Monday, March 25, 2013


The World of Publishing.

Publishing a book has never been easy. While I can't comment on the intricacies of printing non-fiction or text books, I know that novel publishing is an excruciating process. 
1. You write a book or have an idea of a book.
2. You sell it to an agent. (JK Rowling took 3 years to sell Harry to an agent.) 
3. Your agent sells it to a publisher. (Rowling's agent took 2 years to sell Harry to Bloomsbury.)
4. The publisher likes it with a caveat (always a caveat).
5. You work with an editor (thats part of the caveat) who'll want to warp-drive perfectly lovely scenes onto another planet.
6. Once you've scratched out the final manuscript, there's several more rounds of editing, then type-setting, more editing, cover design, and more editing.
7. Only after you've become an insomniac with an eyesight problem and severe anaemia (because really where in hell do you find time to eat?) you will finally hold your book in your hands.

Of course, with the advent of digital books and self-publishing portals, this process is getting easier, faster and more in the hands of the author than ever before. But make no mistake, with the exception of 2 and 3, you still pretty much march through the same regime. It is still a difficult PROCESS. And then you're stuck with marketing your slashed-up masterpiece.

For me, the writing of the novel itself is the easiest part of this whole deal, where all I'm relying on is my laptop and my head. 
Me write. You publish. That's how I want this process to work for me. Thus far at least. 
Advice for aspiring writers: decide what kind of an author you want to be. That is, traditionally published or self. You will pay with your sweat and blood in both processes, I promise you. Decide the kind of author you want to be and then stick to your guns. Take up meditation, Yoga, Zumba or go climb Mt. Everest in the hurdle-filled interim between manuscript and launch.

And then, start it all over again. Fun huh?

Thursday, March 21, 2013


At times words come easily. Sometimes they hide from me. But mostly they are a MADNESS inside me.

This month MUSE has been my muse and I am insanely grateful.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Who makes a better husband: One who doesn't care what your butt looks like or one who does? 

A long time ago, my husband and I went to dinner with this couple we're good friends with. I was pregnant with my first child and so was the other woman. I ate enough for two people while the other did not. As if that wasn't enough, her husband stopped her from eating dessert stating that the Triple Chocolate Fudge Whatever was bad for her and the baby and he couldn't have her putting on any more weight than absolutely necessary. On the one hand, it was commendable that he stated health reasons along with his preference for small round butts. On the other, why would you say that to your pregnant wife? Or not allow her to indulge the one time in her life she can do so without feeling guilty?
My husband doesn't care one way or another. If I'm in the mood to be thin, he's fine with it. If I'm not, that's fine too. Now, while I vacillate between exercise and sloth, medium and large (never small), the other woman has always remained thin and healthy (at least physically). I sometimes wish my husband would pick one size of butt so I won't have to.
So who makes the better husband? One who likes any kind of butt or one who likes a specific butt? 

(This post is inspired by a fellow author's blogpost. Read Mohanalakshmi's take on chocolate here.)

Monday, March 11, 2013


I am not into poems. They plain muddle me. I must have read a total of 50 poems in my life, unlike the thousands of books (good, bad and ugly) that I don't mind getting muddled by. This one below is one of my favorites.

The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes.



THE wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees, 
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas, 
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor, 
And the highwayman came riding— 
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.


He'd a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin, 
A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin; 
They fitted with never a wrinkle: his boots were up to the thigh! 
And he rode with a jewelled twinkle, 
His pistol butts a-twinkle, 
His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.


Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard, 
And he tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred;
He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there 
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter, 
Bess, the landlord's daughter, 
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.


And dark in the dark old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked 
Where Tim the ostler listened; his face was white and peaked; 
His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay, 
But he loved the landlord's daughter, 
The landlord's red-lipped daughter, 
Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say—


'One kiss, my bonny sweetheart, I'm after a prize to-night, 
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light; 
Yet, if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day, 
Then look for me by moonlight, 
Watch for me by moonlight, 
I'll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way.'


He rose upright in the stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand, 
But she loosened her hair i' the casement! His face burnt like a brand 
As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast; 
And he kissed its waves in the moonlight, 
(Oh, sweet, black waves in the moonlight!) 
Then he tugged at his rein in the moonliglt, and galloped away to the West.



He did not come in the dawning; he did not come at noon; 
And out o' the tawny sunset, before the rise o' the moon, 
When the road was a gypsy's ribbon, looping the purple moor, 
A red-coat troop came marching— 
King George's men came matching, up to the old inn-door.


They said no word to the landlord, they drank his ale instead, 
But they gagged his daughter and bound her to the foot of her narrow bed; 
Two of them knelt at her casement, with muskets at their side! 
There was death at every window; 
And hell at one dark window; 
For Bess could see, through her casement, the road that he would ride.


