Tag Archives: indieauthor

Kangana Teaser

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There is no such thing as a straight forward romance.

Sometimes when you think you are falling for one person, you are really falling in love with everyone else around them too.
Gorbind’s family are his whole world, even if they are far from normal. His kid brother needs looking after and his Grandmother just wants him to find happiness.

His whole world changes when he meets Padmi. Life gets more interesting as she changes Gorbind’s universe completely. Romance with Padmi is anything but straightforward.

Kangana Teaser

merlot.jpg

There is no such thing as a straight forward romance.

Sometimes when you think you are falling for one person, you are really falling in love with everyone else around them too.
Gorbind’s family are his whole world, even if they are far from normal. His kid brother needs looking after and his Grandmother just wants him to find happiness.

His whole world changes when he meets Padmi. Life gets more interesting as she changes Gorbind’s universe completely. Romance with Padmi is anything but straightforward.

Kangana Teaser

socks.jpg

There is no such thing as a straight forward romance.

Sometimes when you think you are falling for one person, you are really falling in love with everyone else around them too.
Gorbind’s family are his whole world, even if they are far from normal. His kid brother needs looking after and his Grandmother just wants him to find happiness.

His whole world changes when he meets Padmi. Life gets more interesting as she changes Gorbind’s universe completely. Romance with Padmi is anything but straightforward.

 

Petal’s books: Fragments

Fragments_Cover_for_Kindle

This was a very different book to write in comparison to the two gardening books. I wasn’t sure how to approach writing fiction, and this was an extremely experiential process. I remember writing in a fury, wanting to get emotions, images and experiences onto paper, and tell stories.

This was a book that took a year to mould together, a year to process,  I guess.

I would not call Fragments a fluffy book, not in the least. There aren’t many books that talk about death or reflect on how it impacts upon the human condition.  You’d think then, that this is a big, heavy, grey book.  I would disagree. It certainly has a challenging subject, something that we as humans don’t engage with; we choose to whisper, cloister, avoid all things death-related.

Yet it happens to us all.

There are six different but inter-related stories within Fragments that attempt to map out how bereavement, death and loss are unifying themes. How we experience them is different, we are after all, unique. The sense of loss however, does hang over us all.  On a personal level, Fragments was book-ended by two very significant, very close bereavements.

I did try to put shimmers of light in there, though. An ending, can be seen as new beginning, a change in a different direction. A loss, has the potential to grow-even killing weeds makes way for new seeds.

There is growth, renewal and regeneration in the pages of Fragments. Three concepts that whilst tending my allotment, are very much part of the immersion process.  It was only natural these would them permeate through the writing of Fragments.

Petal’s books: A retrospective review

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As the release date for the fifth book approaches, I am in something of a reflective mood. I am trying to consider, think back upon how things have moved on since I first decided to sow seeds, to write a blog and then make the move to writing books. All of which, comes under the umbrella of this blog, of Petal’s Potted Preserve as an entity.

All of the books can trace their lineage to this blog; writing here about the allotment is what inspired me to dip into another medium. I wanted to transfer what I was doing here to another way of recording, sharing and communicating.  Sharing was the key aspect; how far could my relationship with my allotment go, who might it reach, who might it help, might they learn from it?

I am and always will be a bookworm; there is something purely magic about a book. I feel that is true for most books. Be it fiction, non-fiction, be it a textbook; there is a beauty within it.

The mere thought of a library, makes me smile. I have yet to be part of one, but a girl can dream, yes?

A lot has happened since the yellow book went public. The yellow book; playing with plant pots, turns three in two days. I’ll post about that later.

Since plant pot tales was published, my job has changed. There have been two significant bereavements, I’ve trained to be a counsellor, and there has been an epic, really close family wedding. My life has been a constantly developing, evolving process and experience. All of which has meant I’ve dipped in and out of maintaining my allotment whilst also writing.

As parallel processes, gardening and writing both involve sowing a seed, crafting and nurturing, whilst exposing your soul whilst putting your heart into something that believe in. There is a lot vulnerability too, in going out on a limb. I don’t think I have tried to follow the rules on my allotment. I didn’t write a traditional gardening book; none, of my books are traditional.

