Liebster Blog Award Challenge.

I’ve been nominated by my friend, Adite Banerjie to take the Liebster Blog Award Challenge. I had the privilege of meeting her when I went to L.A. for a screenwriting class.

What is the Liebster Blog Award Challenge?

When we’re tagged, we’re supposed to post eleven facts about ourselves and answer eleven questions asked by the person who tagged us.

But who is Liebster?

I have an inquiry mind, and I went out searching for the origins of this award and came upon this.  Apparently, in some Liebster blogs, only three authors are required, so technically I’m good to go! I had fun participating in this chain letter. It’s also an effective way to get an introvert like me to talk about myself!

Before I get started, I’d like to mention that Unison will be available for free from April 24th to the 25th.  I’m now working on the sequel, and I’m almost finished with the first draft.  It has more of an adventure feel to it, and it was fun to write.

Now, on to the challenge!

Below you’ll find eleven facts about me along with the eleven questions asked by Adite.

Eleven  Elementary Eleniisms:

1. I had a spontaneous Kundalini awakening when I was thirty.  When it happened, I freaked out because I had no idea meditation could be a physical experience.

2. I lived in Speicher Germany for three years.

3. I lived in Auckland, New Zealand for five months.

4. I fronted my own original band in which I wrote the music, sung and played bass. I threw in a synthesizer later on.

5. I dislike going to movie theaters. I always get restless sitting in one seat for an extended period of time. Same thing with television.

6. I’m an ideological atheist. I don’t believe in anything. I also don’t formulate any belief systems from my own experiences, preferring to take them as they come, without  judgement.

7.  I  recently discovered I have artistic talent. I always tried to draw in the past and failed in every attempt. One day, on a whim, I sat down and drew with my daughters. I was surprised over how well I did for my first attempt. My mother was shocked when I sent her a sketch of my father. It’s not perfect. I know. But that I could draw more than a stick figure shocked me, as well! This picture of Shri Ganesha took hours to draw. I suppose that’s why I don’t practice as much as I should. Maybe one day I’ll take an art class.


8. I’ve always felt like an outsider. It used to make me feel lonely, but I now find it empowering because I follow my own game plan.

9. I’m a very social introvert and function comfortably in big groups, but I prefer solitary hikes in the woods.

10. I’m a total sci-fi geek and can’t get enough of Star Trek. Beam me into the theater for the next movie, Scotty! Yes!

11. I don’t care at all for fashion. I could wear the same clothes every day if I had to. Clean, of course!

Adite’s Questions and my answers:

1. What’s your favourite time to write or do creative work? And why?

Early in the morning when everything is quiet…and my daughters are still asleep!

2. What’s the first thing that crossed your mind when you woke up this morning?

Writing a chapter my current work-in-progress,  The Sixth, which is Book Two of the Spheral.

3. What’s the one thing that drives you batshit crazy?

It’s a toss between people who talk on their cellphones loudly in public and people who swear loudly. The latter happened to me recently while I was working out at the Y. Every other word that came out of this guy’s mouth was f this and f that. And there was a sign on the wall that said no swearing!  I’m no prude. I used to swear like a truck driver  in my youth, but I still had the sense not to do it in a room filled with people!

4. Describe briefly any one unforgettable moment in your life.

My kundalini awakening and the birth of my two daughters. All three come in a tie.

5. Which is your must-do dream holiday vacation?

To hike the Himalayas and end up in Zangskar.  My protagonist, Damon, in Unison does this. Such a lucky guy!

6. Fill this blank: At age 10 I dreamt of “being an actress when I grow up.”

7. If you could travel back in time which “period” would you visit?

The days of the first civilization on Earth, where ever that was. They say it was Sumer, but I have a strong suspicion  there’s an even older one.

8. If you could transform yourself into a celebrity for one day, who would you pick?

I had to think of this one as I’m not into celebrities. The closest I can come to a celebrity would be the inventor, Nikola Tesla. It would be fascinating to see how he used his creative energy to make all his inventions. Fact: Some of the  protagonist’s characteristics in Unison are modeled after Tesla, down to his fondness of pigeons. My protagonist admires ducks.

9. Complete this sentence. Fun is laughing with family and friends.

10. If you could change any one of your (bad) habits what would that be? (You’re not allowed to say you don’t have any bad habits!!)

I would never say that! I have a few I want to work on. Outwardly, I appear very neat,  but should you dare open my desk drawer, you’d discover a plethora of gum wrappers.  They can really pile up in there! I chew voraciously while I write.

11. Tell us something that excites you about your current project.

It’s an ambitious story and constantly challenges me to improve my writing.

My questions for my nomineesAllison Bruning, Steve Benjamin

Shawna Hansen answered her questions on her Facebook page

1. What fictional character would you love to be for a day?

2. What is the hardest aspect of writing for you?

3. What three historical figures would you love to share a cup of coffee and conversation with?

4. If you weren’t an author, what else would you be doing?

5. On you’re deathbed, far into the future, how do you want to be remembered?

6. Do you believe in the afterlife?

7. What is your favorite book, movie, and album?

8. Name the worst aspect of humanity?

9. Name the  best aspect of humanity is?

10. If an alien landed on Earth and asked you to go with him or her, but that you’d never be able to return home, would you go and why or why not?

11. Do you believe intelligent life exists beyond this planet? Why or why not?

Bloghopping From North America To Asia

This post is part of a bloghop. Peggy Payne recruited me, and you can check out the answers to her questions here. I feel so privileged to have met so many wonderful authors from all around the world. Below, you’ll find the links to the authors who will be answering the same questions.

