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Daily Archives: September 19, 2011

Author Spotlight no.10 – author Priya Vasudevan

To complement my daily blog interviews I recently started a series of Author Spotlights and today’s, the tenth, is of Priya Vasudevan who describes her journey into the unknown: one woman’s struggle to get her book on a bookshelf! If you like what you read, please do go and investigate her writing further. You can read the other Author spotlights here.

Priya is a lawyer, writer and trainer. As a lawyer, she has written training manuals and trained teachers, lawyers and judges in human rights law. Priya also serves as an Arbitrator and is a member of regional organizations such as Asia Pacific Forum for Women, Law and Development. She has written ‘Contempt of Court’ in Halsbury’s Laws of India  for Butterworths India Limited (now Lexis Nexis).

 Priya’s articles have been published in magazines such as Femina. She has also published several short stories for children, including Nasreen’s Park (Orient Longman Ltd) and short stories for children in Children’s World and Target. Priya lives with her husband and two daughters in Chennai, India.

And now from the author herself:

My first published book, a children’s book, was ‘Nasreen’s Park’ by Orient Longman Ltd. ‘Middle Time’ is my debut adult novel.

I was excited, when I completed ‘Nasreen’s Park’ and I happily sent it off to all the major publishers. It was 1995 and I had no computer, so I paid to get it typed up, bound, etc. I did not have to wait long for a response and they were all sent back. I was disappointed, but believed that I would just go back to short stories, which had all been published, without any rejection. I thought the world was not ready for the story of a little girl, reclaiming a park with a magic cat and a group of underprivileged children. Then my niece saw it and got in touch with a friend, who just happened to be with a publisher and it got published. Orient Longman was a fairly big player in the field of children’s books, then. However, while it’s still selling on the internet, I haven’t seen it in a store… yet.

With Middle Time, I took a different route. By 2008, the world of publishing in India had changed and competition was much stiffer. I needed an agent. I sent it off to several foreign agents, without success. They all said the book was interesting and well-written but too’ Indian’ for their market. I looked around for Indian agents but there were only two. As luck would have it, I emailed Mita Kapur of Siyahi, before I’d even finished the book and she loved the synopsis and wanted the manuscript. I had to admit that I was only half-way through! However, she did not give up and held my hand through to the end. We faced some rejections but she sold the idea to Niyogi Books and here I am. Middle Time was launched on July 8th by Niyogi Books, Delhi. It’s a historical mystery.

While going through the papers of her client Tulsi, who died under mysterious circumstances, Maya, a lawyer in Chennai, discovers a moth-eaten paperback which transports her back in time. Hampi, 1536: the glorious reign of Krishna Deva Raya has ended.

The times are turbulent, riddled with fratricidal conflicts, secret plots and territorial battles. At the centre of the storm is Achale, a beautiful temple dancer who is on a quest to uncover the truth behind the murder of Thulasi, a Brahmin widow. Ostracized by the village for bearing an illegitimate child, Thulasi is catapulted to respectability when Manjunatha, her son, is declared a saint after experiencing a miracle. Soon after, her dead body is discovered under suspicious circumstances.

Why was Thulasi murdered? And why do her secrets have a bearing on the untimely death of Tulsi in modern day Chennai? Maya has to ask herself these questions as she races against time to catch a dangerous enemy and unlock the mystery of murders spanning the centuries…

Priya’s website is http://priyavasudevan.wordpress.com, her book is available on amazon.com and flipkart.com, and you can see the book trailers at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRB0q02iaqU.

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow morning (UK time) with novelist Judith Marshall – the one hundred and thirty-second of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, directors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me at morgen@morgenbailey.com. You can also read / download my eBooks here.

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Posted by on September 19, 2011 in childrens, ebooks, interview, novels, writing

 

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Transcription of BWT podcast episode 26 (Feb 2011) – romance

The twenty-sixth episode of the Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast was released on 14th February 2011 and the content has never been released other than website links (on my website http://www.morgenbailey.com) so I hope you find this information useful. In the first twenty-five episodes (see https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/bwt-podcast for details), I covered ‘show not tell’, the five senses, repetition, points of view, tenses, dialogue, characters, crime, poetry, short stories, novels, writing for children, scriptwriting, comedy, romance and chick lit, erotica, ‘writing rules’, historical & the classics, name & characters, Christmas, opportunities, songwriting, reading, auto/biographies, computer tips (parts 1&2) and competitions & submissions. This episode had a focus, not surprisingly being 14th Feb, on romance.

Hints & tips

Most stories have an element of romance in them, even the likes of Matrix etc. so even if you’re not planning on being the next Barbara Cartland, there may be something here of use/interest.

