30 Sept 2017
On the start of this day, I view the beautiful sunrise.
The past is gone, the future awaits.
I hold hands of the ones who stand beside me, and we march on. Together!
If you look at human history, we have been obsessed with perfection. We want the perfect job, perfect wife, perfect book, perfect car, perfect family and friends. The truth is there is no perfection. When we attain something, we are soon bored of it and then seek to do something else.
Is everyone with me?
Same goes for writers, we want to prefect our books. Just like everyone else, I didn’t publish my books because I never thought they were going to be good enough. Honestly I began writing as a hobby. Just for the fun of it, but as years passed I wrote a book called Haunted. Now, this in my view was one of the best plots I had come up with and I worked so hard to make it perfect. Being my first ‘good’ book in my view, I gave it all. I rewrote it seventeen times, I showed and shared it with several of my friends taking their opinions. I got it edited over and over again. Although this was good, it was very bad as well because I didn’t have faith in my own writing. I had to be a writer, so I had to make a decision to include or not to include everyone’s suggestions, but I was naive and I wanted everyone to like my book. To make it perfect.
So, I integrated all the suggestions and completed the book which was about 110 k long. To big for a crime thriller. I was still not satisfied thinking that it was not perfect. So then sent it for a manuscript assessment. Now this was done by a author and editor. Both of them gave it a lot of praise but in their view it had too many action scenes. Too much this. Too much that. And honestly, I was fed up. it had been four years since I had been working on Haunted, and now it was time for it to go. Now it had to go.
There were somethings I did agree with people. one the action scenes were too long. So, I cut them down and made them exciting but not too long. Then there were aspects in the book which didn’t added much to the plot and slowed the book down, I identified them and deleted them. This resulted in a shorter better book. I sent it off to the editor who gave it the final polish.
Haunted was released on the 4th of Nov 2019. Although it was been over an year, I still receive messages from people letting me know about small mistakes. But now it doesn’t bother me. I thank them, correct the mistake if necessary and move on. I know, I have done my best by this book and in my view its done good.
Are you curious about how Haunted is doing?
“This story grabs the reader from the start and never lets go! The process of solving this complicated plot by Cranston, the detective, and the medical examiner takes dark turns–so much so, that the story brushes the edges of the paranormal, but does not take that plunge. Rather, this is a thrilling mystery that is certain to please any fan of the genre!”
“I enjoyed reading this book and couldn’t put it down. The author did an excellent job writing this story and making the characters come to life in this dark, twisted story! The story takes place in New York and in Egypt where the reader is taken on an investigative journey of discovering truth hidden beneath dark lies. A must read!”
“Haunted is a thriller that left me literally the edge of my seat, turning each page in anticipation and craving more. The author leaves no detail left undone and for the first part I felt like I was in a real life game of Clue, trying to figure out who dunnit. Haunted takes its time in the beginning to set up the rich array of well crafted characters before taking us deep into a cerebral space that invokes the supernatural, but is it reality? This is where the world the author creates starts to get more interesting for me, and as an avid reader of supernatural and horror genres, I was loving the interweaving and plot twists the author takes us on. For me, it had the classic film noir tone to it, even though it takes place in the present day. It is a magical mystery of the unknown and a must read.”
As a writer you are always looking for ideas, and most of the writers I know are writing series. These can be three books, six books, hey I also know some who have a 16 books featured around a characters.
In Dec 2020, I published the first book of the Realm series – Fall of Titan. I have to say I am super excited. Not only was this was first science fiction fantasy, it was received well by my readers and I enjoyed writing it.
When the idea for Realm came to me it always came to me, I wasn’t sure if I am to write one book or several. However, when I jotted down the enter idea, it became clear that this was a series.
Writing a series can be a hard job in comparison to writing a standalone novels. Now I am working on the second book in this series. It called – Poseidon and is already on preorder.
Since I started writing this book, I had to stop and refer back to the first part several times. So, I came up with an idea. I took two to three weeks off from writing, and went back and made detailed notes about all the facts/aspects in the first book. This is important, especially since I will need them to finish the next book.
Another aspect I had to make sure I included was to fill its the gap between the first and the second books. Most of my fellow writers release books in a series one after other, it’s called the rapid release. However in case of Realm, the first book came out on Christmas Eve 2020, and the second book comes out this Christmas. That is a gap of one year between two books. It dawned on me that the readers who might have read the book as soon as it was released will forget what happened until the second one is released. So, I created a small chapter which gives a quick flashback of book 1 and I presented it in a different way so that the readers do not get bored.
