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Month: March 2018

March Recap

How the actual fudge is it the end of March already?

It’s been a great month, friends. I’ve got so much to tell you, and it’s all exciting stuff! Keep reading–I’m saving the best for last 😉

  • I’ve finished the first draft of the Self-Publish Your Debut Novel Like a Boss guidebook, and will proofread it over the next few weeks. I’ve contacted my betas and will send it to them over the next few weeks.

Don’t forget, this is a newsletter exclusive freebie, so if you want a copy be sure to sign up!

  • I’m almost done with the handwritten edits of Darkened Light. My plan is to finish it next week, then apply the changes the week after, and to then send it back to my editor for the line edit. A month after that, I’ll be ready for betas.

It’s totally not too early to volunteer 😉

  • I’ve written my short contribution to the anthology, and have set it aside for now. Whatever the release day will be, it’s far away yet so there’s no rush.  Makes a nice change :’)
  • I’ve started writing the prequel novella to Relics of Ar’Zac. While I’m not too far into it yet, I’m excited about it and can’t wait to finally tell this story.
  • I’ve loved this week. I’ve worked from home for one week out of three now, and am amazed with how much work I’ve got done! Just think how much faster I could publish new books if I did this full time! I know I can’t afford to yet, but I don’t want to go back to the day job. This one week of working my butt of from my little home office has been eye-opening.

And a couple of exciting new developments I didn’t see coming at the start of the month:

I’ve decided to do Camp NaNo 🙂 The biggest challenge since I made that decision has been leaving it alone until April 😛 I’m in love with this dark, stabby, and bloody novella and can’t wait to share the first snippet!

My goal is 17k–the entire first novella. I’ve won the main event before, so this shouldn’t be difficult, right? oo

I’ve kept the best for last…

I’M ONE OF THE AUTHORS SIGNING HER BOOKS IN BRIGHTON THIS NOVEMBER!

It’ll be my first signing, so any advice from those of you who’ve done this before would be appreciated <3

I’m planning on bringing

  • Rise of the Sparrows
  • Wardens of Archos
  • Blood of the Dragon (if it’s not out in time, I’ll bring exclusive ARCs)
  • Darkened Light

If it’s ready, I might bring ARCs of the prequel novella, too. You’ll be able to buy the books directly from me on the day, or you can bring your own copies for me to sign. Of course, the ARCs won’t be available in paperback anywhere else yet, so your only chance of getting one is from me on the day 😉

I’m also hoping to bring bookmarks, tote bags, and mini posters designed to match my books.

The event is on the 10th November. Save the date, and come hang out with me <3

Now, I do believe all this is quite enough for one month!

I’ll see you next week for my April goals 🙂 If you’d like to put your name down to beta read my self-publishing guide book or Darkened Light, let me know <3


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Review: Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Illuminae Files #3)

Book Review: Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Illuminae Files #3)

“Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they’ll find seven months after the invasion?

Meanwhile, Kady’s cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza’s ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha’s past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict.

With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken.”

Book Review: Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Illuminae Files #3)

What I thought:

Friends, I was so engrossed in this book I didn’t remember to take notes until a couple of days after I finished it oo #fail

So this review will be entirely from memory. Not that I remember much besides the pain…

*ahem*

They cry, they embrace, they pray, they wait with grim determination. They whisper their instructions to themselves over and over again, or pore over manuals for jobs they’re not qualified to do.

They close their eyes tight, or stare into space.

And in case this is the end–because this probably is the end–they say goodbye.

OUCH MY EVERYTHING

I feel like there should be a support group for people who’ve read The Illuminae Files. If you know of one, point the way.

*AHEM*

This book hurt, but then I expected that. I tore through it just as quickly as I did the other two, and the ending left me feeling just as empty. In a good way, though, because this book definitely delivered.

My expectations were high after Illuminae and Gemina, and Obsidio was everything I feared it would be. Pain, slayed hope, death–it’s all right here, in these most beautiful of all pages <3

Too many secrets between these kids.

It was never gonna end well.

