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.


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!

Sign up for my mailing list for updates on my books, excerpts, early cover reveals, and the exclusive freebies Shadow in Ar’Sanciond (the Relics of Ar’Zac prequel novella) and Pashros Kai Zo (a Relics of Ar’Zac short story, which isn’t available anywhere else).

Take me to the Welcome page.

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

Sign up for my mailing list for updates on my books, excerpts, early cover reveals, and the exclusive freebies Shadow in Ar’Sanciond (the Relics of Ar’Zac prequel novella) and Pashros Kai Zo (a Relics of Ar’Zac short story, which isn’t available anywhere else).

Take me to the Welcome page.

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!

Sign up for my mailing list for updates on my books, excerpts, early cover reveals, and other exclusive freebies.

Take me to the Welcome page.

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


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.

Take me to the Welcome page.

January AND 2020 goals! | a box set, an ending duology, and ALL THE DRAFTS

Happy New Year, friends and bookworms! *waves*

I hope you’ve all had a great start to the year <3 I always find the in-between time a little awkward since I can’t really settle into a routine. I enjoyed my time off, but I’m also ready to get back to things without interruptions now.

Until the 21st, when my parents arrive to visit for one week for my 30th birthday and my SO has the week off after that. I am best at taking time off when other people make me ^-^

To keep things simple, let’s look at this month’s goals first:


Relics of Ar’Zac

I’ll have a box set out, friends.

It hasn’t quite sunk in yet, but it’s getting there.

I need to check over everything on KDP and enter a few last bits, but it’s there otherwise and the pre-orders are coming in.

I should also hear about the trailer sometime soon, so there’s something to look forward to! 😉

Have you pre-ordered yet? It’s 4for1 until its release date, so get it while it’s cheap!

Brightened Shadows

I’ve copied the first draft into a clean document and am eager to dive into edits. I’ll read through everything first and take notes to get an idea of where I might be able to add chapters, cut stuff, or move things around a little.

Once that’s done, I’ll dive into the first developmental edit and will also add and cut the things I noted down.

It’s a big round and the second isn’t much lighter, so I’m as excited to start as I am keen to put it behind me and send it to critique partners. This should be sometime around March/April.

Blood Wisp

I couldn’t decide which series to continue first–Blood Wisp or Dreamer–so I asked on Instagram and my reader group on Facebook, and you chose Blood Song!

So, at some point this month, I’ll start writing Book 2. I’ll need to read over Book 1 again to re-familiarise myself with the characters and the world, so I’ll probably wait with that until I’ve read over Brightened Shadows. Don’t want to get confused between drafts.

I’ll be off for two weeks at the end of the month for my birthday, so I don’t have much time to do all this in o.o


Darkened Light

I’m aiming to publish Brightened Shadows in October, though I haven’t set a date yet and won’t until I have a better idea of how much time I need. The month should be set though!

I’m also working on a companion book of sorts, which will be a mailing list exclusive download and take you into the mythology and legends of this duology’s world. There’ll be stories from Hjeva, Vaska, and all over, and I’m hoping you’ll find it as exciting as I do ^-^

Blood Wisp

I’ll make a start on Blood Song‘s first draft this month. I’m hoping to finish it by the end of February, and I’ll dive into Blood Vow as soon as that’s done and proofing.

Once all three books are ready, I’ll start editing Blood Wisp. Since I merged all three original novellas into one full-length book last year, I imagine the edits will be rather extensive.

This is my reminder to stock up on tea *ahem*

There’s also a chance of a mailing list exclusive short story, which will likely also act as a prequel of sorts 😉


Once all three books of the Blood Wisp trilogy are written, proofing, or otherwise being improved and once Brightened Shadows is mostly with other people, I’ll come back to the Dreamer trilogy.

It needs a name, for one!

I’ll be pretty busy with the aforementioned WIPs, so I won’t put any extra pressure on myself with this trilogy. I’ll do what I can this year, but since I currently have them down for 2022 releases, I don’t need to hurry too much. The other WIPs are priorities.

And again, there’s a chance of a mailing list exclusive short story.

I believe that’s enough for one year! What are your goals for this year? Which one of the above releases are you most excited about?

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.

Take me to the Welcome page.

