Books on my TBR shelf for 2018 #amreading #readingchallenge

At the start of 2017 I wrote a list of the books I planned to read. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to reach my goal because I spent most of my time editing rather than reading. Looking back at the books I did read in 2017 I noticed I haven’t read as much fantasy as I would like. So in 2018 I hope to immerse myself in the genre.

I decided to record a few of the books I plan to read and hopefully by telling you all, it will inspire me to keep on track. Here goes…

Ash and Quill (The Great Library book 3) – Rachel Caine

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(Book 1 and 2 were my Christmas reads over the last few years and I loved them. I’m 100 pages into book 3 and loving it just as much.)

A Gathering of Shadows (Book 2) A Conjuring of Light (Book 3) – V E Schwab

(I loved book one and chose it as a standout fantasy read for me in 2017. Here’s the post.)

Queen of Fire – Book 3 – Anthony Ryan

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(When I read book 1 – Bloodsong a few years ago I knew I had discovered my new David Gemmell in this author. I enjoyed book 2 almost as much, but for some reason haven’t got around to reading the last book.)

Magic-Born – Crown of Stones book 3 – C L Schneider

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(Crown of Stones is another great series that I can’t wait to finish reading.)

Magisterium books 2, 3 and 4. Holly Black and Cassandra Clare.

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(A brilliant children’s series that my son and I adore. Hopefully the last book will be published in 2018?)

Rhyming Rings – David Gemmell

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(David Gemmell is my all time favourite fantasy author! When I heard this unpublished book was being released in 2017, I snapped up a copy. I’m waiting for the right moment to sit and read this book without any distractions.)

Keepers – Sacha Black

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(I’ve followed Sacha’s blog for quite a while now and have been eager to read her new book, which I won in a blog competition. I’m hoping it’s one I can recommend to my son as well.)

Caraval – Stephanie Garber

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(Some of the reviewers I follow have loved this book and it’s on the strength of their reviews that I bought this. I’m looking forward to checking it out.)

I also have trilogies by Joe Abercrombie and Brandon Sanderson to complete, and it’s about time I started Throne of Glass by Sarah J Mass to see what all the fuss is about. I also hope to read some writing guides early in 2018 including;

111 tips to create your book trailer

111 tips to get book reviews

111 tips to market your book for free (all by Doris-Maria Heilmann)

13 steps to evil by Sacha Black

Fantasy Writing Prompts by Rayne Hall.

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Currently I have 283 book on my To Read shelf on Goodreads, bookshelves full of unread paperbacks, plus the kids have lots of books they’ve been recommending, and I have more books on my kindle and audiobooks to listen to. So once I’ve tackled the above list, I have plenty more books to choose from. Have you got any books that you think I should read in 2018?

What are your reading goals and what’s on your must read list?

Here’s to another year of great books. Happy reading!

My Top 10 reads of 2017 #greatreads #booklove #amreading

I’m surprised to say I beat my reading challenge target on Goodreads. I read 34 books throughout 2017, my target was 30. I read 33 in 2016, so I think I’ve found a good reading level for me, but I might aim a little higher in 2018. I plan to be more organised in my reading next year, finishing a few trilogies I’ve started etc. But I’ll post about that later. Right now, I’d like to share my Top 10 Reads of 2017…

My kids have recommended a few books this year, which have been really addictive. It’s hard to choose between them, so I’ve selected two…

Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver.

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I love wolves, have done since I read Robin Hobb’s Farseer trilogy. This book has emotion, excitement, adventure and friendship. It has been enjoyed by three generations of my family, so don’t let the fact its a children’s book put you off. I haven’t reviewed this book on my blog yet, but it is a 5 star read.

The Iron Trial By Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

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Again I haven’t reviewed this book yet, but it’s an amazing read and my first try of both these authors. I highly recommend this unputdownable 5 star book.

I tried a couple of historical fiction novels this year and I was so impressed with IREX by Carl Rackman, which I read when I was a reviewer on Rosie Amber’s book review team.

IREX by Carl Rackman

This book really draws you into the Victorian era and the mystery elements keeps you intrigued right to the end. I was sad this book had to end at all. Here’s my review.

