Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Christmas Carol


This was sent to me by a cousin's wife in India. Very interesting.
There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me. What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won't come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas?

This week, I found out.

From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

On the first day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
A partridge in a pear tree.

On the second day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the third day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eleventh day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Twelve drummers drumming,
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree!


-The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.

-Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.

-Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.-

-The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

-The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

-The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.

-Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit--Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.

-The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.

-Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.

-The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.

-The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

-The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.

So there is your history for today. This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening and now I know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol...so pass it on if you wish.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Christmas in India



I thought of this short poem by Rudyard Kipling to remind us of the colours, the sounds and the smells that imprints on our minds when we are faraway from our land of birth or origin.
The picture of Christmas Decorations on a banana leaf is so typical of a Kerala Christmas that I had to put it here.


Christmas In India
By Rudyard Kipling

Dim dawn behind the tamerisks -- the sky is saffron-yellow --
As the women in the village grind the corn,
And the parrots seek the riverside, each calling to his fellow
That the Day, the staring Easter Day is born.
Oh the white dust on the highway! Oh the stenches in the byway!
Oh the clammy fog that hovers
And at Home they're making merry 'neath the white and scarlet berry --
What part have India's exiles in their mirth?

Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Biography




My friend Palo gave me the biography of JRR Tolkein. My daughter read the whole boxed set of his works, and I watched the dvd's with her I'm ashamed to say.His biography though is fascinating. To read how writers started their journeys into writing, how their stories are influenced by their lives is so interesting that I'm spending too much time reading rather than finishing my own novel.
JRRT's love language, his teaching career at Oxford on philology, his mother's early influence and his love of languages is amazing. Old English, Middle English, Latin, Greek, Welsh, Finnish, Gothic, inventing his own language started very early. His love of trees and landscape was nurtured in his childhood. I love the reference to a postcard that he bought when he was very young and later marked it as 'origin of Gandalf'. The book is written by Humphrey Carpenter, who has researched it meticulously and even met the great man.Words, words words! How lucky are we to be able to dwell on them and savour each sound and meaning?They make our lives so rich.

Paisley Film Society

Linda Mundell and a few buddies have started this film society in Paisley.I'm just listened to her interview on BBC Radio Scotland on the Movie Cafe with Janice Forsyth. In the art centre on the High street every Tuesday and even some matinees promised.A wee plug for my friend.Google and get the details.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Tartan




I read that the bright colours on the tartan which were attributed to local plant dyes were actually imported. It has been scientifically proven that red was from cochineal from the Americas and the bright blue is indigo imported from India. The connections between India and Scotland fascinate me.

Here I cheekily post a sari advert from a famous silk house in South India.It is a modern version of a very old silk print that has been woven for hundreds of years. But I see a tartan pattern in it. My grandmother had similar silk saris. Of course tartan and bagpipes were also made in Punjab for the British Army. From Paisley near Glasgow that had mills reproducing the beautiful pattern that originated in India to the tartan dyes, the links between the two countries weaves a wonderful pattern in my mind.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Madras Club



Wallowed in David Lean's spectacular film of EM Foster's 'Passage to India'on Saturday afternoon on Channel Five. The scenes at the club in the film reminded me of Madras Club in my hometown. The film caused controversy when the rock caves were blasted to create the scene that David Lean wanted. As Ian Jack of the Times wrote it was almost as sacrilegious as blasting Stonehenge. Media hype I suppose, but wonder how many rocks in Scotland would be allowed to be blasted by Bollywood directors? David Lean's craft is unmatched of course and I enjoyed the film.

Time to Blog is getting harder as Twitter, FB and writing my next novel is taking hold.The rough draft of the novel is the hardest to complete.That's where I am just now.Then comes the editing and polishing. I am happy with the theme of the new novel and it is good when a sentence turns out just right.

Finally the photo shows me at the SMAFF held at the Mitchell Library on 16th and 17th October when I was plugging my novel 'Twice Born' at the Border's outlet. Don't miss the balloons!

Friday, 25 September 2009

One can only dream




Taking a break from writing Novel 2. Looked at some beautiful book cover designs.Rich colours that reflect the Indian aspect of the book is so tempting to use. The paisley one in black and white is so classy.I am dreaming of vivid colours hoping that would egg me on to complete the novel. Now all I need is to get the next squillion words written.The research is another distraction, I spend hours learning new facts.The joy of writing and the luxury of dreaming is so delicious.Forget swine flu,G20 meeting, Smeaton(!) and dream on Leela.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Dog Days


I couldn't resist when I saw this photograph,I had to put it on my blog. I was reading about my birth city Madras now Chennai, as it celebrated its 370 years of existence as a city. 'Madras Day' is celebrated on August 22 nd.Two Scotsmen Cogan and Day were the culprits who started the British settling there.We are all connected in so many ways. But the photograph is incredible showing the heat of Madras in May- June and the inevitable Gin and Tonic on the table, the brolly and I think the wireless in the background.The poor punkawallah fanning the master and a dog sitting on the chair says it all. Lovely bit of history in one little photograph.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

M've Art Festival


2-6 the September The second Milngavie Book & Art Festival, please come if you are free. Some great authors, artists and a super atmosphere is guaranteed.Hope they pay me for this advert!I am looking forward to seeing Laura Marney, Alan Bisset, Janet Paisley and other authors at the fest.
My fall down the stairs last week scuppered my best laid plans for visitng St. Andrews and EIBF. Well that's life I guess. Iam so much better today, thanks to so many well wishers, family and friends to pamper and fuss over me.Reading Tash Aw's fantastic book The Map of the Invisible world and it inspired me to write a poem. A great new writer whose book transports me to the Far East a place I'm still to visit.
A new challenge now for me. I have been flattered that I have been asked to adjudicate a Short Story Competition. I feel awed and excited.Hope I do a good job.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

EIBF, Courses


Edinburgh international Book Festival is in full swing. I'll be there next week.I just love the atmosphere of the tent and browsing the huge number of new books. The crowds and the fringe acts on the street make it so colourful and vibrant.Which authors do I want to hear? I'm still thinking about it.I noticed that all the workshops on writing were sold out except ones on poetry.No surprise there.Looking forward to a couple of days out in Edinburgh.Oh Iam also away to visit a friend in St. Andrews on Monday so a busy week ahead.
Two thick brochures from Glasgow University Dace and Strathclyde University arrived by post. There are so many courses on Creative Writing,Languages,Art Appreciation, Computer use, Digital camera and Philosophy. I want to do them all. Its wonderful that there is such a wide choice. Aren't we lucky in UK that the courses are so accessible? The courses and number of new tutors on Creative Writing has increased tremendously. Is everyone writing that one book that's supposed to be in all of us,I wonder?Some of the tutors are still doing their M.Litt courses so maybe they can shed a light on how to get that best seller out and get a two or three book deal.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

