The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Nov. 28/2020 – Opt

Linda’s #SoCS prompt this week:

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “opt.” Use it as a word or find a word with “opt” in it and base your post on that. Have fun!

If there was a button to press, to opt out of 2020, would you?

Sitting the face of lockdown 2.0, about to head into tier 3 (the strictest of restrictions) for another couple of weeks, it would be easy to adopt the stance that I have hated every moment of this year.

It’s been tough. True.

But would I choose to erase it?


2020 has been momentous for me, for a few reasons.

  • #1 My debut was released!
  • #2 We refurbished the house
  • #3 We put the house on the market so we can concentrate on finding our forever home.
  • #4 I got a promotion.
  • #5 Did I mention, I finally released my book baby!

The world has seen some awful moments, yes, but it’s the little glimmers of joy we should try and show some positivity for.

That’s how I get through life, anyway!

Just opt to adopt
A positive spin on life
It makes things seem brighter

Ritu 2020

November 19: Flash Fiction Challenge – Toilet

It’s been a long old while, but I thought, I have to get back to creating, and why not start with one of Charli’s 99-word fiction challenges!

November 19, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that glorifies a toilet. Capture the marvel and status and love for a contraption we’d rather not mention. Go where the prompt leads!

Hole In One

“But I need to go, right now!” Serena squirmed in the backseat of the car.

“Hold on. It’s not like England, here.” Her mother leaned forward. “Will we be able to stop soon?” She asked her husband, sitting in the passenger seat, as the driver weaved between the traffic.

“Not long.”

They pulled up at a small roadside restaurant, with a few tables set, haphazardly, outside.

“There.” The driver pointed to a tatty door.

Serena ran in, and straight out.

“That was quick!”

“I can’t go in there. It’s just a hole!”

“Welcome to India Memsahib!” The driver grinned.


That’s the first fiction I have written since August!

Hope you enjoy!

Chai And A Chat #110 #ChaiAndAChat #CoronaDiaries Week 34

It feels like Monday comes round way too fast, because there are far too many things happening around me right now. Are you ready with your drink?

  • If we were having chai I’d start with different things, for a change. so, I had my appointment at the hospital, on Thursday. ultrasounds on my elbows, to see if there was any inflamation which could account for some of the pains. I got there in plently of time, though part way through the journey, I realised that my car waas running on fumes! After hurridly finding a petrol station, I refuelled and headed to the hospital, Kindle in hand, prepared for a waait, because that’s what happens in hospitals… except it didn’t. I was seen straight away and the staff were lovely, all covered from head to toe in PPE, and the end result was we can’t see any inflammation, so back to the drawing board… is it some form of arthritis? I don’t know. Waiting time, again, for the consultant to get back to me with results of the MRI, and other bloods that I had done… another waiting game…
  • If we were having chai I’d mention that I received a lovely surprise in th mail, this week, from one of my favourite authors, Amanda Prowse, as a thank you for all the support for her most recent book release, The Boy Between. I was so touched!
  • If we were having chai I’d tell you that it was Diwali on Saturday, but a very muted one, where we couldn’t be with other family, as households can’t mix, right now, due to Lockdown v2.0. We still did a drive by and saw the in laws via the car, then ate lots of yummy food, and lit plenty of candles and divas around the house to celebrate the festival of lights.
  • If we were having chai I’d get baack to what I usually start with, and that is school. Oh, what a crazy week it’s been, and if the weekend has been any indication, it won’t get any easier, any time soon! I had to send home a total of four children home last week, due to symptoms, from both my class and the other Reception class. One of the children in my class is Clinically Extremely Vulnerable, so she is now sheilding for the rest of the four week lockdown, meaning I need to ensure she has her distance learning catered for. One member of staff had her last day on Thursday, which means that until her rplaacement can start, we are short by one body, which is a lot in the Early Years. Thankfully, I have a team of staff, both full time, and part time, who are total angels, and one of them stepped up, offering to do full time for a couple of weeks, to help out, which was a relief… but then, Saturday morning, one of my teacher colleagues messaged me that her other half was unwell and he needed a test done… meaning, we wanted her to stay home, incase it was positive… So rush around to get another part time member of the staff to see if she could cover… it was all set, thank goodness – remember, I said my team are just stars. But the messages didn’t stop, with other members of staff within school either having to isolate, or waiting test results, we are in for a busy, busy, hectic, busy, and totally unknown week. But aa good thing, my team member, who was waiting for her partner’s result? It came back negative, so she will be in as usual, tomorrow. Phew!
  • If we were having chai I’d take a deep breathe and say “That’s not all. As I was talking to said member of staff, my phone rang from an unknown number and usually I don’t answer, but this time I did. And boy, was I glad. It was my own children’s school, to inform me that someone in Lil Princess’s class had tested positive, so she wasa going to have to self isolate for two weeks, and utilise the online learning platform. The biggest disappointment for her was that she was meant to be going to have her teeth taken out tomorrow, to get ready for her braces, and now we have to cancel the appointment! And the one for the orthodontist, the following week. But, luckily, she is pretty good at staying in her room, so self isolation should be a doddle for her! (Just pray that she doesn’t develop any symptoms, please, all!)
  • If we were having chai I’d have to tell you that I may not be able to call Lil Man, Lil Man any more. He is now officially taller than me! But I think he will always be Lil Man for me!
  • If we were having chai I’d mention that we should have a porperty on the market live as of today, fingers crossed. And we went to have a drive by, looking at some of the ones we are interested in buying. Obviously, we can’t go in, but we wanted to look at locations and just get a feel for some of the areas. There are some interesting prospects, put it that way.
  • If we were having chai I’d end by sharing a photo of my beautiful, lazy kitty, who has, after five years, decided he likes his kitty bed!

