Read* My Book!

*buy – please and thank you!Ok so this is a bit of a long one but please try and read the WHOLE post for the FULL experience!

For those of you who don’t know (all 1.5 of you because I am not sure there is anyone left whom I have not bored to death with this story) I spent a large portion of 2012 – 2015 finishing a novel that I started when I was 19; naturally the plot has changed significantly since I first began writing it but for all intents and purposes that is when I got the idea.

On a whim, I decided to live publish each chapter -as I finished writing it- on my blog and lo and behold the story I wrote from the comfort of my bed began to resonate with hundreds dozens of people on blogsphere. It was a different level of high and inflated my ego quite a bit.

I tried to publish traditionally but that idea deflated soon due to the realisation that the publishing industry in England is a) overcrowded and b) white.

Then I had to deal with publishing houses only really wanting to rep. YouTubers because let’s face it, selling is a number’s game and the bigger your social media following the more sales you make.

Anyway, I decided to self publish in 2016, then I promptly took the book down because I couldn’t market it to save my life. And I was living in constant fear that someone I know would read it; coz it’s a love story written by the most cynical human on the planet.

Here we are in 2020 where I haze zero f**cks left to give and I am therefore taking another shot at self publishing. I’m planting the seed and walking away. If it grows it grows, Alhamdulilah, but if it doesn’t, hey-ho, it’s out of my system.

Sinan and Leyla is a contemporary love story of a Muslim couple who are being set up by their families for the purposes of matrimony. What ensues is a series of unfortuate events that will hopefully make you laugh, cry and root for Sinan and Leyla as they try and make sense of this wonderful phenomenon also known as; arranged marriage.

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I strongly urge you to get the ebook instead of the paperback because the paperback is a) more expensive (amazon sets the price not me) and b) LARGE.

I don’t know what wally on fiverr convinced me to do a 6×9 cover but I am living to regret that choice and amazon won’t let me alter the dimensions post publication. Oh the bleeding joy of self-publishing. Fiverr is otherwise a wonderful platform for all your self-publishing needs.

Finally, the joy of the ebook is that I am still -to this day- updating it as and when necessary. I.e. if someone clocks some errors (despite me hiring TWO professional editors!) in the book, I can quickly edit the changes, update the manuscript and reupload it again. This is ultimately a much more difficult / time consuming task with a paperback.

I would hate for people to buy an expensive paperback that has errors in it which we don’t currently think it does; thank God! Will take it down if any crop up though.All you need to access the book on kindle is an amazon account and the kindle app; no actual kindle required.

Now depending on your location; you might not be able to get the book anyway either due to amazon or ebooks not being a thing where you are? I know readers from Pakistan are currently struggling to access it. I think someone informed me Saudi was struggling. But then someone in Egypt managed? Qatar is okay I think? Obviously Canada, USA, UK and Belgium etc are jammin’ so that’s something.

Anyway. If you manage to access it, then happy reading!If you like it, PLEASE drop me a review on amazon.

This is boring and mundane to you but it makes all the difference to me. And tell people because frankly I am shit at marketing and need ya’ll to do it for me. Please and thank you!!!

If you hate the book please feel free to stop reading; I want it to be a fun not painful experience for you!

Here are some disclaimers though, that I feel are in order in light of a recent feedback DM I received. This person was kind enough not to post their (kinda harsh) review publicly but their words made me want to clarify some things so here goes;

  • The book (both ebook and print version) is not devoid of fault due to being SELF-published. I did most of the work on the book on my own and PAID people out of my own pocket to do the rest i.e. layout, covers, editing etc. I tell you this to reassure you that I tried my level best to make it an aesthetically pleasing / easy layout to follow.
  • That being said, it will never look nor be of the same standard as a traditionally published book that is being backed by an entire powerhouse of professionals. So please be mindful of this when you clock a minor spelling error; I promise it won’t hinder your reading experience. I have combed through the book many times and my eyes genuinely don’t see the errors anymore they just see perfection, jooooke. So please point out errors to me nicely and I will fix them pronto! Your feedback means THE WORLD.
  • This book was written with the intention of being a LIGHT-hearted read. Please read it in the spirit in which it was written. I did not write it to change anyone’s life so please know it is a relaxed rom-com meant for enjoyment. It is not and will never be an exclusive manual of how ALL the South Asians / Arabs in the world conduct themselves and go about marriage.
  • YOUR current climate and MY current climate are two completely different worlds. I can’t help it if you think the book doesn’t represent your climate… I don’t know what arranged marriage in your neck of the woods is saying. I simply wrote about what I knew.
  • I wanted to write about flawed characters to inject an element of relatability into my story. I wanted people to root for the underdogs and celebrate the unsung heroes. Hence why many of my characters worked in the creative industries. But, I also wanted to be frank and real about how shady and corrupt the institution of arranged marriage can be in some cultures.
  • I definitely did not want to write a book about a perfect hero. Sinan is like marmite guys, you will either love him or hate him, but no one can tell me that they have never met a Sinan in the South Asian / Arab community…
  • Finally, if the dialogue is “cringe” then it’s because I do love a bit of cheese innit. That one I will take on board and hold my hands up to lol. However, I invite people to think of the first time they fell in love. Nothing is dignified in dialogue after that, we do nicknames, terms of endearment we flirt, we go to town on the sweet talk… cut me some slack.

