Writing Progress: July

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

Camp NaNo

My goals were:

  • Finish Sky Heart
  • Read two books

You are about to discover neither of those goals were met. I failed Camp NaNo but hopefully you’ll agree my month was still a success when you see how much I did achieve off plan.

Ocean Heart Cover

This has been one of the most exciting developments this month.

I had to complete a very in-depth questionnaire about my novel that challenged me to think about things I hadn’t thought about. I even did an Ingram Spark course and measured books from my bookshelf to figure out what trim size I needed.

The questionnaire also got me excited about the future of the series as it helped me visualise it becoming a reality and not just an idea in my head.

My cover designer sent me the first draft. I shared it with some close author friends to get their feedback. They loved it and didn’t want me to change a thing.

But, I’ve waited such a long time for this moment, I wanted the cover to be perfect. The cover was stunning but there were tiny details I wanted tweaked. I felt awkward asking for changes to such a gorgeous cover but my designer was so nice about it – actually she was excited to make it even better.

My cover designer sent me the second draft and it’s the one. I am now trying to work out how to do a cover reveal – eek!

Ocean Heart Blurb

I loved the blurb I wrote for Ocean Heart. Over the years I’ve tweaked it and used it on sites like WeBook to Wattpad.

I’m going to share a blog post on the “making of the blurb” but the new version is so much better. I’m glad I asked for help.

Finish Sky Heart

I wanted to finish the first draft of Sky Heart but when I opened the manuscript I was lost as to what was going on!

I went back to the start and began making notes on the chapters. I thought it was a good first draft. But, in my read through, I found so many mistakes. So many!

I’ll confess I am intimidated by the amount of work needed here. Although I haven’t been physically working on it, I have been thinking about how to develop and improve what I’ve got.

Expanding my Social Network

I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole in trying to find out the truth the mainstream news won’t report on. It started with the Coronavirus, then a few conspiracy theories… and recently anything about Jeffrey Epstein & Ghislaine Maxwell, and the full details of Johnny Depp vs Sun (Amber Heard’s accusations).

Before, I drag you off on a tangent, the reason I mentioned this is my search for the truth opened my eyes to more social media.

Parler (@Redfae)

Parler is similar to Twitter but without political biases. They allow content to be from both sides of an argument as long as you don’t breech their community guidelines.

The benefits are that the ‘tweets’ look nicer on Parler and there is more engagement (interaction).

The negatives are the link to my profile doesn’t seem to work, so I can’t share it. Also, I’m not into USA politics and Parler is heavily saturated with Trump supporters that have been silenced on Twitter.

YouTube (Ally Aldridge)

Thanks to learning about making videos for Noah’s channel, it’s made me think more about daring to make my own content.

This month I made and edited two videos and plan to launch my channel next month. Eek!

Coming Soon

SuperFanz (Redfae)

This is kind of like an RSS feed for social media. My page is linked to my Instagram and YouTube. Whenever I post to those sites it appears in my SuperFanz feed. I’m still navigating the site but it looks good.

TikTok

I was very briefly on here to see what all the fuss is about. Then, I heard the site is mining data. I deleted the app but couldn’t see how to delete my account.

Story Origin

I’m still figuring this out but it seems to be a networking site for authors newsletters. They feature each other in their newsletters to boost each other.

I need to dare to get involved but I’m currently sitting on the sidelines trying to figure it out.

Book Bub

I joined this site but not figured out how to use it. It seems to be similar to Good Reads where you can review & recommend books and follow authors.

I think there are tools for authors to promote their books and give fans offers.

Ocean Heart Copy Edit

Ocean Heart has gone back to my editor for a final copy edit. We had a meeting to discuss some parts of my novel. It was great getting to speak to my editor, she’s really insightful and encouraging – whilst highlighting my mistakes.

My editor doesn’t think it’ll take me too long to go through the changes but… I worry I’m slower than most people.

Once it comes back to me, I’ll work on it for a month then send to my formatter.

Course

Storyseller Academy

So, my goal this month was to do the Storyseller Academy course. When I got midway through the month and realised I’d still not had time, I was very cross with myself. I vowed to make it a priority. I’m not sure what happened but I still haven’t made any progress on this.

I honestly want to do this course and it frustrates me that it’s not happened. Why? Because it’s full of important content, I want to give it my full attention.

