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Big Promotion with Goodkindles next Thursday! (26th January)

Exciting news, everyone! On Thursday next week, as a birthday gift to myself, I’m doing a big promotion with Free and Bargain ebooks | Book promotion site for authors. I’d really appreciate it if you shared the hell out of it on the day ^-^ If you can’t find the links, take a look at my social media pages – I’ll pin everything to the top for that day 🙂

(No banner because it’d take up more space than the writing)

I’ll do another (proper) post on the day, too 🙂


“Growing up homeless and orphaned in a town that hates her, Rachael must assassinate the king of Rifarne to become queen to a people who once wanted her dead.

Rifarne is a country opposed to magic. When its people demand harsh action, King Aeric sees himself with no other choice but to outlaw those with the gift. Rachael, who possesses the rare gift of a Seer, soon finds herself with visions of her own violent death. When her escape goes wrong and she ends up in the clutches of a vicious Mist Woman lusting for her blood, she finds she is the only person who can stop the war against people like her – and assassinating the king to take his throne may well be the only way to do just that.”



Review: The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett (Discworld #1)


“Somewhere on the frontier between thought and reality exists the Discworld, a parallel time and place which might sound and smell very much like our own, but which looks completely different. Particularly as it’s carried though space on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown). It plays by different rules.

But then, some things are the same everywhere. The Disc’s very existence is about to be threatened by a strange new blight: the world’s first tourist, upon whose survival rests the peace and prosperity of the land. Unfortunately, the person charged with maintaining that survival in the face of robbers, mercenaries and, well, Death, is a spectacularly inept wizard…”

www-23112016-2What I thought:

I have no idea what I’m doing! 😀 Honestly, I don’t how to review this. You’ve either read this already, or, if you haven’t, you still won’t need me to tell you that Terry Pratchett is kinda a big deal in the magical word of fantasy stories. This isn’t the debut novel by someone nobody knows yet, it’s Terry fudging Pratchett!

So I’ll try to keep this short and save us all some time 🙂

I’m pretty sure that I’ve read The Light Fantastic some time last year year, or maybe it was the year before that… But I thought I’d start at Book 1. When I read the second one we didn’t have The Colour of Magic in my library, but we’ve recently ordered the shiny new copies which create a lovely rainbow on the shelf, and I really needed something mad and magical! And that’s precisely what I got – a bit of magic sprinkled with rather a lot of madness. It’s not often that Death is your favourite character, but the chap is a cat person, so there.

Picturesque meant – he decided after careful observation of the scenery that inspired Twoflower to use the word – that the landscape was horribly precipitous. Quaint, when used to describe the ocassional village through which they passed, meant fever-ridden and tumbledown.

The Colour of Magic follows Rincewind, a failed wizard who knows but one spell (when I say he “knows” a spell… It’s there, somewhere, at the very back of his mind but it’s shy, I guess?) and Twoflower, a tourist with the incredible ability to not recognise danger when it punches him in the face. He also has this awesome little luggage which runs after him and eats people who threaten him. Rincewind shows Twoflower around, who has a long list of dangerous things he wants to see and do – the kind of situations no sane person would want to place himself in on purpose. Twoflower is oblivious to any form of mortal danger and confuses it with adventure on a regular basis, while Rincewind is a massive coward, so there’s a lot of natural conflict between them.

“But you’re a demon. Demons can’t call things weird. I mean, what’s weird to a demon?”

“Oh, you know,” said the demon cautiously, glancing around nervously and shifting from claw to claw. “Things. Stuff.”

Also there’s dragons. Not real ones, as such, but imagined ones, who can get a little see-through when the imaginator’s focus wavers. It’s fine, though, they’re perfectly save to fly. Unless you’re terrified of hights, like Rincewind, and remember an event from the future where you fall from a great height, like Rincewind.

If you haven’t read this already by some miracle, please do. Even if fantasy isn’t your usual genre, even though this book was like nothing I’ve read before in a good and very mad way, I think it should be on everyone’s tbr list. Terry Pratchett isn’t the Father of Fantasy for no reason. This is a must read for everyone!


Have you read The Colour of Magic, or would you like to? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

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


The Rapid Fire Book Tag


I was going through my posts looking for… something (my memory is short and selective), and guess what I found instead of the thing I actually wanted? Two forgotten tags! From way back last year! So, I thought, why not have a little fun (and, admittedly, be lazy) and do one while I wait for last week’s poll to close? (if you haven’t voted yet you can still do so now here, but it will close in a few hours!)