I also tried Urban Fantasy for the first time and loved…

Eleonore by Faith Rivens

This was another 5 star read, here’s my review. I was really surprised how much I enjoyed changing my usual fantasy genre. I highly recommend this demon hunting, kick-ass heroine’s story.

Two of my stand out fantasy reads in 2017 were…

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

This was my book club choice and I loved it. Here’s the link to my original review. I loved this magical book and I’m jealous of Naomi Novik’s story telling skills.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V E Schwab

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I was taken by surprise by this novel. I loved the characters and can’t wait to read the rest of this series in 2018. I plan to share my review of the series then. It was another 5 star read.

I have listened to a few audiobooks in 2017 and two that really stand out are;

Therapy by Sebastian Fitzek

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The premise of this book really drew me in and I couldn’t stop listening. I may not have been over the moon with the ending, but it was still a great book and a 5 star read. Here’s my review.

The Breakdown by B A Paris

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This book was another addictive listen, with plenty of twists and shocks. You feel as unsure of whom to trust as the main character, Cass, and I loved the ending. A must read, and I hope to share my review of it early in 2018.

I have read a few writing guides this year. Again it was hard to choose between them, but I’ve selected two favourites…

The Writer’s Lexicon by Kathy Steinemann

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This book is a great editing companion. I found it really helpful in helping me focus on over used and redundant words, with plenty of helpful word alternatives. Here’s my review.

Overwhelmed Writer’s Rescue by Colleen M Story

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A great book to help you re-evaluate your life and focus on what matters. There is so much in this book to help you find more time to write. Here’s my review.

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So looking back at my reading in 2017 I’m impressed that I managed to read so many books considering I’ve published my second novel, The Lost Sentinel, edited a third and wrote 40k of another during NaNoWriMo.

I don’t know what 2018 will hold, but I’m looking forward to immersing myself in more fantasy books and following more review blogs to build up my TBR shelf even more.

Happy New Year everyone!

 

News and writing update #amwriting #nanowrimo

A short update to let you know I’m still around…

Things have been quiet on my blog recently as I try to edit book 2 (The Sentinel’s Reign) and draft book 3 (The Sentinel’s Alliance) during Nanowrimo 2017. It’s been difficult to spread my time between the two projects, along with having a new boiler fitted, a broken phone to sort and now a bout of RSI. Hopefully, that’s it for the bad luck and my wrist sorts itself out soon.

I’m on track to meet the 50k word count, though now I’m starting to panic about where to take the story. Writing without a plan is not easy and although I like the freedom of writing what comes into my head, it’s so hard to shut off my internal editor and just let it all flow without going back and tinkering with it. Much like that last sentence!

I’m very behind on sharing my book reviews, but I have a couple of reviews planned shortly.

The news I’m really excited to share is that I finally have a cover for The Sentinel’s Reign! I’ll do a cover reveal at a later date, but right now I need to focus on finishing the edit/read through so I can pass it to my beta readers. I really hope to publish book 2 early next year, but with Christmas creeping ever closer…

In other news, Visions of Zarua is 2 years old next week. I’ll be running a Goodreads paperback giveaway and an ebook giveaway on the blog, more news of those will follow.

How are you all coping with the demands of Nanowrimo? Have you any tricks to share? And does anyone have any advice for RSI?

Have a great weekend everyone.

#tuesdaybookblog The Writer’s Lexicon by @KathySteinemann #bookreview

The Writer’s Lexicon should be on every writer’s desk! Read on to find out why.

Blurb

You’re a writer. You just read your manuscript and discovered your characters nodding like marionettes in every chapter. When they’re not nodding, they’re rolling their eyes.

Oops.

Time to slash the Pinocchio strings and turn them into real live people. Award-winning author Kathy Steinemann will provide the tools. She cuts through the so-called rules and offers simple solutions.

Too many repetitions of “little”? There’s a cure for that. Do you rely on “very” too often? There’s a cure for that too. You’ll find the remedies in this book’s dispensary.

