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

WWW Wednesday Reading update #amreading #tbr

I’m been very busy working through edits over the last few weeks so my reading has been a bit slow.

I thought I’d use WWW Wednesday for a reading update and to get me focused again. You can take part too by answering these questions;

What are you currently reading, What have you just read, What will you read next and link your blog post to ‘Taking on a world of words‘ You can also see who else is taking part.

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What I’m currently reading

Sparrow by Michael Morpurgo

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I needed something short to read and my daughter suggested this. I haven’t read any Morpurgo before, but I’m enjoying it so far. It’s based on the Joan of Arc story.

I am also reading an ARC for Jesper Schmidt – How to write fantasy book descriptions, but I don’t have the cover to display just yet. 25% in and so far, so good. I think this could really help fantasy writers.

What I’ve just read,

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Here’s my review of Ninja School Mum

What I’m reading next.

Last time I took part in WWW Wednesday I had hoped to finish a couple of trilogies, but I’d forgotten about my monthly book group reads. With my lack of time I’m having to reconsider what books I can fit in. In the next month I need to read Senlin Ascends, which I’m really excited about as it was my choice for book group.

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And I still hope to read book 3 Magic Borne to finish Ian Troy’s story,

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In the next few days I will also be reading my own book The Sentinel’s Reign (book 2 of Silent Sea Chronicles) prior to its publication at the end of June. Cover reveal and pre-order links coming very soon!

I think that is plenty of books to be getting on with. What are you reading?

WWW Wednesdays – 25th April #amreading

I’ve decided to take part in this book tag for a change to try and keep my reading on track. The book meme is hosted by Taking on a World of Words

Three questions; What are you reading? What have you just read? What will you read next?

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What I’m currently reading…

 

I picked up Ninja School Mum during its recent blog tour as I really like the cover and fancied something different to read.

I re-read the first few chapters of Visions of Zarua before starting to submit to agents and decided I should read the whole thing again. If it’s not too big-headed to admit, I still enjoy my own writing and still love the characters.

What I’ve just read…

 

I read an ARC copy of The Sand Scuttler and will be sharing my review in May. In the meantime, I would definitely recommend it to fantasy fans. It’s currently on pre-order.

All the Birds in the Sky is my book group choice and after 294 pages I decided to DNF this book. I just didn’t care enough for the characters and not enough seemed to happen. Once I’ve heard what the others in the reading group have to say, I may change my mind though.

What I will read next…

 

I decided this year that I would commit to finishing a few trilogies. These two in particular I’ve been looking forward to reading.

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Don’t forget to head on over to Taking in the World of Words and check out who else is taking part in this weekly event.

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…

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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!