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. 

Downtime

I’ve been feeling down from a long time and finally, after a lot of cloudy days and a ton of brooding and despair, I’ve finally started pulling myself out of depression. I’ve been suffering from depression since the age of 10, so it’s always on and off with me, but this time it really hit me hard. And the worst part is, I’m not even sure what caused it; maybe one thing in particular or the other, or maybe it was the sum of all or maybe it was just because of something someone said or did. In any case, I’m not even sure if that matters anymore because I’ve been trying to find the reason for months now only to find myself stumbling in a dark maze of not-so-good thoughts.

In the past few months I tried to get out of this dark spell a number of times, but surprisingly nothing worked at all and the vacations we took, the impromptu shopping sprees, all the expensive food and booze, nothing… absolutely nothing worked. I tried crying too, but that just made things worse and pulled me further down.

The thing that really pains me though is that I hate to do this to the one person who lives with me, the only person who actually loves me and cares for me – Vishal. My depression affects him, a lot more than he shows and I know this, and to be honest, that’s one of the reasons, or maybe it’s the only reason I try to not make things worse by doing stupid things like fighting, arguing, or attempting different ways of self-harming. It’s very frustrating at times; sometimes my suicidal tendencies get the best of me, sometimes anger does and sometimes hurt, but this time it was sadness. And trust me, sadness was the worst of them all.

Vishal’s been so patient with me and it is his patience that makes it possible for me to even come out of my depression. It is his love for me that makes me believe in myself and my capabilities to deal with it all. God only knows how exhausting it might be for him to be in a relationship with me. I am so fucking grateful to have him in my life. It is his and only his presence that keeps me sane and functional… and even alive. And so I’ve decided that I’ve spent enough time in the dark abyss and have pulled him down enough too. It stops here. I feel like I’ve wasted enough time already worrying about things that I shouldn’t have even thought about in the first place, that don’t even matter and that can’t even touch me. So, I’m just going to pull myself together and start my normal daily routine. I need to start practising gratitude again because it is the one thing that makes me feel sane and calm. Why? I have no idea. It just does, just like meditation, so I’m gonna do these two things and try to get back into the swing of things at work and at home.

Eva is such a blessing in our lives and now that I have almost finished the 2 critique projects I’ve been working on, I have all the time in the world to be with her and Vishal. I’m just going to be grateful for the beautiful life I have and for the most amazing husband and the most adorable fur-baby and be happy. And when Vishal gets some time off from work, we’ll hunt for a GSD pup. I’ve bounced back from depression so many times now that I’ve practically lost the count, so I’m just going to do it again. I am just going to take this all slow and steady till I get back to where I was emotionally a few months back to promote Deceived and write Sinister Town.

I am just going to take this all slow and steady till I get back to where I was emotionally before and resume promoting Deceived and writing Sinister Town.

BTW, if you ever feel down or low, listen to Nothing Else Matters by Metallica and everything will start to feel unreal and I bet you’ll start to get high just by listening to this beautiful, beautiful song. And a lot of things will start to make sense.

I am not going to apologise for my emotional rant because this post is really important to me – first, it helped me unload my emotional burden and really made me feel a lot better and second, this post helped me Freewrite. So, peace out! 🙂

Ciao ❤

Happy 71st Independence Day!

Happy 71st Independence Day to all my Indian brothers and sisters. Today is the day of pride for our nation and on this beautiful and honourable day, I am happy to share with you all something about India’s Independence Day:

Independence Day is annually observed on 15 August, as a national holiday in India commemorating the nation’s independence from the United Kingdom on 15 August 1947, the UK Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act 1947 transferring legislative sovereignty to the Indian Constituent Assembly. India still retained King George VI as head of state until its transition to full republican constitution. India attained independence following the Independence Movement noted for largely nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience led by the Indian National Congress (INC). Independence coincided with the partition of India, in which the British India was divided along religious lines into the Dominions of India and Pakistan. On 16 August 1947 (not 15th), Jawaharlal Nehru, who had become the first Prime Minister of India the day before, raised the Indian national flag above the Lahori Gate of the Red Fort in Delhi. On each subsequent Independence Day, the prime minister customarily raises the flag and gives an address to the nation.

