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

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

Sky Heart – Briefed my cover designer

Taking those next steps towards publishing book two is very exciting. It’s still a way off, but I’ve reached out to my cover designer to discuss ideas and book in.

Content Creation

An update on what I was doing in July. Originally I’d toyed with the idea of doing a project for Camp NaNo.

Instead, I was busy planning my husband’s secret party, and attending all the end of school/nursery events for my kids.

In the end, I was working on remaining present on social media by developing content. This included opportunities to feature in Felixstowe Magazine and interviews with other bloggers.

Smashwords Summer Sale (July)

I posted at the start and end of July to make people aware that Ocean Heart was in the Smashwords sale at 50% off. This needed some prompting and content to spread the word.

Coming Soon – Author Diaries

I’ve also been busy working on this collaborative project, and developing content to start promoting.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel and stay tuned for more info 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

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

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

Sky Heart by Ally Aldridge

Sky Heart Chapter 2

This month I posted another chapter of Sky Heart. Now you can read two chapters on Ko-Fi.

Update on my website

I realised I hadn’t shared how my website update went so finally did this.

Sky Heart Coming Soon

Sky Heart Update

I’m getting close to finishing my self edit and shared where I’m up to with the plot hole fixes.

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

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

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

This month I have been featured in Felixstowe Magazine, and twice in Michelle Raab’s Marketing blog. My posts on Ko-Fi have been to share links to the content:

Felixstowe Magazine Article: https://ko-fi.com/post/Me-Features-in-Felixstowe-Magazine-L4L8AB3N2

Michelle Raab Marketing Post (Part 1): https://ko-fi.com/post/Me-featured-by-Michelle-Raab-Marketing-S6S6ACCL9

Michelle Raab Marketing Post (Part 2): https://ko-fi.com/post/Me-Featured-by-Michelle-Raab-Marketing-G2G0AMU8M

Behind the scenes Valentine’s Video

For Valentine’s Day I did a reading on Instagram of the first kiss scene from Ocean Heart. I then turned it into a YouTube video using Canva.

I posted Behind The Scenes of making this video on Ko-Fi: https://ko-fi.com/post/Behind-the-Scenes-Valentines-Video-G2G5AKXVE

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]

Book Review: Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes

This post contains affiliate links. Please check out my affiliate disclosure page for more information.

About the book

Blurb for Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes

My thoughts

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.

⭐️⭐️⭐️

Buy Romancing the Beat on Amazon

[kofi]

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

I had a great time at Felixstowe Book Festival…

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 😍.

The Workshops

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:

Body language

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”.

Free writing

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:

Reflection

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.

If you liked this, you will like:

Felixstowe Book Festival- How to connect with local writers

Independent Bookshop Week

We went live for Indie Author Week UK

Felixstowe Book Festival (previous years)

[kofi]

Five-Star Power Ending Masterclass

This course came at the perfect time. I was struggling with writing my ending. I always do. There are plenty of courses focusing on beginnings, but this is the first I’ve seen for endings.

The course is delivered by F.S.Media. They were running a giveaway for a seat on their Five Star Power Endings course.

Someone tagged me.

I entered.

I won!

The Course

The Endings Masterclass was delivered by Claire Taylor over Zoom. Once enrolled I was sent an email with the course details and what to expect.

When the class was due to start, I clicked the link to join. Some students had their cameras on, and it was nice to see fellow writers.

Claire delivered her Masterclass supported with a presentation. Although the course was about endings it covered writing the whole book because the beginning and everything along the way is important in building a five star ending.

The outcome

One of the reasons I struggle with endings is because I know how important they are. The ending forms the last impression a reader has of your book.

If you’re book is full of promise but you don’t deliver, your reader will be left disappointed. And, that’s not how you want to leave them feeling about your book.

Together with your books theme, Claire breaks down the ingredients needed for a powerful ending into three parts. These must be woven throughout the story to make sense. She gave tons of examples from well known stories and movies. These were useful to make it make sense.

Claire’s course gave me lots to think about. I reflected on how I worked on the ending for Ocean Heart, and how I could use what I have learnt to finish and improve Sky Heart.

