Saturday, March 31, 2018

March 2018 Doings!

Well, what do you know? March's Doings! post is up right on time, despite the fact that this has been another pretty busy month! The fact that I'm currently on break for Easter probably helps; I actually wrote this post in one sitting instead of writing bits and pieces here and there over the course of multiple days. Anyway. What have I been up to that's kept me so busy? Let's find out!


  • As a recap, my goal for the month was fifteen minutes of writing-related work per day, six days a week, or two chapters of Fight Song and a plan for April completed. I didn't quite get the first goal, mostly because class assignments kept trying to murder me (though there were also a few days in there when I got caught up in something else— like writing blog posts or playing board games or reading books— and failed to write as a result). 
  • However, I still managed to edit not two but four chapters (well, more like three and a bit; I'm pretty sure I was in the middle of a chapter when the month started). I think that aiming for fifteen minutes a day instead of thirty was a good choice for the same reason that the 100-4-100 challenge was effective while it lasted— except, for me, fifteen minutes works even better than a hundred words. It's a small enough goal that I can squeeze it between other things, but once I'm working, I often keep going. But I don't have to keep going if I don't want to. It's nice.
  • Besides working on Fight Song, I did a bit more worldbuilding on my multiverse (well, more like I recorded worldbuilding I'd already done in my head, but y'know) and tried again to work on my short story for the Indie e-Con contest. Said short story isn't working very well and it frustrates me. Oh well.
  • As for plans for April . . . well, I know I'm doing Camp NaNoWriMo, and I probably know which project I'm working on. And it's a rewriting/editing project, so I don't really need more than that, right? (I definitely need more than that. Hopefully, by tomorrow morning I'll have more. But we'll talk about that later.)


  • So, I felt like I read a lot this month, but apparently, I only managed four books? One of those was The Three Musketeers, though, which is both a classic and fairly long, so that's probably part of it.
  • Part of why I feel like I had such a good reading month, though, is probably that I really enjoyed most of the books I read. Admittedly, Ink, Iron, and Glass wasn't quite as amazing as I hoped it would be (I had issues with the worldbuilding, and the author fell into cliches occasionally), but I still really enjoyed it. And The City Beyond the Glass was a Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling that I really enjoyed, even if it can't beat Entwined (which I'm not likely to shut up about any more than I am about Anne Elisabeth Stengl or Brandon Sanderson or dragons). As for The Three Musketeers, it had excellent writing, an exciting plot, and a fairy modern feel, but suffered from a cast primarily composed of complete jerks. (There are, I believe, exactly three exceptions, maybe four. No more.)
  • And then there's THE LOST PLOT! Also known as the latest Invisible Library novel! Also known as the book that made me realize I desperately need more fantasy set in 1920s America. (Anyone have any recommendations? Maybe?) Obviously, it was awesome— it's an Invisible Library novel; there's no way it couldn't be awesome. It involved the dragons more, which I liked (even if that meant fewer Fae), and all the twistyness and mystery of the other books. Not 100% certain how I feel about the ending— some elements I really liked; some made me sad; and some I'm trying to withhold judgment on so I can see how they work out in other books. Also, Irene is awesome and I would rather like to be her in many respects. Just sayin'.


  • I finished the Key of the Starry Heavens arc over break, as I hoped, and I'm slightly torn about it. On one hand, it was extremely frustrating and some of the plot twists didn't quite make sense, and . . . yeah. It was frustrating. On the other hand, it had a fabulous emotional payoff in a couple places. For example, when characters finally realized "Wait, we have the same goals, let's actually cooperate to achieve them!" And also one fight in which one of the heroes, instead of beating up the villain he was fighting, is like "No, let's save her by showing her that what she's doing isn't worth the damage she's inflicting on herself." (The fact that the character in question is kind of one of the more annoying villains in the show made his decision even more impressive, in my opinion.) Yeah. Those were good bits. I don't know that they made up for the overall aggravation the arc caused me, but still.
  • Now the roommate and I are about halfway through Grand Magic Games arc and I'm really enjoying it. It's relatively low stakes compared to a lot of the other arcs (at least so far; I have a feeling that the stakes are going to rise significantly pretty soon), with more focus on character relationships and development— and, of course, plenty of opportunities to showcase different characters' awesome powers and their strengths both magical and personality-based. There are a lot of "YES THIS IS WHY I LOVE YOU" moments and a lot of "Oh storms that was crazy AWESOME" moments and yeah. I can understand why the roommate loves this arc so much.
  • Also: at some point, I apparently became emotionally attached to Laxus and I don't know when or how and it's mildly frustrating because I spent so much time yelling at him for being a dragon-kissed jerk. His character has developed pretty nicely, though. And his big moment in the Grand Magic Games arc? Awesome.


  • The month started with spring break, which was an odd mix of STRESS and chill. It started with a three-day power outage at my house (thankfully, we have wonderful friends who let us stay over so we could have things like heat and running water), followed by my getting my wisdom teeth out— which, I'd like to note, went about three million times better than anyone implied it would. I'm pretty sure that some of the people I talked to were like "Oh, yeah, I basically couldn't move or think or do anything for three or four days afterward," and even the people who didn't have horror stories implied that I'd be down for the count for a day at least due to either loopiness or trying to sleep off the loopy. But, as things worked out, I was mildly nonfunctional after the surgery for, oh I don't know, maybe a couple hours? And that wasn't even caused by loopiness; I was just hungry and grumpy and in pain so I didn't want to do anything except sit in my chair and read webcomics. But, y'know, that evening I finished drafting the paper I'd started before the procedure that morning, and the next day I was back to doing homework and editing and reading as normal. The only real issue was that I got frustrated pretty quickly by how little I could eat without pain, but otherwise, I was able to spend most of break chilling, writing, reading good books (and webcomics), and doing some homework.
  • Then I got back to college and everything was crazy again because I had projects for two different classes that I hadn't been able to work on over break (or, not much, anyway) because they required resources I didn't have at home and yeah. I don't think that's slowed down at all this month— at least not until this weekend, as I'm currently on Easter break and took yesterday for some well-earned rest. I made a really cool infographic about self-publishing, though! And a storyboard about self-publishing (which is where the picture up there is from)! And I wrote a paper about my MBTI type and how it affects the way I work!
  • Also, caramel M'n'Ms are very yummy. Just throwing that out there, if anyone was curious.
  • I also celebrated Pi Day, of course . . . even though my college dining hall totally failed to help me. You'd think that in a school where engineering is one of the biggest majors on campus, people would make a bigger deal out of Pi Day and that a dining hall as big on holiday specials and bonus bites and responding to student needs and desires would bring in pie to celebrate . . . but nope! Not a pie in sight! I had to go on a special quest to the convenience store to get myself a mini apple pie so I could observe the holiday. (I almost bought myself a full-size chocolate turtle pie, but I wasn't sure who else would want to eat it with me, plus I didn't want to spend that much money.)
  • I'm still looking for summer internships, and I've applied to several, but no luck so far. I did get a phone interview for one position, but the organization wanted someone with more social media and marketing experience— and, honestly, I don't blame them. I mean, yes, I'm a quick learner, and I know how to reapply knowledge I already have to new situations, but I understand why they'd be wary of bringing on someone who won't know what she's doing until she actually does it. I haven't heard back yet from any of the other positions I applied for, so right now I kind of just have to wait and see what happens.

