Writing update – 4 month plan #amwriting #fantasy #romance

***IMPORTANT UPDATE*** THE LOST SENTINEL IS A FINALIST IN BBNYA 2021. I’m excited to reach the final round though the next few months will be agony waiting for the results! See my earlier post about it here.

I haven’t done a writing update for a while so I thought it would be a good time to share my plans for the rest of the year. But first…

What have I been up to?

It doesn’t feel like much. I’ve written 3 fantasy short stories as lead in’s to my books. The Guardian is a prequel to Visions of Zarua, Garrick the Protector from the Silent Sea Chronicles trilogy and War Wounds from my new series Starlight Prophecy, which I hope to publish in 2022.

I’ve also been working on my romance series Mermaid Hotel though did put that on hold to re-work the whole structure of book 1 and 2 in the Starlight Prophecy series. It’s been so good to escape back into fantasy, but now I’m at a stage where I need to put that on hold to get back to the romance series.

The next 4 months

In September I’m doing a 6 week Curtis Brown Writing Romance course led by Jenny Colgan. I plan to work through book 1 – Evie’s Song and hopefully get it into a publishable state very soon.

In October I’ve signed up for a World Building course run by the Romantic Novelist Association. It’s an area that my readers have said works really well in my books, but I don’t want to be complacent. I’m always eager to hone my craft so I’m hoping to learn a few things that will enhance the Starlight Prophecy series.

Publishing plans…

At some point I plan to publish the short stories I’ve written in a short fantasy teaser book which will be free to my newsletter subscribers. I’m toying with the idea of writing more stories to go into it but I haven’t decided for certain yet. I’ve also wondered whether to publish a book of modern day short stories and that idea is still in the back of my mind.

I’m hoping to finish books 1 and 2 in the Starlight Prophecy and the first few books in The Mermaid Hotel ready to publish in 2022. I would love to get something out sooner but time is running against me.

The most important thing is to keep working and hopefully 2022 will be the year I get lots of books out into the world.

I hope you will be there cheering me on.

Til next time…

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic fantasy and heart-warming romance

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Guest Post: 5 Must know Tips for Fantasy Worldbuilding #fantasy #writingtips

Over the last year I have been reading writing guides and attending the odd writing webinar. It’s always good to keep learning the craft no matter where you are in your writing journey and that’s why when Desiree offered to write a guest post for me about fantasy worldbuilding, I thought it was a great idea. Read on for some very interesting tips…

5 Must-Know Tips for Fantasy Worldbuilding

Many of the best fantasy novels are considered such because their authors have painstakingly attended to every detail of their fictional worlds — from character names to the mechanics of each battle scene. Indeed, a truly immersive piece of fantasy is no mean feat, and often requires a fine balance between fabrication and reality, smaller details and broader brushstrokes. If you’d like to learn more, have a look at the tips below!

1. Take inspiration from the titans

Reading esteemed fantasy fiction is a surefire way to learn the ropes of worldbuilding. Authors who have found success with their fictional worlds will attune you to readers’ tastes and teach you the conventions of fantasy writing. You’ll learn how the experts incorporate detail into imagined worlds, as well as tips for portraying villainous and heroic characters in the context of those worlds (not to mention you’ll see firsthand what doesn’t work as well).

We’re not suggesting you rip off Harry Potter. For starters, you’re unlikely to ever get a book deal if your book is a warmed-over version of somebody else’s work — but also, the best fantasy is always the product of a person’s unique imagination. Having knowledge of your genre will simply help you carve out your own niche (and prevent you from unintentionally writing a story that’s been done a dozen times already). You’ll be able to blend tried-and-trusted conventions with your own fresh takes for the perfect reader experience of your fantasy world.

2. Blend fantasy with reality

Fantasy is often at its most gripping when its world contains eerie parallels to the world we live in — or if our world were to take a turn for the worst. Take Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale: a macabre story exploring what life might be like if women were brutally subjugated and forced to work within the confines of childbearing. It might feel pretty far from contemporary times, but there’s no doubt that women have struggled for emancipation, and still do, in many facets of their lives — especially when it comes to bodily autonomy. In this sense, Atwood has harnessed SFF to comment on a pertinent political issue, to great effect.