Here is the snap shot of the first chapter!
I have finished four chapters for book 2 and I should keep everyone updated.
For those who haven’t read the first book you can find it right here!
For several people 2021 was a highly awaited. There was hope that somehow the pandemic would melt away this year and not haunt us any more. Like everyone I too had this hope. Although the situation is better (I think) the damage done by such incidences leaves a mark on the society. I have survived this time because of my friends, family and writing. Having a purpose in life is important… and I feel that writing is on of my purposes in life.
After publishing my fifth book (Fall of Titan) in December 2020 and seeing it go so well, I was on the right path or so I felt. It appears that you never stop learning when you are a writer and you never stop doubting and wondering.
My sixth book is called Shadow Pandemic. It is currently on preorder, you can have a look if you like. The cover is still a work in progress and will change over time.
I got the idea of this book in early 2020 after the pandemic struck. But I didn’t write it then because I was busy writing and publishing other books and I also have a full time job.
The first draft for Shadow Pandemic was completed in Nov- Dec 2020 but I didn’t touch it again until end of Jan 2021. This usually happens after I have published a book, I do not write for weeks or months.
As I was getting Shadow Pandemic in shape (that means a lot of editing), I often found myself feeling sleepy and yawning. Now this could be because I had just started a new job and was hardly getting any rest or time. But I don’t remember feeling the same while I have editing other books. The recurrent sensation got me thinking, wondering why?
The answer was simple the story was straightforward and quiet slow in comparison to my other books such as Haunted. Then I thought, ‘Oh my goodness if I am feeling that the pace is so slow, my readers would surely sense it’. And yes readers are very smart, they do. And I as somewhat experienced writer know that a pace of the story keeps it alive. Shadow Pandemic is on preorder and is set to release in first week of May. Two months What could I do? Is this a good time to change the plot? Add a new character? To me that sounded utterly crazy! Felt like starting over.
So the weekend when this realization dawned on me, instead of editing I was brooding about how to improve the plot. Make it fast pace. Surely I could add a few action scenes but this is not a Cranston mystery. Shadow Pandemic is the first book of of a different type of thrillers which I plan to write. I am sure this happens to every writer and I kept worrying for many days. Then it struck me! What if I change the way the plot is written. Lets jump scenes of the past and present. Spike the curiosity of the reader by showing a glimpse of the end. I know. I know. It’s not rocket science and this technique has been used by other writers ( honestly I have just read a few novels but hey there are millions of books out there!). This idea thrilled me and I thought I tested it. And within the first three chapters I noted the difference.
So armed with a new sense of assurance that I wouldn’t bore my readers to death… I have happily begun working on the book again and hopefully would get it out in time. And I should say – that slight change (actually slight change is an understatement) sparked other ideas as to how I could improve the book! I hope my experiment with my book goes well and should keep everyone in the loop! The idea of sharing my journey is to help other writers and also share how I develop my books with my readers.
Have a lovely week!
One of my books is free this week! Its a emotionally charged short story. Please feel free to download it and leave a review!
Often authors come up with a different dilemma than others. We are somewhat considered ‘not normal’ (no pun intended). In my book, a person who can dream up an idea by looking at other people’s hair (that is me by the way), is not normal. Now you may argue with me and say you cannot define normal, but that argument is for another day.
Writers are the creatures which are most known to come up with fantastic ideas that can be utterly spellbinding or completely rubbish! I am one of those. When I discuss my stories with my friends, readers and colleagues they are thrilled to hear my great ideas. What they do not know that some of my ideas are totally rubbish, and I never discuss those. Yes, a wise man or maybe it was a woman who told me, it was a good idea not to discuss an idea when deep down you know its stupid!
So how should an author decide which idea is good and which is bad. Now, every author has different idea about this idea. Yeah, we are complicated creatures that sit in the dark and plan massacres with a black ink within the realm of our pages. Thank God for that! 😊 Here is the secret, as a writer you just know. Now you would say, right, thanks for that! That is really not useful. No. No. But wait a minute and ask yourself, is it really a good idea?
For me, when an idea occurs to me, I am very thrilled and I thank God for it because God forbid what would happen if I stop getting ideas, even bad ones. The first thing I do is write it down. Now, I might note it on my iPhone or on a piece of paper. I never leave it to memory. People tell me I have a good memory, but trust me, sometimes I just forget.
After writing the idea down, I will score it. Out of ten is it a seven, eight? Is it novel? Exciting? Does it draw you in? Is it appealing to me? If an idea is not interesting to you, trust me, it will not interest your readers. Readers are very smart people, and they will know. Don’t write a book for the sake of writing it.
