Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Episode 3: My Journey To Stay Fit with Vinodini Iyer

2 months before
1. What made you take up this journey of staying fit?

I have always had a slender frame since childhood. But as years passed, with the arrival of my son and the obvious weight gain that followed, I realized that it wasn't so easy to keep the weight off as in my younger days. That's when I actually started watching what I was eating. I tried to keep myself active, although I started exercising only a few years back. I am not regular when it comes to exercises, especially since I am not a gym person at all but I do enjoy walking and doing a few stretches at home. I recently undertook a detox program after noticing that my weight was going up at an alarming rate. It helped me pull down a lot of those pounds. I am yet to get to my ideal weight but I'm now determined on not letting the scales tip on the higher end.

2. What's the biggest challenge you faced on this journey?

The biggest challenge I faced on this journey was my erratic work schedule. My work as a visual merchandiser for retail stores required me to be either glued to the computer for the whole day, travel and live out of suitcases for days or be on my feet for long hours to set up and beautifying stores. So, my lifestyle would swing between sedentary or extremely draining physical activity. In such a scenario maintaining a healthy diet pattern and exercising regularly was the biggest challenge I faced. I would try to work around it by doing the right things on days when my body could cope with it physically.

Before joining TBC fitness group
3. Did you family support you in this journey? In what way did you need their support?

My family has always been supportive when it came to fitness, especially my mum and my son. My
mum would always coax me to go that extra mile and help me through this journey by preparing healthy and wholesome meals. My son is a fitness enthusiast himself, would encourage me to exercise regularly.

4. How much do you think diet is part of your journey?

For me, what I eat contributes to 70% of the end results. I have never been regular with exercise but it is only the healthy eating habits that have helped me keep fit. Thankfully, both I and my mum are blessed with small appetites and that helps. As per Hindu beliefs, the right portion one should consume for a meal should be the size of what fits into your palms and I follow this rule meticulously. I try to eat something every two hours and keep myself hydrated by sipping on the water all through the day.  Being a foodie, I do have my cheat days but I try and balance it on other days.

5. How can joining a group of dedicated weight watchers help you? Do you feel our group TBC Fitness has motivated you in any way?

I believe any group activity can keep your motivation levels high in the particular activity you're pursuing. For example, I recently started going for brisk walks with a friend in the neighborhood park. Before that, I used to walk alone on my terrace and I wasn't really regular with that routine. However, ever since we have started walking together, I and my friend enjoy this activity thoroughly and we try to make sure we don't miss it even for a day if we could avoid it.

TBC Fitness has especially made me aware of how committed others are about their fitness regimes and in turn motivated me to stick to my own fitness commitments. Both Rubina and Janaki try to keep everyone going by their own passion for fitness.

6. How can we as a group improve?

I feel the only small change we could make is by coming out with alternative methods on how the members could include exercise and diet changes in their routine, besides doing the regular gym and diet plan. We could probably brainstorm on such topics someday on a live chat, maybe on Twitter.

7. What is the one line you would like to say to those who are still thinking if they should or not start a fitness plan.

Go for it, the results are worth every bit of the efforts!





After joining TBC fitness group


Meet Vinodini Iyer

Vinodini Iyer is a design professional and a creative specialist. She has worked in the retail sector as a visual merchandiser and a fashion stylist for various well-known brands. Having worked closely with fashion brands she has always been fond of dressing well. Her motivation for a well-balanced lifestyle comes from her desire to retain a healthy glow and wear whatever she wishes to without stressing on the sizes.

Her professional assignments keep her on her toes, allowing her to explore new places and indulge in spontaneous adventures. She writes on various topics of her interest, namely, food, travel, fashion, parenting, and self-help. Her blog ifsbutsandsetcs.com  is an amalgamation of her thoughts, experiences, pieces of fiction and poetry woven in her mind which find themselves translated into narrations in her writing.  She is a published author with her short stories published in anthologies and she looks forward to releasing her solo debut sometime when the time is right. 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Marketing Issue 4: CHECKLIST BEFORE YOU PUBLISH A BOOK










Check out all the articles here

Writing because you think you are better than another author: This is one of the major reasons why I see some of the reviewers turning into authors. I feel proud when they pick up their pen but what saddens me is the attitude that I can write better than so and so. You probably could, but please don’t forget your muse —the author who inspired you to write.

Indie world is an interwoven world of needs and demands. Most of the time, your demand today will turn into your need tomorrow. So working together with each other, might be a good idea in the Indie world.

