July Goals | All the Camp NaNo excitement!

Happy JULY, friends and Sparrows!

My burnout is finally over and I feel like myself again, so my to-do list is finally looking a bit more ambitious! I’ll keep this post short so I can get to work *does little ready dance*

Brightened Shadows

I’m thrilled to finally be making good progress with this book. My read-through is well underway and my editor knows it’s coming her way this month!

I loved writing this sequel to my duology, but I’m at a point now where I don’t want to look at it any more. I’m very ready for my editor to do her thing!

The Silence of Magic

I’m so pleased that I’ve chosen this WIP for my NaNo project! I’ve been excited about this book and its intricate world for years, and I can feel it restoring my creative well as I’m writing and plotting. It’s kinda been a blessing so far. I know it won’t last forever, but right now I’ll treasure it.

I’ve set my NaNo goal to 15k to allow for burnout prevention, and I have a feeling I’ll reach it pretty quickly! I’ll need to fill in some world-building details along the way, and that alone is pure rejuvenation for me <3

Blood Wisp

Now, I don’t want to give myself too much to do and fall right back into burnout, but the plan is to return to BLOOD WISP once BRIGHTENED SHADOWS is with my editor. I’m usually editing one book while writing another, so it should be fine.

BUT, if I can feel my burnout returning, I’ll put it back on hold. Right now, I feel fine, but I’m also very aware that a two-month-long burnout is likely to have some lingering effects, so I’ll be careful.

This Blog

See above note about careful burnout prevention…

All being well, I’d like to get back to posting once a week. I’ve got a few ideas for regular posts, so technically I just need to make it happen now. And if you have any ideas for what you’d like to see on an author blog, let me know! I’m all ears.

What have you got planned this month? Share a tea with me and let me know.


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June Progress | An Unexpected WIP & #burnoutisabitch

Remember how I mentioned back at the end of May that I had burned out badly? Well, friends, it’s taken me all of June to recover.

Take that as your friendly reminder to look after yourselves <3

I’m not quite there yet, but it’s getting there, and I’ve made self-care a priority. The moment I sense burnout winking at me from the shadows, I take a break – no questions asked, no arguments.

As you can probably imagine, I didn’t get as much done this month as I might have liked, but I’m proud of what I did manage, and I remind myself that burnout is a bitch whenever I feel like it’s not enough.

Brightened Shadows

I’ve gone over all critique partner feedback and have made a note of things to adjust when I read over it again, which I’ll start doing today. I’ve also sent the chapter headings to my editor ahead of the book since some of my critique partners felt they were repetitive. I split opinions there – half thought they were repetitive, half thought they weren’t.

The Rise of the Sparrows Audiobook

I’ve booked my narrator, we’ve signed the contract, and she’s currently reading the book to take notes and prepare herself.

For all other updates and details, please check out The Audiobook Diaries.

The Silence of Magic

Honestly, this was a pleasant surprise to me. Camp NaNo begins tomorrow, and I was in the uncomfortable position of not wanting to work on any of my WIPs. (#burnoutisabitch)

Now, I really like NaNo, and since I’m unlikely to have time for the big event in November, I wanted to at least do both camps. But what to work on? All my WIPs made me feel like I was slipping back into burnout, and that’s the last thing I want!

That’s when I wondered about this idea I’ve had for years. I’ve mentioned it here and there, but I wasn’t expecting to start work on it any time soon.

And yet, the moment I considered it I felt excited.

Friends, I haven’t felt excited in months!

It feels beyond indulgent to work on THE SILENCE OF MAGIC when BLOOD WISP needs so much work and when BRIGHTENED SHADOWS still isn’t with my editor, but I feel good about this. It’ll be nice to work on a book and actually enjoy myself! I’ve been missing this feeling for months, so TSoM will be my NaNo project.

I’ve spend the last few days preparing for it, naming characters and sorting out the backstory that’s responsible for the main plot. I don’t have as many details worked out as I usually would, but that’ll be part of the joy! I’m excited to discover this vast lore-rich world alongside my characters.


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June Goals | WIP Milestones and Booking My Audiobook Narrator

Happy June, Sparrows and bookworms!

After I’ve burned myself out in May – badly – I vow to do better this month *high five*

The below may not read like much, but they’re all big milestones across all WIPs!

Brightened Shadows

My first priority this June is to go over the rest of my critique partner feedback and make some changes to my draft. Once that’s done, it’ll go to my editor for its line edit. I might also read over everything again before that to make sure I’m happy with the changes and that everything flows well.

