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The Unexpected Son by Shobhan Bantwal -- A Review

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Secrets are a strange thing.  They tend to create lies and even more secrets and then seem to disappear, only to jump out at you when you least expect it.  This is what happens to Vinita, the main character in The Unexpected Son.

For many years, Vinita carried a secret she believed would forever remain in the past.  An innocent-looking note in the mail turns her world upside-down.  

Vinita discovers that nothing is as it seemed and her secret is nothing in comparison to that which was kept from her.  The time has come to face her past.  Will she be able to make amends after so many years -- or is she going to lose everything she holds dear?

Shobhan Bantwal writes with a sophisticated skill you might expect from an author of forty books, not just four.  The subjects that run deep within The Unexpected Son  speaks of secrets, lies and betrayals.  It examines the complex human emotions that  take many authors decades to perfect.

I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Bantwal's book.  Her setting and characters are without flaw. The entire book plays out like a dream that surrounds you and makes  it nearly impossible to shake off the after-images and return to the safe, yet uneventful, waking you experienced before starting to read.  

Once again Ms. Bantwal has created a masterpiece of words that explores the very bases of human emotion.  She leads you on a journey you won't soon forget.

The Forgotten Son earns five colors on the Rainbow Scale.  

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Shobhan Bantwal Writes on Mothers and Sons

Last week I shared some videos with you that introduced you to Shobhan Bantwal, whose latest book, The Unexpected Son, will be reviewed tomorrow.  Today, however, I would like to share with you a very special guest post from Ms. Bantwal.  I'm sure she'd love to hear your comments!

Mothers and Sons

By Shobhan Bantwal - Author of The Unexpected Son

While practically every mother-child relationship is a bond based on unconditional love, there is something about mothers and sons that goes beyond the typical parent-child relationship. It is an instinct that goes back millions of years, when mothers considered it their sacred duty to raise strong, healthy sons who would be the salt of the earth and perpetuate the human race. To this day, mothers tend to act on that same primitive instinct.

Fathers and daughters sometimes have that rare connection that makes fathers go a little crazy when they perceive their little darlings are in danger. Macho male impulse can make a man easily go out to do battle to protect his daughter in some instances. But men are generally not as emotional as women, because their actions are ruled more by the head than the heart.

On the other hand, women often take the role of parenting to a level that can defy logic, especially when it comes to sons. This is even more apparent in Asian cultures like India, where sons are expected to take care of their parents when they grow up, while daughters are considered burdens, offspring that will someday marry and leave home. A son is expected to stay with his parents forever and shoulder the responsibilities of family, home, and fortune.

As a result, a son is viewed as a precious commodity to be nurtured like an exotic seedling which will eventually grow into a sturdy tree, produce wholesome fruit, and protect the clan. He is a source of comfort and strength, the one who will carry on the family name—an insurance policy of sorts. No wonder Indian women are so dedicated to their male children.

In my latest book, THE UNEXPECTED SON, a contented Indian-American woman wakes up one morning to a shocking truth: she has a grown son in India, a child she was told was stillborn 30 years ago. He is now seriously ill. Revealing her closely-guarded secret that could ruin her marriage and family. Nonetheless she is compelled to return to India to meet her unknown son, perhaps even save him.

A Note From Shobhan Bantwal - Information about my books, video trailers, contact, photos from India, reviews, contests, and recipes is available on my website: www.shobhanbantwal.com. All my books can be purchased at any retail bookstore or online bookseller. For more information about The Unexpected Son virtual tour, visit http://bookpromotionservices.com/2010/07/02/unexpected-son-virtual-tour/  

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Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines -- A Review

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On Thursday, May 21, 1863, a mortar shell rips through the wall of fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Stamford’s bedroom. Afraid their home is no longer safe, her mama, Susan, rushes Lizzie and her younger brother, Nathan, to the cave, where she plans to live until the siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, ends. Lizzie, however, has her own plans–to enlist in the Confederate army and help drive General Ulysses S. Grant and his Yankees into the Mississippi River. Her older brothers, Joseph and Willie, are in Virginia, fighting for their cause. Can she do any less?

Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines is the story of one girl and her family’s day-to-day struggle to survive a changing way of life during the War Between the States.