Should you ever use anything other than “said” to attribute dialogue? Are exclamation points taboo? The answers might surprise you.

Learn how to harness body language, cut hackneyed adjectives, and draw on the environment for ambience. No more wooden characters. You’ll transform them into believable personalities your readers will learn to love. Or hate.

Get in the driver’s seat, relax, and enjoy your journey—with Kathy Steinemann’s book as your GPS.

My Review

The author contacted me about reviewing her book and I’m so pleased she did. When I read the line ‘…characters nodding like marionettes in every chapter’, I knew this was a writing resource book I had to read.

It couldn’t have come at a better time for me as I’m in the process of fine-tuning the second book in my series Silent Sea Chronicles. I know I’m guilty of creating nodding, grinning character who laugh and cry far too much. There are plenty of other examples of words that you may not even realise you are overusing (that being one!), and a multitude of alternatives to try.

Kathy Steinemann uses imaginative examples of how not to write sentences, along with examples of how to improve your work. There are A-Z lists of alternative words, and story prompts throughout. The book gets you thinking about why you have chosen particular words, and she helps you think of ways a few well placed words can bring your story to life. There are also chapters on punctuation, how to include the senses in your writing, and a list of 400 redundant words.

I think it’s a brilliant book for every writer to have on their desk. Unfortunately, I’ve only read The Writer’s Lexicon on kindle (I highly recommend a paperback). I can imagine my paperback copy would have post-it notes stuck all over my favourite chapters. It has certainly got me thinking, and I will be using this as a guide to help me tighten the writing in my books.

5 well deserved stars.

Amazon UK  Amazon US  Goodreads

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Writing Update #amwriting #amediting

I haven’t done an update in a while so in order to clarify things in my own head, I thought I’d share my plans for the rest of 2017.

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Update 14/10/2017 – The giveaway is now over and in total 1831 people entered. The Lost Sentinel is now on over 1000 tbr bookshelves and I have gained close to 30 new followers on Goodreads. All these figures are fantastic, it’s just a shame the person who won is a serial competition entrant who has clocked up a massive 59k book on their to read list. They appear to give those they do win away, so I hope my book will find its way into the hands of someone who wants to read it.

(There are just a few hours left to enter the Goodreads giveaway for The Lost Sentinel – over 1500 people have entered so far. Don’t miss your chance to win a copy before 8am GMT 12/10/17.)

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I’m just a few scenes away from printing The Sentinel’s Reign (Silent Sea Chronicles #2) for what I hope will be a last proof read before I pass it to my beta readers. I love this stage where I find out what works and what doesn’t!

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I’m really excited to be taking part in NaNoWriMo this year where I hope to draft out the major part of The Sentinel’s Alliance (Silent Sea Chronicles #3).

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My hunt for book covers goes on, but I hope to have a cover reveals for book 2 and 3 soon.

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I hope to contact some book reviewers by the end of the year regarding The Lost Sentinel and Visions of Zarua.

However, if you are a book blogger reading this and would like to receive a review copy please get in touch via the comments or my Contact Me form.

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I have several other book ideas to work through including a time slip novel that appeared to me in the summer and is itching to be written.

It looks like I have a busy few months ahead of me.

How is the rest of the year looking for you and have you signed up for NaNoWriMo yet?

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If you want to find our more about my books, please click on the universal Amazon link below where you can read the blurb, check out reviews and download a free sample.

THE LOST SENTINEL COVER The Lost Sentinel

 Visions of Zarua

#Tuesdaybookblog Overwhelmed Writer Rescue by @colleen_m_story #bookreview

Overwhelmed Writer Rescue by Colleen Story. This is a Writer’s self-help book, but I think the time management strategies etc. would benefit anyone who struggles to cope with the demands of everyday life. Before I share me review, here’s the blurb…

Blurb

Find the time, energy, and confidence you need to make your creative dreams come true!

Do you feel like you’re always behind? Do less important tasks frequently flood your schedule and sink your creative motivation? Are you frustrated and out of touch with your inner artist?

After 20 years experience in the writing industry, author Colleen M. Story extends a lifeline to pull Find the time, energy, and confidence you need to make your creative dreams come true!

