It was a cold, cold day and Emelia was stuck inside her SUV in a snowstorm. It was freezing outside as well as inside. She had been sitting in the car from last 48 hours.
She turned off the heater a while back because she knew the battery of her car won’t last if she’ll keep the heater running for long. According to the reports she heard before getting stuck in this hell, the storm would last for several of days. So far, it had been only 2 days.
The last two days had been the worst days of Emelia’s life, or so she thought. In the initial hours, Emelia refused to believe that she was stuck in the car in the middle of nowhere in a fucking snowstorm. But after a couple of hours when the wind continued howling like a hungry dog and the snow kept falling like there won’t be an end, she realised that she was stuck. Stuck here for good. Soon after this realisation followed panic.
For the next few hours, she cried for help; screaming her lungs out and almost rupturing her vocal cords. She tried to break the glass of her windows, but her fingers were already starting to get numb. Moreover, the glass of her SUV’s windows was not easy to break. This exhausted and frustrated her to no measure. She kept at it but in vain.
Hours later, exhausted, she closed her eyes giving up and that’s when she saw Will smiling at her. The smile she fell in love with, the smile that takes all her worry away, the smile she wanted to go back to. And then it dawned on her that the only thing that will keep her going was hope.
Yes, she can survive this and yes she will make it back. A lot of people do, and that too in much worse situations. So she forced herself to believe that she can too. In spite of the swelling in both her feet and the lower half of her back, in spite of the numbness spreading throughout her arms, she told herself, that it will be over soon.
She tried to focus on the conversation she had with Will just before she left her home – “I need a break, Will. Just a week off from being a wife. I’m tired and you know it. All I’m asking is for you to let me be alone for a few days.”
After a few hours of argument, she was able to convince Will, like she always does, to let her go alone to the Rhode Island. She made him promise to not call her, and knowing that he will, she left her phone at home in the drawer of her study table. How she missed her phone right now. If only she had her phone with her, everything would be fine. Will would come running to rescue her and this nightmare would be over, forever.
But now, that was not possible. Unless someone was stupid enough to leave their home in such a storm and come driving down this stupid forest, that Emelia wanted to explore before driving to The Resort in Rhode Island, no one would know where she was.
She’d been crying a few hours ago, but now crying felt too laborious in such a cold weather. What really scared her though was not the cold that was shutting down her nervous system, or the storm that covered her car with thick snow, or the fact that it was a forest and some big carnivore animal might be lurking around her car. No, she was a strong woman when it came to these things. But what did bother her was the gloom of the sunless sky and the scary sounds the wind was making every time it went swishing around her glass windows. And also, the feeling, deep in the pit of her stomach, that something was terribly wrong, other than this unfortunate situation in which she had landed up, something was not right.
At one point, she thought she heard something, a sort of wailing. But as brave as she was, she still felt fear grip her insides. The glass of her windows was completely covered in fog and snow and it was difficult to see what was outside. She was just able to tell that it was soon turning into night.
The wind was whipping wildly outside, and there it was again. She heard that wailing cacophony again. She sat straighter, and in order to ignore the blood-curdling sound, she started to hum a lullaby that her mother used to sing when she was a child. She tried to literally force herself to sleep, but the cold made it impossible. But the lullaby which she always found comforting, sounded like a death song which was both disturbing and frightening.
All of a sudden there was a loud thud just outside her door. She felt it as much as she heard it as if something heavy hit the door. She tried to peek outside through the frosted glass, but nothing was visible against the grey backdrop of the gloomy dusk. She thought it was some wild animal. Slowly she rose from her seat, and without making any noise shifted to the seat on the passenger side. She was sure that the darkness would conceal her movement.
She tried to calm down her thudding heart telling it that it was nothing but an animal and there was nothing to fear. But when she heard the sobbing of a woman just loud enough to make the hair on her neck rise, she knew, it was no animal. And just then the sobbing turned into a high pitched laughter, so crass and intense that it made Emelia’s teeth chatter.
