Writing Progress: February 2020

This a summary of the highs and lows of my writing this month.

Sick

Eugh! February did not start out good. I felt incredibly tired for three days and then felt better for two days. Then I was very sick. Followed by my son being very sick. Followed by my husband being very sick. And, I literally mean sick! Luckily, my daughter did not get sick and she kept our spirits up.

Sadly, her turn came later in the month when she caught a bad cold and couldn’t breathe due to a blocked nose. It was the worst night ever. I sat up cuddling her and couldn’t sleep for worrying. Then, the next day she cried over every little thing because she was tired. Even though I wasn’t ill, it took its toll on me.

Story Seller Academy

The end of last month I won a place on this content rich course by Pagan Malcolm. So far I have done Module 1 which is about mindset. I thought I had a good mindset but she called me out on some fears I had been ignoring but are definitely there and holding me back.

I need to figure out a way to fit this course into my life as I can tell it is full of information I am going to need in the coming months.

Website New Look

When I bought my site last month I discovered the theme I use is no longer supported. So, this month I updated to a new theme.

This also prompted me to review my site pages. My home page is now ‘my books’ instead of my blog. My home page also features my three most recent book reviews!

I recently learnt that Instagram doesn’t like Link Tree and shadow banned a friend for using a Link Tree link in their profile. I use Link Tree too but thankfully not been shadow banned. To be cautious the link is now to my website.

World Indie Warrior’s Brochure

I have been raising awareness to remind people that if they are an indie creative then they can be included.

I also wrote my first blog post for World Indie Warriors with more details about submissions for the brochure.

My Newsletter

I have been putting together the final touches to my newsletter and sent it on Tuesday, 25 Feb.

Be sure to sign up to make sure you don’t miss out on future emails. A form should pop up on the site to enable this but if you don’t see it, click my link tree at the end of this post and you’ll see a link to sign up.

20 years together

We didn’t get to celebrate as we were ill but we are so happy together. We have our family home, cats, kids and so much love.

Half Term

Tye month included February half term. The week started with Noah having his best friends over to play. And, the week ended in tears due to freezing cold weather at a farm.

In addition, Aria is not sleeping well at night. And, my husband and I juggled childcare around our work commitments. Those that usually help us out couldn’t.

Some days, I felt so exhausted it was an effort to get through the day. Some times I felt I was failing my kids as we didn’t do enough. But, when I asked Noah his thoughts, he told me about cuddling a bunny and bottle feeding a lamb. And, he loved having his friends over so much, he kept his room tidy. I taught him to play cards and, even though he lost, he’s determined to beat me.

Coronavirus

I was starting to feel safe again. I began to convince myself that it is under control and the cases in China were slowing down. But, with the sudden rapid rise in numbers for South Korea and Italy, I am back to worrying.

It saddens me to see how cruel some people are towards those that are suffering. It looks truly terrifying to have an invisible enemy that causes so much heartbreak. My heart goes out to all those affected.

On a positive note though, I am thinking of using all my research to write a Dystopian novel about the after mass of a deadly virus. To stop myself running away with the idea, I will lock the plot bunny in the vault. I must not allow it to distract me from publishing the Soul Heart series.

If you have enjoyed this post, you would like:

My Writing Progress – January 2020

How to make sure you don’t miss out…

Creating a catchy novel title

Do you need Beta or ARC readers?


Click my link tree to discover more ways to connect:

Beta Readers vs Arc Readers

Have you heard the terms Beta reader and ARC reader. Ever wonder what they mean? Here is a simple info graphic breaking down the difference.

Another term occasionally used is Alpha Reader. This is someone who reads a very early draft. Usually it is someone who is known personally by the author.

Beta and ARC readers might be voluntary or a paid service.

