Sneak peek into the Prophesied Prince

My first historical fantasy, Prophesied Prince, featuring Prince Atul and Prince Aggabodhi from the Land of Magadha trilogy, is taking shape. I have written 10,000 words so far. While readers can read this series on its own, knowing the backstory of Atul and Aggabodhi adds a nice layer to the tale. A new protagonist takes center stage in this fantasy. Sugandha means fragrance, and she is a layer of onions at the start of the series. What will she reveal as the layers are peeled?

The book starts with a prologue, something new for me. It offers a glimpse into what happened at the end of Burden of the Crown. At the start of the book, there is a only a trickle of magic.

Prophecy revealed in the Land of Magadha trilogy plays a key role in this fantasy:

“Queen she will be one day, her name will be celebrated, near and far. Her son will rule the three kingdoms and beyond.”

Exclusive Preorder Discount for my Loyal Readers!

I am thrilled to announce that my upcoming historical romance novel, “King in Hiding,” is now available for preorder! As a token of my heartfelt appreciation for your unwavering support, I am offering an exclusive discount to my beloved readers.

You can preorder your copy of “King in Hiding” at a special discounted price. The price will go up after the launch on June 15, 2023. 

Amid a battle, a chance encounter between a young king and a spirited princess sets the stage for a passionate and unforgettable romance. 

With its compelling characters, captivating plot twists, and lush historical backdrop, this tale will transport you to another time and leave you breathless with every turn of the page.

As one of my loyal readers, I want to express my gratitude by extending this special offer to you. Seize this opportunity to be among the first to embark on this unforgettable journey. Preorder “King in Hiding” now at the discounted price and ensure you don’t miss a single moment of this enchanting romance.

Thank you once again for your unwavering support and for being a cherished member of my literary community. I can’t wait to share this extraordinary adventure with you!

Using Ramayana to navigate life’s challenges

For centuries, humans have told stories to impart moral values and guide society’s behavior. Ramayana does this exquisitely. The ancient Indian epic, filled with tales to teach people about the importance of morality, ethics, and proper conduct, still resonates with us today.

Rama, the ideal son, loving husband, and virtuous king, has served as a moral compass for generations. While none of us mortals can reach his moral height, he has continued to inspire us to do better.

Sita, his loyal wife, sacrificed her comfort to follow Rama into the forest. She displayed quiet courage while Ravana kidnapped her against her will and held her in captivity. Sita resisted his advances and refused his demands, no matter the threat. And she faced all her adversity with grace and dignity. Her remarkable ability to forgive can teach us to let go of our resentments.

I love these stories, and you will read references to this epic sprinkled throughout my books.

As the birth of Rama and his brothers were announced to the king of Ayodhya, the performers broke into a joyful dance.

Heir to Malla by Anna Bushi

Filial piety shown in Ramayana has a subtle distinction from a son merely respecting his father’s wishes. King Dushyant had granted his wife, Kaikeyi, two boons for helping him during a battle. This is of significance because this portrays a culture where female warriors were present. That should come as no surprise because some of the fiercest dieties are warrior Goddess like Durga. Back to the story, Kaikeyi wants her son Bharatha to rule Ayodhya, though Rama, son of Kausalya, is the firstborn son of Dasaratha. Kaikeyi asks Dasaratha to grant her the two boons, crown her son and send Rama to the forest for fourteen years. When Rama hears of the boon, he agrees to keep his father’s word, though Dasaratha begs Rama to stay and rule the kingdom. In my view, the story conveys Rama’s value for the dharma and his commitment to upholding the principles of righteousness. Rama fulfills his father’s promise to his stepmother, though it comes at a tremendous personal cost. Despite Dasaratha’s pleas and offers to make amends, Rama firmly upholds his father’s promise and accepts his fate with grace and equanimity.

