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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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

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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?

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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

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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?

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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 ๐Ÿ˜‰


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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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

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October Goals | Pre-Release Day(s) Rush

Happy Spook-tober, Sparrows!

There’s much to do this month and not a lot of time to do it in, so let’s hop right to it, shall we?

Release Day Prep

October is all about my next two releases. Their dates are close now (*deeeeep breaths, Sarina*), and the run-up is always busy, so I won’t throw too much else at my to-do list.

Blood of the Dragon went back to my editor for its final proofread yesterday, which means I need to get the ARCs done and I need/want to read over it again too, to make sure I’m happy with everything before I hit that button.

Shadow in Ar’Sanciond comes back from betas next week, but since it’s much shorter (yay for prequel novellas!) and out a month after Dragon, I’m a bit more relaxed with it.

Sarina’s Sparrows

My Facebook Reader Group is now OPEN!

I’m really excited to hang out with my readers in a relaxed, informal setting and talk about books ๐Ÿฅฐ

I’ve got lots of fun things planned, like exclusive giveaways, early snippets and teasers (including covers and maps!), and lots of gushing about fantasy.

To join, all you need to do is find the group on Facebook, answer three super easy questions, and then you’re in!ย 

NaNoWriMo Prep

Because all that release day prep isn’t enough, I’ll also be preparing for NaNo.

This is definitely not a bad idea.

The goal is still to write the first words on Blood Song, but I might need to finish Brightened Shadows first. I’ll see how I get on this month.

And that’ll have to be it ๐Ÿ™‚ What are you goals for October? Are you preparing for NaNo too?

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September Recap | Booked Covers, Book Trailer Gorgeousness, and Book Release Dates

Happy Fri-yay, Sparrows!

Allow me to start by saying that I misjudged how much time I’d have this month when I announced my September goals. In theory, my plans were fine and achievable, but in reality?

I forgot I’m off this week.


So, in hindsight, wanting to write 30k on Brightened Shadows was… ambitious *ahem*

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t make all the progress.

(well, not all the progress, as we’ve just established.)

Here’s what happened this month:

Release Dates

Let’s do the most exciting one first ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ve set my next three release dates and I’ve announced them on Instagram and my Facebook page, so they’re official!

Here they are for your calendars:

Blood of the Dragon – November 11th

Shadow in Ar’Sanciond – December 9th

Relics of Ar’Zac Box Set – January 26th

Time to get excited, Sparrows.

Relics of Ar’Zac

Blood of the Dragon and Shadow in Ar’Sanciond are with beta readers. Feedback for both has been amazing, my readers love what I’ve done, and they’re almost ready for their final proofread.

I’ve booked the cover for the box set for next month, and my cover designer is finalising the covers for Blood of the Dragon and Shadow in Ar’Sanciond this week. In fact, I prepared this post last week Tuesday, so he’s probably done by the time this post goes live!

It’s all coming together so quickly now.

Somebody hold me.

If you want to be among the first to see the box set cover, sign up to my mailing list and collect some other freebies while you’re there.

Darkened Light

As I said above, I didn’t write 30k this month, but I did pass the 30k mark, which means it’s more than a third of the way there!

That’s 3 3s!

Pretty sure that’s a good sign ๐Ÿ˜‰

And, of course, there’s the incredible trailer. You don’t want to miss it, so watch it now if you haven’t seen it already–or watch it again if you have. I totally get it.

Blood Wisp

I’ve fully plotted Blood Song and can’t wait to start writing it in November. To be honest with you, it’s a little distracting. Brightened Shadows is lucky I’m so focussed.

I went from having no idea who the villain is to not only having a villain, but having a villain I think you’ll love to be torn over. Do you hate him? Do you love him? He’s such a good guy, but look what he did. So, why not both? You’re welcome.

Since Blood Song is plotted now, I also have a pretty good idea of what’ll happen in Blood Vow, and it’s given me ideas for fleshing out Blood Wisp.

It’s all coming together, Sparrows.

Or should I call you Wisps now? Hmm.

Just kidding, you’ll always be my Sparrows <3

What have you achieved this month? Make a tea and tell me about your successes.

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September Goals | Early NaNo Prep and an Ending Trilogy

Happy September, Sparrows!

Autumn is officially here (and has been for about a week), and I’m glad to have the weather mellow out a little. Warmth is nice, but heatwaves are unnecessary if you ask me–I’m not a fan of sticking to my furniture and melting again two seconds after coming out of the shower.

(you might have seen this post publish last week Wednesday. my bad. sorry about that <3)

Relics of Ar’Zac

September is a big month for my little trilogy. Blood of the Dragon is going to betas this week, and Shadow in Ar’Sanciond will go to betas a little later this month.

