November Progress 2020 | Unexpected NaNoWriMo SUCCESS and a Finished Duology

Happy almost-December, friends!

November has been BUSY! I have owned NaNoWriMo, I have published a book, and I feel like plenty of other things must have happened, too, because I’m tired. NaNo always takes it out of me, but I can’t imagine not doing it.

Here are the specifics:

NaNoWriMo

I’m 4k away from winning, and honestly? I can’t believe I’m going to make it! I was so sure I had no chance of reaching 50k this month since I had to juggle NaNo around working at the library, but I did it.

(Or nearly, anyway)

And I couldn’t be prouder of myself <3

Most of those 50,000 words have gone into Blood Song. There’ve been a few developments I did not see coming, so it’s been an exciting discovery journey.

Some of these words went into two separate short stories, one I wrote just because and one I wrote for the collection that will one day accompany the Darkened Light duology.

So, all in all, November was a massive success *high five* I had to set some other things aside (like regular blogging – the podcast transcripts are also available via Buzzsprout and I only read one book this month, so my mini review would have been somewhat bare), and while I don’t want to make excuses, here’s an explanation if you’d care for it:

I have extreme tunnel vision during NaNo *shrugs*

Brightened Shadows

I HAVE FINISHED MY DUOLOGY

*applauds self*

I’m still waiting on the paperback proof (I’ve had one but it wasn’t right), but it’s nearly there *knocks on wood* *throws salt over shoulder* *crosses fingers*

Despite that delay, the launch was my most successful one to date. Thank you so much to everyone who pre-ordered and bought on the day! Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come in the duology’s future.

These few points may not look like much, but I’m knackered. I’m planning on finishing NaNo either today or tomorrow, and then I’m hoping to sleep the rest of the weekend.

Until next time <3


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Happy release day, Brightened Shadows!

My youngest is out in the world!

*throws confetti*

Today is the day: Brightened Shadows is out, and I couldn’t be happier <3 It’s had the largest number of pre-orders out of all my books, which bodes well for its future.

The price is in the process of going up to $2.99, but if you’re quick, you might be able to still get it for 99p 😉

Just like Darkened LightBrightened Shadows will also be available on Kindle Unlimited. Unfortunately, there’s been a delay with the paperback, but such is life. 

Thank you SO MUCH if you were amongst those who pre-ordered. Seeing the numbers go up higher than my previous books has made my month <3 And if you didn’t pre-order but would like to support me on release day:

Buy Brightened Shadows

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go eat my weight in chocolate and gingerbread 😉


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October Progress | A Cover Reveal and The Difference 15 Minutes Can Make

Happy early Halloween/Samhain, friends!

A few weeks ago, I read a book: The Nifty 15 by Honoree Corder and Brian Meeks (if you’re interested, check it out on Amazon – be advised this is an affiliate link, so I’d earn a small commission if you buy it through this post). It explains how to write a book in just 15 minutes a day and is based on the assumption that, while many of us may not have a whole hour to write, everyone can make 15 minutes to sit down and write. It’s not a big commitment, and the time flies once you start. They set the challenge to write like this for 100 days and record your progress.

(Yes, I did create a colour-coded spreadsheet. You know me so well.)

I admit, I always thought I wouldn’t be able to write in only 15 minutes. In fact, I was convinced it wasn’t for me. I like to get into whatever I’m working on, and 15 minutes isn’t enough for that.

But.

This has completely transformed my writing life.

Blood Wisp

Remember how I said I wanted to put the heat on my Blood Wisp rewrites this month? Well, I finished the rewrites (this round – I swear it’s never ending for this book) and I’ve started writing Blood Song.

I don’t write much in 15 minutes – 600-800 words – because the time frame is so short, but multiply that by 7 and I’ve written a decent amount that’s not to be scoffed at that week.

So, if you don’t think you could write in only 15 minutes but don’t have time for more, just try it. You’ve got nothing to lose by trying, and you might just surprise yourself.

NaNoWriMo

I was planning on writing The Silence of Magic, but I think anyone can see that it makes much more sense for me to write Blood Song and continue what I’ve started. I feel like I’ve been on this series for ages, and I kinda have – I’ve had the covers for all three books since August 2018 – early 2019 (depending on the cover), so it’s about time.

(*ignores tempting third WIP waving from the corner*)

It’s been nice to write new adventures and secrets for Yua to discover rather than rewrite old ones. I’ve been on Blood Song since the start of this week, and it’s been a nice change of pace.

So, that’s the plan right now. Watch as I ignore it and write something else after all 😐

But I’m getting into my November plans, and it’s not time for that yet. I’m prepared for NaNo. I just need to choose a project and stick to it.

Brightened Shadows

I love how near the end of a project, everything suddenly happens at once. You go through months of feeling like there isn’t any progress, and then BAM – all the progress.

I have revealed the cover. I have chosen a releases date. I have sent it to my formatter and am about to make the pre-order live.