3) Getting a fan following as soon as you hit the publish button. Ta da. Not happening. To get a readership, you don’t start with ‘hey, check out my published book,’ and your friends go gaga over it. For this, you have to start creating a network before your book is published. How to go about it I will cover in this booklet itself. But remember one thing at this point in time—to build a readership is tough. Start understanding the difference between readers, relatives, and friends. The latter two are for likes and the first one is for sales and visibility. Senseless selling of books on your timeline will not work.

4) Amazon will promote me: Of course, it will, but then think about this logically. Every one minute there is a new book being uploaded on Amazon. In this jungle of books, your new book with a brand new author name needs a push to have its presence felt. So before hitting the publish button, remember you are one in a million. How your book will stand out in this plethora of books, is your own success story to make.

Whatever you do, keep in mind that you are your own boss. And having said that it also means that you are solely responsible for your own book. All the profits are yours to keep, so are the errors.



Chapter Three: Components of Indie Publishing


I hope you have read my previous points carefully and decided to stay with me on this journey. As soon as you have decided that you want to be an Indie published author, here is a checklist for you to consider.


Ø  Writing - What stage of writing are you in? First draft, second draft… final copy?
Ø  Marketing before the book is launched
Ø  Self-Editing
Ø  Beta Reading
Ø  Editing - Development
Ø  Editing - Line Editing
Ø  Proofreader
Ø  Self-Editing Part 2
Ø  Cover Making 
Ø  Formatting and Uploading
Ø  Keeping the reviewers informed
Ø  Marketing after the Book is launched

I will be covering most of the topics mentioned above except Editing and How to look for an editor which will be handled by Inderpreet Kaur Uppal and Dola Basu Singh in their respective booklets. And uploading on Amazon will be handled by Sundari Venkatraman in the forthcoming issue. Marketing after a book is launched is a vast topic and will be in a separate booklet by me. But trust me, the part before you are ready to launch a book, is the most important of all and should not be neglected.

The above topics will hold good for all kinds of books. I will be speaking about how much each part is going to cost you, the pros and cons are for you to decide if you have the budget for that. I will be putting up links of the least expensive deals I have used in my entire career as a writer. You don’t have to spend much on anything except Editing and that too depends on how confident you are with your writing and grammar.


Check out the first part @ Marketing Issue 2: Introduction to being an Indie Author Part 1

Other Booklets in this ToolKit series
Check out Devika Fernando's Booklet Why go Indie?
Check out D R Downer's Booklet A to Z of Ghostwriting 



Chapter Four: The Birth of Your Book - Writing Component

Monday, October 8, 2018

Marketing Issue 3: Chapter Two: Are you really an Indie Author?

Check out all the articles here

One of my ‘could have been Indian publisher’ told me to change my genre since romance was something they were not proud to sell. At least the romance I write. But I am a proud romance writer. How can I not believe in my own words? How could I change them?

I am not saying that you have to be stubborn and not listen to your editors. Always weigh the pros and cons. Think how much shifting of a scene will change a story. And only you can be the decision maker.

I am not here to give you a very colorful picture of the Indie publishing world. In this world, we have success stories, and we have failures too. Many of the authors have become dim memories. As a marketer and an author, I started noting down all their successes and their struggles. What fascinated me the most was that luck, timing and a lot of hard work, all had equal roles to play in the Indie journey of an author.

Don’t treat this booklet as a Bible –yet. Indie publishing is a dynamic process. It’s changing every day. We will keep on bringing out updates as we learn and hear from you.

For those who are wondering if you should write or not, hear me out. If words have formed in your mind, there is a paper out there for those words. When the words meet that paper, a reader is born for you. Just for you.

Don’t think this is a lonely journey. If you are an author and a reviewer who wants to promote their work, join our The Book Club Reviewing Group. And if you are an author, especially an Indie author, send us a request to join TBC Indie Author Group. We guide authors on how to promote and we love to show off our knowledge.

If you have doubts and questions, there will be a form at the end of the book for you to fill up. Just ask us anything related to writing and marketing and we will have someone who has experienced a similar situation answer it for you.
Now let’s take the plunge.


 Whenever someone approaches me I ask them one question. Why do you want to become an Indie author? The answers I get are:

Ø  Shalini told me that you can make a lot of money
Ø  Shalini told me that she is a success. So if she can write so can I.
Ø  Shalini told me I will get a lot of fan following.
Ø  Shalini told me that it’s a very easy job to do. I will write and Amazon will promote me.
Ø  Shalini told me… Shalini told me… Shalini told me….