During the day, I’m very distracted. It can take me a whole morning to post on Instagram because the kids keep interrupting me. In the evenings, I’m often tired from the day and have to squeeze everything in from self care & time with my husband through to urgent actions for Ocean Heart.

This course is specifically about how to successfully sell your books which is what I need to learn very soon! I may just do it without taking notes – it’s not like I can’t re-watch the videos.

Ingram Sparks course

I did one of the free Ingram Sparks course to get a better understanding of the different book formats, sizes and trims etc.

YouTube course

I started a course on how to start a YouTube channel. I want to create an authortube/booktube channel with a little vlogging. It’s all bitesize learning.

Google Digital Garage in collaboration with Open University

I almost finished their digital marketing course. For a free course it was pretty good. It covers a lot of the basics about creating an online presence and when I finish it I’ll get a certificate – Yay!

Reading

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

I read my physical books when Aria is asleep. She is the destroyer of books and it really upsets me when she destroys them. After a month of heavy editing, I am trying to spend more evenings with my husband. As a result, I’m now only up to chapter 26 – I estimate this as 75% if the way through .

When I should be reading, I’ve been watching the entire season of Warrior Nun and Cursed, both on Netflix.

Agent Undone by Cassidy Reyne

I usually read eBooks during the day but recently life has been full of day time distractions and this has taken a knock. I’m up to chapter 10 which my kindle says is roughly 30% through.

WIW Blog

I’ve written three blog posts for World Indie Warriors. They are scheduled for August and all about how you can get involved in the WIW Brochure!

Husband’s birthday

It hasn’t all been work, work, work. I literally took time off from my day job and spent a long weekend with my hubby and kids just chilling out together. We ate cheesecake and shushi.

Happy Birthday Rob

If you enjoyed this, check out:

Why you need a developmental editor!

Camp NaNo July 2020

Find your Summer Reads in the latest WIW Brochure

Making his YouTube dream come true…

Behind the Book: Wiccan Romances – Sam’s Story

Thank you for agreeing to let me interview you again. This time is about Sam’s Story, the second book in your Wiccan Romances series. 



Was it easier to publish book 2 & did you do anything different to how you published book 1? 

It was much easier to publish book 2 as I already had a lot of the formatting saved on my memory stick from writing the first one, so where it took me a good couple of weeks to get the formatting correct on Amelia’s Story, it took probably half a day instead. The hardest bit about formatting is the cover and I know mine don’t quite match but I didn’t realise that until after I pressed print, so I’m stuck with it for these two but I’m hoping to make the next ones match one of the two covers.

Was writing the second book in a series easier or harder? 

I found the writing experience easier, as I had some ideas of the best practices to follow and I planned out the major scenes I wanted to includerather than just making it up as I was writing. I also had a bond with the characters, which made it easier to know how they would react, but I found I had much more in common with Amelia because she is more like me than the characters in this book so in that respect getting their interests right and knowing what their motivations were was a bit harder.

Can you name any books similar to yours? 

The books were partially inspired by the Harry Potter series, so there some similarities there but I can’t think of any other books I would compare Wiccan Romances to.

How many books do you anticipate in the series and what else can we look forward to from you? 

There will definitely be another two books in the series but beyond that I haven’t decided. I might also release an ebook of all the spells and rituals I have made up during the course of writing, just as a sort of fun companion.

Do you believe in magic and have you ever cast a spell? 

I do believe in magic, I once read a quote in a book which said that all women have a little bit of magic in them and that when it combines with others the results can be amazing and that really resonated with me but I have never personally tried to cast a spell.


Do you have any witch book, shows or movies you recommend? 

I personally loved the original Charmed, I’m not such a big fan of the new version and I really like watching Supernatural, Dean Winchester is extremely hot. When I was younger, I was a big fan of the Wizards of Waverly Place and Sabrina the Teenage Witch, so I would recommend any of these shows to any fans of my books or just fans of paranormal TV.

Please share a snippet of Sam’s story? 

Snippet 1:

Sam smiled to himself when he heard his brother get up and smirked, when Ben emerged from his room, yawning. Ben flipped his brother his middle finger as he stalked past him to go downstairs and get a cup of coffee. Deciding that he was onto a winner, Sam headed up to Lia’s bedroom to wake her up, just for fun.
“Morning Sunshine.” Sam called, walking into Lia’s room and plonking himself down on her bed.
“Eugh.” Lia moaned, rolling onto her stomach.
“Come on, you have an exam today.” Sam encouraged.
“My exam is in the afternoon.” Lia mumbled into her pillow.
“Oops, my bad.” Sam laughed. “Anyway, I wanted to talk to you about Heather.”
“If you don’t leave right now, I’m going to tell her about the time you asked Ben for kissing tips.” Lia announced, flipping onto her side, so she could glare at her brother.
“You wouldn’t.” Sam gasped.
“What do you want, Sam?” Lia groaned.
“Nothing.” Sam replied, with a smile as he sauntered out of the room.