In case you missed it:

Blurb:

Naavah Ora has found the weapon that can kill the Dread King, but there’s one setback: she is the weapon, and she shares her mind with her patron goddess. Naavah Ora isn’t prepared to lose herself to stop the undead invasion, but when the Dread King makes the fight personal, she might give anything to stop him after all.

Meanwhile, Doran, Levi, and Ash struggle with a prison break and the realisation that Ceallach still wants Levi as his sacrifice. They reach for Naavah Ora while she slips further away, but how can they fight a battle happening in another realm?

To end Ceallach’s invasion and retake peace for the dead, Naavah Ora hopes that her other gods joining the fight will be enough. When Ceallach ends the things and people she loves the most, she must decide: =

Is she prepared to pay the price and surrender her consciousness for good?

Release day: November 20th 2020


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October Goals 2020 | The Blood Wisp Heat Is ON! Also NaNoWriMo Denial/Acceptance

Happy (Almost) Most Wonderful Time of the Year, friends!!

The veil is thinning, spirits are getting more chatty, and – as is tradition – I’m trying to talk myself out of doing NaNoWriMo next month while kinda talking myself into it. I fail at this every year, and I’m starting to accept my participation as an inevitability.

So, that’ll be one goal this month! 😀

What else is happening?

Blood Wisp

With my more-or-less done decision of doing NaNo, I want to put the heat on these rewrites. There’s much to do, and I know I’ll be happier going into NaNo with them done. This will be my priority this October. Fortunately, my NaNo prep should be pretty light, because…

NaNoWriMo

I’ll be writing The Silence of Magic *high five*

(me: ‘I’m considering maybe doing NaNo this year if there’s time.’

Also me: *talks about it like it’s decided*)

I’m very aware that I only just burned out earlier this year and that NaNoWriMo usually puts a lot of pressure on me when I’m also working somewhere else, so I’ll be taking it slowly and won’t stress over the end goal. Having said that, I also know that I’ll struggle to not work on it should I make it within 10k of winning *shrugs*

And I believe that will do! I’ll need October to get used to my new routine of being back at work, so the goals above will be plenty.

What are you up to this month? Are you preparing for NaNo too?


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September Progress | Where Did that Podcast Come From??

Happy autumn, friends and Sparrows! *jumps into leaf pile*

Well, September has been full of surprises! For instance, I didn’t think I’d start a podcast this month. That surprised me.

I also don’t go back to the day job until next week. It was supposed to be this week, but then my manager changed it, so I had a little more time than expected!

I’ve also reshuffled when I post what, effective immediately. As of today, this blog’s schedule will be:

Monday – podcast transcripts; Wednesday – mini book reviews and misc.; last Friday of the month – progress report (unless the last day is a Thursday; in that case, I will post on Thursday so there’s not too much time between the end of the month and my progress update); First day of the month – monthly goals (if the first day of the month happens to be a Monday, I will post on Tuesday)

But let’s get back to the normal layout before this gets any messier *ahem*

Blood Wisp

I’m making progress! It hasn’t been much this month – again, it’s been a confused 25 days – but I’m pleased with how it’s progressing. I think I’ll focus on it next month so I can get this second draft done.

The Silence of Magic

I was excited to come back to this, too, but I don’t think I’ll be able to write both books at the same time. I’m sad about it, but I think I’ll have to set this one aside and focus on Blood Wisp, which has been a longer time coming and therefore deserves priority.

More time to build the world between writing sessions <3

The Writing Sparrow Podcast

This was as much a surprise to me as it is to you XD I’ve been tempted to start a podcast for years but always stalled, and then this month I decided to go for it. It’s terrifying – I’m not used to putting my voice out there – but I’m slowly getting used to it and I do enjoy the interviews.

I’ve spent a good chunk of the last two weeks learning how to record and edit audio, finding the best way to share the podcast, and generally learning as much about it as I could. It’s been a steep learning curve, but I’m an author – I’m used to it *high five*

I also spent most of that time staring at my screen and out the window trying to convince myself to start recording at all *ahem* #introvert #sociallyawkward

I’ll post transcripts of all episodes every Monday, which is also when the episodes go live. You can find them via their category or their brand-new page.


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September Goals 2020 | Just… Write All the Things *shrugs*

This will be the shortest goals post ever, friends and bookworms. It’s September, and that means I’m going back to work near the end–not for all five days like I usually would, but for three days + two when I’ll be working from home. I don’t know how busy with library stuff I’ll be on those days. I’m torn between being tempted to start writing and marketing at the weekend and being grateful for those two days of not needing to go anywhere.

(the little devil on my shoulder is asking me, ‘Why not both?’ Indeed. Why not both.)

Long story short, I’ve no idea how much I’ll have time for this month. This will be a new type of routine for me, but I’m excited to carve out something that works for me and my books.

