There are tons of ways to own your very own copy of Ocean Heart. Check out my webpage About Ocean Heart for full details, but here are a few:
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You can buy a signed copy of Ocean Heart from Ko-Fi, and there are two options:
Personalised & Hand Signed
This is limited to the UK due to postage costs. First, I order the book, sign it, and then send to you. If you’d like a personalised message for you or someone special, I can do this.
This was the method used for the first 20 copies of Ocean Heart bought during my book signing event at Stillwater Books.
Now, you can get a hand signed copy by supporting me on Ko-Fi & visiting my Ko-Fi Shop.
Personalise & Digitally Signed
This is limited to countries with an Ingram printing facility. I will design a personalised page for you, that will be added to the book when printed. Ingram then will send out directly to you (saving on international postage costs/emissions).
Currently there is only one copy of Ocean Heart like this that I gifted to a TikToker.
The great thing about Smashwords is you can buy your eBook and choose the format, enabling you to read on whatever device is your favourite. In addition your eBook is saved to your Smashwords library, so you keep it forever.
Kindle is one of the most popular eReaders both as a tablet and app.
If Smashwords and Amazon aren’t your thing, you can get Ocean Heart from many other popular eBook stores. Click this link to discover more eBook buying options: https://books2read.com/OceanHeart
Kairos is book 2 in your The Syren Story series. Who is this series for?
This series is for anyone who loves mythology of Percy Jackson or Circe, and who is enchanted by the magical worlds of Holly Black or Sarah J Maas. My series contains fan favourite tropes such as enemies to loves, and the chosen one which woven into unfamiliar worlds with unsung creatures such syrens and centaurs.
Can you tell us more about King Kellan?
Kellan is the eldest son of late King Lachlan and Iseult, and a Descendant of Ares. Although this ancient tie to the god of war is generations old, Kellan is something of a warlord and is willing to fight hard, particularly if his family is involved. His act first, think second nature often lands him in trouble, but when he awoke from a dream about a syren, he didn’t hesitate to take the seas and find Wren.
What inspired you to write this series?
I was walking along a coastal cliff walk with my boyfriend when I started talking about mermaids and the sea. As much as I adored the Little Mermaid growing up, as an adult it bothered me that Ariel was willing to give up her voice for a prince, so I began toying with the idea of a King who needs a syren’s voice.
Tell me about your writing routine?
I usually scribble ideas in my notepad throughout the day, especially on my commute to work, which I can type out and expand on in the evenings. I write with a cup of tea beside me and complete silence, I don’t know how other writers can work with music.
I tend to edit as I write which is viewed as a sin in the writing world, but I find rereading what I wrote the previous day helps me get back in the flow and I can tidy up typos along the way.
What is your greatest challenge as an indie author?
Marketing. Hands down, marketing. I had watched a ton of BookTube videos and done my research before diving into the indie author world, and I thought I was prepared, but no. Nothing can prepare you for how much marketing you have to do in order to get your book scene.
As much as I adore being an indie author, I would love the big marketing campaigns that some bestselling authors get! Imagine seeing your book in Times Square!
Can you share a short snippet from Kairos?
Sliding his forearms under me, he carefully prises me off the soiled garment, positioning me on the thick, plush sheepskin rug in front of the now roaring fire instead. He feeds my dress to the flames without hesitation.
“Hey.” I croak, watching the beading melt whilst the gossamer fabric billows out smoke, “I liked that dress.”
“I’ll get you another,” Kellan says, as he makes his way to the bathroom adjacent to his suite to fetch a basin of water, “Recover from this and I’ll buy you an entire wardrobe.”
“You’ll need clothes. Not me.”
My voice barely carries over the sudden ripping sound of him destroying yet another shirt. This time to make linen strips.
“I don’t need anything bar you surviving, okay?”
I nod, or at least I think I do. I don’t feel my body move. I don’t feel my body at all anymore.
