I've had the opportunity to meet lots of other indie authors and one of the things I love most about them is the willingness to help out a fellow writer. Meet Sarah Daley, a talented author working on a mermaid series that is both unique and fun! She has graciously donated a digital copy of her novella Drowning Sandy for the release party of Prince Charming's Quest.
Welcome, Sarah! Tell us a little about yourself.
I have no clue where to begin with this question. Hahahaha! I’m a mother, wife, aunt, and daughter. My family is super important to me, which is why I’m so slow getting my books out. I love to camp, bake, read, and paint. I’ve been a total book nerd for as long as I can remember, and it is truly realizing one of my biggest dreams to have Drowning Sandy published.
I think you and I need to get together! Those are some of my favorite activities. What inspired you to become a writer?
This may sound kind of weird, but I was inspired to write by the books I’ve read. I read for the escape from reality, and the magnificent worlds they’ve created inspire my imagination. It just made sense to start writing down the ideas and dreams that kept invading my thoughts.
Reading and writing do seem to go hand-in-hand. When you're not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
I love to spend time with my family. My husband has a very difficult schedule, so when ever we can we do something fun with our 5 year old that is what I enjoy most. When that’s not possible, I love to either read to my son or paint.
Family time is precious. Who is your favorite author?
This is an impossible question to answer. I have sooooooo many favorite authors! I’d say my recently discovered new favorite authors would have to be C J Hill, Joyce Di Pastena, and Jennifer Griffeth.
Tell us about the books you write.
I write a little bit of everything. While Drowning Sandy is the only thing I’ve managed to finish, I have an LDS Perspective Historical Fiction that I’m currently undergoing edits for a potential publisher, I have a Contemporary Paranormal that I’m hoping to have done by the end of the year, and loads of other ideas just waiting for the chance to be paid attention too.
I'll have to keep watching. Where can readers go to learn more about you and your books?
My blog is the best place. I frequently post promos and reviews for clean reads on the home page, but you can keep tabs on what’s coming out here: http://semishort.blogspot.com/p/books-by-s-e-daley.html
Tell us a little about Drowning Sandy.
Well, Drowning Sandy is all about a half mermaid who makes one tiny mistake that will effect the rest of her life.
What was your inspiration for this story?
Growing up only a few miles from Lake Ontario, we spent most of our summers either out on the lake, or along the shore. For a few years my dad owned a small sail boat. My favorite part of sailing around Lake Ontario, was sitting on the edge of the boat, my feet dangling in the water. The water isn’t super clear, so only a few feet down all you can see are the shadows of fish. I used to imagine what it’d be like if there were mermaids in the lake, fantasizing that some of those shadows were tail flicks from mermaids or mermen who’d swum to close to the surface. So when I was invited to contribute to a summer/beach themed compilation it was the only thing I could think of.
I have a little girl who likes to imagine that same thing. I don't think I've ever seen a mermaid story that took place in a lake rather than the ocean before. How did that decision come about?
We all know about the ocean mermaids. It’s the lake ones who have managed to hide the longest.
Tell us a bit about the world your mermaids live in. There are a lot of interesting technologies mentioned.
I’m not sure which came first, ocean mermaids or lake mermaids, but either way they’ve been around for centuries. I think I’m still learning about the fascinating city of Ario. Bioluminescent bacteria are their main source of light, and a special waterproof film is used to waterproof the few modern land-lubber things they want to bring into the lake. Like phones, books, and pretty much anything else they want too. The issue there is not upsetting the council.
Oh, yes, the council is a little scary. What kind of research did you do?
I’ve read lots of mermaid books over the years. The most recent, and my current absolute favorite would be the Avenging series by Holly Kelly.
I was just about to ask that. Do you have a favorite book within that series?
Oops. Guess I got a head of myself there. I think the second book in the Avenging Series is my favorite. Descending.
The characters in this book are so easy to love and relate to. Was one of them your favorite to write? (We won't tell the others.)
Dylan. Hands down, I LOVED writing Dylan. Though I bet Sandy knew that.
He is a fun character. I absolutely loved your description of Sandy's parade. What was your favorite scene to write?
The very beginning. It was so much fun writing her transformation. Imagining it, and wishing I could grow a fin myself.
The beginning is great. Like many good books, this one ends too soon! Are there plans for another and if so, when will it be available?
The hope is that this is just a prequel to a super awesome series of books featuring funny little romances stories based in the Lake Ontario/ Pulaski, NY area with a sprinkle of fantasy. It’d be a ripple effect type of series. Mermaids, to fairies, maybe some brownies, definitely will have to have some trolls, and who knows what other fantastic creatures may pop in.
Where can readers go to order Drowning Sandy?
Drowning Sandy is available in most stores, though the only way to get it in paperback is through Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
Thank you for joining us today! And thank you for offering a digital copy of Drowning Sandy for the giveaways during my release party on the 31st. Good luck in your writing!