Snippet 2:

“You stole my girlfriend!” Charlie suddenly exploded.
Rocked by Charlie’s anger, all of the loose items in the car went flying around, hitting everyone, as the car vibrated, due to the minor earthquake he caused.
“Charlie!” David yelled.
“How did I steal your girlfriend?” Sam shouted, at the same time his dad tried to reprimand Charlie.
“You knew I was dating Emily, then you swooped in and stole her from me.” Charlie continued.


Where can we go to discover more and buy Sam’s story

Sam’s Story is available at all major online booksellers, including Amazon, Waterstones, WHSmiths and Barnes and Noble. It is also available in ebook format, including Kindle, Kobo, Nook and Ibooks.

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

Behind the Book: Wiccan Romance – Amelia’s Story by Nicola Hebron

Book Review: Wiccan Romance – Amelia’s Story by Nicola Hebron

Behind the Book: Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom

Book Review: Out of my League by Sarah Sutton

My favourite redheads from cult TV

I’ve been busy lately, not that I have much to show for it. And, I realised it’s been a while since I shared a What To Watch list.

Here are my favourite redheads from popular TV Series.

Jessica from True Blood

At first I found this show difficult to watch because of the strong accents and I wasn’t prepared for all the sex. But, the show grew on me and Jessica was such an awesome character.

She starts off as a sweet religious girl, forced into the vampire world. As she adapts to her new life, and power, this good girl discovers her bad side…

Cheryl from Riverdale

This show is based on the Archie comics. The series starts with Cheryl and her twin brother dressed in white, going out onto the lake in a boat. But tragedy awaits the siblings when a soggy Cheryl makes it to shore but her brother is dead.

During the show Cheryl has many more iconic moments, like walking out of her home she’s set on fire and helping her friends armed with a crossbow.

Lydia from Teen Wolf

Lydia is popular, beautiful and intelligent. Who wouldn’t want to be her? Usually these characters are made to be a bitch but Lydia got a great story arc.

This redhead is a banshee and the storyline was great. Popular, beautiful, intelligent and now powerful too – what’s not to love?

Sanza from Game of Thrones

Sanza’s character went through a lot of challenges. She was forced to marry awful men as a lady – she was raped and physically and emotionally abused.

Don’t worry, by the end she is reunited with her siblings and they raise up against their enemies. Sanza now had power and realises she doesn’t need a man.

Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Willow started out as Buffy’s geeky friend. She was the sidekick. As the series progressed, Willow decided she needed a way to fight demons too and learnt witch craft.

Willow’s magic kept getting stronger and when her girlfriend is shot, she becomes the most powerful witch ever! It’s awesome! If only she could have tapped into her potential without such a great loss.

Claerie from Shadow Hunters

Clary thinks she’s an ordinary girl. She’s into her art and draws symbols in her pictures. She has no idea she’s destined to become a Shadow Hunter.

The Shadow Hunter’s are kind of like the police of the underworld (a bit like Buffy). The other characters in the series really compliment Clary and I love the werewolf, vampires and faeries.

Good Girls

Beth and her friends are just regular women trying to get through life and raise their kids. But, unfair things are screwing with their lives.

The girls take drastic action to fix their desperate financial woes… and rob a store. This act gets them wrapped up with a dangerous gang. Now they’re in deep with noway out and trying to keep their criminal records squeaky clean.

If you enjoyed this, you will enjoy:

What to watch if you love mermaids

What to watch – Shows with writers in

What to watch is you love witches

The best & worst sun lotion by a redhead

Book Review: The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

I wanted this book for so long, by the tine I got it, there’s a second edition! The bonus is, the new edition has even more content!

It’s part of the Writer’s Helping Writers series. The series includes a number of thesaurus covering different aspects such as character traits or settings. The aim of the books are to help writers find the words they need to make the impact they want.

Author Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi

The series is co-written by Angela & Becca.

Writers Helping Writers

The pair run a website together (https://writershelpingwriters.net) to share information to help writers.

