My Writing Journey

The Importance Of Being Edited

Editing can be a minefield, can’t it?

I wasn’t sure whether to write this post, initially, but after recent experiences, I thought, why not air my views, after all, they are only my thoughts, and not law, after all!

Over the last few years, as I have been, (and continue to), hone my writing craft, I have learned so much about writing, and how words can be written and how that impacts upon how readers interpret them.

It means that when I read books, sometimes the pleasure is not as great as it used to be, as I find my technical head switching on, finding errors, or picking up on rookie mistakes.

Don’t get me wrong, I am no expert, by any means, and I fully live by the thought that there are so many rules to writing a ‘good book’, yet if we all wrote by these rules, books would all be uniform, and boring.

(Who wrote these rules, anyway?)

However, good writing doesn’t have to follow the rules, but it must capture the reader.

I am one of those readers who hates to ‘DNF’ a book or mark it as something I did not finish. I know the blood sweat and toil that goes into crafting a book baby, having done it myself, so if I choose to read something, I try my hardest to give it my best shot, even if I am struggling. But now, I have realised that I need to stop if something is not clicking with me.

Sometimes it is just a genre that is not for me.

Fair enough.

I try and give everything a fair shot, but if the genre is not for me, then I’ll not complain or give a bad review of the book. I’ll just park in under my DNF pile and remember not to pick something like that again.

But, when it comes to genres I love, if I can’t engage with the characters, or follow the story smoothly, I tend to delve deeper into the whys of not being able to finish.

And almost 100% of the time it seems to be due to editing – or lack of.

Several indie authors who requested I read their books for feedback or a general review have admitted, after I ask, that they haven’t had an editor read their work.

Not even a set of experienced beta readers.

And, unfortunately, it shows.

Thankfully, most of the time, my feedback is appreciated, after all, I would never shoot another writer down, but I want them to give the best of themselves to the world of books, but sometimes, the defiance and insistence that they write and edit themselves, because they know it is good, means that I wish I hadn’t wasted my time trying to help!

I understand that editing can be an expensive business, but what authors-to-be should remember is that we are too close to our work to edit it, entirely, ourselves.

Maybe, once you have a few books under your belt, and you’ve had helpful feedback from others on your previous work, you are more able to objectively read, spot mistakes or inconsistencies, and change them.

But as a newbie, when you want to make your name in the world of books, you need to present the best writing possible.

As I said, it can be expensive, but there are ways you can get help without spending the earth.

  • Find a couple of readers, trusted readers that aren’t necessarily friends, but people with knowledge of wordcraft, and ask if they will read your work. Think of them as your alpha readers. They are going to give you that first impression of what a reader thinks of your story and writing. It is amazing how many thoughts, questions and mistakes they can pick up, that can improve your initial work before you have even thought about an editor.
  • Find a critique partner who you can send your work to, and whose work you are willing to read and comment upon, too. This can be a better way, as you send work as you are writing, and you could incorporate corrections or suggestions for improvements as you write.
  • Become a member of a writing group, where you can share your writing with others, and gain valuable critiques. As you read others work, you will also become stronger at picking up weak spots or strong sections in your own work.

And something extremely important to remember, however keen your friends, or family are, to read and help you with your book, they may not be the most objective readers for constuctive feedback. Most will be so encouraging, because they are proud you wrote a book.

Some might not know how to say they found parts hard to read or follow, so give you a false sense of security, but you need to remember that it is the public you want to impress with your words, not just your friends and family, if you want to be a succesful author.

This is why finding your writing people is so important, especially for an indie author.

I would still recommend you find at least a developmental editor, who will give you valuable feedback on your story, and whether everything flows, or if there are holes in your plot.

Beta readers can be your proofreading eyes if they are eagle-eyed. They can spot inconsistencies, spelling mistakes and pick up unclear points, too, when you are nearing the end of editing your manuscript if you can’t afford a copy or proofread.

If you don’t know the best way to find an editor, I would recommend asking among writing groups, like on Facebook, or even on your blog. Research them, yourselves, too, as prices can vary greatly, depending on what you want from the editor.