Plant pot tales, is very much an extension of the blog. I have yet to identify the voice I use in that book. Read it out aloud, and you may just hear my paved-over Birmingham accent. It is me having a chat, telling you what I have recorded in the blog. There are recipes that carry the scent from Mama F’s kitchen. The book is a living experience, organic; it quite literally is the seeds of an idea.  It is also imperfect. A baptism, of not knowing what to do, how to do it and learning as I went along. Least of all in a gardening sense. This was my entry into the world of Indie Publishing. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I took a punt writing it, putting it out there. In having a conversation with my youngest sister, declaring that I would write an e-book about my allotment, see what happens as I had nothing to lose; I took a huge leap of faith, and couldn’t tell you if it was brave or stupid. I don’t know if I had courage. I just did it, and did my best whilst in the heady, green-fingered throes of determination.

I wouldn’t have done it differently, I wouldn’t turn back the clock. Plant pot tales was the first. It was the herald, the pre-cursor to an interesting journey.

It was six months before the arrival of the next one. I simply couldn’t sit still; there was still something in the tank, and it wanted out. The allotment had been abundant, there were courgettes all over the shop. I’d also starting making jams, jellies and spirit infusions. These were documented on the blog, but still needed to travel. I’d caught the bug, I wanted to write again.

And so the green book came to life.

After which, things become a little blurry.

There was a gap of nothingness from April til December.

From January 2016, I was locked into something altogether surreal, The blue-coloured book didn’t arrive until March 2017 but I was writing over the year. This was a furious state of productivity; I had to write, get things out, get them onto paper in black and white. There been two very close bereavements, a lot of unsettled-ness and I was embarking in Counselling training. Loss, bereavement, grief, the circles of life were crashing and colliding.

That book was Fragments. Book number three, my first foray into fiction.

There’s a lot of pain in that book; there is joy too, it’s not entirely bleak. I saw smudges of hope and light when writing, that echoes in the pages of the book. This was never going to be a happy, fluffy book. This is a book that seeps with the human condition. It is my attempt, I guess, to grapple with something that we as humans avoid. We avoid talking about grief, bereavement; the end of life.

Here I was, making it public.

As with it’s two predecessors, the book also has power. The power to reach readers, to be a part of their process, inform and assimilate into how they experience the world around them. I like to think, that people read my work and take something from it. One of friends and colleagues made a comment. “Punam, you must have had an interesting life to write a book like that.” I took that as a compliment, and continue to make life interesting.

With Fragments out, I must have sat still for all of two weeks. Fragments had been a year of working hard, and for it to be over; there was a loss. There was a pain, a detachment from something that I had become invested in, something that had more or less governed each and every waking moment. I had an emptiness at having spilled my guts out. It physically hurt to have Fragments out there; as though it had been hoiked out from the depths of my soul. I had made something really important.

What I needed to do at that point, was to heal. I needed to mend. I needed to stretch my writing muscles.

I needed a giggle. Something to feel me with a light, maybe switch it on, help me extend. Something that felt hopeful and carried light.

Along came the Peace Novella series. I had nothing to lose, a lot to gain.

Creating Devan Coultrie was a huge, experimental shot in the dark. I was amongst seasoned writers, well established in the world of romance. Romance, a whole genre that I really didn’t know a lot about; a whole genre, congested with stories and with it’s own rules and regulations.

I struggled with the idea of a happily ever after. Thankfully, a happy for now would work. I struggled with there being few characters of Indian-ascent in romance novellas. I struggled with colliding and combining British and Indian traits. I was throwing all sorts at this book, and not knowing where all the chips would land was beyond unnerving.  I still can’t tell you how I did it. How I managed to write a piece of romantic fiction.

So much so, I wrote another.

I wrote book five. This, is me having another go.

By the 3rd of September, I will have self-published 5 books. Each one has my name on it. I always look at the covers, a bit surprised to see my name.

To have published one, was exhilarating. Two, helped me find a sense of purpose. Three, was a call from the universe, an attempt to put myself together; see my scars, dents and appreciate what makes me who I am. Four, was an experiment.

No idea what Five is, just yet.

When I know, so will you.

Kangana: Pre-order Link!

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Kangana can now be pre-ordered on Kindle.

It will therefore land on your device:

Monday 3rd September 2018.

Click on the image above to get your copy!

 

There is no such thing as a straight forward romance.

