Behind the Book: Petrified by Ben Meeks

I connected with Ben on Instagram over our love of novels about shifters. I thought my shifters were unique but Ben’s debut novel is about a were otter! He agreed to a Behind the Book interview so I could discover more, and share it with you.

What genre is Petrified and can you name any similar books?

Petrified is contemporary fantasy. There are a lot of books that share some elements but I don’t know of anything that is similar. It’s written with more of an adult audience in mind like The Dresden Files. It’s focused around shifters like the Mercy Thompson series. It has a very likeable main character similar, although not as humorous as, The Iron Druid Chronicles. 

With those similarities there are a lot of differences. It focused on shifters but it’s not romance. There are no vampires or Alpha pack structures. There are many different kinds of shifters, Wolves, bears, raccoons, coyotes, rats,even a were-doberman, and the main character is a wereotter.

Why did you choose an Otter shifter?
There are two answers to this: 
Answer One:
The rules are that a Keeper has to be bound to a predator native to the area it works in. In North Georgia USA we have blackbears, coyotes, otters, or some kind of rodent that I could choose from. So I picked an otter.
Answer two:
If I’m being honest, I didn’t want Obie to be a wereotter. It’s a marketing nightmare. People don’t wake up in the morning saying, “Today I’m going to find some wereotter fiction.” Otters don’t have the street cred that wolves do. Some people have a hard time with the wereotter concept and will pass on the book because of it. I’ve had more than a couple sleepless nights debating changing Obie to a werewolf. Ultimately, I couldn’t do it. 
It was like having a child that had a characteristic on the fringe of social norms. I could accept Obie for who and what he was or try to shoehorn him into a more culturally accepted role. I chose to accept him. If that means the book doesn’t sell then that’s okay. 

Which animal would you like to shift into?

Too many to choose from… maybe a Platypus because I seem to keep people scratching their heads. 

This is the first book in the Keeper Chronicles – how many do you anticipate in the series?

I don’t have a set number in mind. I’m working on book three now. I have a lot of ideas for other projects I’d like to get to but I’ll write them as long as the characters want to keep going. 

What challenges did you face in publishing this?

It’s my first book so I had a number of challenges. The biggest challenge was that a year and a half after release I figured out some things I hadn’t done correctly. I took the book down and made some changes. After I fixed everything it was rereleased as second edition. The main thing I changed was the cover. I wanted to get a full body shot of a wereotter so people could better understand the concept.

Can you describe a typical day in the life of author BenMeeks?

I wake up around 7:30. I take my daughter to school first. After that some or all of the following happen in no particular order.  Clean up or work around the house, have a morning writing session, and exercise. My exercise varies depending on how I’m feeling and what else I have going on but generally will be weightlifting, rowing machine, playing disc golf, or mountain biking. After that I get a shower and eat. I’ll take an hour or so to relax and watch TV or read. Then I get back to work on whatever needs to be done that day. I still have a day job and I work 15:00 to 24:00 from home. If things are slow I fit in some writing there too.

Please share a short snippet or teaser from Petrified?

I walked over to find the answer to the mystery of the missing bones. They had been arranged in a central pile about three feet in diameter with three rows on each side of varying lengths pointing off in different directions. The end of each row came to a point with a bone that had been cut sharp. I knelt for a closer inspection. 

“It looks like a weird compass, like you see on old maps,” Holt said over my shoulder. “What do you think it is?” 

“I don’t know, maybe some kind of marker or cantrip? Whatever it is, it’s not good,” I said. The breeze shifted, blowing against my back, bringing with it a smell akin to rotten eggs. “You smell that?” 

“Yep.” 

I stood and turned to see a small grey face peeking up over a headstone. The imp crawled up on the headstone, giving us a clear view of it. It stood almost two feet tall with four arms, grey skin, and long claws on its hands and feet. Its long arms and pallid complexion made it look like a miniature resurrected gorilla, with a Cheshire cat smile. A line of black barbed quills ran down its back. By far my least favorite thing about imps was catching them. 

“What’s it doing?” Holt asked. 

