The Kindness Gene

Despite my sometimes-stern exterior, I have indeed inherited #TheKindnessGene from my mom and dad. Both my parents are gentle and kind by nature.

Here are a few things I do/have done to be kind:

1.    I sometimes buy a book or something else for my
domestic help’s children.

2.    As a child, I taught a younger friend some subjects.

3.    In college, I taught a younger friend economics.

4.    I have listened to the medical problems faced by my
domestic help and tried to help them with some medicine for their ailment (if
needed) since our house is like a pharmacy! 😛

5.    I have talked about my domestic help’s children’s
careers with them. I’m aware of some of their struggles.

6.    I try not to dispose of batteries or inflammables in the
trash ‘coz they may explode when people burn the trash and end up hurting
someone.

7.    I make sure no broken, poky things are lying around
that could hurt anyone when they step on them.

8.    When someone gets hurt, I feel bad. I try to give them
Burnol or some antiseptic cream.

9.    I collect packages (courier) of the neighbours. I’m
mentioning this coz when I stayed in Bangalore, my neighbour refused to collect
my courier!

You can check other people’s posts here

 

The face of terror

Celine’s car broke down in the middle of nowhere. All that she could see for miles around was a run-down house. She decided to spend the night there until help arrived to fix her car. When she entered the guest bedroom, it was full of spiderwebs. The bed looked dusty and unused for ages. She started dusting it with her scarf. She wondered how she would catch a night’s sleep there. As she lay down on the bed, she heard it creak. The branches of the trees outside looked like the long arms of a ghost. She started feeling a sense of dread. She closed her eyes and hoped the night would pass uneventfully. Suddenly, she heard a knock on the door. She didn’t dare open it. An eerie laugh rent the air. The door flung open by itself and she saw a figure all in white. As her eyes grew wide with shock and shivers ran down her spine, she found herself looking at the masked white figure before her. The ghost took off the mask and revealed a black void. Its bony hands reached out for her face. Terror gripped her as she realised that it wanted her face.

Photo by Art Hauntington on Unsplash

I first wrote this story to a prompt in a Facebook group.

Finding Mr. Right

Lisa lived in a huge bungalow with only her four cats for company. She spent a lot of her time reading in the little library room. One day, she was reading a romance and dreaming about the hero in the book who was tall and handsome. Suddenly, the book fell out of her hands and the hero came into the room…from the book! But he was translucent! Oh my God! Lisa thought with a shock..he was a ghost! But he had the nicest voice she had ever heard. She got goosebumps when he spoke her name. She had read all about him in the novel and now he was here with her. He went to a corner of the room and picked up a violin lying there and serenaded her. He spoke sweet nothings in her ear until she blushed a deep shade of pink. He was everything that was missing in her life…so what if he was a ghost? Now, every morning when she woke up, he would be there with tea on the dining table for her. Her lacklustre days soon seemed special. After spending a few weeks together, the two of them decided to tie the knot…

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

I wrote this 200-word piece in response to a prompt in The Hive writing group in 2021

A Lover’s Call

I’m caught in the middle of a storm. It’s not an external storm I speak of, but an internal one. My entire being is torn asunder by numerous forces, and I’m not even aware what they are. I burst into tears and they flow down my cheeks unchecked. I wail in heartbreak. I scream in rage. I feel the cold hands of death reaching down to grip me, and I almost welcome it. It seems so much more inviting than this life that’s filled with agony and pain. Maybe it will, indeed, be a “better” place as they say. I don’t want to court death, but it looks like the grim reaper is courting me after all. Who knows what tomorrow brings? Certainly not me. Then in the midst of this torture, I hear that faint call. It’s you saying “Don’t go.” It’s so distant that I can barely hear it. But I cock my ears like a Spaniel straining to hear. Because I want to. After all these years, the love is still alive. Hope rests like a butterfly on my shoulder. And I don’t want to scare her away. This sliver is enough to last me another day.