A rant


I'm not a happy cookie. Just finished reading Alexander Mc Call Smith's new book in the 44 Scotland Street Series 'The Unbearable Lightness of Scones'. I love his writing, devour his easy-to-read gentle tales of Mama Ramotswe or the tales set in Edinburgh. But this has got me rattled.He has portrayed Glasgow in all its stereotypical awfulness. The character from Glasgow is 'Lard O' Connor'aka Aloysius Igantius Xavier O' connor, a huge beast of a gangster, who asks for a pie and chips at the douce 'Glass and Thomson' where one could never order pie and chips, of course, just quiche and poor Lard has to make do with a double quiche with loads of tomato sauce!Lard dies of a heart attack brought on by his dreadful diet.Basically Glasgow is a minging place with gangster lowlife with a diet to match. E'burgh comes out as a gentle, civilised place as one of the characters is unable to drop peanut shells at the Long Bar at Raffles in Singapore as she was born and bred in E'burgh! Has he ever been to Pilton or other estates in E'burgh? It is a lot of Morningside piffle with Ian Rankin, Magnus Linklater and other Burghers of the Capital city making an appearance.I know I should not be berating Scotland's greatly admired writer but this book really put me off. Sorry for the rant. Other Glaswegians have a read and tell me please if I'm wrong.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Afternoon champagne tea




Well the computer was down, and I enjoyed a fabulous break from the keyboard. Treated myself and my daughter to an afternoon champagne tea at Fifi and Ally in Princes Square. Just look at the cute doggies on the wallpaper!It was so good to indulge in an old-fashioned teatime treat.In India of course there was always Tiffin in the afternoon when we had yummy treats and tea.We also went to the cinema and surprise, surprise some retail therapy.She leaves for USA next week.
And now that the computer is back I have no excuse at all. So back to the grind.I had a look at the drafts of my novel two and decided that I must get it finished. The ideas are surging now, the characters talking to me in my head so I need to get it all down. News from Edinburgh Book Fest also inspires writing.So many talented new authors from all over the world making their mark in the beautiful city.

Friday, 24 July 2009

e books audio versions ?




Fellow writer friends are going for ebook version of their book and one dear friend has also got an audio version of his. What should a technophobe like me do? I love new technology and gaze in wonder at all the dizzying heights of progress but can only hack a small amount with any sense of understanding.
Shoulder still in agony xray results in 7-10 days.May have inherited my mum's oesteo arthritis.No cure then, grin and bear it as I hate taking Ibuprofen even now.
Scribbled a lovely poem at dawn but can't read my own writing now!Need to work on it maybe after lunch.My garden now a poetry of nature, blooming in all hues.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Bruce Springsteen in Hampden or Oxfam Bookfest?



Brucie boy's concert had a wee bit of an effect on our audience.How can I win against 'Pink Cadillac and My Lucky Day'? The heavy showers also kept some people away, but all in all a good event. Tawona's lullaby in Shona language, the unique music of Zimbabwe and the surprise participation of Bryam Owen made it a good evening. James, John and Anne at the Oxfam Bookshop had put in all the effort to make it happen.
I'm glad to say that I feel so much better that I even managed to go to my aquarobics class this morning.Good health is so important we take it for granted always. So another writers event this evening with Rosemary Goring as Chair of Creative Scotland Literature group and a new author Andrea McNicoll's debut novel, I'm sure it would be an interesting evening.

Friday, 10 July 2009

BookFest at City Chambers


Struggled in to City Chambers in George Square on the 8th midmorning. Felt dizzy and ill.Managed to croak my way through my short readings.The function suite was stunning, the event so touching in many ways as the readers reflected the diversity in Glasgow. Mahmood , the Iranian poet was wonderful, read some in Farsi, the Persian lilt so rich to listen to. Jamila the Irish/ Asian poet read with music in the background, the Kosovan ladies, the Somailian young girl read pieces that were touching, words from the heart. Mariyam chaired the meeting really well. The Oxfam staff's hard work had this wonderful bookfest off to a great start. The line up in the afternoon was 'awesome', like Liz Lochhead, Donny O'Rourke, Caro Ramsey, Margaret Thomson Davies, Karen Campbell etc but I had to get back to my bed, felt I could not sit there anymore, feeling weak and dizzy.
Going to the doc this afternoon to get this sorted, if it is a nasty bug I need some antibiotics to get rid of it. Sorry to be such a moan but it has gone on for too long.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Milo and the Bookfest


Here is Milo my friends cute little Maltese pup.Wish I had him! He is sooooooooo cute. I just saw him yesterday and he is playful and a joy to be with.



Kind comments from a reviewer of my novel 'Twice Born' lifted my spirits from the hayfever onslaught. David Evans is a freelance journalist based in Edinburgh and who writes extensively for magazines in the Far East has read my book and sent me a copy of his review.

I have taken a few sentences from his piece and quote :

"Leela Soma’s enchanting descriptions of India’s colourful festivals and foods, against the backdrop of Glasgow’s bland streets as the city transforms itself through the 80s and 90s to European City of Culture neatly illustrates the challenge faced by many of the city’s immigrants over the years. Soma’s is a story of one young Indian family whose circumstances will strike accord with similar families from any number of countries. Again, Soma, herself born in India before arriving in Glasgow in 1969, is adept at illustrating the gap between East and West with her illuminating prose. Twice Born manages to weave an intriguing story around real events and facts that will open the eyes of many readers to the challenges faced by new arrivals to Scotland. Soma’s prose is both informative and captivating, and her ability to entertain and enlighten is one many authors struggle to conquer. "




Oxfam's Bookfest is on and I am particpating at the all day event at the City Chambers in Glasgow on Wednesday 8th July. I hope the first bookfest of Oxfam is a resounding success , making books more accessible to all. Their new 'Oxtales' is a wonderful collection from famous writers who have donated their time and effort to this worthy cause. Hope many people particpate by donating their books and time to this charity.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Online Mags

I 've not been keeping too well, the hayfever and cold combination has floored me more than I expected. Slowly getting back to normal. The strong antihistamine makes me drowsy. Not upto my 'ole sparklin' self. Brilliant weather in Glasgow but not for people like me with allergies.

