Guest Post: Sarina Langer on Bullet Journals

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Guess who’s back on my blog today? Yep, fantasy author, Sarina Langer. Sarina has taken time out of her busy release week for her new book, Wardens of Archos, to guest post on Writerly Bookish Stuff.

Sarina is a bullet journal (BuJo) advocate, and is here today to explain what a bullet journal is, why she benefits from using one, and how you can get started on your own. I’m all ears for this post. Over to you, Sarina!


Bullet Journals

Chances are you’ve at least heard of the bullet journal, even if you’re not sure what it is, exactly. It’s grown in popularity over the last few years, and sites like Instagram and Pinterest are full of beautiful examples. The bullet journal is a way of organising anything you want, in a way that suits you. I recommend you check out the original website, too.

What I love the most about my bullet journal is the flexibility, the creativity, and the ability to plan and organise everything the way I want. You can imagine it like a planner that does exactly what you need, without limitations. When you buy a basic planner or a diary, you have a page for each day or a two-page spread for each week, but sometimes you just want something… more.

 

If a week is going to be quiet, you can use as little space for it as you think is necessary. If you know one week is going to be busy and one page won’t do, you can spread it out over as many pages as you need.

But there is one downside, and it’s why many people eventually give up on it. Your bullet journal takes time. Why draw a spread for every month when a regular planner already comes with twelve? Why set aside time every Monday morning to write down every day that week and date it, when any planner you can buy already has that? I get your apprehension. There are days when I’m not sure I can be bothered, and it’s on those days that I look to more basic spreads. I’m not artistically creative. If you told me right now to draw a hedgehog, I’d need a reference picture and it still wouldn’t be pretty. I’ve seen some incredibly beautiful bullet journals on Pinterest (my board right here is full of them!), and I assure you mine looks nothing like that.

Our days are busy, sometimes chaotic, and time is precious. I understand not wanting to waste a lot of time on something you can buy with no effort in most shops for little money, and if that’s what you want to do, go for it! But I hope I can show you today that your Bullet Journal doesn’t need to take a lot of time and still look pretty(ish).

These are my basics:

The Key

Your key is usually found at the front (if you want to make it harder on yourself and stick it on page 97, go for it – as I said, you can do anything you want in this thing), and it’s a short, easy summary of how you’ll use your bullet journal.

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The basics are your code – the signage you use for completed tasks, started-but-unfinished tasks, priorities, and so on. You can include anything you like in this, such as appointments, important meetings, or research you want to do; your bullet journal is flexible!

I recommend just sticking to the basics if you’re starting your first journal, and leave a bit of room in your key to add to it as you go. Your preferences will likely change as you go, and you can adjust, add, and cut as you need to.

My own preferences have changed quite a bit in my current bullet journal (BuJo #2), so I’ve included an updated version of the key partway through it. I’ve also marked the page with washi tape so I can find it again easily should I need to.

Yearly Spread

Don’t you just love it when a new year starts, and you have all the options? What will you do that year? Which goals will you set? What are your priorities going to be?

I love planning, friends, and your yearly spread is a good place to do that on a large scale.

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For 2017, I did something a little more ‘extravagant’ than I usually do. (writing out all those numbers took time, you know!) I have plenty of space for monthly goals and appointments, which I love. What I don’t have is a page dedicated to my goals this year, so when the time comes to create next year’s spread, I’ll include space for that. I do have two double spreads with goals (colour-coded and categorised, naturally) and ideas on how to achieve them, but really I just want a list where I can tick of goals as I hit them.

So, 2018’s calendar is going to be more basic with a year-long list of goals.

Monthly Spread

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I tried so many different designs for this before I found one that works for me. My monthly calendar is on one side, and my to-do list for each month is on the other. That way I can pencil in important meetings and release dates and things like that, and have everything I want to achieve on the same spread. I’ve experimented with various levels of intricacy and detail, but in the end this minimalistic spread works best. It saves me time, and it has everything I need at one glance.

