Belated mid-year review #amwriting #amreading

My big news is of course that The Sentinel’s Reign – Silent Sea Chronicles Book 2 is now published.

It’s available here in ebook (99p for a few more days only), paperback and free to read on kindle unlimited.

That’s the sales bit out the way.

In other news, The Lost Sentinel (Book 1) is entered into SPFBO 2018 competition and has been given to Lynn’s Books to judge, which is funny as I had planned to contact her to review the book this year. There is also a cover competition going on right now. Of course I love my cover, but there are lots of great covers in the running from my group of 30 so it will be interesting to see which ones get put through to the next stage.

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2018 has seen some major steps forward for me – landing a publishing contract with a Czech publisher for Visions of Zarua and having a full manuscript request from a UK agent for the same book. These are milestones I’ve been dreaming of, but we’ll have to see where they lead. I’m learning that everything takes time in the publishing world and you need to have a lot of patience!

 

My 2018 goals in review.

At the beginning of the year I set myself some goals (post here). Today I am revisiting them to see how I’ve done.

Writing

Publish book 2 The Sentinel’s Reign = Achieved.

Finish first draft of book 3 The Sentinel’s Alliance = Nope, but I have planned 2/3’s in a rough draft.

Look at WIP to see if I want to send to agents = Still to do. I have a draft almost finished that I would love to edit and polish and send to agents. I am also thinking on an idea I would like to try out on Wattpad. I have no idea how to go about this so I need to research it more.

Writing in general

Attend more writing events = I’ve attended 1 this year.

Contact book reviewers = I have done very well with this so far and have a new batch of reviewers to contact very soon. If you are a blogger interested in reviewing my books please use this contact form.

Learn more about marketing and get my books in front of more readers = I entered SPFBO (self published fantasy blog off) along with 299 other entrants, which will hopefully give The Lost Sentinel some much needed exposure. If you have read The Lost Sentinel, please consider leaving a review on Amazon / Goodreads, it helps with the ranking of the book though won’t have any affect on how far the book gets in the competition, that’s down to the judge of each group. I’ve run a mildly successful kindle countdown deal for The Lost Sentinel and it will go on Netgalley for a month starting 9th July.

Blogging

Tidy up blog, create banner and landing page = The blog is better but could still do with a tidy up, and I have a cool new banner. The landing page is something I still need to look into.

Blog more and focus on books about writing = I have reviewed a few writing books.

Feature more guest posts and get involved in more blog tours = I have featured Susan Leigh Noble and Ari Mehlen, but there is always room for more.

Lifestyle

Healthier diet and walk more = I lost almost 2 stone with Slimming World in 4 months, so that was a great success at the start of the year and I have been maintaining my target weight. I bought a treadmill and used that through winter but now it’s gathering dust.

Get more sleep = No chance! The hot weather and the book release don’t add up to a good night’s sleep. Maybe one day I’ll catch up on my beauty sleep.

Be more positive = I’m trying to be positive and take things as they come. For me being proactive helps, but when nothing comes of all the hard work I’ve invested it’s difficult to keep upbeat.

Reading

Read more fantasy = Yes.

Post more book reviews = Nope, I am way behind and have given up keeping my book review page up to date.

Read at least 35 books in 2018 = I’m trying but I’m behind schedule, total to date is 16.

My reading has been very slow. Editing and promotion has taken all my spare time and I’ve even struggled to find any audio books that hold my attention. My tbr pile grows almost daily and I am not making a dent in it.

I am still reading my book group choice Senlin Ascends (a previous SPFBO contestant, now traditionally published) even though I missed the group meeting last week due to a mix up with the day on my calendar! I believe it was enjoyed by all.

I did have a list of books I wanted to read and a couple of trilogies I wanted to finish, but for now I’m just going to wait and see what books take my fancy.

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What’s to come…

I hope to feature on a few blogs over the coming weeks and see some more reviews go up for The Lost Sentinel and The Sentinel’s Reign. Then I plan to throw myself into writing and make lots of progress. Fingers crossed anyway.

Because of this I will probably take the summer holidays off from blogging to focus on writing book 3 – The Sentinel’s Alliance. It worked well last year, though hopefully I can keep my hand in with a book review or two.

 

How’s your year shaping up?

 

Last plug for The Sentinel’s Reign – don’t forget to pick it up for 99p as I will be putting the price up at the end of the week. And add it to your Goodreads shelf.

publicity ebook and paperback

Guest Post with writer Ari Meghlen #writingtips #amwriting @AriMeghlen

Today I’m really pleased to share a guest post from fellow writer, Ari Meghlen. She has some great tips for keeping your writing projects under control. Read on to find out more…

 

Keeping the Rabble in Line: How to stick to one story

A Writer’s Life

I always knew I was meant to be a writer.  Even in those very early years when I struggled to read and was way behind, regarding reading levels compared to other children my age.  After all, my inability to read well never stopped the ideas from coming.

