Friday, April 18, 2014

Done With Men by Shuchi Kalra


Done With Men by Shuchi Singh Kalra


The Blurb

Travel journo, Kairavi Krishna (Kay) has had it with men. After a series of disasters (losers, philanderers, leeches, mama's boys and possessive psychos), she is all too tempted to walk out on the prospect of ever finding love. Accompanied by her best friend and flat-mate Baani, she sets off for Goa, hoping to get away from her miserable love life and vowing to stay clear of the male species. 

Goa however, has a host of surprises in store for her. Ricky, her pesky ex-boyfriend, is busy painting the town red with his hot new girlfriend. Now what is poor Kay to do other than overdose on vodka, smoke pot, get an outrageous tattoo and fall off the hotel balcony? She wakes up in the hospital to the tender ministrations of Dr.Vivian D'Mello--young, suave and handsome as hell. Will Kay stick to her guns or will she fall for his ridiculously sexy charms? And what's up with the mixed signals he's giving out?

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Review

Meet  Kairavi…

A modern girl in modern India. Independent to the core. No family problems. In fact, she is the offspring of a pair of doting and loving parents. She has only one problem. Falling for the wrong guy, casual sex and booze.( okay make that three). As her friend Baani aptly says, ‘you are in love with the concept of falling in love.’ But do I as a reader like her? If it was my daughter – no. But, if it was me…. Yes. :)

And why not? She brings out a feeling of freedom in every girl. Till now all the romances highlight the Casanova image in a guy. When girls do it, it takes a different dimension. But not with Kairavi. A true representation of the Bold and the Beautiful in the Indian scenario. 

Coming to beauty, she is not a raving beauty. Unruly hair, slightly on the plump side, five two, big bums and small breasts. But she makes it all up with her darling Thought Bubble. (Shuchi, that is bloody hilarious, by the way. ) Kairavi is fun, she is a magnet for trouble and unexpected situations.

Meet Vivian….
Our handsome doc in Goa. (Psst… and he is single and handsome in Goa? ) He starts with a macho image of being the rough and tough doc. It notches up to be the perfect friend and lover for Kairavi eventually…. Till a fiance does not appear in the scenario. Again a wrong man for poor Kay? (Nahiiiiiiiiiiin………..)

The Love Story?
What would you call a story where the heroine meets the hero, bruised and broken bones and in an unusual….ahem…..attire?(Shuchi, they really sell that? *imagine my jaws hanging out) ‘Done with Men, is not just a title of the story, it is a feeling of betrayal and hurt, young Kairavi feels after a string of wrong men and disillusionment in love. 

When she meets Dr. Vivian in the hospital, his arrogance irritates her. But as they say, when you are hard to get, you are desired more. So, she wants him. She finds a friend in him and slowly falls in love with him, even though he was exactly the type whom she found in the ‘not happening’ category. So will she be able to keep him? Or will the tattoo…. Done with men….  be a part of her life forever?

What I liked….
The boldness in the story. Yes, it happens in our India. High time we stop and accept that ‘good girl’ does not mean black framed specs, oily hair and going to bed -alone, by eleven. ‘Good girl’ also does not mean, ambitious, tough, prudish and a go getter. ‘Good girl’ can be anyone. Slightly naughty, humorous, making mistakes and rising again. Lost, searching for love and taking her duties seriously. Being a friend in times of need even though expecting  a lot from her friends in return. ‘Good girls’ can be like Kairavi too.

Rating …


Reasoning….

The only point I couldn’t relate to was why Kairavi had to let go of Vivian. If it was not considered a spoiler, I would have put the line here. But it was just ‘that one line’ which takes away the punch from that scene. (Hint: When Vivian goes to buy the ring with his fiancĂ©…….)

Would I recommend this book….Definitely. 

Just when you feel that you need a laugh, a cheer – this story will do that for you. Thank you Shuchi for writing this and making me laugh loudly at 3 a.m. At this rate, I would need the tattoo soon. :)





Meet the author


The Author's Thoughts

Shuchi Singh Kalra is a writer, editor and blogger based in India. She has been writing since 2005, and has freelanced with popular magazines such as Femina.in, Good Housekeeping, Home Review, Parent & Child, Vista, Investors India, Dogs & Pups, Women's Era and Time 'N' Style among many others. her short stories have found a place in anthologies such as Love Across Borders and New Asian Writing's upcoming collection (to be published in 2014).