Weekly Spread

I’ve tried even more layouts here – my bullet journal is a mess of failed spreads, and that’s mostly the weekly spread’s fault. I’ve tried everything from having all the info on one, crammed page (which didn’t leave me anywhere near enough space) to having a double spread, to using four full pages for my weekly goals. Minimalism won again.

 

While layouts with individually drawn boxes and leafs and clouds and little kittens look great, I don’t have the time to draw all that (and, as we’ve already established, I don’t have the skills, either). A bit of washi tape (which I’m addicted to, by the way) and a basic layout is all I need.

My Bookshelf

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This was one of the first things I added. My first list was just that, a list, but my second attempt is a little prettier. Every book I buy (books I don’t own yet don’t make it onto this spread) goes on here, and every book I’ve read I colour in.

My tbr is a mess and I’m sure you’re quite aware yourself that it can feel overwhelming, but thanks to this spread I have a good idea of how many books I actually have. Outside the bullet journal, my tbr exists in two places: my actual shelf, and my kindle where the books are in no useful order whatsoever. If it wasn’t for this spread I’d have no idea how many unread books I currently own.

Blog Posts & Guest Posts

This is becoming even more relevant to me now that I’ve started building my freelance writing business. Previously, I’ve used my bullet journal to plan future blog post ideas, make a note of whether I’d written the first draft, whether they were ready and scheduled, which day they’d publish, and so forth. But now I’m also using it to keep track of all my freelance writing jobs and opportunities (like this one!) by writing down who the post is for, what my word count limit is, and when my deadline is.

This way I can see at one glance what I’m doing for whom and when they want it by. Yay for organisation!

Here are some more ideas of what you can do:

Habit tracker

Dream journal

List of films you want to watch

Places you want to visit

Savings tracker

A list of home improvements

Birthdays

Passwords

Gift ideas for your loved ones

Blog post planner

Social Media Exposure Tracker

Content Calendar

Full disclosure: I actually use some of these myself but they’re not in any state to be shown off anywhere! As I said, I’m artistically challenged.

There are so many things you can try and adjust that my main advice is to start small, with the basics, and add to it as you learn what you need from your bullet journal. If you want to be creative and intricate, go ahead, and if you want to keep it simple, like I do, go ahead with that, too. You can try a bit of both, if you like! That’s the beauty of your bullet journal – it’s yours, in every way.

And if you realise fifty pages in that you no longer want to use a specific spread, or try a different layout, good news: you can!

Happy journaling and organising, people!


Author Picture.jpgSarina is the author of the Relics of Ar’Zac trilogy. The first book in the series, Rise of the Sparrows, was released in late May 2016. She’s currently working on the sequel and a new fantasy duology.

She’s obsessed with books and all things stationery, has a proud collection of over twenty notebooks, and squees every time she buys a new notebook, pens (hmmm, fountain pens ❤ ) or highlighters.

In her free time she reads fantasy and sci-fi novels, plays video games, and researches human sacrifice traditions and the end of the universe.

Where to find Sarina & her books:

Website & Blog

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

LinkedIn

Goodreads

Pinterest

Newsletter


For use of content in this post, permission must be sought from the author, Sarina Langer.

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Blog Tour: Wardens of Archos by Sarina Langer

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Today, Sarina Langer is stopping by Writerly Bookish Stuff on her blog tour for her new release, Wardens of Archos. I had the pleasure of reading an ARC of book two in the Relics of Ar’Zac series, and what a sequel it was! There is also a HUGE announcement in this post. SQUEEE! I’m thrilled to be able to share it with you on Writerly Bookish Stuff!

36184683Once a despised street rat, now the reigning queen of Rifarne, Rachael is at the centre of everyone’s attention. All she wants is a few peaceful moments to herself—

but her kingdom has other plans.

The Tramuran ambassador unnerves her.

The Krymistian lady is hiding something.

A Mist Woman brings her a gift, and a warning: Aeron’s death has released the Dark One’s shades into the world. And Rachael, as the only living seer in existence, is the only one who can stop him before he destroys everything she’s beginning to cherish. But can Rachael trust the Mist Woman, or is Kaida just another sorceress playing with her life?

