2023 Second Quarter Check In

You can see the initial goals I set for 2023 by checking out my January post: https://allyaldridge.com/2023-goals/

I love doing these posts. I always feel like I’ve not done much, then I look back at the last three months and realise I have a lot to celebrate.

Publishing

Sky Heart: Book 2 in the Soul Heart Series

My editor had a health emergency that delayed her being able to return the Copy Edit. She is a Trooper, and once she was better and rested she still did it. She returned it on 4 June 2023.

I had an important event to prepare for in June, so didn’t really deep dive into my final edits until the end of the month, finishing it by 1 July 2023.

So, this technically falls into the Third Quatre of the year but I’m too excited to keep it to myself. Once I finished editing, I sent my manuscript to my Formatter to make it pretty. I then realised she needs front & back matter too, so I wrote this and sent it over by 3 July.

Due to the editing delays, I lost my Formatting slot but will get slotted in soon. Once back I’ll be able to look for ARC readers.

Seeing my publishing plan, I noticed I missed a step. Now trying to see if I Cassidy has time to proofread for me, because she’s got a good eye. When she ARC read Ocean Heart, she spotted some minor typos that got missed despite all the edits, and I was able to change those before it went on sale to the public. Fingers crossed she can help me again.

Summer Heart: Prequel of Soul Heart series

I added a little more. It’s not going to be 85k. I’ve no idea why I set that as the word count target! It’s currently at 36.5k words, and some of that is notes. It is nearing the end of the story, so it’s not going to get much longer.

  • A YA Low Fantasy prequel from The Soul Heart series. Set in the early 00s, a summer romance turns into a teen pregnancy. With a fortune telling meddling witch, Denny moves to Felixstowe believing she’s doing the right thing for her baby.

Dark Heart: Another Soul Heart spin off/sequel

I’ve had this story bubbling in my head for a few years. I tried to write it before but got too scared. This time it felt less scary, and the words poured out of me. This story is at 21k words and almost finished. It will be another novella.

  • A YA LGBTQ Fantasy spin off from The Soul Heart series. It was supposed to be a horror inspired by slender man myths and Orochimaru from Naruto, but it’s turned into a coming out story, and not as dark as I expected. It’s been fun to write.

Public Appearances: I attended both my author events.

May: Herts Book Festival

This was so much fun. I sold books. I took part on a Fantasy panel with other fantasy authors, and I met and made author friends.

June: Felixstowe Book Festival.

I have wanted to be part of this event for a long time! I was part of the Children’s events. My event was called Let’s Talk Fantasy, and it was me and a local avid reader. It created a great dynamic. Afterwards, I sold and signed some books, and enjoyed more of the festivals events.

I forgot to take pictures and videos, until after the event. I only got a photo of my signing table, and fortunately Phoebe’s mum took some pictures she was willing to let me use on Social Media.

Aug: Booked to attend Legends Comic Con on 6 Aug 2023

I have updated my website’s Events page with details. I will be three with three other local authors I have gotten to know via Instagram, including Rachel Churcher who had the stall next to me at Herts Book Festival.

Reading

12 out of 18 books: I set my Goodreads goal at 16 books and have read 12 books so far.

Reviews: All the books have a Goodreads review. I have been so busy, I’ve not posted reviews as frequently to my blog. I posted three more book reviews on my YouTube channel channel.

Social Media [UPDATE]

Felixstowe Magazine: I have fallen behind with submitting articles for Felixstowe Magazine. I’ve been so busy with my kids, my new job, and festivals, that the weeks have flown by. This is a reminder, I need to get back on that as it’s a really good opportunity.

Website: I’ve been good about updating my websites Event page with what I’m up to. I’ve not updated my book titles. I need to update Sky Heart’s progress, rename New Moon as Summer Heart, and add Dark Heart.

I’m also not happy with my current host provider, Hostinger. I paid for 2 years, so I’m stuck with them for another year but in the autumn I need to check out other providers and prepare for a migration.