Shuchi is also the owner of Pixie Dust Writing Studio, a writing and editing firm that services a global clientele, and the Indian Freelance Writers Blog. She currently lives a nomadic life with a fauji husband and a livewire toddler. 

Done With Men is her first book.
     
  
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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cover Reveal Blitz: Thea’s Fate by Sasha Summers


April 10, 2014
HTML







Thea's Fate 
(A Loves of Olympus Novella)
by Sasha Summers

Blurb:

Can love prevail?
Greece works to rebuild after the Persian invasion, her people struggle to rebuild a new life. 
But not all have peace.
The people of Athens look to Ariston of Rhoads for guidance, yet his heart is heavy. He lives and breathes, in agony—clinging to memories of his cherished lost wife. He’s done what she asked of him, but finds no purpose now that she’s gone.
Young Spiridion grows strong and hearty, but he’s haunted. A secret presses upon Spiridion day and night. A secret that would doubtless send Ariston back to Hades, robbing the boy of the man he now calls father.
 And Thea? Thea honors the final promise she made to her most beloved mistress… Medusa.




Release Date:

May 6, 2014



A Free A Loves of Olympus Novella



About the Author

Sasha is part gypsy. Her passions have always been storytelling, Hollywood, history, and travel. It’s no surprise that her books include a little of each. Her first play, ‘Greek Gods and Goddesses’ was written for her Girl Scout troupe. She’s been writing ever since. She loves getting lost in the worlds and characters she creates; even if she frequently forgets to run the dishwasher or wash socks when she’s doing so. Luckily, her four brilliant children and hero-inspiring hubby are super understanding and supportive.




You can stalk, I mean find Sasha here

          



Oh, Did you know that Sasha has a Street Team? She does! If you love/like her books and want to help support her join the Street Team. What would you have to do if you join? Let's see...



1.) Have Fun

2.) Meet other people with common interest

3.) You get first dibs on info, snippets, excerpts and even get to review in advance!!

4.) Your input! We might ask you to name her next cowboy! LOL

5.) There will be missions where we ask you to share links and information, but we provide you with all the info so it's easy as pie. Or cake! What ever you prefer!



So if you want to support Sasha, ask to join her Street Team here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/456419371077920/







Presented By:


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

G for Gayatri

Image: Google Image
Name of the Flower:
Gerbera Daisy

Symbolic Meaning:
You are the sunshine of my life

Name of the Girl
Gayatri

Her Association with the Flower
She considered him the sunshine in her life

Gayatri inhaled the whiff of the blooms from the bouquet of red roses mixed with gerbera daisies the office boy had laid in front of her. So, Raj did remember their first anniversary and had pretended amnesia in the morning! A smile played at the corners of her mouth, as her slim fingers caressed the soft blooms.

"Look at her! Blushing and smiling," Rewa's teasing voice cut through her reverie as a fresh wave of shyness overcame her.

"Stop it, Rewa," she tried to keep her voice stern but failed. This new recruit had won her heart from the day she had first arrived. "Today I am planning to go home early. Can you manage the meeting with our clients from Hyderabad?"

"Of course, Ma’m,' Rewa looked offended, but the twinkle in her eyes told another story. Shaking her head at Rewa's dramatics, Gayatri continued to finish the details for the upcoming project. But her heart was not in it. Would Raj love the surprise? Few more hours of waiting before she told her husband the secret she was harboring inside her body –a secret they had created together.

By two o’clock, she wrapped up her work and headed home. Excitement bubbled inside her as she anticipated the different reactions from Raj. Would he be excited or scared upon hearing this news? This would be a major change in their lives. Were they ready for it? She took a deep breath, her palms unconsciously rubbing her flat stomach, as she stared out at the bustling street of midday Mumbai. She knew Raj would be at home today. His secretary had already informed her when she called earlier. She smiled at the thought of him planning a surprise for her. Too bad, she was going to beat him to that.

