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.

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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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Visions of Zarua – #Audiobook in the pipeline – #narrators wanted #fantasy

I have toyed with the idea of an audiobook for a few years now, but I was always put off by the length of my book and the cost that would mean for the customer. But now I see many of my fellow indie authors going for it I’ve finally decided to try it out for myself.

I’ve registered Visions of Zarua with ACX and it’s ready for narrators to audition. Now comes the difficult part – getting in touch with narrators. I’ve spent a few fun hours listening to voice samples and I have found a couple I really like. I plan to approach them soon, but it is impossible to know what kind of voice will work for a novel with three male viewpoints and one female.

I suppose I will know the voice when I hear it, the same as I knew this cover was the one the moment I saw it.

Visions of Zarua book cover

If you are interested in auditioning here’s the ACX link to see Visions of Zarua’s audition request page. I’d love to hear from you and see how you plan to bring the book to life.

Advice wanted – If you have produced an audiobook, or are an author whose book has been narrated, maybe you could share some of your knowledge and tips?

I will do a follow up post in the future on my experience with audiobooks.

For now I shall leave you with the blurb and Amazon / Goodreads links of you want to find out more about Visions of Zarua.

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Two wizards, 350 years apart. Can they save the realm of Paltria from Zarua’s dark past?

An ancient darkness haunts the realm of Paltria.
Apprentice wizard Paddren is plagued by visions of a city on the brink of annihilation. When his master dies in mysterious circumstances, the Royal Order of Wizards refuses to investigate.
Helped by his childhood friend, the skilled tracker Varnia, and her lover Leyoch, Paddren vows to find the killer.
The investigation leads Paddren down a sinister path of assassins, secret sects and creatures conjured by blood magic. But he is guided by a connection with a wizard from centuries ago – a wizard whose history holds the key to the horror at the heart of the abandoned city of Zarua. Can Paddren decipher his visions and save the Paltrian people before the dark menace of Zarua’s past is unleashed?

Amazon

Goodreads

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Silent Sea Chronicles worldwide #Booksale ends 15th October #fantasy #epicfantasy #99p #99c

Happy weekend everyone. I would just like to let you know that my book sale is coming to an end. But if you’re quick you can pick up both books in this heroic fantasy series for just 99p each. The sale is worldwide so everyone can grab a bargain book.

The Lost Sentinel – Book 1.

The Sentinel’s Reign – Book 2.

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‘If you’re a loving fantasy fan seeking a tale filled with adventure and magic then you should really give this series a try’ – Pooled Ink Reviews

The Lost Sentinel – ‘Overall this is an amazing and gripping fantasy read. It’s a long book but filled with a lot of great action and a perfect fantasy setting ( there are no fantasy type creatures just humans). The world of Kalaya is rich and dark and I’m amazed at how sucked into the action I was reading this, and how unpredictable and dark the storyline is. The ending is a satisfying one but the story is far from over, it’s only beginning and sets up questions for the next book in the series and I can’t wait to read it!’ – Strawberry

The Lost Sentinel ‘…this story bowled me over, it was an absolutely outstanding epic fantasy and the kind of writing fantasy authors should be aspiring to. The only negative I have is that I’m dreading the wait for book two.’BrizzleLass

The Sentinel’s Reign ‘A super paced story, plenty going off and an ending that makes me hungry for the last instalment. This is a cracking epic saga.’ Susan Hampson Books from Dusk Till Dawn.

‘There is a 3rd book planned for this series so don’t despair if you get to the end and want more. Even if you don’t like fantasy books usually you will like this series, so don’t delay, get your copy today!’ – Alinefromabook

Why don’t you give the series a go and make this authors day. See further reviews on Goodreads.

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#sundayblogshare #SPFBO4 Interview with Suzanne Rogerson, author of The Lost Sentinel #1 in the Silent Sea Chronicles #fantasy #spfbo

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Yesterday I was lucky enough to be interviewed on Lynn’s Books. Lynn was the judge tasked with reading The Lost Sentinel for SPFBO this year. Though The Lost Sentinel didn’t make the cut, she had some great things to say in her wrap up post and it was a pleasure to be interviewed by her. Please head over to read it now.

via #SPFBO4 Interview with Suzanne Rogerson, author of The Lost Sentinel #1 in the Silent Sea Chronicles

#TuesdayBookBlog #Bookreview Poison Study by Maria V Snyder #YAFantasy

Poison Study is a brilliant, compelling read. Here’s the blurb…

Choose: A quick death…Or slow poison…

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear…

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My Review

This was my book groups choice and I am so, so happy they chose it!

