So I Published a Book, or Two…

So I Published a Book, or Two…

happy danceGuess what! Last month, I was finally able to achieve a dream of mine – a dream I’ve had since…since forever, actually. I finally published my books, and they are now on Amazon!

Yay! Happy Dance! Happy Song! Happy Times!

Back in August 2015, I ended up putting a zip file on a server and setting up an e-store on my site (and did all sorts of interesting techie stuff that I won’t bore you with), so I could started selling what I like to call ‘My Tarot Book’. I wasn’t really expecting much. Except of course, the satisfaction of having written a Tarot book that was ‘different‘, and then putting it up on my site for sale. Honest. I then shared this information on my FaceBook and email list.

chart-1296049_960_720Boom! People came over to my site, and started downloading the sample chapter. And then they even ended up buying the book! As the days passed, I saw the sales numbers creep up steadily and I kept looking at them in awe. I mean, how in the world…

And, I started getting emails from people wondering if they could buy a paperback version of my book. Wowzers!

The emails weren’t just a one or two, but quite a few.

So I took a huge, massive, deep breath and made my way over to Amazon’s Createspace website and started the process of figuring out what to do, and how to do it, and so on and so forth. I’m not going to bore you with the details of all the nitty-gritty stuff that I had to tackle during the process (because that stuff will go on my writing site at some point, get it?). But I had two saviors during this entire time, and both of them were superb apps. mac-733178_960_720One was of course, the love of my life, Scrivener. And the other was Pages – not the watered-down Pages as we know it today, but Pages from iWork ’09 when Apple was still doing cool stuff and setting standards for the rest of us.

And ‘coz gutter margins are an actual thing, people!

Both these apps did so much work for me, and ended up saving me tons of $s which I would have otherwise spent on stuff like formatting, converting, and layouting of the text and images of the book. Of course, all of this was wayyy simpler with the fiction book that I was also working on, because that one didn’t have  ton of images in it – but that’s another story, really.

I uploaded stuff, and I ended up ordering a couple of rounds of proof copies as well. I even ended up meeting an angel online, who spent a lot of his time reading through my book and emailing me suggestions and edits. books-1082942_960_720I also got my covers professionally designed from this awesome duo of designers that I found online.

All of this, naturally, made me feel that the Universe was sending me the helpers I needed as and when they were needed. And that meant only one thing: I was meant to do this. It is part of the grand plan that the Universe has for my life. I felt it deep in my bones. It felt…just right7749078932_c476055cdf

I set it up so people could buy the paperback book all over the world – wherever there was an amazon site for them. I also put the kindle version of my book up there, and I made it available for their unlimited library subscription bit. I spent a fair bit of time debating the price that I wanted to set – because I wanted to make it reasonably priced (so everyone could buy it even while on a budget).

The response of that move was mind-blowing! I would never-in-a-million-years have seen this coming. Wow! Not only did people end up buying copies of the paperback version, but the kindle version and the library version both have been racking up sales as well. Putting my books on Amazon and making them available as a paperback truly did give my books a bigger exposure than before!

The journey of the novel that I published around the same time is slightly different. All these years, while I did build a bit of an ‘audience‘ for my Tarot stuff, I never really created any for my story writing stuff. Still, the eBook version of my novel is doing pretty ok. I hadn’t really expected that. I wasnt really thinking of that one much, and so when expectations were zero, seeing these good results was an eye opener for me. Because, every step of the way, I’m learning so much!

Back when I hadn’t even written a single chapter, I used to think that writing my first draft was going to be the main event. Turns out, when I started to edit my book, I had to reassess my thoughts. Editing was the big toughie. Then, when I decided to figure out the publishing, I had to change my thoughts once again. Pre-Publishing stuff was super hard. Of course, after I hit the ‘Publish’ button, I realized, Post-Publishing Publicity was the hardest bit.

LOL

Ultimately, ‘hard’ is as ‘hard’ gets. With the second book, the novel, things went a bit smoother – because I already knew what to expect.

So this means, that I’ll only get used to this as I do it more often. And this also means, that when I keep doing it over and over, I will find my pattern, and my process, and improve them and all that good stuff as I keep doing it again, and again, and again.

