Five-Star Power Ending Masterclass

This course came at the perfect time. I was struggling with writing my ending. I always do. There are plenty of courses focusing on beginnings, but this is the first I’ve seen for endings.

The course is delivered by F.S.Media. They were running a giveaway for a seat on their Five Star Power Endings course.

Someone tagged me.

I entered.

I won!

The Course

The Endings Masterclass was delivered by Claire Taylor over Zoom. Once enrolled I was sent an email with the course details and what to expect.

When the class was due to start, I clicked the link to join. Some students had their cameras on, and it was nice to see fellow writers.

Claire delivered her Masterclass supported with a presentation. Although the course was about endings it covered writing the whole book because the beginning and everything along the way is important in building a five star ending.

The outcome

One of the reasons I struggle with endings is because I know how important they are. The ending forms the last impression a reader has of your book.

If you’re book is full of promise but you don’t deliver, your reader will be left disappointed. And, that’s not how you want to leave them feeling about your book.

Together with your books theme, Claire breaks down the ingredients needed for a powerful ending into three parts. These must be woven throughout the story to make sense. She gave tons of examples from well known stories and movies. These were useful to make it make sense.

Claire’s course gave me lots to think about. I reflected on how I worked on the ending for Ocean Heart, and how I could use what I have learnt to finish and improve Sky Heart.

My writing

Working on Ocean Heart’s ending

The early draft of Ocean Heart (when it was called Drift) ended with the suggestion the MC was about to start a romantic relationship. The blurb promised a mermaid but she never figured out how to shift. Plus, she dabbled with magic and there was no epic battle. In many ways this was a complete let down.

In the final draft of Ocean Heart, there is a full on mermaid scene, a definite HEA, and an epic battle with extreme powers. As a result, readers who invest their time are way more satisfied because it’s delivering what they want.

Working on Sky Heart’s ending

At the time I was struggling to write the ending for Sky Heart. I had an idea about the battle but not how to make it work. I needed a reason why she hadn’t used her powers before and I needed a good HEA.

I felt my story was missing something. Thinking over what I learnt from the course helped me have a breakthrough. As a result, I finished the first draft of Sky Heart.

And, I’m going to reflect on what I learned whilst I edit Sky Heart. I now know what my theme is, and I need to thread the crucial three ingredients all the way through. And, then I’ll get my Developmental Editor on it.

Final thoughts…

I would recommend this Masterclass. I got a lot out of it. Afterwards, I got a link so I could rewatch it.

In addition, Claire was passionate about writing and teaching and provided further resources to help with questions that were asked during the session.

F.S.Media have a range of courses ranging in price. At the time of writing there is even a free course you can enrol on.

The Five Star Power Endings course helped me and I found Claire to be a great teacher. I’d be interested in learning again with Claire and F.S.Media.

Although I won my place on the course, there was no requirement for me to write a review. I was compelled because I really benefited from it and wanted to share this with my blog readers.

[kofi]

These are affiliate links. Visit my Affiliate Disclosure page for more information.

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About Ocean Heart

About Sky Heart

An Authorship Breakthrough Session

Don’t put off writing your novel

Happy Indie Bookshop Week!

From Saturday, 19 June to Saturday, 26 June, it’s Indie Bookshop Week.

This event has been running since 2006 by Books Are My Bag. They also run other bookish events to support Indie Bookshops like the BAMB Awards and Indie Bookshop Day in October.

Shoutout to my local Indie Bookshop

Stillwater Books is my local bookshop in Felixstowe.

It’s been a tough year for high street shops due to the pandemic. Many spent months closed as they weren’t deemed essential. I know, who said books aren’t essential?

Ocean Heart released on 1 Dec and the country was in lockdown. The book signing event I’d always dreamed of was looking bleak. Boris said no!

I reached out to Stillwater Books with my proposed idea, a work around solution for a book signing during lockdown. I literally happy danced when they said yes.

I promptly got to work on promoting the event. The manager was patient with me as I figured out details, how to order books, write an invoice, and all the other brand new tasks I was doing for the first time.

I signed the ordered books and brought them into the shop. I made a little video for YouTube. Customers who had preordered, then either collected from the store or arranged for local delivery.

I certainly hadn’t imagined a non-contact book signing before, but Stillwater Books worked with me to make it happen. I will always be thankful to them for helping make my dream come true.

Shop Local

It’s really important to shop at your local independent bookshop. In doing so, you are supporting your high street, local jobs, a small business, and treating yourself to a new read.

