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.
One of the things I really enjoy is being able to do my own cover. Of course, it is a time taking process and I conceptualize the cover when I begin the book. The cover is ready long before the writing and helps to keep me focused during the long process of writing, rewriting, editing, formatting and uploading. I put it as wallpaper on my phone to keep reminding myself.
My minimal art experience, and a lot of study, is now coming in useful. I draw the central image first, digitally, and then add texture, backgrounds and all the rest.
This is the cover for my latest book, 5 Minute Delight. It went through many steps to get to this point. After I published the book many people told me that they really loved the cover.
It took a long time to get there and these are the steps – and some missteps which I took. The first ideas did not work. I kept redoing it until I liked the result.
I knew I wanted a bright and cheerful cover, but not one which looks like a children’s book. I decided on a flower and chose a sunflower. I drew out the flower but somehow it just did not work. The colours never seemed to gel and the impact just was not there. The first panel at the top left shows the first attempt and then, I tried to play with the colours but gave up on the sunflower.
I looked around for another flower and thought of the rare blue Himalayan poppy, a favorite flower of mine. The third picture on the top row is my rough drawing of it growing out from a book. The book is about visualizations so that image seemed to fit.
The flower did not look real. I studied photos of it went back to work. The three photos on the right show the progression as I chose a blue – yellow, contrasting colour scheme, finished the flower and added the background. The size turned out wrong so I had to resize it as you can see in the bottom panel on the right. The drawing was too big and not enough room was left for the title.
After all, its a book cover not a piece of art. It’s like an ad for the book so title takes precedence. I reduced the size of the drawing.
And finally I got what I wanted. Then I only had to add the text. Which took another few days playing with fonts and placement. Then I sent it out to a few friends and they approved.
I had lots of fun doing it and liked the end result.
Now on to the next book and the next cover.
Everyone wants to write a book.
It constantly amazes me how many people want to write a book and how many are now looking at the ebook option.
Some are writers who want control and want to do it themselves. Some have never tried publishing and, based on what their writer friends tell them, they never want to. Others are not writers but experts in their fields who could find no crack in the high forbidding wall of traditional publishing.
It’s a sad thing if everyone who has mastered an art or craft and wants to write about it for the benefit of others – can’t even get to do so. They don’t have to be good writers. They just have to know their field, which most of them really do know very well.
Some just want to write their life stories, the history of the turbulence they lived through. Yes, they are not writers. Does that make their stories less valid?
Some people are always complaining that there is too much crap out there especially in ebooks and self-publishing. What does that mean? By whose definition is one book less valid than another?
Who decides on quality anyway? Publishers liked to think they did, that a writer is anointed as a writer of quality by being published by the best imprints.
For me, validation, if you even need it, comes from readers.
And I have been lucky enough to have it in plenty. So many people told me they keep my book Mantramala by their bedside. Others showed me they carried it in their bags or gave it as gifts.
Was that more important than seeing my book on the front shelves of a book shop? I saw that too, but yes, it was. That was real validation.
And it does not need anyone’s stamp of approval.
So, I see a real hunger and its everywhere.
Can I really do it myself? How do I do it?
Things have really changed. One new author told me she was offered a package from a publisher and she refused it, indignantly. They offered me only ten percent, she said, how foolish do they think I am?
There is no question in my mind –
almost everyone wants to write a book
and now everyone can
and that’s what is right about this world.
My book, Mantramala. is now available from Celeste, the shop. Some of you complained that you had difficulty in getting the book. Now you can order online and Celeste will deliver in India.
Here is the link –
You can connect with Celeste at
Celeste is a new online store, offering new age products and a good line of workshops and readings. Do take a look.
Another month spiraling into the past, taking very little published work with it but raining steadily long after monsoon should be over. October heat is here now, baking pavements, shortening tempers, hoping for the long cool days of mild winter.
Diwali is on the way with its noisy fireworks, marigolds and shining rows of oil and wax lamps.
And writing? Its been up and down, as always – growth is never a steady line is it?
Its been two years now since I have been working on flash fiction and short stories. I had no idea when I began, what a long journey this would be. Now, an inbox full of rejections later I have figured it out!
And, while writing fiction I began my second non fiction book.
Mantramala has been selling extremely well, and I get mail from people who loved it too. Spending five years researching it and another five to publish it – worthwhile in the end. Hope to have another book by next year.
My book, Mantramala, is now stocked at Celeste in addition to Kitab Khana and Strand bookstall, all three in Mumbai. Celeste is also beginning online sales so you can order a copy anywhere in India from the store.
Here is the Celeste website with the email and phone number. http://www.celestethecenter.com/
The first edition of Mantramala is almost sold out. The last few copies should be arriving in Mumbai, coming to Kitab Khana at Fort, or Strand Bookstall.
I keep getting mail asking where to buy it from. I know its been hard to get but it is not in my hands. Publishers decide these things. I have to keep explaining that I don’t have copies. I got a few copies when it was published and managed to hold onto one for my own reference. After that, if I want a copy I have to buy it.