That will be all. Thank you if you made it thus far. Thank you for the support. You the real OGs.Peace x

2019 in a nutshell ♡

In 2019;

• I laughed a lot. I can’t quite remember at what because my brain retains sad memories for longer than happy ones; please God let that change this year! But I am sure there was some laughter.

• I was shocked at how quickly human relationships can break. They take a lifetime to build and collapse in a matter of seconds. I had to hold my own hand and walk myself out of the arms of people I once called home. And it hurt – still does.

• I made some good friends on here. Friendships are hard for me. I am not an easy person to be friends with; I moan a lot and I never wanna do anything besides eating and talking. But anyway, if we banter and I throw voice notes at you first thing in the morning; you da man, thanks for putting up with me and I love you. You are truly blessed to start the day with my voice. Or you know, maybe God is punishing you for something you did in the past which frankly is your beef not mine. Take it up with God.

• I struggled with getting closure and learnt that when you check an email account that you never use and discover an unread message from 2017 that you open for the first time in 2019; sometimes it’s best to just forget it was written. Even though all you want to do is message the person back and say; I didn’t ignore you two years ago, I just never got the message; it’s sometimes best to let sleeping dogs lie as the saying goes. And for the rest of you, let this be a lesson; the best place to reach me is not my gmail account, I never use it! Give me strength!!! Close your eyes Tam and breathe!! 🤦🏽‍♀️

• I ate and ate and ate. A lot. It was bad. But it was also so bloody good. Alhamdulilah. I’m a big girl and that just means there’s more of me to love innit. It is what it is and what it is is french toast lads.

•In the name of kindness, I wrote letters to strangers and left them little treats because life can suck ass sometimes and everyone needs a little pick me up now and then. Though please understand the treat bit varies on what my bank account is saying and its not always monetary because I am not Oprah Winfrey.

• I rescued these babies and their mum off of the streets;

… and 15 weeks later they were adopted into loving homes!! If you notice the markings on the little white kitten’s head you will see that it’s this little guy;

p.s. that is not my house, in case anyone was feeling stalky today.

• I read quotes that resonated with me, hard.

• Emotional, I showed them to my mum but the sentiment didn’t land and she said the protaganist who said them was a gobby cow who was blasphemous to be beefin’ God 🤦🏽‍♀️

• I went to some read: exactly ONE incredible shows; The Mousetrap! Eeks!

• God got me through some crappy times this year though I did not always deserve his mercy. Alhamdulilah. I also believe he put this Queen in my life for company and to get me through some tough ass times herself. And she does coz she’s my absolute day one…

Happy New Year ya’ll. It’s been real x

Good news + Bad news = God help us all.

-Aight folks, Ima keep it real wichoo. I’m currently on some kind of self destructive slide that’s heading to doomsville at full speed and I cannot locate the brakes. So if this post comes across as dark – my bad. But its the end of the year and I am full on burning out. If I mean anything to you at all, throw a duaa my way coz your girl is desperate.

-A lot of people I am coming across recently are asking to be twatted – I am in the mood for nobody right now. Does anyone ever feel like this? It’s the heaviest damn feeling, ugh.

-The glorious elections have ended and the prejudiced gits aka Conservatives have won by an overwhelming majority which means that Britain now is a frightening place to live if you are any shade darker than beige. Pray for your fellow immigrant innit. There’s been many racial incidents of girls being attacked, hijabs being used to strangle their owners and all sorts of crap happening pre election results. I dread to think what’s in store for us now that the vote is out. I truly do.

Kher.

-I don’t know about calling them resolutions per se; but I have a few desires for this new year, assuming I am still around to see it. Life’s short and who knows if I will make it to the other side?