The cab halted in front of her building and not bothering to take back the change, she rushed in. Her fingers tapped on her purse consistently as she waited for the lift to take her to the ninth floor. Her hands stilled for a second, before inserting her key in the lock, as a faint sound of music could be heard. Her Raj was at home and by the sound of music it looked as if he was in a happy mood. She couldn't have asked for more.

Soft music wafted from the bedroom. Surprised that he would be napping this hour, she opened her sandals near the door and went towards the bedroom.

IT WAS MIDNIGHT WHEN REWA GOT A CALL FROM A VERY HYSTERICAL GAYATRI. Rewa rushed to Gayatri’s house. It took all her gentleness to calm her boss.

“I..I ..never knew,” Gayatri sobbed.

“How is this possible? You have dated him for six months before he proposed to you.”

“Yes.. and he was always so gentle and so loving. Then why?” Gayatri’s pitiable sob touched Rewa’s heart, but she too did not have an answer. How do you explain to a wife of one year, that her life was never real. Her husband was gay, and had married her to keep his real sexual orientation a secret from society, just to make his mom happy.

That night in Rewa’s diary:

21st June, 2007

Dear Diary,

Should I blame Raj? Or should I blame his mother? To be Gay is not the crime. To be Gay and hiding it from society is not a crime either. A gay marrying a woman is like a smokescreen and that is definitely a bloody crime. Remind me Dear Diary, that if tomorrow as a mother, I ever face this situation, let me be brave enough not to ruin another woman’s life.

Rewa stared long at the Gerbera flower. Few hours earlier, it had represent love. As it silently got pressed between the pages, it unfurled to Rewa an new world of betrayal.



 This post is for The A-Z Challenge . A special thank you to  Arlee Bird for bringing this to us. :)

Check the Letter A for Anamika story here ....
Check the Letter B for Bela story here ....
Check the Letter C for Chandni story here ....
Check the Letter D for Deepa story here ....
Check the Letter E for Esha story here ....
Check the Letter F for Freda story here...





Monday, April 7, 2014

Butterfly Season by Natasha Ahmed




Blurb

On her first holiday in six years, Rumi is expecting to relax and unwind. But when she is set up by her long-time friend, she doesn’t shy away from the possibilities. Ahad, a charming, independent, self-made man, captures her imagination, drawing her away from her disapproving sister, Juveria.

Faced with sizzling chemistry and a meeting of the minds, Ahad and Rumi find themselves deep in a relationship that moves forward with growing intensity. But as her desire for the self-assured Ahad grows, Rumi struggles with a decision that will impact the rest of her life.

Confronted by her scandalized sister, a forbidding uncle and a society that frowns on pre-marital intimacy, Rumi has to decide whether to shed her middle-class sensibilities, turning her back on her family, or return to her secluded existence as an unmarried woman in Pakistan.


We follow Rumi from rainy London to a sweltering Karachi, as she tries to take control of her own destiny.

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Review

Rumi, a young woman in her thirties, visits her younger sister, Juveria in Loughton, Uk from Pakistan. Rumi has sacrificed a major chunk of her life to look after her ailing mother. This had given Juveria the freedom to marry and settle down.

Rumi did not begrudge Juveria her happiness, but now after the death of their Mom, Rumi wants to live a life with the freedom she so desired. Her desire takes the shape of Ahad whom she meets at her friend's house. Friendship turns into 'attraction' (the hot, molten kind) and they give in to their desires. (Be ready to feel the heat !!)

Rumi’s relatives expect that since her mom is dead, she should complacently marry any guy her relatives decide for her. Strangely, the support she had expected from her younger sister is cloaked under Juveria's need to follow the norms of the society.

On one hand, Ahad seems to be commitment phobic and since Rumi enters into this relationship knowing the consequences, she couldn't blame Ahad for not wanting to give this relationship a name. On one hand, Rumi faces a broken relationship and on the other hand the stigma of a live-in-relationship, portrays Rumi as a girl of the modern society caught between the matters of the heart and the unspoken, stringent commandments of our society.

Rating

Reasoning
The thoughts of all Asian women are echoed in the words of Rumi. A woman should be sacrificing, a woman should comply when the society demands and the woman should first think of others before she thinks of herself is a maxim which I have always questioned. All these cumulative thoughts of a woman make the character of Rumi, beautifully etched by Natasha Ahmed, very relatable.