Do you feel like you’re always behind? Do less important tasks frequently flood your schedule and sink your creative motivation? Are you frustrated and out of touch with your inner artist?

After 20 years experience in the writing industry, author Colleen M. Story extends a lifeline to pull you out of the sinking swamp of “busyness” and back into the flourishing creative life you deserve.

Today’s demands on writers and other creative artists are overwhelming. Not only must you produce the work you love, but build and maintain a platform and market your finished products to the world–all while holding down a day job and/or caring for a family.

You teeter on the edge. What waits on the other side are burnout, exhaustion, and a complete loss of creative motivation.

Overwhelmed Writer Rescue provides practical, personalized solutions to help beginning and experienced writers and other creative artists escape the tyranny of the to-do list to nurture the genius within. You’ll find ways to boost productivity, improve time management, and restore your sanity while gaining insight into your unique creative nature and what it needs to thrive.

Ultimately, you’ll discover what may be holding you back from experiencing the true joy that a creative life can bring.

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

–Why you feel so rushed and how you can regain control of your time.
–Your unique “time personality” and how to use it to get more writing done.
–Practical steps to overcome distractions and focus faster.
–The 7 “productivity saboteurs” that plague creative artists and how to outsmart them.
–Your personal motivation style and how to use it to increase productivity.
–How to tap into your unconscious mind to find “writer solutions” when you need them.
–Why affirmations don’t work and how to instill true belief in yourself.
–Why it’s critical to your overall health and well being to nurture the creator within.

There’s no reason to feel overwhelmed one moment longer. No matter how crazy your life is, you can find more time for your creative work, and start feeling more like yourself again.

(Taken from Goodreads)

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My Review

I’ve struggled with finding time to write since I began my self-publishing and social media journey in 2015. When I heard about this book I hoped it would help me claim back some time to do the thing I love most, write.

Overwhelmed Writer Rescue has changed my mind-set towards time management and especially about prioritising. It’s clear you can’t change everything overnight, but this book gets you motivated to start making changes straight away. It is a book I know I will keep dipping into for advice in the weeks and months to come.

The book is written in four parts and at the end of each chapter there are Time Treasures – brilliant suggestions that help you gain back time. It is well researched, with short questionnaires to help you tailor the advice to your own personality and circumstances. This ensures you gain the most from the book.

This book has the unique blend of writing advice whilst focusing on your well-being, all thanks to Colleen’s expertise in the field of health writing.

There are so many little gems of advice thoroghout, but one of my favourites is;

‘…make the life you have now work for you, creatively.’

The chapter on Prioritising (chap 5) has been the biggest help to me in the short-term and is something I have been trying to work on every day with this in mind = KWIT Keep what’s important on top.

My daily to do list now has two sections – 3 most important tasks for the day, and then other jobs I want to try to fit in. By not expecting myself to do everything in one day, I’m no longer spending my whole life with the negative feeling of disappointment. Already I’ve found I have achieved much more.

Another really great chapter is Focus Faster (chap 7). Breaking projects down into 25 minute blocks, so you don’t lose concentration. I am guilty of spending hours at the computer without break, so this is something I really want to challenge myself to do.

Overwhelmed Writer Rescue is a brilliant, motivational self-help book that anyone can benefit from. I really, really enjoyed reading this and recommend it to everyone, not just writers.

5 STARS

FYI – I received a galley copy from the author.

Check out the book for yourself Overwhelmed Writer Rescue.

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In case you missed it yesterday, here’s the link to Colleen Story’s guest post all about researching books and how research for non-fiction and fiction may not be as different as you think.

#Mondayblogs Guest Post with @colleen_m_story #amwriting

Today I am really excited to welcome Colleen Story to my blog for a guest post all about research…

The One Question You Need to Ask When Doing Writing Research

When Suzanne first asked me about the research I did for my newly released non-fiction book, Overwhelmed Writer Rescue, and how it differed from the research I did for my novels, my first thought was, Oh it’s completely different.

But then as I starting looking into it, I thought, Well, maybe not—there actually are a lot of similarities.

