Marriage Unarranged, My Writing Journey

Marriage Unarranged by Ritu Bhathal #new #release #review The Rishtay Series@RituBhathal @SpellBoundBKs – M J Mallon YA Author and Poet

The lovely Marje has published her review of Marriage Unarranged in readiness for the release, tomorrow! Thank you. Marje!

Source: Marriage Unarranged by Ritu Bhathal #new #release #review The Rishtay Series@RituBhathal @SpellBoundBKs – M J Mallon YA Author and Poet

Marriage Unarranged, My Writing Journey

When You Can’t Quite Believe It’s Happening! (AGAIN!)

Hello, my dear Peeps!

Can I start by apologising profusely?

I have not been as active as I wanted on this blog, due to so many reasons. Mainly it was work-related. School has been quite mad, and with a bout of Covid in March that really set me back, and us fast approaching the end of the school year, things have been a bit manic! The last four days which are in my half term have seen me up extra early to get the bulk of my end of year reports written!

However, the big news is that Marriage Unarranged is officially re-released on Monday 6th June! That is 4 sleeps away!

Click image for buy link!

It has been very different this time around, as I now have a publisher who is doing all sorts of wonderful stuff, such as tweaking the cover for the paperback which will be out a week or so after the ebook release, to the fantastic ZooLoos Book Tours arranging an official book/blog tour!

Click image to see the tour details!

I’ve even been interviewed by none other than my favourite author, Amanda Prowse, on her Facebook My Book Friends group! (And there is a ‘call to buy’ quote on the new cover from her, too! (#Blessed!)

And just yesterday I attended my first ever author gathering, meeting my local chapter of Society of Authors members in Tunbridge Wells. It was so lovely to chat all things words and publishing with them. They were extremely encouraging about the release, and I hope to see them again in September with news of how the release and reception has been!

Just hanging out with the writers…!

We tweaked the blurb just slightly, from before to ensure all readers are aware that this book is not set now, but in 2000, when many things were different. It is almost a historical novel now!

It all s̶t̶a̶r̶t̶e̶d̶ ended with that box…

The year 2000 and Aashi’s life was all set.
New Millennium ,exciting beginnings, new life.
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…

Coming Summer 2023 , book 2 in The Rishtay Series

And if you saw that little comment at the end, it is now officially part of a series, of which I am in the throes of writing the ending for Book 2!

The Rishtay Series – Rishtay means relationships from romantic, to friendship to familial ones. Quite an apt name, since my writing hinges around relationships of all sorts!

And, so we have it.

Monday, it is out, again! If you have had your interest piqued, please pop over to Amazon to preorder it!

https://geni.us/0ppP4O

My Writing Journey

Writing PG-Rated Scenes (As in your parents might be shocked!)

Have you done this, yet?

Today, as I got into the flow of my words, I realised that I might have to write something a little risquè.

A little man-on-man action.

Not that I have a whole lot of experience in that!

However, it is critical to my story.

Then I remembered that my parents have both read Marriage Unarranged, and there was a tiny scene in there, which Pops questioned, before glossing over…

How on earth will he react to this?

I am wondering if I need to have a little sticker on the front of the book, “Rated PG – Parents might need Guidance!”

Okay, so it isn’t written graphically. I’m no erotica writer, but there is still some need for the words arousal and hardness, and phrases like lips trailing over bodies

See what I mean?

Pops, you can’t read it! 🙈 I am already imagining Mum’s comments, though she is aware of the topics that are going to be covered in book two.

But… has it piqued your interest, yet?

My Writing Journey

Dreams Do Come True – Exciting News!

I’ve been at this writing game for a while now.

And, somewhere in my mind, it’s always been a dream for me to write a book, and see it, out there; a real book with my name on the cover.

I achieved that, all by myself, in February of 2020, when I independently published Marriage Unarranged.

But, deep down, I have always yearned for an opportunity to be traditionally published.

