#Readers here’s a poll on novel length. Would you read a novella?

I’m doing some research on the subject of novel length. During lockdown I wrote a romance novella and I’m hoping to publish it this year. However, whilst searching for similar length books, I’ve found it very difficult to find any at all.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on novellas and if you would consider trying one.

Also writers, have you any experience publishing short fiction? Do you have any advice to offer on marketing these shorter works etc?

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy

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Indie Fantasy Books I want to read in 2020 #selfpubfantasymonth #readindie #fantasy

Fantasy is a genre close to my heart. I love to read and write it. As mentioned in yesterday’s reading update post, I’ve decided to dedicate a whole post to the Indie Fantasy books I want to read in 2020. I’ve only picked a couple as I don’t have much time left in 2020 to read them, but it’s great to be able to give a shout out to some fellow indie authors.

This post is inspired by #selfpubfantasymonth taking place during the whole of September.

So here is my list of books to read this year.

Emma Miles – Raven Storm book 3 I’ve read the series so far this year and loved them. Here’s my joint review of Raven Tower and Raven Coven – duo review.

Check out the Fire-walker series on Amazon or Goodreads.

I would love to catch up with Ian Gregoire’s series. Book 2 Apprentice in the Master’s Shadow which came our earlier in 2020. Here’s my review of book 1.

Check out Ian’s series on Amazon or Goodreads.

I’ve been wanting to read Talis Jones’ Otherworld trilogy for ages. I bought Crooked Raven book 1 in 2018 and still haven’t managed to read it. I can’t believe the whole trilogy is already published but at least that means I won’t have to wait for the release of the following books!

Check the series out on Amazon or Goodreads.

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Now I know I wont have time to read any more books this year, but these are books I’ve picked up in 2020 and hope to read at some point soon. Click the book titles for Amazon links.

The Wandering Isles Liars and Thieves Daughter of Time The Bow of Destiny

Have you read any of these books or got them on your TBR.

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy

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Silent Sea Chronicles is only £3.99 worldwide for the next week only!

September Reading Update #amreading #fantasy #romance #writingguides

I’ve just reached my reading target for 2020, four months early! Ok, so I only set it at 15, but I have been really enjoying reading again and have to say the standard of the books has been so high. I’ve read a mix of fantasy, romance, spy-thrilllers and urban fantasy, plus a non-fiction book and a bio by Monty Don – Nigel.

What I’ve recently read

Book 1 and 2 S.A. Chakraborty’s Daevabad trilogy. I plan to do a trilogy review as soon as I’ve finished book 3, which I was kindly given a copy of via Netgalley.

Currently reading

During lockdown I’ve been taken with the idea of writing some Romance novellas so I’ve decided to always have a romance book on the go. I’m currently reading…

Chocolate Wishes by Trisha Ashley.

and I’m almost finished reading Escape to the French Farmhouse by Jo Thomas. It is such a lovely read and I’ll be sad to finish it.

As mentioned above, I’m reading book 3 in Daevabad trilogy, Empire of Gold. I hope to finish this asap and get the reviews up for all 3 books. It’s a such a brilliant series that I can’t wait to tell you about it.

What I plan to read over the next few months

My book group have chosen Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. I’ve been wanting to read this for the last few years so I’m looking forward to digging in before the end of September.

I would like to catch up with the next Carrie Harris book by GJ Stevens. I read the prequel a few months ago and couldn’t put it down. See my review here.

I also have plans to read some non-fiction books as research for my writing. Now the kids have returned to school I’m wondering if I’ll have more time on my hands to tackle these books;

I’d also like to revisit some non-fiction books I read last year and put into action their suggestions and hopefully review them this time!

By the end of the year I hope to support some of my fellow fantasy indie authors. I’ll share those books in another blog post in support of #Selfpubfantasymonth.

I think that is plenty of reading to be getting on with. Have you read any of these books? Are they on your TBR?

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy

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Review: Art and Soul by Claire Huston @ClaraVal #romance #bookreview

Today I’d like to share my review of Art and Soul by Claire Huston. To briefly explain my feelings for this book – I had to ban myself from reading it at night because I just couldn’t stop reading to go to sleep!

Blurb

There’s no problem Becky Watson can’t fix. Except her own love life…

Struggling single mother Becky Watson longs to revive her career as a life-fixer, working miracles to solve her clients’ problems, no matter how big or small. Since the birth of her two-year-old son she has been stuck preventing wedding fiascos for the richest and rudest residents of the Comptons, a charming, leafy area of southern England known for its artistic heritage.