I’d also like to mention that all the formatting issues of Unison have been taken care of, and this incarnation of the book is my vision brought to life…finally!


What is the working title of your book or project?

Unison, which is Book One of the Spheral Series.


Where did the idea come from for the book or project?

Unison started off as a screenplay entitled, The Cabin. I intended it as an indie feature with only four characters and two settings.  As it’s hard to break into the screenwriting business, I wanted to ensure my stories would have an audience. I decided the best way to make it happen would be to write The Cabin in novel form. When I included a prop from a different screenplay, the story grew into an epic. I changed the title to Unison,  and the screenplay  from where I borrowed the prop  is now the outline for book four of The Spheral Series. I always dreamt of writing a series, and it happened without any planning. The writing life can be serendipitous!


What genre does it fall under, if any?

It falls under visionary fiction with the sub-genres of science fiction, quantum fiction and Libertarian fiction.


If applicable, who would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

Unison is way too long for a movie, but it would make a great mini-series. When I envisioned the characters, I used pictures of non-famous people. However, Nikola Tesla inspired my  protagonist for his mind, and Ibn Battuta, for his love of exploration. I can see Josh Holloway as the lead and  Christina Ricci as his love interest.  What an interesting pair! U.G. Krishnamurti (shown here during his younger years)  inspired the character of Vivek because of his  charisma and the spirited way he challenged people’s belief systems. Alexander Siddig of Deep Space Nine would make an excellent Vivek.  Ooh, I can just picture it so clearly.  Sci-Fi Channel, I’m ready to negotiate a deal for a mini-series!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your manuscript or project?

A man is condemned to relive his life until he uncovers a suppressed memory.


Will your book or story be self-published or represented by an agency?

Self-published. I have a vision of how this series must play out, and I like to have creative freedom…although I wouldn’t turn down a hybrid publishing deal. It’s the best of both worlds.


How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The first draft took two  months to write. At 136,000 words,  the editing and polishing took two years to complete.


What other book or stories would you compare this story to within the genre?

Imagine Atlas Shrugged that champions the individual’s mind and all it can achieve when unbound; the Stand, that promotes strength of faith and will, and A Brave New World, where the individual is controlled by drugs and distraction. Throw them all together and you have Unison!  


Who or what inspired you to write this book or story?

My kundalini awakening that happened over fifteen years ago led me on a spiritual journey that challenged my mind, body and spirit to the breaking point.  I survived and needed to find a way to outwardly express the lessons I learned through my visions and experiences.  For me, the main focus of  life is to experience and see it for the beauty that it is, even among the ugliness. That’s what I try to demonstrate in my books…that no matter how tragic a situation may seem, a strength of will can save us. This is particularly apparent in Unison. I view the series as a gift that was given to me to pass on to the world.  It was a challenge to write and still is, but I intend on getting it all out because I want to see how it ends!


What else about the book or story might pique the reader’s interest?

It has an exciting storyline and strong characters with  a spiritual theme nestled underneath that will leave readers uplifted and might even bring out some inner-truths.


Next on the Bloghop:

Sandy Nathan – Author of Tales from Earth’s End: The Angel & the Brown-Eyed Boy, Lady Grace, and Sam & Emil

Adite Banerjie – Will discuss her up-and-coming debut novel for Harlequin Mills & Boon

Joanna Gawn and Ron Dickerson The Cordello Quest

When The Writer’s Journey Becomes Difficult

These last few weeks have been very stressful as I’ve been trying to get Kindle Direct Publishing to inform customers  about the format error in Unison. Last week I received an email from them, and they said it would take four weeks to decide if the problem is serious enough for them to inform customers. So if you’ve purchased Unison, know that you’ll be able to download the corrected version soon.

Since I began my self-publishing journey, I’ve encountered many challenges, both with printing and editing.  If there’s any advice I can offer indie authors is to learn to format on your own.  No one  will  care about your work as much as you. I learned how to format the interior and also how to make my own Ebooks using two helpful programs, Sigil and Calibre. Take the time to learn them, and you’ll cut your expenses when publishing and have the peace of mind that your book is the best it can be. From now on, I’ll only hire a  good copy-editor and proofer. And if a book design is beyond my capabilities, a graphic artist.

Being an indie author is difficult work. I labored hard for Unison, hired a professional proofreader,  and I still had issues. I submitted Unison for a second proofing for peace of mind, and I’ve since decided to do two proofs for each book I write from now on.

Format error or not, Unison, is a thrilling story, and one I’m proud to have written. It evolved into a series that is exciting to write, and I love working with the characters. They’ve become so real to me, that it feels as though they’re dictating the story, and sometimes I can’t type fast enough to keep up with their chattering! I’m now working on the second book in the series. At almost 80,000 words in, I can see this epic is larger than my bruised ego and hurt feelings. It’s a story that deserves to be told. Because of its grandness, I was intimidated when I first began.  I persevered and proved to myself that I was worthy enough to bring Unison to life and that I had sufficient energy on reserve  to continue the series.

Being a successful author entails much more than writing a great story. It’s about having the resilience to deal with all the challenges and setbacks that can be emotionally difficult. Sometimes you feel alone when a drawback happens. However, all authors face their own challenges. It’s part of the learning process. I’ve been a writer for over two decades, but I’m still learning and will continue to do so with each book I write. It also helps that I’m surrounded by wonderful authors who’ve offered support and  encouraging words when I needed them.

What are the challenges you faced or are facing as an author? Have they made you stronger? Feel free to comment. We’re all in this together.

Love and light,