January 2019 Reading Wrap Up #amreading #fantasy

I feel as though I had a great reading month and managed to read 5 books in January. I wanted to pick a favourite, but with each book being so different I found it very hard to make that decision. Here are my reads…

The Lost and the Chosen by Ivy Asher (see my review here) 5 STARS

the lost and the chosen

This book really surprised me as I haven’t read any paranormal romance before. It was an addictive read and I’m really excited that book 2 is already out. I will hopefully get to read this in February. Check it out of Goodreads here.

I’ve been listening to the Audiobook for Scythe by Neal Shusterman. 5 STARS

My review will follow this week, but for now I will say this book is still in my head and I can’t wait to read the next book. Goodreads link.

scythe

This next one is my first ever Netgalley book – The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan. 5 STARS

Again I will review this next week, but can tell you it was a great debut and I’m sad I have to wait months to get my hands on the next book. Goodreads link.

gutter prayer

Finally, and I have to admit this is a cheat, I read my own books! I wanted to get back into the Silent Sea Chronicles world before diving into the draft of book 3, so I read The Lost Sentinel and The Sentinel’s Reign back to back. I also read the draft so far of The Sentinel’s Alliance, but as it’s not finished I can’t count that one. Also as they are my books I can’t rate them, but I will say I thoroughly enjoyed having the excuse to immerse myself in Tei’s world again. I’m so excited to get the next book finished.

Goodread links:   The Lost Sentinel    The Sentinel’s Reign

My Goodreads challenge is to read 30 books in 2019. With these 5 books I am well ahead of schedule and feeling very pleased with my progress.

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Here’s a quick peek at February’s TBR…

I promised myself I would be more of a mood reader from now on, but I do plan to read these books in Feb. Any more will be a bonus!

 

Don’t forget to look out for my reviews of The Gutter Prayer and Scythe this week.

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You can follow me on:

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Writing Plans for 2019 #amwriting

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I have lots of plans for 2019  but the biggest and most important has to be completing the Silence Sea Chronicles trilogy and publishing book 3!

For the next few months I will focus purely on this trilogy, which will consist of:

  • Reading and making notes on The Lost Sentinel – book 1
  • Reading and making notes on The Sentinel’s Reign – book 2
  • Reading the draft of The Sentinel’s Alliance – book 3
  • Completing the draft of book 3 as per my outline and notes.
  • When the draft is completed and ready for my beta readers I want to focus on the map of the Silent Sea. At some point I plan to commission someone to produce a map but I’ve decided it’s more important to finish the books first.

Any advice you can give about map making would be gratefully received!

  • Once the book is edited etc, there will be all the usual jobs involved in publishing a new book.

 

Future writing plans in 2019

I like to set out some of my goals for the year, even though I know I probably won’t have time for everything. It feels good to have a record and I love to tick things off a list!

  • Write the prequel to Silent Sea Chronicles
  • Release all four books in the Silence Sea Chronicles as a box set
  • Republish all my paperbacks with ISBN’s and through a publisher Waterstones recognises.
  • Approach indie bookshops as well.
  • Keep trying to get my books into the libraries.
  • Read ‘Writing Short Stories to promote your novel’ by Rayne Hall and action what I learn.
  • Re-read the 72k partly written novel I am desperate to finish and actually finish it!
  • Outline and draft the novella prequel to the above novel using the techniques I’ve learnt from Couch to 50k and Take off your pants – See below.

 

Other writing related plans

Reviews

  • Review Couch to 50K by Rachel Tonks Hill once I have used the technique and discuss if it helped my writing.

couch to 50k

  • Review Take off your pants by Libbie Hawker once I’ve used the outlining techniques for some novel ideas. (By the way I chose this as my favourite writer’s guide of 2018 in this post.)

take off your pants

  • Review ‘Writing Short Stories to promote your novels’ by Rayne Hall, as previously mentioned.

writing short stories

 

Embrace my self publishing journey by

  • Contacting more reviewers
  • Organising a blog tour for the release of book 3
  • Buy KDP Rocket and use it to help with my book categories, keywords, ads etc.
  • Work on getting audiobooks produced for all my books.
  • Create a landing page on my website
  • Decide if I’m ready to set up a mailing list / newsletter
  • Go to writing events including Winchester and Gollancz scifi / fantasy.

