2018 Year in Review

Happy New Year everyone! I generally write a “Year in Review” post for my blog earlier than this but I got late this time due to vacation hangover.

You can read my past year-end reviews here:





Here are some of my stats from the year for you to gorge on:

  1. 175 submissions (including F/NF/poetry)
  2. 12 acceptances (6 NF, 5 F, 1 poem) (7.4% acceptance rate)
  3. Total Earnings: $443
  4. Further Income Expected: $165 (promised but will pay on publication)
  5. 17 personal rejections from higher-tier literary journals*
  6. 70k words written
  7. 10 short stories completed, 2 drafted
  8. 2 essays written

*Some might feel this is an odd thing to brag about but anyone who’s been submitting long enough knows how nice it feels to get a rejection that’s clearly NOT a stock form letter.

Some of my major successes:

  1. My story in Kitaab’s Best Asian Speculative Fiction
  2. 2nd place in On The Premises themed story contest
  3. My essay in The Writer magazine
  4. My humor piece in The Offing

I usually beat myself up for my stats but I’ve learned to put it in perspective. For now it’s the best I can do with a full-time job and kids. At some point I really have to pull up my socks and do something about the novels in my virtual drawer, because long fiction is where it’s at. All the same I immensely enjoy writing and publishing short fiction and essays.

In any case I hope to focus on my novels in 2019.

What are your plans and hopes for the New Year? Please share so I know I’m not alone in forging crazy plans!

Book Reviews, My Writing, Uncategorized, Writing

The Legacy of Jane Austen, and a New Story Publication!

I’m happy to post that my story Perils in the Post has found a wonderful home in The Ilanot Review in their Letters-themed issue. The Ilanot Review is an excellent literary journal from Israel! Do hop over and take a look.

In other exciting news, 18th July this year marked the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death. How fitting that my essay on Jane Austen was accepted just days ago, for an anthology by Ben Bulben Books. The piece, which I drafted over a week, captures my love for this great author and her delightful work. I would love to share a link to the anthology when it comes out.

Though I’ve read all her books, my favourite works of Jane Austen are the usual culprits: Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility. My next favourite after these two would be Emma, followed by Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. I haven’t read Lady Susan yet but as it was her first novel she wrote, the general consensus is that it differs from her later work.

As a Jane-ite, I am not enamoured of all the variations on her work that have flooded the marketplace in the past few years. I’ve read only a few of them, but haven’t had the stomach to read any more. Here are a few that I’ve read: 

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

Pride and Prejudice strides into the mystery genre courtesy the late great P.D. James and what an entry it is! I loved this book and would wholeheartedly recommend it.

Austenland by Shannon Hale

This was quite successful but I didn’t enjoy it much. It spawned a movie version as well, and I tried watching it in an attempt to help reading the book, but that did not work either. It’s just one of those where my taste apparently doesn’t mesh with the general reading public. 

Prada & Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard

I read this years ago and though my memory of it is vague, I remember enjoying the read. She incorporates dialogues from the original text as well.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith, and others in a similar vein

Pure blasphemy in my humble opinion, but that’s just me. The book was quite popular and well-appreciated, though I am sure it literally left JA turning in her grave.

This is only a sampling and there are many more, but I don’t want to tarnish the image of the original in my mind by reading derivative works. Perhaps at a later stage, I might grow a taste for it, but not now.

What’s your favourite Jane Austen novel?



Resources for Writers

Life is busy in the household these days, with a little one to run around after and a day job to keep up with. The writing is slow but steady. I’ve worked on a few new pieces, but mostly I’ve been revising old ones or giving finishing touches to them. 

I have added a page to the site where all my writing-related articles are collected. Check it out here! 

Until such time I can share any news of success, here are a few resources that can help you get out of the slush pile and into the pages of literary magazines: 

How to Escape the Slush Pile 

What We Look For in Unsolicited Submissions 

Lit Mag Submissions 101 

10 common mistakes writers overlook 

A Guide to Short Story Contests in 2017 


What have you been writing lately?



So Glad They Told Me!

I am thrilled to be a part of the new essay collection that encourages moms to support Each Other:
So Glad They Told Me: Women Get Real About Motherhood

This new anthology shares real stories about motherhood, from infancy through the empty nest stage.


So Glad They Told Me: Women Get Real About Motherhood (ISBN: 978-0-692-76955-3; $15.00) is the fourth anthology from The HerStories Project, a writing and publishing community for women. In the increasingly competitive culture of modern motherhood, parenting advice can often be judgmental, unrealistic, or smug. Or sometimes, there isn’t anyone there to offer advice or support. Mothers may feel isolated and lack a support network to provide honest advice, and others may face a barrage of unwarranted, unhelpful tips or warnings.


