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

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

I’m doing Camp NaNo

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

Sky Heart by Ally Aldridge

Sky Heart – Chapter 1

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

Sky Heart – NaNo Update

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

Sky Heart Coming Soon

Follow me on Ko-Fi

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

[Kofi]

More About Sky Heart

NaNoWriMo Project

My NaNoWriMo Project

New Moon (working title)

This project is set in the same low fantasy world of The Soul Heart Series. In fact, for readers of Ocean Heart they may recognise the main character, Denny.

This story is a prequel. It’s set in the 90s, back when Denny was a teen herself. It will cover how she became friends with Gwyn, started her Sparkle Cake business, and the highs and lows as a new mum.

Preparation

I feel more prepared now I have created a title, cover, and blurb. Of course these are all just a work in progress, so could change but it helps me feel more focused.

I’ve started writing an outline. I intended for this to be a novella but I already have a sneaky suspicion this could become a full length novel.

I’ve also made a spreadsheet to help me track my word count. If this works successfully, I will look at making a version available to my followers on Ko-Fi.

The Goal

I’m going to aim for the big Five-O (50,000 words). If I don’t make it, I will still have made progress, but if I do, it’d make me so happy.

I’ve been struggling with motivation because Sky Heart is on hold until I can afford the professional services I need to move it forward. I’ve also been bummed out with all the germs (sick kids) ruining September, and fracturing my ankle ruining October.

I really want to get back into the habit of writing again. My ultimate goal for November is this: To write!

Are you doing NaNoWriMo? What’s your project, goal, and how do you prepare?

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

About Ocean Heart

About Sky Heart

About Work In Progress

About Ko-Fi

Book format and buying options…

Buy it!

There are tons of ways to own your very own copy of Ocean Heart. Check out my webpage About Ocean Heart for full details, but here are a few:

Some of these links are affiliate links. Please visit my about Affiliate Links page for more details.

Signed Copy

You can buy a signed copy of Ocean Heart from Ko-Fi, and there are two options:

Personalised & Hand Signed

This is limited to the UK due to postage costs. First, I order the book, sign it, and then send to you. If you’d like a personalised message for you or someone special, I can do this.

This was the method used for the first 20 copies of Ocean Heart bought during my book signing event at Stillwater Books.

Now, you can get a hand signed copy by supporting me on Ko-Fi & visiting my Ko-Fi Shop.

Personalise & Digitally Signed

This is limited to countries with an Ingram printing facility. I will design a personalised page for you, that will be added to the book when printed. Ingram then will send out directly to you (saving on international postage costs/emissions).

Currently there is only one copy of Ocean Heart like this that I gifted to a TikToker.

Now, you can get a digitally signed copy by supporting me on Ko-Fi & visiting my Ko-Fi Shop.

Paperback

Bookshop.org

I recently blogged a ton of reasons to shop with Bookshop.org but the main one is to support your local independent bookshop.

Amazon

Amazon encourages shoppers to leave product reviews, helping consumers to make more informed decisions.

If you are not UK/US, try this universal link to find Ocean Heart at your local Zon: http://getbook.at/OceanHeart

eBook

Smashwords

The great thing about Smashwords is you can buy your eBook and choose the format, enabling you to read on whatever device is your favourite. In addition your eBook is saved to your Smashwords library, so you keep it forever.

Amazon

Kindle is one of the most popular eReaders both as a tablet and app.

If Smashwords and Amazon aren’t your thing, you can get Ocean Heart from many other popular eBook stores. Click this link to discover more eBook buying options: https://books2read.com/OceanHeart

[kofi]

If you have enjoyed this, you’ll like:

About Ocean Heart

A Little Trip to the Library

Ocean Heart was free on Google Play

Happy MerMay 2021

Mermaids in Felixstowe Magazine!

Felixstowe Magazine recently reached out to me and asked if I’d be willing to do an interview with them about my book Ocean Heart.

We set on the title Mermaids in Felixstowe and I was set questions to answer. You can read the article using the link below.

https://www.thefelixstoweapp.com/blog/c/0/i/57284190/mermaids-felixstowe

More News

For a month where I didn’t have much planned, it is filling up fast. Here are the highlights I don’t want you to miss!