December & 2019 Recap | The end of an exhausting but good year

What a packed year this has been, friends and bookworms! I possibly got more done this year than in any other, and I felt the end-of-year exhaustion this month when a few things didn’t go to plan (private things I won’t bore you with), Word crashed and lost my afternoon’s work despite autosave being on (what did we learn? don’t trust autosave. it’s a lie.), and I trapped a nerve badly in my shoulder/neck when I stretched one morning last week, which forced me to slow down a tiny bit earlier than anticipated.

BUT all that was nothing Christmas couldn’t fix, and I’m back at my desk today and as motivated as ever 🙂

Today’s recap will look at what I’ve achieved this month, but it’ll also look back at my goals at the start of the year.

Relics of Ar’Zac

You ready? This’ll be tiring to read. Make a tea now–don’t say I didn’t warn you.

This year, I…


… re-edited and re-published Rise of the Sparrows.

… finished and published Blood of the Dragon.

… finished and published Shadow in Ar’Sanciond.

set up the box set for pre-order.

had a book trailer made for Rise of the Sparrows and booked the trailer for the box set.

Lists sure make everything look easy, don’t they? o.o My main goal this year was to publish the rest of this series plus publish the box set before my 30th birthday next month, so I’m exactly where I wanted to be (despite what the next points might have you believe).

Having said that, publishing three books over three consecutive months is exhausting, and I don’t think I’ll do it again. There’s just no need, you know?

Now the marketing can begin for real! *pushes up sleeves*

Brightened Shadows

I wrote the sequel to Darkened Light and wrapped up the first draft during NaNo. It’s currently proofing, but edits will start next week and I’m aiming for an October 2020 release.

And, of course, Darkened Light also got a book trailer this year!

Blood Wisp

Things didn’t work out as planned at all for this little trilogy. Back in January, my goal was to publish the first novella in October, Novella 2 in November, and Novella 3 in December. Instead, what used to be three novellas is now one novel thanks to critique partner feedback, and I had to re-plot books 2 and 3 from scratch.

So, while I published none of these, they’re in a better place now and I feel much more confident going forward. Sometimes, we have to take a few steps back before we can go ahead, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Publishing the individual novellas would have a been a mistake, and I’ve learned so much about plotting a whole series in one go!

I’ll decide which WIP to work on next this week, and will announce it in my January/2020 post. I’m torn between Blood Song and…


This trilogy came out on top this year! I first wanted to write Book 1 during the July Camp NaNo, but I had so many editing jobs at the time that it didn’t happen, plus I wasn’t happy with the plotting.

I set it aside until next year, but then I struggled to get into Blood Song during NaNoWriMo once I’d finished Brightened Shadows, and since I didn’t want to force it (which would have meant unnecessary painful rewrites later on) and had a good idea of where Dreamer might go, I chose Esta’s story.

And it flowed, friends and bookworms. It flowed.

I now have a finished first draft, which is proofing until I’m ready to write books 2 and 3.

Sarina’s Sparrows

My Facebook Reader Group was born this year!

This was quite a big step for me since I left Twitter shortly before due to having too much social media to catch up on every day, but I have no regrets.

We talk about books, worship cats (and other animals), get early teasers and all other announcements before everyone else, there are exclusive giveaways, and I have a lot of other fun planned for next year, too, so come join us!

I believe that about sums it up! It doesn’t look like much, summarised as it is, but I assure you I was quite tired before my Christmas break XD

How was your December? How was your 2019? Grab some biscuits to go with that tea and tell me about everything you have achieved <3

Sign up for my BOOKISH WITH SARINA mailing list for updates on my books, excerpts, early cover reveals, and exclusive freebies such as the short stories All that I Can Be and Bubak.

Take me to the Welcome page.

December Goals | Release Day 2/3 & Two Potential WIPs

Happy December, friends! <3

This half of the year is my favourite. First, autumn arrives with its beautiful leaves, foggy mornings, and warming flavours. Then comes Halloween, when the veil between worlds is thinnest, and then NaNoWriMo comes right after that!

But then, after so much excitement, comes Christmas–and for me, that holiday lasts all month. Everything just looks so magical with lights everywhere, and there’s an undeniable buzz when I go into town. At home, everything gets a little more comfy. The house smells of cinnamon and vanilla a lot, because I love baking.