They had tied her up to attention, with many a sniggering jest; 
They had bound a musket beside her, with the barrel beneath her breast! 
'Now, keep good watch!' and they kissed her. 
She heard the dead man say— 
Look for me by moonlight; 
Watch for me by moonlight; 
I'll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way!


She twisted her hands behind her; but all the knots held good! 
She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood! 
They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years, 
Till, now, on the stroke of midnight, 
Cold, on the stroke of midnight, 
The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!


The tip of one finger touched it; she strove no more for the rest! 
Up, she stood up to attention, with the barrel beneath her breast, 
She would not risk their hearing; she would not strive again; 
For the road lay bare in the moonlight; 
Blank and bare in the moonlight; 
And the blood of her veins in the moonlight throbbed to her love's refrain .


Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot! Had they heard it? The horse-hoofs ringing clear; 
Tlot-tlot, tlot-tlot, in the distance? Were they deaf that they did not hear? 
Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill, 
The highwayman came riding, 
Riding, riding! 
The red-coats looked to their priming! She stood up, straight and still!


Tlot-tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot-tlot, in the echoing night! 
Nearer he came and nearer! Her face was like a light! 
Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath, 
Then her finger moved in the moonlight, 
Her musket shattered the moonlight, 
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him—with her death.


He turned; he spurred to the West; he did not know who stood 
Bowed, with her head o'er the musket, drenched with her own red blood! 
Not till the dawn he heard it, his face grew grey to hear 
How Bess, the landlord's daughter, 
The landlord's black-eyed daughter, 
Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.


Back, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky, 
With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high! 
Blood-red were his spurs i' the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat, 
When they shot him down on the highway, 
Down like a dog on the highway, 
And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.


And still of a winter's night, they say, when the wind is in the trees, 
When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas, 
When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor, 
A highwayman comes riding— 
A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.


Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard; 
He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred; 
He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there 
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter, 
Bess, the landlord's daughter, 
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair. 

Yup, a long son of a gun poem. Why is it one of my favs? Because its emotional. It is uncomplicated verse. It is about first loves.

What's your favorite verse?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


A masterpiece about human triumph by Marcus Zusak.

Every so often, a book comes into your hands that you don't want to let go of even if you've finished reading it. I've had the good fortune to have many such books make an impression on me and hope that many more will. But this post is about the Book Thief.
Set in Nazi Germany, the Book Thief's narrator is Death who in spite of his obviously busy and overworked schedule during that time can't help but examine the ordinary and yet extraordinary life of Liesel Meminger, a young Jew-loving German girl with a compulsion to steal books (among other things). Who has a best friend that emulates Jesse Owens and a foster father who harbors a Jew (Hans Hubermann will make you weep with joy and heartbreak) and a foster mother who can't say a sentence without adding the epithet, Saumensch (pig), to it. 
What we have in this book is the view from the inside. What is it like to be German in Nazi Germany? What was this confusion, this guilt, this utter shame you felt inside while on the outside you Heil Hitlered? 
This book is all about the power of words. Words that will lift you to the heavens, that may bring you to your knees, that tried to exterminate the human spirit.

For book lovers, the Book Thief is a no brainer. For humans, the Book Thief is your chance at redemption.

“I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race - that rarely do I even simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant...I AM HAUNTED BY HUMANS.” 

End of quote. End of book.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

MEA MAXIMA CULPA: Silence in the House of God

Jesus Christ on a wooden crutch!

Last night I watched a documentary called Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God by Alex Gibney and let me say that I am utterly disgusted. While there is unlimited evidence of man's depravity and folly all around us, what has gone on, been going on and probably will go on under the umbrella of the Vatican is beyond evil.

It seems that the Roman Catholic Church has been aware of priests displaying very unpriestly behavior from as far back as the 4th Century. (And thats putting it mildly when we're talking about pedophilia.) With documented evidence of such behaviors in the most recent cases and yet the powers that be cannot find a solution? They cannot find any way to end such evil? If the House of God cannot find its way out of evil situations and get rid of the nastiness that resides in some souls (souls that it endorses and elevates to priesthood) then what hope is there for us mere mortals?

It was a terrible film to watch and it left a bitter, sour taste in my mouth. I know that this kind of evil and abuse of power is not exclusive to the Vatican and that every religious powerhouse in the world must cast the same net. The thing is that we let them. We have given them this power in our quest for absolution and immortality. In our need for a happily forever and ever more beyond the grave. Religion and belief and spirituality should bring us peace at the very least. "Us" as a whole. We are to blame for what is wrong in this world. Ignorance is no longer our excuse. No God would stand for what we humans have mutated in His stead. When will we wake up?