April Doings!

  • Of course I'm doing Camp NaNoWriMo— I may be in college, taking design and writing classes in which almost every project is highly time-consuming, but there's no way I'd miss my favorite month of mild insanity! Originally I was going to aim for a time-based goal of 15 hours of writing or editing, but apparently, you can't have a goal of fewer than 30 hours, so that's out. Instead, I'm aiming for 10K words, since that was pretty manageable last April. (Plus, I haven't had a word-based goal all year, so I might as well change it up a bit, right?)
  • What am I working on, you ask? Well, assuming everything goes to plan, I'll be revisiting my epic fairy tale retelling series— y'know, the one with that one book that I spent two years working on. However, I'm not writing a new book; instead, I'm rewriting Danger in the Tower, which I'm tentatively renaming Dust of Silver. Dust of Silver is a retelling of Rapunzel mixed with the Twelve Dancing Princesses, and I'm writing it for Kendra E. Ardnek's Arista Challenge. Or, more accurately, I'm using the Arista Challenge as motivation to start something I've been meaning to do for a couple years now. Because I discovered so much about the world of these books while I was working on Monster in the Castle and my multiverse worldbuilding thing, I really need to rewrite both Dust of Silver and Monster in the Castle (which will be renamed once I get to it) before I can continue with my other ideas for the series. (I have a genderswapped Cinderella retelling that I'm so excited to write, which I think might be the next book, and I have ideas for another plotline later in the series but I don't know what fairy tale I can connect it to yet.) So, yeah. Ten thousand words won't get me super far, but it'll be a start.
  • Besides Camp NaNoWriMo, well, most of my time will be taken up by school-as-usual. I have three more Illustrator projects to get through, an online help documentation thing to write and design, a group project for Design Thinking, another paper, and a few things for editing. That plus classes will probably keep me pretty busy.
  • Oh, and as if I didn't have enough to do, a group of people in my major are going on a trip to North Carolina in late April! We're going to visit Samaritan's Purse and see how professional writers function in a nonprofit of that type, and then we'll spend the rest of the weekend enjoying the local area. Since I did work to help pay for the trip last semester, I'm definitely going . . . but I am a little upset that it interferes with all the end-of-year stuff for Honors. Grr . . .
  • And hopefully, I can squeeze in some reading and watching-of-Fairy Tail too somehow. We'll see what happens. One thing's for sure: April definitely won't be boring!
How was your month? What plans do you have for April? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

Friday, March 30, 2018

Spring 2018 Reads!

Hey'a, all! It's that time of year again— time to take a look at a new season's worth of reading material! Not that I'm in any way caught up on my Winter 2017-18 reads, but, y'know. I'm further along than I would be if I weren't doing reviews for Cedars. Anyway, new books release whether I'm ready for them or not, and there are definitely some reads that I'm pretty excited for.

Spring 2018 Reads!

1. Pacifica by Kristen Simmons (March 6). On one hand, this one's getting mixed reviews, and I've always been a little wary of dystopian books— there are some good ones, but there are also a lot of really poorly written ones. But, y'know, we've got pirates, so that should be fun, and the island setting sounds different from most of the books I've read lately, dystopian or otherwise. So, even if I'm slightly hesitant, I still want to give this a try!

2. The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton (March 27). An African-inspired fantasy retelling of Shakespeare's King Lear? Sounds fabulous. I haven't actually read King Lear, but it's on my list, and I'll make sure to get it in before I read this book. Plus, the premise promises political intrigue and manipulation and treachery and probably magnificent plot twists, so— yeah. This should be good.

3. The City Beyond the Glass by Suzannah Rowntree (April 2). So, I technically already read this (yay, ARCs!), but I'm still excited for it to come out so the rest of you can read it! It's a historical fantasy retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses set in Renaissance Venice, and while it's not my favorite take on the story (mostly because the villain didn't wow me), it's still really good and has a delightfully subtle allegory. I think y'all will enjoy it.

4. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (April 3). I generally don't go in for zombie books . . . but I'll live with them for American-based historical fantasy! (Are zombies fantasy? I guess they're technically horror, but it's still speculative fiction. Anyway. I digress.) Seriously, though, historical speculative fiction based anywhere that's not Europe has been on my reading wishlist for a while, and this is based in the time period of the American Civil War, which should be super cool. Plus it's a diverse read, which I'm trying to pick up more of, so yay for that!

5. Isle of Blood and Stone by Makila Lucier (April 10). Pretty sure this one's mostly on the list for the hope of awesome friendships and family relationships . . . but the plot in general sounds fun, if not necessarily novel. (Disappearing royalty isn't terribly uncommon in fantasy, after all.) And I'm hoping that this will be set in an Age of Exploration-esque setting, which would be super nice, but we'll see.

6. Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young (April 24). This one's going to be hit or miss . . . but I do hope it'll hit. It's Viking-based fantasy, which should be fun, and it should have good themes as long as it doesn't get bogged down in romance. We'll see how it goes.
5. The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall (May 15). I can't believe this series is ending— I read the first book when I was, I don't know, probably around ten? And although I'm considerably older now, my love for the books hasn't faded. They're so sweet and fun and somehow manage to hit heavy topics without getting dark— and this is the last book. So, while I look forward to reading it, it's also a little bittersweet for me. (Also: Batty is in college what the pumpernickel, and someone's getting married? Who?)

What books are you looking forward to this spring? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Fight Song Chapter 9

Last time on Fight Song, Callie took some criminals' breath away when they tried to hold up the café she was playing at. Then she ran into Jonathan, who revealed that he'd found another very special witness— a survivor. This week, they go meet this mysterious person, and, in the process, learn more about Welsh's powers.

As always, if you have any comments, critiques, suggestions, or questions, please let me know in the comments!

