#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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Writing Update September 2020 and some writing goals #amwriting

It’s September and we’re into the last 4 months of the year – that’s scary! Like most people I think I’ll be glad for 2020 to be over.

To help me through I’ve decided to plan my writing projects for the rest of the year. I’m not setting huge goals, so hopefully I can stick to them.

First it’s always nice to look back and see what I have achieved this year (and gloss over the fact I had originally planned to have published two books by this time in 2020)!

Achieved in 2020

I finally set up my mailing list with Mailchimp. This is a task I’ve been putting off for years. I haven’t started advertising it yet, but if you want to join please follow the link here. I’m working on some free and exclusive stories for my mailing list subscribers set in the worlds of my novels, so there’s a great reason to join me.

My big news for 2020 is that the audiobook for The Lost Sentinel is coming very soon! We’re just waiting for approval from ACX and then it will be on sale through Amazon, Audible and iTunes. Watch this space for more info.

Last month The Lost Sentinel hit number 1 bestseller in several free categories in the US, UK and Canada. It was a pretty big deal for me and I shared a post about how it happened here.

What’s to come

I’ve been writing a romance novella that I hope to publish in 2020. It’s a departure from my preferred fantasy genre but it’s been keeping me sane during lockdown and I’m really excited about it. I have yet to have beta readers feedback so I’m not even sure how good the story is, but I do have my editor booked in very soon so I need to get on with it!

Those short stories for my mailing list subscribers need to be a priority after the novella has gone to beta readers.

I’m writing a spy story with a friend. We’re not sure how long it will be, but I’ve already suggested we publish it at some point. This will be my friend’s first self published book and it’ll be great to share a joint project with the world. Again, testing out a new genre is exciting as well.

I have other romance novella ideas that I hope to start drafting over the coming months, but I really must get back to my first love – Fantasy! Which leads me to…

My planned trilogy. If I can just get on with it I might be able to publish the complete trilogy in 2021. That is a big ask, but book 1 is almost complete (if I don’t end up planning any major rewrites) and book 2 only has about a 1/4 to go. Book 3 is another matter, but I’ll worry about that later.

There are always more projects in the back of my mind including the book of short stories I’ve been itching to put together and a non-fiction book on writing and self publishing that keeps rearing up and forcing my attention away from other things. These are ideas I’ll sort out one day, I’m just not sure when.

Other News

Silent Sea Chronicles has a blog tour running from 6th to 12th September. Run by Storytellers on Tour, there will be some fun Q&A’s and lots of reviews and promo posts hitting over the week.

I’m also planning an Audiobook 1 day event for The Lost Sentinel in the next few months with the help of Rachel’s Random Resources.

I’ve signed up for an online social media course to help me understand some of the platforms I’ve been ignoring, so hopefully I can learn a few tips to reach a wider audience.

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I think that’s about all I should consider for now before I dig myself an even bigger writing hole to get lost in.

Tomorrow I have a book post from a debut author to share and then I’ll be blogging about my reading plans for the rest of 2020. Thanks for stopping by.

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy

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Writing update – Today I was supposed to publish! #fantasyauthor #indieauthor #amwriting

At the beginning of 2020 I planned to publish a prequel novella today – 30th June 2020.

I’m not and I have no idea when it will be ready. I know there is no point rushing and bringing out a book that isn’t the best I can make it, but I still feel disappointed.

Positive thinking…

I’ve realised that I need to relax and stop pressurising myself. Nothing terrible will happen if I don’t meet my own deadlines. That is the beauty of self publishing and being your own boss.

At the start of lock down I had hopes of publishing 3 books in a year! A prequel novella, the main book and then the sequel novella. Looking back now I see my crazy plan was unattainable. Hell, I haven’t even reached beyond a brief plan of the sequel and still have the last quarter of the main book to write. Now a beta reader suggests that the prequel novella should be novel size, so I no longer know where I am.

Future plans…

I would still like to get the first book out by the end of the year but I need to keep in mind that plans can change and that is just the way life is.

I also have ideas to publish a book of short stories and I’ve been working on a romance novella that could be a contender for publication later this year.

I have plenty to keep me busy and lots to look forward to in the future. I also want to work on getting more exposure for my 4 published books. Here they are, I still love looking at them.

A dose of reality….

My husband is very supportive of my dreams but we did have an honest chat about finances the other day. What he said has stayed with me and shown me that I need to get my act together. He said

‘Your books are our pension… so it looks like we’re going to starve.’

Puts things into perspective, doesn’t it!

Staying positive…

I need to focus everything I have on these next few books and making them the best I can before setting any publication dates.

I hope having a bigger back catalogue of books will start working for me financially and if not, there perhaps at that point I’ll pull my head out of the clouds and get that proper job he’s always joked about. But not until I’ve given this my best shot.

