Posted in Blogging, Published, Random Thoughts

The Forest Bed: Free ebook

It is finally here! My very own short stories collection: The Forest Bed and other short stories. After long delays for ‘technical’ reasons, my book is finally available worldwide as an ebook. What’s even better?

The ebook is free.

The Forest Bed ebook is available to readers worldwide for free on Amazon Kindle

Offer valid from June 22, 2021, 12:00 AM PDT till June 26, 2021, 11:59 PM PDT.

  1. Open your Kindle app.
  2. Type The Forest Bed in your Search bar.
  3. Select the book.
  4. Download and read.
  5. Provide an honest review.

Or depending on where you live, you can find it on Amazon. Just click the relevant link below:

Amazon.com

Amazon.in

Amazon.co.uk

Just type in the comment box if you can’t find it. I’ll provide the link.

Book in Print: If you are more of a love-the-smell-of-books person like me, you can order the printed book from Amazon or Pothi and they will deliever it at your doorstep. Just click the link of your favoured distributor.

Site name
Amazon.co.ukBlack and White Coloured
Amazon.comBlack and WhiteColoured
Pothi.comBlack and WhiteColoured

Free sample: If you are wondering why you should spend your money on the book, here is a free sample with five representative stories from the book. Please click DOWNLOAD to take a sneak peak and provide reviews that would help me raise the sale.

Spread the word!

Share the post, if you will. Please, pretty please! ๐Ÿ˜‡

Posted in Blogging

Milestone Celebration

In middle of all the confusion that encompasses my life, I missed a very important milestone: 400+ followers! Also, 14K views! Wow…there was a time when I had 3 views for one year…all my own.

Thank you, dear followers, for reminding me everyday that my blog is there for a reason: You! It is meant to show an upside down view of life, give voice to beings who often go unheard and spark a conversation. I had stopped giving political opinion last month because it hurt some very important people in my life but I still write about everything else under the sun, as long as it has the potential to stir a healthy conversation.

Sometimes, I do feel out of juice though until I see a photo, hear a story, read a word that makes my brain do somersaults until something spills out that is worth telling a story.

So, if you have a topic or a word around which you want me to weave a story, just leave it in the comments. The offer is open to anybody and anytime. You can throw the word in, in the comment box of any of my posts. I’ll pick up and see if I can weave something. It might take a few days…or weeks…months even, because my brain does its own calculation while I sleep, and churns out something almost perfect at unexpected moments, but it will surface, eventually.

So, give me inspiration, dear readers. I write for you.

Thank you again for following me. Keep posting comments whenever you feel like it, even if to just say, Hello!

I love talking to you all. You keep me alight!

Posted in Blogging

500 posts, 350 followers

Some where in the middle of my back injury and, later, neck injury and, office work, I missed a couple of very important milestones: 500 posts and 350+ WP followers. YEEEEEEEEE!

I can also boast of 12 K views and nearly 5600 visitors. Thank you!

Your love has humbled me. I wish I had ways to allow everyone to comment on my blog and not just WP followers. As I always say, Every comment matters. It shows me ways to improve. So, let me know if you don’t like something. I don’t mind an open discussion. I am ready to be converted to your ways of thinking as long as your point can buy me in.

Just let me know. Keep following, keep reading so I can continue writing for you. ๐Ÿ˜€

Posted in Blogging

Publish Posts Through WP App on Mobile

This is a basic publishing aid meant to help people create posts while using WP app on their phone. I am sure, most of you have already figured out the process, but in case you haven’t just follow these steps to publish the post.

(Note: The screenshots were taken randomly from two different sites I own over a period of three months. So, you may find some inconsistencies. Please bear with me.) ๐Ÿ˜

Your main WP App main screen will look something like below. I have covered the logo, site name and WordPress address here since the site is not ready to go live yet.