It’s also a time for me to slow down and reflect. I look at what I wanted to achieve this year back in January, and what I have achieved. I remind myself not to be hard on myself when one thing or another didn’t go to plan–I know it’s not because I was lazy this year, but because other things outside my control came up or because some things simply took longer than I expected. All that’s fine.

But there’ll be time for that at the end of the month. Right now, I still have a whole month left to get stuff done!

Relics of Ar’Zac

Shadow in Ar’Sanciond will be out in one week, so I’ll be booking a few promotions this week. If you want it on your kindle as soon as it’s out, you can pre-order it before the price goes up!

Soon after that’s live, pre-orders for the box set will follow. It’s pretty much done, so this shouldn’t be too stressful–just a few clicks here and there.

I also have a surprise later this week, so watch this space!


I’m half-way through the first draft, and since it’s only a short book (or I planned it that way, anyway) I should be able to finish the first draft this month.

Once that’s proofing…

Well, I’m torn. I could jump into plotting the sequels and start writing Book 2–I’m here now, after all–or…

Blood Wisp

I haven’t forgotten about this trilogy. I want to read over Blood Wisp again before I write Blood Song, but if I do it halfway through December and then take my Christmas break, will I need to read over it again in January? Should I just wait for the new year and do it then?

Or should I finish the Dreamer series first?

I wanted to stick to writing one series at a time, but things have worked out in a strange way and now I have two first drafts from two very different series, and I’m not sure which one to continue first. The one I’m currently invested in, or the one I started and promised first?

I’m hoping December will bring some clarity.

Beyond the above, there are Christmas catch-ups, boring but necessary tax stuff, and some last-minute presents to buy. I won’t bore you with the details.

What are your plans for December? Do you wind down, too, or is this your busiest month?

Sign up for my BOOKISH WITH SARINA mailing list for updates on my books, excerpts, early cover reveals, and exclusive freebies such as the short stories All that I Can Be and Bubak.

Take me to the Welcome page.

November Recap | … or How to Destroy NaNo Between Release Dates

November has been a super busy month for me (hello, NaNo!), but it’s also been super productive. In fact, I’m doing so well for time for once that I’m scheduling this post one day ahead! :O AND I’ll schedule my December goals right after! :O :O

Must be all the tea I’ve had this month.

Relics of Ar’Zac

I published Blood of the Dragon without a hitch, and now Shadow in Ar’Sanciond is ready for its big day too. It’s currently up for pre-order at only 99p/99c, so go get it while it’s cheap!

I haven’t looked at the box set again, but that file came back ready from my formatter and I’m not doing a paperback for it, so that’s pretty much there too.


Friends, I destroyed NaNo this year.

I hit 50k words in just 15 days (and then I slept for a year) on Day 21–take off the weekends I didn’t write, and that’s 15 days of NaNo dedication!

I reached 40k on Day 20 (a Wednesday) and realised I could technically finish NaNo that week if I wrote 5k on Thursday and Friday. Finishing NaNo a week early and in time for the weekend sounded nice, so I decided to give it my best shot.

I then wrote 10k on the Thursday.


I’ve never written this much in one day in my life! NaNo truly brings out the best in me.

I’m beyond chuffed that I unlocked all my rewards this year. My shirt is on its way <3

Despite that, it didn’t quite go to plan. I finished the first draft of Brightened Shadows and that’s now proofing, but I didn’t move on to Blood Song as I had planned to. I tried, but it’s been roughly half a year since I last looked at Blood Wisp. I just wasn’t in the WIP anymore. The characters felt forced when I wrote the first chapter.

I realised that, to write Blood Song, I’ll first need to read over Blood Wisp again and take notes, but there’s no time for that during NaNo, so I decided to put it aside for now rather than force it and be unhappy with everything.

Instead, I started Dreamer, which doesn’t even have a name yet. I did have some notes since I originally planned on starting it during Camp NaNo in July, but that didn’t work out for work reasons and I hadn’t looked at it again since. I figured I’d start it some time next year maybe, so this was the closest to pantsing a novel I’ll ever come XD

I did have a whole notebook full of ideas and character profiles and I knew where the plot needed to go and how it would develop, but to go in without Scrivener index cards was surprisingly jarring.