Ko-Fi: I haven’t posted as frequently. Everything dropped up during chicken pox season, and busy with book festivals. I’ve started posting quick updates on my progress, and my YouTube videos. Nobody is there so it feels like I’m talking to a brick wall.

[kofi]

YouTube: i usually record when I’m off work on a Friday, but due to bank holidays and sick kids, I’ve worked a lot of Fridays and this has impacted my ability to record anything. I have made a few shorts in Canva. I’m proud of my long form Vlog video of going to Herts Book Festival.

Consistently Post: To keep the algorithm happy, I set the following schedule and included how I got on sticking to it:

  • Blog: Mon – This has definitely dropped in consistency. I usually have a few posts scheduled but right now I have loads of drafts written, waiting for the images.
  • IG: Wed (more if I feel like it) – It’s been sporadic but has met the at least once a week quota. Also, posting to Lemon8.
  • Ko-Fi: Thu – This has become so sporadic, I forgot the goal was to post on a Thursday.
  • Twitter: Sun – I rarely post intentionally to Twitter. It updates on my reading progress, and I’ve been sharing my Lemon8 posts.
  • YT: Tue (fortnightly) – No. This has trailed off since May. I will try to get back on track.
  • Newsletter: Every other month – That’s a relief. I thought I needed to send it monthly and had dropped off, but I have done this.

Followers: Eek, I was okay with no growth, but to lose followers was a shock. It’s so slight, I hadn’t even noticed. I wasn’t surprised that my TikTok count dropped as I deleted the app for a bit – I’m just not a fan and don’t trust them to respect my privacy.

I’m chuffed I have already beat my YouTube annual goal. This is encouraging as I am still trying to figure things out.

It’s good to see I am connecting with readers. I was surprised by this as I don’t always remember to post to BookBub & Litsy.

The Author Diaries: The authors that agreed to do The Author Diaries collab with me are still up for it but we still haven’t set down a time. I’m starting to worry we might never do it.

Reviews: I’ve heard from people that bought Ocean Heart tell me they are loving it, but no new reviews.

Personal

Skincare routine: Got a new face wash which I love, by Auriella Probiotics. I got a new foundation, eyebrow pencil, and lip and cheek tint.

Visit Jimmy’s Farm: I was worried with the kids keep getting ill, my hubby working weekends, and my festivals, that we wouldn’t get to go. We did.

I was having an awful weekend where the kids were driving me barmy and decided I wanted to change it. So, I took them to Jimmy’s Farm to burn their energy and we all had a great time.

Date Nights: No more date nights, but we took the day off for Sports Day and got to have lunch, just my hubby and I, on the seafront.

We almost booked a spa day at Riverhills for our wedding anniversary. We got the time off work but we were so distracted by life we never booked it. Just as well, because the night before we would have gone, the spa burned down.

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2023 First Quarter Check In

You can see the initial goals I set for 2023 by checking out my January post.

Today’s post is to look at what I have achieved during the first three months of the year (January to March) 2023.

Publishing

Sky Heart: Book 2 in the Soul Heart Series

It took me until end of March to finish the Developmental Edit which is longer than I had hoped but still good progress.

I have also finalised the cover for Sky Heart and waiting for Sky Heart to be closer to publishing to do a cover reveal.

Summer Heart: Prequel of Soul Heart series

I haven’t worked much on this during Quarter One. I have been distracted by a shiny new idea. I’m not too worried as Sky Heart was always the priority but I’d like to finish this at some point this year.

Public Appearances: I have booked two events.

May: Herts Book Festival. I will be there selling signed copies of Sky Heart.

June: Felixstowe Book Festival. I will be taking part on a panel for the Children’s events.

Other Stories: I gave some examples of some plot bunnies bouncing around in my head. However, none of these were the shiny new story I started writing during quarter one.

  • A YA LGBTQ Fantasy spin off from The Soul Heart series. It was supposed to be a horror inspired by slender man myths and Orochimaru from Naruto, but it’s not coming out as dark as I expected. It’s been fun to write.