I got a Czech publishing deal out of nowhere, so who knows if another great opportunity is just around the corner.

Stay safe and positive everyone.

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy

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10 Writing tips during writing slumps / lockdown #writingtips #amwriting

Everyone has days when they just can’t find the inspiration to write.

I’ve heard from writing friends that they’ve found it especially hard to find any creativity over the last few months what with lockdowns and the pandemic. Thankfully I haven’t suffered with lack of inspiration but I have found it hard to adjust to having family around during my writing time and helping / nagging two teenagers about their home school lessons can be draining.

I thought it would be a great time to share some of the tips I’ve found helpful now and in the past to help me keep my writing mojo.

10 Tips to writing through a slump

  1. Allow yourself time to write. Giving yourself the permission to write frees up your subconscious and hopefully your creativity.
  2. Write anything and see what arrives on the page. Lately I’ve managed to write some short stories by just starting with whatever comes into my head.
  3. Experiment to find the right time to write. Are you most creative first thing in the morning, evening, in bed at night? I’ve discovered first thing in the morning before I even get out of bed is my optimum creative time, though I used to love writing before I go to sleep too.
  4. Find the right medium to get down your ideas. For me that’s pen and paper or in a beautiful notebook. Maybe you like to type directly on your laptop, put notes on your phone or maybe a diary or journal.
  5. Typing up ideas you’ve scribbled down and giving them a working title can really get the creativity going as you see the story emerging on the page.
  6. Use idea spinners; Title prompts, picture prompts, story cubes, online sites, competition story prompts, news articles, or whatever springs to mind as your pen hits the paper.
  7. Have a writing journal or a place to scribble down ideas or bits of stories. When you are stuck for an idea it’s great to be able to flick through your past scribblings and see if anything inspires you.
  8. Maybe it’s time to revisit an old novel or short story attempts. I like to print them off, or even better send them to my ipad or kindle. Then, armed with a notebook and pen, I can read through them as a normal book and make notes on what needs changing or expanding.
  9. Sharing stories with critique partners can help you find out what’s not working and talking it through may just inspire you to finish it. One of my beta reader’s recently pushed me to reconsider the whole mood of a story and I realised making my character so morose was stopping the reader from connecting with her.
  10. Write with a friend. You can spur each other on. This is something I’ve been doing with one of my writing buddy’s Jackie. She decided to start sharing the story on her blog to force her to write more. Here are the links so far; The day of the Badger (working title) Part One , Part Two.

A few points to remember

  1. Write now. Edit later.
  2. Don’t think too much about the story. Allow your mind to work as you go along and be amazed at the story that unfolds.
  3. Don’t hold back.
  4. Don’t expect it to be a wonderful first draft. The fun is in the editing, at least it is for me!
  5. Enjoy yourself. Writing and creating is the best natural high there is.

I hope these tips have inspired you to write.

Do you have any great tips to share?

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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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A little update and blogging break #amwriting #amwritingfantasy

Just to say that I’m still around but I will go quiet on the blogging scene (again) as I plan to concentrate on my next three writing projects. I don’t make it easy for myself do I!

I also have a couple of Christmas events to prepare for and I can’t wait to get out in the local community. I’ll be selling my signed paperback books, which make the perfect Christmas present by the way. If you’re in Ashford Middlesex on 4th December or Wraysbury on 14th I hope to see you there. I’ll update other social media platforms with more details so don’t forget to follow me with the links below.

I hope to bring you some updates in the new year and share my plans for 2020.

Until then, keep reading, writing and enjoying every moment. And have a wonderful Christmas.

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy

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Writing update #amwriting #amediting #indieauthor

2019 has been a busy year for me. Despite feeling as though I haven’t been doing much writing, as I look back I realise I’ve achieved a lot – publishing the final book in my Silent Sea Chronicles trilogy, producing the box set in ebook format and working with my narrator on the audiobook of Visions of Zarua which came out in July.

I’ve been involved in 3 blog tours to promote the above mentioned publications and have run several book stalls and pop up craft shops.

I’ve attended two major writing events this year – London Book Fair and Winchester Writers Festival and also ran a book stall at Hastings Literary Festival.

I’m off to Prague in a few days. I plan to see the translated version of Visions of Zarua in the bookshops and explore the city. I’ll be sharing lots of pictures upon my return.

Another major event has happened in my life and she is the reason I haven’t been able to write much over the last few months…

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Daisy. She is a crazy puppy who has stolen much of my writing time but she has also stolen the hearts of the family. She still has a lot of growing to do and lots of training ahead of her, so who knows when I’ll find time to get fully back into writing.

At the moment I’m continuing to edit a novel that I started a few years ago. The working title is Child of Destiny and it may turn out to be a standalone dual timeline story like Visions of Zarua. The comments from beta readers so far has been positive and all three of the agents / publishers I saw at the Winchester festival with the first chapter were happy to see more when its complete.

