Catch up with a cuppa Ko-Fi (Apr 2022)

Here is the low down on what I posted on Ko-Fi last month, so you don’t miss out!

I’m doing Camp NaNo

In this post I introduce my Camp NaNo project and goals.

Sky Heart by Ally Aldridge

Sky Heart – Chapter 1

I share my first chapter of Sky Heart. This has only been self edited and needs to go through professional edits but I thought it’d be fun to share a little of my work in progress.

Sky Heart – NaNo Update

I shared how I was progressing towards my NaNo goal, what has gone well and what I still need to work on.

Sky Heart Coming Soon

Follow me on Ko-Fi

It’s free to follow me on Ko-Fi and be sure you don’t miss out on my latest news, or any freebies. You can buy me a virtual cuppa or merchandise from my shop, including a signed copy of my book.

[Kofi]

More About Sky Heart

More on Blessed Darkness by Elexis Bell

Did you see my previous post about Elexis Bell’s imminent release?

As a fan of her writing, I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss out on the giveaway ending 24 Feb and I wanted a chance to share more about Blessed Darkness.

Filled with grit and magic, this literary romantic fantasy will take you on a ride. A Blessed Darkness by @elexis_bell is out NOW! Get started on it today ➞ https://amzn.to/3HPvzq9⁣

A Blessed Darkness
Elexis Bell
Publication date: February 22nd 2022
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance

A dark connection. A deadly responsibility.

Sparks fly when Elairie, a mixed-blood elf living on the edge of society and serving as a night guard, meets her latest prisoner. Strange auras surround them, and a magical gravity draws her to him, despite what her associates might say about his race. But the connection they share comes with a dark side.

When Beluroan learns that he and his guard are Blessed Ones, hand-crafted by the Gods to stop a madman from recreating the Blood Magic of old, his veins run cold. Threatened with a return to the magical slavery such magic commands, fear grips him, and memories of his childhood Master fill his mind.

But together, their potential power frightens even the Gods. Can they overcome the prejudices marring their land and master their new magic in time to stop the man trying to enslave their country? Or will they succumb to their own power?

Filled with grit and magic, this literary romantic fantasy will take you on a ride.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Author Bio:

I’m a nerd with a lot of hobbies and enough sarcasm and swear words to make a sailor blush, though, you’ll never hear a word of it if I’m not comfortable around you. I’ve been an introvert since birth. When I’m writing, though, words come easily.

At the end of the day, I just want to write stories that make people feel something.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Newsletter


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Meet the main characters:

𝑩𝒆𝒍𝒖𝒓𝒐𝒂𝒏⁠
His life has been… difficult. To say the least.⁠

Born a slave to the Blood Magic, serving an especially brutal Master, he has a lot of scars, both physical and emotional. The worst of those scars come from the night that brought him freedom but stole his parents’ lives… and almost his.

As a Blood Elf (formerly known as Fox Elves), he’s tolerated in small doses in society. Blamed for the Blood Magic and the atrocities it wrought during its reign, mistrusted because maybe there’s still a Master out there controlling them all, he’s often denied the means of earning an honest living.⁠

Even his Earth Magic, useful in construction and farming, only gets him so far. He earns less than Light Elves and often resorts to theft in order to provide for himself, his sister, and her two children.⁠

Meeting someone, let alone having a family of his own, hasn’t really been possible. Scrounging a living, stealing food, and hiding from Guards doesn’t allow much time for dating, and anyway, how could he hope to help provide for them when feeding his nephews is already a struggle?⁠

But when he gets thrown in jail for his thievery, he accidentally meets someone he could never dream of walking away from.⁠

Elairie and Beluroan are inescapably linked, created as one entity then split into two for the mortal realm because their united powers are too much for any one mortal to control.⁠

But the gift of their bond has a cost, a destiny written in blood.⁠

Blood Magic, that is.⁠

𝑬𝒍𝒂𝒊𝒓𝒊𝒆⁠
She’s unusual in her village. Of mixed blood, she has attributes of Light Elves and Fox (aka Blood) Elves.⁠

All thanks to a Blood Elf rapist taking a liking to her Light Elf grandmother during what came to be known as the Blood War. Given all the prejudices that carried over from the war, her mixed blood means she lives on the edge of society.⁠

