A year back, I posted my first assignment for the MFA course on this day. A couple of days ago, I submitted the last write-up required to meet the credit criteria to complete the one-year creative writing course. Next week, I will have an MFA added to my M.Sc. and MBA degrees. But this journey is much beyond earning a certificate.
When I discovered Writer’s Village University through one of my friends, I had started questioning the rationality of pursuing writing as a full-time profession. I had trashed two manuscripts written with the intent of publishing one of them as Raya Ray’s second case.
WVU taught me kindness and compassion. I discovered a supportive writing network in a virtual world. I unlearned to learn writing like an enthusiastic teenager. I finally understood the impact of constructive criticism.
The last ten months haven’t been easy for anyone since the pandemic bringing our lives to a standstill. For weeks, it was just me and my son trying to adjust to the fact that we can meet his doctor father only once a month. While I am immensely grateful to my father and my in-laws for their support during this phase, it is writing and written words that kept me afloat. The turbulence in my mind found a way out through typed words on my screen.
While I have chosen to continue my association with WVU, I have decided to get back to writing beyond my class assignments from this month onwards. The revived state of my writing desk is the first step towards a new beginning of my renewed writing journey.
8th March is celebrated worldwide as International Women’s Day. While I am aware of the history that brought this day into existence, it breaks my heart to think of the nature of crimes, violence, and harassment that women face 364 days a year. If only we had been successful in normalizing the belief of equality between both the genders, we wouldn’t have needed a special day to remind everyone that even in 2020, women are forced to fight for their rights to survive with respect.
This year the day wasn’t meant to be any different because I have stopped celebrating women’s day or rather give in to the discounts and offers that have trivialized the intent behind this day. The only special event on 8th March was that my 4.5-year-old had finished his final exams and we could plan a short beach vacation with our childhood friends and their families. It was a refreshing change to switch off from writing, my MFA course assignments and the daily humdrum of life for three days. We went on a trip down the memory lane as the vehicle took us out of Kolkata towards the Mandarmani sea beach.
TSM Influential Woman Award 2k20
But life was waiting around the corner with some special surprises in the store. The first mail in the morning arrived from The Spirit Mania (TSM) Group conferring me with the Influential Women Award 2k20 in Literature. Before I could get over the excitement of this surprise win, the second award arrived from the Literoma group in the form of the LiteromaNari Samman 2020 Award in the field of Literature again. While I couldn’t make it to the TSM award venue in person, the pre-planned trip also made me skip the grand Literoma Award function held at the New Town Library, Kolkata. A friend of mine accepted the trophy, medal, and certificate on my behalf and it is only today that I can hold it in my hand basking in the glory of this success. Women’s Day for me became a day of double celebration this year as I won these two prestigious awards as a female Indian author in the field of Literature.
These awards help me stay motivated in my chosen field of creative arts. They give me encouragement on days when the sky outside the window overlooking my workstation feels gray. Thank you TSM group and the Literoma group for appreciating and awarding my work. All the love poured in primarily because of my debut Detective Thriller ‘Deal of Death’ that established me as an author (you can purchase a copy from the linkhere). Heartfelt gratitude to my readers for choosing to be a part of my writing journey. It is now time for me to go back to reading, working on more assignments and continue creating content with a purpose in mind and stronger determination in the heart.
On Saturday 8th Feb, I traveled with my debut book ‘Deal of Death’ to The Saturday Club, Kolkata for an insightful discussion about women writing thrillers. The panel was moderated by Baishali Chatterjee Dutt and had prolific authors like Kiran Manral, Sharmistha Gooptu, and Damyanti Biswas along with me speaking on how ‘thriller’ was an umbrella genre comprising of various sub-categories. We focussed on the stereotyping that women writers face while writing books in a genre predominantly occupied by writers of the opposite gender. In an engaging and thought-provoking session, we shared our experiences of becoming writers in this genre and the way forward.
Sharing a couple of pictures and bits of my opinion recorded live.
The media coverage in the form of an article on the event is available here.
The full recording of the event is available on the FB page of Shethepeople.tv here.
Here’s the big news that I had spoken about in my last post. Tomorrow, Saturday 8th Feb, I will be speaking at the Women Writer’s Fest by Shethepeople.tv on the theme‘Writing Thrills’ at The Saturday Club, Kolkata. Along with three other prolific writers, we will be discussing our journey as authors in the genre of thrillers. The day is packed with various events and you can catch my session from 11:30 am to 12:15 pm. Entry is free and all you need to do to attend the event is register on the mentioned link below.
