Behind the Book: Meraki by Naomi Kelly

This book is on my pile for June reads, and I’m so lucky that Naomi also agreed to an interview about her book with me.

Meraki is book 1 in your The Syren Story series. What can readers look forward to in the series?

The Syren Stories begins with Meraki when our main character Wren swims away from the greatest threat in the seas. She believes she’s safe until she’s captured within King Kellan’s large net. After hauling her aboard and shipping her back to his Kingdom, we learn that the young King plans to use Wren’s syren song for his own benefit. As the story unfolds, Wren discovers she cannot run (or swim) away from her problems for very long, and as history begins to catch up with her, she must ask herself who is her true enemy? And what the Hel do the gods have planned? 

And in Kairos, the adventure continues. 

With winter passed and spring arriving, everything appears to be going swimmingly- that is until an arrow knocks Wren out of the sky.

When the mortals she defeated last winter come seeking retribution, she learns that although these mere men are not immortal, they have no problem biding their time.
Revenge, after all, is a dish best served cold. And forgiveness is a gift which can swiftly be retracted.

Full of mythology, magic, mermaids, and fantasy favourite tropes such as enemies to lovers and chosen one, the Syren Stories are sure to float your boat. 

Can you introduce the MC, Wren?  

Aside from being a syren, Wren is strong-willed, tenacious, and altruistic. Although she appears ruthless and unyielding to some mortals, it’s Wren’s desire to cause no harm to people which sends her fleeing Seven Spikes to begin with. Whilst most mortals would flee screaming at the sight of a centaur or harpy, Wren takes her fellow citizens in her stride and it’s only her inner demons which seem to terrify her. 

What are Syren’s like in your novel?

In my book, Syrens are the ruling faction amongst all the creatures who live above and below the waves. They primarily reside in the Water World Queendom within the underwater caves of Seven Spike, but they can slip off their tails crafted from kelp should they want to visit land. Upon leaving the seas, they experience a transition period as the gills which line their sides shut and their lungs readapt to land breathing. During these few minutes, syrens are at their most vulnerable as they are unable to swim or run, nor can they use their legendary songs to protection.

Their veins are full of ichor due to their lingering link to Poseidon, and this means they cannot lie. Syren’s are bound to be truthfully and any vow they make must be upheld unless they want to face their dire consequences which Wren learns the full extent of when she breaks a binding promise to Kellan. 

I see book 2, Kairos is out.  How many books do you anticipate in The Syren Story series?

The Syren Story series is composed of two books, Meraki and Kairos. I’m currently working on a companion novel which will follow two fan favourite characters as they explore their lives after the events of Kairos. 

Can you share a short snippet from Meraki?

There’s a gigantic disturbance in the water halting most of the singing syrens. Waves smack against nearby rocks as water is displaced by something deep down below. A grin unfolded across my mother’s face, as a plump, slithering body breaches the water.

Ugh, I pray to the gods she has not brought a plague of eels with her.

A flash of lightning splits the sky, as the beast splits the water. As it unfolds itself from beneath the waves, water rushes off its endless blank scales.

Through the darkness and sheets of rain I cannot make out its form, but due its limbs and size, it’s definitely not an eel.

Another flash of lightning illuminates the beast.

“Is that…” Kellan’s roar trails off as we are cast into shadow from the monster.

“Hydra.” I gulp.

Meraki by Naomi Kelly

Was this your first published book and why did you choose to self-publish?

The first book I ever published was Trial by Obsidian, back in 2019. This magician story is currently being given a make-over as I have since learnt map designing skills and would love to give readers a visual insight into my fantasy world. Being able to alter my books and have control over cover-art as well as better royalties was a big factor when I was deciding my publishing route. Self-publishing was the right choice for me, and although it can be an overwhelming process at times I’m incredibly lucky to have a support network of other indie authors and loyal readers. 

What advice do you have for any aspiring author?

My advice would be to not get overwhelmed with the full story, and instead break the process down into bite-sized chucks. Writing a whole book (or series) is a huge task but writing one page a day is much more achievable. Remember that even the biggest authors in the world take days off so don’t be too hard on yourself if the creativity doesn’t always flow easily.

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

Readers can follow me and my writing journey over at Instagram(@naomikellywriting), Facebook (@naomikellywriting) and they can read reviews and book quotes on Goodreads.

Meraki and Kairos are avaible on Kindle for eBooks and Book Depositry and Amazon for paperbacks!

