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

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

5 Must-Know Tips for Fantasy Worldbuilding

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

1. Take inspiration from the titans

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

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

2. Blend fantasy with reality

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

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

3. Do your research

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

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

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

4. Remember that the devil’s in the detail

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

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

5. Keep it consistent

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

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

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

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

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

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Quarterly Writing update April-June #amwriting #indieauthor

It doesn’t seem long ago that I was sharing my writing plans for the first quarter with you, and I certainly haven’t reached the goals I set myself then. The extended UK lockdown and kids at home struggling through online learning has set me back, but it doesn’t help to dwell. Spring is here, or at least it was for a day or two, and it’s time to move onward with a positive attitude.

Achieved so far

Evie’s Song has reached the beta reader stage for the second time having had a 20k word extension. It is still just shy of the 50K mark so I envision this to be a novella romance series.

Silent Sea Chronicles is now complete and available to listen to in audiobook form.

Thanks to Motion Kitty I have this great cover animation to share.

Writing plans for the 2nd Quarter of 2021

The Mermaid Hotel Romance Series

Finish and publish book 1 – Evie’s Song.

Finish and prepare to publish book 2 – AJ’s Legacy.

Complete book 3 and plot out the remaining 4 books in the series.

Expand the lead in story to offer to newsletter subscribers.

The Starlight Prophecy Fantasy Series

I haven’t touched this since last year so I’m itching to get working on it again.

I need to complete the prequel and get it off to beta readers. I would love to do this asap, but I am heavily invested in the romance series at the moment.

Write the lead in story to offer newsletter subscribers when the prequel is ready for publication.

New Fantasy Series – Shadow Hunters (working title)

I came up with this idea quite a few years ago and have recently revived it for my online writing group. They are all enjoying the characters and the story, so I want to keep planning and working on this book and see where it leads.

Short Story Anthology

Over the years I’ve written some short stories that I’ve really loved in a variety of genres – romance, ghost, thriller, fantasy etc. I’m feeling 2021 is the year to share them with the world. Plus I want to include the lead in stories from my fantasy and romance books. It’s an exciting project I’m looking forward to working on.

Other tasks for this quarter

I need to work on Amazon sales pages and blurbs. I’ve decided to try to remove Silent Sea Chronicles from the YA category – I think 13 year olds will be happy to read it, but I don’t feel right marketing it to all children of that age.

The dreaded tax return is due, so I can’t ignore that.

Keep reading writing research books and share the ones I’ve found helpful on my blog.

Keep sharing book reviews of the fiction books I’ve loved.

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I think that is about it for now. I know I’ve set myself a long list again, but it’s always good to have several options on the go, it keeps life exciting.

What are your plans for the second quarter of 2021?

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

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Author pen name poll – results are in! #indieauthor

I recently ran a poll on twitter to determine whether an author should have different names if they write in different genres.

It was an interesting experiment and I’m very happy the results fit with my plans to publish both fantasy and romance under the same name.

Here is the results poll…

4 people out of 20 prefer an author to have different names when they publish in different genres, whilst 7 people suggest the same name is fine. With 9 out of 20 people happy with either option, I take that as a successful result for using the same name.

So hopefully very soon, Suzanne Rogerson will be an indie author of both fantasy and romance books. I will be back soon with more news.

Thanks very much to those who have voted and commented. If you still want to have your say, please reply to this post. I’d love to know your thoughts.

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

You can follow me on

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You can also join my Newsletter for writing updates and news of promotions.

Writing plans update #amwriting #amediting #fantasy and #romance

Ok, so I had planned to post this at the beginning of January but due to lockdown and its various issues I haven’t been able to focus much on my writing. It’s still great to have a plan, even if it keeps changing and evolving so here’s the original post I planned for January with some changes to my writing and publishing goals.

The start of a new year is always a great time to set some new goals. As usual I have a head full of ideas and not enough time in the day to work on them all. But I thought if I set out my plans here then it might help me keep on track.

As I shared in my post Books I’ve read in 2020, I have been reading some how to books on writing. In particular romance and series writing. This is a whole new direction for me and one I am very excited about.

Romance Plans

What started as an idea in the March 2020 lockdown of a woman turning up in a quaint seaside town has steadily grown into a series. The original idea was nine novellas, but I have condensed these ideas into 6 longer books and a Christmas special. I can’t wait to get these books written and out into the world.