Shalini told you. But you have not experienced it yet. But you want to be an Indie author because someone else told you about it or worse, you think you’re a better writer than Shalini.

First of all, understand the very definition of the word ‘Indie’. It’s derived from the word independent. It’s not only about making your book independent but also your thoughts and thinking process. Ask yourself - do you have it in you to be an independent author?

Let me first break down your innocence. Forgive me in advance.
1)     Making money: When you go to a publisher you might get an advance of 1,40,000 INR per book and a contract of three books. I would suggest you take it if you get that offer. Now if you are thinking I didn’t make that kind of money in my first romance, Finding the Angel, then think again. What you made it with a signing of a contract, I took around 6 months to make. And this book was published in the year 2016. Since then every year I am making that amount on that one book.

My book Destined came next. I was not prepared for the amount I made that month. I made around 76,000 INR on the release month and because of the Pen-to-Publish contest by Amazon, the sales skyrocketed. After that, it trickled down to a steady income of 20k per month. It’s not a very good amount according to those above me in the bestselling list. So you see, I still have a long way to go.

But money is not the same each month. It's erratic and you are slogging over your laptop over promotion and relationship building.

2) Writing because you think you are better than another author:.... To be continued 11th of October


Other Booklets in this ToolKit series
Check out Devika Fernando's Booklet Why go Indie?
Check out D R Downer's Booklet A to Z of Ghostwriting 

Friday, October 5, 2018

Blog Tour: The Girl Child by De.B Dubois




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The Girl Child
by
De. B. Dubois



Blurb

Growing up as a strong-headed single child with a privileged upbringing in Calcutta, Devi has learned much from her surroundings. Her childhood memories are filled with mixed emotions – especially as she remains angry with her mother and the hypocrisy of women in India. On an unexpected journey home, she encounters reality – new stories and experiences of strangers, as well as friends. It has been years since she left Calcutta, yet the city’s untold stories haunt her. This time Devi is back in town to solve issues and above all, through some painful and hard revelations, to make peace with those she can.

Grab your copy @


About the author


De.B. is an ordinary person with her daily struggles of being fun and peppy; as all those heavy readings on sociology, philosophy, history, art and culture have done her sombre. – Not that she is complaining, – however when things do get too hectic, her escape solutions are: long walks through nature trails with her adopted Maltese, a good glass of absinthe from Val-de-Travers, and creating visual arts. Her friends best describe De.B. Dubois as, – ‘the hermit’.

You can stalk her @

                  

   This Tour is Hosted by 

The Schedule of  The Girl Child


Your NameType of PostDate of Posting
AnkitaReview10/11/2018
Arti MetroreaderSpotlight10/11/2018
Meenakshi JReview10/11/2018
Nilima MohiteSpotlight10/11/2018
Aparna nayakReview10/12/2018
Chitra IyerSpotlight10/12/2018
romilaSpotlight10/12/2018
Ruchira KhannaReview10/12/2018
Arti MetroreaderReview10/13/2018
Chittajit MitraSpotlight10/13/2018
Shruti ShankarReview10/13/2018
D. R. DownerReview10/14/2018
Debraj MoulickSpotlight10/14/2018
Shruti ShankarSpotlight10/14/2018
Sunita SaldhanaReview10/14/2018
Devika FernandoSpotlight10/15/2018
Geeta NairReview10/15/2018
Rubina RameshReview10/15/2018
Sundari VenkatramanSpotlight10/15/2018
Geeta NairSpotlight10/16/2018
Inderpreet UppalReview10/16/2018
Surbhi SareenSpotlight10/16/2018
Kavita RajeshReview10/17/2018
Lata SunilSpotlight10/17/2018
Vasudha RaoSpotlight10/17/2018

We Promote So That You Can Write 
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Thursday, October 4, 2018

Episode 2: My Journey To Stay Fit with Janaki Nagaraj


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Today I present to you one of the most inspiring people I have met in my journey to stay fit. THIS is the lady that made me want to become fit. I met Janaki Nagaraj as a writer. She is a beautiful lady with two kids - one around nineteen and a beautiful twenty-two-year-old.  Every time I speak to her, her passion for fitness is awe inspiring. Many of us in our TBC Fitness group started taking care of ourselves, just because she bullied us into it. Nah, just kidding. Inspired us. When you see her pictures, you will know why. 

Let's check out how Janaki Nagaraj stared on her journey. Hear her out. 