One Stop For Writers

They also have developed an impressive web-app (https://onestopforwriters.com) that’s described as a library of resources and tools to support writers.

What is the book about?

The one I got is on character expressions. It’s a thesaurus about different emotional responses and covers internal and external reactions.

How it works?

You look up the emotion your character is feeling, like lust, confusion, envy, fear, betrayal, etc.

There’s a little description so you can check you understand what the emotion is and make sure you picked the right one.

It then has a list of ways a character might behave if experiencing this emotion.

There are also some suggestions for internal sensations, which is useful for 1st person POV.

There are even some suggestions on how the emotion can escalate or deescalate.

How I used it?

Editing (Ocean Heart)

I used this book alongside the developmental feedback from my editor. She highlighted some points in my story where I needed to amp up the emotions and some places where I had skipped along without any reaction at all.

I looked up the emotion in the book and read the suggestions. I reflected on which reaction was most true to my character, then worked it in.

Future use…

This book will get used time and time again. I’m planning to next use it alongside writing Sky Heart. Hopefully it’ll reduce any feedback from my editor about under played or missed emotions.

Final thoughts…

This is a really useful book and has left me wanting the rest of the series.
It’s more of a resource than a thesaurus and I don’t think there is anything out there quite like this. It is designed especially for writers to aid their craft.
I highly recommend this book.
Do you have any writer resources that you swear by?

If you like this, you may enjoy:

Why you need a developmental editor!

Book Review: Save The Cat Writes A Novel

12 Tips For Self Editing

Tips on Naming Your Character

Camp NaNo Progress (mid July 2020)

So, I set three targets and it’s not gone to plan…

Writing Goal: Finish Sky Heart

Originally finishing Sky Heart was my main goal for Camp NaNo. I always struggle with writing endings so I knew this wouldn’t be easy.

Kiely was a 2nd viewpoint in an early draft of book 2. In that draft Mariah was the MC but Kiely’s story took over. Then I cut all Kiely’s parts and made a new book in 2018 called Glide. In 2019, it was renamed Diamond in the Sky and I added to it but never finished it.

I opened the manuscript and had no idea what was going on. It has been too long. I’m lost.

Instead of working on the ending, I’ve had to start at the beginning, reading the whole manuscript and making notes. The good thing is I’ve already identified parts to improve which will help when I come to edit. I’m now up to chapter 10.

This book has always taken a back seat to book 1. As book 1 is with my editor I thought I could finally work on finishing this but I was wrong. As you’ll see below, Book 1 has demanded my attention.

Book 2 has been renamed Sky Heart and promptly put back in the back seat… maybe next month Kiely.

Publishing: Ocean Heart

I thought sending my novel off to my editor meant my job was done…

No!

Very quickly I realised how much work I have to do to launch my book. As this is a priority, I adjusted my goals to continue working on Ocean Heart.

So far I have:

  • Written a dedication.
  • Researched & written my copyright statement.
  • Researched covers in my genre to identify what I like or don’t and gather the details my cover designer needs.
  • Planning for a Giveaway.
  • Researching how to provide ARC copies.
  • Attend my first ever meeting with my editor (this Thursday).
  • Got feedback on my Blurb

Still to do:

  • Finish the instructions for my cover designer so she can start work on my covers (eBook & Paperback). For this, I still need to finalise my blurb and decide on book sizing like trim, etc.
  • Use the feedback to improve my blurb.
  • Create a space for my Street Team to access exclusive content and be the first to know my news.
  • Researching meta data
  • So much more…

Reading Goal: Agent Undone (eBook)

I’ve now reached chapter 9. My little girl is demanding more attention from me now so I get less time to read on my phone during the day, which is when I read eBooks.

Reading Goal: Sea Witch (paperback)

After work I’ve felt too frazzled to do anything but watch rubbish on YouTube – I’m not proud of the time wasted on this.

When I have had energy, I’ve worked on my writing and got so into it that I had to go to bed after, with no time to read.

But, I have made some progress. I’m now up to chapter 19 (I was at chapter 4 at the start of July).

Learning Goal: Storyseller Academy

I’ve not even logged in. I’m desperate to make progress on this course but struggling to fit everything in.

I have done some learning as I’ve been researching things like Trim Size and Copyright statements.

But, this course is about successfully publishing your novel and I know it’s full of info that would be useful to me.

So, the next half of the month I’m going to make this a priority (after anything Ocean Heart related) and let go of Sky Heart for now.