The scene that profoundly touched my heart was when Juveria's main objection to the relationship between Rumi and Ahad was based on her own in-law's viewpoint.

Log kya kahenge’is one sentence that is engraved in our tender minds from the time we shed our diapers. As much as I'm trying to control the feminist in me, since I do want men of our society to read this novella, but I cannot help applauding Natasha's bold character Rumi and mentally kicking Juveria for representing all the bipolar norms of our society.

Would I recommend this book – Definitely. Though I'm not propaganding the subject touched in this novella and I might turn into another Juveria in the near future but the stringencies and the hypocrisies that has been present in our society for so long makes Butterfly Season a compelling novel to read. The love story between Rumi and Ahad is cute, passionate and very emotional. ( And of course, the chemistry between them will give you a toe curling moment :D)

About The Author 

Natasha Ahmed is a pen name. In real life, Natasha is a graphic designer, a businesswoman and occasionally writes art and book reviews for publications within Pakistan. She created the pen name to avoid awkward questions of morality and religion (since her book advocates sexual freedom for women) from her close but extremely large family.

She works in a small office at home, not far from Sea View, Karachi. From a tiny window, she can see the Arabian Sea sparkling in the distance, and small fishing boats trawl up and down the water throughout the day. When she’s not writing books, she’s dreaming of setting sail towards the horizon and never looking back. Great adventure, she believes, starts with great daring.


Butterfly Season is her first novella, though not, she hopes, her last.


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F for Freda

Image:Google Image
Name of the Flower:
Forsythia

Symbolic Meaning:
Expectation and Anticipation


Name of the Girl
Freda

Her Association with the Flower
That was all that was in her heart that day: Expectation and Anticipation

Nothing had prepared Freda Rosario for this happiness. The blush on her face had added to her radiant beauty. Though Mamma was a bit sad since she had her own dreams for Freda's wedding. The white veil was overridden by the red, sequenced duppatta.
The Mehendi on her palms looked so beautiful and intrinsic that even her Dad couldn’t help but comment on its traditional beauty. But Freda loved the mehendi more,for it had come from Ohm's house.
Ohm, a smile hovered at the corners of her lips as she thought of her soon to be husband. Her lover from last six months and her love for the last two years. They had met in their Biology Class. Initial teasing and secret glances had turned into love and proposal which had graduated into them being lovers and finally the parents accepting their love.
Ohm was a Bengali Brahmin and Freda a Catholic. Initially, both the sides had revolted at their love.But Freda and Ohm had withstood all, even threatening to elope if need be. But surprisingly, both the parents of these two, relented due to their love for their only child. Today on June 20th, their love was getting a name.
“So, what is the bride up to?” Rewa chirped from the doorway.
“Rewa!” Freda grinned widely on seeing her childhood friend. “You made it! And that to wearing a lehenga?” Laughing happily, she threw a garland of yellow forsythia on her friend, knowing how much Rewa hated flowers. She had a peculiar connection with flowers,which Freda never really understood.Everyone teased Rewa on her tomboyish nature and attire. Today it meant a lot to Freda that Rewa had chosen shed her usual jeans and tee for a traditional wear.
Rewa started helping her with the complicated ornaments that had come from the groom’s family. Freda had not looked so beautiful ever in her life and her mom could not blink her eyes enough to clear away the hazy vision of her daughter.
The wedding was grand. Both the Dads had not spared any expense. The Lights brightened up the night sky and music filled the air. The whole day, Freda had stayed hungry in anticipation and bridal jitters.
"Mamma, may I get some glass of water," she asked her mom softly.
"Of course,Sweetheart."
It took ten minutes for the ambulance to arrive. There was commotion everywhere. Freda's mom was wailing loudly as she tried to wake Freda up, who seemed to have suddenly embraced slumber. Ohm sat beside her, his face having a blank look of a man bewildered at the sudden turn of his well-planned life.
The paramedics quickly got to work and soon Freda was taken to the nearby Gangaram Hospital. The relatives of both the family thronged the hospital and had to be asked to leave. Ohm, looked at his father helplessly who was getting nervous by the minute.
"Ai je, listen," Ohm's mom told her husband quietly. "We should get a lawyer."
"Lawyer?" Both Ohm and his father said in unison.
"Then what?" His mom continued in a hushed tone. "They will put the blame on us."
"Mamma, please." Ohm lost his temper."This is not the moment for all these things." But he should have listened to his mom for soon the police came and took them for questioning.
The corridor stood silent now. A calmness just before a storm. Everyone had left earlier,at the doctor's insistence. Except Freda's parents. Her mom's sob could be heard at the far end of the corridor, tearing the hearts of even the stern matron.
Soon the body of Freda was wheeled out. Seeing her young daughter looking so peaceful in slumber, a fresh bout of cry resonated in the corridor. Rewa was standing far, silent in her own misery. Controlling herself, she started moving towards Freda's mom, knowing that she needed the support most at a time like this.
"Why, Darling, why?" Freda's mom kept on asking. "Why did you make me do this?"
Rewa stopped on her tracks. The whole dimly lit corridor of hospital suddenly seemed sinister and secretive. She strained to hear what Freda's mom was saying.
"Keep quiet now." Freda's dad admonished. "You should have thought of it before. Now, what is the use.?"
"I couldn't let her go through this, William. I just couldn't." Freda's mom had a wild look on her face, 'what would I say to my Lord?"
Freda’s Dad, wept softly.
“And her being pregnant on top of it. We could not refuse the proposal also…..” her mom lamented.
Ashen faced Rewa, turned from there and ran, panting and crying- running as far as possible from the evil side of fanatism.
That night there was an entry in Rewa's Diary.