Below are affiliate links to buy Meraki. To learn more about these, please visit my Affiliate Disclosure Page.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you

About Ocean Heart

Behind the Book: Tenebrasco by Hannah Read

Book Review: Deepest Blue by Sarah Beth Durst

Why I love YALC

Different self publishing platforms

Once I decided to self publish one of the first minefields I had to navigate was which platform to use.

Terms used:

  • Print on Demand – The market only buys what they need as they need it.
  • Aggregator – Distributes electronic or physical products to market on your behalf.
  • Format – eBook, paperback, hardback, etc
  • Free ISBN – There is no initial fee for the ISBN, however, but the ‘printer’ becomes your publisher and can set restrictions.
  • Own ISBN – You provide your own ISBN. In the UK you buy these from Neilsen.
  • Wide: This is when the book is made available to many sellers, for example bookshops and libraries.

Here is a little summary on the most popular choices. Research their current terms thoroughly as they may have changed or I may have misunderstood what I found out. 😅

Here are some of the more popular choices in more detail:

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing

At first, I didn’t go with KDP as I thought it meant I would be exclusive to Amazon and I wanted to go wide. , Turns out I thinking of their other service Amazon KDP Select. The name is very similar.

KDP allows you to self publish an ebook and/or a paperback (hardback is coming soon).

You can publish KDP wide. Amazon is a giant in the book selling market place, so it makes sense you’d want your book on their site. However, many bookstores won’t stock Amazon books because they are their biggest competitor. If you want to be in bookshops and libraries it’s best to not to go wide with KDP and choose an aggregator like Ingram. You can publish with KDP & not select the wide option.

The links below are affiliate links. You can learn more about these on my affiliate disclosure page.

Amazon KDP Select

Select is when you agree your book is exclusive to Amazon. This does grant you certain benefits. Your book is on kindle unlimited, you get extra promotions, and can offer your book for free.

If you choose this route, you cannot publish your book anywhere else.

Ingram Sparks

This is who I went with. Ingram Sparks are a print on demand service and aggregator. You can do print, ebook, and hardbacks. In fact Ingram has a huge choice of print options.

You publish your book through Ingram and they distribute it to stores like Amazon, high street bookshops, B&N, Kobo, etc. This is often called publishing wide because your book can be sold nearly anywhere. A benefit of Ingram is it can be stocked in libraries like a traditionally published book.

Libraries and bookstores must order your book to stock it. Customers will either request it or you’ll need to approach them to get it stocked. It’s unlikely it will get stocked without any demand. However many online shops will list your book so customers can order it (POD).

Draft2Digital

They started out as an eBook aggregator for self publishers, but now also do physical print books.

You can use their ISBN for free and they take a cut from your royalties. You cannot use this ISBN on other sites as it belongs to D2D making them the publisher. Or, you can provide your own ISBN and keep all your royalties.

D2D will publish your book wide. A benefit of D2D is you can select or unselect which sellers you want your book to be available to.

Smashwords

They are an eBook Aggregator and store. You can upload your book to Smashwords for them to distribute, but they also enable readers to buy directly from their site too and reward you with 80% royalty. That’s an impressive royalty!

Smashwords allow exclusive deals for eBooks and hold events to promote their authors books like reading challenges.

You can use your own ISBN or they can provide one for free.

Lulu

They are an eBook & print Aggregator. They have lots of options for paperback, hardback, comics, magazines, etc.

Lulu will distribute your book wide, sell your book from their own shop, and have an app that allows you to sell from your own website. That last option makes me wish I went with Lulu!

You can use your own ISBN or they can provide one for free.

Barnes & Noble

You can publish directly with B&N. I’ve not tried it but I’ve heard authors talk very positively about the quality of their hardback books.

B&N can make your book available in their store and on Kobo. Unlike Amazon Select, they won’t restrict you from publishing your book elsewhere.

Aggregators like Ingram, D2D, and Lulu, can make books available to B&N. I think authors go direct with B&N for their hardback option.

You can use your own ISBN or they can provide one for free.

Apple Books

This is the ebook store for Apple users. Ingram, Smashwords, Lulu and D2D can publish here for you too.

If you have a Mac, you can upload your book directly using their personal book publishing site. They now have a webpage to enable PC users to upload too.

I tried to publish to Apple via Ingram. Unfortunately Apple said my eBook file was too big and rejected my novel.

To fix this, I have attempted to publish directly with them. But, I’m having issues with their webpages. There tech & developer team have been very responsible, it might be just some bugs with the new PC publishing portal – I don’t have a Mac.

A benefit of being on Apple Books is that they are a very popular choice for eBooks by iPhone/iPad readers.

