News and writing update #amwriting #nanowrimo

A short update to let you know I’m still around…

Things have been quiet on my blog recently as I try to edit book 2 (The Sentinel’s Reign) and draft book 3 (The Sentinel’s Alliance) during Nanowrimo 2017. It’s been difficult to spread my time between the two projects, along with having a new boiler fitted, a broken phone to sort and now a bout of RSI. Hopefully, that’s it for the bad luck and my wrist sorts itself out soon.

I’m on track to meet the 50k word count, though now I’m starting to panic about where to take the story. Writing without a plan is not easy and although I like the freedom of writing what comes into my head, it’s so hard to shut off my internal editor and just let it all flow without going back and tinkering with it. Much like that last sentence!

I’m very behind on sharing my book reviews, but I have a couple of reviews planned shortly.

The news I’m really excited to share is that I finally have a cover for The Sentinel’s Reign! I’ll do a cover reveal at a later date, but right now I need to focus on finishing the edit/read through so I can pass it to my beta readers. I really hope to publish book 2 early next year, but with Christmas creeping ever closer…

In other news, Visions of Zarua is 2 years old next week. I’ll be running a Goodreads paperback giveaway and an ebook giveaway on the blog, more news of those will follow.

How are you all coping with the demands of Nanowrimo? Have you any tricks to share? And does anyone have any advice for RSI?

Have a great weekend everyone.

#tuesdaybookblog The Writer’s Lexicon by @KathySteinemann #bookreview

The Writer’s Lexicon should be on every writer’s desk! Read on to find out why.

Blurb

You’re a writer. You just read your manuscript and discovered your characters nodding like marionettes in every chapter. When they’re not nodding, they’re rolling their eyes.

Oops.

Time to slash the Pinocchio strings and turn them into real live people. Award-winning author Kathy Steinemann will provide the tools. She cuts through the so-called rules and offers simple solutions.

Too many repetitions of “little”? There’s a cure for that. Do you rely on “very” too often? There’s a cure for that too. You’ll find the remedies in this book’s dispensary.

Should you ever use anything other than “said” to attribute dialogue? Are exclamation points taboo? The answers might surprise you.

Learn how to harness body language, cut hackneyed adjectives, and draw on the environment for ambience. No more wooden characters. You’ll transform them into believable personalities your readers will learn to love. Or hate.

Get in the driver’s seat, relax, and enjoy your journey—with Kathy Steinemann’s book as your GPS.

My Review

The author contacted me about reviewing her book and I’m so pleased she did. When I read the line ‘…characters nodding like marionettes in every chapter’, I knew this was a writing resource book I had to read.

It couldn’t have come at a better time for me as I’m in the process of fine-tuning the second book in my series Silent Sea Chronicles. I know I’m guilty of creating nodding, grinning character who laugh and cry far too much. There are plenty of other examples of words that you may not even realise you are overusing (that being one!), and a multitude of alternatives to try.

Kathy Steinemann uses imaginative examples of how not to write sentences, along with examples of how to improve your work. There are A-Z lists of alternative words, and story prompts throughout. The book gets you thinking about why you have chosen particular words, and she helps you think of ways a few well placed words can bring your story to life. There are also chapters on punctuation, how to include the senses in your writing, and a list of 400 redundant words.

I think it’s a brilliant book for every writer to have on their desk. Unfortunately, I’ve only read The Writer’s Lexicon on kindle (I highly recommend a paperback). I can imagine my paperback copy would have post-it notes stuck all over my favourite chapters. It has certainly got me thinking, and I will be using this as a guide to help me tighten the writing in my books.

5 well deserved stars.

Amazon UK  Amazon US  Goodreads

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Writing Update #amwriting #amediting

I haven’t done an update in a while so in order to clarify things in my own head, I thought I’d share my plans for the rest of 2017.

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Update 14/10/2017 – The giveaway is now over and in total 1831 people entered. The Lost Sentinel is now on over 1000 tbr bookshelves and I have gained close to 30 new followers on Goodreads. All these figures are fantastic, it’s just a shame the person who won is a serial competition entrant who has clocked up a massive 59k book on their to read list. They appear to give those they do win away, so I hope my book will find its way into the hands of someone who wants to read it.

(There are just a few hours left to enter the Goodreads giveaway for The Lost Sentinel – over 1500 people have entered so far. Don’t miss your chance to win a copy before 8am GMT 12/10/17.)

