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Archive for December, 2013

The Year I Got Published – and learning curves

I will remember 2013 as that landmark year – the year I got published. I got, not one but two books out this year. Woohoo!! I would’ve made it in another anthology slated to be released in December but oh such are the things in the publishing world that it has got delayed. Oh well! Still I’m very much pleased with what did come through to happening. Harlequin was my dream publisher so getting in through that door is even more special.

Not only writing wise but in my other profession too, this year bestowed me an achievement. I became Professor and that was a big hike up 🙂 Of course more onus on me to have things running well but that’s just a part of it.

Achievements or when we garner the rewards of our efforts are milestones which help us push forward. Receiving congratulatory wishes, celebrating it all, gives you an impetus to do more.
But the truth is that the disappointments also have a part to play in our success. As we get encouraged by achievement so too, not making it or in case of writers, rejection of a work helps us be better. In every success, we have contribution of the rejected writings. And I’ve learnt that getting published doesn’t provide vaccination against getting the ‘R’. My own editor while brainstorming for the next manuscript said no to 2-3 ideas and what’s that but rejection at an early stage. But every such event teaches you what works and what doesn’t. In fact if you look a little more deeply, it opens a whole new vista for a spate of newer and better stories. I’ve always felt this way. Each fallout of your plans has a purpose. It’s a bend in the road and beyond it one can always envisage greater things. So let’s not feel disheartened by failures. Let’s convert them into important learning curves and get better.
What was this year like for you? Did it bring lessons or congratulations or both? What was the best thing that happened this year?
I wish you the success you crave in the new year. And if you already have your dream may you weave many more to have them happen! 😀
Have a great 2014!

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Pic from the Vector art pool flickr.com

How research shaped my book, You Can’t Fight A Royal Attraction

I’m on special feature this month on the book r3vi3ws blog. This is my third post on the special feature. You can read the first one Romantic Heroes Rule and the second  A Chat with the Characters from You Can’t Fight A Royal Attraction. There’s a giveaway also, but limited to India only.
Here’s the post.

Writers live twice                            

                         ~ Natalie Goldberg

Authors are privileged people in that. Maybe it should be said that writers live multiple times or as many times as the characters they write. Stepping into the character’s shoes, living out their emotions in that span, does gain you a new perspective. To make the background of a character, to make the character living and breathing and real to the reader, a writer have to find out lots of things the character might know in her life but which don’t appear in the story. To make the history three dimensional you have to explore a lot especially if you envisage characters who are from a different background from yours. Thus researching is both enlightening and educating.Researching You Can’t Fight A Royal Attraction was both hard and a lot of fun! I got to know about a lot of fun facts which didn’t have much use in the book. For instance I found interesting info about the traditional Rajasthani cuisine.
Read the rest here

A Chat with the Characters from You Can’t Fight A Royal Attraction

Here’s the interview of Rihaan and Saira I did at a guest post…

Today I have Rihaan and Saira for an interview here at b00k r3vi3ws blog. Thanks, Debdutta, for the center stage and a chance to host my well loved characters. Thanks too, for the nice tea and thoughtfully provided chocolate cake. Looks yummy and so totally hard to resist while I wait for them to arrive. Ah, the wait wasn’t long! Here is Saira!

 (Saira walks in.) 

Saira: Hi Ruchi, great to see you.

Me: Hi Saira, wonderful to see you as well and looking fab as usual. Orange and black, what a nice combo and I love the pleated chiffon skirt!
Saira: Thank you! Well, you know me (smiles and winks) Clothes are my thing.
Me: Where’s Rihaan? Would you like tea while we wait? (Pours and hands her the teacup)
Saira: (accepts) Thanks, I guess it’s early for cocktails yet. (grins) Rihaan? He’s still working on his story. You know what he’s like – well of course you do! You’re to blame for his tendency to get lost in the story he’s creating. Do you realize how much trouble it is? Last Sunday he walked out of Aragham’s birthday party that we were attending at Vishakha’s and I had to chase him down to the beach where he was working out his plot twists. And he got me thinking it out too, so we nearly missed the cutting of the cake! 
Me: Oh oh that is bad. But look here, you didn’t complain when he acted absentminded the last time he was thinking about his script? (widens eyes innocently)
Saira (Blushes) Now that was…what can I say…kinda cute! And don’t make it sound so scandalous because you know it wasn’t. It wasn’t anything it shouldn’t be!  Me: Mmm, do I sense a note of accusation in that? 