I was thrilled to be informed that my book 'Twice Born' and its review by Susan Abrahams has been posted on an Online magazine http://www.boloji.com/ . I was told that this online magazine has 28,000 readers in North America, hope some would be interested in reading the novel.Though all new writers are using the net, to get noticed is no easy task as it is so vast. Couple of my followers emailed me asking why my blog was not being updated. I wish they would write some comments or link my blog to their sites as it would help a lot to get more exposure for 'Twice Born'.
Doing some research for my next book I was surprised to note that a new 'Madras Day' is celebrated on August 22 nd in my birth city of Madras/Chennai. There are some great photos and activities about the wonderful city on http://www.madrasday.in/. Have a read when you have time. The photograph on the front page is worth looking at. The photo below evokes memories of the beach where I used to enjoy an evening with my family, standing in the water and screaming as the foamy surf engulfed our feet.

I am reading the tome (936 pages) 'Shantaram' at last after years of it lying in my bedside pile. I lawys felt it was too long and Ineed time to read it. I have made a start and it is good. Also a book of poetry collection by Maya Angelou, a poet who writes exactly what she feels. Rich, exquisite in some and deeply moving her work should be a must read for all.
















Saturday, 20 June 2009

Book Groups

Been a bit ill with the flu and awful hayfever, a chronic condition that spoils the beautiful summer here for me. But hey that's life and I should be grateful for so many other things in life. Like having wonderful friends who invited me to their book groups. I got the experience of talking to people who have read my book and asked questions about the characters, the plot and how I managed to write my first novel. Both groups were extremely useful for me to get direct feedback. The positive feedbacks made it all worthwhile. One of the ladies said 'my husband asked me to tell you that he read your book in one go and loved it, he's looking forward to the next one'. It is so reassuring that 'Twice Born' appeals to both men and women. I am still not used to being addressed as an author and have to remind myself that this is the life of an author. All I need now is to get one good review in the national newspapers.
I had to miss the Westend Festival event as I was quite ill with hayfever and a mild bout of flu, not swine fever I hasten to add.
Last night I was at Milngavie Bookshop celebrating the Independent Booksellers week. A.L.Kennedy read from her book'Day'. Her style is quite unique. The shop plied us with glasses of champagne and strawberries dipped in chocolates. Now that's a sure way to get people to enjoy the evening.It was also good for me to see that only one copy of my book was left on the shelf in the shop, so I need to give them more copies of 'Twice Born'.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

OXFAM BOOKFEST JULY

Early notice of Oxfam's Bookfest that I am taking part in.

Here is the info:

World Poetry Night, July 14th
@Oxfam Bookshop

Featuring Indo-Scot poet Leela Soma and Zimbabwean Tawona Sithole.
An instore evening of poetry and music to inspire and educate.
There will an opportunity for budding poets to read from their own work and refreshments will also be provided.
7.30 pm start. £2 entry.
Address: Oxfam Bookshop, 330 Byres Road.
Tel: 0141 338 6185. oxfamshopf6029@oxfam.org.uk.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Blog a Penguin India Classic

When I was on holiday in USA I received a letter and a book, a Penguin India Classic with a request, asking if I would like to write a review on their recently launched 'Blog aPenguin India Classic' site. On my return home, I thought it such an honour that I set about the task after my Borders book launch. It is a book that Iam familiar with but writing a review for such an ancient text that is revered and held in great esteem made me feel quite nervous. Well, I 've had a go. Here it is:















The first rhyming words one hears as a child, a mere play on words to infant ears, steep into one’s conscience and are never forgotten. The first couplet of the Kural by Tiruvalluvar, translated by P.S. Sundaram is ingrained in the DNA of most Tamil children:

“A begins the alphabet
And God, primordial, the world.”

The cadences, inflections and richness of the mother tongue become part of our heritage, of who we are. As a child I remember the joy of reciting this couplet and feeling proud to have mastered the tongue-twisting beauty of these words. Rereading this Penguin Classic ‘Tiruvalluvar The Kural ‘translated by Professor P.S Sundaram was a wonderful task, reliving those moments of childhood etched in my mind.Scholars debate that the date of the ‘Kural’ could be anything from the second century BC to the Eighth century AD. As Professor Sundaram has explained in his excellent introduction, translations of the Kural have been in existence since 1700’s, first in Latin by the missionaries and then in English by various authors. So what is unique about this edition by Penguin India as part of their Penguin Classics Project? The author’s introduction clearly illustrates both his erudition in Tamil and English as well as his vast research on the classical texts. He has read extensively on the Kural, starting with the ‘terse and obscure’ work of the thirteenth century commentator Parimeelazhahar.

The Kural itself is unique. It is comprised of 1330 couplets written in a “metrical line of two feet, or a distich or couplet of short lines, the first of four and the second of three feet.” The work is also divided into the three themes of Virtue, Wealth and Love. Such clear and concise explanations by Professor Sundaram assist a layman like me in understanding the layers of this ancient text which has survived for centuries and continues to be read in Tamil, a “living language” unlike Sanskrit.

The book is set out in a simple format. Here is an example from page 15:“Valluvar knew the value of words and didn’t waste any. He took delight in rhyme, repetition, pun and alliteration and exploited them to the full to drive home a point“Cling to the One who clings to nothingAnd so clinging cease to cling.”is typical in its English of much of the brevity and wordplay of the Kural.”The author has translated the couplets in language that has not diminished the beauty of its rhyme. The copious notes at the end (pages 157-168) would help all readers to understand the nuances of the text. He has often compared them to Western literature: for example Stanza 5 is compared to Milton’s Lycidas, stanza 702 to Hamlet, stanza 716 to The Pilgrim’s progress by Bunyan. He also makes references to the Manusamhita, the Bhagavad-Gita and Arthasastra.

I would highly recommend this Penguin Classic as a great ‘dip-in’ book for one to keep by one’s bedside. This is a book that one will never tire of, a book that one could revisit for the sheer universality of its messages. Its words, scribed on palm leaves, can be read and marveled as they resonate with life in the twenty first century. The Kural would be a valuable addition to everyone’s collection of well-loved books.

To paraphrase the Kural Stanza 783:

“Good books are like good friends - A perpetual delight.”