He was right, this was strange behavior. Imps are small and not inherently powerful. They use their speed and size to evade; they never go toe-to-toe or expose themselves like this.

“Something’s wrong,” I said, trying to put the puzzle together. 

It clicked just as pressure, followed by severe pain, shot through my calf. I looked down to see one of the sharpened bones sticking out of the front of my leg. The bone pile behind us had stabbed me with the row closest to where I was standing. Holt jumped to the side, avoiding a similar strike meant for him. 

“Get the imp,” I said through gritted teeth. 

The five rows of bone that didn’t have me impaled moved underneath the center pile, lifting it off the ground like a spider. The orientation of the bones suddenly made more sense: they were legs. I bent forward to support myself with my hands and donkey-kicked its center mass with my good leg, sending it flying back into the woods. The bone piercing my leg was ripped free, leaving a gushing wound that was quickly filling up my shoe. 

Holt was busy chasing the imp around the graveyard and not having much luck catching it. I wasn’t going to be much help until my leg healed. The skeleton monster came shambling out of the woods like a Model T with loose wheels.

Where can we find out more and buy your books?  
You can find out about me on my website, www.authorbenmeeks.com. Petrified is available on Kindle, Audible, amazon or any bookstore. 
Here are social media and website links:

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

Behind the Book: Soul Bearer by Elexis Bell

Book Review: Forgotten Scars by Natalie J Reddy

Book Review: Blind Tiger by Rachel Vincent

My Books

Art Breeder for Character Development

Have you ever wished you had an image of your character? With Art Breeder you can.

I need to give thanks to author Elexis Bell for introducing me to the site. Check out her site, full of fabulous tips on writing, and her growing list of published books.

What is it?

The website generates a profile image by blending two images together and adjusting certain aspects of the face.

You can upload images you want to use but in the free version you are limited, I think it was five. But, using the images already available gives you more than enough options.

It takes a bit of playing to get the hang of it but it’s really addictive, especially as you start to see your character come to life.

Here’s their video to tell you more:

My characters

I created these in Art Breeder. They represent the main characters in Ocean Heart.

Characters of Ocean Heart created in Art Breeder.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to share with you more about each of these characters.

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org shop link.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

Tips on Naming your Characters

How NOT to start a novel!

How to beat writers block

My Books

Swoon Reads

The best way to explain Swoon Reads is as a public querying platform where readers influence agents on what to publish. The agents behind of this site are from MacMillan Publishing.

Swoon Reads publishes under Feiwel & Friends, an imprint of Macmillan.

https://www.swoonreads.com/about/

Writers: The platform was initially for YA Manuscripts only but now also accepts NA. The MS must be the writers original work and posted as an exclusive query to Swoon Reads for at least 6 months. One uploaded, it cannot be edited – that would be a new submission.

Readers: Site members read Manuscripts that appeal to them. They can comment to give the writer feedback with ideas for improvement or how much they loved it! Readers rate stories.

My History

Back in January 2014, I uploaded a copy of Drift to Swoon Reads. Drift was first drafted in Dec 2009, so I’d spent about 3 years working on it and thought it was ready to be queried.

The idea of readers choosing my book really appealed. At first, I got lots of positive ratings and excitedly awaited an agent to notice… and, I waited… and, I waited… and, after 6 months I returned to the traditional query trenches.

As you know, Drift has changed a lot in the last 10 years.

  • Was 24 chapters, then 36 chapters, now 30 chapters
  • Prologue cut
  • Merged with book 2
  • Changed character names
  • Given Ana (formerly Annie) a bigger role
  • Added a full mermaid shift
  • Added an epic battle
  • Changed the ending
  • Professional edit (twice) plus the countless self edits
  • Renamed as Ocean Heart

I uploaded Drift to Swoon Reads in January 2013. I got quite a few votes which moved my book into the top three most voted at the time. I thought this was pretty impressive as I didn’t have a huge social circle and my social media was limited to who I knew in real life, and I was too shy to tell them to go read my novel.

Despite the attention I got from readers, the agents never showed any interest. I don’t even know if they read it. But, the books they chose were always well deserving brilliant stories.