This was my winning entry for #minitales30 conducted by The Hive in their Facebook group in 2021.

On Micro-aggressions

Usually, when a person keeps exploding, it is because they have kept quiet for far too long and it has resulted in a pressure-cooker-like situation. One of the reasons could be micro-aggressions caused to the person.

Here are some examples:

  1. “Okay, grandma”
  2. “I thought you would be a meat-eater.”
  3. “He could be your son.”
  4. “You are a baby”
  5. “He was babysitting you”
  6. “Mundam” – a Tamil word – That’s an outright insult and not a “micro-aggression”. The list is long. According to https://www.themicropedia.org/, we are all guilty of microaggressions at some point. Some people may not even know they are committing a micro-aggression. Some may not think what they said was hurtful or insulting. That is why it is so important to put oneself in the other person’s shoes and understand what that person might be going through. The term”empathy” refers to just that.

I would appreciate it if readers just thought about this. Please do not respond with comments or with further examples. Thank you.

Don’t put yourself in a box

When I first started this blog, it was in 2007 or so and I wanted to keep posting only copy-editing-related content. In 2014, my friend suggested I start a book blog, and rather than start a new blog, I decided to post content on this blog itself. In 2017, I decided I wanted a separate space to talk about books, so I started one on Blogspot. Then I wanted a separate domain, so I started a Wix blog. However, I found WordPress was more user-friendly. So I decided to scrap my Wix blog and came back to this WordPress blog. Meanwhile, I had started a bookstagram called ashtalksbooks, so I changed my mymewse blog to ashtalksbooks.blogspot.in. I hadn’t posted for about two months on this blog coz I had called it ‘Aishwariya’s LittLog. So I felt it had to be a place for only literary content and not my own stories. Finally, I decided I will just do whatever I want and so here I am posting away. Phew! All this points to the need for a good content strategy. Also, it is okay to change your mind and do what you want. It’s your life and your blog (for whoever needed to hear this today).

#IWSG Wednesday Post

Poster Image from the group

This post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join.) On the first Wednesday of every month, we all post our thoughts, fears, or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

This month’s question — When you set out to write a story, do you try to be more original or do you try to give readers what they want?

When I set out to write a story, it is usually to a prompt. I just let the words flow out. A lot of it depends on what I’m thinking of at that moment and what’s running through my mind in relation to the prompt.

I’m not sure who my readers are …leave alone know what they want. I mean who are those people who are actually reading my stories other than the handful that click like on my post ( in case it’s a blog) or those who reach out? Sometimes, I feel things go into a black hole, even though I relentlessly share my work.

Three cats, a man, and a woman

David was pretty much your average Joe. There was nothing exceptional about him. But he had one attractive quality – at least in Nancy’s eyes. He loved cats. He had not just one, but three amazing felines. The first was Violet, his tabby cat who was blind of one eye and David’s favorite. The second was Raven, his black cat that he protected every time Halloween came around, and the third was little Muffin, the one-month-old darling he had found dumped in the trash by some horrible person. He considered it his mission in life to save these cats and give them a home. He didn’t have much to offer, but there was always enough for his cats.

Little did David realize that Nancy had been noticing all this from next door. Nancy with her long, shapely legs, auburn hair, and sparkling blue eyes. She was looking for true love and she wanted a man who would love her and care for her just the way she was. It helped that David was easy on the eyes.

Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

One day, Violet, David’s tabby left a little present for Nancy. It was a half-eaten bird! Right under her dining table. Although she was thoroughly repulsed by the carcass, she understood cat psychology enough to know that in a cat’s mind it was considered an act of love. Nancy went over to David’s house and playfully flirted with him. He came over to her place and helped clean the bird carcass. And that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship…

Interview with Author Devika Fernando

  1. You’ve written romances of all kinds – second-chance romance, paranormal, royals, single mom etc. Which one is your favorite kind and why?