Reading

6 out of 18 books: I set my Goodreads goal at 16 books and have read 6 books so far. I bought some ear pods and tried audio books again. I’m having more success, but, I still prefer the written word to the verbal word.

Reviews: All the books have a Goodreads review. I have posted reviews on my YouTube channel for four books so far and plan to do more.

Social Media [UPDATE]

Felixstowe Magazine: I have been fortunate enough to write for Felixstowe Magazine throughout 2022 and will continue in 2023. Check out my News page to discover the articles.

Website: I need to make sure my pages stay up-to-date. For example, whilst writing this I’ve found that “New Moon” is listed on my books page but hasn’t updated to the new title “Summer Heart”. This isn’t a biggie as I’m not marketing it yet, but I mustn’t lose sight of it.

I’m also not happy with my current host provider, Hostinger. I paid for 2 years, so I’m stuck with them for another year but in the autumn I need to check out other providers and prepare for a migration.

Ko-Fi: I have been posting more often to Ko-Fi and trying to post some content that can’t only be seen there by more followers. I am finding it hard to think of content to post each day.

[kofi]

YouTube: Despite the challenges affecting my life during the first quarter, I have managed to record, edit, and lost fortnightly to YouTube. This schedule is challenging for me but still achievable so I will keep this schedule.

Consistently Post: To keep the algorithm happy, I set the following schedule and included how I got on sticking to it:

  • Blog: Mon – This has been most Mon but I tend to forget something for the end of the month.
  • IG: Wed (more if I feel like it) – It’s been sporadic but has met the at least once a week quota.
  • Ko-Fi: Thu – I have posted each week, usually on a Thursday.
  • Twitter: Sun – I had a clear out of Followers on Twitters which improved my feed, but I don’t think I have posted intentionally to Twitter.
  • YT: Tue (fortnightly) – Yes. This has be challenging at time as I’ve had tech challenges like my video not uploading but I have persevered and kept up with it.
  • Newsletter: Every other month – Yes. I sent a newsletter in Jan, but not in Feb, and then again in Mar. I thought I’d messed up on this goal so it’s good I achieved it.

Followers: Eek, I was okay with no growth, but to lose followers was a shock. It’s so slight, I hadn’t even noticed. I wasn’t surprised that my TikTok count dropped as I deleted the app for a bit – I’m just not a fan and don’t trust them to respect my privacy.

I’m chuffed I have already beat my YouTube annual goal. This is encouraging as I am still trying to figure things out.

It’s good to see I am connecting with readers. I was surprised by this as I don’t always remember to post to BookBub & Litsy.

The authors that agreed to do The Author Diaries collab with me are still up for it but we still haven’t set down a time. In the meantime, I have been creating fortnightly content for my YouTube channel.

Reviews: Although I’ve had two people tell me they read and loved Ocean Heart, the review count has not increased.

Personal

Skincare routine: I got in a good routine and then got lazy again. I also treated myself to some Korean makeup. I used to love Korean makeup before I went organic. I got a cute foundation, highlighter, and bronzer.

Visit Jimmy’s Farm: I’m so disappointed that we haven’t been. It hasn’t been the best weather, cold and rainy. When it has been nice my husband had either been working or someone has a bad cold. Hopefully we will get to go during Q2.

Date Nights: My hubby’s best mate baby Sat so we could go watch Avatar together. This was right before I lost my job. Once I was unemployed my hubby and I went to lunch a few times when we was on his rest days.

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2023 Goals!

I didn’t really set any goals last year and it left me feeling like I didn’t achieve everything I wanted to. Having no milestones left me unaccountable.

After reflecting on this, and learning from it, I must set goals for 2023! I went back to my Jan 2021 post to use as a goal setting template.

Publishing

Sky Heart: Book 2 in the Soul Heart Series

I wanted to publish this by the end of 2021. The goal rolled into 2022, and it’s still outstanding! This is my top priority for 2023. I am halfway through the developmental feedback. Completing this step by the end of Jan is doable.

