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, 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.

Clientmoji

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!

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…

My Writing Journey, Uncategorized

When You’re Still Waiting… What To Do

Waiting.

It’s painful.

Seriously.

I feel like I’m in limbo.

It’s been six weeks (or just over, actually) since I submitted my manuscript to a publication house. They said they aim to reply to all queries within around six weeks.

And in that six weeks, I have started back at school, and felt the most deadening exhaustion ever. I haven’t been able to get creative at all.

But, if I had the right energy levels, what could I be doing? What could any writer be doing?

  • Start thinking of another project to take your mind off the current situation
  • Take a little mental break
  • Read – both fiction and non fiction
  • Take part in little challenges (or big – I signed up to NaNoWriMo this year, but whether I could actually write 50,000 words in November, is anyone’s guess!)
  • Build up your social media audience
  • Consider starting an email newsletter (Still thinking about this…)
  • Read some of your older work – you may see something new in it.

Aside from trying to get my energy back, I have read a lot (when I don’t fall asleep with the book in my hands) and invested in some new craft books to help improve my writing. And I have been looking for my plans for book two and three too.

But honestly, my creativity has taken a real hit with this tiredness. And not hearing back from the publisher yet, has me on edge.

What is keeping me going, keeping me for letting go of my dream, is the encouragement from others who have been with me on this journey. My beta readers, who know what my story is, and one in particular who was so excited to hear that I am planning a couple more stories involving the characters in my first book.

Surely that must mean something, that someone wants to know more about these figments of my imagination?

Hearing back from this publisher in a positive way will be a certain type of validation for me, but if that doesn’t work out, I’ll be heading on that Indie trail, with the confidence that at least 5 out of 5 of the people who read my manuscript enjoyed it and were excited by it.

That’s gotta mean something, right?

Blog, My Writing Journey

Will They Like My Book?

So, you wrote a book.

Or at least you wrote a story, or a body of text, and you want it to become a book.

What comes next?

Well, you know, from my previous post here, about things getting too much that it’s not just about writing. There is rereading, and rewriting and editing involved that can take a while.

After all that work, have you finally got something worth reading?

I mean, that’s why I write. To be read. You know that. I mentioned it here.

And the only way I know it will be something worthy of a reader’s attention, is by sending it out to a few readers.

Those in the know call these test pilots Beta Readers. Or you can strip it down further and say your first readers, those who will feedback with information as to whether your story is viable, are your Alpha Readers.

Then after rounds of edits and rewrites, come your Beta Readers. They are the ones who will give you the feedback that can take your book from good to great.

Some Beta Readers are there to give you general feedback.

  • Does the story engage the reader?
  • Does it make sense?
  • Any major plot holes?
  • They will give a great general piece of feedback for you to mull over

Some go that bit further:

  • Give more specific feedback about style of writing
  • Point out spelling or grammar errors, or those missed full stops and unneccesary spaces
  • Give detailed notes on every page

All this feedback is great. But what do you do with it all?

Well, having sent my manuscript to five trusted Beta Readers, I am awaiting the full feedback from a couple but I have already had some. Here are a couple of pointers to remember.

  • Wait for all your feedback to come in before making any major changes
  • Check to see whether there are any similarities in the feedback that may highlight an issue that you need to tackle
  • Remember there’s no such thing as bad feedback. If you sent it to the right people, all will be constructive
  • Don’t forget it is one persons opinion
  • Pick and choose what you decide to alter. It is your book, after all
  • Keep positive comments handy to cheer yourself up when things are tough, but don’t forget any negative words. They are there to help you better your work.

These are the comments I have kept to make me feel these last 19 years have been worth it!

I was so down last week, having let editing get to me, so I had a total break from everything for a few days. It helped immensely. I woke up one day feeling so positive about the whole situation that I ended up submitting my manuscript to a publisher. Just like that!

I don’t have my head in the clouds, but if you don’t try, you won’t know, will you?

Now I just have to wait… wait for the rest of the Beta Reader feedback… wait to hear back from the publisher…

My Writing Journey, Uncategorized

When It All Gets A Bit Too Much

Writing.

It’s an overwhelming business, you know.

If you ask someone who doesn’t write, their image of a writer at work, would be someone surrounded by books, a computer or paper to hand, tapping on a keyboard, or scribbling ideas down furiously.

Or gazing out of the window at a picturesque writers retread, pencil at the ready for any ispiration that might hit.

Or that other chestnut, the writer taking up a table at the local coffee shop, empty cups strewn across said table, and laptop set up, ready for that literary greatness to fill the screen.

Yes.

That’s it.

That’s exactly how all those books out there came to fruition.

A few hours or days to write or type, and a perfect story is created, ready for publication.

NOT!

The writing journey, along with the subsequent editing process, is an arduous one. And though you may spend a lot of it on your bottom, you use up your mental energy more than you realise.

When I decided to really ramp up the writing of my first draft, I used the month of August in 2017 and created my own mini #RiNoWriMo, as November and #NaNo WriMo is beyond me, what with being a teacher in my other life.

So August, that sacred month for teachers, where you get time off, was sacrificed for my writing.

And write, I did!

But I didn’t know how much writing 2,500+ words a day would take out of me.

I started back to school in September an emotional wreck. Not the best way to start the academic year, I’ll have you know. Although pushing myself to write hit word count goals, it zapped me of any energy, and the ability to function emotionally for a few weeks. Writing had become too much.

And the draft still wasn’t finished. I wondered whether this writing malarkey was really for me?

So when I decided that this August, two years on, would be my month for editing, I had to keep my emotional wellbeing in mind too.

#RiNoEdMo has nearly come to a close, and I have worked my pudgy behind off (not literally, because if I had, that would be wonderful, but I digress…) to go through this manuscript with a fine tooth comb. It took me 10 days to finish the first of my ‘final’ edits.

Once it was off to beta readers, I sat back with a light heart, and one heck of a headache.

That mental tiredness had kicked in. It had officially become too much.

Bitmoji Image

So, I scheduled time for me, time with my children and family, time to read.

And, yes, I have revisited my draft, as and when feedback drips in, tweaking easy bits, but I have put it on the back burner so I can get back into my other life mindset. (I hate to call it real life, because writing is part of my real life too, it’s just my alter-life… By day wife, mother and teacher. By night writer and sleeper.)

One week until school beckons to me. One week to get some of that r’n’r. One week to maybe add a few more tweaks Stop it woman, you are meant to be resting!

I have compiled a list of things I do to help me get that ‘me’ time as well as being as productive as possible, within a short timespan.

  • Take regular breaks and hydrate.
  • Give yourself a time limit for how long you will spend on your manuscript every day.
  • Treat yourself when you reach a goal. A bubble bath, a manicure, a drink…
  • If your head hurts, listen to it, and step away for a while.
  • Always have a good book handy to read as a reward.
  • Plan a day out.
  • Change the scenery around you – write in the garden one day, on your bed on another, take your laptop for a trip to a different place. It’s as refreshing as a break.

All little things, but they do help to keep your wellbeing from sinking, as you swim through the ocean of Getting That Book Out There.

Do you have any other advice for keeping sane while writing and editing?