I have written many reports during my service in the Navy, and my seniors have appreciated them. Once, when the Eastern Naval Command brought out a bulletin, the editor wanted to include a short story to provide comic relief. The editor thought my piece would need clearance of the Admiral since it poked fun at the Admirals. The Admiral told me during a party he enjoyed reading it and cleared the same for publication. He had then launched my career as a writer. I could not take writing seriously until I retired. I wrote a novel, The Colonel’s Last Wicket, and completed it by 2005. When I went to the USA in 2006, I took advantage of the high-speed Internet and sent out query letters to various publishers and literary agents. I did not get any response until I returned to India. One publisher from England, Libro’s International, had noticed my queries to publishers and asked me to send a hard copy by post. Within a month, I received acceptance from the publisher and a contract, which I signed immediately. After editing, my editor Sue, an English lady, wrote she and her entire family of husband and two sons happened to be genuinely aficionados and ardent admirers of cricket, and they all enjoyed reading the book. She had launched me as an author.
I joined Sulekha in 2006 and watched it grow as a vibrant site full of creative blogs. I used to write humorous blogs, and most of my blogs were featured. Sulekha, in those days, had many bloggers. The super blogs and appreciative comments earned some points. The outstanding bloggers made the maximum points, which fetched some prizes like pen drives, MP3 players, and so on. The bloggers started Express Yourself contests and poetry contests to make the site attractive with about a hundred blogs a day.
During this time, I started writing middles and short stories. I began with NEWSTIME and Deccan Herald. The editors appreciated my contributions. Then I wrote a historical fiction covering the period from Independence. Since it involved the growth of a boy from a lower-middle-class family to the cabinet secretary, I gave it to a friend, an IAS officer, for feedback. He found it eminently readable and made a few suggestions. I sent it to various publishers. The American publishers wrote to say it was mostly British English.
I then joined a website, www.fanstory.com, where writers from all over the world peddle their wares and hone their writing skills. Here I learned the American expressions (the Americans rarely use the word learnt), their grammar, and other details. I followed ‘The Book of Style’ and ‘Chicago Manual of Style,’ considered a bible by the American writers and publishers). While my blogs and short stories were published in India, my blogs came for criticism in the USA. As I learned American English, my blog received positive comments, then appreciation, and finally five stars, the perfect recognition a writer could get. Concurrently, the editor of Alive magazine sent me a letter appreciating my out of box thinking and my expressions. I published many stories in Alive, Woman’s Era, Modern Woman. I used to admire a magazine called Gentleman as the best in those days and felt elated when it published my story and sent me a thousand.
My friends at the Rotary Club advised me to publish a collection of my stories and books. All at Sea is the result. Later, came The Good Boy. At this time, I found the publishers left the important task of marketing to the author and spent little or no effort on it. Self-publishing became a popular trend, and I published Odd Ways of Gods and The incomplete man.
Meanwhile, I posted blogs on various sites like www.trinod.com, www. wikinut.com that paid. My blogs found their way to trade magazines and brochures of airlines in the USA.
I had useful contacts with some cricket functionaries and wanted to market my book about cricket through them. Unfortunately, my right leg precluded me from undertaking journeys for a book signing and allied activities. My next book, ‘Emma’s Escapades in Incredible India,’ found a publisher in 2012. My career as a writer got a jolt when my wife, my critic, fan, and advisor, died in 2012. Unable to bear the void in my life, I relocated to Orlando, where my children and grandchildren live.
Finding my grandchildren fight occasionally, I got an idea of a Night Fairy and wrote a children’s book using my knowledge of the Sea and ships. During multiple submissions, the editor of a publishing house called me to say she liked the book immensely and published my book Captain Riddle’s Treasure. Issues of health put stops in my writing. A few surgical procedures on my bladder and bouts of hospitalization improved my health and rekindled my writing. My second children’s book received a good response from publishers and is due for release soon.
Most of my books received excellent reviews and acclaim of friends and fans but did not sell well as I could not market them due to ill health.
Since I started my writing in Surekha, I advised all my Surekha pals to return to this site and rejuvenate it. Today, I find a handful of bloggers here, and an excellent blog gets not more than 25 views and six comments. I hope Sulekha regains its lost glory and attracts a horde of bloggers with many meaningful blogs in faultless English.
Thewriterfriends.com is an experiment to bring the creative people together on one platform. It is a free platform for creativity. While there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of platforms that provide space for expression around the world, the feeling of being a part of fraternity is often lacking. If you have a creative urge, then this is the right place for you. You are welcome here to be one of us.
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