Sarah Daley lives in Arizona with her best friend and husband, Chris, their adorable monster child, and neurotic dog.
At the age of six, she became a reading machine. Devouring everything she could possibly get her hands on. In high school she almost failed English three times because of her detest for writing book reports. Today, Sarah writes whatever stories haunt her dreams, and struggles to focus on one idea at a time. When she isn’t enjoying time with her family, or writing, you will find her nose stuck in a book, or out walking and enjoying the sunshine.
Drowning Sandy is her debut novella!
Links to find out what is coming next:
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/S.E.DaleyAuthor
Blog Subscription: http://goo.gl/forms/dKI4guPSwt
Or contact her at SEDaley22@gmail.com
There are three things I'm really passionate about:
2) Kids reading what I've written (or just reading in general)
3) Inspiring young people to love literacy.
Seeing kids and teens discover the joy of being lost in a good book or developing stories of their own gives me the best kind of thrill. I love hearing from young people that they loved my stories or that I'm their favorite author. (Seriously, that birthday message tugged on my heartstrings something fierce!)
Prince Charming's Quest is just weeks away from release. As I've been planning and thinking what I could do to really celebrate this milestone with a bang, my sweet, amazing and genius hubby said, "Why not get schools involved?"
Have I told you my husband's a genius yet? He totally is!
We talked it out, going over the details and what would be involved and what the goal is. And this is what we've come up with:
Charming Academy Super School Giveaway
I've stated that I love watching kids read my books. I also love interacting with kids and telling them about writing, reading and the indescribable thrill of chasing one's dreams. This release, instead of just giving away a copy of the book to one person (though I'll get to that giveaway in a minute) I want to give a set of my books to one lucky school library as well as a day of Skype interviews. Sounds good, right? This is how it's going to work.
1) Nominate your school.
On Monday at 8:00am CDT, I will start the nomination post on my Facebook Fanpage. You will need to comment on that post with your school's name and get 5 people to like that comment. At 9:00pm CDT, I will add all the qualifying, nominated schools to a new contest page on this website. Once that page is live, voting will begin.
2) Vote for your school.
All nominated schools will be listed on a contest page at this website. On that page you will be able to vote for your school. Voting will take place from 9:00pm CDT on Monday, Oct. 19 through 9:00pm CDT Friday, Oct. 30. Each person can vote once per day. Votes will be tallied at 9:00pm CDT each evening to determine who is in the lead and how each school is doing. Votes coming after that time will be counted with the next day's votes.
3) Share, share, share!
Give your school the best chance at winning by sharing the daily Facebook post or simply sharing the contest page via Facebook, Twitter or email. Each person can vote once daily and the more you share, the more votes your school will receive! The more voters you have, the better the prizes will be.
Because we really want to get a lot of involvement in this giveaway, we've done a tiered set up for the prizes. The more unique voters we get, the better the prizes will become. Here's what it looks like:
50 voters - A day of Skype interviews with the author and 1(one) signed copy each of Charming Academy and Finding Prince Charming.
150 voters - A day of Skype interviews with the author and 1(one) signed copy each of Charming Academy, Finding Prince Charming, and Prince Charming's Search
300 voters - A day of Skype interviews with the author and 1(one) signed copy each of Charming Academy, Finding Prince Charming, Prince Charming's Search, and Becoming Prince Charming.
600 voters - A day of Skype interviews with the author and 1(one) signed copy each of Charming Academy, Finding Prince Charming, Prince Charming's Search, Becoming Prince Charming, and The Ultimate Prince Charming.
1200 voters - A day of Skype interviews with the author and 1(one) signed copy each of the entire series: Charming Academy, Finding Prince Charming, Prince Charming's Search, Becoming Prince Charming, The Ultimate Prince Charming, and Prince Charming's Quest.
Any school which receives more than 100 votes will win 1(one) Skype interview with the author and will be given the opportunity to purchase signed books for their library at a specially discounted rate.
And don't forget, your school isn't the only winner. Everyone who votes will be entered into the Ultimate Charming Academy Fan Basket giveaway! This will include 1(one) signed copy of Charming Academy, 1(one) signed copy of Prince Charming's Quest, 2(two) original illustrations (one painted in acrylic on 8x10 canvas and one colored pencil drawing on 9x12 paper), 3(three) handmade bookmarks, 1(one) hand-painted figurine of Zephyr, and a baggie of surprise goodies.
Doesn't that sound awesome? Here are some things to consider:
Which schools are eligible? Any school worldwide whether public or private is eligible. We are also accepting homeschool co-ops for entry. Please note that the books are in English and the interview will be conducted in English. Shipping costs may apply to book winners outside the US.
What if I miss the Oct. 19 nomination post? Not a problem! Simply comment on the most current contest post on Facebook with your school nomination and get it liked by five people. Your school will be added to the page during our evening tally. Voting for your school would begin after 9:00pm CDT that night.