Because I wanted it to be a novella, I set the target word count to 20k. It’s currently at 25k and I’m only just at the midpoint, so we’ll see how long this will actually be.

BUT the words are flowing and Esta is so easy to write, which is all I really wanted for NaNo.

How was your November? Make a tea and tell me all about it <3

Sign up for my BOOKISH WITH SARINA mailing list for updates on my books, excerpts, early cover reveals, and exclusive freebies such as the short stories All that I Can Be and Bubak.

Take me to the Welcome page.

November Goals | One Release Day & NaNo Madness

Happy November, Sparrows!

November is always a busy month for me, and this year is no exception–in fact, I’d say that this November is one of the busiest I’ve ever had!

Here’s what’s happening:

Release Day

Blood of the Dragon is out in one week, and everything is ready.

Which, naturally, makes me feel like I forgot something.

I usually wrangle with the formatting right up until release day, but this time, I had PlatformHouse Publishing format it for me, which has made the whole process more relaxed on my end. The book looks beautiful, and I think you’ll approve.

Relics of Ar’Zac

Shadow in Ar’Sanciond is as good as ready for its release day next month. I’ve received the formatted files late last week and will check them tomorrow or on Wednesday. All being well, they’re perfect and I can call another book’s release day prep done!

(or mostly, anyway)

I also had the finished box set cover back on Friday, and the formatted ebook should be with me any day now, so that’s also going well.

After my hectic October, it’ll be nice to not prepare a book for release day for a while and just write instead.

Because of all this preparing, writing took a backseat for a few weeks, but…


I aim to rectify that this month. So far, I’m a tiny bit ahead (even if the website says I’ll finish on December 6th–it just doesn’t get that I don’t work weekends!), which takes the pressure off me a little. Not much, but it’s something.

I’m working on two WIPs. My top priority is finishing the first draft of Brightened Shadows. Once that’s done and proofing, my second priority will be starting Blood Song.

I’m hoping that changing WIP (and therefore world, characters, plot, etc.) will give me a push halfway through NaNo and help me reach the end. Technically, it’s very doable, but when you have that deadline over your head and all these other writers bashing out more words than you…

It’s on. *rolls up sleeves*

Are you excited for Blood of the Dragon’s release day?

Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo? What are you working on?

Sign up for my BOOKISH WITH SARINA mailing list for updates on my books, excerpts, early cover reveals, and exclusive freebies such as the short stories All that I Can Be and Bubak.

Take me to the Welcome page.

October Recap | Where did the month go? o.o

Happy November, Sparrows!

October was such a busy month for me that I completely forgot to update you with my progress! :O I keep thinking we still have half the month left, so November really has sneaked up on me. Somehow.

I’ll keep this brief, because I’m still rushing!

Release Day Prep

Blood of the Dragon is fully edited, formatted, and ready on Amazon. The links aren’t live yet, but they’re good to go. I’ll just check them again next week–just in case–and then we’re good to go for the 11th.

Much the same story with Shadow in Ar’Sanciond. My formatter sent me back the formatted paperback and ebook versions yesterday, but I haven’t had time to check them yet–that’s how busy it’s been!

The box set is nearly ready too. It’s with my formatter now, and the cover just landed in my inbox today. And you know what that means? There’s a cover reveal coming your way 😉


This gorgeous beast started today, and so far, I’m ahead by roughly 500 words XD I don’t work at the weekends though, so I know I’ll fall behind tomorrow.

I’ll talk some more about this on Monday, when I share my November plans 🙂

And that’s it :O

This is possibly my quickest ever update! I knew October was mostly about the release day prep, and I nailed that. So, while this doesn’t look like much, there was a lot of work involved on my end, on my editor’s end, and on my formatter’s end, who’s still working on making the box set beautiful! My review team has also been on fire, and the first reviews have already come in.

Was your October as busy as mine? Make a tea, get some biscuits (kittens know we earned them!), and tell me how you’ve done last month <3

Sign up for my BOOKISH WITH SARINA mailing list for updates on my books, excerpts, early cover reveals, and exclusive freebies such as the short stories All that I Can Be and Bubak.

Take me to the Welcome page.