My Beta Readers

My goal was to be seeking Beta readers by the end of February. Unfortunately, I am still editing so this is more realistically going tao be end of March,

My plan is to use BetaBooks. It is a platform where you can share you book and gather feedback from Beta Readers. Readers can sign up for free. Writers can use it for free or pay for additional features.

I want to give it a go is because initially it looks really promising. Of course, I’ll review it afterwards to help other writers decide if it is right for them. Once I’ve used the site I will be able to talk about it in more details.

Please let me know if you are interested in being a Beta Reader and how best to notify you. I am most likely to do a shout out on IG.

My ARC Readers

Currently my plan is to either use BetaBooks to share my ARC or to send it as a pdf document if I or readers don’t get on with the site.

I expect the ARC copy will be in a manuscript format. While they read, I will get it formatted for print and eBook, and once I know the page count I will be able to get the cover finalised.

I am hoping my ARC readers will be able to provide reviews in time for release. It would be a bonus if they are able to highlight quotes from my novel that captures the essence of the book that I can use for marketing.

Please let me know if you are interested in being an ARC Reader and how best to notify you. Again, I am most likely to do a shout out on IG.

If you have enjoyed this you will enjoy:

Creating a Catchy Novel Title

How not to miss out

My writing progress – January

12 Tips for Self Editing

Behind the Book: Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S Weaver

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Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S Weaver

What genre is Crown of Conspiracy and can you name any similar books?

Crown of Conspiracy is a court-intrigue high-fantasy book, although I’ve heard it called epic fantasy as well. I’d say it’s new adult, others have said young adult, but because I know where book 2 is going, YA is out of the question.

Similar books I think would be by Trudi Canavan (Age of the Five, the Black Magician trilogy), perhaps the Kushiel Series by Jacqueline Carey. I think my writing style has certainly been inspired by these amazing female authors.

What inspired you to write Crown of Conspiracy?

Writing Crown of Conspiracy started out as a challenge to do NaNoWriMo 2018. I had no idea what to write, until I remember the four lines of the prophecy I came up with over 15 years ago. I remembered the MC (Shalitha) of the story idea I had way back when and decided to roll with it.

When I started writing, I had no idea where the story would go. In fact, it took me writing a first draft, and a second completely different draft to get a much clearer idea.

How long did the first book take to write from the first idea to publishing?

Eight months. I started writing CoC, as mentioned before, during Nano 2018, and I published the book in June 2019.

How many books do you anticipate in the series and is the whole series plotted out?

Currently, I anticipate 4 full novels in the Ilvannian Chronicles, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up writing novellas too from the PoV of side characters; or novellas of events that happened in between the main books. I already have ideas for that.

Can you share tips from your world building process?

Oof, hard. I’m a pantser, so I write as I go, which means my world is built as I go. What I try to do though is draw inspiration from cultures we have around the world and give it my own twist.

I know there’s tips out there which go as far as thinking about the sewage system and where waste goes, which is totally fair, but I wouldn’t get to that until the end, and here’s why. The chances of you writing about that, unless your characters have to escape through said system (for example) aren’t as high as for example learning about their way of life. My tip would be to think about HOW the world around your character influences them and go from there.

Characters and their surroundings go hand in hand; their immediate surroundings create their beliefs, their morals, their values. Think about those first, and continue onwards.

I loved the MC, Shalitha. She is such a strong character. Who inspired the character?

I’m glad you did! I think she goes two ways. People either like her, or don’t. Some people see her as strong, others as weak—to me, she’s both. She’s not infallible. She makes a lot of rookie mistakes in book one, and then tries to deal with the outcome as best she can.

As for who inspired her… I think in a way, I modelled her a lot after my own experiences, or rather, someone I would like to be in the future; strong, a fighter, someone who doesn’t do nonsense, fuelled by sarcasm and witty remarks while still able to care and love.

Crown of Conspiracy blurb

Please share a snippet or teaser from the book.