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I’m just a few scenes away from printing The Sentinel’s Reign (Silent Sea Chronicles #2) for what I hope will be a last proof read before I pass it to my beta readers. I love this stage where I find out what works and what doesn’t!

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I’m really excited to be taking part in NaNoWriMo this year where I hope to draft out the major part of The Sentinel’s Alliance (Silent Sea Chronicles #3).

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My hunt for book covers goes on, but I hope to have a cover reveals for book 2 and 3 soon.

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I hope to contact some book reviewers by the end of the year regarding The Lost Sentinel and Visions of Zarua.

However, if you are a book blogger reading this and would like to receive a review copy please get in touch via the comments or my Contact Me form.

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I have several other book ideas to work through including a time slip novel that appeared to me in the summer and is itching to be written.

It looks like I have a busy few months ahead of me.

How is the rest of the year looking for you and have you signed up for NaNoWriMo yet?

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If you want to find our more about my books, please click on the universal Amazon link below where you can read the blurb, check out reviews and download a free sample.

THE LOST SENTINEL COVER The Lost Sentinel

 Visions of Zarua

#Mondayblogs Guest Post with @colleen_m_story #amwriting

Today I am really excited to welcome Colleen Story to my blog for a guest post all about research…

The One Question You Need to Ask When Doing Writing Research

When Suzanne first asked me about the research I did for my newly released non-fiction book, Overwhelmed Writer Rescue, and how it differed from the research I did for my novels, my first thought was, Oh it’s completely different.

But then as I starting looking into it, I thought, Well, maybe not—there actually are a lot of similarities.

In discovering those similarities, I’ve found that no matter what type of writing you’re doing, it’s important to ask one question. The answer will help you determine whether the research will benefit the writing or not.

Health Writing is Researching in its Purest Form

I’ve been researching non-fiction writing for over 20 years. I specialize in health writing. If you’re unfamiliar with what that is, just imagine me writing research papers all day long on things like heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, preventative care, alternative treatments, nutrition, and the like.

Sounds about as fun as a root canal, right?

Well, if you’re interested in what you’re researching, it can be fun, and much of the time, I am. Over the years, I’ve gradually expanded into personal growth, motivation, and creativity, which I particularly enjoy, and for which the research can be extremely intriguing.

I’ve written fiction for about the same period of time, but for years, I didn’t research it at all. Looking back, I think I probably avoided it simply to get away from what to me was my “day job” as a freelance writer. Fiction was my time to play and indulge my creative muse—I certainly didn’t want to bring any dry research into it.

When I started writing novels, though, that had to change, at least somewhat.

Gradually, My Fiction Writing Began to Require Some Research

My first novel was a fantasy, so I researched things that appealed to my imagination, like gargoyles, stone sculptures, and ancient myths and legends—all fun stuff that didn’t really seem like “research.” Instead, I was indulging my own sense of curiosity.

You see, in my mind, research is tough. I’m used to regularly reading challenging material that typically goes something like this:

“Most studies agree that the classical pathological criteria for AD, neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, can account for 40%–70% of the variance in cognition seen in elderly subjects, with additional pathologies such as cerebrovascular disease (Dolan et al. 2010b) and Lewy body pathology (Schneider et al. 2007) working together with AD pathology to account for an additional 20%–30% of dementia cases. (O’Brien and Wong, Annu Rev Neurosci., 2011)”

Not exactly light reading, and this is one of the simpler ones. After a day of it, you’re ready to move onto something else.

So “researching” my fiction has always been restricted to an “as needed” and “for fun” basis. I really didn’t think of it as a key component in my fiction writing—until the last couple years.

Continue reading

Guest author: Suzanne Rogerson – 5 ways spreadsheets can help writers plan and edit their novels

As promised, here’s the first stop on The Lost Sentinel’s blog tour. Find out why I love spreadsheets as a writing tool.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

I’ve always loved using excel spreadsheets, which probably goes back to my office job days (yawn!). But it was only as I recently plotted and planned the second book in my Silent Sea Chronicles, that I wondered if other writers had considered the benefits of using spreadsheets as a writing tool. Excel is great for;

  1. Planning your novel
  • Plan scenes in brief (or detailed if you prefer)

I do a mixture of both on the spreadsheet. Sometimes I plot out the basic scene, but I might add a few bits of dialogue to help me get into the scene when it comes to actually writing it.

  • It’s easy to copy, cut and move scenes around until you find the right place for them in the story.
  • Keep track of viewpoint characters

This is great when you have a cast of characters. I don’t like to leave too long between…

View original post 1,279 more words

Launch day bargain £1.99 for 13 Steps to Evil by @sacha_Black #amwriting #writingtips

I love villains!

