Tag: random

Monthly Updates: April’19

Hello, dear readers. I missed March Monthly Updates post but didn’t want to miss April as well, therefore, I thought that even though I am a bit late I’ll go ahead and do a quick update post.

Writing:

  • I participated in Camp NaNo with a target of 30K words, but all I managed to write were 20K words. Though I did manage to revise a couple of thousand words, around 8K so overall I’m still happy with my progress.
  • I am working on 3 books simultaneously so at times it gets hard to track the progress individually, though I’m making steady progress with 2 of the 3 works and the 3rd one is coming along slowly as it is in its early stages.

Reading:

  1. Lost Man’s Lane (Miss Butterworth #2, Mr Gryce #by Anna Katherine Green – 5/5
  2. Kill Code by Clive Fleury – 4/5
  3. We Call It Monster by Lachlan Walter – 4/5
  4. Aristophania (The Kingdom of Azur #1) by Xavier Dorison – 3/5
  5. The Magicians: Alice’s Story by Lilah Sturges – 1/5 – DNF
  6. Hotel Dare by Terry Blass – 4/5
  7. A Promise Of Return by Rebecca Crunden – 4/5
  8. A Dance Of Lies by Rebecca Crunden – 4/5
  9. Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tehereh Mafi – 3/5
  10. The Circular Study (Miss Butterworth #3, Mr Gryce #10) – 4/5

Out of these Lost Man’s Lane and The Circular Studies were free audiobooks from Librivox and Shatter Me was a paperback. Rest of them were all ebooks.

Miscellaneous:

  • I joined the swimming classes. I bunked a lot but still, now I know how to float and release bubbles. I will be taking a break this month from swimming as the chlorine is affecting my sinuses and I am getting one-sided headaches again. But I will be resuming in June.
  • I joined Multifit right at the end of the month and began functional training. It is exhausting, to say the least, but totally worth it!
  • In new releases, I watched Avengers: Endgame, The Curse Of The Weeping Woman and Pet Sematary.
  • In old movies, I re-watched Wall-E (twice in April cause I love, love, love that movie), The Magnificient Seven (the old one), Apollo 13, KGF, and a couple more that I am forgetting now.
  • On Netflix, I watched Black Mirror S1 & S4 and started watching Hemlock Grove.
  • And obviously, I watched all the episodes of Game Of Thrones S8 on HotStar. I feel that the makers have totally ruined the characters and the plot that GRRM worked so hard to create. TV series can never do justice tot he books, still, the show was going pretty good till S6, but from S7, essentially the part where the show left the books behind, everything feels rushed and incomplete and… off. GRRM anyway hasn’t given away the original ending so the books are anyway not spoiled. Now I’m eagerly waiting for the TV series to be over and the books to come out soon!!
  • I created my IGTV Channel! You can follow it through my IG profile: @CrazyCatWriter.
  • And here is my first video as posted on YouTube:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMup8ExsejU
  • And here is the second one:

That’s about all I can remember from April (it’s been almost half a month since April ended so it’s hard to remember), but I’m sure I covered all the main things I did. I hope you all had a fabulous April as well. May is getting hotter in India, and hopefully this year the rains will come sooner than usual. Do share about how your Camp Nano went and what you’ve been up to last month.

Thanks for reading!

Ciao ❤

2019 Resolutions

I know I’m late for this, but I really like doing a resolutions post and I really didn’t want to miss out this year. I’ll try and keep this post as short as I can because if I’d let myself get carried away then this would be one hell of a lengthy post.

So without wasting any time, here’s my list of resolutions for 2019…

2019 Resolutions

Writing:

  • Write 300 words daily. There was a point where I was writing 1200-1500 words daily for over 4 months, but that time is long past and I need to get into the habit of writing every day. So I’m thinking of starting slow and then eventually writing as much as I can.
  • Finish Sinister Town and get it beta read.
  • Complete all the stories for the short story collection Alone In The Dark.
  • Write the first draft of Worlds Apart. This one is a new project that I started last November. I only have the vaguest of ideas about this one but it is a good one and therefore I’m going to work on this one, though very slowly.
  • I have another contemporary story that I have to finish, so that is there too.