The credit of introducing me to fitness goes to my friend, Vrunda. Vrunda stayed in the same apartment building as mine, a floor above ours. She had some issues in her life and wanted some time for herself and she suggested we do something to get out of the house. We first started walking in the terrace of our apartment building. But with my kids being young and going to school, with a husband having to leave for work at early hours, it wasn’t possible for us to dedicate time for this. Then she suggested we take up a gym membership. Frankly speaking, I thought gymnasiums was for men who built their bodies. While growing up, except for movie heroines we didn’t have many role models or they weren’t given as much media coverage as men. I grew up reading Stardust, Star & Style, Femina. Except for the actress Rekha who did yoga, none of the other actresses mentioned working out or exercising as their secret for a fit body. It was much later that Jane Fonda was in news for coming out with her Aerobic home exercise videos. But, you had to have a leotard for that! Who could afford a leotard? And then, Women’s Era magazine came out with articles where exercise was given importance for women. I used to try some on and off but lacked motivation.


And once I started to work out, I was hooked. Yet, I couldn’t see the results. I was doing the exercises blindly without knowing what I was doing, why I was doing that particular exercise or how it is helping me. As many other women who think lifting weights will make you muscular and like a man, I believed that too.

And to make the matters worse, I also had a misconception that being a vegetarian, I did not have to give importance to my diet. As long as I was sweating it out, I thought I was fine.


A couple of years of sweating out in the gym where I was making little or no progress, nor the trainers there were encouraging you to push your limits, nor were they capable of explaining to us the benefits of the exercises we were doing, I on the whim decided it was time for me to sign up for the marathon.


Then I changed my gym and a whole new world opened up for me....a world of possibilities of how much I can push myself, the strength we all have, only that it needs channelizing in the correct direction is what I learned. It made me realize that well-qualified trainers do make a lot of difference in our overall growth and achievement. 


Last year, I signed up for a fitness competition, again on a whim and took the plunge. I like being in competition as you get to know where you stand, and there are people who are better than you and their journey will inspire you. I met so many wonderful women during that competition whose stories are so inspiring, the do-not-give-up attitude made me seek some uncharted path.


I have had my share of injuries and setbacks. But giving up is not an option.


Today, after a decade, I am at a very happy place. Still learning, still pushing my limits. I am trying my hand at powerlifting. We can come up with reasons for doing something or for not doing something...but ultimately it is you! You are answerable to the image you see in the mirror every morning. Is that the image you want to see of yourself? 


Janu.


And meet Janaki Nagaraj now :)






Monday, October 1, 2018

Book Review: Plumbelly A Novel by Gary M. Maynard

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Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers



I received a paperback format of this book from the Author. Thank you, Gary, for this.

I took some time to read through this book. Innocence, Childhood, shattered trust and friendship. If I have to describe this story with emotions, those are the nostalgic memories I had while reading this one. Even shattered trust is a strong emotion a child grows up with. It can be anything - from not getting the grades we thought we should get to a teacher's hand roaming over your body when you have placed all your trust in that man.

Gabe, the protagonist, can be anyone out there. Of course, not all of us are an experienced sailor like him but other than that, I don't envy Gabe at all. It's one tough life he had.


Gabe comes from the lower middle-class background where his life is run by a dictatorial father who thinks getting high scores is a sign of weakness but having a girl in his arms is a sign of manliness. Added to that is a weak mother who though silently supports him without contributing anything else in his life. So one day, after his trust is shuttered by a teacher and amidst a whisper of suspicion that Gabe might be the reason why that teacher's body was found floating, Gabe decides to leave the town in an abandoned boat, Plumbelly. He is accompanied by the girl he loves, Tanya, and Lloyd, a friend, who always stood by him.

As the trio set sail, we are encountered with vivid descriptions of the sea, of the turmoils and of course about the growing relationships.

Mr. Maynard has done a wonderful job in describing vividly not only the characters but also the emotions. The anger that Gabe feels after his teacher abuses him is subtle. Intense. He is asked to keep quiet about it and I would have been very disappointed if he had. It took guts for him to do what he did and if every child and every teenager speaks out against abuse, the perpetrators will think twice before daring to do such a heinous act.

The author is a sailor at heart is very clear as the story unfolds. I would have loved to be on that boat along with the three friends but I doubt if I have the stomach for that kind of an adventure.

The pace of the story is well maintained throughout and every character's voice comes out loud and clear.

The curiosity factors in the book are plenty. Who killed the teacher being one of them. That really makes this book a page-turner. I would say that this story is a real amalgamation of Coming to Age genre, a pinch of romance and a big dose of thriller thrown in.

The only peeve I had with this book is the typesetting. The fonts were just too small.

