Behind the Book: 2021 Collection

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I learn a lot from my fellow authors and love sharing it with you all on my blog by hosting Behind the Book interviews.

Here is the collection from 2021:

The Waterfall Chronicles by Owen B. Lewis

Blurb for The Waterfall Warrior by Owen B Lewis

Kairos by Naomi Kelly

Blurb for Kairos by Naomi Kelly

Chasing Sunrise by Emily Mah

Blurb for Chasing Sunrise by Emily Mah

Garden in the Sands by Ellie Mitten

Blurb for Garden in the Sands by Ellie Mitten

Meraki by Naomi Kelly

Blurb for Meraki by Naomi Kelly

Tenebrasco by Hannah Reed

Blurb for Tenebrasco by Hannah Reed

i

The Devil’s Own by K.A. Fox

Blurb for The Devil’s Own by K.A. Fox

The Stories Stars Tell by CL Walters

Blurb for The Stories Stars Tell by CL Walters

The Bones of Who We Are by CL Walters

Blurb for The Bones of Who We Were by CL Walters

The Ugly Truth by CL Walters

Blurb for the Ugly Truth by CL Walters

Swimming Sideways by CL Waters

Blurb for Swimming Sideways by CL Walters

[kofi]

If you like this, you will like:

Book Review: Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes

This post contains affiliate links. Please check out my affiliate disclosure page for more information.

About the book

Blurb for Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes

My thoughts

This book breaks down a romance novel into beats. The beats are plot points that are expected in popular romance stories. It helps you identify if your romance novel has all the right ingredients.

It’s good but brief. I’m glad I read Save the Cat first as it’s similar but that book goes into more depth. This book was like a romance appendix to STC. I don’t think this will be a resource book I turn to very often now I’ve read it.

⭐️⭐️⭐️

Buy Romancing the Beat on Amazon

[kofi]

Collaborating on a New Exciting Project

Elzevera of Willowtree Editing needed some extra help in managing her Mighty Network: Under the Willow

I joined the Mighty Network back in 2019 and Elzevera helped me with self editing, Ocean Heart.

It inspired me to want to create my own Mighty Network and I set this as a goal at the start of 2020.

I have been exploring creating a Mighty Network. It is a social site for creatives. I’m currently a member of a Mighty Network by Willow Editing. I have been Beta Testing a self-editing course by Elzevera of Willow Editing.

I am considering the network as a potential way to share extra bits with my readers. I am also exploring it as a space to share writing resources as many of my followers are fellow writers.

http://allyaldridge.com/writing-progress-january 2020/

But, I’d also decided to self publish Ocean Heart, and this was my priority and keeping me very busy. I didn’t have time to build my own Mighty Network. I ended up abandoning the goal to focus on my debut novel.

Early this year, I stepped back from my volunteer role with World Indie Warriors. I created their indie books brochure and eZine. Collecting all the info and publishing four times a year was taking over too much of my free time. When I started a new job, I didn’t have the energy to continue with both. It was hard to let go but I’m still very close with the members and support them however I can.

Now I’ve settled into my new role, I have more energy again. When I saw Elzevera call for help on Instagram, it sounded like a perfect new fresh challenge for me.

I applied to help, and we had a little chat about what she’d need me to do. From October, I shall be Elzevera’s new co-host. I’m excited to take on this new role.

Under the Willow is inline with my original Mighty Network goal. Elzevera’s created her network to empower writers to have the tools they need to self edit their work, and improve their writing craft in a supportive community.

If you want to join a supportive group of writers and improve your craft, please do come join us on Mighty Networks in Under the Willow

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this you will like:.

12 Tips for Self Editing

My Process – How to Publish a Book

Different self publishing platforms

Writing Progress – January 2020

Seven Secrets to PitMad Success

I met debuting author Roxy Eloise through Instagram. We connected during a very exciting time for her author career! Roxy has just landed a publishing deal following her first attempt at PitMad.

In the spirit of authors supporting authors, Roxy agreed to share her experience and some tips to help other hopeful writers find success with PitMad.

What is PitMad?

Well, before we get into things, I should probably cover what PitMad is. PitMad is an event held on Twitter by Pitch Wars. It enables unrepresented writers to pitch their novel in the hope of attracting interested agents/publishers. Those interested will like the tweet to signify a request for the manuscript. Read more about the event on the Pitch Wars website.