That’s why I love being an affiliate with Bookshop.org. Redfae Bookshop.org is my affiliate store giving recommendations on books you should buy. It connects you with a local independent bookshop for your purchase. In return you support them with your custom and I get a small commission.

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

My Affiliate Disclosure page

What’s a UBL & why your book needs one

Ocean Heart releases tomorrow

Now you can preorder Ocean Heart

[kofi]

Behind the Book: Garden in the Sands by Ellie Mitten

I’m so happy Ellie agreed to let me interview her as I loved her debut book. There’s a link to my five star review at the end. It’s really exciting to find out what went into making such an amazing book.

I loved Garden in the Sands. It’s not like any book I’ve read before. What genre would you say it is?

It’s interesting that you say that, as Garden in the Sands actually started as a MG fantasy story. When it came to self-publishing, however, I read lots about YA being an easier market to get into. Therefore I re-wrote it, adding Lira’s POV element. Overall I’d say it’s a YA fantasy re-telling.

Despite being set in the desert, it’s very reminiscent of The Secret Garden. Did you plan for it to be like a fantasy version of the classic?

Yes! A re-telling was exactly my aim. I adored Mary in The Secret Garden when I was a child, as she was stroppy and imperfect. She influenced Quil a lot!

There are two MC’s can you give a brief intro to each?

Quil is a human girl born into wealth and privilege that only serves to constrict her. Desperate to gain a shred of attention from her parents, she spent her childhood misbehaving. This led to being frequently sent away from home to learn to become a ‘lady’, something she has no interest in doing. The only ray of light in her life is her main, Sasha.

When she finds herself sent away from the palace and charged with entertaining the sickly prince, she finds she’s not the only one in the world with problems.

Lira was born into greatness too, but as a demi-god this involved learning to wield a sword to prove herself. She rose to the challenge, and when the story starts she is a great heroine. She feels trapped, however, the link to her long dead human mother setting her apart from the other gods. She can’t help but watch the misery of life below in Miran. When a chance arises to break the curse that’s punishing the humans for their king’s crimes, Lira risks all the help them.

Quil learns to garden in the book – are you green thumbed?

I certainly try to be, but it’s a process of trial and error!

Lira is a demi god and fights mythical beasts – did you do a lot of research on this for your novel?

I studied Classics at university, so I’ve loved the mythology of Ancient Greece and Rome for a long time. I knew many of their stories already, but some of the beasts needed some extra research!

Who is your favourite God/Goddess from mythology?

Definitely Athena. She’s so strong and not cowed by any of the males in Olympus. She’s who Lira is based upon.

What can we look forward to from you next?

My next book is and MG adventure fantasy set in Cornwall, where I live.

Where can we go to discover more about you and your books?

Instagram (@ellie_mitten) is where I like to connect with other writers and reads 🙂

If you enjoyed this you will like:

Book Review: Garden in the Sands by Ellie Mitten

Behind the Book: Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S. Weaver

Book Review: Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

Book Review: Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

[kofi]

Below are some affiliate links. To learn more about these, please visit my Affiliate Disclosure page.

[kofi]

We went Live for Indie Author Week UK

I love going live with fellow indie authors, and Indie Author Week UK was the perfect excuse.

Joining me live was:

💛 Romantic Suspense author Cassidy Reyne: https://www.cassidyreyne.com/

💛 Worldbuilding & World Destroying author Angeline Trevena: https://angelinetrevena.co.uk/

💛 Contemporary Fantasy author J D Groom (Jodie): https://jodiegroom.wordpress.com/

We discussed what the week is all about and those involved. We talked about how we became indie, our experience, and tips for those considering it, and to help those already with books out.

Were there any bloopers?

Going live is terrifying as there’s a fear something will go wrong. But, it builds skills in handling these. Here is what happened:

Kids: I had a few issues getting the kids to bed, so I was cutting it fine when I logged on. I used Stream Yard several times last year for my book launch without issues so I wasn’t too worried as I know it’s super simple. But…

Camera & Mic undetected: I logged on and Stream Yard couldn’t detect my camera or microphone- WTF! This is not what you want when you are about to host a live event. I switched browsers and it still wasn’t happening. It must be my laptop, because when I tried my mobile, it worked!

Unprepared: I wasn’t prepared to go live using my mobile. I had my event notes on my phone – eek! I also didn’t have a stand ready. Although my hubby snuck one over to me a few minutes in when he realised I was struggling to keep it steady. I think I did a good job of keeping the questions going without my notes.

No Link/On screen text: Next up, one of my guests hadn’t got the link to attend. It was in our group chat but for some reason was hidden from her. I accidentally added her cry for help to the screen for everyone to see. I didn’t realise until way into the stream, so you can see it for most of the live.

