My NaNoWriMo ‘Prizes’ for Motivation

If you’ve spent any time on this site, you probably know that I love NaNoWriMo. It’s super stressful and I’ve burnt out more times than not and the deadline is glaring at me with shiny red eyes–

And I love every second of it.

I ‘won’ my first ever NaNo three years ago, burned out bad the year after that, and didn’t even try it last year, because I knew I was too busy and I was burning out even without that pressure.

When I did it before–both when I smashed it and the year after, when I failed miserably–I set myself three rewards to keep me motivated, and I’ve done the same again this year.

And the best part? I don’t even need to make it all the way to 50k to get something 😀

Here’s what I’ve set for this year:

15k of NaNo Success

These cards are so beautiful, and as someone who prefers animals to people most days, they were an easy first reward. I’ve been looking for new cards for ages, and these speak/meow/bark to me.

Earned and moved into my basket ^-^

30k of NaNo Success

It’s the entire trilogy, actually! I’ve been meaning to read them for years, and then a friend posted a picture on Instagram while I was considering my rewards, so I saw it as a sign.

Not far off earning this one. 25k there, 5k to go.

50k NaNo Triumph

Despite my obsession with this mega-monster event, I’ve never bought the shirts :O

I can’t find a good picture of this year’s or any of what the winners can claim, but if I make it all the way to the end–and it’s looking good right now! –then I’ll finally buy one of these pretties.

It’s about time, honestly.

Stand by to see pictures.

(unless I fail, in which case… better luck next year? *shrug* but damn, I want this shirt!)

Do you set yourself rewards if you participate in NaNo or for other milestones? Make a tea and tell me what you’re writing for! <3


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RELEASE DAY: Blood of the Dragon | My first trilogy is complete!!

Today is the day, Sparrows! Blood of the Dragon is live on Amazon, and with it, my first trilogy is officially complete!

My heart is so full with emotions today <3 <3 <3

To celebrate, you can get all three books at 50% off all week! *throws dark confetti*

Treat yourself!

Paschros kai zo. Fight strong and live.

And so she took one step at a time.

Without ever looking down.

‘Rachael’s worst nightmare and feared vision has come alive. Imprisoned on Kaethe in the Dark One’s temple, guarded by shadows, she can’t do anything but wait for death.

If only she could force her visions, or contact Cale and her Sparrows… but she’s never been able to control her gift, and her only friends are an ocean away, unaware that Rachael’s been kidnapped.

Even worse nightmares rise from the shadows. The Dark One grows stronger every day, and He’ll destroy the world if Rachael doesn’t find a way out.

To do that, she needs to force her visions, break the Dark One’s barrier on her mind, master her gift, and find a dragon willing to shed its blood for humanity…

But will it cost Rachael her life, her sanity, or both?’

“Dark, gritty and yet purely magical!”

Get Blood of the Dragon


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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…

NaNoWriMo

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 😉

NaNoWriMo

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


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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 🥰

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! 

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 🙂 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.

Oops.

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 😉

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 😉

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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9 Books to Love this Autumn

Autumn is officially here, Sparrows!

*puts on her witch hat and jumps into leaf pile*

You know what’s odd? Back in my last job, I read every day on my lunch break. I got in at least an hour every day that way, and easily read two or three books a month!

You’d think I’d read even more now I’m full-time self-employed, wouldn’t you? I thought so, but my reading has really taken a backseat these last few months since January.

Not to worry though–autumn is here, and that’s the perfect season to curl up with a good book!

There’s nothing better than rainy days, warm blankets, hot teas, and a cat purring on my lap to get me through a reading slump. I’ve never had one of these before and I don’t like it, so let’s kick it in the teeth together, shall we?

The below is a collection of self-published books and traditionally published books, short books and long books, books I’ve loved and books I’ll be reading this autumn.

And the best part?

They all fit into autumn like they were written for the season.

Please note: this post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through one of the links below.

The Shadow of the Wind has been waiting on my shelf for… Oh gawd, has it actually been years? :O I have no excuse 😐

I don’t know much about it other than that it’s about books and maybe a library, and the cover screams, ‘READ ME IN AUTUMN’, so it’s high on my list for this year.

If you like curses, demons, vampires, and disturbing reads rather than horrifying ones, you’ll love The Making of Gabriel Davenport. The writing is beautiful, and the paranormal element fits it perfectly!

While The Name of the Wind isn’t specifically an autumnal read, the cover definitely fits. Love epic fantasy? This is a must-read.

The size put me off a little bit–at 664 pages, this isn’t a fast read–but I soon lost myself in its pages, read the even longer sequel immediately after, and still wanted more. It’s not short, but it is magnificent in every way.

This is another disturbing rather than terrifying read–which is good, because I’m a wimp 😐 If you prefer your horror witchy, cursed, and in a way that’ll make the shadows seem deeper without robbing you of any sleep, then Daughters of the Oak is for you!

And, of course, those autumn leaves on the cover are a must.

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon has been on my shelf for a while. I’m always a little reserved with authors known for their horror books, but some of King’s other books have shown me that his horror won’t necessarily give me nightmares–and I’ve been told this isn’t like other Kings–so I’m looking forward to it now!

I meant to read it last October but couldn’t quite fit it, so it’s high on my list for this year.

Hell’s Teeth has vampires, the kind of ‘zombie’ that’s faster than you, and so much humour you’ll be laughing on every other page. There’s so much darkness in this, but the MC’s sarcasm will lighten it and make you smile.

Plus, with the release of Book 3 just around the corner, now is the perfect time to get into this series!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve admired this beauty before I finally bought it. The Necronomicon is required horror reading, isn’t it? Frankly, it’s shameful I haven’t read it already.

It’s huge, though, so I’ll probably take it one story at a time.

A friend recommended Dean Koontz to me years ago, so when my library got rid of Twilight Eyes, I knew I had to keep it. I meant to read it last October, but then other books took longer than expected. It’s high on my pile this year to make up for it.

No list of autumnal reads is complete without my baby Darkened Light 😉 I mean, just *look* at that cover! You know you want it.

What are you reading this autumn? Make a tea, wrap up in that blanket, and tell me about your next read.


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Darkened Light has a book trailer!! *flails*

Hi, Sparrows!

I believe I promised you a book trailer? 😉

Becky and James at Platform House Publishing have outdone themselves this time. Don’t get me wrong, I love my trailer for Rise of the Sparrows SO MUCH, but I think this is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.

Look:

You can’t convince me that this isn’t the coolest thing you’ve ever seen <3 <3 <3 Don’t you just love it?

*swoons*

And if it’s intrigued you, you can get Darkened Light here 😉


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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.

*shakes*

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 😉

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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