As of now, I don’t know what will happen when the last copies sell out. Publishing is a business in such a big crisis right now – who knows.
I certainly hope it will be available again soon. In the meantime, if you want the book, pick it up now.
Books get published and books get lost amid the thousands which are printed every year. Too many titles and too little shelf space. When my book was first published I rarely saw it on the shelves. Bookshops did not reorder. Some did not even take orders.
Like many books it was invisible, the book I had taken five years to research and write and almost as much to get published. Once in print it just disappeared. Sales were good. One or two bookshops – especially Strand – stocked it and sold it and re-ordered it often. So, if it was selling, where was it?
Three years after publication I found out. Here, in the very first table of Kitab Khana, a friendly and cheerful Mumbai bookshop. Here it is, right at the entrance, on that important first table.
Once a book leaves home for a publisher its like a bird taking flight – you have no idea where it will land – or crash – or go into oblivion. Or sometimes, reappear.
Just goes to show that everything takes its time and every dog has its day.
This one was a really delightful day, and in some sense came full circle, since I am planning to begin another book next week.
Published by Dronequill publishers.
307 pages, over 400 mantras, ten years of study.
Mantras in Sanskrit Devnagri script, also English transliteration and, of course, English translation. Details of how to use the mantras and visualisations with them.
A review of the book by Shri M.V. Kamath is here :
About the book
The name Mantramala comes from the beads, the mala which is commonly used for mantras. It has 108 beads and this book is divided into 108 sections. Here are the contents.
The Meaning of Mantras.
The Practice of Mantras.
1. Early morning.
2. Morning shlokas.
3. Space clearing.
4. Tulsi and peepal.
5. Prayers to the sun.
6. Prayers to the light.
7. To charge water.
8. To energize food and medicine.
9. Before sleeping.
10. Saraswati mantras.
11. Saraswati names, festival.
12. Durga mantras.
13. Durga names, festival.
14. Nav varna mantra.
15. Navratri mantras.
16. Laxmi mantras.
17. Ashta laxmi mantras.
18. Laxmi names, festival.
20. Pranayam and the long Gayitri.
21. Gayitri samputs.
22. Kali mantras.
23. Devi Gayitris.
25. Mantras from the Lalita Sahasranaam.
26. Other Devis.
27. Bija mantras.
28. Ganesh mantras.
29. Ganesh festivals and names.
30 Shiva mantras.
31. Shiva names and festivals.
33. Mrityunjay mantra.
34. Variations of Mrityunjay.
35. Krishna mantras.
36. Krishna festivals.
37. Ram mantras.
38. Variations of Ram mantras.
39. Vishnu mantras.
40. Hanuman mantras.
41. Hanuman names and festivals.
42. Surya mantras.
43. Surya names and festivals.
44. Other Gods.
45. Dev Gayitris.
46. Gayitris of the elements.
47. Other Gayitris.
48. One verse Bhagvad and Ramayan and Chandi.
49. The Guru Tradition.
Book 4. A Collection of Mantras.
Festivals and planets.
50. The Hindu Calendar.
51. The Festivals.
52. Akshay Trutiya and Guru Purnima.
53. Raksha Bandhan and Shraddha.
54. Mantras for the Planets.
55. Nav graha mantras.
56. Sun sign mantras.
57. Laxmi mantras for the sun signs.
58. Vastu mantras.
59. Rudraksha mantras.
60. Gems for the planets.
Mantras for a Happy Family Life.
61. Mantras for marriage.
62. A Happy married life.
63. When you want a child.
64. For the welfare of children.
65. For love, romance and great sex.
66. For a happy family.
Mantras for wealth and business.
67. Mantras for wealth.
68. Two mantras for good business.
69. Two mantras for sudden gain.
70. To end debts.
71. To remove obstacles.
72. Two mantras for Karya siddhi, success in work.
73. For victory.
74. Prestige, status, high position.
Knowledge, the arts and fame.
75. To begin education.
76. Success in mental work.
77. Success in arts.
78. Vedic mantras for fame.
79. To develop intuition and dream answers.
80. Psychic powers.
81. Kundalini mantras.
82. Chakra bija mantras.
Protection, power, self confidence.
83. Mantras for protection.
84. Strong protection.
85. Protection from spirits, black magic.
86. Mantras to say in troubled times.
87. To overcome fear.
88. Mantras to control anger and worries.
89. Power, confidence.
90. A Kavach.
91. Making a protective amulet.
Health and healing.
92. Radiant health and energy.
93. Mantras for ailments.
94. For healers.
95. Two mantras for good sleep.
96. Positive Energy and vitality.
97. For a fit and strong body.
99. To improve one’s personality and gain charisma.
100. To achieve all wishes.
Happiness, peace and realization.
101. Power of Om.
102. Happiness and Friendship.
103. Vedic prayer for long life.
104. Two positive thinking mantras from the Vedas.
105. Prayers for realisation.
106. Prayers to the divine.
107. Kshama prathana.
108. Shanti mantras.
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