Okay, so you like it and you are drawn into it. Great. Now write a little paragraph about it. Maybe be a couple of lines or just a small description of what the idea should be. Now ask again. Is it appealing? New? If the answer is yes and you find yourself wanting to go to the typewriter and start typing, let me say … don’t! Not yet.
Now you might say, hey I have a great idea. I want to write it down like now! Yes, but before you do anything decide a few things. These can include: who are the main character/s? Decide whether you want to write in 1st person or 3rd person? Decide the genre of the book and most of all write a one page summary of the story. Even if you are a writer who writes the story as it comes (like Stephen King), creating a summary will help you in the long run when you get stuck and help you writer faster.
Why do all this before even starting? Because writing a book takes time, and you want to begin with the right mindset. This process shouldn’t take you more than one day or may be just a couple of hours. Once you have a summary of your book or what we could call a synopsis, you can yourself see the weak points in the plot. You will have the ability to decide if this is a good idea for a book. You can also share it with your friends and ask for their opinions. No matter what other people say, to write a book or not is completely up to you.
If somewhere in the process you find out that this is a rubbish idea, do not, I repeat do not delete it. Do not beat yourself up. Just let it sit. Let me give you an example. About ten years ago, I had an idea which I began writing (yes, I was naïve I began writing the novel without planning!) and halfway through realised it was utterly, completely rubbish! So, I left it there… feeling sad… But I am very glad I never deleted it… because that old idea merged with new idea and turned into a book series. The first book in this series comes out this Christmas. The series is called Realm and its first book is Fall of Titan. So, an idea might be rubbish, but it may reconnect with another idea in the future… so never throw it away. Recycle it. Yes, I believe in recycling 😊
Damn, to much serious stuff for today. Until next time… take care. Have fun writing.
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Most exciting – Just received this marvelous review for Transcendence
A few more posts you could check out!
Hey all, hopes this post finds you well. It inspires you and encourages you not to make the mistakes I did! 😉
I recently published my book Transcendence, and boy after putting out three books I thought nothing could ever surprise me! Guess what Transcendence did.
Usually, I write my books on Word (on Mac or PC) and use the same software until I get the final draft or even for updating my books. For some reason, when I began Transcendence a year ago, I started writing it in Pages. It’s an awesome software don’t get me wrong, but it’s always good to listen to it. Listen to the warnings it gives you.
So, when I finished the writing, I exported the book out into word. That sounds straightforward doesn’t it, well it isn’t! For instance, when I was exporting it gave me a warning that there were some formatting issues and I should fix them before I export the book. I ignored the warning and sent the book to my editor.
Surprise, Surprise, she came back to me after a few weeks and mentioned for the first time that there was an issue with formatting. When I checked the word document, I was shocked. All the curly quotation marks had changed to straight quotation marks. The apostrophes were of different font than the text, this led to differences in spaces between sentences. The editing was done, the formatting was a nightmare.
It was a horrifying for me. Now you would wonder why? Just go to the style manager and fix it. That was the issue, the style manager merged the two styles together. It was applying the two types of styles to different parts of the document.
I Googled high and low to fix this issue. The first solution was to replace the straight quotation marks with the curly ones. Tried it once, twice, three times! It didn’t work! Then I Googled some more. Modify the style they said. Okay. I went into the style manager, clicked and updated the styles. Nothing happened! The third thing I found that I should go in Style Manager, use the Style inspector and modify it from there so that the font and formatting is same throughout the document. No use!
I was terrified. Transcendence had preorders and people were waiting for it. I had to get the book ready. Yeah, I could have left the errors and hoped no one would notice. Here is the thing I would know! I would have noticed. And that was enough. Yes, I am a formatting junkie! It has to look good no matter what!
After two days of struggle, I did the one thing which I dreaded. Remove all the formatting and start from scratch. Actually, that took me less time because now I know a lot about formatting that when I first published Haunted. It took me another day, but finally the book was ready, and I submitted it to Amazon just ONE hour before the preorder deadline! Whew… that was a close.
Lesson, if you are using Pages use a very simple formatting or do not format at all until you are done. If possible, use Pages to publish your book and if you have designed it using this software, it’s better to continue with it. If you know you need a Word document to publish, then start in Word or if you want to use Pages do not do any formatting. Later on, export it to word and then begin the formatting/designing.
Hope this has served you all!
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Its spring and no surprise COVID is still here, we are working from home, Zoom is the new normal and I am working towards my next book.