You can use your own ISBN or they can provide one for free.

Google Play

This is the Android store and allows users to buy and download eBooks. Ingram, Smashwords, Lulu and D2D can publish here for you too.

A benefit of Google Play is that most people without an iPhone have an Android phone, making it another popular choice for eBook downloads.

The benefit of being on Google Play is that Google is one of the largest search engines and by having your book listed in their store (even as just a preview), can boost your discoverability.

I have recently added Ocean Heart and the only issue I’ve had is confirming my bank account. They pay a small amount into your bank to check it’s you. You confirm the amount received, except Google is saying they paid a different amount to the amount I got.

Private Printer

You could find a private printer to produce your book for you. You’d likely need to buy a bulk of books to distribute yourself.

Vanity Press

This isn’t self publishing. It often gets confused because the author has paid to publish like an indie author. The difference is the publisher bills the author for the services needed, and the services are provided by the publisher. The author cannot use services by another provider.

The positives is all the services are in one place and your publisher guides you on what service you need and when. Sometimes services are quicker or at a reduced rate as its all in-house.

The cons are that a lot of scammers have used this model to over charge authors or to take money and never deliver on their promises. As you are locked into paying for the services they dictate and the choices the want for your book, you do lose some of your creative freedom.

It’s important to check how long they have been operating and who they have worked with before. See if they are black listed on Writers Beware.

What I did…

I published my ebook & paperback through Ingram. The quality has been good and I like having everything in one place.

Amazon had long delivery dates for my book, telling preorder customers it’d take 6 weeks to deliver. It didn’t but it was off putting. I don’t know if this was to exceed expectations or what. Other authors told me to get my book on KDP, which I finally have done. I was hesitant as I didn’t want to be restricted to only Amazon or use another ISBN, but you can use the ISBN already in use for your paperback.

My books did get listed for a number of ebook sellers but not GPlay or Apple. I’ve had to go to through them direct. I’d say Google has been the easiest to use, except the verification of my bank.

For my next book I think I’ll use Ingram Sparks to publish my paperback wide, KDP to reduce Amazon deliver delays, and someone else to publish my eBook wide. I’ll also take a closer look at LuLu as that app sounds awesome!

[kofi]

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About Ocean Heart

Behind the Book: Tenebrasco by Hannah Reed

Tenebrasco by Hannah Reed (Behind the Book)
Tenebrasco by Hannah Reed (blurb)

I was excited to interview Hannah about her book as I’m currently reading it and it’s a mermaid story. As an author of a mermaid story myself, I’m always fascinated to see how others do it and how different the worlds we create can be.

This is book 1 in a trilogy. What can readers look forward to in the Pearl Wielders series?

Mer, magic, adventure! Some readers have even described Tenebrasco as a Little Mermaid retelling! It’s a very contemporary take on the mer world. I basically wanted a story that avoided some of the standard mermaid tropes. So, for example, the mer wear normal clothes (hydrodynamic of course!), the humans (or legged as the mer call them) know that the mer exist and the mer live in a world and society that is as advanced as ours. 

From a plot perspective, the Pearl Wielders series starts when the peace treaty between the mer and legged is attacked derailing peace and setting the two worlds on the brink of war. 

In the aftermath of the attack, April (MC) ends up stranded on a poison shrouded island grappling with her powers as they start to consume her. 

Can you introduce the MC, April and the sort of powers your mermaids have?

April, or Princess April Meridia, is the most powerful pearl wielder in the seven seas. She loves marine wildlife, is a very caring and loyal friend and would do anything for her mer but… she has never been fully in control of her pearl powers in the way her mum and society expect. 

As the heir to the throne of the seven seas April wields all seven of the original pearl powers. She can manipulate water and the weather, grow plant life, communicate with animals, heal and connect with the life force of other mer.

Who is your favourite mermaid- other than April of course?

This is a difficult one and it changes across the books! In the first one though, I think it’s Alex.

I won’t give too much away but… he’s the best friend everyone needs!

What inspired you to write the Pearl Wielder series?

Several things inspired me to write the Pearl Wielders. The earliest version was a draft I wrote when I was ten years old. I woke up from a dream about a mermaid with golden hair who attended a boarding school on an island. I only wrote a couple of pages back then but it became a comfort story. Whenever I was bored, lonely, travelling etc. I would add to the Pearl Wielders world and continue telling myself the story. 

The story has changed to a point that it’s unrecognisable, but when I finally started writing it properly (some ten years later) the one thing that stayed the same was the mermaid with golden hair. 