Tuesday, 9 June 2009

West End Festival

glasgow's west end festival 09 13th - 28th June
This is a magnificient Festival with a carnival atmoshpere. Starts with a parade and the two weeks are crammed with over 200 events. Its perfect for all the family and often the sunshines too.
I will be participating in the West End Festival with the Federation Of Writers Scotland at Hillhead Library on the 18th June. Do come and support all of us, the budding poets and writers at the event. Free at 1.30 and 3.30.I also have two bookgroup invites one on the 15th of June and another on the 17th of June. All this is such a steep learning curve and I am enjoying it thoroughly. I write because I love it and all these new things are wonderful bonuses.
How is novel 2 progressing? Well, I lost 20, 000 words as I forgot to save it on my memory stick. I feel so devastated. Need to rework the scenes in my mind and write it again.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Comments on 'Twice Born'


I have had some great feedbacks.The first one here is from a blog after reading a book review of 'Twice Born' and an interview online by Suzan Abrams. The rest are from people who came to the event in Borders.

Comments

A fascinating interview, Suzan, and I know that I’ll want to read this book. I have been all over South India and have also visited Glasgow. These two places are so utterly, wonderfully incommensurable that I can’t wait to read someone so intelligent linking them. That was such a wizard idea you had to show us the views from the window of her study. Now if only the garden weren’t quite so immaculate … sigh. : )
acacciatura



Hi Leela,

You did brilliantly - you should be very proud of yourself.

Ian.
Hello Leela
Thanks so much for inviting me to your launch. I have kept all my questions for the book circle on the 15th which I and the other members are really looking forward to. Your launch was a tremendous compliment to your achievement of having your first book published. I am sure it will sell well to great acclaim.
See you soon.
Maisie
Dear Leela
It was a most enjoyable launch, your reading especially - and what a good turnout! Some of these events are rather sparsely attended. I think you were right to keep it shortish. I'm sorry i had to had to rush off too - in pursuit of Monica - as an earnest lady was asking your opinion of Forster's Passage to India ! I hope sales go well, and good luck with the next novel.
Ann
Dear Leela
I was going to thank you for the invitation to a really enjoyable event - I'm sorry I didn't stay around but I'd had a busy morning and was a little tired. It was great to see such a big and keen audience and a real coup to have Ron introduce you. I'm so glad you got the main Borders for the launch in the end.

All the best


Hi Leela
I thought it went extremely well and was so pleased to see such a good turnout for you. Unless you are combining it with a social event I don’t believe it’s a good idea to make it over long.You spoke very well and I enjoyed your readings.Thanks for the pic – it has confirmed my belief that I don’t have a good side! When I’ve got a moment I’ll send on one of the photos I took of you to Chris to put on the Strathkelvin website. Will also put in a review when I’ve had the chance to read your book – things have been so chaotic recently that I just haven’t had the time to read anything.
Kindest Regards
Sharon
Hello LeelaMarion and I thoroughly enjoyed last night and thought you spoke for a perfect length of time. I must congratulate you on speaking so clearly and with the right balance of humour. Super that two of your ex students were there too. Marion went off to bed last night with your wee book of poems that I bought last summer and said she was only sorry she couldn't take longer over the reading of the poemsI hope you were able to sign lots of copies of the book. Marion was thrilled with hers and is going to start reading it properly on the plane home. I hope to find time to return to my editing of Love Re-Born and hope that some of your inspiration rubs off!!Love from Irene
Hi Leela

So sorry I can't be there, as you know election day is a busy one for politicians! But congratulations on your book being published, and I hope this evening's launch goes well
Best wishes
Jo Swinson@parliament.uk) MP
Hi Leela, Thanks for this, I'll pass this on to my team. We put a picture up on our website, please have a look if you have the chance. It was lovely working with you, and please keep us in mind when the second book comes out! Have a lovely weekend
Best Wishes
Leah (supervisor @borders Glasgow)

Borders Launch

The Borders book launch was a resounding success. Lots of people turned up, standing room only. The event's highlight for me was the fact that Ron Grossett of Geddes and Grossett introduced me to the audience with wonderful words, that revealed his deep love for India. He related some funny incidents in Madras/ Chennai and concluded by reading my poem 'This is my ain land' It sounded perfect in his Scots accent. I loved the phrase' 'Twice Born in her tartan sari' , an apt description of my dual identity. For so many people to come out on a working night and queue to buy my book was heartwarming. Two of my pupils whom I had taught and the headteacher of the school I had worked in came over too. Borders did a magnificent job of providing a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. Signing the book was a strange feeling almost wondering if it was really me, an actual author in the world largest bookstore chain.It has certainly fired me to get on with my next book. An exciting offer has come in and I'll reveal it when confirmed. Watch this space!



Wednesday, 3 June 2009

ED LIFE SUMMER 2009

An article in my local council's magazine summer edition. Nice to be mentioned alongside Alan Bissett who is one of Glasgow's 'hot young author'.
Author Leela tells her story
EAST Dunbartonshire Council’s
libraries are hosting events
throughout the year to celebrate
‘Homecoming’, the events programme
celebrating Scotland’s great
contributions to the world.
One of these events showcased one
of Scotland’s brightest writing talent,
Leela Soma, who gave a reading at
Milngavie Library. She is a local author
from Milngavie whose first novel
‘Twice Born’ has just been published.
Alan Bissett, one of Scotland’s leading
young authors also talked about his
latest novel ‘Death of a Ladies’ Man’
which is due to be published in July
this year.
Leela said, “The reading was really
excellent. Everyone seemed to enjoy it
and I think it’s a great way to give new
writers some exposure.”

edlife is produced by the Corporate Communications Team, East Dunbartonshire
Council, Tom Johnston House, Civic Way, Kirkintilloch, G66 4TJ.
Email: edlife@eastdunbarton.gov.uk
For further information: www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk



Saturday, 30 May 2009

Golden Glasgow


Glasgow's shimmering in the sunshine. Soaring temperatures are so rare in May that all of us are out in the garden and getting our dose of vitamin D. My bloomin little garden and the wood behind.

My novel 'Twice Born' received a good review and interview from a Suzan Abrams. Great for a new writer to get reviewed by someone you don't know at all.

Glasgow is buzzing with writer events this June. Looking forward to AL Kennedy's stand up comedy tonite for the Scottish Writers Centre.

Learnt that my city of birth Madras now Chennai has a book club with a membership of over 300! That's amazing, the Indian readership market is booming and the big boys in publishing are all vying for attention there.