She looked intently at the glass window on the driving side and thought that she saw a hint of a shadow – a shadow woman with a scarf draped over her head. But only for a second before the outline turned into black smoke and transformed into a shapeless mass.
Frozen, she knew that it was no woman; it was someone else. Someone who is not a living person because no living person will sit and sob and then laugh in the middle of a snowstorm, outside a car that is stuck in the lonely forest in the middle of the night… It was Her, whom no one was supposed to see…
Note: All views and opinions shared in this post are my own.
Please feel free to give your feedback in the comments section below.
You can read my other stories here.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
I had planned for 2 short stories and 1 article on Writing to post in through April and May, but unfortunately, things got in the way (as they usually do) and I completely forgot about the drafts (some half-baked some ready to go up) sitting patiently on my dashboard. I thought I’ll get back to blogging regularly now by scheduling the posts – like I do with my reviews at The Reading Bud, but before that, I wanted to drop by and post updates about what’s been since 8th April, the last time I posted.
- Deceived has been entered for the Hindu Literary Prize 2017. Hindu is one of the top newspapers in India.
- Deceived is being translated into Marathi (a regional language of Maharashtra, the State I live in.)
- The English release of Deceived is set for 24th June and it might be a soft launch by the looks of it because we want to do a big launch cum release with at least 2 languages so most probably, that’ll be sometime in July as the translated Marathi version will be ready by then.
- Deceived has crossed 66 ratings on Goodreads.
- Deceived is now listed on Amazon.in (Amazon.com and other Amazons will still take another week or so.)
- Book reviewers are loving Deceived and I’ve already made a few fans.
- Sinister Town is going slow and steady and should be ready by the end of this year.
- I have 3 Novel Critiques lined up for the coming days and I’m already booked until the 20th of July.
- I have 1 editing lined up for the month of July so the rest of the July is also packed.
- I’m working on 2 other projects for Citrus Publishers, mostly marketing and HR related.
- I suffered a reading slump in late March, hence wasn’t able to read much for the last two months. These are the only books I read since April: Under The Dome by Stephen King, Hannah’s Moon by John A. Heldt, Girl In Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow, Gerald’s Game by Stephen King, A Fatal Twist by Tracy Weber, The Shadow Over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft, Something Needs Bleeding by Thomas Singer and Christopher Long, Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg, The Bronx Kill by Philip Cioffari and The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James
- I have to read another 6 books by Grand Central Publishing, 2 by MM Publicity and 3 by EG Publicity for review. Other than these I have about 8 NetGalley books that I want to read ASAP and another 10 that I’ve bought. So I’ll be busy finishing these books in the coming weeks and months.
- We had an awesome holiday in mid-April in Goa. Lots of sunbathing and booze.
- We’re shifting to a bigger house – a row-bungalow on 1st June. And now I can finally get my pets.
- We’re planning a trip to Thailand in August.
- Right after the vacation, we’ll start our hunt for the perfect kitten and GSD pup!
- I developed a bad rash on my arms and later found out that I am allergic to UV rays. The rash was due to extreme sunbathing in Goa last month. So I’m just trying to stay away from the direct sunlight as much as possible. 😦
Right now I’m busy with the shifting, readying the house for the Packers and Movers, so I’ll be seeing you guys next week. Stay tuned to my Twitter as I’ll be sharing the new bungalow’s pics there.
Do let me know how you spent your month. I’d be more than happy to know what you’ve been up to!
I always read craft books not once, but several times. I guess that’s the best way to really get the techniques and the wisdom they have to offer. Lately, I’ve been re-reading Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott and came across a concept, more like a paragraph or two, where author Lamott mentions about naming the unconscious:
“My friend Carpenter talks about the unconscious as the cellar where the little boy sits who creates the characters, and he hands them up to you through the cellar door. He might as well be cutting out paper dolls. he’s peaceful; he’s just playing.”
