Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Create a Logo for your brand with DesignEvo

Are you a small business owner, an organisation or blogger? If yes, you might want to create a unique logo for yourself or your brand.

What do we do when we want to create a logo? Usually, we approach graphic designers or artists who are experts in this area. Yet, it won't always yield the result you are looking for. 

That is when free online logo makers like DesignEvo come to your rescue.

If you are familiar with design websites like Canva, using this website is super easy. The layout and tools are easy to understand. It is dedicated entirely to logo designs. With over 5000 free templates, you can choose from over multiple business categories. 

A quick search using keywords in their search box will throw up multiple premade designs to choose from. The best thing about this logo maker is that it is fully customisable. You can play around with the various fonts, colours, icons all for free.

Some of the things I liked about Designevo:

1) You can play around with the logo maker without logging in. It is only if you wish to download the logo that you have to log in to the site. So, you can always scroll and check if they have that perfect logo that you have in mind. 

2) If you like a design, you can create your own logo for free by customising it. 

3) You can choose from the free or paid options to download the logo. If using the free version, you have to embed a badge showing the software used in your logo and also share it on social media platforms.

4) Paid option comes with multiple file formats including transparent background, jpeg and png. Also, you get the copyright for your logo. They have a sale going on now with offers of 39.99 $ plan and 19.99$ plan.

5) It is user-friendly and requires no technical skills. You also get the design saved on the cloud.

6) Option to login in via Facebook or Google account.

My creation:

I created a logo for my website within a few minutes. I had a rough idea for what I wanted. Hence I searched for the keyword ‘writing’ in the search column on the site. I got so many options but I loved this design at first sight.
Here is it.
Isn't this amazing? 
Are you not tempted to try out some designs for your brand logo? 
If yes, visit DesignvEvo and thank me later.

Happy creating!




Monday, August 27, 2018

Stolen kisses – Tanay and Mita in Reet Singh’s ‘Take One Fake Fiancé’



And snake that he was, Mita’s fake fiancé bent over to smoothly capture shocked lips in a goodbye kiss that fried her brain.
Mita, hypnotized by the musky scent of Tanay's proximity, missed the fact that her mother had slipped out of the room looking quite smug.
Seconds later, the firmness of determined lips and the velvet of a persuasive tongue invaded her consciousness to the exclusion of all else. His beard rasped and the sensation of it against her skin was extraordinarily sensual.
Time slowed - the kiss demanded a response, and her reaction to it was confusing - she should be furious but she felt drugged. She couldn't bring herself to end it and, apparently, neither could he.
He did eventually let her go but his eyes wandered over her face. She tried to still her racing heart, hoping he wouldn't notice the heat in her gaze or the fire in her blood – then, lowering her eyes, she busied herself with taming her tangled plait.

About the book

The Blurb
Mita Ramphul is single and fancy-free – and she wants to stay that way for the foreseeable future. Living and working on the idyllic island of Mauritius is the stuff dreams are made of – until she bumps into a man who threatens to destroy it all.
Tanay Devkumar is cynical and shuttered – events in his past have cast a long and deep shadow. Convinced that Mita Ramphul represents a threat to his sister’s happiness, he seeks her out, determined to block her nefarious plans.
They meet in circumstances that can only be described as hostile – suspicions abound and resentments flare on both sides, even as attraction simmers beneath the surface. A series of disastrous events follow and they are compelled to pretend that they are in love and wish to marry.
It is meant to be a temporary engagement – but will Mita be able to resist her fake fiancé or will his scorching kisses make her yearn for something more permanent?

Originally published as “Scorched by His Fire” by Harlequin India, 2014
Take One Fake Fiancé is a refurbished, revamped, remodelled, updated version of Scorched and will soon be available on Kindle


The Cover 


Reet Singh when she’s plotting something


Look up Reet Singh – she usually hangs out on her website, on twitter, or on facebook.

Here are the buy links


Thursday, August 23, 2018

Book Spotlight -- Love: Lost and Found

Title: Love: Lost and Found
Genre: Romance
Category: Short Stories

BlurbThe heart wants what it wants. When hit by love, there is no reasoning. There is just an intense, addictive, exhausting feeling of losing oneself. When found, love can make a person. When lost, love can destroy a person completely. We all have a couple of friends who have held our hands through heartbreak and celebrated our happiness with us. This book celebrated those friendships and love. Read if you have fallen in love. Must read if you have lost in love.