Back to the gym after a 5 week break. If I return in a fit state will continue the blog!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Back Home

Back home after a wonderful family break. Borders book launch next Thursday.Looking forward to the launch and hope to get good questions from people attending. Borders Glasgow is in a beautiful building in the heart of city, well worth seeing it and perusing the fantastic collection of books. Tempting with their 3 for 2 offers like all big bookstores.'Evening Times' the local evening paper did a small feature on my Borders book launch when I was in USA. A kind friend has kept a copy for me.Wonder how the feature is as I'm still to see it?

Also could not resist a look at Amazon 'Youwriteon' best sellers. I was really and pleased to see that 'Twice Born' is 11th out of their three hundred odd publications.

Another exciting news is receiving a letter from Penguin India informing me that I've been chosen to participate in a Penguin India Classic initaitive. I have been asked to review 'Thirukural' an ancient Tamil book of poetry and blog on their site.I am thrilled, honored and hope I can live upto the task.









Tuesday, 19 May 2009

USA

Here I'm in the land of the free etc and getting fatter by the minute.Love the food, huge portions, can't resist the sweets, chocs and icecream. I can understand the obesity problem here.First time in Upstate New York. The campus of my daughter's uni is incredible.The facilities for student, the huge libraries, the computers, the sporting facilities, the student union and the fact that huge car parks are overflowing and that they need a park and ride for students is totally amazing. The space for everything is fantastic.
Now for the downside, the day I arrived there was a shooting in downtown. The public transport system is disgraceful and quite scary as few people use it. Had to hire a car. Funny driving on the 'wrong' side of the road. I am fine as long as there are cars in front of me then I get a bit confused and panicky.Okay now after a few days driving here.Must upload photos when I get back. I'll miss the sunshine definetly and the diversity as people from allover the world at this campus city.Off to an art show.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Canada

I am here in the capital city of Ottawa for a family holiday. The weather was sunny to start with but has deteriorated to grey and rainy this morning. I managed to get a couple of events at the Ottawa Writer's Festival which was celebrating its 10th anniversary, much smaller venue than 'oor ain Aye Write' at the Mitchell.
Tulips bulbs sent over from the Netherlands to commemorate the special friendship forged during the Second World War between Canada and The Netherlands has been been a tradition since 1951.This is still celebrated with the wonderful Tulip Festival in May every year in Ottawa.We tried different world foods in the International Pavilion after a super walk along the Rideau River and the display in Commisionaire's Park.Enjoying a lovely break in North America.
As soon as I get back home to Glasgow I need to get organised for the book launch at Borders on June the 4th.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

London Book Fair

The back entrance or entrance to Earls Court 2 where we plebs were given our badges and allowed to enter the Fair. Great buzz and a huge venue.London, the tube travel, the crowds and the pace of life in the smouldering heat (yes, it was sunny all 3 days!!)was an experience as it was the first time for me in London as a non-tourist.
Highlights for me were :
1. Meeting YWO friend and author Waheed and his lovely wife.We have been emailing and Facebooking our YWO experience, so good to see him in the flesh. Also meeting Farhana of The Asian Writers online mag and Ashanti a fab journo, and a firebrand of energy.

2. India Market focus, what a great opportunity to hear Vikram Seth, Anita Nair, Girish Karnad, Anandamurthy and Javed Akhtar.Sizzling events with India at its best.Were the big publishers interested in bringing Indian authors to the UK's notice? Or were they keen on selling British authors to the burgeoning Indian market? It depended on who you spoke to,both sides were hoping to get the best out of the event.See the article in Bookseller today and draw your own conclusion. Boris Johnson's keynote speech was as expected, political barbs, humour, a classicist approach to the Fair. I learnt that 'Cheese ' was an Indian word! I knew all the others like pyjamas, chintz, bungalow, juggernaut and jodhpurs were of Indian origin, but this was a new one.
3. A seminar event was with young BME wannabe writers, publishers, students and emerging creative people desperate to be recognised by the mainstream industry. It was highlighted by Hardeep Sigh Kohli, a fellow Scot and TV personality who made us all laugh and managed to put the serious message that it was time for the industry to shed its white middle class male image and start encouraging the voices of all the sections of the British society.

What did three days of being at the event do for me- a new author? Did I get a five figure contract with The Publishers? Well... NO, but I networked, met many people, tried to get publishers to take note of new authors, saw the ebook technology making inroads and the new expresso machine that was churning out books and handing free copies of a YWO author's book!Blackwells in Charing Cross will be adding this machine in their store so go print your own if you wish.
Was LBF worth the cost, travel and effort? Yes definitely.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

LONDON BOOK FAIR

I,m in the big smoke for the Book Fair. Three days of books, publishers and the crowds in Earls Court.My first visit at the Fair so looking forward to this experience.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Glasgow Borders Book Launch JUNE 4

























Contact: Leela Soma
Email:leelasoma@hotmail.com website:www.leelasom.com
Mobile 07837761315
'TWICE BORN -'Pure Dead Brilliant'

Chapatti and Curry or Mince and Tatties?
Glasgow or Madras?
Love and Identity…
‘Twice Born’ a novel by Leela Soma is about all this and more!

Read this unique novel. Ram and Sita's new life in Glasgow. Do they cope okay? A twist in Sita’s life makes the culture clash a confrontation. Is she truly ‘twice born,’ entwined in two cultures enriched by the Indian womb that had nurtured her soul and the Scottish cradle that had nurtured her being, her heritage unique? Read and find out.

Comments from readers:

At last! I got your book from Amazon last week but it was worth waiting for. I enjoyed your story very much - and also enjoyed learning about the Scotland -India connections. Hope you're working on the next one now. I'm looking forward to reading more.
Dr. Ann McLaren (Vice President, Scottish Association of Writers)

I read your book and really enjoyed it. Fascinating insights into your rich cultural background and such vivid description. It's wonderful to read and find your self so identifying with the author's words that you can almost feel yourself transported back in time. There were moments like that in your book and in two I have read recently, James Kelman's Kieron Smith, Boy and Janice Galloway's It's Not About me. C. Stapleton (Principal Teacher)

I bought your book at the ’Aye Write’ Sudden Fame event on Sunday, persuaded by the extract you read from it, and must say I'm thoroughly gripped, which is the mark of a good story. It's very interesting to see Britain in general through other eyes. A really fine achievement.
Anne C.Clarke (Makar, Federation of Writers Scotland)

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

BBC WM Midnight Masala show



Yep, this is where BBC WM has its studio. A pity Harvey Nicks was shut. I could have gawped at the stuff though the pennies would not have stretched to buying anything there.