I paused at this particular bit, as I did the first time I read this book, and started thinking about how my unconscious would be?
Here she describes her friend’s version as a boy sitting in the cellar. But I don’t like the pictures of him sitting in confinement. I like her version of the unconscious better, “instead of a little kid, there’s a long-necked, good-natured Dr. Seuss character down there, grim with concentration and at the same time playing.”
So as I said earlier, I thought about my unconscious and this is what I came up with:
A Little Girl And Her Puppy
My unconscious, The Boy In The Cellar if you will, is a Little Girl. And this Little Girl is me, of course.
And the Little Girl is not alone; she has a puppy with her. A GSD puppy of about 4 months. And yes, this puppy is Tiger, my deceased pet.
So that’s my unconscious.
The Little Girl sits in the middle of the aangan of my childhood bungalow, on a stone-tiled floor on a thick faded rug called dari. She’s sitting cross-legged, wearing a beautiful white frock that hangs loosely from her thin wiry shoulders. Her dark-roasted-coffee-brown hair hanging down in waves reaching her waist.
Fair as she is, she has a small mouth and small ears but big brown curious eyes. She’s sitting with her coloring book sprawled luxuriously in front of her among her uncountable Camlin crayons of every color you could possibly imagine. They are the ones that her father gave her.
Now she’s bent over her book and scribbling away with cyan color. She looks happy today.
The Puppy is sitting beside her in a relaxed fashion that only 4-month-old puppies can manage. His head is resting on the girl small knee. He is looking at whatever the Little Girl is drawing with his droopy doggy eyes that look like they’re falling down. He’s a healthy Greman Shepherd and is big enough to come to her knees when she’s standing. He loves the Little Girl immensely and enjoys looking at her draw.
As I said, she looks good, happy. That makes me feel very good. And the important thing is she is not alone, she has the Puppy with her.
She loves drawing and therefore she is always drawing something or the other. Sometimes it takes her days, sometimes weeks and sometimes months or even years to complete a “masterpiece.” And when she’s done, she looks up from her work and calls me and hands me over those drawings.
Sometimes these drawings are so clear that I can clearly see what she has come up with, but sometimes they’re all blurred and abstract and it takes me a while to figure them out, to understand what is it that she wants me to see.
This is how my ideas come to me or rather delivered to me by my unconscious. The Little Girl is not a fragment of me, but she
The Little Girl is not a fragment of me, but she is me. This is how I get countless ideas for my books, characters, plots, sub-plots, short stories, flash fiction pieces, poems, etc.
This is how I write.
If you are new to writing or if you are struggling with it, then I highly suggest this exercise. It’ll help you attain the very focus you need to center your creative mind.
What about you? Have you ever thought about how your unconscious works? Do you have a particular image of that unconscious?
If you liked reading this article, then you might like these as well:
Last week was busy, to say the least, I went to my mom’s place as Vishal had some work with my step and so spent some really good time with my mom and brother. I also made a few changes to my website – Added ‘Upcoming Titles’ and ‘Praise’ sections to the Home page, added ‘Praise’ page to the menu, along with adding my short bio and book image to the sidebar, and I must say that I’m happy with those things because now if someone comes directly to my Blog page (which happens a lot) they can get a glimpse of me (and who I am and what I do.)
And this week, I got these beauties (my Ig, T, and Fb followers might already know):
Aren’t they pretty! I love them and everyone at Citrus is so giddy with relief that the designing and branding work is over now. We all can just take a step back now, admire our hard work and move forward with the tiresome things of sending ARCs to reviewers and doing the other media pre-promotions.
I’m so glad to be working with people who value talent over age and experience and as I tweeted today morning, “I’m in a very happy place in my life right now! And I intend to keep it this way.”
So that’s all for today. Oh BTW, see what my publicist did this week:
Hope you all are having a nice week.