I plan to. 😎 I so totally plan to.

This post today is a sort of an acknowledgement really. I am so much in awe. I feel so much gratitude. This is my way of saying: “Thank You, Universe”.

In my mind, I flashback to the day when I first started my blog (and it was on blogger, not here tbh), and I remember how I felt. I had only one thought: keeping an online journal of my thoughts and stuff. I had no idea people would even stop by to read my stuff. I wasn’t expecting it. And even today, it doesn’t really matter if they do or they don’t. This blog here is not a “commercial” venture for me.

Of course, there were times when I ended up logging my thoughts the old-fashioned way, in a paper-pen journal. But no matter what, I always keep coming back here, and posting stuff.

So, today, as I transition into the next wonderful phase of my life, I wanted to stop by and document it. I wanted to say “Hi” and say “Thank You” – because this blog was the first time I shared my deepest thoughts on the internet. This was where it all sort of began for me.

And although my journey has taken another turn, and a new chapter of my life has begun, I will always keep coming back here. Here’s where my roots are. This right here is where I planted the seed. This is my touchstone, the place where I realign myself, and remember the beginning.

So much wonder and so much adventure.

Life really begins every time you say it begins. 

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

My Desktop Dashboard

My Desktop Dashboard

With all the crazy productive stuff going on in my life, it has always been GeekTool to the rescue!

The UNIX Connection

The easy explanation is that the Mac OS is built on the UNIX core. So you can totally use a bunch of Shell Scripts on your Mac, either via Terminal on your mac or via GeekTool.

I will be the first one to admit that I do not know much about all these things. Heck, I am NOT a coder. But then so many people out there, are! And they are sweet and kind enough to put their scripts out on the Internet for people like me to use. To them, I say:

Thank You! You guys and gals rock! Totally!

GeekLet IconA great resource for finding these Geeklets, as they are sweetly called is: The Geeklet Repository on MacOSXTips.

Before You Begin…

GeekTool IconFirst things first, in order to get the basic stuff of GeekTool running, you will:
– Have to be on a Mac (Duh!)
– Then install GeekTool.
– If you want to have your Calendar schedule and Reminder lists up on your screen, then you will also need to install icalBuddy.

Once you’ve done all this, you are ready to begin!
I also suggest, giving this GeekTool tutorial a look-see. It covers the basics, so I don’t have to.

My GeekTool Setup

Yes, I know I kinda looks like all I do is watch TV and throw out the trash, but that isn’t the case! I’ve excluded a bunch of calendars from the list. Those contain my regularly scheduled writing blocks.

Rest assured, I still get all the alarms buzzing on my iMac, iPhone and iPad at all times!

Technology works strives to keep me working! LOL

Now if you want to have your desktop look like mine, here are the scripts for you to implement, and enjoy!

  • Date: Date +%d
  • Day: Date +%a
  • Month: Date +%b
  • Time: Date ‘+%I:%M’
  • AM / PM: Date +%p
  • This Month’s Calendar (with Today’s Date in Red): cal_head=`cal | head -1`; cal_tail=`cal | tail -7`; today=`date "+%e"`; echo "$cal_head"; echo "${cal_tail/${today}/33[1;31m${today}33[0m}”;
  • Next Month’s Calendar: cal $( echo $(date +%m)+1 | bc ) $(date +%Y)
  • Weather: curl --silent "http://xml.weather.yahoo.com/forecastrss?p=your-zip-code-here&u=c" | grep -E '(Current Conditions:|C<br)' |="" sed="" -e="" 's="" current="" conditions:="" '="" <br="" \="">//' -e 's///' -e 's/<\/b>//' -e 's/
    //' -e 's///' -e 's/<\/description>//‘
  • To-Dos and Events: Echo TO DOsEcho/usr/local/bin/icalBuddy -nc -stda -sd -ss '' -b '- ' -nrd -df '%RD : %a, %d %b' -po datetime,title,notes -ps '|\n|\n|' -etp priority,location,url tasksDueBefore:"tomorrow+2”EchoEcho EVENTSEcho/usr/local/bin/icalBuddy -nc -sd -ss '' -b '- ' -ec ‘names-of-calendars-you-want-to-exclude’ -nrd -df '%RD : %a, %d %b' -po title,datetime,location,notes -ps '|\t|\n|\n|' -eep url eventsFrom:"today" to:"today+2”

I hope this is useful.

