Monday, February 29, 2016

February Doings

First off, happy Leap Day! I don't know if anyone actually does anything for Leap Day . . . but if you do, tell me in the comments. (I, personally, will be enjoying an extra day of reading. Hopefully.) Anyway, onto the doings of this month!


  • The entirety of the month was spent in a long-term word war with some friends at Whitehall, which helped a lot with motivation. I didn't win- the person who did win left me behind midway through the month and I never caught up- but I'm still happy with how I did. Why? Well . . .
  • I finished Monster in the Castle! Two years and just-under-ten-months of (on-and-off) work and it's finally done! Or . . . drafting it is, for clarification. It still needs a lot of editing, but that'll wait. I ended up writing the climax and denouement in about grand and glorious days heavy with inspiration. Overall, I'm actually really happy with how it turned out.
  • Non-spoilery snippet from the climax (well, non-spoilery considering what the story is based on):
"Queen du Karel's expression tightened. 'Servant's work? Do you intend to make a mockery of your betrothed, Lord Aethan?'
'No more than you plan to make a mockery of my country, your majesty,' Aethan replied, with a diplomat's smile. 'In any case, any lady of Aldurna, even the queen herself, could perform this task. Surely the princess is capable as well.'"
  • I really thought I'd be burned out on this world and characters by now- that after I finished Monster, I'd want to give up on these fairy tale retellings for a year or two. But, amazingly, I'm not. I have ideas for two or three more novels in my head, and while I'm not sure when I'll write them, I do want it to be (relatively) soon. 
  • However, at the moment I have no WIP (which is a really weird feeling . . .) and instead I'm hoping to focus on editing and short stories. Oh, and worldbuilding. Storyworld First awaits!
  • Amazingly, I did get a respectable amount of editing done this month, despite all the writing. I'm up to chapter eight of Destinies and Decisions, so huzzah! I also figured out how to use yWriter . . . ish. It works much better once you have the tedium of making characters and all that set-up stuff. And it works quite well for when you want to work ahead (as long as you know roughly how many chapters are going to be in between what you're working on and what you've already done) or if you need to switch around the order of chapters . . . which is something I've had to do a bit.   


  • You know how I said I only read 12 books last month? I read even fewer this month: 10 total, and one of them was more of a short story. However, considering how much writing I did, I'm not really surprised.
  • The reading highlights of the month, at least at the time I'm writing this, were Stars Above (the Lunar Chronicles anthology, which was wonderful and provided a very nice closure to the series . . . even if all my predictions about the wedding of the century were wrong!) and The Eye of the World (which was probably as long as any of the Stormlight Archive and rather slower . . . but still very good).
  • I mentioned last month that I was hoping to reread the Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy- which I succeeded in doing! I liked some bits more than the first time and some bits less . . . but I'd forgotten a lot of what happened, so it was almost like reading them for the first time, except I had a bit of warning of certain especially-memorable bits.
  • I also enjoyed The Screaming Staircase and The Dagger in the Desk, both of which were deliciously creepy and a bit Jackaby-esque, though not quite as much as I'd been hoping. I have the next two books in the series waiting in my room, but I haven't read them yet, because . . .
  • I finally have Bands of Mourning! At the time I write this, I haven't actually read it yet, because shortly before the previously-mentioned three grand and glorious days of writing, I put a personal ban on reading any and all Sanderson until I finished my novel. However, since I didn't actually pick up BoM until Friday, I first reread Warbreaker and Elantris, both of which I already had out. There are, by the way, some rather striking similarities between the two novels. I'm not sure which of the two is better, though. And, since I finished Elantris yesterday, I'll hopefully be reading Bands of Mourning by the time you see this post! At last!