Chapter 9: Survivor

            Jonathan’s news consumed my thoughts for the rest of the week. A survivor. I didn’t know anyone could survive Welsh’s attacks; no one else has. The longest anyone else has lasted is three days, and Jonathan implied that this woman has been holding on for— for weeks. Months, maybe.

            We met early Saturday morning at the Starbucks where we’d had our first encounter. From there, Jonathan led the way down progressively sketchier streets. Partway there, I recognized the alley where I’d faced Welsh only a week ago and realized that we were headed towards Audrey’s neighborhood. I looked for the redhead, but saw no sign of her— probably just as well; I didn’t want to accidentally alert Jonathan to her existence.

            On the third floor of an apartment building that probably just barely met code, before an unadorned brown door, Jonathan stopped and knocked. Only a moment later, the door opened to reveal a man who greeted Jonathan and introduced himself to me as Julián Reyes, with the accent to match. He and Jonathan obviously had spoken before, because he let us in without question and nearly without comment, save his greeting.

            The apartment was as shabby as you’d expect, but clean. A door to the left opened on a small kitchen; across from it was a wobbly table with two old-looking chairs. Directly in front of us, a well-worn couch and two mismatched chairs were arranged in a square. On the couch, propped up with pillows, lay a woman, her eyes closed in sleep, her position suggesting she’d nodded off by accident. Like Julián, she had dark hair and brown skin, lighter than my own, though her features were narrower than his. Besides that, though, she looked like she’d been battling some illness for years. There was . . . a greyness, I guess you could say, to her, and she looked exhausted even in sleep. And there was something more, something that made my skin prickle and my head ache, but I couldn’t place it.

            Julián put a hand on her shoulder, speaking gently in Spanish. The woman blinked and turned to look at us, her brow furrowing slightly. Our host switched back to English: “Ana, these are the two I told you about, the ones who want to hear what happened to you. Jonathan and Ava.” He turned to face us. “This is my wife, Ana.”

            Ana struggled to sit up until Julián helped her and rearranged her pillows to give her support. She studied both of us with half-focused eyes, but it was me she addressed first. “You’re looking for the murderer?”

            I nodded. “Yes, ma’am. Jonathan said you’d survived an encounter with him?”

            “Is this called surviving?” Ana laughed, more than a little bitterly, until she broke off into coughing. “You saw me. I cannot work; I cannot even sit up without Julián’s help. All I do is sleep and wish I had not been so stupid.”

            Julián interrupted: “Brave. Not stupid. And you are resting so you can get better again.”

            “Someone can be both.” But Ana sounded appreciative anyway. “Anyway, you did not come here to listen to me complain. You want to know what happened to me, and I will tell you.

            “Julián and I came here three years ago. He wanted to come alone— he said the trip would be too dangerous for me— but I have seen too many men leave and not come back to let him go, so together we stayed. He found work within a month of our arrival. For me, it took longer, but we made friends and one of them found me work with a cleaning company. That company serviced Damian Welsh’s offices, among others, and that was where I worked most.”

            She paused for breath, then continued. “I began to think something was wrong after only a few weeks there. The people seemed off, Mr. Welsh especially. And—” Again she hesitated, but now she seemed to be weighing what to say. “I have a gift, you might say. I can see who is a mejorado, one with powers, and what their powers are, and Mr. Welsh is a mejorado like I have seen before. There are many like him in my homeland— cruel men, all of them. Their touch drains life away, and if their victims are mejorados as well, the victims’ powers as well. The life makes the killer’s body strong and increases his lifespan; the power does the same for the killer’s own power. But this man, he has another gift, a silvered tongue. What he orders, no, what he suggests, others jump to do regardless of what they think.” She met my eyes, and despite her frailness, her stare caught me so I couldn’t look away. “He is not an enemy to trifle with, Ava. But he must fall all the same.”

            Jonathan nodded, jotting notes down on a pad of paper. “I see. That explains a lot, especially why he keeps killing. Whatever power or strength he gains from each kill probably wears off eventually, and he has to replenish it. But that’s beside the point. Can you tell us anything more, Mrs. Reyes? How you ended up—” he gestured at her. “Like this? What it was like to be under his power?”

            “I was caught because I was foolish.” Ana’s accent seemed to have thickened slightly with frustration. “I believed he would have proof of his crimes in his office, and I thought I could find it and stop him. But instead he found me there and decided that death was the best way to shut my mouth.”

            “And when he tried to kill you?” Jonathan prompted.

            “You are much too impatient. I may be dying, but not in the next five minutes.” Ana paused for breath again— or perhaps just to spite Jonathan. “Recognizing a silver tongue does not negate its power. Two words and my mind forgot I should run, even though my body knew. Two words and I didn’t resist when he took me by the neck and started to drain me to a husk.”

            She shut her eyes and shuddered. “It was pain like you cannot imagine. Life clings to you, so he tears it away with all the force he can from every limb and muscle. That is the body; the mind and soul are worse. They stick tighter to you, and with every tug on them, you hear at the edge of your mind the processional and footsteps of Death.”

            Ana shuddered again. Julián squeezed her hand, speaking softly once more. After a few minutes, Ana went on again. “I managed to break free before he finished his work. Before he could tear away my mind and soul and gift. He was so startled, he did not pursue me. He probably thought I would die soon anyway, and that I would be too afraid in the meantime to go to the police. He was right on the second. He has power. I have nothing. I am not even supposed to be in this country. My word alone against him would do nothing. So I tell my story to you, so more voices may speak about what happened.”

            “They will.” I corrected myself. “We will. I promise. Thank you for sharing your story, Mrs. Reyes. You don’t know how much it helps us.”

            “I think I might,” she replied, with a faint smile that faded rapidly. “Promise me, Ava, that you will finish this. That you will end the killings. And remember me when you do.”

            “I will. Don’t worry.” I paused. “Is there anything else I can do for you? Anything at all?”

            Ana exchanged a look with her husband before replying. “There is . . . one thing. But I think your friend will have to leave first.”

            “I am insulted that you find me so untrustworthy.” But Jonathan doesn’t seem particularly offended, just worried. “Ava? Will you be all right on your own?”

            What does he think they’ll do to me? A dying woman and her husband? Even if Jonathan doesn’t know about my powers, he must realize I can take care of myself. Still, I appreciate the thought. “I’ll be fine. Go ahead.”

            “All right. I’ll be in the hall. Yell if you need me.” Jonathan nodded to Julián and Ana. “Thank you again for your help.”