Atwood’s worldbuilding is so powerful because it takes an aspect of reality to an extreme (yet comprehensible) conclusion. It’s the type of writing that makes your spine tingle because one day it might just become a reality. If you can apply this sort of connection to your own worldbuilding, you absolutely should!

3. Do your research

A lot of fantasy is inspired by a particular time period or setting. Before you attempt to counsel your readers on the technicalities of shooting a poisoned bow and arrow, or describe the minutiae of Medieval court life, you’ll need to brush up on your knowledge of the subject at play.

Sometimes it’s as simple as scrolling through a Reddit thread; other times you’ll need to consult more serious literature, especially when the topic is fairly specialized (don’t make the same mistake John Boyne did!). Research will help you write confidently about the ins and outs of how something works, or everyday life in the world you’re basing yours on. Of course, fantasy is necessarily fantastical, but your worldbuilding will fall flat if your story is located on an ancient battleship and your descriptions are completely unrealistic w/r/t how battleships operate.

All that said, if you’re a new writer, don’t go overboard with the research. You don’t have to be a complete stickler with the facts (you’re not writing a history book, after all!), and there is always opportunity to make things up — but it’s important to give your work a degree of accuracy and credibility. This way, readers won’t switch off because your story seems too bizarre to be true.

4. Remember that the devil’s in the detail

There’s a reason people don’t just love Lord of the Rings, but are committed to keeping its lore alive on internet forums and at conventions across the globe: Tolkien spent so many years developing the detailed, complex world of Middle-Earth that it has transcended the texts themselves. It’s what every fantasy writer dreams of — but that doesn’t make it easy.

If you’re secretly hankering after a devoted fanbase for your work, it’s worth putting the extra effort into details that go beyond the sweeping brushstrokes. Thoughtful character and place names are a good start, but think about how you could develop other quirky bits of information that readers can analyze, discuss, and dissect. This could be anything from architecture to flora and fauna, particular music instruments to a customary greeting; the possibilities are endless.

5. Keep it consistent

Keeping the details of your novel consistent is good advice for authors of all genres, but it’s particularly important for fantasy writers. Why? Because, again, fiction that transcends reality requires the reader to buy into the world you’re selling them — and that includes every last bit of it. Chopping and changing details will look sloppy in any piece of literature, but in fantasy could turn readers off entirely.

To that end, try to keep a document (separate from your manuscript) where you keep track of character names, places, the functions of certain objects, and other features of your lore. This might include the rules and regulations that exist in your kingdom, the historic events that have taken place there, and the makeup of its people. This way, you’ll always have something to refer back to when these details come up again — not to mention you can write faster when you don’t have to keep paging back and forth in your manuscript to hunt them down.

Hopefully, these tips will make the process of creating your fictional universe a little smoother. But the most important tip of all is to have faith that your own imagination will take you (and your characters) to exciting and unexpected places. Happy worldbuilding!

About the author of this post – Desiree Villena is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects self-publishing authors with the world’s best editors, designers, and marketers. In her spare time, Desiree enjoys reading contemporary fiction and writing short stories.

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic fantasy and heart-warming romance

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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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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

You can follow me on

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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

You can follow me on

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New Year Quarterly Plan. Bring on 2020! #indieauthor #goals #amwriting

I would like to wish everyone a very happy new year. I hope 2020 is a fruitful and productive year for us all.

happy new year

Before I lay out my quarterly plan, here’s a quick look back at 2019. The year was one of my quietest yet on the blogging front. But I did have the excuse of having written and published the final book in my Silent Sea Chronicles trilogy and also publishing the box set. I also released the audiobook of Visions of Zarua and went to visit the Czech edition of the book in a few bookshops in Prague. I also had three blog tours over the space of five months and a number of author events.