She’s not completely ostracized. She even has a decent paying job, but it’s one that keeps her on the fringes of society. As the night guard at the local jail, most everything in her village happens while she’s asleep.⁠

Not that she minds. Interacting with other people is often exhausting, also thanks to her mixed blood. From one conversation to another, she has to gauge whether to fade into the background or let herself be seen depending on who’s around, and she’s gotten good at reading a room.⁠

Of course, her Aura Magic helps with that, too.⁠

She lives with her mother, having lost her father to the Blood War and her grandmother to old age. Though she’s not opposed to the idea of finding a partner, especially now that she’s in her early twenties and most everyone else her age has partnered up, no one has ever drawn her in.⁠

Until now.⁠

Until Beluroan.⁠

Until they meet, and sparks fly. Literally. In a strange, shared aura that burns and jolts around them.⁠

But neither of them know the truth of their bond. Or the sacrifices it may require.⁠

Excerpt 2

I spur my feet to action, dragging myself into the room. Again, my heart falters at the sight of him, at the strange familiarity of him. I barely keep my jaw from falling open.

Leaning back, propped up on one elbow, he sits with one foot drawn up to the edge of the cot. Oh so casually, he examines his nails. His vest gapes, falling open to the side, and his shirt clings to him.

Gods…

But realization dawns on me.

He’s messing with me.

His chest rises with a deep breath, and he glances up, rewarding me with a coy smile and confirming my suspicions. I balance the tray in the only horizontal opening in the bars. Without a word, he gets up and slinks toward me with an almost feline grace.

He takes the tray gently and sits back down on his cot.

Settling in at the desk, I take a long drink of the cool water. We eat silently, and I’m thankful for the time it affords me to calm my nerves. But I glance at him too many times as I eat.

And more often than not, his eyes linger on me.

He eats slowly, controlling his pace. But it makes me wonder.

Does he not usually get this much food in one meal?

My heart clenches, though I’m sure he’d bristle at the pity.

Then, it hits me, as if all the stone and earth Luxitore ever created were falling down upon me, as if Jemarie were taking all the wind from my lungs…

Does he have a family?

No necklace of eternal bonds peeks out from the open neckline of his shirt, but given the scar on his chest, it may have broken when the magic hit him. My stomach plummets, and I tell myself it’s only out of concern for his possible family. With him here, they may not have food.

It isn’t because he’s attractive. It’s because his family might be starving.

But I know better. It’s both. The two concerns mix, curdling in my stomach.

I finish my food shortly after Beluroan. Gathering my tray and cup, I move to take his. “Would you like more food or water?”

The simple question surprises him. After a moment’s hesitation, he says, “Just some water, please.”

Has no one ever shown him simple kindness?

The lightning scar glares up at me in answer, making my own upbringing seem privileged. People turned their backs on me all the time, but no one turned their magic on me.

He hands me the tray, then drains the remainder of his water in one long pull. My eyes linger on his neck, but I force myself to look away. Reaching through the bars, he passes me the cup. Our fingers brush, and gentle warmth flows between us. His hand lingers, and my breath hitches. Swallowing, I pull away.

But I still feel his touch.

Heat rushes to my face, and he drops his gaze quickly.

I dart from the room, tripping over myself to get to the relative safety of the cold storage, or even just out of this room. I barely notice when I bump into the desk in the front lobby.

I rush down the stairs and drop everything on the table in the corner. My hands shake, sloshing a few drops of water over the rim of Beluroan’s cup as I refill it.

I need to get myself under control.

What is this?

Blessed Darkness by Elexis Bell

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Sky Heart needs Beta Readers!

Yes! I’m pleased to announce that I have finished my first edit of Sky Heart and now need Beta Readers.

Click here for the Beta Readers Sign Up Form.

NB:  Sky Heart doesn’t have an official cover yet.  The image used is my Work In Progress cover.
Beta Readers Wanted – Sky Heart

What is a Beta Reader?

You get to read the full story before anyone else, and can help shape the future version with your feedback.

Tell me if you like a character or not. You can say if a scene is too slow or too fast. Suggest what to cut or add to the story. Basically share your thoughts to help me improve it.

