I had a great time at Felixstowe Book Festival…

I love Felixstowe Book Festival. It’s in my hometown making it convenient for me to attend. It’s reasonably priced so it doesn’t break the bank. And, it gets bigger ever year.

This year, I only bought tickets for the writing workshops delivered by Orwell Writers League. It consisted of three sessions, each cost leas than £5, and if you bought all three it was only £9.99!

With the pandemic I was a little worried it could be cancelled. Last year all events went virtual. The only disruption was a location change from Orwell Hotel (the usual venue) to Harvest House (a new venue).

I’ve lived in Felixstowe almost all my life and never been inside Harvest House. Usually it’s not open to the public. They are looking to diversify their income and now offering it up for hire for Weddings. And, Book Festivals 😍.

The Workshops

Language & Voice

This workshop had us exploring the 5 senses and developing a word bank for the theme “Shoreline.”

We were given a postcard and challenged to write a short story about the setting using the five senses. Half the room was asked to focus on “natural” senses. The other half focused on “man made” senses.

I wrote this piece, focusing on man made senses:

Body language

This workshop had us thinking about how actions can speak as loudly as words. We thought about facial expressions, and then worked our way through the body listing different actions and gestures.

We then imagined a couple on an open top bus and had to come up with three scenes they see – I think that’s what we were meant to do as I did something different. I did not do what I was supposed to 🤦‍♀️.

We were then challenged to write some dialogue between at least two people, and encouraged to use senses and actions to give the scene more meaning.

I wrote this scene based on the setting, “stuck in a hot car looking for a parking space”.

Free writing

The afternoon session was an opportunity to do some free writing. They recapped on all the things we’d covered in the morning.

I decided to use this opportunity to work on an untiled prequel to Ocean Heart (my debut novel). I decided not to read this out allowed:

Reflection

I didn’t learn anything new from the workshop but I didn’t expect to. I find workshops like this valuable as they remind us about the basics needed to write effective fiction. Think of it as refresher training.

Whilst creating my word bank, I realised it would be a useful tool to combat Writers Block and will be adding it to my arsenal. I also find writing settings challenging, the word bank was a great way to create a personal thesaurus of descriptions to use.

I love Felixstowe Book Festival and would go again. I also enjoyed networking with other writers and met two other upcoming authors. It was great to see my favourite local bookshop there with a stall, and to have a good chat with the manager of Stillwater Books.

I wish I’d taken a copy of Ocean Heart with me so I could have taken selfies with my book at such a beautiful location. I did get to hand out my new bookish business card to interested people, and ran out! I learnt from a marketing perspective to be more prepared and utilise every opportunity.

If you liked this, you will like:

Felixstowe Book Festival- How to connect with local writers

Independent Bookshop Week

We went live for Indie Author Week UK

Felixstowe Book Festival (previous years)

[kofi]

Five-Star Power Ending Masterclass

This course came at the perfect time. I was struggling with writing my ending. I always do. There are plenty of courses focusing on beginnings, but this is the first I’ve seen for endings.

The course is delivered by F.S.Media. They were running a giveaway for a seat on their Five Star Power Endings course.

Someone tagged me.

I entered.

I won!

The Course

The Endings Masterclass was delivered by Claire Taylor over Zoom. Once enrolled I was sent an email with the course details and what to expect.

When the class was due to start, I clicked the link to join. Some students had their cameras on, and it was nice to see fellow writers.

Claire delivered her Masterclass supported with a presentation. Although the course was about endings it covered writing the whole book because the beginning and everything along the way is important in building a five star ending.

The outcome

One of the reasons I struggle with endings is because I know how important they are. The ending forms the last impression a reader has of your book.

If you’re book is full of promise but you don’t deliver, your reader will be left disappointed. And, that’s not how you want to leave them feeling about your book.

Together with your books theme, Claire breaks down the ingredients needed for a powerful ending into three parts. These must be woven throughout the story to make sense. She gave tons of examples from well known stories and movies. These were useful to make it make sense.

Claire’s course gave me lots to think about. I reflected on how I worked on the ending for Ocean Heart, and how I could use what I have learnt to finish and improve Sky Heart.

My writing

Working on Ocean Heart’s ending

The early draft of Ocean Heart (when it was called Drift) ended with the suggestion the MC was about to start a romantic relationship. The blurb promised a mermaid but she never figured out how to shift. Plus, she dabbled with magic and there was no epic battle. In many ways this was a complete let down.

In the final draft of Ocean Heart, there is a full on mermaid scene, a definite HEA, and an epic battle with extreme powers. As a result, readers who invest their time are way more satisfied because it’s delivering what they want.