While I loved to draw and was not bad at it, art never seemed enough to give all these ideas life!  So, writing was the only way to go.

A Rabble of Chattering Ghosts

I have been blessed (and cursed) with always having ideas.  Any time I suffered writers block, it was usually due to mental burn-out or a stubborn plot-hole that just won’t play ball.  It was never due to lack of ideas.

I appreciate that is something I am lucky to have.  However, it does have its downside.  It’s certainly hard to complete a current project when some juicy new idea pops up demanding attention.

I recently discussed the concept of Muses and how to me, my Muses were a rabble of chattering ghosts.  And might I say, they’re a rude, demanding lot too!

Their chatter follows me everywhere – in the car, in the grocery store, in the shower.  I am forever reaching for a pen or grabbing my phone to jot down a note.  It can be anything from a character, a scene or just an abstract concept or question.

It is awesome to have so many ideas.  I love that I have enough ideas to keep me going for years to come.

However, it’s also a bad thing because all this chattering is a deep distraction.  What is the point of having enough ideas for dozens of books, if I never finish any?

Acknowledging Bad Writing Habits

When I was younger, I fell into very bad habits.  The ones where I would drop a working project (no matter how far into it I was) to start another.  I felt as if every time a new idea crept up, I had to seize it!

That entailed abandoning story after story as I chased down whatever my chattering ghosts gave me.

This is a great route for disaster as a writer.  Does it sound familiar?  Have you ever caught yourself doing this?

We do it for many reasons, here are just a few:

  • New and Shiny – I feel like writers are a bit like magpies. We are easily distracted by shiny objects and new ideas are those shiny objects.  They draw our eye and it becomes our focus… until the next shiny appears.
  • FOMO – Fear of Missing Out is a big one for people. Whether you get an idea for a story that is in a trending genre and want to exploit that, to feeling the new idea would be a better, more solid first novel to bring out than your current one.  Sometimes we fear missing the opportunity that might be better for us.
  • Ninja Level Procrastinator – Many writers don’t realise, but story-hopping is a type of procrastination. Some people have a (often unconscious) fear of completing their work so story-hopping allows them to procrastinate and never actually finish while still considering themselves writers.

But as writers, no matter what our reason, it’s not something we should do.  It is more damaging in the long run.

Exorcise the Ghosts with a Brain Dump

So, what do you do if you’re bombarded by ideas all the time?

First, you need to acknowledge the new ideas. 

Don’t try and ignore them as some will slip away, and you might always wonder if it could have been something great.  Others will just bang loudly on the door, constantly demanding entry and stop you from working anyway.

Second, exorcise the ghosts with a good, solid brain dump. 

This is where you just get all the chatter out of your head.  Open a new document, save it in an Ideas folder and then just type.  Whatever they are giving you – character descriptions, scraps of scenes, plot, dialogue, questions.

The idea here is to purge your mind of all the noise but don’t expand on it.  Don’t jot down the basis of a plot and then spend 3 months developing it.  That’s working on the project, whereas what you want to do is just create notes.

All the while remind yourself that your current project is being delayed and you must go back to it.

Third, expect that this brain dump might not be 100% done in one sitting. 

For the few days following, additional pieces of ideas may pop up.  Keep your Idea file open while you’re working on your current WIP and just jump into the document to add the odd nugget as it comes.

This is JUST for the straggler ideas and should not go longer than a few days.  Anything beyond that and you’re working on your new project.  Be firm, give yourself a cut off.

When you’ve gotten the chatter to hush, throw your focus back at your current WIP with vigour and let the idea sit patiently in its folder.  Ideas must be taught to wait their turn.

Be Firm, and Cling to Your Discipline

While writers could possibly do with some drill sergeant keeping us in line, most of us don’t have that so we must rely on our own sense of discipline (terrifying, I know!)

But if you want to be a writer, if you want to complete something and get it published, you need to be firm.

Don’t read the notes you’ve made on your new project.  Don’t keep thinking about it.  Believe me when you come back to those notes eventually, they will still trigger ideas and you can build on it then.

Why an Outline can help keep the Ghosts under control

There is a lot to be said for having an outline of your work.  If you have a strong, detailed outline written for your current work, you will find that the desire to drift off to new projects is somewhat diminished.

This is because often writers will feel a spark with new ideas, especially if they aren’t 100% sure where their current work is going.  So, rather than just sitting staring at a screen and dealing with the plot-hole or up-coming conflict, we drop it and turn to the new project.