I found this tag over on Donna’s lovely blog chocolatenwaffles, which I highly recommend you visit and follow if you love books and, well, tags!

eBooks or physical books?

Heh. Right to the point, eh? I like that in a tag! I prefer physical books because they’re pretty, they sound amazing when you leaf through the pages, and New Book Smell is a perfectly real thing, but my bookshelf is small. If it’s a book by an author I love, I prefer to get the paperback. If it’s a book I’m not sure about or a book by an author I’m not yet familiar with, I’ll get the eBook. Also, because my tiny bookshelf fills up rather quickly, I’ve vowed to make my next book-buying binge an electronic one. Just you watch as I fail miserably!

Paperback or hardback?


Paperbacks all the way! As awesome and amazingly beautiful as hardbacks are, paperbacks are just as awesome and beautiful, and I may have mentioned this already briefly in passing, maybe, but my bookshelf is small (not as small as the picture makes it out to be). Hardbacks take up more room. Decision made! (Ignore the one hardback sitting on my shelf)

Online or in-store book shopping?

I like online shopping because it’s fast and easy. I adore in-store book shopping because I’ve found many treasures that way, and because bookstores are my happy place. So it’s a draw!

Trilogies or series?

Who cares? If it’s awesome and I enjoy it, I’ll read it!

Heroes or villains?

Both, if they’re written well! A well-written villain is just as much fun to be invested in than a great hero.

A book you want everyone to read?

Mine? *awkward cough* *it’s Rise of the Sparrows* Right, I’m gonna cheat and do two 😛


This, because everyone who’s ever spent any time working in retail will laugh/cry reading this. Don’t scoff at this book if you’ve never been behind the till before and dismiss these as fake. They’re true. Even the disgusting ones.

And these-

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The duology counts as one, right? *ahem*

Shame on you if you still haven’t heard of these! (Where have you been hiding??) Go read them NOW!

Recommend an underrated book.


I chose this one because for some reason I can’t find anyone who’s read her books. I know lots of people who’ve read Six of Crows, The Night Circus, and all those wonderful reads, but when I mention Karen Miller everyone stares at me. Click the picture to be taken to its Goodreads page, and add it now! I want to talk about these!!

The last book you finished?


Easily readable in one sitting! I did it in half an hour.

Weirdest thing you used as a bookmark?

I don’t think I’ve ever used anything weird. I’ve always had bookmarks handy, and when I didn’t I used paper strips. While those technically aren’t bookmarks I wouldn’t call them weird, so… BUT I work in a library and I found a book with naan bread stuffed between the pages once! (also, don’t do that.)

Used books, yes or no?

Of course! For £2 I can’t think of a single good reason not to!


Top three favorite genre?

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Young Adult. (consider all sub genres of fantasy included)

Borrow or buy?

Usually buy, but since I work in a library it’s too convenient not to borrow books on occasion! I don’t borrow often, but I’ll likely borrow the entire Discworld series since my poor bookshelf would fire me as its owner otherwise.

Characters or plot?

Both. While awesome characters you’re rooting for can drag an underdeveloped plot along, I don’t see why writers wouldn’t make an effort to ace both. I know different readers will enjoy different aspects, and one person will hate a plot another adored, but from a writer’s perspective I say both are equally important.

Long or short book?

That depends entirely on what my last read has been. After I finished The Wise Man’s Fear (which I read immediately after The Name of the Wind) I was in the mood for something short, but I’m now reading the Grisha trilogy and each of those books is quite short, so I’ll go for something longer next time.

Long or short chapters?

I don’t care. Each chapter is different, and I’d rather have a mixture of long and short chapters than see short chapters lengthened and drag, or long chapters be cut and lose important information to match the rest of the book.

Name the first three books you think of.

The Name of the Wind, Six of Crows, and GAH, SO MANY! – The Making of Gabriel Davenport!

Books that make you laugh or cry?

Well, most books do that! It doesn’t take much for a book to make me cry, so if you want a full list you’ll be here for a while! I love both. If you’re asking whether I pick books because they’ll make me laugh or cry then that’s a no. I don’t know before I read a book what it’ll do to me, so I’m not sure how I could choose a new book based on that.

Our world or fictional worlds?