There’s a chance that answers are hidden beneath the ancient Krymistian ruins of Archos.

If only she could be sure that her nightmares of Cephy are just that, and not something darker…

Rachael is running out of time. The shadows are coming, and their claws are reaching for her.

Get your copy here: Amazon

Check it out on Goodreads here: Goodreads

I wanted to know a little more about Sarina’s journey from book one to book two, and I’m sure you do too. Guess what? I threw some questions Sarina’s way, and she is here to answer them today.

Congratulations on the release of book two in the Relics of Ar’Zac series. How does it feel to have two books out in the wild?

Pretty good, Kay. Pretty good.
I’m excited and nervous and scared to see what the first reviews made of it, so I’m feeling all the things, but it feels even stranger that I’ll be writing Book 3 in this trilogy next month. This time next year this whole trilogy might be over! I’m so relieved to have reached this point with Wardens – there was a point during the second monster edit where the work seemed never-ending – but that my first trilogy might well be over in another year is what really awes me. I’ll have written and published a whole trilogy. Me! A WHOLE TRILOGY!

You hear writers speak of ‘second book syndrome’. Did you experience this at all? Was the sequel harder to write than book one?

The opposite was true for this one, actually! I had no idea what I was doing when I wrote Sparrows (I expect this will still be true to some extent when I die aged 120 on some beautiful distant planet (science in the future is advanced, okay?) but I learned so much doing it, and I put all that new knowledge into Wardens. By the time I edited Wardens, I’d written the first draft of Darkened Light which I think is my strongest one yet, so everything I learned doing that went into editing Wardens. I’ve put a lot into it and I already knew a few things that needed to happen from Book 1, like advancing Cale and Rachael’s relationship.

What has been the best experience during your Wardens of Archos journey?

Hmmm, this is difficult. I’d say the #bookstagram community has been the most enjoyable part for me, I swoon every time I see a picture of my book. That’s closely followed by the feedback my critique partners and editor gave me during the developmental round. Edits are tough, all the more so on your own books, but their feedback made me realise that I had something good, and they helped me shape it further. It wouldn’t be the same book without them.

Will you share a teaser from book two, Wardens of Archos?

Gladly! This is one of my favourite scenes. Kaida explains the Midokan creation myth to Rachael:

  “Legend claims that, a long time ago when the world was new, magic was in all things. But there was an abundance of it, and it leaked out of nature, for the world could not hold it. This leak created beings strong enough to hold that much power, and it gave them wings so they could watch over the world like no other.”

   Rachael frowned. “You believe in dragons?”

   “Of course not. Dragons went extinct a long time ago, but this is only a legend, remember? Who can say how much truth it holds.”

   Rachael doubted it held any, but didn’t want to interrupt further. Ridiculous as the legend sounded, she became more interested in it the more Kaida told her.

   “The leak supplied the dragons with too much power, and some became greedy. They sucked the magic out of all things until there was nothing left, and nature shrivelled and died. But not all dragons craved more. They fought those who did, and a fierce battle raged for many years. Many dragons died. Those who were content with what they had outnumbered those who wanted more, and finally, after seven hundred years, the last greedy dragon was slaughtered.

   “Their magic leaked out of their bodies once more, and returned to the world. Where the soil had dried up before rivers now ran clear, and where the ground had died new life sprang forth. Eventually, people evolved from the magic that had returned to the world, and therefore everyone holds at least a small amount of the gift inside them. While not all wish to use it, or know how to, magic is in all of us. The dragons fought for peace, and equality. That is what we believe and what we wish to achieve.”

What do you have in store for the future? Is book three in the pipeline?

Book 3 will be a NaNo baby. I participated for the first time last year and loved it so much I had to come back! I’m even hosting prep sessions on my blog this month! I’m hoping to have the first draft finished by the time I go on a long, tea-filled break in December. Then in January, I’ll be writing the prequel novella. There’s just so much history I can’t explain in the trilogy, like why the old sorcerers destroyed their home and all knowledge with it. I’m hoping to publish both late 2018, but at some point before that I’ll be writing the sequel to Darkened Light. And of course I’ll be publishing Darkened Light in Spring.

