March Recap – Camp NaNo prep and a good dose of routine confusion!

Well, friends and Sparrows, this has been a very confusing month for me.

Like so many of you, I’m in lockdown, which means I started my new job and got used to my new routine just to work from home again and get used to yet another routine.

This whole year has been confusing so far, to be honest o.o Here’s hoping the rest of the year will be a bit steadier.

Once this quarantine is over, that is.

So, has this month gone as expected? *laughs* Of course not.

Brightened Shadows

I’ve made good progress on the First Big Edit and am confident that it’ll go to my critique partners in April. I even booked the cover for July!

It’s all happening :O

I figured I might as well join Camp NaNo this April since I’m working from home anyway, so that’s been one of the many unexpected developments for me.

Blood Wisp

No progress here. At all.

Between Brightened Shadows needing to go to critique partners and the editing jobs I do for other authors, there’s been no time – and that’s with working from home! I could have set more time aside for my books and less time for my authors, but these are the last editing jobs I’ll have (I closed my services, if you care about such things) and I want to finish them so I can have more time for my books without needing to compromise anywhere!

*takes deep breath*

That was a long sentence… Editor-me is appalled.

Looks like this series will need to wait for the summer. It’s not what I wanted, but it can’t be helped.

SPF Live and This Blog

Due to Corona reasons, I didn’t attend the event, and due to editing job reasons, I didn’t get into a regular blogging schedule.

So, that’s more unexpected developments 😐 Some months are like that *shrugs*

BUT at least I’ve made progress on Brightened Shadows and got the cover booked. I’ll hold on to that success.

I hope you’re staying safe and maybe even achieved a little more than me. These are very strange times, my dears. Be kind to yourselves, especially now <3


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Darkened Light is now available on all major online retailers!

These really are strange times we live in. Like so many of you, I’m back to working from home. First I worked from home, then I went back to work, now I’m working from home again… *makes strong tea to cope with this confusion*

I always try to look on the bright side, so I’m focussing on how I’ll be able to power through my last editing jobs over the next few weeks and make some progress on my own books. I want to go after a BookBub Featured Deal from next week and have been preparing my books (boring stuff like making sure all the links go where they are supposed to) for this.

Long story super short, Darkened Light just joined Rise of the Sparrows on Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble – you name it! And of course it’s still on Amazon, too.

This is for you if you…

… couldn’t afford / didn’t have room for the paperback but don’t own a kindle.

… love dark epic fantasy.

… love a slow-burn boy-on-boy romance.

… love a misfits-need-to-save-the-world story.

… love your fantasy with a good dose of sarcasm and banter.

Still unsure? Here’s the trailer:

Happy reading, friends and bookworms <3


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March Goals – The First Big Edit of Brightened Shadows, and Word Count Goals!

Happy March, Sparrows!

The month ahead promises to be busy. With one big client edit out of the way, I can finally focus more on my own books again, and that feels good!

I also vow not to overwork myself. That was one of my resolutions for this year, and February didn’t really stick to it. I tend to get carried away when I’m nearing the end of a project, and I must do better.

Brightened Shadows

I managed to finish the first read-through on Friday, which means I can throw myself into the First Big Edit from today!

I’d love to finish this first big round and prep it for critique partners this month, but what did I just say about not overworking myself? If it happens, I’ll be happy. If it doesn’t, I’ll still be happy with my progress.

It’s all good *high five*

Blood Wisp

I’m excited to finally be making progress on this trilogy! It has rested for much too long, and as soon as I’ve refamiliarised myself with the characters, I’ll start writing.

My word count goal for this month is 20k for Blood Song, which works out as 5k a week. Definitely doable.

I also need to re-outline Blood Wisp since I’ve changed so much about the trilogy itself, but that can wait until I sit down to rewrite it. First I want to get all three books written.

SPF LIVE

Next week Monday I’ll be attending Mark Dawson’s Self-Publishing Formula show in London, and my notebook is ready.

Bring on all the learning *more high fives*

This blog

I’m hoping to get a more regular schedule going. Stay tuned.


And that wraps up my goals for this month! It may not look like much, but rewriting Brightened Shadows will take time, not to mention writing the first draft of Blood Song. I’m excited for both for different reasons, but they don’t leave time for much else!


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February Recap | Well, that didn’t go as expected… (BUT all the freebies are out and Blood Wisp is back on!)