I’m happy with either as long as it’s done well. If a book is set in our world then the information in the book needs to be accurate, and if the world is fictional it needs to have been built well.

Audiobooks: yes or no?

I’m not against audiobooks but I’ve never listened to one.

Do you ever judge a book by its cover?

Constantly! A book’s cover is the first impression a potential reader has. Most people decide whether they’re interested or not in the first few seconds of looking at a book, and if the cover doesn’t convince them they’ll walk away and pick up something that appeals to them more.

Book to movie or book to TV adaptation?

Oh God, please, no. Neither. Most of the time this just doesn’t go well. I know there are exceptions, but most of the time it’s a wreck! I’m still shivering from The 5th Wave movie adaptation 🙁

A movie or TV adaptation you preferred to the book?

I can’t think of one! Harry Potter worked pretty well, obviously, but can I say that I preferred the movies to the books? I don’t think I can!

Series or standalone?

Both! I’ve read more series than I’ve read standalones, but I’ve read a few fantastic standalone novels, too!

If you’ve visited Donna’s post you may have noticed that she published it way back in October, so I won’t tag anyone. If you want to do this, go ahead – you’ve been tagged!


For all of my other musings, click me!

For Cookie Break’s home page, have a look here.


Review: Surrender by G. R. Thomas (The A'vean Chronicles #2)


“Sophia Woodville’s life is anything but ordinary. You can’t be ordinary when you’ve discovered your’e an Earth-born Angel. Alone and suddenly powerless in the stinking heat of the Daimon realm, Sophia has been betrayed by the one person she trusted most. She must find a way to escape and continue her quest to unravel the clues left for her eyes only, fighting the Zombie-like Rogues to preserve the prophecies of Enoch. Only then can the Fallen Angels return to their homeland and humanity be released from the grip of Yeqon and his evil horde.”


What I thought:

I really enjoyed Awaken (Book 1 in the series) and fell in love with Thomas’ writing then, so I knew I had to have this one, too! I was especially chuffed when she offered me an ARC (or rather, I begged for one), so my repeated thanks to the author! ^-^

It was really nice to be back in Thomas’ world. Her writing has this odd familiarity to it, which made this read just as smooth as the first book in the series.

Because of everything that happened at the end of Awaken Sophia missed everyone badly, and I did, too. Her characters are so real and human that reading about them again felt like a small reunion.

The fire in my palms burned harder, yet my resolve weakened. I had nothing, I thought I had nothing, but right there on the floor under threat of an excruciating death, I had something. And I couldn’t let that go.

If you’ve spent any time on here at all you’ll know that I love a good plot twist, and this book has a few which packed one hell (… no pun intended) of a punch, especially towards the end. One right near the end specifically hit me hard.

We already knew that there’s someone amongst Sophia’s newly gained family who spied on them and betrayed them, and in Surrender the mystery thickened. I really hoped it’d be someone I knew and loved because that would have hurt more, but I guess I’m just a little masochistic when it comes to plot twists.

The characters developed beautifully, especially Sophia who had to decide between her loved ones and the greater good several times. She has grown a lot in Surrender, and it was great to see how she coped with these decisions.

A place of dread both had only ever heard talk of, and there they were, in the central station of Earth’s very own Hell.

My personal favourite was a scene near the end; a conversation between Koi and Belial. It was such a thoughtful exchange and so beautifully written that I’ll be marking it for future reference.

Surrender is a fantastic sequel to Awaken. It has answered some of the questions from Book 1, and has left plenty others to be answered in the concluding title. If you haven’t read this series already I highly recommend that you do!


Have you read Awaken or Surrender, or have I tempted you? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

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

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What Kind of Post Would be Most Beneficial to YOU?


As I’m going over my blogging plans for this year, I’ve noticed that a lot of my topics could be put into series of “master classes” (Not that I’m a master or that they are actual classes… I’m just trying to confuse you, to keep your mind sharp *awkward cough*) Since you are the ones who have to put up with my rambling and the information I throw at you, I thought it best to let you choose what you’re most interested in 🙂 I will then publish the series in order of popularity.

Let me just explain what each of them contains, and then I’ll let you get on with your day 🙂

Beta Reading

I get asked about beta reading and various aspects of it quite often, so I hope this series will be helpful to many of you. There’ll be posts on how to be a beta reader, how to know which changes to apply, when (and how!) to ask for beta readers, and other helpful tips to make it a rewarding experience – no matter weather you’re the reader or the writer.