Sky Heart needs Beta Readers

If you’re interested in helping me out by Beta Reading Sky Heart, please check out my post asking for sign ups!

Ocean Heart is free for July

To celebrate Ocean Heart now being available on Smashwords it is in their Sale, making it free for July 2021.

Indie Summer Book Fayre (31 July to 1 Aug)?

I am one of the authors taking part in this event. You can see the full line up in my recent blog post!

[kofi]

Sky Heart needs Beta Readers!

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

Click here for the Beta Readers Sign Up Form.

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

What is a Beta Reader?

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

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

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

What type of story is Sky Heart?

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

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

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

Beta Books

I want to try out a site called Beta Books.

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

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

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

Sign up

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

Google Form: Sky Heart Beta Readers sign up

If you enjoyed this you will like:

Beta Readers vs ARC Readers

Soul Heart Readers Street Team

My Process – How to Publish a Book

About Ocean Heart

[kofi]

The following links are affiliate…

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

Ocean Heart was free on Google Play…

Did you miss it?

Ocean Heart was free on #GooglePlay during the first week of May. If you missed the deal, there’s still a chance to get it!

For the rest of May, my followers on Ko-Fi can still get Ocean Heart for FREE! It’s Free to follow me Redfae on Ko-Fi and by following me you can make sure you don’t miss out on future freebies that get posted there. 😍

Also, don’t forget to checkout my Giveaway on Instagram. Entry is super easy. Also, FREE to enter!

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

About Ocean Heart

Happy MerMay 2021

Happy Little Mermaid Day

What to watch if you love mermaids

Happy MerMay 2021

Hello my mermaid loving readers. It’s the month of mermaids and MerMay 2021 is going to be MerMazing!

#MerMay

Readalong with Hannah Read

Author Hannah Read has created a MerMay readathon for May! She has encouraged people to get her novel Tenebrasco and set chapter goals throughout the month, so we can read along together.

As a mermaid fiction author myself, this sounded like so much fun. I’ve downloaded the book to my Kindle and despite being a slow reader I will try my best to keep up.

Follow #MerMayReadalong , #PearlWielders & @hannah.reads on Instagram.

The below are affiliate links. Read Affiliate Disclosure page for more info.

Newsletter Reward

I want to do something special to celebrate MerMay and Ocean Heart’s 6 month birthday is on 1 June.

I invited my newsletter subscribers to enter a giveaway. They’ll also be invited first to read Sky Heart when it is ready for readers.

Later this month, I will extend this invitation to my Instagram followers.

Google Play

Ocean Heart is now available to buy on Google Play. To celebrate I have made the book FREE worldwide during the first week of May.

If you haven’t yet got a copy of Ocean Heart and you are a Google Books reader, now is your chance to treat yourself.

Check it out here.

Free Digital Download

I have been developing my technical skills to produce digital products. I decided to share my Book Tracker as a free download from my Ko-Fi Shop.

In addition, I’ve posted a link there that enables Ko-Fi fans to download Ocean Heart for free from Google Play ALL month.

It’s Free to follow me on Ko-Fi, so why not? That way you can enjoy the freebies and won’t miss out on future freebies.

Apple iBooks

ITunes Connect’s webpage is currently not loading on the page that allows new authors to join. The technical team have apologised for the issues and are working on resolving these.

Update: 30 May, I managed to create an author account but I think I have to wait 24h to add a book. So maybe later this month I’ll be on Apple. 🤞

Ocean Charity

I want to donate to an Ocean charity. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for ages and there are so many good ones out there.

I recently watched Seapiracy on Netflix and it reminded me of how crucial the ocean is to all of us.

This month I will pick a charity and donate. Let me know if you have any recommendations.

If you enjoyed this you will like:

What to watch if you love mermaids

Book Review : Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

Book Review: Mermaid School by Lucy Courtenay

About Ocean Heart

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]

Romance Tropes – Which are your favourites?

With Valentines Day coming up, I thought it’d be fun to share some of the romance tropes that can be found in Ocean Heart, and possibly in Sky Heart. Warning: Lots of snogging Gifs!

