The importance of vacation and rest

For the last few months, I’ve been hankering for a vacation. Not the kind with a lot of activity where you have enriching cultural experiences. Not the kind where you see lots of great people but have to be completely “on” to interact with them. What I’ve been dreaming of is a vacation where all I do is sit around, read, watch some movies, and spend time with my husband.

That isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy or seek out the other two types of vacations. I had a wonderful trip in Europe which fell into both of those categories. I traipsed from Paris to London to Hamburg to East Germany and had an amazing time. I just didn’t come back from the trip feeling rested. When I first got back, that didn’t matter much, but now, a few months later, I feel as if I’m hitting the wall. There’s only so many more days that I can push through and even small setbacks have been hitting me as if they were major ones. After one such occurrence on Friday, I sat back and analyzed the situation once I’d calmed down. Why was such a small thing bothering me so much? The answer is simple. I need a break. One where I can completely switch off. Without that, I’m going to hit the wall again and again.

I’ve known this for a while, but my plan was to keep up the momentum until Christmas when I would take my break. That isn’t that far away so I didn’t expect it to be an issue. This weekend I discovered that I could push no further. So I gave in and took a day off. I slept in today and relaxed. I did a few errands but nothing major. Now that the day is almost over, I can already feel my mental juices starting to recover. Unfortunately I can’t afford to take a whole week off at the moment, but just the one day has left me feeling more refreshed and much more likely to be able to push through to Christmas. I’m going to need that energy!

Starting on Wednesday I will be putting my book AHRIMAN: THE SPIRIT OF DESTRUCTION (http://amzn.to/1rJjjb0) on sale for 99 cents.  I’ll keep it at the discounted price for 2 weeks and then raise the price to $3.99 after December 12. I’ve been contacting people around to let them know about the sale, but if you have any ideas, I would really appreciate the help. Thank you in advance!

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Learn more about me at my website www.pujaguha.com.
Sign up for my newsletter for a free ebook, contests and more! http://bitly.com/1sIlG3h

My first novel AHRIMAN: THE SPIRIT OF DESTRUCTION (Book I of The Ahriman Legacy) is available as an ebook at and a paperback at Amazon.com. http://amzn.to/1rJjjb0.
99 cents sale from November 26 to December 12. Please help me spread the word!

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Review of I AM PILGRIM by Terry Hayes

I AM PILGRIM by Terry Hayes is available on Amazon at http://amzn.to/1tgAbae.

There were so many stories crammed into this book, but I enjoyed them all. I stayed up late breezing through the pages, especially as I got closer and closer to the end. I loved the back story of the villain and the political threads that bring the story together.

The character development of the main character is well done although a little bit dense for my tastes. Still it’s a great read and I’m definitely looking forward to reading more by Terry Hayes.

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Learn more about me at my website www.pujaguha.com.
Sign up for my newsletter for a free ebook, contests and more! http://bitly.com/1sIlG3h

The best thing about being a writer

One of the Goodreads author prompt questions is: “What’s the best thing about being a writer?”

I took it upon myself to answer it today. There are a lot of things I like about being a writer. I love creating new settings and characters. When I write, my imagination can go wild and I get to see what happens between all of the characters. Often what happens as I write is very different from what I expected. For each first draft, I don’t outline at all – I just start typing at my computer and see where the characters take me. Seeing where a story takes me is definitely one of my favorite things about being a writer.

When I was working on the first draft of Ahriman: The Spirit of Destruction, what surprised me the most was the role of the character Grant. He starts out as the boyfriend of the protagonist Petra Shirazi. I imagined him as a minor character but as the story developed he became increasingly important. Originally I’d named the character after a friend of mine but when my boyfriend (now husband) read the book – he reacted to the character name. “Why is her boyfriend named X?”

The comment took me by surprise so I ended up changing the name. None of the characters are modeled after people I know, although they do have bits and stories that I’ve adapted from real life into the story. Which brings me to what I consider the best thing about being a writer. Seeing your book in print. The concrete impact of your time in solid form.

That still gets me every time I pick up a print copy of my published book. I  only hope that I feel just as excited every time I publish a new one. I never want to lose that feeling of surreal excitement.

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Learn more about me at my website www.pujaguha.com.
Sign up for my newsletter for a free ebook, contests and more! http://bitly.com/1sIlG3h

My first novel AHRIMAN: THE SPIRIT OF DESTRUCTION (Book I of The Ahriman Legacy) is available as an ebook at all major retailers and a paperback at Amazon.com. http://amzn.to/1rJjjb0.