(Rihaan comes in at that moment.) 

Me: Hi Rihaan!
Rihaan (smiles a rakishly attractive smile): Hi Ruchi! (Leans over to peck Saira and takes a seat): I see you’ve started without me? When the man is away, the ladies love to get all chatty! 

Me: Is that even a phrase? I’ve never heard of it. 

Rihaan: I can create phrases. It’s my job after all. Working on words, with words and through words. (Tips imaginary hat in an olde worlde gesture and gives another heart stopping smile.)

Me (in an aside to Saira): I can understand how you fell for him. Oh those sherry eyes! 

Saira: (whispers back.) Pure wine and as heady in their magic. You have put me in trouble, haven’t you? (sighs)

Me:I guess I totally have. (Clears throat and says more normally) So shall we start, Rihaan?

Rihaan: All set Ruchi. Though I have trouble understanding why you’re interviewing your own characters. You’re supposed to know us through and through and inside out. Isn’t that how it goes? 

Me: Know you? You particularly? That’s something like climbing Mount Abu. You aren’t that easy to decipher, my dear Rihaan. Not easy at all. You think it was easy to figure out and write what you were all about? Let me tell you it was like trying to peel the cover from the maize seed or trying to break into a chakravyoh out of the epic Mahabharata or delve into the deepest ocean…!!

Rihaan: I get the picture. (Holds up his hands) My apologies. I really had no idea I was being tough.

Me: Oh I forgave you when you finally began to talk. Anyway the purpose isn’t for me to know you but to get you acquainted with the readers.    

Rihaan: Go on then. What do you want to ask? 

Me: How do you feel about getting to know her? 

Rihaan: Well she’s, you know, spicy, quirky, fun to be with. It’s been a topsy-turvy ride trying to figure out what I felt for her and then it had just begun. But now looking back the uncertainty was all trivial. What matters is now. I feel my life totally changed knowing her. (Looks across at Saira with such feeling that I start to blink emotionally) 

Me: Oh Rihaan! (Dabs eyes.) And Saira? What do you say about your life before Rihaan?

Saira: I was lost, you know. I mean I knew myself and I’ve stood up for my beliefs. But then a part of me, the loving part, had been through a frightful experience. I’d forgotten how to trust. Even distrusted my own decisions. Meeting Rihaan wasn’t problem solving. Far from it. When you’re determined not to open your heart and then you find the doors are cracking up… (Smiles back at Rihaan.) Well, suffice to say I led him quite a dance. Yes, I acknowledge it!
Read the rest here

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Giveaway

Giveaway

Good news for Indian readers. Now you can win a copy of my new book You Can’t Fight A Royal Attraction. There’s a rafflecopter going on at Book R3vi3ws blog. Follow the link to enter. You can follow #ARoyalAttraction on twitter via @Ruchi_Vasudeva for more news and giveaways of the book. Thanks and warm wishes!

Excerpt – You Can’t Fight A Royal Attraction

Hi, sharing an excerpt from my new book, You Can’t Fight A Royal Attraction.

In this Saira is trying to get a rise out of Rihaan. Enjoy 🙂

What was it about that cool hauteur that made her want to play with fire?

‘Of course, you’re no danger to me in a…’ deliberately she let her gaze run over him. ‘…sexual way, are you?’ He didn’t miss it nor did he miss the insolence she projected. She could see his mouth tighten in controlled annoyance. For a wild minute she wished he’d let loose and the unreasoning thought made her heartbeat pick up.