It is such a compelling book. I took it on holiday and I just couldn’t stop reading it. The beauty of reading an old paperback copy is that you can take it everywhere with you and sneak in a few pages when no one is looking! I had some very late nights with this book as well, and it’s one of those that if you had the next book handy, there’s no way you could resist picking it up and diving straight into the next adventure. I have now brought the next two books – Magic Study and Fire Study and I’m itching to find the time to read them. I have another holiday coming up so I might have to sneak them in the suitcase.

Why I loved this YA Fantasy.

In one word – Yelena. She is a brilliant character to follow and I liked her instantly. The first person viewpoint helps you build a bond with her and her story. At the start she is in prison for a murder that she never denies committing, but you have no idea of the details surrounding it. That’s just a small part of the intrigue that keeps you reading. On the day of her planned execution she is given the chance to escape death by becoming the Commander’s food taster. Of course she accepts but quickly realises this isn’t to be an easy life. Her master, Valek, turns out to be a harsh and sometime cruel master – but he really grows on you. Both Valek and Yelena are my favourite characters and I can’t wait to see what happens in book 2.

I loved the little details in this book, in particular the lessons on poison tasting. I’m informed this is all well researched and that really comes across. I would have liked more focus on this aspect in the plot, just because I love herbs, potions and assassins, but it was still a highly addictive read. Every chapter forced you to read the next. It is a masterclass for authors on how to craft a pager-turner.

There are some darker elements to the story that as adults you will pick up on, but I hope younger YA readers just take what’s on the page and not think too deeply about what’s happened. I am looking forward to my (nearly) 14-year-old son reading these books and I think in a couple of years my daughter will love them too. It is certainly a book I wish I had discovered in my teens, and I don’t say that about many books.

Highly recommended – 5 very big fat stars from me!

Have you read it?

Here’s the Goodreads link if my review has enticed you to find out more. With almost 120K ratings, 10k reviews and an overall star rating of 4.15, you can see this books has been loved by many people!

Book sale! The Lost Sentinel and The Sentinel’s Reign only 99p #fantasy

For a limited time in October the Silent Sea Chronicles will be just 99p / 99c. This is a worldwide sale, so please share the news with everyone you know!

The magical island of Kalaya is dying, along with its Sentinel.

 

The Sentinel’s reign is doomed to failure unless Tei can prevent the Kalayan people from plunging into war.

 

You can also check the book series page on Goodreads and add them to your bookshelf. I’ll leave you with a few quotes…

Brizzlelass – Epic fantasy at its best.

Pooled Ink Reviews – If you’re a fantasy loving fan seeking a tale filled with adventure and magic then you should really give this series a try.

Jennifer – A line from a book – Yummy is the word that comes to mind when I think about this book. As the second book in the series, my favorite characters are back, Callisa, Tei, Brogan and Mara … I loved revisiting Kalaya and as in previous books the descriptions of the world and of the magic it contains are beautiful.

Susan Hampson – Books from Dusk till Dawn – A super paced story, plenty going off and an ending that makes me hungry for the last installment. This is a cracking epic saga.

Sofii – A Book. A Thought. – I love the writing style, I love when the authors manage to tell a story that seems so complex in a very simple way, I think it’s something unique and it has that power to keep you wanting for more. It’s also very quick to read!  
I think that if you like books with multiple characters and you like to follow the story of each one as if you were there with them, you have to give this trilogy a chance.

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WWW Wednesday 26th September #amreading #fantasy

It’s Wednesday, so it’s time to take part in the weekly meme by Samantha over on World of Words. To take part in www Wednesday just answer these 3 questions;

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Then link back to Samantha’s post and visit the other sites also taking part.

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What are you currently reading?

The Game Bird by Aidan R Walsh

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This is a book I picked up because the cover really grabbed me and it’s part of the SPFBO 2018, which I am also entered into. I’m enjoying it so far. I’m only about 10% in but I’m intrigued to find out where it’s going.