But the most important thing to remember is that as the author of a piece of work, we are too close to our book baby to be objective, especially at the beginning of our writing career. Either you will feel that nothing you write is good, or you won’t be able to sort the chaff from the wheat. Everything you write will appear key to the story. Or you miss things out because you have been living the story, with the characters for so long, you may omit details that a reader needs to know because, in your head, you already know it.

This is why a fresh set of eyes is so important, be it a paid editor, or a fantastic group of readers. They don’t know the backstory of your characters. They can tell you whether something is unnecessary, or if they felt something was missing. They can explain if something you wrote didn’t make sense, or whether they enjoyed it.

Then you take that feedback and use it, objectively, to improve your writing, and give your book baby the best chance of success.

There ends the sermon on The Importance Of Being Edited by Pastor Ritu!

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Marriage Unarranged, My Writing Journey

You Really Read My Book?

It’s been a while, folks, and I apologise for that.

Life, including home improvements, (an eight week stretch of contractors repairing, tweaking and decorating, to get the house shipshape for putting on the market so we can find our forever home), and starting back to school with a new role under my belt, (EYFS Phase Leader and DSL), has meant that I have had little time to devote to the writing side of my persona.

Lockdown initially gave me a boost in creativity, then it sapped it. I found energy to write for a good three weeks, before #ProjectHome began, and got 40,000 words down, then the stress of having people banging, followed by the beginning of a very strange school year, meant that my poor WIP has lain, unopened for almost eight weeks.

I so dearly want to get back to it but I’ve been mentally, physically, and emotionally, shattered.

So, it was, with surprise, that I received a message from someone I know, a few weeks back. Her boss’s boss wanted to extend an invitation to me to be a guest at her book club, because they were going to be reading my book baby, Marriage Unarranged!

Yup, they read that one, above!

I never thought, in a million years, that my book would get chosen as a book club read. I mean, there are so many books out there… fantastic books… yet they chose mine!

It was with a sense of amazement that I replied that I would love to, followed by dread.

  • What if they hated it?
  • What if they slated it?
  • What if they asked questions I couldn’t answer?
  • What if they ask about the next book?

But, I’m not one to shy away from challenges, and this was an opportunity to speak to total strangers, to get opinions from readers who don’t know me at all.

And so, on Friday 16th October, at 8PM, UK time, I sat, loaded glass of pink gin by my side, waiting for the Zoom meeting to start.

Yup, a virtual book club meet, because this particular book club was in the US. A group of ten women who have been meeting up for over twenty years, to read and discuss books.

It connected, and I can say, with relief, joy and a little pride, that the hour we spent, chatting away, supping our respective drinks, went really well.

I was asked about, among other things, my inspiration, how long the book took to write, (you all know that was a long and winding road…), whether I had been to all the places mentioned in the book, who characters were based upon, why characters did certain things, and what next… Marita, who wasa hosting, even brought her own bangles, brought on a trip to India, to share with the rest of the group, when they asked about my mentioning them a lot in the book. We even posed for a virtual selfie! Here’s me with some of the group members. I’m the blurred one on the screen…

An hour disappeared so fast, and afterwards, I found myself laying on my (newly laid, so fluffy) carpet, alternating between smiling inanely, and supping the rest of my goldfish bowl of gin!

Truly, it made my day, week, month, even.

Total strangers read my book, enjoyed it, and actually wanted to speak to me about it. They were even excited that they were speaking to an author, for the first time, at their book club.

Author – as in ME!

It hit me, last night, that I really am an author, and there are folks out there who don’t know me from Adam, yet they trusted my description, and bought my book.

Honestly, in my mind, the only people who bought and read things with my name on, were friends and family…

Sorry?

What was that?

You want to read it, too?