During the summer I spent time looking over the third novel I wrote back in my early twenties. I’ve formatted it into one document, spell checked it and prepared it for a read through. It’s a whooping 200k and needs a huge edit but I do see potential in it and look forward to seeing just how much work is needed to pull it into shape.

Finally, I’ve really got the urge to write a hero again. I have a couple of story ideas that fit the bill and I want to develop them whilst I complete Child of Destiny. I think it’s important to have more than one project on the go and preparing writing for the three writing groups I attend certainly keeps me busy!

That’s it on the writing front for now. I’ll leave you with another snap of Daisy. It makes a change from all the book posts!

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11 Tips to Creating Heroic Characters #amwriting #writingtips #writingadvice

I’ve been neglecting my blog for longer than I care to admit. Writing and publishing has taken over my life but I’ve missed blogging and connecting with people. So today I decided to share my thoughts on creating characters. I wrote this guest post for another blog last June for the release of The Sentinel’s Reign. Unfortunately, the blog in question is no longer active but I really enjoying writing this and wanted to share it with you.

It’s all about character

Writing characters that touch readers is something I’ve always wanted to achieve. Raised on a diet of David Gemmell and Robin Hobb, authors who create such vivid and heroic characters, how could I aspire for anything less?

When I create characters they stem for a tiny seed of an idea or a scene that just pops into my head. I allow them time to grow naturally while I jot down some scenes. Later I go back to flesh out the details and build upon their history and how it has influenced them. They soon become like people I’ve known my whole life.

Some reviewers have pointed out how my character, Tei, is immature at the beginning and rebels at the situation she’s thrust into. With time and experience, she starts to mature and accept her role. That feels like a natural progression to me. Who would like to wake up in the morning and be told ‘By the way you’re off to save the world today, go pack your bags.’

I like how characters slowly reveal themselves to the reader. You don’t meet people and find out their life story in the first 5 minutes, although I have met a few people who do tell you everything and I wouldn’t want to embark on an adventure with them!

Characters are the lifeblood of any story. I can’t imagine writing anything without starting with a character. However vague and unknown, all I need is a character in a situation and then I’m away writing and the ideas start to flow.

When I think about my books – Visions of Zarua and Silent Sea Chronicles trilogy – the characters are what make the whole process worthwhile. I love them like family and I feel the pain and heartache they suffer. I urge them to find the courage to fight on even if everything is set against them.

I’m drawn to things with strong, heroic characters, be that in books, films or TV series. So with this in mind I thought I would share my tips to creating those kind of characters.

 

11 Tips to Creating Heroic Characters Your Readers Will Love

1. Let the characters find you
I cannot sit and draft out a character from nothing, instead they need to come to me. It starts with a situation, a scene or just a snapshot of the character in my head. I write and develop on that first impression and see who has come to tell me their story.
The Silent Sea Chronicles started with a young woman lost in the forest. With her father dying, she was completely alone until two strangers arrive. From that tiny beginning, a trilogy has grown.

2. Flaws all the way
No one likes a perfect person and if your character is perfect, it’s unrealistic. There is no room to develop and change over the course of the novel. Flaws make the character. Tei is immature and naïve at the beginning of the trilogy, but by the end my readers have commented on how much she has matured.
Both Brogan and Farrell are driven by the need to do what’s right, but that is also their flaw because they have to make difficult decisions that costs lives.

3. Everyone loves an unlikely hero
It is a troop, especially in fantasy, but the fact is if the hero of your story starts out unwilling and is thrust into situations they are not equipped to deal with, they will become better characters for it.
A word of caution though – make it for the right reasons not just to fit the story.

4. Give them backstory
Characters are shaped by their past and it gives them greater depth if the reader can slowly learn about the history of the character before the story takes place. It makes them seem more real, as though they live beyond the pages of the novel.

5. Make them suffer
Everyone in life suffers. The more your characters suffer, the more they can develop. Plus it would be boring to read (and write) about a character that doesn’t have any life changing events happening to them.

6. Allow them to love
Emotions help the reader connect with the character. Whether that is love of family, friends or a love interest. To me that love, and what the character is prepared to risk saving it, defines them and the book you are writing.

7. Allow them to grow
All great heroes need to learn how to become a hero in the first place. Showing that growth will also help the reader connect with the characters.

8. Let them make mistakes – the worse the better!
How else do we learn as human beings? How bad the mistake, how many others are affected, or die because of that mistake is up to you. The darker the outcome, the heavier the burden your character must carry.
Tei feels her decisions have led to people dying and this shapes her decisions and the relationships she forges. Brogan too feels that his decision, or what he perceives as cowardice, lead to catastrophe events.