I have always found it amazing how people can take an entire book and reduce it to a few simple words.  What I have trouble with is how do you convey all the subtle nuances that make the book come alive?  Take the above description for example.

Caves, Cannons and Crinolines is told from the viewpoint of Lizzie, who watches as the Civil War changes all she finds steady and true in her world.  We follow Lizzie as not only the outside world is changed, but her inner being as well.  We feel her fear as she dons boy's clothing and faces war first-hand and we struggle from crying when the war takes from her someone precious.  As we read, Beverly Stowe McClure literally takes us back to what it is like to be fourteen.  While many of us forget as we grow older, Ms. McClure has held onto that part of herself and writes purely from the perspective of Lizzie' she does not allow her adult self to enter at all, which is very rare indeed. 

This book packs a lot between its covers--laughter, pain, fear, anger, and most of all emotional growth that can only come from experience.  I applaud Beverly McClure for being able to convey so many subtle messages to her audience, without once sounding as though she's teaching, or preaching.  This book is sure to become a favorite part of any girl's library and I imagine many boys will secretly find it among theirs as well. (Secretly because I don't think many young boys will willingly be seen reading a book with crinolines in the title!).  To be able to craft a book that appeals to both boys and girls of this age is yet another rare accomplishment that Ms. McClure has achieved. You will never see war the same again once you finish this book.

Caves, Cannons and Crinolines rates a solid six colors on the Rainbow Scale!

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Talking With Beverly McClure, Young Adult/Children's Author

Today and tomorrow, we'll be visiting with Beverly Stowe McClure.  Beverly has several books published and contracts for more.  I'll share info on the latest one tomorrow, but today I'd like to share an interview with Ms, McClure.  Don't forget to drop her a comment!!!

What three words do you think describe you as a human being?

Quiet, kind, emotional.

How do you think others would describe you?

Honest, dependable, a true friend

Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing

My grandchildren, animals, and genealogy

Do you have any pets? If so, introduce us to them.

I have a calico cat named Patches. She’s a little stray that showed up one day on our patio. She was catching insects to eat. So I started feeding her. At first she was shy, but eventually she let me scratch her ears. The next thing I knew, she was in the house, making herself at home. She talks to us with little squeaky meows. She also puts her paw on my knee when she wants in my lap and waits for me to tell her it’s okay. Can you tell how much I love her?

What is your most precious memory?

Bringing my second son home from the hospital healthy. My firstborn son lived only three days.

What is your most embarrassing memory

My mind must have blanked it out because I can’t recall anything.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing with your life?

Probably teaching. I loved it when I was. Or traveling to historical places.

In two paragraphs or less write your obituary.

Beverly quietly went to live with her Heavenly Father last night. On Earth, she was a Christian, wife, mother, teacher, and writer of stories and articles for children and teens. She graduated cum laude from Midwestern University with a BSED degree. She was selected Conservation Teacher of the Year in 1988 in the Wichita S.W.C.D. She loved her family and enjoyed genealogy research, playing the piano, and scrap booking.

She was blessed with her husband, Jack, for 53 years, and three sons and their wives. Rex and Kristina, Scott and Ann, Kelly and Amy. She adored her six grandchildren, Amanda (and husband Paul), Courtney, Felicity, Shawn, Scottie, and Katie. She also had three lovely great-grandchildren, Riley, Paige, and Henry. A sister, Linda Landers also survives her. Beverly’s parents, Lorena and Audra Stowe, a son, David, a granddaughter, Sierra, and brother Arwood left their earthly home before her. They are reunited now.

Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a “real” writer?

I think, when my first article was published in Happiness, a TV Guide type magazine, I finally believed I could be a “real” writer.

What is going on with your writing these days?

I’m busy promoting my latest young adult historical novel, Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines. Also, I’m editing my forthcoming contemporary novel, Life on Hold, due out summer 2011. I’m working on the synopsis and query letter for my middle grade paranormal story. Three other manuscripts are in various stages of development.

What are your future goals for your writing?

I hope to continue writing for children and teens as long as I am breathing.

Can you describe a typical writing day for you?

I usually start the day by checking my email and answering the important ones, saving the others till later in the day. From about 9 to 11 or 12 AM, I write. At the present, I have three novels in progress.

After lunch I work on promotion, do research, post on blogs, and whatever needs to be done.

Evenings, I critique manuscripts for my crit groups, write reviews, and take care of other business.