Lagging & Crashing: Cassidy’s iPad kept lagging making it hard for her to keep up with the chat, and we were rabbiting on. It also kept dropping her. She switched to her laptop and then it was much better.

Here are my Instagram pics introducing each of my guests:

Author Cassidy Reyne
Author Angeline Trevena
Author J.D. Groom

Indie Author Week UK

To find out more about Indie Author Week UK, please visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/IndieAuthorWeekUK/

They have a ton of incredible events going on. If you can’t make a live, look out for the replay.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this you will like:

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Behind the Book: The Sentinels (series) by Cassidy Reyne

Camp NaNo April – Mid Month Check In

It’s Indie Author Week UK 2021

Book Review: Tenebrasco by Hannah Reed

I read this book as part of the #MerMayReadalong on Instagram where author Hannah Reed did weekly interviews with readers to see what they thought about her book.

The Peace Treaty fails and war breaks out between the Legged and Mera. The teens of important families are about to uncover secrets hidden on both sides. Can these be the used to bring about peace?

Setting

The book is set in a world very similar to ours, however, humans are aware of the merfolk. The book starts off with a peace treaty being agreed as the two groups are historically not allies.

The underwater world is much like our own but under the sea. They have their own cities, climates, and transport system.

We are called the Legged by the Mera. The Mera use pearls of different colours to use their magic. Different colour pearls have different powers. This is probably why the series is called The Pearl Weilders.

Main Character

April is the main character. She is a mermaid princess with the ability to weild all the pearls. The peace treaty is important to her parents and something her father has worked hard to accomplish.

Alex & Connor are legged sons of President Darius. They start off relaxing out of the way on Shell Island. Connor finds an unconscious girl on their beach who he takes in. The boys and their staff care for the mysterious girl and become very fond of her.

There are also many other important characters like Ethan, King Nathaniel, Megan, Kayla, and Fredrick. The chapters are mainly told from April’s perspective but they swap to be told from different characters throughout the book.

Review

This story was brilliant. The stakes were high, the danger real, and it had me turning the page every chance I got.

April is easy to like and relate to, despite being a mer princess. All the characters are well thought out with clear motives that make sense, even the villains.

There isn’t a romance although there is the potential that one is growing. The immediate threat is resolved in the book but the overall threat is ongoing, leaving it open for the next book.

This was got 5 stars for me. I loved it, and really enjoyed being part of the Readalong. I didn’t want it to end.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this you will like:

Behind the Book: Tenebrasco by Hannah Reed

Behind the Book: Essentia by Hannah Reed

Book Review: Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

About Ocean Heart by Ally Aldridge

Below are some affiliate links. You can discover more about these on my Affiliate Disclosure page.

It’s Indie Author Week UK

I’m really excited to be involved in this event, especially as so many incredible indie authors are taking part. This year, I’m one of those authors.

What am I doing?

I am streaming live to my YouTube channel. Join me on Tues, 15 June at 8pm (GMT+1), where I will be joined by these awesome Indie Authors to chat about why we love being Indie.

The line up includes:

💛 Romantic Suspense author Cassidy Reyne: https://www.cassidyreyne.com/

💛 Worldbuilding & World Destroying author Angeline Trevena: https://angelinetrevena.co.uk/

💛 Contemporary Fantasy author J D Groom (Jodie): https://jodiegroom.wordpress.com/

💛 And, of course myself, Ally Aldridge: http://allyaldridge.com/

It’s live, so you can join in by asking questions or sharing your thoughts. We can’t wait to see you there.

How to make sure you don’t miss out!

Here’s the link. Make sure you hit that notification bell so you know when we go live: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TG1203XOADs

You may also want to add the FB event to your calendar so your don’t forget: fb://event/?id=1401390906894506

Indie Author Week UK

To find out more about Indie Author Week UK, please visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/IndieAuthorWeekUK/

They have a ton of incredible events going on. If you can’t make a live, look out for the replay.

[kofi]

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The Story Seller Academy by Pagan Malcolm

Last year I was the lucky winner of a place on Pagan Malcolm’s course, Story Seller Academy.

This course came at the perfect time for me. I’d recently decided I wanted to self publish my book and the course is perfect for that. This course is all about publishing and marketing your book.

Topics

The first module is on mindset and although it sounds a bit hippie, this one is vital. I had previously caught some of Pagan’s free taster sessions on Facebook. Those samples had already empowered me, so doing the full module was next level.