Moving on

After 6 months, you are free to leave your book on their site in hopes an agent will stumble across it and fall in love. I saw no harm in doing this.

I then queried and pitched other literary agents and publishers. I entered competitions. I did everything I could think to get my MS in their hands. Until, I realised, I could self publish.

This year, I’ve been working hard towards self publishing and in August, I got a strange message on Tumblr. They claimed to be a publisher that had seen ‘Drift’ on Swoon Reads and were interested.

Hmm…

One reason to Self Publish is there are lots of con artists about. Most reputable agents or publishers are so busy with manuscripts sent directly to them that they are not crawling the web looking for authors. They certainly wouldn’t use another publishers platform to poach authors.

I ignore them but it did remind me that my book is on Swoon Reads. I began to panic about their rules and if it’d affect my self publishing- eek.

They are a publisher that have built a good reputation for themselves so I hoped when I explained the situation they’d take my book down quickly. I explained:

  • Drift was uploaded in 2013
  • I’m self publishing but…
  • It has been edited a lot (characters names and plot changes)
  • Has a new title – Ocean Heart
  • Has a new cover

It was anxious for their reply. When I heard nothing I logged on and found it was gone. I’m no longer an author on Swoon Reads.

Comments

Readers can make comments on stories to encourage you or help the writer develop. Swoon Reads does warn writers to save these before taking an MS down otherwise they’ll be lost. I took screenshots. Here they are:

There will be, but book 2 is from Kiely’s perspective and much darker.

Tarot has done a great job of summarising Mariah (aka Lily) first love. Yes, I’m going to indulge you in a whole series based in the world of shifters.

Thanks Mike – met on WeBook a writing platform that no longer exists but where Drift was first posted online!

Mike, it’s evolved more! It’s got even better! No longer a twinge of magic, there’s even an epic battle.

I love comments like this. 💛

Yay! Thank you x

You’ll be pleased to know that prologue is long gone. Lol 😂

Thank you so much Debbie, I’m glad you loved my twist on magic.

Wow! This makes me want to happy dance.

Hopefully you won’t have to wait much longer as I’m working on Sky Heart (book 2) for 2021.

Thanks Anni. I’m working hard to make sure book 2 is just as awesome.

Do I recommend Swoon Reads?

Yeah. It’s been a positive experience for me. I didn’t get published but I did get useful feedback and encouragement from readers.

Ocean Heart

Drift has evolved and transformed into Ocean Heart. The comments above are by readers of the 2013 version.

These comments make me so happy. Whenever I get nervous about putting Ocean Heart out into the big bad world, these readers sweet words make me feel braver.

Soul Heart Readers

I’ve created a Facebook group for my Street Team, basically my first fans.

They’ll be first to hear how Ocean Heart is coming along, be offered ARCs and to be part of my virtual book tour, plus more…

If this is something you’d like to be part of, come join us in the Soul Heart Readers Facebook Group.

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org shop link.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this post, you will like:

Soul Heart Readers – Street Team

Why you need a developmental editor!

Why I have chosen to Self Publish

Writers Beware: Know who you are querying

How NOT to start a novel!

Please don’t worry about these when you are writing your first drafts. Your first draft will be messy and ugly and full of cringe-worthy writing.

When writing your first draft just get the words out but when polishing it up look out for these cliches and cut them out. I hope this list is useful for you.

1. Waking up

Nobody wants to hear about your characters morning routine. We don’t want to know what they do in the bathroom, how they make & eat their breakfast, or what they pick out to wear and how they get dressed.

If you start with your character waking up, something epic needs to happen and not their usual boring morning routine.

If they wake up to an alien invasion, I’m pretty they won’t be worrying about what to wear but the reader will be right there with then running down the street screaming in their pyjamas.

2. False starts

So, you throw your reader into a beautiful dream or terrifying nightmare. The reader has no idea this isn’t real. Then, they wake up and the reader feels cheated.

You may have drawn them in but only to disappoint them. This is only acceptable if it has a purpose, like if Freddy Kruger is the antagonist.