For accountability, I will post my feedback on Ko-Fi & share to Twitter.

Summer Heart: Prequel of Soul Heart series

Originally this was titled New Moon (or Denny’s Story) and it was going to be a short novella that I would offer out as a readers magnet, but… I’m not good at short stories. This is fast becoming a full length novel.

Public Appearances: I would really love to do another face to face event. They are scary but I think they are important to be seen as an author. I’m not sure what though.

Other Stories: I would like to start a new novel. I have ideas for some stand alone novels. As I struggle for time to work on my main projects, these get pushed aside. When I want a change, I will work on:

  • A YA Paranormal Fantasy Horror set in a made up town- Paranormal YouTubers crossed with Blaire Witch Project
  • A YA Sci-Fi Romance set in Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk – The UKs equivalent of the USAs Roswell.
  • A Historical YA Fantasy set in Woolpit, Suffolk inspired by the local Green Children Legend.
  • A Vampire Fantasy Romance set at Birmingham university (location may change to London, Liverpool, or Ipswich) – Exploring addiction.
  • A Sci-fi Action story set at Landguard Fort, Felixstowe, Suffolk/Sealand – Drunk teens find a naked girl on the beach that has escaped a research facility, and now they are on the run. Inspired by Stranger Things and Hunted on Ch4.
  • And many more. I have tons of plot bunnies but not enough time to write. One day… one day…

Reading

12 – 24 Books: When I am working on my writing, I tend not to read. It depends on how productive I am towards my publishing goals. The last two years, I’ve doubled it but my progress in other areas were reduced.

Reviews: I wish to continue posting reviews on my blog, and Goodreads. If it’s on Litsy or BookBub, I will post it there too. In addition, I’d like to review books on my YouTube channel.

Social Media

Felixstowe Magazine: I have been fortunate enough to write for Felixstowe Magazine throughout 2022 and will continue in 2023. Check out my News page to discover the articles.

Website: I need to make sure my pages stay up-to-date. For example, whilst writing this I’ve found that “New Moon” is listed on my books page but hasn’t updated to the new title “Summer Heart”. This isn’t a biggie as I’m not marketing it yet, but I mustn’t lose sight of it.

I’m also not happy with my current host provider, Hostinger. I paid for 2 years, so I’m stuck with them for another year but in the autumn I need to check out other providers and prepare for a migration.

Ko-Fi: I joined last year, and really enjoy this site. It is now my shops home as it’s so easy to use. I need to update this more often and encourage people to follow me there.

[kofi]

YouTube: I really want to grow my YouTube channel. It’s hard because I need quiet to make videos. I also don’t want you to see my messy home, so I must tidy first (recently we had a leak in the kitchen that spread to the dining room – this is an ongoing nightmare). Then once recorded I need to edit, and my laptop is on the way out. There are lots of obstacles but this is a goal I’m not giving up on!

Consistently Post: I know this is important to keep the algorithm happy, but during 2022 I just lost my enthusiasm to post. I think it was burn out. However, this is what I will aim for:

  • Blog: Mon
  • IG: Wed (more if I feel like it)
  • Ko-Fi: Thu
  • Twitter: Sun
  • YT: Tue (fortnightly)
  • Newsletter: Every other month

Followers: I’m not too worried about building up my following as I’d rather have people I’m engaging with than big numbers. I’ve set my goal to increase by 10%, especially as I haven’t really tracked it for two years.

I barely sent out any news letters during 2022. To send one every other month would be an increase. It would be nice to get more subscribers but I won’t be pushing this.

I don’t like Facebook, so I’m going to drop this off completely.

I recently returned to Twitter. I stopped using Twitter because there was so much hate and preaching American Democrats. It pushed me to check out Parler. Parler was very American Republican and nothing else. Since Elon has taken over Twitter, it feels less political, and there is more rounded discussion. I’m enjoying Twitter again.

