Spotlight – “From Everest, with Love” by Mountaineer Neillima Pudota

Delighted to Spotlight my friend Neillima’s book titled “From Everest, With Love”. The book contains heartfelt letters that the author wrote to her mother while she was scaling the highest mountain peak in the world!. Wishing the ace mountaineer’s book too scales the ranking peaks! 

Below is the excerpt-

While there are many physical challenges you overcome as you climb a mountain, the most important ones are almost always to do with the mind. It was the same with me. In my initial mountaineering days, which started with trekking, there were many instances when I wanted to give up and return home. But I constantly had conversations with myself, reminding myself that I have to make it. It is then I realized that my own words were inspiring me and I started to write.

Among the many beautiful things about the mountains, one of them is whatever you write when out there comes straight from the heart. Because at an altitude of nearly 17,000 feet, chances are you listen to your heart and then talk to your mind, asking it to stop sending signals of physical exertion until you reach the destiny. That is one of the ways you make your mind strong. What else makes you strong?

Talking to your loved ones. Yes, a constant conversation with yourself and the people who love you so much that all they want is for you to live your dreams, can bring out the best in you.

It was a promise I made to my Amma that I will write to her every day from the Everest, sharing with her all the details of the climb; my fear, my excitement and all the deep feelings I experienced during my climb.

While Sagarmatha gave me a reason to keep climbing up, this journal of letters addressed to my mom gave me a reason to come back each day and write to Amma. You will find, in this book, a reflection of yourself.

If you dream of climbing the Everest, this book gives you the details of the Everest. If you search for hope, you will find lots in here. If you wonder about disappointment, you will find that here too. If you just yearn for a gripping story, this book has that as well. And if you are struggling to face the mountains of your life, I hope this book gives you strength.

Everest

Hope you read the book and draw inspiration from the adventures of the author. Here is the buy link of the book 

About the Author

Neelima, or Neil as she is fondly called is a professional Mountaineer and has just authored her first book titled ‘From Everest, With Love’. Academically qualified as an Engineer, she has a total of 8 years corporate work experience before she started to pursue Mountaineering full time. An avid reader, a compulsive traveller and a fitness enthusiast, She is based out of Hyderabad and works as a director for Third Pole Adventures Pvt Ltd., her outdoor startup company.

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#AuthorpreneurSpeak- Guestpost by Mayur Didolkar #MondayMotivation

Today’s guest post is by Mayur Didolkar, author of two novels and a number of short stories. His recent anthology Nagin has won accolades from book lovers all over the country. 

Ernest Hemingway supposed to have said once “there is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed”, and while there is no point in lesser (much lesser) authors like us talking about the truism of the statement by the great man, I think most of 21st century writer will agree that while there might be nothing to writing more than bleeding, career in fiction writing today takes more than just writing.  In my case, selling my novel The Dark Road to Juggernaut publishing and then going through the paces of pre-production with their ace editing and marketing team has been a big learning curve. This experience was further fine-tuned when I published my second novel Tears for Strangers and my first paperback short story collection Nagin through them this year and here are some things these 2 years taught me.

  1. Keep your day job- The simple truth is publishing (whether self-published or trad) is a tough industry to make a living out of, especially if you are the primary (or only) income earner of the family. As William Darlymple recently noted the advances paid to authors are going down (but speaking fees are increasing!), so this career has a longer gestation period. The good news is it is possible to write while you keep a day job. I run an investment consulting business in Pune since June 2015, and in the last 3 years I have written first drafts of 3 novels, 14 short stories and over 100 articles as well as the re-write/editing work on all of the above. You need to be  smart about your time management, have a positive attitude to the work in general and understand and appreciate how delayed gratification works. Having your livelihood independent of your writing takes a lot of pressure off the entire creative process. It also means you can afford to take smart decisions for long term rather than saying yes to the first available offer. In my case, as my day job involves interacting with people from diverse walks of life, it also gives me great opportunity to observe various types of people in different everyday situations, which is a great learning in itself.
  2. Editors look for professionalism over flash of genius- Unless you are a John Grisham or a Stephen King debuting at the top of the bestseller lists, your first work is a statement of possibilities for the editor at a publishing house. He/she is trying to judge if you are someone who shows promise for future along with the appeal of the current submission. Try and submit as finished a product as possible (I had hired an editor to work on The Dark Road before submitting the full MS and I consider that among the best investments I made so far), stick to your deadlines as closely as possible and remember Woody Allen when he says “ 80% of the success is showing up”.
  3. Once your MS is accepted and you start working on the edits, be open-minded about the changes recommended by the editor/s. In some writing forums, writers write about their battles with editors with a pride in their own stubbornness that completely baffles me. Understanding that as a writer you are too close to be your own editor is the first key to becoming a professional writer. I feel self-published writers need to be even more open minded as in their case they are also the client of the editor who is telling them what doesn’t work. Remember the old adage about a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client is equally true about editing.
  4. A professional writer will always have projects going on in different stages of production. While we were editing The Dark Road, I had already written five short stories and pitched them to Juggernaut. Once The Dark Road got ready for release, we were working on the editing of these stories while I had started writing the first draft of Tears for Strangers and while that was going through its paces post first draft, I had started writing the short stories that became part of Nagin. After the advent of digital publishing and explosion in the self-publishing market, the bandwidth on offer to each new writer is getting squeezed. If you want to hold onto that bandwidth, you need to have projects ready for publishing with a fair bit of continuity. Adam Croft, a successful self-published writer from England says the best thing he did after he finished writing his first book, is he wrote another. I endorse this whole-heartedly.
  5. Whether self-published or trad, do it for the right reasons. If you want to self-publish because you don’t have the patience for the process or the stomach to reject large swathes of rejections or criticisms, you are doing it wrong. If you want to go trad because you think self-publishing is somehow demeaning or if you think traditionally published authors don’t have to sell their own books, then you are doing it wrong. Both options come with their own pros and cons and it is very important to first understand both and then decide which one plays best to your strengths.

