A to Z challenge · Bloggers · languages

A is for … Assamese

Blogging from A to Z

Theme: Languages of the World

Assamese.

Assamese was reinstated as the official language in the 1870’s, after a spell of 50 years with Bengal being the principal language of the Indian state of Assam.

It is thought to have evolved from an eastern branch of the Apabhramsha dialects spoken in India in the 6th-13th centuries. It first appeared in 14th-century documents, although there is written evidence of the language in documents and poems of an earlier period.

Assamese is the easternmost member of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family. It is spoken as a first language by 12.8 million people primarily in the Indian state of Assam and in the neighbouring states of West Bengal, Meghalaya, and Arunachal Pradesh as well as in Bangladesh and Bhutan.

Strong, tart and malty with a dark reddish-brown colour, Assam tea is named after this region. It’s a type of black tea and is commonly referred to as English breakfast tea. Of course, that has nothing to do with why I picked Assam to start my blogging challenge, although I have been known to partake of the occasional cuppa 😉

Fascinating facts about Assam

The geographical shape of the Indian state Assam has the majestic description about its existence on the map of the nation –  “a bird taking to its wings to fly towards the River Brahmaputra”.

The luscious greenery in the sanctuaries attract innumerable visitors from all-over the world. Among the sanctuaries, the Kaziranga National Park and Manas Wildlife Sanctuaries are the biggest forested areas. The exceptional flora and fauna has earned them places among the UNESCO World Heritage sites.

If Pennsylvania is the first place, where petroleum was discovered in the year 1859, Makum in Assam was the second place where petroleum was drilled from the well in the year 1867.

The biggest and the most magnificent riverine island in the world, Majuli, is simply a treat for the eyes of hundreds of thousands of visitors. Spread over 352 square kilometres, the island is a paradise for the nature-lovers.

Thanks for reading 🙂

 

cover reveal · dementia · Magic O'Clock · Magical Memories · short reads · short story

The magic goes on

There’s something about Spring that makes me want to freshen things up a little, and while working on the cover for Magical Memories I decided to have a look at its predecessor too.
So, this isn’t just a cover reveal for the second book, it’s a cover reveal for the whole ‘series’ 🙂

I say ‘series’ in the loosest sense possible, since even when book two is out it’ll still only be a two-book series, but …

Nah, I’ve said too much. And I really should stop making rash promises to write more about Archie and his life.

So, back to business and the cover reveal for Magical Memories.

With any luck, this will be available to pre-order soon. The cover depicts a scene in the story, a memory of happier times that the daughter-narrator shares with her father as his life draws to an end. Seaside holidays always have that touch of nostalgia to them, especially ones from our childhood.

Magical Memories is all about those moments that stick like limpets in our minds. Many of those included in this short story are my own memories, but I hasten to add that this is not a memoir, it’s just told in that style.

So, what do you think? Does it evoke any memories for you?

As I said earlier, I’ve been revisiting Magic O’Clock (and not just for continuity issues LOL) and have decided to adopt the same reasoning to the cover too – i.e. using a scene within the story as the cover. Here’s what I came up with:

Of course, it relates to Archie’s “journey” to the End of the World (Tierra del Fuego) and his boat ride through the glaciers of Antarctica whereupon he met his beloved penguins and whales.

I also managed to squeeze in that wonderful IHIBRP Recommended Read badge too, so there was a method in my madness (which isn’t always the case) 😉

There you have it – consider the covers revealed! Ta dah! The Magic is all around us.

Oh, by the way, my hint earlier – the one that may have got lost in the ether – is gaining momentum; a prequel is a very definite possibility. After writing Magical Memories, I feel the need to explore Archie’s life before he became a father, which means getting to know him as a boy and a young man. It might not go anywhere, but sometimes you just can’t shake off a character, can you? I really do want to know more about Lily, the love of his life, so I might just have to follow that path under my own steam.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Let me know what you think of the covers if you get a moment. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

mystery · paranormal · Spain · Sunday's Scraps

Sunday’s Scraps – The Dream Builder

Week Two of Sunday’s Scraps and this is a complete shift for me, which is probably why it remains unfinished …

Anyway, I wouldn’t want to keep you from your Easter celebrations so will jump right in with this one. As always, these stories remain unedited and subject to typos, mixed POVs and a tendency to luxuriate in description (or ramble on, you might say)

The Dream Builder

#sundayscraps #mystery #paranormal #Spain

Today, he would break his father’s heart, and it was all her fault! She smirked, knowing the drama she was about to unleash. Ramón will thank me for interfering one day, I know he will. 

“Come on Ramón, it’s time!” her whispered words permeated his subconscious mind effortlessly. She paused a while. “Hmm, I’m disappointed Ramón. I expected more of a struggle. You’re making this far too easy. Now come along my son, wakey wakey.” A hint of a cackle accompanied her command, the excitement in her tone was palpable.