• This is the year to not bother with people for me. I have bothered with people for far too long and it has drained me big time. Ergo, this is going to be the year of; if you want to be a part of my life; welcome aboard and if you don’t; sod off inneh. I ain’t chasing no mofos this year. I physically cannot cope with the bakwas anymore.

• I lowkey want to (at least try to) send minimal voice notes this year. If you have my number; you will know I am a voice note junkie. It’s borderline an addiction. Ironically, I hate the sound of my own voice. Fun fact; I sould like a man 👌🏽 if you know, you know.

*crowd cheers at prospect of less voice notes*

• Every year I say this and this year is no different; I will find the thing that will make my parents proud of me; job, husband, kids, money kuch bhi, I will find it, I will do it, I will be it inshallah. Because life’s too short not to try and make your parents happy. And no one is harder to figure out than a Desi / Arab parent so… it doesn’t help that I have no idea what will make them proud. Efforts are nevertheless still in progress to make them happy.

-My books is inshallah well on the way, the interior is being formatted as we speak. Well, actually it isn’t; I’m waiting for the girl from fiverr to get back to me but it’s night time in India now. Smh. It got edited tho and despite saying they will only edit grammar and spelling I was surprised to recieve the following from my editor;

– I truly cannot deal you guys. I know the book is good, ygm? That’s why I cannot give up on it. But hearing others say it is so, so nice and heart warming!!! I am counting on ya’ll to buy and review it when it does come out inshallah! Do me proud, gang. I will make it free at some point so ya’ll can get it for free. Don’t worry cheapos desi’s; I got your back 👊🏽 I want reviews more than the buys inneh.

– Funfact, I too sometimes see it as a movie too. Netflix are you listening? I wanna cast chaiwala for the role of the hero. Jk, jk, jk 🤣✌🏽

– Speaking of chai. I want French Toast… random? My bad. I do though… mmm French Toast…

A bit of ego strokage never hurt anyone

So it’s been a minute since I last wrote. I have literally been doing nothing beyond work, eat and sleep and really what way is that to live…

Soon inshallah, I shall be celebrating 32 years on this earth which is kind of deep actually, I have always thought I would die before 30 – Idk why? I do lads, its coz I’m morbid as hell innit.

Kher.

I figured I would compile a list of 10 things I have achieved in my 32 years to cheer myself up about being old enough to be everybody’s aunty now. Yes, its an egotistical excercise but a healthy one as well. I We can be so self deprocating sometimes that things like this are necessary.

Here goes nothing something;

1. I bought a house. Mashallah me.

2. I became the first desi-arab in my circle to move out without getting married. Yep. I am now your Queen people. Jk, don’t get trigerred.

3. I got over my fear of cats and have been raising this Queen for almost 3 years mashallah. I took her from living on the street essentially and like to think gave her a better life. No shame man; she’s my best friend – easy. Don’t buri nazar my billi please. Say mashallah. Here she is on the prayer mat, praying for me to leave her alone a long life for me.

4. I have kept the same job without getting sacked for coming up to a decade mashallah 🤣

5. I wrote a friggin book that, sod it, I will be SELF publishing (again) soon because the traditional publishing industry in England is a) overcrowded and b) extremely prejudiced. For shame, England. For SHAME.

6. I am slowly but surely pushing myself to do more photography because I am good at it. It’s hard but you gotta do whatcha gotta do…

7. I got back into writing letters! And it is EPIC.

8. I’m doing a lot in the name of kindness. *Be kind* has been my mantra since leaving high school where frankly, no one was kind, but I’m being proactive about it now.

9. I have made a BUNCH of friends online and you people know more about me than actual people in my life. I’ve formed many meaningful relationships on this platform in particular and whilst its true that we will probably never meet because then you will discover how utterly uncool I am offline, you guys have impacted my life in a positive manner and honestly, I hope I have too. Some of ya’ll were wastemans too who I regret allowing in my DMs but minor 🤣 you live and learn ✌🏽

10. I have finally learnt to stop texting people who never bother texting me 1st. Because honestly, life is too short to chase after people who don’t prioritise you as much as you do them.

The countdown to 32 begins and I shall do my level best to make it a good one. Because 31 wasn’t all that.

Peace ✌🏽

Homies!

Warrup ya’ll. Long time no speak inneh. How’s everybody doing? She asked and no one answered.

-I feel like 2020 is gonna be the one. Mostly because Ima work my ass off to make it so.