Roxy Eloise’s PitMad Success Story:

I joined Twitter in January 2021 with the hopes of connecting with fellow writers, but feeling like the new girl in school, I remained silent for the whole month! For some reason, I felt nervous to send out my very first tweet. Instead, I just watched my timeline, during which, I picked up a few key hashtags, #PitMad being one of them. I kept seeing it over and over again until one morning my curiosity got the better of me. What is this #PitMad? After a quick google search, I discovered I had been on PitchWars.org a few months prior, and I had already bookmarked the page to check out at a later date. Well, I stumbled upon it again, but this time it just so happened to be on the morning of their Twitter event called PitMad.

I only had a short while to prepare my pitch, and I was at a huge disadvantage because I hadn’t gotten myself on any retweet lists, but I decided to try my luck at it regardless and chalk it up as experience. My pitch could’ve been better and there are a few things I would have done differently but I never needed to. 

On the morning of March 4th, I started the day by reaching out to a few of my followers and asking them for help. After a few retweets, my pitch began to take off, and by the end of the day, I was on the ‘TOP’ page for the hashtag PitMad. The next day, I had a full request off Entrada Publishing, and then, after a few rounds of proving myself and my book, I got offered a traditional book contract. Thanks to PitMad, The Guidal: Discovering Puracordis will be coming April 2022!

Here is my original pitch which attracted the attention of my publishers:

Now after you read this article, you will notice its flaws, and this is what I would have done differently:

THE LAST AIRBENDER X DIVERGENT

A suspiciously paranoid man adopts children to protect him. All raised in a strict academy together, one trouble-maker discovers she is dangerously different. #PitMad #YA #D #MR #R

Roxy Eloise Revamped Pitch if she were to do it again

But with everything in life, we learn as we go. Isn’t it crazy how when we were newbie writers we believed our first drafts were outstanding? But then we grew as writers and now we cringe at our early drafts. If you still think your first draft is amazing, unfortunately you still have some growing to do. But one day you will see it, and when you are at that stage, you are ready to pitch your work.

Follow the seven secrets below, and you too could see yourself a PitMad success.

Seven Secrets to PitMad Success

7 Secrets to PitMad Success

1. Read the Rules

This point may be self-explanatory, but it’s surprising how many tweets I see before the start time or how many I see with GIFs. What’s the point of going through so much effort to create an awesome pitch only to risk your chances of success with an image? Don’t hinder your chances; read the rules carefully before participating.

One last thing to remember is to not like your friends’ pitches. The like button is reserved specially for agents and industry professionals. You can show your support by leaving comments or retweeting.

2. Create your Ultimate Pitch – CONFLICT IS KEY

So you’ve read the rules and now you’re ready to create your eye-catching tweet. Well, first off, what’s not eye-catching is a sentence with unfamiliar names which instantly make the agent feel lost. If you have a unique MC name, keep it for the full proposal. Refer to your character as a boy, a woman, a witch, a lawyer, a narcissist.

You only have 280 characters to entice your agent, so do just that… entice them. You don’t have to explain the plot of a 100K novel in 2 sentences. To entice them, focus entirely on the conflict. Any other elements can be revealed after you’ve reeled them in and they’ve asked for a full request.

Which one of these would you hit the like button for:

Saraiya walked the street at night when she was kidnapped by Kanhoa and put in an enclosure with other prisoners. She falls in love with Fenrir and they devise a plan to escape. (All names taken from actual pitches.)

VS. 

A man steps from the shadows and covers her mouth. When she wakes up naked and exposed, she immediately needs to fend for her life. She is not alone in this prison.

One focuses entirely on the conflict, whilst the other introduces stakes that I could take or leave. Escape is obviously the stakes. Life or death is another. It is not necessary to TELL the agent. You have already SHOWN it in the pitch.

One pitch also made me stumble over unfamiliar names. The agent will learn your unique names in the synopsis. This is also the time for them to learn about the added romance.

3. Use Hashtags and Comp Titles

Got a romance in your genre-blend sci-fi, adventure novel? Tell them with Hashtags. The agent may be very specific in what they are looking for. If they want sci-fi with a romance they can search #PitMad #SF #R and your tweet could suddenly appear on the ‘TOP’ page. Visibility—when you’re in amongst hundreds of thousands—is fundamental. Find which hashtags to use on their website.

Comparative titles can very quickly build a picture in an agent’s mind and it only takes a few characters. If I said to you HUNGER GAMES X HARRY POTTER, you suddenly think “okay, witches and wizards fighting it to the death in a sinister survival game.” You know there’s magic, and you also know there’s a survival of the fittest game. You got all that from just 27 characters. It’s a good use of your limited 280.