If you want to read books that will make you feel something (mostly pain, tbh, but there’s some joy, too), then this series is for you! I can’t recommend these enough <3

Buy it on Amazon | Add it on Goodreads

Or, if you haven’t read Illuminae and Gemina yet, start here:

Book Review: Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Illuminae Files #3) Read first: Illuminae Book Review: Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Illuminae Files #3) Read first: Gemina


Have you read Obsidio? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

Please note: All reviews contain affiliate links. I do not review books on this blog that I didn’t enjoy or believe in–all reviews are recommendations.

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Review: No Contacts? No Problem by Catherine Quinn

Book Review: No Contacts? No Problem by Catherine Quinn

“There are plenty of books on the market which tell you how to write stylish prose, attention-grabbing headlines or market yourself better as a freelance writer. But how do you get that first piece published in a national publication? This book shows you the techniques that real freelancers use to sell their ideas and get into print. Professional freelancer Catherine Quinn, who built a successful freelance career from scratch, guides you through a step-by-step process to get your first article in print, from how to format your pitch, to identifying the undersold freelance hotspots.Her tried and tested step-by-step approach: * Shows you how to scope the market and pick the most likely potential customers * Gives the inside track on how to convince editors who’ve never heard of you to commission your work * Tells you what to expect at every step along the pitching process * Includes a four week plan with a day-by-day process to kick start your freelance career.”

Book Review: No Contacts? No Problem by Catherine Quinn

What I thought:

Theory books need to work on their blurbs. Have I mentioned that before? I must have mentioned that before.

What I loved the most about No Contacts? No Problem! is that it was honest as well as encouraging. It was this is a tough business, if you’re lazy you’ll fail but it was also work hard and keep at it and you’ll be successful. LOVE

There was so much useful info for the newbie freelance writer, I’m tempted to buy it.

My only smol issue is that it’s out of date. You’ll learn how to find work in newspapers and magazines, who to contact, how to pitch,… but websites? Blogs? Finding work via social media sites liked LinkedIn? Not covered.

What it does have (apart from oodles of motivation and encouragement, if you don’t mind the no-bullshit approach like me) is a four-week plan at the end. There are links to more resources and more advice throughout. It gives you what you need to make a start and do it well. And throughout it all, it feels like Quinn has your back.

This is a fantastic beginner’s guide; I’ve certainly learned a lot. What it needs is a newer addition. This business develops fast, and a lot has happened since it came out in 2010. Having said that, all of the skills are transferable to a more modern approach.

So, if you’re just starting out as a freelance writer, I think you’ll love this.

Buy it on Amazon | Add it on Goodreads


Have you read No Contacts? No Problem!, or are you tempted? Do you know of a more modern guide you can recommend? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

Please note: All reviews contain affiliate links. I do not review books on this blog that I didn’t enjoy or believe in–all reviews are recommendations.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

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WWW Wednesday 28th March 2018

WWW Wednesday 28th March 2018

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

WWW Wednesday 28th March 2018

All links will get you to the book’s Goodreads listing, as always 🙂

***

What I’m currently reading

WWW Wednesday 28th March 2018 Current Read: The Gunslinger by Stephen King

The Gunslinger

I was really excited when my SO drew this from my tbr-jar. I haven’t read a book by the King since I was a teenager (besides On Writing) and that one scared the daylights out of me :’D (I can’t remember which one it was…it was a collection of short stories)

I wasn’t sure whether I liked The Gunslinger or not, but I’m 40 pages into it now and need answers! There’s so much going on, so many secrets, and I can’t wait to read more <3

Since I’m working from home for three weeks now I don’t know how good I’ll be at making time to read, but I’ll definitely have a few hours on Thursday.

Blurb:

‘The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.’ The iconic opening line of Stephen King’s groundbreaking series, The Dark Tower, introduces one of his most enigmatic and powerful heroes: Roland of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger.

Roland is a haunting figure, a loner, on a spellbinding journey toward the mysterious Dark Tower, in a desolate world which frighteningly echoes our own.

On his quest, Roland begins a friendship with a kid from New York named Jake, encounters an alluring woman and faces an agonising choice between damnation and salvation as he pursues the Man in Black.

WWW Wednesday 28th March 2018 Current Read: Prey by Liz Meldon

Prey

I love books by Liz Meldon <3 They’re like sweet little palette cleansers to me since I don’t read erotic romances by anyone else, and because most of her books are so short I can easily fit them in.