This version has only been edited by me. It will have mistakes. It won’t be as polished as a final version that has been professionally edited.

What type of story is Sky Heart?

Sky Heart is book 2 in The Soul Heart series but has a new main character, Keily.

You can read Sky Heart (book 2) even if you haven’t read Ocean Heart (book 1). It is a complete story, however, it will have some spoilers for book 1 as it assumes you’ve already read it. In addition, it is part of a series so although the main issue is resolved in the story, there are things that will be unresolved as they are dealt with later in the series.

Sky Heart is a YA Contemporary Fantasy. Here is the blurb:

Beta Books

I want to try out a site called Beta Books.

This site enables me to easily share Sky Heart with my Betas. It will also organises any feedback to make it more manageable for me.

Readers can share their feedback as inline comments, at the end of a chapter, and I can even ask readers questions about specific things.

If you want to help me but prefer not to use Beta Books that’s fine. Please still sign up using my Google Form and I’ll consider another option for you.

Sign up

If you’ve read this far, thank you. I’m so pleased you’re interested. Please fill in my Google Form so I can send you details on how to access Sky Heart.

Google Form: Sky Heart Beta Readers sign up

If you enjoyed this you will like:

Beta Readers vs ARC Readers

Soul Heart Readers Street Team

My Process – How to Publish a Book

About Ocean Heart

[kofi]

The following links are affiliate…

July 2021 – Ocean Heart is free on Smashwords in the Summer/Winter Sale

Why you need a Copy Editor

When I decided to self publish I knew I would need an editor. As much as I love writing and creating stories, English language was never my best subject at school.

I wasn’t the worst but I wasn’t top of the class either. Even if I’d been good at English I’d still need an editor, because people miss their own mistakes.

Once ready for an editor, I was over whelmed by how many different types of editors there are. For Ocean Heart, I used many rounds of Beta Readers, and two rounds of professional edits, and used a professional formatter.

I chose to use Avery McDougall as my copy editor. 

Developmental Editor

Avery McDougall was my Developmental Editor. I wrote a blog post about my experience and included her comments in my Behind the Character series.

Why You Need A Developmental Editor

What is copy/line editing?

The two terms are often used interchangeably as they are similar and it’s important to check what your editor means so you can ensure what you are paying for is what you expect.

Copy Edit: Unsually involves checking SPAG, readability, and clarity. They may highlight where it’s not flowing right.

Line Edit: Usually focuses on the content and use of language. They highlight inconsistent style, where pacing is too fast/slow, if you’ve overused a word (or repeating yourself).

If you can afford both, do it. Traditionally published books will have a copy edit, then a line edit. If you can’t afford both, don’t skip the copy edit. Your spellchecker is not enough.

How I chose my Copy Editor

Avery was at the top of my list as I’d already had such a good experience with her, but I did consider letting another pair of eyes run over my manuscript.

Budget: This was a big deciding factor. I had a limited budget and had to operate within my means.

Recommendation: Connecting with other indie authors gave me a good source of recommendations, many are listed in the World Indie Warriors brochure.

Expertise: All of them had experience as an editor. One was new, but had already built a portfolio and I’d attended a workshop she did which helped build trust. But, Avery was the only one that specialised in YA.

I went with Avery as she ticked all my boxes and was already familiar with my book. As she does writing workshops with teens, she also has a close relationship with my target audience.

My experience

I paid Avery for a copy edit. But, it definitely over lapped into a line edit. For example, she highlighted a scene where the emotional impact needed work, and another scene where my character came off rude towards her friend.

Through Avery’s comments I learnt a lot about my writing. Once I’d actioned her feedback, my novel was definitely better.

Unofficial Proofreader

I wish I could have afforded a line edit but my budget was maxed out. Avery didn’t get to see it again, as I went ahead with my next step – formatting. Once formatted, I sent it off to my ARC readers.

One of my ARC readers was author Cassidy Reyne. She did an unofficial proofread for me. I didn’t ask her to do it, she’s just sweet like that.

As I’d already paid Ingram to publish Ocean Heart (it was on preorder) there was a fee to amend the files. I paid it because I wanted my book to be as perfect as possible. I’m so thankful to Cassidy for letting me know.