4. Have fun and Be Active

Being active can help tremendously on the day. If you support other authors, they are likely to support you back. Positivity can go a long way, so have fun and enjoy the day engaging with fellow writers.

You will also learn a thing or two by reading other pitches. You learn what to do and what not to do. If you find yourself saying “who cares?” after every stakes question, then don’t use a stakes question. “Who will win?” “Will they do it in time?” “Will they survive?” Who cares?

5. Pin your Pitch

So, you have the pitch of your life and your friends want to come and support you, but they go to your profile and are met with a list of other people’s tweets. Or worse, the agent liked your pitch but wanted to see your profile before they hit the like button, and now they are on your page and can’t find your pitch. What they do see though, are your fellow writers’tweets. Great for them but not great for you. You potentially lost an agent.

To solve this, simply pin your tweet so it stays at the top of your feed on your profile.

6. Make a Retweet List and Get on Retweet Lists

So this is not one-hundred-percent essential but it does help. Not only are you engaged, active, and having fun, you are receiving support on your own pitch.

Retweets may sway an agent to hit the like button if they think other people are interested. Sometimes they could be undecided and 200 retweets could be the one thing that persuades them.

7. The Flaw to THREE Variations

And finally, you come up with three variations of the same book, you send them out a few hours apart, and they all get 50 retweets each… Well, if you weren’t distributing your retweets between three pitches, you could’ve potentially had150 retweets on one post. Having 150 on one, looks better than 50 on three. And guaranteed they are 50 different accounts on each post.

Now, I know agents may not be biased and like pitches according to the amount of retweets they have, but I can also guarantee that if you go and look at a pitch with 500 retweets, it has at least one agent like on it. It’s all about making your pitch look popular and generating a bit of excitement about your story; after all, it is fabulous!

Why not let the retweets reflect that. Retweets also get you on the ‘TOP’ page for that hashtag, and this means even more exposure for you.

Thank you Roxy

I want to thank Roxy for taking her time to write this post for my blog, and I hope this helps another aspiring author to achieve their dream.

I also love that despite getting a deal on her first PitMad, Roxy is already reflecting on what she could do better. And, that is the key quality of successful people, to keep growing and improving. I’m sure this book deal is just the start of her author career and I can’t wait for her book to release and to see the other titles that follow on for this debuting author.

Make sure you follow Roxy Eloise to keep up with her journey and book news. Here are her links:

www.instagram.com/RoxyEloiseOfficial

www.Twitter.com/RoxyEloise_

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

PitMad September 2019 – My Experience

PitMad June 2019 – The Tweets

PitMad December 2018 – My Experience

Writers Beware – Know who you are querying

[kofi]

Behind the Book: Wilcroft Chronicles: The Waterfall Warrior by Owen B. Lewis

Thank you so much for agreeing to an interview about your debut fantasy novel.

Tell me about your beautiful book cover?

The beautiful artwork was illustrated by Yu-Hsuan Tseng who I happened to find online. I came across her wonderful art from a graphic design website and fell in love with the colours and imagery that she used. The style felt the right vibe for what I was imagining for The Waterfall Warrior. I got in touch with her and she was very happy to create my front cover. I was hugely honoured as it can be hard to find the right image for your work that captures what was originally in your mind, but not in this case. Yu-Hsuan Tseng listened to my ideas and with her talent and unique style she made the most perfect artwork I could ask for.

The Waterfall Warrior is book 1 in the Wilcroft Chronicles, how many books do you anticipate in the series?

I plan to do two more. When I came to write the first one I always had a trilogy in mind. It’s exciting because now the first book is out there, people can find out about this world and these characters I have created. I have lots of ideas for what’s to come. I know how it all ends, but there’s a lot of exciting things to happen before that. 

Can you introduce the main characters, Hannah and Callum:

Hannah Barrington is a twenty-five year old woman who works at a hotel. She roams Epping Forest whenever she is feeling depressed. It brings comfort to her as she has fond memories of staying there with her grandparents and siblings when she was little. One day she comes across a waterfall which seems out of place; she walks through and finds a portal that transports her to a different world called Therrhain. Hannah befriends a Warrior there called Fay. To get Hannah back they must go to Wilcroft University to meet a woman named Carol Wells, but first Hannah and Fay must unveil the secret of the ancient prophecy before Therrhain is destroyed.