A Quote from The Book:

"You have got to run towards your life, tama. Not run away from it." [This might not be the exact quote but close to it. While reading it, it left a profound impact on me but I had not marked it. ]


The First Line of the book:



My Recommendation:
Those who love growing characters, vivid descriptions and lapping sound of water - this book is for you to read. 
Author of the Book:







Get Plumbelly: The Fifth Avatar  from Amazon
Connect with the Author @ Facebook





Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Marketing Issue 2: Introduction to being an Indie Author Part 1

Check out all the articles here

Chapter One: Introduction


It was October 9th, 2016 when I first hit the publish button on Amazon. I call myself a true blue blood Indie Author (I never said modesty was my strong point, now did I? Hahaa…). But from that point onwards, I’ve never looked back.  As the founding member of The Book Club, I have been inundated with queries as to how to publish a book. Aspiring authors often approach us thinking we are publishers. Fortunately, we are not. We are a group of authors and that’s why we are able to give you a clear picture of how things are. We are the ‘helpers’ who love to guide every Indie Author to reach the finishing line.
Listening to the new aspiring authors has been a learning process for me. I freely gave them my knowledge, but in return, I gained a lot from them. Each author had a different journey to make. Every author who approached me had a path of their own to follow. I walked on that path with them. One author started as a blogger and became the number one Indie contemporary romance writer from India. She rose to such heights that even Amazon had to recognize her popularity and today traditional publishers approach her instead of the other way around. This is the power of Indie authors.
Another started as a traditional author and shifted to the Indie world since the publishers told her that her books were not selling. Today her book is a bestseller, ranking between 1 to 10 in the romance category.  I am not promoting them, though I suppose, that is a second nature to me. Here I am trying to draw a graph that authors, whether Indie or Traditional, have crossed over to being an Indie author and vice versa. While traditional is still a dream come true for many authors, Indie is a land of unseen possibilities where only the reader is our judge.
And as for me, I have said ‘no’ to one of the top-most publishers in the UK and a few publishers in India because they wanted to change my story.

The publisher from the UK told me that I have to remove ‘the relatives’ from my Finding the Angel. According to them, a love story is only between a boy and a girl. I beg to differ. We are Indians. We have stories between families. And in all the reviews I got after it was published, readers have loved my side characters which they felt have enriched my stories. Whether it’s Hariram from Finding the Angel or Mr. Charkraborty in Destined, all have an audience out there who cherished the contribution of the side characters to my stories.

To be continued on 2nd October.....

Monday, September 24, 2018

Book Review: 7 Days To Live: The numbers will kill you by D.R. Downer


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A story with a distinct essence of mystery and mind games is hard not to read. Those who have read Downer before will know that he has this particular way of saying a lot with a few words. It takes some time to get used to it but once you do, you will not be disappointed. The protagonist, Peter, takes us back to his childhood home where the father is dead and his widowed mother is full of accusations. Peter had left home earlier and never had come back. This story reminds me of so many such tales we hear in our daily life. Where the son of the family or the daughter of the family, leave home and are lost in the world of materialism. I am one of them too. So understanding Peter's condition was not too difficult for me.

The story further unfolds with a bunch of letters that have been left for Peter by his father. He feels his father's love emancipating from them. Not that there was much of a love lost between the father and the son. I felt this part of the story could have been further enhanced since it's a beautiful relationship portrayed where many unspoken words were hidden in the crevices of the cracked relationship.

And then comes the 10 letters with a few codes. Deciphering the codes he found that it was threatening in nature as it was predicting the day Peter will die.

From this point onwards Downer has managed to keep the readers guessing who wants to kill Peter. My mind oscillated between the mother and girlfriend. If you think I am giving out spoilers - think again. I was so fascinated by the unfurling events that when the mystery was solved, I was left with a few goosebumps. If I was not such a stickler of going page by page, I would have surely jumped into the last page when Nilofer asked, Nilofer read it and immediately looked back at him with an astonished look on her face. “What? Who sent this?”

My Recommendation: Mystery lovers will love it. A quick read.

First Line from the book:

“Peter, where were you all these days, kid? You said three weeks, and you're coming back after 2 months now. You didn't forget all about your Arnaaz aunty now, did you?” Mrs. Naoroji asked, opening the front door of her flat as soon as she heard Peter’s footsteps in the corridor.

Author of the book: 


Connect with the author:




Get The Airport from: The First Avatar from Amazon



Disclaimer: I have got this book from Kindle Unlimited. I support authors by not asking for free copies. And I was not paid for this review, even if I wish I was.

You can check all  my upcoming reviews here: