Friday, November 2, 2018

October 2018 Doings!

So, anyone else think October felt like an abnormally short month? Yeah, me too, especially the last couple weeks. It's just been one thing after another all month. That means I've spent a lot of time feeling stressed . . . but on the upside, it means this should be a fairly interesting Doings! post.


  • So, just in case you missed it, I published a book! Blood in the Snow officially released on Kindle on October 26 with the rest of the Magic Mirrors tour. If you didn't get a chance to read the tour posts earlier, I definitely recommend doing that now. There's a complete list of posts over here.
  • Most of my writing-ish time this month went to formatting Blood in the Snow and writing blog tour posts. I finished the eBook formatting around the beginning of the month, but paperback formatting took considerably longer . . . thus why the paperback release is delayed. But I got proof copies on Wednesday, so y'all shouldn't have to wait too much longer!
  • When I wasn't working on Blood in the Snow, I was editing Mechanical Heart. I've decided to expand several elements and change a few others, which means that it's not going as fast as I hoped. But I'm super happy about the changes I've made! (Josiah has a major-character sister now! It's very exciting!) If you want to beta-read it, you can sign up for that here.


  • Unsurprisingly, about a third of my reading this month was taken up by Magic Mirrors titles. I read and reviewed both of Kendra E. Ardnek's new releases: Red as Snow and The Seven Drawers. Both were good, but The Seven Drawers was far better. Honestly, it's probably one of my favorite Snow White retellings I've ever read.
  • The only new book I completely read this month: Hank Green's novel An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. It was good, though not quite what I was expecting. Though it's technically sci-fi, it's mostly a contemporary narrative about how fame and the internet affect a person's life (for good and bad). As you'd expect from one of the vlogbrothers, it's a very thoughtful book . . . which isn't to say that it isn't frequently sarcastic, humorous, or exciting, because it is all those things. It also has a certain amount of content that means I can't really recommend it to young readers, but aside from that, I'd say it's worth a read.
  • The rest of my books for the month were all rereads — including the Magic Mirrors books, since I alpha-read both of them a while back. But the two "true" rereads were Scholar's Plot and Weave a Circle Round. Both were read as stress-relief, both did splendidly as stress-relief, and both were just as good the second time around as they were the first. It helps that they're both mysteries of a kind, so this time around, I was able to pick up the clues that I missed on the first read.


  • Given that this month included Fall Break, it's kind of surprising how little Alana and I actually watched. However, I finally saw the first Indiana Jones movie, so that kind of makes up for it. I enjoyed it, though I'm not wild about it. (I also ended up getting teased by my roommate's dad for not being terribly interested in the awkward romance scenes, so that . . . probably didn't help.) I do approve of Indy as a character (he seems to maintain an excellent balance of Professional and Awesome Adventure, and he's quite sensible about things overall), and the movie was fun.
  • I also ended up watching (mostly by accident) a fair bit of CSI. And when I say "mostly by accident," I mean that it was on and I happened to be in the same room, and . . . ok, yeah, I got invested. It was interesting, and I'd watch more of it if I was given the opportunity, even though the episodes we watched were on the weirder side. That said, I'm not going to go seek out opportunities to watch it. I enjoy the mystery and the science, but I have a long enough watchlist already.
  • We did manage to watch a little more of Sword Art Online, though not as much as I would've liked. And we ended on a semi-cliffhanger, which I want to resolve at some point . . . but my roommate and I have both been super busy. It's very frustrating. On the upside, I'm enjoying the show more now that I've gotten into the swing of it (and now that the main character is becoming slightly less of an angstball).
  • And I watched quite a bit more Miraculous Ladybug. I've made it to episode 14 of season two, which introduces Luka (Lukas?), and . . . ok, look, I do not approve. I mean, as a character, he's fine, but just the two main characters already have a full-on love square going. Do we really need to make it a love . . . what shape would that even be? I don't know.
  • Also, the fact that Rena Rogue is, so far, not a full-time superhero is a tragedy and I need someone to assure me that it will be remedied sometime in the near future, please.
  • Yeah. I like this show, in case you can't tell.
  • I also watched a stupid amount of Studio C as stress relief around the end of the month . . . not the best decision of my life, but also not the worst. At least it's pretty solid humor.


  • So, we're going to skim over the first half of the month because nothing terribly exciting happened. (To be more specific: I spent half the week sitting in the 2D classroom, painting swatches and cutting out 5/8" squares from those swatches. And by "half the week" I do mean half the week.) It wasn't unenjoyable, especially the painting part, but it was still exhausting.
  • And then we finally got to Fall Break and I had a chance to relax. I may or may not have relaxed more than I should've, but I also had way more trouble than I expected with what I got done, so . . . I think it's ok? I got enough done, at any rate. And I played, like, five games of Pandemic in a row, which was awesome.
  • And then things got exciting because BOOK RELEASE AHHHHHHH.
  • Anyway. Yeah. The book release happened to be the same week as a very large project in Marketing, which was one of the things that I should've worked on more over break than I actually did. I got it done on time, but it was a much closer thing than I like. The assignment wasn't bad — we were creating social media playbooks for the Communications department, which is sort of like some of what I did at my internship over the summer. It was just a lot of work.
  • But I got it done! And I got through the book release! And it was all very exciting! And then I high-key crashed afterward because I was so tired . . . but not for long, because HALLOWEEN! I absolutely love Halloween, y'all, mostly because it gives me an excuse to create and dress up in cool costumes. For one Halloween event, I pulled out my Mistcloak that I made freshman year. For the other, I was going to go as a ghostwriter (not an actual ghostwriter, but a writing-themed ghost, because it was a PWID party and everyone loves writing-pun-based costumes, right?). But that costume kind of failed at the last minute, mostly because I couldn't really move in it all that well. So, at the prompting of a friend, I threw together a backup . . . and then got complimented on it anyway, arguably more so than I have the past two years. Life is weird, y'all.
  • Anyway, yeah. Wednesday was a good day: I was coming off the emotional high of one successful Halloween event and headed towards another; I didn't have a ton that I needed to do; the weather was warm, if not nice; I'd just discovered an opportunity to do something I've wanted to do for years . . . and, as the cherry on top, that's when my proof copy of Blood in the Snow arrived!
  • So, yeah. This was a busy, stressful month. But it was a good month all the same.