‘Are you trying to challenge me?’ Her heart jumped up at the deep voice laced with mockery. Coward, she derided. Surely she wasn’t frightened of him?

‘No challenge for you surely? You can hardly stand the sight of me.’ She reminded him.

‘Am I supposed to jump on you in fervent denial of that statement, swearing that I can’t keep my hands off you?’ A dark eyebrow rose. ‘Sorry, but your little game won’t wash, Sehgal.’ Irritatingly he addressed her by her surname again. 

‘Oh how astute you are, Khehra!’ She widened her eyes. ‘You catch on so fast, guess I’ll have to watch myself more around you.’ She formed a pout, aware of his gaze moving to it, feeling an unreasonable thrill as it did. She must be mad. Or starved of fun. But somehow she couldn’t not try to get a reaction out of that stone monument.

His eyes narrowed, ‘Whatever you’re trying, I’m not looking for trouble, and I’d advise you not to go poke for it either.’

‘So disappointing!’ She shook her head sorrowfully, ‘Here I was getting thrilled to bits we’re going to have this weekend. Just us. Lonesome, twosome.’ 

So did you like the impudent side of this heroine? I’ll love to know 🙂

Let’s talk Nanowrimo a little while longer

Did you take part in Nanowrimo? So what was your experience? Are you the one who has come away chest puffed out with pride, a swagger in your walk and brimming with confidence in your writing? Or are you the one who’d run away screaming if the word happened to be mentioned within your hearing?

Here is what I came away with from taking part in Nanowrimo.

First, I think it’s worth taking part in it and yes, I think every writer should, if only as an exercise in disciplined writing. There’s nothing like it in putting writing to the forefront of your mind and not just let it be one of the things in your to-do list, as it happens to become. Even the most dedicated writers find ways to get distracted in today’s world, all too easy, at least for me, so enrolling in a must-do competition is definitely profitable to your productiveness.

The important lessons I took from Nanowrimo, and in winning it – yes, didn’t I mention I made it? well, I did 🙂 – are these :

Muse was no longer moody

This was one of the surprises Nano sprung on me. At around the midway point I was doing it half-heartedly, not sure I could do it with the things I had on my schedule. I was around 13k words in and I thought this was the moment when I had to either really try or let go of it and attend to ‘life’. So making a decision, I got to it, with no clear planning of the story. A wonder happened. Instead of my muse retreating under pressure, it became like tiger with a prey. Let me at him. Words came easier the more I progressed, failry spilling onto the screen till the keyboard chatter became music to my ears. Well, sort of. It felt nice to say 😉

Random things put in tied up

Miracles happened. What else could I call it? I hadn’t the faintest idea about the end of the story. Then the last day a light bulb moment occurred to devise the end. I just put in something random like khanabdosh ie gypsies – can’t get more random than that, can you – and it yielded result. It tied in perfectly with the hero’s plan and also made the hero action oriented. The pieces just fell in place.

Didn’t make time, generated it 

That’s what it felt like. I began to look for writing moments actively and scribble away whenever I got time. I wrote no matter what, charged by coffee, comforted by chocolate. I wouldn’t say I got disciplined because that means being organised in your whole day. which I definitely wasn’t. But giving no attention to the daily hassles of everyday world, which did a fade out as soon as my fingers touched the keyboard, I was off. And getting lost in make-believe felt better and better. Though, it isn’t what I can afford to do every month or even every other month, for getting writing done in heaps, it works.

Cheers count a lot

I learnt that company matters. The online group writing sprints, or just catching up and reporting progress, it all helps. Accountability is the trigger of discipline after all. If you have folks cheering you on, nothing better. In fact I couldn’t have made it without my Wrimo group friends egging me on.Thanks, folks! 🙂

So what’s your take on Nanowrimo? Should or shouldn’t? Did you attempt? If you didn’t, why not. What are the advantages or disadvantages of Nanowrimo? If you had taken part, would you do it again next year? Why or why not? Let’s talk Nanowrimo for a little longer…

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