TikTok is an app I feel I should use more as people make book sales there, but it terrifies me. I’m not going to force myself to do it, if I feel inspired to post there I will but I’m not too bothered about my growth.

I had an idea to do a collab feature on YouTube called The Author Diaries. We found it challenging to find a time we were all free but I am still interested in doing this. In the meantime, I will create content for my YouTube channel on writing a book reviews.

BookBub, Goodreads, and Litsy are social apps for readers. I’m not very active on these except to post reviews. I can’t see that changing.

Reviews: Reviews are really important for a books visibility, so I will be tracking how many I have and – eek – remind my readers to leave reviews.

Personal

Skincare routine: I haven’t really bothered with my skincare or makeup products during 2022 as I tried to save money. It could be aging or my lack of care but my skin is in need of some attention. For 2023, I will invest in some nice products and look after my skin better.

Visit Jimmy’s Farm: My mum treated me to an annual pass so we can go whenever we like. We will be making the most of that. The pass also includes discounts at other places so we could check them out too.

Date Nights: My hubby and I are both busy working, looking after the kids, keeping up appearances with friends & family that we barely have quality time together. When we are together we are often exhausted. My hubby and I have agreed that we will try harder this year to make time for each other.

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Summer Reading Challenge

Summer Reading Challenge

World Indie Warriors is a nonprofit organisation that has a mission to bring indie authors together so they can collaborate and help each other. They are a lovely bunch and a joy to work with.

#WIWBINGO

Over on Instagram @worldindiewarriors have created a reading challenge for indie books.

Readers are encouraged to get a line of three by reading books on the bingo cards.

When readers post their review, WIW would like readers to tag them in it.

My debut novel Ocean Heart is featured on one of the bingo boards!

Fantasy books to read this summer!
Romance books to read this summer!
YA books to read this summer!

If you want to join in, you might be interested to know that Ocean Heart is available to borrow from all good libraries. The library might need the ISBN to order it in. You may find this pic useful.

Ocean Heart ISBN

As a supporter of indie authors & indie books, I already have a few of the books ticked off the bingo card, but no lines.

Check out the reviews below:

Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S. Weaver review

Sorceress of Truth by J.D. Groom review

Agent Undone by Cassidy Reyne review

Duet Rubato by Claerie Kavanaugh review

Amelia’s Story by Nicola Hebron review

Brave New Girl by Grace Herbst review

Red Blood by Kaitlyn Legaspi review

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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Writers & YouTube playlists

Book Review: The Rookery by Deborah Hewitt (The Nightjar book 2)

I received an ARC copy of this book from Net Galley, in return for an honest review.

Setting

Technically the novel is set in the present day, however, The Rookery is a fantasy world which they travel to using a portal. Most of the story is set in The Rookery, which has magic, a 1920s decor, and is a lot like London but without modern devices.

People have a soul bird. It’s linked to them by a glowing cord that is severed when they die. There are magical houses that specialise in certain types of magic like earth, water, stone, etc.

Characters

Alice is the main character. She is completing a number of challenges to earn membership to House Meilaki .

It’s apparent that in book 1 she discovered her parents are not her biological parents. Alice loves them but is keen to find out who her real parents are, especially as powers are inherited. She has Meilaki earth powers, but is concerned she also has powers connected to death. In addition, Alice has the rare ability of being able to see other people’s bird as well as her own.

Alice has a range of friends. Each bring out a different side of her. She’s also dealing with the death of a friend who died in book 1. She blames herself, and can’t forgive Crowly. Crowly is a guy she has romantic feelings for but hates. He isn’t in the book much for the first half but plays an important role towards the end.

Review

The book is written in third POV which isn’t my preference. I struggled at the start to connect with Alice and to get into the story as I hadn’t read book 1. But, I’m pleased I kept reading.

Something strange is going on in The Rookery, and people are dying. It feels like Alice should be doing something about it but she’s going to work, and parties, training for the competition, and keeping quiet about the less public attacks in her room.

