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Nisha 3 Title and Release Date Reveal

Who’s excited for the last installment of the Nisha trilogy!!!

In this post I will reveal the TITLE, the DATE OF RELEASE, and a short excerpt!!! If you are ready…

Drumrolls…

Yes, the third book will be titled Elements. What are the elements? And how will the Elements help Nisha, Saad, and Faris to defend their beloved little kingdom?

You can find out on 31 January 2021.

Excerpt of Elements Chapter 2 : Trade-Offs

Nisha watched silently as Elian and Ademaro began to set up three small tents in the middle of the woods. They were resting the night here, having just left her aunt, General Char, Faris, the Outer Movement Wizard, and everyone else at the Border. Ademaro and Elian had volunteered to accompany Princess Nisha in her journey to the Lair of the Order of the Witches and Wizards. Their mission was to convince the Order to send mages to support them in the fight against the Aklumites. 

This journey was about a week by horse. At the end of the first day, Nisha’s guardians chose this location of the forest to sleep. Nisha wanted to help them set up camp, but she had no idea where to even begin. In the end, she opted to watch silently, not wanting to be a hindrance. When Ademaro and Elian were finished, the Princess automatically cringed. 

“Your bedroom for the night,” Ademaro gestured with his deep voice. His kind face looked a bit sorry for her, but circumstances allowed no time for luxuries. 

“I’m sure the earth is, ah, great to sleep on,” sighed Nisha. No complaining, she reminded herself. “I suppose if I could manage sleeping on those hard bunks at the Border, I can handle sleeping on the ground.” 

“Do you mean you’ve never slept outdoors before?” asked Elian, surprised. The young archer had spent most of his childhood hunting and trekking. It was almost inconceivable to him how one could spend their lives trapped inside buildings.

Nisha blushed. “I was sheltered,” she explained pointedly. “It’s not like I had a choice in the matter.” 

“I didn’t mean to offend you,” Elian said softly, taking a step closer to Nisha. Her heart fluttered in her chest. She noticed that either by training or simply by the way he was brought up, Elian did not even rustle the leaves as he approached her. 

Ademaro tactfully walked away to take care of their horses, leaving the two youngsters to their discussion. Oh, to be young, the hardy warrior reminisced with nostalgia. 

“So what did you mean?” the Princess asked. She kept her voice steady, although the fluttering in her chest had picked up in speed and volume.


Can’t wait? ME NEITHER!!! Subscribe to my newsletter to get a sneak peek scene of Saad, Ged, and the mysterious girl they picked up.

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Nisha Trilogy Journey

Nisha trilogy journey, which started as a little project, has really developed into something quite delightful and fantastical. The original fantasy novella is well, novella-length (70 pages), and it was something I scribbled down at the end of March 2020. Technically, I “scribbled” it on my iphone notes app with my poor thumbs. That’s when the lockdown was first implemented in Indonesia. I think it was my way of coping with the world which was screeching to a halt.

Surprising Reception

Some of the first readers including my dear friend and editor Chriswan encouraged me by saying they enjoyed the read. I was honestly pleasantly surprised because wait people ACTUALLY LIKED the craziness sprouting out of my imagination? Is this true, or are they just being nice, says my inner critic. Even if they’re just being nice, so what, I replied to that doubtful voice.

Is this true, or are they just being nice, says my inner critic. Even if they’re just being nice, so what, I replied to that doubtful voice.

I then wrote two backstories for the supporting characters in Nisha: Faris and Saad. After about 6 months, I started writing Sacred Rituals based on the backbone of the two backstories. Sacred Rituals presented some challenges: namely my first battle scene. My too enthusiastic self also got hand injuries (carpal tunnel syndrome). That sucked, but I learned my lessons.

Again, some of the first readers encouraged me by assuring me that they liked Sacred Rituals, and that the writing grew and the sequel exceeded their expectations. This meant so much to me because I am honestly a newbie writer and have no proper training like I do in my music.

At the moment of this writing, I’ve finished the draft for the last installment of the trilogy. It is in my editor’s hands, and it is finished and written – without me getting another carpal tunnel relapse – so I’m super proud about that! I expected the back and forth editing process will take a couple of months, as does the cover illustrating process with Inez. If everything goes well, the last installment will be released sometime in the beginning of 2022.

Fingers crossed everyone stays well and healthy till the last part of the Nisha trilogy journey.