Well, all you have to do is click below. It’s on Amazon, paperback and Kindle, and it is on Kindle Unlimited too!

getbook.at/MarriageUnarranged

I tell you what, it’s given me a real boost. I want to get back to that book two manuscript, and a short novella I am also writing, so I can offer you a freebie if you sign up to my mailing list…

Oh, and while you’re here, did you sign up for my mailing list?

I am in the middle of writing an exclusive Chickpea Curry Lit story for my subscribers, and there will be news, tips and even recipes! Oh, and you’ll be the first to know about Book Two, and all the exclusive reveals, too!

You know you want to join… go on! Click the pic below to sign up!

Marriage Unarranged, My Writing Journey, Uncategorized

Encouragement Is A Writer’s Best Friend (+ a Birthday #BookSale)

Some writers are lucky, you know.

They get an idea, and the words just seem to flow.

And when one is complete, the next idea arrives, waiting to be transferred from mind to screen/paper.

But not all of us are that blessed.

Well, I say that, but I have the ideas. They aren’t always fully formed, but they are there, ready to come to life on my MacBook.

For me, time is the hugest constraint. Life as a teacher, as well as a wife and mother, coupled in with Covid-19, the lockdown, and to top it off, a HUGE amount of home improvements, means that sometimes I wonder whether it’s worth it…

Then you get messages like this.

And you find that there are readers out there who have actually taken time and effort to write or post about your book. This post by Jazz of @her_reading_nook on Instagram blew me away, and there was another post filled with more images, too!

View this post on Instagram

It’s all in the details [of Marriage Unarranged] 📖♥️🌺 __ Trendy ethnic jewelry from: @saggiparanda 💎🤩 __ 📖Review continued from previous post: *𝚀𝚄𝙾𝚃𝙴 + 𝚂𝚈𝙽𝙾𝙿𝚂𝙸𝚂* Aashi, the protagonist catches her fiance cheating on her so the big fat Punjabi wedding is cancelled but the India trip originally for wedding shopping becomes an adventure with her best friend, Kiran + brothers, Sunny & Bali: “Sunny was painfully aware of how hard it was for Aashi to forget the original reason for the trip. Dotted around the various shops were reminders of bridal accessories they should have been buying. The ℂℍ𝕌ℝ𝔸, 𝔹ℝ𝕀𝔻𝔸𝕃 𝔹𝔸ℕ𝔾𝕃𝔼𝕊 their mamaji (uncle) would have been slipping on her wrists. 𝕂𝔸𝕃𝕀ℝ𝔼𝕐, 𝔻𝔸ℕ𝔾𝕃𝕀ℕ𝔾 𝕆ℝℕ𝔸𝕄𝔼ℕ𝕋𝕊 he & Bali would have added to her wrists, which as they dropped off, she would give to her single cousins & friends, with the blessing that they would get married soon too” -Marriage Unarranged📖 Swipe: #IndianFashionHistory #PunjabiFashionHistory On the flight to New Delhi, Aashi falls asleep on a stranger, Arjun! Is Arjun about to be her rebound or soulmate? So bollywood. So brown girl! 🙋🏽‍♀️ 𝚃𝙷𝙾𝚄𝙶𝙷𝚃𝚂: Love the brother+ sister relationship portrayed between Aashi & Sunny (eldest bro) + Bali (younger one). Just in time for #happyRakhi / #Rakhri which means “to protect”, a traditional Indian holiday celebrating brother +sister bond where the sister ties a thread on the brother’s wrist signifying the brother’s promise of being there for his sister through thick & thin 🌺 as a token of love, the brother gives money/ gift in return for the thread💓 Grab a copy of this light read, travel to New Delhi, India & add this beautiful book cover to your reading nook for future #sHelfies 🤳🏻💃🏿 Rom com/ Chick lit isn’t my go to genre but this is like reading a bollywood movie & we all could use a little bollywood/ fairy tale during this time🙃 feel me! • • • #MarriageUnarranged #RituBhathal #AuthorAdmiration #☕️andBooks #I❤️TheSmellofFreshPages #BookBehavior #RomCom #ChickLit #IndianAuthor #PunjabiAuthor #Bookstagram #DiverseBooks #DiverseReaders #Bookish #TheBookLook #BookBlogger #bookstagramIndia #PunjabiWedding #IndianFashion #punjabijewellery #indianjewelry #SonjaAndOve

A post shared by Jazz (@her_reading_nook) on

And it makes your effort feel worthwhile.