I haven’t shared this with anyone yet, but since I’ll need to name my NaNo project soon anyway, there’s really no need to keep it a secret – Book 3 will be called (drum roll, please, if you would)…

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Blood of the Dragon

Thank you so much for having me, Kay! It’s always a pleasure to stop by.

It is always a pleasure to have you. A huge congratulations on the release of Wardens of Archos, and I shall be seeing you again tomorrow for your guest post on bullet journals. I can’t wait!


Author PictureSarina is the author of the Relics of Ar’Zac trilogy. The first book in the series, Rise of the Sparrows, was released in late May 2016. She’s currently working on the sequel and a new fantasy duology.

She’s obsessed with books and all things stationery, has a proud collection of over twenty notebooks, and squees every time she buys a new notebook, pens (hmmm, fountain pens <3) or highlighters.

In her free time she reads fantasy and sci-fi novels, plays video games, and researches human sacrifice traditions and the end of the universe.

Where to find Sarina & her books:

Website & Blog

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

LinkedIn

Goodreads

Pinterest

Newsletter


For use of content in this post, permissio0n must be sought from the author, Sarina Langer

 

 

 

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Update 03/10/17

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Last month, I was relieved to be able to get back to editing after an unproductive summer. This month, I’ve been lazy. I am literally a writing sloth at the moment. In fact, I’m just a sloth in every aspect of life. You know what? I’m not even ashamed.

EVO Ghost

I’m about 60% through the structural edit. I wanted to be finished with this edit, well into the line edits, and much closer to finalising a release date. If I release this year, I’ll be surprised… extremely surprised.

However, here’s what I have been listening to when I have sat my bum down to edit. This song could have been written as the EVO Nation theme song!

Zombie Playlist Paperback

The end of September goal would have been realistic if I did any formatting. In truth, I haven’t even opened the file this month. There’s always October.

On a different note, Zombie Playlist is on a price promotion from the 5th until the 12th. Get your ecopy for 99p.

Social Media

You know those months where you can’t be assed with the internet? I had that month. Instagram in particular was annoying me. I gave up on my September reading challenges because it felt like it was becoming a chore. I have over ten tags to catch up on, and other than blog related posts, I haven’t been actively posting like I normally do. I’m sure a break from daily posting will help. I’m quite happy to sit back and peruse everyone else’s posts.

Blog Guest Posts

The guest posts are the highlight of my September. Did you catch the posts by Dana Fraedrich and Faith Rivens? If you need advice on world building or beating procrastination, then follow these links:

Dana Fraedrich on World Building.

Faith Rivens on Beating Procrastination.

Katie Masters is stopping by on Friday to offer some tips on creating well rounded antagonists, and Sarina Langer is joining me on Friday 22nd to educate us in all things bullet journals. Keep your eyes peeled.

What’s Next?

Next, I do everything I didn’t do last month… or at least attempt to. There’s a lot going on at the moment, and juggling everything is hard. Even finding reading time is proving difficult. Who knows? Maybe I’ll have a sudden surge of motivation.

I hope you all have a productive month whatever your goals may be.


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

COVER REVEAL: Bernie by Brianna West

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Brianna West’s Guardians in Love series has gained another name to the list: Bernie’s. This highly anticipated addition is due for release on August 1st 2017. However, I can give you a little something to tide you over until then…

Cover Reveal:

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Blurb:

Nyla, born and raised in the In-Between realm as the princess of the Spiritum Bellatorum, has been betrothed from birth and forced to conceal the true personality within in order to project herself as nothing but the perfect princess she was taught to be.

When her brother betrays their kind, Nyla acquires an unprecedented mission to find and convince him to come home. Teaming up with the Promiscus Guardians to locate her runaway brother in the mortal realm, Nyla is introduced to the resident comedian and self-proclaimed cowboy Guardian, Bernie.

He is everything she wishes she could be outwardly and she’s instantly intrigued by his happy, easy-going nature. But, like Nyla, Bernie is keeping a part of himself tightly locked away.