21st June 2012

Dear Diary,
Religion. God. Faith. Who made them? Freda was sacrificed for marrying another man who worshipped another form of God?

A lone forsythia from the garland that Freda had worn that -got immortalized amongst the pages of Rewa's Diary.



 This post is for The A-Z Challenge . A special thank you to  Arlee Bird for bringing this to us. :)

Check the Letter A for Anamika story here ....
Check the Letter B for Bela story here ....
Check the Letter C for Chandni story here ....
Check the Letter D for Deepa story here ....


Check the Letter E for Esha story here ....





Sunday, April 6, 2014

Spotlight:The Prophecy of Trivine By Tnahsin Garg, Srivatsan Sridharan and Pulkit Gupta


The Prophecy of Trivine 
By
 Tnahsin Garg,  Srivatsan Sridharan and  Pulkit Gupta





Blurb 
An emissary of an advanced alien race travels to the Earth to undertake responsibility of an experiment that has gone out of control. The outcome of this fateful experiment, which was conceived millions of years ago by her species, now rests in her hands. As she prepares to deliver her final judgment, she comes across three young men in a sacred forest who change her life forever. 
These three men- a scientist, a hacker and an artist, happen to take refuge in that forest, trying to escape from the oddities of their own unfair lives. Struggling with their dreams and demons, they begin to explore the dark and paranormal behavior of the forest by forging a companionship. From the rare flora and fauna breathing alive on the ground to the deadly wide expanse of the whimsy black sky, everything they find is yet another puzzle unsolved. 
Little did they know that four of them hold in their hands the future of mankind and much beyond imagination, they are connected through an ancient Prophecy that was long lost in the sands of time


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the prophecy of trivine - Video Maker





Meet the Authors 

Srivatsan Sridharan 
Srivatsan is a Computer Scientist, who recently graduated with a Masters degree from Purdue University in the United States. He completed his Bachelors in Engineering from Thapar University, India in 2010. Along with computers, he is extremely passionate about writing. Most of his artistic ideas have taken shape in the form of short stories, speeches, travelogues, and essays. Some of them can be found in his BLOG
Tnahsin Garg 
Tnahsin was born and brought up in India where he got a Bachelor's degree in engineering. After that he travelled to United States in search of higher education and adventure, and ended up getting a Master's degree in 2012.  When tired of his scientific pursuits, he's often found scribbling something unintelligible on some decayed corner of the Internet. You can find him in his BLOG
 Pulkit Gupta
Pulkit is a Computer Science professional who completed his Bachelors in Engineering from Thapar University, India in 2011. He has been an avid reader and an enthusiastic writer since his childhood days. He maintains a number of blogs which are in various stages of decay, but his most recent short story work can be found on his recently created BLOG
  

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

E for Esha

Image: Google Images
Name of the Flower:
Egaltine Roses

Symbolic Meaning:
Purity

Name of the Girl
Esha

Her Association with the Flower
Both are pure and have a hidden beauty. .

