This is a HUGE milestone. I can’t wait to see what my editor has to say. She is fabulous at slapping me with the truth in a way that doesn’t hurt and helps me make my story better. I know there will be a lot of work but I’m ready for it.
Just a quick reminder that Ocean Heart is half price in the Smashwords Summer Sale. Grab a copy on discount before the end of July.
I delivered my first ever face-to-face author event for World Book Day. It was extra special because I got to attend the high school where my book Ocean Heart is set.
Ocean Heart is set in Felixstowe. When I started writing the novel there were two high schools in the town. Deben High School and Orwell High School, both named after local rivers. The two schools had some rivalry and I didn’t want my book about that so I merged the schools together and made Felixstowe High School.
Little did I know that the council were going to do this. The old schools were knocked down and a new modern building erected.
I’ve never had the opportunity to visit the high school so it was really fun to see if it was anything like I imagined. The school was lovely, and very modern, and a lot bigger. I was very impressed.
I met up with groups of five to six students from Key Stage 3. The plan was to introduce myself, and my book, and discuss what had inspired my writing.
I’m not great at public speaking, so I took a notebook with some conversation bullet points to boost my confidence and feel more prepared. I’m not sure what I’m scared will happen, other than making a fool of myself.
The students were very sweet and polite. Once I flipped the attention off myself and onto them, I was able to relax and the conversation flowed better.
We discussed my writing, debut novel, and reading. The students came up with some great questions for me, some that madrWhen we discussed their interests they even had some book recommendations for me.
The book recommendations
My notebook came in handy to write down the books the students recommended I read.
I’m so thankful to Felixstowe High School for having me. I appreciated that Deputy Head, Darren M arranged for me to chat with a small groups rather than in-front of a large audience.
Darren also got me thinking about delivering some leisure learning courses for Creative Writing. I’ve been going over old books, notes from courses I’ve done, to explore the idea. Ifurther
I think the more I do, the easier it will get. As a natural introvert, I have to push myself outside my comfort zone but this is good for my professional development. Plus, afterwards I was buzzing that I did it.
I invite you to join in on my all the twos challenge. Read the second book in a series, or a second book by an author you’ve only read once. I thought this would be a fun way to celebrate Sky Heart (hopefully) releasing this year!
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About the book
This book breaks down a romance novel into beats. The beats are plot points that are expected in popular romance stories. It helps you identify if your romance novel has all the right ingredients.
It’s good but brief. I’m glad I read Save the Cat first as it’s similar but that book goes into more depth. This book was like a romance appendix to STC. I don’t think this will be a resource book I turn to very often now I’ve read it.
This project is set in the same low fantasy world of The Soul Heart Series. In fact, for readers of Ocean Heart they may recognise the main character, Denny.
This story is a prequel. It’s set in the 90s, back when Denny was a teen herself. It will cover how she became friends with Gwyn, started her Sparkle Cake business, and the highs and lows as a new mum.
I feel more prepared now I have created a title, cover, and blurb. Of course these are all just a work in progress, so could change but it helps me feel more focused.
I’ve started writing an outline. I intended for this to be a novella but I already have a sneaky suspicion this could become a full length novel.
I’ve also made a spreadsheet to help me track my word count. If this works successfully, I will look at making a version available to my followers on Ko-Fi.
I’m going to aim for the big Five-O (50,000 words). If I don’t make it, I will still have made progress, but if I do, it’d make me so happy.
I’ve been struggling with motivation because Sky Heartis on hold until I can afford the professional services I need to move it forward. I’ve also been bummed out with all the germs (sick kids) ruining September, and fracturing my ankle ruining October.
I really want to get back into the habit of writing again. My ultimate goal for November is this: To write!
Are you doing NaNoWriMo? What’s your project, goal, and how do you prepare?
I love Felixstowe Book Festival. It’s in my hometown making it convenient for me to attend. It’s reasonably priced so it doesn’t break the bank. And, it gets bigger ever year.
This year, I only bought tickets for the writing workshops delivered by Orwell Writers League. It consisted of three sessions, each cost leas than £5, and if you bought all three it was only £9.99!
With the pandemic I was a little worried it could be cancelled. Last year all events went virtual. The only disruption was a location change from Orwell Hotel (the usual venue) to Harvest House (a new venue).
I’ve lived in Felixstowe almost all my life and never been inside Harvest House. Usually it’s not open to the public. They are looking to diversify their income and now offering it up for hire for Weddings. And, Book Festivals 😍.
Language & Voice
This workshop had us exploring the 5 senses and developing a word bank for the theme “Shoreline.”
We were given a postcard and challenged to write a short story about the setting using the five senses. Half the room was asked to focus on “natural” senses. The other half focused on “man made” senses.
I wrote this piece, focusing on man made senses:
This workshop had us thinking about how actions can speak as loudly as words. We thought about facial expressions, and then worked our way through the body listing different actions and gestures.
We then imagined a couple on an open top bus and had to come up with three scenes they see – I think that’s what we were meant to do as I did something different. I did not do what I was supposed to 🤦♀️.
We were then challenged to write some dialogue between at least two people, and encouraged to use senses and actions to give the scene more meaning.
I wrote this scene based on the setting, “stuck in a hot car looking for a parking space”.
The afternoon session was an opportunity to do some free writing. They recapped on all the things we’d covered in the morning.
I decided to use this opportunity to work on an untiled prequel to Ocean Heart (my debut novel). I decided not to read this out allowed:
I didn’t learn anything new from the workshop but I didn’t expect to. I find workshops like this valuable as they remind us about the basics needed to write effective fiction. Think of it as refresher training.
Whilst creating my word bank, I realised it would be a useful tool to combat Writers Block and will be adding it to my arsenal. I also find writing settings challenging, the word bank was a great way to create a personal thesaurus of descriptions to use.
I love Felixstowe Book Festival and would go again. I also enjoyed networking with other writers and met two other upcoming authors. It was great to see my favourite local bookshop there with a stall, and to have a good chat with the manager of Stillwater Books.
I wish I’d taken a copy of Ocean Heart with me so I could have taken selfies with my book at such a beautiful location. I did get to hand out my new bookish business card to interested people, and ran out! I learnt from a marketing perspective to be more prepared and utilise every opportunity.