UPDATE! I’ve finished editing: we took much shorter than I predicted YEAY. So everything is on track for a public release early 2022. For impatient readers, here is a sneak peek of the cover.

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Nisha 3 Cover Sneak Peek!

Dear readers, a very special email popped into my inbox a couple weeks ago. It was from my illustrator Inez Wandita. By now, I am simply in love with her works and have complete trust that she will interpret my drafts into fabulous covers.

Inez had emailed me her ideas for the cover of the third book and the last installment of the trilogy. After observing some reviews and feedback, we decided to go back to the design of the first book cover. If you noticed, Nisha and Sacred Rituals have very different vibes and design. The reason is because the story developed and really “amped up” in the second book, so it felt necessary for that to be reflected in the cover.

We both acknowledge though, that the effect is a non-consistent look, alas. Well, we’re still learning. At least it was a beautiful learning point!

Well, here is a sneak peek of the draft design for the 3rd book!

I hope you enjoyed the little sneak peek! The draft is being edited at the moment. Finger- crossed the 3rd book will be released towards the earlier half of 2022. I’ll be posting title reveal and snippets until then, so be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to get all the insider updates.

If you have read and reviewed Nisha, I want to thank you so much for helping me share Nisha’s story out there to the world.

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First Nisha FanArt!

The first of hopefully many many more Nisha FanArt! This is a super cute piece of work I commissioned from Mary, a talented young Indonesian digital artist.

The scene is from Chapter 16 of the first book. Nisha, Faris, and Saad are at the Border, trying to help General Char in her efforts to defend their kingdom from neighboring invasions. Faris has an idea which will eventually be a huge asset to their efforts. His idea is rooted from when he was a child, training with his Outer Movement magic under the guidance of his parents.

However, in order for Faris’ suggestion to work, it requires Saad to link and channel the Outer Movement Magic which Faris practices with the Inner Movement Magic which Nisha practices.

This scene is one of the most memorable scenes when I read the book. It shows the characters’ companionship forming as they work together, and I thought it was a beautiful scene to illustrate.

mary

Without further ado, here is the illustration!

Meet the Artist

Mary

Mary is a 16 year old digital artist whom I met through the Mad Tea Book Club. At this time, she is also a volunteer board member of the book club.

Q: Why digital medium?

A: I think digital suits me the most. I’ve always preferred working in digital over other art mediums.

Q: When and where did you learn drawing?

A: I started to draw seriously around 6th grade and was self-taught for almost 4 years until I went to art school.

Q: How did you come to love drawing?

A: In 6th grade, I fell in love with My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I watched the fanart speedpaint on Youtube of this book (?). I watched countless of videos until one day I decided to try to make my own. I tried to follow their process. The result wasn’t the best but I was proud of it and enjoyed making them. So I kept practicing and making more fanart, until today!

Q: What is your dream job?

A: I’ve always dreamed to be a book cover artist or childrens’ book illustrator! Oh to be able to bring other talented people’s stories to life and see my illustrations on stores’ shelves!

Keep updated with Mary’s journey and dreams via her Instagram profile – where you can find more of her illustrations!

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Sacred Rituals Cover Art (Step by Step)

Inez Wandita, the incredibly talented cover illustrator that I work with, has generously shared these drafts for everyone to see! Her cover of Nisha was a real hit with readers, and if you want to see the Nisha step-by-step you can check it out here.

Creative Process

Interestingly you will see that her creative process is completely different for Nisha and Sacred Rituals. Inez confided to me that after reading the draft of Sacred Rituals, she immediately had a vision for the cover. Thus the first draft was already rather fleshed out, in comparison to Nisha’s first draft.

We changed some things so that it was more clear who was on which side. Saad and Faris are on the left facing off against Hans and the Aklum Captain on the right side. A very prominent part of this design is the eyes on the top of the page, which signify Nisha’s deeper awakening and understanding of her own powers, namely the Inner Movement magic which she practices. This becomes a key part of the battle scene, so I thought it was cover-worthy indeed.

Have you read Sacred Rituals? What did you think about the choice of design for the cover? Let me know in the comments!

If you haven’t read Sacred Rituals, you can purchase it at the shop. If you are a book reviewer and would like to exchange for an honest review, simply contact me.

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Nisha Cover Art Process

A lot of my readers mentioned how much they loved the Nisha cover illustration by Inez, so Inez and I decided to share the step by step of Nisha cover art process!