Having something to do took my mind off the worst of things. When I picked up a book to place it back on the shelf, a piece of paper fell out. I nearly dropped it when I saw what it was—a clear overview of names with suspicions scribbled below them. Xaresh had found out much more than he’d led me to believe.


“Fool,” I murmured. “You stupid, wonderful fool.”


A knock on the door alarmed me and I spun around to see Evan sticking his head around the corner, a smile on his face. I folded the piece of paper behind my back and tucked it deep inside my boot.


“Is everything all right?” he asked with a frown as he saw me hopping around on one leg. “Eh, Elara said you’d be here.”


“I’m fine. Got something in my shoe.”

Tell me about a typical day in the life of Kara S. Weaver?

A typical day in my life? Hah! Welcome to the madhouse.

A typical day for me would be a work day, I guess, where I get up between 5 and 5.15 am, shower, dress, and slap on some make-up so I only look like half a zombie. I prefer getting up before my husband and kids so I can wake up properly without anyone harassing me. I am a morning person, but 5am is pushing it. My husband and kids wake up 6am; I dress them while he gets ready. At 6.45am I leave the house for work. It’s a 45 minute drive, but I don’t mind it as much. It gives me time to think, listen (and sing) to music, plot, whatever.

Then I teach from around 9am to 3pm, go home, pick up the kids from daycare and plop on the couch.

After that, I either read/write/edit/revise/do what needs to be done. My husband cooks, thankfully. It’s something I really do not enjoy doing. After that it’s time to get the kids ready for bed, and depending on how tired I am, I do something for myself and go to bed at 9pm.

Kara S Weaver – Author Bio

What project are you currently working on?

I am currently working on Dance of Despair, book 2 in the Ilvannian Chronicles, although by the time this goes online, I wouldn’t be surprised if I have started on book 3!

BREAKING NEWS: Dance of Despair will be available to buy on 27 February 2020!

View this post on Instagram

This a cover reveal for Dance of Despair book 2 in the series, releasing 27 Feb by Kara S Weaver. At the start of Feb, I reviewed book 1, Crown of Conspiracy and tomorrow’s blog post is a Behind the Book interview with Kara S Weaver. Link to my site in my bio. Repost from @kara_s_weaver using @RepostRegramApp – 𝐑𝐞𝐚𝐥 𝐛𝐞𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐲𝐚𝐥 𝐧𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐬 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐦𝐢𝐞𝐬. When Shalitha’s life takes a dramatic, and dangerous turn for the worse, she must reconcile her new life with the old. Struggling to survive in a foreign country while adjusting to new rules and traditions, she longs for home. Alone, enslaved, and with nobody to trust, she sees no way out, until she meets an enigmatic stranger who makes it his mission to help her. But is he who he claims to be? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ When the new tyrant queen of Ilvanna directs her focus at Talnovar, his will to survive is tested beyond compare. Facing his past is only the beginning. Abandoned by his friends, Tal has to push himself further and harder than ever to outsmart his enemy and honour the wishes of a dead queen. If that means relying on the help of his enemy, so be it. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ******* ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Conspirators! Behold the cover for Dance of Despair, the second installment in the Ilvannian Chronicles. Filled with love and hatred, hope and despair, trust and betrayal, this story takes you on an adventure. What happened to Tarien Shalitha after she was kidnapped? What will Talnovar do to get her back? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ******* ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 𝘾𝙊𝙈𝙄𝙉𝙂 𝙎𝙊𝙊𝙉 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ******* ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 𝐏𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐞 𝐒𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐁𝐞𝐚𝐮𝐭𝐲! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ******* ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #coverreveal #bookcoverreveal #bookstagram #bookish #booksofinstagram #booksbooksbooks #booknerdigan #readersofinstagram #readersofig #readingcommunity #nextread #whattoreadnext #mustread #fantasynovel #newadultfantasy #fantasybookseries #fantasybooks #writingcommunity #writerscommunity #writersofig #ampublishing #writinganovel #indieauthor #indiebooks #danceofdespair #booklover #bookworm #bookaddict #bookcommunity #behindthebook

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Where can we find out more and buy Crown of Conspiracy?