Don’t trick your reader into spending time reading your story only to reveal they wasted their time. They won’t thank you for it and might even quit reading more.

3. Characters

At the start of the book you want readers to connect with the MC quickly. If they’re confused who the MC is, that isn’t going to happen.

Make sure it’s clear who the main character is. This is the person that will take the reader through the story. Don’t hide the MC as a surprise later.

While on the topic of characters, please don’t give them multiple names – it’s confusing. Don’t have you character Elizabeth also called Liz, Lizzie, Beth, Eliza, Babe, Buttercup, etc. I did read a story on Wattpad where someone did this and I lost count of the MC’s various names by the end of chapter 1.

Don’t waste the readers time aquainting them in depth with a character that doesn’t contribute to the overall story. If they are not important, don’t include it.

You can introduce characters during the story but don’t dump them all in chapter one. Don’t overwhelm your reader with a massive cast so there head is spinning with all the names.

4. Point of view

Be consistent. Readers will get comfortable reading in a certain POV and when it changes it takes them out. This is why writing dual or multiple character viewpoints is tricky as you don’t want to lose the reader but also need to keep their voice authentic.

Keeping your characters voice authentic is important and true to what they know or understand. Think about unreliable narrators. You may find another character is better suited as your MC or the story is told better via another POV.

5. World building

Creating realistic and vivid worlds will suck your reader in but don’t drown them in the details. Bogging them down with lengthy descriptions or explanations about the dynamics is going to kill it.

You need to show them the world, let them see, feel, taste and smell it. Put the reader in the world so they live it. Weave it into what’s happening.

If you want to write beautiful prose about nature, stick to poetry.

6. Over-explaining

Give your reader some credit, they’re not stupid. Trust them to fill in the gaps. Show the character living in the story and your reader will figure how things are based on the interactions.

Don’t use dialogue as an info dump. It really doesn’t work. Conversation aren’t showing, if you’re using it as a vice for telling the reader.

7. Fancy language

Okay, so we just covered how smart your readers are, however, they aren’t going to stick around if reading your novel is a vocabulary workout.

Too many complex words will kill the flow of your story. If the reader has to keep stopping, to figure out what they’ve read, you’ll lose them. You don’t want your readers to groan at the thought of reading your story.

In addition, be cautious about using made up words. You may have created new creatures, profession and even a new language, but if your reader needs a translator to make sense of your story, it’s too much hard work.

8. Too comfortable

Any scene that is too cosy isn’t going to compell the reader to keep going. Something needs to happen, something has to grab their interest.

Preferably a terrible conflict that makes your reader get behind your MC and follow them to the end of the story. You need to start with action.

9. Start in the present

The problem with prologues is they take place before your story starts. Many people skip reading them.

Also, using backstory or flash forwards are not great starts because your reader hasn’t developed a relationship with your character so they don’t care about their past or future.

These can have the same impact as a false start if they’re not necessary.

10. Rules are made to be broken

All the above have been associated with losing the reader but there are occasions when it does work.

If you feel strongly that your story needs multiple view points or it’s crucial the MC wakes from a dream, then do it. After all, it is your story.

I made a fun infographic:

If you enjoyed this you will like:

Why you need a developmental editor!

Making his YouTube dream come true…

How I did my book foot stack photo

Where To Find The Best Indie Books

Behind the Book: Out of my League by Sarah Sutton

Thank you for agreeing to a Behind the Book interview about your novel Out Of My League. I was so lucky to be one of you ARC readers and became a fan.

Blurb: Out Of My League

Out Of My League is the second book you published. Was it easier launching book two?

Yes and no. I wasn’t as nervous for this book (though I was still pretty anxious about it!) mostly because the process wasn’t so unknown anymore. However, there were a few glitches with this book in the publication process that were difficult to figure out. It was a give and take, for sure!

This romance is a ‘pretend boyfriend’ romance. Have you ever fake dated?

I haven’t, which is probably a good thing! I most likely would’ve ruined the fake relationship on day one.