It certainly is for me.

Special Thanks to Eric for asking me to do this post!

The Hero(ine)’s Journey: Coincidences Much?

There comes a point of time in everyone’s life – everything comes to a point of crisis, and all your long-held beliefs shatter, all the foundations and structures break down, and everything you know about your life ceases to exist.

It is at precisely this point in your life, that you realize that all you thought about – about your self, about your life and everything else in it – everything is not what it seems to be.

That’s when your life changes. You have a blank slate in front of you – and a ray of light – clarity emerges. You then begin a journey of discovery. You find out who and what you really are, and of course, discover what it is you want to be / do in life. You find your path, your calling. And of course, when you decide to pursue that path, life opens all its doors for you.

A new adventure begins – a new journey of self discovery, self examination, and more importantly, self awareness.

I do believe that I went through such a process in my late 20s, which led to me discovering what I wanted to do in my life. And I began to do it.

The macro journey has more or less continued till date, surviving my transition from India to the USA. Great!

To be honest, I am pretty much doing a ‘repeat the story’ thing here, and all that is fine. The challenges are different, new, and exciting. But, honestly, it is more of the same thing – you know, kind of like eating ice cream, just another flavor of it. It can be nice, but you cant simply keep changing the flavors all the bloody time – even that can get repetitive.

So, here I was, sitting and wondering, what, if at all would be the next level of this particular journey – kind of like how it is in video games – you win one level, and then you have pretty much the same story repeating in the next level of the game, but maybe different adventures, different territories, different villains, and most especially different goals.

And of course, the challenge level is also a bit more.

Plus, it has just come to my notice that my Saturn Return period (Sade-sati in Marathi / Hindi) is on the verge of ending. This is a very important milestone. Most people dread the Saturn Return – they say it is a period of harsh lessons and troubled transitions. Sure, it was one for me too – although for me, it may have lasted for a bit more than the 7.5 years – but I digress. Transitions are good – this means, I get to advance to the next level of the game.

So, what will be the next level for me? Honestly, I still don’t know for sure – but based on past experiences, I do believe that the picture will soon emerge and clarity will once more shine through.

When these sort of things happen, you begin to notice a series of coincidences in your life – this truly happens when you are on the right path. And since these coincidences have begun, I am getting the feeling that the adventure – albeit a new adventure – is very much about to begin for me.

That being said, let me share the beginning of the story with you – coz that’s how far along I have come!:)

Joseph Campbell
Joseph Campbell

It all began, of course, with me wondering what was next. And then I got this pro-bono website assignment. Which led to a small paid assignment. And on the phone with this client, we got to talking about myths – one of my favorite topics. And he mentioned Joseph Campbell, and his book titled ‘The Power of Myth‘.

Now, I was truly taken by surprise!!

There is this truly amazing course I want to do, and it is an M.A.+PhD in Mythological Studies. Yeah right, truly – and the University that offers this course has this huge library that has some connection with Joseph Campbell. So I knew of this name. I just didn’t know more about this guy. Not one to ignore these coincidences, I decided to see where it took me.

Anyhow, I looked up the ‘Power of Myth’ on iBooks, and there it was. So I downloaded the sample, and began reading. Impressed, I bought the book and continued reading.

That led to me searching for more on Amazon and Netflix – and sure enough, You Tube. And I discover a huge treasure trove of info on the guy.

He was a Mythologist – and he said a couple of things which I have been saying for the longest time – only he proved it and wrote a bunch of books about it too!

One thing he says is: All myths have the same common themes, only they change with geographic location to add / subtract stuff here and there to suit it.

Another thing he says is: Follow your bliss, and doors will open for you.

OMG!

I watched his videos on You Tube and was mesmerized with his storytelling abilities. He made myths look so much fun!

The Hero With A Thousand Faces
The Hero With A Thousand Faces

And so, I checked out a few of his documentaries on Netflix, and am now reading ‘The Hero With A Thousand Faces‘, have a couple of more docus lined up in my Netflix queue, and so forth.