It’s been over a year since I’ve done any tags. I love doing them (they’re so much fun), but early last year life got real busy and so many tags piled up on top of other blog posts that I decided to pass on all of them. But recently I was tagged by one of my favorite authors, John A. Heldt, and I simply couldn’t resist.
John, the author of critically acclaimed Northwest Passage and American Journey series, is a longtime friend, and I always look forward to reading his books. He blogs quite regularly, so if you have a few minutes, do check out his blog and books.
Q & A
What book has been on your shelf the longest?
The Shinning by Stephen King. I’m a big Stephen King fan, but for some reason, I never got around to reading this masterpiece by him. I bought the book 2 years back but still haven’t got around to reading it.
What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?
Currently, I’m reading Hanna’s Moon by John A. Heldt. My last read was The Beekeeper’s Daughter and my next read is going to be Under The Dome by Stephen King
What book did everyone like but you hated?
Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. I won’t say I hated the book, but I was simply not able to get into it in spite of most of my friends loving it.
What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read but you probably won’t?
Fifty Shades Of Grey by E.L. James and 77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz. Both are horrific reads, first one figuratively and the second one literally.
What book are you saving for retirement?
Life’s too short to wait to read a book, but I do plan on re-reading several books after my “retirement” – ASOIF Series, HP Series, etc.
Last page: Read it first or save until the end?
Always save it until the end. Who the hell reads the last page anyway. If won’t make any sense, to say the least, and it would just end up revealing the end. Two big no-nos for me.
Acknowledgement: Waste of paper and ink or interesting aside?
Being a writer myself, I know how much hard work goes into a book and that is why I love reading acknowledgments page of every single book I read. It makes me feel more connected to the author and the people involved in the making of the book.
Which book character would you switch places with?
Arya Stark of ASOIAF series. It would be hard, but I’d do it anyway.
Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life?
Game Of Thrones (ASOIAF #1) by George R.R. Martin. I won’t go into the details but Ned Stark reminds me of my father a lot and the things that happened to him do too.
Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.
I almost always buy my own books, so the most interesting way was getting 3 to 4 books delivered by my library at my doorstep every month for an entire year while I was a member. I’m not a member anymore as I realized that libraries are not for me as I hate returning books I love. So I buy them now.
Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?
Yes. I’ve given the first copy of my debut novel to my husband. And will keep on giving him the first copy of all my novels.
Which book has been with you most places?
The World’s Best Fairytales by Reader’s Digest Association. It is a big book of fairy tales passed on to me by my grandfather. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember.
Any required reading that you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?
I’ve not yet read any of Shakespear’s plays because I never enjoyed them in high school.
Used or brand new?
Brand new only. I like my books to be mine and mine alone.
Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?
Yes, I’ve read three of his books: The Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol, and Inferno.
Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?
Not better than the book, but equally good – The Hobbit (all three movies.)
Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?
I love cooking (baking to be specific) and I bought The Chocolate And Coffee Bible a few years back. It has some amazing chocolate and coffee recipes and it still makes me hungry every time I flip through its pages.
Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?
My blogging book friend Kim.
Is there a book outside your comfort zone you ended up loving?
None so far.
Okay, now for tagging others…
Kim at By Hook Or By Book
Phoenix at Phoenix Grey
Galit at Coffee n’ Notes
Kate M. Colby at her Fiction Blog
If anyone other than the above mentions wants to do this tag then feel free to consider yourself tagged.
Hope you all having a great start to your week!
There are a lot of people who don’t believe in the existence of Writer’s Block, but let’s face it, even though you don’t want to name it, there are periods of time in every writer’s life when you simply can’t write (no matter how much you want to!) You can call it a “bad phase”, a stupor or whatever the hell you want it all comes down to the same thing – You can’t write sometimes.
No matter what you want to name it, the truth remains the same – This “bad time” or whatever you want to name it wastes a lot of precious time of writers that can be otherwise used for writing.
This is what is called Writer’s Block. Think of it as just something to name this condition for the sake of convenience.