I devoured Predator over two days, and so far I’m really enjoying Prey, too. I’ve a feeling I’ll finish it before The Gunslinger, just because it’s another novella 😛

Blurb:

PEARLS AROUND HER NECK 

Moira Aurelia has put her faith in a demon. She offered her hand and he took it. Partners. Just like that. Black eyes and sinful smiles, she trusts an incubus to lead her into the abyss if it means she’ll finally find her dad on the other side. Her real dad. The creature who cursed her. 

Or blessed her. Because from the way Severus—snarky, seductive Severus—watches her, touches her, ravishes her, Moira can’t decide if this new body is a curse, or if she’s finally growing into the woman she was always meant to be. 

POLAROIDS AT HER FEET 

Unable to fathom how this woman, this ethereal creature, has so much raw power over his inner demon, Severus tries to keep her at an arm’s length while he helps her hunt down her father—but he can only abstain for so long. 

Moira is the sweetest hell he’s ever tasted, a woman who squares off with his truest self and doesn’t even flinch. When he’s with her, the loneliness disappears, the bitter ache in his heart—mended. How can he resist such a divine temptation? 

Meanwhile, the Farrow’s Hollow demon community is positively aquiver when news of Moira’s heritage leaks—and suddenly Severus isn’t the only demon in town who must have her. 

***

What I recently finished reading

WWW Wednesday 28th March 2018 Recent Read: Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Obsidio

OUCH MY EVERYTHING

Ugh, I’m supposed to be writing the review for Thursday this week, but all I can think of is the pain? Prepare yourselves for a short and possibly useless review :’)

Blurb:

Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they’ll find seven months after the invasion? 

Meanwhile, Kady’s cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza’s ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha’s past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. 

With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken.

WWW Wednesday 28th March 2018 Recent Read: Court of the Phantom Queen by Liz Meldon

Court of the Phantom Queen

I needed something fluffy, sweet, and light after Obsidio, and since Meldon’s books are like cake to me I went straight back to this one. I’m glad I waited with finishing it. It was exactly what I needed after Obsidio.

Blurb:

For centuries, the house of Zeus has reigned over some of the world’s largest, most powerful civilizations. First with the Greeks, next with the Romans and their conquered foes. Fueled by their worship, the old Hellenic gods remained unchallenged and supreme for centuries. Now, in the fourth century of the new world order, goddess Athena has discovered a growing enemy: the fanatical Cult of One.

As sanctions arise for pagan worshipers across the Roman empire, Athena decides to unite all the godly pantheons of the human world. Her vision: a council of rational, reasonable representatives from each house to come together and combat their common enemy.

But with arrogant gods and goddesses, both in her house and beyond, that’s easier said than done. 

Athena refuses to be beaten, however, and vows to bring her vision to life. The first step is to visit each house and plead her case. With a motley crew of world-wise companions, she begins in the western isles, where she stumbles upon a god who once set her heart aflame in the court of Dagda and his mistress Morrigan, the Phantom Queen.

Unfortunately for Athena, not all gods are interested in playing nice with others.

WWW Wednesday 28th March 2018 Recent Read: Predator by Liz Meldon

Predator

I enjoyed Court of the Phantom Queen, but it didn’t have the smut I’m used to from her books, so I picked up Predator before starting The Gunslinger.

It was just what I wanted <3 (Fluffy, sweet, and light – the perfect Meldon. Also, more than a little smoldering)

My reviews will be dominated by Liz’s books for a few weeks 😀

Blurb:

BLACK SOUL, SUFFOCATING IN SILENCE

Severus: demon, incubus, escort–leech. After centuries of scorn from his own kind in the underworld, Severus went topside and settled amongst the secret demon community in Farrow’s Hollow. Located near a hell-gate, the city allows him to exist on Earth without sacrificing much of his demon abilities, but as with all incubi, he must take the life essence of humans to maintain his strength.

Working as an escort, he has been able to keep himself satiated, juggling enough clients to ensure that he doesn’t repeat the mistakes of past incubi–the murderers, the gluttons, the true demonic leeches.

In his line of work, Severus sees much of the same every night: human women searching for surrender, for a connection, for love. He caters to them, steals from them, not realizing that he’s desperate for all the same things.

