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 Sale! #CoronavirusRead #BookSale

Hey there, everyone! Just wanted to give you the heads up that my book baby, Marriage Unarranged is on sale this weekend, from Friday 3rd April, through to midnight on Monday 6th April!

It’s down to only 99p/99c on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk on Kindle.

Take advantage of the sale now, while you can!

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Chickpea Curry Lit – Chick Lit with an Indian Twist!

getbook.at/MarriageUnarranged

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…

And it’s gathering ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ reviews too!

5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Splendid

Marriage Unarranged is probably one of the best “Getting Over a Breakup” stories I’ve ever come across. Culturally rich and emotionally captivating, it’s a story that inspires us to find and refine our best qualities, to get back up off scraped knees when life knocks us down. From the first sentence, I was hooked. This novel, though written in lush prose, reads quickly, and deserves to be re-read in years to come. Sit back with a cup of chai and immerse yourself in the splendor that is Marriage Unarranged.

5.0 out of 5 stars You fall in love with the characters… And India!! Such a beautiful read.

Where do I start!! An amazing read and incredibly relatable. I’ve read this in an afternoon! I did not want to put it down!! Ritu captures your full attention in the first few pages….. The mention of Hindi tapes! There are so many ‘throw-backs’ in this novel, which have made me very nostalgic about the 90’s (I’m a mid-80’s baby!) The Ravi and Nishi characters, their behaviour, reminiscent of many characters from my school-days, but then there is Aashi. She is courageous, displaying self-control, behaving with such integrity and dignity. She is inspiring. This is a fantastic read. Ritu has inspired me to revisit India!!

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Marriage Unarranged

No, It’s Not About Me… Or You… (That’s why it’s called Fiction)

Made With Canva

It’s been a whirlwind week since the launch, last Sunday, and I have been overwhelmed by the support from everyone.

From the blog tour posts (thank you to the awesome hosts), all the sharing of my book release, to the numerous comments of encouragement, I have been overwhelmed!

And, I am so excited to tell you that there are already several 5-star reviews on Amazon AND Goodreads.

But… there are so many people who automatically thought that as I have written a book, it must be about my life.

Er, no, folks, it’s not an autobiography, it’s fiction!

And, if you weren’t aware, I am married, happily! (No unarranging here – it wasn’t arranged at all, total love story here, but that is a personal story 😉)

If you ask any author, they will have been asked similar questions – unless you write science fiction, or fantasy, in which case, most readers will presume you have created your world from your crazy imagination.

It’s true what they say:

“Be careful around a writer – anything you do or say could be used for inspiration.”

But that doesn’t mean that I would take a person from my life and base a character, or story around them. Do I want to be sued?

Made with Canva

Sure, there may be elements of different people I have encountered in my life, within certain characters.

I’ll tell you for free that Daddy-ji in Marriage Unarranged is based loosely on my Pops. But the situations in the story are not situations that have arisen in our lives. It’s just his manner and how he handles things. Those who know my Pops would agree.

But aside from the fact that my main character is a young British-born Sikh girl who happens to be from Birmingham, there is nothing to link her to me (other than I created her!)

The places we visit in the book, in the UK and India, are based upon places I have been to. If I haven’t been there, how can I give you the best, most realistic feelings?

In fact, my mum is currenty reading the book, and, aside from making a small comment about a couple of rude Punjabi words used, said that she is enjoying it immensely, and the descriptions of the trip to India are bringing back memories of our own trip to Delhi when we went to do my wedding shopping twenty years ago.

So, no, the book isn’t about me, at all, and it’s not about you either (well, not all of it…😉)

You want to know what all the fuss is about?

‘Chick Pea 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…

On Amazon – click here!

Marriage Unarranged Blog Tour

2020 Conversations with Colleen ~ Featuring Author, Ritu Bhathal @RituBhathal

This is it. The last day of the Blog Tour. I am being featured on Colleen’s blog, where you get to meet Aashi’s mum and dad – two key characters!

I’m thrilled to be part of an amazing writing community that helps to support other authors. Today, please welcome poet and author, Ritu Bhathal to discuss her new book, “Marriage Unarranged,” available for purchase at the link below. https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B082Z5D4NF&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_3dCqEbRKJ5T4R&tag=colleencheseb-20 I’ve had the opportunity to read this book and you can read my 5 STAR review below.…

Source: 2020 Conversations with Colleen ~ Featuring Author, Ritu Bhathal @RituBhathal

Marriage Unarranged

Marriage Unarranged #ReleaseDay #PubDay

Finally, the day has come!

PUB DAY!

No, not sit in a drinking establishment and sup a gin or three all day (though that may be quite fun!) but Publication Day.

After all this time, my book baby has finally been delivered!

Yes, Marriage Unarranged is finally out there, in the world, delivered to at least fifty Kindles this morning, and the paperback is also available too.

How am I feeling?

A bag of nerves. The feedback will hopefully start to filter in soon, and I know I love my book baby, but I really want you to love it too!

Described as Chickpea Curry Lit – Chick Lit with an Indian twist! And not just for chicks, you chap(patti)s too!

Graphic made by Kate Rock ❤

‘Chick Pea 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…

Order now at getbook.at/MarriageUnarranged

I’ve had some fantastic Blog Tour visits, so far, and there are are still a few to come, so please check them out to get a few more insights into the book, and me!

Marriage Unarranged, Marriage Unarranged Blog Tour

Staying in with Ritu Bhathal, Author of Marriage Unarranged

Day 6 of the blog tour, and we are ‘Staying In’ with Linda and her Book Bag! Pop over for some masala chai and a great recipe too!

Linda's Book Bag

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It’s a real pleasure to be staying in with Ritu Bhathal today to celebrate her latest book Marriage Unarranged as I’ve met Ritu in real life and she’s lovely! My thanks to her for inviting me to be part of this blog tour.

Staying in with Ritu Bhathal

Hi Ritu. Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

Thank you so much for having me, Linda. I am nervously excited!

I think we might just have guessed, but tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it? 

Today, I have brought my new book, Marriage Unarranged. This truly is my book baby, having lovingly created it over the last twenty years. It has reached adult status, age-wise, and now it is time for it to grow wings and fly the nest…

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