It’s not all bad if you can recover from it in a short while, say a day or a couple of days or even a week. But it gets pretty bad if you simply can’t get over it for a long period of time, say a month. Or maybe more.
I’ve come across a lot of stories of writers giving up when they suffer a prolonged period of Writer’s Block and it greatly saddens me because this is not a solution. Giving up never is.
In 3 years of my full-time writing career, I’ve gone through multiple phases of Writer’s Block, both short and long spells. And if there’s something I’ve learned from each and every time, it is these 3 things:
1. Make use of this time
Many of us use our extra time for writing. We get a day off, we write. We get an hour off, we write. We go on a vacation, we write. Being a full-time writer also, I use my extra time for writing, so I practically don’t get any free time for other things.
Use this “bad spell” to do the other things like weed the garden, take a small vacation with your family, do the house chores, spend time with your family and friends (god only knows how limited time writers get to spend with others), go for swimming, movies, or do anything else that either needs to be done, or you’ve wanted to do but couldn’t because of writing.
2. Keep feeding your creative mind
Just because you can’t write doesn’t mean you can’t read, or draw or do research or can’t do anything else that’ll work as a fodder for your creative mind.
Remember, our minds are like a sponge, they keep on absorbing and observing things. So when you’re not writing, either read books in your genre or read some refreshing new genre, or sing or dance or do something that you like. But again, don’t do anything that stresses you. You’re just doing these things for yourself, not to please others.
I watch a lot of movies and read a lot of books, both in my genre of writing. It always helps me.
3. Don’t give up
It’s okay to take a break. In fact, the way I see it, Writer’s Block is a way for our mind to tell us to take a break. If you’ll notice it generally happens after you’ve spent a considerable time working on your writing projects.
So listen to your mind and give it a rest.
You’ll always bounce back eventually.
Don’t over think. Relax and take a calming breath. Your mind simply needs a break, it is NOT giving up on writing. So do what you want to do, keep in touch with your creative side and don’t ever think of giving up.
In case if the Writer Block doesn’t go away after a while, then face the truth – It’s not the Writer’s Block, it’s you. You (maybe your subconscious self) are making reasons and coming up with stupid excuses to not to write. So get on your ass and start writing. It’ll be hard, but who said writing will be easy?
Do not give up.
What are your experiences with Writer’s Block?
Hello, all. This is a late post, so please forgive, but life’s been extremely busy (particularly this month.) Being the Editor In Cheif at Citrus, I was fortunate enough to get my hands on the first sample copy of Deceived.
This is a late post, so please forgive, but life’s been extremely busy (particularly this month.) Being the Editor In Cheif at Citrus, I was fortunate enough to get my hands on the first sample copy of Deceived.
The cover came out a bit dark in the sample, so the covers are getting reprinted at the moment and most probably we’ll have the first batch of ARCs delivered to the office by next weekend!
Anyway, here are a few pictures [I loved it even with a slightly dark cover and spent an entire day holding this baby]:
On a side note, as my responsibilities have increased at Citrus and as I’m writing the second draft of my second novel, I’ve decided to take a break from podcasting for a few months. So the podcast that I was preparing for this month won’t be going up anytime soon (it really takes a lot of time!)
Though, I’ll try and share flash fiction twice a month as an additional writing exercise.
I hope you guys liked the book’s sample. Please feel free to share your thoughts below. Comments are always welcome!
Hello, everyone. This is a monthly post in which I share about my writing, reading and life in general.
My month in:
- I wrote 31,225 words for Sinister Town’s 2nd draft.
- I planned and outlined the entire book again and now have a clearer and a much better understanding of the plot. Made some major changes and rewrote a few bits.
- I also wrote a short story and two of the previously written. I’ll be posting them on the blog in March.
- I prepared my next podcast and the post too. It’s on Second Drafts, which will be a kind of sequel to my earlier podcast – All About First Drafts. It’s 90% done so it should be out by the later half of March.