If you enjoyed this, you will enjoy:

Camp NaNo July 2020

Why you need a developmental editor!

Find your Summer Reads in the latest WIW Brochure

Author Q and A – Ally Aldridge

Behind the Book: What Are Friends For? By Sarah Sutton

Thank you for agreeing to a Behind the Book interview about your novel What Are Friends For?

Blurb: What Are Friends For?

This is your first published novel but what’s the first story you remember writing?

If we want to go wayyyyy back, I remember that the first story that I ever wrote was a Gingerbread Man spin-off. We’d just finished the book in my first grade class, but I wanted to read more of the Gingerbread Man’s adventures, so I went home and wrote it!

Why did you decide to self publish?

I tried the querying route, but I quickly found that it wasn’t for me. I spent over a year going back and forth between one publishing company, editing my book, before they ultimately passed on the project. To say I was devastated would be an understatement! I didn’t want to wait any longer, so I decided that I would be self-publishing.

This novel is a Friends to Lovers Romance – I fell in love with my best friend and married him. Have you ever crushed on a friend?

Oh, I love that so much! And I actually haven’t, not anything major anyway. I absolutely love the idea, though—a friendship turning into something romantic is soooo adorable to me!

Can you name any books similar to yours?

Kasie West’s book On the Fence was really similar, and very adorable!

Tell me about a typical day in the life of author Sarah Sutton?

I’m such a homebody. Especially lately. Usually I’ll do professional related things in the morning—like finish some client work, manage the business side of things. I’ll take a nap about mid-day so I can stay up late and write my heart out! Sometimes I won’t go to bed until four in the morning, which makes for a rough wake-up the next day!

Do you have a book boyfriend crush – who is he?

Ooh, ever since I read Clockwork Angel, I have been so in love with William Herondale. Total babe!

Please share a snippet of your story, What Are Friends For?

Elijah was still picking at his fingernails, trying to scrub away the last speck of glitter. It was good that he wasn’t looking at me—he didn’t notice my staring. “You know, Sav agreed to do the double date thing. I texted Jer and he was thinking tomorrow could be a good day. We could all just come over and do some arts and crafts together.”
I was a bottle of mixed emotions; every time someone shook me, a new one surfaced. “This is news to me.”
“I thought Jeremy would’ve called you.”
A part of me really, really wanted to start gushing about Jeremy, but for the wrong reasons. But making Elijah jealous would be impossible. And my soul felt too weary to even try. “I’m sure he’ll mention it tomorrow.”
“Do I have to say again the part where we don’t keep secrets from each other?” Elijah asked, nudging his knee against mine underneath the table.
“We keep secrets,” I corrected him this time, laying my head against my folded arms. I could smell the cleaner Mom used on the wooden surface with my nose so close, and also the lingering smell of glue. “You have yours and I have mine and we don’t talk about them.”
Elijah didn’t answer, at least not right away. From the corner of my vision, through the little sliver open near the crook of my elbow, I saw him pull his chair closer to me. Our knees connected again, but this time he didn’t move his away, allowing it to rest against mine. I felt his fingers walk their way up my skin, a tickle of a touch, barely there.
“You can tell me your secrets if you want to,” he said quietly, his voice soothing and soft near my ear. “I’ll always want to keep them.”

Where can we go to discover more and buy What Are Friends For?

You can buy What Are Friends For? on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo—here’s a universal link to where all that can be found! https://books2read.com/u/mgGO1v

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org shop link.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you will enjoy:

Behind the Book: Wiccan Romance – Amelia’s Story by Nicola Hebron

Book Review: Wiccan Romance – Amelia’s Story by Nicola Hebron

Book Review: And The Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando

Why you need a developmental editor!

I never thought I needed one. But now I have used one, I wish I’d got one sooner.

There are lots of different types of editors and each type has a purpose. When I first read the definition of a developmental editor, I dismissed them.

What a Developmental Editor does:

Always check what the editor does before paying them but usually a developmental edit includes:

  • Refine your ideas
  • Improve narrative
  • Fix plot holes and character arcs
  • How to tell your story
  • Chapter length and order
  • What to delete/expand

Why I thought I didn’t need one:

I have so many story ideas that creating a story has never been an issue. And, I enjoy solving plot holes so why’d I want to pay someone to do that for me.

I was sure I could figure out how to tell my story my way and what was needed and when. I was worried an editor would lose my voice and it wouldn’t be the story I wanted to tell.