1. Click Posts (highlighted in orange).

2. Click the red + sign to add a new post.

(The tabs on the top contain the following items:

  • Published: List of your published posts in order of Chronology
  • Drafts: Drafts that you haven’t published, including anything you wrote and forgot to save before closing the application
  • Scheduled: Drafts you have scheduled to post in the future
  • Binned: Posts/Drafts you have deleted)

3. Type the Title of the post (you can change it later, if needed), and add content. If you have a block editor, which is now the default editor in WP, every time you click enter, you will get a new block.

4. To add various items to the post, like heading, quotes, images, videos, space and separators, click the highlighted + sign at the bottom of the screen. Then, select one.

5. Once you believe that post is ready to be published, click the three dots at the top right, and select Post settings.

6. Select Categories. It is not mandatory, but it helps your audience later when you have, say 30+ posts. You can simply add some major category names to your top menu and the audience can find your posts easily by clicking them. You can add/change category even years after publishing, if (God forbid ๐Ÿ˜) you feel like it.

7. Select the category.

If you are new, the page is probably blank, or does not have the required category. ๐Ÿ˜Ž To add a new category:

  1. Click the + sign at the top right.
  2. Add a category name. Keep it generic, short and easy to understand.
  3. If you wish to place them under one of your existing categories, click the down arrow next to Top level.
  4. Select the parent category from the existing list.

Once you have selected the category, click the back button at the top left.

8. Select Tags.

9. Select the tag. If you need a news one, type a new tag. You can separate two tags with a comma. Do not add space. (Feel free to disregard the advice of your editor for a change, as I have. ๐Ÿ˜Ž)

Once done, click the back button at the top left.

10. To select the publishing time:

  1. Click Publish.
  2. Click Time and Date.
  3. Either select Immediately; or select appropriate date, and click OK; then, select appropriate time, and click OK.

11. Click PUBLISH, and then, PUBLISH NOW.


Note: If at any point of time, you feel the need to stop writing and close the post, click the three dots on the top-right, and select Save. It will save your work on WP site online.

If you reopen the WP App and see Local changes message below a post, it is because you closed the application without saving it. Just open the post settings and click Save.

If you see the Version Conflict message below the draft/post, think of the last time you worked on the post.

  • If you worked via the mobile, click Remove Web Version.
  • If you worked directly on the website, click Remove Device Version.

Thank you! I am such a genius! ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Posted in Blogging

Make Some Noise!!! 300+ WP followers

I am notorious for celebrating milestones on my blog. I think it is because of my overzealous nature, but also because this blog means so much to me. So, here I am celebrating yet another milestone.

300+ WordPress followers! Thank you all!

Why it means so much? Because it means that there are people out there who would like to read my blog again. I know most of them may get busy and not return, but the thought counts. It almost feels like getting a Christmas card from a stranger…not expected but that makes it ever so much more wonderful.

And there are those other followers who come back nearly every day, a lot of them even comment and let me know if they agree, or not, or if there could be a potential for improving what I wrote–which is even more wonderful, almost like having a family online–Don, Petra, Chris, Alex, John, Lauren, Ngozi, R.E., Colin, Kim, Yvonne, Ellen, Sangeetha, Vaidehi and Pete. And then, there is Elizabeth, who is not my follower but still has been around for quite a few heart-to-heart discussions.

If your name is not here, I apologize. Trust me, I celebrate every single time someone hits the Follow button. It is just that you have been too quiet lately. You have probably been Liking my posts without leaving a Comment. And, unfortunately, my memory is shorter than that of a goldfish! So, please make a noise. Leave comments, Christmas messages, anything you want to share. I will reply.

So, thank you again for following my blog. You force me try writing better. You make me feel as if this isn’t just a whim! ๐Ÿ˜€

Also, if you wish to share a guest post on my site, please feel free to mail me at shailygrwl@gmail.com. I will reply within a week’s time.

Thanks a ton!

Love you all!

Wish you all a Merry Christmas and a wonderful COVID-19-free New Year!

-Shaily

Posted in Blogging

Wooohoooo! 400 Post, 290 Followers

Thank you, WordPress! Thank you, Facebook! Thank you, Twitter!

