is where it gets a bit tricky. See, when you have sleeves at your disposal and you add body copiers, stacks are placed in different bodies left, right, and center. Next to this, we flick from present to past to less past to present, etc. You really have to keep your wits about to follow what is going on. Joel Kinnaman is well chosen for his role as Takeshi Kovacs. I didn’t like him at first as he reminded me of Dolf Lundgren (yes, I’m that old), but I got over it. I loved Martha Higareda as Kirstin Ortega, the feisty detective who failed to solve Bancroft’s murder. Next in the picture is Dichen Lachman as Reileen Kawahara, Kovacs’s sister, who is not to be taken lightly. A sidekick is played by Ato Essandoh as Vernon Elliott, who also plays an important role, and Kovacs former lover is played by Renée Elise Goldsberry (would have loved to have seen more of her, perhaps she’ll return in a follow up season). A special mention for Chris Connor, who beautifully plays the funny AI Poe (after Edgar A. Poe), the hotel (yes, he is the hotel) where Kovacs chooses to stay during his investigation.


What I liked most about the show is that it has a bit of everything all in the one package. I love stories like these. The cast was well chosen, the dialogue funny, and the action moves believable. And cliffhangers. Plenty of cliffhangers!

Joel Kinnaman as Takeshi Kovacs just after he is woken up from a 250-year sleep
Joel Kinnaman as Takeshi Kovacs just after he is woken up from a 250-year sleep


There is a lot of nudity in it. And I mean a lot. And most of it is female nudity. There are some willies shown in the last few episodes, and Kinnaman also has a few scenes where his beautiful body is displayed, but most men are shown from the back, whereas the females are shown in a full-frontal pose. I have nothing against nudity, but it always irritates me that there is a discrepancy between showing off the male and female body. As if female bodies are worth less than male bodies and can be dropped in left, right, and center as if they don’t mean anything anyway. There still is that discrimination in the film industry. And of course, it irritates me that you can’t have a good show without any nudity in it anymore.

One other thing that didn’t like was that the dialogue was hard to follow sometimes, mumbled, but I don’t know if this was due to my hearing impediment. No one else of my family was complaining about it. If you have hearing aids, I suggest you wear them 🙂 (which I didn’t).


I liked the show. For me, it was the full package of mystery, intrigues, love, romance, sci-fi stuff, good old-fashioned fights, and humor. Do check it out (on Netflix).


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Eat, Sleep, Write, Repeat – The Comma, Part 2

I’ve been so busy doing all sorts, that I haven’t had a chance to work on my book at all. Today is the day I’m starting edit 4 (text-to-speech) and I’m not going to let anything disturb me :). If you’ve forgotten what a clause is, check out this blog. If you want to brush up on Part 1, check it out here. So, without further ado, here is part 2 of the crucial comma lesson.

That Crucial Comma


Do not use commas to set off essential elements of the sentence, such as clauses beginning with that (relative clauses)

That clauses after nouns are always essential. That clauses following a verb expressing mental action are always essential.

Example: The dog that attacked me scared me.

Use a pair of commas in the middle of a sentence to set off appositives; clauses, phrases, and words (who, that, which) that are not essential to the meaning of the sentence

Use one comma before to indicate the beginning of the pause and one at the end to indicate the end of the pause.

Example: I saw a finch, a kind of bird.

A kind of bird is the appositive, which gives more information about a finch.

Incorrect: Ben who is my brother called me.

Correct: Ben, who is my brother, called me.

Following are two instances of the need for an appositive comma with one or more nouns.

Incorrect: The three shopping items, a bottle of wine, a French bread stick, and some French cheese were in my bag.

Correct: The three shopping items, a bottle of wine, a French bread stick, and some French cheese, were in my bag.

If the appositive occurs in the middle of the sentence, like in the above sentences and in this one, both sides of the phrase need a comma. The closing comma is called an appositive comma. Many writers forget to add this important comma.

Example: Frances, who has a limp, was in a car accident.

If we already know which Frances is meant, the description is not essential and hence between commas.

Example: The boy who has a limp was in a car accident.

We do not know which boy is meant without further description; therefore, no commas are used.

This leads to a persistent problem. Look at the following sentence:

Example: My sister Jane is here.

Now, see how adding two commas changes that sentence’s meaning:

Example: My sister, Jane, is here.

Careful writers and readers understand that the first sentence means I have more than one sister. The commas in the second sentence mean that Jane is my only sister.

Why? In the first sentence, Jane is essential information: it identifies which of my two (or more) sisters I’m speaking of. This is why no commas enclose Jane.

In the second sentence, Jane is nonessential information—whom else but Jane could I mean?—hence the commas.

Comma misuse is nothing to take lightly. It can lead to lies like this:

Example: Jacky Dahlhaus’s book, Living Like A Vampire, is a delight.

Because of the commas, that sentence states that I wrote only one book. But I wrote four books so far.

If something or someone is sufficiently identified, the description that follows is considered nonessential and should be surrounded by commas.

Incorrect: My best friend Joe arrived.

Correct: My best friend, Joe, arrived.

Use commas to separate three or more words, phrases, or clauses written in a series

Example: I saw a bird, a worm, and a fallen tree when I went walking.

Note: When the last comma in a series comes before and or or, it is known as the Oxford comma.

Use commas to separate two or more coordinate adjectives that describe the same noun

Be sure never to add an extra comma between the final adjective and the noun itself or to use commas with non-coordinate adjectives.

Example: I saw a big, mean dog when I went walking.

Only coordinate adjectives require a comma between them. Two adjectives are coordinate if you can answer yes to both of these questions:

1. Does the sentence still make sense if you reverse the order of the words?

2. Does the sentence still make sense if you insert “and” between the words?

Since ‘I saw a mean, big dog’ and ‘I saw a big and mean dog’ both sound fine, you need the comma.

Sentences with non-coordinate adjectives, however, don’t require a comma.

Example: I eat the salty chicken soup.

Salty describes chicken soup as a whole phrase. This often occurs with adjunct nouns, a phrase where a noun acts as an adjective describing another noun — like ‘dance club’ or ‘summer sun.’

That’s it for today. Have a wonderful writing weekend!