World Building

This will cover how to create the basics of your world, like its religion and important historical events, why you need a map if you write high fantasy, and how exactly google maps can help you make your world easier to grasp – for your reader as well as for yourself.

Character Creation

This series will include how to make your characters stand out, why your side characters are just as important as your MCs, how to make them human and relatable, and a couple of bits on POV.


This will explain what it’s like to be a plotster (as opposed to a plotter or pantser), why it’s important to write for yourself, and how to know when to start over or walk away from a project altogether.

Writer’s Block

Here I’ll give you a few ideas on how to beat writer’s block, and how you can prevent it from putting your writing to a stop for months at a time.


Since choosing the indie route can be a daunting experience I’m hoping that this series will help you decide whether it’s for you! It will cover topics such as why your book’s cover and editor are important (and how to find ones you like!), how social media can help you, why breaks are important and encouraged, and why you need to write for yourself above anyone else.


This will explain how often you “should” blog, why interaction with your readers is important, and how to avoid blogging becoming a chore.  Setting up your first blog – especially when it’s supposed to be for your writing – can seem overwhelming or even complicated. I hope this series will help newcomers relax and create an online home they can be proud of.

Onto the poll! You can vote for as many options as you like if you’re interested in more than one series, but please don’t vote every day while the poll is active. We want this to be fair now, don’t we? 🙂

If there’s anything else you’d like to see, please leave a comment 🙂

Thank you! <3


For all of my other musings, click me!

For Cookie Break’s home page, have a look here.


(Feast Your Eyes on Another) TITLE REVEAL! *dramatic drum roll*


As you’ll know, I’ve been using Soul of the Heart as a temporary title for my fantasy duology for the past few months. It took me a while to find the right name for it, but that time has now come! 😀

I thought I had it several times only to discard the title a few hours later. But this gave me the warm fuzzies when I first thought of it, and I’ve been calling it this in my head and my notebooks since then. And as we all know, there’s no clearer sign than the warm fuzzies over a couple of words! *ahem*


So, without further ado, here’s the title for Book 1 in my high fantasy duology! DRAMATIC DRUM ROLL, PLEASE!











Darkened Light will be out later this year. The first draft is resting at the moment, and I’ll begin the edit once Wardens of Archos is with my beta readers. I’m currently looking at September/October but don’t make a note of that just yet – it’s far too early for me to commit to anything! I’m hoping to have a blurb for you in a few weeks, too.

The title for Book 2 will be revealed closer to the release of Darkened Light 🙂 (It still gives me the warm fuzzies!)

All content belongs to the author, Sarina Langer.

For all previous updates on my books’ progress, click me!

For Cookie Break’s front page, take a look here.I can


A-Z Name Prompts – F


Happy Monday, everyone! It’s time for the next bit of writing improvisation! ^-^

This week’s prompt, chosen by you on Twitter, is…

Thank you as always to everyone who’s voted. There may not be many of you, but I appreciate it <3 Also thank you to everyone who pops in every fortnight to read my little prompts!

I didn’t get as much time to edit it this week, so I apologise for any errors I might have missed. Normally I’d try not to publish a first draft, but sometimes life just gets busy. I hope you’ll still enjoy it, anyway 🙂



(f.; friendship)

Filia no longer feels the sticks under her feet, or the wet moss tickling her toes. A month ago they bothered her – especially the moss, when it touched the space between her toes – but she’s as used to them now as she is to the old handkerchief she keeps in her pocket.

Her mother doesn’t know she still sneaks out at night. Filia is only eight years old, and too young to go adventuring on her own in the nearby forest at night. But Filia goes anyway, because Filia knows something the grown-ups don’t.

Out of breath, she comes to a stop at the clearing. A small pond takes up most of the space, surrounded by wild flowers and even some mushrooms.

She breathes in through her mouth, hoping it will help her catch her breath faster, but all it does is make her exhale in squeaky tones. Her asthma makes running difficult, but Filia doesn’t mind. Not when she comes here, under the moonlit sky.

“You should be more careful,” says the tiny voice behind her. She sounds giggly tonight, and Filia laughs as she turns around. She likes it when her friend is giggly. Her fairy is more fun that way, and will likely play with Filia for a couple of hours.