Who do you think would enjoy your series?

If you like the Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, Alanna’s Quartet by Tamora Pierce or The Selection Series by Kiera Cass. 

The Pearl Wielders series is enjoyed by all ages but the target demographic is Teenagers. 

Can you share a short snippet of the story?

A deep cold washed through April. Dark tendrils of energy writhed towards her. Panic flooded her brain and the compulsion to reach the Merdevil was broken. She tried to drop the stone but it clung to her hand. Her panic levels increased and April thrust all her powers outwards. She propelled herself upwards and the Merdevil dissipated as she found herself back in the lake.

Finally, she broke through the surface and hurriedly clambered onto the grass. Clouds had gathered overhead and all the waterweeds had shot up. April looked around in alarm. The beautiful flowers were now overgrown with grasses. She looked to her hand where she was still gripping the black stone. A dark flicker ran across her fingers, she blinked and it was gone. April shook her head trying to make sense of what had happened. She felt cold, very cold.

Connor and Alex were frozen ten metres away from April. Their faces mirrored the horror of the other’s expression. Silence settled over the pool. Even the sudden clouds froze in place hanging ominously above. Only a few seconds had passed but it felt like everyone had stopped for several minutes. The cold was slowly seeping into April’s skin. She looked up towards the sky and wielded her Tempus powers to part the clouds and let the sunshine back through to heat her up. April turned to assess the damage she had caused, but the pool area had reverted back to normal. She stood up and whipped the water from her body with her Factus powers as she walked through the grass. A glow of white Factus and navy-blue Tempus energy surrounded her. As she wielded her pearl powers she heard an intake of breath to her left. Suddenly she remembered who she was with. Alex and Connor still hadn’t moved. Transfixed by April’s actions they were both utterly still. April took a small step towards them and as if the power had been turned back on, they both abruptly burst into life.

Tenebrasco by Hannah Reed

Can you tell us about any special events you have coming up? (MerMay, upcoming releases, etc)

Yes! We’re actually in the midst of an event. This year I’m hosting the first-ever MerMay Readalong! Check out Instagram to see what’s going on!

The third book in the pearl wielders series, Tempus, is releasing summer 2021 (date TBC).

Author Hannah Reed

Where can readers go to find out more about you and your books?

You can find more information at my website hannahreads.co.uk/

For the most frequent updates on my writing journey, Instagram is the place to find me @hannah.reads

And to keep track of Tempus updates you can find me on Goodreads and add Tempus to your Want to Read.

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

[kofi]

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Happy Little Mermaid Day

Ocean Heart was free on Google Play…

Did you miss it?

Ocean Heart was free on #GooglePlay during the first week of May. If you missed the deal, there’s still a chance to get it!

For the rest of May, my followers on Ko-Fi can still get Ocean Heart for FREE! It’s Free to follow me Redfae on Ko-Fi and by following me you can make sure you don’t miss out on future freebies that get posted there. 😍

Also, don’t forget to checkout my Giveaway on Instagram. Entry is super easy. Also, FREE to enter!

[kofi]

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#WIWSnippetSaturday

During April, for fun, World Indie Warriors did a snippet challenge to encourage people to share their WIP, especially those doing Camp NaNo.

#WIWSnippetSaturday

I don’t post to Instagram on Saturdays. I take the weekend off. But, I worked the snippets into my monthly schedule. The only one that didn’t get posted to Instagram was the bonus, but that went out on 1st May in my newsletter.

The Sky Heart Snippets

3rd Chocolate & Treats

I couldn’t find any snippets involving chocolate, treats, sweets, eating, etc… I guess Kiely isn’t a foodie.

But, Kiely’s best friend wants to start her own makeup brand and enjoys making products at home. The nail polish from this snippet was created using purple sweet potatoes.

10th Animals

Kiely has a black Labrador. I’ve never owned a dog. I’d like to but don’t think I’d make a great owner, so I’m holding back until I can give a dog all the love it deserves.

Plus, I don’t think my cats would approve. They are not dog people [cats].

17th Time For Sleep

Kiely does a lot of sneaking out when she should be sleeping. This naughty habit gets her into big trouble… it’s set in a fantasy world with shifters so you can imagine.

24th Books & Dragons

There are no dragons or books in Sky Heart. But, there are two Dragos possessing humans. These creatures can shift into a shadow dragon which I plan to do in Ana’s story, when I write it, one day, one day…

1st Bonus

Here is the bonus. This happens in the first chapter and writing it was what made me want to give Kiely her own novel. I will likely repurpose this snippet when I release the book.