  • My family celebrated Valentine's Day with peppermint patty brownies and our usual half-dipped heart cookies. Well, the brownies might not have been for Valentine's Day, per se, but they were close to it. The point is, both brownies and cookies were delicious, and they would've been the outside-of-reading-and-writing highlight of the month, if not for . . .
  • Sunshine! Glorious, beautiful sunshine! I mean, we had snow (not a ton, but enough), and we had miserably cold temperatures, and we had weeks of clouds. But the better part of the last week has been sunshine and fairly warm temperatures- all but one of the bad days wouldn't have been unreasonable for a Virginia February; the better days felt more like spring- so thank God! I even went for a walk yesterday, that's how nice it was. Of course, it's supposed to snow tomorrow . . . but that's tomorrow.
  • I promise that I won't talk about the weather in every Doings post. Only when there's something exceptional that happened. 
  • I am, by the way, getting really tired of hearing and seeing the Allegiant trailer on YouTube. I know it hasn't been out for terribly long (or I don't think it has?) . . . but I feel like I've heard it way too often.
  • Last week was just a really good week in general, ok? There was lots of writing, there was rereading-of-Sanderson, there was lovely weather, and calculus didn't kill me. 

March Plans!

  • I'm going to do a lot of editing, much of it on Destinies and Decisions, but I'm hoping to get back to Between Two Worlds some as well. I'm still not quite sure how I'm going to balance them . . . depending how Destinies and Decisions goes, I may try to switch back and forth between them, or I might just work on Destinies until I get stuck and then go back to BTW for a while.
  • As mentioned previously, I'm also going to be trying to do some short story writing (mostly one-shots) and worldbuilding. I may or may not end up requesting prompts on here for one-shots . . . my plot bunnies have an annoying habit of hiding whenever I'm actually looking for them. And, of course, I do need to be thinking about Camp NaNoWriMo in April . . .
  • Tomorrow is the announcement of the winners of teh Five Magic Spindles contest hosted by Rooglewood Press! I'm a bit nervous (to put it lightly) since this is my first year entering and I have no idea how much chance I have . . . And if you happen to notice me squealing, yelling, dying, or otherwise being somewhat-incoherently excited on forums or Goodreads tomorrow, it's either the contest or Bands of Mourning. Or both. I'm really hoping for both.
How was your February? What plans do you have for March? Are you celebrating Leap Day? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)  


  1. Ooh, I love this post and may steal-- ahem, sorry-- "lovingly borrow" it. ; ) And yeees, totally know what you mean about Rooglewood Press. No, I'm not nervous, hahahaha! Not at all!!!!!

    1. Thank you! And I "lovingly borrowed" the idea from Deborah O'Carroll and Katie Grace, so you're all good.
      We shall eagerly await results together, then. *nods*

  2. Congratulations on finishing your draft! :D How exciting. I hope your editing process goes smoothely.
    It sounds like you had a really fun month. Good luck on the Rooglewood Press contest! I had intended to enter as well, but ultimately decided I'd rather focus on finishing some of my novels instead. :) I hope you make it in!

    1. Thank you! Editing will probably not go smoothly, haha, because I'm going to have to cut and majorly rewrite about 99% of the beginning . . . but after that it shouldn't go too badly, I hope.
      And thank you once more!

    YOU FINISHED YOUR DRAFT?! *showers confetti and pizza and cookies over you* That is just... so satisfying. I'm so excited for you! :D

    Good luck on the contest. o.o I didn't realize you had entered -- I'll be checking eagerly to see if you made it tomorrow. Regardless if you made it or not, I'm sure it's amazing. :D

    1. Thank you! :D *munches pizza and cookies* And thank you again!

  4. Yeah, I celebrated Leap Day by reading. So basically, it was like any other day. Ha. I loved Stars Above too. I am SO SAD that the Lunar Chronicles series is over. The grief is real people. I may still be in the denial stage. Ha. Sounds like your writing is going well. Sometimes editing is the hardest part! Just so you know, I just started offering beta reading services through my blog. I would be happy to take a look at your manuscript and critique it if you want. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can do wonders. :)

    1. Heh, still, that's a pretty good day. :D And I know . . . it's sad. But at least it was a good conclusion.
      Thank you for the offer! I'm not quite at the beta reading stage in any of my novels, but I'll keep that in mind!

  5. Wow, I finished my first draft too this month. Have you read Storyworld First? I'm thinking of getting it to help with my next story. I want to make a big cohesive world I can write lots of things in.

    1. That's awesome- congratulations! I haven't read it yet, but I'm going to this month, and I've heard it's really good.

    2. I think I'll get it with my Leap Day present money. (someone forgot me at Christmas)


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