BLUE EYES, WATCHING HER WORLD FADE AWAY

Moira Aurelia: grad student, TV-marathoner, bar trivia champion–unable to look in a mirror. Not anymore. Because when she does, she no longer sees herself. The person, the creature, staring back isn’t her. It can’t be.

The physical changes started after her mom died a year ago. Hair, skin, eyes. Nothing is the same as it once was, and no one can tell her why. Doctors refer her to specialists. Specialists shrug their shoulders. And Moira assumes she’s dying from the same mysterious illness that plagued her mom.

But if she’s dying, why is she getting stronger? Her body is changing, but into what? Something… supernatural. Inhuman. Other. Frightening new realities flash across her mind, but she can’t accept them. She must be dying–because the alternative is crazy.

Fearing the end is near, and refusing to accept other possibilities, Moira goes after the one thing she can control: her sex life. Twenty-three and still unable to experience a satisfying climax, she schedules a session with a Rus Tanner, esteemed male escort, and hopes for something to go right for once.

LIGHT AND DARK COLLIDE–DESPERATE TO CONNECT

But the night takes a turn from the moment they meet. Severus, expecting just another dull session with a new client, is thrown by the otherworldly creature seeking his services–this strange, beautiful woman who arouses his long dormant demon side like none other. Moira, meanwhile, finds herself face-to-face with a man who can handle her newfound strength–and wears a dark stare and sinful smile like a second skin.

Two lonely creatures grapple with the undeniable pull between them.

Moira flees. Severus pursues.

Desperate for answers, the demon seeks her out–unaware that he isn’t the only predator to have caught her scent.

***

What I think I’ll read next

WWW Wednesday 28th March 2018 Future Read: To Be Decided

It’s far too early to tell since I’m barely into my current two reads. My tbr-jar has yet to make a decision 🙂

(In case you were wondering:

Yellow – Fantasy

Orange – Fiction

Blue – SciFi)

 

***

Have you read any of these and would like to chat about it? I look forward to hearing from you! Leave a comment below and we can get this book club started!

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All that I Can Be – Chapter 1

IT’S TIME, FRIENDS AND FAMILIARS! All that I Can Be starts TODAY!

If you ever miss a chapter or want to re-read a previous one, take a look at the new category or use the links I’ll provide with each new chapter. I will always link to the last chapter and this one right here 🙂

For now, if you’ve missed my info post last Monday and want to know what All that I Can Be is, take a look here.

Now, let’s get started, shall we? <3

All that I Can Be | A weekly fiction serial on CookieBreak by fantasy author Sarina Langer.

Elena Baciu tried not to stare into the dark.

Nothing good ever waited there.

She could hear it. A sound so invasive it lay heavy on the night, crawled over her skin, and threatened to smother her.

She pulled her thin blanket over her eyes, her ears, her skin, but still she heard it.

The heavy drum of midnight right.

The lurking threat of thunder.

No light in her room. No light from the moon, hiding behind clouds as she was hiding under her duvet. They were cowards all, Elena and the moon and her stars.

Sweet rain, clean rain, wash away the stains on my dirty dirty soul.

Her grandmother had taught her the song, but Elena sounded nothing like her strong, beautiful, forever-positive grandmother now. Her voice was shaking; the weak half-hum of a scared girl.

Elena peaked out from under her blanket. At nights like this, she always felt the shadows look back.

Sweet rain, clean rain, bring tomorrow, clean my–”

Her room lit up as thunder crashed overhead and lightning tore through every staring shadow. For a too-brief moment, the dark couldn’t watch her. But then, slowly, it crept back, invisible eyes on her, seeing right into her soul and exposing her weakness.

Elena tried not to be afraid of the dark. She was sixteen–too old for things that scared her little brother.
But courage had never been her thing, and so she hid under her blanket until the heavy drum eased off and comforting rays of light fell through her curtains.

***

“Lena? Are you up?”

She sighed and rolled over in her bed. It was market day–more specifically, it was her turn to sell her mother’s bread.

A sharp knock followed at her door. Her mother wouldn’t let her oversleep.

“Yes, I’m up.”

Elena sighed once more into her pillow, her breath hot against her nose and cheeks.

The thunderstorm last night had made it impossible to sleep. In about forty minutes, she’d face another kind of storm at the market.

“Hurry, Lena, or you’ll miss the breakfast rush!”

