Category Archives: Dark fantasy

Finding your Voice: A Simple Exercise

Finding your voice is what all writing workshops are ultimately about.

I did an exercise a long time ago, days before the daily prompts you could subscribe to. One way that works is writing a short paragraph with three characters and writing from the perspective of each character.

Suppose there is a poet, a vampire and a woman


woman  the vampire- I leave to your imagination    Poet 1967


Write as though you are the poet. Tell the poet’s story, his house near the hills, his dreams of becoming a famous poet, his love affairs.

Then write as though you are the woman. The woman could be unhappy, someone who searches for truth in her unhappy relationship. Although she is despondent, she dares to search.

Write as though you are a female vampire trapped in a house with a hundred rooms. The vampire wants only to be wanted. She is trapped in a bell jar of unhappiness and wants release.

These are characters in my novella Unsettled. You can choose three characters of your own and see whose voice you most relate to. You will identify with one of the three characters and that is when you will write more freely, without glancing at the clock.

This is one way you can discover the inclination of your Voice.

Try this exercise and let me know if it worked for you as it did for me.

© neelthemuse, 2014
Check out my book Unsettled @ Amazon



Posted by on August 29, 2014 in Books, Dark fantasy, Fiction, Mythical


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Writing Here

The literary scene is good in South Asia. Kind of like an ancient Banyan spreading it’s life across the horizon….


I’m telling you this because it wasn’t like this at all when I was growing up. I lived in the Middle East and my father being a voracious reader got us books mostly by foreign authors. So I grew up reading a lot of British and American and Russian writing because that was all there was. Except for the occasional Ruskin Bond or R.K.Narayan.

Of course all this has changed. Now everywhere I look, someone tells me in a conspiratorial voice that he or she is an aspiring writer or a closet writer or a blogger or a freelancer.

Publishing houses are excited about the next big thing. Editors are on the look out for a manuscript they can ‘clean’ up. Facebook groups by writers, for writers and of writers are atomically exploding online. Mine included.

Every writer has a blog has a twitter account has a pinterest has a tumblr has an instagram.

Every book is alive and speaking in its own voice asking for reviews @ Amazon and Goodreads.

The new Festival in this Festive land where holidays are the norm rather than the rarity is the Lit Fest.

Performance Poetry Workshops are seeing puppeteers, theatre artists, publishers, engineers, teachers and marketing gurus composing poetry and enacting them in open spaces.

Eminent writers chat pleasantries while sipping spiced tea with wide-eyed wannabes and discuss the publication scenario.

Tiny groups of writers get together in cafes to free write and find themselves.

So although there is a view that there are way too many writers and all the writing that comes out is not all that good- it is an exciting time to be a writer in South Asia.

Lucky to be here!

neelthemuse@ 2014

Check out my book Unsettled @ Amazon


Posted by on January 20, 2014 in Books, Dark fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal Romance


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Of Amazon and other things

This year my first ebook came out and now it’s available at Amazon, Smashwords and itunes. YAY!

Writing a book is not what you imagine it to be. I had a very different idea about what it meant.

What is writing a book then?

It’s a beginning. When you start writing a story like Unsettled, a novella of 20,000 words, and you finish the story, you realize that here’s something you could do for a long time.

It’s a search. The story talks about a court poet’s ordeal when he loses his words for the love of a temptress. Writing about a poet seemed to be the most natural thing for me to do…I suspect that is why I was able to write it in four weeks. Any other story would take much longer as I’ve already started to figure out.

It’s connecting. I’ve met many lovely writers and editors. Everyone I’ve interacted with has taught me something new.

It’s being willing to start over. I’ve started reading books from the beginning to the end(an achievement because I usually stop half way),  discovered some lovely writing talent in my own home turf, and begun to contemplate on poetry books with more than casual curiosity.

It’s marketing. This year I was hit by the fb bug. When you write a story you have to ask friends, family, the entire Universe to conspire in your happiness. And it’s not just on fb that you pitch your story.

Once you’ve written the book, the story of the story is a different story altogether. So far, it’s been a learning curve of the highest order and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for better things.

neelthemuse@ 2013

Check out my book Unsettled @ Amazon


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Of Podcasts

This is a podcast of me reading a chapter from my ebook ‘Unsettled’. It is the first time I’m on audio, voluntarily anyway….unless you count the times my mom and dad taped my baby ramblings.

First you have to find a chapter from your book that says a bit but not much. You can’t be your own spoiler now, can you?

Then you have to figure out the technology behind recording the Voice.

When you do a dummy recording you realize that your Real Voice has nothing to do with your Writer Voice.

Then all the sounds that you never are conscious of come at you in amazing loudness- a murder of crows, a herd of cows, a road block of SUVs, a bus full of children….