Then, you get little comments from authors your love and respect like this…

Thank you, Zoe!

It spurs you on to try and write more.

This summer holiday has whizzed by, and I grabbed the bull by the horns. I had time, a little, at least, to devote to my writing.

My aim was 40,000 in four weeks.

I didn’t quite hit that, but I was close, and, considering I’ve spent the last week and a half manically demolishing furniture, having a ma-hoo-sive clear out and stocking the local charity shops with copious amounts of donations, and visiting B & Q many times to buy boxes, choose tiles, and bathroom suites etc, I’m not going to beat myself up over not quite hitting my self-imposed target!

I managed 37, 869 words!

I’ve also had my cover comissioned and more or less designed, ready to go, to spur me on. No, I can’t share that yet. Let me get the book written first!

And, what with my birthday, next week, I decided to have a little sale on Marriage Unarranged, so if you haven’t already, grab a Kindle copy for 99p/99c on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk! From Friday 28th August, to Thursday 3rd September. Go on, make a writer’s day, buy a copy!

https://getbook.at/MarriageUnarranged

Oh, and while you’re here, did you sign up for my mailing list?

I am in the middle of writing an exclusive Chickpea Curry Lit story for my subscribers, and there will be news, tips and even recipes! Oh, and you’ll be the first to know about Book Two, and all the exclusive reveals, too!

You know you want to join… go on! Click the pic below to sign up!

Blog

Sign Up To My New Mailing List!

It’s been on my mind for a good while, now…

People keep telling me, I need a mailing list.

The thought scares me. So much jargon and technical words that flummoxed me.

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But…

I did it!

I set up a landing page where you can subscribe to my newsletters!

Just click the link below to get added!

https://www.subscribepage.com/ritubhathal

I can assure you, that unless I make a silly mistake with learning how to send emails, I will not spam your inbox.

What will you get from me?

  • News about my writing journey
  • Sneak previews of covers and new release dates, ahead of the rest of the world
  • Freebies and offers (I am writing a Chickpea Curry Lit style story as a special treat for my subscribers.)
  • Tips and tricks that have helped me
  • Recommendations of books to read
  • And tidbits about the life of Ritu!

(Dont ask how I’m going to send those yet, I am just excited I got on the mailing list train!)

Thank you, in advance!

My Writing Journey

My Literary SatNav #Writing

Today, in a(nother) Facebook group I am a member of, a question was asked.

Are you a planner or a pantser?

Now, I have always laughingly referred to myself as a Plantser – a mixture of the two.

I was asked what I plan, and where I pants, and I came up with this analogy of my Literary SatNav.

Let me explain.

I have a basic idea of where I want the story to go, who will be present at the start and how I want it to end.

Then the characters are given the destination (aka the end)… with key places I want them to visit on their way.

They are like my Literary Satnavs. They take me to my conclusion in their own way.

It’s like a roadtrip with imaginary friends.

Sometimes I have to stop the writer car, let the engine idle, while I reprogram the route, because we’ve gone wildly off the map, but most of the time, it works.

We even pick up hitchhikers along the way, in the form of new characters who I didn’t even know existed! (Note to younger readers – I am not advocating picking up hitch hikers in reality, but extra characters, that’s a different matter.)

There are the key points we’ll stop at, as I specified when I originally gave the characters the basic travel plan, to savour the scenery, but more often than not, we carry on down the road to our HEA – our Happily Ever After.

It worked for me with Marriage Unarranged.

Here’s hoping they are as good at guiding me and my story this time too!

What? You haven’t read it, yet? Well, what are you waiting for?

Head on over to Amazon to download or order your copy using this link – http://getbook.at/MarriageUnarranged

Check out the Goodreads reviews here!