Chick lit

  • Most chick lit novels will have a romance at some stage. They are effectively boy meets girl (obviously with some conflict) and humour also plays a huge part of chick lit. Aimed at 20something to 40something, Wikipedia’s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chick_lit) page describes chick lit as “genre fiction within women’s fiction which addresses issues of modern women often humorously and light-heartedly”. It does however go on to say “is generally not considered a direct subcategory of the romance novel genre, because in Chick lit the heroine’s relationship with her family or friends may be just as important as her romantic relationships.”.
  • http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/article1292046.ece is a great Times article, and with headings of ‘What is chick lit?’, ‘Creating your main character’, ‘Like you but funnier’, ‘Listen to your character’, ‘to plan or not to plan’, ‘the character sketch’, ‘the character arc’, ‘word choice’, ‘don’t overwrite’, ‘beware redundancy’, ‘dialogue’, ‘description’ and ‘tips from stars of the genre’, it’s a valuable read for writers of any genre.
  • http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article3246700.ece is another Times article; this time Melissa Katsoulis learns to write a Mills & Boon novel.

Historical romance

  • Historical romance is incredibly popular. One of the Mills & Boon series is Historical Romance and their www.millsandboon.co.uk/historical-romance.htm page explains that “Historical Romances promise the reader richly textured, emotionally intense stories set in widely diverse historical time periods, from ancient civilizations up to and including the First and Second World Wars. Regency tales remain ever-popular and cover the range from drawing-room antics which scandalise the tone, to the salacious underworld inhabited by pickpockets and prostitutes, to the hazardous battlefields of the Peninsular War. Harlequin Mills and Boon publish historical romance with levels of drama and fantasy which are unsurpassed. Our wildly rich and vivid romances can’t help but capture our readers’ imagination with their passion and adventure. You can enjoy tales from chivalrous knights, roguish rakes to impetuous heiresses and unconventional ladies. With historical romance books that have such a wide selection of entertaining characters and plotlines you will lose yourself in the world of days gone by! Harlequin Mills & Boon’s historical romance collection is distributed throughout the world and across every continent. The Harlequin brand is a house hold name throughout Europe, The Americas, Australia, the Middle East, Japan and China. Our unique brand of historical romance books are currently translated into 23 languages and sold in various formats through over 100 international markets. Due to our hard work and commitment to quality historical romance, Harlequin Mills and Boon has become the world’s most prolific publisher of historical romance and adult romantic fiction”. So, there’s plenty of opportunity should you be interested in writing this genre.
  • Wikipedia’s main historical fiction page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_fiction) explains that historical fiction is a sub-genre of fiction that often portrays fictional accounts or dramatization of historical figures or events. Writers of stories in this genre, while penning fiction, nominally attempt to capture the spirit, manners, and social conditions of the persons or time(s) presented in the story, with due attention paid to period detail and fidelity. Historical fiction is found in books, magazines, art, television, movies, games, theatre, and other media. The page continues under headings of definition, critical reception, literature/authors, media & culture/film & television, references and external links. Authors listed include Jean M Auel, James Clavell, Bernard Cornwell (no relation to American crime writer Patricia Cornwell who was born Patricia Carroll Daniels – and a descendant of Uncle Tom’s Cabin author Harriet Beecher Stowe), Umberto Eco, Ken Follett, CS Forester (of the Hornblower series), Philippa Gregory, Patrick O’Brien, Wilbur Smith, Mark Twain and Julian Barnes (I’m currently listening to his novel ‘Arthur & George’ on audiobook).

Paranormal romance

  • On the other side of the coin there’s paranormal romance. I’d not really heard of it until I stumbled across the American website www.paranormalromance.org. PNR is the official homepage for the ParaNormal Romance Groups designed for lovers of the Paranormal Romance sub-genre. Members meet online via Yahoo Groups and share an interest in science fiction, fantasy, and romantic fiction with paranormal elements, including time travel, futuristic, magical, ghost, vampire and shapeshifter themes.
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paranormal_romance page explains that “Paranormal romance is a sub-genre of the romance novel. A type of speculative fiction, paranormal romance focuses on romance and includes elements beyond the range of scientific explanation, blending together themes from the genres of traditional fantasy, science fiction, or horror. Paranormal romance may range from traditional category romances, such as those published by Harlequin Mills & Boon, with a paranormal setting to stories where the main emphasis is on a science fiction or fantasy based plot with a romantic subplot included. Common hallmarks are romantic relationships between humans and vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts, and other entities of a fantastic or otherworldly nature. Beyond the more prevalent themes involving vampires, shapeshifters, ghosts, or time travel, paranormal romances can also include books featuring characters with psychic abilities, like telekinesis or telepathy. Paranormal romance has its roots in Gothic fiction. Its most recent revival has been spurred by turn of the century technology, e.g. the internet and electronic publishing. Paranormal romances are one of the fastest growing trends in the romance genre.”

