Want to become a better writer?

While I have always loved to read, I started writing later in life without the benefit of an education in literature. Since I began my career as an author, I have been devouring books to improve my craft.

Here are some of the books I have read and recommend to my fellow authors:

Let’s Get Digital: How to Self-Publish, and Why You Should 

By David Gaughran

For any author on the self-publishing journey, this book introduces you to the basics. It is a great starter book that simplifies the journey and highlights the most important aspects.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

By Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott welcomes you into her life and bares her mind to you in this book. This is no easy task for most of us. It is almost like shedding one’s clothes and allowing the world to see you vulnerable.

Anne shows a budding writer how to do this with humor and self-deprecation. There is nothing earth-shattering revealed in this book about writing. Most of the advice offered here would be familiar to any aspiring writer or an experienced writer wanting to improve their craft.

Still, I found it useful to read this book, if only to know my struggles as a writer are not unique to me.

Recommend: For aspiring and experienced writers who want to hone their craft. 

Characters and Viewpoint 

By Orson Scott Card

As an author, I like to read books that help me improve my craft. This book is written in an easy-to-read style while imparting a lot of knowledge. I enjoyed the writing samples sprinkled throughout the book that conveyed information more readily.
For my Land of Magadha series, I choose first-person POV because a few fantasies I had read used it. This book discussed all the POV and its merits. I might use third-person limited POV for my next series based on what I learned here.
I recommend this book for aspiring writers and current writers.

Writing the Blockbuster Novel

By Albert Zuckerman

As an author, I am constantly looking to improve my craft. This book gave me a lot to think about.

Daily Meditations: Writer Tips For 100 Days

By David Garland

This book is available for free on the author’s website. I read it slowly, about a chapter or two a day. Lots of nuggets for writers on how to become better. Highly recommend for novice writers.

How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy

By Orson Scott Card

I write historical fiction currently. I plan to write a historical fantasy series soon, so I decided to read this book. While the marketing sections are outdated, the craft of writing SF/Fantasy is still very relevant and has many useful tidbits about world-building.

Recommend for new authors or new to SFF authors.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

By Stephen King

f you read one book on writing, make it this. An authentic voice is such an elusive thing. Stephen King does it so effortlessly. 

To imagine him facing near-death halfway through the text and still producing such a great book speaks to his skills as an author.

I learned a lot from this book and highly recommend it to all my author friends.

Wired for Story

By Lisa Cron

Stories have been with us since we lived in caves. We crave them and know instinctively as a reader what makes a good story. But this skill does not translate so easily when we are writing. 

I realized this when I wrote the first draft of Heir to Malla. I knew the story, characters, and plot very well. I could imagine each scene vividly. But when I wrote it down, I left key parts out. My mind filled the blanks. Unfortunately, since my readers cannot read my mind, they were left in the dark. Thankfully, with the help of my editor, I fixed this in subsequent drafts. 

This book spells it all out for us authors—how to craft a story that resonates with our readers—along with common pitfalls to avoid—plus an insight into the human brain.

I recommend this book to all my fellow authors who want to better their craft. 

Story Genius

By Lisa Cron

Nothing in this book is earth-shattering. As readers, we instinctively recognize a great story. But that same instinct does not serve us well while writing our first (or fourth) novel. Writing seems to require a different set of thinking neurons. 

Author Lisa Cron gives readers a step-by-step blueprint to write a layered, nuanced, and engaging novel.

As we write more books, we will develop our own shortcuts. In the meantime, the techniques mentioned in this book, especially asking Why, will serve authors well.

Recommend for aspiring authors and for ones interested in improving their craft.

Newsletter Ninja

By Tammi Labrecque

Recommend this book to all authors who want to start a newsletter and to authors struggling to engage readers in their current newsletter.

In easy-to-understand terms, Tammi shows us how to engage and keep our fans happy. And unlike other social media, newsletters use one of our existing talents as writers, our ability to create magic with words.

This book is a keeper on my bookshelves.

How To Market A Book

By Joanna Penn

While several of the tactics mentioned in the book are outdated, the overall strategies are still very valid for marketing fiction and non-fiction books. The other neat thing is this book highlights the other books, websites, podcasts, and blogs so an author like me can continue improving our craft.

Here is a sneak peak

I am writing a Historical Romance series based on the ancient Indian custom, Swayamvara. During a Swayamvara, a bride chooses her groom from the assembled suitors. 