It’s exciting times, but I have to learn to curb my impatience as I want to have several books written before I publish anything. It’s going to be tough, but I hope it will be worth the wait.

Here’s the working blurb for book 1 – let me know what you think.

Will Evie’s dreams of a seaside escape turn out bittersweet?

Songwriter Evie Rose lives in the background, her confidence knocked by a past trauma that keeps her from the limelight. When her creativity dries up, threatening her livelihood, she heads to the seaside town of Lowenporth hoping to find inspiration.

Lowenporth’s lush sandy beaches and dramatic seascapes are just what burnt-out Evie needs. She adores the quirky charm of The Mermaid Hotel and is soon intrigued by another guest. Brooding William Bristow could be just the man to help her find her muse, but Evie’s sure he’s hiding something from her. And his secret could threaten everything. Can Evie write herself out of the slump and find the confidence to star in her own life? And will William be there by her side, or will the secret he’s keeping come between them?

Fantasy News

The Starlight Prophecy series is another project I want to finish and publish asap. I know what to do, it’s just getting around to finishing it. The structure of the series has a dual timeline so I’m desperate to get my beta readers opinion on how it works. Again, I’m so excited but I want the first two books finished this year and published, whilst working on the third. I have a plan, but with the new lockdown and kids home schooling time for writing is not something I have a lot of.

I also have another fantasy series I would like to start planning. The characters have been in my head for years and are eager for their time in the limelight. There are also other story paths I’m eager to explore in particular with my Silent Sea Chronicles series.

My big plans for the first quarter of 2021

  1. Finish book 1 of The Mermaid Hotel Romance Series.
  2. Complete draft of book 2 in MH series.
  3. Plan book 3 in MH series and try to draft it.

Plans for second Quarter of 2021

  1. Finish the extra scenes for book 1 of The Starlight Prophecy.
  2. Work on the end of book 2 in The Starlight Prophecy.

That is plenty to work with, but the sooner I get things finished, the sooner I can get them into beta readers hands.

I will review my progress at the end of March when hopefully life at home (and for the rest of the world!) is more normal.

Wish me luck!

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy

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Happy New Year and a quick review of 2020 #amwriting #amreading

When I think back over 2020 I’m tempted to say it’s been a wasted year and I’ve achieved nothing, but when I look deeper I realise there are still things to celebrate and be thankful for.

Firstly (and most importantly)

I am lucky to have my health and my family and friends have thus far avoided catching Covid-19. Those few that have had the virus are still fighting fit. Hopefully this continues, and with two vaccines now approved in the UK, I hope we will all soon see the back of this virus and the disruption it has caused across the world.

Writing in 2020

Although I have no published books to boast about this year, I did manage to have two audiobooks produced in 2020 and that is all down to the hard work of my talented narrator George Ellington. The Lost Sentinel came out in September and The Sentinel’s Reign in December. Some very positive reviews have already come in and I have a blog blitz planned in January.

One thing I am hugely excited about is the 9 book romance novella series I began planning and writing in 2020. Yes, that’s right, 9 books!

I will share more about this in my plans for 2021 blog post, coming soon.

Another project I’m excited about working on in 2021 is The Starlight Prophecy. It’s a new fantasy series. Again I’ll share more about this soon, but I’m hoping to get two of the three books published in 2021! Set your sights high, right!

Reading in 2020

I doubled my goal of reading 15 books with a mix of fantasy, romance and non-fiction. I’ve read some cracking books and discovered new authors that I will be following closely and buying everything they write. I’m still hoping to blog about the books I read in 2020 and share my favourites so watch this space.

I did a lot of reading about the writing craft in 2020. I’ve found some great reference books as well as re-reading others. It’s been good to focus on the craft again, especially as I’ve decided to take my writing in a new direction with the romance series. Again, I hope to share more info about these books in another post.

For now I just want to wish you all a Happy New Year. No matter how quiet our celebrations must be this year, we can still see in 2021 with a smile.

Roll on the new year, I’m ready for you!

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy

You can follow me on

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Writing Update September 2020 and some writing goals #amwriting

It’s September and we’re into the last 4 months of the year – that’s scary! Like most people I think I’ll be glad for 2020 to be over.