Stephen King has described writing as a form of telepathy, extending the same analogy, I would say published writing is a form of a magic show that you as a magician produce with the help of many professionals. A wise magician knows his strengths and surrounds himself with teams that compliments his strengths.

Be  that wise magician.

Mayur Didolkar is an entrepreneur cum author with an undying passion for literature, politics and marathons. Check out his whole published collection here.

 

 

Spotlight – Let’s talk money by Monika Halan #HotNewRelease #Personalfinance #Amreading

Delighted to share about this wonderful book of personal finance by none other than Monika Halan, the consultant editor at Mint with tons of experience in the area and a great heart that wanted to share her precious insights.

I am halfway through Let’s talk money and felt it would be criminal not to spread the word about such an empowering book. Shall review the book in detail a bit later. Check out the blurb below :

We work hard to earn our money. But regardless of how much we earn, the money worry never goes away. Bills, rent, EMIs, medical costs, vacations, kids’ education and, somewhere at the back of the head, the niggling thought about being under-prepared for our own retirement. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our money worked for us just as we work hard for it? What if we had a proven system to identify dud investment schemes? What if could just plug seamlessly into a simple, jargon-free plan to get more value out of our money, and have a super good life today? India’s most trusted name in personal finance, Monika Halan offers you a feet-on-the-ground system to build financial security. Not a get-rich-quick guide, this book helps you build a smart system to live your dream life, rather than stay worried about the ‘right’ investment or ‘perfect’ insurance. Unlike many personal finance books, Let’s Talk Money is written specifically for you, keeping the Indian context in mind.

Let's Talk Money_Front

I even have an exclusive excerpt for you, with the kind permission from the author and the publishing team of Harper Collins.

Kanchan Chander is a famous Delhi-based artist; you can spot her on page 3 of the daily tabloids grinning at the camera. I happened to meet her at the home of a common friend. And as it played out, the conversation soon shifted to her money. (There was not much I knew about art anyway.) She was in the middle of a story that I had now heard hundreds of times. A pushy bank relationship manager promises a wonder insurance-cum-investment product; you trust your bank; you grew up in a time when insurance meant safety and good return, along with tax breaks. This relationship manager is very persuasive, calls many times, is very charming, looks sincerely into your eyes and gives his personal promise about the product; I’m there, he says. Kanchan’s story was no different. She wanted to put away a lump sum for two years so that she could fund her son’s art-school education in the UK. However, she was sold a fifteen-year regular-premium unit-linked insurance plan some years ago by her bank. She thought she was buying a two-year fixed deposit, but the bank had put her in a regular-premium long-term investment. She got a shock when a year later she got a message from the insurance company saying that the second premium is due. But, she had made a one-time investment, she thought. So she called her bank relationship manager. He had gone. Another smart slick-suit was there who told her that if she did not make the payment she’d lose the entire investment to costs (which she was not told at the time of investment). She protested. You signed the policy, so you should have known this, was the push back. Kanchan was devastated. Artists’ incomes are erratic and she had been banking on this money to fund her son’s education, and now it was gone. As a single parent, the blow was even harder. There was nobody to fall back upon. Chances are that you’ve already had at least one bad insurance experience by now. Either you would have got back a pittance after faithfully servicing your policy for twenty years, or you would have got trapped in a product you did not want. Or been brazenly lied to and left holding a dud product. Why do they cheat and what can you do to stay safe? Do you really need an insurance cover? What about the tax break – how will you get that if you don’t buy another policy? I’m going to take each question and then leave you with some very simple dos and don’ts. You need to treat the insurance industry and those who sell the same like walking through reptile-infested waters; you need to stay on the path that is safe. They’re out to get you. You need to look after your money. I’m not joking.

