Sunday, February 8, 2015


Proud to introduce to you a bright and thoughtful young blogger who is a friend of a friend -- she is looking for content for her blog, as you'll learn at the end. Here comes a story of tragic loss that inspired courageous struggle. I love this! Here's Neha Thakur!

                           ~A Story of Courage~

Courageous Neelam Katara
I was very young when I was first introduced to Ms Neelam Katara. For my last question, with curiosity and caution, I asked, “Do you have any regrets?”

“No,” she was quick in replying, “Life has been kind to me.”

When MJ first requested me to recite about a woman who inspired me, the first face that flashed in front of my eyes was Ms Katara’s; an education officer with India’s leading education institute and mother of Nitish Katara. Nitish, a young lad of 25, was murdered by the son of an influential politician of a criminal background and that he was beaten in cold blood with an intensity that his ‘digestive system had fallen out’.

For someone to understand the enormity of her courage, it is important that the Indian political context be placed against her circumstances. A political position in India can come with colossal powers for those who want to exploit it. Ms Katara was up against the son of a politician who had previously been a leader of gangs from Uttar Pradesh and was often deemed as ‘Mafia Don’.

Through a series of unending hearings, witnesses turning hostile, threats and loss of her husband the following year, Ms Katara stayed audacious in the face of adversity. She exhibited unparalleled composure inside the court and outside it.

In 2008, court sentenced the culprits for life. Ms Katara exhibited the patience of a woman, the love of a mother, the wit of a sage and courage of a soldier in bringing down the culprits. That’s the beauty of love, it makes you audacious. It lends you courage, of the kind you deemed non-existent.

It’s been more than a decade of seeking capital punishment for her son’s slaughterers. She is still fighting.

Courage, she taught me that day, doesn’t come with extravagant tools or authority. Courage comes in one kind word, one empathetic look and patient love. It can be transferred. It is transferred through stories like hers, sometimes in words, and other times in silence. She taught me courage in six words that day so that one day when a young kid comes to me and asks if I regret anything about my life, I could relay that courage and tell her, “life has been kind to me.”

Neha Thakur is a storyteller at ‘The Nine Raspberries’, a blog/website meant to compile choicest of short stories from all genres for the modern reader. She earned an honours degree in English literature from University of Delhi and is currently pursuing a masters in Marketing from James Cook University. She has one spoilt dog, two mischievous siblings (born five minutes apart) and three wonderful parents. You can stalk her here

The Nine Raspberries is currently accepting short stories, typical to a geographical location, society, culture and religion. Find The Nine Raspberries on Facebook or contact at-    

Sunday, February 1, 2015


G.Y.E. = way cool!

Georgina Young-Ellis is one of my best buddies in the business (under my other author name) -- she's a bestselling author, a talented actress, an awesome wife and mom, and a graceful swing dancer -- so I want to thank her heartily for helping me to get this blog going with the good news about her having a GRRRREAT mom. Learn about a tireless worker for charity in a long family tradition of community service.


Here's Georgina:

It’s almost a cliché to say my mom is the woman I admire most, but it’s entirely true. My mom, Patricia A. Young, has been devoted to charity work nearly her whole life, a pursuit that I believe was inspired by her mother, Dorothy Kephart, a social worker who strived to help immigrant refugees during and after World War II. Even while my mother was working full time to help support her family, she was volunteering for charitable organizations, especially those with a bent toward literacy advocacy. For the last twenty years or so (she is now 82), she has been a leader in Altrusa International, a business woman’s service organization, and a major promoter of world literacy. Their focus is to raise money not only to buy and donate books, but to support other organizations that promote learning and the joy of reading for adults and children. How perfect for the mother of a writer! Not only that but my mother is a tireless leader in the Tucson Symphony Women’s Association, a group that raises money toward helping provide music education for all, and to help young people in particular learn about music and to play instruments. My mother has always encouraged me help the poor, hungry, needy, and disenfranchised, and I have always tried to do so whenever possible. She is strong, energetic, loving, and purposeful. She is my inspiration and my best friend. 

Georgina's a reader-friendly author. Check out her social media links:

Her eclectic nerd-girls and time travellers blog: 
And with her husband, multi-talented Jonathan Ellis at:

Learn more about Georgina's writing. She has a new publisher, too!

The Time Mistress Series is a romantic time-travel trilogy spiced with adventure. Titles include The Time Baroness, set in Jane Austen’s England; The Time Heiress, staged in pre-Civil War New York City; and The Time Contessa, a journey to Renaissance Italy. This triumvirate is soon to expand though, with the addition of The Time Duchess, an adventure in Elizabethan London, to be released spring, 2015.