The holiday is observed throughout India with flag-hoisting ceremonies, parades and cultural events. There is a national holiday, and schools and government offices distribute sweets and hosts various cultural programmes, but no official work is done.

Independence Day, one of the three National holidays in India (the other two being the Republic Day on 26 January and Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday on 2 October), is observed in all Indian states and union territories. On the eve of Independence Day, the President of India delivers the “Address to the Nation”. On 15 August, the prime minister hoists the Indian flag on the ramparts of the historical site Red Fort in Delhi. Twenty-one gun shots are fired in honour of the solemn occasion. In his speech, the prime minister highlights the past year’s achievements, raises important issues and calls for further development. He pays tribute to the leaders of the Indian independence movement. The Indian national anthem, “Jana Gana Mana”, is sung. The speech is followed by march past of divisions of the Indian Armed Forces and paramilitary forces. Parades and pageants showcase scenes from the independence struggle and India’s diverse cultural traditions. Similar events take place in state capitals where the Chief Ministers of individual states unfurl the national flag, followed by parades and pageants.

Captured by VJ’s Travelling Camera – https://www.facebook.com/travellingcamera

Flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural programmes take place in governmental and non-governmental institutions throughout the country. Schools and colleges conduct flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural events. Major government buildings are often adorned with strings of lights. In Delhi and some other cities, kite flying adds to the occasion. National flags of different sizes are used abundantly to symbolise allegiance to the country. Citizens adorn their clothing, wristbands, cars, household accessories with replicas of the tricolour. Over a period of time, the celebration has changed the emphasis from nationalism to a broader celebration of all things India.

The Indian diaspora celebrates Independence Day around the world with parades and pageants, particularly in regions with higher concentrations of Indian immigrants. In some locations, such as New York and other US cities, 15 August has become “India Day” among the diaspora and the local populace. Pageants celebrate “India Day” either on 15 August or an adjoining weekend day.

Content Source: Wikipedia

Quick Updates – #amwriting

I had planned for 2 short stories and 1 article on Writing to post in through April and May, but unfortunately, things got in the way (as they usually do) and I completely forgot about the drafts (some half-baked some ready to go up) sitting patiently on my dashboard. I thought I’ll get back to blogging regularly now by scheduling the posts – like I do with my reviews at The Reading Bud, but before that, I wanted to drop by and post updates about what’s been since 8th April, the last time I posted.

Updates –

Books:

  • Deceived has been entered for the Hindu Literary Prize 2017. Hindu is one of the top newspapers in India.
  • Deceived is being translated into Marathi (a regional language of Maharashtra, the State I live in.)
  • The English release of Deceived is set for 24th June and it might be a soft launch by the looks of it because we want to do a big launch cum release with at least 2 languages so most probably, that’ll be sometime in July as the translated Marathi version will be ready by then.
  • Deceived has crossed 66 ratings on Goodreads.
  • Deceived is now listed on Amazon.in (Amazon.com and other Amazons will still take another week or so.)
  • Book reviewers are loving Deceived and I’ve already made a few fans.
  • Sinister Town is going slow and steady and should be ready by the end of this year.

Work:

  • I have 3 Novel Critiques lined up for the coming days and I’m already booked until the 20th of July.
  • I have 1 editing lined up for the month of July so the rest of the July is also packed.
  • I’m working on 2 other projects for Citrus Publishers, mostly marketing and HR related.

Reading:

  • I suffered a reading slump in late March, hence wasn’t able to read much for the last two months. These are the only books I read since April: Under The Dome by Stephen King, Hannah’s Moon by John A. Heldt, Girl In Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow, Gerald’s Game by Stephen King, A Fatal Twist by Tracy Weber, The Shadow Over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft, Something Needs Bleeding by Thomas Singer and Christopher Long, Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg, The Bronx Kill by Philip Cioffari and The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James
  • I have to read another 6 books by Grand Central Publishing, 2 by MM Publicity and 3 by EG Publicity for review. Other than these I have about 8 NetGalley books that I want to read ASAP and another 10 that I’ve bought. So I’ll be busy finishing these books in the coming weeks and months.