A very interesting thing to note for the Nisha cover art process is that Inez picked up the leaves of the magical forest to be the background of the book. As readers of Sacred Rituals will know, these particular leaves become incredibly important later on. Funny thing is, Inez illustrated the cover even before I began writing the second book. So there was definitely a bit of cosmic intervention there!

Pretty cool stuff eh? You can purchase Nisha here for reading, or even get the audiobook which I narrated!

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Nisha, Faris, and Saad Aesthetics

Aesthetics seem to be the rage these days on booktok – another fascinating phenomena pushing books up the charts. Of course, copycat me decides to hop on the aesthetics trend and make some of my own. An aesthetic on TikTok is basically a highly stylized visual compilation synchronized with music. The visuals are usually taken from Pinterest, and it is combined to represent the topic / plot / story. So you can make a book aesthetic, a home aesthetic, a summer fashion aesthetic, or pretty much any other aesthetic you want to make.

I made 3 aesthetics for main character of the Nishaverse. Here is Nisha’s aesthetic.

Faris’ aesthetic is from his backstory in Scenes from Faris’ Childhood. This also acts as the prologue to Sacred Rituals.

@airinefferin

Sacred Rituals aesthetic. Read prologue free at airinefferin.com. Book coming out July 1st. #sacredrituals #fantasy #booktok #mybook #author #booktik

♬ Fantasy Adventure – Josh Rousseau

Last but not least, Saad’s aesthetic. The Fisherman’s Story is a short story of Saad’s past embedded within Sacred Rituals. I’m not completely happy with the Captain depiction, but ah well.

@airinefferin

The Fisherman’s Story is a short story embedded in my second fantasy novella Sacred Rituals. Available on my website airinefferin.com 🤩 #booktok

♬ Heroic Pirate Music – Augustin C

Which do you like best? As always, if you are an independent reviewer and would like to read my books in exchange for an honest review, let’s get in touch!

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Creating Nisha Characters’ Looks

One of the intriguing behind-the-scenes process of the Sacred Rituals (Nisha sequel) cover is the back and forth discussion I had via WhatsApp with Inez. We were trying to create Nisha characters’ looks. From the first cover, we were quite clear on what Nisha would look like. But what about the others? And what kind of clothes did they wear? What would the look on their faces be?

Creating Nisha’s Look

Going back to the first cover, I knew I wanted Nisha to be South Asian or Northern Indian looking. Think Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai with her gorgeous features, but more warrior like instead of ladylike. The tricky thing was working out how her robe would look like. I found myself seeking inspiration from Kashmiri style clothes and scarves. That’s how her scarf came about. The scarf design and pattern became a theme going into the cover of Sacred Rituals.

Creating Saad’s Look

Saad’s character growth really gets quite developed in Sacred Rituals. He wasn’t just a sidekick anymore, it’s clear he now has a vital role in the plot. I was inspired by a friend of mine from Sri Lanka. This friend is dark-skinned, quiet, but very perceptive and smart. He’s the type that is soft spoken but tough. In real life, he leads many private sector investments in Sri Lanka and leads forward thinking high impact business initiatives. People like this are somehow always wearing glasses! LOL.

Creating Faris’ Look

As for Faris’ look, I had in mind a friend of mine from Spain. He’s extremely bright, and very handsome. It’s interesting that I took the name from my Sri Lankan friend Faris Fausz though. Another fascinating point is that you will notice Faris’ character is a bit ambiguous throughout. Whose side is he really on? You’ll have to find out by reading it yourself, but that mysterious feel was also inspired by this friend.

To get some more backstory behind other Nisha characters’ looks (especially the Aklumites!), subscribe to my newsletter. Support our work by purchasing at the shop, along with the first book: Nisha.

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Nisha Sequel Is Here!

And finally, after getting carpal tunnel syndrome, after going to Labuan Bajo, after producing a musical…the sequel to my fantasy trilogy Nisha is released.

I would like to thank Cung for putting up with me everyday, Chriswan my editor who completely believes in Nisha’s Universe and is always doing what he can to make it more believable, and all the book reviewers, bookstagrammers, book podcasters out there who read and reviewed my books. A special shout out to Krisandryka and Sherry, my Mad Tea Book Club co-founders. Last but not least, the gorgeous illustrations came from the hand and head of Inez Wandita.

Without further ado…. Sacred Rituals by Airin Efferin.