Why do you write

I write because I like to escape to other worlds and times and places. I like to explore feelings and emotions. I write because it gives me purpose in life and brings joy.

What writer most inspires you? Why?

I really can’t think of anyone in particular.

How do you define your writing?

Good question. I’d say, an eclectic mixture of humor, life, history, and contemporary.

In one sentence—what do you want people to say about your writing in fifty years?

I wish I’d written that book. J

Can you tell us where to find more information on you? Website? Blog?

Web site: http://beverlystowemcclure.wordpress.com/

Blogs: http://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com/




Is there a place where readers can reach you?


Can you list all your book titles so people can look for them?

Listen to the Ghost – YA paranormal

Secrets I Have Kept – YA mystery

Rebel in Blue Jeans – YA contemporary

Just Breeze – Tween contemporary

Caves, Cannons, and Crinolines – YA historical

For new readers—what can they expect when they read your book(s)?

Real-life situations with a touch of humor whenever possible, characters (even the ghosts) that have problems readers can relate to and cheer for them to succeed in their goals. I like to write about vivid settings that give the reader a sense of place and how it relates to the characters and their lives.

Take as much space as necessary to speak to our readers—what would you like them to know about you and your writing?

I’d like you, my readers, to know how much I appreciate your interest in my work. Time is so valuable in these days of fast-paced living, I want you to feel like you can relax awhile, forget the jillion things you have to do and enjoy my stories. I hope you can bring away something positive from your reading.

I’m surprised that I’m actually a writer. My life plans did not include a career as an author. Sometimes, though, our lives take off in unexpected directions. Mine did. I’m so glad I followed the winding road with the uncertain ending.

You, dear readers, are very precious to me. Without you, I’d have no one to write for. Thank you. Thank you.

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Shobhan Bantwal Speaks

Sit back and enjoy this interview with Shobhan Bantwal :-)

Natasha from Princeton Community Television on Vimeo.

A Note From Shobhan - Information about my books, video trailers, contact, photos from India, reviews, contests, and recipes is available on my website: www.shobhanbantwal.com. Enter a giveaway on my website during August for a FREE copy of The Unexpected Son. You can also visit me on Facebook and MySpace. All my books can be purchased at any retail bookstore or online bookseller. For more information about The Unexpected Son virtual tour, visit http://bookpromotionservices.com/2010/07/02/unexpected-son-virtual-tour/

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Shobhan Bantwal Has Done It Again!

What has she done?  She has written another book that not only feeds the emotions, but forces the reader to examine things, relationships and themselves.  Today I'll give you a brief peek and tomorrow will be sharing both a recorded interview and the book trailer.  Later this month (the 16th and 17th to be exact) Shobhan will return with a guest post on mothers and sons and I will be sharing my thoughts on this latest work. 

What happens when a woman who’s realized her dreams wakes up to a shocking truth? It is a morning like any other in suburban New Jersey when Vinita Patil opens the battered envelope postmarked “Mumbai.” But the letter inside turns her comfortable world upside down. It tells Vinita an impossible story: she has a grown son in India whose life may depend on her.

Once upon a time, a naive young college girl fell for a wealthy boy whose primary interests were cricket and womanizing. Vinita knew, even then, that a secret affair with a man whose language and values were different from her own was a mistake. He finished with her soon enough—leaving her to birth a baby that was stillborn. Or so Vinita was told.

Now that child is a grown man in desperate need. How will she confess her secret past to her arranged-marriage husband and her grown daughter? Nonetheless, to help her son, to know him, Vinita must revisit her darkest hours by returning to her battle-scarred homeland—and pray for the faith of the family she leaves behind.

Shobhan Bantwal calls her writing “Bollywood in a Book,”romantic, colorful, action-packed tales, rich with elements of Indian culture — stories that entertain and educate.

Her writing career is a “menopausal epiphany,” because she took up creative writing at the age of 50. By day Shobhan works for the government. In the evenings and on weekends she slips into her writer’s cape and flies off to Authorland. She loves writing stories about her native India and Hindu culture.

