#WIWSnippetSaturday

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

#WIWSnippetSaturday

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

The Sky Heart Snippets

3rd Chocolate & Treats

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

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

10th Animals

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

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

17th Time For Sleep

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

24th Books & Dragons

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

1st Bonus

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

What’s next?

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

Want to learn more about book 2, Sky Heart?

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

Do you want to buy book 1, Ocean Heart?

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

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this you will like:

Behind the Character: Kiely

Behind the Character: Ana

Camp NaNo April 2021: Project

Camp NaNo April 2021: Mid Check In

Camp NaNo April 2021: Outcome

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.

If you enjoyed this you will like:

Behind the Book: Outfoxed by R.J. Blain

Behind the Book: Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom

Book Review: Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom

Behind the Book: Petrified by Ben Meeks

[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]

Camp NaNo April 2021 – Midway Check In

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

This post contains a few bookshop.org affiliate links.

Weds, 31 March

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

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

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

Thurs, 1 April

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

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

Friday, 2 April

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 3 April

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

#WIWSaturdaySnippet

Sunday, 4 April

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

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

Monday, 5 April

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

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

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

Tuesday, 6 April

Noah loves his new room. #Win

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

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

Wednesday, 7 April

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

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

Thursday, 8 April

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

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

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

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

Mariah from Ocean Heart on Wombai.ai

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

Friday, 9 April

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

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

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

Saturday, 10 April

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

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

#WIWSnippetSaturday

Sunday, 11 April

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

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

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

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

Monday, 12 April

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

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

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

Tuesday, 13 April

I worked all day today.

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

Wednesday, 14 April

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

Keily from Sky Heart on Wombo.ai

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

Behind the Book: Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S Weaver

Book Review: Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S Weaver

Why I love World Indie Warriors

Where to find the best indie books…

Camp NaNo April 2021 Project

Sky Heart Coming Soon
Sky Heart by Ally Aldridge

Camp NaNo April 2021 Goal

My goal for Camp Nano will be to finish Sky Heart. I think there’s only 15k words left. It should be doable, but I have really been struggling with the ending.

If I do manage to get it done quickly, I will work on the prequel. It will be a novella in length and about told from Denny’s POV, about how she came to be friends with Gwyn.

Camp NaNo Story Snippets

@worldindiewarriors on Instagram have come up with some prompts to encourage people to share a snippet of their WIPs during April. They are a relaxed friendly bunch, so don’t worry if you can’t post for every prompt, or if you don’t post on Saturdays. The idea is to support each other and connect with others taking part. I’m going to try to do these challenges but I don’t post on Saturdays so… I’ll be posting when I can.

Follow #WIWSnippetSaturday

Wednesday Instagram Lives

Every Wednesday at 9pm UK, @worldindiewarriors will be hosting IG Lives to keep everyone motivated towards their goal. In addition, they will have a guest join them to discuss a topic of the week.

On 21 April, I will be their guest chatting about self publishing. If you have any questions or just want to join us, we’ll be happy to see you there.

[kofi]

If you have enjoyed this content, you’ll like:

Why I love World Indie Warriors

The World Indie Warriors Brochure

Why I have chosen to Self Publish

Don’t put off writing your novel!

Have you seen that advert of a mum working from home? She is lying on the floor cooing at her baby and typing on her laptop. I bet you know the one I mean.

Well, I’m embarrassed to admit I believed this could be my life. My dream has always been to be a Novelist and I also longed to be a mother, so this image was singing to my heart, ”you can have it all!”

If I’d waited for my ideal writers life, I’d still be waiting.

Ally Aldridge

I’ve been writing stories ever since I could put a sentence together but for many reasons I put off seriously trying to get published until the prospect of children was on the horizon.

As soon as I got engaged in September 2009, I came off the contraceptive pill. I wanted it out of my system so I could get pregnant as fast as possible once married. We married in June 2011 but different factors got in the way of motherhood.

Our Wedding in Mauritius

During that time I wrote Hunted, Instinct and Drift (now published as Ocean Heart). I edited Drift, queried it, got some requests… but never an offer.

Late 2013, I had my son. He took over my life in the most glorious way, but it was obvious how unrealistic that image in my head was. My working hours were reduced but it didn’t enable any extra time for writing. If anything, I had less time. I was juggling a job and my parental responsibilities. Most evenings I was too shattered to do anything.

Once my son turned three, we decided we were ready to grow our family. Fortunately, I didn’t fall pregnant quickly because a few months later the company I was employed at went into administration. Expanding our family was put on hold until we got financial stabile again.

To my relief, almost a year later, we decided to try again and I fell pregnant straight away. My daughter joined us in the summer of 2018.

During this time I’d continued to edit and query Drift. I realised that I have to just make my situation work if I wanted my dream. That meant, I often wrote in the evenings when my kids slept. Sometimes they have worn me out in the day and I have to be okay with letting myself take a break.

I focus on celebrating what I have achieved and that I’m still making progress, instead of being frustrated I can’t do it as fast as others. I blog and schedule content on my mobile whilst my kids play. I make my social media posts on my phone often using Canva. In the smallest pocket of time, I can still work towards my goals.

Due to my new can do attitude, I’m now a published author. That’s right, in December 2021, I said yes to myself, and published Ocean Heart, book 1 in The Soul Heart series. If I’d waited for my ideal writers life, I’d still be waiting.

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org Shop Link.

During lockdown, I’ve lost my childcare for my youngest . And, whenever the schools close, I’m homeschooling for my oldest. My employer has been pretty supportive and when I’ve been most impacted by the pandemic, I have been placed on Furlough.

These days I have even less time to write! But, I’m writing. Maybe not everyday, but I am getting there.

My message to you is, do what you can now because every little bit will add up. There’s nothing to lose. Worst case scenario, you have a fabulous novel all to yourself.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

The Process of Publishing a Novel – 1 of 3

12 Tips for Self Editing

Notebooks of Story Ideas

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Behind the Book: The Bones of Who We Are by C L Waters

This book is the finale in the Cronus Chronicles series. I will place links for the earlier books in this series at the end of the post. Each interview covers different writing tips and info about the series.

How long did it take you to write this book once you had the idea?

The idea of Gabe’s story came in flashes, but once I finished writing Abby’s and Seth’s stories, Gabe’s story took about six or seven months to write the first draft. Another month or two to rewrite. I’d say the process from drafting through publication took sixteen months.

This book was written after you lost your dad – was it a therapeutic outlet? I notice that it deals with death.

This book explores my grief to some extent, or the ways in which suppressed grief has power over us. Writing Gabe’s story allowed me to process the loss of my father and my own pain. In many ways, I felt stuck like Gabe. When he walks into that childhood fort, I felt like I completely understood his need to hide there, to face death; though Gabe deals with suicide ideation, I think each of us face the symbolic death of self when we face the pain of loss, and then the subsequent rebirth when we find our way out of it. I’m not sure if that makes sense?

Tell me about the character Gabe?

Gabe has faced immense bullying his entire high school career; it’s called The Freak Challenge, and the object is to get Gabe to fight back. Writer of poetry and lover of Abby, he hasn’t fought back because he knows who started the challenge—Seth—and he’s biding his time to get back at his former best friend for the betrayal. His therapist has tried to help him. His adoptive parents have helped him. Even Abby, now, has helped him, but lingering over his head is the knowledge of his real parents and his fear of becoming them. When things spirals out of control and Seth’s life is on the line, Gabe crashes and feels like everything that’s happened is his fault, the fault of the DNA he carries in his body, and that the only way to save everyone else from the monster he’s becoming is to end it.

Each book is a different character from the series story. What inspired these characters?

You’ll see the parallels with the three characters in the Twilight series. Abby-Bella, Seth-Jacob, and Gabe-Edward (though an awesome reader thought Seth and Gabe were reversed which I love too). When I rewrote the books, Abby was inspired by the emergence of Hawaiian culture in my island home. The exploration of how one’s culture informs identity. Seth, as a villain, was inspired by the idea that even the villain has a story. That those either-or dichotomies are often flawed because as people we are a million variations of color. Finally, Gabe was inspired by my daughter who has struggled with mental health. When I read the statistics about males and sucicide rates, I was so saddened, I knew I wanted to explore this further.

When you finished the series you gave it a new look. What was it like relaunching a book and redesigning the covers?

It was hard work (and costly) but I’m so glad I did it. I am so proud of how they turned out, and they are so much more in line with how I envisioned them in the redesign as opposed to the original covers (which I liked too). It’s a lot of work. Finding a cover designer, formatting, learning the ins and outs of publishing in a more hands on way. I don’t think it’s probably a path for everyone, but I’ve enjoyed the process.

Do you design the covers yourself or use a designer?

I hired a cover designer. Her name is Sara Oliver (https://saraoliverdesign.com) and I think she’s amazing. I love working with her.

Can you share a snippet of the book?

Would love to . . . Though I’m not sure what to share. Here’s one of Gabe’s poems:

Vomit up the monster.

It plays with blocks,

Stacking and rearranging them

Around holes in my heart.

I’m the butt of a joke;

It’s laughing, wide mouthed,

And kicks – cracking what’s already damaged.

The monster crawls back inside

To be vomited another day.

-by Gabe

Excerpt from The Bones of Who We Are by CL Walters

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

My books can be found on any of your favorite platforms. I would always recommend going to your independent bookstore and you can always request them to bring it in.

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org Shop Link.

Discover more about C L Waters on her website.

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

Behind the Book: The Ugly Truth by C L Waters

Behind the Book: Swimming Sideways by C. L. Waters

Book Review: And The Stars Were Burning Brightly

Why & how I chose my cover designer!

[kofi]

Behind the Book: The Ugly Truth by C L Waters

For some reason I wasn’t aware book 2 was out and the crazy thing is, it was out first!

Am I right in thinking this book was originally published as a standalone, and was your first indie book?

Yes! The Ugly Truth started as a stand alone and was my first indie book. The problem was, I was never happy with the ending. It felt trite and over-simplified and I couldn’t seem to figure out how to fix it. It wasn’t until two years later that I decided to finish the series and I started on Swimming Sideways. When that book was finished, I realized I’d written them out of order and they were connected. It allowed me to go back to The Ugly Truth and write the ending which finally worked.

I notice there is a theme of truth and lies in your series, was this intentional?

I don’t know that I made a conscious decision to explore truth and lies initially, but one of the big character flaws of Seth was that he was hiding his truth in lies. Abby faces the same thing. Gabe isn’t lying so much as just hiding. So perhaps the broader theme is how we hide our true selves and the means we do that because we’re afraid or insecure or whatever reason creates that need to hide.

Which character do you relate to most?

Each of them, I think, in some ways. Abby’s “good girl” position; Seth’s need to project he’s got it all together when he doesn’t; Gabe’s sensitivity. I think the one I aspire to be like is the secondary character Dale in Gabe’s, The Bones of Who We Are. I think our stories reflect lots of pieces of us.

Tell me about the main character Seth?

Seth is a “it” guy at his high school, but he knows he doesn’t deserve it. He’s done some awful things to people including his once best friend, Gabe, by instigating “the Freak Challenge” even if he didn’t know it would blow up like it did. Worse yet, he doesn’t come forward to fix it because he’s too afraid. And that’s always been his problem: he’s afraid. At home, where no one knows, his family faces the rage of an alcoholic father, and Seth often bears the brunt of that anger. This story, however, is told through Seth’s memories, because he’s woken up as a spirit outside of his body which is lying in a coma in a hospital bed, and he doesn’t remember how he got there.

Where did the idea for this novel come from.

When I first started writing this story 15 plus years ago, it was a paranormal story. Abby and Seth were Earth guardians and Gabe was a Fallen Angel. It was initially inspired by Twilight because I was so upset with how Meyers had treated the characters. About the time I finished the first installment and began the query process, the book Fallen by Lauren Kate came out and then Hush Hush and suddenly the market was saturated. At the end of that first book, I’d ended it with Seth being dragged into a hell-like place by a demon named Amaros but I’d put the series away because I couldn’t find an agent, but Seth kept talking to me. “You’ve left me down here,” he’d say. “You’ve left me in hell.” So in 2015 I decided to approach his book as a stand alone and changed it to a YA Contemporary with speculative fiction elements. But as I mentioned earlier, I couldn’t get that ending to work! 

How did you come up with your publishing name – Mixed Plate Press?

In Hawaiʻi, where I live and write, a mixed plate (also called a plate lunch) is a little bit of everything —meat, rice, salad—and all of it represents the “local flavor” of the islands. When I came up with the name for my independent imprint business, I wanted to go for that idea of a Mixed Plate Press title being representative of “many flavors” and something for everyone. That more than just the mainstream voices could be represented as a part of the publishing platform even if they’re niche.

Can you share a snippet of the book?

Definitely!

Here’s the first chapter of The Ugly Truth:

The Truth of Being Alive… Well, Kind of…

When I become conscious of myself, the way I am now, it isn’t like the idea of waking. I’m stretched thin, not exactly in the physical world or in the spiritual one, but somehow in between. My physical body is locked, but my spirit, what I guess I am now, moves beyond the confines of my bone, muscle and skin. I hover like a breeze in the flutter of a curtain. I dart back and forth between people and follow them while my physical body remains where it is, a shell that once housed me. I don’t know how I got here.

Time doesn’t function like it once did. This in-between layer seems to have collapsed into the slow motion of time lapse. I don’t know how long I’ve been here, but the longer I am, bits and pieces flash like images spliced together and sound bites in vignettes.

Darkness.

The wail of the siren.

Words: “Stay with us, Seth.”

The wail of a woman (I think she is my mother).

Bright lights.

Beeps and blips of equipment speaking.

Drip.

“Swelling.”

“Induced coma.”

Doctors.

Whir.

Now.

I don’t think it has been very long. If I use the emotion of the woman I think is my mother’s gusts of grief as a measure, this seems recent.

A man appears in the doorway of the room. A haze of familiarity lingers in my consciousness. I think he is my father. Clues: he isn’t dressed like a doctor or a nurse and instead is in worn jeans and a button-up flannel over a white t-shirt. Add to that his hesitation at the door when he sees my body. His face is drawn, pale and heavy with the burden of emotion. I watch him take in the scene from the doorway and imagine how he might see the space from my corner of the room.

It’s a plain room, clean and sterile, a blanket the color of the sky over my physical body. My dark hair looks strange against the pillow, a stark contrast to the whiteness of the bed. The paleness of my face that seems to blend into everything else aside from the beautiful blue and purple bruises, blooming flowers, on my face and the dark cuts that crisscross my forehead. A tube protrudes from my mouth, tubes from my arms, and the loud click and whir of the machine causes my chest to rise and fall with a regular rhythm like a ticking clock.

The woman, her back to the man, holds my hand. “Seth. Honey. Momma’s here,” she says through tears.

That’s a first.

This is a thought which shocks me, a reflexive one that is as natural as breathing but like a punch to the gut. Bitterness tastes like something old and stale, and I want to rinse my mouth, wash the bitterness that dispels fermented hostility like the color of putrid yellow-green staining the atmosphere.

The man walks into the room from the doorway, the sound of his footsteps announcing his arrival. As he crosses the room, I shrink away from him. My mother’s back straightens, rigid while the essence of me tightens up and folds in on itself until it’s so small it can’t be folded anymore. It’s a reaction I don’t understand. I retreat into the upper corner of the room as far I can without passing through the wall. Again, I’m struck with this visceral response that isn’t connecting. I don’t remember. This inexplicable feeling is confounding. Add it to the confusion of being disconnected from my body and fear has planted several seeds.

The man puts his hand on my mom’s shoulder. She shrugs away from his touch as though burned. “Kate?” He asks, and this exchange solidifies he is my father. His voice sounds different than what my unreliable memory insists is characteristic of him: it’s too shallow and lacks thunder.

The man puts his hand on my mom’s shoulder. She shrugs away from his touch as though burned. “Kate?” He asks, and this exchange solidifies he is my father. His voice sounds different than what my unreliable memory insists is characteristic of him: it’s too shallow and lacks thunder.

Something in my psyche reacts to this interaction though I can’t quite name what it is I feel. I know it doesn’t feel quite right. It’s like putting on a new shoe that isn’t formed to the foot yet. Her minuscule rebellion and his muted tone are unfamiliar. I search for what seems more familiar and imagine her acquiescence in his unrelenting storm.

“I won’t speak in anger in front of Seth,” she says. It’s more of a whisper really. “He can hear. The doctor thinks so.”

“I understand you’re angry. I’m angry too.”

She swivels in her chair with acute force and levels a stare that makes him step backward. “You’re angry?” she asks through clenched teeth, the sound more like a hiss.

I stretch in my corner of the hospital room, toward them, revelation like an electric shock moves through me. My father has seen something in my mother’s look that stays him. His face says it all, the stupefaction, the denial, and then the pain. He turns away, unable to hold himself up under her gaze and leaves the room.

I follow him, curious. There is something different about this man – it’s foreign, frightening and strangely freeing. He’s shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans and shuffles down the hallway. This father isn’t recognizable but is broken like a car that needs a new spark plug.

He enters a waiting room filled with people. Emotion rushes at me in a variety of colors: blue, red, orange, green, yellow, purple, brown, black and shades in between. Each person in the room exudes color, some with multiple hues. I don’t know what the shades mean, but I sift through the spectrum to find where the feelings emanate. As I scan the room, I freeze on one face. I know this one: Abby. She is surrounded by an aura of light-blue tinged with darker flecks of blue and gold.

My form is filled with warmth and then chased by regret. I remember her smile and her laugh. I remember the way she made me feel: safe. I reach for a memory that causes the cooling grief, but there is only blackness. “Abby. I have to tell you something,” I say but my memory stalls not able to grasp what I thought I needed to tell her. She doesn’t indicate she’s heard me. “Abby,” I try again anyway.

“She can’t hear you,” a voice from an invisible entity says.

I whirl around the room. The origin remains hidden and the voice silent, so I return to Abby.

I’m in front of her, hovering as though standing on my own two feet. I study her, free to do so. Her brown eyes are rimmed red. She’s been crying and her brown face is pale, her inner-light diminished. She’s crossed her arms over herself as though holding something in. “Abby?” I try again, but she doesn’t hear me.

An awareness I don’t want to recognize dances on the peripheral of my being. I want to turn away from it, but I can’t. It’s like an angry jester dancing within me flashing a terrible smile. Looking at Abby, anguish wraps its arms around me and panic infiltrates my life force. I know I don’t want to be like this – in between. “Abby! Help me!” I yell.

She shivers as if she is affected by my cries but looks right through me.

Someone next to her – a young man – puts his arms around her. When I’m able to focus on him through the soft light reaching toward me, I recognize him: Gabe. A flare of anger rushes through me, fire and hot, that angry jester taunting me with his awful dance again – instinctual. When I focus on my former friend, I see he’s been crying, his eyes defined by sadness. I notice the bruising on his face and my spirit cracks open. A cool-blue washes me and the red steams away. My own perception of things isn’t ringing true, a little flat, like the note needs adjustment. I’m missing something.

“You!” The word is like a shot startling me. It sounds like a curse.

Abby looks up.

I swivel around.

My father exudes black and red. I remember this man. One of his dragons appears ready to burn his intended victim with its internal fire. He’s pointing at me, but I realize he can’t see me. He sees Abby. “This is all your fault,” he yells and takes three menacing steps toward me – her. “You changed him!” He stalks through me approaching Abby with purpose.

A man I don’t remember but seems familiar moves in front of Abby. “Hey now,” he says. At the same time another man dressed in a black suit and a cleric collar appears at my father’s elbow.

“Jack,” one of them says. I don’t know which. “You’re hurting.”

The words break a dam. My father folds in on himself, shrinks as though the impending storm is cut up by a downdraft. The other two men help him to a seat near the window.

Shaken by what I’ve witnessed, I return to my body.

My mother is still there, holding my hand and humming a quiet lullaby through her tears:

When the traveler in the dark…

Thanks you for your tiny spark…

The world around me begins to spin, as though someone has swiped at a table-top globe. The room rotates on an axis and the colors rush together in a blur. I’m compressed and suffocating and though I work to focus on my mother’s song, I can’t find a focal point. This place where I’m in between isn’t freedom. It’s a trap, a prison, and I’m stuck.

Wake up! Wake up! I think. I squeeze myself shut attempting to disappear in order to reappear in the awake world. But nothing happens. The spinning slows. The space around me coming back into focus. I still hover in the room listening to the quiet hum of my mother’s voice who’s accompanied by the percussion of the life support.

Drip.

He could not see which way to go.

Drip.

If you did not twinkle so.

Whir.

Twinkle, twinkle little star.

Whir.

How I wonder what you are.

Chapter 1 – The Ugly Truth by C L Watersx

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org Shop Link.

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

If you aren’t interested in my website, www.clwalters.net then I’m active on Instagram @cl.walters

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

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Behind the Book: 2020 Collection

Why you need a Copy Editor

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

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

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

I chose to use Avery McDougall as my copy editor. 

Developmental Editor

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

Why You Need A Developmental Editor

What is copy/line editing?

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

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

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

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

How I chose my Copy Editor

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

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

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

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

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

My experience

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

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

Unofficial Proofreader

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

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

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

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

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org Shop Link.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

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Behind the Character – Mariah

Book Review: Agent Undone – Cassidy Reyne

The Making of the Blurb – Ocean Heart

The Process of Publishing a Novel – 1 of 3

Check out the collection for all parts.

The first step to publishing a novel is often to write the first draft. This is the same whether you wish to traditionally or self publish. There are some exceptions to this rule.

If you’ve have an interesting story to tell from your real life or an expert in your field, a publisher or agent might reach out and request you write a book if there is a market in demand.

Some people prefer to hire a ghost writer to write for them. In this case you’re not the one physically writing your book and this post is not for you because today I’m covering writing the draft version.

Step 1 – Draft a Novel

Here is a handy info graphic of what I’m going to cover in this post.

You can save this to your Pinterest board.

Plan

If you’re writing a full length novel it’s useful to start with a plan. I don’t consider myself a plotter but I still write an outline. It helps me get from A to B, and a few check points along the way.

Some writers want a more detailed plan. They might want to design their characters, do some Worldbuilding and draw maps, or even need to research information.

Write

This is obviously the most important part. If you don’t write the book there won’t be a book. However, don’t get hung up on making it perfect. You will not publish your first draft – in fact nobody has to see that monstrosity if you don’t want them to.

Writing a novel is a big task. It can help to break it down into smaller more manageable tasks. Many writers find it useful to set word count goals. Writing sprints can be useful to focus time on writing in quick bursts.

Here’s a handy post on beating writers block.

Self Edit

Some writers edit as they write – this does slow the process down but afterwards your manuscript is in a better shape. Other writers spew the words onto the page and tidy up the mess afterwards.

It doesn’t matter how you do it but you’ll want to give it an edit before letting anyone else read it. It’s easy to make mistakes whilst you are in the moment.

You don’t need to limit the number of self edits. Edit it as many times as you need to. Some people break the task into different focusses. For example, you might do a read through and look for inconsistencies, or focus on SPAG, or receptiveness, or pacing.

Here is a post with some tips on how to self edit.

Alpha Reader

Not everybody uses an Alpha. They are often someone you are close to and you show them an early draft to get feedback. Sometimes Alphas are used before a book is finished to assess whether the story has any merit before investing a load of time in it.

Self Edit

Whenever you get feedback on your book you should reflect on it. Did your Alpha share some ideas to help you improve your book?

Don’t worry if they didn’t. Many Alphas are already your personal cheerleaders (like your spouse, mum, best friend, etc). They might not have the skills to critique but when you’re battling self doubt, they are the ones picking you up and cheering you on.

They may also have raised issues or ideas you hadn’t thought about. Often when trying to get someone to understand your idea, you discover the plot holes or where things aren’t clear enough.

Beta Readers

These people read a draft you’ve worked on improving. You can even find paid Betas who have skills to highlight where you can improve your novel further.

Here is a post that compares Beta and ARC readers (and touches on Alpha readers).

Self Edit

Yes! You will get feedback from your Betas on how to improve your book. It’s best to have a few Betas and they may even have conflicting views. Allow yourself time to reflect on their advice.

Remember it is your novel at the end of the day and if their ideas are changing the vision you had, you don’t have to apply them. However, if several readers pointed out the same thing, they most likely have a point you should pay attention to.

You may even want to ask your Betas questions. For example, is this sex scene too much for teen readers? Um… yes, I’m working on a story where my Betas will be asked this. 😂

Get a Professional Edit…

The next post in my series is about getting your manuscript professionally edited…

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org Shop Link.

[kofi]

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