She frowned; her mother wouldn’t appreciate that.

She sat up, quickly washed in their small bathroom shared by four people, and threw on the dungarees her parents hated so much. They said it wasn’t ‘girly’ enough, but Elena wasn’t fond of dresses or boys, no matter how much her mother insisted she was turning into one.

She dreaded to think how her parents would react if they knew. She couldn’t tell them, not until she’d figured out a good way to phrase the words that were sure to break her parents’ hearts. Not that she doubted they’d accept her eventually. It was just that her mother’s business was a family business, and she wanted a grandchild one day who would inherit it.

Elena wouldn’t give her one.

Although, she supposed she could always adopt.

For now, she’d stick to wearing dungarees. It was all she or her parents could handle right now.

Elena slipped into the kitchen, stuffed a still-warm roll into her pocket for later, and stepped outside where her paintings had finally dried. They weren’t great, she knew that, but she’d painted the most beautiful thing she knew–fresh lavender from her mother’s garden–and if only the right person saw them…

“Stop daydreaming and get going.” Her mother placed the loafs of bread into the basket attached to Elena’s bicycle. “Take two coins for each loaf, three for a set of five rolls.” She winked. “Adrian might be there.”

“I know, I have done this before, you know.” She ignored the comment about Adrian, a boy a year older than her. He was good looking, but he wasn’t her.

He wasn’t Ralu.

Elena started peddling before her mother could argue, and mourned another day lost to a business she didn’t want to inherit.

She doubted it’d be busy, but her mother’s bread always sold out. The lingering chill after last night’s storm wouldn’t keep people away, just like the thought of seeing Ralu with Nicolae couldn’t be an excuse for Elena to stay home.

People had families to feed, and she had bread to sell.

End of Chapter 1


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All writing belongs to the author, Sarina Langer

Photo by Olia Gozha on Unsplash

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Writer’s Burnout – How to Recover When You’ve Burned Out

Over the last few weeks, we’ve looked at what writer’s burnout is and isn’t, and how to recognise your warning signs.

But sometimes, burnout finds you no matter how well you hide. Other times, you think you’re fine only to get a nasty shock and burn out anyway.

So, today, we’ll look at different things you could do to recover!

Burnout - How to Recover When You've Burned Out

Isn’t it odd how easy it is to overlook a bit of self-care? Our everyday lives are hectic and often packed so tight there’s no room for anything else.

I made a self-care spread in my bullet journal back in January. Do you know when I finally filled it in? Five days ago.

It’s almost like we don’t take self-care seriously!

Here are some of the things I do to recover, straight from my bullet journal spread; I hope they help you, too. Feel free to add your own in the comments below, and perhaps we can compile a master list 🙂

Tea, my blanket, and a book.

And maybe the fire, too, if it’s winter*.

One of my favourite ways of recharging is to make a tea, curl up in my blanket**, and read a book. If it’s bad, I might not even read (no brainpower and all that), I might just loaf and watch TV. It’s super cosy, and feels like a real day off.

*or Spring, or Autumn. I freeze fast, okay?
**it has pockets for my feet, guys. Pockets. For my feet.

Pinterest

I love Pinterest, because I never feel like I completely waste my time with it. It’s perfect for visual research, so I can convince myself I’m doing something productive.

If that’s too much stress for my burned out mind, I have a whole folder dedicated to adorable animals. Not productive in the least, but sometimes you need a baby bunny and a baby kitten cuddling each other, right?

Research

Now, bear with me. I know this sounds counter-productive, but I don’t often get a lot of time for my research. I’ve got books full of mythology which I’d love to read, but never get around to.

The only research I have time for is the kind immediately relevant to my WIP. Everything else, no matter how intriguing, has to wait.

That’s why sitting down with a book on mythology for a morning feels like a break to me. It doesn’t help anything I’m currently working on, so it’s not technically work, and I could read about secrets and myths for hours!

Spa Day

*ahem*

I mean, I don’t have the time or the money to dish out on a spa day… But I do have time and money for a face mask I already bought!

And since I can’t do much while the mask drains the oil from my face anyway, it’s the perfect time to meditate.

No need to do anything fancy. Just sit comfortably, close your eyes, and calm your breathing while your mask sets.