And also, guess what, a clearer picture of the themes of my life, and of the next level of the journey is beginning to emerge. I don’t quite know what the right words are for it – sometimes words are hard to come by with the blinding light of sense – but I kinda know where I am headed now.

So yeah – I want to extend my sincere gratitude to the Universe, for sending the right clues my way, and giving me the sense to know that they were clues and so forth. I honor and respect it, and I promise to pursue it to the conclusion – till this level ends, and another begins after that.

I mean, isn’t that what life is all about, after all, a journey towards understanding, realizations, sense and knowledge?

Meanwhile, I leave you with a few interesting videos so that you understand what I mean…. Enjoy!

A Playlist of Interesting Videos relating to Joseph Campbell on You Tube.

Am I A Geek Now?

And no, this hasn’t gotten anything to do with the fact that the app is named ‘GeekTool’! LOL

Brace yourself, this is a long story! But it’s got some nice pics and links, promise!:)

The story begins with me discovering, or should I say, re-discovering GTD by David Allen. I was first introduced to this system by my friend Rohi. Back then, I simply dismissed this out of hand as being a very silly thing… after all, who needed a system to actually get things done, right?

Wrong.

I soon realized that I needed a system to stay on top of things – especially as my work life and my mac life began to soar new heights of mis-management! So I started to follow the GTD Process in real earnest.

Typical to my nature, this meant I started to look for apps to help me Get Things Done! LOL. So there are quite a few apps out there – and be assured that I have tried them all. And then I stumbled on to a singularly simple method of managing my action items right here. (I had linked to the post in a post on my other blog). In any case, using the Mail app in tandem with the built in functionality of the iCal app combining it with the productivity that one can gain by using smart folders is truly amazing! I mean, it makes sense to use the apps that the Mac already comes equipped with – I paid for those apps when I bought the Mac, right? So, why should I spend some more money to buy yet another app which does the same thing, but in another interface.

But. And of course, there is a But.

I was still not able to add the new To Dos and Events into my calender just right off the bat – and so I downloaded and installed QuickSilver. And of course, it has a lot more bells and whistles, which means I don’t move my hands from the keyboard to open an app or to add a To Do or an Event or even to do some other fun things like do a Google Search! I can just key right through the stuff to get things started!

I even created my own apps for creating To Dos and Events using Apple’s Automator! And I added in some nice things into the workflow with Apple Scripts and Growl Notifications.

And of course, I can customize the entire experience – which is a Big Plus.

But. Still. I wasn’t satisfied.

I didn’t want to open an app to see my daily To Dos and Events. I just wanted to see them on the desktop.

Extreme customization is what the Mac experience is all about.

And there are people out there who really thrive on this.

And while wondering about this and that, I stumbled on to this post on LifeHacker about GeekTool.

And of course, I was inspired.

So I downloaded GeekTool. Then I found out this post here about iCalBuddy, which basically is a shell script for displaying your iCal To Dos and Events on the desktop via GeekTool. And then I searched some more and found some scripts here, and here and got inspired here, here and here to create a desktop that will show some interesting stuff on the desktop along with my To Dos and Events. And then I searched for some art – Google Image Search and Deviant Art being my primary sources.

And since I don’t have Photoshop or anything remotely interesting to work with for my images, I decided to give Keynote (the equivalent of PowerPoint) a whirl. And guess what, I did it!

Credits:

Moleskin Image | Coffee Cup | Desktop Background | And other random images (the fountain pen and the ink spatters) which I cannot track down.

The result:

A Desktop which looks like this:

My GeekTool Desktop Final

So, at the end of all this geek-ery, how do I manage my workflow with GTD? Here is the low down…

Since I work via the Internet, and my Mac is my office, all of my work gets tracked via e-mail.

So every time I get an e-mail that needs attention right away (within 2 minutes), I reply to it right away.