Reading:

  • Write interesting and more expressive reviews. Since last two years, I feel I’m holding myself back in reviewing books for some reason. So I’ve decided to be more vocal about my feelings, at least relating to the ones that I really liked or disliked.
  • I’m going to read less this year and try to concentrate more on writing. Last year I read a whopping 120 books and that affected my writing pretty badly as I was in a mad rush to read book after book each and every month. So this year, I’m not going to read more than 5 books a month (this is going to be hard because it’s just 12th Jan today and I’ve already read 4 books. Though, I need to do this in order to not let my writing suffer.)
  • I’m planning to read more of horror and contemporary fiction and some cosy mysteries and classics this year.
  • Read more books on writing.
  • Read all the unread books I have on my shelf.

Miscellaneous:

  • I already maintain a gratitude journal, so I’ll continue having that.
  • I’m going to try and go for morning walks as much as I can – this gets difficult as Vishal and I walk together and when he is busy and out for work, I tend to stay awake in the night so I don’t go for walks in the morning. Still, I’ll try and do it as much as I can.
  • I’m meeting my nutritionist tomorrow after almost a year as I shifted far away from her clinic, so I’ll be sorting out my diets for the next two months. I’m planning to do Keto, so hopefully, I’ll be able to drop some pounds this year.
  • Invest in a property. I have some savings and I am looking for a nice piece of land to invest that money in. It’s going to be small, but it’s going to be mine 🙂
  • I am finally going to learn to drive (admitting I don’t know how to drive is embarrassing enough.) I learned driving at the age of 19, but then I never actually got around to driving a car by myself, therefore, I forgot everything. Vishal has promised me to buy a fully automated car for me so that I won’t have to remember the gears (our Honda City has gears and I absolutely dread using a gear), but I still want to learn before that so that I know driving both kinds.
  • Finish watching Orange Is The New Black, Grimm, Dexter and The Walking Dead on Netflix.
  • Learn Mexican cuisine and do a couple more classes related to baking and making loaves of different kinds of bread.
  • Learn swimming.
  • Continue learning German.
  • Blog more – both in terms of writing posts as well as visiting my old friends and making some new ones.
  • I’m also going to try and spend more quality time with Vishal and the girls by trying to be less online which I’ve already started doing since last year. That’s why I’m posting less on Fb and Twitter and even the blogs than I used to.

That’s it for me. I’m going to focus my energy on this list and see what this year has in store for me. Happy New Year to you all.

Ciao ❤

Getting Back In The Groove

Finally, after almost 1 and a half years, since Eva’s arrival and the start of my health issues (both unrelated, of course), I am feeling like myself again. After such a long break, I have also started re-working on my 2nd novel, Sinister Town, with the kind of energy I always seemed to have before things started to get sour in regards to my health. Lately, I’ve even started with my fitness regime again, though that is coming along a bit slowly. But I’m in a kind of a happy place now where I am doing all the things that I love doing and I am not sick nor coughing my lungs out the entire time.

Though my medical tests are still pending, I’m positive whatever it was is long past and now all that remains is for me to conquer the world again (see, that’s how good I’m feeling.) And it’s not that I’m just feeling good now, or this week. This has been the case from last two month since I’ve recovered from my last allergy bout. And that is the reason why I’ve been able to blog again to my heart’s content in the last few days – I’m not only blogging on The Reading Bud and this blog, but I’ve also taken up cooking occasionally again and have started posting on The Baking Bud too.

Eva in our backyard

I guess my last sickness bout made me very appreciative of the life I have; my loving, caring and such a devout husband and my crazily adorable and loving cats, Eva and Katie, and also the ever-goofy and always smiling Max. With so much love around me, I guess I’ve not only bounced back to being well but that I’ve been able to come back in a much better frame of mind.

Katie lazing around

For now, my focus is solely on getting Sinister Town ready for my alpha and beta readers and then polishing the dark short story collection I’ve been meaning to work on for some time. I’m also trying to read more and incorporate cooking regularly, more and more, into my daily schedule.