 

Non writing plans for 2019

  • Find a way to get more sleep.
  • Fit in some exercise as often as possible.
  • Get out with the family more.
  • Read what I feel like reading without pressure as per my reading goals posted here.
  • Fall in love with my garden again
  • Be more adventurous cooking

 

That’s about all I can think of for now. I like to review my goals every quarter or mid-year, so it will be interesting to see how far I get with this list. As I stated at the start, the most important thing is working on book 3. Anything else will be a bonus!

Happy new year to you all and good  luck with your own goals whatever they might be.

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You can follow me on

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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.

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.

two book covers

‘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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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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#Mondayblogs Why Createspace is still king! My paperback experience #Indieauthor #indie

I couple of months ago I asked for some advice on whether to publish the paperback of my newest book via Createspace or try out Amazon KDP. I got some great advice and many people were happy to have changed over to KDP. Here’s the link to my original post.

I deliberated for some time, but decided to stick with Createspace as I knew the process and it was getting close to the book release date. I didn’t want any last minute problems messing everything up.

Using Createspace was as simple as ever and I had soon uploaded the doc and cover files, checked on screen for errors and ordered my proof copy. The only gripe I have is the shipping costs. As usual, I left myself no time to mess about before the release date on 29th June 2018, so I had to use their priorty shipping. Over $20 later, I had my proof and read it through for typos and formatting errors. Once I was happy with it, it was just a matter of agreeing the proof and then it went live in a few hours! I quickly ordered a UK copy (free shipping as I’m a prime member) and double checked those last minute changes were ok before making the big announcement to the world that it was for sale.

At the same time I did a test print with Lulu. It was cheaper as the postage was a lot less, but I felt the cover colours were inferior to Createspace and they did not support the font used for my chapter headers (reverting it automatically to times new roman). The overall quality of the book was better than I’d seen in the past. The quality of the paper was good and it felt more sturdy than the test copy I received from them last year for The Lost Sentinel. I weighed it all up and ordered 3 books from Lulu to keep as stock or give as gifts. Great, or so I thought until the books arrived a week later. There were 3 different books from 3 different authors in the package! I assumed somehow Lulu had sent me someone else’s order until I looked inside the book cover. It was The Sentinel’s Reign!

I got straight onto Lulu who replied 2 days later (standard response time) they wanted photos to prove what had happened. I sent them over and they agreed to redo the order free of charge with express shipping. A week later and I’m still waiting for the order to be fulfilled, let alone delivered to me. All in all, I’m not too impressed with Lulu.

Whilst waiting for the Lulu mess to be sorted last week, I ordered 10 books from Createspace as I really wanted to have some stock for the people who prefer to buy direct from me rather than online. I paid for the expedited shipping method, which they estimated would be about 2 weeks. They arrived within 5 days! And they are all perfect, though this picture doesn’t do them justice.

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I still want to trial the KDP paperback, but I’ve had such good service from Createspace and the covers are so tactile and beautiful I think I’ll stick with them for a bit longer.

One last note on why I’m sticking with Createspace –  the US paperback copies feel so much nicer than the UK paperbacks. I like that silicone feel they have, while I know others prefer the matt feel of the UK version. It is a small detail, but enough to convince me to stay where I am and pay that little bit extra for postage.

What are your thoughts or experiences with Createspace, KDP and Lulu?

Last day to get The Sentinel’s Reign for 99p #newrelease #fantasy #ya

Happy Sunday everyone!

The Sentinel’s Reign has been out just over a week and a few reviews are in already. More are to follow, but I thought I’d just share a couple of comments now…

Angela – Pooled Ink – The Sentinel’s Reign breathes life into an island of magic as well as enemies thirsting for its power. Adventurous and unique this fantasy only gets more captivating with every turn.

Jennifer – A line from a book – Yummy is the word that comes to mind when I think about this book…  I loved revisiting Kalaya and as in previous books the descriptions of the world and of the magic it contains are beautiful… Even if you don’t like fantasy books usually you will like this series, so don’t delay, get your copy today!

