Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Book Review: The Chic Author by Fiona Ferris

‘Cinnamon Reads - warm books to curl up with’: The Chic Author by Fiona Ferris

Create your dream career and lifestyle, writing and self-publishing non-fiction books

Cinnamon Reads is our bookish series, where I review books that I've enjoyed and would recommend curling up with, and interview self-published authorpreneurs.

Here is a book that’s been like salve to my authorepreneur’s soul. The kind of book that I often flip through to assure myself that even though the hike up this hill is steep, it is worth every minute and every bit of hard work. 

A book on indie author lifestyle and self publishing ebooks
The Chic Author by Fiona Ferris

For the past few weeks I’ve been immersed in the self-publishing world. My second Kindle book, “Queen Of The At-Home Lifestyle: A gal’s guide to working-from-home, homemaking and homeschooling” is just out on the virtual shelves of Amazon; but before it could be officially released, there were lots of itty-bitty things to look into. As an authorpreneur, you’re in-charge of end-to-end production of your book. From ideating and researching to the actual writing and re-writing to getting the cover designed and the book formatted, there’s tonnes to do before you birth your book and send it out to the world and in the hands of readers. And then, there’s all the posting and sharing to create a bit of buzz around the book.

A lot of this work is satisfying; while some of it is a tad exhausting. But every time I’d been coming up for air, I would grab my Kindle and flip open “The Chic Author” for the prose, gentle advise and the firm reassurance that being a self-published non-fiction author is definitely a “dream career and lifestyle” to eke out and aspire to. 

The 21 chapters and the bonus one with 100 tips at the end have a lilting quality to them, taking the aspiring or new indie author by the hand and guiding them through the many phases of an authropreneur lifestyle. From Fiona’s own story of how she became a successful indie author to how to make time for writing your book to structuring a book, this book is packed with lots of goodness. 

The chapters where Fiona writes about how to visualise yourself as a successful author, self-edit a book and get a cover designed are some of my favourite ones. Though I’m not entirely brand new to self-publishing, with two books out on Amazon, I still enjoyed her tips on structuring one’s writing, writing fast (no writer can have enough of these tips), developing a flow and getting past your fears. Every nugget that she has shared in The Chic Author is precious and it is so heartening to follow her author journey. 

When I finished this book, it gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling, like a hand-knitted blanket around my shoulders. I carry Fiona’s reassurances and advice with me, as I begin work on my next non-fiction book, and visualise what my successful authorpreneur journey will look like, as I write and publish one book after another.

Call to action: If you’re an aspiring author or a newbie writer, and have been wondering how to take the plunge into creating a writing career, check out The Chic Author by Fiona Ferris. 

If you’re wondering how to craft a work-from-home career while homeschooling the kids and tending to the home & hearth, take a peek at my brand new Kindle book “Queen Of The at-Home Lifestyle”.

My new Amazon bestselling Kindle book
My new Kindle book

Note: If you’re an author and would like your book reviewed on my blog and Instagram, please write to me at

#indipublishing #selfpublished #selfpublishebooks #fionaferris 

Friday, July 3, 2020

The Brigade that Builds Brands: Fashion designer & Navy wife Tanvee Chaudhary on creating a self-employed & self-taught career on the move

Hello Friends! I'm so excited to share that my new Kindle book "Queen Of The At-Home Lifestyle - A gal's guide to working-from-home, homemaking and homeschooling"" is AVAILABLE on Amazon for all of you who're craving for a slice of purposeful home life!!! And the icing on the cake: it made it to the Amazon Best Seller List :)! Packed with tips on setting up a self-employed, work-from-home career and using homemaking rituals to boost your work-life balance, and also adding homeschooling to the mix - this book's for you if you're looking to carve out a happy, purposeful work + stay-at-home lifestyle, during the pandemic and beyond. Download your copy here (and let me know how you liked it).

Keeping with the rhythm of the book, in the Brigade that Builds Brands series, I'd like to introduce you to Tanvee Chaudhary, a sassy, work-from-home, military spouse Solopreneur. This young Navy wife has set up her own fashion label from home, and works her sewing/designing magic as she moves from one base to another. Yes, agreed that most of the time the Indian Navy has better posting places than our Air Force and Army ones, but this gal has the zeal to make her work work wherever she is on the map (hint hint: let's lose the emphasis on our geographical location and focus on what we can do, from wherever we are ;-)).

Fashion designer and Navy wife Tanvee Chaudhary
Tanvee Chaudhary in a Little Black Dress she has designed

What I Super Like about Tanvee Chaudhary and her Label Tanvee is her passion for her craft (she designs, sews, markets, ships out orders, models her dresses & connects with customers ALL on her own), her earthy designs executed on Indian handloom fabric, and her determination to carve out her own niche with joy. And of course, not to forget, her solo brand is just what earth-friendly, Slow Fashion is all about.

