Collaborating on a New Exciting Project

Elzevera of Willowtree Editing needed some extra help in managing her Mighty Network: Under the Willow

I joined the Mighty Network back in 2019 and Elzevera helped me with self editing, Ocean Heart.

It inspired me to want to create my own Mighty Network and I set this as a goal at the start of 2020.

I have been exploring creating a Mighty Network. It is a social site for creatives. I’m currently a member of a Mighty Network by Willow Editing. I have been Beta Testing a self-editing course by Elzevera of Willow Editing.

I am considering the network as a potential way to share extra bits with my readers. I am also exploring it as a space to share writing resources as many of my followers are fellow writers.

http://allyaldridge.com/writing-progress-january 2020/

But, I’d also decided to self publish Ocean Heart, and this was my priority and keeping me very busy. I didn’t have time to build my own Mighty Network. I ended up abandoning the goal to focus on my debut novel.

Early this year, I stepped back from my volunteer role with World Indie Warriors. I created their indie books brochure and eZine. Collecting all the info and publishing four times a year was taking over too much of my free time. When I started a new job, I didn’t have the energy to continue with both. It was hard to let go but I’m still very close with the members and support them however I can.

Now I’ve settled into my new role, I have more energy again. When I saw Elzevera call for help on Instagram, it sounded like a perfect new fresh challenge for me.

I applied to help, and we had a little chat about what she’d need me to do. From October, I shall be Elzevera’s new co-host. I’m excited to take on this new role.

Under the Willow is inline with my original Mighty Network goal. Elzevera’s created her network to empower writers to have the tools they need to self edit their work, and improve their writing craft in a supportive community.

If you want to join a supportive group of writers and improve your craft, please do come join us on Mighty Networks in Under the Willow

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this you will like:.

12 Tips for Self Editing

My Process – How to Publish a Book

Different self publishing platforms

Writing Progress – January 2020

Next Month is Felixstowe Book Festival

Coming Soon: Felixstowe Book Festival

I love that Felixstowe Book Festival is on my doorstep. They offer a range of events, talks, and workshops. It’s also very affordable. For example, this year, you can attend a full day writing workshop for only £9.99!

To find out more about the various events and to buy tickets head over to the Felixstowe Book Festival website.

You may have already guessed or seen on Instagram, I’ve bought tickets for this years full day writing workshop for the bargain price of £9.99! It is being help in a stunning historic building, the sort that can inspire stories.

I haven’t attended every year, or blogged about every event I have attended. Below are links to my posts about some of the talks or workshops I did attend.

2019 FBF and My White Knight

2019 FBF and How to connect with local writers

2019 FBF and The Publishing Industry

2019 FBF and Containment

2019 FBF and Children’s Events

2018 FBF and Arts & Crafts with Arty Mouse

2018 FBF and Who Runs the World (YA author lunch)

2018 FBF and Learning Through Art

2017 FBF and Alwyn Hamilton – Rebel of the Sands

2017 FBF and All About Picture Book Publishing

[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]

What’s happening this month!

OCEAN HEART is my debut novel, my first ever book launch. I’m trying to make it as difficult as possible for anyone to not know about my awesome novel being released into the world.

I’m fortunate enough to have a place on Pagan Malcolm’s Storyseller Academy self paced course. One of the modules talks about the many ways you can market your book. She’s very motivational, getting people to be brave and push themselves to achieve more. I brainstormed different opportunities open to me and then reached out to people.

Ocean Heart Book Launch Events

Getting these events organised is taking up most of my time at the moment. I’m not getting much reading or writing done. But, as scary as it is saying “Look At My Book,” it’s also incredibly important. And, very exciting!

Book Blitz (2-6 NOV)

Kicking off today is the Ocean Heart Book Blitz by Expresso Tours. Participants will be showing off excerpts from Ocean Heart and details of my preorder giveaway. You may see it popping up on the web and if you do, let me know.

Here are the list of participants. Do you recognise any?

Blog Tour (24-30 NOV)

Yay! Some lovely author friends have offered to write blog posts to spread the word of Ocean Heart in the lead up to my Release.

Indie Fire (28 NOV)

This is a festival that celebrates Indie Publishing. In previous years is has taken place in Bradford but this year it is online due to Covid.