Blood Wisp

As I mentioned in the May update, this book is a right mess. Once I’m done with Brightened Shadows and it’s in my editor’s capable hands, I’ll restructure Blood Wisp. I’ve already started, and it’ll be a fairly simple process of copying chapters from the current draft and pasting them into a new draft, without any of that repetition and now-unnecessary chapters.

I’ll have quite a bit of rewriting and adding to do afterwards, but it’ll be much stronger for it when I’m done.

The Rise of the Sparrows Audiobook

I won’t say too much here because details are what my Audiobook Diaries are for, BUT I’ve chosen my narrator and am ready to book her.

I’m a little unclear right now as to how the next steps work (mostly admin-y things), but I’m hoping to wait with production until July to make sure I leave myself enough for living costs.

I’ve gone slightly over budget, but this narrator is perfect for my book, so I’m okay with that.

If they are happy to wait, too, I’ll be booking my narrator this month. I imagine it’ll be fine, but as someone who’s never done this before, I don’t want to make any assumptions.

And that’s my little big update! What are you all up to this June?


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May Progress | Between Audiobook Excitement and Burnout

I’ll keep this month’s update short because I’ve burned myself out pretty badly this month *rolls eyes at self*

Brightened Shadows

I’ve received all critique partner feedback and have begun to go over their suggestions. Most of it is straightforward – a word spelled wrong here, an easy-to-fix inconsistency there – but other parts…

I’d go over one set of feedback and the critique partner loved, say, a chapter. I’d then move on to the next set of feedback, and the critique partner didn’t get on with the same chapter at all.

There’s one character I was worried had too many chapters compared to the others. One critique partner thinks they had too few and need more.

And on it went! So, in short, I somewhat divided my critique partners with this one. This isn’t on everything, of course, but they’ve given me a lot to think about, and I have some ideas on how to strengthen important parts of the book thanks to them.

Blood Wisp

Remember how I said at the beginning of the month that I’d dive into rewrites at some point this month, depending on how messy this draft really is?

Turns out, it’s messy. I was tempted to start over from scratch at one point.

I’ve gone over the entire draft now and have begun to take notes of my notes. There are some serious structural problems (friendly reminder to avoid turning three novellas into one novel), which means a good bit of rewriting is necessary.

To hopefully make sense of the mess without creating more mess, I’ve re-outlined it and will copy and paste the chapters I’m keeping/moving into a new, clean document. I’m cutting a few chapters and need to add quite a few more so everything comes together well, so I’m hoping this will make it easier.

The Audiobook Diaries

The audiobook process for Rise of the Sparrows has begun! You can follow my audiobook journey here.

At the moment, entries are weekly every Friday – and the reason this monthly progress update happens today rather than tomorrow.

Twitter

I’ve rejoined Twitter earlier this month! I considered tidying up my account, but that would have taken a very long time, so I deleted it and started over.

You can follow me here.

And that sums up my May! Remember to look after yourselves <3


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May Goals | Two WIPs and an Audiobook

Happy May, friends and Sparrows!

I hope you’re all keeping well and safe, especially as the lock down ends in some places and eases in others <3

This will be the month my progress picks UP, because I’ll hit a big deadline this week. While it’s not related to my own books, it’s been taking up a lot of my time every day, so finishing it will free up my schedule like nothing else has done in a long time!

There are quite a few exciting things ahead! So many, in fact, that I’ve summarised my goals for this month at the end. Feel free to jump ahead if you’re short on time or don’t want to read the whole post.

Brightened Shadows

The deadline for critique partner feedback is the 18th. I will clear my schedule once it’s with me so I can go over their suggestions and apply the ones I agree with. I also have a small list of questions to ask the group once everyone is done – I could have included them when I sent the draft but didn’t want to influence their reading, so we’ll have this discussion when they’re done!

And once that’s done, I’ll send it to my editor for the line edit. Not sure that’ll happen this month, but it might! If my critique partners don’t come back with too many problems and there are no fires elsewhere in my WIPs, it’s definitely possible.

Fingers crossed!

Blood Wisp

I’ll finish taking notes this month and will dive into rewrites once that’s done. Depending on how everything goes (read: on how messy this draft really is), I should finish taking notes next week or the week after – Brightened Shadows feedback permitting, of course!

