Book Review: Dear Diary by Kevia Dauphiney

Dear Diary Book Review
Dear Diary Blurb

I met the author on IG and loved her posts. She’s very open and honest about being a writer & a mother. Her posts made me laugh out loud, more than once.

When she announced she was looking for ARC readers for her novel Dear Diary I was on board. It knew it was going to be brilliant and Kevia didn’t disappoint!

Setting

The book is set in today’s world. The MC lives in America with her husband and kids.

Main Character

The main character is an overwhelmed mother of four kids. She’s a strong Christian (or at least tries to be) and she home schools. The diary is her ramblings as she off loads all the drama placed on her shoulders.

Review

This story is an easy read. Many mother’s would be able to relate to the drama that unfolds in the diary entries. It felt like I was reading a real diary. The way it’s told made me laugh out loud.

I gave it 5 stars although I wished some diary entries had been shorter as my little ones interrupts me a lot. But, it’s easy to get into and I’d definitely recommend it.

This should be a staple gift at every baby shower to really prepare new mums of what to expect in an entertaining way.

[kofi]

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Below are some affiliate links. You can discover more about these on my Affiliate Disclosure page.

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.

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[kofi]

My NaNoWriMo Project

Well… I have not one, not two, but THREE projects for November. And, I still probably won’t make the 50k goal.

That’s not me being a defeatist. I’m not quitting before I start. In fact, despite the odds, I’m still going to try. And, you should too!

November is always a busy month. It’s my son’s & I’s birthdays, and the birthday of lots of other loved ones. On top of that, I’m launching Ocean Heart. There’s a lot going on. Plus, someone always gets ill in November – I’m hoping the social distancing is going to help avoid that this year.

Realistically, November is not the best month for me to write. However, the NaNo challenge encourages me to be more focussed and accountable. Because of this, I write more because I took part. And, I love the community spirit, writing with us.

Project 1 – Sky Heart

This is the main project. Sky Heart is book 2 in The Soul Heart Series. Getting this published will be my 2021 big goal. So, I need to get it written.

Kiely got dumped for Christmas. Heartbroken she makes rash decisions to get over her ex-boyfriend, starting with a blindfold and a mystery kisser.

Kiely’s new wild lifestyle places her in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now she must stay alive, as she’s drawn into an ancient shifter war with werewolves and reapers.

Kiely’s battle to overcome her ex is about to take her to new heights.

Project 2 – Prequel

This will be a short novella. I may give it away as a readers magnet for newsletter signups. It’ll be a Historical Fantasy, but not set a long time ago. It’ll be in the 90s.

Project 3 – Luna

My werewolf villain wants me to tell her story. I’m not sure if it will be written just for me so I know her better or to share her with the world.

Luna’s story is also to be a Historical Fantasy. This will be going back to medieval times. It’s anticipated to be a novella.

What about you?

Are you doing NaNo this year? And, what do you think of my projects?

I usually focus on just one but I’m really feeling all three of these right now and just want my creativity to flow.

I’m planning on attending a few live write ins with World Indie Warriors on Instagram.

[kofi]

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Now you can PreOrder Ocean Heart!

Behind the Character: Kiely

Camp NaNo Progress (mid July 2020)

So, I set three targets and it’s not gone to plan…

Writing Goal: Finish Sky Heart

Originally finishing Sky Heart was my main goal for Camp NaNo. I always struggle with writing endings so I knew this wouldn’t be easy.

Kiely was a 2nd viewpoint in an early draft of book 2. In that draft Mariah was the MC but Kiely’s story took over. Then I cut all Kiely’s parts and made a new book in 2018 called Glide. In 2019, it was renamed Diamond in the Sky and I added to it but never finished it.

I opened the manuscript and had no idea what was going on. It has been too long. I’m lost.

Instead of working on the ending, I’ve had to start at the beginning, reading the whole manuscript and making notes. The good thing is I’ve already identified parts to improve which will help when I come to edit. I’m now up to chapter 10.

This book has always taken a back seat to book 1. As book 1 is with my editor I thought I could finally work on finishing this but I was wrong. As you’ll see below, Book 1 has demanded my attention.

Book 2 has been renamed Sky Heart and promptly put back in the back seat… maybe next month Kiely.

Publishing: Ocean Heart

I thought sending my novel off to my editor meant my job was done…

No!

Very quickly I realised how much work I have to do to launch my book. As this is a priority, I adjusted my goals to continue working on Ocean Heart.

So far I have:

  • Written a dedication.
  • Researched & written my copyright statement.
  • Researched covers in my genre to identify what I like or don’t and gather the details my cover designer needs.
  • Planning for a Giveaway.
  • Researching how to provide ARC copies.
  • Attend my first ever meeting with my editor (this Thursday).
  • Got feedback on my Blurb

Still to do:

  • Finish the instructions for my cover designer so she can start work on my covers (eBook & Paperback). For this, I still need to finalise my blurb and decide on book sizing like trim, etc.
  • Use the feedback to improve my blurb.
  • Create a space for my Street Team to access exclusive content and be the first to know my news.
  • Researching meta data
  • So much more…

Reading Goal: Agent Undone (eBook)

I’ve now reached chapter 9. My little girl is demanding more attention from me now so I get less time to read on my phone during the day, which is when I read eBooks.

Reading Goal: Sea Witch (paperback)

After work I’ve felt too frazzled to do anything but watch rubbish on YouTube – I’m not proud of the time wasted on this.

When I have had energy, I’ve worked on my writing and got so into it that I had to go to bed after, with no time to read.

But, I have made some progress. I’m now up to chapter 19 (I was at chapter 4 at the start of July).

Learning Goal: Storyseller Academy

I’ve not even logged in. I’m desperate to make progress on this course but struggling to fit everything in.

I have done some learning as I’ve been researching things like Trim Size and Copyright statements.

But, this course is about successfully publishing your novel and I know it’s full of info that would be useful to me.

So, the next half of the month I’m going to make this a priority (after anything Ocean Heart related) and let go of Sky Heart for now.

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Camp NaNo July 2020

I’m taking part! Or, so I say…

I’m doing the challenge with World IndieWarriors and set my goals as follows:

  1. Write the ending of Sky Heart (book 2) – estimated 20k words
  2. Finish reading my two current reads (Agent Undone by Cassidy Reyne, and Sea Witch by Sarah Henning)
  3. Complete Storyseller Academy course

About Sky Heart

Slow Start

1 July

I’ve barely started! So, at the end of June I was sending Ocean Heart (book 1) to my editor but fear struck. It was ready a week early but I kept reading it through, checking it, worrying whether it is good enough. When I was still doing this is July, I realised what I was doing and hit send… at almost midnight.

2 July

So, I started a day late. When I looked at chapter 24 of Sky Heart (book 2) I couldn’t remember what was going on. It dawned on me that it’s been too long, I need to reread it all to get my hear back in the story. I may not get to write this month 😢.

3 July

I was introduced to a website called Art Breeder. OMG this website is addictive! At first my ‘breeds’ were not quite right but the more I played the better I got.

Top row – Mariah, Jace; Bottom row – Murray, Kiely

4 July

Today, I’ve been working on blog posts and reading (a little). Blog posts weren’t part of my NaNo goal but reading was. Finally started on Camp NaNo 😂.

Reflecting

I think if it wasn’t Camp NaNo, I would have taken a break this month to reflect on finishing Ocean Heart.

I’m nervous about what is next and still have a lot to learn and publishing it is my annual priority goal.

You’ll notice I’ll be more laid back about my goals this month. As always, any progress is good but I’m more interested in the social aspect of the challenge.

It’s a great way to connect with other writers. If I can encourage another creative towards achieving their goals, that’s still a win. And once I’ve rejuvenated I’ll come back stronger.

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Author Q and A – Ally Aldridge

Writing Progress: May

Camp NaNo Progress

12 tips for self editing

Camp NaNo Progress (days 1 to 10)

This is an update on how the first 10 days have gone.

I wanted to start April having already completed my read through. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. So, I spent the first few days getting it done.

Monday, 6 April, I was able to start my editing. Using the feedback from my Developmental Editor. I have managed to edit 4 chapters (about 9k words). The biggest changes have included:

  • A new scene added to chapter 2
  • Kya O’Malley is now Kiely O’Neil
  • Murray O’Malley is now Murray O’Neil
  • A scene in chapter 4 has been completely rewritten

I am in the World Indie Warriors cabin (now called groups) on NaNoWriMo. On Instagram they’ve set a photo challenge:

I haven’t had time to keep up on IG but my team spirit won’t let me let it go. So, I decided to post my pics every 10 days on my blog.

Camp Goals / Tell us about your WIP

Both of these are covered in my blog post titled Are you doing Camp NaNo?

Camp Buddies

What will you do to celebrate?

It feels hard to think about celebrating during a lockdown. I can’t go anywhere and I’m only buying necessities.

It will be something simple like watching a film with my husband and maybe ordering a take away if we are still able to.

Camp Music

I find music distracting whilst writing/editing. The other day I was feeling tired after work and was procrastinating. I clicked on an IG live video by @aquabunart. She was playing her harp. It was really relaxing and helped me get focussed on what I needed to do.

I think I find music useful to get me in the right headspace but not during the task. I also enjoy music whilst plotting or coming up with ideas and have come up with story ideas whilst listening to the radio.

Who inspires you?

Hundreds of authors have inspired me but here are the most notable:

Orchard Tree Books: Yes, they publish children’s first readers. The magic key stories inspired my first stories and awoke my desire to be an author at the age of 5.

Rachel Vincent’s shifter series. I loved the world she built and I wanted to create something similar but my own.

More inspirational people are my granny and grandma. My granny was tenacious and never let anything stop her doing what she needed to. And, my grandma had a big heart and was the first person to believe in my writing.

Camp Fuel

Mmm tea ☕️

One Line

He danced in the sunlight whilst I lurked in the shadows.

Favourite genre/trope

I love YA fiction, Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, High Fantasy, Low Sci-Fi, Dystopia, Contemporary Romance, Erotica, Chick Lit, and Children’s Fiction (especially picture books).

I mainly blog and write YA Fantasy. But I also dabble in poetry. And, I’ve drafted a picture book. One day I may also write horror, dystopia and erotica.

Your ideal writing space

I have a Pinterest board with images of my dream space. I’d share it but my boards are so messy they need a spring clean.

I don’t have a dedicated space but I’d like one.

The desk would be a bureau that I could fold away all my mess inside so when I return it is ready. It would have a pin board with inspirational quotes and book plans. A shelf to keep my favourite notebooks and resource books. A draw to hide away my stash of pens and pots for my frequently used. The desk will be large enough to spread out all my papers. Ideally, this space would be in a lodge with beautiful views of a meadow, forest or beach.

I would love to see your answers to the above. Let me know if you are taking part on IG or posting somewhere else.

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Writing Progress: March

The Plot Bunny Vault

Creating a Catchy Novel Title

Writing Progress: March

This a summary of the highs and lows of my writing this month.

Hitting 300 Followers

This might not be a lot for some blogs but for mine it is an epic milestone. I think I should celebrate.

Editing

Oh dear! I really haven’t made much progress on this. It’s rather disappointing. But, I won’t let it defeat me.

Next month is Camp NaNo and I will be taking part. Together with my reading notes and developmental feedback, I will be attempting to achieve a hefty goal of editing 85k words ready for ARC readers.

World Indie Warriors Brochure

I was still chasing authors for content in March. I mainly had to work on my mobile phone. With an increased interest and a new design and look, this was a much bigger project thank I anticipated.

Somehow, I managed to get the proofs out a week before the end date. There were a few amendments requested and I got these done and a preview posted on the Facebook page for everyone to see while we worked on uploading it to the website. When I say we… I passed this task to J D Groom as I didn’t want to mess the website up.

Working From Home

With Covid-19 on the rise many of the companies I visit are either working from home or no longer accepting visitors.

This has involved me having to adapt my working practice to the changing business world. I have been preparing resources I need to enable me to work from home. And, I’ve been preparing my students for how online learning and assessments will work.

I’ve also been supporting colleagues with the change and finding news ways to keep connected. My greatest challenge will be working and keeping two kids entertained and out of trouble.

Home Schooling

Due to Covid-19, all schools are now closed except to students of critical key workers that have no other option. This is to reduce contact.

I am a bit nervous about my ability to do this but I’ll try my best. There are lots of people online supporting each other and sharing resources.

My difficulty is that I won’t be able to give Noah my full attention as I will be working and caring for Aria.

Covid-19

If you follow my blog, you will be aware I have been concerned about this disease since I learned about the outbreak in Wuhan back in January.

Back then I felt silly about my fears. My worry about an outbreak in the UK seemed irrational. It is unlike me to worry about such things. But, I felt so strongly I embarrassed myself in-front of friends and family by raising my concerns and encouraging social distancing.

Now the government is encouraging social distancing. It frustrates me that some people still don’t get it but now those I love are starting to see how serious this is.

My heart goes out to my best friend and her colleagues working in a London hospital on the frontlines.

Mother’s Day

This was an odd Mother’s Day. I didn’t visit my mum. I called and told her I love her, to stay safe and if she wanted anything from the shops.

Noah had made me a card at school. He had hid it so well at home he couldn’t find it so Rob helped him make a new one. Rob had bought me a gift from the kids and a perfume. I felt very spoilt and loved.

It was an uneventful day but I got to cuddle my kids and we are healthy. And, right now, that’s all I want. Good health for all.

Story Seller Academy by Pagan Malcolm

I have not had time to look anymore at the course or content. Now the brochure is done, I’m hoping I will have some free time to appreciate my access to this fabulous course.

If you enjoyed this, check out:

Why I chose to self publish

Progress February

Progress January

My big plans for 2020

To discover more ways to connect, click my link tree.

Writing Progress: February 2020

This a summary of the highs and lows of my writing this month.

Sick

Eugh! February did not start out good. I felt incredibly tired for three days and then felt better for two days. Then I was very sick. Followed by my son being very sick. Followed by my husband being very sick. And, I literally mean sick! Luckily, my daughter did not get sick and she kept our spirits up.

Sadly, her turn came later in the month when she caught a bad cold and couldn’t breathe due to a blocked nose. It was the worst night ever. I sat up cuddling her and couldn’t sleep for worrying. Then, the next day she cried over every little thing because she was tired. Even though I wasn’t ill, it took its toll on me.

Story Seller Academy

The end of last month I won a place on this content rich course by Pagan Malcolm. So far I have done Module 1 which is about mindset. I thought I had a good mindset but she called me out on some fears I had been ignoring but are definitely there and holding me back.

I need to figure out a way to fit this course into my life as I can tell it is full of information I am going to need in the coming months.

Website New Look

When I bought my site last month I discovered the theme I use is no longer supported. So, this month I updated to a new theme.

This also prompted me to review my site pages. My home page is now ‘my books’ instead of my blog. My home page also features my three most recent book reviews!

I recently learnt that Instagram doesn’t like Link Tree and shadow banned a friend for using a Link Tree link in their profile. I use Link Tree too but thankfully not been shadow banned. To be cautious the link is now to my website.

World Indie Warrior’s Brochure

I have been raising awareness to remind people that if they are an indie creative then they can be included.

I also wrote my first blog post for World Indie Warriors with more details about submissions for the brochure.

My Newsletter

I have been putting together the final touches to my newsletter and sent it on Tuesday, 25 Feb.

Be sure to sign up to make sure you don’t miss out on future emails. A form should pop up on the site to enable this but if you don’t see it, click my link tree at the end of this post and you’ll see a link to sign up.

20 years together

We didn’t get to celebrate as we were ill but we are so happy together. We have our family home, cats, kids and so much love.

Half Term

Tye month included February half term. The week started with Noah having his best friends over to play. And, the week ended in tears due to freezing cold weather at a farm.

In addition, Aria is not sleeping well at night. And, my husband and I juggled childcare around our work commitments. Those that usually help us out couldn’t.

Some days, I felt so exhausted it was an effort to get through the day. Some times I felt I was failing my kids as we didn’t do enough. But, when I asked Noah his thoughts, he told me about cuddling a bunny and bottle feeding a lamb. And, he loved having his friends over so much, he kept his room tidy. I taught him to play cards and, even though he lost, he’s determined to beat me.

Coronavirus

I was starting to feel safe again. I began to convince myself that it is under control and the cases in China were slowing down. But, with the sudden rapid rise in numbers for South Korea and Italy, I am back to worrying.

It saddens me to see how cruel some people are towards those that are suffering. It looks truly terrifying to have an invisible enemy that causes so much heartbreak. My heart goes out to all those affected.

On a positive note though, I am thinking of using all my research to write a Dystopian novel about the after mass of a deadly virus. To stop myself running away with the idea, I will lock the plot bunny in the vault. I must not allow it to distract me from publishing the Soul Heart series.

If you have enjoyed this post, you would like:

My Writing Progress – January 2020

How to make sure you don’t miss out…

Creating a catchy novel title

Do you need Beta or ARC readers?


Click my link tree to discover more ways to connect:

A decade of writing

I can’t believe it has been 10 years since I first wrote my novel. I’ve written countless other novels but this one I felt had potential. This one, I decided to take seriously.

2009 and 2010

It was Christmas 2009 and I was off work for the holidays when the idea for a novel, about a redhead teen with no idea she is a mermaid discovers she has powers, hit me. I wanted it to be like a modern Little Mermaid.

Once I sat at my PC and started to write I was unable to stop. Without an outline, it was like I was possessed, I struggled to sleep, to eat… I felt anxious if I wasn’t writing Drift. 

My fiancé got worried. He saw the sudden change in me and urged me to take a break, to visit family.

But, I couldn’t not write. So I lied to appease him. Pretended to go out, then sneaked back once he had gone to see his own family. It was like having a secret wiring affair. But after an intense week, the first 60k words were written.

I share my novel with anyone willing to read it.  My novel was on WeBook where I developed a supportive group of fans.  They were a huge confidence boost and we had our own little group to chat about my stories!  

It is laughable now but I edited my novel in 2010 and started querying. Surprisingly, I did get some requests.  It is surprisingly because now I look back at that early version and see how it wasn’t finished.  At the time, I thought it was ready.  

My fan had some valuable feedback for me, “You can’t end the story like that!”  At first, I saw that as excitement for the next book in the series and began writing Wipeout, but slowly it dawned on me that they were right. 

Promise and Deliver

I learnt an important lesson. Readers will develop certain expectations of your story and you must deliver on those.

Version 1 ended with Jace winking at Fern and there being the ‘suggestion’ they were about to get together. But, fans had read for 60k words. They wanted to see Fern achieve her happily ever after and a ‘wink’ was not the grande finale they had invested their time for.

2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

Early 2011, I was distracted by wedding preparations as my June wedding date got nearer. Then, I desperately wanted a baby. We were also trying to move house and the recession meant the value of my home was dropping every month, loosing the equity needed to move.

But 2013, we sold our house, bought a lovely family home and I had my son. With everything falling into place I would like to say I returned to my novel… but my baby boy was the biggest distraction of all.

Stupidly I thought being off work with a baby would free me up to write more but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Noah was not a chilled out baby. I spent his first year keeping up with his hunger, entertaining him and sleeping whenever I could.

Have realistic expectations

Sadly WeBook was no longer the thriving community it once was.  All my fans had moved on, possibly grown up, and I had lost them through inactivity.  I had to find a new source of feedback. I joined Movella, Figment and Wattpad.

Wattpad became my new favourite.  I began editing Drift and Wipeout and shared other novels and created some poetry collections.  

For Drift, I changed the ending so Lily (formerly Fern) is asked out by Jace (formerly Sam).  I removed the parts by Denny (Jace’s mum) – she gave an outsider perspective of Lily’s unusual upbringing.  

Th sequel Wipeout was also told from Lily’s viewpoint and had a few part’s told by Kiara – she was able to show what was going on with Murray.  The sequel wasn’t coming to me as easy as Drift had and I was falling in love with Kiara… 

2017 and 2018

2017 started with my employer going into administration. I had worked for the company for over 10 years. It scared me, not knowing where my next pay cheque would come from. With bills to pay, I had to find work fast and job hunting became my new priority. 

Once I found a job, I felt a little disappointed in myself.  I felt I had wasted an opportunity to spend time with my son as I now worked more hours. I realised how I wasn’t prioritising my dream.  My profession is a job, not my passion.  

Make it a priority

Whilst job hunting, I thought HR and PR work looked appealing but didn’t have the knowledge employers wanted. So in September 2017, I told my employer I was interested in doing the CIPD HR qualification and to my surprise they were willing to support me. I learnt, if you don’t ask the answer will never be yes.  

In November 2017, I found out I was pregnant. I was over the moon and in a much better place.

Passing my course, doing well in my job and having a baby were all super important. But, I no longer wanted to treat writing as a hobby. I knew how busy my life would be once Aria was here so I became determined to edit and query before her arrival.  My goal was to be signed by an agent by August 2018 (Aria’s due date).  

I learnt knew ways to query. I developed my pitch and took part in Twitter events, I found out about Agent 1-2-1s and worked on improving my synopsis.  Despite getting requests, I never got offered representation.

In 2018, I edited Drift by removing the parts told by Gwyn (Lily’s mum) – she did some foretelling using her crystal ball. I also decided to scrap Wipeout.  I took parts from the sequel and put it into Drift, Glide or cut it out completely.  

2019

My goal was to finish editing Drift and Glide. I began by restructure my novel using Save The Cat Writes a Novel. It started off a a way to check my plot and pacing but it soon became apparent that I needed to pull the whole novel a part. It was very intimidating but by the end I had a better novel and a brand new ending.  Now there was the highs and lows, romance and I had delivered on the promise of an epic battle.  This novel was so different from my original idea of a modern Little Mermaid and I needed a new title, Jewel of the Sea.  I also renamed Glide as Diamond in the Sky.

I tried new ways of querying my novel.  I pitched on Twitter and in person and got requests but sadly never heard more. Although, I still love the idea of traditional publishing, I have spent the year learning about indie publishing.

I discovered the writing community on Instagram and joined groups like Hustling Writers, Fellow Creative Minds and World Indie Warriors. I also connected with talented authors like Pagan Malcolm and Bethany Atazadeh who share their journey and advice.

Connecting with indie authors gave me insight into their world and processes. No longer did their world scare me, but intrigued me.  With their support and encouragement I decided not to spend another decade waiting for someone else to give me permission to publish.  

Say yes to yourself!

The problem with querying is you are waiting for someone else to say you can publish. They can say no for countless reasons and rarely have time to explain why. The truth is you don’t need their validation because you can give it to yourself.

You no longer have to traditionally publish. If you are willing to work hard, you can choose your own team and publish yourself.  With so many crooks masquerading in the traditional publishing world, it is a mine field to navigate now (I’m sure I had requests from at least three dodgy publishers, I didn’t submit to in 2019 alone).  

After ten years writing and querying Jewel of the Sea (formerly Drift), I have decided to Self Publish.

2020

This year is the start of a new era. This year, I am going to publish. It won’t be easy and I have lots still to learn but I’m ready.

Jewel of the Sea is due back this month from a developmental editor. This is my the first step in my big publishing plan.

Celebrate your milestones

To celebrate this new venture, I feel Jewel of the Sea, aka Drift, needs a new name.

I have set myself some strict deadline to keep myself on track but I I won’t rush to publish.  I have waited so long for this, I want to be certain my novel is a quality product when I put it out there.  I want my readers to love it.

I will blog about my publishing journey, so if you are interested in the process, stay tuned. I would love to hear your thoughts on the new title Ocean Heart.

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

My Books

Same dream, six years on…

Writers beware! Know who you are querying.

Creating a Catchy Novel Title


Click my link tree to discover more ways to connect:

@Redfae

 

 

NaNoWriMo Diary – Week 4 (November 2019)

Fri, 22 Nov

Another busy Friday. At drop off I chatted to the mums who are organising Noah’s joint party (it’s there kids birthday too and our kids are all friends). We got nattering about what was left to do and who was doing what. Luckily, I didn’t get asked with anything -yay!

I was then late for play group and in desperate need of cat food. So, I decided to do a Sainsbury click & collect order so I didn’t have to traipse around the store – I really don’t enjoy shopping. I also needed a gift for a party Noah was attending after school and added it to my order. I was feeling super savvy as I sat back and enjoyed the rest of my morning.

Then Aria came with me to an afternoon work Christmas meal. I couldn’t make the evening one, nor could some of my colleagues so we decided to have our own mini get together. We went to Shelly’s which is a student run service restaurant. It enables the students to get valuable experience alongside their qualification. The students handled Aria amazingly. She was a terrible rude customer, pointing and shouting nonsense words. They played catch with her cracker that she kept tossing and demanding back. They cleared up her mess as she nibbled food, then threw it on the floor. They did it all with a smile and kept my little diva happy. Aria embarrassed me as expected but the students really impressed me.

Aria fell asleep in the car and I had a few minutes to pack a change of clothes for Noah before the school run. I picked Noah up and we went to collect my order from Sainsbury’s. When we arrived I was told the phone lines were down and they couldn’t process my payment. We waited 20 minutes before I had to go to get Noah to his friends party. My fabulous plan quickly unravelled. I had to apologise for not having a gift but hopefully bring it at pick up. Luckily when I returned to the store the problem was solved and the guy who greeted me couldn’t apologise more.

I then rushed home to let my husbands best friend in. Then I was back out to collect Noah.

I wasn’t able to use the computer so I wrote on my mobile, writing over 2k.

Sat, 23 Nov

Today has been busy. I tried to return a baby sling to the sling cafe but it’s closed so I have tried to find out where to return it now. Instead, I headed into town and delivered a bag of clothes to H&M to receive £5. They were all things I couldn’t sell I.e stained or odd socks. They break the fibres down and use them to make new clothes for their conscious collection. It’s the first time I did it and loved how simple & rewarding it was.

The afternoon flew by and before I knew it it was time for Noah’s party. It was lovely to see all the children playing together – we really didn’t have to do much. Plus people wanted to play with Aria so I got to sit down – such luxury. I was grateful to Chloe & Helen, the two mums that shared hosting the party. They really are a blessing in my life.

We got home late with the kids (past their bedtime). By the time they were tucked up I didn’t feel like writing and broke my writing streak. I was disappointed in myself later. I should have written something, even of if it was only a sentence.

Sun, 24 Nov

Today, we had family visiting. We hurried around to get out and see them (met up at my mum’s home). There is something wholesome and lovely about being with people you’ve known and loved your whole life. We got Aria home for her nap and then I spent time talking to my husband. NaNoWriMo has left him feeling a little neglected. We also got on the computer together to do a little Christmas shopping.

We had a lovely day but the time flew by and when I finally got the kids to bed and was able to sit at the PC, I didn’t feel like writing. Oh no, I was ready to procrastinate! First I browsed online shopping sites making wish lists I never intend to buy. Then when I open my word document, I had to stop to get a snack, then a drink, then another snack. I was chatting on social media. Until, I realised what I was doing and stopped myself. I managed 1k before bed. I needed a lot more!

Mon, 25 Nov

Today flew by. I ran around after a tiny whirlwind trying to keep the house in order. When Aria finally napped I had too much to do that I didn’t have time to write.

After school, my family cane over to visit and Noah made them his first ever mug of tea (with supervision).

I had trouble getting Aria to sleep but once she they both went to sleep, I jumped online to host my live write-in on World Indie Warriors Facebook group. We did two 10 minute sprints and it got me in the mood to write. One of my friends sent me a steamy extract from her novel which was rather distracting but I still managed to write 1.5k.

Tue, 26 Nov

Today was my long day at work and everyone is talking about getting ready for Christmas and I am not ready.

Once the kids were in bed I spent the evening browsing online and deciding what to buy.

I write zero words. Boo!

Wed, 27 Nov

Today is my short work day, but I get no lunch break and as soon as I finish it is a mad rush to get the kids.

Today is my mum’s birthday so we popped over after school pick up to see her.

I didn’t get to write until the kids were in bed. I made sure I did.

Thurs, 28 Nov

Today, was my long day at work. It was an odd day. I saw a student I hadn’t expected, and I didn’t see the student I planned to see. I had a bizarre lunch but managed to write 500 words.

I was glad to get home and see my family. Once the kids were in bed, I relaxed in the bath. My husband was surprised to find me in the tub and not writing. I explained I am not going to make 50k. He gave me a mini prep talk. I got on the PC and ended up with 1.5k.

Week one total

To be on track I need to have reached 46,666 so I am behind.

Finishing the second week my grand total is: 36,567 words.

I’m 14k behind with only 2 days left. Although it is possible to write 7k a day it is unrealistic for me. I have a really busy weekend coming up so I will only get to write in the evenings. I’m going to push for 40k though. Wish me luck…

 

Check back next Thursday to see my progress.

If you liked this, then you will enjoy:

NaNoWriMo Diary – Week 1 (November 2019)

NaNoWriMo Diary – Week 2 (November 2019)

NaNoWriMo Diary – Week 3 (November 2019)

Write 50k words in 30 days


Click my link tree to discover more ways to connect with me.@Redfae