Out Of My League is centred around a highschool baseball team. Were you into sports at highschool?

Ooh, not at all. I’m the stereotypical character who always manages to get hit in the face by a basketball or something. Sports and I did not click, but that did open so much more time to work on my writing!

I love your YouTube channel. For my readers can you share a little what it’s about?

Thank you! I started a YouTube channel back in April, and I’m sharing all of the things I learned about the self-publishing process and my experiences with it, as well as talking about writing. With Camp NaNoWriMo coming up, my writing vlogs are coming back, and I’m so excited!

Have you got any tips for budding Author Tubers or Book Tubers?

Make the content that you love. Numbers may not grow fast at first, but if you’re loving the content you’re making, that’s all that matters.

I’m guessing you are a romance fan. What’s you favourite romance novel?

Ooh, this is a hard one! I really, really loved Kasie West’s The Fill-In Boyfriend, which, funnily enough, is another fake relationship romance! P.S. I Like You, also by Kasie, was also very sweet!

Please share a snippet of your story, Out Of My League?

Walsh stood on the other side of the door with his blond eyebrows high up on his forehead. “Nice to see you, too?”
“What are you doing here?” I was ten kinds of disoriented, staring at his figure standing against the fading sky. Did I conjure him from my thoughts? “Why aren’t you at the bay? Aren’t the fireworks starting soon?”
“I didn’t go,” he told me, slipping his hands into the pockets of his shorts.
“What? What do you mean you didn’t go? Where have you been for the past few hours, then?”
Walsh reached a hand out to me, palm up. “I can show you.”
As enticing as his words were, I hesitated, glancing at the picture on the wall as if somehow my parents could see me through it. “I can’t leave the house.”
“Your house,” he said, eyes vivid with energy, “or your yard?”
Uh. “What?”
Walsh grabbed my hand and led me out onto my front porch, then down the two steps. “Close your eyes,” he commanded, his other hand coming around to my other shoulder to guide me. “I promise I won’t let you trip over anything.”
“Walsh—”
“Shh. Just say ‘yes, Walsh’ and close your eyes.”
I gritted my teeth but relented, swaying as my vision filled with black. “I hate surprises.”
Walsh pressed firmer against my side, his chest touching my shoulder, a smile in his voice. “I think you’ll like this one.”
Grass crunched beneath my bare toes as he moved me along, but I remained a good sport and kept my eyes sealed. Though it was silly, my heart started to beat faster, the anticipation making me nervous. His hands that curved over my shoulders were gentle, the pressure steady, his body close enough behind me that I could practically feel his proximity.
“Relax,” Walsh said, guiding me to a halt. “Your shoulders are so tense. I’m not about to kill you and stuff you in my trunk.”
“Your trunk’s huge. You seriously think you’d have to stuff me into it?”
Walsh was close enough that I could feel him chuckle.
“Can I open my eyes now?”
Walsh hesitated for a moment before he let go entirely. “Yes.”

Where can we go to discover more and buy Out Of My League?

Out of My League is available on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo books! I’ll leave a universal link for easy access to any platform! https://books2read.com/u/b55yOw

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org shop link.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this you’ll enjoy:

Book Review: Out of my League by Sarah Sutton

Behind the Book: What Are Friends For? By Sarah Sutton

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

Book Review: Practice Boyfriend by Christina Benjamin

If you’re an indie, you need to know about this!

When I joined WIW I didn’t think self-publishing was for me. I only joined to connect with other writers.

Hearing their inspiring stories changed my mind. Self-publishing was no longer scary and they happily shared their experiences which I was able to learn from.

And, I achieved my initial goal of making incredible writer friends.

You can learn more by following them on:

Facebook: World Indie Warriors Members

Instagram: @WorldIndieWarriors

WordPress: World Indie Warriors

WIW eZine

This is a project that I manage for World Indie Warriors. I have been learning as I go and think each edition is better than the last!