To date, Shobhan has four published novels by Kensington Publishing, with a fifth slated for 2011. Since 2002, Shobhan’s articles and short stories have appeared in a variety of publications. Her award-winning stories are available for reading on her website: http://www.shobhanbantwal.com/

A Note From Shobhan - Information about my books, video trailers, contact, photos from India, reviews, contests, and recipes is available on my website: www.shobhanbantwal.com. All my books can be purchased at any retail bookstore or online bookseller. For more information about The Unexpected Son virtual tour, visit http://bookpromotionservices.com/2010/07/02/unexpected-son-virtual-tour/

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How to Sue a Telemarketer by Stephen L. Ostrow -- A Review

Usually, I'd give a brief description of what a book is about, but this title is EXACTLY what this book covers :-)  I like it when authors make my task easier :-)  What the title doesn't tell you is the wealth of information packed within this short (under 150 pages) manual --information that walks you step-by-step through the process!

I have never read anything that so clearly explained the telemarketing laws.  Mr. Ostrow not only explains them, but includes sample conversations you can have with telemarketers--and an entire trial brief.  He has done the legwork and includes the cases that are relevant to telemarketing and shows how to apply this knowledge. 

Pretty dry reading, huh?  Not in the least!  The author's sense of humor is evident on each and every page and his pen and ink cartoons are liberally scattered throughout the pages.  His use of bold type for the most important points (such as websites) and his chapter checklists all come together to make the material even more understandable.  Knowing that Steve Ostrow has over thirty years experience as a lawyer helped add to his credibility for me.

I can't find anything about this book I would change, whether it was to add or leave out.  The information included is all applicable and it is complete.  The language used takes into account most of us readers to not hold law degrees, yet it is not over-simplified.  I do wonder if Mr. Ostrow would consider a companion book that discusses dealing with debt collectors? 

How to Sue a Telemarketer rates a solid six colors on the Rainbow Scale.

Join us on the How To Sue A Telemarkter virtual tour. To learn more about the tour, visit http://bookpromotionservices.com/2010/07/05/how-to-sue-a-telemarketer/. You can also learn more about How to Sue a Telemarketer at http://howtosueatelemarketer.com/

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Steve Ostrow Talks About Suing Telemarketers!

Yesterday I introduced you to Steve Ostrow, an incredibly versatile man, and his book, How to Sue a Telemarketer.  Today, I want to share with you both a guest post from Mr. Ostrow and a video he made where his personality shines through brilliantly.  Enjoy!

By:  Steve Ostrow

Congress has spoken! Anti-telemarketing legislation has been passed. Under reasonable restrictions, certain tactics by telemarketers are prohibited and court actionable. Violations can be enforced by the State via the attorney general’s office, the public via class action lawsuits or private lawsuits, and individuals via the small claims court.

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) started the ball rolling. Congress was torn between the special interest lobbyists and the people’s vote. The green cash of the lobbyists stalled the legislature for numerous years, but eventually the annoyance of the telemarketing industry became too much. The door opened and the unfettered invasion of free speech was outweighed by the consumer’s right to privacy. After strong objection and outrage by consumers groups, the common sense legislation protecting the privacy of one’s own home was long overdue.

The 1991 original law was pretty weak and without sharp teeth. A free bite at the apple was given and the first offense by a telemarketer to a residence was forgiven with only a simple apology. A second offense was required in order to make an unsolicited commercial call actionable. Basically business did not change under the original law. In 2003, over great objection from the special interest groups, came the National Do Not Call Registry. Yes, 2003 was a great year for the peace and quiet in a consumer’s home. Instead of a consumer requesting individual companies from not calling the home telephone soliciting their service, a residential consumer could sign up at one location and prohibit almost all telemarketers from calling the home phone number. The burden shifted to the telemarketing companies to check “the registry” rather than having the consumer contact the merchant and opt out. Penalties were instituted which are collectible by attorney generals, lawyers, and individuals through the small claims process.

Under the TCPA and the Do Not Call Registry, there are several different violations which are collectible. The most popular ones are: 1. Calling a residential telephone number that is on the National Do Not Call Registry; 2. Using a pre-recorded dialing device to initiate a commercial sale; 3. Using a blocked telephone number when initiating a commercial sale; 4. Soliciting a consumer before 8am or after 9pm; 5. Failure to provide a copy of the company’s Do Not Call Manual after demand for a copy;

Each violation is actionable separately, or can be “stacked” together when multiple infractions are incurred. Even though the courts are supposed to punish each violation with a $500 penalty, different judges will approach cases differently. Some judges will allow you to “stack” as many violations into one case as possible. Others may limit you to one, two, or three causes of action. Regardless of the amount of the judgment, you are able to prosecute the invasion of your peace and privacy in your home through the small claim courts.