For my next book, I will seek out Cassidy’s eagle eyes – if she has time. If not, I will consider getting a professional proofreader.

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org Shop Link.

[kofi]

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12 Tips For Self Editing

Behind the Character – Mariah

Book Review: Agent Undone – Cassidy Reyne

The Making of the Blurb – Ocean Heart

It’s another IG LIVE!

I had the most fabulous live chat with author Lyndell Williams (on Instagram as @laylawriteslove).

Meeting Author Lyndell Williams

She recently had some mobile woes and took the plunge to get a new phone. It wasn’t as straight forward as just popping to the shops to get it and she had to wait F O R E V E R for her new handset to come in. She this on Instagram and I offered a few words of support. We got messaging and she asked if I’d help her test out her new mobile with an IG live.

As you know, I am trying to get braver in front of the camera My inner introvert was screaming “Say no!” but to get more experience on camera, I said Yes. And, I am so glad I did. Layla was so lovely to speak to.

Going Live on Instagram with @laylawriteslove

We agreed a date & time for the Instagram Live, and both connected without any issues. Yay!

We mostly discussed writing and reading romance. I discovered her novels are steamy, and her series features around diverse characters. Her readers demanded more stories about her side characters, so she wrote some novellas. You can discover more about her book here.

She also shared tips with me on plotting. And, we covered writing in different point of views and making believable characters. She is a developmental editor and we both discussed how valuable they are. She has five novels and uses a developmental editor too. You can find out more about her services here.

Check Out Our Live

[kofi]

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Author & Me Show

Check out my Live Stream Team

Technical Difficulties

Book Review: Agent Undone by Cassidy Reyne

Behind the Character: Gwyneth Turner

The final character to make an appearance is Gwyn.

Role in Ocean Heart: The Magician. Being Mariah’s main caregiver and having magical abilities means she’s able to support Mariah’s growth as a mermaid or meddle in her life to protect her.

Gwyn Turner

Like many women she lies about her age, but for a very good reason. If she told the truth it’d blow her cover. The lies Gwyn tells are to keep Mariah safe.

Gwyn is doing her job as mother to Mariah. With psychic abilities she’s had a vision of a dangerous probable future. Gwyn interferes using magic in a bid to keep Mariah safe, often causing more problems than those solved.

Gwyn is close to Jace’s mum Denny, and started their Sparkle Bakery Business together. It’s rumoured that every couple that has ordered a wedding cake from them got their happily ever after.

What my editor said…

I loved reading what Avery had to say about Gwyn and felt she summed her up exactly!

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org shop link.

[kofi]

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Behind the Character: Mariah

Behind the Character: Jace

Behind the Character: Murray

Behind the Character: Ana

Behind the Character: Kiely

The next character to make an appearance is rival, Kiely. Although, this month I’m working on book 2 of the series and she’s the MC. She would claim Mariah is the rival.

Role in Ocean Heart: Antagonist (Poor Kiely is the enemy simply for being Jace’s girlfriend. Jealousy is an ugly trait.)

Kiely O’Neil

Kiely and her friends are gorgeous and it. But, the demands of being popular comes at a price.

Kiely tries hard to be nice, not a stereotypical mean girl. Girls want to hate her, and being nice seems to make them more mad. Her best mate Fallon has always got her back and puts the haters in their place.

Despite being gorgeous and friendly, Kiely has struggled to get a boyfriend. Fallon says it’s because high school boys can’t handle a goddess…

…Until Jace asks her out. She is smitten and gives the relationship her all. She even lets his best friend, Mariah, borrow her clothes. Although, Mariah’s and Jace’s friendship makes her feel insecure, she trusts they are just friends.

Kiely can be a little superficial, her image is important. She worries so much about what others think she’ll tell little white lies. Kiely’s lies will get her into deep trouble, but you’ll have to read SKY HEART to discover more about that. Sky Heart is book 2 in The Soul Hearts series.

What my editor said…

Avery didn’t analyse Kiely’s characters. Although, there were inline comments on my manuscript relating to her.

This is probably because Kiely isn’t a main character in Mariah’s life but she is a main character in THE SOUL HEART SERIES. The next book is all about Kiely and I’m hoping to get that ending written during NaNoWriMo.