But as the magical attacks get bigger, Alice takes action. She realises there’s a connection with her boss and her past. As secrets unravel, Alice is spurred into action and this is where things get really good.

This book has loads of magic and I loved seeing the different powers. The soul birds were new to me and I loved them, and how Alice’s unique gift gives her insight into the motives of others.

It felt a bit like a mystery with fantasy, as the MC collects info, pieces it together, and saves The Rookery. If you enjoy mysteries and fantasy then you’d love this.

Below are affiliate links. Visit my Affiliate Disclosure page for more info.

[kofi]

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

Book Review: Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom

Book Review: Red Blood – Card Holders by Kaitlyn Legaspi

Behind the Book: The Devil’s Own by K.A. Fox

Book Review: Red Blood: Card Holders by Kaitlyn Legaspi

I was fortunate to be part of Kaitlyn Legaspi’s ARC team. I didn’t quite manage to finish this ARC in time but I wasn’t far behind.

Red Blood: Card Holders by Kaitlyn Legaspi released on 19 Feb 2021. Add to your Goodreads.

Setting

This novel is set in a futuristic world where there are bound and unbound people. Unbound people have powers, and those with more than one power are specialists. Specialists can learn to use cards that boost their powers.

The unbound are rules by the Card Catchers. The story starts with a tournament being held where all the unbound must compete, so the strongest are selected. The tournament can be deadly, hence Neela’s resistance to partake.

Characters

Neela is the main character. She is a feisty vigilante orphan, growing up in the slums with her brother. Neela is an untrained specialist.

Jacen is Neela’s big brother. They are super close as they’ve pretty much grown up only having each other. He doesn’t have any powers.

Brochan is to become Neela’s trainer when she is required (or forces) to compete in the Red Queen tournament. Part of his team includes wife Lily, and brother-in-law Will.

Amil is a specialist trained assassin. He also becomes Neela’s first friend. There’s a lot of flirting between them. Unfortunately, Amil’s brother isn’t quote so friendly.

Review

Neela is a feisty young vigilante, with unbound powers. She doesn’t want to compete in the Red Queen tournament, until she is caught by her trainer. On their way to the tournament they are attacked.

Neela meets Amil, a young assassin that everyone is cautious of. He quickly becomes her friend, which draws the attention of his not so nice brother.

People are targeting Neela. As they try to figure out who they are, more secrets unravel. Could the attacks be linked to her parents deaths?

My only negative is that sometimes it felt too dialogue heavy, and there were a lot of occasions thar Neela’s hair got roughed up or her head patted.

Red Blood is full of fast paced action and superpowers. It reminded me a lot of Naruto, but without the school. It’s a fun read. Kaitlyn has put a lot of thought into the magic system and World-building to bring this story to life.

Top Tip: Don’t skip the Prologue!

[kofi]

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Book Review: Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom

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Whart to Watch if you love Super Powers

Romance Tropes – Which are your favourites?

With Valentines Day coming up, I thought it’d be fun to share some of the romance tropes that can be found in Ocean Heart, and possibly in Sky Heart. Warning: Lots of snogging Gifs!

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org Shop Link. NB: This post contains these affiliate links…

Friends to Lovers

This is a favourite romance trope of mine because my husband and I started out as friends. For us it had a HEA, we have a beautiful home and two fabulous kids, and later this year we’ll be celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary. But getting together wasn’t easy, and it risked our friendship if it didn’t work out.

In Ocean Heart, Mariah is crushing on her BFF.  It starts off as an unrequited love, but during the novel they deal with first kisses, jealousy, and a break up.  Can they rekindle their romance, save their friendship, or do they need to move on?  

Enemies to Lovers

Sometimes I don’t like the trope because I don’t want them to get together. It depends on why they are enemies but, I made it work in Ocean Heart. Check out the reviews of Ocean Heart.

When Mariah beats swim star Murray in a race, he doesn’t handle losing well.  After behaving like an idiot, he starts to take an interest in her but she’s not interested.  She’s heard about his reputation.  