A midnight drive in Brum was a new experience, as we don't know the city at all.Glad it was a holiday and as it was late there was very little traffic.The show- MIDNIGHT MASALA on 12th Sunday- was fine so do listen to it on BBC iPlayer if you have the time. Fast forward as my interview is in the last half hour of the show. Satnam Rana the presenter and Arshia in the studio were a friendly duo, made me feel welcome. The chat about the book was just right for that time of night. I read two very short extracts to give a taste of the storyline. Hope 'Twice Born' does reach a wider audience.

Easter is over, we can look forward to warm summer days.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

One down two to go


One Radio show over. I enjoyed it though I was very nervous as I had no idea of the format of the show, or the questions that Nihal was going to ask me. Strange too sitting in a wee studio in Glasgow and talking to someone I had never met, through the mike. It was okay till the very end when he asked where the book was available.I had no idea that I could plug my book so I stammered a bit and only Amazon came out clearly. If you've missed it go to the website www.bbc.co.uk/asiannetwork and listen to the Nihal show for the next 7 days on iPlayer.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

April Radio Shows

Lovely time with relatives showing around Glasgow and Edinburgh. The sun shone some days, it was mild and spring is in the air.
Back to the novel, a great flyer by a young designer at http://www.animations4u.com/ will soon be around as many places in Glasgow as possible. Three radio shows in April starting tomorrow the 8th, 10- 11 am on BBC Radio/Asian Network hosted by Nihal.I am looking forward to the show. Next I'm off down to Birmingham on Easter Sunday at BBC RADIO West Midlands at 'Midnight Masala' a 40 minute show including reading extracts and an interview interspersed with music, sounds great.Then on 16th April between 10-12 am Radio Awaz, Glasgow's own Asian network is broadcasting the interview that I did earlier.


A month of shows and choc eggs, what more does one need?

Monday, 30 March 2009

Interview with AIM magazine

Got an interview on http://www.asiansinmedia.org/. Fantastic front page spread .Interview: Leela Soma, Scottish author and writerMonday, March 30, 2009
Leela Soma published her first book, Twice Born this year, after winning a local literary prize to finish the book. She tells AIM magazine how she got into writing and on the Scottish-Indian cultural scene.
What inspired you to get into writing your debut novel? Was the process difficult?
I had always written stories when I was young and some short poems for family events. I joined the Strathkelvin Writers Group in 2006 and won a few competitions there. In 2007 I won the Margaret Thomson Trophy for the first 10,000 words of this novel. The adjudicator Scottish Writer, Robin Lloyd -Jones’s advice was to make sure I completed the novel as it had a very good story line.Winning the Trophy gave me a boost and I worked hard to finish it.
The process was not easy as some bits flowed easily and others not quite as much. One character Aunty BB took over and grew bigger than I meant to but I had to restrict her scenes and work to the plot. The main thing was to keep the momentum going and have the stamina to finish writing the original 100,000 words then edit it down to 80,000.Continue reading…

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Poetry Festival & Radio Interview



Fantastic day on the 19th March at St.Andrews.The sunny day was the perfect start to the poetry festival.My friend and I enjoyed a lecture on Lord Byron followed by a Pie, Pint and Poetry cabaret by Jim.C. Wilson. Our short visit concluded with two great lectures on Douglas Livingstone and Robert Frost. A super day enhanced by meeting friends from Glasgow who had made the trip too.The only little hitch was when I could not get my camera to work so only one photo of the event.
Friday 20th was eventful. An interview for my novel 'Twice Born' on Radio Awaz. It was pre-recorded and will be broadcast in April.
The rest of the time was spent with family visitors. It is such a pleasure to look at the wonderful sights of Scotland. We managed to tour around Glasgow,Edinburgh and Loch Lomond especially as the weather has been fair to middling.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Poetry

My Writers Club had our annual poetry competition adjudicated last evening. I had not put in an entry, so it was good just to listen to other people's work and the comments from the adjudicator.She had brought her own poetry pamphlets for us to see and quoted from 'Ode Less Travelled' by Stephen Fry, a great book that is a must for aspiring poets. This is so timeous, as I'm off to the Stanza poetry Festival at St. Andrews tomorrow and will hear wonderful poets and lectures on Lord Byron and other great poets. The Lit scene is so rich here. Aren't we lucky to live in these times when words on a page can transport us away from the credit crunch and other real problems?

Here is a sentimental poem of mine, a shortened version :
Glasgow
Glasgow my adopted city,
Rainy, boggy, soggy.
The dear green place, minty
Sweet, the pubs make me groggy.


Glasgow my city, my home
Rained on, freshened, moist blue.
Victorian blonde sandstone, shiny new
Welcomes all with warmth so true.


Sorry to inflict my poem on you but I love the simple emotion that my city evokes in me.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Double whammy

Just what every new writer dreams of ! The book that you worked so hard on, at the window of a bookshop vying for attention with all other authors.
Look carefully, it is on the shelf next to the one with a very famous Edinburgh author A.McCall Smith!My local Bookshop is a wonderful focal point of the community and I feel so good that they have placed my novel 'Twice Born' prominently in their window.

Fantastic start to the week.
It is so thrilling to see the support from my local bookshop. The shop is a lovely, busy part of the community.The Cafe is well used and the Children's section is a wonderful addition to the shop a colourful, warm welcoming place for the young.


Leela's Inspiration
Leela Soma from Milngavie has just published her debut
novel called "Twice Born" which you can buy in Milngavie
Bookshop.
Leela told Community Soup, "As far as I am aware there are
no novels by a Glasgow based Indo-Scot writer, so I hope
this will inspire other Asians to get into the mainstream
literature of Scotland and make a contribution to it."

Another lovely surprise- the local freebie paper 'Milngavie Community Soup' has mentioned my novel ' Twice Born' in their March edition. I feel really pleased that the community rallies around local writers.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

My other hat


Here Iam plugging my book with my Indian friends. They are such a supportive group who listened to my reading and agreed that they could identify with much in the extract that I read. We reminisced about life in Glasgow in the 1970's and had a good time remembering our youthful daysThat famous saying 'you can take a girl out of Glasgow but can't take Glasgow out of the girl' came to mind. Our roots and heritage are so strong. They help shape who we are. In these days of the credit crunch, another topic that we did discuss all of us have a tendency to look for comfort in familiar things.


Glorious sunshine this morning. What a difference the rays of gold make to our day. Long may it last. I might even venture out for a long walk.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Glasgow's Buzzin

The city is buzzing with 'Aye Write' book festival and now the exciting talk of setting up our own Scottish Writers Centre. Fantastic commitment and interest from dedicated writers and aspiring ones like me. Down South soneone came with the idea of an art gallery in an empty shop , maybe we could have our Writers Centre in one(well, my suggestion anyway).




