Where inspiration comes from

A number of people have asked me where my inspiration as a writer comes from. Over time, I’ve given them a number of different answers: from travel, things I see, movies, other people, and random encounters. Each of these answers are true, but only tell part of the story.

I found myself reflecting on this today. Where does inspiration come from? It’s true that I get ideas from things that I hear and see, encompassing everything in the above list. What hits closer to home though is to see other people who spend their time day after day perfecting their craft. As such, my inspiration often comes from movies where the central character – whether a painter, a chef, an investor, or rarely an author – spends their time doing exactly this. In some cases this is central to the plot while other times it is just ancillary. Either way, those movies spark my interest. I love observing the character as they battle with their inner demons to tackle their chosen vocation.

A few days ago, I watched The Hundred Foot Journey. It focuses on an Indian chef who starts a restaurant in a small village in France and then continues to rise through the culinary ranks. I love cooking and so the scenes of him and other chefs in the kitchen are already fun to watch – what’s often referred to as food porn. What made the movie more engaging was to go through some of the uphill battles that he encounters as he returns to the kitchen again and again to prepare new exciting dishes. I’m not making a broader commentary on how realistic the movie is – only a real chef would be able to answer that, but were I to face those situations, I doubt I could have returned to my craft with so much zeal. Of course, cooking isn’t that sort of passion for me. I can only hope that each day I will continue to return to my writing with the same kind of passion that the lead character in this movie displays.

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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://hyperurl.co/ahriman.

Back to blogging

After a couple weeks off while I was traveling in Kuwait, I’m back home for the holiday season and settling back into my blogging schedule. It’s been a tough transition back from vacation to work, especially given that it’s the start of the holiday season. In a way this is a huge luxury. With the reduced pressure of deadlines, I can relax for a few days before returning to work and writing.

The extra time around the holiday season gives me time to reflect and get my “house” in order. Today I spent a couple of hours going through clothes in my wardrobe and discarding a number that I haven’t worn in ages. My kitchen has never been cleaner – at least not on a regular basis, especially when I’ve been cooking regularly. My husband and I have tackled a couple of home projects and there are a couple more in the works that we hope to have done by the end of the holiday season.  I only hope we can get everything done. I would love to have those things out of the way so that all I have to focus on in January is my writing and other deadlines.

Regardless, the holiday season is a wonderful time to appreciate what’s most important. Time with family and friends, time for relaxation and a bit of indulgence, and time to catch up on sleep and recuperate for the New Year. I’m excited about what it will bring and my upcoming projects.

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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://hyperurl.co/ahriman.

Humanity heading in the right direction?

A friend of mine posted a great picture from a couple of days ago that made me smile.

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My husband and I were celebrating our marriage with family and friends in Kuwait where I grew up. We had an amazing time with people who’ve seen me since I was a little kid, eating, dancing, and enjoying the atmosphere of a farm in Kuwait. Hard to believe, but yes they do exist.

The caption my friend put to this picture was: “A Chinese-American living in Singapore celebrating an Indian-Irish wedding in Kuwait. Tell me humanity isn’t heading in the right direction…”

That statement really made me smile. What a great way to sum up the occasion? We are so lucky that society is moving in a direction where situations like this will seem more and more usual. Thank you to our family and friends for being so warm and welcoming! I can’t wait to see this happening more and more.

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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://hyperurl.co/ahriman.
99 cents sale from November 26 to December 12. Please help me spread the word!

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!

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.