Check out my review of A Court of Thorn and Roses by Sarah J Maas.

Bad Boy

This is the one where the bad boy falls in love and changes his ways. I’m a sucker for this one as a fantasy, but in real life not so much. Bad boys are bad news and rarely deliver a HEA.

Murray has an Instagram feed of all his conquests and he’s not ashamed to brag about it.  It’s why he’s so protective over his sister Kiely.  He knows guys only want one thing, until...

Love Triangle

Some people really hate this trope. Eek! But, not me. Throw in more hot guys, more romances, more complications, and I’m hooked turning the page.

There are technically two in Ocean Heart.  First up, when Mariah realises she’s crushing on her BFF Jace, he already has a girlfriend, Kiely.  Later, when Murray takes an interest in Mariah, he attempts to draw her attention away from Mariah. 

Check out my review of Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom.

Soul Mates

This is where two people are meant to be together. It’s common in paranormal romances, where a wolf imprints on their mate.

Mariah is a mermaid.  She doesn’t know it, but when she accidentally marks one of the guys as her mate for life, then they are bound. 

Fake Relationship

People fake relationships in books often to raise their status, or to get a reaction from someone else. In Out Of My League the MC accepts the deal to save face at a party where she catches her boy friend cheating, and in The Practice Boyfriend the MC strikes a deal to gain access to the elite parties.

In Ocean Heart, Mariah agrees to a fake relationship.  Both parties have different reasons but united on one goal; to end a romance.  

Check out my review of Out of My League by Sarah Sutton or The Practice Boyfriend by Christina Benjamin.

I’m working on book 2, Sky Heart, which follows Kiely’s story and already I can see certain Tropes appearing.

Second Chance

This is where old flames rekindle. The question is always whether their is a relationship worthy of a second chance or too much damage.

In Sky Heart, Keily is desperate to get back with her ex. She struggles to handle the break up gracefully.  

Check out my review of Duet Rubato by Claerie Kavanaugh.

Best friend’s Brother

As a teen I loved a book called Ginger’s First Kiss by Janet Quin-Harkin. It’s the first book in the Boyfriend Club series where a group of friends pact to help each other get their first kisses and Ginger realises she’s into her BFF’s brother. I got it free with a teen magazine at the time called BIG. Over the years I have lost the book and it is no longer in distribution.

Both Keily’s BFFs have brothers, and both are off limits.  It’s a rule the girls made. A rule Kiely is tempted to break when one of them offers to help her get over her ex in a way nobody else can. 

Check out my review of Amelia’s Story: The Wiccan Romances by Nicola Hebron.

Forbidden love

This trope is so exciting. There’s all the danger of getting caught, and whatever the stakes are.

It’s not just her friends that Keily needs to hide who she is seeing, it’s also her over protective big brother, Murray.  And later, she must keep it hidden from someone more dangerous than she ever imagined.  

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to like and follow.

[kofi]

Search the blog for more posts on Romance as I have interviewed romance authors and reviewed romance books.

Goodreads 2020 Reads

Something I love about Goodreads is how easy it is to track my progress towards my reading goals. At the end of the year, Goodreads gives stats on my reads.

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org shop link. NB: This post contains these affiliate links.

2020 Reading Goals

My goal was set at 12 books, thinking I could easily read one a month but I hadn’t taken into account how busy I’d be certain months launching my own book, Ocean Heart. It turned out just 12 books was harder than I thought.

The year has include some books I absolutely loved, and one I hated. I’m pretty good at choosing books I know I will love that I wasn’t surprised that my average rating was high. I just don’t have time to read books I won’t like. 😂

Wiccan Romances: Amelia’s Story by Nicola Hebron

This was my first read of 2020. It was a book I’d been eager to buy, but was lucky enough to win a copy from the author on Twitter! Whoop! Whoop! I love fantasy set in the real world so it was a good start to my year.