Callum Barrington is Hannah’s youngest sibling. He’s currently a student at university in Manchester. He also deals with mental illness. There’s a young man named Elliott Heartwood that he can see through his mirror, and in the early chapters Callum isn’t quite sure if he’s real or if his mind is playing tricks on him.

Is the Epping Forest in your book based on the real Epping Forest? Why did you choose this location for your fantasy book?

Yes and no. It’s real in the sense that in the story Hannah is walking through the actual Epping Forest, but I have added things that aren’t there in real life, such as the house that her grandparents lived in. I chose this location because I needed a forest that was out in the middle of nowhere but also close enough you could travel there from London, and also because Hannah needed somewhere to go that gave off a childlike and magical atmosphere. 

The book includes your main characters facing mental health issues. Is mental health something that’s important to you?

Most definitely. Over the last few years I have been very open about myself having mental health problems. I also used to be a care worker before I became a writer, so I have worked with a lot of people who also have had mental health issues. I think it’s an important theme to put into stories, especially when it’s not the main plot device; the character just so happens to have these issues, but they also are shown to still live a life and have other qualities to them.

What advice do you have for anyone that may be struggling with similar issues to your main characters.

I’m not sure I am the right person to give advice, but I guess all I would suggest is to talk, and not be ashamed of the difficult emotions you are facing. From personal experience when I talked about it I felt better for it. 

Can you share a short snippet from The Waterfall Warrior?

Walking through the forest brought back so many memories. It seemed smaller than it had when I was a child. I remembered the time I had fallen over a branch, the one that was still sticking out menacingly between the trees. It had made me fall and cut my knee. I had cried for hours. I used to play there with Chloe, Laura and Callum. They were my only friends back then. It was a time in my life before I realised you could have friends that were not part of your family. We used to use sticks as swords and playfight with each other. We even made dens with blankets. There was a house there that looked as though it was about to collapse. It used to belong to my grandparents, Grumbles and Numbles I called them for some strange reason. Back then I used to think this forest was their garden. When I passed this area, I could almost smell the cooked dinner that my grandmother used to make. It had always tasted as good as it smelt. My mouth was watering. The memory cheered me up but not for long. I was now further into the forest. I wasn’t very familiar with this part. We were told to never cross this point when we were kids, or we would be in “very serious trouble”. It was hard to believe it now, as this part of the woods felt very innocent and peaceful compared with the rest. The ground was flatter, there were no stones to graze your knees if you fell, and no hills to climb and fall down. I came across the stump of a tree. It was right in the middle, all by itself. Lines of trees standing tall on either side of it, squashed together like sardines. I went and sat down on the stump. Without even a thought I broke down and cried for about ten minutes. I didn’t understand why I suddenly felt so upset. I was feeling low, but I didn’t think I was as bad as all that. Then something startled me. The strangest, but most beautiful sound. Someone was singing.

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

The best place to do that would be at my book launch. It’s being held at Bristol’s Waterstones on September 28th at 7pm. I will be talking about the book, and there will be readings by two actors who narrated the audiobook edition of The Waterfall Warrior, which is also out soon. I will be signing copies of the book. It’s a free event but you still need to claim a ticket by visiting Waterstones website and going to the event section.

https://www.waterstones.com/events/book-launch-with-owen-b-lewis-wilcroft-chronicles-the-waterfall-warrior/bristol-galleries

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this you will like:

Behind the Book: Chasing Sunrise by Emily Mah

Behind the Book: Garden in the Sands by Ellie Mitten

Behind the Book: Meraki by Naomi Kelly

Behind the Book: Tenebrasco by Hannah Reed

I had a great time at Felixstowe Book Festival…

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 😍.

The Workshops

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:

Body language

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”.

Free writing

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:

Reflection

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.

If you liked this, you will like:

Felixstowe Book Festival- How to connect with local writers

Independent Bookshop Week

We went live for Indie Author Week UK

Felixstowe Book Festival (previous years)

[kofi]

Behind the Book: Chasing Sunrise (The Sunrise Prophecy book 1)by Emily Mah

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 buy link for the book is: https://books2read.com/Chasing-Sunrise

My social media:

Website: emilymah.com

Twitter: twitter.com/emilymah

Instagram: instagram.com/emilymahauthor

Facebook: facebook.com/emilymahauthor

The below are affiliate links. Read Affiliate Disclosure page for more info.

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Behind the Book: Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom

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

[kofi]

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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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

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[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:

Behind the Book: Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom

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

Camp NaNo April – Mid Month Check In

It’s Indie Author Week UK 2021