Here is how Kalidasa, a medieval Indian poet, describes a swayamvara in The Dynasty of Raghu, an epic poem:

The princess chooses.—The princely suitors assemble in the hall: then, to the sound of music, the princess enters in a litter, robed as a bride, and creates a profound sensation.

Dynasty of Raghu by Medieval Poet Kalidasa

Each book in my series will be a stand-alone romance novel about a royal couple. The series is tentatively titled Swayamvara Weddings.

I am close to completing the draft of the first book yet to be titled. Here is a scene between the protagonists, King Dushyant and Princess Lalitha:

He could see her silhouette against the deep blue sky. That foolish girl hopped on her good leg, grimacing with each step. As she tripped, he bounded to her, trying to catch her. Instead, she fell against him, causing them both to tumble to the ground.  

As they sped to the earth, he tried to shield her from the impact of their fall. He succeeded by landing on his back with her sprawled on top of him. Her face hovered inches from his, and her lips parted tantalizingly. For a moment, he imagined kissing her. She drove his imprudent thoughts away by pounding his chest with her fist. Curse her. She was a spirited princess. He tightened his grip on her. 

Anna Bushi

While waiting for this book, treat yourself to my completed Land of Magadha series.

Would you read this tale?

I have written over 50,000 words in my new tale of love. The series is based on an ancient Indian custom called svayamvara. In a svayamvara, a princess chooses a suitable groom from among the gathered suitors. Here is a sneak peek:

Princess Lalitha searches for her father, who fought in a battle against King Dushyant. When Lalitha is injured, a metalsmith rescues her. He accompanies her on the journey back to her kingdom, and there is nothing convenient about the feelings Lalitha develops for him. Her father had promised to hold a svayamvara, a groom-choosing ceremony, for her. With no male heirs, Lalitha cannot succumb to temptations if she wants to rule her kingdom.

King Dushyant was fighting to avenge his father’s death. He did not anticipate saving Princess Lalitha or escorting her to her kingdom. While he had hidden his identity from the spirited princess, his icy resolve to keep his heart untouched began to melt.

Neither can afford to surrender to the current of attraction sweeping them. But the author has different ideas for them.

If you are interested in reading my other historical fiction books, start here.

Are you a fan of Happily Ever After?

I love reading books with happily ever after endings. The ten romance novels I have read this year pay testimony to that. Reading a well-written romance novel can feel like drinking a cup of hot coffee while watching the sunrise. No one does it better than Jane Austen. Capital L love her books. Who is your favorite romance author?

However, writing a happily ever after story requires a different mastery. Unlike the Land of Magadha series, where death came without an announcement, the protagonists in my historical romance novel have to survive to the end to declare their passion. I have written over 50,000 words in this tale of love without killing my star characters, though I came close a few times.

The series is based on an ancient Indian custom called svayamvara. In a svayamvara, a princess chooses a suitable groom from among the gathered suitors. Sometimes, there might be a contest, and the prize for the winner is a wedding. In Ramayana, Rama strings a bow to win Sita’s hands.

The slender maiden glanced at him; she glanced
And uttered not a word, nor heeded how
The grass-twined blossoms of her garland danced
When she dismissed him with a formal bow.

The Dynasty of Raghu, by Kalidasa

Looking forward to sharing updates about my work in progress in the coming weeks.

Who is glad live events are back?

What a great way to spend my Saturday. I hung out with fellow authors and talked about my stories with book lovers. The weather was still summer-like, and there was something magical about sharing my love of reading with others. I am grateful to the readers who stopped by and talked to me. Special thanks to those to purchased my books. 

A reader who purchased my complete series reached out to say she has read the first two books and is halfway through the third. She loved the story so far. I have been floating in the air since I heard from her.

I attended a book reading event by author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni at the Warwick’s book store. Her ability to craft stories was evident in her talk. The one-hour event imparted so many lessons for an author like me. She masterfully narrated her interest in Queen Jindan’s life and how she did her research into the historical period and the queen. I was astounded by how the author set up the scene before she started the reading. Though I have read excerpts from my books, I have never taken the time to explain the background before. Something for me to emulate in the future. The best advice she gave authors is to read great books. That advice is easy for me to follow because I love to read. The best part was getting her autograph on the novel The Last Queen. I cannot wait to read and share my review with you.

A sneak peak

I want to share an update about my work in progress. I am writing a historical romance novel set in medieval India. She is impulsive, and he is calm, except where it concerns her.

Princess Lalitha rode along the narrow forest path, her heart hammering against her ribs. The wind rustled against the branches as she and her tired mare advanced slowly in the descending darkness. She had left her Aunt Chitra’s house two days ago and had journeyed nearly non-stop since then. Only finding the fate of her father kept her moving.