You can see the same distinction in respect for elders. Lakshmana, Rama’s younger brother, is a loyal and dutiful sibling and rarely goes against his older brother’s wishes. Rama, with his virtuous ways, is an easier brother to respect and obey. Vibhishana, Ravana’s younger brother, on the other hand, opposes his older brother’s devious acts. The tale of these two brothers illustrate that the lesson here is not blind obedience to one’s elders but rather adherence to dharma.

Our modern sensibilities might dislike Rama’s test of Sita’s virtue after he rescues her from Ravana. But the different adaptations of this offer us a clue to the culture and norms of those times. Some historians have stated that in the original Valmiki Ramayana, Rama does not explicitly doubt Sita’s virtue or subject her to a trial by fire. However, in some later versions and adaptations of the Ramayana, Rama does express a desire for Sita to prove her virtue and subjects her to a trial by fire to prove her purity. This trial by fire is known as the agnipariksha, in which Sita walks through a blazing fire to prove her innocence. These subsequent changes provide us a clue that the importance placed on a woman’s honor changed over time.

Ramayana is a beautiful window into our past and our present. The way we tell the story today offers an insight into what we hold valuable now. For instance, in modern adaptations, a lot of emphasis is placed on portraying Sita as an equal partner to Rama, rather than a subservient wife. That is a reflection of the place of modern Indian women.

I hope this epic continues to delight and guide young readers.

How do you celebrate Spring?

Spring was welcomed in many ways in ancient India. One such is the Vasantotsava festival. Poet Kalidasa describes the festival as a time when the “earth is fragrant with new flowers.” Ratnavali, the classic Sanskrit play by Emperor Harsha, has vivid descriptions of this festival, and I used them as my reference in my latest book, “King in Hiding.”


Near the village square, sweet music rose to the accompaniment of a mellow drum. Young maidens wearing flower ornaments danced to the beat while men wearing Asoka leaf wreaths threw turmeric and vermillion powder on them. The spilled dust caused the women’s saris to appear like molten gold.

“It is the Vasantotsava festival,” he said in a strange tone.

This historical romance story is available as serial episodes in Kindle Vella. I will be publishing two episodes a week. The first three episodes are free to read. If you enjoy them, please give the episodes a thumbs up, so other readers can find them.

I met some brilliant authors

Awestruck at his Ingenious mind

I was spellbound when Anthony Doerr described his childhood with a science teacher mother and how his creativity and curiosity were nurtured. Even now, he seems to approach the world with this mixture of wonder and awe. If you have read the Seymour chapter in “Cloud Cuckoo Land”, where he goes into the wilderness behind his house and discovers this peaceful land that connects him with something larger than himself, that is how I felt listening to Anthony. Afterward, a long line of readers waited to get their books signed, and he took the time to talk to each of us. Friendly, down-to-earth, and gifted. Grateful to have met him.

Inspired and empowered

Bonnie Garmus is a trailblazer. To write a debut blockbuster novel in her sixties is simply amazing. She sounded a lot like Zott, her protagonist from Lessons in Chemistry. Her no-nonsense attitude is liberating to see in a woman because society expects us to conform to its view of our role. What was also inspiring was seeing so many women in the audience who shared stories of this book affected them personally. That is every author’s dream. I hope I touch my readers’ hearts as these two authors did.

Read now in Kindle Vella

I am trying out something new with this book – Kindle Vella. This historical romance story is available as serial episodes in Kindle Vella. I will be publishing two episodes a week. The first three episodes are free to read. If you enjoy them, please give the episodes a thumbs up, so other readers can find them.

The ebook and paperback will be available this summer.

Looking for a romance novel about medieval royal couples?

Look no further than Swayamvara Romance Series.

The series title is inspired by an ancient Indian practice in which a bride had the opportunity to choose her husband from the assembled suitors.

Book 1 has a title – King in Hiding

Princess Lalitha is on a quest to find her father, who fought in a battle against King Dushyant. When Lalitha is injured, a metalsmith rescues her. He accompanies her 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. Arriving in Summer 2023.

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.