To help me through I’ve decided to plan my writing projects for the rest of the year. I’m not setting huge goals, so hopefully I can stick to them.

First it’s always nice to look back and see what I have achieved this year (and gloss over the fact I had originally planned to have published two books by this time in 2020)!

Achieved in 2020

I finally set up my mailing list with Mailchimp. This is a task I’ve been putting off for years. I haven’t started advertising it yet, but if you want to join please follow the link here. I’m working on some free and exclusive stories for my mailing list subscribers set in the worlds of my novels, so there’s a great reason to join me.

My big news for 2020 is that the audiobook for The Lost Sentinel is coming very soon! We’re just waiting for approval from ACX and then it will be on sale through Amazon, Audible and iTunes. Watch this space for more info.

Last month The Lost Sentinel hit number 1 bestseller in several free categories in the US, UK and Canada. It was a pretty big deal for me and I shared a post about how it happened here.

What’s to come

I’ve been writing a romance novella that I hope to publish in 2020. It’s a departure from my preferred fantasy genre but it’s been keeping me sane during lockdown and I’m really excited about it. I have yet to have beta readers feedback so I’m not even sure how good the story is, but I do have my editor booked in very soon so I need to get on with it!

Those short stories for my mailing list subscribers need to be a priority after the novella has gone to beta readers.

I’m writing a spy story with a friend. We’re not sure how long it will be, but I’ve already suggested we publish it at some point. This will be my friend’s first self published book and it’ll be great to share a joint project with the world. Again, testing out a new genre is exciting as well.

I have other romance novella ideas that I hope to start drafting over the coming months, but I really must get back to my first love – Fantasy! Which leads me to…

My planned trilogy. If I can just get on with it I might be able to publish the complete trilogy in 2021. That is a big ask, but book 1 is almost complete (if I don’t end up planning any major rewrites) and book 2 only has about a 1/4 to go. Book 3 is another matter, but I’ll worry about that later.

There are always more projects in the back of my mind including the book of short stories I’ve been itching to put together and a non-fiction book on writing and self publishing that keeps rearing up and forcing my attention away from other things. These are ideas I’ll sort out one day, I’m just not sure when.

Other News

Silent Sea Chronicles has a blog tour running from 6th to 12th September. Run by Storytellers on Tour, there will be some fun Q&A’s and lots of reviews and promo posts hitting over the week.

I’m also planning an Audiobook 1 day event for The Lost Sentinel in the next few months with the help of Rachel’s Random Resources.

I’ve signed up for an online social media course to help me understand some of the platforms I’ve been ignoring, so hopefully I can learn a few tips to reach a wider audience.

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I think that’s about all I should consider for now before I dig myself an even bigger writing hole to get lost in.

Tomorrow I have a book post from a debut author to share and then I’ll be blogging about my reading plans for the rest of 2020. Thanks for stopping by.

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy

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Writing update – Today I was supposed to publish! #fantasyauthor #indieauthor #amwriting

At the beginning of 2020 I planned to publish a prequel novella today – 30th June 2020.

I’m not and I have no idea when it will be ready. I know there is no point rushing and bringing out a book that isn’t the best I can make it, but I still feel disappointed.

Positive thinking…

I’ve realised that I need to relax and stop pressurising myself. Nothing terrible will happen if I don’t meet my own deadlines. That is the beauty of self publishing and being your own boss.

At the start of lock down I had hopes of publishing 3 books in a year! A prequel novella, the main book and then the sequel novella. Looking back now I see my crazy plan was unattainable. Hell, I haven’t even reached beyond a brief plan of the sequel and still have the last quarter of the main book to write. Now a beta reader suggests that the prequel novella should be novel size, so I no longer know where I am.

Future plans…

I would still like to get the first book out by the end of the year but I need to keep in mind that plans can change and that is just the way life is.

I also have ideas to publish a book of short stories and I’ve been working on a romance novella that could be a contender for publication later this year.

I have plenty to keep me busy and lots to look forward to in the future. I also want to work on getting more exposure for my 4 published books. Here they are, I still love looking at them.

A dose of reality….