            He walked out of the apartment and shut the door behind himself. I stepped forward so I was directly beside the couch and knelt there. “You want me to sing?”

            “Yes.” Ana smiled. “If you will, sing for me. Show me that power can still be used for more than destruction. Will you do that?”

            “Of course.” I paused, sorting through my repertoire. I couldn’t do anything too much, not in an apartment with paper-thin walls and Jonathan just outside. But that was no reason not to do something . . .

            I tapped out a rhythm with my fingers on the arm of the couch— too quiet to hear, but the motion alone was a starting point. I hummed along with the rhythm, recalling melodies of warm summer rains and sunshine breaking through clouds and Momma’s garden full of green, growing things. Then, once I had a feel for how I’d combine the songs, I opened my mouth and sang.

            What I produced wasn’t my best performance, nor was it much as songs of power go. But the song was soft and soothing and hopeful, and motes of light danced in the suddenly dappled sunshine.  Ana listened with closed eyes and a smile on her face, relaxing until her head dropped onto the back of the couch and she went still.

            Fear marred the last few notes of my song, and I turned to Julián. “Is she—?”

            “Sleeping.” Julián carefully moved her so she lay with her head on the pillows. “Thank you for your gift.”

            “Don’t mention it. It was the least I could do.” I stood, looking down at Ana. “She should be in a hospital.”

            “Should be, yes. We tried, once, when she first became like this. But the doctors didn’t know how to treat her, and we could barely even afford that first visit. So all we can do is hope that time will heal.” Julián faced me. “I have wondered, if Welsh were stopped— if he died— somehow, Ana would be healed. But that is a small chance.”

            “Maybe. But not impossible.” I started to go, then paused. “I— I’ll be praying for you. If that’s ok.”

            Julián shrugged. “Why wouldn’t it? It will do no harm. Perhaps it will help.”

            “Hopefully.” I shoved my hands in my pockets. “Well— I should go. Thanks again. Bye.”

            “Goodbye, Ava. Thank you. And good luck.”

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Fight Song Chapter 8

First of all, a quick request: if you're a book blogger or a self-publishing author, could you take take five or ten minutes and fill out this questionnaire about what programs, if any, you use to create graphics for your blog or your books? It's for one of my class projects, and your input would be super helpful.  

And now, back to the fun bit. Last time on Fight Song, Callie's gig was interrupted by a holdup at the cafe! This week, she must figure out a way to stop the robbers— without drawing attention to herself. Enjoy! And don't forget that if you feel like interrogating any of the characters, you can ask whatever questions you want in the comments of last week's Hero's Perspective.

Once again, Lannis appears courtesy of Erin of The Upstairs Archive.

Chapter 8: Stolen Breath

I couldn’t sing. That was the first problem. Couldn’t sing; couldn’t play my guitar. Not if I wanted to stay unnoticed. That meant that the only way to harness the songs was to hum them. Not great.

I tried for steel first, hoping to jam the guns somehow. That way, no one would get hurt no matter what happened. But metals aren’t meant to be hummed; the notes are all wrong. With my violin, I could’ve managed. With a wind instrument that I knew how to play, I would’ve been set. As it was, the song’s power stayed out of my grasp as I failed to even hit a single note.

A particularly sour note squeaked higher than the rest, causing those nearest me to glance my way in alarm. I cut off my song and hoped that the robbers hadn’t noticed. The second man, the one standing ready to shoot, was looking my way, but not at me— thank God— and the other two were still busy grabbing what they could. Good. I was still safe.

Time for a new plan. I needed speed and I needed subtlety and I needed effectiveness. Sinking their shoes into the floor wouldn’t cut it this time; while I might be able to do it before they noticed, I’d probably cost the café owner more than he’d lose to the robbers. What can I do with air? I could think of plenty of tricks, but either they weren’t subtle enough or humming wouldn’t give me enough power for a long enough time.

“Hurry up!” The lead robber grabbed his bag of cash off the counter. “I got the cash. Let’s go.”

Y’know, forget subtlety. I didn’t have time for it anymore. I hummed air as loudly as I dared, putting the currents of breath and breeze at my command. I pulled hard on one in particular, drawing it backward, keeping any new air from taking its place. The lead robber’s voice turned to gasping as air drained from his lungs. He doubled over, fell forward, sprawled on the ground unconscious.
One down. 

The other two robbers exchanged frightened glances across the room. “What the—” the remaining man muttered. Then both made a dash for the door.

I released my grip on the air around the leader. Oh no you don’t. I went for the girl first, yanking the breath from her lungs and holding it back as she choked, staggered, and finally tripped over a person in her path before going limp. The last robber made it to the door before I started to tug. He shoved his way out, gasping—

And ran straight into the cops who’d just arrived. I released my grip on his breath immediately but didn’t stop humming until the police cuffed him and walked inside.  One opened his mouth to say something— probably “Police! Put your hands up!” or something like that— but stopped and looked around. His gaze stopped for several long moments on the robbers, who were slowly waking up. “We were told there was a robbery going on here?”

“There was. And now there isn’t.” The counter girl shrugged. “The one in charge—” she indicated the unconscious man—“told the others that they needed to get going. Then he started choking and went unconscious, the other two went to run, and the same thing happened to the lady.”

“I see.” The speaker, who seemed to be in charge, turned to his companions and gestured at the robbers. “Cuff them before they come to.” He returned his attention back to the counter girl. “Maybe you’d better start at the beginning, Miss . . .” He peered at her name tag. “Lannis?”

She did, but I didn’t listen. The name had caught my attention. Lannis . . . I sat up, staring towards the counter. Where did I hear that name before? That’s right. The fire-girl. What was her name? Audrey. Audrey’s friend works here? And Audrey’s friend had noticed that something was going on while I was busking. Which meant that if she put that together with tonight . . . My cover is so blown.

I glanced around, searching for an escape route. No chance of getting out the front door. Could I sneak out the back way? Not with my guitar. And if the police notice, they might think that’s suspicious . . . Could I make an illusion like I did the other night? But then they might hear the sound . . .
“I don’t know who it was, officer.” Was it just me, or did the counter girl just raise her voice? I refocused my attention on her and the policeman. Lannis rested her hands on the counter and met the policeman’s gaze squarely. “I didn’t see anyone doing anything to make the robber choke. Who knows, maybe there’s a Jedi in the house tonight?”

