Colleen’s Coffee Klatch: Ritu Bhathal

Hello everyone! Welcome to Colleen’s Coffee Klatch. Where I grew up, the Kaffee klatsch was all the rage. Folks (mostly women) would get together, share a cup of coffee, and catch up on their lives. Thanks so much for stopping by to share a cup of coffee and a chat. Every month, I like to reconnect with my favorite authors to catch up and see what’s new in their writing world.

This week I’m thrilled to introduce my friend & author, Ritu Bhathal.

Ritu Bhathal was born in Birmingham in the mid-1970s to migrant parents, hailing from Kenya but with Indian origin. This colourful background has been a constant source of inspiration to her.

From childhood, she always enjoyed reading. This love of books is credited to her mother. The joy of reading spurred her on to become creative in her writing, from fiction to poetry. Winning little writing competitions at school and locally encouraged her to continue writing.

As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and teacher, she has drawn on inspiration from many avenues to create the poems that she writes.

A qualified teacher, having studied at Kingston University, she now deals with classes of children as a sideline to her writing!

Ritu also writes a blog, http://www.butismileanyway.com, a mixture of life and creativity, thoughts and opinions, which was awarded first place in the Best Overall Blog category at the 2017 Annual Bloggers Bash Awards, and Best Book Blog in 2019.

Ritu is happily married and living in Kent, with her Hubby Dearest, and two children, not forgetting the fur baby Sonu Singh.

Amazon.com

Hi, Colleen. It’s great to share a cup of coffee with you!

Hi Ritu. I can’t wait to hear your exciting news!

The big news is that Marriage Unarranged is officially re-released on Monday, June 6th from Spellbound Books. 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 after the ebook release.

It will now officially be part of a series, The Rishtay Series, with book two coming out in June 2023! Rishtay means relationships, which covers both romantic and familial relationships that are at the heart of this whole series.

I can’t believe it is happening on Monday! Eeek!

Ritu, I loved Marriage Unarranged. Here’s my review:

My review from GoodReads:

Aashi is getting married! She envisions herself dressed in different bridal outfits, and she feels like a princess… until she turns up at Ravi’s house. The door is answered by Nishi, a drop-dead gorgeous co-worker of Ravi who leaves abruptly after Aashi’s arrival.

Aashi is a lovely young woman, the kind any man would be thrilled to marry. She’s a bit naïve, but still gives Ravi, the man of her dreams, the benefit of the doubt… until she discovers the empty condom box. His betrayal is a stab to her heart. She’s got nothing left except to explain to her parents and family the depth of Ravi’s betrayal.

Aashi battles the humiliation of a broken engagement by embarking on a new adventure in India accompanied by her brothers and best friend, Kiran. When the mysterious Arjun shows up, Aashi discovers a certain attraction that just won’t go away. Where will their relationship lead?

“Marriage Unarranged,” is a Hindi love story like no other. I found myself emersed in the culture of India, learning new Punjabi names for friends and family, including religious and cultural traditions. Did I forget to mention the food? How about the clothes? It all swept me away!

However, this book isn’t only about a young woman’s passage into adulthood. The author broaches many cultural taboos: broken engagements, children born out of wedlock, and homosexuality, all explored with kindness and acceptance.

Aashi’s parents (Harjit, her mother and Mohinder-ji, her father) only want what is best for their children. Are they equipped to go against cultural norms, all for the love of their family?

“Marriage Unarranged,” played out in my mind like a movie on the big screen. I smelled the incense, prayed at the Gurdwara with Aashi, caught the sparkle from the bangle bracelets for sale in the market; and I fell in love with the characters. I can’t wait to find out where the author takes us next!

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from the author. It was such a good read; I had to share my thoughts.


How exciting this must all be for you! You’re positively glowing!

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 about 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!

There you have it! This book is available to PREORDER now!

Media Connections

Twitter: @RituBhathal

Facebook

Author Blog

Blog: But I Smile Anyway

Would you like to stop by for coffee and a chat? Email me at Colleen@wordcraftpoetry.com and pitch me your news. I can’t wait to hear what’s new for you! 💜 🦄 🧹

Colleen’s Coffee Klatch: Welcome M J Mallon, @Marjorie_Mallon

Hello everyone! Welcome to Colleen’s Coffee Klatch. Where I grew up, the Kaffeeklatsch was all the rage. Folks (mostly women) would get together, share a cup of coffee, and catch up on their lives. Thanks so much for stopping by to share a cup of coffee and a chat. Every month, I like to reconnect with my favorite authors to catch up and see what’s new in their writing world.