My husband is very supportive of my dreams but we did have an honest chat about finances the other day. What he said has stayed with me and shown me that I need to get my act together. He said

‘Your books are our pension… so it looks like we’re going to starve.’

Puts things into perspective, doesn’t it!

Staying positive…

I need to focus everything I have on these next few books and making them the best I can before setting any publication dates.

I hope having a bigger back catalogue of books will start working for me financially and if not, there perhaps at that point I’ll pull my head out of the clouds and get that proper job he’s always joked about. But not until I’ve given this my best shot.

I got a Czech publishing deal out of nowhere, so who knows if another great opportunity is just around the corner.

Stay safe and positive everyone.

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy

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10 Writing tips during writing slumps / lockdown #writingtips #amwriting

Everyone has days when they just can’t find the inspiration to write.

I’ve heard from writing friends that they’ve found it especially hard to find any creativity over the last few months what with lockdowns and the pandemic. Thankfully I haven’t suffered with lack of inspiration but I have found it hard to adjust to having family around during my writing time and helping / nagging two teenagers about their home school lessons can be draining.

I thought it would be a great time to share some of the tips I’ve found helpful now and in the past to help me keep my writing mojo.

10 Tips to writing through a slump

  1. Allow yourself time to write. Giving yourself the permission to write frees up your subconscious and hopefully your creativity.
  2. Write anything and see what arrives on the page. Lately I’ve managed to write some short stories by just starting with whatever comes into my head.
  3. Experiment to find the right time to write. Are you most creative first thing in the morning, evening, in bed at night? I’ve discovered first thing in the morning before I even get out of bed is my optimum creative time, though I used to love writing before I go to sleep too.
  4. Find the right medium to get down your ideas. For me that’s pen and paper or in a beautiful notebook. Maybe you like to type directly on your laptop, put notes on your phone or maybe a diary or journal.
  5. Typing up ideas you’ve scribbled down and giving them a working title can really get the creativity going as you see the story emerging on the page.
  6. Use idea spinners; Title prompts, picture prompts, story cubes, online sites, competition story prompts, news articles, or whatever springs to mind as your pen hits the paper.
  7. Have a writing journal or a place to scribble down ideas or bits of stories. When you are stuck for an idea it’s great to be able to flick through your past scribblings and see if anything inspires you.
  8. Maybe it’s time to revisit an old novel or short story attempts. I like to print them off, or even better send them to my ipad or kindle. Then, armed with a notebook and pen, I can read through them as a normal book and make notes on what needs changing or expanding.
  9. Sharing stories with critique partners can help you find out what’s not working and talking it through may just inspire you to finish it. One of my beta reader’s recently pushed me to reconsider the whole mood of a story and I realised making my character so morose was stopping the reader from connecting with her.
  10. Write with a friend. You can spur each other on. This is something I’ve been doing with one of my writing buddy’s Jackie. She decided to start sharing the story on her blog to force her to write more. Here are the links so far; The day of the Badger (working title) Part One , Part Two.

A few points to remember

  1. Write now. Edit later.
  2. Don’t think too much about the story. Allow your mind to work as you go along and be amazed at the story that unfolds.
  3. Don’t hold back.
  4. Don’t expect it to be a wonderful first draft. The fun is in the editing, at least it is for me!
  5. Enjoy yourself. Writing and creating is the best natural high there is.

I hope these tips have inspired you to write.

Do you have any great tips to share?

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy

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

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

happy new year

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

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

priority list

January 2020

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

February 2020

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

March 2020

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

 

Misc. tasks to slot in when time allows

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

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

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

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

 

Reading for the year

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

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

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A little update and blogging break #amwriting #amwritingfantasy

Just to say that I’m still around but I will go quiet on the blogging scene (again) as I plan to concentrate on my next three writing projects. I don’t make it easy for myself do I!

I also have a couple of Christmas events to prepare for and I can’t wait to get out in the local community. I’ll be selling my signed paperback books, which make the perfect Christmas present by the way. If you’re in Ashford Middlesex on 4th December or Wraysbury on 14th I hope to see you there. I’ll update other social media platforms with more details so don’t forget to follow me with the links below.

I hope to bring you some updates in the new year and share my plans for 2020.

Until then, keep reading, writing and enjoying every moment. And have a wonderful Christmas.

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Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy

You can follow me on

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