2018 Wrap up – My writing year in review #amwriting

2018 has been a major year for me and it’s been good to look back over the highlights and have the opportunity to share them with you.

The year started off with a huge bang when I was approached by Albatros Media, a major publish in the Czech Republic. They are publishing a Czech translation of my debut novel, Visions of Zarua in the fall this year. 2018 saw one of my dreams come true and I earned (and spent) my first ever advance! I hope to be able to share a cover reveal with you very soon, I think the czech cover is perfect.

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I received my first full MS request from an agent. This was a huge high point, though I’m very sad to say that I haven’t heard back from her since.

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I published book 2 in the Silent Sea Chronicles – The Sentinel’s Reign at the end of June 2018 and it’s been seeing quite a lot of action on Kindle Unlimited, but unfortunately reviews are very slow to follow.

The Sentinel's Reign book cover

Please check the blurb and reviews on Goodreads and feel free to get in touch if you would like a copy to review.

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In November I celebrated the 3rd birthday of Visions of Zarua with a birthday blitz hosted by 25 blogs and organised by Rachel’s Random Resources. It was a great day and I highly recommend Rachel’s services. I received 10 new reviews and had so much fun answering questions, writing guest posts and sharing extracts. Click here if you want to see the tour hosts involved and for Rachel’s info. I also posted about the day here part 1 and part 2.

VOZ blitz

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I went to the Gollancz Writers’ Day. It hasn’t led to any breakthroughs with agents or traditional publishers, but it was a lot of fun going to an event centred around my genre. I spoke to other writers, bestselling authors, editors at Gollancz and a top agent. I feel more confident about attending days like this in the future. Here’s my review of the day.

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I dusted off some of my favourite short stories, had them edited and beta read and then entered some competitions. So far, nothing has come from it but I have been inspired to produce my own short story anthology at some point in the future.

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On a non-writing related topic, I lost 2 stone with Slimming World and feel so much happier about myself. I’ve tried dieting on and off for years, but it was only joining a group that really helped me reach my target weight and keep to it. I recommend it if losing weight is one of your new year’s resolutions.

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In conclusion 2018 was a slow writing year, but I plan to change that in 2019. I hope to share the new technique I’m hoping will increase my output once I’ve tested it fully.

Join me next time where I will post about my plans for reading, writing and life in general for 2019. See you then.

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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WEBSITE BANNER

#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

#mondayblog Meet An Indie Author Monday (MAIAM) with Special Guest #indieauthor Suzanne Rogerson #fantasy

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Today I’ve taken a break from writing to share my indie author interview over on Booksbyilcruz.  Please stop by and check out this new feature.

via Meet An Indie Author Monday (MAIAM) with Special Guest Suzanne Rogerson

#Tuesdaybookblog #bookreview How to write a fantasy book description by Jesper Schmidt @SchmidtJesper

My review of ‘How to write a fantasy book description’ will follow, but first take a look at the blurb.

Blurb

Do you find it difficult to write the blurb for your book? Do you hate writing book descriptions? 

If your synopsis always comes out bland and boring, with no chance of leading to more book sales, then this guidebook is for you.

How to Write a Fantasy Book Description is a step-by-step approach. It lays out everything you need to know in five simple and effective steps.

Learn how to hook readers by:

  • Writing incredible taglines that grabs attention
  • Escalating the tension throughout your blurb and captivate readers
  • Using spellbinding words to dazzle customers
  • Learning how to avoid meandering into subplots and instead make your blurb a joy to read
  • Understanding how long your blurb needs to be and how to use cliffhangers effectively
  • Discovering easy methods to format your blurb before uploading to online retailers like Amazon

In addition, you will find bonus chapters on how to write book descriptions for series, box sets and non-fiction.

If you like easy to follow instructions, sprinkled with helpful examples, then How to Write a Fantasy Book Description is for you.

Jesper Schmidt is a fantasy author. He is the creator of several how-to books, like the bestselling Fantasy Map Making and Twitter for Authors.

write a fantasy desc book

 

My Review

I follow Jesper Schmidt’s newsletter and when he asked for people to join his launch team for this book I jumped at the chance of an ARC. I have read both his other How to books and found them very helpful. Here’s my review of Twitter for Authors.

Fantasy Map making is a book I plan to use in the future and I will review it once I have created the world maps for my Silent Sea Chronicles trilogy.

I find writing book descriptions very difficult and with the publication of my second book looming, the timing of this how to guide was perfect. Mr Schmidt starts with how important book descriptions are and gives 5 common mistakes authors make.

He then talks us through 5 steps to creating a great blurb including tag lines and character introductions. He uses examples of current blurbs on Amazon to showcase his points and there are task lists at the end of each chapter to help you keep focused.

What I found really helpful was the author using his own fantasy book blurb and walking us through the process of how he came up with his killer blurb, including his mistakes.

After helping you draft your blurb, the book focuses on the editing stage and gives you areas to check like repetition and boring middles.

There are a couple of extras which are handy – blurbs for box sets and series, formatting and an appendix of words relevant to fantasy.

The whole process of writing a book description feels much less daunting when following these steps. I highly recommend this book to all fantasy authors out there.

Amazon link

On a personal note – I  used the knowledge from this book to update my blurb for The Lost Sentinel before I ran a kindle countdown deal on Amazon. I’m glad to say that I sold more copies than I had with previous promotions!

Check this how-to guide for yourself on Goodreads

 

Indie Interview: Suzanne Rogerson

Yesterday Rebeccahowiebooks kindly featured my Indie Interview as part of The Lost Sentinel’s blog tour. Thanks for having me again, Rebecca.

Indie Focus: Interview With Self-Published Author Suzanne Rogerson

It’s day 4 of the blog tour for The Lost Sentinel and I’m really pleased to share this indepth interview over on Another World Book Blog. Please come over and join us.