So when semi-reclusive local artist Charlie Handren reluctantly hires Becky to fix his six-year creative slump, she’s delighted to set him up with a come-back exhibition and Rachel Stone, the woman of his dreams.

Though they get off to a rocky start, Becky and Charlie soon become close. But as the beautiful Rachel becomes Charlie’s muse, Becky is forced to wonder: will giving Charlie everything he wants mean giving up her own happily ever after?

A heart-warming romance about second chances perfect for fans of Jill Mansell, Phillipa Ashley and Cathy Kelly.

My Review

(I’m experimenting and going back to my old review style, so let me know what you think.)

Characters

I felt an immediate connection with the main characters Becky and Charlie. The story is told skilfully from both their viewpoints and has lots of side characters that bring colour and warmth to the story.

Plot

Becky is a life-fixer and is brought in to help reclusive artist Charlie rediscover his muse for painting and set his life back on track whilst trying to deal with her own single parent struggles. She can work miracles with other people, and is almost like a guardian angel working in the background, but has her own difficulties and hang ups from past events that get in the way of her finding her own happiness.

What I like

It was great to read a story about a life fixer. It’s something different and I think we can agree that we all need a bit of Becky’s magical touch in our lives!

I also loved how Becky is a single parent struggling to work and raise her young son. It’s not the usual set up for a romance story and it was refreshing.

What I didn’t like

It’s one of those books where there really isn’t anything that I had an issue with. The ending could have been a tiny bit more dramatic maybe but it was still satisfying, enjoyable and choked me up so you really can’t ask for much more from a story.

Conclusion

I cannot go into details and risk spoilers but I will say I was left with happy feeling at the end of this novel. There were ups and downs throughout that kept you guessing but in the end it was a great conclusion to the story. It left me wanting to keep reading and being in their lives!

This is Claire Huston’s debut novel, though it reads like a book from a well-established author who has honed her craft. She’s an author I look forward to reading more from.

Recommend

I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a feel good romance. Star rating 4.5

Check it out on Goodreads and Amazon

June Book haul and books I’m currently reading #amreading

I’ve been on a bit of a buying spree so I wanted to share some of the books I’ve picked up recently.

Jo Thomas – Escape to the French Farmhouse

Jo Thomas writes great fiction for escaping. Here’s my reviews of her previous books The Olive Branch and Late Summer in the Vineyard.

Luanne G Smith – The Vine Witch.

This is an impulse buy as I love the cover and the title.

Emma Miles – Hall of Pillars and Hall of the Night.

I loved Emma’s Fire Walker books so thought I’d give this series a go. Review of Fire Walker Series.

Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol

My son is studying this in English so I thought I would have a go at reading it with him (already beginning to wish I didn’t bother!).

Neal Shusterman – Thunderhead (book 2).

I read Scythe book 1 last year and loved it so I’ve been looking forward to catching up with the rest of the trilogy. Here’s my mini review of Scythe.

Patrick Moore Astronomy for Beginners

This is research for my current WIP The Starlight Prophecy. Even though it’s a fantasy, I like to base my story on facts and real life where possible.

Suzanne Collins – The Hunger Games

I loved the films and have been trying to get the kids to agree to read the books. I finally bought a copy and would love to find the time to read it as well, especially with the prequel coming out this month.

GJ Stevens – Lessons Learned – (Carrie Harris Book 2)

This book has just been released this month so I snapped up a copy, especially as I’ve been reading book 1 this month. See below. You can get your copy of Lessons Learned here.

S.A Chakraborty – The Empire of Gold (book 3 Daevabad trilogy).

I was really excited to be given a copy of this from the publisher via Netgalley. I can’t wait to read book 2 The Kingdom of Copper so I can get onto this one.

Ian Gregoire – The Apprentice in The Master’s Shadow (Book 2 Legends of the Order)

This came out in May but I’d thought I’d share it here as I’m looking forward to reading it. Another gorgeous cover too! Here’s my review of book 1.

Claire Huston – Art and Soul

I love all the cake recipes on Claire’s blog so I had to give her debut book a go.

Currently reading

Laura Laakso – Infallible Justice.

I’m enjoying this book very much. It’s a modern day London with magic. I hope to post a review very soon.

GJ Stevens – Operation Dawn Wolf Book 1 Agent Carrie Harris

I plan to review this book asap so don’t want to say too much right now apart from the fact that it’s very good! But if you’re interested in reading it you can get a free copy of the book by joining GJ Stevens newsletter. That’s how I got my copy.

That’s about it for my recent purchases. I’m hoping to get lots of reading done over the summer so look out for reviews of the above.

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy

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May writing update #fantasy #indieauthor #mondayblogs

The strange days we are living through have had a big impact on me emotionally. I’m constantly moved to tears by the kindness of strangers and the sacrifices people are making to get us through the epidemic.

The lockdown hasn’t impacted my life as much as others. I write from home anyway and my writing has kept me sane and helped me escape the gloom of the real world. I have fallen far behind on my original plan for 2020 but in these times we all have to adapt. I am now focused on 1 major project, though it does have 3 parts. It would be wonderful to complete the whole project by December 2020, but I won’t pressure myself just yet. There are still seven/eight months left – now that is actually beginning to sound impossible! Let’s see what happens. That has become a motto for me lately.

Publishing Plan for 2020

End June – publish prequel novella.

The odds of me completing on time? Not sure. I had though it was almost ready, but after a beta read I know I have a lot of work to do. With the kids home both doing live lessons and needing access to my laptop, it can get awkward.

There is also the pre-order issue to consider. I haven’t found it makes a huge difference to sales, but I would like a short pre-order period. That means I need to buy the cover and sort out the blurb asap – time to start panicking!

End September – publish The Starlight Prophecy

This books is probably 80% written. I know the end and what needs to happen, I’m just not yet sure how it all comes together. It has a dual timeline element like Visions of Zarua and I’m hoping it works. Again I will be relying on my beta readers for their verdicts. I already have the cover and I am really excited to start sharing information about the story, but I have to be patient for a bit longer.

December – publish sequel novella

A few weeks ago I had the wonderful idea of following on the story 6 years after the end of The Starlight Prophecy. Ideas have been flowing and I’ve even drafted quite a few scenes, but I have to be patient and finish the main book first!

Other projects

I hope to write some more short stories this year. Over the weekend I’ve written two that I’m really happy with and I’d love to keep up the momentum. I find I am most inspired first thing in the morning, sitting in bed with a notebook, a pen and a cuppa.

Book Reviewing

I have hardly reviewed any books over the last few years and I think that’s a shame. As an author I love getting reviews and I want to share the love for other books too. I’d love to make another author’s day so I’m determined to write a few reviews this year. I’ve already started with books 1 & 2 in the Firewalker’s series by Emma Miles. Here’s my review.

Audiobooks for Silent Sea Chronicles trilogy.

I’m hoping work will start this month on book 1 The Lost Sentinel. My narrator has been reading the trilogy and making notes on all the characters. This is a huge project and I admire him for taking it on. I can’t wait to start listening. Maybe I’ll even get to share a sample at some point…

Final thoughts

I have plenty of other projects and books waiting to be written but I don’t want to put any more pressure on myself this year. I’ve a feeling things are going to get worse before they get better here. My husband is self employed and has no work. When the lockdown lifts we hope that will change, but I think my writing is going to be even more important than ever to my sanity.

I’ll leave you with a picture of my new writing companion. She’s a neighbour’s cat who keeps sneaking into the house and is trying to adopt us.

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy

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Writer Get Noticed! by Colleen. M. Story #tuesdaybookblog #bookreview #howtoguide #writers

Do you sometimes feel that you are getting lost in the sea of books and authors out there? Then Writer Get Noticed! is the book for you! Before I share my review, here’s the blurb…

Blurb

Stop feeling invisible and start attracting the attention you deserve.

Have you been writing for years, but feel like no one notices? Have you published your stories, only to gain a handful of readers? Do your marketing efforts feel like shouting into a void?

Veteran writer and motivational coach Colleen M. Story helps you break the spell of invisibility to reveal the author platform that will finally draw readers your way.

There are more books out there than ever before, and readers have many other things vying for their attention. A writer can feel like a needle in a haystack, and throwing money at the problem rarely helps. What does work is creating a platform that stands out, but in a sea of a million platforms, how is one to do that?

Writer Get Noticed! takes a new approach, dispelling the notion that fixing your writing flaws and expanding your social media reach will get you the readers you deserve. Instead, discover a myriad of strengths you didn’t know you had, then use them to find your author theme, power up your platform, and create a new author business blueprint, all while gaining insight into what sets you apart as a writer and creative artist.

Writers need readers to achieve their highest potential. Find your way to stand out, and let it lead you to the writing career that fulfills all your expectations and more. 