It contains:

  • ENTERTAIN/LEARN: Articles for readers, writers and other creatives
  • BUY: Listings for indie books, products and services
  • CONNECT: A directory of featured members and how to find them on Social Media

This month there have been three blog posts on the WIW Blog about the upcoming brochure and how to get involved. This have been:

Submissions Open

This blog posts details all the content you need to submit to get featured in the brochure.

You can get featured if you are:

  • An indie author
  • Creator of indie products
  • Provider of an indie service

And you don’t need to be an indie. You can be a supporter of indies. We also feature members that are book bloggers too!

  • A book blogger or reviewer of any product or service in the brochure

New Releases

We have rebranded the brochure as an eZine. Another new feature will be to promote books coming soon.

If you are an indie author publishing in Oct, Nov, or Dec, you can get your new release featured.

All Indie Books

This is for bookstagrammers! Check out the post for full details but all you have to do is take a photo of an indie book or collection of indie books, use the hashtag #AllIndieBooks and we’ll feature our favourite with credit to your instagram account.

If the photo is of a book in the brochure we may also include you on the page it is featured.

What are you waiting for?

If you haven’t checked out WIW yet, go do it now! Check out the brochure and get involved.

The new brochure will launch at the end of September.

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

Writing Progress: July

Soul Heart Readers – Street Team

Why I love World Indie Warriors

Where To Find The Best Indie Books

Book Review: The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

I wanted this book for so long, by the tine I got it, there’s a second edition! The bonus is, the new edition has even more content!

It’s part of the Writer’s Helping Writers series. The series includes a number of thesaurus covering different aspects such as character traits or settings. The aim of the books are to help writers find the words they need to make the impact they want.

Author Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi

The series is co-written by Angela & Becca.

Writers Helping Writers

The pair run a website together (https://writershelpingwriters.net) to share information to help writers.

One Stop For Writers

They also have developed an impressive web-app (https://onestopforwriters.com) that’s described as a library of resources and tools to support writers.

What is the book about?

The one I got is on character expressions. It’s a thesaurus about different emotional responses and covers internal and external reactions.

How it works?

You look up the emotion your character is feeling, like lust, confusion, envy, fear, betrayal, etc.

There’s a little description so you can check you understand what the emotion is and make sure you picked the right one.

It then has a list of ways a character might behave if experiencing this emotion.

There are also some suggestions for internal sensations, which is useful for 1st person POV.

There are even some suggestions on how the emotion can escalate or deescalate.

How I used it?

Editing (Ocean Heart)

I used this book alongside the developmental feedback from my editor. She highlighted some points in my story where I needed to amp up the emotions and some places where I had skipped along without any reaction at all.

I looked up the emotion in the book and read the suggestions. I reflected on which reaction was most true to my character, then worked it in.

Future use…

This book will get used time and time again. I’m planning to next use it alongside writing Sky Heart. Hopefully it’ll reduce any feedback from my editor about under played or missed emotions.

Final thoughts…

This is a really useful book and has left me wanting the rest of the series.
It’s more of a resource than a thesaurus and I don’t think there is anything out there quite like this. It is designed especially for writers to aid their craft.
I highly recommend this book.
Do you have any writer resources that you swear by?

If you like this, you may enjoy:

Why you need a developmental editor!

Book Review: Save The Cat Writes A Novel

12 Tips For Self Editing

Tips on Naming Your Character

Behind the Book: What Are Friends For? By Sarah Sutton

Thank you for agreeing to a Behind the Book interview about your novel What Are Friends For?

Blurb: What Are Friends For?

This is your first published novel but what’s the first story you remember writing?

If we want to go wayyyyy back, I remember that the first story that I ever wrote was a Gingerbread Man spin-off. We’d just finished the book in my first grade class, but I wanted to read more of the Gingerbread Man’s adventures, so I went home and wrote it!

Why did you decide to self publish?

I tried the querying route, but I quickly found that it wasn’t for me. I spent over a year going back and forth between one publishing company, editing my book, before they ultimately passed on the project. To say I was devastated would be an understatement! I didn’t want to wait any longer, so I decided that I would be self-publishing.

This novel is a Friends to Lovers Romance – I fell in love with my best friend and married him. Have you ever crushed on a friend?