Sometimes when you think you are falling for one person, you are really falling in love with everyone else around them too.  Gorbind’s family are his whole world, even if they are far from normal. His kid brother needs looking after and his Grandmother just wants him to find happiness.

His whole world changes when he meets Padmi. Life gets more interesting as she changes Gorbind’s universe completely. Romance with Padmi is anything but straightforward.

 

New book news: Kangana

smudgecovermockupdate

There is no such thing as a straight forward romance.

Sometimes when you think you are falling for one person, you are really falling in love with everyone else around them too.

Gorbind’s family are his whole world, even if they are far from normal. His kid brother needs looking after and his Grandmother just wants him to find happiness.

His whole world changes when he meets Padmi. Life gets more interesting as she changes Gorbind’s universe completely. Romance with Padmi is anything but straightforward.

 

kanganateasertwo

 

 

 

Taking stock

 

For the first time in what feels like forever, I went to the allotment. I decided to delay today’s writing session and take a walk to the plot.

There were lots of currants to be harvested. I didn’t want to let them rot, feed the birds or just go to waste.

Truth be told, I needed to go get grounded. Life has been very busy, and there is no let up yet. The rest of 2018 is scheduled to be busy still until at least September-ish.

The allotment has been on pause for a long time, and going there today hammered home how badly it has all fallen down. I could have got lost in the weeds, everything is very over grown, brambles are very much in charge.

It does sadden me, that I can no longer see the raised beds and that the whole thing is over grown. Especially, as it’s take years to get it how it was wanted. What I didn’t bank on was life getting in the way. There’s been a training course and strange working hours; not to mention writing as well. It’s nine years since I first started sowing seeds, and I do feel that I’ve come a long way.

It’s painful really, knowing that the plot has been neglected.  Painful, as to how overwhelming it feels to get it back into shape. I’m not sure where to start or how for that matter. I know it won’t be immediate, so plan to take a good, long look at things at the end of summer.

Being told but allotment secretary that you are probably going to get a letter is not fun! I definitely don’t want that. It’s a horrible sword of Damocles hanging over your head, and I really don’t want that letter. I’ve just seen him, and it’s rather changed my mood. It’s a horrible feeling being told that your plot is the worst that is has been, that it’s in need of being tidied up. It is a judgement, after all and maintenance of standards; that I understand. I do have a responsibility to look after my plot and ensure that it is productive. I have felt this for a long time actually, and it’s almost as though I am beating myself up about it. Gardening has never been about that for me, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling as though I am letting people and myself down. I will probably sulk for a bit anyway. It does hurt, and it’s never nice to get negative feedback. In it’s current state, the plot is not something to be shared, enjoyed or celebrated.

As life settles down, I will need to take stock and start hacking away at the overgrown allotment. That’s probably the only way that I am going to win against the brambles. I just can’t do it yet. This probably feels huge as I try to juggle bits and pieces.  I need to get the headspace and life events sorted before I can return to the plot.

All in all, I’m trying to keep things in perspective. I want to return to the plot when I can, when I have the time and energy. It is not something that I want to abandon. That would be awful, and I can’t bring myself to do that.

 

 

To write, to be me.

The World Cup has just kicked off. I heard the first goal go in over the sound of Maroon5 whilst I was sat at the kitchen table.

At the moment, I am spending a lot of time at the kitchen table. That is where I write, where I type up my writing projects; that is where all the magic happens. That is where I feel the safest, most productive and on task.

Hearing that goal go in-I thought of my work sweepstake-I was typing up the first of this years writing projects. It is all handwritten, now needs to be digitised so that it can be crafted further. I’ve spent eleven months writing it on the back of Retreating To Peace, and its one of two projects that I was aiming to  get done  by the end of the year. I am sort of on track. I don’t have any external deadlines, this project is firmly on my own terms. That doesn’t stop me from philosophising and wondering what the point is. Distracted, I’ve set it aside for a minute.

I’ve had that question, what’s the point, on my mind for a long time.

What is the point of what I am writing, why do I put myself through it, what do I get out of it exactly?

Every time I write, start a new writing project, I effectively pick a part of my soul to make public. In doing so, I am -through closed eyes and gritted teeth-handing over a piece of me, for public scrutiny.

The world being what it is, it can be kind or cruel. You never know, unless of course you ask for feedback, look at the reviews. That can either bolster you, make you smile or send you off in a spiral of self-criticism.

