Monday, November 29, 2010

Ken W. Min ~ Illustrator for Hire

Ken W. Min ~ Illustrator for Hire

Thanks, Ken Min...Shukriya and Dhanyavad!

Ken Min made it possible for me to meet my characters face to face and the breathless wait ended two days after Thanksgiving in a most pleasant way!
While the author of a picture book is permitted to submit illustration notes, hobnobbing with the illustrator is a big no no! So, short of keeping both fingers crossed there was not much else to do other that hope for the best outcome. Ken did not disappoint. I should have known this when I found out he had begun researching for this project in the Little India neighborhood of Los Angeles and also when he dropped me a line to say he would be treating the text with utmost respect. I was instantly smitten! Ken's whimsical illustrations embellish the story line and capture the humor of the story in an endearing way. His interpretation is creative and spot on. His use of color and medium....well, in short, I couldn't have asked for anything better. Thank you, Ken for bringing the characters, setting, and events of HHRFD come alive so brilliantly.
Please visit Ken's blog for further information about him.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Hot-Hot Roti for Dada-ji is dedicated to my three grandbabies: Aydin, Samar, and Gabriella. They should know that Amma sprinkled lots of love and kisses in the water, salt and flour mix.

The Garden of my Imaan

I just signed a contract with Peachtree Publishers of Atlanta, Georgia for The Garden of my Imaan. I have to go through some heavy duty revisions which need to be done by May of 2011. I am awaiting the editor's notes and am keeping fingers crossed for a 2013 publication. This book will be dedicated to my sister, Nasreen Ahmed, without question, Grandmother Number One!

Other Titles in the Works

Who's Number One?
Dada-ji and the Not So Wah-Wah Surprise
Dada-ji and the MVP
Aneel and Dada-ji
Dada-ji, the Tailor and the Eight Compartment Thali
Dada-ji and the Shiny Purple Seed
Dada-ji and the Naughty Red Bottom Monkey
Dada-ji and the Slithering Snake
The Garden of my Imaan
Basanta, Child of Spring
Tales from the Basti.

Proofs arrived!

Just returned from a Thanksgiving family get together in Lombard, Illinois, to find a large brown envelope waiting at the door. The proofs for Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji arrived! It was exhilarating to see the story come alive at last and to meet the characters, face to face. Thank you, Ken for interpreting my text with sensitivity, authenticity and good humor. It was disconcerting to have to guess about the final outcome and I am happy that everything has come together much as I had hoped it would. I am delighted that Ken's dada-ji is somewhat how I had envisoned him too! I look at the pictures over and over and fall a little more in love each time I do.
Oh my!
Now, when I google the title, I get more than one hit. How about that!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Hot-Hot Roti for Dada-ji by F.Zia

Hot-hot roti, bubbling and sputtering with ghee on the hot-hot tavva....mmmm!

N.N and Aneel

Aneel is N.N, except two- to- three years younger, with almost the same elfin, rounded face, neatly fringed hair, and mischevious, ebony eyes. In reality, how Ken sees Aneel may be an entirely different story. By the time HHRFDJ is in the market, N.N , of course, will be two years older and I suspect, no longer the cute elfin fourth grader of yore.

July 26, 2010 11:50 AM

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How it got started

If you want to know the real scoop, I wrote 'Hot-Hot Roti for Dada-ji' because I wanted A.Z.L, S.Z.L and G.F.Z to say one day, "This is Amma's special gift to us." The idea for the story came to me during a walk through the neighborhood. I wanted the story to be fun, endearing, and at the same time, unique enough to be vastly familiar to American children of South Asian ethnicities. And let's face it, a story about roti hissing on a smoky tavva is as Indian as it can get. By the end of my walk, I had the story framed in my mind and much in the way that water, flour and salt come together in roti dough, the words came together and the story was cooked. In retrospect, taking it to the next level was not too arduous either, thanks to the miraculous reaches of the internet. I started shooting off query letters into cyber space and Ann replied one day, unexpectedly, and by golly, she was interested! The stars must have aligned just so when Russ of the former Scovil, Chichak, Galen forwarded an unsolicited manuscript to a newly named VP for the fledgling juvenile department at his literary agency. Opening Ann's email from Apa's desktop in Chicago, clearly ranks among the unforgettable moments in my personal history. Ann opened the door to Jennifer, at Lee and Low and it looks like the hot-hot roti is steaming and bubbling, just as I write, and getting ready to wind its way to the dinner table!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hot-Hot Roti for Dada-ji by F.Zia

Publication date 2011
Lee and Low Publishers.

Aneel Makes Roti

Dada-ji has a hankering for home made roti and Aneel suspects that if he made him some, the hot-hot roti might restore Dada-ji's astonishing powers.