“I am careful,” says Filia. She rummages around in the small bag she has strung across her shoulder, and pulls forth the cheese crackers she took from her mother’s pantry. Her mother only prepared them early that day. They still smell fresh, and of strong cheddar. “Here.”

Her fairy friend reaches out with her tiny arm, and takes the too-big cracker into her tiny hands. Her small wings flutter harder from the effort.

“It smells funny.”

Filia laughs. “That’s cheddar. My Mum puts it into everything these days.”

Her fairy – the creature never introduced herself to Filia; or rather, she did, but her name was so long Filia couldn’t pronounce it – sniffs the cracker some more, then gently gives it a lick with her green tongue. Her forehead wrinkles, but moments later her bright turquoise eyes widen even more.

“Do you like it?” Filia asks. They are her favourite, but her brother doesn’t like them. Cheddar isn’t to everyone’s tastes, her mother insists. She thinks her brother is just stupid for not liking something so tasty.

Her fairy friend inspects the cracker as she rolls the bite around inside her mouth. Finally, after a moment of intense thinking, she nods. “I do! Do you have more?”

Filia shakes her head. “No. Not tonight.” She has to be careful when she removes them, or else her mother might notice and then Filia would have to explain what happened to her crackers. Filia knows instinctively that her mother wouldn’t believe her about her fairy friend. Grown ups never do. “I can bring you more tomorrow, maybe, if I’m careful.”

“No.” Filia has never heard so much force behind her fairy friend’s voice. It frightens her, and the little hairs on her arms stand uncomfortably. “I’m sorry. You can’t go back tonight. I can’t let you.”

“Why not?”

“It’s not save, you see.”

“No.” Filia doesn’t like her father very much. He hits her, and the threatening look he sometimes gives her when her mother isn’t watching terrifies her. But she doesn’t want to run away.

“Have you ever had a sleep-over before?”

“No. Daddy doesn’t allow them.” Filia thinks for a minute. Her father isn’t here now, and as long as she’s back in her bed by 7am he wouldn’t find out. She’s sure of it. “But I’d love to have one!”

Her fairy friend smiles, her eyes glint with the promise of mischief in the moonlight. “Then think of it like that! Like a long sleep-over! Come with me.”

“Where are we going?” Filia is excited. She has wanted to have friends stay over for years, but she is too scared of her father to suggest it again. But her fairy friend is made of magic, and can make anything possible.

Her fairy friend smiles, and disappears behind a rose bush.

“You’ll see.”


For all other writing prompts, check here.

For CookieBreak’s homepage, click me.

All writing belongs to the author, Sarina Langer


The Indie Writer's Brownie Break


A few months ago I asked Twitter if there were any good Facebook groups for writers. While the post had a few likes and even a couple of retweets, no one had any recommendations for me – in fact, the only person who did comment had the same question!

I gave up for the time being because NaNo was just around the corner and, well, we all know how little time that leaves!

More recently I’ve realised how much I love helping writers get self-published and get that first draft written and edited. While I can’t do much only having self-published myself last year, I wanted to do more and create a friendly community for writers to ask questions and get the help and support they need.

This is why I’ve created The Indie Writer’s Brownie Break! (See a theme there? Cookies, brownies – I’ll take whatever as long as it’s got sugar in it and can be eaten while I write/edit/pull my hair out) I want Brownie Break to be a place where you can find beta readers, critique partners, ask questions, give advice, and generally feel loved in your indie writer awesomeness.

Take a look, grab a brownie, and make yourself comfortable! ^-^


For all of my other musings, click me!

For Cookie Break’s home page, have a look here.

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A Chat with Tirzah Duncan


Welcome back to Interview Corner, everyone! ^-^ It’s time for the first interview of the year, and this week Tirzah Duncan is here to talk about her novella Grace the Mace!

Tirzah is a lover of fantasy, a cynical optimist, a Wholockian, and generally a weird person (in her own words – we don’t judge here!)

Hi Tirzah, and welcome to Cookie Break! Congratulations on publishing your novella Grace the Mace. That’s a huge achievement!

Could you tell us a little about your book? No spoilers, please! 😉

Some rival gangs, a young mercenary, her oblivious mother, and a cop walk into a bar…

Heh, okay, I’m not so good with the off-the-cuff descriptions. Here’s the actual blurb:

Grace has always been there for her mother, ever since she was old enough to bite the legs of those thugs and leeches that called themselves lovers. Ever since she was old enough to understand the world in a way her mother never would.