If you follow me on Instagram @kara_s_weaver or go to my website www.karasweaver.com you can find more information about the The Ilvannian Chronicles. Crown of Conspiracy is available on Amazon as paperback, ebook and even on Kindle Unlimited.

If you enjoyed this post, check out:

World Indie Warriors

Behind the Book: Number Eight Crispy Chicken by Sarah Neofield

Book Review: Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S Weaver

Behind the Book:  Gem of Meruna by Elexis Bell


If you enjoy this, you should check out: Why I have chosen to Self-PublishA decade of writingMy plans for 2020To discover more ways to connect, click my link tree.

 

Behind the Book: Gem of Meruna by Elexis Bell

Elexis Bell – Gem of Meruna


The Gem of Meruna blurb

Gem of Meruna made you a published author, but you recently released it again, why?

The first time around, I was woefully undereducated about the publishing world. As such, I didn’t know to run (as fast as possible) from any publisher that expects you to pay them. I thought it was normal for the author to cover part of the costs. But…it definitely isn’t. That was just a vanity press.

My novel received no edits. It got no marketing. I was inundated with phone calls from their marketing people trying to sell me promotional packages, all of which were pitiful yet expensive.

Basically, it was a legal scam and my novel suffered for it. Now that I’m self-publishing, I’m making it right.

You now have three self published books, does publishing get easier?

It does, actually. It’s still very time-consuming and certain aspects are tedious, no matter what. But the metadata, copyright, and ISBN process gets easier with practice. Each time through, I have little tricks I picked up the time before.

What was the earliest story you can remember writing about?

In 3rd or 4th grade, my class was assigned a creative writing project wherein we had to write about a horse and a bat. I don’t remember the story I came up with, but I do recall something my teacher said when she called for me to read it. Apparently, I already had a reputation for writing darker stuff, because she said, “Knowing Elexis, the horse and the bat probably both die.” Lol.

What genre is Gem of Meruna and can you name any similar books?

It’s high fantasy romance. As for similar books…I’m really bad at finding comparison books. That was one of the hardest parts of querying when I was pursuing traditional publishing.

Please share a snippet or teaser from Gem of Meruna?

A noise startled Kiluna awake. It was far too close. The sound came again, right at her ear, but this time, she realized what it was.

Father had often snored when he slept, and Grandmother had, as well. But Kiluna hadn’t heard that sound since they died. Joseya’s snore was much softer, quieter, but its proximity made it seem far louder.

That was when Kiluna noticed it. Joseya no longer faced away from her, rather he nestled in close. One arm curled under his head, but the other wrapped around her waist.

Nothing about it felt strange though, just…right. She didn’t want to move, or even breathe too hard, for fear of waking him. The embrace would be retracted if he woke, she knew it as sure as she knew her scars were still there.

So, she laid still. She concentrated on his breath on the back of her neck. She relished the moment, all the while wondering if this would be the only time she lay near another Leey.

Her eyelids fell, blocking out the world as she savored the closeness. She didn’t notice when she drifted back to sleep.

Several moments later, she felt Joseya stir. His sudden movement made her jump. Instantly, he pulled his arm back to himself, muttering apologies as he did so. Kiluna flinched at his words but held in her pain. A single tear escaped her eye, leaving a tiny wet spot on the earth.

Which character from your books is most like you?

Every character gets a little piece of me. Sometimes it’s my favorite color, sometimes it’s more than that. Annabelle from my novella and Chloe from World for the Broken (my upcoming dark post-apocalyptic romance) have a lot of big experiences from my life, but so does Christian (also from World for the Broken).

What project are you currently working on?