It’s quick, it’s cheap, it’s easy, and you’ll feel pampered after!

Games

I’m a huge gamer, so relaxing on the sofa with a controller in my hand and someone else’s fictional world, lore, and characters is one of my favourite ways to relax.

Naturally, I also find it the most difficult. I tend to play every day, so a day playing games isn’t that different to my usual downtime. Also, unless I’ve given myself permission to rest for a day, I tend to feel guilty, like I’m not working hard enough*. However, once I’ve set a day aside as a recovery day, I can enjoy whatever game I’m playing at the time, even if it is during the day.

*you could argue that I’m not since I’m playing games in this example

Comfort Food Everything

You know that movie that never fails to make you smile? That song that never fails to cheer you up? That scenery that always clears your head?

Now’s a good time for all the things that comfort you, friends. And completely guilt-free, too!

Indulge. Spoil yourself. You’ve worked so hard your body said no more–you’ve clearly earned it!

Those are my favourite ways of spending some well-deserved me-time–but I wanted to give you something more. After all, my experiences aren’t going to work for everyone! So, I took to Twitter and asked what other people do to recover. Here are some ideas:

 

 

Burnout - How to Recover When You've Burned Out, Tweet Example

Note how often binge-watching TV and reading gets mentioned? Books and Netflix appear to be the answer 😉

If you’d like to follow any of these lovely people, just click their tweet and it’ll take you to their profile.

You might also like:

What is Burnout? Burnout - 5 Warning Signs You're Burning Out

How do YOU recover after you’ve burned out? Do any of the above work for you, too, or do you do something different? Make a tea, plate some cookies, and let’s talk self-care!


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Gifs came from giphy

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Starting Next Week – All that I Can Be, a Weekly Fictional Serial!

Good news, everyone! All that I Can Be is ready to go! *throws confetti*

Starting Next Week - All that I Can Be, a Weekly Fictional Serial

Instead of just throwing you into it, I wanted to give you a bit of info so you know what to expect 🙂 The best news first: this is NOT the final cover. Phew 🙂 Can anyone recommend a free stock photo site that doesn’t stick its watermark all over every picture?

All that I Can Be

  • All that I Can Be is a work of fiction. You probably guessed from this post’s title.
  • Speaking of genre – it’s not an epic fantasy. No dragons, but there is magic. Please don’t expect it to be like my novels, because it couldn’t be less related 🙂
  • It’s loosely based on an old Romanian urban legend about a girl who wanted to be a witch. My MC, Elena, will tell you more in an early chapter 😉
  • It’s had a small amount of editing. Nothing like my books, but more than my previous writing prompts. Definitely nothing professional.
  • There are 16 chapters in total, and one is scheduled for every week until it’s finished. I’ve kept each chapter under 1k words to make it easier to read. The whole thing is just over 10k.
  • Why, YES, it does have a Pinterest board!
  • I know I usually say that I can’t write with music, but this particular short story was inspired by Fall Into Me by Alev Lenz.
  • The love potion recipe is not accurate*.
*I mean, I haven’t tested it so I don’t know for sure it doesn’t work. Really I’ve made it up, though.

Some Other Details

  • Unlike previous Monday posts, All that I Can Be won’t be categorised under Monday Shorts. That’s a category for, well, short things like individual writing prompts, whereas this will be one series. Therefore, it’s got its own category by the same name* 🙂

If you ever miss a chapter and want to catch up, that’ll be the best place to look. Also, my welcome page lists the three most recent posts. Also, every new chapter will link back to the first chapter and the one before, so really you can’t get lost 🙂

*That name being All that I Can Be, not Monday Shorts. Obviously. It’d just be confusing to have two categories with the same name.

I can’t wait to share this with you <3 If there’s anything you’d like to know before Monday, ask away! Otherwise, sit back, ready the popcorn*, and I hope you’ll enjoy it 🙂

*or the tea, coffee, biscuits, whatever you fancy. I’m not here to dictate how you snack. Read it with couscous if you want.

For CookieBreak’s homepage, click me.

All writing belongs to the author, Sarina Langer

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Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen #1)

Book Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen #1)

“This is a world divided by blood – red or silver. The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change. That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.”