 About the Author:
Esha Pandey, currently living in New Delhi, is an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer serving as DCP Special Police Unit for Women and Children.   Having been posted in the odd terrains of Lakshdweep, she has gained vast experience of life and policing over the years. Esha has a Masters in International Relations and Masters of Philosophy in American Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. Before becoming a civil servant, she dabbled with the idea of being a journalist and worked with Times of India as a copyeditor. She has won a United Nations FPA Award for Excellence for the Best Short Story. She made her debut as an author with her book I Will Meet You There, a collection of short stories, which was released at Pragati Maidan during the Delhi Book Fair and has been doing well. Esha Pandey is a veteran writer whose articles are regularly published in leading newspapers like The Time of India, Asian Age etc.

Excerpt:

 Shivi looked around, petrified. Ishaan was sitting at the far end of the room. Her friends knew she had a huge crush on him since the last two years. They had been pestering her to do something about it but Shivi never acted on her feelings. Ishaan had been steady with Nupur since they had joined college. She liked Nupur. She didn't want to act on her feelings. But Rahila had asked her to dare to kiss him. She looked at her friends helplessly. They all shouted, “Go! Go! Go”. Shivi knew she could get out of it. She just had to say no, but something got into her that day, and she took a split second to make the decision to take her chances. She would kiss him. 

She looked at her friends with determination, anxiety, hunger and fear at the same time. “Ok” she exhaled and got up from her seat. She walked steadily towards him, but her feet were threatening to give way any second out of fear of what she was about to do. She could hear her friends cheering her on.


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Book Spotlight: Crazy Cat Lady Finds Love by Sudesna Ghosh

Title: Crazy Cat Lady Finds Love

Genre: Romance/Romantic Comedy

Length: 62 pages (novella)

Blurb:

She's a member of the Crazy Cat Ladies Club. 
Her life is all about cats and the cat ladies.
Until the purrfect cat man comes along...

Get the book from: 


About the Author: 
Sudesna or Sue, is a multi-genre author based in Kolkata, India. She has penned My Singapore Fling, A Perfect New York Christmas, Can a Fat Girl Get a First Kiss? and many other books. Her short stories have been published in magazines across India. When she isn't reading or writing, you can find her trying to keep her rescue cats happy.


Excerpt: 


Would Navin think I was pretty? Would he hold my hand? Maybe he would kiss me if we got some privacy?

“Too many questions, Sue,” I told myself, as the cab rolled on.

Navin sent me a text saying he would be at the café in 15 minutes. He added another text saying he couldn’t wait to meet me finally. Aww. Genuine excitement or was he being polite? I wasn’t the insecure kind but this online dating thing just filled relationships with so much mystery. Never tried it in my 20s.

The Crazy Cat Ladies Club group had three messages; one from each of the ladies, telling me to relax and give them details after he left. I wrote back asking Sunita to let us know about Vivek’s visit that night too. She replied: I will. Sigh.

Turning off my mobile data, I felt my stomach churn as we pulled up at my destination. There stood my date, dressed immaculately in a polo neck tee and dark jeans, feeding a street dog biscuits. The dog wagged his tail and Navin’s eyes said it all – he had the same look in them that I’d seen in my friends’ eyes when we were with animals. Love. It was pure, beautiful love.

What Amazon readers are saying:


"The author has a wry observational voice that makes me chuckle every time I read her. The cats are cute too and the dude is extra cute! Five full stars."


"Along with men trouble, dating issues, canine problems, and Cat man, Navin, this book makes the perfect satisfying read for pet lovers and others, alike. if you haven't considered keeping a pet, you may be tempted to after reading this. very refreshing and a fun great read!"



Thursday, August 2, 2018

The Ultimate Short Story Workshop: A Quick Summary

On the 28th of July, 2018, I conducted a creative writing workshop at Atta Galatta in association with Juggernaut books. The aim of the workshop was to give a jumpstart to writers who were keen on getting their creativity flow through short stories.

It was my first time facing creative writing students as all my previous students have been engineering students during my stint as a lecturer at my alma mater. Yet, it was fun from the word go.