I’m not a guest. I helped out in the background to put their brochure together. As a thank you, I am also featured in the brochure and got a free ticket.

If your a writer, check out the workshops. For £20 it packs in A LOT! And with lifetime access to the content.

A brand new indie writing and publishing conference, focusing on sci-fi, fantasy, and horror.

An entire day of virtual writing and indie publishing workshops and panel discussions. Plus, a special recording of The Unstoppable Authors Podcast!

• Saturday 28th November 2020
• All ONLINE!
• Tickets £20 each

Tickets available now! Visit Indie Fire here!

Felixstowe Radio (30 NOV)

I have managed to get myself an interview on Felixstowe radio. I’m hoping the local listeners are going to enjoy hearing about a novel set in their quiet coastal town.

I’ll be live on 30 Nov between 1pm and 4pm. Discover Felixstowe radio and tune in, here.

Live Author Chats (20 OCT, 3 NOV, & 17 NOV)

To trial Stream Yard, some fellow authors have agreed to some live chats with me.

Then, I will be going live on 1 Dec to celebrate the official release day of Ocean Heart. I will also announce the preorder giveaway winner.

Here are the links to join us on the day:

20 OCT at 8pm (GMT+1): https://youtu.be/AcZnNVtyWiY

3 NOV at 8pm (GMT): https://youtu.be/SezLe9VSvrY

17 NOV at 8pm (GMT): https://youtu.be/vpQ4SH8MgvU

Ocean Heart Launch Party

The authors from the live chats will be returning to celebrate Ocean Heart’s release. I will also be announcing the winner of my preorder giveaway.

1 DEC at 8pm (GMT): https://youtu.be/Ho6J-PQTvvI

Here’s a link to a useful time conversion site.

My First Giveaway

To thank all the awesome people that purchased Ocean Heart on eBook or paperback between 1 Oct and 30 Nov, I will be inviting them to enter my preorder giveaway. Winner announced during the live on 1 Dec.

To enter and for full details of this giveaway visit my giveaway page.

Book Signing (non-contact)

I’m ecstatic that I managed to arrange this despite the current situation.

Those local to Felixstowe can preorder Ocean Heart from our local bookstore, Stillwater Books, and they will order it in.

I will visit just to sign the books. Due to Covid, this needs to be a closed event (nobody will be there, but me in a face mask, and the shop keeper).

Local customers can then collect their signed copy from the store or have it delivered to their doorstop.

Rose’s & Dreams Christmas Advent Countdown

Authors Rose English & Maria Gibbs have arranged a Christmas advent to showcase indie authors in the lead up to Christmas. This advent is good for your health and will only feed your bookish curiosity.

Set up like an advent calendar, you visit each day in December to discover a new indie author & book. Ocean Heart will be hiding behind one of the doors and I’m excited to discover the other indie authors/books taking part.

Click here to visit this Indie Book themes Christmas Advent.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

Preorder Giveaway

About Ocean Heart

Now you can PreOrder Ocean Heart!

World Indie Warriors eZine/Brochure

What is #Preptober ?

Preptober

A popular event in November is NaNoWriMo. During the month if November participants of the event take on the challenge to write 50k words.

So, what’s this go today with what preptober is?

Writing 50k words is a big task. As a result, people started preparing during October for NaNoWriMo in November. And, this activity got the name #Preptober.

NaNoWriMo Project

Sky Heart is book 2 in The Soul Heart series. It was almost finished but I struggle with endings. In April, I tried to write the ending (for Camp NaNo) but when I revisited the manuscript… it was awful.

For NaNo, I’m going to start over. I’m going to re-plot, develop my characters more deeply, focus on my world building, and organise my research.

What I’ve done so far…

Got Dabble

Dabble is online writing software. I love Dabble and I went to buy it, but found out there was a trial for NaNo. What’s more, my dabble manuscript will auto update my NaNo word count. How awesome is that?

And, Dabble now is mobile friendly. I’ve saved the site as an icon on my mobile so I can write on my phone. Yay!

Character Development

To work on improving my skills, I treated myself to two new books.