This week I’m thrilled to introduce my friend, and Sister of the Fey, Marjorie Mallon.

Author, MJ Mallon

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros! M J Mallon was born in Lion city, Singapore, a passionate Scorpio with the Chinese Zodiac sign of a lucky rabbit. She spent her early childhood in Hong Kong. During her teen years, she returned to her father’s childhood home, Edinburgh, where she spent many happy years, entertained and enthralled by her parents’ vivid stories of living and working abroad. Perhaps it was during these formative years that her love of storytelling began bolstered by these two vivid raconteurs. She counts herself lucky to have travelled to many far-flung destinations, and this early wanderlust has fuelled her present desire to emigrate abroad. Until that wondrous moment, it’s rumoured that she lives in the UK, in the Venice of Cambridge with her six-foot hunk of a rock god husband. Her two enchanting daughters have flown the nest but often return with a cheery smile. Her motto is to “Do what Your Heart Desires.” And her favourite genre to write is fantasy/magical realism, because life should always be sprinkled with a liberal dash of extraordinarily imaginative magic!

mjmallon.com

Hi, Colleen. It’s great to share a cup of coffee with you!

Hi Marje. I know you’ve just released a new book called “Golden Healer” the second book in the Curse of Time series. Tell us about this book.

Sure. Here’s the blurb:

I didn’t think my life could get any weirder until the dreaded rollercoaster… Amelina Scott’s destiny is to be a Krystallos: a magician of light, chosen to learn the ways of crystal magic on her 16th birthday. Located on a river pathway in a mysterious part of Cambridge, the Crystal Cottage is guarded by mythical beings.

Unfortunately, there are those who seek to harm this haven of light. Learning of Ryder – a Shadow Sorcerer with hypnotic powers – Amelina discovers that her own magic is now threatened, and that the Curse of Time might be unleashed again.

As secrets abound and the creatures of the Chronophage come alive, can Amelina become the true magician she needs to be?

Amazon.com

The series is a unique, imaginative mystery full of magic-wielding and dark elements. Bloodstone is a riveting adventure for anyone interested in fantasy, mythology, or the world of the paranormal. NOTE: this book contains mention of self-harm, mental health issues and alludes to the potential dangers of sexual attraction, which may trigger younger/sensitive readers.

This sounds fabulous, Marje. Tell me, what inspired you to write this adventure?

I dedicated this book to the one and only rollercoaster that I ever rode. It was in Portugal, and I was on holiday with my young family. I’ll never forget that day. I overcame my fears and rode a rollercoaster with the encouragement of my much-loved family, my husband, David, and daughters, Natasha and Georgina. So, it’s time to ride another rollercoaster… I hope you will come along with me for this crazy ride! Let’s meet our fears together…

The Corpus Christi Chronophage clock on King’s Parade in Cambridge was another inspiration:

http:// http://www.johnctaylor.com/the-chronophage/

Here is some poetry inspired by the chronopage too: https://mjmallon.com/2017/09/17/poetry-inspiredby-the-dragon-chronopage-colleens-weekly-poetrychallenge-no-50-haiku-tanka-haibun-voice-watch/

And Juniper Artland—artist Anya Gallaccio’s sculpture The Light pours out of Me. https://www.jupiterartland.org/art/anya-gallaccio-the-light-pours-out-of-me/

And the 2nd book Golden Healer mentions a popular old haunt of Cambridge which has since closed down called the Clowns Cafe.

Now that’s what I call inspiration! I can’t wait to finish reading Golden Healer. Thanks for stopping by to share your news, Marje. All the best to you and this new release.

Thanks for the coffee, Colleen.

