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I also included in the books about when Ocean Heart has been given away free. This isn’t something I can do all the time.
I also reminded people that Ocean Heart can be ordered in by libraries. If you have a library card, you can borrow and read Ocean Heart if your library stock it. If they don’t, you can ask them and they’ll need the ISBN.
I hope you enjoy the chapters enough to treat yourself to a full copy. I also look forward to connecting with you on either platform or social media.
My paperback is in libraries and I wanted my eBook to be available too. You see growing up, I really valued the library. I couldn’t afford loads of books but the library gave me access to them.
It felt like Christmas walking through the doors and knowing I could take home any book. Pre- pandemic, I took my kids to the library so they could experience the same joy I had (and still do). My kids are always so excited, I struggle to control them but the lovely staff never judge. It’s given me a greater appreciation of my mum for taking me and my siblings (three under five) to the library so often, and hauling home the heavy bounty of books.
These memories have made the library important to me. And, I know I’m not alone. That’s why it’s been so important to me to have my books in libraries.
But it turns out, Overdrive will not deal with authors directly. So, I had to find an aggregator to be the middle man. They recommend D2D or Smashwords. I chose Smashwords as during my recent review of Aggregators I was impressed by their own store and the deals they do to promote indie books.
Now, Ocean Heart is on Smashwords, I celebrated by enrolled it in their Summer/Winter Sale. This means Ocean Heart is FREE for July 2021!
If you are looking for your next Summer Read go check out the sale. You can download Ocean Heart for FREE. I didn’t need to enter the code but if it asks, it’s: SW100
You can then read the ePub on whatever app is your favourite eBook reader.
If you missed this deal, you should now be able to borrow the paperback and eBook at your library. If it’s not in their catalogue, ask how to request it in. It helps to provide your librarian with the ISBN number.
NB: Sky Heart doesn’t have an official cover yet. The image used is my Work In Progress cover.
What is a Beta Reader?
You get to read the full story before anyone else, and can help shape the future version with your feedback.
Tell me if you like a character or not. You can say if a scene is too slow or too fast. Suggest what to cut or add to the story. Basically share your thoughts to help me improve it.
This version has only been edited by me. It will have mistakes. It won’t be as polished as a final version that has been professionally edited.
What type of story is Sky Heart?
Sky Heart is book 2 in The Soul Heart series but has a new main character, Keily.
You can read Sky Heart (book 2) even if you haven’t read Ocean Heart (book 1). It is a complete story, however, it will have some spoilers for book 1 as it assumes you’ve already read it. In addition, it is part of a series so although the main issue is resolved in the story, there are things that will be unresolved as they are dealt with later in the series.
I love Felixstowe Book Festival. It’s in my hometown making it convenient for me to attend. It’s reasonably priced so it doesn’t break the bank. And, it gets bigger ever year.
This year, I only bought tickets for the writing workshops delivered by Orwell Writers League. It consisted of three sessions, each cost leas than £5, and if you bought all three it was only £9.99!
With the pandemic I was a little worried it could be cancelled. Last year all events went virtual. The only disruption was a location change from Orwell Hotel (the usual venue) to Harvest House (a new venue).
I’ve lived in Felixstowe almost all my life and never been inside Harvest House. Usually it’s not open to the public. They are looking to diversify their income and now offering it up for hire for Weddings. And, Book Festivals 😍.
Language & Voice
This workshop had us exploring the 5 senses and developing a word bank for the theme “Shoreline.”
We were given a postcard and challenged to write a short story about the setting using the five senses. Half the room was asked to focus on “natural” senses. The other half focused on “man made” senses.
I wrote this piece, focusing on man made senses:
This workshop had us thinking about how actions can speak as loudly as words. We thought about facial expressions, and then worked our way through the body listing different actions and gestures.
We then imagined a couple on an open top bus and had to come up with three scenes they see – I think that’s what we were meant to do as I did something different. I did not do what I was supposed to 🤦♀️.
We were then challenged to write some dialogue between at least two people, and encouraged to use senses and actions to give the scene more meaning.
I wrote this scene based on the setting, “stuck in a hot car looking for a parking space”.
The afternoon session was an opportunity to do some free writing. They recapped on all the things we’d covered in the morning.
I decided to use this opportunity to work on an untiled prequel to Ocean Heart (my debut novel). I decided not to read this out allowed:
I didn’t learn anything new from the workshop but I didn’t expect to. I find workshops like this valuable as they remind us about the basics needed to write effective fiction. Think of it as refresher training.
Whilst creating my word bank, I realised it would be a useful tool to combat Writers Block and will be adding it to my arsenal. I also find writing settings challenging, the word bank was a great way to create a personal thesaurus of descriptions to use.
I love Felixstowe Book Festival and would go again. I also enjoyed networking with other writers and met two other upcoming authors. It was great to see my favourite local bookshop there with a stall, and to have a good chat with the manager of Stillwater Books.
I wish I’d taken a copy of Ocean Heart with me so I could have taken selfies with my book at such a beautiful location. I did get to hand out my new bookish business card to interested people, and ran out! I learnt from a marketing perspective to be more prepared and utilise every opportunity.
Thank you Emily for agreeing to a Behind the Book interview about your YA Urban Fantasy book, Chasing Sunrise.
This is book 1 in a trilogy. What can readers look forward to in this vampire series?
Very few vampires, actually, but the series will explain why there are so few. You’ll also learn the origin of vampires and how they fit into Judeo-Christian mythology. These books also set up a world where I plan to write a lot of urban fantasy/paranormal romance, so I hope people like the world-building too!
Can you introduce the MC, Liana?