Even with my eyes shut, the dancing flickers and shadows penetrate through my lids. I try to remind myself it’s just from the fire, but an ever-growing part of me fears it is Hades stoking the pits of the Underworld in preparation for my arrival.
Kairos by Naomi Kelly
Can you tease us with what you are working on next?
I’m currently working on a companion novel which features two characters readers will have met throughout the Syren Stories. This story will be able to be read as a standalone and will be the first book of mine to not be classified as YA. The tale will be jam packed with forbidden romance, magical creatures, a hint of smut and of course more magic and mythology than even Atlas could carry.
Where can readers connect with you and discover more about your books?
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?
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 🙂
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
I was excited to interview Hannah about her book as I’m currently reading it and it’s a mermaid story. As an author of a mermaid story myself, I’m always fascinated to see how others do it and how different the worlds we create can be.
This is book 1 in a trilogy. What can readers look forward to in the Pearl Wielders series?
Mer, magic, adventure! Some readers have even described Tenebrasco as a Little Mermaid retelling! It’s a very contemporary take on the mer world. I basically wanted a story that avoided some of the standard mermaid tropes. So, for example, the mer wear normal clothes (hydrodynamic of course!), the humans (or legged as the mer call them) know that the mer exist and the mer live in a world and society that is as advanced as ours.
From a plot perspective, the Pearl Wielders series starts when the peace treaty between the mer and legged is attacked derailing peace and setting the two worlds on the brink of war.
In the aftermath of the attack, April (MC) ends up stranded on a poison shrouded island grappling with her powers as they start to consume her.
Can you introduce the MC, April and the sort of powers your mermaids have?
April, or Princess April Meridia, is the most powerful pearl wielder in the seven seas. She loves marine wildlife, is a very caring and loyal friend and would do anything for her mer but… she has never been fully in control of her pearl powers in the way her mum and society expect.
As the heir to the throne of the seven seas April wields all seven of the original pearl powers. She can manipulate water and the weather, grow plant life, communicate with animals, heal and connect with the life force of other mer.
Who is your favourite mermaid- other than April of course?
This is a difficult one and it changes across the books! In the first one though, I think it’s Alex.
I won’t give too much away but… he’s the best friend everyone needs!
What inspired you to write the Pearl Wielder series?
Several things inspired me to write the Pearl Wielders. The earliest version was a draft I wrote when I was ten years old. I woke up from a dream about a mermaid with golden hair who attended a boarding school on an island. I only wrote a couple of pages back then but it became a comfort story. Whenever I was bored, lonely, travelling etc. I would add to the Pearl Wielders world and continue telling myself the story.
The story has changed to a point that it’s unrecognisable, but when I finally started writing it properly (some ten years later) the one thing that stayed the same was the mermaid with golden hair.
Who do you think would enjoy your series?
If you like the Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, Alanna’s Quartet by Tamora Pierce or The Selection Series by Kiera Cass.
The Pearl Wielders series is enjoyed by all ages but the target demographic is Teenagers.
Can you share a short snippet of the story?
A deep cold washed through April. Dark tendrils of energy writhed towards her. Panic flooded her brain and the compulsion to reach the Merdevil was broken. She tried to drop the stone but it clung to her hand. Her panic levels increased and April thrust all her powers outwards. She propelled herself upwards and the Merdevil dissipated as she found herself back in the lake.
Finally, she broke through the surface and hurriedly clambered onto the grass. Clouds had gathered overhead and all the waterweeds had shot up. April looked around in alarm. The beautiful flowers were now overgrown with grasses. She looked to her hand where she was still gripping the black stone. A dark flicker ran across her fingers, she blinked and it was gone. April shook her head trying to make sense of what had happened. She felt cold, very cold.