"Come on, it’s already 5 pm. You've to be ready. They will come any moment!" Mrs. Pandey shouted at Esha, standing stoically near the window, looking out at the vast expanse of the garden sprawled in front of her. The Egaltine  roses carefully tended upon by their gardener was a delight to gaze at. But today, it was not the beauty that enthralled her as her vision unfocused by unshed tears.

“I don’t want to do this, Ma,” she said softly.

“Don’t start again.” Mrs. Pandey almost screamed. Decked up in a heavy Kanchivaram saree and gold jewelry, she was an impressive looking woman. But her heavily kohled eyes couldn’t hide her anxiety as it gauged her daughter. Clearly dissatisfied with the simple, cotton salwar Kameez she wore, she went to her cupboard and flung it open. “Look here, how many beautiful clothes you have and what do you choose – an old one.” She glared at her daughter, who clearly was not interested in the finery cramped up in the cupboard. Irritated with Esha’s behavior, Mrs. Pande took out a silk sari and some matching accessories and laid it on the bed. “I’m giving you thirty minutes to dress up and come down, or else your Baba will have a word with you.”

The clock ticked in the silence as Esha waited for her mom to leave the room. Her shoulders drooped at the unavoidable circumstances and its inevitable results. Like a somnambulist, she picked up her sari and draped it. The woman inside her did not find any pleasure at the beauty of the ornaments her parents had so painstakingly chosen for her.

Just then, her cell rang. She knew it would be Rewa. Who else would have the guts to fight against her parents than her sweet little cousin?

“Hi Rewa. Are you coming for the circus or not?”

“Yes, Esha Di.” Rewa chirped, but Esha could understand the hidden anxiety behind her voice.

“Come fast. You know you’re my strength. “

“I know Di,” Rewa’s voice almost lost its cool. “But Dad’s taken the car and he will be back anytime now. I’m just waiting for him. Or I will take a cab. Hold on till then, will you?”

“I hope so,” Esha sighed and kept her cell down. She stared at her image for the last time dispassionately and after tucking a  single rose behind her left ear, she felt confident enough to face the world.

Slowly, she got down the winding staircase. During these moments, they always felt so endless – the never ending stairs to hell, Rewa would often joke. With renewed confidence as the image of her spunky cousin conjured up in her inward eye, she went down, her slim figure swaying like a mermaid.

Her mother was the first person to see her. “Oh , here is Esha,” She twitted nervously to  a group of people standing there. Esha slowly raised her eyes to see a sea of strangers sitting with her parents and sister, Elena.  Laughter died, few inevitable gasps escaped. Esha lifted her head defiantly to look straight into the eyes of the boy, who had come to ‘see’ her, her face impassive when she saw nothing but disgust in his eyes.

When Rewa reached the Pandey household, the Boy’s family had already left. Mrs.Pandey was as usual in tears after these ‘sessions’. Seeing Rewa, her cries rose an octave. “See Rewa, They again rejected my Esha. No one sees the inner beauty you talk about so much. She is dark and ugly. What will happen to my daughter?”

That night Rewa Diary entry...

21st June, 2007

Dear Diary,

Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. But why do our eyes see only the physical beauty of a person? Why do girls have to be ‘seen’ and ‘approved’ before marriage? Especially when it is the girls who have to ‘buy’ the boy? When will our culture accept us for what we are  - not based on the color of our skin, figure? Not how we can sing and dance. Now how much our parents can give.

Rewa kissed the drooping Egaltine rose before pressing it between the pages of her diary.




 This post is for The A-Z Challenge . A special thank you to  Arlee Bird for bringing this to us. :)

Check the Letter A for Anamika story here ....
Check the Letter B for Bela story here ....
Check the Letter C for Chandni story here ....
Check the Letter D for Deepa story here ....