What will happen when their barriers start to come down? Will they be able to overcome so many obstacles laid out before them, or will their relationship be torn apart before they have a chance to find something deeper?

Teasers:

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Mark the date in your diaries, Paranormal Romance fans: AUGUST 1ST!


Author Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Brianna-West/e/B016APSN6Q

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorbriannawest

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bwest0426

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/briannawest

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bTxG9z

Merchandise.

Signed Paperbacks.


Images belong to the author, Brianna West.

Blurb Reveal: Zombie Playlist

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Did you catch yesterday’s cover reveal? If not, don’t fret….

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But what you’re really here for is the blurb reveal, right? I shall not withhold it from you for a moment longer…

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I’m excited to finally give you a little insight into Dagger’s story. If this interests you, keep your eyes peeled for my ARC reviewers request post coming in the foreseeable future.


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

Cover Reveal: Zombie Playlist

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Some of you may know that I have been slogging away over my Zombie novella, Zombie Playlist, since the end of 2016. I am a huge fan of anything zombie, so it was a natural progression for me to write something in the genre. The idea for Zombie Playlist popped into my head when I was making a playlist for my last book, Thrown to The Blue. I wanted to write a book where the playlist was an important part of the narrative, and this idea lent itself well to my Zombie narrative idea.

I have completed the first draft and shall tuck into some editing soon, but first, I wanted to show off the cover. It is a bit quirky, a little funky, a tad pretty awesome, and it sums up the whole tone of the novella…

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Keep your eyes peeled for the blurb reveal tomorrow.


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

Blog Tour: Resurrection by Brianna West

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Today, I am happy to host Brianna West on Writerly Bookish Stuff as part of the blog tour for her upcoming, April 28th release of Resurrection. Resurrection is the fourth and final book in the Promiscus Guardians series and is available to pre-order from Amazon. If you are a paranormal romance fan, then this is the series for you.

51y23vyVFNL._SY346_Izzy is back again after managing to survive villain after villain, and now she’s got her eyes on the prize—Mother Dearest. But her world takes a turn when she discovers something that might make her think twice about her usual reckless guns-blazing style.

And when a new evil villain joins forces with Mother Dearest, Izzy and Lucas are forced to partner with someone quite unlikely and a little too close to the villain they’re after.

With the final battle looming and a host of new problems, will Izzy and Lucas find a way to survive, or will the odds be too much and overcome them?

Find out in Izzy’s final kick-ass fight against the Dark, Resurrection.

Brianna West has given us a conclusion to Izzy and Lucas’ story, and what a conclusion it is. I was lucky enough to get an ARC of Resurrection. I devoured it much like the rest of the series. Find my review here.

So, without further ado, let me tease you a little…

Resurrection Teaser_1_1

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Release Event and Giveaways Link: Facebook Event

Buy Links:

Amazon US: Preorder here!

Amazon UK: Preorder here!

Find more ARC reviews here: Goodreads

Good luck with the upcoming release, Brianna!


71zctz9teal-_ux250_Find Brianna:

 


For use of Resurrection related content, please contact the author, Brianna West.

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Update 13/1/17

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I haven’t posted an EVO Ghost update on my blog in what feels like ages. I have hinted at some struggles on Twitter and in my Muse-ic post, and now, I thought I’d let everyone know how I’m getting on.

Word Count:

After Christmas, I started on EVO Ghost with 24k words written. I hadn’t touched the manuscript for a while because I was focussing on Thrown to The Blue, but going back knowing that I already had 24k words was a motivator. That motivation didn’t last long. I couldn’t move passed a particular point in my story, and for days, I procrastinated. Eventually, I decided to cut 10k words, taking me back to where I knew I was last inspired. I took the narrative in a completely different direction and the words flowed much smoother. I’m now at 27k words and going strong, so that’s 13k written since Christmas. The bonus is that some of the cut stuff will make it into the narrative a bit further down the line.