Personal:

  • We had an awesome holiday in mid-April in Goa. Lots of sunbathing and booze.
  • We’re shifting to a bigger house – a row-bungalow on 1st June. And now I can finally get my pets.
  • We’re planning a trip to Thailand in August.
  • Right after the vacation, we’ll start our hunt for the perfect kitten and GSD pup!
  • I developed a bad rash on my arms and later found out that I am allergic to UV rays. The rash was due to extreme sunbathing in Goa last month. So I’m just trying to stay away from the direct sunlight as much as possible. 😦

Right now I’m busy with the shifting, readying the house for the Packers and Movers, so I’ll be seeing you guys next week. Stay tuned to my Twitter as I’ll be sharing the new bungalow’s pics there.

Do let me know how you spent your month. I’d be more than happy to know what you’ve been up to!

Ciao ❤

First Exclusive International Giveaway for Deceived

I am hosting my first ever international giveaway for Deceived ARC! But wait, it’s an exclusive giveaway, which means there are terms and conditions – This giveaway is EXCLUSIVELY for my Newsletter subscribers!

So you need to be subscribed to my Newsletter in order to be able to participate in this giveaway. But that’s not a problem because this giveaway is open to new subscribers as well. So all you need to do is to subscribe to my monthly Newsletter and read the latest Newsletter in order to find out the details of this giveaway.


deceived-finalHow well do you know your loved ones? 

A girl struggling to cope with the murders of her mother and five-year-old brother.
A journalist chasing the ghost of a potential serial killer.
A thirteen-year-old girl who slaughtered her parents.
And a revenge-driven psychopath who is about to destroy everyone’s life.

After 9 years, a young writer is still coping with the brutal murders of her mother and five-year-old brother, as she moves into a house of horrors, to start a new life with her lover. Will friends and family be able to redeem Ally out of the impending doom in time? Will her infallible love become the key to the destruction of her already fragile world? Will madness prevail over love; true love over revenge?

Deceived is a gripping psychological thriller that mazes through the deepest, darkest emotions of human mind through the story of a vulnerable girl who treads in the mist of deception bred from a long unforgiven betrayal.


There are a lot of perks to becoming my Newsletter subscriber, for example, new subscribers receive a free copy of my mini-ebook – Writing Manifesto, they get exclusive and fresh news about my books and also receive writing inspiration, prompts and other writer-ly stuff in their inboxes once a month!
You can also read this post to know more about what my Newsletters are all about: My NEWSLETTER.

In order to get access to all these awesome stuff and/or to enter in this AMAZING Giveaway(!), you can subscribe to my Newsletter here: SUBSCRIBE

The giveaway is open until 25th February only! So hurry up!

I’ll be announcing the winner on 28th February in the February Newsletter. The winner will be chosen randomly by either a chit system or by a random name picker program. And the winner will receive a PAPERBACK ARC (advance reader copy) of DECEIVED!

So what are you waiting for – SUBSCRIBE, ENTER & WIN!

2017 Resolutions

This is the third year I’m doing a ‘Resolutions’ post, so I feel like it’s kind of becoming a ritual now. And I like it as it helps to be more productive.

Every year I complete a few resolutions and forget some, but this year I’ve decided to go through the list of my previous resolutions that weren’t completed and resolve to complete them this year. So 2017 is going to be special as I’ll be doing all the things I’ve been wanting to do from last 2-3 years.

Here’s my list of resolution for this year:tumblr_nikl8pxddz1tq4of6o1_500

Writing:

  • Complete Sinister Town and hand it over to the editors at Citrus Publishers
  • Get the first half-draft ready for Princess Nymeria series and if possible write the first draft for the first book too
  • Write 10 new short stories (for Blogbattles)
  • Edit the old short stories
  • Carry on the short story series I started (all 3 of them)
  • Write 1000 words 5 days a week
  • Get a short story published in a mag
  • Be regular in emailing my writing accountability partnergiphy-3

Reading:

  • Complete 90 books this year
  • Read at least 12 classics, 25 NetGalley books and finish off all the books I’ve already bought (the ones sitting on my bookshelf) – RMFAO Challenges
  • Read more technical books on writing
  • Read at least 1 biography
  • Finish all the review backlogs200

Blogging:

  • Post more reviews (old and new both)
  • Blog more often (at least twice a month)
  • Make more podcasts
  • Work on YouTube channel
  • Post more fiction stories and flash fiction pieces
  • Start visiting all the blogs and start reading them regularly (like every Sunday or something like that)
  • Create 2 new short ebooks for Newsletter subscriberstumblr_lh3ipufpgo1qavbn4

Miscellaneous:

  • Watch at least a dozen psychological thrillers (both old and new)
  • Finish Sherlock Holmes, Van Helsing, Under The Dome, Shadow Hunters and other series that I’ve started on NetFlix
  • Take guitar classes (this is already started, my teacher is due to come home to teach Vishal and me from next week)
  • Work on my social anxiety
  • Learn public speaking
  • Follow the pescetarian diet for the entire year without slipping (this gets very difficult especially when you’re married to a big time foodie)
  • Meditate more and learn to let go
  • Take spas and relaxing outstation breaks more oftentenor

That’s about it!

I’ll try and read this post again and again throughout the year so that I can get these things done without forgetting about them.

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What about you? What are your absolutely must-do resolutions for this year?
I hope that you’ll check all the boxes on your to-do list for this year and that you have an absolutely fantastic year ahead!

Ciao ❤

The Birthday Post (2016)

I haven’t been posting here for a while now and, in order to break the bad spell, I want to share with you all how I spent my Birthday this year (or rather my birthday week.)

Following are the pictures of the stuff we had for my Birthday week. These are just a few pics that I remembered to click. Most of the time I was so dazed and swept off my feet that I didn’t remember to click the pics.

Pre-Birthday celebration at TGI Friday:

Birthday brunch at German Bakery:

Birthday romantic rooftop dinner at Pasha – J.W. Marriott:

Post-Birthday bed tea with my favourite buiscuits:img_20161225_110123_253

Post-Birthday Italian lunch at Dario’s:

And these were my presents:

While at J.W. Marriott, we came across a gigantic table full of edible Chrismas stuff:Vishal wanted to gift me iPad Air 2, but I delined as I already have a Note and MacBook. I did the smartest thing ever and took the entire amount of cash and made a FD in our name. So this year’s birthday was really good!

Vishal wanted to gift me iPad Air 2, but I declined as I already have a Note and MacBook. I did the smartest thing ever and took the entire amount of cash and made a joint FD in our names. So this year’s birthday was really good!

Anyway, I’ll do another post (if possible) showing you all the gifts (books, diaries, journals, socks, and slippers – my usual weaknesses.)

 

Happy Diwali!

Hello, everyone. I’m quickly dropping by to wish you diwali and update you all that I won’t be visitng my blog much for another couple of days as I’ll be a little busy with the pre-ARC preps and writing the Guest-Posts and Interviews my publicist (Em) kindly lined up for me for December and January.

We have the final cover for Deceived ready(!) and the Cover Release is set for the 10th November. 😀
I’ll be sharing the cover here on the morning of 10th November, so please stay tuned and make sure to check it out.
The Cover Reveals will start shortly after that, followed by Guest-Posts and Interviews on various blogs.

Note: We still have a few slots for more cover Release posts. So if you can help me out with the Cover Release post on your blog then I’ll be really grateful. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never done it before; we’ll send you the Cover image and the Book and Author info and all you have to do is post it on your blog as a normal post.

I’ve received a number of overwhelming ARC review requests for Deceived and I’m so thankful to you all!
If you are interested in reviewing Deceived and haven’t already requested a copy yet, then feel free to drop in a line to me and I’ll be happy to pass along your name to my publicist.

Anyway, I’ve got another Novel Critique so November is looking jam packed already as I’ll be receiving the first batch of printed ARCs after 20th November and also because I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo too.