There was the sound of an airshow going on next door. I live in a flight zone, so finding a quiet place to read your story( the cardinal rule of Podcasting) is next to impossible. I  read with my breath held in the pit of my stomach and when I was almost through,  the planes began to soar once more.

I started over.

The door knocked incessantly. The post office flooded with letters to me- mostly bills.

Then the Elevator sound. Up and down in a customary ramble all day long shouting ‘Please close the Door’, It is a Noisy elevator, with a clunking personality. The continuous refrain it spits out made speaking to my computer seem absurd.

It took me a whole day of bumbling recordings to do this…., the final edit was done at Indireads….

Just click here to listen: Chapter Reading

Luckily the Video podcast never saw the light of day. A good thing as the light in my abode has an odd way of disappearing into the walls. Plus being camera shy doesn’t help much either.


neelthemuse@ 2013

Check out my book Unsettled @ the Indireads Book Store and read it if you haven’t already!:



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Posted by on August 9, 2013 in Books, Dark fantasy, Fiction


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If Hamlet were an ebook author he would say


To promote or not  promote, that is the question

 Whether tis nobler in the mind to pray

Someone downloads your book

Or take arms and persuade readers to explore

And by nagging begin? To believe that your words

Could launch a thousand clicks, ten thousand, virality,

Oh Bieber, Bieber you innocent project of Luck,

The Gods they change, from aeon to aeon,

Here you are despicable writer, on your knees,

Supplicating minion of the Word

Can you bear the unkindness of unknown readers,

the negligence of fingers that do not click,

the ignorance of credit card holders, the gateways

that grate the fingernails of anxious writer, anxious you,

when can you leave all this behind? The hours and hours

of surfing, the liking and unliking,

the fawning and cajoling, the spider’s web in you expanding

into a dream, your dreams now a network of jpgs. Soft now!

A reader comes, be on your best behaviour, smile, say cheese,

fall on your knees, say ‘Read’!

(I apologize to all my English Professors for this desecration of Hamlet’s unparalleled speech!)


neelthemuse@ 2013

Check out my book Unsettled @ the Indireads Book Store:












Posted by on August 5, 2013 in Dark fantasy, humour, Paranormal Romance


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The book launch finally happened at the Indireads Book Store and my first ebook is out along with thirty other romances!


Unsettled is  a story about a search and about love, but most of all it’s about how poetry can get into fiction if it means that much. This is one reason I wrote this story. Now all that’s left is for you to read it.

Go to and read of course!


Posted by on June 14, 2013 in Books, Dark fantasy, Inspiration, Mythical


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The Book Review

It is that time of my published life when I ask for reviews.

All of us writers do that, don’t we?

How does it make you feel? Honestly?

Well I think that many writers, and I did not say ALL, are not very in your face BUY MY BOOK( though twitter is full of that, me included) sorts of people. Which is why they write in the first place. They are quiet, they have too much to say. They are simmering. Almost reptilian, if you ask me. They sit and bask in the sun all day, and say nothing- they observe ridiculous things- like the length of shadows, or a bead of perspiration coursing down someone’s forehead or elsewhere.

Then they write it all down.

After writing it down and getting it OUT THERE, as in a book, it is there turn to TALK,SCREAM, YELL about how they did it. This is defined as self-promotion. Every writer with a book out owes it to herself or himself to talk about the BOOK. Nothing wrong with that.

What is strange is asking people you know, friends and family, to BUY your book and feel all the worse for it. You understand what the frustrated salesperson feels when she knocks at your door with a sullen smile and wares that you do not need.

You think it is alright- maybe they will read. Of course they will, once you get that superb review….and then the frustrated writer waits for the Make it or Break it review that will send sales through the roof.

Maybe. Who knows?

On that note, a poem(I’ve been reading McGough and loved his sense of rhyme, so dare I try?)….

Give me five stars or four and half

Three is fair, I don’t care

Do as you will- am yours to kill

Or ignore, has happened before

Of course it has, that time when I read you Donne

Or told you about horrific King

Silly thing you said, with your nose in your books

And your eyes on ink, the world is living

And look at you. Tut tut tut in a rut

Get out and explore, open the bloody door

Come outside and see the world you choose to flee

But outside tis the same, the people in their games

The rats in their race. I will write a book that you can like

or strike off. Deflate my ego, it must be gone anyway

You- the mountain I climbed, take it away that sense of self

The me that sits on your bookshelf

Tear her apart, pull her down, teach her a lesson of the highest crown

So that the next time she puts her finger to the key

She won’t dare appear in any guise, except surprise surprise

Five star and a half, no gaffe please!

Which brings me to the obvious- my ebook, a paranormal romance  ‘Unsettled’ is out at the Indireads Store. I look forward to your feedback and reviews, most of all your encouragement:

 © neelthemuse,2013


Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Books, Dark fantasy


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