I’ll try and post here more (at least once a week) even if just a life update kind of a post as I hate not being in touch with blogging here. I’ll also try and visit all my favourite blogs more often (haven’t done it in so long that I’ve almost forgotten how great it feels to read everyone’s posts.)

Ciao ❤

Reading Non-Fiction

For a long time I’ve evaded reading Non-Fiction books because… well, to be honest, I gagged at the idea of spending my time reading something that was not even remotely related to fiction. But when I started writing, I had to, although a bit reluctantly (read – a lot reluctantly), start reading non-fiction books on writing to understand the finer points of the craft and to hone my skills. And that was when I understood that I was not avoiding non-fiction books, but the label itself, having judged an entire genre without even knowing it.

This revelation left me pretty stunned because it was the absolute truth. I crazily judged not only non-fiction but its readers as well. I generally have a very polarising tendency, so either I hate an idea or I absolutely love it. And, as I realized a while back, in this case, I hated an entire literary genre without even understanding it completely.

As you can imagine it was an ugly realization, so, in order to make amends, I decided to start exploring this old yet new genre. Yes, I, for the first time in my life started reading non-fiction books willingly. I started late last year and since then I’ve read a couple of non-fiction books that include guide-like books which always have something to teach in elaborate details and some food books (both TLC kind and the recipe ones) and a couple self-help ones – mainly on the topic of dealing with anxious/nervous/over-active mind. I’ve also come across a couple of good business books which were actually offered to me for review for my book blog (being the wife of a businessman who hates reading books, I feel obligated to read whatever I can on his behalf and share whatever good bits I can gather from these books that might help Vishal in some or the other way.) Some other books I came across were some random books on Female Vs Male stereotypes, books on jokes, travel diaries/travelogues, various books on mental illness and some poetry, memoirs and essays. And seeing all these books made me realize how wrong it was of me to generalize and judge a genre.

Finally, I’ve come to believe and acknowledge that non-fiction is a whole world of literature in itself with a monumental amount of potential and a vast ocean of knowledge, all on its own. I am still exploring, I’m just getting started to be honest, but if you are anything like I was, then I urge you to explore this genre and to try and find the right sub-genre in non-fiction for your taste. I’m sure you’ll discover a whole lot of new books in the beautiful sea of this amazing genre.

The First Furry Bud – Eva

I’d been MIA from last year so much that a lot of people have started thinking that I have stopped blogging altogether. That is not true! I love this blog and this is the main one I have so I am never going to stop posting here, no matter what. Now that we have that out of the way, I’d like to share with all you guys, my beloved readers, the reason why I went MIA from last 12 months – our first furry baby, Eva.

Eva’s pic posted for the ad by the foster parents.

We decided to adopt a kitten in late August and exactly within a week, on 3rd September we brought this amazing kitten we found a posting about on the internet. We had planned to have a cat for a very long time, just as we planned to have a dog, and already knew what was going to be her name – Eva. She was such a munchkin that we fell in love with her at first sight!

She is one of the most amazing things to have happened to Vishal and me after our marriage and that’s one of the reasons we love her so much more than we could ever love anyone ever!! Eva is tremendously smart, extremely intelligent and an adorable fur-doll. We love her so much that we even didn’t leave the house while taking care of her for the first 3 months as she was just a little cuddle baby of 47 days when we got her.

She is almost a year old presently (her birthday is on 13th July) and has grown into a feisty and charming little girl that we always knew she would be. My Instagram is full of her pictures but here are some I truly adore:

The Ticking Clock

Lately, I’ve developed this (somewhat weird) obsession with keeping track of the time all the time… All. The. TIME.

And the weird part (even more so) is that it started out of nowhere!

I’d always been mildly time-conscious and have had an obsession about doing things on time, but never did I obsess over each and every hour of the day like this before. Now, I keep on checking the clock every 5-10 minutes while working on anything, unless I really get into doing something, like writing and reading, and forget to see the time. It’s very tiring and testing, to say the least.