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As a part of five books in thriteen months strategy (if you want to call that), Transcendence would be my fourth novel and its different in several ways.
First of all, its a novella. Now you might think, whats the difference? The difference is novellas are shorter than a standard novel of 50,000 or more words. This is the first time I have written a novella. All my other books are 50K words or more, Haunted being the longest one yet. What I have learned over the months working on this book is, shorter does not mean faster! I remember, I preferred novellas because I could finish them within 48 hours.
Secondly, most of my books are based in the present, Transcendence is set in 1944 during the World War II. Writing it was a bit of a challenge and strange. To imagine a life without smart phones, internet, social media and limited air travel was a bit hard. The research involved for this book was extensive and I was forced to think out of the box.. For example, I didn’t know if people in 1944 used a tooth brush. Did you know they bathe only once a week!
My life is surely exciting! 😉
Thirdly, a completely new main character. The last three books are based on characters which are well developed and well-known to my readers. In Transcendence, Zane Carter is a American soldier who is stuck behind enemy lines and is hiding in an inhabited house. Zane was sent to fight in the war when he reached 18 years of age. (If you didn’t know the youngest soldier in the World War II was 12 years old). He’s tormented by his own demons and hates himself for killing people, although they were Germans. He takes no pride for his victories, and thinks his side will lose the war.
Fourth and the last point, the way the book ends. I myself never saw it coming, although I plan most aspects of my books. All through the story, Zane is trying to understand the meaning of the nightmares and incidences happening to him. Regardless of what happens to him, he wants to return to his home. In the climax, the situation changes with such an intensity that I questioned if such an end was possible. It left me exhilarating, worried and excited. Well… what you guys think… only time will tell.
Transcendence is now on Preorder – You can check it out here. New cover coming soon.
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Hope you having a amazing weekend and Happy Easter!
I wish you well and please stay safe, eat healthy and stay at home. We all can and will get through this. I just wanted to let you know, you are not alone. We are all in this together and the best thing we can do is be there for each other.
Today I will share the two things I do get everyday to stay motivated and not be overwhelmed.
1. Shuffle your routine.
If you are working from home, try to plan your day differently everyday. My day includes, get up, have my coffee, get ready for work (yes I get ready even though working from home), take my lunch break and then work till 5 pm. Of course this also includes catch up with my team, other zoom meetings etc. Then I go for a walk (yes, it is still allowed in Australia), cook, watch some TV and then read a little before I sleep. In the last week, I got really bored with it… so I started changing it around. I started my day with physical activity, and listening to exciting music/podcasts, talking with my friends before I get to work, watching motivation videos, etc. Shuffle works! Especially for the long time.
2. Listen to motivational podcasts
There are experts or people out there who have gone through worst situations than this. If they haven’t they have interviews or spoken with people who have. Over the years I have learned it always helpful to connect with them. Especially with people who offer solutions. Say, you are depressed, your friends will give you a hug, say it will be alright etc. But if you are looking techniques/ideas on how you can cope with it the next time it shows up in your life you need tool. Try listening to Brendon Burchard’s podcast. I am now listening to his Striving in Chaos series which is available on iTunes, Google play, Spotify, etc. Its absolutely fabulous, very uplifting! Give it a try!
That’s all for today. Hope this helps, and serves you. Thank you for your support, please share with friends and family. I would be really happy even if this makes one person’s day. 🙂
Before you go… here is small message.
Thank you for supporting my work. In response to COVID19, and increasing demand for books I have reduced the prices of all my Ebooks. Two of my books are on Preorder and there is fantastic promotions running on Realm 1: Fall of Titan
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I have got some exciting news! Black Moon, an early adventure in the Cranston series is now available for Preorder!
This book has an interesting history. I had published it in 2003 (just for fun). I didn’t plan to be a writer then, so it didn’t occur to me to promote or sell it. A couple of family and friends knew about it, but that was it. But something changed after Haunted, and I thought it would be a cool to kick off this decade by publishing another book.
Black Moon, is a suspense thriller with a supernatural element set in a time when we had floppy disks (yeah remember those?) and mobile phone were not that popular (iPhone did not exist). This story gives you an idea of where it all began (since it was my first book) and how the characters changed or grew and came together in Haunted.
After Haunted in Nov 2019, I have been putting in a couple of hours each day to get this book to you. I am super excited when it came back from the editor and Amazon made it live in 24 hours! (Wow, I did not expect that!). The ebook is on half price ($2.99) until 29 Feb 2020. So grab your copy now!
Here is a short video about the book. I hope you enjoy it!
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