In 2019 reading and blogging took a back seat and with the schedule I’ve set myself in 2020 it looks like it will be more of the same. I have some exciting stories on the go and I’m really looking forward to continuing my self publishing journey. I even plan to finally get my newsletter up and running soon. So here is my quarterly plan…

priority list

January 2020

  1. Plan the remaining chapters of my WIP.
  2. Draft the dual timeline story for my WIP.
  3. Read and develop novella linking to current WIP, which will be offered as a reader magnet for my newsletter.
  4.  Enter Visions of Zarua into audiobook competition.
  5. Set up Newsletter

February 2020

  1. Complete the final draft of WIP including the dual timeline story.
  2. Complete novella and give to newsletter subscribers.
  3. Work on the next chapters of my portal novel.
  4. Read an old completed novel and determine if it can be rewritten. Write out a full novel plan.

March 2020

  1. Prepare the WIP for beta readers.
  2. Publish novella in ebook format.
  3. Read my second novel written years ago to determine if it’s worth re-writing and complete a novel plan for it.
  4. Continue work on portal novel and start drafting up a plan.

 

Misc. tasks to slot in when time allows

Work on short story ideas for the book I plan to publish in the future.

Consider whether to work on a how to guide for kindle publishing as I’ve had several requests to do so.

Work on the website look and create a landing page for the newsletter.

Research ways to earn money from home using the skills I’ve learnt writing, editing, publishing and helping with my husband’s business.

 

Reading for the year

My Goodreads challenge of 2019 was 35 books but I only managed to read about 22.

I am being very careful this year and only going for 15 books. Hopefully I can smash this target and I would love to start reviewing books on my blog again though I won’t add that to the to do list just yet!

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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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Writing Plans for 2019 #amwriting

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I have lots of plans for 2019  but the biggest and most important has to be completing the Silence Sea Chronicles trilogy and publishing book 3!

For the next few months I will focus purely on this trilogy, which will consist of:

  • Reading and making notes on The Lost Sentinel – book 1
  • Reading and making notes on The Sentinel’s Reign – book 2
  • Reading the draft of The Sentinel’s Alliance – book 3
  • Completing the draft of book 3 as per my outline and notes.
  • When the draft is completed and ready for my beta readers I want to focus on the map of the Silent Sea. At some point I plan to commission someone to produce a map but I’ve decided it’s more important to finish the books first.

Any advice you can give about map making would be gratefully received!

  • Once the book is edited etc, there will be all the usual jobs involved in publishing a new book.

 

Future writing plans in 2019

I like to set out some of my goals for the year, even though I know I probably won’t have time for everything. It feels good to have a record and I love to tick things off a list!

  • Write the prequel to Silent Sea Chronicles
  • Release all four books in the Silence Sea Chronicles as a box set
  • Republish all my paperbacks with ISBN’s and through a publisher Waterstones recognises.
  • Approach indie bookshops as well.
  • Keep trying to get my books into the libraries.
  • Read ‘Writing Short Stories to promote your novel’ by Rayne Hall and action what I learn.
  • Re-read the 72k partly written novel I am desperate to finish and actually finish it!
  • Outline and draft the novella prequel to the above novel using the techniques I’ve learnt from Couch to 50k and Take off your pants – See below.

 

Other writing related plans

Reviews

  • Review Couch to 50K by Rachel Tonks Hill once I have used the technique and discuss if it helped my writing.

couch to 50k

  • Review Take off your pants by Libbie Hawker once I’ve used the outlining techniques for some novel ideas. (By the way I chose this as my favourite writer’s guide of 2018 in this post.)

take off your pants

  • Review ‘Writing Short Stories to promote your novels’ by Rayne Hall, as previously mentioned.

writing short stories

 

Embrace my self publishing journey by

  • Contacting more reviewers
  • Organising a blog tour for the release of book 3
  • Buy KDP Rocket and use it to help with my book categories, keywords, ads etc.
  • Work on getting audiobooks produced for all my books.
  • Create a landing page on my website
  • Decide if I’m ready to set up a mailing list / newsletter
  • Go to writing events including Winchester and Gollancz scifi / fantasy.