What’s next?

The first draft of Sky Heart is now finished. Next up is to self edit. There’s a chance the snippets above will change by the time I have a final draft but I really enjoyed sharing what I’m working on.

Want to learn more about book 2, Sky Heart?

Visit my Sky Heart page for more details about the book.

Do you want to buy book 1, Ocean Heart?

Visit my Ocean Heart page for more details about the book and where to buy, or check out these affiliate links:

[kofi]

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

This is book 1 in a trilogy. What can readers look forward to in this series?

As the series goes on, we see Delaney grow as she learns more about her abilities and the people she trusts, especially her father. There are tough decisions she’s forced to make, but there are good things that come about as a result. It’s a reminder that sometimes things don’t turn out the way we want or plan, no matter how good our intentions may be, but there’s still a chance for hope in the very end. 

Can you introduce the MC, Laney?

Delaney Murphy is the daughter of the Devil, who was posing as a human rock star named Angus Murphy when he fell in love with a human woman. Laney’s always known who her father is, but it wasn’t until she realized that his powers had been passed to her that she made the difficult decision to limit her contact with other people in an effort to protect them. She only breaks her self-imposed isolation when she recognizes a rogue demon is targeting women. Leaving her self-imposed isolation starts a domino effect that forces her to confront those parts of herself that are the most frightening.

Do Hell Hounds feature in the series and can you tell me about any pets you have?

Hell Hounds do feature in this series and they are the most fun to write about. In fact, Laney’s Hound, Moose, is based on my own supersized Yorkie (who also just happens to be named Moose). The Hounds become even more integral to the plot in Books 2 and 3.  Here’s a picture of my Moose, who is always nearby when I’m writing. 

What inspired you to write this series?

Delaney’s character came to life in my head because of a comment someone made to me while I was at work. It was not very nice, essentially equating me with the spawn of Satan, but it sparked an idea in my head about a young woman who is really trying to do the right thing, and just happens to be the daughter of the Devil. It definitely turned a negative into a positive. 

Who do you think would enjoy your series?

I think this series would appeal to readers who’ve enjoyed the The Hollows series by Kim Harrison and The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, as well as readers who enjoy books by Cassandra Clare. 

Is there a date for book 3’s release?

At this time, Book 3 is tentatively scheduled for release in autumn 2021.

Can you share a snippet?

Angus had come to me, after my prom had erupted into mayhem at the sudden emergence of my magic. He’d given me a choice.

“All of it? All that happened because of you?” I faced him, tears blurring my vision. I didn’t want to believe what he’d just told me, but gut deep, I knew every word had been true. The screams from the gym still echoed in my ears.

“No Delaney. It happened because of you.” He gave me a sad smile. “The sins of the father and all that.”

The room swam as I fought to catch a breath. My mother. My friends. My future. Everything I thought my life would be was slipping away and there was nothing I could do.

“You have to make a choice.” This time his voice was softer. “Stay or go. You have to decide.”

I forced myself to swallow against the bile in my throat. “That’s not a choice, Dad. But you already knew that.”

He didn’t say anything, but he didn’t look away. No matter what, he would be my witness.

“Go. It’s the right thing to do.” As I choked the words out, an agonized scream rose up from the hall right outside the room I’d hidden in, as if somehow my answer had penetrated the walls. I recognized the voice that called my name, pleading with me not to leave as a heavy fist battered the door I’d locked behind me. My heart twisted in my chest, a pain I almost welcomed. But the decision was made. I nodded at my father, more strength in my answer this time. “I have to go.”

“That’s my girl.”

He came to stand behind me, strong arms wrapping around and pulling me close, snuggling me up against his heart. The scent of brimstone stung my nose even as it comforted me. Then he took one step back and we fell, together, into Hell.

The Devil’s Own by K.A. Fox

Where can readers go to find out more about you and your books?

My books can be found on all retail platforms. Readers can find me on Amazon here, https://www.amazon.com/K-A-Fox/e/B07MCB7BGS, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=K.A.%20Fox, and on my website, imkafox.com. I’m also @imkafox on Instagram.

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

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[Kofi]

Happy MerMay 2021

Hello my mermaid loving readers. It’s the month of mermaids and MerMay 2021 is going to be MerMazing!

#MerMay

Readalong with Hannah Read

Author Hannah Read has created a MerMay readathon for May! She has encouraged people to get her novel Tenebrasco and set chapter goals throughout the month, so we can read along together.

As a mermaid fiction author myself, this sounded like so much fun. I’ve downloaded the book to my Kindle and despite being a slow reader I will try my best to keep up.