Book Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen #1)

What I thought:

Ugh, guys, this book was everything <3 I’ve mentioned my super elusive Forever Shelf here and there? That special place where books that inspired me go? Red Queen lives there now.

I was in love with Aveyard’s voice by page two (or from the dedication, if we’re being completely honest). Her writing instantly clicked with me, and I didn’t want to put it down.

The gods rule us still. They have come down from the stars. And they are no longer kind.

Red Queen had something I now wish I saw more often in epic fantasy: magic and technology. Side by side. And it worked, y’all. It worked.

I’ve got so many quotes for this review it’s difficult to choose. Even if I had forgotten to note quotes, I could open Red Queen on any page and find something worth sharing. The writing in this gave me goosebumps, and I’m completely forever in love with it <3

Was it perfect? I mean, if you consider that perfection doesn’t exist and so expecting it is pointless and unfair and raises the bar to unobtainable heights… Fine, it was a tiny bit repetitive in places and there were too many italics for my liking. Honestly, I’m not sure anymore if the average reader is going to notice them, or if it’s just me because I’m an author and editor and it’s my job to be uber-picky.

By the end, they didn’t even bug me anymore because the writing itself was so gorgeous:

My hands wipe at my eyes, though my tears are long lost in the rain, leaving behind only an embarrassingly runny nose and some black makeup. Thankfully, my silver powder holds. It’s made of stronger stuff than I am.

The character development is amazing, but the world building tops it. You accept it as an epic fantasy in a made-up world, until you realise that Aveyard could easily be talking about our world. The characters mention a couple of times that the old names are no longer used–countries, rivers, and cities have been renamed. Some people developed magic, others didn’t.

So this is definitely an epic fantasy which could take place in our own world’s bleak future, which would make this a dystopian? In a way? No?

You read it and just enjoy, okay? This was so good, friends. I have so much love for this. Victoria – you’re one of my favourite authors now. Welcome to my Forever Shelf, you queen <3

Buy it on Amazon | Add it on Goodreads


Have you read Red Queen, or are you tempted? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

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WWW Wednesday 14th March 2018

WWW Wednesday March 14th 2018

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

WWW Wednesday

All links will get you to the book’s Goodreads listing, as always 🙂

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What I’m currently reading

WWW Wednesday March 14th 2018 Current Read: Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Obsidio

After Amazon messed up yet another pre-order, I cancelled it and went into town on my lunch break yesterday to get it. Amazon 0, Waterstones 2 -.- So I won’t be pre-ordering again since it seems I end up having to get it myself anyway -.-

But to the book! I’m SO thrilled to have this <3 Given how fast I tore through the other two, I expect I’ll finish it this week <3

Preparing for heartbreak. many heartbreaks.

Wow, I can’t words already, it’s that good I’m numb after ten pages :O

Blurb:

Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they’ll find seven months after the invasion? 

Meanwhile, Kady’s cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza’s ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha’s past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. 

With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken.

WWW Wednesday March 14th 2018 Current Read: Court of the Phantom Queen by Liz Meldon

Court of the Phantom Queen

I started this when I couldn’t get into Ready Player One, and as usually Meldon delivers! I was hoping to be done with it by now, just so I wouldn’t have to set it aside for Obsidio, but it didn’t quite work out like that oo

I’ll try to finish it quickly in the morning so Obsidio can have my full attention. It’s a novella so it’s not like it’s a long read!

Blurb:

For centuries, the house of Zeus has reigned over some of the world’s largest, most powerful civilizations. First with the Greeks, next with the Romans and their conquered foes. Fueled by their worship, the old Hellenic gods remained unchallenged and supreme for centuries. Now, in the fourth century of the new world order, goddess Athena has discovered a growing enemy: the fanatical Cult of One.

As sanctions arise for pagan worshipers across the Roman empire, Athena decides to unite all the godly pantheons of the human world. Her vision: a council of rational, reasonable representatives from each house to come together and combat their common enemy.

But with arrogant gods and goddesses, both in her house and beyond, that’s easier said than done. 

Athena refuses to be beaten, however, and vows to bring her vision to life. The first step is to visit each house and plead her case. With a motley crew of world-wise companions, she begins in the western isles, where she stumbles upon a god who once set her heart aflame in the court of Dagda and his mistress Morrigan, the Phantom Queen.