My writing

Working on Ocean Heart’s ending

The early draft of Ocean Heart (when it was called Drift) ended with the suggestion the MC was about to start a romantic relationship. The blurb promised a mermaid but she never figured out how to shift. Plus, she dabbled with magic and there was no epic battle. In many ways this was a complete let down.

In the final draft of Ocean Heart, there is a full on mermaid scene, a definite HEA, and an epic battle with extreme powers. As a result, readers who invest their time are way more satisfied because it’s delivering what they want.

Working on Sky Heart’s ending

At the time I was struggling to write the ending for Sky Heart. I had an idea about the battle but not how to make it work. I needed a reason why she hadn’t used her powers before and I needed a good HEA.

I felt my story was missing something. Thinking over what I learnt from the course helped me have a breakthrough. As a result, I finished the first draft of Sky Heart.

And, I’m going to reflect on what I learned whilst I edit Sky Heart. I now know what my theme is, and I need to thread the crucial three ingredients all the way through. And, then I’ll get my Developmental Editor on it.

Final thoughts…

I would recommend this Masterclass. I got a lot out of it. Afterwards, I got a link so I could rewatch it.

In addition, Claire was passionate about writing and teaching and provided further resources to help with questions that were asked during the session.

F.S.Media have a range of courses ranging in price. At the time of writing there is even a free course you can enrol on.

The Five Star Power Endings course helped me and I found Claire to be a great teacher. I’d be interested in learning again with Claire and F.S.Media.

Although I won my place on the course, there was no requirement for me to write a review. I was compelled because I really benefited from it and wanted to share this with my blog readers.

[kofi]

These are affiliate links. Visit my Affiliate Disclosure page for more information.

If you enjoyed this you will like:

About Ocean Heart

About Sky Heart

An Authorship Breakthrough Session

Don’t put off writing your novel

Happy Indie Bookshop Week!

From Saturday, 19 June to Saturday, 26 June, it’s Indie Bookshop Week.

This event has been running since 2006 by Books Are My Bag. They also run other bookish events to support Indie Bookshops like the BAMB Awards and Indie Bookshop Day in October.

Shoutout to my local Indie Bookshop

Stillwater Books is my local bookshop in Felixstowe.

It’s been a tough year for high street shops due to the pandemic. Many spent months closed as they weren’t deemed essential. I know, who said books aren’t essential?

Ocean Heart released on 1 Dec and the country was in lockdown. The book signing event I’d always dreamed of was looking bleak. Boris said no!

I reached out to Stillwater Books with my proposed idea, a work around solution for a book signing during lockdown. I literally happy danced when they said yes.

I promptly got to work on promoting the event. The manager was patient with me as I figured out details, how to order books, write an invoice, and all the other brand new tasks I was doing for the first time.

I signed the ordered books and brought them into the shop. I made a little video for YouTube. Customers who had preordered, then either collected from the store or arranged for local delivery.

I certainly hadn’t imagined a non-contact book signing before, but Stillwater Books worked with me to make it happen. I will always be thankful to them for helping make my dream come true.

Shop Local

It’s really important to shop at your local independent bookshop. In doing so, you are supporting your high street, local jobs, a small business, and treating yourself to a new read.

That’s why I love being an affiliate with Bookshop.org. Redfae Bookshop.org is my affiliate store giving recommendations on books you should buy. It connects you with a local independent bookshop for your purchase. In return you support them with your custom and I get a small commission.

If you enjoyed this, you will like:

My Affiliate Disclosure page

What’s a UBL & why your book needs one

Ocean Heart releases tomorrow

Now you can preorder Ocean Heart

[kofi]

Behind the Book: Garden in the Sands by Ellie Mitten

I’m so happy Ellie agreed to let me interview her as I loved her debut book. There’s a link to my five star review at the end. It’s really exciting to find out what went into making such an amazing book.

I loved Garden in the Sands. It’s not like any book I’ve read before. What genre would you say it is?

It’s interesting that you say that, as Garden in the Sands actually started as a MG fantasy story. When it came to self-publishing, however, I read lots about YA being an easier market to get into. Therefore I re-wrote it, adding Lira’s POV element. Overall I’d say it’s a YA fantasy re-telling.

Despite being set in the desert, it’s very reminiscent of The Secret Garden. Did you plan for it to be like a fantasy version of the classic?