Working on Sky Heart’s ending

At the time I was struggling to write the ending for Sky Heart. I had an idea about the battle but not how to make it work. I needed a reason why she hadn’t used her powers before and I needed a good HEA.

I felt my story was missing something. Thinking over what I learnt from the course helped me have a breakthrough. As a result, I finished the first draft of Sky Heart.

And, I’m going to reflect on what I learned whilst I edit Sky Heart. I now know what my theme is, and I need to thread the crucial three ingredients all the way through. And, then I’ll get my Developmental Editor on it.

Final thoughts…

I would recommend this Masterclass. I got a lot out of it. Afterwards, I got a link so I could rewatch it.

In addition, Claire was passionate about writing and teaching and provided further resources to help with questions that were asked during the session.

F.S.Media have a range of courses ranging in price. At the time of writing there is even a free course you can enrol on.

The Five Star Power Endings course helped me and I found Claire to be a great teacher. I’d be interested in learning again with Claire and F.S.Media.

Although I won my place on the course, there was no requirement for me to write a review. I was compelled because I really benefited from it and wanted to share this with my blog readers.

[kofi]

These are affiliate links. Visit my Affiliate Disclosure page for more information.

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About Ocean Heart

About Sky Heart

An Authorship Breakthrough Session

Don’t put off writing your novel

Behind the Book: Garden in the Sands by Ellie Mitten

I’m so happy Ellie agreed to let me interview her as I loved her debut book. There’s a link to my five star review at the end. It’s really exciting to find out what went into making such an amazing book.

I loved Garden in the Sands. It’s not like any book I’ve read before. What genre would you say it is?

It’s interesting that you say that, as Garden in the Sands actually started as a MG fantasy story. When it came to self-publishing, however, I read lots about YA being an easier market to get into. Therefore I re-wrote it, adding Lira’s POV element. Overall I’d say it’s a YA fantasy re-telling.

Despite being set in the desert, it’s very reminiscent of The Secret Garden. Did you plan for it to be like a fantasy version of the classic?

Yes! A re-telling was exactly my aim. I adored Mary in The Secret Garden when I was a child, as she was stroppy and imperfect. She influenced Quil a lot!

There are two MC’s can you give a brief intro to each?

Quil is a human girl born into wealth and privilege that only serves to constrict her. Desperate to gain a shred of attention from her parents, she spent her childhood misbehaving. This led to being frequently sent away from home to learn to become a ‘lady’, something she has no interest in doing. The only ray of light in her life is her main, Sasha.

When she finds herself sent away from the palace and charged with entertaining the sickly prince, she finds she’s not the only one in the world with problems.

Lira was born into greatness too, but as a demi-god this involved learning to wield a sword to prove herself. She rose to the challenge, and when the story starts she is a great heroine. She feels trapped, however, the link to her long dead human mother setting her apart from the other gods. She can’t help but watch the misery of life below in Miran. When a chance arises to break the curse that’s punishing the humans for their king’s crimes, Lira risks all the help them.

Quil learns to garden in the book – are you green thumbed?

I certainly try to be, but it’s a process of trial and error!

Lira is a demi god and fights mythical beasts – did you do a lot of research on this for your novel?

I studied Classics at university, so I’ve loved the mythology of Ancient Greece and Rome for a long time. I knew many of their stories already, but some of the beasts needed some extra research!

Who is your favourite God/Goddess from mythology?

Definitely Athena. She’s so strong and not cowed by any of the males in Olympus. She’s who Lira is based upon.

What can we look forward to from you next?

My next book is and MG adventure fantasy set in Cornwall, where I live.

Where can we go to discover more about you and your books?

Instagram (@ellie_mitten) is where I like to connect with other writers and reads 🙂

If you enjoyed this you will like:

Book Review: Garden in the Sands by Ellie Mitten

Behind the Book: Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S. Weaver

Book Review: Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

Book Review: Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

[kofi]

Below are some affiliate links. To learn more about these, please visit my Affiliate Disclosure page.

[kofi]

We went Live for Indie Author Week UK

I love going live with fellow indie authors, and Indie Author Week UK was the perfect excuse.

Joining me live was:

💛 Romantic Suspense author Cassidy Reyne: https://www.cassidyreyne.com/

💛 Worldbuilding & World Destroying author Angeline Trevena: https://angelinetrevena.co.uk/

💛 Contemporary Fantasy author J D Groom (Jodie): https://jodiegroom.wordpress.com/

We discussed what the week is all about and those involved. We talked about how we became indie, our experience, and tips for those considering it, and to help those already with books out.

Were there any bloopers?