Media Connections

Published by Next Chapter Publishing

Bloodstone (The Curse of Time Book 1) https://books2read.com/u/bOyrgW

http://mybook.to/bstmm

https://www.nextchapter.pub/books/bloodstone

Published by Kyrosmagica Publishing

Mr Sagittarius (Poetry, prose and photography)

http://mybook.to/MrSagittarius

 This Is Lockdown (Anthology/Compilation)  

Kindle: http://mybook.to/Thisislockdown 

Paperback: http://mybook.to/Thisislockdownpb

Lockdown Innit: Poems About Absurdity (Poetry Collection) http://mybook.to/Lockdowninnit

Amazon.com Author Page

MJMallon.com

Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon

Would you like to stop by for coffee and a chat? Email me at Colleen@colleenchesebro.com, and pitch me your chat idea. I can’t wait to hear what’s new for you!

Colleen’s Coffee Klatch: Welcome, Sarah Brentyn @SarahBrentyn

Hello everyone! Welcome to Colleen’s Coffee Klatch. Where I grew up, the Kaffeeklatsch was all the rage. Folks (mostly women) would get together, share a cup of coffee, and catch up on their lives. Thanks so much for stopping by to share a cup of coffee and a chat. Every month, I like to reconnect with my favorite authors to catch up and see what’s new in their writing world.

This week, I asked Sarah Brentyn to stop by to talk about her newest endeavor: a flash fiction anthology called, “The Shadows We Breathe.” This is an anthology of short fiction, featuring Volume One, and now, Volume Two. She has compiled and edited the books featuring the work of several authors.

Meet Sarah Brentyn:

Sarah Brentyn is an introvert who believes anything can be made better with soy sauce and wasabi. She loves words and has been writing stories since she was nine years old. She talks to trees and apologizes to inanimate objects when she bumps into them. When she’s not writing, you can find her strolling through cemeteries or searching for fairies. She hopes to build a vacation home in Narnia someday. In the meantime, she lives with her family and a rainbow-colored, wooden cat who is secretly a Guardian.


Here you go, Sarah. I brought you a Grande.

Hi Colleen. Thanks. It’s great to share a cup of coffee with you!

I’m so glad you’re here. I know you’ve just published the second volume of your anthology, “The Shadows We Breathe.” I’ve read and reviewed the first volume. I enjoy short fiction as much as my syllabic poetry. Each story was an impactful read! Here’s my review.

Thanks. I’m so happy you enjoyed the book.

You know, Sarah… I love the book covers for this anthology. Tell us a bit about the artwork.

Line art may sound easy. May even look easy. Squiggle here, curve there, dot there. Done. And, perhaps, for some, that’s how it goes. What do I know? The extent of my artistic abilities is drawing a recognizable stick figure of a cat.

I know what you mean, Sarah. I’m not artistic in the least. Yet, you figured out how to make the covers work.

“I don’t know how art works.” This was my mantra while working with the artist for my flash fiction collections, and it remained that way through the process of working with that same patient, saint-like artist for “The Shadows We Breathe”series.

I had this gorgeous cover in mind—striking, minimalist, and bold. I told her what I was imagining. It went something like this: “I want a face.” Uh… Okay. (Elaboration was needed).

So, I proceeded to make things clear as mud for her.

In my head, it sounded perfectly simple and straight-forward. Out loud, it sounded more like, “A woman’s face. But, like, not all done up with makeup and stuff. Sort of abstract but not like Picasso but not realistic but not a cartoon but…” and so on until she just asked me to show her what I meant.

That went well.

Oh, no! I can only imagine, Sarah.

Moving on. She sketched something out in between bites of her lunch and sent it to me. It was way too, um, er, uh… Too much? Too…? “Too detailed?” she suggested. Yes. That.

She converted it to digital, and we proceeded to cut, remove, cut, remove, cut, remove until… Voilà! Line art.

It probably would have helped if I’d said, “I’d love a minimalistic line art drawing of half a woman’s face on a distressed background,” but alas, I did not.

But, somehow, we eventually got there, and it’s exactly how I imagined it. Striking. Minimalist. Bold. I was unsure how it would be received by readers because of its simplicity, but I loved it, so I went with it.

You might be surprised what the final image looked like in that very first sketch. In case you’re interested, here you go:

Thanks to the amazingly talented Loni Townsend.

Sarah, thanks so much for introducing us to “The Shadows We Breathe,” Volumes one and two.

