I’m writing this edition of The Writer Gal Letter listening to the EPIC Wine Country Soundtrack - which has all the eighties numbers I adore and listen to over and over again! And one of the reasons I love these songs is because 80s bands powered the room coms of the late 90s and early 2000s when baby Writer Gal was forming her opinions about love, life, and happy ever after.
I’m also grinning ear-to-ear because, the long-cherished news I’ve wanted to share with you, I can now!!
Aarti V Raman’s books are going to the literal actual freaking MOON! (Bonus points for anyone who got the Neil Armstrong reference from the newsletter title!)
How My Books Ended Up On A Rocket To The Moon - Origin Story
I need to do a fair bit of backstory before we get to the actual payload (space cargo is called payloads for future reference) story.
For those Postmates who have joined me recently and don’t know my full indie writer journey, I began publishing on Amazon in January 2018. I was a baby romance author back then, with not much know-how and definitely no clue on what to do with all the books I had in my head and wanted to share with you, my cherished reader friend.
Enter, one fabulous lady - Susan Kaye Quinn. Susan is a sci-fi (science fiction think Star Wars/Trek) writer with a fair bit of thrills and danger thrown in. Susan was one of those people who took baby Writer Gal under their wing and gave me some of the confidence I have today in the publishing world. But Susan and I lost touch (my bad entirely) over the next two years as I hacked and struggled with the stories, with life and carving out my place in your heart.
Then, the pandemic happened and we all know what that did to me. To all of us. I put on my big girl pants and contacted Susan again because I was lost. Uncertain. Not sure if I would ever have the courage to press publish on one of my books again.
Susan remembered me from two years ago and, very kindly, helped me out again. We talked a lot. I mostly wept. But, I kid you not, she is one of the reasons why I was able to release The Millionaire Foes’ which has turned so quickly into a reader favorite!
In the shitshow that was 2020, Susan provided a beam of courage for when I needed it the most, so I followed her pretty rabidly on Facebook. This is how I was one of the first people to stumble on the Writers on The Moon project posts.
She’d written about The Astrobotic Lunar Capsule - the Peregrine Moon Lander - going to the moon in 2021 and how cool it was that her husband was working on the project! It was such a *cool* thing to know, a real-life aeronautical engineer, that I am almost tempted to write a story on this whole thing!
Then, boom! She posted about slots being open on the capsule - tiny memory card-filled slots awarded on a lottery basis for 50 lucky indie writers who could apply for space on the Writers on The Moon Project.
I’ll be brutally vulnerable and admit that, if 2020 hadn’t happened and I’d gained the ability to take MASSIVE risks, I’d not have applied for a spot. Who am I, after all, right? Just a girl, sitting on a table in an apartment in Mumbai, writing stories.
But, I was just a girl sitting on a table in an apartment in Mumbai, writing stories beloved by her and others. By you, my dearest Postmate.
So, I applied. I sent off the form and forgot all about it! Until I got a surprise email from Susan a few days later!
Here’s the screenshot of the email.
So, yeah. #21 on the manifest - passenger list - on the Peregrine Moon Lander’s Writers on The Moon payload is ME - Aarti V Raman.
After a fair bit of fast writing, I was able to squeeze in The Millionaire Foes’ Boxset collection with the Reunion novella on the payload.
It’s why I was suspiciously quiet for the last two months because I’ve been running around like a headless chicken trying to finetune my 20MB space on the Writers on The Moon memory card, fitting in a lifetime of memories and ideas.
Keep watching this space for more on what the actual payload looks like, on where The Foes are moon-landing in 2021, who else is on the manifest, and lots more!
But for now, read on for an excerpt from A Filthy Rich Geek’s Wedding and Writer Gal Recommends?
This novella has been easy to figure out in a few ways - I am revisiting and relearning why Dev, Shiv, Kit, and Bharat are so freaking awesome. And why Zara, Naina, Lily, and Sophia love them so gosh-darn much.
But it’s also hard because…squeezing in a wedding into a novella with eight main characters (and lots of other beloved characters) is a tough task.
I hope you enjoy the end result and are able to imagine the tiny slices of happy ever after our Geeks and their ladies are on, at the moment.
Here’s a small excerpt to whet your appetite:
“You look exactly how I imagine a bride would be,” Lily commented lightly.
“Stressed?” Zara smiled wanly.
Lily’s lips twitched but she wisely did not answer. “I thought we were doing your final fitting today?”
Zara nodded. “We are. I think Mal’s late.” She made it sound as if aliens had landed on one of Sycamore Drive’s many terraces.
Malishka ‘Mal’ Vartak was one of the four co-owners of Wedding Belles, a boutique event planning firm with a singular business philosophy.
Zara hadn’t even considered having someone manage the small affair she envisioned the wedding to be.
But Mal had sent over the schedule outlining every single detail of the three days of her wedding weekend. Along with a small scrapbook that Kavya Fisher, the team’s photographer, had managed to put together entirely from scraping the freaking internet she’d been more than impressed.
She’d been floored.
“Have you seen the chef Xavier?” Lily asked in a breathy voice, totally unlike her usual practical mom voice.