She laughed. Forced herself to, I thought. It didn’t sound quite real. She knows. But she’s not telling. And the cop— the cop grumbled a bit, but moved on. Accepted her denial. Of course. He had to accept it. With all the superheroes running around, there’s always the chance that one will be present incognito when trouble starts. And everyone knows that you can’t just force a super to reveal herself. So, most likely, my secret is safe. No one here knows who I am . . . except, that is, for Miss Lannis.
The police made their way around the room, taking names and getting additional statements from people. Finally, they left, taking the would-be robbers with them. The manager on duty announced that the café was closing for the night, and people began to drift out. I lingered, packing up my equipment now that I knew I was done for the night.

I wasn’t surprised when Lannis made her way over to me as I closed my guitar case. I was surprised when she handed me a steaming, cinnamon-scented latte overflowing with whipped cream. “Here. On the house. Sorry about . . . all that.” She lowered her voice. “And thanks for what you did.”

“It’s fine.” I sipped the drink. How caffeine can be calming, I still don’t know, but in that case, it definitely was. “And you’re welcome . . . Lannis, is it? Friend of Audrey?”

“You know Audrey?” Lannis’s eyes widened slightly, and her eyebrows rose.

“We met a few nights ago. Nice girl, though it seemed like she had a . . . fiery personality.” I wrapped both hands around the cardboard coffeecup, waiting to see if Lannis would catch my hint. If she picked up on my secret just by seeing me play a few times, I suspected she’d know Audrey’s as well. “How did you know about me?”

Lannis shrugged. “I notice things. Don’t worry, your secret’s safe with me. Just like Audrey’s are.”

And since I’ve never heard a word about Audrey in the papers, that seemed like a pretty good guarantee. “Got it.” With a smile, I took another drink of coffee. “Thanks for the coffee and all.”
“No problem.” With a wave, she returned to her counter to clean.

I picked up my guitar case and headed for the door. Audrey and Lannis. One person like me, one person who— well, she isn’t like me, but I can trust her. Two people who I’d like to be friends with if I get the chance. It would be nice to have someone to talk to who knows my secret. Who I could speak a bit more freely with.

I reached the door, but someone else opened it before I could grasp the handle. “So. Callie Anne Heartwood? Nice to see you . . . again, How’s the investigation going?” a familiar voice said.

I turned, and there he was, suspenders and Clark Kent glasses and all. “It’s going fine. Hello, Jonathan.” There was no point in playing dumb or trying to pretend I was someone else. If Jonathan could see through two very different styles of thick makeup to recognize the same face under both, he’d probably see through whatever story I could come up with on the spur of the moment too. “Did you need something?”

“No, just saying hello and confirming my guess.” Jonathan followed as I stepped outside. “So, since I know your real name now, can I use it? Or do you prefer Ava?”

I considered. “When we’re investigating, yes, I prefer Ava. But when we’re not . . . Callie is fine.” It wasn’t like refusing to let him use my real name would make him magically not know it anymore. Anyway, from what I’d seen of him the past couple weeks, I thought he’d earned that much trust. “I didn’t notice you in there earlier.”

“It was crowded, you were distracted, and a good reporter knows how to be unobtrusive. Want help with your guitar?” Jonathan offered a hand to take the case.

“It’s fine, thanks.” I turned down the sidewalk. I’d parked Uhjin’s car, which I borrowed for the night, a couple blocks away, unable to find parking closer. “And I think I still would’ve noticed you. It’s not like you’re that hard to miss.”

Jonathan shrugged and tucked his fingers into his pockets, keeping pace with me. “Like I said, it was crowded. Anyway, since you’re here, want to hear about the lead I found for us to talk to this weekend? I was thinking we could meet here and then go to her home. We should talk to her together; I think this could be a breakthrough in the case.”

I raised my eyebrows at him as I stepped over a dip in the sidewalk. “Oh? What’s so special about this person?”

Jonathan stopped walking, and his next words made the world go silent. “She’s a survivor.”

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Hero's Perspective: Callie and Jonathan

Hello, all, and welcome to the very first episode of Hero's Perspective, a brand new feature-

Jarek: Which you just invented because you haven't posted any of your novella in months, and which you'll probably never do again.

Shush, you. Since when do you know the future? And this isn't your story anyway. *shoves Jarek out of the post* As I was saying, welcome to Hero's Perspective, a new feature in which I, your host, interview the heroes and heroines of various speculative fiction. Joining us today are Callie Heartwood and Jonathan Davis, from my novella Fight Song. And, yes, as Jarek pointed out, this will serve as a refresher for what's happened in the story so far. Callie, Jonathan, welcome to the show. It's great to have you here. 

Callie: Thank you . . . I think.

Jonathan: Nice to be here. I take it that this means you'll be posting again soon?

Definitely! The next chapter is going up a week from today! So, to start out, how about you tell us a little bit about yourselves and how you got mixed up in the events of the novella?

Callie: Well, my name is Callie Heartwood. I'm a college student currently studying music and basically the main character of Fight Song. A few years back, I was working in a hotel in my hometown when I heard something odd and went to investigate. When I got there, I found a strange man doing something weird to one of my coworkers. I called the police, but when they showed up, the man had disappeared. My coworker died three days later, and I've been searching for her murderer ever since.

Jonathan: I'm Jonathan Davis, a reporter for the Foundry City Herald. I've been investigating Damian Welsh, a businessman who I believe is actually a minor supervillain responsible for a long string of murders including that of Callie's coworker. She contacted me, offering an exchange of information, and when we discovered that we were indeed hunting the same man, we decided to join forces.

Right! However, Welsh isn't the only one with superpowers. Now, before I go on, you two should know that this is a secure space and that neither of you will remember anything from this conversation when you return to your story. Given that . . . Callie, want to share what you can do?

Callie: Well, you don't exactly give me much of a choice. My power, or curse, whichever you want to call it, is music. See, everything in this world has a song. Air, wood, asphalt, fire, people, that pencil you're playing with . . . everything. I can hear those songs and, by either playing or singing them, I can control the things they're connected to. The only song I hear but can't use is the Death Song, which is exactly what it sounds like: the song I hear when someone nearby is dying. That's what led me to Welsh in the first place.

Jonathan: So, the mugger stuck in the subway tile . . . ?

Callie: Yeah, I did that. I was hoping you wouldn't find out, but since she says you won't remember, I guess it's ok.

Of course he'll forget. I wouldn't have brought it up otherwise. But, Callie, stopping the mugger wasn't the only time you've used your powers recently. Can you tell us about that incident?