Oh, I love that so much! And I actually haven’t, not anything major anyway. I absolutely love the idea, though—a friendship turning into something romantic is soooo adorable to me!

Can you name any books similar to yours?

Kasie West’s book On the Fence was really similar, and very adorable!

Tell me about a typical day in the life of author Sarah Sutton?

I’m such a homebody. Especially lately. Usually I’ll do professional related things in the morning—like finish some client work, manage the business side of things. I’ll take a nap about mid-day so I can stay up late and write my heart out! Sometimes I won’t go to bed until four in the morning, which makes for a rough wake-up the next day!

Do you have a book boyfriend crush – who is he?

Ooh, ever since I read Clockwork Angel, I have been so in love with William Herondale. Total babe!

Please share a snippet of your story, What Are Friends For?

Elijah was still picking at his fingernails, trying to scrub away the last speck of glitter. It was good that he wasn’t looking at me—he didn’t notice my staring. “You know, Sav agreed to do the double date thing. I texted Jer and he was thinking tomorrow could be a good day. We could all just come over and do some arts and crafts together.”
I was a bottle of mixed emotions; every time someone shook me, a new one surfaced. “This is news to me.”
“I thought Jeremy would’ve called you.”
A part of me really, really wanted to start gushing about Jeremy, but for the wrong reasons. But making Elijah jealous would be impossible. And my soul felt too weary to even try. “I’m sure he’ll mention it tomorrow.”
“Do I have to say again the part where we don’t keep secrets from each other?” Elijah asked, nudging his knee against mine underneath the table.
“We keep secrets,” I corrected him this time, laying my head against my folded arms. I could smell the cleaner Mom used on the wooden surface with my nose so close, and also the lingering smell of glue. “You have yours and I have mine and we don’t talk about them.”
Elijah didn’t answer, at least not right away. From the corner of my vision, through the little sliver open near the crook of my elbow, I saw him pull his chair closer to me. Our knees connected again, but this time he didn’t move his away, allowing it to rest against mine. I felt his fingers walk their way up my skin, a tickle of a touch, barely there.
“You can tell me your secrets if you want to,” he said quietly, his voice soothing and soft near my ear. “I’ll always want to keep them.”

Where can we go to discover more and buy What Are Friends For?

You can buy What Are Friends For? on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo—here’s a universal link to where all that can be found! https://books2read.com/u/mgGO1v

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org shop link.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you will enjoy:

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

Book Review: Wiccan Romance – Amelia’s Story by Nicola Hebron

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

Why you need a developmental editor!

I never thought I needed one. But now I have used one, I wish I’d got one sooner.

There are lots of different types of editors and each type has a purpose. When I first read the definition of a developmental editor, I dismissed them.

What a Developmental Editor does:

Always check what the editor does before paying them but usually a developmental edit includes:

  • Refine your ideas
  • Improve narrative
  • Fix plot holes and character arcs
  • How to tell your story
  • Chapter length and order
  • What to delete/expand

Why I thought I didn’t need one:

I have so many story ideas that creating a story has never been an issue. And, I enjoy solving plot holes so why’d I want to pay someone to do that for me.

I was sure I could figure out how to tell my story my way and what was needed and when. I was worried an editor would lose my voice and it wouldn’t be the story I wanted to tell.

But, I was wrong:

A good editor works with an author to support them in enhancing their story. They give you the critique you’ve always needed.

What I got:

I hired Avery McDougal after meeting author J D Groom and seeing what she had down for her with Sorceress of Truth.

Avery edited my manuscript with inline comments. She didn’t just point out what needed fixing, she also told me where I’d got it right. Her feedback helped me grow as an author, learning by studying my own writing, guided by her feedback.

She, also provided a chapter report. This was an overview of the chapter and made me aware of any issues like grammar switches.

She provided a character analysis. These gave insight into how my characters were seen and their arcs. She linked this to character arc types which helped me learn about this too.

Avery also pointed out my bad habits. Once she pointed them out I became aware and able to correct them. For example, the overuse of a particular word.