In this motivational and inspiring book, you’ll learn:

•Why improving your writing skills isn’t enough.
•Why it’s critical you discover your strengths…and how to do so.
•What’s stopping you from finding the readers who love your work.
•What you really want from writing and why that matters.
•Easy methods to help you build a more successful author platform.
•What truly motivates you and how to use that to succeed.
•The author theme that unites your creative work and fits your style.
•How imposter syndrome can stall your progress, and how to overcome it.
•How to make better decisions about your writing career as a whole.

When you find the treasure that’s been inside you all along, don’t be surprised if it opens new doors you never thought possible.

colleen story

My Review

This is an intense book that helps you discover a lot about yourself as a writer and makes you think about your goals. Armed with this knowledge you can focus on your author platform and work towards your strengths. The book helps you discover those strengths and use them to come up with your author theme and mission statement. It uses questionnaires and journalling to help you reach deep and discover not just what motivates you, but also your decision making processes and how you can use them to your advantage.

It’s a book to take time over. You need to sit quietly and answer the questions honestly to get the most out of the tasks the book sets you. I really enjoyed the opportunity to focus on my goals, something that often gets lost with so many looming deadlines. Another highlight of the book was making me focus on my strengths and achievements so far.

The questions are backed up by research and well presented facts. As well as the soul searching questionnaires, and multiple choice questions in this book, there are also many examples of other writers’ stories, which are often touching and always inspirational.

Writer Get Noticed! is an in-depth book I think many writers can learn from.

Check it out on Goodreads and Amazon

I also highly recommend Colleen’s book Overwhelmed Writer Rescue, here’s my review.

Note – I received an arc copy of Writer Get Noticed. A big apology to Colleen Story as I have been meaning to review this great book much sooner, but writing and editing deadlines got in the way. I hope to put all I have learnt about myself and the direction I want to take my career into action very soon.

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy

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#Tuesdaybookblog City of Lies by Sam Hawke #bookreview #fantasy @samhawkewrites

I was so lucky to have won a signed hardback edition of City of Lies last year. It’s taken me too long to get around to reading it, but now I’m really happy to share my review of this debut book, which is bloody brilliant!

First here is the blurb…

I was seven years old the first time my uncle poisoned me… 

Outwardly, Jovan is the lifelong friend of the Chancellor’s charming, irresponsible Heir. Quiet. Forgettable. In secret, he’s a master of poisons and chemicals, trained to protect the Chancellor’s family from treachery. When the Chancellor succumbs to an unknown poison and an army lays siege to the city, Jovan and his sister Kalina must protect the Heir and save their city-state.

But treachery lurks in every corner, and the ancient spirits of the land are rising…and angry.

city of lies

My mini review

From the very first line, I knew I would like this book, and I did. I really liked it! It had everything I could want in a book; mystery, intrigue, murder, assassins, love, relatable characters… I could go on.

I loved both the main characters, Jovan and Kalina, and enjoyed how the story was told from their POV in alternating chapters. I also loved the short notes on poisons, the affects and the proofing tells at the start of each chapter. That was a master touch.

The world Sam Hawke created was fascinating, especially the different rules that shaped every aspect of the characters lives and drove the plot of the story. I loved how the reader is often as in the dark as the characters about who to trust, constantly thinking you’ve solved who the big enemy is only to be led in another direction completely.

Towards the end the stakes were so high, the characters in such peril it felt like it couldn’t get any worse, but it did, again and again. This book felt like a masterclass on how to ramp up the tension and hook your reader, and I loved it.

I can’t believe this was a debut book; it was just so well told. This is definitely a book I wish I had written and I cannot wait for the next book to come out later in the year.

5 stars all the way for this book.

Check it out on Goodreads

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of heroically epic fantasy

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Mini #Bookreviews Scythe by Neal Shusterman & The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan #fantasy

I’m happy to say both Scythe and The Gutter Prayer are great books. They are 5 star reads that I recommend to fantasy lovers. Scythe is dystopian, while The Gutter Prayer is more of a dark fantasy. See the blurbs and my mini reviews below…

scythe

Blurb

A dark, gripping and witty thriller in which the only thing humanity has control over is death.

In a world where disease, war and crime have been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed (“gleaned”) by professional scythes. Citra and Rowan are teenagers who have been selected to be scythes’ apprentices, and despite wanting nothing to do with the vocation, they must learn the art of killing and understand the necessity of what they do.

Only one of them will be chosen as a scythe’s apprentice and as Citra and Rowan come up against a terrifyingly corrupt Scythedom, it becomes clear that the winning apprentice’s first task will be to glean the loser.