I’m currently editing a dark post-apocalyptic romance, a dark high fantasy romance, and a dark supernatural high fantasy romance for release. Hopefully, I’ll be releasing all three this year, but at the very least two of them. I also just started writing another dark high fantasy romance wherein a deposed prince teams up with a druid high priestess to landscape their enemies to death.

Where can we find out more and buy your books?

My website has information and links for all my published works, as well as little tidbits about my WIPs. My blog is chock full of (blunt) writing advice and updates on all my work.
www.elexisbell.com

All my books are available on Amazon, and can be found on my Amazon author page.
www.amazon.com/author/elexis_bell

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Elexis Bell – Author Bio

If you enjoy this, you should check out:

World Indie Warriors

Behind the Book: Number Eight Crispy Chicken by Sarah Neofield

Book Review: Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S Weaver

Why I have chosen to Self-Publish

To discover more ways to connect, click my link tree:

 

Creating a Catchy Novel Title

Recently, on Instagram we have been discussion how to create a catchy novel title.  It appears to be a very personal decision.  Some people can’t name their novel until they have finished whereas I can’t start my novel until I have a name for it.  Although, as you will see,my ‘working’ titles are not set in stone. 

Catchy Novel Title Infographic

 

Here is a collection of some of the covers I have created for my debut novel over the years (there are more).  I am now going with Ocean Heart.  

Originally my book was called Drift.  You will also notice one called Wipeout.  At one point my novel was two books but during a brutal edit, I cut loads and they became one.  

In 2019, I tore my novel apart (again), deleted loads and added new content.  It changed so much since the first draft, I renamed it Jewel of the sea.  

jewel of the sea cover 2019

My novel is now set for a new venture as I enter the world of Self Publishing.  Now, I am paying for editors and working with other professionals to take my novel to print.  As a result I have renamed my novel again.  The new title is Ocean Heart.  

I have no idea what the new cover will look like.  Once I finish my current edit and know the final word count, I will instruct a professional cover designer.  But for now… edits. 

If you enjoyed this you may like:

Alwyn Hamilton at Felixstowe Book Festival (shares how her publishers named her novel) 

My Plans for 2020

A decade of writing

Why I have chosen to self publish


Click my link tree to discover more ways to connect.

@Redfae

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Book Review: Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S Weaver

I bought this book because I fell in love with the cover. It is stunning. I also have gotten to know the author who is lovely.

Beginning

The book starts with a short prologue that helps to set the world building. It introduces the way the royal family is set up and religious belief system with the gods. Instantly you know that this is another world.

The first chapter jumps in with action and quickly introduces the main characters and their personality. We quickly get a sense of Shalitha’s free spirit and how she feels constrained by the rules in place to protect her. I loved the start so much. The way it was written was so vivid, I could see it in my head playing out like a movie.

Middle

A lot happens in this novel. There are loads of plot twists throwing in things I hadn’t anticipated me. Watching the conspiracies unravel, kept me turning the page to the end.

I won’t give too much away but there are lots of people conspiring against the crown. One traitor manages to capture Shalitha and things get quite dark. This was really well written and I felt her pain, desperation and fear.

Don’t worry, Shalitha is no dainty princess. She trains alongside the palace guards and knows her own mind. It is her feisty spirit that often gets her injured but without it she would probably be dead.

The best part of the middle is the slow burning romance between Shalitha and Talnova. Due to their positions in the palace they both have to take care. It makes their actions believable and I was rooting for them all the way.

The Ending

If you are hoping for a big battle, you have got it. It didn’t end how I expected though and left me needing the next book.

Final Thoughts

I need to read the next book in the series (hurry up Kara). For some reason I thought the book would have more magic than it does. It is really well written and there are lots of good plots within this story. This novel is not predictable and well worth a read.

If you like this post, you will enjoy:

Book Review: Red Queen

Book Review:  Blind Tiger by Rachel Vincent

Book Review: Who runs the world by Virginia Bergolt

Book Review: The Gender Game


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@Redfae