Callie: Yeah. So, last Sunday, I went out busking, because it was a nice day and I wanted to earn some extra money. I stayed out pretty late, and on my way back, I heard the Death Song. Naturally, I followed it, and just like that night in the hotel, it led me straight to Welsh. I was too late to save the victim, but I wanted to make Welsh confess, so I used the song of people, and . . . Well, that was a bad idea. Welsh broke my control over him and took control of me instead. I almost died, but then this girl who can control fire showed up out of nowhere and attacked Welsh so I could get away. After that, I was planning to play it safe for a while, just in case Welsh was looking for me, but right now, the cafe I gig at is being held up, and I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who can stop it.

I'm sure you'll manage. So, what can you two tell us about Welsh?

Jonathan: As I said earlier, Welsh is a businessman, specifically the CEO of a software and big data company. He usually does a pretty good job staying out of the public eye, which makes sense for a serial killer.

Callie: Not that it would matter a whole lot in his case. We're not really sure how his powers work, but it seems like he can somehow drain or suck up a person's life or energy or whatever until they're basically dead, but not exactly. The person can still walk around and act pretty normal, if kind of out of it, for a couple days, and then they just drop dead, seemingly out of the blue. But they're still dead as soon as Welsh finishes with them, or I'd guess they are, because I heard the Death Song around Lacey from the night I saw Welsh attack her until she actually, y'know.

Jonathan: And that's what makes him so hard to catch. By the time the victim appears to die, Welsh is long gone. The police can't explain the murder, so they chalk it up to some more mundane cause, even if the facts don't quite add up. With a lot of investigation, though, I managed to find the pattern, that Welsh was always in town a few days before the victim visibly died. There are more connections, but I won't go into them.

Callie: About that. I'm still curious how you found out all this.

Jonathan: I'm a reporter. Reporters investigate things. Look, you have your secrets; let me keep mine.

Let's not argue, you two. So, Welsh is a businessman who happens to be able to suck the life out of people. Anything else we should know about him?

Callie: He's dangerous. The murdery bit isn't his only power. His voice, it's . . . it controls you. I can play the song of people and I can basically make people do whatever I want, just like I can with air or stone or other elements. I don't, usually, because it . . . it just seems wrong, you know? But Welsh, he can do the same thing with his voice. He tells you to do something, and you don't want to do it, but you have to. You can't control yourself. And it lasts a little while even after he stops talking. It's terrifying.

That definitely sounds pretty scary. I have one last question for you: what's driving you to keep pursuing Welsh despite the danger? 

Callie: . . .

Jonathan: And I thought you were going to let us off easy.

Oh, you have no idea. Anyway, the question?

Callie: Well, the reason I started looking was to bring Lacey's killer to justice. It didn't seem right for a man to kill and walk free. And . . . I guess I wanted to reassure myself that I wasn't crazy. That what I'd seen and heard that night was real and the songs I heard weren't just some sign that something in my head had snapped.

You said that's why you started. Is that not the same reason you're still doing it?

Callie: Yes. No. I . . . I still want Welsh to get what he deserves. I still want to prove I'm as sane as anyone else. But I guess it's become about more than that, sort of . . . I'm trying to figure out who I am, who I'm going to be, and what my powers make me, and I'm sort of using my pursuit of Welsh to do that.

Fascinating. All right, Jonathan. Your turn!

Jonathan: My answer's a little simpler than Callie's, I think. I went into reporting because I wanted to be like some of the journalists I'd read about in my history classes, the ones who dared to publish the truth and reveal the lies. Today's world of reporting doesn't make that easy, but I'm still trying. Exposing Welsh is part of that. And, of course, if I know there's something wrong going on, I can't just stand by and do nothing- but since I'm not the type to grab a gun and a mask and play the vigilante hero, I use the skills I do have for what's right.

Interesting. Thank you both for allowing me to interview you! Now, I know I said that was the last question, but . . .

Callie: Oh no. I knew there was a catch coming.

Very astute of you. Indeed, there is a "catch," if you want to call it that: I'm opening the floor up to my readers! Any questions they want to ask any of the Fight Song cast— not just Callie and Jonathan, but any of the characters—  they can post in comments, and the characters will answer! 

Jonathan: Well. That's not so bad.

Why, thank you, Jonathan! I'm glad you aren't being stubborn. And thank you to my readers! Don't forget to comment with your questions  for the characters or reactions to the interview. I'd love to hear from you!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Have I Read You Yet?

Hey'a, everyone! I'm currently recovering from getting my wisdom teeth out, so weekend Sarah wrote and scheduled this post to save midweek Sarah a bit of stress. (Note from midweek Sarah: reports of wisdom-teeth-recovery-frustration were greatly exaggerated. The fact that I'm staying off any strong pain meds probably helps. But since weekend Sarah went to all the trouble . . . on with the post!)

So, four years ago (plus a few days), I wrote a Top Ten Tuesdays post about popular authors whose books I'd never read. Having recently rediscovered said post, I thought that revisiting it would be fun so I could see how many of those popular authors I've now read and how many I still haven't.

Have I Read You Yet?

1. The Author: J.K. Rowling
I said then: "Harry Potter is one of the few series that my parents have ever specifically said I'm not allowed to read. I'm ok with that."
Have I read her?: So, I seriously planned to go my entire life without reading Harry Potter . . . but then, one by one, friends who I knew and trusted read it and told me how awesome it was. And somehow, I ended up reading so many theories and headcanons and fanfics and "Friendly reminder that . . ." posts that I basically knew most of the in-jokes and a fair bit of the plot. And at that point, I was curious enough to say that, if I was going to know this much about the fandom and be this invested in it, I might as well just join it. So I'm currently reading the series, though I'm a bit stuck between books 3 and 4 because of schoolwork and reviews and travel. (So far, Lupin, Sirius, and the Weasleys are the best, though I'm not as in love with the novels as I would be had I read them earlier.)

2. The Author: Rick Riordan 
I said then: "The whole descendants-of-gods thing kind of turned me off. It's one thing when it's the actual mythology; it's another when it's set in modern day."
Have I read him? Again, I was planning to never actually read these . . . but then friends kept talking about how great they are, even more so than Harry Potter. And my roommate happens to be a huge fan of these, and these happened to be the most easily accessible urban fantasy, plus I was on a Greek kick last school year, and . . . yeah. They're pretty awesome, or the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series are. I haven't read the Trials of Apollo or Magnus Chase yet, and I'm not sure if I will.

3. The Author: Ally Carter
I said then: "I've said a few times that I'm going to try one of her books. It obviously hasn't happened yet."
Have I read her? Yep. Heist Society is pretty fun and I might eventually reread it one of these days. Gallagher Girls I wasn't as impressed with, but it was still fairly enjoyable.