Finally, Avery included helpful guides to help me in areas she identified that I struggle.

Editors are unique

All editors are unique. Some editors might not provide the support material Avery sent me. Before parting with your money, find out exactly what the service includes. Ask other authors for recommendations.

Check out the editors listed in the World Indie Warriors brochure.

The reasons I chose Avery were:

  • I liked what she’d done for Jodie. I still checked what I’d get to make sure I was choosing the right service for my needs.
  • Avery does writing workshops for teens. My novel is YA fiction. Knowing she has current experience with my intended audience was a bonus. And, it certainly showed in her feedback.
  • I got quotes and the cost was something I was able to afford.
  • Avery is approachable and easy to talk to. She made herself available post edits should I have any questions about her feedback.

Working with Avery was an amazing experience. She supported me to make necessary changes to improve my novel. But, she didn’t just develop my novel, she developed me as an author.

Ocean Heart is stronger thanks to her feedback, and I’m a more confident writer.

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org shop link.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

12 tips for self editing

Author Q and A – Ally Aldridge

Writing Progress: May

My Books

Book Review: Forgotten Scars by Natalie J Reddy

I awas lucky enough to win this book. I’m so glad I did as it was a brilliant fast paced read.

Beginning

The story starts with a prologue giving an insight into the MCs background. She grew up with no idea where she came from and adopted by a loving couple (two dads). She has good memories of her adopted life but just before starting university, they died. No she is on her own.

The story starts with a seemingly ordinary day, walking onto campus to meet up with her boyfriend. But, when she arrives at the art room studio, he’s making out with his ex-girlfriend.

She runs to the library and meets her ‘library friend’. They have a heart to heart but when they separate Wren is knocked out and abducted.

Middle

When Wren comes around she is in a huge house and tries to escape. She falls down the stairs and injures her leg and is now a prisoner in one of the bedrooms.

Her abductors are not ordinary people they have powers like being able to read her thoughts. The leader of the group is Darshan. They claim they are the good guys and say her ‘library friend’ is dangerous. Wren doesn’t trust them and as soon as her legs is healed she attempts to escape again.

Once free she goes to the library to look for her friend, but she’s not there. She doesn’t feel safe and decides to go to her ex’s flat. She tells him what happened, he apologises for cheating and lets her stay. They order pizza but when he opens the door a group of attackers enter and kill him like they are vampires.

The attackers can also read her mind. They tell her that her library friend sent them to protect her from the abductors. She is to go with them. She is reluctant but goes. When she gets to their van she tries to escape. Luckily, the abductors arrive. She sees the two groups face off using their powers and is rescued. Her ribs are injured by she refuses their healing help as she doesn’t trust them.

Back at the house she was being held at, she is now curious to know more. She learns their powers could help bring down the wall in her mind and recover her lost memories. She stays because to discover who she is, is something she’s longer for.

During are stay she gets to know her captors better. She is not treated like a prisoner. On one occasion, Darshan takes her on a day out. The chemistry builds between them. He leaves her for a moment to get a drink and a psi attacks by controlling her mind and causing her to put her life in danger. Darshan saves her and they kiss.

Ending

Wes is the experienced psi trying to bring down the wall in her mind, he out ranks Darshan. She’s relaxing at the house and exhausted after one of their sessions where the wall came partially down. Now memories are returning… but, she is abducted again.

She’s taken down secret tunnels to meet with another group where all the jigsaw pieces come together.

Thoughts

This is a fast paced book and I was quickly sucked in. Wren is likeable, shes not had an easy life and is a strong character.

Natalie’s psi/vampires are unique and I wanted to know more about this underground world and how they operate. Readers discover them along with Wren, and the information is revealed in a way that feels natural.

There is a little romance and the chemistry was great but it’s not the focal point of the story. This is more of an action paced novel with a mystery to resolve.

The book has a good conclusion. It is the first in a series and I can see the scope for more stories in this world and I would want to read more.

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

Book Review: Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom

Behind the Book: World for the Broken by Elexis Bell

Where to find the best indie books

Reflecting on NaPoWriMo

[kofi]