I invite you to join in on my all the twos challenge. Read the second book in a series, or a second book by an author you’ve only read once. I thought this would be a fun way to celebrate Sky Heart (hopefully) releasing this year!
With February being the month of romance it’s the perfect excuse to make a list of some of my favourite romance novels:
Forever by Judy Blume
This was a high school favourite, and certain pages were well read. I keep meaning to buy it so I can read it again as an adult. Would I love it as much now as I did then?
Night Flame by Catherine Hart
I loved this story when I was younger. The main character is a redhead. I’m not sure how historically correct the Native American Indians are portrayed but Night Hawk was hot!
Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding
Comedy Romance- Diary
Bridget is struggling with her weight, trying to cut down on wine and smoking, a disaster at work, and desperate to find her Mr Right. Her confessions told via her diary entries is a relatable and entertaining read.
The Secret Dreamworldof a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
I read this book when I too was struggling with store cards. It not only was an entertaining read but it got me to deal with my problems before things got out of control like in this book.
Stray (Faythe series) by Rachel Vincent
Fantasy Romance (werecat shifters)
I loved every book in their werecat shifter series, and the spin-off books. The relationships are pretty steamy but I also loved the world building.
Silver Silence (Psy Changelin series) by Nalina Signh
Fantasy Romance (Psychic abilities)
This series was pretty steamy and unique. The characters had psy abilities and I really enjoyed how they were described and brought to life.
A Court of Thorns & Roses
This story was like a beauty and the beast retelling, where the beasts were the dangerous fae. It had a great romance and the deadly games at the end were brilliant.
Agent Undone by Cassidy Reyne
I read this whilst following the Epstein trial of human trafficking. The story has an agent trying to catch a trafficking ring, and a love interest that is a girl on the run from the trafficking ring.
Joy’s Summer Love Playlist
This book blew me away how the most tiny details were used to bring emotions and feelings to life. It was so vivid. The characters were so well developed and real.
Blind Date by Debbie Ioanna
This light hearted story about disaster dates was even more entertaining because of the cat. I have book two on my reading Wishlist for this year.
There are so many more books I could add to this list, but I shall end it here. Have you read any of these? What’s your favourite romance read?
This project is set in the same low fantasy world of The Soul Heart Series. In fact, for readers of Ocean Heart they may recognise the main character, Denny.
This story is a prequel. It’s set in the 90s, back when Denny was a teen herself. It will cover how she became friends with Gwyn, started her Sparkle Cake business, and the highs and lows as a new mum.
I feel more prepared now I have created a title, cover, and blurb. Of course these are all just a work in progress, so could change but it helps me feel more focused.
I’ve started writing an outline. I intended for this to be a novella but I already have a sneaky suspicion this could become a full length novel.
I’ve also made a spreadsheet to help me track my word count. If this works successfully, I will look at making a version available to my followers on Ko-Fi.
I’m going to aim for the big Five-O (50,000 words). If I don’t make it, I will still have made progress, but if I do, it’d make me so happy.
I’ve been struggling with motivation because Sky Heartis on hold until I can afford the professional services I need to move it forward. I’ve also been bummed out with all the germs (sick kids) ruining September, and fracturing my ankle ruining October.
I really want to get back into the habit of writing again. My ultimate goal for November is this: To write!
Are you doing NaNoWriMo? What’s your project, goal, and how do you prepare?
There are tons of ways to own your very own copy of Ocean Heart. Check out my webpage About Ocean Heart for full details, but here are a few:
Some of these links are affiliate links. Please visit my about Affiliate Links page for more details.
You can buy a signed copy of Ocean Heart from Ko-Fi, and there are two options:
Personalised & Hand Signed
This is limited to the UK due to postage costs. First, I order the book, sign it, and then send to you. If you’d like a personalised message for you or someone special, I can do this.
This was the method used for the first 20 copies of Ocean Heart bought during my book signing event at Stillwater Books.
Now, you can get a hand signed copy by supporting me on Ko-Fi & visiting my Ko-Fi Shop.
Personalise & Digitally Signed
This is limited to countries with an Ingram printing facility. I will design a personalised page for you, that will be added to the book when printed. Ingram then will send out directly to you (saving on international postage costs/emissions).
Currently there is only one copy of Ocean Heart like this that I gifted to a TikToker.
The great thing about Smashwords is you can buy your eBook and choose the format, enabling you to read on whatever device is your favourite. In addition your eBook is saved to your Smashwords library, so you keep it forever.
Kindle is one of the most popular eReaders both as a tablet and app.
If Smashwords and Amazon aren’t your thing, you can get Ocean Heart from many other popular eBook stores. Click this link to discover more eBook buying options: https://books2read.com/OceanHeart
If you know me, you’ll know I’m very naughty when it comes to returning books. In addition, I lose books! And, my youngest destroys books. Library fines are common.
But, during the pandemic my fines got to a point where they barred my account! 😱
I was a bit scared & embarrassed to go into the library to pay my fines. But, as always, the local librarians were lovely. We sorted it out and I can borrow books again.
Ocean Heart never at the library…
When I released Ocean Heart last year, I approached my local library to recommend they stock a copy. And, they did!
It felt too good to be true. So, I searched using Suffolk County Libraries app to check it was really there. It was, but out on loan, with another Suffolk library!
A few weeks later, I checked to see if it was back. It had returned to Felixstowe but was on the Reserved Shelf.
When I paid my fines, I asked what the ReservedShelf meant. It meant someone had requested it! My book is in demand! And, it had already been collected! 😃
I must say I’m relieved. I love my library and would hate them to waste money on an unwanted book. As a new author building my audience, I worried I might be too unknown. I feared nobody would be interested in Ocean Heart. It makes me so happy to see it’s always checked out.