The answer is the peer group

I spent the weekend at a reunion of the M&T program
(www.upenn.edu/fisher/) for its 35th anniversary. It was a weekend filled with inspiring and interesting speeches and opportunities to catch up with old friends and a diverse group of fellow alums.

One of the first speeches at the event stressed the importance of the peer group as a spur toward success. I’ve witnessed the importance of this in a number of different settings, not the least of which is just hanging out in a group of friends, but this weekend was a special reminder.

I got to hear some amazing stories. Garrett Reisman, an alum of the program, became an astronaut after many people told him that it would never happen. Dr. Hamilton envisioned the program and put it together piece by piece in the 1970s. Kunal Bahl built Snapdeal and landed on the Top 40 under 40 list.

The inspirational stories that I heard left me with an even larger commitment to writing as my passion and calling. I’m so excited that I have access to such a great support network. The M&T program will continue to be a network that is inspires me and I’m lucky to be a part of it and the many other groups of friends and family who’ve supported me over the years.

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Learn more about me at my website www.pujaguha.com.
Sign up for my newsletter for a free ebook, contests and more! http://bitly.com/1sIlG3h

My first novel AHRIMAN: THE SPIRIT OF DESTRUCTION (Book I of The Ahriman Legacy) is available as an ebook at all major retailers and a paperback at Amazon.com. http://amzn.to/1rJjjb0.

Review of COMMUNION by B Patterson

COMMUNION by B Patterson is available on Amazon at http://amzn.to/1tY4Xt9.

I’m not normally a huge reader of vampire books, but I gave this book a try and am glad that I did. Patterson presents a different take on the genre with a cast of interesting teenagers. I really enjoyed the unexpected twists and the ending was completely unpredictable. The dialogue was tight and snappy and hopefully we can see more from these characters. I would definitely recommend this book.

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Learn more about me at my website www.pujaguha.com.
Sign up for my newsletter for a free ebook, contests and more! http://bitly.com/1sIlG3h

My first critic review

A couple of days ago, the email arrived in my inbox. My stomach was doing somersaults as I went to open it — to read my first critic review from the US Review of Books. A second later the text was open in front of me and I skimmed through it.

The first paragraph ran through the plot of my novel and the second paragraph got into the meat of things (included below). When I got to the last sentence I stood up and announced it to my husband who’d just returned from the gym. We had a mini dance party in my living room.

Afterward, I could barely focus as I continued to edit my second book, a family drama that takes place in Sudan. All I wanted to do was keep dancing around and celebrating. In that moment of exhilaration, I had to remind myself that while celebration is important, what supersedes it is the time and work that I put into writing everyday. As soon as I remembered that, it hit me like a sledgehammer. Since people seem to like my first book, what if I couldn’t replicate that in my second? Authors strive to continually improve – to always write something that is better that the book before. Now that I’m out in the ring for that fight, the thought made me shiver. Would I be able to keep up with that?

I’ve noticed this cycle happens in my psyche every few days. Sometimes I’m really happy about where I am, but other times, I’m afraid of taking another step. But not pursuing my writing scares me more, so I can never go back. I just have to recognize the cycles and ride them out. They are after all, natural human emotions. The upswing and subsequent return to reality that I felt after I got my review was just another example of that.

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I’ve included the text of the review here.

Inspired by great modern thriller writers like Grisham and Clancy, the author assembles an amazing action-packed narrative here that moves at the perfect pace throughout. Telling its tale in a disjointed chronological order, the audience learns everything necessary at the right time to keep the intrigue high and the story moving brilliantly along. For many readers, this book will prove to be one of the hardest to put down in some time. Fans of spy fiction, political intrigue, and real adventure will want to get in on this series’ ground floor in order to anticipate further outings with these characters. More than just a showcase for cool gadgets or smooth talking, this book shines among the genre simply through superb storytelling.” – The US Review of Books (reviewed by Michael Radon)

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Learn more about me at my website www.pujaguha.com.
Sign up for my newsletter for a free ebook, contests and more! http://bitly.com/1sIlG3h

My first novel AHRIMAN: THE SPIRIT OF DESTRUCTION (Book I of The Ahriman Legacy) is available as an ebook at all major retailers and a paperback at Amazon.com. http://amzn.to/1rJjjb0.