February has been a strange month for me. It didn’t start as I’d thought it would at all (you might remember my February Goals post being a week late), and it didn’t quite continue as I’d planned either. Once I’d adjusted, things calmed down and went back to more-or-less normal, but overall my plans still suffered a little.

I’ll keep some of the below short because I don’t want to just repeat myself <3

Relics of Ar’Zac

Brace yourselves – this might well be the last time this trilogy is mentioned in one of these posts! :O

As I already mentioned at the beginning of the month, Rise of the Sparrows is now perma-free and Shadow in Ar’Sanciond is a mailing list sign-up freebie.

The second sign-up freebie is now live too:

Pashros Kai Zo is a short story from Erimentha’s POV, which tells the story of how five-year-old Rachael was abandoned in Blackrock. It’s quite an emotional read and complements the trilogy nicely, so I hope you’ll enjoy it!

Here are the links again to make it easy:

Download Rise of the Sparrows for free

Sign up to my mailing list and collect your freebies.

Brightened Shadows

I haven’t finished the first read-through quite yet, but I’m nearly there. If I don’t get there today, I’ll get there early next week, and then I’ll dive right into the First Big Edit!

I do have quite a few ideas for expanding it now, but fortunately, it doesn’t need to be much longer (not like Blood of the Dragon, which was ~20k short), so I’m not worried about it. The First Big Edit will be hard enough as it is.

Blood Wisp

As of yesterday, I’m back on with this trilogy!

I got the perhaps most important thing out of the way first – Michiko is now called Yua, which already fits this girl so much better than her old name ever did (which is funny, given I didn’t think I’d find another name as perfect – shows what I know!)

I’ll overhaul the outline a little, and then I’ll start writing – hopefully as early as next week! I tried something different when I wrote Dreamer 1, mostly because I hadn’t expected to write it during NaNo so my Scrivener index cards were blank (usually, they’re stuffed with lots of details). The words flowed much better that way, although I found looking at blank index cards jarring af.

I’ll get used to it, and Blood Song will be stronger for it.

I hope you had a good February and have a good start to March <3


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Two new epic fantasy freebies for your inbox – one exclusive short story, and one whole novella!

I’m excited to announce that I’ve finally done when I’d been meaning to do for ages –

My mailing list subscribers finally get two freebies which are related to my books. #hallelujah

Freebie 1 is Shadow in Ar’Sanciond, the prequel novella to my Relics of Ar’Zac trilogy.

Freebie 2 is even more special than a whole novella, because I wrote it just for my subscribers – meaning my mailing list is the only place to get it. It’s a short story (roughly 5k) telling the story of how Rachael was abandoned in Blackrock when she was five years old and the events leading up to that day.

You don’t need to have read the trilogy to read either freebie. If you’ve started the trilogy or even finished it, then these two will give you interesting back stories. I don’t know about you, but I love a prequel after I’ve read the main series!

If you haven’t started the trilogy, then both freebies could be a great starting point for you.

And best of all, they’re free, so there’s zero investment from you other than your time.

If you’re already subscribed, check your inbox – both freebies should be with you now.

If you’re not already subscribed and really want these freebies, hop on board now:

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February Goals | Rise of the Sparrows is perma-free and Shadow in Ar’Sanciond a mailing list freebie… Wait, WHAT?

Hi, everyone!

So, this post is a week late. My February so far has been a combination of various emotional highs and lows. Things have started to calm a bit, so I finally have a chance to sit down with my laptop and share my goals–some of which I’ve already met, others I didn’t see coming.

The lows are entirely personal, so I won’t bore you with them here – suffice it to say they are the reason this post is late.

Relics of Ar’Zac

I have two super exciting bits of news:

  • Rise of the Sparrows is now perma free on online retailers! I went wide with it last week Friday, asked my mailing list and my Facebook reader group to tell Amazon about the lower price, informed Amazon myself, and by Saturday, they had worked their magic and my little debut baby was free everywhere.

Read it for free here.

  • Now that the entire trilogy is out, including the box set, I can finally give my mailing list the freebies it deserves! As a thank you to my wonderful subscribers, they can now read Shadow in Ar’Sanciond for free through my list. Want in on that? Sign up here and get reading!

