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Reading and Ranting

Do you rant about book you read? Do you have a book rant chum who will know exactly what you mean when you get into fault-finding mode?

I love to rant about the book I read while I’m reading it.

I know it’s bad.

I know it’s nitpicking – well of course that’s why it’s a rant.

I even realize – in a detached way – it’s mean. But to be fair I do notice the nice things too in any book and give the author due credit. Though they’re not that much fun to rant about. Except in that exceptionally exceptional book that you can’t analyse. Then you can just rave about it. And then it isn’t a rant, is it?

But sometimes, you come across some prime humour examples in books, certain descriptions or metaphors which tickle your funny bone. Which probably the author hadn’t intended but which raise a chuckle and sometimes a hoot of laughter. To give an example, in one book the author had compared the heroine’s nail paint to ‘caramel streaks of sunset’. Now that sort of thing really sets me off! Especially if the book is too serious. Which is why I think humour should always have some place in writing. If it has light moments, you won’t find the incongruity of descriptions so bad.

Can you tell I take the books I read very seriously? and analytically?

Mostly this rant mode happens when I haven’t yet got into the story. In the first few chapters, I’ll read and even be hypercritical this way. Till I’m into the story. Once there the nitpicking stops, if it’s a good book. If it’s not to my taste, I’ll still plod along and torture anyone within listening range with my outrage. I find it really hard to leave a book unfinished.

So do you have a rant chum? Do you nitpick while reading? Do you finish every book you read? How much humor do you like in your reading? Do share your reading quirks, I’d love to know!

Let’s talk about reading and ranting! 🙂

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Twenty Questions with… Ruchi Vasudeva

Hi! Here’s my interview with Carina UK author Aurelia B. Rowl. She has some quirky questions for me 🙂 Read on…over to Aurelia now.

Twenty Questions with… Ruchi Vasudeva

Stopping by my blog for a round of Twenty Questions today is Ruchi Vasudeva, author of You Can’t Fight A Hollywood Attraction, recently released by Harlequin.

I have known Ruchi for almost as long as I have been writing, having met in the virtual sense in a writers’ support group on Facebook, so I am delighted to see that her journey to publication is going from strength to strength.

ACT ONE – ALL ABOUT YOU…

Ruchi Vasudeva is a doctor by profession, a teacher by vocation and, in her own words, an author by destiny. The writing bug has long resided in her and a contest held by Harlequin for Indian authors gave her a golden opportunity to have her dream realized. She debuted in August ’13 with her book Bollywood Fiancé For A Day. Her new releaseYou Can’t Fight A Royal Attraction is her second book, both being published by Harlequin. She also won a contest for getting a short story published with Harper Collins which will be published soon. She writes romantic fiction with conflicted characters who come into their own in their quest of reaching out for love. She loves to write about spirited heroines getting hurtled out of their daily life as soon as they cross paths with their rather challenging heroes.

She lives with her husband and two kids. When not bent double over the laptop, she might be found with her nose in books or munching nachos at the movies or glued to the telecast of Team India or Chennai Super Kings in action! She likes to take long walks which help in brewing story ideas. 

1) Have you always been a writer or is it something you fell into?

I used to love writing even during school years. While in college I was almost conflicted whether to give up a medical career for a literary one. Medical won that round and naturally writing took a backseat. I did steal a bit of time now and then to pen down story ideas but that was about it till, with the kids growing up and some time on my hands, the writing germ began to grow again. The Harlequin Passions contest for Indian author came along and the rest is history 🙂

2) Do you have a particular writing style or ritual?

Have to confess my writing has no order let alone any style. I pen down the dialogues between the characters to get a feel of where the story is likely to go and then write it in short form before filling it up during the rewrite. I can write anywhere if the story is going well. The kitchen, backseat of the car, a quiet room, a crowded bus, practically anywhere!

3) Is there a book or an author that has influenced you in your writing?