From a friend Allan who learnt from the Oatcake appreciation Society : ' I have now found a theory on the oatcake site that oatcakes were introduced by soldiers returning from India. The idea is that they were impressed by ther flat breads(chapattis) they came across, but that the ingredients for some reason didn't lend themselves to the British climate, so they changed the recipe, It was also found to be useful for miners to roll up and take in their pockets. Sounds similar to the development of the cornish pastie arounf the needs of the tin miners.'



Wow! Wish this the 'Year of the Homecoming' Scotland had highlighted a lot more of the connection between India and Scotland in all kinds of ways.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

CCA

Good night at the CCA. A.L.Kennedy, the writer did a stand up comedy routine that was good.

Received another positive feedback email from a reader:

I bought your book at the Sudden Fame event on Sunday, persuaded by the extract you read from it, and must say I'm thoroughly gripped, which is the mark of a good story. It's very interesting to see Britain in general through other eyes, but I can identify too with the shock of coming to the west of Scotland after London - I still haven't adjusted! A really fine achievement. Ann

I have started adding a feedback form in my book so that readers could email me their comments.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Met a writerly lot at Tattie Mac's for lunch.Enjoyable as one friend remarked that she had read my book straightaway as she could not put it down. More comments and feedback from March 5th launch.See the feeback form from David. (My Bolding)

Author Visit Feedback Form
(Please leave on the library counter)

Name of author: Leela Soma, Thursday 5th March, Milngavie Library.

In order for us to ensure that our programme of author visits meets your requirements, it would help us if you could take some time to fill in this feedback form.
Please delete as applicable.

Are you a member of the library?
Member 67%
Not a member 33%
Not answered 0

How would you describe the presentation by the author?
Very good 83%
Good 17%
Adequate 0
Poor 0
Very Poor 0

Would you describe the event as enjoyable?
Yes 100%
No. 0

If no, why not?


Have you read any books by this author prior to this event?
Yes 22%
No 78%

Will you read books by this author in future?
Yes 100%
No 0
Audiobook required. 0

Would you like East Dunbartonshire Libraries to organise more author visits?
Yes 94%
No. 0
Maybe 6%

If yes, what kind of books are you interested in?
Children’s books
Any
Crime and other novels
A vast varied selection
Biography
Memoirs
Novels - fiction
Poetry
Autobiographies
Varies taste
Current affairs

If no, why not?


When would be the most convenient time for you to attend an event of this kind?
Morning 5.5%
Afternoon 61%
Evening 33%
Any time. 0.5%


Other Comments

Very enjoyable.
This was my first time in this library and at an author’s speaking event, but will not be my last.
Leela Soma brings a new kind of reality into our lives.
A most enjoyable launch
Any chance of e-mailing info of future events? (e-mail address attached).
Excellent – will definitely read this author in future.
Well-presented and enjoyable
Interesting and enjoyable

Thank you for completing this feedback form






My local bookshop has been so supportive, they have a table at the front door displaying Scottish fiction, and have put mine for display.They had one copy only and it sold out the next day.Iam thrilled with the positive reception for my debut novel.



I have also been trying Allan Mayer's tips on marketing. He and Wally have been a great support and encourage me with their emails.



The sun is shining too what more could one ask for?

Monday, 9 March 2009

Aye Write


How do you convince someone to buy your novel in three minutes? Well I had a three minute slot at the Feds event at 'Aye Write' last evening and I'm pleased to say that all copies of my novel 'Twice Born' there were sold. Reading with passion is so imperative, making the characters alive so the audience could visualise the scene was important. A wonderful learning experience again.

The performance poets were fantastic, the Book Festival buzz was all around. Moir Hall looked magnificent.The compere VIV GEE lit up the evening with her humour.It was great to meet a pupil I had taught many years ago turning up to support me.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Feedback


More positive comments from readers. I quote :

'What a SPECTACULAR day.Such a pleasure to hear Leela reading from her novel TWICE BORN. As always with Leela, one's senses are immediately wrapped in fabulous colour, glorious fragrance.I started to read it on the way home and was immediately captivated-a young girl questioning beliefs... awaiting herfuture...and that's just the opening- Monica P

I also met a lady from my city of birth Madrsa India and we had been to the same school.She is probably lots younger than me but a wonderful connection has happened because of my novel!

'I never expected to come half across the world to Glasgow and find living right next door to me,someone who iwrites about the place of my birth and childhood! I was so glad to meet with a kindred soul - well, the Chennai-Glasgow link is strong in both of us, and to top it, you studied in GSC as well. I have not yet started on the book, but it certainly beckons and looks really interesting. - Odette K


Another recurring question that is encouraging me is the 'What about the next novel?'


'Hope your book is doing well. I have been meaning to e-mail you to let you know that I really enjoyed it and have mentioned it to friends. I liked the character, Sita, and you kept my interest as I wanted to know where the story was going for her and wanted her to have the chance to really be herself and be truly happy. I also enjoyed the political scenarios, as I was then able to place what I was doing at that time, to the characters. Your descriptions of the Glasgow areas were spot on and I enjoyed knowing the places described.

Well done and hope things are going well. Are you working on another book? '
Lynn S

Friday, 6 March 2009

World Book Day

When did you start writing? Do you have a routine everyday? Is this an autobiography? Some questions that I had asked authors at book readings were thrown at me today.Here is a photo of me signing the last few copies. The feedback from the people was fantastic. Milngavie bookshop has now got my book displayed prominently on a table of Scottish Literature,right at the door for the HomeComing Year.How appropriate.The launch was a success. There were over thirty people on a snowy March afternoon. After the reading, I was thrilled to be asked when the next novel would be out.The library staff had laid out not just tea, coffee but tasty home baking even hot sausage rolls. It was a wonderful, warm and friendly event. Most importantly all the copies were sold and orders are in my hand for more. Waiting for more photos, without the glasses!

Monday, 2 March 2009

Agent

An agent I had written to LAST JULY wrote to me a couple of days ago, apologising for misplacing my submission and adding that the first three chapters of my novel are 'Terrific'.She has assured me that she'll read my next novel, so here is hoping.I know I was desperate to see my book in print and only sent it to 3 publishers and 2 agents. I had no patience to wait till the twelveth or twentieth rejection. Maybe I would not have taken up YWO's offer if she had replied to me earlier.But everything happens for a reason. On a positive note I'm learning so much about the marketing and promotion of my novel.Here's to good sales of the first and the next novel.