The Gilded Cage by Vic (Audiobook)

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I’ve heard a lot about this book so thought I’d give it a go. It’s also an audio experiment for me as I wanted to listen to a few fantasy books and see how they compare to reading fantasy. I am hoping to have one of my own books produced as an audio – more details to follow.

What did you recently finish reading?

The Exercise of Vital Powers by Ian Gregorie

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Very good read. See my review here.

The Copper Gauntlet (Magisterium bk 2) by Holly Webb and Cassandra Clare

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Another really good read. It’s a mid-grade fantasy that can entertain any age.

At last, I finished My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry

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This is probably an audiobook record for me – I’ve been listening to it for over 2 months! It was such a slow book. Well written and it picked up towards the end, but I think it could have been a lot shorter.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I have so many books I want to read that I just don’t know where to start. I really want to support my fellow SPFBO indie authors, so perhaps I will go for one of these;

Calling all #bloggers #reviewers – Birthday Blitz for Visions of Zarua #fantasy

Visions of Zarua will be 3 years old on 16th November 2018 and Rachel is organising a birthday book blitz on the day. Review copies, guest posts, paperback giveaways, Q&A’s and extracts are available for any bloggers interested in signing up. Please head over to Rachel’s Random Resources to find out more here.

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#WWWBlogs Update and Goals for Autumn 2018 #amwriting #selfpubtips

I have been very quiet on the social media front these past few months, hoping to work hard on my draft of The Sentinel’s Alliance. That has not gone to plan but I have been doing lots of other exciting things and thought I would share them with you. Maybe you can pick up some tips for things you can be doing with your self published books.

Note – This whole situation came about because of Rebecca Howie’s post on The Backdoor to Bookstores. As you can guess it’s about getting your books into the bookshops, something I had thought impossible and didn’t bother researching. Her post has led me to;

  • Register all my books with Nielsen via a simple emailed form. This means my books can now be found on the website of most bookshops like Waterstones.
  • Ask my local Waterstones branch about stocking my books. I am waiting to hear from the relevant department.
  • Contact my local library. Again I am waiting to hear from the relevant department but the librarian was hopeful it would be accepted. If not I still have the option of donating copies for them to lend.
  • I already had a PLR account but my books weren’t on file. As I’ve now registered the books with Nielsen I can apply for my books to be added to my account. Again I am waiting for them to be processed.
  • Today I am posting a physical copy of each of my books to The British Library. Once deposited, there will always be a copy and a record of my work, though they did warn me the backlog was 3 or 4 months.

 

My next steps

  • Contact local indie books stores – I already have a list to work through.
  • Print some leaflets with LOCAL AUTHOR and hand them out around my local towns.
  • Look into book festivals for 2019 with a mind to having a book stall.
  • Look into having an audiobook produced for Visions of Zarua through ACX. I can go with the 50/50 split with a producer and pay nothing up front so there is nothing to lose. My main concern is the voice – I have 4 VP characters 3 of which are male. I think I will have to request a male narrator, though I’m not keen on men doing female voices and vs versa. Varnia is such a strong character, I would hate for her to lose that edge in an audio version.

 

Other news

I have just switched my paperback books from Createspace to KDP. It was a very simple process and took just a few minutes with the automated programme KDP have developed. Rather than try to explain it myself, I read a great post about it yesterday on Nicolas C Rossis’ blog.

 

Now onto my writing challenges for Autumn 2018

  • Finish my draft of book 3 asap, though I’m still coming to grips with the mess I made of it during Nanowrimo last year!
  • I want to try to plan the Prequel of Silent Sea Chronicles whilst writing book 3, ready to start work on it in 2019.
  • Write the draft of a new novella during Nanowrimo. I want to aim for a word count of 30-40k.
  • Enter at least 5 short story competitions. I have 5 stories edited, critiqued and ready to go and I think I have picked some good competitions to try.
  • Enter a few first chapter competitions.
  • Look for Self Pub novel competitions to enter that don’t cost loads of money
  • Work on new short story ideas for a possible anthology in 2019. I’ve already seen a couple of covers that I would love, but I can’t jump ahead that much, can I?