Brightened Shadows

I’ve made a good start on reading over Brightened Shadows and taking notes, but I want to finish my first read-through this month so I can jump into the First Big Edit. There aren’t too many things to add right now, but I trust that my critique partners will find plenty when the time comes.

Blood Wisp

I’ve made no progress on this, and since above mentioned emotional highs and lows come with large changes to my routine, I’m not sure when I’ll be able to focus on this trilogy.

It’s only delayed a little though, I haven’t forgotten about it, and as soon as I can, I’ll be back with Michiko and Aza.


And those are my plans for February! Making Sparrows perma-free and making Shadow a sign-up freebie were on my list too, but for the above mentioned reasons, I’ve already hit those two goals while I wrapped my head around other things. I have one more mailing list freebie to share (just waiting for the cover!), but other than that, I’m making good time.

Fingers crossed things will go smoothly from here!


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January Recap | A Slow Start to the Year (but wait, I published a box set!)

January has been a mixed month for me. I’ve learned that my productivity suffers when I’m off, back to work, off again, back to work, off, back to work, off, back to work–

I’m relieved I had a two-week break for my 30th birthday and got to spend one week with my parents, but I’m also relieved that I haven’t got any more time off planned for… well, until Christmas, to be honest. I’m sure something will come up before then, but right now I’m glad to be returning to my routine on Monday with some firm deadlines in place.

Relics of Ar’Zac

MY BOX SET IS LIVE

I won’t go into detail again since I just did that on release day, but suffice it to say it’s been an emotional two weeks for me and I’m still accepting that my debut series is available to the world in box set form.

Beyond the release day excitement, I’ve been working on a mailing list freebie telling the story of how Rachael got abandoned in Blackrock as a child. More on that soon, but if you want it the moment it’s out, sign up to my author list.

Brightened Shadows

The first read-through is underway and I’m taking lots of notes as I go. I have a few ideas for changes right now, though I’m not as far as I wanted to be. The eclipse affected lots of people early this month, myself included, and threw me into a week-long low, which wasn’t helped by my routine not knowing whether it was coming or going.

Having said that, it’s going well, and once the Relics of Ar’Zac freebie is with my mailing list, I’ll start working on the freebie for this duology. Lots of free stuff! *throws confetti*

Blood Wisp

No progress because of aforementioned low.

(Being off for two weeks may also have slowed my progress *ahem*)

February promises to be a fair bit busier…

But more on that on Monday 🙂


Want in on all those upcoming mailing list exclusives? Sign up to BOOKISH WITH SARINA for updates on my books, excerpts, early cover reveals, and other exclusive freebies such as the short stories All that I Can Be and Bubak.

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Happy Release Day, Little Box Set!

This is a must read for lovers of fantasy with quite a bit of action and unexpected twists.

My first box set is out today and I couldn’t be happier <3 It’s my 30th birthday in two days, so my emotions today are all over the place.

If you pre-ordered it, it should be on your kindle now.

The special pre-order price is now over, but you can still get it dirt cheap at what’s effectively half price!

Head on over to Amazon and treat yourself.


Want in on all those upcoming mailing list exclusives? Sign up to BOOKISH WITH SARINA for updates on my books, excerpts, early cover reveals, and other exclusive freebies such as the short stories All that I Can Be and Bubak.

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The Relics of Ar’Zac Trilogy: 17 Reasons You Should Read It

In case you missed it, my first box set is out in just two days! I’m super excited and have talked about it quite a lot, especially on Instagram, but I wanted to tell you a little more about it in case you’re not sure if it’s for you.

The Relics of Ar'Zac Trilogy: 17 Reasons You Should Read It

You should read this box set if you like:

Dark epic fantasy

FLAWED CHARACTERS

No perfect happy endings (and the occasional cliffhanger ending)

Strong female characters throughout

A slow-burn romance THAT’S NOT THE FOCUS OF THE STORY

Prophecy (and a MC who couldn’t be less impressed)

good-vs-evil battles

Gay representation

Prequels where everyone dies (not a spoiler–it’s in the blurb!)

A large fantasy world

NO BURIED GAYS

Shadow monsters and dragons

You might cry by the end (my editor and I did)

GORGEOUS cover art by Design for Writers

ALL THE FEELINGS

Comic relief

And this beautiful beast:

This trilogy means everything to me. It started so small, but it’s grown into so much more than I ever imagined. I’ve created something I’m truly proud of, and I hope you’ll enjoy it too. If nothing else I think it’ll make you laugh a few times and feel for Rachael, Cephy, Cale, Reeve, Ludo, and everyone else.