Blog update #amediting The Lost Sentinel #fantasy

I am happy to report that I’ve finally finished what I hope is the final draft of The Lost Sentinel – Bloodlines Trilogy Book One.

I’m going to be taking some time out from blogging to read though it before passing it to my first beta readers. I’m hoping it’s all come together in this latest round of edits.

Then it’ll be time to look for book cover ideas and try to perfect my blurb!

Not sure I’ll be on schedule to publish before the end of 2016, but I’m really hoping to stick to my plan of publishing a book a year.

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When I return to blogging, I’ll have some tips to share on keeping track of events whilst writing a trilogy or series.

Have a great weekend everyone.

#AtoZChallenge T – Title Trouble & a poll

I have a terrible writer’s affliction called Title Trouble.

book-307524_1280It’s getting serious. How can I get my cover art ordered if I don’t have a title?

We all know titles must catch the reader’s eye. Next to the cover image, I’d say it was the most important draw to make the reader want to check out your book. Then the blurb and opening lines have to finish the job.

Sometimes titles are easy. ‘Visions of Zarua’ wrote itself and encompasses what the book is about.

The title Spirit Song, yesterday’s flash fiction story, came from the story itself.

When titles are hard to think up, I use a working title. The trouble with this method is those titles becomes so engrained, it’s almost impossible to see beyond them.

Now I need your help;

I hope to publish my second fantasy novel this year. It will be the first book of a trilogy. The pesky working title has stuck and I can’t see beyond it. Maybe I don’t really want to change it and that is the reason for my Title Trouble.

What do you think?

Bloodlines Trilogy

Book 1 – Search for the Sentinel

 

Would you pick up this book purely on its title? Would you be intrigued?

Does the title matter to you as a reader? If you’re a writer, how do you come up with your titles?

I look forward to your comments and seeing what the vote will be.

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Next time its back to some cooking with Ultimate Flapjacks.

Check out other A-Z posts here.

#AtoZchallenge S – Spirit Song #flashfiction

For S in the AtoZChallenge I’m so happy to be sharing this flash fiction story that came third in the flash500 comp in 2013.

Judge Steph Patterson – Senior editor of Crooked Cat Publishing stated,

‘Unusual, emotional, warm, surprising — a warm, unusual story. It moved me when I read it. It has an air of esoteric.’

Have a read and let me know your thoughts…

Spirit Song

Cecilia no longer saw the faces of the dying. They were merely shells cast off at the last to free the soul within. But, in the moments before death, she often wondered what happened to their spirits.
Sensing the man’s time was drawing near, she picked up her lute. Her fingers plucked the strings, dancing like raindrops over the notes, filling the room with fluid harmony. Slowly, the man in the bed responded. The music rose to a crescendo as he took his final breath, and she wept as his spirit lifted clear of its bonds to embrace the light. Cecilia let her fingers fall from the strings, while the haunting resonance of the song echoed around her. She cradled the lute in her frail hands and allowed the stale sickly air in the room to dry her tears. The intrusion of another broke the spell, and she opened her eyes to blackness.
‘He’s gone, Cecilia. But he died with a smile on his face,’ the nurse told her softly. ‘Come on, let’s get you back to your room.’
Cecilia shook her head. ‘There’s another down the hall…’ She rose on unsteady legs, clutching the lute possessively against her body.
‘At least let me help.’ The nurse took hold of her arm, but Cecilia recoiled from the touch and the strength of life flowing through the younger woman.
‘I can do it myself.’ She felt her way to the door and shuffled along the corridor with her hand trailing along the wall. Finally she reached the right room and slipped inside. She plucked the familiar notes of the spirit song until the dying woman floated away into the healing light.
Cecilia slumped to the floor, hugging the lute to her chest. Exhaustion tugged her towards sleep and she dreamt of the place beyond death.
She awoke in bed and sensed the nurse at her side. A warm hand squeezed her cold bony flesh.
‘My lute…’ she croaked and felt feebly for her beloved instrument.
‘Have a drink first.’
A straw prodded her lips and she sucked at the water, choking as its coldness flooded her constricted throat. The covers shifted under the weight of the lute and her hand scrabbled to lay across its neck. She stroked the strings with her fingertips, too weak to pluck a note.
Cecilia drifted back to sleep. The music swelled inside her, its poignant melody leading her spirit away from its dying shell. She travelled through a tunnel feeling weightless and pain-free, and cocooned by warmth. Bright light blinded her and cold air caressed her naked body. The shrill cry of a new-born filled her ears. Cecilia forced open her eyes and stared up into a stranger’s face.
Before the memories of her old life faded away, she finally had her answer.

spirit song light

The story behind the story;

Spirit Song holds a very special place in my heart. I wrote it when my Grandad was admitted into a hospice. At the time I was attending creative writing classes and the prompt for that week was Cecilia, the patroness of musicians.

I sat in bed with my notebook and closed my eyes to think. When I started to write this piece seemed to flow onto the page almost fully formed and I instantly fell in love with the character.

I entered it into the Flash500 comp. The critique stated it was a lovely character study, but not a story.

I couldn’t let Spirit Song go, or maybe it wouldn’t let go of me. I rewrote the end and gave it a starting point that tied in with the conclusion. Then I re-entered and this second attempt was placed 3rd in the Flash500 comp. I felt like that was a turning point for me, a time when I could really start to believe in myself as a writer. Two years later, I self published my first novel.

Did you have a defining moment when you realised you were a writer?

(If you want to find out more about the Flash 500 Quarterly competition, click here. It’s well worth paying for the critique, my story would never have been placed without that important feedback.)

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Tomorrow T for Titles.

Check out some other AtoZ posts here