If I get busy doing something and don’t notice the time for an hour or two, I start to feel disoriented, disconcerted and anxious. That may be strange to anyone who doesn’t understand how OCD works, but for someone who’s always had it, I know that this is the beginning of a very serious problem. If left unchecked, it might lead to a point where I’ll start wearing a watch at home trying to keep track of every single minute (if not second.) And that would be very stressful and would give me tons of unnecessary anxiety.

So before it gets out of hand, I’m trying to get rid of it altogether. For this I have started doing the following things:

  1. I am intentionally trying to lose track of time as much as I can by engrossing myself into whatever I’m doing at a particular time, even while putting Eva to sleep or listening to the radio.
  2. Practicing breathing exercises (2-2 minutes only) whenever I start getting anxious for losing the track of time (this is generally needed when I follow the above step.) It works well sometimes, but sometimes I start feeling low… talk about things that can stress out a person!
  3. I’m trying to stay away from clocks as much as I can. I’ve removed the ones on my desk (and I had two of them, right next to each other!) and the one on the wall in my study.

These steps sound simple, but are not, at least not for compulsive-obsessive person. So I’ll just try to be consistent with these practices and hopefully this OCD will surpass like the earlier ones I had.

I’ll post about my progress int he coming months to keep you guys updated.

Thank you for reading!

Ciao ❤

Thai Cuisine? Check!

I’ve wanted to learn Thai cuisine for so long that I don’t even remember since when exactly… and finally, I did it!!

Tada…

2018 has really started out well for me and I’m really grateful for it. Last year Vishal wanted to learn Italian cuisine as he and I both love Italian food, and he loves cooking, so he was very interested in going to an Italian cooking workshop and giving me a surprise by making pasta at home for me. So he searched a contact who taught Italian, but unfortunately, whenever they had Italian workshop, Vishal was busy. So he waited for some time and then gave up and told me about his plan and asked me to do it instead and then teach him so that he can cook Italian for me. Isn’t that sweet!!
Well, I agreed because I love cooking too, though I have already learned Italian twice, so I wasn’t that keen. Still, I registered for the next Italian workshop, but as fate would have it Eva wasn’t well at the time and I had to miss the class. Since then I’ve been waiting for the Italian workshop but it hasn’t been planned since as it is an extensive 2-day course. Luckily the same studio teaches other things as well including Thai cuisine. And when I received their message saying that they have a Thai cooking class on Wednesday (17th Jan’18) I immediately registered. Thankfully I was free and everything worked out! I met some really great people and learned some amazing Thai recipes.

Here’s what all I learned:

  • Som Tam (Green Papaya Salad)
  • Tom Yum Soup
  • Nam Prik Pow Relish
  • Peanut Sauce
  • Tofu and Paneer Satay with Peanut Sauce
  • Pad Thai Noodles
  • Thai Green Curry
  • Thai Red Curry
  • Jasmine Steamed Rice
  • Thai Basil Fried Rice
  • Lemon Grass Coconut Milk Pudding With Tropical Fruits

I’ll be trying these dishes next week as I need to get all the proper vegetables (some are really hard to find like Kaffir Lime Leaves and Galangal) and hope it turns out as good as these.

Hope you guys liked the pictures!

Ciao ❤

TRB On WordPress.ORG

I’ve been meaning to redesign The Reading Bud – TRB, for a long time now. Ever since I laid eyes on the Tweak Me theme by NoseGrace 2 years back, I knew I HAD to get it. And finally, I did. It was a huge step as a blogger because shifting platforms is never easy especially if you have a lot of content. I had over 200 posts (mainly reviews) and it was important that it was done right.

It took a lot of research, some serious brain digging and tons of hours poured over tutorials and posts by other really awesome bloggers and finally, I was able to do it – all on my own! TRB website is now live and you can visit it here: http://www.thereadingbud.com

TRB’s new logo

I’ve also redesigned the logo and header and now I feel like TRB is completely settled.

I hope you guys like the new design and the interface of the website.