 

Other things I need to focus on in 2018

  • Promos for all books, including working on my AMS ads which I’ve heard is now changing anyway.
  • Contact reviewers – look for new opportunities and contact previous reviewers. It’s been a difficult summer for many reviewers so I’m hoping to reconnect with some of them during autumn/winter.
  • Write up my book reviews and post weekly. I like to do this on a Tuesday with the #tuesdaybookblog tag set up by Rosie Amber.
  • Study writing fiction for YA and decide if I want to head in that direct at some point. Some readers already class my Silent Sea Chronicles trilogy as YA so I’m interested to see why and if I should be targeting that market.
  • Finish my Goodreads reading challenge, which I am just about on target for.
  • A future goal I want to think about for 2019 is setting up an author newsletter. I know I should, but it’s one of those jobs I’ve been putting off.

 

It feels good to write down my achievements and my goals. I shall print off this list and pin it to the wall by my desk for inspiration and to keep me on track.

This list will easily take me to the end of the year. I just need to focus and stop getting distracted. I did find this post from Ari really helpful about her own September 2018 goals and working towards them each week. She shares lots of great advice and her site is well worth a visit.

Lastly, if you are looking for motivation you really should read this book – Overwhelmed Writer Rescue by Colleen Story. I reviewed it last year and it is packed with advice. I must revisit my copy.

I hope I have given you some ideas and if you have any tips to share or other routes I can follow as an indie author, please comment. I feel as though I’ve been out of the blogging loop for ages, so I’d love to reconnect with people.

 

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#Tuesdaybookblog #bookreview The Exercise of Vital Powers Ian Gregoire @lonelyboy1977 #selfpubfantasymonth #fantasy

Here’s my short review of The Exercise of Vital Powers by Ian Gregoire. But first the all important blurb;

Some Lessons Must Be Learned The Hard Way

Since its inception, The Order has been dedicated to the prevention of the misuse and abuse of magic. For seven decades this mandate has guaranteed peace and stability throughout The Nine Kingdoms. But a potential threat to the peace has emerged, and its source is much closer to home than the leadership of The Order may realise.

Arrogant, manipulative, confrontational and angry. Undesirable qualities in a person at the best of times, but more so in a young woman born with the power to bring kingdoms to their knees. Kayden Jayta, precocious apprentice of The Order, is all these things and more, yet wholly unwilling to acknowledge and rectify her many troubling traits.

Unbeknown to anyone, Kayden’s resolute determination to join the ranks of The Order is born of a secret that puts her priorities at odds with the precepts of the organisation, setting her inexorably on a collision course with the most powerful institution in The Nine Kingdoms.

If Kayden is to be dissuaded from walking the path she has chosen, averting tragic consequences in the process, two unanswered questions must be answered: What is the dark secret guiding Kayden’s actions? And, why has a legendary figure within The Order, with a secret of her own, taken undue interest in Kayden’s future?

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The Exercise of Vital Powers was entered into SPFBO in 2017 and was a semi finalist in it’s group, which is a very big deal in my opinion. Having followed the author for a while (and appearing on his blog last year) I know he made the brave decision to unpublish the book in order to re-edit it and source a professional cover.

It was re-released in July 2018 and I was quick to snap up a copy. If the cover is anything to go by, I’d say Mr Gregoire made the right choice. I adore this cover and having just finished the book I feel it depicts the main character, Kayden, perfectly.

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I enjoyed this novel very much. It takes place over a few days in Kayden’s life when so many things change and she learns much about herself. The Order and the magic system are well thought out, and the world brought to life with descriptive writing. I really liked Kayden’s mentors Fay and Ari, and Kayden is pretty cool once you get past her arrogant front. At points I just couldn’t stop reading and stayed up way past bedtime because I had to know what happened next.

I felt there was a little too much information at times, which slowed the story down. However, there was a lot of historical battles and background to get across, and you need these slower passages to understand the current situation in the Nine Kingdoms. I think it also sets up possible ideas of the troubles to come in future books.

I can’t believe the author managed to fit so much in over so little time. I feel this is the start of a great adventure and I am very much looking forward to the second instalment of what I believe will be a 5 part series.

I give this book 4 stars and recommend to those who love detailed world building and love being transported into magical worlds.

Why not check it out for yourself on Goodreads.