Hope you are compelled enough to check out the book on Amazon!

About the Author

Monika Halan is consulting editor and part of the leadership team at Mint. A certified financial planner, she has served as editor of Outlook Money and worked in some of India’s top media organizations, including the Indian Express, the Economic Times and Business Today. She has run four successful TV series around personal finance advice, on NDTV, Zee and Bloomberg India, and is a regular speaker on financial literacy, regulation and consumer issues in retail finance. As part of her public policy service, she is a member of SEBI’s Mutual Fund Advisory Committee. She lives in New Delhi and tweets at @monikahalan.

 

Cover Reveal – Mauri, Book 2 of Abhaya Collection

Back after a really long hiatus and I have news!

There is going to be a new addition to the Abhaya Universe!

Mauri, the second book of Abhaya collection is set to release on 9th June 2018 on Amazon Kindle Store. Set in the times of Mahabharata, the books explore lesser known stories of the timeless epic of India from the perspectives of strong female protagonists. The opening Title, Abhaya, was released on Kindle store in November 2015 and has received praise from acclaimed authors and reviewers.

“Abhaya allows us to delve into the world of our ancestors and Gods through the route of great storytelling and a brilliant narrative. A thoroughly enjoyable read” – Amish Tripathi

About Mauri

She wanted to kill the man who others called a God.

Love is but an obstacle in her path

With her father’s death shattering her world, Mauri is torn away from everything she had once loved. Anger replacing every emotion within her, she seeks only one thing. To kill her father’s killer. Even if the man is none less than Krishna Vaasudeva, the man who people worshipped as a God! Someone stands in the way, reining in her bitterness when she is least prepared for it. The Rakshasa Prince Ghatotkacha! But by the time love sprouts within her, Mauri has gone too far in her thirst for vengeance.

Can Mauri save herself and Ghatotkacha before the consequences of her own actions can destroy both their worlds?

mauri

Excerpt

The smile on Ghatotkacha’s face faded the moment he saw the figure that had appeared atop the wall. Unknown to him, his fists curled over his club and heart fought against the searing pain of the memory. The memory of betrayal. His intensified gaze and a placid forehead contrasted each other. No more of this. Not now!

Mauri saw him. Like he commanded a new surge of energy after their last meeting. Mauri had little in her defence. And she had other things on her mind before she could take an interest in defending herself. In fact, she had no wish to defend her past actions. Face it! But her predicament sorely needed external help and his demeanour did not leave much hope. Mauri steeled her heart and inhaled. She was going to need all her energies for this!

She forced a smile onto her lips and looked at him, trying to summon her old self. “So, we have visitors!” she thundered, glancing at his small band of Rakshasa followers. “But I regret to inform you that the temple is closed to pilgrims indefinitely.”

“Closed to pilgrims, open to monstrous rogues and their heartless little minions.” Ghatotkacha retorted. “Perhaps there needs to be a change.”

Her guilt notwithstanding, Mauri was not going to brook being called names, much less, being called a minion to a crafty coward like Alambusha. Still, his pain when he uttered the word ‘heartless’ did not go unnoticed by her. Her frown narrowed, fighting back any traces of regret. In vain though. “Change comes at a price, Rakshasa Prince, sorry, King. Though I must say the population under your command has dwindled too much for one to still consider you a king.” She could see his annoyance mounting. Something amused her about it. “So tell me what you can pay, Ghatotkacha!”

Ghatotkacha threw his head up and shrugged looking around. “I would have loved to play a game of word parlay. Except this is no stage and there is no audience to enjoy the exchange.” His eyes betrayed impatience. “I come to keep a promise. A promise of protection that was given to this sacred place under the rule of my uncle, Emperor Yudhishtira. My demand is clear, daughter of late commander Mura. Open the gates, surrender the rogue Rakshasa traitors to me. Open up this temple of the Supreme Goddess to those who deserve to see Her.”

“I asked for a price you could pay and you repeat the demand. By the Goddess, someone needs to grow up!” Mauri sneered back and leaned against a pole, feigning nonchalance. This was all going nowhere—her show of hostility, his mounting anger, Dhatri’s life in danger, and Alambusha preferring to hide inside the inner circle. She needed to break away. She struck upon a frantic plan, praying all Gods for its success. “There seems to be only one language you understand. Defeat me, and you can have a free pass inside.”

Read More from Mauri, to be released on 9th of June 2018 only on Amazon Kindle.