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate Bookshop.org Shop Link. NB: This post contains these affiliate links…

Friends to Lovers

This is a favourite romance trope of mine because my husband and I started out as friends. For us it had a HEA, we have a beautiful home and two fabulous kids, and later this year we’ll be celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary. But getting together wasn’t easy, and it risked our friendship if it didn’t work out.

In Ocean Heart, Mariah is crushing on her BFF.  It starts off as an unrequited love, but during the novel they deal with first kisses, jealousy, and a break up.  Can they rekindle their romance, save their friendship, or do they need to move on?  

Enemies to Lovers

Sometimes I don’t like the trope because I don’t want them to get together. It depends on why they are enemies but, I made it work in Ocean Heart. Check out the reviews of Ocean Heart.

When Mariah beats swim star Murray in a race, he doesn’t handle losing well.  After behaving like an idiot, he starts to take an interest in her but she’s not interested.  She’s heard about his reputation.  

Check out my review of A Court of Thorn and Roses by Sarah J Maas.

Bad Boy

This is the one where the bad boy falls in love and changes his ways. I’m a sucker for this one as a fantasy, but in real life not so much. Bad boys are bad news and rarely deliver a HEA.

Murray has an Instagram feed of all his conquests and he’s not ashamed to brag about it.  It’s why he’s so protective over his sister Kiely.  He knows guys only want one thing, until...

Love Triangle

Some people really hate this trope. Eek! But, not me. Throw in more hot guys, more romances, more complications, and I’m hooked turning the page.

There are technically two in Ocean Heart.  First up, when Mariah realises she’s crushing on her BFF Jace, he already has a girlfriend, Kiely.  Later, when Murray takes an interest in Mariah, he attempts to draw her attention away from Mariah. 

Check out my review of Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom.

Soul Mates

This is where two people are meant to be together. It’s common in paranormal romances, where a wolf imprints on their mate.

Mariah is a mermaid.  She doesn’t know it, but when she accidentally marks one of the guys as her mate for life, then they are bound. 

Fake Relationship

People fake relationships in books often to raise their status, or to get a reaction from someone else. In Out Of My League the MC accepts the deal to save face at a party where she catches her boy friend cheating, and in The Practice Boyfriend the MC strikes a deal to gain access to the elite parties.

In Ocean Heart, Mariah agrees to a fake relationship.  Both parties have different reasons but united on one goal; to end a romance.  

Check out my review of Out of My League by Sarah Sutton or The Practice Boyfriend by Christina Benjamin.

I’m working on book 2, Sky Heart, which follows Kiely’s story and already I can see certain Tropes appearing.

Second Chance

This is where old flames rekindle. The question is always whether their is a relationship worthy of a second chance or too much damage.

In Sky Heart, Keily is desperate to get back with her ex. She struggles to handle the break up gracefully.  

Check out my review of Duet Rubato by Claerie Kavanaugh.

Best friend’s Brother

As a teen I loved a book called Ginger’s First Kiss by Janet Quin-Harkin. It’s the first book in the Boyfriend Club series where a group of friends pact to help each other get their first kisses and Ginger realises she’s into her BFF’s brother. I got it free with a teen magazine at the time called BIG. Over the years I have lost the book and it is no longer in distribution.

Both Keily’s BFFs have brothers, and both are off limits.  It’s a rule the girls made. A rule Kiely is tempted to break when one of them offers to help her get over her ex in a way nobody else can. 

Check out my review of Amelia’s Story: The Wiccan Romances by Nicola Hebron.

Forbidden love

This trope is so exciting. There’s all the danger of getting caught, and whatever the stakes are.

It’s not just her friends that Keily needs to hide who she is seeing, it’s also her over protective big brother, Murray.  And later, she must keep it hidden from someone more dangerous than she ever imagined.  

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to like and follow.

[kofi]

Search the blog for more posts on Romance as I have interviewed romance authors and reviewed romance books.

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:

12 Tips For Self Editing

Behind the Character – Mariah

Book Review: Agent Undone – Cassidy Reyne

The Making of the Blurb – Ocean Heart