Ciao ❤

Writing Rituals Tag

A few weeks ago, I was tagged for The Writing Rituals Tag by my dear friend Galit. Though it’s a bit late, I thought I’d do this tag as I, for one, have tons of small Writing Rituals that I am very fond of. If you haven’t visited Galit’s amazing blog, Coffee n’ Notes, then do it right away! She writes about her writing projects and reviews some really good books, and I’m sure you wouldn’t want to miss it!

Questions for the Writing Rituals Tag

1. When do you write? (time of day, day of week)

I love writing early in the morning between 5:00 to 7:00 am. This is the only time when I can lose myself in writing completely and get a lot of writing done.

2. How do you seclude yourself from the outside world?

I generally don’t need to do that as I stay in a villa alone with my husband and cat, and my contact with the outside world is next to zero, so no one really disturbs me.

3. How do you review what you wrote the previous day?

I don’t review the previous day’s work unless it’s a blog post. I like to write and complete whatever draft I’m working on and then give it a couple of days or weeks or months’ time (depending upon the length of the project) and then review and revise it as one.

4. What song is your go-to when you’re feeling uninspired?

I generally avoid listening to songs as they tend to distract me. Though when I’m feeling uninspired, I play Blues (either on the international radio or from my 200 All-Time-Best-Blues playlist) to get in the right mood for writing.

5. What do you always do (i.e. listen to music, read, watch youtube, etc.) when you find yourself struggling with writer’s block?

I watch a lot of movies and try and catch up on all the books that have been sitting on my bookshelf or Kindle library for a while.

6. What tools do you use when you’re writing?

I use my MacBook, Sticky Notes for pointers, Index Cards for creating scene outlines, Pens (Blue, Black, Red and Green), Notebook for structuring and calculations, and White Board for chalking out timelines.

7. What’s the one thing you can’t live without during a writing session?

Something to drink – Green Tea, Coffee, Iced Tea, Soda or cold Water. I have OCD, so to keep my nerves in check while writing and to stop myself from fidgeting while writing a particular scene, I always keep something to drink. And some scented candles as they help me to keep my head calm and contain tension.

8. How do you fuel yourself during your writing session?

Green Tea, Coffee, Iced Tea, Soda, plain cold water or Wine.

9. How do you know when you’re done writing?

When I’ve gone through my work at least 4-5 times and it starts feeling like it is done.

This is such a fun tag that I’m leaving it open for everyone. So if you read this post, consider yourself tagged. Do leave your links in the comments below so I’ll know where to find your posts. Would love to know about your writing rituals!

Ciao ❤

Speak Up #domesticviolenceawareness

As a child of a functioning alcoholic, I have seen domestic violence at very close quarters. Though not a direct victim myself, my father loved me too much, I do know how it is as my mother was always on the receiving end. Having stayed up most of the nights with my mother, standing between her and my drunk father playing the role of a shield, I know very well what it feels like to be subjected to it, how it affects everyone around, and its long-term consequences.

I’d been a helpless observer of domestic violence since the age of 4 (as that is the age I started understanding things better) and I, for one, have a very strong stand against it. My mother was a sweet woman and, just like many other housewives in India, firmly believed that she needed a man to take care of her, another line of thought I strongly stand against and which often created a lot of issues between me and her as I wanted her to leave him. But in the end, we both managed to speak up against it, although it took a long time. But we did and that was the end of it. I was 12 by the time domestic violence completely stopped in our home because of the steps we took. After that my home was only filled with fights and hatred, but that’s another matter altogether. Coming back to the topic, The only suggestion I’d like to share for anyone still suffering from domestic violence is to SPEAK UP! Do not take it and do not let your loved ones take it. It will take a lot and might cost you much more than you can think, in order to stop it you’ll inevitably have to speak up. And in the end, it would be worth it; if not immediately then eventually.

No one has the right to abuse anyone, whether it be physically, mentally or emotionally. We all are educated human beings and it is time that we act like it. No, you cannot beat your wife. No, you cannot hit your sister. No, you cannot use abusive language to any woman or man for that matter, neither in your home nor outside because it is simply not acceptable.

Let us pledge to Speak Up every time someone, anyone, needs help. If it your neighbour, then dial 100 and call the cops if you can’t go to their place and ring their doorbells.