After one year and three months of the rebirth of my blog, I can finally boast of worthy achievements. I am 400-Posts old. Most of them stories, in one way or other–love, hate, memories, nature, politics…things I stand up for.

And I can boast of 290 followers.

Well, in all honesty, I have 1 follower on Twitter (Thank you, Pete!), 38 on Facebook–family and friends who love me enough to support me even if I have an empty page, but still… And 246 on WordPress! Wow! I never thought so many people will deem me worthy. So, thank you! I hope I am living up to your expectations.

It have been trying to deliver a post a day. It is a difficult target considering I am considerably new at story writing and have a child who hasn’t started school yet. But I have crossed the one year mark and am still delivering, which means a lot to me. And you, my friend, are reading! Which means a lot more! Thank you for embarking on this quest with me.

I would like to remind you that I love sharing guest post. So, if you have something that you want to be read by my audience, please share with me and I will be happy to share. Please look at the guidelines to learn more.

Thank you! Looking forward to see your posts!

Cheers! ๐Ÿง ๐Ÿจ ๐Ÿฆย 

Posted in Blogging

Writing Tip: How does that line sound?

As Instructional Designers, we design instructions. We create courses about how to do certain things, may be run a software, mobile phone, or a crane… To ensure that learners remember the said instructions, we make them easy, and at the same time, interesting and strong, and professional. Formatting words correctly plays an important role in the process.ย 

Have you ever wondered why a certain line you wrote sounds different than you intend? Somehow it sounds, sharper and angrier? Why the person you sent an email to never saw the link you shared? Or why they are suddenly avoiding talking to you?

Have you been using CAPITAL letters a lot? Or may be boldfaced it with an underline?

Read through the lines below to see the effect of each formatting.

You may leave now and need not come back. (Statement of fact?)

You may leave now and need not come back. (Order?)

You may leave now and need not come back. (Order?)

You may leave now and need not come back. (Angry order?)

YOU MAY LEAVE NOW AND NEED NOT COME BACK. (Shouting?)

The same sentence sounds different in our mind when formatted differently. While you may be using different formatting to bring certain actions to people’s notice, they may read it as an angry order or shouting. When not meeting a person face to face, people find it difficult to interpret their mood. Make it easier for your audience to understand, by following the formatting rules.

  • Use boldface only to highlight certain words not the entire line.
  • Use underline to show it is a link.
  • Avoid boldface and underline at the same time.
  • Use ALL CAPITAL letters where you want to sound like shouting. (I’d prefer it to be happy shouting, like YEEEEEE! But I leave it up to you.)
  • To bring certain actions to notice, just add a boldface ‘Note’. e.g. “Note: Get this done on priority.”

Please note that ALL CAPITAL is considered both unprofessional and difficult to read. I avoid it all the time, only resorting to it when the shouting out loud emotion cannot be captured otherwise. Even then, I use it only for certain words for emphasis.

I hope it helps. Let me know if you disagree through comments.

Posted in Blogging

3000 visitors, 6800 views

I am notorious for celebrating every milestone. And here I am bragging again.

My site has crossed the 3000 visitors milestone and nearly 6800 views. It has also earned 226 followers, all within 1.2 years. For someone who never created stories, it is a big deal. For the past year, every day, I create one story for my daughter, and every couple of days, one for my blog (her stories are simpler and don’t need a logic). It is a huge achievement for someone who was told that her writing is too simplistic.

It’s because I am a simple person. I don’t like to complicate language unnecessarily. That is my day-to-day business as an Instructional Designer, who creates training curriculum for business employees, and simplifies business language in the process so that employees can learn it easily.

It is who I am and something I’ve done since school times. My teachers would often complain that I talked too much in class–if my neighbour had a difficulty understanding what the teacher taught, I’d simplify it for them, interrupting the class in the process.