Then, if there are messages that need some doing to get tackled, get flagged, and then either a related To Do or Event gets added to my list. In Mail, it is relatively simple, just do the two-finger tap to get the right-click menu which includes a link to create a New To Do or Event. I always set alarms that will go off at least 2 days before the due date so that if I have lost track of things, I can handle them. Mail and iCal are beautifully integrated. So when I add a To Do or an Event, they get synced right away. Automatically.

add note todo flag.pngproject note mail.png

smart folders mail.png

Oh, and I can also create a To Do from the Mail menu as well.

So, how do I keep track of the things that I need to do?

Every Project gets its own notes and they can have To Dos which sync across my Mac.

Then, I have configured some smart folders which automatically track some of my To Dos based on their Due Dates or Notes.

So with a glance at the sidebar, I can see what’s up.

But what of when I don’t have the Mail app open in front of me?

Simple – GeekTool has now enabled me to see my To Dos and Events and some other jazzy things right on my desktop!

(Notice the little Apple Logo in the coffee cup where I display my CPU and RAM stats – I am pretty proud of it!)

My GeekTool Desktop Final For Edits.png My GeekTool Desktop Final For Edits_2.png My GeekTool Desktop Final For Edits_3.png My GeekTool Desktop Final For Edits_4.png

Time Zones.png

quicksilver.tiff

shelf.png And of course, QuickSilver is also integrated into this workflow. Any important document finds its way onto my Shelf from where I can easily access it. And the shelf conveniently slides in and out of view from the desktop.

So after all this, all I do is get right down to it!

Simple…

Just Get Things Done with Mail, iCal, QuickSilver and GeekTool.

New Newsletter and Some News

Hello and welcome to this edition of my newsletter.

I expect, most of you must be wondering why it has been quite a while that my newsletter went out. Let me explain…

Prior to this edition, my newsletter went out via the Nourish site. But, of late, this site was down – as there were some major upgradation works going on on the site. So, eventually, I have moved my Newsletter to MailChimp. And got all my blog feeds literally ‘stitched’ together via FeedStitch. Now, isn’t the internet just a wonderful place! I am back in business again!

For some time now, the Nourish site has been down – but I found out yesterday, when I checked it again, the site is up! So I am back to Nourish for my newsletter service! I hope that the site doesn’t go down again.

In doing so, however, I could not access my account with Nourish, and so was unable to extract the list of my newsletter subscribers. So,

Meanwhile, I did the most logical thing and imported my address book into the system. So, if any of you have received this newsletter in error and wish to discontinue getting it, please, accept my apologies, and opt out of the mailing system by clicking on the relevant link at the bottom of this e-mail.

Many of you must be wondering about the different posts on my blog… all always too general… none of them depicting the true state of my mind. And it is true. I have been going through a lot many changes in the past few months. None of them unpleasant, I assure you. But all of them leaving me much more confused than I ever thought that I would be, given the circumstances.

Coming to the USA was quite something for me. After 12 odd years of living away from my family, I am back within the warmth and glow of the cheer that only family can provide. My Mum, Dad and Sis – all of them are wonderful people and I never knew how much I really missed them till after 12 odd years and especially after I have lived amongst them for the past few months. It has been quite a different way of life for me, these past few months. Not at all like how it was back in Pune, that is for sure! But, it is not entirely unpleasant. I am actually liking it. Yoicks! I had never quite expected that. You know, many things have changed – people change, circumstances change – in fact, change is the most inevitable thing on this planet. And somehow, quite unexpectedly, it has crept upon me – this realization, that I am not quite averse to having my family around me all the time. It is very, very different – but definitely a nice idea.

This brings me to my next confusion. Now that I am here, I would like to pursue my goal of higher studies along with everything else. And because Mum is an Adjunct Professor with a University here, I can get a discount in the fees I am told. And if I get an Assistant-ship at the University, I may get a stipend too! So, I will have to ideally give my GRE and TOEFL exams – which are not an un-surmountable ordeal. But that is not what I am confused about!

Many of you may have known about my intense desire to study Mythology, Symbolism, Psychology and of course, the craft of Film-making. Now, unfortunately, none of these are offered in one course. I will have to choose! And that confuses me. On the one hand, I would like to get a certification in Counseling and be able to really reach out and help people. And then on the other hand, I want to study Myths and Symbols till I drown in them! And then, there is that part of me which wants to study the craft of Film-Making and give in to my creative impulse and indulge in the process of actually being able to transform my vision of a story into reality. If any of you so wishes, please do write to me with what you think would be the perfect thing for me to do… a rare occasion it is when I actually ask for a suggestion. And if you have one, do let me know – What, according to you, would be the best choice for me?