This week will be an interesting one. Who knows what it holds? I am scared to even think of the future, right now, so the hope is that we all stay healthy, and no one begins to show any symptoms. I hope the house stuff continues in a positive light, and that school isn’t as mad as I fear it is going to be… wish me luck, Peeps. I am really going to need it, I think!

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

Paranormal Warwickshire #BlogTour @scskillman

I am excited to welcome my blog pal, Sheila Skillman to my blog, today, to tell you a little bit about her new release, Paranormal Warwickshire. Having grown up in Warwickshire, I was intrigued, and more than happy to be a part of this particular blog tour.

Let me hand you over!

First of all, thank you very much, Ritu, for allowing me this space on your blog to introduce my new book Paranormal Warwickshire to your readers.

Warwickshire is a county steeped in the supernatural, as befits the county of Shakespeare and the many ghosts and spirits that he conjured up in his works.

The towns and villages of Warwickshire, its castles, houses, churches, theatres, inns and many other places both grand and everyday have rich and complex stories to tell of paranormal presences.

In this book I investigate several stories at places such as Guy’s Cliffe, the Saxon Mill, Warwick Castle and St Mary’s Church, Warwick; Kenilworth Castle and Stoneleigh Abbey; Nash’s House and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, as well as in the towns of Rugby, Nuneaton and Leamington Spa.

I explore the spiritual resonance of each location, recounting the tales of paranormal activity associated with it and examining the reasons for this within the history of the place.

What made me want to write about the paranormal?

I’ve long loved ghost stories, and among my favourites are classic tales of the macabre by such masters as Edgar Allan Poe, Wilkie Collins, and Henry James. There are many brilliant contemporary writers in the genre too, foremost amongst whom we may find  Susan Hill. I remember listening to her at a local literary festival, and speaking of The Woman in Black, she said, “I have never known a story grow legs and run away from me like that one did.”

From my early teens I would eagerly pick up books about curious paranormal cases, and I loved watching TV dramas like Tales of the Unexpected and an adaptation of The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde. More recently I’ve read books such as Shadows in the Nave by Paul Adams, Eddie Brazil and Peter Underwood, and The English Ghost by Peter Ackroyd (these authors are all experienced researchers in the field).

You’ve probably guessed that I’m one of those people who will alight upon a book saying Haunted this or Paranormal that in any tourist gift shop, wherever I may be in the country. And I couldn’t, of course, resist The World of the Unknown: All About Ghosts, first published by Usborne in 1977, and re-issued last year in response to popular demand. 