Connor and Alex were frozen ten metres away from April. Their faces mirrored the horror of the other’s expression. Silence settled over the pool. Even the sudden clouds froze in place hanging ominously above. Only a few seconds had passed but it felt like everyone had stopped for several minutes. The cold was slowly seeping into April’s skin. She looked up towards the sky and wielded her Tempus powers to part the clouds and let the sunshine back through to heat her up. April turned to assess the damage she had caused, but the pool area had reverted back to normal. She stood up and whipped the water from her body with her Factus powers as she walked through the grass. A glow of white Factus and navy-blue Tempus energy surrounded her. As she wielded her pearl powers she heard an intake of breath to her left. Suddenly she remembered who she was with. Alex and Connor still hadn’t moved. Transfixed by April’s actions they were both utterly still. April took a small step towards them and as if the power had been turned back on, they both abruptly burst into life.
Tenebrasco by Hannah Reed
Can you tell us about any special events you have coming up? (MerMay, upcoming releases, etc)
Yes! We’re actually in the midst of an event. This year I’m hosting the first-ever MerMay Readalong! Check out Instagram to see what’s going on!
The third book in the pearl wielders series, Tempus, is releasing summer 2021 (date TBC).
Where can readers go to find out more about you and your books?
This book is the finale in the Cronus Chronicles series. I will place links for the earlier books in this series at the end of the post. Each interview covers different writing tips and info about the series.
How long did it take you to write this book once you had the idea?
The idea of Gabe’s story came in flashes, but once I finished writing Abby’s and Seth’s stories, Gabe’s story took about six or seven months to write the first draft. Another month or two to rewrite. I’d say the process from drafting through publication took sixteen months.
This book was written after you lost your dad – was it a therapeutic outlet? I notice that it deals with death.
This book explores my grief to some extent, or the ways in which suppressed grief has power over us. Writing Gabe’s story allowed me to process the loss of my father and my own pain. In many ways, I felt stuck like Gabe. When he walks into that childhood fort, I felt like I completely understood his need to hide there, to face death; though Gabe deals with suicide ideation, I think each of us face the symbolic death of self when we face the pain of loss, and then the subsequent rebirth when we find our way out of it. I’m not sure if that makes sense?
Tell me about the character Gabe?
Gabe has faced immense bullying his entire high school career; it’s called The Freak Challenge, and the object is to get Gabe to fight back. Writer of poetry and lover of Abby, he hasn’t fought back because he knows who started the challenge—Seth—and he’s biding his time to get back at his former best friend for the betrayal. His therapist has tried to help him. His adoptive parents have helped him. Even Abby, now, has helped him, but lingering over his head is the knowledge of his real parents and his fear of becoming them. When things spirals out of control and Seth’s life is on the line, Gabe crashes and feels like everything that’s happened is his fault, the fault of the DNA he carries in his body, and that the only way to save everyone else from the monster he’s becoming is to end it.
Each book is a different character from the series story. What inspired these characters?
You’ll see the parallels with the three characters in the Twilight series. Abby-Bella, Seth-Jacob, and Gabe-Edward (though an awesome reader thought Seth and Gabe were reversed which I love too). When I rewrote the books, Abby was inspired by the emergence of Hawaiian culture in my island home. The exploration of how one’s culture informs identity. Seth, as a villain, was inspired by the idea that even the villain has a story. That those either-or dichotomies are often flawed because as people we are a million variations of color. Finally, Gabe was inspired by my daughter who has struggled with mental health. When I read the statistics about males and sucicide rates, I was so saddened, I knew I wanted to explore this further.
When you finished the series you gave it a new look. What was it like relaunching a book and redesigning the covers?
It was hard work (and costly) but I’m so glad I did it. I am so proud of how they turned out, and they are so much more in line with how I envisioned them in the redesign as opposed to the original covers (which I liked too). It’s a lot of work. Finding a cover designer, formatting, learning the ins and outs of publishing in a more hands on way. I don’t think it’s probably a path for everyone, but I’ve enjoyed the process.
Do you design the covers yourself or use a designer?