Going live is terrifying as there’s a fear something will go wrong. But, it builds skills in handling these. Here is what happened:

Kids: I had a few issues getting the kids to bed, so I was cutting it fine when I logged on. I used Stream Yard several times last year for my book launch without issues so I wasn’t too worried as I know it’s super simple. But…

Camera & Mic undetected: I logged on and Stream Yard couldn’t detect my camera or microphone- WTF! This is not what you want when you are about to host a live event. I switched browsers and it still wasn’t happening. It must be my laptop, because when I tried my mobile, it worked!

Unprepared: I wasn’t prepared to go live using my mobile. I had my event notes on my phone – eek! I also didn’t have a stand ready. Although my hubby snuck one over to me a few minutes in when he realised I was struggling to keep it steady. I think I did a good job of keeping the questions going without my notes.

No Link/On screen text: Next up, one of my guests hadn’t got the link to attend. It was in our group chat but for some reason was hidden from her. I accidentally added her cry for help to the screen for everyone to see. I didn’t realise until way into the stream, so you can see it for most of the live.

Lagging & Crashing: Cassidy’s iPad kept lagging making it hard for her to keep up with the chat, and we were rabbiting on. It also kept dropping her. She switched to her laptop and then it was much better.

Here are my Instagram pics introducing each of my guests:

Author Cassidy Reyne
Author Angeline Trevena
Author J.D. Groom

Indie Author Week UK

To find out more about Indie Author Week UK, please visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/IndieAuthorWeekUK/

They have a ton of incredible events going on. If you can’t make a live, look out for the replay.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this you will like:

Behind the Book: Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom

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

Camp NaNo April – Mid Month Check In

It’s Indie Author Week UK 2021

It’s Indie Author Week UK

I’m really excited to be involved in this event, especially as so many incredible indie authors are taking part. This year, I’m one of those authors.

What am I doing?

I am streaming live to my YouTube channel. Join me on Tues, 15 June at 8pm (GMT+1), where I will be joined by these awesome Indie Authors to chat about why we love being Indie.

The line up includes:

💛 Romantic Suspense author Cassidy Reyne: https://www.cassidyreyne.com/

💛 Worldbuilding & World Destroying author Angeline Trevena: https://angelinetrevena.co.uk/

💛 Contemporary Fantasy author J D Groom (Jodie): https://jodiegroom.wordpress.com/

💛 And, of course myself, Ally Aldridge: http://allyaldridge.com/

It’s live, so you can join in by asking questions or sharing your thoughts. We can’t wait to see you there.

How to make sure you don’t miss out!

Here’s the link. Make sure you hit that notification bell so you know when we go live: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TG1203XOADs

You may also want to add the FB event to your calendar so your don’t forget: fb://event/?id=1401390906894506

Indie Author Week UK

To find out more about Indie Author Week UK, please visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/IndieAuthorWeekUK/

They have a ton of incredible events going on. If you can’t make a live, look out for the replay.

[kofi]

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Making his YouTube dream come true

Writers & YouTube playlists

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

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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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]

Camp NaNo April 2021 – Outcome

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

Thursday, 15 April

I wrote the scene I have been struggling with – the big fight scene. It was 1,422 words. It’s not The End yet as I’ve realised there is one more scene needed to join this to the end that I wrote. But, The End is in sight.

Friday, 16 April

This morning, I had a one-to-one chat with Pagan it was an Author Breakthrough Session. I had no idea what to expect but afterwards I felt more focussed and empowered. I’ll be writing a full blog post on the experience.

My 2y old was in a creative mood today. We did painting, we did slime, and puzzles. My mum popped over and I showed her what I’d done with her Cricut Maker I borrowed. Later, my son helped me at the vets and food shopping.

Tonight, I wrote 812 words and finished my first draft of Sky Heart. The End

The final word count is 76,763 words. Usually during my first self edit this number increases as I discover where I need to add more detail.

Saturday, 17 April

I managed to escape the kids for a writing sprint on Facebook. As Sky Heart is finished, I worked on a novel I may offer as a readers magnet or sell as a prequel.

I also attempted to make a book trailer for Ocean Heart. As it’s my first attempt at this, I’m still not sure.

Sunday, 18 April

Today we went into town to get sandwiches and cake. We then went for a walk in the woodlands and had a picnic. We were so full we saved the cake for home.

I fiddled a little more with the trailer, especially with tweaking the sound affects. It’s very tricky trying to achieve precision on a mobile phone. I’m happy with the outcome. I guess I ought to make Sky Heart one.

Monday, 19 April

Today was meant to be my marketing Monday but Pagan would not been impressed because I didn’t do it. I was really into my secret project and wanted to work on it. I’ll do Marketing tomorrow…

Tuesday, 20 April

I lied. I didn’t do Marketing today either. I had a little anxiety about tomorrow so had an early night with my husband.