It was a great pleasure. Thanks for including the links to the books and the authors. Thanks for the coffee, Colleen. ❤️ ☕️

Life promises joy and sorrow. Alongside the light, there will always be traces of darkness. It is the nature of being human. In this anthology of short fiction, we explore relationships—how they sculpt us, hurt us, help us, and reveal our deepest desires. Eight artists, whose words paint worlds, bring you stories of heartache, loss, hope, and forgiveness. They unveil the intimacy and complexity of relationships. Whether family, friend, or lover, connections to others can hold us up or break us down. Within these pages, beautiful words are spun into tales threaded with darkness. Discover the shadows we breathe.

Amazon.com

Volume One Contributors:

Contributors 💕

Georgia Bell is the author of Unbound, a young adult paranormal romance about love, fear, and immortality. She was raised on a steady diet of science fiction and fantasy and began writing the stories she wanted to read over a decade ago.

Author Page | Twitter

Maria Carvalho is a multi-genre writer whose short stories have appeared in a wide variety of magazines and anthologies, including Under the Full Moon’s Light and Cabinet of Curiosities (both by Owl Hollow Press).

Author Page | Twitter

Reena Dobson began pursuing her creative writing with a vengeance when she realised the world was never going to stop and give her time to write. She now writes at the edges, in sunshine and under cover of darkness.

Author Page | Twitter

Ali Isaac is a writer and blogger living in Co. Cavan, Ireland. In 2020, she was awarded a writing mentorship by Words Ireland and the Arts Council of Ireland, working under the guidance of author, Sara Baume. Her writing has been published in The Stinging Fly, Sonder, and Paper Lanterns.

Author Page | Twitter

D. Wallace Peach, best-selling fantasy author, started writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked.

Author Page | Twitter

Allie Potts lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband, two children, and spoiled dog. When not finding ways to squeeze in 72 hours into a 24-hour day, Allie consumes and creates science fiction, fantasy, post-apocalyptic quests, cozy mysteries, and contemporary fiction.

Author Page | Twitter

Mary Smith, author and poet, is based in Scotland. Her memoir Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women focusses on her work in Afghanistan, which also provides the setting for her novel No More Mulberries.

Author Page | Twitter

Available NOW in both eBook and Paperback

Life promises joy and sorrow. Alongside the light, there will always be traces of darkness. It is the nature of being human. In this anthology of short fiction, we explore health—how the state of our bodies and minds nurtures us, damages us, and forms our reality. Eight artists, whose words paint worlds bring you stories of pain, confusion, acceptance, and courage. They reveal the conflicting and contrasting nature of health. Whether mental or physical, our state of being can create chaos or bring us peace. Within these pages, beautiful words are spun into tales threaded with darkness. Discover the shadows we breathe.

Amazon.com

Volume Two Contributors:

Georgia Bell is the author of Unbound, a young adult paranormal romance about love, fear, and immortality. She was raised on a steady diet of science fiction and fantasy and began writing the stories she wanted to read over a decade ago.

Author Page | Twitter

Ruth Daly’s poetry, humour, fiction, non-fiction, and contemplative pieces have been published in magazines for children, young adults, and families. She has written 59 children’s books for educational publishers covering such varied topics as musical instruments, endangered animals, rocks and minerals, and explorers.

Blog | Twitter

Ali Isaac is a writer and blogger living in Co. Cavan, Ireland. In 2020, she was awarded a writing mentorship by Words Ireland, and the Arts Council of Ireland, working under the guidance of author, Sara Baume. Her writing has been published in The Stinging Fly, Sonder, and Paper Lanterns.

Author Page | Twitter

R.A. Kerr is a life-long classic film enthusiast and has been blogging about old movies for a decade. She is also a freelance writer and editor, and has facilitated creative writing workshops for kids.

Blog | Twitter

S. Mitchell-Jackson writes prose and poetry. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Queen’s Ferry Press Best Small Fictions award. She won the Channillo Short Story Prize in 2020. 

Author Page | Twitter

D. Wallace Peach, best-selling fantasy author, started writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked.

Author Page | Twitter

Allie Potts lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband, two children, and spoiled dog. When not finding ways to squeeze in 72 hours into a 24 day, Allie consumes and creates science fiction, fantasy, post-apocalyptic quests, cozy mysteries, and contemporary fiction.

Author Page | Twitter

Available NOW in both eBook and Paperback

Would you like to stop by for coffee and a chat? Email me at colleenchesebro333@gmail.com, and pitch me your chat idea by December 3, 2021. I only have one opening for December 2021 left. ❤️ ☕️