My last two reads of 2020 were Garden in the Sands by Ellie Mitten and… I rather unusual choice for me… The Substantial Meal by Florence Green. I’ve rated them both on Goodreads but still need to write the review.

Garden in the Sands by Ellie Mitten

I think I preordered this book, but I’m such a slow reader, by the time I got to it, it’d been out a little while. I’m going to write a review very soon but as you can see from my 5 star rating, I LOVED THIS BOOK!

The Substantial Sandwich by Florence Green

I can’t remember how Florence & I got talking, but I was a bit glum I wasn’t going to make my pathetic reading goal of just 12 books. I was beating myself up. Then Florence cheered my up by sending me his recent release, an erotic satire using innuendos and puns about the Covid restrictions. It was a quick short read and succeeded at cheering me up. Review coming soon.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas is the most popular book I read. I’m not surprised as I saw it all over Instagram. I actually bought my copy in summer 2019 at YALC.

Another YALC buy was Sea Witch by Sarah Henning. It’s a historical fantasy/fairytale retelling of The Little Mermaid. I really loved the book, and hope to read book 2 in the series this year.

A book that should be more popular is Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom. It’s contemporary fantasy and has everything I love in a book. The MC was relatable, but all the side characters were well developed. With a modern day sorceress, fairies and vampires, what’s not to love?

2021 Reading Goal

To alleviate pressure, I’ve lowered my reading goal to 10 fiction books. I know, some people can read that amount in a month. But, I read for pleasure. And, I have to be in the right mood. If I’m too tired or engrossed in my own writing, I just can’t get into the book.

I also have a few resource books I need to read and review. I didn’t review any last year despite reading some. So, you can look forward to that. These are separate from my reading goal.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

2020 Book Reviews

Book Review: If The Broom Fits

Book Review: Agent Undone

8 Reasons Why You Should Write Reviews For You

Check out my Live Stream Team

I hope you were able to watch my recent series of Live Streams. The last one was earlier this week for my Ocean Heart launch party.

My Stream Team have been amazing, and we’ve had lots of fun learning Stream Yard together and getting to know each other better. But, I want to give you a chance to discover more about them too.

Stream Team

J D Groom

Jodie is an author with two series out and working on another. She has done Behind the Book interviews for Envy and Sorceress of Truth.

https://youtu.be/4kPjHHYy42g

Elexis Bell

Elexis has written a number of dark fantasy stand alones. Elexis has done Behind the Book interviews about Annabelle, Soul Bearer, Gem of Meruna, A World For The Broken, and A Heart of Salt & Silver. She enjoys digital design and creating her own character art.

https://youtu.be/AcZnNVtyWiY

H.B. Lyne

Holly is the Urban Fantasy author of the Shifters of Caerton series. You can buy the full set or individually. She’s also author of the Goal Setting For Writers book, runs a popular podcast called Unstoppable authors, and was behind Indie Fire.

https://youtu.be/SezLe9VSvrY

Nicola Hebron

Nicola Hebron is author of the YA Fantasy Romance series the Wiccan Romances. The first two books (Amelia’s Story and Sam’s Story) are already out, and the other two can be expected in 2021.

https://youtu.be/vpQ4SH8MgvU

Launch Party

I was so happy to share my launch party with these fabulous authors, that are part of the incredible supportive indie community.

https://youtu.be/Ho6J-PQTvvI

Congratulations to Aimee (UK) and Nora (International) for winning the Giveaway. Both have been notified and I am looking forward to dispatching their prizes this weekend.

Discover more about my fabulous team by visiting their websites.

For J D Groom visit: https://jdgroom.com/

For Elexis Bell visit: http://www.elexisbell.com/

For H.B. Lyne visit: https://hblyne.com/

For Nicola Hebron visit: https://nicolahebronauthor.com/

Ocean Heart is currently entered in the All Author December 2020 Cover Contest. If you like the Cover of Ocean Heart please vote for it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ho6J-PQTvvI&feature=youtu.be
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ho6J-PQTvvI&feature=youtu.be

[kofi]