between sips of cutting chai

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The second anthology is up, between sips of cutting chai, a delightful collection of poetry – haiku, haibun, senryu and renku. One more anthology from the ever active IN haiku Mumbai group.

It is available as an ebook on Amazon. The links are here.

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If you thought poetry was boring take a look at this one. There is a section of haiku on trains, Mumbai’s local lifeline. Trianku. And another section on Mumbai’s cherished pick me up – cutting chai. This is chai so strong it is cut in half and only half a glass is served yet that is more than enough. Do read the chaiku.

We had fun putting it together, working long hours in coffee shops, braving the lashing Mumbai monsoon to put out a Diwali issue. So, here it is for your reading pleasure.

The second anthology generated a lot of interest and we got submissions from all over the world. There will be a third, so if you missed this one, do submit for the third one, next year. We read and discuss every single entry and take a group decision. As usual all submission periods will be up on this blog as soon as we open.

If you like this one check out our first anthology, the taste of sea breeze, which was published in 2016. Click on the picture for Amazon.in.

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Read this Summer Poetry

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The summer issue of the World Haiku Review is up and its a really good one.


               Summer 2017

This is one you will enjoy reading, especially the editorial by Editor in Chief, Susumu Takiguchi and the usual selection of good haiku and haibun.

Also take a look at the poems in One Hundred Haijin. The poetry of Sojo is deeply moving. Enjoy.

Narrow Road 2 is up

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This is a literary magazine which began with coffeeshops and friendship. Three of us began it, putting together an issue of  flash fiction, poetry and haibun. The first issue did well.

The Second issue got a lot of submissions and interest seems to be growing. So here it is, the second issue is up.

 

And here is the first issue.

Lost Cities of India

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Did you always want to know about the magnificent mythic cities of ancient India? Sunken Dwarka and crystalline Indraprastha?  Take a look at this short book on the grandeur and mystery of the past.

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I wrote these articles a long time ago and the response I got was excellent. I have planned a full book on the subject since the Mahabharata is full of fascinating details and stories but that is yet to come. In the meantime, by popular demand here are the original articles I wrote in 2007.

Take a journey into India’s magnificent heritage like you have never seen before.

Available as a Kindle ebook on Amazon.

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Monsoons and Mayflowers

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This one has been a long time coming. I wrote these reflections of life and nature over the years, in bits and pieces, and finally put them together as a book. A lot of people think there is no nature in a big city like Mumbai. There is plenty if you look for it and I have been looking all my life. The seasons are unlike any other and that makes them interesting.

Here is a world of dogs and cats, trees, birds, and coffee shops in Mumbai. It is the world I see. Perhaps you will like it too.

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These endearing and delightful sketches will give you a most unusual look at the life of a big city.

Have you always wanted to know how not to talk crow, or how to think like a dog or walk into a wall of grass? Have you secretly desired to experience Mumbai’s most beautiful visitors or hide under a table with your whole family? If you pit a squirrel against the education system who will win? Don’t worry, it has a happy ending.

Here is a whole world of lonely Black Kites, dissatisfied visitors, telepathic dogs, giggling Peepals, lucky black cats, gaudy birds, a soundwave of sparrows, independent minded trees and cats who hate the rain. And much more.

Enter at your own risk. Take this journey into a world you did not dream existed.

The Chapters –

The Fields of Mumbai

In the Days Before Licenses

The Fairest of Visitors

As Gaudy as Possible

A Squirrel vs the Education System

Luck Comes in Black

How Not to Choose a Puppy

Love and Light

The Fine and Delicate Art of Intimidation

This is How it’s Done

Of Lovers, Coffins and Kittens

Walking Between Two Worlds

Alarms, Tall Grasses and Telepathy

Who is the Villain?

Life at the Bottom of the Ocean

Filter Coffee, Wada Pav

How Not to Speak Crow

In Memory of Trees

A Roof Full of Sparrows

A Bowstring of Honeybees

Mayflowers and Mangoes

Now Comes the King

One Tree Autumn

A Tickle of Winter

How to Hide Under a Table

Coming soon – Monsoons and Mayflowers

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Coming soon, my next book – Monsoons and Mayflowers.

A book about nature and life in Mumbai city. It will be released online as a Kindle ebook.

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I am in the last stage of editing. Hope to publish it next month. More details very soon.

A few copies are available

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A few copies of my book Mantramala are available at Kitab Khana, Fort, Mumbai.

Sadly, it may go out of print and is at the end of its second edition. It had been doing well and I get a lot of feedback about it. If you want a copy this is the time. 

A year’s worth of words

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Has it really been a year since I began this self publishing journey? So much has happened in this short time.

Actually it took three years to come to 2015.

Before that, I spent decades in a world of publishers.  In those days, the way was set and there was no other path. If you wanted to be published you had to find a publisher which could take years.