I remember when one of my schoolmate asked me for notes during exams. I handed her a single page–that was all I could wring out of the subject after an year at school. It made the day before exam easy. I’d just carry that page to school, give it thorough reading and dump it in the trash bin before entering the exam hall.

During my Bachelors in Arts (BA), I’d spend time after college simplifying Bachelor’s level English stories for my classmates.

During my Bachelor’s in Law (LL.B.), my exam sheet was always half empty. I had very little to say. I always got top marks though, which left my classmates intrigued. Alas, they asked for notes.

During Masters in Business (M.B.A.), I’d sit during lunch time to simplify lessons for my friends, giving them quick pointers to build their answers on. They loved my notes. A lot of them wondered why the books didn’t make the same senseโ€ฆthey did, just in a lot more words with business jargons.

So, here I am writing simple stories. Thank you all for reading them and reminding me that ‘simple is also a style’. You’ve made me a very happy person.


Author’s note: If you are wondering why I have so many degrees, that is a story for another day.

Posted in Blogging

Invitation for Guest Posts

This is an invitation to all blog writers. If you love to write, or live to write, or write to live, or write for a living, please be my guest. If you’d like to publish a post on my site, please send it to me on my email ID: shailygrwl@gmail.com

Working alone can get lonely sometimes. Be my partner in crime.

Some facts about my site:

Fish in the Trees complete one year this June. It gets around 550 views per month and has 220+ followers as of now. I post around 3-4 short stories, poetry and random thoughts per week.

To publish your post on my blog, please note that the post should be:

  • In English or Hindi, since these are the only languages I understand. If in another language, please add translation in Hindi or English.
  • In 1000 words or less, and/or one picture.

Rules:

  • The piece must be something you wrote.
  • It could be fresh or already published on your site or another.
  • I will not edit it except if there is a grammatical issue.
  • Do not share a graphic post. Using obscene/violent language or theme is a strict “No”.
  • You hold the copyright.

Modus Operandi:

  • Do not send a link to the post (if already published)
  • Write/Paste it on the email and send it to shailygrwl@gmail.com
  • Attach pics separately. Do not send more than 1 image.
  • Send the link to your website.

Since I am a working mother, I may take around a week to respond. I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.

So, put on your writing cap. See you around, Partner.

Posted in Blogging

Woohoooo! 200 followers!

I just found out that I have 200 WP followers and it means the world to me. These people aren’t my family. But they ready stories and liked them enough to give me a second chance! Thank you, All of you, for that!

My stories have a comment section. If you feel that the story could have been better, let me know that. This blog is my Sandbox. I am open to suggestions as I play with words.

Thank you, once again. Here are some sweets for dessert! ๐Ÿง๐Ÿจ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿฉ๐Ÿซ๐Ÿฌ๐Ÿญ๐Ÿฎ

Posted in Blogging, Life and After, Love, My life, Nature, Twisted Tales

1st Re-birthday Celebration

Stats: 1 year, 300+ Posts, 5600+ Views, 186 Followers

WOOHOOOOOO!!!

Fish in the Trees is my alter ego. It stands for my unique position as a true Gemini. (Ever saw that horoscope picture with two people looking in different directions? That’s me.) I have always been looking in two directions or more–trying to see both sides of the coin, skewing my perspective like a fish-eye lens. I have a traditional small-town upbringing, but am plagued with question-itis (the habit of asking pain-in-the-ass questions) and conform-o-phobia (the fear of conforming with status quo). My blog follows suit.

It makes both of us forever misfits, like a shellfish in the trees.

Fish in the trees only had five posts till mid-last year, all of which I deleted. On the night of 15th June last year, I decided to rebirth this site and moved in stuff from my earlier site Fly on the Wall (that no one read). Since then, I have written every week, twice a week, daily… Yup! I’m that crazy!

Now after one year, here are 10 posts that I am proud of…okay 18…It is rather difficult to pick your favourite child, and I have over 300.

Enjoy!