Friday, 27 February 2009

Learning

As a new writer and having just had my book published Iam learning various facts about the weird and wonderful world of Writing. I enjoy the writing process, meeting like minded people in my Writers Club and reading. Setting up my website and blogging however, has opened up a different world of vanity press, the AW forum and the struggles of new writers. New technology has also created the possibilty of voices not in the mainstream being heard.Iam on a steep learning curve.

Asian Writers Festival

The Asian Writer, an online site that introduces and showcases new writers of BME background is now considering holding a Writers Festival in Leicster.What a fantastic idea, especially if it is inclusive of all writers to take part in it. I firmly believe one of the ways of sharing and caring about all the groups in society is through literature. It is a wonderful way of getting to know people. I'm reading the 'Harmony Silk Factory' by Tash Aw and I'm learning about Malaysia in the 1930's.

My novel 2 is taking shape,nearly half way with the first draft. Ideas spring up in the middle of the night and I dash a few words in the notebook by my side, sometimes the writing is fuzzy making it fun(?) to decipher in the morning.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

My writers Group had a visiting author Rosemary Gemmell who specialises in writing short stories in Woman's magazines. It was an interesting evening and very informative.She not only explained the important aspects of short story writing adjudicated our competition but also gave us some food for thought on writing for Woman's magazines. I was not aware that 'Take a Break' a weekly popular magazine offers cash for letters and photos. Good to earn a few bob from writing if one is successful.
The SAW residential Weekend is on the 6th -8th March. the Scottish Association of Writers is celebrating its 40th anniversary and is growing from strength to strength. I am unable to go this year but I look forward to my Writers Club winning a lot of prizes.

A week to go for my book launch on World Book Day.Iam excited and nervous.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

chocs away

Continuing on the choc blog. Got this fantastic recipe from Facebook friend. 5 MINUTE CHOCOLATE MUG CAKE.Have a go takes only 5 minutes.
4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
A small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
Pour in the milk and oil.
Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.
Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts.
The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!
Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.
EAT! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous).


How about my writing? Yep, my second novel is taking shape, very slowly but surely.The characters are becoming real.Its exciting.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Aye Write

Another great opportunity for new writers at Glasgow's 'Aye Write' Festival I am particpating in the Federation Of Writers event 'Sudden Fame'.Here are the details.

Sunday 8th March
19:30 - 22:00
New Scottish Writing
FREE - see booking information
The Federation of Writers (Scotland) present Sudden Fame a spoken word event where members of writers groups and the public take the opportunity to perform a selection of their work on stage.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Love Words at Goma

The Federation of Writers had an enjoyable event 'Love Words' at the Gallery of Modern Art yesterday. Great participation by all poets and prose writers.Glasgow has a really active, inspiring writers scene and I feel happy to be part of it.

As promised here is some of the feedback for my novel 'Twice Born' some edited and some in full.

Hi Leela
Though I bought "Twice Born" shortly after its release it’s only in the last day or so that I have read it

Top marks!!

Especially interesting to Grace & myself as Glasgow doctors qualifying in the mid fifties,

Courting in the Kibble Palace, and People's Palace shopping, eating and going to the pictures in Byres Road
Dr. John S. Bryden

Hi Leela
At last! I got your book from Amazon last week (they had to order it), but it was worth waiting for. I enjoyed your story very much - and also enjoyed learning about the Scotland -India connections. Hope you're working on the next one now. I'm looking forward to reading more.
Dr. Ann McLaren (Vice President, Scottish Association of Writers)

I read your book and really enjoyed it. Fascinating insights into your rich cultural background and such vivid description. It's wonderful to read and find your self so identifying with the author's words that you can almost feel yourself transported back in time. There were moments like that in your book and in two I have read recently, James Kelman's Kieron Smith, Boy and Janice Galloway's It's Not About me.
When I’ve read your book again I'd love to have a chat with you.
Catherine Stapleton (Principal Teacher)

Just to let you know that I have finished your book
and thoroughly enjoyed the storyline. As I progressed
through it I was eager to find out what happens to the
two main characters, so you really got my interest
going. It was also very interesting to find out about
the cultural aspects of Sita's move to the UK. Well
done, and I am very pleased to know an author! Will
there be a sequel?
Pat McKenzie(Assistant Head Teacher)

I loved the book. The character of Sita comes alive in the story and I was taken along on a journey where I got to see life through the eyes of an Indian immigrant adapting to new places, people and culture. It is a story every woman will relate to, especially those who have moved far after marriage. I just wanted to keep reading to know what happens to Sita. The description of Scotland and Glasgow is a visual treat as I could almost see the surroundings as the author describes it. The political changes and the changes in Sita's life seem to intertwine which makes this book an interesting read and different from the usual love stories.
Vidya, London

This evocative novel, set in Glasgow, is seen through the eyes of an Indian immigrant couple who have to adapt to their new country and city, to each other (it is an arranged marriage), and the subtle pressures of their own community. This love story has sharply observed characters, authentic settings and real emotional tragedies. The strong narrative is seasoned with wit and sympathy and offers real insights into the host culture as seen from the newcomer's standpoint.
M. Thomson Scotland

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Snowed under


Been too busy with family, so blogging time was hard to find.Glasgow looks magical under a couple of inches of snow.Cold,crisp and lovely.

Back to my novel, things are moving again.I sold the 20 copies that I had ordered so quickly that I have ordered some more. Books are selling well in Amazon. I have had good feedbacks that Iam going to put a few quotes here in the next blog.

The local library has made a special 'Author slot' for me on World Book Day.They have printed flyers, posters etc and Iam looking forward to the reading and meeting people that day.I have posted a copy of a flyer here.

On March 8th at the 'Aye Write' Festival I hope to participate at the ' Sudden Fame' event organised by the 'Federation of Writers'. It is good to meet fellow writers and artists and get a feel of being part of a literary Festival.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Local Newspaper Article

The local newspaper Milngavie and Bearsden Herald wrote a fine review of my novel and the local bookshop has had people enquiring about my book. I was surprised to note that the book is available online in Italy, Germany and other European countries.This is exciting stuff for a debut novelist.Also take a look at www.alltv.com and Gwendafox's blogspot.

New Year Resolution is to finish my next novel, so once the festivities are over I must buckle down to completing it.The research for it so fascinating that I get sidetracked on reading more about it.

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