Let's dive into this interview and be ready to be inspired! And hey, check out the SPECIAL DISCOUNT that Tanvee is offering the first 3 readers of this story (offer at the end of the interview).

CB. Please tell us something about yourself – what do you do, where are you based and how long have you been a fauji/military wife.
TC. Hello, I am Tanvee Chaudhary. I am an engineer and marketer by education. However, my heart lies in designing and fashion. So, I founded LabelTanvee, a clothing brand where you can find eclectic mix of handmade clothing with a pinch of tadka. 
Since the last three years I have been married to a Naval Officer and we are currently based out of Goa. Yay!!

Monday, June 29, 2020

5 Ways to Savour this Lockdown Summer - What’s your favourite way + My new book cover

Summer is not the easiest of seasons for me to bear. The days are thick with heat and humidity, as thick as molten cheese and  often it feels futile to move or cook or do all the things that bring me joy.

If I could have my way, I’d build a small castle in a turquoise pool and spend my days like a mermaid soaking in the cool water. But with the lockdown and Coronavirus whirling around the world, I (and all of you) have had to find smart ways to cool down, stay grateful and savour this scorching season. 

My ebook "Queen Of The At-Home Lifestyle" and watermelon
Cool Treats :)

With oodles of determination ;-), I’ve come up with simple and small ways to bring my mojo back. 

  1. Start the day with a small pinch of slow and a dollop of gratitude. I try to wake up early, when the sun is still saffron and languidly rolling up the sky, still an inch away from its fiery sunniness. After I get ready, I sit down on a fat cushion for a few minutes of meditation and gratitude prayer. I play some meditation music and use this time to centre myself and start the day with a positive intention.
  2. Load up some good books on my Kindle. Now that we’re corralled in a single room with the air conditioner and trees around cutting out the heat (where we live, the temperatures are touching 50 degrees Celsius!), I love having a stack of books on my Kindle. A simple comfort that I can fall back on (literally), when I want to catch my breath and sink into a story. (I’ve been indulging in tonnes of wholesome Amish fiction by Amy Clipston and Tricia Goyer.)
  3. Create art with my son. As the summer started notching up its heat factor, we decided that sticking to the same old’ homeschooling routine was going to be tedious. So now we begin with a small bang - an art project to kindle joy and add colour to the otherwise fiery yellow day. (If you’d like to know more about these projects, do stay tuned for our arty homeschooling posts soon).

Friday, June 26, 2020

The Brigade that Builds Brands: Anita Kolhatkar, an Air Force wife & Yoga Therapist + Teacher, on creating online and in-person Yoga classes on the move

Hello friends! Today, we have Yoga teacher and therapist, and Air Force wife Anita Kolhatkar with us at The Brigade that Builds Brands. She teaches yoga through in-person classes at every military base she is posted to and also offers online classes through 'Yoga With Anita'. Having been one of Anita's students/patients last year, when my back gave out and I was struggling with a few other health issues, I know firsthand about the positive impact of her healing workouts.

Announcement: Anita has a special offer for the readers of this story. Check out the 'yogalicious' offer at the end of the interview :).

Anita Kolhatkar doing different Yoga postures
Anita Kolhatkar doing what she does best: YOGA :)

CB. Please tell us something about yourself – what do you do, where are you based and how long have you been a fauji/military wife.

AK. My name is Anita Bhide Kolhatkar,  and I am a certified Yoga therapist and Yoga instructor. I have been a military wife for 14 years now.  

CB. What has been your business or creative journey been like: how & when did you start your venture?
AK. I was always very interested in Yoga and had been teaching it before marriage also. But after marriage, due to the various places we got posted to, my chances to teach and expand my horizons in this field were limited. I would start teaching, would get a group of people who were regulars for my classes, and all would change as soon as the posting signal came. So there was not much continuity in my classes or yoga therapy that I was imparting to those learning from me. The feedback from them was encouraging, but not being able to take classes at a steady location meant I had to again start from scratch at each new place to build up a good tempo. 
Finally with the increased internet bandwidth available at even remote locations, I started thinking about conducting classes online. There are various means to do so: Whatsapp calls, Skype, Zoom and other apps permitting video calling on phone or laptop. So I got into teaching online as well as offline. I’ve also taught yoga to cadets at the National Defence Academy, when we were posted there for a tenure.
However, the challenge with online teaching is that each person learning has their own free time and hence preferred slots to be online. Initially, when I launched my online classes, some of the sessions took more time than I intended, leaving me with very little spare time for normal chores.  
But with experience I've now got the knack of seeing what is possible and convincing most about the time slots to adhere to. I work almost 5-6 hrs a day, morning and evening, with short breaks in between to manage kids, meals and other chores.  
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