If you want to borrow the paperback, you’ll need to reserve it. It is in their collection, but there’s a queue. 🥰
For students of Felixstowe Academy, there are a few copies available from their school library.
Ocean Heart on Overdrive App
Overdrive is an eBook app used by libraries. You can search for Ocean Heart and request a copy to read. I don’t think they’ve ordered the eBook yet but all you have to do is ask.
If you love reading eBooks, supporting your library, and supporting authors, get this app and start enjoying a vast range of eBooks for FREE using your library card.
Ocean Heart ISBNs
It’s easy to find my book searching by title or my name, but to be certain you found the right copy, use the ISBN.
Paperback or eBook?
There you have it, Ocean Heart is available for you to read for free using your library card. If it’s not currently stocked by your local library, just ask them to order it in.
Thank you so much for agreeing to an interview about your debut fantasy novel.
Tell me about your beautiful book cover?
The beautiful artwork was illustrated by Yu-Hsuan Tseng who I happened to find online. I came across her wonderful art from a graphic design website and fell in love with the colours and imagery that she used. The style felt the right vibe for what I was imagining for The Waterfall Warrior. I got in touch with her and she was very happy to create my front cover. I was hugely honoured as it can be hard to find the right image for your work that captures what was originally in your mind, but not in this case. Yu-Hsuan Tseng listened to my ideas and with her talent and unique style she made the most perfect artwork I could ask for.
The Waterfall Warrior is book 1 in the Wilcroft Chronicles, how many books do you anticipate in the series?
I plan to do two more. When I came to write the first one I always had a trilogy in mind. It’s exciting because now the first book is out there, people can find out about this world and these characters I have created. I have lots of ideas for what’s to come. I know how it all ends, but there’s a lot of exciting things to happen before that.
Can you introduce the main characters, Hannah and Callum:
Hannah Barrington is a twenty-five year old woman who works at a hotel. She roams Epping Forest whenever she is feeling depressed. It brings comfort to her as she has fond memories of staying there with her grandparents and siblings when she was little. One day she comes across a waterfall which seems out of place; she walks through and finds a portal that transports her to a different world called Therrhain. Hannah befriends a Warrior there called Fay. To get Hannah back they must go to Wilcroft University to meet a woman named Carol Wells, but first Hannah and Fay must unveil the secret of the ancient prophecy before Therrhain is destroyed.
Callum Barrington is Hannah’s youngest sibling. He’s currently a student at university in Manchester. He also deals with mental illness. There’s a young man named Elliott Heartwood that he can see through his mirror, and in the early chapters Callum isn’t quite sure if he’s real or if his mind is playing tricks on him.
Is the Epping Forest in your book based on the real Epping Forest? Why did you choose this location for your fantasy book?
Yes and no. It’s real in the sense that in the story Hannah is walking through the actual Epping Forest, but I have added things that aren’t there in real life, such as the house that her grandparents lived in. I chose this location because I needed a forest that was out in the middle of nowhere but also close enough you could travel there from London, and also because Hannah needed somewhere to go that gave off a childlike and magical atmosphere.
The book includes your main characters facing mental health issues. Is mental health something that’s important to you?
Most definitely. Over the last few years I have been very open about myself having mental health problems. I also used to be a care worker before I became a writer, so I have worked with a lot of people who also have had mental health issues. I think it’s an important theme to put into stories, especially when it’s not the main plot device; the character just so happens to have these issues, but they also are shown to still live a life and have other qualities to them.
What advice do you have for anyone that may be struggling with similar issues to your main characters.
I’m not sure I am the right person to give advice, but I guess all I would suggest is to talk, and not be ashamed of the difficult emotions you are facing. From personal experience when I talked about it I felt better for it.
Can you share a short snippet from The Waterfall Warrior?
Walking through the forest brought back so many memories. It seemed smaller than it had when I was a child. I remembered the time I had fallen over a branch, the one that was still sticking out menacingly between the trees. It had made me fall and cut my knee. I had cried for hours. I used to play there with Chloe, Laura and Callum. They were my only friends back then. It was a time in my life before I realised you could have friends that were not part of your family. We used to use sticks as swords and playfight with each other. We even made dens with blankets. There was a house there that looked as though it was about to collapse. It used to belong to my grandparents, Grumbles and Numbles I called them for some strange reason. Back then I used to think this forest was their garden. When I passed this area, I could almost smell the cooked dinner that my grandmother used to make. It had always tasted as good as it smelt. My mouth was watering. The memory cheered me up but not for long. I was now further into the forest. I wasn’t very familiar with this part. We were told to never cross this point when we were kids, or we would be in “very serious trouble”. It was hard to believe it now, as this part of the woods felt very innocent and peaceful compared with the rest. The ground was flatter, there were no stones to graze your knees if you fell, and no hills to climb and fall down. I came across the stump of a tree. It was right in the middle, all by itself. Lines of trees standing tall on either side of it, squashed together like sardines. I went and sat down on the stump. Without even a thought I broke down and cried for about ten minutes. I didn’t understand why I suddenly felt so upset. I was feeling low, but I didn’t think I was as bad as all that. Then something startled me. The strangest, but most beautiful sound. Someone was singing.
Where can readers connect with you and discover more about your books?
The best place to do that would be at my book launch. It’s being held at Bristol’s Waterstones on September 28th at 7pm. I will be talking about the book, and there will be readings by two actors who narrated the audiobook edition of The Waterfall Warrior, which is also out soon. I will be signing copies of the book. It’s a free event but you still need to claim a ticket by visiting Waterstones website and going to the event section.