Blog, My Writing Journey

Writing My Way Through A Pandemic

Well, hello there, my dear readers.

Firstly, can I apologise, profusely?

I have been very naughty, not posting on here properly for the last six weeks or so, thanks to this ‘thing’ that is happening around the world.

What thing?

Oh, come on, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

That coronavirus, or more specifically, COVID-19.

It sure is a surreal world we are living in right now.

Who would have thought that something regarded as a flu of sorts, would bring pretty much all of the world to a standstill? (I know it isn’t like the flu at all, but that is what most people thought at first.)

As reality slowly hits, people you know become affected, infected, and either recover, or the other option. I, personally know of at least two people who have passed away, including a member of our family.

It’s serious, you know, this pandemic.

And amidst all this pandemic we have been given a gift.

The gift of time.

Well, it didn’t feel like a gift, initially.

One minute, we were dealing with a few absences at school. Told to watch out for anyone in the family with a cough or temperature. Then BAM! Schools closed, restaurants, pubs, bars, theatres, cinemas closed. Other businesses closed offices and encouraged employees to work from home.

It was like being thrown into a parallel universe. One where I was still going to my day job, as a teacher, but to empty classrooms, and just a handful of children, key worker’s kids, so I could help with childcare.

Obviously, with so few kids, not all staff were needed, so we were given a rota to work from. That meant more time at home, to make sure my own family were settling into this new normal. Online learning for them. Working from home for my hubby, who has taken over the dining room with his computers.

‘Great!’ I thought, initially. Lots of time to write!

Because, between you and me, I’ve been getting some nudges to get book two written and out. Folks who have read Aashi’s story in Marriage Unarranged, have really bonded with the cast of characters, and want more.

If you haven’t already, check it out by clicking below!

Now, it’s a good thing that I had some ideas before I published this one, but I didn’t have much time to get words on a screen, or paper, for that matter.

So now, all this time, handed to me on a plate.

Perfect!… Right?

Er, no. Well, not for me, and especially not at the beginning.

I felt a block. Mental, emotional, physical, writer’s BLOCK.

Nothing worked.

My mind went round and round, but wouldn’t focus on my little world with Aashi and her family.

I couldn’t even read like I usually do. Normally, I would read 2-3 books a week, but right now, I couldn’t even concentrate on someone else’s words.

TV and films were the same.

Instead, I kept on refreshing the news, to see what was happening. Social Media tried to plant all sorts of seeds in my mind. I tried to scrabble through the rubbish to find the nuggets of truth.

Then, one day, I just stopped.

I realised that I was driving myself slowly crazy.

My morbid curiosity was rubbing off on the children, and my hubby was getting tired of talking about things too.

So I stopped. Well, not the social media. I can’t totally leave that. But I became more selective with things I was reading. And I only checked the news once a day.

And slowly, the writing mojo crept back, peeking it’s head over my shoulder as I perused things on my computer.

“Come on, Ritu. It’s time, don’t you think? I’ve got a cracker of a story here for you. You know you want to write it, don’t you?”

My Writing Mojo

And it was right.

Using the time I wasn’t refereeing between the kids, making food, or cleaning the house, I uncovered moments to reread the words already written.

I found time to really tighten my character bible. I actually have a real Character Bible that I bought and filled with names, descriptions and traits when writing the first book. This was going to be important for me now. Many old characters would feature, but there would be new ones introduced too.

I researched, too. There are elements of this particular story that I haven’t had first hand experience of, and I wanted to make sure that everything sounded realistic. So, armed with my notebook, I trawled websites, and am in the process of finding people to talk to, so I can nail the main element of the storyline.

And finally, and most importantly, I began to produce words. My manuscript has grown by around eight thousand words, which is wonderful. I have been helped by taking part in online writing sprints.

Do you know what writing sprints are?

You set a timer and see how many words you can write in that given time. Sometimes, having a little deadline chasing you motivates you to get those words down. Being alone is fine, but having company is even better.