Here is a brief summary of the topics that were discussed at the workshop:

The concept of the Artist Brain and the Editor Brain:

Writers often struggle with creativity because there is always a war going on inside their heads. Everytime the creative or the 'artist' brain comes up with a brilliant idea, the 'editor' brain or the logical brain nitpicks and discourages the writer.

Yet, when these two work alternatively on the manuscript, it often results in a brilliant, bestselling story.
The trick is to involve the artist brain in the creation of the ideas/ first draft. The editor brain is great at structuring the story and revising it and hence use it that way. 

Exercise: As the 'artist' brain works best under time pressure, the students were asked to come up with a short synopsis for a story idea they had within ten minutes.

Types of writers:

Writers are different in the way they create stories. Yet we can divide writers into mainly three categories.

1) Pantsers or Gardeners
2) Plotters or Architects
3) Plotsers or Hybrids

Read in detail about the different categories by clicking here.

6 Key elements of a short story

1) Character
A character can be a person, animal or thing around which the story is developed.

2) Setting
Setting talks about when and where the story is happening.

3) Conflict 
Conflicts can be of two types: Internal and External.
The kinds of conflicts are 
a) Man vs Man
b) Man vs Nature
c) Man vs science fiction
Read more about conflicts and character sketch here.

4) Plot
The plot is a series of events that takes the character closer to his/her goal.

5) Point of View or POV

The different types of POV are: 

a) First person (Walking-in-their-shoes style)
Here the main character is the narrator. This technique is very effective to draw the reader into the story.
Pronouns used: (I, Me, Myself)

b) Second person (Reader-is-the-character style)
Mostly avoided in fiction as it lacks the pull of the first or third person pov. 
Pronouns used: (You, Your, Yours)

c) Third Person (Fly-on-the-wall style) 
The narrator knows how the characters think, feel, react to various events and experiences. 
Two styles: Third person limited, Third person omniscient
Pronouns used: (She, He, herself, himself)

6) Theme
A theme is an underlying message the story has for the reader. It can also be a hidden lesson.
Read more about it here:



How to create vivid characters:

You can create a vivid character by getting to know your character better. 
Here are some details to jot down. Tabulate the following data for your character.

a) Biodata of your character
b) Physical characteristics
c) Describe their life in general when the story is beginning.
d) What are their goals, deepest fears, secrets, likes, dislikes?
e) How was their childhood?
f) Did they undergo any tragedy?
g) What is the best thing that happened to them?
h) Nuances and idiosyncrasies like accent, mannerisms etc
i) Habits


Even though we won't be using many of these in the story, it still creates a vivid picture of your character in your mind. This helps to write better scenes.

How to hook the reader from line one?

Writers use many techniques to grab the attention of the reader right from page one.
Some are:
1) An interesting first sentence
2) Beautiful description
3) Action
4) Humour
5) In-media-res (Beginning at a pivotal moment) (Read more about it here)
6) Intriguing character
7) An unusual situation
8) Show, don't tell. (Read more about it here
9) Pace
10) Exploding the moment ( Read more about it here)

Read more about hooking the reader by clicking here.

A Quick Formula to Plot a Story

The easiest way to plot is the ABDCE formula. In the ABDCE structure for plotting a story/novel developed by Alice Adams, the story begins with an Action or an inciting incident.


  • Action: This is the inciting incident which sets off the story in motion.
  • Background: What happened to the characters in the past that made them what they are today.
  • Development: The course of the story where the characters chase their goals.
  • Climax: This is the point where the goals are achieved with dramatic consequences.
  • Ending: All the loose threads in the plot are tied up.
You can use this technique to plot a novel as well. Read more about it by clicking the below link
Editing your first draft
Some quick tips:
Stage 1) Take it up after a break. check for obvious flaws and errors.
Stage 2) Tighten the prose
Stage 3) Read aloud to see how the story sounds
Read more about editing in these posts:
Final Checklist
A checklist always helps when we are in the editing stage. At this stage, the editor brain has taken complete charge of your manuscript. It loves lists.
Check if there are:
1) Grammatical errors and passive voice
2) Structural problems
3) Punctuating and formatting errors
4) Interesting first sentence/ paragraph.
5) Is the character likeable?
6) Is the ending interesting/ cliched/ cheating? 
7) What is the readability quotient?

Hope this post gets you closer to your dream of converting your inner visions into perfect short stories.




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