An outline is a map, showing you the way.  It reduces the need for staring blankly at a page, trying to figure out where you’re going in the story.

I was a pantser for a long time and my work has suffered because of it.  I have been much better since I (with brutal reluctance) started to do full, detailed outlines.

Those whispered ideas don’t grab me as tightly any more because my focus draws right back to the next scene I need to write in my current WIP.

 

So, do you often find yourself swayed by the siren of new ideas?  How have you managed to stop yourself from dropping one project to start another?

 

A big thanks to Suzanne for letting me be on her blog, much appreciated.

 

About Ari

At the age of 8, Ari Meghlen wanted to be a pirate, because who doesn’t look great in baggy pantaloons and an eyepatch.  However, lacking any access to a ship this dream was relegated along with so many others: Professional Ninja, Best Friend to a Dragon, Palaeontologist.

Yet Ari found that, in stories, she could be anything she wanted and so a great love affair started with the written word.  She mainly writes Preternatural Urban Fantasy as well as more Traditional Fantasy.

When she’s not creating worlds from the screaming, shuddering recesses of her mind, Ari can be found blogging about writing on her website or indulging in other hobbies such as drawing, shooting arrows, watching movies, playing cards badly.

Me-BW

Links

Website/Blog:  https://arimeghlen.co.uk/

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/writerarimeghlen

Twitter: http://twitter.com/arimeghlen

Instagram: http://instagram.com/ari_meghlen

Spring Update #amwriting #amreading

With Spring here at last, I thought it would be the perfect time for another writing and reading update.

March has been an interesting month for weather in my part of the UK. I’ve tried not to let it interfere with my writing schedule and luckily the kids only had one snow day off school. I’ve been busy polishing The Sentinel’s Reign book 2 in the Silent Sea Chronicles after beta reader feedback, and have booked an April slot with my editor for a proof read / edit. The book is currently with my second wave of beta readers who hopefully won’t find too much wrong (fingers crossed).

I can’t wait to do a cover reveal for The Sentinel’s Reign and announce the pre-order date, but I’m wary of doing this until my editor has cast her professional eye over the manuscript. So for now all I can say is watch this space…

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At the beginning of March I attended a Getting Published Workshop, which was informative but didn’t quite go the way I’d hoped. I will share my thoughts about the day and what I gained from it later in the week.

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As I revealed a couple of weeks ago, I’m still in talks with a publisher regarding the Czech translation of Visions of Zarua. I’ll be sure to spread the word and break out the champagne when the contracts are signed.

I’ve decided to re-read Visions of Zarua. This seems like a mad thing to do because the publishers were obviously happy with the story and I’m bound to want to change minor details that don’t really impact on the reading experience. It’s just the editor in me screaming to be heard. The question is do I give in to the nagging voice, or try to read the book for pleasure as I would any other book. Is that even possible?

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I have been contacting book reviewers in the hopes of building some interest in The Lost Sentinel, which has suffered with lack of marketing whilst I worked on book 2. I really want to start showing the book some love and attention. If you would like to read and review The Lost Sentinel, please contact me.  As always, here’s the universal book link to see what you think on Amazon, or check the dedicated page above.

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Plans for the weeks ahead;

I’m looking forward to continuing work on The Sentinel’s Alliance (Bk 3), which I started during Nanowrimo last year. Skim reading through the draft has filled me with excitement and I can’t wait to lose myself in the story and see what happens next!

I will be submitting Visions of Zarua to agents on my short list, using the knowledge I learnt from the Getting Published day (again I’ll share my views with you in a day or so). I would love to get some more reviews for Visions as well, any takers?

Now, on to what I’ve read…

book cover 111 tips book review

See my review here

Time Travelling with a Hamster – review to follow. It was a fun read, and even though a children’s book, the time travel concept held up perfectly. This was originally recommended to me by my daughter, who devoured the story in a few days.

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(I’ve also read The Lost Sentinel and The Sentinel’s Reign though obviously won’t be reviewing my own books.)

What I am reading.

As mentioned I’m re-reading Visions of Zarua.

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I’m also reading

 

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This is the last book in the trilogy and is filled with action that’s keeping me up far too late at night.

I’ve agreed to read very soon…

The Sand Scuttler by Rosalyn Kelly (Early ARC so no cover to share as yet) and Ninja School Mum by Lizzie Chantree.

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And I have another two trilogies I am desperate to finish The Crown of Stones – Magic-borne by C.L.Schneider and Queen of Fire by Anthony Ryan.

That should keep me going for a while.

Have you any writing or reading goals for the spring?

Until next time…

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)

Overwhelmed Writer Rescue - eBook (1)[1]

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.

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