Yes! A re-telling was exactly my aim. I adored Mary in The Secret Garden when I was a child, as she was stroppy and imperfect. She influenced Quil a lot!

There are two MC’s can you give a brief intro to each?

Quil is a human girl born into wealth and privilege that only serves to constrict her. Desperate to gain a shred of attention from her parents, she spent her childhood misbehaving. This led to being frequently sent away from home to learn to become a ‘lady’, something she has no interest in doing. The only ray of light in her life is her main, Sasha.

When she finds herself sent away from the palace and charged with entertaining the sickly prince, she finds she’s not the only one in the world with problems.

Lira was born into greatness too, but as a demi-god this involved learning to wield a sword to prove herself. She rose to the challenge, and when the story starts she is a great heroine. She feels trapped, however, the link to her long dead human mother setting her apart from the other gods. She can’t help but watch the misery of life below in Miran. When a chance arises to break the curse that’s punishing the humans for their king’s crimes, Lira risks all the help them.

Quil learns to garden in the book – are you green thumbed?

I certainly try to be, but it’s a process of trial and error!

Lira is a demi god and fights mythical beasts – did you do a lot of research on this for your novel?

I studied Classics at university, so I’ve loved the mythology of Ancient Greece and Rome for a long time. I knew many of their stories already, but some of the beasts needed some extra research!

Who is your favourite God/Goddess from mythology?

Definitely Athena. She’s so strong and not cowed by any of the males in Olympus. She’s who Lira is based upon.

What can we look forward to from you next?

My next book is and MG adventure fantasy set in Cornwall, where I live.

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

Instagram (@ellie_mitten) is where I like to connect with other writers and reads 🙂

If you enjoyed this you will like:

Book Review: Garden in the Sands by Ellie Mitten

Behind the Book: Crown of Conspiracy by Kara S. Weaver

Book Review: Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

Book Review: Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

[kofi]

Below are some affiliate links. To learn more about these, please visit my Affiliate Disclosure page.

[kofi]

We went Live for Indie Author Week UK

I love going live with fellow indie authors, and Indie Author Week UK was the perfect excuse.

Joining me live was:

💛 Romantic Suspense author Cassidy Reyne: https://www.cassidyreyne.com/

💛 Worldbuilding & World Destroying author Angeline Trevena: https://angelinetrevena.co.uk/

💛 Contemporary Fantasy author J D Groom (Jodie): https://jodiegroom.wordpress.com/

We discussed what the week is all about and those involved. We talked about how we became indie, our experience, and tips for those considering it, and to help those already with books out.

Were there any bloopers?

Going live is terrifying as there’s a fear something will go wrong. But, it builds skills in handling these. Here is what happened:

Kids: I had a few issues getting the kids to bed, so I was cutting it fine when I logged on. I used Stream Yard several times last year for my book launch without issues so I wasn’t too worried as I know it’s super simple. But…

Camera & Mic undetected: I logged on and Stream Yard couldn’t detect my camera or microphone- WTF! This is not what you want when you are about to host a live event. I switched browsers and it still wasn’t happening. It must be my laptop, because when I tried my mobile, it worked!

Unprepared: I wasn’t prepared to go live using my mobile. I had my event notes on my phone – eek! I also didn’t have a stand ready. Although my hubby snuck one over to me a few minutes in when he realised I was struggling to keep it steady. I think I did a good job of keeping the questions going without my notes.

No Link/On screen text: Next up, one of my guests hadn’t got the link to attend. It was in our group chat but for some reason was hidden from her. I accidentally added her cry for help to the screen for everyone to see. I didn’t realise until way into the stream, so you can see it for most of the live.

Lagging & Crashing: Cassidy’s iPad kept lagging making it hard for her to keep up with the chat, and we were rabbiting on. It also kept dropping her. She switched to her laptop and then it was much better.

Here are my Instagram pics introducing each of my guests:

Author Cassidy Reyne
Author Angeline Trevena
Author J.D. Groom

Indie Author Week UK

To find out more about Indie Author Week UK, please visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/IndieAuthorWeekUK/

They have a ton of incredible events going on. If you can’t make a live, look out for the replay.

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this you will like:

Behind the Book: Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom

Behind the Book: The Sentinels (series) by Cassidy Reyne

Camp NaNo April – Mid Month Check In

It’s Indie Author Week UK 2021