Now, she comes home every winter with blood money from a year of running with a band of sellswords. No more scrounging in midden heaps and cutting purses for a low court lord to survive the lean months.

But this year, home is as dangerous as the battlefield. Tensions are running through the street courts of her old slums, while a new and daunting lover has confounded her safeguards and gotten at her mum–and now they’re all tangled in a vicious turf war.

Is one lone mercenary enough to protect her own? Can she trust anyone else to do the job?

Would you mind sharing an excerpt with us, or a favourite quote?

“She wished she were on the battlefield, where everything dropped away except the moment and the next moment, the movement and the next movement. There was no fear, then, only the fight. It was a clean thing, she felt, whole, simple, a world unto itself. Here, there was the fight, but there were too many old emotions tangled in the weave. There was the future to think of, there was the past to haunt her. Killing and surviving were far easier than living.”


Do you remember what sparked the idea for Grace the Mace?

It’s been a long background evolution, actually. In the beginning, I was better acquainted with Weylah, her mother. I knew Grace was loyal to her mother, was a graceful young flail-wielding mercenary, and got on fairly well in the world… aaannnd I also thought she was a he.

For four years, while working on other projects, I wondered why I could never get under the layers of Grace the Mace! Then one day, it hit me. I’d had the gender wrong all along. The name should have been a clue, right? But no, I’d been stupid. At that point, the whole story came flooding in with such a vengeance, I can’t even remember the order in which the other pieces came together.

What are you working on right now?

A collaboration with one Danielle E. Shipley (I did an interview with the lovely Danielle only last month, if you remember) in a genre that’s a bit tough to identify… Let’s call it a “High Seas Literary Bromance.” It’s got terrifying pirate queens, a poetry club in a bilge, torture and intrigue, desire and restraint, the war of man with his own darkest self, and most importantly, a couple of amazing guys who overcome all the odds to become besties for life.

What draws you to the genre you write in? Have you always been drawn to it?

I tend to write in fantasy worlds, whether or not I’m dealing heavily with the magical and the mythical. It’s always been my favorite to read—I fell a bit in love with old-school warfare at quite a young age, and I’ve never been able to ditch swords, spears, cavalries, old-fashioned naval galleys and galleons… And as almost every one of my works contains at least one fight scene, if not an all-out battle, it makes sense that I’d favor the genre in which warfare most engages me.

Who/what is your writing inspiration?

C.S. Lewis. I want to be him when I grow up. Not in style, exactly (I more favor Tamora Peirce, and, I hope, Samuel Shellabarger,) but in the way one can read Lewis’s heart and mind in his writings. I want to be to others what he has been to me, and to so many. In his fantasy, in his allegory, and in his theological essays—all of which I want to write—I find ideas transcending the written word. His paragraphs reach from hell to heaven in a great latticework of hope, and if that’s not an inspiration, I don’t know what is.

…However, he’s not that much of a “get ‘er done” inspiration. He started many of his works later in life, and seemed to proceed at a relatively languid pace. If I’m looking for inspiration to write, not “great things in my lifetime,” but “lots of things TODAY,” I turn to Hamilton, the Broadway musical. The songs, the story, the man behind the writing of the musical, and the man Alexander Hamilton himself, all drive me forward to write like tomorrow won’t arrive.

What do you do if inspiration just won’t come?

I’ve got this document called the “Slag Pile.” I bring it up and write whatever I can. Seriously, whatever I can. Sometimes this means writing a section of a novel that I’m not confident about, so I can stop second guessing myself because “It’s not in the real manuscript.” Sometimes it means stream-of-consciousness journaling, or spit-balling for a blog post or novel concept. But when the going gets tough, it stoops lower than that.

One time, I wrote about different 400 words in a row that all started with “B.” It gets that desperate. But allowing myself to write literally anything (it doesn’t even have to be real words,) will often drag me through the slump and out the other side. And if it doesn’t… well, I tried.

Which part of the writing process is your favourite, and which part do you dread?

My favorite part is any part that’s going smoothly at the moment. It can be in the concept stages, the first draft, the editing, or in watching someone read it—if it’s going well, and everything’s coming together, I love it. However, I can find hang-ups and slow days and gnarly problems at any step in the process. Those aren’t fun whether you’re brainstorming or trying to get someone to explain why that one section didn’t sit well with them.