This collection of essays from 60 mothers will empower and unite parents with real, honest advice from women who have been there. These writers share the advice or support they received—or wish they had—on everything from pregnancy to surviving the first year to parenting teens to empty nest syndrome. Inspired by the viral essay and #SoGladTheyToldMe social media movement, this book aims to change conversations about motherhood by presenting a broader, more realistic, and more balanced image of motherhood so that women will feel less inadequate, adversarial, and isolated. So Glad They Told Me is filled with compassionate, honest advice, and the poignant, painful, and sometimes hilarious truths you wish your best girlfriends had told you about motherhood.

Where to buy the book: So Glad They Told Me: Women Get Real About Motherhood is available to purchase directly on the HerStories Project website at herstoriesproject.com/sgttm or on Amazon.com.

For the Media: Editors Jessica Smock and Stephanie Sprenger are available for in-studio interviews or phoners. To book an interview or request a copy of the book, contact Stephanie at (303) 358-4546 or e-mail TheHerStoriesProject@Gmail.com.


It’s a Boy!

Fellow bloggers and blog-readers, I’m delighted to share the arrival of my bonny baby boy on 2nd June! The little one and I are doing well, though I am a little sleep-deprived as expected.



The blog will be on hiatus for a while now, as will my writing. Ideas and plots are stewing in my brain constantly, so I am never far away from that next novel or short story. It’s just the act of writing that’s not happening at the moment. I’ll pick things up again when I can, but until then, I’ll be in slumberland!



Dear Robot

Kelly Ann Jacobson’s anthology of epistolary science fiction called the Dear Robot Anthology is out! She is organizing a blog tour, and today my post is a part of that.

The collection contains my story The Wrath of Sephilemea, which is written in the form of psychiatric case notes by a resident shrink-in-training who is brought in to help treat a robot that has unfortunately been afflicted with sarcasm.

The trigger for the story came to me as I stood in a long queue at the payment counter of a shopping mall. I remember my train of thoughts, which strayed to how boring the process of billing for your purchases was, especially considering that the activity prior to this, i.e. the actual shopping, was extremely pleasurable. I was thinking about how in the future we could all hire individual robots who would stand in queue for us and do our billing so that we didn’t have to do this tedious monotonous job that held no discernible reward other than getting to lug home our purchases. But then I thought, this delegation of work to the robot would work only provided the robot really did not have any semblance of emotions. If it did, it too might lose patience and throw in the towel well before the items were purchased and return home to its owner empty-handed.

On the strength of this I built my story around this pivotal incident, which is only the starting point. Though I have penned science fiction and fantasy stories, I had never written about robots before this, let alone writing about a sarcastic robot that has cut all ties to the three laws that bind it.

I had a great time writing this story, mainly because of the humor quotient in it. I am grateful to Kelly for working with me on it and taking me through the necessary editorial changes. It was a great learning experience and now I feel better prepared to tackle many more such science fiction stories swirling in my mind.

Do check out the other posts on the blog tour:


Marlena Chertock

Kate Lechler



Jacquelyn Bengfort

Diana Smith Bolton



Gargi Mehra (That’s me!)



Juliana Rew



Terri Bruce

Christina Keller


Giveaway: Five commenters will be selected from all of those who comment on any of the blogs during the five days of the week, including Kelly’s post about the blog hop, and they will win a free copy of the book (Only US Addresses please). This runs from 9:00 A.M. Monday morning to Friday at midnight. Please include your email address as, for example, name (at) gmail dot com, in your comment.

The book’s hashtag is #DearRobot.

Additionally, there is also a Goodreads giveaway and you can win additional books there!

Do check out the book and leave a comment for a chance to win!



A Contest Win and a Short Story

My story Belles and Whistles placed as a finalist in the Open Road Review Short Story Prize 2015! Do check it out and leave a comment!

Another story of mine which was accepted earlier this year in July has finally been published. Check out The Secrets of Men in Papercuts by Desi Writer’s Lounge. This is my first speculative fiction published after my vampire story Breaking Point at Liquid Imagination a couple of years ago. The Secrets of Men deals with the story of Karna and its implications on the modern world when a curse goes wrong.

Between work and Diwali celebrations, I have got very little writing done. Let’s hope the rest of the year is more fruitful in that respect!

What have you been writing lately?