Sunday, 30 October 2011

The clocks go back

Its that time of the year again, dark nights, warm clothes, and hunkering in is upon us. I love autumn more than even summer as I'll have no hay fever to contend with and the fact that people make so much more effort to get together for festivities is wonderful.

I've finished re-reading John Banville's 'The Sea' a book that draws me in from time to time. His prose-'The past beats inside me like a second heart' - is just perfect! And it is the pages of description that makes me want to re-read it again and again.

At last I have started tackling some books on the TBR list. Emma Donohue's 'The Room' is the first one in that big pile. I'm just a few pages in and I'm drawn in to her wonderful opening chapters.Her empathy and imagination of the language of a precocious five year old is incredible. A novel that I cannot put down and will finish in one sitting.

Another book that caught my attention was 'The Kashmir Shawl'. A quiet book that is a popular read and recommended by a friend is something I am looking forward to reading next.Wales, Kashmir and the story line is alluring. I'm sure I'll enjoy the book. The publisher of Sara Gruen's best selling novel 'Water for Elephants' is coming to talk to the local book group and I've been invited to the event. A historical novel that Sara Gruen wrote as part of the National Writing Month stayed on the New York Times Best seller list for 12 weeks in 2006 and was later made into a movie. Another book and movie to enjoy.

And most terrifying of all is the book launch of my second novel 'Bombay Baby' on the 24th and 30th November! Exciting times ahead!

Sunday, 23 October 2011


The latest questions from friends -'Have you started novel three, Leela? What is it about?' I am flattered and pleased that they want to know about the next novel, but I've embarked on a really important venture. For a while now I've been collecting various pieces of my family history from different sources, mainly oral with a few sepia tinted photos, old cine reels, videos and some old recipes to spice it up. It is an exciting and time consuming work that thrills at times. It makes me sit back and wonder about some of the achievements, the joy and tragedies of the people closest to me. The trouble is, the project when finished, is not for public consumption at all. This is something I wish to record for those nearest and dearest to me. New technology makes it so easy to access and record what I know and I feel it is so important to put it down on paper for the future generations. So, to answer the question, novel three will be on the back burner. I did have an outline ready for novel three but the family memoir is taking precedence. Curious to see how people structure their family memoirs, I googled it. I loved the covers of some of them. There are different methods to approach this subject and I must confess I got a few ideas on how to put mine together. This is a new departure for me, moving away from fiction to non-fiction and I look forward to the challenge.

November is also the launch of Nanowrimo and I know some of my writer friends are tackling it this year. 50,000 words in thirty days is no mean feat. It is a fantastic way to motivate the procrastinator(ME!!) to stop making excuses and getting down to the task in hand. I wish all those taking part in it all the best and hope that they achieve their target of fifty thousand words.

Monday, 17 October 2011


There are so many competitions for new writers now. The competitions are for every genre of novels, poems, and art. I thought I'll highlight just two that came to my notice. One from Ireland posted by the Scottish Writers Centre on FB and another annual one from the Scottish Book Trust.

Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Competition
This international poetry competition gives poetry writers a chance to win €1000 for a single poem. Winning poems will be published in our online poetry journal 'Southword'.

Scottish Book Trust are looking for 8 talented and committed writers to participate in their New Writers Awards. Successful applications will receive £2000 to allow them to spend time writing. The deadline for application is Thursday 24th November (midday).

Scottish Book Trust New Writers Awards | Scottish Book Trust
If you have specific access requirements, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate your needs. This information is available in alternative formats, including large print format on request.

So get your entries in!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Book Launch

Friends asking 'When is the next novel coming out?' can now be given a positive answer. The book launch of 'Bombay Baby' the second novel is on 24th November at the Centre for Contemporary Arts(CCA) 350 Sauchiehall Street hosted by the Scottish Writers Centre at 7pm.There is a cafe and a bar on the premises. It is a busy place buzzing with interesting programmes every day of the week. I hope people would buy a copy of 'Bombay Baby' and maybe even give some as a Christmas present to others.

The editor Farhana of Dahlia Publishing Ltd who has taken this book on has been a great help in shaping the novel and polishing it for the readers. I had heard of the second book syndrome but did not realize how difficult it was till I started 'Bombay Baby.' There are readers out there who have some expectations.

Here are some comments from readers of 'Twice Born.'

‘A good beginning’- Robin Lloyd Jones Award winning author.

‘Leela’s culture clash novel is set out to be a hit’- Milngavie and Bearsden Herald

‘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, 11 October 2011

Nicola Morgan

Since I got into the habit of starting the day with a quick look at FB and Twitter, I must say that it is easy to waste time browsing. The exception to this is Nicola Morgan's blog 'Help I Need a Publisher'. She is concise, consistently good and is very helpful to new writers. The bonus is she is also a fun person on Twitter.

I met her at 'Weegie Wednesday' a monthly forum in Glasgow where writers, publishers, agents all meet and network. Nicola spoke about her work and the her blog and I'm sure got a lot of new writers following her blog. Her work ethic is amazing. She has something useful and interactive on her blog almost every day. Read her books, follow her blog and learn all there is to know about writing and getting published.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Bombay Baby - a peek

A new novel by an emerging Scottish writer.

Tina is torn between her Scottish parents and her Indian roots.
In the months leading to her eighteenth birthday she decides to find that missing piece of her life. Tina embarks on a journey that will change her life forever, to India to find the woman she might otherwise have called mum. She meets an alluring American, Andrew and falls in love. But is all what it seems?
Meanwhile her uncle James is back in India on a business trip – the place where he found himself and his first love. Just when Tina is about to discover her biological mother’s identity she is involved in a tragic accident and it is James who is summoned to her hospital bedside. As James begins to reminisce over his past he wanders how his life might have otherwise turned out. What happens when their lives accidentally intertwine and what will the consequences be for their loved ones waiting in Glasgow?

Praise for Twice Born
“At last! I got your book from Amazon last week, but it was woth 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 Mc Laren Vice- President of Scottish Association of Writers

“Watch out for emerging new writer Leela Soma …”
Professor Willy Maley in "Discovering Scottish Literature"
School of English and Scottish Language and Literature

Thursday, 6 October 2011

National Poetry Day

On National Poetry Day of 'Games' my wee thoughts


The legacy of the Guptas lives on.
A game of yore given to the world
Ashtapada the eight squared board
Mentioned in the epic Mahabharata
Of chess men infantry, cavalry, chariotry
Elephantry the game of war and strategy
Perused by Arabs taken by the Buddhists
To the Silk Road, Chaturanga made inroads
To Europe over centuries the game played on
Stone changed to boards now on computers
A game of brains, checkmated and stalemated
Imprinted into the history of mankind.

Snakes and Ladders

A piece of cotton marked with houses
All houses represent emotions
The mind is man as they say
The snakes the bad feelings that
Take one away from Nirvana
The ladders the support of man
Good feelings those positive vibes
Makes man content and happy
Using cowries, shells or wooden pieces
Throw the dice to your life’s chances
Ancient philosophy on a board.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Book Cover

Here at last.

Dahlia Publishing
Paperback published
14 November 2011, £12.99
ISBN 978-0-9566967-1-7

Coming Soon

Dahlia Publishing is pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of their first novel. Glasgow based writer and poet Leela Soma whose novel, Bombay Baby was thrust from the slush pile for its heart warming, coming of age novel with heaps of spice.

Read the novel set in Bombay and Glasgow.

A tale of identity, of motherhood, sibling rivalry and family secrets.

Available soon on:

And in major bookstores.

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