What is your number one distraction?

Everything. Seriously, I’ve got to be one of the most distractable writers ever. I’ll get distracted by my own brain wanting to gossip with itself, by the internet, or by a different project jumping into the middle of the first… In fact, I was in the middle of writing a section in my novel when I decided to work on answering these interview questions instead.

Fortunately for me, I do jump in and out of a work easily. I’ve been known to go back and forth between a Facebook conversation and a story, one paragraph at a time, with neither suffering for it. (I think.)

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

It depends on how involved the story in question ends up being. I tend to be more of a pantser, but if my stories get convoluted and clever and political, I usually have to step back and give it an outline just so I don’t forget who my triple agent is really working for. Or if I’m working on a collaboration! If you want people to be on the same page with you, there’s sort of got to be a page.

Tea or coffee?

Absolutely! As a preventative measure against caffeine dependence, I don’t keep any coffee at home, though. To make up for that, I’ve got an entire cupboard full of teas of every stripe. Loose leaf, bagged, with nothing, with honey, with milk and sugar, and occasionally, iced. I mix it up; I don’t like ruts.

What are the most important three things you’ve learned about writing, editing or publishing (or all of the above!) since you started your journey?

Just three? Whoof! I’ll go with one point for each category, then.

Writing: You’ve got to do it. You’ve got to do a lot of it. Write new things, re-write old things, but you’ve got to write stories. It’s like every other art, and indeed, every other pursuit, in that you’ll never be an expert if you don’t log serious amounts of time. What about reading? Yes, of course, read the books you love, study them. What about reading writing books and taking courses? Sure, sure, brilliant; there are some writing books I absolutely love, and I’ve learned some really valuable lessons from them. But none of those can ever replace simply putting in the hours.

Editing: Know that your work can always be better. There are two things to take away from that statement. The first—be humble. Be analytical. Listen to feedback. Be as objective as you can. You’re probably going to have to do some hard things for the sake of ‘better,’ but it isn’t perfect just because you love it. Learn, if you can, to revel in performing manuscript surgery, because you’re going to have a lot of tumorous growths, and just as many missing organs.

The second—because your work can always be better, you can spend your whole life editing and never publish anything. You don’t want to do that. (Right? I’m guessing, here.) This is something I’ve only recently come to terms with. The trouble is that, as soon as you finish a work, you’re a better writer than when you started it. Which means you could do a better job if you did it over again. At the end of which, you would be a better writer than when you started… You have to find the point at which you can just say, “You know what, I’m proud of this. Yes, it could be better. But you know what it is now? Great.”

Publishing: You’re a marketer now. You better act like it. Getting published is fairly easy. Selling, that’s the hard part. Even if you’re picked up by a traditional publisher, these days, they want you to have your own social media platforms. Whether you like it or not, you’re now a salesman for your book, and for a long time, you’re probably the only salesman for your book. I’m really sorry if you don’t like marketing, because unless you have the budget to hire someone to market for you, the number of people who buy and read your book will ride on the success of your personal marketing efforts.

As to what “marketing” entails, that’s a litany too long to list here, but it includes things like having a clear website, maintaining a blog, building social networks both on and offline, going to conventions, hosting giveaways, hawking your book to reviewers, and—why, yes, finding bloggers kind enough to grant you an interview. 🙂

What’s your favourite quote on writing?

“To find the form that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now.”

-Samuel Beckett

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?

“You go, girl!” Maybe it sounds like encouragement, but if you think about it, it’s also really great advice. I get that one a lot from my mom. And I’ll give it to all of you now.


(If you’re not a girl, you can still totally go, but my advice stands as it is.)

Where else can we connect with you?

My website will take you to my book’s sales links, my WordPress blogs, and my Tumblr. It’s also got some free short stories and poetry, so have at ye!

Thank you, Tirzah, for stopping by! You can find her book here on Amazon 🙂


For all other interviews, take a look here.

For Cookie Break’s home page, have a look here.

1 Comment

Rant: Indies Don't Respect Words (apparently).

This makes me sad. As an indie author myself you could argue that I’m biased, but as a reader I’ve got to say that I’ve read some fantastic indie novels as well as some terrible traditionally published books. The way we choose to publish doesn’t always have everything to do with it. Not all of us had no choice because we’ve been rejected a hundred times and felt this was the only way. Some of us, myself included, like the control and freedom being self-published brings.


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