Obviously, we can’t be with others at the moment, but there is always the internet! One of my favourite, and extremely supportive writer groups on Facebook, Rebel Authors, have been running live writing sprints at various times of the day, where you can be accountable to someone, and get productive. In fact, to make it even more fun, Sacha Black, the organiser, has even arranged a weekly Poison and Prose sprint session once a week, where you can bring your choice of poison, be it alcoholic, or not, and enjoy some funny conversations in between sprinting.

Me with last week’s poison!

Other days, I have logged into Facebook, and author Lizzie Chantry has a writing group where she has a dedicated writing hour. Again, it is not essential, but having that online accountability makes you focus more.

If I am not writing part of the manuscript, I am formulating new blog posts or author interviews I have been invited to take part in. In fact I even wrote an article for Cysters.org, a charity for individuals with various hormonal issues. If you want to read, please do, by cliicking the link here.

Writing articles…

And now I need to set my routine for the next few weeks, keeping this new normal in mind. I will be going into school some days, either for half days or full days. I will be at home for others, where I can use the time the children are doing their online learning to write.

There doesn’t appear to be an end in sight, yet, for these strange times, so I can get this next manuscript ready, hopefully in much less time than the nearly twenty years the first one took!

See, every cloud has it’s silver lining, doesn’t it?

Have any of you found your creativity stifled in the current climate, or are you flourishing?

Marriage Unarranged, Marriage Unarranged Blog Tour, My Writing Journey

Blog Tour Ready!

Wait, what?

How did that happen?

It feels like only days ago, I was thinking this book would never get published, and now, it’s happening, and in a week, on Sunday the 9th February, 2020, my book baby will finally be delivered!

It’s been a wonderfully crazy lead up to this stage, and the Blog Tour starts tomorrow too, so I’ll be sure to share the posts on here in case you miss them.

This week has been emotional for a few reasons. Happy emotional, that is.

I have had some lovely words sent to me, from an advanced reader, that brought tears to my eyes.

That kind of encouragement really keeps a writer going.

Then I found out that I had my first review on Goodreads! And it was five star! More tears!

And my cover has been entered into this week’s Author Shout Cover Wars. If you fancy voting for my cover, please, click here – Author Shout Cover Wars – to support this little Indie Author! How awesome would it be to win that accolade on the day of publication?

I have been told I really need to get writing on that sequel, and I know I do, too. The ideas are brimming, but my exhaustion has kicked in again so I find myself drifting off, whenever I have spare time, rather than writing. So, I treated myself to a new MacBook Air skin and keyboard overlay. Something cute and pretty. And it has really made me want to get back to it again!

Whaddya think? Pretty, huh?

Right, before I fall asleep again, let me remind you of the Blog Tour schedule, and I’ll be back with regular updates on the posts!

Seven days and counting, EEEEK!

To pre order the Kindle version, click here. The Paperback will be available from the publication day too.

My Writing Journey, Uncategorized

Tweaks And Things – You Can Always Make It Better

So, I have my book baby in my hand.

It’s been read, reread, checked and checked again.

No room, or chance for error, right?

Wrong.

I received a (much appreciated) email from a reviewer, alerting me to a couple of missed punctuation marks and silly niggly spelling errors. She is aware of how much this book means to me, and knows how I want to put as perfect a version out there, as possible.

But how is this possible? As I said before, I read and reread countless times!

The problem is that I am too close to the story. No matter now much I read it, I gloss over bits, so end up missing thoes niggles.

I requested ideas from my main writing support group on Facebook (details below) and was given some great ideas:

  • read using a ruler so the next lines can’t distract you
  • read backwards, either from the bottom of a page up, or even from the end of the book to the beginning
  • read it out aloud in a monotone voice (impossible for me, as I am one of nature’s storytellers, and when I read aloud, I have to use expression, and accents – ask the kids in my class, and my colleagues), or
  • use a narrator facility available on most word processers like Word, and even Siri on your MacBook. Hearing your typed words spoken, can help to pick up certain discrepancies

These, along with the help of a proofreader friend of mine, allowed me to pinpoint some silly errors that grammar and spelling software would miss. Continuity errors were caught by said friend too.