Launching my book was new and scary, and self doubt was already caressing me with her familiar fingers. This module helped me get my head back on track, and to catch self doubt in her tracks before she got her nails into me.

The course covers everything you need to do and consider when self publishing a book. It’s like having someone hold your hand through the process.

Not only that, but there are modules to cover what to do after you publish and other income streams to consider.

There are masterclasses with tips and walkthroughs on how to do a wide range of things. Pagan shares her own personal experiences, including mistakes she has made so you don’t have to.

Method

The course content is shared using videos of Pagan delivering presentations. These are timestamped so if you need to jump to a certain section you can.

Pagan also shares resources to support the content like ideas content ideas for your book launch on social media.

Duration

This is a self paced course which means you can study when you want and consume as much content as you like. This was ideal for me because when I gained accessed I didn’t have time. When I did have time, it was all there waiting for me to indulge.

Pagan allows forever access so I can log in and revisit content whenever I need a refresher. She also updates content and adds bonus material. It’s like the course that keeps on giving.

Review

This course has been a real benefit to me and I would recommend it. The flexibility is exactly what I needed to work around my other commitments.

Pagan is a great teacher and really approachable. She was genuinely interested in how I got on with her course as she is continuously improving what she does.

I’m confident her courses will only get better and better over time.

Discover more about Pagan Malcolm by visiting her website: https://psmalcolm.com.

Although I won a place on this course, I was not required to write a review. I was compelled to write this review to help my blog readers discover this awesome course.

Here are some affiliate links to buy her books:

[kofi]

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My Author Breakthrough Session with Pagan Malcolm

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Happily Ever Author with Pagan Malcolm

Behind the Book: Meraki by Naomi Kelly

This book is on my pile for June reads, and I’m so lucky that Naomi also agreed to an interview about her book with me.

Meraki is book 1 in your The Syren Story series. What can readers look forward to in the series?

The Syren Stories begins with Meraki when our main character Wren swims away from the greatest threat in the seas. She believes she’s safe until she’s captured within King Kellan’s large net. After hauling her aboard and shipping her back to his Kingdom, we learn that the young King plans to use Wren’s syren song for his own benefit. As the story unfolds, Wren discovers she cannot run (or swim) away from her problems for very long, and as history begins to catch up with her, she must ask herself who is her true enemy? And what the Hel do the gods have planned? 

And in Kairos, the adventure continues. 

With winter passed and spring arriving, everything appears to be going swimmingly- that is until an arrow knocks Wren out of the sky.

When the mortals she defeated last winter come seeking retribution, she learns that although these mere men are not immortal, they have no problem biding their time.
Revenge, after all, is a dish best served cold. And forgiveness is a gift which can swiftly be retracted.

Full of mythology, magic, mermaids, and fantasy favourite tropes such as enemies to lovers and chosen one, the Syren Stories are sure to float your boat. 

Can you introduce the MC, Wren?  

Aside from being a syren, Wren is strong-willed, tenacious, and altruistic. Although she appears ruthless and unyielding to some mortals, it’s Wren’s desire to cause no harm to people which sends her fleeing Seven Spikes to begin with. Whilst most mortals would flee screaming at the sight of a centaur or harpy, Wren takes her fellow citizens in her stride and it’s only her inner demons which seem to terrify her. 

What are Syren’s like in your novel?

In my book, Syrens are the ruling faction amongst all the creatures who live above and below the waves. They primarily reside in the Water World Queendom within the underwater caves of Seven Spike, but they can slip off their tails crafted from kelp should they want to visit land. Upon leaving the seas, they experience a transition period as the gills which line their sides shut and their lungs readapt to land breathing. During these few minutes, syrens are at their most vulnerable as they are unable to swim or run, nor can they use their legendary songs to protection.

Their veins are full of ichor due to their lingering link to Poseidon, and this means they cannot lie. Syren’s are bound to be truthfully and any vow they make must be upheld unless they want to face their dire consequences which Wren learns the full extent of when she breaks a binding promise to Kellan. 

I see book 2, Kairos is out.  How many books do you anticipate in The Syren Story series?

The Syren Story series is composed of two books, Meraki and Kairos. I’m currently working on a companion novel which will follow two fan favourite characters as they explore their lives after the events of Kairos. 

Can you share a short snippet from Meraki?

There’s a gigantic disturbance in the water halting most of the singing syrens. Waves smack against nearby rocks as water is displaced by something deep down below. A grin unfolded across my mother’s face, as a plump, slithering body breaches the water.

Ugh, I pray to the gods she has not brought a plague of eels with her.