I can safely say, I’ve done both.

Over the last week, I’ve had to have some supportive words with myself.

Punam, grow a thicker skin. Roll with it. You can’t please everyone, please yourself. Be mindful, that people are going to have an opinion.

You might not like it, you might not agree.

What you do with it, is up to you.

You could give up, do something else.

(Oh, I nearly did, but I really like my ink pens.)

Or you can carry on. You do what makes you happy, what makes your soul sing, and helps you find your place in this world.

You’ll never guess how much of that is the result of four years of counselling training. That all came to a close this week, so introspection is currently a big part of my frame of reference. I am that bit closer to finding my personal power and being able to use it.

I am a little bit closer to finding out about me, the way I see the world and how I fit into it.

Writing, has been a big part of that journey over the last four years.

This blog has been a big part of it. This is where it all started with chilli plants and tomatoes. Potatoes too, and that should have been an omen. Carl Rogers had a lot to say about potatoes, especially those in his basement. Potatoes that grew toward the light, towards actualising their potential.

I started my counselling journey in 2013 with Level 2 in listening skills. It was two years later, when I had done level three that I wrote Playing with plant pots. A book that built on this blog, and was the start I guess of a process of self actualisation. I was tending the allotment, tending to myself at the same time; the book and blog were a testament to that. A testament to what was about to happen. I don’t remember much-apart from the theory-about level 2. In terms of real life, there was a fair bit going on with my job, that had left me that emotionally in a bad place. The allotment and writing were both acting to help me realise the internal incongruence that I was feeling. Those who say that gardens help you heal; that’s perfectly true. I was using both as therapy. It was also at that time, that I stumbled across Michael Perry, the illustrious Mr.Plantgeek. I remember writing a few guest blogs, and the thought of putting them in a book took shape. It is the lovely Mr.Perry that I credit, for adopting the hashtag Bollywood gardener.

Level three happened, and the second gardening book came along. We’d from the seeds of an idea-with both the plot and books-to trying to blossom. The plot was full of produce, full of flowers; it was well tended and very, very productive. Writing Sow, Grow and Eat was, alongside all the jams, jellies and Chutneys a time of abundance. I had something to show for most things. All of those seeds, had grown to blossom, bud and fruit. Doing level three was hard, and my counselling journey was feeling fruitful too. I liked it; I liked the subject, my classmates, tutors and process of growth. It was different, having taught Psychology and been so entrenched within the medical model. What I was doing, was taking a big swing to being more human. The Person-Centred approach as an aspect of Humanistic Psychology felt as though it was a big part of me.

There was a gap between level three and level four,  it now feels very blurry. I was lost without having a college routine-I’ve studied at night school for one day a week whilst teaching-so I volunteered for a couple of organisations to maintain my listening skills. Having levels two and three, that was what I had. I was a proficient trained listener. Not yet a counsellor.

Then came level four. This was not something that I entered into lightly. I wanted to do it, I needed to. What I didn’t know, didn’t appreciate, was how much this journey would impact upon me. The journey has been rather tumultuous.

I can only describe it in this way. My apologies to Lego!

It’s been a long, challenging and somewhat solitary journey. No one else quite understands what the flip you are doing and why. Imagine you are a Lego house. You’ve built yourself; your family, friends have added bits. The rest of the world has given you a leaky extension with room for a pony. The universe tells you to do level 2, to lift that Lego house high. The thing slips, falls and then smashes across granite flooring. You then spend the rest of levels 2, 3 and 4 putting that house together brick by brick. You look at each one, throw a few away, question that bloody leaky extension and build a bigger, better Lego house. You find a tribe and you realise that you weren’t that alone. You realise that you are doing something really very useful.

Just like that Lego house.

I’m still bloody standing.

 

Somewhere between level three and level four, there was a family bereavement when my Grandad passed away.  Nana had taken an interest in the allotment, and had even visited the  plot once. It is with his memory, that the yellow gardening book starts.  Six months after he died, I started to write Fragments. I remember being at work, picking up a pen and writing the first chapter. In green biro of all things. It was released March 2017. I’d spend all of 2016, from January, writing it. However,  at the end of the first term in Autumn 2016, there was the passing of Aunty Indra. I didn’t write for ages after, it all felt too painful.

When I did write it, I remember looking at it; wondering where it all came from.