Kiely was called Kya which means Diamond in the Sky (book 2s original title). Avery pointed out a lot of characters names ended in an “Ah” sound. As a result, I changed her name to Kiely. This wasn’t her first name change.

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org shop link.

[kofi]

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Behind the Character: Mariah

Behind the Character: Jace

Behind the Character: Murray

Behind the Character: Ana

Behind the Character: Murray

This post is part of my series to introduce the main characters of Ocean Heart and reveal what my editor said about them.

The next character in my Behind The Character series is nemesis and love interest two, Murray.

Ocean Heart: Murray O’Neil

Role in Ocean Heart: Antagonist/Love Interest (Murray doesn’t make the best first impression but… well, there’s a little “enemies to lovers”)

Murray O’Neil

Murray loves sports, but top of the list is swimming. He is on the school team and the best in the school… until that little redhead turns up at practice.

Murray’s second love is girls. A simple smile and they’re all over him and filling his insta feed. But, he isn’t looking for anything serious. He’s young, having fun, and moving on fast.

Murray is close with his family. He helps his dad care for their boat, helps out in his mum’s cafe, and keeps a close eye on his little sister, Kiely.

Murray is an overprotective big brother. He’s successfully warned off any potential boyfriends, until Jace.

Murray oozes confidence and has many friends, but if he had to pick one… it’d be Aero. Aero is the family’s dog and Murray’s early morning running companion.

What my editor said…

My editor was swooning for Murray which made me so happy. Murray is full of confidence but she did highlight occasions where Murray needed to reel it in, amp it up, and I added evidence of his player reputation.

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org shop link.

[kofi]

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Behind the Character: Ana

This post is part of my series to introduce the main characters of Ocean Heart to you and what my editor said.

When you read Ocean Heart you’ll wonder how the story ever worked without best friend Ana, but she wasn’t in several first drafts! I love her so much, I want to create a spin off novel from my series, for Ana.

Anastasia Drake

Role in Ocean Heart: Confidant (Best Friend to MC)

She often goes by the name Ana. Her name was chosen by her mum who died shortly after childbirth. Her dad won’t speak about it but says she looks a lot like her.

Ana isn’t close to her dad. He works a lot and she spent her early years with childminders and in boarding school… until she got expelled, from them all.

Ana is trying hard to keep out of trouble at her new school and has avoided making any close friends until she sees Mariah. Mariah looks as lonely as she feels, so she invites her to come swimming.

Ana comes across happy and bubbly but behind the smiles and makeup is she a dark secret. Her step mum tries to help her by finding an amazing doctor, but meds and treatment aren’t working. Ana needs something more potent, unique… Ana needs magic.

Ana is crushing on the swim coach. In her spare time she is creative. She loves fashion, taking pictures and creating animations on her computer.

What my editor said…

My editor really enjoyed Ana. She pointed out occasions where I was so focused on Mariah’s plot, she was rude to Ana. That was not my intention, so thanks to her feedback I got fixing that. Ana is the BFF we all want.

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org shop link.

[kofi]

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Behind the Character: Mariah

Behind the Character: Jace

The Making Of The Blurb for Ocean Heart

Now you can PreOrder Ocean Heart!

Behind the Character: Jace

This post is part of my series to introduce the main characters of Ocean Heart to you and what my editor said.

The next character to make an appearance is neighbour, best friend, and love interest, Jace Walker.

Ocean Heart: Jace Walker

Role in Ocean Heart: Confidant/Love Interest (As Mariah’s long time BFF she can tell him anything … well, almost anything .)

Jace Walker

Jace is really close to his mum. It’s been just the two of them, his dad left before he was born.

He’s dreaming of heading off to uni, and wants his mum to have someone before he goes.

He loves seeing her with her fiancé but when they decide to move he knows his neighbour Mariah will find this hard. Jace also knows he needs to encourage Mariah to not be so dependent on her.

What my editor said…

My editor pointed out how Jace and Mariah have a friendship through convenience. With no interests to hold them together, Jace doesn’t try that hard to stay in touch.

My editor suggested adding in some shared interests but this is a fundamental problem with their relationship. Their more like brother & sister, until hormones complicate things.

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org shop link.

[kofi]

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Behind the Character: Mariah

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