I love reading about them and I especially love creating them in my own fantasy books. When I heard Sacha Black was publishing a book dedicated to creating evil characters, I snapped up a copy of 13 Steps to Evil. I can’t wait to read this how to book and my review of it will follow soon.

In the meantime, here’s some information about the book. Why not pick up a copy yourself while it’s on sale at £1.99?

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Book Blurb

Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is.

Are you fed up of drowning in two-dimensional villains? Frustrated with creating clichés? And failing to get your reader to root for your villain?

In 13 Steps to Evil, you’ll discover:

  • How to develop a villain’s mindset
  • A step-by-step guide to creating your villain from the ground up
  • Why getting to the core of a villain’s personality is essential to make them credible
  • What pitfalls and clichés to avoid as well as the tropes your story needsFinally, there is a comprehensive writing guide to help you create superbad villains.

Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned writer, this book will help power up your bad guy and give them that extra edge.These lessons will help you master and control your villainous minions, navigate and gain the perfect balance of good and evil, as well as strengthening your villain to give your story the tension and punch it needs.

If you like dark humour, learning through examples and want to create the best villains you can, then you’ll love Sacha Black’s guide to crafting superbad villains. Read 13 Steps to Evil today and start creating kick-ass villains.

Purchase from: All good retailers, but universal link to all bookstores is here.

Sacha Black Author Bio

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Sacha Black has five obsessions; words, expensive shoes, conspiracy theories, self-improvement, and breaking the rules. She also has the mind of a perpetual sixteen-year-old, only with slightly less drama and slightly more bills.

Sacha writes books about people with magical powers and other books about the art of writing. She lives in Hertfordshire, England, with her wife and genius, giant of a son.

When she’s not writing, she can be found laughing inappropriately loud, blogging, sniffing musty old books, fangirling film and TV soundtracks, or thinking up new ways to break the rules.

Contact Information

General

Email: sachablack@sachablack.co.uk

Non-fiction Website: www.sachablack.co.uk

Fiction Website: www.sachablackbooks.com

Social Media

Twitter: @sacha_Black

Facebook: Sacha Black author page

Pinterest: Pinterest profile

Instagram: Sacha Black profile

Goodreads non-fiction: Sacha Black profile

Goodreads fiction: Sacha de Black profile

Tumblr: Sacha Black profile

Google+: Sacha black profile

Linkedin: Linkedin Profile

Amazon Sacha Black profile

Want to create an Amazon short link for your book and author central page? #writingtips

I’m trying something new today, something that’s been on my to do list for over a year! I’ve decided today is the day to set up universal links for my book and author page on amazon. I’m running a kindle countdown deal right now, so I was stressing about getting the right book links into my tweets. So I googled it.

It was so easy, I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to work this out. Here are my links if you want to check them out.

Visions universal book page

Suzanne’s author page

How to do it yourself:

1. Go to booklinker

2. Paste in the URL of your book

3. Hit the button create universal link.

4. You need to give it a short name and save it.

5. Register the link as yours.

It all happened so quickly, I think I’ve covered every step. I don’t think you can go wrong anyway.

Now when you sign in to Booklink and look at Your Book Links, it shows all the clicks in each country.

I’m assuming the links work. I’ve tested and they seem ok for the UK, but maybe one or two of you bloggers can test it out for me and see if you are taken to your correct country. Let me know in the comments if you have time. Thank you!

By the way, here’s the site that led me to this amazingly simple discovery – Kindlepreneur. There looks like lots of articles to help the self published author here, so I will definitely be returning to browse this site.

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Now it’s time to update my blog and email signature with these quick links – if I could only remember how to do it. Time for another google search. I’m on a roll this morning!

 