-Admittedly, I start most new years super pumped to try new things and honestly the excitement usually fizzles out by February by which time nuff people have pissed me off. Lol!

-Ergo, the aim this year is to try and maintain the happy vibes until at least half way through the year before burning out!

-I want to revive blog. Blog is my baby. Well, actually if we’re gonna go down this route then my cat is my baby but anyway…

-The irony behind wanting to revive blog comes from my mother, who recently turned to me and said; hey, you like writing why have you never started blogging? Little does she know, I have had a blog for six years!

-As ya’ll know, my book got rejected by nuff literary agents in the past 3 to 4 years. Because the publishing industry in England is over crowded and (let’s not beat around the bush) very white. No room for the brown girl with her brown book. The rejections were minor until they weren’t. The last one came from an agency who’s ethos is to back ethnic minority, female, over 30, LGBT writers who are often overlooked and underrepresented in the publishing industry. Now this one stung because if even they said no; who the hell’s gonna say yes? They said they liked the book but couldn’t take a risk on it as I have previously published it.

-This rattled my cage a lot. I was very forward that the book has been pre published but taken down given that I lacked the skill to market it. Still, knowing this fully well, they took 6 months to tell me no, citing the very reason they knew from day one. That didn’t sit well with me at all.

-I guess that made me think fuck sod it; I’ll self publish it again. What’s the worst that can happen? So 3 people read it. Big whoop. That’s 3 people’s lives majorly enriched because of something I wrote. Jk jk jk 😂

-But if you see it when I do publish it -I’m looking at a Christmas time or January 2020 release – please support it in anyway you can.

-I’m currently looking for graphic designers to design the front cover. I have several contenders so far but I am looking for more takers before making my final decision. So if you are interested; holla. My insta is @leetamo – dm me, we’ll talk.

-I am also debating whether to have a physical book and e-book. Or just an e-book. I am more drawn to just e-book as it seems… Idk, risky to print something that hasn’t been edited professionally. Anyway share your thoughts with me.

-And on that note; off I go to the cinema to watch Last Christmas.

Peace ✌🏽

tam x

Liebster Award Nom

Big up Zoya for the nom – love ya, Zazu x

Although, you also nominated the 3 of the people I would have nominated so ergo, I have no one to nominate now. I literally know no one on here and I have 700 followers. Go figure.

Nevertheless… thought I’d answer these questions. Coz haven’t blogged in time and its Saturday night and I am doing naff all #catlady.

  1. One skill you wish you could learn/master? driving, i drive, but appallingly, i’m scared of going anywhere with roundabouts and i live somewhere FULL of roundabouts…oh and maths.
  2. Favourite book? this one is real hard; p.s. i love you? don’t be sad – would be a toss between those two…
  3. The most unusual item you own…? Ooh, i like this one, i’m boring as hell though so not sure i have an answer for it…
  4. What is your ultimate aim in life? if only i knew ya’ll, to publish my stupid book, to find peace of mind, to please my mother who is honestly so hard to please, don’t tell her i said that.
  5. Favourite TV show right now and why? Nothing currently on air, The Mindy Project reruns… and for some reason Two Pints reruns which makes me feel like the biggest chav.
  6. How accurate is your Zodiac sign in describing you? i never read those – ever, so wouldn’t know.
  7. In a parallel universe, at this moment, you would be doing what? better.
  8. Share a quote or inspirational saying that changed your life in some way. you can’t have it all where would you put it?
  9. One city/country you have always dreamt of visiting – india
  10. What made you start your own blog? loneliness + a passion for writing.
  11. One thing that really, really winds you up…? people, OVERLY positive people, haram police, when people type “women” instead of “woman”, people who talk to you when their life is dead but drop you like you’re hot when their life fills up, people not replying to messages; get over yourself we al have the same 24 hours in a day… oh wait, the question said one. My bad.

11 facts about me? Really? That wouldn’t be overkill? Aight.

1. I am a conversational junkie.

2. I am a minimalist in progress. I try to own as little as possible.

3. I write letters to strangers anonymously and leave them lying round. People get hyper when they find them. Its actually pretty cool to make people smile by doing so little.

4. I am ALWAYS tired. Pretty sure I have chronic fatigue syndrome.

5. I can’t do maths to save my life. Even simple stuff.

6. I want to retire early.

7. I’m the “will do anything for you” kind of friend. I don’t love that about me. Makes you an easy target for users.

8. Kindness tops most things for me.

9. I am a carbie Barbie.

10. I have hamster cheeks.

11. I am very the hilarious.