4. The Author: John Green
I said then: "No, I haven't even read The Fault in Our Stars. I don't plan on changing that. There are other books that interest me much more."
Have I read him? Still haven't read The Fault in Our Stars, but I did read Turtles All the Way Down and really enjoyed it! Plus I'm an avid vlogbrothers watcher, so there's that. 

5. The Author: William Shakespeare
I said then: I've read several adaptations of his work, but never the actual plays. I will have by the end of this school year, though. Romeo and Juliet I'll be reading for literature, and I still want to read Hamlet at some point too."
Have I read him? Yes. I've read Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Much Ado About Nothing, plus I listened to a dramatization of A Midsummer Night's Dream. So far, Much Ado is my absolute favorite, mostly because the hate-to-love trope is so much fun and Beatrice and Benedict are magnificent snarkmasters. I still haven't read Hamlet, though. Shame on me for that. 

6. The Author: Brandon Sanderson
I said then: "I think he's popular? I know several people who really like his books. I haven't heard much about them, but I'm pretty sure they're fantasy and I'm considering looking into them over the summer. (Or whenever I run out of new books to read. Whichever happens first.)"
Have I read him? Well, one of his books has appeared near the top of my "Best of" lists every year for the last few years . . . and I've developed a whole AU combining Mistborn and Berstru . . . and I've made a Mistcloak . . . and I apparently yell about Sanderson's books so much that one of my friends associates me with him on the same level that Cait Grace is associated with Maggie Stiefvater, so . . . I think that answers the question.

7. The Author: Erin Hunter
I said then: "Are the Warriors books even still popular? Anyone know? I used to know several people who were into them. I even joined a roleplay or two based on the books. (I'm weird that way. I joined a Hunger Games based RP before I read THG.) But I never actually read them. "
Have I read her? Nope. Are these still even a thing? They can't possibly still be a thing, right?  

8. The Author: Cassandra Clare
I said then: "Her books sound interesting, but also very much  . . . not sure what the word is, but I don't want to get into it."
Have I read her? The word 2014-me was looking for was mature, or possibly sketchy, and due to those two descriptors, I still haven't read Mortal Instruments or whatever else she writes. I have been tempted once or twice, but then I look at what I know and I'm like, "y'know, no." 

9. The Author: Stephanie Morrill
I said then: "I'm a big fan of the Go Teen Writers blog, which she writes for. I have e-copies of two of her books. I think that her Ellie Sweet series sounds pretty cool, what with the main character being a writer and all. But I have yet to actually read any of her work."
Have I read her? Still no. I want to read Ellie Sweet eventually, but when there's so much epic fantasy and steampunk and so on, well, it's hard to find the motivation for contemporary, even writer-contemporary.  

10. The Author: Stephen R. Lawhead
I said then: "I thought about reading one of his series, I think the King Arthur ones, at one point. But I couldn't find them at the library, and I think I heard something about mature content, so I decided not to. "
Have I read him? No, but I really want to read the Bright Empires series because Deborah O'Carroll keeps raving about it. I actually got the first book out over Christmas break, but I ran out of time to read it. Oh well. Maybe this summer . . .  

How many of these authors have you read? Are thre any authors who you thought you'd avoid and then ended up reading and loving? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
 -Sarah (Leilani Sunblade) 

Saturday, March 3, 2018

February 2018 Doings!

I'm tired, y'all. Of course, that's par for the course this time of year. Even when I have an easy courseload (which I currently don't), the spring semester is much harder to get through than the fall. As a result, this won't be a terribly long Doings post, but there's still some both good and bad to report.


  • Confession time: I've been struggling with writing and editing this month. As in, I've spent the whole month editing one chapter. Part of the problem is what's in the chapter; it's basically one long fight scene. The other problem is that I decided to expand the fight, so I'm writing new material instead of streamlining existing prose. To top it all off, the chapter ends with the entrance of a friends character who I really want to get right but haven't worked with in a while. So, yeah, that's been a struggle.
  • Original writing hasn't been much better. I've dabbled a little bit on a short story for the Indie e-Con contest, but I haven't worked on it long enough to get anywhere, and I'm not quite sure what's going to happen with it. This is the second half-finished short story for the same contest, mostly because I keep starting things without knowing how they're going to end and that's the worst possible thing to do with a short story.
  • I did join up with Kendra E. Ardnek's Golden Braids writing challenge, so that's something! The challenge was inspired by (and, to some degree, created to replace) the 5 Something Somethings writing contests hosted by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. Essentially, a lot of writers are, over the next year, going to write retellings of a particular fairy tale, in this case, "Rapunzel," and those so inclined will take part in a big group release like the Three Sleeping Beauties one that happened this past August. So far, all I've done with the challenge is list off my many Rapunzel ideas, but I'm excited for what's coming.
  • Overall, I managed to write and edit a total of 5,619 words and 10 hours. That's less than my goal, but I guess it could be worse.


  • Even if writing hasn't gone well, I've had a decent month reading-wise. The first week was a little dry; all I read was The Reluctant Godfather, a unique take on Cinderella. I enjoyed it, though I definitely wasn't as in love with it as a lot of my friends are. Part of the problem was that I spent a fair bit of time wanting to shake both halves of the main couple for various reasons . . . but overall, it was pretty enjoyable.
  • Next up was Into the Wild, a worldview book written by one of my Cedarville professors about the problem of evil. It's definitely not my usual genre or subject matter, but I still enjoyed it. It's insightful and doesn't pull punches, but it's also extremely readable, the sort of book you can get a lot out of even when you're tired.
  • Beyond that, all my books this month are from my college library's Blind Date With a Book event. I love this event for a lot of reasons and this year, I took full advantage of it by checking out four blind date books. The first two, Court of Fives and The Adoration of Jenna Fox, both had interesting concepts and worldbuilding but were flawed by cliche characters. The third, a graphic novel of A Study in Scarlet, was a good adaptation of the source, but I didn't care for the artist's style. (The fact that I, like 90% of the internet, now have Benedict Cumberbatch firmly established as my picture of Sherlock Holmes probably doesn't help.)
  • My last blind date book, which I'm currently reading, is Watership Down. I'm fairly certain that people have recommended this to me before? Or, at the very least, it's almost a classic, and so I've been pointed towards it for that reason. I'm enjoying it; it seems like the sort of book that would happen if C.S. Lewis, Megan Whalen Turner, Brian Jacques, and one of the major classic-dystopian authors (not sure which one) sat down and decided to write a story together. However, Watership Down has also raised a question in my mind: what is it with books about small, cute animals turning out so storming intense, even dark? I mean, Watership Down reads like something between dystopian and Queen's Thief-esque fantasy. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH is on the lighter side, but it still involves characters being experimented on? and then characters die at the end and you don't know which ones? (unless you read the spin-offs/sequels, but those are less well-known, I think). The Tale of Despereaux involves, among other things, a girl being abused and essentially sold into slavery by her father and a minor character who's doomed to die by wandering a pitch-dark dungeon until he starves. And, much as I loved Redwall as a young teen (despite the predictability of the plotlines), and much as I applaud its portrayal of good as good and evil as evil and its emphasis on peace, community, and food, if the series were written about people instead of animals? They'd be considered adult books just because of the intense situations and the number of characters who die or almost die, especially the books based in Salamandastron or around the hares and badgers in general. (If anyone reading this doubts me, go reread The Long Patrol and reconsider.) Seriously, does anyone know what's up with this? Because I'm really curious.