But, I was wrong:

A good editor works with an author to support them in enhancing their story. They give you the critique you’ve always needed.

What I got:

I hired Avery McDougal after meeting author J D Groom and seeing what she had down for her with Sorceress of Truth.

Avery edited my manuscript with inline comments. She didn’t just point out what needed fixing, she also told me where I’d got it right. Her feedback helped me grow as an author, learning by studying my own writing, guided by her feedback.

She, also provided a chapter report. This was an overview of the chapter and made me aware of any issues like grammar switches.

She provided a character analysis. These gave insight into how my characters were seen and their arcs. She linked this to character arc types which helped me learn about this too.

Avery also pointed out my bad habits. Once she pointed them out I became aware and able to correct them. For example, the overuse of a particular word.

Finally, Avery included helpful guides to help me in areas she identified that I struggle.

Editors are unique

All editors are unique. Some editors might not provide the support material Avery sent me. Before parting with your money, find out exactly what the service includes. Ask other authors for recommendations.

Check out the editors listed in the World Indie Warriors brochure.

The reasons I chose Avery were:

  • I liked what she’d done for Jodie. I still checked what I’d get to make sure I was choosing the right service for my needs.
  • Avery does writing workshops for teens. My novel is YA fiction. Knowing she has current experience with my intended audience was a bonus. And, it certainly showed in her feedback.
  • I got quotes and the cost was something I was able to afford.
  • Avery is approachable and easy to talk to. She made herself available post edits should I have any questions about her feedback.

Working with Avery was an amazing experience. She supported me to make necessary changes to improve my novel. But, she didn’t just develop my novel, she developed me as an author.

Ocean Heart is stronger thanks to her feedback, and I’m a more confident writer.

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org shop link.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

12 tips for self editing

Author Q and A – Ally Aldridge

Writing Progress: May

My Books

Making his YouTube dream come true…

My son has repeatedly asked to be a YouTuber. For job day at school they suggest roles to dress up as but Noah insisted on going as a YouTuber. It wasn’t on the approved jobs list.

They are the celebrity gods of his generation. Noah loves watching gamers on YouTube. It looks so much fun, you can’t blame him for seeing it as a dream job…

Squashing Dreams

I’ve warned him, it’s not easy. That most YouTubers don’t make a living from it and just do it for fun. I’ve tried to deter him.

Worst of all, I realised I sound a lot like a dream crusher. I’m still haunted by all those people that told me not to write books. They told me I wouldn’t make it. It’s a poor mans dream, the struggling artist…

But, I couldn’t let go.

And, I don’t want to raise my kids to not try because it isn’t easy. If making videos brings him joy, what does it matter? As his mum, it’s my job to support him in his growth, not to put him down.

Homeschool

When the UK went into lockdown and we were faced with figuring out how to homeschool overnight, I tried to include Noah. I explained core subjects, we must do every week and ‘projects’.

Projects have included making rainbows for the NHS, caring for others, letter writing, making slime, writing a competition story, etc.

Project: YouTuber

The project Noah really wanted was “Become a YouTuber.” I told him mummy had no clue what to do, what software we need, or where to even start. We would literally be learning and figuring it out together.

I tried to stall him with:

  • Online safety project
  • Graphic design (research & design a logo).
  • Research YouTubers.
  • Storyboard favourite shows.
  • Mind map content ideas.
  • Storyboard his proposed show.
  • Script an intro….
He passed every challenge until all that was left was “Record a Show”.

Pre-Recording Prep

Mummy wasn’t confident about making a gaming video, screen recording was a step too far. So, we compromised on BookTube which I was more confident about as I watch these. Noah chose his book, Pests by Emer Stamp.

Noah’s storyboard pointed out the importance of reminding viewers to subscribe, like and “hit that bell”. He also chose an outfit that didn’t identify him and a clutter free space to record (yay – bedroom tidied).

Recording

We did it! Here is how…

iPad

We used an old iPad to record Noah talking. We used the tips on making a video from the Toppsta site, and their review ideas.

B612 App

We had a few bloopers; Some where mummy took a photo instead of a video, and some where Noah got camera shy, tongue tied or too excited! We used these to create an intro using B612 App.

iMovie App

The B612 Intro was much louder than the rest of the video. We adjusted the clip’s volume in iMovie. We used it to cut and move content around.

FilmR App

We used the FilmR app to add text and fun GIPHY. Then we saved it and uploaded it to YouTube.