10 STEPS TO HERO by Sacha Black

CREATING COMPELLING CHARACTERS FROM THE INSIDE OUT by L.M. Lilly

View this post on Instagram

How’s your #preptober going? I’m doing the #wiwpreptober challenge but most evenings been so tired I’ve gone straight to bed and done no prepping. But it’s important to listen to your body and relax when you need to. 💛 Day 4: Plotter/Pantser: I’m somewhere in the middle #plantser . I have a vague plan but mostly make it up as I go. I’m more of of pantser but #savethecat has helped me improve my plotting and it’s something I want to improve as I think it’ll speed up finishing my novels. Yesterday, my new books arrived (top of the pile). I’m focussing on improving my character development. The one with no text on the spine is Rayne Hall’s The Word Loss Diet. Have you read any of these? 💛 Day 5: #worldteachersday My favourite teacher was Mr Macy, my English teacher. He gave me extra notebooks for my story writing – the way to a writers heart. Another top teacher was my primary school teacher who taught me what an author is and set my dream in motion. She was either called Miss Fancy of Miss Twinkle – I’ll have to ask my mum. 💛 Day 6: Setting? Book 2, Sky Heart, will start off in my home town Felixstowe but mostly set in the Isle of Skye (Scotland), and a short stopover in Birmingham. The images are from Unsplash by artist Massimiliano Morosinotto (@therawhunter ). 💛 #writingbooks #writingresources #writingtools #theemotionthesaurus #pocketguidetopublishing #thewordlossdiet #takeoffyourpants #theelementsofstyle #creatingcompellingcharacters #10stepstohero #raynehall #sashablack #inspirational #inspirationalteachers #authordreams #setting #writinggoals #isleofsky #isleofskyescotland #skyheart #writingyafiction #yafantasyseries #thesoulheartseries #plotter #pantser

A post shared by Author Ally Aldridge (@redfae) on

Book Bible Workshop

To help get all my story development organised, I attended a free workshop provided by World Indie Warriors and delivered by author J D Groom (who I’m a big fan of). If you’re a WIW member you can catch the replay via their website.

Doing #WIWPreptober

On Instagram World Indie Warriors are doing a photo challenge to keep writers motivated preparing for NaNo, and it’s an opportunity to get to know others better. I don’t take part everyday but here are my posts so far:

View this post on Instagram

How’s your #preptober going? I’m doing the #wiwpreptober challenge but most evenings been so tired I’ve gone straight to bed and done no prepping. But it’s important to listen to your body and relax when you need to. 💛 Day 4: Plotter/Pantser: I’m somewhere in the middle #plantser . I have a vague plan but mostly make it up as I go. I’m more of of pantser but #savethecat has helped me improve my plotting and it’s something I want to improve as I think it’ll speed up finishing my novels. Yesterday, my new books arrived (top of the pile). I’m focussing on improving my character development. The one with no text on the spine is Rayne Hall’s The Word Loss Diet. Have you read any of these? 💛 Day 5: #worldteachersday My favourite teacher was Mr Macy, my English teacher. He gave me extra notebooks for my story writing – the way to a writers heart. Another top teacher was my primary school teacher who taught me what an author is and set my dream in motion. She was either called Miss Fancy of Miss Twinkle – I’ll have to ask my mum. 💛 Day 6: Setting? Book 2, Sky Heart, will start off in my home town Felixstowe but mostly set in the Isle of Skye (Scotland), and a short stopover in Birmingham. The images are from Unsplash by artist Massimiliano Morosinotto (@therawhunter ). 💛 #writingbooks #writingresources #writingtools #theemotionthesaurus #pocketguidetopublishing #thewordlossdiet #takeoffyourpants #theelementsofstyle #creatingcompellingcharacters #10stepstohero #raynehall #sashablack #inspirational #inspirationalteachers #authordreams #setting #writinggoals #isleofsky #isleofskyescotland #skyheart #writingyafiction #yafantasyseries #thesoulheartseries #plotter #pantser

A post shared by Author Ally Aldridge (@redfae) on

October Blog Posts

All my blog posts for October are written, with pics and scheduled.

What I still need to do…

Plot Outline

I want to re-outline my story using Save The Cat. I’ve learnt a lot working on book 1 and want to use this to improve book 2.

BuJu

I’d love to get into bullet journalling. I’ll try and create a reward page to track my progress during the event.