 

Non writing plans for 2019

  • Find a way to get more sleep.
  • Fit in some exercise as often as possible.
  • Get out with the family more.
  • Read what I feel like reading without pressure as per my reading goals posted here.
  • Fall in love with my garden again
  • Be more adventurous cooking

 

That’s about all I can think of for now. I like to review my goals every quarter or mid-year, so it will be interesting to see how far I get with this list. As I stated at the start, the most important thing is working on book 3. Anything else will be a bonus!

Happy new year to you all and good  luck with your own goals whatever they might be.

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2018 Wrap up – My writing year in review #amwriting

2018 has been a major year for me and it’s been good to look back over the highlights and have the opportunity to share them with you.

The year started off with a huge bang when I was approached by Albatros Media, a major publish in the Czech Republic. They are publishing a Czech translation of my debut novel, Visions of Zarua in the fall this year. 2018 saw one of my dreams come true and I earned (and spent) my first ever advance! I hope to be able to share a cover reveal with you very soon, I think the czech cover is perfect.

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I received my first full MS request from an agent. This was a huge high point, though I’m very sad to say that I haven’t heard back from her since.

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I published book 2 in the Silent Sea Chronicles – The Sentinel’s Reign at the end of June 2018 and it’s been seeing quite a lot of action on Kindle Unlimited, but unfortunately reviews are very slow to follow.

The Sentinel's Reign book cover

Please check the blurb and reviews on Goodreads and feel free to get in touch if you would like a copy to review.

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In November I celebrated the 3rd birthday of Visions of Zarua with a birthday blitz hosted by 25 blogs and organised by Rachel’s Random Resources. It was a great day and I highly recommend Rachel’s services. I received 10 new reviews and had so much fun answering questions, writing guest posts and sharing extracts. Click here if you want to see the tour hosts involved and for Rachel’s info. I also posted about the day here part 1 and part 2.

VOZ blitz

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I went to the Gollancz Writers’ Day. It hasn’t led to any breakthroughs with agents or traditional publishers, but it was a lot of fun going to an event centred around my genre. I spoke to other writers, bestselling authors, editors at Gollancz and a top agent. I feel more confident about attending days like this in the future. Here’s my review of the day.

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I dusted off some of my favourite short stories, had them edited and beta read and then entered some competitions. So far, nothing has come from it but I have been inspired to produce my own short story anthology at some point in the future.

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On a non-writing related topic, I lost 2 stone with Slimming World and feel so much happier about myself. I’ve tried dieting on and off for years, but it was only joining a group that really helped me reach my target weight and keep to it. I recommend it if losing weight is one of your new year’s resolutions.

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In conclusion 2018 was a slow writing year, but I plan to change that in 2019. I hope to share the new technique I’m hoping will increase my output once I’ve tested it fully.

Join me next time where I will post about my plans for reading, writing and life in general for 2019. See you then.

I’m going to Gollancz Writers’ day #writerslife #writinglife #fantasyauthor

This week I’m attending a Writers’ day in London hosted by Gollancz and with a special guest agent I’ve always wanted to meet.

enthusiastic picture

It’s my third time attending a writing event in London, but this one is extra special as it will be focused on SF, Fantasy and Horror. For once I won’t be in the minority and I won’t feel inferior because I’m a genre author!

I’m both nervous and excited about the day ahead. I’ll hear about the life of a book from a publisher’s perspective, learn about marketing, publicity and sales, meet some Gollancz authors and of course there’s the chance to meet the agent at the top of my list, Juliet Mushens. What a day!

There is an opportunity at the end of the day to practice our pitches, something I don’t think I will ever be any good at. I will do my best to hand out business cards to everyone I talk to though. I want to make some new connections, something I’ve failed at terribly in the past. Maybe knowing the other authors at the event like my genre will give me the confidence I’ve been lacking.

All going well, I shall share my experience with you next week. If you are attending let me know; it would be great to meet some fellow bloggers in person.

Wish me luck!

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