November Plans!

  • It's NaNoWriMo. I am insane, and I also need extra writing motivation. GUESS WHAT I'M DOING THIS MONTH.
  • Yeah. That's happening. My plan is to work on Actual Writing Job short stories and Mechanical Heart edits. Like last year, I'm aiming for 25 hours of writing and editing on those two projects instead of 50,000 words. That'll be more effective, less stressful, and will allow me to count the time I spend researching sign language as work time. (If the last seven chapters are any indication, I'm going to spend a lot of time researching sign language. Thankfully, two of my friends know ASL, and they're being super helpful.)
  • I also found a D&D group, after literal years of casual searching, and I'm SO excited. I thought I'd found one earlier in the semester, but it met at the same time as another org event . . . and then I found this one, which meets at a time I'm actually available, so I'm joining up! I've spent the last couple days figuring out potential characters . . . and, in the process, realized that, if you translate my novel characters to D&D classes, most of them are Rangers and Rogues. Or, in at least one case, a Ranger who multiclassed to Rogue. So that's fun.
  • Classes, of course, will proceed as usual, hopefully. We're getting into final project territory in several of them, which is low-key stressful but also kind of exciting. Thankfully, I have a pretty solid idea of what that project will look like in all my classes but one. I'll also spend a lot of time drawing dice and pencils for 2D projects, but I can live with that.
  • Work will also continue. The last two months have been a bit of a lull — and thank goodness, because I definitely didn't need another thing on my plate this last month. I'm looking forward to most of what I have lined up, though! A lot of it is more design-y, which is a nice change of pace from all the writing I'm doing.
  • Also, Ayo (the dance org) has their showcase in November. I intend to go, even if I have to come up with a reason to not be somewhere else. For one thing, it's awesome; for another, I have several friends who are in it. (No, seriously, I've been looking forward to this all semester. I'm not even kidding.)
That's it for my month. What about yours? How was your October? Any fun plans for November? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade) 


  1. Good luck with Nano! I'm doing it too and it's pretty hard.

    1. Thanks! Yeah, this year is kind of rough. I should have lots of time to catch up over Thanksgiving, though. (Perks of long car rides . . .)

  2. Congratulations on the release - I'm sure there was a lot of hard work that went into that. (And I was so happy to read Blood in the Snow!)

    I don't understand why you would be teased for not liking awkward romance scenes, myself?? (I struggle to get through them when I'm watching on my own... to get through them when I'm watching with others, I need to run a sarcastic commentary - which probably doesn't impress anyone who's actually trying to watch. ;P)

    Oh, and I've never seen Miraculous Ladybug, but I've probably read upwards of a hundred ML identity reveal fics?? which is weird??
    - Jem Jones

    1. Thanks! Yes, there was, so I'm glad you liked the book!

      The problem was that all the romance scenes were awkward. So it came off as me not liking romance scenes (namely kissing scenes) in general. I'm fine with romance scenes, even kissing scenes, if they're well done. But these were all so awkward.

      If you're on Pinterest, no. The identity reveal fics that my friends kept pinning were one of the things that got me interested in the show.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Congrats on the release! All of the stories on the tour sounded so good. I wanted to sign up for several, but what with time constraints...
    I'm glad I chose to read yours! The magic was amazing. <3
    Ah, I read your excerpt of Mechanical Heart, it sounds so cool!! :D
    Good luck with Nano and school! *will now stop overusing exclamation points*

    "And I watched quite a bit more Miraculous Ladybug. I've made it to episode 14 of season two, which introduces Luka (Lukas?), and . . . ok, look, I do not approve. I mean, as a character, he's fine, but just the two main characters already have a full-on love square going. Do we really need to make it a love . . . what shape would that even be? I don't know."
    A hexagon. It's a love hexagon. XP

    1. Yeah, makes sense. I'm glad you were able to join in for BitS, though! And that you enjoyed my Mechanical Heart excerpt.

      I was going to say "No, there's definitely only five points" and then I remembered that, oh yeah, Kagami's a thing. Technically I haven't gotten to the point where she and Adrien become a maybe-thing. But Pinterest reveals many things.

  4. OMG CONGRATS ON YOUR NOVEL'S RELEASE!!! *throws all the confetti* that is SUCH a momentous occasion and I'm sure you're absolutely wild with excitement holding your book and knowing people are reading it now ๐Ÿ˜the cover is lovely too! And also eep good luck with NaNo! I'm not starting till later but ajfdklas I love NaNo so much. It's just so fun knowing a ton of other people are suffering with writing too? ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚Your halloween costume looks EPIC too.

    1. THANK YOU! I was very excited! Right now I'm mostly just tired and stressed because the high has worn off and life is frustrating. But thank you! On two counts! Scratch that, three; and yes, my Halloween costume is EPIC. (Or, rather, I feel epic when I wear it, which is kind of the same thing but not quite.)
      Thanks for stopping by!


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