Madam Mim – Mim Inkling – The characters are one of the most brilliant parts of this story. Every character is subtly and realistically developed throughout the course of the story, they make mistakes and have flaws and strengths, relationships, loss, responsibilities, and preferences, and as a result they feel very three-dimensional… I loved every second of The Sentinel’s Reign. It was hard to put down, and lived up to my every expectation after the first book. I would highly recommend this series for classic fantasy fans.

You can also see these reviews on Goodreads. and add it to your book shelf.

The price goes up tomorrow, so if you want it at the bargain price of 99p / 99c, please head over to Amazon.

Here’s a last look at the blurb…

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

With the new Sentinel initiated and the magic restored on Kalaya, life is flourishing for Tei and the exiles. But Rathnor’s plans for war soon escalate and thwart any chance of peace.

Brogan’s position on the Assembly is uncertain as rumours circulate that he is an exile spy.

After an attempt on his life, Farrell is more determined than ever to build a home for his people on Stone Haven. But the council have their sights set on Kalaya and Farrell struggles to steer them from war.

As trouble brews within and outside forces gather against them, can the exiles keep their hold on the magic, or will this spell the end of Kalaya and its people?

The Sentinel’s Reign is a heroic fantasy. If you like character-driven adventures then you will love The Sentinel’s Reign.

This is the second book in the Silent Sea Chronicles trilogy and follows on from The Lost Sentinel.

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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.

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Book release day 2 for The Sentinel’s Reign #fantasy #yafantasy

It’s day 2 for the book release of The Sentinel’s Reign. I have a few more links to share with a book review, guest post and an excerpt.

I’ve had lots of fun the last few days retweeting and replying to comments. Please keep them coming.

I will say that I’m enjoying the hot weather, but releasing a book during a heat wave and in the midst of the world cup was not the best of timing. You can help me by sharing my posts and the posts of the wonderful bloggers who’ve agreed to feature The Sentinel’s Reign.

So here are today’s links…

Jennifer posted a wonderful review yesterday on her blog Alinefromabook. She gave Book 2 a brilliant 4.5 stars.

I wrote a guest post and shared my 11 tips for creating great characters, so please visit Danny site at Dansbookblog.

Teri shared an excerpt from The Sentinel’s Reign on her blog Books and Such.

 

Here is a quick recap of the blurb, just in case you missed it…

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

With the new Sentinel initiated and the magic restored on Kalaya, life is flourishing for Tei and the exiles. But Rathnor’s plans for war soon escalate and thwart any chance of peace.

Brogan’s position on the Assembly is uncertain as rumours circulate that he is an exile spy.

After an attempt on his life, Farrell is more determined than ever to build a home for his people on Stone Haven. But the council have their sights set on Kalaya and Farrell struggles to steer them from war.

As trouble brews within and outside forces gather against them, can the exiles keep their hold on the magic, or will this spell the end of Kalaya and its people?

This is the second book in the Silent Sea Chronicles trilogy and follows on from The Lost Sentinel.

The Sentinel’s Reign 99p for 1 week only

The Sentinel’s Reign – Publication day reviews, updates and links #newrelease

The publication day has been busy with two wonderful 4 star reviews coming in already. Several bloggers have also shared excerpt and book spotlight posts.

Here is a round up of the links so far…

The first review is from Pooled Ink Reviews

The Sentinel’s Reign breathes life into an island of magic as well as enemies thirsting for its power. Adventurous and unique this fantasy only gets more captivating with every turn.

The second review of the day comes from Mim Inklings.

‘The plot is thoroughly rooted in the lovely world which Suzanne Rogerson has created. The world-building in The Sentinel’s Reign is every bit as dramatic, complex, and exquisite as in the first book. …I loved every second of The Sentinel’s Reign. It was hard to put down…’ 

Please check their reviews, they are brilliant. And both reviewers have also reviewed Book 1 – The Lost Sentinel on their blogs, with links in the above posts.

 

There are book spotlight posts on The Writing Process and Another World Book Blog

And two short excerpts to read on Boundtowriting and Jaye and Anita’s blog.

 

I am heading off to open a beautiful bottle of champagne. But please keep commenting and I will reply as quickly as I can.

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