So, instead of the usual book-specific headers, these are my goals for September:

  • write a lot (The Silence of Magic, Blood Wisp, some short stories maybe)
  • read a lot (all the things!)
  • market a lot (mainly the audiobook once it’s available everywhere)

*shrugs*

It’s not impressive, but it is what I’ve got. It’ll be more specific at the end of the month once I know what I’ve done ^-^


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August Progress | One Submitted Audiobook (*throws confetti*) and One VERY Messy Re-Structure (*inhales tea*)

Ever sit down to reflect on how much progress you’ve made and have no idea how much progress you’ve made? I genuinely couldn’t remember where I was at the beginning of August o.o

I looked back over my post earlier this month, where I said August would be all about my audiobook, and it kinda was (and still is) :

The Rise of the Sparrows Audiobook

I spent a good chunk of time this month listening to every chapter and sending feedback where needed. My narrator got on it right away, and long story short, I approved and submitted it *throws confetti*

My purse is a lot lighter, but I can’t wait to share this book and see how much you all love my amazing narrator <3

All being well, it’ll be out on Monday, but I don’t have much control over this part *shrugs*

For all the details, read my audiobook diaries.

Blood Wisp

I may have mentioned this before, but I expected the re-structuring to be monstrous…

And it was.

But it’s done now and I can actually rewrite the thing rather than obsess over the non-existent structure and very messy first draft :O

The Silence of Magic

The above didn’t leave too much time for this WIP, but I did write a little bit, I named some currencies, and I named almost all the countries. Some are a little harder to figure out, but I do at least know the general direction for them, which will help a lot when my characters talk about them.

And that’s it–a super short progress report after the super short goals I set at the start of this month 🙂


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August Goals – All About the Audiobook

Happy August, friends and bookworms!

This month will be all about my audiobook version of Rise of the Sparrows. My narrator finished recording over the weekend, so it’s my turn!

Because I don’t know how long this will take, I don’t want to set too many goals. The audiobook is the priority, and we might have to return to one or more chapters several times, so it’s hard for me to judge how busy this will keep me.

So, this is my short list for this month:

The Rise of the Sparrows Audiobook

My priority.

For more information, keep an eye on my audiobook diaries!

The Silence of Magic

I’ve made a good start last month, but now I want to keep the momentum going. I won’t set a word count goal for this month though – I’ll write as much as I can when I’m not working on the audiobook.

Blood Wisp

Now that the pressure of Camp NaNo is over, I can dedicate more time to this WIP again. I feel like I’ve been saying this for months – and I probably have been – but it’s finally time to return to this trilogy!

I have some re-outlining to do, followed by some re-ordering of chapters, followed by writing new ones and improving the draft I already have.

All this will take time, so the only goal I dare set right now is the re-outlining and re-ordering. Everything after that will be a plus!

And that’s it! Short and sweet 🙂


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July Progress | Camp NaNo Success!

Can you believe July is over after today?? :O It’s been a busy month, that’s for sure!

My burnout has reminded me two or three times this month that it is not, in fact, over, but still watching me very carefully from the shadows. I overdid it a few times, so I’m still being careful after all. What can I say? These things take time.

Having said that, prepare to be dazzled with all my progress:

Brightened Shadows

IT’S WITH MY EDITOR

and I’VE SEEN THE COVER PROOF

It’s all happening now ^-^

I’m nowhere near ready to do a cover reveal (for once, I wasn’t instantly in love with the proof, and my designer is now on holiday until the middle of August), but it’s coming, friends and bookworms.

I also changed my NaNo goal at the last minute to include all remaining edits of Brightened Shadows – this was to prepare it for my editor. I focussed on this goal and reached it first, so I got my biggest Camp goal done before I could switch to the fun project:

The Silence of Magic

Working on Brightened Shadows first didn’t leave me much time for The Silence of Magic, but I made tons of progress towards the plot itself. I actually know where I’m going with this book now o.o

And it’s been quite a journey! I went from only having a faint idea and rough goal to having half-plotted the book and worrying it wouldn’t be a series after all but a standalone (and then worrying that wouldn’t work very well) to having the rest of it plotted and realising that it has all the series potential. So it’s been that kind of roller coaster!

I’m very nearly at my NaNo word count goal. Today’s writing session will do it. I’m cutting it a little close, but as long as I can reach it today, I’m happy.

Blood Wisp

Not gonna lie, I could have re-outlined this book this month, but I chose to prioritise The Silence of Magic – partially because, as I mentioned above, I’m cutting the NaNo deadline a little fine.

But Camp will be over after today, and Yua will get more of my attention again.

I bought and read Save the Cat! Writes a Novel this month, which will be a huge help when I start the new outline. It’s already helped me make sense of The Silence of Magic, and I’m confident that it’ll help me figure out Blood Wisp and its sequels too.

This Blog

You might have noticed that I haven’t changed anything yet, but I’ve got things scheduled for August!

Again, the delicate combination of Camp NaNo pressure and burnout-waiting-to-return meant that I didn’t push myself. But things are lined up and coming next month 🙂


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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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