9. The path to happiness is never easy
Like most people, I like a happy-ending. But I want my characters to battle for their lives to get there.
Often, as with life, that moment is bittersweet. Not everyone can have a happy ever after, it’s just not realistic.

10. Kill off your darling – literally!
My motto whilst writing the Silent Sea Chronicles has become ‘No one is safe!’
It makes the plot less predictable to the reader and hopefully sparks some emotion in them.
If a book makes me cry then I know it’s a good one. I want to evoke that same feeling in my readers. I know the emotional response will be different for every reader, but the Silent Sea Chronicles has made me cry, so if I can’t please everyone, at least I have pleased myself.

11. Villains matter
The villains your heroes are up against can be larger than life evil, as long as they have a motive to act the way they do. And make sure they are a worthy threat, and have a credible backstory too.

A final note about characters.
I have created characters I would want to be friends with, to love or to have as a family member. I even care for my villains, who aren’t all bad deep down.
To make the reader care about your characters, first you, the writer, must care deeply for these wonderful people that inhabit the world you have created. Hopefully your love will shine through in the writing and the readers will form those same bonds and root for your characters too.

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I hope you enjoyed my tips on creating characters and I hope to be back with more tips soon.

Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy

Visions of Zarua   The Lost Sentinel   The Sentinel’s Reign   The Sentinel’s Alliance

You can follow me on

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#Indieauthor April Update #amwriting #amwritingfantasy

Hi Everyone

It’s been a while since I’ve been around. I sort of stuck to my plan of a social media ban, and the best news is that I finished WIP The Sentinel’s Alliance – Book 3 in Silent Sea Chronicles! It’s already had beta reader feedback and I’m now working through some edits. Very soon I will be sharing the cover, pre-order links and the blurb.

I’m aiming to publish 6th July 2019 so the next few months will be busy. It will be worth it to finish the trilogy. I can’t wait to see what you all think. Let me know if you want to go on the list of ARC reviewers.

I also have some big news about Visions of Zarua to share very soon and lots of book reviews to come mainly how-to writing guides but also some brilliant fiction I’ve been reading lately.

I’m still on the look out for reviewers for The Lost Sentinel, The Sentinel’s Reign and Visions of Zarua. If you’re interested please comment or use the Contact Me form. The blurbs and goodreads links etc are in this post An appeal for reviewers.

Lastly, before the publication of Book 3 in the Silent Sea Chronicles trilogy, Rachel’s Random Resources has organised a blog review tour for books 1 and 2 starting 21st June. If you want to join in, I think there a still a couple of spaces available.

I will be back soon with reviews, news and I’ll be setting down some targets for the summer. See you then.

Suzanne Rogerson – Author of heroically epic fantasy

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Writing update and festival news #amwriting #amwritingfantasy

This is a quick update as I know I’ve been absent for most of 2019.

Work is going well on The Sentinel’s Alliance – Book 3 in the Silent Sea Chronicles. I feel as though I am on the home straight and I’m looking forward to passing the book to my beta readers very soon. I hope to stick to a publication date of the end of June, but I won’t rush it if it’s not ready. I’ve also been sitting on the beautiful book cover for months. I’m looking forward to sharing it with you but I made a promise to myself that I’d wait for the completed draft. Fingers crossed that’s not too long now!

Festival news

Next week I will be going to the London Book Fair for the first time ever. I’m going as a self published author looking to pick up tips but also a hybrid author. This is the first time I’ve really acknowledged the fact that I’m now a hybrid! My Czech publisher will be at the fair and I’m hoping to pop by and say hello.

From the sounds of things I will be spending a lot of time in the Author HQ area where lots of talks sound interesting and relevant to my current situation. I’m hoping to meet the team of the Writing Magazine whose advice I have been using since my late teens. I also just want to soak up the atmosphere of a place dedicated to all things books! Plus my friend mentioned a stationery area – now that will be dangerous!

 

Another first for me is that I finally have the chance to go to the Winchester Writer’s Festival in June. I’ve secured the three agent / publisher appointments I was hoping for and will attend a whole day workshop based on writing fantasy. I’m super excited but also nervous about the pitching as this will be a chance to move my dreams of being a hybrid author in the UK one step closer.

I’m already planning my letter and first chapter, but the idea of pitching something new is terrifying after working on a trilogy for a good few years.

 

I look forward to sharing  my experiences of these festivals with you in the future.

 

Over to you

Are any of you going to either of these major UK events?

Do you have any advice to make the most of the days ahead?

Have you got any writing festivals to recommend?

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Tomorrow I hope to share a book review of a 5 star book I just finished last night. After I wiped away my tears, I closed the book and thought to myself that was bloody brilliant! Stop by tomorrow to find out what book I’m talking about…

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of heroically epic fantasy

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