And then all that’ll be left to do is the proofread, sending ARCs, and planning the release days!

No biggie.


I should also email my cover designer about the box set, but I’m not sure yet if I’ll do that this month or if it can wait a little longer.

Darkened Light

I’ll have a book trailer for you this month, and I’m aiming to get Brightened Shadows to 50k.

Doesn’t sound like much, but the trailer is exciting af (I should know, I’ve seen it ;)) and I’ve got just over 30k to write, so I can’t wait to get on with both!

Blood Wisp

Since I decided on Friday that Blood Song will be a NaNo baby and since it’s never too early to prepare for NaNo, I’m plotting Blood Song and Blood Vow this month. I made a good start in August, but I’ve still got a lot of fleshing out to do and should probably get to it *ahem*

All being well, I’ll have my outline ready by the end of September so I can plot Blood Vow in October.

Even better, I’ll have both fully plotted! Wouldn’t that be a dream?

And that’s it for September! What are your goals this month? Make a tea and tell me all about them <3

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August Recap | Beta Readers Wanted! (also book trailer news and some tentative release dates/months)

Can you believe it’ll be September in a few short days? :O

(I swear every recap starts like this… What can I say? I’m easily amazed.)

As expected, August has been packed with edits (and some plotting, yay!). The first half was busy and a tad stressful, but the second half has been a dream, to be honest.

Relics of Ar’Zac

Shadow in Ar’Sanciond is with my editor for its line edits, she’s as good as done with Blood of the Dragon line edits, and I’m currently recruiting beta readers for both.

Want in on that fun? Sign up here. I’d love to have you on my team!

I can’t believe how close I am to finishing this series. Blood of the Dragon will definitely be out this year (I’m looking at November), and Shadow in Ar’Sanciond will be out one month later. If it gets too close to Christmas, I might wait until January, but I need to do some thinking on that. The box set will follow soon after that, and it’ll include all four books.

I just– Someone hold me. Or make me tea. Or both.

Darkened Light

I’ve finally made progress on Brightened Shadows! I’m into the 10k, and the plan is to get into the 40k next month and to finish the first draft in October. Given the dark fantasy vibes and autumnal cover I have in mind, I can’t think of a better month for it.

I’ll aim to publish it in October 2020, but it’s way too early to make promises!

It would be perfect though.

Also, Darkened Light has a nearly finished trailer! I’ve seen the unfinished version and it’s a masterpiece, Sparrows. It’s so incredible. You’ll want to watch out for that next month ๐Ÿ˜‰

Blood Wisp

I managed to fit in some plotting! It’s a long shot from a complete outline, but I have a better idea of what needs to happen (and partially also how it’ll happen) in Books 2 and 3 and feel more confident about this whole trilogy going into September.

As I mentioned above, I’m aiming to finish the first draft of Brightened Shadows in October, which would make Blood Song a NaNo baby!

*cries early tears of joy*

Given that all I wanted this month was to get Shadow in Ar’Sanciond to my editor and assemble a beta sqad for Blood of the Dragon, I’m feeling rather accomplished ^-^

How was your August? Make a tea, grab a biscuit, and tell me about your accomplishments <3

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August Goals | Thank Kittens for Tea!

Hi, everyone!

August is here, and it doesn’t leave much room for error. The first two weeks will require some micro-managing, but the rest should be a little more relaxed *fingers crossed*

If the below doesn’t look like much, it’s only because I’m working on a lot of editing jobs right now.

Relics of Ar’Zac

I’m hoping to get Shadow in Ar’Sanciond to my editor this week, but as I’m writing this post, I still have 27 pages to go and not a lot of spare time to edit them in.

It will be with my editor by the time I update you on how my August went, but the dream would be to get them done this week.

I’ll also assemble my beta team for Blood of the Dragon this month. If you’d like to do it, keep an eye on this blog and/or sign up for my Street Team–you’ll need to be on there to beta anyway, so you may as well sign up now ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ll let you know when it’s time, so as long as you’re either following this blog, signed up to my team, or following me on Instagram or Twitter, you can’t miss it!

Wait… Is that It?

Not quite. Depending how much time there is once I’ve finished aforementioned editing jobs, I’ll also write the next few thousand words on Brightened Shadows and plot Blood Song and Blood Vow.

Because my early-August schedule is so tight, I won’t set any specific goals for either. The priority is Shadow in Ar’Sanciond and Blood of the Dragon. Everything else is a plus this month.

That‘s it ๐Ÿ™‚

What will you achieve this month? Make a tea and tell me about your goals <3

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