Follow #MerMayReadalong , #PearlWielders & @hannah.reads on Instagram.

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

Newsletter Reward

I want to do something special to celebrate MerMay and Ocean Heart’s 6 month birthday is on 1 June.

I invited my newsletter subscribers to enter a giveaway. They’ll also be invited first to read Sky Heart when it is ready for readers.

Later this month, I will extend this invitation to my Instagram followers.

Google Play

Ocean Heart is now available to buy on Google Play. To celebrate I have made the book FREE worldwide during the first week of May.

If you haven’t yet got a copy of Ocean Heart and you are a Google Books reader, now is your chance to treat yourself.

Check it out here.

Free Digital Download

I have been developing my technical skills to produce digital products. I decided to share my Book Tracker as a free download from my Ko-Fi Shop.

In addition, I’ve posted a link there that enables Ko-Fi fans to download Ocean Heart for free from Google Play ALL month.

It’s Free to follow me on Ko-Fi, so why not? That way you can enjoy the freebies and won’t miss out on future freebies.

Apple iBooks

ITunes Connect’s webpage is currently not loading on the page that allows new authors to join. The technical team have apologised for the issues and are working on resolving these.

Update: 30 May, I managed to create an author account but I think I have to wait 24h to add a book. So maybe later this month I’ll be on Apple. 🤞

Ocean Charity

I want to donate to an Ocean charity. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for ages and there are so many good ones out there.

I recently watched Seapiracy on Netflix and it reminded me of how crucial the ocean is to all of us.

This month I will pick a charity and donate. Let me know if you have any recommendations.

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About Ocean Heart

My Authorship Breakthrough Session with Pagan Malcolm

Pagan is brilliant. One of the things I love is how she isn’t afraid to share things she has tried but didn’t work. She learns from these, and saves others from the sane pit falls.

She has experience in traditional and indie publishing. Over the years she’s developed a ton of tips for success. These have been organised into a range useful resources especially for authors.

By following Pagan, I have picked up so many useful nuggets. She has been a credit to my personal author journey, and I won a place on her Story Seller Academy.

Recently Pagan offered a free Authorship Breakthrough Session. I didn’t know what to expect and was a little scared, but decided this was a good opportunity to find out what it is about?

The Booking

Booking in couldn’t have been easier. Pagan sent me a link. The link to me to a calendar where I could see the times available for each day.

Pagan lives on the other side of the world to me. The slots were either very early or late but I found a time that I could make and booked in.

I had to fill in a form that asked some simple questions about where an now and what I’d like to work on. I found these hard to answer and realised how unfocused I am on my goals. Due to my limited time I’m often very reactive which isn’t what I want to be.

The call

I was late getting back from the school run. Then Zoom kept being “clever” and trying to log me in using a different account. Then it decided my browser wasn’t compatible. I used Zoom earlier that week.

I messaged Pagan on Facebook and she suggested we use FB Messenger (video call) instead, as we were both logged in already.

The chaotic start had me a little flustered, and my negative inner voice was already telling me give up! But, Pagan was her usual lovely self.

She had come prepared and identified questions she wanted to ask me based on the form I’d completed during booking. It was quiet evident I was in good hands and she knew what she was doing.

I relaxed and opened up to her. We talked about a recent opportunity to talk at a school that fell through because of work, a secret project I’m nervous about launching, and how I struggle to find time for my goals. She even challenged me to identify where I want to be in 5 years.

Pagan asked questions to explore my ideas and gave feedback and made suggestions. She clarified at the end what I planned to do, so I left with an action plan.

The outcome

After the call, I had to hurry back to my 2y old for a fun filled day of paint and slime. And after school my son helped with some errands, like the vets and food shopping. It was a crazy busy day, and messy, very messy.

But, Pagan motivated me. Talking about my fears with someone that encourages me to overcome them, and can provide strategies, was empowering. I feel like I can make being an author my business.

Giving Talks: Pagan got me to think about what I could offer to do talks on. She encouraged me to set a date to reach out to local schools (my target audience), and offered tips on how to approach this and how to price this.

Secret Project: Talking about what I’ve been up to was liberating as I’ve been keeping it to myself scared the idea is naff. Pagan was excited for me, had words of encouragement, and got me to focus on the first steps instead of being overwhelmed by the end product.