Finally, I have a tweaked, polished proof, all uploaded again, and squeaky clean (well, almost. There might be a few naughty bits, but then, romance needs a teensy bit of sauce to, doesn’t it?)

And I have been busy writing content for some of the Blog Tour posts. All the bloggers I approached, have responded, and I officially have a tour planned! Next step – create the Blog Tour Banner!

I even arranged for my first book merchandise – a bookmark!

Another thing I did, was experiment with pens. Now, if you know anything about me, (and most writers), you’ll know that I am a stationery addict. I can never have enough pens or notebooks, and all the other stationery inbetween! I convinced myself that I need a special type of pen for signing my book. I am a bit specific. I love purple. My fountain pen has a bottle of purple ink that I use to fill it with. But, the ink bleeds on the paper in my book, so it’s not perfect for signing. And then, Amazon did this…

Okay, so Amazon didn’t actually do it, it was me. But think of me as the addict, and Amazon as the dealer. I have enough purple pens to experiment with, and to write with for a good long time now! Can’t say “I can’t find a pen!” now.

And then I did another thing. I mentioned a Facebook group a little earlier in the post. The group is run by our very own Sacha Black, and is called 13 Steps to Evil – Villain Masters. This group have been huge in helping me along with the last few months of my journey to getting published. From weekly accountability threads, a safe place to ask questions and get advice, writing prompts, and timely funny writer/villainous memes, to genuine friendships – I have found my writer people! Now, Sacha not only writes amazing fiction, superb writing guides and informative blog posts, but she has also started a podcast called The Rebel Author Podcast. I’ve listened to most of the episodes, and read the transripts of all. So good – I highly recommend. She’s already had some great guests, and it’s only ten episodes old! Well, now she’s branched out into her very own merchandise, and I just had to get my hands on some.

Here I am with my large mug, slouch T-shirt and spiral notebook. I know what I’ll be drinking out of, whenever I write now! Today’s Chai Latte tasted great! And if you want to check out her merchandise shop, click here.

Oh, and something absolutely amazing happened today. Someone I don’t even know posted my book and the preorder link on a Romance Facebook group. I am speechless!

Right, I must get back to that Blog Tour content, but I’ll be back soon, with a banner giving all the dates and details.

And, what are you waiting for? You know you want to put your order in!

It all started ended with that box…

Aashi’s life was all set.

Or so she thought.

Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after.

But then Aashi found the empty condom box…

Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged.

Old images erased, new beginnings to explore.

And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets? A stranger who’s hiding something…

Marriage Unarranged, My Writing Journey

New Year, New Book. What Next?

Well, I can’t quite believe it. Here we are, finally in 2020. A new decade too.

And this is the year I will officially become a published author!

Pub Day is not far off, around 6 weeks, and the nerves are jangling like crazy.

In my last post, I announced the offical publication date, of 9th February 2020, and it felt like an age away. But time has a habit of running away with you, when you have something lined up, doesn’t it?

So, I have my book, officially on preorder, kindle version, and the paperback to be available from the publication date. Right here – getbook.at/MarriageUnarranged

There was a slight kerfuffle with the cover. Somehow, even using all the information KDP give an author and cover designer, the first wraparound, or print cover, fell short by 0.088mm! And it all makes a difference, so after tweaking, and resubmitting, we finally got the measurements right.

I was so excited. This meant I could order a proof copy, and finally see what my book baby would look and feel like in a reader’s hands.

Then I pressed Publish Now, instead of Save.

I woke in the morning to an email from Amazon KDP congratulating me on my new live paperback!

Eeeek!

No!

That wasn’t meant to happen!

Thankfully it had only been live for minutes, so I managed to ‘unpublish’ it and order my proof…

It came, yesterday, on the 31st of December. What a wonderful present 2019 gave me, on it’s way out.