I will be sharing further details about the proceedings of the day along with some pictures and videos (if possible) in my next blog post. However, if you want to watch me live from the event tomorrow, please follow me on my Facebook page/Twitter/Instagram (I go by the handle @soniasmusings everywhere).
Please wish me luck as I make my debut as an author in the first writing fest of my new journey.
January has been a kind month until now. My book has been getting some great responses and I have also been picking up a couple of awards for it. MFA coursework has started taking up every minute of my day. With the beginning of the mandatory courses this week, it has become extremely difficult to read anything beyond the reference materials and write very little beyond chasing the assignment deadlines.
In the first blog post of January, I had mentioned Orange Flower Awards by Women’s Web. Last year, I had made it to their shortlist for humor and travel writing. This year, the award ceremony gets bigger with celebrity film-makers, actors, entrepreneurs, authors and a host of achievers across the industries making their presence felt on the day of the event. Amidst of thousand of entries in various categories of blogging, social media, and video blogs, it is nothing short of a privilege to announce that my writing got me nominated in SEVEN categories (Yes, you read that right!). Parent Blogging, Humor writing, Writing with a social impact, Writing on Women at Work, Travelgram, Photogram and Best use of Twitter for social impact was where I found myself listed.
Happy New Year to all the readers of soniasmusings.com. I wish you a great 2020 filled with happiness and peace.
Life has become a roller-coaster ride ever since I published my book ‘Deal of Death’ on Amazon. Barring the short family vacation that took me to Bankura and Bishnupur, I have spent the whole of last week working on promotions and marketing of my book on various social media platforms. The efforts were rewarded when it won me the Best Debut Author (Fiction) at the Literoma Rising Star Awards, held at the New Town Book Fair, Kolkata on January 1st, 2020. I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the year.
The writing journey began in September 2017 after I decided to quit Banking and move to Kolkata. I could have never mustered the courage to follow my heart if I didn’t have my son Tuneer occupying a major portion of my heart. life and time. So, when I went on the stage to receive the trophy and certificate, I ensured to take him along. It was a delight to see him accept the award. The Banking awards are slowly but gradually making way for the new awards in my writing profession.
Sharing a few snaps from the event where the husband, who’s usually reluctant to click pictures, happily turned into a photographer. I could also sense a tinge of pride in my father’s eyes who had kindly agreed to accompany us for the event.
Also, it gives me immense pleasure to announce that Deal of Death has made it to the Top 100 New releases in the category of Crime, Thriller, and Mystery at No. 50. If you love reading a fast-paced Detective thriller, please consider buying a copy from this LINK.
The book is available in the format of an e-book. However, it is NOT mandatory to own a kindle to purchase it. Kindle app works on any smartphone and that is enough to buy a copy and read the book.
Lastly, the updated list of Top Indian Blogs (2019-2020) was released today and it is a pleasant surprise to see that my blog has made it to this esteemed list for the second consecutive year. It wouldn’t have been possible without the support and encouragement of my subscribers. Thank you for choosing to be a part of my journey.
I will be back very soon with a few more updates on the book and the upcoming Orange Flower Awards 2020 by Women’s Web. Stay tuned for the details.
July has been one of the toughest months for me this year. I was scheduled to start my MFA creative writing program and knew that the blog was going to see lesser posts than usual. As luck would have it, my health issues flared up badly by the end of June leaving me helpless and breathless. The last one was due to the severe nasal complications that I seemed to have developed recently. While it took a lot of determination to stay positive and stop myself from thinking about being productive, I need to mention that I also discovered some amazing authors and their books in the last three weeks. They kept me company as I tried to keep my hope alive about the effectiveness of medicines in helping me get back to a normal life.
And then something magical happened. On July 12th, I got a mail from Millennial Worx that my blog had made it to the top 20 shortlist of the Shining Bloggers Award and the final results of the top 10 winning Bloggers were scheduled for Sunday, July 21st. The most endearing aspect of this shortlist was that someone had nominated my blog for this award (anonymously) and I’m still trying to figure out who it was. But I feel immensely grateful that he/she considered me worth this nomination based on my work. On 21st July, the final list was and it gives me immense pleasure to inform you that soniasmusings.com won the award finishing at the third position. While I couldn’t be present in person to receive the trophy and certificate at Lucknow, the founders helped me connect to the audience through an audio visual live session.