Marketing: Pagan was impressed by my book launch and marketing so far and I had to admit that a lot of that was thanks to her FB micro sessions and Storyseller Academy course. She still had more wisdom to share with me & she highlighted how I could tie in talks with a launch to raise awareness, and how to do this. She also recommended I have a Marketing Day to strategise. I do most my Social Media scheduling on Sunday but the actions Pagan set me was different and I realised I’m not marketing… not sufficiently.

Final Thoughts

Pagan is enthusiastic about publishing and helping authors. Chatting to her felt like talking to a good friend that knows the industry. Her confidence and knowledge was reassuring, and I left the session feeling empowered.

As an Indie Author I often have to figure things out for myself. It was really good to be able to solve problems with someone, that knows what I’m doing, or trying to do.

Pagan also recommended we meet again in a month to check I’m still on track with the goals identified. One month felt too soon for me. The accountability pressure was causing my walls to come up, so we decided to go for 2 months instead. I felt I could breathe more easily with that.

Here is the link to book your own session with Pagan Malcom and have your Authorship Breakthrough session.

I also realised I never got around to writing my blog post about the Storyseller Academy course. I will blog that soon.

If you enjoyed this you will like:

My best kept secret….

Behind the Book: Lanterns in the Sky

Behind the Book: Stuck on Vacation with Ryan Ruppert

The Process of Publishing a Novel – Step 3

[kofi]

Camp NaNo April 2021 – Midway Check In

Here’s my Camp NaNo writers diary for the first half of Camp NaNo.

This post contains a few bookshop.org affiliate links.

Weds, 31 March

Camp NaNo Eve I attended the first of World Indie Warriors IG Lives. J D Groom & Cassidy Reyne are the hosts and introduced their own Camp NaNo projects.

WIW are also doing snippet challenge on IG to give people an excuse to share her the projects they are writing.

Each week there is a prompt, and you post a snippet from your WIP on that theme. I’m a rebel and posting on different days. But, I’m determined to do them all within April.

Thurs, 1 April

I caught a Writing Sprint on Facebook hosted by @unstoppableauthors . It helped me make a good start on my goals, achieving 1k words. I’m going to look out for this sprint next week.

The sprint was hosted by Urban Fantasy author H B Lyne and dystopian author Angeline Trevena. Both also have published writing resource books.

Friday, 2 April

Busy day today. I took my son to play in the garden of a friends house. It was really cold and we couldn’t go inside due to the pandemic rules.

My husband found my long lost Kindle. It needs charging but I’m so happy to have it back.

I managed to write 500 words today. I am so close to the end now but took a break as I’m struggling to picture the big fight scene.

I finished reading A Heart of Salt & Silver. Look out for my full review next week. A short version is already on Goodreads, Litsy, and Amazon.

Saturday, 3 April

Spent the evening going through the list of people I follow but don’t follow me back to decide if I want to unfollow them.

#WIWSaturdaySnippet

Sunday, 4 April

I went to Homebase to get paint for some redecorating we’ve been talking about for ages.

Didn’t feel well so I went to bed early. Good news was my Kindle is charged, so I watched The Wilds on Prime.

Monday, 5 April

I cleared out my son’s bedroom and did masking tape. His room was the first we decorated when we moved in. At age 5, he peeled off the animal stickers as he said they were to babyish, and we promoted to redecorate… 2y later, we are doing it.

My son is a bit nervous about not sleeping in his room. He doesn’t like change. But, he’s excited to see his new grown up room tomorrow.

Still not feeling great, so had another early night. I didn’t write but I did a lot of research and practicing a new skill, that I’m hoping to sell one day. I was creative, but not with Sky Heart.

Tuesday, 6 April

Noah loves his new room. #Win

I had work all day today but managed to write 500 words for Sky Heart. I have roughly three major scenes to go but these are big ones and pretty tough. I’ll admit I feel intimidated.

I’ve done some brain storming for the big battle but still can’t see it clear in my head. I can however see the ending, so I may jump ahead to that.

Wednesday, 7 April

I worked more on my secret project. I also worked on prepping images for my IG feed.

This evening I watched the WIW Live with guest author Kara S Weaver. They chatted about editing, the different types, and why it’s important.

Thursday, 8 April

Today has been pretty chilled out other than my phone screen cracking.

I won a free call with Pagan Malcolm, who coaches authors to take their careers to the next level. I’m booked in next week, early Friday morning (although for her, I think it’s late). I’m not sure what to expect – should I get her to help with my battle, public speaking, or my secret project. Whatever we get up to, I’ll probably blog my experience.

I watched the replay of a masterclass I recently attended on how to write a 5 star ending. Then I watched a live author chat from the fantasy writers festival, QuaranCon2021.