Penalties under the TCPA may be “trebled” when the court finds that the violation is intentional. It can be tedious to understand when a telemarketing violation is intentional and when it is not. Rationally thinking, all solicitations by telemarketers are intentional; they are intentionally picking up the phone at their boiler rooms and randomly telephoning as many people as possible making their commercial pitch. It is not accidental that your number may be called, just random bad luck. I guess the easiest way to understand the intentional tripling of damages is using the playoff basketball foul analogy. Some fouls are hard basketball fouls, some are flagrant one fouls, and others flagrant two. Sometimes you just shoot free throws, other times you get ejected from the game. Sometimes the court awards you $500; sometimes the atrocious call telephone solicitation can be awarded $1,500. It’s all up to the ref.

If you are a Democrat and you get a telephone solicitation from a Republican candidate, slow down before you start licking your lips about bringing the opposing political party to its knees. Under the TCPA, certain types of speech are exempted from lawsuits under the Act. Always remember, the violations under the TCPA were balanced with the First Amendment Right of Freedom of Speech. Certain solicitation exceptions are specifically carved out: 1. Tax exempt non-profit organizations, including political parties and campaigns; 2. Organizations with which you’ve had a prior business relationship; 3. Organizations with which you’ve given prior written permission and not expressly revoked; 4. Calls which are NOT COMMERCIAL.

Convenience is a big part of our lives. All of us would like to nail these pesky telemarketers; sometimes it is easier just to hang up the telephone. However, if you are in the mood to make some cash and fight back against these commercial parasites, the good news about small claims court litigation is that it can prosecuted in our home backyard. Since the violation occurred at our telephone, the proper jurisdiction for the action would be our local court.

Steve Ostrow is an attorney, celebrity impersonator and the author of the new book How To Sue A Telemarketer: A Manual for Restoring Peace On Earth One Phone Call At A Time. To date, Steve has successfully sued, or settled, won and collected, over 10 judgments against telemarketers. To find out more and order his book, go to www.howtosueatelemarketer.com

Join us on the How To Sue A Telemarkter virtual tour. To learn more about the tour, visit http://bookpromotionservices.com/2010/07/05/how-to-sue-a-telemarketer/. You can also learn more about How to Sue a Telemarketer at http://howtosueatelemarketer.com/

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Turning the Table on Telemarketers

This week, I have two wonderful guests visiting.  The first one is Steve Ostrow, who will be discussing a subject we can all relate to--how to get rid of telemarketers. 

Telemarketers have been a pain in the general public's behind for decades. Thanks to their interrupting us day and night, the telephone has been transformed from a convenience, into a source of annoyance and frustration.

How To Sue A Telemarketer: A Manual For Restoring Peace On Earth One Phone Call At A Time is a tongue-in-cheek manual that shows the average citizen how they can fight back against a telemarketer by taking them to small-claims court. Half humorous and half how-to, the book combines comedy with savvy information about the legal system and step-by-step instructions on how consumers can take telemarketers to task.

A practicing lawyer for 30 years in Cardiff by the Sea, California, Steve also had the unique opportunity to play the celebrity double for Seinfeld's Cosmo Kramer, originally played by actor Michael Richards, in venues around the country for 10 years. With the additional skills of being a small claim judge and licensed real estate broker, recently Steve turned his attention to writing a tongue in cheek manual on How To Sue A Telemarketer- A Guide to Creating Peace On Earth One Telephone Call At A Time. Combining his wise guy roots in New York with a laid back California lifestyle, an unusual combination of wit and insight into the legal system is explored in his latest exploit. With insights from a long time yoga practice, the lawyer Steve tries to see a bigger emotional picture of the client's needs.

Stop by tomorrow as I share a video from Steve with you!  I guarantee you're going to love him!

Join us on the How To Sue A Telemarkter virtual tour. To learn more about the tour, visit http://bookpromotionservices.com/2010/07/05/how-to-sue-a-telemarketer/ . You can also learn more about How to Sue a Telemarketer at http://howtosueatelemarketer.com/

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