Little did I know, that a couple of years later, I would get approached by someone… a publisher, like, a real one, who wanted to sign me.

And that is exactly what has happened!

You are reading, officially, about me signing my first ever THREE BOOK DEAL with Spellbound Books!

Oh, my, what a rush!

I am so, so excited at the prospect of working with this woman-centric publishing house, who have my stories at the heart of their interest.

Marriage Unarranged will officially be re-released by them, in June of this year, and books two and three will follow over the next two years!

There is even a brand, spanking new series name.

The Rishtay Series.

Rishtay means relationships, and they are at the heart of every story I write.

What a blast!

Of course, I had to get my new notebook for this brand spanking, new adventure! It’s already sectioned off, and jotted in, with all manner of dates, etc. I am nervously excited, now…

So, you’ll have to follow, and stay tuned for all the latest updates!

I am well on the way with book two, too, so this will give me the kick to get the first draft finished, too!

Please, won’t you join me in a little celebration?

After all, I wouldn’t be where I am, without you all behind me!

And for that, I thank you!

Marriage Unarranged, My Writing Journey

Words – They Don’t Always Come Easy (+ A Birthday Sale!

Well, it’s been a little while since I posted on here, and I apologise for that, to start off with.

Life, over the last eighteen months has been kinda surreal, for us all, and I know it has taken its toll on me, in so many ways.

I’ve been battling through the understanding of remote teaching and learning in school, what with the closures.

I’ve become a master at organising mass covid testing in the house, what with two teens and me needing twice-weekly tests.

I got promoted, which, though is a wonderful boost to the ego, comes with its own fair share of ‘AAAARGH! 😱’ moments. So now, on top of being the class teacher, I am responsible for the whoe EYFS unit, meaning two nursery classes, two reception classes, three other teachers, 8 Teaching Assistants, and four lunchtime supervisors. And we are in the midst of change within the department, due to a new Government Framework change Oh, and the Ofsted threat looms heavily, this year, because we are due!

And my son had his GCSEs this summer, which was a stress in itself.

Then we moved house. You know the score.

What’s this got to do with words?

So much.

Because since I have had all the above to deal with, it has been nigh on impossible to have the energy and time to write what I want to be writing. And, to be honest, the last few months, I didn’t want to.

I seemed to have fallen out of love with my story.

And with reading.

And that was a biggie. Here is me, usually reading 5-10 books a month, barely finishing them because I couldn’t even get into these wonderful fictional worlds.

However, reading was the thing I needed to get my head round. Reading books gives me the inspiration I need, to get back to writing. And the last month has seen me read just shy of twenty books!

One was a book with some content similar to the theme I am writing about, and as I read it, I began to ruminate. Through my mind, thoughts ran, along the lines of “I think I can do better than this. No, I KNOW I can do better than this.”

And I did open my manuscript.

I didn’t write much, but I tweaked, and I also found a whole new sub plot to add to the story.

Then I reread the beginnings of another story I had begun to write in the first lockdown. And a skeleton plan of a third.

And I looked at the cover for this one I am writing now, to spur me on.

Words want to come out now. That’s a feeling I haven’t had for a long while.

Now, it’s just finding that balance, betweem, the new commute (we moved a little further away from my work, and the kids school), work itself, and the kids after school commitments.

I have no excuses. I am even blessed to have a whole writing room now, in the new house, complete with reading nook! Here’s some photos of my special space.

Wish me luck. I hope many more words flow in here!

And on to the sale…

As it’s my birthday week, Marriage Unarranged is discounted for the next five days on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk!

Birthday week Sale!

#MarriageUnarranged is 99p/c for the next five days!

Monday 30th August, until Friday 3rd September.

If you fancy a little spice in the end of your summer reading, because, let’s be honest,it’s getting a tad cold out there, be sure to download it, and I’ll consider it a birthday wish from you, to me, too!

getbook.at/MarriageUnarranged

‘Chickpea Curry’ Lit — Chick Lit with an Indian twist!

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…

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!