Accolades and prestigious awards like this motivate me to write better and work harder. They serve as reminders of the reason I quit my corporate job to become a writer. Hence, I take this opportunity to thank all my readers, family members and friends who have been a constant source of support in my writing journey of 1 year 10 months. I am hoping to get back to creating some more beautiful pieces on this blog very soon.
It gives me immense pleasure to announce that soniasmusings.com has been selected as one of top 40 Indian lifestyle blogs by the esteemed portal Feedspot (specifically at no. 30). Finding my blog amidst renowned names like Verve and Filmfare magazine has only made me realize how special this recognition will always be.
The blog is a little less active than usual this month because I’m gearing up for my MFA study program starting next week. But I promise to work out the schedule as soon as I figure out the requirements of the course and my other writing commitments. Thank you for your support.
You can click here for more information related to this list.
It has been twenty months since I started this blog. And it is my pleasure to announce that soniasmusings.com has been selected as one of the best blogs of 2019 as per Top Indian Blogs website. It is privilege to be amidst such august company and it gives me the much-needed motivation to work harder towards my writing goals. Thank you for choosing to be a part of my journey.
Click here to be redirected to the announcement page.
This post has been pending for a long time. Thank you, Priya from priyareflects.com for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award. The fact that I have written a detective novella ‘Deal of Death’ in the genre of mystery/thriller makes me feel extremely happy at receiving this award. Love the squirrel for being the cutest presenter of any award ever.
Coming to the award, it was started by Okota Enigma. She had an idea behind this award. “It’s an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.”
So here are the rules of this award –
1. PUT THE AWARD LOGO/IMAGE ON YOUR BLOG. LIST THE RULES. 2. THANK WHOEVER NOMINATED YOU AND PROVIDE A LINK TO THEIR BLOG. 3.MENTION THE CREATOR OF THE AWARD AND PROVIDE A LINK AS WELL 4.TELL YOUR READERS 3 THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF 5. YOU HAVE TO NOMINATE 10 – 20 PEOPLE 6. NOTIFY YOUR NOMINEES BY COMMENTING ON THEIR BLOG 7. ASK YOUR NOMINEES ANY 5 QUESTIONS OF YOUR CHOICE; WITH ONE WEIRD OR FUNNY QUESTION (SPECIFY) 8. SHARE A LINK TO YOUR BEST POST(S).
The first three points are already attended to, so here’s the answer to number 4 –
Three things about me –
There are three men in my life who I love the most – my toddler, my husband and my father. There’s nothing that makes me happier than spending time with my Dad, having a heartfelt conversation with my husband and playing with my toddler.
I quit my Banking job to become a writer and it is only recently that I became a published author. I nurture the dream to continue writing Detective thrillers with my protagonist Raya Ray and hope to see my book in the bestseller racks someday.
I am a night owl. I can work till the wee hours of the morning but if you ask me to wake up early, I find it extremely difficult to implement.
Now coming to the five questions that Priya had asked me –
If you were to choose a pen name what would it be?
It would be Raya Ray. It would be a lot of fun writing as the protagonist of the detective thriller itself.
Share your best memory ever?
There are too many to write especially during those years when my mom was still around. But the one memory is etched in my heart forever was when I held my son for the first time after his birth.
Tell me about your most romantic date
My husband and I have been friends for two decades now. We had lost in touch for a good number of years before meeting each other again in 2010. We met at a restaurant called Casapicola in Bangalore for lunch. When we started talking, it never felt like there was a gap in between. Even without expressing our feelings, we knew that we were meant to be together.
If you were to act in a movie (or play a literary character) which one would you choose and why?
I wish I could play Feluda – the sleuth in Satyajit Ray’s detective novels and essay the role of Vidya Bagchi (played by the super talented Vidya Balan) in Kahani. Both belong to my favorite genre of thrillers and Vidya Balan is a personal favorite.
What would be the absolute worst name you could give to a child?
If you have heard Bengali nicknames, you would know that there are quite a few names that could scar the child forever. So Pintu, Ghoton, Babla are just a few among them.
I nominate the following people for this award –
I would want them to answer these five questions –
Tell us one thing about yourself that nobody knows.
Which genre of books do you enjoy reading the most and why?
What is the best piece of advice or feedback that you received for your writing?
If you were stranded on an island, what things would you take with you and why?
What is the weirdest or craziest thing that you have ever done?
My best post till date is also a personal favorite –