Are you ready to publish your novel?

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Video: Preparing for a Career in Journalism

A conventional career in journalism involves working as a reporter or editor at a newspaper, television station or magazine. Find out how most journalists start their careers with a bachelor's degree in journalism with help from a journalism professor in this free video on careers in journalism.

Expert: Ken Blake
Contact: mtsusurveygroup.org/mtpoll/
Bio: Ken Blake, Ph.D., is a Middle Tennessee State University journalism professor.
Filmmaker: Dimitri LaBarge



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Interview with Shobhan Bantwal

You describe yourself as a late bloomer when it comes to writing. What made you take it up seriously?
Writing was not on my radar until I turned 50, when my evenings got a bit lonely after my husband was assigned to a long-term, out-of-state project by his employer. He was home only on weekends, so on weekdays, after returning home from my own job, I needed something productive to fill my evenings. On a whim I decided to take up creative writing. What started out as a hobby for an empty-nester slowly turned into a full-time second career when I got a two-book contract from my publisher.

Tell us a bit about your latest book.
The Full Moon Bride is about second-generation immigrants in the U.S. and their struggle to fit into two diverse cultures. In this latest novel I explore the fascinating subject of arranged marriage, as a young Indian-American woman navigates the gulf between desire and tradition, independent American spirit and conservative Indian values.

You have 5 published novels with Kensington Publishing and another due out in 2012. What made you pick them as your publisher?
When my agent was pitching my first manuscript to publishers some years ago, she discovered that Kensington was actively seeking commercial ethnic fiction with romantic elements, and my book, with its Bollywood type theme, apparently was a good fit. Fortunately for me, Kensington has been very supportive of my writing career and I love working with their editors and other staff.

You've also written numerous short stories. Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from my own ethnic background and the way I was raised in a conservative family in small-town India. Until I came to the U.S. I had taken my mundane lifestyle for granted. But later, as an adult, I discovered that my Indian culture, with its arranged marriages, spicy cuisine, caste system, quaint customs like dowry, obsessive desire for male children, and a religion that has many gods and goddesses, offers great fodder for interesting and unusual stories. In fact, I believe most every culture has something unique in terms of storylines.

How do you organise your writing time and keep your word count consistent?
Between juggling a demanding full-time career and active social life, it is difficult to make time to write, but my day begins at 4 am each morning and ends around 10:30 pm, and I try to squeeze in a couple of hours each day to write. Once a contract is signed, there are serious deadlines to meet.
As for word count, I don't make a conscious effort to limit myself to a certain number. My stories just happen to have approximately 96 K to 101K words to make them credible and complete. I am amazed at how that happens almost every time, without actually planning it.

How do you market your writing/books?
Marketing one's books is the most challenging part of being an author. Promotion takes up an inordinate amount of time, money, and effort, so it is important for me to ration these resources accordingly. Social networking is especially difficult for me, because by nature I am not a blogger, tweeter, or chat-lover. But I like the idea of a virtual tour such as this one, where I can write guest blogs, give interviews, and have my book reviewed by a select few. I do virtual tours for each of my books and some online promotion through sites that specialize in romantic and women's fiction.

Where can people find out more about you and your work?
Readers can find my books, events, contests, photos, recipes, and contact information on my website: www.shobhanbantwal.com/ or visit my facebook page: www.facebook.com/ShobhanBantwal.author. All bookstores and online booksellers carry my books.

Anything else you'd like to add?
Yes, I would like to thank you for a great interview and for posting my guest blog on your popular site. I appreciate the kind and continued support.

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Top 5 reasons why it's awesome to be a writer now

A fun look at why it's awesome to be a writer now:

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Video: Writing for a Living

Writing for a living requires finding freelance work for magazines, books and other publications, but finding a more constant job is always advised. Find ways to make a living as a writer with tips from an ivy league English professor in this free video on writing jobs.

Expert: David M. Harris
Bio: David M. Harris has taught English at Vanderbilt University and elsewhere.
Filmmaker: Dimitri LaBarge



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The Romance of Bollywood

The Romance of Bollywood
A unique brand of ethnic fiction

by Shobhan Bantwal - author of The Full Moon Bride

As a teenager growing up in a rural town in India, going to the theater to see Bollywood movies was the stuff of impatient sighs and sheer excitement. With no other source of entertainment like television, dating or dancing, my friends and I could hardly wait for the next movie to come to town.

We had a handful of tiny, musty theaters, with uncomfortable seats, and no more than one or two ceiling fans to cool off a couple of hundred sweaty bodies. The peanut vendor and the candy shop were enticements along the periphery, but we rarely had money left to indulge in such sinful treats after purchasing a single precious movie ticket. Besides, what was a handful of peanuts or a sweet lump of sugar when a great movie was about to dazzle us.

Love blossomed on the screen between two unlikely people while a host of conflicts made it impossible for them to be together. The end could be happy or sad, leaving us smiling or shedding tears. Nonetheless, the drama was pure entertainment.

Much later in life, when I took up fiction writing, I decided to recapture that magic of Bollywood. With my stories of tenacious women and strong men who live by the dictates of a conservative culture yet manage to find romance and love in their own way, I have created a unique subgenre of ethnic fiction while introducing Bollywood to a non-Indian audience.

My novels are brimming with vibrant colors, hot spices, the travails of arranged marriage, taboo love, and controversial topics like dowry, caste, and female-fetus abortion. Realizing that no other Indian author wrote Bollywood-in-a-book type tales specifically for American and European audiences, I took up the challenge of writing them myself. To some extent I have succeeded in giving my readers a taste of Indian culture peppered with drama.

They say a writer should write what she knows. To that end I have followed my early love of Bollywood movies to write what I know—that a social issue, if made into an interesting story, can not only entertain but also educate and broaden the readers' horizons.

Readers can find my books, events, contests, photos, recipes, and contact information on my website: www.shobhanbantwal.com/ or visit my facebook page: www.facebook.com/ShobhanBantwal.author
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Video: Tips for Becoming a Travel Writer

http://www.MoneyForTraveling.com to to get a free starter guide on how become a paid travel writer. Making money for traveling & getting writing jobs while you travel is easier than you may imagine!


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A visual guide to SEO

For any writers understanding how SEO works, and therefore how they can use it in their marketing efforts, is a complicated topic. This infographic will take you through the basics:


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Video: Character Development Tricks!

Although it is possible to write without the use of characters, it is not easy. Characters represent our drives, our essential human qualities. So a story without characters would be a story that did not describe or explore anything that might be considered a motivation. For most writers, such a story would not provide the opportunity to completely fulfill their own motivations for writing.


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Facebook when to post infographic

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