#Tuesdaybookblog #Bookreview Getting Book Reviews by @RayneHall #indieauthors

Getting Book Reviews by Rayne Hall

Part of the Writer’s Craft Series

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Blurb

Reviews help sell books.
When browsing online for their next read, most readers are drawn to the books with many reviews. More and more readers glance at what other readers have to say about a book before they hit the ‘buy now’ button. The more people have read and liked the book, the more they want to experience it for themselves. This is a known psychological factor called ‘social evidence’, and it plays a big role in purchasing decisions.
The more reviews your book has, the better, especially if they are genuine, personal, thoughtful and positive. Reviews can multiply your sales and catapult your book to the top of bestseller lists – but how do you get them?
Perhaps you’re a new author and can’t get those crucial early reviews to start the train rolling. Maybe you’re a seasoned author and your books have garnered reviews, but not as many as you need to break out. Or perhaps you’ve gone the corporate publishing route, and find that your publisher’s publicist isn’t getting your book the attention it needs.
This book shows you many proven strategies to get the reviews your book deserves. Instead of urging you to labour through tedious, spirit-draining procedures, I’ll reveal quick, fun, empowering tricks.
All my suggestions are legitimate and ethical. In this book you won’t find methods for manipulating, faking and cheating. Strengthen your readers’ bond with you, don’t sabotage it.
Most of the methods I suggest are free, although some incur expenses. You will definitely need to spend time. You can apply them all these techniques, or cherry-pick the ones you like now and keep the rest for another time or a different book.
At the end of most chapters, I’m sharing mistakes I made and learnt from. They all seemed a good idea at the time.
Rayne

My Review

First thoughts

Since I self-published for the first time in 2015, I’ve been trying to increase my book’s profile on Amazon by getting more reviews. This book sounded perfect to help me do that.

Summary

Each chapter in the book covers your options when trying to gain reviews. They state the method, along with pros and cons for each and lessons learnt by the author. There were chapters on things like beta readers, approaching amazon reviewers, review circles and general product review agencies.

Writing Style

The book has a friendly, easy to read style just as the previous book of Rayne Hall’s I read and reviewed recently. Why does my book not sell? 20 Simple Fixes

Issues

My only real issue was that I’d already learnt alot of this by myself the long and hard way! It would’ve been great to have a manual like this to work through, to save time and effort.

Final thoughts

I have stumbled my way throughout the process of self-publishing and the same can be said for the way I’ve tried to get reviews. I have made connections with some brilliant book bloggers and gained some wonderful reviews, but I wish I’d known about this book long before I hit publish; things like putting a personal letter at the back of the book would have been easier if addressed beforehand.

This is a quick read, and one you can go back to again and again for sound advice.

Recommend to

I think this book is most helpful to authors who are soon to publish. Of course if you have already self-published, there are still plenty of helpful tips in here for you.

Rating  4 stars

Help, I’m going to a self-publishing summit! Any advice? #indieauthor

I’ve finally decided to put myself out there and attend a self-publishing summit next week. I haven’t been to any network events before and I hope this will be the start of me gaining confidence as a writer.

It’s easy enough to sit at home and think you’re a writer (I still cringe when I state that’s my occupation), but to actually physically go out into the world is a gigantic step for me. I don’t know how much I’ll get out of the day, but I’m nervously excited about the opportunity and looking forward to meeting some like-minded authors.

I have my notebook and pens ready, business cards to hand and I plan to have some book blurbs prepared to share. The trouble is I’m the world’s worst at selling myself. Whenever I hear the words ‘So what’s your book about?’ my brain freezes and my tongue disappears inside my head.

Have you been in this position? Do you have any tips for being more confidant, or advice to make the most of this networking day?

I look forward to sharing my experience with you and hopefully I’ll have lots of new ideas to put into practise for my current self published novel, and the book I hope to publish early next year.

#Bookreview Why does my book not sell 20 Simple Fixes – Rayne Hall #writers

Why does my book not sell? 20 Simple fixes

Author – Rayne Hall

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First thoughts – I saw a review of this book recently and thought great, this is just what I need to give my book sales a boost. I had high hopes it would show me what I was doing wrong and how I could sell more.

Summary – Each of the 20 stages is relevant to indie authors. The book covers topics like the blurb, know your reader, targeting your readers and social media.

Writing style – It’s very easy to follow, down to earth and not condescending. I especially like the lessons learnt section at the end of each chapter, where Rayne Hall shows us examples of her mistakes.

Issues – It seemed at times as though the book assumed you were already selling some copies, so it was a bit depressing on that front. I’m doing pretty much everything she suggests, so there are no miracle fixes for me. But it’s all still great advice and it doesn’t hurt to go over everything now and then to see how you can improve.

Final thoughts – The book was short and sweet. I read it in an evening and made plenty of notes. For me the best section was probably about the blurb. As she states its the biggest factor when a reader chooses to buy your book.

I’ve picked up a lot of my knowledge over time, but I wish I’d known about this book at the start of my self publishing journey and had read it much sooner.

Recommend to – Every indie author will benefit from this, especially if you are just starting out or preparing to self publish for the first time.

Rating – 4 stars