October Newsletter

I need to write this. It’ll go out end of the month and I’m hoping it will contain details of my Preorder Giveaway.

November Blog Posts & Instagram

I’d like to have most of these written before I start NaNo so they don’t interrupt my progress. But, I’ll likely post on how I’m getting on and that can’t be written ahead of time.

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

Camp NaNo July 2020

NaNoWriMo 2017 — Ally Aldridge

Soul Heart Readers – Street Team

Books

How to beat writers block

Have you checked out Parler yet? It’s very similar to Twitter but promotes free speech. So far I’ve found everyone friendly and welcoming, and the posts I share there display better.

Someone posted that they were struggling with writers block and the advice to “just write” no matter what, everyday, was not working for them.

I’ll admit, I don’t write everyday.

So, I came to the persons rescue with a few alternative suggestions. I honestly believe that just because a method was right for someone else, doesn’t mean it’s right for all. Everyone is unique.

Originally this was a four point list on Parler but then I had more ideas.

Infographic on How to Beat Writers Block

I hope you enjoyed my infographic and found it useful. If you’re on Parler, you can add me. I’m Redfae.

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

Soul Heart Readers – Street Team

Writing Progress: July

Why you need a developmental editor!

Find your Summer Reads in the latest WIW Brochure

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.

If you enjoyed this post you will like:

NaNoWriMo Diary – Week 4 (November 2019)

Writing Progress: March

The Plot Bunny Vault

Creating a Catchy Novel Title

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

 

 

Goals: Progress Since September 2019

Here is an update on how I have progressed towards the goals I set in September 2019 (towards achieving my annual goals set in January).

2019 Goals - Dec Review

Social Media

Blog (Word Press):  To continue to post at least twice a week keeping to my content schedule as much as possible. 

I am so proud of myself for keeping up with this goal.  Even during NaNoWriMo I managed to post twice a week.  

Instagram:  To maintain the new connections I have made and continue to engage with them and share content about my writing.

My posts have slowed down but I am still posting regularly.  Recently my post have been every two days.    

Twitter:  Continue to share links to my content on Twitter and connect with writers on the platform.

I took part in #RevPit and was one of the winners.  I keep meaning to write a blog post about it.  Basically, winners get to email their first 5 pages and query letter to an editor.  The editor then tweets about the ten submissions they have with advice on how to improve – this advice is useful to all writers so worth following the hashtag.  The next day, winners get an email to let them know which tweets were about their work.  

I did Boost My Bio for Pitch Wars then forgot to enter the main competition for a mentor – OMG I was so cross with myself (serious understatement).  It had been a busy weekend with two book festivals!

Facebook page:  To brainstorm how I can use this to connect with more writers.

I haven’t done anything new to my page but it is getting more traffic.  I have also been active on World Indie Warriros Facebook page.  I did my first Live via their page.  Then during NaNoWriMo, I did three live write-ins and I’ve hosted a midweek chat in December.

YouTube: To be brave and get in front of the camera and start sharing video content.  

I’m not sure I understand the change in terms for YouTube videos so I’ve not pushed myself to do this but I am super proud of myself for getting in front of the camera (see Facebook above).  

Tumblr: Share Instagram and Word Press content to this platform.

This happens all the time as my other sites are set up to automatically share there.

Newsletter

I sent out my second newsletter at the end of October.  This also included a full guide on using Hashtags on Instagram.  My next newsletter is due out at the end of December.  Click here to sign up.  

Writing

Jewel of the sea (formerly Drift)

Enter into the Wattys.  Put novel out to Beta Readers.  Take part in September’s #PitMad.  Work on my query letter.  

I entered Wattys but wasn’t a winner.  I also entered Wattpairs Mentorship Challenge on Wattpad but wasn’t chosen to be a mentee.  My Beta Readers went quiet…  I didn’t let these things halt my progress towards my dream. 

At the end of December it will be 10 years that I have been chasing traditional publishing.  I have decided it is time to be brave and self publish.  With my birthday money I have booked an editor and taken that first step towards making it happen.

Diamond in the sky (formerly Glide)

Re-plot novel, edit existing version and write ending.