YouTube Studio App

We used the YouTube Studio app to create Noah’s channel. We were a little lost and scared as it was all getting a bit real by this point. We changed his profile image and named the channel.

YouTube app

I did this part for Noah. I added a video description and included the blurb for the book he was discussing. Then we uploaded to YouTube.

RapidTags website

I had to research how to tag YouTube videos. I tried hashtags, speech marks… then accidentally hit return.

I research tag generators and found RapidTags site gave the best suggestions.

Here is Noah’s first show for Starboy TV:

Don’t forget to like, subscribe and hit that bell!

Although, I don’t think Noah will be making anymore videos in the near future. He’s decided he prefers watching other YouTubers.

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Summer Make-Up

Just before summer, I treated myself to some new makeup. Most days I’m not wearing make up as I’m just at home in lockdown but when I do, I prefer to keep things quite natural.

My new natural look:

What I used:

Madara Organic Makeup

I got the Madara Age Defying Sunscreen (SPF30) in a Natrismo box last summer showcasing different suncare products. It was my favourite in the box and I wanted to try more by the brand.

When I saw Naturismo doing a 50% off all Madara deal, I couldn’t resist trying some new products.

I’m finding the foundation a bit drying for my skin type. I think when it’s time to replace, I’ll get the sunscreen instead.

Skin Equal – Soft Glow Foundation (shade 10): RRP £33

The Concealer (shade 15): RRP £20

Vapour Beauty

Usually, I buy Vapour foundation and concealer, and love the soft creamy texture.

Last summer, Vapour were selling minis of their multi use products. Unfortunately, they don’t appear to be doing them this year which is a real shame as I prefer the minis. I used the mini on my lips and cheeks.

Runway Minis – Aura Multi Use (shade Courtesan): N/A (NB: Full size RRP £34)

Lily Lolo

This brand was my first Organic foundation. Their mineral powders are very affordable and worth checking out.

Eye Pallette (Laid Bare): RRP £21

Jane Iredale

This brand has one of the biggest range of shades for foundation colours and types. I’ve tried and loved them all.

I once had a palette that enabled me to try a wide range of lipsticks, glosses, and eyeshadows. They were all high quality and I meant to buy the full size but never got round to it.

I’ve always been curious to try their lash builder and the minis are a great opportunity to do this. These would also be useful to anyone who rarely wears make up and just wants a small amount for a special occasion.

Mini Pure Lash – Extender & Conditioner: £2.50

Mascara – Longest Lash (shade Black Ice): £2.50

I am going to buy the full-size version. I’ve found the best price is to buy them together from a Salon in Brighton called Skin Maze.

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Camp NaNo July 2020

I’m taking part! Or, so I say…

I’m doing the challenge with World IndieWarriors and set my goals as follows:

  1. Write the ending of Sky Heart (book 2) – estimated 20k words
  2. Finish reading my two current reads (Agent Undone by Cassidy Reyne, and Sea Witch by Sarah Henning)
  3. Complete Storyseller Academy course

About Sky Heart

Slow Start

1 July

I’ve barely started! So, at the end of June I was sending Ocean Heart (book 1) to my editor but fear struck. It was ready a week early but I kept reading it through, checking it, worrying whether it is good enough. When I was still doing this is July, I realised what I was doing and hit send… at almost midnight.

2 July

So, I started a day late. When I looked at chapter 24 of Sky Heart (book 2) I couldn’t remember what was going on. It dawned on me that it’s been too long, I need to reread it all to get my hear back in the story. I may not get to write this month 😢.

3 July

I was introduced to a website called Art Breeder. OMG this website is addictive! At first my ‘breeds’ were not quite right but the more I played the better I got.

Top row – Mariah, Jace; Bottom row – Murray, Kiely

4 July

Today, I’ve been working on blog posts and reading (a little). Blog posts weren’t part of my NaNo goal but reading was. Finally started on Camp NaNo 😂.

Reflecting

I think if it wasn’t Camp NaNo, I would have taken a break this month to reflect on finishing Ocean Heart.

I’m nervous about what is next and still have a lot to learn and publishing it is my annual priority goal.

You’ll notice I’ll be more laid back about my goals this month. As always, any progress is good but I’m more interested in the social aspect of the challenge.

It’s a great way to connect with other writers. If I can encourage another creative towards achieving their goals, that’s still a win. And once I’ve rejuvenated I’ll come back stronger.

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