I’ve been hiding in the editing cave for so long I can’t wait to write again, even if it’s super complicated rewrites.

The Audiobook Diaries

This is a big one!

I’ve decided to dive into the wonderful world of audiobooks with my babies. Some time this month, I’ll start the process with Rise of the Sparrows.

It’s the first I’m doing this, so I’m excited to learn something new as well as to have my books out there in another format!

Since I first mentioned this on Instagram and in my Facebook Reader Group, several people have asked me to let them know how it goes and to share my experience because they are curious, too.

Instead of making a note of everyone who asked me and inform them all individually, I’ve decided to blog about my progress and my experience. That way, everyone can learn how it works, what’s involved, what issues I run into and how to solve them, etc in one place, month by month.

Keep an eye out for The AudioBook Diaries. The first entry will hit this blog this May.

Twitter

I left Twitter last autumn because everything was getting a bit overwhelming – running two blogs regularly, running two Facebook groups regularly, editing jobs, my own books (I had three release dates in short succession ahead of me at the time), Instagram seven days a week, Twitter, regular Pinterest session to drive traffic to one of my blogs–

It was too much, so I left.

But now, I only have this blog right here, I handed one of my Facebook groups over to someone else, I post on Instagram only three times a week, and I closed my editing services. Closing my other blog also brought an end to the Pinterest stress, so that’s five less things to worry about.

Long story short–I’m coming back, Twitter!

I’d share a link right now, but I think I’ll tidy up a little first *ahem*

So, to summarise:

  • I’ll receive my critique partners’ feedback for Brightened Shadows around the 18th. If all goes well and the issues aren’t too complicated to fix, it might even go to my editor for its line edit.
  • I’ll finish taking notes of Blood Wisp and will begin rewrites.
  • I’ll begin the lengthy audiobook progress and blog about it here under The Audiobook Diaries.
  • I’ll return to Twitter.

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April Progress – Camp NaNo Success and Heavy Rewrites

Hi everyone!

I hope you’re all coping well with this lockdown. For me, it’s been a strange blessing, because I’ve been able to make massive progress towards my last editing jobs this month – thanks to the quarantine, I was able to power through 400 pages of line edits!

(yes, I am tired)

BUT an end is in sight, because I’ll be done after next week, and then gone will be the tiny progress updates!

I’m very excited to have more time for my own again, to say the least, and big plans are unfolding, but more about that next week. My to-do list may have been smaller this month, but it’s nothing to scoff at all the same:

Brightened Shadows

Brightened Shadows is with my critique partners! *throws confetti* I asked them to email me right away if there were any big issues so I can get on it right away, but it’s been silent since I send them the book around two weeks ago (it feels much longer ago than that!). That can only be a good sign.

Getting it to this point was my Camp NaNo goal, and I’m proud I got it done.

Blood Wisp

I was torn about how best to proceed. I wanted to start writing Blood Song, but I also left Blood Wisp in a right state. Since I combined three novellas to form the first book, the draft is essentially not done. It’s more of a detailed outline with big chunks missing.

So, I decided to tackle Blood Wisp before diving into Blood Song. Novellas flow much faster than full-length novels; therefore, the structure is all over the place, the plot is incomplete, and it’s not long enough to be a full-length novel even with all three novellas combined.

Basically, this WIP needs work.

I’m reading the whole thing with my structure sheets next to me, a notebook, and several pens in different colours. I’ve got some ideas for how to improve it, but because of the state it’s in, it’ll take time.

And that’s it! Prepare for an exciting announcement in my May goals on Monday 😉


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April Goals – Hurrah for Camp NaNo! … and the smallest list you’ve ever seen, damn

Happy April, friends and bookworms!

I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed lately, so I’ve decided to scale thing back a lot and focus on one thing at a time until other parts of my life calm down a bit again and I have more time for the things I love – writing and learning.

With that in mind, my list of goals this month will be small and simple:

Beat Camp NaNo

I’ve been pushing myself to fit everything into my routine and am chuffed to say that I passed the halfway mark of Brightened Shadows this morning. If I continue at this speed (one hour a day – nothing crazy!), I’ll be ready to send it to my critique partners by the end of next week.

And that’s all I have energy for at the moment *blushes*

Wait, that’s one point… That doesn’t qualify as a list :O

On the plus side, I’m on track! Woohoo!

Let’s give it six to seven weeks and my progress will be back to normal again 🙂

Stay safe, everyone <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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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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