Wednesday, 21 April

Tonight was my Live with World Indie Warriors. We had so much fun chatting we were on for 2hs.

Thursday, 22 April

Today was my long work day. After work I chilled out and had some me time. I ran a bath and read The Rookery.

Friday, 23 April

I published Ocean Heart using Ingram Spark for both the paperback and eBook. It never went live on Google Play, or Apple Books. I was busy with my launch so left it. Once Christmas was out the way I queried what happened with IS.

IS confirmed it should be on Apple and would look into what happened. It turned out my files were too big. But, things got busy at work so I left it.

Today has been a busy day working on how to resolve it. I uploaded it to Google Play – this was pretty straight forward and I now have to wait to be approved. But Apple has been a complete nightmare with their iTunes Connect page displaying an error 401.

Saturday, 24 April

I had a busy morning clearing out the garden. It actually looks worse now but it is because I am preparing rubbish that needs to go to the tip.

I played with my kids and didn’t get to write or read. They were excited by treasures I found in the shed like a remote control car & keyboard. I think they ended up there because they are noisy.

iTunes Connect replied to apologise for the current issues and they are working on resolving this as quickly as possible, but there was no indication of how long it’ll take.

In the evening my hubby & I finished watching a film and started the new Shadow & Bone series on Netflix.

Sunday, 25 April

Today, is the day I work on my social media. I write blog posts and prepare my Instagram posts. As the end of the month draws near, I also worked on my newsletter.

I uploaded a free digital download to Ko-Fi for people to use to track their books.

I’d like to do a MerMay Giveaway to celebrate Ocean Heart being 6 months old but my ideas keep getting ruined.

I wanted to create a personalised National Book Token but that’s temporarily unavailable. I wanted to offer Ocean Heart for Free to celebrate it now being on Google Play but it takes 12 days to get approved, and Apples website isn’t loading the page for new authors to join so I’m waiting for tech support to resolve it.

I also thought it’d be nice to donate to an Ocean type charity but don’t have a ton of money and worry people will judge me for it not being enough.

I’m still figuring out what to do for MerMay and time is running out as I want to announce it in my newsletter going out on 30 April!

Monday, 26 April

Today, I read Rookery. Ideally I want to finish it before the end of the month because of the MerMay readathon.

I posted a few pics to Litsy, talking about my writing resource books.

I sold my first signed copy of Ocean Heart from my Ko-Fi shop. 💛

Once the kids were in bed, I still didn’t do any Marketing. Eek – my check in with Pagan will be embarrassing. Instead I had a bath and watched Shadow & Bone.

Tuesday, 27 April

Today was my long day working.

In my lunch break I organised the P&P for my Ko-Fi customer and researched KDP. Apple emailed to encourage me to contact their development team about the issue as the technical team can’t resolve it.

After work, and once the kids were in bed, I signed a copy of Ocean Heart, packaged it up, and set it off to my first Ko-Fi customer.

Wednesday, 28 April

I booked a day off work – yay!

Today, I went into town to get the parcel delivered but I misheard the girl at the desk and paid way more for p&p than I wanted. I was cross, but she’d printed the labels so I just paid it. 🙁

I tried to confirm the amount Google Play paid into my account to verify and prove its my bank account but Google said I’m wrong and to guess again. I’m going to wait and see if they pay another amount in and try again in a few days.

I also looked at creating my Amazon affiliate account for UK/US. And, started developing a webpage disclosing my affiliate accounts.

I also did a lot of work on my newsletter. I add to it throughout the month but it needs pics and tidying up. I only have the related social media posts left to do now.

In the evening, I caught the WIW Live with guest Julia Scott. She’s author of Mirror Souls and a formatter. In fact, she was my formatter.

Thursday, 29 April

Today was my long day at work, and I didn’t sleep well last night. I think I need an early night. That’s if Aria lets me – she’s playing up tonight and refusing to go to bed. Which is odd because she was crying and begging to go to bed before her milk was ready.

I did the finishing touches to my newsletter ready to send tomorrow. Relaxed by reading the Rookery, and then watched some Shadow & Bone.

Friday, 30 April

Today, I sent my newsletter. I hope I’ve made the right choice with my Giveaway.

As you can see I’ve taken a break from writing now Sky Heart is written. But, after this weekend I will start the self editing process.

Discover more about Sky Heart by visiting my Sky Heart page. Sky Heart is book 2 in the Soul Heart series.

Discover more about Ocean Heart by visiting my Ocean Heart page. Ocean Heart is book 1 in the Soul Heart series.

If you enjoyed this you will like:

12 Tips for Self Editing

The Benefits of Having a Formatter

The Process of Publishing: Step 1 – Drafting

My Authorship Breakthrough Session

[kofi]

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]