  • Fairy Tail, as usual. I'm still working through "Key of the Starry Heavens" and facepalming at character stupidity, both of the usual honest idiocy kind and of the "MY VOWS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN MY MORAL COMPASS!" kind. I think I find the second type more annoying, personally, because with the first type it's kind of like "Ok, you can't really help it," but with the second I'm like, "You have proven in previous encounters that you have a brain. You used it to beat up the people I like, but I can see why you did that. SO WHY AREN'T YOU USING IT NOW WHEN THE FATE OF THE WORLD IS AT STAKE?"
  • Yeah. If you can't tell, this is a really painful arc to watch.
  • Also, I've been right about almost every plot twist I've predicted so far. I'm not sure whether to be satisfied or frustrated by that. Since I haven't guessed every single plot twist that actually happened (but was right about the ones I did guess), I'm going to call it a good thing. Good-ish, anyway. So, yeah. Hopefully, I'll finish the arc over break, since we still have a lot to watch and we want to be done with the show by the end of the semester.


  • So, this whole month has been characterized by swinging from insane busyness to totally chill with no middle ground WHATSOEVER. It's very frustrating and, frankly, exhausting. That's probably another reason why writing didn't go very well this month . . .
  • Most of what I've had to do has, naturally, been schoolwork, including two shoe illustrations, an editing exam (which was super stressful, just so you know), a problem map about discrimination in media, at least one short paper, and a ton of reading. Most of it was relatively interesting, except the exam and the paper, but yeah. Still a lot.
  • The first weekend of February was the spring play, which was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. My C.S. Lewis class from last semester got back together for the afternoon and went to see it together, and then the professor had us over for dinner— he's pretty awesome, if you can't guess, and his wife makes some of the best chili I've had outside of my own home, so I really enjoyed that bit of the day. The play itself was ok; the set design, the acting, and the costumes were all pretty great. However, the script they were working off of wasn't the greatest and was definitely meant for a younger-than-college audience, so . . . yeah. Not the theater department's greatest triumph, though they definitely did the best they could with what they had.
  • Then, the weekend after the play, my aunt came down to visit, so that was nice. We went to see my great-aunt (who doesn't live too far away) and then had dinner out. I got back just in time to dash off to Bible study . . . only to find that I was the only one who wasn't too busy to show up. So, in lieu of meaningful conversation about 1 John, the professor who runs the study and I played two games of Carcassonne, both of which I lost but enjoyed anyway. And the day after, I ran into one of the other people who usually attend and teased him about how he'd missed a rousing theological discussion
  • I'm still going to swing classes, if anyone was curious, and so far I haven't been dropped during any dips or other moves, nor have I stepped on anyone's feet that I can remember. So, despite the fact that I can't pull off a quarter of the steps or moves we've learned so far, I'm calling the whole affair a success. I think the biggest struggle for me is that, although I understand in my head what's going on and how I should be doing everything (well, almost everything), and although I generally trust the guys I'm dancing with not to drop me, I tend to stiffen up when I actually try to do the thing. And since swing dance seems to rely a lot on being flowing and relaxed, my tendency is a touch of a problem. I'm working on it, though.
  • Unfortunately, although swing continues, martial arts doesn't. The instructor ended up having to cancel because he had a lot of schedule conflicts and some other stuff was going on as well. Someone else wanted to take over, but the people in charge of the gym decided they didn't want to hire anyone new until next semester. So, no more martial arts for me. I'm disappointed, but at the same time, I'm now only spending a half hour at the gym on Monday and Wednesday instead of a full hour, which is nice. And lately the weather's been so nice that I've just gone for walks in the afternoons instead.
  • Besides midterms, the month ended with PWID's Portfolio Review, an event where all the PWID students who have portfolios get those portfolios critiqued by field professionals. And that meant scrambling to update my portfolio and fix some of the issues that people noted last fall, only to be told that some of my major changes needed to be either undone or changed again. I'm not complaining; the advice made sense. Still, it was a little frustrating.
  • Of course, I needed to fix up my portfolio anyway, since I've finally started applying for summer internships. I didn't find as many in my area as I expected, but there are a couple that I like the sound of enough to try, and I'm going to look again sometime soon.

March Plans!

  • March begins with spring break, and let me tell you, I'm ready for it. Granted, it won't be a full break; I have projects I have to work on and class reading to do and so on. But not going to class and spending time with my family will be very pleasant. Plus, I've The Lost Plot and Ink, Iron, and Glass on request from the library and I'm thoroughly excited to read them.
  • As far as writing goes, I think I'm going to aim for an easier goal than the last two months. In some respects, I feel like that's cheating— like I ought to keep trying for the half-hour a day until I can achieve it. But I didn't create these goals just so I could wear myself down, and that's what's going to happen if I keep on as I have. Besides, I can use a bit of a break before Camp NaNoWriMo, and I need time to try to get ahead on assignments so I don't die come April.
  • All that to say: my writing goal for March is 15 minutes a day, 6 days a week, or two chapters of Fight Song and a plan for April. If I can accomplish one of those goals, I'll be happy. (That said, I'm giving myself a free pass until tomorrow because of midterms and travel and all that insanity.)
  • As far as classes go, I'm not anticipating anything out of the ordinary. I have a few big projects that'll come due in the second half of the month, but nothing horrible. Of course, as I said, I want to try to get ahead a bit, so I'm not sure how that will work out.
  • As I said already, I plan to keep looking for internships I can apply for. Motivating myself in that area is a bit difficult, to be honest; summer seems a long time away. But I need to do something to earn money this summer, and an internship sounds much more appealing than running a register at Chick-fil-a.
How was your February? Have any fun plans for March? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)