Oh, that’s an interesting question I haven’t been asked before. I think the books in my Inn Love romance series have been my favorite to write so far. I chose a different country and fictitious inn for each book, and being an innkeeper myself, I could subtly weave my own experiences into the stories. Plus, I just love armchair travel and can get lost in the research for the settings.

On the other hand, I also loved writing my paranormal romance trilogy because I’ve always enjoyed various elements of the supernatural. It was something completely new for me to write, bringing its own challenges and more freedom to try out something different.

2. Could you tell us about your educational background?

I don’t often talk about it because (especially in Sri Lanka) people tend to look down on me for not being a degree holder. I graduated from German high school with top marks, but I never attended university or got any other kind of degree (although I started an office management diploma in Germany for a few months, several years later). Life happened and I made some choices I don’t regret at all.

3. How easy or hard is it to put yourself in the shoes of the different characters you write?

I’ve always had a very vivid imagination and also been observant, so I find that part easy. And I think being an introvert helps. I can get into other people’s hearts and minds and empathize, which is important.

Author Devika Fernando.

4. What are the challenges you face while writing series as opposed to standalone romance novels?

Some of my series feature stand-alone books even though they have a common thread or theme. I think it’s remembering details from previous books that need to be consistent. I’m pretty bad with dates/time frames, names, things like that.

5. Do you believe there is a formula when it comes to writing romances?

Well, if it’s genre romance, then of course there are certain unspoken rules; and if you write for a publisher, there are ‘spoken’ rules too. I’m not constricted by those but try to work with popular tropes and keep in mind what readers enjoy. I guess that is a formula in itself.

But I believe there’s only one rule that HAS to be met when writing romance: a happy ending a.k.a. HEA (happily ever after) or alternatively HFN (happy for now) if it’s a series.

6. Which are some books on romance writing you’ve read and would recommend?

I have to say I haven’t read any of those – although I do read general romance or writing advice blog posts. In that regard, I can recommend Jami Gold and the guest authors on her site, as well as Jesse Stuart.

7. Could you name some of your favorite romance novels?

That’s impossible, sorry! Some of my favorite romance novelists are Nora Roberts, Sylvia Day, and Cass Michaels.

8. Looking back at your journey as a writer, what are some things you would avoid doing today if you could?

Hm, another great question. I’ve learned from reviews of my earliest books that I shouldn’t get too lost in describing the setting and the background information but weave it into my plot and have my characters interact with it instead.

9. What do you consider your greatest achievement till date?

Writing-wise? Probably that I embarked on this self-publishing journey at all. I started in 2013 and I’ve published almost 20 books so far, some of them co-written.

10. What is your advice to aspiring romance writers?

Read as much as you can, and write as much as you can (ideally both in your genre, but that doesn’t have to be). And never forget that writing itself is just the start, it’s the marketing effort afterwards that counts, too.

Fibonacci Poetry Competition for Children

Please follow these guidelines to the T, else your entry may be rejected by the judges.

The poem MUST follow the form of a Fibonacci sequence. The number of syllables in each line of the poem needs to be the sum of the previous two lines: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13.

Here’s more information on a Fibonacci poem.

For examples of a Fibonacci poem, check the latest issue of Science Shore magazine.

Age limit: 16 years. Please provide your date of birth with your entry.
Submit only one poem per person.
Deadline: June 15, 2022.
Submit your poem to scienceshoremagazine@gmail.com

The subject of your email should be “Poetry Contest 2022 submission” followed by your name… for example, a submission by Jane XYZ would have the following text in the subject line:
Poetry Contest 2022 submission Jane XYZ
Prizes will be announced in the last issue of 2022.

Criteria for choosing the winning entries:

Content and clarity of presentation of idea
Syllable count
Word choice
Grammatical correctness

The prizes are :

1st place: INR 750/-
2nd place: INR 500/-
3rd place: INR 250/-

Poems of special merit will receive certificates.

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