Work is coming along pretty steady too! Had I been making this amount of money when I was back in India, I would be partying hard and working hard! But the funny part is, that here, that amount is pretty much Peanuts. So I have to figure out a way to roll in the big bucks. I am going to scratch my head on that one for some time and figure out a strategy – a plan. I wish that my good pal Leena was here with me now – we really used to discuss business strategy together quite well… I do miss having her here – now, there’s one girl who’s got her head on her shoulders! It is quite rare for me to be able to talk business with someone, and especially if that someone happens to be a girl. As most of you may know, I don’t often engage in such kind of discussions with all and sundry. So Leena, if you are reading this – lets schedule a voice chat session soon girl! We need to brainstorm, big time!

Also on the agenda for me is getting a Drivers License. Apparently there is no way around it. Gotta face my fear eventually. Have decided to give it a go. Do my best and leave it all up to the Universe. I am sure that Existence will do right by me….Gulp! Facing your fear is always a challenge, isn’t it. Although the visa interview was my biggest fear – and I overcame it…this one should not pose too much of a problem now, should it?

Life here is pretty interesting – people give each other a lot of space – perhaps a bit too much space. Coming from a culture where everyone is into everyone’s life, I feel pretty isolated here. Funny observation: Ever since I have come here, I sit out in the porch and smoke my cigarette ever so often. Now, when you do that for some time, you get to see some people pass by your house on a regular basis. It has been five months now, and I actually managed to get 2 waving friends. Now, had it been India, it would have been 20 by now (given my track record) and I definitely would have spoken much more than “Hey”, “Good Morning” and “Have A Nice Day” with them! Ah! America is a good place. But if you live in the ‘burbs as I do, then spaces become too confining. I really don’t find myself getting accustomed to the silence. It is surely not like Mumbai or Pune. I do hope that I move out soon enough – and to a bustling, noisy, polluted, crowded city, like maybe NYC! A total city girl at heart – yup – that’s me! But that will happen soon enough, I suppose.

It is strange. I don’t want to go too far away from my family this time round! Yeah – I know – most of you must be shaking your heads and saying “She’s lost it now” – but it is true. Coming from the mouth of the person who is a committed lone ranger – it must have shocked many of you! But like I said – times change, people change. I guess, I have too!

Well… enough said for one blog post! ‘Til Later Folks!

Windoze!

We all know about how Windows works (and crashes)- and how much I really love (and want the Mac)…

Here is an amazing video which really shows us how Windows absolutely takes the cake…Imagine for a while (if you can!!) that the Matrix ran on Windows… So what do you think would happen???!!!

Watch this video and laugh! I know I did!

This is what happens if ‘The Matrix’ Runs on Windows…..

LOL!

NJoy!

Published!

Well! It’s finally happened! Something every writer / poet dreams of happening!

One of my poems was noticed (on the Internet, I will add!) and then they got in touch with me. My poem will soon be published in a teacher’s guide which is part of a program in American Schools called ‘Plugged Into Reading’. You can learn more about the program by clicking here.

I could write reams and reams about how this makes me feel, but I feel I shall restrain myself. Otherwise, things could go out of control…:-)

The poem is reproduced below:

The Outsider.

I could have asked you for the moon,
A diamond ring, a palace, a car.
But I think I spoke too soon, that
You were my only brightest star.

Your heart I cherished, your love I wished
But you looked at me from somewhere far.
And where I laid my heart for you,
You trod upon it without a care.

I saw us both, laughing, smiling,
My dreams remained what they were.
You look elsewhere, and I at you,
And I felt again tonight, “Outsider”.

I am an outsider in my own world,
Looking at myself from afar,
Hoping and wishing to be loved,
To be your only brightest star.

But I think it’s not meant to be,
For as it’s true for all to see.
An outsider is always just so near,
And is never let inside the door.