Written in Ruberah receives another 5 star review on Amazon and BookPleasures.com

BaniSodermarkReviewer Bani Sodermark has posted her review of Written in Ruberah on BookPleasures.com.

Bani has a Ph.D in mathematical physics and has been a teacher of physics and mathematics at the university level in both India and Sweden. For the last decade, her interests have been spirituality, healthy living and self-development. She has written a number of reviews on Amazon.com. Bani is a mother to two children.

A Love Story on Different Planes

This is not your usual love story where the main actors are paramount and conceive their life stories with decisions taken by themselves in the present, and many or most of the facts relevant to the story pertain to the existing lifetime. In this book, the protagonists live out decisions taken by them in another time and space. And we get to see a fine and entirely plausible interplay of the main characters with the river spirit of Cornwall, viz., Tamara, who not only provides a timeless link between the past and present, but also plays a major role from behind the scenes in influencing the lives and decisions of the protagonists as well…

…The text is fast and free flowing, a joy to read. It affirms the fact, more than many other books that I know of, that all we are, is flowing energy, that anything could happen at a moment’s notice, that all we think, say or do has consequences. The descriptions of the outer physical scenery as a reflection of the inner, is unusually detailed and evocative, almost like a fast, chemical reaction, once the right ingredients are administered.

This is a book that has been written on several planes. The main characters have their own agendas on the physical, which they put aside, willingly or unknowingly, after intervention by either by Tamara or Gwenellen. The author, Christina Greenaway has been very insightful and consistent about the principles that govern Life in this book, affirming that the reason we are here is to strengthen our spiritual muscles. This book is a strong and beautifully written testimony to the above…

…This is the first in a series of books called “The Age of Jewelled Intelligence”. Going by the popularity of the Harry Potter series, one can presume that the public response to this genre can only increase with time as more people explore their feminine side. Personally I enjoyed the book very much. Warmly recommended.

Read the entire 5 Star review on Amazon.com

Read the entire review at BookPleasure.com

 

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Choosing a Setting for a Novel

I must be in love with the setting I select for a novel, as that place will have to inspire me for all the time it takes to complete the story.

When I was seventeen, I lived in London. I had already decided I would see the world, as if that would be my life’s calling. One day as I walked up Oxford Street toward Marble Arch, my glance fell on a photograph of New York City—a huge photo filling an entire shop window.

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I had seen glittering images of New York in movies and magazines, but this photo, shot at night and in black and white, seemed to catch the city-that-never-sleeps, sleeping. I glimpsed my reflection on the windowpane and felt the skyscrapers towering above me.  I perceived the rhythm of city—not the frenetic day-to-day beat so often associated with New York, but an amorphous and malleable energy, which I like to think of as the spirit of the city. I felt it calling me. Two years later, I landed a job in an ad agency in New York, which began my long love affair with the city.

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Like all love affairs, mine with New York constantly challenged me. I had arrived alone without knowing a soul, but I never felt alone. The black and white photo that had drawn me across the Atlantic drifted over my mind’s eye like visual narrative in a movie.

Many years and many travels later, I wrote my first novel Dream Chaser: Awakening, and I chose New York as the setting. The story feels like an echo of the city: the fierce daylight run for success, the dazzle of the glittering events of evening, slow dancing into the late night hours. Sleeping in the soft whoosh of its amorphous and malleable spirit. Awakening to the call of your own.

Dream Chaser: Awakening. http://amzn.to/1nhE4Ph

When I grow up …

As a child I liked to climb onto the cliffs and gaze out to sea. Soon, a source as huge and wonderful as the ocean itself would stir inside me. Great adventures would unfold in my imagination. I’d choose a story, write it down, then stuff it into a bottle and toss it into the sea.

“I’ll write stories when I grow up,” I announced to my mother.

“Yes, you will, dear,” she replied.

An artist and his wife moved into the house next to ours. The artist trudged out to the great headlands each morning, lugging his paint box, easel and canvas.

“Can I come with you?” I pleaded, my tote bag already stuffed with paper, bottles and crayons.

“Yes, you can.”

The artist had travelled the world and told colorful stories of hiking in Kathmandu, Turkey and Peru.

“I’m going to see the whole world when I grow up.”

“Yes, you will.”

The artist painted a Parisian scene, and I became enchanted with the smartly dressed people sitting at small tables, drinking red wine and feeding tidbits of food to little dogs cuddled on their laps.

“I’m going to own a café in Paris when I grow up, Mummy.
”

“Yes, you will, dear.”

This new career goal dovetailed nicely with my recently discovered talent for changing water into wine. My father had sent me a pop-up book of Jesus performing some of his most famous miracles. I saw little of my father as he was posted in India with the RAF. I expect he thought my mother would use the book to tell me the story of Jesus. She didn’t. I lay on my stomach on the floor, staring into the scenes, enthralled by the magical man. Jesus was on a lever, so I could move him through the miracles. With a push from me, he shot up off the cross, clouds opened and angels filled the sky. I could also walk him across the water—a feat I tried to emulate. Obviously, I didn’t succeed or I’d be famous and publishers would be in a bidding war for my new novel. But I could turn water into wine. I simply switched on the tap and asked my mother, “Is it wine yet?”

“Yes, it is, dear.”

I created a make-believe café in our back garden. Jesus stopped by regularly for a glass of wine and a chat. He listened while I dreamed myself into careers as prima ballerina, orchestra conductor, and the ever-present writer.