“He cooked a tasting meal last week at Ma D’Sa’s insistence. She wanted final approval on the wedding cake. His buttery pav bhaji was so divine she ended up asking him for the recipe.” Zara grinned reminiscently. “I wouldn’t have believed it myself if I’d not witnessed it.”
Lily grinned back. “You’re right. I can’t believe it.” She squeezed Zara’s arm. “I’m so happy for you, honey. This weekend is going to be perfect. And you’re going to make a beautiful bride.”
“I’m glad you think so,” Zara said wryly. “I’ll remind you of all this when it’s your turn in six months.”
“Oh no!” Lily’s denial was instantaneous. “I want a justice of the peace to poof through the oaths and then we are going to have a huge party with lots of food and champagne and dancing.”
“I love that. I should have gone with that.”
“Then why didn’t you?” Lily was curious.
Zara sighed, a little louder than she wanted to. “It’s Dev’s first and only time doing this, you know. I want it to be special for him,” she confessed.
Lily smiled her Lily smile, all lips and heart. A girlfriend sighing over her friend’s good fortune smile. A sisterly smile. “That’s very thoughtful of you, Zara.”
She leaned down and kissed Zara’s cheek.
Unexpectedly, Zara felt tears well up. A year ago, Lily and she were utter strangers. Sharing a blood bond through Bret, a tangible reminder of her lost cousin, Aadi. Now, Lily was one of her closest friends, more like a sister. And she was thrilled to have her as her desi maid of honor. Aka, the woman who’d lead her to the mandap.
“I’m sorry, I’m so, sorry.” A stunningly put-together woman skidded to a stop at Zara’s suite and knocked on the open door. She balanced a garment bag on one hand each, her kohl-lined eyes telegraphing distress. “The kaatha embroidery on Mrs. Vaidehi’s blouse took me ten minutes longer than I’d scheduled for so I hit traffic coming in.”
“It’s fine, Mal. Come on in.” Zara waved the wedding planner in.
Mal Vartak wore a form-fitting sheath dress that showcased endless legs and bare arms tanned a perfect golden brown. Her mane of stick-straight hair rippled down her back in military precision and she wore five-inch heels that clacked on the suite’s hardwood floor.
Zara gave a rueful thought to her own appearance and then looked at Lily, in her cream sundress with a matching jacket and smart peep toes.
This was why she’d never joined a sorority in college. She didn’t have the inclination to look casually good at home.
“You must be Lily Fallahil. It’s lovely to meet you.” Mal shook Lily’s hand briskly. “This one’s yours.” She thrust a garment bag at Lily. “This color’s going to perfectly complement your eyes.”
“I hope so.” Lily hugged the bag nervously. “It’s my first time wearing a sari.”
“Don’t worry. Kavya’s a pro at draping saris. She’ll help you. But today you have me.” Mal smiled, feline and almost imperious in her bearing. “And I promise to not stick you with safety pins.”
Zara chuckled. “I thought you were coming with the seamstress for last-minute adjustments?”
Mal shook her head. “She messaged me that she’s stuck with another Bridezilla emergency, so she’s messengering it over. She sounded frazzled, poor thing.” Then she clapped one hand over her mouth as she realized what she’d just said.
“Another Bridezilla?” Zara smiled widely, pushing her heavy swathe of hair behind her ear.
Writer Gal Recommends
In this edition, I’m sharing a few things that have directly impacted my life and the way I think (therefore write) with you. And, of course, a banging hot release from an author friend!
Wine Country on Netflix - Watching this fabulous girl gang movie about women who have been friends with each other forever has been so cathartic and inspiring! I hope you watch it too. And let me know which song is your fave? I ADORE I Would Die 4 U by Prince!
Brene Brown - Wine Country led me to hunt down Brene Brown’s works and the epically famous Ted Talk on Vulnerability and Courage (both of which I severely lack!) I hope you watch her talk and learn to be more present and true to yourself like I am. You never know, it could take you to the actual freaking moon!
Old School Mills and Boons - Whenever I am particularly uninspired, I end up binge reading vintage Mills and Boons from the 70s, 80s and 90s. I read a LOT of them in January and February, but the ones that struck out for me were the arranged marriage of conveniences that Helen Bianchin and Sara Craven wrote so brilliantly! (Also, it’s great research for Michael and Daria’s story :P)
New Release from Gwynn Mcnamee! LOOK at this COVER, will you? And the blurb is sheer poetry, isn’t it? Plus, it’s set in Chicago so it’s a sweet shoutout to where the OG Geeks came to life for me.
Lust opened the door for me.
Now, I’ll build my empire on its back.
Because one thing I can always rely on is the weaknesses of my enemies.
Weakness of the flesh.
Of the soul.
Of the mind.
All I have to do is be the strongest…and I’ll come out on top.
Where I belong.
The city of Chicago never saw me coming.
But now that I’ve arrived, I won’t back down for anything.
Not even the man who stirs the very thing in me that I prey on in others.
I’ll bring them all to their knees, but I’ll never drop to mine.
That is it for this time, I’ll see you super soon next time, my Postmate.
Please stay safe and awesome till then!