Liana was a nerdy, quiet, high-achieving, prep-school attending girl who had a weakness for a guy who told her he needed her. Unfortunately, what he needed was her blood, and the way she let him drain her makes her face a lot of uncomfortable truths about herself. She realizes that if she wants to be the strong, independent woman she always thought she was, she has to make hard choices. And when her father is killed and she is left an orphan, the hard choices start coming at her fast.
Can you introduce the love interest, Corban?
He’s more of a cypher to begin with. When he meets Liana he’s very hostile to her, but he also asks her a lot of questions that don’t quite make sense. Despite their rough first meeting, she comes to believe he’s one of the only people she can trust with her deepest, darkest secret. She figures out who he is by the middle of the book. Suffice it to say, it’s complicated.
What drew you to writing a YA novel about vampires?
The one common thread in my romances is making good guys sexy. It really bothers me how many male leads are abusive, narcissistic, reckless, and even criminal, and vampire stories tend to be some of the most extreme in this regard. There’s a lot in these books about what it takes for love to last a lifetime, and selfish, obsessive vampire behaviors aren’t it. While I don’t believe in preaching to anyone, especially young people, nor in writing propaganda, I do think as a writer that it is my job to be honest and to ask hard questions. The YA audience is more than capable of grappling with those.
Who do you think would enjoy your series?
I think if you like, say, Tamar Sloan or Ilona Andrews or Carrie Vaughn, you’ll probably like these books. They’re meant to be a fun ride with a few heavy topics laced in there. But first and foremost, they should be fun!
The book is set in a boarding school, what was your school life like?
Only the first chapter is in a boarding school. I did go to a boarding school for two years of high school, but it was the United World College, which is an unusual boarding school. It’s international, most of the kids are on scholarship, and the curriculum is the International Baccalaureate. So, it’s not much like Liana’s boarding school. Before going to boarding school I went to the public high school in Los Alamos, New Mexico, one of the big rivals to Taos High School, where Liana ends up as a total fish out of water.
Can you share a short snippet of the story?
I sat on a patch of dead grass beside Aunt Cassie’s house as the sun rose. My skin already tingled as if I’d rubbed it with heat cream. Even though it was winter and the temperature below freezing, my jacket lay on the ground behind me, leaving my arms bare. With a deep breath of clean, chilled air, I braced myself for the full force of the oncoming pain.
The desert around me was quiet, and I was glad for that. It seemed that every animal I could think of that lived out here was poisonous in some way. Scorpions, rattlesnakes, various types of spiders—and I wasn’t an outdoorsy person to begin with. I found myself taken in by the stillness of it all, though. There were no birds chirping, or leaves rustling in the wind, no distant sound of cars whooshing down the road, or buzz of an errant porch light attracting insects.
There was just the broad, flat Taos Valley with its deep, jagged line of canyon in the distance, and beyond that were the mountains, their sharp angles softened with a layer of evergreen trees. Now the sky was turning a deep, vivid pink with wispy clouds looking like they’d caught fire.
I felt more than saw the sunrise. One moment my skin burned with an annoying tingle, and the next it felt like I was laid out atop a hot griddle with molten metal poured over me. I was certain that my flesh was being incinerated this time, but I’d thought that last time and the time before. Clenching my teeth and holding my breath, I waited for the sensation to break. It had before, so it had to this time. Still I gripped my small gold cross pendant and prayed to any deity who would listen. I begged, mentally, for forgiveness for my weakness. Please, give me another chance, another day.
Tears leaked from my eyes, and that was the first sign I had that the pain was abating. Their cool tracks down my cheeks quenched the fire and that sensation spread across my face and down over the rest of my body.
And then it was all over, the external pain at least. It was just me, the silent desert, and the yawning chasm of emptiness I felt inside. Tears didn’t ease that pain though. It was bottomless.
Chasing Sunrise by Emily Mah
Where can readers go to find out more about you and your books?
The MC, Ashley, has moved to a new town, Emerald, for a fresh start, with her dad and his new girlfriend. Can she out run her past?
The girl friend works at Ashley’s new school and introduced her to Lucas, a boy in her year group. Ashley settles into her new school quickly as she already has made friends.
Ashley’s auntie has been counseling her to help with behaviour issues that got so out of hand that Ashley was lucky to only have community service.
Ashley is the main character. She went off the rails and is now trying to get her life back on track. She’s very self-involved.
Roxanne is the villain. She is the bad girl from Ashley’s past. Together they had wild parties and commit crimes.
Lucas is the lad that Ashley was introduced to before moving to Emerald. He makes sure she settles into school and has a good new group of friends like Chloe.
Her dad and his girlfriend are really nice. Ashley is struggling with her dad’s new relationship and how she fits in. This was the catalyst for her bad behavior and although she working on changing, she’s still not okay.
This book felt like a book 2. I really wanted to see Ashley go wild and hit rock bottom but the story starts after that, once the dust has settled. Except, Ashley hasn’t really processed what happened.
Ashley integrates into her new school with ease. Her new house is in a nice neighbourhood and next door to one of her new friends. Everything is going good until the burglaries start.
Someone is breaking into homes and stealing peoples jewellery. Ashley can’t help but think her past is catching up with her. When someone she loves gets hurt she decides its time to take responsibility for her mistakes. She runs away from home, back to her old town.
There were a few occasions I felt the story was too safe, and the author could have dug deeper into Ashley’s emotions and upped the stakes. It is a quick easy read.
The story has a satisfying ending with no loose ends. Although it is part of a series you can read it as a standalone. Overall it is a good story about taking responsibility for you actions and forgiveness.
The book deals with or touches on the following topics; moving house & starting a new school, death of a parent, parent remarrying, a new baby to the family, going wild (stealing, drinking, drugs, sleeping around), miscarriage, gun crime, running away/homelessness, and needing therapy.