Also, I’ve decided to shift The Reading Bud to WordPress.org and I’m planning a small make-over for it in December! So I’m really excited for TRB too 😀

Rest everything is going great! I’m having one hell of a time enjoying life as a new author and I feel blessed to have such amazing friends and readers like you all! Thank you for all your support and encouragement. It was all possible because of you guys! ❤

And before I say good bye, I’d like to wish everyone a very Happy Diwali in advance. May this festival of lights bring oodles of happiness and wealth into your lives…

Hope you are all having a great week!

Netflix Affair – Stranger Things

So… finally, NetFlix is available in India. And now I’m on it… as in I have a  Netflix account (why the hell did it sound so weird!?) Actually, my HD cable connection is pretty great and I get to watch a lot of series on Comedy Central, Colors Infinity, Star Word, Star World Premiere, etc. but there were a few series that I missed watching when they aired and what with all the trouble torrents are going through, I figured it was time.

My cousin recommended Stranger Things to me (because I’m a HUGE Stephen King fan and also because I highly respect Steven Speilberg) and so it was the first thing I watched after creating a shared account on Netflix with my sister-in-law.

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Here’s the Season 01 premise from Wikipedia:

On November 6, 1983 in the town of Hawkins,[10] Indiana, 12-year-old Will Byers vanishes mysteriously. Will’s frantic mother, Joyce, searches for him while Police Chief Jim Hopper launches his own investigation. Will’s friends Dustin, Mike and Lucas discover a psychokinetic girl who claims to know Will’s location. As they uncover the truth, a sinister government agency tries to cover it up, while a more insidious force lurks below the surface.

stranger-things

As soon as I started watching Stranger Things, I knew I’ll be hooked, and hooked I was. I watched it in 2 days (with my brother who was at my place that time) and re-watched it again twice. God. It’s a true work of genius! A masterpiece, and I absolutely adore Eleven.

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Right from the first episode, I knew Eleven was none other than Chalie from Firestarter (or a very close replica of her) and when her background was revealed, I knew for sure. Of course, it was tweaked a little, but it is what it is.

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Anyway, I’ll be watching it again soon (probably a dozen or so times before the second season comes out) and I already can’t wait to do so. If you like dark-supernatural-sci-fi stuff, then do watch this series. I bet you’ll love it.
After I was done watching Stranger Things, I felt like it was the end of the world, and had no clue what to do with my life or my Netflix account anymore, so I started watching Shadowhunters. I haven’t read Cassandra Clare’s books, but I’ve watched the movie, and it was pretty bad. I wasn’t even sure I actually wanted to watch it, but I felt like crap anyway, so I thought, “What the hell?”

And when I was done with the first episode, to my great surprise, I couldn’t stop myself from watching the next one…. and then the next… and so on. Long story short, I’m actually waiting for its next season now. It is a really good series and so much better than the books. In fact, now I’m actually considering reading Clare’s books.rs_1024x691-151120131342-1024.shadow-hunters-freeform.ch.1112015

I got a little busy after that, but I’m planning to watch a couple of thrillers now – The Returned, Slasher, Between, Hemlock Grove, Vampire Diaries, Jessica Jones and Penny Dreadful.

What about you? Have you watched any of these series? Please don’t hesitate to recommend any new series you love.
I love hearing back from you!

My First Video Podcast!

Hi, everyone! As most of you might know, I’ve been working on creating Podcasts for my book blog from last 1 month. Finally I was done with the first one on June 1, but when I launched into the frantic research on uploading the podcasts and finding a decent podcasting host, I miserably failed.

Well, if you know me even a little, then you know that I can’t be defeated so easily [yeah, okay, I’m stubborn.] I spoke to a friend and after an entire day of surfing internet and 4 mason jars full Iced Tea, I had THE SOLUTION! I used the audio podcast and created a video podcast for YouTube. It took a lot of time [and EFFORT!} but I managed to do it 😀

Here’s the new logo:

TRB-FBR Main Logo-2

And, I’m really happy and excited to present my first Video Podcast:

If you liked my Video Podcast then please share it with your family and friends on Facebook and Twitter 🙂

Also, feel free to share your thoughts on this video. I’d love to know what you think about it!

Ciao ❤