A flash of lightning splits the sky, as the beast splits the water. As it unfolds itself from beneath the waves, water rushes off its endless blank scales.

Through the darkness and sheets of rain I cannot make out its form, but due its limbs and size, it’s definitely not an eel.

Another flash of lightning illuminates the beast.

“Is that…” Kellan’s roar trails off as we are cast into shadow from the monster.

“Hydra.” I gulp.

Meraki by Naomi Kelly

Was this your first published book and why did you choose to self-publish?

The first book I ever published was Trial by Obsidian, back in 2019. This magician story is currently being given a make-over as I have since learnt map designing skills and would love to give readers a visual insight into my fantasy world. Being able to alter my books and have control over cover-art as well as better royalties was a big factor when I was deciding my publishing route. Self-publishing was the right choice for me, and although it can be an overwhelming process at times I’m incredibly lucky to have a support network of other indie authors and loyal readers. 

What advice do you have for any aspiring author?

My advice would be to not get overwhelmed with the full story, and instead break the process down into bite-sized chucks. Writing a whole book (or series) is a huge task but writing one page a day is much more achievable. Remember that even the biggest authors in the world take days off so don’t be too hard on yourself if the creativity doesn’t always flow easily.

Where can readers connect with you and discover more about your books?

Readers can follow me and my writing journey over at Instagram(@naomikellywriting), Facebook (@naomikellywriting) and they can read reviews and book quotes on Goodreads.

Meraki and Kairos are avaible on Kindle for eBooks and Book Depositry and Amazon for paperbacks!

Below are affiliate links to buy Meraki. To learn more about these, please visit my Affiliate Disclosure Page.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you

About Ocean Heart

Behind the Book: Tenebrasco by Hannah Read

Book Review: Deepest Blue by Sarah Beth Durst

Why I love YALC

Book Review: Seal Mother by Rose English

Setting

The story is set in our world and inspired by the well known Selike folktale. If you’ve not heard of a Selkie, they are seals that can come onto land, shed their pelt, and become human. When they reclaim their sealskin, they return to the Ocean as a seal. But, without their sealskin they are trapped on land.

Main character

The main character is a poor Selkie who finds herself trapped on land. She marries a man and has children with him, but longs to return to the ocean.

Her story is told through rhyming verse, with a short poem on each page.

Review

This is a brilliant retelling of a popular folktale. I like poetry that rhymes and this is how the story is told. Every page had a short poem that pushed the story on, and throughout the book pages are the beautiful illustrations.

I loved this quick read and would recommend it to anyone that loves children’s fiction, poetry that rhymes, and folktales. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Below are affiliate links. To learn more about these, visit my Affiliate Disclosure page.

[kofi]

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Book Review: Mermaid School by X

MerMay Giveaway Winner

Thank you to everyone who entered my MerMay Giveaway for a chance to win a book token.

Entry was free and open to all. My newsletter subscribers got an extra entry.

I decided to use Miniwebtool.com random name picker, to choose from the entries from both Instagram and webform (link was in the newsletter ).

The giveaway is now closed and the winner has been notified.

The Book Token wasn’t the only thing I gave away during May!

Free eBook

To celebrate Ocean Heart now being available on Google Play, I made it free to all for the first week of May. In addition, to thank my followers on Ko-Fi, I provided them a link that enabled them to get Ocean Heart for free for the entire month of May.

Thank you to everyone that took advantage of my MerMay book deal and treated themselves to a free copy of Ocean Heart. Happy reading and if you have time, please write a review. Reviews are super important to authors as it helps our books get discovered. 💛

More Freebies

In April, I tried out the shop feature on Ko-Fi by offering a free digital Book Tracker. I made this product free and it’s still Free! Go download it now.

You can also buy Ocean Heart from my Ko-Fi shop and there’s an option to purchase a signed copy.

Charity donations

For MerMay I did an ocean themed spread on Instagram. It made me want to do something to support a cause that helps the sea and/or marine life.

Choosing a charity to donate to was harder than I thought. There are so many amazing charities out there.

I decided to use Miniwebtool.com random name picker again. This time I used it to select a charity from my shortlist. It picked Blue Marine Foundation

By working together, we can turn the tide on overfishing and the destruction of biodiversity. By supporting BLUE, you can help to create marine reserves around the world.

Blue Marine Foundation

Don’t miss out…

The best way to make sure you don’t miss out on any future freebies or Giveaways is by:

💛 Subscribe to my newsletter

💛 Follow me on Instagram

💛 Follow me on Kofi

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Ocean Heart on Google Play