Revisions, revisions! I need to finish this draft by the end of this month… #busyfeb #authorlife #authorsofinstagram #author #writerlife #writer #writersofinstagram #writing #amwriting #indianwriters #indianbook #indianliterature #amrevising #writingcorner #writingdesk #authoratwork #revisions #2nddraft #seconddraft #secondnovel #sinistertown #writingbook #write
- Nika: A Seychatka Novella by D.H. Gibbs – 4/5
- The Little Yarmouth Abduction by Tim Van Minton – 5/5
- Sting by Sandra Brown – 1/5
- The Monster Of Florence by Douglas Preston – 5/5
- Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben – 3/5
- The Man You Scripted by Calvin Honors – 4/5
- Amber Alert by Dan Lawton – 4/5
- The House Of Secrets by Brad Meltzer – 4/5
- A Series Of Unfortunate Events – NPH is beyond awesome and I absolutely adore the cast of the kids. They are all so perfect for their roles. If you haven’t yet watched it, then do it right now! You wouldn’t want to miss out on this epic series.
- Sherlock Holmes – Finally(!!) I started with this series! I haven’t yet finished even a single season because Vishal made me wait for him to get the Thunderbird connector for my Mac so that we both can watch it on TV. So far I’ve just watched 4 episodes and I love them.
- Saving Mr. Banks
- Julie And Julia
- 30 Days Of Night
- The BFG
- The Notebook
- Resident Evil – Last Chapter
- Hidden Figures
- Lego Batman
- John Wick – Chapter 2
- I’ve been appointed as the Editor In Chief at Citrus Publishers.
- I hosted my first International Giveaway for Deceived. It was an exclusive subscriber giveaway, i.e., only for my Newsletter Subscribers. And the winner of the Giveaway was – Andrew (my very good Goodreads friend) – Congratulations!
- Seeing a great increase in number of new subscribers in the month of February, I decided to giveaway an e-book of Deceived to a random winner and the winner was – Diwya – Congratulations!
- Seeing such a heart warming response to my giveaway, I’ve planned to host one next month again, but this time it’ll be open for everyone and not just my subscribers. I’ll try to set up a Rafflecopter one so that it’ll be easy to keep scores and such. So stay tuned!
- Also, this month I also hosted my very first Facebook Live Author Event powered by Mystery Thriller Week (MTW) 2017. I wasn’t expecting anyone to come and attend the event at the designated hour as I got late in making the announcements and inviting everyone. Also my time zones are different than my friends overseas, so I thought that it’ll be a huge barrier. BUT to my pleasant surprise, a lot of MTW members and my Fb friends showed up for the event. It all made me feel so grateful to be surrounded by such amazing friends!
Next time I’ll make sure to invite each every one of you all in time.
- Also, I won an award at the MTW – Instagram VIP!
- Also, near the very end of the month, Deceived got ranked #199 (as of today, it will keep on jumping up with each and every vote) out of around 700 books on Goodreads’ Most Anticipated Thriller Of The Month.
If you guys have a minute, then please visit here and vote for Deceived to help me it get ann even better ranking! Each and every vote is greatly appreciated!
What about you? How was your month? What all books did you read this month? Did you meet your writing goals?
Did you watch any of the latest releases this month?? Please share about your month in the comments section below. I’m all EARS!
In order to stay updated and get exclusive sneak peaks, subscribe to my monthly Newsletter – SUBSCRIBE
Today I’ll be hosting my first live Facebook Discussion session for Mystery Thriller Week. It’ll run from 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm, today evening as per IST (Tuesday, 21st Feb, 9am-10am as per EST). If you wish to know more about my upcoming release, Deceived, or my next novel, Sinister Town, or if you love Mystery & Thriller genre then do drop by to sayhello and have fun discussions about mystery/thriller books and movies.
If you wish to know more or have any questions, feel free to comment below.
Here’s the link to the Event: Power Hour Host – Heena Rathore P.