The key to our fascination with these stories, I believe, is the emotional and psychological effect they have on us. Most of us go about our everyday lives making assumptions about the world we live in, which generally obeys the laws of science. But I, in common with many others, am intrigued by that eerie encounter with the unexpected, when we stray into the borderlands of the unknown.

And I do, of course, love the current TV drama series Ghosts – a brilliant script which cleverly twists the classic paranormal tropes.

How did I start to write Paranormal Warwickshire?

I began by frequently visiting the locations I describe in the pages of my book.  I discovered new things about them each time I returned. Initially, I wrote blog posts about them, in my series Places of Inspiration.

Then a writer friend suggested I gather the posts together in a book. She said she’d certainly read it, and it would need lots of pictures too. I decided to call it Spirit of Warwickshire. When I read out a chapter to my local writing group, I received a positive response, and subsequently approached a few history publishers with the proposal. Amberley Publishing were interested and said they wanted it for their paranormal series. I was only too happy to fulfil that brief, as you can imagine. 

The next stage was to sign the contract with Amberley – a very exciting moment! I then went round all the locations with my photographer son, joining ghost tours, listening to people telling their stories, and of course building up a good selection of photos, many of which are in the book.

I do hope those who read Paranormal Warwickshire will enjoy reading the stories as much as I enjoyed researching them!

Thank you so much, Sheila, for introducing your book to my followers. I was honoured to be given a copy in advance, which I enjoyed reading immensely.

My Review:


A fantastic book filled with tales of ghostly sightings across the county of Warwickshire.
SC Skillman has found some intriguing stories and researched their background and possible origins. The results are fascinating and eye-opening. 
I especially loved the accompanying photographs, old and new, showing the different castles and buildings where these events are said to have taken place.
Warwickshire was where I grew up, and we regularly visited places like Warwick Castle, Kenilworth Castle, Stratford-Upon-Avon and Leamington Spa, so this book held an extra special interest for me.
Thank you to the author for providing me with an arc, for an honest review.

Buy Links:

Social Media Links:

Website and blog: 

Amazon Author Profile:





Sheila lives in Warwickshire, and writes psychological, paranormal and mystery fiction and non-fiction. She is a member of the Society of Authors and the Association of Christian Writers.

She began her publishing journey with a duology of novels Mystical Circles and A Passionate Spirit. This was followed by a non-fiction book Perilous Path: a writer’s journey. Sheila is currently working on the second novel in a new gothic fiction series. 

She posts twice weekly on her blog at and she also gives author talks to local groups.

Sheila was born and brought up in Orpington, Kent, and studied English Literature at Lancaster University. Her first permanent job was as a production secretary with the BBC. Later she lived for nearly five years in Australia before returning to the UK.

She has now settled in Warwick with her husband and son, and her daughter is studying at university in Australia.

12 Days Of Kisses – Christmas Short Story Anthology #BlogTour

I always love to promote work that is for a good cause, and an anthology that is selling for charity is definitey a good cause.

One of the Facebook groups I am a member of, The New Romance Cafe, has a short story anthology, in time for Christmas, and all proceeds go to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Anna Volkin - Home | Facebook

If you’re looking for a read of short, sweet romances with a festive twist, then look no further!


Breast cancer affects one in four women. Here’s your chance to read a swoon-worthy book and help other women at the same time.

Curl up in your comfy chair in front of the fire and know that every book purchased, and every page read raises money for breast cancer research.

This winter romance collection has it all:

  • Small towns
  • Multicultural couples
  • Hawaiian escapes
  • Hot surfers
  • Firefighters – ooh!
  • Delectable bakers and cakees
  • And a touch of noir

Grab Twelve Days of Kisses for romance with all the feels.

12 Days of Kisses, the latest contemporary anthology of short stories for charity from the authors at The Romance Cafe is now available !



***ALL proceeds go to fund research in the fight against breast cancer. ***

Please, head on over to download, read, enjoy, and know that while you are enjoying, you are giving to a good cause, at the same time!

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