Once the kids were in bed, I used an app to animate my characters created in Art Breeder, to sing. Author procrastination at its finest.

Mariah from Ocean Heart on Wombai.ai

Then, I attended a writing chat and Sprint by Unstoppable Authors hosted by H B Lyne and Angelina Trevena, and wrote 478 words.

Friday, 9 April

This was a bad day. First, my 2 year old threw my mobile phone and the screen cracked. I use my mobile for everything but can’t afford to fix it, so I’ll have to carry on and hope it doesn’t get worse.

Then, I received news that my daughter isn’t getting a place at our chosen nursery. She was on a waiting list for morning sessions which fit around my work & childcare availability but they only have afternoon sessions. To accommodate that, I’d have to cut my working hours in half and not only is my employer unlikely to agree to that as it’d make travelling to my appointments within the time very challenging, but I also can’t afford to reduce my hours. I now need to find another nursery or quit my job. There aren’t many nursery’s nearby as most closed permanently during the pandemic for various reasons.

When I’m stressing about a problem I can’t write. I opened my manuscript and stared at the blank page before closing it and trying something creative. I worked on my secret project.

Saturday, 10 April

We decided that I’m no stressed enough, so we painted part if the front room. Every chance my 2y old got, she was “help painting”. It was exhausting keeping her away all day, and the house was freezing as we kept the windows open.

I did not write. My head is not in the right place.

#WIWSnippetSaturday

Sunday, 11 April

So, my 2y old didn’t sleep. She was up at 3am. By 5am I gave up and she attempted to “Help painting.” I’m pretty sure I’m running on empty.

I did make progress on some blog posts and have drafted two Behind the Book posts that I now just need to proofread and schedule. I probably won’t get to this until next weekend.

I also helped my 7y old son to create a cute Woodland scene for school. We borrowed my mum’s Cricut Maker and he created his die cuts in Canva, and I helped him add them to Cricut. I then helped with sticking them down where he told me, while he painted. We spent over two hours on it.

I’m so frustrated. I want to write the fight scene for Sky Heart but it’s not coming to me. I didn’t want to waste my time, so I worked on my secret project.

Monday, 12 April

I’ve found two nurseries that might be able to take Aria. Fingers crossed I can sort this out so I can feel more settled.

I spent most my day playing with Aria, and tidying up. I also completed most of the application form for one of the nurseries.

I accidentally forgot to charge my laptop so it was taking ages to come on even with the charger in. I decided to watch some TV with my hubby.

Tuesday, 13 April

I worked all day today.

Then, in the evening I wrote 192 words. It doesn’t sound like much but I finally had a breakthrough with the difficult scene and can see it now!

Wednesday, 14 April

I worked today, and by the time the kids were in bed, it was already 9pm. I attended the World Indie Warriors IG Live. Today the guest speaker was Michelle Raab, chatting marketing, writing dystopia, and psychology.

Keily from Sky Heart on Wombo.ai

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

Behind the Book: Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S Weaver

Book Review: Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S Weaver

Why I love World Indie Warriors

Where to find the best indie books…

My Process – How to Publish a Book (collection)

I’m constantly learning and revising everything I do. Sometimes it’s to strengthen existing knowledge and skills, and other times it’s because new things come out.

When I decided to self publish, I didn’t know where to start. I wrote this blog series reflecting on what I did. I hope my process provides others with an outline to get started.

With self publishing you do it your way, so if you want to do it different to me then you can. That’s the beauty of self publishing, you are in control of it all. Equally as empowering as that is, it can also be very daunting when you’re starting out.

Step 1 – Write Your Novel

My process starts right at the beginning with a blank page! I’ve included links to useful guides to help you writing the first draft.

Click here for step 1.

Step 2 – Edit Your Novel

Your novel should go through several edits before publishing. I include links to previous posts about the editing services I used to help you figure out which you need.

Click here for step 2.

Step 3 – Publish Your Book

This step covers what to do to get your interior and exterior right, and some of the different publishing options. I’ve linked to posts about my cover designer and formatter.

Click here for step 3.

Live This April!

During Camp NaNo, authors Cassidy Reyne and J D Groom have organised some Live sessions this April. They take place every Wednesday at 9pm (UK), on Instagram via @worldindiewarriors.

These sessions will support those doing Camp Nano, but each week they’ll have a different guest to discuss a topic of the week.

I’m their guest on 21 April at 9pm to discuss self publishing and answer any questions. Please do come join us.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

Don’t put off writing your novel

How I did my cover reveal

My virtual Book Tour

My virtual Book Launch