Here she is! 🥰

I sat, stroking it, flicking through the pages. I mean, look at it. It’s a real book! And it’s mine. A lot of time was spent sharing the news on social media, because you have to keep that buzz going, and I have had such lovely comments from people all over the world. (I just hope they buy the book, too!)

Hugging my book baby

But that is not it. There are still a lot of little niggly things that need doing. My next job is to proof read the print copy. I have to make sure there are no errors that have missed my eye in all the other rereads – spelling mistakes or formatting errors. And I’ve been doing the same with the ebook version too.

Ready to proof read!

But, that’s not all.

There is also promotion to do, and I have been contacting and organising a blog tour to coincide with the release. I believe I have got responses from pretty much all the bloggers I approached…now to write content for the posts!

And I have arranged for a social media Book Blitz too, where the cover and blurb will be showcased across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for the week preceeding the release. I feel rather pleased with myself, but I’ll be happier when I actually get that content written!

And what of the rest of the year?

Well, there is no time to sit back and rest on my laurels! I still have a life to lead, and I am hoping that you readers might want more, so I have my goals for 2020, writing wise, set out.

2020 Writing Goals

And there you have it!

Wish me luck, my dear Peeps!

getbook.at/MarriageUnarranged

Described as Chickpea Curry Lit – Chick lit with an Indian twist, and not jsut for chicks, you Chap(patti)s too!

It all started ended with that box…

Aashi’s life was all set.

Or so she thought.

Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after.

But then Aashi found the empty condom box…

Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged.

Old images erased, new beginnings to explore.

And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets? A stranger who’s hiding something…

Marriage Unarranged, My Writing Journey

Of Blurbs, And Other Things

Did you think that writing a book was the hardest part of publishing?

Well, let me tell you, you’d be wrong there.

Yes, writing a story, in excess of 85,000 words, is a mammoth task to undertake, and can take forever (don’t I know it! 🙄) but once you have written all those words, words that can only come from you, as it’s your tale, there is still quite a lot to do.

Skipping the submissions process, if you decide to find an agent and/or publisher, you have to get to grips with things like cover design, formatting, marketing, blurb writing…

Yes, blurb writing.

The hardest thing EVER!

Honestly.

Condensing your whole story into a measly few words, making it engaging, finding a hook – NOT EASY!

And I have been battling with my blurb for the last few weeks, taking to the book shops and online bookstores to research blurbs.

It’s a vast world out there in Blurbia… You have books with two-sentence blurbs. Then there are ones that go one for 300 words, taking a whole back cover up. Some in-between. Some start with a question. Some end with a question.

So, I spent a long time writing various versions, talking to my editor, beta reader team, and a trusted Facebook group, to get feedback and suggestions for improvement.

Obviously, you end up with some conflicting opinions. Some aren’t familiar with your genre so can’t help as practically as others. But this is when you sometimes have to go with your gut.

A couple of years ago, when I finished the first draft, I came up with a simple blurb. After all the tweaks, and the addition of a couple of sentences, (having added plenty more, then taken them away) I finally have my finished blurb!

Want a read?

Aashi’s life was all set.

Or so she thought.

Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after.

But then Aashi found the empty condom box…

Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged.

Old images erased, new beginnings to explore.

And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets? A stranger who’s hiding something…

Marriage Unarranged – ritu bhathal

And, I am pleased to announce, that, as you can see in the above graphic, my book finally has a Publication Date!

9th February 2020

Stick it in your diary, Peeps, or even better, if you fancy, you can click the link below, and pre-order your ebook from Amazon RIGHT NOW!

getbook.at/MarriageUnarranged

If you are more of a hard copy reader, then no fear, that will be out on the official publication date too. They don’t allow for pre-orders on paperbacks, unfortunately.

So, there you have it, Peeps.

My journey to becoming a published author is headed in the right direction, and credit where credit is due. You have all been so supportive over the last few years, encouraging me to go for it. Well, I have! So, thank you all!

Bitmoji Image

Please, let me know what you think of the blurb, and if you decide to pre-order, thank you yet again!