I knew though, that it came from my experiences of loss and not just through loved ones dying. There was a lot of defeat, loss and a lack of autonomy that was happening in other areas of my universe that flowed through my ink and into the book. There are bits of Fragments, that I remember writing whilst in tears. There are bits that really painful to read.

It’s not a skinny book, it is huge. Writing it, was a mission; there were fugue like states where words just had to be put down. Else there were no for them, for feelings and thoughts to go. Paper, has a lot of benefits.

I still look at the book, and wonder what happened. How on earth, did I get all that done?

I do think it has its uses. For me, and for those reading it. It’s not perfect, I know that. But I am glad that it exists. For now, it is also probably the hardest thing that I have written.

As Level Four kicked off proper in the spring of 2017, I finished Fragments. I also had personal therapy, a course requirement but boy was it useful. I guess writing fragments had put some things away, made clear others, but the journey of realisation wasn’t done yet.

Being a trainee counsellor, you have therapy to help modify and manage your own figurative lego house. As a client, you understand what it means to be the counsellor. You, can only go as far as your client allows you; how far do you go as client?

Going to therapy, being a trainee counsellor has heightened my own courage to make sure people talk about mental health, that people have access. That there is less stigma, that we have these conversations.

There was a three month gap between finishing fragments and undertaking a new writing project. I still had something in the tank; I needed, wanted, to write. It was through sheer fluke that I found The Peace Novella Series. Something so far out of my comfort zone, so far removed from Chilli plants, there was no clear link between the two.

A couple of things to keep in mind. I read. I like to read both ebooks and proper books. I’m a bookworm, have been since I picked the pirate books when I was seven. I’m not a big romance reader, but I wouldn’t turn my nose up at them. People like them, lots of them are available. I have written romance, space romance as part of Fan-Fiction, so I’m not a complete dolt. I’d just never focused on it as big, writing project.

Not many, have characters of Indian ascent.  Okay, you might read Meera Syal, but how may folks go find her? I think she is lovely, very under-rated, and more people should read her.  So, maybe I should write one? Write the sort of book that I might like, but don’t see in the harlequin/Mills and Boon shelf in the library.

Enter Devan Coultrie. Bereavement was still on my radar, a left over from Fragments. But this was romance, and this was….going to be a challenge.

I live in a world, where I am regularly asked by Aunties why I am not married? What is so wrong with me, that I don’t have a husband and babies.

Of course, this is all my fault; I should know better, I am not getting any younger, and I really need someone to look after me. All my peers are married, having babies; am I too fussy, too stubborn that I am putting suitors off? Perhaps you really should dye your hair, make yourself look a bit more presentable?

I’m really not doing myself any favours, now am I?

In terms of person-centred theory: I have found an internal locus of evaluation-I’ll get attached, have babies when I want to. The introjects from the aunties et al that are based upon social, cultural and historical norms are contrary to my own feelings, thoughts and autonomy. What they say I ought to do, is not what I want to do.

So, why should I?

Being different, to them means being difficult.

(Therapy and self realisation, tells me different)

Okay, so I will have to put up with it. I will  have to take it on the chin. I still haven’t grown enough to challenge this. I would get dagger stares, huffs and puffs. Also, that person-centred theory really doesn’t translate well to Aunties et al. This, is all they have to say to me: this is small talk, that has a huge impact. Their perception and intent are not to undermine me, or make me think less of myself.

That, that I swallow down to remember that I have self-worth.

As far as they are concerned, they are expressing their wishes for me to do what every one else is doing.

Meeting expectations.

But this romance. Retreating to Peace. Not your average bollywood drama, I tell you. This is a book that makes me smile. One would hope, that those reading it would smile too.

I guess, this is a book borne out of having a bruised heart. Of struggling with cultural expectations, that I find hard to challenge. It’s bad enough that I plant flowers, fruit and veg! Not the past-time of your average young woman of Indian-ascent.

I realise that this has all gone off-piste. I started to write this, to refocus. My mind was drifting from typing, I didn’t fancy watching football.

Guess this all needed to come out.

I’m glad that I have written those four books. At the last count, I had nine projects to complete between now and Christmas 2020. That does sound a lot; you never know what the universe might throw at me between then and now.

What I’m going to do, is get some crisps. Find my book-I’m reading something about a PI-put the tv on and watch football.