I edited the first few chapters and updated Diamond in the Sky on Wattpad. I then used Save the Cat to plot and develop the remaining chapters.  Then during November, I worked on this novel for NaNoWriMo.  I managed to write a further 45k words, bringing the book up to 60k words.  There is still more to be written but I am so pleased with my progress and I know how it end now.  

Red Dresses

#NewYearNewNovel start a new novel for 2019

This is the new novel I started in April this year.  I plotted out the first few chapters and wrote the first 15k words to see how I got on.  I really enjoyed this novel.  I envision it being a steamy new adult romance.  I definitely plan to return to this project at a later date.  

Tinsel Tiger (picture book)

Research publishers and Literary Agents and pitch events to consider querying.  Consider whether to commission an artist to do the images and then self publish.  

I haven’t had any time to make any further progress on this project so it has taken a back seat.   

Other

In October, I volunteered to write the World Indie Warriors brochure, ready for December. 

I planned to have the brochure completed by the end of October so it would not distract me during NaNoWriMo.  It turned out to be really hard to get all the details required from all the creatives involved.  

During November, there was still missing information I was chasing.  I set aside Sundays to make time to get it finished and I managed to get everything by 1 December 2019.  

It was my first time creating a brochure and it was a steep learning curve but I really enjoyed doing it.  I wish I could do something like this everyday for a living.  You can view the World Indie Warriors brochure here.  

Writing Course/Writing Festivals

Attend writing festivals

I got to attend The Ingram Sparks Print Facility Tour which was part of the Milton Keyne’s literary festival #MKLitFest.

I also attended WoW Con which is an online Literary Festival run by Write Mentor.  I also paid for a one-to-one via Skype with a Literary Agent.  I intended to write a blog post about it but just haven’t had the time.  

Personal

Personal

Crafts

Make time at least once a week: Planner:  continue to use Carpe Diem planner; Pocket letter:  write another pocket letter; Scrapbook:  Do at least one page; Crochet:  Finish Aria’s blanket for her birthday.

I haven’t found anytime for crafts. I haven’t been using my planner, written any letters or created any cards.  I haven’t added to my scrapbook or finished Aria’s blanket.  

I did attend the Festive Planner Meet in Felixstowe.  I can’t even begin to express how amazing it was to spend time with these girls doing crafts for a few hours.  It had made me feel motivated to do more crafty things in 2020.  

For Christmas, I have brought brown paper and festive stamps to decorate it with.  That counts as a craft, right?

Read at least four and a half books by the end of September (annual goal 6 books)

I’ve exceed this goal and read a total of 11 books.  I will be sharing a post in early 2020 with a collection of all the book reviews posted in 2019.  

I have also read The Practice Boyfriend by Christina Benjamin (review  scheduled for January 2020) and Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S Weaver (review scheduled for February 2020) and Trust Me by Maddie James (review scheduled for March 2020).  

I have also signed up to Net Galley to be able to review new releases.  I will write a review on how I get on with the site and I’ll post about any books that I manage to read (time is always my biggest challenge).

Development

Development

Writer courses:  Continue to take advantage of any free courses that come my way if I have the time to do these. 

I desperately want to enrol on Page Malcolm’s courses, especially her author academy, but it is beyond what I can afford.  I keep missing her live videos as they are when I am asleep but I always try to catch the replay as the content is valuable.  

I am also incredibly lucky that Willow Editing has given me access to her self-publishing course to beta test it.  I started it at the end of October but then had to stop due to NaNoWriMo.  I intend to make good use of this during December.  She is so friendly in the videos she actually gets me excited about editing which is you knew how much I hate editing then you’d understand how awesome she is.  

Resource book:  Buy another writing help book.  I am considering the Emotion Thesaurus.

I haven’t ordered any resource book but my wish list has got longer.  lol!

What’s next

I am really pleased with what I have achieved this year and I’m feeling positive that 2020 is going to be even better.  I am actively pursuing self-publishing and I love being part of World Indie Warriors.  

How did your goals go this year?  Are you feeling positive about 2020?

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like:

My Books

#BoostMyBio for Pitch Wars 2019

How was NaNoWriMo 2019

I got to tour Ingram Spark’s print facility

Why I Love World Indie Warriors


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

@Redfae

 

 

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