In discovering those similarities, I’ve found that no matter what type of writing you’re doing, it’s important to ask one question. The answer will help you determine whether the research will benefit the writing or not.

Health Writing is Researching in its Purest Form

I’ve been researching non-fiction writing for over 20 years. I specialize in health writing. If you’re unfamiliar with what that is, just imagine me writing research papers all day long on things like heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, preventative care, alternative treatments, nutrition, and the like.

Sounds about as fun as a root canal, right?

Well, if you’re interested in what you’re researching, it can be fun, and much of the time, I am. Over the years, I’ve gradually expanded into personal growth, motivation, and creativity, which I particularly enjoy, and for which the research can be extremely intriguing.

I’ve written fiction for about the same period of time, but for years, I didn’t research it at all. Looking back, I think I probably avoided it simply to get away from what to me was my “day job” as a freelance writer. Fiction was my time to play and indulge my creative muse—I certainly didn’t want to bring any dry research into it.

When I started writing novels, though, that had to change, at least somewhat.

Gradually, My Fiction Writing Began to Require Some Research

My first novel was a fantasy, so I researched things that appealed to my imagination, like gargoyles, stone sculptures, and ancient myths and legends—all fun stuff that didn’t really seem like “research.” Instead, I was indulging my own sense of curiosity.

You see, in my mind, research is tough. I’m used to regularly reading challenging material that typically goes something like this:

“Most studies agree that the classical pathological criteria for AD, neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, can account for 40%–70% of the variance in cognition seen in elderly subjects, with additional pathologies such as cerebrovascular disease (Dolan et al. 2010b) and Lewy body pathology (Schneider et al. 2007) working together with AD pathology to account for an additional 20%–30% of dementia cases. (O’Brien and Wong, Annu Rev Neurosci., 2011)”

Not exactly light reading, and this is one of the simpler ones. After a day of it, you’re ready to move onto something else.

So “researching” my fiction has always been restricted to an “as needed” and “for fun” basis. I really didn’t think of it as a key component in my fiction writing—until the last couple years.

Continue reading

I’ve just purchased my #wordpress blog domain! #indieauthor news

That’s another item ticked off the To Do List!

It may not seem like much to some, but I’ve finally signed up for my WordPress blog domain.

My website is now officially suzannerogersonfantasyauthor.com.

It’s another small step on my writing and blogging journey, and I just wanted to share the news.

I haven’t looked into all the benefits yet, but I hope readers with have a smoother look around my site without any ads popping up. I’ve also got more space to download photos; followers of my blog will know I love taking pictures and the free memory was getting dangerously full.

Next on the list may be setting up the dreaded email subscriber list!

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Have your brought your domain name? Have you found any added benefits?

Or have you any items on your To Do List that you keep putting off?

#WWWBlogs Question for #indieauthors & #readers about #KDP & advertising

I’m about to set up another Kindle Countdown deal for my book Visions of Zarua. In the past I’ve run a few ads on AMS, Facebook and Goodreads but I wouldn’t say they had resulted in many sales.

I want to ask;

Readers how / where do you discover books and are you more inclined to buy a book during a deal period?

Indie Authors where have you advertised your countdown deals and have they resulted in a good sales? In fact, while we’re on the subject where do you advertise your books whether it’s a promo or not.

I have a limited budget and there are so many sites to choose from, so I’m looking for some guidance. My genre is fantasy, so I’m looking to target readers of fantasy fiction.

Please get in touch and start a discussion on the difficult subject of advertising.

Thanks for your help!

P.S. I have blogged before about my experiences with KDP and if this time turns up any good results I’ll be sure to share them with you.

 

Day 6 The Lost Sentinel’s blog tour – #writers 12 Questions to ask yourself before writing a series #amwriting

On day 6 of the blog tour I’m featured over on Sacha Black’s blog, sharing my insight on writing a standalone novel vs a series. I’ve devised 12 questions all writers can ask themselves before embarking on the task.

Please head over and let me know what you think.

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The Lost Sentinel blog tour will continue later with a book review from Another World Book Blog. See you then.