Support me by purchasing Sacred Rituals at the shop! Please send me your thoughts, feedbacks, and honest reviews. For a sneak peek and a view of the Nisha Universe Map fresh off the cartographer’s desks, visit here.

Happy reading!

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Scenes from Faris’ Childhood, part 2

Song of the Gatum Forest

Faris had known for a while that Mama was sick. The sicker she got, the more obsessed she was about recording all her knowledge about the Outer Magics. When she became too weak to write, she dictated it to Faris, who sat next to her, writing day and night. Scrolls lay everywhere inside their home.

One afternoon she finally seemed satisfied with what they had recorded. She asked Baba and Faris to take her outside. She sat on her rocking chair by the Gatum trees and listened to them.

“They are singing. Their songs give me courage,” she said. By now Faris was able to understand bits and pieces of their speech, especially when they were rustling together. Sometimes they would each veer off in different directions and sound patterns. But he’d never heard them sing until now.

“Do they give you courage to fight the sickness, Mama?” Faris asked her with much hope.

“No, my dear one. They are giving me the courage to … move beyond.” Mama answered softly. She kissed Faris on the forehead, and then took Baba’s hand. He was openly crying, tears streaming silently down his face. Faris looked up to see how the branches seemed to be moving together, dancing against the backdrop of the clear blue sky. He listened harder, and thought he could make out the shape of their song. The dancing of the branches were connected to the song, he realized.

Mama hummed along, her voice smaller and smaller, until her notes merged in complete harmony with the trees’.

Forgotten

That very night they buried her body in the forest. Baba asked Faris to stay up all night, to watch and listen closely. He was going to perform the Ritual. Faris had never seen the Ritual before. He watched with slight fear, for he knew it was difficult magic. Baba hummed a series of low notes while executing gestures with his hands and body. He did this repeatedly, until the Forest seemed to echo his song, and the branches joined in his slow dance. Faris watched until his eyelids became too heavy, for this lasted all night. At dawn, his father woke him up.

“It is complete, son. Let’s go back inside and get some food for both of us,” Baba said as he took Faris’ hand. Rubbing his eyes, Faris looked at Mama’s grave. He gasped, for there he saw a small seedling of a Gatum tree. The Ritual had worked. Now the tree would grow.

The next couple of years unfolded in peaceful routine for the young wizard and his Father. In the day Baba taught him the speech, music, and dances of the Forest. In the evening Faris pored over his mother’s scrolls, reading and practicing while Baba wrote down his own scrolls. The Forest fed them what they needed.

When Faris finally began to understand the Forest and its speech, Baba taught him the Ritual. In the days that followed, they did nothing but focus on the rhythm and steps of the Ritual. It was taxing, and often took much of Faris’ energy so that he would be feverish the next day.

One afternoon, a messenger came to visit. He was riding a well-kept horse while ponying another horse. They both looked like they belonged to the Crown. The royal messenger handed a sealed letter to Baba. It was a message from King Chet, informing the wizard that Queen Anvi’s Barrier had fallen, and she was entrapped in a life-threatening situation.

“The time has come, son,” Baba said gravely. “King Chet begs me to help at our borders. The situation is dire. I expect to be gone for a couple of months, but I am not sure.”

“I will come with you, Baba,” Faris quickly responded. “I am ready.”

“No, you are not.” Baba put his strong hand on Faris shoulder. “Not until you master the Ritual. You must learn by yourself, the Forest will guide you.”

Faris started to object, but Baba looked straight into his eyes.

“The risk is too high if our Ritual is lost and forgotten. When you have mastered it, send a letter by the birds, and I will send a horse for you. I promise.”

Faris mastered the steps and the songs by heart, working day and night fervently. He sent a bird with his message, and waited. He waited several days, for a horse which never came. Weeks later it was the bird that returned, with a letter from the King. Baba had fought heroically with the other soldiers. But there were too many bodies. The King gave them all a proper heroes’ burning, and scattered the ashes on the hills of the borders.

Without Baba’s body, Faris could not perform the Ritual, no matter how many nights he tried. There would be no tree for Baba. The Gatum Forest would forget that this Wizard ever existed.


These scenes are part of the prologue to Sacred Rituals: the sequel to Nisha. Nisha is a coming of age fantasy novella which I wrote. You can purchase Nisha at the my shop. To see Nisha reviews and ratings, visit Goodreads.

Sacred Rituals is now available for purchase at the shop!