I used to be a proliferative Harlequin reader, still read them, so I think the natural bend to write happy-ever-afters comes from that. Authors who have left an impression are many, the foremost being Jane Austen, Penny Jordan, Georgette Heyer and Sidney Sheldon.

4) Is there one piece of writing (or life?) advice that has stuck with you, or that you would like to share?

I read somewhere that Penny Jordan’s editor gave her this advice : always ask ‘what if’ and ‘why not?’ I think of these words a lot. Makes me think of new avenues when a story gets stuck. 

5) Can you tell us three things about yourself that we probably don’t already know?

Hmm, I’m an incessant worrier, I worry about everything! I get part of the exercise I need while waiting for lentils to boil 😉 I love junk food…now I can’t look kids in the eye ever again! 

6) What five luxury items or gadgets would you hate to be without?

My smartphone, my BlackBerry, laptop, food processor and washing machine! 

ACT TWO – ALL ABOUT YOUR NEW RELEASE…

Playing with fire. Who says it isn’t fun?

The last thing Rihaan needs in his life is to play host to a woman who drives him crazy! Saira is gorgeous, yes, but she’s also wildly infuriating. Yet every time she comes within an inch of him he finds his normally iron-clad control slipping further and further away…

Wanting to protect herself from more heartbreak, Saira knows she should keep her distance from Rihaan —but there’s something about him she just can’t seem to resist… Little does she know that Rihaan is hiding a secret! When it comes to light will it tear them apart —or raise their passion to new, more majestic heights?

7) Congratulations on your recent release of You Can’t Fight A Royal Attraction; what was your inspiration for writing Rihaan and Saira’s story?

The inspiration came while I was writing my first book for Harlequin,Bollywood Fiancé For A Day. Saira was the heroine’s stepsister in that book. I couldn’t help thinking of her point of view and gradually she became a character who had to have her story told. She was such a fiery and fearless character, a woman who had her share of mistakes and growing out of them, it was  fascinating to go along with her on her journey. 

8) Did the story flow from your finger tips or did some scenes take a bit of cajoling?

The beginning took a few rewrites but after that the book really took off. I was on a deadline which might have accounted for the jetspeed writing! 🙂

9) How long did it take for the initial spark of the story to make it onto the page and then onto the publisher’s desk?

The story idea came in December but I wasn’t really paying much attention to it then. When my editor and I were discussing ideas for my second book then the story began to form. The first three chapters took about two weeks.  I think I wrote the rest of the first rough draft in less than a month. Then after polishing and revising for 15-20 days, it became presentable enough to be submitted. So around two months in total.  

10) Do you have a favourite paragraph or sentence from your story that you would like to tantalise us with?

Here it is. It happens when Rihaan grows distant to her and she is incensed about it.

‘Even you don’t find it easy to ignore it, do you?’ she asked bluntly, facing him in a moment of defiance, then she went forward. ‘Show me how one reasons with this.’ She flung her arms around his neck and brought his head down till she was kissing him.

Anger. Desire. Frustration. Everything mingled in the kiss. The need to make him understand. The need to vent her anger because he didn’t understand. And then there was another need. The need to just experience…

11) Over to you, what can you tell us about You Can’t Fight A Royal Attraction to make us rush out and buy it?

If you like fiery heroines who stand by their believes and grow stronger from their mistakes; if you like enigmatic, hard-to-read heroes protective towards those they love, you’ll enjoy every second of reading You Can’t Fight A Royal Attraction

12) What can we expect from you next? Is there something you are working on right now? 

I have one story out in an anthology being published in May by Harper Collins India. I’m working on a couple of other projects which are in the first draft stage. 

QUICK FIRE ROUND – IT’S POP QUIZ TIME…

13) Plotter or pantser?

Plotter till the charting of characters and situation; pantser for rest of the book.

14) Digital books or print books?

Both but slightly inclined towards print.

15) Tea or coffee?