This box set is out in two days, but you can pre-order it now and it’ll be on your kindle at midnight of the 24th.

In the meantime, you can subscribe to my mailing list for updates and a related exclusive freebie that’s coming soon, add the book on Goodreads, and follow me on Instagram and Facebook. If you know someone who would love this box set, you can tell them about it too.

Thank you so much to everyone who’s already pre-ordered, written early reviews, and otherwise spread the word. You’re support means everything to me <3

Now, WHO’S HYPED FOR RELEASE DAY?


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A Chat Over Tea with Author, Playwright, and Editor Briana Morgan

Welcome, friends and bookworms, to the first ever interview of this blog!

*throws dark confetti*

*makes tea for everyone* 

As an indie author, there’s nothing I love more than helping other indie authors be seen and spread the word about their books.

Starting today, every month I will have a chat with another self-published author about all things books! You could call it an interview (I mean, I just did), but really this’ll be an informal talk over tea.

My first ever guest is extra special, because it’s Briana Morgan! Not only is Briana a super talented author, but she’s also been my editor ever since Rise of the Sparrows, and she has been a friend just as long. I’m thrilled to be chatting to her about all things books, operas, and witches today!

S: Please, Bri, help yourself to tea and tell me what you’re reading at the moment. I always find the first read of the year to be super important, but the first read of the decade? I want to make sure I kick it off well! What have you chosen and why?

B: I’ve chosen to reread The Great Gatsby since a) it’s my favorite book, and b) I thought it would be perfect for kicking off the 2020s! Although at this point, I can say I feel like I’ve memorized parts of it!

S: That sounds like a lot of re-reads! How often have you read The Great Gatsby? (I’ll just hang my head in shame here, because I haven’t read it once o.o)

B: God only knows at this point. I still can’t believe you haven’t read it since we’ve become friends!

S: You’ll have to hassle me this year 😉 What do you enjoy about it–or about any book–that you keep coming back to it?

B: I love how real (read: flawed) the characters are in it, as well as the lyrical prose. Fitzgerald was the first writer to move me with just his description, which is something I aspire to do as an author myself.

S: I love a flawed character <3 And you’ve already answered my next question! I was going to ask what a book needs to have for you to enjoy it and how that influences your own writing, but you’ve clearly read my mind 😉 Got anything to add?

B: Other things I look for in a good book: compelling stakes/conflict, diversity, and well-written dialogue that leaps off the page!

S: Do you try to fit those into your own books? If it doesn’t spoil anything, can you tell us how you’ve incorporated those things into your own writing?

B: I do, as much as I can! My writing process has definitely changed (and gotten better) over time, so I can’t speak as much to the past, but now it is something I strive for. In my upcoming novel Livingston Girls, for example, I’ve tightened my dialogue, presented diverse and realistic characters, and tried to evoke setting in an interesting way. I hope all that comes across well for the reader.

S: Yes, let’s talk about Livingston Girls! I’m SO intrigued from what I’ve seen on Instagram. It’s about a girl who starts her education in an all-girls school full of witches, right? And she’s not thrilled at first?

B: That’s mostly correct! Rose gets involved in a student-teacher scandal at her old schools and her parents ship her off to an all-girls boarding school, stuffy Livingston Academy. There, she meets a secret coven of witches that need her help to protect the school and put a stop to the asshole witch-hunter in town. All the while, she battles her own sexuality and growing feelings for her roommate, who is… complicated, to say the least.

S: Well, that just sounds all kinds of awesome <3 What I love about your books is that they’re all different, from plays to urban fantasy to… well, still urban fantasy, but also different. *pours more tea* This one sounds like it’ll be a new favourite! Who was your ideal reader for this book? Who did you write it for?

B: I think I mostly wrote it for my teenage self. It’s the kind of book I would have loved as a teenager, especially because of how witchy it is. I also wrote it for queer kids struggling with their identity or feeling like they don’t have a place in the world, as well as for anyone, regardless of age, who worries that they can’t find love because they’re far from perfect.

S: This is why I love you <3 I think my teenage self would have loved this. What did you enjoy the most about writing Livingston Girls?