The writer lay buried within for a long time. I worked in fields as diverse as advertising, fashion and real estate. I travelled the world over, hiking as opportunity permitted. I loved the feel of the earth beneath my feet and often fancied I stepped on the same soil as the artist who had inspired my adventures. Travel taught me many of the things I value most. Traveling equals being in a mini-version of my life’s journey. Everything is magnified. Free from routine, time seems to expand. People become more vividly who they are, probably because I’m truly looking at them. I notice how different or how similar they are to me. My eye roams over the details of each new place. I sniff the smells, marvel at the colors of the landscape and the particular swell of a foreign sea. I stride through the streets, measuring my step to the local pace of life, my ear tuned to the collective consciousness of the people. I am aware of myself as a member of the human family, and my capacity for compassion increases.

Between travels, I returned to Cornwall to visit my mother. The last time I stayed with her she had begun the long journey into dementia. One night she rushed into my bedroom, awakened me and said, “There are lots of people downstairs in the dining room and they’re very hungry. Will you come down and help me prepare a meal for them?”

In a split second our roles reversed. My mother’s question echoed in the chorus of the many I had asked her as a young child. The kindness she had invested in me resonated in the air as palpable as her breath. I inhaled deeply and took her hand in mine. “Yes, I will, Mum.”

Mistakes I made publishing my first book—# 3 book cover

Dream Chaser:Awakening is a paranormal romance. While on holiday in Hawaii, the main characters look through a telescope and gaze into the Milky Way. The gaseous lights of the galaxy shine back at them from millions of years in the past illuminating the eternal nature of love. As I wrote that scene that same brilliance seemed to touch my soul and shed light on my journey through time. Ah, what a lovely experience, I thought. I want everyone to have that. Hence, I chose a photo of the Milky Way for my book cover.

I offer myself as a prime example of why authors should probably not develop their own book covers. We are too close to the story. It takes a subjective eye to create a visual expression of the novel. I’ve learned that readers invest about four seconds, at most, glancing at a book before moving on to the next one. After I published Dream Chaser and as time passed, I got a nagging feeling that I was alone in my esoteric, book-cover wonderland.

In my defense, prior to taking things into my own hands, I signed up for a cover art package with my publisher. That didn’t work for me, but it does for many authors and with excellent results. A Google search reveals a wealth of information about design and designers. The more you research those the more you will know when you’re ready to enter this process.

Image  StarsBookCoverThe redesign of Dream Chaser’s cover still features the beautiful photograph of the Milky Way, but with a picture of lovers fading into the stars. With a glance, you know Dream Chaser: Awakening is a love story. You probably guessed I wouldn’t give up this photo of the galaxy. You never know, I might have been right in the first place!

Coming next: mistake—#4. The back cover blurb.

Mistakes I made publishing my first book. #2-title

I chose the title Dream Chaser and added a long subtitle: A Novel that Reaches Beyond the Veil of Time.  

The title suits my novel. The main character is a goal-oriented woman—a high-speed dream chaser, but if had I Googled Dream Chaser, I would have discovered that several successful writers had already used it. Unless you entered the whole of my title, which only my mother might do, you’d have a hard time finding my book.

Huge mistake, but self-publishing comes loaded with opportunities for those. As independent authors we work alone, buried in our stories, sometimes for years. We hire our own editors, copy editors, proofreaders, etc. We scour the Internet for publishers, reading testimonies of authors who’ve risen to best-seller status. We select a publisher and a package, rich with distribution and marketing promises. We meet online publishing—an apocalyptic switch from creative writing to hardcore, left-brain decision-making.

My title went unchecked in the sharp gearshift between writing and publishing. By the time I realized the problem, I had spent time and effort to market the novel. I had too much invested in the name Dream Chaser to change it completely, but I knew I would improve the subtitle one day.

In mid January 2014 I will republished the book as Dream Chaser:Awakening. Also correcting other mistakes I’m currently blogging about.

Advice, if I dare! Take a long pause before pushing the PUBLISH button. No matter what mistakes you make in publishing, love yourself for having written a book and for offering to share it with others. Thank your story for coming to you. Gratitude opens the doors of creation.

Helpful title blog: http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-goal/write-first-chapter-get-started/7-tips-to-nail-the-perfect-title

Coming next: mistake#3—book cover.

Mistakes I made self-publishing my first book—#1 Genre

Five years ago, after years of longing to write a novel, I dove in and produced a first draft. I then hired a highly recommended editor and rewrote the book several times, implementing her valuable suggestions. I published a well-written and entertaining book, which garnered four five-star reviews, but I gave little thought to marketing.

Genre? Heavens no! I’ve spent a lifetime avoiding the boxes society has tried to squeeze me into in order to sell me something or tell me where I belong.

Author Platform? If I can find a carpenter.

I considered Dream Chaser:Awakening a suspense-driven love story, and so I published it as Fiction/General. Sara Jensen aims to be a woman of capital before she turns forty. Then life does it thing and she falls in love and is called upon to become a heroine of magnificent proportion. Seems normal to me, but there is a ghost in the story and an out-of body adventure into the Dark Planes, a murky place just beyond Earth. Oh! Not normal, you say.

Image At the time, blogging had not yet swept the Internet in high manic mood dishing out reams of marketing information. I published Dream Chaser under Fiction/General. Some found the book and loved it. Now, after reading numerous author advice blogs, I’m convinced my first book belongs in a genre. Dream Chaser: Awakening will be republished this month as Paranormal Romance.

Most importantly, I wouldn’t change this experience, should that be an option. I’ve learned to embrace my mistakes, to lean into them and learn. I’m publishing my second novel this month, while working on my third. We independent authors may be like needles in the giant Amazon haystack, but needles glint and glimmer. You never know when the light of your story might dazzle the eye of a reader.

Write, publish, and jump into the haystack. And, oh, yes, give careful thought to genre, preferably, of course, before you write the book.

A most helpful blog:

http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2013/12/genre-v-platform-cs-lakin/

Next: Mistake #2 – Book title.