Both again! but tea is more my cuppa tea 😉

16) Extrovert or introvert?

Introvert. But like the company of family and friends. 

17) Facebook or Twitter?

Twitter. It’s quick and makes you value your words. That’s not to say I don’t dally on facebook all too often 🙂

18) Christmas or birthday?

Birthday. 

19) Morning person or night owl?

Night owl reformed into morning person 🙂

20) Sweet or savoury?

Sweet. Love chocolate desserts!

And that’s a wrap!

Thank you so much for taking part, Ruchi, I wish you every success with your new release.

Thanks, Aurelia, your questions were so fun, though the choices were tough to pick I can tell you! Enjoyed being here a lot.

To discover even more about Ruchi Vasudeva, and to keep up with her latest projects, you can visit her at:

FACEBOOK     TWITTER     BLOG     WEBSITE

BUY IT NOW…

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Add to Goodreads

ISBN: 9789351062622
Released: 3 December 2013

Harlequin India
Amazon UK / US / Germany / India
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EXCERPT…

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 ‘…a sexual way, are you?’

He didn’t miss it, and nor did he miss the insolence she project- ed. 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 herself. 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’d addressed her by her surname again. ‘Oh, how astute you are, Khehra!’ She widened her eyes. ‘You catch on so fast I guess I’ll have to watch myself more around you.’ She formed a pout, aware of his gaze moving to her mouth, 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 to do, I’m not looking for trouble—and I’d advise you not to go poking around for it either.’

‘So disappointing!’ She shook her head sorrowfully. ‘Here I was, getting thrilled to bits that we’re going to have this week-end. Just us. Lonesome. Twosome.’

here is the link to the post. Do let me know how you liked it! 🙂

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…

Platinum day of love

This is my post for the contest Platinum Day of Love

They say love grows – which seems to mean it increases as it becomes older. It doesn’t. How can it – if you already love a person to the fullest? But it matures. It blooms. It can give you happiness like the flowering vine peeking out from between the hard hewn rocks of the daily work-burdened life. Of course sometimes it’s difficult for the delicate vine of love to find its way among the rocks, just as love is difficult to nurture when you are just too busy meeting the demands of day-to-day life including making a living.

After long years of marriage, the initial golden glow wears off. A routine sets in. And you know routines are boring. Life becomes humdrum after the endless repeating of the same pattern. Work, then home, then kids, then again work at home. It goes on in the same re-run. Dealing with the inevitable challenges at the job and bringing up kids who are at times difficult; or any other obstacle to the routine, can really sap your strength.

This year I was facing such a day. It was Valentine’s day. We do believe in Valentine’s day but in the morning, my husband and I hardly had time to wish each other. My husband, a doctor, was working out of the city at that time at a hospital, dealing with over seventy patients per day. I too had my usual busy day. I was used to his coming home late and then he would still be busy, taking care of some admissions plus phone calls from various places etc. It was hectic. I wasn’t expecting anything special. But after dinner, he insisted on taking me out though it was quite late, the roads were almost deserted. But he found a florist who was still open. Painstakingly choosing the freshest blooms, he got for me a most colourful bouquet. Red, peach, pink and yellow, the roses combined to form a heartwarming display and lend their fragrance into my life. The simple gesture meant a lot to me – yes, I’m a sentimental fool – I guess most women are. The thought behind his gesture and the effort, spoke more to me than any valuables money could buy. While returning he went to an open aampapar shop and got aampapar, the dried mango mash, sweet and sour varieties and tamarind rounds. I thought as I savoured the taste that the sour has to complement the sweet. After all we just can’t enjoy only one flavour. And when the sweetness comes after the sourness, it’s all the more treasured.

This is my submission for platinum day of love contest. Yes, love can find you – in the most unexpected ways. The same unexpected way did hubby steal my heart again that day.

Why platinum? Because it’s as timeless, shimmering and as resistant to corrosion of daily wear and tear as true love. 

Ciao!

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