Publications

  • Lynne Hackles (www.lynnehackles.com), a writer associated with the National Association of Writers Groups (the NAWG) and writing magazines, has published a book called ‘Handy little book for writers’. It’s £2.99 + 50p P&P from the NAWG. Details of this and her other books can be found at www.lynnehackles.com/books2.htm. An invaluable tip from Lynne is “cross out your first paragraph and then the next one until you reach the beginning of your story.”
  • Website www.obooko.com is packed with free books. Unlike obooko’s contemporary offering, most of the books on http://manybooks.net are out of print (the first I downloaded was Carolyn Wells’ ‘The technique of the mystery story’ – their romance section is http://manybooks.net/categories/ROM) but there are thousands rather than dozens of books available. Both websites are free to register so there’s no harm in registering with both. 🙂

Websites

Romance competitions & submissions

  • www.shortstoryradio.com/short_story_competitions.htm lists details of the Short Story Radio Romance Award 2010. Although it’s finished for this year, you’ve got time to prepare for 2011. J
  • People’s Friend love romance but they also take non-fiction. If you’re knowledgeable about a subject that you think they may like, they not only pay for words (£30 per 1000 words – Dec 04; this may well have increased) but also if you have any accompanying photos (c. £25 each+). It may not sound like much but it’s another string to your literary bow and addition to your creative CV. J
  • www.eharlequin.com is Mills & Boon’s American ‘Harlequin’ website. If you’re thinking of submitting a romance novel, contact M&B by post (Mills & Boon Ltd, Eton House, 18-24 Paradise Road, Richmond, Surrey TW9 1SR) with CV, outline of your story and which imprint it’s targeted to.
  • I’ve mentioned the well-known 1993-established Black Lace which publishes erotic fiction “by women for women”. Proposals should consist of a paragraph explaining the novel, a synopsis / chapter breakdown of 1,000 words and c. 10,000 words of the story itself. Inc and SAE if you want your work returned. Postal submissions only to Erotica Editor, Virgin Publishing Ltd, Thames Wharf Studios, Rainville Road, London W6 9HA. See www.blacklace-books.co.uk for more details.
  • Finally, www.nanoedmo.net (National Novel Editing Month) is the editing version of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Editing Month). The idea is, having spent November writing the novel, you spend the month of March, editing it (if not done so already!).

Ideas and sentence starts

Here I provide a couple of story ideas or ways to get new ideas then list seven sentence starts listed on my https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/sentence-starts page; each one, if you’d like to use them, for a daily writing project.

  • Re-write a romance story into a drama or vice versa; and/or
  • Write a bodice ripping (without too many clichés) scene; and/or
  • Write a 60- or 100- word romantic story.

The podcast concluded with Quotes, News & Feedback, On This Day in History and a 60-worder called ‘Diagnosis’: The symptoms were clear. It didn’t look good. She approached the surgery, her heart beating. Could she handle bad news? How long before the inevitable? A month? A week? She turned the front door handle. Fear suffocated her like possessive ivy. Then she saw her doctor husband and his nurse. So it was true. “That’s it! I want a divorce!”

That’s it. Thanks for visiting – a list of the other transcripts and summaries can be found at https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/bwt-podcast.

 

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Transcription of BWT podcast episode 25 (Feb 2011) – comp & subs

The twenty-fifth episode of the Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast was released on 7th February 2011 and the content has never been released other than website links (on my website http://www.morgenbailey.com) so I hope you find this information useful. In the first twenty-four episodes (see https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/bwt-podcast for earlier blog posts), I covered ‘show not tell’, the five senses, repetition, points of view, tenses, dialogue, characters, crime, poetry, short stories, novels, writing for children, scriptwriting, comedy, romance and chick lit, erotica, ‘writing rules’, historical & the classics, name & characters, Christmas, opportunities, songwriting, reading, auto/biographies and computer tips (parts 1&2).

This episode had a focus on competitions and submissions. Although some of the dates have passed, I have left the details in as it will show you what was available and many competitions are yearly so they may well be run again in 2012. Please note: I can’t vouch for these competitions so do check the information thoroughly before parting with your hard-earned writing and money but having a competition win or shortlist is always a good thing to have on your writing CV so I would recommend having a go.

Competitions

Submissions

  • www.20x20magazine.com/about details their guidelines. There is currently no payment for submissions but you would get a free copy of the relevant magazine (with your name in print!).
  • www.shadowtrain.com is “a bi-monthly gathering of poems, translations, articles and other writings, from the lyrical to the innovative, whatever stings and stuns the editor”. Submissions are by email only – see www.shadowtrain.com/id6.html for more details.
  • Don’t forget to keep an eye on Jacqui Bennett’s markets listings for www.jbwb.co.uk. She covers markets for short stories, novels, articles, non-fiction, poetry, agents, small press and overseas news.

Hints & tips

Websites

Ideas

Here I provide a couple of story ideas or ways to get new ideas then list seven sentence starts listed on my https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/sentence-starts page; each one, if you’d like to use them, for a daily writing project.

  • The lottery has been written about so many times, millions of people play it each week and many of them watch the live shows but try thinking of a new angle. I saw a TV series a few months ago where a man fakes winning and his life spirals out of control, others have been made about people winning the lottery then losing or spending the lot.
  • Write a story about two people competing for the affection of a third.

The podcast concluded with Quotes, News & Feedback, On This Day in History and a 60-worder called ‘Bigger fish to fry’: Barrie loved the smell of fish. He’d wanted to be a trawler man but was violently seasick. Living in the Outer Hebrides he’d often watch the boats go out and wished he could be on them. He was skimming his local paper for a job and spotted the perfect position. ‘Assistant wanted at ‘The Fryer’ fish shop. No experience required.’

That’s it. Thank you for visiting – a list of the other transcripts and summaries can be found at https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/bwt-podcast.

 

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