***

Ramón squirmed under the covers as the first streaks of daylight filtered through the shabby wooden shutters, warped with age and neglect. The September sun peeked through the cracks in the pale blue slats and poked at him; the warm rays already burning his skin as he forced his eyes open, one at a time. He didn’t need an alarm clock to tell him that it was time to get up. Heavy footsteps downstairs and the aroma of coffee brewing were indication enough. He rolled over again, trying to put off the task ahead of him. Today would be his final opportunity to tell his father before he had to leave.

“Coffee’s made, Ramón!” his father yelled. It was the way they started each day, especially since his mother’s death five years ago.
“OK Papá, I’ll be down in a minute,” he said, continuing their normal ritual.

With reluctance, he pushed aside the thin cotton sheet that barely covered him. A warm summer breeze squeezed through the crooked slats and wafted gently against his body, a most welcome treat given that the old farmhouse had yet to discover the likes of modern-day air-conditioning units. He sat up, swung his legs onto the floor and sighed. Ramón hated confrontation and felt certain that today would end badly once his news was out.

Lost in thought, his peace was shattered as, downstairs, his father slammed the solid oak door behind him, heading out to perform the first crop inspection of the day.
Damn! Now I’ll have to go and fetch him back in and he won´t like his morning routine being disturbed! he thought, chastising himself for not having got up earlier to explain his news.

Sleep had eluded him for almost a week, a mixture of excitement and apprehension had kept him awake. And an interfering mother. Her constant clamour for his attention and her insistence that he tell his father of his plans only made matters worse.

His father had assumed his son would carry on at the farm, working the land and selling their produce at the marketplace. Over the years, Ramón had witnessed his father grow weary and despondent, struggling to make ends meets with a dwindling supply of healthy crops to harvest. The weather had taken its toll, and the current drought was the worst in decades, forcing them to rethink their strategies and diversify again, just to earn even a pittance.

Ramón pulled on his working clothes, faded black cut-offs and a greying vest with more rips and tears than actual fabric, and opened the shutters to see his father trudging along the dirt path towards the distant grapevines. They could no longer afford the luxury of using the clapped-out truck to ferry them around the farm, since the price of fuel had skyrocketed and made the vehicle too expensive to run, except in emergencies. Wearing a frayed cotton beanie hat, his father walked with a stoop, as though he were carrying the weight of the world on his once strong shoulders.
“I can’t delay this any longer,” Ramón said to himself, grabbing his ‘La Roja’ cap from the twisted nail that served as a hook in his door and then descending the stairs at speed.

In the kitchen his sister Ramira stood at the sink, washing dishes and gazing out of the window absentmindedly.
“Morning, Sis!” he grinned at her as she jumped, jolted from her daydream by his greeting.
“Good morning, Ramón, although the day’s nearly over now, you know.” She giggled when she saw him grimace, they were really close and shared the same silly sense of humour. He hugged her tightly and kissed her cheek.
“My, my Ramón.what’s got into you today?”
“Hey, can’t I give my beloved twin a hug these days, without you getting all suspicious?” His eyes twinkled with fun and she gave him a playful shove. “Oh, please don’t hurt me!” he squealed and they both started laughing.
“So, are you going to tell him today?” Ramira’s tone changed, gone was the lively, happy mood, in its place a sense of foreboding.
“Yes, I will. I promise you.”
“Ramón, you’ve been saying that for weeks now. It’s not fair, not on him nor on me. I’ve been biting my tongue and even avoiding having a proper chat with Papá, just in case I say something that I shouldn’t.”
“I know, Sis, but I’ve been dreading this moment … and you know how I hate to cause a fuss.” The sadness in his eyes backed up his words. Ramira had always been the more confident twin, whilst Ramón was often mocked for his sensitivity.
“Well, I can be there with you…when you tell him…if you want.” She spoke hesitantly, wanting to support her brother and comfort their father when he discovered Ramón’s intentions. He wrapped his arms around her again, planting a kiss on her head and squeezing her gently.
“Would you? I’m sure Papá will appreciate you being there, I know I will. Thanks Ramira, I really mean that.” She returned his embrace, burying her head in his chest as she fought back the tears.
“Anything for you, you know that. Now, please, go and get Papá. Let’s get this over and done with.” She pushed him towards the door, not looking him in the eye in case he saw the tears welling in her eyes.

Ramón opened the door and strode out, seemingly assured and positive. She watched him walk, then run a little, before slowing down again as his doubts returned. He glanced back at the farmhouse, she smiled and waved at him, full of encouragement and he set off again in the direction of the small vineyard.

***

“That’s my boy! Now go break the news to dear old Papá – do it for both of us!” The hair on his neck bristled as he shivered upon hearing his mother’s voice. Its echo reverberated in his head, he felt unable to escape her vicious tongue and, for the most part, unwilling to do her bidding.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Next week’s scraps come from Goodbye, Georg – historical fiction set in Germany as the Berlin Wall is destroyed, testing loyalties toward family and country.