Sneak Peak of Anna Bushi’s WIP

Can you a write a story in six words?

I did for a contest and was humbled to win first place.

I am immensely grateful for local organizations that support artists, including writers. Oceanside Cultural Arts Foundation is one such local organization that hosts the Write On Oceanside event.

They conducted a six-word story contest. I have never participated in a contest before, and I write 80k to 90k words novels. There is always a first time for everything, and I decided to craft a story in six words.

Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway bet his literary friends that he could write an entire story in six words. The group put $10.00 each into the pot, then Hemingway wrote, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

(Source: Write On Oceanside website)

I am in awe of his talent. I have years of practice ahead of me to reach his level. As the first step in that journey, my short won first place at the contest.

He collapsed, and death united them.

Anna Bushi

Well, what do you think? I would love to hear from you. One day, I hope to write his backstory. While not short, my complete trilogy is available in Kindle Unlimited for binge reading.

I am writing a historical romance series

Yes, you read that correctly.

This series of historical romances will center on the ancient Indian Svayamvara traditions. Svayamvara offered the bride a chance to choose her mate. I have sprinkled references to this ceremony in the Land of Magadha trilogy. Some svayamvara’s involved a challenge, and the bride would garland the winner. In Ramayana, Rama strung the bow to win the hand of Sita.

Each book would tell the story of a royal couple. Romance with a healthy dose of royal court intrigue is what you will find in the pages.

These novels will feature a happily ever after ending, but the road traveled will be bumpy.

How is my writing coming along? I am writing the first book in the series and falling in love with my characters. I have written ten thousand words, and they are starting to feel real to me. I will share their names soon.

While waiting for this book, read my free novella to get a taste of medieval India.

Where is my trilogy set?

While there was a Magadha kingdom in ancient India, my book is set in a fictional land of my imagination. Yes, I made my own map.

Magadha, an ancient empire in India, situated along the Ganges river valley, prospered between the 8th century BCE and the 4th century BCE. Gautama Buddha resided in the Magadha kingdom for many years.

My story, though, is set in a fictional land of Magadha and consists of three kingdoms—Malla, Padi, and Saral. This tale emulates the culture, laws, and religions of the 9th century CE to the 11th century CE in medieval India. 

Why did I not use a real kingdom for my setting? I thought about it. Since I am writing about royal families and their battles and power struggles, a fictional land allowed me to tell the story I wanted to tell. 

Malla kingdom is a composite of many kingdoms in India, including the Chola empire of Rajaraja I. Chola rulers used the symbol of a tiger as their royal emblem, and I borrowed that.

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”

Anaïs Nin

Land of Magadha trilogy

Heir to Malla: Missing brother. Broken father. Rogue prince vying for her kingdom. Princess Meera is fighting for her land. Will she have to sacrifice her heart to save it?

War of the Three Kings: Deadly secrets! Vengeful king! Can Meera stop her kingdom from descending into chaos?

Burden of the Crown: Conclusion to the story of the Malla siblings is coming in Summer 2022.

Historical fiction allows us to experience the lives of humans of the past and to draw parallels to our present. As you read my books, you will see it resonate with many of our present-day situations. You can emphasize what these men and women went through and see where we have made progress and where we still have ways to go. My books magically teleport you to medieval India from the comforts of your couch. That is the power of fiction. Happy reading!

Happily ever after is a myth

I love books with happy endings. They are like a warm blanket on a cold rainy day. But, in real life, our emotions come in waves. We are sad, happy, angry, jealous, all on the same day.

Even with my writing, I finished the final book in my trilogy with mixed emotions—glad to have completed the story to my satisfaction—at the same time, saddened to say goodbye to these characters.

My stories reflect that. I hope they bring you joy. Also, I hope they move you to tears. Read my books and fall in love with the characters. 

Reading a story can allow us to find ourselves when we see our emotions reflected on the pages. A character’s journey can help you find courage for overcoming adversities in your life. Let my tales tug your heart.

Land of Magadha Trilogy: Epic historical fiction saga

Heir to Malla: Missing brother. Broken father. Rogue prince vying for her kingdom. Princess Meera is fighting for her land. Will she have to sacrifice her heart to save it?

War of the Three Kings: Deadly secrets! Vengeful king! Can Meera stop her kingdom from descending into chaos?

Burden of the Crown: Conclusion to the story of the Malla siblings is coming in Summer 2022.