Do I have to buy anything? No. There is no purchase necessary to participate in the contest.
How do the Skype interviews work? Schools which win interviews will need to contact me to schedule a date and time for their interview. The grand prize winning school will need to schedule a date and times for their interviews. They can be conducted with the entire school, with specific classes, or specific grade levels at the school's discretion.
I have children in different schools. Can I vote for both of them? Not on the same day. However, since you can vote one time each day, you can vote for a different school on different days. While both schools won't be able to win the grand prize, you can help both schools reach enough votes to win a Skype interview.
Why do you want my email address? We are using email addresses to keep track of unique voters. While two people may have the same name, no two people will have the same email address. Your email will never be shared and we will only contact you if you win the Ultimate Charming Academy Fan Basket or you opt to sign up for our newsletter. After the contest is over, any email which has not been opted to receive the newsletter will be deleted from our files.
When will we find out who the winners are? The winning school and individual winner of the Ultimate Charming Academy Fan Basket will be announced during my Facebook release party on Oct 31.
Any other questions? Please ask them in the comments and I will get to you just as soon as possible. Let's make this a huge success!
I love being an author and I love delving into my stories. I'm not loving so much this wrapping up process. You know when you read the last book in a series and you cry a little to yourself? Yeah, being the author makes those emotions ten times as strong. The last book in my series is done and I won't lie to you. I cried as I typed, "And they lived happily ever after." Oh did I cry! While I know I can always return to Sanalbereth by reading my books or writing short stories (in the works) or potentially writing a spin-off series (sort of kind of really thinking about that one), these stories are finished. Writing "The End" are the hardest two words an author can write. At least, they're the hardest this author has written.
I first published Charming Academy just over four years ago. Now the last book is about to be published and I find myself reflecting back on the experience. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined myself at the point I'm at now. I have a Facebook fanpage with likes from people I don't even know! Well, not personally anyway. I know you through your comments, your likes and shares. I know what a tweet is and a retweet and I get ridiculously excited about both. I've been hosted on blogs by people I've met in person and others I've never had the pleasure of seeing outside of social media. I have a blog and a beautiful website that gets visited by people other than me! Slowly but surely, my sales trickle in. I'm not best-selling by any stretch of the imagination, but I haven't seen a lonely 0 in my sales in a few months, so that's got to be worth something.
This has been a learning experience, that's for sure. So much of what I learn, I wish I'd known before I got started. Like I wish I'd had all the amazing author friends I have now to help me spread the word about my books. I wish I'd gone into it knowing a little bit more about writing for an audience. While I still cherish my 240,000 word beast that was the first edition of Charming Academy, the newer version is so much better and I wish it had been the one I originally released. Especially since it has far fewer typos. I wish I'd known about blogging and sharing and tweeting and all the other things that go into marketing a book. Not gonna lie, I'm still learning and trying to figure that part out.
But I have loved this experience and I love that I've been able to share it with you. So for the remainder of this month leading up to the release of Prince Charming's Quest I am going to have a weekly blog post (and daily tweet/Facebook post) containing some confessions and secrets about the Charming Academy series. So, here goes:
Many of you know that the stories began as bedtime stories I told my youngest brother. Lucian's story was the first I told him and at that time, Lucian's princess was named Myrtle. My brother detested the name, which is part of why I chose it. But as I started writing the story, I realized Myrtle just didn't fit Lucian's spitfire princess. So her name was changed to Moira and the etiquette/tokens and gifts teacher at Fair Damsels Academy was given the name.
When I first started writing Charming Academy, my original plan was for the book to cover the boys' education and Lucian's quest which would weave into the other quests as well. Adrian and Kaelen were going to be the only other boys with stories of their own. Luckily for you (and for me), George and Jacobi were pretty insistent they had stories that needed to be told. That and the school years were taking a lot longer to put together than I had first thought. So I decided to break the story into a series giving each prince his own story and putting the school years in one story. The little boy's reaction in the epilogue of Charming Academy is actually the reaction I got from several readers when the book was first released.
Tears and Laughs and Laughing Tears
Every single one of my books has made me cry at some point. Some of them made me cry a lot. Fair warning, have tissues on hand for Prince Charming's Quest. But they've also made me laugh out loud, which has prompted funny conversations with my husband and/or children. It's hard to describe what it's like when I write, but imagine you're listening to someone tell you a story and you have to write it down word for word as they're talking. Usually it's not too bad, but those emotional scenes make typing really hard. And laughing 'til you snort makes it harder.
So those are the first confessions for the series. Do you have anything you wonder about? Any secrets you'd like to learn? Ask in the comments and I'll see if I can answer you. And don't forget the costume contest (see the blog post Have Costume Will Dress Up)! Which character will you dress up as?
Jessica L. Elliott
Author, artist, mom and super-genius