‘Third Book in the Trilogy’ Syndrome:

Half of my word count issues stemmed from self-doubt. Rather than let my story flow and pay it little heed until the redraft, I stressed myself out with worry over loose ends, tying up character arcs, making the third book epic etc. I dubbed this self-doubt, ‘Third Book in the Trilogy Syndrome’. I know this book has to close the story, and I want to do right by my characters, but dwelling on it wasn’t helping. Getting back to my usual ‘seat of my pants’ drafting style has helped me progress the narrative.

Where I am at now:

I am neck deep in drafting, researching, and note taking. A brilliant idea popped into my head that wouldn’t leave me alone. When I finally wrote it into the narrative, the whole story shifted up a notch, and a huge plot hole filled itself. Phew. I also may have, kinda have, sorta have an ending idea. I say this very gingerly because my ending ideas usually change as the narrative moves along. Teddie will tell me how this ends, but I’m hoping this idea has been sparked by some hidden message in the narrative so far. That happens to me, you know. I only realise why I typed something when that something becomes important further down the story arc. Strange, but amazing, right?

Excerpt:

This excerpt is only small because it is very hard to find interesting paragraphs without spoilers, especially for those who may not have read books one and two.

I push at my temples, scrunching my nose against the tension forming in my head. “You were doing what you thought was best,” I say, more to myself than him. “Still, you should have told me from the first.”

His mouth opens and closes like a fish. “I thought you’d be—”

“A bitch about it. You saved my life. I won’t forget that easily, just don’t keep things from me. I have… trust issues.” I smile and tap at the stapled scar on my scalp.

“Sorry, I’m just used to my family being hard-headed and petulant.”

“Oh, I can be both of those. I just have perspective now.”

How do you overcome self-doubt? Have you written a trilogy, and how did you find the experience?


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

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Indie Book Advent #24

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Day 24 of my Indie Book Advent, and the last in this feature, is a special one for me. I would like to share my books with you: EVO Nation, EVO Shift, and Thrown to The Blue.

EVO Nation (EVO Nation Series book one) Blurb:

The government tortures her, her own kind use her, and she is learning the true meaning of ulterior motives. Teddie Leason has been dragged into the festering underbelly of the secretive world of EVO; a world about to be blown wide apart.

Now, the reclusive teenager who couldn’t get upset without her unruly ability causing destruction has to somehow embrace her gift to save her new friends and her new love.

Will the actions of one man fuel a suppressed, supremacist society’s thirst for war and vengeance, or will Teddie be strong enough to stop him?

EVO Shift (EVO Nation Series book two) blurb:

She killed him, but did it make a difference?

Her kind has been exposed, abused, and segregated, and now Teddie Leason is top of Britain’s most wanted list at just nineteen. Teddie has to decide whose side she is on, what she fights for, and whether it’s worth her life.

How can she protect the man she adores, the Uncle who has taken her under his wing, and her unfaltering friends, when she can barely take care of herself? Dealing with new power and a history that has long since been forgotten, has rendered the world’s most powerful EVO vulnerable and at risk.

When will she be dealt a winning hand? Could a clandestine, renegade group of EVO change not only her fate, but that of everyone affected by this unprecedented war? And how does Teddie fit in a world bracing for a shift of unfathomable magnitude?

Thrown to The Blue (Indigo Flames Series book one) Blurb:

Foretellings have no place for goodness, only greatness. Princess Ezrahli is far from good, but she is a great woman in a conventional Kingdom, followed by whispers and scorn. However, across the waters is un-convention, magic, and fable. Her existence has been foretold in the battle against dark magic, and destiny shall weave itself into her life because darkness cannot be fought with goodness, only greatness.

Smuggling and sorcery leads to adventure, and adventure leads to destiny. Reed is a prince of the streets, but what he lacks in title, he makes up for in skill; a skill that sets him on a path already written in fate. Can he be more than what is expected? Can he enable greatness in another and survive the process?

Vengeance is a motivator, but it can never be your friend. In the end, it will ask for sacrifice, and only the great will pay the fare.

Where to find me and my books:

Goodreads

Twitter

Amazon

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