Posted in Blogging

Free Pictures for Your Site

It has been around eleven months since I started this blog. At 290 posts, it is a little less than a post a day. Most of these posts are accompanied with amazing free pictures from Unsplash.com.

What I never tell is that nearly half the times, the stories are photo-prompt.

A lot of times when I am struggling for an idea, I go and check the website, save some pictures with photographer credits. And let the idea stew…After, say a few seconds or may be a couple of months, I reopen the photo and bingo! I have a new story!

So, I wanted to thank Unsplash for the awe-inspiring and story-inspiring images. I would encourage all of you to use this website to make your site look even more amazing.

  • No payment is required.
  • Crediting the photographer is not required, but still I’d do that to encourage photographers.
  • You can download low resolution pictures from the download option to save site space.

Please note that I get no money from the site to advertise for them. But I can never thank them enough.

Posted in Blogging

Hold Your Horses

‘Hold your horses’ is an old phrase to remind people to be careful with their words or else…

It is far more relevant in today’s world of internet publishing aka blogging.

Ever since I’ve started blogging, I’ve come across a lot of posts. Most of the wonderful stories. But some of them were just stupid concoction of information collected from random sources, thrown together in a mishmash, sprinkled with very strong words bordering on being rude.

One such post that compared Nicola Tesla and Albert Einstein called Einstein an average-minded man who seemingly stole the glory from the genius Nicola. There were no references to theories, no scientific comparisons–just flat disrespect. The writer must have been below 30 years since he seemed to lack the insight into the world in which these scientists operated–a world without internet where scientists work in closed labs and information travelled slowly through either telegrams or scientific journals.

Had Einstein’s existing family found about the post, and had they considered the writer worth it, he would now be facing a suit for libel. A screenshot of the post would serve as evidence.

Yes, unlike your personal diary, group chat or local gossip, your blog is a published piece of information. It can be used as an evidence against you.

Hence, be careful when you name anyone in a derogatory blog, whether Albert Einstein or your ex-husband. Make sure that you have strong evidence. Or you can add a disclaimer that you are a Blogging Jackass.

Else, be ready to pay the price. I promise it wouldn’t be cheap.


About the Author: Shaily Agrawal is an Instructional Designer with double Bachelor’s in Law, and Psychology and Drawing, and Masters in Business.

Posted in Blogging

Invitation for Guest Posts

This is an invitation to all blog writers. If you love to write, or live to write, or write to live, or write for a living, please be my guest.

Working alone can get lonely sometimes.

I love company. Be my partner in crime.

My offer: My site gets 500+ views per month and a variety of readership from around 40+ countries, majorly from India, Australia, UK, Ireland, USA, Spain, Nigeria, Malta and Pakistan. The story with a link to your site is a chance to woo my 150+ followers to check and follow your site. 

Challenge: Write an engaging post:

  • In English.
  • In around 100 words (10 lines) and/or one picture.
  • In one of the following genres: Poetry; Story; Memoir; Random thought.

Rules:

  • The final verdict on whether the post will be published on my site lies with me. I am not very picky but I share only what I enjoy.
  • The piece must be something you wrote.
  • It could be fresh or already published on your site or another.
  • I will not edit it.
  • Do not share a graphic post. Using obscene language or theme is a strict “No”.

Modus Operandi:

  • Do not send a link to the post.
  • Write/Paste it on the email and send it to shailygrwl@gmail.com
  • Attach pics separately. Do not send more than 1 image.
  • Send the link to your website, if you wish.

Since I am a working mother, I may take around a week to respond. I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.

So, put on your writing cap. See you around, Partner.

Posted in Blogging

Free images on Unsplash

I wanted to thank the team of Unsplash.com for the free images I have been using recently. They have turned the look of my posts around and I am forever grateful.

For all bloggers out there, please check out the site. It is free, effective and easy to use. Crediting is also not mandatory but helps show your appreciation for the wonderful photo artists out there.


Disclaimer: I am not getting anything for promoting this website except satisfaction.


Photo made available freely @unsplash by Fuu J