You spent a lot of time looking for agent and publisher emails. Some of them, yes, even today, want the old snail mail and not email. You had done your research and then you prepared your query letter as carefully as if for god. You waited patient or inpatient, but you waited. Sometimes, you got no reply. If you did get a reply it was often a curt dismissal.

Your self esteem, if you had any left, hit the floor. You took days and much effort to recover from a rejection but that, they told you, was the author’s way.

Yes, it used to be the author’s life and it was a very tough one. When you write, you are emotional and open. You are by yourself or among writing friends. Nothing prepares you for the publisher world when your tender butterfly meets the shark.

From the dreamy world of wispy imagination you now have to deal with the teeth of contracts and legalese, non competes and ebook rights and the terrible fangs of rotten contracts.

It’s a nasty road and very painful but who cares for writers anyway?  It’s a self sustaining environment. You are told, over and over, that there is no other way. You need a publisher and you need their approval. Without that writing anointing, you are nothing. Your fragile child must be turned over to rough hands to be assessed in financial terms. mangled or rejected. And you must take it with a smile and say, thank you.

So, there I was, limping on the accepted path.

Then I heard the first murmurs about ebooks and self publishing as a viable option and not the notorious vanity presses.

I spent the next two years convincing myself that it could work. It’s tough getting out of the ‘only a publisher can sanctify a book’ to ‘you mean I can do it myself?’

 I learned about Kindle Direct Publishing. Wow, you mean I can publish without cost, keep all the rights and get 70 percent of every book, with detailed accounts and regular payments?

Isn’t that a fairytale just too good to be true? Isn’t that a story made to snare unwary authors? I heard that from many people. It’s easy to believe. Writers have been so battered and abused that is hard to believe there are fair and decent terms out there.

But my own research showed me something. I read all the blogs and haunted the writing forums. It was true. Yes, it was true.

It took me three years to decide to take the plunge. In 2015 I knew I would go for it.

The first ebook was the toughest. I had to learn how to do it.  I collected my flash fiction into a book. Figured out how to do the cover with a basic painting and some photo editors to give it texture. I edited every word several times.

But the big problem lay ahead – formatting.

I had no idea how to do it so I gave it to a company to do. In September last year my first ebook, To Catch a Falling Star, was published in silence. No fanfare, no book readings, nothing but a blog post and emails.

Nothing but a feeling of great and deep satisfaction.

Yes, I knew I liked this path. I had to figure out how to do it myself. I had to undertand the formatting so I downloaded the books and studied websites.

In December, a short story, A Handful of Rice went up.  This was was even more satisfying because I had done it all myself, the cover, editing, formatting and uploading to Amazon’s KDP.

Book 3, whiskers and purrs, a collection of cat haiku went up in February 2016.

I put together a book of short meditations,  5 Minute Delight, which went up in May.

In July our haiku group published our first anthology, A Taste of Sea Breeze.

And in August, I published Life Crafting, Techniques of Self Growth and Creativity.

My sixth book in the first year. I thought it took a year to write a book but I discovered that it takes publishers a year, not writers. I started out with the idea of publishing one book and went on to do six. I thought it impossible but it was not even stressful. I enjoyed every moment of it.

Sales have not been great but they have been selling. I know this is a marathon and will build up slowly. I am in no hurry at all, as a I plod along writing the next book.

The strange thing is that when I was a child, imagining the writers life, this is what I imagined. The great satisfaction of writing and publishing just as I please. Then I grew up and ran head first into the wall of the publishing world. From then on, it was a struggle. Now the delight and the easy playful creativity is back without the stress and struggle.

The year was not yet done with me.

I do workshops at Somaiya  Center for Lifelong Learning and I suggested one on how to publish your own ebook. I put together everything I had learned in the year so that others could do this too.

I had no idea what the response would be but there were lots of queries. The workshop was full, the people who showed up were really interested and Midday and DNA both covered it. This is the DNA article.

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And so the first year ended on a high note, with a workshop. My first ebook expanded almost effortlessly into 6.

And now, a short respite,  a trip or two and Diwali break, before I begin year 2.

I can’t wait!

I know it will be better than the first as my self publishing journey goes on.

Send in your winter haiku

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Autumn is coming and another issue is on the way, only waiting for your haiku. The red leaves and the chill winds of autumn leading to the leaden skies and white world of winter. The best time to sit in the warmth indoors and write poems.

Submissions are now open for the Autumn/Winter 2016 issue of World Haiku Review.

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The themes are lost love or autumn and winter subjects but they are only guidelines and you do not necessarily have to follow them.

The Deadline is Tuesday, 29th November, 2016.

Please send in your best – make sure it is not published elsewhere and please read the guidelines carefully HERE.

Look forward to reading your work.