 

My Review

I found the concept of this book quite uncomfortable at the start – ‘gleaning’ people as a job to control a population that can no longer die naturally.

I think it took me longer to get into the book as I was listening to the audiobook rather than reading it and I do not always like men doing female voices. I’m happy to say that I quickly lost myself in the story and listened to it obsessively over a few days. The story and the characters really grew on me and I found myself creating excuses just to listen to a bit more of the book. I really liked Rowan and Citra, and how they coped with the difficult situations they find themselves in as apprentice Scythes pitted against each other.

There are some wonderfully unexpected twists and I loved how the end played out. In fact, that was probably my favourite part and I wish I could discuss it right now!

I would love to see this made into a film or TV show and I can’t wait to get my hands on book 2 – Thunderhead.

Scythe was my book group choice and led to some very interesting discussions, particularly how it would be to live in such a society and if we would ever consider being a Scythe. I don’t mind killing people off in my own books, but real life… What do you think?

Check out Scythe on Goodreads here.

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The Gutter Prayer was my first ever request from Netgalley and I was so excited to receive a copy. I am a little late sharing the review as the book was published 17th January, but better late than never…

gutter prayer

Blurb

A group of three young thieves are pulled into a centuries old magical war between ancient beings, mages, and humanity in this wildly original debut epic fantasy.

The city has always been. The city must finally end.

When three thieves – an orphan, a ghoul, and a cursed man – are betrayed by the master of the thieves guild, their quest for revenge uncovers dark truths about their city and exposes a dangerous conspiracy, the seeds of which were sown long before they were born. Cari is a drifter whose past and future are darker than she can know.

Rat is a Ghoul, whose people haunt the city’s underworld.

Spar is a Stone Man, subject to a terrible disease that is slowly petrifying his flesh.

Chance has brought them together, but their friendship could be all that stands in the way of total armageddon.

My Review

I really like this cover and I feel like it’s a perfect representation of the book.

Right from the start I knew this was going to be something very different to my usual fantasy reads. I loved the story that slowly unfolded regarding the trapped gods and how certain factions planned to unleash them, while others worked to destroy them. Cari and her friends get caught up in the middle of it all, or so it seems!

I liked Cari and Spar the most, though there are plenty of characters to root for. I loved how different the story was having trapped gods, saints, ghouls, stone men, worm creatures, tallowmen and other weird and wonderful creations.

This is a brilliant debut novel and I had a great time reading it. It always surprised and shocked me, and often had me thinking what on earth is going on here!

The end was a thrilling page-turner, whilst still providing an emotional and satisfying conclusion. I want to continue with the next book now, so waiting until next year is a real bummer!

Take a look for yourself on Goodreads – The Gutter Prayer

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of heroically epic fantasy

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January 2019 Reading Wrap Up #amreading #fantasy

I feel as though I had a great reading month and managed to read 5 books in January. I wanted to pick a favourite, but with each book being so different I found it very hard to make that decision. Here are my reads…

The Lost and the Chosen by Ivy Asher (see my review here) 5 STARS

the lost and the chosen

This book really surprised me as I haven’t read any paranormal romance before. It was an addictive read and I’m really excited that book 2 is already out. I will hopefully get to read this in February. Check it out of Goodreads here.

I’ve been listening to the Audiobook for Scythe by Neal Shusterman. 5 STARS

My review will follow this week, but for now I will say this book is still in my head and I can’t wait to read the next book. Goodreads link.

scythe

This next one is my first ever Netgalley book – The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan. 5 STARS

Again I will review this next week, but can tell you it was a great debut and I’m sad I have to wait months to get my hands on the next book. Goodreads link.

gutter prayer

Finally, and I have to admit this is a cheat, I read my own books! I wanted to get back into the Silent Sea Chronicles world before diving into the draft of book 3, so I read The Lost Sentinel and The Sentinel’s Reign back to back. I also read the draft so far of The Sentinel’s Alliance, but as it’s not finished I can’t count that one. Also as they are my books I can’t rate them, but I will say I thoroughly enjoyed having the excuse to immerse myself in Tei’s world again. I’m so excited to get the next book finished.

Goodread links:   The Lost Sentinel    The Sentinel’s Reign

My Goodreads challenge is to read 30 books in 2019. With these 5 books I am well ahead of schedule and feeling very pleased with my progress.

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Here’s a quick peek at February’s TBR…

I promised myself I would be more of a mood reader from now on, but I do plan to read these books in Feb. Any more will be a bonus!

 

Don’t forget to look out for my reviews of The Gutter Prayer and Scythe this week.

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