B: Oh, gods, that’s a tough one! I had so much fun writing this book! I think my favorite part was the dialogue, as well as how it shapes the characters’ relationships with each other. That, and creating the magic system, of course!

S: Now, I was going to ask you to share a brief teaser, but I believe you’ve shared the first three chapters on your blog! How about the opening paragraph (or paragraphs, if it’s really short) and a link to the rest on your blog?

B: You got it! Here’s the opening:

“The reek of mothballs and disinfectant almost knocks me over. Wood paneling lines the walls. It’s not a big dorm. Just enough space between the twin beds to prevent awkward touching in the night, twin dressers and desks that have seen better days, and a gray-brown carpet. Beside the door, sitting on a patch of linoleum, is a sink with a tiny mirror. Still, the room looks clean, and the big window lets in more light than I expected.

I slide the strap of my guitar case off my shoulder, set the guitar on the bed, and walk to the window. Livingston Academy is sprawling. I doubt I’ll ever find my way around–even my residence hall is massive. Though there’s still a day before classes start, the lawn outside my dorm, Meyer Hall, ripples with activity. A few girls sit on the stone steps leading to the front doors. Others lean against the wrought-iron fencing or the building’s brick exterior, make small talk by the rose bushes, and stretch out on the browning grass.

A pang of yearning knifes my chest. I turn away.

I don’t have friends. All I have are my parents—barely. And once they go home, I won’t have anyone. “

If that intrigues you, you can read the rest of chapter one (and chapters two and three) on my blog!

S: I love it SO MUCH. 

Now that you’ve put the finishing touches on it and Livingston Girls is live for pre-order, what’s next for you?

B: I’m doing a combination of editing my full-length play Unboxed and outlining the Livingston Girls sequel(!) Livingston Coven!

S: And, of course, there’s the opera… We need to talk about your opera, Bri. When does Touch hit the stage? How excited are you??

B: I am so beyond excited and humbled! I can’t believe I’ve written something that resonates so deeply with another creator that it’s being adapted into an opera. Plans for now are that it will be out sometime in 2021, but of course that’s out of my control. Still, I am so pleased with this team, and I cannot wait to see how everything turns out.

S: I’m just so excited for and proud of you! It’ll be in London, right? That’s HUGE.

B: It will be! I’m flying out for the opening.

S: I’ll have to see if I can meet you for it 😉 But let’s get serious for a moment. You’re doing so well and you inspire me with your work ethic, but everyone struggles with something, and I think it’s important that we don’t forget that no one’s life is perfect, no matter what shiny online profiles make us believe. So, what’s your biggest struggle as an indie author, playwright, and editor?

B: My biggest struggle is not feeling overwhelmed and getting distracted. I’ve had anxiety for years, and I suspect I also have undiagnosed ADD/ADHD. Those two make it tough for me to concentrate sometimes. When I feel overwhelmed, I can’t get as much done as I’d like to, and I tend to beat myself up for that. It’s tough.

S: I get that. I had a day like that just yesterday where I was exhausted from not getting enough sleep the weekend before and the bad weather was doing a number on me. I just couldn’t focus and didn’t get the work done that I’d wanted to. I felt so guilty, especially because I don’t work just for myself but for other authors.

I think we both need to remember that it’s okay to have bad days. Everyone has them. That’s what makes self-care so important!

B: That’s right! I’m trying to be kinder to myself in 2020.

S: Same. Last year was busy for both of us, but we don’t have to push ourselves this hard, Bri. No one does. Burning out isn’t fun, and we don’t need that shit.

I don’t know about you, but when I really need a break, I love to curl up with a good book, a tea or hot chocolate, and wrap up in my blanket. My familiar tends to fall asleep on me too. What’s your perfect reading situation?

B: I love curling up on the couch or in bed with my cat and a hot drink too! Even better if the weather is nice enough to open the windows.

S: Ooh, or better yet, when it’s nice enough to read outside! <3

To wrap up, where can we find you and what do you share there?

Briana Morgan – Author, Playwright, and Editor

B: I have a website where I blog and where you can find my books, an editing website, Twitter where I post about writing and books, and Instagram where I share information about writing, books, and a behind-the-scenes look at my everyday life. 🙂

S: And I can say from personal experience that your Instagram is very honest and incredibly encouraging and inspiring! Plus the pictures of your cat are adorable and make my day ^-^

Thank you so much for stopping by and chatting with me! It’s been lovely having you here.


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