Unfortunately for Athena, not all gods are interested in playing nice with others.

Court of the Phantom Queen is a fantasy romance novella. It is both a standalone and a part of the overall story of the Lovers and Liars: Immortal Wars series.

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What I recently finished reading

WWW Wednesday March 14th 2018 Recent Read: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One

I wanted to love this so badly. Being a gamer myself this book should have been everything I want in a novel, and its virtual world was amazing. The message (don’t neglect Earth or we’re all screwed) was poignant and relevant. Everything else was disappointing.

I likely won’t review this here since it’s supposed to be Books I Love (granted I’ve renamed the category by now…). The writing was passive and for the most part, this book was one large info-dump. The speech made it more exciting for me but there was barely any of it.

I think the movie is going to be brilliant, but the book didn’t work for me.

Blurb:

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

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What I think I’ll read next

WWW Wednesday March 14th 2018 Next Read: The Gunslinger by Stephen King

The Gunslinger

My SO drew this one from my tbr jar on Monday as backup in case Amazon screwed up my preorder (which, you know, they did, again), but since I went and got Obsidio in my local Waterstones The Gunslinger will have to wait! It’ll be my first King novel since one of his short story collections scared the daylights out of me when I was a teenager, so I’m excited to get to it.

I’ve a feeling March is going to be a good month for books!

Blurb:

‘The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.’ The iconic opening line of Stephen King’s groundbreaking series, The Dark Tower, introduces one of his most enigmatic and powerful heroes: Roland of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger.

Roland is a haunting figure, a loner, on a spellbinding journey toward the mysterious Dark Tower, in a desolate world which frighteningly echoes our own.

On his quest, Roland begins a friendship with a kid from New York named Jake, encounters an alluring woman and faces an agonising choice between damnation and salvation as he pursues the Man in Black.

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Have you read any of these and would like to chat about it? I look forward to hearing from you if you do. Leave a comment below and we can get this book club started!

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Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018 (I’ve (Almost) Done all the Prep Work for You!)

Guess who’s signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo? This girl!

After I failed last November due to two colds and burning out, I wanted to try being a camper this time. And if you’re tempted to sign up, too, you’ll be thrilled to hear I’ve already done the prep work for you!*

*well, sort of

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018 Prep Sessions

Last year October, I hosted weekly prep sessions for the big monster event. While your goal may not be 50k, being ready still can’t hurt.

If you missed the sessions last year or would like to refresh your memory, here they are again:

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018 Prep Sessions

Character Creation

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018 Prep Sessions

World Building

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018 Prep Sessions

Plotting

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018 Prep Sessions

Reading List and Treats

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018 Prep Sessions

You can Do This!

Weeks 1-3 come with free downloadable worksheets so you can get plotting right now! They cover all important basics but no more than that to stop you from over-preparing 😉

Whether you want to set rewards or not is up to you. My own goal is 17k, which doesn’t really feel worthy of a reward. If you shoot for 50k, you should definitely treat yourself to something!

Book recommendation

If you’d like to do a bit of outside reading, I strongly recommend this book:

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018 Prep Sessions Book Recommendation: No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty

It’s short (it claims to be 50k, the length of a NaNoWriMo draft) and written by the father of NaNo, so you know it’s relevant!

Buy it on Amazon | Read my review

What am I writing next month? I’ll be writing the first novella of my novella trilogy set in Midoka and Krymistis (if you’ve read my Relics of Ar’Zac books, you’ll be familiar with those). I’m aiming for 17k, and all three will be DARK, bloody, stabby, and possibly a tiny bit smutty. But no promises on the latter 😉

I wish I could share a bit more, but I haven’t got a title yet. I am, however, officially signed up and have created my own cabin. The CookieBreak Writers Retreat would love to have you if you’re taking part–I promise motivation and encouragement 😉

Since my cabin isn’t public, I don’t think I can attach a link to it. If you’d like to join, let me know what your NaNo username is and I’ll invite you 🙂

Sign Up

You might also enjoy:

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018 Prep Sessions - Scrivener Recommendation

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018 Prep Sessions - Resources for Writers

 

Are you going to camp next month? What will you be working on, and whats your target word count?

Happy plotting, NaNonites! <3


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All content belongs to the author, Sarina Langer.

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