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 πŸ™‚

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…

*ahem*

… 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…

Dreamer

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!

Dreamer

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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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 πŸ˜€

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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Darkened Light #2 TITLE REVEAL

It’s official, friends!! πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

The sequel to DARKENED LIGHT is called BRIGHTENED SHADOWS!!! 😍

*swoons at own title*

I’ve been sitting on this one for years–I named both books at the same time–so I’m relieved I no longer have to watch what I say where this sequel is concerned 🀣

I’m making a start on it next month during NaNo (more on that change of plan on Friday) and will continue writing through August and finish it in September. All being well, it’ll be out sometime around autumn/winter 2020, which would go soooo beautifully with the cover–but that’s a reveal for another day πŸ˜‰

(I haven’t booked the cover yet, so don’t expect it any time soon <3)

What do you think? Do you like it? 😍


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Meet Esta Anderson (WIP: DREAMER)

Hi, Sparrows!

*waves* I bet you didn’t expect to see me halfway through the month!

I want to share more of my writing progress with you, so I’ve lined up a whole host of things I can show you πŸ™‚

I’m making a start this month by introducing you to my MC from my Dreamer novella trilogy, Esta Anderson. It’s my project for the July Camp NaNo, so I’ve spent quite a bit of time with Esta lately.

Some things about Esta:

  • Her full name is Estelle Anderson, but she prefers Esta because it has an edge to it and doesn’t sound like a pampered princess.
  • She’s an introvert and prefers a good book and a hot chocolate to a night out.
  • She’s allergic to cats but not dogs. She adopted a rottweiler puppy together with her BFF, Bonnie, when they moved in together, and she has a feline spirit guide in her dreams.
  • She lucid dreams at will. There’s a door in every dream that’s giving her bad vibes–so, naturally, she’s gonna open it. She gets a little (*cough* OMG understatement of the century!!) more than she expected when she does.
  • She doesn’t give a shit about fashion and wears whatever’s comfy.
  • She swears a lot and is sarcastic as fuck.
  • She wants to be an art photographer focussing on surrealism, but that industry is hard, guys. In the meantime, she works part-time in a university art gallery.
  • She can’t lie to save her life.
  • She has misophonia and what we both call Bookworm Syndrome.
  • Her greatest fears include losing Bonnie, dying with regrets, time slipping away from her, no longer knowing the difference between dream and reality, everyone hating her photography, and spiders.
  • She’s not super close to her family and has lost touch with everyone but her parents and her grandma. Her BFF since childhood, Bonnie, and her rottweiler Buffy are her real family.
  • She wants to uncover the world’s hidden secrets. The witch next door (who I haven’t named yet) teaches her sometimes.

That’ll have to be enough for now or you won’t have anything new to learn about her when the books come out πŸ˜‰

I LOVE character aesthetics, so I’ve done another one besides the one above. It’s a little different:

Character aesthetic: Esta Anderson (WIP: DREAMER, urban paranormal fantasy)
Character aesthetic: Esta Anderson (WIP: DREAMER, urban paranormal fantasy)
Character aesthetic: Esta Anderson (WIP: DREAMER, urban paranormal fantasy)

I mean, what are notebooks for?

Both are early aesthetics, so I might make a new one now I know Esta a lot better. They are still accurate and very her, but they can be even more so. Neither features her dog or her BFF, for one.

While every character I (or indeed every author) write has some parts of me in them, I’ve put more of myself into Esta than any other character. There’s still plenty that’s different too, but I still feel like you’ll meet me when you meet her.

I’m excited I got to introduce her today. I hope the first impression is a good one <3

I’ll post roughly halfway through the month in addition to my monthly goals (first Monday) and my monthly recaps (last Friday), so expect new insights around the 15th.

There’s also a new category to go with these posts. WIP Sneak-Peeks is now live in the category drop-down menu, which I’ve added to the News page.

Is there anything else you’d like to know about Esta? Make a tea and ask away πŸ™‚


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